Seize The Day, And The Next And The Next…

SURPRISE!

morgue files

morgue files

On the tail end of an eventful two weeks of celebrating my daughter’s high school graduation,  Mr. Brickhouse and I headed to a birthday party this past Friday evening.  We were to celebrate two family member’s birthdays.  One who was turning 84 and the other 70.

We were told to dress for a cocktail party.  We dressed up and arrived with birthday gifts for the guests of honor.

Once seated, my loving cousin who was hosting the event, toasted to her devoted father who was visiting from Puerto Rico and turning 84 that day.   Birthday songs were sung in both English and Spanish, tears were shed and the ceremony continued with more toasting, this time to the guest turning 70.  

morgue files

morgue files

The man turning 70 was my cousin’s boyfriend/significant other.  They have been together for a couple of years and have built a wonderful life together. She shared stories about him as did other guests and we toasted to this special milestone.

This is when things got crazy.

youtube

Good ideas always appear to be crazy.

P (my cousin’s boyfriend) grabbed the microphone and called my cousin over to  the dance floor.  In front of all the guests, he asked her what she wanted to do during the next year.  She responded with a simple yet deeply meaningful answer, “I would like to keep on living”. 

To most, wanting to keep living is just a given.  We take it for granted and is not an answer we give to that type of question.

 To my beautiful cousin however,  that answer means the world to her and to those who love her.  A couple of years ago she was diagnosed with a rare condition called, Cadasil:

Cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy), is an inherited condition that causes stroke and other impairments. This condition affects blood flow in small blood vessels, particularly cerebral vessels within the brain. The muscle cells surrounding these blood vessels  are abnormal and gradually die. In the brain, the resulting blood vessel damage (arteriopathy) can cause migraines, often with visual sensations or auras, or recurrent seizures (epilepsy).”

“Damaged blood vessels reduce blood flow and can cause areas of tissue death (infarcts) throughout the body. An infarct in the brain can lead to a stroke. In people with CADASIL, a stroke can occur at any time from childhood to late adulthood, but typically happens during mid-adulthood. People with CADASIL often have more than one stroke in their lifetime. Recurrent strokes can damage the brain over time. Strokes that occur in the subcortical region of the brain, which is involved in reasoning and memory, can cause progressive loss of intellectual function (dementia) and changes in mood and personality.”

(courtesy of  http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov)

cadasil_assn_GENE

This condition is extremely difficult to diagnose because it is so rare and often mimics other brain disorders like, Multiple Sclerosis.

She has already suffered from some light episodes and lives not knowing when the next one will  occur.  There is no cure or medication for this rare condition and no way to stop it from happening.

So you can imagine our surprise and tears of joy, when P got down on his knee and asked her to marry him – on his birthday.  She is like a sister to me so I was feeling incredibly happy for them both.

IMG_0941

P then grabbed the microphone again and asked if there was a priest in the room.  A man raised his hand and stood up.  

OMG!  

It was all planned!  

Were we on candid camera?

Were we being punked?

We were now attending their wedding.  

It turns out that only a few people other than the bride and groom, were in on this surprise.  Most of us were in complete shock.

This surprise is only a small example of the way my cousin lives her life.  It is precisely what I adore about her.  The admiration I have for the way she attacks life, is monumental.  Now 52, she has always lived her life in the moment.  Appreciating and stopping to notice the little details that matter.  There is no opportunity she does not take and make the best of.  

For her, No is simply a word that does not exist. She continues to be a dreamer and a doer, only now, after her devastating diagnosis, the wish to take it all in and enjoy herself has only intensified.  

Life has not been all peaches and cream for her as there have been plenty of large bumps along the way and things she probably wishes had never occurred.   She has made peace with what is and vows to get the most out of her years on this earth.

*******

So we went to a birthday party and had wedding cake instead.

IMG_7290 - Version 2

Felicidades mi prima querida.  Te quiero mucho!

52 thoughts on “Seize The Day, And The Next And The Next…

  1. Maria. Sweet Maria,
    Congratulations!on your new maglmissed all the excitement at art class …What a wonder full day you must have had.
    Hugs.
    Bren

    Like

    1. Ha! Go for it, Aussa. She planned the whole thing in 3 weeks. She even had wedding favors made (small champagne bottles with their names on them). The funny thing is that only her now husband got gifts, not her!

