To My Sister
I was thinking about the day the Doctor told me I had Cervical Cancer.
The ground shifted under my feet; did she say Cancer? No, there must be a mistake. I just went in for a checkup a few days before…life was normal. Did she say cancer? No, she has me confused with someone else. Things like this don’t happen to me.
I must have looked at her like she was speaking in a foreign language, because she just looked back and didn’t utter a word. I felt her touch the top of my hand…I snatched it back, as if she sent an electric charge through my skin.
No, don’t console me. She was wrong. Do I look like a cancer patient? No. I do everything right. I am kind to people. I watch what I eat. I exercise. I pray. Things like this aren’t supposed to happen to people like me. I kept muttering to myself…what did I do wrong? I spoke a little too loudly. She responded as if I were asking her the question. She said there is often no explanation as to what causes a woman to start producing cancerous cells. Did she say cancer, again? I shook my head in disbelief…will someone make her stop saying that?
She asked if someone was with me, because we needed to discuss treatments.
Of course no one was with me…this was just a checkup, I thought to myself. Treatment, did she say treatment? Ummm, how do we get rid of it? I asked softly.
She smiled. “Why was she smiling?”
There is no cure for cervical cancer. No cure?
Okay, yeah, I knew that. Breathe…don’t forget to breathe. Do not pass out. I asked her, “Why do I have Cancer”? She gave me the generic, “there is no way to know why exactly”. She went on about genetics, diet, and other contributing factors, but wrapped it up by telling me that it may be none of the above. Why did I ask dumb questions? I knew all of this.
“Wait, am I going to die?” I almost couldn’t see her expression, blinking through my own tears. We are going to try and get it under control before we have to think about that.
Try? Breathe…don’t forget to breathe, Wait, don’t breathe too hard…you are going to start hyperventilating. It’s going to be okay, but you have to get a grip on your emotions, right now.
She started telling me that she wanted to try and freeze the cells…but the disease was too progressive. We have to do a biopsy; to see exactly what we are dealing with. My mind started spinning. How did I get to this place?
Two weeks before, I was in a car accident. For the most part, all of my injuries seemed superficial. My face was severely bruised, so much so, that on my first doctor’s visit; the nurse asked me if I was a domestic violence victim. Both of my eyes were black and blue. My face was swollen, and my lip was cut open, too. There were bruises on my thighs, ribs, and across both of my breasts.
It was the bruising on my breasts, which prompted me to visit my OB/GYN. I wanted make sure there were no lumps or anything like that since I hit the dashboard so hard.
The Doctor asked me if I wanted a pap smear while I was there. I can recall thinking, no. But for whatever reason, I said yes.
Two weeks later, there I was…living with cancer. My doctor said there was no telling how long I had actually had it. She said it could have been dormant in my system for a while, and the accident could have jarred something in me…causing it to spread.
How could I go home and explain everything that my doctor just told me? I had Cancer. I kept saying it over and over again as I got in the car. I thought if I said it enough, by the time I got home, I would be able to say it without crying.
I decided, instead of going straight home, I would go to see you. I needed a safe place to go, where I could fall apart…just for a minute. I just needed a minute. I kept praying all the way to your apartment…please, God…let me have this one minute.
I barely remember you answering the door. I just remember falling into you. You were confused. You kept touching my face, looking for a new injury. You were talking so fast that I couldn’t answer you. My mouth wouldn’t move. Finally, I told you that my doctor said that I had Cervical Cancer, and I just fell apart.
You kept saying NO…over and over again. You were crying so hard; I could no longer determine who was consoling whom. I told you that unless the treatments worked, before it started spreading further, I might die. Somehow, you mustered up all of this strength and told me that was NOT going to happen.
You were an angel to me in that moment. You went with me to tell mom. It was no longer me having Cancer, but us having it. During the entire ordeal, your faith and strength never wavered; you continued to be the glue that kept me together.
You were my anchor during every pivotal moment in my life. You encouraged me, laughed with me, and let me lean on you.
And then there was silence.
I don’t think I ever thanked you enough. I don’t think I ever told you I loved you…enough. I will regret that for the rest of my life. I will regret everything we didn’t do, and all things we didn’t get a chance to say.
I love you…and I know you are living pain free so I know I must sound selfish…I am sorry.
I just miss you so much…
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Originally posted on Essence of Inanna:
The Essence of Child Abuse
The love of a child grows deep and strong from the day they arrive into this world. They cry for you, they hug you, they snuggle with you and they love you deeply. At any time and place you as a parent can do no wrong. How long can that continue until they realize they are not receiving the love they expel?
