Many years ago, I was working on a research study evaluating the efficacy of bullying prevention program for elementary schools. To do this kind of research, schools must be recruited for participation. I was placed in charge of the task of contacting schools and districts as well as making presentations onsite. If memory serves, I made over 50 presentations. (In perhaps another post, I will write more about this. I enjoy public speaking but this was a very high pressure situation. Basically, I threw up about 2o minutes before nearly every presentation though I think I did a good to excellent job with everyone. Looks can be deceiving. A person can be funny, informative, and relaxed, and still have thrown up 20 minutes earlier. You just never know about another person’s life, just by looking.)

One of the presentations was to all elementary principals in a particular school district. After I was completed, there was a bit of time for one on one conversations. There was one principal who made a bee-line for me. She gave me the kind of handshake that starts as a firm “how do you do” and turns quickly in a seemingly never ending grip. Meanwhile she was earnestly telling me about her school. My co-worker, Truc, was also there. Truc observed this action intently; Truc is an excellent observer as well as being very funny. Later Truc said, ‘Elizabeth, she was saying, “Please, Elizabeth you must help our school. You ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN HELP US!”‘

School principals have very demanding jobs with a lot of rushing around. That principal had a story to tell me and she was going to hold onto me until she had a chance to finish and could see that I understood.

Back in days as a researcher, that kind of poignant social interaction was rare. In my clinical life in private practice, especially as a psychologist with a specialty in diagnostic assessment, it is a frequent occurrence.

Everyone has a story, a life story. Families in need, need to tell their story. Some of them do not know where to start. Some of them don’t know how to stop. Both of those extremes keep me on my toes. In particular, parents and their teen children who engage in self-harmful and life threatening behaviors carry an incredible urgency in their stories. This is not my treatment specialty but within my diagnostic specialty, suicidality is much more prevalent than in the general population, especially for girls. So I encounter this situation with some frequency and help families secure appropriate services, which unfortunately, are in short supply.

Parents of suicidal teens are some of the most isolated people you will ever meet. They have a story that they are afraid to tell for fear of being judged harshly, among other reasons. Given the way that many people judge teens and their parents, it is a realistic fear, unfortunately. Sometimes we see another person’s tragic situation and blame them for it. To believe that they have control over it makes us feel safe.

I have heard many stories from parents, so many in fact, that I can tell you one that story is based on many.

I am incredibly alone. My house is full of people and each of us are shell shocked and alone. The loneliest moments are when we are yelling at each other.

I have met many many healthcare providers. I have gotten anywhere between 10 and 50 minutes to tell my story. There is so much to say, much more than I ever thought there would be to say in my life, ever.

You are a stranger to me but I need to tell my story. I will trust you with my helplessness. I will trust you with my failures as a person and as a parent. I will trust you with my shame at times for the unspoken regrets I have about ever choosing to be a parent. Bringing this child into the world has been painful and ungratifying but I will try to move try to move Heaven and Earth to save him.

I will trust you the best that I can. Sometimes I may not do a very good job. Three seconds later, I may do a good job again. My emotional life is like that; it is lived three seconds at a time, either dealing with, waiting for, or trying to ward off the next crisis.

I will do this because it is my job, to put myself second when my child is sick, so very sick that she may take herself from this world before she really even knows who she is, where she is, or the things that can heal with maturity.

Please help us.

We want a different story to tell.

I watched the Oscar winning film, Man on Wire, a couple of years back. It is a documentary about Philippe Petit’s high wire stunts, in particular, his 1974 high wire act between the tops of the former Twin Towers in New York City. It is a mesmerizing film.

Mssr. Petit’s balance was AMAZING. It wasn’t exactly as if he were walking on solid ground, but it was about as solid as one could possibly be under the circumstances.

I frequently find myself in very stressful circumstances. Sometimes, I am able to keep my balance and walk as if the ground is as solid as it could possibly be. Unlike Philippe Petit, I have not sought out these dangers. He had to have constructed a very different reality to justify his actions. I thought of his friends and family and how painful it would be to be a part of his life. Then I figured that anyone who could actually tolerate being with him must share in at least a bit of his acrobatic justifications. I don’t remember if this topic was addressed in the film but in my imagination I see his wife indoctrinate, I mean, explain to their young son (in English with poor French accent because this is my imagination), “Aaah, your Papa cannot stay on the ground. For him, it is a death. When he dies, he want to be…ALIVE.”

