Sunday, August 26, 2012

CELEBRATING THE ORDINARY, I'M IN -----

First of all, I may be a day late with the posts but I write my blog posts in the evening.  For me, this is my "Sunday" entry even though it is Monday's blog.  With this whole global thing going on....  I'm pretty sure it's not a big deal.  Or it is. Typically AnneMarie.  A day late.... perhaps a dollar short, too?

Before I type another word, I want to welcome Marie back to the blogosphere.  Journey Beyond Breast Cancer has been on a bit of a hiatus.  Marie was in the hospital.  She's easing her way back.  She's tossed a challenge out and I'm loving it. Marie's vision is for us to photograph and document one thing each day that we may take for granted...... things we should be celebrating.  It is much better if you read it here directly from Marie.

My Day One photograph is of the butterflies that are living in a bush outside my kitchen window.


I have a "thing" for butterflies.  It started when my grandmother died.  It was March of 2006.  The wake lasted two days. The first night was my wedding anniversary.  My husband gave me a gift and the jeweler wrapped the box using beautiful ribbon.  There was a gold and purple butterfly adorning the box.  I removed the ribbon with great care and I placed the butterfly into a small bag that I was bringing to the funeral parlor.

When we arrived, I recall handing the bag to my mom.  It contained framed photographs.  And the butterfly.  I left the bag and walked to the front of the room to see my nana.  The priest said it best at the beginning of her funeral mass.  "Ninety-four years is still not enough."  I remember my breath catching in the back of my throat as I approached her.  I was not prepared for her to leave us.  I don't know how long I stood there before my mom was beside me with the butterfly in her hand and a bit of a confused expression on her face.

I gently placed the butterfly next to my grandmother.  One month later, in April, my routine mammography was not "routine" and my feet were straddling the line.  You know.  THAT line.  In April, I had no hint of what was to come.  It would be three months before I heard the word "cancer."

And there were butterflies all around me.  Yellow swallowtails.... mostly......  and they were strangely comforting.  It reminded me of my nana.  She was strong and "colorful" with her language.  She thumbed her nose at that which she deemed unimportant.  She marched to her own drum.  She was true first to HERSELF.

Each time I saw a butterfly, my thoughts went immediately to my nana.  The butterflies gave me strength.  I was not alone.  I had the lessons I had learned from watching her over the years.  Staring down adversity, rising above any challenge that was thrown her way.  I was carried through the worst moments during such difficult days by the butterflies all around me.  Everyone in my life knows that butterflies carry with them a very special significance.

The other day, my daughter was sitting at the kitchen table.  She called to me to ask me what type of shrub was outside the window.  I didn't know.  She told me she never saw three butterflies on one bush.  I was at the window in a flash.  And then, I was outside.  There were at least six or seven butterflies on the shrub.  And there were a bunch of very small butterflies, too.  I stood there in awe.

The butterflies have been fluttering around that bush every day for the past week.  These two decided to just hang together on the flower that was closest to me.  There's been lots of "STUFF" going on in recent weeks.  I know I can and will rise above and deal with whatever is tossed my way.  I carry the resilience of my nana in my heart.  And I carry all of the memories of my dad, her son and hope I can live my life on the same path that he lived.  Always on the high road.  And those butterflies remind me,

"You Got This..... Yeah.... You Definitely Got This...."

22 comments:

  1. Great photo, and AM I loved, loved your sweet story. It was so touching and inspiring. Xo

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    1. Thanks, Rann.... I miss my dad.... I miss my nana...... The changes that occurred in my life between March of 2006 when she died and July of 2007 when my dad died have been profound. They are the foundation for everything upon which I stand today.

      xoxox

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  2. Oh Anne Marie, this is just lovely :-) The picture is delightful but your story takes it to a while new level! Love it xxx

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    1. :)

      When you suggested this challenge, I immediately thought about those butterflies and grabbed my phone, not even knowing if they were still there or if it was just a bit of a fluke that the bush was filled with them days earlier!

      To have two of them perch on that flower -- and to see so many of them fluttering around behind them reminded me not only of my nana and my dad, but of everyone who is no longer here.

      Thank you.... for making me think... and I KNOW I messed up the name of your blog..... Chemobrain. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

      xoxox

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  3. Ann Marie,

    What a wonderful photo and story. That priest was so wise with those words, "ninety-four years is still not enough." So true. I'm glad you have this special connection with butterflies. The lesson you take from these little creatures is quite remarkable. Thanks for sharing.

    And you do love a good challenge don't you?

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    1. Ha, Nancy..

      I love a good challenge.... didn't even realize those words play right into this "theme" that Marie threw out there. I can point to some pretty "out there" stuff but I won't because IF I do.... most people will walk away thinking, "This woman has totally lost her mind" .... Suffice to say when I may be turning away from anything..... generally a butterfly will whiz past me (even I'm inside... and the butterfly passes by a window). It makes me stop..... makes me think.... I may not come up with a solution, but being aware is so key.

      xoxox

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  4. I can't even begin to tell you how much I love, love, love this story. Your nana sounds like she was an amazing woman...just like you! Not running from adversity or a challenge, staying true to herself -- what great lessons. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks, Nancy!

