Comfort Angel

Peanut M&Ms. This happened because of a divine craving for Peanut M&Ms.

I’d been working all morning on a project for the hospital and had eaten lunch at my desk (again – a sacrifice I happily make in order to have more Writing Time in the morning), and suddenly I just couldn’t sit there any more. I needed a break. I needed Peanut M&Ms.

Which I’d have to take a long walk to get, since the shortcut to the cafeteria has been closed during construction of the new hospital. I didn’t care – something was needling me to get up and get moving.

I came out of my building, a small building on the hospital campus, and immediately noticed a woman on the front porch of the MRI building next to my building. She was leaning against the railing, bent at the waist, arms on the railing. Head hanging.

Something in me recognized her body language. And what her body was saying was,

Help me, please.
Just let me breathe for a minute.

I walked by. Wondering. And Knowing.

Knowing she was waiting for someone. Someone inside the MRI building.

I walked by. I was tempted to stop.

I walked by.

I headed for the cafeteria. I didn’t quite make it – I stopped at the espresso cart and bought a brownie instead, from a woman whose English I couldn’t understand and who couldn’t understand me (“No, not oatmeal cookIE, brownIEEE…”) but who was clearly very happy to see me.

I turned around and headed back, around the building, across the parking lot between the MRI building and my building.

She was still there.

Leaning against the railing, head resting on her arms.

I changed direction and headed toward her, but meandering around the perimeter of the parking lot. Indirectly, like I do with the horses. Like I did with customers at the store. Indirectly, so they wouldn’t feel me coming and spook. Until I was right next to her.

She raised her head, and made like to move out of the way.

“Excuse me,” I said. But instead of moving past her, I stopped next to her. “Are you OK?”

She stood up a little straighter, and nodded.

“Yes, I’m OK. I’m waiting for my husband,” she said, nodding toward the building. “I’m trying to be strong.”

I nodded. “Would you like a hug?” I asked.

She hesitated, then nodded. I took her in, and when she tried to pull away, I gave her another squeeze before letting go.

She came up with tears in her eyes. “We’re here to see if his glioblastoma is back,” she said. “They take the pictures, and then we go see the doctor to find out what they show.”

“I understand,” I said quietly. Boy, did I. The hope. The dread.

I wanted to say, “Don’t worry, everything is going to be all right.” Because I know it will be. But probably not in the way she wants.

So instead I asked, “Can I get you anything?”

“No,” she said, “Thanks.”

“I’ll keep you in my thoughts,” I told her, and we parted. Both of us with tears in our eyes.

And she was in my thoughts all afternoon, as I beamed her love and courage while I worked on my spreadsheets and formulas. I beamed faith that Everything Is Going To Be All Right. Because I know it’s true.

Even if it’s not the outcome you hope for. Everything is going to be all right.

Maybe she was able to stand up a little straighter. Maybe a little breeze of grace blew through her and she was able to take her first deep breath in… days.

Maybe the entire reason I got this job six months ago and had a craving for Peanut M&Ms that turned into a brownie was for that moment. That encounter. That chance for her to be Seen. To know that she isn’t alone.

Maybe that’s the entire point.

Of everything.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

7

The Spark Plug Wire That Connects Us

“Hey Brian, long time no see!” I joked as I walked into the auto repair shop. It was only Tuesday, and I had just been in on Saturday to have The Corvette smogged – only to find out that it needed to have some significant work done to pass the inspection. I could have had it done on Saturday, but Brian had recommended I come back during the week when The Experts were on duty.

So there I was, making another 40-mile trip each way, so The Experts could work on the car.

I had asked Brian if someone could give me a ride to a local cafe so I could hang out and use their WiFi to work, which I had pre-arranged with my boss. To my surprise, the chief Expert himself came out to drive me over (and inspect the car at the same time).

In the mile or so drive to the cafe we talked about some other repairs I had deferred (and had planned to do this month, until this new work came up) and he suggested I purchase a particular part myself to save money and told me to bring it in and they’d install it for me. He also noticed, and diagnosed, a sound I’d been hearing, and suggested they look at it next time.

“You know,” I told him, “I lived here for 13 years until I moved to San Carlos a few months ago. I come back to you guys, not just because you know this car, but because you always treat me well. You’ve got good guys working for you.” He didn’t say anything, he just nodded.

As I got out of the car, I said, “I’d really appreciate it if you can keep the work within the estimate, this is all I can do until next payday.” He promised they would.

