Sunday, December 30, 2012


We've been hit by two big snow storms over the last week.  Like in Camelot, it came in on Christmas day and gave us a white Christmas.

Last night the second storm was raging.  At 8:30 it was dark and wild out there and I got the urge to go out into it.  My dog, Ella, was sound asleep in front of the fire (as was Dave!) so I put on boots and several layers and quietly said "want to go for a walk?".   That old girl was up on her feet in seconds and at the door.  She loves snow!

Once outside my arthritic dog, who tends to hobble around the house, heaves a big sigh before doing the stairs and lays down with a groan, was prancing down the driveway!  Our tracks were the only ones laid into the inches of new snow.  We headed down to the town landing; being drawn into the full force of this storm.

The sea was black, as was the night.  Ella and I walked out to the end of the pier, which was snow covered, with the wind howling down on us and the falling snow lashing at my uncovered face.  Ella put her ears back and found one little strip of boardwalk that was bare of the snow to make her traveling easier.

At the end of this pier the little gate that opens to the dock in the summer had been blown open and held in that position by the snow pack.  I was feeling secure with the high rails of the pier protecting me, but this open, gaping mouth that dropped right into the bay at the end of the pier felt a bit eerie.  I put my shoulder into it and closed the gate as much as I could.  Then I felt a little safer to lean over the rail and look into the black waters below.

I always get this odd feeling when looking into water ... there's a bit of a pull to jump in.  Now, I'm a rational being and have no "death wish" so you can all stop worrying, I would never do it.  But as I stared into that undulating water below there is a sirens call ...

... Ella nuzzled my leg and brought me back to the pier as she pulled on her leash to head home.

Again, I was amazed by this little dog as she danced up the steep hill that leads away from the beach and back to the house.  Something about the sirens call of a storm was surging through her and giving her a new energy and excitement to her step.

Me too.

Something about a storm always pulls me out into it .... needing to get outside and feel the power, the wind, the storm all around me ... it's a primal feeling.  And, of course, knowing I get to return to a warm home with the fire blazing makes the going out that much easier.

And having someone at home, helping me to shrug off the snow covered layers, wanting to hear all about the storm and bustling me towards the stove ..... is the biggest luxury of all.

I am looking forward to this coming New Year.  I hope all of you are too.

Have a safe and wonderful celebration to the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013.

Loving you all back.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Mt. Abraham, Maine
I have a couple friends on Facebook who have been posting their gratitude for the entire month of November.  Each day a new "I'm thankful for ... " would appear as Paula's post.  It was a wonderful thing to see each morning when I would log onto that sight.

My favorite teacher from high school, who was my band director, my ski-team coach and the builder and designer of the sets for the school musicals lost his wife to cancer just two days ago.  Still he has posted his "thank you's" to all who showed up for them, all who raked leaves, cooked, sat with them and sent their prayers.  I'm sure this day has a huge hole in it for him that no amount of food will ever fill.

And we can only be thankful for all that love we once had, were blessed to be part of, that continues to exist in us, around us, even when that person has passed from this life.  All that love does not pass, it hovers and continues to bless us as we struggle to find our way in a whole new world.

I too have so much to be thankful for; a family that is whacky and wonderful and whom we all still just love to gather with each other.  My 90 year old mum who is still sharp as a tack and needs no assisted living even as she gets a bit unsteady.  The man I spent 35 years with who showed me how to love, taught me what friendship is and what a deep and everlasting love can be.  And because he loved me so well I was able to open up and accept a new love;  the bar had been set very high and I'm incredibly grateful that I have not needed to compromise in any way ... Dave is an amazing man and has moved in matching me, stride for stride.

With Dave comes two wonderful boys, David and Eben, and all the Lovejoy clan as well as his huge list of friends, all who embraced me so quickly and already I feel like family in this new circle.

I'm grateful that my sisters-in-law, Donna and Stacie, remain my sisters ... regardless of the law!  They have always been and will continue to be family though we share no genetic codes.

As I sit here smelling the turkey, the woodstove glowing and creating a comfortable warmth in our little home I realize how incredibly rich I am ... there is an abundance of food, there is warmth, there is love ... so very rich.

Thanks giving.  I am grateful and thankful beyond earth and sky.

May we all remain open in gratitude, every day.

Loving you all back,


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Heading Into the Storm

This morning I took a run in shorts and a t-shirt.  Maine, in November, is not suppose to have balmy weather.  It's a little eerie.  This day is gray and threatens a change.  A half mile from my house I realized I was running straight into the storm; the sky was black, the wind was picking up and I could see the rain up ahead.  I told myself if I saw lightening I would turn around and sprint it home.  But instead, I put my head down and kept running straight into it.

And this is too perfect for my life this week.  There is a storm brewing for me around relationships.  No, not my relationship with Dave nor is this about Jim;  I am being called into my feminine power, asked to respond to the feminine relationships in my life.  And as I turn to do this I realize I must settle into my own warrioress ... who tends to ask more of me than others, asks me to open my heart, to find strength in the compassionate and to be honest with myself.

I don't always like her ... she tends to be tough.  She tends to be right.  And she always teaches me something.

As I ran into this storm this morning I found myself opening up, lifting my bowed head and unfolding to the rain, the wind, the power.  This is what I am being asked to do, to unfold and open myself up to receiving my lesson.  To step into "not knowing"; a place of not needing to understand it all, not grasping any one emotion as the gamut floods through me of pain, disappointment, sadness, anger, confusion.  To just let all this flow around me and through me and remain open to the wind and to listen for the information that may descend for me.

It's interesting that before this personal storm struck, my friend, Kim, called and asked me if I wanted to go see the psychic, Tracy.  My niece, Molly, and I had talked about going to see Tracy again.  I had not made the call, procrastinating even when I know it can take several months to get in to see Tracy.  When Kim called and said there were back-to-back appointments if I wanted to go with her on Friday the 16th I thought, "well now,  I guess I'm suppose to go sooner verses later." So I agreed.

And then my life's shit hit the fan.

I feel that even when the Universe slaps me around a little bit, putting challenges before me so that I might grab the lesson and, ultimately, to find growth in all of this, it also offers me tools that I may need.  Perhaps, I won't have to figure all this out by myself this time.

Loving you all back,

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Here come those tears again

I've been singing Jackson Browne for a few days now:

Jim with school children
Here come those tears again
Just when I was getting over you
Just when I was gonna make it through another night
Without missing you
Thinking I just might be strong enough after all ....

