Seeking

Growing up, I lived on a street that had churches on three of the four corners. There was the Methodist Church, the Ripley Congregational Church, and the Presbyterian Church. Our house we pretty much dead center between all three.

My Mom was a pretty strict Catholic. I’m not sure why, but going to other church services was never encouraged. I remember wondering if “the Church” was afraid if we went to another church we would want to stop being a Catholic? I mean, did we have a choice?

In my little section of the world(quite literally), I had a unique way to learn about other Christian religions. The ministers of two of the three churches had kids who were my age. Over the years, I  had the opportunity to meet three different families. The added bonus–all of them had girls. Spread across my early childhood years were my friends Angie, Ellen, and Joyce.

My lessons were learned from a real-life, everyday perspective. I saw each family interact with each other in real-time. A heads-up for all you adults out there. Adults don’t always see kids nor do they realize how observant kids are. Nor do adults appreciate how well kids hear, not only the words said, but the tone of voice used to express them.  These things create a problem. That problem lies in the fact that what kids lack in understanding they make up for in their ability to absorb emotions. In my own life and in sharing the family lives of my friends, preacher’s kid or not, I learned that God is an equal opportunity distributor of crap.

Where does all this lead me? It made me a seeker. It made me want to learn about other belief systems and learn what their teachers have to teach me. Not just religious beliefs but what does each teacher say about our souls–our spirituality.

I have been blessed with wonderful mentors and great teachers over the years. One of my favorite teachers struggled to teach me about his Jewish faith. At the time, I was just not ready. Now I am.

This week marks the beginning of Rosh Hashana. There is a lot to learn about this high holiday. I’ll share some of what I’ve found tomorrow.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and Peace, Y’all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Handwritten Thank You Notes

Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.

Ralph Marston

I have had a list of thank you notes to write for several weeks now. Today was the day to get them done and in the mail. I am pleased to say, mission accomplished.

Why was it important for me to hand write thank you notes? It’s simple. The time and the effort put into what was given to me was too important to acknowledge with an easy email.

A handwritten note takes planning and a greater investment of time. For me, it means I have to concentrate long enough to actually spell correctly and keep my writing legible. Those two things alone are not small tasks these days. There is a plus side of a handwritten note. As I go through all those now antiquated steps of actually mailing a letter, the feelings I have will be felt just as strongly by the person taking my note out of their mailbox. What was once the primary way we communicated with each other is now a rare occurrence.

If there is someone in your life you need or want to thank, sit down and write them a REAL thank you note. The joy you feel and the rebounding joy you receive just may surprise you.

Have a good weekend.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love Y’all.

Peace

Happy Birthday, Sue

“This life is what you make it. No matter what, you’re going to mess up sometimes, it’s a universal truth. But the good part is you get to decide how you’re going to mess it up. Girls will be your friends – they’ll act like it anyway. But just remember, some come, some go. The ones that stay with you through everything – they’re your true best friends. Don’t let go of them. Also remember, sisters make the best friends in the world. As for lovers, well, they’ll come and go too. And baby, I hate to say it, most of them – actually pretty much all of them are going to break your heart, but you can’t give up because if you give up, you’ll never find your soul mate. You’ll never find that half who makes you whole and that goes for everything. Just because you fail once, doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything. Keep trying, hold on, and always, always, always believe in yourself, because if you don’t, then who will, sweetie? So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life’s a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.”
― Marilyn Monroe

Today, my youngest sister, Sue, celebrates her 60th birthday.

How is that possible?

After failing to craft some witty and original tribute or share some type of sisterly wisdom, I found these words of Marilyn Monroe. What could I add? Marilyn covered it all in one simple paragraph.

Happy Birthday, dear Sue. May you always find something to smile about and so much more.

I love you.

I am…

B…simply being…

Peace

 

 

 

Peace of Mind

“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength–carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength. 

Corrie den Boom

I am a champion worrier. I pretend I’m not but I know I do not fool anyone–especially myself.

I’ve been “concerned” about some dental issues for the past few days. I’ve been hyper aware of how each tooth felt, how my bite felt, how my sinuses felt, how I felt. These little nagging thoughts followed me everywhere–all day long and into the night. It was exhausting.

