+251 – Holiday Blues and Reflections of Happiness

I love Christmas.   Almost everything about it.   I start planning out the month of December well in advance, shopping is usually done by Thanksgiving and cookies are baking all hours of the day.  This year is different.  I’m not sure why.  We still baked the cookies, but  I am skipping Christmas cards and I barely finished shopping. I think it’s the post HSCT blues.  Lately, I have started to gain functionality long lost, yet are still recovering from the cold that knocked me down for the count and that my immune system crushed!  The clash of the 2 just threw me into a cycle of chaos.  I feel like I struggle wide raging headaches daily and bone aches that make me want to soak in a hot bath 20 times a day. I’m blessed, I NEVER forget that, but with a life like the one I have had, I am always on edge waiting for the next challenge life is going to toss at me.   I think that is part of the blues for me.   I’m happy, that terrifies me. I am surrounded by family and friends that I love with all my heart. It terrifies me because with happiness comes the chance of devistation.    

 I was happy at 25 ready to wed the love of my life when I heard his voice cut out of the phone and we lost him forever… For what? Because he was an American who worked at the wrong place at the wrong time.  They both were, Jason and his father.  Life as I knew, as we all did…ended when I was 25 years old on 9/11/2001.  That moment in time…. However brief or long, I grew up in the worst possible way.  But I have lived with this for 14 years now. Why this, why now?   It could be the holidays, his birthday or the fact that I drempt of him looking at me in that way of undying love he used to show me when I least expected it.  That once in a lifetime look that I miss with every bone in my body every day of my life.  That is it, Thst look got me everytime.

When I lost Jason, I lost the children we would have shared together.  So at 30, I was 3 years into an adoption and my dream of becoming a mother was within my reach.   The process was not without its ups and very frightening downs, but we were close and the joy was overwhelming.  So was the grief when within days of seeing my daughters picture for the first time, my mother was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.  I can not begin to tell you what it is like to have the uncertainty of an international adoption compounded with the reality that my new worst nightmare was playing out in front of my eyes.   I thank God everyday that for  7 years now, I have been blessed to have both my mother and my daughter well and happy (dad and Fran too).  in those 7 years, I lost countless aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends. Life is not only short, it is hard. But I guess that is the risk we take by loving those around us.  

2 1/2 years ago,  I was faced with my next life challenge. My best friend in the world was diagnosed with acute myeloid luekemia.   My life stopped and I did all I could to be by her side in a hospital in Philadelphia as she fought for her life everyday.  Little did I know that 2 months later after an MRI for hearing loss, I would hear the words “you have multiple sclerosis” .   I would never cry (except in pain).  Why, because my life has taught me one thing and that is that like it or not, God wants me to be a fighter.   As Jen fought for her remission, I began to fights or mine.   Never once doubting it would be ok… That was until the countless failing medications, sight issues,  hearing loss and walking difficulties started to win the fight. That was until I was introduced to a genius in Chicago that will forever be my saving grace.  As I lay here, my best friend in the world lays in her bed hundreds of miles away, leukemia free, happily married and watching her children grow up.  Yes, we fought, but life taught us both that there was never any other option and that every moment God gives us on this earth should be cherished because you never know what challenges lie ahead.


The more I think about this fear I harbor about being happy, the more I realize that happiness is what you make of it,   Yes, I. Have been dealt some lemons,  but I have also used them to make some very delicious lemon meringue pies.  As does life have moments of incredible beauty, sadness can as well.   Sometimes I close my eyes and dream that Jason or his father holding our miracle child. The Vietnamese princess that can make almost any wrong right again. As heartbreaking as it is to know that that will never happen in this lifetime, my faith that it will In The next makes me smile again.  

With love and gratitude for everyone who reads, cares and prays for us, I thank you.



Happy 40th in heaven my love 

2 thoughts on “+251 – Holiday Blues and Reflections of Happiness

  1. Hang in there, Colleen! You’ve got the right outlook, I admire you for that. Life can be cruel, but you’re facing what’s thrown at you and coming out a winner. Keep it up, this funk you’re in now will also pass. You allowed to have those moments. Enjoy the holidays to the max with your loving family.
    Liz D.


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