A Memorial Day for the Fallen – 2023

Today is Memorial Day. A day set aside to honor those who have given their lives for this country. In countless wars and overseas conflicts. Brave men and women who gave their all.

They gave their lives to protect our freedoms. They went where our country sent them, and did what they needed to do. 

Did they question their reasons for going? I’m sure many did. But they went. Some returned and some didn’t. Today we honor those that didn’t return.

But I cannot help but ask us all to add another couple of categories of our citizens to remember and pay our respects to on this Memorial Day. Citizens who left home one day as usual and never returned.

Let’s remember the hundreds of first responders, police and firefighters as well as EMT’s who have also given their lives to save others. Oh, I know right now the police are under attack again for not doing what they’re supposed to do. It’s become a o popular sport in this country, unfortunately. And there will always be those officers who are in the wrong, but the majority are good people, who’ve dedicated themselves to such service, and those of them who’ve given their lives in the line of duty should be honored as well. It’s a job I wouldn’t want to do, and I am thankful for each and every one of them that have chosen to do it.

And we need to continue to support those who gave so much, and even today are still trying to readjust to a world that isn’t the same as when they left to serve; a world that sometimes tends to forget them, or ignore them; a world that sometimes has trouble remembering all they went through, and how hard it is to re-adjust to a life that has certainly changed them, emotionally as well as sometimes physical.

And I want us to also remember another group of people…innocent people who’ve been senselessly murdered by cowardly people with guns, out to spread their hatred and violence for whatever twisted and deranged parts of their minds that were urging them forward.

Innocent children. Worshippers in their chosen houses of God. Innocent shoppers in malls and grocery stores. Innocent concert goers who were enjoying a night of music. 

They unwillingly gave their lives because someone they didn’t even know decided they didn’t deserve to live.

And we continue on with our lives, thankful it wasn’t us.  

But such violence touches all of us in some way. It forever changes a part of us, and sometimes we don’t even realize it.

The awfulness of so much violence in this country will eventually be forgotten by the majority of the country, but never by the families and communities which have been devastated by the tragedy. Just like the families of our servicemen and women who were lost in combat, they will NEVER forget. Not a day will go by without a memory sneaking into their mind, and those memories are all they have left. They can’t call to say hello. They can’t visit with them or invite them to dinner. They can only look at their pictures and relive their memories.

Today as most of us gather together with friends and family for picnics and parties, or go out to grab up the best Memorial Day sales, let’s take the time to remember those families who are grieving over their loved ones who will never attend such events again.

Remember the fallen, because they deserve never, ever to be forgotten. And remember the families who will also never forget.

Sailing Into Your Sunrise

I’ve never heard that term before but I read it in a book the other day. The character was discussing setting a date for her upcoming wedding, and told her sister she was ready for her real life to begin. “I’ve waited years to sail into my sunrise.” (Seabreeze Wedding by Jan Moran)

An interesting way to look at life, isn’t it?

We hear a lot of people talking about sailing into the sunset with friends or loved ones. I’ve even said that as well on occasion. We picture the sun setting on our old life, perhaps because of a job change we didn’t anticipate; major changes in a relationship; changes in our finances. Or just being tired of the same old thing and wanting to embark on a whole other thing!

But when thinking about it further, and comparing it to sailing into your sunrise, there’s a really big difference, isn’t there?

Because a sunrise signals a beginning. A new adventure that’s ahead. New things to try and new people and places to discover.

A sunset is beautiful but it signals an ending. The end of a day most certainly, but also it could be the end of other things in your life. Things that you didn’t want to end, perhaps, but they ended nevertheless.

But a sunset is always followed by a sunrise. There’s always that new chance, that new opportunity that a sunrise brings. 

Don’t let yourself wait years to sail into your own sunrise. If there’s something you want to do or to accomplish, there’s no better time than now to set sail into that sunrise and take charge of what is waiting for you.

Yes, there will always be other sunrises, but none just like the one before you right now.

So take charge, set your sails, and sail into it. While you still have the chance.

