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

Only Son

An only child gone

Wrong choices

Weary decisions

Father sobbing in arms wondering why

Son couldn’t

Wouldn’t listen

Too late… He’s gone.

Brutal, sad tears

A son, an only child gone too soon

His two year old daughter eating crackers perplexed by the crying.

Why was everyone crying? 

Where was her Daddy?

Why will he never tuck her in again?

Kiss her forehead? 

A whisper

Our life is but a whisper

We better live it like a roar

The son asked for Jesus to forgive him… Over and over again 

The Polish Priest administered last rites… 

He found peace

Now may his family

Only son

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 

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.