Monday, January 11, 2021

A beautiful Christmas present

The holiday season has been very hard and very sad for me ever since John passed. But this year was especially difficult for me. I think it was because of the pandemic causing so much isolation. In other years, I would have been meeting with friends, exchanging gifts, going to holiday musical presentations, etc. This year there was none of that and the forced isolation made an already sad situation worse.

But I tried to make the best of it. I still put up my Christmas tree. Telephone calls and Zoom visits helped. And of course there was the ever present Facebook.

People have criticized Facebook over the years for one reason or another but, if nothing else, it has fostered a feeling of closeness and connection like no other platform. And I am grateful that it has brought me closer to my cousin Diane. Diane is the daughter of my father's brother. She has two older brothers that I grew up with. But Diane is the youngest and there is a big age difference between us. By the time she was only a few years old, I was already off to nursing school and out on my own. Our relationship never grew. 

Until a few years ago when we reconnected. I am happy to say we have become friends since then and keep in touch, often through Facebook. And this Christmas she gave me a gift like no other.

A few weeks before Christmas Diane told me to watch for something in the mail. I assumed it was a Christmas card. She informed me it wasn't. It was something small but not a card. The mail was especially slow this year (as it often is around this time of year). Nothing arrived before Christmas. Diane kept checking and my answer was always "Nothing today."

Then, on New Year's Eve, a puffy envelope arrived. Sure enough, when I opened it, a card fell out saying "Merry Christmas!" from Diane. I pulled out a beautiful Christmas ball that she had apparently had made just for me.  On the front was a tree with a cardinal and the words "I Am Always With You". That immediately touched me because of the similarity to the title of my book about John and also the cardinal is a symbol of connection to a loved one in the afterlife.

But John and Diane weren't done yet. I turned the ball over. What was written on the back stopped me in my tracks. I expected to see Diane's name but I started to cry as soon as I saw what was written there. John had used Diane to get a message to me. I was feeling sad and alone and missing John like crazy but he was telling me that I wasn't alone. 

That our love goes on. 

That he is still here with me. 

Thank you, John.

And thank you, Diane. 

You have no idea what this means to me. What a loving thoughtful thing to do. This gift hangs in my office right next to my computer so I can look at it all the time. It's too precious to put away with the Christmas decorations. It's a reminder to me from John and Diane. I am loved. I am not alone.


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

The Age of Aquarius - for me

This week has marked several celestial occasions worth noting - the Winter Solstice, the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, and the official start of the Age of Aquarius. 

Yes, that age long ago heralded in song by the Fifth Dimension and the play Hair. 

The Age of Pisces, which we have just left, was known for money, power, and control. The Age of Aquarius will be focusing on love, brotherhood, unity and integrity - a welcome change, for sure. 


And whether or not you believe in any of that, we can certainly make our own Age of Aquarius in our lives. That is what I have promised myself. 

This year has sucked. There is no getting around it. Politically, financially, medically - our Earth has borne its share of troubles and the trouble has found its way into every home in some manner. But a new day is dawning and it is bright and clear and ready for what we will make of it. We are days away from Christmas and, of course, New Year's Day is right around the corner. This is the time for looking inward and deciding what we want to come into our lives. 

I choose peace. 

If you have never had the great fortune to read Sarah Ban Breathnach's wonderful book Simple Abundance - A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, I highly recommend it. It is made up of short essays/meditations to be read on every day of the year. I have never read the book in its entirety. I have had the book for many many years and the pages are now brown and brittle. Every so often I pick it up and read it for a few days and wonder why I forget to read it every day. Life gets in the way, I guess. But at least I try and I always find a gem worth thinking more about. 

Today's gem was about the movie It's a Wonderful Life and how we should all look to see how blessed we are in whatever way we can. And I am not being Pollyanna. I know many people are suffering right now. People are very ill with Covid. Families are losing loved ones. Businesses are closing and financial stress is high. I get that. I lost my own mother to Covid this past May. She is one of the many nursing home statistics that fell to the pandemic. 

But I believe in my heart that things will get better. And I also know I have much to be grateful for. And, truth be told, I think I have made a difference here and there. 

I bet you have too. Think about it. Whose day did you brighten with a smile or a phone call? What animal has a better life because it now lives with you? What friend's burden was lifted because you took the time to listen or gave a shoulder to cry on? I'm sure you can find many instances like these and more if you think about it. 

So, I celebrate your existence - and mine. 

And I welcome the age of love, brotherhood, unity, and integrity and will do my part to add to it. 

This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius


Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Don't let anyone besmirch your aura!

