Tell me about a beautiful person you know…
She is a wisp of a woman, small, slender, I would like to be able to cover her with layers of warm blankets, one at a time, like a really special birthday cake. In her case, the rich, cocoa brown chocolate frosting, the color of very fertile soil, that will grow anything with abandon… especially ash trees… that sink their roots deep into Mother Earth to pull up strength and nourishment from below, and raise their branches high to the sky to soak in Light of the sun, moon, and stars… the sweet frosting would gently hug her and rock her to sleep. In my dream, she would be able to eat everything she wants to eat and she would be able to gain some much-needed weight. Right now she needs to gain a lot of weight, weight falls off her tiny bird bones and she is weak. She would sleep soundly all curled up in a sugar rose, like one of those wonderful Anne Gedddes photographs that I used to have hanging on my wall on a calendar. Newborn babies in sculptures. Asleep. Blissfully asleep. My friend has been physically sick for a long time, just like many of us with chronic pain disorders and the like.
I’m talking to you about my friend, Ash, a woman who to me is the essence of angels. She is warm and open and shy all at the same time. She tries to be strong for other people but once in a great while she will show me her vulnerability. I can read her because, though not biologically, she is my sister. She is a spiritual sister to a few people and none of us are jealous of each other because in this spiritual plain, jealously doesn’t exist. Our other sister is Michelle, at one point we became a family of our own and I have yet to meet either one but that doesn’t seem urgent or even necessary. Ash seems to be the oldest of the sisters, though chronologically, I am. Her wisdom flows, teaches, keeps us grounded.
My friend has been through difficult times, I worry about her health, her adrenal glands, very weak body, the way her energy sounds over the phone she sounds wound-up and anxious and yes, scared. To me she is usually Mother Earth, Goddess of All Things Natural, all things Golden, an Angel on Earth but tonight I was strong for her; she needed ME tonight. No one is safe from a disturbing past, although I used to think that everyone had a clear, easy, simple path to adulthood. I was wrong. If you look behind the curtains you find out that every person has their own story. Sometimes they want their story to be a secret, sometimes they pretend not to understand the question. Every child has a story as do their parents.
Ash, had a rough childhood, she has Aspbergers which I never would have known had she not told me and a hard time growing up. Ash is a mountain girl, one with animals, I expect she relates more with animals than with people and the animals know that. They love her as their own. She has two daughters with two very different personalities, I know one better than the other, but the one I do know is loving, caring and has a lot of responsibility on her shoulders, I have been there too.
I had too much responsibility on my shoulders too when I was young so I can relate to “the little one” with ease and admiration. And with a word of caution, “you have your own life too, sweet one, please make sure to remember that” I am only a phone call away from both of you.
My friend is now bugging me to take dairy and wheat out of my diet, I try not to laugh out loud but she knows me too well. She wears me down, the most I will give her is “I promise to try” but it is a weak promise though I won’t let her down.
I will not let her down, my sister, my friend. I hope she knows that applies to my “niece” too.
My friend is going through another difficult time now, health-wise, I will always support her, I do what I can, living far away, but this gentle soul could use a break, please join me in putting a peaceful, spirit prayer to help her through the tough days ahead.
photo credit: songdeluxe
People should think about how they behave, in general, especially if there are disagreements and disharmony. To some people saying “I’m sorry” comes naturally, to others it’s a huge, stubborn struggle. Around the world there are different techniques, prayers, rituals to atone for your sins. In the Jewish tradition, the day of Atonement falls on Yom Kippur where practicing Jews fast all day to atone for their sins. They fast from sundown, the night before until after sundown of Yom Kippur. Catholics have confession when they go to church and can confess their sins where they are given a penance, some real duty to do and their sins will be forgiven.
I am more a spiritual person than a religious one. I don’t need a special day to atone for my sins, I try to do that every day I can, I often fail. I am a faulty individual who has to think back and concentrate on what I have done wrong and how I can make it better. It’s really as simple as that. Acknowledging that you are not perfect is the first step.Acknowledging other people are not perfect is the step after that.
I have never minded apologizing to my kids when I was wrong. I find it easier to apologize to my children than to my husband, I’m working on that…I have family members both in my family and in my extended family who would rather eat dirt than apologize. They will dance around an apology by changing the subject a hundred time and still will never say “I’m sorry.” It’s really not so difficult if you can swallow your foolish pride and admit that you are wrong. By not doing so you are only making things more difficult and complicated, creating more of a drama for everyone. It may infuriate me but there is nothing I can do to change it. Here, I need to start breathing slowly and accept them for who they are. I never said it was easy.
