the irony of Being Mortal

April 12, 2015 at 4:21 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

there are so many things i want to say.  the most difficult thought for me to impart is the physical pain and exhaustion i feel every day.  most days i sleep until the afternoon, or the early evening.  when i get up to use the bathroom, often with the hope i can get my day going, it takes so long i worry about making it in time.  that is a shameful thing to share here with you but how can you understand if i am not honest here.  there is pain throughout my body constantly now.  i can feel each and every fiber of my body, with the exception of the times that i have the numbness from neuropathy.  often i stagger and find it hard to prevent myself falling.

i was naive to think i could keep doing this blog at a normal pace when i am progressing with my heart failure. of course there is also the (non-alcohol) related cirrhosis of the liver. there is a long list of other complications that i find too tedious to list.  when i am awake but unable to actually get out of bed or out of the recliner i think of things that i want to make sure i say.  i often look at my laptop sitting a couple of feet away and am over-whelmed with the idea of actually picking it up. then there is the part of putting together comprehensive thoughts.

a couple of months ago we watched a documentary about a doctor who wrote  a book entitled Being Mortal.  he wanted to understand how to have better conversations with patients who were terminal and had reached the point where modern medicine could no longer enhance their life.  his own father was diagnosed with cancer and they found it difficult to have a conversation about what was about to happen.  the ironic thing was he said “what i found missing in every book was the voice of the patient.” yet here he was writing about the subject of dying and again there was not one patient voice. it was other drs explaining how they were handling talking to patients about palliative care rather than further treatment.

as time goes by i have more understanding. patients are just too damn tired and don’t want to use valuable energy to teach healthy people how to treat them.  for the second time in just a few months i have heard friends relay to me that they have not seen someone who they are friends with, and the person is terminally ill, as retreating.  i say to them is that person retreating or are you just not taking the time to go see them?

visiting someone who is terminally or even chronically ill can be frustrating.  sometimes in our optimism we say yes to  a plan one day but the day of the event we are unable to function.  does that mean we don’t want to engage? HELL NO! it means you are going to have to be understanding. it means you are going to have to be creative. it means if you are really my friend get your behind in your car and come to me.  it means you may be sitting in bed next to me or in the double recliner with me and yes you may have to make an effort to carry the conversation, you may have to bring pictures to share or read to me.  it wouldn’t matter to me if you just spent 10 minutes just sitting with me.  of course i don’t say this just for myself, there are so many others out there who are spending their last days alone.  i am blessed to have love around me, even saying that i must be frank and say he needs a break sometimes.  every time there is any opportunity for him to get out and socialize i encourage him.  what holds him back is that i will be alone and then what?

oh i will have my amazing, beautiful in spirit as well as on the outside, sister here in a few more months.  she will also need to go her own way in order to fully life her life.  i have some other ideas on the back burner though so no worries here.

just remember that your time will come and ask yourself what would you like from your family and friends?  now do exactly that for someone you know who is suffering from any type of illness and make their last days their best days possible.  when you give kindness it comes back to you.

