Sunday, November 27, 2022

Let's Party!

My best friend, Julie passed away from Cystic Fibrosis in 2015. I have the privilege of keeping in touch with the family especially her twin, Natalie. I consider her one of my closest friends and I love her dearly.

In early November, her dad texted me and told me that we were throwing a surprise party for Natalie. No other woman in the world deserves a surprise party more than her. She’s been through so much that she deserves all the joy in the world.

I arrived at the party very early because I didn’t want to interfere with the surprise. Well, I got there way too early! The staff was still setting up 500+ balloons and the acrobat was getting her things out as well. Her dad went all out. About an hour after I arrived (yeah, I was really early), the guests started to come into the rectangular room. It was at Stereo Club in downtown Chicago. They had a slideshow of pictures of Natalie and Julie because we know that Julie is with us in spirit.

The birthday girl on my lap because...why not?

When we knew Natalie was coming, everyone went quiet. I stood behind her family with her best friend from college. I was so excited to see her register that everyone from her life was there. That’s the magic of a surprise party. Everyone comes purely for you.

The look on her face was a combination of shock and utter disbelief.

“Hannah Thompson. Hi, you’re here!” Natalie said.

She barely had time to process my presence when she saw that the whole club was full of people that loved her and her family. If you know that family, you’re blessed!

The whole night was crazy fun!

 

 

I’m glad I had that type of night because I tested positive for Covid five days later. I did not get it at the party. I know where I got it from, and I won’t disclose that information because that person feels awful. It’s not fair to that individual to discuss it. I did not announce it on social media; I was busy sleeping and taking Dayquil. My disabilities DID NOT affect symptoms which I don’t take for granted. It has been 12 days after the first positive test; my symptoms are gone. I’m very safe to be around. I’m beyond sick of talking about Covid so please don’t e-mail me with concerns. I’m your happy, healthy Hannah and that is all that matters! I’ve been home for a long time…let’s party! Text me with an excuse to get out of the house!

Till Then,

Hannah!

Monday, October 31, 2022

Phi Mu at 32

During my college days, I joined a sorority. Phi Mu has served me in so many ways, but something came from it that I never imagined. 

We have a Facebook group that is private, and Robin Benoit posted that she published a book about sorority sisters in their eighties. I requested the book through Elmhurst Public Library (best way to get your hands on a book in my opinion especially since my bookshelves fill up quickly) and I loved it!


I highly recommend it. Anyway, I posted a picture in the Facebook group and Robin responded within minutes. She and I did not know each other whatsoever but the sisterly bond connected us. How amazing is that! 

We were on Zoom a week later. It was such a blessing to meet with not only a published author but a fellow sister with a similar passion. It has made my entire month! I look forward to getting to know Robin Benoit and seeing where our relationship takes us. Feel free to check out her website at: https://www.robinbenoit.com/.

I know this is a short update, but it has been a quiet few weeks. I'm not complaining and especially when the holidays around the corner, I know things will get busy in the best way possible. Have a fun, safe Halloween!

Happy Trick or Treating,

Hannah! 

 

Friday, September 30, 2022

Pieces of my Heart

Kevin, my longtime mentor had texted me about homecoming. He said that a long-time acquaintance of mine was going to be playing on Friday night. Gina Venier was going to be playing. Sounded like a great time!

                “Everyone knows me so I will be back when I am back,” I said to Julia, my caregiver who was settling into study on my couch.

                “Have fun!” Julia said.

                I took the well-worn path from my condo to my university. Elmhurst University. Being funny, Kevin asked me if I was taking the stairs or ramp to the quad. Obviously, the ramp would be my choice. Meeting me by the ramp, Kevin hugged me.

                “How are you, HT?” Kevin asked.

                “Good! Working on the book,” I replied.

                He then filled me in on his life highlighting the fact that his kids never came home.

                “You sound like my parents,” I replied.

                The night was great, and I saw some familiar faces which are the pieces of my heart. I love that I went to Elmhurst and truly made it my home. The next morning was the epitome of bittersweet. It was Dr. Deatra Sullivan-Morgan’s bench memorial. Deatra was my mentor throughout college who unfortunately passed before Covid. Many of you remember reading about her in my November 2019 post. She was quite special to me.

                The memorial service was in one of the classrooms that she taught in. Her daughter, Jessica spoke as well as Deatra’s husband and son-in-law. They had beautiful, funny stories to share. My heart embraced every word. We walked out with the sun streaming on our faces to a beautiful, new bench right next to the spot she parked in for 19 years. Jessica placed nineteen purple roses on the bench and the service wrapped up.

