Il localino

Il Localino
where we first said, “hello”
I was out for a girls night
Too early
so I was at the bar alone
He walked by
With an elderly man, in a top hat
Grandad maybe?
I saw him
He saw me

Girls arrived and he was already seated, close
He came around behind me
Asked if he could buy me a glass of wine
Meet him at the bar
I hesitated
Waiting to order, girls…
The owner holding the menus said
” I believe you have some one waiting on you, I’ll order for you. I am the owner, go”
She was so tiny and so incredibly mighty-
So, I went
He smiles
Girls leave
We stay
Our place, our corner
Our anchor in the storm that would arise
So, we go back
The tables are the same
The place beside the bar still there
Our memories fill the seats
Who was I that he met and remembers?
Who am I that I still want to be?
So much has changed
So much has remained
Disco lights and Italian food
Roses and red sauce are remembrances
Hugs are prayers
and dreams do come true

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1,095 Days

It’s my three year birthday today.
Three years ago I was alone in a hospital far from home.
Today I am home alone and feeling great.
Three years ago I had been up all night, worried and afraid.
Today I woke up awaiting my husbands return from a business trip, totally refreshed.
Three years ago I was confined to a wheelchair and couldn’t tie my own shoes.
Today I am walking around with only a small brace on my right foot.
I can tie my shoes and dress myself.
Three years ago I couldn’t open a tube of toothpaste.
Today I can cook and ride a bicycle.
Three years ago today I was bald.
Today my hair is long enough to have an inch cut off and it’s still past my shoulders.
Three years ago I was full of fear and trying so hard to be brave.
Today I wear my courage like a crown.
Three years ago today my stem cells came into my room with a priest and a doctor.
Modern medicine and a man of faith
Today I still hold both close
Because without either one, I wouldn’t be here.

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And I Ride

I got a bicycle today
It was my birthday present and
It was a very big deal
The thought of having one has been at the forefront of my mind for awhile
The memory of riding, at the beach, the breeze, the ease of movement
The wind in my hair
Made me want the feeling again
Made the longing for the time, before this illness, even stronger
So, I asked for a bike
Now, I have to ride it
Now, I have to show up at the store and be fitted for the seat height and a helmet
I can’t fasten the clasp on the chinstrap
I can’t adjust the seat height
I can’t load my bike into my car
The brick wall of handicap that I so adeptly avoid these days
Hit me
Hard
So, Michael brought me and the bike home in his car
The basket, that was also a gift, is empty and I want to crawl in it and deny that any of this is
so
damn
hard
I smile and swallow self pity
I sit down on our sofa and put my head back
I summon some courage
From way
way
way down inside and
I pray under my breath
I plead a little with my face toward heaven
” just don’t let me fall”
I exhale and grit my teeth
“just don’t let me fall ”
I exhale and shut my eyes
“just don’t let me fall”
Michael walks the bike to the end of our driveway and down to the stop sign
I get on
My stomach is lurching and my heart is pounding in my ears
Michael holds on while I find my feet, find my peddles
I push down the fear as I push down the peddle and
I am amazed at how scared I really am
And then I ride
Wobbly and slow
But, I ride

 

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An altered life

Our altered lives have become our norm
The term “its five o’clock somewhere” floats everywhere in our collective atmosphere
We “wine” down
We put Chardonnay in a sippie cup for the stroll to the park with the kids
We “have a few” just to “take the edge off”
We medicate to go to sleep
To stay asleep
To wake up
To eat less
To cry less
We struggle to live, so we drink
We seek solace in a shot glass or a white-capped bottle
We struggle
We struggle, so we alter our reality
And it’s easy
The flame hits the pipe and the smoke delivers you
Drops off the magic carpet so you can ride freely away
Find the ocean in the trees
The quiet in the rain
Feel no pain
Forget who you are
or at least where it hurts

