Mastering the Art of Living while Dying

Rehearsal

 

 

So...a couple of weeks ago, I was having some breathing issues. The Palliative Care nurse came by and suggested that I go to the hospital. I can't believe how upset I became. I was scared that I would never come home again and I just wasn't ready for that. I called Mike to come home so we could go to the hospital and I was beside myself. I was expecting my first grandson for a visit, I still had a cookbook to finish and I hadn't even used my new Van Gogh teapot and cup that Mike got for me.

When I arrived at the hospital, they gave me an ativan to calm me and some much needed oxygen. I was still pretty upset but prayed that I would be going home. Now...if you have read my other posts, you would think that I'm o.k. with the dying thing. I thought I was o.k. with the dying thing too, but suddenly, it wasn't for me. I was quite surprised by my reaction. The doctors ran tests and released me the next day. That day I had tea in my new teapot and cup. Two days later Caleb my grandson came for a visit and I finished my cookbook. Now I'm on home oxygen and I can certainly breathe easier. I went to the funeral home today and made arrangements. I made notes to Mike about my bank account etc. I have my will figured out. I have settled my affairs and it feels good. Now I'm no longer afraid. Just very grateful for everyday and determined to still enjoy each day. I'm hoping I will get to meet my new grandchild in the fall, but if I died tomorrow, it would be o.k. and that little grandson would know who his grandmother was. All is well!

Don't Put it Off!

My father recently lost 4 relatives that were close to him. He is 78 years old and he says "when you are my age, people are dropping all around you".

I guess the same can be said for when you belong to a cancer community. Last week I learned about the death of a lovely person "Janice MacEachern Simmonds". This lady has been in my life for many years. She and I became grandmothers about the same time and since then we have been having a contest on who has the most grandchildren. (She is winning). While I had my catering business I sold my food at Janice's daughter Kali's store where Janice's other daughter Nara also worked.

Janice's mom Bonnie came to my booth regularly and bought my food and I also delivered meals to Janice's father Jim at his home.

Janice is very lucky to be part of the MacEachern family. I know many of them from the Farmer's Market.

Iwas shocked to hear that Janice had cancer a couple of months ago. I immediately wanted to call her but kept putting it off. Finally one day about a month ago I did call Janice and we had a lovely talk. We had made plans for us to get together after she return from treatments in Mexico.

That was a month ago and this evening I will be going to her wake. How can someone who is making plans to visit me a month ago be dead? I just don't understand it. And it is leaving me with an ache in my heart that just won't subside.  I don't understand why I am taking this so hard. I know she is o.k. and in a good place and at peace. And I think of her family and friends and realize how very lucky we are to have had Janice in our lives. She was a shining light and continues to be.

I am so grateful that I had that talk with Janice a month ago. It reminds me to not put things off. Do it now.

Godspeed my friend. I love you!

 

Would She Just Die Already? April 9, 2012

It has been more than 3 years since the doctors have told me that there is no story. No cure, no treatment, Nothing, Nada!. That was pretty harsh news. So my friends and I gathered around and comforted one another and decided we should all live our days like they are our last days. So here I am three years later, doing just that. I'm living my life like it is my last days. Now my friends are like...o.k. it's been three years, would she just die already. I'm no longer on  their "pitiful friends" list. This Karin person is having way too much fun living her last days. I'm a pain in the butt! Sure we need to live our lives like it our last but you can only do that so long. Especially if you have a family to raise and bills to pay. But here is Karin, having lots of fun, going on trips while my friends are trying to pay the mortgage and raise their children.  Most of my friends have forgotten that I have cancer. They have moved on to their sicker and needier friends. But seriously, I am so blessed to still be here after 3 years of getting a terrible diagnosis and I am enjoying my life. Every day of it. If I die tomorrow, I would be high-fiving someone and thanking them for giving me these wonderful and precious days. And...just for the record, it's kind of cool that my friends and I have forgotten I'm dying. Better run and pack my suitcase for my next adventure! Blessings!

Getting the Nudge, April 9 2002

Have you ever woken from a really sound beautiful sleep by....something? That is what happened to me tonight or should I say this morning since it is almost 2 am. I feel like I received a spiritual nudge from one of my insomniatic spririt guides. I'm pretty good about "going with the flow" and "these things happen for a reason" but wtf? Where is my list of instructions? There is no fire to put out, everyone in the house is breathing as they should. All the doors are locked. Value Village is closed so I'm not missing any great deals. What is the purpose of my being awakened from the land of peace and dreams to this??? But what is this? It is a time for me to reflect on my day and take note of the good, but also recognizing that I could have changed the whole energy of the day by speaking my truth or to let it go. Also 2 am is when the spirits are busy at work trying to teach me a lesson. I am at your mercy Spirits. Show me the way!

