August 29, 2008

Callie's Death

Another loss. I put Callie down on the 26th. She'd been vomiting for the previous 24 hours. The nite of the 24th the bed was vomit soaked. Washed all bedding and put it back together on the 25th. Then on the 26th, at 4AM, I awoke to more vomiting. Bed was a mess again.
I held her, she was weak, listless. She was suffering.

I found a vet in Kingman, AZ; got to vet at 6AM and by 8AM I had her put down. X-rays & ultrasound visualized a large abdominal mass which had finally grown so that it blocked her small intestine, thus the vomiting.

She was a trooper to the end. On the 24th, we'd walked approximately three miles together, from Grand Canyon's "Trailer Village" to the El Tovar hotel and back.
She kept up with Reilley and I as usual. Reilley in the lead, me in the middle and Callie trudging behind, but always keeping up. Was it the altitude (7k feet) that finally kicked the ab mass? I'll never know.

She was so incredibly special. And I'm eternally grateful that she did not pass sooner. I could not have taken it last year. Not at all, after Lexi's & Gan's passing.

August 06, 2008

Marion Rosen Workshop

I am at a Marion Rosen Workshop, February 2008, in Berkeley, on the table taking my turn as one of the class "guinea pigs". There are six or seven “work stations” in the room, each with a willing subject on the table, and an experienced Rosen Method practitioner demonstrating the power of this work to the others in the subject’s group.

I'm crying softly as the practitioner is touching me. Rosen work asks the practitioner to use simple touch, unadorned, without expectation of eliciting a response. It is not massage or bodywork meant to “do something” to the receiver. It is just simple human touch, meant to help the receiver feel what is stored in their deepest cellular memory. It is this touch, hand to skin, given without ego, without oils or flourish or expectation, which unlocks feelings which have remained hidden for years, nay lifetimes. The miracle of Rosen work is truly the miracle of Life itself. The ability to store, and when the ground is ready, to release.

Still crying softly, the practitioner attempts to elicit the cause of my tears. She gently asks general questions. I don't respond, and just continue my soft crying. I don't respond partly because I can't talk, I’m overwhelmed with feeling; and partly because I truly don't know, in that moment, exactly why I'm crying. I am flooded by an overwhelming gratitude to be there, on the table, being touched.

The loss of one’s soul mate, life partner is devastating on so many levels.For me, the loss of daily physical touch, given and received with love, was one of the most difficult adjustments to make. Even if Margaret and I were upset with one another, we would always take time to sit and talk, her feet in my lap, and my touching, stroking those precious feet and toes. Her reaching her hand out to me, touching. Flesh to flesh, human contact, touch.

I'm asked to turn on my back, which I do, and she ever so gently touches my right thigh. I suddenly feel as if I've been jolted back into the deep pit of grief. This pit which enveloped me for the first 18 months after Margaret died. The pit of Hell. The gentle hand on my thigh, and suddenly I am again being dragged through Hell, inch by painful inch, and I let out an ear piercing howl which quieted the room.
Then I heard a distinct, other-worldly voice from above, clearly state, just one word: ACCEPT. Then I shook with heavy sobs.

I heard Marion say to the hushed room, “Go on, go on, with your work.”

The skilled practitioner came to the side of my head, speaking softly yet clearly, telling me that I was alright. I was alright. She caught and held my gaze, no fear in her eyes, only a clear signal to come back to the present. To be here now. I did, and my sobbing slowly subsided into tearful whimpers, then just gulping in air.

I slowly got dressed while the other women in my group huddled around me, protective, loving, concerned. I never spoke a word. I never told them what had gone on internally for me. But I knew, clearly, as clearly as I know anything, that I still hadn't Accepted Margaret’s death. Nor my sister's death. My dearest sister who died less than six months prior to Margaret’s sudden passing. I knew I still had work to do. The Universe had spoken unequivocally.

On the flight home, after the workshop, I pondered: what does it mean to Accept? I thought I had. I thought I was done with that portion of grieving. Thought I was well on my way to the creation of my new life. But I was wrong.

I came home to a broken, leaking hot water heater which was beginning to wreck havoc in the closet which housed Margaret’s sympathy box. The two hundred or more cards, letters, and expressions of sincere sympathy from our friends and family. The water was just beginning to seep into this cardboard box.
I grabbed its bottom, pulling it towards me, getting it out of the closet. As I hurriedly pulled the box to the safety of dry carpet, out rolled two polished rose quartz stones.
These beautiful stones had been given to me by a wise Mendocino County therapist, Mohasabe Shalom, after Margaret died. I had tossed these stones into the box while packing for my move to Southern California.
"Comfort" was carved into the smaller stone.
"Acceptance" was carved into the larger, two inch stone.

ACCEPTANCE was the stone which popped out of the box and landed literally at my feet.
If I had any doubt at all about what the Universe wanted me to work on, this rose quartz stone clearly shouted Her intent.

In the next few months, I daily pondered: What does it mean to Accept?
Why haven't I yet accepted their deaths?

Now, almost six months after that fateful weekend, I am still “in process” of Acceptance and coming to comprehend what this means.
And I am filled with eternal Gratitude for my life. I am humbled by The Power which has ALWAYS shown Herself to me. Which has always instructed me in my life's lessons.