Let me encourage you

Dear Friends,
It is officially fall!  The seasons are changing so rapidly.  Before you know it we will be in that crazy time of the year where we are celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and attending all sorts of parties and get togethers.  As people who live with a terminal illness, I know that these seasons can be difficult and beautiful.  I want to take a moment to encourage you.  With a bit more thought and planning these things can be amazing and wonderful for you, not something to dread and feel anxious about.  Many of us have feelings of nervousness when it comes to participating in anything that takes us beyond our daily routine.  With the kick off of candy grabbing children on halloween to the ball drop on New Year's eve, many of us feel pretty unsettled and exhausted.  It doesn't have to be this way.
First off let me apologize for getting you thinking of this in September!  Here is why.  By planning or talking about it in advance, you remove the stress, and perhaps even begin to look forward to these things.
Step one is to make a plan.  If you and your family are in charge of any of the holiday gatherings, I say make a plan and be willing to let go of the past.  By letting go of the past I mean, don't be so rigid with traditions.  Sometimes you just need to let a few of them go.  You may have been making a special food item from scratch your whole life just because that's the way grandma did it, but this could be the perfect time to let it go.  If you have to have the pumpkin cheesecake, maybe you need to pick it up from costco, and gift yourself back the hours of shopping and food prep you would have spent.  One of the greatest bits of advice I have ever been given is this.  Keep it simple stupid.  Just keep it simple.  Whatever your traditions are talk to your family and come up with a plan to make them more simple.  You may find out that your family hates that damned pumpkin cheesecake but they've been eating it all these years because they thought it was important to you.  
So step one was coming up with a plan and letting go.  Step two is talking to your family here is step three.  DELEGATE.  You don't have to do it all on your own.  Hubby can pick up the halloween candy.  You can buy the cheesecake or ditch having it altogether.  If you really have to have the turkey on thanksgiving, but the idea of cooking all day is overwhelming, you can have one of your children cook it this year. Or take advantage of the many stores that will let you pre-order a precooked turkey with the fixings.  My husband and daughter did this one year and had a really laid back holiday.  I also did this one year when my husband was on chemo and cooking smells bothered him so badly.  I got all the preorder stuff I could and then just went with canned crannies, and canned gravy ect.  No real cooking involved, just heat and eat.  Very little stress and it was so relaxing.  Guess what, the food tasted essentially the same as it would have had I made it from scratch.  It's not rocket science it's just turkey and stuffing folks!
Step four is the most important.  Rest.  That's right.  Just rest.  Let go of the responsibilities by delegating them and rest.  Go to bed early, sleep in, take naps.  Get rest every single place you can.  If you are away from home and you are tired, ask if there is a place you can excuse yourself to and rest.  People really do want to help you and take care of you.  So let them.  Let them serve you, let them help you, and take time for yourself.  I know it isn't in your nature to be on the receiving end of service, but if there was ever a time in your life to accept service, this time is it.  I know these tips and suggestions seem simplistic.  It may be difficult to put them into practice.  Share these thoughts and ideas with your partner and family and have a healthy open discussion so that you all can enjoy this holiday season.  I love you guys!
Thanks for stopping by,
Leslie

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