“Do not go gentle into that good night.”

 “Explain to me what the point of living is if you aren’t willing to fight for the truths in your heart, to risk not getting hurt.”

2016 – August marks the start of my 6th year at ASF.  FIVE solid YEARS right now, and six at the end of this year.

In reading an amazing book titled This Raging Light, following an episode of one of the most intense fevers I can remember having, literally, a whole life flashed with events that have happened over the last year, then more than that.  Hard to explain but well, as is usual, and usually my posts can be off the beaten track, I will try.

Head colds, are they horrible or what? Maybe next to sore throats, which is what I started to get as a reward for this past weekend.  I resolved myself to do the salt gargling, mouth wash marathoning, constant teeth brushing, decongestant taking, and would work my other needs around the fight against a potential cold.

Saturday was a milestone, Dane, the dog we saved and had a pin in his leg, had it removed, let me tell you, NEW DOG. A good Saturday, thought not the one I planned.  Later, went to Home Depot, Sunday, biked to Home Depot, and not so bad, but whole weekend aware of a looking flu I was putting up a defense to.

Monday, head to work, aware that my defenses were weakening, not decongestant the vitamin of choice, tissue paper stuffed in tons of places, Halls my candy, and hoping I can make it through a Monday without going nuts from my runny nose.

Monday made it through, and my priority was seeing Amaya, to the vet over her not eating and being stomach sick the last few days.  I hiked it to Costco, grabbed dog and cat food, made it home by tax before 4:30, the canine pack out and Amaya and I were to the vet.

You notice things you do not notice when things are slowed to a halt, and I did notice this waiting in the doctor’s office, how incredibly lucky I have been with the amazing afghan trio and how amazing their temperament is when i remember as puppies I thought I was going to go crazy.  It’s amazing how things can flash by and you not even realize it, and how more meaningful life it when you do realize those things , you normally take for granted.  After a positive prognosis and a shot for her stomach, we headed back and for the first time, took her out on a “date” we hung out in a restaurant that allowed dogs inside and had an awesome dinner, and well Amaya is just awesome, period.  

Soup, green tea, and of course a brownie, finally home for the evening, and then just whoom, head cold turned into a “I need to get into bed NOW!” flu, – took a final decongestant, and I think for the next three hours I know I tossed and turned, and burned, it felt like my skin was on fire, the feeling when you just have the flu, period.  During that time, I dreamt too, still can remember dreams that involved my Dad reaching out to me, talking to me, and just – when I woke, I was soaking wet from the sweat, flu – but felt as if I had been in 20 rounds with a first class boxer, and just resurfaced – surviving (this is not the ideal way to close a Monday evening).

In bed, I opened This Raging Light, and just began to continue reading, and just – not sure it was the story or the memories sparked from the novel, and a combination of the fever I just broke out of – but a ton of worthy moments occurred:

  1. I realized how incredibly lucky I had been to learn, share, and take in all things that were my Dad, for many long years, almost 10 I went without even knowing my Dad, then out of the blue, on graduation, there he was, I can’t begin to tell you how surreal that memory was.
  2. How sudden the moment was that my Dad was taken away from me, and how lucky I was to be surrounded by a family that still – is unlike any family I could have ever wanted to wished to be a part of.
  3. The strange journey from a Community College in Butler, PA, to Edinboro in Edinboro, PA, back to Slippery Rock in PA, to Pittsburgh, PA, to working at U.S. Investigative Services in Grove City, PA, to outside of Solomon’s Island in MD, to Evans City, to taking care of horses and teaching students to ride, take care of horses, to teaching English in a variety of schools, moving to an amazing Delaware and really coming into my own with an amazing group of students and colleagues, and – truly moving everything I thought I knew to Mexico and using all the amazing experiences in my life to help enhance an even more amazing group of students and colleagues that would change my life – forever.
  4. The reality check that having the time to simply have these reflections, be able to look back, means as much as slowing down the treadmill I used to be on to keep going and doing, and never valuing those experiences later on, and when i have now been able to, realizing how incredibly lucky I’ve been, to have the students, now young men and women, the colleagues, (younger AND older men and women like myself) and family, to take a dream, reshape it, and make it reality.  I know I am the richest person in the world because of the amazing people that believe in dreams, that that can be made into reality.
  5. I have been lucky enough to grow up with individuals I see today who have done amazing things, AMAZING.  A single mother that has seen her daughter now go on to a major college, and realizing I saw her all through high school and college to see her daughter, to this day, be amazing.  Seeing friends that sat behind me in home room in high school now designing and creating projects in major engineering firms all over the world.  Seeing former students, STUDENTS, with children of their own and making an amazing home and life for their children.  Students I have now that every day, show sparks of greatness that make me stand back and say, HOW LUCKY AM I?

There are few things that you think of when you feel like you are facing death from flu, except I WANT TO SURVIVE, and MORE KLEENEX, and KILL ME NOW, yet, when you still realize how lucky you are to be suffering from a kill me now flu, due to the colleagues, students, family, friends that have made life truly a LIFE – well you’ve got something there.  Whether it was the after effects of the fever, or just all the right quotes and characters in place from Estelle Laure’s This Raging Light, one thing is constant, the same groups of individuals that allow you to wake up each day and be thankful for moving you forward.

Again, coincidence that this amazing quote, for the title of this blog, so strongly presented at the 2016 graduation to one well esteemed Debra Ramon, appears again a few months later in a book that is powerful?  I believe less in coincidence and more in the events that resurface, stare you in the face and are telling you something  🙂   All we have to do is listen, and the rest falls into place.

About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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