Tag Archives: death

Friends are like a Robert Frost poem …

or at least real friends are.

I’m talking about the ones who take you at face value and don’t hold your weirdness, insane moments or idiosyncrasies against you.

They ignore you when you begin talking to yourself but poke you and raise an eyebrow if you keep doing it.

They are the ones who see your random, rambling text messages or hear the off the wall, beyond the grid, call the men in white coat voice-mails and don’t freak out, run for cover or actually call the men in white coats.

They have your back.

They are the ones you can depend on in the darkest days or the most joyful moments and know they will embrace them with you either in tears or laughter.

These are the people that you can call on when you are hurting and know they will console you, pray for you, or hold your hair back while you puke.

They take the good, the bad, the ugly, the grumpiness, the tears, the yelling, the bitching, the nastiness and the smiles with a grain of salt,  a kind word or a get a grip speech.

They will tell you when you are being a jerk and hold you accountable when it is important.

They will hope your dreams come true and ground you when you get above your raising.

They won’t tell you are brilliant if you aren’t and will, if your butt looks big in that dress, be the first one to say so.

These are the people that will pick you up at two am when you run out gas in the middle of nowhere, tell you when you are being an idiot and encourage you when you think the world is coming to an end.

They will be few, but they will be there when you need them.

Everyone you meet may like you, but only a handful will be in your corner when you paint yourself into one.

Remember to thank them for liking you even when you are unlikable.

They are, after all, the flowers in your springtime and, without a doubt, the joy and encouragement on the road less traveled.

Do not take them for granted … they don’t have to like you, they choose to.

There is a difference.

You’ve got a friend in me … friendship

Just call out my name … beach2012_wed-166

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Death is imminent …

it is something that every one of us will, at some time, face.

I am saddened this night because someone dear to my heart passed away.

I have tried to rationalize it and understand it, but death is death.

My heart is heavy for many reasons.

I know, because of my own loss, what his wife is feeling right now.

She is devastated and reeling from the blow that she is now alone.

I don’t completely understand what his daughters are going through because God has performed miracle after miracle upon my own father, but my imagination runs wild.

I have, on many occasions, although it tears me into pieces, told my  mother that if she and Daddy couldn’t go at the same time, I would want  him to go first because the thought of dealing with him without her is beyond my comprehension.

I don’t want to lose either of them, but I, we, live in the real world where people die and are buried and life either ceases with their death, or we move on.

Life is what it is, when it is, as it is.

Walking on the mountain tops or soaring above them is a wondrous thing, but in reality, we are often in the foxholes, valleys and dark places.

How we deal with these times defines us.

Do we encourage or enable?

Are we a rock or shifting sand?

These are the moments that Jesus calls us to, the times that He relies on us to uphold His people.

I am unworthy on every level imaginable, but I know, without doubt or reservation, what it feels like to lose a husband.

And I know what it feels like to be comforted by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

I am, according to what is “out there”, the minority, but I don ‘t care.

I know what I know, feel what I feel, experience what I experience, learn as I go, live as it comes and believe on the fantastic.

Life is a gamble and nobody, but nobody will leave this world alive.

The photo of my late husband included in this post was taken two weeks to the day after he was buried.

An image in my head could be discounted, but a photograph is, as the saying goes, worth a thousand words.

Beyond the Grave

Beyond the Grave

It has been a long few days …

or has it been weeks?

I haven’t posted anything new.

No blog posts.

No photographs.

Nothing.

I have been in a holding pattern of sleepwalking, nightmares and erotic dreams that leave me confused, wondering and bewildered …

and all the while, trying my very best to make it, without losing my cool, through the seemingly endless days and eventful nights.

I have had patients cry on me, their families strike me, people pulling at my heartstrings which are linked directly to my tear ducts and during all of this, trying to find out if I am to blame for something I had no control over.

I wonder if I have severed a crucial friendship and have already began to mourn the loss of it.

I have a way of ruining beautiful things because I rarely feel worthy of them.

I have slept outside, sent messages I wasn’t aware of and tried desperately to hold it together.

A difficult few days, indeed.

But tonight changed all that.

It came a storm.

