Tag Archives: Korea

Facing the Inevitable


This is not a happy post, so if that’s what you came for today, I’m sorry to disappoint you.

No, this post is about my friend Janet, the one who has cancer, the one who has kept a peaceful demeanor throughout all the demeaning therapy – from chemo to radiation to not being able to continue at times because of the nausea and not being able to take any medicine for the nausea because she’s allergic to most of them.

It’s about how I called her today and she told me that she’s getting ready to go on hospice and doesn’t think she’ll live to see her next birthday (at the beginning of November this year).  I haven’t seen her since last year, due to my own illness. I told her I’d come down if she needs me, but she said no, she didn’t want to put that kind of liability on me or anyone. I asked, “Well, couldn’t I come to your house so you can stay there?”

“No,” she said. “Hospice has changed. I don’t have any family members, so I can’t have someone here. I have some decisions to make now,” she continued.

This is the woman who gave me a place to live for three years after I got back from teaching in Korea the first time. This is the woman who helped me buy a car, a computer and a comfortable mattress. I’m happy to say I did pay her back eventually.

I don’t want to not be able to call her number and not find her at the other end of the phone. I don’t want to think I may not get to see her again after all. I don’t want to face the inevitable happening of her death.

I have a friend up here in South Carolina. I called her a couple of weeks ago, only to find out that she had not only had another stroke, but she had a heart attack at the same time and they didn’t know if she was going to make it. Fortunately, she did make it. “But I’m feeling a little weak,” she told me today.

Being so ill for the last many months, I’ve had a lot of time to think about many different things, about what’s important and what’s not. I’ve thought about my own death and wondered what I would do if I knew approximately how long I had left to live. Here is the little list I came up with.

1. I would smile more and complain less.

2. I would make sure I told everyone I love how much I love them.

3. I would not worry about how much I weigh.

4. I would find new homes for some of my favorite things that my daughter and grandson don’t want.

5. I would definitely find a new and loving home for my precious kitties.

6. I would visit all my dearest friends and family one last time.

7. I would finish my book. Maybe I’d better get started on this one, what do you think?

8. I would go to help at the soup kitchen more.

9. I would leave all my papers for my daughter to go through.

and 10. I would thank God every day for all I have.

I know I can’t stop Janet’s death. I also know I need to continue LOSING weight in order for me to have a longer life! But some things I can do now, like smiling more and complaining less.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope that if you’ve lost someone recently, you know he or she is in a better place, just waiting to say, “Hello,” again one day.

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What Eating Chinese Food, Gardening and Fishing Have in Common


Veggies from my 2010 garden

I found a great new Chinese/Japanese place to eat yesterday. I’d driven past it a million times, but something always kept me from stopping. Since my favorite soup/salad restaurant in the same area closed down, I thought it was time to try the Fuji Steakhouse in Spartanburg, SC.

If I had a fancy cell phone with all the whistles and bells, or if I’d thought to bring my camera, I’d be showing a picture of the most amazing plate of food I ordered. It was tofu with veggies and fried rice. Huge. Really. Beyond delicious as well.

While I was eating and reading a new book by Janet Evanovich I found at the dollar store, something occurred to me. I always eat Asian food with chopsticks. After two years in Korea and a love of far Eastern cuisine my whole life, I consider it almost a sin to eat these delicacies with a fork! As a matter of fact, I have also taught tons of people to eat with chopsticks in under two minutes. However, I digress.

What came into my thoughts was that you have to pay attention to eat this food with chopsticks. I don’t mean shoveling it in your mouth without thinking as you do when you’re eating with a fork. I mean you REALLY have to pay attention. If you don’t, you’ll not only not be able to eat anything, but you also may wind up with food all over the table and your clothes if you don’t. Real hand to mouth contact, so to speak.

I’d been working in my yard for a good part of the morning before I went out in search of the perfect meal or perfect deal. I found a pretty perfect deal, but I decided to wait.

When I’m working in the garden or fishing, I lose track of time. I am fully engaged in those particular hobbies of mine, just as I am paying exact attention when I eat Chinese food.

The Buddhists call it “mindfulness.” The new-agers call it “meditation.” Many Christians call it “prayer. It is being fully in the moment. It represents a time when we can concentrate profoundly on what we are doing, without letting the stress of our everyday lives get to us.

For me, I don’t think about what I’m going to eat, wear or if my house needs repairs. I forget painful memories, don’t worry about anyone else and feel joy and peace in every part of my being.

It is my way of communing with God, nature and my inner self. I sometimes get great revelations when I do so. I sometimes don’t.

I did forget for a moment yesterday and spilled a little food on my bright turquoise peasant shirt. I almost tripped and fell while walking down my uneven pathway while gardening today.

But I always catch fish. Come to think of it, it’s that time of year, and I need to go fishing.

One year I had the extreme pleasure of living in the mountains of Northern California. I went fishing every day there wasn’t snow on the ground. I caught tons of rainbow trout, my favorite fish. I felt awe at watching a family of ducks grow up. seeing the leaves turn their brilliant colors and looking at the reflection of the trees in the crisp, clean and cool water. That was one of the most painful years of my lives in other respects, but the fishing made the pain go away.

I hope you have hobbies or habits that do the same for you.

What will you be mindful of today?

Hey, and if you’ve read this far, how about leaving a comment! I’d surely appreciate it.

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