Bucket list…

The chance to say hello again is a gift, one not to be taken lightly.  

How many of us have had the opportunity to reconnect with family or friends separated by time and circumstances?  I’ve been blessed a great deal this past year which started with my high school reunion and the renewal of many friendships along with several new ones.  Then, something I dreamed would never take place finally did when the son I put up for adoption reached out to find me after forty-seven years, the best gift of all!

There was one more special reunion with someone who had always rested in a soft spot in my mind, a first love that went back to junior high school.  A simple message on Facebook one day opened a door to remembering, laughing and sharing two lives that painfully parted in typical teen-age heartbreak more than fifty years ago.  It was nice to talk once again, as old friends.

We both shared our stories of family drama, things everyone experiences, coping with all that is good, bad or indifferent.   He spoke about not fully understanding how and why things take a negative turn in life, especially his, but he did so with kindness and a certain acceptance that so much of what we deal with is God’s plan.

He had Cancer.  Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma to be exact.  He was in somewhat of a remission when we first started talking, his spirits were great and he spoke often about a favorite movie called “The Bucket List”.  He urged me to watch it and I asked if he had a list of his own, which he most certainly did.  The list was made up of just two things, buying himself a new Mercedes and taking a trip with a close friend to Mackinac Island.  It seems that his buddy was fixated on a movie called “Somewhere in Time” and wanted to visit the Michigan hotel where the film was made.  I smiled to myself, visualizing the two of them heading out on this road trip but encouraged him to grab that proverbial bucket and go! 

As too often happens where Cancer is concerned, things started deteriorating.  Our conversations became fewer as he again started Chemotherapy; it weakened him considerably and his positive spirit desperately struggled with the side-effects of the treatments.  A few weeks ago, I texted him to see how he was doing.  He replied “At hospital, talk later”   I never heard from him again, he passed away on September 1st.

Now, I keep thinking about the whole bucket list deal, about how we all need to have wishes and dreams, just as he did.   What’s important is to act on many of these things while we can.  Just do it!  Enjoy whatever life has to offer while there is still time.  Renew friendships, apologize where needed, make peace and move beyond past transgressions, walk in the rain, savor every sunrise, every sunset and catch snowflakes on your tongue.

Live….like you were dying.

 

 

From the inspiring Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop….”What were you blogging about last year at this time?  How have things changed?”

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I cheated a bit on this prompt, choosing not to change anything from one year ago when I wrote this post.   It’s kind of difficult to change anything about this story or re-write it with a new outlook.   Easier to reflect on an old friendship from simpler times and maybe, just maybe, start adding a few things to my own bucket list….while there’s still time!

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Laughing…through tears

I’m supposed to be a Writer and, for a while, I thought I was one.  So many of us who blog come out blasting in the beginning, sometimes unable to keep up with everything we want to share.  We don’t always care who reads or leaves comments, it’s just satisfying to sit back and read our thoughts staring back on the screen in front of us.

Then, the doldrums hit.  Words stop flowing and we keep meaning to sit down and get busy with our chosen passion.  We want to write but don’t, start yet never finish and agonize over a dozen promising posts that gather cobwebs in our drafts folder.

Recently, someone I greatly admire mentioned that she missed me, asking if I was okay.  Just that one message stirred me, deeply, and I started wading through various outlines I’ve been ignoring.  Still, I continued to find excuses to write, allowing life to keep getting in my way instead of giving it free reign to whet my creativity.

Yesterday, at the salon where I work, a man called to make an appointment for his wife, explaining that she was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and that he wanted to do something special for her before taking her on a “Doo Wop Cruise” in a few weeks.  He sounded so confused, explaining that he had reached out to the Alzheimer’s Organization for help and received nothing but mailings asking for donations along with information on subscribing to their publication.  Having experienced the same response when my late mother was diagnosed, I understood his complete frustration.  He went on to explain that his wife is just 63 years old and is suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s,  a form of dementia that often moves more rapidly than what strikes the elderly.  I gave him all the short term advice that I could during our twenty-minute conversation and scheduled time for his wife with one of our best salon stylists.

Shortly after, I had the pleasure in having a conversation with one of those people who really listen, you know, the ones who ask questions and stay totally involved in what you have to say?  We briefly spoke of my writing and how this blog came to be born; we spoke about Alzheimer’s and my difficulties in being a caregiver, how I often laugh in the midst of the chaos in my life.   My inspiration became re-invented when she said…”laughing, through tears”…the title of this long overdue blog post.  I thank you, “Melanie Cricket”, and hope you stop by to read my humble offerings!

So, where have I been?  Like so many others, dealing with things I’m unable to control.  An emotional fracture, caused by foolish disagreements and outright vindictiveness, which has impacted a long-standing friendship of forty years; painful endings of new beginnings; our miserable economy and, worst of all, cancer hitting much too close to home with the recent diagnosis of my husband’s brother, his only sibling.  Each passing day has been full of debates and lectures, mixed-in with a dose of depression that lingers in the background, waiting to pound its gavel down on my existence.

It’s not the end of my immediate world, not by any means.  Countless other human beings have so much more to deal with and I’m reminded about “There but for the grace of God…” when I feel so overwhelmed.  My heart breaks and tears mix with anger over the young girl from Colorado who was robbed of the chance to grow into the beautiful woman she should have been, for those who struggle to survive on a daily basis, for those who cry for help and no one listens.

All of this will pass and I will laugh whenever possible, but, my tears won’t be far behind.

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