Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Candace’s Christmas card

Can I share something not so merry here?  I don’t want to sound like a Dougie Downer, especially around the holidays, but this is such a good reminder—to myself, at least—to appreciate my home, my health, the people in my life—everything.

This past Sunday I was putting out my meager holiday decorations and looking at this Christmas card from last year.

For as long as I can remember, after Christmas is over and I’m packing up my ceramic tree and the like, I keep 1 or 2 Christmas cards for next year.  Sort of like “holiday bait” to lure in those new cards next Christmas.  Am I a weirdo?

Anyway, in 2020 I chose my friend Erin’s “Star Wars Christmas” card.  And then last year, it was my friend Candace’s card seen here.

I chose Candace’s card because I liked it’s old school vibe—plus I appreciated the good wishes inside.  Both of us had recently been in the hospital for kidney-related issues, mine was two stones blocking my right kidney, a large & small. 

Candace’s would turn out to be far more serious.  Both of her kidneys would shut down a month later, and she’d die in early April—a week before her 60th birthday.

(I shared her obituary here.)

Besides being heartbroken (I’ve known & loved Candace for 22 years), I could not believe her bad fortune.  Just a few months before, Candace and her husband John were visiting relatives and stumbled upon a house for sale.  They weren’t even looking for a new home, they lived in a rowhouse in the city for 37 years. 

But her husband had just retired, and Candace was planning to retire in the summer of 2022, and they figured this house in the suburbs would be a nice place to retire to.  They put in an offer and got it. 

Realtor.com even posted an article about them, finding your retirement home when you’re not even looking.  Candace got to live in it for a couple months, at least.

    

It really was beautiful inside, with a big sun porch in the back

Anyway, the reason I’m sharing this isn’t just because I saved Candace’s card from last Christmas, but because recently her husband John died too.  He was 68 years old, took a bad fall in their house and then got progressively worse. 

He became paralyzed within a month, then died several weeks ago, in October.  Here is John’s obituary.

   

While I wasn’t as close to John as I was Candace—she was a liberal like myself, John wasn’t—he made a point of reading my blog and sent me feedback whenever I posted a food blog.  

In fact, every time Candace made chicken parmesan (from a recipe on my blog) he would email me.  Apache, we’re having your chicken parm tonight. 

And now, he’s gone too.  It just amazes me, what can change in a year.  They had no children, so I don’t have a clue what will happen to their home.  The last I checked a week ago, it hasn’t gone up for sale yet. 

All I know is, a year ago they were here and Candace was wishing a healthy 2022 for us all.  I miss them both, yet feeling more thankful than I’ve felt in a long time.  Thanks for letting me share.

          

34 comments:

  1. That card certainly is a treasure, Doug. Candace sounded like a wonderful and caring friend. Such a change in only one year. Life is so tenuous and precious. I really like the bungalow that they got to spend too little time in. A good reminder to be very careful not to fall. I used to think my sister was unduly careful in watching where she placed each step. Sure have changed my view on that!

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    1. Thank you Florence, as always you are kind and gracious. I don't want to sound corny but I'm very glad for your friendship. And you're right, the older we get these falls can be the worst and I was just reminded of your recent rooftop adventures! You be careful! ♥️

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  2. I checked that link and don't know how I missed that post. She was such a special person in your life and she passed so young. And now her husband is gone too. I can see why that card is special to you. Hope the warmth of the memories out shines the pain of their loss.

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    1. Thanks Patti--I hope I didn't leave the wrong impression here, I am not so much mourning their loss at this point.. I'm just very glad for being here still and all that I have. Including friendships like yours. :^) Hope that didn't sound too wishy-washy!

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  3. Sad but poignant story. As we get older we begin to lose friends and family . . . and we feel the pain. Sorry for your loss, esp. one so young.

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    1. Thanks for commenting Tom. It is a sad fact about getting older, that's for sure. At the same time, I am learning to appreciate things more.

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  4. Yes, that card certainly is something to treasure. As we reach a certain age, we start losing peers, which can be quite scary and depressing. I used to keep all of my old Christmas cards! I lost my favorite cousin two years ago to kidney failure ( she had two failed transplants). We both made quilts and after she passed, her husband sent me a box of fabric scraps that she wanted me to have. That is the most special gift I have ever received. We treasure the past, but keep moving into the future. Joyce

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    1. Joyce, I sure am sorry for your cousin (my gosh, again with the kidney failure) but this still such a caring read. Very nice that her husband took the time to pass on those fabrics... Thank you for sharing.