      I'm loving your photos, too..... Just read through all of your posts.. I'm falling behind here... Had no clue about the knee surgery (OR, more likely... I forgot.... just like I seem to be forgetting bits and pieces of everything these days). Hope you are on the mend.

      don't know why you name isn't clickable but the link to Nancy's blog is here:

      http://pinkunderbelly.com

      That's not clickable EITHER, but you can cut and paste!

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  5. AnneMarie,

    Gorgeous photo! The poignant story behind it made me cry. I'm so sorry about you losing your grandmother. It's never easy, is it? I can see how butterflies are so special to you. Thank you for sharing this.

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    1. Beth....
      I love the picture of your sweet little one..... and I'm glad I'm replying to this after tonight's chat! Despite my ongoing reputation for a dartboard ;) I'm not always pissed off..... Plenty of things bring me joy!
      xoxox

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  6. I love that photo, AnneMarie, and your poignant post to accompany it. There's something special about butterflies. I visited a butterfly pavilion a few months back and marveled at the varieties in a rainforest setting. This challenge is so fun, isn't it? xox

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    1. Oh Jan,
      I got so distracted today I JUST came from your blog. Your post is so beautiful and bittersweet. The next chapter awaits..... And I'm thrilled I'll be at your side.
      xoxo

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  7. Wonderful post AnneMarie! I have always liked butterflies, but even moreso now as a symbol of transformation. You know...like the transformation from having hair before chemo starts, to having no hair, to growing hair back over the next few months.

    Thanks for sharing Marie's idea too. I plan to participate. (My profile photo is a couple weeks old, but it was what greeted me in my backyard one morning...when I took the time to look.) Not taking the many daily blessings we have for granted is a good start. I am a firm believer in practicing gratitude.I was doing that before cancer came along and I believe it really helped me get through my cancer treatment and surgeries with less self-pity and more appreciation for how fortunate I am. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Lisa,

      Thank's for commenting and I HOPE you put your link on Marie's blog, too! I have much to be thankful for .... I'm glad you left me this note as I love finding new blogs to read.. each one is another friend!

      Hugs..
      AnneMarie

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  8. Hi Anne Marie,

    I just found your blog through Health Line's 23 ... this post was very touching to me. A very beautiful story and great photo. I love what the butterfly symolizes.

    All the best to you. xoxo

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    1. Hi Ashley,

      I just came back from your blog. MY GOSH..... every time I read about someone so young having breast cancer, it really upsets me. I'm glad you are finished with your chemo... and I'm glad to have found you. There are three young bloggers (all from Canada!) that are all very special to me. Now, there are four!

      xoxox

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    2. Hi AnneMarie... Thanks very much. Im glad Im done with chemo, although the aftermath of it all is hard.

      I do know a few other young women like me who are Canadian but have not stumbled upon any blogs... would you be able to share some of them with me? Id love to read their stories too.

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    3. Here they are:

      Catherine: http://www.facingcancer.ca/bumpyboobs/

      Katie: http://lovelykatielumps.blogspot.com

      Terri: http://www.afreshchapter.com

      The Facing Cancer Together website is fabulous, too! http://www.facingcancer.ca

      Please let me know you got this! They are all great.

      The AFTERMATH can be very difficult. While you are in the midst of things, you are focused on "getting better" and "putting it behind you" ... only to realize that's much easier said than done....

      xoxox





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    4. Thanks Anne Marie... I will check them out... just noticed that Terri and Katie left comments on my blog too. So thanks for connecting me to them! Really appreciate it :)

      Also thanks for including me in your blog roll... I am just learning how to organize all of the blogs I check out! I didnt try to find other women's breast cancer blogs until just recently... I guess you seek out to read other stories when you're ready.

      xo

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    5. Yes, Ashley... That is exactly right... there's no "timeline" to this and there's no "right" way. It's what works for you. And the support we get from each other is like nothing I've ever experienced.

      xoxox

      PS-The third person, Catherine..... I'm sure you will be hearing from her, too. She's away and I know that because she happens to be visiting in New York and I am going to meet her tomorrow!!! That's how strong these connections can become.

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  9. You know your nana sends you light and love with and without butterflies. She's part of who you are, and who your dad was, and now you're passing that on to your daughter. It's amazing how strong these beautiful creatures are. You are as well.
    XOXOXO,
    Brenda

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    1. Brenda....
      So glad that Marie came up with such a spectacular idea. Yes, I'm surrounded by the love of those who are no longer here--I love that the butterflies make me stop and remember when I'm getting distracted by the static and the noise.
      xoxoxox

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