L is for Loss

Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix AZ; Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix AZ; Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Loss is part of life, one of the most difficult parts.  As humans, we resist change, yet grow bored when things stay too long the same.  I didn’t fully appreciate the lush green of Pennsylvania until I moved away.  It was only then that I realized the  green was bright and full of life, and everywhere.  When I first moved to Arizona, the brown and heat seemed so clean and so lovely in a stark, simple way.  I told this to a friend who’s lived here all his life, and he shrugged and said, “I don’t see it that way.  I just want to get away.” Loss reminds us of what we have, strangely enough.  In the days, weeks, and months after my grandfather died, I kept wishing I had called him more often.  Neither of us were particularly chatty, so it probably would have puzzled him if I had called for no reason… but I still wish I had. During the brief time I worked in Hospice, I met a lot of people, and no one ever regretted the things they did so much as they regretted what they didn’t do.  We all get busy with life and assume there’s going to be more time.  More time to do, to love, to laugh, to cry, to see, to know. The fact is: there’s only today.  So enjoy it.  Wring every drop you can from it.  And if tomorrow comes, do it all over again.

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” -Norman Cousins

G is for Glassmaking

I got a Groupon for an Introduction to Glassmaking class at Circle 6 Studios.  I love all different kinds of arts and crafts, and I thought I would enjoy this.  I was so right.

It was a small class, maybe 15 of us, and the men introduced us to the equipment in the studio and basic safety precautions.  We got to pull the molten glass from the oven, then add cut up colored glass, then reheat to blend, and then shape with some wicked looking pliers.  In 2 hours, I made a paperweight and a glass flower.


I don’t have a bucket list per se, but I do like to do anything interesting that comes along, and I’m trying to make sure I get out and do more things, just to try them.  When I worked in Hospice, the most important thing I learned was that when people were dying, they never said, “I wish I hadn’t done that.”  Regrets usually took on the form of “I wish I had…”  I don’t want to wish I’d done something; I just want to do it.  If I ever regret the road I’ve traveled, then at least I can say I gave it a try.

All that philosophy for some glassmaking?  Well, this wouldn’t be a very interesting blog if I said “It was fun.  I liked it.  You should try it.”  Though all that’s true too.

What’s on your bucket list?

Y is for Yesterday

“Yesterday… All my troubles seemed so far away.  Now it looks as though they’re here to stay.  Oh I believe… in yesterday…”- Paul McCartney, from Yesterday

After a loved one dies, it’s not unusual to re-evaluate life.  My husband’s grandfather died last week, which is part of the reason my posts have been so sporadically timed this last week and why I haven’t been very good about reading other A-Z bloggers.  I’ve had a lot on my mind.

My husband’s family is from Poland, and my husband’s generation is the first one born here in the US.  We found pictures from before his family immigrated, a treasure trove of black and white photos.  In the pictures, people are gathered around with food and drink, laughing and having a good time.  There are pictures of his grandparents doing simple things, like cooking and working in the garden.  There are first day of school photos and photos from funerals.  Later, there are sepia toned, faded and creased pictures of vacations and days at the beach.

I know that the past tends to take on a rose-colored look, and that the “good ol’ days” weren’t really as good as they seem in retrospect.  But it made me wonder… what the heck am I doing with my life?

See, my husband and I are homebodies.  That’s not bad, but looking at those photos, it struck me that maybe I’m going to look back one day when I’m stuck at home with aches and pains, bad night vision, and medical dietary restrictions, and wonder why I didn’t get out there and do more when I can.

When we’re young (and I think young these days is anything under 50), we always think we have more time.  More time to vacation and more time to plan.  I’ll get out of the house and do something tomorrow.  Honest.  I’ll exercise more and eat better.  Tomorrow.

Tomorrow is an illusion.  It’s not guaranteed to any of us.  It’s good to make plans and to have dreams, but there’s a big difference between planning and procrastination, and maybe I need to start delineating that a little better.

Yesterday is great.  It’s a wonderful reminder, and it’s wonderful to have memories.  You can’t live there, but you can certainly visit.

Today is the important thing.  Doing, seeing, laughing.  My husband’s grandfather lived a full life.  I don’t know how he felt about it, but it looks like he had nothing to regret.  I wrote about regrets here a few weeks ago and thought that I had nothing to regret.  Now that I’m re-evaluating, I wonder if the things I don’t regret now, I might in the future.  It won’t kill me to experiment and try to get out of the house more and do more things.  See what I think.

When we were children, we didn’t take naps by choice.  We didn’t sit down.  We didn’t rest.  We ate cookies first and then ran off the excess sugar.  Maybe I need to get back to those roots and see what happens.

R is for Regrets

I’m not a big fan of regrets.  I always say that I’d rather regret the things I do than the things I don’t, but up until a few years ago, they really were just words.

I had to do an internship for school.  It was unpaid, for a year, and I wanted to work with the seriously mentally ill population, basically the people I work with now.  Through a series of unfortunate events, I ended up doing my internship in Hospice.  A blog post is not nearly enough room to convey to you the depths of my disappointment, but I went into it with a positive attitude and hoped that I would learn something useful.

It was one of the hardest and easiest things I’ve ever done.  It was also one of the best learning experiences I’ve ever had.  I think I got more out of that year than I did out of my entire Master’s program.

I worked with both the terminally ill and their families. I also did grief counseling with people after their loved ones died.  One of the most important things I learned was that many people have regrets when they know they’re dying.  They don’t regret the things they did, but the things they didn’t, the things they put off because they thought they’d have more time.  They regretted not taking that trip, not getting out of that bad relationship, not spending more time with the kids, not taking that class or getting that degree.

People didn’t regret their bad eating habits or smoking too much, at least not to the same degree they regretted things they’d wanted to do but hadn’t.  I worked with women who didn’t know what they liked to eat because they had always cooked for their husbands, and one woman who ate ice cream every day.

There are a lot of things in life to complain about.  I know my favorite one is that there’s not enough time for everything.  I could turn that around though… maybe instead of lamenting that I don’t have enough time, maybe I should be glad that I have such a full life.  I’m never bored or lonely.  I don’t want to be 80 years old, look back at my life, and say, “Gee, I wish I had…”  I want to look back and say, “Gosh, the years flew by!”

The other day, I did a list of things that I like starting with the letter of the day.  I liked doing the list so much, I’m going to do it again!

1.  Rollerskating

2.  Rainbows  If you look closely, you can see that there's a double rainbow!

3.  Retro stuff- music, memorabilia, clothing

4.  Reading- duh

5.  Riting- That doesn’t start with an R?

6.  Rummy- My grandma taught me how to play it, and we often played for hours.  I have fond, fond memories of that.

7.  Rain! – I love everything about rain.  Except the getting wet part.  I don’t like that.

8.  Raisin bread- with butter and cinnamon sugar… mmm…

9.  Recycling- Reduce, reuse, recycle!  I love repurposing junk!  I even made paper once.  https://doreeweller.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/making-paper/

10.  Ripley!

Friday Writing Prompt- The Decision

Write about a time that you (or your character) had a big decision to make.  It could be a big decision morally, financially, spiritually, or even just a decision between two alternatives.  What made you (or your character) decide to do what you (or your character) did?  What led up to the decision?  How did the decision affect you (or your character) afterward?  Was it the “right” decision or did you (or your character) have regrets?