Happy Birthday Eve, Sweet Jessica

28 02 2018

A little less than twenty-eight years ago – tomorrow it will be exactly that – we were given the temporary company of an amazing gift, a gift that would change my life and, I am assured, the lives of many others who met my sweet Jessica.

Although Jessie was only here for just over twenty years, her impact never dims.

She made me strong.

She made me humble.

She made me brave.

She made me crazy.

She made me infinitely kinder.

She made me better.

Jessie had just been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the weeks before I started this blog.  A lot has changed over the course of these four hundred nineteen Wednesdays, things I could not imagine, things I dreaded, things I anticipated, things that surprised and delighted me.

Three things have not changed:

I have kept my promise to myself and showed up here every Wednesday.

I am flattered beyond words that you visit me here.

I am the owner of a much-expanded heart for having had my sweet Jessica.

If you are inclined to celebrate a fabulous, brief, wonder-filled life with me, tomorrow, eat something that will make your tongue blue – that always made Jessie laugh and as she often said, “Laughing is fun!”

Peace.

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Softening the Edges

21 02 2018

Life can be rough, whether it’s pounding you with overwhelmingly large problems, pains, and worries or just pestering you with a million little irritations until you are one raw nerve. When the onslaught feels like it might overtake you, there is magic in the company of a gentle friend.

I have smart friends, clever friends, funny friends, driven friends, and intense friends.  I love them all.

I have one gentle friend.

That fact just dawned on me this afternoon.

One Gentle Friend.

I suppose it makes sense, as I have not often been accused of being anything close to gentle. On the contrary, I have been told by former bosses, ex-husbands, and a few unsuspecting door-to-door sales reps, among others, that I am – ahem – intimidating. Now that I think about it, I am a bit surprised that I have even one gentle friend. 

I believe most of us are in the habit of wearing our game face almost all of the time, whether it be war paint or bright blue eyeshadow or henna or a handlebar moustache. We behave according to how (we think) we want other people see us because (we think) that’s our comfort zone.

How lucky I am to know someone who understood, in spite of what I thought about myself, I needed one gentle friend.

I hope you have lovely friends. Mine are spectacular.  I am grateful to have them. At this moment, though, I am especially grateful for this afternoon’s company of my one gentle friend.

May we all be gifted with more gentleness. It’s not natural for me, but I am going to practice.





What’s Your Goal?

16 08 2017

More than a few times in my life, I have had to find my way back to my path from some pretty deep weeds. The most effective way to do it is to stop and ask myself, “What’s your goal and is what you’re doing moving you closer to it or farther from it?” Sometimes, the answers comes quickly; other times, it takes a bit more effort, but it has always worked when I have answered myself honestly.

“What’s your goal and is what you’re doing moving you closer to it or farther from it?”

This train of thought left the station most recently as a response to the story of the snotty newlyweds who, instead of working to resolve a minor pricing issue with their (otherwise-fine) wedding photographer, elected to “ruin her career.” 

(BTW, here’s how that worked out for them.    http://time.com/4884613/couple-must-pay-wedding-photographer-one-million/)

The horrific events of the last few days have made me want to ask a whole lot of folks,  “What’s your goal?”

I refuse to believe that any sane fellow American’s goal – their true life’s purpose fulfilled goal – would be to hurt other people. 

I know the “answers”  that fit on protest signs or can be shouted while marching in formation would have us fear that; but I believe that (while the actions based on these are more dangerous) these “goals” are no deeper than “I want pizza for dinner.”  These are visceral, shallow reactions to stuff that hasn’t been sufficiently questioned by the very people who would tell you that they have the answers.  We can’t let this be our answer. We must find our way out of the weeds and back to the path of civil society.

What’s your goal?

Peace.

 

 





Grief and Gratitude

9 08 2017

When we lose a loved one, there is an enormous hole left in our hearts – in our lives – that we know will never be repaired.  What we don’t know until it happens in us is that, while the wound  is never healed, it does get filled up with the love and support of our families and friends and even people who were strangers before we were so grievously injured.

Today marks the seventh anniversary of the day we lost our dear daughter Jessica.  The pain of that loss will always be with us, but the kindnesses shown to us every day by all of you helps keep it manageable. It keeps the rest of our lives in perspective.

I have said it before, but it bears repeating, especially today:

When we lost Jessie, we lost the person we loved the most in the world, but we did not lose the only person we loved, so we continue on. We celebrate her joyful (too short) life and we celebrate the life that we continue to live with the help, encouragement, and comfort of our friends.

Love one another.

Be kind, always. 

Don’t miss a thing life has to offer you.

Smile from your heart, like my Jessie did.

Peace.

 

With best cousin ever, Katy Little, when they were both little.

 

Happy. Up to no good. Happy.

March to your own drummer – Be your own drummer!

Ready to roll with Grandma – always.

Not spoiled, just loved!





Hey, Superman!

2 08 2017

I recently read a Facebook post by Adam Joseph, ABC6 ActionNews, Philly, https://www.facebook.com/6abcAdamJoseph/ where, in talking about pushing himself too hard in a training run, he said, “This evening was a reminder that I am not Superman, and I’m human . . .” 