Today, I saw my wonderful dentist who spent as much time with me as I needed. After a thorough check and a few bitewings later, all was pretty much okay. I’ll be back for some follow-up work, but there was nothing even close to scary. Thank you, Dr. Lisa Martin, Diedre, and Belinda, for your indulgent, warm-hearted care.

Speaking of care, let me share another good customer care experience I had today.

When my husband and I retired, we were full-time RVers. Our three dogs are on prescription dog food, which is not always available in remote locations. I discovered I could order food and other care products through Chewy.com. Wherever we were, I could order what I needed and it was delivered to our current location.

In my last order, there was T-R-E-A-T-S (I had to spell it out in case the dogs heard me). When the treats arrived, one bag looked like the batch was over cooked. I “chatted” with Justine that day and she sent out a replacement. Did they want the original order back? No, they asked I donate it to a shelter. I wasn’t sure where the nearest shelter was so I took it to our vet. As luck would have it, one of their staff was going to Houston to help with Hurricane Harvey animal rescue. Perfect timing.

The re-order came within a day. Unfortunately, these treats looked the same. I “chatted” customer service again and sent them a picture. Isabelle was also excellent, asking me what I wanted to do this time? Because these American made treats had been part of our routine for many years. I said I would give them one more try. She put that order in while sending a note to their warehouse staff, asking them to examine the window on the bag before they reshipped.

Personal and efficient customer service is rare in our world today. For me, this is the type of service I get from this company every single time I order. When it comes time to restock your pet pantry, give Chewy.com a try.

I am…

B…simply being…

Keep the prayers going out for those in need. Stay patient. Stay kind.

I love Y’all.

Peace.

The Gift of Music

Music can touch and heal that secret wound of the soul which nothing else can reach.

Debasish Mridha

After stumbling upon this picture today, I finally figured out what my heart was missing.

Music.

Not just any ol’ music. I needed that fix that soothes me right to my core–communicates with my soul. I needed to find some Dakota Blonde.

Who?

I would have asked the same question until my husband and I went with our friends Doug and Lana, to the High Peaks Music Festival. This festival is held annually in Westcliffe, Colorado, a small community nestled in a mountain valley surrounded by the Wet and the Sangre de Christo mountains.

That September afternoon when Mary Huckins, Don Pinnella, and Tony Raddell stepped on stage, I was thrilled. Lana talked about them and shared their music with us forever. Now I was finally going to hear them for myself.  What took me completely off guard was my reaction when Mary began to sing. I began to cry. Not a dainty little cute cry–I went into a big old sob fest–and it was all good. Best therapy ever–which is also good since all three are music therapists. Who knew? Best therapy I ever had!

I share all kinds of things in this space. Today’s share came unexpectedly and is one of my favorites. The music created by these three people is powerfully simple. It is a little folk. It is a little acoustic rock. For me, I hear an underlying current of Celtic mysticism. When I listen to their music, I don’t just hear it, I experience it.

Take a listen for yourself. Visit their home page: dakotablonde.com. 

If you find yourself in the Westcliffe area the first weekend after Labor Day, check out the High Peaks Music Festival. It is a refreshing experience on many levels. The small town atmosphere, the eclectic people in the crowd, the majestic scenery, and the multi-talented musicians lined up to fill your day with joyful sounds.

I found this quote today–I just have to share.

Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio. 

Hunter S. Thompson

I am…

B…simply being…

I ask that you keep those struggling due to the fires and storms in your prayers. They all have a very long road ahead of them.

I love Y’all.

Peace

 

 

 

Where Were You?

Do you remember where you were on this date back in 2001?

For my generation, yes I am a baby boomer, we can give you that answer in a nanosecond. After we share our stories from that day, someone will begin the cascade of questions and stories about other major events that happened in their life time. My guess is many of us talked about some of those events today. Granted, some events are more memorable than others, but still worth a mention.

I wasn’t old enough to remember this personally, but my cousin Donna certainly did! She would talk about the time Elvis Presley appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show often. As she talked, she would get all dreamy-eyed and start that swaying back and forth movement.  The year was 1956. The same year Dick Clark appeared on American Bandstand for the first time. As I think about this, I gotta say I’d give them both a 98 because they had a great beat and were easy to dance to!

