Tuesday, December 9, 2014

It's Not Fair

So today I got the news that I will most likely have a mastectemy in the very near future.  Basically, all I can say is, "That really sucks."  I recently had a friend tell me that, "It's not fair,"  when asking me about my cancer.  Well now that has a dissonant ring I never expected to say, "My cancer."  It is what it is.  Back to the fairness issue.

Really, what does fairness have to do with anything except how we treat people?  My cancer has nothing to do with fairness.  It is, however and eye opener.  What does it have to do with?  Is it toxisity we breath and eat?  Is it stress?  Is it just chance?  What I'm sure it isn't is punishment or unfairness.

What my friend was referring to was my year...or maybe my several years...but she's just plain wrong.  Yeah, I would call this year, 2014, one of my less favorite years, especially the starting and ending parts.  My husband dying in Januaury, and me with breast cancer in December does seem to wrap up the year with some pretty raw wire, but here I am thinking about the fun times this year has brought me, from a girlfriend road trip cross country, to lovely fun trips to see my family, and a warm and comfortable home surrounded by constant activity and friends.  And, as I ponder this year's mix of rainbow and rain I am filled with the knowledge that, it's good.  All of it.  Like another friend recently said, "It's God's tree, and I'm just sitting in it."

And it's a lovely tree indeed, God's tree.  It's not one that deals in fairness, it's one that just is.  My theology is really simple:  God is.  That's it.  I don't get it complicated with behavior or punishment or fairness.

So, even though I would like to fall into crying and sadness, the closest thing I can get is shock. Just didn't expect this one.

It's sort of like when dad's prize bull just dropped dead, before  he even had a chance to frolic with the females.  Dad had saved all of his money, extended himself beyond his good judgement, brought that fertile fella home and within a few minutes of getting him to the pasture, that darn expensive promise had a heart attact and died.  I remember dad's face.  I remember his distant stare, his broken spirit.  It was shock.  Of all the things he thought or knew might go wrong on the farm, his prize winning bull having a heart attack and dying, was the last of his thoughts.

That's me and breast cancer.  Of all the things that I know that can go wrong, I just didn't have breast cancer wired in as a possibility.  But, it's God's tree and I'm just sitting in it.  I've been blessed with so many amazing tree sitting joys, I'm going to just keep sitting here and take what comes.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


My family always ate meals together at the table.  All three meals.  Farm families can do that. Breakfast of pancakes and gravy.  Big dinner of roast beef and potatoes at noon, and usually soup for supper.  Something to be said about sitting around the table looking at each other that many times a day.  At breakfast we always had the radio on to catch the news, usually weather, because that was the only news that really mattered to farmers.  At dinner (lunch to most) we would talk about the day, the crops, the weather, the jobs that needed doing, and of course how good the food was.  And at supper, we talked about everyone's day.  What we did, how we felt and how we could make the next day better.

My brother, Rod and I sat on a bench by a big glass window.  I fell backwards through that window when I was very small, but have no memory of the incident, only a long scar on my thumb.  But I do remember that we sat on that bench every meal of every day. for most of my growing up years.

One dinner meal is vividly picturesque in my mind.  As usual, we had gone to Broken Bow (about 40 miles away} on a Sat. morning.  I had my piano lessons every Saturday morning while my parents bought the week's groceries.  This particular Saturday after piano lessons. my mom took me into the Ben Franklin store and together we bought my first bra.  I selected a finely padded bra to give rise to my barely budding breasts.  I was so proud.

We got home in time for our noon meal.  I sat on the bench I had always sat on, but now I was voluptuous. I had on my padded bra, and I stuck out like nobodies business.  Well, my brothers had a hay day.  Needless to say, I was embarrassed.  But, I was getting them, tits, and by the reaction of my brothers, it was a pretty big deal.

Lots of year and lots of tit experiences have come and gone since then. We women learned as children that they were pretty cool and we could flaunt them to get remarkable and often pleasing reactions.

Not long ago I was wanting to look my best for an important function.  I had a dress made especially for the event.  "Go get fitted for a real bra," were my instructions from the dress designer.  So I went to Nordstroms and  spent hours being fitted for the perfect look.  I was so convinced that these bras
would make me beautiful, that I bought 3 of them and spent nearly $400.  They are painful to wear and I don't think I'm any more or less  beautiful with or without them.  Point is, tits are problematic.

And now, I'm at the most problematic point I've been in all my tit time.  I have cancer of the tits.  I suppose I should be more politically correct and say, I have breast cancer, but that seems to give them too much importance.

I'm at a place where I may soon choose to no longer have breasts, and I have to decide how I feel about that.  I stand in front of the mirror and say to myself, "not bad, even for an old lady like me," while at the same time imagining how I will look without them.

Self image is critically important. For the young girl sitting across the table from her brothers, self image was everything, and breasts were the magic pill to wonderfulness.  As a woman who has lived with those things since those early days of budding, I know there were times when losing them would have been a crisis.

Now, it doesn't seem important.  I  so wish to not have to go through all the mess and pain and inconvenience that my breast cancer poses, but whether I have tits to put into my uncomfortable $100 bras or not is not the issue for me now.  My issue is Rowan.  Rowan and the great grand kids and all the grand kids.  They sure won't care if I have tits.  They just want to have my music and joy, my laughter and games.  They want me healthy and happy.  I want that too.

I've put my tits in the hands of both God and my surgeon.  And I will move forward with music and joy and laughter long after their hands have done their duty.  Cancer be gone in whatever form that needs to be.  

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Farewell, Dear Friends

As much as I've loved you, and as helpful as you've been to me, I'm going to leave you.  I hate to write this, because then I have to act, but I am, I am going to leave you behind.  And you've been so comforting.  Brandy and Potato Chips.  My close friends for many years.  My nightly partners in grief and survival.  My lover substitutes, my sensual joys.  I'm leaving you behind, because I have a new battle to fight and you are not the tools I need for this battle.

You probably didn't cause it, but my body has taken on a new challenge, breast cancer, and my old friends, Brandy and Potato Chips just have to go.  I'm just getting a grip of it's reality as it comes in waves, but somehow I am now in a new place where taking charge has a whole new meaning for me.
All the things that I know are good for me, and all the things that I know are not good for me are swimming around in my head, and the only thing I hear is, duh.  Seriously, duh.  So it's time to take care of me.

