Fourth Page

Sixteenth Entry


February 16, 2018


I guess for some people, it is no problem. But if I spoke with any person it did not bother, I can’t recall when. But, today, I finally did the one task I never wanted to think about, let alone actually carry out.

After looking into most of the funeral homes in the area that appealed to me, I settled on Wildrose Chapel & Funeral Home. I was immediately drawn to them through their website, which is marvelous – (I strongly recommend looking through the website pages.)


The following, from their website:


“Wildrose Chapel & Funeral Home is family owned and operated by Joseph, Ranee and Michelle Johnson.  All of our employees are carefully screened.  We feel honored to know them, and believe that you will feel the same way we do.  We all believe that a funeral need not be costly to be psychologically or emotionally beneficial.  Everything on our General Price List is itemized which is very important, because if you do not use something, why should you have to pay for it.
When we opened Wildrose Chapel & Funeral Home on March 15, 1993 we dedicated it to the Lord for the healing of the broken in heart.  Back then we had four goals:
1. Have a beautiful funeral home where families can come and find peace.
2. Have our prices be approximately half of the other funeral homes.
3. Have the quality of work be far superior to any other funeral home.
4. Counsel and help families stay within their financial means.
We do not have an answering service.  We personally will answer the phone 24 hours a day, every day of the year.  You are welcome to call us at any time and we will schedule an appointment at your convenience.
We also provide a wealth of information on our web site so you can learn more from the privacy of your own home.”



I had phoned the Wildrose Chapel & Funeral Home a few times, hoping to secure an appointment so I could go in, arrange for and purchase my cremation plan. But because they are so busy, I was not able to schedule my appointment until today. 3:30 pm.

I took the freeways to an older part of town and arrived early. The Chapel was once an elegant manor, built in 1905. It is breathtaking and I would love to have seen the estate in its heyday. It is two stories, white, and bordered with pristinely manicured landscaping. It is nothing like a funeral home from the outside.

I went up to the front door, Michelle answered and welcomed me inside. As with the exterior, the interior of the Chapel was beautiful! Every room I saw was furnished with antiques, a perfect complement to the historic structure of the building. On the walls were what appeared to be vintage oil paintings of landscapes, seascapes, forests, Yosemite, serene countrysides, and more.

It was as if I had stepped back in time, to a grand home from a bygone era. There was nothing of that heavy, suffocating atmosphere of the funeral homes I have been to in the past. I was in a home and peace suffused every breathable pocket of space. The ambience was relaxing and restful.


I was taken upstairs and told to have a seat at a large, long antique table. Michelle left the room to collect the necessary paperwork. (On the wall opposite me was an oil painting of Yosemite – I knew I was where I belonged.) Michelle returned, sat down with me and I told her what I wanted in my plan.

She went over the features of the plan I was interested in; what is offered at their lowest price, and what services could be added until you reached their maximum price. Ranee came in later to go over the final paperwork, offered to answer any other questions I may have, and further explain what is included in the plan I purchased. I signed the papers and it was done!

I chose the plan that provided the most coverage. If, at the time of my death, not all the features I paid for are needed, my husband will be reimbursed the difference.

I found each person on the staff with to be personally engaging, friendly, professional, helpful, knowledgeable; calm and pleasant – exuding tranquility. After I drove home, I telephoned Wildrose and spoke with Joseph. I told him how impressed I was with everything about my experience and I shared how I’d love to mention my observations in my blog. He gave me permission to do so, which thrilled me. Everyone should know that planning for, and obtaining your funeral plan need not be unpleasant, morbid, or macabre. It can be satisfying and liberating!


On the drive home from Wildrose Chapel & Funeral Home, I felt like my spirit could fly. I felt “set-free” and jubilant. It was such a load off my mind and heart. I had so deeply dreaded doing that task, never knowing it could have been totally different than my experiences with funeral homes in the past. WOW!

Having that behind me has released that dark foreboding and left me exhilarated. It is an odious weight, having to plan ones own funeral arrangements, and as a result, many never get it done – leaving family members or strangers responsible to do it after the fact. I have learned it need never be like that. Thank you Wildrose Chapel & Funeral Home, and staff!

Now I can relax….




Seventeenth Entry


February 20, 2018


You may witness what I am going through, see it with your eyes or feel it empathically with your senses. But you can only see it through the projection of my reality.

Today I started back with the shots and yesterday I started again with the three weeks of pills. I guess that kind of reality really brings it home. I’m living in a nightmare, dealing with a disease that is terminal unless they come up with a new treatment, down the line, that addresses immunotherapy.

I talked with my oncologist about the emotional and mental roller coaster I go through. The near-normal days, the just-okay days, and the deep, dark days. How the frame of mind can shift from day-to-day and hour-to-hour. She stated that what I was describing is normal for metastatic breast cancer patients. I found relief in hearing that.

In some ways I feel I’m being selfish, having these feelings – rather weird to feel that way, but I do – inasmuch knowing there are other people who are in far worse condition or situation.

These dark moods often come upon me unbidden, sometimes prompted by an upcoming medical procedure, test or appointment. Too, I’m having difficulties breathing, which started this weekend. So, I’ll need to have my chest drained again. I called to schedule an appointment, but that department is extremely busy and I’ve not heard back from them.

It’s been coming on since this weekend and arrived in full today.

I want out of it, away from… my nightmare.


…if only

Eighteenth Entry


February 21, 2018

His Voice

His voice is that of the most skilled tenor on the planet
with a lyrical quality so robust it blooms with just one note.

His love, warm, like the flame in a hearth is at your side
when worry envelopes you in its cold embrace.

His touch is the breeze that skips along with you
as you walk the beaches of lake and sea; the touch
that swirls the tall grasses in the fields by the roadside.

His breath carries the recent past: the trace of perfume
worn by the woman who, moments ago, walked the nearby path;
the scent of a candle snuffed out wafting from the open window of a dwelling now dark.

His is the voice that sings as it brushes through the limbs and pine needles
in the trees above you as you walk through the forest.

His love is the calming presence that sits with you in the waiting room of a hospital.

His is the touch that tickles the water’s surface–shattering the moonlight
into fractured glints of silver as you sit under a canopy of stars.

His breath brings the balm of rain falling a few miles away;
the musty tang of damp leaves on the ground;
the scent of newly mown grass;
the fragrance of fragile blossoms in new bloom.

His is the voice on the wind that speaks to you of secret places you cannot see.

His love flows around you when the phone rings in the middle of the night.

His touch is in the laughter of children, the tinkle of wind-chimes,
the splash of a fountain, the babble of a river, the beat of the tide, and the pulse of a storm.

His is the breath whistling ’round you in the cooling night’s air;
full of the flavor of earth, and the memories of the day.

