Goodbye, my friend

A very dear person passed away over the weekend.

I met Karen when I worked with her at Sirona several years ago. We worked together via the telephone, so actually our voices met first! As many of you may know, you can tell a lot about someone by their voice. I liked her right away.

She was a supervisor, but she was every inch one of the gang as well. She was always a calm, reassuring, even loving presence at work. If Karen was on the job, I always felt better knowing that. When I was new in my role, of course I made some mistakes. When Karen was the person in charge and I needed to reach out for help, she was one hundred percent there for me. She somehow made me feel like she had made that exact same mistake dozens of times, just last week in fact. And hey, it was no big deal! Oh, and here’s how to fix it. And by the way, here’s  how to do it better next time. You may have heard that “Nurses eat their young.” Well, Karen never got that memo. Karen nurtured her young.

There is little that is more comforting in nursing than knowing that your supervisor has your back.

I did get to meet her in person as well, in 2013. We were part of the Sirona Seedlings at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. I was new to the company and didn’t know a lot of people yet. My daughter came with me, and we walked the track for a while, and we lit votives to honor my parents who had both died from cancer. My mother had the same cancer that Karen endured. Anyway, I was humbled by the grace of this woman who, just a short time after the event, sent out a heartfelt email message to thank each of us for coming, by name, and she included what it was that each of us had done to participate.

I still have this message. I still have my Sirona Seedlings T-shirt. And I still have Karen in my heart.

Farewell, Karen. Like so many, many others, I am better for having known you.

Who am I really?

My husband was very inspired this year with his choice of birthday gift for me.

He got me the MyHeritage DNA kit.

 

Me: How did you know I wanted to do that?!

He: Because every time a commercial for it came on or anyone was saying they did it for the last year, you said, “I want to do that!”

Me: Oh. Right.

Lesson: Repetition is your friend, married people. 🙂

Anyway, this will be the gift that keeps on giving, because I decided to write about it. I did the (pretty easy) test the next morning. The directions said not to eat or drink anything for an hour before you do it, so first thing upon arising was my best bet. Sure, I had to defer my first sip of morning coffee for twenty minutes, but it’s a small price to pay! I am going to find out what I’m made of!

Fear: What if I’m not really Italian?

I am feeling the fear! I am doing it anyway!

Stay tuned.

The BRAVE Interview #9 April 2017: Charlotte

Please enjoy this month’s BRAVE interview with Charlotte!

Who are you? I am a Registered Nurse, a Mom to 3 adult children (where has time gone?!), and a 5 month Golden Retriever named Charlie. I was born and raised in Maine, and have lived here ever since. I live in the small town of Limerick, Maine, a quiet country town.

What is your ‘one brave thing’? My One Brave Thing?  Let’s see. I have done a few brave things up to this point in my life, but the one I’d have to say that tops all was taking care of my terminally ill brother. He was 51 yrs old when diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, mets to the brain. His wish was to get home to Maine to die. I had no choice but to be brave, and honor is wishes. It was a very difficult, emotional time.

When did you do it?  In June 2007, my brother called me from the hospital in Florida, telling me he was very sick and needed me to fly down to help him.

Where did it occur? Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

How I made it happen: flew down, packed up his apartment.  I rented an RV, and found portable oxygen, filled his meds and things for the trip. Right out of the hospital, we were on our way home to my house. It was a rough ride in the back of an RV. I stayed back there with him, while my fiancé and my brother’s friend took turns driving. I wasn’t sure my brother would make it all the way, but he said he was okay each time I asked. I had spoken with hospice while traveling, and I got things set up for when he arrived. My bother lived only 5 days here, but made it to where he wanted to be, and that was home!

It is an honor to print your story, Charlotte, and I thank you so much for sharing it with us all!

Read the other BRAVE interviews here: https://kwrites.com/?s=The+BRAVE+Interview

If you would like to be interviewed for this series about something brave you have done in your life, email me at kmcwrites.com!

Hello from Heaven

big-nana

Big Nana with her great-granddaughter Ariana in her kitchen in Nantasket

As I recently wrote, my son moved into his new apartment. Apartments, as we all know, usually need furniture. As a mother, I want to (over) help him with this. When I got my first apartment, my mother and my grandmother went to great lengths to make sure I had everything I might need or want, opening their cupboards, closets, drawers, and wallets to help me get things I didn’t even know I would need. I always knew that I would do the same for my own children one day.

The current need for my son’s apartment is for a kitchen table and chairs. I remembered my grandmother’s kitchen table has been stored at my brother’s house for years. I checked to make sure it was still there and usable. My brother determined (after some digging) that it was.
I started thinking of how my grandmother, Big Nana, spent most of her life helping her family. She has been dead since 2004, but she is still helping her family all these years after her death. Because now her kitchen table and chairs, at which we ate so many wonderful, lovingly prepared meals, will now serve my son and his girlfriend.