February 5, 2012 Theresa and "The Birdies"

Today is the 21st anniversary of my sister Theresa's death. On special days like birthdays and anniversaries, Theresa makes her presence known to me. Sometimes she is subtle and sometimes she is in your face. Some people may think it is coincidence but not me. There are no coincidences.

This morning I received a random email that was forwarded to me. I usually don't read them and I never send them on but this morning I thought I'd read it. And now I am going to share it with you. Thank you Theresa! I love you!

DAD' S STORY

On July 22nd I was in route to Washington, DC, for a businesstrip. It was all so very ordinary, until we landed in Denver fora plane change. As I collected my belongings from the overhead locker, an announcement was made for Mr.Lloyd Glennto see the United Customer Service Representative immediately.

I thought nothing of it until I reached the door to leave the plane and I heard a gentleman asking every male if he were Mr. Glenn. At this point I knew something was wrong and my heart sunk.

When I got off the plane, a solemn-faced young man came toward me and said, "Mr.Glenn, there is an emergency at your home I do not know what the emergency is, or who is involved, but I will take you to the phone so you can call the hospital."

My heart was now pounding, but the will to be calm took over.

Woodenly, I followed this stranger to the distant telephone where I called the number he gave me for the Mission Hospital. My call was put through to the trauma center where I learned that my three-year-old son had been trapped underneath the automatic garage door for several minutes and that when my wife had found him he was dead. CPR had been performed by a neighbor, who is a doctor, and the paramedics had continued the treatment as Brian was transported to the hospital.

By the time of my call, Brian was revived and they believed he would live, but they did not know how much damage had been done to his brain, nor to his heart. They explained that the door had completely closed on his little sternum right over his heart. He had been severely crushed. After speaking with the medical staff, my wife sounded worried but not hysterical, and I took comfort in her calmness.

The return flight seemed to last forever, but finally I arrived at the hospital six hours after the garage door had come down. When I walked into the intensive care unit, nothing could have prepared me to see my little son laying so still on a great big bed with tubes and monitors everywhere. He was on a respirator. I glanced at my wife who stood and tried to give me a reassuring smile. It all seemed like a terrible dream. I was filled-in with the details and given a guarded prognosis. Brian was going to live, and the preliminary tests indicated that his heart was OK, two miracles in and of themselves. But only time would tell if his brain received any damage.

Throughout the seemingly endless hours, my wife was calm. She felt that Brian would eventually be all right. I hung on to her words and faith like a lifeline. All that night and the next day Brian remained unconscious. It seemed like forever since I had left for my business trip the day before.

Finally at two o'clock that afternoon, our son regained consciousness and sat up uttering the most beautiful words I have ever heard spoken.. He said, "Daddy hold me" and he reached for me with his little arms.

By the next day he was pronounced as having no neurological or physical deficits, and the story of his miraculous survival spread throughout the hospital. You cannot imagine, when we took Brian home, we felt a unique reverence for the life and love of our Heavenly Father that comes to those who brush death so closely.

In the days that followed, there was a special spirit about our home. Our two older children were much closer to their little brother. My wife and I were much closer to each other, and all of us were very close as a whole family. Life took on a less stressful pace. Perspective seemed to be more focused and balance much easier to gain and maintain. We felt deeply blessed. Our gratitude was truly profound.

The story is not over (smile)!

Almost a month later to the day of the accident, Brian awoke from his afternoon nap and said, "Sit down Mommy... I have something to tell you." At this time in his life, Brian usually spoke in small phrases, so to say a large sentence surprised my wife. She sat down with him on his bed, and he began his sacred and remarkable story.

"Do you remember when I got stuck under the garage door? Well, it was so heavy and it hurt really bad. I called to you but you couldn't hear me. I started to cry, but then it hurt too bad. And then the ' birdies ' came."

"The birdies?" my wife asked puzzled.

"Yes," he replied. "The birdies made a whooshing sound and flew into the garage. They took care of me."

"They did?"

"Yes," he said. "One of the birdies came and got you. She came to tell you "I got stuck under the door." A sweet reverent feeling filled the room. The spirit was so strong and yet lighter than air. My wife realized that a three-year-old had no concept of death and spirits, so he was referring to the beings who came to him from beyond as "birdies" because they were up in the air like birds that fly. "What did the birdies look like?" she asked.

