Resting Spot

Jun 8, 2011 by

Mr. Spot, one of our beloved cats, died on Thursday morning. He died in the way of his choosing; at home, under the bed, where he felt safe.  He hadn’t been able to breathe well for months due to congestive heart failure.  Six months ago, I took him through a labyrinth of stressful veterinary medical procedures to ease his breathing, but two days after, his symptoms returned. We could have done it again.  We could have submitted to another terrifying day of waiting rooms and needles, but how many times until we accept the inevitable? Since the death of my husband in 2008, I have had an uneasy relationship with the medical system anyway.  When they told us Dave had leukemia, his only symptoms were some lethargy and pain in his side.  He checked...

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Living a Dangerous Life

Apr 20, 2011 by

Everyone knows it’s dangerous to, say, ride a motorcycle or eat saturated fat, but somehow we miss the inherent danger of being alive. My husband died of acute leukemia.  In June of 2008, we were living ordinary lives.  In July, I took Dave to the doctor for what we thought was diverticulitis, common to 45 year old men and easy to cure.  In August, he was trapped in the hospital on chemotherapy and by the end of September, he was gone.  The whole hospital episode, from diagnosis to death, took six weeks. Is it any wonder it seems to me that we barely control anything in our lives?  Trouble will find you, even if you’re perfectly still.  What kind of world is this?  The raw truth is that it’s a world where the person...

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A Soul in Cat’s Clothing

Mar 24, 2011 by

Spot the Cat is not doing well.  Spot is one of three cats who made the journey across the country with me after my husband died.  I call our little family “Bonnie and the Traveling Cats” because we all had to go.  We all had to change. Did you know cats can get heart disease?  Spot has it and it makes his little chest fill up with fluid.  He can’t breathe well.  I watch him try to carry on his normal feline activities while his chest heaves, trying to bring in enough air.  He is uncomfortable.  I can take him to the veterinary internal medicine specialist to have the fluid drained, but it scares him half to death and his chest fills right back up.  He is not getting better. How do I know...

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For Couples Only

Mar 21, 2011 by

Disease is not an easy subject for people to chat about. Actually they avoid it at all costs. I always thought that after everything I had been through, I could always count on my girlfriends to lift me up when I was down. Not so, I learned that disease is kind of like divorce it separates you from certain folks. You know how divorce or a break-up causes groups of friends to feel an allegiance to the husband, wife or partner? Well guess what? Sometimes it happens when you lose someone due to death. Here I was feeling my absolute loneliest, eating poorly, and doing everything I could to be strong. I began to see a bereavement counselor to talk to someone – no one would talk to me about it. I blamed myself...

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Two Widows .. Now Equals

Mar 14, 2011 by

I sat by the stack of RSVP’s for the wedding in June that would not take place. I stared at them a good long while before I picked them up and brought them over to the couch and began to alphabetize them. Normally I am not this anal retentive but, I thought it’d be easier to find their phone numbers and email addresses in my address book. Slowly but surely I was done. Each card had a corresponding number or email address so I could begin contacting the folks who were kind enough to have responded early to the Save The Date and wedding invitations in the morning. Surprisingly a good number of them were from friends that lived out of town. I crashed on the couch embraced by the scent of him. I...

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Trading Nightmares For Dreams

Mar 4, 2011 by

I’m sitting on the couch on Friday morning.  A train whistles, telling tales of its journeys to places I’ve never been.  Mornings like this, Colorado reminds me of W. Virginia. Snow-clouds hang heavy over the city, obscuring the ever-present mountains. I must simply have faith that they are still there, still standing over us, watching and waiting forever.  I cannot see them now, but then that’s the nature of faith, isn’t it? I love this place.  I love that I can see the constellation of city lights from my kitchen windows.  I love how the steam from the nearby power plant clings together and stays close to home when the temperature dips below zero.  Sometimes that steam even turns to snow and falls right back down on us, as if to say, “Good or bad,...

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Waking Up On The Black Couch

Feb 27, 2011 by

Returning home, the day’s events washed over me like a proper London rain. I was completely soaked in the wet energy of others, their grief and that of my own and could barely walk up the steps to our front door. Throughout the last hours I kept thinking to myself, ‘I have to get through this day, they have to know that they can count on me, be the rock, be the foundation, get this done.’ Upon entering our home, there was a deafening silence. It was so very quiet, void of all of the laughter and filled with the remnants of my rapid departure to the hospital the morning he had slipped from a coma into the beyond. In my haste to find a black outfit, that wasn’t a little black dress, but...

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My Spirit Was Broken But My Heart Was Singing...

Feb 19, 2011 by

George’s mother was a complete wreck as the funeral continued her wails and sobs at the loss of her youngest of 7 children, her ‘happy accident’ as she called him because he was born in her early forties when women of her time were simply not able to have kids, was being laid to rest. She had buried the eldest of her children a boyish man when he was 17 when George was a mere toddler and her husband 3 years prior of the same cancer. I had the idea to play some of George’s favourite music gently in the background so that when people approached the casket that did not hear church music. Portishead and Massive Attack played as softly as trip-hop could possibly. As her screams and cries echoed in the packed...

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Kiss Me Like A Stranger

Feb 14, 2011 by

George – Chapter 1: That this will be read by complete strangers, people who I have not yet met or never, makes this missive seem almost therapeutic. I had come to Atlanta in 1992 to work as interpreter for an international law firm with a large Japanese client.  The assignment soon went from 3 weeks to almost 4 months. Over time I grew weary of law firm take-out food. While I was not vociferous, a young law student and runner for the firm took pity on the quiet French-Italian girl and directed me to the nearest French Bistro. It was a quaint place, small table, pseudo-bohemian students with a portrait of Miles Davis that nearly eclipsed a wall separating the bar from the main dining room. I sat facing it the right side of...

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