no crying allowed?..

July 16, 2012 at 2:44 am (bravery, coping, death, dying, family, feelings and thoughts, how does it feel to die, leaving, living, love, truth) (, , , , )

even though I am tired all the time, and feel  as though a nap is calling to me, insomnia is a constant companion.  looking at the clock and knowing that morning is only a few short hours away the frustration builds.  finally it is after 4 a.m. and heading to bed with great hope and trepidation.

in some writings it is described as the “wee” hours of the morning.  it feels like something more to me.  as i lay in bed, and try to avoid looking at the clock,  everything is changing.  the bedroom goes from that pitch black that envelopes you and hides the hidden dangers to your toes and shins.  once in bed, eyesight adjusts and it is the room you know.  the room where you lay completely vulnerable.  this room holds your trust of safety while the body surrenders and the mind embraces the opportunity to dream and restore itself.  the light changes yet not dramatically. is this the wee hours?  as i lay next to my love who gave himself to the bed hours ago.  small snores, legs moving, grabbing and pulling sheets, it is an honor to be trusted with this time, while he dreams I watch.  loving the way his face looks so peaceful and boyish.  even in sleep he reaches for me, kisses my hand, whispers of love.  then turns away to slip back to his dreams.

feeling the change coming and knowing it is going to be full-blown morning soon.  my mind wanders.  asking the hard questions of myself.  all the arrangements have been made and there is a feeling of readiness and a wondering why it hasn’t happened yet.  there are a few things i could still do.  there is something about knowing i have entered that 5th year.  somehow that doesn’t seem like the underlying motivation.  fear is not a factor.  love of life has not changed, yet doesn’t prevent this feeling.

laying on my side, feeling the change from night to day upon me, it begins.  not even acknowledged until it becomes impossible to avoid.  yes, tears have been shed.  not great sobbing or even sadness.  just tears and then some harsh words for the eyes that would dare to betray me in such a blatant display.

from the onset there has been an all out effort to not cry, to not complain, to not impose on others and to make everything as easy for others as possible.

tears were shed and it was hours before sleep came.  no one saw the tears.  that somehow hurts and a part of me wants to complain or really just to be heard, wants to be honest about this weakness.

it is after 3 a.m. and there are new tears, clinging to  the edge, waiting to drop, they will be silent.  i will be silent…….

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Aimee Copeland leaves the hospital

July 2, 2012 at 11:57 pm (aimee copeland, choice, coping, creative writing, good news, gratitude, hope, living, love, motivation, optimism, support system, why blog) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

yes Aimee went to rehab today and she will be there for 6-8 months.  I hope she continues to be optimistic and her support system stays in place.  maybe that is what really makes the difference.

looking back it occurs to me that my blog has many entries focused on others without much tie in to myself.  with some reflection, really not that much:), it is clear how that has happened.  my life has been about others.  as a nurse, there is the patient.  as a therapist there is the patient and even as a professor/teacher it is about the students.  most of us have others in our life that we give our love and support to.  mom’s and dad’s  have children, spouse’s have likewise, children have parents that may need their care.  parenting never ends if you are lucky and then there are the grandchildren.

there has been little time to think about my own situation.  situation is an odd word for this, not so odd if it is understood how i refer to my multi-system failure that landed me on life support in ICU as “the event.”  it seems tedious to refer to the event in medical terms or what would feel like a bit of melodrama at this point.  although when i read of others and their struggles it reinforces my belief that we all have a story.  as we go through our day we have a choice to have faith, or spin in uncertainty that can make us suffer beyond our physical self.

recently though I have had things on my mind to write about, however, two things stopped me.  one is the awareness of how this blog has changed from its original concept. second, is the awareness that i am not a writer.  it’s ok. to know what our gift is, is a blessing.  when reading other blogs i am in awe of the creativity and flow of the story.  the new goal for me is to remember and follow my true purpose in writing at all.  as for the other it is my intent to be ok, really ok, with my limits as a writer. this was never meant to be anything more than a personal blog.  future posts may be boring to some who now read my postings.  there are so many more interesting people out there.  those that become bored please do not feel the need to comment on said boredom.

