Things You Leave Behind

It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m remembering that day in September when I stood with the others on the shore of Iona Sound.  All forty-one of us from the Abbey were invited to take a pilgrimage to all the important sites on the island.  That portion of the beach was where St. Columba and his followers landed their boats in 563, bringing Christianity from Ireland to Scotland.  The sand was covered with rocks, all rounded and smooth, the most I’d ever seen.  We were asked to pick one, to symbolize something that was burdening us, and throw it into the sound in an act of leaving it behind.  Without the weight of that rock, we could move forward to be all we were created to be.

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St. Columba’s Bay

I chose a large black one, holding it in my hands and feeling the heft of it.  Standing in the sun, I thought about what burdened me.  Soon the answer came.  Much of my energy was spent trying to protect myself– from embarrassment, from making mistakes, from being less than perfect.  It was hard to freely move as God’s spirit led when I was having to keep up my defenses.

What if I let that go and just live in the moment, trusting that God will make up for my inadequacies?

I stayed with that question and walked on the rocks, holding the one in my hand, considering how fear had been at the base of my defensiveness.  I was tired of holding the rock, and I was tired of holding on to my need to defend myself.  It was time to let go.

Standing at the shore, I threw the rock into the water, waiting to hear the “thunk” when it hit the surface, a reminder of the weight that I’d let go of.  Others from our group were doing the same, quietly walking out to their own meditative spot and dropping their rocks on that Scottish shore.

We gradually returned to the trail and continued on with our pilgrimage.  I wondered if I’d be able to leave that burden back in the sound.

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Island Pilgrimage Iona, Scotland

I kept that thought with me as the week progressed.  The next night at dinner, staff from the Iona headquarters in Glasgow joined us, including one who was a videographer.  They had come to get footage of participants sharing what it was like to live in the Abbey community.  The two men and woman happened to sit at the table I hosted as part of my evening meal duty.

As we were clearing plates, the woman, who’d sat next to me asked, “Would you mind being interviewed?”

“Right now?” I asked, remembering I hadn’t had time to brush my hair or freshen up before dinner.

“Yes.  We’ll go out by the cloisters,” she said.

Let it go, Connie, that still small voice of God seemed to be saying.  Just be yourself.  Don’t worry about how you look or how you sound.  The sound part was the ongoing self-consciousness I had when people made comments about my Southern accent.  While most were good-humored, they still made me uncomfortable at times.  This would be my first test of letting the rock sink in the sound.

I found myself relaxing as the interviewer helped me stand at the best angle for the camera and told me the questions he’d ask.  It felt good to be part of their project and to express my gratitude for how that week had enriched my life.

There would be many more tests since that September day.  It occurs to me that I needed to leave that burden behind so that I can move forward into 2018.  Now I’m free to be fully engaged in whatever God puts in my path in the new year.

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Iona Abbey Cloisters

What about you?

What burden do you need to leave behind before you step into 2018?

How would that impact your journey?

 

Your Favorite Things

I spotted the Santa holding the globe on an after- Christmas sale table.  That’s mine, I thought and wasn’t sure why I was so attracted to it.  But then looking around my house, I was reminded of the globes and maps I’d collected, drawn to the landforms of the earth and the blues of the oceans.  I remembered the first globe I was attracted to– the one in the wooden stand in Miss Harrington’s fourth grade.

It was located near the large casement window in our classroom in the two-story brick building of Jonesboro School — the same one where my father had graduated.  I remember how I loved her geography class where we learned about faraway places.

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Now I consider how as an adult I started taking solo journeys, pilgrimages to places that my heart is drawn to.  At first, I thought it was surprising how I’d found this path during that first trip to Sedona.  But now I feel there were clues in my childhood that I’d forgotten as an adult, especially once life became so busy when I entered my profession and then had a family.  My focus shifted to my sons’ favorite things, trying to provide them with what they were uniquely drawn to.

Sometimes we lose ourselves along the way, that child within us pushed down under the weight of adulthood.  During the holiday season, I think we have glimpses back to what we loved them.  Sometimes we can get clues from childhood photos.  When I found an old black and white of me, along with my two sisters and kids from the neighborhood, I realized there were three things that made me happy in that picture: being outside, my dog beside me, and my bike that was my pretend horse.

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Me at six years old to the right of our dog.

