December 3 Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).
How do you choose one moment out of thousands? A moment in time that means more than the rest? It is impossible. The moments that make me alive are the mundane ones that pass unnoticed. The ones I remember are when my emotions are high: angry, sad, lonely, gloriously happy.
Probably the biggest moment for me was during my trip to Ukraine in June. It was the one that was clearest to me because it was the one where I was the most vulnerable.
I was homesick.
I don't travel well. That is not a secret. I would rather be at home than anywhere else. So, when I found myself in Ukraine, in a strange place, without my husband or my dog or my bed, where I didn't speak the language, couldn't eat the food, and... I broke.
My ears filled with noise and I couldn't hear anything. The pressure in my head expanded until there were no thoughts except that I wanted to be home. My vision blurred and eyes watered. The panic rose up from my chest into my throat and made it difficult to breathe.
I started to cry.
It wasn't a few tears gently gliding down my face. It wasn't a normal cry that allows emotions to express themselves and leave the body cleansed. It was an ugly, throw-down, painful, howling cry. It was the cry of a woman who has made a choice she regrets more than any other.
I don't remember making the conscious decision to curl onto the bed in the fetal position and sob, but that is what happened. My poor sister Ky was present for the mess, so I can only think she guided me there in order to keep me from harm.
I lay on the bed and sobbed for the familiar as my sister held me in her arms and rocked me back and forth. Her arms were strong as she tried to contain my loneliness and heartbreak, her hand patted my head in empathy.
The next day, worn out and composed, I could start again to enjoy the experience of the unknown. But there, in that moment, I wanted nothing more than to go home -- to my home, my husband, my life.