Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

This Day

Hey, y'all.

This is Kathleen's friend Mary Moon. I'm typing this on her computer and I suppose you know what that means. Our darling girl died this morning in her own bed with her own beloved man beside her, just as the sun was coming up on the most beautiful day you can imagine here in North Florida. Chilly, clear, gorgeous.
Her husband called me right at eight and I got here as quickly as I could. She was ethereally beautiful in death, just as she was in life. She looked incredibly peaceful and she died peacefully, in her sleep, just as she had hoped to do, in her own bed with her beloved beside her.

She was going to go to Hospice House today, a facility in Tallahassee to finish her journey, but I think she really wanted to die right here in this wonderful house, this comfortable and comforting nest which she and Bug built together with dreams, love, and damn hard work.
It is a HOME, filled with light and art and the dogs and cats. I am so glad she got to take her last breaths here.

I feel like I should say more, I feel like I don't have the words.

Just go back and read her own words that she wrote here.

May we all hold each other in mourning and in celebration. Kathleen's essence is now free and part of this universe. Of course you can't hold and kiss and dance and laugh with essence the way you can with a living person but if anyone could figure that out, it would be Kathleen.
She never wanted to call what she did "battling." She was not about war. She was about love. And I think she loved her life enough to keep on living which is probably why she stayed so long after her diagnosis. Did so much. Loved so much. Lived so much.

She was peace, she was love, she was dancing on the Solstice.
I'm pretty sure she still is.

And she would want me to say that she loved her life, that she was happy, that she was incredibly lucky.

And we are the lucky ones who knew her-  that brilliant, amazing, wickedly funny, busy, wonderful, beautiful, beautiful woman.

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Some are Silver and others are Gold

Remember the song we sang in Sunday School?  Make new friends, but keep the is silver and the other is gold....

I looked up to see who was given credit for the song, and apparently no one was given credit.  I always believed in the make new friends and keep the old.  I think that all of my friends throughout my life have also had that same phlosphy in that I have friends from the first months I was born to friends I have made quite recently.  Friends, my favorite way to feel wealthy in your life.  To feel happy and amazing about myself because of the wonderful friends I have in my life.

And even if I do not see my friends, my precious loved ones as often as I would like, they are still my friends.  They are still as amazing as ever, and after a few words to catch up, I feel like I am right there with them like we see each other everyday.

One of these friends is married to a guy, a friend, I graduated from high school.  We were able to catch up at the High School reunion and now on FaceBook.  I just loved this text she sent me the other day and I wanted to share it.  So here it is with approval from Susan (aka Bird) ...........

·         Our paths only crossed briefly, jumping over that dam vaulting box in high school PE, living in the same small town, class reunions...brief in terms of time. I have always been drawn to the light that shines out from you and know that you touch many lives with your humor and joy. Since I can't do as our southern mothers and send a casserole or a homemade cake I'm sending words. You write so beautifully and your post was so moving and honest. This writing is my personal note to my son, nieces and nephews. Sending my love, thoughts and prayers with the words.

