Sunday, February 20, 2011

Love List

I know, I know, two posts in one day? A bit excessive? Perhaps. But, I'm going to do it.

1. The Huffington Post.

I love it. I used to h-a-t-e U.S. Government AP. I don't even know how I got a good grade, but I'm pretty sure I did. I thought it was boring. Not exciting. And, I dreaded going to the class (Sorry, Mr. Spungen). I have tried to keep myself informed of what has been going on in the news, but I always find news websites to be quite boring. Until, I met this one. In my humble opinion, Huffington Post has just the right amount of pictures, gossip, news stories, and everything else inbetween to keep my attention, and more importantly, keep me informed. So, that's that.

2. Vera Bradley.

Enough said. I love the paisely design. I'm a sucker for it. After Christmas, I went and found myself a cute Vera Bradley Planner (Note: I think this is when the obsession began). Then, Dave got me a nice Vera Bradley wallet for my birthday (Love it). And, then Kirstin must have just known that I loved it, because she surprised me and got me a hot pink Vera Bradley makeup bag (super adorable) for my birthday! Thank you!

3. Love Maps.

Dave and I have decided to do these every year on each of our birthdays. It's about 50 questions, all about the other person. I found it in a book by Dr. John Gottman, and we really enjoyed doing it. Then, we plan to keep our "old" love maps, to compare them year to year to see how we've changed and grown! So sweet. I love it.

Birthday Post

 I turned 25. It seemed a bit overwhelming the day of, but rest assured, I do not feel a day over 22. I had such a wonderful birthday this year, and as many of you know my birthday falls on Valentine's Day. I made this clear from the beginning to Dave, they are indeed two separate holidays (I think my Mom taught me that one, thanks mom)! So, without further ado, the birthday events went something like this...

Friday February 11: Wake up. Drink Coffee. Eat Breakfast. Go to work. Work, Work, Work. Oh, wait, there are flowers at the desk for ME?!?! Yay! I go to the desk to pick up a beautiful arrangement of flowers, and a sweet card, that says "Happy Birthday, Molly. Love, Dave." Go back to Work, Work, look at flowers, Work, smell flowers, Work, love flowers, work. Go Home.

Saturday February 12: Repeat same process as Friday. Meanander along at work (Saturday's are usually much slower than Friday's)., again?! Did my Dad send them? One of my brother's? A secret admirer? Nope, Dave sent me a second set. This time, a dozen red roses, with a card that said, "Happy Valentine's Day. Love, Dave." So sweet.

Sunday February 13: Family Brunch! Mom never shys from putting on a good brunch, especially for a birthday. We had cinnamon rolls, fresh fruit, starbucks coffee, and her infamous egg dish. Followed with present opening..some good new books, candles, cookies, truffles, a dozen pink roses (delivered from Derrick, sent from Jacob, Thanks Bubba), and an Applebees giftcard! Another successful Day!

Monday February 14: Sleep in. Call Mom. Have breakfast/coffee with her, go shopping, get some new gym shorts/shirts with her giftcard she gave me! Oh yeah..pick up Valentine's Day cards for our men (we can't forget them)! Lunch downtown with Dave and Jim at Upstream. Dinner at Alpine Inn in Poncha Hills with friends, followed with Zesto's Ice Cream :)

Saturday February 19: An a-m-a-z-i-n-g birthday party! We went to Liv Lounge in Aksarben after I got off work. Dave had reserved a section for our party by the fireplace, and we had such a wonderful time! Thank you for all who came out, I love all of you :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Death is Beautiful

I know what you're thinking: why would anyone call death beautiful? Who could? Let me tell you why, from my perspective, the process of death actually does have some endearing aspects.
You see, I am an oncology nurse. And, yes, I picked to work in this field. And truth be told, I love it. Sure, there are a fair amount of naysayers. It’s not rare for me to hear the question, "Why would you ever want to watch people die?" But it just goes in one ear and out the other. We nurses get to know these patients through their first diagnosis, to remission, to relapsing, to cures, to death, to life, and to everything in between. They become like family to us. They become my dad, my grandpa, my mom, brother, sister, aunt, or uncle; whatever the case, each patient holds a place in my heart.
I write this tonight after a 12-hour shift at the hospital. I'm not going to lie, it wasn't easy to get up this morning before the sun was even shining.  Getting off after the sun goes down doesn’t make it any easier. Sometimes, I do feel burnt out. And, sometimes I feel like these patients, our family, are what carry us through our days and keep us coming back.
Back to my title...Death is Beautiful. While most of my days are not filled with death looming, today was. As I said earlier, we get to know our patients, they become like family, and it feels like we've lost a family member when they pass. But, something about the whole process, when taken in the right perspective, can be downright uplifting.
It's beautiful when a family gathers for a loved one. It's beautiful when the love for a loved one is palpable in a room full of family members and friends. It’s a testament to the better part of the human spirit to see a group of people coming together in a time of need. It is beautiful to watch a daughter hold her father's hand in his last moments and tell him she loves him. It's beautiful to hear a wife, whose husband is actively dying, say tenderly, "just keep him comfortable," knowing the final outcome is inevitable. The tears are beautiful. The basic, raw emotions that make us who we are, yet are sparingly put on display, are beautiful. It is so beautiful to see so much love.
But, why are these actions so beautiful? Why in these actions do I somehow find comfort? In my humble opinion, I find comfort in them because all we have is each other.  Each other is what gets us through most days, and it’s each other who shows up at the end of one’s life to show our love and respect. It’s bittersweet, obviously, but seeing a person or a family come to grips with our shared final destination is a privilege for me. It’s not easy to let people in—it can be awkward, painful, and scary. I get to be a part of one of the most intimate family moments.  I get to see the universal yearning for unity and solace amidst chaos and despair.  And, in all of the chaos and despair—there is peace and comfort there, too. It’s in the squeeze of a hand, the tear rolling down a cheek, and the hugs you get from strangers.
I finish this day not with a happy feeling, but with a most grateful feeling for life. A feeling that makes it okay, because there is so much love to be shared.  And, that's something I can live with.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A snowy, puppy day.

When I woke up today, I had an agenda. It went a little something like this: wake up, take the dog out, eat breakfast, take shower, do chemotherapy re-certification course, study, study, study, feed the dog, take the dog out, try to stay inside where it is nice and warm, study some more for the two tests I have tomorrow, stay warm,

However, around 3:00 pm today, I got some news that changed the whole days agenda--for the better! Class is cancelled for tomorrow, the tests that were scheduled will be online. Yippeee!

I've been wanting to use my new camera some more, so I ventured outside (note: agenda changes when school is sort of cancelled), took the dog with me, and snapped a few pictures.

I'm aware they are not the most beautiful pictures you have ever seen, but hey a girl has got to start somewhere.

This one is my favorite. Despite the fact that I don't love the snow, it is nothing short of adorable when it is all over his little puppy dog face :)

This photo needs improvement, but I still love my subject!

Lastly, this is Kansas's favorite spot in the whole wide world. My heated mattress pad, grandma quilted, feather-topped, big fuzzy blanket bed. He has a choice of watching out the window all day and dreaming about the squirrels he can chase, to napping, to watching his momma do some homework.

I wish for all of you that you out there that you are staying safe, warm, by the fireplace, with a cup of something hot in your hand.