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.

 

Gratitude Sunday – September 13, 2014

Saturday Morning Date

I express gratitude for all that enters my space — whether it brings me:

  • happiness or sadness;
  • order or turmoil; 
  • panic or serenity.

Because, I believe everything is in accordance with God’s Plan.

Today, I am grateful for yesterday; and, the early Saturday morning outing with Hubby.

Our Saturday Morning Date begins with a stop at Panera’s Bread:

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Our order is the same week-after-week — decaf coffee and a cheese bagel.  The bagel (33 carbs/330 calories) is our weekly treat.  While, it violates the healthy eating low-carb, low-cal diet plan that we follow during the week; we, make this choice without guilt.   After all, we could have had:

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When we finish breakfast, it’s off to the Neighborhood Y to fulfill the last of our four-day per week exercise program commitment:

 

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We arrived when the doors opened at 8:00 a.m.; and, surprise our Friendly Greeter, who normally welcomes us with a beautiful smile at 7:00 a.m. on weekdays, was staffing the Front Desk.

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All checked in and ready to workout.  My first stop is 20 minutes on the Pre-Cor, followed by circuit weights, and ending with 20 minutes on the stationary bike.

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Hubby deviated a bit from his normal workout, which includes 20 minutes on the bike.   Instead, he did 20 minutes on the treadmill; and, then allowed the extra time for weights — circuit and free.

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After our workout, we chose to relax and rest for the rest of the day.  He watched football; and, I wrote the first draft of my weekly Monday morning post.

I am grateful for my wonderful Saturday Morning Date with Hubby.  Though some may see this as an ordinary Saturday morning; for me, it was an extra-ordinary morning.  Even after almost fifty-five years of marriage to my teenage sweetheart, I treasure every moment spent with him.

A Grateful Breast Cancer Survivor – Part IV

Celebrated MY 71st birthday on Monday, November 11; and, I declared this as MY Sabbath  Day.

“Sabbath as that uncluttered time

and space in which we can

distance ourselves from our own activities

to see what God is doing.”  (Eugene Peterson)

This day of solitude was “to see what God is doing” in my life.   Did He hear my prayers for happiness, peace, love, and tranquility?

In celebration of MY 71st Birthday, I selected 71 Statements from MY 2013 Daily Journal to confirm why I believe MY prayers were heard.

And, I AM GRATEFUL to God for…..

