Staying afloat

reddirtlattes/ March 5, 2018/ Gulf Islands, Canada/ 4 comments


I am often asked how I do it. How I full time mom with a little one still at home, no family around to help, studying late into the night for a degree. How I do it all by myself. How often I hear, “I couldn’t do what you are doing. How are you doing what you are doing?”

Here is my answer…..

I think of this woman Veronica who worked for us in Uganda. She helped me with the children, helped me with the house, helped me in the kitchen. Then every night she went home alone to her son and did it all over again. She played with him, cleaned her home, prepared their dinner. Then woke to come back to me. I think of her. 

I think of my husband dropping food from the sky to refugees who have no home. Masses huddled together waiting for the sky to open and rain down food so they can survive. I think of them. 

I think of time as something so precious and this time as something we will forever hold in our hearts. The time we were all alone on the island, just the three of us. Endless walks on the beach, long board games during rainy days, knowing each other so well we knew when the other would take their next breath. Just the three of us, floating together. I think of how much this time will mean to me, and I hope to them. 

I think about how one day they will be older and friends will become their confidants, how the world will become their playground to explore with others, how they will have their own families and I will cease to be the center of their world with each of these steps. I think about how at this moment they are still so completely mine. 

So yes, some days I am sinking. Many days I have crippling fatigue. But I think of Veronica and refugee camps and closeness and the fleetingness of it all and I wake up every single day saying thank you, thank you, thank you. 

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  1. Wow, wow. I just finished posting comments on your last blog entry, ‘The Storm’, when I noticed a new one by you. It was so moving. I had several lumps in my throat, and I admit it, tears welling up. This post was beautiful and so explains what I once described as your grit and determination. Most people have some kind of inner strength that we can call upon when in need. When this inner strength is defined and driven by your heartfelt values of decency and humaneness, it becomes the driving fuel that keeps one going during moments of adversity. A person who is driven by their well-thought out beliefs about how the world should be, how it is, and one’s imperative to make it better, is bound to lead a satisfying and fulfilling existence. The world should value and surely needs more people like you, particularly in today’s state of affairs.

    Goodness surely has it’s intrinsic rewards. Coincidentally, today has been one of occasional downers when I am feeling blue. I want to thank you so much in picking me up for the moment by your post. Besides all the physical problems associated with aging, I have several serious diseases. Being physically fit and active throughout my 72 years, people who know me always tell me I look very good and much younger than my years. They say this even though my shell obfuscates serious illnesses. CAD or cardio-arterial disease took the life of every male biological family member, and came within weeks of ending mine 20 years ago. Yet, through modern medicine and my caring for myself and a wonderful supportive family, my heart has been stabilized and relatively pristine for those 20 years. As I seemed to have less stamina playing table tennis at a high level, getting checked out, it was found that I have a rare form of lymphoma, Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia. Incurable but treatable. A good serious cancer to have if you have to have it. I have responded to the cutting edge chemo-medication biologic antibody so thoroughly well, that my oncologist is toying with my going off of it temporarily, thus giving me some relief from the more than 10 side effects. The side affects are worse than the treatment where I take my chemo in pill form everyday. One serious affect is that since I have a compromised auto-immune system. I am prone to infections. This has led to a mild form of lung disorder, bronchiectisis. Again, it is being controlled. The worst problem I face, while not potentially deadly, is very painful deteriorating spine being riddled by arthritis. In spite of this, people are amazed at my attitude, determination, stubborness, and sunny disposition. I never let myself like today become gloomy for more than a day. I feel like one of the luckiest people in the world, when I guiltily see other people more debilitated than I, and realize how lucky I am. I have never let my problems put me down. I am determined to live as fully a life as possible. I am determined to live a full 13 to 17 years more, which would make me close to 90.

    I have always tended to look at the glass half-full yet I am very much aware it is also half empty. Life has so much to enjoy, that I find it a waste of precious time to wallow in self-pity. Grit, stubbornness in not giving up, staying active, knowing who I am, what I want to be, and what should be, (sound familiar Sabrina?), is my antidote. The reward: using a cane or not, I plan to carry in the air my third grandchild who is expected on the day in August of my 47th wedding anniversary. Waiting for this moment to arrive for 11 years since my last one was born, it is good to be alive.

    Seymour Schwartz

    1. great post!

    2. I love this comment! I am so happy my post found you on a day you needed it, Seymour. I tell my story in hope it touches people, since so many stories touch mine, like yours. It sounds like you are quite the fighter! And my goodness, 47 years married! One day I hope you tell us the secret. Thank you again for responding so deeply to my words. Maybe we should start a blog called Seymour and Sabrina in conversation. 🙂

  2. You’re a badass! And you, your husband and Veronica are all admirable.

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