Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Really? This is the new reality?

Fair warning, this one isn't pretty at times.  Death, as it is perceived on our end of things, rarely ever is.  Hold on though for the long read for the end is as equally beautiful as the painful beginning. 

Where do I even begin?  I guess from the beginning.

Part 1:

When the news of Thomas's death was delivered, I'd just arrived home for the evening. My son was in the living room when I called my friend back from the kitchen.  I'd dropped signal on her crossing the river when she was trying to reach me just prior.  My friend by nature is a worrier and Thomas just happened to be one of the people she fretted over.  So, when she told me if I'd heard the news, my default setting was to second guess her source.  I was thinking it was just townies being townies.  Mere rumors and such.  Family told her though, not townies.  

The shock to my system left me sitting on the cold slate kitchen floor against the cabinet, dialing for affirmation from someone else, anyone else.  Reaching his friend's establishment (Soul Mountain), my hardest day of 2013 was realized.  First one friend of his got on the phone, and then his mother's friend spoke with me.  The day I had been feeling and dreading since January 1st was upon me.  The major loss had come and I HATED every fiber of the "Knowing" for ever being so.

When I say "Knowing," I'm not talking about having knowledge that Thomas himself was going to leave us.  I'm referencing the foreboding of 2013 wherein when the year kicked off I just knew that major loss in my life was getting ready to occur.  Didn't know who, why, how many losses or how, I simply just knew it was coming.  While I curse these things at times, it truly is a gentle reminder to make every moment in twenty-four hours count, to leave nothing undone.  It's a mantra that flows through my conversations with others often. 

The light known as Thomas had moved on, he'd shifted from here to there.  I'd last seen him five days prior and heard from him a mere two days before he was hospitalized and then gone.  Tuesday to Friday, just like that.  No three days will ever look the same again.  No more pain.  No more suffering.  No more living in limbo waiting.  Thomas was now free.  As much as I hated the pain of his absence, I was truly happy he wasn't here to suffer the physical and emotional pain of what he'd been going through the last couple of years.

First sunset with Thomas after the shift. Taken from his resting place.
Part 2:

When the news of Dave's death was delivered, I was already in the acceptance phase of Thomas's death.  I still wrestled with the grief Ninja at times but for the most part I was in an active place of connection with him.  Given that connection, I was operating from a place of utter awe and peace.  

I'd just began the trip into town to establish a dinner game plan at the grocery store with my son when my friend called.  As with any other call, I just put her on speaker and said hello.  She was in distress.  Immediately I started asking my son for my headset.  I can still hear the pain in her voice as she tried to ask questions about where I was, what I was doing, etc. before breaking the news.  In her own nauseating pain she was doing her best to look out for others, a trait I truly admire about that girl.  The moment she sobbed a "pull over" I wanted to disappear.  I was immediately afraid of what was next.  The affirmation was crushing and the shock intense.  We stayed together in that disbelief as I tried to listen to her share with me what I needed to know.  When my son and I finally made it to the store, I just sat in the parking lot numb.  Again.  It was happening all over again.  I'd just spoken with him Tuesday and by Friday he too had moved on.  Three damn days, just like that.

From one of my favorite places.
Part 3:

This is where things get raw.  This is where the anger comes in, step two of five in the grief process.  Consider yourself warned.  It's raw, it's real and I'm not going to sugar coat it.

Really?  This is the new fucking reality now?  First my teacher.  Now my philosopher. Both? Both!  Really?  No way!  This can't be happening.  My mind was racing.  I was crushed.  The first person I thought of speaking with about Dave leaving us was Thomas.  Hello sucker punch to the gut.  Nope, can't do that anymore.  Well, at least not via traditional means.  Well, that just went from sucks to double sucks in record time. 

Damn.  Damn.  Damn.

Then I remembered.  
Then I breathed. 

As I mentioned in a prior blog, Thomas had been around in spirit already.  He is simply an acknowledgment away.  In fact, Thomas had been with me very heavily from Thursday evening through the news of Dave's passing.  He continued to stay around until such time as our friend sweet friend arrived later to be with me.  In the horror of moving to acceptance of what had happened with Dave, Thomas's presence 
was a strong reminder to be still and listen to what I already "knew."  They may be gone physically but no, they're not really gone.