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New Year’s resolutions and hope

January 3, 2012 at 8:46 pm (hope, love, New Year's resolutions, Uncategorized) (, , )

after reading the post by the comeback I began thinking about what the whole New Year’s resolution tradition.  if I did not make any resolutions am I saying “oh well” and just accepting a mediocre life or worse?  this led to long talk with hubby and later with a younger friend.  my own advice as a therapist has been to make small goals along the way.  this gives a person the chance to experience success and learn to set realistic goals for themselves and only for them. too often people would say if only he/she would do x then my life would be better. the old “fix them” routine.  over the years my own resolutions have been decidedly on ways to improve myself as a human being, mother, daughter, sister, wife, therapist, teacher, soldier….. it has been my belief that using my energy on other’s inventory was a waste of said energy. 

long-term resolutions seem a bit more arrogant at this point in my life and yet they are still made.  tonight it came to me, looking across the table at the love of my life, I asked the question.  if you were making my resolution for me what would it be?   at one time my goal to make the world a better place took the form of law studies.  the first rule of cross-examination? never ask a question you don’t know the answer to.   would i dare ask this question, and leave myself open to an answer, when there had been no preparation for the answer?  yep indeed we went there.  after some thought, and most likely some trepidation on his part, his response to my surprise was – if I were making your resolution this year it would be for you to not be so hard on yourself.  this has given me great pause. 

those words “don’t be so hard on yourself” are words I have heard over the years.  it has never been my intention to be hard on myself, only to expect the best of me every day.  lately I will admit to feeling more dissatisfied with my performance as a wife and as a person in whole.  my physical heart is tired and needs rest if it is to last a bit longer. my heart of spirit needs to be reassured that I have given my all to any task for the day.  some days when texts of regret are sent, can’t make it again, it is a loss of a standard set for myself by myself.  it is also one of the events that we the ill are warned of. brochures on what is ahead include the perception from others that we want to be left alone.  that the healthy will not slow down for the ill.  it makes me think of basic training, the tallest are in the front and run at their pace.  the shortest, are at the rear and told to keep up or there will be consequences.  at 5’2″ my spot was ever in the last row.  knowing my determination the drill sgts added that i would be the road guard. this meant running ahead of everyone else, stopping traffic until the last runner was out of the road then catching up to them and getting back in place.

it has been with that same determination, that drive to keep up, that has made me who I am today.  although there are many things I could improve on, being a good human being is not I would say one of them.  this above all else has been my life long resolution.  if the lesson I need to learn now is not to be too hard on myself then I will embrace that although putting that into action, understanding how to picture that will take some work.  I hope not to disappoint Chris:) okay that was funny, a little anyway.

if I could encourage one resolution for us all it would be to live in love and all that brings with it.  this is not just love of others but for ourselves. forgiveness is a miracle that comes from loving ourselves enough to let go of anger.  if what you do today or everyday is from a place of love it is my belief peace in your heart and soul will follow.  there have been tragedies in my life as in many others, it has been a journey to arrive at this place and I like it here.  it will end when it ends, that is not my choice, for today and every day gifted to me, I will honor it be resolving , as I do daily, to appreciate this time, the people around me and hope ….

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love is…

December 27, 2011 at 2:29 am (family, friends, holidays, love) (, , , , )

this was my status on Facebook for the past few days. think everyone had an opinion? you would be wrong as was I.  2 brave friends stepped up to comment on this subject.  some may have been too busy with the holidays or just not sure how to respond.  my sister made the interesting observation that love is power and many of us know that power. it is not used for good as much as one might hope. the other response was that it is unconditional and we have heard that and hope to believe it but is it true?  my guess is there are many conditions on love or we would not have a 50% divorce rate, we would not kill our spouses and children, would we let our elderly be neglected if we loved unconditionally? no I can not as much as I would like believe in unconditional love. 

some of us have learned the hard way that unconditional love that is not returned but used as power for one person over another can be the hardest of all betrayals. 

