Candy Business

I remember way back. Each of us would throw a fire ball candy in our mouths and see how long we could tolerate it before we sipped some cold water. Our faces would scowl, we’d run in place and drool on the grass. Red dye would melt away, staining our tongues and lips. Once the powerful heat dissipated, the remainder of the candy was good. It was mild and you could crunch it up and swallow it. Rarely, did anyone fail. I guess we were all standing around at six and seven years old trying to be bad asses.  Nobody wanted to appear weak. We handled our candy business, laughed and moved on to play house or kick ball. We were little kid’s unaware of the clock that was feverishly ticking without warning.

Not much changes in life. If you pay attention, the cycle continues but it’s a bunch of the stuff you’ve already been through. Whether or not you realize it, you are constantly handling your own candy business. Always being tested by that heat. Can you make it through those hot spots or are you going to call for mercy? The seasons change but they start over. Cold winter, flowers, swimming in the ocean and leaves on the lawn. There’s life and death. Weddings and funerals. The maternity ward and the assisted living facility.

Candy business. It was second grade when it started for me and it’s never stopped. You are either popping a candy in your mouth, sweating or enjoying the reward. Personally, I want to spend the most of my time enjoying the reward but I feel like I spend a good deal of my time in the middle sector. That cruel burning heat. I’m sure some of you can relate.

Ever race the microwave? You know, throw in a few hot pockets, start ironing a shirt, wash three dishes, start a load of laundry, go to the bathroom and all of a sudden that beep sounds off and you cheer? Me too. But what about the race against the microwave when you burn the shirt with the iron, break a dish, start the laundry but forget to add detergent and barely make it to the bathroom only to find that you’ve overcooked the hot pockets? Are we really handling our candy business correctly? I think not. We create most of our own heat. Yes, we want to be strong. We want to accomplish everything in a timely manner but we deserve a sip of that cold water. By not pausing, we are burning ourselves out. We are punishing ourselves in the middle. We deserve mercy. If we give ourselves a fair chance, we are more likely to succeed. The microwave didn’t come with a setting that said, household chores and the wrapper of fireball candies doesn’t state you have to droll all over your L.L. Bean cardigan.

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The Red Head

“Attention skaters, it’s men’s choice. Don’t be shy boys, go find a partner.” Blared the voice through the loud speaker. I always wondered what those people looked like because you never saw their faces. I didn’t care much for boy’s choice. I liked when the girls got to choose who they wanted to roller skate with. When the boys got to select, I had less control. Even at eleven, I liked being in charge of myself. I didn’t make huge decisions, just one’s that were suitable for an eleven year old girl. Skating with a boy was my decision. If I wanted to, I would. If not, I declined. I was raised to be polite.
It was 1985. My white roller skates had rainbow laces and silver bells on the toes. I’d chosen to where a red and white striped mini skirt and a fuzzy white sweater that matched my leg warmers. I wore thick white tights, not pantyhose. Those were for teenagers. I did manage to sneak a red lipstick, an Avon sample to be exact, into my Jordace purse. I’d gone to the ladies’ room to apply the lipstick and some heavy, blue eyeliner. I felt like one of the women from the group, Abba.
I’ve found, over time, that some of the most important conversations I’ve had with people, are not necessarily people I’ve known well. And some of those talks are fast. They don’t last an hour or two but merely minutes. What can you really learn in just a few minutes with someone you’ll never see again in your life? You can learn a whole lot.
“Wanna skate with me, beautiful?” He asked. His red hair was parted on the left and it was greased down. I figured he probably had a terrible cowlick. He had a mouth full of silver that hadn’t helped his overbite out one bit. His clothes were that of the time, but he smelled like he’d gotten into his dad’s Brut cologne. I really did not want to skate with him but thought, what the heck.
“Take my hand, sexy lady.” He smiled. He reminded me of that awkward guy from, Welcome Back Kotter.
“Hold it right there. Do not use the word, sexy, with me. That’s inappropriate and it’ll get you slapped across the face by some girls. Got it?”
“Yes, pretty woman.”
“Look man, quit ok? You’ll never in your life get a girlfriend this way. You probably won’t get a wife either. You’re trying too hard.”
I took his hand and we rolled onto the rink. We couldn’t go very fast, it was a Saturday and the place was packed. We skated to a song by Janet Jackson. I kept about two feet of distance between us. I didn’t hold his hand like I loved him. I didn’t even hold it like I liked him. I held the tips of his fingers. He was smiling. His smile made me smile.
“I can skate backwards.” He said.
“Really?”
“Yes, want me too?”
“Sure!”
He whipped around, and we were face to face. Still, I insisted on distance. I didn’t want to smell his breath. The cologne was enough.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” He asked. It caught me off guard. I detected true interest in his tone.
“What I want to be and what I’m suppose to be are too different things.” I said.
“What do you want to be?”
“I want to be a dancer?” I said.
“Like on Broadway?”
“No, like in a club.”
His eyes got wide. He knew what I meant.
“Why would you want to do that?”
“For the money. I figure I can take a few drugs, numb my brain and dance for money.”
“You mentioned you were supposed to be something. What is that?” He asked as he kept an eye behind himself. He was a good skater.
“I’m supposed to be a writer.”
“Who says? Your parents?”
“No.”
“Then who?”
“A voice. It’s like a ghost. I can hear it in my head. I was told that I was to write books when I was eight years old.”
He almost came to a complete stop in the middle of the rink. I expected that. I didn’t for an instant, expect for him to believe me. By then, the song had ended and couple’s skate, boy’s choice was over. We kept skating.