Why does one abuse their children? Why do people feel it is a necessary component for discipline? Can abuse be a good thing? There are so many aspects of abuse that should be explored; the possible said good and bad.
There are a child’s view and an adult view on the topic. As a child there is pain on levels of not feeling loved, feeling hated, not worth living, bad, incompetent, and stupid. Some children become determined and enraged where the amount of…
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Where Do Broken Hearts Go?
Where do broken hearts go? This Whitney Houston song came to me today; I loved her music, but it was the next line that spoke to me…”When they can’t find their way home”.
Today while I was out running errands, trying to figure out what to have for lunch…clinching my water bottle like it was my life line…I stumbled across today’s blessing.
Something caught the corner of my eye, I saw a young woman, in her early twenties. She was dressed neatly, nothing extravagant or too simple. I smiled at her; then I proceeded to watch her go through a trash can and dig. After I took a moment to absorb this; I thought maybe she was collecting aluminum cans, or even maybe looking for change that someone threw away unintentionally. I was saddened…as I watched this beautiful woman dig out of the trash can, a McDonald’s cup. She took off the lid, to look inside. She placed the lid and straw back on the cup and drank whatever was inside of it. I could feel my heart breaking, for her, and then for myself…having watched it.
I looked at her for a moment too long, and as she looked at me…a single tear fell down her face. There really is nothing more sad than a single tear…even deep sobs don’t bother me as much. They are the tears that say…I’ve been holding on as long as I can…and I just need to let go. My eyes swelled with tears. She came up to me and told me that I had a beautiful smile…and all at once we had a matching tear. I reached for my sealed bottle of SmartWater, feeling thankful that I had not yet opened it. I told her that I am always telling my husband that he doesn’t drink enough water and handed it to her…along with whatever lunch money I had in my hand, no longer caring about my lunch.
She smiled and said…your heart is probably the only thing larger than your smile. We both laughed. This light came across her face, as if it was the first time she had seen laughter in a while. She went on to say I was angelic, and even that statement brought tears to my eyes. She wished me well and we walked away from one another.
I have thought about her constantly since the meeting. I wonder how she will eat tonight, or if she even will eat tonight. I wondered how this happened to her. I prayed silently and out loud for her…for all of us.
Where do broken hearts go…when they can’t find their way home?
This was my blessing of the day…
I think that most of us may not feel angelic…I know that I don’t always feel that way. I fall short. I don’t mean to…and I always feel badly afterwards. I, like most, am flawed. I can be selfish and short on patience. But, today…I loved this woman. I loved her strength…and she loved me back, even though it wasn’t expected from either one of us.
We can do better, I thought. No, I can do better. Yes, I can.
My message for this day, be patient and forgiving of yourself. If you cannot forgive yourself, how can anyone trust that you will forgive them? Be patient, we are all works in progress. Remember that looks are deceiving, this woman looked like no homeless or indigent person…I had ever envisioned in my mind. Everyone is fighting some war…we don’t have to be a part of that.
Try a little tenderness; we all have battle scars. Wouldn’t be better if we didn’t crack open one another’s wounds with our words or maliciousness?
Where do broken hearts go? They go to a most loving Creator and that Creator sends them to one of us. It is the fact that even WE are so loved that we are given the opportunity to be tender with complete strangers.
Today…be the bandage and not the gash…which may heal the broken hearts, which find their way to our souls.
How Would You Want To Be Remembered
I have been waiting to write about the Ray Rice video. I didn’t want to allow my previous experience to cloud what I needed to say about this situation. Often we can carry our own baggage into other people’s situations and that is unfair. I took the time to give both of them the benefit of the doubt, and decided to focus on what should really matter. So today, I feel confident and comfortable with my thoughts and ideas.
There are dynamics that none of us may understand about Ray Rice and his, now-wife. We don’t know how loving they are now. We do not know if the violence has subsided or if it has escalated. We can only hope that it is something they have addressed and have worked to get past. It is none of my business and I sincerely wish the two of them well.
I think, as parents, we give our children the wrong ideas about violence. We will solidly teach our sons not to hit girls. Some will even tell their sons that they should not hit girls…no matter what! And our daughters will sit by idly and listen. While we may think that we are teaching our sons to be better men…what are we teaching our daughters? Often the biggest lessons we give our children….are those that go unspoken. If we teach our sons that it is not acceptable to hit girls…but teach them that we expect them to defend themselves against other boys…what are we teaching our daughters? Are we creating a war between the sexes? Wouldn’t we be better parents if we armed all of our children with love and the truth…rather than thoughts of retaliation or rage?
