The Detour

Everybody has their story! Some they keep buried and some they disclose. It’s your life, and your story to tell: whenever and whomever you decide to tell.

Being transparent runs the risk of betrayal. It also open you up to gossip and or criticism, but the truth is, we all have had issues and even taken detours down some sad, long and lonely roads. We all have deviated from the course we have outlined for ourselves: even the very course written for us before the beginning of time by God. “For I know the plans I have for you, ” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

We all have a story!

Don’t act as if you’ve never been there. The next time you open your mouth to gnaw at the fabric of another human being at their most vulnerablest, stop, halt: switch the channel to your own life (story) and rethink what rolls of your lips. Check the pulse of your life.

Gossip is both harmful and dangerous and its effect sometimes are irreparable.

I’ve longed for a group of people (women) to just be real and transparent with. Especially if we share a common bond – our life’s experiences. It’s like a miracle! I met some ladies and like an answer to a prayer we connected. The relationship grew over time, and some people got more closer in the group than others, but for now we were each other’s lifeline. Error #1.

We sat together laughing and talking with each other. It felt good to just be in their company. I for one am very glad to have these ladies to just hang out with and feel normal with. I didn’t want to feel like I was the only one with dysfunctionality in my family. There was a good synergy, but I sensed that some people were sizing up each other but, I put it down to my very overactive mind.

We hugged and greeted each other as we parted company. Walking out into the warm evening sun and going our separate ways. I walked a couple of blocks when my cell phone rang. If anyone knows me, my pocketbooks are usually large and over packed, and my excuse always being I’m  woman. I dug into my pocketbook like I was literally searching for buried treasure. I felt my cellphone, it vibrated on the fourth ring against my fingers and I quickly scooped it out and pressed the talk button. The voice on the other end started to go on and on about how she felt something brewing within the group. I felt connected to her because we had similar histories, and not being very close to my family except my cousin. I needed someone I could just be free and open with. I liked her, and we talked the most I think in the group, but I was still guarded. She expressed how she was feeling and I listened attentively. I didn’t immediately agree with her. I just said I felt that we were not yet comfortable with each other. We changed the topic, then exchanged pleasantries then we hung up from each other.

Sigh! It’s still early days yet within the group of us ladies. The afternoon sun was unleashing it’s fury. I could feel tiny beads of perspiration forming on my brow and down my back. I continued walking, enjoying the sights and sounds. I got to my car and commenced the thirty minutes drive homeward.

My neighborhood was fairly quiet. I hooked the horn in greeting as I passed a few of my neighbours outside in their yard. I reversed park in my yard, the space being tight and I gritted my teeth. My Shih Tzu bounded up and down in excitement at seeing me and I bent down to pet her. Dinner was already made and the children were brooding over their books. Not perfect, but it’s my life. I off loaded my accoutrements and headed to our tiny bathroom. Towel clad I went to the kitchen to make my tea. I drink tea minutely. Exchanged a few words with the children, who barely responded heads still buried in their books. I ruffled my son’s hair as I passed him on my way up the stairs. Our dog bounded up the steps ahead of me.

My bed. There is this thing going on between my bed and I. My room is my safe space. I am an avid reader and after sipping on my tea I reached under my computer table for my James Patterson and got engrossed within the pages of ‘Step on a Crack’. I’m not sure when I drifted off to lala land because the next thing I heard was my cellphone blarring loudly in my ears. I reached for it quickly and checked the time, 5:30a.m. I answered, it was my faithful caller . We chatted for a few minutes then we rang off from each other.

I sat up, reached for my Bible and devotional. I read the days lesson and then I prayed.

Having teenage children is wonderful, especially when they are self sufficient (in the mornings) when you have overslept. They are good children. I showered and then blended my concoction in the bullet and poured it into my sippy cup. Lunches packed and we all bade the dog adieu until later. We loaded up in the car and off to school and work we went.

My day went quietly with little or no interference or interruptions. I was about to shut down for the day when two calls came simultaneously. One lady from the group sounding angry. Telling me that she was embarrassed by another of the ladies whom she named. She relayed the incident that caused her ire to me and I tried to allay her fears and to passify the situation. Her emotions flaring. I doubt I succeeded in trying to calm her down was my though after she hung up from me. Within minutes, the other lady called and admitted that she did see how caller #1 could be offended by what transpired between them and that she had apologized to her. Little did I know that the first caller was badly hurt, because she became withdrawn and QUIET overtime after the incident.

This was how the thread in the group of six started to unravel at the seams. I didn’t like it and really didn’t know how to remedy the situation. We still hung out and talked and yes that underlined current was ever present. I tried to remain neutral, but I could sense resentment building against me for not choosing sides. The pull in six directions made me feel awkward when we met up for our usual girls time, but I down played it.

I was still close to my early morning, afternoon, evening and night caller from the group. I tried to steer our conversations away from the group. Sometimes I succeeded and other times I failed. What struck me was the ease in which my caller would talk about the others in the group and people in general. I didn’t like that one bit.

Life progressed and the group of six was still in full effect issues and all.

My caller had an idea and threw it out to the group. Initially I didn’t know who she had asked (later I found out) . She said that she had also asked a couple other people that she knew outside of the group to join her venture. I said yes I was in when she asked me. (She was planning something and we were all included except one. This I found out later.)

