Friday, June 13, 2014

Pieces of Me

You could say the idea for
this post was half baked,
because it sprang from a simple
question posed by my daughter:

I wonder how old the oldest
bread dough starter is?

As we considered the idea of
bread dough starters (a piece of
dough reserved from a previous
batch) being given to others
over generations, Elizabeth
observed that this process of
sharing is similar to life.

We give away little pieces of 
ourselves.....and we also receive
little pieces of others, our whole

That's my girl.

Echoes of this conversation
stayed with me as I went about
my week, reveling in the green,
fresh days of early summer.

On Tuesday as I wrote a sympathy
card, I was giving a little piece of me 
to a dear family who had just lost 
a big piece of themselves.

On Wednesday night as I folded fresh, 
warm laundry and set it gently on my son's
(unmade!) bed, a piece of me was in
that neat pile.

On Thursday morning as I filled out
 a survey for my doctor's office, another
little piece of me was given


But I didn't just give pieces of me
away on these June days.  I also 
received them from others.

When the UPS man left packages on 
our doorstep with a big smile on his face,
a piece of him lingered long after
we'd exchanged cheerful waves.

When my husband cleaned my bike and 
pumped its tires with air, he was giving 
me a piece of his caring heart.

And as my sweet little dog nestled into
my lap to watch TV, she was giving me the
thing she gives best--love--and a tiny
piece of her tiny self.

I treasure the fact that we are made
up of our experiences, our memories, 
and the relationships with those 
who have kept us company on life's 
journey--for the distance or maybe
just a lap or two.

Next week I'll travel out of state to
walk in the American Cancer Society's 
Relay for Life,
on a team that was created last year
to honor my dear friend Kathleen, 
who became a breast cancer warrior
in 2010.

My warrior bestie, 2013

Although her lack of stamina didn't allow 
her to match her friends and family step
 for step, she still participated from the
sidelines, cheering everyone on and giving
pieces of herself as she'd done her 
entire life.

None of us dreamed that in a few 
short months, Kathleen would be gone,
and a big piece of our lives would be 
missing forever.

I, like so many of you, carry pieces 
of people in my heart whose stories 
became intertwined with cancer.

Many won the fight.
Many are still in the trenches.

Some have lost.

All will be with me, as I walk.

If you'd like me to wear the name 
of someone special to you who has
also fought cancer, it would be my 
honor and privilege to include
them, too.

Simply leave me a comment with 
their name or send me an email by 
next Friday, June 20th and I will
display it proudly as I walk.

I am grateful that you are woven 
into my own story, whether you've
been reading my thoughts for a while
or if this is the very first time.

Like that starter dough, I'm fed, 
not by flour, sugar and water, but 
by the knowledge that we are all 


 by so much on this earth and in
this life.

Thank you.

I carry your heart with me
(I carry it in my heart)
I am never without it.
~ e.e. cummings 


PS:  I am also supporting the American
Cancer Society with donations on my
personal page, if you'd like to join
my efforts, here.  

PPS:  The Boudin Bakery in
San Francisco has used the same
starter dough for 150+ years!

image of Kathleen by Jill Louise

all other pictures, my own


Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

Such a lovely post, Suzanne...and you are the sweetest to think of my dad. You have given a very wonderful part of you, to me...thank you! xoxo

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Good afternoon dear friend. It is a lovely one out there in our state, isn't it! I just came in from reveling at the best this state can offer in terms of perfect days.

I just posted about a book I just finished, The Waiting. The content is not explicitly stating the same idea as you are, but as I finished the book, (an amazing true story), I took a piece of these people with me. We read to know we are not alone, we march on for others who can't but to let them know we carry them.

My mom and dad lost their battle 29 years ago. March on. Anita

Dianna said...

You are a dear dear heart, Suzanne. This is an amazing post, written from the heart and delivered with love...a piece of yourself. :)

When I saw the names written on your arms I immediately looked for Julie and found it without a problem. I do have one other person I'd like to ask you to include...our close friend, Jon. He is a potter, who started his battle with B cell Lymphoma around the same time that Julie started her fight. Thank you so much, friend. xo

Becky said...

Dear Suzanne, I have been a reader of your blog for a couple of years now and I marvel at your posts. They have always touched me in some way or another through your written word. Today, I decided to share with you how I was given the opportunity to share a piece of me with a student in the Event Planning Class that I help teach. It has been fun watching this young lady blossom in her self-confidence this year. She has a disability that she has had since birth that affects her left hand. She had a stroke and she isn't able to use her left hand at all. She always hides her hand and myself and the teacher encouraged her to not hide it any longer, it is a part of her story and she has no reason to be ashamed. The teacher challenged her to get a beautiful bracelet and wear it and show it off. Well, she is a senior and yesterday was her last day in class and we asked her about the bracelet, her response, I'm still working on it. I had on a bracelet that was given to me by my best friend, it is one of my favorites and it has three strands to it. I took off one of the strands and put it on her arm and we said our goodbyes. Today she shared with my hubby what I had done and she wore it to her senior breakfast and she was proud of her bracelet. She has a piece of me that she will carry for a long time and it will always remind her of me, the teacher and her memories of the Event Planning Class. What an opportunity to be able to give a piece of ourselves to others. Thank you for your blog!!

Jenny said...

Thank you for reminding me of what's important in life. Giving, Sharing, loving, caring with the gifts God has given us. xo Jenny

Siret said...