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when the dream ends

April 2, 2015 at 7:11 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

the dream ended and i became aware that i was no longer in a deep sleep. my eyes aren’t open yet. my arm feels like it is swollen and i can’t move it. my fingers, my hand and part of my arm are all paralyzed. i can remember just a few short years ago my eyes would have been open and i would have been making my way to the shower. that was then and this now. strange but my limbs don’t seem to want to move. these days i can only lay comfortably on my left side. guess it has something to do with my heart and the ICD. it has been years since i was able to lay on my back. while in the army i had an incident where i sustained a spinal injury along with some broken bones. this left me with a limited number of positions. there are times when out of frustration i sleep in the chair. this is not my favorite thing to do as we miss each other. at times he will come out and sit next to me. he never complains about this disruption. even though my eyes are closed i can see where everything is. i know the pictures on my side of the wall. four of them were taken in one of those photo booths about 20 years ago. just a few weeks ago, while at the movie, we saw a photo booth and decided to go for it. odd to look at the younger couple so many years ago and the people we have become. as i lay in the bed i said in my head, i am dying i am going to die i am going to die and it doesn’t upset me how does someone live with this? how do you go on with your life for today? how can you be so calm in the face of this very real fact? you do it the way every human that walks this earth. we are all dying aren’t we? some of us have conditions that make ours a bit more imminent. anyone could decide that it is too scary, some actually do and don’t live their life to the fullest. there are times i think, especially lately that we just can’t make any more trips. we are going to the ocean here at the southern georgia. we will be staying at the St. Simon island, we have stayed near there but not at this particular island. we are choosing 2 queen size beds instead of a king because even after all these years we want to be able to reach over and touch the other person, to say i love you and to sometimes hold hands. this is also a fact. unless of course i die before we go, and that would not be cool. of course! this thing is going to happen sooner than later so i will in fact die before, during or after one of our trips. at least, i am hoping that it will not be during. that would be a real inconvenience! ah life can change so quickly. we have decided, based on the last few days, that i would have a difficult time and that would make it less enjoyable for him. of course i am disappointed we are not going to be able to go to charleston this easter. this was supposed to be sort of a consolation prize:) now i have weeks where i can’t get out of bed, the last couple of days i am unsteady. this means i can’t stand on my own, i try and this leads to falling. sometimes it is like a game where i just sort of bounce off walls, furniture or him if he is standing close by. it was probably not a great idea to be out earlier. of course i just wanted to get out on my own and thought since i was just close by it would be ok. while in the store i used a cart, thought that would do it but i had to go in the fitting room where i could sit and sort of lay back (take a little nap) then went to the parking lot to wait for the call letting me know the weekly thursday early dinner was going to be close by. it was wonderful to see everyone and meet the new boyfriend of one of the ladies. at the end of the meal, we all left and i got in the car. i was so tired i couldn’t pull it together and drive. again i sat and closed my eyes for a short time. my sweet man was waiting and wondering where i was. i need to add a note to my living will that is in the car. there need to be directions for him to follow. there need to be phone numbers, he won’t have any and doesn’t know how to use my phone that has everyone’s number. these are the things you think about when you are dying. it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea for anyone to think about. of course we don’t like to think about such things happen to us. we are home and all i want to do is close my eyes and listen to the world that wraps me in its arms. yes i am dying but first i just really want to write that note:)

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four leaf clover

March 22, 2015 at 1:57 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

on the cover of a st. patrick’s day card from a friend-

you’re like a four leaf clover

on the inside-

rare

lucky

kind of a freak of nature

 

i can relate to the lucky and maybe the freak of nature. rare?……… not so much.

to have this life is proof of the lucky.  to have the love of this amazing man, to have this family, to have these friends, there are times it brings tears of joy to my eyes.  do you ever just lay in the bed at night just before you go to sleep and think,  think about how completely awe inspiring life itself is?

when i met him my life was barren, desolate, just plain sad.  a widow of a year and a half, facing my 38th birthday without joy or hope for a better life when he comes walking down the street with a bounce in his step and what can only be described as a jaunty style, he simply glowed in my eyes.

i fell in love that day and have remained so some 23 years later.  that is more than i ever would have hoped for,  everything changed for the better from that moment on. lucky? yes i am, there is something deeper than that though. something so beautiful, spiritual and life altering that i am afraid to question it.  the question i have asked many nights? do i deserve this life?

my belief is we all have a path, a journey, or destiny that is unique to us.  we have choice in the direction or path along the way.  when i first laid eyes on him i had the choice to move forward with this new path presented or to continue on the path i was walking at the time.

to say that i am lucky is an understatement.  he loves me in spite of my being a freak of nature.  every night i think about how lucky i am, how my life journey may end when i close my eyes.  how i am just grateful for the time i have had with him.  he has suggested the possibility of his  going first is just as possible.  this is something i can’t let myself think about.  to live without him seems just wrong on so many levels.  when i explain this to him, he points out that i expect him to bear that burden.

what he doesn’t know is that i am doing everything i can to make sure he has the support system he needs to make it through the event and keep moving forward.  he is loved and cared for by many.  as the time moves closer i try to picture what this path will look like for him.

it is late and my body is ready for the sleep that will restore me and prepare me for the brunch with my lovely step-daughter heather.  i will be meeting my step grandcat tomorrow.  i am lucky to be walking down this path. i am grateful to be walking down this path.  whether i live another day or another week, month or year i am grateful for every moment i have been given.

no, i am not rare, yes i am lucky and a freak of nature.