Stop.  Breathe.  Listen.

Technically David Trefry should say Facebook User or not show at all.  That happens when you leave Facebook.  Dave had left Facebook.  Yet when I opened my "Hayfield Days" list of friends on Facebook, there he was, front and center.  Classic  Dave move right there!  Look at me!  Here I am!  Peace everyone, I'm okay.  This was from the weekend of who do I call next notifications.  I knew no one would understand when I tried to explain it later so I took a photo of it. 
Part 4:

I'm telling you what, your friends and your family, if they are good and true, they'll see you through anything in life.  Anything at all.  When you need them the most, as in times such as this, you also learn who is tried and true versus who isn't.  Oh the irony is not lost, believe me.  I saw the picture of what came to pass after.  It was pretty clear regarding what to do, who mattered and who didn't.  I thank them for that parting gift as much as I thank my friends and family for being there for me these last few months.

After hours drum circle to honor Thomas at Soul Mountain
I know that many are used to looking to me for strength and direction with this blog and our conversations.  Here's the thing though, I know I've never had all of the answers.  I don't trot through this life without struggles.  I love.  I hate.  I've created joy and I've created pain.  I'm human just like you.  All that comes to this page comes through me.  As Dave would say, "you are a vessel."   

With death, I'm different than most.  I don't fear it.  I get that it's a part of life.  Honestly, the most important part of life in my opinion.  It's then that we get to connect all of the dots.  I accept that my guys, that they're truly here nor there.  They are everywhere.  I feel them.  I receive from them.  Both are free and happy to be where they are.

One of Thomas's favorite teachers.  A quote he sent me one day.  He was always sharing what he was learning as it was happening in real time.  He was always pouring himself into others.
Despite all of that though, I sit here much like anyone else going through such pain.  I have wrestled with the disbelief that this is it.  That all I have from this moment going forward are the intangible blessings of their friendships.  Every cherished conversation, every moment spent hanging out.  The songs listened to, discussed and sometimes even sang.  Memories, they are what sustain us.

Dave out enjoying life in 2012 with Deri :) Thanks love for the pic!
I get to take forward all that these two ever poured into me and taught me about life.  The things you learn through both observing theirs and living your own.  Each of them had a story, a mission, and a determination to figure life out.  In the end, both have.  They're both doing exactly what they wanted to do, acquiring the great knowledge of the Universe.  They now have all the answers in which they seek.  Here though, their smiles, laughter and warmth are missed and cherished.  Yes, I see them in photographs and there are videos out there too.  It's not the same though.  It's not supposed to be I guess.  It never will be.

I had the privilege of getting to know both of them at a level that in the end made pouring into others as we grieve automatic.  They'd both given me so much of themselves, I just couldn't leave their work undone.  Their legacies live on through the words that were spoken and that still continue to be delivered.  I truly don't know or understand where the quiet strength comes from to muster on and be a light when you're crumbling inside, but it does. Honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way though and neither would they.  There is no time to wallow and be depressed (another stage in the grief process).  I see the big picture for what it is.  I accept what is before me and I am remaining open to the path and their continued part in it. 

October 2011 Cure Fest ~ Deri's Nephew & Dave "Her Boys"
As for that sneaky grief Ninja, I've watched so many people I love battle it.  That too has prepared me for this struggle.  I now must actually impart that shared knowledge to myself. I've long said acceptance is the first key to anything.  If I can't accept what is, I'm at a loss for what I'm going to do about it.  Fact is, the void in my life left by Thomas is the size of the Grand Canyon.  Dave being gone too just added to its vastness.   

Honestly, I have no idea what I'm going to do with all the empty spaces inside my soul that they once filled.  I know I have to keep living.  Keep breathing.  Keep doing the work and traveling the path.  As for the rest of it, not a clue.  I'm just doing my best to be present in the day at hand and make the most of it.

Meanwhile as we all process, those two jokers are having the best conversations ever and I need to be happy for them.  Happy.  Try instead a little annoyed and a whole lot of jealous for I always tried to get them together for that very reason.  I shared so much knowledge from Thomas with Dave.  As I've mentioned prior, the last book Thomas and I were excited about ended up finding its way to Dave eventually.  

