I’ve got these couple of boxes with photographs crammed full to the brim to the point of barely closing the lid and on the inside, it’s a mess of years and events. This is my year to make sense of my 27 year athletic career media mess, the photographs, slides, newspaper clippings, magazines and videos, all neat and tidy like. I’m not a glitzy scrapbook gal so the sobriety I’ll bring to this drunken riot of my past sights and sounds will be digitized and what hard copies I keep will be in neatly labeled compartments in fireproof containers. BooYa!
But for now the pictures are still untamed hodgepodge of wheelchair racing, skiing, altruism, various vocations, family, travel and friends. Here I sit rummaging though the disorder searching for a few needed photos and I see the first image of someone I loved from my world of disability, who had passed away.
My thoughts fly to a word between us, an action we took together, a
laugh we had, and a moment of knowing between us that what we were doing made sense and was important. Sighing wishfully that they were still in the here and now I continue sorting. The list grows of dear ones that I shared a bond with, created accessible paths in the world with, now dead and gone away, but not too far away, they are embossed on my heart.
Maybe it’s the spring thing that has me contemplating death, you know death of winter, birth of spring, there’s no a birth of winter anywhere. Or it could just be seeing the photographs that have me realizing I’ve faced more death in my community of friends with disabilities then anyone I know outside of my fellow “Club” members. I reckon it comes with the territory when one has been a member as long as I have.
The SCI shortened life expectancy and all myth.
My SCI feels like it was a death, the death of a way of living or rather a way of moving and living. Common sense tells me it’s this terminal human body that actually creates uneasiness in me. And if that wasn’t enough the person I entrusted all my earthly belongings to whilst in rehab, cared not for them and alas they were departed upon my return, hah, another death! Good Golly I’m ghoulishly morbid!
OK, subject change, well, sort of. I bought a book 2 years ago and I never read it. Last month I read it and it scared me. It’s not a scare your pants off, check under the bed for monsters type book, it’s a book of practices with a Buddhist drift. That seems friendly enough, right? The book, A Year to Live
, how to live this year as if it were your last, by Stephen Levine is about preparing to really live.
Stay with me, really I’m moving on from death, the inside cover of the book gives this description “ This is a book about renewal. It is not simply about dying but about the restoration of the heart, which occurs when we confront our life and death with mercy and awareness. It is an opportunity to resolve our denial of death as well as our denial of life in a year long experiment in healing, joy and revitalization.” See I told you, life, really living it!
I don’t feel like I’m afraid of dying. I’ve died many deaths as we all have in this community. What scares me is not being able to finish everything I want to do before saying good-bye. So on second thought maybe I am afraid of dying and possibly taking on the practices in this book could clear this fear giving me peace and power. I’ve heard it said that fear is a catalyst for change as long as the fear is felt, embraced and let go. I’ve had past tangles with the stuff and stuck syndrome, stuff the fear (any emotion could fill that space), pretend it’s not there and stay stuck until the next go round. This year long practice could cleanse my stuffiness.
I’m shifting this energy straightaway to acts of love and living so I must reveal one of my photographs is not in “The Club.” It’s Sandy my BFF before my SCI in my casino days as a black jack dealer. After my injury I lay in Barton Memorial Hospital for two months before I flew south for my rehab. Sandy was there for me with light, love, shampoo, hairbrush, nail polish, food and wine in the first murky SCI episodes. She remained my champion until she died.
So in this time of a spring renewal, life emerging and fertile ground, these photographs of my dear departed friends are here to remind me to dance, love, joyfully follow my purpose, pick up the phone, let go of anything that does not serve my greatest good and live life until I die. I’ll create something that honors my absent friends, yes that feels good.
Blessing to All, with joy Candace
© 2013 Candace Cable
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