Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Care taking the dying isn't dying. Nightmares and wishes: needing help

I would like your help. In truth, I need your help, in very specific ways, and one of those ways might be your going for a nice meal, or just going out, if you can’t eat. I need you because I am too weak now on my own. I realize that. I can’t survive on my own, much less do more, and I want to do more. Help me please. (Help is not a dirty four letter word)

I went to the video store today (big trip!), not exactly when I wanted, but when my disease allowed me to, having woken me up bloated with bowel troubles though I spent yesterday preparing, with most of my energy, to leave as soon as I got up. But the disease is a mountain, and you don’t go through the mountain just because you want to. On the way back was a corner preacher who had ‘signs of Satan and the End’ of which one was ‘Lightning’. I like lighting. I told him, “Lightning is good.” He said, twice without stopping in this sort of joyful singsong, “All you need to know is that God will raise the dead, God will raise the dead and 5 Billion of us will be ground up for fertilizer in concentration camps, God will raise the dead…..” I told Linda that maybe his emphasis was wrong because if I thought 5 billion people were going to be ground up, I would have a bit more emotion and less joy in my voice. Also, it really did sound like God was raising some sort of zombie army which would round up, put the living in camps before mulching them. Is that REALLY what the person meant? Linda advised against going back. Surreal. Linda was there, to push, to help. She was there to stop me using the rest of my energy on questioning the Zombie army of God and the evil of Lightning. She is the kind of help I need.

Despite what they want to tell you, all people will have medical issues, no matter how many blueberries, or green leafy foods you eat. So when YOU get into the medical whirlwind of testing, treatment and ‘it is probably all in your head’, I letting you know that people get nightmares, lots of them. I did, as did those I know. Those nightmares are probably pushed on by fear of that which can’t be spoken, the pain you live with and that medicinal treatment IS a type of abuse – orders, demands, pain and blame. Plus there is the fear of yet another odd and painful test (“We need to put needle rods into all your bones and then zap you with electricity”). I never had the Zombie army of God nightmare, but I had lots, and they do end. But the truth is, it is better for you if they don’t. You will likely have nightmares if you get treatment because…what if it goes wrong, what if it doesn’t work right after a while and you have to do it all over again, or what if it is out of your control (it is) and you get worse?

I theorize that faced with horror, nightmares are our brains way of preparing us to deal with what we have already accepted in our hearts, or fear in our soul, has to be done.

When they say you have a terminal disease, the nightmares don’t end. But when they have done enough tests and the days you have, the nights you have survived rival anything you have seen on a horror film. Then the nightmares end. When you have a significance chance of amputation, and have to do things every day to make sure that doesn’t happen; or when you have had infections where you drained the pea-soup puss out of them, or hoped the area of skin gone stopped bleeding or didn’t spread, then what is horror in a movie where a person must amputate a foot to save a life (Saw)? None. It isn’t a nightmare, it isn’t a horror film, it’s Tuesday.

Night before last I had a dream that I was pulling bright blue connected and hardened mucus from my lungs, which was literally ripping the tissue and choking me into inability to breathe. As I got one out, another thread in my mouth I would feel and pull on and out came another unbelievably large and expanding blue choking mass from deep in my lungs. This was not a nightmare. This was a fairly pleasant dream. I thought it was real, until hours after waking up I realized that no mucus I have every pulled or coughed out of my lungs was blue, so I asked Linda if I rolled onto my face instead – my heart was very, very, very erratic yesterday and perhaps it just stopped beating for long periods of time (the heart pain woke me up yesterday). See, no nightmare.

So the comfort to take from it is this: you have nightmares because you want to survive, and you are preparing to survive. Take faith in your own capacity to hold on.

For me, long past the nightmares, it is the isolation which sinks me, like falling through icy glacial lakewater, to watch those above, so far away. Or like looking out a cabin door and seeing and knowing the great expanse, without humanity, before contact. We are a culture where babies are collectively rejoiced, and adored, children are treasures, and then sick, elderly or dying are annoyances or negative impacts on the lives of the non-dying. I read again and again about adult and busy children with senior parents and how hard it was for them (the adult children) to ‘go through’ a mothers’ cancer, a fathers’ dementia, the illnesses and death of a parent, or loved one. That is a lie.

