Altered, cont’d

via Pinterest

via Pinterest


I’ve been noticing how I have been altered since John’s phone call the other morning.  My feelings of anxiety and apprehension around him have turned to compassion, concern, and support.  We live far removed from each other.  800 miles and many years separate us.  I’ve only met his family once, perhaps twice, and then only briefly.  Our lives have carried on without each other.  And yet, of course, with the news of the death of my former husband’s stepson, the estrangement falls away.  Rightly so.  I want to help.  I can’t begin to imagine what he and his family are experiencing with this tragedy.  They’re living the unthinkable;  the unimaginable.  Every parent’s worst nightmare.  This is their reality now.  And I want to send them support, love, comfort.  Small tokens.  Small, yet I believe that compounded with the hundreds of ways they’re being loved and supported by their family and friends at home it all adds up to something that will help to carry them through this time.  At least that is my wish for them.

Calling hours are this evening from 5-8pm.  We won’t be traveling to West Virginia for the services.  But tonight at 5pm Marleigh, Delaney, and I will be lighting two candles:  one for Ethan, who lost his life on the evening of September 30th, and another for those who love and were loved by him.  We will burn the candles for the duration of tonight’s service.  I invite you to join us in lighting a candle tonight.  In support of John and Susan and their family if you like, or in support of anyone else who is suffering and in great pain.  Please share your stories if you like.  I’m always grateful to hear them, because we’re all in this together, aren’t we.  And when it comes down to it, it’s the love and support we share that  help each other through it all.


True Love Feast on Your Life

Feast on Your Life


Love After Love

The time will come

when, with elation, you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door,

in your own mirror,

and each will smile at the other’s welcome

and say, sit here.  Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine.  Give bread.

Give back yor heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you


all your life, whom you ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,


the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit.  Feast on your life.


-Derek Walcott


Flipping through my recent issue of Spirituality & Health magazine I came upon this poem.  It was like running into an old friend.  I had a copy of this on my bedroom wall for years, and reminded my daughters of it.  “You know, the poem with the billowing curtains around it?”   “Oh yea,” the said, feigning interest.  I was delighted, regardless.  When I first pinned it to my wall, I felt in my bones that it was true.  Yet, I didn’t experience it, that notion of loving oneself.  We’ve all heard it said that we can’t truly love another until we truly love ourselves.  I know I have.  A bazillion times.  When I first discovered this poem I was going through a nasty divorce and found myself raising two small girls alone. I didn’t know how I was going to do this.  I was afraid I would ruin the lives of these small angels.  Didn’t know how I would financially support the three of us on my own as a massage therapist in a rural town.   I felt unprepared.  Alone.  Beaten-down.  Depleted.  Exhausted.  So I pinned this poem to my wall with the notion that maybe if I read it daily, something would shift.  Loving myself felt a bit far-fetched. But perhaps it would at least help to quiet those punitive voices of criticism and self-doubt that ruled my days.  I kept going, putting one foot in front of the other.  Somehow, I’ve managed to support my family.  Miraculously, I’ve raised two brilliant young women.  No, we’re not done yet, they’re in their early- and mid-teens.  But we’re a tight, loving, pretty dynamic family, if I do say so myself.  My daughters are making their marks in the world in their own unique and beautiful ways, and I’m confident they will continue to do so.  We’ve done alright.  I have done alright.  Have I come to truly love myself?  Well, I still have a ways to go on that one.  But I can look at myself in the mirror with joy and pride, even love.  I’ve come a long way from those days of fear and exhaustion and self-doubt.  Over the years I have learned how to give myself wine and bread.    I am actually feasting on my own life.