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This is recipe number 41: Flourless Chocolate Torte. I had a decadent torte of this sort at Metzger’s German Restaurant in Ann Arbor back in March at Walter’s 90th birthday party. This one is splendid! It’s dense and rich and there’s enough to share with several people. I’m celebrating my four-year transplant anniversary — how fun is it to have two birthdays?

Spring sprung… I love the month of May! It even smells good. May is not just the month of Mother’s Day… it’s the month of lilacs, my favorite flower and scent. It’s also the month both of my grandmothers were born, and one of my sons. May has always been a special time in my life.

Mother's Day 2007This is one of my all time favorite photos, taken on Mother’s Day 2007. Pride and joy abounding, it was a wonderful day. Jens surprised me while I was having coffee in my bathrobe, walking in the front door in his dress whites.  We all had lunch in Kalamazoo. I remember coming home and being very tired.

Mother’s Day 2008 was a bit different. This photo shows pride, joy — and I think, a little bit of fear and a lot of hope. I had, only a few days before, received my bone marrow transplant from my sister. I felt like the luckiest mom in the world to have my two sons with me on this particular Mother’s Day. Only one visitor was allowed to stay in the room with me for the night, but on Mother’s Day Eve, a very kind nurse secretly brought in a second fold-down chair-that-turned-into-a-bed so Jens and Eric could both be with me. Frankly I do not remember when the three of us had last spent a night all together in one room, but that night was priceless. Of the 31 nights I spent at Henry Ford, this is the one seared into my memory for all eternity. The sound of the IV drip meshed with the sounds of two young men sleeping… priceless. This was a moment that defined my life.

Cancer touches every life. If you’re not experiencing it firsthand, someone you know is or has. There are no degrees of separation in the cancer world. It’s sad that disease is so rampant; yet, every trouble contains the seeds of hope. There is always a reason to smile, even in the darkest of hours. I’ll  never forget being 16 years old and driving past my grandma’s house en route to the cemetery for her burial. One of her neighbors was bent over, working on his car with his butt crack spilling out of his pants (this was in the day before that was common!) and oh, how we roared! The saddest day can bring the fondest memory.

One thing I learned this year, at least in a way I can now put into words, is: Doctors and medicine and technology can cure your disease, but only LOVE can heal and make you whole. Love surrounds my life! I’m betting it does yours, too. Thanks to doctors, medicine, and technology (not to mention a great gift from my sister), my last four years have not been borrowed time. While much of my transplant memory has taken on the surreal quality of the past, the lessons I learned then are often at the forefront of my mind.

Way I see it… I’m going to be spending a lot more time “AT REST” than in this life — so it’s more fun to be present and joyful, and eating cake, when ever possible.