People die. Some, for no reason apparent, go out in the boat one evening wrap the anchor line around their waist and slip quietly over the side. Others fight the good fight, armed with chemicals, knives and magic ray guns. Some ride their motorcycles right up to the pearly gates. Everyone dies. Rest assured, the last physical contact your body will have on this planet will be with the undertaker. Life - death. It's everywhere. Adds in the paper today listed under the banner MERCHANDISE: "Crypt. Rare. Desirable location. Asking $7500 or OBO. " Yup, that was the actual add. The next one read. " One rare eye-level crypt." That one was only $5000 so I assume the location was not quite as desirable, even given the fact that you didn't have to bend over or stand on tip-toe to visit with Aunt Betty. So what follows death in the Thursday newspaper? Four tickets to a Queen Latifa concert and two tickets for the Red Sox/Pirates game next Wednesday. That is if you're still alive. Or if your prime location crypt is on eye-level with the stadium. It's all fun and games 'till the ump calls you out. Everyone dies. Some do it a little at a time. Some all at once. Let the air out of the balloon slowly or all at once with the pop of a pin. Either way you have an empty balloon. Like Eyore, Piglet and Pooh you can put it in a clay jar and save it. Place it in a crypt. Either way the balloon is empty. That which made it a "balloon" is gone. All you have left is the shell of a balloon. The memory of a balloon. The memory of Aunt Betty. Everyone dies. Fast or slow. Early or late. We all end up letting the air out of our balloons. We drift away. Blow away. Pop away. We leave. We die. The shell of the balloon is not the balloon. It is not us. The body in the crypt is not us. We all die. But we don't stop being us. The air in the balloon is still air. It is still there. Can't see air. Never could. Never will. The air surrounds us. We breath in and out the air that may once have been in a toy balloon. The miracle escapes us. Souls surround us. They are not gone. Any more than the air is gone when a balloon pops. The air is set free. So too the souls. Everyone dies. Everyone is transformed. Set free. Beautiful. So when I die. (Yes Dear One, I will die. See sentence one.) So when I die please have lots of balloons. Pass them out. Blow them up. Pull the funny rolled necks apart in your hands and make rude farting sounds that make everyone socially uncomfortable at a funeral, that is, until someone laughs. Blow them up and let the air out. Let them fly around the room. That is my sermon. Everyone dies. I died. Someone let the air out of my balloon. I'm free. Don't focus on the left over carcass of a deflated balloon. Open up a window. Blow up a balloon. Life/death. It's just a breath away.

Susan Hunt

See, what a sweet funny writer she is?  And she is as sweet and funny and wonderful a person in real life as she is a writer.  And she and her honey are as in love today as when they married 30 something years ago.  Just love them to death.
I have started taking the neuropathy drugs again to try and get my left leg to work.  It has helped considerably with my leg, but the jumping in my hands and arms are back, so trying to hand write anything, or to hold a book to read or work on the computer are extremely difficult.  I have chosen to cut back on the meds myself, but I do not notice much improvement yet.  This is also the drug that makes me feel sick, but again, still not feeling any better. 
You know I don't know if I feel sick because of a flu, the drugs, or is this how you feel when you have cancer?  I have never died from cancer before, so maybe this is how you are supposed to feel.  But I just keep trying to do my best.  I am sleeping a bit better in that I have gotten used to sleeping by myself upstairs in the guest room.  Bug sleeps better at night not having to listen to me getting sick, and I sleep better while he cries out in pain in his sleep.  Oh yeah, this is quite a "happy" place, not.  But at least we are still laughing at each other, or with each other.  Well, we are still laughing.
I had the most wonderful treat yesterday.  Ms Moon came by to read to me.  She had asked a couple of days earlier and I knew immediately what I wanted to hear.  Reading is hard lately.  Writing is hard, I don't know if my brain is not working or what, but letters and words and my eyes and mind do not seem to all be working in the right sequence.  I don't know how to describe it.  I have headaches and my eyes, brain, hands, mind seem to be misfiring.  Is this a flu?  Is this cancer invading my brain?  Is this simply being tired?  I have no idea, and honestly what difference does it matter?
When I was a child I loved when the teachers or librarians or travelling performers would do flannel boards, or puppets or play the auto harp or read to us.  When I was still fairly young, Lauri Jo's Mother read us all the classics, Winnie the Pooh, Little Bear, The Cowboy, Mary Poppins, Pollyanna, The Five little Peppers and on and on.  That was my favorite time of day.  I would sit so very quiet and just take it all in.  Ms Moon read an essay by Loren Eiseley, The Flow of the River.  It is my favorite essasy from The Immense Journey a collection of some of his essays.  My friend Sarah introduced me to Loren Eiseley.
We talked for a little while and she did not stay long because I grew tired so quickly, but it was as wonderful as I had imagined over the past few days.  I tried to tell her about another one of my favorite writers.  He is a physicist by the name of Richard Feynman.  I could not remember his name to save me yesterday.  His essays on physics are extraordinary.  His life is overflowing, but that is mostly because he lived it to the fullest.  When he was growing up he and his Dad were stamp collectors.  His Dad had received a stamp from Tuva and it became a sort of crusade to find the country this stamp had come from.  To learn more about Richard Feynman  click on that link.  He was also a beat nick and co wrote the music for a ballet only using bongo drums.  We also talked about chickens and her children and grandchildren, and here I include all her children and grandchildren including to name a few, Billy, Shayla and Waylon.  It was a lovely visit and again reminded me how very very lucky/gifted/blessed I am for all the amazing people in my life.
I was first introduced to Feynman by a PBS show.
My honey does so much for me.  I walk across the room and I am winded.  Will I get better?  I have know idea.  Am I heading downhill?  I don't know.  I sit and crochet, read as I can, talk with friends when I can.  I wake each morning sick to my stomach, out of breath and generally feeling crummy.  But by the time I have gotten some food and meds in my tummy I am ready to live my day.  Forgive myself a little more for the crimes blaring in my mind, celebrate those friends that pop into my mind, sit and try not to be too much for my honey.  I try and crochet so I feel like I accomplish something.  This is not what I would really call what I do living, but it is what I am able to do, so it is as much life as I have to give.  I try and take a nap during the day so that I can spend some time in the evening with my honey before I go back to bed.  As I lay down in my little nest I try and count my blessings.  For a life that fills so little lived, I still have so many blessings/gifts/joy.
I had written a please let me rest, but it came out more as a good by, I am dying.  That was not my intention, but I notice I am not quite in tuned with how everyday people thinking.  I will include it here at some point, or parts of it.  Maybe when I need a good by, but not yet.
This is my life now. 
No complaints, just never what I thought it would be.
But I am still here, and when my time is done, I shall smile and leave with a "no regrets" and with nothing by thank you for a happy life.