Once again the Great White has emerged from the  depths and dragged me out of the boat.  I guess I was throwing out some bait by going through yet more boxes, seeing more slides, images, old journals with Jim's handwriting and his thoughts.  Crumpling on the floor, crawling to the bed and curling up into the fetal position.  Saturday I called it a "nap" ... yeah, right.

I found one journal that has all his notes from when he was covering the Maryknoll doctor in the Sudan.  The fears he was feeling, the excitement of this story, the exhilaration of the land.  "Dancing under the Toposa Moon" ... was the actual scrawlings written across the top of the notebook.  He described, in his pitch perfect way with his journalistic writing, how he heard voices and chanting and had to go see what was amiss in the night.  Susan, the American doctor who had been living and running a clinic there, refused to let Jim go alone.  She was far less naive about what lay in the bush or what the gathering of tribes people might be.  When they arrived there were men and women dancing around the fire, chanting, drumming and leaping into the air.  They smiled and allowed Susan and Jim to join the circle.  At one point a man asked Jim if he would like to try it,  He was escorted into the circle where, still holding hands with this man, they began to leap into the air together and dance wildly. Leaping with all those people that surrounded him, all laughing, dancing, chanting and African drumming, Jim wrote,"it was incredibly magical".

 Here come those tears again .....

What an amazing life that man had.  How that man affected others and how he traveled so fearlessly  with his eye ever watchful for that image to capture; a document of that fleeting moment in time. How could we ever know just how short that life would be?

This beast is a mighty one.  Always amazes me just how hard the thing will grab me, shake me, rattle my world and hangs on.  I shared with Dave what was going on.  In his wisdom he told me that I don't need to go through those boxes, we can just put them all in our friends dry, basement as is.  In another year or two it might be easier to open them back up and go through them; not now.  It's not necessary now.  He's right, of course.  I don't know why I felt I had to open them up ... Pandora's boxes in too many ways ... and try to wade through all that the cardboard keeps hidden.

And this damn beast doesn't let it just go in one day.  Oh no, there's more there to stir up. The beast didn't even recede into the depths after Saturday but remained at the surface with the fin ever present.

Sunday morning was beautiful and I couldn't get out of bed.  I couldn't bring myself to suit up for a ride or a run.  I sat in bed reading.  Dave came and suggested Ella might like a walk .... that helped.  I did walk my little gal down to the beach where she got me smiling at her old-lady-way of running and pouncing on her tennis ball.  I felt better.  On returning home Dave suggested we head to a small mountain just outside my old hometown, and take the half hour hike to the top.  The views are 360 degrees on these granite ledges overlooking the White Mountains, the twin towns of Norway/South Paris, and Sebago Lake in the far distance.  Truly gorgeous.  I felt better.

Just when I was gonna make it through ...

But that beast kept circling, kept calling me to the colder, darker waters.

Such an odd thing.  The Buddhist teachings I've read recently tell me that our brain acknowledges an emotion for only  90 seconds.  One and a half minutes.  And then we choose to hang onto it or to move on.  I WANT to move on!  But there is this eddy that I end up spinning in.  I truly feel helpless at times and have to just accept that this is where I'm at ... spinning ... and at some point the beast will spit me out and I'll be fine again.

I want to allow just a short visit there, just enough to acknowledge the pain, the tears .. but not to wallow.  But sometimes there is no other choice.  I have to go deep.  Only when I allow the beast to drag me down into that murky area do I get released.  And I never know quite how long this might last.

Dave on Streaked Mountain
I just hate dragging Dave down with me.  I'm not all that much fun to be around when the beast shows up.  I know this and wonder how the hell Dave can stand by me during these times.  But stand by me he does; taking me to the mountains and getting me outside on a gorgeous day, holding me while I cry... staying in the boat and throwing me a life ring.  I'm pretty grateful that he has decided to walk beside me through the rest of this life, even though I have this beast who comes around.

Thinking I just might be strong enough after all

Loving you all back,

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Nicatous Lake
Recently Dave and I were invited to a dinner party with some friends of his.  I was wondering who else might be there so Bob sent an email of the roster.  He mentioned the different people attending and offered a little bit about each one.  He spoke of an "adventure seeking couple" who would be there.  Dave and I were reading this email together and both of us were intrigued by who this couple might be and wondering what adventures they may have to share ... and then we read further ... this couple was us!

But, I guess, it's true.  I have been off on many adventures with this man in a years time. I grew up in Maine; spending my winters exploring the mountains of the Oxford Hills area and my summers with my face hovering over tide pools on the beaches in Scarborough.  But I have never really seen the Maine that Dave has started to take me to; the lakes and rivers of the north woods.

Growing up in that small town of Norway I would read National Geographic and become fixated with all those far off lands of turqoise colored oceans, dazzling exotic birds or snow-capped, jagged peaks of mountains.  I wanted to go.  My dad would say "you can travel anywhere in the world with a book or these pages of the National Geographic."  But I wanted to feel it.  I wanted to swim in that luxurious looking sea, to hear the caw of that bird and to stand in the thin air of those mountains.

Jim in the Himalayas
I met Jim Daniels when I was twenty one.  Jim shared with me that same adventurous spirit and he wanted to see these same lands.  Jim was the kind of man that when he put his mind to something it would come to be his reality. With his work as a photojournalist he began to travel all over the world where he documented the lives and struggles of the people of distant lands.  And I got to travel with him on many of these adventures.  I got to stand on a pass in the Himalayas at 17,000+ feet and feel the effects of that thin air in my lungs.  I got to watch the flight of the exotic Quetzal with its iridescent green and red plumage in the cloud forest of Costa Rica.  I got to swim with sea lions in the green waters of the Galapagos Islands and to hold the tiny hand of an inquisitive child of the Kachin people in Burma.

It was an amazing time with an amazing man and I hold all those memories very dear.  I accept how my life has changed .. or has it?  I am with another amazing man whose friend calls us the "adventure seeking couple."  And we are!  It's just that now I am exploring the exotic lands of my own state and country with a partner who finds adventure in every day.  I am camping on white beaches of quiet lakes and swimming in their silky warmth.  I'm bushwacking with snowshoes up ravines of mountains in western Maine and rafting the white waters of the Colorado river through its Grand Canyon.  I'm learning the different calls and intelligence of a family of jet-black crows who have decided to come to me when I speak to them.

