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5/26: Happy birthday baby, I miss you so much.

5/27: Happy Memorial Day. Thank you for serving and for being there for our country. I miss our weekends when we did Rolling Thunder. They were so much fun riding there and back…many funny stories and foibles to be had when you take the backroads on Harleys even from Boston to DC. We laughed so much about the memories only we shared. They were the craziest of times…and we did the craziest of things on those trips…so much fun in just a few days. I can only imagine the fun we would have had if we had been able to make the cross country trip we planned.

But Rolling Thunder itself was very solemn and I will never forget your face as other Vietnam Vets said, “Welcome Home, brother.” They were only a few of the times I saw tears in your eyes. It’s an experience I’ll never forget. You all deserved welcomes you did not get and our country has learned from the injustice done to you all. So I thank you for sharing Rolling Thunder with me and allowing me to see one of the few areas where you were truly vulnerable.


The 2013 Get M.A.D. at Brain Cancer NBTS NYC Fund Raiser


Other than Rolling Thunder and the night our dog died, one of the only other times I saw Michael’s eyes fill with tears, was not when HE was told he had cancer, but when he saw the children in the cancer treatment center. While I was busy navel gazing and trying to not be hysterical over the thought of losing him (I was screaming inside while paying attention to him on the outside), he drew my attention to the plight of children with cancer which is why I continue to fight the fight he would never win.

I will never forget his sad face as he looked at the kids and whispered to me, “I’ve lived my life, they should be out playing.” Although I wanted to scream at him that he was only 56, and he was leaving me, and what the hell????, I just smiled at him and nodded in agreement.

His favorite thing in the world was bass fishing. He was severely ADHD and told me that fishing had a calming effect on him and that his thoughts were not racing a mile a minute when he was fishing.

He was a tournament fisherman at one point and a fishing instructor for people new to tournament fishing. He only fished catch and release, which made no sense to me. I used to call it “looking at fish.” I said, “So you pull this thing out of the water and look at it and throw it back in.” He said, No, you also have to kiss the fish. I said, “WHAT? KISS the fish?” He said yes, it was good luck and a ‘kiss goodbye’ as well as offering a mark of respect to the fish and a thank you for the sport (I think that was some Italian thing with him).

Michael said he also kissed the fish to apologize for catching it with a hook and speed its healing (like a Mommy kisses a boo boo). I said that was THE stupidest thing I ever heard especially since most Moms do not hook their children for sport (though sometimes it seems like a good idea.) I said that maybe instead of apologizing for catching the fish, you just don’t catch it. Of course, to him that was the most ridiculous thing HE ever heard. But our kids, who regularly fished with him, said he did, indeed, kiss the fish.
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This blog has been here since I received those words.  Inoperable. Brain cancer.  About Michael.  Losing the person that I loved most in this world.  Who was the only person ever there for me from beginning to end. Who had an intuition about things when they were going wrong in my life and how to fix it.  Even if just by being thr

My story is different but my thoughts are with Valerie and her family, wishing them peace of mind and peace of heart.

And thank you for the joy and laugher your acting brought me over the years.

There are few words to say…but thank you for all you have given

and

please know that so many out here are thinking of you and sending loving thoughts your way so you may find the peace and strength to get through this.  We are all pulling for you.

If you have links endorsing the Affordable Care Act from non-partisan sources, please send them and I will post them. Thank you!

Consumer Reports:

https://ropeburns.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/consumer-reports-aca-is-pro-consumer/

Nurses:

http://online.umary.edu/nursing-journal/industry-news/what-the-affordable-care-act-aca-means-for-nurses/


Republicans:

http://topnews.us/content/250325-affordable-care-act-vital-say-us-republicans

Me

Although I am a lifelong registered Democrat, I would not be touting the ACA or posting about it, especially on this blog that means so much to me, if I did not believe in it with my whole heart and soul. So though my posts may seem partisan, I’m passionate about this as someone whose financial hit from catastrophic illness was extreme even though I made a six-figure income, had great health insurance and money in the bank. Catastrophic illness is the number one reason for filing bankruptcy in this country and that is just not right. Hopefully the Affordable Care Act changes that statistic. Based on that alone, it is important to elect those who will keep it as law.

My Posts About the ACA:


https://ropeburns.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/the-affordable-health-care-act-2/


https://ropeburns.wordpress.com/2012/07/02/the-affordable-health-care-act/

The insurance industry is a powerful lobby. Indeed, one of the most powerful. Every politician in this country should be supporting anything that takes some of its power away. The ACA does that. How?

1. Under the ACA insurance companies can no longer raise your premiums because you get sick or use too much of your health insurance. Some states (again, both conservative and liberal states) already have passed laws to keep this from happening. But under the ACA it will be illegal no matter where you live.
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Preventative action cuts health care costs. Preventative medicine is the most economical form of health care. For all of us. But, there are a few reasons why preventative care is not as widely available as it should be.

