LOVE. IS. EVERYTHING!

Hi Honey,

Today is Valentine’s Day. Remember how I used to get you and your little brother a giant Hershey’s Kiss for Valentine’s Day? Every year. Remember how Buttons found one on the floors (probably your brother’s) and ate a goodly amount of it? Oy!

Valentine’s Day and the innocence of love and hearts and chocolate was changed forever in 2011. That’s the year Valentine’s Day was replace with the day of, and then the anniversary of, your diagnosis with leukemia. It just doesn’t hold the same meaning, you know? And yet the whole of the US still sends Valentine’s every year, and chocolates, and roses, and Shari’s Berries! Don’t they know that Valentine’s Day has a bigger meaning, now? Did they miss the memo? Now it means love overflowing, but not Cupid love. It means hearts expanding, but not candy hearts. It means being loved and loving holds extra meaning! Love means everything, not just candy love and flower love and jewelry love. 

LOVE. IS. ALL. THERE. IS!! LOVE. IS. EVERYTHING!!

Today, this year, there is a new milestone. Today is the day that your love has been married longer to his new heart, than he was to you. You and he married 5 days after your diagnosis. When you gained your Angel wings, you had been married 20 months and one day. Today, he and Sarah have been married 20 months and 2 days. There are no coincidences in life, my Girl. This truth does not surprise me. I am so thankful for him and for her and for the life they are forging together. 

Your greatest struggle, during your battle with cancer, was your desire that he live a full and happy life, and to not be hurt by your battle. Really, your point was you fought to live so he would not have to experience the pain your death would bring him. You didn’t fight for you, you fought for him. You fought for your brother and your dad and for me, plus the rest of your friends and family, to protect us from pain. But mostly, you fought for him. I ran across a notebook of yours a few weeks ago, and amidst the grocery lists and medication checklists and doodles, was a request. “Mom & Dad, you have to take care of Logan if I don’t make it.” And the last thing your Dad said to you while you were still conscious, before you died, was “don’t worry, Honey, we’all take care of Logan.”

I know you know, but he did hurt when you died. He still does. But that’s OK. He only hurts because he also loves. And he found Sarah. Much like a lightening strike, they exploded into a relationship! They married 20 months and 2 days ago, and I am thankful.

I’m thankful he loved you with his whole heart. I’m thankful he has more than the capacity to love again. I’m thankful he, they, remain a part of our life. I’m thankful love doesn’t require us to be happy all the time. I honor my tears, his tears, our tears as we connect with you in spirit now, instead of in flesh.

And I’m thankful for more, on this Hallmark day of love. I’m thankful for your Dad, who loves me without reservation and with the comfort of a quick peck being enough today. I’m thankful for your little brother, the light in my heart. I’m thankful for EthelM pecan brittle arriving at his door tonight. I’m thankful that he has a new love today. He told me last week that he’d never had to plan Valentine’s Day before, because he’d never had a Valentine. 

And I’m thankful for you, Sweetheart. For your love and strength and vulnerability, for your commitment and perseverance and grace. I’m thankful you fought so hard, and I’m so very thankful you don’t have to fight ever again. I’m thankful so many things and dates and places fill my heart with you. While Valentine’s Day will never be a Hallmark day for me, ever again, it is a day that you are crisper in my mind, so I will take it.

I love you Angel Baby!

I’m thankful for today!!

Just Hi

Hi Honey,

Snow in Michigan is cold!! Brrr!!! Arrived this week with no luggage, which, even with all my years of travel, almost never happens. It was a bit like my luggage was on a home alone adventure! I’d planned for it, tagged it and passed it off to the right person, it just didn’t follow me! Luckily for me, for some reason I had 2 sweaters on! I knew it was going to be cold this week, so planned several layers, but usually, I don’t like to carry on a bunch of stuff so in the winter, I wear a light sweater and in the summer, I always have a pashmina, in case the air on the plane is cold, but bare bones! Thankfully, double sweaters!! Guess my luggage told my sweaters I would need them, since my luggage didn’t arrive until after midnight. No jaunts to see Lake Michigan!

Good week, lots of people I’d worked with in the past, so it was a comfortable training week. The hardest part about this week was not getting to bed at a decent hour! As in, I have to get up before 5, and lights out at 1:30! I’m like the worst rebel child when it comes to going to bed! I can just hear my inner 3 yr old saying, “but I’m not tired!” Guess I better fix that tonight!

Been spending a lot of time thinking about my trip to Tanzania 3 yrs ago. Man, Girl, next to walking with you through your cancer journey and you gaining angel wings, that was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. In some ways it feels harder. And I did it so poorly. That’s probably why it still feels hard! I’ve never undertaken something, before, and simply not had the heart to see it through. Had I knot been a world away, I would have packed up my toys and gone home early! It would have been easier to take my heart out of my body and stamp it underfoot. At least that, going in, is consciously impossible. I’ve realized the shame I’ve been carrying around about that trip. My uselessness, my weakness, my neediness. The only thing I did useful on that trip was donate a lot of money and make paper cranes. And learn things about myself I didn’t want to know, and watch others do the hard, anyway!

