It’s a big day and a big step!

Today, I’m happy to announce my first essay to appear in a Literary Publication–Mothers Always Write!

“When a horrible diagnosis is a relief.”

I submitted the essay in March, then it was accepted perhaps in May, (I’ve lost track of that exciting email), then I received notice on Monday that it would appear today. I’ve been nervous, wondering how it would look. Although I wrote the essay, of course, I didn’t know if I’d be happy with it when it became “official.”

Well, I am happy. And proud and humbled.

This is a big step. If I’m to attract a publisher to my memoir, I need to build my writing resume. Having this website (and my former blog) is a good start, but it’s having my writing in literary journals and widely circulated publications that gives me the credentials I need.

So it’s a big step. I’m glad you’re here to share it with me.

I hope you’ll take a moment and give me your thoughts. Have you ever had a horrible diagnosis that brought you relief? If that makes no sense to you, please read my essay, and hopefully you’ll understand.

 

 

 

Finding hope in the chaos of life.

My memoir, which I’ve not finished writing, has been given an unwanted sequel. Not by Matt, my 31-year-old son who was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was 11. By a close family member, who just received that same diagnosis. I can’t give more details yet, out of respect for this person’s privacy, but as you might imagine, my own brain is reeling.

The prognosis for my family member is good, as was Matt’s. Recovery will be long and arduous, as was Matt’s. My heart is breaking all over again.

I had planned to give you an update on what’s not blooming in my garden this year–my climbing hydrangea and my yucca. Both bloomed last year for the first time, giving me such hope. I wrote that I was “open to the possibility” that the blooms were a sign my chronic health issues would resolve. (You can read the post below.)

This year, those plants have not bloomed and my health has not improved and now my memoir has a sequel.

What does it all mean?

It means we will always be challenged to find hope in the chaos of life.

I remain open to that possibility–that there will always be hope. I still have mine. Do you?

(The chaos in my life will include some out of state care-taking, so you may not hear from me for awhile. I won’t forget about you if you don’t forget about me.)

 

 

When I looked out of the living room window the other day, I saw that my climbing hydrangea had buds. “Michael!” I yelled to my husband who was in the yard. I ran outside and dragged him over to look. Upon closer inspection, we saw five clusters of buds about to explode into starbursts of tiny white flowers. I had waited five years for this.

The next day, I was strolling around the back yard and again yelled to Michael to “come look!”  This time it was my yucca, a name that belies its stately spires of white flowers. In seven years, my yucca has graced me with this vision just once. As I pointed out to Michael the tall stalk rising up out of the scratchy foliage, I noticed two more blooms-to-be.

There’s more. If you’re not a gardener, stay with me here. There’s a deeper meaning to my garden eureka moments. At least that’s what I choose to believe.

My rose campion, started with cuttings I took from our other house 11 years ago, has finally produced a sprinkling of its vibrant magenta flowers.

And an ornamental variegated grass that I’ve had for four or five years surprised me with tall wheat-like plumes that dance gracefully in every breeze.

What the heck is going on in my garden?

People adhere to different philosophies about unexpected events. Here are some commons sayings:

“There are no coincidences.”

“It was meant to be.”

“It happened for a reason.”

One of my personal sayings is: “I’m open to the possibility.”

It’s possible that this year’s garden miracles are a coincidence. It’s possible they’re a result of our rainy May, or the new type of fertilizer I used.

I’m going with another possibility. I think my late bloomers are a sign of good things to come.

Last year, I declared that 2017 would be “my” year–the year I would finally conquer my crazy health conditions. So far, 2017 has not exactly been cooperative.

Then, this visual chorus in my garden like angels splashing the earth with a flower-petaled “Hallelujah.”

I’m taking it as a sign that I’ll get better. Or maybe there’s an alternate miracle in store for me. Maybe I’ll hit 1,000 followers on my blog. Or I’ll finish my memoir. Or, even better, all three AND a book deal. Or something different and superior, yet to be revealed.

Yup. I’m going with it.

If nothing else, when I peek out of my living room window or wander around the yard, I’ll be reminded that good things can be in store for us. They may be holding out, just beyond our awareness, waiting for the right moment to appear. I’ll stay open to the possibility that these things take their good old time getting here. And when they do, Hallelujah!

 

Brain Tumor Awareness Month, Day 8.

It’s amazing, when you get a diagnosis for which you were unprepared, how quickly your lexicon expands. 

Pilocytic astrocytoma and hydrocephalus and third ventriculostomy were three of the mouthfuls added to our vocabulary when our son Matt was diagnosed with a brain tumor. 

In the following years, neuropsychological testing and 504 Plan and TBI joined our dinnertime conversations. 

It’s amazing, too, the capacity our brains have for growth. At the moment of crisis, it seems to shut down, and all we can remember are the awful words. Then our brain recovers, creates new neural pathways, and starts processing and filing information.

It’s a metaphor for life. 

We’re not always prepared for what’s thrown our way, but we have the capacity to shut down when we need to, then recover and grow.

We’re amazing creations, aren’t we?