But, what if life itself, alters you?
What if war, alters you?
What if that child, alters you?
Cancer alters you?
A car crash, alters you?
They don’t have enough to smoke in Colorado for that to be, okay
So, where do you look when the room spins
The bottom drops
The phone rings

We are aggravated and agitated
We blow our horns and then our minds
It’s like glitter unleashed
Some things you can never get out of the carpet

Religion, can alter you
We pray in hopes that we will be delivered
Preachers call us to the altar to lay it down before the Lord
There was a lady that lived next door to me growing up
She had two daughters
The older one, was my friend
She was raised in church
She invited me and would ring our doorbell until I came out and went with her
She got sick in our freshman year of college
Because she was too sick to go to class
She came home
But because she wasn’t s student anymore
She lost her insurance
It didn’t matter that her dad was a fireman
That her mom sang in the choir
She soon lost her hair
Then her fingernails
And then, she died
Every Sunday after, when the church bells rang
Her mom started the lawnmower
She pushed that thing with a vengeance
She didn’t sing to God any longer
She screamed
She was altered

Where do you go?
What do you do?
Who do you become at your alter call

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Soul Training

Michael and I have a small group from our church that comes to our house every other Sunday night
We are new to each other but are bonding quickly
We have enjoyed each meeting, very much
Mark, a fellow Okie, brought the discussion last night around a book he is reading. It was a great night and I was impacted by the lesson that is, “we are all in soul training.”
I made him repeat it
And then I got up to write it down
Asked him to repeat it again
Soul training…
It would explain so much
Answer so many questions
Help so many wounded
One of the best friends I’ve ever had, lost her mom this week
Alzheimer’s
Another friend to us, lost her husband this week of 42 years
ALS
People are looking for help
They are praying for grace
For love
Broken lives are scattered everywhere for us to walk around
Pieces of dreams litter the world
Soul training…
What if that is what it’s all about?
What if this is the answer
Our souls
In training
What would that look like?
How would that feel?
That the knowledge is in the loss
The pain is part of the plan
The purpose for our growth
Compassion
Love
Kindness is
Soul training…
It’s the steps, none of us want to take
The goodbyes no one wants to say
It’s the disease with no cure and a whole room full of victims
The sky looks empty with no God in heaven
But, what if He is here
With us
Beside us
In us
Soul training…

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Sand in my Shell

I’ve been thinking about what rubs me the wrong way
What is uncomfortable
What makes me feel vulnerable and scared, mad and irritated
And I got to thinking about the pearl in an oyster
It got there for all the above mentioned problems
An irritant that didn’t get fixed or even addressed
But, something valuable is created by that friction
That frustration
The timer on the stove that just keeps beeping
A car alarm early on your day off
The dog barking in the middle of the night
A kid barfing
A divorce
and then a death
Staring at the coffin
Burying the dream that has died
And also grandma
Heat going out in an ice storm
An ice storm
Flight delays
Life delays
Spilled milk
It all aggravates and annoys
It’s more than spinach in your teeth
It’s pearl dust in the making
It’s sand, man, and it’s irritating
Relentless
Pursues you when you’re down
Piles on you when you’re stressed
It is stress
Sand between your toes feels good
Vacation
Island breezes
Tropical drinks with umbrellas
Sand in your shell is a rainstorm
And no umbrella
Late for work
And your period
It’s a pastor saying what you want to believe
But, don’t want to hear
Patience makes a pearl
But, so does time
And a whole lot of trouble

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Easy like Sunday morning

It’s odd now when Michael leaves for a business trip
The door closes behind him and the quiet of the house is loud
The dogs sit and seem to sulk
I sort of do too
I spent so many days, yearning to be alone
The loss of privacy is something no one prepares you for in the midst of an illness
They hover
Worry
Sigh
But, never leave you alone
So, the house is mine and I await Courtney’s visit
She is no longer a little girl in pigtails that I carry on my hip
She is almost twenty-five and a young woman I deeply admire
Crazy how life just rolls on
By you
To you
In spite of you
Between the hills and valleys the days keep showing up