I did not know at the time that it was about both of them all along.  Now more than ever I can read the writing on the wall.  After all, it found us on Dave's last birthday and I didn't even notice the purchase date until the day of Dave's funeral.  Thomas and I had already been reading and working with other channeled entities by way of Orin and DaBen, so there was nothing random about it happening the way it did.  It was meant to find us just as it was meant to find Hicks.  

You see, I'd been reading a book by Abraham-Hicks and decided that very day at 3/4 of the way through it that I'd start it over again.  Doing so allowed me to see and highlight something I'd not absorbed before.  A reference to a book called Seth Speaks.  Later that day I felt the "pull" to visit my favorite local used book/dvd store while in the midst of something completely not related.  Typically doing so nets some stellar find.  I made the time and went.  I immediately found a Silva Method book on the porch in the 25 cent section.  Score!  I thought that was it.  I went inside though and looked where I normally do.  Then I did something I never do.  I started going through a box of books that was on the floor. Books that hadn't been put on the shelf yet.  New arrival books.  Books I honestly never bother to dig through.  As soon as I moved the top book, there it was, staring at me with a big neon light around it.  HERE I AM! I think I even let out an audible squeal of joy.  

The day the book found its way home.
Uh huh, Dave's last birthday.

So, I'm going to do my best to work through this.  Eventually I will transcend this new reality into acceptance 100% of the time.  In the interim, I'm trusting that both of my guys are making sure the new people who walk into my life to fill the empty places are gems.  Whoever it is, I'll be grateful.  If they're anything nearly as spectacular as my guys, the path ahead will be just as remarkable as the years each of them graced me with.  One thing I understand for certain, the new reality, it's always changing.  Remember that.  I love you.

Copyright ©2014 Nita Clewis All rights reserved.  For personal use only.  Commercial use without permission of the author is not allowed.  Sharing with friends and family is warmly welcomed.  


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Meanwhile, a Sweet Angel Needs Us

While in the midst of processing Dave's funeral services my 39th birthday weekend/father's 80th birthday weekend, I was also processing the declining health of my cousin Amy's daughter Kaylee.  Her short six years here with us have been a neverending struggle as a Stage 4 warrior of Cystic Fibrosis.  Amy is the granddaughter of the Lucille and Clifford Long, brother of the woman who helped to raise my dad, Elsie Hinson.  Clifford and my dad grew up together in Cerro Gordo, North Carolina.  I was born when my parents took a last minute trip in my mom's pregnancy to Cerro Gordo to visit relatives.  I came two months early and was born in Whiteville. Today I hear there's some piece of writing my mom did in calligraphy still on the walls of the maternity ward at their new facility.  I'm sad to say I haven't seen it though.  It's on my list for my next extended visit.

Amy Long was one of my best friends growing up.  I so looked forward to visits to the farm to hang out with her, Erin Fowler and Angie Norris.  We'd run dirt roads in bare feet on hot summer days, shuck corn on the side porch, drive "momma's car" up and down the dirt road when older between residences to fetch each other or things our older relatives needed.  We'd bunker down during storms in the unused room in Elsie's house that no one ever went in that had the organ in it, tell stories and laugh until we hurt.  We'd walk to Mary's store for treats whenever the weather was right.  When I started driving, we'd make loops through Whiteville cruising when I would visit and shop at the Family Dollar in Chadburn (I think it was Family Dollar).

Amy (Robin behind her) on the family property.  I was always taking photos.
Amy was always a tough girl. She weathered life's storms and her childhood.  When "momma" passed, she mourned Lucille as if she'd been her momma because their bond was that strong.  To this day she still aches for her.  Amy herself became a mom early on in life with Brooke and then expanded her family close to a decade later when Kaylee joined them.  From day one Kaylee had obstacles with her health but Amy never complained or asked anyone for anything.  She just soldiered on as she always has.

I'd been married and divorced, had my own family, moved a few times to a few states.  I had not seen her for over 15 years when we finally visited briefly in September of 2012 after a house fire wherein they'd lost everything, including the family dog.  Gratefully, they weren't home for that.  I always wish to be there with them, to see their kids growing up, to make dinner and just be grown ups around each other. They are my family and life hasn't been the same without them in the years I have been away from visiting.