The Barbie doll debuted in 1959. The doll world was changed forever. Personally, this was my first lesson about knock offs. I’ll never forget the first time I played dolls with my neighbor, Ellen. My “Barbie” was the size of an Amazon woman next to her little petite real deal doll. Oh…the panic I felt when I tried to put Ellen’s Barbie’s shoes on my doll–that little plastic slip on heel fell apart in my hands.

Now, 1960, was a very important year for my future even if I was oblivious to it at the time. For the first time, the “Pill” was available to the general public. What would this decade be without this type of birth control?

In the winter of 1961, I remember sitting around our kitchen table watching a chimpanzee blast into space. In the spring of that year, Alan Shepard was the first American in space while all the newscasters talked about being in the space race with Russia. This flight would be followed by John Glenn in 1962. He who would be the first American to orbit the earth.

All these events pale in comparison to the memories I have for November 22, 1963. I was sitting in Mrs. Emerson’s fifth-grade classroom.  We had just come back from lunch. There was a knock on the door. The person at the door told our teacher that President Kennedy had been shot. This was followed by the knock a few minutes later when we would learn he had died. On that Friday, our school was quietly dismissed. We all went home where we and our families mourned while as a nation, we mourned together. It was a surreal time. There was a new feeling just under the surface. Looking back it reminds me of a scene out of those early sci-fi movies where the nice and familiar character subtly but steadily morphs into its new scary self.

The Beatles appeared for the first time on Ed Sullivan in 1964. This was the year our country began to work on equality with the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Unfortunately, in my opinion, The Beatles made a bigger impact on the future of our world than that historical and promising piece of legislation.

In the spring of 1968, I was shopping at J.C. Penney’s in downtown Waterloo. While walking up the stairs to the second floor, I heard shouts from below me saying that Martin Luther King had been assassinated. I was so shocked and sad. He had given my young heart hope. But, Waterloo was known for its racial conflicts and this spelled trouble to me. I had a long walk home and it was getting late. Being downtown was probably not the best place for me. Later that same year, I was reading in my upstairs room when I heard Robert F. Kennedy had been assassinated in California. Our world was changing faster than ever. To me, it did not feel like we were heading in a positive direction.

The summer of 1969 saw the moon landing and Woodstock. I was questioning everything and wondering what my future would hold. I was beginning to think nothing was ever going to happen for me. An Iowa version of Woodstock would happen that next summer, July 1970, and something had finally started to happen for me. I was starting my first real job. I would spend the afternoons of my senior year as a receptionist at Drs. Carl Hanson and Richard Mitchell’s office.

The 70’s brought more unease. Watergate and the attempted coverup beginning in 1972. Nixon resigning in 1974 as we watched the pain and shame reflected on him and unfairly onto his innocent family. Three Mile Island would begin a melt down in 1979, casting doubt on the future of nuclear power.

In 1981 I watched and celebrated Charles and Diana’s wedding, a fairy tale comes true in my young romantic mind. Later that same year, I was in the CCU at St. Francis Hospital, struggling to complete EKGs where I saw the news bulletin announcing President Reagan had been shot. I struggled because it was the day after a night of bowling with co-workers, a night that was filled with much more drinking than bowling. My hung over self became much more melancholy as I watched the scenes and the list of dead and wounded unfold before me.

In 1986 I was working at Children’s Hospital in Denver, covering the inpatient studies. I was walking into one of the rooms on the fourth floor when I noticed everyone in the room was glued to the television. This was the first time I became aware of being aware of people’s attention being so focused on news coverage. I learned in those few minutes that this is never ever a good sign. The screen showed a clear blue sky–the Challenger had just lifted off–and exploded. Gasps followed by silence followed by more silence. We were silent for a very long time.

1995 was the year of the O.J. Simpson trial. We all followed the drama whether we admitted it or not. When the jury came back, we all went to a central area at the hospital to hear the outcome. As I looked around at the people I had worked with for many years, I realized we had arranged ourselves in the very large room in a very distinct manner. I found I was encircled with my Caucasian co-workers while my co-workers of color were facing me across the room. The room was tense as the verdict was read. As not guilty was announced, we became even more divided–rejoicing on one side–bewilderment on the other. That bewilderment stayed with me for some time. I must admit, it remains today.

We just passed the anniversary of Diana’s death in 1997. We were on our way home from the Tetons then–a journey we repeated nearly to the day this year.

