Was I Already Gone?
"Tired, Iím tired, so
tired." I was thinking, "Is this the way people cope with their own
death and in fact sometimes have out of body experiences? Was I really
already gone?" It was like an observer was watching the happenings of my
What good is it to talk
about it? Rodney was already doing all he could and had taken on the
full responsibility of our family. It Ďs better I keep my thoughts to
myself I decided.
Like a sick animal
needing to become very still became necessary, too. Rod cut the side of
Grandmotherís wall beside the bed completely out and put in a sliding
glass door. The sun coming through that was wonderfully warm and healing
while I was on our bed. This new window looked out onto a beautiful yard
which was an extra lot belonging to the property. It took no effort to
stay on the bed and not have to exert any energy at all to enjoy the
Squirrels played on the
low hanging branches, red birds flew for the sunflower seeds in the
feeder and children were always at one time or another playing there. A
moaning like sound all night long after Rodney cut the wall out only
happened that one night. After he filled the space with these spacious
lovely glass doors, sometimes I imagined I could see my Grandmother
sitting in the overstuffed, large chair covered with pink and white
chintz fabric just as she had done when I was a teenager and she told me
of the story of her youth.
"If I live," I was
thinking, "I will never care what Rodney does or does not do for the
rest of our lives. I shall love him unconditionally for the care and
love he has given to me and the children."
He did do everything
again: the cooking, the washing, cleaning, and worked part time at jobs
that were menial and rough. He never complained about trimming trees for
people instead of working at his own skill, electronics. With his care
and the advice from a very wise, country doctor who taught me a whole
new way to live, I began to slowly improve. I owe my life to so many
people who have treated me with so much love. I feel there is no way I
can ever repay them. I murmured this to my baby daughter. "Maybe you
can," my love.
Dr. Gibson was witing for
me after a call from my doctor in Oklahoma City alerted him to my
condition. He was firm and for him to treat me he insisted I attend his
"There will be no more
starvation diets to keep fashionably thin, no grueling exercises to push
yourself over the limit, no making stress a part of your life, and by
all means you will know to live with good common sense." On this the man
did not waver. I owe my life to him for his lectures on good nuitrition.
"If you canít read it,
donít eat it," he warned us to read labels religiously.
Rhonda attended school at
Senior High. Her class was on the third floor and normally Rod took her
up and down the elevator.
After I began to improve
he went to work full time which left Rhonda with no help up to the third
floor. Following my doctors advice I didnít dare take on the chore of
running her back and forth. The school sent out a teacher for Rhonda to
work with her in our home. It wasnít giving this teen-age girl the
opportunity to blend in with people and in no way allowed for making
friends. However, we had family at the time and that was her social
"Oh my goodness! There go
Sisterís girls down the hill with Rhonda in her wheelchair!" This was
not the only fun activity they enjoyed. Other times Kemy could be seen
playing some board game with Rhonda while they both laughed at one or
another loss or win.
As our tribal connection
was practiced we learned the relationships there. There were no cousins,
only brother and sisters. If two people had grandparents who were
brother and sister, forever into any length of time, they were still
grandmother and grandfather to the children. It was a wonderful carrying
on of not marrying, even into their own clan and, no doubt, was what
gave them the strong genes for exceptionally strong bodies and minds.
To carefully stay away
from the adulterated customs the missionaries had introduced and stay
with the old ways as had been taught by our Native American grandmother
became our goal. This, too, gave us a freedom from Anglo traditions with
Celtic practices sprinkled into Christianity like salt on food.
"We didnít use to do
that! " Our Native grandmothers told us when referring to todayís Native
traditions with funerals.
"When someone died we
fasted and prayed. Today the bigger feast and long funerals were not
done back there. We took our folks and buried them right away and then
that was a time to go home and pray."
These gentle old ways,
although not practiced much anymore, still stayed with us. This was a
workable thing , too. Remembered nomadic ways of our ancestors which
often did not allow them to spend too much time on ceremony was a
reasonable thing, we thought.
Our family without my
being able to keep up didnít make the meetings, only but hit and miss.
My devotion now would have to take a new turn. We went from active,
regular participation to someone who didnít conform to the regimens
required. Others were able to continue even during their illnesses. I
As the prairie saying
goes, "I was too long in the wind." Too many near misses with that old
man with the cycle left me very, very cautious about pushing myself past
any sensible place.