Friday, December 16, 2011

Love and Loss

Tuesday night my cousin and best friend, Shelly lost her battle with cancer.
She took her last breath while sleeping.
She'd slept most the the last two days before dying.
Shelly with her husband and her daughter, Stacy at Stacy's wedding a few years ago.
She played in the local summer orchestra.
We both played flute in high school but she took it back up in recent years.
This photo was from her high school reunion two years ago.

She was my best friend all my life. I loved her from the first time I was aware of her. 
She being only eight months older than I. 
We knew each other as babies and were always in each other's lives.

She knew all my secrets and I her's. No one else knows what we know about each other.
The last time I saw her was Sunday night, she was out of it but still talking a little.
She said she was hungry and the nurse asked her what she'd like to eat.
She said....confused as she was, "Well, we have never eaten here...could you tell me what you have?"
"We all like Thai food."
The nurse laughed and said there was no thai food. 
Would chicken noodle soup do?
She agreed it would.
But when the soup came after one bite given to her by Tim...her husband,
she refused to eat any more saying that it must be saved for Nita.
She did not want to ruin it for she wanted Nita to have it.
I don't know that she knew I was sitting right there.
I told her I'd already eaten and that it was ok.
"No", she insisted, "save it for Nita". "You know she never has money."
True...lately....I never have money.
I never cried when I was around her this past year...or tried awfully hard not to.
I was just happy to still have her. So I didn't want to waste time while with her...crying.
But that made me cry...tears streamed down my face.
That as sick as she was...she was worried and thinking about me.

I did not know that would be the last time I would see her.
We thought the treatment they were doing would give her a little more time.
But she did not respond and she died on Tuesday night...while I was at work.
I never thought I'd be at work when she died. 
I always thought I would be there but it happened suddenly.
I am grateful that I spent so much time with her this year.
I will always miss her...I will always have things I want to tell her...

The day she died...I'd had a strange feeling all day. 
I'd woken thinking about how bad she had been Sunday night 
and how she would not want to go on like she was.
Her great fear was that she would be out of her mind in the end.
And although she was still lucid...she was slipping, fast.
I was thinking how cruel life has been this past six months...starting with Newman dying and 
it occurred to me that maybe Newman went because he needed to bet there
to meet Shelly.

I used to threaten to bring Newman to Shelly's house and just drop him off for the weekend.
This because she didn't like him very much and I wanted her to spend time with him
so she'd know how wonderful he was.
She was prejudice against him from the very start because he looked like
her ex sister in law who was a red head with blonde eyelashes. 
And yes, he did look like her but I thought him so handsome.

I kept telling her that if she had him for a weekend she would not want to give him back. 
She said if I brought him over, he'd get lost because she wouldn't go chasing after him when he got out the door.
Which he would have.

Once when she was here, he had slipped through her legs and out the gate. 
She and I chased and chased him up and down and in and out the driveways and roads of my 
neighborhood. Finally, a man driving a pickup stopped and helped us catch him.
That day she said...she would never have a dog like that! One that would run away and then 
make you chase him and chase him.

The last time she was here...she sat on the steps of my back deck and Newman came
and put his head in her lap and gazed lovingly up at her.
She conceded that he was pretty sweet.

So all that day...the day she ended up dying in the night...I'd had this feeling that Newman 
had died so that he'd be there for take care of her. As only he could.

I believe in making the most of each Christmas, no matter how bad things might be in your life
because you never know what next Christmas might bring. 
You might be missing loved ones and it will turn out that it was the last Christmas to have them.
So I always advise everyone to make the most of the one now...and not say
oh...I won't do a tree this year because my house is a mess or I'm not in the mood.
It might be the last Christmas you have with someone.

But this year...the Christmas lights around town that I usually find such joy in
seem dim and not so lovely.
They just look cheap and tacky.

All the stuff in the stores seems so trivial. 
I think I may not take my own advise and just skip it this year.
2011 started out ok...Shelly was doing better and we had hope...but this past summer
everything changed and the rest of the year has been such a struggle.
I'll be very glad to see this year end.

I had hoped Shelly would make it through Christmas. 
I think we all expected her to.
But she was so tired....she'd been fighting for so long.
She deserved a rest. dear sweetest I will miss you all the rest of my days.
And I know you miss me told me you would miss me just as much as I miss you.
No one ever loved someone more than I loved you.


birdie blue said...

though the ones we know may leave life, in our memory the love we know will always carry on...