In 1999 we were in Big Bend National Park. Big Bend is beautiful. Big Bend is in the middle of nowhere. Communication is nil. On a day when the temperature was 110 degrees, a woman came up to me as we sat outside our RV. We were outside because the AC in our trailer was not working well. She said she noticed our Colorado plates and wondered if we had heard the news. We said no. We had not heard any news for a week. She then told us what she knew of the events unfolding at Columbine High School–a school where many of our friend’s kids attended. We had no way to contact anyone. All we could do was pray and cry for all involved.

Did any of my memories bring back any for you?

Anniversary days like today are painful. I am thankful that these dates are common for many of us and we can use them as times to reflect back while helping each other renew our hope for the future.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love you.

Peace

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thinking About It

Friday is always a good thing. I think I’ll sit beside the fire and share some thoughts–even if it’s just a picture of a fire from our vacation.

Tonight, more than ever, there are so many people in our country living in fear. From hurricanes, fires, floods, and the most troubling to me, young people unsure whether they will be able to stay in the country they call home. I don’t know how to help any of them other than to keep them in my prayers. I hope you will do the same.

While we made our journey to view the total eclipse, I was able to visit along the way with old friends. Thinking back on those visits, I was so impressed that they took time out of their busy days in order to spend time with me. Not only did they give me their time but they did so without carrying their phones. That was special. Thank you all.

This week I have made the proclamation daily that today would be dog beauty shop day. Today it actually became reality. As I type, I am surrounded by three rather annoyed but wonderfully clean smelling dogs.

I am…

B…simply being… 

I send you all my love and wish us all peace.

 

 

 

 

September 7, 1971

On September 7, 1971, I was one of three young women sitting in a small radiology room at what was then called, St. Francis Hospital. None of us had any idea what that day, much less the next two years, would have in store for us.

The three of us, Michele, Mary, and I, were the new class of radiology students. Michele and I had graduated from the same high school, but we did not know each other well. Mary had completed one year of college at the University of Northern Iowa after graduating the year before from Columbus. She did not know either one of us. After that bit of small talk, we shared our expectations for the day ahead–we all thought we’d be taking x-rays by the end of the day.

I mean, how hard could it be?

Our primary instructor and head of the department, Chuck, came in to take us on the official tour of the x-ray department. The department may have been small but what it lacked in size it made up for in personality.

Pat, a fiery red-head, was the most senior technologist and the person we all tried hard not to make angry for any reason. Bev, small but just as energized, was Chuck’s main go-to person and our positioning instructor. When she was introduced as that, the three of us had NO idea what that meant, but we accepted it, as we did most things, without any questions. Sue, the newest technical person in the department, was hired to work primarily in the newest area of the department, nuclear medicine. Because of that, we would not be working with her much. Chuck was quick to point out to us what nuclear medicine was, “unclear medicine” and left it at that.

Maxine was the department transcriptionist and office secretary. Looking back, I think it was Chuck’s goal to find some politically sensitive joke to tell to one of the docs as Maxine sat taking direct dictation from the radiologist. Social media did not exist so jokes and all types of other off-color stories were shared openly for all ears to hear. Being sensitive and of Polish descent, Maxine must have put in some tough days while working with all of us.

The class ahead of us was now instantly promoted to the senior position. Carolyn and Lynn would be our cheerleaders and our toughest critics–sharing their horror stories while pointing out to us how their first year was so much harder than what we were experiencing.

Tradition is a huge deal in medicine and it was for our radiology department. Incoming and outgoing radiology classes were great examples of a good ol’ boy’s club mixed with some sort of bazaar fraternity hazing ceremony. If you survived certain insane experiences you were in for the long haul. The toughest? Easy answer–call. An experience we had the opportunity to share after we had completed six months of training.

It was one long, brutal ride.

Taking call either made you or broke you. Mary and I survived, but that may have been all due to timing. Michele drew the first nightmare weekend. Working alone she had orders for in patients, ER patients, and a body in the morgue. While processing her morgue films, she walked out of the darkroom with the film bin open–meaning all the film in the bin was exposed. It was, for the most part, unusable. Once she realized this and took into account all the other things happening around her, her decision was clear. This was not the career for her. Mary and I learned about her decision the next day–we lost a classmate.

