Terminal Hope; Not Homelessness

On December 31st, I wrote about hopeful expectation for the newest decade. I’d said I felt sizable hope but tempered with the need to tread carefully for a while. That thought was focused on the large-scale issues surrounding us: things like Indigenous treaty, territorial and sovereign rights; climate change; alternative energy fights; the lack of decency in all political governance and so on.

By January 1st, it was clear any trepidation about those big issues was not going to match the colossal wrecking ball coming much closer to home.

Today, I beg you to read my words to the end.

My last previous post was a small tribute to my beautiful, 22 yr. old. nephew who’d become a victim of the opioid crisis on New Year’s Day. Twenty days after that, we got devastating news about my sister.

Tragedies happen every day to families and as a family with solid membership in that pool, there are many days I wonder how we manage to keep going at all. But this takes me back to that sense of hope I’d mentioned. Maybe it’s something not fathomable at all. I don’t know what to make of it, but maybe what emerges from that hope is a greater good. I have no idea what that looks like either, but my heart is saying, hold on and do what you can. Do it with all the love you’ve got and wait. Apparently, that’s all I get to know. I’ll live with that; because we all do. That’s all we’ve got.

The rest of this post is the wording I’ve used for her fundraising campaign. Living in the U.S with little health insurance means this is what we get to do and in the very act itself, it’s clear this is something we have to do. I hope you’ll read this small part of her story, and I hope you will help in sharing it.

Hiy hiy,

RL

She was always fiercely independent and she’s still on her own with her youngest son, 14 yrs. old, but this is a fight no one can do on their own.

She lives in Arizona, where the beauty of its big sky and desert landscapes drew her years ago. She had a great job. She had a great apartment and a great car, but what does that matter when a tumor pushes your brain toward the other side of your skull and you no longer think with a healthy logic?  

She’d inexplicably quit her job, which canceled her health insurance and benefits. She couldn’t remember why, nor when she’d last paid bills or even if. She didn’t know how to feel. As in, how to react to what was happening around her. She still made sure her boy got to school and had food on the table though.  Carrying on was always the order; until he came home from school one day and found her laying on her bedroom floor, dis-ordered. She was unable to stand or speak properly, making only nonsensical short sentences.

Within 48 hours of that shocking discovery, on January 22, my sister received a diagnosis of a glioblastoma tumor, in phase 4. That’s her scan in the opening image; it’s clear where the tumor is. It’s very aggressive, incurable cancer. She couldn’t and still can’t, remember the entire 3 months prior. They removed 99% of the tumor, but it’ll never stop growing. We learned on February 20th that surgery bought her 12-16 more weeks without treatment, of which 4 weeks had already been taken. They said she could have up to 18 months with treatment. She begins those treatments on February 27th.

Terminal cancer patients should have time to prepare with their children for the inevitability. The dying should have peace to make proper, or frankly any, arrangements. They should be able wrap their arms around their family and talk about their love for one another and even, if blessed, have time to close wounds created within the damages of life.

$25,000 is to cover what we can for an estimated period of 6 – 12 months. This is the minimum calculated to supplement the assistance we’ve applied for including insurance premium funding. This is for rent, food, medications and seemingly endless unexpected/unknown incidentals. She will have to move by March 31, 2020 if we don’t have the rent for April 1st. Please help us get that rent, and God-willing for any months she has left after that.

This will give her time; precious, precious minutes, to work out what she can, to make whatever arrangements are necessary, especially for her kids. We just want to give her some peace and a few more months of hugs. We just want to help. We just want to show her our love, before she says goodbye. A lifetime for $25,000.

$5, $10, $20, whatever number, helps. Thank you, for any and every cent that comes her way.  Cancer societies around the world always say every cent counts, and it does. It really, really does.

. With deep gratitude please help if you can, and share either way.

The Final Gift

Visions upon visions,

dreams and dreams,

lost, stolen, taken; gone.

Poets with their poetry of loss,

compete to buff out the latest cracks;

futile puffery, all of it.

