Posts tagged cancer

Kenny’s Run, More Passings, and the Beat Goes On

Tonight after I drove home from visiting my cousins in Victorville, there was a knock at my door. When I opened it, there stood Andree and Peter brandishing big heartfelt smiles and their Redondo Beach Super Bowl Kenny’s Run 2012 badges. This was their third run in Kenny’s honor, the first one being the day before we boarded Continental to Houston for that heart-stopping, telltale month of the melanoma march in February 2010.

How dear of them to honor and pray for Kenny and me. How integral they were in his care during those nine months of trying to halt that never-to-be-forgotten relentless invasion. I speculated that Kenny must have been with them on the run. He always loved training his body through sports and watching others doing their best and perhaps outrunning their last race.

And how perfect to receive of their love in this very tender way after I had been with Annabelle, whose husband of 60 years had died on December 26 of multiple myloma, a nearly always incurable form of cancer. My purpose in being there was to support my cousins, Anna and her daughter Teresa, in whatever way I could—listening, sharing my own experience, making suggestions, looking at pictures and reading articles about Nicky. To everyone else he was Nick. To me, I couldn’t call him anything else but Nicky, ever since as a child I wrote to him when he went off to the Korean War. “Dear Nicky, I miss you and I love you. Come home quick, OK?”

Teresa called me some days before Christmas to tell me her father (“Daddiola,” she called him) was bad, not expected to last much longer. Did they want me to come out, I asked. Oh yes, please can you? The next day I drove out to find them at the hospital with Nicky incoherent and in a lot of pain. They were about to send him home on hospice care. So we all trudged home where a hospice agency met us with a hospital bed and other such equipment. Nicky was worse by the minute, writhing and moaning in pain. The hospice nurse exclaimed that they were ill-equipped to manage his pain so she recommended we put him back in the hospital. This time a different one where he might receive better care. There they cleaned him up and administered some pain medication and kept him overnight until another hospice agency was arranged. This time, it was the Visiting Nurses Association.

This agency really knew what they were doing. By this time in my limited experience, I had now witnessed the workings of as many as four different hospice agencies, and I could tell the quality of care provided by VNA was outstanding. The managing nurse quieted Annabelle’s and Teresa’s fears about giving medication, she assessed the situation and Nick’s condition, and soon after a crisis nurse arrived to manage Nick’s pain levels, which were making him so uncomfortable. By this time he had not eaten in days and was not drinking, so we knew it wouldn’t be long before he took his last breath. I quickly understood my place in this family experience—I was to support them emotionally, to assist them physically as they requested, and to call upon the MSIA ministerial body worldwide to stand by spiritually to help anyone present to release anything no longer needed and to assist in ushering dear Nicky into whatever realm of Spirit was his next “grand adventure,” as Kenny coined it. So when Anna couldn’t watch and had to retreat, I held her in my arms. When courageous Teresa had to administer medications, I stood by assuring her she was doing the right thing. When everyone else was asleep, I sat by Nicky’s bed silently chanting and sending him Light and assuring him we were all there loving him and praying his journey now would be as gentle as possible.

On the morning of December 26, at about 9:30am, I had just freshened his mouth when David, Teresa’s son, noticed he had stopped breathing. That was it, his Soul had ascended, no longer inhabiting his body. The man that was their husband, father, and grandfather and my cousin was gone from this world. Today it’s only been about six weeks since Nicky passed. Anna is still very tender and going through the gamut of feelings one experiences when a spouse passes. Each one goes through grief over the loss of a loved one, their husband, their dad, their Papa, or father-in-law in their own very personal way. And in all that I witnessed, I recalled my experiences with Kenny, grateful for his extraordinary exampleship in leaving this world with dignity, grace, great love, and peace.

I was also reminded that not all hospice agencies are alike. And it’s worth shopping around while all principals are still coherent and able to assess the differences. The VNA team was competent, loving, compassionate, responsive, and seemed to love their work. We couldn’t ask for more. These are the hallmarks of the kind of people I would want around me when it’s my time to go. There’s much more to tell about my learnings and awarenesses between then (Kenny’s passing in March 2010) and now, but that’s still to come.

