Referred pain, shoulder strain, acupuncture, physio, chiropractic
Liver wall breach, stomach sick, stabbing pain comes quick
Ultrasound, CT scan, mammogram, X-ray, biopsy, immunohistochemistry
Abscess, cyst, tumour, mass, metastasize, ascites
Doctors Foo, NG, Thomerandum, Fiture, Smeetzgo, Ortega, Tweedle, Stanz
Advil, Tylenol3, Gravol, Percocet, Ondansetron, Morphine
Fentanol, Lazix, Vitamin K, water pill, Hydromorphone, Stemetil
IV pump: reset, clamp, undo, redo. Reverse
Treatable only, too late to cure, cells elusive, origin unsure
Internal bleeding, bilirubin rise, white cells up, No Life Support advised
Nurses Annica, Joy, Chris, Laura, Parathy, Faye, Beatrice, Juliette, Sheri
GDIP, PICC, WSIB, SGOT, CCAC
Unconsciousness, palliative care, heart stops. Sobbing despair.
Minister’s words, arms stiff, black bag. Help lift.
I didn’t come to grief in a single step. Catapulted in, head first, flailing for anchor
Full on, blown out eviscerating grief
No dress rehearsal no do-over
I didn’t come to grief in a single step. I did not come at all. It strangled me, absconded with my love, discharged me off path.
I did not come to grief in a single step, it hobbled me.
Walk when amputated in half? Sweet girls to shoulder on weakened limbs? Heart only strong enough for my existence. Their life is his life and his life is my life
Fusilladed life to be reconstructed, one hole to plug at a time.
I did not come to grief in a single step, it shrouds me, shadowing my days, needling in, rumbling away. High dark rainclouds, unwelcome yet omnipresent, voracity unknown.
I miss the everyday.
The side-by-side crossword puzzles;
supper at six; walking the dog.
I miss your touch; your comfort;
your gentle coaching.
Being home in you.
I miss the curve of your back in bed,
my leg over yours, hand on your breast.
Easing to sleep, with the rising and falling beat of your heart.
Playing soccer on the Withrow pitch;
Dancing slow at the Palais;
Barbeques and dinner parties;
Kayaking through water lilies.
Our ‘dates;’ with baths of lemon grass and ginger;
A fragrant haze of old jazz, beeswax candles and massage oil.
Watching you let go; your knowing hands on my body.
Falling into you.
Marrying you on a sunny summer day;
A potluck of family;
Kids playing badminton in the yard.
Hanging your shows with you;
Bold paintings of heroes and friends, laughing dogs and autumn leaves.
Images of cerulean blue; brush strokes exposing your sensual, whimsical soul.
But now, an unfinished canvas on your easel.
My head on your chest.
Until the rising and falling beat of your heart;
Hanging the final show without you.
I try to reframe:
How lucky we found each other;
How right that we fell so fast;
How blessed you survived the first and second cancer;
(But not the third, unknown, silent one).
And that you are somewhere...
Without pain. Listening when I talk to you.
And will be there for the inevitable;
When I am again by your side.
Your palettes are now still lifes on the wall.
There will be no new colours.
But in your paintings and my memories,
There is much life, still.
In memory of Karin Lapins
by Janice Martin
"Let me tell you a story...
February 15, 2007.My family was driving home from a visit at Sick Kids with my daughter's oncologist. He knew it was not going to be much longer for her... While on the road home, My daughter gave in to her higher calling and stopped breathing at 2:22 pm. After stopping for a period of time, we carried on, with her snuggled safe in my arms and her older brother in his seat beside us, to a family member's house where we prayed before heading to my mother's house. Once there, I sat with my daughter in my arms, rocking her in the rocking chair for hours. We called our doctor and nurse who had to come and do the official call of death. Sitting there with her allowed our immediate family to come and say goodbye to her.
At about 9:00 pm I decided that I needed to lay with her again so I took her into my mother's bed and we laid peacefully together, alone. While watching her there beside me, it was 9:33, I knew that at that moment she decided I was going to be okay and it was time for her to "leave". I felt her go. A little while after this moment, I knew it was time to give her away and I, as her mother, needed to prepare her. I bathed her and cleaned her up, got her dressed in her comfiest pyjamas and at about midnight my husband and I took her to the funeral home and laid her to rest in what was her final bed. I know, without a doubt, that those hours I had with my daughter were a gift. I cannot imagine this experience happening in any other way and I know it has been a big part of my healing process.
Birthing her from my body and then holding her safe against me in death, is something I will always be grateful for. It gave us the bond and power to do it together and on our own terms, when we were ready. I feel like I was able to "give" her instead of having her "taken". Some have thought I was weird to hold my dead child for so long but for me, it's what saved me. And I know that plan was a gift from my daughter.
It was the single most devastating, heartbreaking and beautiful experience of my life. Giving her away gave me the gift of knowing I could do anything. There is nothing harder in life than that moment. February 17, 2007, we buried Elizabeth. She continues to live on through myself and her father, along with her brother and sister.
Elizabeth Mae November 12, 2005 - February 15, 2007
We often think of death as the end result of our lived lives, once our energy is spent, the physical body dies. The truth is that death is around us and inside us ALL THE TIME while we are living, when we are not awake, aware, and alert, we are DYING not LIVING. We all strive to love fully, yet so many of us assume that LIVING is somehow governed and dictated by the “reality” of the world in which will live, the physical reality that we can touch, smell, taste, hear and most importantly see.
We have glimpses of being able to “see” ourselves, life and others in a different way, in those moments of deep heart to heart connections, in the feelings we have when people are selfless, kind and caring. We see outside of ourselves those that have the awareness, they appear to be such “good people” and we have created and honoured and cherish those in the past that have reflected for us the highest potential of what, who we could be: Jesus, Buddha, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr. BUT we are afraid to be able to “see” that we, as sacred humans, when we are awake, aware and alert have that same ability to change the world, starting with self. BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE. BUT we are afraid, and we say “look at what happened to those folks, they were killed, they had NOTHING” and the fear escalates to the point where we are too afraid to do anything, we are frozen and get distracted with OTHER things that we tell ourselves are IMPORTANT, and that WHEN we have all the other things, we will dedicate ourselves to our own self-growth and development, we will WAIT to commit to the work of spiritual awareness, we will WAIT to commit to a higher purpose because we are too busy RIGHT NOW.
I have had the great privilege to BE WITH people when the time came that their physical body dies. I have listened to the life stories of those that had been given a terminal life-limiting illness. For all of those people there was NO WAIT UNTIL there is more time, life gave the demand to be present and to change in the NOW. What I have learned and what knowledge that had AWAKENED within me was the truth of DEATH as a teacher of magical transformation.