Wednesday, April 2, 2008

... necessary losses ?




dear pipe...

I've been thinking...
about "losses"...
people...
pets...
parts of "me"...

no longer with me...
gone...

some dead...
some who "left"...
some whose time was past...
but all ...
just gone...

leaving behind, grief...
a sense of deep loss...
and failure....

I live alone...
except for the kitties...
a solitary life...
not totally by choice...

in the last 10 years...
my life has changed
with each "passing" of someone ...
or thing that I held dear ...
or considered a part of "me"...

my first trumpet teacher...
my kindly vet...
my master teacher...
several colleagues...
my mentor teacher...
several beloved role models...

not to mention a brush
with my own mortality in the form
of the cancer that took not only my thumb...
but the last vestiges of my own "invulnerability"...
as well as sapping my strength and vigor...

the last few years have seen an increase,
in the decrease of people I cared about...
as well as the "ending" ...
of major parts of my life...

I retired from the symphony...
all of my good friends...
who didn't die... retired...
and moved to other states...

not being able to stand the stress any longer
of the bad treatment and disrespect...
I retired from the school district...

a number of relationships have ended...
one, that was very important to me...
and had lasted for over 20 years...
a good friend died...
very unexpectedly...

people have left town...
others, drifted away...
beloved pets have died...
sometimes, drawn-out, terrible deaths...

and then, there was Mom...
falling, injuring herself in the summer of 2004...
she lived a 2+ hour trip away...
I "lived in my car" for weeks...
in and out of hospitals...rehab...
finally home, but needing 24 hour care...

packing up...
clearing out the ranch house
her father built...
where she was born...
and I grew up....

and then, April 1, 2005...
she moved out...
to the assisted living home
she had chosen...
and we sold the ranch...

if her pain was "managed"...
she didn't know me due to drug sensitivity...
if she didn't take medication for pain...
she was lucid...but in pain...

so they would try something "new"...
it was OK for a day or two...
then the "middle-of-the-night" phone call...
she was "confused" ...
and had been taken to the hospital...
more "living in my car"...

after convincing them
to stop the "new meds"...
she would return to reality...
and soon to pain...

we talked on the phone
every day for years...
it was so strange when she was too sick to talk...
I eventually got used to not being able to call her,
during those times...

things were so different anyway...
she wasn't ever really herself...
she had left her spirit at the ranch...
though she tried...
she was never the same...

then, in early December 2006...
there was a fire...
whipped by strong winds...
the ranch house was totally consumed...

"home" was gone...forever...

she had a problem that put her
in the hospital for tests...
where they found a big problem...
advanced pancreatic cancer...

after spending Christmas in the hospital...
she returned to her "home"...
but not her room...
now she was in the skilled nursing wing...

she attempted chemo...
but soon developed some
circulation problems in her legs,
necessitating her hospitalization, again...

the Dr. told us that her right leg
had an arterial blockage...
she could have arterial graft surgery...
but she would probably loose her leg...
she decided that it wasn't worth the pain...

she decided,
"to let nature take it's course"...
and died five days later...
of gangrene...

she had arranged to have both
my Dad's and her cremains...
interred in a single plot....

it is a weird feeling...
driving around...
having both of your parents...
in the trunk of your car...

over the next few months...
instead of a respite from loss...
I lost 3 cats to nasty illness

and just when I thought
I could start to relax...
the pastor of my church
took a position far away...
along with his wife,
the leader of our music program...
the last stable element of my life....

I had been drawing "inward" for years...
I just didn't want any more pain...
I was spiraling into a deep depression...

I wrote "...how terribly strange"
on November 24,2007...
then the miracle happened....

"they say the darkest night...
has a light, beyond..."

God had been knocking all along...
I just wasn't listening...

I wasn't listening ...
because I was so deep in my pain...
those He sent...kept trying though...
and finally, I heard Him...

hang in there, "pipe tobacco"...
He is waiting for you...
arms open wide...
with love and peace...

"weeping endures all the night...
but joy cometh in the morning..."

4 comments:

PipeTobacco said...

Dear Catsinger:

I thank you so very much for this post, especially for me. I do not know how far back you have looked into my site, but if you looked back you may have noticed we seem to have shared an unfortunate timeline in the losses of our beloved mothers. I lost my beautiful mother in March of 2007.

I envy the strength you seem to have cultivated within yourself. I do not seem to yet have that ability. I am working my way back to my faith with as much conviction and effort as I can muster, but I seem far less successful so far compared with your own journey.

If you do decide to go back and read some of my efforts, I might suggest looking through posts from March, April, and May of 2007. I believe some of my most raw emotions are shown there concerning my grief about my mother. This latest pit of despair has been for roughly February and March of 2008.

Again, thank you!

PipeTobacco

catsinger said...

dear pipe... thank you for your comment...
I left you a new message on your blog... I did go back and read and we share several things, including the Catholic Church, although I now make my home with the Anglicans ["English Catholics" as a former rector put it...]
what strength I have comes from Him...
as someone very wise once told me;
" pray, pray, pray...When you can't see the way, when you don't know how to pray, REMEMBER that God knows the way, YOUR way, because He knows you. When you can't see through your tears, He is still holding your hand--trust Him ! Don't let go, and soon you'll be through the storm, and there will be sunlight breaking through the dark clouds... Have faith ! ...praying for you..."
she's never been wrong in any advice she's given me... so I share this with you... praying for you...

Mousie's Mommy said...

Catsinger...the bitter sweetness of your post brought me to my knees and to tears. It is always amazing to me that people can say they "know" someone because they work with them or, in our case, worship together and yet hardly "know" them at all. Thank you for sharing your heart and your soul in such a beautiful and heartfelt way. "Knowing" you a bit more now makes my admiration for you and your extraordinary talents even deeper. Your sharing has truly touched my heart. Again, thank you.

catsinger said...

MM...thank you for the kind words... I see that you are already "paying it forward"... ; ]