But, in these last few weeks, I’ve been able to identify the shame, acknowledge it as my past truth, and ask it to take a bow out of my heart and mind and life. I’m not sure it ever served much purpose, except to highlight my arrogance, which was useful for me to recognize, but it certainly is not serving me any longer.

So today, I’m thankful for a broken heart, I’m thankful to recognize that I do have a threshold, over which I am not only reluctant to cross, but perhaps incapable. And that is just the way it is.

I’m thankful others are capable of crossing that threshold into the world of giving and helping and hard, hard work. I’m thankful for guilt and I’m thankful that guilt has served its purpose and is no longer required.

I’m thankful for sweaters and luggage delivery and comfortable work. I’m thankful for snow and crispy air and super thankful that I did not need to be outside in the frigid today!

I love you, I’m headed home…

I’m thankful for today!!

Ground Hogs Day

donut

Hi Jenny Renny!

This week was Ground Hogs Day. Or as your sister/cousin’s girls call it: Donut Day. Almost forgot to get a donut, but made a special trip to the store, just to sneak one in! I’m not sure how the donut tradition started. My sis, your Aunt, remembers the story about Grandma Smith making them on GHD when your Pops was a kid, so our family tradition goes back at least as far as that! It was so fun seeing all the family posts of donut enjoyment.

Your Marno did love her a donut! It seems fitting that Ground Hogs Day was the day I finally buckled down to do the final dispersement from her estate. I’ve been putting it off for months under the guise of it would take a chunk of time I just didn’t have. I realized, as I pulled out all the documents and the spread sheet I’d created to keep track of everything, that really, it was about finality. Marno gave you an Angel kiss from me almost 3 years ago now, but somehow, doing the final paperwork and writing the final dispersement checks from the estate puts a punctuation mark on her absence. Gotta admit, I cried a little bit. There’s tears when writing checks and then there’s tears when writing checks! Haha! My tears were sadness, missing, responsibility, resistance tears. But they were also thankful tears. And tears of sweet remembrance. And tears of awe, as I remember how your Marno and Pops chose to live their life, spend their money, raise their family and provide for the future.

And that damn Ground Hog says we’ve got 6 more weeks of winter coming!!! 😉

The rest of the week was a stay at home week, as in work at home, not work on the road! You were good at carving out time. Time to work, time to rest, time for friends, time for self, time to play. I’m not very good at that. For me, it’s either time to work or time to waste time! Anyway, I got a lot done this week, not just almost finished with Marno’s estate, but desk cleared, todo list sorted, one email box cleared, almost. (Are they ever cleared??) Oh, and laundry! Which also is never done!

I also spent some time this week checking in with my body. Had a chiropractor appointment. It’s been a year since my last bad back experience, and I realized I’ve spent much of the last few months in a not-good back space, so decided to start to really fix that. And then I slipped on the newly formed ice on the sidewalk and biffed it!! Such a klutz. Laughed at myself, like you always laughed at yourself when you got hurt. Then went back into the office to warn the little old man with his walker, and his wife, that the sidewalk was murderous and to be careful! Do you know what happened next? The chiropractor, a man I really just like, made the couple wait until he got a cup of salt, and then he walked out with them, in the freezing rain, sprinkling salt in front of them and making sure they got safely to the car. I think salt actually needs a little time to work, but the point was that he went out of his way to care for someone else. There are good people in the world, everywhere I look! That same night, we closed the store early, to get Team Members home as early as possible, as safely as possible. Posted on FB, so the information could make it out as far as possible. Lots of positive feedback, some disappointment, one angry guy that just doesn’t count. But, I can say, no injuries, no accidents and it’s just chicken!

This week, I’m feeling thankful, generally. Relearning how to talk to you is part of that, Sweetheart. I know my heart continues to commune with you, but I so miss sharing life with you and am finding that while talking to you in this way will never be the way it should be, it is better than not talking to you. You are so good about just allowing your peeps, including me, to express their heart, mind and spirit with simple acceptance. You never felt the need to fix someone else, and rarely offered advice, unless someone asked for it, then you always had great advice! I’m doing my best to learn from you, my sweet redheaded teacher! I continue to aspire to your presence and grace!

Today, I’m thankful for Ground Hogs and donuts, whatever Ground Hogs are!! I’m thankful for Marno and Pops. I’m thankful for gentlemen who care about others. I’m thankful for work to do and accomplishment and space to do what needs to be done. I’m thankful the estate paperwork is almost finished. I’m thankful Team Members got home safely in scary weather. I’m thankful biffing it was laughable, not disastrous. I’m thankful I continue to learn from your example, then and now.

I’m thankful for today!!