Saturday, January 31, 2009

Indian Corn and Liver

It was an ear of Indian corn! Indian corn? Yes, she stood in silent screams as it passed out of her body covered in blood. A sense of relief came over her and quickly left as she felt her body needing to dis-spell something more. There was no pain only a moving pressure as more blood and slabs of what looked like liver slid out leaving a trail of blood on her legs dripping to join the masses and Indian corn and pooled blood below and between her feet. She looked around in horror and embarrassment at the young men in gray and black army fatigues watching her. She yelled for them to turn away, to leave - they stood firm. She realized she was naked from the waist down. She was forced to remove her clothing to allow her body to rid itself of the Indian corn and liver. She reached down and began bunching up her pants and underwear to hide the blood and droppings her body had produced and voided. She walked slowly between young men all seemingly disinterested in her plight. She, was painfully aware, covering herself with her bloody clothing. She peered out a front window and fixed her gaze on a young man, fatigue shirt unbuttoned and sporting a white T-shirt. His rifle rested with him on the tree he leaned upon just next to his black boot. He was smoking a cigarette and standing guard. Her eyes connected with his for a brief moment and he quickly turned away. She completed her journey through dimly lit hallways in search of a trashcan and covering for her naked and blood stained body. There was an endless spattering of statue like soldiers all staring off in to space while clinging to their rifles. She worked her way through the maze and found a closet and entered, quickly closing the door and pushing herself up against it as some kind of false security. As if she could stop them from coming in.. She put her blood filled clothing filled with pieces of liver and the Indian corn in to a trash bag and ruffled through shelves and boxes. She found old tattered jeans and army boots and a big flannel plaid shirt. She quickly dressed and stood silent in the closet, waiting, wondering what to do next.

A strange sense of awareness came over her, much like restless sleep warding off consciousness. She felt around and began to realize her surroundings; her bed and pillows and the mound of man laying quietly on his side of the bed. She immediately began to cry and speak in a small frightened and relieved voice of a child saying, "I am so glad it's not real, I am so glad it's not real................" as her tears flowed and whimpers filled the room like a hovering helicopter he reached to her, "shhhhhhh, it's okay, you are safe, I am here...." She jumped up and tore off her underwear looking for blood stains on her legs or blobs of liver or that damned Indian corn that slid out of her body, - none of it was true or real. She cried and cried softly as she tucked herself close behind him until sleep came again.

Such a dream. What did it all mean as she recalled the details of blood and Indian corn and liver and soldiers standing guard. In the morning light it was all quite vivid in her mind. It made no sense - or did it? The impact of what she was trying to hold on to, believe was real was too much for her. The ugliness of the harsh reality she needed to deny, void, be rid of felt like a pressure, a moving pressure. She had no idea what the Indian corn meant. Only that it had to be voided, as there is no room for such horrible truth. or room for Indian corn. The liver? Again, no idea. Except that she hated liver and so it had to go, get out, be eliminated. The soldiers? What were they guarding? Her? The truth? No idea. However, their firm indifference suggested they were ready to do whatever was necessary, required, regardless of what she did or didn't do. They represented strength and the soldiers that would help her fight. Fight for or against what? Now that was the $64,000.00 question.


Love, Gail

Monday, January 26, 2009

"The Blue Light and Two Chimes"

Since I am neck deep in the rituals of death and dieing my posts, as of late, reflect that. Today is a somewhat neutral day. The 'wake is tomorrow, the funeral Wednesday. The intense focus is so overwhelming. Today I am breathing.....................away from the heart of it all, although it is all in my heart. Carrying it here is different than being there. At times I am glad for the distance. At times I want to talk with people who know. I learned some new things. First, the chimes. In a Hospice setting, when one of the people dies, the staff rings two chimes, one at each end of the hall.
Also, although I missed it completely as I charged down the hallway that day and entered Kel's room, - the staff places or hangs a blue light on the door of the person who has passed. It is very bright. There is a covering over the one inch bulb and when removed it engages the bright blue light. The blue light let's others on the floor waiting for the blue light on their loved one's door, that the person in that room has passed.

