The Unexpected

The quadruple bypass had been a total success. The family began to let their shoulders down and breath a little easier, until…that first meal! Those infamous cornflakes – tasty clusters of flakes, yet deadly to a paralyzed, empty stomach. The first spoonful hit the stomach producing nausea, stomach cramps and pain, making the stomach bloat with extreme speed. The symptoms had now become agonizing with no sign of relief. Rushed to the OR! Doctors in desperate search of what had caused this drastic turn of events, and trying to figure out how and why this was happening while he was slowly making a positive recovery from his heart surgery.

The family lingers in the room waiting for an update. The nurse comes in and says, “He’s losing a lot of blood. Are any of you able to give blood for him?” We are willing. After some tests, it turns out only two of his kids are a match. One has been using so he’s out. The youngest of them all is taken to the room where she’ll sit as the precious life giving liquid flows out of her veins.

Waiting and more waiting. Finally, a doctor approaches. “We did all we could…” Words that you hope would only be said in movies, but no, this is real. Before any emotion can be shown, the doctor whispers to the widow, “If you want to take him now without waiting, we are going to have to wheel him out as if he is still alive. Otherwise, you might not get him for days, or even months due to all the red tape.” She, “strong-as-nails”, her norm, says, “I’m taking him now!”

The family is then asked to “stuff all their feelings and emotions” and act as if nothing has happened.

The gurney in front, the family behind…as if…all is good.

The body is delivered to the family home, and is customary in that culture, they will dress and prepare him for the all night wake.

Two of his five sons and his two daughters enter “that room”. He is wrapped in sheets. They approach and start unwrapping…GASP!!! UGH!!! The sight, the smells, the liquids! “How? why? Could they have closed him up? Can someone else do this? This can’t be happening!”

One white shirt after another, stained…useless. “We” aren’t equipped for this?” “This should be done by a funeral home.” Nope, this is us and this is how we roll…yeah…swallow that!

Somehow, he is prepped and ready for the all night wake and viewing of the tons of mourners that will come and pay their respects. Rosaries, prayers, coffee, chatter. Tomorrow, he will be carried through the streets of his village, ending at the cemetery with the proper burial. Then the people will scatter, life will continue as usual…

BUT those four “kids” will live with those images of their Dad. Neither will talk to each other about it; neither will talk about it to anyone…because that just how this family rolls.

Brain Explosion

It’s grocery shopping day. Gym√ Breathing and Meditation√ Driving with soothing music, and more purposeful breathing√

Grocery list in hand, let’s get this done without an “episode”…breathe…breathe!

Woman next to me drops a steel container…HUGE THUD followed by smaller ones, not because they are quieter but because my “brain exploded“…

the ringing in my ears is deafening…headache…trembling…shaking hands and legs, the whole body…do I hide, I can’t…I need to run and get out of here, I’m paralyzed…let’s get this done, how do I continue?…stupid woman, doesn’t she know? she doesn’t; she didn’t do it on purpose…scream, you can’t, it’s a public place…can they see me shaking? who cares!…more noise, really?!…my skin is crawling with ants, no it’s not…God, help me!…I can’t breath, yes you can…I’m going to vomit, seriously, here?! stop it!

I’m out, safe in my car. Now I need to drive home…how did I get home? Curl up in my comfy (safe) rocker, all blinds closed…sleep…sleep…sleep. Wake up exhausted, detached from reality…what day is it? what time? did I eat? do I eat? I hate this! what happened? how did I get home? Do I care? I’m going crazy! Who am I?

The brain is quiet, for now. The body is calm, for now. But, I wonder…when will it happen again???

50 Follows

WordPress just informed me that I have reached 50 follows. Wow! I am humbled!

Thank you! I don’t consider you “followers”. We are all sojourners in this life journey ( The Journey Begins ). I am honored to walk this journey with such great company. Whether you stop by for a visit or stay a while, I am grateful for each and every one of you.

Some of the reasons why I Write… And I Write…

So let’s keep “walking”…the journey continues. Glad to have you along.

The Unforgettable Crate

It was a crisp December day. The beehive buzz around the village was thick. One of their own would be arriving today. Not with the usual fanfare, however, this arrival was one robed with the blackness of grief and sorrow. The house had been readied for the owners arrival. This time, however, the bedding was not washed and pressed because it’s owner would not be sleeping in her bed. The front room was set up with the customary stands and candles to hold the all night wake.

The unmarked van turns the corner.  Could that be? People straighten up and stand, a sign of honor and respect. The youngest daughter waiting to sign the paperwork indicating she had received the “cargo”.

The van parks to the side of the road. Back door opens. What?! A wooden crate?!?!?!

The youngest daughter paralyzed at the sight. Nausea threatened to make her loose whatever she had managed to eat. “Nobody told me…! I just can’t…!” her thoughts shattered by the pounding of a hammer…P-O-P! P-O-P! P-O-P!

AND so it went…FOREVER…and ever! Each “pop” releasing a nail. Nail after nail that held this crate together, pounded…releasing each nail, and with each pound her heart sank deeper and deeper in pain and unbelief.