I had spent the last three days getting used to the idea of deferring the other work on the car yet again, and to the possibility that the cost would be higher than the estimate. If it was, I might be living very frugally for a couple of weeks. I knew it would only be for a short time – just the week before my accountant had predicted I would get a tax refund that was, ironically, almost exactly the amount of this repair, and I had an unencumbered paycheck coming up. But still. It was a surprise, and one that was fraught.

When Harry, the chief Expert, came to pick me up five hours later, he assured me The Corvette was all set and running fine. “Oh,” he said, “and one of the spark plug wires needed to be replaced. You have to buy them by the set, but I had one lying around, so I just used that one and didn’t have to charge you for a whole new set.” See, that’s just one reason I drive 80 miles round trip to these guys.

We got back to the shop and, as we got out and Harry handed me the keys, he paused to admire the car. “It sure is a pretty color,” he said, “look at that gold fleck in the sun.”

“You know, it was broken into last year and got all scratched up, and Brian over at B&D Autobody repainted the rear end for me. He did a great job.”

“Oh yeah,” Harry said, admiringly. “He does great work, you couldn’t have picked a better guy.”

“Well, it was Brian who originally referred me to you guys,” I told him. We shook hands, and he headed around to the back of the shop.

I walked into the office, and this Brian greeted me. “So, are you coming back on Thursday?”

“No, I’ll be back to finish the smog certificate either this Saturday or the following Saturday.”

“I was joking,” he told me. “Since you were just here a couple of days ago I thought maybe it was becoming a regular thing.”

I laughed. He handed me the bill, and it was less than the original estimate. “Awesome!” I said. “Thank you!”

We finished the paperwork, and I asked, “Do I need to call before I come for the smog test?”

“Nah,” he said, “You can just come over. In fact, you can just come have coffee with us if you want. Any time.”

He wasn’t joking.

I was so happy that I had to go for a drive. Of course. So I went to my favorite park, and just sat on the bench and was grateful for a while. Then I took out the bill, for some reason, and compared it to the estimate to see where it was different.

They gave me a discount on the labor. Not because it took less time than they expected. But because they appreciated how much I appreciate them. That’s basically a tank of gas for me, out of their pockets.

There are opportunities all around us to connect. If we see them.


Who do you appreciate? When have you felt appreciated?

Please tell me in the comments.

Image courtesy of…Me! Yes, that’s The Corvette.

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Skin and Bones and Memories

The other day I was reading an excerpt from “Writing Life Stories,” by Bill Roorbach with Kristen Keckler, PhD, and this paragraph struck me:

“And—I’m just realizing this—memory is what people are made of. After skin and bone, I mean. And if memory is what people are made of, then people are made of loss. No wonder we value our possessions so much. And no wonder we crave firm answers, formulae, facts, and figures. All are attempts (however feeble in the end) to preserve what’s gone. The present is all that’s genuinely available to anyone, and the present is fleeting, always turning instantly to the past.”

People are made of loss.

That’s a powerful statement. I feel the truth of it in my chest, in my heart, in my belly. Even as part of me resists it.

And. The present is all that’s genuinely available to us.

People are made of loss. Of disconnection. The good news is, Memory is how we maintain connection to what – and who – has gone away. Grief is the emotion of that disconnection, and Joy is the emotion of connection. So memories can make us laugh through our tears.

And. The present is all that’s genuinely available to us.

One of life’s paradoxes, where more than one thing can be true at once.

I have learned to embrace that paradox – to embrace the grief, with its happy and sad, and to embrace the here and now. Fiercely.

At least sometimes Fiercely. Sometimes Fiercely is required, and is its own satisfaction. And sometimes gentle Relaxing Into It is possible. Even necessary.

We are made of memories. All we have is The Present.

I have learned that when I am able to embrace both the loss and the Here and Now, without hiding, then I am able to also release.

More paradox. Sorry. *winks*

PS, March 31 2014: And then there’s this timely post from Wayne Wirs to consider: http://waynewirs.com/2014/assumption. Paradox resolved?


How would embracing this paradox change anything for you?

Please tell me in the comments.

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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New Normal

“New normal.”

I dislike that phrase.

It makes me uncomfortable.

Because it’s new. And it’s dissonant. Normal should feel comfortable, because, well, it’s normal. But New Normal is new. And new can be fresh and shiny and invigorating. And – Or – it can be scary and uncomfortable. Like new shoes that haven’t quite been broken in yet. Like a room full of faces I haven’t met yet. Like a room full of faces with one important face missing.

