Monday, November 14, 2016

Soul, I Hear You Calling!


I have four songs I sing to residents when I know they're close to passing.

It's not as morbid as you think-- it began in September when my first resident passed. I really loved this person, and I felt my heart grow heavy as I learned to accept the gravity of what was going to happen while working as a caregiver; yes, I provide a means for people to live, however my position is so much more than toileting people. It is providing hugs, comfort, reassurance when someone feels lost, scared, lonely, and I help provide quality, end-of-life alternatives to a hospital.

I felt helpless the first time I watched life slip away from one of the residents; I remembered how I felt when my grandma lived with us during her last days. My Mama had spent the entire summer praying to Jesus, asking for another day with her mother, and begging that when her time did come that all four of us kids were not in the home. She didn't want our last memories of grandma to be of them taking her body away. She did not want us to ever see our grandma died.

It's weird. I had a paper route when I was 13, so I never slept over at other people's houses. I spent my summer working, and staying up all night, doing my paper route, then sleeping in all day. In between these activities I helped out with my then 2-year-old brother, Andrew, a 7 year old Devon, and hung-out with an 11 year old Amanda. Moreover, it was a summer at the hospital, and a skilled nursing facility, before finally my grandma came home to live with us in our house on 51st Street in Springfield.

The night before my grandma passed, miraculously all of us children were elsewhere. My Mama had agreed to do my paper route, and I was at my friend, Katie's, sleepover for her 13th birthday. I think my siblings were at Shannan's. We never saw my grandma's eyes gloss over, or hear her breathing become ragged as it rattled to alert that death was near.

I've watched people pass away several times now. I am not nearly as afraid of death as I use to be-- I've had haunting dreams since my biological father passed away in 2009, that have only increased after my jeje (2012) and mama's passing (2015)-- it was a reoccurring topic when I was in therapy after my pregnancy losses. And, my job has, actually really helped alleviate those dreams and that fear.

I've seen good deaths, and ugly ones. I've cried a lot, and have learned to feel peace, and gratitude as the person we say goodbye to frees themselves from this mortal coil-- their souls going on, and their bodies become part of the the Earth. They are stardust and part of this magical universe in away that I am not yet. And, as for the act of dying?

I have learned to sing in the face of that fear.

I hold that person's hand and I sing. The first time I did this, it felt so natural and right. It felt comforting for me on levels I could not understand, and the person I was singing to, seemed at peace.

And, I do this by singing the songs I have continuously sang to Violet throughout the years. They're songs that soothe a warrior to sleep, the songs that comfort me, and though I don't sing particularly well, in these precious moments where we hold hands, all there is are feelings of peace, and love-- I feel like in some small way Cash, jeje, the babies I have lost, and especially my mama knew in their hearts in their last moments how deeply they were loved. That they weren't alone.


And if I should falter
Would you open you arms out to me
We can make love not war
And live at peace with our hearts

She broke down and let me in
Made me see where I've been
Been down one time
Been down two times
I'm never going back again

So close your eyes
You can close your eyes, it's all right
I don't know no love songs
And I can't sing the blues anymore
But I can sing this song
And you can sing this song
When I'm gone

"What's this dying for"?
Asks the Stork that soars
With the Owl high above
Canyons mighty walls
Owl said "Death's a door
That love walks through
In and out, in and out
Back and forth, back and forth"

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Hoch poH muSHa'ghach Hot pIm: Every Time You Feel Love It Will Be Different

I wrote a blog that was about four paragraphs in, but erased it, since sitting for a few days, has made most of what I wrote irrelevant. Regardless, this morning I feel the call to write, so I sit here-- heating pad on abdomen, cats, and partner snoozing around me, feeling enormous feelings trying to articulate the things I need to get out.
Heaven's Gate?

Let's just get the big one out of the way, so I can quickly focus the microscope in a little tighter. As a Native American, woman, rape survivor, and someone who has identified a lot with Margaret Cho's comic bit about "slut pride" ("am I gay? am I straight? Turns out, I'm just slutty")-- I would be lying to say that I am not sadden and scared currently after the election.

I don't want to open this blog up for politics talk. I also needed a safe space to say that.

Moving on, I feel really guilty about calling in today to work. I woke up at 2 this morning in phenomenal amounts of pain. Yesterday, my period came a full 8 days early, and as a result my whole body feels broken, and out of whack. I don't know why I feel so guilty. It's not like I am faking, it's not like I don't show up, and work as hard as I can while at my job. I guess the reason I feel guilty is because I WANT TO BE THERE.