Unknown said...

I am so sorry Nita...I feel the saddness in your words. Thank you for sharing your heart with us are in my thoughts and prayers.much love to you...Sue

Melissa said...

I am so sorry for your loss. You made me smile though when you said Newman looked like her sister-in-law. Hugs from Colorado!

An Urban Cottage said...

You were in my thoughts this morning so I'm not not surprised by this sad news. I was thinking what a wonderful person you are and how you seem to have had quite a period of adversity in your life, very tough challenges.

I know there's nothing I can possibly say to take away your pain but I, along with countless others around the world, send you love that I hope will hold you up.

xo Steve

the cape on the corner said...

nita, i'm so so incrediby sorry for your loss, but i am so so angry, too. damn you, cancer.

this year can't come to a close soon enough for me, and i hope for all of our sakes, 2012 is a drastic improvement.

to make my christmas card out and send it only to my stepmother...not my father's name on the address or on the card...!

Debby said...

I am so sorry Nita. I cried through your post. I lose my cousin and best friend just 10 months ago from of all things H1N1. We never expected that last Christmas would be our last. So many times I can't wait to tell her something or ask her a question. I have finally come to terms that she isn't coming back but I still miss her.
There is a saying that "cousins are your first friends" and I believe that should say BEST as well. I will be thinking of you. (((((HUGS)))))

GARAGE SALE GAL ~ Deb's Earthly Delights said...

I am so very sorry for the loss of your cousin and best friend! I cried while reading this post. Sadness for you and also because of Newman!
May you feel God's arms around you during this time.


She was beautiful­. I`m so sorry.


D.B. said...

Nita, I am so so sorry. Shelly was absolutely gorgeous inside and out - you can see it in your photos. I think you are right, Newman went to be there for her.

I know there is nothing I can say that helps but just know all of us out here love you and support you. You are in my thoughts and prayers as are Shelly's husband and beautiful daughter.


Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

I am so sorry Nita. I can feel your sadness and heartbreak in every word. You and Shelly were blessed to have each other, even if your time together was much too short. Sympathy to your entire family.

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Such a loving post for such a special person in your heart. I will keep you all in prayer for God's Peace at this very difficult time. God Bless. Hugs, marty

La Vie Quotidienne said...

I am so very sorry for your loss. This is such a lovely tribute. I will hold you in my thoughts and prayers.

Vickie H. said...

I love what Birdie Blue said! My heart goes out to you and the rest of your family at this most difficult of times. I am keeping all of you in my prayers! RIP, Shelly. What a tender welcoming she must have received from your dear sweet Newman. They will be waiting for you....

Claudia said...

Dear Nita, I am so very sorry. Words are inadequate in the face of such a loss. Know that I am thinking of you and Shelly and her family and all those who are missing her today. Your devotion to her says so much about you.

May she rest in peace, with Newman by her side.

Razmataz said...

Nita, I am so sorry for your loss and also for her family. It is so incredibly sad to lose someone so vibrant and meaningful to you. My condolences to you.

Carol said...

So sorry for your lost. Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Sharon in Chicago said...

I'm so sorry you've had this double loss this year, but am glad the two of them will have each other to tell tales of their darling Nita.

Olive Cooper said...

Nita, my heart is breaking for you today. You are right everything else is trivial. I will pray for you and her family that somehow, someway you will find comfort. Olive

Tanya from Dans le Townhouse said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. How awful to lose your best friend and family member. My thoughts are with you and your family.

Debra @ Common Ground said...

Nita dear, words are so inadequate for this, Just know that you and your family are in my prayers. Sending hugs your way and praying for God's comfort and peace.
I laughed thru tears about the ex sister-in-law part. xoxo

LeAnn said...

Dear Nita:
It never seems to make sense, she was so beautiful and not very old and from that picture of her laughing, very full of life....I am so very sorry for your great loss. We are dealing with loss here too and it's just been a sad week. This is also the first Christmas without my dad. Please know if I was there, I would give you a huge hug. You are such a kind sweet person and you've endured a lot this past year.

I pray for God to wrap his arms around you.


TiKiMOOSE said...

