Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


3 Comments

Re-connecting

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to have not one, but two birthday parties. I mean hey, 50 is a big deal, right? The first night was at my favorite Mexican restaurant and we had about 25 people come for dinner. After we went to a bar that had a dance band. My friend laughed and said I was one of the youngest people there but we had a great time. That night, someone came up behind me to wish me a birthday and I had to stop and think. She reminded me she and her partner used to be clients of mine. I was so very happy to see them. I was honored they would take the time to come up to me, and I was truly thrilled to see they were still together. Later, I watched them dance together and they were just delightful to watch. Made my heart warm.

Darcy's 50th birthday-Darcy, Catherine

Darcy's 50th birthday- Michelle, Darcy, Cathy, Catherine, Onalee, Carla

Darcy's 50th birthday-Catherine ,Missy, Michelle, Onalee, Darcy, Karen

Toward the end of the evening, one of my students from the master’s program showed up. I know she drove a long way. She couldn’t even stay, but she wanted to say hello and give me a hug in person. I couldn’t believe it.

The second night, I had an informal gathering back in Niagara county where I grew up. Almost 25 people came that night too. This group was my family, friends, and mostly high school friends. It was a mini-reunion of sorts. I figured most of them will be turning 50 this year too, although some of them had already beat me. Most of the night was filled with people I don’t get to see very often. One of my closest friends from high school (although she went to a different high school) totally surprised me by coming. I haven’t seen her since… well, I don’t exactly know when. It’s been a very long time. She looked EXACTLY the same, hadn’t aged a bit.

A couple of the girls I was a cheerleader with. That brought some laughs and eye rolls. One girl was a year older than me and I was pleasantly surprised to see her as well. But the real shock came when she told me she reads my blogs and loves them. She said I write with honesty (or something like that). I had no idea she even read them or knew I had a blog. I was so humbled by that. And today when I was weary and didn’t feel like writing, I remembered her comment and it brought a huge smile to my face and enthusiasm to write.

Another girl I didn’t recognize at first. She reminded me she had moved in our later years of school. I had plenty to drink throughout the night, but I was aware enough to remember several comments she made throughout the night. She was truly grateful to have connected with me on Facebook and then be invited to our get together. She had such kind things to say about me and how I behaved in high school. There are actually some traits I seem to have carried on into adulthood and they are actually GOOD ones. So many things we hope we grow out of. She also made my heart warm to think that I could make others feel good without even knowing I was doing it.

One of my friends organized most of this. Created the event, bought cupcakes, you know the drill. She has been having a really tough time lately, but in spite of that, she made sure I had a great birthday. I hope to return the favor soon when her birthday arrives. I love you girlfriend!

I could go on and on. My deepest thanks to all of you who sent cards, gifts (even though I said no gifts!), drove out in the snow, or drove a long way to be part of my milestone birthday. Whether I see you often or once every few decades or so, I appreciate you. I love people, I invest in people, people are my priority. Whether I mentioned you specifically in this blog or not, I was humbled by all the outpouring of love and friendship. Don’t ever think when I fall into the abyss here and there when my depression gets the better of me, that I have forgotten the treasure of friends. I don’t. I swear, I don’t, not even when I’m down and out.

Hugs and kisses to all!


Leave a comment

Laughter

One last commentary on my high school reunion.

About an hour before I was leaving to go, I was getting ready and I suddenly felt my eyes fill up with tears. I remembered that Tim and I went briefly to the reunion five years earlier, but he had been diagnosed and wasn’t feeling well. It was great to see everyone, and many of my friends came to his benefits and stayed in touch with us throughout the rest of our journey. It started to hit me that an awful lot of life had been lived in the last decade. Not just for me, but for many others as well. I wondered if I would see them and just burst into tears.

What I found, was that indeed, many of us had changed. We had been through the fires of life. But the beauty of it was that instead of being beaten down, there was an appreciation for life and laughter and new priorities. It was unspoken, but I felt it.

One of my classmates had lost her mom. I remember when it happened. She had reached out to me and sent one of those apologies that basically said she had wished she had been more supportive when Tim was sick. Until you go through it, you just don’t realize the impact that cancer has on your life. I assured her she was plenty supportive and we had an entire community around us. But I felt for her and the tremendous loss she was suffering.

While we were hanging around at the reunion, she got telling a story about the funeral. She was able to laugh about it and had all of us cracking up. The gist was something like this: “So how the hell does a person know what the protocol is for a funeral home? I give this guy my mom’s dress and her wig. How weird is that?  Here’s my mom’s clothes and hair. But then he asked me where her bra and underwear was. I had no idea I was supposed to bring that stuff too.” Only she was much funnier than I am re-telling it. Being the anti-bra woman who I am, I advocated for letting the poor woman be free without the damn thing. But the point is, being able to embrace the story and even smile when doing so.

