Getting very hard…

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Typing very hard. I keep missing the keys. No depth perception.

Mind unfocussed. Left eye gone. Darkness. Remainder reducing.

Body mechanics unstable. No coordination.

I can no longer rely on my limbs to hold me.

I topple. Fall. Feel utter helplessness.

Lungs fill with fluid. Long, painful coughing fits to clear.

Everything takes forever…

 

Facing the unthinkable.

 

No longer safe to be mobile alone. While we await equipment, Tony has me make a ‘train” by standing behind him with my hands on his shoulders. We shuffle along. I lean my head against his strong back, immensely grateful for his unerring love and strength.

Hard to eat. Wasn’t able to for 3 days. Complications with medication.

Tony still brings me tokens from our garden How I love this man. It breaks my heart that I may have to leave him.

 

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The hummingbirds still come. Bringing joy. And their story:

In the forest there lived a hummingbird, a rabbit, a deer and a bear. The forest was their home until the day the fire broke out. No one knew how it started but it swallowed up their nests and their homes. 

Quickly the creatures scurried away; the bear ran, the deer leapt, and the rabbit hopped. And the hummingbird flew out of danger’s way. The animals stopped to rest at the edge of the woods by a pond. 

Without hesitation the little hummingbird filled its beak with water and raced right back towards the fire. Back and forth, and back and forth it went, that little hummingbird, until it was so exhausted it fell to the ground. 

“What are you doing?” asked the bear. “What are you doing?” asked the deer and rabbit. The little hummingbird looked up at them and said:

“I’m doing what I can
With what I have
Where I am.”

 

From us with love

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What happens when two artists collide! Why they paint, of course! During Carla Sonheim‘s recent visit (which I wrote about in my last blog post,) she came up with the wonderful idea that we paint postcards together to sell on my Etsy store as part of my GoFundMe Fundraiser… Thank you!!!

No sooner than the words were spoken, out came the watercolour paper, the paints, pens and pencils and away we went…

Ten lovely postcards emerged, now featured in my Etsy store – hand painted, hand drawn and hand signed by both of us ~ Unique and original work for $ 20/piece all postage paid.

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This was the first, which I got to keep! But there are ten more for the taking… celebrate with us the joy of meeting each other in person. Thank you!

 

The best Hello

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Occasionally we connect to someone online that we appear to have a lot in common with…

Sometimes that connection grows over time as we share parts of our lives and comment on theirs…

Every now and again, the commonality is so strong that we start talking more through private messages and emails…

Not that often, but it does happen, messages become Skype sessions and phone calls replace emails…

Rarely do we actually meet, even though the ties have grown strong, several years in the making…

But sometimes, if we are incredibly lucky, we get to meet up in person…

And if we are extraordinarily blessed, it’s like being with someone you have known and loved your whole life. And them, you.

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This happened last week, when Carla Sonheim came up from Seattle to spend a few days with me here on Vancouver Island. From the moment she walked in the door and we hugged each other, until the very last second, we did not stop talking, connecting, sharing, laughing, confiding, crying, and savouring the incredibly precious time  we were having together.

Tony plied us with delicious food and teas and snacks without pause. We napped when we needed, worked when called for, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We journalled, took notes, read poetry, exchanged ideas, and of course, painted! (Watch this space!)

I simply don’t have the words to say how much our getting together means to me, or how much I cherish our friendship. It really was the best of times and we’re hoping we can do it again and again as schedules and health allows.

Carla, I’m so thankful we reached out some few years ago on Facebook to each other…

Hello… we are the ones we were looking for ~

 

Me. First.

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Praying. Meditating.

Realization.

The job we are here to do. The ONLY job we are here to do is to take care of ourselves before and above all else.

We came into this life knowing this. Understanding this. DOING this.

I have never “abused” my body in the physical sense of the word. Or so I think. Think again. While I have never done drugs, drank to excess, smoked, had too many wild encounters, played chicken crossing the road etc… I have done so in a single, relentless way. All my life. I put everyone and everything else first.

Why? To be kind. To be polite. To be nice. Because I thought it was the right thing to do. Not so anyone likes me. Never cared about that. Still don’t. More an occupational hazard of a British education (manners!) Being Canadian (polite!) and the ghost of Irish catholic legacy (love thy neighbour!) except it never actually said, from what I now recall “…instead of thyself”

I still apologize to Tony for having to head to bed early. With cancer. Seriously???

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Today I see it all so very, very clearly. I was given my body, this time on earth. FOR ME. All the gifts and talents and experiences and abilities, everything, was given TO ME. And because I thought otherwise I spent my entire life handing it all over to anyone and anything, everyone and everything FIRST.

Rumour has it my mother never had trouble finding me a babysitter because as one of them put it, years later: “We used to fight to do it. We always felt better being around you.”  At the age of two!