It is better than the chaos out of which it has settled.

It is a soft (hopefully) landing for the other shoe when it drops.

It is landing in Oz, which is better than the tornado, but is still new and full of the unexpected, both helpful and beautiful and frightening and dangerous.

It is going back to Kansas and everything is the same… except for Dorothy.

*  *  *

I had an important realization several years ago, when writing “Remember to Look Up.” I realized that when we make a comeback, the place we come back to is usually quite different from the place we started. Different from where we were when disaster struck.

We come back to a new normal. There. A new normal. End of story. Everything should be fine, right?

No.

The term itself is deceptively simple.

Because how can you come back to someplace you’ve never been before?

The “new normal” is uncharted territory.

And the traveller has been changed.

These thoughts were prompted by a recent conversation with a dear friend, and by reading a poem the next day by a person whose heart had been broken – shattered – into a million pieces. Both spoke of how nothing will ever be the same. Their loved one is different – or gone. And they, themselves, are different. Nothing will ever be the same.

*  *  *

For most of us, most of the time, every day is a New Normal. We just don’t realize it because the change is so gradual.

But after a cataclysm of any kind – death, major illness, natural disaster, breakup, job loss, even Awakening or Enlightenment, the list goes on and on – the change is significant, and follows a major shift or a period of chaos.

The situation is different.

The world is different.

The people around us may be different.

Our worldview, our expectations, our dreams, our abilities, our illusions are different.

We are different.

The New Normal isn’t normal when we get there; it becomes normal as we settle into it. And that can take a long time.

And may require grieving for the Old Normal.

For the one who is gone. For our innocence. For our old beliefs and dreams. For _________.

“Mount St. Helens will never be the same. But the hills around it have turned green again and life has returned to the mountainsides.”

The new normal may be better than the old normal, but it still takes getting used to.

The new normal may be worse than the old normal, but it’s better than the chaos.

Either way, the old normal must be grieved and released. That is when the new normal really takes hold.

The good news, or the bad news, depending on your outlook, is that even this new normal is only temporary.


Have you ever found yourself at a New Normal?

Please tell me about it in the Comments.

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Pocket Watch

Yesterday, as I waited at the Crosswalk With the Fake Button And The Light That Changes In Its Own Sweet Time, I noticed a grizzled old guy in a white t-shirt and jeans. I noticed him because he had a silver chain going to the watch pocket of his jeans. Nobody does that any more. Which made me curious, did he really have a pocket watch? What did it look like? So I went over and stood next to him as we waited for the light to change.

He started talking to me – First about not crossing against the light because he’d talked to a guy who’d gotten a $250 ticket… the cops hide just around the corner and watch, he said. (Mental note.) Then I commented on the watch chain, and asked if he really had a pocket watch. He pulled it out and showed it to me: Nothing fancy, just an old Timex. He has a collection of watches, he told me; in fact, he thought he even still had his high school graduation watch… somewhere… “I wonder if it still works,” he wondered out loud.

The light changed and, as we crossed the street, he told me about the weird (his term) things he collects in addition to watches. Probably the strangest, he said, was his collection of axes. Axes? Yes, axes. He has everything from very small hatchets to very large axes. He has about 50. He’s currently searching for one used by the lumberjacks in the redwoods. The axe handle is more than 40 inches long, and the axe head weighs a ton. (He told me how much but I don’t remember.)

“You’d think those guys had to be big and tall to use an axe like that,” he said, “but I read that on average they were less than 5’7”. They must have had big burly arms, that’s for sure.”

He went on to tell me that he has lots of hobbies in addition to collecting axes. For example, t-shirts don’t have pockets any more, so he makes leather pencil holders you wear on your belt. (He showed me the one he was wearing.) He also makes leather jewelry, and Native American jewelry with bone beads.

All this in the space of less than a block and up an elevator.

We said good-bye as he got off the elevator. “I enjoyed talking with you,” I told him. And I did. Although I didn’t get to do much talking. I’m glad I was curious about that watch chain.


Curiosity leads to Connection.

When has Curiosity helped you Connect to someone else?

Image “Old Pocket Watch” Courtesy of Aleksa D/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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I Finally Get It

I finally get it.

Thanks to tripping over a blog post by Julie Daley, I just had an insight into something that has been puzzling me. Puzzling me, in fact, since I accepted the calling to work in the world of Grief. Since I realized that working in the world of Grief is really working in the world of Connection.