With Michele gone, we had to cover more–which meant we learned more and were exposed to more. We completed our program and were both asked to stay. Staying on where you trained has its good and bad points–we learned to work around them and we both succeeded. Mary was asked to stay to take over nuclear medicine–you know–“unclear medicine.” I stayed to pick up whatever needed to be done. I needed a job so I was ready to whatever I needed to do. Little did I know that a few years down the road the hospital would recruit a new pediatrician. That pediatrician wanted someone who could do echoes. Little did I know the magnitude of this request–I was volunteered to go to Iowa City where I learned pediatric echocardiography.

Time flew by as we both continued to learn, change, and grow. Mary moved to Cedar Rapids, retiring as the head of Nuclear Medicine just a short time ago. I moved to Denver where I was fortunate enough to do pediatric echo for 30 years.

Neither time or distance has separated us. Mary and I have been close since that first day in room 3. I love you, Mary. Our career and all the twists and turns it took us on has been the wildest of the wildest rides ever imagined. I am grateful and humbled by it all.

In one other stroke of luck, Facebook reunited the two of us with our classmate, Michele. Having Michele back in my little corner of the world gives me such a feeling of coming full circle. Love you, Michele.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love Y’all.

Peace

 

Balance

Balance is the key to everything. What we do, think, say, eat, feel, they all require awareness, and through this awareness, we can grow. 

Koi Fresco

I thought once I retired, it would be easy to find a way to balance my life. My very fast paced, busy career ended and there was nothing in my life to fill that vacuum. My life’s scales that had been tipped to the work side for so long began to tip off center and rapidly topple off-balance. I had no idea how to correct that swing and bring my new life into any sort of balance.

I found a quote attributed to Jana Kingsford that gave me a hint of insight. Jana said, “Balance is not something you find. It is something you create.”

I realized it was up to me to become aware of what I needed in my life to create balance. On the journey to Wyoming for the eclipse, I gave myself the gift of time. Time to rest. Time to really see and become aware of the beauty surrounding me. Those discoveries continue to unfold, giving me the energy needed to keep myself and my life in balance.

I am not saying I have it mastered.

I imagine, for me, the balancing act will an ongoing process and always somewhat tenuous.

I’m okay with that.

I am…

B…simply being…

Be kind and pray for each other. There are many in our country tonight who need our prayers.

I love and thank you.

Peace

 

 

 

Marie and Mom

 

I love September. It is the beginning of Fall and a month filled with family birthdays.

September 3 was my Aunt Marie’s birthday–at least that is the day we all believe to be her birthday.

Happy birthday, Marie. As usual, I am a few days late–which would be no surprise to Marie. This is the only picture I have of her. Marie is on the left. Her sister, Eve, on the right. My sister, Susan, and her two kids, Matt and Ashley are in the foreground. Of all the pictures I have saved through the different moves, this is one of my most treasured.

Marie was my Mom’s aunt and a nurse who took care of everyone in the McDonald family. At that time, the McDonald family was huge and scattered all over the country. Marie told me that her brothers and sisters never saw each other unless someone was sick or dying. Until Mom got sick, I never knew Marie or any of the extended McDonald family existed.

Mom’s illness started out innocently. Well, at least in my kid’s memory, that’s what I thought. It began about a month after the birth and death of my brother, Richard. I remember the details of those few days so well–I wonder if I subconsciously knew something was wrong.

Things were quiet as Mom recovered from the C-section she had with my brother. It was late summer and school was getting ready to start. I was looking forward to fifth grade, wondering who would be my teacher and what kids would be in my class. I heard Mom call me into the living room. She asked me to come look at the back of her neck. Could I see and feel a lump? Even my nine-year old self could see and feel that large lump. As I told her, the look in her eyes was my first experience of seeing fear. The question she asked next caught me off guard. She asked if I would go with her to the doctor’s office instead of going to the pool. I said sure. Not that I was giving up my favorite thing.  My motivation was I knew the waiting room had good things to read. I’d skip the pool if I could read adult-like stories and the jokes I knew were in Reader’s Digest!

Looking back, my adult eyes see things so differently. She must have been so afraid of what was coming next. She had just gone through a very difficult pregnancy and lost her son. She was still grieving this loss. What will happen to her three young daughters?

Looking back, I wonder why she asked me to go to the doctor with her and not my Dad? Looking back…I question many things.