I wrote about being sexually abused. Linda lived through comforting me from the nightmares I had for years during counseling, and yet she doesn’t know or really understand the experience or the thinking, the reactions etched into the body and mind from being sexually abused. The same is true of A.A.N., my auto-immune disaster to the brain, and neurological neuropathy disease, she lives with it daily, but doesn’t know it to live it, only what it takes to care for it, and the pain and changes she sees. In that same way watching Philadelphia Story doesn’t gives anyone the experience of dying of, or the sacrifices of taking care of a person living WITH and dying of HIV/AIDS. It is an Opera and TV fallacy…that talking about it is knowing it. But you don’t. A parent or loved one dying isn’t you. We have cancer, WE have dementia, WE have Parkinson’s, WE have MSA, WE have the pain, the cramps, the nausea, the loss of muscle control, bladder control, bowel problems, the lying in bed in pain, unable to be turned. US. Just because we are too tired, or it takes days to make ourselves understood, plus no one is interested in narrating for those who die, so our experience of consciousness while dying is omited. Replaced instead by those with 1,000 times the energy we have towards the end, who stand up in the stead. Even the woman who had a partial stroke, wrote a book and talks about having it skips, except for a mention and a few pages, the 500 plus days of confusion, frustration, and other aspects of rehab.

Care taking is an experience, loss is an experience, those may be your experience, but loss isn’t the same as dying.
But dying without the caring which creates loss, the care taking which is love and sacrifice in action, is a harsh and lonely place. I am asking not just for understanding but for friendship which is action. That friendship which reaches out, which uplifts, which lets me know that there is more outside than the two posters on the soundproofing boarding and the rat-tat-tat of rain hitting. A friendship which ultimately may not have a quid pro quo, though I try, I may not be able to engage or gift back, or email back to the same level, certainly when my hand speed is 1/10th of yours, and the strength to lift my forearms only lasts for the first few hours of the day (and when seizures wiping memory eliminate the best of plans and intentions, leaving only the gnawing that I was going to send something to someone).

I started the postcard project for change. If you go back and look because people on the BBC and in the disability community said that people, that the AB people needed to change: the world needed to ‘get us’, understand our needs/limitations. I decided that they were right, we needed a BETTER world, a different society and viewpoint than we live in. But I wasn’t going to wait for it, that I, Elizabeth McClung, fuck whether I was disabled or not, would make a change as I could. And one thing people who are disabled need to feel, particularly in some isolating and degenerating illnesses, is not being alone. A postcard for those who are ill, who are disabled, who have impairments of all kinds, and for those who will one day be in the above groupings.

For me it has been three stages. Once I found out that a) I was going to die quickly (diagnosis A) or Diagnosis B) I was going to die quicker, and in ‘horrible ways’. I thought I understood that. HA! The truth is I was sick, like having a bad flu sick but I had 1/10th the energy of before (so about 1/3rd the energy of everyone else). And while I ‘intellectually’ got it, I didn’t get it in my heart. Not in every shadow of my being. It was indeed a very fast learning experience, and I like to learn (the discrimination and being talked down to was total crap but learning changed me, and I appreciated that). Until something changed that couldn’t be changed back. See, it is one thing to HAVE one side with bad circulation and so the ‘red side’ and the ‘white side’ and one side getting weaker all the time because, well, something will come along, something will reverse that, you know, some treatment or something. And sure, when the pain is high or depression comes, there is ‘Why me’ but I can come out of this ‘okay’. Until your eardrum blows, until you have a stroke that bleeds into your brain, until your heart is damaged, until your brain is permanently damaged, until you live through the death of millions of your nerves: so many the spine had to enlarge the channel to try and keep up with all the pain signals. Dropping stuff on my foot was funny, being unable to taste food on my tongue…not funny (the back of my throat still has taste buds, and my nose does too). Having a wound that doesn’t heal for over a year is disturbing….having a medical condition like progressive anemia that goes untreated for over two years, something I thought was ‘important’, you know, having those red blood cells to carry oxygen not replicate, not carry blood, have less and less as no one acts except to stop talking to your face and start talking out the window, or at their shoes…that was less funny.

