Friday, May 15, 2009


I am the gracious receiver of many gifts. Anytime I receive an email, a comment on my blog, a phone call, a visit, I accept it as a precious gift of time and effort. Beautiful gifts from beautiful people giving me hope that there's something in me that matters, possibly something worth saving. I'm trying to focus on those wonderful little things in life, small kindnesses, a smile from a stranger, my daughter insisting that My Little Pony is the Boss of Monsters (wouldn't it be awesome if she was right?). I know I've been blessed with amazing friends, both in the real world and on-line. I've been blessed with a loving and sexy husband, a gorgeous and interesting little girl, a family that knows how to laugh when it hurts. So many gifts, so many blessings. The trick is getting that message through to my heart so that I can open it to joy again, so that I can allow myself to experience the sensation of being happy.

A few months ago, I met a woman on Facebook, Shelby, who was about to undergo a prophylactic mastectomy, the same as a I did just a year ago. We began an email correspondence and soon discovered that we had a lot more in common than our BRCA2 mutation. I feel so blessed to have "met" her for she is a brave woman with a glorious soul. Shelby is also a generous and thoughtful person who reaches out to me during my darkest moments despite her own pain.

A couple of months ago she sent me this necklace in the mail. She said that it reminded her of me, the way you can find something beautiful inside of twisted things. I wrote her today, "I am wearing the necklace you bought me. I'm thinking about that beautiful stone in the midst of all that twistedness. That's what I'm seeking - the good stuff amid all of this horror." Thank you for the beautiful gifts, Shelby, the necklace, the friendship, the life rafts, the right words at the right time, and most of all for being you.

You want to know what else I like? That there are so many people who know me so well, not just well, but to my very disturbing core. There are people who have seen that I am capable of destroying, of raging, of hating and yet they love me anyway. It is a comfort to know that. My favorite aunt gave me an awesome gift a few months ago. And really, she couldn't have selected a more perfect object. This sign, I hang proudly in my messy kitchen:

You know you want one. Admit it. Thanks, Renee, for putting up with my bullshit and loving me anyway.

I did that 25 things about me meme about 5 months ago and in it I wrote about my nostalgic love for the scent of Playdough. I love the smell of it, the way it can bring me back to some creative moments in my childhood. Not long after I posted that blog, I was driving home from work and that Sade song came on the radio - By Your Side. God, it reminded me so much of Amy. I lost my mind. It hurt so bad to hear it and I cried the loneliest tears. I actually said out loud to myself, "You are so alone." But when I got out of my car and went to my front door, I found a thoughtful gift from my friend, Sharon:

It wasn't just the perfume that made me smile. It was the thought of a friend reading my blog and acting on some little detail, some tiny part of myself that I had shared. I love you, Sharon, for that and for all your amazing ways of being in the world.

On Mother's Day, my husband gave me the best gift of all:

An empty photo album is a promise of so many tomorrows. It's his way of saying, "I love you. Let's make happy memories together."

I have so many reasons to be grateful. I have been given so much undeserved kindness and love from so many people. I only hope that I can survive this god-awful depression, find my way out, emerge from the abyss a shiny, new person better at loving and giving to others. I only hope I can pay everyone back 10-fold for the things they've given me.


  1. It sounds like you've got good people on your side that are rooting for you. I'm rooting for you too.

  2. This is one area where guys, and their friends, fall short. What I'd give for someone to come over and drag my ass to the golf course. I'm a gift giver, but the gesture is seldom reciprocated. It's just too weird . . .

  3. Small things do make a big difference.

  4. Thanks for this post, Gwen. It's always important for me to remember to be grateful for the little things, for the people that I have in my life. One of the cool things, that I didn't expect from this blogging thing, is the people that you 'meet'. They can be wonderful.

  5. There you go Gwen lookin' on the bright side:) Lovely, heartfelt expression if gratitude. You mentioned hoping you could return those same kindnesses. Being honest,posting the crap, it is so very important. It is achingly difficut sometimes, this job of being human--to know one isn't the only one struggling is a light in the darkness. By the way, I have the Demeter grass scented perfume and it is one of my very favorites.

  6. You have good people around you.

  7. I think it's great that the little things make such a difference. People always take them for granted, but it can really brighten your day. It does sound like you have wonderful people around you and they'll help you through these hard times. The necklace is really gorgeous. Do you know what kind of stone is in it?

  8. Such love and hope in your words. I believe you will find your way.

  9. i'm not sure of the blogspot protocol - but i found you via another blog and you seemed interesting and i wanted to add you.
    i'm shannon.
    check out my blog and add me back if you want. i love blog friends. :)

  10. i think people forget how much the 'little things' actually mean, btw. the personal gestures are priceless.

  11. See, look at how lucky you are! Everyone appreciates you, and I can understand why. I appreciate you. If I could afford it, I would send you a present.

  12. This was beautiful.

    I'm realizing all over again how important it is to have people like this in my life.