this is in no way a recommendation, if you find yourself with a long-term terminal illness you will certainly learn what love is and who in your life values your love.  these people are not the ones who toot their  own horn and make a  point of telling anyone who will listen how much they love and how freely they give of themselves.  these are the people who may truly love unconditionally.  when you are throwing up they are holding your hair, bringing you a wet towel, being the laugh or cry you need to have. 

the man who shares my life and love gives of himself in this dependable and free way.  the younger sister, the 2 step-friend (step-daughters) and even their mother has a kind of love that she has shared.  there are friends and friends that feel like family that too is love to be treasured.  the love of grandchildren is like non-other and can not be compared to any other type of love. 

love may not always be unconditional, it is a gift given.  over the years I have asked myself if I am lovable or worthy of love, this is a question I still ask of myself,  knowing what a priceless gift is being given I truly want to  be worthy of such a gift. 

another holiday season has come and is going, my season may be coming to an end.  I have been more tired and pain has been more of a companion than in the past.  I feel like the girl who sings she could have danced all night and still have asked for more.  I will not ask for more but I have certainly danced all night for several days:)  it has been a wonderful time and going home on a cloud of music and love leaves me hoping for more!  if there is to be no more dancing I will dream and treasure the memories of  shared love, laughter and decisions made not to waste another dance on people who drown out the music.  yes ang I mean you!  others will carry on the joy of this dance of life for me and that brings me such pleasure I can only smile at the thought.

until we meet again, may you hear your own music, share it with those who are worthy of your love and define what love is for you.  don’t let anyone else define who you are, who you are not and what love is for you……

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Oprah says “what I know for sure”

September 17, 2011 at 10:18 am (friends, gratitude, hope, living, love) (, , , )

each month at the end of Oprah magazine there is an article entitled “what I know for sure.” I don’t get the mag each month but on occasion I do and always read this last article. it fascinates me that anyone feels they are sure about so many things in life. even now when I would hope for some sudden wave of wisdom to wash over me and give me clarity, I can not say I am any more sure of things than I was before. I have noticed however that even Oprah sometimes contradicts what she has stated earlier to be something she knows for sure. so my guess is we all may think at different times of our life that we know something, then some new experience changes our view.

my relationship with my mother, like so many other’s, is complicated. she has some issues with her heart, she had to have bypass surgery, and a few weeks ago she became quite ill. my sister Mandy called me and said she was taken by ambulance and did not think she was going to make it out. much to my surprise I was upset. if you had asked me before this call if I would feel bad I would have said no. not that I don’t care just that we aren’t that close. much to my surprise I went from being very practical about the steps that would need to be taken to tears. my poor husband didn’t know what to think but he was his usual supportive loving self. I should say he was supportive until I went into unrealistic expectations of myself. my middle sister lives the closest and has not been the most dependable person in our family. she also has a love- hate relationship with our mother. so I started thinking I would have to go to california and take care of things. my mother had also requested that my husband come to settle everything in the event of her death. there was no way I wanted him to take that on and I am not supposed to fly or travel far from home. so here is the shocker and changed what I thought I knew for sure. Mandy went to the hospital every day, she called me with information and updates. she also said she knew that mom wanted Chris or me to take care of things and she would be happy to help in any way she could. I had to take a moment and really grasp how different she was from what I thought based on prior experience. my youngest sister tends to be much more practical and cuts through the bull in a way Mandy never did. here she was though being so much more than I realized she could be. I love my sister but I now have some respect for her. I know when the time comes if I am still here I don’t have to worry. not about this anyway, my sisters are going to handle whatever comes and they don’t need me to do it for them.

something I do know for sure? well that would be that every day and night I feel blessed to have the life I have and can’t complain about it not being as long as I would like. the love of family and friends is a powerful thing to have in your life no matter what you are facing. each email, text, phone call and visit means so much to me. yesterday was my husbands birthday and he received calls from family and friends from all over, we had a small celebration and my step-friend heather, along with some close friends came over for a few hours to celebrate with us. while here one friend’s, one year old daughter took her first steps! what a miracle that was. to be allowed to be a part of that moment was such joy. seeing heather always makes me feel better and thinking about the coming months when we will see other family, our Charleston family, gives me great hope. dr. s did say he thought I would make it through the holidays and that was good news. not to be ungrateful but I think the holidays go through the middle of february at least.

whatever time I have I do know this for sure, I am grateful and just want to live each day to the fullest. to my friend Michelle, I hope you know for sure how much I care and respect you. to my family and friends who have become like family I hope you know how much I love and care about you. please know this for sure I am always with you no matter what!