As a woman who has endured domestic violence, please know that I am not excusing any abuse at all. The abuse I endured was inexcusable; and I have to admit that after a while…it became a matter of wanting to get him before he got me. I knew that every day my life could have been ended…by the efforts of someone that held no value in life, in general. But we must take a different look at an old problem, we should be teaching ALL of our children that it is not okay to hit ANYONE. Simply because, it isn’t.
It isn’t okay to strike someone, simply because we cannot find effective means of communication; or because the person we are debating or arguing with cannot “get” where we are coming from. If the discussion gets so heated that we “need” to physically offend the other person…it’s time to take that long walk. Give yourself the gift of a break. Allow your soul time to heal your thoughts…because it will. Learn to let go of anything that you cannot control. Instead, worship nature and the beauty that surrounds you. Concentrate on minimizing your breathing process. Allow your heart rate to become normal. Think about the birds singing or the crickets chirping. Listen for the children’s laughter. Feel the rustling of leaves in your heart….remember that you can create the change.
We should teach our children better coping skills. We should teach the value of the time out….not as a punishment, but as a means of realigning ourselves with our souls. Often we allow our ego to override the thoughts our souls have set up for us. Keeping in mind that our souls are here to elevate us and anything less just weighs us down.
Do I think that Ray Rice should have hit, punched or spat on his, then fiancé? NO. I find great offense in the fact that, at least one time in his life, he felt that behavior was okay. I appreciated the televised conference where he took responsibility for his error in judgment. But, unfortunately, often the apology can come too late. An “I’m sorry”, will not matter when there is a funeral being planned. And while this was not the case with Ray Rice…1 in 3 women are battered to the point of death. And 835,000 men are assaulted by their spouses or girlfriends, every year.
It is my hope that we do not take either statistic lightly. It is not funny when men are the victims of domestic violence. There are, most likely, so many unreported cases of men being abused by women. There are many reasons for this. Perhaps he doesn’t want to feel like less than a man. He may not want to be ridiculed by the authorities. I have to think this is a possibility, because I have felt the same way when I reported my abuse. The police and even the police chief sort of brushed it off. I cannot imagine how difficult that would be for a man…and my heart aches for all victims of abuse. It is not and should not be acceptable for men or women to be verbally, emotionally or physically abused…it MUST stop.
We are accountable for our own actions and words. Why would we treat people in a way that we would go to war about…if it were our children we were talking about?
Well, I have great news, because we are talking about our children. Our children are assaulting one another and we have the power to make changes. We should treat everyone in such a way that we would want to be treated.
Encourage our children to speak verbally…and that does not mean to verbally assault one another. It means to learn to communicate, in a loving and thoughtful way. Will this always work? Probably not, but isn’t it at least worth the consideration? Our children are killing one another. They are maiming one another’s souls…with their vile verbiage.
Lastly, allow me to say this: we are in a unique position to change things. We can begin to heal the damage that was done…but it cannot be done by carrying around the weight of thoughtless and careless people. We must step up and continue being the blueprint that others can follow. Be mindful of our thoughts and decisions. And before hitting another person…for whatever reason….be sure that we are prepared for the reaction and response to that decision.
Let us learn from the video of Ray Rice, if the actions of our lives were played out on video for the entire world to criticize and ridicule…would we be proud of our actions and reactions?
Live each day as if it is your last…how would you want to be remembered?
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We Are Ferguson
Some pain cannot be hidden, I have put off writing about the Ferguson, Missouri teen, Michael Brown…as long as I possible could.
Some pain is inevitable. I watched the video of the mothers of shooting victims: Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Sean Bell. I have written numerous times about Trayvon Martin and his assailant George Zimmerman. I have expressed my sadness and disappointment in the outcome of the Zimmerman trial. I have even written to George Zimmerman personally, in my blog.
I watched as these strong women flexed their heart muscles toward one another. I could feel the pain they are dealing with, deeply. I know, as was said by one of them, the pain never leaves you. I can understand how that would be true. These strong women are a reigning example to all of us. They reached out to one another, not because they weren’t still in pain…but because they understood the feeling of isolation that losing a child can bring. The compassion they showed was about women…just being moms. Remembering the days when their children were laughing and smiling; lighter times where such tragedies weren’t even in the back of their minds. I admire the love and unity they gave to one another.