Unable are the loved to die.
For love is immortality.
~Emily Dickinson

I am so sorry for your loss. You write such beautiful tributes. Shelly would be proud, or maybe embarrassed. May your memories give you strength. You are in my thoughts.


Dawn said...

oh Nita, I thought my week was horrible until I cried reading this post. I pray for your new year to be full of easier times and sweet memories. So sorry, admirably, Dawn Suitcase Vignettes xo It is special to know that you had such a beautiful, loving relationship...a sister's closeness.

Modern Country Lady said...

What a tough time you have had, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Big hugs . Bea

Karen said...

Nita I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my best friend to cancer a year ago and most recently my brother to this cruel disease. I understand how you feel, because I'm feeling it too. My prayers are with you. I hope 2012 will be a happier year. Big hugs.

Crystal Rose Cottage said...

I am so sorry Nita...she was such a pretty girl and she was your best friend. My hear aches for you. I feel that Newman is with her too and they are both there for you!~Hugs, Patti

Lou Cinda @ Tattered Hydrangeas said...

Nita, I am so sorry for the loss of your best friend and touch have had a rotten year. But I think you are right....Newman is there and waiting for her....he will show her around and she will take care of him until you get there...

God Bless you...

Lou Cinda

24 Corners said...

Oh Nita, I'm so sorry. We lost someone very recently who should have lived for many more sweet sis-in-law, she was very young, and it was heartbreaking. But I have to say...she is almost with me more now than when she was alive...I think of her and feel her presence, her beautiful spirit constantly...and I know it will be the same for you with your Shelly.
You were such a blessing to her...the truest friend one could ever hope to be or have, and I wish you all the peace of good memories and warm thoughts about her, and also loving strength for the times when you're feeling sad.
I'm sure Newman has his head in her lap this very moment.
Much love,

Debbiedoo's blogging and blabbing said...

Nita I am so sad for you and your family right now. I think you are right, Newman is waiting for her, what a sweet thought to keep in mind at this time. XO

Mary MG said...

Yes, I'm sure Shelly and Newman are together. Both are missing their best friend Nita, knowing that she misses them very much also. You are very lucky to have had two wonderful best friends in your life. Love doesn't disappear when one dies, it is forever in the heart.
My thoughts are with you at this very difficult time. Please take care of yourself.

Lynn said...

I so sorry to hear of Shelly's passing. I agree with you that Newman went ahead and waited at the Rainbow Bridge for her so she would have someone to cross with. Know that you are thought of often.

Amy @MaisonDecor said...

Nita, I am very sorry to hear that Shelly passed away. I know how hard it will be for you getting through life without her. She was your constant and true friend. You were lucky to have each other, and it is tragic that she had to get such an awful disease like cancer. Such suffering. That was such a heart wrenching story and sweet at the same time of your last time spent with Shelly. I wish you peace and rest and comfort in the days ahead, when you think of her you can bet that she and Newman want you to know they are together.

NanaDiana said...

Oh Nita- You write so beautifully from your heart. I think you're right- I think Newman went ahead to greet Shelly-to make his way down the path to meet her...and then to RACE ahead to take her to the place where she is supposed to be. God bless you, Nita. You know I am a newer reader/commentor to your blog- but know that my heart aches for you- You are a special woman. That is why Shelly was in YOUR life- because two special people deserve each other. Blessings- Diana

Lisa said...

Oh Nita, I am just so very sorry. You have had such struggles in the last several months. I am praying hard for you girl. Sending love and hugs,

the gardener's cottage said...

dearest nita,

i am so sad for your loss and yet happy for the love that you had. the friendship you speak of is so incredibly special and how fortunate you are that you had her in your life. you, yourself are such a special person and shelly obviously knew this too. her thoughts for you at the end of her life just brought tears to my eyes.
what an incredible friend and friendship you had. this is such a hard time of the year to deal with loss, and i speak only of my own experience here. when things are going well, christmas can be magical but when they are not, well christmas can be downright depressing. but you make a good point of carrying on...even through grief. i will count my blessings and make it as nice as i can around here. thank you for that. and i will send my prayers for you and shelly's family. xo janet

red.neck chic said...

i have no words of wisdom or kind things to say that might lessen your grief...
but i will sit and cry with you.

sending you my thoughts and prayers. i hope your heart finds some comfort.