Years later, when I took my first intentional journey to Jekyll Island, Georgia, I realized I’d been drawn there because of the extensive bike trails.  Hopping on that bike to explore the island made me feel like I was the same age as that girl in the picture, riding the sandy roads of our farm.  It didn’t matter that at Jekyll Island I was fifty.  When you do the activities you love you can be transported to any age.

Because things we love can ground us, it’s important to have them all around. I think of how these can appeal to our five senses.  When we’re sick, we want that cozy blanket to swaddle us, the feel of the cloth settling our nervous system.  I have a tan-colored corduroy coat that immediately calms me.  Touching it reminds me of favorite clothing from childhood.  I’ll probably wear that coat until it’s threadbare and my family forces me to get rid of it.

The smell of lavender reminds me of the gentle care of my lymphedema massage therapist, how she uses lavender lotion, a healing balm.  When I’m having a tough day, slowing down and inhaling the scent of lavender calms me.

Tasting cinnamon feels like a special treat.  I put it on cereal, coffee, yogurt, and everything that I can.  It doesn’t even have to be paired with brown sugar to be satisfying.

Listening to certain songs immediately improves my mood, or makes me want to get up and dance, or elevates me to a state of praise and thanksgiving.  I also find that listening to silence anchors me in the present, mindful of what is before me.

I remember now how my eyes first encountered the Santa before I picked him up and made him mine.  My prayer for you as we prepare to enter the new year is that you will surround yourself with your favorite things, and take the time to do your favorite activities in 2018.  I hope you will make all those things yours.

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Jekyll Island bike path

How about you?

What are your favorite things?

Is your home filled with those things that are special to you?

What activities did you love as a child?  Are you doing them now?  If not, how could you start?

 

 

 

 

 

Polly’s Gift

I first saw the painting in December of 1992.  My Aunt Polly invited me to come to her house and pick out presents for my sons for Christmas.  She loved all her great-nephews and nieces and had purchased toys, books, and candies to give the seven of them.  I was surprised to see paintings lined up on her mantle and hearth– flowers, southwestern landscapes, and one that stood out; Joseph leading Mary through the dark night to Bethlehem.

“You painted these?” I asked, remembering her stories of taking art classes.  “I love the way you illuminated Mary’s face.”

She seemed surprised at how I was drawn to the painting.  Polly had always been a perfectionist and had difficulty receiving my complement.

“I painted it for Mama’s Christmas present in 1954,” she told me.  “But she died before Christmas and I never got to give her my gift.”  Something I didn’t know, a new discovery of another way that Polly and I were alike.

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painted December 1954 by Polly Rosser

Polly and her younger sister, Eula, had moved to Denver in 1950 where Polly took art classes at the University of Colorado and Eula worked as a nurse in a children’s hospital.  My Aunt Polly, my Daddy’s older sister, had mostly been known to me through letters and cards.

But then she moved back East in the fall of 1965, when I was in fifth grade, and lived with us.  I saw ways that I was like her– unlike how I felt toward most of my family.  Polly was artistic and a dreamer, impractical by the Rosser family standards.  She relished setting a beautiful table, enjoying nice dishes and serving pieces versus the everyday plates and bowls we normally used.

Before Christmas, I’d tromp with her through the woods to gather cedar, holly, pine, and magnolia to decorate our home.  She used some of the evergreens to create small woodland scenes on pieces of plywood, tucking in ceramic rabbits and birds and spraying snow on her creation to give the feel of a winter wonderland.

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Eula and Polly (left to right)

She loved to read and I admired the stack of books beside her bed, knowing that she always read before falling asleep.  She gave me books of poetry and prayers and wrote memorable comments in my cards.  Polly was considered ‘too sensitive’ by some, and again, I could see that same quality in me.

Polly died the May after I first saw her paintings that Christmas.  Mama remembered how I’d loved the one of Mary and Joseph and made sure it was earmarked for me.  Now, when I look at it, I think of the sadness that can be part of Christmas, longing for those who are no longer present.  My Daddy died of a heart attack on December 13th when I was twenty-two.  I remember how my heart ached and how I always associated his death and Christmas.  I hadn’t poured myself into making Daddy a present, but I’d bought him a pair of tan-colored corduroy pants that were already wrapped and under the tree.

While I was the unintended recipient of Polly’s gift, it has been a present that I’ve been blessed with every holiday season as it hangs on my wall.  I feel connected to the intended receiver, my Grandma Rosser who died that Christmas before I was born in March.  It reminds me of Aunt Polly’s bravery in moving across the country and studying art– not something she’d been prepared for in her farm family.  When I tromp through the woods to gather greenery for my home, it’s as if she’s beside me, anticipating the joy of making our home festive, celebrating that special family time of year.