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nothing new in the truth

June 8, 2011 at 11:28 am (choice, family, feelings and thoughts, friends, gratitude, hope, joy, living, love)

The following is from an email I received in one of those forwards so many of us delete without reading. Since this came from a reliable source (thank you Susanne) I read it. I have seen it before and it just validates for me the way I choose to look at life, and the changes that are happening. The first time I saw this I smiled and thought what a great attitude and I hope I can live this way when things are not going so well. It is easy when you are young and the world is just so bright and old age seems light years away. of course old age is not the only thing that can happen to turn your world upside down. find out you are not going to make it to old age and see if you start assessing life a little differently.

Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged … it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. ‘It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.
Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away.. Just for this time in my life.
Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you’ve put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories!

for me it is a checklist, literally: first did I wake up, okay that’s a good sign. eyes open, better. feet on floor, very good. husband, check. cats, check. take a shower without throwing up or coughing uncontrollably, doesn’t matter, I am up and on my feet. everything else is just by grace and I appreciate it. even tonight when pain is trying to crowd out every thought and feeling. yes even now I am grateful, I am feeling which means I am still here. my mind is as good as it has ever been, not sure what that says about me:) the absolute wonder of it all is the memories I have cannot be touched by even this pain. our Charleston family is visiting this weekend and I am going to rest up so we can make as many memories as possible. each time I am with them or even talk on the phone I am for that time not in pain. oh pain is there and trying to be heard, to push out the joy but I choose not to let it. who knows if that will work in the future. if it doesn’t I will find a way to adjust. I have already made up my mind. this disease will not decide how I love and will not tell me to stop making memories. it has been my privilege to be a part of many happy hours, days and weeks with those I love. as I sit here I can remember the first time my sister, who is 14 yrs younger than me, smiled at me and twisted my heart around her little finger. there are too many to write about here but I have been graced with much joy and love in life.

joy is an important part of our life and we can choose to have it. are you happy? make your list and be aware of what makes you smile inside and out. don’t let the days pass without that smile, it is your choice.

to clarify my last post I want to say it came across a bit whiny and that was not my intention. I worry about the people I love and know this is a bit of a rollercoaster. some days the news could be better and then it will be better. I worry about the toll it takes on others joy. recently a friend confided she felt she shouldn’t complain, she said compared to my problems hers were nothing. this is the kind of issue I want to avoid. my husband has said the same thing, and I understand what they are saying. however, to me it implies I am unable to have compassion for others and it is all about me. the truth is I want to be as supportive to them as they are to me. let’s not compare scar’s. another persons pain is as real as mine and I hope as long as I have a breath I will want to comfort others and be supportive of them. love doesn’t stop, not now and I hope not in my lifetime.

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you look good

June 3, 2011 at 12:27 pm (choice, lookng good, love, reality therapy, truth)

interesting that people almost seem compelled to tell someone they know is ill, how good they look. it does confirm my theory that one reason I am still alive is I don’t look tragic enough to die yet:) yes I am joking and yet not completely. sometimes people say I have good color which I know is supposed to be reassuring, if I were really sick would I have good color? maybe, being native american I do have a natural although light color to my skin. so basically unless I needed a transfusion as I did a few yrs ago I am gonna have some color. the bloating keeps me from looking like, or actually losing weight, along with the drugs I take. although, I can remember people coming into rooms on the oncology ward and telling patients how great they looked. as Cody in the documentary, how to die in Oregon says, people think if you lose weight you look great since that is the standard for looking good in our society, being thin. she actually did look pretty good right up to the end. she was tan and had all her hair. she didn’t look as thin as she probably was due to the bloating. if there is some transformation, which I have heard rumored, where people become almost translucent just before their time, I kind of like that. I have never been a pretty woman so to think that in my last moments I could actually be seen in that way is nice to think. my guess is I will still be just as I am, and it is in the eye of the beholder, as it is in our everyday life. oh well, at least I wasn’t an ugly baby! you know the ones I mean. we’ve all seen them.

