Archive for the ‘reflections’ Category

Home ~ An Elusive Sense

An elusive sense that something was different caused me to take notice. 

In fact, it was just after the James Taylor bridge where we had turned toward the city, that a distant place inside me seemed to wake up.  My mind whispered long forgotten memories of a place I had once called home.  

sunlight, sky, branches, clouds

“You’ll have problems no matter where you go,” my former landlord remarked, after I told him I was moving. 

We were standing by the entrance to my front deck, beside the septic tank, where sewage was overflowing on the ground.  I held my tongue.  That particular problem wouldn’t be moving with me, I thought to myself.

We don’t have septic tanks in my new place. 

We do however have a history of flooding, so in a way, I guess the landlord was right.

Still, you gotta choose your battles in life, and I guess, the problems you’re willing to endure.

The street lights wake me up at strange hours of the morning.  I’ve been too busy to stop, unpack or put curtains on my windows. 

Pieces of me are in boxes, bills and various important documents spread across my floor.

I’ve yearned for the dark nights and shadows of trees.  They were my trees.  I especially miss the birds that lived among them. 

I felt I abandoned the birds, and in a way I did.   To tell why would take a lot of writing and it might be as hard to write, as it was to live.

There’s a big, puffed up and confident Mockingbird living in my new yard.  This bird rules the bird station.

mockingbird beautiful

The eager territorial bird has communicated its high status to all the feathered ones (except for the hawk).  They believe this Mockingbird too.  Even the large loud Bluejay gives the pretty white and grey bird the space it demands. 

I wonder what this means.  I wonder if the Mockingbird has something to say to me and if so, then what could it be?

One day, I’ll look back, I hope, and recall the beauty bestowed so freely in those woods where I lived.  I know I’ll remember the trees and beautiful moss that bloomed in springtime.  I’ll especially recall that the land and the wild ones that lived there was the place where Mother Nature penetrated my spirit.  

I’ll recall too the nights when after a day of chasing butterflies, and later watching birds,  the color of nature flooded my mind.

I have a new friend.  He’s an elder with great tales of sailing across the waters of Maine.  He reads me poetry and knows all the great literature!  We sit in his kitchen drinking instant, but good coffee.  On occasion, he calls to recite Shakespeare. 

Below, is the first poem he shared during our first visit together.

“Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul

And sings the tune without the words

And never stops at all.

And sweetest in the gale is heard;

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land

And on the strangest sea,

Yet never, in extremity,

It asked a crumb of me.”

Emily Dickinson


Ruthie Mae likes our new home.   She has a furry neighbor friend named Happy.

Amazingly, there are as many birds here as in my wooded yard.  

I haven’t seen the beloved Mourning Dove, but we have a pond that’s home to a Great Blue Heron.  I dreamed of this bird two nights before I moved here.  I had seen it swoop down close to me, then powerfully and gracefully, back up again it flew. 

Upon waking, I heard the spirit of the bird say it would carry me to my new home.

Astonishingly, I worked without pain during the rest of my move, even while sleeping on a hard bamboo floor.

A Red-shouldered hawk lives here too.  Every tenant I’ve met mentions the hawk.  It perches not too far from my door on low branches of trees by the creek.

hawk is our neighborhood friend

Keeping an eye on things

I live by water, with birds.  I like that.  The mail carrier wears a postal suit (including the hat), like olden times.  I like that too.

The locals hold the vibe of this city’s heart.  That’s what felt different after we crossed the bridge on moving day.  I remembered the heartbeat of the people here, and I felt it run through me. 

I am glad to be home, again.

Thanks for visiting my blog, dogkisses, and please feel free to leave me your comments.

Advertisements

Winter ~ Random Observations

Winter Berry

Winter in North Carolina has been strange this year.  The days have been mostly warm.  A few recent cold snaps are a reminder of the season and we even had a bit of snow.  I like snow. 

People in the south say it’s bad for your health when weather is funny like it is; one day like springtime and the next biting cold.  I didn’t believe this as a child or even in early adulthood, but the older I get, the more truth and wisdom I find in the things my parents and grandparents said.