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How about you?

How do you remember special family and friends who are no longer with you during the holidays?

Are there activities in which you feel they’re present, participating in spirit?

 

 

 

Carry a Song

I crossed over Jordan Lake listening to one of my favorite songs, “God of Wonders” in what became my ritual for preparing for radiation treatments.  I followed the same pattern in an attempt to make the unfamiliar seem routine; leave home at the same time, put in the Third Day CD when I pulled out of the drive, sing to the chorus when I crossed the lake in the early morning beauty.  By the time I reached my radiation altar, I felt empowered by the song.  Months later, the same chorus played when I drove into Sedona and caught my first view of the massive red rocks.

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Jordan Lake, central North Carolina

There have been other songs that have carried me through difficult times, crying out for me when I had no words.  Sometimes we have that experience with scriptures, poems, or mantras, but somehow when the words are put to music it seems the song settles into our souls.  That’s what happened some years ago when I took my journey to Chincoteague Island at the Assateague National Seashore in Virginia.

When I left on that solo journey, I was very tired and struggling with the after effects of an allergic reaction.  The day before, I’d been working in my flower garden and chopped into a bed of red ants that quickly climbed onto my ankles.  When I tried to rub them off, they got onto my arms and several lodged under my compression sleeve that I’d worn to protect my left arm with lymphedema.  My bites had made my whole body sluggish and itchy.  By the time I pulled into my hotel at Chincoteague, all I felt like doing was sleeping.  That wasn’t what I wanted from my solo journey.

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Beachfront Assateague National Seashore, Virginia

The next day, I spent the morning on the beach and felt the cool salt water wash those itchy bites, the perfect balm.  But too soon, a fast- moving storm sent me to my car for cover.  Feeling the gift of not having to be anywhere, I sat there and watched the storm move across the water, listening to a CD that was like a companion for that trip, Matt Redman’s 10,000 Reasons.  The song, “Never Once,” played as I watched a man get out of his jeep and walk with his head down into the storm.  The image was so strong—the man going into the storm while Redman sang, “Never once did we ever walk alone, Never once did You leave us on our own, You are faithful, God, You are faithful.”

When I left Chincoteague Island, I wasn’t sure what I carried home, my ‘boon’ or blessing from the trip.  I’d had less energy the entire time for interacting with the people in my path.  But within weeks, I had my answer.

We three sisters had struggled with Mama’s decline from dementia.  After managing a couple of years with nursing assistants in her home, that was no longer enough.  It was apparent that we had to place her in a nursing home– something we’d feared.  On the day I drove to my hometown to meet my sisters to move Mama into Parkview, my heart broke.  Driving down the familiar road over Jordan Lake, I listened to Matt Redman’s song Never Once and could see the man from the jeep.  I felt like I was him, going head first into the storm.  While I didn’t have the words to say a prayer, the song said it all for me.  As much as it hurt to reach this point with Mama, I wasn’t alone, God was with me, and with Mama.

I was glad I’d carried that song.

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Sunset at Assateague National Seashore, Virginia

 

How about you?

Are there songs that have given you voice when you were unable to speak?

What songs, scriptures, poems, mantras could you store away to be pulled out when you need them?

 

 

 

 

My ADHD Made Me Do It

The patrolman handed me the dreaded paper and stepped back into his car with the flashing blue lights.  How in the world can this be happening, again, I thought, my third ticket in eighteen months.  What was wrong with a fifty-something-year-old woman, mother to adult sons, and responsible nurse– in this trouble again? My mind raced through what to say to my husband, the message I’d leave when I knew he’d be with a client and unable to answer.  There was only one plausible explanation; my ADHD made me do it.

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He would understand that since as a psychologist, he’d agreed with me that I met the criteria for the diagnosis: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  When I was young, I’d been one of those daydreaming girls that didn’t get in trouble, invisible compared to the boys with behaviors that sent them to the principal’s office or to military school.  Mine made it hard to focus on boring classes, like history, or tedious assignments, like algebra word problems.  Just like parents of children with asthma, I thought I’d grow out of it, but unfortunately, ADHD continued with me to adulthood.

Now, it shows up in either being hyper-focused on things I love or poorly focused on things that bore me.  When I’m absorbed in my writing, delving deep into that zone while the muse is present, I can totally block out everything.  I’ve burned holes in the bottom of pans, missed turns when driving, and been late for appointments—to name a few of the consequences.  I can miss payment deadlines on bills because I put off the dreaded task of opening mail.