My sister gave me one of the blue lights. At first I rejected it like I was being offered an eerie darkness. These feelings quickly dispersed and I took the 'blue light' with new emerging feelings of it's meaning and purpose. I hung the bright blue light on the "hope-tree' on a branch facing our front picture window. It is shining brightly. In the dark it can be seen a long distance away. It will slowly dim over the next few days and go out on it's own. Meanwhile it signifies that 'someone has passed', someone we love. I came to know that many people who love Kel have their own 'blue light' shining at their homes too.

I hope for me and for you that there will be many people that love us at the end and that 'blue lights' will be shining brightly to silently express that.

Not too soon though, later, ok?

Love Gail

Saturday, January 24, 2009

"Stew Ball"

And so it was. They turned the hospital bed to face the window facing East one Friday morning - January twenty-third. It was barely dawn as she and their two sons gathered that morning around him. And as days begin - the sun did rise upon them. This day was special - it was his last sunrise. His favorite music played in the back ground, Peter, Paul and Mary. And so the sun rose, and the music played on...............He died later that day - his most favorite Peter, Paul and Mary song was playing . - "Stew Ball." His breaths were shallow and few and as love surrounded him, music filled the room, his final breath was strong and determined and as his body surrendered the music still played, the sun remained risen....................his wife of over forty years quietly said "I love you - rest now." Most of what was said was in whispers..............
I laid my head on his chest and for a while I covered him with cascading hair and tears - I whispered - "I love you Kel." The music played on...............'Blowin In The Wind, '500 miles', 'Stew Ball', 'Lemon Tree', a Jewish final prayer was sung to him. His body stayed warm - giving back what felt like love and essence to those surrounding him. The love in the room was bigger than death.

Rest now Kel, rest...............................

Love Gail,

Friday, January 16, 2009

All We Need Is Love

I am safe here, protected, if you will. I have no fear of ground war attacks or missiles being fired or raids of any kind. I live in peace. I make no apologies for this - it is the life into which I was born. And we live quite simply - try not to take more than we need and we give back often until it hurts. We share.

When I read other blogs about war I agonize over the horror. Yet, on a day to day basis, I am not effected directly. I always say, that what happens to one of us directly happens to all of us indirectly. That sounds like bullshit actually in retrospect. As I look out my back slider at the snow, into the woods that surround us with not even a foot print, I am quieted by the solitude. The cardinals are nestled in the forsythia bramble and the finches, now a grayish brown still feed at the feeder just outside the dining room window. Our dwindling wood pile stacked between two trees awaits it's final destination to our wood stove. The smell of fresh brewed coffee fills my senses and the box of pancake mix on the jade green counter will soon be mixed and cooked on the griddle, with a touch of cinnamon. The news is on in the background telling of the miracle of every life saved after the plane went down in the frigid waters of the Hudson River. I watched in earnest as it all unfolded. I cheered for the pilot and the rescuers and every person and one infant that survived.

Still, just over there, there is war. People are suffering every day; there is killing, homelessness, fear beyond belief, hunger, disease, fire, destruction, agony and loss, hopelessness and horror. The list is endless. I can't even imagine this and thus my writing is quite insignificant in the grander scheme of things. But what can I do? I have to believe that my life, as I live it also matters in the grander scheme. I can't stop the war but I WILL stand firm in my belief that violence IS always wrong and behave accordingly; I can't house all the homeless but I WILL offer refuge to someone in need; I can't quell every one's fears but I WILL sit with someone and hold their hand and listen as they face a challenge that is frightening; I can't solve world hunger but I Will bring groceries to someone who has fallen upon hard times; I can't cure the sick but I WILL bring a friend to their doctor or to pickup their medications if they need help; I can't prevent the agony of loss and destruction but I WILL offer support and understanding to someone who is suffering. In my little corner of the world I do what I can.

Is that enough? On a grand scale, absolutely not. I was humbled when I read Naj's post about her vigil of silence until the guns stop firing. Is any of it enough? No it is not. But individually we do make a difference when we promote peace and justice through random and frequent acts of kindness. We do make a difference when as individuals we 'take a stand of silence or a loud voice against inhumanity. We do make a difference when we reach out to one another in kind. I have hesitated to mention love. It is such a subjective word that sadly infuriates people at times. I believe in love and it's power to transform. I believe it is worth every heartache and every inspired moment. Without love there is no point in even being alive. People fight for and against it in a multitude of ways. So what is love? I know it thrives on curiosity for knowledge so intimacy can develop, it needs sensitivity and strength to endure challenge, it feeds on understanding, frolic, sacrifice, listening, respect, gentleness, forgiveness, it is both freeing and bonding, it is playful and innocent, serious and mature, it is life-giving and fulfilling, it is NEVER violent, it is visible, tangible, and can reduce the strongest of the strong to mush. Amazing huh? So is love the answer? You decide. I already have.

