Tag Archives: coping

Rise

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Rise

The cloud of dust and smoke settles as the sound of bricks and metal fill the air. A figure rises from the rubble, pulling himself up from a mountain of debris. Emerging, free from the suffocating grip of what once was a hospital, the remains of the building lay beneath him now as Superman stands triumphant. Upon the mountain, the sun kisses his cheeks and the rays of light dance upon the midnight of his hair. His tattered cape blows freely in the cool spring wind as he breathes in the sweet air, the very wind that will soon propel him to the heavens. He looks to the stars as if quietly contemplating something and he closes his eyes with a cool smile across his strong face. He looks happy, as if someone has whispered something sweet to him. He stands in the warmth with his eyes closed, and silently speaks to the sky. An eternity passes and finally his inaudible words cease with his transparent gaze.

He opens his eyes, under him the weight of his battles takes a hold of him and he falls to the ground. He struggles to arise again, but he is defeated. Exhausted and tired he lies in wreckage, his bruised and beaten body can take no more.

For a moment his cape is motionless as the wind has disappeared, the sun hides behind a dark cloud sheltering the world from its warmth, and it seems as if the earth is quieted for this instant in time. Infinity seems too quick as I watch his lifeless body, then movement! I watch to my surprise as his body begins to hover, as if an invisible man is lifting him into his arms. The sun beams brighter onto his lifeless body, almost blinding. For a moment, I see a man holding Superman in his arms. He wipes the sweat from Superman’s brow and smooths his hair with his hand. The light is so bright I blink, and when I do Superman is standing, his once tousled hair is slick and in place, his dirty bruised face is now handsomely tanned and smooth, a million stars shine in his eyes as they twinkle like fireworks, his cut and holey suit is now white and crisp, and his once tattered cape is new and flawless as it once again dances in the winds, no trace of the invisible man.

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The Heart of Life

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The Heart of Life

Tomorrow will be the 1 year anniversary of my brother, Josue’s departure to the Great Beyond. I miss him every day, but I am determined to keep his memory alive and to live an amazing life. He is always in my heart, in my thoughts. Laughter and joy are intertwined with the tears. That is unavoidable, but there are fewer tears now. I have discovered pictures of us I had forgotten I possessed. I wish I had more. I wish I hadn’t declined opportunities because I thought I was dressed inappropriately, or my hair was a mess, or I felt fat. Life is about living life now. Life is not about when I do this, am that…then I can…

This philosophy has inspired me to act more on my desires and to waste less time thinking about them. Whenever I doubt myself or I need a pep talk, I try to imagine I am my own friend. Depending on need, these are some of the statements I make, sometimes out loud:

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We Are One

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We Are One

Drops streak cheek to cheek,

Sliding singular then joined, liquid salt of innards,

Waltz smooth to acceleration, zoom zoom zoom past oblivion,

Back to ground, back to present, back to body

 

Here now, blood course

& beat beat beat pulse of life,

Soul-rending shocks, chest boom boom,

Boom, gasp & breath to breath,

Lightning power & anaconda constriction

 

Penetrate through silk of skin to caverns

Of suspended songs, chants time knows,

The other world hidden to expose

In dreams, faint images of

Books filled with our purpose & past,

Choices, lessons to be, promises to keep,

Judgement is mine to myself,

To this vessel I inhabit

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From the Abyss to Gratitude

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From the Abyss to Gratitude

Gratitude is powerful and potent. It can transform a moment of despair into one of love; reach inside & cause a rumble, a light-heartedness, a laugh to bubble up and give joy. My brother, Josh, died on April 23rd of last year and it left a hole in my heart, a loss so deep some days I can barely breathe. The pain covers me in waves of heat & pressure rises from my stomach to my head. I squeeze my eyes shut with a force to transport myself to a time when he was alive & healthy. I squeeze my eyes shut to avoid howling like a banshee with no hope, crumpling to the ground. But if I pause before I reach the limits, I can bring myself back from that ledge at the abyss and give thanks.

 

I give thanks for my hands that caressed his arm. I give thanks for my heart that did not cease to beat when his departure was near. I give thanks for every single moment of my life that brought me to strength to remain with my brother through his illness; no matter the darkness of many of those moments, I give thanks. I give thanks for my voice and my mother’s song. Josue, wouldn’t allow me to sing it to him, the lullaby my mother sang to us as children and even adults. Missing our mother and her warm embrace so full of tenderness and love, the simple, sweet words were too overwhelming for him to bear. Near the end I needed to sing it to him. I do not know if the desire came for him or for me, but he did not deny me and I sang my brother to sleep through tears and the pressure inside me that threatened to swallow me before it shattered me into small slivers.

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In Dreams – A Letter to the Great Beyond

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In Dreams – A Letter to the Great Beyond

 

Dearest Josh,

I saw you again tonight- beautiful, young, and healthy.  I do not remember the roles we played or the content of our conversation, but I do recall the details of your face and the boundlessness of your roaring laughter. I wish the erasing power of wakefulness had not overtaken your words. Just like a dream, not to warn me ahead of time so I could take mental notes or pay more attention. I was just your sister and you weren’t dead, a minor moment in a lifetime full of grand events, pivotal incidents, and proverbial forks in the road.

I wish we had a weekly lunch date in some restaurant serving the midpoint between Earth and the Great Beyond where we could philosophize, talk about superheroes, what if scenarios, and routines on either side of the veil. I wish I could grab your face and kiss your cheek like you detested. I wish I could hear you make light of my tendencies, infuriating me. I wish I knew the timetable for your appearances so I could be better prepared to remember, to focus, to make it count. Maybe I could turn a tiny interaction into a grand adventure or some wise instruction could be the salve to the sometimes crushing sadness I feel without you. Read the rest of this entry

Embrace Change or Life Will Put a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Submission Hold on You

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I'm 10. It's hot & I'm holding this light as part of my indentured servitude. We had just arrived in Florida from Montana.

I’m 10. It’s hot & I’m holding this light as part of my indentured servitude. We had just arrived in Florida from Montana.

Change and I have never been friends. We have tolerated each other like relatives only seen during holiday festivities, funerals, and weddings.  This is particularly odd in my case since I spent most of my childhood moving with furniture, against my will, across state lines. No, I was not a tiny fugitive from the FBI, nor were my parents secret agents. At the age of 12, I fondly recall telling my father our family theme song was Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again.” I heard it on a random commercial for Time Life something or other and it struck me intimately as accurate. He was not amused.

In the first grade, I had three different teachers in 3 different cities whose last names all strangely began with the letter C. We didn’t simply place our precious belongings into labeled cardboard boxes and hopscotch across town or roam to the next one over. Oh no, my friend. On one occasion, we journeyed from the sprawling metropolis of Tuba City, Arizona to Browning, Montana and on another from Pahokee, Florida to Wolf Point, Montana. I imagined grand tragedies had befallen those I left behind so I could cope. Once a hungry sinkhole appeared and swallowed the entire town and another time a vile contagious sickness spread throughout a la Outbreak and annihilated every last human being. Not a trace of that past remained, not a shadow of an interaction I had, nor a friend I might have made. This process exempted me from ever having to maintain any contact with the populous of my previous existence. You cannot send letters to the deceased and you certainly cannot visit, especially if such calamities are involved. Enter Change stage left, Change not embraced as Girl exits stage right.

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