Tag Archives: gifts

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Sometimes in life, we receive gifts. Spontaneous, wonderful, generous gifts.

Today it was my turn. A beautiful quilt from Stephanie arrived in the mail. She is a woman who has inspired me with her words from the first moment I stumbled on to her blog. Her insights gained after losing her husband to pancreatic cancer speak directly to my heart. Not only did she boost my blog traffic after mentioning my post when she was featured on Freshly Pressed, she went another step further and created something beautiful for me.  I opened the package and felt a rush of ohmygoshIdon’tdeservethisbeautifulthing, but there it was, bringing sweetness and light, fresh from a cardboard box addressed with my name. No way to deny the gift, return to sender, push it back into the givers arms with an “oh, no, you SHOULDN’T have.”

I am learning to accept the blessings in life with humble gratitude.  Whether I deserve this quilt matters not; due to a surprising connection with a generous and thoughtful woman, its mine now.  I’ll learn to take the good in life with open arms and heart and a hearty THANKS.

Thank you, Stephanie. Thank you to all the others who have shared their light, their blessings, their talents with me.  Thank you, dear reader.

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the light amidst the struggle

One morning this week, I spied a woodpecker perched on a tree outside of the Cancer Center. Such athletic, flighty creatures, it seemed odd that he remained perfectly still, appraising me and the rest of the world around him with his unblinking eye.  Only a few feet away, I stared back and sipped my tea and my bones started rattling deep, deep inside:

I don’t want to go to work!!

Its odd, I almost always walk through the doors of the Cancer Center with a smile on my face, eager to see patients and start my day. But its been a struggle lately.  I’ve been tired, and working so very hard.  The endless stream of emails, prior authorization requests, distraught patients, hospice talks, conflict between staff members, and ever mounting pile of unsigned notes are taking their toll.

Or is it something more internal that caused me to be frozen under cloudy sky, unable to walk through the Cancer Center door?  I haven’t been taking care of myself as well as I could, but its not all been miserable either- I have been eating pretty well, and taking my dear dog for runs in the dark November mornings.

And then there are the anniversaries that quietly haunt me.  The anniversary of the day I napped next to my mother and noticed she was breathing differently.  It was so subtle, it escapes description.  But I knew something was different.  And she smelled different too- not bad, just ever so slightly different. The dying process started with a whisper on November 13th, 2011.

And then on November 14th, I got the call at 6 in the morning that she was hospitalized with a bowel obstruction, and in a matter of minutes I was barreling down the highway again in my Corolla, headed to Phoenix and biting my nails I could make it there in time. Turns out, we had quite a bit more time: almost a month.

Then there was the cascade of events and phone calls and praying and weeping in lobbies that lead her to be sent home on November 15th with hospice care. It felt so right and so wrong and so unbelievable, a dream and a nightmare.

Life had a singular focus: my mother.  There was no room for the stuff that doesn’t matter, like work stresses.  There also wasn’t room for a lot of stuff that does matter.

So, this year I’m doing well.  I smile a lot, and even have started worried about some of the small stuff again.  But this year, on November 14th, I struggled to go to work. I stood outside of the clinic under a grey sky, longing to stay still and sip tea and stare at beautiful birds. I had little to offer to the patients waiting for me, but I gave them what I could.  I needed not to give, but to receive.

It wasn’t an easy day for me. But perhaps the universe understood my plight, because when I came home there were two packages waiting for me: dried corn from my mom’s dear friend, and a book from my dear sister.

I don’t always get what I want, but sometimes I get what I need.

dreams unlimited

I just smeared on the last of a bottle of lotion my mom gave me.  It was from the Body Shop,  “Dreams Unlimited.” We were shopping the weekend before they left for Houston, seeking a cure at MD Anderson. Grandma wanted lotion, and it was the only scent she liked.  I liked it too, so along with the bottle for Grandma Mom bought me one as well.  Its hard to believe I won’t get more gifts from her, and when things that remind me of her wear or run out I feel the loss all over again.

Its just lotion, and too perfume-ey at that.  It seems silly to cry about the end of a bottle of lotion.  But I can’t help myself.

I tried to save it.  I didn’t use it that often, but it started to evaporate in the bottle. Some things just slip through your fingers, no matter how much you try to hang on.

I wish dreams really were unlimited.  But sometimes they run out of gas, hit a wall, die on the vine, go up in flames.  Sometimes new dreams grow from the ashes of those that burned to dust, and sometimes not.  But there are dreams that just aren’t meant to be.  Heartbreaking, isn’t it?