But I digress…

I find myself lately flailing a bit, having a hard time keeping my balance. When I flail, it is not pretty. Sometimes, I fall on my ass and stay there until the pain and embarrassment subside. At other times, it is more like a tap dance on a small stage. I shuffle, I step. I keep testing the ground for firmness, trying to find the right place for right now. It all seems very much on display. I can continue to struggle to find my footing even while I am experiencing a positive situation. It’s the ups and the downs that get me. If something positive happens after a negative, I sometimes find myself doing a little dance routine, “Hey friends and family, who I have depressed and worried with my tales of woe, look at me! Look at me! I am having THE BEST time. Ta da!!!!!!  I was good, right? Isn’t this great?”

Sometimes the level of observation I do is incredibly helpful. At other times, it enhances my self-consciousness and minimizes any chance of ease I have in the moment. This is a long-winded way of saying that I sometimes think too much.

I’m not quite sure how to get out of this mode. I know that it is fear based. (The nightmares I had over the weekend were a tip off. See, I am a professional. ;) ) I am feeling the urge to apologize to people but when I really think about what I could have possibly done to hurt anyone it is that I have been flailing and awkward. I haven’t really done anything and I know from years as  a frequent flailer that the best way to increase the awkwardness that flailing creates is to apologize. If my awkwardness was all internal, my apologizing just confuses other people. They don’t know what the Hell I am talking about. And then I end up trying to explain myself and as the words come out of my mouth I realize that I am flailing in circles. Alternatively, the other person provides reassurance that I have not been awkward and flailing or that my awkward tap dance was completely understanding. This kind of reassurance can be a drug to us reassurance-seeking types and actually reinforce anxiety. The better course is to move on and keep going.

Eventually, I regain my footing.

I had a wonderful three day weekend with my family at the beach. That is, during the day. Saturday and Sunday nights were full of nightmares. As I mentioned yesterday, three years ago yesterday, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a wonderful day yesterday, during the day. Last night I dreamed that I had a scan and that there was evidence of a recurrence. I spoke with a radiologist on my dream phone. I can’t remember quite what he said, but I recognized it immediately as a segue to bad news. I told him, “You are saying that to tell me that my cancer has come back!” He admitted that he had. Healthcare professionals, for the record, I am also a deliverer of bad news. I know your tricks, especially when it is  dream and my unconsciousness is writing the story.

In the dream, my husband looked at a written report and in a tone that communicated a lack of sufficient concern, he said, “It says here that it is an 18 meter mass.”

I grabbed the paper and saw that it said that it was a .18 meter mass. “Oh my God, John! It’s a .18 meter mass, not an 18 meter mass! That means it is a 1.8 centimeter mass NOT 18 METERS!”

(Dream mind does not always move the decimal point correctly, I admit. I also think dream mind perfectly illustrated the most stupid of the stupid marital disagreements, the one that MISSES THE POINT. I have DREAM CANCER GOD DAMMIT! Stop fighting with your husband. Neither one of you know how to treat DREAM CANCER!)

People, you get it. My brain is working crap out. Mom, if you are reading along, my brain needs to work crap out. I am doing my very best to keep the crap to a minimum. It is easier during the day time. I had a wonderful day yesterday and a wonderful today. I have less control over the worlds that my brain creates in my dreams.

This year was easier than last year. Perhaps next year will be easier than this year. Healing is a process that is approximately linear over time. But it has its fits and starts.

This morning, John and I took a walk on our own. That time together, along with the sweet historic buildings, and the beautiful farmland, did much to quell the nightmares.

I wish I did not still have them, but I do.

I am, in sum,  a pretty happy person. It has been awhile since I let the fears in my nightmares ruin my waking hours. I didn’t do that today, either.

Living with the uncertainty of life, the horrible, the traumatic, all of the things that I have experienced thus far, for me, is not about pushing it out of my mind. I can’t! My mind does not work that way. If I can’t notice both the good and the bad, I can’t help people as a psychologist. I can just spout platitudes that are not true and do not honor the hardship that many people experience.

And if I don’t notice and validate the good and bad in my own life, I can’t live with the kind of truth that gives me a sense of purpose and integrity.

I need to notice and remember in my life. But I’m living, too.

And pretty darned well if you get right down to it.

My selection of a  Boho Chic outfit thumbs its nose at nightmares!

My selection of a Boho Chic outfit thumbs its nose at nightmares!

