Tag Archives: friends

How to take your heart with you wherever you go

It occurs to me after nearly a week visiting Las Cruces, NM, that I left a piece of my heart when I moved back to Indiana in 2011. I wonder as I ponder “being in the world but not of it” if it is possible to leave some heart everywhere we go.

Aw'gy guards our moving truck, August 2011, bound for Indiana.

Aw’gy guards our moving truck, August 2011.

I mean, I left! Moved. Packed up a 72-pound dog and 7,720 pounds of worldly possessions. Yet, as I’ve visited with friends who are as close as family, and in some cases even more open and loving, it has felt as though I never left.

Moved here on a whim back in oh four. “Bought an acre of land off the back of a matchbook,” I joked about the acre of land I bought from a realtor. “Either gonna move there or make money on the land,” I said.

Did both.

Come to think of it, I’ve left some heart in France; Sarasota, Florida; and all across the midwest. I don’t think it’s about me. I think it’s about the open, loving people I meet along the way. It’s also about being real, in a “wherever you go there you are” way.

You see, the thing is – this is so cool! – we are all connected.

In this vast, beneficent universe, we are connected, we are the same. You may be having a bad day and someone else has had those feelings. You’re celebrating and others know your joy.

You are just as connected as I am. If you don’t feel connected, I’m sorry about that. Here’s all you need to do: open your heart – actually picture your Valentine Day’s heart in your chest opening to the nature of people around you. Smile, thank them, wish them a good day and the heart you give them will come back to you in, well, hearts.

And corny as it sounds, but I’m here to tell ya, your heart will grow so large you’ll be able to leave pieces of it everywhere you go. And more will grow. So there you go. Happy Valentine’s Day from sunny SoNewMex.



Friends should make you laugh, SUH

Stay close to your BFFs, SUH.

We’ve been called “the three musketeers.” I like, “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.” Or to use the vernacular, BFFs. We met in 1975 and, to use that classic fiction writer’s phrase, “little did we know” we would forge a lifelong friendship bound by love, truth and lots of fun.

Garnet, Robin and I – recent graduates of Butler, Purdue and Ball State – were the creative marketing department drones – sharing a corner workroom on the second floor of the 1800 North Meridian building – mall management HQ for Melvin Simon & Assoc, Indianapolis. We worked hard and played hard too – sort of like Rob, Buddy and Sally crafting Alan Brady show scripts week after week. Except our Mel Cooley was a blond.

The triad was split up by our various moves to different regional malls so we started sharing hotel rooms at shopping center conventions. Three working girls having a pajama party every night with serious debriefings: “Guess who I saw?” or “What a jerk that guy is.” or “I got a new client.” or “I will never wear these shoes again.” “Robin – I killed it – come down from that radiator.” “Ok, you want your bagel burnt, I want mine toasted and your’s is warm – right?”

We continued to room together while life gave us divorces, children, PMS and menopause. We won awards and lost parents. But honestly some of the best laughs came while we were getting ready for the convention day or group dinners at night. I still laugh thinking about three of us were sharing two sinks in our condo bathroom at Polo Towers in Vegas. Garnet and Robin were using the sink across from mine – I have no idea what dinner was on the docket that night. They were talking and saying, “SUH.”  “(something, something, something) SUH.” What the heck is SUH?” I finally asked. “What?” Garnet said. “What do you mean SUH?” “You guys keep saying SUH – what is it? “AS YOU AGE. As you age.” You shoulda been there.

Now I hear it on TV all the time. You need to use Restasis, SUH. Eventually, SUH, you may need Depends. I guess it depends. Oh, and SUH, you’ll want to stay close to your friends so you can laugh your way into old age. Laugh or cry. I prefer the former, as I age. Guess that would be SIH.

New Weight Watchers slogan: “Where old pom pon girls meet”

Last fall I went to a Weight Watchers meeting in Crown Point, IN and within a few months, I’d gained a couple of hundred pounds. It wasn’t water weight. I went to lose 10 and instead reconnected with old girlfriends who are worth their weight in gold.

