Tag Archive | friends

The journey so far

So until this is over and I’m well again, I’m going to be blogging a lot about my cancer journey, so you can skip over these posts as they may not always be funny but writing is my way of processing information.

I’m strangely calm about the diagnosis most of the time. Other than having had a case of the runs for a year and a half most of the time I don’t feel that sick. I have found that some of the symptoms I assumed were from other things weren’t , things like back pain and weight gain around my tummy. Evidently unlike most cancers, ovarian cancer can have weight gain and make your pants feel really tight around the middle which I guess makes sense if you are concealing a tumour that is bigger than a grapefruit. I’ve been losing inches in my legs and butt and boobs but my pants were getting tighter not smaller.

I hadn’t bought many new clothes since I got this job 2 and a half years ago but with impending abdominal surgery. I got three pairs of really soft pants in the men’s dept at Target. They seem to be a really light fleece. I also ordered some soft fleece lined leggings from Amazon. I learned with my hysterectomy and gall bladder soft pants are wonderful ‘cause putting on your jeans just ain’t an option.

I’m feeling very loved. That helps too. Lots of people have sent prayers and wishes. It makes me feel not so alone on my journey. Next Wednesday I see the oncologist and probably schedule the surgery. They registered me at one hospital already but I’d rather be another that would be more accessible. My sister would have no way to get to Arcadia but she can take the Gold Line to Huntington and I know a lot of people at Huntington. We’ll see.

Meanwhile I’m taking one day at a time and trying to enjoy it.

They made us take the Myers- Briggs, Keirsey Bates whatever testing at work again

http://www.16personalities.com/profiles/55e9b63eebb6b

It’s never a surprise, I’m still an INTJ. A little lighter on the J than I used to be but I think that eases with age. Reality sets in and you finally deal with the fact that most other people do not see time and decisions as you do as illogical as that can be.

And as rare as an INTJ is alleged to be the older you get the more you find you have surrounded yourself with others of like mind or if they aren’t NTs they are at least NF because the S’s of any sort can make you buggy and ESs really drive you around the bend.

Last weekend at camp made me realize that. ESs are like dealing with Winnie the Poohs Tigger all the time and it’s exhausting and annoying.

I will always prefer the thinkers and dreamers of the world.

Reunions are special places

This weekend’s reunion was wonderful. Reunions are the closest you can get to a time machine for camp. The only problem is that you no longer climb like a mountain goat with no thought about how you are going to hurt when you are done. We all look different from our past selves. Most of us are heavier, we all are grayer but are hearts are pretty much the same.

Some camps were filled with sunshine, grace and love, some weren’t but Teresita is one that was. I have to admit that I felt like I was a fish out of water there but they have shown in spades that they didn’t feel that way about me and that is a gift.

They aren’t all Catholics now, we have gone are separate journeys. I was a budding Pagan then but now some are Buddhists, some are still Catholic, some are atheist and some are agnostic and some have moved to other forms of Christianity but we all respect each other.

I was amazed Sunday morning how many showed up for my Chapel before breakfast, last year there were 8 adults, this year most came and they brought their kids.  That was very special. Miss Kat is the crazy Druid and they let her have Chapel on Sunday of all days. It felt really good especially since I had a brain storm the night before and threw out what I was going to do and wrote a service on magic and my definition of magic because for me magic = nature and being up in the mountains and in the trees is my church so we listened to the wind in the pines and the oaks and we watched and listened to my nemesis the acorn woodpecker. We saw all the colours of green and we saw the magic in each other’s laugh and smile. That is my definition of magic.

And this is the prayer I wrote:

I ask for power to make good decisions this day and every day

I ask for wisdom to see the magic in the world

I see magic in the wind

I see magic in the sun’s rays

I see magic in the greens of the trees

I hear magic in a friend’s voice

I hear magic in a bird’s song

I hear magic in music

I know the magic of loving friends and family

I know the magic of learning new things

I know the magic of peace, the magic of hope, the magic of love

Let me take these things with me through this day

And home with me this night

May we know we are blessed and that we carry blessing

To those we meet

May we be blessed.

And we ended with sending the blessings of the weekend into the wind in bubbles.

A prayer for today

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Brighid, Kwan Yin and Hecate

Be with those who walk the twilight path

And be with those who watch them go.

Brighid, they walk a path lighted with your flame

A flame that those watching cannot see but have to trust is there

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Kwan Yin, they walk your healing way

And those who watch cannot see the healing

Hecate, you wait with your arms waiting to greet them

And accompany them on that path.

Please reassure those who have sent them to you

Let us know they are safe.

The walker holds our hearts, knowing and unknowing

Brighid, Kwan Yin and Hecate

Comfort those of us left behind

We grieve too early, the walker is not gone yet.

She is just gone from us.

She is in a different time and place from us.

Let her know she is always in our hearts

We await the times in the next life we will meet under the trees

We wait at the door we can’t pass through yet

It isn’t our time

We will follow you and the Green Lady

To where our own paths lead.

Our time is not yet.

We hold open hearts

We love and we honour each of our paths

Our time is not now

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How hearts break

Hearts can get broken in tiny increments and hearts can be broken in the flash of an ax. When you love someone with a terminal disease your heart breaks in tiny painful and deep slices. When you love someone with the terminal disease if they pass into dementia, the blow lands hard and is no longer a tiny slice, it is the ax blow. And you stand alone helpless because now you get no feedback that is positive and it hurts.

