It's only just hit me. And hit me like a steam train. I simply hadn't noticed it. And the sudden realisation sent shivers down my spine, and a whooshing sensation I can honestly describe as being how I would imagine an out of body experience to be. It happened just a few minutes ago. I'm still in shock. I was sitting out in my garden you see, soaking up the spring sunshine in the courtyard I'd been tidying earlier on in the day. Eager to finish the end of the novel I've been reading, and thoroughly enjoying the chorus of birdsong that surely confirmed the end of a long cold winter, I'd settled down on the wooden lovers chairs next to the area I grow my tomato plants. My dog, Hamish, was sitting happily in the other seat, and I was feeling pretty good about life. In the final chapters, the author raised the question whether, perhaps, things were just meant to be - that perhaps the characters in her story had been part of an intricate plan - call it fate or call it faith, wasn't it true that, in fact, everything always works out in the end? Her musing caused me to swiftly scan my life, so that I could gauge my response and perhaps add another opinion of my own.
And that's when it happened. I was smiling, you see, finally feeling content and generally at one with the world. Last night I'd shared a wonderful evening of fun, friendship, food and plenty of laughter with some wonderful people who are really now more family than friends. And today the sun has been shining - I've been out on my bike for the first time since my accident last year, and this afternoon I've been tidying the garden and planting seeds so that I may enjoy a rich summer of colour and perfume. I allowed myself to bask in the fullness of my life, and started to think about my new business and the wonderful future that I know is ahead of me. Absent-mindedly I was still scanning for any "life coincidences" in response to the question posed in my book.
And then BANG! There it was. Clear as day, bold as brass, obvious for all to see. Except I hadn't. With a loud and deliberate"Oh... my.... goodness!" (or words to that effect) my hands fell to my lap, the book fell to the floor, and Hamish jumped from his chair.
How on earth had I missed it? The day last year, when my life was changed for ever, is a date I thought I would never forget - Wednesday 22nd April 2009. For that was the day when I discovered the truth about the man I loved and with whom I had shared my life for more than a decade. As well as being the day that my entire reality came crashing down around my ears, the day when everthing I thought I could rely on as being real turned out to be nothing more than a sham - it was also, as you'll remember, the very day when I outlived my mother and, therefore, both of my parents. So it's a date that has been branded deeply in to my consciousness. I confess, I'd been worrying about how to best celebrate the anniversary this year. Should I go wild? Party like there's no tomorrow? Or perhaps drown my sorrows with a couple of close friends? I hadn't decided, but I knew I had to mark the occasion.
Over the past week I have been working on pulling together the very first team event for my new business The Top Banana Bunch. The leadership team now stands at 15 people, not including the teams within the team - if that makes sense. Everyone has busy schedules and work commitments, so it has been interesting working out how best to organise such an event - what it should entail as well as where and when it should be held. We started off with five dates to choose from. And with 13 out of the 15 people able to make one particular date, we settled on it. Yup. You guessed it. Thursday 22nd April 2010.
In my focus on creating a team day, I had totally overlooked the significance of the date we have all chosen. So now, as it all falls in to place, I am grinning like a Cheshire cat (I told you Alice has a lot to answer for these days!) and feeling the sunshine in my soul absolutely matching the warmth of the early evening rays.
What an absolutely perfect way to mark the anniversary, and finally wave goodbye to what has been the most testing year of my entire life. Yes, most testing, and at the same time most rewarding in so many ways. For I have discovered the richness of friendship. The strength in surrender. The peace in trust. And the comfort in the knowledge that no matter what happens, things always turn out well in the end.
So on 22nd April this year, with my new company up and running, instead of wondering as I was this time last year how on earth I was going to survive the shock and pain of betrayal, I shall be working and planning with my amazing team of Top Bananas how to bring magic and delight in to the lives of business leaders around the world.
What a difference a year makes eh? Happy Anniversary!