The Chart

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My father is currently under hospice care as his advanced lung cancer progresses. I’m here with him and my mother. Many family members and friends have come to visit and to help. As his palliative care treatment ebbs and flows, I noticed that the emphasis has been on the med and not so much the symptom. Because my mom can get anxious and stressed when she’s sleep-deprived, alone with dad and he’s in pain, I created a chart I thought might be helpful.

His liver has been compromised, so we are trying to avoid any unnecessary drugs.

 

Body as Water

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Mrjn

I ran across this poem and it spoke to my heart:

 

Nearly

When we slid out of the lane.

When my sleeve caught fire.

While we fought in the snow.

While the oncologist spoke.

Before the oil spilled.

Before your retina bled.

Beyond the kids at the curb.

Beyond the turn to the forest.

After the forest turned to ashes.

After you escorted my mother out.

As I led your father in.

As the dolphin swam the derelict canal.

While the cameras filmed it dying.

While the blackout continued.

When the plane dipped.

When the bank closed.

While the water.

While the water.

And we drank it.

Faithful

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Would you still love me if I was sick and dying?

Would you hold my hand all day in the hospital room while the world outside went on and on…buzzing with activity?

Would you comb my dirty hair and bring me clean underwear and ask the doctor when I am allowed to shower?

Would you give me words of love and comfort as my spirits start to wither?

Would you stay with me?

 

Interval

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Dulcey Lima

Spring – the jumping off time

of green buds and birds’ trill

of thriving and spreading

when souls vault with thrill

 

Summer – enlivened bustle

of limitless affection

of prime corporeality

when spirits rouge the complexion

 

Autumn – abated season

of settling gratitude

of tranquil sanctuary

when ego battles disquietude

 

Winter – gradual repose

of profound cogitation

of  placid acceptance

when the form meets salvation

 

 

 

 

A Cause for Celebration

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A Seattle storefront

I just turned 50 and everyone is asking me how it feels

“amazing, wonderful and miraculous!”

At 27, I got in a horrible car accident (I was on a scooter)

Had I entered the intersection seconds sooner, I would have died

 

 

At 34, I gave birth and almost died from blood clotting

 

I had breast cancer 8 years ago

now I’m cancer-free with a beautiful family and a job I love

 

My new (and just fired) financial advisor said,

“I won’t say your age out loud”

as if growing older is shameful

as if getting older is bad

 

Last night, a friend of mine told me

she has a friend who has three months to live (cancer spread)

that woman is a mother and in her thirties

to her, turning 50 would be a miracle

 

Turning 40…50…60…(70…and on)  is a miracle

It should be embraced (!)

 

Fearing aging is fearing life

Our culture is kind of sick in that way

The good news is,

we don’t have to buy into it