A Wave Of Sadness Swept Over Me When I Saw Her

A woman who was my best friend for about 20 years is dying. We haven’t been pals for the last 20 years because we simply “grew apart,” but I did invite her to dinner a few years ago, and we spent a couple of hours catching up on our kids, our jobs, and our partners.

leadimage

When she walked out, I sensed we wouldn’t see each other again, but I surely didn’t think the reason would be her serious illness. She hadn’t told me that she had breast cancer years ago; I learned about it from a mutual acquaintance, and that it had returned and spread.

Then, one afternoon when David and I were walking past her apartment with dog Rigby (L lives 4 blocks away),  I saw her husband and two sons lifting her, in a wheelchair, into a taxi.  A wave of sadness swept over me. I remembered how beautiful and lively she was when we met in our twenties, her blond straight hair the complete opposite of my dark curly hair; her deep blue eyes and porcelain skin stark contrasts to my brown eyes and olive skin.

We were opposite in more ways than our looks: She was always late; I was always early. She dressed impeccably in expensive designer duds; I threw things together. She labored over every word she wrote. I churned out copy a mile a minute. She had to associate with the ‘in’ crowd.  The cool contingent usually looked at me as an outsider. We nevertheless ‘entertained’ each other in ways no one else could.  I found it amusing going to dinner at her house and being served by a housekeeper. I loved getting her older son’s handmedowns for my son. She once told me, ‘I don’t have to go the the theatre when I have you as my friend.’ (more…)

Beautiful Ways To Show Your Grandkids How Much You Love Them

Ever since I became “Grandma Muffin,” three years ago, I find it challenging to choose gifts for my grandson Primo. Does he already have this toy or book?  Is he too young for this bike or too old for that stuffed animal? What size shorts does he wear now? Will he look good in navy?  I know I’ve struck out on at least a couple of occasions!

leadWhen I received a call from the website Deserves.com, I thought these people have come up with an ingenious way to make gift-giving to grandchildren fun, easy and foolproof. Deserves puts together collections of meaningful and unique treasures for grandmas and grandpas to give their granddaughters and grandsons, on birthdays, for holidays, or simply to surprise them.

These are gifts with staying power, real staying power, not something they’ll enjoy for a few hours or weeks and then relegate to the bottom of the toy bin or left to gather dust under the bed.  I’ve chosen two pieces that your grandchildren would be sure to keep close to their hearts 24/7. And the prices are really, really reasonable!

“I love you a bushel and a peck” necklace
"My Granddaughter, I Love You to the Moon and Back" necklace
Even if you’ve never sang the song to her, your granddaughter will cherish your beautiful message of love expressed on this exclusive necklace. The 18-inch adjustable chain and the charming pendant and heart are made of platinum-plated brass.

  (more…)

Beautiful Ways To Show Your Grandkids How Much You Love Them

Ever since I became “Grandma Muffin,” three years ago, I find it challenging to choose gifts for my grandson Primo. Does he already have this toy or book?  Is he too young for this bike or too old for that stuffed animal? What size shorts does he wear now? Will he look good in navy?  I know I’ve struck out on at least a couple of occasions!

leadWhen I received a call from the website Deserves.com, I thought these people have come up with an ingenious way to make gift-giving to grandchildren fun, easy and foolproof. Deserves puts together collections of meaningful and unique treasures for grandmas and grandpas to give their granddaughters and grandsons, on birthdays, for holidays, or simply to surprise them.

