Tuesday, March 18, 2014

3 years…"embracing life's moments"


As I sit sifting through mom's things- box, after bag, after bin of all of her years of collecting- I'm struck by the raw talent she possessed and at some point stopped using. 

Mom made the owl below in 1967, the same year I was born.  I found a few more pieces with dates from the early 70's, and then no more ceramics were to be found.  They're beautifully done and I've hung on to a few of them.

But then I found all of her beaded Christmas ornaments.  The bells that took hours for her to string together.  The candy canes, stars, snowmen, etc.  All crafted together using beads and wires.

I found needlepoint.  I found sets of dishcloths that she had embroidered. There were knitting needles, and sewing kits.  I still remember the dress and cape she sewed for me for Easter Sunday one year.  A cut out flower shape from the cape had landed on the navy blue dress, so she made it into a pocket- I still remember the church women exclaiming over it.

The most pervasive pieces of art, were her watercolor and acrylic paintings.  Landscapes that were truly well done.  Some more contemporary pieces that I know she enjoyed making, but weren't so much my favorites.  But I do remember the paint classes she took and how encouraged and well-supported she was in her work.

And yet, at some point, when we as kids were still young,  she stopped.  All of it.  I'll never know why, as she's never given the same answer twice.  

Instead, what I began finding around her apartment, were my attempts to rekindle the spark.  The scrapbook kits, supplies, templates, hundreds of grandchildren photos.  

The paint brushes, the paints, the latest artist books with the techniques.  The special paper.  The charcoals.  Oh goodness, she talked a good game.  She had the best of intentions… she just didn't ever start.

I still wish I could help her find a hobby of some sort.  She will admit to how long the days get, and yet, she no longer ventures out very far from her room.  




Tucked into a box that held the contents of her "junk drawer," was our old family picture.  I was maybe 3?  And the photo was used for our church directory.  The baby, is my brother, Lee.

Slowly I am making my way through "my childhood."  With more questions than answers it seems.  I often think this is the book I am meant to write- with a few chapters on breast cancer- and a whole pathway of events that brought me to that day.


"That day," the day of diagnosis.  The day of the blindside.  Three years ago, March 16th, 2011.  
Or as some would call it- my Cancerversary.  

Its a mixed bag.  When I asked the boys if they'd like to go to dinner and "celebrate," with me.  Colton very honestly and so sarcastically said  "Celebrate that you got cancer? No, I don't think I want to do that at all."

My friends, Robin and Jenn, probably put it into the best words, "March 16 marks three years of choosing to embrace life's moments.  We are crazy about you, and thankful for the day to celebrate life with you. Spring is coming!" 

Those words, these beautiful springy flowers.  Pure gift and grace.  




Now I just need to find a card for Dr. Panwalkar.  To thank him for his help in getting me to 3, and letting him know, I am now proving him wrong by stepping out into the "past 3" stage, and not looking back.  I'm hungry for more.  Greedy.  Needy.  I want 4, and more.  I want decades, not just years. I think of my boys and I want girlfriends, graduations and grandchildren.  I want weddings and wives.  I want just two more weeks plus, 3 more years, plus forever with my Superman.  

Day by day, with moments of small all added up, is all I can really count on- but a lifetime of day by day will more than suffice for a grace-filled life.  




46 comments:

  1. I thought you this morning and prayed for MORE time also, NOT just months but YEARS!!! God is faithful and I'm so happy to be able to celebrate with you Vicky!! I'm kneeling with you.... you are loved deeply!

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    1. Thank you Kay- I so appreciate your willingness to step along with me through this journey! Sending love and prayers right back to you sweet friend~

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  2. Praying for you everyday, Vicky.

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    1. Thankful to you Melinda- so blessed that you do!

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  3. yes, yes and yes!!! I pray you have all of that and more!
    Love you!!
    xo

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    1. Thankful sweet Tiffany- with much gratitude and love to you!

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  4. Love how you have shared in words many thoughts I have had over the years- we cry at times not from the pain of today but from want of seeing the next day. (Graduations-dates-weddings-grandkids) thank you for reminding me of the days small things do value. Blessings Vicky!

