Tag Archives: spirituality

What to Wear on Christmas Eve

sue's sweater

…and there it was, hanging right in front of me.

Once again it is Christmas Eve. I have been invited this evening to a friend’s home for tamales before going to the Candlelight Service. I have known this friend for about six years. I think this is the fourth year of invitations. I have been trying all day to figure out what I want to wear. It makes little difference at our church. There will be many in jeans and several in new outfits with every style in between. I guess that’s one of the reasons I like going to this place. I have never felt any sense of pretension. It really isn’t a matter of what one wears.

I have not bought any new clothes for Christmas in more years than I can count. Actually after twenty years of being unchurched, it has only been eight years that I have attempted to attend. My memory of Christmas Eves does not extend much beyond that.

I have a black long sleeve tee that is decorated with an embroidered cardinal and sequined white poinsettia  flowers. The cardinal is the state bird of Illinois, my home state, so it is a little connection with home, even though I haven’t lived there in thirty five years. The cardinal is a beautiful symbol for Christmas and winter I think.

“The cardinal makes a fantastic animal totem. It reminds us to hold ourselves with pride – not ego pride. Rather, the cardinal asks us to stand a little taller, be a bit more regal, step into our natural confidence as if we were born to lead with grace and nobility”. I tend to hold back in crowds. I thought perhaps if I wear the cardinal I can be a little more joyous.

“As we observe the cardinal – particularly against the backdrop of the stark winter months, we are reminded that even when things appear bleak or isolated, there is always the presence of beauty, hope, and love”. The tee was a gift from my cousin’s family. She transitioned two years ago. The top still had its tags on. I had been with her when she bought it. The cardinal was her favorite totem. I wanted to feel close to her tonight.

I mentally went through other things in my closet. It’s not supposed to get really colder until tomorrow when it might snow. I don’t think it will, however. I think any snow will stop about forty five miles north of us around Denton.

I washed a couple of loads of clothes and hung them on my rack in the laundry room. And there was my answer hanging right in front of me. The very last time I saw my cousin she was wearing a new sweater. When we hugged, I was amazed by the softness of the weave. It felt so like her. Her husband asked me to take whatever I wanted when I left because by that time it was a matter of weeks. I couldn’t get myself to take anything without feeling very uncomfortable. I kind of felt I would be in the deathbed scene of Scrooge when the chambermaids were stealing the curtains before he was even dead.  I did ask him to mail me a couple of things when he was able to get around to it. That sweater was one of the few things I felt I truly wanted.

So tonight I am wearing that sweater. It will be warm enough to wear without a coat as opposed to the thinner tee. It will be soft and cuddly and I will be sharing  the service with Sue once again feeling her loving arms wrapped around me. The number of people I share this holiday with has almost entirely dwindled away but the spirit of my gentle, talented cousin will be with me to the end…at least until the sweater and the tee become too tattered to wear. Merry Christmas, y’all. Namaste. Attic Annie

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Feeling Great Even on a Rainy Monday

I am writing this on Monday even though it is appearing for the first time on Tuesday. That’s the benefit of having many ADD characteristics. I start out doing one thing and end up somewhere I had no idea where I was going. I had no intention of writing about Christina Aguilera yesterday when I started out ninety minutes ago. But that was where I ended up.

I wanted to talk about it being another rainy day and Monday. The rain has been falling non stop since before I woke up this morning. I have no idea when it began. I was too busy sleeping. Last May I went to a doctor I saw several years ago and dropped when I thought I was better. Little did I know what a big mistake that was. There were so many things wrong with me, I was a walking medical encyclopedia. One of my problems was chronic insomnia. Slowly I am developing longer periods of sleep. Last night was one of them. I didn’t wake until 8:00. Ri-Leigh, bless her soul, does not wake me to go out.  She will jump up and insist if she sees that I am awake but otherwise she is very patient.