Linda in AZ * said...

*** I've never been here before, and altho I am very saddened, and cried while reading your incredibly loving story, I am glad I could be here to tell you how very, very sorry I am at both of your losses, and that I truly, truly DO feel your pain, believe me... Please know He is watching over you righ tnow, ready for you to ask Him to help you in understanding, & acceptance of, this very difficult hand you've been dealt. You and your cousin, and I'm sure your precious, beloved cutie pie of a dog, were VERY BLESSED to LOVE EACH OTHER SOOOO MUCH... How sad that OTHERS don't often get this in their lives...

Most warmly and sincerely,
Linda in AZ *

Annette said...

Dear Nite, your life has been filled with sadness these past few months and now the awful loss of Shelly, but what a wonderful bond you two shared, oh so very special. I'm sure Newman is curled up in her lap and they're both resting peacefully now.

vanessa said...

I am so sorry for your losses this year. Like you 2011 has been a difficult year. I am ready for a new year full of new hopes and dreams. Sending thoughts and blessings to you and your loved ones.

sissie said...

I'm so sorry that you have lost your dear and close friend. It sounds as though she fought a tough battle and you were there to support her in everyway. I know you will miss her always.

Sending you kind thoughts and blessings.


fixitfaerie said...

I'm so sorry for your losses. She is smiling down on you and her family. Please know that she is whole again, and that you will all be together again.
Blessings to you and the family

Elaine @ Sunny Simple Life said...

Oh Nita I am so sorry for the loss. You have had a rough year. I know you had to be dreading this day and I am so sorry to hear it has come. Hang in there.

Angeline said...

Much love to you and your beautiful Shelly.

oldblackcatboo said...

I'm searching but I can't find the words...

Even when you try to prepare yourself, we still hope for a miracle and are stunned by such a senseless loss.
I read this post, over and over. I can't believe this. My heart hurts SO much for you.
and at the same time, I am feeling anger that life is being so cruel to you. How much horrible crap is a person expected to bear?! Thank God this awful year is almost behind us. You sound strong in this post even though your heart is broken and I know how heavy the grief must be. Please know that I am here for you. I don't know what schedule you are working but please call me if you need someone to rage and cry to. Hang on my friend, cherish the happy memories and take comfort that Newman is with her. I understand too well how the Holidays can be so wonderful and magical and yet so sad and lonely. But you are not alone, you have so many people that care about you, love you and worry about you.
In a couple of weeks this stinking year will be gone and the New Year will be here. I'm sure that Shelly will be watching over you and making sure things eventually work out so that you have peace and happiness and new adventures. She's your angel now and she would want you to be happy again.
please remember that TRULY, I'm here for you. XOXO - Cindi

pogonip said...

I'm so sorry for you and your family, Nita. I know the feeling that the holiday glee around you seems so inappropriate when you are feeling loss instead of joy. Somehow the Christmas magic overtakes me in spite of my sorrows and I feel the love so much more than the loss. Wishing you all much peace and happy memories as you try to make it through.

Katie said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Nita. You wrote a beautiful tribute to Shelly. I pray that God gives you peace and comfort.

Donna W said...

Hi Nita,
I’m so sorry for your loss. Shelly fought a noble fight against a cruel enemy. You were a good and true friend standing by her side and keeping up a brave front to help make her last days happier.

How do we know dogs go to Heaven? It wouldn’t be Heaven without dogs!

I found what you wrote about Newman greeting Shelly in Heaven very interesting. When my grandmother passed away, I was sure my beloved old dog Whitney and my Grandfather were waiting for her there. I could picture this and it really comforted me. I had similar thoughts when my uncle died last spring. Is it possible that our fur babies take care of us in death as in life?
You and Shelly were lucky to have each other, even though the time was way too short. Grieve for her but don’t remember her as her was in the hospital. Remember her as she was in the prime of life. This way she lives in your heart forever.

BettyJean @ Shabby Tea Party said...

Nita, so so sorry for your loss. Shelly was such a wonderful beautiful part of your life, it's always so hard when those we love go on ahead and we must wait our turn. I know as sad as you are that she is gone, that that is how happy you are for her, that she is free from disease and suffering. Keep her alive in your memory and be content knowing she is not gone forever, but watches over you, waiting as well, for the day you are reunited. Warm Hugs,

Miriam said...

