February 2, 2021

Happy Groundhog Day! Do you feel like you’ve done this day before? #covidlife Today was a repeat day for me, too. Chemo treatment #3 in the books!

Patrick got the shoes in the picture!

As I mentioned before, I decided to dress up a bit for these appointments. This time, I wanted to wear a new pair of boots, so of course, it called for my purple wig. I questioned my choice when I sat in the waiting room getting side-eyed by my elderly cohorts. I didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. But every nurse said they loved it and even my oncologist, when he entered the exam room, exclaimed whoa! and said he thought it was great. Not that I needed anyone’s approval, but it was nice to get the reaction I was hoping for—a smile.

I’ve had so many family and friends supporting me lately by reaching out in a variety of ways, even friends I haven’t necessarily kept in close contact with. (Thanks, social media for keeping us connected!) It hit me today I’m not always so good at doing that for others. It’s not that I don’t care, but I feel self-conscious reaching out blindly. I’ve always been more comfortable listening or watching in groups and will typically interject myself only when someone asks me to. I figure, why will they care to hear from me? I don’t know what to say/do. Social media makes it easy because we can just use an emoji on a post and call it good.

But you know what? Being the recipient now, I can clearly see it does make a difference. It’s always nice to get a message when you’re going through a difficult time. It’s ALWAYS uplifting to know people are thinking of you and wishing you well. I’m grateful every time.

I like when I can make someone smile, so why do I allow myself to hold back? I’m willing to wear a silly wig, but I can’t send a short message when someone needs it? I’m thankful today for this reminder to be better. I’m going to add it to my to-do list. Maybe like Bill Murray’s character in the movie Groundhog Day, becoming a better person will get me out of this #Covidlife we’re stuck in. Wouldn’t that be great?

January 6, 2021

Isn’t he a cutie?

I’ve been tired today. It was hard to keep focus as I found myself reading then rereading work emails. However, I made it through and took a late afternoon nap.

Sometimes when you’re dealing with a lot, it’s the little things that help the most. Coffee brought to you. A text from someone checking in. Playing in the snow with the dogs. Since my diagnosis I’ve had a friend who has been so generous with the little gestures. She made sure that my birthday did not go by uncelebrated. I stopped in my office that day and she had decorated it with all sorts of 5-0 stuff. Balloons. Streamers. A blowup walker. She even brought in cake.

Then the first few weeks in December leading up to Christmas, she dropped off a gift on my doorstep, each designed to put a smile on my face. Silly toys, a t-shirt, or socks and candy, along with a gift card to one of my favorite stores. And yesterday, on my first day of chemo, she dropped off this giving bear. I love the saying on its ribbon.

She’s been such a great support, and I’m not sure she really knows it. Her thoughtfulness is an inspiration to me. It’s comforting to know she’s on my side, and I’m so grateful to have her as a friend.

April 16

You may recognize the first lines of “The Way of the World” by poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox: Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone. It’s true that it’s easy to have friends around you when things are going well; most people can handle the good days.

I’ve been blessed with a large, close family. Regardless of the moments we’ve gotten angry or frustrated with each other, when it comes right down to it, we are there for each other. And we’ve had times over the years when that’s been proven. Times when one or another of us has dropped everything and gone to be with the other. Not every family is that way. I’m lucky mine is.

But I’m also lucky to have friends I feel the same way about, especially since my family is so scattered. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had numerous people extend their condolences over the loss of my father. I’ve gotten cards from unexpected people. Hugs from colleagues. A plant delivered to my house. But what’s touched me most is that I’ve also had several close friends who checked in with me daily, sometimes several times a day. Grief manifests itself in strange ways. I’m not usually an outwardly emotional person. I don’t like to cry in public. I don’t like to draw attention to myself. I’m much more comfortable being the one other people can lean on. But I’ve found myself close to tears periodically with random triggers. A song, a card, a memory. While I feel like I’m doing ok, I know that the grieving process isn’t over. Death has a way of making you reflect not just on the life of the person lost, but on your own life. For me, it’s reminded me of the brevity of our days and reinforced my desire to live a meaningful life.  I’m sure this reflection is part of the process, but it also adds another emotional layer to an already stressful event. And I know that for other people, it’s not always easy to know what to say or do for someone during this time. Therefore, I’m so grateful to have people in my life who look beyond my I’m ok and check on me anyway. It means more to me than they probably realized.