Then came the honest to goodness, “I could die” moments, or “You did die very briefly” moments, which while realizing that as long as I still come back that is fine, right? Except after a few, the statistics start to click over in my head. And doctors say odd sentences, like regarding the upping doses of painkillers, and when I say, “But you told me that would damage my liver.” They say, “It will last long enough.” So it is intellectually getting through more and more that yeah, dying. And then, I had 1/25th the energy I used to have. I set lines in the sand I would follow, but they fell, they all fell. From: “I will go out twice a week on my own”, “I will shower three times a week”, “I will get dressed and wear make-up every day.” – goes to “I will go out one a week”, “I will get dressed three days a week in non-PJ’s” and then it goes to where a shower means that you are done for the day. And I am not able to put my socks on, not able to put my bra on, not able to put clothes on. And somehow, at some point, so much of what I wanted in life, the extra, the good stuff becomes about keeping to doing those lists every day (list to follow when I am too confused, so I do it anyway), the lists that keep me alive. I fight for that every day. The lists that allow me to shit, and eat and sleep. And then, when a timeline is drawn out, maybe a year, maybe 6 months, it seems like every decisions is made by death, by what can be done before….., well, no one likes to say it, but you have to start saying it. Before I die. “I need to let Linda know about the books before I die.”, “I need to watch that series before I die.”

Then it just becomes about staying alive, because death is like a cloud around you, step on a crack, and you break your own life line, get a cold, get in hospital, lie down too long, forget to drink too long, fall over too hard, anything that tip the balance. And of course, the pain. That’s the hardest part, like wading through snow up to your chest, pushing forward against that hard wind and rain which is always there. And this is when people slowly pull away. Well now I am 200 times weaker, and I scream not daily, but moan hourly from pain, a grim contest of wills, of planning, of determination, that is when I have to reach out over and over again, only to find silence. When a sock weighs 45lbs to me, and typing hurts so bad I cry. But I still send out up to 16 emails a day (that takes 9 hours, like it took me three days to type this). Just grim determination not to give up, and determination to keep trying to have relationships, to BE here, so people can understand. I think often people can’t. I wish they could, To accommodate even the memory problems I have are difficult, to care take for me even 4 hours is extremely difficult but to live it...it is like being flayed and put in a bath of hydrogen peroxide and then being flayed again.

So, yeah, I can’t escape my dying because it is shoved in my face, in ways I will talk about next time. But I have a dream and a determination too – that the disease may have swallowed most of me, that 80% of me is in the beast, but survival just to survival when I know that in the end I will not survive isn’t living. Laughing is living. Joy is living. Something MORE is living. And I am making a DIFFERENT list, one of the things I am going to do, not to survive, but because I want to. Manga that I need, not just to have pain control, but because I WANT to read it, I want to smile. Things I want to do WITH YOU. For example, I want us, all of those with different impairments, illnesses or not, to plan and GO OUT for…..dinner, cafĂ©, starbucks. I want to go out to dinner with all of you, and have us share it here. I will talk about the when and where, and the other things on my list next time. But you get the idea, yes? I am searching for fun.

I will say goodbye soonish (4-50+ weeks). And I don’t think I will change society much. I would rather spend time with friends, spend time living to find those moments of smiling. I started giving gifts and sending postcards, trying to change the world before the recession, and then friends died, and some decided deliberately that they couldn’t take it, couldn’t stand the pain of caring anymore. So they left. I state this: the more we as a society reward or accept those who run from what they fear (the ‘I’ll pray for you’ and out the door, the ‘It just hurts to much to see you like this’ and gone) the more it will continue. And those who ran WILL find out also when the great exodus occurs in their life once the whiff of illness comes from THEM. So making them feeling good about leaving because they feel bad...second hand, does them no favors.

That why, for those who stay, another part of the ‘fun’ list are the gifts, the boxes and boxes I have of gifts which I want to give out, NOW (while it is possible). But they are mostly unique, imported from Japan, Asia, the UK, Europe, and Australia. And I don’t want to give the wrong thing. And I don’t want to be like my grandmother, where for the last five years, her house had tape on the back of everything and siblings went around erasing others name and putting their own. And I am fragile and weak. So Readers and Lurkers, it is time to de-lurk. I want to know you, I want to know you are searching for fun and joy and I will try to aid that. But I can’t send you a wall hanging, a framed art picture, goth fun, a limited edition set of yaoi postcards, a yuri/lesbian towel unless I know you might like it. Unless you want to write, I don’t know to sent a stationery set (I try to send all who write me letters a stationery set – HINT!). How do I know who to give manga to read, and which, or DVD’s to give to watch if I don’t know who you are and what you like? And more importantly if I don’t know that you want to have deliberate laughter and joy too.