Love Gail

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Julie Andrews and Gapetto

Change is difficult. No news flash there, huh? I am no longer feeling confident with my neurologist. Well, actually she is an APRN. My neurologist left the practice in September. I had the utmost confidence in him. The APRN, not so much. She is a 'Sally-social-worked-type', thin, short cropped hair, always neatly groomed, glasses, she wears navy blue monogrammed sweaters and gray slacks and always a white shirt perfectly showing around the neck and sleeves. She wears black pumps, no make-up or jewelery, and because she is so tiny her clothes never have even a wrinkle or crease. WTF? I, being of the more robust body type, always seem to have a wrinkle or bulge or pull some where on my clothes. Whatever. My long wavy hair is always wild by the time I arrive in her office, having treked across a windy, open parking garage. Comparatively, I look like I have been on the back of a motorcyclel following a wild-ride with Charles Bronson, and she appears like Julie Andrews in the Sound Of music. So right from the "get-go" we are quite the opposite. And she looks at me weird.

The bigger issue is that she is married to the head neurologist. He is a tiny man, most likely has a Napoleon complex and never smiles. He looks like Gapetto. He is pushing her to push me to change medications. My neurologist never did that. He said the three offered are all the same. I am wondering if they have a 'connection' to this one particular pharmaceutical company. Also, every time I have an appointment she does practically a complete physical. WTF? I half expect her to haul out a mammogram machine and toss up some stirrups for a PAP smear. It is just all quite over invasive. She also doesn't listen well, or remember well. I have to re-explain my symptoms again and again. She did agree and encourage a reduced work schedule, adjustment. It was a very difficult acceptance for me. She didn't get that at all. I was quite unsettled hearing my limits said back to me. It is one thing to say whatever about yourself and quite another to have someone mirror it all back to you. She didn't get it at all. She was also focused on my having another MRI. My neurologist saw no need to repeat a test that is diagnostic. I am already diagnosed. Any findings wont change the course of treatment so why should I be put through a contrast MRI of my brain, again? She said that her husband, 'Napoleon complex Gapetto, insisted that I have another MRI and that it was not up to me!!! WTF? Apparently, they chat about cases while relaxing at home eating their bean sprouts, sipping Evian water while listening to Bach. I am quite sure there is no wild sex. I can just tell.

Throw in her insisting that I am depressed - that was the final straw. She said, "I think you are depressed." I asked, "why is that?" She rambled on a bit about my fatigue, which by the way is one of the major symptoms to manage for M S. Anyway, I know enough about depression to know that I am not depressed, so I said, "look, my appetite is the same, I sleep well and I love to have wild sex!!". She chuckled a nervous embarrassed type of chuckle and backed down. WTF?

I knew when I left that I was done with Julie Andrews and Gapetto! The search for a new neurologist will commence soon. Change is difficult and yet exciting, even hopeful.

The brain is a complete mystery.


Monday, January 5, 2009

My Best Boy

I've not written much about my son. I am going to take PE Nolan's lead and use some letters rather than his name. "MBB", stands for 'my best boy'. (and my only one)

MBB is amazing, no, really, he is. He was 9 pounds - nine ounces when he was born. OUCH!! He was also a twin - and his twin never formed correctly and never lived. His father, my "X" was a twin, as well. Interestingly, his twin was killed at age 32 while changing a tire on the highway, out in Seattle. We represented the family and traveled to the West Coast to take part in the strewing of his ashes over Bridal Veil Mountain on the day he an his fiance' were to be married - June 12th. Yes, they were going to be married on the mountain, apparently hanging off a cliff. Anyway, we created MBB on that trip and I find it ironic that one twin didn't live.

MBB was a beautiful baby full of life and curiosity. He said his first words at six months old, I swear it, he did and by one years old he was speaking in full sentences He could read fluently by age three. Shortly thereafter his father left MBB hasn't seen him in 20 years. I realize that I needed to be with his father so we could create MBB. Everything has a price and MBB is worth the price - ten, no, a million fold! Despite the horrible circumstances that ended the marriage I always told MBB that when we created him we loved each other, and for a time we loved him together. That was the truth. The rest didn't matter.

