a turbulent march

I woke up yesterday and realized the calendar had turned from March to April. Thank goodness. March was tough. So much so I began to think a vortex had opened up in the universe and was sucking the life out of my life. A little melodramatic, I know, but it was a turbulent time and I was happy to leave it behind.

March is my birthday month, so there is a bright spot–being spoiled by friends and eating all of those “don’t count” fat and sugar calories. But death and taxes hover behind the happy. March carries the sad memories of both of my parents’ passings; and since it’s the month my tax preparer schedules my appointment, I always lose a weekend to my least favorite chore. But this year, fate threw a few more curveballs.

As the vortex opened, it sucked in six mature trees that lined the space between my neighbor’s home and mine. Silly, I know, especially since I never loved them. It’s just that they were always there and their very sudden disappearance after 25 years was jarring. The two baby hummingbirds I’d been watching outside my bedroom door left just as quickly. The clocks changed. All stuff that should pass without notice. But COVID isolation has had a really destabilizing effect on my life so everything is becoming has distorted. Especially when all of this minor stuff was just the prelude.

Next was the death of my pet rabbit–Habibi was 12, old for a rabbit in my household, and he’d been going downhill for months. Still, since he’d been hanging in there for months, it felt like he was immortal. I was far sadder than I thought I’d be, but the one who really suffered was his companion, a 22-year old chinchilla. It’s torn my heart out to see he rarely ventures out since losing his friend.

I lost a friend, too. Harriet. She was a few years younger than me and had been in poor health for years. But like Habibi, despite her illnesses, she had remarkable longevity, so I never thought this moment would come. I was grateful we’d had a good conversation just the day before she passed.

And then there was Sunny. On my birthday no less, I found a suspicious growth. I became convinced it was mast cell cancer and she had just weeks to live. The whole day I got text after text: “Happy Birthday!” “Hope you’re having a fun day!” Except I wasn’t having a fun day. I was walking Sunny on the street and sobbing uncontrolably because my precious girl’s days were numbered.

Except they weren’t. Well, all of our days are numbered, but Sunny is going to be with me for a while because by the time I got her to the vet–one excruciatingly long week after my diagnosis–her “cancer” had resolved. I guess me and Dr. Internet are not the accomplished vets I thought we were. Thank goodness.

I ended March by engaging in a spirited debate with a passenger service representative from American Airlines about the sudden, imminent expiration of some flight credit. After a two and a half hour hold, and another 45 minutes as I waited for a supervisor, I found possible resolution in filing a two-minute online request for a refund. It was the last day of the month. Finally.

So, welcome April. There is much to be said for new beginnings. And much more to be said for seeing a bad stretch in the rearview mirror. Oh, but that I’m not speaking too soon…

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