His voice, His love, His touch, and His breath are with you throughout the day and the night: On the wind, in the air, in the voices of the earth. He is with you in the city, in the countryside, in the rush of life’s routines, in the quiet moments before you fall asleep. He is in the giggle of a child, the fragrance of a rose, the steadfast look of the dog at your feet.

And if He is in your heart–you are never alone. And you will be with Him long after you have left the earth and your body behind. For He will be in your spirit and His spirit will fill you with His love, His breath, His touch, and His voice.

© K. Pippig


Nineteenth Entry

February 21, 2-18

An Entreaty

Creator, you know I pray for the spirit-soul of every animal lying dead on the roadside. Every creature that leaves its home here on earth. I pray that you will be with it there: give it a life full of fun, love, companionship, happiness, and play.

Now I would add a prayer for myself, Creator. I pray when I leave this place I be allowed to go to the Heaven where all the creatures I’ve prayed for reside. I would love to see them in their forever home. To welcome the new arrivals. To see their bodies whole. Their spirits reveling in their new life. To see them play. And to join them in the fields of grass as they tumble and roll. Pounce and stalk. Listen to their happy voices. Catch the glint of sunshine in their bright eyes. Stroke the gleam of fur, warm under my hand.

And when a small kitten winds itself around my legs, Lord, I want to be there. To bend down and slide my hand under the furry belly, cradling her tenderly as I lift her to my chest. And then to bury my face in her fur. And as I mumble soft words to her… to hear her purr, contentedly.

Dedicated to Jolly, the finest feline I ever had the joy and honor to share my life with.

© K. Pippig


Twentieth Entry

February 24, 2018

All Is Intertwined


I have often wondered what my contribution to the world in which I live is worth. How is my measly existence going to impact anything? And now, after my diagnosis, I want more than anything to bring something of value for those around me, familiar and strangers. But, I also acknowledge one person’s journey may affect the destiny of many, even of a planet. No one of us is an island – we are not secluded or cloistered, because…

People forget that all things are connected. Our relationship – our kinship with the earth is ingrained in us. Yet we have forgotten how deep those ties go; even though much of how we see ourselves, express ourselves reflect those same ties.


Take for example how we describe our moods and feelings: Stormy. Sunny. Down-to-earth. Hot and fiery. Warm. Cold and frosty. Blustery. Airy. Her face clouded over, or she quaked with fear. He thundered. Their response was lightning quick. The earth is angry. The earth is at peace.

But above our planet, our earth; above the clouds and atmosphere – the sun shines, space is clear. Beyond this plane of our existence – it is no different – the suns shine and all is made transparent in the cosmos. And all things are connected; great and small.


Our contribution is measured by our deeds, not our size. And the import of our actions is immeasurable – both here on earth, and beyond this plane of reality.

So, when you ask, “How could one person’s journey affect the destiny of a planet?” You need only think upon each individual’s interaction and interdependence with everything that is around and in us, for we are all one, and the Creator is the architect of ALL…


And, the Son shines and all is made clear.

© K. Pippig

Fifth Page

Third Page

Eleventh Entry


Racing Mind – Peaceful Mind

February 4, 2018

I struggle with a racing mind; thoughts, worries, questions, imagery, stresses, sadness, and fears run riot in my head – during the day, but especially at night, when sleep is impossible because my brain is in overdrive.

At such times I might seek out the comfort of a good book. The transcending splendor of music. The tranquility that comes when walking in nature; hiking the nearby countryside and hills. Trekking a leaf-strewn path in Yosemite Valley. Lightly treading the bubbling surf at the ocean’s edge on a sunset beach.


But such options are not always feasible. And sometimes they do not appease my troubled reasoning. So I search for the release using a combination (a hybrid) of meditation and self hypnosis (which are very similar, in my mind’s eye) to shift to a better mindset. By employing breathing, relaxation and visualization techniques I learned while listening to self hypnosis tapes and prior, while undergoing sessions with a hypnotherapist. For me, I do better learning on my own.

It works best if I am lying down, comfortable, and free of distractions. I then begin the steps to relaxation and becoming aware of my body from toe, to head. First, I tense my toes and feet, then relax the muscles. I move on up to my calves, tensing and relaxing. To my thighs, my buttocks, my stomach, my chest, my fingers and hands, my forearms and uppers arms, my neck, my face and head – tensing and relaxing; and all the while I am silently reciting to myself “relax, relax, relax…”


Any undesirable thoughts that enter my mind, I acknowledge them and let them go. I do not grasp out to them, I release them. I do this with any detrimental ideas that pop into my head. I concede their presence, but I don’t dwell on them – I let them drift away, keeping my thoughts clear and open.

While doing the above exercise, I am also controlling my breathing; steady, deep breaths in through my nose and exhaling through my mouth. Feeling the flow of each breath as it begins to rid my body and mind of barriers and negative energy. Visualizing, as I do this, a warm golden light enter through my feet, rising up and filling my torso, running through my arms and shooting out through my fingertips – moving higher, to my face and head as the golden energy pours out through the top of my head. This living, healthy, golden energy is cleansing and healing me from the inside – out. My body and mind have been reawakened and re-energized.


Now, while floating in that peaceful place, I imagine the most tranquil, magical and mystical place to go to. For me it is a sun-drenched meadow, surrounded by high, old thick stone walls, with a heavy iron and wood door, and a small iron window above the door. All is encircled by an overgrown forest of pine trees and redwoods; spanning as far as the eye can see. The lea is filled with flowers of every color, cushiony soft spring-green grass, and on the western side of the meadow is ryegrass – and all is softly bending in the wind that moves through the meadow, over the stony walls, and on to wend through the bordering woodland.


In this place, I am sheltered. All the negativity and the hindrances that imprisoned me I have thrown out through the small iron window, to the other side of the tall rock wall as I swiftly close and lock the window behind them. And, try as they might, all the negativity and hindrances cannot enter my paradise, my haven. They are carried away on the wind that cleanses, then moves on; into the darkening forest. As twilight approaches, the meadow and the woodlands are filled with fireflies; their pulsing, glowing dance is enchanting and mesmerizing.

This is my happy place! My world of peace, beauty, and spellbinding charm. What better place to escape to, to retreat to for healing and rejuvenation…


I am safe. I can slow down. My mind is at peace. And I can relax.