“I will probably never see you again in my life. I haven’t even asked your name, but I need to say something to you. Don’t slap me. Do not dance for money. Listen to the voice of the ghost. Grow up a become a writer.”
“I have no clue what I’ll write about.”
“Don’t worry about that part. It’ll come to you in time. And by the way, my name is John. When I grow up, I want to be a doctor. My parents already have a college fund for me. I skipped a grade. I get made fun of for being a nerd because I’m so smart, but I don’t care. I know I’m going to do something great in life and I know you are too. What’s your name?”
“Sherry. My name is Sherry.”

Behind the yellow caution tape

I entered the lobby of the social services office. All three of the windows were occupied. I stood back behind the sign that read, wait here. It’s always busy, I’ve gotten use to it. The office staff knows me by name. I’m their exterminator. If I’m lucky, one of the women behind the glass will catch site of me. She’ll pause from what she’s doing and let me through the door that leads to the back. I need to inspect the kitchen. I’m required to sign the book and attach a visitor’s badge to my shirt collar. I don’t dare take a seat, they’d never see me. I stand and watch the clock, tick on the wall. I observe two children playing with toys in the corner of the waiting room. I can hear the shuffle of paperwork and fingers typing away on computers. People come here to get help applying for jobs. The place always smells medicinal. The tinted windows in the large lobby trick you into believing a storm is coming.
I’ve entered this place each month for over fifteen years. I know what pamphlets are displayed on the walls. I stop and look at them occasionally just in case there is someone I know who might need what they offer. They start collecting used prom dresses in the Fall. The schedule of the Community dinners is available. Nutrition guides, bus schedules, job posting, pregnancy resources, elder care information and educational booklets about STD’s are all available for the taking. I like to post the free dinner schedule on my Facebook wall. Nobody is going to shout out on social media and be like, I can’t feed my kids. They won’t tell you that they work two jobs and still go to bed hungry. Those are secrets people keep. I grab a calendar, snap a pic and simply throw it out on Facebook. I usually say something like, “Hey everyone! If you know anybody who might need dinner this week, here is the church schedule.” The post usually gets shared several times.
Seventeen minutes and I’m still waiting. I’m not going to be able to wait much longer. I’ve got a schedule to keep. I glance at a chair over by the public bathrooms. An elderly man in the finest suit you can purchase from a second-hand store, sits there sound asleep. He holds his cane in his left hand. The public restrooms are under construction. Yellow caution tape attached to orange cones creates a barrier between the public and the bathrooms. The old man sits in a chair, positioned slightly behind the caution tape. I watch him. I observe him like a reporter who wants more. His athletic socks look too thick for his dress shoes. The socks overflow the loafers and I can’t help but to imagine, his feet must be sore. He wears a white shirt and a red necktie with the navy-blue suit. I’m drawn to him. The caution tape seems to warn me to stay away from him. I want to go to him. I don’t want to heed the warning of some symbolic, yellow, plastic tape. A woman exits the door I need to enter. She sees the elderly man and she sees me. She points in my direction and I nod. Without speaking, she knows I need to get back there. She goes to get the clipboard and a badge. The man lifts his head, yawns and blinks his tired brown eyes. He smiles gently and reveals a set of pearly white dentures.