Breast Cancer.  Well that really sucks.  But, oh, well, it could be a head on collision when I have no choices and no chances.  So this ride will be full of amazement for sure, but what it won't be full of is Brandy and Potato Chips.  Ready, Set, Go.  I sure don't want to ride this ride, but I'm on it, so I might as well ride it with a clear mind and grease-less fingers.  What lies ahead has only one assurance, that I will be lifted up daily by my family and my faith.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

It felt really good, until the fall

It felt really good, until the fall

So I spent the morning in the beauty shop hanging out with one of my favorite people, Joey.  We both like to write, but we drag our butts, having them wrapped around our own belief that, even though we know we're amazing pens, there's the fear that nobody else gives a rip.  After all, lots of people write, you know.  What makes us think we're good anyway?   And then it came to us.  Such a novel thought.  Hold on!  We can appreciate each other's mixture of words!  You know, like dress designers who get together and ooh and ah over each other's work, or car guys who stare for hours at the other guys slick and shinny fenders and rims, or crafty people who make stuff and strut around all proud while others swoon over their creation.  I mean, really, we're just as good as them.  We can write and we can share.

 We challenged one another to get off our butts, or on, as usually I write on mine, well, not on mine, that would be difficult, but sounds fun...off track.  What to write?  We decided something funny.  Well shit, that's easy.  My life is just one bundle of tragic laughs.  So, here goes, Joey, my friend.  I'm on my butt, I'm writing fast because I really need twenty bucks.  

So much funny stuff.  Let's start with the salon visit.  Seriously it's comic relief to just walk in, sit and watch.  Check out the posters.  "keep calm and wrap on,"  "What is your Eufora Promise?, "Inner strength creates outer beauty, strong, be inspiring, smooth stylish bold vibrant refined unique real......"  There's more, but gag me.  First of all, not one person there is trying to be REAL.  They're trying to be something they, quite frankly, are not.  Why else do we go to salons?  I can't argue with the inner strength creates outer beauty message, but there is absolutely nothing that goes on in that, or any salon,  that develops inner strength.  How does that message get into a bottle of something?  Bottle of brandy, maybe.  Now, what is your Eufora promise anyway?  Well, if you look carefully at the poster it looks like a marijuana plant.  Is there a secret room in this place where we can smoke a joint or two and share our great euphoric promises?  Now, we just might find inner strength, become smooth, stylish and inspiring if that were the case and believe you me, I'm sure we would be real.  And maybe, just maybe, I could be calm and wrap on, all at the same time.  It's all just a bunch of phony stuff for us to gobble up so we can feel REAL.  Now, if I were real, I would be as gray as gray gets and I would probably be spewing stuff at people that I think are so ridiculous.  I just love the parade.   

Lest we not forget the gorgeous guy who came in with great hair and walked out with none, except a tuft on top.  He was proud.  He was happy and he was nearly bald, on purpose.  What gives.  He was still gorgeous. 

And, could she be anything but a good example of beauty.  I mean the strut in the tight pants and 4 inch boots, the extensions hanging over her over made eyes, her smirky smile that really is saying," look at me, I'm so dang great."  How I would love to take her aside and teach her how to dress.  How did she get to own that place anyway?  I counted 40 times back and forth.  He feet must hurt big time at the end of the day.  Nobody can do that for real. 

Then there's the blond addict who walked in not looking bad, but by the time the hairdresser took out all of her extensions she had most of what was on her head laying on the table next to her and I shuddered at the thought of someone trying to run their fingers through her hair and either bring out a chunk, or feeling like she had scurvy.  I hope she warns any potential hair fingers partner.  

I sorta like the blue haired girl.  Perky for sure, but what's with the hat?  

I'm such a bitch.  I go there to do exactly what they are all doing, become a better version on myself, but jez, do they have to be so weird.  Actually it was a kinky way to start my day.  Reality is whatever we can get away with covering up. 

So I have breast cancer.  Now this is pretty shitty news given that fact, well, nobody wants breast cancer, but just how many bad things are okay in one single year?  There's probably a formula for this.  Guess I haven't maxed out the secret formula which gives great hope to those of you just smoothing along in your life.  Shit is coming your way.  No way to get ready for it, except of course to make sure you "be calm and wrap on."  My first mistake was getting a mammogram.  So they found something, went after it, cut me open big time, and in case you're wondering, it hurts like the devil to have a two inch gash wrapped around your nipple.  My God, did I use that word, nipple?  On no, that's not the "N" word.  Moving on.   Well, what they went after was nothing, but golly gee, they found an edge of terribleness......cancer, and now, well, of course, they have to go get that.  Another boob bombardment and I'm in the system now, so......shit I'm going back to the salon to find my real Eufora Promise and to become REAL. 

So the doctor told me that if I'm going to have breast cancer this is the best breast cancer you can have.  You can't imagine how good that made me feel.  Duh!  My son gave me the best medicine possible, laughter.  In a serious talk he asked, "which breast, mom?"  "Right."  "Whew!  Thank God, I never liked that one much anyway."  I have been laughing for a week. 

My wallet, phone, got stolen off the counter of the shop last week.  I was a few minutes away from the counter and bam, it disappeared.  I didn't even know it was gone.  Then I get a call from Ubaldo.  A police officer was at the door with my wallet/phone.  They nabbed him within 15 min. of taking it off the counter.  So, if you're gonna get robbed, that's the best robbery you can have.  I think that's like my cancer.  It's gonna be a pain, but no big deal. 

Stuff has to be funny or it's just no fun to go through.  My husband died this year.  He gave me more grief than a bean supper, but he was the love of my life.  We laughed everyday about the crap, literally, we had to deal with, and I miss him with an ache that creeps into my pours.  But he would be the first to tell me, "laugh, baby, this is what we've got!" 

Joey told me today that he had started riding his bike.  I said, "that must feel good....." and he responded with, "yes it felt real good until the fall."  Well, shit, Joey.  Don't you know how metaphoric that is? Everything was good until the fall.   Even Jed.  Until his fall he was great.  And then he wasn't.  So the trick is, to keep that bike riding feeling going in our lives, that I'm gonna be the best I can be place, that "what is your Euforic promise place, that inner strength makes outer beauty place.......anyway, keep it going until you get bad stuff.
 And then, when you get bad stuff, just dance.  Laugh and know that it wasn't your plan, or furthermore, a result of anything you did.   And remember that friends, the real ones, the ones who can be calm and wrap on, the ones who have inner strength to give them outer beauty....the REAL friends  will laugh with you, make your hair pink, smoke a joint with you, and  just sit and stare at others who have no idea that life is funny.   

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My Old Life

I can't tell you how much I miss my old life.  The other one.  The one when Jed was alive.  I can't begin to list all the things I miss, but the laughter and arguing, making love, discussing about ideas...and just knowing that whatever I came up with, however weak or strange or needy, whatever idea that stirred in my head, I could share with him.  And he would validate me. 

I miss making him dinner and folding his clothes.  I miss his snore. 

I've filled my bed with pillows and textiles in an attempt to take his place, but they just clutter up my bed.  Actually I've done lots of things to paint over sorrow.  I've had the trees trimmed, the deck repaired...lots of stuff to make me well.  And I am well.  I'm just lonely for him. 

I am remarkably blessed with amazing people and I'm not alone.  I'm not even lonely.  I'm just lonely for him.  We bantered with utmost confidence in one another.  We took off and explored places with abandon.  We said, "screw it" to convention and did only what we felt like doing.  Sometimes that got us in a great deal of trouble and sometimes it took us to amazing places and left us with life long stories to tell. 

