Poem: Re-Human


How to be open

when life is caving in

or to give

when so much

is taken

The fires are lit

and souls are drowning

the earth is folding in

on itself

trying to get away

Transcendence

left at the

footprints

of Gods

who have abandoned

We are now

left alone

to swirl in our own

chaos

or to beg

for them to create us

again

 

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Poem: Shot & Other Sadness Thoughts


They are gone

yet we tread on

dead-eyed zombies

feasting upon what they left behind

Their flickering ghosts

flash upon screens

and disappearing voices

echo to screams

yet we watch

holding

their dying dreams

***

I was handed my sadness like a suitcase when they pushed me out the door so long ago. It has been with me since then; something I hold near me as a reminder of the pain. But it is also a gift. A beacon to see pain in all other things. I carry that with me too. So this is why I will never truly feel at peace–not fully. Only tiny bits, at moments here and there. Because what I am meant to carry is a story of sorrow. And this sorrow gathers sadness and pain within it and to hide in the crevices, unreachable, forever.

 

Hospice


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Had my training for becoming a Hospice Volunteer today. It was incredibly organized and informative. They don’t mess around–a bit different from the Soup Kitchen, I must say. Of course, it’s a whole different ball of wax. They depend on Medicare/Medicade  funding, so must tow the line, even when it comes to volunteers. We are dealing with patients, so have to follow the same guidelines that any healthcare providers do.

Luckily, having spent so many years in the business, I’m familiar with most of it–and how to deal with death and dying, and families, but it was great to get a brush up and hear their take on things.

The group was pretty big, with kids from high school right up to senior citizens. There was even another female paramedic! Only two males though, as the group was mostly women. It seemed like a really good bunch of folks willing to do a whole range of jobs. I wish I was more talented, so I could provide special things, like singing or music, but hopefully I will give something in my own way.

Once all my paperwork, tests etc. pass, then I’ll be clear to go around with a mentor and finally begin my own work with the patients. Some have no family of their own, but some just need extra. Many (most they said) have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease so might not recognize us from week to week. But that’s fine. As long as we can provide comfort of some sort.

I have some ideas of what I can do. And I’m honored to share this sacred part of someone’s life. To help give someone a good death is important. That transition can be so difficult, we must try the best we can to make it as easy as possible. For everyone: the patient and the family.

And so I step into this realm once again and take this journey with them, hopefully with something to offer.

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Joy Through Sacrifice


Watching an interesting TED talk today about a young Arctic surfer (yes, you heard me right, that was Arctic surfer), he said something that really struck me–not about surfing, but about sacrifice. As you can imagine, someone who surfs in frigid waters does a fair amount of sacrificing.  He does it in part to get away from the normal tropic crowds, but also to take these amazing photographs. To paraphrase very loosely he said something like: most things worth any kind of real joy usually involve some kind of sacrifice.

That gave me pause.

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I began thinking about some of the things that take sacrifice but bring joy:

  • 9 months of carrying a baby: the worrying, the weight gain, the hormone shifts, the vomiting, the swelling, the potential dangers involved…
  • being in a relationship: any kind really. It’s constant ups and downs, bargaining (with the kids, partners, co-workers, family members), tears, give/take, compromises, giving away parts of yourself at times
  • having a dream or goal: these can take huge amounts of time, money, changes in lifestyle and re-evaluating ourselves for the final outcome
  • moving somewhere new: leaving friends and family behind; leaving a career or job, doing something scary, taking a leap of faith
  • starting over (with a job/a person/or alone: leaving your comfort zone, stretching parts of yourself you may not know you had, or totally remaking yourself
  • helping others or someone else: living with less than normal, learning about other cultures (which maybe is uncomfortable), focusing less on “me”
  • giving up something completely: getting used to life “without”, feeling what it’s like when others perceive because we are now “different”
  • changing our point of view for the greater good: getting into arguments (political/family?), battling within ourselves over the old point of view, reconciling what’s right/wrong
  • coming out: about our sexual orientation, addictions, mental health, illness, abuse, political view or anything else we’ve been keeping inside for fear of judgement, shame or condemnation
  • sharing our home with animals: limiting our work day, getting up in the middle of the night, cleaning up hair, poop and vomit off the floor
  • Waiting: for anything you want, it can be excruciating at times because we are a culture of wanting everything now, having patience is like hot iron swirling in our bellies…the loss of precious time while we wait
  • standing up for what you believe when others around you don’t agree: this can be going to rallies or being a vegan, it can bring agitation or arguments from others, confrontations or simply tiresome questions
  • sharing our home with children: never having peace and quiet (or rarely); suddenly realizing you have to sacrifice so much and become a very good teacher when you hardly know yourself (or much else for that matter…)