There is a sort of plan, which I will explain more with the next post, along with the grim aspects of dying, survival and MORE than that. But it goes like this, gifts are things to make people happy (I don’t like or believe the ‘obligation’ thing), and for everyone who has given me gifts, I try to give back, to show my appreciation, to show as I can, what it meant to me. Sometimes, that is the extra two hours to make another, special postcard to say thank you. I try to give postcards to all who send post (HINT!).

Sadly, a well meant gift can instead remind me of what I have lost: hair, function, the alteration of face and body, not going outside, not being able to….(fill in the blank). I assume people don’t give gifts to make me (or others) sad. So I have changed the wishlist, and will continue to do so. I have on there the things I need to survive. I have on there the things Linda needs to survive, and I have on there things that I need for pain control, for bed days but also things I want to look forward to. Isn’t that the point of wishes? To work for them to come true? So, starting now, for each person who gifts from the wish list, or who gifts a gift certificate from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com (to: mpshiel@hotmail.com) I want to work toward giving a gift package. So please a) let them put your name on the, so Linda and Cheryl can put it on a yellow stick it note and put it on the manga, DVD, medicine and b) email or write to let me know what your like, what you do, your hobbies, your interests, do you like queer stationery, yaoi stationery, yuri stationery, goth stationery, what books you like, what amuses you, (and if you have children or young relations that you like to spoil – as I have lots of kids stuff – and YES, Hello Kitty stuff)? That was I can try to match what I have to what would give you joy. A joy exchange.You are giving me something special or helping me work toward something which brings laughter instead of nightmares….I really want to do the same.

I hope that makes sense. I know that many people have been kind over the years. I hope you understood I tried to show my appreciation. For the packages, with my current limitations, my brain issues and my weakness, two hours a week with a careworker is a day’s energy, and I want to be able to sort items to match with names. Building relationships and joy within the limits I havethat means I need the names, if you are on the postcard project, the name is all I need (unless you have moved) and the interest to laugh, to joy. For example, I try now to spend 4 hours letter writing a week (that is half a day), which makes two letters. So another list I am working through (a slow return in writing people who write me, but I am trying to create better than just surviving).

The nightmares are over, and so soon will life, but now we have a time, and I want to make as much of it a place where good dreams happen.


Linda McClung said...

"Help is not a dirty four letter word." I like that. It's something I struggle with a lot. If I need help it means I've failed, right? Well, that's how my brain sometimes works.

But I am slowly learning to ask for help. And sometimes people are so glad that I ask because they have wanted to help but just didn't know how.

I like, Beth, that you are telling people how they can help you - go to dinner, have some fun, buy a gift certificate. Whether they do is up to them. They have options which is empowering.

I remember a few years ago you had a weekend in May, around your birthday, where you asked your readers to go out and do something and report back. It was awesome hearing what everyone did and brought a lot of joy to many. I'm looking forward to your next blog where you propose the next activity.

Religious guy - okay, I know it is a stereotype, but he really was a nutter. Nothing he said made sense. No two sentences went together. It would have been interesting to hear his explanation about lightening but I don't think we'd ever get it. He was definitely going for quantity of witness, not quality. I somehow doubt he'll get many converts.

I remember the nightmares you would have. Your graphic descriptions when you recounted them to me were horrific. And I wondered what kind of mind does a person have to have in order to dream abou stuff like that. What you say makes sense - it's your brain's way of accepting what you may have already accepted in your heart - abuse, dying, loss, etc.

I agree living with someone who is dying is different from dying. Same with abuse - I've seen it, I see what it does to a person, but I haven't experienced it myself so don't really GET it (understand completely). I do get angry at the people who abused you when I see what it does to you and to me as a caregiver.

I really like your desire for fun. It's something I know I often forget to do. And it is always so much better sharing it with someone.

So many nice photos - I especially like the last one because it reminds me of Venice. And the girl with the black gown and hat. I could feel the loneliness when I saw the girl sitting on the chair. The girl with the tiger and cubs was a cute picture too.

deadrose said...

Dearest Beth,

I don't know if there are words to describe how much I enjoy your company, whether it's words on the blog, cards in the mail, or meeting at Sakura-con.

I will share my life with you, small though it is these days. I will stick around. I will help in whatever ways I can. These are my promises. I don't make them lightly.

Diane J Standiford said...