A Flamingo Birthday

I think everyone who reads my blog probably knows that my husband and I have this “thing” about flamingos. And if you don’t, well you do now.

I don’t even remember how it started. But once you have one, you just can’t stop with one. One grows up two, into ten, then to fifty, and now I can’t even begin to count. It’s not worth trying.

You either love them or you don’t. And we do. 

But I was pleasantly surprised this birthday with a big flamingo fly in. Some of our flamingos had decided to head further south where it was warm all year long. Which meant our remaining pink birds had room for more of their friends to come join them poolside. 

So I was very pleasantly surprised on my recent birthday when a dozen new flamingos suddenly appeared, ready to take their places alongside our existing flock. They squawked their hello’s to their friends, and set about to find their perfect perches in our newly mulched garden by the pool. 

My husband, who’d arranged the fly-in, brought out trays of shrimp he’d had waiting for my new flamingos. They were hungry after their flight, of course. And he even had special flamingo margaritas ready for them as well. After all, it wasn’t just a “welcome to your new home” party. It WAS my birthday, so everyone got to celebrate.

So I’d like to introduce a few of our new flamingo friends, as well as a couple of long time friends who’ve been with us for several years.

Meet Florence. A new addition to the flock from sunny Florida. She was getting tired of all the hurricanes there and was looking for a new nest. So she was happy to join the group and is looking forward to lots of fun nights by the pool. With lots of cocktails, of course

This is Mabel. She’s been with us for several years. She’s thrilled to welcome new birds to the flock. And she’s more than ready to show them all the fun and exciting things that take place after we humans go to bed. I don’t think we want to know, but it would explain why we sometimes find a few of them tipped over in the morning.

And here’s Felicity. A diva-Mingo who loves to party every chance she gets. She adores sunshine, sunbathing, champagne cocktails and citrusy desserts. With an occasional shrimp or three thrown in for good measure. We happened to catch her when she was taking a short break on our porch. Actually she was probably waiting for another cocktail!

Then there’s this little flamingo family nestled comfortably in the birdbath surrounded by shells and sparkly colored marbles. They like splashing around in the morning and sleeping in the afternoon so they’ll be ready to party at night. Aren’t they just the cutest things?

Here we have Frederick. He’s our resident soloist, always ready to belt out a tune during a party, or to add just the right song set for a relaxing evening by the pool. And we can’t forget Frederick’s favorite duet partner Mattie. Always ready to join in with Frederick for a great selection of show tunes…or love songs…whichever their mood, or their audience, calls for.  And depending on how many tropical drinks they’ve had the pleasure of imbibing. You can also see one of their friends relaxing in an inner tube, enjoying a delicious margarita flavored ice cream cone, just chilling around the porch.

A lively bunch, don’t you think? And a perfect way to celebrate my birthday!

Now I think we seriously need to think about planning a summer Flamingo Pool Party. I know the birds are ready, and I’m sure our flamingo loving friends are, too.

Stay tuned, because there are a few more birthdays in the family this summer, and that’s always a great excuse for a party!

Sometimes What People Don’t Say

Is more powerful than what they DO say.

Read that again.

What things are you saying because of what you’re NOT saying?

Are you afraid to speak up about something because you’re afraid you’ll make someone mad? Offend someone? Be ostracized or ridiculed because some people you want to

like you don’t agree with you?

Are you hesitant to speak up because you don’t think you can stand up for yourself? You don’t think you can make a convincing argument for your beliefs?

Are you afraid to be wrong? Or afraid people won’t want to believe you’re right?

Maybe you discovered something terrible about someone who was planning to hurt others and were too afraid to tell someone. And later had to live with the guilt of knowing you may have been able to prevent a tragedy.

There are all kinds of reasons we don’t speak up when we know we should.

Fear is the biggest one. We have an innate need to be liked, cared about, respected, by everyone we meet. But the reality is, that’s not possible.

Not everyone will like you, no matter what you say or don’t say.

Not everyone will respect you. Because they don’t want to hear what anyone says but themselves.

What you don’t say can be more important than what you do say.