There are so many more things…what can you add to the list? And it all comes down to mindset like anything else really. We give to get. Nothing comes easily really.  It seems like many things feel like work these days, and trying to pick out the little pieces of joy can be tough. But when you think about the sacrifices we make all adding up to something beautiful–that it’s the wrapping surrounding the gift inside, then it doesn’t feel quite so much like drudgery. 

So when you are climbing that next mountain and it feels like hell: the boots are giving you blisters, the sweating like a banshee and the mosquitoes buzzing around your head: remember that when you get to the top you will see this incredible view of the world below. Every step you took to get there was worth what lies before you as you look out. See it as you breathe the joy and try to remember that you couldn’t have experienced the splendor without a bit of pain.

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Connection 


This amazing painting was created by the most  important, talented and influential person in my life. She has been an artist for many, many years working in all sorts of of mediums from oils to stone, much of it self taught. This talent moved her to become a teacher herself where she was respected by a host of adults who never dreamed of creating gorgeous stone sculptures prior to her tutelage. 

I have always believed she could do anything she put her mind to (except maybe fix a leaky faucet, but that’s another story) and felt if you could read you could do anything. 

This painting is her latest, started before she became quite ill. It sat for some time and she feared she wouldn’t finish it, but it’s a testament to her strength and perseverance that she did. 

I’m blessed with it’s beauty now on my wall which will be a constant reminder of her beauty. It’s intricacies remind me too that we all have depth that is worth exploring. 

It is with gratitude that I accept such a gift and love is what I return. And whenever I look at it I will always feel my deep connection with this most special person, my Mom. 

The Best Life


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While almost everyone I know is most likely surrounded by friends or family celebrating one holiday or another, I am home contemplating my life and current situation…by myself.

You see, I am search of a new job again because last Friday my manager informed that I was too slow at my tasks. Since it’s a holiday I won’t bore you with the details, because complaining is not what this post is about. Rather, it’s about life, goals and hopes.

When I had explained to one family member what happened, she had put the blame on me, as though I was somehow inadequate. That I am always finding fault in everything and can’t stay put. Of course, me being me, I immediately thought this was correct: that yes indeed I’m a failure and I blew it once again.

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But luckily, I spoke with two other people who were more understanding: My Mom and another dear and wonderful best friend, who put the record straight. They reminded me that the goal in life should be satisfaction, whatever the cost. If it means giving up little piddly jobs, then so be it. If it takes months and months to find the right one, then fine. Sometimes good things take sacrifice and soul-searching. These things aren’t always handed to us, and because of this they are all the more sweet.

Leaving my home in the North and coming here took lots of sacrifice and maybe there is more to be had in my future. To attain the best life, one must persevere and not just give up and settle. How often do we do this because we feel we must? We put up with crappy jobs or miserable relationships or live in awful conditions because we are too fearful or don’t feel we deserve something better. How easily I had been convinced it was my fault that these jobs didn’t work out?

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The world is changing in my opinion. Others don’t try as hard as I do because my expectations are high. In fact, they have always been higher than others. So therefore I often get dashed expectations. It’s painful, but when they are met, I am the luckiest person in the world. Do I lower them just because others can’t lift up to a place of caring and worth? I’m afraid not. I’ll deal with the pain and disappointment. If we have high expectations, then if we’re lucky maybe we’ll get to the middle of them; if we have lower ones, then where will we end up?

So this holiday season my gift is that I realized that it’s OK to aim for the best life and not feel guilty or ashamed. It may not be someone else’s idea of a ‘best life’, but it will be mine. I know what it is and what it will mean to me and hopefully someday this dream will come true!

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The Good Battle


There are certain moments in life where we are given a gift that sets us free. News that lifts us high and helps us to remember life is good and beautiful. Lately I have been given many of these moments and for them I am truly grateful.

