EIGHT Second Chances

How many second chances

Do we get at this life? 

Don’t you feel destined

To do amazing things

In your life? Urgency pounding

I’ve been handed 

EIGHT second chances

1st Second Chance

In Utero my Mom 

Kept falling while 8 months

Pregnant, hospitalized 

To prevent her from falling

Alcohol poisoning 

A projectile vomiter

Rough beginnings

2nd Second Chance

Early twenties

An ovarian tumor

Led to emergency surgery

That led to a second surgery

That led to 10 months

Of hell 

On Lupron

A plan prepared 

Ready to execute 

But the phone rang, my Dad:

“Don’t know where your head is at now, but don’t do it!”

3rd Second Chance

Late 20’s, pre-eclampsia

32.6 weeks pregnant 

14 days in the hospital

5 pounds of fluid filled my lungs 

Over night

Pulmonary edema

Kidneys failing

Liver not far behind

Emergency C-section

3#, 9 oz baby girl arrived

While I fought for my life 

For over 36 hours

To live

To meet my daughter 

4th Second Chance

Business trip

Left engine on plane blew up

Stewardess screaming: 

“We’re on fire, we’re on fire- we are all going to die!”

5th Second Chance

A devastating hysterectomy

With the gift of my doctor spotting 

Something wrong with my appendix

A carcinoid tumor 

If ruptured- a death sentence

I mourned inability to not have more children …but

Blessed to be alive

6th Second Chance

After a toe joint replaced

Got super sick

Hospitalized for 14 days

Diagnosis, “we think you have leukemia” 

Do I have enough life insurance? 

Bone marrow test- BEYOND unpleasant 

Ruled leukemia out… but

7th Second Chance 

“We think you contracted

West Valley Fever when you went to 

Nevada”

Mom was dying 

Worse mortality rate

Than leukemia 

Over 6 months

Scans

Sinus scrapes

7 doctors on deck

Final diagnosis:

“You just have really bad luck”

8th Second Chance

Insane bladder infection

With a deadly antibiotic resistant bug

I was sent home on intravenous 

Line in my arm

Self administered heavy duty 

Antibiotics into my body 

3 times a day, 3 weeks

Another Doc said:

“You just have really bad luck”

I know I’m meant to do amazing things in this life

Never take your life for granted 

Focus on your now

Spend quality time with

Your family & friends

Dream

Set goals

Achieve those goals 

Have courage

And love 

With all you’ve got 

No regrets

Craving Everything

I’ll keep stepping

Because that is what I do

Disappointment vibrates

Through me

Lack of authenticity

Sorely lacking

Thoughts in head 

Disappear 

Like a vapor

Dust

It was never real

It was never going to be enough

The mantra repeats- 

Enough is never good enough

Toe-to-toe I fold

Like a Van Gogh painting

Screaming 

Bummed at the loss

Of nothing

But 

Craving everything

Beautiful Bricks

Patiently waiting

Hoping & longing

For a sign, a direction

A brick, momentum

Murky rut for years

He’s wanting to, waiting to

To be good to me

Calling me

Saving me

Bookstore

Customer Service Desk

Teach a class

Youth? Not my calling

God- hit me with a brick, I said…

Raging storm

Lightening cracking

Every where

Anxiety

Doorbell rings

Door opens

Welcomed embrace

A brick, smiles at me

Another brick

Another

And another…

Twenty beautiful bricks

Beat me

Speak to me

Tug at my heart

I am broken

I am found

I am released

On fire bricks

Changed me

Altered my path

My journey

My direction

My momentum

I will never

Ever

Be the same again

Twenty

Beautiful bricks!

**** Jacob Eaddy loved this story/poem that he turned it into a song that he sang for NFA you can see that here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiwHg-wEBXc      (2009)

ENOUGH

Withered, thin, gray, tired 

Looking into your brown eyes and see no sparkle there

Welly eyed, deep sigh, blink loudly

How do I convey the desire for a long life

And the will to live that I hope for you

Which you do not hope for yourself?

A walker, fragile, a piece of cut and broken glass- azure blue

Chilly breeze blows through

Jackets thread bare and tattered

Friends arrive and laughter flows with sparkles

Whispers and jokes

Cheers and jeers

Found myself speechless

Baggage

I thought I was beyond, I thought was gone

Baggage

“She will definitely keep you warm”

The truth, out loud, not proud

Visions of thin, tall, long hair, not so curly, not so short, not so…. 

Fat

Baggage

No eye contact

Hunkered over a walker

Slaps on backs as if it was really something funny

Funny how we live in the past

Old memories, old photos, old man

Before me laughing, a sparkle at last

“She will definitely keep you warm” 

Cowboy, icy blue eyes, cracked & tan face smiles

“I-like-a-lot-of-woman!”