Other things also seem to be falling into shape and I woke this morning to a feeling of wellness that is alien to me. I love it. I have never been bi-polar but to me this feeling would definitely be on the high end of my own polarity scale. I envy people who feel this energetic every day. To me it is a miracle.

Since I have an aversion to driving anywhere in the rain, I am confined to home. The sounds of the rain falling is very lulling and hypnotic but I am refusing to allow it to con me into losing this elevated mood I am experiencing today. It’s great to feel alive!

One of the things that happens when I feel good is that my words start tumbling out of me. It seems I can whip out a blog or several blogs in record time. I can’t attest to the quality of such blogs but they are easy to spill out. The other thing that happens is that I get the urge to dig myself out of the pit I call my home. When I do not feel well, which has been since last May, things pile up. Usually I find other things to do to occupy my mind until that urge passes, but today I think I’ll do at least a little work. It makes me feel better…like when I change my sheets and crawl into the spring fresh smooth bed at night. It’s a great feeling.

It’s hard to separate into different boxes feelings that might be physical, psychological, emotional, or spiritual. I listened to a song sung yesterday by a great vocalist which contributed to my being in a good mood. All of them are contributing to my feelings of love and life. Will this last? Probably not. Will these feelings come again? Probably so. I’m still crying for the pain I feel towards my friend’s loss of a young daughter. I cry at the pain whenever any friend loses someone close. I am sending him my love and willing him to take one step at a time to get through this ordeal. But it’s still not dampening my mood.

My attitudes about so many things are changing. I think for the better. On those days when I realize I am actually feeling I am thankful. Decades of burying all emotions have taken their toll on me but I’m not finished yet. I envision the first spring’s sprout appearing ready to shoot up and produce some beautiful work of some type. I feel myself growing. Monday’s rainy day is a blessing. I feel like I am in and surrounded by love. No, there’s no particular person in mind….except maybe me. Like Martha Stewart says, “It’s a good thing.” Namaste. Attic Annie

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We Have Only Today

I was watching TV last week and came across an episode of 8 Simple Rules. I never watched it when it was on the first time. I soon realized what was happening. The wife played by Katey Sagal was deciding she couldn’t sleep in her bed because it was the first night after the funeral of her husband, played by John Ritter. Since that was the only episode I have seen, I realized the series was using the death of Ritter as part of the script. I remember how quickly he had died. On the series, they took the attitude that life goes on.

Last week a member of the choir sang two solos during church. He has been through some very rough spots in his life but as he sang, it was obvious that he was in a very good place. Things were coming together for him. One of the songs he sang was Carolyn Arends song “New Year’s Day.”

I buy a lot of diaries 
Fill them full of good intentions 
Each and every New Year’s Eve 
I make myself a list 
All the things I’m gonna change 
Until January 2nd 
So this time I’m making one promise 

This will be my resolution 
Every day is New Year’s Day 
This will be my resolution 
Every day is New Year’s Day 

I believe it’s possible 
I believe in new beginnings 
‘Cause I believe in Christmas Day 
And Easter morning too 
And I’m convinced it’s doable 
‘Cause I believe in second chances 
Just the way that I believe in you 

This will be my resolution 
Every day is New Year’s Day 
This could start a revolution 
Every day is… 

One more chance to start all over 
One more chance to change and grow 
One more chance to grab a hold of grace 
And never let it go 

He’s the type of guy who can really make others feel good. We believed him when he sang of changing and growing and grabbing grace. He made  us all feel good. He made us believe that every day we should resolve that this is our best day. That was Sunday.

Yesterday morning he posted on FB for his friends to pray for his daughter. She had stopped breathing and was rushed to intensive care in Tennessee where he had spent days at Christmas. She was on a ventilator. He updated last night that neurological signs were not good. An hour ago he posted that his daughter was with her mom among the angels in heaven.

The 8 Simple Rules script had the teenage children talking about the last things they said to their father. They were deep in grief for suddenly losing him.

