Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A dream of Cameron last night led me to this...

I think it is a message from him. Appropriate for the one year mark since his passing.

Thoughts in Transit...

Is it morbidity or just simplicity that draws us to find beauty in death? Fall is upon us. The trees are withering, the grass is shuddering away into the ground, soon the ground and forests will be barren. Yet our optic nerves and the synapses in our brain tell us that these things make our world beautiful. The decay of our leaves make the atmosphere more colorful and that makes us think that there is something to be joyful for.

The death of relationships and friendships can be beautiful too. Even in a time when we should, by all means, be feeling as if we have lost something that was important to us, the joys of what the departure has brought us outweighs the loss.

The simplicity of our thought processes makes us one of the weakest species on the planet. We capitalize without thinking of the effects of our actions. Remember as a child when you were told to think before you acted? What if the thoughts that you had told you to do something stupid? What if, even after you were done and you realized the error that you had made, you were still satisfied? How far are you willing to go to prove a point?

Perhaps the cumbersome notion that the world is dying around me has gotten me a bit under the weather. Then again, maybe in this state of deep thought I am thinking more clearly than I have been for awhile? Maybe the skeletal remains of things that I thought were important, turning to dust and withering away in the dark recess of my mind, is a cleansing that I need.

- Author Unknown

I couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks, Cameron.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Papa's Day Gift

Cameron visited me this morning. In a dream. First, I heard a lot of bird chatter in my garden. More than usual. I sat up and saw a beautiful red cardinal sitting on the sill. Looking at me. I knew it was him. He turned his head and looked up. I followed his gaze and, up in the tree, covering every branch, were hundreds of cardinals! It looked like a bright red autumn tree with all its leaves, rustling in the wind. The tree was almost glowing with beauty and movement. It took my breath away!

Next thing I knew, I was at a conference of some kind. There was a lady in a blue suit talking at the dais (I couldn't see anyone else there because I was in front, sitting on a sofa. Everyone else was behind me. Behind the lady was a huge wall of windows, trees and light outside.

I looked to my right and Cameron was beside me, about 8 or 9 years old, in one of his iconic red striped shirts. He cuddled up next to me and I asked him how he was. He said "Good. A little cold." I pulled a blanket around us both and snuggled in a little more tightly. I could feel his warmth. I smelled his hair. I know that smell so well.

The lady was talking in the background, and all I could really hear was my quiet conversation with Cameron.

I asked him, "So... how's heaven?" He said, "It's really good. It's not what you might think. There's no form, only thought. Sometimes it's exhausting thinking so much. That's why we come down, you know? To take a break and to put the thoughts into action." Then he said something about people being so soft because we are always looking for a home. An image came to me of people walking around aimlessly with suitcases...

He continued, "It's like in the Wizard of Oz, Papa. The Wizard had to come down in a balloon to tell the Scarecrow, Tin Man & Lion that they already had a brain, heart and courage. It's all already there.
All these things people think they don't have, they already do."

The lady in the blue suit addressed Cameron. "It's time," she said. He stood up and walked toward the podium. That's when I woke up, feeling totally at peace, remembering the smell of his hair.

Thank you, my son, for your Papa's Day visit. Thank you for the beautiful vision of cardinals, and for the simple truth and reminder.
I hope we can hang out again soon.

I love you, Papa.
I love you more.
I love you more of all.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Coming Out of the Dark

Feels like the dust is finally settling a bit, though I know it's about to fly again with my move East.

My move East.... sounds like a dream. I am waiting to hear back from the Waldorf School of Cape Cod, where I hope to be working. I should know by week's end. Then I'll be kicking it into high gear, getting the fixes done on the house, packing up boxes and boxes. The plan is to move by July 1. Fingers crossed!

I feel Cameron with me a lot. People are dreaming about him and seeing Cardinals everywhere! He is guiding this process and I am trusting that everything is going according to Hoyle. My mantra is simply the word Flow. Call me a Flower. :)

More soon, just wanted to check in and share that I'm ok.

Deep gratitude.

UPDATE: I was not offered the position at the Waldorf School of Cape Cod. I am a bit confused and disappointed, but there must be something else in store for me. I am still moving East, but my options have expanded somewhat. I am giving myself the month of July to figure out what to do. Meanwhile, I will ramp up my work with The Brain Candy Project & MOTO*MOJO. Any leads would be greatly appreciated!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Boom, Splat, Bounce

Sorry I've not posted in a while... I know I left you all hanging. Just as I was about to hunker down into the most intense part of the story, the bottom fell out of my life - again. I just had to stop writing for a while. You will understand.

Just when things started to move toward hope again, my marriage to Scott abruptly ended. Right after St. Patrick's Day, in the midst of a minor argument, he said that he had been researching online how to divorce me. Out of the blue. Boom. Splat. Confused? Shocked? Yeah... me too.