Graveside Memorial

In Memory of Tiny

Our first snow of the season came only a day after our beloved dog, our friend and companion, passed on. 

I was glad when the snow started to fall.  I wanted the ground where the grave-site is to harden.  I wanted it safe from predators. 

I had also been wishing for snow, as I do every Winter. 

I called it Tiny’s snow.  I immediately felt a connection to his spirit.

Perhaps it was the closeness I felt that prompted me to take part in the bread-buying ritual that happens in the south when we get, “weather.”  I’m not much on shopping, but I found myself enjoying the anticipation and excitement going on at the local grocery store. 

For some reason, I wanted and even felt that I needed, an onion.  I didn’t have plans as to how I would use it, but I sure wanted one.  Plus, bread is never on the top of my list of things I need in snow.  Wood for a fire is usually a first thought.

Onions are normally abundant at the grocery store, but strangely, there were only a few onions in the bin and they were larger than the size I wanted.  I walked to the other bins.  A woman was rapidly filling her bag with the smaller ones.  I felt sure she intended on taking every single onion.

“Pardon me,” I said politely as I approached the bin.  The woman was friendly.

“What is it with onions?” she remarked with curiosity.  “There’s only a few left.  Everyone is buying onions.”

Her remark made me sure that I needed an onion.

“Happy is said to be the family which can eat onions together. They are, for the time being, separate, from the world, and have a harmony of aspiration.”
Charles Dudley Warner, ‘My Summer in a Garden’ (1871)

“Well, more weather is on the way,” my mother called to report several days after the first snow.  She’s my personal Weatherwoman.

“Sometimes,” she continued, “They (weather reporters) know about as much as we do.  I remember when they said we might get five or six inches and we got (she always emphasizes the  inches), twenty-four!”

 

I knew what she was going to say next, which comforted me in a way.

She started talking about the time she and my late grandmother, along with my aunt and uncle, huddled together for more than a week without power. 

Twenty-four inches really is a lot of snow for the southeastern United States. 

Mother tells about the soup they warmed over a burning candle and how they all went to bed, “with the chickens,” since they didn’t have lights to turn on.

 

There’s something about the way it feels when she recalls the little things that happened that week, and she remembers them in great detail.  I feel a bond of belonging and togetherness in her story.  They needed each other and I think, they must have surely experienced their likenesses above and beyond any differences.

There was something about having one of the wanted onions that sparked in me a sense of belonging.  I wondered what other people might be cooking with their onion.

The next day my son sautéed the onion to go with eggs.  Our home was warmed by the sweet smell.

Later that evening, I heard the roar of Thunder Beings.  How odd, I thought, to hear thunder just before snow.  I called my Weatherwoman. 

“They say it’s Thundersnow,” she reported.  “It’s very rare.”

Green Healing ~ Recalling a Horticultural Summer

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

BUTTERFLY BEAUTIFUL

The last days of Summer are obvious.  The light has changed coloring the sky a deep blue.  The clouds are big, fluffy and milky white.  Horticulturally, we’ve planted several seed beds for Fall harvesting. 

The wildly stimulating grand symphony of color and life that the excited Swallowtails, Fritillaries and Skippers performed has slowed to a soothing and reflective melody, with the pretty ‘Little Yellow’ and the cautious, interested beautiful Buckeye.

The Sunflowers are gone, along with the melon patch.  I was absent the day our volunteer group cleared that garden, but my son went.  

I spent the time in the parking lot lying down in my car due to exhaustion.  (I may add a personal note about that at the end of this post). 

“You should have come today,” my son said after volunteering with the Horticulture Therapy group.  “We had a great time.  You missed out.”

I was happy that he had fun and especially to see his smile.

“Smell my breath!” he exclaimed.  “Smells like Basil doesn’t it?”

The fragrance was strong, I thought.  Whatever they ate must have been good.  “How are the Sunflowers?” I asked him.

“We ripped them up and cleared all that out,” he answered, referring to the space where the plants had lived.

“What did you do with them?” I asked.  It was a futile question, I realized.  I knew they were in the compost, along with the dozens of caterpillars on the Fennel plant that I had hoped to see become Butterflies.