tomorrow is ct scan day. I am hoping to go alone. Chris usually wants to go to all appts with me. I need some time to think about this situation and process the possibilities. when he is with me I feel I have to distract him and keep him from thinking about what is happening. in the documentary some families went in for appts together and they had no buffer between them and the stark reality. that just seems so hard to me. I want everyone to stay positive and hopeful, that is so much harder when you hear the words for the first time. when I tell Chris what was said it is after hearing the news and deciding how to say it to him and what to share or not. some things don’t need to be said as far as I am concerned. it all goes back to what is your motive for telling someone the whole truth. if it is just to make yourself feel better, then I want to think twice about that. there are times when I wish I felt it was okay to just give in to the sadness for a little while. not long really, just long enough to acknowledge it is not what I would choose. of course that goes without saying doesn’t it? I guess that is what it comes back to for me, does it need to be said?

in reality therapy the theory is we have a thought that leads to a feeling and we can choose the thought and therefore the feeling that follows. that is simplistic but for my purpose here you get the idea. I am a believer in this theory, we choose to catastrophise a situation or not. so we can either make this a huge deal and feel overwhelmed by the event or we can look at it in context where it becomes more manageable. for me this is just another time of my life. I have had some great times and for the past 20 yrs my life has been amazing. since the day I saw Chris, and we grew into our love for each other, I have been blessed to know what real love is. I was talking to a couple of girlfriends today about love. we all have our own idea of what love is for us. for me I know it is love, over the yrs one thing has never changed, I smile inside and out every time I see him. I look forward to seeing him every time we are apart for even a few hours. not to say we don’t have our moments, of course we do, we are human after all and we have opinions that are not always going to agree. I have a lot of respect for him, he is very kind and loving to all. if you have read previous posts you know that we are friends with Susanne his first wife. sometimes he calls her and I love that about them both. after all these yrs that they can still communicate is a wonderful thing. she had some surgery not long ago and if she had needed him he would have gone to help her. of course the girls took good care of her but the fact he is so caring leaves me proud of him. I know it is going to be to difficult for him when I am gone, there are times that he talks about how much I do that he wouldn’t know how to. when he first told me this I didn’t think it possible since for the past couple of yrs I do very little except rest. most of his concerns are about the things I do for us on the computer and, when we have issues with tenants I step in and let him stay the “nice guy”. when he is confronted with anger or highly emotional people he freezes. I have been through too many events in life to be bullied or frightened by amateurs:)

tomorrow I hope the scan “looks good” that is the only kind of looking good I really care about right now. if not being as beautiful as a starving model worries you, or has a negative impact on your life please read up on reality therapy. how you think really can change how you feel.

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keep believing

May 21, 2011 at 7:22 am (doctors, family, good news, love, optimism)

at times I have wondered if I was being a bit too optimistic and not realistic enough. today I am here to say I have no doubt being optimistic pays off in ways we can not begin to understand.

in november of 2010 my cardiologist told me not to leave town. it is my favorite time of year and we always go to Charleston to see our family and heather comes over too so we get the whole gang. there was no way I was going to miss seeing them and so we went. Chris and I knew the chance we were taking but decided to take that chance. he was willing to not go if I didn’t think we should but he knows me well enough to be packing. obviously I made it without being hospitalized and saw the cardiologist afterward and he was surprised I had not become worse.

today I went to see my primary care dr. he is just one of the good ones. as a man and a physician he is making a difference in lives. so today I say to him I want to go off a medication that has side effects that mimic those of the heart failure. in november my cardiologist said it was too risky. dr. s agreed with me that it was the only way to know for sure and we can increase other meds to cover for this one drug. the drug is one of choice for my condition so I understand any reluctance to tamper with it. however, I am thinking I don’t know if I am worse because of this drug so it makes sense to go off and see.

