Hope: Feel Normal Again


A Chapter from my life that explains my attitude toward my cancer.  For me, life changing events are part of living and to successfully navigate our existence, I must always find the glass half full.  I have always searched for normalcy, and I have finally discovered the path to joy.  Love yourself and others.  Notice the beautiful things along the journey.  Be selfish and feel the way you want to feel.  Own it.  Talk about it.  Change it if it is causing you to lose focus!  Be happy, and during times of grief, tell yourself it okay to feel sad, but there is a light in the future where the pain will fade, and a memory will replace it.

They both sat quietly in the sleek, steel-gray fastback waiting on the light at S.E. 27th and Osage.  Silence enveloped the space between them like a heavy quilt blocking the sunlight  as it hangs over a window.  There hadn’t been any hint of light in their thoughts for months.  Rachel looked over at Mama and noticed the wisps of gray hair stringing down her face as it danced in the breeze.  The hair showed how Mama had aged.  She felt sorry for Mama, but at the same time she was so mad!  Life was not fair, and the way Mama smothered her and yet, ignored her was just wrong!

Indifferently, she began to tell Mama about her day at school when she heard the roaring rev of the car next to them.  Her eyes moved from Mama’s face to the car next to them. Two taunting high school boys laughed as they playfully revved the engine once again as they sat in a little blue Pontiac.

Anger swelled within Rachel from some deep place she didn’t know.  Eyes flashing she nodded her head at the boys, as if waving off their childish dares.  She figured they were laughing at her because her Mama was driving her home from school in a car that was faster than any “old lady” should drive.  Rachel was jealous of them.  They were young, carefree, and driving.  She thought she was the only 15-year-old at High School who wasn’t learning to drive!

Seeing Rachel’s storming reaction, Mama turned toward the boys as well.  She thought Rachel wanted to drive, but her heart just couldn’t risk the lose of another child.  She wanted to protect her last child from everything, and it was her opinion that when a child has wheels, it is freedom…too much freedom.  She also feared that if she kept too tight of a grip on Rachel, she would bolt; straight out of the safety zone Mama had built for her.

Mama saw the blazing eyes, and felt that something had to change. Had Rachel been behind the wheel, she would have burned the rubber off the tires to show those boys something!  Mama wouldn’t be driving this car if she had but one wish…to have her son back. Was the safety zone the best decision for Rachel?  Mama’s pain overshadowed logic.  She would not risk losing Rachel, but she would drive that car the way it should be driven!

Mama checked the light.  Still glowed red.  She winked at those laughing boys.  She revved the 351 Cleveland with her foot on the brake.  They squawked laughter and rolled their eyes.  Revving their engine and laughing hysterically put them at a huge disadvantage.

Green light.  Smell of burning rubber.  Vvvrrrooommm!

In the next moment, Rachel realized they were a mile down the road in front of Llano Cemetery.  Mama burst out laughing and Rachel joined in with genuine emotion.  They drove into the cemetery around the east circular road to the huge tree with limbs draping almost to the street.  Heavy steps led them to the headstone proclaiming the final resting place of their loved one.  Rachel gazed over the green grass wondering if the “thing” inside her would ever go away.

“It won’t, you know.” Mama said aloud as if she read Rachel’s mind.

Trying to sound stoic and 15, Rachel stiffly replied, “What are you talking about?”

“The pain, child.  It will never go away.” Mama hung on to her pain like a newborn child.  “We will always miss him.  There will always be an empty space where your brother should be.”

“But Mama.” Rachel thought, “You don’t understand.  I don’t miss him like you do.  I miss YOU.  I need YOU right now, and you cannot think of anyone or anything else but him!”

Rachel was jealous of her brother because after he had died, Mama didn’t really see or hear Rachel anymore.  Also because Rachel had loved her brother, the jealousy made her feel ugly.  She didn’t understand these feelings, and each day pain gripped her heart harder.  She just wanted her Mama back.  Too embarrassed by guilt, she chose not to explain her thoughts. Instead she replied, “I know Mama. I loved him too.

Mama and Rachel hugged as their misunderstood pain of loss made them more distant.  They knelt beside the flowers Mama had lovingly put there last Friday, and replaced them with new ones from the back seat of the Fastback.  They had come every week for eight months; although, Rachel wished they could make it just once a month now that some time had passed.  She felt so selfish, but she just wanted to be normal again.


Renovate the Mind

It stood tall in the corner; although, dirty showing definite signs of abuse. John had asked me to vacuum the little front room where he had stored all his tools and supplies. The room was visibly in need of cleaning with white texture particles littering the floor. The carpet stunk of humidity mixed with the stench of pet odor and mildew. Dark stains patterned the edges near the walls. Screws, nails, and wire were strewn about as well.

