celebrating life

June 16, 2013 at 5:50 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

if you have been reading my posts you know that we had a party yesterday celebrating life.  it was interesting to me the number of people who prior to and at the party asked what we were celebrating.  many had already asked and been told we were just celebrating life. yet they pressed to know what we were “really” celebrating.

when did we stop or did we ever start celebrating life?   not just an event but our actual gift of life is worthy of celebrating.  yes we celebrate an individual birthday but just taking the time to recognize how amazing this gift is and acknowledging our gratitude.  it is more common to celebrate an event or milestone,  i just hope that those who have a full life expectation are able to appreciate and show that love of life.  don’t wait until it is being taken away from you to say thank you for this gift.  never forget that it can be taken away as easy as it was given.

we had a wonderful time yesterday and there was a very wide range of friends and family.  of course my sister is here from san francisco, heather was there (she is his daughter and my step-friend) and our relationship can be difficult to explain in just a few words.  we have some younger friends, they are late 20’s to early 30’s. then we have people my age and then others who are his age or older.  my good friend paula was there with 2 of her daughter’s, 2 of her grandchildren and her son-in-law.  another couple with 3 children attended. all the kids were so well-behaved, they were able to go out to the pool and 2 of the teenagers kept an eye out along with some adults.  the youngest was ely at just under 2.  he was just running about and having a great time.  everyone fell in love with him.

the time flew and i felt like i wanted to spend more personal time with special people but it wasn’t possible.  one of my friends wanted to be there but couldn’t so i am hoping to see her soon, right michelle?  everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, even the ones who wanted to know what we were “really” celebrating:)

i will confide to you that i had angina pain that became so intense i could barely breathe.  at times like this i sought out my friend julia.  she is my daily inspiration.  with serious health issues of her own she still shows concern for others. she just does what she needs to do and doesn’t make a big deal of it.  when you see this petite woman with her oxygen, which is almost as big as she is, you are not prepared for the no-nonsense woman she is.  she is so kind and caring, she is just a great human being.  my sister keeps me laughing and though i know she has a soft spot it doesn’t slow her down when it comes to me:)  she shows concern without going into that annoying -oh this is so awful.   she knows i hate it and so does she.

by the end of the day i could barely think,  lucky for me, angie and heather jumped in and made a lot of decisions that needed to be made, they put things away and made sure our stuff got back to the house.  all in all it was a great day and honestly if i had dropped dead at the last moment there would be no regret.  my sister and heather were already wearing black, just like the girl scouts, always be prepared.

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ironic

June 4, 2013 at 7:55 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

today we went out to do a couple of easy errands. by the time we got home i felt as though a few moments longer and i would have lost consciousness. as i made my way for a lay down i swear i heard alanis morrisette sing her Ironic Song.

we are having a big party and though we are not telling everyone it is to celebrate my passing the 5 year mark. it has occurred to me that it is not completely unreasonable that i could still not make it. we are optimists though and i say if i die before then well it can just be a wake:) that wouldn’t be so bad. everything already planned, people invited, even my sister will be here. it could actually be very convenient for all concerned.

 

anyway here are the words to her song:

 

It’s a black fly in your Chardonnay

 

It’s a death row pardon two minutes too late

 

It’s like rain on your wedding day

 

It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid

 

It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take

 

Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly

He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids goodbye

He waited his whole damn life to take that flight

And as the plane crashed down he thought “Well isn’t this nice…”

And isn’t it ironic… don’t you think

 

A traffic jam when you’re already late

A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break

It’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife

It’s meeting the man of my dreams
and then meeting his beautiful wife

 

yes life can be ironic and the joke won’t be lost on me.

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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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this too shall pass….

December 20, 2011 at 10:31 pm (family, friends, holidays, hope, Uncategorized) (, , , )

one moment I am asking how much fun can a girl have and get away with it, the next I am getting the answer.  the last few days have been so much fun, seeing friends, getting out and just feeling normal for a while.  last night just before some friends arrived at our house I started feeling the physical toll that can sometimes come on so quickly I get whip-lash.  then they are at the door and life fills the room.  there is no room here for thoughts of anything but sheer joy.  baby g is dancing, tinliz who arrived in a funk seems to be breaking through, hd, or the baby mama, is looking tired but appears to be happy to be here with us in this moment.  k is her usual sweet self and it is easy to put worries aside for this time.  this moment, this memory being made.  every fiber of my being is warning me, how can I listen now?  now I am rushing toward happiness and the kind of love and contentment that feeds the soul.  this has been my hope and my goal all year-long, another holiday with my family.  whether it be one more or … the important thing is it is another year. another opportunity to love and be loved. 

so I have to believe that this will pass, the truth is even if it doesn’t I am happy.  hope lives here, here in my heart.  it is not the same kind of hope experienced a few years ago. it is so different as to be almost unrecognized. much like an old married couple who has loved for so many years they have not stopped to think of how their love for each other has become so much more than it was in the beginning.  my hope has become not that I will live forever but that I will live in the memories and hearts of others for their forever.

