Saturday, May 30, 2015

Words (that I love) from Anne Lamott: 

You know how sometimes you go to church or temple or mosque, or to those little meetings for people like you, who perhaps have tiny control issues, or used to drink until you ended up face down, or married; and you sit there desperately hoping someone will say the exact right thing, to help break the toxic trance you're in, and help you find your way back home?
Well, what would that exact thing be?
"One day at a time." Hack! Thank you for sharing; I wish I'd brought my slingshot. I'd shoot you. 
"Or, "You can't feel fear and faith at the same time." How fabulous! Did God stop by this morning and tell you that?
Well, let''s see--I happen to have a lot of fear, and a lot of faith, at the same time, a lot. I find the world as scary as it is magical, and have from the time I was four or five, when my migraines began. This place has NEVER been a good match for someone like me, who was perhaps just the tiniest bit more vulnerable and sensitive than the average bear.
Or my personal favorite, "God never gives us more than we can handle." REALLY? So let's see, your point is, I shouldn't feel as hopeless or scared or sad as I do, just because the world seems to be caving in on itself, and there seems to be a sniper in the trees, picking off the people I adore? And instead, if I do feel very sad or insane, or not up to the challenge, the problem is with me, Al Franken. 
When people say this stupid stuff to someone I love who is really going through it, I just hear rage. If someone says "Let go and let god," with certainly and cheer, I know that they secretly want to get their kalashnikov and stroll through the neighborhood. What a horrible thing to say when someone is half-mad with grief or fear. I say to the recipient, "That is complete b.s, and you must promise me you will avoid that person like the plague for the foreseeable future, because they are a danger to your spirit."
The truth is, everyone worth his or her salt--all your very best people-- feel broken, stunned, overwhelmed and defection some of the time. When people don't, when they feel very pleased with their personal upbeat selves and their all encompassing worldview, like say, the nice Duggar family, we want to run screaming for our cute little lives. And we absolutely don't want to sit near them at dinner. 
So what do I want to hear at a gathering, like church, say, or a random group of alkies? 
I want to hear, "Me, too. I have that, too. I know what that feels like." Gandhi and Jesus knew what it feels like, the loneliness, the sadness. The brutality. Jeus often said, "It's very hard here. Have you eaten? Look--you all stick together, go to the beach and have some fish. Share what you have. We'll talk later."
I want to hear, "Wow, thank you for trusting me with that. What a big f-ing drag. I've been through that, too. Let's file a brief with the Complaints department. Come, we'll sit down with a nice cup of tea and plan our strategy."
I heard the exact right thing last week, when a preacher on the radio said, "Stop talking about the mountain that's in your way--that makes it bigger. Talk TO the mountain. Say, I WILL defeat you.'" I had to pull off the side of the road, and I glared and looked as scary as an aging black-belt co-dpendent can, and I said to my mountain, "I WILL defeat you, you f-ing dickhead mountain." And in the following week, I did.
I want someone to say that against all odds, there is a solution. There really absolutely is. And that it's not out there--it's not in circumstance. Circumstances do not need to change to feel peace again or even happiness. It's not in amassing or achieving. I so hate this. As Lily Tomlin said, the problem with winning at the rat race is that you're still a rat. The solution is in knowing the truth. The solution is always spiritual, and it almost never has anything to do with the problem.
I want to hear someone remind me that if I want to have loving feelings, I need to do loving things. I want someone to make me laugh about our shared humanity and cuckooness; I want someone to remind me that laughter is carbonated holiness. I want someone to make me promise them that I'll get outside; that as someone else has probably said, praise is an attitude; I can--in advance--thank you-know-who, aka the Cosmic Muffic, aka Howard, as in Our Father who art in heaven, Howard be thy name. I want someone to remind me of what Ram Dass said, that we're all just walking each other home. I want to hear that big fat cherries are on sale for $4.99 at most stores; and that peach season has officially begun.
I just want to hear that I'm loved and chosen and welcome, no matter what a mess I've made of things, or how defective I still feel sometimes. I just want to hear that it will get better, although maybe not tomorrow right after lunch. I want to hear that you and God will never leave me alone. That I'm not nuts for finding life a totally mixed grille, unlike the nice bumper stickers--that it can be hard, magical, brutal, gorgeous, unfair, hilarious, sweet, wild and mysterious, all at once. Or that if I am nuts, you're nuts too; and we are so lucky to be together in this jar; and so delicious.

That is what I need to hear today, and that is what I am going to say today, in spite of it all. So there; and thank you thank you thank you.

By the way, the doc says that if he was a bettin' man, he'd say that Sarah might be able to go home Sunday or Monday... So, we'll see. And YAY!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Our Friday...

So... late this afternoon, Harv calls from the car. He tells me that Hannah is driving him to ER. He was feeling a tightness in his sternum and was experiencing lower back pain as well. Our primary doc suggested that he should go to ER.

This news comes as I'm sitting in Sarah's hospital room waiting for Harv and Hannah to come eat pizza and watch some "Friends" episodes.  

There's not a lot a girl can do with that news except accept it and let it soak in. So, I just said "Okay", pondered for a few minutes and then tried to figure out the logistics of who was gonna be with Sarah, who was gonna take care of the dog and then who I needed to call to pass along the info.

Then, I began to slightly "lose it." It seemed like just one thing too many. Job, from the Bible, came to mind -- though his life was way more difficult than mine is...  But things just kept happening to and around Job and it kinda feels like there are too many things going on in my life, too. ANYWAY! I cried while Sarah watched and then I felt bad for not holding it together. She was very understanding and just let me cry.

