Category Archives: Grace

My Scars Tell A Story …

20170804_204354I was on the line this past week at the NYC Passport Agency … more than 2 hours in 90 degree August weather … Not fun!  Realized that sometimes life becomes less about living and more about waiting … So tired of waiting!

A complete stranger noticed my scar on my back, near my right shoulder blade.  They asked me what happened.  I was surprised because it’s been a part of me for 40+ years – I forget it’s there.  I had my first cancerous tumors at six months old.  Forty years ago, no one was thinking beyond me getting healthier and growing old – not worrying about scars and plastic surgery.  This stranger mentioned I should look into scar revision surgery.   I politely listened to them.  But in my head I am thinking please leave me alone.   My scars are mine and they tell my story.  Some days they bring me comfort and remind me how much I have gone through and of my strength.

The quote by Steve Maraboli – resonates:  My scars tell a story. They are a reminder of times when life tried to break me, but failed.

My life has been hard.  It still is – most days.  I deal with sadness, grief, pain, hurt, anger, loss … I struggle on a daily basis to get out of bed and just put one foot in front of the other, trying to find my purpose and my smile.  I struggle to find the tenuous line between what hurts me and what heals me.  I struggle in letting go of the past and keep moving forward.

So I need to see beauty in my scars.  So many of us have scars – some visible, many not.  Some are inside of us, some are on the outside prominently and permanently on display.

So I will show my scars … because I continue to fight and survive.  I won’t hide my scars.  They are my reminders that I am still alive.  They serve as proof that God is forever healing me.  And I will keep finding beauty in my life and sharing my story … with grace in my step and hope in my heart.

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Giddy at Fifty

In exactly 7 days, I will turn 50 years old … yes, me turning 50!  I am over the moon ecstatic.  I never thought I would reach this age.  I am a cancer survivor, a crisis survivor, continue to battle PTSD and depression.   I have lost so many loved ones when they were too young – my brother 25 yo, my Dad 57 yo, my fiance 37 yo, aunt 35 yo … I had decided that was my fate as well.  I have spent most of my life thinking I was running out of time.  I lived in the past or in the moment, never fully preparing nor planning a future.

I am almost halfway to 100 and I am so giddy lately.  I am finally midlife.   I will be half of a century old.  How downright exciting … to be me right now??   I am about to finally reach a true milestone and with this I have learned that a happy life starts at whatever age you finally grow up and realize that it’s yours to live … not dictated by family nor work.  It’s all mine.

Sure, I am not naive enough to think it will all be smooth sailing here on out.  I have been through too much to believe that.  But I have been through so much already, I know I can get through whatever life throws at me.

I do worry at times, financially I am not in a good place; nor romantically…even professionally.  Could I have accomplished more?  Sure.  I have spent way too many years in the past.  I no longer live there.  I have hibernated enough.  I have compromised enough.  I have sacrificed enough.  Cancer, regret, loss, crisis, compromise, sacrifice – all have changed the course of my ideal life.   I still have many anxious moments – I still work hard each day to keep my fears and demons at bay.  I have learned and accepted that even with the best planning, we are never fully in control of our own destiny. This lessons learned has come with a high price in my life; it’s a benefit that I have been gifted with the act of getting older, being wise, being experienced.  I am fortunate enough to understand that growth in life doesn’t just stop midlife – it’s a continual realigning, reevaluating, realizing, reexamining, renewing, reconnecting, reacquainting and renewing…and loving the alliteration as always … finally relaxing and just accepting me … yes ME.

Learning as I turn 50, there is so much of life to look back on …and there is so much more to do.  I live for all my loved ones who died too young.  I live for me.  Turning 50 is great because I am still here.  I have learned to be my own cheerleader, my own support system.  I am a survivor.  I have found my smile even through my tears.  I fight through any pain, any sadness, any setback.  I look in the mirror and am happy to see wrinkles, even the gray hair and the love handles.  I have earned this life.  I have lived this life.  And I will continue …. with hope in my heart and grace in my step.  #JustT

 


The Peace of Wall Street

My brief time working on Wall Street again is coming to an end … bittersweet end.  It has been an awakening time for me … accepting and new found peace time for me.  I still have a strong connection to this place.  I have turned down a few jobs through the years to work in this financial downtown area because I just couldn’t bear to go through the World Trade Center and pass the site where my forever heart perished so many years ago.  This past year, I have grown to accept my life in ways that no one can understand – ways that I can barely articulate..  I still ache each time I pass through the WTC, but pain and nostalgia no longer paralyze me.  Sure it overwhelms me at times, but I keep moving forward.  I try to focus on all the good memories and new memories of being downtown, the familiar and the unknown.

