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All we need is love

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In lieu of flowe­rs, meals­, care packa­ges, etc., pleas­e hug the peopl­e you love and do a random act of kindn­ess.

That’s what my friend Wendy wants. Her cancer has come back, you know. It had some pretty serious intent the first time around, three years ago, requiring a stem cell transplant. And now it’s back.

Wendy is one of those people that you want to be. A nurse, an early childhood advocate, a community organizer, a real mover-and-shaker. For her “vacations”, she and her husband traveled to third-world countries and built latrines for impoverished communities. She rushed to New Orleans after Katrina to help however she could.

And yes, as you might guess, with this kind of spirit, she is a loving and warm soul. She was the first to welcome my late partner, Ruth, and I into the neighborhood even though we lived in a very conservative town where many of the neighbors really didn’t want our “kind” living among them.

When I received the news that her cancer returned, I was pretty mad. My mind did all sorts of gyrations around “Why?” and “This isn’t fair!” and other thoughts that can’t be mentioned in a family-friendly blog.

And then I read her words about how we can best help: hugs and kindess. Not “stuff.” Not flowers and gifts and food. Not getting mad at the Universe. Leave it to Wendy to boil the important things in this life we live down to their essence: love.

After we sort through all the “stuff” in our lives, what’s left? Love. It’s the bedrock of our lives that we so easily forget as we rush about our days.

So, in this season of thanksgiving, I will honor my friend Wendy – and too many of my other friends with cancer – by hugging and holding tight those I love. And by practicing random acts of kindness,  even when no one’s looking.

Takeaway points: Maybe it sounds like an old saw, but love is it, folks. Love is it.

What about you? What’s it all about for you?

Leave your comments about who you hug and your random acts of kindness and I’ll be sure Wendy gets them.


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Bobbi Emel is a therapist who helps people in Los Altos, Palo Alto, Mountain View and the greater Bay Area manage their stress and develop their strengths.
She is effective in helping people dealing with anxiety, worry and grief; and also those who want to improve their effectiveness and performance.