The stomach clenching ice cold breath catching feeling that grabbed my body and held me as if I were in a straight jacket. My life had been threatened. Everything in my world changed after the phone call. I, used to being outside in my garden, wearing barely anything more than a bikini to soak up as much summer sun as possible, now hid inside, chilled to my bones. I, who threw open curtains and windows, now pulled them closed so no one could see me. But they could. Really. I’m not hard to find. Evenings naked in my hot tub with a glass of wine? NO I CAN’T. I have a gun. It is here for the occasional rabid Fox. Now it is loaded and stands guard by my bed. In the morning my gun comes with me from room to room as I go about my daily routine. The gun is too big for me. It is heavy. My husband assures me that as long as someone hears the “ka-chunk” sound of the pump action they will be scared away. I don’t believe him. My life has been threatened. He leaves for work. I am here. Hidden behind the walls of my old farm house. I can’t breath right. My body is tight. I jump at every sound. I cry a lot. I am angry. Days come and go but my life has forever been changed by this threat. I hung sheets across the fence between my garden and the front of the house. My garden. My spot of earth which rewarded me not only with fruit but with a sense of peace. Now I hide behind a sheet to be in my spot, my garden. The police do the occasional drive by as requested. I am not assured. My German Shepherd clings tightly to me. He knows something is not right. Jake follows me everywhere. He assures me. A day comes when the sun is so glorious and warm. I cannot stand not being able to breath. I feel like I will burst if I don’t stand up straight and take a little of ME back. I am tentative. I open the front door to let the fresh morning air in this musty old house. I throw back the curtains, and open the windows. It is time. I will always and forever be changed by the fear of having my life threatened but I WILL NOT live in a perpetual feeling of fear. That feeling is what was taking my life.
Cancer……The word. Cancer. It kicks at the back of my throat when I say it. It is a hard sound. The word cancer doesn’t roll off my tongue like the word flower, for instance, or sunshine. Notice the difference in the way the words feel in your mouth? For me the word cancer has a punch. I have walked with Julie through her battle with Fourth Stage breast cancer. I was with her at the hospital when the radiologist said “It’s either Breast cancer or Lymphoma.” I saw terror in her eyes. I felt a sickening hollow in my stomach…….My mind raced. She is so young, she is so beautiful, this is so unfair, you ugly bastard, she has children to raise for Christ’s sake. I stayed with her that day in the hospital. She was exhausted by the end of the exams and as we readied to leave I was going to offer to drive but I realized Julie’s life was suddenly about to spiral out of control. Julie needed the control of driving her own car. She needed the control of stopping to get gas. She needed to sense the reality of the mundane every day things we do every day because very shortly her days would become dictated by someone else calling the shots. During the next eleven months I witnessed this ugly cancer diminish it’s hold on Julie. She fought like a soldier. Julie prepared herself to do battle and do battle she did. Julie saw her enemy and went after it with a vengeance. I am so fortunate to have been able to be part of Julie’s life while she went to war. Either tending to her kids…..my beloved “other son’s” Cord, and Caleb, and chatting sometimes two or three times a day with her, I watched this warrior beat cancer into the ground and then stomp on its ugly head. Now I am looking at my Dad. He has been diagnosed with cancer. I will do what I can, and what can I do? Right now I just don’t know. He is not preparing for battle in a way I am familiar with. This punches me again, it kicks at the back of my throat. I have decided I hate the word….cancer.
How often have I heard the statement that words have power? I have believed in the power of words for the better part of my life. I have attempted to live by the motto ” Say what you mean and mean what you say.” I raised my children to filter their words through their hearts before speaking because words have so much power. Words can be used to edify, to bless, to encourage, to up lift those in need. Words can be used to bring joy, and express love, words can bring peace and comfort to a broken heart. The power of words can also break a heart. Words aimed just right can maim, injure, inflict emotional pain, and can damage a person to their breaking point. As I have thought about the power of words and the effect my written and spoken words have had on my life and those around me I find I have come up with an amazing discovery. I found that with the safety of friendship, true friendship, Julie can tell me I am a bitch and I can hear her. Her words don’t hurt me. Julie is telling me, in the short run to get over myself!! My daughter’s, Amanda, and Jess, can also drop the “F” bomb in my face and I am not offended because our relationships have been built on respect, love, and investment in each other. Their words don’t hurt me. I know they love me. Their words of love have far out weighed a few harsh words dropped here and there. If my twelve year old called me a bitch it would be a different story. She has not yet learned the power of her words, nor has she earned through the investment of years with parenting the “right” to be my friend….not just yet. I still intend to “say what I mean and mean what I say”. I hope I don’t ever use my words to main, injure, or inflict pain. And I know I am not perfect. I am also learning to use the power of my words and tell someone to STOP if they use their words to main, injure, or inflict pain on me. Even though they are not perfect. The Power of Words.
I wrote a lovely post and it is lost some where. =( That really sucks. So, as I am learning this whole “blog” thing, and I hope to one day, I’ll just keep going on. Bear with me. =) In the mean time my Shepherd, Jake, is telling me he needs to go out and play ball. ta ta for now.
This drive to put words to paper, to unveil what has been long been held so closely inside of me is like a volcano. I feel at any moment I will erupt if I cannot write !!! My mind buzzes, my thoughts go round and round formulating words into sentences. I piece together, tear apart, pull my words back again. My heart beats with this passion I cannot stop. What am I to do with it? I am not a writer !!!! And yet I am. I have much to say. There are rhymes of my life, secrets stolen and buried waiting to be unearthed, and the light of words…they are so powerful, so magical, so amazing. I am in love with writing.
Today I put my garden to bed, so to speak. After months of toil, planting, pulling weeds, fertilizing, staking plants, pulling worm’s and beetles, my garden is ready for it’s rest. My garden has served me well. I have gleaned much. The Pasta Sauce is in the pantry. The Salsa looks scrumptious. We have eaten our fill of squash, and I have dried herbs to keep us through the winter. My garlic was plentiful, and it promises to fill our mouths with its robust flavor of the earth and fire when I roast it this winter and serve it with French bread and Brie. I am my garden. I put my sweat into my earth. The salt of my body runs off my brow and drips into the ground. My sweat runs down my flat chest and soaks my shirt. It is a good smell. My hands, once lovely, are now lovely with blisters and nails filled with dirt, broken and un polished. I measure and align each plant much like I align my life with my “to do” list. It is very neat and tidy. The weeds. They appear over night. And as I am learning to pull the needless shit out of my life I often cry, yell, and even scream as I am weeding my garden. I am my garden. My fruit buds. It is a tiny flower. I hold it as a precious gem. I breathe life into it. I smile and feel and opening of my heart. I turn my face toward the sun. Sweat running now into my eyes. I turn and look. I am my garden.