Friday, December 5, 2014

We are a team

The Monday before Thanksgiving, my fairy god children came for a visit.

Jim, Pig, Me, Bob and Annie
Aren't they beautiful?  I have loved these two people since they were born.  But when Jim was nine years old they moved to CT, and it has only been the last several years that I have been able to have them back in my arms to hug.  Jim says he really doesn't remember a lot of me, but he remembered he loved me.  Well, if that is the only thing someone remembers you, that is a pretty amazing thing to remember.

They got here late Saturday afternoon and were back on their way to Atlanta the next morning.  Before they left they were able to take a swamp walk with their fairy uncle Bug and I am not sure who had the most fun.  Seriously, these are great people.  Now I would have been grateful for fifteen minutes of a visit, and I received so much more.

The next day my older brother, his wife, JongAe and their daughter Jessica got here after I had laid down to sleep.  I woke to the exuberance of my 11 year old niece.  She is happy, joyful, energetic, sweet and loving.  They brought the first ideas for the coloring book.  The drawings were better than I could have imagined.  I am hoping that she can have the final drawings done by Christmas.  I would really like to see her accomplish this goal for both of us.

Our Hospice dinner which had arrived Tuesday was delicious.  We pulled the turkey and all the other goodies out Thursday morning and followed the instructions and the rest of the day was spent eating and watching The Macy's Parade and then football.  I tired easily and laid down as the family started watching my copy of Mr. Peabody (thank you Marty and Shelia).  Rob and JongAe took one of Bug's swamp tours and with all the rain, it was swampy, swampy.  Friday the family went to visit friends in GA, and Bug and I watched football and I napped.  I love having my family around.  My big brother and I continue to be closer each year.  Yet, as they were saying they would try and make it up next month I realized what I needed to do.  I go and go then I drop and my honey pulls me back together.  Then I rest and repeat cycle.  I love my brother, and all the dear and precious friends I have made over this life time, I realized how selfish I was being.  Sure, just go and do whatever I want and let someone else put me back together. 