Twelfth Entry


Sadness Like a Wilting Rose

For us to feel sadness, there must be something
that touches us in a positive way

Something good, or the potential for good
those are the essentials for the emotion of sadness

For were it not for the favorable and beautiful in life
or for the potential for something grand and wonderful,
we would feel no sorrow

Sadness is the counterweight to joy and insight
It is the balance for that which inspires and lifts us up

The beauty of the rose which fades in the wilting
The fragrance of its life’s breath which lifts the senses
Are missed more as the rose’s petals wilt
and the perfume ghosts away

It is the same when we are missing that something,
someone, or someplace special
Or that missed opportunity, a wasted moment,
or the chance for a blessing to be accepted

That is sadness…
For us to feel sadness there is that which is good
in thought, desire, intention, providence, opportunity,
and experience that must go before

So, in retrospect, there is light and beauty in sadness
We grieve for what was, or could have been
And, knowing that, sadness is a reverberation of something grand;
an echo of that which is sterling and precious

A different way to look at it… A brighter hindsight!
© K. Pippig


Thirteenth Entry

February 5, 2018

Well, today was my appointment for my butt-shot boosters, gotta inject some humor, (double entendre) otherwise I’m just trending water while wearing a lead vest. I also had an appointment with my oncologist.

My doctor advised me I will need to have a PET Scan every two months, indefinitely.  I will need blood tests monthly, indefinitely. Along with the shots I’m getting monthly and the pills I’m taking (both indefinitely). I was informed, the doctor who drained the fluid from my chest had it tested, and they found cancer cells in the fluid, which will further the need to have my chest drained whenever the fluid accumulates and impairs breathing and causes pain. Optimistically, this will be necessary only until the medicine regimen eliminates the need for continued draining.

She reminds me to stay positive… During the visit my oncologist handed me a piece of paper, with the direct phone number for Interventional Radiology (for draining my chest) on the back.  As she passed it to me, she said it was her favorite cartoon. I want to share it here. I really like it!

Life goes on, and I intend to do the same!


Fourteenth Entry

Moments of Peace – Of  Being Transported to a Gentler Place, a Fond Memory

How to be transported to a gentler place, to clasp onto that moment of peace, or that fond memory.

First we might enjoy the moments that touch our spirit-souls and speak to us where no voice can be heard.

Wherever you can find it, grasp on and savor it thoroughly. The vehicle  that will take you away can be diverse; ephemeral or eternal and endless.


That late winter day’s air, with that golden hue so thick, like it had been filled with gold dust and you feel you can pierce it if you moved your arm through the glittering motes of rich amber.


For me, Psalms is a book I love opening and reading whatever passage I set eyes on first. The verses have the power to set me free, lighten my heart, bring peace and answer questions I have no answers for.

Sometimes it is as simple as hearing a melody that takes me back to another moment, a certain experience that will always tether me to that slot in time.


Scents are a strong conveyance to a gentler place: the heady aroma of fresh brewed coffee, the redolence of new mown lawn, the woodsy smell of a crackling campfire, the delicious odor of fried onions and potatoes, and the unmistakable smell of meat sizzling over the flame of a barbecue, puppy’s breath.


Sound also lifts us up and away: the squeaky song of a hummingbird, the whistle of a train, the burble of a water fountain, the murmur of the surf, the “who-who who-who” of a Great Horned Owl, the wind in the treetops, the crunch of snow underfoot, or a robin’s song,


And lastly, it could be the sense of touch: the feeling of soft fur ‘neath your fingertips as you stroke an animal you love or hold dear, the velveteen down of a rose petal, the cool bubbling rush of a creek as it flows over stones, the sturdy and ancient feel of the bark on an old oak tree.



One final thought:
You won’t believe how something so simple can make such a difference. When you are stressed. When you are trying to sleep or just take a relaxing moment for yourself – Open your hands, uncurl your fingers! Feel that unlock a corridor for stress to depart and calm to enter. Weird, but true! The magic passageway to serenity. (smile)

Fifteenth Entry

February 11, 2018


Another Day – Another Clumsy Exploit

Maverick, my large, one year old Golden Retriever, is enrolled in Beginner Agility Class. Sunday was our last session and it was toward the end of the class. We were both a bit tired. I was winded and finding it hard to get a full breath. And Maverick was just plain burned-out, wanting nothing more than to lie down, close his eyes, and relax.


During this last class, the instructor had placed weighted bags, reminiscent of sand bags, on both sides of the tunnel, at each end. These are used to keep the tunnel stable and in place as each dog passes through.xx_dog_agility_tunnel_cartoon_postcard-r9bebc4c16b9a484685f3dd6d7a37b2e8_vgbaq_8byvr_512

After completing the A-Frame, we were approaching the long yellow tunnel, which Maverick is a bit too large for, so, as a result, he has to more or less army-crawl through it. Because of this, I have to enthusiastically urge him into the tunnel and encourage him to continue through to the other end.



I was bent down and stretching forward, pointing to the tunnel and verbally directing Maverick to enter the tunnel. Somehow, I caught my right foot on that bag and because I was jogging at a good clip, I was thrust quickly forward and more or less belly-flopped on the ground, which is concrete covered with indoor/outdoor carpet.

Woman tripping over a rug

My glasses were knocked off my face and jettisoned a distance away. I had my fairly new and expensive cell phone in my pant’s pocket, which I had forgotten about. And I hit hard. My first thought was hoping my glasses were unharmed. My second consideration was for my own well-being. After a quick inspection, I felt pain, but nothing was broken. I did land firmly on my left knee, taking some skin off and leaving it bruised and swollen. Cell phone and glasses survived, unscathed. All things considered, I felt fortunate, but embarrassed.

Maverick continued on through the tunnel, came out and trotted over to see if I was okay. What a good boy!


I waited until after the class to approach the instructor. A fellow classmate was chatting with the trainer. When I got the chance, I asked them, “Please tell me I am not the only person who has fallen in class?” The instructor and the other lady both answered at the same time. “Oh no, not at all. That’s normal! It happens all the time. I broke my wrist after one fall,” said the trainer. The other lady commented, “When we were in Obedience Training, putting our dogs in a sit-stay and leaving them off-leash; as I was walking away from my dog, I fell backwards, wham!”


That’s normal. And what does that mean? I had a normal moment, a normal day. YAY! And now I’m having a normal, after-the-fact, buttload of pain. Feels like I hyperextended both arms and shoulders. I also landed on my left knee, the one that’s been operated on twice and has sustained the most damage. Took some skin off and left my knee swollen and bruised. I couldn’t raise my arms past my shoulders the morning after. Even lifting a coffee cup caused my arm to throb. But, you know what? I forgot about “dark notions” and my mind moved away from, and out of, that nightmare it sometimes dwells in.


Occasionally I feel I am in a nightmare. It is a bleak place to find oneself and if I could only wake up, I’d be back in my normal world, where I lived before my diagnosis. But living in a nightmare sucks! I need to wake up and live in what is now my normal world.


