Friday’s Focus—Hyacinths in Bloom

The sounds of the neighborhood waking up with its barking dogs and chirping birds and the ticking of the living room clock keep me company on this rainy morning as I write this. I noticed yesterday that the Hyacinths are starting to come up. They always reminded me of Spring, Easter, and my mom. They were one of her favorite flowers and I always brought her some for Easter. Seeing them start to bloom is bittersweet. It reminds me that it’s been nearly 3 months since she passed away. I don’t know where the time has gone and though I’ve been making peace with her passing there are still some days that are harder than others and I’ve found that a stranger’s condolences and a momentary kindness can still bring me to tears.

The medical bills are arriving and with each one, I’ve needed to make a phone call to verify submission to insurance or to get some clarity on the services charged but not explained. Conversions begin business as usual: name, date of birth, account number, relationship to patient; rote questions coming over the phone from a faceless office worker probably counting the days to Friday like I do.

To help explain why I’m calling about a bill 2 months overdue and that it’s not a shirking of responsibility on our part, I explain that it’s just been forwarded to me from the facilities and that my mom had passed away in December. Suddenly, the numb drone becomes a human being and with a soft intake of breath comes, “Oh, I’m so sorry. Please accept my condolences.” It’s a kind sentiment that’s appreciated and something that still makes me twitch when I hear it, but it’s the personal stories that follow are what brings the feelings of loss fresh all over again.

I can’t begin to say how much it annoys me to have to make these calls to follow-up with doctor offices and agencies, but by the end of the calls, my attitude has completely changed. What starts as a business as usual call ends up with me tearing up listening to sage advice and deep personal experiences that the other person has gone through with the loss of their mother or other loved one.

One woman, now in her late fifties, lost her mother when she was 14. She told me about how she still misses her and the memories they never got a chance to make. She shared with me what she’s learned over time and ended the call with a blessing. I honestly felt that God takes moments and people like this to make direct connections to remind me, all of us, that we are not alone.  

None of us will ever know what can come out of our experiences and how it can help others. There are certain levelers in life that will happen regardless of age, sex, and status, and this is where the human heart comes in if we let it. Those people didn’t have to share their personal stories, but they did, and I was completely changed from each, small conversation. I cried because it was suddenly one grief acknowledging another but I also smiled at the sincerity of the connection. It’s so easy to feel alone because of a death or an illness in the family. 

It’s also easy to feel alone when sometimes the day or recent events have just been difficult, challenging, and going in directions you never imagined. Connecting with a stranger or a friend by one small conversation, one sliver of a share of memory, or genuine good wishes can make the world of difference. It won’t solve our problems or be a miracle cure but when you share your heart, that’s a healing in of itself and a moment you will never forget or regret.

I hope today’s Focus inspires you to keep your eyes open and your heart open wider. You never know what today’s conversations could bring. The birds are still chirping but the rain has stopped. I just looked out the back window and a ray of sun is shining directly on the Hyacinth buds. I think I’m going to go out back and spend some time with the flowers and remember how much she loved them.

#takingitdeeper

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Friday’s Focus—The Devil Is in the Details but So Is the Beauty

It’s the little things that often trip up the best of intentions but can also upgrade that trip to something wonderful:

A stranger’s smile.
A penny on the ground.
Winning even $2 on a scratch-off.
Hearing from an old friend.
Your child’s eyes.
Your lover’s smile.
That amazing first cup of coffee in the morning.
That much-needed cup of soothing tea at night.
Finding a parking space right in front!
Your garden’s first shoot.
The smell of fresh flowers.
The feel of dirt under your bare feet.
The sound of children laughing.
The warmth of the sun on your shoulders.
The sound of ocean waves.
Your favorite song on the radio.
The juicy first bite of a peach or strawberry.
And oh, so much more.

On any given day, these things may go unnoticed on your radar, but then there are those days when the little things mean a lot—sometimes the most!

Have a great weekend!
Keeping it light and singing LiLoLa [Live, Love, Laugh] all the way…

Dear Spring

Dear Spring,

Please, please come back. I miss you. When you left I know it was because Summer had come to town and you may have felt intimidated with all of her long sunny days and giving off heat so intense sometimes, she had the power to make the rest of us wear the skimpiest of clothes and sometimes even do nothing but just lie around basking in her light. Oh, but she is not you.

And yes, then Fall came wearing the most breathtaking colors. She is THE weather diva sashaying down earth’s runway wearing her colors of gold and red that no one else can carry off. But you know she only stays a short while, so you never have to worry about her. And again, she is not you.

But then there’s Mother Winter. Sometimes the cruelest one of all with her paralyzing ways. None of the others can compare with her ability to hold us down, keeping us hostage to warmer areas while she redesigns the landscape by making new snow mountains and hills by covering everything she sees. Yes, there are some who love her and dance with her in the storms and use her back to ski or sled down, but not me. She is definitely not you.

Spring, you are the only one for me. Yes, okay, I admit, there are some things about the others that I hold dear, but it is you whom I adore and just can’t wait to see again.

I keep thinking of the times when we used to walk in the park or go running and bike riding outside in the fresh air, and then the nights I would sleep with the window open, your rose and lilac perfume wafting through the window and tickling my dreams. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to smell and feel you now.

So come back dear Spring. I heard you were coming back to town in a few weeks and I am counting the days. It’s hard to believe you’ll be here soon when I hear Mother Winter will once again come visit my house. But I will keep the vision of green grass and budding trees in my heart and listen for the songbird singing your name.

I will be hear waiting, but please hurry because I can’t wait to see you again!

Love,

me