And now I find myself depleted. Completely. I can no longer be the lover, the wife, the sister, the friend, the teacher, the artist, the intuitive… all the things I love to be and to do because I gave ALL of myself away.

It’s excruciatingly  hard to say no to visitors. To not reply to emails or comments. To sleep when I need to. To not take calls. But I am doing it. To save my life. To put myself first.

My body. My life. My whole being is supposed to be first and foremost for me.

Me. First.

I finally get it.

I trust it’s not too late.

 

 

Seeing the funny side…

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Eye patch.

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Tony is going to need one too if he keeps calling me “Popeye…”

Love this man. He can always make me laugh at the worst of times. However I draw the line on painting a bug-eyed one eye on it as per his latest recommendation.

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Yes, I am hiding it tonight…

A whole new meaning to “Blind Contours”

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The sight in my left eye fades away. The retina is detaching. There is nothing that can stop it now. I am left with no shapes, definition or even colour. Blind contour, one method of drawing, takes on a whole new meaning.

The idea is to keep your eye(s) entirely on the image you are sketching. Glance as little as possible at the paper. Let your hand follow your eye. Trace what you see. What you feel.

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The more I do. The easier it becomes. Focus is intensified. Every little nuance noted and absorbed. Appreciated. My breathing slows. Calmness enfolds me. So much clarity now.

A new sketchbook. Watercolour paper.

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Tony brings me fresh little bouquets from the garden. I sit at our little table in the studio happily sketching them. I hope to fill this sketchbook with the fruits of his labour. His love.

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Little or no sympathy around this from my dearest friend, Sandie, herself a gifted Intuitive: Don’t worry about that eye. You’ll just get to use your third eye more. She’s so right! I love her so much. She who has always helped me see things properly. With my heart.

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No coincidence that it is on the left side of my body that this has all taken place. The logical, masculine side. Where I spent far too long in recent years dealing with toxic work. Time to start the long journey back to the other side of me. The intuitive side. The creative side. The right side for me now.

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I keep sketching. Breathing. Healing.

 

 

On the really bad days…

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It’s time for me to write a “bad” blog post. Because there are bad days. Really bad ones. And while I deeply appreciate all the messages that commend me on my grace and wisdom and strength on this journey I have found myself (please keep them coming – they touch me in ways you cannot imaging -,it is only right that I share those times when I am not brave. Or calm. Or capable of anything remotely resembling “positive.”

Morning comes. I slowly awaken from a wonderful full night’s sleep, rested and renewed. I stretch my body below the covers and marvel at how good I feel. The sun caresses my face and I smile at what joys the day is already bringing me.

Tsunami. Reality hits. The abject horror of my situation completely takes over. I am almost blind in one eye. Tumours continue to appear with alarming regularity. The cancer is throughout. At any moment I could have a seizure. I am completely incapable of holding it all together for one minute longer.

The tears flow. It has happened so fast. So unexpectedly. So ruthlessly. I can barely breathe.

Lost. Complete and utter despair. I reach out blindly for the love of my life. He gathers me once again into the safely of his strong, caring arms and holds me while I weep unconsolably. How can I face another minute of knowing I am going to leave this man, this love, this life?

 

 

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I swear. Profusely. It’s so unfair. So unreal. I know that with the best will in the world I have not had time to take it all in. It is all I can do to hang on as the storm of emotions, fears, hopelessness and blind terror engulf me. I am so incredibly tired.

I weep. I just weep. And I rage. and rant. And weep some more.

Calm is slow to come, but it does eventually. I gradually feel Tony’s unerring love and strength seeping into me. It finds its way to the very core of my being where mine also resides. And together, with our combined love and strength, somehow, we are able to move into another precious day.

My lesson is self-compassion

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Coughing.

Coughing up blood. Then a clot. Not good.

911. Fire department. Paramedics.

Ambulance. Where is Tony? Asking for witnesses, I tell them: No, he is not my husband in the eyes of the law. But completely so in Spirit: “Whatever he says, goes. I trust him, literally, with my life.”

In the ambulance the young paramedic’s takes down my history. Her eyes fill. She shares her truth about treatment options with me. Such beautiful, raw honesty. I am beyond grateful. We cry over the loss of her young sister.

In emergency the nurse listens too. She completely honours my beliefs and is adamant that I have the right to do this my way. I am deeply touched. And strengthened. And I feel safe.

My breathing eases. The doctor comes in after giving us time alone to talk. Asks what do I want.

To go home. Rest. Be with Tony. Paint. Cook. Love. Be in our garden watching the broccoli grow.

I feel supported, heard, encouraged. And so incredibly blessed.

I believe my big lesson now is all about self-compassion. Today I met three amazing teachers.

Thank you ~