Thursday, September 29, 2016

What could you do with 94 years?

When you think about how much each of us can accomplish on a daily basis, you can just imagine what you could do in 94 years of life.  I saw my memere for the last time in this world on Monday evening. I was able to spend time with her, think about her impact on my life, thank her for being who she was and squeeze as much love into her as I possibly could. She left this world on Tuesday afternoon, yet the ripples of her life will continue on for generations. It's an amazing accomplishment if you really stop and breathe it all in. So amazing that we should all strive to create ripples on a daily basis with the main ingredient being LOVE.

Although it has been about nine years since my memere was the same mem I had when I was a child, she still continued to be special and shine her influence on other's lives. I mention her when I speak about my drive to live each day. She became an expert at living in the moment, not due to choice, but to circumstances she was given. It is through her that I genuinely learned how to do the same. It was easy for her to see beauty. She loved walking around the yard to see the flowers, watching the glitter sparkle on a homemade gift hanging from the window, seeing her daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters dressed in pretty clothes, and enjoying meals her sons brought over especially for her.  

Memere resided with my parents for the past 9 years and my family and I were blessed to share many visits with her. In her later years she continued to be a strong and funny woman who spoke with pride about her past and with love and affection for her family. She considered herself blessed on a daily basis. "Look at this, isn't this great to have such a family?"

Yes, Mem, it sure is.

Some may think it would be a burden to care for an aging parent, but my mother and father saw it as quite the opposite.

My mom would leave for work each day and consistently Memere would compliment her on how nice she looked. Daily, she'd thank her for the good food and again, consider herself lucky to have a family like hers. It's not to say that there weren't some hard days, but there were always blessings shared...and always "I love yous" exchanged each night.  

It was my mom's mission to help my memere live out the rest of her life as happily and contently as she could. She achieved just that, even to the very end. Anyone who knows my mom (and dad) knows they are expert givers; others are always the priority. Mom continuously loves with her whole heart and is happiest doing for others. To be a witness to such selfless love with my mem was certainly a gift to me and anyone else who saw it.

The younger memories I have of my grandmother remind me of how clever, creative and smart she was. She could create things without patterns just by looking at them. Things like Christmas Villages, my crocheted wedding bells, knit hats and scarves and an old childhood quilt will help to keep all the memories close to my heart.

 I remember making surprise visits on some Saturdays to ask Mem to make crepes. I remember the handmade raspberry jam we rolled in the middle and the watered down orange juice we were served. I remember how my grandfather would help with serving us and I especially remember how it felt so special to be a part of their day.

Hopefully I'll be able to get the recipe mastered and even be able to make crepes or pies for my own children one of these days, but I'm not sure they'll be as good as I remember them. 

Saying Goodbye is not easy, especially when you have a memere who's been part of your life for 44 years.

Mem, I will miss an infinite number of  things about you. 
I will miss hearing the pride in your voice as you talk about your parents and 10 brothers and sisters.
I will miss hearing about about how lucky you are to have such a "close family".
I will miss your spunk and sense of humor.
I will miss your compliments.
I will miss watching you find simple joy in each day. 
I will miss taking selfies with you.
I will miss my children getting to grow up beside you(but feel so blessed to have had you this long).

I will miss kissing your cheek and telling you I love you.

I will miss YOU.xo

Although you have so many fans here on this Earth, I believe your biggest fan has been waiting a very long time for you. Tell Pepere we send our love and kisses. There's no need to tell him to take good care of you, because we know for sure he will.

Rest in Peace Sweet Memere, I love you to the moon and back.  

And by the way, I hope I have inherited some of your kick ass strength. I've never met a stronger 94 year old.

"Whenever you deeply accept this moment as it is - no matter what form it takes- you are still, you are at peace."

-Eckhart Tolle

Thursday, September 22, 2016

It's my birthday!

Here we go again. It's been almost a month since my last post. I continue to heal from the brain radiation and it has become a bit more difficult for me to express myself. I'm a slower thinker, I have terrible word retrievel, my balance and strength are not what they used to be and I'm just plain tired most of the time. Using our brains is hard work, and for me that's even more evident and exhausting.  That being said, I'm doing ok and the doctor is confident that the procedure worked. We will know for sure in October when I have my brain scan.

But Friday is my birthday and we are going to celebrate...the everyday moments of life. And I will proudly announce that I turn 44, because folks, getting older is a privilege. 

 While thinking of my big 44 coming up tomorrow, I was also reminded of the gifts I have received from people on a daily basis. 
 I have been gifted by family, friends, and complete strangers since being diagnosed with MBC. Here is a short excerpt from the past 16 months. Maybe you're interested in continuing to spread the kindness? I didn't wanted to start with too extensive a list in one post, so for now, here are 10 ideas.  

 Gift Ideas 
(not in any particular order except for #1)
and maybe I should also admit that my favorite gifts are the ones that do not cost a cent, but maybe just a bit of time.


2. Handwritten cards and notes

3. Handmade gifts (from kids and adults)

4. Messages through email, Facebook and texting (short, long, or in between).

5. Flowers and plants (anything to show life's beauty).

6. Jewelry. Lisa Leonard is my favorite site.

7. I'm a quote girl and when it's paired with artwork, it's even better. Valerie Wieners and Kelly Rae Roberts are two of my favorites.

8. Organic Tea and Tea Cups are good for tea drinkers.

9. Comfortable attire is always a good choice. Things like socks, slippers, and pajamas pants are some of my favorites. 

10. Kindness...which seems to be a consistent theme with all these ideas. I'm a recipient of this priceless gift daily.

Happy Birthday to me, now go out and do something kind for someone...create ripples that are infinite, and spread the love. 

And, I have one last birthday wish for me, perhaps it's a tad selfish, but before ending your day tomorrow, educate someone about Metastatic Breast Cancer.  I'm wishing for many more birthday posts in the years to come, all written by me.   

Here is a great link to share. 

Thank you all for being the best damn support system a girl could have, much love. 

"The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate."
-Oprah Winfrey

PS Look for information, coming soon, about our fundraising opportunities for MBC.