MBB loved school, learning, reading, art and creating. His mind was and is fascinating, precise, deep, confident and intense. He was reading at a college level by the time he was in fifth grade. I recall needing to get 'permission' for him to read certain books off the 'approved' list. Once they were assigned a project - to create their own ad for a product. MBB decided to create a cereal ad, which he titled "Eat Me". In all their ridiculous wisdom the school was 'concerned'. It was quite an odd phone call from the school counselor. She first asked if I knew about his 'ad'. Of course I did. you idiot. She suggested that perhaps he had a 'different reference for the words "eat me" and this was cause for concern. "What?" MBB had NO idea of any other reference for "Eat Me' other than his intent to tell the consumers that this was the cereal to eat. Idiots!! And they would NOT display his cereal box on the shelf in the lobby with all the others. Can you freaking imagine?

By the time he got to middle school he was a quiet trend setter. He had his own style of personal creative expression - all of which I supported, encouraged and celebrated. Personal creative expression hurts no one. MBB was an A+ student so right or wrong, he could get away with more than, shall we say, the kids who were in trouble often and/or low achievers. MBB went through his gothic phase. I didn't like it but whatever. The principal called me one day and asked, "Do you know that MBB is wearing black lipstick and black nail polish?" (again, how could I not know), I answered, yes, of course, I bought it for him at CVS." Long pause - silence - I waited - "Oh, I see, well, he can't wear nail polish and lipstick in school." I ask, "Why is that?" He replies, "because he is a boy."!! After I gave him an opportunity to re-think his reasoning he came up with it being a distraction and could he just wear it on Friday's!!! We agreed and so did MBB. Thank God the phase only lasted a year or so. During the personal creative expression exploration years he was asked to represent the Middle school at a state level to assist educators in developing ways to better 'reach' kids his age. I am sure you can only imagine their initial reaction when they first saw him - layers of chains on his neck, black eye-liner, black lipstick and nail polish, a full head of long curly hair and dread-locks , black army boots, sometimes a red plaid kilt over black cargo pants - getting the picture? Once they heard him speak most were forced to look beyond the 'look' and listen to him. In his own subtle way he helped every stuffed shirt to look beyond their prejudices, stereotypes and labels. He was 12. I was and I am his biggest cheer-leader. If you were to talk to him today he would tell you just how important my cheering was/is. Everyone needs a cheer-leader.

He completed high school in three years instead of four. He was driven to succeed and his grades and academic career were at the highest levels. I must say this, often times people say to me, "you must be so proud", my answer is, "I am proud that he is proud." I never impose my values on to my kids about what is prideful or not for them. I have responded to those who say such things, "if he were a bagger at the grocery store would you be asking me how proud I am?" Pride is very individual and unique.

MBB graduated NYU - English Scholars program - cum laude. He studied in Prague for a year and traveled extensively. He has a teaching degree and teaches at an International High School, English as a second language to a diverse student population. He has brought forth many changes to their teaching cirriculum and approach. His soft spoken style lends itself to people really listening.

MBB is a gentle and very kind young man. I have never heard him say a mean word to or about anyone. He is a loyal friend. His interactions with children and the elderly are beautiful and he understands human frailty. He is a deep thinker and I am thrilled that he still looks to me and my wisdom to sort through an issue. He has loved hard and had his heart broken and still believes in love. He is tied to his family and all our traditions. He tells his friends that being around "us" and how we love gives him hope that people can stay happily together, no matter what. He digs his heels in around faith and God and spirituality. He doesn't believe in God or Jesus as a saviour. He challenges me all the time about my God/Jesus armor. Once I shared with him that as his Mom I thought i had failed him by not insisting he be part of a faith community. He assured me that quite the opposite was true, and that he is very thankful that I didn't push him. We have had many, many strong conversations about God. He always makes perfect sense. For me? Faith and God are not about making sense - which boggles his mind. And that's okay with both of us.

MBB is solid. A pillar of all that is good and 'just' in this world. He has an amazing sense of humor too. He often wishes I would have saved his dead twin, claiming he would have carried it around in a jar with him. I have no doubt that he would.

I love you MBB.


