February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Posted in Breast Cancer, Cancer, Family, Health, Holidays, Women tagged , , , at 8:40 am by Liliana

A gift of love

A gift of love

My husband Jeff is not a very romantic man. He is a computer programmer, a person who sees the world through the prism of reason and logic. In the early years of our marriage, it took me some time to get used to his indifference to romantic celebrations like Valentine’s Day, but it didn’t bother me too much. I cared more about how he behaved every day.

During the winter of 2005, I was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Chemo therapy had left me with no hair, emaciated, depressed and listless. I was not a pretty sight. Every day I would wait for Jeff to come home from work at 5 pm. He was my compass to wellness. I though that if I survived one more day, I was closer to the end of treatment, to health, to the coming of spring.

I didn’t even know that Valentine’s Day had arrived that February until Jeff came home a little later than usual. His arms were full of gifts for everyone in the household. He bought boxes of  chocolates and candy for the kids, cheese cake for my sister, a necklace for my stepmother. For me, he bought a fancy card, and a huge bouquet of pink spray roses.

I remember that I burred my face in the flowers and held the card to my heart. I cried and I cried. The gift of love came at the moment when I needed it most.

January 9, 2010

Snow and more snow

Posted in Holidays, Weather at 8:57 am by Liliana

Buried in snow – January 2010

My family owns a little old cottage in a small town on Lake Michigan. It is an unassuming place, but warm and comfortable. To go there is to escape to another world.

My husband Jeff and I spent the week after Christmas there. After all the excitement of the holidays, it was a perfect antidote. We relaxed and watched old movies, cooked together and spent hours reading. I worked on a quilt. And the entire time, it snowed.

If you have never experienced Lake Effect snow, think of snow falling non-stop for an entire week! Sometimes the snowflakes are tiny and come down furiously, carried on a fierce and angry wind. Sometimes they are huge, falling in slow motion, gentle and benevolent. But the snow keeps coming down and doesn’t think of stopping and giving people a chance to take a breath and to dig out a bit.

For Jeff and me, with nowhere to go, it was wonderful being buried in the snow. The silence surrounding us in that cushion of whiteness was very comforting. We felt isolated from the world, but safe and serene.

When our departure day started drawing near and the snow showed no sign of abating, we worried a bit. The roads would be impassable. We discussed the possibility of having to stay there longer. But real life waited for us, and we knew that we needed to dig out and move on.

On the morning of our departure, we woke up to blue skies and sunlight streaming through our widow shades. We could hear our neighbors shoveling, and city trucks clearing the streets. We got ready, had a quiet breakfast and started off. The roads were cleared although still slippery for about twenty miles, but after that, there was a lot less snow.

The next day, our neighbor, Jason, called to tell us that we were lucky to escape. The snow had resumed and the town was practically closed down.

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