Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Personal Stories of Lupus

May 10, 2009

Its Mother’s Day here in the USA.  I’m a mother home very sick with a lupus complicated drug reaction.  Since this is Lupus Awareness Month, I hope to blog  something every day about lupus in order to increase awareness. If you want to help me, please share the info and links on your blogs. If you are a woman, or love someone who is, you really  need to know more about the effects of this devastating disease:

Personal Stories of Lupus

Lupus Awareness Month – The Five Stages of Lupus

May 9, 2009

 

Sung by Avril Lavign

You’re not alone
Together we stand
I’ll be by your side
You know I’ll take your hand
When it gets cold
And it feels like the end
There’s no place to go
You know I won’t give in
no I won’t give in

Keep holdin’ on
‘Cause you know we’ll make it through
We’ll make it through
Just, stay strong
‘Cause you know I’m here for you
I’m here for you
There’s nothing you can say (nothin’ you can say)
Nothing you can do (nothin’ you can do)
there’s no other way when it comes to the truth
So, keep holding on
‘Cause you know we’ll make it through
We’ll make it through

So far away
I wish you were here
Before it’s too late
This could all disappear
Before the doors close
And it comes to an end
With you by my side
I will fight and defend (ah ah)
I’ll fight and defend (ah ah) yeah yeah

Keep holdin’ on
‘Cause you know we’ll make it through
We’ll make it through
Just, stay strong
‘Cause you know I’m here for you
I’m here for you
There’s nothing you can say
Nothing you can say
Nothing you can do
nothing you can do
There’s no other way when it comes to the truth
So, keep holding on
‘Cause you know we’ll make it through
[Keep Holding On lyrics on http://www.metrolyrics.com%5D

We’ll make it through

Hear me when I say
When I say I believe
Nothing’s gonna change
Nothing’s gonna destiny
Whatever’s meant to be
Will work out perfectly
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah….

La da da da, la da da da da
La da da da da da da da da

Keep holdin’ on
‘Cause you know we’ll make it through
We’ll make it through
Just stay strong
‘Cause you know I’m here for you
I’m here for you
There’s nothing you can say
nothing you can say
Nothing you can do
nothing you can do
There’s no other way when it comes to the truth
So, keep holding on
‘Cause you know we’ll make it through
We’ll make it through

Ahh, ahh
Ahh, ahh
Keep holdin’ on
Ahh, ahh
Ahh, ahh
Keep holdin’ on
There’s nothing you could say
Nothing you could say
nothin you could do
nothing you could do
There’s no other way when it comes to the truth
So, keep holding on
‘Cause you know we’ll make it through
We’ll make it through

A Comforting Ancient Story

March 25, 2009

My dear friend SanityFound sent me this ancient story to comfort and fortify me about my upcoming visit to my dying uncle. It did indeed comfort me, and it resonated with truth. I hope it helps some other reader here:

In ancient times it was believed that when someone gets an illness, someone who doesn’t die suddenly, it is God giving those that passed on a chance to be with those who visit the the ones soon to pass.  In ancient times those who loved the one who was ill would visit them, staying a while at their bedside with their eyes closed, just breathing and feeling. They said it comforted them feeling those gone already surrounding their loved one.

 God brings the angels who know the one soon passing so that they do not fear, and to give comfort to those visiting.

The Life Cycle

March 23, 2009

Even as I celebrate my daughter’s pregnancy and my son’s imminent marriage, I got terrible news last night. My  favorite uncle, brother to the father I’ve been grieving on this blog, has pancreatic cancer. The very same cancer that took my father’s life. Lethal and fast moving. And, even though I wasn’t present when my father died, I now know it was a very painful death. A death my uncle witnessed.   I feel sick at heart over what he has in store for him. What he knows he has in store for him. I always imagine, no matter where my illness takes me, that the doctors would give me enough painkillers that there wouldn’t be much pain. Apparently that’s not always the case.