I met someone briefly that allowed me to open my eyes to so many possibilities.   There are so many beautiful things in the world to explore, experience, relish and I plan to do just that.

I am going to miss being able to walk down to the South Street Seaport and just look out into the calm waters and let my thoughts drift.  I am going to miss the soft jazz music that can be heard every morning outside my work building.  I may even miss all the tourists and school groups that come this way….ah maybe not.   I will miss Brookfield Place and all the fun things that take place in the area, especially the Lowdown Hudson Music Fest!

I won’t miss the 9/11 Memorial.

I will miss the hand that held mine recently on a few walks around this area.  I wonder if he will ever know the profound effect he had on my life in such a short time …  and although he may never know, I will forever know.  The way he would apply a little pressure when holding my hand, calmed me and made some of anxiety melt away, especially when he squeezed the area between my thumb and my forefinger.

The way he evoked so many memories for me … maybe wasn’t fair to him; but priceless to me.  I knew Michael, my forever heart, was trying to still tell me something even if I wasn’t ready to fully understand all at the time.  Comforting.

I am moving forward … with grace in my step and hope in my heart …

 

 

 

 


“I Am Yours”

I needed this song today ….reminder that God is ever present.  He sent us this beautiful singer whose voice is purely graced with a gift.  Angels shine His love onto our darkness.


I see Your fingerprints
The work of Your hands
It’s all in Your hands
I see the evidence
Leaving nothing to chance
The world’s in Your hands

So I rest in Your promises
Now I am sure of this
I’m Yours

Let the waters rise
I will stand as the oceans roar
Let the earth shake beneath me
Let the mountains fall
You are God over the storm
And I am Yours

I hear the voice of love
Calling me home
To where I belong
It cripples every fear
And the ones who will kneel
Will walk away healed

So I rest in Your promises
Now I am sure of this
I’m Yours
No power is strong enough
To separate me from Your love
I’m Yours…

So let the waters rise
I will stand as the oceans roar
Let the earth shake beneath me
Let the mountains fall
You are God over the storm
And I am Yours

Even the thunder and the wind obey
At the command of my Father, Father
I set my feet upon Your mighty name
So let the rain fall harder, harder

So take my everything, my flesh and blood
I’ll lay me down on the altar, altar
I am forever covered in Your love
So let the rain fall hard

So let the waters rise
I will stand as the oceans roar
Let the earth shake beneath me
Let the mountains fall
You are God over the storm
And I am Yours

Let the waters rise
I will stand as the oceans roar
Let the earth shake beneath me
Let the mountains fall
You are God over the storm
And I am Yours

You are God over the storm
And I am Yours


In Lieu of Flowers …

The stages of mourning and grief are universal and are experienced by people from all walks of life. Mourning occurs in response to an individual’s own terminal illness, the loss of a close relationship, or to the death of a valued being, human or animal. There are five stages of grief that were first proposed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book “On Death and Dying.”

In our bereavement, we spend different lengths of time working through each step and express each stage with different levels of intensity. The five stages do not necessarily occur in any specific order. We often move between stages before achieving a more peaceful acceptance of death. Many of us are not afforded the luxury of time required to achieve this final stage of grief.

If truth be told, I have been lost, grieving for over 10 years. I have moments, stretches of time where I smile more than I cry.

Lately though, I am just waiting … desperately wanting to feel healthy again. And I almost can’t remember what that is like again.

Yes, been thinking a lot about Kübler-Ross’ model of the five stages of the grieving process …

Grief of losing a loved one …
Grief of someone who is dying themselves …

Coming to the conclusion there is no real difference … tired from dying the slowest of deaths …

In lieu of flowers … grace in my step, hope in my heart.


My Music Memorial to my Forever Heart

I love the quote by “Where words leave off, music begins.” ― Heinrich Heine

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”
― Victor Hugo, Hugo’s Works: William Shakespeare

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”
― Aldous Huxley, Music at Night and Other Essays

Today I sit alone, quietly yet loudly … music is my solace. Today I cry, no longer in silence to pay tribute to my forever heart and my three other best friends who all perished on 9/11. I lost so much that one day 14 years ago – that I still can’t seem to fully understand, move on from. Unfortunately in our lifetime we will all face the inevitable… the loss of a loved one – be it a parent, grandparent, sibling, child, family member, close friend, significant other or even a family pet. The death of that loved one has got to be one of the most powerful events that we will face in our lifetime. I also believe that almost everyone who has ever lost someone they really loved will remember them through the power of music – by a song that relates to a memorable experience in their life – a moment that is frozen in time. Everyone has there own personal way of coping with grief and it varies from person to person. Sometimes it helps to cleanse our mind with tears when emotions build up inside – it helps me. Michael’s love made me brave; God’s love gives me strength. Being able to share my grief, gives me understanding, perspective…as always with grace in my step, hope in my heart.