"Tied To The Whipping Post" - 'original form'

The feelings of distortion and unrest take over, the mind goes on overload attempting to combat the verbal force. In some ways it is like the song, "Tied To The Whipping Post", yes, tied indeed. The crack of the verbal whip is harsh and it stings and renders a person breathless, weak, and brings them to their knees. It comes on quickly and once tied the ability to gnaw through the leather straps is fruitless as each word tightens the straps, and intensifies the power of the one cracking the whip. There is an element of hope that the one cracking down will stop, somehow come to their senses or better yet, yield to a higher order. It can be delivered by someone who is even tender and cunning at times and so being tied is temporary, right? They are only words, right? How much can a person take for the sake of hope for different and better and equal exchange. How much can someone excuse in the name of humored opinions, determined insult and righteous barraging. Or is that not even true. Is it all in jest, intended to bring lightness to human frailty, or laughter to human error, or perhaps a back handed kindness intended to be playful with only frolic at the source - hard to discern. When a person is holding the whip and tightening the straps and the target cannot break free they are at the other's mercy. The attempts to redirect are met with greater resistance, greater force, more detailed verbal whip-cracking. Eventually, the person stops trying to be heard, understood or to even break free, believing that in the "giving up" the other will have no need to continue cracking their whip. Some of their words are unimaginable, others tolerable, some suggest understanding, but mostly it is all quite unimaginable. The intelligence, combined with facts, spattered with humor and determination, delivered with no room for question or validity of the other person is almost impossible to circumvent, once engaged. So be the song as an image, "Tied To The Whipping Post."

Gail - untied


Sunday, January 4, 2009

I Was Lost And Now I Am Found

Somehow, as of late, I lost myself on this blogging venture. My blog is about truth. It is about owning my truth and loving myself regardless of the details. It has been no easy journey to self, to the truth and I am integrated with it all. My writings also give honor to my life as it is today. I am blessed to be very content in my marriage. Our love is kind, adoring, purposeful, powerful, peaceful and free. We share these gifts of "us" and our humble home with others as it is impossible to contain, nor would we want to. It is bigger than "us."

Early on, when my blog first opened I was challenged to share about my "It's", and I did. My life's experiences run a full spectrum, from childhood sexual abuse to abuse by clergy, memory work, loss, agony over my kids, fears, hope, and also my struggle with having been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis almost five years ago. Although, as I look back over episodes of physical weakness in my life I know I had M S long before then. Which, as unpredictable as this disease is I fight every day to maintain my balance, (sometimes literally), and be the best I can be while having a reality base about my limits. No easy task, for sure.

I have, by suggestion a while back, been advised to write in metaphors. One in particular got great reviews, "Monster". "Between Storms" is also metaphorical about struggles over which battle to fight. I have written of my understanding of all human behavior, at length in one particular post titled, ummmmmmm, "Choice Theory?" I can't recall. I'll go look for it in a bit, maybe not. I have posted about my Mom and her ability to see my Dad for years after he died. I wrote my experience of "The Great Debate" which changed me forever. Everything I write is the truth. "Why I hate Elmer Fricke"" and " "James-Daniel-Jill", "The Kid In Me', "Nests" -
And yet somehow I feel a bit lost on my own blog. I decided to find myself again by writing this. I have nothing to offer except me. How I write on any given day is where I am at that time and it is my best attempt at my process. Sometimes the only way I can process is to take the issue outside myself and experience it through someone else's situation, especially if their situation has a familiar 'ring' to me.

I also know that I can only write in ways that work for me and no one else. I started to think otherwise for a short period and in that short period I got lost. Very short! I have real, honest and true things to say and write about, - my life has given me that. I am grateful for every experience which has enriched the fabric of my design. Each square in my tapestry is bound with various colored thread, some bright, some dark, other's light and some tattered. All together it is 'me'.

So here I am, 'me' - Gail. Back to the beginning where I first posted what it means to "Know Your "It'S"......and when I wrote of the journey of 'Acceptance to Surrender". To all my readers I give you only what I am, nothing more, nothing less. My style on any given day to do that may change, ebb and flow, so-be-it, it is my blog, my way, my truth, my hopes and fears, my way of revealing and/or exploring myself and my life as I have lived it. I am not defending anything, rather I am reclaiming my place with all it's imperfections, it is perfect.

peace and truth