Dear Liza,

It seems there is a pendulum in my emotions that swings back and forth. Most days it is somewhere in the middle, and I go through the days happily reading, painting, and cooking.

But every few weeks or so, the pendulum swings all the way to total energized happiness, and I walk for miles and make cookies. A few weeks later, it swings back, and it is a struggle to get out of bed and make conversation.

My people

I know we are all going through this together, but we are doing it mostly alone. And it’s hard, sometimes. My Momma was a big fan of gratitude in times like these. She grew up in Dust Bowl Oklahoma and didn’t have much in terms of clothes or toys. But she loved her tiny flower garden and her dog.
So now it’s my turn.

Near family

I am grateful for:

My family, near and far. The near ones hold me together with love, patience and silliness, and the far ones remind me that we will all be together again someday.

Far family

Old friends. Some I know from kindergarten, high school, or just last year. But the network is there and lets me remember my connected-ness.

My health. This is a gift that I try not to abuse or take for granted.

Wind and clouds

Flowers, plants, wind, and clouds. Yesterday evening, watching the wind make the trees dance in the sunset was the highlight of my day.

Crossword puzzles, baking, and art. These small challenges keep my brain active and make me laugh. Also, cookies!

Well, I feel better. I hope you find a lot to be grateful for and that it brings you joy.


Grandma Judy

Feeling Sad

Dear Liza,

Yesterday was a sad day for me here in Portland. I am all right. Let me explain.

Great Uncles Tim and Jim, Great Grandpa Lowell, and me in 1966

Yesterday I found out that my oldest brother, your great uncle Tim, has had a heart attack. He is in a hospital in San Diego, and the people there are trying to get him better.

He was in the Marine Corps and spent many years in Viet Nam during the war there. He has been hit by hand granade shrapnel, had Malaria a few times, and lived on what he could hunt when he got separated from his unit for a few days. He has been a tough guy.

But he is seventy years old, has smoked for most of his life, and doesn’t take care of himself. So it is not a surprise that he is sick. But you can see something coming and it still hurts.

Great Uncle Tim at his wedding to a different Auntie Bridget

My nephew Wade, Tim’s son, has come out from New York to visit his dad and see what can be done to put him on the road to recovery. Tim’s memory is affected and he is having trouble placing people. I am hoping for a happy resolution, recovery and a return home for Tim. But, like for Momma and Dad and our brother Jim before him, I will most likely live to mourn the brother who taught me how to climb trees and clean fish.

Great Uncle Tim, Great Grandma Billie, and Grandpa Nelson, the last time we were all together, about 2010

And this makes me sad.


Grandma Judy