Nothing will compare to that gift,

a small click of connection,

the implausibility; the impossibility – that would turn it into the last…

Hope solidified, flat and stark, into knowledge,

that love now lies in the breath of angels,

until we all finally, maybe even wholly, see again.

A few coins laid across the past,

a final gesture of love,

the only one left that could be made in his name.

RL

Sammy

January 17, 1997 – January 1, 2020

Beloved nephew

2020

The whirlwinds of life have been carrying me across a map of wonder and occasionally, just plain confusion. The decade of 10s has left me wide open; it dumped me into a sense of knowing, but bereft of detail. Oh, how I despise the statement, “I know, but I don’t know”, and yet, here I am…

I have high hopes for 2020, and though I don’t know what the shift is going to be, I sense it. A large one and it’s going to be interesting. You feel this too, right? It’ll maybe even be pretty bumpy, but the ends will justify the Universe’s means – and let’s face it, we asked for it.

Perhaps, that’s why I’d like to usher in this new era lightly, maybe even a tad timidly. Nah, I’ve outgrown timidity; long ago. Damned long ago. Still, it feels right to simply step in softly and a little carefully. Boldness will eventually be called for, of that I feel certain, but in a bit.

For now, I revel in the small pleasures, like the smile that crosses my boy’s face when he’s told meatloaf is for dinner. ( I make a good meatloaf. Just sayin’.) Or, when I get to look at photos for the year and they inspire a small dive into humble poetic pleasures. …

Winter’s moon calls for rest
Centering contemplation
Replenishing growth

A heart’s library
Body of knowledge embraced
Contentment attained

Pushing boundaries
A cast and crew of courage
Therapeutic art


And finally, my boy’s choice for my 2020 profile. Of course, he took the photo, so his bias is likely far more basic than the object of his artistry 😉 .

Holiday bounty
Lovely evening awaits
Surprise packages

As always, I remain grateful to those who follow my meandering thoughts & trials and to those who reply with the most gorgeous dollops of kindness and insight. I look forward to continuing to learn and then, with the best of success that my prayers allow, share that education meaningfully. And when it isn’t education, may all our poetic and humorous days flourish! I also look forward to reading as much as I can within my writing communities. The amount of talent to sort through is the loveliest of problems.

To all, I wish a healthily successful 2020 and a courageous, joy-filled new decade.

Cheers,

RL

Friday Funnies; ‘Cause, Just ‘Cause

So, life. Amirite?

I can’t complain too much. Life’s been a whirlwind of some of the coolest experiences of my life and only mildly tempered by my amazing talent to step in it once in a while.

That’s yesterday’s news. Today, it’s about letting go and living for a ha-ha or two. Apologies in advance for any lame jokey joke efforts; the year’s still been a bit long, eh? 🙄

…Take one if you need one, leave one if you don’t?
It’s that cat thing.
Take your time, they said; it’ll be fun, they said…
G’head, g’head – they’ll just think it’s the turkey anyway. Why didn’t anyone give me this recipe decades ago?

Obligatory PSA

How long it take ya?
Yup. M hmmm.
Marketing. Attention, Marketing, clean up in aisle 9
Me-owwwww…
Geez, it’s Christmas, Karen.

So, if you’ve ever wanted to wish me a broken leg, now’s your chance. I got a couple little acting jobs this year – for a continuation in the life file labeled: Things I never thought I’d do. It’s been loads of fun and this latest one is a Christmas play, natch. It’s an original around the idea of decolonizing Christmas, which may sound bigger than it need.

The simple truth of it is, winter solstice celebrations have occurred all over the world for millennia. Most didn’t look like the current idea of what traditional Christmas looks, not even actual Christmas, and that’s a point worth reviewing. I won’t give away the plot here, but I would wonder what some might guess what a decolonized Christmas would look like?

Have a lovely weekend!

RL

Rare is the Warrior

Aye, it was only a matter of time,

as it’s always been;

when promises of stand by me,

inevitably return to the pale,

where comfort is found most,

in familiar bleached power.

She will always wait,

for warriors worthiest of Her heart & light.