The puzzle?

Where does Curiosity fit into it?

Curiosity, which has been my focus, my bandwagon, for several years. My joy, my playground. My secret weapon.

Grief. Connection. Healing. Curiosity.

“One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn’t belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?”*

A puzzle. And my fear, at the bottom of the puzzle, was that Curiosity didn’t belong here any more, and I really didn’t want to give it up as a topic. Because it’s fun to explore, to write about. Because it is important.

“Three of these things belong together
Three of these things are kind of the same
Can you guess which one of these doesn’t belong here?
Now it’s time to play our game.”*

Actually…

Now I see that it is like the others, and it’s so obvious to me I wonder how I didn’t see it before.

In her post, Julie wrote about knowing and not knowing, about admitting what we don’t know, and owning what we do know. And something in what she wrote reminded me that Curiosity is what connects us to others. Curiosity is what is happening when we reach out to someone else, when we admit we don’t know, and we’d like to.

Curiosity is what bridges the gap between me and you.

Curiosity is what powers my reaching out, my desire to Connect with you. I don’t know, and I’d like to. To connect with Life. I don’t understand, and I’d like to.

Connection and Loss, Joy and Grief, are intimately intertwined. So Curiosity, as a fundamental aspect of Connection, is part of that dance.

<Ding>

And I have to laugh, because I have known this all along. After all, one of my handles is “Believes Curiosity and Wonder can save the world.”

Grief. Connection. Healing. Curiosity.

They are… connected.

I know it in my bones.

Yes.


Does this resonate with you? What do you know in your bones?

Please leave a comment.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

*That’s right, Sesame Street. “Three of These Things” by Joe Raposo and Jeff Moss, c 1970.

1

Happy Birthday, Bruce!

Happy Brithday, Bruce! You would have been 65 today, and it would be a significant event.

You probably wouldn’t want a big party, but we would observe the day somehow… a drive through the country, a visit to a lake, the first eggnog of the year, orange cranberry muffins (you’d only eat the top – that’s what “muffin top” means to me). Breakfast for dinner, sushi for breakfast.

I remember one year Aunt Norma asked me what you’d like for your birthday. She told me she was thinking of getting you a shirt. I told her how you asked me early on in our relationship to promise I would NEVER buy you clothes for your birthday or Christmas. You had told me how you had gotten clothes as presents as a kid, and how you thought those were rotten gifts – you wanted TOYS. So I always made sure you got fun stuff. Aunt Norma was surprised – but she didn’t buy you a shirt. I helped her get you a juicer, and you loved it.

I also remember how you asked my mom to send you gift certificates from Lands End so you could pick out your own gifts – flannel shirts, turtlenecks, and so on. But the last few years you used those gift certificates to buy my Christmas presents: Shearling slippers, a monogrammed spa robe. You felt bad about being so disabled you couldn’t work and earn money to spend – to contribute, to spend on me – but the gift certificates were yours, so you used them on me. And you asked me to promise not to tell her. Oops, too late now.

I wish… I wish we had talked about death, dying. We didn’t. Not much, anyway. Even though we knew it was coming. I had my own baggage, and I stupidly feared that talking about your death would somehow damage your will to live.

I was wrong. I know that now.

You were always better about admitting you were wrong than I was. It took me a long time to learn that, and you were a good teacher.

I want you to know… I’m doing OK. Better than OK. It’s been a long process, with a lot of healing, a lot of choices. It took a long time for me to remember more than your last days. To remember the fun. The life.

To feel more than the searing loss. To feel your presence more than your absence.

The presence that made me laugh. That held me. That once wrote, “Remember my eyes, they’re just for you.”

Happy Birthday, Bruce. I hope, I believe, I know, you are out there. Dancing. Standing straight and tall. Helping people and animals. Watching over me as I learn to live. As I learn to love.

Happy Birthday, you awesome spirit. I wish more people had known you like I did.

Love,

Susan T.

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Hello, Universe, are you trying to tell me something?

I am sitting on the bed in my childhood bedroom, a room panelled in honey-colored knotty pine, listening to the rain on the roof just inches from my head. Now a resident of California, I haven’t heard the sound of rain in months, and the rumble of thunder is delightful, comforting.