The day of the event came and I was having a very difficult day. She called me several times during the course of the morning, but I was unable to respond being I was in several meetings most of the morning. A change was coming to a season in my life: a chapter was closing.When I finally got to return the calls I sensed a cold coming from her. I ignored it. After that the calls came one after the other with the different changes to the original plan. I was agitated, but I held my peace. Funny, looking back I should have said exactly how I felt, but I didn’t there was too much going on that day. My day ended and I felt flat out overwhelmed and drained, but I did what was was asked of me with a minor adjustment. I felt that it went well, but little did I know trouble was brewing.

Like clock work my cellphone rang when I got home from my anytime caller from the group. It was my ‘faithful’ caller. She went on a tirade and I sat listening too wound up in my emotions to rebut, so I listened. She mentioned one lady from the group and I quickly defended that lady. I called her honest and sweet. That lady was soft spoken and of a gentle nature. Then to my surprise I was attacked and threatened the wrath of God, because the lady I defended said I made a statement.  Truthfully, after the day I had I don’t recall. The million dollar question is, was the supposed statement so unforgivable? No it was not. I removed the phone from my ear and looked at it as if I could make sense of what was happening. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t take it anymore so I got angry and screamed three times. “I am the ONLY sinner ” she called my name and said,”‘stop it.” I said, “I’m sorry if I did say what you said I said and I’ll confess to God my sins.” We hung up from each other. We have not spoken since.

All hell broke loose thereafter. It behooves me how you are treated as  guilty without any evidence or proof. Then it dawned on me. They really wanted a pound of flesh.

Then started the cyber war. Facebook was blowing up. I was desimated, chewed up and  spat out. Think of every negative name in the book I was labeled as such. It was mind boggling how all these parties got involved in something that had nothing to do with them at all.

The cyber soldier (also in the group now turn enemy) went on a crusade against me. She took it even further and contacted people I knew and laid it on thick telling them whatever she pleased to tell them about me. It even reached the heart and ears of my Pastors wife. DRAMA!

One person who was closest to the faithful caller sent me a text message about my faithful caller and the cyber soldier. You know me, being Ms Diplomatic responded without calling any names lest world war III commenced. I could be contacted by text messages only because I had blocked them from everything.

I have not shared anything with anyone (to date) about any of this drama. It got ugly real fast.

I cried, prayed, fasted and read the Bible for strength. I was the outcast and I was being looked at sideways by many. All this shade. People were pointing fingers at me and snickering behind my back. Real uncomfortable.

Long ago I had to learn that I can only trust myself and God. It hurt, but I tried not to let the ugliness seep into my soul.

The cyber soldier wanted  me dead. She needed to know my every move, but I blocked her from all my social networks. She logged onto my FB page from her friend’s accounts. I blocked them too. Why was she so relentless I thought? It started with my faithful caller, but this has to be about something else. This had nothing to even do with her, but as man’s last crusader on a mission to do me harm-she wouldn’t let up. She had a vendetta against me. Incredible I thought.

I was  asked what was going on and I couldn’t truthfully answer, as I too was wondering. I heard by the way of one of her friends that she had even contacted a Seer, to know my DESTINY path and to harm me. Was I furious? Yes and rightly so. This had nothing to do with her, and why the need to go to such lengths?

I couldn’t ask and really was worn out by the senseless diatribes.

I tried to take each day as it came. Attempting to act as normal as I could. I was happy again and truly getting on with the matter of my life. Trying to put this unfortunate and sordid situation behind me.

I came to the realization that everybody has a story and everybody ‘knows’ somebody’s else’s story (even yours). So, no matter how much dirt you think you have on a person, there’s someone out there with as much dirt  or even more on you.

The world is a very small place. They say it’s not who you know but, rather who knows you!

My girlfriend’s birthday was upcoming and we decided to go out of town. My life was looking up! The day finally came and we were chauffeur driven to our destination. Let the festivities begin. The day was off to a fantastic start. Breakfast in the quaint restaurant was great. Then we moved on to our venue and quickly changed into our bath suits. Chilling on the beach! Unwinding. Not bad for four mature adults. One remembered her encounter on our last escapade with the jelly fish and decided to sit out going in the water. We swapped stories and gave updates enjoying each other’s company and the fresh sea breeze: this is the life. We agreed to go out on a boat ride. We back and forth with the idea of the boat ride then we finally agreed to go. We boarded and sat in the boat fully suited in our life jackets. We relished the afternoon’s sun and the salty sea breeze, as the boat maneuvered the choppy seas. My mind more lucid than it had been in the past months. God kept me and I never once told these lovely girls what had been going on these past months. I smiled, and they looked at me probably thinking I was just having as much fun as they were. I was having fun, but my smile wasn’t about their conversation it was because about me. I was alright. The injury was healing and the fracture to my emotions mending! I nodded they thought it was in response to what they were saying. The day was just what the doctor ordered. Debs said, this was one of her best birthdays ever.

We got back into town late evening. Collected our luggage and went to our cars. I took home two ladies, as Debs lived way out and it would be out of her way to take home anyone: apart from Debs we all lived in close proximity of each other. We hugged, chatted about our trip and promised to message each other as soon as we got home.

Night quickly descended  and we chatted some en route to home as the music played on the radio. This trip was therapeutic for all of us. We were all dealing with or going through something. After the drop offs we all messaged each other and promised to catch up soon.

