I Love New Mexico

About all things New Mexican

Posted by admin on June - 9 - 2015 | 9 Comments


I am perhaps the most fortunate person alive, I thought to myself this morning as I took an early morning walk through downtown Santa Fe. I get to live in a place I love, and I get to do this. I get to leave my house at 7:30 and walk four blocks up San Francisco Street toward the Plaza. There are a few dog walkers that I recognize, and we say hello, and sometimes I get to stop and pet their pooches and we exchange a few words about the amazing weather and is it going to rain and isn’t this a wonderful place to live?


Almost three years ago this month, I made the decision to move to Santa Fe, the city I had dreamed about living in since I was six years old. I didn’t have a job here, and I didn’t have much money, and I didn’t have any idea why I felt so compelled to make this move. Anyone with good sense would have steered clear of such a huge move with so few resources.


But I had suffered some recent heartbreak and I was feeling lonesome and old and 51 and tired of not doing exactly what I wanted with my life. I mostly wanted to live in a place that felt sort of like a city, but sort of small and safe, and sort of like home but sort of like something totally new. Mostly I wanted to take my life in my own hands and finally live it exactly the way I wanted.

My kids were grown, my parents were healthy, and it seemed like a good time to make a move.


So, in August 2012, I packed up everything in my pretty little house overlooking Ute Lake and loaded it in my Dad’s van and my cousin TJ’s red Dodge pickup and moved to a rent house on Don Felix Street in Santa Fe, just a few blocks from the Railyard. I still didn’t really have a job, or a real plan. Just a bit of home equity payoff in the bank and my blogging clients and a vague longing for a different life.

Fast forward to today. I have suffered and survived stage IV colon cancer, including surgery that left me with a colon that is about 10 or 12 inches smaller than it was in August 2012. I’m also missing some relatively small portion of my liver, since that’s where my cancer metastasized. Since June 2013, I have been “cancer free,” but every six months I go off to an oncologist for a scan with all my prayers said and my fingers crossed, hoping against hope that there is no recurrence.

About a thousand other people join me in my prayers. That’s my tribe out there, leaving nothing to chance.


In the interim between those visits, I get to live with a man who is all the things I wanted as a child – kind, smart, funny, decent, and yes, in fact, tall, dark and handsome. Who knew I could have exactly what I wanted? I get to spend every single day with people I admire and like at my job, and I get to show strangers around this city I love. I get to go to a church that fills my heart with great faith and grace. I get to love my kids and my grandson and my parents and the rest of my family, along with an embarrassing abundance of friends. I also get to work as an advocate with Fight Colorectal Cancer, an organization devoted to wiping colon cancer from the face of the earth. Mostly I get to be alive.


The past two weeks have been hard in cancer land. Two of my great friends finished their marathon battle with this heinous disease, and I’ve been overwhelmingly sad about that state of affairs. Why do I get to be the one who survived? Why didn’t Jerry and Chris get to have a life like mine? Why were their battles so long and drawn out and ugly and devastating to the people who love them? Why do Chris’s daughters no longer have their Mama? Why does Yvette have to go on without Jerry?

And those questions apply to dozens of others who are either embroiled in the battle or who have already finished their race with cancer. I’ll never get it, and I suffer some horrible survivor’s guilt (that’s a whole ‘nother blog post, truly), but mostly I just never understand why I was spared. Believe me, I’m grateful. But I don’t get it.

Why did I get exactly the life I wanted and dreamed about? What is my purpose here? I think about it and pray about it often, hoping that I don’t squander a single day of my life. Please don’t let me be meaningless in my activities, I pray, and then I say my favorite prayer – Thank you, thank you, thank you.


I don’t know the answer. What I do know is that my biggest job and privilege these days seems to be being grateful. I’ve very busy with my real estate job, but I’ve trained myself to spend a small piece of each morning saying thank you for what I have in my life. There was a time years ago when I learned to write down ten things for which I’m grateful every morning. Now the list is really too long to write down. Instead I recite the list to myself in the shower, or on my walk, or as I’m driving into the parking lot at the office. Here is the rule: If I’ve gotten on the elevator without reciting all the things for which I’m grateful, I have to go back to the car and sit still for a minute. I have to remember that my life is an incredible gift.

Like I said, I don’t know why I have been so fortunate. But I know this – gratitude is my lot in life, and it’s a pretty sweet task each day.


Today I’m grateful for a lot of things, including all these flowers I saw on my walk. Santa Fe is awash in color this June. What a gift to get to see it each morning.

What’s on your top ten gratitude list today? I’m pretty sure the ability to breathe in and out should always be in my top five. The rest is gravy. Every single day.

9 Responses so far.

  1. CynthiA says:

    Thank you to you for helping us all remember to be grateful every day for what we have and what we can share with others. And I am grateful for you!

  2. Betty C. says:

    Bunnie, thanks for sharing your thoughts. They bring joy to all of us.We all need reminders to be grateful. We have watched you and prayed for you through your terrible but courageous fight with cancer and are so thrilled you have made it through. It brings joy to me to see your happy posts and pictures. Thank you for sharing.

  3. GS says:

    Wow, so glad I opened this email-so uplifting. Beautiful pictures and beautiful words about your friends who have finished their race. I hope to move to Santa Fe after our kids are raised and your post gives me hope.

  4. Vince says:

    Great post, thanks once again for sharing Bunny. Have a great summer, its beautiful, lush, and green out on the eastern NM desert.

  5. Arianne says:

    I moved to Albuquerque in April 2014, longing for a change after living nearly all my life in Virginia Beach, VA. I had been diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2009, and after 5 years of treatment, I was ready for something different. I am so appreciative to be living in New Mexico. I really enjoyed reading your blog post. I can relate to so many things you shared.

  6. vicky says:

    Oh Bunny, what a sweet sweet post…don’t know why most of your posts make me teary eyed but they do, this one probably because I’m so very thankful for you being in my life, in my family and so very thankful that you are still with us and so happy that you are so happy with your life now. Such beautiful post with such beautiful pictures. Thank you and love you!!!

  7. David says:

    That’s “Kewl” I could smell the air as I was reading…I miss it there! Thanks for sharing!

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