“Sir, I totally apologize. I’m certain that you were waiting on that social worker and I just cut right in front of you, didn’t I?”
“No Mam. I’m in no rush. I got no where to be.” He said with a bit of cheer.
“Take it easy. It’s hot outside today!” I replied.
“That’s just the thing. You see, I just got out of prison. Been walking around town for two days. My legs are all swole up.” He explained as he pulled up one polyester pant leg to reveal skin that looked like a sausage casing ready to rip open. “Yup, I made mistakes and when I was locked up, my family died. I came back to this town and everything has changed. I got nowhere to be and nowhere to go.”
I looked at the black prison tattoos on his neck, hands and wrists. I looked at his gray hair. I lost track of the number of wrinkles on his face.
“May I hug you. May I just lean in and wrap my arms around you?”
“You want to hug me?” He asked as his eyes teared up.
“I want to hug you and I want you to know the Lord doesn’t give us more than we can handle.”
He stood. He carefully balanced himself and positioned his cane firmly on the tile floor of the social services lobby. I hugged him around his shoulders. The woman came through the door with the sign in sheet and my badge. She paused as I stood wit the man. She did not interrupt.
“I don’t remember the last time someone wanted to hug me. Thank you, Mam.”
“No, thank you and you.” I said as I turned from the man to the social worker.
She smiled and sat down at the desk with a thin stack of papers.
“Mam.” I said.
“Yes?”
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you’ve chosen to do for a living. I believe there is a special closet in Heaven. In that closet are sets of wings, bursting with feathers. They are reserved for social workers.”

I’m a middle child

I love to interact with people on Facebook. I often throw a random question out there to create communication amongst a diverse group of people. 

Today’s question was,

Do you have siblings or are you an only child? Step sisters or brothers? Where do you fall in the lineup? Are you the oldest, a middle child or are you the baby?

So I’ll ask you the same question! I look forward to your comments!

Daily Prompt : Ooze

“May I see my family?” I asked as I fumbled to adjust my glasses.

“Not yet. Let’s fix you up a little bit more before they come in.” The nurse said as she pumped Valium into my veins.

The bandages would stay in place for six days. No showers allowed and no deodorant, I was going to stink. My chest was wrapped up tight like a secret present not meant to be opened until it was time. I had no idea what the gift would look like. I would obey my doctor’s orders and not peek. She explained that there were twelve inches of drainage tubes inserted where my breasts use to be. She told me not to be scared as the blood and tissue would ooze from my chest and make its way to the bulbs that looked like hand grenades. I felt like someone had whacked me across the rib cage with a 2×4 but I didn’t cry nor did I throw a pity party. I knew I’d made a decision that would give me more time on this earth. My right breast had seven areas of cancer but the left had none. I requested a double mastectomy for the love my family and friends and the desire to share my journey with others.