I’m sure my friend is in deep mourning for the loss of his daughter. As far as I know she never regained consciousness. I wonder if he remembers his last conversation with her.

Our lives can be as normal as ever and then suddenly without warning everything can come to a screeching halt. Both the show and my friend’s loss brought that home to me. We are not able to always have that last moment to say good bye.

My father and I were not on the best of terms. He was in the hospital and I should have gone to see him even if it would have been out of a sense of filial duty. However, I really didn’t feel like it. I remember exactly where I was when I decided I would wait until the next day. After all, the doctor had said he was doing OK.

About six hours later we got the call from the hospital that he was dead. I did not take the time to say good bye. I can’t remember my last conversation with him. Those times during my senior year in college were few and far between.

I had that one day. Only one day. To tell my father I really did love him…to ask him if he really did love me. I let that opportunity slide by.

I talk with my son a couple times a month and email him a few more. If you have adult male sons you know this is very normal. He is living his own life. But one thing I have realized that we do more often is end up writing or speaking “I love you.” He often initiates it. He is able to do something I had great difficulty in doing. He is teaching me the importance of letting him know and his letting me know that we love each other. It is then that I realize we have only today. If I die suddenly he will remember that the last time we communicated he ended the conversation with love. Namaste. Attic Annie


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All Things Work for Good for those who love God …why do I sometimes forget?

Faith…sometimes I momentarily let it slip

It is 6:30 Sunday evening. I am still feeling full of energy (another story for another day) despite sitting in a house that is now 85 o. At one point I thought I actually felt cool with the fan blowing on my legs and the ceiling fan stirring the air behind my head. Due to the humidity, that is not the case any longer. I now feel quite clammy and sticky. I touch my hand to my arm and it actually feels as if there is a layer of weak glue trying to hold it there.

Unfortunately, my air conditioner broke yesterday. Since I have a repair contract with an air conditioning company, I was able to get a repair person to come check the outside unit at 5:00 pm on Saturday evening. Since he was just here last Thursday and pronounced my AC ready for another season, there is no charge for this return visit.

He says I have a couple of valves broken in the compressor. I sit there in the dining room (I can’t stand now because of the news) and listen to Dave. He’s the one who has been coming spring and fall to check my furnace and AC. I am too stunned at the thought of having to buy a new AC for my house to be able to listen. That’s because, in order to cool this house, I need a five ton three phase unit. The present AC is a 1998 model. That’s thirteen years. It replaced a model that was installed in the early 60s and didn’t die for almost thirty eight years. I was expecting longer service out of this model.

I feel sorry for myself and call Maxine across the street. I haven’t talked about Maxine in quite a while. Whenever I begin to feel sorry for myself, she snaps me out of it. I honestly don’t remember what she says. I just know I feel a lot better when our conversation ends. For those of you who don’t know Maxine, I call her that because she is so much like the cartoon Maxine, I swear the cartoonist knows my neighbor personally. It’s not just her attitude. She could be a model for Maxine herself.

After I talk with her, I feel much better. I start to tear up but those tears soon dry up. There’s just no reason to cry when you talk with her. Sorrow for self just doesn’t cut it with her.

It’s just that I feel I’m being bombarded from all sides. One issue is the hail damaged my roof and I’ve been dealing with the contractor and delays for many days.The roof was supposed to be done last Wednesday.  The contractor is a nice  guy and I really appreciate him, but I will be very glad when I can put the roof behind me. I called him to tell him he can stop looking for a sub-contractor to do another job I asked him to bid on because I would not have the money for quite a while due to my AC breaking.

We’ve talked several times about topics other than roofs, and I enjoy his company. I know he is younger than I am but I find him quite attractive. I realize the attraction is one way. When I tell him about no AC in my house, he actually extends an invitation to sleep on his couch in his apartment! I realize he is offering for humanitarian reasons and no other, but I thank him politely and tell him I’ll be fine. It’s still getting down into the low 70s at night. I assure him my bedroom will cool down sufficiently. (It actually did. By 2 am I had to pull the sheet over me between the ceiling fan and the stiff breeze blowing into my bedroom windows.)

