a different kind of holiday

December 25, 2015 at 12:18 pm (Uncategorized)

over the years our holidays and how we celebrate changes.  as a child we live by our families established traditions. as adults we create our own traditions or we incorporate new with the old.  if we have children then we create traditions for them and hope that they will carry them on. now in the later part of life if you have grandchildren it becomes new and yet old altogether again.  if you are living with dying it is another kind of holiday.

as a child i had two very different realities. one with my grandmother who in my younger years didn’t really observe christmas since we were just so poor.  nuts and fruit were a treat we enjoyed during the holidays.  when things were a bit better ham for dinner was an added luxury.  once my uncle became more successful things changed again.  we went from living in tar paper, shot-gun houses that often didn’t have electricity.  later my uncle and aunt bought her a small house in a nice neighborhood.  they sent her money each month and i was able to give her money.  even with my grandfathers v.a. and social security in the early years i would guess she made about 70 dollars.  of course by the time she passed at the age of 79 she was up to 100!  when others were at her house and later in life she put up a small (very small) tree.

while in the military i didn’t celebrate except when i was with family.  then i was married to the love of my life and things changed again.  the first year we had a tree and my family lived close enough to join us.  after spending each day picking up ornaments knocked off the tree by our cats we swore no more trees!  since then we have had many types of celebrations. some we traveled and enjoyed the traditions shared with us.  of course we have enjoyed many years of traveling to charleston to stay with k,b, and the kids.  we have our room upstairs and can hear the hustle and bustle of the kids and the shushing from k and b:)  in 2013 we made our trip to yosemite, california.  looking back it is all the sweeter knowing it was the last trip on christmas that we would make.  of course you never know it’s the last until you are looking back.  last christmas with all in charleston was the last i would guess in charleston.  fortunately our family is very adaptable.  last weekend his son j with wife m and the two boys came for a couple of days.  the boys are getting so grown up.  they are now old enough to remember me.  we have not had a lot of time together as they lived in the bahamas for many years.  i just hope we have had enough to live on in their memory.  of course my charleston grandchildren have spent their whole life, all 9 and 12 years of it, with us in their life.  we have made our memories and tomorrow we will work on what is most likely our last holiday together.

it just seems so wonderful to be gifted with this time.  to know that i will have this time to think about as my time comes.  to think that while i am not counting on another christmas it could happen.  whether there is or not i just am so grateful today and each day for my family and friends.  right now a nap is calling our names:) hope everyone has the best day possible. hope that you all have love and laughter in your life.  those are the gifts we are given to get through life and each day.

Permalink 6 Comments

i am definitely not an angel my friends

December 11, 2015 at 3:13 am (dying, end stage congestive heart failure, gratitude, how does it feel to die, living with dying, the dr. says) (, , , , , , , , , , )

my dear blog friend Terry wrote this.  i am posting it here as i have something i want to say and her post may or may not have an impact on what your response to it is.  i know mine has changed over the day.

here it is-

Dear Sandra, My Friend
Posted on December 10, 2015
Rate This

You were an angel
Who came into my life
When my brother was sick
You wiped tears from my eyes.

We remained friends
After he passed
You grew in my heart
A friendship to last.

My heart always breaks
When I read your new blogs
You are much stronger than me
Keeping faith in your logs.

Although we have never met
Your heart has touched mine
I love you dear friend
I don’t want to ever say goodbye.

You have fought more than some
You have seen all the best
If you feel you are tired
Lay your head down and rest.

I want you to know
I pray every day
For more miracles to happen
Along your life’s way.

I love you dear friend
Written by ,
Terry Shepherd

Dedicated to my good friend, Sandra C.

Written on December 10, 2015

i have never felt terry or really any of my friends here on the word are insincere in their words to each other.  that is why this caught me off guard.  i have never thought of myself as an angel.  not even sure i believe in them.  terry is very much a believer and follower of her faith. she has given her life in the care of others.  her family has been in need of her care most of her life and now she has her own health crisis.

if you read her poem you will read her desire for a miracle.  not that she expects one but she hopes.  where there is hope there is life?? today i managed not only to take a shower but to wash my hair.  this is rare.  my hair is quite long and before i read this poem i thought what an incredible. day.  after what would normally have me on the floor gasping for breath i was able to walk to the car, ride to the salon where we get our nails done. oh yes, he now gets a pedicure and today he got a manicure.  afterward we went to our local eatery.  i was not sure i could walk out of there on my own steam, i was so beyond tired and my oxygen was running out.

when we got home he went in and got a new tank.  tank changed, we walked in to the house together.  i was starting to swell with fluid so i knew i would have to take another pill. actually i would have had to do that anyway.  so there was this small “miracle” here in cartersville.  given how i have suffered over the past month it never occurred to me that i would be able to do so much in these few short hours.