Day six eventually came around and I got to see the new me. That’s another story for another day.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/ooze/

 

Nobody Fights Alone

I’d driven by the building hundreds of times. I had no reason to go to that place. Thank God I didn’t need what they were selling. It wasn’t that the building wasn’t attractive, because in fact, it’s a beautiful brick structure designed to give you a sense of serenity, but you do not go if you don’t have a reason. I had a reason in June of 2015. That’s when I was diagnosed with cancer and after all of those years of driving by that place, I actually had no choice. I had to walk through the automatic doors to meet my Oncologist.

Two years have passed and now I go through those doors because I want to. I’m drawn to the cancer center. I spend time painting rocks with inspirational sayings written on them. I load the rocks into a basket and deliver them to The Cancer Center at least twice a week. The wire basket that stands one foot tall sits on a table just outside of the pharmaceutical window. A hand printed sign hanging on the basket encourages Chemo patients to take a rock. I’m sad to say that to date, I’ve never been able to fill the wire basket. The rocks go too fast. Other women in my community help me with this project and still, we can’t meet the demand. I’ve been told that patients are seen holding their special rocks as they sit back and receive treatment. I’ve witnessed some things at The Cancer Center during my drop offs that I can only type about. I’m unable to verbally tell these stories because they are too emotional. I look forward to sharing these precious memories with you.

Goodbye Stranger

“We are going over to Donna’s house tonight. She rented videos and she’s going to order pizza for you two.” My Mom yelled as she came down the hall with a laundry basket full of clean clothes. Her Dr scholls shoes clomped as she walked. I always wondered how ladies could walk in the wooden sandals but my Mom did it with grace and she never complained.

Donna was a nice lady with deep set dark brown eyes that were almost black. Her eyelids were sunk in. You could see all of her facial bones. Her black feathered hair draped over her ears and covered part of her cheeks. I got nervous each time she struck her personalized Zippo to light her Viceroy cigarette. It was like a waiting game to see if Donna’s hair was going to go up in flames. My brother and I always watched. Thankfully, Donna had a technique. She would swoosh her hair elegantly to the right as the three inch flame came out of the small torch. The silver lighter would hit the metal kitchen table with a cling like the sound of a church bell. But Donna wasn’t a church going lady and that was just fine with me. I was only seven but I envied Donna’s lavender eyeshadow and dangling earrings. She usually wore white tops but I thought she should wear black to match her hair. And besides, I thought she was an undercover witch posing as pharmacy technician.

My brother and I bundled up. It was a typical October night in West Roxbury Massachusetts. We could see our breath which meant that we were going to write on the inside of the windows of Mom’s blue Chevette. We’d draw smiley faces and hearts with our pointer fingers. Mom never complained but every so often she’d hand us a bottle of Windex and paper towels and we would clean our art only to start over the next time we got in the car and it fogged up.
“Mom, I draw better than Mike.” I said as I looked at my brother and laughed.
“Be nice Sherry. He’s two years younger than you.” She said as she glanced in the rear view mirror. I stuck my tongue out at my brother and he punched me it return. I pulled off his stocking cap and he pulled my hair.
“Mom, please turn up the radio!” I begged.

Looks like it’s over, you knew I couldn’t stay
She’s coming home today
We had a good thing, I’ll miss your sweet love
Why must you look at me that way?
It’s over
Sad eyes, turn the other way
I don’t wanna see you cry
Sad eyes, you knew there’d come a day
When we would have to say, “goodbye”

As I stared out the window at the tall buildings in the city, I sang those words with all my might. I imagined I had Donna’s feathered hair and a Viceroy in one hand and a microphone in the other. My parents had divorced two years prior but I held no anger or sadness. I was glad they separated. I had more opportunities to meet people and see different places because Dad lived in the country and Mom had moved to the city. And just like Robert John, the artist sang, “you knew there’d come a day
When we would have to say, goodbye.” People split up. People divorced and people died. I had that down in my notes by seven and none of it scared me.