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    1. If we could somehow just sew all of those "smalls" together I think the tapestry would be so rich and meaningful and shocking for us to see that is the essence of life right there… and something to treasure for sure :)

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  5. I am thinking of you and praying and hoping for many wonderful moments, memories ... and miracles. They happen. Sending a big hug from Munich. We moved in today :-)

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    1. Ahhh- from Munich- so sweet of you to take time from your busy day and stop in here :) Wishing you an easy transition with new delights right around the corner each day! I certainly had much fondness for Munich as well :) Bigs hugs back to you!

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  6. You take my breath away...Hugs,

    Jan

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    1. Oh Jan- so sweet of you to say- hugs right back to you!

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  7. Your ability to express yourself with so much grace and dignity, leaves me in complete awe.

    Thoughts and prayers.

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    1. Well- I have to admit- its a pep talk at times for me too. I struggle too and don't always articulate that- sometimes putting things into words solidifies them for me- so I try to find the grace and make that most prominent. Thankful for your thoughts and prayers!

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  8. I want what you want...:-) Keep proving them wrong my best friend. Because I am needy and greedy as well -- and I want my best friend...forever!

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    1. Hehe- we are on the same page for sure!!

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  9. Love how you think and write! I look forward to all you have to write heading towards #4 :)

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    1. Thank you sweet friend! I feel the same about you and your blog posts as well :)

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  10. Keep moving forward one day at a time. Your mom sounds so creative.

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    1. Thanks Susan- it's as simple as that :) Yes, she certainly was at one time in my life- wish I could help her find it again :)

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  11. Standing in complete agreement with you, Vicky, and praying for more of life and health and days, months, years, decades. I want your moments to come to be and every day you battle and win is another day closer to the next med that will work and the next breakthrough. You must look at all your mom's days and think, "Why don't you use them? Fill them? They are SO precious!" It's the "gift" that walking through the journey of a health crisis is: you realize the gift of days and time. May your indomitable spirit surround her and inspire her to see the gift and share it with others. She really does have such a talent. Love you.

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    1. Thanks Robynn- with mom's own liver disease I think she too feels how precious time is- but her focus is just different- more on people and relationships than doing things. Yet, the days get so long and I think she'd enjoy a small hobby even- but I don't know… thank you for your insight- always most appreciated :) Love you sweet friend~

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  12. And we, your friends, want you to have EVERYTHING you're asking for....because we (your sisters) all love you Vicky. Shoot for the stars sweetie! I'm giving you a high-five in the cyber world.

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    1. Aww- thank you Lisa- I'm high-fiving you right back :) I love that you all want for me, what I want as much as I do- so proud to call you friend :)

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  13. Your memories and embraces tug right at my heart.
    I know that your Mom is a creative genius. God bless her.

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    1. Jackie- as I sort and organize mom's things, I've come across a beautiful collection of cards written to mom that I've sat and read through. What a wonderful friend you are to have spent so much time writing to her! She had them in a basket with other valuable things, and I know they mean so much to her! Love to you sweet friend!

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  14. Dear Vicky, what a beautiful experience to discover another side to your mother that perhaps was not so loud and yet had a quiet loveliness about it. We all know how hard it can be to return to a passion that drove us before kids. Maybe it's okay she let it go? Maybe other things grabbed her attention instead? But still, the evidence is part of her tapestry, and in some special way, part of yours too. I'm glad you're having a chance to discover it. And man you were a cute little girl! :)

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    1. Oh thank you- so sweet of you to say Roxane. And yes- she let some of it go about the time she went back to work. I just wish somehow I could help her back to it- she has the time and desire to do something- but I haven't figured out how to be instrumental to her for the time being anyway :)

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  15. Your writing Vicky, just blows me away. I was sucked right into and through this computer screen. I am here wishing you a belated cancerversary, and wish many many many more for you.

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    1. Well shoot, Mark, that's awfully nice of you to say. Thanks for the wishes- gives me a big boost of confidence when I see it all spelled out like that.