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keep making that to-do list

December 16, 2011 at 1:44 am (coping, gratitude, joy) (, , , )

4 a.m. is a great time to work on the to-do list.  by this time any hold out for sleep has passed, time to organize the cd’s or all those pesky plastic storage containers that disappear with the socks in the wash.  if that is too much then it is on to the list.  the mind boggles at the idea of some who seldom make such a list.  it has been my habit for many years and has served me well in general.  at the beginning of this journey one way to cope and put things in to perspective was to revert to the list.  to my joy this has turned in to a multiple list job.  vikto frankyl recommends we find the joy/purpose in our life and we will be able to face even the most devastating circumstances.  if it was good enough for this holocaust survivor it seemed good enough for me.  as the list has diminished some concern/thoughts turned to a quote stating that is when you know you are done with life. if there is nothing else you want to do (and I am hoping they mean the small things like waking up) then there is a void and death sneaks in to fill it. 

it may be purposeful indeed how some items on my list are still outstanding.  now after a conversation with my man it occurs to me how I can do something that will bring him joy in years to come.  he often says he is not of this era and feels he has been left behind by technology. it would seem geekdom in our family belongs to me.  as de-cluttering continues at a snail’s pace, it is apparent the old vhs tapes are not going to be donated and will not be enjoyed in the future unless they are converted to dvd’s.  this it seems has made me almost giddy, do you know how long it is going to take to complete this task?  I am not the kind of person who walks away from a job not finished and it is such a gift to add this to my dwindling list.

after christmas, sharing information regarding what a caregiver can expect from a terminal loved one is on the list.  fascinating that a m.d. would think himself qualified to write this. it is almost laughable, it begins pretty strong and quickly goes downhill.  this is not a person who has suffered personal loss.  projecting some months to the new project and then there are always holidays, birthdays and …. well the list does go on.  one more thing to be grateful for, think I will put it on my list:)

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road trip and the beginning of a new adventure

November 22, 2011 at 8:27 am (gratitude, holidays, hope) (, , )

tomorrow we leave for our annual trip to Charleston! it is hard for me to reconcile what the drs. say and how I am feeling at this moment.  we were at Costco and gathering some treats to take to Charleston for the grandkids and of course some grown up treats as well.  Chris remarked about it being another year and asked me how it felt. how does it feel to be living through another holiday season? it feels fantastic and I am so grateful to the universe for this gift. 

saturday the conversation was much more serious and trying not to show my hand, while still warning Chris of what was coming, very quietly I said “we need to do our shopping today.” I did go on to tell him I felt a crash coming on and told him not to worry it was not going to interfere with our trip.  truth be told I had no idea how bad it was going to be but I could definitely feel it coming on hard.  once we were home I was out and barely remember sunday at all.  none of that matters tonight as we pack for our trip.  last year at this time I was entering end stage and knew it instinctively.  funny term end stage, last act of the play, lights turned up and everyone can go home now.  enjoyed the show, yes I have enjoyed the show.  I wouldn’t have missed a minute of it, if you miss one moment it forever changes the next moment.  it is good to be in this place right here and right now.

my hope is that times like saturday and sunday are easier for my love due to the soft way I whisper it in his ear.  “don’t worry it will only be for a day or two at most,” ” we are going to be fine and we are going to Charleston.  Charleston is the time at the end of the Georgia/southern heat when we can travel the 6 hours to spend a few days with our family.  the Atlanta daughter will be there and the Charleston daughter, son-in-law and 2 grandchildren.  we will be fortunate to visit with the much-loved daughter’s mother and the son-in-laws mother.  Susanne (wife #1) has been generous of spirit and shared her lovely daughters with me.  she is a wonderful mother so I am not quite sure at times how I fit here but we make it fit.  we have gone beyond the fathers wife but never really the step-mother.  no matter what the label I am in love with them all and can’t wait to see them again.  the sounds, the smells, the activities, son-in-law frying the turkey, all those things I have looked forward to and here they are.  if I don’t live another day when it is over doesn’t really matter, I am here now and that is all that matters.  now.

for families who have lost a loved one my heart goes out to them. for those who have lost the heart of a loved one and been left with the shell my heart goes out to you.  please give yourself something this year, take a bit of time for yourself, just you and whatever makes your heart sing.  no one can judge you harsher than you judge your self, so please take time to live as if you appreciate your life.  dance, sing, or cry, whatever you need for your soul, just do it.

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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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