We returned to our lives and settled back into our normal routines. For days I kept visualizing and reliving our trip. It was good.

I got a call to go do a site meeting. I had to check out a venue for a client and report on the logistics. Did I tell you that I have no sense of direction? Well I don’t. I’m doing better now I think. I wrote down the directions given, packed up for the day to go home and prepare for this meeting which will be an overnighter.

When I got home that evening the three of us snuggled into my bed and watched a movie. I fell asleep almost immediately The Shih Tzu was  sleeping on the floor at the foot of my bed.

My alarm blarring: I got up and did my usual and we were off (sounds like the start of horse race at the tracks). The children to school and me to locate this venue. I set off driving, heading out of town. I was enjoying the crisp morning air and the sounds of nature. The road was steep, but the view breathtaking. I saw a sign with the place I was going to on it. I was heading in the right direction. Pride welled up in my chest. Yeah, me! I should get there by 10:00a.m if I don’t get lost. 9:15am and all is well. My iPod plugged into the cigarette lighter and Byron Cage, singing Royalty. I sang my heart out to the song. It felt good. I put the song on repeat. The air was now cold. 10:40am I missed my turn. Darn it. I had to DETOUR. I saw a building on the right, I indicated and turned on to the dirt track. It looked like they were doing renovations to the property. I drove up to the security post and asked for directions. He knew of the place, but didn’t know exactly how to direct me there. He told me to go up to the office and ask.  He showed me where to park my car. I parked the car, took of my heels and don a pair of flats. My car is filled with shoes and other things – I’m a woman.

I love nature. I saw a man made pond to the rear of the building and walked over to it. There were fishes and water lilies in the pond. The fishes looked like Japanese Koi. How lovely! There was a wooden bridge. It was weather beaten and worn directly over the pond. I made a mental note that this place could be venue for  something in the future.

I reluctantly gave up my exploring in pursuit of the office. I never noticed before but there was a function in progress. The parking lot on the opposite end had cars. I figured that the office would be in the direction of that building.  I briskly walked in that direction. I heard hands clapping and laughter. I’m not certain what made me peer through the tiny window, but when I looked in it was the ladies from the group. A few new faces and a few old. People I used to call friends were inside. It looked like a retreat or something of that kind. I couldn’t pull myself away from the window. I stood peeking in and nobody noticed me.

A gasp escaped my lips and my had flew to cover my mouth. We have had no contact with each other for ten months now and I heard cyber soldier saying, “she things we need her (she was referring to me) We don’t.” More laughter. I used to do “Dare to Care”. A can goods drive for the shut-in and less fortunate and it was a great success which benefitted many people.  Cyber bully said that they can start such a drive. I listened until I couldn’t take it any more. I crouched  beneath the window until I was a safe distance away. I stood up and went in search of the office willing my legs to get me there. I eventually found the office after I found a rest room and washed my face to regain my composure.

The ladies in the office were very cordial and helpful to me. The front office was warm and cozy unlike the war that was raging within. They called the venue for me and I spoke to the Sales Coordinator who told me that I was not late and lunch and a room was made available for me upon my arrival. I thanked the ladies they gave me their business card and a brochure and invited me back for a site visit. I thanked them and hurriedly went back to my car. The time was 11:35am.

I started back towards the entrance and thanked the Security Guard. He asked if I was alright and I managed a weak smile and said, “yes.”

I continued into the afternoon feeling a hollow in the pit of my stomach. Carefully looking for all the land marks and as I wound my window down and replayed all that transpired earlier then my destination came into view. Two other cars turned in behind me and I wasn’t even aware of them being behind me on the drive up. I parked the car, examined my face in the mirror and then I gathered up my overnight bag and papers and stepped out almost like an overdosed addict.

A smiling face approached me and asked if I was the person sent on the site visit and I told her yes. I proceeded to tell her my name and I gave her the company’s name. Someone handed me a cold towel and a waiter handed me a mimosa. The later I gulped down like ice water and then I used the cold towel to pat my face and neck. Two other persons joined us and introductions were made. A bell hop took my overnight bag to my room and we then went off to a small meeting room to commence the site visit meeting.

The meeting was a good one and a welcomed distraction from my discovery earlier. I was still in amazement. We wrapped up the meeting and  proceeded to walk the grounds to select a spot for the event. We wrapped up the meeting at 3:15pm. I was offered a late lunch. I opted out of lunch and promised to meet up for dinner later. I asked the Sales Coordinator to ring me up for dinner. She agreed to do so and we separated.

I walked blindly to my room and found it with relative ease. The room was welcoming and cold. I quickly found the remote for the air conditioning unit and adjusted the temperature to suit me. My bag was neatly laid out and the bed whispered my name and invited me in.

I called home and the children were there. They took turns talking with me. We talked for a bit and then I hung up from them. I love my children. I said a quick prayer for them. I   asked God to keep them safe from evil and harm. I haven’t done many things right, but these two are the best thing in my life- thank You God!

I nestled beneath the comforter to sleep or to just comfort myself. My cellphone rang, I answered it was my cousin asking if I was alright and that she had called the children and they were home and ok. We spoke for a few minutes then we hung up from each other.