If I look out the window, the rain and clouds obscure the view, but I know well what is beyond them: Puget Sound and the Vashon Island Ferry docks to the southwest, and the Olympic Mountains to the west. For now, though, the horizon is the rooftops across the street and the treeline a few blocks away.

I am reminded, being here on this rainy day, that grey and green is a soothing color combination, one that you have to have lived with to appreciate. It is quite a contrast to the combination of blue sky and golden hills that is the horizon of my home in Northern Califorinia’s East Bay.

I am sitting on the bed in my childhood bedroom, with my mother’s cat, Tommy, purring at my feet. Tommy is three times as big as my cat Abby, and one and a half times as big as my cat Rocket, who are at home in California. Tommy is taking care of me, making sure I get enough Feline Time while I am here.

I am sitting on the bed in my childhood bedroom with a borrowed laptop on my lap. My own beloved MacBook Pro, labelled “vintage” by Apple, gave up the ghost a few weeks ago, and a friend of my roommate is experimenting to see if he can pull six years of files, photographs and music off of the hard drive. (“What, you didn’t have a back-up?” I hear you tut tut. I thought I did; my external hard-drive was whirring away several times a day, but the files are all from the first backup in 2011. Only the database files have recent dates. Lesson: Test everything at least once a year. More often is better.)

When I moved last year and held a gigantic moving sale and let go of many things, I began thinking about the difference between connection and attachment. This year, as I have wrestled with selling my Corvette, the difference between attachment and connection has become a lot clearer. Contemplating the loss of my files, music and photographs brings it up again.

Hello, Universe, are you trying to tell me something?

When the Corvette was broken into at the beginning of this year and many of my favorite CDs were stolen, I thought, “Ah well, most of them are in iTunes on my computer.” Not all, but many. Now those are gone.

Most of the photographs are on memory cards, either in my camera bag or in storage. But the edited versions may be lost forever, except for the ones uploaded to WordPress. Ah well.

And the files… some can be recreated, some cannot. Much is just historical archive, files I have accumulated over the years. But I will be sad to lose the poems and essays I have written and not yet published. It is a challenge to lose the budget spreadsheets and resumes, the invoices, all the files I was able to just open and replicate as needed. Ah well.

Thinking about all of that, I mind me of the difference between accumulation and collection. Much of what is hidden on that hard drive was carefully created and collected, but much was just accumulated. The accumulation I won’t miss that much. But the things I had consciously collected, those are different. Ah well.

I am sitting on the bed in my childhood bedroom, on my first vacation in a year and a half. I am here for the wedding of my cousin, an occasion of great rejoicing. Not just a public commitment and celebration of love, but a validation. That something that was denied to him and to so many others for so long, and still is in many places, is now available to him. They were always worthy, but it took society a while to catch up. This is a celebration of inclusion after being excluded for so long. A celebration of connection. An event of fierce and tender Joy. It’s going to be one hell of a party.

I am sitting on the bed in my childhood bedroom, thinking about how to get together with everyone I want to see while I am here and still get some rest, still spend some quiet time with my mom and my immediate family. Thinking about how to maintain those connections, and build some new connections with people with whom I have only corresponded.

Connections. Versus Attachments.

Collections Versus Accumulations.

Worthy musings for a rainy morning in my childhood bedroom in Seattle.


Where are your connections vs. attachments?
Where are your collections vs. accumulations?
Please leave a comment.

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2

Remember Who You Are

This post was inspired by, among other things, recent posts by Justine Musk and Julie Daley and a note from my cousin, Maritherese. Thank you, ladies.

Last year, in the Spring, I was preparing to lead a workshop. It was new. It was big. It was exciting.

I was terrified.

I stopped at my favorite park, which happens to be on the way from here to almost anywhere (at least I make it be on the way from Here to There), to walk the trail and think, which I often do. This time, when I stopped at the giant rosemary bush and pinched off a tip and inhaled its pungent fragrance, I prayed. “Help me! Send me guidance.”

And I got an answer.

Clear as a bell.

So fast that I was still inhaling.

“Remember who you are.”

My exhale became a sigh of relief. Remember who you are. Yes, I can do that. I know what I know. I am a teacher.

I was able to center, to focus, to relax. To stand in my power. I taught my workshop, and it went well. I shared my knowledge, people laughed in all the right places, and my voice was my friend, not my enemy.

Remember who you are.

I walk that trail often, and it has become a ritual to pause, pinch a sprig of rosemary, breathe it in and remind myself, “Remember who you are.” It is my church. It is my labyrinth. That breath fills my body, my heart soars with the hawks circling overhead, my feet grow roots down into the earth, and I connect – with myself, with everything.

