From Karen Vedder in southern California...
This past year had some difficult times. One scary challenge was the massive blood clots in my left leg which caused a fear of dying any minute during the 9 months I had them. Not fun! Another was the death of my baby brother, not quite 60, youngest of us six Vedder kids.
I've also had some great joys. Isn't that what life is all about? Many ups and downs. What I've learned from these major ones this year, and other challenges throughout the years, is to celebrate life each day and be grateful for all the good in my life.
Topping that list would be my grandchildren. Altho my gramma duties have been cut back from four little ones, five days a week, to one, until his big sister gets home from school. I still see the other grandchildren enough to maintain our close loving relationship. Since four of my seven live nearby it happens often. The grandkids love coming to gramma's and I love having them here. They fill my life with love and laughter, two things that will keep me young. And I need to focus on that rather than the shock of celebrating the 50th birthday of my oldest son soon! Talk about feeling old. How could I have a son that is turning 50?
My little brother did go out in style with three major celebrations of his life. One of his wishes was to have his ashes dropped on Wrigley Field. Since Eddie is friends with Theo Epstein it got done. That night Eddie also threw out the first pitch, my nephew got to be bat boy and along with his sister, got to sing the 7th inning stretch song with their cousin Eddie. It was a great tribute to my little brother and I know he was somewhere watching.
The blood clots have cleared up, I feel really good, and my kids and grandkids are all doing well. What more can one ask? Life is certainly full of surprises and bumps in the road, but looking at the whole picture I am loving my life.
ps...I totally support the idea of having our 55th class reunion in San Diego!