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February 1, 2013

Gratitude Journal 2013

I am grateful for my friends Terry and Bev whose wonderful greens and black eyed peas and cornbread meal, and the historical houses walk in Kensington, and wild rock and roll dancing (thanks to Bev’s brother as DJ) was the best therapy I could have after the loss of mom on Friday.

I am grateful for wonderful friends/family who gathered ‘round to remember my mom. I’m also grateful for an evening of family watching old family videos. (One of the videos was of the family watching older family videos.)

I am grateful for another day with my son, Dale, his wife, Ashley, granddaughter, Faith, and grandson, Frederick Xavier (FX). Also grateful for being able to meet with daughter, Melody, and grandson, Zachary at the Trails Restaurant for lunch. It was good visiting my late husband’s mother, Carole and sharing a little time with her and the Wichita crew. Grateful to Ashley for shouldering so much so Dale and I could have some time together as we grieve the passing of my mom last Friday. I am grateful they were here to say goodbye.

1/4/13–I am grateful that the kids got back home to Wichita safe and sound. I am grateful for the burst of energy that saw me getting down most of the Christmas decorations. I am grateful for a lovely dinner of roasted root veggies and portobellos with beet greens, garlic, olive oil…

1/5/13–I am grateful for a day to catch up, do paperwork that I had studiously avoided, and not go to two meetups I thought I would go to. Needed time to goof off.

1/6/13–Today I am grateful that all the Christmas stuff is packed away, my daughter finally got treated at the second urgent care she went to, I got some of the paperwork done, I had a lovely fire in the fireplace, I found great pictures of my mom and my late hubby, and I am going to hit the sack.

Thankful I got home from Ramona without barfing. Thankful for my bed which I will hit shortly. Don’t feel like eating. Will have to feel a lot better to get back on FB tonight. Hope my kids are feeling better.

I am grateful that I am feeling better and got some food down. (Missing two days when I was sick.)

I am grateful that I woke up with some energy today.  I am grateful I was able to donate some computers for kids who can’t afford them and that I was fortunate enough to buy myself a beautiful Tibetan cabinet for the new, smaller TV now that the big monster will also go to a good cause.  I am grateful for a warm house on a cold  (for San Diego) night.  I am grateful I can sit before the fireplace to read a good book  (Orphan) before bed.

I am grateful for a perfect lesson on grasping. For years I thought my mom was going to leave me a certain necklace she cherished (she was the daughter of a schoolteacher who taught on the Indian reservations in New Mexico and had it for many years–she was 93 when she died). I fretted about whether I should donate it to a museum, have it appraised and share the proceeds with the family, restring and wear it. At one point during her illness I thought it had disappeared and began to distrust a lot of people and think ill of them. When I found it, I took it home for safekeeping and then worried someone might steal it. Then I thought that if she didn’t leave it to me, it would mean she didn’t love me as much as the person she left it to and I would be devastated.All this time I had a sitting practice and thought I had achieved some sort of equanimity. I recently found out she did not leave it to me and a huge weight lifted. I am happy for the person she left it too, and I do not doubt her love. I can let go of not trusting, doubting, worrying (at least for now) I am not devastated, I am free and happy. I am grateful for my mom’s best gift to me, the lesson tobe happy with the way things are and, at least in this moment, to be able to let go

I am grateful for an evening when I can snuggle up in a warm house with a fire in the fireplace, a good book, and a glass of wine. I am grateful I braved the cold and gardened for a few hours.  I am grateful for the soft buttery avocado from a tree that shares my yard.  I am grateful for being able to chant and walk my labyrinth.  I am grateful for my wonderful children and grandchildren. I am grateful for thinking friends on facebook who care about people and are doing something to help when they are not on facebook.