But like other things, ADHD can be both a curse and a blessing.  My imagination is strong and helps me to be spontaneous and adventurous.  I’ve seen both sides of this on my solo journeys.  While my personality helps me to step out and take the risks of traveling alone, sometimes I overlook details.

I remember that being the case when I took my pilgrimage to the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State.  I planned to hike to the highest point in Puget Sound at the summit of Mt. Constitution on Orcas Island.  I envisioned trail maps at the entrance, a heavily trafficked path, and frequent blazes like on the Appalachian Trail to mark the way.  I’d been too rushed the day I packed to remember my whistle, moleskin, and other hiking necessities.

 

 

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Trail up Mt. Constitution overlooking Puget Sound, Washington State

When I arrived at the trailhead, there were no maps, no ranger, no person in sight.  How in the world could a mother of two Eagle Scouts be so unprepared?  While I’d hyper-focused on my flight to Sea-Tac, chartered bus to Anacortes, ferry ride to Friday Harbor, I had given out of focus for the details of my trek up Mt. Constitution.

I grew uneasy as I hiked for almost an hour without seeing another soul.  I was almost three thousand miles from home and no one knew where I was.  The blaze markers were so infrequent that I worried that I’d get lost in the dark evergreen forest.  I felt foolish for overlooking key things.  I prayed that God would lead me and trusted there would be people in my path to help me.

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The view from the top

I made it to the top of the mountain and marveled at the beauty of Puget Sound.  The God who created me knew my needs and used both sides of this ADHD- girl- grown- into- a- woman.  My vulnerabilities made me more dependent on God.

What about you?

What personality traits do you have that are both blessing and curse?

How do you manage the areas where you are vulnerable?

How could you take advantage of the blessing to step forward in your life?

Don’t You Deserve to be Cared For?

“I thought I was done with cancer.  But now they’re saying I need lymphedema treatment,” I told her, irritated at this interruption in my life.  I’d traveled to Edisto Island, South Carolina for my second solo journey the day after I’d been assessed at the Lymphedema Clinic.  When they told me I’d need intensive treatment, it reminded me of how breast cancer had interrupted my life and I felt like, “Here we go again!”

Sharon, the spiritual director at The Sea of Peace House of Prayer, a center for contemplation, sat with me in our first one-to-one session.  I had scheduled two sessions with her during my five days of retreat, a way of taking advantage of all that was offered to nourish my spiritual life.  I hadn’t intended to bring up the lymphedema, but it was so close to the surface it just popped out.

“Now they want me to schedule all these appointments this summer to reduce the build-up in this arm,” I said, and raised the left that was impacted from the lymph nodes taken from under that arm, five years earlier when I had my lumpectomy.  “I don’t have time for that,” I said, and thought of my summer break from my position as a school nurse, all the projects and plans I had during those precious weeks.

“Don’t you think you deserve to be taken care of?” she asked, her blue eyes looking at me with gentleness.

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Butterflies– a symbol of gentle lymphatic massage

We sat in silence and her words seeped down into my heart.  Tears stung my eyes and the word deserve reverberated in my ears.  Is taking care of me a waste of time, is that what I’m saying, I wondered.  I had done my best to take care of everybody else — my sons and husband, my mother with dementia, the students in my school, people in need of nurture in my community, but had I not given the same consideration to myself?
“Sometimes it’s the ego, the false self that tells us we have to be in charge, that we have to  accomplish more.  If we let go of the control then God can show us how to rest,” she said in her soothing voice.
I felt the startle of recognition in the truth that she was speaking.  I’d walked on the labyrinth that morning, the seven-circuit path outlined with shells and rocks, in what was like a moving prayer.  In my path, I saw a pin oak leaf at my feet that, in my mind’s eye, appeared to have the word Pride written down the center.  I remembered that word had been in one of our scripture readings that morning.  What has pride got to do with anything, I’d thought.  I told Sharon about the leaf and she nodded with a slight smile as if I might be getting it.
That week I settled into a pattern of morning prayer and scripture reading with Sharon and her husband– since I was the only guest, and then going to the beach to ride my bike and swim.  I walked the labyrinth, more slowly and thoughtfully each time.  I kept hearing Sharon’s question, “Don’t you deserve to be taken care of?” and pondering how I’d struggled, even after going through cancer, to maintain that self-care that I knew was so important.
By the end of my week, I decided I must go through the treatment.  I would push aside all my plans for my productive summer to take care of me.  Because I deserved to be taken care of.
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What about you?
Have you found that you take care of others more readily than you care for yourself?
What drives you to that behavior?
How can you change this pattern and allow yourself to be taken care of?