RL

Jamie Mitchell, Bear Art, Design – Valkyrie by Jamie Mitchell

Feather In Our Hand

I do what I can to help where I can, but the truth is that often, if not most of the time, I really don’t feel seen or heard. I feel as effective as a tiny chirp at the back of the cacophony that earns maybe a slight eyebrow raise from some bored listener on Facebook.

I resist the urge to screech louder. We’re supposed to be cautious about over-sharing or zealotry… Even so, I know at times I push that envelope – so bewildered that so few seem to understand or see what I see, even though what I end up screeching about is very much about their world too – equity and equality, corrupt industry and leadership, preserving clean waters… This is OUR world, damn it.

Realistically, of course I know I’m not really an island and I’m definitely not alone in my concerns nor alone on the front lines of a march or rally. Still, while people outside of those rallies, on social media et al, may seem not to notice, I think some, at least do. But what can really be said in response? How many times will people say, yes, I agree, before moving on?

So where do I or anyone else who desire to influence or create change for the better go from there? I suppose it’s at this point that some of us quit and maybe go look for whatever peace is available in our daily survival struggles. Or maybe we push even harder, hoping more serious agitation will move greater numbers. Or maybe like me, regardless of how despondent, quitting is impossible, (trust me, Cree blood is hot!). So, we continue to push for some semblance of balance in all options.

Having said all that, once in a while something happens out of the blue, maybe even something really quite sweet or even astonishing. Like an old friend and Juno Award winner writes a song and he says your efforts inspired him and all you can think is… holay!

What a beautiful event, this unexpected gift from a friend’s heart. He told me I could sing and record it; it’s mine to do with as I wish. Maybe I will sing and record it. Maybe I’ll just sing it with him some day – and I’d love that, but for now, I’d really love to share it with all the other dreamers who dare to strive. We can’t possibly know all who actually see or hear us, but someone is there and maybe, no matter how many, they’re all we’re meant to connect with. Maybe that really is enough…

A Feather In Our Hand, by Lawrence S. Martin

Kininiskimotin, my friend.

RL

Monday Mirth; ‘Cause You Can’t Think That Hard On Vacation

Is it me, or are holidays as much work as regular ‘ol days? Before I’m reminded that compared to real life problems, this isn’t one of them, let me state – I know, I know. It’s just a little kvetching – I’ll blame it on the climate changing heat, but the planning, the supplies round-up, the prep, then the actual execution to get to that intended utopia – ugh!

I’d thought I’d laze by the water and let the whirlwinds of the last few months recede from my mind like a raft in meditation on a barely conscious flowing river, unleashing my creativity in rapturous waves and thus I would finally finish a script due approximately three weeks ago. Nope. (Sorry, boss).

So, here I am, once again dumped into the realm of life that throws me into the pursuit of the most simple of pleasures – memes! What I get, is what you get 😀 …

I wonder if this make-up is available online? There’s a couple people I’d like to try it on.
Seems pretty clear to me…
Did it take you as long to clue in as I did?
Jurassic Park; Madagascar version. The fear is real.
Don’t you? Don’t you, Don’t you?!
Bad boy, bad boy, what you gonna do when they come for you? Also, it’s OK to reduce a little of the sunscreen.
Fire up the bar-b; that catch ain’t gonna sear itself
This is a friggin’ steal for Majestic Ass!
I fear this is still me.
That moment when you realize you would have been way better off to just offer a Majestic Ass biscuit.

That’s all she wrote this holiday, folks. Stay hydrated, wear reasonable sunscreen, dance in moonlight, or whatever the hell it takes to enjoy any part of this latest summer…


…And I’ll get back to the script soon, boss. Just as soon as I finish packing up all the necessities for the beach.

RL

Blackbird Fly…

This is a re-run of a little story from a year or so ago. I’d made a bit of a startling discovery that would provide me with an amusing relationship until this Spring. 

