TRIUMPH OF SPIRIT IN LOVE, NATURE & ART

Posts tagged “Death

Death of Fear and the Beauty of Death

Tears
over fears
of what’s to come
Husband such a
precious soul…
Stay in the present
Enjoy every moment
of together
It is fleeting…

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Bipolar mind
medications
fight living
in the present

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So unZen
Why can’t I
just be
like before
breakdown and
before medications

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Why can’t I
be jolly with he
whom I worship

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Why the constant
chatter of
loud thoughts
Would that I could
go with him
when it comes time

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And if not
hope that I can
help with his
last breath
Secretly
I want to
be the first
to go
quite selfishly
He who cared
for so many
deserves that I
care from me
for him
and more

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Would that
each moment
were not filled
with looking
at Illness
Old age
and Death
and the fragility
Of having a body.


Life Eternal

On this sad day

13 years ago

unspeakable things happened

to uncountable thousands

we have gone on

aching for those lost

Let us affirm life today

and always

By going to the One within


Good Friday Prayer

In death, decay

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blurred tears

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yet the promise of new life

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Overloaded Circuits: a Poem for World Bipolar Day, March 30, 2014

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I’m in somnia

with jackhammer brain

a buzzing mind

a humming with emotions

thoughts and pictures

memories of joys

lost to death

spirits close to my heart

seemingly worlds away

guilt, loss and happiness

sickness and death

as well as

breathtaking beauty

a bedfellow with

gnawing worries

and gnashing nerves

fleeting images from films and

music playing at high speed

in the library of my mind

voices of today, yesterday and

fears of tomorrow

vying for an ear

asking me to listen

to them all

all at once

a cacophony of sounds

in the humming silence

of the specter-filled

haunting darkness

with fearsome death dangling

its loathsome threats

before my darting eyes

afraid not for myself

but of losing him

as he lies beside me

breathing noises

breeding worry, sorry

dashing thoughts of love, passion, doubts

a scarily-still lump beside

insomniac-hyper-racing-mind

manic me

finally arising out of

maudlin months

of dismal darkness

and deep, dark despair

when death smelled sweet to me

*

I get out of bed

to lay my face

upon the windowsill

to gaze at the mystery sky

full of twinkling stars

glittering to the rhythms

of the pulsing universe

my only hope for some

semblance of somnolence

my only chance for peace.

For info on my Bipolar memoir, please see: http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/ellen-stockdale-wolfe.html


Cowboys and the “Dallas Buyer’s Club”

About three minutes into “Dallas Buyers Club” I just knew I was going to love it.  Well, I more than loved it. I absolutely adored it and watched it twice. Why? Apart from being a highly meaningful piece of art with political overtones with which I concur, here was a film about the cowboy in my life. My brother.
*
No, my brother didn’t die of AIDS or HIV. He was not a drug addict and he was as straight as they come. I was the one with the homosexual experiences in my family.  My brother didn’t even die of cirrhosis of the liver, though God knows he drank enough. No, my brother died of lung cancer at age 57.
*
Let me back up and give a synopsis of the film from Wikipedia for those of you who are not familiar with it: ‘”Dallas Buyers Club” is a 2013 American biographical drama film, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and written by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack. Matthew McConaughey stars as the real-life AIDS patient Ron Woodroof, who smuggled unapproved pharmaceutical drugs into Texas when he found them effective at improving his symptoms, distributing them to fellow sufferers by establishing the “Dallas Buyers Club” while facing opposition from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”
*
Like Woodroof, Tony was a hard drinking, hard-living, tough-as-nails cowboy who worked on thoroughbred horse farms for awhile as a groom. He got into trouble from time to time but he was blessed with a good, big heart. And, unlike Ron he lived long enough to turn his life around and live an exemplary life I cannot begin to touch.  He married, settled down, became a wheelchair artisan and adopted three kids. He wound up doing volunteer work, too, therapeutic riding with handicapped kids. Things Ron might have done had he had the chance. Ron has a line in the film where he talks about wanting a family. But he died too young.
*
So did Tony. His cowboy life in Michigan was cut short when he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer at age 54.  He was given 4 months to live. Dead set on fighting and aiming to win, he had chemo and radiation.  I sent him doo-rags when his hair fell out. I did Reiki on him.  And he did his God-damnedest to stay alive. All for his kids. He dropped down to 90 pounds, walked and looked like a dark-skinned, Latino Ron Woodroof at his most emaciated. It was heartbreaking to see this once rugged, handsome cowboy wearing long sleeves in the middle of a blistering summer so as not to scare people with his stick-insect arms.
*
Damn, the movie had guts! Power, too, in spades. Just like Ron Woodroof and his beautiful transvestite partner in business, Rayon. Just like my brother, and just like so many fighting for their lives.  Ron outlived the 30 day sentence the doctors gave him when he was first diagnosed HIV, and he lived some seven more years.  Tony lived three years after the initial prediction of four months. Chemo was hell for one week out of the month followed by three relatively good weeks. Relative is the word here. Tony told me time and again he was doing all this for the kids.
*
The Rons, the Rayons and the Tonys of the world– they are the unknown, unsung heroes of daily life. Ron Woodroof became famous  thanks to the producers, writers, actors and all who made this movie jump from the page to the screen to brilliant, vibrant life.  I thank them for telling the stories of Ron and Rayon. Stories that needed desperately to be told. Ron Woodroof made good in his own hustling way. So did my brother.
*
It was great seeing Tony again, even if only in metaphor. I cried plenty from the get-go and again the second time around, but even aside from my brother, would have anyhow. The characters, the movie was THAT poignant, counterpointed by humor, too. What a fantastic whirlwind of a life was portrayed in this outstanding, almost phantasmagorical film.