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  5. Life is full of unknowns. Losing our friends is tough. I've decided to cherish each and every friend because we just do not know what to expect next. Candace and John sound like good friends and lovely people. RIP Candace and John.

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  6. As I get older, I find that your post is true. Every year, at Christmas, there is someone no longer with us. Nice tribute to old friends.

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    1. Thanks Debby... I'm just trying to make these losses a positive thing. I need to stop taking so much for granted.

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  7. Oh Doug, so much sadness in one year! A sad reminder to remember to appreciate the friends and family we have. Sending hugs to you Doug!❤️❤️❤️

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    1. Thank you Robin! What you said is exactly right--how I am taking it at least--I'm especially grateful to know & care about good people like yourself. You're a real friend. :^)

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  8. This has been one of the worst years ever for losing colleagues/friends and many of them have been sudden and shocking. That is a beautiful card that Candace sent you and it must feel weird and unsettling that she's no longer around. :(

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    1. Thank you Margaret, I always appreciate your comments. Weird and unsettling is absolutely right. I know you've had your share of losses too and I am sorry for that. With each day I am more appreciative of what I have. πŸ™‚

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  9. Oh my, you've certainly had more than your fair share of loss this year. I don't think it is odd to keep the Christmas cards, especially those that touch your heart. Candace's card is a wonderful memory of your friendship and while I'm sure it feels painful to see it now, that pain will temper in time.

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    1. Thank you Maebeme, you're very kind person and this was nicely said. I always enjoy your feedback. πŸ™‚πŸ‘

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  10. I'm so sorry, Doug. It's hard, isn't it? I guess we never know what tomorrow will bring. I'm still missing several friends and relatives that passed away in the last couple of years and it's always a jolt to think of it. I guess you're reminding us to cherish each day. Enjoy today, my dear friend.

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    1. Well this sure was sweet of you to share and say, thank you Kay. ♥️πŸ™‚

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  11. Geez this chocked me up. Yes sadly we are reaching that age where loved ones are dying and their loss leaves a big hole in our lives. But it's also a reminder that our time left on earth is limited too, so we have to be grateful for each day and try to enjoy it.

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    1. Joey you said it, and very well too. Thanks my friend. πŸ‘πŸ™‚

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  12. I have a parallel story (and I’m sorry to make this more of a downer)...
    I kept all my Christmas cards from last year (all? – about four actually) which included one from my sister.
    Alas, she died early this year and her husband died a couple of months later (from a broken heart, according to her daughter).

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    1. Peter I am so sorry. I actually didn't want my own share to be a downer, more a reminder to be more appreciative of my own life. But in all honesty... an old friend is not the same as losing a sister (and brother-in-law). My gosh how awful, I hope you're hanging in there.

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  13. Dug, your post and the comments have already said it all. There are no words for the loss we feel when family or friends leave us... and the holidays seem to enhance the loss. And this is another reason for keeping old cards and letters... not as a downer, but as a chance to remember another time. We never know what next year will bring (or next week)...

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    1. Rian, you are very kindhearted, and this was so nice to read. Thank you.

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  14. What a sad event for your friend, then her husband. People can go so quickly. So sorry you've lost special friends. It's unnerving too. I'm impressed with your Christmas decor. Your Mom would be proud! Besides your special stuffed critter, you have a Christmas cactus I think on the window sill and a lit-up Christmas tree. Be kind to yourself! Linda in Kansas

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    1. Linda, you're both sweet and observant. Thank you for your words, and for noticing my little tree and Christmas cactus in the window! I think you're right about my mom too. ♥️πŸ™‚

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  15. That's so sad, both gone within a year and now the house is empty and waiting again. The card is beautiful. I like traditional pictures on cards, but last year and this year I bought "Aussie" cards with Santa and koalas and a kangaroo, having a barbecue on a sunny Australian beach.

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    1. River, a big thank you as you gave me a bit of a chuckle here! Your Christmas cards sound great, sure do love you Aussies! πŸ™‚♥️πŸ‘

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  16. Oh, this is so sad. Just makes us realize that life can turn for the worse in an instant without warning. Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. Thanks Gigi, nicely said. That was my thoughts exactly.

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  17. This is such sad news. You are suffering ApacheDug I am sorry for your loss. It is traumatic to lose people in life such as these and so friendly and nice too. I lost a friend due to illness over a year ago. Its tough but thats life.

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    1. Thanks Spacer, this was really nice of you and I'm sorry you lost someone close a year ago too. I miss Candace (and her husband John) a lot, but it's really helped me to start looking at everything around me in a more positive light. I feel like a lucky man. :^)

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