I felt sleep beckoning me to come to its rescue and release my cares and rest. I started to pray again, trying to articulate my hurt and betrayal… yet sleep kept reeling me into its solace. I was exhausted. I felt tears running down my ears and I wiped it away, but as quickly as I wiped one away another slid down my nose to my ear. Then I cried. It felt like walking out into heavy rainfall. My soul was raw and exposed and the rain of my tears was refreshing and cleansing for my soul. Cleansing away months of unspoken hurt and betrayal.

Sometimes we have to detour to find our way again. Life is a journey and we can only  hope for the best. There are no guarantees. We just know that strength of character is built through adversities. A seed falls in the ground, but only after it dies does the tree grow.

I took the detour to find my way. I Hiccuped, and sleep called me and I walked tirelessly into the peace of its embrace.

Tomorrow is another day and the possibilities are endless. It’s always darkest before dawn. The sun comes up in the morning. Bright radiant sun! Hope. Even, after a detour there are still NEW frontiers to be discovered.  On the detour you finally discover you.

Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster…” (Deuteronomy 30:15)

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Read the signs especially the detour.

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The Unexpected Birthday Visitor

I yawned,  stretched then reached for my phone to check the time. 3:30a.m. way too early. Turning to bury my head into my way too soft pillow,  like a light bulb, it dawned on me, TODAY, IT’S MY BIRTHDAY! Whoo hoo! I could feel the excitement churning inside my stomach. It is similar to what  a child feels on Christmas morning. Overjoyed and filled with anxious thoughts of the many gifts awaiting their  eager hands beneath the Christmas tree. Only, I’m not a child and it’s not Christmas day. It’s December 2 my birthday, but it’s almost like the same Christmasy feeling.

Excitement, something, I just can’t shake the feeling! It wasn’t an ominous feeling it’s just that feeling, you know- That warm happy feeling that cocoons you in the safety of its embrace.I can’t seem to shake the feeling that today will be no ordinary day. I feel that it will be filled with wonderful surprises. I’m so happy and excited.

It’s still too early to get up and get breakfast going and my usual excuse after my quiet time is to rollover in bed, cover from head to toe and sleep until a voice says, “sleep no more.” I’m a hypersomniac. Yup! And I like it. No age reversal creams for me. I have my own specially built in age reversal system. It’s 100% guarantee. SLEEP. Try it and be amazed at what  SLEEP can do for you! Haha!

My morning routine is pretty simple: I usually wake up too early then I go back to sleep. The alarm goes off  interrupting round two of my sleep or interrupting that great dream that I am having (the kind you wish you could go back to like a movie you had paused). I do my devotions and prayer, (with gospel music playing softly in the background; my music is always on). Then I get the children up for school, then move on to breakfast. Then I have my hot beverage, my specialty brew (cinnamon included). One of my simple pleasures. I’m usually the last one to shower in the mornings. Its just my thing. There’s only one bathroom so I go last and then I scrub the shower clean, just to freshen it up a bit. They say I have OCD. Go figure.

Standing in the shower, relishing the sound of water squirting from the shower over head and beating against my body. Warm water is surprisingly exhilarating first thing in the morning to get the ‘motor’ going. I’m still feeling this happy feeling and I smile to myself standing there in the shower. It’s my birthday!

A song going in my head. Happiness flooding my heart. Feeling so blessed as I think about my life. The journey I am presently on, and the chapters that have closed, but all in all I am  filled with so much gratitude. I am alive to celebrate another of my birthday’s with two incredible people my R+R and some genuine friends. I’m just so happy!  “Thank You God,” I whispered. I started to shimmy in the shower. song: This could be an everlasting love, going in my head. I bent down to soap my legs and as I got up to do a tiny twirl a movement caught my right eye. I looked and right there in the window was a croaking lizard aka an alligator.

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The scream that escaped my tonsils at 5:30a.m most definitely woke my entire neighbourhood. After the shrill, alright the scream I lost my balance and stumbled backwards trying to grab on to breeze. I hit my arm on the side of the  face basin. The croaking lizard trying to get from under the window. Naked and soapy clad only in my birth(day) suit I wobbled outside of the bathroom to get the insect spay. I hurried back to the bathroom the croaky trapped between the widow and the widow mesh. I cowardly sprayed at it and tried to pull the window shut, but all the shampoo bottles on the ledge prevented me from trapping the croaky. It jumped from under the widow and the mesh and landed on to one of the bottles on the ledge. Trying to act brave I aimed and sprayed the croaky. Watching the croaky change from opaque to black. Still not budging from its pedestal.

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My son was fully clothed for school appeared. I noted mentally that he was mumbling something over my left shoulder. My only covering was soap. I was standing on the bath mat, my heart in my throat. I guessed the insect spray started to work because croaky leaped like Spiderman off those tall buildings and landed on the cover of the toilet.  I hollered again. Croaky bounced off the lid and landed on the floor. I hurdled away on the bath mat and my soapy ensemble as the croaky scampered under the sofa and then the computer table.  My son attempted to step on it (I think to act macho, but in my house we all fear croaking lizards).

I remembered my current status: soapy birthday suit and jumped back in the shower to wash off. I’ve never brushed teeth and showered so quickly before, but Ta dah! on this occasion like magic it happened. It’s never too late to change. I  was showered and wrapped in my towel. I felt the pain in my arm as I was wrapping the towel around me and I grimaced at its nip.