is this a miracle? is it the medication i have been taking? is a combination? i don’t really need to know.  it happened, i accept it and have gratitude.  maybe that is enough.  buddhism teaches that we are our own savior.  i was raised believing this. we must call on our own strength to get through these situations.  there is no one to rescue us.  this is not a bad thing.  it teaches us to look inward for the answers rather than asking why has this happened or why hasn’t this happened.   we may go through some event that can keep you stuck or we can accept that event as part of our journey.  we don’t need to know why something happened.  life is random and stuff happens.

when i go to the v.a. i am usually surrounded by men who are stuck in whatever war changed them.  whatever has kept them stuck there.  i have seen some pretty scary things in my lifetime.  i have experienced events that are rare and in some cases the people this happens to just gets stuck there.  it is not that i am better or worse than them.  i simply have found a way to accept and move on.

last night when i blogged the truth is i was ready to go.  if i could just see my family through the holidays i would then be ready.  today i wonder if that would be premature.  so i will wait. i can wait. give it time so i am sure.  it requires great balance.  i am no angel, i am oh so human and frail.  i make the best decisions i can, however, i am only human.  i welcome this day and the blessing of my few hours out.  my darling needed ti as much if not more than i did.

so i am going to go eat some of the best cookies EVER that a friend baked and brought to the house.  maybe that was the beginning of my awaking.  maybe it is terry’s poem.  i don’t know and i am ok with that.  i am grateful for the prayer and i am grateful for the cookies:)

Permalink 10 Comments

and let it begin with me

December 10, 2015 at 5:15 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

it is 4 a.m. and i am watching a taped program.  thinking of how much has happened and not knowing where to start or how to sort it all out.

since the transfusion a month ago my health has taken a very dramatic hit.  within days i was back at the hospital, and as i last shared, i was admitted.  after 5 days, 4 on fluid pills, i had to have fluid to save my kidneys.  i left the hospital on oxygen and at night/day when just sitting, i use the oxygenator.  it turns ambient air into oxygen.  it sounds like darth vader. actually it sounds like a respirator.

life as i knew it is over.  i can’t walk to the car in the driveway without oxygen. two months ago i was having to decide whether or not i would need the electric cart at the store.  i could still walk about on my own then.  not far but it was still possible. the anemia and low blood volume were making my life difficult.  i had hope that this transfusion would do what the iron infusions had done for me last year.  until last month i thought i would be having the infusions again.  then i got the call.  the dr feels you are not going to get results from infusions this time.  he feels the transfusion is the best option.

i gave up my power at that point.  i didn’t call my cardiologist, who (by the way) muttered as he left my hospital room, she should have never had the transfusion.  in that moment i realized the mistake made.  my man and my sister were happy about the transfusion. of course neither of them fully understood the consequences if it went wrong.  i am not sure i understood the full consequences.  in my mind it wasn’t something that was irreversible.  well unless there is a huge surprise waiting for us this is the way it is now.

let’s do a check-in now.  are you feeling sorry for me? please don’t, i will say to you now what i said from the very beginning, i have had an amazing life.  great family that i love more than my own life.  not only do i have a loving sister and phenomenal husband, i have step-daughters and a step-son.  i have grandchildren that own my heart and i gladly give it to them.  we have some very special friends who have made my life a joy.  there are my blog and Facebook friends. we have our Barrel friends who i believe  really do care about us and we for them.  there is my lovely heart child A.  she will be my one regret in life, i guess we can not escape without one in our life time. i have friends in california who remain in my life and hopefully know how much i love and care for them and their loved ones. i would like special mention to go to S.  she is wife number one.  she and i have given each other respect and worked out what might be awkward situations for others.  she is the quintessential southern woman.

my fear is i have forgotten someone, not because they mean less, simply my exhaustion.

i was watching a movie, not much else to do, sleep and watch t.v.  a few years ago before roku my choices would have been very limited.  now i can access all types of movies and shows.  i love all the documentaries. so in this one movie the child says how much she loves  butterflies. when she found out they only live a short time, sometimes for a month or less.  one day she went to her mother crying.  her mother sat her down and said yes they have a short life but what a beautiful life they live!

do i dare presume to compare my life to a butterflies?  it may be shorter than normal but it has been such a beautiful life.  from moment to moment my life is incredible.  my loving man does whatever he can to make my life better/ more comfortable.  friends who send cards, bring food and even bring food to the hospital.  a sister who comes to help in any way she can. somehow she got a hairdresser to come to my home and i am blown away by that prospect. A still in’s me to talk about her life delimna. here i am this close to the end and i still have the ability to share some last minute life advice.

i am just so grateful for all those who have impacted my life and allowed me to be a part of theirs.

i leave you with this …… my final thought for tonight….. my wish for my life

let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.  and you??

Permalink 16 Comments

%d bloggers like this: