Tuesday, May 29, 2012

and the seasons they go round and round

on the carousel of time

a few blog messages ago a comment was posted
that I would have missed if not for the convenient fact
that all comments are emailed to me in my inbox
so even if someone responded to a post from last year
I would get a heads-up and not miss it

someone was searching for a "Gloria Page"
who wrote in his travel journal - 29 years ago!
was it possible that it was me?
it was in Chicago. Greyhound bus station.
I took out a paper and pencil and figured that would be
I was in Chicago at that time
I was married so my last name would be Page

I had no memory of signing in a journal
but it sounded like something I would wish I would have done
for a young traveler!

This person was searching, and even had contacted North Light Books
they do not have my newest address most likely
so that went nowhere
and so searching in other ways
found his way to this blog

I asked Peter if he wouldn't mind scanning the entry
if I saw my handwriting that would be clear
he also mentioned that "Gloria Page" did a little drawing
he thought of it as the "four winds"

the scan came and I could see immediately - YES - it was
a connection from half a lifetime ago, literally
I am 58
29 years ago I was 29
I used to take buses from time to time to get around
the Midwest when I didn't feel like driving
(Greyhound was still big in those days. I had taken the bus
from New Mexico to Connecticut and back again in earlier years...)
Peter told me he had just been dropped off at the bus station
by his parents who were from Upstate New York

huge backpack, a guitar in tow
I am sure I was reminded of my own escapades a little less than a decade
He remembers that I asked if he were writing a journal.
He took it out and it was a clean slate
so I wrote in it:

"To Peter~
I hope that your journey will be deep and high!
Receive a lot and always remember to give it away
to make room for more. 
The world and you will be better for it~
       Gloria Page..."
and I drew a little sketch of a New Mexican zia sun,
like on the New Mexico state flag
with two birds
that was my symbol for years and years
always a sun and two birds

Peter David Wilder is a writer who lives in New York state
he is also a science teacher in high school
he is going to write a third book and it is going to be about
that 5-month journey he took 29 years ago

he has asked me to consider doing the cover artwork
I am sending him my North Light book so he can see
what I have done and if there is something he likes
we will go from there

an Alaskan artist friend of his - they met on that long ago trip -
encouraged him to try to contact me earlier than later
before finishing the book in case our interaction might
open something up...

I am very moved to make a new friend from a long time ago
a hello and goodbye wave into the future
the new TV show "Touch" has got me hooked
and this really is a real life "Touch" experience

Peter said that in his search for "Gloria Page"
he came across an old blog that I had started and abandoned in 2007
when he realized cancer may be in the picture
he wondered if I no longer was in the picture
glad to say that I am still around

writing a little blurb in a young person's travel journal
so long ago
little things that we do that touch another person's life
like Peter trying to find me
mean so much
so so much

he has a blog, too, and two books in print
I am very open to what I will learn from this person
to receive from this new friendship
and to give it away
making room for more
the world and me - we are better for it.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

time will tell

last night Gary was in a very serious quiet mood
and he said that he had some not very good news to share
I felt sick
he said that at work
a meeting was called of all employees
and that is usually good there
but not this time

apparently the international headquarters in France
has made some big shifts in the US structure
and a facility in Cedar Rapids is closing down
and major accounts are shifting around involving Mexico
bottom line: there will be up to 70 jobs in limbo here in Missouri

this process will be over a period of time, a year-plus or so
and there are many people who will be taking
earlier than planned retirement, etc
but the tension is in the air
and it was hard to breathe last night

I am relieved that at least we didn't know this
during the past week
it would have been a cloud
and I am holding on to the sunshine we did experience

to be worried about it endlessly would be wasteful
of time and emotion
and energy best spent toward building something
rather than being afraid

now that Bryan has become a college man
and will be working as well
that will help
and it frees me up to re-look at my job
and potential work hours expanded

a part of me thinks
why am I not doing something art related
to help with finances?
can't I get my act together now?
isn't this a wake-up call
if there ever was one?

my motivation needs to be clear
I need to be able to physically follow through
with what I set in motion...
this is an opportunity if I see it that way I guess

my concern is Gary right now
so much rests on his shoulders
and right now I need to rally Brandon (he has not heard)
and Bryan and my best strongest self
to make sure he is not feeling alone
on this road

at this moment
Bryan is sitting across the dining room table
from me
writing thank you cards
to his high school principal and guidance counselors
for all they gave to him and us
it is moving to read his words
and reflect on what has been given
and planted
and what will bloom from all of it

Monday, May 21, 2012

photos for you

how it came to be

thanks so much for the loving responses
yes, it was quite something to make it to this point
in life
I remember sitting and crying when the prognosis
of 7 months to 7 years was handed out
as a death sentence
while wiping away tears
I was fumbling with my fingers under the countertop
counting the months to Brandon's high school graduation
and wondering if I would be there...

