Priceless Tears


It’s been a while since I’ve posted much about Chronic Conditions. Although this is the basic theme of my blog, often my writing path veers toward a stop sign of grandchildren, babies, beauty in the world and nature. Inspiration from nightly dreams with photographs to delight my days.

In truth, our minds push portions of what we see and hear from the surface of reality in order to protect us. My own has been doing it for over twenty years. It does that still. There’s a thin dimension hidden slightly below the surface of my smile, cowering in a corner of my beating heart. A sort of twilight zone if you will.

With lined paper and a pen or ten fingers tapping on a keyboard, words meander around Chronic Conditions to discover pure beauty in the world. Joy in a single blade of grass, symphonies tweeted from a flock of birds, or sheer wonder observed in a sky of my favorite aqua blue.

Days or weeks go by without me going there…skipping rocks over what it’s like to live with Chronic Conditions. Memories are pushed down…down…down. Eventually, they rear their ugly heads to snap my own back to yesterday, today or even tomorrow. Sorry to say, Chronic Conditions never go away.

Early this morning, before dawn broke in the dark of day, I woke to tears trickling from the corner of an eye. First the left then the right until both began to flow. I let them fall silently, not wanting to wake my husband before brushing them from the two of my cheeks. Most often, I keep personal emotions bottled up, not wanting to share heartache or despair. Chin-up. Be positive!

Memories…Last week we spent an afternoon with my son and two of our grandchildren. He needed a bit of help and we were all too happy to see them! Lunch in the mall before rides on a wooden train of primary colors in red, yellow and green. Choo-Choo, Choo-Choo! Carousel animals under a striped Big Top of round for us to choose. Which one shall it be? Allie the Elephant, Zee the Zebra, or Joy the Dolphin? “Oh, this one, Grandma! She’s BLUE,” my granddaughter exclaimed with excitement, jumping up and down! I lifted her atop the smooth saddle of a teal dolphin from the sea, buckled her up and away we went. Up and down, down and up, while singing a make-believe song of “High in the Sky.”

Afterward, our generations of three skipped with holding hands to the far end of the building to discover a park of indoors. There, children gathered to play on soft, emerald-green grass in stocking feet. Moms and Dads took turns supervising with grandparents too. We proudly observed kids crawling on oversized turtles with cocoa-colored shells of tic-tac-toe. Brothers and Sisters played hide-n-seek under purple plastic logs. My grandbabies jumped off bridges over fantasy streams painted with rainbow-colored trout or giggled while sliding down their bellies with new-found friends.

Suddenly my son needed something sweet to eat! Under his breath, he whispered “Hurry!” My husband ran to get him cinnamon and sugared pretzel bites with a soda to drink at the closest stand nearby. The kids and I ran and jumped, smiled and laughed. Swallowing his surgary drink quickly, my son munched on sugared pretzel bites, two or three at a time. He checked his sensor attached to his stomach hidden under a T-shirt of white. The number in red appeared to be going up. A few minutes later he did a finger-prick of blood. My husband sat with him fifteen or twenty minutes, making sure the danger zone had passed. Talk and laughter with smiles on faces. This was our normal. No one knew anything different. Many Chronic Conditions are unseen, diabetes included.

Only a few weeks ago at Christmastime all was merry and bright until suddenly my son’s blood sugar dropped like a falling rock to a dangerously low number. Scooping up the kids, my husband and I disappeared into the toy room where we silently played and prayed 911 wouldn’t be needed. Luckily, it was not. Everyone went to bed early that evening as my son was tired from his episode. Chronic Conditions take a toll on the lives of those who live it together with the whole of their families.

This morning when my husband woke to the sounds of sniffles, he begged me to confess my troubles, which I finally did. “It’s okay,” he said, cuddling me just so. “You have a right to your feelings. You’re his mother.” I started bawling like a newborn babe. It felt like a dam had burst there and then as my pillow of down went from damp to wet. So good it was to let the worry and sorrow drain from the whole of my body. I had bottled the “no, don’t go there” for quite some time.

So, if you’re like me, give yourself permission to have feelings and emotions. To show them, honor them and admit they exist. Touch your heart with your mind and be not afraid to awaken your soul. We can’t change the world, but we can change ourselves. And, yes, go ahead and CRY.

Tears are priceless…..

tears2

The Gift of My Father


*Note to Readers: I wrote this post nearly two years ago to the day. Things haven’t changed and if there was any way on earth possible, this is the gift I would choose to share with you.

If I could give all I knew one present for Christmas it would be an itty-bitty piece of my father.  I suppose many daughters think this about their own.  The lucky ones.  Mine is like no other man I’ve ever met or ever known.

My grandmother waited 36 years before delivering her, “only begotten son” on a snowy Christmas dusk.  It was near a cold, dark bay of Michigan during the year of 1932.  Five older sisters awaited his arrival, while an older angelic brother looked down from Heaven above. A younger sister of blonde and a baby brother lost were born during the years shortly afterward.  My father was always the only brother…his parent’s only son.

