Things that break or touch my heart or bring me to tears (in no particular order)

In the Gloaming
In the Gloaming

Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings
The scene in The English Patient in which Almaszy is carrying Katherine from the Cave of the Swimmers
Finding a picture unexpectedly that I haven’t seen in years that brings back painful memories
When one of my children is hurting and there is nothing that I can do about it
The scene in the final M*A*S*H after Charles has taught the Korean musicians to play and then finds out that their truck has been blown up, and he breaks all of his records
Finding a dead baby bird
Knowing that I wasn’t with my dad when he died
Arlington Cemetery
“Amazing Grace” played on the bagpipes
“Taps” played anytime
Thinking about the poem “My Mother’s Pink Sweater”
Seeing pictures of flag-draped coffins still coming home
The Viet Nam memorial
Remembering how I used to be able to hike the trails on Skyline Drive
The time Alexis brought me a dead baby rabbit and I had to bury it
All of the times the boys’ frogs died
Hearing that tone in Eamonn’s voice when he is hurting
Not hearing the water from the pond outside my bedroom window
Missing all of the wind chimes that used to hang from the rafters of the house
Not having Mari nearby on a daily basis, or Jammi, or Rebecca
The smell of baby blankets
Memories of CHKD
Richard Shelton’s poem “Letter to a Dead Father”
Not teaching college any more
Not being able to roam the galleries of the Museum when it was closed
Hearing a beautiful pipe organ well-played in an empty church
Hearing the closing Hallelujah at church
Listening to the twenty-one-gun salute at my father’s funeral
Hearing Kelly sing “Because of You” at Wanna be’s takes my breath away
The scene in Return of the King when Frodo leaves on the boat with Gandalf
Still waking up from hospital nightmares screaming and crying
Seeing that look in Brett’s eyes that lets me know that he just can’t do it today
Knowing that one of my dogs is getting too old to go on
Realizing that someone I confided in betrayed me
Waking up in pain yet again
Hearing Alexis’s voice on the other end of the phone and knowing that she is in pain
Watching the planes fly into the buildings
Memories of Caitlin’s dark brown hair
Having to acknowledge how different life has become for everyone because of my physical changes
Looking at Corey and worrying about where his dreams have taken him and just how much has been taken from him
Remembering how I used to drink in authors and pour out that knowledge to waiting minds and missing the ongoing challenge of that so much
The beauty of Ondaatje’s book The English Patient and the equally haunting beauty of David Lanz’s “Cristofori’s Dream,” together they are almost too much to bear
Finding out that I have actually been mistaken in believing in happiness
Wondering where all of the time has gone

What Makes Me Happy or makes me cry tears of joy

Tillie
Tillie

These are some of the things that makes me happy in life (in no particular order):

Brett’s laugh
Playing ball in the pool with Shakes and Tillie
Pepsi over crushed ice
A great mix of music that I have created
Knowing that I have just captured a great shot with my camera
Sharpies in new bright colors
A really great thunderstorm when the lights go out and the lightning is wild
The feel of Eamonn’s hair
When our bed turns into the family bed again because everyone piles onto it at once
The smell of Corey’s skin when he is wearing my favorite cologne
Pictures of my dad
Finishing the last twenty pages of a book without anyone interrupting me
Finding a new author to add to my collection
Discovering a new brand of ink pen that writes smoothly and isn’t too thin
Pepperidge Farm Chess Men cookies
When Corey wears jeans and a long-sleeved white shirt with the sleeves rolled up
Watching Tillie have a tantrum when she wants to get away with something
Floating in the pool and listening to the birds sing
The smell of fresh cut lilacs and gardenias
Waking up without too much pain
Getting a card for no reason at all
Having a good hair day
Finding the perfect pair of black boots
Watching The Lord of the Rings (again) with one of my sons
Taking Alexis shopping and being able to buy her anything she wants
Fresh peaches with just the right amount of juice running down my chin
Rolling over in the middle of the night and finding Corey’s arm
The feel of clean sheets on freshly shaved legs
Listening to Corey sing “I Cross My Heart” to me when we go to sing karaoke
The smell of fall
Seeing a perfect sunset over aqua blue water
Looking at old pictures and reliving good times
Looking at Alexis’s beautiful eyes
Thinking about Caitlin before the hospital
Writing a poem that I really like
Watching a movie that actually holds together and I that I wasn’t able to predict the ending of
Hearing from old friends and knowing that they really still love me in spite of time and distance
Seeing my exhusband and knowing that I don’t hate him, that I’ve made peace
A good vanilla bean milkshake
The fact that W will soon be out of the White House
The smell of 4711 and everything that it evokes
Wrapping Christmas presents and getting the house ready for the holidays
Going on a cruise with my husband and discovering new places
Feeling safe
Learning new things
Watching my dogs sleep, even if they do hog all of the space on the bed
Being outside in the mountains at night with nothing else around except the stars and the sky
My beautiful computer screen and its uber high resolution
Listening to the bird song just before dawn
Knowing that even though we have our rough patches, my family is what saves me
Ice cream
Pachelbel’s Canon in D
Reading a book that is so good that it leaves me gasping when I’ve turned the last page
Looking at all of the beautiful gardens that Corey has created around our house
Slow dancing with Corey
Having Corey wash my hair
Getting my nails done with Alexis and stopping for slurpees on the way
Having long talks with either one of my sons
Sweater weather
Knowing that I’ve nailed it when I sing “The Georgia Rain”
Driving over a bridge and seeing the water when it’s particularly beautiful
Taking a long bath with all of the candles lit
Painting my toenails
Finding pictures of old doors or arches
Making love in front of the fireplace
Getting a foot massage
Corey’s tequila salmon over rice
Memories of my mom and dad getting dressed up to go out to the club in London
Memories of dancing on the table at the Christmas party when the Beach Boys played
Finding seashells on the beach after a storm
Watching the sun go down from the pier with Corey’s arm around me
A big kiss on the cheek from one of the dogs
A big hug from Brett when he knows that I need one
Listening to Van Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You”
and finally, for now, faith, hope, and belief when I need it most.