Happy Veterans Day

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Happy Veteran’s Day. This is the phrase I was attempting to say two years ago today. I’m not sure exactly how it came out, but that was the day I landed in the hospital with stroke symptoms. Today is my 2 year anniversary of the day that changed my life. Nothing has been the same since. I’ve had to slow down whether I like it or not. And, I don’t, by the way. I don’t like it – the slowing down or all the changes.

To celebrate the 2 year anniversary of my stroke, I participated in communion at church today for the first time in my life. Today was the first time that communion has ever been accessible for me since the onslaught of the multiple food allergies in my mid-20s. The most difficult allergen to avoid in this situation, is egg. Have you ever tried to find gluten free bread that is also egg free, dairy free and completely nut free? Let me know, because I don’t think it exists on a widespread commercial basis.

Someone at church went out of their way to find a local bakery in town who was willing to take on, tackle and accommodate all 5 of my food allergies. It was achieved successfully. I can’t tell you what it meant to be able to participate in communion with everyone else today and not be left out. It’s one of the few times when I have actually felt like God loves me. Someone actually baked something that didn’t kill me. There’s a first time for everything.

This is significant because I’ve been struggling lately. Ever since I bought my house, I’ve been experiencing negativity from the community. Pretty much, I’m being kicked while I’m down. I’m still down, by the way. But at least I’m not being kicked any more.

There are some people in this community who are not pleasant to me due to one of my “identities.” It happened again today. I try to blow it off and balance it with all of the people who are going out of their way to make me feel welcome. I figure there is no point in trying to make anyone else happy. I’m just going to be myself and people can either take it or leave it. I think that’s a pretty good attitude even if it doesn’t make the hurt any less.

Even though my life feels like a free floating shit show with no anchor right now, I am thankful and grateful for so many things. I just need some time to get my feet back under me.

I still have challenges post-stroke, but am considered “fully functional.” I am thankful that I am healthy, working, providing, and running. Running is definitely the greatest gift I have ever received in life. My goal for 2018 this year is to exceed the number of miles I ran in 2017. That would be an improvement.

I’m happy that two years after 11/11/16, I can say “Happy Veterans Day,” and it actually comes out sounding like “Happy Veterans Day.” I’m not in the hospital connected to tubes and machines being rushed into a machine that takes photos of my brain.

Happy Veterans Day. Thank you for your service that allows us to be free.

 

 

Happy 4th Birthday, Jude

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Two years ago when we were still grieving the loss of Kip, who completed our triad, Kitty and I decided to open our home, and consequentially our hearts, to a timid, shy newcomer for companionship. Not only is today the two-year anniversary of the day we adopted Jude, but it is also his 4th birthday.

Jude stole the show and is one of the loves of my life. In the two years since he has entered our home, he has come out of his shell to share with us his spunk, ingenuity, and childlike love of life. Jude has reminded me to not take life to seriously; sometimes we need to just enjoy and laugh. While his antics are sometimes aggravating, they are, for the most part, harmless, and always bring a smile.

When he is clinging to a window frame tittering about a bird outside, I jokingly call him Spider Cat for his ability to climb places I never thought possible. He is actually able to do so not only with agility but also without destroying anything in the process. With a preference for high, small spaces, Jude has figured out how to hide in the empty cupboard above the refrigerator and has also realized that if he pops out of said cupboard when I walk into the kitchen, he can usually get a rise out of me. Jude definitely keeps us on our toes.

He is the perfect companion for Kitty, who, believe it or not, at the ripe old age of 17 still likes to play every once in awhile, and Jude is happy to oblige. When they are not playing together, Jude always brings a smile in the way he plays with toys by himself or by simply chasing his own tail. He is well acclimated to the fact that it takes Kitty longer to eat due to his advanced age, and it respectful in allowing him time and space to eat his food without trying to steal it from him.

Jude still freaks out over vacuum cleaners and guests. We rarely get visitors at our house, but when we do, he always hides as if his life depends upon it. Jude has warmed up to both Kitty and I over the past two years. He often sits on my lap and loves to sit right next to Kitty. Honestly, I am surprised and delighted at how well Kitty has accepted him into our lives.

Two years ago on Valentine’s Day, I was home from work on a snow day, yet the roads north of us were bare and clear. Friends knew that we were looking for a new addition for our home, and on that day, the phone call came that the fit for us was at a shelter about two hours north. I made the drive, and spent some time confirming, that yes, this was indeed the one. Jude entered our home at a time in our lives when we were still raw and sore from Kip’s passing. Jude entered our home and our hearts with grace and style. He has completed life for both Kitty and me these past two years. Happy 4th Birthday, Jude. You are truly the love of our lives.