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The day after Christmas it will be eight years since James went for a walk and died, unexpectedly, of cardiac arrest. He was the glue that held our family together, and his death was devastating for all who loved him. A few weeks before he died his son dropped out of law school and was hoping Dad would “fix things.” Instead of healing and fixing, there were “instances of regret” that Christmas. In an attempt to make sure he’d never run the risk of hearing what Dad thought of him, I believe his son cut me out of his life.
I haven’t heard from him since.
BACK IN THE DAY... ME, LEE AND GAYLE
One of the best trips I’ve ever taken was to Santa Fe, New Mexico, with my two best girlfriends. We’ve known one another since high school. The stores on Santa Fe’s plaza and the art galleries on Canyon Road beckoned us with bold brush strokes and shiny silver and turquoise baubles. Stores where your gold and platinum cards are welcome before you are.
I bought a custom-made paper bracelet and a series of x-rays taken of me at the emergency room in Santa Fe.
PHOTO COURTESY OF FLICKR CREATIVE COMMON
This morning I heard a story on the car radio that moved me. A woman was waiting at the airport gate for her flight. Seated near her in a wheelchair was an old man, waiting for another flight. He was alone. His grey hair was long and matted, and he sat hunched over, staring at the floor. The woman approached him and asked if she could brush his hair. The old man said, “I guess so.” Just as she finished, the gate attendant came and wheeled him down the ramp, onto the airplane. In a few minutes the attendant returned and told the woman the old man had started crying. He couldn’t understand the woman’s kind gesture.
“Why would anyone care enough about me to brush my hair?” he’d asked the attendant.
ME IN MY WIG, THE WEEK AFTER MY LAST CHEMO, APRIL, 2005.
This week I had my annual mammogram. Unlike past years I wasn’t worried, but as we all know… Mammograms can change our world in the time it takes to “Inhale. Hold it. Don’t breath.” I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, and I’m an expert at reading every nuance in the voice and face of a mammogram technician.
This year my mammogram threw me a curveball.
“You mean I really have to start walking?” Selfie, ©Brenda Coffee, 2010
Have I told all of you how wonderful I think you are? How much I value and appreciate you? The kindest, wisest, smartest women in the world read my blog, and I’m so grateful. You leave me such great messages and emails of support, and when you don’t agree with me… Like good girlfriends, you let me know that as well, but you give me alternatives to think about.
For all of these things, I value, appreciate and love each and every one of you.
If you’re like me you know certain foods aren’t good for you, but you eat them anyway… Why is that? Why do I eat cheese enchiladas when I know they’re going to plug me up for a week? Why is it sometimes so difficult to do what’s in my own best interest? Here’s another one I struggle with…
Why is it so hard for me to get motivated and take my significantly thinning bones for a walk?
LEE, GAYLE AND ME A FEW MONTHS AGO... FRIENDS SINCE WE WERE 16.
Today I heard Paul Simon’s “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes,” and it made me think about the women in my life. While our girlfriends may never walk in our proverbial shoes, they often stand with us–in the same space–and help us through things we never dreamed we’d have to face. They’re the diamonds on the soles of our shoes.
If you think about it, great girlfriends and shoes are a lot alike: They’re comfortable, with just the right amount of support, in all the right places.
DAVID & ESTHER ZIMMER All Photographs ©David & Esther Zimmer, 2018
When’s the last time you did something outside your comfort zone? For some of us that may be going to the movies, alone, but my dear friend, Esther (Essie) Zimmer, and her husband, David, are spending a year, bicycling from Turkey to Singapore. Yes… You read that right. For most of us that would be like flying to the moon!
Many of you will remember Essie. She blogged about food and body image for 1010ParkPlace, and when I was in Paris, two years ago, she came from London to Paris to meet me.
Somewhere I read we look seven years younger when we view ourselves in our own mirror. I think that’s true. The mirrors and the lighting in my bathroom make me believe I’m holding my own. Then I see my reflection in a store window, and I’m shocked to see my mother staring back at me. Mind you, I’m not bothered enough to have Botox, fillers or surgery, but aging is hard.
And don’t tell me there are more important things to think about, because I think about them as well.
I remember the exact second I learned I had breast cancer. I’d just come out from under anesthesia and was laying on an operating table in the hospital. My husband and a friend were standing next to my doctor who was telling me I had breast cancer. Everyone looked solemn, sad and shellshocked.
It wasn’t the result any of us were expecting.