family

Rethinking Warrior

Lately my  life has been a little, painfully magical? Are those the right words? I’m not sure. they are what comes to mind for some reason. I stumble upon things, and I wonder why?

I’m an odd bird, there aren’t too many people who could live my life, and sometimes I’m not even sure I’m the best person for my life. People frequently look at me and think I have a lot, have it easy. All I can say is, I have never been Kim Kardashian. My road, bumpy as hell like everyone else’s road.

Lately, Ive realized there are things I’ve lost and will never get back,  you know, like time. It’s one thing to start life and see hope in the future, it’s another when, at certain age, you realize there are things that aren’t coming back and can no longer be hoped for. How do you keep going? What sustains drive when all the typical reasons, motives, and hopes are slowly disappearing and become gone? Do you reinvent your hopes and dreams? Start living from a blank sheet of paper? Or start a new TO DO list no one has ever seen before? Could that be the scariest TO DO list ever?

So, I came up with this idea yesterday to actively consider death daily. Later in the day I started over thinking it, I was even feeling a little scared about it. I was getting insecure, even thinking maybe this isn’t a healthy thing to do? What if I end up hurting myself more than . . . what? Helping myself? What’s wrong with me. LOL!

I usually go to bed and watch a movie. Last night I watched Blood Brother, directed by  Steve Hoover. I innocently stumbled upon it thanks to Netflix. I wasn’t sure I wanted to watch it, seemed like the same old story, entitled westerner goes to India to help suffering kids, changes his life, hero,  yaddah, yaddah, yaddah.

Well, this movie ripped my heart apart. Grab a tissue! what am I doing with my life kinda movie. It’s true, the movie is about a guy who goes to India to help kids, but the amount of love, bravery, dedication and fierce drive in his heart  is truly what  makes this movie a MUST SEE. The movie shows the striking contrast between his life in the US, and his life in India. Look at the relationships with his blood family, and the family he builds in India.  Poor kids, with nothing but secrets and health issues live, love, and glow more than the most comfortable adults and children in America? Why? Are these kids living through their feelings? Needing feelings to survive? Aren’t these kids suppose to be depressed?  Living with life and death can make you glow from crying and laughing?

This country has incredible issues with health care. We force people to have health care, why? Because it’s too expensive if they don’t? Or because we care and think it’s important they are taken care of? What is our collective consciousness on this? Who is it too expensive too? Tax payers? communities?  A governmental budget? When and why did it become so expensive? How did we decide the priority of expense and care? What is the true illness health care is really trying to solve?

Big Brother, challenges viewers to consider how they love, how they care, what their community, and relationships look like. Many foreigners visit India, leave, this guy moved there to help. The community didn’t always love him, in fact he faces a crisis and his safety is in question at one point from helping. His heart told him to go to India, but his heart didn’t promise a smooth or comfortable road.  He faced huge moments of mind-blowing grief and rejection from the community a few times. The film does an excellent job of sharing how those moments created mental, as well as physical doubts he was doing the right thing with his life and how he overcame his doubts.

The most extraordinary thing about this film is the love and care given and received. There are a number of kids that will touch your heart, but there is one that will just smash your heart to bits for all the right reasons. A child who wasn’t receiving the best of health care, had AIDS, and everyone feared to touch. You will want to step up your care game after you watch how much love, care and dedication this complete stranger gave to this little boy.

We focus so often on warriors that hold guns and kill. I challenge you to watch this movie , if for no other reason than to reconsider what a warrior  looks like to you.  I dare you to tell me Rockyanna isn’t a warrior the world couldn’t use more of. The world, including America, needs more warriors like Rockyanna.

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How To Die in Oregon

 

Last night after I read a few chapters of The American Way of Death. I put the book away and looked for a movie to watch on Netflix.What do I find?  How to Die In Oregon by director Peter Richardson.

Yes, this is my life. Friday night and I’m reviewing the immune system, reading The American Way of Death, and then watching How to Die in Oregon. I’m worse than a nerd at this point. Sigh.