We went to see the good doctor that afternoon. The little room was warm and stuffy as we waited with several other people, many sharing their stories about why they were there. HIPPA was far in the future and people shared more than even a kid really wanted to know. I was immersed in the Reader’s Digest joke section as my Mom waited. Silently. I sat close to her and she would hold my hand. Being there with her made me feel important. When she held my hand, I knew it was going to be okay.

She went back alone when Florence, the office nurse, called her name. As we left the office, the look I had seen earlier was back even as she forced a smile. She and Dr. Dalby had made plans and they were starting immediately.

This was the early 60’s and there was not a lot of hope when the word cancer was used. Mom went to the hospital and the biopsy came back as cancer. At the request of Aunt Marie and the McDonald family, Dad took her to Mayo for a second opinion. Mayo doctors confirmed and their prognosis was poor. All doctors suggested radiation so she had her series of treatments. In one of my life’s many twists and turns, I would find myself years later in that same room. I  would be a student in a radiologic technology program, doing a radiation therapy rotation at the same place she had her treatments. I don’t remember a lot about that rotation except the sound of the lock on the door when the Cobalt 60 treatment started. That heavy clunk sound still haunts me. That must have made her feel very alone.

Around Christmas, she began having severe headaches. I, too, started having migraine headaches at the same time. Mine would eventually pass. Mom’s headaches got worse. The first part of January, she and Dad went to Mayo for a follow-up visit. The news from Mayo was not good. Her cancer had spread to her brain. Because this was so serious, Mom asked Marie to come be with her. Marie arrived as soon as she could get there so Dad could come home to the three of us. Her stay seemed like forever. Because Marie would be coming home with Mom, they discharged her early. On February 14th, the anniversary date of her marriage to Dad, she came home. In my romantic young girl mind, that was perfect.

Looking back, I think it was just more irony for my parents to bear.

Mom began radiation treatments to her brain. Radiation is brutal. Her previous treatments and her recent surgery and hospital stay had taken a huge toll on her. After a few sessions, the radiologists determined that it was too much for not enough benefit. The same group of radiologists I would later work for sent a letter stating that–a letter Dad shared with me one late winter afternoon. We had gone to the post office box to get the mail. He handed it to me after he read it. I am not sure why I reacted with the intensity I did. I don’t think I really believed that the doctors couldn’t/wouldn’t fix her. I could not believe that God would take my Mom. I screamed. I cried. I swung my fists out at him. This had to be a mistake. Slowly, I started asking questions and settling down. Only then, after I was calm, did he tell me I could not tell Mom I knew. He had shared this with me against the advice of everyone in the family. I had to act normal.

It was a secret. It was a very heavy one and one I am sure I did not pull off well.

Mom recovered some after stopping radiation. Marie had gone back to Omaha and Dad and I were trying to take care of things.  I was feeling very adult and trying hard but it was obvious we were in an impossible situation. We needed help. Once again, Marie came to the rescue. She arrived just before Mom’s birthday, April 22. Mom passed away August 30. Marie and Mom waged a very hard-fought battle.

Marie cared for mom and stayed on to help our family for nearly two years. I cannot begin to imagine what would have happened to my sisters and me if she had not stayed. Not that I made her life easy–I made it an absolute hell on earth. She was there through all my pre-teen rants and rages. Marie was the only one who understood a young girl grieves the loss of her mother in some strange ways. It must have been the love she had for my Mom that gave her the patience to always try to find some way to break through the shell I had constructed around myself. I was still trying to act and be normal. Through it all, she never gave up on me.

I never thanked her enough. Oh, I went through the motions and said the appropriate words. In my usual very immature adult fashion, I was so busy being busy, I could not and did not take the time to appreciate her. On my list of regrets, this is one of the biggest ones. Now, as an older and hopefully more mature adult, I do realize and understand all the sacrifices she made for all of us.

Thank you, Marie, for giving me the guidance and care that allowed me to be the person I am today. It took decades for me to grow enough to fully appreciate all you gave me. In all the time Marie spent with me, I never told her I loved her. I signed my hastily written cards and notes to her with love–but never said those words to her.

I now know that time stops for no one or for any reason. You can be angry and sad and hurt. Put yourself away long enough to tell those you love that you love them. Just do it.

I am…

B…simply being…

I love you.

Peace