I feel incredibly blessed for all this love, past and present.  I feel blessed for all the adventures I have had ... and for all the adventures still to come.

Loving you all back,

Friday, September 7, 2012


Jewell Island
I was so melancholy yesterday.  Melancholy .... what a great sounding word.  Melancholy, defined means "a gloomy state of mind".  If long term or habitual I guess it becomes a depression ... or a really gloomy state of mind!

I'm not sure what brought on this blue wave,  putting my mind into this gloomy state. Our wedding anniversary was August 25th, but that day passed with only a little blip.  I spent that day out on Casco bay with Dave and the "kids" - the young adults that are Dave's children and my niece of the same age.  It was a gorgeous day and we had a wonderful time exploring Jewell Island; one of the Calendar island chain (so called because there are 365 islands in the bay - though some of these might be hard pressed to be called an island really).  Jewell is one of the furthest out from Portland.  I got thoughtful on our boat ride back to the town landing, but didn't share with anyone what was going on for me this day.  Too personal, too old ... ancient history in some ways I guess.

I spotted a couple Harbor Porpoise cruising by in the opposite direction off our port bow.  A nice visitation as I sat there starring at the water and sinking into my own thoughts and memories.

When I got home I looked up the spiritual significance of a porpoise (or dolphin, same family) coming into my life.  Here's what I found; they are a reminder to us to swim freely into the waters of life and to allow our emotions to flow through us, to breathe into these emotions in order to release them.  And to have a light heart and a joyful/playful attitude towards life.

Well ... pretty fitting.

So today I am not trying to label these emotions of sadness, I'm just trying to allow them to happen.  I'm not trying to explain them away, I'm acknowledging that they are here.  I'm willing to ride another wave of this melancholy feeling until it reaches a distant shore.  I've learned to trust that I will be released from this gloom and I will turn and swim freely back into this sea of life.

Just to be clear, I am very grateful for this life of mine which continues to be filled with love and laughter and, mostly, a joyful heart .... and I go outside to play a lot!

Loving you all back,

Thursday, August 9, 2012


I recently went to Alaska.  It was the experience of a life time, not only because Alaska still feels so wild and is incredibly gorgeous, or because the people are pioneers and wonderfully eccentric but because I was traveling with my 90 year old mother and two of my sisters.  This hasn't happened since I was eight years old and my parents loaded up the old Ford station wagon, jammed all five kids into it with all our luggage and we drove across country to California.

This recent trip came about because my oldest sister, Karmo Sanders, and her husband, Jerry Sanders, have spent the last 12 years writing a musical.  Yup, that's correct ... a musical!  And all of the family and all of the friends have watched and participated in the birth of this baby with trips to Boston to witness the readings, the re-writes, hearing the new songs, commenting on the old songs, having these songs in our heads for weeks on end ... for twelve years.   The theater, Cyrano's, in Anchorage Alaska got wind of this musical and raised the money needed to put this show up.  A full blown production with professional actors singing and dancing, costumes, sets, lights, ACTION!

It was full-on-mind-blowing.  After all, it's not every day you get to see a musical that your sibling created!  And Alaska was the perfect place for the premiere.  The musical, The Gold Rush Girls, is set in a brothel in the Yukon.  It's adapted from the book written by Lael Morgan (The Good Time Girls) about the women who followed the gold rush.

Jerry, one of the cast members and Karmo 
Of course mum wanted to go and be there for the opening night.  My sister, Jayne, said she would fly out with her.  But my mother decided that all of the siblings who wanted to go should be there for this event.  She also knows that none of us have money for spontaneous vacations, so she offered to buy the plane tickets ... and then the car rental ... and then the apartment rental ... because, as she told us, "I can either give you the money after I die or we can spend it now and have fun with it".  The verdict was let's have some fun!

My mother, at 90, is amazing.  She's a bit unsteady on her feet now and can't walk too far without needing to rest.  But her mind is as sharp as a tack and her spirit is young and still soaring .  This woman never once said "No, I'm too tired", or "I don't think I can do that".  She was always the one who would say "Yes! Let's go!" and she'd grab her cane and be the first one ready for whatever was next!

In Alaska this time of year it stays light until after midnight.  This makes it real easy to stay up long past a normal bedtime.  While out there we were lucky enough to get into two of the shows and after each one we were invited by the cast and crew to join some of them for drinks.  We would look to mom and ask tentatively "are you up for going out?" and we would get, "Yes!  Let's go!"  Thus my mother was out until 1:00 a.m. (dusk in Alaska) shooting shots of an Anchorage speciality called The Duck Fart.  The music director, Dan, told mom "Mary Lou, you don't sip this, you have to shoot it".  My mother looked at me, turned and looked at my youngest sister, Sara, shrugged her shoulders, tilted her head back and slammed that drink down, much to the delight of everyone at this gathering!

That's me mum.

As I have mentioned many times in this blogosphere my dad was a minister in a small town in Maine.  He was a bit of a hero in this town as everyone loved him regardless of their religious leanings.  My mother was the ministers wife, which had many sides to it, up and down.  Life was a bit like being in a fish bowl in such a small town and mom would have to put on a good game face sometimes when she would walk into church; even though she may have just had an argument and thrown a book at that guy up behind the pulpit.  She walked into church with her gloves on, a reverent smile and an aura of complete calm and composure while her children pinched each other in the pew or one child decided to whistle the hymns that day verses sing them (yes, this is true).  The First Lady had nothing on my mother during those twenty six years of being the Reverend J.N. Lello's wife.

Except for that trip across country to California my parents never traveled.  After my dad retired my folks moved to Scarborough and the small Cape that my grandfather (mom's dad) had built for them.  They saw the last child, Sara, finish high school as dad became progressively ill with lung cancer.  Just as Sara fledged the nest my dad became too ill to be able to live any kind of exciting life.  My mother went from taking care of children to taking care of her dying husband.

Mum would have loved to have traveled again with my dad in their retirement years but it never happened.  We all had come to appreciate that Mom had this adventurous spirit in her that had been stifled for most of her life.  Once Mom was telling us about an outing she was planning to do with some women friends; they were going to take the ferry from Portland for a short ride out to Peaks Island for the day.  On hearing this Sara said, "Mom!  You are finally getting to go over seas!"