This is the uncle who taught me to ice skate with my  beloved twin cousins, Lenny and Joe, both already dead before their time.. He took us on wild sledding rides, the three of us screeching in terrified glee.  He taught us  to dive into our pool head first, hands properly pointed above our heads. To make a game of raking autumn  leaves and watching him set fire to them…then toasting marshmallows, carefully, his hand on our wrists to be sure we were safe. He taught the twins, already raucous,  to make practical jokes at my expense. He was the one who made noise on the roof for Santa on Christmas Eve, complete with bells for sound effects. Who truly enjoyed the company of us three little rug rats. And most importantly, who took us off the hands of our stressed out parents and provided a safety haven whenever we needed it most. 

I want to run to him and see him, its been years. I will go with my aunt, his sister,when she is over the shock and ready to plan our flight. I confess I am terrified.  It already feels so like what we went through with my father. I want to be strong and supportive but I’m afraid the similarities will curl me into a useless emotional fetal position..I keep telling myself that he’s not my father. He’s my uncle. I keep telling myself that he is 75. My father was 53.  I tell myself that we all have to die of something. As he has said, he’s had a good run.

It doesn’t help.  It doesn’t help at all. My roots are dying one by one, as nature intended. Thank God a new one is sprouting in my daughter’s womb.

Baby V

March 19, 2009

(12 week sonogram found on youtube- NOT OUR BABY!)

I cannot even begin to describe what an experience it was to see the baby on the sonogram. I stood next to my son-in-law, my daughter of course on the examining table, holding her husband’s hand, as we watched in awe. That was no flat, lifeless screen as shown in the photo on my previous post. It was like an in utero video. At twelve weeks  he was moving around, very active, and even sucking his thumb! There we were, three adults, dumbstruck.  “Oh wow!” was pretty much the extent of the conversation from all three of us while the tech did her thing. My daughter’s “oh how cute!!!!!” periodically punctuated the conversation. She, as we all did, really melted when we saw the thumb sucking. That and our repeated question “is it a boy or a girl????”   The tech kept demurring that she couldn’t be certain at twelve weeks, but finally, having found the penis, she announced “Its a boy!”

We all exclaimed in joy! My daughter was no longer carrying an “it” but a male baby. From the moment I heard it, I no longer felt merely the excitement of the pregnancy. Now he had an identity.  I felt love for him . For that tiny little guy so active inside his mom. For  Baby V, already named before his mom even got pregnant.

At twelve weeks, this baby was no future unknown. This baby was now.

And I feel so very honored that they invited me to participate in this intimate, joyous stage of their journey.  I love all three of them with all my heart.

My Future Grandchild

March 17, 2009

(An Embryo at 12 weeks- not ours)

I am so excited. I’m going with my daughter and son-in-law for the 12 week sonogram tonight. What a way to meet my grandchild! I don’t remember them back in my day… Apparently this tech has a 100% success rate reading these things for gender, but of course the 20 week one will be definitive.   I have many deep thoughts about this baby’s soon to be arrival into our family, but that will be another post for another time.  Just had to share the present thrill.  Even my own Drama Mama (thanks for that one, Amber!) is excited. She will be a great grandma, and we even have a great great grandma waiting in the wings.  More tomorrow, friends.

Economy Crashing Home – AGAIN

March 15, 2009

Gloria Steinem once said that the personal is political. And I fully experienced what she meant. Now, in my life, the political is becoming personal. 

At least my husband’s job is intact…for now. Maybe it was a rumor that the business would fold, but the scare certainly got our attention regarding our vulnerability in this economy . Now, two other family members are definitely being hit.  These are not rumors. Both of them had their own businesses which in another economy would have made it. Now, they’ve lost everything.  Oh I know, I know, material things are not the most important things. We all  write about our values and all the wonderful abstractions that fill our souls and are what count. We talk about the value of suffering and what we learn from it. 

But it hurts like hell to watch your loved ones go through something like this. First, their grief over their lost businesses. I know. I’ve been there.  You put your all  into it and still you have to close the doors. And then the fear. Their fear and yours. What will they do next? What is there to do next in this economy? They’re qualified for jobs… just like  the millions of other equally qualified people  who are waiting on line for interviews.

I know, health comes first. Believe me I know. But right after that comes a sense of safety and security in the world as we’ve known it.  And that, for now, is gone.

First it was physical terrorism. Now our economy crumbling.  It sure feels like another type of terrorism, doesn’t it?

We’re Pregnant!