I like your idea. I'll see what I can do. I have lost your address. Don't be offended, I have lost much.

wendryn said...

I like the pictures in this one!

I will try to remember to bring you along when I go out. Today I went for a walk in my new shoes (shoes with toes - very odd, but I love them!). Xander was in a huge hurry to get to work, so I asked him to drop me off about a mile away. Not very far, but it saved him at least 5 minutes, which is something. I walked in the wind and the chill and it was really nice. I keep expecting my feet to be cold, but less constriction = more circulation, so they were actually pretty comfortable. It was definitely a brisk morning, sun just coming up, and everything looking like it is on the very cusp of Spring. I thought of your pictures of cherry blossoms blooming and thought you might appreciate this "almost there!" feeling we get when it is so close to spring but we still have another couple of storms before it settles in.

I am glad you are being specific about what will help. It's hard for me to ask for help, too. I will try to help in the little ways I can.


Dawn Allenbach said...

I want to tell you about my trip to te Renaissance Faire, but I need to know HOW to tell you about it -- comment here, post to Road Hog, or an email sent directly to you?

Last week I saw a school-bus-yellow Volkswagen Beetle car with a Hello Kitty graphic on the passenger door. I immediately thought that if you had been with me and seen it too, it might've made you smile a little (even though it wasn't a goth Hello Kitty).

I hope my package has arrived safely, or that it will soon.

Raccoon said...

Street preacher... I'm glad I haven't met many of them.

At least he didn't start in with the "if you just believe" crap.

I'm thinking that maybe the reason people focus on the family, the spouse, the children, is that when a person dies, they are dead. They no longer have to process the emotions, feel the pain. The survivors are the ones left with survivor's guilt, the "ifs," the emotional pain.

"Help." I think that was the most difficult thing for me, after my accident: asking for help.

Two more things: some great pictures this post. I love the snow tiger girl.

The second?

I'm still here.

FridaWrites said...

Elizabeth, I'm here, but the big computer keeps crashing over and over today and the small computer I can easily use is no longer working. :( Have to send it to repair center--we've tried to replace the bad part (my husband has experience in computer building and repair).

Will be back soon! We spent all night reinstalling the operating system on the big computer. Nothing works around here right now, not just this. Aaaaargh! Whimper.

I've been thinking of you all day.

Olivia said...

I agree with Linda, specific requests are very helpful. I've just picked a couple of manga for you from your wishlist and I hope they bring some laughs and distraction. I was wondering yesterday whether it is the moment of starting a new book that is the most delicious, or that point when you are right in the middle and wanting it to never end. I'm reading the first in a trilogy and it's great knowing there are two more to come. (and already published - I don't like reading series that aren't finished and might take decades!)

Baba Yaga said...

You touched me with this. Even though by the end I'm understanding it in phrases not concepts.

One concept I did get before that stage is that concepts are not realities.

I'm going to stop trying to make sense now. Because it probably doesn't. But wanted you to know I'm here and attending as best my soggy brain lets me.

(It's not bad sogginess, just healthy-tired sogginess. Ne worriez pas.)

Aviva said...

I just got back from a family trip to Disneyland, my 5-year-old daughter Ellie's first time there. I was scared to plan the trip but we've been putting it off for a couple years now in hopes that I'd suddenly feel better and be able to participate more so we decided it was time. We wanted to capture the magic for Ellie while she still believes in it.

You inspired me to go for it because of all you accomplish despite the challenges you have to overcome. And while it wasn't anything like the trips to Disneyland we made when I was healthy (and before we had an Ellie), I'm so glad I didn't send Ellie and her dad without me. Maybe I spent more time in the hotel room than I did in the parks -- and there's so much in the photos Scott took that I wasn't there for -- but at least I didn't miss it all. And I'm so grateful for what I was able to do, which exceeded my expectations even if it didn't live up to my hopes.

Ellie and I sent you a postcard, which will hopefully arrive for you soon. You were very much in my thoughts during that trip.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Thank you for the comments, and I apologize for my lack of clarity sometimes in the writing. I try my best.

