This I Believe

Corinne - Ithaca, New York
Entered on November 1, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

I believe we are given more than one chance to achieve our dreams.

In elementary school, I doodled everywhere. I drew silhouettes of everyone I met. I longed to be a fashion designer, drawing models with tiny heads, long legs, and fabulous outfits.

My parents thought that being an artist meant lifelong struggle. So I got a degree in Education of the Deaf and spent five years working in my field. Then my husband and I moved to another state and started a family.

Ten years later I went back to school in Nursing, and spent another sixteen years in my new career. It wasn’t until the death of my husband that I was able to go back to art.

Now, I am happily ensconced in designing again. Six years ago, I started a business making fanciful hats. I’m having a ball, in my second chance as an artist!

My parents’ courtship was very romantic, speeding from first meeting to marriage in three weeks. After my father’s death, my mother folded under the weight of long years of stress and the grief of losing her life’s partner. After she crashed her car, she never regained her mental or physical health.

During those last eight years, I got a second chance to establish a rapport with my mother.

Whenever my mother would lapse into a sullen mood, I would bring out photographs and ask her to tell the story of how she met my father. Her face would light up and her spirit would lift. Those were magical moments. When she died, I was at peace with our relationship.

My husband and I met at Washington University. We were best friends from the start. As soon as we graduated college, we got married. We had four idyllic years together, poor and happy.

Unfortunately, by the age of 34, my husband had a heart attack because of childhood diabetes. After his kidneys failed, he went on dialysis and later got a kidney transplant that lasted fifteen years.

By the age of 50, he had two amputations and two more heart attacks. Two years later he died while back on dialysis, having lost his transplant kidneys.

A year later, I started a widow’s group and planned a social life around my women friends. I never imagined I would meet a new life partner. But I was given a second chance at love.

My major means of exercise had always been dance. Swing Dance and Zydeco were becoming popular. I began taking lessons and going to the weekend dances.

After a month or so, I met a man whose smile and sparkling blue eyes captivated me. He danced with enthusiasm and spirit. It turned out that he was widowed, also. This lovely man with the shining silver hair and the ready laugh is now my fiance’.

There is a trick to activating second chances. Fate may present them, but you still have to take that leap of faith, jump in, and grab the reins.