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ASSUMING THE CONTRACT WAS SEALED IN A SPIRITUAL PROMISE

Assuming Kenny and I agreed to work out our life lessons as husband and wife before we incarnated this lifetime—and I do. Assume his two previous marriages and my two previous marriages fulfilled the exact parts of these life lessons in the perfect way they were supposed to—and I do. Assume we promised each other we would “go into the heart of God together,” and we did. Promise that is. Go into the Heart of God together?  That’s what this writing is all about.

I’ve talked about the deepest love either of has ever known from a mate—the underlying glue that held us together on the highest levels. I’ve also talked about the miasm* we were enmeshed in, the karmic flow or in more descriptive terms, the energetic tableau.  But I’m getting a deeper glimpse these last few days. Knowing we always do the best we can with who we are and what resources we have at the time, this is not about looking back with blame or regret. This is about looking into the consciousness for a deeper cut—a view from the unconditional love of the Soul—a place of forgiveness and compassion.

With that said, I invite you to embrace the rest of this story from the same place.

Early in the marriage there were signs of “sandpapering,” a kind term for conflict. Differences in how we functioned in the world as individuals. Some minor differences we were able to work with, but the essential, deep-seated, maybe even ancient patterns that one would consider weaknesses or character defects or more accurately blocks to spiritual awareness, were set in reactivity to each other. It was a perfect match. He was allowed to continue his unconscious avoidance of relating to me as his partner in such a way that allowed my unconscious avoidance to blind me to that which would unveil my next steps in my own spiritual growth. Oh we worked on “issues,” we came to some agreements, we at least rose above the “you must-squeeze-the-toothpaste-tube-the-way-I-want-you-to” kinds of sandpapering.

But for those many years, fifteen to be exact, in secret he went his way and I avoided mine. I was so busy “handling” his much more obvious challenges, I couldn’t see mine. Oh I’d have glimpses (which probably scared the pants off me) and then I’d brush them aside. Sometimes I’d be completely resigned that our life together on these levels would never change, and I’d better just be happy with what we did have, not realizing, not having a clue that if I would just change one thing about me, that would affect us dramatically.

So fear ran my relationship with Kenny—if I came to my senses I would have to leave. Or surely he would leave me. Rather than risk that kind of change, I remained mired in my own participation in the miasm we had slipped into so silently.

Remember all this is seated in the traumatized nervous system.* There was no escape. Patterns were set in frozen nerve pathways. Reactions were predictable and limited to those resulting in fighting or fleeing.  As a result there were many opportunities in those glimpses to precipitate change that were ignored.  Because the gentler approach was not recognized or heeded many times over, God now set about preparing us for the most impactful experience of our lives. And this, from my view, was the purpose for the diagnosis of incurable, highly advanced, inoperable melanoma cancer—a three-to-six-month death sentence. If we, as a committed unit didn’t get it now, there would not be another chance.

In a flash, we were hurtled into action, as I’ve said before. Apologies for past indiscretions and hurts flew back and forth. We came into the oneness of Spirit, of seeing the path we were to take clearly and unmistakably. You could say the fear of death awakened us into positive action, leaving behind everything no longer in alignment with the goal—Kenny getting well again and loving ourselves and each other so completely that nothing else mattered. It was a beautiful experience of clarity of purpose. I’ve written about this so many times within this blog. Have a look.

What strikes me now is that God so loved us, his children that he made us in Jesus’ likeness, that he would even snuff out the physical life of one of us in order to have us learn what we agreed to embrace before incarnating into these bodies. And here I sit, in complete and utter awe that this consciousness, this nervous system, held the old pattern of gripping so tightly that my darling husband would have to die, not just take a break, or leave my side, but forever die to this world for the last time in order for us both to take our next steps in realizing who we are. He would take those steps in the next world. I am left to take them here.

And I’m guessing he would say the same thing. “My consciousness, my nervous system, held on so dearly to my patterns, I would have to leave this world to meld with the Divine.” And the process of leaving, from my vantage point, was what set him apart from all past actions, all patterns, all miasms. In a blaze of glory, he left this world knowing who he was, who God is, and where he was going. We could not, in our wildest dreams, ask for a more graceful and tender goodbye.

Tears well up as I now look upon this story, this era of my life, with the compassion and loving that bring forth understanding and peace. The Spiritual Promise was fulfilled and in our heart of hearts, we knew it would be. I stood by him as he ascended into the Heart of God, and I know he will be one of those ushering me on the same path when it’s my time to go. It is with profound gratitude to my Kenny for sacrificing his life so that I may grow closer to God and closer to knowing I am one with God, closer to realizing my Self that I write this and share it with you.