So why are you holding back?

Reflections from a Mother/Daughter/Grandmother

There were those days as a daughter of a widowed mother that I really couldn’t understand all the feelings, all the love, that a mother felt for her child. It’s not really something a child can grasp. 

Yes, we know our mom loves us, but at a young age we truly cannot comprehend what that means. We cannot understand the depth of that love. That self-sacrificing, desire to do anything-possible-for-your-child kind of love.

Because as a young child, whose emotions are still developing, we just can’t grasp what it all means. We know about loving our mom, but that love is how a child loves. Unconditionally. Without expecting anything but to be loved in return. To feel safe and protected. To believe she’ll always be there for you.

Most of us were fortunate enough to have that in our young lives. I was, but I do know there are many who were not, for many different reasons. And I feel so terribly sorry for each and every one of you who were not that fortunate.

As I grew older, I began to understand that love more. But it wasn’t until I became a mother myself until I truly appreciated it. Experienced it for myself.

I was an older mom when our daughter was born; just like my own mother had been. We’d both thought we’d never have the chance to have a child of our own, and my own mother truly understood how I felt month after month when I didn’t get pregnant. 

I think she was as excited as I was when I was finally able to share the wonderful news with her that she was going to be a grandmother, because her only child was finally going to have a baby! She was definitely as excited as I was as the months went on leading up to our due date. 

She was worried about how sick I was the first 3-4 months. She was as nervous as I was while we waited for the amniocentesis results. And she was as thrilled as we were when we found out we were having a girl! Her friends even gave her a surprise grandmother’s baby shower, which delighted her to no end.

I could hear the joy in her voice when we called her from the hospital after delivering our beautiful daughter. And I’ll never forget the look of love on her face when she saw her granddaughter for the first time. We all cried.

And at that time I finally understood what it was like to love a child unconditionally. I had carried her inside me for 9 months, and she was finally here! The moment she was placed in my arms I knew my life had changed forever. That feeling is like no other. 

And I knew that no matter what time brought for us, no matter the joys and the difficult times, I’d always love this child, and do anything I could for her to raise her to be a strong and loving young woman. Although I couldn’t shield her from skinned knees and broken hearts, I would do whatever I could to give her the best life possible.

And now, 30+ years later, I find myself the grandmother of not one, but three beautiful grandchildren. My daughter’s babies. It seems only yesterday she’d been a baby herself who grew into a beautiful woman, now wife and mother.

I still remember the day she and her husband came over unexpectedly to visit us. They just wanted to bring us something, they said. And they did. A card and a gift. They made us open the card first. And the card had baby booties on it! We also got a sign that said “____ weeks til baby.” They were having a baby! We were going to be grandparents! But somehow I knew even before they told us. Moms know things like that…

I was now going to be the mother of a mother of a child. My daughter was definitely no longer a little girl. She was a grown woman who was now going to have a child of her own. My emotions were everywhere. 

And yes, I still worried about her, especially with all the problems with her pregnancy. Being a mother means that no matter how old your child, she’s still your baby. And you’ll always be concerned. 

But when little Rachel arrived, and a few weeks early at that, as soon as I saw her, I clearly saw my own mother’s eyes looking back at me. It was one of those moments I’ll never forget, and never be able to truly describe. And I felt my mother’s presence so strongly beside me as I looked at the sheer beauty of my first grandchild.

Since then I’ve been blessed with two other very special grandmother moments. 

The first was receiving a picture on my phone of little 3 year old Rachel looking at a book titled “Big Sister”.  I didn’t have to guess what that meant! Another baby! We were all thrilled! And little Ryleigh came along three weeks before her big sister’s birthday. I was now a grandmother to two beautiful girls!

But Ashley and Chris still wanted a boy to complete their family. This time it took a lot longer than we expected. So much longer that it brought back all the memories of my bouts with infertility, and every time they were unsuccessful I felt the pain as much as she did.

Last Mother’s Day we only got to spend time with Ashley and Rachel because Ryleigh was sick. 

