This time. Last year

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. Philippians 4:8-9 The Message (MSG)

I like this scripture. The writer is correct. I am the thinker. I choose what my mind will be thinking about. Thoughts are not placed in my mind randomly by some outside force. I choose. Wow! I choose. I choose to acknowledge sadness and pain or to fool myself into believing I am alright. This is empowering, isn’t it?

Last year around this time, I was going back and forth to the hospital with my mom. She had achieved her goal of walking. It had been a year since a horrible fall fractured her neck leaving her to live with quadriplegia. She was now able to use a walker though. A miracle at 80 years of age.

We were planning trips again and getting ready for renovations to the home to make it more wheel chair accessible when she was diagnosed with renal cancer. She had finished her first set of successful treatments when the cancer spread to her brain. She returned to be with God on March 29. It will soon be one year.

I have thought a lot about love and grief this past year. Grief seems to acknowledge something valuable has been lost while love on the other hand seems to not recognize that anything has changed at all. In fact, when I close my eyes, my love for this special lady fills me with happiness. I almost forget all that has happened but the sadness of grief always shows up to ground me. Don’t reach for that cellphone, she is not present anymore.

Love seems to have an eternal point of view, timeless, having no beginning or ending. My childlike faith believes that grief has to be temporary. Grief seems to have only a hindsight. Some describe it as having 20/20 vision. So in my thinking, griefs hindsight gives love a foresight. Meaning I am thankful that I have loved someone so much that I refuse to just let them go. No, I am holding on to my memories, my loving wonderful memories, regardless of the tears. Too bad grief, you are only reminding me of my love for my mom. Thanks. I will keep this in mind. Oh, and since I am a Christian, I know that I will see her again. But, it still hurts and you know it.

I pass back and forth or really am tossed between these two partners everyday, grief and love. I began to think, I have to make a decision, how am I going to live with these two? Faith has helped me make the choice. The author of Philippians writes to embrace the moment and control your thoughts. I have chosen to remember.

My attitude is gratitude

I have made a decision to be open to life. I don’t have to work hard to find wonderful memories to fill my thoughts. I had a rich life with my mom. We spent quality time together. We traveled together. We shopped and talked. I have tons of stories, pictures, smiles, and laughs to share. We had lovely days. We stopped regularly and smelled the flowers. We talked about hopeful things and we always said, “I love you”. And she deposited a legacy of divine elegance in so many. So despite it all, I am grateful to have experienced God’s love for me through my mom. I will have to pass on this love to my daughter and those around me. This is how I will celebrate her life. I will live mine to the fullest, just like she did.

I miss you mom and I love you, the same as I did last year, this time.


Aging gracefully

Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days. Job 12:12 ESV

I think about age a lot. As I watch my parents aging, my friends & family crossing into their sixties, and myself (smile) a fab50, I ponder about life and what is really important. I want each day to matter. I want to embrace change, living life to the fullest. I feel the drive to commit to things with a purpose. Getting older is a fact of life but how I do it is up to my discretion.

I admit, I have some issues with time. I do not believe it has passed so quickly. I blinked and became an adult. I have had a good life. I have traveled throughout the USA and abroad. I own a home, have investments, a family, a career but I still have dreams. I am not done.

I do not recall receiving as much instruction on how to age as I received on how to grow up. Maybe it is the fear or hesitation in embracing mortality. Maybe it is assumed that as we age, we will know what to do. But I needed to search my inner-being and find the answer to how will I age gracefully? My faith in a loving creator will help. And also my belief that life is given to help us awaken to this divine truth; life continues just as love without end.

I believe, I have answered my question. Life is a journey. Being grateful and open, help me live my best life. Time isn’t bending to give me extra minutes. However by paying more attention to where I may be wasting or misusing it, it appears that I can extend it. I can live with this, hopefully a long time.


He remembers to say ‘I love you’

…in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Everyday around 3:30pm I get a call. It is my dad checking in with me. When he calls, he always says something to the effect of, “I am just checking in with our leader, number 1” (I am the eldest of three daughters). He then proceeds to tell me about his daily activities, some are real, some are not but are real to him, and how blessed he is. He remembers that my mom returned to be with God but I am not sure how clearly the funeral or her sickness are inside of his thoughts. He always ends our conversations with his appreciation for how my sisters and I are taking care of the old man. What makes these conversations so special is that I will get another call shortly after this one sharing with me the same information. My dad not remembering that he had just spoken to me. My father has short term memory loss.

My dad has always been a kind gentleman, filled with humility and grace. He has always been a servant, willing to help anyone. My dad has never met a stranger. So, today although he loses track of actions in the present moment, he has maintained a pleasantness. I am praying that he can hold on to this for a longtime. Rest assured, he is at peace with his memory. He always shares that for a man of eighty plus, he is doing good. His doctor says so too.

“Live a good honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.” Dalai Lama

I am writing the Thanksgiving blog to share with others the special relationship that I have with my dad. And for the record, it is not a burden but an honor to have taken care of my mom and now dad. As my once young vibrant father settles into being a weaker more frail octogenarian, I am thankful that I am here to share these moments and to experience the circle of life with him. I see life differently because of these experiences. I recognize that what I fill my day with will soon become the backdrop of my future thoughts and memories. Needless to say, I am making better choices now.

If you ask me is it important for my dad to remember me? The answer of course is, yes! But I know without question that my memories are just as important. I am thankful that despite all that my dad forgets, he still remembers to call me to say, ‘I love you’. Have a Happy Thanksgiving Season!