“O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!” and “In Praise of Talismans”

Having so many frabjous days lately, I’m literally chortling in my joy, and my sister can attest to this. Joy with laughter, and joy with tears. Nothing much makes one appreciate a simple breath more than a difficult one. And nothing much makes a simple breath fully present than not knowing whether all the rest will be difficult.

It appears, from recent pulmonary studies, that my easy breathing of this day isn’t solely related to the fact I’m on steroids (which are gradually being reduced), but that I may continue to breathe easily even after those meds are gone. My oncologist thinks that the inflammation in my lungs – caused initially by radiation, but exacerbated by the chemotherapy – should disappear. We’re not ruling out the possibility that I may experience another episode to accompany the last two rounds of chemo, but we’ll deal with that when it comes, and likely with less fear. Did I mention that it’s scary to lose your breath? I mean, what else have you really got here?

The oxygen man is coming today to take away all the equipment he brought into the house when I came home from the hospital. I didn’t end up using any of it, and moved it all away from the door so I wasn’t confronted with it whenever I walked in. But I think he has to throw away that neat, clear rubber tubing anyway, and I’m going to ask him for some of it. I could do something with that.

“In Praise of Talismans”, I just have to say that I am so fortunate to have in my possession a collection of dear and priceless objects that I carry with me (to treatments and often elsewhere) to bolster my courage, to carry all your healing thoughts and prayers, and to remind me how much I love and am loved. A nice picture of some of my talismans accompanies this entry.

Here, front to back in the picture, is a silver Buddha pendant given to me by my dear friend, Mary. I finally figured out that she waits until I pick something up in her gallery and she watches me. If she sees, in my eyes, that it really does touch me, and she hears in my voice that I really do love it, she said, “It’s yours.” There’s no arguing, and it isn’t necessary. We know each other and give and receive everything we can, all the time. With this pendant around my neck, I not only have the presence of Buddha, but of Mary. They’re a frabjous pair! (And she doesn’t even read this journal – not so tech savvy…)

Here’s a 1923 silver dollar. The short story – my father and his brother handed it back and forth between them whenever they could meet during WWII. Dad was in the Army Air Corps, flying bombing raids out of London, and seldom saw his brother, Charlie Gee, in another branch of the service.  I didn’t even know of this ritual until a few years ago, when my cousins, Jan and Sue, brought the story to our annual Cousins Reunion. Many years after The War, when Charlie Gee had a heart attack, my dad pulled this silver dollar from his dresser and took it to Gee, for good luck. It passed back and forth a few more times over the years, and now the brothers are together somewhere, but we cousins have the silver dollar. This was my year to have it – and turns out I’ve needed it this year more than most. My hope is that the cousin I pass it to next year will just be able to enjoy it for all its love and history, but the strength goes with it, no matter what.

The silver dollar and Buddha are together on a bullet chain; my dog tags.

Next in the picture is a cuff bracelet and I‘ll come back to that in a minute.

Here’s a pair of earrings, followed by a couple of bracelets, by my friend, Deb Chenault at Twelfth House Designs (Facebook page) . We made friends when she came to exhibit at the Governor’s Derby Breakfast, when I worked at the Kentucky Craft Marketing Program. She looked so exotic and beautiful to me, and her silver jewelry was stunning. She had studied in Thailand, and I felt such admiration for a young woman who would study jewelry making under a Thai master. That seemed another world. We’ve been drawn together much since then, and I always feel a healing in her presence. I feel that same warmth when I wear her jewelry, and I know it shines out, because people always smile and comment that they love my jewelry.

Then there’s this sandalwood japa mala, strung by and gifted to me by one of my gurus – Dr. Rebecca Martin of the Atmaram Ashram in Louisville. I was fortunate to accompany her (and others) on a pilgrimage trip to Sedona last year, and had the experience of a walking meditation with this mala, around the Buddha Stupa there, up in the red rocks – in addition to quite a few other heart-opening experiences. Rebecca is a teacher and a shining star in my heart. Always.

Way in the background of the picture are some rocks from various wonderful places, and they generally stay home, resting right there on my ‘altar’ area.

And back to that cuff bracelet, near the front. I’m not sure that you can see it has the word, “Remember” engraved on it. I wear it from time to time, for various reasons. Sometimes it’s just to help me remember why I went to the grocery in the first place. I’ll look at it right before check out, and recall the reason I’m there is for peanut butter and notice there’s none in my basket. Usually, I wear it in hopes someone will notice it and ask what it’s about. “911?” some say.  The truth is that I haven’t a clue how I came by it, and perhaps one day I’ll run into someone who was with me when I bought it or received it, and solve that mystery. So that’s among my ‘talismans’, mainly for the chuckle.

O Frabjous Day!


PS – x-rays, scans, and another chemo treatment, all coming up between now and March 14th. Wish me luck!

Published on CaringBridge.org — February 24, 2017


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