  1. Waking me up this morning after a restful night.
  2. The beautiful day.  Sunshine and nice weather.
  3. The daily calls from each of my children.
  4. The love of my husband.
  5. Manicure and pedicure today.  So grateful to have this biweekly outing with my Hubby.  It’s a time for both of us to relax.
  6. Lunch with Hubby, tasty broccoli cheddar soup from Panera’s for only 300 calories.
  7. Peaceful and enjoyable day.
  8. This day of acknowledgement and recognition of the President, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, Rosa Parks and other civil rights leaders.
  9. Living this season of my life in our Florida home.  Today it was 75 degrees in Florida; and, 4 degrees in Wisconsin.
  10. Identifying MY Purpose during this Season of MY life.
  11. Meditating, listening to music, so relaxing.
  12. Love my hour daily respite.  It rejuvenates and revitalizes ME for the remainder of the day.
  13. Completed weekly wash – devote remainder of weekend for self-development
  14. Audio books when I am lazy and need somebody to read to me.
  15. Beautiful and relaxing Sunday.
  16. Two-dozen red and white roses for Valentine Day from Hubby and bouquet of flowers from children.
  17. Five-year anniversary as a breast cancer survivor.
  18. God answered my prayer and returned ME to a good place.
  19. Giving a ride home from the hospital to our next-door neighbor who is battling Stage IV breast cancer.
  20. Avoiding conflict and not letting anyone steal my joy.
  21. Abundant love of my children.
  22. Enjoyable outing at the Holy Land Experience with friend and sister breast cancer survivor from Milwaukee who is visiting her son in Orlando.  Great Day.
  23. Beautiful sunny day spent at my desk putting the final touches on this week’s post while at the same time taking peeks through the window at the green trees in the conservation area.  Patio door open and a cool breeze flowing through.
  24. Venti, skinny decaf hazelnut latte from Starbucks.
  25. Showering and going to the YMCA.  Really felt terrible this morning – up good part of night with excruciating shoulder pain.  Followed Hubby’s expert advice to do something to distract and not to focus on pain.  Worked.
  26. Hot oatmeal, fruit and turkey bacon prepared by Hubby.
  27. Re-starting my monthly breast exams.
  28. Controlled pain levels most days.  This makes today’s excruciating pain easier to manage knowing pain-free days are ahead through the grace of God.
  29. Beautiful Friday.  Enjoyed outing to Home Depot to check out plants for the lanai and house.
  30. Staying calm in the face of negativity.
  31. Loving and forgiving God who guides and watches over me.
  32. Opening the door to my creative side.  A little scared but I will not be swayed by the FEAR of criticism.
  33. Starting second week of Oprah’s and Depak’s 21-day meditation challenge.
  34. Enjoyable telephone conversation with older daughter.
  35. Stretching before going to exercise this morning eased joint pain.
  36. Cleaning laundry room and hall closet.
  37. God’s unconditional love.
  38. Granddaughter, 21-years-old, place a hold on her life to love and be in the presence of her paternal grandmother throughout her stay in home/hospice care.
  39. Words flowing while writing this week’s post.  Hope the re-read makes sense tomorrow.
  40. Moving toward living peaceful and productive life.
  41. Dinner out with Hubby celebrating 53rd Wedding Anniversary.
  42. Restarting morning gratitude project and this journal.
  43. The beautiful flowers and plants that surround and comfort me daily.
  44. My home it is my haven and brings ME peace, joy and serenity.
  45. Beautiful “Be Still Day” following morning yoga class and grocery shopping.
  46. Sunshine after days of clouds and rain.
  47. Beginning MY de-cluttering project by unsubscribing to the outrageous number of emails I have to plough through daily.
  48. Living, learning and loving today.
  49. Taking the time to write in this journal.  This is a stress reliever.
  50. Living and enjoying this season of MY life in Florida.
  51. Spending time to focus on inner peace.
  52. Restarting healthier eating habits.
  53. Pacing my activities today.
  54. Getting up at 5:00 a.m., sitting on lanai, enjoying a cup of coffee and listening to audio book, Simple Abundance:
  55. Following the path to find joy, peace and serenity.
  56. Joining on-line early morning service at Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, Illinois.  Enjoyed sermon..
  57. Serenity and tranquility in my warm home environment.
  58. Sixty minute massage – so restful and relaxing.
  59. DVD from Arthritis on water aerobics.
  60. Aqua Zumba class.
  61. Embracing the present moment and eliminating the fear.
  62. Opportunity to express MY views and voice MY opinions through MY blog.
  63. Spending time with Hubby today.  Enjoyed the movie.
  64. Outing at Home Goods my favorite place to buy things for the home.
  65. Exercising one hour at the YMCA.
  66. Honoring God and expressing appreciation to Him for watching over and protecting ME.
  67. First yoga class.
  68. Stretching before starting my day.
  69. Cortisone shot and knee pain relief.
  70. Celebrating MY 71st Birthday in fairly good health striving to improve the quality of my life.

Listed under one Gratitude Statement, the 71st thing that I am Grateful for on this 71st birthday is that I am . . . 

  • Walking  – but, it is sometimes painful;
  • Breathing – sometimes allergies make it difficult;
  • Seeing – while eyeglasses needed for distance, they are removed for  reading;
  • Hearing  – though my left ear bothers me, the right ear is fine;
  • Feeling – loved by God, Husband, Children and Grandchildren, extended family, friends;
  • Learning – to live in accordance with God’s plan;
  • Journaling – expressing gratitude at the end of each day; and
  • Blogging – I am not a writer, but I have a lot to say and a desire to connect with like-minded people.

Closing this post with MY favorite quotes for the week:

  • Gratitude  – “Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer and let faith be the one bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”  (Maya Angelou)
  • Happiness – “… is not something ready-made it comes from your own actions.” (Dalai Lama)
  • Peace – “If we have no peace it is because we have forgotten that we belong to others.”  (Mother Theresa)
  • Love – “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, but only love.” (Mother Theresa)
  • Tranquility – “Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.” (Dalai Lama)