1. The leading reason why people do not have diagnostic tests for early detection, vaccines and other medical care is because they HAVE NO HEALTH INSURANCE. That is roughly 30-50 million people in this country. 30 million (think about that number). Do you think that 30 million are not getting sick? They are. Many in ways that could have been prevented if they had a regular doctor and routine diagnostic tests. And when they get sick, who do you think pays for it. You and I. In one form or another.

2. Continuity of service. Again, this is a matter of switching health care insurers and then health care providers. It’s confusing. Even the best insurance companies are guilty of confusing patients with in-network, out of network and a host of other “stipulations” that you don’t know until you get a bill for it. When people are switching doctors, they don’t have the health care they need.

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These are the benefits of the Affordable Care Act for all Americans but it benefits mostly the working poor and the lower middle class who need the benefits the most. If you read this and are still opposed and clamor for its repeal, then you are simply clueless and should pray, very hard, that you are never in the position to need its benefits. I hope you do not lose your job or your insurance. Because if you do, you’ll lose everything else. Trust me.

If you are working and you have to decide between food and insurance, you are the working poor.  There are MILLIONS of Americans who cannot afford both.  They work hard, often at menial jobs, and get little to nothing in return.  They are not the lazy people that some people have made up to make themselves feel better about opposing benefits.

The Waltons (owners of Walmart) are some of the richest people in the United States and most of their workers QUALIFY FOR FOOD STAMPS and do not receive health insurance.  When you oppose the ACA, you help keep the Walmart workers poor and the Waltons rich.  In other words:  WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU????

When you buy into the propaganda that is anti-ACA, you line the pockets of the rich and take away from the working poor.  Do you really want people who get up every day and go to work at some menial, horrible job to not have ANYTHING?  Not even health insurance?  Again: WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU???

I can understand (but don’t agree with) people opposing government programs such as welfare or food stamps or other things. You can say, “Well everyone can find SOME job to do.” But opposing the ACA is ludicrous. Everyone can’t afford health insurance and everyone can’t insist on staying healthy.

People as rich as the Waltons can afford to give their workers health insurance but they refuse so the government has to MAKE THEM!  Once upon a time, employer health insurance was a given for most working Americans.  Now it’s not.  That is why the middle class is disappearing.  There are the poor and the rich…guess which one you’re sliding toward?  Not rich.

You can’t say, “Those damn sick people! Why should we care about them?” because if you do, you are a fool because one day, and it could be very soon, you may be one of those sick people. Or someone you love. And you turn yourself inside out to do everything in your power to get the right treatment. And the last thing you need, in the face of losing someone you love dearly, is financial crisis.

So if you are opposed to the ACA and you’re not a millionaire, God help you.

1) The “mandate.” This is the boogie man tactic that those opposed use to scare people from it. What the mandate simply says is if you can afford insurance you have to purchase it. If you can afford insurance and choose not to get it and need medical care and don’t have insurance coverage you either have to get insurance or be fined by the IRS. This is a great “rule” that benefits EVERYONE. For years people have been complaining about the “freeloaders.” Well even if you don’t collect government benefits, if you can afford health insurance and don’t buy it, you are a freeloader. In more ways than one.
Now what is “afford”? Everyone making up to $44,000 will receive subsidies to help pay for their insurance if they need to buy it themselves (their employer doesn’t offer it). That covers my son who is so afraid of this mandate but doesn’t make 44k and works for a company that doesn’t cover him (though they could well afford to). But he makes too much to qualify for Medicaid and right now, buying insurance on his own would cost over $1000 a month. His government insurance would be much less than that and he would be able to afford check-ups and preventative care that he doesn’t get now.

Three years ago he contracted a rare version of Lyme Disease. I have never seen him so sick and he refused to go to the hospital. I told his wife I was keeping the kids and she was to bring him immediately to the Emergency Room. He went. He was there for days. He had test after test run and even had spinal fluid taken because they weren’t quite sure what it was. It was much worse than run of the mill Lyme disease. He didn’t pay for all of that treatment except with his taxes that go up year after year making health care even less affordable. And you paid for it and I paid for it and the hospital paid for some of it.

If, in the future, he does become debilitated due to sickness he could have avoided with preventative care, he will be the taxpayer’s problem as he will then qualify for Medicaid or Medicare and Social Security disability and the taxpayers will be paying for his care. It’s better he get affordable insurance and preventative care now than to incur thousands (sometimes millions) of dollars of medical bills later on that someone (the taxpayers) have to pay.

The “you can afford insurance” rate (making 44k or more) will be around 300-400 dollars a month. That is a bit more than many employer insurance plans but a lot less than many others. It is an incentive to get your employer’s health insurance. If you are making more than 45k in most parts of the country, you can afford 300-400 a month for health insurance.