The gentle farmland is decidedly not nightmarish.

The gentle farmland is decidedly not nightmarish.

Even pink, in its original form, is not scary to this breast cancer survivor.

Even pink, in its original form, is not scary to this breast cancer survivor.

Yes, I know that I already posted that today is the third anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis. But I wrote that post yesterday to mark the day, just in case I didn’t feel like writing. But it is now the real day, my family is still sleeping, and I have more to say.

I slept solidly last night and woke up well rested. However, I had nightmare upon nightmare. They basically boiled down to losing everyone and everything in horrible ways. I was uninvited to one of my very best friends weddings FOR NO REASON except that it was suddenly decided that I was a bad person. My daughter, in a moment of anger, made a false report of child abuse against me. She then realized the horror of what she had done when my psychology license was suspended but in nightmare land, the wheels of motion could not be turned back. There was also a weird little dream where I walked into Costco (nightmare!) and the store layout had been totally changed (nightmare times two!) I was then instructed by a woman at the makeup counter to use red lip liner on both my lips and along my eye lid. The last little dream may have had something to do with my daughter’s contraction of pink eye last week. The brain does weird weird things, let me tell you.

Not everyone is impacted by anniversaries of bad events the way that I am. And it’s not like I am sitting with a calendar, marking the days so that I remember. I have one of those brains that is very good at marking the passage of time. This is often a very handy brain feature. I am a good planner, for example. My good friend, Gina, died over 15 years ago, suddenly, a few months after giving birth to her son. It happened in August. Although enough time has passed that I don’t remember the exact date or the exact number of years,  I still often have a mournful feeling in my body near the date of her death. August is also the month of my mastectomy and another very bad day in my life. On August 8, 2013, I found myself at work suddenly crying uncontrollably, after which I realized that it was the first anniversary of my mastectomy.

August 2014 was hard because we were on vacation and I found myself extremely anxious being away from home. My psychologist suggested that we avoid taking vacations during the anniversary times of bad events. I went back and forth about going away this weekend, Memorial Day Weekend, because of its overlap with my diagnosis date. (Yes, people, I not only got my cancer diagnosis right before a three day weekend but before one perfect for making war metaphors.) I actually made a number of reservations in the last few months and then cancelled them. When my husband was gone for 10 days, earlier in this month, I decided that anniversary or not, I needed to get away for my own sanity so I made reservations that could not be cancelled without a huge financial penalty.

On Friday, we made the drive to the rental house. We left at 3:00 pm and I expected given the fact that it was a holiday weekend that it would take at least 2 1/2 hours to get there to allow for an extra hour of traffic. Our first surprise was that my daughter, who finds car trips to be incredibly stressful, was actually pleasant on the drive. Our second surprise is that the trip only took two hours. When we walked into the house, my husband, seeing the gorgeous view out the back of the house, to which is attached with a wraparound deck, exclaimed, “This is the best place you have every gotten for us, hands down.”

Yesterday, we had a wonderful day. My daughter was in a good mood, the best I have seen for months. She SPENT TIME WITH US. She actually sat down at the dining table to eat lunch and invited my husband to join her. She played on the beach despite the availability of Internet! Sometimes, when I have a wonderful day, it can actually be a bit dysregulating, especially if it comes after a particularly stressful time, as this vacation has. Although it’s mostly good, this is the time when I’m most likely to get emotionally sloppy with my friends. “You are the BEST FRIEND IN THE UNIVERSE!!!” It’s not like I’m not sincere but you know, there’s a time and a place for everything and sometimes I act drunk on emotion. Good thing my people love me and are understanding.

Today may be a hard day. Today may be a wonderful today. Today may be both hard and wonderful. I may even get bored. I am hoping that today will be a celebration.

The view from the rental house at low tide.

The view from the rental house at low tide.

The view of the house from the beach.

The view of the house from the beach. The decks are amazing. I want to have a seafood party at this house!

Scene from historic La Conner, WA, taken with the watercolor setting on my camera. I decided that might look nicer on a gray morning.

Scene from historic La Conner, WA, taken with the watercolor setting on my camera. I decided that might look nicer on a gray morning.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. Today I am exactly 49 1/2 years old. Today is a new day. Three years ago today, at about 10:00 am, I was told that I had an approximately 1 centimeter tumor, invasive ductal carcinoma, in my right breast. I was about as surprised as I could be. I had only a limited idea of how my life would change. Today is today. I am spending it in rural Washington, on the beach. Yesterday was a wonderful day, much better than I expected. Today, I may be in the mood to write, I may not. (I wrote this post yesterday.) I am hoping that today is a good day. I try to be grateful for each day. I mostly succeed.