Within a year after dad died Karmo's youngest daughter, Jenny, was going to go to Russia with her class during a school vacation.  My mother called the school and asked if they needed any more chaperones.  Indeed, they did.  So Mum signed on.  Her first airplane flight in her entire life was to Russia.
From left to right: me, Mum, Sara, Jayne

Everyone who met my mother on this trip to Alaska fell in love with her, including three young men who worked for the airline at the Anchorage airport.  While Jayne, Sara and I were in line to get our boarding passes home our mother sat over by the windows chatting with these three employees whom she just struck up a conversation with.  The three daughters watched this scene - these young men leaning forward talking with this little, old lady, throwing their heads back and laughing.  The three of us just shook our heads and laughed.  One of these guys was to be mom's wheelchair driver ... but all three of them showed us through security and to the gate!  As we were escorted to our gate one of these men turned to me and said  "who is this woman?"
"That's my mother."
"And she's 90?!  We figured she might be 70-something, maybe 80, but 90?!  She's a hoot!"

That's me mum.

Alaska was amazing and I shall cherish this trip for the rest of my life.  Traveling with and observing my mother helped me realize just how much she has handed down to all of us; an interest in people and their stories, a sense of humor that allows us to laugh at ourselves, a pioneer spirit and thirst for life.

I have an amazing family who I love dearly and feel very proud of because creating and producing a musical is just the tip of the ice burg to the talent that exists in it.  But I hope to hell that I have my mother's genes so that when I'm old and slow if someone asks me if I want go out and have a Duck Fart I'll always say, "You bet! Let's go!"

Loving you all back,

Friday, July 20, 2012

A New Web

I spent a couple days last week pulling down boxes that belonged to Jim from up over the barn.  Jim's sister, Donna, was here and had told me she would help with this project.   Several times Donna looked at me and said "are you OK with this?" as we went through another box filled with slides and old portfolios.  Dave would come in and out and he too would pull me aside and gently ask, "Are you doing OK with all this?"

I was doing OK.  I did have one moment in that small, over-heated space when I pulled out one  box and looked inside.  I had to just sit down on the nasty floor boards up there and let the tears flow.  While I tried to compose myself I looked up and saw a spider dangling from a single thread that was  being illuminated by the sun streaming in the one window I sat beside.  As this little, nondescript spider pulled herself up onto, a seemingly, invisible line she started doing that little dance spiders do, with legs flying, and ... presto! ... that single strand was attached to her ever-growing web.

As she rappelled from another thread secreted from her abdomen I heard a voice in my mind that said "One thread. A new web. A new life".  I wiped away the tears with the back of my hand and thought, "Yup. Perfect. Thank you!" ... and carried the next box down to the deck.

Donna came back to Maine to visit for the first time since Jim's death.  I know she had to send out her own little tender thread across the 2,000 miles to begin building a new bridge from Colorado to Maine. A bridge that has been solid and strong for so many years built by the love of a brother and  his sister.  A physical bridge she and her husband, Mark, had to travel to get here.  And an emotional bridge that needed to be stood on, and crossed.  Walking into my house has another level of reality that hits friends and family when they return for the first time .  Jim is not here ...  the energy has changed along with many other things.

Sometimes it just feels like the Universe takes control and manipulates things for the better.  Originally, when Donna and I were communicating about this trip, discussing when she should come, I had told her any time BUT July 9th weekend.  Dave and I would be away.  Two weeks before she was to come she called and said she had just booked the flight for July 9th.  Ooopsy!  We both went into a short-lived panic as they would arrive the very day that I would be leaving.  After hanging up the phone with her I felt a calm come over me and I heard, "this is perfect".  And with a bit of thought I realized it was.  Donna and Mark would arrive at the house and have a full three days to themselves before Dave and I returned.  Donna would walk into this space and have a bit of time to just let this new layer of reality take its hit on her; to just feel and be in this house that once was the home of her brother.

I could never have orchestrated that so perfectly.  And I'm always grateful when I feel that gentle hand of something outside of myself sort of take over.   I feel this frequently and I never take it for granted.

Donna and Mark were here for a week so we had plenty of time to connect.  We did some fun Maine stuff together; went to the Boothbay Botanical Gardens with my 90 year old mom, ate lobster rolls, sat out on the deck here at home and drank G/T's and Donna, Mark and Dave got to know one another.

But the important event, for me, was having Donna be willing to help me with all those boxes filled with all of the things that Jim had stashed up there.  I hauled so many, many boxes down and Donna and I would start to go through their history.  I would hold something up and raise an eyebrow,  Donna would look at me and say "toss it Mary!"

Donna gave me permission to throw stuff out.  Gave me permission to just say "I don't need to keep this".  Gave me permission to begin to discard some of this man's life; a man we both loved deeply and completely.  But, we loved Jim, not all his stuff!

There are many things that need to be saved too.  Jim Daniels was an amazing photojournalist with a true gift and an incredible eye.  So many images, moments, captured that must be saved.  I still get horribly overwhelmed by this and what must be done with these treasures.  God how I wish that man had been able to tell me what he would have wanted done with everything!  But he couldn't, having lost the ability to talk among other things - the last months were spent just trying to survive.

So here I am with many boxes still up there to wade through and make decisions on.  Many family and professional images to go through.  Many memories to thrust me back, many more tears to cry to cleanse my spirit.

But, I heard and I shall remember ...

... One thread.
... A new web.
... A new life.

Loving you all back

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I'm Pissed ...

I know in England to say one is "pissed" is to admit to being a bit inebriated.  But in Maine it means one is ... what?  Angry?  Frustrated?  Angry and frustrated and overwhelmed?That's the one.

I'm pissed ....

... that Jim died so damn early and left me here.

... that I have to start this all over again with no instruction manual to consult.

... that I miss that man so much.

... that sometimes I find myself falling right back into the same old patterns.  The colors seem to have changed, confusing me enough to think that maybe it is a new pattern.  But it's not.  It's just a different colored one.

... that everything has changed and nothing has changed.

... that I may never be able to retire and "live the good life" ... in Maine ... "the way life should be"... with health care.

... that I'm in a funk again and this time it's the color RED - angry and infected.

... that I'm feeling more code-pendant than inde-pendant.

... that I have, yet, another dear one who is fighting her personal war with cancer.  She lives in New Zealand and thus I feel even more hobbled to change this or to help in any way ... so I tell her she's in my thoughts ... if a thought counts ... and I send her all my love over the thousands of miles of deep blue.

... that it's raining and my brain feels moldy.