“Yep,” he reiterated, “They’re gone Mom.”  His tone sounded of a time and place when men must tell women of particular actions that simply had to be done and only by men.

He’d been perspiring and had dirt on his clothes.  He looked satisfied.  I gathered that his physical strength and abilities had served the group’s work efforts well, which I believe is good for a young man.

I did feel like a part of me had gone to wherever the Sunflowers went.  I wished, in one way, that I’d been there for a proper parting.  I loved the Sunflowers.  Upon reflection, I figure the compost is as good a place as any to be with Mother Earth.

The next day I stopped by the gardens alone.  I wanted to sit for a while, remembering my Sunflower Summer.

Each had unique differences.  There were the giant yellow ones, which did demand first greetings from onlookers.  Some were stunningly bright with pointed petals, while others were softer, with petals that looked like long blond locks of hair.  The pale yellows were almost transparent in a particular light of day.   I smile every time I remember the one with a head so big ‘she’ had to be tied to Bamboo.

Most surprising to me were the red Sunflowers.  The wonderfully rich colors are worthy of any camera!  They were beautiful.

There was one Sunflower still standing.  My son had planted it down below the main gardens against a tall cement wall.  His Sunflower was always different from the others in the most interesting ways.  A corner of the bloom’s circle of petals curled around the large spiraled center.  I often thought it looked like the small hand of a shy child, perhaps covering her face after a compliment, but mostly, the beautiful flower reminded me of my son.

In the brightest Summer days the plant stood tall.  As the days went on, it started bending forward, as though to watch over the smaller plants blooming closer to the ground.

One day I visited the gardens when my son wasn’t feeling well.  His flower was leaning so far over that the petals almost touched the tops of the relatively short Zinnias.  I couldn’t believe it was still standing.  I inspected the stem thinking the plant might need to be staked.  Surprisingly, it was thick, obviously strong enough to handle the form it had taken.

A garden and the life it brings is a continuous source of metaphors and personal reflection.

The critters who visited, along with the more permanent residents in the gardens, are treasures in my heart.  I remember my first ‘Green Healing’ garden friend, the little Lizard who lived in the Cabbage patch.  I fell in love.

My next Green Healing friend was a Ladybug.  The Horticulture Therapist pointed her out to me as we were walking to the Greenhouse on a chilly Spring morning.  She was sitting pretty on a leaf in the unforgettable garden of Crimson Clover.

The therapist knew I had enjoyed my camera and encouraged me to take a picture.  I snapped a few shots of the little ladybug.  Returning home, I uploaded the photos.  I saw what I loved.

That little ladybug was absolutely incredible, at least to my eyes.  I couldn’t believe the details in the photograph.  I couldn’t believe I took the photograph!  The morning dew spiraled down beside my new little friend like a tiny string of graduated pearls.  She’s my Lucky Little Lady who got me hooked on nature photography.

I’ve enjoyed all the wildlife in the gardens, most recently a new baby Turtle rooming with the Frog in the Pond Garden.  I love their photos, but Baby Turtle doesn’t like posing for the camera.  I try not to disturb him.  I guess, in my heart, I feel most connected with the Butterfly.  Everything about them is amazing and beautiful.

I’m not surprised that the Buckeye was the most prominent of the winged friends during my most recent visit to the gardens in the last days of Summer.

These beautifully winged wonders have an average life span of only about ten days, but their flight period is year-round in the southern United States.  The Northern ones do not overwinter and many return southward in great migrations. 

A small patch of the orange Mexican Sunflowers are still thriving.  I imagine they had a lot to do with the delightfully high number of butterflies in the gardens this year.

There are several other flowers blooming that obviously produce nectar, but I’m not familiar enough to know their botanical names.  I love the big white ones.

Nectar Producing Beauty for Hummingbirds and Butterflies

The hummingbirds and butterflies like them too.  I’m sure there is plenty of nectar for the late Summer and soon to arrive Autumn winged visitors. 