February 9, 2009

Ok, I know its customary for the mom and dad these days to say “we’re pregnant”, but I just have to tell you that my daughter is pregnant with my first grandchild, and it sure feels like WE’RE pregnant..(.actually just like her wedding felt like “our wedding”.)  We are just so close. She wants me in the delivery room and everything. I am just so honored about that. And even more honored that her husband wants me there.

No, he really does.

 She just got back from the doctor’s. We knew it of course from the home pregnancy test and other obvious signs, but it was nice to have him confirm that she’s healthy and they got to hear the heartbeat. She’s two months, due September 25th. 

Woohoowoohoowoohoo!!!!!!  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

She thinks she already looks pregnant, especially in her stomach. I don’t want to rain on her parade, she’s so excited, but truthfully, shhhh…here is what she still looks like:

If I Had My Life to Live Over

February 7, 2009

 

This is a well known column by Erma Bombeck, a very popular writer who was syndicated back in the days before the internet and died in 1996.. (Yes children, there once was a world without it when people couldn’t live without their paper newspapers!) 

Anyway, I thought I’d post it for anyone in younger generations, or other countries, who missed it. Its quite wonderful, I think. Hope you will too. Its called “If I Had My Life to Live Over”.  She writes:

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television – and more while watching life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.”

There would have been more “I love yous”..  more “I’m sorrys”…  but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute…look at it and really see it…live it…and never give it back.

by Erma Bombeck 

About Erma from Wikipedia: “Erma Louise Bombeck (February 211927 – April 221996), born Erma Fiste, was an Americanhumorist who achieved great popularity for hernewspaper column that described suburban home life humorously from the mid-1960s until the late ’90s. Bombeck also published 15 books, most of which became best-sellers.

From 1965 to 1996, Erma Bombeck wrote over 4,000 newspaper columns chronicling the ordinary life of a midwestern suburban housewife with broad, and sometimes eloquent, humor. By the 1970s, her witty columns were read, twice weekly, by thirty million readers of 900 newspapers of theU.S. and Canada.”

To My Everlasting Shame

February 6, 2009

I did not stay at my father’s bedside, to be with  him until he passed. There he was, right upstairs in the bedroom, while I hid like a coward downstairs and out of sight. We knew it would be that night. The doctors had called the family in and said so. 

All his brothers and sisters, the aunts and uncles I grew up with,  had been pretty much staying at my parents’ house for those last weeks.  The pasta pots were always boiling. They brought Italian bread and provolone cheese and sweet salami with big green olives. Most importantly,  they brought the black humor which is our family trademark , especially during our darkest hours.  It sustained us and carried us.

And yet, there was an age regression that took place for me. At age 32, they were still the grown ups and I was like a child again. That’s just how the dynamics morphed. When it was soon to be time, my favorite aunt had a talk with me and asked me if I really wanted to watch my father die. She explained to me, 32 going on 8, that dying was not like in the movies. It was quite a frightening thing to see.  She encouraged me to have my quiet time alone with him, now in a coma, and say my good-bye. I did so. Then I walked out of the room and all his siblings and my mother went in and the door was firmly closed.

And so he died with his wife, brothers and sisters all around and me nowhere in sight. They later said it was an awful thing. Blood and God knows what everywhere. Even his brothers were shaken by it. It was not something I should have had to see, they told me. As if they had protected me from something.

But not long after, I realized it was my own father’s awful thing. I should have been there. I allowed myself to be shielded by my beloved and well meaning aunt with childlike trust.  I should have been there. I was not a child. I was not, in truth, protected or shielded. I was written out of the last line of the last page of his life.  No, we wrote me out. 

And I am so ashamed, sorry, and regretful… What if my father knew or sensed I wasn’t there, right through the invisible walls of his coma? My shame is this: that I, his oldest and most responsible child, should have  accompanied him on the final stage of his journey. I should have been there. 

No tidy ending to this post. I should have been there.  

(This post was inspired by a poem by Cordie entitled:  If I had it to do all again)

The Measure of Grief

February 5, 2009

 

 

THE MEASURE OF GRIEF

 

Twenty-five years ago today my father died.  

Even in my dreamless sleep I knew it.

 

I stumble out of bed  

where is my husband?

 

I want to hug him    

hug him so tightly

but he is gone

gone to work  

to work his ass off.

 

Gone.

