Peace

To my Big Brother David (4/6/1954-9/23/2016),

May peace be yours. We may not have been close buddies but we were always brothers. I knew if I needed you, you would be there. I love you and you I will miss. I learned from you and many times emulated you. I was always proud to be your little brother.

Godspeed

Tonkinese Cat or a Badger?

When curled up with a good Harry Potter book have you ever wondered how you would fit into the wonderful wizardry world? In what house the sorting hat would place you? When wondering Diagonal Alley the first time which wand would choose you? Cornered by dark magic what Patronus will you have at your side aiding in your defense?

Yesterday I discovered THIS SITE and found out for myself a little of what my wizardry experience would be.

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Of corse Fearsome wouldn’t hear of being left out…

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Looks like we would be busy living in two separate houses and managing two very different Patronus. Fearsome is more than a handful, but he says that about me.

Pain, Death, Depression, Anxiety …and Hope

Let me just lay it all out on the table.

Most of the time I spend my Bearded life on the sunny side. Optimist, Pollyanna, Light Hearted, Happy, Positive, Uplifting …these are just a few adjectives that come to mind when I think of how I prefer to live my life.

I truly believe that most of the time I can stay in the positive mindset.

However at this moment I am being realistic. By realistic I mean that I have to admit I am not perfect therefore I will occasionally stumble. My stumble is a slip into negativity. Realistically I can stay positive for the majority of my experience with a rare and short lived negative experience.

My post surgical arm hurts bad this morning. The bicep burns. It woke me up at midnight, I found myself in a pool of sweat and laying there for an hour before giving up and taking a pain pill. I hate pain pills. I am recovering from a head cold. My Big Brother is still a breathing corpse with my poor mother, his wife, my nephew and the Middle Brother all there on death watch. All I can do now is call them and offer long distance support.

This morning I found myself in pain, feeling defeated, feeling helpless, crying, sweating and overwhelmed with anxiety.

Right now I sit on the couch after a good conversation with my friend Catherine. She helped to calm me as does Abner, my little one eyed poodle, who rests in my lap.

This is life. I must walk through it. Most times are good. Once in a great while things will be less than preferred. I must accept that life, like myself, is not perfect.

I now choose to move on as this too shall pass. I choose to inhale. I choose calm. I choose to go with the flow and accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can and to work toward the wisdom to know the difference.

Through my current illusion of fear, may I find the truth of hope.

Circle of life

Sunrise. Sunset.

One thing I have learned throughout my life journey is the power of letting go. The power of going with the flow allows me acceptance. Acceptance brings peace and serenity.

Yes I still have stress. I allow myself to feel the stress, walk through it and then let go of what is out of my control. Life is a series of ups and downs tumbling into one circle after another.

Sunrise. Sunset.

Fearsome mother and The Big Brother.

Fearsome mother and The Big Brother.

The Big Brother is still with us. His clock is ticking. When this circle of his life ends we do not yet know, yet we know it’s near.

Fearsome and his newest niece Sadie as she discover's his softness.

Fearsome and his newest niece Sadie as she discover’s his softness.

I leave in just 4 short hours setting out to return home. I’ve been away for two weeks. It’ll be good to get home. I’ll say my final farewell to The Big Brother and fly off into the sunset back to my circle of life.

Sadie and Fearsome just realized you are here.

Sadie and Fearsome realizing you are here …say hello!

Sadie is just starting her circle, her journey. What’s important is to reflect with joy on what was, cherish what is and look forward with enthusiasm to what has yet to come.

The back seat of a 1967 Buick

Riding in the back seat on that black vinyl upholstery in the darkness of a rural Tennesee nighttime, I remember the sounds of this tune coming from the single speaker of the AM radio as if it were yesterday.

Dolly is one of those talents who touches a place deep in my soul. A special place. Dolly can take me away from all the static surrounding me and fill me with crystal clear beauty. She can give me peace. That night I first ever remember hearing her she was singing Jolene. It was one summer night in the very early 1970s as we sped toward my mother’s hometown for a family visit in the southern boot heel of Missouri.

This tune has had staying power and has been honored by many an artist. Today I was made aware of this PENTANONIX a Capella remake featuring Dolly herself.