A big one, with lots of lightning and torrential rain.

Normally, during such an event, I would be set up on the porch with my tripod and camera, but this time was different.

This one wasn’t to be documented and photographed.

It was to set my spirit free.

And it did.

I stood on the porch with my jeans and t-shirt, getting soaked.

But as time passed, I wanted no earthly barriers between me and the blessing that God was giving me.

A cleansing.

A fresh beginning.

Letting the past be past and bygones be bygones and memories no more than a blip on my radar.

One piece of clothing after another was discarded until I found myself standing nude and vulnerable under the rain, with the lightning flashing, the thunder bellowing, echoing between the mountains and valleys …

tears running down my face.

I prayed to a God that I had decided had forgotten me.

He hadn’t.

I think He was just waiting for me to remember Him.

It was frightening.

It was freeing.

I was liberated from the hold this world had on me.

I was, for that span of time, one with nature and the God who created it.

I still struggle with the emotions and thoughts in my head, but He designed my brain and is well acquainted with my mindless and sometimes senseless ramblings.

He doesn’t hold them against me and so I won’t hold them against myself.

Not everyone believes in my God.  I don’t find fault with them.  I know what I know, they know what they know.

I can only be who I am and, despite all my faults, and they are many, I feel at peace.

And despite that, my friends who don’t believe in my God like me anyway.

I am humbled by that.

Just  as I accept them, they accept me.

With our differences of opinions and thoughts.

It is irrelevant.

Isn’t that what it was supposed to be like?

Love one another?

Are my thoughts still burning through my head? Yes.

Do I still sometimes feel out of control? Yes.

Do I have someone to share the thoughts and emotions with? Yes, and I am thankful for them.

Do I wonder if I am making the right choices? Yes.

Following Christ doesn’t mean that everything is just peachy.  In all honesty, it is the opposite.

I don’t do it right, I never have, but I hope to at least encourage somebody along the way.

And selfishly, I hope to be encouraged.

I wonder sometimes if I am nothing more than the punching bag of the universe.  I don’t mind it if it keeps someone else from suffering, but every now and then, it wears on the soul.

And then, an incredible storm comes, I stand in the rain, and all is right again.

The circle of life.

It is what it is what it is what it is.

It is what we make of it that counts.

So make it count.

a beautiful human, inside and out.

a beautiful human, inside and out.

Last night, or early this morning …

in the wee hours, however you look at it, I visited my late husband’s grave.

Yes, myself, a proclaimed chicken, was in the darkened graveyard with only a  flashlight, my phone and a blanket to sit on.

There is no cell service there, but my music is on my phone, and having that was imperative to my visit.

The music.

My car is out of commission at the moment, so I took my mom’s car.  It was ok, but I really missed being able to put the top down and feel the heaviness of the cloudy, brooding sky above me.

I was feeling broody, manic and a bit discombobulated … much like the sky above me.

Starless.

Moonless.

Dark.

I know that, for the most part, I am misunderstood.  Only a handful of people understand me, or say they do …  and even those … well, sometimes I wonder if they really do and why they bother in the first place.

I know how I am, how I can be and I live with it.

I don’t expect others to.

I don’t count on them to.

It has been nearly four years since he left without saying good-bye.

He isn’t the first to leave without saying good-bye, but at least death is a reasonable excuse.

At our wedding, while a lone bagpiper was winding his way through the cemetery where he (my late husband, not the bagpiper)  is now buried, I had Annie’s song played.

I hadn’t given that song to anyone before or since.

It was his.

Now, it is mine.

I played it at his grave last night when I told him goodbye.

I’m not going back.

I don’t want to go back.

I want to move on.

I want to sleep at night.

I don’t want to sleepwalk.

I don’t want to dream.

I want days that are not filled with uncertainty and second guessing myself.

I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror and not think hateful things.

I want loyalty and friendship and peace of mind.

I want to be free.

I told him that, at his grave, where he really isn’t anyway.

He would, were he here, say without malice as he did many times, that it was my Sagittarian spirit coming out … the plain speech and tell it like it is even if it hurts mentality.

I guess I do.

I don’t expect that to change.

