Saturday, September 4, 2010

My Loving Bother

The heavy burden of grief hangs on my forehead, presses between my eyes and makes my vision blurry. My sister’s husband of almost 43 years is suffering from cancer. 43 years in three weeks, if he makes it.
Complications from chemo have been ravaging his body for at least the last 8 months, maybe more. First his entire digestive system ulcerated, his bowel rotting within, leaking into his body cavity. Doctors removed it in a colostomy surgery, giving him relief so that he was able to eat. Not eating for several months left him severely malnourished. Many weeks of healing, nutrition and physical therapy allowed him to return home.
Somehow he was not told he had diverticulitis, so ate the wrong foods and ended up in the hospital with an infection which they think spread to his lung, giving him pneumonia. I saw him then, when I went back to New York in July. He was not 'My Loving Bother’ that I remembered even from the February visit I made. Bald, white beard on half of his face and much, much thinner, he struggled to force loose the lung infection. Psoriasis covered much of his body, but was actually healing because of the massive antibiotics and chemo. He was anxious to go home.
He became gravely ill again three weeks later and almost died from septic shock. Two days back at home and he regressed to the point of now being on positive air pressure. I’m saddened that this once hale outdoorsman is being eaten up by his own body. I’m saddened  that he is in pain and peril, scared for his life and his wife’s life without him. I’m saddened most of all for my sister who adores him, cares for him and does her best in what is most likely a losing battle. And while I have my own views of death, the life after and eternity, my sister does not need a sermon. She needs comforting arms around her and loving voices telling her that they will take care of her needs, her bills, her food, her horse. She doesn’t have many arms. Our family is cantankerous and divided. And I am 3,000 miles away on the opposite side of the country, calling her frequently and sending her money. But I wish I could do more.
I am ready to leave on a moment’s notice. She asked me if I wanted her to call when ‘it’ happened. I told her I’d like to be there for her when it does happen, if she has any warning. I can be there in 24 hours. Her son and daughter are there, though, and that brings me great comfort. They have both come from long distances to be with their family.
So I send flowers and balloons. I send money. I send love. I send prayers. I am going to the temple now to worship and pray for my ‘Big Gerry,” “My Loving Bother.” It’s fast Sunday; my prayers have never had greater need or urgency. I have enlisted the temple patrons by putting him on the prayer roll. I have enlisted my 300 some facebook friends for their prayers.  I have enlisted my own sheer faith that he can be healed, that miracles do happen and they can happen to him. After all, they have happened to me.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cedars and Snow

Verdant branches, laden low

Drooping downward, sculpted snow

Layers laughing, hide and seek

Winter’s blanket, frigid, sleek

Penny L Kjelgaard copyright 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Winter Wilds

Winter wilds, empty wood

Sites where only few have stood.

Trees are sleeping, smooth and deep,

Majestic, soundless vigils keep.

Racing rapids, rivers flow

Onward, downward through the snow.

Tumbling bubbles, waters sing

“Remember, O remember spring!”

Penny L Kjelgaard © Jan 2010


Daybreak soggy
Lowland foggy
Water glowing
Cattails flowing
Verdant beaches
Muddy reaches

Dragons dancing
Ganders prancing
Peepers peeping
Willows weeping
Locusts singing
Solace bringing

Penny L Kjelgaard © 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Walk With Bob Hope

I strolled around the empty theatre with Bob Hope.

He smiled kindly and crooned, “Hi, Honey.”

I approached him and we began to walk,


behind the back row toward the wall.

“I saw you and Cagney tap dancing on a table last night.”

“I remember. He tried to out-dance me.”

“He did.” I smiled.

He rolled his eyes. “You’re funny.”

“You look healthy.”

“I’m feeling good, he said.

He reached the end of the row and descended toward the stage.

“Except this brain tumor.”

He tapped his crown. “They’re going to take it out.”

“I had a friend who had brain surgery,” I remarked.

We turned the corner in front of the first row and ambled back across the theatre.

“In fact, this is her daughter, Emily.” I gestured to the brunette teen sitting in the center aisle.

We reached her and he squatted to her level.

“Emily, this is Mr. Bob Hope.”

“Hi, Honey,” he crooned.

“Bob, this is Emily. Her mother had surgery because her brain was bleeding.”

“Are you her friend?” she asked Bob, pointing to me.

“You bet,” he replied, a dazzling smile.

“His only one,” I added.

“You’re funny,” he said.

Copyright © 2010 Penny L Kjelgaard

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Clover Scented Spring

If I stretch forth arms to spirit’s bliss
and sing the sudden places of the wild,
I would start and end on this one thing:
that clover scented spring
be joyous song of endless days so breathed.
Copyright © 2010 Penny L Kjelgaard