I am so sorry for your loss, but so glad you experienced such an amazing friendship. I know we will see our loved ones again, and what better time is there to remember that than at Christmas; when we celebrate the birth and life of Him who made it all possible. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Sonia said...

What a beautiful post about a beautiful sorry for your loss of such a wonderful person in your life.
So glad I got to meet you today! Hoping your season will be filled with love and blessings.
Miss Bloomers

Amy said...

Nita, I am so so sorry for your loss my heart aches for you. She is with you in spirit and so is Newman. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Denise at PinkPostcard. said...

this has really been a rough year for you, Nita! I'm sorry you lost your dearest friend and cousin. Thanks for letting us know her a little in your stories here.

Linda Hartong said...

My heart breaks for your loss. You were truly blessed to have had such a dear friend. Few of us have had such a deep friendship.

Funky Junk Interiors said...

I'm so very sorry for your incredible loss, Nita. I'm glad you shared your special friend with us so we could enjoy her too.


Finding Home said...

I am so sorry for your loss and thank you for sharing your power words with us. Blessing to you all

curly texan said...

Your tribute to Shelly touched me and makes a difference. I'm so sorry for your loss and yes dogs do watch over and protect. Hugs.

Shannon@FoxHollowCottage said...

Oh Nita, I am so very sorry! Thinking of you...

Kristal said...

Oh Nita, I had seen on FB that you needed to be uplifted but had no idea why. Now I am reading this and crying too!! I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. I can't even begin to imagine how you must feel. My prayers are with you.


Lavendrfem said...

Such a beautiful tribute of love. I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost my Mom this past July, so I do understand. You are not alone.

Kim said...

Dear Nita,
I am so sorry for your loss. I feel as you do this Christmas that it has lost it lustre. My cousin's husband lost his 7 year battle with cancer just a few weeks ago. Then my uncle died quite suddenly last Saturday. I am going to his funeral today. I lost my dear grandmother on Christmas day 22 years ago. She was my mentor and my best friend and I will always miss her no matter how many years go by.
My heart goes out to you. Keep your precious memories close.

Letters from the Shore

Cindy said...

I am SO sorry to hear that you have suffered another loss. My heart goes out to you, sweet lady.
Love and big hugs, Cindy

Kathy said...

Nita, through this very sad post I still found comfort. What an awesome connection between you two. To have someone you could trust unconditionally must be awesome. How her beautiful daughter will need all your love and support.

LuvWheaties said...

My condolences on this tremendous loss. Shelly is a beautiful woman, and it sounds like you will have treasured memories. So sorry you are experiencing another loss. Gentle hugs.

A Gracious Home said...

I'm sorry about your friend. This is a beautiful tribute to her life. Doylene

DreamgirlLisa said...

Oh, Nita, I am so very sorry. I can't imagine how heartbroken you are feeling. Your post is a beautiful tribute to her. Cherish all the wonderful memories you have with her.
You are in my thoughts, ((hugs)) & Love, Lisa

Andrea | said...

Nita, I'm so sorry for your loss. Holding you in my thoughts.


Vicki V @ said...

Nita, it is never easy to lose someone you love, but it's especially difficult at Christmas. I am so sorry for your loss and will be praying that God comforts you in your sorrow. What a loving person you are!

Tammy@Beatrice Banks said...

I dreaded reading this post when I saw the title. But you have a way of putting things into perspective and touching the heart. Shelly must have been the same kind of soul. How sad that you have lost your best friend. I've been in bed with the flu all week and haven't been on the computer much. I felt an urge to come visit your blog tonight. I never, ever get on here past midnight and certainly not on the weekends. So now I know why. Special prayers going up for you now my sweet friend.

janetmic said...

Dear Nita,
I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Everyone should have a relationship with someone as dear as you had with your cousin Shelly. You put things in perspective in such a touching way. My Christmas will be changed this year and always because of your words. Take care...

Denise said...

Nita, I am so so sorry to hear about you loosing your best friend and cousin. Your post is a wonderful trubute to what a beautiful person she was. I do truly believe that Newman was right there, waiting for her. I wish there was something more to say. I know that there is no comfort for you right now. I hope you have a tolerable Christmas. Give the rest of your fur babies lots of hugs and kisses. Sometimes they're the best therapy of all.