                It’s funny because people don’t realize that I live minutes from the University and literally can come and go in five minutes. About two hours after, I had changed outfits, and everyone was a little confused. On those types of days, my condo is simply a dressing room.

                That was homecoming 2022.

                I’m doing really well. I’ll be working on the outline of my book this week. If you know someone who is in the industry, now is the time to connect me to that person. I’ve been writing since February. I have thirteen chapters. If you have offered to help in some way with the book, e-mail me. I want to get the ball rolling! 

Hannah! 

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

A Busy Vacation

Olivia and I had five hours ahead of us, but it would all be worth it when I arrived. Olivia is one of my many caregivers. She is blonde, tall, and has the stamina of the Energizer Bunny. I was on my annual trip to Minnesota, and I couldn't wait to arrive. We drove through Illinois, Wisconsin, and finally Minnesota. With relief, we unpacked in the hotel room and went downstairs for a late dinner.

At 10:00 the next day, my best friend, Katherine came to the hotel to visit. The hotel was connected to the Mall of America so every friend who was coming could simply have a meal with me or go shopping. It’s a fantastic set up; I go to Minnesota once a year to visit friends from Camp Courage and I stay at a hotel connected to the mall.

Katherine and I met at Camp and have been attached at the hip ever since. I text her every day and seeing her is wonderful. Per her request, we went to Starbucks and any and every shop we could fit into in an afternoon. She has a sweet, high-pitched giggle that melts my heart.

After Katherine had to leave, I went to Kelly’s house. Kelly and I met working at a therapy center in Illinois and have remained friends to this day. Kelly, a blonde woman with a gigantic smile opened the door with her four kids in toe.

            “Hannah, will you watch me dance?” Sophie, the nine-year-old asked.

            “Hi Hannah!” Kelly said as she squeezed in a hug. Sophie had a lot to tell me which was coming out of her mouth as I rolled into the living room which had a ton of outdoor light.

            “Let me talk to Hannah, Sophie,” Kelly said.

            Kelly gave me a tour of her house which is absolutely stunning. The family has a play area and the kids showed me every trick they could possibly think of. I was in my element.

            “Mom, I have to show Hannah my dance that I made up for her,” Sophie said.

            “OK. Let’s go back to the living room,” Kelly said.

            When I was growing up, I thought the world of my parent’s friends. To this day, I have relationships with them that I absolutely cherish. I put on shows like this for my parent’s friends when I was a little girl. I was having a full circle moment and my heart felt like it was glowing. Sophie was an amazing dancer, and I couldn’t stop smiling.

            It was a very loud dinner with Sophie and the three younger boys, but it was full of love. All the kids wanted to ride my wheelchair. I bargained with them.

            “If you eat your vegetables, I’ll give you wheelchair rides,” I said.

            All four kids reluctantly agreed. The kids put their feet on top of the metal bars attached to the back wheels. Every kid loved it. I’m extremely biased but I love my friend’s kids and I think they are the greatest.

            The next day I met up with Keith, we met with Camp Courage and have remained friends for fourteen years. Keith is an animated ham and I adore being around him. I blogged about his wedding a few years ago. We caught up and walked around the mall. Keith’s phone rang and he had to take it because he’s a doctor. My goofy friend is a doctor. How did that happen?

            “Yeah, that patient…order a CT and I will follow up in a few hours,” Keith stated in a professional tone.

            Oh my lanta! Keith was important! The guy I partied with back in the day was ordering scans for his patients.

            “Keith, you do important stuff!” I exclaimed.

            “Yeah, it’s pretty cool. I love my job,” he said.

                Finally, I met up with Trinayani who is a nurse who sees patients with blood disorders. We met at Camp Courage too. We enjoyed dinner as two single women. It’s nice to have friends in all different stages of life. She is a founder of Camp Breakaway.  Camp Breakaway is for kids who have cancer to go to camp and get away from the stress of being sick. I begged her to mention it in my blog because I know this is extraordinary. To learn more, click here.

Driving back to Elmhurst and seeing my stomping grounds made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I always want to come home to my town where everyone knows me. I love the people in my life.

Feeling Blessed and Sending Love,

Hannah!

Let's Party!

My best friend, Julie passed away from Cystic Fibrosis in 2015. I have the privilege of keeping in touch with the family especially her twin...