This is a long-overdue response to so many of you who have written recently at surprising length to say, well, all sorts of things.
I'll begin with the thanks.
Thank you to the kind woman who sent me a handmade quilt (designed with Scottie dogs and titled "Bowser and Friends") for my most recent grandchild.
And belated thanks, as well, to that same kind woman for three equally beautiful quilts she made for my three other equally beautiful grandchildren.
A special thanks to all of you who've written to tell me all about your grandchildren (who are clearly above average) and to welcome me to the club.
Thank you to the countless numbers of readers who have written to say that you sincerely hope I will write always and only about being a grandparent.
And thank you just as much to those of you who've said, that as much as you like reading about my grandchildren, you'd like on occasion to read about something else, anything at all.
I would love to grant both requests. Or one of them, at least. But believe it or not, I don't, as a rule, get to choose what I write about. Truth is, it chooses me. I write about life and whatever comes along.
Like it or not -- and believe me, I don't always like it -- I have little control over that.
Years ago, when my first husband was battling cancer, it seemed to me (and no doubt to some of you) that I all too often wrote about cancer.
It got so bad that, at times, I would have a little talk with myself. It went like this:
"You are sick and tired of writing about cancer. You don't want to write about it. And nobody wants to read about it. So today you are not going to write about cancer. You are going to write about ... dogs."
Then I'd sit down to write a column about dogs, all the dogs I'd ever known, how much they had taught me and how very much they had meant to me. It would be a pretty good column at the start. But pretty soon, as the column progressed, the dogs would end up getting cancer.
Which not only defeated the purpose of writing about something different, but seemed a bit unfair to the dogs.
The point of that is to say this: If you try to write with honesty about what's in your heart, you can run, but you can't hide.
I run on occasion. But I'm not good at hiding. I just write about who I am. With any luck, I hope it's about who you are, as well. That's it. That's all I've got.
To those who've written to say that you, too, have lost someone you loved, a loss that will never leave you, and yet you are trying, with the help of God, to move forward with your life.
Thank you for writing. I am sorry for your loss. And I am proud of you for honoring the memory of your loved one by choosing to be alive. May God bless you and grant you peace.
To the woman who wrote to say that reading about things I write about in my life has helped her somehow to deal with her own life -- or to feel less alone or, at least, to laugh on occasion.
Thank you. Imagine that.
And to the man -- quite a few of you, actually -- who wrote to say you read my column in the bathroom behind a locked door so your wife won't see you cry?
Thanks, buddy. Your secret is safe with me.
Finally, I want to say this: So many of you have written to tell me that you are convinced absolutely that this year, 2013, is going to be a great year.
Not just a pretty good year, but a truly great one.
I want to believe you.
OK, I do believe you.
What do you say?
Let's believe it together.
(Sharon Randall can be contacted at P.O. Box 777394, Henderson NV 89077, or at www.sharonrandall.com.)