Letter to Santa

I look at the picture of Daddy from 1964 when he was caught in the act of Christmas shopping by the photographer from our hometown paper.  He must have been amused at my father managing his cigar above the Rose’s Dime Store box and shopping basket.  When an acquaintance saw the picture and heard my story, he asked me to submit it as a Letter to Santa for his doll magazine.  At fifty-six I wrote my letter.

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Mine was more of a “Thank You” note sent on December 28th so I could tell the whole story.  I would have been in fourth grade.  I started out with acknowledging that I liked my new Barbie with the ponytail and my Barbie Dream House.  I commented, “I’m so glad I finally have a real Barbie — since my parents gave me a fake one for my birthday.”  That memory brought up how hard it was to be a child at Christmas once you knew about the real Santa.  I wanted to be truly happy, not feel any disappointment because I didn’t want to hurt Mama and Daddy.  I know now that when they gave me a fake Barbie it was either because they didn’t understand that it made any difference or they couldn’t afford the more expensive doll.

I remember we were excited that Daddy’s picture was on the Saturday Feature page the week of Christmas.  When I’d looked at it more closely, I realized that Rose’s box had to be my Barbie Dream House.  My younger sister, Peggy, who was five, nor my older sister, Harriet, who was twelve, had asked for anything that size.  I was excited to know that it would definitely be there Christmas morning, but soon afterward, I was disappointed that my surprise had been spoiled.  I knew that even though Daddy grinned for the photographer, he would have been mad underneath because he felt my surprise had been spoiled, too.

That wasn’t the only year I felt that tension– wanting to know versus wanting to be surprised.  My older sister discovered that our parents hid things in one of our barns.  When they were gone, she took me to see our stereo that was covered by a quilt.  Next to it was an empty barrel with a box of Children’s Classics books that we received each year.  It was fun for a while to have that discovery with my sister, to share a secret, but then there was the inevitable letdown Christmas morning when you knew part of your gifts.

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Rosser Family 1962

 

At the end of my Santa letter, I addressed the issue of knowing ahead of time that I was getting the Barbie Dream House.  I said, “But that’s okay, Santa, because I didn’t have to stay awake all night Christmas Eve and wonder if my Dream House would be under the tree.  Instead, I could dream about playing with my Barbie in her perfectly pink bedroom and going back to Miss Harrington’s fourth grade and telling them all about it.”

As an adult writing the letter, I’d seen the benefit of reducing my childhood tension.  While I loved the mystery of Christmas, there was anxiety with the unknown, and later with the known– the way you could disappoint your parents who’d worked so hard to give you their best.  I guess that mix of excitement and anxiety was very real for me as I, along with my older sister, remember that the only time I ever had nosebleeds was on Christmas mornings!

Now, as a parent, I know that my parents would have understood those feelings I had back then.  They would have realized that the Christmas season is filled with a range of emotions, and they would have seen that as just part of life.

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How about you?
What memories do you have of your childhood Christmas?
How do you view your disappointments from an adult perspective?
What new understandings help you to reframe those experiences?

Journeys to the Past

At this time of year, I feel a yearning to return to childhood.  I long to smell the cedar tree decorated with a string of large multi-colored lights and icicles; to taste the cherries in my aunt’s paper-thin cookies; to feel the rush of being in the basement of Rose’s Dime Store looking at my hoped-for toys.  The house in the picture reminds me of our two-story farmhouse and my view from my upstairs bedroom window.  The small sleigh transports me back to my journey to Vermont.

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When I took that trip a couple of summers ago,  I visited Shelburne Museum in the western part of the state.  I was fascinated by their display of sleighs.  Growing up in the South, and not a family who skied or took cold weather vacations, I’d never ridden in a sleigh.  Like the iconic images of Santa and his reindeer, as a child, I thought Currier and Ives winter scenes were like fairytales.  People didn’t ride in sleighs because you never had that much snow — at least not in central North Carolina.

Now, what strikes me about the sleigh in the picture, is that it’s not like Santa and his reindeer, magically ascending into the sky.  Instead, this one looks like an everyday sleigh that would have actually been used to move quickly through the snow.