... that everything is gray and grayer today.  My crows are black ... I need a Cockatoo, a Quetzal, a Cardinal ... a flash of dazzling color and magic.

... that I can't feel the magic today.

... that I react so badly to black fly bites - which dominate the north woods of Maine this time of year - and all these bites are still itching days later ... angry, hard, sore, raised welts that bleed when I scratch the hell out of them but, as good as it feels to do this, it offers no relief ... all this from a bug the size of this exclamation point!

... that my dearest little 4-legged friend is getting too old to run with me, and so I must find the ambition to go it alone this gray morning.

... that I look into the mirror and wish I could rearrange the picture ... like a Miss Potato Head ... give me new body parts.  Right.  Like this would make me happy.

... that nothing can really "make me happy" ... except my own ability to change this mood.

... because I seem to have lost that little thing ... ability to ... this morning.

... that confessing all this may drag some of you down ... but it may have helped me just a wee bit.


But I'm still capable of saying this ... and meaning it ...

... Loving you all back,

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

You may have said ....

... "I can't live without you" .... but I have learned you can, and you will.  You will continue to put one foot in front of the other and to watch another sunrise.  You may rage, you may cry, you may feel horribly broken - but  you will live without that person who has left you.

... "I can't imagine my life without you" ....  but I have learned it changes, for sure.  There is that hole, that scar in your heart.  The unimaginable becomes a reality and you learn to accept, slowly, perhaps begrudgingly, but you come to accept and to imagine again.

And hopefully you will come to understand that nothing is forever, including us fragile humans.  We never know how much time we may have on this earth; there are no guarantees in any of this.  And with this understanding you may begin to live a bit more on the edge, to understand that grabbing for your passion is more important than grabbing for what is safe.

 Because you have felt the loss of someone you loved so deeply that to be without them in this world leaves you broken ... you learn to really live.  Because you must live without - you learn to really live.  You learn to make that change that you felt couldn't be made. You learn you don't want to have regrets when it comes to be your turn.  You understand that what you have is right now - that your work place will survive a day without you if you must go climb a mountain.  Call in well.

You understand intimately that there may not be tomorrow or next year, so you do it now.  Kick off those comfortable shoes and dance barefoot in the mud.  Throw off your cape of heavy responsibilities for just a few hours and listen to the oceans rythmic music.  Watch your child pick dandelions.  Catch a falling star.

Perhaps you'll realize not all of us may live long enough to retire ... why are we saving for it?  Why are we waiting/hoping/looking forward to doing all those things we want to do THEN?

Why not NOW?

"No one has ever said on their death bed 'I wish I had spent more time at the office'".

I have said, "I can't live without you" ... and I have learned that I can.

Loving you all back,

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Holding On

By now all of you know that I am in another relationship.  The nearest and dearest to me know this guy pretty well.  Those of you more on the fringe have asked, "So, how's it going with Dave?" And others have asked, "Are you still dating this new guy?" This is the question that has me take a breath as I realize my situation is vastly different from what's known.

If you scroll through my blogs to September 1, 2011 and read Unfolding you will get the history on how Dave and I met.  I get embarrassed that it was on Match, but it was.  As I explain in that blog, I knew after our "coffee date", that lasted six hours, that I may have met my match.  As I drove home from this initial meeting I was 'talking' to Jim and asked him, "Did you do this Jim?  Did you put this guy into my path?"

I never shared that with anyone as it just seemed too ... too ... just too-too.  But I did feel that Jim had pulled some strings from his advantage point and he completely approved.

Last winter I went to see a psychic.  I've been to many "psychics" and a handful of them have actually been gifted.  This woman I saw last winter was one of the best I've ever seen.  I was told to go with questions as she will give me time to ask them after her reading.  I had one question for her ... whose this new guy?  I never needed to ask my question, she had lots of information for me on this.

 The first thing she said to me was, "How come you have two husbands?"  When I told her I only have one husband and explained about Jim she said "Ah, but there's a new guy, yes?  Well just let me tell you,  Jim had a hand in your finding this new guy.  He's extremely happy for both of you now."

And I knew this.  As someone who works with energy I have a pretty heightened intuitive sense and I have learned to trust it.  But it was nice to have this "knowing" validated by another all the same.

This month Dave and I have been together for ten months, and he has lived with me for eight ... and yes, this was incredibly fast but it has been so right from our first meeting.  As my good friend, HH, told me, who basically did the same thing and is happily married,"Mary, at our age we know ourselves, we know what we want and need.  If you've found it, why wait?"  I love her!

This man lives big; he has a big heart, big energy, takes me on big adventures, has a big voice ... and tells me I'm the first woman who has ever appreciated how loud he can be.  I'm hearing impaired remember, thus, we're a good match that way!  He fits into my family of blood and my family of friends.   I like to think I fit into his circle equally as well. I love his two grown boys and they are learning to accept me, and perhaps, even to like me.

And when an anniversary rolls around pulling me into a slump or the rogue wave hits me and sucks me down into it's gloom, this guy doesn't shrink away.  He holds onto me.  Holds me while I cry.   He picks me back up with no questions.  He knows that there is still a lot of love for Jim in my heart, but he understands that this does not belittle the love I now feel for him.   I find Dave's understanding of this remarkable.

OK, it's not perfect, he's not perfect - thank God! - but we really work well together.  And, as I've written before, I've changed; my ego is smaller and my tolerance is much higher these days.  The few little spats we've had have stayed as simply that, a spat.  Not blossoming into any thing bigger or nastier.  I just don't want to go there.  I can't help but feel, "we don't have time for this!"  I don't want to waste one precious moment on being angry, on holding onto some stupid grudge and give too much energy to being mad with each other.  It pulls us away from our center and our loving nature.

I never thought I could open my heart again, never thought there could ever be someone a big as Jim who could fill this void, who could fit into my life, my world, again.  I didn't know this could happen twice in one lifetime.  I'm still amazed that it has and that this new guy is here now and fitting like some  soft, worn glove.  It's so comfortable, so easy.

 Dave says to me, "just let me love you".  That's a pretty wonderful mantra and one worth holding onto.

And I am ... holding on ... to this gift, this amazing human being who arrived with open arms and an open heart.

Loving you all back,

Saturday, April 28, 2012

April - once again

Once again I'm writing about the hardness of April.  Once again I'm sinking into a 'funk' that has no rhythm or rhyme, just a loneliness, a quietness, a drifting away and unengaged.  Once again it's April and my body is remembering all that I had to do two years ago;  the last two weeks of Jim's life before he left us all on May 7th.