Am I right here? 

Less than three feet away?

Why did I come? 

Why am I here?

“Mommy?” 

Oh! 

Dark brown eyes look up at me, an angelic smile… “Mommy!” 

Oh!

A tug at my shirt, a beautiful little face

Oh!

“Mommy can I go play in the rocks?” 

Rocks

Buried over secrets

Over lost dreams and hidden hopes

“Mommy?”

I have to go, I have to flee

I turn and someone stops me

“The old man looks good!”

A smile… “does he? Me? Oh yes, I’m fine…happy, yes. That’s my little girl; yes… she looks just like me.”

Flee towards the house, away

Inside my head the voices ring

“She will definitely keep you warm”, “I-like-a-lot-of-woman”

Why do I care?      

Does it matter that I don’t measure up today just because… I-am-fat? 

How do you measure success? 

The lives we lead, hearts we touch, simple pleasures known only to close friends?

She will definitely keep you warm

That’s true

Today is today, I can’t help the past

No new pictures

No introductions

No acknowledgement

No account of today

Old pictures, old frames

Deep breath, deep sigh, lazy sadness lurking 

How do you measure success?

Six figures? 

Thin frame? 

Perfect figure? 

Ah!!

A love of your life?

Yes! Love, laughter, light

Release

This is not my burden to bear

Or my embarrassment

Ebb and flow

Weight on, weight off

It will come

Today I choose to love myself

As I am

Curves & all

And for today

That is enough

Stay

Please let me stay

I don’t want to go

Over there

Finger pointing

To the dark window

On the second floor

Orange blanket

Blows outside the 

Window

Please don’t leave me

Small hand gripping

In panic

Belly growls

Hungry

Curled up on the 

Washer machine

Covered in a military blanket

Shhhhhhh

Don’t tell them 

I’m here, ok?

Please feed me

I need love

I can’t say if I’ve ever

Known true love

Unconditionally

Please let me stay

Just for a minute

Where it’s safe

And I feel loved

Not alone

Ten years old

I shouldn’t 

Feel so all alone

Please let me shower

And borrow 

Your clothes

I don’t know how to wash 

Can you help me?

Do you see me?

I’m ten years old

And I’ve never known

Safety 

Never known 

A warm bed &

Soft pillows 

A full belly

Three hot meals a day

Unknown to me

Please let me stay

I don’t want to go

Over there

Finger point to the dark window 

On the second floor 

Burns

It burns

This heartache

My lungs burn

I can’t breathe

I’m wanting to flee

But my breath

Is torn from me

It burns

The closer you get

To me

The harder I fall

She can’t support me

I can’t help myself

It burns

And blisters

This fear

Invades my nostrils

And everything

Stinks

Those eyes

So sad

Burn an image

In my brain

That won’t leave me

I can’t run

I don’t want to 

But I must

This legacy burns

A panic in my heart

That can’t 

Be shaken off me

That smile 

Sad smile

Good-bye

Burns my heart

I want to stop 

Spinning in circles

What is my new normal? 

It burns

I can’t

Breathe

This road goes on

Forever

As I flee 

This heartache burns 

Gardenias & Peach Roses

Dying in the hospital bed

Soft skin, ice chips

Lips cracked and parched

Distended stomach

IVs gurgling in and out of veins

Tumors running rampant

Swallowing internal organs for snacks

A five year battle- ovarian cancer

Touching hands, kissing fingertips- Internalized prayer

“God, if you make her better, 

I will take her place.”

Not better

Emotional pain for those waiting

Sorrow

Tears

Monitors blink

Family members fidget in chairs 

Like little girls having to pee

Opting to hold it for as long 

As they possibly can

Last snuggle in the hospital bed 

Your last sweet breath tickling her ears

Death in her arms

Gardenias and peach roses

The funeral was beautiful

Such a beautiful day

Oh to touch your soft skin one more time

Sun so bright

Orange leaves speckle the mountainside

Hazy sadness lurking behind eyes 

Tears rolling down cheeks

Feeling faint

Sobbing, grabbing at arms…any

A peach rose in hand

Puzzled faces as I drop peach roses and gardenias on a cherry wood casket

I’ll remember her

Every time I see a peach rose or smell gardenias on a sunny day,

I will think of her

Jeni McCreary

*Dedicated to my Grandma Joyce, my Mom & my Aunties. No child should have to hold their parent in their arms when they die, but maybe it is a blessing? My Mom is the little girl in the sweet dress.