Bathroom cleaned and smelling fresh and I was out. Got to my room and dressed in under 20 minutes tops.

Wow! December 2 is off to a great start. The most unlikeliest of visits was from the croaky an unexpected visitor and to barge in on me at my most valuable time, bath time. He definitely was no gentleman and was unannounced at that.

They couldn’t let it slide. Now dressed and ready to step out into this new day amidst happy birthdays I heard, “I’ve not heard you scream like that in many moons.” I saw the smirk.They say I act brave and I am, but I have an aversion to every creepy crawler, big or small  but especially croaking lizards, alligators and crocodiles.

We buckled in and started out for the drop off to schools. I’m still feeling good, after the unexpected visitor interrupted by shower.

Happy birthday to me.

Never Give Up

Today I am alive! I chose to live large! I will leave a legacy of greatness that will perpetuate!

We tend to take so many things for granted.  A breath of fresh air and the ability to breathe, the ability to move, the ability to  converse, the ability to use our eyes to see this master piece called earth, the ability to smile, the ability to eat and  tantalize our taste buds with different delicacies , the ability to imagine, to think and the ability to create wealth. The gift of family, relationships, good health, creativity and our talents. 

Sometimes our behaviour would imply that we have earned the right to life and living and ALL the trappings that comes with LIFE. Does people believe that the power to wake themselves up from their slumbers lie with them? What an assumption!  I AM AND SO I DO! This could very well be their thinking. I am in charge of LIFE! To a lesser extent, YES!  If this were so we would ALL chose PERFECT lives,but our power is limited!  I, on the other hand thinks that to harbour such an over zealousness  thought is a presumption. LIFE is a gift, a scared treasure and it comes from God.

Are we aware that  many persons would trade places with us in a heart beat? Persons that are ailing, bed ridden, paraplegics, quadriplegics, hearing and speaking impaired, some with life threatening illnesses that have doctors predicting their expected end.  Telling them that they only have weeks, months, years or as short a time as a few days to live. That may be the FACT, but it is out inner strength and will to surpass these  odds that ultimately determine the outcome.

A RELAY FOR LIFE

June 14th , I was a participant at the 13th staging of the Relay For Life  under the theme #Never give up! This is an annual walk to raise awareness for cancer and to solicit sponsorship to aid in the eradication of this horrible disease by way of finding a cure through science, conventional or otherwise.

Armed with my blanket and snacks, my gal pal and I pulled up to the venue at about 6:30PM. The line of  traffic heading in the direction of the venue was indicative of the many lives that this dreaded disease have impacted in one way or another.

On arrival we made our way to the tent that our company had sponsored and off loaded our accoutrements to brave the warm afternoon sun to witness the grand opening ceremony.  I stood near a pink tent, which was located almost in the centre of the venue.  It was the biggest one of  them all. I soon realized that this was the tent that housed the family of those that had succumbed to the illness, survivors and those bravely battling the disease.  Men and women were clad in pink t-shirts, them and their families. I looked not wanting to stare, but it was impossible not to.  I was in awe and filled with utter compassion for these people.  A tear slipped from my eye when I saw the little children who were also battling the illness.

These people were here fighting, fighting to live, to be blessed with the gift of a tomorrow.  To fulfill their dreams and to just stay ALIVE-a second chance was all they were hoping for.  Some were on borrowed time, and the clock was slowly ticking away-tick, tock, tick, tock.  It may very well be any day now and their families would be left with the loss of  not having them around they would  honour their memory by going on with LIFE, picking up the pieces  after they are gone.

Some faces were  determination filled, you could almost read it, I’m going to beat this and LIVE’. This is an affirmation.

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The sun bade farewell giving way to a cool gentle breeze it was now evening.  I watched, lost in  thought as the many survivors went to the stage and bravely told their stories one after the other.  The crowd clapping their courage and gusto, some wiping their eyes discretely.  The lone male who spoke said his support system was his family, and church.  The fact is that although the individual goes through the illness alone and the initial stages of fear.  The shock of the diagnosis gives way to anger, then  acceptance and commitment (treatment) their families also experience the SAAC along with the patient and the entire process becomes theirs as well. No NEGATIVE report is a DEATH SENTENCE!  

RELAY FOR LIFE  was declared  opened, commencing with the survivors walking around the venue.  These people, men and women were heroes and heroines.  The crowd clapped and cheered them on as they walked. On the end of their walk/lap all other groups represented there walked (after the survivors had completed their walk/lap) around the track too. This was really a race. A relay for LIFE!

I walked around the venue  four times chanting #NEVER GIVE UP! Powerful words, packed with hope. I was willing someone to grab hold of these words and chose to FIGHT and LIVE!

LUMINARIES

I went back to the company’s tent to await the lighting of the luminaries, in honour of the survivors and in memory of those who lost the fight to cancer.

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We walked around the track looking for the names of friends who were either a survivor or who had lost the fight to cancer.  I saw families huddled by the luminary of their loved one/s when it was found.  Others were snapping pictures to keep for posterity and some were still walking around in the sea of bodies seeking the luminary of their loved one.  This was a very humbling and touching experience.

This was a 12 hour event. I returned to the tent and fellowshipped with my co-workers! There were games of taboo, monopoly, dominoes, movies and food. Adults and children were engaged in laughter and chatter.  A concert was  taking place outside. There was even a ‘CLUB’ for all intentions and purposes it was under a tent, with a DJ and happy people dancing and gyrating to the popular’ jams’.  LIVE! LIVE! Of course live!