After more than a month of practically no contact on his part, not even coming home, he finally informed me that he was not coming back at all. Ever. No explanation, no apology, total cut and run, right between the birthdays. (Cameron's and mine) How's that for timing?

Believe me, I'll be writing about this later on the blog, as it is now part of the story. Right now I am on antidepressants and sleeping pills for the first time in my life, and I have to totally change my life's trajectory. No easy task, given the last two years. I am also seeing a therapist. I hope she can help me make sense of all this. Right now it's beyond me.

Oh, I am utterly exhausted. But I am a survivor. I have survived my childhood, obesity, cancer, other failed relationships (though no failure as spectacular as this), and the unconscionable death of my beautiful boy.

Though it's hard not to, I refuse to be a victim here. I don't pretend to understand Scott's mentality. He has not explained anything to me. Was there someone else? Was he freaked out about moving away from the Midwest and his parents? I guess we will never know, so I can't really dwell on it.

I am still moving forward with my life, my move, and eventually I will be fine. I keep repeating to myself, "hey, I'm the original comeback kid." I'm kind of tired of being that. How many times can a person bounce before they break? I'm not broken yet.

Once I figure out what to do next and how, I will continue writing the story. I thank you all for your support, your compassion and your wisdom.

Peace out,

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Belly of The Beast

I picked him up at Ms. P's at 8 the next morning. It was Monday, November 27th. The day that everything changed forever.

Cameron was very pale and weak, a bit shaky on his feet, and was complaining of the headaches again. We got home and his head was really hurting. I called his doc, who was back in town, and described his symptoms to her. They were able to squeeze us in around 1:30pm that same day. I called school and Ms. P at work (which was usually verboten) to let them know the situation and that I was taking him to the doctor.

All morning long Cameron screamed at his pain. No whining, no crying, just yelling - angry and loud - at his pain to go away. Yelling at the pain as if it were an entity in and of itself. I've never seen anything like it.

I felt so helpless. I gave him a little coffee to help remedy the headache (as if). I laid him on my bed, stroked his hair, and sang softly to my poor sweet baby. He drifted off into a nap, or passed out from the pain, I'm not sure which. I woke him up after a few hours to go to the doctor, but he never came out of his drowsy state. I had to help him walk from the car to the elevator, then into the doctor's office. His words were slurry, and he was really out of it. Like he was drugged.

The doc ran more tests (2 exhausting hours worth), and finally a poke test with the sharp and dull edges of a broken wood tongue depressor. She poked first his right arm, leg and side, then his left. He could feel the difference on his right, but on his left they all felt sharp, or he couldn't feel anything at all.

She looked up at me and said, "I don't know. I suppose it could be psychosomatic." ... After staring at her blankly for a second, I said that something in my gut was nudging me that this might be a neurological issue, because of the numbness and headaches and everything. She muttered something about possibly doing a CAT scan, and I asked if we could please get an MRI, like, immediately. I was probably a little more demanding than that. She set up the appointment immediately, across town. I ushered him back to the car in a wheelchair, drove to the MRI office and tried to prepare him for the idea of lying absolutely still for the 45 minute scan. He could hardly sit up as I undressed him and got him into the hospital robe.

The nurse wheeled him to the scanning room. I held Cameron's hand and then his foot as the conveyor slowly moved my boy into the gigantic donut-shaped MRI machine... into the belly of the beast. Cameron was so out of it, but still managed to reassure me that he wasn't scared. I wish I could have done the same for him.

The clammor of the giant magnets banging around inside the machine during the scan was intense. Try to imagine being a child, strapped to a very uncomfortable platform, a cage around your head, having to lay perfectly still for that amount of time, with a perpetual loud banging going on around your head. Watching this was agonizing for me. I found myself feeling a little grateful that he was so out of it. It was awful, but nothing could have prepared me for what transpired 45 minutes later.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ain't that a kick in the head?

A kickball, actually. Cameron was out on the play yard of his new school. It was early November, 2006, he was in 5th grade and was hit in his 11 year old head, hard, with a rubber kick ball. He even blacked out. The school nurse didn't send him home, and I wasn't informed of the incident until more than a week later... pretty typical of communications between Cameron's mother and me at the time.

A week or so later the headaches began. And the dizzy spells. And the nausea. Cameron finally mentioned the incident with the kickball, so I took him to the chiropractor, thinking that the ball might have knocked something out of whack that was causing the problems. The chiro adjusted him and suggested an allergy test. Being autumn, leaf and other mold allergies were all over the place, and the symptoms matched. I had my house checked, but no mold registered. I respectfully requested that his mom check for mold too, and, well... let's just say it was taken as an affront, and the request was not-so-respectfully denied.

Ok - quick side note on Cameron's mom. I will refer to her as "Ms. P." Really quick. Ms. P certainly relates to this story, but it doesn't center around her. I understand that she, too, is grieving this unbelievable loss, and I don't mean to come off as disrespecting her grief. I can relate my own experience and loss, as a father and as a cancer survivor myself, but I can not imagine the depths of a mother's loss of her only child. And still I must be truthful about this journey. The cancer was a walk in the park compared to dealing with her through all this. I don't say that lightly.