Remember who you are.

Here’s the funny thing. Who I am is constantly changing. Who I am is shaped by my experiences, by who I meet. By what I learn. By what I choose, by what I avoid. I am constantly changing.

And. Who I am is unchanging and eternal. My friend Lewis Brown Griggs speaks in his TEDx talk about our souls being at our core as if at the center of a tornado, where even a feather is in such stillness that it can’t be harmed. I love this wonderful metaphor – it reminds us that who we are cannot be killed or damaged or lose access to the Light and Love from which we all come, no matter what horrific events befall us.

Remember who you are.

Not long after my walk in the park and the workshop I taught, I met a horse who changed my life. We introduced ourselves, and spent some time being together in the pasture. Then he suddenly laid down next to me in the grass. So I laid down next to him, and we rested together. It was…sublime.

I didn’t find out until later that it was unusual. Highly unusual.

Much later, I asked Lewis what he saw when I was lying there with Prince (for this event was witnessed by the group of coaches I was with that day). He said, “Comfort. An amazing sense of complete and total comfort, and when you were lying there with your head on your hand, your head next to Prince’s, that sense of comfort expanded to include everyone who was watching.”

Wow. That kind of blew me away.

I realized that it wasn’t just something that happened to me, I co-created it. And it wasn’t something that just happened to me, it included others. That was a powerful pair of realizations.

Later I was telling this story to my friend Julie, and I told her that I had realized that this was, as one of my teachers says, one of my “Superpowers.” That I am able to create a safe space for others where important stuff can happen.

Julie thought about it for a minute and then said, “It isn’t something you do. It’s who you are.”

Oh my.

Remember who you are.

When I am fully who I am, that makes a safe space for others. To be. To be who they are.

Remember who you are.

The other day I was walking the trail, breathing in the perfume of rosemary, and it occurred to me that remembering who I am means that I have known who I am. I have only forgotten. And yet I am always getting to know myself. Apparently that continual discovery is continual remembering.

I recently had an insight about fear, and about the part of myself that is afraid. But that part of me isn’t Me. I had a glimmer of understanding that there is an ancient and eternal me that isn’t afraid, that knows what to do and can do it.

And. I am more than a widow, more than a survivor, more than a teacher, more than a friend, although those are all part of my experience.

Remember who you are.

“They” say people can’t change. Yet I see people change all the time. I have changed.

And. If we are ancient and eternal, the good news is we don’t have to change. We only have to remember who we are. We are not what we do, or what we have, or the choices we make. We can change those things.

If we remember who we are, we can make choices that are in alignment with that.

Remember who you are.


Tell me, what do you remember about who you are?
Please leave a comment.

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Image courtesy of Idea Go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1

The Road to OK

Mt. St. Helens After Eruption - View Across Spirit Lake, National Forest Service

A fellow member of a FaceBook group posted a comment that made my heart ache.

She had told her dying husband that she would be OK… but she wasn’t. Oh, she took care of the kids, she went to work, she put meals on the table… but she wasn’t OK. And she didn’t know how to be.

Boy, did that take me back.

I had forgotten…

The hospice chaplain, when she came to give Bruce last rites, had me talk to him. To say good-bye. He was barely conscious, and only moaned in response. She coached me through talking to him, and prompted me to say, “And I’ll be OK.”

And I did.

But I wasn’t.

I wasn’t OK. Life sucked. It was worse than I could have imagined. For longer than I expected.

But I kept going. I got out of bed every day. I fed the cats, and myself. I paid bills. I went to work, and I appeared to handle it gracefully, with focus, so I’m told. (The operative word being “appeared”.)

And every fiber of my being hurt.

And I couldn’t give up, because I had told him I’d be OK.

Damn it!

I spent several months being pissed at that chaplain.

I got over it.

The being pissed part, anyway.

And eventually I got to OK.

First in moments and spurts. And then more.

And I have gotten to Better Than OK.

Much better.

Photo by Peter Prehn, http://www.flickr.com/photos/pictoscribe/1076805181/ c 2007, Creative Commons

Mount St. Helens will never be the same. But the hills around it have turned green again and life has returned to the mountainsides.

To my Facebook friend I said, You are on the road to OK.

I have walked that road.

It goes Somewhere. I promise.


“When you are going through hell, keep going.” –Winston Churchill

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