Tuesday, November 18, 2008

You Are the Everything (R.E.M.)

It's been a very strange last five days, all of which left me with there-but-for-the-grace-of-god syndrome - despite my recent job loss, I feel pretty lucky right about now...

The father of one of my daughter's best friends lost his two-year battle with cancer last week... and the wake/service was Thursday night - I could not begin to imagine their grief... and their attempt to return to normalcy. I sobbed through it all, my daughter and I holding hands as our hearts broke with each mention of his name, each glance at the family, each memory unfolding from friends' stories - the sweet spot: he lived to see his "little girl" get married a month ago, and we are all convinced he allowed himself to let go soon afterwards...

An acquaintance from church was hit by a car Friday night... and I ended up being the one the paramedics called as they were transporting her to the hospital - I phoned our minister and another friend, who met her there, and they stayed with her overnight until she was released the next morning. I visited the next day, bringing a vat of homemade chicken soup (among other food items)... and doing a bit of cleaning and organizing (more on this in my next post) in her apartment Sunday so she could navigate through the rooms/hallways with her crutches - I also took her to the doctor yesterday, who recommended surgery (which will happen Friday) on her fractured tibia. Long-story-short (too late!, as Nance would say) is that I'm exhausted from caregiving...

On the brighter side, I walked 4 days last week, skipped Friday through Monday (due to the above-mentioned circumstances), and was back out today - I'm addicted again (just hit a vein, baby!). My trek was made even more delightful by the cooler temps (by South Florida standards) - add to that the ssstttrrreeetttccchhhing I've been doing... plus walking the dog (Rocky Raccoon) afterwards... and I'm feeling very proud of my "feed the soul" regimen...

I've also received compliments on my body changes, making me extra-careful not to fall into my typical self-sabotage MO ("oh, people are telling me I look great, therefore I can stop") - rather, I'm just setting incremental goals, knowing that mid-March will be a year since I rededicated to taking better care of myself (with many blips/traps/stumbles along the way... :-)

P.S. Two more SMM posts over the weekend can be found here... and here...

Sometimes when day after day we have cloudless blue skies,
warm temperatures, colorful trees and brilliant sun, when
it seems like all this will go on forever,

when I harvest vegetables from the garden all day,
then drink tea and doze in the late afternoon sun,
and in the evening one night make pickled beets
and green tomato chutney, the next red tomato chutney,
and the day after that pick the fruits of my arbor
and make grape jam,

when we walk in the woods every evening over fallen leaves,
through yellow light, when nights are cool, and days warm,

when I am so happy I am afraid I might explode or disappear
or somehow be taken away from all this,

at those times when I feel so happy, so good, so alive, so in love
with the world, with my own sensuous, beautiful life, suddenly

I think about all the suffering and pain in the world, the agony
and dying. I think about all those people being tortured, right
in my name. But I still feel happy and good, alive and in love with
the world and with my lucky, guilty, sensuous, beautiful life

I know in the next minute or tomorrow all this may be
taken from me, and therefore I've got to say, right now,
what I feel and know and see, I've got to say, right now,
how beautiful and sweet this world can be.

QUOTE: "The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for." ~ Allan K. Chalmers


  1. what a difficult week Susan - but I see you still have your head up! Good for you. Great poem...ain't it the truth?


  2. Hey, Catherine ~

    Yeah, great poem indeed - as far as the positioning of my head, I think Ani DiFranco's song As Is best describes:

    When I look around
    I think this, this is good enough
    And I try to laugh
    At whatever life brings
    Cuz when I look down
    I just miss all the good stuff
    And when I look up
    I just trip over things

  3. yep...perspective is ALL! I'm working hard to stop looking back...I'm not headed that way!