Let's be honest, I have not recovered since the house warming party the end of October.  My body is wearing out fast.  My breathing is labored more often and a little slower.  I am not the person I was one month ago.

I have had the best Thanksgiving ever, but no dessert.  That was provided, on Saturday, before the UF/FSU.  My best friend since second grade, Jennifer and her precious husband, that she met when we were at UF came for a very short visit.  So very grateful to this man, who had just spent Thanksgiving with his family, and was willing to make this detour off to our place.  Rodney's Mother is fighting liver cancel.  She looks like she may have a very good chance here, and fighting is the word her family uses.  I do not choose to fight, not because the type of cancer I was diagnosed with is not curable, but because it is not me to fight.  Jennifer has my same quirky sense of humor and I love her for that sense of humor.  Most of my humor comes from my Dad.  The apple did not fall far from the tree with Jen also.  She lost her Dad suddenly what seems like forever ago.  She and her Dad were so very close.  She is also close with her Mom and still gets to enjoy time with her today.  Jennifer asked me to give her Dad a hug and she will look forward to seeing us both in heaven.  It took me a minute on how to answer, but then I did promise here that I would certainly give her Dad a big hug and she would be able to find us as we laughed.  Her Dad used to always say, "It is hard to be humble when you are as pretty as I am."  Then he would give you that smile of his.  That pixie smile with sparkling eyes and not what is expected on a banker.

Jennifer cried openly with Rodney supporting her as they left.  They were here such a short time.  Jennifer and I spent so much time as childhood friends who grow into a life long friendship.  But the same as with my fairy god children, I shed no tears.  Is this the last time I may ever see these beloved people in my life?  Probably, but instead of tearing eyes that blur the lines of loss, I smile because I can only remember joy, love and happiness with these people.  This is not the last time I will be thankful for memories and moments that will become memories of so very many people.

Tuesday Hospice came by and wouldn't you know it, I still have a fever over 101.  Okay, that might explain why I have not had any appetite for the last week or so.  Also I can barely keep my eyes open.  I did have a pretty busy month or two.  The difference is that now, I am willing to stay in bed and to keep resting.  Yep, you heard it right.  I am happy to sit back and take it easily.

One of my friends asked what I was doing these days.  I told her that I was reading and crocheting and napping.  She sounded surprise and asked if I was okay with that.  I amazed myself, but yes, truthfully, I am okay.  Will I get my energy back?  I don't know, and I am even okay with that.  I thought I would not change, that I could not change.  Instead I have no idea what will happen, or if anything will happen.  I just know that I am happy with my life.  I am happy with what I have accomplished and who I have become.  I am not perfect.  I have hurt so many people with my selfishness and ignorance of other people's feeling.  But I understand that I am trying to be the best I can, and this is what that life has gifted me.  I am so very grateful.

The weather has been warm for this past week, but I have not been able to go outside and even just sit and enjoy the temperature because my left leg has been so difficult.  It is a little better and now the temperatures are getting to head south again.  Meanwhile my honey has been diagnosed with shingles.  Oh dear.  This is seriously bad.  He is in as much pain as a person can handle with out blowing up.  We are both just us a mess.  But in a funny way, as we each deal with raw nerves, viruses and then each of us have our own very special something, it is helping us to see the strength in the other, and I just love him more for this. 

We are not able to take care of each other like we really need to, but today Jack and Jan picked up my meds and each person I have talked to is begging us to let them help us.  I say, "baby steps"  I am working on it.  I love my friends and their help, but it just might take a little more time for me to be comfortable asking for help.  I am getting better at it.  Really.

And so even our team may have take a big hit, we are still holding tight to each other and ever so grateful for everything, even these diseases that are teaching us both to let go,  Just a little, but let go.  

I am upstairs now.  I can not move back and forth, and it seems right now that I can be less work from up here. 
Thank you all for your sweet words and blessings.
I hope your birthday was wonderful Debbie C.
I am sure that by next week, I might even be ready to take my crocheting outside to the patio.  Maybe.  If not, I am sure that I will be happy wherever I am.