I want to be free, but I think I said that already.

I don’t think that is too much to ask.

To be free.

Isn’t that what everyone wants?

Picking and culling …

is a real pain in the nether regions.

I’ve been going through things in my house today, what to keep, what to trash and I find that there are really very few things I have any use for.

It seems that the most important things to me are my photo albums, laptop, external hard drive, camera, national geographics, 1000 places to see before I die book, coffee grinder, a portrait I drew of my dad as an Airman, the photos my daughter and nieces have drawn through the years, a blown glass wine cork and my lava lamp.

When it comes down to it, that, out of a houseful of useless things, doesn’t amount to much.

I suppose, if I needed to, I could easily put all my “treasures” in a garbage bag and live happily under a bridge.

I like hot showers, though, so that might pose an oppositional equation.

I have friends and family who have things that they treasure.  I don’t really treasure anything.

Not anything I can hold in my hand.

They are just things.

The objects I treasure aren’t objects one can take off the shelf and admire … they aren’t really objects at all.

God.

Creation.

Friends.

Family.

Loyalty.

Music.

Words.

One can’t own this stuff.  They can simply be a part of the magnificence as it as unfolds, one day into the next.

I didn’t mean to have an epiphany while cleaning house and doing laundry, but it just happened.

I had the chance to drive across the Hoover Dam back when you could drive across it … and drive through the desert to get there.

I had the chance to stand before the Lincoln Memorial and know that I was living a dream.

I have so many places I want to see, so much of creation that is only a picture in my mind, not one imprinted on my soul for I have not seen it for myself.

I want to.

That is what I want to hold onto.

The dreams of what can be accomplished, what can be sought after, what can be found simply by following the imagination.

I have things that my late husband gave me.  They are good for nothing but reminders.

The memories are in my heart and mind and soul.

I’m not really big on memories as it seems the difficult ones, the hard ones … they are the ones that come to mind.

I have to work to bring up the good ones.

So I’m culling more than picking … and I feel good about that.

Someone I admire a great deal …

likely much more than is good for me …

once told me they occasionally live a John Denver kind of life … I’m going to try to be more John Denver-ish myself.

I will have the courage to submit my book, my poems, my photographs.

I will have the courage to feed my wanderlust and see the place I long to see.

I will simply have courage.

I earn a paycheck as a nurse, it is true, but in my heart, I am more and, at the same time less.

I only have so many years to live.

What is that song?  100 years?

There is no point in deluding myself that I will ever make it to a hundred years old.

Why wait?

Why indeed?

The innumerable stars of the sky

The innumerable stars of the sky

Love is the most powerful of emotions

Love is the most powerful of emotions

Through Abby's eyes ... i miss this sweet girl

Through Abby’s eyes … i miss this sweet girl

When God gives one a heart of compassion …

it is understood that it will get broken.

There is no way around it.

I am still learning this.

I find that is is both  an honor and a privilege to watch the end of life come to pass.

It isn’t easy nor can it be considered pleasant, but it is a part of life that not everyone gets to see.

The living years is what most of us look for, find pleasure in and hope to be a part of.

But to be present when a spirit leaves this world is nothing short of amazing.

The last breath.

The last heartbeat.

The last moment.

I cannot help but cry for it is, in it’s way, very sad … and yet, when there was suffering, it is also a comfort.

I try, in my weak way, to console the ones left behind, but at that particular moment, there really are no words to say.

I can only be there, in the background, in the edges of the moment, to hold a hand or wrap my arm around those who need the contact.

I’m not, by nature, a hugger or toucher.

It doesn’t really come naturally to me as it does to true nurturers … and yet, I find myself being pulled into the emotion.

It is difficult, but I cannot turn them away.

Not in their moment of need.

Maybe I am weak. But if I can offer some bit of strength in their moment of weakness, then my strength has been made manifest.

I can do, for this moment, what I have learned through experience to do.  Not book experience, or clinical experience, but life experience.

I understand loss, especially unexpected loss that blindsides you and leaves you reeling from words left unsaid.

It is what it is and there are no do-overs.

It is enough to know that you loved someone while they lived in a way that they knew, unconditionally, that they were loved.