I’ve learned “normal” is not the same for every person. And a person’s normal does not stay the same, ever. But whatever your normal is at the moment, is what you must live in. And, living in the new normal now is far better than living in the nightmare. The nightmare seems stagnant, but it isn’t. It deceptively seems to remain the same, but it festers and poisons your perception and drains the life out of you, literally.

When you have a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer: You can “Live in Death” or you can “Live in Life” Your choice. Death, usually, is a one-time deal. Life is a day, a week, a month, a year, or years. What do you choose? I choose life.



I choose to gaze up into the night sky with wonder and awe, and dream of what was, eons ago, and of what may be, in the far, far future!


Fourth Page

Second Page

Sixth Entry


January 30, 2018


Writing has always been a tool of healing. It is cathartic for me to put thoughts on paper, even when it is most difficult to do so, either because the subject is unimaginable to comprehend, or it is very painful. Then again, sharing personal battles with others is onerous and I do not do so lightly or easily. It is even more of an uphill struggle when I am experiencing brain fog as a result of my medical conditions and medications.


I have always striven to be honest. Folks who know me have come to understand not to ask me something, unless they want to hear the truth. Many of my friends appreciate my honesty, in part because they may not get an honest answer elsewhere. I do try to make my delivery diplomatic and as pain-free as possible. I work to infuse my responses with integrity – I do not wish to rile or injure, only to speak about something of interest or/and value to me.


Seventh Entry

January 30, 2018


All my life, I have been called a strong person. Truth is, I do not feel strong, much or most of the time. In my heart and mind, I am faltering and wishing to flee. I do not feel secure, I feel helplessly weak; I am a banshee on the verge of shattering my mind, which will leave me lost completely.

My husband recently, prior to this last diagnosis, said that I was the most resilient person he has met. Perhaps, resilient would be the more applicable term to use, instead of strong. For me, it makes more sense.

The Dictionary definition of resilient: 1 (of a person or animal) able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions…2 (of a substance or object) able to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed.

The Thesaurus definition of resilient: 1 resilient materials: flexible, pliable, supple; durable, hardwearing, stout, strong, sturdy, tough.
2 young and resilient: strong, tough, hardy; quick to recover, buoyant, irrepressible.

And under resilience: 1 the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
2 the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity…

Elastic and resilient mean so much more than strictly being strong. If you can weather the storm; sway in the wind; bounce back when trounced upon… and when lucky enough, come back all the more powerful for climbing above the trials and conflicts: Then you have surpassed “being strong” and become durable. Buoyant.

You have weathered the storm and risen above the bitterest cold of a dire and delicate circumstance, that could have splintered had you not been resilient.




Eighth Entry

February 2, 2018

Wednesday night I told my mother about my situation. A difficult decision to make, as there were positives to both sides as well as negatives. But friends I asked said they would want their daughter to tell them. Or, daughters felt their mother should know, because she is their mother.

Mom said she knew something was wrong. One night, my family went out to dinner and she caught me trying to hide something (the black bruise on the back of my hand from when the tech blew a vein while trying to inject the radioactive solution prior to my PET Scan.)

Mom also “felt” something was not right for a while – a “gift” I have, my mother has and it runs on that side of our family. Call it empathy, ESP, special abilities – they all fit. But that is a telling for another post.

I wish sharing the knowledge with her did not have to leave her feeling upset, depressed and worried. I hate that telling her does that. If I had my druthers, I would not tell her, at all, unless my appearance or my outward physical proficiency changed enough to signal an alarm that all may not be well. I don’t like having anyone I care about carry that burden of my illness. I would feel best if all could continue on as it was prior to my diagnosis and those I love would live life, minus the millstone of my situation.

But, it is nice to have someone to share it with, to be truthful. When I was diagnosed twice before, and as I’m sure I will do now, I gathered my dog(s) to me and shared my darkest moments with them. The comfort they offer is unconditional and magnanimous. Plus, this go-around, my husband is being very much “there for me” and he has been a great source of solace and help.

I feel relieved having finally told my mom, but wretched at the same time.

I love you Mom!

Ninth Entry

February 2, 2018

Today I finally got in to Radiology to have my chest drained of fluid. I didn’t really have an appointment, but they said they would work me in. I was to get there at 5:00 pm to register and should be worked in at 5:30 pm. Well, they were quite busy and on a day where they would typically have eight procedures, the doctor had already done fourteen. My husband came along and we waited until 6:40 pm when the doctor came in to do the procedure.

I didn’t know what to expect, other than the fluid would be taken from my back while using ultra sound to get the best result. I thought I’d be lying down during the procedure. Nope! The male nurse had me sit in a chair and lean forward. They put a towel around my shoulders and wrapped and rolled my shirts up into the towel and curled the towel around my neck.

The doctor came in and explained the procedure and answered any questions we had. The nurse was also very helpful and he had a very calming presence. After the doctor checked my chest with the ultra sound device, he gave me a shot of Lidocaine, then stuck the needle/syringe (I’m having to guess, as I didn’t see what he used) into my chest that would draw out the fluids and drain them into a bottle designed specifically for that purpose.

The doctor was really good with the Lidocaine shot but somewhere deeper, when he was inserting the needle/syringe, he hit something that hurt enough that I involuntarily jumped. Turned out it was no problem as the doctor knew just what might happen and how to work around it. After that, I felt no pain. (Whew)

The doctor commented that he didn’t believe it would be much fluid, but enough to ease my breathing problem. While draining it, however, he commented that it turned out to be more fluid than he was expecting, but still not a great deal.

Anyway, in a short time, all the fluid that was going to come out, did. He showed me what he drained out and explained it would be ten to 20 minutes or more before I’d feel the easing in my chest and get to breathing better.

I had asked him how often this might have to be done. He commented that he sees some patients three to four times a week, and others only need it done the one time. I’m hoping I won’t be needing it again. Problem is, when my chest really fills with liquid and every breath is a labor and agonizing pain, I doubt I could get in to have my chest drained on that day. I had to wait over a week and a half for this appointment. But I did find something that helped quite a bit on the last bad day – alfalfa. It works like a diuretic and it does a great job for me. (Happy face)

Before we left, the doctor ordered an X-ray for me and we waited while he looked it over in case he wanted more done. Shortly thereafter, someone from X-ray came in and told us we could go. Another experience behind me, and forward I go…




Tenth Entry

February 3, 2018

The Silver Lining

John Milton coined the phrase ‘silver lining’ in “Comus: A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle,” 1634:

Was I deceived? or did a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night?
I did not err, there does a sable cloud,
Turn out her silver lining on the night
And casts a gleam over this tufted grove.