 

I worry about his heart.

 

I want to hug my father  

(who worked his ass off).

I want to hug him  

hug him so tightly

 

but he is gone  

 

gone to rest    

to rest in peace.

 

I’d rather he were here, God forgive  me.

Yes.  I would rip him right out of paradise  if I could

to have him back here with the whole family

loving    living   YES , even suffering

but right alongside us where   think he belongs.

 

A quarter of a century.

One-fourth of a whole.

A quarter coin is so small really.  

 

A hole the size of a quarter 

is still in my heart  

big enough to kill me.

 

by Psychscribe ©2009

God in Action

January 31, 2009

fork-in-the-roadIn addition to the blues I’ve been experiencing lately, I also am feeling physically worse as I’ve been tapering down my prednisone. So though I did go to work yesterday, I had cancelled my attendance at bible study at my sister’s because I knew that by the time I got home at around 8 pm all I’d want to do is crawl into bed. There was no way I was up to going.

But Got had other plans for me. I was almost home after sitting for an extra hour in traffic, when I heard something in a novel I was listening to in the car.  I identified with the character, who was having a badly needed spiritual experience, and suddenly felt a powerful longing to feel the presence of God.

My sister and I live very close to each other.  There is a fork in the road in which her house is in one direction and mine in the other. As soon as I felt that longing for God, I no longer noticed my aches and pains and  without hesitation called my husband to tell him I was going to bible study after all, and called my sister to say I would be there any minute. I was right at that fork.

When I arrived my sister was radiant. She had been praying, literally, “Lord, when my sister reaches that fork in the road, please help her to feel better, and make her turn left toward my house  tonight.”

I don’t know why God wanted me there so much, but I do know that the chances of this being a coincidence were statistically ridiculous.  And  I did get to feel the presence of God and the Holy Spirit last night, we all did.  It happened when a tormented client I have suddenly came to mind, and we prayed with all our hearts for a psychological and spiritual healing for her.

God works in strange ways.

Constructive Criticism

January 22, 2009

peanuts-higher-criticismYou know you’ve been hit when you feel  stung, shot right between the eyes, express hurt, and the shooter retorts: “What’s the matter? I was just giving you a little constructive criticism!” This is their defense posture because now they’re feeling criticized by your reaction to their criticism.  It’s supposed to mean they were  “only trying to help you”.  

In the first place, if you’d wanted their opinion you would have asked for it. These people have never learned the old saying, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”  Worse yet, these are often the very same people who once taught us this very thing, but they think that because they’re our parents they somehow have an exemption.

Criticism is the expression of disapproval of someone based on perceived faults in them or their behavior. So constructive criticism is an oxymoron.

Destructive Criticism :

That haircut makes your face look chubby, dear.

Didn’t anyone ever teach you not to make disgusting noises when you eat, sweetheart?

Have you noticed that your gut is beginning to hang over your belt?

Honey, no offense but you sing like a baboon.

When are you going to learn that not everyone is interested in your long, boring stories? 

You really over indulge that child.

You’d better stop feeding her so much or she’s going to turn into a whale.

When I raised my son he got his underwear ironed.

Why are you wearing so much makeup? Did they have a sale down at Macy’s?

Most of us have been victims of such remarks at one time or another.  But you don’t have to stay a victim. You can have an a ready response in your arsenal should a shooter appear disguised as a friend or loved one.

The obvious one that I started with was “If I wanted your opinion I would have asked for it.”   But that doesn’t fit everyone’s personality style. Others might include:

“Thank you for your kind, gentle, and  sincere help.”

“You can withdraw your fangs now, I get the message.”

“I have a headache tonight. And I’ll have one tomorrow night too.”

“You’re beginning to sound just like my mother.”

You get the idea. Disclaimer: I’m not talking healthy communication responses here.  I’m talking good old fashioned getting even. Because once in a while, lets be honest here, it just feels good to take a shot at the shooter.

Words on Women & Strength

January 9, 2009

Writer’s Block? Why?

