Cocooned and cradled

3C97A228-0A88-42D4-AE73-E57637940FB2

I have lived in Atlanta for thirty years
I have been in my home now for fifteen of them
in my years of sickness
I was safe and secure
I moved here as a teenager holding my mothers hand
now I’ll spread my wings and live in a high-rise apartment with a skyline view
not even the furniture will be familiar
I do believe we make our road by walking
I also believe that everything that is laid before us
can be used as a lesson
fodder for us to become our higher selves
our struggles become our story
a big part of life happened here
most streets have memories for me
parties and places I’ve lived
football games
weddings
babies
and funerals for friends
it’s all part of my history
I’ve never considered it home though
I’ve been here too long
I was cocooned in love here during my years of illness
I was cradled by family and friends and my husband who I adore
now that husband and I get a new adventure
a new road to walk
a new way to be in the world
I have spent the last year noticing everything
I have documented a lot of it
now I’m going to go live
I’m going to wander in the Windy City
I’m going to be present wherever that leads me
I’m going to be grateful for every step
for every breath
because everything is a gift
everything

 

Chicago , again

Bodhisattvas skillfully have a way of being there while getting there, every step of the way
The Tao Te Ching tells us to realize that life flows right through us
right now and there’s no where to go
nothing to get and all is perfect as it is
Trust and let it be

I find myself, once again, going through my dresser drawers
cleaning out extra things
things never used
just like I was doing six years ago
when I got sick and I was facing the clinical trial in Chicago I started clearing out drawers and things I had hung onto since childhood because the possibility of not coming home was very real
I wanted to give my nieces purses and costume jewelry
things that had meant something to me even though they didn’t have monetary value
but were sentimental favorites
I knew Michael would have no way of knowing or of being able to divvy it up
I cleared out boxes of letters from childhood friends
notes from boyfriends long forgotten
baby pictures and mementos that no longer seem to necessary to keep
here I am six years later doing the same process and heading to Chicago
but this time to live
It seems serendipitous for sure
Still processing the husbands transfer and the prospect of living in a downtown city for the first time in my life
The version of me that stayed in Chicago six years ago was very sick
wheelchair-bound
leg brace wearing
zero hand function person
today I’m recovered
hair has grown back
body reclaimed
disease-free
healthy
happy
transformed and radically grateful
I have lived in Atlanta exactly 30 years this year
it holds a tremendous amount of my memories
strangely though I’ve never considered it home
I always thought I would move away and I always thought it would be up north
I love the cold weather
I adore wearing cashmere and very little makes me happier than snow
I’m beyond excited to experience this next chapter
create new memories
walk new sidewalks
explore new stores
meet new people and make memories with Michael
holding hands every step of the way

Uncertainty is most certainly certain

9B82327A-4151-485A-B1E3-612E603E0905.jpeg

It was 2 o’clock on a Tuesday
I came home from a lunch date with a girlfriend and Michael was home
Uncertainty, is defined by doubt
hesitancy and
unpredictability
It’s also felt in the nervous system
Dry mouth
Sweaty palms
Rapid heartbeat
He’s been pulled from his only customer after 31 years at the company
Uncertainty
Today I feel the walls coming down
The ones I’ve built in my mind and around my heart
The walls that I’ve lived behind for the past eight years
Vulnerability is back
Maybe she never really left
I recognize the feeling of change coming
Highs and lows
Ebb and tide
Feet feel a little heavier
Up and down
In and out
Just like our breath
I know that we will embrace the change
I know that we will stay connected
We hold hands everyday
He may travel to different customers
He may not
Too soon to say
Either way our life will be different
Daily routines will be altered
We know not to wrap our self-worth into a job
A skill
A body size
Or a dream
It’s just too uncertain to do that
We hold on to each other
We reach out to friends and family
We live in the present moment
We stay grateful for everything
We celebrate everyday because no one
No one
Knows what’s coming
Even on a Tuesday at 2 o’clock

Monday’s

When Michael left for work this morning, I was still in my pajamas
It’s Monday and I didn’t sleep well and I have nowhere to be until this afternoon
But, it got me thinking about all the Mondays before
That was my infusion day
My nurse would come before Michael left for work
He’d set up all the essentials on the coffee table
I’d be in my pajamas
It was an eight-hour process
I was petting Max while remembering and looking at my left hand
It’s always where the IV went in
The bruise would always be gone by the next Monday
I could almost see it and feel the familiar pinch
I could almost taste the saline flush and I cringed remembering the times when my veins couldn’t hold the pressure and blew
Blood would go everywhere
I was taking 1000mg of steroids the first hour then onto a plasma product called IVIG
All on top of oral chemotherapy, sleep pills, pain pills and an antidepressant
Monday couldn’t look any more different now
Meditation with Max may have been in my pjs but that’s by choice
Michael can go to work without wondering or worrying
I saw all this to say I think it’s ok to reflect
Remembering is a way to find gratitude again
The past doesn’t define us
It can definitely give us a story to tell but it doesn’t determine today
Now, I’m going to do floor exercises my Pilates instructor has given me
And I’ll do them in my pajamas
Because, it’s Monday
And I can

Green soup and Bebel Gilberto

Allow yourself to enjoy each happy moment in your life.”
— Steve Maraboli

I have a great green soup recipe, really great.
I make it every time someone is sick, having surgery, a baby, you get the idea.
It’s simple and delicious every time.
Today I’m making it for me.
I’m not sick, just sad.
A little overwhelmed for some people in my life that are really struggling.
I have a friend who was diagnosed eight and half years ago with liver cancer.
He was given six months, tops, to live.
I saw him yesterday at he and his wife’s baby shower.
A miracle son is on his way in August.
I assumed that remission was the case.
I assumed wrong.
He’s fighting harder than ever.
After his eighth surgery in December, cancer was back in January.
This time, everywhere.
It’s metastasized and there is nothing left to do.
His beauty and bravery were almost more than I could bear.
I have another friend, who is a neighbor.
She lost her husband two years ago to ALS.
She woke up from her biopsy with a port already in place.
She has cancer in her lungs, colon and bladder.
None of it an option for surgery. I just hung my head.
Another girlfriends teenage daughter lost her uterus this week and the ability to ever carry her own child.
Another girlfriend drove her daughter back up north where she’s been living. The daughter has been in rehab and flying back without her will take every ounce of everything she has.
The worry like that, you wear like a cement suit.
So, I chop vegetables and play soft music from Brazil.
I cry even without the onions fumes.
I take a deep breath and remember that easy is promised to no one.
I put a spoonful cashew ice cream in my coffee, instead of non dairy creamer.
Because, every moment can be made happy, or tender, or meaningful.
Celebrate each little thing
Sometimes it’s all you can do
Struggling is soul work
Searching for meaning is a matter of choice
Stories we tell ourselves can be soul food
So, if you’re out this week and want dessert before dinner
Eat it
If there is someone who needs a note from you
Write it
If you see someone that looks good
Say it
Not one of us knows what the future holds
All we have is the moment we’re in and if we’re lucky, each other
I’m humbled by this week
I’m heartbroken too
I just hurt
But, I also hope
And that, will have to be enough