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  16. Oh my sweet Vicky,
    It is so nostalgic to walk through a parent's belongings and see a patchwork of the quilt of their life. A quilt piece for drawing and painting, a quilt piece for ceramics, a quilt peace that begs the question...why did you stop doing this? How did having children take you away from something that was once your passion? Questions, few answers and differing answers, about some of the pieces.

    I remember well the quest to know who my Mom really was, not just the Mom-self she exposed to me. I felt like knowing her was one of my own life puzzle pieces.

    And as always, your writing touched me so as you named and claimed with fierceness what you want and need and are greedy for. You are not someone who will give up their passion for life.
    You want every quilt piece to show your LOVE, and Passion for those you adore. Perhaps one of the gifts of these past three years has been to truly get, in every cell of your body, what a BLESSING IT IS TO BE ALIVE! You do NOT want to waste a moment of the gift of life. You know, in your deepest heart-of-hearts and in your soul, that it is all precious and beautiful, even the hardest moments are a gift. You want to "become" all God means you to be.

    Your passion for life, your gratitude for all the blessings, oozes out of you, dear friend. Those of us who are so gifted to come along with you on your life journey, are reminded not to waste a moment of our own lives. You who can be blessed by a woman at Infusion, you who are grateful while having chemo that this drug would give you time....you are TEACHING all of us to see the glory in our own lives, minute.by.precious minute.

    And I want all of that for you. I want you to have forever with your Superman. I want you to see girlfriends and wives and grand babies. And I will NOT stop praying that all of that for you. I am asking God to bless you with healthy days and weeks and months and years!!!

    I love you to the moon and back, sweet friend!
    Love, Linda

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    1. Yes Linda- somehow I have a passion to make it all count for something :) I want to be "worthy" of the blessing of these days, this time I'm given- to make it all add up and count. Thankful that you put my name on your lips when you speak to Him-so thankful! I pray you are feeling better and think of often friend. Loving you right back!!

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    2. Just so beautiful!!!! :) wow!

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  17. Your mom's art and your deep appreciation of it are wonderful things. My chest aches (in a good way) when I read your posts. I'm so grateful for the technology that allows us to be friends.

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    1. Oh Kass- your word choices truly are a treasure- thank you sweet friend~

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  18. Well I have to say that your mom was ahead of her time with that owl because they are back in a big way - it's gorgeous!

    I find your boy's reaction so interesting to the idea of a celebration - very different from my own kids, but mine are a little younger which probably makes all the difference. Here is to 3 years full of new grace each morning to survive.

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    1. Yes- Colton's mind set is clearly somewhere else. He did go with us for a light lunch the next day and I tried to just express my gratitude so that the boys would see the part I choose to celebrate- not the cancer- but the life I've been gifted with for 3 years now. They were more understanding of that approach. Age- yes- makes a difference I think.

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  19. What a brave son you have for him to verbalize his thoughts about your celebrating the anniversary and what a good job you and your husband have done for him to feel safe in saying what he did. I think he may see the celebration to be so opposite, being the potential loss of his mother. Perhaps I should add him to the daily prayers I say for you.

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    1. Norma- so insightful of you to see that in Colton. Yes, I think he does think about the potential loss because of the cancer and that makes him want to steer clear of it. I'd be honored to have you pray for his little heart and soul. Thank you Norma!

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  20. Here's what's so beautiful about your writing (and your life too!) I know I can trust you when I read your words. I know you're taking me on a journey. I know you'll be honest with me. Nothing phony about you. I guess it's all about Grace.

    Thank you.

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    1. Oh Julie- I'm so touched by your words. Thank you, friend. For an author and writer such as yourself, that I admire immensely, to leave such praiseworthy words, just humbles me so. Love and blessings to you~

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  21. You are beautiful! grace in motion...and your gift right now...is 3 years plus this day...plus that one...and graduations...Hold tight to who you are... The reality you write..the love you show..and the days..will keep coming...they will... watch and see...somehow..someway...Hang in there..for you truly touch others..it's a gift! Hugs and much love, prayers ALWAYS!

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    1. Oh Peggy Sue,
      You said exactly what is in my heart. Vicky is beautiful grace in motion. Hugs to you, friend!
      Love, Linda

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  22. What Peggy Sue said.... I can't do it any better - love to you, dear friend.

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