One of your hugs would be nice right now

A road trip to Idaho this week. Alone. Hung out with my fabulous in-laws. Walked a trail I hadn’t been on since hiking it with Hubby. Missing him more than normal. One of his hugs would be nice right now.




The settings

#1: Earlier this week, I spent a few days with two sets of brothers- and sisters-in-law and a couple of nieces/nephews in a lovely log cabin on a remote Idaho ranch. Gary and I always enjoyed going out to BIL’s ranch. One of our favorite activities was piling into the old Jeep and riding the perimeter, which would take at least an hour. While riding the range this past week, we spotted several does with their speckled fawns, a couple of coyotes, a black bear, and the largest bull elk any of the guys had ever seen on the ranch. Pretty exciting stuff for this city girl (who is really a country girl at heart). Add to that the playful banter of the Johnson boys teasing their wives … and it all made me miss Hubby. More than normal. Not a mournful kind of missing, but a definite hollow space that was once filled with a good friend who enjoyed riding the range, looking for wildlife, teasing his wife, nuzzling up to her.

Setting #2: On Friday, back home in Oregon, I spent most of the day reading and writing in Drake Park in the shade of tall evergreens overlooking the Deschutes River. As Hubby started slowing down, a good many of our Friday night dates were in Drake Park with take-out food and Words with Friends. Being here in the same lawn chair under the same tall trees brought back bittersweet memories. It’s still an enjoyable thing to do — this beautiful outdoor office — but it’s different. Very different sitting here alone.

Setting #3: Yesterday I hiked the Metolius River with my fabulous cancer-kicking Walking 4 Wellness posse members — a portion of the Metolius that I hadn’t trekked since last hiking it with Hubby. Sigh.



Photo credit: Donna Hahn


This meme. It expresses exactly how I’m feeling at the moment:

One of your hugs would be nice right now.

The options

The way I see it, there are only two options for living life after disappointments, news of cancer, heartbreak, loss:

A) We can stay home and avoid the places that remind us of that good thing we once had. We can stop doing things that resurrect memories. We can slowly break off relationships with people who remind us of happier, healthier, better days.

… or …

B) We can lock the front door behind us and—armed with backpack, hiking boots, camera, lawn chairs, sunscreen, stand-up paddle boards, snacks, bathing suit, national park passes, GPS—set off to make new memories. And we can love and appreciate the people in our lives who still want us around.

This wisdom from Richard Paul Evans:

We can spend our days bemoaning our losses, or we can grow from them. Ultimately the choice is  ours. We can be victims of circumstances or masters of our own fate, but make no mistake, we cannot be both.

That simple. The choice is mine. And I choose a good, full, contented, grateful life. Even though one of Hubby’s hugs would be so good right now.

What about you? If you’ve experienced loss — of health or relationship or finances — how are you spending your days? What choices are you making?

P.S. If you found this post inspirational or helpful, please share, tweet or pin!


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  1. Kathi Denton

    Marlys – I am so glad you chose B – we would not have met otherwise. I am so happy to be able to call you a friend, and can’t wait to see you again and hope that we can become even better friends. I am so inspired by your writing and will strive to be a better person because of it. Thank you.
    Kathi Denton

  2. Kathi Denton

    BTW – I love the Metolius!

  3. Celina

    I read every blog post you share ☺️. I absolutely love that you have chosen to be adventurous and share your journey.

  4. Sue Giovanni

    Beautiful Marlys!! Love the picture also. Just beautiful!!

  5. Sharon Berbert

    Marlys, I appreciate what you say about making choices. As I get older, we experience losses—energy, health, friends, family and of being needed in the same way we were when we were working. What I know for sure, though, is that I make a choice each day of whether I am extending love or fear to others around me. I do not ever lose the divine unconditional love that is God given. That is something we do not lose and that we can keep giving.

  6. Tracey

    I’m giving you a hug. How precious are your memories. You are a courageous beautiful woman.

  7. Ed

    Excellent and inspiring as usual. Thanks for reaching those who hurt and offering them hope.

  8. Sonja Muster

    So beautifully written…thank you Marlys

  9. Martha Peters

    I am so excited to read of all of your adventures and the fact that you chose B instead of A is very inspirational indeed…I had a significant loss of my own health as well as an early departure from my career as a nurse in 2011. At first it was a chore to even walk half way around the block. Having permanent lung scarring and damage and requiring oxygen at night time and using medications prescribed by my doctor it was all too easy to stay at choice “A” back then. Letting life slip by day by day. Staying in the victim mode became the norm it seemed. Quietly slipping back into a depression that could not be shaken it seemed. Thanks so much for sharing. I may never become a hiker or such as you describe as part of your lifestyle, but I have indeed been on a journey back into life and since June of 2014 when I went through a severe withdrawal of prescription drugs, and changed doctors and became a part of Celebrate Recovery at my local church family … a healing began in steps one at a time! Today I continue the healing pathway and choose “B” every single day. My faith in God has been my strength as well as determination to never give up. I am oxygen free. I walk every day and sometimes up to three miles or more a day. I am narcotic free and have been since June 2014. I have gone from 13 prescriptions down to only 4 now and even though I have chronic issues with pain (Fibromyalgia, chronic degenerative joint disease, arthritis) each step I will continue to move. I find your blog very inspirational and you are truely a blessing to me. Love you and God bless, Martha

  10. Peter Howe B.E.M.

    A good friend since ’92 – Barbara Winterfeld of Bend, introduced me to your blog, you may recall her. I met Barbara when I cycled across USA in ’92 following being diagnosed with kidney cancer & given 25% chance of survival. I/we (my Barbara and I) have quite a story – she too is a sufferer survivor. Being inspired by many motivational folks whom I’ve met on my 380,000 miles of cycling somewhere in the world for our chosen cancer/leukaemia supported caused, becoming a speaker/story teller/musician/song writer, invited to give 80 talks/gigs year on year for 25yrs plus, is my pleasure . I intend writing to you, I hope that is OK. Reading some of your blog and stories has taken me to many a wonderful place in your wonderful Oregon… we (Barbara and I) were there in May, 2016. For now, take care Our love, God Bless, Barbara & Peter Howe B.E.M.

    • Good to hear from you, Peter. Any friend of Barbara Winterfeld’s is a friend of mine! Wow … you’ve been busy. Good for you, and what an amazing story you have! Blessing to you and your Barbara!

  11. Wendy Archer

    I have taken a leaf out of your book Marlys – option B for me! I lost my best friend (husband), not to death but to alcohol. He has made his choice and I had to make mine. But I’m not bemoaning the fact – I have lived his life and now I am going to live mine! You gave me the inspiration and the knowledge that life doesn’t have to end or be unutterably unhappy when we lose our loved ones. I will carry on, remembering the good times but equally determined to make more happy memories. Thank you.

    • I’m so sorry for your painful loss, Wendy. Loss is loss, whether it’s alcohol or cancer that takes one’s husband. Wishing you all the best.

  12. Hi Marlys

    I tried to send you a comment on the contact page but have no idea if it sent or not

    I lost my Emilee to pancreatic cancer in January 2017. I enjoy reading your posts, and would love to talk sometime.
    Thank you for sharing through your eyes, what is going on in your heart. For one who is going through a still fresh loss, your words are touching (gently) ……. some places in me that are still raw, but appreciate the soothing balm of your thoughts and feelings.
    with my heart,

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