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

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.

Casualties of War

Casualties of War

Father screams for his son

Lying limp in his arms

Needing help, desperate for it

As bombs explode overhead

Casualties of War

Chaos 

Burned flesh

Their scent blowing in the air

Little boy with eyes missing

Can you hear him weeping?

For his children?

Both sides, all his

Casualties of War

Tears, wailing, all wanting quiet

A little peace

A little joy

A chance to be free

Faces silent, mourning

Still living

Eyes staring darkly into photo lenses

Hostility growing

Mothers wailing the loss of their children

Food delivered

Running for safety

Casualties of War

Sirens blaring

Civilians trying to get food

Suddenly are on the ground

Praying they are not next

Casualties of War

Death

Alone 

Dying, both sides

Bloody babies cradled 

In weeping mothers’ arms

Casualties of War

Can you hear him weeping?

Silent Sentries

Silent sentries 

Standing in murky mud

Heads bowed in defeat

Large yellow bulldozers stand guard

Wary of the unified Wood Storks

That have gathered

Muddy, silent, hungry

Unified Wood Storks poised, patient, waiting…

Frogs croak lazily, not realizing 

They are surrounded

Fifty strong sentries standing 

In murky mud- hungry

Frogs suddenly silenced 

Swimming in warm bellies

Large yellow bulldozers nervously 

Await their fate

From the silent sentries standing guard

In the murky mud

Tragedy Happens

Misunderstood

Judgments crept in

Minds made up

BOOM

Tragedy happens

Too many times in succession

Suddenly the haze clears 

Everything becomes crystal clear

Appreciation for our now

This moment

Please understand

Initially we misunderstood each other

Now I see you in their eyes

Their actions

The way they talk

The way they walk

The way they laugh

Small details in the most

Intricate things

Witty sayings

Silly ways

You’re still here

We are more for it

Shouldn’t we honor those in our now? 

Adore them?

Love them?

Cherish them? 

Misunderstandings happen

Maybe we should always think about

Positive intention

Family-to-family

Friends-to-friends

Sometimes altered forever

Thankful for the gift 

Of tragedy 

It reminds us of what is true

In our lives

Right now

Anesthesia Fog

I woke in the recovery room 

To the smell of hospital soap and anesthesia

The sound of the beeping heart monitor 

The IV gurgling in my veins

Bleary-eyed I tried to focus on the Doctor’s voice 

He rubbed my hand, “We had to do a hysterectomy”

I gulped, eyes closed, anesthesia lulling me back to sleep

I opened one eye, trying to focus on the nurse, 

“Did I hear that correctly? Did he say hysterectomy?” 

“Yes.” 

I remember turning my head and looking out the window

The sky was cloudy and gray

It was going to storm

Lightening flashed in the distance

My eyes grew heavy once again

I succumbed to the anesthesia fog 

And remembered thinking, 

“But we had already picked your name…”

Angels…send, send, send

Left engine of the airplane blew 

In under seven minutes of assent

A boom, ears ringing, fire ball out the left side of the window

I was sitting in seat 18C

The plane dipped to the left 

A hasty decent

Tummy now in throat

Cabin filled with hazy smoke like flecks of pepper

Eyes, nose and throat burning 

Stewardess ran down the isle screaming, 

“We’re on fire, we’re on fire, we are ALL going to die”

Die? Right here, right now? 

The hum of one engine struggled to keep the plane erect

Vibrating

Shaking

Sputtering

Die, in an airplane…

My throat constricts

I can not speak

Inside my head I scream, 

“She’s three, God- she’s three. Three.” 

Visions of her sweet eyes

Hair that smells like watermelon shampoo

Little hand holding mine

Sweet kisses

Cuddling hugs

I want to see her grow up

I want to be there for her graduation

Her wedding

I want to hold her babies in my lap. 

Sobbing passengers are heard through out the plane

Tears pour down my cheeks

I am frozen

Dream of clawing my way out of a plane 20,000 feet in the air 

Sputtering

Shaking

A stranger holds my hands and whispers, 

“We are going to make it, we are not going to die”

In my head I can not form sentences

I keep thinking, “Angels, angels, send, send, send.”

The plane lands

Everyone let’s out a whoop of glee and relief

The pilot gets on the intercom and says, 

“We’ve just had catastrophic engine failure of our left engine. We’re on the ground now, have a nice day.” 

Angels deployed

I’m watching my little girl grow up

Jeni McCreary

Date of event: 10/11/2005

(attached is a picture of my boarding pass that I clutched in my hand. You can barely make it out from the sweat of the not letting it go during this event. I keep it as a reminder that life is too short and too precious. Embrace every day… every day)