Freedom 55 Festivities


Whew! Wasn’t that a party? In facing the reality of my illness, many folks asked what they could do. I took a risk that could have backfired. I asked them to throw me a Freedom 55 Bash, knowing full well that I would have been told two weeks before how fast the cancer was spreading. If you read this blog, then you know that I had relatively fabulous news which was a blessing. The celebration was then for the most part, a reason to rejoice.

My family and friends rose to the occasion and threw a spectacular soiree. Prince and I now hold the record for purple parties. The decorators truly outdid themselves in that regard and the guest created a sea of purple that brought delight. I took a great deal of flack for wearing white primarily, with purple accents. I simply wanted to ensure that people could find me amongst the various waves of purple.

I will write more in the days ahead about the event but tonight I must head to bed. The last out-of-town guest left this afternoon. I was able to take a short nap before cleaning up and sorting through the many gifts that I was not supposed to receive but did–thoughtful gestures that made me smile.  I tallied up the funds that I received for the two causes that were chosen to be recipients of people’s generosity. One friend donated to the fires burning in Fort McMurray on my behalf and that was appreciated. My heart is very full of gratitude as I write this.

I am always a bit of a deer-in-headlights at these gatherings. The introvert in me does not like to be the centre of attention and often I think that I am less than gracious under pressure. I guess there is a certain freedom that comes with age, and I am still learning a few lessons in this regard. However, I wanted this party for several reasons. I knew such an event would keep my friends who felt somewhat helpless regarding my diagnosis busy and engaged with me on some level, even if I was not directly involved. The party would allow people to create something joyful and positive in the midst of a painful, sad time for all of us. Folks from right across the spectrum of my life could get to know each other a bit better. Have I mentioned that I have some of the very best friends ever?  It has brought me much joy to know that several people really clicked with one another. Those embraced by my long arms, as mentioned at the party, could huddle together like chicks under a hen’s wings and bask in the warmth of that.

Mostly I wanted to share with people the impact each of us can have in our glorious world. We are each given one wild and precious life as Mary Oliver says, and must decide how to spend it. Years ago, a dear friend of mine gave me a quote in a frame that said Write your life so that others may be illuminated. I believe that each of us can illuminate our wee spot in the world. We do so in our own way, with an all-star cast supporting or leading us. I am no more special than anyone else. I would not be who I am if it were not for others in my life who have modeled goodness, who have called forth my gifts, who have believed in me, and who have loved me. The party room was filled with hundreds of people because each person has an amazing story that intersects with mine. Yes, I know people like to think the party was about me, but I know the truth–it was about us. We are magnificent.

I am going to bed tired but with a heart that is full and overflowing with Love from many grace-filled spirits. To God be the glory today and always.



Reflection Questions

How have you transformed sadness to gladness?

Whose story intersects with yours in a way that has created a better you?


Glorious God

Gracious We

Grateful Me

Gobsmacked together



About sstyves

A Canadian prairie girl rooted in Ignatian spirituality, I seek God in all things. Whether I catch a glimpse of the Divine and delight in its presence in nature or in the beauty of an encounter with someone, I am ever so grateful that I can recognize the Creator. I greet each new day with hope and happiness, expecting blessings and miracles because I am created to praise, love and serve God. This blog is one way of realizing that through my writings, prayers, and photography. To God be the Glory!
This entry was posted in #Consolation, #prayer, #YearofMercy, Catholic, Christian, Faith, Ignatian, Spirituality and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Freedom 55 Festivities

  1. Karen Wheadon says:

    Suzanne, this sounds like a party people will remember with smiles for years to come. Your reflections on the evening are beautiful.

    Sent from my iPad


  2. lauraleemcd says:

    It was an awe-inspiring evening. So many folks from years gone by that I saw were healthy and happy. Mostly happy, because they were there to celebrate a woman whose impact in our lives is far reaching. A well-deserved celebration of a well-lived life.

    • sstyves says:

      Thanks, Lauralee! It was a grand celebration, filled with a whole lot of love. My heart is very grateful. Glad you were there. Pictures another time apparently. 😉

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