Wednesday March 25, 2015

I am listening to Stephen Sondheim tunes as I write this morning. Hearing stories told musically soothes me. I think it would be fun to write a musical. Maybe in my next life...

The weather here in MN has put a damper on the golf season. 8 inches of snow on Monday meant school was canceled. Pretty typical that we got a tease of spring and then got dumped on. Living in Minnesota often requires patience and resilience.

Dan has escaped this round of snow as he is off on a golf outing with buddies down south. Glad he got his turn away.

Erin is up next. She leaves tomorrow for birthday cruise version 2.0. Erin gets to fly unaccompanied from Minneapolis to Miami tomorrow and Grandma and Papa Harkins will meet her there. They'll get a day on South Beach, and then board the cruise ship Friday afternoon for a trip to the Bahamas.

Papa is learning to live with the effects of his stroke - loss of vision and fatigue. But, he's excited to get to finish what they started with Erin last December. Different port, different cruise line, but Erin will get her wish to swim with the dolphins. And, they'll get this 13th birthday trip in just in the nick of time. Erin turns 14 April 10th.

So, Erin and Dan will be passing each other in the air tomorrow. Travel is something we all love, and I'm determined to do as much of it as we can while we can.

We continue to try and live in each moment, good or bad. Life is different without Shannon. I still deal with that every day.  I always will. Losing her changed the way I look at the world and made me focus on different things than I worried about before. It's still hard to accept that I am living a fuller life in some ways because of the loss of Shannon. I guess maybe you can't have that focus on what's really important until you are reminded of what it feels like to lose it.

There has been a series over the past few years on Minnesota Public Radio interviewing Bruce Kramer, a college dean who was diagnosed with ALS. He chose to share his journey publicly and I felt a real kinship to that, obviously. He did interviews with reporter Cathy Wurzer on an almost monthly basis and wrote a blog and a memoir titled "We Know How This Ends".  Bruce passed away on Monday.

Following his journey was just another reminder to enjoy what we have and stay present. Bruce recognized that no one knows "how long" but we can try to improve "how well" we live. I'm trying, every single day. Bruce offered these thoughts on how to live while dying:

"It isn't enough to work. It isn't enough to love my family. It isn't enough to connect with friends. It needs to be done with passion, abandon, love and light. There is no time to hold grudges, be artful and not forgive.  There is no time for games. There really are places to go, people to see and things to do, and time is wasting."