 

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leaning in to love

March 15, 2015 at 10:42 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

it’s sunday and i have been up for 8 1/2 hours. that is a record for this week.  every day has been much like moving through quick sand.  the angina pain has been relentless once again.  even the nitro has not kept it at bay.

almost every day i have made plans thinking i would rise to the occasion.  it has not turned out to be true.  having to send a text canceling or letting him make the call and the apologies.  each day thinking this day would be different, today i will rise and have the strength to be the companion my love deserves.

my love is so tender when he climbs in to bed next to me.  his hand reaches over and lightly rubs my back.  i love his hands. he says they are gnarly with age but that is not what i see.  i see the hands that held mine in good times and bad for 23 years.  i see the hands that took mine and promised to love and honor me, the hands of the man who has kept that promise.

over the years he has adorned my hands with lovely jewels.  there is none more treasured than the ring given to me on our wedding day.  all i have to do is look at that hand with the ring and remember the love we share regardless of how many hours i am awake.  his love has never wavered, i think i can relax and lean into him much the way i have leaned in to the pain that makes great effort to hold me.  there is no greater comfort, no drug eases the pain in the way holding his hand can.

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the one question and Being Mortal

March 10, 2015 at 6:38 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

there is one question that many of us would like to ask, however, there is no one who can answer this question for us. actually there are some people who swear they have the answer.  while working as a nurse i heard what some thought was the answer.

we think we know what happens at the time of our birth. do we? i think maybe we do and maybe we don’t.  certainly our life begins, the clock starts ticking and moving toward the end of our life.  i am going to say now something i have never uttered to another human being. this is more difficult than you may think. once the words are spoken, or should i say written?, there is no turning back.  i remember waiting to be born.  of course it lost clarity the minute i was actually born.

sounds a bit nutter doesn’t it? well, that is one of the big secrets i have carried around my entire life.  from an early age i knew this was not something to say out loud.  there have been people that swear to near death experiences.  they tell of looking down on their bodies. some say they were visited by family and friends who have gone before them.  most are skeptical i would say.  some want to believe as it answers their own questions about death and what will happen to them.

as a whole i believe many are more worried about that moment than those who have no worries.  for my own death i have no such questions. i just hope that at the moment of death i will have the bravery to face death as i have life.

i have held the hand many times of those who beg for more time, those who simply slip away, and of course the ones who rage and blame their god for their suffering.

some of us understand that life is suffering.  life is also a beautiful and mysterious journey that we walk with others until it is time to walk alone.

it is 7:20 in the morning. i have been alone for many hours now. these are times for reflections.  these are the hours that i hope for a good day.  that i send out love and courage for those who need it and for those who don’t know they need it.  i wrap my arms around you and hold you close.  you are not alone, i will never abandon you until that moment when i have no choice.

it is comforting to know that though i will not be remembered widely, i will be remembered deeply.  what a beautiful thought.  life is beautiful. the moment of our birth is beautiful and i believe so is the moment of our death. for me that is the answer to the one big question we hold on to tightly.  some of us dare not say the words, or write them for fear that others may  not understand or accuse us of wasting our time wondering about something we only truly have answered at the time of our death.

the question? what happens when we die? though i do not rush to death’s door in search of this answer, i do not think of slowing it down. i don’t think of my loss as some have assumed. i do hope i leave enough love and good memories behind to make my passing easier on those i love.  you will have questions regarding your own mortality in those moments.  it is ok to say it out loud, those who love you will understand, and the rest of them can go to the own little hell they have created for themselves.

may you be held in the arms of those you love when you leave this world.  in that sense dying is a bit like being born isn’t it?

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just another night here in georgia

March 1, 2015 at 5:13 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

even though i had only slept 2 hours i was up and thinking we could get out a little.  i recognize the signs of cabin fever and want to get him out and about for a few hours.

our first stop is the Cracker Barrell where some of our friends work. big  advantage to have friends in the right places, it  can be getting seated before the 36 people on the bus that arrived just before us.  then we get to see and chat with our friends. it makes breakfast more enjoyable, catching up on the latest.  i can feel the heaviness coming over me.  my body feels slow and it takes an effort to pick up my fork.  i smile and laugh , listen to the stories, watch him smile and bask in the friendship of these ladies that treat him/us very special.  rita comes and sits for a minute, julia our server who told us to come on in and sit at her table even though others were waiting, comes and laughs and shares what is new with her. another friend comes and gives us a hug and asks about our weekend plans, we ask about hers. in the mean time i realize i can’t swallow and so i don’t finish my food.  my ability to swallow has been compromised.  there are times when even fluid can’t be swallowed.  in the past i had tumors blocking my esophagus.  i am not willing to go through more testing and surgeries if this is the issue returned.

