What if you had a dream, a dream you never thought you would see into reality? What if you believed enough in yourself to follow that dream, unafraid, wherever it would lead you? What if you planted a seed of a dream, and watered it and fed it and watched it grow and it changed you forever after and created in you oceans of love to give to the world around you because your cup was brimming over? What if? I am creating a dream, in fact, I am creating several dreams...
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Since the closing of Dragonfly Cottage awhile back, the website that had been my home, the home for all of my work, many lists, thousands of friends made over a decade, and a very significant time in my life that spanned ten years, I have known that I was on the threshold that I would one day, when the time was right, cross, and enter a whole new world, a whole new life. I have always followed my heart, very often shocking others. I have risked much and gained more. I have loved openly and freely and been loved back tenfold in return. I feel so blessed by this life of mine.
My life is a pilgrimage. Currently, and for the last few months, there has been so much loss and more is coming. I have been paralyzed with grief and fear, from the losing of my beloved Henry, my grey parrot, hand raised by me and the great love of my life, always on my shoulder, a part of my soul, to the events of the present.
And I have been saying, I realized, in the last few days, "My mother is dying," for over four years now. She was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in February of 2005, and given a very short time to live. She was told to go home and put her affairs in order, and she did. She has fought an amazing battle and gone through so much in these last few years I couldn't begin to list all that she has been through, and as I have written here before, her attitude has been astonishing, uplifting, and inspiring to us all. She is a woman of great faith and from the outset has not been afraid to die. And through the worst of her various treatments, becoming very ill, in a lot of pain (that she has never complained about), going blind, she told everyone she spoke to anytime they asked her how she was doing, "Every day's a good day, it is what you make it." We are all in awe of this loving, gentle woman, a mother that I have had many ups and downs with in my life, and feel that the greatest blessing of all is that we had time to mend our fences, really open our hearts to loving one another, and most of all, I opened my whole being to allow her to teach me things I wasn't ready for before.
A week or so ago she told me that she had had enough, that she was going to stop all medical treatment. Her doctor begged her to try one more trial and she went through the tests but was refused for the program. Her white blood cell count is pretty well non-existent, and she knew going in that there wasn't much hope. I think she did it to appease everyone around her, in essence, that she did everything she could. I hated to see her go through one more thing, knowing almost certainly that the outcome would not be a positive one. But positive is relative, after all.
On Tuesday of this last week we spoke. It was the day after having all of the tests and being turned down. She was told that she had perhaps only a few weeks, perhaps two or three months. No one can tell for certain. It knocked the wind out of my sails, and broke my heart. My mother has been dying in slow motion for over four years, but the end is now very near. The family is all having a very hard time, but my mother is completely at peace, I think even relieved, and we have expressed our love for one another in a thousand ways. I stay very up and positive for her on the phone, and I get off the phone and cry. But I am the daughter of the woman who has, through over four years of cancer, gotten up every day and said, "Every day's a good day." How could I do any less?
She has said that she worries about me. I tell her I will be fine, and that it would make me happy if she didn't worry about anything. I have quoted to her over and over the quote by Dame Julian of Norwich in the 11th century... "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well." And it shall. She has told me she wants me to be happy, to do what I need to do to be happy. When you are listening to the wishes for you from a dying woman, you take them to heart. (Of course she also told me that she would be watching me and talking to me from the "other side" and that I'd better listen! That's my mom.)
And so my Henry is gone, my mother will be gone any time, and my best and dearest friend, who has sustained me in so many ways I can't even count them now, through this last tenuous and painful decade, my Jeffy, is moving. He is following his dream and leaving Wilmington and everything here to follow his heart. It is a bold thing to do and won't be an easy one, or wouldn't have been in the mindset he was in even 3 months ago. I felt the earth fall out from under me when he told me this, and yet at the same time, I felt tremendous joy for him, and pride. I am so proud of him. I told him that it is very hard for me to see him go, but that if we are really loving and caring friends we wish the very best for them, and send them off with love and celebration. Jeff is about to begin a new life a few months from now, and so am I.
I am turning inside out and outside in over and over again. I am coming back to life and beginning to believe, truly, that I can have things that I never thought possible, and I want to do these things and spend my life with a joyful spirit, spreading loving kindness, compassion, and a bit of whimsy. On the card above you will see the direction that I am headed in. I have tried to limit myself too much, my focus was too narrow. My vision is far too big to put in a box. And when I say, "Writer For Hire," I don't mean paid posts and blogs full of affiliate ads (... though I have some ads, to be sure, the kind that form a network...) No, I meant a rather tongue in cheek, "Have pen, will travel." I can travel around the world in my mind, I can write many things. I am an artist in many directions. I have realized that in the past few years I have either tried to limit myself far more than my spirit will allow -- I had given up on my dreams -- and I was going in wrong directions. But now, even as my mother is dying, and my best friend is leaving, they are shedding light on the path ahead so that I can see my way. Even this week Jeff has helped me plant a seed, and I can't tell you yet because it's a secret, but it makes me feel over-the-moon, ecstatic. Nothing earth-shaking to anyone else, but to me, miraculous. No one knows but Jeff, and for the time being it shall remain so.
Life is, at times like these, unbearably painful and unimaginably lovely at the same time. The glow of the fire as the coals go out. The Phoenix crashing and burning and rising again. I have crashed and burned many times over in my lifetime, and I have been so filled with sorrow these last months I could hardly bear to breathe at times, but now, the sun is rising on the horizon and I am glowing, filled with love and tenderness. Even as I shed tears over my mother I am watering the seed of the dream I have just planted, and this is exactly what she would expect me to do.
To that end I am in the process of setting up a new website. The one on the card above, which is not active yet but will be in the next few week. It will bring together my blogs, my writings and other work, my art, my dreams, lessons about compassion and loving kindness, and much, much more. I will eventually have a little shop on the site to sell my art to help me to live. I will carry this with me and expand upon it in the years ahead, and I will take it with me when I go where my dream will be taking me.
Stay with me on this journey. I will help light your path as well. My work now is helping others see their dreams made manifest, and help them find joy amidst sorrow, and love amidst hate, and compassion, welling up from underground, spreading over the land and farther than the eye can see. I want us all to dream and hope and love and cherish each day. My mother will be living her life as wholly and joyfully as she can in the time she has left. She, the dying one, is the candle in the middle of the darkness we all feel. In the midst of our sorrow she reminds us of the goodness in each day.
I'm listening mom. I'm learning. I will honor your strength and love and faith and life as I travel through the rest of mine. I will follow my dreams and never lose hope. I will open my arms and my heart to the world, and offer the work of my hands, and make people laugh. I am my mother's daughter, and I can make it so.
Follow your heart, follow your dreams. It's time to plant your seed. I'll be right here waiting to hand you the watering can. What will you plant?
Every day's a good day. I won't forget mom. And I'll remind others too, and yes mam, I will listen to you as you talk to me from the other side. I'd better mind my p's and q's!