Brian answered, "They were so beautiful. They were dressed in white, all white. Some of them had green and white. But some of them had on just white."

"Did they say anything?"

"Yes," he answered. "They told me the baby would be all right."

"The baby?" my wife asked confused.

Brian answered. "The baby laying on the garage floor." He went on, "You came out and opened the garage door and ran to the baby. You told the baby to stay and not leave."

My wife nearly collapsed upon hearing this, for she had indeed gone and knelt beside Brian's body and seeing his crushed chest whispered, "Don't leave us Brian, please stay if you can." As she listened to Brian telling her the words she had spoken, she realized that the spirit had left his body and was looking down from above on this little lifeless form. "Then what happened?" she asked.

"We went on a trip," he said, "far, far away." He grew agitated trying to say the things he didn't seem to have the words for. My wife tried to calm and comfort him, and let him know it would be okay. He struggled with wanting to tell something that obviously was very important to him, but finding the words was difficult.

"We flew so fast up in the air. They're so pretty Mommy," he added. "And there are lots and lots of birdies." My wife was stunned. Into her mind the sweet comforting spirit enveloped her more soundly, but with an urgency she had never before known. Brian went on to tell her that the "birdies" had told him that he had to come back and tell everyone about the "birdies." He said they brought him back to the house and that a big fire truck and an ambulance were there. A man was bringing the baby out on a white bed and he tried to tell the man that the baby would be okay. The story went on for an hour.

He taught us that "birdies" were always with us, but we don't see them because we look with our eyes and we don't hear them because we listen with our ears. But they are always there, you can only see them in here (he put his hand over his heart). They whisper the things to help us to do what is right because they love us so much. Brian continued, stating, "I have a plan, Mommy. You have a plan.. Daddy has a plan. Everyone has a plan. We must all live our plan and keep our promises. The birdies help us to do that cause they love us so much."

In the weeks that followed, he often came to us and told all, or part of it, again and again. Always the story remained the same. The details were never changed or out of order. A few times he added further bits of information and clarified the message he had already delivered. It never ceased to amaze us how he could tell such detail and speak beyond his ability when he talked about his birdies.

Everywhere he went, he told strangers about the "birdies." Surprisingly, no one ever looked at him strangely when he did this. Rather, they always got a softened look on their face and smiled. Needless to say, we have not been the same ever since that day, and I pray we never will be.

You have just been sent an Angel to watch over you. Some people come into our lives and quickly go.. Some people become friends and stay a while...leaving beautiful footprints on our hearts .. and we are never quite the same because we have made a good friend!!

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it's called the present! Live and savour every moment...this is not a dress rehearsal!

Leaving a Legacy February 3, 2012

leg·a·cy

[leg-uh-see]  noun, plural -cies.

anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor: 
 
My sister Theresa died 21 years ago. I'm pretty sure I have seen every picture that was ever taken of her. I'm also pretty sure I've heard every story about her. And believe me, there were quite a few pictures and plenty of stories, but after 21 years without any new material created, I believe we have exhausted them all. There are no new memories and no new pictures. What I wouldn't give to see a video of her. I think I have forgotten the sound of her voice. I think her daughter has also forgotten. That is sad.
So...I want to make sure there are plenty of memories of me to tap into for many years to come.  I want my grandchildren to know who their parent's mother was. I want to leave a legacy.
So....I make sure I get in to lots of pictures. I believe this blog could be a good legacy. My brother and I are working on a video and now I have another project in the works.

My friends Janice and Sue came up with the idea that I should create a cookbook. During the BC days (before cancer), I was a caterer. I cooked healthy meals and delivered them around the city to people who made their selection from the weekly menu that I emailed out to a large client list. Then I also sold meals and healthy foods at the Farmer's Market. I love to cook, I love to create, and I love to serve and it gave me a good life. The work was hard and required many hours on my feet, but most of the time that was fine because of all the rewards involved. I met many wonderful people in this life.