Word Origin and History for silver lining: A “bright side” which proverbially accompanies even the darkest trouble; by 1843, apparently from oft-quoted lines from Milton’s “Comus,” where the silver lining is the light of the moon shining from behind the cloud.

Yesterday was a silver lining day. That consoling prospect in the midst of a gloomy situation. It was there in the sunshine bouncing off buildings and shiny cars; casting a golden blanket on lawns and rich, damp soil. There in the sun’s light illuminating trees, bushes and flowers; sporting their pre-Spring green foliage. It was shimmering off rooftops and glittering like crystals tossed atop the water’s surface in ponding basins and park-side lakes. That silver lining infused the afternoon with hope, inspiration and unsullied beauty.

And when twilight neared, a cool Spring-like, slightest of breezes slipped around me, fresh on my skin in the early evening air. A caress from Mother Nature and the Creator.

Yesterday, my emotions and mind were in a dark place. Some days I wake up with a positive outlook and other days I awaken to a shadowed mental demeanor. The changes from “light” to “dark” and back again, can often occur at any hour of the day or night. So, when a day like yesterday brightens the world, I am immersed in its light.

It can be hard to let myself rest, and luxuriate in that silver-lining ambience. But it is possible to give it my best shot and that is a good thing.


Third Page

First Entry


I fervently hope this blog is being read by others and that they find something here that is beneficial to them. Whether they have cancer or they have a loved one with cancer. Perhaps, even someone in the medical field, the social welfare field, or some other professional field may find something here they can share with their patients or clients.

And lastly, I hope someone who knows me, is reading this, as I think it will help them to understand a bit of who I am and what a person with cancer is living with. If, however, my family and closest friends are thinking, “I will read it after she is gone. I haven’t the time, desire, or strength of mind to read it now; but after… I should have all the time in the world, to read it and process it.” That won’t be the case, inasmuch as, when all the time in the world, for me, is gone, so shall my blogs, my social media sites; FaceBook, Twitter, InstaGram, and websites, disappear. After I am gone, the time for any of this mattering will be gone, too.



January 21, 2018

I will start by telling you what is happening now, today. I worry about what I shall discover tomorrow. I have a doctor’s appointment. She will tell me the results of the biopsy done two weeks ago. I fear the results will not be uplifting or alleviate the bubbling dread I am feeling. Try as I might, I cannot easily pull myself into the now, and just live the moment as I would any other “normal” day as I did before I discovered the lump near my left shoulder the morning after a mostly sleepless night of pain, spent trying to find a position less aggravating.

Within the following two weeks, I had a CAT Scan, a PET Scan and finally another CAT Scan directed biopsy. (The biopsy was fairly painful, despite shots of lidocaine.) This last Friday, four weeks after finding the lump, my doctor’s office phoned and said “The doctor wants to see you Monday. Do you want a morning appointment or one in the afternoon?” I scheduled the appointment for 2:00 pm.

Part of myself I can still identify “as me” the “normal pre-lump me.” I am the same person, the same me that I was before knowing something was amiss – but my mental perception is what I am losing control over. I am quite often glomming onto a thin thread of sanity, which I fear will snap upon hearing the words slipping from my doctor’s lips to my ears on the morrow.

I am not a stranger to health issues, I have a litany of medical diagnoses – not a must read, but a background, if interested – Additional Medical Diagnoses – as well as two separate diagnoses of breast cancer. The first in early 2002, the second in the autumn of 2009.

It is now 1:08 am. I keep returning to this first entry, perhaps as a means of avoiding the bubbling dread threatening to break my weakly held sanity. I have always found catharsis in words, and through my writing – be it joyful or sad, for venting, or as a vehicle to pull me upward; the words have always been there for me and I gladly use the gift of them. I only wish that for tonight, they were lighter in nature: beautific in prose or celestial in imagery. But they are not. In simplest terms, I am afraid.

Second Entry


January 23, 2018

I chose not to post the revelations of yesterday, January 22, because I wanted to take a step back and think of other things, do other things that were not related to my medical diagnosis and condition. I needed a mental and emotional break. I yearned to “feel” normal.

So, I shall post today: Prior to my appointment, I packed a notepad and pen in my purse. I did this because when confronted with what might be bad news, I have a habit of “mind-blanking” and cannot recall what I wished to ask the doctor. Nor can I remember what the doctor shared with me, including any pertinent information.

My husband accompanied me, which was extremely comforting. The other two times I was told I had cancer, I was alone. The first time, I was driving back to the office, after having completed a home call with one of my clients. My cell phone rang and my doctor asked, “Are you in a good place to hear some bad news?” That call turned my world upside down and inside out, in the time it took me to exhale and inhale one shaky breath. The same way that losing the life of a loved one will transform your world forever, killing off a part of you that held a childhood innocence which protected you from life’s ugly realities – so, too, did hearing the words, “You have cancer.”

The second time I was told, it was a bright, sunny, beautiful day, and the news didn’t hit me until I was returning to my car in the parking lot of the Cancer Center. This devastating revelation had come shortly on the heels of my then-previous oncologist having told me since I had been clear of cancer for a good length of time – seven years since diagnosis – it didn’t look as if I had anything to worry about and that I should continue to live a cancer-free life.

His declaration was like a curse – fating that just the opposite would occur. I feared this malediction would revisit me when my current oncologist had uttered the same sentiment to me eight years from my second diagnosis. Seems lightning can strike more than once. As they say, “Third time’s a charm.”

Well… I have metastatic breast cancer, estrogen related. Different than the kind I had twice before. It is in the lung, the chest wall muscle, and lymph nodes. I also have fluid in my left chest that needs to be drained, hopefully only once.

I will be taking 2 shots a month and a specific pill for three weeks on and one week off, for the rest of my life. My oncologist said her other patients have lived years with this therapy and I could, too.

No chemo! Chemo would not be as effective as this new regimen, and, my doctor said, I would only have to resort to chemo if the current regimen fails. However, my doctor does not want to resort to chemo, if at all possible, for a variety of sound medical reasons.

Furthermore, no radiation, as I have had extensive radiation in that left chest area in the past and a person can only tolerate a certain level/dose of radiation in the same area, before the levels a person is exposed to cause severely adverse consequences.

After picking up the prescription for the pill I will be taking, while reading the paperwork pertaining to the drug, I learned the pill I will take is a chemotherapy drug. When describing this drug to me, my oncologist said it was not chemo. I’m guessing it is deemed as such because, perhaps it is not as damaging, or because it is not an intravenous chemo drug. I’ll ask her and find out. Whatever I learn, I will post here.

