27 November 2012

No. One Explained

No. One Explained

Hmmm. I like that title.  No One Explained.  No. One Explained.
That's life pretty much. No one explains it in advance.

Because I realized that unless you know me well, some of these challenges might not make sense.

So before I explain number one, let me give you a little back story.

I grew up in and still live outside of the enormous, under-estimated city of Houston.  There were a few years in San Antonio as a child, a couple of years of university in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, almost a year in Hartford, Connecticut and a couple in north Texas but mostly I have been stuck here. So many of the challenges are related to the area I live in but, like most natives, haven't fully taken advantage of.

But Houston has formed my life.

These are my high school friends:
On the ferry to Nevis

Allison, Me, Ann, Liddy, M. Anne, Peggy.
They are amazing women, one and all.

They have also formed my life.

Liddy and I go back the longest- through elementary school, church and multiple trips to San Miguel and a gazillion years since.  Ann and I carpooled together all through high school. M. Anne was in my homeroom although she doesn't remember that, probably because she seldom made it to homeroom. Peggy and Allison I knew in high school but we have grown closer since we graduated.

Every year since before I had kids we have all travelled to the Hill Country of Texas for a "girl's weekend". That's a euphemism for "ditch all responsibility, drink copious amounts of wine and grouse about the spouse and kids".

The wine count from our most recent weekend

As a group over the years we have had kids, lost parents, divorced, married and lived life.

And Ann got breast cancer.  But she beat it. She's been free and clear.

When we turned fifty we went on a fabulous, once in a life time trip to Sonoma, California.  We visited vineyards, ate amazing food and had a BLAST.

Dinner at the Lady and the Fig in Sonoma

When we turned fifty five we went on a fabulous, once in a life time trip to St. Kitts. We got tan, ate amazing food and had a BLAST.  On the plane home we started discussing where to go for our sixtieth. Paris? Montreal? Sonoma again? 

St. Kitts harbour

But then that enormous, crushing ogre that is cancer reared its ugly head.  Ann's cancer came back, only this time it is the bad kind. Metastatic. A word I cannot say or spell without stumbling.  She got the double whammy- her diagnosis and the news that her dear dad also had cancer in the same week.  He passed quickly, the same day that my brother died. I've decided it must have been a good day to move on.

So maybe we need to celebrate early. Because the reality is Ann may not be able to come if we wait until we are sixty. Those are whispering italics because I don't want to say those words out loud.
Because Ann is a girl that knows how to celebrate.  And she will not go "gentle into that good night".   She's never done anything half-ass. And she needs to celebrate with us.

So where should we go?

And to learn more about Stage IV cancer and support research, please click here.

(And I just learned a VERY important new blogger rule. SAVE as you go. I clicked on the link for "gentle into that good night" and erased my entire post.  Silent scream. )

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