Archive for May, 2010

Old Love Letters and Leather Tools

Kenny and I lived in a really big house with a lot of other people at Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens (and MSIA headquarters), and I still live there. Underneath the first floor is a crawl space almost tall enough for a short person like me to stand upright. Our stored stuff takes up the floor space of about a 12’x12′ room. Mostly it’s Kenny’s someday maybe projects, tools, equipment, and memorabilia from past experiences and relationships, craftsman supplies, and many different types of disaster preparedness paraphernalia. Among the boxes of papers I found love letters, goodbye letters and letters from his family, which I poured over until 1 am in the morning. Notably many were from his mother recounting her own bout with cancer and cancer treatment. And also notably all were from the years 1989 through 1995. These years correspond to his sojourn in Hawaii, beloved Kauai to be exact. Photographs too–a glimpse of my husband in his younger years before we met. After reminiscing over his previous accounts of living through Hurricane Iniki (which by the way, was harrowing) and reading all this mail, I found myself so sad for his many years of Soul searching and break-ups and the deaths of a younger sister many years ago and both his parents within the last 14 years. And the last 9 months of his life and all the choices we made to try to help, and how the melanoma, first lurking in the background, made itself more intrusive month by month, then week by week and finally each day it was as he put it, “taking me out.”

There’s only so much of pouring over and deciding over each little and big thing he left behind that I can do before I get emotional again. It’s all OK, crying is OK, remembering is OK, and picturing is OK, except for the imagination going haywire on negative images. Then I have to call a halt, call in the Light and do something different to switch the energy. I’m about one-fourth of the way through it all, having labeled some boxes already, “eBay,” some “Yard Sale,” “Resale Store,” and “Throw Away.” We’re not mentioning the little things I’m keeping like the beautiful bow he carved out of Osage Orange wood, and the shell necklace from our 10th Anniversary Kauai vacation. Before the yard sale opens to the public, I will call his Tom Brown tracker friends to come preview and pick out what they want. I know he would really love that.

Still hovering over hospital bills and doctor bills, waiting for insurance to play their hand, and still clearing his IPhone in order to give it away. Do you know how many thousands of details make up a life? I don’t either, but it’s been nearly 6 weeks since he passed and I’ve only touched a small fraction of his belongings. It’s not so much the work involved. It’s more the emotions involved. The way some things bring up memories of the hard times when we didn’t see eye-to-eye. When our differences and our hard-shelled camps separated us. When I withheld love because I was so angry. When I couldn’t help but fall into his family patterns of “disapproving” of his actions. When with great relief I could admit that to myself and to him, it began to change and I began to have more compassion for his roots and the patterns that resulted. When I could climb out of myself to put myself in his shoes. I had small experiences of these awarenesses as our relationship matured, but it wasn’t until the diagnosis that I fully surrendered to the fulfillment of my ministry to my husband. The surrender indeed was sweet, and it got sweeter throughout the months of caring for him, but the lesson was hard-won, my friends. Don’t wait until one of you has a terminal condition to put yourself in each other’s shoes. Miracles of unconditional love await you. The timing gets perfect. The circumstances start looking like the best they can be given the situation. The Spirit becomes palpable and the prayer is ongoing, 24/7. As if it were the last prayer you’ll ever utter. Spirit responds to sincerity and genuine asking. Seek Spirit and honor it in each other as John-Roger says, like you would seek your next breath. We had nine months together once we surrendered to the loving, and it was all too short. I’d have given him some of my years if I could.

This comes out of deep loving for the process that unfolded in my life and deepest gratitude to my Kenny for his sacrifice in my journey back to the heart of God. God bless us all.

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What Will Quiet the Avalanche of Tears?

The last three days have been excruciatingly painful. I cry about just about everything. Remembering how Kenny’s body lost strength, lost muscle, lost blood, and that was just what I could see with my naked eye. Every day was its own reality. Slowly each day he couldn’t do something he could do the day before until I was moving his arms for him and lifting his head for him, and feeding him and wiping his face and helping him cough and breathe easier.

Today my friend Muriel came over and for about the fourth or fifth Tuesday in a row she has been helping me sort out medical bills and calculate assets, and researching information, and today she spent the entire day editing a letter I feel obliged to send to the clinics that Kenny enrolled in to see if they could help turn around the cancer. That made me cry out of gratitude. And when Gail and Yvonne took me out to see the Renoir exhibit at LACMA tonight, that made me cry.

Suddenly I will flash on there’s no return from here. We can’t make up and then he’ll come back to me. I won’t see him walk in the door and kiss me after a day’s work. I can’t race back to him after doing an errand. This is permanent–after nine months of blood, sweat, and buckets of tears, there is no more. That makes me cry. I sound indulgent to myself, yet this is real. Everyone says it will get better, but I don’t want my memories to fade, I don’t want to forget, I don’t want to feel less, and I don’t want to go on. I just want to look at pictures of us, hear recordings of his voice, read his blog and his poems, and remember everything like it was yesterday so he will stay alive inside me.

Doing spiritual exercises (meditation) helps–when it helps. At least I have some relief from the pain of loss for the time I am out of my body. Prayer helps–dear God, give me a new purpose. Show me in ways I will understand what it is. Give me the courage and strength to do whatever it is that you want me to do. I received a condolence card today and a friend wrote: “Our prayers are with you as you go through this very difficult journey of recovery and enlightenment as you see where God wants you.” Wow, that touched me deeply. See where God wants you.

OK, today I will be open to seeing where God wants me. And if I learned anything during those months taking care of Kenny, I learned that God would respond to my action. It always did in palpable ways that I understood. OK God, I’m on notice now, please reveal where you want me. Baruch Bashan–The Blessings Already Are!

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