illness

let me go

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image credit.. samuel hodge

“A star falls from the sky and into your hands. Then it seeps through your veins and swims inside your blood and becomes every part of you. And then you have to put it back into the sky. And it’s the most painful thing you’ll ever have to do and that you’ve ever done. But what’s yours is yours. Whether it’s up in the sky or here in your hands. And one day, it’ll fall from the sky and hit you in the head real hard and that time, you won’t have to put it back in the sky again.” 


i am completely without words to describe just how helpless i feel. my good friend was diagnosed with 4th stage liver cancer recently. it has metastasized in 4 places on his liver and it is beyond treatment. i can’t fix it and i can’t make it go away.

at first he presented with a distinct sense of defeat. this had concerned me greatly. he resigned from his job and set up an at home hospice situation. it all seemed so fast and surreal. then he began to talk about things like healthy living, diet and nutrition, and chinese medicine. this gave me some sense of relief. and hope.

but recently, there has been a shift. i get the sense that he is avoiding my calls and isolating. i hope i am wrong, but i have been down a road similar to this on several occasions and it sucks. it is painful. it feels hopeless. i am not at all eager to do again.

on the other hand, i do love my friend. just as i loved my friends before. my experience taught me that when people get physically ill, they turn inward emotionally.. it’s so much effort to communicate. and it’s hard to see oneself (sick) in another persons eyes. it’s as if they are saying “let me go” without any words.

today, at a meeting, after another person shared, i came to understand that i haven’t wanted to deal with this situation. at all. so i have been making myself crazy trying to avoid it. i have been defensive. i have been boastful. i have instigated not-so-good things. i have worn a victim silhouette.

but as i grow towards what i hope is the light, i have to accept where i am at. and i have to understand it and i have to be willing to let it go. i posted a quote today that suggested opening one’s heart means showing the scars that are there.  simple set of words with a much more significant process to make happen. but i’m gonna try. even if it makes me cry. and i know it is gonna.

the beautiful south

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image credit… samuel hodge
If I could find a real-life place that made me feel like Tiffany’s, then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name. ~Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1958, spoken by the character Holly Golightly
6 days in bed with pneumonia makes a girl a little stir crazy.. or maybe even a lot. i have slept and sweated and sweated and slept. the creases and the clumps in the pillows and the bedding have become just like the pea under the princess’s bed and have made it almost impossible to get comfortable.
 i’m almost as tired of sleeping as i am tired.  i am hoping that wellness is on its way.
during my week long romance with bed rest has been an ongoing madness for drama- especially the cinematic kind.  star trek (chris pine and zachary quinto) made me smile  and smile again.  secretariat continued to be a winner. dolphin tale actually made me cry 5 times.  the film that continues to stand out the most for me is the help. i have been racking my brain trying to figure out exactly why.,
i am from a small town in central illinois- not the south. my grandmother, who is responsible for most (if any) moral fiber i have was from alabama. her family were farmers who emigrated to illinois. i don’t know if the writing, the stories, the drama, the conflict of the south has particular significance for me, but it certainly is easy to wear. 
i have loved tennesseee williams, carson mccullers, willa cather, truman capote,  thomas wolfe,  and flannery oconnor, and harper lee. i have read and watched those stories with fervor and adulation for as long as i can remember. and as i languished around this week, partaking of this newer delicacy over and over, i found myself feeling as if i had been given a very large and comforting hug from a storyline rife with regional language, sarcasm, innuendo, but mostly the undaunting tenacity of the human spirit. 
i/m not sure about past life wisdom. i am not an expert on reincarnation. but i believe in my mind there is a case for it here. i grew up as a small boy listening to stories told around the kitchen table. and these southern writers and stories sound very much like the same thing to me. they seem to be familiar and personal, like it’s being told over a tall glass of iced tea.
so on a week long dirge like this, when i have fever, fatigue, and spend most of my time alone, it makes sense that i would like to drench myself in something that reminds me of my childhood. laughter and drama being played out in stories at the kitchen table. and then there’s all that confection and fried food.:)
Minny Jackson: Eat my shit. 
Hilly Holbrook: Excuse me! 
Minny Jackson: I said eat… my… shit. 
Hilly Holbrook: Have you lost your mind? 
Minny Jackson: No, ma’am but you is about to. ‘Cause you just did. 

life on life’s terms

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image credit….. david archer
Life is about living, loving, learning and of course laughter. Living life on life’s terms has much to do about our attitude toward our life. Do we choose a positive attitude or invite misery? Do we choose change or stay in our old comfort zones even if they are unhealthy for us? What thoughts do we hold and keep our attention on? Yes, we have the choice at any moment to make changes in our life if it’s not working for us.

Our life is all about change and choice. Within each of us is the ability to create and live the life intended for us. We only need make the changes and choices that are truthful, honest and right for our own life. It is my hope to offer new ways to accept changes in your life; from the not so difficult to the huge and very challenging ones. As we learn to accept changes that come about and learn new skills to walk through change, we have the opportunity to create and live a life of love, peace, serenity and happiness.

i stopped by a small clinic to help a friend who is a counselor there. he has been ill lately and i will make myself available to help in any way i can. he runs groups for parolees, most of whom have done 8 years or more inside. he sweetly refers to his guys as the ones nobody else wants. it is obvious he has a real and defined connection here.

there are about 14 guys who slowly arrive, make their nest for the hour, and settle in. there is also a sense of something else, although i’m not sure what. the respect and the love that is felt for him in here is concrete.  it is a rag tag bunch of fellows. all are working, and working on staying out of the joint. 2 guys are graduating tonight, so the protocol is that they will run the meeting, starting by sharing their process and their progress with the group.

but before this takes place, my friend starts the group off by introducing himself (there are 2 new people who don’t know him). he apologizes for not being around the last month or so, but has had some stuff going on.
he continues with “here’s the deal guys. i have been diagnosed with 2 types of cancer in my abdomen. they don’t even know what kind it is. i was told i have about 6 months to live. i have started chemo to arrest these tumors in my stomach and they don’t even know if it is going to work. if it is effective, i may have 2 more years, but if it doesn’t, it falls back to the 6 month diagnosis.

naturally you could hear a pin drop. there is not a sound, nor a movement for a short while as these rugged and  tender witnesses absorb what they could of the information just laid down. not a stir. it was almost like one of those science fiction films with individual cylinders keeping bodies alive, all in the same room, but each one so separate and needing its own life support.

my friend continued with the group and introductions.

this was a very spiritual happening  for me. i can’t remember when i have felt quite so humble. i don’t ever think i will forget either the silence or the power in the presence of  it. nothing more to be said really.

my friend is living life on life’s terms.