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

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.

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)

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

You stood there stoic

In the pouring rain

A torrential down pour

You waited for a fish to come

The canal flooded

The wind pounded you

You shook your head

Wiggled your body

Stood like a beautiful white statue

Unmoving

Cautiously

Patiently

Expectantly waiting 

For that morsel to come

Blaring car horns

Screeching brakes

Red light

Focused

Nothing moved you 

Nothing distracted your gaze 

From the murky waters

Oh if we could be that stoic 

Snowy Egret

Unmoved

Focused 

In the moment

In the now

Ever present

A life lesson from an unlikely friend

In the pouring rain from the car

Screeching brakes 

Blaring horns

Red light

Did you see him?

Jeni McCreary