Later, two of my friends that have survived breast cancer ended up sitting at the picnic table together. One of them was the definite life of the party I’ve mentioned in earlier blogs. She started this thing where she would point to our friend and say “cancer”, point to herself and say “cancer”, and then point to me and say “grieving widow.” Then she’d look at the poor sap sitting next to us and say, “So what have you got?” Invariably, they would say something like, “I got nothing.” and she would quip with, “Aw, maybe by the next reunion you will have something.” Again, it doesn’t translate well in writing, but while we were there, we were all drowning in laughter. She found a way to talk about the elephant in the room. She fully embraced it, found the sweet with the bitter, and we were all better for it.

The girls got telling stories about how they torture their sons with it too. One has three boys, the other has two. (Remember the hand sanitizer blog?) Boys, can you help with the laundry? Grumble, no. But I have cancer!  MOM!!! They said it worked wonders with them.

When we were leaving, my dear friend reminded me that I really needed to call her and stay in touch. I lovingly reminded her that I have called her several times over the years and she rarely calls back so I stopped trying. She looked at me, cocked her head, and said ever so sweetly, “Oh… but I have cancer.” I called her a witch and we hugged goodbye.

Perhaps you think this is all morbid, but if you think so, it may be because you haven’t experienced it up close yet. I find it completely refreshing and I couldn’t have been more proud of all those strong, beautiful women I have a history with. You go sistas!

Roy-Hart 30th reunion- Cyndi Barker, Todd & Dawn Arnold

Roy-Hart 30th reunion- Chrissy Ball and hubby

Roy-Hart 30th reunion- Melinda Keirsblick, Darcy


3 Comments

Aging…

Last weekend I attended my ten-year high school reunion. Ok, I mean 20. Ok, no more lying. It was my 30. 30! How can that be when I am barely even 30 years old? LOL…

There was a big difference between the 20 and 30, at least in my opinion. Two days before the event, my high school friend from Florida called and left an excited message. Am I excited? What am I going to wear? I chuckled and called her back. I am one of those people who absolutely loves these types of events. I knew I would have a great time. I knew I would talk to every single person that attended. That’s what I would do because that is just who I am. But what am I going to wear? Ha, I had no idea.

I was part of the committee for the 20th. We met for months planning every detail. And they took me shopping. I’ve never been a clothes/hair/nails girl so my peeps took me out for a makeover. We even picked out the jewelry. Planned for months.

But life changes. I knew months ago I would never lose weight. I’d figure out what to wear a half hour before I got in the car to leave. And I would hope I had some decent choices that were actually clean. I did splurge on a pedicure. I had gotten a gift certificate at Christmas and had saved it for this very week. It wasn’t because I wasn’t excited about the reunion. I was. But I had other life to live right up until I got in my car.

The first night was at a bar. It was hilarious, watching us all. We all greeted each other and proclaimed how the other hadn’t aged a bit. And some of us really didn’t age much. But let’s face it. We are all a little more wrinkly, a little heavier. Oh yeah, and our memories are failing us.

When you aren’t in a private bar, that meant anyone that walked in was fair game. We would all talk under our breath. Is that someone we know? Did we go to school with them? One of us would recognize someone and the other would frantically say, “Name?” and so the other would loudly say hello, announcing that person’s name so everyone else nearby knew who the hell they were.

One couple walked in and I recognized the woman as a relative I barely know. I walked up to her and asked if she was here because of the reunion and she said no, she was just out with her date. Ok. So I tell everyone nope, we didn’t graduate with them so take them off the radar. Then I found out later in the evening that her date DID graduate with us. Duh. She could have said that.

Another couple walked in and all the whispering started again. Someone said they recognized the guy and he was someone who was a year ahead of us. But that meant he was married to one of our classmates. And it didn’t look like her. Man, had she changed. But we all had enough doubt that I finally just walked up and asked. The guy was the guy’s brother. So the wife wasn’t our classmate. We were wrong on both counts. I told them it was very cruel to be present at a high school reunion where we have all already lost half of our minds and our memories. Showing up and looking like someone we know was too much to wrap our brains around. They laughed of course.

The funniest part of all, was watching how many of us- men and women alike- can’t see a damn thing without our cheater glasses. People were trying to read their phones and had them held so far away, they may as well have put them on the ground. Everyone was sharing their glasses to look at photos on phones of kids or grandkids.

The big joke of the night, was this:

11745754_1140922459257292_8337838804229008389_n

Our life of the party classmate, had this hand sanitizer that came out during the night. She said she has three teenage boys in her house so she is so no dummy. As if that wasn’t funny enough, it got passed around throughout the night. But no one could read the damn label without reaching for their glasses. So I just watched it get replayed over and over again and cracked up every time.

The best time, was when a bunch of us girls were sitting on the patio picnic bench. There was a screen that you could see through into the bar. The bottle got tossed into the group of guys at the bar. One of the wives told her husband to look at it and we were all laughing. So he started laughing. His wife said, “He has no idea what it says. He doesn’t have his glasses on but he’s pretending he can read it.” Sure enough, the next guy gets his glasses on, reads it, cracks up and then hands his glasses to the hubby. Now he reads it for real and about falls over laughing.

I don’t know if this all reads as funny as it really was. Sometimes you just had to be there. I told my classmates at the end of the night that they have given me blog material for months. So stay tuned!