It made me think, which we all know creates some issues, but I do it anyway, sometimes. 

The trouble with the Superman moniker is that, to quote famous fencer Inigo Montoya,

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

I am here to tell you that you, my masterpieces of humanity friends, ARE Superwoman/Superman/Superperson – it’s all the same wonderfulness to me.  

Here are my Top Ten Qualifications of Superperson

10.       You are aware of the beauty around you every day.

9.         You are brave, especially in defense of your friends and family and those who can’t defend themselves.

8.         You are attentive to your health, mental and physical.

7.         You are smart.

6.         You are kind. 

5.         You are optimistic, finding some goodness in even the toughest of situations.

4.         You are faithful to your core beliefs.

3.         You are relentless in your support of your friends.

2.         You are honest, even when the truth is hard.

1.         You never give up on the people who love you, even when we feel like giving up on ourselves.

Not one of these criteria is dependent on the size of your bank account,  the spotlessness (or not) of your house, how many wrinkles you have, who you married (or divorced), your weight, your Alma Mater, or a whole list of other nonsense metrics that we use to browbeat ourselves with. 

It’s simple. You are Super because you live a happy life and you let that joy spill out into the lives of those who know and love you. Your delight in your world is so big that you can’t help sharing it.

That, my dears, is Super.

SuperPeople Sample:
Niece Elizabeth, Husband Ken, Nephew Jake, the Amazing Mad Mildred Mom, Niece Katy, Brother-in-law Eric, Nephew Ben.

 

 

 





A Month of Thanks – Chapter Four

23 11 2016

You know that it’s never wise to tempt Fate; she always rises to the challenge. A Month of Thanks has surely energized her, but the duel’s not done yet,  so here’s my final thanks of Turkey-month 2016.

This week, I am thankful for:

Loss.

Take THAT, Fate!

Fate gets a big middle-finger salute; the rest of you deserve an explanation.

A little more than six years ago, I lost my daughter. She was murdered by Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  It was the worst thing that ever happened to me, because Jessica was the best thing.  No one could have told me how much she would affect me – that she would make me a lot stronger, a little smarter, and immeasurably kinder than I would have been without her brief and sparking twenty years.

Am I saying I am glad I lost her?  Of course not.

Would I change the course of history to have her back? Absolutely.

But, I can’t.

We all face terrible abuse at the hand of Fate. She is capricious and feels no pity for any of us. She does not care about our broken hearts, so railing against her is just a waste of energy. It’s like yelling at the wind. You’ll grow hoarse, but it will blow until it is ready to quit of its own accord.

When the wind stops, that’s the time to assess the situation. What have we lost?  What has been damaged?  What remains?  What has been uncovered?  Was some wonderful something hidden revealed?  Look.

This week, I am thankful that – not in spite of, but because of loss – I understand more deeply and appreciate more fully the wonder,  joy, and love of family and friends.

Thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving.





Apocalypse No!

19 10 2016

I’ll admit it. This presidential election stuff has put me into quite a funk.  To make things (even) worse, two of the smartest people I know, two of the people I love most on this Earth, are on totally opposite sides in this election. 

AAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

How could these two people who mean so much to me be so different?

Well, they aren’t.  I’ve just been focusing on the wrong stuff.

Yes, we are in a crapstorm of a news cycle. Yes, it scares me stupid. Yes, there are enormous divides between folks about issues large and small, real and imagined, existential and inconvenient; but that’s not the whole story. 

Tired of feeling terrified, as the 24-hour news-mongers have so carefully nurtured, I knew I had to do something fast.  What if,  instead of wondering about the difference between these two VIPs in my life, I considered their similarities? Wow, did it make me feel better! 

Here are the Top Ten Happy Similarities between (let’s call them) Sissy and Spousey:

10.  They are kind to animals.

9.   They work hard and pay their fair share of taxes.

8.   They revere and look out for their parents.

7.   They are good neighbors.

6.   They are generous with their time and their money.

5.   They hate to dance.

4.   They are science-believers.

3.   They like David Bowie music.

2.   They are fabulous parents and wonderful spouses.

1.  They love me and they love each other.

In a few weeks, the election will be over and all the animus that the campaigns have created must be neutralized for all our sakes.  There is no denying the differences, but we should not lose grasp on all the things that we share.  We need to stop treating each other like enemy combatants and remember that we are neighbors.  If we were not shouting ugly words at each other before the primaries were concluded, we should be thinking hard about what we’re doing now. 

Life will go on after November 8th. We’ll work and shop and live with the same people we worked and shopped and lived with before.  I am not suggesting that we should not be passionate in our debate and advocacy for our issues; I am saying that, if we burn down the house, it won’t matter if the drapes are blue or red.

I’ll bet you can find ten things in common with someone who’s giving you some election heartburn, too. It will make you feel better. Try.  If you disagree with my position, here are a few things I offer for your consideration: 

chocolate chip cookies

the Beatles

rescued guinea pigs

baseball

the color turquoise

butterflies

over-tipping

Harry Potter

home 

peace.