Oh and the Buick? It was a white Electra 225 sedan with a black vinyl top and interior.

This isn't the car but it's just like the car I grew up with.

This isn’t the car but it’s just like the car I grew up with.

The Car

Goals are good to have.

Goals give life purpose. A purpose even when the odds are against us.

Sometimes a life goal can be a significant gift to humanity.  Sometimes they are simply for personal satisfaction.

The Big Brother's 1969 Corvette

The Big Brother’s 1969 Corvette

His life goal was to both see and drive this car fully restored. He bought it in the mid 1970s when married to his first wife. He kept it after the divorce and it sat in pieces for many years in his garage, most of it in boxes, waiting for its restoration. Three years ago no longer in good enough health to restore it himself, he sent it away. Sent it for its restoration. This past week it was finished. He can’t even go down to the parking lot to see it.

Brand new ground up restoration.

Brand new ground up restoration.

I printed a dozen different photos of it and posted them around his room. When he is awake and able he points to the photos, smiles and he mouths the words “I am going to drive that car”.

No matter where we are in life we need a goal. I sincerely doubt he will actually ever even see it up close, but I am not the one who decides when he lives or dies. In the mean time he has a goal in front of him and it’s making him smile.

The drivers seat awaits it's driver, a driver who dreams.

The drivers seat awaits it’s driver, a driver who dreams.

Life is a journey. Life is a gift. Life is but a dream.

Dreams bring goals and goals give purpose. Big or small, go ahead and dream your dream…

Chevrolet's 1969 finest.

Chevrolet’s 1969 finest.

1969 Corvette Stingray, a beauty.

1969 Corvette Stingray, a beauty.

…dream that dream, find your purpose.

Unstable Stability

The Unknown. What is going through that mind? What is going on inside that body? He responds unresonsibly. The body is failing yet the breath keeps inhaling and exhaling. Empty eyes open and close yet do they focus? Is that a smile?

This is going to last awhile, or at least it seems to me.

My middle brother returns here from his Italy holiday Saturday evening. I just booked a flight out Monday afternoon. While he will not last much longer on this earth, I believe he will still be with us Monday and if so I’ll say my last goodbye just before I board a United flight out of here. I have missed two weeks of therapy and have to get to a postponed appointment for surgery follow up.

Am I cold for not sitting the death watch until it concluded?

He isn’t having a service. He’s being cremated to sit on a shelf with the ashes of his cats that have left the planet before him. This is very much him. He has been a recluse for years that has all of his neighbors scared of him. I already have a trip scheduled to visit here October 19. Mom says she is ok with this.

He is unstable yet stable on this level of instability.

We are here, he knows that. We must also find our stability and live our lives to.

A year ago today THIS happened. I don’t mean to be morbid or some Debbie Downer. I’m just sorting feelings. In all of this there is love, strength, growth and peace. It’s a journey. A journey of family and of love.

Mom support

This morning I woke up in my old bedroom. The one from my teenage years. It no longer looks like my room but it still is. I awoke bleary eyed and slightly confused. My shoulder and upper left arm hurt. I had slept hard.

My old friend Doug, or as I call him Trixie, picked me up at the airport about 2 pm yesterday. It was good to hug him and feel his support before facing reality.

Mom was waiting at the house. We visited with Doug for a minute then we were off to the hospital to see the Big Brother.

He looked like shit.

White as a ghost yet with a yellow cast. Deep dark set eyes hardly opened when we said hello. Skin barely clinging to the thin bones with all the veins exposed like a little web of roadmaps. Huge protruding belly making a stark contrast against the frail fragile body. That belly is the capsule holding the failing liver within.

This isn’t the virile strong athlete I wished to emulate when we were kids, but he is still my brother.

His wife hugged me and told mom he hadn’t eaten all day. He went back to sleep with a weak snore.

We have no idea when he will go. It could be in the next couple of days or he could rally into an extension of suffering.

Here I sit waking up with my coffee. I am deciding at this moment to be thankful that I have the health and means to be here for mom. Gratitude will give me the grace to walk through this.

We are family. Family is love. Family is understanding without judgment. Family is care.