Fortunately Chris took care of her so Ashley and Rachel could at least join us for our Mother’s Day brunch. But it wasn’t quite the same without everyone around. Ashley wasn’t feeling good either, and I hoped she wasn’t getting what Ryleigh had, but I suddenly had one of my “moments” that that was a good thing. Call it mother’s or grandmother’s intuition, but I just felt it…

And less than a week later, a picture came across my phone with both of our two granddaughters smiling and wearing very special shirts which said “Promoted to Big Sister” and “Big Sister Again.” I couldn’t punch in her number fast enough! Finally our third grandchild was on its way! What a wonderful belated Mother’s Day gift for us both!

We anxiously awaited the results of a blood test several weeks later to find out what we were having. I was tasked with getting the email results and then my husband and I would go to their house and let them break a piñata filled with the right color confetti. And yes, I’d bought two different bags of it.  

But somehow I just knew. So much so that I almost only bought one color. And when the email came in I was almost scared to open it. And when I finally did, my intuition was confirmed, and I wanted to scream with joy! And I couldn’t even tell anyone yet, including grandpa!

But it was all worth it when our granddaughters broke the piñata (with a little help from grandmom) and blue confetti spilled out everywhere! Ashley was ecstatic and jumping up and down and Chris was just in shock. But he was delighted as well!

Although this was the most difficult of her pregnancies, which included several hospital visits, our long- awaited grandson Ryan was born 5 weeks early and 5 days before Christmas, weighing in at 6 pounds and perfectly healthy. The best Christmas gift we could have received.

This is the most special Mother’s Day yet for our family. Three beautiful grandchildren and the best daughter and son-in-law we could have. I only wish my own mother could be here with us to see our special family. But I do feel she’s watching us from heaven, with my father by her side, both of them smiling from ear to ear.

To everyone who has taken the time to read this, may your day be as blessed as ours, and may your lives be full to overflowing.

For those of you who are still waiting to become a mom or a grandmother, never give up hope, because a blessing will come to you when you least expect it, and sometimes in ways you cannot imagine.

God bless you and your families on this Mother’s Day.

The Feathered Nest and Breakfast

Ever since the flamingos opened their Flamingo Cafe along the boardwalk, they’ve been thinking about what else they could do in the spirit of flamingo entrepreneurship. 

The Flamingo Cafe was so popular and successful they were able to hire a full time manager while still retaining their ownership rights and having final say in matters of decor, food and drink, etc. It worked well for everyone. 

And it provided them with enough capital to start a new business. But what?

It didn’t take long to find out. 

So when they wandered in one morning carrying a tray of delicious looking breakfast treats, I figured they’d decided on their new project. I just hoped it didn’t involve baking! 

“So what do we have here?” We asked. “These look delicious,” Ben and I both tried some of the goodies, And they were as good as they looked! 

“We have some exciting news,” they said, talking all at once. As usual. Then Francine took over and explained it all to us.

It seemed the success of the Flamingo Cafe had motivated them to see what else they could do, and it really didn’t take that long to figure it out.  Some of their cousins lived in a quaint little town about an hour away, and when they went to visit them one weekend they found a really cute pink Victorian style home they just fell in love with.

“But don’t worry,” Francine quickly said. “We’re not moving away. But…we’ve decided to buy it and make it into a bed and breakfast place. There’s only one other in the town, and we figured it needs another. One with the special touches only we can bring to it!”

“We already have a name for it,” Felicia added. “The Feathered Nest and Breakfast House. And we already have the sign being designed. What do you think?”

“I like the name. Very appropriate.” So we all sat down at the table with the goodies while the flamingos filled us in on all the details. 

They’d come across the house while driving through town and saw the “for sale” sign in the yard. They immediately had their limo driver call the number on the sign and made an appointment to see it in a few hours.

They were so excited, and they were already making their plans before they even went inside.

“When the realtor got there,” said Francine, “she didn’t say one word about our being flamingos. She was even wearing a flamingo necklace, so we knew this was going to be just perfect!”

