Catherine Zeta Jones And Me (Pop Cop)

Catherine Zeta Jones at the Hasty Pudding Woma...

Catherine Zeta Jones at the Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year Parade, Cambridge, MA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I kicked myself in the butt and pushed myself out of bed today, I CAN’T let the icy cold temperatures keep me locked up inside my warm bed everyday. It’s definitely not good for my Fibromyalgia and as I have learned it is definitely not good for my head. I need to have at least one or two things to do a day to get me outside, walking. That was one of the problems over this Thanksgiving weekend, I was inside too much  (all the time) without going outside ONCE. Big mistake but as people with Fibro know it’s a hard rut to get out of, I’m trying to remind myself of how I felt these last few days. Hint: not good.

Today I went to T.J. Maxx to casually look around and while I didn’t find anything to buy I did catch sight of the beautiful Catherine Zeta Jones who truly is gorgeous and incredibly elegant. She seemed very pleasant, just shopping like everyone else and then politely asked a clerk to hold her things while she went to use the lady’s room. Catherine Zeta Jones actually used the bathroom at T. J. Maxx, probably the very same toilet I have peed in. For some reason, that she used the bathroom there really impressed me!

While I am not the type of person to fawn over celebrities it was lovely to see someone so unimpressed with herself. I didn’t see her sticking her tongue out, screaming, wearing skimpy outfits or causing a scene; this woman is beautiful and has what so many others lack: grace, class and elegance. Brava!

Obviously I left her alone and I didn’t even see anyone approach her for an autograph which was so nice to see, people were respectful of her privacy and trust me, there were no papparazzi around. I could imagine all the people in the store surrounding and protecting her, making a circle with Catherine sitting in the middle, to get any papparazzi to leave her alone. She just seems like the type of person you want to protect.

I’m no angel, believe me, if it was Miley Cyrus or some other young person with attitude I would have opened the door for the photographers myself. I get enough attitude from my own teenagers, I don’t need it from “self-made celebrities.” When I came back from my little outing I posted who I had seen on the” Town Moms Board’ that we have and truly people were thrilled. There have been sightings of Catherine Zeta Jones recently and not one person has said she was unfriendly or mean. Not one. She has always been nice, pleasant, not “shmoozy” that could be a made-up word coming from the Yiddish word: to shmooze (talk ) but cordial and polite.

To Catherine, Happy Holidays from hibernationnow and all of us who think you are simply lovely.

PS  It’s nice that Michael Douglas allegedly has come over to make you and the kids pancakes every morning (I read that at the supermarket when I was standing on-line) but only eat them if you WANT THEM. I know you understand. Be strong, go shopping, be happy.

Advertisements

A Letter To Zach Sobiech

I was cranky, hurting and giving up hope. I have felt badly from chronic illnesses, okay, for a lot of them, but it was time for some ass-kicking, some serious ass-kicking and I was the one who needed it the most. Sure, life isn’t perfect, and I haven’t been feeling well but I’m  going back to try to keep it inside, at least most of the time. No one promised that everything would go smoothly all the time, right? I forget that sometimes. So, I sat down tonight and thought about people, both who are living and those who have lived and died, people who have made a lasting impression on my life. One person came to mind:

Zach Sobiech

Zach Sobiech Breaking Up

Zach Sobiech Breaking Up (Photo credit: empeiria)

Though I’ve never met him, personally, he changed my life forever. Instead of continuing my pity party, I watched his video again and if you haven’t seen it, I will post it for you here. To live like Zach, with all his grace, is a wondrous gift, to make every second count and to say his good-byes in person, with his beautiful songs is life changing. I’m not saying it was easy, no death is easy but Zach made active choices in his life and in preparation for his death and he lived every single day to the fullest. Do it now, love it now, now is what we have and appreciate what we’ve got. Zach did.

I think about his family and friends, his old girlfriend, his favorite song-writer friend and his baby sister, Grace. I think about Grace so much, her innocence, her goodness, Grace with her big older brother, losing him like a treasure in the sand. How is Gracie  doing without her “other half?” I think about his parents too. What has life been like since Zach died? I have to hold my eyes shut tight when I think of Mom and Dad to try not to cry, because I remember them, especially Mom, sitting on the couch talking about her boy. What about the older siblings, how must they be feeling, how are they now? I think Zach aluded to Laura and her Faith and I hope that has helped her, his older brother was left more of a question mark, quiet, loving but private.  Mom and Dad, I pray for you, no one should have to bury their child.

Zach, I must have played your song thousands of times, to appreciate you, to keep me on my tracks, to learn from you. When I worry in anticipation I think about you and how you handled having cancer with grace (not literally but I’m sure you can see the humor) and love and respect.