It is enough.

Move forward as you can, but whatever the cost, move forward.

To remain where you are, in grief and sorrow is the last thing in the world the one you lost would want.

Don”t be afraid to live.

If you aren’t afraid to live, then when your time comes, you won’t be afraid to die.

It is a circle.

Don’t break it.

This day started out …

on the wrong foot entirely.

I suppose it is partly because I am a bit of a dreamer and mostly because I am especially susceptible and vulnerable to harsh words.

I found, before I’d really had a chance to begin my day, my feelings hurt, my spirit bruised and my pride wounded.

It wasn’t the first time.

It won’t be the last.

But it always hurts.

Always chips away a bit at the self confidence I work so hard to achieve and hold on to.

Always makes me feel less than I thought I was before.

And so it went.

I cried my tears and kept the ones threatening at bay more to prevent curious questions than anything else.

What am I  supposed to say after all?  I had my feelings hurt?

That answer is met with shaking heads and comments like ‘girl, you need to toughen up”.

Yes.  I know.

I wasn’t going to let it rule my day, though, that I had already decided.  Maybe I was on the verge of tears.  Maybe I did slip away and cry a couple of times during the morning.  Maybe I did berate myself for being the way I am and wishing fervently that I could change it.  But …

I decided right off that this would be a day of encouraging others and lifting them up as I wished to be lifted.

The day progressed fairly normally, with fluffed pillows, niceties exchanged between patients and family members, little touches to encourage those who were ailing; the usual day to day stuff I always do.

None of that, however, prepared me for what I would encounter in the late morning hours.

He was my last patient,  and I knew from research that his wife had been gone for many years and his youngest daughter, the last of three children to die,  had passed away two years before.

For all counts and purposes, he was completely and totally alone in the world.

I went into his room and introduced myself to him.  He looked at me for a long time and I wondered if he understood what I was saying.

Then he spoke, his voice barely above a whisper and said “I thought for a moment that I had died and gone to Heaven.  You remind me so much of my sweet Lacy.”

As it turned out, Lacy was his daughter, his favored child and one who worshiped her father.  He asked me to sit, which I did, in the chair beside his bed, and he proceeded to tell me about her.

She cooked him dinner every night and made sure he had snacks in his kitchen. She took him to the park and on long drives into the mountain when the leaves changed in Autumn.  She had, he related, a way with stories and often sat with him, while he ate his dinner, and told him one story or another.

He focused those tired and aged blue eyes on mine and asked me if I would tell him a story.

I didn’t have the heart to say no.  I told him a story about a rogue squirrel which found it’s way into my sister’s swimming pool and the adventure and hilarity that followed.

He laughed out loud until he nearly wheezed and said it was the funniest thing he had heard in a long time.  He smiled a wide smile, crinkling his wrinkled face until his eyes nearly disappeared altogether.

It was a wonderful moment for me … this laughter on an old man’s face.

I rose to bid him goodbye and he once again caught and held my eyes in his gaze.  He, with sincerity and a love that nearly shattered me, said “I love you, Lacy, you know that don’t you?”

I took his frail hand in mine and after pressing a kiss to his papery cheek, said ‘Yes.  I Know.”

In the few moments I spent with him, the beauty of his spirit helped to heal my bruised one and the harsh words of the morning were forgotten, useless and harmless against the joy he brought to me.

I had intended to swing back by to check on him and to tell him how much my visit with him had meant to me, but before the end of my shift, he left this world.

I’m sorry I didn’t get to tell him how he touched my life.  It was my intention to encourage him and yet, he brought me a kind of joy that comes about only once in a while.

Harsh words will always hurt me.  It is my nature.  I cannot change who I am at the core, but the encounter with the man who knew me as Lacy gave me something wonderful to bring up when the tears threaten.

I cried for him, but not out of sadness.  No, that would have been wrong.  I cried because I, not as Lacy, but as myself, never got to say goodbye.

Life unfolds as it should and while some of it is painful, for the most part, it is an incredibly wonderful journey.

I was blessed to know Lacy’s dad.

My Dad ... the man I admire most on this earth.

My Dad … the man I admire most on this earth.