I miss how he could tell a story about anything and make it believable.  I miss how he sang off tune. I miss his passion for knowledge and his often irreverent way of expressing it. 

And now, I realize how much I miss having him to make decisions about money.  I took the road of disagreeing and "I told you so," when things went wrong.  What a bitch I was.  Someone had to make decisions.  And now, it's me.  I have to decide what to do about stuff.  What to fix, what not to fix.  I always held this, "I know what to do" attitude, but then went along with what ever he said.  If it went sour, I poured it on.  If it went well, somehow I got him to agree that it was my idea.  That was a real shitty place to put him.  I wonder if he even knew?  I'm not sure I did.  Not until now, when I have to make decisions with no one to blame.

Marriage.  It's more than it seems and when its a fit, a real fit of two lives, two souls, well, it's pretty near perfect.  That's what I miss.  We had it perfect.  We fought and cried and hated one another at times.  We talked about divorce hundreds of times.  But it was always, "if that's what you want...." and it was never what either of us wanted.  We laughed and loved making love.  We touched one another to the core of our beings.  How we loved to argue.  I can see the twinkle in his eye as he would watch me get red faced and passionate about something.  He would listen and beckon me toward him.  I would  rant louder, but move a little closer.....perhaps this is too personal.  I miss my old life. 

My new life is lovely.  I don't do anything.  It's all done for me.  I don't buy groceries, I don't do laundry, I don't make breakfast, I don't make dinner, I don't even clean my toilet.  It sounds good, and it is, but it makes me miss my old life with a ache that creeps and crawls around in me till all I can do is go to bed. 

I'm okay.  Most of the time I'm more than okay.  Jed's birthday is next week and perhaps that's my maudlin cause.  Last year on his birthday we were at the cabin with Steve.  But missing something that was so good, well, it takes a bit of time.  I asked my father a few months after my mom died if he had any regrets.  Whatever made me ask such a question is beyond me, but we were in the truck going over dirt roads and he said, "only that she died."  It took my breath away then and still does, because that, too, is my only regret, that he died. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Got Friends?

I'm a really fortunate person.  Lucky.  Yep, I'm just plain lucky.  Today I was talking with Elizabeth, my employee, about life and the way things are.  I just get stumped sometimes.  I think young people like her, are looking at me for answers, and I look back at my life and know that I really don't have any.  The only one is, that I'm lucky.  I was raised by great parents.  I lived in a healthy environment most of my life, I had great kids, yadda, yadda, yadda.  Deal is, I was, and am, just lucky.

Had my shares of stress and bad decisions.  Had my share of really bad stuff, but it's all been okay.  Even the really bad stuff.  I am a Christian.  I believe in the whole ball of wax.  But, even though I believe, I also know that sometimes you just need to be lucky.  My luck has been in my peeps, as Jen, my amazing daughter-in-law, would say.  My peeps.  The people I love and who love me.  Forever,  I have been lucky with peeps, 

Got friends?  Yep.  I have friends.  Friends to share with, friends to yell at, friends to share space with, have meals with, laugh with and try to solve life problems with. This is God's greatest gift.  Luck/God toss a coin.  I know that the peeps that make me whole have come to me through family and accident.  How was it that I connected with such amazing people?  I will thank God every day of my life for the luck He granted me through the people that I gratefully call friends. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Tomorrow Rowan will be one.  The day one year ago is vivid.  "Today's the day!" was the message I got midmorning.  Jed said, "go."  I hesitated and, Jed said, "GO!"  Ubaldo got on the computer while I packed and Jed instructed.  I was off.  Quick flight, long drive, and into the forest.  Home birth in the wild country.  The day was long and I kept expecting to hear of his birth.  Into the night I drove up the hill through the trees, hoping all was well.  And, just as I arrived, so did Rowan.  When I walked through the door he was there, beautiful bitty Rowan Oak.  Born in a portable tub in a little love nest far north of San Francisco.  Little Rowan suckled and nuzzled next to his exhausted parents as the midwives took out the evidence.  The next few days I cooked and proudly cared for my new little family. 

Time changes things.  As it should be.  Now, one year later I have an ache in my heart that Rowan will never know Jed.  But, what I do know, is that Jed is looking out for him.  Angie shared with me that after Jed died he came to her telling her that he was sorry they didn't have a better relationship, and he told her that he would always take care of Rowan.  My God, what a beautiful and powerful message to be given from the other world.  Rowan will always be taken care of!  I have tears flowing as I think about the power of love. 

So tonight, I've written on tea mugs, "Our Little Honey, Rowan, is 1"  I've stuffed the mugs with honey sticks and have packed, or plan to pack, gobs of things to take to his teddy bear picnic party.  Ubaldo has planned yet another perfect party and we will go to Oakland on Friday to celebrate Rowan becoming one. 

But, as we plan this adventure, another awaits.  I am making plans to "move" to Oakland for an extended time.  This was rather spontaneous, but it feels right.  Angie and Robyn are under considerable stress and I am able to help.  I talk to Jed all the time.  I asked him, "so, what do you think of my idea of moving up to Oakland to help Angie, Rob and Rowan for a while."  And then I realized, duh, it was his idea in the first place.  Jed put the idea in my head because he has committed himself to always taking care of Rowan. 

With the help of Ubaldo, Dylan and Elizabeth, I am getting the shop in order.  Soon I will leave it to them to run.  I will miss the daily people greeting and affirmation that we have done a great job to make the shop amazing.  But, I am looking forward to the new adventures that await me in Oakland. 
Life is rich and wonderful.  Grandbabies make that more obvious.  I choose to hang with joy.  His little year has been filled with joy and tears for me.  But I rest comfortably in the knowledge that Jed came through the veil of death to vow his constant vigil of care to Rowan.  You just can't get much more beautiful than that. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Hawks and Eagles and Things That Fly Through Your Mind

Jed's been gone from this earth more than six months.  The part that wouldn't burn is in a box in my closet.  His good friend, Reg called today and we talked briefly about what life is like now.  Well, it's not different at all, and yet there's nothing the same.  I hear Jed's voice constantly, guiding me and giving me validation to move on.  I hear his voice tell me to not doubt myself, to believe in who I am, to be the me that I want to be, that nothing I could do would disappoint him.  We had a love.  He used to say, "people would kill for what we have, Sherry."  How did this beauty come to us?

However it came, and however it continues, is mystery bound in magic.  We had a brief 25 years where we seeped and oozed and made magic and beauty midst prison and ugliness.  We lifted without knowing, we made it laughter, and battle and truth and tears.  We had a love. 

