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Sue BB

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In the words of the Stark family from the Game of Thrones, “Winter is coming.” 

We shouldn’t be surprised as we approach certain birthdays in our lives significant of the changing of the four seasons of life. And, yet, I wasn’t ready for it. 

Here I am. About a year ago I was recovering from cancer treatment and getting stronger every day.

I felt so much like myself I did a weekly farmers market. My gardens were all planted and producing and I was baking bread like crazy. My granddaughter Lucy was right there by my side and when she could granddaughter Elle also helped. I had two very capable young ladies managing sales. It was a good year after all.

And, then Christmas rolled around and I received the gift of metastatic cancer in my brain. Why, why, why? Why God when things were going so well and I felt like my old self again? 

“Because winter is coming.” And, I have to accept it. I’m not getting younger.

Living with cancer means drugs and never knowing what days you are going to feel good and what days require multiple naps to combat fatigue and nausea. Making plans is impossible because you never really can predict how you will feel. 

Add to that weight fluctuations and the loss of body strength from immobility. Cancer runs my life. I didn’t want that to happen, but it did.

In all that, I have had time to think about things. Memories of the good times. Regrets for some of the bad times. Contemplation of the next life I am heading towards. This is a time of slowing down, letting go of things, lightening my load, and enjoying my family and friends as much as possible. It is the winter of my life.

Here is a list of things I have learned throughout my meditations of the past one and one-half years.

Life is too short.

Grandchildren are the greatest blessing of all.

Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold.

Send letters and thank you notes. Give gifts. Give generously to help the generations below you carry on.

Use the good dishes. The good silverware. The antique bowls. The embroidered dish towels.

Take a trip while you are physically able.

If you don’t like to eat leftovers, throw them away. Just don’t tell my mom. I think wasting food is a sin in our family.

Drink Coke if you feel sick to your stomach even if you haven’t had soda since 1972. And, while you are at it eat 10 McNuggets with your grandchildren. Then go shopping, but…

Quit buying so many clothes. Who cares. Most of the time people are so worried about looking at themselves that they aren’t paying attention to you anyway.

Be yourself, always be yourself. It took me a great many years to accept the fact my mind doesn’t work the way other minds do. I now appreciate myself and my talents and wish I could have lived a better life using those talents. But….

Don’t regret the past. Ask forgiveness. If God forgets your sins from east to west, why can’t I?

Speak kindly to strangers. I have been carrying on conversations with strangers my whole life. Ask about them, compliment them, they’ll talk back.

Read and study the Bible. There are so many wonderful stories and so much healing balm in those words. It’s magical, you know, how the Bible speaks in many ways that change over the years adapting to what you need to hear on that particular day.

Don’t do all your work in one day. This is a hard one for any good German-Russians out there cause as you know, “work makes life sweet.” Rather than spend time cleaning your house, create something, write something, call someone and tell them you are thinking of them.

Don’t worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will take care of itself. That my friends, comes right out of God’s word.

It’s okay to do nothing. After all, we are human BEings, not human DOings.

But now, I entered not by choice into the winter years of my life and I have had to readjust my thinking and my daily routine and go with the flow. I can still think and dream and write so I am going to focus on what I can do and slowly let go of what I cannot. 

We all must face the winter of our lives. Nothing wrong with doing it gracefully

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