God bless us all.

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* From the Greek miasma |mīˈazmə; mē-|

noun ( pl. -mas or -mata |-mətə|) poetic/literary

• figurative an oppressive or unpleasant atmosphere that surrounds or emanates from something : a miasma of despair rose from the black workshops.*

* See previous blog posts for more information on Somatic Therapy and the nervous system.

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Remembrance Day for Kenny

Morning Observations in Peace Awareness Gardens

 

My dear Friends and Family,

March 30 marked one year since my sweet, funny, handsome, talented, mischievous and darling husband left his body to go home to God. I knew I wanted to have some kind of acknowledgment of that day, though since we had already had three memorials in 2010, it didn’t seem appropriate to have yet another memorial. As I projected in my mind what would sooth my healing heart, I realized I wanted an intimate gathering of those who seemed to make a big difference in our experience near the end of his life. I’m sure there were many others whose silent prayers and distant caring impacted us deeply, so choosing who to invite was a challenge. But the place was very clear to me. It would be Gail’s house, the site of many patio dinners and movies and Christmas Eves, and Thanksgiving dinners. The fare would be Kenny’s favorites, and the emphasis would be on acknowledging the loving and caring poured out to us at a time when every minute and every breath counted. I called it Remembrance Day.

Kenny at 23

Here’s what I wrote to Kenny’s sisters who all live on the East Coast and whom I wanted to include as much as I could.

Remembrance Day was a very dear and sweet gathering of people who assisted Kenny and me on an ongoing basis, and friends who loved him very much. We had it at Gail’s house. I purposely chose Gail’s because she has a very sweet little place on the west side. And Gail, Yvonne, Kenny and I were pals and did things together including that trip to Northern California in winter of 2008. And many of the furnishings in her house Kenny helped her assemble. I brought with me some of his favorite music and the two pictures of him in his youth that I love–the close-up on the beach at 23, and the one in the engineer’s cap in his early 30’s. Plus I brought an enlargement of the one of all of you and Kenny dressed in blue in front of the Island House. I also brought the album you all put together which everyone loved looking through. The living room was crammed full with only seventeen people—just as I imagined it would be—cozy, close, chairs all lined up like a couch.

 Kenny in his 30’s

Here’s how the day went:

I opened with a prayer and asked for Kenny’s Soul to be present.

I acknowledged each person present for their personal giving–said something personal to each one. Many brought tears and choked words, but I felt it important to acknowledge each one.

I read Kenny’s ministerial ordination blessing. In MSIA ministers have special callings that amplify their strengths and gifts. In Kenny’s case, the focus is on his “storehouse of treasures,” empathy, compassion, kindness and sensitivity–not in grand gestures, but in simple ways that show people he cares. And it encourages him to share his healing touch. I especially wanted everyone there to hear it because from my experience, he exemplified this blessing in his last few months more evidently than ever before.

You asked me to tell everyone that his family loved him very much and still does. I did that and showed everyone the family photo. There were audible sighs of empathy and appreciation in the group. Most of them had met you when you came to visit in January 2010. And they remembered the Jones sense of humor. Remember Kenny in thoseNew Jerseycrab shorts!

John Morton, our Spiritual Director, came to visit Kenny just a week or so before he passed and was so uplifted by his exuberance, he told Kenny his ministry was on fire! Kenny’s response was “If people could discover what I’m experiencing, they’d drop what they are doing and doing what I’m doing!” This visit was recorded and so at this point in the gathering, I played the recording of what Kenny said. Hearing his voice, especially with such a poignant message, brought tears to people’s eyes. They realized how much they missed him. Everyone realized he was showing us how to leave this world gracefully, in love and excitement and gratitude.

