Sunday mornings.

Grab a cup of coffee and join me for a little slice of life.

Sunday mornings were predictable when I was young. You woke up to the smell of good coffee and breakfast cooking. You ate, got dressed, and went to church. You came home to the smell of a roast or a brisket in the oven and feasted with family around the old dining room table. These days it’s different. I don’t usually drag myself out the door to church, and certainly not since the pandemic began. I make the coffee now, and my son generally makes breakfast. It’s quiet. He sleeps in, while I get up and feed the animals. It’s not bad.

But it leaves a lot of time for thinking.

Yesterday my ex-husband got his new bulldog puppy, Harper, and I got to meet her before he headed home to Delaware. She played in the yard with my dog, Adele, and held her own against an orange cat twice her size. It was a delight getting to have those puppy snuggles and smell that puppy breath. She is a descendant of both Bodhi’s parentage on the paternal side (her great-grandsire was Bodhi’s father, Thor) and Lily’s on the maternal side (her great-great-great-grandsire was Lily’s dad, Bocephus). Both were mighty dogs. Harper’s line is full of champions. Her breeder is a second generation bulldog breeder, and her dogs are treated like gold.

Don’t write to me to give me guff about purebred dogs. When you love a breed, you love it. You want it to be consistent and bred for health. You want it to be of the temperament and personality (and ability) that the breed is known for. I have had both purebreds (Bulldogs, Samoyeds) and mutts (like my Adele). The one thing I will say for purebreds is that if you get them from a responsible breeder, you can predict a lot about what the dog will be like. With a mutt, you never know what you’re going to get, but training is key in any case.

It’s the circle of life, you know? Bodhi has been gone since the end of January. He was Paul’s soulmate. I have a feeling that Harper will fill some of the void that Bodhi left behind. Next weekend, I’ll get to see Harper (and her golden retriever brother, Oliver) again as we dog-sit for a few hours.

But despite all this life, cancer is still getting the upper hand in some of the lives around me. A dear friend’s mother is in her last weeks of life. Paul’s in-laws are both dying of cancer. It’s everywhere. It makes it hard some days to focus on getting past my own diagnosis. I’ve been having some sort of reaction to something (who knows what at the moment), resulting in rashes across my neck and upper chest, across my hands. I’ve tried eliminating things in my environment that could be to blame (although I can’t control the tree pollen). I don’t know if it could be a medication reaction or food reaction or environmental reaction — or it could be the lingering effects of the intense chemotherapy I went through last year. At any rate, it’s a small price to pay for my life. I pray for all those affected by cancer. It is a terrible thing to endure. It’s indiscriminate and greedy. It’s a parasitic riot of rogue cells that mean to choke out the good cells. I hope that someday we have an understanding of it that leads to a cure. Many people can live longer with late stage cancer now, but in some cases, the cancer still wins.

Do your best to take care of yourself and the people you love. Stop treating your body like it will last forever, because I assure you it won’t. Two things are certain in this human existence – birth and death. We just have to do our best to make the moments in between happy, healthy, and useful.

Namaste, Jude

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