And now he comes to me on wings.  When I need to feel the confidence we gave each other, he is there in a swoop of wings, sometimes a call, always quick.  He rested quickly outside a window of anxiety, he swooped low at James's funeral, he often visits while I sit and think drink on the deck.  His presence is important.  Life without him is pretty much the same as life with him, except it's void of magic.  It's void of insight and spontaneous joy. 

I like to believe that Jed can channel his current existence to this one.  I like to believe that he has chosen to do that through the hawk.  It just makes sense that he would choose the  hawk because he was so enamored by their flight beauty.  And, he would know that I would know. 

The mind is a mystical place.  The faith that there is more than we know is not only mystical, but essential.  So, the things that fly though my mind are hawks and eagles and the faith that there is more than we know, and while I live and breathe on this earth, I will watch hawks and eagles with an awareness that there's more to death than gone.  There's more to life than here.  There's more.  Believing makes it so. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

You Didn't Leave Me Much

I was studying the final account of my inheritance from Jed, and looked with sadness and concern at the low numbers.  I was alone, thank goodness, but I heard myself say, "you didn't leave me much, sweetheart."  I was very sincere and a little forlorn thinking of all the financial responsibilities that lie ahead.  But then I was instantly shocked into, "what are you talking about, he left you everything!" 

Everything.  He left me, me.  For 25 years he built me up.  He gave me the gift of myself and the knowledge that I have the capacity to accomplish whatever I set out to do.  What an amazing gift.  The legacy I have from Jed is not financial, it is empowerment.  It is forever and cannot be taken away. 

He left me with a home that I can now afford, a business that seems to run despite my inadequacies, a wonderful family including beautiful great grandchildren, a great friend in Ubaldo, and a sense of faith and peace that only he could have given me. 

Ours was a marriage.  Ours was laughter and ideas, battles and resolutions, explorations and adventure.  Ours was full.  Completely full with no room for doubt. 

The fact that he left me, is a hole deeper than I am, but the fact that he left me strong, and empowered, and complete is way more than much.  It is me.  I so value what we had, and know that what we had is now within me, looking for a new road to travel.  Thank you, Jed, for all that you left me.  I will cherish it forever. 


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Alone In The House

I'm alone in this old house tonight, and it seems to have been a very long time since this house and I could listen to one another all by our selves.  Alone can be very nice.  With it comes quiet, and with quiet, memories float like invisible stars.  This house has stories to tell.  This house has saved lives and mended many.  It's been a giving home. 

We've had so many birthday parties on the deck, Jed's 60th, James and Jean's 70th, Ubaldo's 55, Ian's 1st, and the kids, how we've celebrated. And our almost daily times with Reg and Erica will be held as solid validation that life is good.   This house has housed quite a few people who needed a place to live for a while, or a place to rest.  Mike, Phillip, Matt and the family, Candy, Ubaldo's mom, Elnora.  We've had Angie's graduation party, Nate and Jen's wedding reception, Alicia and Mario's Wedding preparation party, and now it's party central for catering.  This house has served us well. 

Ah, and the transitions.  First the upstairs was for Angie and Nathan, period.  They were teenagers and adjusting to a new life.  The upstairs gave them space.  "Mom, do you mind if I paint my wall?"  "No, honey, that would be fine."  "Yeow!!!!!  Not like that...."  It was a dark mother daughter time.  "Mom, may I plant a garden?"  "Sure, honey, that would be great."  "Yeow!!!  Don't plant that, I'll go to jail."  It was a dark mother son time.  Darkness is followed by light.  The children finally leave and Jed and I move upstairs.  Jed builds an amazing bathroom and shower, installs a Jacuzzi tub and we live happily ever after. 

Well, not ever.  After Jed fell, we turned the living room into our bedroom.  The upstairs was empty so Ubaldo moved in...it seems this house has opened it's doors to all the options and possibilities and joys and friendships, families and needs of our lives. 

We almost lost this house several times, I think 5 times, to auction.  It was a dark, dark time of fear and anguish.  I was quite ready to leave.  It was just too much.  Too much of everything.  Too much fixing, too much pain, too much and way too little.  I started shopping for another house.  Leave it behind was my mantra.  But things change.  New paint, new modification, new garden, and now the stories float.  I can visualize the house breathing deep breaths of appreciation for our not walking away and for recognizing it's importance in so many lives. 

The grandchildren grew up in the back yard, or at least that's my memory, and now the great grand children will, because it has been brought back from it's near death of neglect.  I cannot walk into this house or meander it's yards without seeing Jed.  His vision for creating the porch and the deck and the bathroom upstairs are so incredible, and I am so grateful for his strength and his work. 

Someday I will leave this house, and it will be okay.  But for now, I am happy in the knowledge that not only has it been a wonderful place for us to build and go forward with our lives, it has been a wonderful place for many, many people to feel loved and know they belong to something quite powerful.  They belong to the dream that we had, the dream that we realized.  Even as Jed lay dying in this house, amidst all the pain and sorrow, it felt right and good, and blessed. 

Being alone in this house is quite a wonderful joy.  And with that joy is the knowledge that soon this house will flow with energy and plans and happiness, and being alone does not mean being lonely. 


Tuesday, July 1, 2014


It's primal.  Dancing.  It's strength gathering cell by cell.  It's grief tossing and joy gathering.  It's basic and primal and real.  Thinking of the deck party brings vivid memories.  We danced away grief.  We danced away pain.  We danced away differences and we danced joy into our hearts.  If only for a moment or a few hours, we let grief and pain and worry and fret wash off our skin and we were free of it all. 

How sad for people who don't dance. 

Jed and I would dance silly.  Really, silly.  We didn't have the great moves, but we moved with great abandon.  That's one of the things I loved most about him.  He did almost everything with great abandon.  He never cared how things were "supposed to be."  He just did.  He just let himself be free to express or act as he felt.  Free. 

It's been 5 months since Jed moved freely into his other world.  He sat up with great assurance to tell his daughter that he was not afraid.  His comfort with death was beautiful. 

And, I know he wants me to dance, to go with abandon into the next phase of life.  I know he is there providing opportunities and encouraging us to be greater than we think we can be. 

Having a dancing fool in heaven who loves you, is quite lovely.  I miss him like water.  I miss him like air.  I miss him like music, but in missing him, I am so reminded how perfectly perfect it was, our time together, and how without it all, the whole sorted package, I would not be the dancing fool that I am, able to capture magic almost everywhere. 

It was a beautiful night full of magic at every turn.  The heavens opened up and poured perfection on our night.  We are all better for it.  Thank you for the music.  Thank you for the dance.  Thank you, Jed, for making me your dance partner beyond my imagination. 


Monday, June 30, 2014

We Had A Party

We had a deck party.  It was grand.  It was Ubaldo's 55th birthday and a fine excuse to celebrate the deck and life.  It was wine and cheese and music and magic.  Friends came bearing plant gifts and wine and cheese with messages to Ubaldo.  Pat and Julie were there to meet and greet and help at every step. 
"Have you lost your mind?" was Ubaldo's first comment when he realized I had hired a band for the event.  And, to tell you the truth, I wasn't sure that I hadn't, but as the evening went on it became clear that it was all perfect.  Everybody danced.  The children, and all of us silly ones.  We even had a Congo line, the young and the old...it was just perfect. 