Kenny’s favorite recording artist and song writer is Mark Knopfler. At this point I played Knopfler’s Remembrance Day, which is how I came to name the gathering. Knopfler is British and inEngland, Remembrance Day is like our Veterans’ Day, commemorating the fallen Soldiers of WWI and WWII. The song is on the album “Get Lucky,” Knopfler’s latest with many poignant songs that Kenny loved and I had grown to love also. Here’s a YouTube clip of the song and a word document with the lyrics:

Remembrance Day
Music and Lyrics by Mark Knopfler
In Loving Memory of Kenny Jones
12/12/1946-03/30/2010

On your maypole green
see the winding morris men
Angry Alfie, Bill and Ken
waving hankies, sticks, and boots
all the earth and roots

 

Standing at the crease
the batsman takes a look around.
The boys are fielding on home ground.
The steeple sharp against the blue
when I think of you. 



 Sam and Andy,
Jack and John.
Charlie, Martin,
Jamie, Ron,
Harry, Stephen,
Will and Don
Matthew, Michael
on and on.  

We will remember them,
remember them,
remember them.

We will remember them,
remember them,
remember them

 

Time has slipped away
The summer sky to autumn yields,
Haze of smoke across the fields.
Let’s up and fight another round
and walk the stubbled ground.

 

When November brings
the poppies on Remembrance Day,
When the vicar comes to say,
May God bless them, every one.
Lest we forget our sons.” 

We will remember them,
remember them,
remember them. 

We will remember them,
remember them,
remember them. 

We will remember them,
remember them, remember them. 

We will remember them,
remember them,
remember them.

Then lots of people shared their fond memories of Kenny. It was very sweet and actually fun to hear it all. It reminded me of lolling in the pool at your house in Bayhead, as we all told stories the night after Kenny’s orchestration of his ashes day. (This is sited in an earlier entry called “The Funeral Train began inSpringfield.”)

I ended the formal part of the gathering with Kenny’s poem about the Prana gardens. Writing this poem was one of his moments of empathy and sensitivity. And reading it was even more so. He paused in just the right places emphasizing the description he was weaving. I’m adding it here:

Morning Observations in Peace Awareness Gardens
July 21, 2004
by Ken Jones
Photo by Ken Jones

Cool morning air,
thick with blossom smell,
caresses me inside and out.

Inside the delicate delightful green garden
sweet tendrils of tenderness
tell me I am loved.

Birds flitting, humming, and peering
sing and call their kin:
“Here I am, here I am here I am.
“Come nest with me, come nest with me.
“Let’s eat, let’s eat, let’s eat.

“Boy, I’m glad…
glad glad glad glad glad!”

The goldfish and koi and their playmates
glide in schools of silence
and rejoice….
in the suspended….
Current….
of ..the.. pond….

Every moment, the arcing sunlight brings fresh beauty,
whether illuminating lush leaves,
or reflecting ripples
that tickle tall translucent trunks.

Outside the green garden bubble,
the world rushes on,
Leaving us alone in soft splendid grace.

Once again I know gratitude.

Then we had homemade pound cake with Hagan Das vanilla ice cream. Two of Kenny’s favorites.

It was very warming and satisfying to create this gathering. For me it felt like Kenny was right there with us saying something like, “I had no idea so many people cared about me.” Well I know we all did and we all do still.

I hope you enjoyed this homage. Every holiday, birthday, and anniversary will have passed this coming Wednesday, March 30. I don’t know what the next year will hold, but I do know absence makes the heart grow fonder. I’m missing Kenny and you all as well.

Lots of  love,
Carol

Please feel free to comment in the comment field below, share your story, your thoughts and feelings about losing a loved one or assisting the family. Alternatively, contact me directly at carol.jones43@yahoo.com

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Houston is Probably a Nice Place

I look back on that month in Houston where Kenny sought treatment for his cancer and it appears dark, scary, and full of anxiety and at the same time, filled with the miracles of perfect timing and spiritual assistance. Overall though, I would have liked to skip the actual day-to-day-ness and just learned the lessons. It was the toughest four weeks of my life, not to mention that Kenny was very obviously losing one body function after another daily. So while Houston is probably a nice place, not so much in my memory.

When we left the Gerson clinic in Tijuana at the end of November 2009, because the melanoma had infiltrated Kenny’s brain, it was recommended that we look into the Burzynski clinic in Houston. They are known for working with cancers in the brain. We applied, some sixty pages including all his lab reports since the original mole was diagnosed in 2000. He was accepted for a start date of February 9, 2010. We took all the steps to prepare for the trip–this last-ditch effort to halt the onslaught of the monster invading his body. It was going to be two weeks of out-patient care with overnight stay at a nearby hotel, and then back home to LA for follow-up treatment.

