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In Honor of Sprite – a poem by Mary McAvoy

July 19, 2015



In Honor of Sprite
    by Mary McAvoy

Tonight I washed the kitchen floor and there went the last traces of your paw prints.
When I shower now, the water will rinse from my legs the residue left by your wet nose
when it came up against me, the last sense able to find your home base.

Down the drain will go the flecks of dirt from your fur and paws as you sat at my feet for the last time
and I stroked your warm body.

I know you are lingering here.
Either you can’t let go of me,
your source of safety –
or I can’t let go of you,
my constant.

Soon, after 16 years of 64 seasons, we’ll drift fully apart
and you will remain only a memory to me.
How odd that seems, when you are so freshly real.

Run now! You are free to go!
Enjoy the others who are happy to have you among them!
You are a sprite – delight them!

And I will miss you, till we meet again.

Poem: Good Friday Indulgence by Mary McAvoy

April 3, 2015

happpy child running in nature setting
Good Friday Indulgence

by Mary McAvoy

People are at church tonight
while I, at home, clean up the spills from my drink, like Gangy.

The Lord has suffered on the Cross today
while she has cried the afternoon away,
fearful of her fate.

Who are the believers? The squeaky clean and pristine?
Or the down and dirty living in the trenches
on the razor’s edge between life and death –
and who are not in a structured church of any kind?

Who takes the punch from me for her suffering?
Where do I aim my rage?
At a punishing god?
Or a God who has a plan in which she plays a critical part?

Open my eyes and let me see why –
if she is to suffer in my sight.
Show me the divine plan
that I might lift this cup from her, and take her part.

Living Deliberately

March 9, 2015
Liv and me 2

Liv and me

Often now, since my daughter’s diagnosis of cancer, through some part or several parts of nearly every day, I am in lock-down, trapped in a spell of anxiety that cripples my brain function to one degree or another. Often the anxiety comes out of nowhere when I’m not thinking particularly about any aspect of this new journey we’re on and yet a cyclone begins to whirl within me, heating me from the inside to the out, stopping me in my tracks and making my brain buzz with a noise that blocks out sense and reason till a glimmer of thought reminds me to breathe – just breathe – to appease what I soon perceive to be gripping fear.

Olivia’s surgery has been rescheduled and will now happen in mid April, which is a blessing. It has allowed us to pause, to catch our breath, to stop the break-neck speed at which our lives had been traveling since mid-November when she was diagnosed. At this slower pace I’ve worked diligently to find ways to care for myself so that I remain strong for her. I walk nearly every day, I’m taking my vitamins and magnesium faithfully each day, I am eating my usual diet of leafy dark greens, seasonal squashes, nuts, tofu and fish, with occasional lean chicken. I’m conscious of hydrating. In the early evening I turn off the computer and lower the lights throughout the house. After a time of “humming down” the day, I read in bed for an hour before I shut off my light and sleep. This deliberate routine seems to help keep the anxiety attacks at bay. At least they are less frequent and less severe, most of the time.

It’s important for me to study about this cancer – malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. I knew nothing about it before Olivia was diagnosed. So I watch videos from the 2014 international symposium sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and to learn all I can about research and treatment. Soon the 2015 videos from this year’s symposium will be online and I’ll watch them too. It fills me with a sense of greater confidence as I watch Olivia’s surgical oncologist, Dr. H. Richard Alexander – University of Maryland Medical Center, speak at these conferences. It’s clear that he has a career-long accumulation of knowledge which informs his best approach to treating her.

When Olivia was first diagnosed, I felt like a rag doll being flip-flopped around, at the mercy of fate. But the tincture of time now has me feeling a bit more in control. I’ve got hold of the reins of those things I can control, like how I live each day, and I’m helping Liv choose the best medical people to handle the stuff over which we have no control but they have some. The rest is in the hands of the great, mysterious power and the impact prayer has to influence that power.

So, as always, your prayers and healing thoughts are much appreciated. Thanks. ❤

My Daughter (age 24) Has Peritoneal Mesothelioma, A Rare Cancer

January 13, 2015

Today I took down my Christmas tree and decorations. I’m guessing that this is the latest I’ve ever left the tree and Christmas ornaments lingering in the living room. I played my Johnny Mathis Christmas CD throughout the packing up of the tree ornaments, the nativity and the sentimental things that adorned the mantle.

Even with the time-consuming job finished, I’m bummed that it’s all packed away. I’m not sure if my attachment to the season this year is because I put it all out so late (days before Christmas) or because of life circumstances. My perspective on everything changed in November when I sat with my daughter, Olivia, as she was told that she has a rare cancer.