I had secured a spot in the corner of the tent earlier and I made my bed  there.  I fell asleep to the chants of person’s walking the track saying #NEVER GIVE UP! Many thoughts flooded my mind.  I was cold and so I snuggled beneath my blanket  as I was a drifting into a state of unconsciousness I wondered about the families, those ailing and I was moved deeply.  I sorrowed in my soul for them and said a silent prayer to God to strengthen them and to grant them peace on this journey!

6:00AM, I awoke refreshed to a lively mass exercise work out.  I grape vined and squatted to the calypso song,’walk a mile and a half‘.  I lifted my leg to ‘lift your leg up‘.  Perspiration oozed from my pores!  Whew! I loved it! A great and energitic way to end my 11 and 1/2 hours experience.

The tents were still in positions and people were now cleaning up and getting ready to return the place to its original state.

A new day! New possibilities to garb hold to HOPE and #NEVER GIVE UP!

Heather/Amai

Indifference to sniffles!

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Ah-choo! Sneeze! Cough, cough! Snort, sniff! I’m not doing so well.  I wonder if it’s my present state of health that have me wondering about people!

Managing one’s expectation is key as it lessen the pangs of our disappointment:  and also prevents us form getting hurt when people fall short of the expectations that we have of them. 

For the past month I have been working under extreme pressure, with little or no time to properly rest.  So my immune system was weakened and a horrible cold set in. Due to the circumstances and the nature of my job I went in to work everyday.  My cough was so bad that I didn’t have time to be embarrassed about the rockling sound as I was about my incontinence.  My diaphragm and bladder were weak  and sore from the persistent coughing. My appetite went and the cough worsened still. 

I was sick, there was no masking that fact! No one in my office really cared about my health as long as I covered my mouth, used hand sanitizer and did what was on my desk! Mind you I have no expectations, but the side of me that question things wondered, ‘are my co-workers at all human beings?’ This was rhetorical by the way.

Thursday, June 25, was D-Day, when the pressures of month end cause you to want to pull out every strand of your hair and I was sick, lethal combination.  The same things occur and reoccur and they are usually done by the same set of people.  Month end usually see us at work until late, even beyond midnight.  Now, I’m sick and by now I was soaking wet from all the urine my bladder was squeezing out with each cough that racked my weak frame.  The people’s indifference to my situation turned on a FLAT SCREEN in my mind. Note to self: keep thought to self.

My mechanic had my car, but I told him to send someone at 8:00pm to pick me up. Wishful thinking, I left the office at 10:15pm.  When I stepped out into the night air the driver had the car windows down and was fast asleep with the seat reclined. O! I so wanted to drop plop down into my bed! I was beat! I got home safely and my night was a difficult one.  My breathing was laboured and this was now 16 days with this cold and cough.

I was so looking forward for the weekend where I can properly rest and recuperate.  No such luck.  I worsened.  Saturday morning I woke up unable to take a breath of air.  That precious commodity-OXYGEN! Tears running from my eyes and amid gasps I was being suffocated. I opened my mouth wide and gasped and that did the trick, eyes red and watery. I started to breath and wheeze.  I stayed awake after that episode and at about10:30am or there about my good friend went with me to see my Doctor.  The wait was a long one. My docket was misplaced and then later found. I eventually got to see my Doctor after the morning’s mishap. I was examined, poked and prodded, then came the diagnosis-B-R-O-N-C-H-I-T-I-S!

Armed with a new script I went to the pharmacy to have it filled.  I got if filled minus 1 item which was necessary to loosen the phlegm and open up my air passage.

I rested as much as I could the remainder of Saturday and Sunday.  Then came Monday, yup, I did, I went to work and let me add I am NEVER LATE or ABSENT without reason from work. I got to the car park at 8:15am, and parked, some how the electronic swipe to enter the building was misplaced.  I searched the car looking for it and wallah it was found.  8:23am my cell phone rang and I saw the number to be my office come up.  I’m in the car park and I really didn’t want to answer the call.  Perception.

I entered my office and was greeted most tersely and abruptly! I WAS so put off by the approach, I’ve been ailing for 3 weeks and I’m not late ever for work and I was not late now and an APB was issued for me.  I felt attacked. I sat quietly for most of the work day, because I was stewing and the coughing was still the same.  My co-worker peeped over and said, ‘you are sick why are you at work?’ Why indeed!
Another said ,’go back to your Doctor, and get the sick certificate and send it in.’

I’m still coughing and now I’m badly hoarse, but I’m home in bed.  No one saw it fit to question my reason for being at work or even ask how I was feeling 21days ago, but today my cell phone has been ringing none stop! REALLY!

We are weird creatures of habit.  We are so indifferent at times to each other, and as long as it’s not happening to me or mine I’m good and I really don’t care. Wrong attitude! Is it so difficult to exercise care for each other? To reach out and as clichéd as it sounds to touch someone.  we can’t be so self centered!  This life is not for us alone, we have to co-exist, as peaceably as possible-white, black, rich, poor, fat, slim, beautiful and in between.  There is no joy in living as EMOTIONAL recluses. It’s a lonely  road and no matter what we say there is no real fulfillment in living a life that is ‘shut away’ and apart from real human contact.