If we had been in the same situation thirty or even ten years ago, I would have been knocking on his door in a heartbeat. He would not have had time to hang up the phone. I really have been too trustworthy all my life. He probably has too. Besides, he has a cat. Next to dust mites, cats are the second on my list of thirty four allergens I’m allergic to. I would be miserable before the night was over. One, because I would be out on the couch, and two, I would be sneezing and my eyes would be itching. I may even be wheezing. It doesn’t matter if the cat is in the same room with me or not. Cats are a great reason for me to remain sane with invitations like that.

Now I am in the process of contacting AC companies and getting bids. I probably won’t know until Wednesday or Thursday who will do the job. In the meantime, I have a window unit in my converted garage and a friend brought over a floor unit for my bedroom. If I recline under the ceiling fan in my family room, I actually do not feel too warm. I think I will make it.

I slipped for a moment yesterday when I panicked over the thought of such a large bill. I know better than not to trust that all will be well. Once again in my life I am “Letting go and letting God.” That’s all I can do. I affirm that all my needs will always be met and I will have enough provision to have some of my wants as well. That’s all I can do. That’s all I need to do. The rest is in the “hands” of a power greater than I. I am grateful I live an abundant life. All is well. Namaste. Attic Annie


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I am not a Christian

I am going to have my roof replaced starting Wednesday due to hail damage. For whatever reason, I have found talking with the sales rep for the roofing company to be a very enjoyable experience. How I ever thought I could or even should start talking to him about my religious beliefs totally astounds me. He was a complete stranger until last week and I have only seen him a total of three or four times. But I have been close to his last call of the day and he is beginning to unwind so he takes a little more time just to chat.

A couple of days ago he was here to measure my roof line. When he finished that, I just started chatting with him on non-business related topics like we had briefly done a couple of other times. Part of me says he’s just being a good salesman but another part says he just likes to talk. He and his wife parted ways in December and I think he gets a little lonely.

Anyway, how it came about I’ll never know but I started talking with him about my church and my beliefs. I don’t usually even share those topics with life long friends.  It was crazy! I told him about growing up in a very conservative Lutheran church. When I was old enough, I learned I was a LUTHERAN. I referred to myself as a Lutheran and connected all of my religious beliefs with that name. We did not refer to ourselves as Christians. My close friend was CATHOLIC but my father didn’t forbid me totally from associating with her. It just wasn’t encouraged. She wasn’t referred to as a Christian either.

When I began dating my first fiance, I went with him to his church and became a Disciple of Christ. I married in that church. (Not to him) I was a Disciple. We moved to Connecticut for one year and back to Illinois for the next year and we were Congregationalists. After trying to find a fit in Texas, we settled in to attending the Cumberland-Presbyterian church. After the divorce I no longer felt welcome in the couples oriented small CP church so I tried the Methodists. The large church downtown had a huge singles group so I tried that. I immediately sensed I was in a meat market. There were too many women dominating the activities who were prime rib or T bone for me to be comfortable. I have felt my entire life that I’m more the equivalent of hamburger…still hot and juicy but not prime category.

I decided to go to the Methodist church close to my home. I attended church there but was not involved in any activities. After almost two years, I decided to join the Bible study group before church. I was at the same time dating a guy named Jim. The class was made up of people my age and I was welcomed since I brought Jim with me to the activities. It only took a little while for me to realize this was a COUPLES Bible study. When Jim and I broke up, I sensed from the other women that I was no longer as welcomed, especially if I chatted with any of the other men, the HUSBANDS. I was there long enough for my son to be confirmed. Other political things were happening in the church with which I couldn’t agree, and, at the same time, I was getting more and more unwell so I soon stopped going to church altogether. I was no longer a Methodist.