M has now passed into the realm of dementia. Dementia for each person seems to be a different place. Sometimes there are lucid moments that can steal your breath and hope springs because you think they might stay but then they slip back into that faeryland and you lose them again and it hurts even more. Some dementia is a land the loved one never returns from and you stand there a stranger to the one you love, adrift and bereft of any comfort because you no longer are part of their landscape.

M can’t even really communicate what that new land she ventures into is like because the ALS has stolen that too. D’s heart is breaking and I know Di and mine are too.

M is our sister in our Grove, she is a sunny spot in the four of us. She is a vital piece in our friendship and she is passing into the realms of faery. She doesn’t know where she is and she has lost where she is in our time.

I wish I could be there for D, but at the moment that isn’t possible and it hurts my heart.

This isn’t the first time in my life that life has turned cruel and it won’t be the last but it doesn’t get any easier.

Remembering Laura Janesdaughter

Two years ago yesterday our Heiromum died. Laura Janesdaughter was an amazing woman and she led the Temple of Isis Los Angeles with strong heart and mind and I miss her so much. She was the one who ordained me. She was the one that got ordained as an Arch Druidess with the Druid Clan of Dana/FOI just so Mary, Denise and I could have a grove and now the Hazelwood Grove exists and before her memorial that year the three of us were created Arch Druidesses ourselves by Linda Iles and DeTraci Regula. It could not have been a more fitting time and thing to do to honour Laura and all her hard work for us. Laura was the face we showed at the Faire and at workshops and rituals. She was our heart when we needed a center.

Laura had a way of knowing when it was time to push you to the next step. When you had gotten stalled in your growth and needed to see the next place to leap and she showed you how to cushion the fall, when you did.

Laura, Callista, Denise and Inanna were the other cohorts at the first appearance of the goddess, BunniHoTep and she never doubted BunniHoTep was real or that she was a goddess. When others in the Temple didn’t understand about BunniHoTep she defended her and she defended me for writing her stories and scolded me more than once for saying she was a madeup goddess and not a rediscovered goddess.

I’m not generally one of the ritual priestesses or leading events. I’d rather be in the background and observe and record unless I get shoved into the light. Laura let me be our archivist and record ritual and when people complained about being filmed she pointed out we were in public and without documentation pagans don’t have a record of existing.

When I was laid off and unemployed for 5 ½ years, Laura more than once stepped in and kept us from being homeless or hungry and was offended when I told her I would pay her back. I never got the chance. She died in the small space of time between the temp job that lead to this job and the start of my permanent job. I’m so grateful I was off work because it allowed me to spend that week being part of the women that were holding space that week for her. It allowed me to sing to her, to say the Grove prayers with her that we had created. It allowed us to simply be, with her. It was a great gift to be able to do those things.

So Laura, where ever you are in journeying, may blessings be showered down upon you and may you were loved deeply and always will be. What is remembered lives.

“My heart, my mother, my heart, my mother, my way of understanding” Women with Cakes chant

Grief the thief

I’ve had an awful lot of people pass in an out of my life through the Veils. In the 1980’s it was a lot of the gay men in my life including my best friend, Art. I’ve lost all my great aunts and uncles and my grandparents when I was a lot younger. When I was a kid babysitting it was a baby we babysat at church who was born with an incurable and identifiable disease. In the 2000s I lost my parents and my little brother. That one will never stop hurting. Two years ago we lost Laura Janesdaughter, our Heiromum to multiple myeloma. Now Mary is on that path.

I know you aren’t allegedly supposed to grieve before someone is gone but it’s very difficult not to and even more difficult when you are well aware of the process. Because what they don’t like to tell you is that grief is cumulative. Every death is another stone on your chest and a piece of your heart that is missing. Every death is painful and they lie when they tell you it fades, it doesn’t. It ebbs and it flows and can hit you hard when you aren’t anticipating it. It can be set off by the sound of a stranger’s laugh that sounds like your loved one. The scent of a perfume or flower or of a food you ate with them. It can come when singing a song that you used to sing with or for them. It can be watching someone walk down the street and the walk is like theirs.

I’ll be 61 in a month and a day. My first funeral was my great-grandmother’s when I was 5. I still remember her and I remember sitting with my grandmother while she made her handkerchief into a hopping rabbit while she kept us quiet with chocolate mint Lifesavers in the back of the car. My great-grandmother was 92 and I remember her heavy Swedish accent at the holiday dinner table but when she died I really didn’t understand what death meant. At 60 I’m well aware of what death means and the pain it can make a body endure.

Never let anyone tell you it gets easier. It does not. They are saying that because it hasn’t happened to them yet. When my brother died it took a year before I stopped bursting into tears every time I thought of him and it still reduces me to jelly if I get hit unwarned by something like someone wearing my brother’s cologne or a book we read together or a song we sang together. It’s been 10 years this July and sometimes it could be yesterday.

So this is a familiar if unwanted journey. I know it’s even harder for M and D. Someone you thought you would grow old with way into the future isn’t going to be there. The future is just not going to be what you thought. As a priestess of Hecate and a past on-call clergy with the AIDS Service Center gives me some framework but when someone is close to you, all you can do is hold a circle of love and the memories and hope it’s enough for all of you.