In my opinion only, I don’t think you need to be in a Temple or Church or Mosque or any other organized religion to believe in a spiritual and greater power. That’s my message, you don’t NEEED to do anything special if you want to atone for your sins, you can sit on a park bench and watch the stream go by, adopt a dog, do a good deed, help an elderly person weed her garden. Anyone or thing that you love and cherish as a holy being is wonderful if YOU believe in it. You can think about things you want to improve upon in the future. We all should do the best we know how to do and then try just a little harder.
Dedicated: to The Three Sisters
Photographs copyright of photographers.
Written copyright of author.
You’re on a long flight, and a palm reader sitting next to you insists she reads your palm. You hesitate, but agree. What does she tell you? See all answers
“You will arrive to your destination safely.”
- (sorry, I just had to answer this way, it makes me laugh!)
I am a very
spiritual person and so I pray. Tonight, my oldest friend is in the ICU, his kidneys have failed him. We were born one day apart, he never let me forget that I was older by one day. Our mothers met in the maternity ward in our old local hospital many years ago. Tonight he is fighting for his life. Yellow magic, Yellow light, The joy of Yellow, the Hope.
My mind is spinning out of control, like a misguided ferris wheel on the wrong speed, it’s going too fast. He went through a bad time physically last year. I feel like I am living in a surreal world. Right now, all I think about, is him. I’m scared and sad and yes, a little angry too. Please don’t die, please. You had a lonely life, but you have us, your friends. Don’t give up. I am begging you.
10:30 PM : My phone rings, I don’t recognize the number, the voice sounds muffled, I hear loud BEEP- -BEEP sounds every few seconds. My friend has called me, I am shocked, happy, relieved, confused. We talk for only a few minutes, I tell him that “I love him, that all his friends do” he becomes emotional; I was so grateful to hear his voice. Let him make it through this night, and another….just one slow day, after another. Breathe…Breathe, Breathe.
Grieve, not for those
whose souls have been lifted, remember them with love,
but for those who remain here on earth.
Grieve for the people left behind and show them kindness,
offer them to cry unto you, wrap your arms around theirs, allow them to weep.
Show them tenderness.
For we are not put here on this earth beholden unto ourselves
No, we are here for the people of the world and the beautiful nature surrounding us.
Be truthful, be kind and if you cannot be either of these, be silent with thought and regret.
Remember your time here on earth is short, it is just for a visit, spend it well.
For the good of all humans, animals, nature, for the good of yourself
Remain for each other, never against each other
This, is our prayer.
I loved the peachy-pink dress you wore on the last show, Oprah. I didn’t think this last show would be your own last lecture, a love letter, a synopsis from you to your adoring fans but in retrospect, it was what you were all about. Teaching. I admit I wanted to be able to cry, with you, for you and for me and the rest of the world but you saved that, and rightly so, for the last ten minutes. Your walk from the stage out was like watching a play, with emotion, but not with regret. How wonderful to be you.
I imagined I would get to see an emotional Oprah, one that showed your vulnerability, any slight doubt you had, any separation anxiety. But, I, was the one with the separation anxiety and loss, not you. I was the one who needed an emotional good-bye, you didn’t. Truly amazing. For the last twenty-five years I have grown up with The Oprah Winfrey Show. Today, even though I tape the shows I had to see it live. “I have to watch Oprah from 4-5pm today” I told my children. They understood and at 16 and 18, they have their own favorite shows, their loyal friends, their own lessons to learn, their own truth to find. We will have to teach them what we learned from you.
Oprah, you have been a friend to me and to people all around the world. “Your life is speaking to you, what is it saying…?” For me, it is saying that I will miss you, that I have learned so much from you, that 4-5pm will feel empty without you. You told us that “when it was the right time to leave, there was no regret, not bittersweet, just sweet.” I know I couldn’t be like that. Sometimes, I second guess myself but I know how to listen to my gut, to my feelings, to search inside my soul. I always knew that but you validated my feelings; you cheered me on as a woman and especially as a parent, as a stay at home mother.
Oprah is a teacher, an educator, a spiritual and religious woman, that was very clear today. You were on our own, to thank us, the audience, for making you feel special and loved and validated. “We too can find our own passion, in whatever way we choose. We can help people, be kind to one another and stave off bad karma by putting forward only good karma.” Yes, we have heard it before but it was good to hear it one last time. To remind us all of what is important, to be kind and give to others.
We will spread the love, we will spread the joy and the passion. You were the love of our lives too, Oprah, as we were yours. After 25 years, I have to say good-bye to a friend who has been on television all of my adult life. I grew up with you and I have learned a lot of lessons from you. I feel sorry for this new generation because they will not have you in their lives to teach them. We will just have to pass down what we have learned from you; as you see, you will be in our hearts forever.