Find your passion … Wake up!

Yes, we all must be reminded to find our passion – no more settling!

“Passion. It lies in all of us. Sleeping… waiting… and though unwanted, unbidden, it will stir… open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us… guides us. Passion rules us all. And we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love… the clarity of hatred… the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we’d know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank. Without passion, we’d be truly dead.” – Joss Whedon

Need to find my happy place … places. On my forever journey with purpose, passion … with grace in my step, hope in my heart. ❤


Hmmm … arm candy!

So lately, I have been all about the skies, food, sweets, wine, shoes, and last but not least bangles …  my latest craze in arm candy.  But I think I may have just found another form of arm candy … the younger man.

Yes!  Now I am playing cougar.  Who knew?!  A former co-worker and I have re-connected on social media.  We have met up as friends but now he is pouring his heart out to me about love, relationship … with me.  So, I am trying to keep an open mind.

I have been having issues trying to date in my age range. We all have baggage – some more than others.  Learning, that with a younger man there is definitely less baggage. I won’t have decades of past relationships and other issues to deal with. I don’t have to worry about his ex-wife and children — it will be all about the two of us.  And right now, at this point in my life – it’s what I want and deserve, Growing tired of playing it safe, of being alone.  I like to be chased, adored.

I was always a bit of a late-bloomer, and being with a younger man may just somehow keep me in a forever-inspired mode.  My younger friend may have less, but gives more.  I am in a non-settling frame of mind.

One of my favorite aunts was in town last month and she started telling me how lucky she was to have married a younger man – her second chance at love. She was widowed at a young age with small children when she found her second chance. She had a stroke two years ago and was feeling fortunate her husband is healthy and younger. She also told me that he was less judgmental, less traditional, less bound by stereotype – which has helped her in many ways to being happier, even a better mom. She had me thinking … then bam, he comes back into my life – this time not as a co-worker, but a friend.

Who knows…I am not making any decisions, I don’t need to. I am just taking it one minute at a time. Enjoying life. Trying to worry less, stay sane and get healthier. I am going to stop worrying so much about what others may think, stop wondering what this younger guy sees in me, and just enjoy the attention. I deserve every flattering, delicious moment … so I plan to sit back and continue counting my blessings and start looking for this Maca root from the jungles of Peru.

Looking forward to finally, freely living some more, to have my emotions raw, to the potential and the possibilities of having my body, mind, and soul literally rocked … ah nirvana may indeed be mine. Fulfillment, contentment … indeed … on my journey of living deliciously with grace in my step, hope in my heart. I am back …


Overthinking Rambling…

I don’t sleep…insomnia is a curse. Sleep has eluded me too long. I can lay in bed for hours, resting my body at least, not doing anything physical, but my head is doing a lot , spinning in circles, replaying conversations with people – over thinking.

Many say our lives are a result of the choices we make. Sometimes, I don’t agree with this. I have cancer, I didn’t make that choice. I lost my fiance and friends to terrorist attacks on 9/11, I didn’t make that choice. I am responsible for how I dealt with these situations. I am proud of how I have dealt with so many negative blows. But sometimes, I allow a person into my life, because I can sense a brokenness that speaks to me. And it is then that I question myself, and am not so proud of the choices I have made. I know if I don’t like my life these days, I need to start making better choices. Trying. I can see the God and the universe taking the mess in my life, and my past and trying to send me a message and now its up to me to take that message and learn from it. But I think I have learned. I want to almost stop learning how to keep rising from misery and just be happy. Live a stable life. But each day that passes, and I do not get better results from tests, better news from my doctors, how can I lead a productive, stable life? I just wish someone else can live my life, at times. I am tired. My head hurts. I am trying so hard to keep a part of me that is safe, at peace. I don’t want the world and the mean, selfish people in it, to make me hard. I don’t want the pain to make me hate. I don’t want that hate to turn into wary bitterness nor change my empathetic sweet nature.

I have been fortunate to have met a beautiful person who has the soul of a living angel. She has become a friend who strengthens me with love, blesses me with prayer, and encourages me with hope. I think I am failing her though. I am more open about what I am going through. She is so quiet. She keeps a lot tucked inside her heart. I wish I could draw her out as she has been there for me.