How to Die in Oregon is a must see movie.  The beginning is a little mind-blowing, I almost turned it off, stick with it.  This issue, the right to choose to die with dignity, will touch every family in some form or another. Everyone will have a loved one, or a friend who will deal with many of the situations found in this movie. How to Die in Oregon casts a broad net over the many lives touched by the process of death and a choice to take control of death. Saying, “I want to die”,  the easy part, not a cowards way out or suicide as you’ll see in the movie. This movie digs into everything that comes after a person decides to control their death and how it impacts their remaining life and those they love.

I loved all the people in the movie. All the families and individuals were truly genuine, living, and dying with very brave, caring, and thoughtful hearts. They were all the type of people I enjoy meeting. All I can say is, living is no joke. I hope everyone takes the time to watch How to Die in Oregon. At the very least, you’ll feel inspired to hug, or call someone you love just because you know you can.

I Don’t Know, Maybe That’s Good?

Dirt and Paint: What Is That?

Something that just doesn’t make sense. Sculpted paint on a desert floor miles from civilization. Only a few ever saw it.

I had dinner with a friend last night and she mentioned her father-in-law is dying. She mentioned the family will be taking a trip to visit him with the very big possibility this will be the last time they see him.

This morning I wanted to write her husband a note, tell him something, but what? It’s one of those times when we fumble, we don’t know what to say, and anything we think to say seems, cheesy, wrong, or ridiculous.

My heart goes out to my friends who will soon be dealing with one of life’s most difficult events. Four different people, different genders, different relationships, different stages in life. Where do we find the models to cope with a final visit of a loved one? How do you know that last, “I love you” has enough power to last a lifetime? What if we don’t feel love? How long do you hug a person before you feel it’s ok to let them go forever? What if you don’t want to touch them?  How do you inventory your brain’s memory of that person and feel confident you have enough memories to last a lifetime? Maybe you don’t want your memories? What about the sneaky little regrets that suddenly pop up? That unique anxiety that suddenly searches your brain to fix a regret in 5 seconds. Can there be models for this? Should there be? What are the words I can give  a friend in such a complex situation?

Helplessness . . . is so tough. We are constantly taught to make things better, and then there is death, the process of death. Sometimes it comes with warning and it’s a slow agonizing road. So many lives keep moving, have to keep moving around someone who is dying. The world doesn’t stop for a birth, why would it stop for a death? Bills gotta get paid. My friends have two days . . . and then what? Go home back across the country and live until a phone call? I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, but it is how it is in their case. I guess, what I find so difficult,  walking away from a significant person, like a parent, who is so close to dying. I’m not sure where I get this idea everyone should have the right to stay if they want or need to.

My grandmother’s death was barreling straight at me like a jetliner. Who could miss that, right? In many ways, I did, I didn’t see the jetliner,  even when I was straight out told, “she is dying”.  I was right beside her, but not with her. In some ways we were both dying and slowly being resurrected. The last day I saw her, at least the one I remember as her last day, was so simple it almost went right over my head. It was so deep in feelings, intensity, and denial,  it didn’t seem real.  The brain and the heart really duked it out on that day. I am thankful my brain and my heart, as disastrous and protective as they were, found the wisdom to collect the memories and the words I needed for both of us on her last day. I’m glad when I  walked away from her my head and my heart wouldn’t allow me to comprehend just how large those steps were.

I love the process of death because it challenges the hardest of hearts to feel. Death is relentless. The strength to journey through death is an important strength. The lessons of death are difficult but beautiful if allowed to be learned. I often think the strength we find in the final hours of a loved ones life is the largest example of who we should be in our daily lives, just on a less intense level of course.  It is the strength to arrive and tell those we love they matter, their life matters in whatever form it has taken; good or bad.

So my friends, with all their brave hearts,  will make their journey to their loved one, and I will wish them all that life  and death can offer them during this difficult time. I wish them lots of complexity, simplicity, laughter, crying, anger, sadness, resolution and all the colors that come when life meets death. I will wish them love.  (more…)