These are gifts with staying power, real staying power, not something they’ll enjoy for a few hours or weeks and then relegate to the bottom of the toy bin or left to gather dust under the bed.  I’ve chosen two pieces that your grandchildren would be sure to keep close to their hearts 24/7. And the prices are really, really reasonable!
(more…)

When Three Tragedies Strike (In One Year)

first-line

Catherine and her old friend Bonnie

bonniegeller“My husband, Jerry, met Bonnie’s husband, Larry, on the train platform about 25 years ago, soon after we moved to North Salem, NY. Our children were all little and we all became fast friends. Bonnie had been in the publishing business, then became a nutritionist, and worked with high-profile clients. She was stunning and glamorous and the picture of health. We were so close that we named Bonnie and Larry guardians for our children if something were to happen to us. (more…)

As He Lived Dying

Kalanithi bwDr. Paul Kalanithi at the Stanford Hospital and Clinics in 2014.
(Norbert von der Groeben/Stanford Hospital and Clinics)

Thirty-six-year-old Paul was close to completing his arduous journey to becoming a full-fledged neurosurgeon. He already had earned two undergraduate degrees and a master’s degree in English Literature. He was married to a beautiful, smart and caring woman, also a doctor, whom he met when they were both first year medical students. He had a loving family, and a world of wonderful friends, not to mention a sublime sense of humor. He had packed a great deal into his years, but he no doubt had an exciting life ahead of him!

Then, Paul began losing weight and experiencing ferocious back pain. He attributed his symptoms to the stress of his medical residency. After all, he was working 80-hour weeks and was on his feet for brain operations that could last for 36 hours. He was young. He was not thinking about cancer. (more…)

Honestly, Can You Really Do THIS The Way You Should?

header

Before the new year begins, I thought it would be apropos to talk about a subject that most of us don’t usually think about, but should!

SCENARIO #1:

Your husband had a heart attack a few months ago and has started to drive you crazy about absolutely everything: What you serve him to eat, how you drive the car, how loud you play your favorite CD. You’re ready to explode, but do you ever stop to think how HE FEELS?  How scared he may be since his heart attack? (more…)

A FOF Spin On The News

SCORE ONE FOR THE MOMS

Photo Credit: Sporting News

I have zero interest in soccer, but was pleased that the US Women’s Soccer Team won the World Cup this past weekend.  It was heartwarming to see three of the teams’ FOF moms interviewed before the game, because each of these women clearly played a role in helping nourish her daughter’s passion for the sport. Judy Wambach, mom of player Abby, choked up talking about a note her daughter sent her that read: “I wouldn’t be here without you.”

(more…)

Caitlyn Jenner: Over Fifty And Pretty Fab

Darn it, Caitlyn Jenner is my age and she has a far more beautiful body than I do!  If you’ve been living under the proverbial rock, Caitlyn is not another member of the overexposed, underdressed Kardashian clan;  she’s the former sports star and family patriarch, Bruce Jenner, who has publicly become a woman.


(more…)

Grandma Rosie To The Rescue

Anyone FOF lucky enough to have had a grandmother while she was growing up probably has a world of grandma tales to tell. Here’s one of mine.

My Grandma Rosie was a pistol. If she had lived in the 21st century, she’d be giving Hillary a run for her money. Rosie left no stone unturned when it came to me, from trying to marry me off to helping me with sticky problems.

Grandma1 (more…)

Do I Tell My “Kids” I May Be Dying?

I discovered a lump in my right groin area about five years ago and, after rushing to my internist, dermatologist and for a sonogram, I learned there was a distinct chance I could have lymphoma. Remembering that that’s how Jackie O discovered her cancer, I was already planning my goodbyes.


Except for David and my sisters, I didn’t tell a soul about my impending surgery to excise the suspicious lump. Thank goodness, it was a benign cyst, and home I went, happy I was no longer facing doom. 

When I told my two young-adult “kids” about the surgery, and the joyous outcome, they were peeved that I didn’t tell them about the lump when I first encountered it. I calmly answered: “Why would I needlessly worry you? There was absolutely nothing you could do about it. You’ve got you’re own lives to lead.”

Empathy doesn’t cure lovesickness, homesickness, or cancer. When I was a 17-year-old freshman at Syracuse University, on the verge of a nervous breakdown, my father typed out countless letters trying to make me feel better.  And we spent hours on the phone discussing my hysterical state. Nothing worked.  I had what I’d classify as a mini breakdown, took the matter into my own hands, and went home.

(more…)