It is so easy, with our fast paced, whirlwind lives, to take life for granted. To forget our connection to family and friends. We press on so hard into our daily tasks that we may not stop to look around us to see the wonders that abound. They are all around if we just take a second to see them.

Feeling compelled by life to have material wealth, we sometimes lose spiritual well-being. We take jobs that make us unhappy or keep people near us that really prove to have negative energy.

Because I am getting older and finally see the wisdom in serenity rather than money, my choices from now on will be very different.
This is my promise to myself.

As my Mother heals, I reflect on my good fortune to be able to be near her and help get her stronger. It is a blessing that such an awful thing can actually turn out to be something wonderful because it has bonded us so closely together. She is an amazing woman and together we are invincible.

And I also got a new lease on life today, which I will not take for granted. I’m grateful because I know that not everyone is as lucky as I am. I wish it could be so for all whom I love. But together we fight the good battle, and we’ll win anyway.

Because in the end, our spirits will all collide and meet somewhere someday anyway…….

70 Years Young!!


This is what my co-worker posted on the white board about my birthday today! Happy birthday to me…  ha ha, because I’m really 60 today and he likes to be funny. But with me dancing around and that post, plenty of folks knew today was the day that I  tipped over into a new decade.

Usually I let these things slide, but since this one seemed fairly monumental to me, I let my mouth rip. I mean, sheesh, I recall feeling like my Grandma was way old when she was in her sixties! And wouldn’t you know, time just plundered on ahead and here I am! How the heck did that happen pray tell?


My high school friends and I have been scratching our heads (and looking in the mirrors) and wondering where all those years went. One of them just sent me a picture of my HS principal/geology teacher. For goodness sake, he’s 91 years old! He looked fantastic mind you, but 91 years old?! That’s nuts!

But even though I went to work, it’s been a great day so far. Some of my co-workers got me gifts….it was amazing and incredibly touching! Man, after 8 years of working at my old job, you had to die for anyone to pay attention. Two gals in the scheduling part of our OR came up behind me (very unusual) and I turned around from my desk. I said: wow, I’m being stalked by schedulers (I really had no idea what was going on). One is pretty serious, so she said: Yup, you made a really big mistake booking a case. My heart was pounding in my chest and I got so upset. Then the said: Happy Birthday, and they gave me the nicest gifts! I was shocked. It was so sweet!! Even my bosses got me something and another wonderful gal who gave me the book the other day.


And as I was leaving a bunch of them chimed in to a rendition of: Happy Birthday to you, you live in the zoo…. I changed it to: I work in the zoo… All in all, very touching. With hugs, fist bumps and all that…. So maybe I’m getting there and work is becoming more and more an accepting place.

On the home front, a huge package from a dear old friend, cards and best of all:

Calls from all three of my wonderful daughters! I even was remembered by someone I’ve been out of contact with for quite some time.

Mom and I will go out tomorrow to dinner too. I’m lucky to have this day, because it’s often a 3 day weekend. Yippee.

Let’s hope it’s a wonderful decade. Better than the last because that one was a bit tough. Now I’m really moving into the crone years: hopefully the wisdom will start to really come, the patience, the contentment and I’ll be walking the right path. Thanks to you all for you continued support on this blogging journey of mine!!

 

 

Two Different Too


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Two different. These books are as different as they could possibly be and were given to me at work today (one on loan and one as a gift) by two different people too. My co-workers are as different as the books are: one man, one woman, one sort of nervous and hyper; the other quiet and poised. But both very nice and friendly and I took an instant liking to each.

The man who loaned me the Stephen King book, is a movie buff. We chatted about a movie recently that King created, so that prompted him to bring this book in for me because he thought I would enjoy it.

With the other book, my woman co-worker and I eat every day quietly in the lockers away from everyone else. She figured I would appreciate the daily meditations in the book she gave me. It’s gently loved as she’s used it for many years, but got a new one from her son, so passed in on to me, making it very special.

These gifts made my day. I love to read and it meant that some folks are reaching out, that they thought of me beyond work. It was very cool. It’s been almost six months there and a very difficult place: clicky and weird. Gosh, I don’t fit in on a good day most places, but this place: forget about it.So this was monumental.

Maybe there’s hope yet, even if you’re different.