An Apparition

Apparition

Here one second,

the next, gone,

with traces only in our hearts.

The ephemeral nature

of all life.

Our loved ones,

people and creatures,

here with us

for a pause in eternity

and gone for seeming eons.

            *

It is as the Hindus say

all “Maya,”

a dream of life,

an apparition,

some form of us

awakens one day

somewhere

we know not

when or where or how

right now.


An Insecure Security

Gemutlichkeit* of

a rainy October morning

dry chilly warmth

in our little barn

*

downstairs

you perusing the paper

 upstairs

me pumping poetry

*

rain tip-toeing

on the metal roof

a tymphanic symphony

outside the window

a masterpiece of color

yellow walnut leaves

and red sugar maple

the steady drip-drop of water

*

what bliss is this

precious moments of Now

a heavenly haven

from a frightening, tipsy-turvy world

*

I wish to always be

in your aura of calm

and the beauteous bounty of Nature

but

for sure

death will come

*

 please take us together

and

find us in each other’s arms

*

blessed bliss

pure peace

and

true security

the everlasting Now

only exist

in the presence of God.

*German word meaning “coziness”.


Stages of Being

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Beauty in Life

September 1

In denial

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Death in Life

October 1

Forboding

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Beauty in Death

November 1

Acceptance

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Afterlife

December 1

SILENCE


Just Renters

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The house that we think of as “our” house does not belong to us.  Not because we are still paying the mortgage on it. Not because it, like so many others, is in foreclosure.  No, though it is still “our” house, we are just renters.

This becomes evident one morning while sitting in a moment of calm before the day has begun, watching the bird feeder which my husband is lovingly filling.  He has dumped out the seeds too big to fit through the wire mesh of the feeder.  About 10 little birds, sparrows and juncos and sometimes a dashing male cardinal, are feeding on the seeds on the leaf-covered ground.  They are not scared off by the lone squirrel who comes to eat the peanuts from the mix.  Larger birds flock to the now-full feeder. The largest birds, too big to land on the feeder, sometime take over the small bird territory, eating seeds on the ground.

Rain is falling as we prepare to go to work, cleaning up the kitchen and locking up the house.  The birds fly around in my mind.  So vulnerable they seem yet so brave, so tiny yet enormous in their freedom to take to the air.  I want to hold them in my hand and stroke their soft, downy feathers, give them love.  But truth is, this is purely a selfish wish on my part for they don’t need my love.  They don’t really even need the bird seed my husband religiously puts in the feeder.  There are bushes out back with berries which they love.  It is we who need them, to make us feel happy, to make us feel loving, to make us feel alive and connected to something larger than ourselves.

