Saturday, October 29, 2016

Comfort, peace and gentleness

It's been a rough summer. After knee surgery, the return of cancer, more chemo, radiation and extreme fatigue I feel drained and hopeless. The side effects from radiation have been baffling but mostly I feel a great deal of anxiety and I am emotionally overwhelmed by it all. I often find myself paralyzed and depressed, mentally and physically. The advice I receive is to sit with these emotions so I can calmly respond to the situation and not just react erratically. But sometimes its just too much and I feel the need to withdraw and find a safe place of comfort, peace and gentleness. The place I go most often for comfort is imagining an incident that occurred the summer before my mom died. I stayed at her house that summer to help and to be with her. She was weak and in severe pain. One afternoon she asked me to go to the store for her to purchase some ingredients for dinner. For some strange and inexplicable reason I got very ill at the store. Cold sweats, stomach cramps, nausea, dizziness were among the symptoms. I would run back and forth to the bathroom in between getting the items my mom needed. The staff at the store wanted to call an ambulance. Finally I agreed to call my family to come pick me up. I don't know how I looked but my mom gasped when she saw me so it couldn't have been good. She took me home, tucked me into bed and then fixed and spoon-fed me some chicken soup, as if I were a small child. It felt familiar and comforting but still I tried to get her to stop so she wouldn't exhaust herself. She said it felt good caring for me like she had when I was little and she wanted to continue. Without words, we both knew it would probably be the last time. She sat beside me on the bed putting cold cloths on my forehead until I fell asleep. When I woke up she was curled up at the bottom of the bed near my feet, sound asleep. I asked her why she hadn't gone to her own bed but she said she wanted to be close to me in case I woke up and needed her. Her hearing was not very good and she was afraid she wouldn't hear me if I called.

Betty Jo Passmore 
 August 1935 - September 2014

I am glad we had this experience together before she left us. My mother, like most mothers, had her faults but it is her gentle, loving care that I hold most in my heart. Well, that and the guilt for not cleaning my house as much as she would've wanted me too.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

together apart

His face was brown, tanned from working outside in the summer sun.  I asked him how she was and the lines formed on his forehead. His worry was palpable. His concern painful to watch.  "She's been in the hospital. She has an infection everywhere. They gave her 12 bags of antibiotic." I asked if she was here today.  "She's seeing the doctor. She has an infection. They gave her 12 bags ..." His words faded as he stared out the window. He spoke of her with the feverishness of someone who might lose the one thing he couldn't live without. Later he asked me if I was doing okay. And he talked for a few minutes of other things. Like what was growing in his garden and the irrigation pump he had built to keep it watered. But in his eyes you could read where his heart and soul was. She cancelled her treatment and they went home to the farm...a giving up or a giving in? He said he had cancer before, then he had some heart surgery and now he thinks his cancer is back.

When I go to treatment there are multiple stories like this. The suffering astounds me and I feel a connection with it. I feel the camaraderie of the others but at the same time the fear hovers over us all. There is a lot of joking, singing, encouraging, comforting...a strange mixture of love and sadness that brings us together in our illness.


Every morning I have an appointment with a beast called Trilogy.
Lights flashing, red beams shooting,
sounds of clicks and whirs engulf me, body and mind. 

I struggle to hold my thoughts away from the beast, feasting instead on fleeting images that soothe and calm.
And sometimes, only sometimes I succeed.

After I leave the beast the dance of life goes on  

But in a limping painful way.
Not a graceful ballet instead a clumsy waltz
With stops and starts and angry steps.
And yet it does continue...

For those who are not aware I am out of remission and back into treatment. Its a tiny relapse but the attack against it is aggressive. No baldness this time but threats of more nausea and other unpleasant side effects. I am moving through it with great fear and trepidation finding bits of comfort as life provides from time to time.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Dad's birthday

This truck was in Tampa, Florida. It resided in front of a fresh produce stand that my parents used to visit. My dad loved this old truck. Maybe reminding him of his youth. When I came to visit once he was eager to take me to this location so I could photograph the truck. Which I did and then turned it into a jigsaw puzzle for him and my mom. After they worked the puzzle they gave it to the man at the produce stand who owns this truck. When my dad was ill I went to visit him in the nursing home in September of 2015.  We happened to visit the produce stand so I took more pictures. Then in November, when I visited again, we drove past and the truck was gone.  Now dad is gone too but will be long remembered...bigger than life kind of peace now.


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Visions and Dreams

Visions and Dreams, Georgia 2013 ©Rhonda Prince

I remember your visit.
Feels dreamlike and distant now.
It happened on an overcast day,
with the gentle hint of rain
hanging in the breeze.
I sat in a darkened room,
surrounded by doubt,
blinds drawn, thoughts
gloomy and somber,
trying to find relief.

But you slipped in my heart,
Like a skeleton treading softly,
Out of my crowded closet,
in a hushed calm,
dripping with the residue
of memory and sorrow.
In quiet and tranquil tones,
you whispered
the secrets of the
universe in my ear.

Then wrapping a magic cloak
around my shoulders
You led me into the mist.
And showed me the
messages in the clouds,
the writing on the wall,
and the dark caves and flowered fields
where one can escape
from the ceaseless onslaught
of life and fear.

You asked me to explore
 to find serenity and peace.
Yes, I know you will leave soon
And I will feel the loss.
I will probably lose my way again.
And again. But each time I
Will wait for your visit to
Bring me back to
paths to follow that
lead to silence.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The evening wore on...