on we go to look at new hondas.  he has been talking about them lately but i see a shift now that he is dealing with the reality.  we went to barnes and noble, i was reading yoga magazines and he was checking out consumer reports new car reports.  we went over the cost and how they rate.  several cars were ruled out just because i am not about to pay that much for a new car.  a couple of the hondas fell with what i consider our range.  i then went on to point out how we have had family expenses of 1500,00, travel expensive of 2000 or so and another 1000 for rental expenses.  of course there have been other expenses in addition to these and i don’t want to add another car payment to this total.  he put away the magazine and hopefully is ready to let it go for a while.  the craziness of this is he wants a new car for me! i do not want a new car! i love my car, it is older than we have had up until now. in the past we have traded every 2 years. now that i am retired it just does not make sense.  he will be ok and move on i just have to keep reminding him that i don’t want a new car and he will be ok.

while looking i moved to that phase with my eyes just wanting to close. my knees feel weak. we cut it short and get in our car.  now we are on our way to our favorite book stores, my eyes are barely open, my body melts into the car seat.  we are there and i make every effort to get out of the car and keep the smile on my face.  i head back to the bathroom since i have now moved to the nauseous part of our program.  i manage to make my way to the seating area and am relieved to find seats.  i browse the mag he has brought for me to look at and then i choose a psychologies mag.  he realized how tired i am so offers a bite from starbucks, he gets coffee and i get tea.  we move on to the car.  he gets us back home and in to bed.  i sleep from 5 until 1:30 am.  i stumble awake and know i must eat and take care of a few personal items. it is now 5 am and i am about to head back.  i hope  i do not sleep more than 8 or 9 hours.  we will take it as it comes. the way we always do.

i have a hair appt on tuesday and plans for nails with a friend, rita.  it would be so wonderful if i can do these.  it is the little things that mean so much when you are in my position.  it means so much to know that you still have friends who are flexible and care enough to be there for you whatever that means.  another reason who i miss my friend paula so much.

to my friends here i can only say i hope you know how much your friendship means to me.  to my lovely family who loves and support me through the good times and the bad i love you more than you could know.  to those friends here who have stuck by me and show up when most needed, i thank you and love you.

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we all get sad sometimes

February 27, 2015 at 2:15 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

most of the feedback i receive is so uplifting, supportive and means more to me than you can know.  there are times that i hesitate to voice when i am feeling sad.  to be clear, and this sounds odd even to me, i am rarely sad for myself.  of course when we have had family and friends pass on i feel sadness as most do for my loss. usually i find myself very quickly looking for the silver lining. there have been deep losses over my life time when it was difficult to let the sadness go.  the memory of those losses can creep up on me, and i allow myself to feel it in that deepest part of my heart the weight of the pain.

this has been a short month in days but not in pain.  of course there is always the physical pain. the injuries i sustained while in the army are with me daily. angina pain holds me in its grip and feels like it will stay forever. of course it helps to remind myself that physical pain will rise and fall so i just have to relax and let it flow out as it flowed in. my new device placement has caused discomfort. the doctor tried to move it over a bit and had to do some pushing that left my insides very tender.  some times it feels as though there may have been an internal stitch that pulls.  that has mostly passed but this darn thing will never be comfortable where it is. well it may be but i’m not:)

the psychic pain has been a bit more to carry than usual.  the bridge group he plays with on thursdays consists almost completely of women.  over time i have gotten to know some of these women and to even care deeply for them.  we try to get together for dinner after they play bridge and i so enjoy this time.  there have been days i wouldn’t have gotten out of bed much less out of the house if not for my anticipation of the good time and good company.  one woman brings her husband so chris is not the only guy, though i don’t think either of them would care if it is that way from time to time.  when we were returning from our trip his phone started working and i noticed he had a message.  we stopped to eat and he checked.  it was one of our friends telling us that another woman had passed.  she had been admitted to home hospice on wednesday and had passed on friday.  she was in her 90’s and believe me she had made the most of that time! she was a real character and had adventures few people would have expected from this petite, one armed, woman.

