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Old womans ice skates on the ice.

Living life – A fresh sheet of ice

You never know when the next thing that happens is going to be the biggest, brightest, and best thing that has ever happened to you. It would be a shame for you to miss it because of a little apprehension.

It’s amazing how little things can shape or change our lives. When I was 11 a friend of mine who was taking Ice Skating lessons really wanted me to go skating. My Mother said I couldn’t go even if her mother paid for it. We ended up telling her mother I had permission to go. It was a lie that altered my life. I was exuberant; I skated with confidence around the rink, balancing better on the skates than my friend who’d been taking lessons. New lessons were beginning in just a week so I bravely took the flier home to my mother and told her about them. I begged and pleaded until she gave in and agreed to sign me up. She thought it would be only for the summer, but it is a love that has lasted 22 years.

I did very well for the level I achieved, really very low compared to the skaters you see on TV, but good enough to be have been accepted into the Ice Capades at the age of 17 (if only I could lose 9 lbs. – another story for another day). Skating was like dancing and flying to me, all about doing the things that my body showed me it loved. I could spin and jump and feel free. I loved just moving to the music, doing whatever felt right – people loved to watch me skate. I wish I could explain the feeling that I find in my body and soul when I’m skating, it’s euphoric.

I love the smell of an ice rink, the crispness of the air, the cold, and the sweat, I even love falling. One of the best things about the rink was just after the zam resurfaces the ice leaving it one smooth glistening surface and each move you make on it was etched clearly, each edge, turn, spin, and jump. I loved to watch the etchings in the ice, to hear my blades creak on a deep edge and swoosh on a hockey stop. Looking at the clean glistening surface was always so amazing to me, it’s still exciting to me even though I’ve seen it thousands of times.

I rarely skate anymore although you’ll trip over two pairs of skates if you walk through my hallway. The last time I went skating was 8 months ago, I can’t tell you how surprised I was to find myself giggling and grinning almost the moment I stepped on the ice.

Yes, there is a point to all of this… but I have to say something else first.

My Mother died in February of 1998 after an 8 year battle with Cancer. I have a lot of emotional issues with my Mother and was very hurt when she got sick because I knew she’d never be well enough again for us to have a chance to heal them together. Her last 6 months or so were really hard for the whole family and the end was just horrible, there is simply no other way to describe it. I tried to prepare my children for what was happening and for the eventuality of her death, the issues of grief that they would deal with, along with the grief process the other grown-ups in their lives would go through. I must have done a really good job because 6 or 8 weeks after her death I was apologizing for my son for being stressed out and losing my temper and he said to me “That’s okay Mom, stress is a part of grief”.

During 1998 I felt that I was in transition, that something in my life was changing and that things would somehow be different when I passed through “this door”, whatever it was. The first couple of months after my mother died were like sleep walking and I honestly don’t remember much of what happened from the fall of 1997 until the summer of 1998. It was hard and there were wonderful people supporting me that’s just about all I know.

So my point… Looking forward in my life these days is like looking out across the boards onto a clean sheet of ice and all I can think of is what kind of etchings am I going to make in it? I’m excited and hopeful and I can’t wait to take that first step, to push and glide and fly.

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