* I wrote this post in December 2018 and I think I need it now more than ever. Maybe you do too.* 

This saying makes me smile for two reasons - because it's true and because it reminds me of John.
Many years ago, he decided to take a year off from nursing and joined an MLM company selling ozone air purifiers. John has always been a very good salesman and we believed in the product and him.
As it turned out, the year's selling proved less than successful so he went back to being a nurse and was very happy. But not before having some interesting experiences.
One in particular stands out for me.
One afternoon John came home after spending about an hour at a woman's home trying to explain the advantage of our machines. John told me how she had one complaint after another, finding fault with everything he said. It soon became clear that John was not going to make a sale and why she had even agreed to the demo was beyond understanding.
John laughed as he told me how he finally reached his limit, stood up, and said to her "You are besmirching my aura! Sorry, but I have to go." and he left.
A little background - John and I had been on our spiritual journey for several years at that point - studying Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Gregg Braden, The Law of Attraction, etc. We were becoming quite comfortable with that aspect of our life.
So much so, apparently, that John felt his inner peace was not worth sitting and experiencing that particular woman's negative energy.
Good for him!
And that is the lesson.
Our inner peace is both important and valuable. Some people are just energy vampires and it's perfectly okay for us to protect ourselves from them. No matter who they are.
I remember another occasion when John and I were in a restaurant and we could just feel the uncomfortable energy emanating from the table next to us. The couple seated there were obviously not happy about something - more than likely with each other. Regardless, it was palpable and we changed our table and immediately felt better.
There is a woman in our local grocery store who is always scowling and complaining about something. I can't tolerate being anywhere near her and will change checkout lanes to avoid her.
Sometimes, you can't avoid the situation. Do the best you can in that instance by slowing your breathing. Concentrate on a good thought. Visualize drawing your energy sphere closer in to yourself so that you are not touching the other's negativity.
Just remember, it's okay to protect yourself.
Don't let anyone besmirch your aura!

Saturday, December 5, 2020

We are all in mourning

We are all going through a very tough time right now. And to some extent we are all mourning.

We may not all be grieving the same thing or the same person but we are all suffering a loss. At the very least, we are mourning the loss of things we may have taken for granted before this pandemic. 

I can list so many losses that I am personally feeling:

The loss of a hug. 

The loss of companionship. 

The loss of being able to pick out my own groceries.

I have missed birthdays and lunches and dinners with friends and family.

I have missed the funeral of my own mother.

Sadly, there are those who now face an empty chair at the table. Maybe the person died from Covid. Maybe they didn't. It doesn't matter. The loss is real nonetheless. And they probably weren't able to be there at the last to say good-bye. Another loss.

And now the holidays are upon us and they are different this year too. I don't feel the jolly so much this year and have told friends and family I won't be doing presents. Instead, the money will go to charities that are suffering. I have urged them to do the same. I probably won't decorate - or at the least scale it back.  Next year will be better.

But in the meantime, we mourn. And because we mourn, we should take extra good care of ourselves this season. Be less critical of ourselves and others. Let the small things go. If we have learned nothing else this year, we have learned what matters. And while money matters when you need to pay the rent and put food on the table, after that it's the little things that are important. So, maybe Covid has taught us something. I know it has definitely helped me reassess values.

So, yes, we are all mourning in some way. I pray we find peace.


Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving, John!


Our first Thanksgiving dinner.

So many wonderful memories.

I love you so much. ♥

Saturday, November 14, 2020


For many of us, losing a furchild is very devastating and extremely sad. Our furchildren are truly part of our family and the grief at their passing can be profound.

My cousin Cynthia and her husband Alan recently suffered the loss of their two-year-old yellow lab Cody.

This is the tribute she wrote to him and I want to share it with you.


From his first steps, as a little tank of a pup, struggling to make it up the steps of our back porch; with his stubby short legs to his last joyful romp in the woods as a full grown two year old, Cody was a comet that streaked across our lives, leaving us way too quickly. Despite this, it was as though Cody bent time, making the time he spent with us feel like so much more.

Watching Cody enjoy the simplest things, made me ponder whether he had been a person in a previous life and now, for the first time, got to experience making the most out of being a dog. Cody took every minute and extracted all the joy it had to offer. This was especially obvious when he’d dive head first into the grass or snow enjoying, I am sure, the thrilling sensation of gliding on it at considerable speed. 

His happy, loving disposition was infectious to humans and canines alike. One of his best buddies, a female pit bull named Logan, had a reputation for refusing to play with other dogs and was known to be aggressive towards any who tried. However, with Cody, she’d let her guard down, as they’d endlessly chased each other through the woods, swam, wrestled and affectionately nuzzled each other at the end of it all. Never once did Logan show aggression. Cody managed to convince Logan to allow another female, named Astra, into their pack.  Cody’s ‘best girl’, a Golden retriever named Camilla, hated to leave her weekly play dates with him, so much so, that she had to be forcibly put into the car. His best ‘guy buddy’, a Standard Poodle named Misha, would make crying sounds each time they met up for their weekly round of wrestle and chase.

Cody’s altruism shone through and his canine brethren picked up on it. His drive to make friends with other dogs was unstoppable. No feat was too big to overcome to meet another dog. Cody was known to, on more than one occasion, swim across a reservoir upon spotting another dog on the other side.

Cody’s love of life and others was infectious. Whether they were casual acquaintances that he’d met during his regular morning walks, or his trips to the local hardware store,  or to Alan’s haircutter and if can you believe this, to our accountant’s office, where everyone lit up when Cody arrived.

Cody came into our lives when we needed him the most. It was a time when the future of our marriage was most at risk. Cody proved to be the perfect tonic. And, Cody unknowingly helped another member of his human pack to persevere through a difficult loss, lifting her out of the depths of depression.

Like all comets, the beauty and excitement that Cody brought into our lives was gone too quickly. But by giving so much during his short time with us, we have many loving and fond memories of this little tank… named Cody.

Cynthia Flowers

November 14, 2020