Sunday morning

Every thing seems to be swirling.. a beloved dog is at the vet right now for some sort of concerning weakness. A beautiful wedding was held out on the Riparia land yesterday while I was inside meditating for the second week of Michael’s death. People say, Give  yourself a hug and I say, there will be plenty of time for that when they put the straightjacket on…

The reason I say that is because of all the sorting through Michael’s things…it’s been unabated. Yesterday the thing that pulled me through (I was working alone on it…finding things that were sentimental to me but also just a constant confusion of What is this? and is this old can of X something someone would want?) Anyway, as I tossed things in the garbage or for the toxics and sorted others into piles to try to sell or to keep I was completely calmed by billboard words our friend Sisko put up some years ago, NOTHING ISN’T SACRED. Of course, slow down. Be present with the things… don’t relate to them like some sort of masochistic torture program… That really worked for me. Cleaned out a lot of the suffering.

Yesterday was also significant for the unspooling effect… I actually worked the day before! Saw 33 women over eight and a half hours and was on my feet all day, wearing my orthotics after a summer of flat-footing in my sandals. Yesterday I hurt all over and had a wonderful massage from Sharon Fisher down in Durham. She does a good process to release tension in the lower back and it really worked BUT then the pain seemed to migrate into my feet and other joints so last night I took a tylenol with codeine before going to my friend Weezie’s for (delicious!) soup and a movie. At her house I drank wine… not a lot but definitely enough to be rather floaty on my bike ride home. This morning Marge (who “lost” her husband two years ago,) came over and I made our (Michael and my) traditional Sunday breakfast of waffles, fruit and yoghurt. I feel like all these people and all these interventions I have for myself are therapeutic, although I have to watch it with the alcohol. What hasn’t helped is contradictory advice– one friend says write for yourself but throw it away later.. another says, let it all pour out. One friend says, look up the prices of M’s stuff and then price it at a half or lower another says, take any amount another says, don’t bother sorting it– just give it all to the Re-store (Habitat for Humanity.) All that is the opposite of the unspooling.. its having to consider based on opinions that all have equal and unprovable parallel outcomes.

We had plenty of that while Michael had cancer. There is a huge marijuana-will-heal anything contingent here. We also tried a Rife (sp?) machine. We tried alkaline water and mushrooms. We tried acupuncture. We tried Global Cures’ recommendations. Basically, we tried.

Now, sitting here with my old lady aches and pains I acknowledge the fullness of this day with all that is held within it. Within myself I acknowledge the momentum I have established and the discomfort of the “have to keep going” nature of that momentum. The wholeness of my heart center, embracing Michael and us as a couple severed by death, two separate categories. Me stilled up for this brief interlude at this table– grateful to be in a beautiful place with squirrels madly dashing around on the roof but sagging with sadness… concurrently. All over, completely here yet tipping already into the next moment.

Michael Pike


Hanging it out

Michael was very good looking and he attracted women and liked women. It didn’t work out at all until he returned to me in about 1999 and then we were married in 2002. I thought he was done with his previous ways. However, I woke at six and started into another of those closet boxes and was dumbfounded to find lots of great times going on with a woman (Mammoth area) date stamped 2003! I had quite a bit of anger about it… would he ever have been in trouble if I’d found this before–!  But, I’d never be going through his funky old box of papers had he not died first. I thought of the scene we’d have had and when I headed straight for my recliner to meditate I was filled with grief that was as strong as the flash of anger had been. I missed this unfinished bit of drama! Here are photos (without her!) from that trip. He’s with his skiing buddy Arthur who I still hold a blade of anger at even sitting here now. I also include one of him even younger… that’s when I really despaired with this other women topic and you can get a sense why…M on Mt M & Art IMG_4078The day pitched forward as they have been with huge outpourings of work sorting through Michael’s stuff… I didn’t want Tony (who’s at the age now that Michael was in that last photo,) to get Hanta Virus or the Plague so I took on the shed today… where rats had had their way with a full one third of it. Even after showering, washing my hair and being in completely clean clothes I smell the smell of the day. Along with the physical effort of moving out stuff to be sorted outside and the many other things I did today has come a deep sense of compassion… I went through anger, grief, irritability, anxiety and worry today and circle back to a calm and quiet Love for Michael that is absolutely setpoint. Everything, from his impossible array of physical mementos to compartmentalized infidelity all meld into a surrender and partnership with how things are now. The inevitable and complete now.



