Saturday, December 24, 2016

Breathe, Balance, and Joy

I'm at my parents' house for the holidays. The change of scenery has been good, especially now when it's hard to not think about what was happening at this time last year. I've been spending lots of time with family and old friends. I've already seen 22 children--cousins' kids, niece and nephews, friends' kids. So many kids!

It's been pouring rain pretty much every day in Southern California, but today the sun is finally out and I took a walk in my parents' backyard. Where Greg and I were married.

This song popped in my head:

Greg used this song when he proposed to me. I haven't listened to it in a while. The lyrics have taken on a different meaning.

So many memories. It's hard to believe it's been a year since he was taken from me.

I do hope he's a peace and not haunting me. I've been at peace myself, overall. No magical thinking for me--at least, not after the first few months.

Here are a few things I'd like to share, ways I've been able to honor Greg this past year.

On what would have been our wedding anniversary, I got a tattoo in his honor:

If you notice the necklace I'm wearing, it was a gift from my friend Rose. It's a necklace in the shape of Iowa, with the geographic coordinates of where Greg is buried.

It was such a touching gift, and I wear the necklace almost every day.

Speaking of touching gifts, my company, Hachette Book Group, who has been so supportive, gave me the gift of a paving stone in Central Park, where Greg and I were engaged, and spent a lot of time together going on walks during the summer he was first getting chemo.

It's on one of the bridges to the reservoir, around 85th Street on the East side. Go see it if you're in Central Park.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I decided to have Greg's ties made into a bereavement quilt. He had a lot of ties! He wore them to teach.

I found Rosie Rhine online, and will say that she does beautiful work:

I'm going to hang it in my new condo. (Did I mention I'm a homeowner now?!)
Right after my closing with my keys!
moving in

Oh, and I ran the NYC marathon! I do still intend to blog about it (I got a little derailed by the election results--more grieving!), but for now, here are a few photos:

Alvina's Team for Greg raised over $26,000 for cancer research! Thank you to all who donated.

Alvina's Team for Greg! Clockwise from left: Kate, Ellen, Kirk, Jackson, Frank, and me.

photo by Mariko Nakatani
(By the way, I'm considering running again next year, so let me know if you're interested in joining my team!)

It's been a challenging, but rewarding, and amazing year. A year filled with lots of tears, and laughter, a few breakdowns, incredible stress, work challenges and triumphs, therapy, new friends, old friends, family, travel, great food and drink, adventure, and love. Despite everything, I do feel that I have a blessed life. I wish Greg were still here to share it with me, but I know he's rooting for me.

When I packed and unpacked, I did unearth many more memories of Greg. He used to leave me notes everywhere. Here is one of my favorites:

My mantras this year were imprinted on my rings. Breathe, Balance, and Joy.

I've ordered three new rings for next year. New year, new mantra.

Wishing you all a happy holiday season, and a peaceful and joyful new year.


yamster said...

Thinking of you (and Greg) with lots of love. Hugs to you and your family!

Diane Mayr said...

Thank you for sharing your journey.

Brigid D'Souza said...

Thank you so much for sharing, what a wonderful post to read on Christmas Eve. We think of you and Greg often. The kids' love for him is strong as ever - they still talk about milkshakes he got for them in jersey city, cake and yogurt they had at your apartment, and Mr Rude! Sending you love and hugs from Indira and Arjun.

Libba Bray said...

Thinking of you today, dear Alvina. What a beautiful, loving post. You are inspiring and amazing. Love you. xo Libba

Cynthia Leitich Smith said...

Many blessings to you, Alvina. Thank you for sharing. Sending you love & light as your journey continues.

karen ball said...

Hi Alvina - an inspiring blog post, as ever. So glad to hear you completed the marathon and that you're thinking of doing another one! (I just completed Couch to 5K, which feels like a massive achievement!) How wonderful of Hachette to gift you the paving stone. My friend has sewn some wonderful quilts for people using cherished fabrics. Here's to a happy 2017, politics notwithstanding.

Carol Baldwin said...

This was a touching post, Alvina. My first husband died young too, also from cancer. Grief is hard work. Thank you for sharing your personal life with us.

Rita said...

Thank you for sharing. Big Hugs.

My Inspiration Garden! said...

Beautiful post, Alvina! Love your tattoo, and all the beautiful links to Greg. What an honour to have a Central Park paving stone!

Sabrina said...

Hi Alvina, you might not remember me, but I grew up in central NJ, and ur parents were friends back when you lived there I found your blog when my 8-year-old daughter was reading The Year of the Dog last weekend (which she loved, and I need to message Grace Lin about that as well), and now she is in the middle of Starry River of the Sky. I'm so glad these books exist -- I would have devoured them when I was a kid! Thank you for bringing all these wonderful books to print.

I am so very sorry for your loss; your posts about your husband are just beautiful. Thank you for sharing; you're wonderful writer.

Take care,