health

Life Changes

Over time and with repeated negative experiences, one becomes conditioned to expect the worst.  I think this is what happened to Thor and I.  Since 2007 we have had between us: 10 surgeries, two (very different) battles with cancer, bankruptcy, a debilitating illness, and most recently another cancer scare.

We braced ourselves for the worst.
It didn’t happen.
We are on a wait and watch cycle now.
Hope, that ever-persistence ray that keeps us going, has peeked her head out again.

Could it be that our Wheel of Fortune is turning?

life · poetry · recovery · spirituality

False Prophet

I used to ride the New Age train
finding answers in the stars
unlocking the Mysteries of the Universe
a warrior for peace.

I was a see-er, an analyser
purporting to spew wisdom
a vehicle for a higher power
a spiritual guide.

It was like riding the bull
in a rodeo show –
fast and entertaining
but not sustaining.

And when I fell –
as surely we all do –
only the dust in my mouth
attested to my momentary ride.

The crowds have moved on
nothing to see here anymore
just post theatrical let down –
the show is over.

I was the mirror in the funhouse
distorting images of reality
believing I offered insight
unaware of the duplicity.

Magical thinking is
the merry-go-round of life
spinning fantasies
of wonder and revelation.

In the end, it is uncertainty,
not creed or indoctrination,
that rules destinies –
change is the only given.

recovery

A Child’s Grief

I didn’t cry when you died in that fire,
you and your sisters and brother.
I didn’t cry when we saw the images on the news –
the charred remains of your house,
four stretchers with black tarps being carried from the scene.
I didn’t cry when we all crowded around the coffin –
one built for four – your bodies reduced to nothing –
family members wailing in disbelief.
I didn’t cry, because I couldn’t.

Your bright eyes haunted me –
that impish smile of yours
cutting through my soul
taunting me, as you always did –
your quick tongue and high energy
dancing around me, making my head spin –
raising my ire until I could take no more.I wish you were dead, Billy!
I’d said it out loud.
Said it in front of everyone.
Said it with spite and meant it.
Said it, only days before the fire.

I know they know.
I can tell by the way they all hold each other,
and cry into their handkerchiefs
and don’t look at me.
I can tell they know it is my fault.
I know it is my fault.
I didn’t really mean it, Billy.
I didn’t really mean it, God.
We were just playing around.
Billy and me, it’s how we are.
We were just fooling.
Billy’d always make me mad,
then we’d make up – everytime
I swear.
Please God, make it not so.
I won’t fight with him anymore, I promise.
I only fight with him ’cause I like him.
You know how it is with boys and girls.
Billy’s my cousin.  I love him.
Please send him back God.
I’ll be good and learn to tame my temper –
Mommy always tells me to watch my temper –
I’ll be good, you’ll see.
I didn’t mean for you to kill all of them –
well…I didn’t really mean for any of them –
it’s just something you say –
when you’re ten and don’t know any better.

health · Humour · poetry · women's issues

The Queen is Missing

She’s not in the kitchen –
presiding over the preparations,
thriving amidst the chatter,
tutting away thieving hands.

She’s not in the classroom –
mastering subjects,
upholding order,
ruling with a charitable hand.

Nor is she at social affairs –
smiling regally,
head bent in rapt attention,
compassion oozing forth.

The Queen is missing –
the poise and grace
that marked her carriage
has vanished without a trace.

Don’t ask the old woman –
tottering down the lane
stooped and stumbling –
she’s not all there.

Her mind’s a trickster,
her ego a petulant child
unwilling to concede wrong –
she’s merely the court jester.

 

adversity · dreams · health · poetry · recovery

Oh, To Dream

I dream of waking before the dawn,
preparing for my day with proficiency,
professionally preened and on the go.

In reality, I see the early light of day
through an insomnia-induced haze,
or miss it altogether, unable to rise.

I will carelessly tie my hair back,
and moan at my image, forgoing cosmetics –
no one will see me, after all.

If I dress, it will be for comfort,
elasticized waistline compensating for swelling,
soft fabrics to soothe the burning aches.

In my dream it is the first day of school,
and I am excited and anxious,
caught up in the camaraderie of the moment.

I awake to the resounding silence of solitude,
no schedules await me, no colleagues
exchanging pleasantries, communal conspiracy absent.

I will pace myself, shuffling
between bed and simple tasks,
a cup of tea, maybe some writing.

I drive in my dream, a shiny red car
in which I glide through the streets
and park with the pride of knowing it awaits.

Its been years since I’ve felt the freedom
and independence of self-chauffeuring,
reliant on the more able-bodied, sharply cognizant.

It’s a rare occasion that rouses me from
this compelled complacency, enough
to venture into the hyper-stimulating world.

Disability has closed around me,
limiting experience, restricting imagination,
until I dream – and am whole again.

adversity · Family · health · poetry · recovery · relationships · spirituality

My Spirit Stands Strong

Progress – seldom linear –
tosses me into unexpected decline –
stranded and incapacitated.

My son – with labour-hardened strength
leaps to my side, steadying me
and I feel the fear in his caring grip.

My daughter, ever compassionate,
reaches out for me with horror-filled eyes
as my body crumples onto the bed.

My husband, my oak, seeks to comfort
his voice betraying the helplessness
this futile predicament imposes.

Beloveds, I know that you see me
this dis-abled, non-functioning shell
weakened and sickly, lying on this bed.

Do not be deceived – that is not me –
it is only an illusion –
a vessel – temporarily fettered.

I am, in essence, beside you –
ambitions and desires intact.
Feel me there, tall and proud.

Sense the wholeness of my being
remember me for the woman I am yet to be –
My spirit stands strong.

health

A Mountain of Grief

I exist in the spaces –
crushed and flattened –
between the rocks that form
this mountain of grief.

Each sorrowful fragment
petrified,  polished –
a collection of coldness
hardened and maintained.
I’ve never known how to grieve.

How do I shed the weightiness –
crawl out from the crevices –
breathe new life into myself?

Should I try to scale the mound?
Conquer my emotions?
Raise a flag to victory
and ultimate denial?

Or, one by one,
should I examine
and relive the losses
counting them till my head spins
and my heart beats no more?

Lacking the strength to do either
I sit and feel the hollow agony –
the overwhelming numbness
that precedes movement.

I live in the cracks
of this precariously constructed
shroud of stones –
a self-imposed prison –
and pray for resurrection.