Waiting for the meeting to start, I looked around the room to see the faces of women like me – give or take a few pounds or years – and glimpsed the profile of a dear friend from high school. “This is why I’ve moved home,” I thought. I walked up next her and said her name. The look on her face was priceless.

“I, I knew you were moving, but you’re here!” She said. We hugged. We had been in pom pons together at George Rogers Clark High School in the late ’60s. We laughed about meeting here, of all places. “Weight Watchers – where old pom pon girls meet, right?!”

How fortunate to share the joy then and now!

I’m happy to report five or six of us have stayed in touch over the years, working on a couple of the class reunions, meeting for lunch or dinner. We’re planning our third “pajama party” for later this year.

Good, lifelong friends keep us grounded. While we’ve changed, grown over the years – most of them are grandmothers now – sitting with the girls at dinner this week reminded me of what is most important.

In fact, my friend Sue in Las Cruces. She is a spry octogenarian. Someone I would “like to be when I grow up.”

“What’s your secret to life, Sue?” I asked her once over a latte at Barnes & Noble.

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Yes, Charlie Brown, there is good grief.

Several people I love are grieving. No one has died; they’ve severed parts of themselves. Two have lost their well-earned public identities through job changes. One is losing a spouse due to an ugly separation, opening a trashcan stuffed with abandonment issues. Another lost once-visible body parts to cancer.

Grief is good. Use it as a time to grow.

Grief from such losses can be surprising. We’ve come to learn that losing a loved one in death brings grieving, but from leaving a job? What if you quit or retire? There is still a loss of self. If you’ve been doing something for a very long time and get to know the people, the routine, that life and what the money brings then leaving or losing that life can be devastating.

When Sears sold off its parts in the mid-’90s, I was no longer needed. For the first time in 30 years, I wasn’t working. “They didn’t need me.” No longer my title, or in need of my corporate wardrobe or first class upgrades, or invited to great meals in major cities or to stay in wonderful hotels, I remember saying through a weak smile, “Guess the party’s over.” It turned out to be a good thing over time, getting real, but it wasn’t easy reinventing myself, finding my new normal.

We knew for months our company was going to be acquired, so I should have had time to prepare, right? But the grieving didn’t begin until I’d been home a few weeks. Catching up on sleep and cleaning closets stopped suddenly with the onset of a terrible cold. Depression set it and months later a girlfriend told me I was grieving. I was stunned. “Really? Grieving?”

Worse was the loss of life through divorce. True, the marriage was no longer a happy place for either of us but suddenly the life I lived and had come to enjoy was gone. It turned out to be a good thing over time, learning to thrive alone, but it wasn’t easy finding my new normal. Even worse was losing my parents.

Fortunately grieving can bring a useful depression. Reading the October issue of something I was reminded that depression causes us to withdraw from the day-to-day. If we’re able to do the hard work, dig deep, deal with real feelings to find a new normal, it’s a good place to be. I used to call it going into the tunnel. At first I hated it, but now I see the tunnel as a good place to go when I need it, especially since I’ve learned the light on the other side is definitely not a train.

Good grief helps us come to grips with a new normal.

Let your friends know you're grieving. Give them the chance to help you through the tunnel, or the pumpkin patch.

If we’re diligent we’ll be even better after the struggle. More real. If you’re grieving now, ask yourself what part of your ego has been severed due to your loss.

In 2000, I lost my home, my husband and my mother, had a year-long cold and a horrible backache. We all go through these things. Having been there helps us know what loved ones are going through. We can’t make it easy for them – they have to do the work. But we can support them in the best way we know how.


It’s sweater weather, Eme!

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Can I get an “awwww….”? Isn’t this the sweetest face? This is Eme, new to the world and wrapped in love. When Robin told me she and Peter were going to be grandparents my heart soared. Robin, Garnet and I met … Continue reading