Last night Dave put on an old Bonnie Raitt CD and I was flooded with memories.  The good news is I was seeing Jim as healthy and vibrant in these images that flashed behind my eyes.  I have been waiting for the most recent images of my sick Jim to fade and to start holding tighter to the gorgeous, athletic, funny-faces and Irish-mugged Jim.  Last night I had a brief showing of that healthy man again.

We danced, always.
Today I'm back into the crippled, crooked and sick Jim images ... but oh, how sweet he was.  How incredibly loving, patient and kind he remained even as the tumor took him so far away that he couldn't talk or move very well.  How he would look at me and smile a crooked smile and struggle to say the words "I love you", but those were the words he remained able to say right up until his morphine coma.  Those words and the ability to look into my eyes, my soul, and speak volumes to me without one word spoken.

This is my April, once again.

Loving you all back

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Way it Feels Sometimes

"Missing someone isn't about how long it has been since you've seen them or the amount of time since you've talked.  It's about that very moment when you find yourself doing something and wishing they were right there by your side."

I don't know who wrote this but it's perfect.  This is exactly how it is for me.  And it doesn't matter how happy I'm feeling or what I might be doing the wishing just comes.  This past winter I was  bush whacking up the side of mountain in snow shoes with Dave and two other friends, having a great time.   Yet, on the hike back down that mountain Jim settled in and I found myself with tears freezing to my cheeks wishing he was there, tromping in snowshoes on that mountain.  

It happens less frequently these days, but with no pre-meditation it still happens.  It's just the way it feels sometimes.

The last week or so I've been feeling very melancholy, very low energy and hard to get myself up and out for anything but work and a bit of exercise; staring at clouds, or tree tops, or nothing at all.  No thoughts really, just this feeling of being a bit distant from others and quiet.  Last night, as I watched the setting sun reflected on the clouds I realized .... May 7th ... two years.  Ah!

It's a visceral reaction.  It's as though the very marrow of my bones starts seeping this information into each red blood cell that journeys to my heart.  The body seems to know before my mind grasps it.  And the weeks before seem to be harder then the actual anniversary date.

You do not replace one person with another, but I have found I can love again, be happy again and move on in my life. 

Still .... it's the way it feels sometimes.

Loving you all back,

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

St. Anthony

There is more to the story that I shared in the blog Like a Water Fall, that adds a touch of humor to that whole scenario.

The first camp was on a beautiful beach with a canyon that yawned behind us and a creek running through the canyon.  We could climb up into the cave of this canyon from our camp site and bask in a water fall (the picture used on my last blog is that water fall).  This creek exited right by our camp and on the other side of this little stream - that drained into the big river - was a private beach and perfect tent site for one tent.  Tom graciously gave Dave and I this little private spot as we would be spending two nights at this site in order to climb and hike deeper into the canyon.

the main camp our first night
Staying organized with personal gear is difficult while camping and seemed especially difficult to me on the river as everything had to be in dry bags or water proof containers and tied down.  I wear hearing aids so these were a concern for me especially if we hit big enough rapids and might tip the raft or I pop off the back with my hearing aids in.  Thus, Dave had found the perfect little dry box that held my hearing aid case, extra batteries and even could hold my extra camera card.  It would float and was bright yellow, but for added safety we put it in the ammo can that sat right on the raft deck and held all the things we needed to have easy access to.  Dave instructed me that I didn't need to put them in this case while on this section of the river to our first camp site, so I kept my aids in my ears.

When we unloaded to set up camp I decided to grab this hearing aid box thinking it would be a safe spot to house the aids, in their case, over night while in the tent.  I jammed the box into the pocket of my shorts, grabbed as much of our gear as I could and hauled things over to the little private beach ... which meant crossing the stream and clamboring up a bank.  I needed to make two of these trips and then I got the tent set up and the sleeping bags laid out for Dave and I (who was dealing with securing the rafts and other useful stuff!).  This was when I noticed the aid box was gone.  I must have set it down in the main camp.  I went looking for it.  I told everyone what it looked like in hopes that it was in the sand and easy to spot.  Folks kept their eyes opened and a few helped me retrace steps and look for it.  Nothing.

Now, there was nothing in this box I couldn't live without.  My aids were in my ears so that wasn't the problem.  I just hated being so disorganized that I was already losing stuff on the first night!

Jim and his sisters, who were all raised Catholic, would always pray to St. Anthony whenever they lost something:  "St. Anthony, St. Anthony, please come down, something is lost and must be found." And for Jim this always worked.

I said the prayer that night ... and again the next morning.  I was now convinced that the box had fallen out of my pocket when I crossed the stream and had probably floated to the main river and was in Lake Mead by now.  I let it go.

This second night at this camp site, after a wonderful day of rock climbing and exploring deep into the cactus world of the canyon, is when Dave and I had our little .... encounter.  Poor Dave, he told me he was so worried about what he might find when he came to look for me down by the river that night.  He was afraid I might have a "melt down" on him or be so angry with him that the trip could be ruined.

Meanwhile, I'm sitting on that boulder thinking about compassion when I looked into the river and ... Holy Crap .... bobbing in a little eddie right in front of me is MY AID BOX!  I started to yell, "St Anthony, St. Anthony!!" hauled my pants up and headed into the river, determined not to let that box float into the main stream that was a rushing torrent!

It was at this moment that Dave came around a rock pile, all worried and sheepish, and saw me heading into the rapids of the Colorado!  Frantic, he yelled for me, "MARY!"  I turned holding the little yellow box overhead and said "ST. ANTHONY!!"

Oh, how we laughed.  And then we got to the business of apologizing and talking out what needed to be said.

When I returned to the camp with the box in hand I told everyone that I am not catholic but if they ever lose anything they just might try that prayer .... as it does seem to work!

