Deconstruction and Re-creation

“Death is not a separation but a different form of communion, a higher form of connectedness with the community, providing an opportunity for even greater service.”  ~ Malidoma Somé

I’ve not written here for a long while, and I’ve been missing it, but also dreading it, for a few reasons.  One is that I want to write about Elizabeth’s death, and how we cared for her body, and that has felt difficult to begin.  Another reason is that I’ve been afraid of “running out” of Elizabeth’s writing to share, as it is a finite source. Though there is an abundance of her essays and poems still unearthed, some part of me feels that she will die again once all of her writing has been shared here…I feel a need to savor each piece. And I know there is no hurry from all of you, but there is an internal message to continue, and when I ignore it, it gets louder and creates more tension, so I am listening.

And last, I’ve been very busy, as I’ve been getting my home ready to sell, and planning to move to Hawai’i. I’ve known for a long time that I would be leaving Tucson, but didn’t know when, or where to.  During the first year after Elizabeth died it became clear that the time was approaching, but that I needed to stay here, in the city that she loved, and in the home where she last breathed, at least until the one year anniversary of her passage.  First though, I had a revelation – I realized that some part of me believed that if I left here permanently, Elizabeth wouldn’t be able to find me.  Now, I know that she is with me wherever I go, and she lets me know that she’s with me often, answering questions when I ask, and showing me signs that are clear it’s her presence.  This felt like something else.  I’m not entirely sure about past lives, but this felt like it was from another lifetime, a long-ago memory that surfaced: that of being a mother in a home that had been under attack, perhaps had been bombed, and it was time to leave or else risk dying myself.  But in this memory, my child had left the house, and I was afraid that if I left, she or he would never be able to find me again, and would be in great danger and feel abandoned.  It is still a vivid “body memory” and moves me to tears, and it feels like possibly a past life that Elizabeth and I shared.  Once I realized that some part of me was carrying this belief, it started to loosen its grip, and I knew that I could leave this home, and not be abandoning my child.

So a couple of weeks before the one year anniversary, it became clear that the time has arrived for me to move to Hawai’i, and that there is great energetic support at this time.  (This has been discussed for years, as my partner is from Hawai’i, and we’ve spent a lot of time there, as it is where we have a second home and offer our spiritual retreats.) Once the anniversary date passed, on September 23 (and that is another post!), I set a date to put my house for sale, and started readying it.  This meant giving away anything that I wouldn’t be taking or putting in storage, and putting away most personal photos and spiritual images – and there were a lot!  I did it in stages, and it was many-layered.  Each round I’d think I was done, and then realize there was a whole other layer to clear…  I’d had an altar set up for Elizabeth since she came home from the hospital into hospice, that now held her ashes, along with some of her most precious belongings, things from her altar at her home, gifts from friends and family, and several photos of her.  I knew that I could leave it up, but over several weeks it seemed to take itself apart, bit by bit, until I realized that it was no longer needed at all.  She is with me always – sometimes so close I can’t believe she’s gone, and at the same time farther away, my memories less vivid, my sense of her presence as more diffuse…

Elizabeth Blue, altar, Lucia Maya

One Year Anniversary Altar – 9/23/13

One of the ways Elizabeth sends me messages is through music.  In my recent busyness, I find that my grief is present less often, but emerges from a deep well of emotion. When I’m alone, and quiet, and still, it emerges, often from a connection to Elizabeth through music or an image. I listen to Pandora, with about 25 stations on shuffle, including a wide variety of musicians.  Every once in a while, when I’m missing Elizabeth to the core of my being, and talking to her, asking how is it possible that she’s not here anymore, and a song will come on. A few songs in particular: Here Comes the Sun, and Angel from Montgomery are two – songs that I know Elizabeth loved and that she knew were my favorites as well, and I am brought to my knees, with sadness, gratitude, and joy, as I feel her letting me know she is there, seeing me, connecting with me, and comforting me.

Elizabeth’s reflections: Carlo Rossi and Chemo

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.  And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.  The world will not have it.  It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions.  It is your business to keep it  clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.  You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work.  You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you.  No artist is pleased…there is no satisfaction whatever at any time.  There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction; a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”  Martha Graham

 

“Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is one of the most attractive things you can do.” Rick Owens

Carlo Rossi and Chemo
by Elizabeth Blue

April 12, 2012
Sometimes I get the strangest, strongest desire to drink or eat or smell or whatever, something I used to drink or eat or smell all the time.  These are often things I don’t even like but because I get such a feeling of being in a previous place/time when I have the sensory experience or re-experiencing a past and familiar sensation I want this thing like I want bones because I want to revisit my life in that past moment where the original connotation occurred.
And this is an example that happened right now: here I am quietly tumbling to myself and: WHAT?  I crave Carlo Rossi Sangria?  My drink of choice ages 12-14?  Can this be real?
No.  Certainly not.
What can be real is that I crave to be in the same body, mind, place or mind-space as I was at those ages.  And to have the nowness of me in the perspective of then. 

Elizabeth Blue

Elizabeth – March 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It also reminds me of this time I went in to have chemo and I was by myself.  
By the way: chemo makes you extremely stomach sick and leaves a lingering metallic taste in your mouth that lasts for days.  At the time chemo is being pumped into your veins you can:
taste. the. chemo drugs.  
Yeah really.  I didn’t know that was even possible but then again what do I know about western medicine really?

Anyway, I was getting chemo and I walking around with my traveling IV hook up thing, which is on wheels to permit movement, and I came across a box with candy.  Being a lifelong lover of candy I selected for myself a package of Chips Ahoy cookies having no appetite for them (due to the chemo queasiness) I decided I would save them for later when I was high and hungry.  Good plan?  One would think yes, but no.

I bring the cookies home in their bright blue packaging and I can’t even look at them. When I accidentally drop them out of my purse I stare at the package on the floor, my stomach starts to churn and I stare and stare until I can convince my body to contain its innards.  And then I pick them up and put them in a drawer because:
THE COLOR BLUE OF THE PACKAGING IS A COLOR I RECOGNIZE AS EXISTING ONLY WITHIN THE TREATMENT CENTER.  
Seeing that color makes me taste chemo drugs and that taste has overpowered any childhood associations I have of liking these cookies.  
I remember those associations, Chips Ahoy cookies always came with pizza on pizza day and that was a big deal and I would eat them as slowly as possible to make them last as long as I could.  
But that doesn’t matter anymore to my brain.  What matters is chemo chemicals and their associations.
And now what I associate with chemo I do not want to put in my body because chemo tastes like poison.
You know why?
Because it is.  The poison that saved my life.  xoxox to Persephone and your pomegranates.  Winter is created but Spring is here.

This doesn’t make sense, I mean, my language if you’re outside of my head.  I’m just allowing myself the rarely indulged or afforded luxury of vomiting all over tumblr.  I mean, shhh Elizabeth, someone might even be listening.  I mean reading.
Ooops.

This is from Elizabeth Blue’s tumblr (blog) and more can be found here.  I am only posting ones here that are related to her journey with cancer, but if you want more of Elizabeth and her thoughts, loves, interesting obsessions (hairless cats, justice and fashion, to name a few)…see more at “Freshly Shaved Legs”