Monday, September 22, 2014

Letter from Dad

Cleaning, I stumbled across an old letter from my Dad. His script in pencil is so artful and distinctive. He sent it along with some little gifts, which he discounted saying that his real gift was to let me choose from any of his artwork, when I came to see him next. This was when he lived in Seattle in an old Victorian home. The place later burned with most of his artwork in it, but his friend put a ladder to the window and saved him, from where he was sleeping upstairs.  So, what of the "stuff" survived? This letter he sent in love, reaching me now, all these years later, past his death from brain cancer. Love is the only thing we get to keep from our time here.

Proof      2-4-14

I found your words today.
An apology,
A debt forgiven,
A gift of love,
and generous
your presence
as tangibly
as something
just swallowed,
and known,
if yet

Can you have survived,
by some delicate,
artful arrangement
of forces
outside time
and space?

Can you
yet be still
forgiven me
even now?

The perfect
of our placement
just so,
from the sun.

The moon
just so,
to light the darkness.

To pull the waves
into soothing
cyclic sound.

To soothe
the wounded animal
that lies weak
within me.

this must be proof
that you still
and have not
left me.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Not Sad (for Maya)

Not Sad                      (for Maya)                                                              

They say she died.
How sad!

But no…

I'm not sad,
because Before,
she was there
in a book
in my hand,
and her words
found a place
in my heart.

Not sad

upon further
there she is,
in my heart.

Not sad

the free bird


Hard work
was very well done.
And as lives go,
Well done!
What a run!

And now

the free bird

Jeanne Medina

Friday, September 7, 2012

Thank God for Speeding Tickets

Last year I was running errands, a couple of blocks from my home. I was driving the speed limit,  (30mph). I came around a curve, when suddenly, a toddler appeared right in front of my car!

 I hit the brakes, and a very young girl, (she looked about 3 years old), came out from the hedges, and ran out into the street to get her baby brother. Both of them could have easily been killed. Lots of people tear around that corner at 45 mph, and would not have been able to stop in time.

 I don't want to judge people. Whoever's children those were, may not have been able to care for them. They live in an apartment complex with no fenced areas to play. I don't know their circumstances.

Should the parents keep them in the dark apartment all day? Probably not. Perhaps the mother is single and has to work for food and rent, and there's no one to watch them, but a careless teenaged sibling. I'll never know.

 But, I thank God that I was the one on the road that day, when that baby toddled out into the road, and that I was paying attention to the speed limit. Why did I obey the sign?  Because I got a speeding ticket on that road about a year before.

I thank God for that ticket, that sent me to traffic school, that cost me money, so that I'd take my speed seriously.

Now, I take it seriously not only to avoid the money and hassle of a ticket, but because the look I saw in the eyes of that little girl is seared into my consciousness. But it was the ticket that fueled a new habit that slowed my speed,  kept my mind on the posted speed limits,  that later turned that moment of potential tragedy into one of gratitude.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Most Important Lessons

No matter how hard a parent tries to teach their children Life's important lessons, the core values that you hope will stick, and carry them through, it seems like the mundane, repetitive stuff won't even get in there.  "Look both ways!"..."Wash your hands!"... "If it's not a toothbrush or food, DON'T PUT IT IN YOUR MOUTH!"..."Don't yell."... "What do you say? Excuse me. Thank you."

Then, sometimes, without any sort of prompting, they just blow you away with what they know.

My daughter and I went out to do some Back To School shopping. She's going into third grade.  Long ago I learned to just buy the PTA packet, rather than spend many stressful hours running all over town to get the best deals, or find that elusive drawing paper the art teacher wants. Plus our school always pools supplies, so it's just heart breaking for them to pick out special stuff they like, only to have it confiscated and put in the supply closet.  But we always go find a brand new backpack, and lunch box to start the new year. Any special supplies get kept on her homework desk at home.

Well, she picks out a backpack.  Yay! Her favorite was only $10. Matching lunchbox. Check. Cute pencils. Check. Then we spot some pretty pink calculators, and some erasers. Check. Check. We load all this up into the backpack, because we forgot to get a basket.  We go check out. I pay. The cashier puts everything in a sack and hands her the backpack.

She stops me and says, "Mom, this is still in here." The pink calculator. We turn back and I get out some cash to pay for the dollar item.  As we are walking away, she says, "I know that it would have cost us less money not to say anything, but it's worth it, because I want to feel that feeling in my heart, being close to God."

Uh, yeah. What she said. I don't know when or where she learned that, because I don't recall giving her a specific lesson about it, but I know plenty of grownups who don't get that.

I'm also going to sleep a little more soundly, knowing that my girl is going to be okay in her life. She's got "that feeling in her heart", and that can teach her better than I can, any day!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dad's Home

We took Dad's ashes to New Mexico, to be interred at the Santa Fe National Cemetery. It was a clear day, blue sky, puffy white clouds, and just enough breeze to keep us from noticing the unusually high temperature. In attendance: His wife, two of my Dad's sisters, myself, my husband and two kids. The Honor Guard stood on either side of him and after we had spoken some words, they opened the flag and then folded it again, in a triangle and presented it to his wife. She then gave it to me. I put a photograph of my Dad, in his military uniform, into the box that held his ashes.

We went to lunch to wait for them to finish the burial and then visited the site. My daughter gathered some wildflowers to place on the grave. He would have liked that so much more than a florist arrangement.

