I have been keeping very busy doing so many things. I’ve received so many emails, comments, and texts from people, most of whom I don’t know, thanking me for helping the volunteer fire departments. I want to thank everyone for making time in their busy schedules to let me know how my actions have touched them, and what it has meant to them. I’m realizing from reading all these messages, that there are so many ways that people are affected. Someone held a garage sale to benefit her local fire department, a firefighters mother sent me a touching note of thanks, others let me know that I have inspired them, or that they are realizing how precious life is and to be more grateful for the people and things in their life. Others said they and their family read my stories together and they laugh and cry reading the stories. I am so grateful and thankful to everyone who is letting me know how their lives are touched by my story. On my website there is a Contact button so anyone wishing to can contact me by email or regular mail.
As I wrote in a previous story, the fire chiefs and I are totally surprised that Fire Rescue 1 and other fire service related agencies and businesses put the story on their Facebook pages and websites, and as word spread, other types of businesses did too. That, along with all the shares from people reading the stories has our story going not only national, but also being sent to other parts of the world. When the fire chiefs, a few friends, and I discussed going public with our story, we had no idea that it would reach and touch as many people as it has. We are amazed, and we hope it makes an impact in bringing awareness to the needs not only of the volunteer fire departments, but to so many small and/or privately owned charitable organizations. Some of my friends who are single said this is giving them food for thought. They didn’t know what to do with their money when their time comes, and now they have some ideas what to do and how they want to help others, and leave a legacy.
On Friday night, several of the city clerks in Broward County, that I knew when I was working, met at one of my city clerk friends house and we had a covered dish dinner. It was really fun getting together and catching up on life since I had not seen them since I retired two years ago. They asked about my life the past two years, my travels, and my health. I think it helped them to understand what I’ve been going through and the fun I had traveling around the country. They are all so supportive of what I’m doing, and because they work for local governments, they realize the impact the donations are making to the organizations I am helping. Of course, I told them about my the time I spend at Arnold’s Wildlife Center and holding Katie the baby marmoset. There were a few more in attendance, but they left before we decided to take a picture.
The door in my bedroom is white and plain. As I’ve been laying in bed resting, I realized I didn’t want to look at the blank white door. So, I went and bought some turquoise poster board, multi-colored ribbon, stickers, and other craft supplies. I invited two friends over last week and we spent several hours making a collage on the three poster boards that we taped together. We arranged photographs I have of friends and animals, fire department personnel, poems, and other items I’ve collected or recently received. It was so much fun. It’s a work in progress and as I acquire more pictures, cards, and other things that mean something to me, they are added to the posters. I really enjoy looking at it when I’m in my bedroom, especially when I have to be in bed relaxing. Seeing all of the photos and other items brings back memories of friendship, happy times, and even some funny times. Now, as I’m out and about I stop by craft stores and buy more stickers and other things to use to decorate the poster, or to use to attach the pictures. I added a photo album for my door poster, as it evolves, I will periodically add pictures to that album.
I’ve also started a jig saw puzzle that is a map of the United States. I thought it would be fun for me and my friends to do when they come visit. Whenever someone works on the puzzle, it’s an opportunity for any of us to discuss trips we’ve taken, places we have visited, or want to visit. It could be a great conversation piece.
A small dove made her nest on top of a post outside my front door. I talk to her whenever I go in or out of my apartment. I’ve left some pieces of bread for her, but it doesn’t seem that she leaves the nest. I guess in a while, I might see at least one baby bird.
As for my health condition, it feels like it’s getting worse. The pain is changing and becoming more severe, and it’s in different places. I am still not wanting to eat very often, I look at the clock and tell myself it’s time to eat. I very rarely get hungry, and when I do eat, I am not eating as much as I did previously. We all know that our time here is up to God. I read Richard Bach’s book Illusions many years ago. There is a line in the book I like, it says something to the effect: Here is a test to find out if your mission on Earth is accomplished… If you’re still alive it isn’t. I guess my mission is not finished yet, but I think it’s getting closer to completion. I realized the other day that every day we are alive, we are closer to dying. It doesn’t matter who we are, what we do, or how we live. It happens to everyone at some time. Some people get to live long lives, others have shorter ones. We each have to choose how we want to live the life we have, what’s important to us, and what we want to do with the time we have been given every day.
I’m so very blessed. I have so many friends, and now fire chiefs and firefighters that are friends. They all let me know that they are here for me no matter what my need. Even people that don’t know me have sent me messages that if I need anything to let them know, just because my story has touched them in some way. All I have to do is ask, which is not easy for me. Many years ago, when my friend Lois was alive, we were discussing helping others and I said I like to be the person on the giving side, not the receiving side. She then asked me what it feels like to help and do for others. I said it feels good, that I like helping others and doing things for them. She replied that if I don’t let others help me and do for me, then I am depriving them of feeling good about helping someone. That made a lot of sense to me. It doesn’t mean that it’s a lot easier to be on the receiving side, but, when I remember her words it helps me understand why others want to help me. They want to give back what’s so freely been given to them, whether by me or someone else. It’s paying kindness forward. It’s like I’ve told others over the years, what we put into the Universe comes back to us. What goes around, comes around.
So, as I am continuing on this journey through life, I will do the next thing that comes my way. I would never have guessed a month or so ago that this is the path my life would be taking. But I have to be honest and let you know that it’s given my life a new energy and purpose. I’ve met people and I have contact with people I would have not met otherwise, and new experiences that would not have happened otherwise. I know my life is richer because our lives have touched in this special way and we have shared experiences. In addition, the relationships I have with my friends has grown stronger and richer because we have been sharing this new journey together and we see the impact it has had on not only our lives, but others that have been sharing how our story. Thank you everyone for being a part of the story of all of our lives. If you are reading this, you are a part of our story in some way. Thank you.