Category Archives: Uncategorized

You Are Never Alone

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I came across something I’d written a few years back when I was hospitalized with a minor condition.  I’d actually been suffering for a week before I decided to seek a doctor’s attention.  And although my threshold for pain is very high, being admitted to a hospital was daunting.

I remember being scared and alone.  I was newly divorced and living in a rental by myself; my daughters were grown and lived hours away as well as my brother. They had put me on a strong medication for the pain while testing, and I was out of it. During the night a nurse came into the room to check my vitals.  She asked if I needed more medication, and even though I did, I requested a lighter dose because I felt I needed to have my wits about me.  She obliged after consulting with the doctor.  We got to talking and she was divorced as well, although way younger than me. She had taken a chance on marriage again and was very happy.  We had a little bit of a heart to heart, which I desperately needed.  When she was getting ready to move on, I confided in her that I felt so alone.  She turned and looked me square in the eyes and said, “Oh, you are NEVER alone.” Then she was gone.

That one sentence gave me the confidence I needed because I realized God was always with me. I looked out of the window and up into the sky and saw a brilliant orange moon, which was typical on an oppressively hot August night.  I prayed for my friend who was also in the hospital in the distant state of Indiana living out the last weeks of his life. My heart ached with the thought of how I would miss him when he passed because he had been my father figure, mentor and encourager since I was 19 years old. It was a horribly sad night for me.

I awoke the next morning somewhat renewed.  I luckily had a kind doctor who decided I would not need surgery and treated me instead with a heavy dose of antibiotics in an IV drip.

As I progressively improved, my family came to be with me.  I got stronger, and in a few days was able to leave the hospital. Although I wanted to see and thank the nurse who had helped me through that rough first night, I never saw her again. I still think of her as an angel sent to me.

I began to write down the lessons I learned during that trying period to encourage others who might find themselves going through a similar situation:

  • You are NEVER alone.
  • You can take care of yourself most of the time, but when you need help, asking for it is not a weakness.
  • You can have an infection without a constant fever.
  • Taking a shower with an IV in your arm wrapped in a plastic bag is doable.
  • Ice chips can be a big treat.
  • Clear liquids can be nourishing.
  • You don’t always need heavy-duty pain medication to get by, but can ask for them when needed on demand.
  • Just what the doctor orders is usually best, albeit contrary to what you think should be. Trust.
  • A private hospital room, if you are lucky enough to have one, is awesome.
  • Spending time in a hospital is not the worst thing in the world.
  • Construction outside your hospital window is not always noisy.
  • You don’t need TV to pass the time.
  • People are basically kind and caring.
  • Angels show up when you think you’re alone.
  • A big orange moon can seem like a friend smiling down on you.
  • Cards and flowers are wonderfully uplifting and heart warming to receive but not necessarily needed to make you feel cared about.
  • There are people in the hospital way sicker than you are, so it’s a strength to keep from complaining and pray for them instead.
  • God sends angels to call on you out of the blue.
  • God is always and forever with you.
  • Trust in God and in His goodness in all circumstances.
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Deep Thinking From a Bird Watcher

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A ravaging, late winter storm with the fiercest of winds came along battering and breaking two of my favorite bird feeders. From the place in the sun room where I sit most mornings reading my devotionals and watching the different array of birds feeding, I felt a sudden void. The feeders had to be trashed, and before I could replace them, I watched the birds aimlessly peck at the ground and fly around the empty place they used to feed. Then they seemed to disappear.

IMG_1033Over a week went by before I was able to replace them, but by then the birds seemed to have left town.  I watched the two new colorful feeders from my chair, but the birds were nowhere to be seen.  Maybe they had flown the coop, taking a different route to new places and formed an attachment to a feeder far away. Since watching the birds each morning was very calming and soothing to me, I missed seeing the little sparrows, blue jays, Cardinals, doves and finches frolicking around and having their fill.

 

A few days went by, then a week and more without a sign of any of my feathered friends. The pretty little feeders, filled to the brim with sunflower seed, millet, corn and safflower stood vacant. Were the birds afraid of the new ones?  Had they left for greener pastures? All of this was laid before them, and all they had to do was feast. But they were nowhere to be found.

Then early one morning I looked out and saw a lone sparrow bravely perching on the new feeder.  Before too long another then another flocked nearby and before you knew it, we were back in business. I was finally able to sit back and enjoy the antics of my feathered friends.IMG_1065 (1)

Metaphorically, I couldn’t help but think of the times that opportunities were unknowingly set before me. Full and welcoming and just waiting for me to take that brave leap to try something new, however scary it might have seemed at first. But for one reason or another, I chose to be afraid and apprehensive and decided to disappear to somewhere else, to a different venue that was maybe not as uneasy or causing so much angst. Something more familiar than this something new I wasn’t sure of. If only I had been more courageous, then maybe I wouldn’t have settled for less, missing the feast that was set before me. And in retrospect, I’ve decided to be stronger and more watchful of new circumstances that may come my way under the guise of something unknown or obscure.