And during this time, many people commented "You should write a cookbook" to which I always replied, "If I gave out my recipes, you could cook and I wouldn't have a job anymore".
Well....I don't have a job anymore and it didn't occur to me to write a cookbook until these 2 smart ladies came up with the idea.
I loved the idea as soon as I heard it. It has given me a new project to work on and hopefully it may bring in a little income for me to assist in maintaining my fun lifestyle. And here is another bit of legacy that I can pass on. I imagine some day 50 years from now, one of my great grandchildren will go up into the attic and find a box with lots of unsold cookbooks covered in dust. But in it will be the creations of their great grandmother Karin. And then they may get to know me through my food and recipes. I love that!
blessings

The "C" card January 13, 2012

The big "C"!  One of our largest fears, and now it is here glaring at me. So...do I meekly ride the c waves or do I play the C card? What would you do?
My conscience  tells me not to take advantage of my disadvantage. I mean.... there are many who are much more unfortunate than me but I've been taught to play cards
since I was very young and now I wonder if it is time to play the old trump or at least the "Ace". So for the last couple of weeks I've been experimenting with the"card".  The other day
I had very little energy and needed to park my car in a certain area. So I parked in a disabled persons spot and hung my sign in the window. (I have a permit, but haven't felt
the need to use it until today.) When I returned to my car, I found a $50 parking ticket on my windshield. It turns out that my permit had expired! My total income for a month is now $652, and this was in December, the expensive month so $50 is a large amount for me to part with. I figured that now was the time to play my hand.
So....I hobbled to the police station with an excellent story which would bring any soul to tears. When I began to explain my predicament to the lovely young lady at the police station, she cut me off and told me if I renewed my permit, she would make the parking ticket "disappear". Just like that! So I ended up paying $31 to  renew my permit so I wouldn't have to pay the $50 fine. Now I feel more like I played the  9 of hearts. I didn't really get the full potential of the "C" card.
The other evening, I was playing a board game with my friends. I wasn't winning at all so I thought this would be a good time to play the "C" card again. But my other cancer survivor friend reminded me that she had cancer 2 times, while "even though I'm dying, I've only had it once",  so I could hardly play my trump card that day.
So.... perhaps I will hold my hand close to my heart and wait for the right and proper opportunity to finally play that card. That may be never. Even so....I'm still winning.

Till we meet again, Kate Poole

 

Notes from the Universe, Dec 28, 2011

I subscribe to "Notes from the Universe". Everyday I receive a message and they are uncanningly intuitive. The Universe knows everything.

I received this note the other day.....

The top 10 things dead people want to tell living people, Karin, are:

1. They're not dead.
2. They're sorry for any pain they caused.
3. There's no such thing as a devil or hell.
4. They were ready to go when they went.
5. You're not ready.
6. They finally understand what they were missing.
7. Nothing can prepare you for the beauty of the moment you arrive.
8. Don't try to understand this now, but life is exceedingly fair.
9. Your pets are as crazy, brilliant and loving, here, as they were there.
10. Life really is all about love, but not just loving those who love you...

In their own words,
    The Universe

If you are interested in receiving messages from the Universe, hook up with this web-site. I promise it will enrich your life

more blessings...karin

December 2011, Still kicking, but not as much

 

I'm sorry it has taken so long for me to return to my blog. But we are at the end of 2011 and I would like to do a bit of catching up.

It has been a very good year for me. First of all, Mike who was diagnosed with melanoma in November of 2010 and then had surgery has a clean bill of health. The doctors didn't find any cancer in the lymph nodes and there were clear margins with the removal of the affected area. Great news! Now Mike has to see a dermatologist every 6 months so we are very happy and relieved about that. My oncologist thought I should try some chemotherapy to see if we can reduce the sizes of the tumors in my lungs. Unfortunately, there was no change whatsover but I have no regrets about trying. I thought that since I was a cancer patient, I should experience all the aspects of the disease including chemo. As unpleasant as the treatments were, I met some great people including, nurses, admin staff, volunteers and other chemo patients so I feel my life has been enriched with that experience. We also looked into some clinical trials and travelled to Toronto and London Ontario but the doctors there didn't think I would be a good candidate. So...I went back to my trusty mantra...."Let it Be". I figured I'd better keep having fun so I took a trip to Northern Alberta to visit my daughter and her family including a new grandson. I always wanted to be in the north for Summer Solstice so this is one more thing to scratch off my bucket list. It was quite amazing to have so much light everyday. In July, my friend Gale and I took a road trip to Boston to visit some of her Newfoundland family. That was a great trip. Lots of yakking, shopping and sight-seeing. Now I have put visiting Newfoundland on my bucket list. In August, Mike and I bought a new home. Previously we lived in a upstairs apartment but climbing the stairs was a bit too much for me. So we found a cute house which requires no stair climbing with a nice yard and it is close to everything.September, my friend Margaret and I took a trip to Europe to visit my cousin Chantal and her husband who live in a houseboat in a quaint little village outside Amsterdam. I also visited with my other cousin Bianca and her family and some special Aunts. We travelled to Germany and Belgium and stopped in Iceland for a couple of days on the way home. October has my favorite holiday...Thanksgiving. It is a good time to remember all we can be thankful for and I am so grateful for all the wonderful people I have in my life. We also had some sadness in October. Mike's mother "Myrna" passed away after struggling with illnesses for a long time. We feel she is now in a better place with no pain or sadness. In November I celebrated my 53rd birthday. My special cousin Chantal came from Holland to help celebrate. We also had a house-warming with many wonderful people who blessed our home with their presence. December was a busy month with Christmas preparations. I love the baking, visiting, celebrating and eating part of Christmas. We had Mike's daughter Haida and her partner Peter and my niece Elizabeth visit us from  for the holidays so that made it extra special. Winter Solstice is one of my favorite days. I love it that we are heading back into the light. So now we are at the end of the year and again I feel so blessed and thankful to have had another wonderful year of love, joy and happiness.I feel like my life is winding down now so my resolution is to share more of my thoughts to my blog. I'd like to wish everyone a joyous New Year

