Something I'm working on now. Readers have asked to know more about the voyage with my previous life-partner, before she passed on, what we went through before Pat transitioned. Here's some of the story--with a warning: While life is much sweeter for me these days, with so much healing done and ongoing, this is not an easy read. If you or someone you know is going through a very rough patch, you may wish to skip this for now. On the other hand, you may know someone who would find this helpful. There are some journal questions at the end you or they could try instead, or in addition to. Thank you, with great love.
BLACK 22, RED 38
We got the results from the CT scan,
so the biopsy's hollow needle
through her chest wall
a stingray incision.
The tumor surrounding
her pulmonary vein
like a small knotted squid.
A nick, just a nick to the vein
she’d have “bled out”
strapped upright to the board
this tsunami she hasn’t crested.
“Peace and fun!”
Her new mantra, perverse as
Life’s turning tides
swirling then storming.
She had a red top as a child
spinning and spinning
so abrupt, the moon, sun, and stars
shot out like targets at the arcade…
all darkness. How long ‘till we know?
My inelegant inarticulate mantra,
“Help us. Help us. Help us.”
All this too soon.
Didn’t she deserve more?
Well, you know my prayer.
You’ll decide. No point trying
to make deals or convince you.
You adore her too, don’t you?
Help us. Help us. Help me see.
How does anyone brace for--
the mind absorbs as much as it can
and then you can’t believe it’s happening.
Through the walls I wait while she tests.
Overheard, her oncologist tells another
he is going to die. Why?
Who lives, who’s finished? Who suffers this way?
She loves roulette, “laissez les bon temps…”
His brain, “Black 22,” her lungs, “Red 38.”
She has a strategy, praying for time
to fight long enough, for them
to know what they’re doing.
She isn’t quitting—so much work yet to do.
But what if her work is helping them learn?
And what if mine is holding her hand?
Is this why we came, was this the plan?
So I could give injections, clean up the
disappointments and hold her through this?
Anything else beneath the waves?
She got through the biopsy
with no problems. Gratitude. It hurt a lot.
They asked if she was ready.
She told them firmly
the way she talks to you sometimes
soft but direct, pointing
at the sky,
at the sky,
they must do a good job
no mistakes, no second chances.
The doctor seemed nervous
and tense. He was sweaty.
She told him with her gentle voice
the way she talks to me sometimes,
her smooth gentle palm on his forearm
she has faith in him, and in God.
They made her hold her breath
with her withered lungs--three times.
They told her she must stay alert,
and very, very still, without breathing,
that once they went in, it would hurt
but coughing was NOT an option
and neither was passing out.
She did her job. And they did.
Three little pieces of calamari
floating in a saline container
they showed her before the lab.
And it is cancer. And it is inoperable.
All this IS happening to her
to us. Where to from here?
A brand new life from the reject box.
We’ll figure it out. We’ll get there
even through all this murky bilge
“Help us, help us, help us.”
You know my prayers before I speak
You know what’s coming
how this tsunami will hit
and all we’ll need
to thrash about in it.
Help me hear…
my mantra interrupted
my mantra interrupted
Your voice without a sound
these words in my heart
“Go and BE Love.”
Is it enough now?
It is all there is. All there is.
It is everything.
For your journal/discussion:
1. What are the big "Why Questions" in your life now? It is okay to ask them.
2. Choose a relationship or acquaintance from your present or past. What is or was the purpose of this? Why did you meet? Why did you come into each others' lives?
3. What does it mean to you, to "be there" for someone? I once met a woman who said she couldn't be there for someone the way I was for my beloved--that she could be there for a while, but not like that. What are your limits? No judging, just write what you feel.