She stood paralyzed by feelings of sadness and anger. A slow rage boiling inside. “This is a human body, for God’s sake! She might be lifeless, but she still deserves honor and respect!”, thoughts screaming within.

Fulfilling her mother’s last dying wish came at a great price, both emotionally and financially. But here they were. It was what it was…no turning back!

Images that stay; that haunt; that you wish you could erase. And, so life continues…but you can never see a “crate” the same again.

Blissfully Lost

Las dos amigas out for a time of pampering. The plan was set, the guys would eat and watch the soccer game while the girls get a day of rest, relaxation and pampering. Kiss, kiss and off they went.

The taxi driver didn’t seem to be “in service”, but then again everything moves slowly in La Paz. I guess that’s why one gets away. He finally agreed to shuttle them to their destination. Girls talk and talk, and giggle ready for their pampering. The driver, on the other hand, seems lost. He asked, one too many times, “What does your phone say?” to which the reply was always, “we have no WiFi”. Finally, at their destination!

The “look” of said oasis promised much. As they walked in they were greeted with sour looks. So much for “walk ins welcomed”. Icily turned away, “no room in the in”. A ray of hope rose in the horizon as one of the clients showed the discouraged amigas another location, AND it happened to be “right around the corner” (hold that thought). Off they went, with their plan “still” in place…pampering!

Blocks, and blocks, and blocks they walked…umm, “are we there yet?” There it is! Yes! The sign on the door shattered their plans, once again, “we’ve moved to a new location…” Taking this as a “sign from above”, they decided to head back to meet back with the guys.

Lost, yup, they were so lost. Walking, walking…hey, so I guess they did get a massage – of their feet…haha!

A wonderful little boy showed them the way. Yes, they are finally at the malecon (walk way by the beach). From here they can find their way “home”.

~~Blissfully lost, not a care in the world. The company of a caring and loving friend made all the difference. The talk was deep and fun. There were tears and much laughter. Somehow, I wish we were still lost…blissfully lost!~~

Smell

Our senses, amazing God given gifts. For example, take the sense of smell. Certain smells can transport us to a time of pure joy and bliss while others can bring us to places of pain and agony. Some smells can make your mouth salivate at the pure thought of taking a bite of that feast set before you, other times it can make you nauseated and gag at the very whiff, remember the Putrid Smell?

Two houses are etched in my mind. On my way to the bus stop, I’d stop to “pick up” a couple of friends. We were in Junior High (eek, ok that brought back tons of other memories. I sense another post…).  Debbie’s house was bright and had the “smell” of “home”. Warm and cozy, her Mom always preparing something hot for her to eat before heading to school. Always sending her on her way with a hug and a kiss.  Linda’s house was dark, she almost had to sneak out so as to not disturb the coldness. That house felt empty and void.

Certain flower fragrances transport me to the first funeral home I ever attended. Just one smell and I’m sitting in those horrible hard benches, with that open casket which held the shell of the body of my 26 year old brother. Every fiber in my being feels exactly what I felt at that moment.

The stench of alcohol assaults me with thoughts of that man taking my innocence; of that man who beat me to a pulp; of that time I almost didn’t survive.

Interesting how the senses work. Where do “smells” take you?

Difficulty with Titles

As my life journey continues, I’m having to think, and rethink…and think some more some things that have been said to me, implied or I’ve said in the form of remarks, cliches, sayings. A couple of “titles” I’m chewing on, asking questions, digging deeper…simply meditating.

“Princess” – If a “princess” then I am entitled to royal treatment. My crown in place, not a hair out of place, face on, constant smile (cause who wants a sad or frowning princess, right?). Sitting primp and proper on her beautiful throne, high above anything and anyone. Expecting to be served, entitled to a happy full life. Every desire met. Her word is law! Reminds me of the Porcelain Doll

“Warrior” – the title alone commands awe and admiration. A picture of one with full body armor, stance ready to pounce, to win. Raging on, taking captives, winning against everything and everyone, cause “losing” is NOT an option. “Surrendering” would be a sign of weakness, a thought that shouldn’t even cross the mind of such a specimen. Superheros aren’t adulated for their humanity, right? They are “super natural beings” with “supernatural powers”. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Signs of weakness and thoughts of surrender are NOT an option! No tears, no sadness…not allowed to be human with ups and downs and all the emotions that come with them. “I am woman, hear me roar! I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan…” “I got this!” “No pain, no gain!”…and on and on.

Depression, panic-attacks, anxiety, PTSD are deep dark secrets, full of guilt and shame, hiding in the shadows. Therapy is a four-letter word. Princesses and Warriors don’t need any “help”. Days that lay you out, cradling your body in a fetal position, rocking back and forth hoping it will silence the voices, the pain, the screams…shhhhh, don’t tell anyone, what will they think? Princesses and Warriors don’t go down, they are always standing, pushing through, reigning and conquering.

Can we be allowed to be simply human? Is that not enough???