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Life is a mixed bag –even Santa’s

Posted Dec 28 2009 12:00am
photo:  chris wucherer©
my Gson, Desi

Yesterday I was reflecting on this year’s bounty of the holiday season. My spirit and psyche were literally overflowing with love from friends and family.  My heart was touched so many times by the joy in the Gkidz faces when they opened their gifts or ate a homemade treat.  This year, before we opened gifts, I spoke to my family about what Christmas means to me, told each adult child and Gkid what special qualities they have and then we all listened to Seasons of Love, a song from the Broadway musical RENT.  When the song ended, the kids took turns saying why they  really were at our house that day.  Was it for the gifts, the food, the love, all of it?  From youngest to oldest child, each in turn and in their own words, spoke about their need for family connection and their gratefulness for family traditions.  My heart warmed as the exhaustion of preparation lifted off of my body like a fog covering a beautiful landscape scene.


At our lake house a few days later, good friends from Ann Arbor drove four hours to spend a couple of days with us.  We ate well, hiked in the snow covered forest and along the shore of Lake Michigan, picking up interesting rocks and lake glass as we talked about all sorts of things.  Midway through the hike we stopped at the home of some ‘up north’ friends of ours, introduced everybody and then we all hiked together for a while.    At one point, my friend Jim said to me, as he bent over for the zillionth time to pick up a lake rock, “You know, even though life can be stressful, we have nothing to complain about.  This is all we need.  Life is good.” Once again, my heart filled with warmth as the wisdom of his words spread over my body like a steaming hot four shot decaf Americano, no room, from Starbucks.


Saturday night the lake house was full of 18 great friends, part of the new ‘tribe’ my husband and I are creating up north.  A spontaneous party of interesting, yet different folks who took an immediate liking to each other, was a wonderful validation that our two worlds were intersecting nicely.  It also confirmed that I have done a good job of weeding out ‘toxic’ people from my life, an often painful self-surgery, which never feels good in process.  It was fun watching inner-Divas emerge through the Kareoke machine.  Hot Rod Lincoln never sounded so, well, loud………..


While basking in the afterglow of this bounty, we received the news that our dear friend and caretaker of our lake house had a massive stroke and died on Christmas Day.  Wayne was only 53 years old and a wonderful human being.  We had literally just finished writing him a Christmas card in which we put his Christmas bonus, when we heard of his death.  His mother may not have enough money to bury him, so his Christmas gift will go towards that instead of a new fishing pole or some other gift he might have enjoyed.  As I passed by the kitchen counter last night, I saw the stark white envelope with his name written across it in black ink.  Even though I knew it contained a Christmas message of gratefulness and connection, my hand reached up and turned the envelope over, so his name was not visible; our loss was still too raw to comprehend. 


Life gives and life takes away.  How are you going to spend whatever amount of time you have on this earth?  Wayne has given me the gift of a sobering reminder to treat myself and others really well so each moment on this planet counts toward the greater good.  I had much bounty this Christmas, but also loss.  Bookends to what life is really all about.


Rest in peace, Wayne. We will miss you.  The world is short one more beautiful soul.  A loss none of us can afford.

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