“Pizza and VHS tapes for you two rugrats!” Donna shrieked as she opened the storm door. She welcomed us with open arms. She gave us red lipstick kisses on the forehead and lifted us off the floor. We ran to the kitchen for paper plates, pizza and Tupperware cups full of Coca Cola. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer was in the video player. I hopped into the recliner and my brother onto the love seat. I pulled the gold chain on the lamp to darken the room.
“That’s no good for your eyes kiddo’s!” Donna said as she popped her head through the beaded curtain that separated the kitchen from the living room.
“Donna, we like it like this! It’s like being at the movies!” I insisted. We got our way and watched our movie as we inhaled pepperoni pizza, Nonpareils and Whoppers malted milk balls. Each time the movie would get quiet, I could hear my Mom and Donna laughing. My Mom was happy therefore I was content. I wished that we could stay forever in the moment but before we knew it, the Grandfather clock struck twelve. It was late. My brother had fallen asleep with his head on the arm rest of the orange and brown floral couch. He had chocolate at both corners of his mouth. He’d have to brush his teeth good. Mom wouldn’t allow us to skip a night of cleaning our pearly whites. That was a rule.

“Give me a hug Sherry.” Donna said. My Mom stood in the kitchen with my brother draped over one shoulder and her Candies purse on the other. The Chevette was outside warming up. I made my way to Donna in my pink coat and white hat with the fake rabbit fur trim. She smiled and blinked her eyes. One of her fake eye lashes had parted from her lid. It was flapping around and it reminded me of a carton I watched where a man’s wig came flying off. I didn’t want to see Donna’s eyelash peel completely off. It would’ve given me a nightmare right after watching a movie about Santa Claus. I focused on Donna’s feathered hair and not her eye.
“Sherry, listen to me. I’m going to move soon and I won’t see you kids anymore. I’ll stay in touch with your Mom and she promised she’d mail me school pictures. I’ll call when I can but long distance is expensive so the calls will be short. I want you to remember something. Look into my eyes.” She demanded. I look at her wandering eyelash and then directly into her pupils.
“Kid, you are special. Life is not going to be easy but I see potential in you. Be a good girl, listen to your parents and grow up to be a productive woman.”
“I want to feather my hair and wear purple eyeshadow just like you Donna.”
“You can do anything you want to do. Go out and be a free bird Sherry.”

Lisa & Gracie: Part Two

“Do you want me to contact Lisa?” Christa asked.
“No. Not yet.” I said as I leaned back against the kitchen counter and crossed my arms. I kicked a piece of dry cereal that had emerged from under the stove across the floor and stared at my foot. I wished life were as simple as the cartoon smiling sushi rolls on my socks.
“I’ll call her whenever you want me to.” Christa said as she quietly left the kitchen. A best friend knows what you are feeling. A best friend knows when you just need a bit more time to sort out your thoughts. Christa was giving me that time but my sweet dog Gracie couldn’t wait much longer. She was confused. In the past twenty four hours, she had fallen several  times and was struggling to walk. I had to get my mind right in a time that my fur baby could not.
I thought back to the days of the kids giving Gracie baths in the baby pool on the deck. They would suds her up and spike her hair. They would rinse her with the garden hose and just when they’d least expect it, Gracie would shake and send water sprinkling down all over my laughing children.
I remembered the day when the three kids took Gracie on a walk after school. She was a young dog who had skip in her step. My son Jeff was holding the lease as Monica and Natalie walked with them. Gracie spotted a squirrel and jerked the leash. Jeff held on and the force of the tug dislocated Jeff’s shoulder. The kids ran home to tell me what had happened. Jeff was pale but all three of the kids were laughing. Gracie was bouncing along beside them. She seemed to be laughing too.
“Mom! Gracie saw a squirrel and Jeff held onto the leash and me and Natalie heard a pop and all of the sudden, brother’s arm was extra long!” Monica said as she gasped for air and laughed hysterically.
“Mom, she’s not kidding. Jeff’s arm was hanging down. His hand was almost at his knee.” Natalie said as she laughed with tears in her eyes.
“Wait, Jeff’s arm was extra long? Jeff what happened?” I asked.
“It happened so fast! Gracie saw a squirrel and the next thing I knew, I felt a pop and pain. I put the leash in my other hand, whipped my hurt arm in the air using the force of my body and it just went right back into place!” Jeff said. He said it hurt but he was proud he didn’t lose our dog.