alice was not someone i had met in person but still cared for very much. she and her husband had a lot in common with the two of us.  we exchanged comments here, emails and a couple of phone calls.  again while we were away, another loss.  she passed on the sunday after our return.  my phone had stopped working on wednesday or even before maybe. there was bad weather all around us and we were in the mountains of west virginia so it was to be expected. we returned on saturday and attended our friends memorial the next day.  i have a picture of alice and for a few days i had been drawn to go back to that picture more than once. i thought i would call even if she couldn’t talk, i could talk to her husband. it was my plan to …… when we got home sunday i went for a nap and didn’t wake up until monday night.  this happens with heart failure, the exhaustion just takes over and there is nothing i can do about it.  for days i barely moved, my body was recovering from the drive home. i am ashamed to say that a week passed without me calling, something held me back. then i received an email letting me know that alice had passed. he had sent a text but it had not come through. how amazing he is to have gone through this loss and care enough to send a second message to me.  they have a beautiful story, it is not my story to tell but i will love them till i am gone.  i admire and respect him so.  he has given me food for thought and great advice. i hope we will truly remain friends until i am gone.

as hard as the loss from death can be i am going to share another kind of loss with you tonight that weighs on my heart.  all my life i have only wanted to be a good human being. everything else comes from that as i have said before.  part of being a good person, i thought, meant that when someone is your friend they don’t just drop you without a word.  over my years i have learned that is not so true.  we all do it, we outgrow the relationship for whatever reason, no harm no foul. except this time it feels like harm, it feels sad and confusing.  of course i know that life goes on and she wasn’t my only friend. somehow this feels different though. i was a friend to her when her own family didn’t want to be around her.  i tried to uplift her and be supportive. there were times when she needed financial help and i was there. whatever she needed i was there.  i always told her i didn’t expect anything in return and each time she told me how she would always be here for me and how she loved me like a sister.  well no one can step in to the shoes of my sister but i took her to be sincere.  maybe what makes this different?? a few months ago she “reconnected” with some friends she knew in school.  since that time things have been strained.  what seems funny to me now is people around me would ask about our friendship, we are very different people in many ways, and i would defend my loyalty to her.  the loss of a friend is just another death. that would bring the total to three in this short month.

i am sad for al and joe, they will miss alice (wife and mother), with all their heart.  i am sad for bronia’s family, they had her for a long long time, they lost their mother and grandmother. the loss of a parent no matter your age is a heartbreaking event. when i started writing this tonight i was sad for the loss of my friend, she will be missed.  i am happy for her and the new life she is making for herself.  i don’t fit in her world any more. maybe i never did and we just didn’t know it? tomorrow is her birthday and i wish her well and toast to her new life.  sometimes a new beginning, without old reminders of who we were before, is what we need.

i was given a new life and fresh start about 23 years ago.  it has been an amazing time full of love and life well lived.  sometimes we all feel a little sad, thanks to you i am feeling it less and less.

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angina pain

February 21, 2015 at 2:17 am (angina, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

for the past 3 days i have been suffering with angina attacks.  it has been relentless with only short breaks of relief. angina feels like having a heart attack.  the pain is unmistakable if you know what it is.  one feature of the defibrillator i like is when i have this pain i know it isn’t a heart attack since the defib doesn’t go off.  i have tried all the relaxation exercises i know and try meditation.  at least they help me lean in to the pain and accept it rather than rail against it.  when you lean in to the pain it feels very different.  it’s like taking a warm shower rather than a cold one.

the new battery doesn’t make my heart failure healed, it helps it keep beating.  the beating is joy to me, i often stop and just listen to the beating.  it’s a beautiful sound.  i hope to keep hearing it for quite some time to come.

this is just a diagram to show you where you can expect to have this pain.  if you do please get checked immediately!!

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dancing cheek to cheek

February 20, 2015 at 1:43 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

we are staying at a historical hotel in the hills of west virginia. the first word that came to my mind as we drove through the gates was opulent. of course that was followed by gasps of joy and a few tears at the sheer beauty, not just the beauty before me but the beauty of my life since meeting him.  some were skeptical when we first met nearly 23 years ago yet here i am with him now and even more in love and in awe of the life we have built together.

IMG_0407The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the new battery in the device implanted in my chest to keep this heart beating must be working overtime! just a few short weeks ago i had been told that my battery was at the end of its 3 month warning to be replaced.  at that time i seemed to forget the decision once made not to have it replaced. my only thought was “do it.”  as i lay in the hospital bed i couldn’t help but ask if i had been hasty.  we usually talked about such big decisions, i had sent him home not wanting him to be overwhelmed by all the medical jargon that was going to be flying in the next few hours.

now sitting in the car, looking at this incredible hotel that would be our love nest for the next few days, i have no regrets. the scar still healing is tender, not more tender than my feelings for him. nothing is ever more tender than that.  Men in smart-looking uniforms rush to open our car doors.    immediately i am taking pictures. one is of standing by the lion statue, the man in uniform asks if we would like to have our picture taken together.  i hate to see images of myself, but he answers with a firm yes and there i am with him by the lion..  we are told rubbing the lions nose will bring us good luck. what he doesn’t know is, i have already  been blessed with abundant luck.