Sulfer Butterfly on Nectar Flower

Personally, the Summer was for the most part, difficult.  I’m grateful for my time with the volunteers and in the gardens.  It was time away from the harsh parts of my life.  People in that group care about people and those are always good kind of folks! 

I’m also glad to have spent time watching and being with the Butterflies.  On that note, I’ll recall the pretty Painted Lady who put on the most colorful show of the year with the orange Sunflowers and pink Zinnias.  ‘She’ showed up during my recent visit, but I didn’t recognize her.

After taking several photos, I asked a staff member to look and tell me if she knew the Butterfly.  “I’m pretty sure that’s a Painted Lady,” she said.

Ha!  I thought to myself.  “I don’t think so.  Look at the wings,” I replied.  They were jagged like those of a Question Mark or Comma.  I was confused and thought she didn’t know her butterflies all that well, which surprised me.

Again, it wasn’t until I saw the images on the digital screen that I realized the woman had correctly identified ‘my lady’ painted pretty.  She may have had a difficult summer too.  Her wings told of predators, but mostly of survival, because she’s still flying free.

Painted Lady with a few marks of a butterflies life

On a more personal note, I have pneumonia.  I knew I felt terribly bad, but I attributed the worsening of my health over the past six weeks or more to stress and possibly, utter exhaustion.  Also, living with chronic illness means it’s hard to know the difference between your normal way of feeling and a nasty infection.  According to the doctor, the large pills she prescribed should get me well.

Along with the medication, I’ll look to my jagged beautiful Painted Lady!

Thank you for visiting DogKisses!  Pardon the lengthy post.  It took me a while to write and there are probably grammatical errors.  I hope to be back to myself again soon, which would include having energy to read my favorite blogs.  Until then, I hope you are having your own Green Healing moments this Summer.

Peace and Pass it on.

Responding to Stress

red flowers on stems

While the tears poured,  I thought how I surely didn’t look like a green healing girl, nor did I feel like one.

Shingles had hit me fast and hard.  In the past, I’ve been able to recognize the virus before an outbreak.  Not this time.

I had been sickly for several weeks losing a precious nine pounds.  I even went to the doctor fearing I had a tick-borne disease, but my doctor said he didn’t think I have one and instead, blamed my symptoms on stress.

I get tired of my health problems always being blamed on stress, but I realize it’s a serious problem, particularly when it’s ongoing.

My mom and I were talking on the phone when I saw the outbreak.  I was relieved because I’d rather have shingles than a tick infection.

My son was a resident at a small farm, where I thought he might live for three months.  I had gone to visit him two days before getting sick and thought he was going to stay. 

He had said he was homesick and sometimes felt pretty down, but after spending more time with him, he said that most of the time he felt good being there.  Most of the time is a lot to me, so I encouraged him to stay.

He wasn’t sleeping well at the farm and as a result, was often so tired that he was a little late for the chores and classes.  He was trying really hard and the farm’s director informed me that he was improving.

I left the farm after that visit feeling more hopeful than I have in a decade.  For the first time since my son was diagnosed with a mental illness, he was at a place where people treated him like a full human being.  He wasn’t a ‘case’ to be managed.  He was treated the same as the other residents, which meant he was expected to arrive on time for classes.

During the few weeks he was away, even though I had to drive a lot, which was difficult, I had enough time to see what it was like being me.

I was not a full-time caregiver.  I was Michelle.  I was a single woman.  I saw parts of my personality that I hadn’t seen in a long time, such as my sense of humor.  I’d forgotten that I have a pretty good one.  I had fun.

It’s not my son that I need a break from, but instead is the caregiver role that I don’t have help with.

Two days after our weekend visit together, my son was an hour late for one of the farm’s classes.  He said he was so tired that he lied down for what he intended to be five minutes, but then fell asleep.

The man leading that particular class, which was a prayer time, asked him to do a writing assignment.  It was a long and arduous assignment.  He refused and as a result, had to leave the program.

I am not proud of myself for the way I responded to the situation.  I was angry and didn’t handle my emotions well.  I needed someone to talk with about the situation.  Someone with experience, empathy and a positive attitude.  I didn’t have anyone who could offer that.