It is my hope that collectively, we could, those with impairments and those without could do things together. While we cannot always be physically together, we can for example, all decide to go to an arcade and play air hockey or skee ball or pinball or whatever we do that weekend we have decided and come back and share it - I doing it here, everyone doing it everywhere. Or going to dinner, or if not able to go to dinner, going out, or if unable to going out, having a take-out - pictures, writing about it. We decide that in three weekends it is 'Dinner Weekend' or four weekends is 'Pub/Club/Bar/theatre' weekend and come back and I show pictures of what I did or was able to do, and others can as well. If funds are a factor, then we will figure out a fundraiser to send paypal to those who need the $10 for a take-out chinese, or $5 for an arcade. These are fun, these are possible....for all. That is what I meant in not wanting to be alone, in needing your help - a willingness, a suspension of belief to share with me, with us, a hour or two, a meal and then to come and comment about it, to share pictures about it (is there a way to do that, flicker links?). So we all go for dinner, together, AB and wheelies, autoimmune and invisable illness, limited spoons, we brain-storm back up plans, we try and maybe one in three doesn't work for you or me or everyone, but that is two times it does! And that means more fun, more connection. And I need that. I would like your help in having it.

Aviva: I am really, really happy you went. I came back from Sakura-con wanting to have done more, but exhausted by what I had done. I am so glad you went because you were there, you saw, you were part not just your memories, but Ellie's as well. That was really really cool.

Baba Yaga: Yes, I need realities, and I think maybe you do too, you are my friend. A very good friend who somehow gets my mind, my inner mind. I want to share a drink with you, or a cup of tea - and I will have my picture taken while I drink it, will think of you knowing that you are there, like me, maybe of little words, maybe I am post-seizure, but we are enjoying the little things, sometimes very little things, like a single flower.

Olivia: I totally agree, the frustration of knowing that the author may take years (decades) to finish makes me not read trilogies until they are done. For me it is the knowledge of safety knowing I have something good and the warm comfort of being somewhere that feels safe, no pressure for once to DO, to hurry, hurry, more, more but can enjoy and the melencholy as I read and it is good to know this bubble of enjoyment will end.

Raccoon: No, I think we are all going to be mulch if we believe or not in his reality - I blame too many first person shooters (and films: though I did enjoy Zombieland!).

I think you are right but I also think it is because it leads to resolution, much like when I get down, putting energy into a project which will have no resolution, committing emotionally to someone who is having strong emotions, is struggling to live while they die, and not ignore them, but to try and truely connect - that risks everything emotionally, and makes us vulnerable.

Writing this piece made me feel very vulnerable. I am so glad you are here, and risk that vulnerability.

I love the kittens of the snow tiger, hanging on her scabbard.

Diane J Standiford said...

Watch your mail for some surprises. Take the coming days to guess what is coming. Today I met with a 21 year old band member to practice some songs, he on piano, me singing. Probably our last shot...just not connecting. That was my big trip out. I met a new resident here who just had skin surgery due to too much sun. That was the most fun. I like meeting new people, hearing their stories.

Lene Andersen said...

Aw, sweetie... It is hard to watch you go through this, even at a distance, but I'm not leaving. Don't quite get the people who think it's a reasonable excuse, but nevermind. This is about something else.

I like your idea of fun, of being close to friends, of putting that first. I do think you've changed society - what you do and say has had an impact on many people, changing what they do and say. Might not be able to see the change in a newspaper, but it will continue to ripple in small ways. But now's the time for you and for sharing the love.

The images you chose for this post were beautiful, echoing you words, adding to them. The girl with the tiger and cubs was lovely.

Bonnie said...

This is a great idea Beth, and I say this because I've done something similar before.

There was a New Year's that I was ill, staying home, and chatting online with folks several states and one country away. Young Frankenstein was on, and we all discovered by chance that we were ALL watching it at the same time. So we all made comments and jokes at the appropriate times during the movie, and talked about the snacks and goodies we were eating, and chatted during commercials...you get the idea.

It was really great. Even though we all won't be watching teh same movie simaltaneously, everyone doing a weekend activity together will be great.

Now, I don't think I have your actual address...or can I use the address you put on the postcards?

Also, those were GREAT pics in this posts.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Bonnie: Thanks, yeah, that's what I'm talking about - you know, trying to have some good times, for everyone - you can use my address, it is the default for the Amazon, same as the returns:

Elizabeth McClung
P.O. Box 2560
Port Angeles, WA

If they need to use UPS or a street address just email Linda and she has a street address we use.

Cool - ah, food ishere.

Neil said...

Ah, food is good.

I'm not leaving, Beth. But it is late, and my Beloved needs help folding laundry, so I can't say much.