So, there it is. I am powering forward and envisioning my path to be that of those patients who live years with this therapy. I am kind of numb, at present. I need to leave the blog right now and get back to doing those “normal life” chores and activities, and maybe take a nap. One of the main side effects of the meds is fatigue. I’m no stranger to overwhelming weariness, as it accompanies my Sjogren’s Syndrome, my Fibromyalgia, and my Hypoparathyroidism – it is just that now, I will experience a more intense exhaustion.

Third Entry


January 28, 2018

Just going to ramble here for a little while. Jumbled thoughts, feelings, and observations.

You know, the moments, where every time I see or hear a commercial for a cancer drug. Or watch a TV show or movie or read in a book where the character has either just learned he or she has cancer, or they are afraid of finding out they have cancer, or they have died of cancer – it burns, like a bullet festering overlong in my flesh. Having been diagnosed twice before makes it no easier the third time around. It is nearly impossible to escape those moments, if you are exposed to any type of media – it is everywhere: on the computer, the radio, the television, the movie theater, in books and magazines.

With the prior two diagnoses, after a time, I was able to deaden that fearful response to hearing or reading those words. After a while, it was almost as if I was normal; with any normal person’s reaction to the disquieting “C” word. But, the hand of fate has turned the handle on the box, while an insidious off-key tune plays, just before the “clown-like” mask of the jack-in-the-box pops up, with its unsettling grin to say, “Cancer.” You never get used to it.

Moving on: The first time I was diagnosed with cancer, I lived alone and continued to work full-time. The second time I was diagnosed, I was married and we both worked full-time. This time, my spouse if still working full time. I am not working, as I was forced into an early retirement, one year from obtaining my full pension. This action was taken, after I had worked for The County nearly 34 1/2 years, because I was unable to maintain my usual level of work while undergoing radiation, and then chemo. It cost me hundreds a month in retirement benefits, as a result. It rankles every time I think on it, but it does no good to think about it, because it is done and cannot be undone.

The conundrum – who to bring into my circle of confidence: family, friends, associates and co-workers, neighbors and anyone else I may ponder about telling them of my situation. In 2002, I didn’t want to tell anyone. I didn’t wish to burden them and I wanted to continue living life as normal as possible. It was much the same way in 2009. And not much changes, I want even less people to know now. Perchance it is because this diagnosis, on the exterior, when first hearing it, seems most dire.

What I have come to realize, no matter who I tell in strictest confidence, I must live with the knowledge that that individual may “spill-the-beans” to many persons, near and far. So I strive to be very selective – and even then, there are no guarantees. (For various reasons, I am still debating whether to tell my mother.) At present, those who know are my husband, my brother and his wife, a few close friends in the area and other friends I have grown acutely fond of through my writing and our mutual love for dogs, especially Golden Retrievers. I am held up in prayer in their prayer circles, their church prayer warrior groups, and in their own private prayers to God. For their prayers I am deeply grateful! I believe prayer can cause the miraculous to manifest. Prayers are the most effective form of healing there is, that and one’s belief in the Creator.

Another embodiment of healing is the love given to me by my furkin: My furry family member (furry kin). Like the Creator’s love, the love from my furkin is unconditional; It is a gift from Heaven. In my darkest hours while dealing with cancer, I have found solace only in their warm, soft fur; nuzzling them close, sharing my thoughts and fears, while hugging them close to my heart and soaking their necks and foreheads with my tears. They listen and love! Had they not been there for me, I would not be here, for anyone.

It is getting late, 4:25 am, and my “chemo brain” is becoming less and less lucid. I need to try to get some sleep. Tomorrow I have agility training with my Golden. A warm and bright beacon that beckons me – the training with my Golden, and the hope of getting a peaceful night’s sleep, short though it may be.

Fourth Entry


Hi Ho the Merry Oh, a Venting I Shall Go!

My response to applying for Social Security Disability and being denied twice… This is a letter I sent to the local office, both in an email and on actual paper, sent in an envelope. I KNOW they received it, though I never heard from them. I have since received my third diagnosis of breast cancer.

December 23, 2017

The Administrator of the Social Security Office
(address redacted)

Dear Administrator,

I just received my second denial letter for my application/appeal for disability. My next option would be to file for a hearing, which, in order to “win” would require me to secure the services of a lawyer – to fight to get the services I should have already been granted when I applied twice before. This would be at a loss of money, on my end, hiring a lawyer and a loss in benefits, should I be granted disability, as the payments would be adjusted to pay for the lawyer’s expenses and to adjust any benefits I’d get by deducting a certain amount in consideration of the Social Security Benefits I already receive. This is unconscionable and unjust.

I was told by your office: “Based on your description of the job you performed as a social worker, we have concluded that you had the ability to perform this same type of work…” Seriously? Is that why I was forced into an early retirement – because I was unable to “keep up” and unable to perform my job as I had been able to do, prior to my illnesses? And you deemed me able to go back and perform the same job? Furthermore, you stated: “Despite your limitations we have determined that you retain the capacity to perform a wide range of light work activities.” So, I am to go back to being a Social Worker, pushing papers or other “light work activities” while my co-workers take on my work-load. This is not tolerated at the Department of Social Services, not by a worker’s co-workers or by administration. Had it been an allowable option, I would not have been forced into an early retirement.

I would sue the individual(s) involved in making the decision to deny my disability benefits, had I knowledge of who, exactly, was involved in the decision making process. Employees of the Department of Social Service have to put their name to any decisions they make regarding their client’s applications – this makes them more accountable for their work and it gives the individuals applying the opportunity to address that DSS employee directly. I was given NO names of anyone involved in my application consideration. I am guessing, and if it works anything like processing applications at the Department of Social Services, that whoever was assigned my application and my appeal held onto the case, doing very little serious processing on my case, until near the time of the processing deadline, at which time they denied it, before it would show up on their stats as overdue.

I was told by my Rheumatologist that you would deny my initial application and my appeal and that I would have to secure a lawyer’s services and go to court. How wrong is that? The Sjogren’s Foundation has also put out literature dealing with the difficult process of applying for disability through the Social Security Administration. The reasons for this are because most doctors, let alone staff at the SSA, know next to nothing about Sjogren’s. They do not understand the overwhelming fatigue the patient experiences, and have minimal understanding of the other physical/mental/emotional/and medical issues associated with Sjogren’s. I offered to send pamphlets to you, explaining more about Sjogren’s. No one took me up on my offer.

My Rheumatologist also informed me that the Social Security Administration never contacts the applicant’s/patient’s physicians to aid in determining their disability. She said all SSA does is download the information on file. How is that considered a thorough, honest investigation into a patient’s condition? How is that allowed?

You stated I have a “Thyroid” condition. I have a Parathyroid condition, not a thyroid condition. I have Hypoparathyroidism – another medical disorder very few physicians have heard about or know anything about. Once again, I offered to send you literature about Hypoparathyroidism, but no one took my up on my offer.