A humble man who has the kindest soul, my father is always loyal and true.  He’s taught me subtle, wise lessons in life.  As a young girl, I watched his gentle mannerisms while listening to his quiet words, soaking up hushed teachings like a dry sponge dropped in a Michigan millpond.  One of my father’s most repeated  lessons was, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”  Akin to the Bible, I guess.  It has stayed with me forever and always. Shortly after my own two boys learned their first few words, I passed it down to them together with tender hugs and faint kisses upon damp foreheads.   They are having their own little ones, now.  If the cycle continues it will be a lesson for their children as well.  It is the most important one of all.

Of course there were other teachings to be learned.  Important mental notes written in imaginary pencil from my father for me to follow.  Like, “How to live life with a positive attitude in spite of adversity,” or “To smile when your heart hurts,” and, “It’s okay to cry.”

Once, when one of my sons was very young and very ill,  I called my father in Arizona all the way from St. Louis.  Choking back tears I remember saying, “Dad, I don’t think I’m going to have him very long.”  He paused for a few seconds before finding the right words.  I don’t remember exactly what they were, but together with his quiet tone, my father calmed me down.  I hold that single moment deep down inside of me.  Today, it is here within the whole of my chest…near the inside of my heart where it will stay for all eternity.

My father has taught me lessons my whole life through.  We are both older now.  It seems he is my guide and advisor only if I ask him to be.  We value our time together more than ever before.  Like children on a playground who have been friends all of their lives or even before, we laugh and play.  Sometimes we swing on a rubber tire hanging from an old frayed, cream-colored rope.  Like babes again, feeling our heads dangling in the wind! Other days we walk slowly along a new path, discovering speckled rocks to help us find our way.

Last night, me and my father sat in a puffy, padded booth on a western patio. Surrounding us was the warmth of a golden desert sun setting deep into cocoa sand of a saguaro cactus land.  We talked for hours about nothing, telling stories while sharing jokes.  I sipped red wine from a glass of clear.  He drank more.  Older teeth opened wide revealing burgundy red.  I giggled, he laughed.  A head of thick hair…now grey, tossed back…like always…

“That’s my father,” I whispered aloud,  to no one except golden coyotes hidden in the distance of the desert there.

An Old-Fashioned Christmas Exhibit

Happy Christmas…..

The Gift of My Father


If I could give all I knew one present for Christmas it would be an itty-bitty piece of my father.  I suppose many daughters think this about their own.  The lucky ones.  Mine is like no other man I’ve ever met or known before.

My grandmother waited 36 years before delivering her, “only begotten son” on a snowy Christmas dusk.  It was near the bay of Michigan during the year of 1932.  Five older sisters awaited his arrival, while an older angelic brother looked down from Heaven above. A younger sister of blonde and a baby brother lost were born during years shortly afterward.  My father was always the only brother, his parent’s only son.

A humble man who has the kindest soul, my father is always loyal and true.  He’s taught me subtle, wise lessons in life.  As a young girl, I watched his gentle mannerisms while listening to his quiet words, soaking up hushed teachings like a dry sponge dropped in a Michigan millpond.  One of my father’s most repeated  lessons was, “”Treat others the way you want to be treated.”  Akin to the Bible, I guess.  It has stayed with me forever and always. Shortly after my own two boys learned their first few words, I passed it down to them together with tender hugs and kisses.   They are having their own little ones, now.  If the cycle continues it will be a lesson for their children as well.  It is the most important one of all.

Of course there were other teachings to be learned.  Important mental notes written in imaginary pencil from my father for me to follow.  Like, “How to live life with a positive attitude in spite of adversity,” or “To smile when your heart hurts,” and, “It’s okay to cry.”

Once, when one of my sons was very young and very ill,  I called my father in Arizona all the way from St. Louis.  Choking back tears I remember saying, “Dad, I don’t think I’m going to have him very long.”  He paused for a few seconds before finding the right words.  I don’t remember exactly what they were, but together with his quiet tone, my father calmed me down.  I hold that single moment deep down inside of me.  Today, it is here within the whole of my chest…near the inside of my heart where it will stay for all eternity.

My father has taught me lessons my whole life through.  We are both older now.  It seems he is my guide and advisor only if I ask him to be.  We value our time together more than ever before.  Like children on a playground who have been friends all of their lives or even before, we laugh and play.  Sometimes we swing on a rubber tire hanging from an old frayed, cream-colored rope.  Like babes again, feeling our heads dangling in the wind! Other days we walk slowly along a new path, discovering speckled rocks to help us find our way.

Last night, me and my father sat in a puffy, padded booth on a western patio. Surrounding us was the warmth of a golden desert sun setting deep into cocoa sand of a saguaro cactus land.  We talked for hours about nothing, telling stories while sharing jokes.  I sipped red wine from a glass of clear.  He drank more.  Older teeth opened wide revealing burgundy red.  I giggled, he laughed.  A head of thick hair…now grey, tossed back…like always…

“That’s my father,” I whispered aloud,  to no one except coyotes hidden in the distance of the desert there.

An Old-Fashioned Christmas Exhibit

Merry Christmas…