The Search

Of everything
There is so much more than a name
There is so much more than an age
There is so much more than what you see
There is so much more beyond me

Monday, November 30, 2009

#2 of the Matrix

#2 of the matrix…..Humor

Just a few days before my attack, I was shopping in one of the big box stores when I noticed in the sale bin, a stack of paper bags with different Christmas scenes on them. They were priced under 50 cents, so I thought what a great idea to get one for each person to take their gift’s home in! As part of the decorations, I set the bags all over our sun room, where the tree was, and that room has two doors in it. The “front door to the house with steps, and the door at the other end with a small step that leads into the courtyard. It was my plan that when everyone came in the front door, they would see all of the empty bags sitting all over the room and could pick out the one they wanted and it would be their’s….. Great idea, cute touch to the decorating, and very practical…. Or so I thought. Little did I know the part they would play in the events to come….

December 23rd….Ok, so here comes the paramedics…. They came in the front door and I’m sure they had to have wondered what in the hell was going on with all the bags, but regardless, they rushed back to the bedroom to attend to me. As they assessed the situation and decided they needed to get me out to the ambulance, they brought the gurney through the front door, folded up, into the bedroom and I was lifted on it. (This scene was described to me later, as I’m unconscious and have no idea what’s happening) I am flanked by several medical personnel on each side, working on me, carrying IV’s and other equipment….In the meantime, my son was standing close to me, and my son in law was further back in the hallway, so as they rolled me down the hall, he suggested it would be easier to get me out if he opened both French doors at the other end of the room. As he ran ahead to open them, he later exclaimed, “I was kicking bags everywhere, cussing them every step of the way, with the paramedics following closely behind….

The Christmas bags brought more smiles as I begin to come out of the induced coma several days later. My daughter and her family had been planning to fly to Alabama the evening of the attack, so they were not going to be at our Christmas eve celebration and I had not bought bags for them….. As hubby was standing by the hospital bed talking to me, trying to get me to wake up, I whispered to him that he needed to go back to the store…. I couldn’t speak very well since they had just removed the vent tube, but as he leaned closer he understood me to say that if my daughter and family were going to be here, he needed to go buy more bags so they would each have one. He said at that point they all cracked up laughing as Mom was still entertaining, and giving orders……

There were other humorous moments throughout the event…..the firemen were the first to arrive and I remember seeing his hatchet attached to his belt and thinking how funny it was that he brought that with him… I wondered what the heck he thought he’d have to use it on! We’ve all laughed many times about the family bringing food into the ICU waiting room and feeding my prepared Christmas goodies to everyone else in there. Not to mention my antics with “Bob the nurse”, and some of the other nurses and doctors.

Humor is a very necessary element in our lives….. no matter how rough it gets, you can find humor in everything and it’s great medicine. It has really been a strong positive for me, and especially as I listened to some of the stories that went on when I was out of it and as I was coming back…. It’s when you’re at your lowest that laughter rings the loudest……

#1 of the Matrix

Coming up with 12 positives about my heart attack is much easier said than done…. I have thought of at least a thousand negatives, but have had to really think and work for the positives…. In no particular order I have started making my list – one being no less important than another one, but just as they have entered my mind…..

#1 of the matrix……. The strength of my family.

I think it’s easy to say that all of this brought forth the knowledge of their absolute love for me, but it’s their strength that brings me to my knees…. From everyone who was directly involved from the beginning of my attack, through the unending actions and words they still give me each day, they have done everything that was needed as it was needed. Their strength through all of this has amazed me. Each and every one of them, from my husband and sister who were there with me at the onset, the encouragements and physical actions of my 3 children, the sons & daughter in-laws, to all 5 of the grandkids…. Without reserve, their strength seen me through it, and continues…..

Knowing without reservation that you can depend on a certain person or persons is one of the greatest feelings of security and love that you can have.

And the wonderment of it all is that they don’t even recognize their heroic actions….. I’ve tried to tell them how much the things they did meant to me, but my words fall short. The greatest blessing is that they were there for each other….. The kids took care of their dad, he made sure they were all ok, the in-laws took care of their spouses and each other, and the grandkids kept the world going for their parents, each other and all of us. If one of them had a weak moment, another one picked up the slack. They handled the logistics of transporting all family members to the hospital, they set with each other, and from what I’ve been told, they cried with each other…. They “carried on” as I would have wanted them to…..

The strength of a matrix has to start with a solid base, and I’m proud to say that I now know just how strong ours is……

The Matrix

Matrix – According to the dictionary, “An arrangement of connected things”…. How more beautiful to display the word matrix, than in this picture of one of the many rocks I have in my collection…. From all it went through, it’s layers stand proudly and shamelessly connected to expose the matrix of it’s positive beauty.

After sharing my apprehension over the upcoming Christmas celebrations and the anniversary of my heart attack with my friend “el poquito”, he shared with me, among other heartfelt words of encouragement, the following…..

The only way through it is through it - straight ahead.”


He said to me:

“One thing I was taught about these sorts of moments is how we naturally and easily build a 'matrix', so to speak. a construction built of negative thoughts and memories. I was taught to turn it on its nose by building a construction of positive thoughts - an appreciation for all the good lessons learned through the difficult challenge. <--- those are always filled with strengths also that we never would otherwise see, know and experience about ourselves.

In other words, build a positive matrix around the heart emergency by writing down a list of 12 positive things that have come from this experience this past year”


So, I’m taking him up on his challenge…. Over the next few weeks as I’m going through the days leading up to the anniversary of that fateful event, I am going to concentrate on the positives… experiences I would never have even thought of or gone through, had it not been for the heart attack. As I ponder over all of this, and as I remind myself, I will share it with you, as I believe it’s going to be beneficial.

