The Death of A Friend

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On Tuesday, I had cataract surgery; and, by choice, I spent all day Wednesday, in my bedroom, resting, relaxing and recovering.  Around 6:00 p.m., I heard the doorbell, which was unusual as we rarely have unexpected visitors.  A short time later Hubby said, “Yvonne can you come out for a minute Terri is here.”

I knew something was wrong.  Terri is our next door neighbor; and, I know her only as my friend, Wanda’s, roommate.  I entered the living room with a heavy heart and learned my friendmy next door neighbor and my breast cancer sister, who fought the battle for many years, had lost the fight six minutes earlier.

I am sad, but ever so grateful that Wanda was within my space for almost five years.  During that time our relationship developed into a true friendship.  Despite the differences, we opened our lives up to receive, accept and trust each other.

Ten days before her death, I felt blessed to act as her caregiver for five hours.  During the visit, we talked continuously about any and everything.  I knew it was probably our last conversation; and, I am certain she felt this as well.

I write this post to:

  • address the sadness of losing Wanda, my friend;
  • accept Wanda’s death understanding all things happen in accordance with God’s Plan; and
  • embrace the memory of Wanda’s friendship.

As I move beyond the sadness, I know that:

“Our earthly loss is always a heavenly gain.  Although, our hearts hurt and mourn in humanly pain.  The fact still remains the same.  That Heaven has gained more Love to sprinkle down from above.”  (Antonio Talbert)

Sprinkle Down, Wanda.

Lost Girlfriends

Last week, I took time out to visit past memories.  As I went through the photo album, three pictures touched my heart in a special way.  The women in the photos crossed my path in different ways over a twenty-year period.   They were my girlfriends, supporters, mentors, advisers, and so on and so forth; but, when I moved to Florida we grew apart.

I have found many new friends, through social media, as well as friends in my new community.  But, I miss these women and want to rekindle our relationship.  I would love to reconnect with them through this blog, emails, or Facebook; but, they quickly let me know a venture into cyberspace is not an option for them.

On Friday, I purchased stationery and envelopes from the local supply store.  My intent is to reach out to them, via snail mail, and try to re-establish our friendship.

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My Girlfriends

Let me introduce you and share a little about what brought us together.

North Central Service Club

In the late 1990s, while working at a medical practice, a patient’s daughter invited me to attend a meeting of the North Central Service Club.  A women’s non-profit organization, in existence since the late 1960’s, their primary goal is to mentor African-American female high school students and, through various fundraising activities, grant college scholarships to graduating seniors.

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A few of the members. I am not in the photo. But the beautiful lady in the gold hat is a founding member. She celebrated her 93rd birthday last year.

 

Sisters4Cure

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A Few of the Members of Sisters4Cure. That’s me front row, second from left, with black cap — bad hair day.

I connected with Sisters4Cure within days after my breast cancer diagnosis in 2008.  They were my support group as I journeyed down the path of living with breast cancer.  These women were by my side to offer support, encouragement, prayers, and compassion throughout the time we spent together.  Sisters4Cure is much more than a support group.  This is a non-profit organization created and sustained by dedicated women, with breast cancer, whose primary mission is to:

  • support women with breast cancer; and
  • reach out to African-American women in the Milwaukee area for the sole purpose of promoting breast cancer awareness.

SeasonedSistahs Book Club

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Rose, pictured in purple, lost the fight in 2013. In the blue is Betty, in the orange is Chris, and, yours truly, in the burgundy.

These were my four Seasoned Sistahs we created SeasonedSistahs Book Club.   In fact, these women held such a special place in my heart; when, I created this blog I selected the name SeasonedSistah2.   This photo was taken when we attended a book signing, something we often did as a group.   Our love of reading, fiction and non-fiction, books written by African-American authors brought us together.  We met for more years than I can remember to discuss the book we had selected to read for the month.  Over time we begin to feel more comfortable in each other’s presence; and we, expanded beyond our individual space and found the courage to share the unnecessary baggage that we carried, past and present, that prevented us from living our life to the fullest.  After I moved to Florida, the three remaining members continued to meet until Rose’s health deteriorated in early 2013.

