January 10th, 2012
Good-bye, Punxsutawney Phil
By Heather Von St. James, Guest Blogger
Throughout my life, I have been called an eternal optimist. I have always believed that the glass is half full, not half empty. I am blessed with the ability to see the best in any situation. But my optimism was sorely tested on November 21, 2005, when I heard the three words that no one ever wants to hear: You have cancer. I was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a life-threatening form of cancer, just three-and-a-half months after the birth of my precious baby girl. I was only 36 years old.
When you are diagnosed with cancer, you have two choices. You can curse God, ask “Why me?”, and spend your time immersed in bitterness and self-pity, or, you can choose to accept the diagnosis and get ready for the fight for your life. I chose the second option, and I have never looked back. I was determined to make the best of this situation, to fight as hard as I could, both for myself and for my child, and to use my positivity to help others along the way.
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June 5th, 2010
I woke up this morning with the early light of dawn. Awake at 5:00 a.m. and out of bed before 5:30, on a Saturday. I have never been one to sleep-in. Early morning has always been my very favourite time of day, especially on days like this, when my Little Miss is sleeping soundly (The Phantom in the Other Room has recently been visiting but seems to be packing his bags for a hasty departure), and my husband, who just last night returned from another week away on business, still rests peacefully in our bed with Mikey-the-cat nestled at his side. With coffee in hand, a good book beside me, a little time to write and my family near-by, life is good. The serenity of this morning is perfect, and even the grey outside my window feels comforting, like an old wool blanket wrapped around my mood to keep it warm and content. Until my morning reverie is torn to shreds by this headline: Gossip Guy Chace Crawford Busted for Pot (http://ca.eonline.com/uberblog/detail.jsp?contentId=184326).
No, I am not a close personal friend of Chace Crawford’s. I am not even a fan. It is drugs that bother me, pure and simple.
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May 21st, 2010
Sammy and Mikey
Families are about more than people. My immediate family consists of my husband, our Little Miss, myself and our two pets: Felines, both, named Sammy and Mikey.
Yesterday we learned that Sammy is ill. I have suspected something was awry for a little while now, but after procrastinating for as long as my conscience would allow I finally acquiesced, accepted the inevitable, and took her to the vet. My fears were confirmed.
It’s hard to deal with the loss of a pet, but even harder to be the one to explain it to your child. Having to look Little Miss straight in the eyes and tell her that this is the last weekend that Sammy will be with us, that early next week her Dad and I will take Sammy to the vet for the very last time, was, well…soul sapping. At her age, Little Miss understands death, she gets the finality of it all. She knows that “being put to sleep” is a pleasant euphemism used to camouflage the true nature of the act it describes, which really has nothing at all to do with sleep. And so, with tears pooling in the corners of her dark, almond eyes, I wrapped my arms tightly around her and mustered up the strength to issue the following pearl of wisdom and comfort: “I know, Honey. It just sucks.”
I am not a crazy cat lady, really. I just like my cats. Sammy was mine for 15 years, my longest relationship as an adult. Through my first marriage, my step-child, the birth of my own child, my divorce, my current marriage, and all that has followed, there was always Sammy, purring her loud, diesel-engine purr; pawing at my shoulder to remind me to keep stroking her calico fur; and following me from room-to-room, day-after-day, year-after-year, a subtle reminder of her constancy. I will miss her.