When grief answers first, it isn’t pretty. And, sometimes, it’s raucous and self-involved. At least that’s my experience with it. Maybe I am more messy than most – though I suspect not. I suspect that what I am giving voice to here will not seem strange – or sacrilegious to the preciousness of life – if you have spent intimate time with grief.
Singular grief sucks. Multiple grief sucks. Overlapping grief sucks. I’ve done them all. When that gut-punch, double over, drop-to-your-knees moment hits, it is hard to imagine that there is anything beyond the pain.
When I found out I had breast cancer – just months after Ray took his last breath – grief spoke first. “Well, here’s your ticket out of all this pain. Your work here is done. It’s been a good run.”
When losing someone or something you love becomes a reality, it throws off the order. Ray’s run with a cancer that ended in death turned my days – and my morning prayer time – upside down. The pain felt in his absence left me with a desire for connection at any cost. Even if it meant I spoke to Ray first – and God second. Something I never did while he was alive.
My healing hierarchy fell out of balance while cancer cells feasted on estrogen without supervision – or should I say without “super vision.” When the small lump grew and ate away breast mass, I witnessed what the physical demonstration of grief must look like in a part of my body designed to nurture life as well as receive pleasure. Read more
I’m told I have breast cancer – invasive lobular carcinoma. Stage 2.
The initial test results came through 7 days before the Celebration of Life I had planned for Ray – my husband for 37 years – who died on the fast track of a cancer found too late.
I chose to put the news of my party crasher quietly on the backburner and go on with my plans to celebrate the LIFE I shared with this man.
Maybe I am just too raw, with this overlapping Ray’s passing, but I’m not accepting the invitation to play war here. I’m not fighting cancer – again. I am LIVING while I navigate this next chapter in my LIFE as I learn to live it without his presence.
What you say? Isn’t the battle with cancer about fighting for your life?
No. Not when you STOP LIFE to fight it.
Anyone who’s gone through this knows what I am talking about. A lot of stuff goes through your head when faced with your mortality – or that of one you love. You say “Yes” where you might normally say, “Stop” or “Wait” or “No, let me try another way.” Read more
I have no clever first-line hook for this post. And it won’t be neat and tidy with a beginning, middle and end. If you’ve spent any time here at all, you know I am not shy about sharing when life gets messy – though never for drama’s sake. God knows we all have our tribulations and don’t need another magnifier in the world.
A wise woman recently said it perfectly. If I am going to share the heavy stuff with you, it will be to build your muscle – not sink you.
When I posted about the only New Year’s resolution you’ll ever need back in January, I had no idea the hurricane that was mounting at sea or that there would be no stopping it when it hit shore. I also didn’t know how challenged I would be to catch my breath, let alone post anything in the messy room.
I figured, when I could show back up here, I’d post about my beloved’s battle with a cancer found too late (that had metastasized throughout his body) and all the stuff you witness to in that agonizing race to buy time – at least enough time to digest the news.
But then he died. Just 50 days after diagnosis.
So, I figured I’d make my way back here and blog about death and grief and how precious life is and the things we say “Yes” and “No” to and all the silly stuff that captures our attention while the really important stuff gets lost in the hooplahah.
But now I find myself in a most bizarre overlap.
The cancer train has not yet left the station. It seems that I have breast cancer. That the lump they told me was benign in January, before the hurricane hit shore, is not benign now. It has grown and gotten greedy and is invasively feeding off healthy breast tissue. Another intimate life-long partner, challenged. Read more
It’s that time again, and I am offering you the only New Year’s resolution you will ever need to make.
Live your life like you mean it.
Yep. That’s it. Resolve to live your life like you really mean it.
Don’t wait to mean it when you fall in love. When you’re out of school. When you have money. When the kids are grown. When your hand is forced by age, or disease, or death. Don’t wait to live your life like you mean it when challenged with some outside circumstance that suddenly opens your eyes. (Like we usually do.) And certainly don’t live your life like you mean it because I told you to.
YOU are the meaning-maker in your life so live your life like you mean it – the way you mean to live it.
Make eye contact every morning with that you looking back in that mirror and mean it, even if just for a moment. Make eye contact with everyone you meet, every day, and mean it. Not as a series of foreheads and noses and lips and ears. Look life in the eye, and all the other folks that show up with you each day, like you mean it. And, when you do, pay attention. You just might be surprised at all that you can be and do and feel.
Put this locomotive at the head of the train. Don’t lead with cabooses. (As cute as they look, save them for wishes.) If you put this resolution up front, all the other desires, intentions, determinations – and even wishes – will hook up and follow at their appropriate time. Read more
Here are some creative holiday ideas that are gentle on the environment as well as the spirit!
LOW-IMPACT GIFT WRAPS
Remember how Grandma used to press and save wrapping paper? Start your own tradition of “re-use.” Wrap presents in last year’s calendar, old posters, maps, coloring book pages, sheet music, blueprints, and pieces of old quilts or embroidered linens. Or my favorite – shopping bags! (As you can see I have a Trader Joe’s theme going.)
Use strips of fabric and yarn as ties. Old costume jewelry, Christmas ornaments, fresh flowers, pine cones, and netting for bows. Make gift tags from last year’s Christmas cards.
Silk drawstring bags with beaded tassels can hold all kinds of goodies and be used by the recipient the next season for their gift-wrapping. The year’s recipient can toss in a “fortune cookie” wish as they pass it on. What fun you can have watching those fortunes grow within your circle of family and friends!
Take stocking stuffers beyond the fireplace mantel. Come up with gift-wrapping pairs. In other words, wrap a gift with a gift. Put kitchenware in a breadbasket, a gift card in a picture frame. Let a necklace and earrings adorn a plush teddy bear. Read more