I used to be a writer: I have published 5 books and contributed to other books and publications. You can click on this link to verify this: My Amazon Writer’s Page
And you can Google my name and find my writings all over the place. Now, I am unable to write, as my mind, my brain will not cooperate. I don’t have the mental faculties to write anymore, as I used to. And you think I could continue working as a Social Worker or do “light work activities” at a job. I am overwhelmed with mental/emotional/physical medical problems and my ability to function is severely impaired on many levels.

While working at the Department of Social Services, I saw through my 34 1/2 years of service, how the Social Security Department operates – how easy it is for some to obtain disability benefits, while others who have applied are denied over and over again. I have seen the nightmare of desperation this has put people through, when it is clear they are disabled, beyond any shadow of doubt, and cannot get disability. There is a disparity prevalent in the system that will allow some to get benefits for the most insignificant reasons, while others languish for years, trying to get their disability benefits granted.

To say I am angry about your decisions to deny my application and my appeal, is an understatement!

At the moment, I do not know what action I shall pursue regarding my double denial. Anger and deep disheartening clouds my judgement at present. So, until I am in a better mindset to properly pursue this, I am sending this letter to you.


I signed it and added my claim number.

Well – dilly dilly 😦

Fifth Entry


Darkled Collection

A shadowed view of the darker side of life, which is not always as dreary as it seems in retrospect, especially when it can be purged on the page and shared by the reader. Though, in the global sense, no one is alone in their loss and grief, it is still a hard road to go down — but life goes on, as does the road. These pieces represent different times in my life when I have experienced the darker edge of the soul’s existence, as well as the moments of great hope, elation, and jubilation. And through it all I have realized, with life there is deep pain, as well as deep joy – the world would be off-kilter were it not so. I hope you see the light in the darkness of my work here. Thank you for reading!




How dark the dreary morning torn
when I awake to madness born

What once held a mind said sane
now draws forth a heart in pain

I’ve need to purge my tainted soul
to look beyond that deep cold hole

My spirit clean no longer more
seeks solace past the mortal door

Soft ‘pon the mist a knell doth toll
So, weep no more my death-stained soul



When the darkness cools
when the shadows fall
light the bright candles
and scurry from the halls.
Pad silently into night’s rooms
where judgement will ne’er prevail
the shadows dash the regrets
wherein daylight’s memories dwell.
Snuggle you here,
in the shade of night’s retreat
soothing vistas await you
settle in and take a seat.
Release a breath now
o’er the candle’s flame
that you may see…
And she who is the darkness
will tease your spirit free.
Yonder lies your journey
past the walls of your night’s room.
Come roam the scape of twilight,
Darkness beckons softly…
Come soon.



thoughts tumble round in my head…
Feeling my body more and more a stranger to me… Finding my spirit more and more the vessel that carries me; than the shell of my flesh.
Failures and aspirations
The future
The past
Loves – of my heart, my intellect, my spirit, my past and present.
Old thoughts and young thoughts
Feeling old and feeling childlike
Spiritual beliefs
Moral beliefs
Those dead and those dying and those who are yet to die. My own death.
Disdain of society, the world around me.
Worry and fear for the world around me, the world in me, the world I am in – for Earth.
Loathing my own species, and hating that feeling. Wanting to love the creatures we are, the animal I am.
Needing to connect with the oneness of creation around me, fearing others won’t, fearing the demise of all creation. Hoping for the demise of man, and being ashamed for it.
Wondering if I will ever know the answers, wondering if I did in some other time, if I will in some other time – wondering if I already know the answers…
Feeling small and insignificant in the cosmos, and loving it.
Wondering if there are others out there – knowing there are…
Wondering what my part in all this is, afraid I may already have glimpsed the answer.

Scattered and spinning are my thoughts.



Expectations fail me; my own.
Loneliness and grief visit me; my own
unbidden, that of others:
For I cannot not feel them.
Frailties of the body and spirit
beat me down; my own
injure me; that of others:
For feel their anguish I do.
Hope emboldens me; my own
enlivens me, that of others:
For that light is cast outward.
Love and compassion warm me; my own
enrich me; that of others:
For we are all connected,
on different levels;
to different purposes and ends.
For life is not only one thing,
or another; it is all things:
It is more.



In each darkened teardrop,
within the watery veil
I see myself reflected;
a ghost with tales to tell.

Shadowy and light – a collage of both;
the juxtaposition of beauty and dread,
weave to complete the picture;
paint the colors the day has bled.

Yet beyond the tears of sadness,
past visions of blue-gray pain,
lies brighter memories…
in my images of the day.

E’en when twilight falls;
and shadows fill the night,
each darkened teardrop disappears,
yet… I can still espy the light.



It is late, or early; depending on how you look at it.

You are lying on your bed… perhaps staring at a pattern on the ceiling; glowing red from the light cast by the face of your digital clock. And maybe you have the TV on, the volume low… a semblance of company… a feigned human presence. Or the radio, instead.

You lie quietly, and you begin to feel that white-hot pulse… it feels like it burns brightest in your head and neck; a separate entity from the organ, that is your heart. Then finally, the heart kicks in… a counter-beat to the pulse; pounding against the bone of your ribcage. Your breath, to your ears, sounds as if it is rushing through a tunnel. Your still body tenses.

And then they arrive… the “Night Nasties,” the demons that rob you of sleep and sanity. Just one, at first. It scampers onto the stage behind your forehead; speaks its few lines, then scurries offstage. And another hurries to take its place. They might even approach in groups of two, or three… quickly utter their disturbing words and depart. But there, in the background, they congregate… and they are rehearsing their lines… for the next act. And their garbagy spewings, like nimble fingers, abrade and gouge in the darkness backstage. You can’t hear what they are saying, but you feel them; flaying strips of your reasoning away. And they just keep coming… Auditioning for a part – in the lunacy.

After a while, you are unable to concentrate. You cannot hear the “Night Nasty.” You are aware, only, that it is gesticulating wildly; trying to get your attention. It is just as well, this one has taken a turn on the stage inside your skull already. You can finally sleep.

You slip under the gray cover of slumber… and… then… the nightmares begin.



Am I?
My words… read, sound, speak no different from yours; 
are they foreign to you?
I respond, feel, think… reach for you – extend myself.
Can’t you hear, feel, perceive my presence?
Are you intimidated, afraid, wary… do you sense an otherworldliness in me you do not possess?
I feel it in myself, and always have. It is a blessing and a curse.
 Yet, it is what has shaped me, formed me.
But do not let it distance you from me.
 I feel what you feel – and more – I feel my own strangeness and alienation.
But do you not realize that my own foreignness is my view of reality, 
that it discerns you as different, and therefore alien and strange, too?
What do you think when you *hear* me?
Do you really *see* me?
Am I as invisible as you make me feel?
Would it bother you, if you were me?…



Soothe me, with your caressing touch.
Chill me, with an icy zephyr.
Push me, tug at me, with your invisible hands.
Comfort me; your whispering breath at my ear.