December 28, 2008

concrete_block1I’ve been laying on my bed with my laptop for the last 20 minutes, which have felt like an hour..I want to write a post today, but my mind keeps going blank..I tried to write yesterday but the same thing happened. Part of it, I guess, is I keep wanting to doze…a lupus flare, of course, after the holiday fun/chaos at our house this year…everything I think of writing about seems too much…too heavy…or I keep editing it before anything ever gets written..so i’m just going to do stream of consciousness and see what happens…

My mother… 78 years old…for once I enjoyed her, felt the bond, it was as it should be all the time, wish it could be so, too much bad history, too much inner conflict for me…the kids, with their whole lives ahead of them, most of mine behind me, one newly married, the other newly engaged, the next generation getting ready to take center stage in our family life…well good, I hope somebody gets a bigger house because ours was too small to hold everyone comfortably this year, i remember when my parents did it all, way back when…and all of us young adults went to their house for the most wonderful Christmas Eve…my dad cooking the linguini with clams, and then the lobster tails, the traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner…afterwards the extravagant exchange of presents,  each of us opening one at a time, my father reserving the right to open all of his last, then he died of cancer at age 52, diagnosed and told on his last Christmas Eve, a tragedy i cannot write about even 25 years later, but i do, i must, because how can i not wonder how different our lives would all be now, my mother over the years became a recluse, my son would have been in business with him, making lots of money,  rather than struggling to keep his head above water now…oh my, the head is falling forward again, the need to doze so apparent to me now for what it is, a block to painful feelings still locked away, to things i don’t want to think about…

And so I’ll stop writing now, because I don’t want to think about my dad anymore,  because it hurts, and I miss him so…

Is this what all writer’s block is about? A block to exactly what  needs to be thought about, felt, written about? 

We are all writers here. What do you think?

Psychscribe (Christmas) Quote # 48

December 23, 2008

ERMA BOMBECK:

“There’s nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.”

The Gift of the Magi- By O’Henry

December 20, 2008

This is another lovely story about the true meaning of Christmas.

 

The Gift of the Magi

By O. Henry

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas. There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad. In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name “Mr. James Dillingham Young.” The “Dillingham” had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called “Jim” and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good. Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag.     

She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn’t go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling–something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.

There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art. Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. Her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length. Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim’s gold watch that had been his father’s and his grandfather’s. The other was Della’s hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty’s jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.

So now Della’s beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet. On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.Where she stopped the sign read: “Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds.” One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the “Sofronie.” “Will you buy my hair?” asked Della. “I buy hair,” said Madame. “Take yer hat off and let’s have a sight at the looks of it. “Down rippled the brown cascade. “Twenty dollars,” said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand. “Give it to me quick,” said Della.

Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim’s present. She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation–as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim’s. It was like him. Quietness and value–the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.

When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends–a mammoth task.Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically. “If Jim doesn’t kill me,” she said to herself, “before he takes a second look at me, he’ll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do–oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?” At 7 o’clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops. Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: “Please God, make him think I am still pretty.

“The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two–and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves. Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face. Della wriggled off the table and went for him. “Jim, darling,” she cried, “don’t look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn’t have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It’ll grow out again–you won’t mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!’ Jim, and let’s be happy. You don’t know what a nice– what a beautiful, nice gift I’ve got for you.””You’ve cut off your hair?” asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor. “Cut it off and sold it,” said Della. “Don’t you like me just as well, anyhow? I’m me without my hair, ain’t I?” Jim looked about the room curiously. “You say your hair is gone?” he said, with an air almost of idiocy. “You needn’t look for it,” said Della. “It’s sold, I tell you–sold and gone, too. It’s Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered,” she went on with sudden serious sweetness, “but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?”

Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year–what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table. “Don’t make any mistake, Dell,” he said, “about me. I don’t think there’s anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you’ll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first.”

White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat. For there lay The Combs–the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims–just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: “My hair grows so fast, Jim!” And them Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, “Oh, oh!” Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit. “Isn’t it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You’ll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it.” Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled. “Dell,” said he, “let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ’em a while. They’re too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on.

“The magi, as you know, were wise men–wonderfully wise men–who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

December 20, 2008

20050922-1

 

Its always nice to read this famous letter- to remind us of the magic of Christmas and what its all about. I am touched every time I read it. Hope you will be too.

 

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

“Editorial Page, New York Sun, 1897

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

Dear Editor,

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

 

Virginia O’Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished. 

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world. 

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. 

 

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.”

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!! 