 

RIP? Not me, no way! November 21, 2010

For some people who have had a hard life or a hard death, RIP or Rest in Peace is appropriate. For me....no way.

After I die, I don't want to rest. I want to do stuff. I'm assuming that I will be in the next world, where my mom and sister are, where there are angels and spirit guides and of course God. And do you think I want to rest? Nope not me. I want to learn how to do cool stuff and be a spirit guide and have a happy reunion with all the people who have passed before me. I may even learn how to play the harp.

I want to save loved ones from near death. I want to guide my family and keep them safe. I want to make birds appear at special occasions. I want you to know that I am very close.

I want to get orientated. Check out my new digs and watch over all of you. That doesn't sound like resting to me. Peace is good. I'm o.k. with that, but not peaceful. So what should go on my tombstone? How about LFTL, Looking for the Light!

Back to the Blog. Traveling to Europe November 15 2010

Hi There,

I have taken a bit of time of the blog. Mostly because I've been traveling and then recuperating from the traveling. But now I'm staying put for a little while and I'd like to write again.

Mike and I went on a 12 day trip to Europe in August. Originally, we were supposed to go in May, but I became very sick with an infection and had to hospitalized. Then, I couldn't get health insurance to travel out of the country because of the infection and my cancer. We checked into many "Medical Insurance Companies" but no one wants to insure someone with a terminal illness so it looked like I wouldn't be able to travel out of the country again. I was disappointed about that because I felt that my Oom Jan (my uncle spririt guide) really wanted me to go there. I didn't know the reason why, but I figured it had to do with his daughters Bianca and Chantal whom I very close to.

Bianca was diagnosed with breast cancer around the same time I was first diagnosed in the spring of 2008. Since then Bianca has had surgery, chemotherapy and radiation and at her last check-up a couple of months ago, everything is fine.

So back to the Health Insurance story... somehow we did find a company who agreed to cover me as long as I didn't have a health incident for 3 months. We considered that a miracle in itself.

So we crossed our fingers and prayed and were very careful and after 3 months, we booked the trip and had a wonderful 12 days in Holland, Belgium and Paris.

I had great spiritual talks with my cousins and assured them that their father was very much a part of their lives. I think that is what Oom Jan wanted. It felt right. After Mike and I returned home from our trip we were looking at pictures and Mike spotted this really cool picture (shown below)

This picture was taken along the Seine in Paris. I spotted what looked like a class of 12-15 children with a teacher. I took a photo of the group and then this young man stood aside so I could take his picture. After I took it he said "merci". I wondered at the time why he was thanking me. It should of been me thanking him.

When we looked at the pictures after we returned home. Mike looked at this one and pointed out the words on the "French" boys T shirt. It said "Guardian Angel" and the way he was holding his arms were like Angel wings. And that girl in the back...she is my cousin Chantal. Oom Jan's daughter. Wow! Talk about goosebumps. There is no doubt in my mind that our guides are always with us. What do you think?

 

Accepting Limitations July 21, 2010

A couple of years ago, I was a runner. I used to ride my bike at 5 am to the gym which was 5 km away. Then I'd run home, drink some water and run back to the gym.  I would then work on the weights for 1/2 hour and ride my bike home. After that I would work a 8-10 hour day in my catering business which I loved.