In the museum, there were all kinds– those that were for formal events and those like workhorses.  The one that captured my attention was a school bus sleigh used to transport children from rural areas of Vermont in the late 1800s.  I could imagine it traveling down the narrow lanes I’d seen on my drive from White River Junction.  Those children were like me, riding home on a school bus.  How beautiful the countryside would be with a blanket of white, that makes the daytime stark and the nighttime mysterious.

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Like other journeys, I wished I could experience Vermont in seasons besides summer.  That would give me a fuller picture of what life was like in that part of the country.  It reminded me how my eyes had been opened on a journey to Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia.  There I saw a display of a horse-drawn mail carriage.  Inside, I was surprised to find a small pot-bellied stove.  My Granddaddy Smith had been a rural mail carrier in North Carolina in the early 1900s.  He would have needed that warmth in the frigid January days in remote areas of Chatham County.

This discovery from the past seemed to provide a small connection with my grandfather, who died before I was born.  Now I have another way to imagine him that is a gift from one of the places on my journeys.

Both my childhood Christmas memories and discoveries about the past made on my journeys, make me want to return to those times and places.  That’s a universal sadness we all feel.  I guess the best we can do is to travel there in our mind’s eye, savor that memory, and move forward to new places and moments of discovery.

How about you?

When are the times that you feel a yearning to go back?

What do you do with those feelings?

 

You Need to Overseed!

The day Darlene shaved my head when it was inevitable that my hair would fall out, fifteen days after my first chemo, I returned home wondering how my family would handle it.  When my tenth-grade son, Brooks saw me, he said, “Mom, you look like G.I. Jane!” and chuckled.  Months after I finished my treatment and I had enough hair to go without my wig, he noticed the uneven growth.  He rubbed that area then instructed me with his new knowledge from his part-time job at the golf course, “You need to overseed!”

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Wearing my new hair to my sons’ band concert

I appreciated his humor because mine was failing.  I’d been terrified of cancer– partly because I was mortified of losing my hair.  When I saw a mother of a boy who played basketball with my sons, walk into the gym in a baseball cap, her dark hair gone, I felt like I’d been gut-punched.   It’s happened to her, I thought. Now I was like her, one of them, going through cancer treatment and feeling the pity of others.

My ninth-grade son, Ross was more tentative about seeing his mother bald.  He first observed me from across the room, not able to tolerate a closer look.  Later, when I tried on the wig Darlene had helped me choose, he responded, “Couldn’t she make it look more like you, Mama?”  It had to be hard for him, wondering if I was going to be okay and seeing me bald.  At that age, mothers were embarrassing if everything was normal.

My husband, David, carefully examined my shaved head.  He palpated the area at the crown.  He had made a comment in the past about hoping I never went bald because of that “flat spot” on my head.

“It doesn’t look as bad as I thought it would,” he said, and we both laughed.

I wore the wig when I was away from home.  I’d never been one for hats and felt the wig was closer to my pre-cancer self.  But it was hot and itchy, so every day when I came in from work, I took it off.  We all got used to me going bald around the house.

One day, we were rushing to get the boys to their high school for marching band practice.  They knew if they were late, the band director would make them run laps around the football field in the September heat.  When I was turning out of our development onto the highway, I touched the top of my head and was startled to feel my smooth scalp.

“I forgot to wear my wig!”

Brooks, who was riding shotgun, looked surprised.  In my rearview mirror, I could see horror on Ross’s face

“You have to go back, Mama,” Ross told me.

I went back, and they would have to run laps—the price they’d pay to save me, and themselves, from embarrassment.

I finished chemo and then thirty-two radiation treatments.  By the end of March, the yellow forsythia bloomed in my garden and my fuzzy duck hair was long enough to toss the wig.  Some of my radiation tiredness had lessened and I felt the stirring of hope with the emergence of spring.

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“It’s my Easter hair,” I said to myself.  New life after going through the darkness.

My family had changed with me through cancer.  I would always remember how Ross grew to the point of kissing my head “to help my hair grow.”  Brooks continued to check for areas to overseed.  Later, when he became a Golf Course Superintendent, I would associate that portion of his work with his tender care of his mom’s ‘crop of hair.’

How blessed I felt by the love of these men in my life through the days of cancer.

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So proud of my grown sons, Brooks on the left and Ross on the right

 

How About You?

Have you had cancer or another illness or situation that has stripped away some of your dignity?

How did you manage through that time?

How did the people in your life help you through your situation?