At 5am I was up… whatever dreams had brought me there I don’t know but I started in on a large tub of Michael’s stuff that  had been on  his closet floor. It was filled with maps, receipts, pages on the 2000-2001 Otterson Dr. Campaign to Save Comanche Creek from development and photos, from the Vietnam era and before as well as more recent ones (with the inevitable “other” women.) Most of them I’d never seen before and what I came up with surprised me… Michael was going into the military from the time he was a little boy… he was conditioned for it and training for it throughout childhood. I thought he’d been drafted for the Vietnam War but no, he Volunteered! (As a childhood friend of his wrote to me after I’d done the obituary.) IMG_4063 IMG_4062 IMG_4068

His original enthusiasm about Thailand and the work he was doing with hilltribesmen was clear from the things he wrote on the back of some of the photos, however eventually the realities of war caught up with him and many of us have heard those stories which I really must do my best to write up. One thing I always found strange.. he said he could not remember a single name of a man who served with him and yet some names are on the photographs… he just never had the interest or leisure to dig through the bin I started my day with.

The second discovery was about abnormal colonoscopy results even back to 2004. I know if a woman has “hyperplasia” (abnormally rapid and irregularly growing cells) in the uterine lining there is always intervention because it is a pre-cursor to cancer. In the case of Michael’s colonoscopy all the doctor could do was recommend he stay off animal products… which we did for many years. Ten years from hyperplastic polyp near the cecum (the area the vestigial appendix protrudes from) to death from metastatic appendiceal cancer… Why has medicine evolved treatments for early abnormality and pre-cancer so slowly or not at all??? (This disturbing conundrum emerged also from that nearly bottomless bin in the grey morning light.)



After meditation

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In the meditation with my Complete Self Attunement teacher Don Kollmar (just completed,) I went through a number of states that I must describe. In the first I recognized how brittle and shard-like my energetic self had become and as that was held in an awareness my body softened. Right after that a HUGE flair of anger at M’s oncologist emerged…her timelines were not the timelines of cancer… she was much too slow and laid back and her recommendations of a “next step” were absolutely nothing but flatulence. (Please forgive me oh Goodness… she is also kind, thoughtful, intelligent and doing her best within her own training, conditioning and innate conservatism. I understand this intellectually.) However, as I considered what a jump to Sutter for the “Good” oncologist– the creative, “let’s go for it” one who always buoyed us when the other one depressed us… If we’d driven all that way to Sacramento, into that distant and difficult environment we would have missed the comfort of all that surrounded us in the treatments he had– the puzzle in the lobby, the divine sweetness and caring of each of his nurses, the private room. (He had MRSA when we started out… probably picked up from being a nurse himself…no infection, he was just a “carrier.” After it was “cleared” they still let him have first dibs at the private rooms.) There was also my friend Barb working there and being able to have her to talk with, even other “patients” we knew and loved and walked beside in the valley of “treatment”  and the vegetarian based healthy restaurant right across the street where I could get our lunches.

And with my anger and my love welled up and acknowledged in equal measure and the absolute knowledge that it is over, the fight is over, I just had a huge emotional pain in my chest…the fullness and impaction of conflicting emotions within an untenable and unacceptable conclusion… now I’ll clean the house and have more space for all of it to reside in me.


Years unfold

Today I had a long talk with a friend who’d lost her husband to a rapidly fatal brain disease almost exactly two years ago… despite her strength the baseline suffering she is living through was difficult to contemplate. Later in the day I lay on my back in the field and watched exquisite furry clouds with moisture comets trailing them follow quickly from north to south, the same direction the wind had been blowing when Michael’s moisture went up the crematory pipe… it’s two weeks later. My neighbor had her birthday this evening… shrieks of laughter coming from her house… good for her… complete bewilderment for me with my muted range.