…and all of this pondering caused by a tiny bird who chose to be fearless enough to try a new feeder.

 

Cousins

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There are few people in the world who will remember you as a kid.  Your parents and grandparents, of course, and siblings, naturally.  Some choice friends, maybe. But what happens when your grandparents and then your parents have passed. Your sibling is a boy and you are a girl, and things were just different in the perspective of growing up as you knew it. And now you are getting up there in years and feel far from and have trouble remembering the little kid you used to be from way back when.

Then you go to a wedding, and there she is.  Your cousin. The cousin who rode two buses from Trenton and wound up on your doorstep on a hot July morning at 9 am with a shopping bag stuffed with clothes for her week stay at your house. The cousin who spent the summer with you chasing boys, playing card games, swimming in the pool and talking deep into the night about nothing at all that meant everything in the world at the time.  Who spent each and every holiday with you. Who sat outside on the steps of your grandparents row home in their Polish neighborhood sharing your hopes and dreams, talking about boys and eating penny candy without a care in the world except when the holiday dinner would be ready and whether Grandmom made her famous lemon meringue pie. That cousin whose mom was your mom’s sister and best friend.  Whose mom was your godmother. And she is the soul sister who knows you better than most.

Years have passed since you’ve last seen her, and yet you pick up where you left off like it was yesterday.  That cousin who makes you laugh so hard you cry and raises a glass with you as you reminisce about the puny, stupid little kids you used to be and the games you played and your mutual weirdnesses, including boys. You joke about your families and remember things you thought you had forgotten long ago. You spend the night head to head talking about this one and that one, and you are kids all over again.  No one knows your history quite like she does, and no one ever will.  You connect with your past like a time machine, and there is comfort and coziness in the feeling of being back where you used to be way back when in your mind.

She is your number one.  No matter what has happened in between nor how far away you live, she is the one who knows you best.  She’s the one who can make you belly laugh til you cry than sob like a baby when its time to say goodbye, not really knowing when you’ll see her again because distance is the enemy. She’s the one who will always be connected to your heart like no other. She’s my “Cuz.” And I love her with all my heart. XOXO

 

 

 

 

 

CREATURE COMFORT

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We’re missing our Bailey this morning…Mr. Personality. One moment he was running around full of life; the next he was on his side gasping his last breath. Life is fragile. We’re not exactly sure what happened, but after 11 years of laughing at his gregarious antics and comical presence, the house is still. His mom cat and brother search for him. They can’t understand where he went. Sadness engulfs us. It doesn’t seem fair that his life was so short, leaving us with an aching void and hole in our hearts.

Brother Brindle with Bailey on the right.

Brother Brindle with Bailey on the right.

Losing a beloved pet is one of life’s most difficult tasks. It’s always too soon. The source of our quiet comfort and companionship is gone. The warmth of their bodies on our lap and sweet purring has grown cold and been silenced. We weep at the loss of this love, this creature comfort, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

For now we will move on and go through the motions of life trying not to cry. We will often lose that battle, but we’ll dream about the day when he and our other furry friends that have passed will greet us in a loftier place. They’ll run to us and jump on our laps, purring softly as we pet their sweet heads, mending our broken hearts and filling us with joyous celebration.

ANTICIPATION

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The most wonderful, albeit craziest time of the year is upon us…somewhere between Halloween and New Year’s Day. This is the most hectic period when we will run around and exhaust our fleeting energies in preparation for the holidays. We will more than likely not take the time to stop and smell the roses. And when it’s all said and done we will look back and say either “that was the best time,” or more likely, “is that all there is?”

