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

Our Pink Burrito

On Saturday, 09/8/12 we had to put down our Australian Shepherd, Sassy (aka: Sass or Sass-a-fras). We rescued her in 2003 on Father’s Day. She was the gift.
When we called about her, the foster parents said she hated men. And yet when we got there- she immediately fell in love with Matt. She crawled into the front seat of the car on the ride home and kept inching her butt into my space and kept looking at me like, “Excuse me, you’re in my way and I would like to be close to MY MAN!” I finally asked Matt to pull over the car. He looked at me weird, but did it. I went in the back seat while she sat in the passenger seat so happy and content. She was immediately in love with Matthew, a love affair that started in an instant and never diminished as she followed Matt everywhere and nowhere.

Our precious Blue Merle Aussie with one brown eye, one blue with a precious freckle on the side of her nose. Halle was 16 months old when she came into our lives and Devin was eleven. She loved each of us so much, was so loyal, protective and loving. From the moment she got home she never had potty accidents, never complained and rarely barked.

Devin was 11; we still lived in a condo and he had to take Sassy potty on a leash. One day as Matt and I sat sipping coffee, we saw Sassy eye a man across the courtyard. She was not happy. In her effort to protect Devin she decided it would be a good idea to charge at the man. Devin flew through the air as Sassy dragged him across the grassy courtyard. The entire time Devin screaming, “Stop Sass, Stoppppp!” When he stood up he was covered in dog poop and grass stains from his chin to his shins! Matt and I were doubled over, laughing so hard we could not breathe, tears pouring down our faces.

Sassy had terrible OCD and would not stop licking the carpet, couch or legs. She loved licking Matt’s shoes; when he stepped in them without realizing she had been slurping on them we would always hear, “YUCK, Sasssssss!” Then laughter and he squished around the house in dog saliva sandals.

Years ago when Matt’s back took a turn for the worse, so did Sassy’s hips. She would sleep behind Matt’s chair, just to stay close to her man, to protect him and listen to his breathing.

Sassy loved crystal burgers, car rides, French fries, peanut butter and popsicles. She hated strangers, stray cats, and bubble baths.

Sassy took a chunk or two out of my brother-in-laws butt and shin, pulled Matt’s Dad to his knees for moving too close, too fast to her toddler Halle.

Sassy danced on her hind legs, in a circle for treats. She would speak softly and would get louder when we said, “You can do better” or “Louder” She twirled in excited circles when we asked her, “Wanna go in the car Sass? Car ride?”

Sassy was afraid to kiss and when she would, her kisses were so gentle, like the wings of a butterfly softly on your face or lips and then looked guilty afterward as if she were in trouble. If we were eating pizza- well forget the soft kisses, she would slurp and beg and kiss for a piece of crust!

Sass pouted, smiled and herded the vacuum like a champ (yes, plastic is still missing from the dyson).

When her hips and back got worse, she valiantly tried to get up and keep moving. What was once easy, suddenly became a struggle that ended with one of us having to help her up. When she stopped eating, we were devastated, but with no mass found… we were elated. She got more tired our precious baby. And the struggle got worse. The medication wasn’t working.

We loved her enough to let her go and say good-bye. We wrapped her in a fuzzy pink fleece blanket. She looked at us knowingly, but shook in fear and the coldness of the room. We cried wet soppy tears all over her head.

When they injected the anesthesia first to let her sleep…every muscle relaxed and for the first time in a long time, our girl was pain free. We collectively stopped crying as we looked at her, relaxed and snoring. It would be the last time we heard that sweet snore.

Sassy looked so happy, surrounded by her family, loved, wrapped in a fuzzy pink fleece blanket. She reminded me of a fuzzy pink burrito.

When the final shot was given and two vet techs listened for a heartbeat, it was Matt that stayed close. He was adamant that he be the one to carry her out. I didn’t argue, I knew why (regardless of his back pain). He was her man, that was his girl and while their love affair ended on this earth- it would never be forgotten in his heart. In any of our hearts.

She was our precious girl, wrapped like a fuzzy pink burrito. At peace and ready to go home.

Let’s go home Sass, wanna go for a ride? Let’s go home baby, let’s go home.

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

Now There Are Five

Now There Are Five

One departed on a Sunday

Scott on a Monday

He always did have Monday-itis

“Peace out suckers” I can hear him say…

Football season filled with Sunday games

Sweats and slippers, fire glowing in the fireplace

Scott made Sunday football huge

He had some pipes and rage!

His blue eyes always twinkling

Stubborn as a mule

He cared for me, my tough brother

Captain Crunch cereal in the middle of the night

In Jericho when his blood sugar dipped too low

We ate dry cereal in fistfuls

Four wheeling, whoop-de-doos, high signs and alcohol

Big brother time was always an adventure

Chevy truck over 25 years old…Scott was consistent

He’d snicker at hidden secrets and jokes

Always made silly, crazy faces

Loved the term, “Oh my hell”…

Horrible dancer, but so much fun to watch

His grilled steaks and chicken were the best

Always a bottle of Jack in one hand

Hardest worker I’ve ever known

Super blunt, a little too raw for most

He loved his boys

He’d do anything for you

Didn’t matter how much time passed…

He was always there and we never skipped a beat

He fought his type I Diabetes like a champion his entire life

But in the end…at age 52.. it fought back and won.

I had seven brothers… now there are five.

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