The day before we left, one of our dear friends who is a runner, dedicated a 5K run just that weekend to Kenny’s recovery. She showed us the DVD. It was a sweet moment of prayer and communion. By this time Kenny had lost about forty pounds, was looking rather thin and felt weak compared to his old self. They’d found a lesion in his digestive tract that was bleeding and he’d already had several blood transfusions.  He needed assistance showering and drying off and was slow and deliberate in his movements and not able to drive. Another long-time friend offered to assist Kenny with showers in the mornings and that was such a treat for all of us. You see, I had been showering Kenny myself for several weeks, and it was one of the most precious moments of the day. An honoring of his body, a blessing, a sweet and profound time of taking care of his body. He loved it and I loved it. And when we asked Kev to assist so I could prepare breakfast at the same time, he loved it too. Such a privilege to care for someone so intimately.

Back to Houston. At the airport, porters met us at the curb with a wheelchair and escorted us to the plane, making sure we were comfortably seated and all tucked in. In the meantime, Heartfelt Organization and a minister in MSIA who lives in Dallas had enlisted the assistance of ministers in Houston to help when we arrived. Jesus bought all our groceries. Yvette was to learn to make juices for us and clean the kitchen in our suite almost daily. Joaquin came to visit about three times a week to chat and hold the Light. Baba was to arrive a week later and visited every single day and did errands as needed, and spent the night so I could rest and arranged a ministers meeting right in our little hotel suite. Jesus did the laundry, made the bed, and helped Kenny shower many times during our stay. Our little army of soldiers was on the march with whatever was needed.

The second day at the clinic, Ken was scheduled for a scan to assess the extent of the melanoma. He wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything until after the procedure, which was late due to another patient’s emergency. I was frantic with worry because he had been getting dehydrated very easily. I called home (the seminary) and asked that an all-call go out to everyone in the building to send Light to Kenny and the procedure immediately. This comforted me a little while forever optimistic Kenny was certain everything would be OK all along. I prayed for Divine Intervention and finally the procedure was under way–4 hours after we were supposed to go back to the hotel. Finally he could eat a meal and drink his precious carrot apple juice–we were still following the Gerson protocol. That was Wednesday. Thursday we saw the nutritionist who immediately put Kenny on a protein-rich diet–his blood work showed advanced anemia and he was very weak. It was time to “beef” up his intake after five months of a completely vegan diet, part of the Gerson plan. This was another blow to the belief that Kenny could reverse the melanoma march.

Friday we had a telltale appointment to view the scan with the doctor and the radiologist. Both were stunned at what they saw. Kenny’s entire torso was blackened on the silhouette drawing and on the actual scan pictures, tumors lit up like lightbulbs everywhere, most of them concentrated in his torso, but also scattered throughout his limbs, neck and head as well. The radiologist was heard saying, “I’ve never seen so much involvement in any other patient.” We’ll try to help, they said. Kenny said, “Maybe I’ll be your Burzynski poster child.” We walked out of the clinic that day heavy with the reality of what we saw. And as if the day before wasn’t enough change to handle, today made its way into our awareness with a one-two punch, sending me reeling with tension and worry.

The next week presented the inevitable complication, Kenny needed another transfusion. It was off to the First Street Hospital to be admitted to their emergency room to wait for blood to arrive. It took all day for blood to show up. In the meantime, our own crew of ministers came to us with food and juice, and sweet Grace drove all the way from Austin with delicious homemade soup and bread. How tenderly we were ministered to, how dear these people who hardly knew us were caring for us. I was in tears most of every day, either from gratitude or from worry or from venting anxiety or sadness or resignation, or lack of sleep or…Kenny too, but mostly from gratitude.

Finally, the next day all the blood was now in Kenny’s veins and he was released to go back to the hotel. Some more visits to the clinic in the next few days, some more good food, juices, clinic-prescribed drugs (some of which were chemotherapy that presented their own set of really uncomfortable symptoms), and it was back to the hospital again for the next blood transfusion. Only this time he was to be admitted as an inpatient for ten days to handle one advanced melanoma symptom after another. Clinic drugs were suspended while IV’s and blood were administered along with his anti-brain swelling medicine, his thyroid medicine, and a host of other pills. In his later blogs he talks about how precious it was to have a bowel movement. It became tougher and tougher and one remedy after another was suggested. None worked very well, the daily battle to complete the cycle of eating and eliminating dragged on. After months of urinating a surprising couple of gallons each day, even urinating became a problem until the Foley catheter was inserted bringing blessed relief. All the while I slept in the visitor chair in the hospital room night after night, going back to the hotel every few days only to shower while one of our dear friends stayed with Kenny. I made sure that he was never alone, never without an MSIA minister or initiate by his side.