Dad wanted to be buried in Santa Fe, because he lived there a long time, and from the moment he arrived there, he'd felt it was the home of his heart. He traveled extensively throughout the world, and lived in many places, but no place did he feel more "at home" than New Mexico.  I love New Mexico too, and will probably visit this gravesite many times, when we travel there. I know he's with God, but am comforted to know that his remains are exactly where he asked for them to be, now.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hello...elllo.....ello....ello. Is there anybody out there?

I have been blogging now for a little more than a year.  I didn't embark with a need to connect with anyone, or bare my soul. Frankly, I just wanted to get extra entries in various online contests. But that got my feet wet, and the lure of the deep, finally drew me in.

I started writing poetry at age 10, and was keeping diaries by age 12. Most people give that up by the time they are out of high school, but I kept it up, creating volumes of paper books and journals well into middle age. Poetry flowed forth rather freely, as I rarely showed them to anyone. So, no fear.

Eventually, I ended up dating a guy who invited me to go to a poetry reading.  The jerk stood me up. But, it opened my ears to the spoken poem, and I was hooked. I went to more readings. The "jerk" turned out to be having a case of debilitating shyness, which he eventually overcame, and as "friends" we went to poetry readings together.

 Within months we were married. We have two children and have been married now for 20 years. I overcame my shyness too, and managed to get up on stage and read some poems, with shaky voice, at first. But, soon the trueness of my words quieted my fear, and I was able to be at peace when speaking my truth to strangers.

So, fast forward though the years, journaling, writing poems, some songs, painting a bit, and then I had children. No one can ever prepare anyone for how all consuming it is, to give your everything, to another human being, who absolutely has no choice, but to need you completely, 24 hours a day.

The writing stopped. I did manage to grab a pen, now and then, to scribble something cute my baby said, knowing full well, my leaky memory wouldn't hold such detail for long. I treasure those quotes, like nothing that ever came from my own mind. They are the address, where that moment resides in my heart, the key that opens the door, to the image of my little, soft-skinned baby, so full of wonder at life.

But that's all she wrote. For years. No more me having a relationship with myself, no more time to hear my own thoughts. The belly button I gazed upon was my child's, and then the next child's. So, when I "accidentally" ended up starting a blog, I quite naturally was drawn to stay up late, after the kids were off to bed, and the writing poured out of me.

It was no coincidence that I would soon be faced with the most difficult experience of my life. I do believe in God, and that there is a Plan for each of us, that we can use our free will to either participate or reject at any given time.  I needed to write through the illness and eventual death of my father. There was no one, but the Self that I had set aside so many years ago, that could possibly understand what I was going through. This blog helped me so much.

 My Dad had always been so healthy it was ridiculous. The man ate a vegetarian macrobiotic diet for 30 years, and exercised every day. At every check up, the doctors would tell him, " Just keep doing what you're doing".  So, his diagnosis, of an aggressive brain tumor, and his subsequent frailty, was a complete shock to everyone.

They originally predicted he would last 3 months. We got 7 months. Time we all needed to go though the process of hope, and then letting go of hope. Time to adjust and say our goodbyes.  I am so grateful, for my Mom and step mother, my aunts and my uncle for caring for my Dad in his last days. I would never have been able to do that without her. She was amazing.

So, though all this, I wrote, and pondered, and healed. Then the other day, it was pointed out to me that only a handful of people ever saw my blog, and why didn't I try and share it with others who might relate to what I'd been though. Hmmm, novel concept. See, to a diary keeper, an online blog seemed rather public, but then again, who'd ever even find it? In the internet realm, it's like I'd kept it tucked under my mattress all this time.

 But, I had to admit, that there wasn't anything about what I've experience that needs to be hidden. In fact, I could see how the things I went through could be of help to someone else.

I am also going to commit to digging out some old poetry or writing some new poems, since it's kind of my thing.......More to be revealed.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Life Goes On...

It's been a few months since Dad's passing,
but it's still hard to go over to his house. My
Step Mom and I were avoiding each other.

It's such a double edged sword. We both loved
my Dad so much, that seeing each other brings
it all back up. But it's comforting too, knowing
that someone in the world knows your pain
so intimately.

We talked about it. I'm grateful she's such
an honest person. I like keeping it real.

I want to be there, to be in the place he called
home.  I want to nurture this relationship, to
the woman he loved, and who made him as
happy as I have ever known him to be.

We still have stuff to handle. Someone
hacked his email account and started sending
trojans to his contacts. That stirred up pain
and anger. We had to deal with closing those

I went over there this weekend, and brought
the kids, to make a pie with her,
and she took out a box full of my Dad's
diaries, photos, and treasures.

He traveled all over the world, so he kept
his possessions to a minimum. Anything
he kept, you knew it meant a lot to him.

We found a father's day card I had sent to
him back in 1998, two years before my son
was born. He's twelve now, so 14 years ago.

I read it and cried. We had time to say things
that were meaningful to each other, before he
passed, but finding that card, meant a lot,
because it showed me that I really had
expressed my love to him, and that he
treasured it.

Here's what I had written on the card:


From you I Learned
Honor and Integrity,
Patience and Kindness,
Love of Art, Song, and Stories,
Travel and Adventure,
 Family and Friendship,
 and the joy of routine.
To be Open-Minded,
and slow to judge others harshly, 
To look for the good in people,
To look for God, 
and to find Peace,
To enjoy serving my fellow man,
To be perceptive of my impact on people,
the ability to connect with all kinds
of different people and places,
To stand bravely for what I believe,
To respect other's opinions,
even when they differ from my own,
To become a person I respect, 
that both out us can be proud of.
I am so very grateful,
 that of all the men on earth, 
that you were my father. 
I've never wished for another.

Love always and forever, Jeanne