As a mother myself, I feel deeply hurt by the death of Michael brown. I am hurt by anyone that would think, say or believe that his murder was okay. Because you see, for me, he was a child. He had a home. He had a family. He had a life separate from what we will hear about in the media. He had a unique smile and contagious laughter…even if his mom was the only one that experienced it. He is a part of humanity…and he always will be.
His death wasn’t unfortunate…for that term tends to lean toward the base word “luck”. Michael Brown was gunned down…and his assailant Darren Wilson will have to live with that fact. We may never know what the day held for Michael Brown or Darren Wilson, before they met that day. Maybe they were confronted by death already. Perhaps someone had harassed or bullied them. Perhaps they had taken all they could stand that day. Possibly, all the patience they could muster had been spent elsewhere. We may never know the truth about the events leading up to the tragic death of this angel.
But from this I can tell you two things:
Michael Brown was gunned down needlessly. And while he may be a statistic that we refer to…he is so much more. I hope that when we think of him; we remember his face. For those that were fortunate enough to have spoken to him…remember his voice and how his eyes sparkled when he laughed. Remember all the greater things about him; do not let the way he left this place be the only conversation about him. He had a soul and he touched all those who walked with him…he even touched those that walked past him. I pray that his family finds some peace. I hope that we, as a nation, can look on this angel lovingly…with respect to his memory.
The other thing I know is this:
Like George Zimmerman, Darren Wilson must learn how to live with the consequences of his actions. His family will have to learn how to move forward…for not unlike Zimmerman, Officer Darren Wilson will forever be known as the cop that shot that kid six times….dead. This will not be an easy process…it is not intended to be. I pray that Darren Wilson is also able to come to grips with the reality of his actions. It is my hope that we start setting more strict guidelines for our law enforcement officers. We are losing too many of our young black men and something must change.
As a mother, I can tell you that it wouldn’t matter to me if my child had been killed by a police officer, or a trash collector. A white man or an Asian woman. It would only matter that I have one less place to set for dinner.
There is probably nothing as strong as a mothers love for a child; I hope one day we can all learn to love in that way…intentionally. Let us not look at what happened in Ferguson as an incident…it is a pandemic.
This did not happen to a small town in Missouri…it happened to all of us; and it continues to happened all over the world. This is not a matter of them and us…no matter how the media portrays it. We must see ourselves through the eyes of our children, because they do not see race or religion. They do not see sex or money. Children only see each other for exactly who they are….which is why they smile and laugh all of the time.
We are not better; we are not worse…
We are Ferguson.
There is no greater honor, in my opinion, to be considered award worthy…by my fellow authors and bloggers. Today I wanted to thank http://oawritingspoemspaintings.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/nominated-for-three-awards-at-once-thank-you/
for thinking of me. I was nominated a few months ago, but health issues have kept me from accepting these 3 awards until now.
For the Lighthouse award, name 3 ways you like to help people:
For the Inspiring Blogger Award, I have to name 7 trivial things about me:
There really are no solid rules here. Share what you choose…do what you love. I am honored at the nomination…and pleased to be able to share in this honor.
Light and Love to you all
Braving The Storm
Robin Williams did not kill himself; a powerful statement, I know, given all the information that we are privy to.
The depression that invaded him is what shortened his life in this place. The thing that most people don’t understand about suicide is that; it isn’t that the person doesn’t want to live…but, instead, that they don’t want to be in pain anymore. These types of pain, mental and physical, can be devastating; but just imagine how dire a situation would have to be, in order to cause a person to take their own life. Imagine being so bogged down in despair that you no longer want to breathe. Now imagine your oxygen supply being cut off…that is real pain.
Mental illness is real. It’s as real as diabetes or high blood pressure. But this topic goes without conversation. We don’t want anyone to think that we are crazy, after all. We have the opportunity to stand up and speak out, but sadly we sit quietly…hoping that no one will notice how withdrawn we have become. We avoid crowds, loved ones and basic necessities. This is a gradual downhill slope. We often don’t see it coming. Sometimes, we wish someone would notice; would see…us clearly; so we wouldn’t have to mask the pain
Depression starts out slowly, it is possible that it happens before the person living with it… even realizes it’s there. Like most things, when it starts slowly, we may not even understand the impact that it is having on us. Perhaps we haven’t left the house in an exceptionally long time; or we lock themselves in our room all day. This is not laziness, this is how the disease works. It preys on our weaknesses, until we feel like weakness is all that we have.
