Sunday, July 26, 2015


I celebrated my birthday this week. My husband took me on a three night stay at our favorite B&B in northern Vermont. We spent three days taking moderate-to-easy hikes. It was three days of fresh air, sunshine, and a bit of exercise. It was just what I wanted.

Every year my husband asks, “So, do you feel older?” Every year I have said “no,” but this year I said “yes.” It’s not that I feel ancient or sick. Instead, I look at my face and I see how I’ve aged. My eyes show the years with small crow’s feet and dark circles. My hands do not look young, though they are not knotted with arthritis yet. It takes me longer to “get going” in the morning, but keeping with a routine helps. I would not say that I feel old, but I am definitely aware that I am now older.

Last year I celebrated turning 50 with two parties and a dinner. It was a joyous week with friends and relatives. The past 12 months have seen a lot of changes; both good and sad. As you know, I lost my friend Linda. I miss her terribly. I am often reminded of her by a sight or something on the radio. While her death was tragic, I have so many fond memories that make me smile that I would not trade a single minute with her.

My job at work has expanded and I am now working full time. I genuinely love my job. I like getting up and going to work in the morning. I am involved in many projects and new initiatives. The benefits are great, and I am able to take vacations to disconnect and recharge without guilt. I am participating in a leadership program over this next year. It will be a year of personal study and professional growth.

When I look back on the last year there have been a lot of changes. And while I’m not sure what 51 is supposed to feel like I am not disappointed.

If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me I can be found on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Reese the Inn Cat

Reese the Inn Cat
Is there to greet
All of the guests
Old friends to meet
Her purr is loud
And if you are new
She'll bump your leg
And give you a "mew"
She'll come to your room
to wander around
And stay if you let her
Her graciousness abounds
She tries to escape
to the kitchen or yard
But bringing her back
Isn't that hard
She's Queen of the Inn
And wants you to know
She'll miss your company
When you have to go
She's a cat full of love
As her purrs will attest
She's simply the best

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Survivor's Guilt

The notion of survivor’s guilt has been presented to me several times over the past couple of weeks, which makes me think I should address it. By definition, survivor’s guilt is “feelings of guilt for having survived a catastrophe in which others died.” []

The most recent challenge came from a dear, close friend who asked, “Have you ever questioned God as to why you survived and Linda didn’t?” The answer to that question is quite frankly, no. It has never occurred to me to ask God “why.” Rather, I ask “to what purpose?” I believe that everything has a reason; the Book of Ecclesiastes speaks to that very philosophy. For what reason was I spared?

Even from the very beginning I did not ask, “Why me?” I felt on overwhelming calm, and from that moment I knew I was alright. Each step of the way, every twist along this road has kept me asking, “What do you want from me God?” Along the way my heart has said “yes” and my life has been forever changed.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s not about me.

I miss you every day, my friend.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Kitties Get Cancer, Too

This is Miss Maggie (aka Princess Margaret or Margaret Penelope Underfoot). She lived with my mother.

Maggie was 13 years old when she went over the Rainbow Bridge. I was fortunate enough to say “good-bye” to her the morning before.

You see, Maggie was my cat, too. She would always know when I was coming to visit my mother. She would stand in front of the door to the spare bedroom, asking my mother to open it up. My mother tells me that at other times she would ask to have the room opened, as if to say “If you open it, she will come.”

Maggie was a shy kitty, but she let me hold her. Sometimes she’d sit on my lap. Often, she would sleep with me.

My last visit with my Mom I knew would be my last visit with Maggie. She had developed tumors, stopped eating, and was losing weight. As I was leaving Maggie followed me to the garage door to say “good-bye.” My mother held her while I gave her scritches and kisses. She reached out her paw and took my hand, holding it close to her frail body.

I don’t know that Maggie’s tumors were cancerous. According to WebMD, cancer is not as common in cats* as it is in dogs. Probably half the rate. Cats have a tendency to mask illnesses, so it is harder to detect. This often leads to later diagnoses.

It doesn’t really matter the cause of the tumors. What is important was the love she gave while she was with us. There is a hole in our lives, but we are better for having lived with her. Rest in peace, Miss Maggie. You will be missed.

*Changes in the behavior of your animal companion should be checked out by your veterinarian to rule out any medical issues.

If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.