Linsey, my sisters oldest, just had her second baby
She is the mother that she never had
Mendy gave birth but didn’t raise her kids
So, Linsey is figuring it out and doing a fantastic job
Another young woman I deeply admire

I am back in physical therapy with Nancy (speaking of someone I admire)
She quit a couple of years ago and I lost her
Tina, my hand therapist, moved to a new location in January and there was Nancy!
So, that part of life feels complete and hopeful
I am still recovering and with those two focused on my hands and feet
I feel good about my future

I guess I feel good in general
I have a profound sense of gratitude everyday
I still believe that all this will mean something some day
I tend to laugh a lot and even though my “fifth gear” my not return
I am not sure I want it to
My life is more mellow now
The music I play is more mellow
The manic desires of prestige and popularity are gone
I am present
every moment
every day
The peace, just that brings, is astounding

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Being Invisible

The first time it happened, I was in my 30’s
I was shocked, no, horrified
I never saw it coming
I was completely unprepared
I was referred to as a “mam”
In my defense I was wearing a power suit and I was in an elevator of one of Atlanta biggest law firms.
He was a bicycle delivery guy
He got on, a little sweaty and winded and looked at me and I inside, smiled
I felt good and I looked good
I’d just completed a large sale
He pushed his floor button where he needed to go and said;
“Good morning, mam”
I felt the bottom fall out
My ears started ringing
I didn’t breathe
The shock that I had aged so much that a cute younger guy saw me like a mom, a mam!
It was pivotal in a way I could have never seen coming
Kinda like ending up in a wheelchair

You sit so much lower so I noticed people not looking at me
Or,they looked just over my head enough they appeared to look but really they weren’t
Eye contact never happened
Men never looked, ever
I was at lunch with my friend, Rene. She was pushing me to our table and it was busy and there were people and chairs in the way.
No one helped
No one got up
No one even scooted their chair in
I became invisible
And I felt the bottom drop, again

My beautiful sister spent the last year of her life, homeless on the streets of Tulsa
She had battled addiction for decades and it finally won
I have to imagine she was invisible too
I have often wonder who drove by her
Walked by her
Stood beside her at a light and never saw her
She was so funny and so kind
Did anyone see her beautiful blue eyes?
I hope but I don’t think so

Next time you are out, see the people around you
See them
I am sure there are kids at your kids school that are a little dirty
Not dressed well
See them
Passing a lady who is bald
Someone who is homeless
See them
Bless her
Bless him
If not out loud then to yourself and to God; say “bless you”
All we want in this life is
To be seen
To be heard
And to matter
No one should be invisible any more

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It happened just the same

We all have something, right?
We all have a part in life and we all have a past
We all have said or done or tried something, right?
We all have done wrong, right?
We all have missions and dreams and goals we want to see happen
We all have aspirations
We all want something and we have all had the opposite happen, right?
You put it on the line
Roll the dice
Say the prayer
And it happened just the same
Intentions are good
Dreams are pure
Goals
Set
High
But, one more time
Is the last time
And you never know why
You gambled and lost
And all that you knew
Gets tossed
Blows away
And it happened just the same
A voice screaming into the wind
Isn’t heard
But, it is screaming all the same
A drunk dies, drunk with yellow eyes
I can’t forget her name
I never wanted to lose her
But, it happened just the same

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September 12, 2014

My two year mark is today
Two years!
Seems like a lifetime ago, I was bald, in the bed, waiting for Dr. Burt, the nurses, my stem cells and a Chaplin
I was nervous
Sleep deprived
Anxious and hopeful that they would actually work
That they would restore my health and my body
That I would heal
That I would come home again

I was alone and I was desperate
I am sure I prayed and promised God- anything, everything
I called Michael
Calls to Mom & Dad came next
It was the day we had all been waiting for
The day of my rebirth
A lot was riding on those little cells

So, happy birthday to me…I now have many more

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