I am so sure this is going to be the case here that I immediately called Kristen and Heather to tell them the news. they think a lot like me and were so happy for me. if this works, and I believe it will, then I may have up to 2 more yrs to live! so for some of you that doesn’t sound like good news but if you thought the worst was coming any day now, 2 yrs would look very good to you. and who knows what will happen in those 2 yrs. Chris and I were talking about this, we have been told many times over the past 2 yrs that time was running out and if we had believed that each time? we have chosen to believe things will be okay whatever happens and when. 

I was able to see the note the cardiologist wrote in december after I came back from Charleston. it said there was no medical explanation for my condition stabilizing. my primary care dr. disagreed. he said to me he believed it was my attitude that kept me going when others have not. I believe the love I have in my life and for my life has been a major factor.  so I have a couple more calls to make to loved ones who believe in the power of love and positive thinking.

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what will the drs. say?

May 19, 2011 at 10:53 am (choice, doctors, family, feelings and thoughts, friends, gratitude, joy, living, love)

on average I give little thought to upcoming appts and what the drs. will say. this week I see my primary care dr. and next week my cardiologist. as I head in to these appts I do have some things on my mind. I have some decisions to make and want to make sure I ask all the right questions. being an informed patient is so important. it always surprises me how many people go to the dr. and come out not knowing any more than when they went in. admittedly some drs. do not encourage questions, they like to just give out what information they want to give and move on to the next patient. the facts for them are they have 15 minutes scheduled per patient and any more than that means they are working late, and the next patient is either waiting or someone’s time is being cut to make up for the overage. as someone who had 50 minute sessions I learned early on the chances of ending exactly on time were slim to non unless we were ending our sessions completely. under those circumstances people often did not show or just came in to say goodbye. for a short time someone else was helping me by making my appts and she booked me every hour on the hour! I was in the habit of giving myself at least a 1/2 hour in between and often just visited other staff to decompress. my california friend T was in an office close to mine and I could always count on her or her partner in crime DD for a laugh.

back to the appts at hand. for today I am not going to get into what I need to decide as I have not discussed it with my family and respect them too much to have them read about it here. this decision has been hanging over my head so to say for several months and I keep thinking I can’t do this now because of the holidays or birthdays or some other event. the truth is there will not be a good time to talk about this. however, I am trying to break it down into manageable pieces. first get as much information from the drs. find out what they are thinking and why. then I will decide when to sit down with my husband and we will decide about the rest of the family. at times we have not agreed on telling them news. I tend to be no news is not bad news and he wants to tell whatever is currently happening. my thoughts are this could be a long process (wishful thinking?) and I don’t like to put them through the little ups and downs which is just unnecessary stress. frankly I am still having problems with the whole “how are you today” question. most of the time it is followed by the ” you look good” comment. sometimes I think really? I look good? okay well I am having the worst day ever or have 0 energy but if you say I look good then…. but what are people going to say? wow you look good for someone with a heart that could stop any minute. that would be funny, I would like that actually:)

the great thing is I am going into this period with so much built up joy and love that I know, no matter what happens at this point, I have had such a good time I can’t complain! early on I said I would talk about my life, the early years, as I went on through this process. what I have discovered is it is all blah blah blah. let’s just say if you think of every horrible thing that could happen to a child, a young woman, a soldier, the wife of an alcoholic/drug addict, the daughter of an abusive mother you will know about half of what I went through in my pre-life. now I am married to a kind wonderful man who thinks I am his hero, I have a sister who I love and she loves me the way sister’s should, I have 2 step-daughters that are so much more, they are my friends as well. Grandchildren who love me and whom I adore, friends that feel like real friends and so much more. look around you, do you see how much you have or don’t have? I choose to see what I have and anything I don’t have is really of no consequence to me. My husband’s first wife Susanne sent me a birthday card, that my friends says so much.