Celeste and Anthony came to the hospital and sat with Hannah and Sarah. They ordered pizza and Hannah brought me a beer from home. I went between ER and Sarah's room (I didn't carry the beer everywhere, though. :-) ).  Leah and Zoe came to visit Sarah.

Harv had blood work and a ct scan which indicate that the tumor (that we already have known about) in his liver appears to be putting pressure on his diaphragm and is causing the pain and tightness that he's been feeling.

Part of me was annoyed that my blood pressure rose for something that we already knew about and that we're gonna deal with more directly next week... But, part of me was relieved that it was "just" that tumor 'cause he's going to Seattle on Tuesday to begin the process of whoopin' some tumor ass!

So! Next Tuesday, Harvey, Raney and I will go to Seattle for Harv's 8:00 a.m. appointment to do the set up for the radio embolism which will take place approximately one week after that. Then Raney and I will drive to Kirkland so she can have her follow-up appointment for the surgery she had a couple of weeks ago. Then I'll go back to get Harv and then we'll pick up Raney on the way home -- which will be right as traffic starts to pick up in the afternoon.

Sarah will most likely still be in the hospital at St. Joe's in Bellingham...but maybe not! (She's making pretty good progress already...but she still has a ways to go.) So, we've worked out a family plan to make sure she's not "all alonely" (as the girls used to say) that day.

All of that is to say, I thought I was being pushed over the edge tonight... but it turns out I was just pushed TO the edge and was able to crawl back a bit so I didn't fall over.

Thank you, family and friends, for loving us and taking care of us... What a ride!

P.S. I took a pill tonight that will help me turn my brain off so I can get to sleep more easily. I might do it again tomorrow night. :-)

Sarah​ is doing pretty well today. She and I both had a pretty good night's sleep. (We moved to a private room which I believe helped a lot.) Her system appears to be slowly "waking up" and she has taken a short walk or two. She's still on a liquid diet, but as her system starts moving again, she can move on to solid foods... She needs to be able to eat, take oral medications and some other stuff (that I can't remember) before she can go home. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Thank you people for your prayers and well wishes.  Sarah​​ is sore but doing pretty well. we hope to get her walking soon. im gonna take a little nap. Harvs hangin' with her at the hospital. Thankful for good medical care and that even though i was a tiny bit late with it, mother's intuition kinda kicked in yesterday. more later.

For those of you not on FB, Sarah had an appendectomy last night... Now recovering. Prayers always welcome. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Harv update.


Harv had a doctor's appointment on Wednesday with the Y90 doctor. (Y90 is the name of the radio-embolism treatment Harv will have. It's a targeted radiation internally directed RIGHT at the tumor.)

The treatment will be an all-day procedure done only one time. So, thankfully, multiple trips for radiation won't be needed. However, there will be an appointment to set up for the actual treatment. That appointment will be a simulation of what he will have done on the REAL appointment and will also take a whole day.

The radiation doc is skeptical that the neck/shoulder pain that Harv is (STILL!) having is referred pain. He says that normally when there is referred pain from a tumor, the tumor is much larger than the one that Harvey has. 

However, since Harv is STILL having pain, we're gonna go see a pain doctor and see if there's anything that can be done to give him some relief. And, we have resorted to a sleep aid so that he can get some actual sleep at night -- which he hasn't had for a good long time -- at least not what any of us would call REAL sleep...

We appreciate your continued prayers for Harv and for all of us these days... We've got graduation planning, wedding planning and summer planning all happening at the same time as grieving, dog-healing from surgery and Harv's continued fight to feel good... There doesn't seem to be a shortage of things happening. 

Much love to you all.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

May 21, 2015

Hey Laura,

Today I'm 53. When I woke up this morning, the first thing I thought about after I remembered it was my birthday was how you used to send me a text first thing on my birthday. But guess what?! Clif left me a text first thing today. :-) Sweet boy.

I have had a pretty good day... Went to counseling 'cause my brain is overflowing with THINGS... good and bad...and just THINGS.  Got out of counseling and had multiple messages from sweet people. Two of my faves were Mrs. Cannon and Miss Dye singing a voicemail message to me and then a song from Emily, too. Talked to Lisa and had a good visit then. She is missin' you -- like we all are -- but has had a little bit better day today than earlier.  Some days just happen to be harder than others... for no obvious reason, it seems. But she and I had a good visit...and I actually talked to Mrs. Cannon and Mrs. Dye... Got some sweet text messages and phone calls from other family... 

Tonight, we're going out for dinner and I'm gonna eat somethin' good...and think of you. 

Sure do wish you were here.  Miss you so much.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Grief, for me, is...

...a brain that feels like it's stuffed with cotton, blocking any clear decision-making.

...a deep sense of loneliness -- even when surrounded by lots of love.

...gratefulness for so many good years and good memories

...concern for other people who are grieving the same loss

...inability to think past the right-now

...deep sadness 

...anger over injustices and early loss of life

...guilt for not being totally present for my family

These words don't even come close to the full feeling of grief for me.

I don't know why this go-round of grieving seems so painful... Maybe because it was too soon. Maybe because I wanted to be there when she left... I don't know...

But, I will say this. Though I would give it up in a second if she could be here with me, I am so thankful for the deepened sense of love and connectedness that I feel with her children... I love that we've checked in with each other most every day. I love that my nephew and niece-in-law :-) have called me from their honeymoon to tell me all about it. I love that my nieces have checked in before and after they flew back to NY. I love that Lisa called to say "hey" before she met up with Em and some friends at the zoo. I love that people who love them are reaching out and trying to lighten their load. I love that my other nephew chatted with me via text yesterday for thirty minutes. I love that we are all loving each other through the pain.

Somehow, that makes me think that Laura's not so far away after all.