I am Grateful to all the women, in the three photos, for the positive impact they had on my life.  Through my snail letters, I want to  express gratitude,  say thank you, and share the present with the girlfriends who were there to experience my past.

 

Poetry – September 22, 2014

Me and My Obstacles

I have Breast Cancer, but it doesn’t define ME.

Happiness, joy and peace guides ME.

I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, but it doesn’t limit ME.

Exercise, prayer and meditation moves ME.

I have Fibromyalgia, but it doesn’t control ME.

Yoga, mindfulness and music distracts ME.

Living in the Present Moment empowers ME.

Grateful, my  obstacles do not restrict ME.

And, believe it or not, this works for ME!!

–Poem by:  SeasonedSistah2 

Tenney Park: Sad and Happy Memories

The Photos

A long-time friend, sent me an e-mail with the attached photo:

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She took the photo early one morning, on her long, long walk to her job at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Getting to work is not the only reason for her early morning walks.  She also uses this time to meditate and felt this might be an option for me.  Something to consider.  But, for now, I plan to sit on the lanai at 5:00 a.m. with the fans swirling overhead, to meditate until the weather cools down in Florida.

Let me move from walking and meditating to the photo.  Having lived in Madison for more than thirty-five years, I emailed and asked, “What Lake — Monona or Mendota?”

She didn’t answer, but sent the following photos.  Then, I knew the answer – Lake Mendota.

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Summers 1970 – 1973

I remember, the summer afternoons, spent with our three children, in this park and on that beach.  It was many, many years ago; and, I have Sad and Happy Memories

Hubby and I were both full-time students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  We were living, I am certain, below the poverty level for a family of five  (GI Bill, student loans/grants, and Hubby’s part-time jobs).

Sad Memories:

Mentally, I allowed worrisome and non-productive thoughts to enter my space; and this disengaged me from spending quality time with my family.  Unanswerable questions controlled my thoughts.  Like, WHAT IF —

  • We made a mistake by returning to college at our age?
  • We can’t find a job after graduation?
  • Hubby can’t find another part-time job when this one ends?
  • We can’t pay back the student loans?

Sadly, my WHAT IF questions were continuous and endless.  And, regretfully, I was not able to enjoy and embrace what was happening in the present moment during this period of my life.

Happy Memories

Even though I was not always in the present moment during these summer days, I know our children enjoyed the time we spent at Tenney Park.

Regardless of the WHAT IFs, I have many Happy Memories of those sunny afternoons, sitting quietly, and watching our Happy children — wading in the lake, creating in the sand, and playing in the park.

Hubby joined us for dinner at the end of his work day.  Tenney Park was our evening dining place during the summer.  And, we had some of our best times and meals there.  Most days, I cooked something on our portable grill.  And, occasionally we had enough money to treat the kids with pizza or burgers from a fast food restaurant.

Happy, that today, I am learning to:

  • Let go of the past;
  • Live in the present moment; and
  • Accept what may happen in the future.

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Postscript – Thank You to Two Special Friends

The Librarian, for the photos in this post.

Cupcake, for the photos taken in an earlier post, “July Vacation Days:  Happiness in the Presence of Children.”   (Special Note:  We share a beautiful granddaughter, Little Cupcake.)

 

Thankful Thursday – September 18, 2014

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Today, I Am Thankful for:

What Occurred on Wednesday:

  • My first-time visit to a dermatologist.
  • The diagnosis of Acne.
  • The newest side-effect of a medication prescribed in June to treat my Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  • Acne waiting until I reached the age of 72 to enter my life.
  • The topical treatment recommended, by the dermatologist, to correct this problem.

After leaving the dermatologist, I went to the local lawn and garden center to buy new plants.

What I Plan To Do Today:

Pot and add these beautiful plants to My Healing Container Garden.

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 “Be thankful for the morning light and the moonlight, for it reminds us that the beginning of everyday we are given the gift to shine bright but it is up to you to reflect from that gift and continue to shine through the darkness.  Be the Sun and the Moon of your life.  Please use it wisely.” (Unknown Quote)