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The view from the rental house in La Conner, WA. Can you believe this?

Deception Pass Anacortes, WA

Deception Pass
Anacortes, WA

Old warehouse in La Conner. The exterior was dilapidated. What a surprise to see this beautiful ceiling. Also, we probably should not have been in this building.

Old warehouse in La Conner. The exterior was dilapidated. What a surprise to see this beautiful ceiling. Also, we probably should not have been in this building.

I look at poppies all of the time and very closely. This one held a whole new universe.

I look at poppies all of the time and very closely. This one held a whole new universe.

My best food photo from tonight's dinner. In all, I made salmon, salad, oysters, and these clams.

My best food photo from tonight’s dinner. In all, I made salmon, salad, oysters, and these clams.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been having a particularly hard time with parenting challenges. I am also working a lot, back to full time hours for the next few months. I am taking off for a number of trips this summer as well as time to entertain out-of-town guests. When I don’t work, I don’t get paid. So on the weeks that I am working, I am putting in extra hours. I am also working extra because for reasons I cannot yet determine, after 12 years of private practice, I am having a particularly hard time collecting balances from the families with whom I work. If I don’t get paid, I don’t get paid.

I may have mentioned about a thousand times that I am not currently popular with my teenaged daughter. I can tell myself over and over  and even from a point of authority as a child/adolescent psychologist, that to a certain extent, this is normative of mother/teen daughter relationships. But I can also tell you, normative or not, it is a source of great pain in my life.  A mama is built to be happy when her girl is happy. Mine is not only frequently unhappy, but often unhappy with me. I have forged a way in my life to be happy, nonetheless, but I have to tell you, it requires a LOT of effort.

This morning, I was feeling overwhelmed with my workload. This is an extremely busy week. Part of that business is related to our going away for the long weekend to a house on the beach. I am very much looking forward to it. I thought to myself, “I’m too busy to walk today.” Then I thought, “I’ll just take a 30 minute long walk. That was my original walking goal, anyway.”

I put on my walking clothes and ventured out into a foggy Seattle morning. I included the local coffee shop, Bird on a Wire, in my walk, I do this when I need an extra boost. The people that work there are always so nice to me and the coffee is a special treat. Angel was the barista today. He is in his mid-twenties and he lives up to his name. Angel customarily introduces people to each other in the coffee shop. He has brought John and me a glass of water when he thought the coffee line was really long and we might need a little refreshment. Angel is also really funny and he actually took his nephew, whom he frequently babysits, to see my daughter’s choir performance!

This morning, I saw that Angel was taking extra care with my latte. He added extra art.

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As he handed the coffee to me, he explained, “You are the butterfly and your husband and daughter are the hearts. You are apart from them but looking on to make sure they are well.” Then he laughed. He had made up a little story.

I said, “Angel, I think you know my family better than you realize. My daughter prefers her dad. I know this may change.”

Angel looked sincerely sad for me. I know he likes John and me a lot. We like him, too.

Little moments can mean a lot. Little kindnesses can go a long way when I stop to notice them.

I’m glad that I noticed today because I really needed it.

Thank you, Angel.

P.S. I ended up walking 4 1/2 miles.

A rat’s ass is tiny, miniscule. And yet so many of us are disgusted and alarmed by the presence of one, along with the rest of the rodent body, in our homes. My Great Aunt Blanche, about whom several non-fiction works could be written and read, though regarded as fiction due to the unbelievable content, was a widow for nearly sixty years.

In her nineties, she had a not so secret admirer, an 80-something recent widower, who left flowers on her front porch. Aunt Blanche had been through a great deal in her life, poverty, World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, caring for her dear husband who was bedridden for the last eleven years of their marriage, and being a widow by age 48, just a bit younger than I am today.

Aunt Blanche was tough, made excellent baked goods, and carried all of her precious and semi-precious gemstone jewelry in her purse “so they won’t get stolen”.  She was incredibly funny and had a way with words. Sometimes her words meandered to the hateful, unfortunately when she spoke of “The JEWS” and “The BLACKS”. My mother would break the tension of these moments with her seditious humor. “Blanchie, where is Turner from?” (“Turner” was Blanche’s husband’s last name.) “Jiminy! I don’t know”, Auntie would reply. Without missing a beat, Mom replied, out of hearing range of Auntie, “Is it from Ike and Tina?”