Loving you all back,

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Like a Water Fall

As some of you know, who are on Facebook with me, we went away for an Arizona adventure/ vacation.  And boy, was it an adventure!  From the day we landed in Phoenix we were outside hiking, climbing (and this means with a rope wrapped around my waist and belayed from above) and white water rafting on the lower Colorado; the river that travels some 1,450 miles from Colorado, forming the Grand Canyon in Arizona.  The lower Colorado is the southern part of the Grand Canyon bringing us out into Lake Mead

There were many things about this trip that held milestones for me: that Dave gets to see that this outdoor-adventure-world he loves and seeks is also my world and what I have sought, and enjoyed, my whole life.  Naturally, after only eight months together I wondered how we would get along with the stresses that exist in said activities.  And the fact that I would get to be incorporated into Dave's world since his boys were joining us from Maine for the river trip and his best friend, Tom, (rock climbing and rafting buddy) of thirty plus years was our host out there in Arizona.  From our third "date" Dave has been engulfed in my world and so I was looking forward to being more engulfed in his.

First off, it was a wonderful vacation and we all had a blast!  Far too many stories and adventures to share in just one blog, but it was so wonderful to be out in the desert and to do all these activities with this man.

I got together yesterday with my good friend, KW, and showed her the pictures from the trip and told her all the stories.  KW, being who she is, asked me, "What did you learn about yourself on this trip Mary?"
Wow ... nothing like going straight to the real stuff!  But I did learn a lot about myself and this is what I  shared with her and want to share with you.

The night before going on the raft trip (and our 5:00 a.m. departure time) I was looking at the books belonging to our friends daughter, whose room she had so generously offered us.  As I scanned the bindings I watched my hand reach out and pull from the stack a book written by the Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, whose writings I'm familiar with.  This particular book was about anger and was filled with simple thoughts on addressing this emotion.  I allowed the book to just flop open and read what was on the page.  This thought was about watering the seed of compassion or watering the seed of anger and how we can always choose which emotion we wanted to nurture and allow to grow.

Hmmm.  I was not angry, nor had I really felt any anger, at this point in the trip but I thought this might be a really good intent to carry with me on our five day river trip.

Well, it was.

River rafting out west is different than back east.  First off, you are days away from help and there really are very few other people on the river (we saw one other party pass us the entire time).  Thus, there is a huge responsibility in keeping everyone safe.  Of course, this understanding sat on the shoulders of our leaders, Dave and Tom.  Second, the white water offers far bigger stuff then what is offered here in Maine.  And third, it's not a walk in the park!  Between loading all the gear for nine people into two rafts, unloading all this gear at each camp, setting up camp, cooking, cleaning up, breaking down camp the next day and reloading the damn boats only to do it all over again at the end of each day, after paddling for hours, .... it's a LOT of work!  So certainly there might be times when patience runs short.

There was such an interaction between Dave and I that had me needing to walk away from the group and just find some quiet time for myself down by the waters edge.  As I sat on a huge boulder, polished by the river below me, I found myself looking up at the canyon walls and then down at the surging green water.  I was awed at what this ancient flow had carved out of the earth ... and at this moment I remembered Thich Nhat Hanh's teachings about anger.  I realized I had the opportunity to put this teaching to work.  I sat there knowing that I could water my seed of anger or I could allow the seed of compassion to sprout and take hold.  Going into compassion meant that I had to let go of my own ego ... to not  react to the situation, as is my normal pattern, but to allow the other persons emotions to wash over me and to hear them.  I didn't need to be swept away by the current of his, or my, emotions but rather to  be like the large boulders sitting in that volume of water and allow the emotions to just flow over and around me and allow them to drift away.   As I went into this meditation I remembered all the stresses that were on the shoulders of this man I love and that I needed to offer him some slack and not come back hard and with my ego's anger blazing.

And what amazed me was ... it worked!  I was able to break an old pattern of mine of hardening my heart, closing it off, feeling the anger give me strength in my own conviction and becoming stiff, rigid and uncompromising.  Oh, I had used this far too many times with Jim over our years.   But this time, I moved into a different space and opened my heart and softened my stance.  I allowed myself to simply fill up and spill over, like a water fall.

Of course, this allowed for better communication when Dave came to find me so we could talk about what had happened between us.  And we grew a little closer together after this.

So, this is what I learned about myself on the trip.  And this is the lesson I want to create a whole new pattern around.  This is how I grow spiritually and how I can change and be a better person.

One friend said to me "Oh, so the honey moon is over?"  And I said, "No, the relationship has started to get real."

When you open up your life to the living
All things come spilling in on you
And you're flowing like a river
The Changer and the Changed
You've got to spill some over
Spill some over
Spill some over
Over all

Filling up and spilling over
It's an endless waterfall ...

Waterfall, Chris Williamson

Loving you all back,

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Beyond the Sky and the Earth

I dragged myself out to the power lines in the early, frigid morning because my old dog, Ella, was running helicopter-type circles yesterday.  With Ella as my motivation we braved the icy trails and the first kiss of dawn.

As the rising sun caressed the black clouds it set them to blushing around the edges ... and I got thinking about life and death.  My dentist, Alan, of 20 years was in my thoughts this morning.  When Jim and I first moved back to Maine Jim found this dentist office here in town and told me I should check them out as he really liked all the people in the office.  Alan became a friend and we witnessed him go through some pretty sad times in his marriage that led, ultimately, to a divorce that was equally as hard.  And then we started to see him "out and about" with his gorgeous receptionist, Diane, who had been working in that office since forever.  Alan began to shine, his happiness palpable.  Jim and I were very happy for him.

When Jim got sick Alan sent me an amazing card and he and Diane came to the first photo show of Jim's where they bought a couple of his prints.  When I agreed to take Jim in for a dental exam Alan was patient and kind with Jim, who was so sick, undergoing chemotherapy, unable to talk and had loss of his right side.  Frequently we would see Alan and Diane when we were out walking around the neighborhood and they would always stop and give us both big hugs.

I was told that Diane was found two weeks ago on her bed with her arms laid across her chest ... a massive stroke at 58 years old had killed her instantly.  And I'm shocked.  And my heart bleeds for Alan and that entire dental office.

On my run I got thinking about this fine line we all walk here on Earth; that fine line between being here and being there ... on the other side of the veil, on the other side and no longer of this world.  How fragile and hugely unknown each new day is.  A dear friend of mine who died from breast cancer 8 years ago after battling it for 6 years one day told me that in this fight of hers there were moments when she actually touched that veil and felt she might be drawn to the other side.  And after those times she had never felt more alive and willing to grab each moment in each new day.  But, she added, it was almost impossible to stay in that space for too long ... perhaps our simple human minds can't take in all that joy and must pay attention to the mundane of an entire day or week or month instead of the expanding joy found in a single, fleeting moment.

