For Glad, A Special Friend..

There’s a special place in heaven for that unique person who knows how to be a good friend. And if you are very lucky, you will meet one of these rare individuals at some point in your life. I have been extremely lucky—because I’ve truly met more than one of these people. Sometimes you don’t recognize them right off, but as time goes on, and they are always there for you—ready to talk, go out for coffee or a bite to eat, or walk with you through a tough time, the realization that you’ve met a true friend will roll through you, leaving a path of warmth and a smile in its wake.
I have a friend like that. Her name is Gladys, but we all called her Glad. When I took a new job with a hospital far away from my family and friends, she was the first person who stopped to talk to me. She was the first person who made an effort to get to know me outside of work. She was the first person I would regularly drop in on and talk to during the work day. She was a lot of firsts for me, and continued to be for almost nineteen years.
Glad and I were different. Frankly, aside from working at the same place, we didn’t seem to have a lot in common. She was a nurse administrator and manager; I worked in the finance department. She spent her days working with patient care and patient safety issues; I spent mine with numbers and graphs. She was a practicing Catholic, and very proud of her Italian ancestry. I’m an occasional Presbyterian, with a background best described as “pure mutt”, and not a lot of interest in the old country, even if I knew exactly where that may have been. She never married; I was a divorced, single Mom raising a daughter on my own. I guess if you were looking for common background and interests as reasons for our friendship, you’d find pretty slim pickings.
But what we shared wasn’t in our upbringing, career choice, or even life decisions. We shared an outlook. Glad was independent and strong, and didn’t have a lot of patience with people who refused to accept responsibility for their own life. She was fine with her decisions and with her life whether or not it fit the mold of “married-with-kids-and-house-in-acceptable-part-of-town”. She made me realize it was OK to be me, the way I am. Fitting a mold wasn’t our problem, but the personal, and sometimes pretty strange, expectations of other people. We didn’t have to meet anyone’s expectations for our personal life or choices.
Glad taught me a lot of things. She taught me the value of reaching out and keeping in touch with friends and family. She taught me the importance of making the effort, even if it takes multiple tries. I listened to her stories, and took them to heart. I try to remember to call my own siblings, and did initiate the annual “kids trip” where we all get together, spend time together, no matter what effort it takes to find a meeting place. Glad also inspired in me the drive to stop talking about it and get up the nerve to travel abroad—and the first place I went was Italy. It was every bit as wonderful as she had always described it. And I’ve been traveling ever since. Aside from my own trips, one of my greatest pleasures was to sit on Glad’s couch and go through all the photo albums of her travels, and listen to her great stories. Glad had hundreds of stories of all the places she’d been, people she met—and plans for where she would be going next.
But most of all, Glad showed me the real value of courage. No matter what happens, you deal with it, and you put one foot in front of the other and keep going. You don’t march in place. You don’t whine. You keep going, because if you don’t—marching in place and whining is all you will ever have, and life offers so much more than that.
Glad did that when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She stood up straight and tall, squarely faced the situation, took the treatments and just kept going. She did the same thing when, 20 years later, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. She assessed the situation, took the treatments and just kept going. But this time, and as much as we all hated what was happening, that cancer was stronger than she was. She faced that realization with the same quiet courage she applied to everything in her life. After dealing with it for two, long years, she very reluctantly decided that she had finally had enough. With her two, very best friends by her side, and her beloved family nearby, she quietly slipped away on a Thursday afternoon.
I know she has better places to go, and lots of things to do. I know she is having joyful reunions with family and friends she hasn’t seen in many years. I know she isn’t in pain any longer, and is healthy and happy again. But I will miss my friend. I will try to be that better person she expects me to be—and to remember that I have the privilege of living in this life that was so hard for her to give up. And I am hoping that she knows, no matter where her new journey takes her, no matter what she will be doing, time and distance will make no difference. I will always be her friend.

Posted in Family & Friends | 9 Comments

Another Possible Side-Effect of Menopause: Button Blindness!

