Blame it all on a dysfunctional digestive system and then thank god for the same because it stirred the embers and reignited flames once thought long dead.
Water was poured upon it over and over and the question of whether the ashes held nothing but memories was questioned by the shape of a phoenix within.
For a long time I stared at the form and wondered if my mind was playing tricks on me until I finally looked up at the ceiling and said “release me or give me some other sign.”
Lightning didn’t strike nor were there thunderclaps or any other signs of a storm, or so it seemed until long after sleep had claimed me.
As I was about to wake I heard “if you will dance with me, well I will dance with you.” I saw no person, just flames, but I walked forward with one hand extended nonetheless.
The gypsy woman says “take my hand” and stares mysteriously at it.
“Your palm is large, your heart is big and it is open. Sometimes you are the knight and sometimes you are the warrior. Do you know the difference?”
I say nothing and she explains the warrior and the knight both live by codes but the warrior will go and do what the knight refuses to.
“Some people say it is because the knight has a stricter moral code, but they are wrong. The warrior recognizes morals but acknowledges some are based upon the mythology of social construct and therefore have more room to be adjusted.
You are fierce and at times unforgiving. Those who are loved and love you welcome you, but not always because sometimes they will not ask for you to rescue them because they do not wish to be indebted in that manner.
Your struggle will be to know when to accept this and when not to.
It is a terrible burden you carry and saying these things are only given to those who can handle them is not source of comfort. It is just words. You must find your own way”
I nod my head and say I dance in the fire because lying down is not an option and time doesn’t allow me to travel in any direction but forward.
She nods her head in return and admonishes me to learn how to trust others in helping me to stand and keep going.
“They may not always give you what you want, but if you let them they will give you what you need.”
An alien crawled inside me and tried to claw his/her/its way out today. It is not the first time that has happened but it was the first in a long while in which I walked out of the stall covered in sweat and was told I had been grunting.
“Maybe you ought to get checked out, that is not normal.”
I smile and say I am fine, it is mostly true.
It is not like this often but there is a piece of me that wonders what to say when pain is normal.
Dad and I talked about it, but in reference to his.
When I visited his grave I told him his grandchildren had told me they didn’t think of him as being sick knowing this would make him smile.
They never realized how bad things had gotten or how much effort it took to do certain things.
I will always remember driving him back from chemo and stopping at Brent’s deli to get him a chopped liver sandwich. He slept a good part of the way, that wasn’t typical.
Since I knew there would be a hard stop coming I turned off the radio and listened to him breathe. I suspect for most of us the sound of our parent’s breathing is among the most familiar and in many ways comforting things in our lives.
It provides a sense of order and belonging or so it did for me.
Truth is I was thrilled at the hospice when we were told he didn’t need to wear his sleep apnea mask anymore. The reason was horrible, but for a very brief time I took some comfort in listening to him breathe.
Told him that I was fairly certain one day I would have my own mask and that I was disappointed I wouldn’t get to compare notes with him.
I can feel the signposts better than I can see them, changes are coming.
Told my middle sister today was one of those times where I noticed his absence more profoundly. Could have used his counsel on some work stuff and would have asked for it.
He retired at 58.5 or was it 59.5 and told me to try to beat that.
The year difference doesn’t matter because without fortune doing more than simply smiling upon me there is no chance of my being in my last decade of work.
Anyhoo, when I asked certain questions I was impressed by the accuracy of his advice and was always reminded that people issues are always part of work.
It doesn’t matter what field you are in, people are going to be a part of it and management is going to have common issues.
Who Wants To Live Forever
I planned on visiting grandpa and grandma the day I saw dad but the wind and cold made the day particularly inhospitable.
Add that I got turned around and wasn’t sure where they were in reference to dad and didn’t have it in me to go searching.
I said a silent prayer and begged their forgiveness knowing I could do no wrong in their eyes. As I drove away I thought about how grandma died the night of my 14th wedding anniversary and the conversations I had with grandpa afterwards.
Seventy-six years of marriage book ended by their childhood friendship and their deaths.
Grandpa told me how he used to run with grandma on his back and tried not to cry as he told me he didn’t think he was strong enough to pick her up anymore.
I can see him smile as he told me how my grandmother was a good girl and how that was a part of why they got married at 20.
“It wasn’t the only reason, I loved your grandma and would have done anything for her. Who wants to live forever.
It is not easy seeing every one you love die.”
I held his hand and nodded my head. I was about 40 or so, but I remember that moment vividly.
“Stick around for a bit and let your great-grand kids get to know you better.”
Grandpa smiled, said yes and looked off into space as he told me that he and grandma would have danced to the song his neighbor was playing.