I walked to the laundry room. I stared at my Gracie who was asleep on her hot pink fleece blanket. I recalled all of the late nights when she would wake up the entire household because she heard a raccoon in the trash barrel which was on the exterior wall of where she slept. I stared at the mud splatters on the white walls and was reminded of running to the backyard to rescue her from thunderstorms. I observed the dry dog food that had slipped out of her bowl, the dog hair in her brush, the unopened Milk bones and the red leash. I gripped the door frame and took the biggest breath I could. I wanted to inhale her soul and merge it with mine.
“Christa!” I yelled. “Call Lisa. Make the appointment.”

“Please fill out these few forms. Don’t worry about the back of the second page. Sign and date on all of the yellow marks and we will have a room soon.” The receptionist said. I took a seat and began the paperwork. I hadn’t seen Lisa yet but I knew it was only a matter of time. I quickly scribbled answers to all of the questions. An older couple walking a stocky little Bulldog came in as I was finishing the paperwork.
“Jasper, leave that lady alone.” His owner said as Jasper came over and sat on my foot. He looked up into my eyes and I smiled at him.
“Come on Jasper.” the man said. “I’m sorry Mam. His breath will kill a mule!”
“It’s fine Sir. Let him stay.” I said. Jasper sat on my foot until it was his turn to get on the scale. I believe pets are able to feel the pain in a human. Jasper knew I was hurting. He was trying to comfort me.

“Sherry, how are you?” Lisa asked as she emerged from a door marked Private.
“I’ve been better. This is tough. We lost our other dog just over a year ago. Gracie never recovered form the heartache of the loss. She’s been sad ever since and now she’s had a stroke. She’s ready. As for us, not so much but we don’t believe in allowing her to suffer.”
“We are going to place a soft blanket on the floor. Go ahead and bring her in. We are going to lock the doors and close the office. You are the last appointment of the day.” Lisa said.

Christa and Amber were in the parking lot with Gracie. I motioned for them to come up to the entrance. The three of us and our sixty two pound Shepard Husky mix walked quietly to room number two. A tan blanket was laid neatly on the floor. Gracie paced the room, she was nervous and so were we. The veterinarian explained that she was going to give Gracie a shot to calm her down. She said it would burn. We laid our hands on Gracie’s course fur to embrace her for the small burst of pain. She flinched and turned her head to look at her rear. Within seconds she was calm and resting quietly on the comfy blanket. Sitting on the cold floor, I bent over and got close to her ear. As she began liking her nose and getting drowsy, I whispered, “Do you remember when you were a little bitty baby? I found you at a pest control service. A lady had you hidden under a coffee table. I heard you bark from beneath a navy blue table cloth. I wasn’t the only one who heard you, the landlord did as well. He told the lady to get rid of you. He was stern and said there was a no pet policy. She was sad and panicked. She’d found you on the street. She promised she’d have you at the pound that afternoon but instead, I got off of work early and met her before she left for work at the local pizza place. That’s the day you became mine. Saved by grace.

Gracie was snoring by now. The vet asked if we needed more time. We did not. I asked that they please move quickly. A needle was inserted in her arm and two vials of fluid were pumped into my pet. I held her face and watched life leave her body. I looked at the doctor and asked, “Is she gone?” The vet listened for a heartbeat and there was none. I looked back into the face of my fur baby and her eyes were open but lifeless. With one gentle swipe of my hand, her eyes were closed. Our faces were red and soaked with tears. Lisa stood close to the wall, rocking back and forth wiping her own eyes.

