Care

In 2005/2006, I went through treatment for breast cancer, or as Molly Ivins put it, I was poisoned, and burned.  She added that she was mutilated, but I ‘just” had a lumpectomy so didn’t feel as violated as those who had more.

I finished treatment in June and went through horse therapy to “re-empower” me.  I’m not sure I was re-empowered but I loved the horses, and the time with them, and learning how they responded to my energy.  It was a lesson in how we respond to the energy of others, and our own, and how we interact.

That September, I was invited to participate in a fashion show, a gift to the oncologists and doctors who had contributed to the survival of a group of women, and one man. Yes, men can get breast cancer, and he was quite a dapper soul.

We each had three outfits to wear down the runway.  I wore pink lingerie, brown sportswear, and a beautiful black outfit with the risk of very high heels.  Everyone wore formal dress for the runway and grand finale.

It was a beautiful, fund-raising event.  It comes to me now when I read that Desiree Anzalone, the great-granddaughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz Sr., has died from breast cancer. She was just 31.

We are reading of her because she is famous, but my understanding is that all the young women in that show passed away rather quickly afterwards.  I was the oldest in the show at 56.  There was a woman in her 20’s and others in their 30’s and 40’s, and a few in their young 50’s.

Cells multiply more quickly in the young so when they get cancer, they are more at risk.  My family is gathering today, socially distanced, of course, to celebrate my son’s birthday.  I give thanks for all the scientists and doctors and dedicated people who mean I’m here.  The young man who handed us a gown for radiation always made sure each gown was warm, and he said a prayer over each one.  Tears come.  We live in a world of care.  

Day 13: The Nest

Where I live, birds have hatched and are in the process of testing their wings and leaving the nest.  I consider the work and play of making a nest, the gathering of materials, twigs, hair, fur, and then, the laying of eggs, perhaps a full nest,  crowded even, and then testing leading to flight, and the nest is empty perhaps to be used again or maybe to fall apart.

Each of us is given an opportunity to be the twig gathered, the fur, the hair, the coming together to make a nest, the couple, the egg, the hatching, the flight, and then, a a space, a place for something new to come.

A friend sent me a card with these words:

There is a sacredness in tears.

They are not the marks of weakness,

but of power.

They are the messengers of our unspeakable love.

Washington Irving (1783-1859)

We flame and melt

Day 10: Sweetness

My college roommate Robyn Anzelon was a bridesmaid at my wedding. She comments on the photo of my brother and me coming down the aisle with “so glad the sweetness is wrapping around you,” and yes, that is the word, the feeling: sweetness.  

Sweetness wraps around me, stepping stones in grief.  My brother’s eyes, and he always had better than 20/20 vision while I, not so much, are now expanded out.  He draws me to stars and sky even as I more clearly feel the ground beneath my feet. Aliveness. I feel him augmenting sky and soil inside.  I’m tenderized with sweetness, wrapped in love.

I’m reminded of my mother’s sweet smile as she said over and over again, “All is love.”  My parents, our parents, lived as though rolled in tenderness, bathed in it from birth, many births. They saw a wider view. They were Holy Beings, as are we all, and yet sometimes we need to be touched again and again with the sweetness we share in living here.  We need to touch each cell inside with the recognition and acknowledgment of the sweet power and joy-filled frequency of love. There, is support.

In fourth grade, I was the fairy who gave kindness in the play Sleeping Beauty.  I stepped forward and touched my wand to the baby and said four powerful words, “I give you kindness.”  I often say the words to myself. “I give you kindness, Cathy.” I do that today, give myself the sweet fruit of kindness, as it ripens in sun and rain, fulfilling its purpose with the growth, care, and protection of seeds, generations of seeds. We are here for more than ourselves. We seed with sweetness our future as we honor our shared needs.


The heart of St. Francis fills baskets then and now with Love

Day 8 – Resurrecting

We each have a different tradition on this day. I look out as sun strikes the ridge with light and birds sing and squirrels chirp.  I read about the explosions, blood and killings in Sri Lanka. I’m tempted to leave this page blank, feeling there are no words to express what I might say, and I resolved to post each day after my brother’s passing as my homage to him who was my greatest cheerleader.  As older sister, I could do no wrong.

My family is gathering today.  I look forward to the sanctity in that while knowing there is death for others, pain.

I feel my brother coming through in various ways, allowing me to know he is here in different form.  Spirit speaks. I feel love in my being, peace.

St. Francis and Froggie Buddha together today!

Fifth Day of Grief

On the fifth day of grief, my feet are cobblestones, walking ancient paths.

I wonder if part of the grieving process is the other also letting go, a separation, gently, roughly, tenderly, kindly, agonizingly painful separation of paths.

Both stand at a crossroads, and then, how do we let go?

As we gather in connection, I wonder if the one who has passed is beckoning us together, gathering us like flowers into one bouquet and for a time we share a vase, in gathering, a vine.