Thumbnail biosketch: Ms. P & I were married for 7 years, divorced when Cameron was about 3. Just grew in very separate directions, personally, emotionally - on all levels, really. No blame, just the human condition at work. Everything was amicable until the summer of 2005 when she started treating me like a criminal. Someone dripped poison in her ear that I was trying to take Cameron away from her (I wasn't), and apparently she was quite impressionable because nothing was ever the same after that. She said horrible things to Cameron about me, told him things like I would try to kidnap him, refused to let him attend his beloved great-grandmother's funeral (I had to get am emergency court order), sent police to my house once for no reason... really crazy stuff. She caused him much frustration and even despair throughout his short life. Sad. That's not to say that she didn't love him, in her way, or that they didn't enjoy good times together too, or that he didn't love her. He was very open with me about his feelings in general, but also regarding his relationship with mom. Cameron learned young to recognize love in all its forms. Love is love, but some people just have a really fucked up way of showing it sometimes. I'm just saying. I learned that at a young age too, but that's another book. It made made watching him experience it all the harder.

So Cameron's headaches kept on. Mine too - both from Ms. P, and not knowing what the hell was going on with my son. I took him to the pediatrician, solo. His regular doc was away, so we saw a stand-in. The doc ran a bunch of tests, said it could be mold allergies, or diabetes, or mono, or any number of other things. She called a few days later with the test results, and reported that it wasn't any of those. I asked what it could be, and she said she didn't know, but bring him back if the symptoms persisted or worsened. They did. Both.

Cameron was with his mom the latter part of that week, which meant that I didn't really hear much about his condition, until he called me Sunday night, 11/26, crying, saying that he couldn't walk and that the left side of his body felt numb. I asked if his mom was taking him to the hospital and should I meet them there. He said that she refused to take him, accusing him of making it up to avoid having to go to school the next day. His whole life, Cameron loved school. He couldn't wait for summer to be over, he was so excited for the new school year to begin. (He had attended a Waldorf school for most of his foundation years, which fosters a love of learning in children.) I told him to put Ms. P on the phone. She confirmed his story, and since he was still on "her" time, I could not come to pick him up to take him to the emergency room myself. Cameron and I had to wait until the next day.

Friday, January 30, 2009

I Know Where I've Been


Cameron recorded the Talky Blog below
on MLK's Birthday, 1/21/08, only 8 months or so before he died.

(It has now been made unavailable on YouTube for stupid copyright issues with the music, so I am posting it here. No copyright infringement is intended. The music is used only in part, as an artistic collage to illustrate the power and sentiment of this valiant young man's words about his struggle and sacrifice.)

The music is 'I Know Where I've Been,' from the soundtrack of the movie Hairspray, sung by the incomparable Queen Latifah. Taken out of context of the film, I believe it is the perfect anthem for anyone who has experienced critical illness.

Chapter One, Volume 2

How do you pick up the threads of an old life?
How do you go on when in your heart you begin
to understand there is no going back?
There are
some things that time cannot mend, some hurts
that go too deep that have taken hold.
- Tolkien

I am not a morning person either, for that matter. In fact, since I was a kid, I have always gotten a sour stomach in the morning.

In the wee hours of September 14, 2008, at home, Cameron quietly expired, after almost 15 years on Earth (counting the year between his birth and his first birthday). It was surreal to come downstairs, see him lying there spiritless and still warm, but cold nonetheless. Sour stomach.

I sat and stared for about half an hour (an eternity), trying to burn the moment, then went back up to sleep. I'm not altogether sure if I have awoken since that moment.

Everything since that day has been an airy blur. Like walking in a dream, or floating down a stream where the current is just this side of too strong and you just... surrender to it. No choice. You flow where it takes you, powerless to control your journey. Not afraid, just resigned to let it carry you along, suspended like driftwood. Your limbs are numb, so you couldn't swim to the bank, even if you wanted to. Or dance. You've lost your rhythm, and you just have to wait for the blood to rush back to your fingertips and toes. You long to dance again. It's not the same dance. That dance is done. The music has stopped, and you wait for the next record to drop. A new song. A new rhythm. No timeline, no promise that the blood will circulate in you again. Just wait to hear the new music start. Wait for it... wait for it... it's not my rhythm. Limbo. I hate limbo.

I love my Scotty. My husband. He is the raft I am attached to, he is why I can trust that the blood will return to my limbs. He is tendering me down this stream of semi-unconsciousness. I trust that he will know when it is time to pull over, shake it off and get on with things. He's really good that way. The German in him, I think. We have been together just a year. Several people have asked, "Are you sure it's not been two?" I love that. I love my Scotty. Everyone loves him. Cameron loved him so much. I will always remember the day Cameron leaned over and whispered to me, "I feel like he's another Papa to me." Permission to engage.