The little vacuum was bagless with a hepa filter, and a cone inverter. I detached the hard plastic container, and emptied it into the trash can.

“Not much in there,” I mused. “It is probably stopped up.” However, I turned it on and began to push it back and forth stirring the powdery dirt into a cloud. I couldn’t get this job done without some work on this vacuum.

I turned it off and flipped it over to check the opening by the roller brush. “Yep! It was clogged.” Needing something to stick down in there and loosen the dirt, I stood to go get some tools. As I jammed a fish-hook remover with an alligator clip at the end, I thought about how I sometimes get stuck and cannot function. I laughed out loud wondering if my higher power uses tools that weren’t really made for fixing me, like I was with this vacuum.

Oh, I clamped onto a wad of something solid! As I pulled it out, I instantly smelled urine, and saw a clump of dirt mixed with short dog hair. Why, oh why do folks think you can vacuum up pee soaked dog hair from a carpet? For some time I pulled more and more wet hair from the opening. When I had finally gone as far as I could reach with the alligator clip, I detached the other end of the hose, shoved a slightly curved crowbar deep into it, and twisted as hard as I could breaking loose the same nasty contents from that end. I finally freed the air space there and that vacuum worked like it was brand new.

I couldn’t stop thinking about that vacuum cleaner for days. The owner had to have spent at least $75 to buy it, and then used it to suck up urine soaked dog hair. I guess when it quit working well, she abandoned it.

I wondered why people throw perfectly good stuff away when they could put some effort into saving it. It occurred to me that I do it often with myself. I work hard obtaining something worth while, and then I sabotage it. Finally, I give up and abandon the thing. I realized why I couldn’t stop thinking about the vacuum. God was using a dirty, stopped up vacuum and a fish-hook remover to clear the negative soaked ideas from my brain.

I laughed out loud this time as I understood that cleaning up the debris in our heads and hearts is just a normal daily task for Him. It is something He chooses to do, just as I did with that vacuum rather than throw it away. He will never throw us away. His investment in us is a lot greater than the $75 bucks we would spend on a vacuum. His love is far more reaching than an alligator clipped fish-hook remover, or a crow bar.

I’m so happy He is patient with me, and helps me to become as if I’m brand new each time I get stopped up!

You Win; I am Dead

February 15, 2011, several years after an abusive relationship, I wrote this poem.  I revised it again today because I have survived!

You win.

I’m dead.

Chopped up into the little bloody pieces you claimed…

would never be found.

“I’ll freeze them,” you said, “and carry them out in small trash bags each day.”

Ah… You would dispose of me one trash bag at a time.

And I believed you;

That I was trash.


You win.

I’m dead.

Looked into a mirror after a wearisome day, and saw…

Tiny little living pieces.

“I’ll freeze them,” you said, “and no one will ever find them.”

Ah… You were wrong about that!

Little bits of me spatter on the canvas of the living now and then.

Telling your dirty little secret.


You win.

I’m dead.

Sensed a chance to laugh at the smallest humor, but…

Trace evidence appeared on the Monet of today.

“I’ll freeze them,” you said, “No one will ever want you.”

Ah… You infected every precious part of my pitiful reality

Until I discovered the hidden  masterpiece under

Your filthy dark art.


You lose.


Living and breathing the beauty of love

Whilst you sleep the slumber of death…

From the bullet you put in your head.

Trust Only Him

What do you do when the trust is gone?

The world goes on…

You wonder why people choose to lie.

You have lost a friend, but in the end

The truth wreaks havoc, so heavy it weighs

On your heart and mind.

Clearly it’s a warning sign.


They were never there and they didn’t care.

It was all for show in a church grown cold,

Arrogance and shameful pride

Pushing the peasants far hopelessly aside.

“Tend to the wound; heal it soon.”

Let my scars grow tough before I’m consumed.


The scars – reminders of One who loved

Unconditionally: He descended from above.

Only he can discern the pureness of our hearts

The Master of devotion; beneficence He imparts.

The calling is given and accepted by man,

But apathy reigns. The sheep are abandoned.


The scar stems deep as the wound grows closed.

The searing burn – pain is out of control.

My emotion bleeds for the sheep who suffer,

I must get stronger, as life gets tougher.

Trust in Him, the Almighty, and hope remains.

He carries it all through His suffering and pain.

I wrote this poem in October of 2010 during a very challenging time in my life.  I published it on Facebook October 16th of that year.  Since that time, I have become a strong believer that organized religion is not for me.  (That blog entry is for an another day!)  In my mind, the poem speaks of spiritual abuse within the modern day church in this century that is causing many to leave the churches.  At the time, I almost came to a sad conclusion that God didn’t exist, but I have come full circle understanding that God loves us all just as we are.