Saturday, March 29, 2014

Whether it's a good day or a bad day, I am here...

I don't really know quite how to share what's on my mind tonight. As most everyone knows, Race for The Cure is right around the corner in my neck of the woods. I've registered my team, Sweet Potatas, & I'm starting to get excited. I've spent this evening looking back over pictures from the last 2 Races for The Cure. I've participated for many years, but only recently in pink.

Yes… it changes everything. When I used to walk with my young daughters, I always had a lump in my throat. It always depressed me for days. I just couldn't handle the emotion of it & my sorrow for women who fought this terrible disease. In 2012, I participated for the first time as a Survivor. I didn't really feel like a Survivor that day. I felt more like a fighter. I hadn't finished my treatments. I still had radiation ahead of me. I was fighting for my life…

Cancer is such a random thing. It's sometimes hard to pinpoint its cause, & why do some people get better while some don't? Why is it that one day last week one of my sweet friends got good news, & on the very same day, one didn't? Why is it that some people fight a few years while others fight a life time? Why do children suffer with cancer? Why do some people even die from it?

It's a grueling illness. I can attest to the fact that sometimes its treatments are worse than the disease itself. Sometimes the side effects even sneak up on you a few years down the road. I was recently explaining to a young person that once you have cancer, it never really goes away. Yes… you might hear the words "cancer free" or "in remission," but all it takes is the return of a dear friend's cancer to know that those words can be short lived.

I don't really know what I'm writing about tonight. Just sharing my heart & mind. The Race is coming. It comes at a very busy time; I actually thought of bailing. However, I owe Susan G. Komen my life. Perhaps that's why I named my cat Bella G. Komen. Perhaps that's why I feel a need to participate. Her research directly effected my case. Without this organization, I would not be here writing my blog.

I would not see my grand children whom I love more than life itself. I would not have walked through the ruins of a tornado with my husband 20 minutes after it took our home of 20 years. No… he would have walked alone. You see… I am thankful for each day of life (whether it's a good day or a bad day) because I am here, here to walk through life with my loved ones. I guess that's why I'm beginning to get excited, besides the fact that I love pink!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Just. plain. weird.

I've had a few friends recently say things to me like, "I can't imagine what it's like to see your home of 20 years go down." Truth is…it's just plain weird. I think my dear friend who walks with me through life felt it more than I did. I think she felt it for me. Maybe it was too painful for me to feel. It was almost surreal.

It was a rather long process. I checked in as I was able. I really wanted to catch my front porch going down, but I missed it. It was my favorite part of my home. I believe it is what made it so pretty. I always wanted a front porch. It's what drew me to that house from the start. Many meaningful conversations were had on that porch…

A life was saved. Boo boos were kissed. The neighbors were greeted. Trick or Treaters were welcomed. Otis loved his porch. He loved looking through the posts. We looked through book bags on that porch. We kissed our kids good bye. We took lots of pictures there (first day of school, prom, wedding…). I sat on that porch for hours at a time watching my kids play. They rode their bikes toting their baby dolls.

Yes… life goes on. As my old house was going down, a fence was being put up around my new house. Now… Otis can be king of his yard. It's pretty sweet (at least from his point of view). He is still tormented from that tornado. Loud noises frighten him. Sometimes our wood floor bothers him. He is inconsistent about his fears.

We've managed to gather most of our salvageable belongings from all the good people that stored them for us. Yes… they helped us clean each item, pack it, & store it. It's like Christmas opening up all those rubber maids & finding sweet surprises.

I noticed today that our perspective is changing. Just after the tornado, every decision was painful. What to keep, what to pitch. Today, it was easy. We had new clarity. We knew what we needed, & we knew what needed to go. It was strange that it was so easy.

I'm thankful that as my old homestead went down, my HomeSweetHome, we have already settled in our new home. We love it. It actually meets our needs better now than our old one. It's sad to say good-bye to such a beautiful place. Our memories are plentiful. For the most part, they are good. It's a huge chapter of our life. It's the heart of our parenting. It's where we raised our children.

Our new home is where we will watch our grandchildren grow. We have pretty pine trees in our backyard. Our house is one level (much better for me). I love the atmosphere. I love the pretty windows & the beautiful view (so close & so pretty). I like the drive to my home. The street is lined with trees. Being close to nature gives me peace. It keeps me feeling close to My Father in Heaven.

Monday, March 10, 2014

I always loved you.

Tomorrow will be a unique experience for sure. Our home of 20 years is being bulldozed. I've gone by the house periodically & checked in. It's such a strange feeling to stare up at your home & see your belongings suspended in mid air hanging from the rafters. Every time I go, I see something new… my pajamas, my husband's swimming trunks, our comforter. I never know what I will find.

White stuffing is strewn all over my living room. I don't exactly know where it is coming from, but it keeps multiplying. The ceiling is falling down rapidly now. From afar, I can see my armoire turned upside down on the upper level. Our antique bed, our first bed (a family heirloom) is still in its place. It remains intact comforter & all. Our upstairs toilet was found in our side yard.

