There is no Us vs. Them.

Yesterday morning I got a call from the Old Man, who had run out on an errand.  He told me there had been a shooting in a gay night club in Orlando, and that possibly fifty people had been killed.

I watched what news I could find (we don’t have cable, so had to depend on our faltering digital antenna), and took note of the stricken face of the male news anchor on Fox News. Or NBC.  I was flipping between the two stations; not sure which anchor I was looking at. The man was stunned, on auto pilot as he conveyed breaking news. Maybe he was sleepy, maybe he was stricken – I don’t know.

I think that’s how many of us felt; we are desensitized.  I include myself in this “we;” how many tragedies can we watch without losing a little of our compassion?

But then, the photos of men holding each other for dear life, shedding tears of grief and fear. The young men who survived younger than my son, some of them – struggling to speak to reporters as they fight tears and shock.  Such raw pain and shock.

I am new to the LGBTQ community – I’m a longtime ally but from a distance. Now I am the parent of a gay son.  I have friends who are gay, but now it’s family. I am going to try to put the remainder of my thoughts down here in the first person.  There is no third person because we are really fellow travelers in this world – all of us.  Differences, boundaries, labels – they are artificial.  We are all just people.  Even the shooter, although I can think of nothing to affirm the shooter.

We who are men loving men, we who are women loving women, those of us who are on our own journey toward gender identity – and we who are straight and love another who is not straight, as a parent, child, sibling, grandparent, aunt, uncle – we are all people.  There is no Other.

That’s all.  I know this is not much in the way of an article – but it is what is on my heart. That’s all.  I love my son, and I love Us. All of us.

Cooking for Seven

At my job we have Food Days – where a team will decide to have a potluck for lunch. Tomorrow we are having Taco Thursday, which is basically Mexican food.  I have a recipe for One-Pan Mexican Quinoa which I found online, and that will be my contribution. I’m grateful for the online resources and cooking skills that allow me to locate and cook a recipe that allows me to eat clean while participating in this activity.

Honestly – these gratitude posts are getting dull.

Normal

I skipped my mammogram for two years, which means the mammogram I had yesterday was three years after the last one.  Thankfully it was normal.  I don’t take that for granted, and I’m grateful.

The other test I had, not so normal. The multiple fibroids I’ve been hosting the past few years have “increased in size,” so I’m being referred to the same gynecologist who ruled out cancer a few years ago.  Here’s hoping I can slide by for a while without surgery.

I’m grateful for my body which is generally in good working order.

Undiscovered Treasures

Today I had the day off work, so right after I showered I headed to a little-known wetlands path for a get-acquainted visit.  I had twenty minutes to stroll before I headed out to an appointment, and in that exploration I saw a one-eyed turtle with a shell as big as a dinner plate and huge dragonflies with ice-blue wings.  I felt the cool breeze in my still-damp hair, and  I smelled honeysuckle that I could not see.  I only saw three other people, and all three were kind and said hello.   All around me was green.  A green world. 

The shaded path was curved and the view was blocked by trees, so I never knew what was coming up around the next bend.  Curiosity pulled me forward, and only when my phone’s timer reminded me of  the day’s commitments did I turn back.  I can’t wait to visit again. 

The reason I had to cut my walk short was a medical appointment. While waiting for the ultrasound technician to start today’s  test (don’t ask), I made another discovery, about a pill that holds great promise for those with Alzheimer’s.  I found the info in TIME Magazine – I’m not sure what issue it was, but it’s titled The Longevity Issue.  Click here to read about hope.

 The drug, now in Phase II trials, is called  LM11A-31 – or just C31.  It’s different from previous drugs because it works to strengthen brain cells against the ravages of amyloid proteins rather than trying to eliminate the proteins themselves.   

Hope.

Gratitude.

Hard to be grateful

I started writing this post wondering how I would find a reason for gratitude tonight. I found my reason as the story unfolded.

This weekend was spent at my parents’ house.  My mom has Alzheimer’s and my dad is so deep in denial that he doesn’t really do anything to help improve her quality of life.  They don’t get out of the house much, and my dad spends most of his time on his computer while my mom watches TV all day long. It’s not a great way for her to be spending her day, and my dad has mastered the art of appeasing his children with promises that he doesn’t keep. Sure, he’ll make sure she does some housework to keep those neural pathways open.  He’ll coach her through it.  You bet he’ll take her to the senior center to get her out of the house.

Mom has always loved to walk around the yard, showing me the flowers she had nurtured from seeds.  I invited her on a walk through her yard yesterday, and although she didn’t recognize the flowers she did get pleasure out of looking at them.  We spent some time especially, looking at the peony bush that had been transplanted from my Grandma Genevieve’s yard.

Then a strange thing happened after we left the peony bush – Grandma Genevieve was with us, as clearly as if she’d walked around the corner.  I nearly said “Hi Grandma! Mom, Grandma’s here.” I couldn’t see her, but I could feel her.  (This isn’t the first time; it happened at least once before to both me and my sister – in different cities but on the same day.  Grandma Genevieve has been gone for at least twelve to fifteen years.)

The strange thing about this is that it didn’t seem strange.  It was a gift to feel Genevieve with us – and that’s what I’m choosing to be grateful for.

If you are reading this and are a praying person, please feel free to send up a prayer for my mom Kitty.  I would be most grateful.

The comfort of stars

This is not news to anyone reading my posts: I tend toward the dark, the morose, the hopeless.  I’m often sad, despairing, stuck in my weirdly wired brain.  I can cry at the drop of a hat.

And, I am so grateful that I can look up a the night sky at the constant stars.  Winter, summer – whenever – they light my darkness and soothe my spinning thoughts.  As they float above trouble and dissent, their distance give me perspective.  They are my compass and my comfort.  They are cold, and that is a special kind of comfort – the comfort of fact, uncomplicated by emotion.

This evening my gratitude is directed upwards.  I think I’ll head on outdoors and take a look.  It’s a pretty clear night – but even if weren’t, I’d know the stars are there.

I’m grateful. So grateful.

 

Gratitude for Solidarity

Today I posted on Facebook that I would be wearing red as part of my employer’s LGBT inclusion campaign.  An old “friend” posted a nasty response.  I am grateful for the solidarity that others expressed on my behalf.  Only two of them, but they warmed my heart. I was grateful for them.  And I am grateful that I got to see these beautiful wildflowers this evening. flowers