Auntie lived to be 105. She lived in her own home until age 103. She looooved gardening and she loved animals, including her little dog, Popcorn. However, one day, she walked into the bathroom of her home and saw not the ass, but the head of a rat peeping out of the toilet bowl! She quickly closed the lid and called the police!

A young police officer knocked on the door. He appeared competent and the kind of manly man an elderly woman who avidly reads bodice-ripping romance novels, expects when she encounters a sewer rat. He worked swiftly and purposely by coaxing the rat into a cage using his most authoritarian baby voice!

If I’d seen that rat’s head coming out of my toilet, I will not lie, I would have given a rat’s head and a rat’s ass about it even though, really, what could one little rat do in all likelihood?

These day I find myself caring less and less about the “rat’s asses” of life, the things that produce real and palpable alarm but are really not that much of a threat. I have marks on my body that show, and I’m not talking about my cancer scars. I have a burst of spider and varicose veins on my right shin. It started out as a result of an injury I had at age 18 and grew over time, especially during pregnancy. Being a woman in a long line of generations of women with extensive, bulgy, and painful varicose veins, I told myself that I would have them “lasered” when I was done having children.

I am 49 years old. I am done bearing children. That network of spider and varicose veins is still abloom on my leg. I stopped caring enough a few years back to wear tights or long pants to cover it. I would be oblivious until some kid would point to it and say, “What is that???” I run warm with all of this middle aged hot flash stuff and I’d rather be vein-y than overheated. I saw a photo of myself with my mom on Mother’s Day. I could see the veins on my leg and I thought, “I don’t give a rat’s ass. Mom and I look happy together.”

I have another non-cancer related scar. Remember when you picked at your pimples when you were a teen and your mom told you that you would cause scars? I thought I had sailed through that time with clear skin, despite the picking. Then at age 37, it happened. I gave myself an acne scar, a small red dot, right above my right eyebrow. I have put concealer on it for years. Remember when I had my make up done professionally for prom? The make up artist put nothing extra over that blemish. She treated it like the rest of my face. As if it belonged there. I no longer cover it up. I no longer give a rat’s ass.

There are so many things that we apologize for. For having a voice that is not the same as everyone else’s, for existing, for “making” people uncomfortable with our cancer, for our perceived lack of perfection.

I am getting more and more comfortable with myself as I get older. I like this very much. Do I berate myself for not giving a rat’s ass sooner? No, because wherever I was in the past is the place I was at the time. And who knows where I will be in the future?

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“Shit happens.” Most of us have if not heard that expression, have experienced it. Even when bad things take a long time to happen, they can hit us like a train wreck. Cancer was like that for me.

Healing can take an awfully long time.

But it can happen.

We all know people who are hard to contact. They don’t return phone calls, emails, or texts on a consistent basis. My husband is one of those people. It’s kind of a joke in our extended network of family and friends. He’s not mean or thoughtless. He just gets wrapped up in what he is doing at the time and has trouble shifting gears. To be fair, he has gotten much more reliable about returning text messages, though it is not unusual for him to text me a question, my immediately answer it, and then my not hear from him again for quite some time.

Consequently, I don’t communicate with him as much as I’d like to when he’s not home. It’s not particularly effective or satisfying. But I do know that if I REALLY need to contact him at work, if the situation is urgent, I can do it. We have a system. I text him, call his cell phone, and call his office desk phone, one right after the other. Then he knows that he needs to drop what he is doing and to contact me. I don’t do this often, in fact, it’s been years and I don’t even remember the reason I last engaged the Bat phone/text/land line sequence.

John is in southern Utah with his step-dad, camping and backpacking. They’ve been planning the trip for a long time. It is a 10 day long trip, which is slightly longer than our family vacations. They on Saturday of last week. They will return on Tuesday of next week. They are seeing incredible country. John is texting photos to me every day as well as “I miss you” and “I love you” texts. I’ve spoken to him twice by phone. It’s not as if we are not communicating and in fact, this is much more frequent technology-supported communication than we typically exchange. But I can’t rely on being able to contact him at any time. Phone reception is spotty.

