Sunday, November 14, 2010

D Day Plus 231: (October 25, 2010): Now What?

“Now what?” That dominated my thoughts since I posted my first D Day Plus entry yesterday. You know and I know that one day changes everything.  And I changed everything with your story by jumping ahead to blend our story to here and now. Yes, I had a general idea where to take it.  But from the first posting last April, I quickly learned an entry was never a sure thing until I hit the “Publish Post” button. 

“Now what?”  Had really planted its sneaky syllables into my psyche like an uninvited guest over the holidays.  Those two syllables reverberated in my left ear and out my right ear. Then in my right ear and out my left ear like a figure eight or maybe even like infinity. So there I was trying to get unstuck, planted on your tan brown recliner on Dad’s side of the bedroom. And it wasn’t happening for me.  I needed a distraction—Big Time.

Usually work was a good distraction. That was a no go – at least not for a few more days—because I was still under doctor’s orders.  So I did what I did best, got even more balled up in thought and emotions.  

I tried to push through the wall of resistance. I had to. I was on my own self-imposed deadline. You know how I always have to add some stress even when there is no earthly reason for it. Even Microsoft had an opinion. That damn Microsoft Word stared me down with its blank page, all self-righteous and such. All because my word well had gone all but gone dry.   

Now questions plagued me and I didn’t have answers.  “Should I share the rollercoaster of emotions I just went through with my surgery or just do the condensed version with lessons learned – sort of like a post mortem they do in the military?  Should I pick up where I left off before the whole surreal bevy of bowel drama took over and gloss over my journey? How do you really talk about eternity and hope for the here-after without bringing in the God Squad and all the versions of what’s true or not; what’s right or not? How do you compare a bowel obstruction to cancer? How do you show joy and talk about hope when the knee jerk reaction about cancer, death, and pain is to run the other way bellering like a baby?”
By now, I knew the best thing to do was some type of distraction and wait for an answer –or inspiration. But what? I couldn’t do Zumba, yoga, or clean. I was sick of movies and “on demand” television.  I was even sick of watching training.  I needed to get out of the house.  

Dad says I’d never leave the house if I didn’t have to. He calls me, “His little Hermit." Or "Howard" (as in Hughes).  Don’t you think he’s a liar? The fact that I needed to get out of the house was proof.  Don’t you think? At least I don’t have agoraphobia. Well maybe a little when I drive over bridges or overpasses. Remember how I'd freak out and focus on my breathing, driving on the big tall overpasses from Bush International to our hotel of the moment, on one of our endless trips to MD Anderson? 

I decided to go for a walk because I was thinking about how fat I was getting just lazing around on your chair. So instead of being agoraphobic, I’m probably more fatophobic.

The sky was blustery and ominous looking, like it was going to be all cold outside. I didn’t check the thermometer by the patio or like you and Dad would have.  I’m more visual, you know. Anyhow, I got all layered up – sort of like Nonook the Eskimo. I’m sure you’re thinking that’s a surprise and smiling – given the fact that I’m always cold.  

I wore my flat suede boots.  The ones I bought in NYC with Aunt Janiene when my shoes were giving me blisters and I didn’t want to go back to the hotel.  Remember those were my "go to" boots last winter in Houston.  I also had on my stretchy stretchy leggings (cause of my swelly belly), and my new fake down vest with a pocket for my iPod. 

Oh, and I even had on one of the hats I crocheted during your appointments and hospital stays.  This one was made with the infamous magic circle. Remember? That’s where I’d use a slip knot sort of way to start the first round of the hat to make the hole at the crown really really tiny – almost invisible. 

I was so happy when I found a clip with instructions on YouTube. It was a few days before last New Year’s Day.  You were in the hospital at MD Anderson because you had severe abdominal pain. The nurse just gave you Morphine. I teased you about being thankful for good drugs. You shook your head and gave me a smile that meant, “I’m glad you’re here even with your stupid comments.”  

I didn’t want to bug you with the sound, so I used my iPod earbuds to plug into my Zebra-skinned Netbook. I’d watch the clip, try to make the ring, then watch it again. You asked what I was doing after about the fifth round of trying.  I went on and on about the marvelous magic ring for at least three minutes.  Your eyes glazed over.  I wasn’t sure if it was the Morphine or me. You only said, “I got it. It’s okay.” But did you ever really get the significance of the magic circle?  Don’t lie. 
I took the trail behind our house intent to walk to the traffic light on Algonkian Parkay and Cascades Boulevard. Autumn leaves were falling to my right and to my left. And each time one fell, you can bet I double-checked to make sure it wasn’t a butterfly that you may have sent my way.  No butterflies, just stupid autumn leaves—a whole lot of dead, beautiful, colorful, stupid, stupid leaves. 

By the time I got to Algonkian Parkway, I was all sweaty.  You’re probably thinking I should have checked the temperature. But I didn’t, so I stripped. First it was my fake down vest. That helped a little, but not enough. Then I stripped off my infamous magic circle hat. And boy I had some major hat hair going on. I almost put it back on. Instead I hoped I looked really sick to lower anyone’s expectations driving by.   