At that time, I realized I’d entered a murderous circle, a plethora of new friends, and an opportunity to crow a little about it, if you will…

… The story of how I’d met my latest gang and a renewed sense of awe for their amazing wits began over a series of 8 Wednesdays.  I’d shared a snack with a few crows that hung around my parking lot. All was a few minutes of cool amusement and then I went on my way.  I didn’t see them again until the following week, another Wednesday. So, I again shared my snack.

The third Wednesday I came out to a whole row of them on the power lines above me, waiting. That made me laugh, but alas, I had no snacks. I couldn’t believe they learned in only 2 sessions which day of the week I’d likely have snacks and about the fact that they knew which day of the week it was!

The next Wednesday, they were there again. Not the day before nor after. Of course I came duly prepared. In the weeks that followed, they changed up the timing a little. As the days got warmer, it seemed as though they decided it was better to come by for a cooler morning treat, so they waited for me to arrive instead. Not one to be seen during my departure in the hot afternoon. Now, about that fact they knew what time I’d arrive!

I guess I could say they trained me as efficiently as my dog has. Absolutely nothing bird-brained about these amazing educators. They paid me back for the sustenance devotion with regular rounds of laughs at their antics and their propensity to show off how they easily outwit other birds.

They got quite brave, or comfortable with me as they’d confidently land at my feet. I especially enjoyed their calls to me as they came down. They alternated between this loud repetitive clicking and what sounded like tongue clucking. Maybe they were just swearing at me in Crow, but I’m choosing to believe they were saying, hey, good to see ya.

They continued their visits faithfully until later this Spring. For the most part, they just stopped showing up. Now and then a straggler or two would come, but then even they finally disappeared.

That’s life, isn’t it? Friends come, and then they go, and these fellas were no different. They definitely changed the drift of  ‘hump day’ for a while though.

I miss them.

You need to click on this pic to get the detail in his glorious face. This fella is the ring leader. He seems to be in charge of summoning the troops and declaring when it’s safe enough to pick through my offerings. He also seemed to be in the mood for this photo shoot. He posed this way and that as he watched for me to toss treats and coos of praise for this grand handsomeness.

RL

 

If Hell Holds a Promise…

Healing is not for the faint of heart. It’s a contract built on a vow to harness and clutch only at ironclad strengths.

It’s quiet now; calmed are all those bouncing cells of thought and feeling that ricocheted through my panic borne in another round of ‘growth’.
I have been brought to this hushed place only by the grace of my Relations.
They, who took the suffocating lifetime of pain and lifted it to the skies – where our Ancestors tenderly pulled it into their own hearts.
Toward the centre of the Ancients where such things are cleansed; healed and rendered harmless.
To the place where all things are made sound again and holds a promise that surely
we’d all choose, if we knew.

This painlessness was not instant, oh God, not hardly. I wailed all through their processes.
They let me feel every piercing facet of what we’d endured, and then they mercifully
returned with understanding.
Every sting was an exposed hurt that hadn’t been acknowledged, sometimes for centuries.
Every prickle that scratched through my soul was a reminder to honor it and to turn toward where to offer it.
With every step in every ceremony they led me to, they walked me out of the darkness.
They didn’t need me to believe in them; they already knew I was too lost to know what to believe.

I only needed to follow what was offered, including the smallest fragments of feeling
that said – maybe.
I am a blank slate, as clean as the newborn, my future standing right in front of me, unseen.
I don’t know what to wish for anymore; I don’t know what my dreams are.
I only know I’ve been brought to this place, where every moment is a choice that I can feel only in my heart; a knowing that prompts me to accept it without even a clue as to why.

My canvas is a wide open space and I observe in wonder at what and at who is being placed onto it.
I don’t feel the immediate inserted images are the story, I only know that the reality, which traces to every soul that follows, is so much bigger than my pitiful imaginings.
They’ve taught me the reasons behind the hurt and soothing are far bigger in purpose; every healing moment is for every generation before me and all to follow.
It’s the only teaching I’ve ever been given that I know some day, will permanently alter everything.
It’s quiet now, and I know this is a gift – a treasure granted for maybe only
5 more minutes…

RL