I have lived most of my life in anticipation of what would come tomorrow. I have to tell you that I’ve missed or have not appreciated a lot of what happened in the present while I was busy looking to the future. Sort of like the quote in John Lennon’s, “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy),” Life happens while you’re making other plans. I was a big dreamer who had lofty ideas of how my life was going to turn out. Some of those dreams came true, but most did not. Shooting for the stars was not what it was all cracked up to be. Sometimes when I look back in my “coulda, woulda, shoulda” mind-set, I wonder about how I could have lived those days differently in the now, instead of wasting time dreaming about the tomorrows. I wonder about the life that happened and how I could have appreciated it more by living with a different mind set in the present.

dogs-flowers_102227Well, it’s too late for me to look back, and it’s nothing but a waste of time anyway. These days I try really hard to concentrate on what is happening right now. Little things that make me happy like my grandsons’ laughter when I do something that they think is funny (which is usually something simple since they are only eighteen months old!). Or breathing in the cool air on a crisp autumn morning. Today is a prime example. It’s absolutely gorgeous outside. Or cooking a delicious pot of chicken soup – nothing beats that aroma wafting through the house. How about the taste of a freshly baked apple pie? Or your dog’s silly smile as she romps in the park? A phone call from an old friend you haven’t heard from in a while? The snow silently falling and covering everything in perfect white?

As we frantically rush through our holiday preparations, all I ask is that you just stop yourself from time to time and just breathe. Take a break from the shopping and the baking and cooking and decorating and look around you. Observe your family for a moment as they gather around the table. Where would we be without them? Savor the tastes of the season. Breathe in the scents. Join in the laughter. Don’t make it all about the work. Enjoy the play. Have some fun. Because before you know it, these will be the good old days.

OLD FRIENDS

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Old Friends

like bottles cast out to sea

in time, though lost

and tossed

and searching

somehow always find their way to shore again.

 

Memories are too strong

bittersweet years

filled with laughter and tears

they live on.

 

Years pass…yet time stands still

Everyone grows…yet nothing has changed

You turn around and yesterday’s child is still there

the people the same

the warmth alive

the love aglow

and I’m thankful to know

that the good memories outweigh the bad

and the happy times more than the sad are remembered.

 

As life goes on and people fade in and out

I realize more and more

that the oldest friends are the dearest

and the times we shared the most cherished

and our lives together

have only mellowed and aged

like fine vintage wine.

SURROUNDED BY LOVE

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Booie

Booie

It’s been a week since I had to make the decision to say farewell to my cat, Booie He had been sick for a little over a month, and I kept hoping he would get better. In the end the cause ended up being liver failure. I prayed to God to take him naturally because making a decision to end an animal’s life is so very hard in all of its emotions. But that was not to be the case. People say it’s the kindest thing you can do for your ailing pet, but I’m torn on that one. But he is now free from his suffering.

Booie was one third of the “Three Amigos” that became a part of my family 11 years ago. His Mom, Meow-Meow, wandered by our house one day when we lived in the country, and she never left. She had a litter of kittens shortly thereafter, and she and her two sons, Booie and Colin have been part of my family ever since. It’s been wild and crazy with them, and Booie wasn’t the easiest cat in the world to love. He was skittish and hyper and hid more often than not. He survived and adjusted to three moves in his lifetime, and only got really friendly and cozy in the last year. Although he was odd, I loved him just the same. He’s left a void in the house, and the two other cats often search him out. It’s heartbreaking to watch.

Three Amigos

Three Amigos

sleeping

Molly, Skylar and Shana

I’ve been an animal lover since my earliest recollection, which is four years old. I was highly allergic to cats as a youngster, but still insisted on rescuing a white cat that was hanging out around our house. Since I couldn’t take it into our house, I had grand ideas to build him/her a little wooden house in our yard and even gathered a few pieces of wood for the project. I don’t know what ever happened to that cat. I think it must have been owned by someone in the neighborhood because I never saw it again.

Gigi

Gigi

My first dog Gigi lived to a ripe old age of 16. She was always at my side like Lassie. She followed me wherever I went, which was kind of neat. She never wandered from my side, sort of like a guardian angel. I was 6 when I got her and 22 when she passed. She is the only pet I’ve had that went naturally and peacefully of heart failure. Since then I have had a barrage of pets, mostly rescues, that have brightened my life with so much joy. I can still remember each and every one with such fondness: Chipper, Peaches, Tasha, Spike, Shana, Wendy, Molly, Ozzy and Skylar. They mostly came in twos, sometimes threes. All quirky and funny and full of love.

Shana and Wendy

Shana and Wendy

Molly, Ozzy, Skylar

Bella, Ozzy, Skylar

 

I really don’t understand people who don’t like animals. It just doesn’t make sense to me. I feel happiest when I’m surrounded by my pets. In fact, I’d rather spend time curled up with my dog and two cats more than anything else these days.

And I can’t help to think that some day, if I’m lucky enough to have lived my life well enough to enter the pearly gates, I will be greeted by all my furry and feathered friends. I imagine that they’ll run to me, tails wagging feverishly as they circle me prancing and frolicking around me, ecstatic to see me as much as I will be to be with them again.

I’ll be surrounded by their love once more…that’s my hope and dream anyway.

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My angel Molly