Jed was watching, I know.  Ubaldo dreamed that he was dancing on the deck.  It's just too short, life.  Opportunities to dance don't come often enough.  I'm so glad we did.  I'm so glad we all did, the newly divorced, the newly widowed, the babies, the cautious, the anniversary celebrants, the special ones, the newly in love, and the lovely.  We all danced and let life seep into our bones and bring us joy. 

I can remember when Jed and I were just beginning to form the idea of the deck.  He was excited about the job.  I was excited about the final product. We talked about the size and the purpose.  We wanted to extend our living into the beauty that was outside our back door.  So many memories of pouring concrete and placing boards.  My dad even helped in the final product and Jed would tell how he just had to finish the railings because my dad shamed him into finishing the job. 

We had many gathering on the deck, but none so grand as this one.  For me, it was such a tribute to Jed, honoring his best friend with such a fine party on his amazing deck.  It was just all perfect.  And, right at sunset, Jed flew by.  Slow and careful and proud.  Our wonderful hawk, who I have named Jed, was watching it all with great approval.  Happy birthday, Ubaldo, and Jed, thank you for not only building the deck, but building us, strong and confident and able to go on without you.   

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Buying Trip

Dad and Mom bought a farm many years ago.  My brothers and I grew up on it and have varied connections to it.  However we see it's future, we all agree that the heritage from the dirt and grit of that little spot in the middle of Nebraska has given us the strength to be who we are, and the fortitude to move beyond the memories.  But now we have a farm, the four of us, and we decided to gather to discuss it's future with us.  The gather time was quite wonderful, with opinions shared and aired.  What our future with the farm will become is set in motion, and we are comfortable with the power of family. 

Me?  I decided to make the trip to Nebraska a "buying trip."  So I gathered my tax refund and my two friends. and we made our way back to California in a 17 foot U haul.  Why fly when you can buy is my motto.  My brothers got into connecting us up and we crawled through basements, barns, and attics. At each place we shook hands and loaded up treasures.  We were the real American Pickers for nearly two weeks, and had to hand wash our underwear the last three nights because the truck was too full to risk taking out our suitcases. 

So here's what I learned road tripping. 
  • It's a necessity of life to spend time with good friends.
  • This country of ours is very, very beautiful, and at every turn there is magic.
  • Buying stuff is easy, picking stuff people want is not.
  • Buying stuff is way more fun if you sing to the shopkeeper and make him laugh.
  • Sometimes you have to go down dirt roads for quite a long distance to find a treasure. 
  • You really don't need much luggage. Motels have sinks and clothes dry before morning. 
  • There are delightful people everywhere, all just trying to get by (with a little help from their friends.) 
  • I "ain't gonna be nobody's powder monkey."  This I learned in Colorado in a mine tour.  The powder moneys were the young kids who had to do all the disgusting work for the miners.  So, we made up a song and sang it half the way home. 
  • I miss my parents.
  • I love my brothers, and my sister in laws just totally rock. 
  • Jed's presence is always with me. 
Back in California, I find myself wanting to be on the road again, but for now, tending to undone tasks seems a better choice. 


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Deck

Jed and I bought a simple little house so many years ago.  Salt box looking with a lovely touch of wind and breeze, picket fences and laughter.  I was so happy, a dream house, old and needing some love touches. 

And then we built the deck.  We, is a bit of a stretch, but I did carry water and find tools.  We had a view, and Jed wanted to live in it.  We had boards and concrete and nails and every kind of metal building attachment that Home Depot could provide.  All this we had for what seemed like years.  Jed loved a good job.  He just loved working on a project.  Jed was never very concerned about finishing a good job.  He'd always tell Reg, "You don't want to kill a good job!"  They would laugh and drink a beer while studying the next phase of the project and I would cringe.  I, naturally, really wanted this "good job" to get finished.  Silly me. 

Memories pick and choose.  I pick the amazing joy I got from decorating the deck.  I would hose it, and clean it, and move furniture and hang plants...oh, what relaxing fun.  And, how wonderful that he finally finished the deck and started on the porch and bathroom.  Me, I just walked around on the sturdy dream and felt  happy. 

Fireworks, friends, children, oh, the children...Oh how the deck became an extension of who we were.  We were the ones with the amazing deck with the sky rocketing view.  We were the ones who loved to share it with our friends and family.  Graduation parties, wedding receptions, good ole beer fests, homemade ice cream on 4th of July...the deck gathered us all for what our hearts needed. 

But then Jed fell.  He fell so hard that he broke the spirit of the deck.  Years went by and no one even walked on it's boards.  It was left to the raccoons and squirrels.  The spa grew a foot of crud, the boards warped and creaked.  The tree branches threatened a final deck death. 

But, deck death will not be a near future reality.  It is being resurrected.  The dead boards are gone.  New boards assure longevity.  And paint.  Heavy duty paint, along with hundreds of plants and piles and piles of well placed dirt are  singing the happy deck song.

After Jed died I decided to have a two year plan.  Home, business, body.  Get them fixed up.  So, I'm fixing up the deck.  It feels like a memorial to Jed and that is what I need.  Of all the things we did together that  were so filled with joy, the deck stands out among them all as quite remarkable.  There's a lot I cannot do.  I cannot bring him back or start over with him.  But I can bring the deck back to life and even though it's not totally satisfying, it feels remarkably wonderful. 

Early this morning I took my coffee out to examine the deck in it's resurrection glory.  A huge and brave hawk swooped over the deck, made some sounds of either stress or approval and gallantly sat on a close by tree.  I knew it was Jed telling me how pleased he was.  It was a lovely morning. 
Not only is the deck becoming once again a place of joy, but it shines brightly as a tribute to the love of my life for his remarkable vision.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter After Jed

Today was Easter.  I think it's the first Easter in 30 some years that I haven't gone to church.  I had a very Easter day, however.  I thought about sunrise services of the past.  I thought about singing in and directing the choir, oh so many years.  I thought about Holy week and the many years of doing and being part of the unit called church.  I felt it in my heart, but I just didn't go. 

Instead, today, I slept late, had dinner with two very good friends and one friend's father, saw an amazing movie about heaven, cried as they sang, "Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing," (because that was Jed's "I get it" song.  That song spoke to his heart and thus to mine.  And, finished the day off with planting and beginning the process of "bringing Jed's deck back to life." 

Perhaps it's a memorial to him.  Perhaps it's just therapy for Ubaldo and myself, or perhaps it's just what we enjoy doing, but whatever it is, it is a resurrection. 