A few weeks ago, I found our wedding photo (an 11 X 13) on the main level. It had fallen from our master bedroom upstairs. Yes… it is all tattered & muddy. It tells a story. I noticed my dish scrub brush the other day. It is standing next to the kitchen sink. Somehow it remained untouched by the vortex. Yes, incomprehensible. The randomness of the whole situation is mind boggling.

So… tomorrow, my home & all of our belongings that were not salvaged will come down. I cannot even imagine how I will feel. I had plans tomorrow for therapy, but when I found out it was the last day I would see the last 20 years of my life, I decided I needed to be there. I need to say good bye to my house & say thank you for being such a good house. I always loved you.

Our house was good to us. We raised our children there. Chipper, Dolly, Kit, Lester, Otis, & Bella all lived there at one time or another. My mom visited me there. Those were special times. We had sleep overs, birthday parties. We camped in the back yard, had a campfire ring, turned our play fort into a water park… Oh the memories.

I remember putting the wading pool out for the kids, but my mother was the one who basked in it. We grilled out, picked rhubarb, listened to our chimes, & watched flowers planted in memory of my cousin bloom each year. We gazed at the stars. We watched movies on the garage door in the summer. We loved our summer nights. They were the best.

Of course, we celebrated our holidays. We recovered from surgeries. I survived chemo & radiation on that couch. I painted the basketball back board. My husband & Otis played ball every evening. The neighbors were the kindest. My kids walked to school. We cried many tears, fought a little, & laughed a lot. My husband entertained us with silly songs he created. They always cheered us up. Oh my… I could go on for ever...

Sunday, March 9, 2014

for the broken hearted people of Washington

Tonight I write this blog for the broken hearted people of Washington, the tornado victims. I keep hearing of people who are suffering such turmoil even now (yes...even more now). On November 17th, the storm took its toll on our homes. Now months later, that catastrophe continues to wreak havoc on our lives in new & twisted ways…

The frustrations are many. People are still battling with their insurance. If your home was too bad to live in but not bad enough to be condemned, you are probably in the hardest situation. Limbo is agonizing. Some peoples' homes are already being rebuilt while others (like ours) have not yet been bulldozed. Decisions are overwhelming. Devastation is still everywhere. It will be years before grass, shrubs, & trees grow.

While people persevere through one hardship after another, stress is eating away at them. It's been a harsh winter, & that has only added to their pain. Husbands & wives are snapping at each other. The tornado caught us all by surprise, & we had no time to prepare ourselves for such a mind boggling process. Marriages are beginning to crumble. Families are struggling. Life is bleak, & it's not getting any better for a long time.

So how do we handle this unwanted journey? My advice: get help. Don't suffer alone, & fight to hang on to your family. Even though it seems like forever, there will be an end. Even though our losses are tremendous, there are brighter days ahead. Realize that change is okay; sometimes things even end up better.

We were suffering & sought help. Compassion was the number 1 response from our doctor & counselor. Our counselor said that we had been through so much, we were unable to handle it anymore. We are human. It's all too much. 6 weeks down the road from when we sought help, I can say… things are better.

Our God is a God of restoration. He will restore our hearts, our homes, our marriages… We just have to humble ourselves & seek help that leads to hope. Flowers will bloom again, the grass will grow, the trees will rise up & bear leaves. It won't be overnight, but it is inevitable. We are made to help each other, to walk hand & hand through this life together. If we reach out for help, there is HOPE.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

You just cannot look away...

As I sit here with Sleeping Beauty (my precious grand daughter), I cannot help but admire her beautiful facial features as they become more & more present with each day. She was born a little early, and she almost seems like a different baby than the one we welcomed into our world 2&1/2 months ago. Our little preemie was tiny & precious. Her little ears were paper thin. Her tininess seemed to define her in those early days. Her beauty was radiant, but she just wasn't quite ready to be born.

So now, a few months down the road, our sweetie has grown so nicely. She is off her monitor. She is easily comforted. She is alert. She doesn't just smile, she does something special with her eyes. I can't explain it, but her eyes catch you & hold you. They twinkle, & you just cannot look away. She has us all wrapped around her little finger.

I attribute her good health & blossoming beauty to her mommy & daddy. They worked together around the clock to care for her. She came into the world with a few hardships, but you would never know it today. Her mama did a lil research on what preemies liked, & that is just what she did. One doesn't even have to ask what this little one likes today. She tells you in her own sweet way.

So… when it's my day to watch her…I'll be honest, I get a bit excited. Holding her is better than words can say. Looking into her deep blue eyes takes my breath away. When she smiles, my heart melts. I love her coos. I know she's happy. Her eyebrows are coming in a beautiful shade. My own children were destined to have brown hair & hazel eyes. This tiny girl has a blond hair/blue eyed father. Watching her features develop is like observing a pretty flower as it unfolds.

I don't know how it's possible, but she gets a little prettier each day. Her personality is precious. I wouldn't trade my days with her for anything or anyone. Her baby days are fleeting so if I sit with her now & then, maybe I can catch her beauty as it unfolds right before my eyes. Life is full of difficulties, but a few moments with her remind me to stop & smell the roses. I hold her & look into her eyes. There is nothing better.