we've been settling into our digs in sebastopol and it's been really very lovely. sebastopol, for those that don't know it, is a place where everyone just got out of yoga class and is drinking a wheat-berry wheatgrass wheat-free smoothie. lots of smiles when you walk down the street, lots of beautiful people thinking the best of you. probably.
we've been blessed in the last week with the presence of our dear friend wren whose presence allowed me to get kinda-caught-up or now-just-a-little-behind on the paperwork that's associated with every aspect of current american life. it's mostly great stuff -- there's a cancer support group that brings meals out to the house (we're on the waiting list), there's a doctor here who will see us as our family physician (an exception to the rule since they're technically full but she liked us when we went in with solas last thursday), there's SSI benefits (in process) and food stamps (in the mail) and on and on. and we started a church (anyone want to help us do the 501(c)3 paperwork?).
long story short: lots to say but i haven't been getting to it.
but i have uploaded a handful of photos because i found an adapter for our camera. they're over on the youcaring.com/tidewalker website in the gallery. some of the pictures are really lovely and some of the pictures i hope make you laugh because they're out-takes from our attempts to make something really lovely for you. and there's a video there as well. here also is a direct link to the video: youtu.be/YgAUCZwsMNc. it's basically solas purring in the arms of brenna from last week.
it keeps being good news -- at least continual improvements. she's been sleeping in the tent without a problem. today she took her first all-by-herself shower in months. her appetite is good. every day she goes for a walk around the yard. and yesterday she did some yoga...well, she laid on a yoga mat for awhile is what happened, but it's a start.
the lungs and rib area is stubbornly sore. still the prime area of concern -- still welcoming your prayers. obviously.
in terms of good news though i'd say the biggest thing in the last week is her spirits. she was in good spirits this whole time just because she's a person who is generally thoughtful and generous and thankful for another day of life, but this week is when she says she started to get some of her exuberance (!) back. some of that old zip and sparkle. she said she feels tired still, but it's like her body needs rest and not like her soul is exhausted.
very very good to hear.
another amazing thing is that our friend ken genetti, a neighbor from the ranch we lived on, connected us with a harp! rebecca loves celtic music, and she'd been learning the flute and loving it. she loved learning the flute so much that she kept learning a bit, setting it down for long enough to forget everything, and then picking it up again.
but with her diminished lung capacity, the flute wasn't -- and still isn't -- an option. so we looked around for ways to get a harp for her to play.
ken's a harp player, and he put us in touch with a person he knows -- lisa lynne -- who has created a non-profit whose purpose is to bring harp music into hospitals. in related news, their specific focus is on people working with cancer! here's a video of her talking about how she got into it if you're curious: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cfs0RE-nKuc
it was another amazing blessing and door opening and something to be grateful for.
trivia note: we've had two CDs of harp music on our ipod for the last 7 years. one of them was made by lisa lynne. rebecca's father bought the disc from lisa at a renaissance fair maybe 15 years ago with no idea that she'd be paying it forward so exquisitely. circles and circles.
A PORTRAIT OF REBECCA
there's pictures of her at the youcaring site, but for those of you who haven't had the opportunity to Meet rebecca i wanted to offer a little insight into who you've been praying for.
this is from when we'd been in the hospital maybe 3 days. rebecca was on oxygen, she wasn't walking, she couldn't sleep for more than an hour at a time because she couldn't lay down flat or her lungs would collapse. she was seeing double, sometimes triple and she couldn't eat because her throat was still sore and swollen from the intubation. the doctors were talking to us about setting up Advanced Care Directives in case she lost consciousness, or extreme measures were ever needed to resuscitate her.
solas was doing great. and our group of friends in the bay were on a 24 hour rotation so there was always at least one or two people figuring out how to tend to her/our needs. but we didn't know what was coming next. we were leaning on our faith and your prayers, and we were leaning Hard.
in that time, we got a letter -- we got a good handful of letters and packages, actually. and they were such a big boost to us every time they came in. i would read the notes to rebecca since she couldn't read them herself, standing at the foot of her hospital bed.
well, as it happened, one day this letter came to us from someone in england. a woman who'd heard of us through our ceile de spiritual community (ceilede.co.uk) sent us a letter with a beautiful picture on it and a beautiful poem and a simple, heartfelt note (thank you, julie darling!).
it is a picture of the sunrise at the well of eternal youth on the isle of iona, the sacred home of one of the great celtic monastics, colmcille (known in scotland as columba, and the patron saint of our favorite catholic church). it was a letter expressing faith and hope. and it was a balm in a hard time.
i read it, was touched, and thought, "i'll read this to rebecca, so that she will also be touched."
i got her attention, took my position at the foot of her bed and proceeding to sob while barely squeaking out the lines of the letter, one word at a time. i don't know that the sentiment of comfort was coming through. but i had committed to it, so i kept going, and in that fog of tears made it through the whole letter. i even wept my way through the poem included in the letter, a poem that i've written out at the bottom of this missive.
so when i came to the end of that journey, that attempt to support rebecca that was drowned in my own tears and fright, i looked up at her and through the water, through the salty haze misting down my face, i saw my rebecca, my sweet one, the put-upon wounded mother that was the center of our prayers and sympathy smiling gently at me and offering me her hand.
you know? She was offering Me her hand. in support. because i needed to be held in that moment, i needed to feel another human's tender connection and she was willing to be that human. she -- even in that moment, in the hardest week of her life -- was willing to reach out to be a support to a beloved of hers.
that's the person you're praying for. that's the heart, that's the spirit, that's the breath we ache to keep with us in this world. that's the soul whose journey as a human has a long way still to go, that's the person jesus has said he'll heal. that's the being we'll feed with our mustard seed.
may rebecca's lungs and the rest of her body be clear of tumors
we give thanks for the restoration of her vision
we give thanks for the continued health of solas
A CELTIC BLESSING
by julie darling
the strength of the oak around you
protection of rowan surround you
the wisdom of hazel within you
and the joy of the birth, be yours.
the wind and the rain will bless you.
the light of the moon caress you.
the gold of the sun shine within you.
and the song of peace, be yours.
strong arms of the mother will hold you
the green of the forest enfold you
the living waters will heal you
and the song of love, be yours