Losing a loved one reminds you to count your blessings

I have a close friend that is dying of pancreatic cancer. I didn’t think I would write about this, but it’s the only thing occupying my mind. We always think that tomorrow is coming. We count on it, we believe in it. However, when you see your 36-year-old friend withering away with only a few weeks left to live, you begin to question your own mortality.
You begin to wonder why such things happen. Like, why you get to go on living in a world without your friend. You wonder if in 10 years you will be able to remember all of your favorite things about your dear loved one. You want to remember the smallest details.
You think of time, precious time and how you want the clock to slow down so they can live one more day. You feel guilty for being healthy. You wish that you could do anything to give them something you cannot give them — their future.
I’m angry that my friend has to die. I am angry that she does not get to be married, or have children or experience all of those wondrous moments most women touch upon at some point on their journey. I want her to feel the joy of turning 40, an age she will never reach. I am angry that life must continue on while she is stuck in a hospice with useless gifts, like chocolates, strawberries, fruits and candies. All of these things clutter her room, but are small gifts that will not keep her here with us any longer. I’ve never watched someone close to my age be taken so swiftly, without warning.
When it happens to your friend and you’re on the sidelines watching, it’s so surreal, you don’t even know how to process the feelings. If anything, being a believer makes it harder — at least for me. I’ve never lost a friend this close to me. Forgive me, I am just so unsettled by this wave of bereavement, I need to share it.
I am at a loss.
My beautiful friend will be leaving me shortly and there is nothing that can change this. I do not know why my friend is dying of cancer. There is no answer in the sky above to explain any reason why she must die. I drive away from hospice dazed by the harsh sunlight and try to make sense of how this has happened to her.
I don’t want to be angry anymore. I will seek my solace in prayer to find her guided wisdom. She would tell me these things to remember: “Be more present with all of those that you love. Don’t short yourself on your own journey. Make sure you realize the beauty of it all. The beauty of your trials, your loved ones and the moments we create between morning and night. Make sure you are counting your every blessing.” She is so wise like that, you know.
My good friend is like an angel here on earth. She would tell me, “Machel, I have had a wonderful life! Be happy, my dear friend.” Yes, I will try to remember her words of wisdom. But I will always remember her vivacious spirit. I am so lucky that we have met! I must be thankful for the time that we had. I will try to remember that most of all. I will count myself blessed. I hope to see her one more day. I count myself lucky that she has been my friend.
Around town
On March 20, Lemon Twist, the only business to burn down in Rancho Santa Fe during the Witch Creek fires, which is located on Del Dios Highway — showed early signs of returning. Owner Katie Shull opened this business more than 30 years ago. After three years, Lemon Twist is finally making its return. I will let you know the official grand opening date coming soon. In the meantime,  if you need fresh picked strawberries, they are available located right across from Cielo. P.S. My husband will be selling them!
On March 26, I ran into two of my favorite friends “around town” in Rancho Santa Fe. New resident Bianca Kam Smith invited one of her best friends, Sandy Temple, to join her after work at Mille Fleurs. In case you are wondering, yes, there is a happy hour there, which has recently been extended to 6:30 p.m. to satisfy those who can’t quite beat the clock by 5:30 p.m. Bianca and Sandy took a beautiful picture that day. Thanks girls for letting me in on the fun.
On March 29, I attended one of my son’s AAA RSF Little League games at Solana Santa Fe School in Fairbanks. Imagine the most glorious sun filled blue sky, dangling eucalyptus trees framing the field — just the most wonderful setting, and  I never take it for granted. This particular game, The Cardinals won against the Durham Bulls. Chip Levinson, father of Robbie Levinson, shared a picture of Robbie’s teammates holding him up in a group hug to celebrate his home-run that day. Another photo featured from that day is of Jack Deere almost tagging the Durham Bull’s team out on third base. If you would like to check out more of these photos, Chip Levinson has a Web site http://photos.chiplevinson.com, that captures the spirit of baseball in each shot (and other sports featured, too). Thanks for sharing the pictures.
On March 31, I was privy to a fabulous book signing at Belloccio, located right on the 101 Highway in downtown Del Mar. If you know me personally, you will realize this event particularly was a joy to attend, since I’m an avid reader and lover of the written word. When I arrived, the boutique had a line of fans outside the  front door, with fabulous finger foods and wine just inside. Publisher Bettie Youngs stood beside author Marla Martenson as they both dished the inside scoop on her latest book, “Diary of a Beverly Hills Matchmaker.” One of my favorite inside quotes from Marla’s own personal stories as a Beverly Hills matchmaker is “Men try to pick out women like a car.” After the presentation was over, Marla and Bettie posed for alovely shot of proud author/publisher side by side. And, if you are wondering, yes, I am now reading the book. Quirky, smart, sassy and sexy are four words that capture Marla’s candid first person narrative that keeps you reading each page. Sometimes, I just get lucky with these events! For more information, visit www.Bettieyoungs
books.com. If you are looking for a fun summer read, definitely, this is a must! Congratulations on  your new book, Marla. Thanks for making the last day in March so special.
On March 31, The Coast News, Heritage Escrow and Sean Barry/Bill Reiter team sponsored the RSF Realtor pitch session at The Pantry. Each week, Realtors come together to share listings, network and meet to go over the latest in Real Estate. It looks like homes are selling again and the buzz is definitely more up beat than last year. I snapped a photograph of Traci Haas with Heritage Escrow, with Sean Barry and Bill Reiter from Bank of America. Let me be the first to announce that Traci just became engaged and has an enormous rock on her finger! Congrats
to one of the most effervescent  ladies in town. And, if you
are looking for a top financial team, Bill and Sean are two of the top in Rancho Santa Fe. Thanks for letting me include you in my latest column.
On April 1, I received this great news from Elaine Gallagher, one of Rancho Santa Fe’s top realtors: “Hi … great news … not an April Fools joke! Our son & Jana’s film “UrFrenz” won best feature film last night at the Method Film Festival! This was also announced in Variety! We just want to say ‘thank you’ for all the great wishes you have sent … and because of your kind support … they won! Best wishes to you,
 Elaine.” Michael J. Gallagher is also the son of Michael Gallagher. To read more about their independent film that’s hitting big in Hollywood, follow this link and read what one of Hollywood’s top film magazine’s has to say about one of our local North County residents: www.variety.com/review/VE1117942219.html?categoryid=31&cs=1&query=urfrenz. Now that is something to really celebrate.
Later that evening, I stopped by The Inn to join the RSF Rotarian’s for Happy Hour at the gorgeous Rancho Santa Fe Inn. As the sun dissolved behind the center of town, the walk up the brick sidewalk still took my breath away. Inside, there are a few Ranch residents sitting in the bar area near the roaring fire. Complimentary appetizers are available to all guests on Thursdays at The Inn. On this particular day, sizzling succulent shrimp dipped in honey sauce available to anyone there between 5 and 7 p.m. Patrick Galvin, Lisa G., Alan Balfour and Maurice H. Rahimi were in attendance. Also, I was privy to an exciting announcement about the Rotary in Rancho Santa Fe. There will be an exciting announcement the second week of April. I will fill you in next time.

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  1. tracy~ says:

    beautifully written machel….enjoy your writing soo much~

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