If I Were to Die Today (Part 2 – Relationship With Family)

December 18, 2008

Well, I’m still here…stroke symptoms morphed into a lupus flare…ok, I can deal with that, not so scary. Bed and tea and my laptop…small price to pay for some aches and pain!

Yesterday I focused on the spiritual aspects of death…and my not being prepared in that regard.  But today I want to talk about my loved ones. Most of all my husband and children.

I can only write from a selfish point of view on this, so here goes: I don’t want to miss watching my children’s lives further unfold. I have no grandchildren yet. I want to know them. I want them to remember me. Yes…I want to live on a few years longer by having a place in their minds…. I want to see what they look like! Since both my kids are pretty much clones of their father, maybe some recessive gene somewhere would reincarnate my physical characteristics… Narcissistic, certainly. But truthfully, don’t most of us long for a genetic  replica when we, or our kids, are pregnant?

Not so selfishly, I worry about them handling their grief. Oh I know, of course, that we all manage to do it.  But…loss is not a strong point for any of us in this family.  It takes us a long, long time….and I so wish I could spare them what God has decreed to be necessary…(There I go again. God certainly seems to be talking to me…however discreetly…)

My husband? Oh…this is a man who does not know who he is if he doesn’t have someone to give his whole heart and devotion to. He cannot stand to be alone. He would have to, HAVE to, find someone else to spend the remainder of his life with…to give that to… I’ve told him I would want that for him. But just between us….I don’t!!! I can’t STAND the thought of another woman having what was mine…his love, him….the thought of him holding and hugging someone else…I feel sick as I write this…but I also know he would NEED that….its not about ME anymore….but I’m just being truthful..we can all say what sounds like the right thing…but truthfully it makes me feel slightly ill….

Well, I comfort myself with the thought that if I were to die today, I would pass on to paradise, to the place where dreams are made…and later, my husband and kids would follow, and however they’ve gotten through their journey without me, none of it would matter in the WAY BIGGER scheme of things.

Well, I’m realizing that in both these posts I’ve pondered dying in terms of my relationship with others.  Not a word about my relationship with myself. Guess there will be a part 3 coming….

Psychscribe Quote # 48

December 16, 2008

 

Image from www.globalcollage.com

rain

 

“Life isn’t about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.” Author unknown.

CALLING ALL RACIAL MINORITIES! No New Lupus Drug in HALF A CENTURY???!!!!!

December 3, 2008

What does “No New Lupus Drug in 50 Years” mean to you? Do you have lupus? Do you love someone with it? Did you love someone you lost to lupus?  What can you do?

And WHY has there been such a shameful lack of research??? Interesting that the majority of victims are minority women…blacks, Asians, Hispanics…. I can’t help wondering how much faster they’d be moving if the majority of victims were white, upper class men… The YouTube I’ve inserted here talks all about the difficulties of research due to the complexity of the disease and the genetic variations of the patients. But still…you have to wonder…

The Lupus Foundation of America invites you to share your story with Congress. FIGHT for more money for research!

Share photos, personal stories, put faces and details on the stats they don’t even have.

God helps those who help themselves. LET’S ALL DO IT! LET’S FIGHT FOR OURSELVES! Go to the LFA  website (link below) for details on how to make your voice be heard in Congress.

I know I will.  C’mon guys. We are all we have. Lets stick together and do this together. Look what Rosa Parks, one woman, was able to accomplish with a single act.

From the LFA Website:

November 20, 2008 marked the 50th anniversary of the last time the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a treatment for lupus. Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) Medical Director Dr. Joan Merrill and LFA Medical-Scientific Advisory Council Chair Dr. Gary Gilkeson discuss this urgent issue and what LFA has been doing to bring down barriers to lupus drug development.

World Aids Day Today- Who did YOU lose?

December 1, 2008

aids_day_en

I am so ashamed to report that  until I read VanessaLeigh‘s post today, I had no idea…

I lost three family members to AIDS.  My Uncle Joe died in his 40’s. He was a handsome, brilliant professional actor and singer who never did make it to the big time.  He never had the time. Also, in those days, he “passed”…but not enough… God what a guy magnet he was! I remember he visited my husband and I when we lived in Italy and we practically had to barricade the doors to protect him! Ok, I’m exaggerating a bit, but you get the idea.  He was also one of the funniest people I’ve ever met, my mother’s dearest friend, wild, witty, best known for his role as one of the original four cabaret singers in Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.  When he died, they had a tribute to him that I will never forget at The Village Gate in Manhattan, where the show ran for years. I was so proud to be his niece. I was always a bit in awe of him and so I loved him from afar.  Uncle Joe, I pray that you’re alive and well and living in Paradise with my father and yours.