As I thought about this, about Diane, about Jim a family of six crows swooped and dove directly over my head.  Native Americans say that crows are the connection between this world and the next and that when they visit us we are to be reminded of the "Magic" and the "Mystery" that is all around us.  As I ran down the trail with this family over me I thought of this connection between that pink-laced brightening sky and this frozen earth I was running on ... or perhaps more about how we loose that connection with that beyond.

Oh, my heart hurts sometimes.

But I am constantly reminded to just be here now, to not engage in the petty or the mundane, to grab for the gusto and ride my life for all it's worth, to love deeply and fully all those around me who I do so love. This morning I told this new man of mine that I love him, beyond the sky and the earth.  This simple statement, used by the people of Bhutan to say thank you, says it best for me today ...  an expression of gratitude .... and of love .... one and the same.

Beyond that sky and this earth .... we can never know all that Mystery.  But I was reminded of it today and for a brief moment in time felt that connection.

Loving you all ... beyond the sky and the earth ... back,

Friday, February 17, 2012

Big Hearts

February is all about red hearts, chocolates, flowers and romantic dinners ... for those who are in love.  And even though I am, in love, I did not expect or need to have the 14th be any kind of hoopla. How my perspective has changed!

Love - I certainly learned the depth and capacity of the love that I am capable of over the past 4 years.  If you had asked me if I loved Jim enough to do all that had to be done while he was sick I'm not sure I would have known what to say.  I'm not sure it's possible to know what you are capable of doing, or just how much love you can feel, until you are thrown ..... head first .... into the experience I was thrown into with Jim.  (As I read this I realize the two births I attended certainly was a 'head-first' wallop of intense, overwhelming love .... life and death.  Of course)

Even though the love increased ten times over - as our community surrounded us as well as the understanding that we had such little time together - the whole expressing of it took quite a different spin!

As I think back and remember the past Valentine Days the memories are pretty sweet. The one in '08, Jim was just finishing radiation, and a good friend found a little bracelet for Jim to present to me with a card that he scrawled a childlike writing on.  The bracelet was made with leather and since I never took it off it has since rotted.  But the little silver pendent that was on it with the word "devotion" inscribed into it still remains.  And the following year, when Jim was failing, a sweet friend from out of town sent dollars to my dear friend Jane with the instructions to "take Mary out to dinner!" ... and she did.  And on that Valentines Day I had a wonderful evening out with 3 other woman while their men sat at home with Jim.

This Valentine Day came and went with no big fanfare, no chocolate or presents.  And it was perfect.  The reality that I am capable of loving again; capable of being loved again is an amazing gift for me.  For this new presence is, truly and honestly, the best Valentines present I could have ever imagined.

Big Hearts.  I have been so blessed with a whole new perspective on just what that really means.

Loving you all back,

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Old Patterns

Oh this new love is so interesting to me.  After being with Jim for so long it can feel crazy to be starting this ride anew.  But it's exciting and I'm realizing that I have a chance at a clean slate here; I am witnessing old patterns in myself and realize that I have the chance to change some of them.

Jim and I were best friends, we had a great relationship and a love that many only hope for.  But we weren't perfect; we had our struggles and our little itchy things that got under the skin and irritated each other.  Of course, any relationship is going to have this but I have begun to notice how some of these itchy things of mine might not have had anything to do with Jim.

One night, months after Jim was gone, I was moving through the bathroom, in the dark, at a good clip.  The bathroom has two doors that are in line with each other so that going from my bedroom to the TV room is a straight shot through the bathroom.  So as I bee lined it in the dark to the TV room I walked smack into the upper linen cabinet door, eye first.  OW!  I grabbed my eye and stumbled backwards, landing on the edge of the tub.  Wow.  As I sat there cupping my eye my first thought was "who the hell left that cabinet door open?!" .... and then I got laughing to myself as I recognized an old pattern.  Only I lived here.  Only I would have left that damn door open to booby trap myself.  But in years past I'm pretty sure I would have blamed that act on Jim.  In fact, at that moment sitting on the side of the tub in pain I desperately wanted to blame someone!   And I had an "a-ha" moment.  I probably did this blame-thing more often then I ever care to remember.  What an ass.

Oh, how I want to apologize to Jim for these kinds of things; my stupid behaviors that created unloving moments.  But Jim and I always believed that these bodies house our soul and in this imperfect world, as imperfect beings, our spirit is here to evolve; to learn and to grow spiritually.

So, here I am in this new relationship and I have caught myself on a couple occasions wanting to blame this man for some things ... but I don't go there.  I do not want to repeat this old pattern.  I want to allow the next wave to come in and wipe this etching from my shoreline.  To clean the slate and start afresh and not continue into this old 'needing to blame someone' pattern.

I like to think that Jim has already forgiven me and is somewhere smiling at all this.

Loving you all back,

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Lean on Me

This grief is a bit like a Great White Shark in the way it hovers in the depths of the unknown, drifting quietly.  Then, like the great hunter that it is, it comes boiling to the surface with incredible speed and an intent to hit hard.  Lately I never see it coming until I'm nailed.

December 28th and 29th was a Great White Shark attack this year.  Didn't really feel these dates a year ago, but for some reason I got slammed on this anniversary this year.  December 28, 2008 was when Jim was diagnosed with his brain tumor, a glioblastoma.  Though we had been warned that it was probably grade three or four they wouldn't know for sure until after surgery and the lab could give us the results.  Surgery was on December 29th.  The results a grade four - the worst - came days later.

Odd how this grief-beast works.  How I cruised through Christmas this year but got nailed on the 28th and 29th.  But the beast has submerged again, silently sinking back down into the depths.  January 3rd .... Jim's 61st birthday .... floated by with only a rememberance and a note to his sisters telling them I loved them.

I guess I'm finding a rhythm to this.  I'm learning that the beast will only take me down for a short while now, not for days at a time, but for moments.  And I am beginning to trust that I will  recover and look perfectly normal again, though I may feel a bit shaky.

Some how the Gods have gifted me this year with a man who is not afraid of this beast and does not run from these attacks.  Instead he offers me his strength to lean against and his broad shoulders to cry on.   This truly is the greatest gift that anyone could give me in these moments.

"Some times in our lives,
we all have pain, we all have sorrow.
But, if we are wise, we know that there's always tomorrow.

Lean on me, when your not strong, and I'll be your friend,
I'll help you carry on ..... "

WIth grace and love we can all help each other to carry on.

Loving you all back,