Lisa made us a clay paw print as a reminder of our beautiful pet. Gracie had a wonderful life filled with people who loved her. Lisa is employed at the vet’s office and she’s furthering her education. She intends to remain in that line of work. It’s amazing that even in times of crisis, God will direct you to the people you need at that particular time. Lisa knew Gracie for most of her life. The love in that room that day was immeasurable.

Silver Strands

I’ve been her exterminator for 11 years. She’s 72. She retired from her career as a nurse two years ago. And that’s all I knew until today.
“Come sit Sherry.”

Her kitchen is burgundy with a teddy bear wallpaper border. Baskets of candy and cookies make it feel comfortable.

“Sherry, I know a lot about you but I’m very quiet. I never want to draw attention but sometimes it’s necessary to lift another.”

I stare into her pale blue eyes. She wears a cross around her neck that lays on her grape purple T-shirt that has “World’s Best Nana” screen printed in white.

“Sherry, I’m an 8 year breast cancer survivor. I did 45 rounds of chemo and underwent 38 radiation treatments.” 

I gasp, fold my hands and place my arms on the table. Palms clutched. She has my full attention and she deserves it.

“It was late September, the Oncologist told me I’d lose my hair. It was gray and landed at the back of my bra strap. I believed I’d be the exception but I heeded his caution and had my hairdresser cut my silver strands to shoulder length. I went and sat in the chair and took my first treatment.” She said and she paused. 

I gave her time. I was willing to give her hours because I knew something big was coming.

“Sherry, on October 1st, I went and sat on my front porch swing. I was wearing a red sweater. It was chilly that day and the wind was blowing. It was three days after my chemo treatment. I was watching the birds at my feeders. I needed time to think and that’s when it started. The wind picked up and my hair began to blow away. Little by little, strands just up and parted way from my head. At that moment, I got very strong. I didn’t cry. I said, why not me? I’m no better than anyone else!”

By now my jaw has dropped. I’m soaking up her strength like a sponge. I said nothing because there are times it’s best to be silent.

“Sherry, I sat there alone and for one hour, I pulled out all of my hair and let the wind take it. I wanted the birds to have it to make beautiful nests for their young.”
This is how I maintain my strength. It’s because I’m surrounded by people who have gone before me.

7:44

Wednesday morning, June 21st, the anesthesiologist entered the room.”Mrs. Lambert, you indicated that you are allergic to Valium therefore I’m not going to start the IV until you are in the OR. You are going to see and remember quite a bit right up until I put you out. Are you ok with this?”

“Yes Sir. Thank you. Please make sure you wake me up when it’s over.”
I kiss Donnie as they put the side rails up on the bed. The nurse adjusts my hair net. And just like that they grab the bed and it’s rolling down the hallway. 
“7:44” the nurse says.

“7:44” the doctor says.

I take it all in. The room looks like a spaceship and the six people in the room are dressed from head to toe in white with clear shields over their faces. 

“Mrs. Lambert, we need you to move over to this table.”

The operating table is skinny and I’m certain it will not hold my rear end and I let them know. We laugh as they strap my arms down. I can see my body in the overhead light. I’m shaped like a a T. 

“7:46” the nurse says.

“7:46” the doctor says.

“Mrs. Lambert, I’m going to start the medication. You won’t be awake much longer.” He says.

My heart rate picks up and I look at all of their faces. “I’m still awake, don’t cut anything open until I’m asleep please!”

“7:48” the nurse says.

“7:48” the doctor says.

“I’m fading!” I tell them. “Please fix me, thank you in advance.” I said. And the next thing I remember was the bed rolling into a room where my family was waiting to greet  me. 

Cancer and the effects it has on a body are terrible. Life isn’t pretty but it sure is beautiful.