Today, I ate.
I ate with Elisa and Shawna at the Elephant Bar for lunch and had some spinach/artichoke dip and chips, sweet potato fries, a veggie burger, salad, a NON-VIRGIN Bloody Mary, a watermelon/cucumber/mint/gin drink, and a third of a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese icing and ice cream.
I ate with Barb, Natalie, and Pat at Dublin's for dinner and had some fried pickles, grilled chicken smothered in provolone cheese, rice, more NON-VIRGIN Bloody Marys, and a fourth of a piece of red velvet cake with cream cheese icing and raspberry sauce.
Two years ago today, I didn't eat.
Two years ago today, my friend Barb took me to the hospital in Albuquerque where they admitted me and did surgery to remove 19 abdominal lymph nodes to search for the spread of cancer from my uterus. Along with my cousin Rosie, Barb stayed with me through the first post-surgery hours where I whined and worried and catastrophized and cried. Barb left the hospital in the late afternoon to drive back to Los Alamos. She talked on the phone to her son, Ryan, most of the two-hour drive home. Thank God. They talked of many things and nothing - the kind of conversation we all have with numerous people throughout the day - with no conscious awareness that it may be our last.
Soon after 7pm, as Rosie and I were beginning to watch American Idol on the little TV in my hospital room, Barb called with the news that, a couple of hours after she arrived home, she had received a phone call that Ryan had committed suicide.
There was no cancer in my lymph nodes. But, I've watched my friend wade her way through the horror and overwhelming grief of losing her child. I've watched her have to live every parent's worst nightmare.
But 'live it' she has done. A day doesn't go by that Barb doesn't grieve the loss of Ryan. Many days include tears in the midst of the joy and laughter that is Barb's "default" personality.
It's been an honor to walk beside her.
Today, I ate.
I ate with joy.
I ate with camaraderie.
I ate with a relish for life.
I ate with compassion.
I ate with love.
I ate with remembrance.
I ate with hope.
I ate with laughter.
I ate with tears.
I ate with a thankful heart.
I ate with an awareness of what a gift happiness is.
I ate with an awareness of how precious life is.
I have no guilt for my eating today. Just gratitude.
Rest in Peace, Ryan. And Barb, keep on teaching us how to joyfully show up for life.