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It's that time of year again. The holidays are approaching. How could you avoid the onslaught? I can't believe they actually started the Christmas marketing before Halloween this year.  But I digress.

This isn't really about the holiday season.  (Well, maybe it is. A little.)  What it's really about is that time in November 2009 when we learned that we could no longer fight Charlotte's cancer. That time we had to fully understand that word. Terminal. 

For the last five years, that period from November to the end of January has been a blur of avoidance, melancholy, and sadness. We haven't put up a Christmas tree since that pink one that graced our living room until almost April 2010. Only last year did I finally start feeling like "my old self" when it came to the holidays, slowly merging into social celebrations with others without feeling a panic attack coming my way.  

Although I can't find it in an old blog post, I know that in Four Seasons for Charlotte, I reflected during that period in our lives on that word. Terminal. it has so many meanings beyond the one we associate with a life-ending illness.  

In grammar: That which cannot be further divided
In botany: The flower growing at the end of a branch
In engineering: An electrical junction where connections are made in order to redirect energy.
In travel: A port of arrival or departure; a place to say goodbye and a place to say hello.  

Signing documents. Being all "official" and stuff. 
Now we find ourselves at another November facing a Terminal of a different sort.  On November 19, after seven and a half months of having her live in our home, we signed the papers that officially make Kiddo a part of our family.  There will still be a few months until everything is finalized by the judge but one of the documents we signed today specifies that, for all intents and purposes, she is our child.  Still have to get that official finalization for all that social media posting stuff, though.  

That is how it can be with a terminal. It can be a point of departure but also a place of arrival. Either way, it brings its share of stresses, emotion, and anxiety. It can be a point of demarcation in the journey, but rarely is it THE END. All of us (Kiddo, Roger, and I) continue to reflect on this process and grieve our personal and collective losses in our own ways. We support each other in the process. We continue to be exceedingly grateful for the support that our Network (Hey! You're still there 5 years later!) has provided along the way.  For every ending, we see an opportunity for a new beginning. That, my friends, is certainly something worth celebrating.  

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