Dear Suzanne,
thank you so much für these wonderful wonderful post!
Blessings, Siret

Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

The Relay….what a wonderful way for you to celebrate and honor Kathleen's life. Our close friends just walked last night with their sister who was diagnosed with a melanoma when she was pregnant with her first, beat it, and then found that the cancer had come back with a vengeance when she was pregnant with her second baby two years later. It's been a tough road and every day she has with her babies is a miracle. I think of her all the time and feel so grateful for every day I have with my kids (even the challenging ones). Her name is Lori and if you included her name that would mean a lot to me - thank you sweet and wonderful friend!

Privet and Holly said...

Becky, your email address isn't on file with Blogger, so I'm hoping you'll somehow see this. Your story is so beautiful and I thank you for taking the time to write it out so that I could share in your joy. YES, you've made an impact on this young lady's life that is indelible, and she will always carry a piece of you, even if or when that little bracelet breaks or gets lost.
The confidence that you instilled with that one gesture can't be measured, but it sounds like she's on her way......

Thank you, again!
xoxo S.

Michelle Black White said...

What a beautiful post. I just made a donation to your effort in honor of my father-in-law, Jack, who lost his battle in March. Thank you.

Estate Lore said...

Well done Suzanne! Loved the piece about your husband and the bike, and that of your son and the laundry. Great photo of the packages below Gracie's name! Thank you for your insight and best of luck in the RFL.

Anonymous said...

So beautiful, Suzanne.

When I did the Avon Walk in 2008, I had a t-shirt that carried warrior names like your body art here...there were far too many names...

Since you already have our dear Kathleen included, I would be honored if you would include my dad, Tony. He lost his battle with cancer in 1988. There are more names, for sure, to honor, but I will leave it with the biggest loss of my life so far.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Suzanne, what lovely thoughts today! Your posts always inspire me and stay in my heart long after. I have saved many of them to reread in the future. Thank you so much for sharing the Pieces of You with so many of us! You make a difference!! ♡ Dawn

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Privet and Holly said...

Funda, I will, indeed, wear your mom's name proudly
next Friday (and what a lovely name, too). Please send positive thoughts that the weather gods are smiling and it doesn't rain--the skin ink is washable and I'm not sure what will happen if the weather doesn't cooperate! xo

Privet and Holly said...

Lisa, Michelle and Lisa, I'm honored to carry
Lori, Jack and Tony's names with me at
the Relay for Life! Thank you for sharing
your requests--little pieces of YOU. xo

Privet and Holly said...

And Ms. Dianna.....Jon's name will be there, too!
I'll be sporting my ink like a walking rainbow, which is doubly significant, as there was a DOUBLE rainbow within minutes of my dear Kathleen's passing, and I always think of her when I see a rainbow, now. xo

Julie said...

Suzanne... love you my precious have a cherished place in my heart...I saw my name. ((((Hugs)))) you are SO special. I know how very dear Kathleen was to you and you have honored her so well and continue to love her through your living and giving. I have a name for you. My cousin Neana. She has had a stem cell transplant and is possibly facing another one...we pray for her courage. Love you. And what a beautiful post. Xoxoxo

Leslie said...

Suzanne, this was such a well written and thought provoking post with so much to think about. You are right on..we do give a piece of ourselves with each experience. Mother's especially, are always nurturing and passing on their love in the way of feeding our family and caring for their daily needs. It's incredible that you are asking for names to wear in honor of all those that have experienced cancer and the journey there after. Your good friend is looking down and watching .. she appreciates your friendship and loves you a lot:)

June said...

You touch my heart with every word you write my lovely friend. Leaving pieces of ourselves is truly why we are here. And you my dear, do it every single day!
have a wonderful walk!!!
hugs from here...

susan@avintagefarmwife said...

This is such a beautiful post! I love your heart. My dear aunt was just diagnosed with breast cancer. Her name is Mickey.

Just a little something from Judy said...

Another heart touching post from you my friend. Your heart and your words always share love, kindness, and true concern for others. I consider it a real privilege to visit your blog, every single time. I wish you the best in your walk. As always, you've inspired and blessed me by another visit to "Privet and Holly". Thank you!

patty said...

such a beautiful post, suzanne. i will be praying and thinking about you next week as you journey. safe travels. xo

patty said...

such a beautiful post, suzanne. i will be praying and thinking about you next week as you journey. safe travels. xo

michele said...

so so beautiful, suzanne. if i am not too late, could you add my mom's name JAN to your flesh for the race? that would be incredible. my grandma florence also fought breast cancer as well as many of my cousins. i know kathleen will be with you for the race.


Palomasea said... are so very special.

Joyti said...

I think the more pieces of yourself you give, the EVEN MORE you get back, so you end up with more than you started, and you are a bigger person.

On the bread...I happen to know that the oldest evidence of starter dough use comes from Ancient Egypt (when I was 12 and 13, I read EVERYTHING I could get my hands regarding ancient Egypt - I think I was a born a nerd :D )

pve design said...

Beautifully said. I am a little late here but I lost a good friend to cancer a few years ago and there is not a day that I do not think of her and all she celebrated even during her most challenging times. She taught me so much.

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Patricia Goins said...

Absolutely beautiful, just like yourself.
Thank you for sharing a piece of yourself here...

Low Tide High Style said...

Such a beautiful post and I know that the world is a much better place because of the many pieces of "you" that you have spread with a generous heart! I hope the walk went well!

xo Kat


I love theses relational connections. And walking for your sweet Kathleen and others ... lovely.