I told the manager when I arrived that I was sick.  I also confided in him that I wasn’t sure how long I could keep going the way I have been.  He said they would pray for me and we parted ways.

The six months before my son went to the farm had become more and more difficult for us.  I didn’t get a break.  I deeply desired and needed help. 

My son needs peers and friends, something to do with his time and more activity than I alone can offer. 

A few months ago, he was rejected from membership in a clubhouse for people diagnosed with a mental illness.  The reason was because he’s doing well and doesn’t have a case manager.  They aren’t used to that.  I’m not sure their response is altogether a bad thing. 

My son talks about recovery and has a reputation in that particular community of not taking medication.  Sometimes this causes ripples in the water.

I had begged God for somebody to help me.  The director of the farm called to say they would accept my son as a resident the same day that I had nearly screamed at the sky.  I thought my break came and it was one that I believed could change my son’s life. 

Things simply didn’t work out the way we had wanted.  I wish I could go back and respond to this fact differently than I did, but of course I can’t.  I can only try to do better in the future.

I feel better now.  I don’t know exactly what to do or where to turn in life, but I’ll keep on keeping on.  I’ll keep on trying and hoping and praying that there is a way to help my son, that we both can heal and recover, and that perhaps one day our lives will look much brighter.

I learned from the farm experience that I need to work on myself.  I need to take time for me.  I need personal time, as well as time for healing my own wounds.  I want to  heal.  I want to respond to life in a way that doesn’t cause me illness or worsen existing health conditions.  I certainly don’t like responding in ways that bring harm to others, hurt feelings or make the situation worse.  All easier said than done I suppose, but giving up is not a good option.

I’d like to say thanks to my blogging friends for the awesome support and encouragement you have given me.  I’ve said it before, but I’m proud to be a part of this community!  Thank you so much!

Even though my mother will likely never read this, I must say here that I am truly grateful for her love.  She sure stands by me when I’m sick and for that I sure am grateful. 

I am proud of my son for trying the program the farm offered.  He’s a strong young man with a kind and good spirit.

Thanks for visiting Dogkisses’s blog!

Red flowers in the garden, by Michelle and Son.

Honoring our Earth Mother (from Dreamwalker’s blog)

With Sincere Gratitude to Sue Dreamwalker for her generosity in allowing me to share this post from her blog.


From Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary:  

A Special Goodnight for all Mothers.

 

By sending your thoughts out into the ethers, you send out your intent, and you draw to you that which you need, and that which will sustain you.

I send you all a special Goodnight, and wish all of you Mother’s Out their a Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday 3rd April here in the U.K.

I will let my daughters words speak for themselves..

Our Great Mother

Mother’s Day

On Sunday 3rd of April it is Mothering Sunday in the UK. On this day we will show our love, gratitude, appreciation and healing to our Mothers. It is also a day when we should show the same qualities and expression to our true Mother. Mother Earth. If we don’t share the same feelings for both then we have a problem.

For Mother Earth gives to us total unconditional love, to us her children, just like your own birth mother should do.

Let’s think about this for a moment. How often is our blessed Mother Earth overlooked and taken so much for granted, and yet she provides us with so so much.

Air to breathe, the food we eat, water to drink. Everything we need to sustain our life on this planet. Mother Earth needs your healing now; she is sick and has been overlooked for too long.

We have made her sick and it’s time we took responsibility for this, can you imagine making your own Mother ill by poisoning her, beating her. It sounds very harsh but this is the reality of the situation.

Mother Earth is moving into a more beautiful state of being just like we are and she will rid herself of everything that stops her from achieving this,just like what we are doing in our own lives.

Send her healing today and everyday, let everyday be Mother’s Day!! Send healing to our beautiful Mother’s!

Take a moment each day to be in gratitude for what Mother Earth provides us with, Feel it in your heart. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the plants and vegetables we grow and eat to sustain our life. The elements Earth, Air, Water and Fire for without these we couldn’t survive! The animals that teach us so many lessons and give us so much joy! The trees that offer us shelter, protection, healing and wisdom. The Great Sun for her warmth and light, and the Moon for its rhythms and cycles. The beautiful mountains and also our dear brothers and sisters sharing this special time here on Mother Earth…the list goes on and on!