It can lead us to believe that nothing is as it seems…people, places, things…everything has now become suspicious. The dark cloud gets thicker…with fewer rays of light and love being able to infiltrate it. The sadness can be overwhelming, but for some reason we do our best to cover it up. After all, who would want to make someone else feel bad…over a situation that we should have had control over? Somehow we must have failed…the destructive thoughts that depression brings, can be exactly that…destructive.
We may feel like failures or perhaps we have stopped feeling altogether. We hide our war with this cruel enemy; which is perfectly content watching us self-destruct. And this is exactly what can and does happen….all too often.
We must open the floor for discussions when it comes to mental illness. We have to wash away the stigma attached to it and move upward and onward. Mental illness is nothing that we are responsible for…it happened to us…not because of us.
We must learn the warning signs and symptoms. We must, as family and friends, watch out for our loved ones. Ask questions and get involved. Leave no room for regret…but be aware that life is fragile. We have such a small window of opportunity when it comes to this disease.
For those people who feel the need to criticize and ridicule those who have succumbed to suicide…we will pray for you. I find no greater offense than speaking ill of the dead.
Let us not spend so much time and energy condemning those, like Robin Williams, who simply could not hold on anymore. Instead, let us celebrate their lives and the way that they loved us. There are far too many of us Braving The Storm.
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Memories To Keep
You made us laugh
Until we cried
Now we are left
To wonder why
Was it too much
This world of pain
As we ponder
Sometimes the darkness
Can be so dooming
Leave us feeling alone
Don’t know what we are doing
Whatever the reason
You were brought to this end
We love and we thank you
You were like a long lost friend
I beg you all at this moment
Ask and get involved
No place is safe
No person more susceptible
This illness is blinding
To all those we know
Rest in paradise
Our very funny friend
You kept us laughing
Until the very end
I wish we would have known
The smile masking the pain
We would’ve seen you again
Life is too short
Love your loved ones deep
Before we are just left
With memories to keep
RIP Robin Williams…thanks for the memories
Embrace All Things
When I was diagnosed with Lupus, SLE, my entire world changed. This disease affects everyone differently…this is how it affected me.
The sun seemed to shine brighter.
The stars sparkled like diamonds.
The feathers on the birds in my neighborhood seemed more vibrant.
The sound of children’s laughter, in the park, made me laugh til I cried.
I held my family closer.
I said I love you…all the time.
During a time when no one would have said that I was wrong…to be bitter and angry; I selected a different path. I chose to take this circumstance and allow it to make me more aware of my surroundings. This devastating illness was trying to steal my life…and I knew that even if it won…my livelihood would be non-existent. I was determined not to fail. And in that moment I decided to start appreciating the little things and make Lupus have to fight for this body of mine.
We all get to choose how we live. Are we stopping to smell the flowers along the way? Are we mindful of our journey or are we just concentrating on the destination? Once my eyes were open to this beautiful world; I realized that I had been sleep walking through life. I had a new appreciation for this world. I felt like I had been given a huge gift…and I wasn’t going to waste a moment of it. I began smelling those flowers and praising the bees that help those flowers grow. I began singing in rain showers and even when a thunderstorm erupted….I praised that, as well; embracing the colors and sounds of the lightning and thunder.
In all of our lives we are faced with struggles, no matter how large or small they may be; be it grief, illness, homelessness, poverty or divorce. These are what I call “eye openers”. And the truth that I learned is this: What opens your eyes is less important than the fact that now your eyes are wide open.
We can now see more clearly. We can take the time to reclaim the joy that was always meant for us…in this life. But we must first try and let go of the circumstances or situations that brought us here. When we hold onto pain, such as this, we are holding ourselves back from victory.
The most difficult lesson we may ever learn is to be thankful and loving in all situations.
Remember we are not part of the bigger picture…we are the bigger picture. This is not referring to the ego…but to the ALL of everything. This prevents us from placing ourselves above or under anyone or anything else; because we are walking through this life together.
Once we begin to recognize that we are not part of the universe…but we ARE the universe; we will see life differently. Life doesn’t happen TO us…it happens WITH us. If we can allow ourselves to find joy in all circumstances, then we can find our truer purpose in life.
I could easily be angry with Lupus. I could cry all the time; as the pain I live with is often unbearable, but I bear it. This illness and several other obstacles have since tried to derail me; but I continue being thankful. I have learned to embrace all things.