Fast forward to this winter and Kaylee's health began to deteriorate.  Thanks to social media I'd been able to keep up with my family down there in a way that was time conducive to Amy who rarely has a moment to herself these days. The new year started out very scary for them.  Hospitalized with 30% lung function and N1H1 was horrific for Kaylee.  As it stands right now, Kaylee's medications are causing allergies, she's not getting results from them and her lung function is not improving. Her doctors aren't pleased and they're concerned.  That in and of itself is enough to scare any parent.  No wonder they're both "out of brave."  In fact, it was the brave dialogue that made me ill to my stomach wanting to do more for them.

Again, my cousin asks for nothing. Her only quests in life are to be successful, to provide for her children, to have them with her healthy and whole, and to be a good mom and nurse.  She's a simple soul.  She knows what matters and what's important.  Kaylee's dad helps to support his family and thanks to him, they haven't lost everything yet.  Yet is the hard word to accept.  Amy can't work when she's caring for Kaylee.  They're not together and he works out of the area as most do in Columbus County.  That's just how it is in that area of the country for employment.  Many leave those they love to be able to care for them and provide basic needs.  Darrell is doing his best to try and make sure Amy doesn't lose everything, more than he's required to do for Kaylee as well.  Amy's income alone dropped 75% from 2012 to 2013 just because Kaylee was sick.  Yet they all carry on and you'd never know they've endured so much by just looking at them.

Kaylee & Momma
Amy, when Kaylee is healthy, works full-time in Urgent Care and goes to school to further her medical education.  She's never stagnate.  When Kaylee isn't well, she doesn't have a moment to breathe sometimes. Most days are run around trying to work, medical appointments, school and parenting.  She does as we all do, she goes forth into the world, smiles and pushes on for her family.  Amy doesn't put herself out there and she doesn't talk about her problems unless you ask or you're family that she's comfortable with.  Amy is one of the sweetest and most hard working people I know.  If I myself had full-time income right now, I'd be down there at least one weekend a month just being around to spread sunshine and do for them.  Go to the store, sit with them, make them laugh, give them good memories together, let her rest, etc.

January 2011, a prior hard winter in the hospital
I'm not though and because of that, when my heart dropped reading those words about bravery, I knew I had to do something.  ANYTHING.  I reached out online to my own family and friends on my private Facebook.  I asked Amy if I could go public with what was going on though, if I could seek information about survivors, what worked for them, what's working in care for pediatrics, who can help be a light, lighten the load, etc.  She was open to every person who wants to bless them.  A prayer.  A kind word.  A sweet gesture.  A survivor story.  A reminder to be hopeful.  A blessing.  Whatever God puts on a persons heart you know, just as it was put on my heart to have her cloaked in love not facing this alone.

January 10, 2014 being admitted to isolation and pushing through
So, I did what I knew how to do.  I created a Facebook community page to encourage them and surround them in love.  In a week, 800 beautiful souls have joined as one to do this work of Healing for Kaylee Meares. I'm in utter awe and have fallen in love all over again with my hometown.  Fire departments, sheriff's office personnel, moms, dads, pastors, medical personnel, realtors, and the like have come together to carry them through and Kaylee reads every word of it.  This sweet, sweet angel wanted to know all of their names so that she could pray for them too.  Amy, you've done good girl.  So, so good.

Brooke & Kaylee
Brooke is an amazing sister too.  She's your normal teenage girl with a tough upbringing.  She's been taking on as much as she can to help and be a light to her mom when she's not stressing about the situation with her sister and trying to remember to be a teenager with her friends.  She goes out and has a good time but by no means is her life easy.  She worries for her mom, something no teenager needs to do.  Teen girl life is hard enough.  She tries to never complain.  Indeed Amy, you've done really well girl with them both.

Brooke & Kaylee
This Valentine's Day, think of them and send them some love.  If you want to join her community on Facebook, follow the links herein.  One can never have too much love to see them through.  Remember that.  I love you.

Copyright ©2014 Nita Clewis All rights reserved.  For personal use only.  Commercial use without permission of the author is not allowed.  Sharing with friends and family is warmly welcomed.