And here is the biggest gift of all: when my brother was looking for the chairs, he found a photo Nana, as well as some of my mother and father that I have never seen before.

It feels like they are all saying ‘Hello’ to us from heaven tonight, and letting us know that they are still watching over us and taking care of us, even though they are not here physically with us anymore.

What a wonderful start to 2017.

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Endings and beginnings

box-truckThe new year is already promising to be a very different one from those prior.

My firstborn is moving out and getting his own apartment. I am happy and excited for him.

I am also sad that he is no longer living here. I am still checking the driveway to make sure he is home safe at night, and he moved out almost a week ago. This new feeling that I’m experiencing–I’ve dubbed it HappySad.

I flash back on my own first leave-taking from my family of origin. My mother tearing up. When I asked her what was wrong, she said, “I’m afraid I’m never gonna see you.” I reassured her that of course she would still see me. I would come by all the time. I’d call. She just looked at me with those eyes that knew the truth, even as I ‘doth proclaim too much’.
She was right,  of course. I rarely went over. I eventually started calling her once a week because I felt obligated, not out of a true desire to speak to her. I loved my mother, so it wasn’t about that. I don’t know what it was about, to tell you the truth. I just moved out and I didn’t look back (until I had to move back, but that’s another, sadder story).

I was free!

So, as I watched my son excitedly packing up for his move to his first apartment, part of me was channeling my own mother, feeling her exact emotions, I am sure. “I’m never going to see him now,” I thought.

What goes around, comes around.

.

 

BOOK REVIEW: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

I read this book at the recommendation of a young lady, Angie, who visited my author table at the Kennebunk Community Market one Saturday.
everything-everythingShe told me that Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon was her favorite book. This book says it’s recommended for readers aged 12-17, but I object to narrowing the audience for this book. Anyone of any age could enjoy reading this.

The main character, Maddy, is physically isolated in a way few teenagers are. She is a prisoner on so many levels. This book is not predictable, however. There are surprises to keep your interest.

I had a problem with the nurse, Carla, whom I loved, but she compromised her professional ethics, therefore (in my opinion as a nurse) she deserved what she got.

But it still made me sad. I also didn’t like how the author portrays the other nurse in the book. Don’t even get me started. People! Don’t believe most of the characterizations of nurses you read in books!

Maddy is very lovable until she starts lying to everyone (including herself?) which made me like her much less. Is it acceptable to lie when you believe you are running for your life? I’m not sure. Read it and make up your own mind.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

“I am in the world and, too, the world is in me.” -Maddy

“Empty tummy, empty head.” -Carla.

“Be brave. Remember, life is a gift. Live it.” Carla the nurse to Maddy, Disc 3 track 13 on the audio book.

Bottom line: worth reading.

MOVIE REVIEW: Bridget Jones’ Baby

My husband was hoping for a quiet house the other night, so I obliged him by going to the movies.

😀

I’ve seen and enjoyed the two prior Bridget Jones movies, so I was looking forward to this one. And it was great! Except for one thing.*

bridget-jones-baby-official-movie-poster1

  1. I loved all the characters, the returning ones and the new ones (especially Miranda, Bridget’s new BFF).
  2. This movie is FUNNY! I laughed out loud unexpectedly several times.
  3. I went by myself, so no one was elbowing me in the ribs, saying, “Mom! Stop! Stop laughing so loud!”
  4. There were many sweet, moving moments, that had me tearing up without warning. (Note to self: You are spending way too much time alone in tears this week.)
  5. There were so many great songs in this movie! Check out #9 on the list by Lily Allen. Whoa!
  6. Emma Thompson was perfect as the obstetrician who never makes eye contact with her patient. strangely, she delivered the baby with no staff. Hello? Everyone knows it’s the nurses who deliver the babies!

So my recommendation is this: If you want to see this movie, go see it! Lukewarm reviews be damned! Don’t bother trying to bring any kill-joys with you who don’t share your Bridget enthusiasm. Go by yourself. Get your popcorn the way you want it (no extra butter!). Smuggle in your bottle of water in your pocket. Live a little (the scene where Patrick Dempsey strips off his shirt to dive into the pool is worth the price of admission, even after you factor in the aforementioned popcorn).

Also, pay attention to the end. There is a set up for a possible fourth Bridget Jones movie. Can I get a ‘Hell, yeah!’ for this?

Here’s the trailer for your viewing pleasure:

 

**Rene Zellweger’s (presumed) facial surgery was a bit distracting, but this is the only not-positive thing I have to say (#disappointed).

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