Thursday, January 23, 2014

Gratitude Highlights, An Interview, and the Fam Damily

Problem: In order to track things for which to be grateful for in 2014, I had to dump out my 2013 Gratitude Jar.

Some highlights:
  • For the first time, my sister and I talked about our mother's last few months, before she died of breast cancer. Made me cry, but in a good way.
  • The incredible beauty and scent of pink jasmine.
  • Getting a visit from my favorite sweet dog, Sarge, in my dreams.
  • After weeks of physical therapy for my frozen shoulder, finally being able to link my fingers under my back again in bridge position.
  • Getting my car paid off!
  • An amazing moon in the sky as I drove home from book club, gleaming like a crescent smile.
  • My first swim of the spring (dated 4/28/13) - warmer water than I expected.
  • A hilarious FB comment stream with my SoCal Lady Bloggers following a question about how does one review a lei. #GetLeid
  • Live music!
  • My African violet blooming again for the first time in three years.
  • An evening of soft tacos and old movies with my visiting sister, eaten off my good heirloom china (the tacos, I did not eat the movies nor my sister).

Do you see a pattern? (No, not on my china, I know about that one.) Much of these things have zero to do with luck or hard work (well, my African violet was), but simply acknowledging the many, many blessings all around me already.

Sometimes the blessings are hard to appreciate. Today, as this posts, I am driving my oldest sister for her first chemotherapy session. Although her surgery went extremely well, her stage of gall bladder cancer currently has a 28% survival rate even with the most aggressive treatment, so they are throwing the kitchen sink at it.

Meanwhile, her husband has been fighting for his life, since suffering a major stroke two days after she got out of the hospital. It has been a looong month, and he has been "declining" several times, a different organ or condition causing serious concern almost every day.. Outside of my day job, I've been spending most of my free time at the hospital.

On Friday, we got the news that his liver has failed, he was not a candidate for transplant, and the liver team would meet with us on Monday to discuss hospice care and give us a best guess as to how much time he had left. We spent Friday night and Saturday trying to come to terms  (again) with losing him; my sis trying frantically to arrange out how to transport him home (they live 3 1/2 hrs away, though they are temporarily relocated to LA), watching him sleep or stare catatonically at the TV.  Trying to say our goodbyes in his few lucid moments.

But Sunday... he was tremendously improved, and so were all his tests, so now they are chirping about moving him to stroke rehab (again) in a day or two to build up his strength. There is no number of facepalms that can adequately express the what-the-fuckery that I am, we are, feeling.

Not being dead, myself, I did notice that one of my BIL's stroke-rehab doctors was romance-cover-model hot, but even I could not muster the moxie or energy to get his picture for the blog. My WIP? Patiently gathering cyberdust at the moment; I don't have the energy or concentration to work on her right now.

And yet. I do feel blessed. Very tired, more than a little stressed and worried, but still, blessed. My family has been amazing, everyone stepping to the plate to help one another. I have a wide circle of friends who have offered all kinds of help and emotional support, and then I have my online friends, like you.  *kisses*

And I have my supportive groups, like WriterUnboxed. That circle of friends is celebrating its birthday this month, and its "mamas" granted me an online interview. I did the questions several months ago, but it's published on the site today. While I advise every writer to gather a face-to-face circle of writing friends if possible, my groups of online friends have been a wonderful source of support, encouragement, and resources. If you haven't visited Writer Unboxed before, please do visit and leave a comment or two.

Or, leave me a comment here. I promise I'll approve it and reply, eventually. If you want to be interviewed by me, check out my Rock Stars tab here, and send me an email. It'll have to wait till a time when I have two brain cells to rub together, but interview are always fun.

Thanks for your love & support, I can feel it coming in waves right through the monitor.