Of course I spent the weekend looking all of this up. It was all very doomsdayish.

I was catapulted back to the days I was desperately searching for something, anything that would tell me that Michael’s brain tumor was curable. I was looking at the possibilities. None of them were very good. They were all some of the worst things to have.

There was a good chance I had some kind of cancer that was not curable or didn’t have a very good survival rate. WONDERFUL!

I spent 3 days in an anxious ball on my bed thinking about all the times, since Michael’s death, that I wanted to check out. I didn’t check out for my grandchildren. I didn’t check out for all the people my writing and my life story gave hope to. I didn’t want to leave that legacy. No. That’s not what it was about. But sometimes, since his death, living has been painful. Grief has been intense, acute. My heart has broken into a million pieces so many times.

Throughout this past winter I wrote my GPYB blog in incredible physical and emotional pain. I did the women’s retreat in February because I had committed to it in the fall and assumed I’d be okay by February but I was not. And the insurance company videotaped me doing a seminar and cut off my benefits. Apparently if I can do a weekend seminar, I can work 40 hours. The participants knew I was in pain. Desperate physical pain. But I did the seminar and I was glad I did. It was a high price to pay for one weekend but I didn’t care. Seminars are important. They saved my life and I put them on so others can heal as well. I simply couldn’t cancel it. And the insurance pounced on the opportunity to stop my insurance benefits because of it. Things just continued to go from bad to worse…

So I cashed in a 401k and amped up my coaching business. No matter what they say I absolutely cannot work in an office 40 hours and commute for at least 20. It’s not physically possible. I would love to do that. I would love to be out of the house every day. I would love to go to work in the city. But I cannot do it. I would love to do that and not sit home and think about Michael and what my life was supposed to be right now.

I’ve always limited my counseling and coaching business and still do. I believe in giving 100 percent to my clients and I remember days when I worked in clinics where you had to see 40 patients a week. And I couldn’t keep anyone straight and I was consumed with paperwork.

So anytime I’ve done private counseling or coaching, I have always limited the number of clients I take on, trying to not go above 10. Over the past few months, I’ve had clients that I speak with via phone, some on Skype and some in person. It has been good for me. I feel as if most of my clients make progress. We get somewhere, together. It’s like a partnership and I feel as if I help them get to where they’re going. I really like my clients. I have met some incredibly wonderful people with interesting stories who deserve so much better than the bananaheads they’ve been with. Increasing the coaching hours has helped a lot though I still keep it close to 10. And I really care about helping people get past the hurt. I really care about my clients and their process and it really helps me to help them.

They don’t give me bullshit like misplaced semi-colons. They get that there is more to life than that small and idiotic stuff that only empty headed twits worry about and rake someone (a newly widowed someone) over the coals for. As I’ve thought about it in the past year, I thought “You should be ashamed.” No matter what, I don’t act like that. And in my counseling practice, I don’t have to worry about these small-minded, soulless bastards infecting my life. I have real clients with with pain and I help them with it. Semi-colon my ass.

And my clients who are going through legal things can ask me questions to ask their attorneys or mediators or whatever. I’m not their attorney, but I can give legal information or suggest questions to ask of their attorney (When I was in law school, I worked at the Contra County Courthouse Family Law Facilitator’s office speaking with pro se clients. We were trained how to give legal information and not legal advice, so that is what I do). So my clients do get some benefit of my legal experience without paying $500 an hour for it.

But the almost-cancer thing set me on a different path. And for all the dark and depressing days I’ve had in the past year, I realized one very special thing. I didn’t want to go. It was not time. And I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life crying over what I didn’t have. I still don’t have Michael, money or a future that’s well planned out. But I have today.

My pain management doctor was nervous about the MRI and sent me to a friend of his to check it out. The doctor said it appeared to be an endocondroma (benign tumor) but we would re-test in 6 months.

My knee is still in a lot of pain. It’s gotten better but that has affected my back and the way I’m walking. I can’t do my PT exercises. I’m feeling very set back physically. My back is in constant pain where I was healing before. My knee is in constant pain. I hope to get a cortisone injection in my knee and maybe am ready for more injections in my back. The physical pain is still very much an issue.

But emotionally I turned some kind of corner. I adored Michael and miss him acutely but since the osteosarcoma almost diagnosis (and still remains to be seen somewhat), I’ve cut down on the grief. If I had only 5 years left I don’t want to spend it crying. I decided it was time to stop pushing on my grief, time to let it go.

Time to get to work on the second book. Run some new bootcamps. Share some more healing with the world. I spent a long time working on my dysfunctional past. I want to help as many as I can in the time I have (whatever that is).

I want to spend time with my grandchildren. My time with them has been limited since my back injury. I used to spend so much more time with them.

I took CJ for his birthday last week and we went to breakfast and then to Dave & Busters for a while and then we came home and made his cake. The next day, his dad and I took the boys to Yankee Stadium last weekend for Kids Run the Bases. Photos are here:


And what I experienced that day was joy.


I remember feeling it one day when I was out with Brynn and had taken her for ice cream and she was sitting there with the ice cream running down her shirt. I took out my camera and she said CHEESE!!!! so loud everyone stopped and looked and laughed. I remember feeling joy that day. Since Michael’s been gone there have been good days and bad days but not a lot of joyful days.

And what I experienced last Saturday was joy. The day was so hot and I didn’t know if Derek would sit through an entire baseball game or appreciate the chance to run the bases at Yankee Stadium. But he did and he did.

And the Yankees won and life was good for this day. And I appreciated it. For all I’ve been through. And all through the day I appreciated how good I felt. And I never ever ever stopped feeling grateful that it wasn’t a dark day. You cannot appreciate the sunshine if you’ve never had the rain. I’ve had a lot of rain. But dammit, I’m going to appreciate the sunshine when it comes.

It was a beautiful day. Hot as hell and the kids ice cream melted as soon as I bought it for them, but it was a good day.

I love baseball. I love my kids. I love my grandkids. I love my granddaughter but she has a huge family on my daughter in law’s side and so many grandparents. So if she didn’t have me, she would still have a lot of people in her life.

But the little boys only have me. And I don’t want to leave them. Not yet. I don’t want to leave my family, my readers, my clients…my cats.

I was in incredible pain when I got home from the baseball game. I could barely move. Derek said, “Nonna, your back must be killing you!” He knows from other times we’ve been out that my time is limited when we’re out. He’s so cute that he worries about me. A few months ago we were supposed to go out and I couldn’t. I had to lay on the bed with a heating pad and they sat next to me playing video games. I apologized that we couldn’t go out as I had promised. They said, “That’s okay Nonna. You have to take care of your back.” Such sweet kids.

I had breakfast with them the day before the baseball game. We went to iHop and Derek got a funny face pancake. He said it looked like me. I said, “Why does it look like me Derek?” and he said, “Because it’s smiling.”

I never realized it but I do smile a lot around them.

And I want to smile some more. For a very long time.

It’s so weird that I started to learn to smile again after my own almost-brush with cancer.

Life is short.

Live it. Love it. And be grateful for the days you have and the people that love you.

EDIT: 2/20/2013 I had the followup MRI and it still looks benign. so far, so good.