The non-insured are a burden on the rest of us and many CAN afford insurance but roll the dice that they won’t ever need it. Additionally, many people pay much more than $300-400 a month to insure a family under their employer’s plan. They will be glad to have the option of this new insurance. I know I have paid huge premiums at some of the places I’ve worked and had one option. With this I will have more than one. I can CHOOSE. Wouldn’t that be nice?

People say “This is intrusion into the lives of Americans!” Well so are taxes, seat belt laws, child abuse laws and other things that the government regulates. People have been angry about seat belt laws for a long time. Smokers are mad about smoking restrictions. They all have the “This is a free country!” refrain. But health care mandate is NOT intrusion. It’s insisting that people can’t use the ER as a primary care physician. If you can afford health care, you have to buy it because if you don’t, others suffer. And that’s not fair. When a group of people decide to act outside the public interest, government steps in.

The government wants a safe and healthy populace. Unfair intrusion? If you think so. But like putting on your seat belt, this will save lives and be good for all. Don’t let the bogey man “There goes our liberty!” nonsense convince you otherwise.

2. Taxes. Everyone runs around screaming, “WHO IS PAYING FOR THIS???” And the answer is that there will be a tax increase mostly on those making more than 200k a year. If you’re opposed to the ACA and you’re not making 200k a year, you’re doing these rich people a HUGE favor. So stop it.

But the more people paying into it, the less for all of us. And the less people with NO insurance getting sick and becoming a burden on government programs, the better it will be for all of us.

We’re all paying taxes for the uninsured now. We’re paying a lot of taxes. We’re also paying higher medical costs and insurance premiums. The costs of the uninsured get passed to those of us who pay taxes, buy insurance and go to the hospital.

If you want to go to a hospital with the best staff, the best equipment and the ability to treat you with the best technology, you might not be able to find one because they are paying for the UNINSURED instead of staff, technology and equipment.  If you think that the uninsured showing up in the ER doesn’t affect you: THINK AGAIN.

If you don’t think you’re paying a hefty price for the uninsured, think again. Everyone having health insurance will ease the burden on those of us (mostly middle class) carrying the burden now.

Whenever a person with no insurance becomes seriously ill, you and I pay for it. It’s that simple. And it’s not okay for hardworking people who can’t afford health insurance to become burdens when regular checkups and preventative care can help them to stay healthy.

3) Small businesses will NOT be doomed. They will get federal tax credits to help pay for their employee’s health insurance. And if you work for a small business you might get health insurance for the first time EVER or you will find that your insurance premiums are smaller thanks to the help your employer will get from the government.

Click Here to Continue Reading Part III

Apparently Joyce Carol Oates’ book caused quite the brouhaha mostly because one reviewer noted that Ms. Oates remarried quite quickly after the death of her husband of 40 something years. Some readers accused Ms. Oates of manipulating them with her book and not really being about anything but herself. The book is almost devoid of who her husband was.

Okay. That is what it is. It may be an open question as to whether it was just a bloodletting that managed to get published only because it was Ms. Oates or because it’s a valuable book. But the book and the fallout, for better or worse, opened up a discussion about widowhood and grieving. The problem continues to be that people, most people, have no clue about grieving and too many profess to know. And they don’t.

Along comes Ruth Koningsberg with a new book boldly and brashly (and erroneously) titled, “The Truth About Grief” and an New York Times OpEd to add a lot of fuel to the fire.
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I didn’t think I would have as hard a time with my birthday/anniversary as I am having. But I am.

I scanned some photos in from a frame we had hanging in the bedroom since we were first married. These photos are all in the same frame with some others but I can’t fit the entire frame on the scanner. They didn’t come out that well through the glass, but I just wanted to post it.

The first one is the view of Central Park from our suite, the second is our invitation and the third is the requisite first kiss at the wedding dinner.

I’m not even quite sure why I’m posting these.

I think just to commemorate one of the happiest days of my life and the beginning of the happiest years of my life.

If I knew on my wedding day what I know now and how it was all going to turn out….

….I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.


I love you hunny. Thank you for the most wonderful years of my life.

I MISS YOU SO MUCH.


I met Michael in June and two weeks later we were engaged. It was crazy fast and all of our friends were stupefied. Both of us said “never again” to both a serious relationship and/or marriage. And there we were.

I’ve often described meeting Michael as if you were walking down the street and a complete stranger fell in step with you and you both went the same way down the same streets and it was as if you were walking that way your entire lives. As if nothing out of the ordinary just happened. As if you were now walking with your best friend and you trusted this person completely and without words, you just knew. you knew.

Yeah, it was like that.

We looked for a house that summer (where I lived because I wasn’t moving my kids) and we bought one and moved in September. We were supposed to get married in the spring and we had talked about venues and guests and all that.
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