I became unchurched for twenty years. It was during that time that I realized there was a definite change in the climate and many more people were calling themselves Christians as opposed to the names of the founders of the churches they attended.  There were now Christians everywhere. As I said earlier, when I talked about religion with people I would say I believed I was now very spiritual but did not consider myself religious.

Back to the present and my chat. This guy opened up about this theologian who lives not too far away who professes to anyone who will listen that he is a Christian and a SOUTHERN BAPTIST. I happen to know this gentleman although our paths have crossed only a few times. The roofer was sharing that this man USED him to meet with the insurance adjustor and for all the preliminary paper work and then the following day there was the sign of another roofer in his yard. That reminded me of the Christian contractor who did a miserable construction job in two of my rooms. I had hired him at that time because he was a Christian and I trusted him. I paid him before I discovered all the half-a&^ errors he made. He never did come back to correct the work.

It was then that I blurted out that I did not consider myself a Christian. He got a very startled look on his face. “I wouldn’t be able to say THAT,” he said. I explained that the older I got, the more dismayed I was with the people attending the churches I did and the protestors of several different causes who hold rallies in the name of Jesus to spew their hatred and condemnation. All of these people wear Tee shirts and wave banners, and bracelets and crosses and rings professing what good Christians they are.

My faith in the ONE GOD is as strong as it will ever be.That does not mean I do not believe in Christ. My faith in him has matured and gotten stronger in the past six years than at any other time in my life. I totally believe in following his teachings, but I have found myself feeling uncomfortable around the loudly proclaiming Christians whose actions I observe speak to me in volumes much louder than their words. I guess it would be the Christian thing to do to accept them and love them completely anyway. I’m still working on that.

My cousin was a devoted Joyce Meyer fan. I like to listen to Joyce occasionally as well. She really resonated with me when she said the following:

Sitting in church every Sunday does not make you a Christian any more than sitting in a garage makes you a car

I really am a Christian. I am just not religious.  I just can’t call myself that if it means being like so many of the others who have come crawling out of the woodwork.  Namaste. Attic Annie


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For my “sister” Sue

I have not blogged in almost a month. During that time I have had to endure a number of events regarding my health and my heart mostly relating to the loss in my life. My last blog was written March 12 when I prepared to visit my cousin. She was the true sister I always wished I could have, not the sibling that I ended up with.

I did travel back to my hometown to see her. I stayed with another cousin from the other side of my family who was gracious enough to offer me a bed. Part of me wanted to stay longer than three nights, but the controlling part of me said my stay would be unwelcomed after that. I firmly believe in the saying “Fish and guests start to smell after three days.”  I can’t help it. I have to go.

I did see my cousin. I didn’t get the hours alone with her walking down memory lane refreshing our memories of our times together as I had so hoped. Our time alone was limited by others dropping in to see her. I was too tired to see her on Monday afternoon. The train ride was an event in itself that I will blog about some time soon. I spent the time visiting with my hostess cousin and her two daughters. I was the “girls'” first babysitters when they were newborns. Now they are in their 50s with grandchildren of their own. I hadn’t seen them since the mid 80s.

On Tuesday I did have about three hours with Sue while her husband ran errands. The time was filled much of the time by the hospice nurse. Sue napped and then the grandkids arrived after school. The next day about 1/2 hour after my arriving, a group of her friends arrived to hold a “birthday” party for her. They all left after a couple of hours except one who decided to visit. I tried to be subtle an hour later trying to get her to postpone her talking until she came back the following week. I pointed my head towards Sue and hoped she noticed that Sue had fallen asleep while she talked. She smiled and nodded and was quiet for about five minutes before Sue opened her eyes again.