As for all of those who betrayed me this year, and tried to make me feel small – I forgive them. They have tried to insult me, belittle me, take me granted. I am now learning how to move forward and to forgive myself for allowing them into my life and allowing them to hurt me. Each second of overthinking, brings me one minute closer to perspective, to my life of freedom and hope.

I wonder if Donald Miller had it right when he wrote, “We were made to be distracted by life, by story.” Let’s see what I continue to learn as I edit and alter my life. Trying ….to move on forward…with grace in my step, hope in my heart.


Every second, everything changes…

They say cats have nine lives…well, I am beginning to believe so do I. I know I have had many health scares. And it has changed me in a way I am still fully learning to understand and accept. But today, once again, I got some positive news from my doctors. For months, I feel like I have given up. I just don’t have the best support system. Easy to give up – when you feel so alone. Picking out headstones, finalizing my living will, giving away my clothes, furniture. But today, doc told me the cancer stopped spreading. And although I am far from out of the woods, I may, just may, once again outlive my prognosis. I sit here, outside in NYC at Central Park crying as I try to write this. I don’t think many can understand how I feel. I almost completely gave up. I know I did. But I am over the moon happy that this stupid smiling depression of mine didn’t get the best of me. I was born a preemie and I will always be a fighter. I know this deep down inside. I just lost sight of it for awhile. I was barely hanging on. But I am finding the strength somehow to keep moving forward. Living with a death sentence hovering is, was, will be – my own prison. Few things in life, can forever change a person. Getting a diagnosis of cancer just puts things in perspective but then pain can make us lose that just as easily. Focus shifts. Goals change. Desires lost. Seconds turn into years. Cramming a lifetime into days. I have been doing this all my adult life. Pushing people away. Begging them to stay. Cursing. Praying. Hoping. Letting go. Learning. Crying. Screaming. Accepting.

Many don’t understand that tomorrow is not a given. I lost my way for a bit, as I always do. But I remain hopeful that tomorrow will come. …that many tomorrows are still here for me. I feel like I am cheating death. And maybe I am just living life…to the fullest. Not looking backwards. Time. Timing. Timeless. Who knew the aggressive cancer would respond so much better than expected to my last course of treatment? I didn’t. I would have bet all I had – oh wait, I did. I am still in shock I think, as I write. Not sure why, I have been here before. This should be home for me. Being sick has been my stability. Sounds crazy but that has been my label for too many years. Immune system shot. I get sick at the mere mention of a cold. But today’s news, and the way I have been feeling the last couple of weeks, has me happier than I dare to believe. Do I dare hope? One minute I am fighting to literally breathe, the next I just give up, resign myself to dying, and now I can’t stop smiling. Life. This is my life…the pain, loss of strength, nausea, weight fluctuations, exhaustion, and shortness of breath are beginning to gradually fade. I know my body is healing…I can go up and down the stairs without gasping, less pressure from the tumors in my chest, weight stable, can enjoy food again, more positive outlook is evolving. Weeks have turned into months, and I pray against all that my next scan will show that the cancer is in remission. A girl can dream. Yes. Now I just have to figure out my life. For months, my life meant dying. I have been preparing for death. I am ruined financially. I am fragile. I am happy but shocked. I don’t know what to do now. I wasn’t expecting to be brought back from the edge of death. Learning how to live. *sigh* That is always my dilemma. Do I allow myself the luxury?

So I will never stop thinking or asking my doctors, “Am I dying?” I’m just not quite sure where I am and what I should be doing. I understand that the cancer will at some point take my life but not today. Sometimes doctors don’t have all the answers. Only God does. And He spared me once again. I guess my job here on earth is not completed. And for that I am grateful. A huge part of me apprehensive. So I am going to go out there and continue to live my life. Trying. It’s almost like I have been living in reverse somehow.

On a logical level, we all know life is short. We say this all of the time. But few of us actually live accordingly.

“We are all dying, every moment that passes of every day. That is the inescapable truth of this existence. It is a truth that can paralyze us with fear, or one that can energize us with impatience, with the desire to explore and experience, with the hope- nay, the iron-will!- to find a memory in every action. To be alive, under sunshine, or starlight, in weather fair or stormy. To dance with every step, be they through gardens of flowers or through deep snows.” ― R.A. Salvatore

Truer words have not been expressed … LIVE your life TODAY! Don’t ignore death, but don’t be afraid of it either. Be afraid of a life you never lived because you were too afraid to take action. Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside you while you’re still alive. Be bold. Be courageous. Be scared to death, and then take the next step anyway.

I remain forever hopeful, crying through my tears with grace in my step …make that dance steps.

Today…everything changed.


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