It was time to transfer Kenny from the ICU floor to a regular room in another wing. The internist visited to draw up the release papers. He suggested Kenny might want to think about getting home as soon as we could and arranging for hospice care. Kenny declined and said he would resume his Burzynski therapy. The doctor and the nurse took me aside outside the room and said with urgency that there was only a short window of time that we had to go home before he could not travel on conventional flights. Eventually he would need a special medically equipped charter flight that would be cost-prohibitive. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was hearing and I was seeing with my own eyes, and yet I couldn’t fully grasp that Kenny was slipping away at such a fast rate now. Every day another body function was compromised.

Just a day later, the gastroenterologist blustered  in after we were settled in the new room and he announced, “Do you know about a bucket list? Well it’s time to make yours. Eat anything you want and do whatever you want. OK, Buddy?” Did all our mouths drop open? Did we hear him right? Who trained him in his delicate bedside manner? I was livid with disbelief. Couldn’t say a word, neither could Kenny nor Baba. We just let him disappear out of the room as if he never showed up. Kenny was bent on continuing his Burzynski therapy.

Some time between hospital visits in Houston Kenny said to me, “Carol, I don’t think I’m going to make it.” I knelt down beside his chair, began to sob and said to him, “Oh Kenny, don’t say that, you’re still in treatment and don’t we believe it will work?” His response was something like, “OK yes, we’re still in treatment.” Now it seems apparent to me that what he really meant was, “OK Carol, I know you can’t handle it so I won’t talk about it anymore. But the reality is I’m dying.” And I am reminded that just about a month ago I heard him talking to a friend about a favor he was asking someone to do for him and the phrase, “You wouldn’t refuse a dying man, would you?” flew through the air and stuck in my skull like a speeding bullet. But just like all the other signals that he was declining rapidly now, I stuffed that one somewhere in an airtight compartment in the far reaches of my consciousness. Denial–that my strong, tall, handsome, smart, funny, and beautiful husband was slipping into the “Well of Souls.”

But I did listen to Doc #1 and suggested to Kenny that we continue the Burzynski treatment at home, that we do what we could to get home while he could still get on a plane and off again. He was walking very little now, had to be hoisted out of his chair and tucked into bed at night, but we knew what we had to do. Making arrangements to go home was in itself a relief. The timing of every occurrence in Houston was perfect. We prayed Spirit would meet us at the point of our action and it did, time and time again. We asked and prayed fervently that Spirit would fill in the gaps when we didn’t know what the next step would be, and it did repeatedly.

Taking Comfort in the Moment

If I had been more present with Kenny I would have listened to him talk about how he felt about not making it. I would have opened my mind and heart to hear him and hold him while he talked. I would have remembered when my father died, I did the same thing. He said, “Carol, it won’t be long now.” My answer was, “Oh Daddy, you seem to be getting better, aren’t you?” He shrugged his shoulders and raised his eyebrows in an expression of doubt and passed away three days later. So while memories of Houston flood up during this one year anniversary since we embarked on that never-to-be-forgotten journey, I’m here to suggest you come present with your loved ones and talk about the inevitable–one of you will leave this world before the other and it will be impactful and profound–and oh so worth sharing about from the sincerity and tenderness of the spiritual heart. In another article I’ll talk about Kenny’s plane ride back home, and in another I’ll talk about why I was in denial–such a strange set of responses, but completely understandable. Next time.

Please feel free to respond to this blog either in the comment field or by email directly to me at carol.jones43@yahoo.com. And if you want to receive notice of the next blog entry, click on the appropriate box below. God bless you and may you embrace each experience as an opportunity to love and forgive and learn and come present.