Then send your love and healing to Mother Earth in which ever way suits you best. Reiki, Seichem, Spiritual Healing, Prayer, visualisation, meditation, drumming, chanting and singing again the list goes on and on! We are the co-creators of this planet so let’s get to it and help our Mother!

Please feel free to share this message

With lots of love and Blessings Julia XxX

If you are not familiar with Little Grandmother  check out her videos on youtube and visit her website www.littlegrandmother.net

Thank you again Dreamwalker for offering this as a gift.


My future is now

“After a certain age, there is no future.” Joseph Campbell


I’m forty-seven years old.  For the past couple of years, I’ve had acute realizations that I’m living my future.  The one I imagined when I was a child, the one I thought was so far away in my twenties and the one that in my thirties, was largely shaped and formed by turbulence and ensuing illness.

past meets presentThese acute realizations happen out of the blue.  I’ll be doing something, such as watching television or talking with my son and the feeling hits me.  I look around my home, taking note of the sentimental items I’ve kept over the years, the most special of which are displayed on the fireplace mantle or my desk.  I look at the pictures I’ve hung on my walls.  I look at my life and think to myself, This is it.  This is my future.

There is a sense of peace in this experience.  I like knowing that I’m here in the moment, instead of waiting to be somewhere else, in the future.  Then too, there is the realization that I didn’t prepare very well.  In fact, I may not have prepared at all.

“Every decision a young person makes is a commitment to a life course.  And if you made a bad decision of that angle by the time you get out there, you’re far off course.”  Joseph Campbell

I did get off course.  I made choices that landed me where I don’t think I would have chosen if someone had shown me a crystal ball.  A few people tried to show me, but my life was demanding.  I couldn’t get past the day, yet I still made it to the future, which is now.

“I’m not now participating in the achievement of life.  I have achieved it.”  Joseph Campbell.

I hope you enjoy this video.  The late Joseph Campbell was a great thinker who shared his knowledge and wisdom with joy and an obvious love of humanity.



Joseph Campbell Foundation

Video from YouTube, “Joseph Campbell–Myth as the Mirror for the Ego”

Thank you for visiting Dogkisses’s blog and feel free to leave a comment.

Refusing defeat

Sometimes life is hard, but we must keep on going

IMAGE CREDIT: LESLIE SIGAL JAVOREK

Have you ever had a day where your body should have given out but it didn’t?  A day when you were amazed that you could stand up, much less walk a mile or more, but you did it?   A day when your tasks ahead weighed more than the world yet you couldn’t quit? A day when by night fall you finally looked at your phone contacts, your friends or maybe family, but you realized that you had to go at it alone?

I couldn’t remember what time I had gotten up that morning.  But then I wasn’t sure if I had gone to bed the night before.  I had slept, but when and where I wondered.  On my sofa?  In my guest room?  It didn’t matter.  I had a million things on my mind at once.

Finding a parking space at the hospital right away was a good thing, even though it irritated me that I had to endure the enthusiastic folks we share our hospital parking lot with for certain events.  I wasn’t in any mood for celebrating.  Plus, anything had potential in irritating me.  I was keeping up with any good things and not having to walk half a mile to the elevator was one good thing.

I had stopped at the ATM on my way but was too tired to get out of my car.  Somehow walking from the parking deck to the hospital seemed easier than taking the time to get some cash to pay for Valet parking.  I was not thinking clearly.

I forgot the number of my parking space but it was too late to turn back.  I knew what level of the deck I was on.  That was good enough.  On to the other million-minus-one thoughts taking over my mind.

“I love the way you walk,” someone I once knew used to say to me.  “You walk strong and tall with confidence.”

Oddly, I remembered this as I was passing people while crossing the walking bridge.  I slowed down and took shorter steps.

I began thinking about how severely fatigued I was.  It was more than fatigue.  I kept spacing out.  Earlier that day when I was feeding the dogs I had already measured their food and put it in their bowls, yet I stood there, staring off into space with their full bowls on the counter.  Both dogs stood by me waiting and watching, obviously wondering what was up with their human.  Finally, our older dog, who has a deep bark and only speaks one time when he has something to say gave one strong,  “Rrruuuff!”

