Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Wind's a blowing. Joints a aching. Bright blue sky, though, and fresh air. 

Was going to walk with a friend this morning but when I woke up, I was so warm I didn't want to leave my house. Just took recycling out a bit ago...still pretty frigid. It's supposed to be, of course, it's November!

So, I'm staying put this Veteran's day, contemplating so many who have kept our country free. I'm snuggling with my cat, using the computer, and alternately writing a picture book, doing laundry and dishes. I can't come close to imagining what people have gone through over the years to keep our nation free. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

And After...

This post was somehow not published when I meant it to be. Here it is now.

Sometimes we lose battles. Sometimes we lose friends. Sometimes we lose family. Sometimes we lose all three.

Jerry has succumbed to cancer. He passed in his sleep on February 3, 2011. Exactly 20 years after my friend from school, Carolyn Saxon passed from the same wretched disease. Gerry was 62. Carolyn was 29. I will forever call this day my Personal Cancer Day.

"My Loving Bother" fought death many times and won. He bested the bastard at least three, maybe four times in the last calendar year. When I spoke with him on January 30 he said he felt good, was not ready for hospice yet and was still expecting a miracle, after all, "They happen every day," he told me. Soon after he admitted to my sister that he had used his miracles up and thought maybe cancer was going to beat him. A week and a half ago he recieved news that he had more cancer in his lungs than healthy tissue; and though his tumor under the arm had shrunk, the cancer had spread to his brain. He was given at most a month. They stopped treatment and decided to live as best his remaining days.

He did not want to be drugged so that he was not clear his final days, but the pain became so bad that Hospice was called on Monday and set up on Tuesday. He died around 3:30 am on Wednesday morning. Jo Ellen called me around 2:15 am Pacific time, about 45 minutes after she found him. Jerry Jr was there and Kim was on her way from Tenessee. She had planned a weekend visit. She had not made it in time.

I am sad that he had to suffer. I am sad that his family is now missing him desperately. I am sad that he is the third child his mother has burried.

I am happy he loved the outdoors and enjoyed hunting and those other "manly" activites. I am happy he loved my sister and spent 43 years with her. I am happy that they were happy.

I am sad for my sister that she now must go on alone in life. I am sad that she has lost her soulmate. I am sad that I cannot go to her currently because I recover from foot surgery.

I am happy she loved him so much. I am happy that my mother loved him as a son. I am happy that he survived Vietnam, though it eventually killed him in the form of cancer, quite likely triggered by Agent Orange.

I am sad that so many people suffer in the world from diseases, neglect, abuse, murder, war, oppression and disasters. I am sad that I can only help but a handful of these sufferers in my life.

I am happy that people come back from sorrow. I am happy that Jo Ellen is a survivor and will carry on, as she said a year ago when the cancer first came back. I am happy she is my sister.

And so, even with my faith, knowledge and testimony of  passing through the veil of death and the life beyond, I just can't seem to stop crying. I cry because I am grieving, and I need to let myself do it. I can't do it all at once. I am famous for saying "Healing comes in pieces." Right now I need to take my own advice.

I need to sit at the ocean and look at the life giving waters that pound the coast. I need to breath deep the air and let myself feel the depth of my pain. I need to let go. One day at a time.
Autumn once more finds me hunkering down, reading and writing. A new challenge this year is the University of Washington's Writing for Children class. I'm taking it with 19 other women interested in writing for children. I'm learning what I want to learn, not how to write as much as what to do with it when I'm done. I've met some amazing women with awesome ideas, and have heard published guest speakers talk about their experiences in the writing world. I'm loving it.

Writing has always been a passion of mine, and since I love children's literature, the two are married perfectly in my goal to become a published children's writer. As I continue to teach and watch my daughter mature, I know that I now have the time I need to listen to myself and work toward a second career after I retire for public school teaching.