As we pull out of the driveway I take another lingering look at the birds in the brightening light.   And then it hits me.  They get to stay there all day as we drive off through the rain to our respective jobs in the cement jungle of a nearby city.  We drive past horses, grazing in a neighboring meadow.  They get to stay home, too.  Often I make an effort to remember the birds and the squirrels and the horses to bring calm to a fraught work day.  Yet I usually get so caught up in my frenetic, little life that I forget to think of them.  Or if I manage to conjure them up, the image of them in my mind is thin, pale and lacking in substance.

I imagine the animals laughing at us as we have to drive off to go to work.  Our house belongs to THEM.  Sometimes they even invade our living quarters.  When we first bought the house, it had 50 or so little brown bats in the attic who would occasionally fly around the bedroom at night.  One year we had a pair of squirrels.  We even had the company of a milk snake one afternoon.  And every fall as the weather turns frigid, the field mice run in.

A little more thought on the subject reveals to me that in actuality we own nothing.  Not our house, our spouse, our children, our pets, nor even the body we inhabit.  All of these things are on loan to us, rented to us if you will, by the Maker of the sun and the moon and the stars.  Such a wealth of beauteous bounty is there for us, ours to enjoy for the mere act of attention.  The trees, the summer breeze, the blanket of snow in winter, the flowers of summer, the butterflies, the deer who eat our lilies, the possums and ground-hogs, the ever-changing species of birds, the occasional coyote and the thousands, if not millions, of insects underfoot in a terrestrial universe.  And the universe above our heads with the planets, the sun, the moon and its trillions, gazillions of stars and whispers of other universes beyond what we can see.  And yet we are so caught up in the dramas of our mundane lives that we fail to duly honor the ever-present gifts except in periodic snatches, when we turn our attention outside ourselves and our little lives.  We may pay a sum to rent a piece of the earth but that piece contains a seemingly infinite multitude of gifts given just for the taking.  Or rather, I should say, for the renting.


September Mind


September sunlight dances on drying leaves, sparkling like diamonds against a flowing stream, an azure sky.  The plants of summer are dying.  Flowers that have given such joy all summer long are now spurned by us as they shrivel into the paradoxical beauty of old age.  The sun burns lightly on summer-drenched skin as clouds intrude intermittently into the almost- Autumn interlude–  a gentle foretaste of the cold to come.  The last butterflies of summer flit among the blossoming Goldenrod and browning Joe Pie Weed.

The beauty of Fall is the beauty of a dying season.  It is the season of death– an alternative to the dew-like bloom of youth in Spring.

When I was very young, I felt death in nature.  I could feel what it must feel like to be a tree or a flower—to just “be”—the Buddhist dictum which I cannot now master.  In my late twenties, my mind broke into smithereens like shattered glass, and I had a choice to make between going on psych meds or going to hospital.  I chose the former and have lived some 40 years more with that choice.  I will not say it was a happy choice, at the risk of sounding ungrateful, because I have become driven into a fury of manic activity and self-seeking in stark contrast to the just “being” of my early youth.  The psych meds have dispelled my “egolessness” which, in turn, makes me more able to “function”–  at a price.  For I no longer feel the waves of peace lapping at the shores of my mind and my religious feelings have, comparatively speaking, shriveled up like the summer flowers in the Fall.  “It’s always a trade-off” I am told over and over again.  My doc told me once that I am one of the lucky ones because for some people the meds don’t work at all.  That shut me up and those words periodically pump gratitude into my system.  I have remained med-compliant mainly because  the meds have kept me out of hospital, DO allow me to function, and, most importantly, I have discovered that being able to function means allowing me to love.

And although more self-seeking, paradoxically this med-induced functionality allows me to give back to the world.  My gift is to describe the “just- being” in nature that was imprinted indelibly on my mind when I was young.   Death seemed beautiful to me then, a state of simply being at one with the soul of nature.  Now I confess to a fear of dying, rather than a fear of death, but most of all, a fear of loss of the love of my life.  For we are in the September of our lives and all is intensified now that we are more aware of our finiteness.  Truth be told this was always potentially the case, but we lived, like most youth, in the inevitable delusion of immortality.

So I function now at the cost of loss of my revered altered states of consciousness.  Perhaps I am in September mind, channeling words and images of the beauty of nature that flooded me long ago are a mere trickle now, as my time to “just be,” once more for this time round, approaches.