Please don't think that this list is exhaustive or all-inclusive by any means, but just some highlights of my gratitude over the past year...and they are not in order of importance, just how my chemo-addled brain remembers them.
I thought that I'd start it off by expressing my gratitude for friends far and wide, in every meaning of the word (friend, neighbor, coworker, etc.) for these gestures of friendship:
- I recently came across the mountain of cards and letters I received throughout this process. And I wish I'd had more time to read through them again and again (I was supposed to be cleaning and packing for vacation). There were funny ones, touching ones, notes written from the heart...all of them arrived at just the right moment to keep me going. Seriously, if you know someone going through any kind of health crisis, drop them a card, or two, or ten, in the mail. It does make a difference. Fighting cancer is an isolating experience in many ways, and even a quick note can bridge that gap and make a person feel loved.
- My librarian and publisher friends far and wide that kept me in goody boxes and books. I've heard rumors of an organized roster of who took care of me when, and I'm sure I know who was in charge, but these meant the world to me during my darkest days of chemo.
- Anyone who contributed to the angel tree or pumpkins on my porch (see previous posts on each of those events). Even though we don't do Christmas decorations in the Yusko household, I'm considering breaking out a tree just so I can hang the angels up again this year...and every year hereafter.
- Someone, or several someones, ordered me subscriptions to three or four different magazines (gratefully not food-related ones). A much-needed and appreciated distraction.
- Blankets, hats, and scarves made and/or given with love.
- Friends who motivated me to get out of the house by promising me lunch, or coffee, or drinks. And the friends who helped me get out of the house and get walking. Helping me just forget about being at the hospital every other day and allowing me to pretend to be normal for a little while. Definitely helped me keep my sanity some days! And for those that were there to raise a drink to small victories.
- Discovering friends that have been through and survived major illnesses of their own, who can offer support when no one else can. Because no one else really understands.
- Think what you want about Facebook, it has been a godsend during this process. No where else can you get immediate feedback in the form of: messages of support, commiseration to your crappy day, words of wisdom, and posts to make you laugh. You don't actually get tired of any of these things. Facebook is also good for allowing friends from far and wide, new and old, to connect. It's been great to be the recipient of this love.
Now, before you think I've forgotten all the other things that people did for us, never fear. I decided to split this post into two parts, so you'll have to stay tuned tomorrow for more...