I finally got up enough courage to ask her to come back. Sue and I had some family things we needed to discuss. She no sooner left than Sue fell asleep again. I let her sleep. Then the grandchildren arrived again along with one of  her sons who took off early to come see me, and her husband. I couldn’t force myself to say good bye. All I could do was say “Later”, kiss her forehead and smile as much as I could. I returned to the train station the following day. The next two weeks her son kept me informed by email of her status. I called her twice. Both times there were others in the house who had come to visit her and her husband. Our conversations were short. The last time she was on Vicodin and didn’t even sound like herself. I tried to ask her about her comments of seeing Jesus watching from the window. She said she was told it was probably just the drugs but she preferred to think what she saw was the real thing. I tried to ask her how he looked. “Was he dressed in modern clothes or was he traditional? ” I asked. “He looked like Jesus,” she replied.

Today a short service is being held for Sue along with a visitation. Sue transitioned Monday morning. She left me filled with regret that I had let so many years pass when we could have been closer somehow. I could have spent the money on long distance calls. I could have spent the time writing letters. I could have managed to visit her more often somehow. My life is full of could haves. Deciding to stay in Texas caused a separation that will never be filled.

Sue was there all the time if I had bothered to reach out. But I was a very busy teacher. I was a single mother. I spent ten years with CFS and fibromyalgia. I didn’t enjoy writing letters. She was a busy wife and a busy mother. She was very active in her sons’ lives. For several years she struggled on her own life path until thirteen years ago with an addiction. Her time was also filled.

Since I retired seven years ago I had the time to get closer. She had a plan that allowed for much cheaper long distance so she would call me. She finally got a computer so we could email. We saw each other at our cousins’ reunions and I visited her several times. We finally bridged the gap between us and became closer.

There is a guest book on line. I’ve been following the entries. People from many surrounding communities are leaving comments. Sue was quiet and unassuming. But the people who got to know her found a treasure. She, because of her life experiences, became quite a counselor to many others. She was always there with her brownies and cookies and casseroles whenever she felt there was a need.

I think she always felt “less than” because she didn’t graduate from college. She had some problems that I cannot remember ( I was in college myself at the time) and ended up with having to take one more course to complete her requirements for her B.A. I don’t remember the whole story but she called it quits instead of enduring that last semester. The world lost a great early education teacher. She taught in a private school for a few years then became a full time mother, never returning to college to obtain the needed piece of paper. Sue would have filled the love tanks for many children. She was just that kind.

Now Sue is gone. I tried several times to write this blog but it always ends up the same way. I type until the screen turns blurry and my nose starts to run.

I did not intend to blog today about this topic, but here it is. The idea for today will have to wait. This is in honor of Sue. She was the one person I could count on to read what I had to say. She seldom replied on the blog but we would talk about things I had written on the phone. She was my cheerleader. She was disappointed on days or weeks when I stopped writing, saying she missed her “Blog fix”. She was an avid follower. Many times I wrote just for her opinion. Somehow blogging knowing she is no longer reading does not seem the same.

She will be missed. She was one who did not hide her candle under a basket, even though her candle in many ways was a small one. It still gave out great warmth to those who found it. The world is a little bit darker this week. People who knew her will think of her and their hearts will feel a little bit heavy. They will sigh and swallow and perhaps shed a few tears. God, if only all of us could leave the world the same way. “Later, Sue.” Namaste. Attic Annie

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Pregnancy and Cancer…Impossible choices my mother made

I can only imagine the thoughts my mother had while she was pregnant with me. My family was very close mouthed about her even with me, and I was only able to glean bits and pieces of history about her or her life. We are talking about the late 40s when, if you talked at all about cancer it was in a whisper “Shhhh don’t tell anyone, she has cancer!”

From the way the story goes, she, for whatever reason after my sister was born, was told she would probably never have any more children. My sister was an only child from 1940 to 1945. At that time my mother realized that once again she was pregnant. I was on the way. She was 39. Two months after my birth, she was 40.