I love to run. It was my addiction. I got a big high from it. My favorite time to run is in the morning when the day is new and watch the sun rise. The other runners would always say hi because the day is new and soft still. It is before reality really kicks in.

After my surgery 2 years ago, I was determined to run again and I did. But then I was diagnosed with lung cancer so I took a break.

In January, I decided to try running again at the gym. I was trying to build stamina for a trip we had planned to New York City in March and then Europe in May. I was doing very well until one day at the end of February, I came down with cellulitis.

Cellulitis is a severe infection that I've had 3 times since my surgery. It occurs at the surgery site on my neck and I get very sick very fast. I need to get to a hospital right away for 2 types of antibiotics taken intravenously. It is quite possible that the cellulitis will kill me before the cancer does. So....

Then I realized that I can't  exert myself anymore. I would watch runners go by and my heart would ache, but I could still go for walks. Every day I would go for a 30-45 minute walk. Or I would ride my bike.

These days, I only have a little bit of energy. I have to plan my allotment very day. I have lowered my housekeeping standards and I try to do a fun activity every day.

Last night was a beautiful evening but I didn't have it in me to  go for a walk or ride my bike so I started to feel sorry for myself.

When Mike came home from work, he saw that I was sad so he offered to drive me to the park so we could sit on the bench. That was so nice.

Then he reminded me of all the fun things we did in the last 7 days and I then realized that I probably did more fun things than healthy busy people.

So...no more feeling sorry for myself. Instead, I feel very blessed that I have the opportunities to enjoy my life today.

Thank you Mike! I love you!!

If it was meant to be, it will happen - Gale Morgan, July 15, 2010

My very wise friend Gale often says "Things are as they should be" or "It was meant to be it will happen ". By this, she means everything happens for a reason.

If you really really want something to happen and it doesn't... know that it didn't happen for a reason and some day you will know why.

When I ponder about the events that happened or is happening in my life, I now know that all these situations whether they were good or bad, brought me to where I am today. And where I am today, is a very good place.

A few years ago, my sister Judy who is suffering from polycystic liver disease was on the list to get a liver transplant. Her doctors were encouraging her to find a "living donor" instead of waiting for liver from someone who has died.

After seeing my sister suffer from this disease for too many years, I wanted to help. Luckily I had the right blood type to be a donor. The liver regenerates so the doctors would take half of my liver and place it into Judy and both our livers would eventually grow to the normal size.

So we put our heads down and planned. We had a huge fundraiser to raise the money it would cost for the procedure for both of us. Everything was in place but we couldn't get a commitment from the transplant team. We waited and waited. We were frustrated, expecting to hear word any day for us to come to Toronto for the operation. Finally the doctors summonded Judy to Toronto where they did several tests and then decided it would not be a good idea to do this surgery. They agreed it would be too risky for both Judy and myself.

We were devastated. We thought that Judy would be able to finally enjoy her life and the doctors abrubtly put an end to those dreams.

Now, looking back, it was a good thing, because a year later I was diagnosed with cancer and if I had that surgery, I probably wouldn't be here now.

And for Judy, her life isn't so bad either. She still hasn't had her transplant. But she still has liver function and as long as she has that, the doctors won't do the transplant. Judy still has some pretty rough days but she isn't waiting every day for her life to start anymore. She is living now.

At this time Judy is the wonderful grandmother to the cutest and luckiest little 2 year old boy you ever met and she has 2 more grandchildren coming any day. So, it all worked out the way it was meant to be.


Even though it was extremely difficult and emotional for everyone involved when my first marriage broke up, it was a very good lesson for me and everyone involved. Now that time as passed and the emotions aren't as high, we can see that it was meant to be. But also that the marriage in the first place was meant to be.

I have no regrets about decisions I have made because right now, I am in a wonderful place in my life and it took all the good and all the bad to get here in this place.

Getting cancer sucked, but looked where it has brought me. I loved my life before I was diagnosed but now I treasure my life and isn't that the way it should be?

The two pictures are of Gale and me on our motorcycle trip on the Iles de la Madeleines, It was a blast!

Gale and me on our trip to Iles de la Madeleine

The picture below is my sister Judy and myself on the New York City subway.

Judy and me on the subway in New York City

Forgiveness, July 8 2010

"We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us" - Martin Luther King Jr.