Today I am grateful for an unbelievably good breakfast and trip to the farmers’ market shared with my wonderful daughter, TWO great phone visits with my son in Wichita, an inspiring writing workshop with Nicole Vollrath, an organic stuffed squash dinner, and a comforting phone visit with my friend, Pat. Tomorrow I jump back into playing trustee for my mom’s estate and all the paperwork, decisions, and running back and forth that entails, but tonight I am content.1/15/13
I am grateful for the time to see the lovely Encinitas library and meet with a group of poets.  I am grateful I was able to see stepmom, Barbara Weeks today in Oceanside.  I am grateful I am snug and warm by the computer and, except for a quick mailing to the attorney, had a day off from responsibilities.
I am grateful for a day of getting things done and for a moment of tenderness at the Ramona Cafe when I ordered a half veggie omelette. Mom and I used to share a veggie omelette when I could still take her out to breakfast.  Then it was back to being tough and effective as I talked to accountant, realtors, etc.

I am grateful for the time to see the lovely Encinitas library and meet with a group of poets.  I am grateful I was able to see stepmom, Barbara Weeks today in Oceanside.  I am grateful I am snug and warm by the computer and, except for a quick mailing to the attorney, had a day off from responsibilities.

I am grateful for the wonderful new group of peer advisors who met at my home today.  They took my challenge to make our office more useful for preprofessional health students and started running with it.  They also bring good potluck!  I look forward to a happy new semester!

I am grateful for a beautiful (warmer) day, the lovely drive up 67 to Ramona, fruit from mom’s trees, some quiet reflection time, a lunch/dinner with my friend, Mary. Getting my head together to get back to work tomorrow. Looking forward to meetings with my class coordinators.

I am grateful that my friend, Donalene, is staying home and getting well and that my student, Daniel is getting the care he needs in the hospital. I am grateful that my class coordinators have their acts together and are ready to go. I am grateful I get to hear James Baraz tomorrow.

I am grateful for a warm day of new friends and meditation at a workshop on letting go with James Baraz. It brought to mind another lesson on grasping and letting go I experienced less than a month ago. I always have a special event on December 27 every year in which I invite my former students (who are now healthcare professionals) to a brunch at my home. This is a highlight of my year when students share their adventures with me, paint rocks for my labyrinth with their names and schools, and even have a jam session with guitars and drums. This event buoyed me up every year through my hubby’s long illness and after his passing.

Although my mother had been in hospice since Thanksgiving, I received a call from her caregiver on December 26 that she believed death was imminent. My first reaction (more like a narcissistic adolescent me) was that the caregiver was overreacting, that mom had held off this long, and I would come after my December 27 event. Immediately after I hung up the phone I felt strong remorse and “Facebooked,” called and emailed (with my assistant, Donalene’s help) to notify the alums that I must cancel. My son drove me an hour north to Mom’s and I began the vigil with my brother that ended with Mom’s death on the 28th. I was able to talk to her (she could no longer speak), hold her hand, and wish her peace. I had been wondering if I should retire for a while, but had been holding on partly because of the selfish pleasure of watching my students’ success and growth. Although I have always emphasized that students’ hard work and compassion are why they are accepted to health professions schools, I could not see my path separate from theirs. Being able to let go of my yearly brunch allowed me to see that I am not defined by my students’ success. I may not retire for a while, I will always enjoy getting together with my students at the brunch and elsewhere, but now I know my self worth can be separated from my immensely rewarding job. Once again, thank you mom. I am grateful.

I am grateful for the beautiful people I met at the workshop with James Baraz in the welcoming home of Susan Quinn in Kensington.  The garden and food were good, too.  I am grateful I found this wonderful sangha at a time when I am going through a healing process.  Letting go is particularly relevant in my life with all the stuff from my late hubby and mom that must still be addressed.

I am grateful for a day in which I got a tiny bit of gardening done, turned over some of mom’s stuff to my brother, and managed to keep away from the bills and paperwork in my “should” pile. I am grateful for the oranges and avocados from my yard. Tomorrow will be my first day of the new semester and I look forward to seeing my students and my wonderful coordinator. Tonight I will get off facebook and read a good book.