Resurrections come in lots of forms.  I believe in the whole thing.  I believe in the baby in the manger, the life of preaching, the example, the hatred, the cross, and the resurrection.  I believe in the message and the purpose.  I believe in it all. 

So, I believe that Jed is in heaven, that he is beside me and is encouraging and looking out for me.  I believe in it all.  And, even though I believe that Jed is in a very good place, I miss him, and I need a resurrection almost every day. 

And, I get it.  Everyday. 

Everyday I get the strength to be happy, the strength to comfort others, the strength to listen and be kind.  Easter is not a one day thing.  Bunnies and baskets, okay, that's one day deal, but Easter, wow, Easter means we go on. 

We go on with something inside us that comes only from nails.  Nails that have no power.  Losing Jed is my nail. Wrenching, life draining nail.  Resurrection takes away the power of nails.  I believe in it all, so I must allow myself to believe in joy. 

Easter after Jed is different than any Easter before.  Easter after Jed might just be the most faith testing of all.  But, once again, today I got a resurrection, had a joyous day with friends, accepted that the hole in my heart will always be there, and I felt thankful for the God who has given it all to me. 

Friday, April 11, 2014


When I wrote about friends I forgot about Wendy.  That wasn't fair to Wendy or me.  Wendy saved my life once, not literally, but in every way other than pulling me out of the drowning waters.  I was new in business.  So new, that I was casual.  Wendy was precise. 

Wendy and I shared stuff...stuff that only the tough share with the tough.  Wendy helped me be a business person and I helped her look at life differently.  We were good for one another. 

We don't see one another every day like we once did, but we are still there for one another.  Wendy cleaned my room and folded my clothes when I was knotted with grief.  She brought big pots of comfort food when we ached with unknowingness.  Wendy seems to know what to do.  I am the luckiest person in the world.  No one could have such faithful and remarkable friends as I. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Don't Stop Writing

After we brought Jed home from the hospital, he couldn't talk much.  The cancer and the strain of being intubated had taken its tole on his voice.  Most conversation was a weak whisper.  But, before we knew anything. and he was without all the tubes down his throat, we had wonderful conversations.  Little did I know that these were the last we would have.  After a great day of hope and family, he and I were alone for the evening before sleep.  He talked with me about writing and stories.  I read him Rowan's armadillo story.  He thought it was beautiful.  And then he said his last words to me.  "Sherry, I love you.  You work too hard for me.  Don't stop writing, you have a magical way with words."  I had no idea these would be his last words to me. 

But as it would be, again that night, he was intubated and became non verbal until his last day on earth. 

I've taken his words as power juice.  He told me to keep writing.  So, I will write.  I will write stories, I will write about us, I will write to the greats and the grands.  I will write, because it makes me feel powerful and the love of my life made that his last request.  I do not know where this writing will take me, but I'm looking forward to mixing and stirring the stuff in my heart with the glob of words I know.  Elnora told me, "You lose half your brain when you lose your husband."  Well, half, or more, is now gone, but the brain still stirs and the heart still beats, so get ready, I'm going to stick it down on paper and make it something.  I miss him so much.  It's an ache that takes over where breathing once was.  It's a hole.  Living with a hole ain't for sissys.  So I write.  Sometime it will be gobblygook  Sometimes sappy.  But sometimes, it will be pure and wonderful.  I will not know.  Jed was my critic.  Now he is my guardian angel.  He will help me decide. 

It totally sucks, losing not only your best friend and life love, but your brains.  How'd he get so smart anyway?  I will not stop writing, not only because Jed declared it so, but because it gives me strength.  Words mean something and stories can be magical.  Thank you, Jed, for giving me direction and all your love. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Friends, The Closest Thing To God

Sometimes I think I'm the luckiest person on earth.  It's not that I haven't had tough times.  My share has been ample for a gang.  It's the people that surround me.  I get filled with awe when I ponder my good fortune.  How on God's earth was I so fortunate to be totally surrounded by simply amazing people?  One might respond with, "Well, Sherry, you're good to people so they're good to you."
But it's more than that, way, way more than that.  It's been ordained, I'm sure.  Why me?  Let me tell you about just a few of the amazing people who surround me. 

Candy.  I've known Candy since 1970.  You do the math. She's been there for me at each life changing event.  And, this last January, when Jed's condition was getting worse, no questions asked, she hopped on a plane and came here to help out however she could.  She ran the shop while I was in the hospital with Jed, and she was by my side on Jed's final night.  She was there at the birth of my children, through my divorce and here, lifting me up with her presence when Jed passed.  If she was physically able, there was nothing she wouldn't do to help out. And, when we're together, we make each other laugh until we cry. What I love about Candy is her determination that nothing is beyond her reach.  Candy Rocks. 

Jean.  I met Jean for the first time at a birthday party for James some 26 years ago.  Jed brought me, and that was that.  Jean has the quickest wit and the sharpest mind of anyone I know.  She is so much fun to be with.  She was Jed's secretary so many years ago and the two of them could laugh about the memories for hours.  What I love about Jean (other that just about everything) is her gentle heart that's wrapped with joy and faith and humor.  She's had some real tough times the last many years and has led the way, showing me how a faithful woman lives the life she is given. 

Pat.  We met for the first time almost 25 years ago on the campus of Collett where we both worked.  We didn't like each other, since we are both a bit snobby.  And then, we went to sixth grade camp.  It was critical life time for both of us. We shared, we cried, we drank too much, and we have been dear friends since.  When Jed fell, she spent the night in the hospital with me.  And on his dying night she was right there beside me giving me support and strength.  She made cookies, until she ran out of flour, for Jed's service and rallied other teacher friends to do the same.  Pat and I have taken some amazing road trips together that no one would believe. What I love about Pat is how easy it is to be with her. Pat Rocks. 

Joey.  Joe has been my hairdresser for 25 years, give or take a few years where I couldn't afford it or thought I could do just as good with a $5 bottle of color.  I love my time with Joe.  We talk.  We laugh.  Sometimes we even cry.  And when I leave, I feel beautiful.  He always makes me feel like I'm the only one in the world right then and there.  And, Joey has done and is still doing an amazing video of Jed's life.  I am so blessed by him and his talent that it takes my breath away.  What I love about Joey is how he openly admits his vulnerability and then moves on with a bit of humor and a bit of caution at the same time.  Joey Rocks. 

Margaret.  I met Margaret about 8 years ago when she came in the shop looking for a space.  Little did I know she was, "a legend" as another long timer in the business recently said about her.  Tough as she tries to act, she has a loving heart and has always been there for me when I've needed her.  She sat with me at the hospital the night Jed fell, has rallied the Old Glory team a variety of times, and has been a real support at the shop. What I love about Margaret is her fighting spirit.  Margaret Rocks. 

