The Bliss Blog


Throughout my life, my father used to utter these wise words, “You never know what tomorrow brings,” as his way of honoring the present moment. Although he wouldn’t quite frame it that way, since he was a worrier at times who projected into the future what could go wrong as a way of warding it off, I chose to drink that advice in and slurp the metaphorical juice from the bottom of the glass, not wanting to miss a drop.

A few days ago, Facebook offered up its daily blast from the past memories. Six years ago, on 4th of July weekend, I went to a gathering that my friend Nancy Hesch held in her park-side (Peace Valley Park in Doylestown, PA) home. Friends, fun, food, laughter, and love were served up in abundance. As I looked at the photos of a few friends and myself, I teared up a bit as I realized how dramatically life had changed for all of us in the interceding turn of the calendar pages.



278800_2218729905932_4327743_oOndreah Johnson (standing in front, with longer hair in the first picture) had been diagnosed with breast CA early this year, (which she refers to as ‘C’ as she rides the ‘C train’) and has now completed chemo (which she calls IV meds) and is preparing for a lumpectomy on July 25th. I have ridden the locomotive with her as we find the blessing in the mess, the humor in the haze of unpredictability. We laugh at the most bizarre things.

Phil Garber (dark hair and beard) has been in and out of the hospital for cardiac surgery and kidney issues. I visited him yesterday as he is in the CCU of Cooper Hospital in Camden, NJ and offered Reiki to this man who has been my son’s father figure since Adam was 14 and in need of a supportive male role model after my husband died when he was 11. Phil has been his go-to guy for everything. Adam is now 30 and about to get married in August. The intention is for the two of us to walk him down the aisle together.  He refers to me as his ‘baby mama’.

Janet Berkowitz (light, short hair) is Phil’s wife who has been his stalwart support throughout this many decade health ordeal that Phil has faced. She has had kidney issues and longstanding mental health challenges, as has Phil. Both are peer supports for other consumers and for many years, have run Suicide Anonymous meetings, both in person and on-line. She uses her creative gifts to help her keep on keepin’ on. Both are resilient thrivers.

The fourth member of this crew is Gary Schoenberg who became a dear friend in 1998 when he came from our interfaith spiritual community called Pebble Hill when we were sitting shiva for Michael. He has seen me through all kinds of wild rides and as a psychologist has offered guidance tinged with a deep sense of spirituality. A few weeks ago, I was delighted to have attended his wedding to the beautiful Clare Fisher-Davies and read a passage from The Song of Solomon. She is now a welcome addition to my family of choice.

Six years ago, I had no clue, that a heart attack was waiting in the wings for me, as a result of a way too fast paced lifestyle, lack of self-care, poor sleep habits, limited boundary setting and not honoring my own heart as I did others. On June 12th, I celebrated my third cardiaversary with a FREE HUGS stroll through Philadelphia.

These pictures and the delight we shared on that day is a potent reminder to treasure each day and the people who are gifts in our lives.

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