Before I leave this world and move on to the next world, I have some work to do.
I need to forgive. I need to forgive others and to forgive myself.
I do not need to take extra baggage. No good can come from unforgiving.
Forgiveness is very hard.
So this has been a bit of a project for me. Maybe it is for you too.
So this is what I have come up with so far....
Forgivenss comes from the heart.
In order to heal, we must be willing to forgive the past.
Move away from our role as a victim and release the control and power the offending people and situations have had in our lives. We may even find compassion and understanding.
We don't need to forgive the act, because sometimes the act is unforgivable, but to forgive the one or ones who committed it.
We must have a higher understanding that there is a lesson for us in the act that we need to forgive.
All our experiences have been an important part of our journey. Now we forgive and accept ourselves and we become a more powerful force for healing.
By embracing forgiveness, you embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy.
As I forgive myself, it becomes easier to forgive others and as I forgive others, it becomes easier to forgive myself.

Let it Be, July 8 2010

When my sister Theresa and I were having a heart to heart one day in the 70's over way too many glasses of wine, we were discussing "songs with the most meaning".
For me it was "Bridge over Troubled Waters" by Simon & Garfunkel.
For Theresa it was "Let it Be" by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

I think of that conversation often.
During Theresa's illness, "Bridge over Troubled Waters" was my song for her.

When you're weary
Feeling small
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all

I'm on your side
When times get rough
And friends just can't be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you're down and out
When you're on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you

I'll take your part
When darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

Sail on Silver Girl,
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way

See how they shine
If you need a friend
I'm sailing right behind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind

On the morning after I found out I had terminal lung cancer, I turned on my IPOD which was on
shufflel and "Let it Be" came on. I sunk to the floor and cried.
Here are the words.....

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

And when the broken hearted people
Living in the world agree,
There will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is
Still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be. Yeah
There will be an answer, let it be.

And when the night is cloudy,
There is still a light that shines on me,
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be,
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

So I believe this is Theresa's song for me.
The lyrics totally spoke to me.
But the line "Let it Be" has been my mantra.

When I was diagnosed, I had so very many wonderful people offer suggestions for curing cancer such as vitamin therapy, medical marijuana, clinics in Mexico, etc.
So Mike and I were trying to figure out what to do and what direction to take, but when I heard the song "Let it Be", I just knew that is what I needed to do.
I did not want to spend the rest of my life, trying to stay alive. I wanted to live!
So...now I "Let it be".
Sometimes when I get lost in fear, I forget but get a reminder when the radio just plays the song. Thanks Theresa!

I use this mantra for very many situations.
I believe things are the way they are for a reason
and I don't want to mess with that. I want to "Let it be".

So, when you have a difficult situation in which you feel you need to make decisions, take these words of wisdom from John and Paul. They know.

I love this version from the movie "Across the Universe" Check it out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ahe5IDVbzg


 

Mike, my soulmate, June 25 2010

I will never know how I became lucky enough to be Mrs. Mike Antolick!

Everyday I thank God and my spirit guides for this wonderful gift. I seriously believe this man is a gift from heaven.

After my 24 year marriage ended, I swore off men. Never again was I going to be mixed up with another male. They all sucked! No sooner did I proclaim this and this wonderful person lands at my feet.

He asked me out and I said "No". I just wasn't ready for it. But as the week went by I found myself smiling and smiling. More than I had in a very long time. It had been a very long time since I felt good about myself or that anyone said anything good about me so my self esteem was in the toilet. I couldn't believe that someone would want to spend time with me.

I decided to call this man and believe me it took a lot of courage to do it. But I wanted him to know how he lifted my spirits after being so sad for so long.

So a couple of weeks later he asked me out for tea. "Just tea" he said.  So we had tea and talked and talked and talked.

Then we started seeing each other almost every week-end. It was very special. We both felt a connection with each other right away.  It would seem that we would be thinking the same thing at the same time.

Other than him liking Burton Cummings and me liking mayonnaise on my french fries, we pretty welll agreed on everything.

A year later, bought a house and moved in together. Four years later, I was diagnosed with the big "C".

3 weeks after that we went on an already planned trip to Europe and on the Eiffel Tower, this amazing man asked me to marry him.  Of course I said yes.  3 week later I had a parotidectomy in Halifax. I ended up in the hospital in Halifax for 3 weeks due to a nasty infection. Mike stayed with me for 2 weeks then when my friends came to take over, Mike would come over on his days off for just the day to visit. This kind and dedicated man was my rock. After my infection cleared up I underwent 7 weeks of radiation.

The following February was when tests showed I had about a dozen small tumors in both my lungs. They were scattered about so radiation was out of the question and my type of cancer doesn't respond well to chemotherapy. So there was no story. The doctors did predict that these tumors would be slow-growing which is basically true up to now.