Cynthia.  As friends go, she's one of the new ones.  I've known Cynthia about 9 years.  What I so love about her is that she doesn't do drama.  There's lots of drama in the antique world, and Cynthia just doesn't do it.  We've had some great fun shopping trips together and can't wait to have more.  She's my real junker friend.  It's dangerous to send us shopping with an empty truck. She spent the good portion of a night with Jed at the hospital when all of us were so tired that we just had to sleep. And, she loves concerts.  She's so independent and has gone to many.  I told her that I've lived a much more sheltered life than her.  Her response was, "well, you'll just have to work to catch up." What I love about Cynthia is not only does she not do drama, she is a wild thing not ready to be tamed. Cynthia Rocks. 

Ubaldo.  He's the real "new one."  I met Ubaldo in the shop about 6 years ago.  He was a customer who I found interesting and enjoyed talking with.  Once he needed something delivered.  Jed delivered it and came back saying, "he sure is a nice man."  Not long after, Ubaldo came in the shop saying, "your husband is a real nice man."  After Jed fell, I was at a loss, when I looked up from my depressed sidewalk stare, and there was Ubaldo and his mother coming into the shop.  The rest is history.  I hired him on the spot and that was the best thing I've ever done.  He and Jed were a match.  Their cussing and laughter mixed with the smells of whatever Ubaldo was cooking, to make our home full of joy.  No one could have done more for Jed than Ubaldo.  He was perfect for both of us.  And now, with Jed gone, Ubaldo and I are learning to live together as wonderful friends, making way for the other to have their space, and yet looking out for one another with loving care. What I love about Ubaldo is that he quickly became Jed's best friend, and the two of them had so much fun just being guys out having a good time.   Ubaldo Rocks

Elnora.  Even though she's been my sister in law for 25 years, I never really knew her until after Jed fell.  She belongs here.  Elnora came down so many times during the 5 years of Jed's fall, and we all just plain had fun.  What amazes me about Elnora is how she listens to me.  She listens and validates and listens more and validates more. She doesn't judge.  She doesn't criticize.  We drink wine together and talk about life and the way things are.   She and Ubaldo have become great friends as well, and we love her.  On Jed's dying night she sat beside him after he passed, and said, "I'm just keeping him company."  She understood Jed.  She knew his beautiful heart. What I love about Elnora is that she really is a wild and crazy woman just waiting for Ubaldo and me to bring it out.   Elnora Rocks.

I have lots of other friends who come in and out of my life with bits of vigor and joy, but it's these who have been here, steady and faithful.  I am the luckiest person on earth.  There is a God and He is in the heart of each one of the beautiful people in my life. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

It seems time to tell the dying story.  We were so very much about living.  Dying came without preparation.  Looking back, we had clues, but they were too subtle for our  much-about-living minds.  Jed's pattern for the past five years was to get something in the fall that sapped his energy.  One year shingles, another pneumonia, another cold and flu.  We accepted the pattern.  It made us sad, because he would spend all year building his strength, only to have the fall and winter take it away. But, it was indeed a pattern we got familiar with, and knew would move, predictably, into the rebuilding time. 

It's hard to remember specifics because each day was dealing with the moment, but sometime during the fall, Jed complained with greater vigor of his pain.  It was butt pain.  He kept telling us that he needed a different cushion, and, or, greater support.  We massaged, we cushioned, we supported.  We ordered stuff that might help, we brought in the specialists.  We even convinced his doctor that perhaps he had structural damage, and thus he had an MRI.  He got steroid shots in his butt, and we even got his medical marijuana card, and provided him with tinctures, rubs and even happy cookies to help alive the pain.  Nothing much worked, even though everything helped a bit. 

This is how we spent the fall and winter times.  The holidays.  He was rather miserable, but didn't complain.  We had Thanksgiving.  We had Christmas.  Both were times where he asked to be in his room much sooner than his usual pattern.  He tried to participate.  He wanted to participate.  He didn't have the strength.  We continued to believe that this was just his, "fall/winter thing" and would pass. 

I brought Hospice in.  I was so comforted by their presence.  They provided the medication, the nurse, the bather.  I said to them, "Jed won't qualify for Hospice because he's not dying."  They told me that because he is "declining," he would qualify, and I gladly accepted the help.  I had no idea.
I even thought that I was somehow cheating the system for having them be so helpful to us.  The help was so welcome, because we were so tired. 

So, we were a marijuana, hospice, try-anything-family, and Jed was open to it all.  Pain alleviation was primal and we weren't doing very well. 

I left for a few days to Colorado.  Elnora came to help Ubaldo.  While I was gone, the three of them agreed that they needed to get more help.  The hospital and an ambulance seemed wise.  When I got home, Jed was in the hospital, but seemed in good spirits.  We were required to wear masks and gowns because even the hospital thought he had the flu. 

His brother, whom we hadn't seen for donkey's years came to visit, and Jed and I watched the playoffs for the Super Bowl.  We had a great day and expected him to be sent home soon.  Even the hospital felt good about him, and put him in a less intensive room.  He was moved up to another floor and we were given the hope that it was because he needed less monitoring.  That night, after making sure he had all the comfort and care that I felt he needed, I said good night to him, wrote my phone number on the white board, told the nurse to call me any time, and went home for some much needed rest. 

The next morning I woke rested and happy that the hospital hadn't called, took my shower, gathered a few things I thought Jed might want and went to his room.  He wasn't there!  The bed was empty.  Shock set in, but before I went crazy the nurse saw me.  "Mrs. Young, we tried to call you many times......"  I looked at my phone for the first time in the day and, yes, indeed, they had tried to call me, but I had heard none of them.  Was the phone on silent?  Was I just too tired?  The story unfolded.  He had been intubated in the night and taken to intensive care. 

This was the beginning of the end, but I still didn't get it.  After several days of intubation, he was extubated.  Bravo!  We're back on track.  Why did those people do that in the first place?  Timing was perfect and Jed's son, Matt, visited.  He and Jed had a wonderful time together.  Tori too.  Pure joy. 

We were keeping a vigil.  Ubaldo, Elnora, Candy, Daniel and I.  One night Cynthia took her time so that we might get rest.  But after he was extubated and we were all feeling good about his wellness, we agreed, with his urging, to go home and let us all rest.  It was in that night, another Sunday night, that he was intubated again. 

So here we were, tired and confused.  He was draining fluid by the liters, he couldn't speak, because of the tubes and they had ruled out pneumonia and almost everything else by many tests and x-rays.
The doctors were stumped.  It wasn't flu.  It wasn't pneumonia.  It wasn't congestive heart failure.  But, no one knew what it was.  Fluid kept draining.  On Monday or maybe Tuesday, they did a CAT scan and, there it was.  Cancer.  Cancer, of all things.  Five years of struggle with everything else and it would be cancer. Esophageal cancer.  It was a confident diagnosis.  Stage.....way too far gone to do anything but pray. Pathology would verify on Thursday. 

Wednesday night I didn't want to sleep.  I tried not to sleep.  It was that crazy, I need some control here, if I don't sleep, tomorrow won't come, kind of night.  I finally, out of exhaustion, slept. I knew that Thursday would be a very tough day. 