Lenny and Joe,  my own age and my cousins on the other side of the family, will be harder to write about, because I loved them more. They were  my age and we grew up together. They started drugs at the age of twelve which ultimately led to them dying of AIDS,  also in their 40’s. Lenny was the proverbial chick magnet. He was a swaggering, gorgeous, macho early Sly Stallone look alike. He was bitingly sarcastic (anyone who reads my blog knows I hate sarcasm) but I could read him…I knew him…I saw his facade…his emptiness and no clear sense of his own identity. The same emptiness drove his identical twin brother.  Joe was the less aggressive one. A goofier sense of humor. A one girl kind of guy. Rough around the edges, both of them. Street smart but no interest in academics, ever.   Their twinship, rather then feed a closeness, seemed to drain both of them of their psychological life’s blood. Almost as if there weren’t enough for both of them. God I miss them. My roots. We were the first three kids in a huge Italian extended family. We all lived together in a 3 family house until I was about 6. There was a built in pool which of course  needed  adult supervision in order for us to jump in. So we would start the garden hose and put drops of water on our foreheads in order to get someone to take pity on our overheated bodies.  On Christmas Eve we listened in awe as reindeer and bells clattered across the roof of our house, courtesy of our ingenious uncles.

I started life with two older “brothers”, and now they’re both gone. There but for the grace of God went I.

Lenny and Joe, I will always, always miss you. I will always be grateful for the love and the roots and the FUN we had as kids, before the drugs and the plague took you. And I will ALWAYS associate the magic of Christmas with you, and remember the sound of those bells on the roof.

Most of all, I pray that, like my Uncle Joe, you’re in Paradise with my father and yours.

And so, my friends….who would you like to memorialize here?

When Alpha Males Get Sick

November 23, 2008

hallsbalsamLord help me. He only gets sick once a year, but when he does my hero turns into my worst nightmare.  I truly appreciate that he patiently takes care of me all the rest of the year above and beyond the call of duty, with my lupus and all, but BOY…paybacks are a bitch! He won’t let me take care of him… he wants me to take care of him…. he doesn’t need help…he does need help. I am trying not to get too close physically so I don’t catch his germs. He finds this to be insulting. When I tell him  that I miss his hugs, he looks accusingly at me like its all my fault. I’m also supposed to be a mindreader. When I ask him if he’s hungry, he’s not. Five minutes later I find him cooking himself some soup and sneezing into it. Mmmm….yummy…He then graciously offers me some, which I graciously decline.. And, worst of all, he’s a VERY cranky patient who isn’t a patient.

And just so you know, Alpha Males don’t marry Florence Nightingales. Truthfully, I HATE being a nurse. 

I hope I don’t get sick for Thanksgiving 😦

Baby Laughing at Wii

November 7, 2008

Ok, this may be a sign of my obsession with wanting a grandchild, but I ask you….can you watch this and NOT laugh just hearing him? I hope this brings a smile, or a laugh, to you today.

 

When A Spouse Comes Out

November 5, 2008

logo

 

I found an interesting column by Garry Cooper  in this month’s Psychotherapy Networker.  

He reports that  Amity Pierce Buxton, founder of The Straight Spouse Network, estimates that as many as two million straight spouses will, often suddenly, traumatically,  and by accident, find themselves discovering that they have a gay or bi spouse. The article also reports that Joe Kort, an Imago therapist specializing in gay issues, has seen couples negotiate arrangements other than splitting.  Some agreed upon solutions have been allowing one or both parters to have relationships outside the marriage, allowing the bi/ gay partner to use porn and webcams but not meet sexual partners face to face, or the bi/gay partner agrees not to indulge in outside sexual behaviors or porn.

What a tough and painful situation for everyone involved…particularly where there are children…or the spouses still love each other…  What would you do?