I will say good-bye, because I have to. Thank you for all that you have done for this world. I will truly miss you.
I am slowly, very slowly and intensely taking off pink nail polish from my finger nails as if it was the most important task in the world. I feel like a surgeon scrubbing in to make him/herself totally antiseptic. It feels like that to me but I don’t know why exactly. I don’t know the codes or rules for going to a wake but I know, for myself, I have to wipe away every sign of sunshine from my hands because that feels right. My hands look plain, wrinkled, weather-beaten and bare. I’ve stripped off every clue to color because my friend Dawn is dead and the world feels color-less and grim.
I didn’t know what to expect at the wake; I had only been to one wake before in my life and that was thirty-five years ago. We arrived before the official hours and already the room was packed. I saw her husband, John first, and I hugged him, then their oldest daughter who hugged me as if to comfort me. Her middle son sat tall and straight next to his friends and did not move, his eyes riveted to his mom’s casket. The youngest child was the most heartbreaking of all, he belonged to no one in that room. He was in his own world, going to the casket, returning to his seat, going to the casket and returning to his seat, his eyes on no one, alone in his private world. He sat neither with family or friends, he was in his own fragile bubble, looking younger than his years.
I thought in death, Dawn would look more like herself than she did in the last stages of her life. I somehow expected to feel comforted that I would see my friend as I had remembered her. I went slowly up to the coffin although I was terrified; I knew it was something I had to do. But, inside my head, like an unrestrained child, inside my head I was screaming with disbelief and anger “this is not OUR Dawn” I thought, “THIS IS NOT OUR DAWN.” In the coffin lay a woman I didn’t know, an old woman, with too much makeup. They had prayer cards with a picture of Dawn at her finest: natural, loving, with one of her great big smiles and that is what many people said they wanted to remember her by. Even though I felt the same way, the images for the next three nights when I tried to sleep were of Dawn in the open casket, someone I didn’t know, a stranger.
There were flower arrangements everywhere. A huge arrangement made from roses, dark, crimson roses that formed into a heart; it must have stood six feet tall. There were many other flowers, yellow, white, pink, every color you can imagine and as tall as one can dream.
Her husband John, then came over and put his arm around me to show me something. “I hope you don’t mind” he said but we used your letter to Dawn as our prayer.” In front of me, I saw a piece of paper with the words I had written FOR Dawn, many months before she died. It was called “Praying For Dawn” and somehow after writing it, I thought I would take a chance to drop it off at their house. It was meant for Dawn and her family, and yet here at the wake hundreds of people clutched the piece of paper that I had written.
Her family members wanted to meet me, they said they had all read it many times, I had no idea. I do remember that after I dropped it off I got a voice message in the back of my answering machine from Dawn, thanking me and telling me she loved it. I could barely make out her words but I never erased that message. I gave my condolences to Dawn’s mom and she said “Oh, do you like that prayer, one of her friends wrote that!!!” Somehow through my trembling lips and tears I managed to say that ‘I was that friend.’ I swear her eyes lit up and she thanked me and told me how often the family loved reading it. She asked ME if she could introduce me to Dawn’s father who had wanted to meet the friend that had written that poem. After the introduction, he hugged me, and then took my face in his hands and said “God Bless You” “Thank you for writing that about Dawn, you captured her the way she really was. ” He told me he had wanted to meet the person who wrote it and knew I was a neighbor but didn’t want to walk into the wrong house and be embarrassed.” I told him where I lived and told him that he and his wife were welcome to visit me at any time.
The emotional intensity for me was overwhelming. I was honored that they used my piece of writing at the same time I was in total emotional shock. People were complimenting me on something that I forgot about since I have written many pieces about Dawn in my blog. I looked at many of my earlier blog posts and I practically have a whole book about Dawn.
My husband practically had to drag me out of the door since we needed to get our daughter to her afternoon class. I saw an old dear friend that I hadn’t seen in a long time and we wrapped our arms around each other crying. “I feel so lost” she said, “I just feel lost.” We all felt that way, I think. Lost without a piece of sunshine in our lives, deprived forever more of this gift of a person who brought enjoyment to everyone she met. Dawn was our fighter, never giving up yet she still lost the fight to this horrendous disease. Dawn was our light, she was our strength, there was no one she didn’t like…..well, with the exception of a little dog in the neighborhood….We all laughed remembering that and it felt good.