I don’t know exactly why but since the day he has left, our daughter has been having a very hard time, and shall we say, she is not suffering in silence. I feel like I am alone in some kind of parenting Hell. We did have a brief texting conversation this morning. He’d spoken to her yesterday and was worried about her, based on the conversation they’d had. I’ve been in a tricky position of wanting him to enjoy his trip but at the same time, I need support and he is my husband. I tried to need less than I did and as usually is the case, this strategy does not work well and I end up getting needier than I was in the first place. This morning, in a texting conversation I told him that I would not agree to him being way and unreachable for so long again. It was not my plan to tell him this. That’s just going to make him worry and detract from his trip. People, I am a work in progress. I will keep trying.

Sometimes being alone is a beautiful and peaceful place. Sometimes it’s just lonely.

Photo of John by Don Girvin, 5/2/15

Photo of John by Don Girvin, 5/2/15

When I was a little girl, we made May baskets at school, which were usually a cone made out of construction paper with a paper strip looped on the back as a hanger. Each year, I took them home, filled them with flowers from the yard, and carefully walked to the neighbor’s house. As I recall, I mostly walked to the same neighbor’s house, Myrtle Anderson’s, hung the basket on her door knob, knocked, and then ran away. They were not so random acts of kindness.

I have long enjoyed giving gifts to people. I notice the things that people like over the course of the year and file it away in my mind for future gift reference. Sometimes I give people gifts “just because”. When I was in college, I had a boyfriend who was often awkward about accepting gifts from me. They were small things, really. I knew that he liked to play cards so when I took a ceramics class and made him a mug decorated with a heart, a club, a spade, and a diamond. It was just one of the things that I made. The rest I kept for myself. When I asked him when his birthday was, he wouldn’t tell me. It was one of many arguments that he and I had over seemingly really silly things. He actually told me that I didn’t argue enough. Anyone who knew me when I was in my early adulthood would appreciate the uniqueness of this characterization. He was not comfortable with affection or gifts. When he told me that he thought we should break up, I didn’t argue. I agreed.

The following fall, I met the man who would become my husband. As I’ve written in the past, John was dating someone else at the time and in the process of a somewhat messy break up due to the fact that his girlfriend was out of the country for two years, on a religious mission. They communicated by letter. Their relationship had been in poor shape when she left.

John and I started dating the following spring. Our first kiss was on April 25th, 1988. I decided to make a May Day basket for him. I went to the University Bookstore and bought two colors of paper. (Hubby tells me now that he thought I used blue and green. I don’t remember.) I carefully measured and drew lines on the paper as a guide for cutting. I wove the strips into a basket; I remember it being surprisingly large. I made a handle for it and filled it with tulips.

I was excited when I made the gift as I often am when I am making something for someone I love. There is an enthusiasm full of hope and energy. But I was also nervous that he wouldn’t like the gift or would feel that it was “too much”, that I was “too much”.

I walked into his apartment with it. I greeted him with, “Happy May Day!” He smiled, “Thank you, those are beautiful.” Then he gave me a kiss. In short, he acted as if I had given him a somewhat random act of kindness that he very much appreciated. He acted like giving a gift to your boyfriend was a normal and healthy thing to do. This is when I learned that he could accept my love. I hoped that it would last for a long long time.

John is leaving tomorrow for an eagerly awaited ten day trip to the canyon lands of Utah. He is traveling with his stepfather, Don. They will have a marvelous time and I am very happy for him. They have not taken a trip, just the two of them, since 1993 when they went to Tanzania together.

I woke up this morning, missing him even though he hasn’t yet left. When I noticed that it is May 1st, I thought back to the basket and the flowers. So as part of my walk, I stopped at the Thriftway and picked up six bunches of locally grown tulips. When I gave them to him, he thanked me and remembered our first May Day together.

May 1st means a lot of things. To some it is just the first day of May. To others, it marks the day of a birth or a death. To others, it is a time to advocate for workers. All of these things are true. To me, it marks the newness of spring and the joyful discovery of love given freely and freely returned.

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One girl, two boobs, a genetic mutation and a big decision

Fierce is the New Pink

Run to the Bear!

My Lymph Node Transplant

One woman's quest for better health... living with lymphoedema

Gluten Free Gus

Baking Joy Into Every Gluten-free Bite

gregsmithmd

mental health musings

The Sarcastic Boob

Determined to Manage Breast Cancer with the Same Level of Sarcasm with which I Manage Everything Else

FEC-THis

Life after a tango with death & its best friend cancer

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