At the traffic light where Cascades Boulevard and Algonkian Parkway intersect, I stepped on the big crack. It's the one in the sidewalk section where you press the oversized button to cross the street. I did it, because I always did. Remember how I made you, Morgan, Dad, and even our old dog Champ step on it before being allowed to turn around. It was the law. Now it was more of a habit. 

As soon as I turned around, I got to thinking about the chain of pain and how emotional pain was the strongest link in it. Then I got to thinking about what we always talked about related to beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and feelings. A car honked and I ignored it. I didn’t want to lose momentum. 

Remember how we’d talk about changing our thoughts or perceptions in order to find a way to feel better. It was the best thing we could do and the only thing that we had control over. In fact, we’d had a lot of conversations about it on the very patch of trail I was on.  

All I ever wanted was to be closer to you, especially since your body caught up with your soul. After the past couple of weeks, I was finally starting to get it. It took some drama, but like we always said, "Words don't teach. Life experience does." 

As long as I was feeling good and appreciating life - even the sucky things, I felt closer to you. By sucky, I meant watching your pain with that invader - cancer. We both knew thoughts control emotions and emotions spawn feelings. And I had the power to control my thoughts. It's just a matter of training myself a little bit every day -- by choosing the best feeling thought in the moment.

I'm starting to believe. So please let me know if I'm getting it right. If I find calmness and appreciation, then you'll be there. Because that's where you hang out. Right? I think so, because it happened on the bathroom floor that night I thought I was dying. It happened at the hospital whenever I stopped with my pity party. It happened a lot of other times -- as long as I didn't get ahead of myself and found a way to feel better about the reality of the situation. Even if it was a silly distraction. Right? It was really happening. Right

So if I can change the way I think and what I believe, then faith comes and in some cases knowing? And if I can do that, then maybe I am a Superhero? Maybe you're a Superhero?  Maybe we're all Superheros. Only most of us our too stupid to believe it. 

I’ll try not to be a broken record. But I think I'm getting it. Like we always said, "A belief is just a thought you think over and over again, and if you change your thoughts, you can change your belief."

I'm not saying we're all Superheros with capes and kryptonite. But we do have more power by paying attention to how we feel every minute and finding better thoughts. Right? You always said you get what you give. So if I put out positive juju, then I'll get more back. Right?

Believe me, I'm not saying that I think you went through cancer or the physical pain to teach me or anyone a lesson. I think it happened because of timing and where you were. It did make us live life a whole fuller and really made us pay attention. Mostly it made us find a way to be positive -- mostly. It made us know unconditional love -- definitely. And best of all, it reminded me of Eternity and a lot of things we both forgot. 

One more thing, I'd like to know. "What is Eternity? And why can I feel you?" I don't expect an answer yet. But I'll tell you what I'm thinking. I know I'm not getting the whole story, but humor me. Because I won't know for sure for awhile. But here's what I'm thinking. Eternity is where the thoughts we think go hang out. And thoughts we think are connected to our soul. If the thoughts we're thinking make us feel bad, then we're out of sync with our soul. And we aren't being who we truly are. Right? So, if we feel good, we're on the right track. If we don't, we're not. We just need to change our thinking. Right? But because we're always growing, it's okay if we're not always skippety do dah happy with birds circling around our heads. Because it gives us clarity.  Right

So you know what you don't want. And knowing what don't want gives you best clarity of what you do want.  That makes Eternity grow because we're trying to get to what we do want. Right? We are all in this together whether we like it or not. Right? But when we like it and don't get to wrapped up in being right and making the other person wrong then we're on the right track. Right? And in Eternity, we are all loved. Right? And everything is okay because we never get it done. Right? So we get a lot of "do overs" and chances to be creative. And most of all we get to choose what we believe. Right

All those questions and a little clarity came on the trail in woods behind our house. Almost the same place you and your friends got all that poison ivy when you were in grade school. Anyway I stopped with the questions, because I was getting all tense. And if I was right, that meant I was getting further away from you and Eternity. So I listened to some songs on my iPod, to give it all a rest. Well mostly me. Wasn't it was obvious? I was having a hard time keeping up.
I dropped off my fake down vest at the house so I could walk the pond loop without feeling like a pack mule. While I was home, I got my dapper straw hat (the one I bought at the swap meet when we all went to Hawaii to take you to your final physical destination). I needed it to hide my horrendous hat hair. Plus I guzzled a whole lot of water because I didn't want to get all plugged up again in the bowel department. I'd learned my lesson.

Two minutes later I was walking the loop around the pond. More leaves fell to my left and right and like before I double-checked. Still no butterflies. I listened to some more random songs and tried to get the words right.  The distraction worked for a minute.  

Then my fears crept in. I wasn't sure whether to share what I thought on D Day Minus for fear of people thinking I was off my rocker. Then I got to thinking, this was your story, my story, and our story. And whether anyone believed it or not was their choice. Because that's the beauty of it all -- you get to choose what you believe. I only needed to start at the beginning, remember the joy and exhilaration of the ride, and relax. Because if I did, you'd make sure it all worked out. You'd guide me to the best moments, the right words, and the perfect sequence of my thoughts. 

I think you agreed too. Because a medium sized orange and black butterfly came up and played with me. And we danced just for a moment. Then I knew "Now What?" 

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