You are  gone in physical life, but there’s no doubt in my mind that you are spiritually with us, with your family. I hope they get signs from you,  I’m sure they would love that and I do believe it is possible. I know it is possible.  I hope they believe it too so they can be comforted by your presence. You were an angel on earth, I know you are an angel in heaven. How could you not be? You taught us all how to die peacefully, how to choose when to die instead of prolonging your life with a horrible operation just for a few months. Being a mom, I respect your parents so much for doing the right thing, and it WAS the right thing, to let you do what you want.

I hope everyone has recovered just a bit from the shock. Because as much as you try to be prepared for death, it’s always a horrible, dreadful surprise, no matter when it happens. Trust me, I do know. But, this is not about me, it’s about you.

I send my prayers to your family and to your close friends, and to you dear Zach I send my love and my thanks for teaching us, those still here on earth what it means to be an angel.

photo credit> emperia

Simple. Sweet. Joy.

Happy Day

It’s been a long time since I’ve had good news so when I got some today, I wasn’t sure how to handle it. It took a moment to process, I think I was in shock. It took thirty seconds to register, settle in and then feeling came back to my body. Dusty old joy  spread through my body in seconds, like warm, milk chocolate melting in your mouth.   I had been subconsciously waiting for another bad thing to happen since I had known nothing else in a very long time. I had prepared myself for more bad news; after all when you have had month after month of bad news every single time without a break, that is what you expect.

Today, there was a new ripple in the water, the new crescent of wave turning over in my mind. The ocean, my image, of all that is good and strong, minus the sharks that are taking bites out of innocent swimmers. Yesterday, just yesterday I was at the veterinarian’s office with my dog, Callie. I found a lump and told the vet that I was not going to leave until he found it, because I couldn’t find it again. My dog was also itching and scratching everywhere like crazy. The veterinarian finally found it and I was with my dog as the doctor pulled out the incredibly long syringe and plunged it into the back of my dog. “If it were any other place, I wouldn’t even biopsy it but since it’s right on the lymph node I want to be safe…..” I nodded weakly. I admit, first I turned around so I wouldn’t have to look at the long needle but then I swung back sharply and held my dog’s paws and looked into her scared eyes. I wanted to be there for her so I kissed her on the neck and held her still.

The doctor told me to call Wednesday or Thursday, Thursday to play it safe but today, a mere one day after the procedure there was a message from the receptionist that said my dog did NOT have cancer. I played the message and then I called the office, just to be sure, really sure. I thanked them about thirty times and I was so grateful that they had called. I hung up and I was silent. Then, I whooped for joy, hugged my sleeping dog and cried. I cried with happiness, a feeling that has been lost to me for such a long time. I understand that I will know sadness again, of course I will, but today I felt happiness, sweet happiness, in the purest form. Thank you. I appreciate it more now, but you probably know that already.

Because Love Has No Religion

Roses

Image via Wikipedia

I am slowly, very slowly and intensely taking off pink nail polish from my finger nails as if it was the most important task in the world. I feel like a surgeon scrubbing in to make him/herself totally antiseptic. It feels like that to me but I don’t know why exactly. I don’t know the codes or rules for going to a wake but I know, for myself, I have to wipe away every sign of sunshine from my hands because that feels right. My hands look plain, wrinkled, weather-beaten and bare. I’ve stripped off every clue to color because my friend Dawn is dead and the world feels color-less and grim.

I didn’t know what to expect at the wake; I had only been to one wake before in my life and that was thirty-five years ago. We arrived before the official hours and already the room was packed. I saw her husband, John first, and I hugged him, then their oldest daughter who hugged me as if to comfort me. Her middle son  sat tall and straight next to his friends and did not move, his eyes riveted to his mom’s casket. The youngest child was the most heartbreaking of all, he belonged to no one in that room. He was in his own world, going to the casket, returning to his seat, going to the casket and returning to his seat, his eyes on no one, alone in his private world. He sat neither with family or friends, he was in his own fragile bubble, looking younger than his years.

I thought in death, Dawn would look more like herself than she did in the last stages of her life. I somehow expected to feel comforted that I would see my friend as I had remembered her. I went slowly  up to the coffin although I was terrified; I knew it was something I had to do. But, inside my head, like an unrestrained child, inside my head I was screaming with disbelief and anger “this is not OUR Dawn” I thought, “THIS IS NOT OUR DAWN.”  In the coffin lay a woman I didn’t know, an old woman, with too much makeup. They had prayer cards with a picture of Dawn at her finest: natural, loving, with one of her great big smiles and that is what many people said they wanted to remember her by. Even though I felt the same way, the images for the next three nights when I tried to sleep were of Dawn in the open casket, someone I didn’t know, a stranger.