With little sleep and even less confidence, I was awaken by my father, who said, "wake up, Sherry.  Today will be a hard day, but it won't be too bad.  Get up.  Put on some make up and don't forget to comb your hair."  That wouldn't be too big of a deal for most people, but my father has been dead for about 3 years.  Wow!  When he woke me up, I was empowered.  I knew that whatever was to come would be okay.  After all, I got first had verification that Jed would be met by some remarkable people.  I had energy and confidence that literally came out of heaven.  Yep, indeed, I got up, put on some make up, combed my hair and faced the day.

The pathology report came in as we thought.  Jed wouldn't live much longer.  So, now I had to get him home.  He was not to die in the hospital.   Talks with the doctors, talks with the hospice coordinator, talks with the sweet nurse................"This is how we will do it......"  I was directional and made sure everyone was in line.  The doctors thought Jed would die in transient.  I told him, "no, he will not.  He will get home."  We got everyone working toward getting Jed  home. 

The ambulance backed up to our driveway and we rolled Jed out and put him in his bed.  We were provided morphine and had marijuana tincture.  We were set.  Jed knew, and probably was happy, that he was dying.  He took moments with everyone present.  John, Grace, Alicia, Mario, Jennifer, Daniel, Sarah, Candy, Elnora, Ubaldo and Me.  The moments were rich and important.  Words were said that will hold lives together forever. 

And then everyone went home or to bed.  Ubaldo and I stayed with Jed.  I sat in the chair holding his hand, and Ubaldo laid beside him with his hand on his heart.  Sometime in the night I got cold and stood up to get a blanket.  With that blanket, I fell asleep.  Jed died then, with Ubaldo's hand on his heart, and me asleep, holding his hand. 

After that, it was sterile.  The nurse came to pronounce him dead, the Neptune Society came to pick him up.  They counted pills and asked lots of questions.  I wanted to be beside Jed, but there were too many questions to be answered.  He was lifted up and taken away and a cheap plastic white rose was left on his pillow.  I threw that in the trash.  Don't cheapen his life with a stupid plastic rose. 

And so, he died.  We went the next day to the Neptune Society to pay for their services.  And now I have a box that is supposedly him.  Sometimes I imagine it as Pandora's box, but with a twist.  If I opened it, out would come all the joy and memories.  Out would come his laughter and the twinkle in his eyes.  Out would come his cussing and irreverence.  Out would come the adventures and the risks.  I would grab at them.  And then, I would be told that I already have them all.  They are in my heart and my memory and that I am so blessed for having them when they were real.

I so didn't want him to die.  But, as dying goes, he did it vey well and we will all be the better for it. 


Monday, February 17, 2014

Honor The Man You Love

Today a young couple came into the shop and bought a fire engine.  She was so delighted and loving to him.  She looked at him adoringly and asked if she could have it. He nodded yes while at the same time saying, "happy wife, happy life."  They made me happy.  They seemed to have it figured out.  She wanted the fire engine to honor him.  He is a fireman.  He was cool about it, but you could see how proud he was that he was so loved.  I told her to keep honoring her man, because he would honor her in a million ways in return.  Then I told her that Jed had just died, and she cried with me. 

It's been two weeks and three days since Jed gently left us without him.  We got him home from the hospital with precision.  Everyone and everything was working for us.  He was surrounded by the loves of his life and he had important times with them all. His body just gradually stopped working, and in the end, I was asleep holding his hand and Ubaldo was next to him with his hand on his heart. 
In those two weeks and three days, we've done lots of "business" to finalize his life, planned and executed a celebration of his life which was on movie night, our last date.  We've gone gambling and to the auction and on a spa outing with friends, and we've adopted the biggest dog in the world.  All these are recognizable distractions.  I say, "we" because I'm not alone in my pain.  Ubaldo is feeling the greatest sense of loss, so we are supporting one another. 

No one ever told me to honor the man I love.  Somehow I just did.  But it was easy, because he gave me laughter.  We had so much fun.  We laughed every day and explored possibilities beyond either of our imaginations.  When things got hard, and sometimes they got really hard, somehow we were able look at it later and laugh.  Oh, how I will miss that joy.  Jed used to say the same thing the young man did today, "happy wife, happy life."  And I would say something stupid like, "look, it's not your job to make me happy."  He would just look at me and twinkle.   Well, it wasn't his job, but it sure was his role. 

Living without him will have it's advantages.  I won't feel the need to always be home, I will be able to travel more...that's about it.  It wasn't hard taking care of him these last almost five years.  It was just different.  Life was still quite wonderful and we talked of amazing futures and we continued to laugh about almost everything.  Tomorrow is our 25th anniversary.  I want more.  But I will glow in the knowledge that we honored one another by the joy we had in our marriage.  If I were an advice column I would tell young people to build relationship with people who love you for who you are, and can laugh with you throughout it all.  As hard as it is to know I don't have Jed by my side, I know he is holding me up, prompting me on and loving me from where he is.  And, he's probably telling me to take a drink of water, so I won't cry so much.  This dying stuff ain't for sissys. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014


They didn't get him Monday.  We waited up all night until midnight and then did a "gottcha" dance to tell "They" to just plain go away.  They can't have him.  We want him.  He had talked to "They" and he had talked to us.  How confused he must have been.  He told us the They had visited him and that last Monday was his dying day.  We told him that They couldn't have him.  It has been a tug of war cross the spaces since Monday.  They want him and he most likely wants to go where They can take him. 

But now it's Wednesday, oops, it's Thursday and it's the day that They just might get him. It just might be his dying day.  In the morning, we will gradually give him less artificial support.  Less machines, less medicine, less, less, less.  We will bring him home.  Broken and full of cancer, but filled with answers and peace.  We will bring him home, full of cancer, that ugly creeper that laughed at all our years of effort.  We will bring him home with no regrets except the one where our hearts break open and cry out, "not yet, not now, They can't have him yet."

They make me mad.  It's like They have the power.  But, when I let go of my own selfish needs, I can see that They shine a very bright and inviting light.  I like thinking that They are happy to see Jed and have figured out how to take away all his pain and make him walk.  He will know where his feet are, and run, skip and be joyful. 

I don't want to go to sleep tonight because that will make tomorrow never come.  Tomorrow will be too hard.  Will he die, will he live, will he talk, will he be himself, has the sedation taken over his brain, can I bear to watch him die? 

We thought he had the flu or at least a bad cold.  We cared for him gently, soups, jello, "don't want to eat, ok," and monitoring.  We thought we could make a difference.  Confirmation came with all that high tech stuff. Cancer.  Cancer?!  You've got to be kidding!  After all this, we would have to face cancer?   I worry about him making it home.  I worry about his ability to converse if he does make it. 

Too much.  Too late.  Tomorrow is a dying day.