A Vintage Girl said...

Sincere condolences to you on the loss of your beautiful cousin. Take solace in the ones you love.

Coloradolady said...

Nita, I think about Newman all the time. I do believe he was there to greet your dear friend. What a very hard year you have had. I am so so sorry for all the heartache. How wonderful for them they had you in their lives. Remember it is not is just so long for now!! They are still with you in spirit. Blessing to you this holiday season. I keep you in my heart and thoughts.

Jill Dodson said...

So, so sorry Nita. Experiences like this are beyond hard to cope with. Hoping time and tenderness will help you through. And of course thoughts and prayers are heading your way.

Tardevil said...

So very sorry for your loss, especially at Christmas. She was a beautiful lady! But, you gave good advice. You have to keep living. One thing I always remember when things are going bad is that they always get better...eventually. Hang in there! Will be thinking of you and her family! Merry Christmas!

CathySchmathy said...

What a terribly difficult year you have had! I am very sorry for your loss.

Cottage and Broome said...

Nita, So sorry to read your beloved cousin Shelly lost her battle with cancer. How lucky you both were to have such a loving bond. Will be keeping you and Shelly's family in my thoughts and prayers, Laura

Andrea at Opulent Cottage said...

Dear sweet Nita, I am so very sorry for your loss. Your tribute to Shelly is so beautiful. You have had more than your share of loss this year, and I know this coming year will be so much better for you. I hope it brings you peace to know how many of us are holding you close in our hearts right now.
xo, Andrea

KC Sheperd said...

Nita, I love the fact that Newman is up there taking care of her..and reminding her of you and all the fun things you did together. You know Newman will still be keeping her on her toes! And what a sweet thought for him to go on ahead, check things out, and get it ready for her. I love that. You are such a great person that has deserved none of this..but through trials comes grace, and I know 2012 is going to be such a better year for you. You know I'm always here if you need me.. XXOO

Debbie@Debbie-Dabble and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...


I can only imagine the sense of loss you are felling right now. It has been a bad last half of this year for you, hasn't it?
I am so sorry for your recent losses.
A good friend of mine just passed away the first week of Dec. and it has left me feeling so drained.
I truly do hope 2012 will be a better year for you. You were very lucky to have had such a wonderful cousin and fried in your life.

Many Hugs,

Anonymous said...

It's been 10 years today since my brother died and I lost the only person to remember our childhood from the same viewpoint. Most days are okay and I'm blessed with gorgeous, smart nieces; and lucky to spend time with them often.

But I remember so well what it was like when his loss was fresh and new. (I was at work too - across the country and too far to be home in time.) So, I send you virtual hugs and know the Weenies will give you puppy snuggles for comfort. And it won't be enough. I wish it could be more. I wish you laughter and joy again. I hope 2012 will be full of unexpected blessings for you.


White Door Cream Puff said...

Nita, we had been praying for your cousin and so sorry to hear of the loss your family is going through. You will be in our hearts, thoughts, and prayers oxox

Kozy-D said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. <3

Patty said...

I am so sorry....I will say a prayer for you and for Shelly's family.

Anonymous said...

I'm heartbroken for you, and I'll keep you in my prayers. We all wish there was something, anything, we could do to ease your pain. We'll be here if you want to talk . . . and when you don't. Hugs to you, my dear. - - HollyM

Priscilla said...

So sorry to hear that Shelly has passed. You were blest to have such a wonderful relationship in your life and I know that through the tears you will enjoy and be grateful for all your loving memories of Shelly.

mississippi artist said...

You poor thing, you have been through so much this year, I know there is a reason for everything but it is hard to see that reason sometimes. Praying that you will have the peace that passes all understanding...

Erin said...

so sorry to hear about losing your best friend cousin. My condolences to your family during this tough time. I'm sure, like you said, she's probably happy to not be fighting any more and to be resting up in heaven with Newman

Laurie said...

I am so sorry to hear about your cousin, your best friend. You have had a tough time of it lately. I, too, could toss 2011 aside and never think of it again. I liked your advice about enjoying the Christmas season because the future can be uncertain. Here's to a better new year for you, Nita! Your blog touches so many people...

Blogging tips