Happy Fourth of July!

“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks and soldiers who file by the White House in a show strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.” Erma Bombeck

When I was a kid growing up in Middlebush, New Jersey, every 4th of July was celebrated the same way. The day kicked off at 10 a.m. with the Middlebush Volunteer Fire Department parade. Every kid under the age of ten decorated his or her bike, tricycle or wagon with red, white and blue bunting and joined the parade. The fire engines led the way, sounding their horns and stopping traffic. After the parade we stood in line for juice, cookies and a small prize. It was small town America at its best.

Later that afternoon, we had a family picnic in the back yard.  I always felt that summer started with that parade and I remember it fondly.

I don’t make it to the Middlebush parade anymore, but the 4th of July picnic is still a family tradition. Later today, we will congregate at my niece’s new home (she and her husband just got married last month.) There are more of us than there were when I was a kid, but the day is still about family, potato salad, Frisbees, patriotism and the beginning of summer.

Happy 4th of July to all of my readers who celebrate. Have a wonderful, fun day and mindfully enjoy every moment!

Survival > Existence,



Jan Baird Hasak's picture

Fourth of July

Debbie, I’m glad you have such a wonderful family tradition. I stayed home and puttered around, getting many needed tasks done. All in all, it was a good time to recoup and regroup. Then last night a friend and I went to our city park to hear a wonderful community band play patriotic music from John Paul Sousa and Irving Berlin, a perfect ending to the red-white-and-blue theme of this week. xox

Marcy's picture


Debbie, You touched on a very important and often covered-up emotion of anger. My daughter was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in NOV after being in ‘remission’ for 16 years. The shock we felt and the anger. She had a stem cell transplant from her perfect match brother; but this ordeal is overwhelming and even though caregivers and patient alike are given mounds of information, the least used adjectives about the experience is always left out: ANGER, loneliness, sequestered from society and friends; the lack of support of extended family and friends because this whole ordeal doesn’t fit into their neat uncomplicated lives; agitation of some clinical personel; confusion as to why some of those around us get to go home earlier from our hotels and why some who are merely 6-8 months out from their transplants are working and seem to be in near perfect health. How did they manage that? The loss of the comfort of our home; my daughter losing her teaching job and becoming nearly indigent( she now lives with us of course, but being on disability and food stamps-which have now been taken away from her because she makes ‘too much money’ from her disability checks!!! REALLY? and the loss of my job after working for 4 years in the same position. My FMLA hours were exhausted and I no longer have a job. Therefore, we don’t have the kind of financial security for bills to be paid etc and my husband is the only one with a job. If only someone was far more forthcoming with info for caregivers and the losses that would occur in every way. We knew this wouldn’t be a walk in the park,but……
We do try to focus on the prize of going home and going forth with complete recovery. But our lives will be forever changed and the new normal doesn’t look appealing.

Debbie's picture

You’re Entitled to Your Anger and You’re Entitled to Support


I’m so very sorry for all you and your family are going through. You’re so right that no one fully prepares you for the toll cancer takes. And many medical  professionals don’t openly talk about anger either. Often we get the opposite message: Be upbeat, positive and have a good attitude. I believe that any emotion you are feeling is valid and attempting to deny how you feel just adds unfairly to your stress. Given what you’ve been dealing with, you are entirely entitled to your anger and have every right to express it.

As I mentioned in my post, I worked through my anger with my oncology therapist. I hope there are free oncology therapy services at your hospital, like there was at mine. If not, I always encourage people to call CancerCare. You can read all about them in a post I wrote earlier.  CancerCare offers free professional support to anyone affected by cancer. So, you, your husband, daughter and son can each call and speak to a therapist. You can also call the Cancer Hope Network, which will connect you with a volunteer who has a situation similiar to your own. This is another organization which offers free support to anyone touched by cancer.

Please seek out support and don’t give up until you find it. There are people out there who do get what you are going through and will be there for you. It sounds like you’ve been managing your anger by doing whatever it takes to be there for your daughter – like any good mother would do. But don’t forget that you need to take care of yourself too. I wish you all the best and will be thinking of you.

Survival > Existence,




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