Slow down, halt, screech, STOP! God made us social beings with the power to positively or negatively impact each other and the world.  WE are human beings, filled with knowledge, heart, soul and a body to house all of these.  The million dollar question is ‘how human are we REALLY being to each other?’

Heather/Amai

Life

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East, West, North or South. Several routes can be taken to get from point A to point B. If we were all heading to location ‘X ‘ , and depending on where we are, several different routes could be taken to get to location ‘X‘. It may take longer, but the same outcome would be reached.

With the introduction of Global Positioning System (GPS) drivers plot their destinations and the route is outlined for them. GPS was made for someone like myself, someone who has no sense of direction.  At the drop of a dime I am lost. The wonder of  GPS is that  should you deviate from your original route, it quickly plots an alternate route to get you to your destination.

Life is not equipped with our own personal GPS’, or our own directional manual which tells us when, where, what, how and why things occur!

Life happens!  We are faced with death, illness, separations, divorces, unemployment, miscarriages, abortions, murders, fires, hurricanes, accidents, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, floods, widowhood,orphans, heartaches, breakups: when faced with any one or any number of these challenges how does one cope,  or find the will to live? How does one overcome the odds? What route should be taken to recover the zeal for life and the penchant for living? Stress sometimes creep up on us unawares, and other times dependent on the circumstance we become severely stressed.  So directly or indirectly stress affects us all.

When we wake up in the morning there is no schedule to tell us what eventualities will face us during the course of the day and what should be done to overcome them (if any) and what steps should be taken in order for our peace of minds to be restored.  There is no timeframe in which to overcome the stresses of life.  One person may manage stress by doing one thing and another may go about it in a totally opposite way, with the desired end result being the same thing, that is, a total  restoration of healthy emotions: but only If it were really that simple.

Emotional Elevator

Going down! The highs and lows can be so taxing on our emotions.  If only a  slap to the face or a dunking of a bucket of  iced cold water over our heads could shock us back to the business of REAL living.  It has to be a conscious decision and a coming to terms with where we are and whether we choose to HABITUATE where we are: Depression Lane, Loneliness Way, Suicide Avenue, Self Pity Boulevard, Low Self Esteem Crescent, Victim Path or  Abused Street. It takes fifteen (15) days to form a habit and the same to try to break that formed habit. It is at these times that we throw caution to the wind and act on pure emotions with little or no thought of the consequences of our action/decision. What do I care!

We go on these rides close to the anniversary of the divorce, the death, the miscarriage or the break up: it is when we are more prone to take the ride down.

The mind is a powerful tool. Yes, it is a tool.  We are not only able to  remember when, but how we felt then.  These emotions we felt in the past are stored and at certain times they reappear as if the event just took place. Now we can understand why just a word can ‘trigger‘ some persons.  They are re-living the emotion.

The inability to cope with LIFE have seen many persons living diminished quality of lives.   No zeal, no real passion or excitement for anything, just going through the motions. Wandering through life aimlessly. When this happens people are left with lost dreams and unearthed giftings: the ballet dancer does not emerge, the author losses his story, the architect  forgets how to draw blue prints, the mime losses his expression, the songwriter misses a key and, the actress dismisses the would be Oscar Award winning role.  Creativity lies dormant.

Left or right up or down, make a decision, choose the ending to your script.  It doesn’t have to be a tear jerker, the woman doesn’t have to end up a widow, but it can be as close to a happily ever after as you want it to be. If at first you don’t succeed try again-shake it off: dust yourself off and try again.

Directional Change

I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s a choice.  A mental decision has to be made to move from point A to point B. Do whatever it takes to change the bleak forecast and ‘boorish’ outlook of life to one of positivity and joy.  Find ways and means to connect with our inner being.  Choose joy over happiness. The two are very much related,but joy is a much deeper experience.

Joy shifts the focus from ourselves and move us from Depression Lane, Loneliness Way, Suicide Avenue, Self Pity Boulevard, Low Self Esteem Crescent, Victim Path or  Abused Street.  In packing up and choosing to change course our faith grows and pushes us to connect/reconnect to the GREATER force that lies within. We drop words like me and I from our vocabulary and in so doing we plot new courses.  The memories are there, but in refocusing our thoughts and desires it mingles those sad emotions with happiness: taking us down roads like hope, love, faith, and joy.  These roads restore and redefines life in a wonderful context.

The dream that you have held on to is now ready to be birthed, to come alive.   The road to making it a reality may see you loosing some friends, gaining new ones and the faithful few that will remain will be there to see it come through and celebrate with you.

The wheel of life can transport us to places of pain, loss and pleasure.

Which direction are you now heading on the wheel of life? Detour: more changes up ahead!

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Heather/Amai

In Conclusion.

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‘All rise,’ herald that court was now in session.
The court appointed clerk , said
‘your honour she has requested legal representation.’
‘Denied’, she replied. ‘this is an informal Inquisition.’
‘Why would you make such a petition?’

The air grew tense, this is a premonition
Who gave the letter of the law a new definition?
I was not here on my own volition
I was summoned by those higher up and respectfully denied
legal representation:
A deposition.

I felt utter degradation, ambushed and emotional demolition
Tactics shrewdly applied was intimidation.
Objections to my every rebuttal.
Memorandums, letters, post-its
were used as ammunition.