There was a problem. Somewhere along the line, she discovered a lump in her breast. She was pregnant. She had a lump. This was 1946. According to today’s rates, a woman in her 30’s has a 1 in 229 chance of developing breast cancer during the next ten years. Have the rates increased in sixty years? That’s a 0.4% chance if my figures are right. It happened to her.

There was very little she could do.  Maybe she could have a  radical mastectomy using ether as an anesthetic. I have been unable to find information on the effects of ether on a pregnant woman or her baby, but the effects on any patient were sometimes not good either. I don’t know what the medical establishment would have done for her then. Would they have refused until I was delivered? Would they have taken the chance?  Could she have had an abortion to save her own life? I don’t know. Abortion was illegal. I don’t know if there were exceptions to the law in 1946 or not.

I wish there were a way to go back in time to be there when she was going through all this. There isn’t.

She delivered me and had her operation. From what I understand, I was kept by my mother’s sister next door while she recovered. Some time during that first year I returned to my mother’s care. She was well enough to ride in the car with me, my sister, my cousin, two aunts, and my father all the way to California and back when my aunt returned home after nursing her through the operation and recovery.

Some time before I was two,  I have been told that she bent over to pick me up and had a horrific pain in her back. The cancer had spread to her bones. She lived another two years or so, dying in April two months before my fourth birthday. She was forty two.

To discover that one is pregnant is, in general, a very happy experience for many married women or unmarried women who intentionally get pregnant. I like to think that my mother very much wanted me to exist once she found out I was on the way. It is very difficult for me to comprehend her decisions sixty years ago. When she discovered the lump, from what I understand, she put off going to the doctor. When she did finally go, the doctor assured her that there was nothing to worry about. Did she agree with him? I’ll never know. Did she want to know anything different? I’ll never know. I do know that the same aunt came back once again to Illinois and took care of her those last two years.

I only had one opportunity to ask my aunt questions sometime in my early 30s. When she talked about Dr. Malcom, who was my mother’s doctor, she still blamed him for her beloved sister’s death. She said very little, but even after thirty years, I still remember the hate of that man in her voice and the pain she was feeling even talking about my mother. She never realized, and I didn’t say, that I was interpreting her reaction as having preferred my mother to live rather than me.

Being pregnant and having cancer at the same time must be a special kind of hell on earth. The questions that a woman has to face are monumental. Should I continue with the pregnancy? Should I have an abortion? Should I have chemo while I’m pregnant? Should I wait? Is it known yet what future effects the chemo might have on my child or on me? Will I live long enough for this chid to remember me as her mother? Will my husband love this child or will he resent it for all her life for his losing his wife? What effect will losing me have on my baby?

I have a cousin who survived breast cancer about four years ago. I’m not sure exactly what year it was since I deliberately avoid thinking of the year when I hear news like that. I never say anything like, “Oh, it’s 2007. My cousin was diagnosed with cancer this year.” I think when I was in her home last year she said something about having survived three years with no sign of its return. She was looking forward to the fifth year. I think if a woman survives that long, the likelihood of the cancer returning is very small.

Her breast cancer still has not returned. Instead, she now has an aggressive form of leukemia. In some women, the chemo and radiation received to stop the breast cancer are responsible. She had the option of checking herself into the hospital and undergoing very aggressive chemo. It’s spring. She was told she would not be able to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. She would not be able to be around any living plants. She would be in isolation.

She checked herself back out of the hospital the next day. She said no. She wanted to finish the rest of her life surrounded by her family. It’s springtime. She wants to be around the flowers she loves and to watch all the birds in her back yard. She didn’t like the odds of a successful survival being only 40 % or the possibility of the leukemia not returning of only 15%.

It is not for anyone else to question any mother who is pregnant and has cancer. The current legislature is trying to pass laws prohibiting abortion once again even if it means the life of the mother. It is impossible to choose. No other human being should criticize any woman’s choice in a matter such as this. No other human being has the right to tell the woman what to do. She can only listen to her inner voice and make the best choice she thinks is available. Namaste. Attic Annie

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