I wanted to offer photos from three years in lieu of fantastic cloud photos. This time in 2011 I was at Creech Air Force Base with women from the Bay Area Code Pink contingent. We stayed at the Sekhmet Goddess Temple at night and demonstrated outside the base against the Predator and Reaper drones by day. It was a memorable time of beauty in the desert, bitterness about the use of drones without any due process, a learning curve about who is in the Clark County jail (when I spent my evening in jail there,) and a deeply sweet full moon time with the spirit of ancient goddess worship. Pictured here is Madre del Mundo, Mother of the World, and her image is an offering of Indigenous Peoples Day coming this Monday.

The following year, 2012, Michael and I were descending from Canada and were in Northern Idaho following the “River of No Return” here before cutting south to the Salmon River near Challis. I think he is shaving in this early morning photo outside our luxury accommodations, aka The Veggie Voyager. The cancer was in him but we were in the contentment of not knowing about it… Sasha hadn’t died. We were happy and enjoying each day of exploring new country.

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The last photo was this time last year. We were on the San Juan River in Utah enjoying each day of nine days on the river with our friends Dale and Kathy. So much beauty. We didn’t know that the cancer was bounding back in the break he had after  chemo (and surgery with heated intra-peritoneal chemo) was completed. We thought we had years… it was the last thing on our minds.


Ten Ten 2014

Unspooling backwards… went through a box in M’s closet.. dug for the paper stuff and ignored all metal (burnt out on thingnesses…) There were many photos from Vietnam and most meant nothing but he labeled three– one of elephants and one of guys building shelters and another of setting off an explosion. A mystery life that will stay a mystery other than the many stories I did hear but the photos were just heaped in with a bunch of other stuff.

My neighbor Leslie and I went to the Oroville Rescue Mission dinner because it was International Homeless Awareness Day. It was a strange thing to have Doug LaMalfa, Jim Nielsen and another right wing office seeker there at the same time they were decrying how many more homeless there are. Don’t they realize these are the people who are causing the loss of civilian jobs and safety net? They auctioned off a book by Ronald Reagan for $300! I almost choked on my mashed potatoes!

Stacey, Jeannette and Gerard came by to interview me about Peace. This is Jeannette’s project with Respectful Revolution’s expertise and equipment and I am just one of many they asked. I meditated with the word and resonance of Peace and feel that the explanation I gave had credibility but that the words might not mean much to the young South African Jeannette is sending the footage to…. basically, Peace is at home in Silence. In Silence grace and goodness can be fully experienced. States of awareness about oneness and the creative force can be appreciated. The knowledge that we are all fundamentally good and that problems arise from a separation from the experience of our wholeness can be over-come with commitment to the space of peace where everything arises…. Does that make sense? It definitely gets more complicated the further one gets from one’s own relationship with self.

In the morning I did some errands of a practical nature and bought myself a novel… I have been having spread out “treats” for myself… yesterday it was a pedicure. The best part of the “errands” was meeting and talking for a very long time to Veterans Service Officer Hannah Williamson. Sometimes I really do see people as angels… she is one. Her goodness just shines in her as she goes about her work of trying to connect Vets with services to make their lives better… I could tell that it is the focus of her existence and she would have it no other way. When I say Thank you for your service to her it really is huge for me… she is a Life Saver and you know you are in the presence of a Life Saver when you speak with her.

Another angel I visited was Janet Walker… She holds together the Project Save in Chico… Medical offices, individuals and hospitals donate medical stuff that would otherwise be thrown out. I had to donate some very expensive medication that


came for M and was never even opened. Mrs. Walker talked about sending 12 ambulances to Liberia filled with medical supplies… I so hope it is helping there where things are so dire. (The photo with push pins is all the places Project Save has sent medical supplies…usually by the shipping container full.)

As I check in with myself I sense profound fatigue… I’m still making myself stay busy and it is wearing….there is only a slight overlay of mournfulness and I’m not messing with that… that emotion is like a bonfire ready to rage if fed at all.