By Norma Alford
I was recently asked how I had been doing since my last encounter with Fate. After quickly calculating that it had been two years since my essay on the subject, I explained that much had happened.
Life started to gradually return to its normal day-to-day routine, and I was coming to grips with the steady decline in my physical ability to handle many of the chores required to run my household alone. Also, the realization began to sink in that I would soon have to trade my walker for a wheelchair, but I determined to postpone it as long as possible.
Along this line of thinking, I vowed to stop driving and gave up my car to make sure I followed through on that vow. I saw no sense in taking chances behind the wheel.
During this readjustment period, Fate had been standing in the wings waiting for an opportunity to make an entrance. And, this occurred in the late spring of 2019. My daughter was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer. I wondered if I had what it took to endure another heartbreaking loss. The weeks dragged slowly by, as she fought bravely against a powerful opponent. The end came on August 17, blessedly setting her free from the terrible pain.
I am still coping with the loss of a second child, but daily thank God that I have my younger son.
In this regard, I tried to turn my back on Fate to forestall the possible occurrence of anything it might have in mind to further test my courage.
Out of nowhere, like the shock of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the entire world was blindsided by something frightening and mysterious called coronavirus. But this time Fate had doubled down. Now people were dying in large numbers with seemingly no end in sight. Even the lives of those spared the deadly disease were being shattered by its unthinkable consequences.
I reminded myself once again that, yes, I had suffered an agonizing personal loss, but millions worldwide were being devastated by an unstoppable evil.
All I was being asked to do was shelter in place and wear a face mask when in public. Sure, I had to wash my hands more often and disinfect everything I touched – not a difficult trade-off, all things considered.
Last month, feeling more lighthearted, I celebrated my 91st birthday. I heard from numerous friends and relatives; and one or two actually appeared in person, despite those annoying rules which forbade it. Yet, I found myself longing to see those loved ones who had already passed away; and I was suddenly struck by the sobering thought: all my contemporaries now live in cemeteries!
And, I will observe my 72nd anniversary this week, although my husband will miss it. He passed away in 1984; but he’ll be with me in spirit as he always is.
These rituals represent not only fond remembrances of things past, but bright hopes for the future. I recently came across a phrase in an article that appeared in our local newspaper which has stuck with me: “A life without hope is a living death.” Therefore, I have chosen a path of hope.
What do you suppose Fate is planning? Could it possibly be more horrible than this raging virus? Although I am tempted, I will wisely refrain from telling it to do its darndest, for I’ve learned that it’s best not to tempt Fate.
As you can tell from the final line in her story, Norma Alford, of Waco, Liberty, and now Austin, is a published mystery writer. At the age of 91, she has written sixteen books, plays, short stories and numerous essays. She was a legal secretary, runway model, actress, athlete and licensed pilot. She has maintained an interest in flying, the arts, sports and, of course, writing. She had a daughter and two sons and numerous grand and great grandchildren. She can be reached at [email protected]