Our union 

Yesterday, I asked a friend who has experienced the grief that accompanies the loss of a spouse if she had any pearls of wisdom to share, and she shared this beautiful poem with me. How fortunate I am to have experienced this type of union during my time on earth!

Our union is like this: You feel cold, so I reach for a blanket to cover our shivering feet. / A hunger comes into your body, so I run to my garden and start digging potatoes. / You asked for a few words of comfort and guidance, and I quickly kneel by your side offering you a whole book as a gift. / You ache with loneliness one night so much you weep, and I say here is a rope, tie it around me, I will be your companion for life. -Hafiz

Grief: the price you pay for love 

My mother-in-law, Pam, texted me yesterday to ask if Mike and I are doing okay. She acknowledged how difficult that question must be to answer right now. My response to her is below and provides context for the touching quote she shared with me in return. 

We are doing okay. Or at least I can say I’m doing okay. Don’t want to speak for Mike. Last week I was pretty emotional but it was good to see my brother over the weekend and I had a good day today. I’m making progress on my project, which feels great. Of course I think it’s healthy to grieve and mourn too. We’re both losing so much. We are just trying to strike the right balance between honoring those emotions and enjoying each other and the time we do have together. 

Grief is not a disorder, a disease, or a sign of weakness.

It is an emotional necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve. 

– Dr. Earl A. Grollman

the timing of the shrew

Aside

time is a cruel mistress. 

wrathfully, she steals the sands of my days and stockpiles them in dunes of night. useless, empty, tedious night when the world is asleep to my vigil, asleep as i watch her open her fingers, 

cackle, 

and let the grains trickle through.

time, you mocking shrew, you dominatrix,

give me back my sand. 

let me spend it how i want to

let this nightly vigil end. 

friends are like walls

Quote

i’m pleased to report the successful completion of 10 rounds of chemotherapy.  this was the first round in a very long time i tackled without the assistance of the parentals.  i’ll admit that i was a little nervous going into it.  those long hours of feeling too drugged up to drive anywhere or do anything meaningful/productive can wear on you if you’re alone.  but i felt confident that i had enough friends scheduled to help out, bring me food and keep me company.  there were moments of missing my mom.  there were moments (as there always are during chemo, no matter who’s around) of feeling lonely and scared and sad.  and, of course, i felt the physical effects of the drug cocktail:  jittery, nauseous, exhausted, nauseous, wired, nauseous.  but overall, i felt calm and cared for and comfortable.

and i felt — and continue to feel — unbelievably fortunate and grateful to have the best friends a girl could ever hope for.  what the sign below says is true.  whether i’m physically by myself or in the company of another person, my friends have given me the amazing gift of knowing that you’re there. 

thank you for the texts, the emails, the facebook messages, the hugs, the late-night phone conversations.  thank you for letting me lean on you so very often.  but more than anything, thank you for just being there.  i love you all!

walking the walk

Image

there are three reasons i’m eating this pinkberry while waiting for my lunch to arrive: a) trying to make myself feel better after finding out the cyst on my left ovary is twice as big as it was two months ago and might need to be surgically removed (like I really need one more thing to think about apart from all this cancer stuff); b) following my own advice about eating dessert first. life is uncertain, right?; and c) i LOVE pinkberry!

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a “fortune”ate piece of advice

Quote

i’ve been a little disgruntled over the past few years as chinese takeout fortunes have morphed from silly-and-fun predictions like “you will enjoy 50 years’ good luck” to vague and confusing sayings like a recent one i got: “you will be in the best position.”  wtf does that even mean?

yesterday’s lunch yielded a good one though.  (see above.)  i think it’s actually more of a “fortune” than most other ones i’ve seen to date because, if i’m able follow its sage counsel, it could actually turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy!  the more myself i’ve allowed myself to be lately, the more wonderful i’ve felt.  now, all i need is a little more practice to drive the message home.

this fortune was also a good reminder that the right messages and reminders will cross your path if your eyes are open and you’re open to receiving them.  now, go forth, and be yourself!

radiant, even in darkness

this poem was sent to me by a dear friend and mentor who has been a guiding light and inspiration for me in recent weeks.  its evocative imagery and hopeful message touched me so deeply.

MOTHER WISDOM SPEAKS
(by Christine Lore Webber)

Some of you I will hollow out.
I will make you a cave.
I will carve you so deep the stars will shine in your darkness.
You will be a bowl.
You will be the cup in the rock collecting rain.

I will hollow you with knives.
I will not do this to make you clean.
I will not do this to make you pure.
You are clean already.
You are pure already.

I will do this because the world needs the hollowness of you
I will do this for that space that you will be.
I wlll do this because you must be large.
A passage.
People will find their way through you.
A bowl.
People will eat from you
And their hunger will not weaken them unto death.
A cup to catch the sacred rain.

My daughter, do not cry.  Do not be afraid.
Nothing you need will be lost.
I am shaping you.
I am making you ready.

Light will blow in your hollowing.
You will be filled with light.
Your bones will shine.
The round, open center of you will be radiant.
I will call you Brilliant One.
I will call you Daughter Who is Wise.
I will call you Transformed.

my aspiration is to accept with grace the hollowing of myself that has been brought about by cancer.  and to have the strength and courage to allow myself to be filled back up in ways i didn’t even know were possible.  and to emerge transformed: a passage via which others can find a light in their darkness.

thank you to all those who have made me believe this is possible.  i owe you a debt of gratitude i can never repay.