Two days later I arrived at the church forty-five minutes before the service and again, there were many people inside. The church was beautiful, I had never been there before. The stained glass windows shone from the morning sun, the polished wood seemed inviting and homey. There were many new flowers, everywhere. So many people from our little community were there, every religion was represented, people from all parts of Dawn’s life were there to show their respect: sports teams, education, friends, family, neighbors, some of the neighborhood kids, friends and their parents for all three children and the middle school Principal. Our community sometimes gets a really bad reputation but when something happens to one of our own, we come together as one. Our little town becomes so protective and so loving of one of its own; it’s happened before. Many years ago when a young boy had cancer, the town rallied together as well.
Both Dawn’s daughter and husband spoke at the funeral. Her daughter is a young woman with the most grace and poise I have ever seen. This young woman will be famous one day, I guarantee it. Everyone was either wiping their eyes or just letting the tears stream down their faces like leaks out of a rusty, old faucet. After the service the pallbearers brought the coffin out to the hearse. I saw a random pink flower on the ground that escaped and as much as I wanted to pick it up and touch it I couldn’t. It didn’t seem like the thing to do, it belonged to Dawn.
One thing I did not know was the tradition of the hearse and all the cars attending the cemetery making a final good-bye to the house where Dawn lived with her family. We drove around the loop as well and all I could think of was Dawn’s enormous Christmas wreath that she was always so proud of, hanging still around the front door. It seemed to me so heart-wrenching to do that, to watch her family ride in the car passing their house where their mother would never again live. Maybe it’s for closure too, I can only guess.
After that, we all went to our individual homes, sighing, looking at the ground, crying, solemn and gloomy and still, feeling that we were in a different world, a new reality. I don’t know how long it takes before the death of someone really hits you and takes its toll but I do know that it does take a while. After the company, the distractions, the food and the flowers, the only thing that matters is that there will be an empty chair at their kitchen table that no one can ever replace. And, at all her children’s’ games, their mom will not be there to encourage them and support them. Whatever condition Dawn was in, good or bad, in a wheelchair or not, Dawn was always there for her children, rooting for them, happy for them until the very last breath she took to say a peaceful “good-bye.”
so i went to the snooty mall today, all anxious and not knowing where to go. my sense of direction is what legends are made of. as in i have no sense of direction, never did, never will. and jill was not working. yes, jill our gps helper person. of course, when I have to go to the complicated mall jill just shows me an hour-glass going up, going down. i had no idea where i was going. had to stop a car in the next lane and scream to ask for directions. it was all so seventies. there was bumper to bumper traffic, what should have been a 35 minute drive took me over an hour and ten minutes. I was all jittery and hot and flushed since I didn’t want to be late for my appointment and nordstrom’s doors were locked tight and it was like totally dark in there so we were all milling around in the parking lot waiting to see if someone would unlock the doors because eventually they had to. right? i mean it is nordstroms….
i had a 10:15 appointment with the genius ( i kid you not, that’s what they are called) at apple and I was all running over shlepping my computer because the dvd player which I tried at home at least 12 times, was all of a sudden working. surreal, i know, totally really surreal, like going to the doctor with a complaint and then as soon as she walks in the room, it’s gone. cured. just like my computer when he, the genius, put the Ghandi dvd in it that had scratches and i swear that Ghandi himself healed the computer’s dvd. no seriously, Ghandi himself fixed my computer and saved me about 200 dollars.
while my computer was given a free, yes free, new keyboard, i walked around the pretentious mall and wanted to get an iced tea. there was a specially tea store and I swear on my life, they wanted me to pay $4.95 for a small herbal iced tea and i was so “i’m so out of here” because starbucks is even cheaper than this and i have a gift card. i walked around the mall slowly until two people (two different people) accosted me, shoving samples in my hand. and I was all fine and happy that i got free samples until I looked at them and saw they were samples for people with deep, severe, repeat deep, severe wrinkles. now i had two wrinkle cream serums and I thought to myself, omg, I must look so old and horrible and I didn’t even have an iced tea to drink to keep myself hydrated.
i’m in all sorts of pain and my back is all sore especially the lower middle back and i am tempted to cry but am trying to hold myself together because yesterday was a horrible day and everyone was in a miserable mood. today was a little bit better because it must be that Ghandi sent some more healing powers although it seems the genius who worked on my computer did something wrong and now my computer sounds like an airplane on a runway about to take off. but supposedly the dvd player is still fixed, just not sure if i can hear it now.
i met a really interesting friend of my mother’s who is an artist and somehow she inspired me in some sort of creative, optimistic way. i am now thinking about taking an art class even though i know i have zero talent but i’m talking myself into trying again. i failed clay once and i’ve never forgotten it but i was in my twenties then and at 54 i really don’t care all that much. so i need a new hobby and now i have inspiration and a sunnier disposition to think about it. so i will plug away and maybe get involved in something new or maybe i won’t and will be the lazy slob i always have been and dive under piles of comforters and dream of spring.