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Got Lucky

The longer I live the luckier I get.

My working parents didn’t know a lot of prosperity. Sleeping on a bed in the dining room, receiving powdered milk from the government, and learning how to transfer buses were a part of my growing up. I got lucky that for the rest of my life I never took a car that runs, a decent bowl of soup, or having my own bedroom for granted.

When my Catholic parents could no longer afford the parochial school tuition, my siblings and I transferred to public school. Most of my classmates were not college bound. I got lucky with the reduced competition for scholarships and landed on campus with much of my tuition paid.

My first job as a lawyer ended when my boss couldn’t pay the promised $15,000 salary. I then went into practice with my husband, which he left for a job that promised a steady paycheck and health insurance. I got lucky when I became a solo practitioner and mother in the same month, which eventually led to my becoming the founder of a full-fledged law firm of nine lawyers.

When I was married with two children and a bustling law practice, the children and the practice made me happy. The marriage did not. I got lucky when the unhappiness and the unhealthiness remained unhealed by multiple counselors. This gave me the courage to divorce and later marry one of the kindest men I ever knew.

Midway through my legal career I applied to be a juvenile court judge. My credentials were good enough that the nominating commission forwarded my name to the governor—six times. I got lucky and to never get appointed. A decade later I found my calling as a life coach.

My brother Tim was a victim of the AIDS crisis that swept the country. He moved back to Omaha from Atlanta to be near family. I got lucky when he allowed me to learn how to walk a dying man to the toilet and manage a morphine pump. I would need these exact skills sooner that I knew.

The month my second husband and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary, he received a metastasized terminal cancer diagnosis. I got lucky when John lived years beyond what doctors predicted. I got luckier still when I cared for him during the most meaningful summer of my life, learning what it means to die with grace.  I can now see myself being and end-of-life doula as an old woman, guiding others to the end.

As I look for my next pot of gold, I see the rainbow that’s been above me all along and give thanks for my endless good fortune.

On this St. Patrick’s Day, I wish you all of the luck of the Irish and more.

Coach Koenig