This is my favorite time of year. Nearby mountains cloaked in winter white. Gaggles of geese discussing where to winter. Breaking trail in snowshoes. Family and friends gathering and giving thanks and eating way too much pie and lighting candles and opening gifts and ringing in a New Year.
And yet, the holidays without a job, without our health, with missing loved ones just aren’t the same.
Dear Gary —
It’s been four years since you left this earth for a cancer-free, pain-free existence in heaven. You were concerned about leaving me, so you hung on longer than predicted.
I have a sneaking suspicion you now know that I’m doing well.
Today, September 28, is National Good Neighbor Day. This thought from NationalDayCalendar.com:
It is a blessing to have a good neighbor, but it is even a greater thing to BE a good neighbor.
What if we made it our goal to be a good neighbor year-round?
It’s infinitely more comfortable to wrap the security blanket of my routine around me — with stacks of books and pots of tea nearby — than it is to travel alone without my best friend/tour director/husband.
And so, I booked a cruise to the last frontier as a brave-making venture. Alone.
All photos by Marlys unless otherwise noted
Psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth—author of Grit: the Power of Passion and Perseverance—defines grit as:
Not just resilience in the face of failure, but also having deep commitments that you remain loyal to over many years.
Being a caregiver was one of the most challenging and sweetest roles I’ve ever held. The challenging part was in the beginning, when terminal cancer was dropped on us from a high-flying bomber we didn’t see coming.
A year later—after my husband, Gary, finally admitted his fears and feelings of failure as a man—we sorted things out, determined to live more fully, found ways to give back, and made more fun and memories. That was the thunderous, sweet, majestic part.
If given the assignment to share tips from my cancer caregiving years, and if the assignment required an alphabetized list …