Their intent was blatant, this was a coalition.
I knew that my destruction was their intention,
and these allies had me on exhibition.
What was my punition?

Your honour, had a dose of conviction,
and spoke out in my defense, gavel in
hand, ‘order, order’ she yelled, 
Court now in utter confusion and contrition.

A trump card was played,
causing superaddition and a transposition
in my favour.

Blood shot eyes, nostrils flared in ebullition.
Then a forceful shove cause the seat to
topple loudly-
hell bent on my character assassination
Now, the house was in disbelief-a noisy contradiction.

Not a personal vendetta they said, then came a louder objection.
Then a voice almost, demonic spoke, this was not superstition
‘over my dead body, you will never get a promotion.’

This munition caused a detrition
My soul was in a state of decomposition
No restitution was my lamentation.

Emmanuel! Be my defense, what will be my recompense
Legal jargons was hurled in erudition.
Flagrant disrespect for your honour’s decision.

Akin to the Babylonian children I did a rendition.

Judgement handed down,
In terse admonition, keeping your job is an equitable decision.
Work long and hard, but have no expectations
Your file will bear the evidence of this presupposition.

‘Thank God’, said your honour.
It could have been far worst,
accept these conditions.
I caution you, do not tender a counter petition.

I stood in humiliation,
No need for celebration, I had to reposition my
cerebellum,
I was abandoned and in desolation-
indignation was my victory. Infamy and defamation
were the victors,
pen that in the edition said I in conclusion.

Heather/Amai

Ten fingers and ten toes # perfect!

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Pregnant! Me, really! Who me? A mother! I was scared, what am I going to tell my mother, my church? I’m an adult, and I have a job, but how do I tell my mother this news. This self talk was not working one iota to help calm my frayed nerves. The noise in my head playing out the different scenarios was dizzying. Nothing helped to drown out these noises.

The drive from my Doctor’s office seemed much longer than the thirty minutes. Wow! I had a life growing inside of me. I reached down and touched my stomach.

My pregnancy was marred with trying times but, my baby IS a fighter.

June 1, my sweet child, R #1 made her grand entrance into this world. I unwrapped her blanket and counted every finger and every toe. I looked into her eyes and knew that I loved her with every ounce of my being. This feeling was new to me : I was overcome with a fierce need to protect her . This sense to keep her safe always coursed through me.

Fast forward, to seven years later. I was sitting in my godmother’s kitchen in Fort Lauderdale adding salt to my coffee when she said , ‘I think that you are pregnant.’ Pregnant! Who me , not at all. Could I be? My marriage was shaky, naw…I picked up the phone and called home and asked my husband to check my cycle calendar. We were married two years after giving birth to our daughter. He told me my last cycle date and I was dumbstruck. I was very LATE…

I was not equipped mentally to deal with this possibility…I kept going back to pregnancy #1. I returned home and my pregnancy progressed, but I developed pregnancy induced hypertension and had to be monitored closely.

My last trimester was touch and go…a delicate situation, high risked the doctor said. I went for my usual check up and was told to call a family member to take my bags as I was being admitted to the hospital until I was induced to give birth. My blood pressure was in no way stabilizing so a decision was taken to induce my labour after being in the hospital for close to a week. Labour was long and the pain extremely unbearable…no epidural for me…it was not offered…

August 22, my second child was born, a perfect baby, my son, R #2. I felt tears running down to my ears. I’m a mother again and my children’s safety and protection was up to God and me. I felt so much love for my son. Thank you Lord, was the prayer I prayed that Tuesday morning.

My children grew and our lives progressed. I embraced my role as MOTHER to my two R’s.

Tragedy struck and their father and my husband died in a motor vehicle accident. Shock, hurt, disbelief…every known emotion was experienced by me. I remember seeing my two R’s sleeping in my bed and wondered how was I going to tell them that their father had died. I held my three year old on my lap and hugged my ten year old close to me, then I gently broke the news to them. R#1 wept for hours for her father. My son kept looking questioningly at me and I said, ‘daddy has died and will not be coming home again. He’s taking a long, long sleep until Jesus wakes him up…’hard, hard! My three year old would tell people for years that his father was taking a ‘long sleep’. Today he understands that he is dead.

My children and I have been faced with so much hurt, disappointment and deep pain. Sometimes in my alone time I pray and I cry for our loss. Pleading with God to heal every scar and completely heal our emotions.

Twelve years later, a single mom with my two R’s, we’re not there yet but, we are together: a family. I love them both with every fibre of my being and I need them more than they need me. I am so proud to be their mother.

The two R’s bought me a Pandora bracelet for my Mother’s Day gift. My first born said mom,’ for this new season of your life, which is coming, you can more charms to mark your happy memories that will be created soon.’ They are wiser than their years. Giving me encouragement daily! I am so blessed to have them. Prayer: Thank you Jesus for my children, watch over them with jealous care, provide their needs and stay close to them. Amen!

I don’t know what lies in store for us, but I know with God by my side and with the two R’s filling me up…I believe, I know we are going to overcome all odds and make it together. The three musketeers-reaching for the stars!

Mother’s are amazing human beings. Take a bow mothers. For staying and not leaving, I salute you! I honour you for never taking the easy way out.

Mothers you are unsung heroines whose stories may never be heard, but know that you are blessed and plain old SPECIAL!
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