I hate calling out because of pain. I always feel guilty, and like I am not doing my part when I am like this. I get grumpy in my home life, I never take it easy, and I am just mad. It is something I have never learned to accept-- living with chronic pain means that I experience pain often, and though I have learned to deal with it on a near daily basis there are times, when I simply can't. So, as a result I become incredibly angry on the days I can't manage the pain enough to go to work.

It's a frustrating cycle.

But, it is my hopes that since I found us an apartment in Florence things like self-care will be ultimately easier. And, that is one of the best things going on currently-- it looks like after working so hard, and looking for what seemed like forever, we have finally found a place that will suit our needs, and I am so excited.

Bradford and I were talking about our place in North Salt Lake-- how much we both felt like that was a home, and not just a place we were staying, how even when we lived at the Parkside we never quite felt like it was home. And, I am really looking forward to building a home again. We need it.

Anyways, our new place was once a large house, and has been converted to five apartments. Ours is a little one bedroom on the end, it is located on the west side of 101, near the Safeway, and within walking distance to Old Town, and about a ten to fifteen minute walk to work.

To say I am excited would be an understatement. I feel like a major goal is about to come to fruition for us, and Bradford and I have worked hard, and have had such amazing support getting this far-- starting with even our relocation last year to Utah. Though, an extremely painful step, it helped us in so many ways and we couldn't be more grateful for the people and help we've had every step of the way. The only way we can even begin to repay the people that have helped this far is to continue to pursue all our goals-- one step at a time.

Random date before an extra swing shift pick-up
 I can't believe we are this close, this close to finally be living in Florence, an intended spot for us. A place we've talked, and prayed about. We've had so much support; Jess, Steve, Skye, AJ, Ann, family, Annie, Brett, Stephanie, Colbi, Theya (the KIDS). As I sit here reflecting it is overwhelming, and I hope over the next few months we can start properly thanking people-- suppers, thank you cards, locks of chest hair. You know normal things that say gratitude and love.
North of Florence

In the meantime, its been 24 days since Jess last spoke to me-- it's incredibly weird, but okay as well. We've actually gone longer periods of time not talking, just not when upset with one another. It feels peculiar to lessen her as an option in my go-to daily. It's like an insincere, but necessary time for both of us, and though Skye has reminded me several times that when you're close like sisters these times are bound to happen I still find myself so upset that I continue to find solace in my decision to let things lie as is for now.

But, I also still can't help feeling dumped for the stupidest reasons imaginable. I had expressed feeling undervalued and unimportant to Jess, feeling a distance grow between us, and me trying to tell her that I have lost five souls since starting my job, in addition to people moving out, and new people being placed into the community (I have signed a privacy clause with work, so this will be the last I speak of stuff regarding residents, or coworkers), and needing her-- trying to explain that I no longer wanted to feel one sided in our relationship. Plainly; I need Jess to call and text me, even if it was feign interest, I need to feel like she cares. 
The day before moving home to Oregon

8 days ago I saw Jess had unfriended me on Facebook when I went to share something on her Wall. I blocked her, and have pitched several fits, not to mention me getting pretty damn passive aggressive when we were texting last. It's because of me acting like a child I've decided that Jess can worry about Jess and Sari for Sari.

It's hard, though, because even though I haven't interacted with her, or seen her online even in 24 days, I've been sick, so I am sure she has been too. It's weird how things like that happen when you've lived with someone for years. I know that all my hurt, and angry feelings she is feeling too. I know that we are both going over in our heads what the other person has done wrong. I know we are both assessing what things we've done wrong ourselves. And, my final conclusion goes as follows; it's okay.

We are both okay.

I can't help be a little sad that we have our first visitor from Utah coming (baby Jacob!!!), and it's not Kieran-- I kinda always thought when we got into our new place in Florence he would be the first person in our Utah family to sleep on our floor for a week. I am beyond words stoked to have Jacob for a weekend, and hope that either Jess or Kieran are our next visitors from our Utah family to come and stay (Kieran because he is old enough to visit for a Spring break). 

Bradford and I have talked about this repeatedly through the summer; both of us think a week on the coast is exactly what Jess needs-- no kids, beach access, clouds, hikes, rain, and a week of us cooking together. And, that's what I am looking forward to-- pitching the idea of her coming for my birthday right around her birthday. You never know. It could happen. 

I guess now that I am rambling for rambling sake I should wrap this blog up.