"You cannot simultaneously
prevent and prepare for war."
~ Albert Einstein
Which begs the question:
"How to simultaneously prevent
and prepare for death?"
from "Song of Solomon" 6:3,
"I am my Beloved's and
my Beloved is mine."
My POI (Person of Interest)
gifted it to me nearly
20 years ago. It isn't up
because we are observing
the Jewish High Holy Days
because I am not observant;
if anything, more of a Sufi...
It is up because the
whole thing is just so damn
record-breaking high temperatures,
Summer's final "Farewell!"
Fortunately, the breeze from
Elliott Bay spares us the swelter
and no piggies will need wrapping
up in cool, moist towels today.
We see flags flying at half-mast.
Yes, it is 9/11. Again.
It always will be now.
Nothing can take it back and we
have been inexorably changed,
each in our own ways.
For me, its ensuing wars are
taking another casualty: health care.
Budget cuts diverted to military ops
overseas and here in America
prevent my receiving health care.
I returned to Seattle unaware just how much
had changed since last living here.
We live amongst Bill Gates, Microsoft,
AMAZON, Boeing...some of the world's
wealthiest! A block away, people sleep
beneath the freeway. I am fortunate to
even have a home...Just not healthcare.
Stadium to the left from my window,
yes, we can actually see into it down to the
field while the roar of the crowd during
Sounders soccer games and Seattle Seahawks
games celebrate with marching bands,
cannons that explode with each point scored,
accompanied by fireworks and cheers that
would pierce the silence of what is not
a sanctuary here, because there never IS
Blessed Silence inside the apartment amidst
the bustle of downtown Seattle.
Silence only inside what St. Teresa of Avila calls
"The Interior Castle." (Within, during meditation, prayer, contemplative introspection.)
"Let us leave it to the Lord. (For He knows us
better than we do ourselves. And true humility
is content with what is received.)"
~ from Saint Teresa of Avila
translated by Mirabai Starr
Ephemera...questions...how does one keep hope
alive while preparing for a "Do It Yourself"
end of life? Not a fast one. A slow one.
"Why can't you DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT?"
EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU ASKS...
Because, for whatever reasons, over 20 doctors
at 4 hospitals have botched things up into a muddle and Medicare will not cover inpatient
care without a diagnosis and I am too sick to
endure some of the most important, necessary
diagnostic procedures as an outpatient.
It's that simple. And emergency rooms, First
Responders...ephemera...no longer work.
No diagnosis, no treatment. No treatment,
then it's in the Hands of the Beloved, is it not?
"I am my Beloved's,
and my Beloved is mine."
So, I comb, snuggle, and cuddle guinea pigs
with a DO NOT RESUSCITATE sign hanging
on the bedroom door. There is nothing to
resuscitate. I am slowly starving due to
G.I. and Neurological illnesses...
Transitions to Hospice Care workers
ARE ABSOLUTELY AWESOME, Y'ALL!
THEY ARE FUNDED SOLELY THROUGH
DONATIONS, their services free, and they
are doggedly trying to get the hospital to
admit, diagnose, treat, or at the very least,
provide Palliative Care. The Fire Department
has a key to my door because we seem to have
a lot of fires...my dear, precious 95-year-old
neighbor loves to cook. She AMAZES! Every single day she dresses to the nines, and goes
out on town with her walker: astonishing!
Errrr...but the cooking part...?
Not so good given she is going blind.
Further, we also have residing amongst
us a serial "fire-alarm" puller!
Yes, living amongst seniors is an
enlightening experience. My neighbors
here are extraordinary, though, and
take care of one another, strangers
in the beginning, yet they will "adopt"
each other and voluntarily find meaning
in caregiving...it's quite touching.
They all clamor to help me. But I do
not know them very well, yet, how much
do I ask, what is reasonable to expect?
You have all asked me to have a positive
attitude and be hopeful.
I am doing my best.
It is difficult to simultaneously hope for
a bright, beautiful future while preparing
for death. Sometimes funny things happen.
And I will try to write about them.
Sometimes hopes get dashed. And I do
not want to write about that.
But one thing that has never ceased is a
Parade of Unending Miracles: a few months
ago The Times of India published a letter I
wrote thanking the editor for all I received
reading and writing on their Speaking Tree
(Spirituality) Pages...so many Indians,
people I may never meet, will never know,
all began praying, doing whatever religious
rituals exist to heal those they love, the
outpouring was a Tsunami that actually
stopped all the pain that was keeping me
from eating! All the pain VANISHED.
And, to this day, it has never but once
or twice been severe!
Last month, my POI,
(Person of Interest/Soulmate/Caregiver who
has forbidden me to use his name, identity, or any photos of him: righteously exclaiming:
"I DO NOT WANT A CYBER FOOTPRINT!")
heh-heh, yeah, right...so...
(Tagalog for "fine!!!")
Anyway, POI was
losing control of the walker on our VERY steep sidewalk before we got a wheelchair and instead
of rolling down into the middle of the street during
rush hour traffic (or all the way down into Elliott Bay, depending...) a delivery van immediately appeared OUT OF NOWHERE, the driver leapt
out of the cab faster than superman could spin in his telephone booth from Clark Kent into his cape, and grabbed the walker, helping POI safely navigate it into the building! We thanked him profusely and this is what he replied:
"That's what I am here for."
Delivery man? Or Angel?
"That's what I am here for."
We bought a wheelchair so the angels don't
have to work quite so hard, but they still do.
Yesterday, a gift came in the mail from a
friend I have never met. It was "loveful."
I just burst into tears, sitting in my wheelchair,
uncontrollably sobbing at how beautiful, how
generous, how kind, how full of Grace Life is.
And in those tears, the Fight I have been losing...
fighting for basic human rights which are allegedly guaranteed by law yet not guaranteed by bureaucrats...I stopped. Fighting. The anger I felt about the injustice of it all melted in her loveful gesture, in her generosity, then a flood of tears remembering ALL OF YOUR LOVE, ALL OF YOUR PRAYERS, ALL OF YOUR GENEROSITY and the anger, indignation, humiliation, the desire to retaliate against those bullying, those making the choice to deny medical treatment because Medicare pays so little...the fight melted. I texted POI "Should I let go?"
POI texted back "Yes, you'll feel lighter."
I do feel lighter.
Hope is in the hands of my Beloved.
I cannot read His Mind.
(Nor would I want to, what with everything
happening in the world, There by The Grace of God go we.)
Life is Loveful.