They’d toured the house, which had been modernized nicely, with a big kitchen that would do nicely for a bed and breakfast. “And it’s already pink,” Francine added. “We just need to add our own special touches, you know?”

The house had five bedrooms and four bathrooms. They’d already decided on the names for the rooms. “The Feathery Nest”, “Pink Dreams”, “Dancing Flamingo Suite”, “Flamazing Slumber Room”, and “A Flamingo Daze”.  And they’d started ordering the bedding and planning how they’d decorate each room, down to the pink towels and pink flamingo shaped soaps in the bathrooms.

Plus fresh flower arrangements in the bedrooms as well as other rooms. 

And they’d already started selecting furniture for the other rooms, including lots of flamingo throw pillows for the sofas and chairs. Flamingos sometimes like to throw the pillows around at each other for fun, especially during happy hour. And I did remind them they have to be careful about that when they have guests, so nothing will get messed up. And more importantly, no drinks will be spilled!

“The house is perfect,” Francine continued excitedly. She described the huge wraparound front porch and side porch with white wicker furniture. All they had to do was recover the cushions pink. And of course, hang a flamingo wreath on the front door. 

They showed us pictures of the swimming pool in the backyard, and the garden with pink and yellow rose bushes. “We’ll set up an outdoor dining area out there for breakfast in the summer,” she explained. “With white tables and pink umbrellas, of course.”

They had more pictures of a glassed-in breakfast room which would be perfect for days they couldn’t eat outside. And fortunately they’d discovered a couple of their flamingo cousins loved to cook, and actually could bake muffins and scones, so they’d already started planning the menus.

There’d also be a wine and cheese happy hour, of course, with charcuterie boards and wine served in the Flocking Room. “And a wine and paint night once a month which will be open to the town.” They’d even planned a small art gallery room with flamingo paintings for sale and planned to ask some of their guests to display their paint night creations as well.

“We’ll host parties there, too, with flamingo corn hole boards and other games. Plus we’ll have pink bicycles to rent to ride into town. Maybe even a pink golf cart eventually.”

Well, it certainly sounds like a lot of fun, and a great place to go visit for a weekend.

And as the flamingos explained, this little town has a community of flamingos living there already (did I mention they’re our flamingos’ cousins?) so the residents don’t think it’s unusual for flamingos owning businesses there. 

I guess we’ll find out more about that later. Personally we’re looking forward to the grand opening of their new adventure. It’s bound to be loads of fun!

A Gift of Sight, Part Two

As I said in A Gift of Sight, Part One, for most of us, our eyesight is something we take for granted. We open our eyes in the morning and see our bedroom, our alarm clock or phone, the sun streaming into our windows.

We may see our pets curled up beside us, or our spouse who’s beginning to awaken as well. We really don’t think that much about it because we’re used to our world of sight, our comfortable surroundings; things looking the same every day.

Until one day it doesn’t. Until our vision starts to gradually fade, blur, become fuzzy or dim. We don’t really notice it right away, because it’s a gradual process.

But then comes a day when someone comments on something they’re looking at, and you realize you don’t see it quite the same as they do. Or quite the same as you used to.

Now imagine being told that you have an eye disease that’s incurable. That’s not a pleasant thought. You may start thinking about what might or will happen eventually. And it’s scary.

Part One described the events leading up to my husband Ben’s eye surgery. But let me explain the reality of that surgery.

Cataract surgery by itself is easy. The recovery time is quick, even though you are limited to not lifting anything heavier than 20 lbs for a few weeks, doing nothing that could cause getting debris in your eye such as gardening or going in the pool or a hot tub, and using a series of eye drops every day for about 4 weeks.

But you can see well out of your surgical eye right away, or at best, the next day. However a combination of cataract surgery AND a cornea transplant along with a stint for drainage entails other issues, a few of which we didn’t expect.

We knew he had to lay flat on his back for 48 hours, which I will tell you is not easy. Or fun. He doesn’t like to read anything but his newspaper and of course he couldn’t even do that. He tried audio books but couldn’t find any he really liked. He found a few comedy podcasts to listen to, but that really didn’t do it either.