if you live in america you are blessed by birth in a free nation, if you woke up this morning you have life, opened your eyes? put your feet on the floor? spoke? used indoor plumbing? ate what you wanted? made contact with another warm body? the list goes on and on. tonight and tomorrow as a start, think about each thing you do and imagine your life in another place or time without those blessings. choose to be grateful. I know there are days we want to say this sucks, and yes there are days it is a bit harder to find what you are grateful for but those are the days you need to be even more aware of each small blessing given to you. even the tears we shed are a gift, they are confirmation of our humanity, of loss which means we had or joy which means we have. I have a good life and someday people will say she “had” a good life.

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it’s all a blur

May 15, 2011 at 2:58 pm (choice, family, feelings and thoughts, friends, gratitude, joy, living, love)

much like our wedding day was, the celebration my dear husband planned, was wonderful and went by so quickly I would like an instant replay button! he promised a no fuss celebration, said he would take care of everything and he did. more than one guest commented on what a great job he did.

this is the thing, if you are living in the moment it doesn’t matter what may come tomorrow or a year from now. to anyone who is just waiting for the end that is what you will get, the end. I want all that stuff in-between! I want to live, love and laugh. that is what was on my cake. when we went to the bakery to pick out a cake I was very sure I did not want a “birthday” cake. so Chris thought about it and that is what was written on my amazing lemon cake. everyone was having a wonderful time and I did not think once about whether or not this is the last one. lately I have read some blogs written by people who are just not planning and giving themselves something to look forward to.

if you are reading this and you get nothing more than this, live your life now, that would be enough. it would make this worth the time I have spent to think that one person may say okay let me look at this another way. if you don’t have something or someone in your life to be grateful for then get off your behind and make it happen. you can still have love and you can laugh and you can live today.

although I was not crazy about the idea of a party, tonight I am grateful Chris wanted to do this. we asked for no gifts and for the most part people went along. however there were a couple who didn’t and I appreciated the thoughts. the cards were amazing. people obviously took the time to write something very personal and kind. I am a card person, give me a card anytime over a pricey gift.

let me just get to the BIGGEST surprise of all. my loving family from Charleston surprised me with a visit. when I came into the kitchen and saw them I was completely speechless. they drove from Charleston s.c. to north of Atlanta and have to go back in the morning. the gift of their time and the energy it took …. well let’s just say tears were shed. I share their 2 beautiful children with a number of other grandparents and yet I have never felt less than any of the others. my son-in-law is an incredible young man and I could not have been happier when Kristen married him. they have let me be a part of their lives and here they were on my birthday in our kitchen. heather came up again and I appreciate that more than she knows. someone asked me how many children I have and I wanted to dance with joy telling them how I have been blessed with becoming a member of this family. this is what I mean by living in the moment. yes I felt like dancing with joy and cried with the love and gratitude of where I am in my life.

there were also times I had to leave the room since the pain would become so overpowering I couldn’t breath. the great thing is I could take those moments and return without the awkward pitying glances or looks of concern. see that is their gift to me as well. we don’t need to talk about it. we know. they respect my choices and I am so grateful for that.

my youngest sister sent me flowers that arrived during the party and I knew she was thinking of me. next month she is coming all the way from San Francisco for a week. Kristen, bill and the grandkids are coming the weekend before that. something to look forward to, more time to love, laugh and just live. you may ask what if I continue to get worse? then I will and I won’t regret lost moments. I will have lived each moment and made memories to leave behind.

so if you are the one dying, call a friend, call a loved one and make a plan for the future. live your life now, don’t sit around waiting for what we all know is coming. the minute we are born we are dying just some of us sooner than expected. I wish for you to know the kind of joy where you say it’s all a blur and wish I could have an instant replay:)

one last thought and off to bed. remember that family is who we choose as family not just the family we are born into. I am grateful to the people who have chosen me to be a part of their family and to my sister who has made the choice to keep me as family:)

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