Olivia’s 24. Only a handful of women her age are diagnosed with malignant peritoneal epithelial mesothelioma each year in the U.S. I’d never heard of the cancer, which was stumbled upon during a surgery for another purpose altogether. It’s so rare that there are really only five doctors in the U.S. who are considered the “go to” people for this cancer. We’ve chosen one in Baltimore who specializes in women Olivia’s age who have peritoneal mesothelioma, and we’re grateful he’s on the east coast, as we are, though he’s 300 miles from us.

Within the layers of accumulated experience that is Olivia, there is an astounding amount of wisdom. And, as I’ve told her all her life, I don’t know another person with her strength. Nothing for her has come easily and yet she’s persevered and found her way. In this latest development she will too.

I feel that I am alone. Despite having numerous friends who are mothers and who are so loving and supportive of us, not one has experienced a child with cancer. I feel isolated, adrift on my own maternal raft. Disconnected entirely from them, despite their care, concern and contact with me.

Whatever my feelings are, Olivia’s must be magnified a hundred-fold.

I put my faith in prayers, in whatever form they take. I ask everyone, friends and strangers, to please pray for my daughter.

Except that I think it would mortify her, I’d like to make a button I can wear that has a picture of her and says, “Please pray for my daughter, Olivia. She’s 24 and she has cancer.”

I want everyone praying for her. I want everyone to call upon and to ask their God to look on Olivia with love and healing.

Ironically, this Christmas was the absolute best Christmas I’ve had in my adult life – in spite of or because of this new skewed view on life. I focused only on my children and prayer.

Through the wonder of Christmastime I always feel that there is an opening, a more direct portal for our supplications and expressions of gratitude to God. So, this year, I often sat quietly, alone with the nativity and the soft glow of the tree, and I prayed my heart out.

If it weren’t for the fact that I’ll be moving soon to a place that Liv and I will share for the next year so that I can care for her through a surgery, HIPEC treatment and recovery, I think I would have let Christmas stay in my home through the year. But it’s packed up until December when, if my heart’s greatest desire is realized, I’ll be before the nativity expressing joyous gratitude.

Please pray for Olivia. Thank you.

Snippet #2 2014

October 24, 2014

128px-Ambox_blue_question.svgHere’s my second post in the snippets category, which I’ve identified in an earlier post as:
Sometimes I really don’t have the time or energy to create a whole post, so snippets will suffice when I have a burning thought around which I don’t really want to build a whole post.

2014 Snippet #2 – a burning question:

Which came first, the garbage disposal or the food processor?

Let Me Introduce You To A Poet, In Word and Heart

October 23, 2014
tags: ,

banner for website Poetry By JDA site
I know a guy who has decided to take the leap and put his poetry online. I happen to be a fan of his writing so I couldn’t be more pleased.

Please wander on over to his site, Poetry by JDA, and see what you think!

Frank Sinatra Fell In Love With Me…in my dreams!

October 22, 2014

Frank_Sinatra_laughingLast night I had a dream in which Frank Sinatra was pursuing me…romantically.

In my dream I was my current age…let’s just say “middle-aged.” Ol’ Blue Eyes was looking not too young and not too old, and he was lookin’ good. Somewhere along the line we kissed. He was a good kisser.

I think the dream was spawned by an article I’d read about him the day before, an interesting article that someone had posted on Facebook.

In the dream I expressed to Mr. Sinatra that I was concerned that his interest in me was grounded in his desire for a one night stand. I told him that wasn’t my style.

With a big display of being insulted by the insinuation, he left me and went to the airport to go back to Hollywood.

I was sad and regretful.

But, lo, he returned a few hours later, having missed his flight on purpose so that he could return to me. He insisted that he’d prove his sincerity.

So, he took me back in time to my childhood home. (Remember, this is a dream, where incredulous is the norm.) He said that in order to convince me that his interest was real, he wanted to know all about me. Hence the trip back in time. For days we observed the world of my youth.

We stood in the midst of my childhood life and laughed genuinely and felt that sense of endearment that childhood memories can conjure – where innocence and sweetness reign. And he fell deeper in love with me and I with him for his appreciation of those who I have loved.

Then I woke up, reality hitting me like an Arctic blast.

Through the morning as I mulled over what the dream might mean, I remembered a poem I wrote during the summer. I think Ol’ Blue Eyes was standing in for a brown eyed guy.

Missing you, Kissing you
 by Mary McAvoy

missing you
kissing you
…in my dreams

how is it that I’m coming apart at the seams
not from our separation
but life’s undulations

resettled again
is there no end

changes, changes
unexpected rearranges
leaves me

missing you,
kissing you
…in my dreams

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