Pardon my absence. It’s been an uphill battle lately to keep my act together.
Winter is hard for me as a fibromyalgia sufferer because of changes in the weather. If the barometric pressure drops below 29.90 or the humidity gets to 60% or less, I’m in pain. My pain management doctor agreed to start me on LDN (low dose naltrexone), a treatment that is increasingly used to treat autoimmune diseases such as MS, Crohn’s disease and fibromyalgia. I’ve taken it for a couple of months, but it may take as much as a year for my system to adjust for the greatest relief and benefit as I gradually titrate my dosage up.
Doctors use naltrexone, in doses more than ten times higher, to treat opiate addiction because it nulls the opiate. Which means, of course, that I can’t use opiate pain medicines while I’m using LDN and nothing else helps much with fibro pain. So I’m gritting my teeth, swallowing Tylenol or ibuprofen when I can’t take it any longer or can’t sleep because of the pain, and wading through each day hour-by-hour.
My mood hasn’t been the greatest either, but not just because of the pain and depression. Christmas is difficult for me without any children or grandchildren of my own. Even before my mother passed away, the best Christmases were those where I was around children on Christmas Day, sometimes being Santa’s helper the night before. Seeing the wonder and joy on their faces made me feel that same wonder again—at least for a little while.
My nieces and nephews are grown now, some with children of their own, but everybody does their own thing. Since mother’s passing, we no longer have family Christmas gatherings. Maybe that’s partly because nobody can bear the thought of a Christmas gathering without her presence. Oh, crap! I can’t even write this without crying!
The brightest part of this month, and the winter, so far occurred because of one of my lovely nieces (above). These are only four of my many beautiful nieces. I don’t know exactly how or when they became known collectively as “The Poodles”, nor do I care. But these particular young women are amazing. Two of them have stories of miracles that I plan to post next year when I’ve gotten all the dates and facts straight and double-checked by them.
As of Saturday, December 5th, three of The Poodles are married women. That evening I saw Erica marry the love of her life. I can honestly say I have NEVER attended the wedding of a more beautiful bride, and I’ve got some beautiful nieces and friends. Her face shined with a beauty that evening that was not only a physical but an inner beauty.
On the day of the wedding Erica was so calm and relaxed that she and her twirling students marched in a Christmas parade less than four hours before she was to say her vows. Throughout the ceremony she smiled, laughed and whispered—until time to say their vows, when she almost broke into tears. Michael was so quiet, solemn and still that I was worried he’d locked his knees and was going to pass out until he finally shifted his feet. Michael told me later that had Erica not been so calm and relaxed he wasn’t sure he would have made it through the ceremony.
In keeping with their hipster style, the evening was simple and unique. The wedding decor had a simple elegance, with only a rustic background made of whitewashed pallet boards, some evergreens and berries, and a few Christmas lights. The reception was held in a dance studio, decorated in gold, white and evergreens, by her sisters.
OOPS! I completely forgot to mention that the men did not wear tuxes, not even suits, but plaid shirts – some red, some green. I had been told by the bride’s sister that it would be okay to wear slacks because the guys weren’t wearing tuxes. I worried that I would be the only one in slacks, and it was a church wedding, so I caved in and wore a dress, which I’m not particularly fond of wearing anyway. However, I turned out to be one of the few women wearing dresses, almost all of the women were wearing slacks.
The newlyweds entered the reception to the tune of a John Philip Sousa march Erica had played quite often at high school football games.The food was unusual, too: scrambled eggs, pancakes, sausages, and hash browns. Instead of cutting a cake, they cut pies. When they danced together for the first time as husband and wife, for some reason I almost lost it. Maybe it was the song, although I don’t recall what it was, or maybe I was just overwhelmed by seeing Erica’s joy.
An especially wonderful part of the reception was, for the first time in my life, getting to see my sister and brother-in-law dance together when the DJ asked all the married couples to join the bride and groom on the dance floor. It was easy to tell that, after 40 years of marriage, they’re still as much in love as the day they wed. That longevity and lasting love is rapidly becoming a rarity.