Mike stayed strong and positive and always thought that I would be around for a long time.

After all this we decided we had to get away so we went to Cuba for a much needed vacation. On our second day there we receive a message that my mom passed away suddenly. Luckily we found a flight back and we're able to make the wake and funeral. I couldn't have made it through this time without Mike.

We married on August 22, 2009 at 6:21 am at a sunrise ceremony on the beach at Panmure Island.

With Mike I also gained a wonderful step-son, 2 of the best step-daughters one could ask for and even Mike's ex wife Sylvie. We are all very close.

Neither Mike or I believe that death will separate us. Physically maybe, but we will always be connected.

Thank You God!

Bye the way I apologize to all you men. You don't suck! Sorry!

 http://www.bestweddingever.nl/

Doing Good/Karma, June 23rd, 2010

I was raised as a catholic so growing up I had a big fear of going to Hell. And at the time, even though I had the fear, there were still plenty of reasons why I would go straight to the land of fire and brimstone.  I figured I'd cross that bridge when I get there.

Now I'm so much wiser. I don't believe there is a hell. But since I'm getting closer to that bridge....just in case, I better do good.  I think I better cover all bases.

So I do good. Not only because of the "hell fear" but because it does me good.

I get such pleasure and satisifaction out of doing good, that I think maybe it's more for me than others. Others benefit of course, but I'm the big winner.

Also, I want to give back. Before cancer entered my life, I was quite reluctant to receive. It was difficult for me. That was one of the many lessons I had to learn with this condition. Receive. Since my illness, I have been the recipient of prayers, love, support, food, flowers and plants, money, tasks and more. The gratification I feel when giving or doing good, allows me to receive with grace.

I also believe in Karma. To me karma means the fate we create for ourselves as a result of our judgments and actions. I also believe this holds true for this life about also next life.

So, everyday I try to do good. Whether it is for people I know, people I don't know or the earth.

Since I'm limited by less physical energy and financial resources I have to be more creative in doing good. But I can still do it. So can you.


 

My Cancer Community, June 20, 2010

One of the great blessings of having cancer for me is my Cancer Community.

I know several people who also had or have cancer. And so I belong to this exclusive club.

One friend who is a cancer survivor who wasn't expected to live, but did, said to me. "We are the chosen ones". That made me feel special.

Yes cancer sucks, but if you have it, there can be some great benefits including the cancer community.

All the staff and volunteers at the PEI Cancer Centre are amazing. They are very professional yet human and compassionate. Three cheers for all of them.

My friend "Kate" also has cancer and her prognosis isn't that great either. We are buds. Before we were diagnosed with cancer we knew each other a bit, but now we are kindred spirits. We can talk about cancer and dying to each other like we can't to others. And we do.

Kate said to me that I'm am the person closest to spirit that she knows. But I wonder if that is true. It could be anyone. We just never know, but I feel blessed to have the "heads up" and I can prepare.

I also have a friend "Mac" who is facing his second cancer diagnosis in a year. This time he has a "loonie" sized tumor in the back of his brain.

He is scheduled for surgery next week. He, his lovely wife Edwina and family are quite anxious about the surgery. They really don't know what to expect. The surgery Mac had last summer was quite extensive and it's been a hard recovery for him.

So yesterday I introduced Mac and Edwina to Kate who had this same procedure at the same hospital last year. She was able to ease much of the fears for them. It felt wonderful to see them visibly relax and when you look at Kate and all she has been through, it is very reassuring. If she can do it, so can Mac and so can anyone else.

So when I left them, they were still talking and I know Mac and Edwina were feeling much more optomistic, Kate was feeling good to offer support and I was feeling really great that they connected.

It was a good day.

Theresa, birds and Mom, June 17, 2010

Since Theresa's death, whenever we have a significant event in our family, we often see flocks of birds. This always happens at weddings. It proves to the family that Theresa is also attending the ceremony. So it is never a surprise but all the same we are very excited when it happens.

After my mom died, my brother Steve was jokingly but not really joking wondering if Theresa was teaching Mom the "bird trick".

So last summer Mike and I were married at a sunrise ceremony on the beach and as soon as the ceremony was over...it was just like someone said "Release the birds". A beautiful flock of geese flew over the rising sun. We all had goosebumps. It was beautiful as you can see by the picture.

So the answer to your question Steve is "Yes, yes, yes!" Mom knows the bird trick.

For more pictures of our wedding go to http://www.bestweddingever.nl/

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