She looked through the tangle of necklaces carefully, not quite sure if she wanted to wear the colorful plastic pearls or sterling silver chains that clung dutifully to tarnished baubles of all shapes and sizes. She asked herself once again why she had stored these pieces of jewelry in her dresser drawers. Most of them were never worn.
Her eyes immediately went to the oak cabinet that protected her china and serving dishes. This beautiful dishware had stared back at her for nearly 40 years from behind clouded panes of glass that sheltered and protected all of her treasures. Each piece was lined up beside and behind each other, held hostage by her unintentional avoidance. Paper plates and cups were much easier to clean than the ivory and deep blue patterns that had so long ago lost their sparkle.
If she had any words of wisdom to leave in her wake, it would be to enjoy every facet of life before the chance turns stale. Why tuck gifts and items of beauty away in bureau drawers and cardboard boxes? What would become of her possessions? The answer was clear to her. Those things that had been hidden for so long would now go to someone else to enjoy, and the sweetness inside this lovely woman desired to bequeath her treasures to another; she was simply regretful for not taking the time to enjoy these things herself over the years.
During my hours in the hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber, I found myself often deep in thought, even while “Grey’s Anatomy” played out before me. I accepted many truths about my own life and I had numerous epiphanies along the way. As of this writing, I have eight sessions remaining.
Northern Yarns is all about the lessons I have learned over the past 67 years. (Did I really say 67 years? How did that happen?) My next submission will center around the superb medical staff I have spent many hours with since my very first day, Aug. 8. I will enter the chamber for the 60th time on Nov. 3. Though the routine has been tedious, the benefits from this treatment are many. My husband, Kent, has stood behind and beside me throughout this journey, never once failing to encourage me and assure me that even though I am a bit broken right now, he loves me with no restraint. My sister, Lisa, has seen me at my worst, both physically and emotionally. Despite often being down and nearly out, she knows I am still in charge. My friends are supportive, hopeful and faithful.
I plan on using my china for every meal this weekend, and whether or not we leave the house, I am wearing some of my Halloween baubles and a Halloween ghost shirt. I have a Thanksgiving tree set up that is decorated with wooden turkeys, pumpkins, little red trucks, leaves, pilgrims and corn. A skeleton hangs outside on a tree, and if you look closely, you may see a witch or two.
I have promised myself that I will enjoy the things I have acquired by way of my own purchase, or as gifts from loved ones. I will fully acknowledge the holidays and look for the magic in the midst of turmoil. Several times, I have come close to bursting out in song and I am jazzing up my smile.
Let us be kind to each other, love each other, and most importantly, let us love ourselves. Be safe, my friends — with my love.
Belinda Hersey lives in Caribou with her husband, Kent, and their two dogs, Barney and Morgan. You may email her at email@example.com.