He could get up for 15 minutes every 4 hours to eat or take meds or use the bathroom. Other than that he was flat on his back. Laying on our bed was miserable and hurt his back so he ended up on the sofa downstairs which he said was more comfortable.

But he wasn’t able to sleep well, even with sleep aids, so he was exhausted.

Why flat on his back? Because with a cornea replacement an air bubble is inserted into the eye to help hold the graft material in place. The air bubble dissipates over a few days but it’s extremely important for the bubble to stay in place so the graft will heal properly. Which means not moving around or standing because gravity has a way of trying to move that bubble where it’s not supposed to be.

We went back for a post-op visit the next day after surgery. I drove of course with him lying down on the reclined front seat. Certainly not a comfortable position. While the eye looked good for the first day after surgery, the pressure in it was too high, and they had to give him more eye drops as well as a pill to hopefully reduce some of the pressure while we were there. If that didn’t work they would have to drain the eye somewhat, which I didn’t even want to think about.

Fortunately the meds helped, and his pressure went down enough so we could go back home and get him on his back again. And another night of sleeping on the sofa on his back. And another night of not sleeping well.

The next morning he did follow his instructions and waited (but not patiently) til 11:45 to get up since that was a full 48 hours. His eye was still blurry with a shadow in it, which was normal, but still not what we’d expected. He had a lot of trouble trying to read so we bought him the strongest pair of reading glasses they make, which fortunately allowed him to read the newspaper, albeit a little at a time. But that did make him quite happy!

The next visit on Monday fortunately found the pressure lowered down to the teens! He was still restricted from driving so it meant another week at home and him not working. And did I mention he drives as a courier for a bank?

His vision slowly, and I mean slowly, improved daily, and the Thursday post-op visit found his pressure down to 10 in both eyes, which was fantastic news! His doctor was very pleased!

His vision was still somewhat hazy, though. However he ventured out on Friday to try driving and actually did ok. Enough for us to go out for a quick dinner that night to a restaurant not far from the house.

The next two days we went out shopping for flowers and plants for the yard, and he did well driving. In fact his biggest problem was not being able to lift any of the heavier plants into the cart or into the back of the car like he usually does. I had to stop him several times. 

Then Monday morning came, and it was the first day for him back to work. He was a bit nervous because his courier route takes him on a number of back roads in the area, with narrow shoulders as well as narrow roads. But he did fine, although he drove a bit slower than usual, and his vision is still not quite what we expected, although it’s legal vision for driving, but every day it gets a little better. And when it’s time he can get new glasses, and this will all be but a memory. 

We’re thankful, yes, for the doctors and nurses, and most importantly for the donor who made the transplant possible.

Take good care of your eyes, because you don’t want to have to rely on the gift of a second chance to see. Sometimes things happen, and if it does, get to a doctor right away. And if your eye doctor tells you you need to do something to improve your vision, listen to them. You’ll be forever glad you did.

And please, if you’re not already an organ donor, please consider it. For more information on becoming an organ/tissue donor, please go to organdonor.gov. 

Every Day is a New Beginning

Just like opening a new book you’re going to read for the first time.

A new beginning. A new opportunity. 

A chance to make things right that went wrong yesterday.

A chance to re-write your story because you really didn’t like how it went the day before.

Instead of facing this new day with dread and wondering what else is coming at you, what else will go wrong, change your attitude and adjust your focus.

Today is a new day. A new beginning. A new start of the new book of your life.

Grab your imagination, your journal, or your laptop and start writing. 

Today is a new start toward everything you can imagine. So get started.

What are you waiting for?

A Gift of Sight, Part One

For the majority of us, the first thing we do when we wake up in the morning is open our eyes and look at our clock or phone to see what time it is. A simple thing, right?

But for many people it’s not that simple. Some can’t read the time without their glasses or contacts. Some can’t read it because of eye diseases…cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration.

Some can see but not very well due to those eye diseases, and may be considered legally blind. And some are unfortunately totally blind.