Zen hugs,

Lorna, Bob and Liam said...

This was yet another of your posts that I read and thought, "Okay. That's the BEST post yet." Not like it's a competition, or anything, but I am constantly amazed at your ability to share so deeply, to communicate the unknowable, to make me think in ways I never have before, to help me feel profoundly.

I'm in for dinner, coffee, whatever.

Me too on the tiger girl. Pretty fond of the first pic, too, of the young woman who has dropped everything. It says how I'm feeling these days.

Much love,

Lorna, Bob and Liam

Vanessa said...

I understand nightmares. As someone who has been horribly abused and has memory problems my nightmares are sometimes my only link to my past. It sucks that I can only hold firmly in mind that which was inspired by terror or rage and that the goodness slips away through grasping fingers. Only the emotional; love, anger, sorrow, etc. is left when the day is done.

Dying is something I can't comprehend from a personal point of view even though I try. I can't know that level of pain or the daily challenge of simple survival. I tried to experience and empathize as much as possible when I worked in Hospice care, I tried to share the pain of others. The knowledge is a heady weight and I tried to help shoulder the burden. Both the terminal and the family or care givers suffer in their own way and it is often hard to help people in that place.

I admire you and Linda both for the challenges that you both take on daily. You choose to give choice and love to the world a few postcards and gifts at a time. You give beauty and freedom despite pain, despite the inevietiable. Linda helps you, comforts you, and loves you, despite the inevietiable. Both out of love.

I know it's hard to do but I want to see you smile. I know I'm a million miles away (Yes Elizabeth, I do live on the moon! :D he he) but I hope my jokes and stories bring you some joy in an otherwise dark world. I'll take pictures, tell stories, write letters, whatever you need or want. And then when you send cards, or gifts, or letters I will share them with my friends like I always do because I want them to get to know the amazing Elizabeth. :D

Ashley Allison said...

You said you wanted lurkers to de-lurk. So, this is me de-lurking, I guess. I don't have much to say, I guess, except that this post made me cry and that I'm absolutely terrified to be de-lurking. o_o

That street preacher sounds hilarious/terrifying. I either really, really want what he's smoking or really, really don't want what he's smoking.

Neil said...

I also love the sentence "Help is not a dirty four letter word." That's something I've had to come to grips with myself, as my Beloved goes through chemotherapy. People want to help; they WANT to make life easier for us. I've realized that I have to let them, because I cannot do everything for her while maintaining a job and helping look after the children. It was a little embarrassing at first, but letting people help does make life easier for us, and those who are helping are showing what good friends they truly are.

I like your image of the girl in bandages, who's keeping going no matter what. That's you, I think.

It took you three days to write that post. That's something that I cannot imagine. It shows how much you want to speak to us, your friends.

I am returning to amateur astronomy. I bought a beginner's guide to observing to help me, and my youngest son, learn properly. That book arrived on Friday and so it is, of course, snowing and raining all weekend. But I will not be deterred! We will learn together anyway.

That reminds me; I have used a telescope made at least 45 years ago by a Regina optometrist named Herbert McClung. I'm not sure if he spelled his name the same way you do, but I wonder if there MIGHT be a family connection.

I hope your weekend is letting you get out of the house, and that you're having a relatively pain-free and enjoyable time.

Love and zen hugs,

FridaWrites said...

Truly, you are the most generous person I know. I keep pushing myself to do more because of you--for myself, for others.

I like the dinner idea (or coffee or dessert). Or something outdoors, or some shopping. I look forward to hearing about your plans. My husband's coworkers fixed my computer hardware--the browser and the whole computer would crash continually, and the other one was painfully heavy and having problems too.

Hope to talk soon!

SharonMV said...

Dear Beth,
I think I consigned another comment to the black hole of cyber space. I do remember posting on this topic. Yes, I remember when there were shared outings a couple of years back - the time Linda mentions - it was memorial day (for those in the US) 2 years ago. I was unable to get out, but the stories of other people's outings were very evocative & inspired me. And your adventures (I remember a picnic at the cemetery and wearing of black
boots & corsets - perfect attire for a near death experience) inspired my art.

Yes, I will try - an outing, something fun for Dennis & me. And I hope you are doing OK this weekend, able to do postcards and have some fun.

I hope you have been reading my e-mails, especially the one about the lost & found card from you.