On that torpid, muggy summer’s day, refresh me with your unexpected presence.

Sing to me, as you brush through the limbs and pine needles in the trees above me as I walk through the forest.

Howl your inconsolable mutterings as you wend your way around the corners of my house, tear through the alleys and cement structures of the city, bend your path around boulder and hillock.

Send me words spoken in secret in places I cannot see.

Share with me the recent past: the trace of perfume worn by the woman who, moments ago, walked this same path; the scent of a candle snuffed out wafting from the open window of a dwelling now dark.

Share with me the present: the balm of rain falling a few miles away; the musty tang of damp leaves on the ground; the scent of newly mown grass; the fragrance of fragile blossoms in new bloom.

Bring me whispers of children’s voices, lovers’ secret words, the tinkle of windchimes, the splash of a fountain, the babble of a river, the beat of the tide, the pulse of the city.

Play with me, as I sprint through the meadow, as I amble under the spreading oaks, as I walk the beaches of lake and sea, as I stroll down the country path ‘neath a canopy of stars and moonlight. Swirl the tall grasses. Lift the limbs and leaves of the oaks in a dance. Tickle the water’s surface – shattering the sunlight into fractured glints of silver. Spin the cooling night’s air ’round me; full of the flavor of earth, and memories of the day.

Propel me into the future on your journey forward – for you are ever pushing on, beyond – take me with you on your speedy flight.

Companion, messenger, friend… the wind.



To the days when what worried me the most was what we were going to have for dinner. And would I get to watch my favorite TV shows before I had to go to bed.

When the days passed by with no thought to time, only child-time: measured by the rise of the sun, and the rise of the moon.

When my room, my house, my yard, and my neighborhood were my world. And, school… But back then it held little importance to me, except for looking for it to end when summer breaks and holidays came.

Playing ditch’um, and tag. Building forts in the trees; or digging them in a vacant lot, and covering the hole with canvas. Fashioning space rockets out of discarded refrigerator boxes. Play-fighting wars and battles. Throwing a blanket over the redwood picnic table in the backyard and “creating” a clubhouse. Climbing trees. Hunting for lizards and toads and pollywogs. Going to the drive-in movie, in my pajamas. Kicking around the neighborhood with friends. Sitting in the grass at night, and looking up at a sky full of bright stars, and the Milky Way Galaxy… when you could still see those things in a clear night sky. Going fishing, on a summer’s eve, with my family. Riding my bike, for what seemed like hours, but it didn’t matter, because I was “on an adventure.” Swimming on the hottest days of summer until my skin was shriveled, and my eyes blurry from all the chlorine…

I can’t even put a time frame on these moments, not a year, or what age I was exactly… or how long these activities I remember lasted when I was living them. They just are… there for me to reflect on. A spot of nostalgia. It happens every now and then, when I drive down the streets of the old neighborhood, as I did today. The air was hazy in the late afternoon light… and much of the old neighborhood looks the same, or I can make it so, in my thoughts with just a little mental tweak. And it all comes flooding back to me, compacted in a single feeling. Sometimes that feeling is a warm greeting; other times I simply want to cry with the realization of what passes too quickly, when we are too young to value it, and can only do so when it hits us in the now.

There is no going back… but every now and then, I’d like to.



A gray cold is seeping through the late afternoon, as I sit and gaze out through the chilled ice of my window. As I look out over the rooftops, my eyes settle on the ash tinged smoke pushing its way out of the chimney tops. The curling vapors partly obscure the faded and damp red tiles of the roofs.

Dead leaves of brown and ochre lay scattered on the ground below. Now and then they twist up from the ground, then drift off, urged by the invisible breath of winter. They are but castoff garments. Their former owners line the streets and walkways, and stretch their gaunt and bare appendages to the gray sky. They look vulnerable, naked as they are to the elements, but they are not. They are the sentries of winter.

On the street below pass two people, a man and a woman. Arms tucked against their bodies, heads down, shoulders hunched. The woman treads past the man, wordlessly. Puffs of frosty breath push past the man’s lips, but no sound. His breath obscures his features.

To what, or where will their silent pursuit take them? Perhaps to an inn, with a brilliant fire blazing in a stone hearth. They might enter, and gathered at a large wooden table would be their friends or acquaintances. Seated in heavy oak chairs the group would look up as they step through the door. A few might be smiling. Others are chatting, but stop when they take note of the arrivals. With a sweeping gesture to the table, they would beckon them over. Soft firelight reflects off the top of the table where a feast is spread, and steaming mugs of a dark brew await. The man and the woman nod to their friends seated around the table. They then sit down, and as if never apart commence in familiar rapport.

And yet as I watch their retreating figures do I wonder if they might not be going elsewhere. It is likely they are not together at all.

Feet cold and wet, her wrap grasped tightly round her frame could she be secreting herself to a lover? Perhaps he is waiting for her now, eager for her to arrive. Deep red wine, and silken sheets warmed by the fire near the bed wait with him in the second story flat. He is listening for her approach on the stairs. He then walks over to the fire and looks into the mirror above the mantle. He tells himself to be patient. It is difficult; he is so keen to be with her. As he waits, he thinks about the love they share and it comforts him, stays his restless feelings.

Or could he be the lover?… This man with his hands dug deep in his pockets, his head bent; seemingly not associated with the woman whose stride puts her slightly in front of him.

I will never know, it is not meant. That knowledge is theirs only, as it should be. I am just the stranger looking on, unseen. Warming my solitude with mental pictures of what may be.

The street is desolate now as I watch. Gone each to their destination, the man and the woman. And only the walls of their dwellings will know if they are present or elsewhere.

Gone now, too, is the dancing sparkle of silvered sunlight on leaves. Gone is the warm blanket of golden sun on streets and grass, on this day of winter. They are but a memory, of a past season.

But in that reflected firelight on the table in the inn… In the tall narrow glass of deep red wine, illumined from the fireplace by the bed… And in the hearts of unknown lovers… Dances the sparkling sunlight, and it heeds not the season.

Would that I were at the inn gazing into the fire, my hands round that warm mug of dark brew, the voices of my friends at my side. Or mayhap slipping neath those silken sheets, my lover at my side, the glittering red wine within my grasp.

But I am not… maybe tomorrow. Maybe.

all poetry and prose – copyrighted ©

I want to go back…

Second Page

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