I am grateful that my son paid attention and checked out his symptoms on WebMD–appendix out in the nick of time. Grateful that his wife’s mom and his wonderful community were there to help out since he is in Wichita and I was on my first day back to work in San Diego. I am grateful for the wonderful healers in this world and that they have been there for Dale’s family and all their medical challenges.

I am grateful that Dale’s physicians are keeping a close watch after his burst appendix.  I am grateful for his strong wife, Ashley, and her mother who is there for the kids.  I am grateful for the nontraditional premedical student who called to offer love and support when I was feeling overwhelmed.  She will be a wonderful physician; she is already a healer.

I am grateful that Ashley is staying in the hospital with Dale tonight after the physician told her that appendectomies are rated 1-5 with 5 being the worst (and Dale’s was a 5).  I am grateful he didn’t get to the hospital any later.  I am grateful for his community in Wichita who continue to be there for him and his family.

I admit it.  My first reaction is to let go with a stream of invective/obscenities (which I do not do), so I took a deep breath before attempting to write an entry in my gratitude journal tonight. How do I react with gratitude when I learn somehow my son’s appendectomy has had more complications with perhaps a nick in the bladder or ureter? I guess it is to be grateful that the problem has been identified, that his wife is by his side, that the children are in the hands of their other loving grandmother, that I live in an era when we have many medical solutions, the capability to cover 1300 miles quickly and people in our lives who can help out with the logistics, if I need to take off fast.  Not sure I will sleep tonight, but know I won’t hear what will work best for the kids until morning.  I am grateful for this journal as a way to approach life a little differently and also as something to do when I feel helpless.  I am thankful that once again my cell phone battery is charging so I am in touch.

I am grateful for my beautiful daughter and handsome grandsons who shared brunch with me today in Carlsbad, CA.  I am grateful that the test on Dale’s drainage was misinterpreted and he did not have urine in it.  I am grateful that my cousin, Lesley, will accompany my Aunt Helen when she comes to visit to take mom’s ashes to Ft. Rosecrans. (I know she is a strong lady, but at 90 (91?) I don’t like to see her travel alone from Florida.)  I am grateful for an evening at home.

I am grateful that I my thirty-year-old son can still say, “I want my mommy!”  I am grateful I was able to get reservations to fly to Wichita.  I am grateful for my daughter who will pick up Aunt Helen and Lesley at the airport to bring them to my home and to my brother who will come down early to stay with them before mom’s ashes are placed at Ft. Rosecrans.  I am grateful that there is no doubt in my mind that Mom would say, “Go see your son.  You can visit my ashes later in that beautiful place by the ocean.”  I am grateful for the wonderful woman I work with who must now reschedule all my appointments and who, I know, will do it with a smile and compassion.  I am grateful Dale was up to posting on Facebook today even though he now has an NG tube and still can’t eat.  I am grateful I live in a place and time and circumstances where I can visit my son and he can get medical care.

I am grateful that I will be able to see my son and his lovely family tomorrow.

I am grateful that Dale came home from the hospital today.  I am grateful for a safe trip to Wichita in spite of a delay for nasty weather north of Dallas.  I am grateful for my daughter in law who cares for my son post-surgery, a 3 year old and a 1 year old special needs baby with a food tube. I am grateful for the support of my daughter, my students, my coordinator who holds everything together.  I am grateful for Facebook friends who send me great quotes to consider and who cheer me on.

I am grateful that my 90 year old aunt arrived safely at my home while I am in Wichita with my son.  I am grateful for my daughter, Melody, who picked her up  at the airport and safely ensconced in my house in spite of some miscommunications.  I am grateful that Dale was able to eat a little today in spite of pain.  I am grateful to my coordinator at work for helping me get a recommendation out for a student long distance. I am grateful for getting to run around the backyard with my granddaughter (although the dusting of snow was gone by then.)

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