Those of us with minimal or no problems don’t stop to consider how truly fortunate we are to have the ability to see, either with or without the assistance of glasses or contact lenses. We usually take it for granted. 

Until something happens to change our situation.

In my case, a change in my vision started gradually. Which happens to almost everyone as we grow older. It got harder and harder to see my computer screen clearly and working on my jewelry projects was very difficult unless I took my contacts out and used reading glasses to see the holes in the beads because of my astigmatism.

Even though my eye doctor is fantastic, I was still scared to have the surgery and kept putting it off for several years.

Until my husband was diagnosed with glaucoma in both eyes.

Which forced me to have the cataract surgery, which was, yes, the best thing I’ve done in ages. 

But this isn’t about me.

It’s about my husband Ben.

Some 25 or so years ago he was on a business trip and woke up in a hotel room four hours from home with his left eye red and extremely swollen and sore. He said it looked like something in a horror movie. 

Fortunately he found a local eye doctor who was able to get it calmed down enough with eye drops so he could see well enough to drive home. He told him to get to an eye specialist as soon as possible because it looked like something called iritis, which could be serious if not treated properly. Luckily he did find a specialist when he got home and was able to get in to see him quickly.

And it was iritis, which is an inflammation of the iris. And according to the doctor, a bad case. So bad, in fact, that he had to have an injection in his eye to help calm it down. 

Iritis is something that cannot be cured. It is an autoimmune disease that in many cases is caused by the chicken pox virus, which is most likely what caused his. And it can also cause problems with vision, which of course it did.

His was a stubborn case, naturally, and over the course of several years he had to have two more injections in the eye. He’s been on daily steroid eye drops which eventually also cause vision problems, and a number of years ago he was put on a daily pill to hopefully help reduce flare ups. So far it has, but not before the eye damage was already done.

The steroid drops caused a cataract and surgery to remove the cataract was done probably at least 15 years ago in the left eye.

But as time went by, and even though the flare ups lessened, the eye damage continued, until he was told he needed a partial cornea transplant to save his eyesight in that eye. You can read more about this in the blog I wrote titled “The Expense of a Second Chance”.

That surgery was fortunately a success. 

That was almost ten years ago. 

Fast forward to now. 

As I said previously, Ben was diagnosed with glaucoma in both eyes last summer. Fortunately he has an excellent glaucoma specialist who’s doing everything he can to keep his sight from getting worse, using a number of eye drops to reduce the pressure. Of course he’s monitored frequently.

But his vision was slowly getting worse in his right eye. The pressure didn’t want to stabilize and he began having issues driving at night and especially in the rain. His peripheral vision on the right side wasn’t good either. And he also was having fuzzy vision in that eye from a cataract.

So both his glaucoma specialist and his cataract specialist recommended that along with the cataract removal he also needed a partial cornea replacement in his right eye, because the glaucoma was making the cornea thicken too much. Both procedures would be done at the same time. But before that he needed laser surgery in each eye to prepare for this next surgery.

Yes, that was a lot to take in. A lot to consider. And trust me, we had several discussions with both doctors, and among the two of us.

And there were a lot of “what if’s?” In those discussions. What happens if we don’t do it? And we knew the answer to that. Everything we do revolves around our ability to see, and see as clearly as possible.

The bottom line is, our eyesight is vital. And it’s a gift that many people don’t have. We take for granted that we can see and don’t really think about it until something starts to go wrong.

And then our whole perspective changes.

And in order for this procedure to take place, he had to have a cornea donor. Which meant someone had to die and give him the gift of their eye tissue. If you’ve read the previous blog I referenced you know how that affected my thoughts.

But he did have the surgery. And we are truly grateful for the person who cared enough about other people to decide to be an organ donor so others could have lifesaving or vision saving surgeries that were desperately needed.

The surgery was easy but recovery from the transplant surgery took longer than just cataract surgery, which basically takes a day.

More on that recovery process in “The Gift of Sight, Part Two”, hopefully to be published the week of May 8.

And for more information on becoming an organ/tissue donor, please go to organdonor.gov. Both Ben and I have been included in the registry for years.