      Like

  2. Oh Maria, this brought tears of joy, what a beautiful post about a most beautiful event! The birthday that was a wedding, wow! Your cousin has been through so much and she deserves all the joy and happiness with her new husband and I hope and pray that she/they will experience this for many years to come. Thanks so much for sharing such an uplifting post, made my day 🙂
    PS Lovely photos of you all too 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Muchas gracias, Sherri!!! I feel like I didn’t do the experience justice in my post description. It was 10 times more amazing that what I could describe. I am glad you enjoyed it, we all need these type of surprises in our lives. Events like these do remind us that life is what you make of it. Bad things happens to all of us but it’s how we deal with them that matters. 🙂

      Like

    1. Hi Susie! I am still thinking about this and smiling from ear to ear. She really got us all! Thanks for the kind words, I have yet to perfect my attitude toward life but I’m getting there. 🙂

      Like

    1. How funny, Alarna that your cousin did the same thing! Very funny! It was such a gift to us all. I will admit that I have a positive attitude about life and accepting what is, but she’s got me beat. She is amazing! 🙂

      Like

    1. Thanks, Lily! You can imagine how surprised we were and how many, Ay Dios Mios were said! 🙂 They are on their honeymoon with their father, sisters, brother and their aunt (my mother). Very typical Puerto Ricans… LOL!

      Like

    1. Welcome, Denise! Thank you for stopping by. 🙂 I felt that, Seize The Day on its own was not enough. We need to seize the next and the next and the next. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed this happy story.

      Like

  3. This is incredibly romantic! I am swooning a little bit over here!

    For the record; I too would like to continue living. At least for a few more years. I don’t take it for granted either.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is romantic and so full of life! I hear you on wanting to continue living. With all you have been through! Like you, I don’t take anything for granted! My cousin’s outlook is contagious and always reminds me to enjoy life! Like you did, eating those chocolate bacon donuts!! 🙂

      Like

  4. (she sighs..) Sorry, Maria, but this is….magnificent!!! Love at any age is grand, but so much more precious in our older years. Most past a certain age, learn to live without it…feel as though they are past their time. But it’s just so untrue!! This was beautiful Maria!! And you had me looking up words, even though you gave a description and definition, (quite descriptive by the way, bravo) I still wanted to look it up!!! I had never heard of it before!! Truly strange, but heartbreaking. This lady merely wants life!! Something we all take for granted which we shouldn’t!! I hope you don’t mind, but I want to share this for others to read! Not only because of the disease…more than that, though that is important…for the hope love! That one can still find love at any age! Remarkable!!! 😉 xo ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t this wonderful?? I love surprises and stories like these and it was even better witnessing it. There are so many levels to this event that are magnificent! Many would be afraid to live after a diagnosis like that but she has always been a doer. Since the diagnosis she has taken up painting which she never did before and does beautiful work. Everything she touches, she accomplishes and is good at. LOVE HER!

      As to finding love when older, I completely agree! In fact, my own mother married at 73. My father passed away 15 years ago and she dated some but her husband of now came along and swept her off her feet. They have been married for 3 years now and are the cutest couple I know. Feel free to share my dears! 🙂 Thank you.

      Like

    1. Be careful what you wish for because before you know it I’ll have a van filled with friends and relatives headed straight to your home! What a fun party that would be. I love surprises like these too and wish they occurred more often. 🙂

      Like

  5. Now this is how you live life, Maria. Happy birthday to the two. Congratulations to the two. Wow to everybody lucky enough to be in that room. Hats off to those who planned the moment. Thank you for interpreting the occasion so beautifully, Mrs. B, and sharing the photo of two gorgeous and joyful cousins.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are too kind, Mark! If anyone knows how to live it up it’s her. Her energy is contagious which is great for the rest of us. Everyone in the room left that party/wedding feeling so happy.

      Like

    1. Jill, it was crazy!!! We were in complete shock. Everyone was crying and laughing at the same time. The funny thing is that they had a cruise planned for the next day along with her sisters, her father, brother and even my mother and husband. They left for a week to Canada. We couldn’t stop laughing as we realized that she would be sharing her honeymoon with all those people. Particularly her father! This is so her and something right up her alley. She truly knows how to live and have fun. 🙂

      Like

      1. She sounds like an incredible person, Maria. What a great memory she created not only for herself and her husband, but all of her family and friends.
        Is she a writer like you? It sounds like she’s pretty good with twists. 🙂

        Like

    1. Oh Linda, it was crazy and amazing at the same time. She really got us. We had absolutely NO CLUE. Her father would not stop crying. I love her attitude towards life. When I am with her, it is always a party. 🙂

      Like

Let it all hang out...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s