There were flower arrangements everywhere. A huge arrangement made from roses, dark, crimson roses that formed into a heart; it must have stood six feet tall. There were many other flowers, yellow, white, pink, every color you can imagine and as tall as one can dream.

Her husband John, then came over and put his arm around me to show me something. “I hope you don’t mind” he said but we used your letter to Dawn as our prayer.” In front of me, I saw a piece of paper with the words I had written FOR Dawn, many months before she died. It was called “Praying For Dawn” and somehow after writing it, I thought I would take a chance to drop it off at their house. It was meant for Dawn and her family, and yet here at the wake hundreds of people clutched the piece of paper that I had written.

Her family members wanted to meet me, they said they had all read it many times, I had no idea. I do remember that after I dropped it off I got a voice message in the back of my answering machine from Dawn, thanking me and telling me she loved it. I could barely make out her words but I never erased that message.  I gave my condolences to Dawn’s mom and she said “Oh, do you like that prayer, one of her friends wrote that!!!”  Somehow through my trembling lips and tears I managed to say that ‘I was that friend.’ I swear her eyes lit up and she thanked me and told me how often the family loved reading it. She asked ME if she could introduce me to Dawn’s father who had wanted to meet the friend that had written that poem. After the introduction, he hugged me, and then took my face in his hands and said “God Bless You”  “Thank you for writing that about Dawn, you captured her the way she really was. ” He told me he had wanted to meet the person who wrote it and knew I was a neighbor but didn’t want to walk into the wrong house and be embarrassed.”  I told him where I lived and told him that he and his wife were welcome to visit me at any time.

The emotional intensity for me was overwhelming. I was honored that they used my piece of writing at the same time I was in total emotional shock. People were complimenting me on something that I forgot about since I have written many pieces about Dawn in my blog. I looked at many of my earlier blog posts and I practically have a whole book about Dawn.

My husband practically had to drag me out of the door since we needed to get our daughter to her afternoon class. I saw an old dear friend that I hadn’t seen in a long time and we wrapped our arms around each other crying. “I feel so lost” she said, “I just feel lost.” We all felt that way, I think. Lost without a piece of sunshine in our lives, deprived forever more of this gift of a person who brought enjoyment to everyone she met. Dawn was our fighter, never giving up yet she still lost the fight to this horrendous disease. Dawn was our light, she was our strength, there was no one she didn’t like…..well, with the exception of a little dog in the neighborhood….We all laughed remembering that and it felt good.

Two days later I arrived at the church forty-five minutes before the service and again, there were many people inside. The church was beautiful, I had never been there before. The stained glass windows shone from the morning sun, the polished wood seemed inviting and homey. There were many new flowers, everywhere. So many people from our little community were there, every religion was represented, people from all parts of Dawn’s life were there to show their respect: sports teams, education, friends, family, neighbors, some of  the neighborhood kids, friends and their parents for all three children and the middle school Principal. Our community sometimes gets a really bad reputation but when something happens to one of our own, we come together as one. Our little town becomes so protective and so loving of one of its own; it’s happened before. Many years ago when a young boy had cancer, the town rallied together as well.

Both Dawn’s daughter and husband spoke at the funeral. Her daughter is a young woman with the most grace and poise I have ever seen. This young woman will be famous one day, I guarantee it. Everyone was either wiping their eyes or just letting the tears stream down their faces like leaks out of a rusty, old faucet. After the service the pallbearers brought the coffin out to the hearse. I saw a random pink flower on the ground that escaped and as much as I wanted to pick it up and touch it I couldn’t. It didn’t seem like the thing to do, it belonged to Dawn.

One thing I did not know was the tradition of the hearse and all the cars attending the cemetery making a final good-bye to the house where Dawn lived with her family. We drove around the loop as well and all I could think of was Dawn’s enormous Christmas wreath that she was always so proud of, hanging still around the front door. It seemed to me so heart-wrenching to do that, to watch her family ride in the car passing their house where their mother would never again live. Maybe it’s for closure too, I can only guess.

After that, we all went to our individual homes, sighing, looking at the ground, crying, solemn and gloomy and still, feeling that we were in a different world, a new reality. I don’t know how long it takes before the death of someone really hits you and takes its toll but I do know that it does take a while. After the company, the distractions, the food and the flowers, the only thing that matters is that there will be an empty chair at their kitchen table that no one can ever replace. And, at all her children’s’ games, their mom will not be there to encourage them and support them. Whatever condition Dawn was in, good or bad, in a wheelchair or not, Dawn was always there for her children, rooting for them, happy for them until the very last breath she took to say a peaceful “good-bye.”