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The Day my Husband Chose Hospice Care

It was March 11, 2010, just two days after arriving back home from our trip to the Burzynski Cancer Clinic in Houston, Texas. Houston is another story. But the significance of March 11 is our appointment with the oncologist, who had told us he’d do whatever he could to carry on the medications prescribed at the clinic. By this time, Kenny wasn’t walking much. He had a Foley catheter and was on a zillion medications for just as many symptoms. I wheeled him into the patient room where we waited for the doctor. He came in with his assistant. Kenny had lost a lot of weight and was very weak. When the oncologist saw the actual line-by-line treatment plan, contradictory to the Burzynski Clinic protocol, he announced to us that in all good conscience, he could not administer these drugs for Kenny’s condition. We asked what the alternative was, and gingerly he took this opportunity to mention Hospice–again. (In July ’09 we didn’t give it a second thought. In December we interviewed the Hospice worker just to see what it was all about and refused to start because it meant no more blood transfusions and we knew we were headed for many more.)

But this time, Kenny jumped at the chance to say “That’s what I want.” I looked at him incredulously, my heart sank like a lead weight into my stomach, choking on a giant knot in my throat, hot tears making their way down my cheeks, I was speechless, heart-broken, and in shock. Fighting back the sobs I really wanted to let out, all I could say was “Really, Kenny, really?” After all these months of focusing every waking moment on Kenny’s care, now we were to focus on his dying. This was so not in my plan, though it began to be evident way back in November, that there might be no turning back, that Kenny’s body was headed for the “Well of Souls” as he coined it. But I had a way of stuffing these day-by-day awarenesses somewhere where I could hide them from myself. If we were deeply involved in treatment plans like the Gerson protocol or the Burzynski Clinic, how could I also embrace that he was dying. I couldn’t.

So while I was reeling with this new era of preparing for him to die, I busied myself with all the Hospice arrangements there were to be made–the hospital bed, the wheelchair, the oxygen machine, the nurse appointments, the calls from the chaplain and the social worker. Kenny on the other hand, was continuing, not his valiant battle against cancer, but his journey into the Soul Realm where every day, as he drew nearer to his final day, his peace and love and joy and gratitude brought him to levels of realizing himself as one with God that knew no boundaries. Every day he expounded another seminar about our precious spiritual teachings. Every day he would tell me what he was grateful for. He said, “I’m a happy man. I have everything I need, plus my loving family and friends and you.” Every day I would say something like, “Kenny, you’re my hero. My one and only love of my life.” He would say back, “Carol you’re the love of my life.”

And for a while, while he still had some strength, the way he would get into bed was to put his arms around my neck while I swung him from sitting on the side of the bed to lying down. And that’s how we’d get him up in the morning. Precious moments these embraces. They would be the last times he would hug me, though I could kiss him, hold his hand, and wash him, brush his hair, dress him, and feed him until the very end. These were all precious moments that remain as symbols of the depth of our love. They remind me of the oneness we both experienced in each other. Both of us headed in the same direction, both of us  responding to his every need every moment of every day. One day we were lying close in bed and he managed to put his hand on my chest. Kenny had big, comforting hands with a healing touch. Even in his last days he was able to transmit that healing energy to me. I cried like a baby, no I cried like a wife who was losing her husband. Any day now he could be gone. Any day now the Well of Souls would claim him for the last time.

Where did I put all those images and signals that I was losing him? Stacked up somewhere in my consciousness, overshadowed by requiring myself to take Kenny’s direction, after all this was his life, his dying, and his Soul’s ascension. A celebration awaited him on the other side. I’ll find the right words another time to describe how my consciousness worked with compartmentalizing the power of that experience when it becomes clearer to me.

I’ve documented other precious moments in these last days of Kenny’s life in previous posts and I’m compelled to share as many as I can remember with you because of how tender and memorable they were. Somehow remembering them is comforting. In some ways like when we first fell in love—coming home after a date floating in the euphoria of going over each moment in my mind’s eye many times. There is new meaning now to the sentiment, “I only have my memories now.” It’s sometimes sad, but it also fills me with the experience of deep and abiding love. How divine that is.

Please feel free to comment either through the comment field below or by email directly to me at carol.jones43@yahoo.com. And pass this blog address to anyone who could benefit from what Kenny and I have and are still learning—he as a Soul after consciously dying to this world and me as his devoted partner, making my way through the grief of losing him into the peace and loving that awaits my awareness. Little by little I experience myself lifting my Spirit and lightening up. God bless us all.

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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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