yes, there was hell to go through
and I would do it again
and WILL do it again
trying to get to 4 years from now
when Brandon will graduate once again
the next time with a doctorate
and Bryan with his Bachelor's degree
I am willing to do whatever it takes to get there
to make the utmost effort
and pray that the technology advances along with the
ticking clock

this last chemo I have been on is really new
and very effective and strong
I took it for about 6 months and it had powerful effects
and also takes its toll on bone marrow
so I am on a chemo vacation (about 4 months now)
and next month we will see if the numbers are holding
and I can extend the break or get back on that chemo
for however long

one day at a time usually is about what I can handle
and this past week has brought so much into perspective

I have been a cancer survivor/navigator for 5 1/2 years
I went past the median of 3 1/2
so I am in rare territory and grateful
to be able to say it
share it

live it

love it

how did Bryan manage to get into Columbia College?
his hard work over years, good testing abilities
and willpower and willingness to work for it
come to mind!

from Columbia College, he received 70% of tuition
he scrambled and did tutoring for 50 hours to earn
an A+ Scholarship from the state of Missouri that
Columbia College recognizes with money for four years
after our huge disappointment experience
about a week after that,
a letter came in the mail... from National Merit Scholarship Foundation
we had forgotten that Bryan had applied for a scholarship
from them, a special national scholarship funded by
Schneider Electric/Square D where Gary is employed
it was way back in the fall
when Gary was approached by someone at work
who mentioned about the scholarship
and there were lots and lots of hoops to jump through
and we jumped

Gary had remembered about it and figured the deadline had
passed us by, until he and Bryan opened the letter:
Bryan was awarded a very large scholarship renewable
for four years
and that amount plus pell grant money from the state
pretty much cover full tuition at the school!
we need to work out the final details of it all
but whatever it is, it is a miracle
a miracle that he worked many years for
and he is very satisfied in a deep way
if he does need to add to the tuition we will be able
to do that with a fund set up several years ago...

he also got a student job at the College!
in the Admissions Office
he went today to fill out paperwork
they waived the need for an interview because so many
people at the College were happy to vouch for him
he got his student ID and parking permit today
and starts work for the summer job next week
the job goes through to the whole school year as well
and he will be paid directly so he can take care
of his personal life needs
like gas in the "new" old car he just "bought" from
his Missouri grandma (2002 Toyota Corolla with 22,000 miles)
and the car still smells like it is new

what a week this has been
it has been shared with lovely people
I am so happy for Brandon and Bryan
I am happy for Gary and me
it is good to make these stories
and I am determined to appreciate every single moment more

how things came to be
how things are becoming
pure and simple
straight from the heart
to another heart
and the ripple effects are cosmically quiet
running deep
and dynamic
moving us closer & closer

Sunday, May 20, 2012

so many stories

since last writing
so many stories
I could not sit myself down to reflect
it was all about getting through
getting focused
trying to make things work
even now, I struggle with the words of it all
because I do not want to miss the opportunity
to share it
yet the very act of trying to "capture" the dreams
of things past
has its almost-pain...
no words are there enough

if I had to distill it all into a handful of symbols on a page
I would gently pick up the cards written
by two sons
to each other
their graduation cards that Bryan signed for Brandon
and Brandon signed for Bryan

what they said to each other was more important
than all the speeches we have heard
at all the ceremonies
of a lifetime

it has been such an incredibly meaningful time
so unbelievably busy to the point
of a blur
there were piles of papers on tables all over the place
and we just did our best to keep on top of what
needed to be done next
there were times when it felt
like running the bases
sliding into most of them
and the score didn't matter
just to keep playing
get up to bat
and swing away

baseball has never been my game
The Rookie today, guess that affected the vocab

Brandon is a college graduate
Bryan is a high school graduate
they are moving forward
with so much hope and support
and I am grateful to so many people
who shared this time with us in many ways

there are shiny balloons in the house
there are streamers and more balloons outside for one more night
and there are photos to testify to the fact that
this has all been "real"
even though I still wake up in the morning
and wonder
is it true?
yes, we lived this together

5-12-12 Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri
with a Bachelor of Health Science degree
5-19-12 Bryan graduated from David H. Hickman High School
and is enrolled at Columbia College
5-16-12 they celebrated their 22nd and 18th birthdays

watching 409 students with Brandon
and 558 students with Bryan
was so moving

and they all move forward in their lives
as do I
with a sense of happy quiet warmth
and when I remember those moments
of standing up and cheering with my whole self
for their accomplishments past
and especially for their futures ahead
I am honored to call them
my sons

"I am such a lucky Mom" I have said that countless times
"I am such a lucky boy" I have heard countless times
from two men