you can tell by the shine on his nose that many have come before us looking for good luck!IMG_0417

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

arriving on monday we went to our room and napped a bit. then on to have some dinner and explore.  there are 6 restaurants in this sprawling resort.  there is also an ice skating rink (we did not go skating), bowling alley, and casino.  we had “afternoon tea” accompanied by live piano music.  he asked for our song, of course he is so tender-hearted that tears start to flow with the first notes.  i love him all the more for this soft side of him.

tuesday i was down for the day. he went out alone a couple of times but kept coming back to check on me.  once he lay with me and took a nap.  we had room service that day.  it seemed a waste of time and money to be there but he just re-assured me that tomorrow would be a better day. wednesday we explored the small town of lexinburg, most of the shops were closed for the winter. lunch was at a very hip little diner that served only organic food.  they even listed where they got everything and it was all local.  thursday it snowed most of the day.  my love went down for tea on his own this day and again i seemed stuck in the bed.  again we had room service. the night before we had dinned in the main dining room.  it was so marvelous! the food was like a work of art.  i decided to stick with appetizers since the meals were just huge, it worked out great.  amazingly we had piano entertainment.  while i was in the restroom apparently he had made his requests for certain songs.

as i was walking back to the table i saw him across the room . he was walking toward me and i thought “how sweet he is going to walk me back to the table.  suddenly i here the music and she is playing Dancing Cheek to Cheek. he takes my hand and suddenly we are dancing, there is no one else in the room, or is there? in that moment there is no else in the room. there is only the two of us. he fold me into his arms and i feel like nothing can take me away from him. death cannot separate us.

there is a song I hope you dance and i would wish that for the whole world. wouldn’t we all be a little happier if we danced? i could only dance for a minute, no matter, it felt like a lifetime there in his arms.  this battery won’t make me well.  we know that. what we hope for is a little more time.  however long or short that may be we are so grateful.  i don’t know how many of these trips i have in me.  on the way home we recalled all our favorite moments at the Greenbrier.  we also discussed and agreed that long trips were no longer an option. time will tell what the future holds for us. i am excited about what the possibilities are.

 

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angel of friendship

January 30, 2015 at 8:29 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

for years i have made it a goal to do “random acts of kindness.”  it has brought me great joy and a sense of connection. today it brought me the “angel of kindness.”  my experience is or has been that when you put out good, you get back good. of course we all go through some difficult times and that is only natural.

today my sweet man went to pick up a few items from the pharmacy and grocery store, he also stopped at the cleaners.  i was pleasantly surprised to see that a sweater i had dropped off last march had been found and returned.  the woman who works at  the cleaners also sent a gift.  there were a couple of small items along with a willows angel holding a puppy. on the box it was titled “the angel of friendship.” i have met in person, and here online, so many kind and generous people.

when listening to the news at night it is easy to believe the world is a scary place with people who just rob and create mayhem. most of my life i have had to be able to close the door on one part of my day, even my life, in order to have peace.  while in the army whatever happened while on duty had to be left behind when i made it home.  those at home deserved my full attention and focus.  as a therapist i often found myself in the same situation.  whatever sad or horrible stories heard while working needed to be left behind in order to again be fully engaged at home.  there were times i would watch the kids next door to remind me that there were ordinary families that loved each other and they had ordinary lives.

as a kid, at times when my grandmother and i were in california with my mom and dad, i would walk to what i considered average neighborhoods.  the point of these walks being to stand on the sidewalk and observe these moments of unguarded family time.  i would see parents being loving to their children and usually the family sitting down to dinner.  it reminded me that soon i would go back to my real home where there was no screaming, arguing and hitting.  there were moments i wanted to cry for the tenderness i witnessed.  i always knew my grandmother loved me but i have to admit that she was not the warm fuzzy kind of woman.  she had a hard life and her mother had passed away when she was quite young.

for all the kindness that i have been freely given in my life i am, with all my heart, grateful.  it is almost painful for me to know such depths of friendship and kindness.  it is the kind of thing that will bring tears to my eyes when little else will.  my tolerance for pain is much higher than my ability to receive from others.  thank you for these gifts of love.  for much of my life there was an absence of such love, however, it has been abundant in the most important years of my life.

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