He also said “It isn't magic. Won't make it all disappear. You'll still have to meet it on the terms it dishes out to you, but you can make it a bit more doable.

It will remind you of your strengths rather than your weakness”.

And that my friends is something we all need……

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Bringing Forth

Lilli’s buds brilliant in their jewel like Christmas colors, forcing the process in preparation for full blossoms… Ah, the cycle of another year, of another Christmas coming….

A year past

So much more to leave behind….

So much more ahead…..

12 months of life, living, laughter, pain, depression, joy, visions of beauty, learning limits, experiencing goals, celebrating accomplishments, acknowledging failures, facing my mortality, and pushing forward.

As I tightly grasp the preparations of Christmas and the anticipation of it’s anniversary, my mind holds onto hazed memories. Pictures bringing forth beginnings of a journey that bruised my soul, and silently caused my tears....

Foremost in it’s lessons, the reminder of love with trepidations of its worthiness. Half opened blooms emerging into full vibrant blossoms with torn edges exposed to share a new life, the appreciation of that life, and so much more.......

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Gold

Reflections of precious praise

Be blessed with all you hold

Quiet thoughts of memories complete

Filled with Thanksgiving gold

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Barefoot in the Snow!

It's ok to be crazy when you're 66! In fact I recommend it~~~~

Just for today

As the snow ends, it’s weight will melt away and our branches will lift once again to face the sun, holding only what is needed to grow another year…..

Such a beautiful sight to wake up to on birthday number 66! A reminder that burdens are temporary and there is so much more strength than we realize when we find it necessary to carry an extra load......

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I – one tiny chip of stone
Moved by earth’s change
Rolled slowly down the hill
Landing at river’s edge

Through means of man and God
I am now part of the river
Covered with the flowing juices
Of my father’s life

I watch from below as the river flows over me
And around me…..
In it’s way, I changed the river’s route
I – one tiny chip of stone…….

Stuffed Green Peppers (and other revelations)

Stuffed green peppers. I’ve made this dish for years as they’re one of our family’s fall and winter favorites and are always a big hit when I take the time to prepare them. Rich chunks of browned beef mixed with tomatoes, onions, rice, cheese and tons of aromatic spices. The whole mixture stuffed into large, luscious green bell peppers and set to bake on a bed of the excess stuffing, topped with even more creamy cheese to give a beautiful golden crust… It’s an easy dish, pretty to serve, and very automatic for me, with no written recipe to follow.

Having the need for a good “transport” dish the other day as a meal for some folks who were moving and who I knew would appreciate not having to stop in the middle of a mess of boxes and moving chaos to cook, I decided to make it and take it to them along with a salad, some deviled eggs, and hot garlic bread with a simply decadent dessert of pineapple upside down cake… Great idea, but as I begin the process, I realized I hadn’t made the peppers since last fall and all of a sudden I could not remember how to do it! Like so many things in my life it was another one of those “before and after the heart attack” projects. With some embarrassment, I had to phone my daughter for instructions since I’d taught her to make them and I knew she could help me out.

Nearly a year ago I wrote on my blog that I did not want to turn it into a heart attack site….. It’s easy to say I just needed to put it behind me and get on with life, but in this year I’ve learned that was much easier said than done. The fact is, (I guess), I did have a heart attack and it’s a part of my life, and it has dictated much of who I am today. I don’t like that, and I still do not want to be defined as the lady who went thru that, but I did, it is there, I am, and I can’t change it.

One of the reasons for not writing on my blog for so long is that I’ve been extremely busy trying to ignore those facts…… Through the summer, every time I had a thought that I wanted to share, it included something to do with my health, then I would tell myself that no one wanted to hear that so I’d refuse to let myself write. Instead I would think of something else to do in order to distract those thoughts and force myself into another world.

Since the doctors insist that I stay on my medications, including the blood thinners, for a full year before I can have any type of surgery, I have been unable to schedule any "fix" for my back and other health problems that seem to plague me. I knew that I had a year of hell to get through, and the best way to do this, I thought, was to keep busy. We have spent our entire summer and early fall on the run, trying our best to make all problems go away and enjoy ourselves regardless. We traveled, we fished, we entertained, we visited with friends and relatives, I’ve cleaned, cooked, taken care of appointments and commitments, and dreamed up projects, all in an effort not to write my feelings and share my fears….

There have been a lot of “firsts” for me this year, remembering my job’s when we hook up to the camper, tying that fly on the end of my line, setting up and turning on the grill, cooking simple dishes, reading maps, and the lists go on and on. All of this I’m told, more or less normal after being so sick, and having been anesthetized for such a long period of time.

I have finally realized that all along, through everything that has gone on for the past year, even though I didn’t write them down, the heart and other health matters has been at the forefront of my existence anyway. Refusing to write about any of it only left me feeling incomplete.

There is so much more to tell you - thoughts that have been there all along that I have tried to repress and I cannot do that any longer….as Popeye would say, “I yam who I yam” and that includes forgetting how to make stuffed green peppers, but getting them done anyway. The folks I delivered them to had no idea what I’d been through to make them, but the smiles on their faces when I showed up at their door with dinner, only intensified my desire to keep doing what I can. As I do, I will try share it with you through my writings, and I will no longer refuse to acknowledge that I do have fears and failings and weaknesses that didn’t used to be there, but like it or not, are now a part of me.