Wondering what the big deal is about a button? Well, let me start at the beginning…
It all started with me registering to be a member of an Internet Marketing forum, called the Warrior Forum (absolutely no clue where the name came from). People who participate in internet marketing clearly need content for all those websites, products and blogs. So if you are a writer, you participate in their forums. And the Warrior Forum is the largest, most well known of them all. Wanting to get my little enterprise off the ground, I joined. Seemed like a good plan, and a sound move.
Having taken care of the registration part, I started out just reading the various posts. I wanted to get the lay of the land—or at least the basic protocols—before I jumped in myself. It’s pretty straightforward. Someone starts a post and others jump in with a response, either with a comment in the form of a “quick reply”, or a more “advanced” comment, or just a “Thank you” acknowledgement.
OK.. so far so good.
Now, I am what the more seasoned Warriors call a “newbie”. It’s a reference to being new to the forum—and basically someone who doesn’t know very much, or in my case– absolutely nothing at all. All the more reason to just “thank” the more experienced posters and take your time about “easing into the pool”, so to speak. So I look at my screen, and I see the names of the people who just said “thank you”—all showing up in a box just for that purpose right below the post. Now comes the tricky part. You can’t just place your cursor in that little area and type in your name. The area won’t let you do that. Going to the posting area and just typing in “thank you”, comes out as a full post with just two little words. In the Warrior world, that doesn’t even count as a post and is kind of frowned on.. especially for a newbie.
So I’m looking and looking. I see a button for a ‘quick reply” post, and another button for a “more advanced post”, but nothing else.
I really can’t figure out how those people are getting their names in that “thank you” field. There was no button at the top of the post, the bottom of the post, lurking around inside the thank you field or hanging about the signature. No clue anywhere. So I go to the “help” icon, and in the search box type in “thanking a post”. I find the protocol—as in, it’s good to thank a post that you really liked—but not a word on exactly how to do that. After reading through all the documentation, I went through my usual self-conversation of: why do they always have programmers write the help stuff? They always assume something is so obvious they don’t have to say it, and skip steps. I hate instructions written by programmers.  (I have this internal conversation a lot).
Once that silent rant is out of the way, I have to admit it..I’m stumped.
Well, I did kind of have another option. I’ve been having an occasional conversation with an internet marketing “guru” named Tiffany. I thought maybe she wouldn’t mind answering a really stupid question, so I sent off a hopeful e-mail asking how to do the “thank you” thing in the Warrior Forum. She very graciously responded, and told me to just use the “thank you button”.. She even told me where it was—lower right hand corner of the post.
Aha..well. I must not have looked there. So I log on and look there. I don’t see a button. Now, I am sure Tiffany sees that button. But I’m not seeing it. Now I’m thinking: Oh great. Another little gift of menopause, button blindness. Just another one of those little things your doctor never tells you.. because he’s male. (Actually, that isn’t true. My doctor is female—but she’s younger than I am.. so she doesn’t know either).
Well, I was at a crossroads. Do I just go with the probable onset of the dreaded “button blindness”, or do I investigate further? And if I do decide to investigate further—exactly how do I do that? I’m not asking Tiffany again. I had already hit my tolerance limit for sounding stupid. I guess I could have asked Tiffany’s mentor and partner, Craig. But he lives in Japan. Did I really want to sound stupid on two continents? While certainly not out of the realm of possibility, it still wasn’t my first pick. I’m sure that will happen soon enough.
So I log back into the Warrior Forum, and go to the help screen. There I hit the “contact us” on the Help Menu, and proceed to ask the dumb question. I rationalize the “well duh” question by deciding I shall make a point of never, ever speaking to that hopefully helpful person again.  Even though he or she didn’t do anything to deserve that.
Less than 24 hours later, I had a response. “You need to use the Thank You Button” (and I’m thinking, no shit, Sherlock. Where the hell is it?) “It is located in the lower right hand corner of the post” (great.. we’re back to the button blindness problem) “It will appear after you have made 5 posts”. What??? You have to make 5 posts before the button just magically appears out of nowhere? Oh come on. Who would know that? Let me guess—this is perfectly obvious to anyone.. who’s a programmer!
As it turns out, this story does have a good ending. I put up the five posts, and right on schedule, the magic “thank you” button suddenly appeared. I am now living happily ever after “thanking” the posters, and have lost my fear of developing “button blindness” I’m just making “do” with hot flashes and no sleep.
The End…….

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment