Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Eve

I suppose that it is natural on this particular day to sit back and ponder on the soon to be "old" year.

As years go, I really don't have much to complain about. My immediate family is all together and relatively well, given their ages and stages. My health, though not wonderful, is at least stable and I can happily say that I have not had to go to the ER ONCE this year! That is big, considering that there was a time when I knew the ambulance crews by name and they could remember where and when they picked me up the previous time.

Finally getting my disability has given me back a small measure of financial independence. That has been a blessing for sure. Now I can work on getting out of some of the debt I incurred as I lost the ability to work steadily. Medical bills add up FAST!

I am continuing to learn how to manage my myasthenia gravis with more efficiency and hopefully, more grace. It can actually be viewed as a gift at times. If nothing else, it has forced me to slow down and figure out what is REALLY important. I simply don't have the energy to deal with what is not. I wish my friends would take a day to reflect on what they would do differently if they faced the onset of an incurable neuromuscular disease tomorrow. What would they do differently today?

I went through a wonderful course called "The Artist's Way" at a local Episcopal church that really broadened my horizons. I made new friends there that I am keeping in touch with.

I have also had the opportunity to meet more of my RML friends in person and see some of the ones I had already met once again. I rejoiced with one at the marriage of her son, and wept with another at the loss of her beloved father. We have celebrated good grades, held our breath over medical test results, commiserated over ornery spouses and children, and even talked about food on occasion!

I have been able to enjoy the children in my life. Although the oldest niece is doing her teenage thing, she still loves her KK. Nephew will still be seen with me and occasionally go to a movie with me. Next door neighbor, Sam, is here frequently, and little Anna wants to come to Aunt Karen's and bake cookies. Being childless myself, it feels good to leave a bit of an imprint on the next generation.

If 2007 is this good, I will have no real complaints.



Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Visiting Gravesites

I just got a call from my dad. He was upset because the cousin he asked to take the Christmas tree off my mom's grave in Hazlehurst called to report that there was no tree on her grave today. It's OK. My sis had gone down there and taken it off.

Then Dad proceeded to lecture me for not going to visit Mom's grave. First of all, let me say that Mom's grave is located a two hour round trip away. Most of the roads are two lane and winding. And, (anyone who knows me will understand why this is important ) there are not many bathrooms on the way! Dad and my sis have pretty much taken care of the site and that has been fine with me. I have no big need to visit my mom's grave.

I would rather spend my time doing things Mom would have done. Cooking for friends having a hard time. Tending the grave of my friend Elizabeth, who had no one. Singing at the local nursing home. Sending cards of encouragement. To me, these things seem more important than going and staring at a piece of stone that only marks where mortal remains are. My mother's spirit is not there.

I like to think that part of Mom's spirit is in me. And I don't need to drive two hours to find it.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Early Christmas Gifts

It's not Christmas yet, but I have already received several very nice gifts.

The first gift is finding out that my darling Stepmom does not have kidney cancer!

The second gift was getting an e-mail from an old sleep apnea list buddy. Every time there is a long lag between e-mails, I fear that he has died. But, tonight I got a lovely e-mail and picture from this sweet man who handles many illnesses with grace.

The third gift is that my cancer friend and former long time next door neighbor is having several good days in a row, just in time to enjoy his holiday.


I don't need anything to open on Christmas morning. My gifts have already arrived.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Concern

Two of the most precious people in the world to me are having medical tests today. My sweet stepmom, who has been so good to my Daddy, is having a second round of MRI's to check out a mass on her kidney. I am praying that this is nothing and that she will be around to make Daddy happy for many years to come.


The second person is my sister's precious mother-in-law. When my sister's kids were born, we all began calling her Granna. Granna has been in my family since my sis and her husband began going together when they were 14. They have been together for 30 years now, and Granna has been there for my family ever since. She has been unfailingly supportive and caring through the loss of my mom and grandmother, Daddy's prostate cancer, and my illnesses. I can't even begin to imagine life without her.


This, along with Dad's recent surgery have really brought home that this generation is aging at a rate that is just too fast for me. These people are my "human" anchors through the storms of life. I'm just not ready to lose any of them.


May all the tests be negative. Please.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Christmas Cards

One of my favorite things to do at this time of year is to send Christmas Cards. In these days of vanishing traditions and too much hustle and bustle, I make it a point to send out hand addressed, personalized cards. This year, all the folks on my personal card list are getting them hand painted as well.

There are many reasons cards are special for me. They tell my friends and family that at this most busy time of year, they are in my thoughts. They (hopefully) provide a note of cheer for those who struggle with the holidays. And they are something special that I can do for people who do so much for me during the course of the year.

I even get a kick out of picking out the stamps for my cards. Religious for my Christian friends and snowflakes for friends who are of another faith or who are non-observant. Then, I apply my personally designed return address labels and they are ready to go.

A little much? Maybe. But if each person who receives a card from me feels even a tiny bit of the joy I get from creating and sending them, it is well worth the effort.

And even if nothing else gets done around here for the holidays, I am happy.