The sound brought me back to the moment.  I put their bowls on the floor.  I thanked my dog.  He had done his job.  The perfect therapy dog and he hasn’t even been trained.

Walking slowly across the bridge, the past 48 hours of stress rolled around in my mind.   I was hungry and tired, but I was still going.  I had a bag of clothes for my son on one shoulder and a leather purse on the other.  They felt like they weighed a ton, but they didn’t.

I told myself I didn’t need to walk strong and tall.  I didn’t need to be confident.  I decided to walk the way I felt.

There was a peaceful feeling in accepting the physical weakness.  I felt confidence in not hiding.

The cafe was at the entrance I chose, but time wasn’t on my side.  I continued on.  The hospital’s walkway to the elevator seemed more daunting than ever before.

Acutely aware of pain and fatigue, I started to walk how I felt.  Another person I know used to say, “You gotta walk through it man.  Whatever it is, you gotta walk through it.”

A hospital is a fine place to collapse I thought.  I might walk through it, but I wasn’t sure that I would make it to my destination.

Reaching the elevator I noticed some wonderful photographs on the wall.  I was captured for a moment and then I saw the coffee shop sign.  Slowly I moved on, carrying my bags and my body.  The pastries caught my eye.

“Can I help with you anything Mam?”

I heard something in her voice.  Was she responding to what I was feeling I wondered or was it the striking red streaks in my eyes?  I wasn’t indulging in my feelings or I would have fallen down in a puddle of tears.  I desperately wanted a friend.  If ever I needed a shoulder to lean on, this was one of those times.

“I’m going to look at your pastries,” I said to the woman in the coffee shop, but she looked concerned, which she was.

She walked around to my side of the counter bringing me a glass of water.   My eyes were so tired I couldn’t read the labels on the drinks.  I chose a plastic juice for my son and a bottled soda for myself.  I looked at the pastries, but I didn’t want anything.

“Do you want some real food or a snack?” the woman asked me.  “We have these egg and sausage croissants and…”  I forgot what else she offered.  Nothing sounded good.  I was trying to keep myself composed.  “What about peanut butter and jelly?” she continued.

“These are the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I’ve ever had,” she said.  “They have peanut butter on both sides and jelly in the middle.  I’m serious.  They’re the best.”

“Yes.  I like peanut butter.  I’ll take one of those,” I said.  My words were barely audible.  My voice shook.  My hands shook.  I slowly put my bags on the floor and paid the bill.  I was able to smile.

I began to feel a little better.  This stranger’s genuine concern warmed my spirit,  lifting some the weight of the world I feel on my soul.

I remembered the last time my son was in the hospital.  I had a shoulder to lean on that time.   He had driven to the hospital as soon as he could when I told him what was happening.  He waited with me in the emergency room lobby for several hours.  He bought me snacks.  He held my hand.  I felt strong having someone there for me, while I was there for my son.   Times like this was why I believed the man who came for me truly loved me.  I was wrong.

As I crossed a walking bridge on my way to the elevator, I saw my shadow.  Strangely, it gave me strength.  I remembered a part of who I am.  I remembered that I am strong.  I felt stronger alone with my shadow, than I had with a person who was only pretending to be my friend.

I decided to refuse to be defeated by the day and instead, embrace the desperate way I felt inside.

My visit with my son was not so great.  He didn’t feel like talking.  There were several people around.  Two women were sitting close by us.  One talked too much.  I wanted to talk to my son but he didn’t feel like it.  The other woman stared at me the entire time.  I felt like she was looking into my soul.  She told me her name.  I said hi and we shook hands.  She kept on staring at me.

“Is he your husband?” she finally asked me.

“No.  He’s my son,” I told her.

I used to feel complimented when people said I looked like my son’s sister, but now, I really only want to look like his mother.

“You look sad,” the young woman added.

“Yes,” I responded.  “I’m sad.”

 

Thank you for visiting Dogkisses’s blog.