While having a lovely meal with some friends, I couldn’t resist asking one of my friend’s what happens to all the cosmetic fillers people put in their bodies after the person has died. What I wanted to know is if there would be proof long after a person was deceased that said person had used fillers.
Now a brief aside here, all of my friends are used to these odd questions, typically posed while we are sharing food and/or drink. In other words it wasn’t completely out of the ordinary and everyone, well other than Beloved, was okay with this question. Beloved was repulsed by the question. Mostly because he had been enjoying his food and does not want to think of decay while he is eating. I know, he is odd.
I am still waiting for an answer to this question, by the way, as my friend didn’t know. But she promised to check with a few other doctors who do that work more than she does.
And this one, innocent question I posed lead to a most delightful conversation about what to do when you don’t know a loved one’s wishes after s/he has been deceased. My doctor friend causally tossed out the fact that bodies are never released to families any longer, instead just funeral homes etc. The reason being is that some people would not deal with the remains appropriately. She shared stories with us about people who basically lived with their deceased relatives, unembalmed etc. for years.
By this point Beloved was no longer interested in eating and so he pointed out that in some cultures, those who aren’t “afraid of growing old or dying”, have ceremonies where they bring their deceased relatives out each year. Mostly bones of course, but still.
It was around this point the waiter came and asked us if we were finished, not because the restaurant was busy or because we were loud, but rather because he disliked the conversation. So we paid our bills and left, heading to my friend’s house for coffee and such and to carrying no the conversation. We also made a note that we wouldn’t be dinning at that establishment again because we were a bit miffed with the waiter. Although Beloved did point out that the conversation wasn’t one to inspire ones appetite.
It’s easy to lose sight of things. It’s easy to be caught up in details and apply that tunnel vision to everything. There times this is a good thing, and then there are times that we miss out on so much because we simply didn’t allow ourselves to look further afield, check out what’s happening on the sidelines or take in the whole horizon.
If we only glance up occasionally, if we only shift our focus for the briefest of moments, it is easy to not see everything. At times what we miss might just be an entertaining moments, or every day things. Nothing major.
But now and then, every once and awhile we will encounter an experience where perhaps if we just paid a little more attention to things, we may have been there for something big. The problem is no one knows when those moments happen.
Now I am not saying I would have made a difference to the outcome, but perhaps if I had spent a little less time with my head buried in my own work I may have noticed when a colleague changed. I’m not talking hairstyles either. A group of my coworkers and I all wondered this very thing. If each one of us had taken a little more time out of our own worlds perhaps the one coworker could have felt as if he could reach out. Instead, for whatever reason, he felt the easiest way to cope was to end his own life.
If each of us shifted our focus a little, if we all stopped getting stuck in those small details we might be able to be there for someone when one of those moments comes up in their lives. And maybe, just maybe we’d be a little more connected and aware.
One of my neighbor’s has taken to feeding the stray cats in the area. At first he put out a few dishes of food out near the trees where the cats can sometimes been see. He’d collect the empty dishes and set out new dishes full of food on a daily basis. This went on for a few months before he decided to do something different.
He moved the food dishes to his back door to make it easier for him to ensure there was always food and water available for the stray cats. He also started setting out little catnip toys for them to enjoy.
And naturally we started noticing more cats in the area. We also started noticing that some of the birds were disappearing as well as the squirrels. Logically it made sense, increase in cats means a decrease of small animals. It was a tough choice, let the cats starve or realize we might have fewer birds and such. I couldn’t say the cats were eating the birds, which another neighbor suggested, but naturally birds and cats will keep their distance.
The four-footed one didn’t attempt to make friends with the cats. Instead she kept her distance. But when the skunks and foxes started coming into the neighbourhood, well she couldn’t resist these new beings. Thankfully the foxes were too shy to play. As for the skunks, they clearly are used to dogs as they let the four-footed one come up and sniff them. She also tried to play with them. They weren’t interested in play, but thankfully they also didn’t spray.
The neighbor who thought he was helping the cats didn’t believe us about the foxes and skunks. That is until one say when he was setting out the food and a skunk walked right into his house. Of course the skunk didn’t stay, it walked back out of the door which wa still being held open due to shock.
We now have more birds and squirrels on the neighbourhood. And the skunks still visit now and then. As they as passing by.
Beloved gets me. He knows how to win my heart, not with shiny objects, but with gold. The gold of fresh, juice and perfectly ripe peaches that is. A whole box full of fresh from the orchard peaches is currently sitting on my counter filling the house with the scent of sweet peaches. Or as I like to call it the smell of lazy, hot summer days.
And al the things I dream of doing with these peaches dance happily around inside my head. Beloved laughs at me as he grabs on, washes it and takes a bite, juices dribbling down his chin. If I am not careful he will consume too many of them before I start to cook, and I tell him this while he continues to eat the peach. He smiles and tells me two more full boxes are coming to the house because he wants peach cobbler and crisp and we should freeze some of these.
I pause, with this many peaches I can have even more fun; peach muffins, peach butter and a proper peach pudding just to name a few. But I will have to be quick or they will be gone with only the trace of dried juices on Beloved’s chin.
I spend a good portion of my time and energy pretending to be something I’m not. I try to be like a healthy person and I’m not. News flash, no matter how many times I fake it I will never make myself into being healthy.
I know dear readers we have had this type of conversation before, and if you are fortunate enough to healthy you may not get this. Today while having a conversation with a friend in a restaurant, our waitress decided to offer my friend, and inadvertently me, this lovely gem of advice that if you fake it till you make it anything is possible. This includes dealing with chronic illness according to this waitress who clearly has a medical degree as well as working in the restaurant.
So if one fakes being well one will simply become well according to her theory. Believe you me, if it were this simply there would thousands of people with chronic illnesses and serious conditions on this band wagon.
Lim not sure why people who know nothing about me or my condition think they have the right to offer me unsolicited advice on what to do to get back to normal. It is a bit like this: let’s say you invented a widget machine; it is your pride and joy, you live for this machine. Now I come along knowing nothing about widgets or machines, but I tell you what you need to do to make it work better. You’d laugh at me, throw me out of your building and have a great story to tell.
With chronic illnesses like lupus I’m on the one with the widget machine and some stranger comes over to me and says things like: it’s all in how you view things, eat a healthy diet and avoid X, or have you tried Y it worked for my aunt when she had a cold. When I try to tell the stranger to get out of my shop the stranger gets offended and makes a comment about me not trying to get well or wanting pity.
So here’s the thing, just because I have lupus it doesn’t give people a free license to offer unsolicited advice.
Beloved is a man with the patience of the Saint, or close to it. He has to be in order to live with me. I can’t even tolerate my stubbornness which leads to insane delays that lead me back to square one sometimes. But he just smiles and waits while I sort it out and somehow avoids the whole I told you so bit.
He claims he really isn’t all that goods with this stuff either, just has figured out how to fake things better than some other people. Of course he also says that living with someone with a chronic illness like lupus has taught him to encourage slow time. He simply savours the moments as best he can.
Beloved has the grace of someone who is a saint. He has the grace to allow me to stubborn my way through things. He is gracious with me, generous it’s time and encouragement when t might be easier to just don’t on his own. His grace allows me to admit defeat or not even starting something.
But he isn’t, a saint that is. At least not according to the religious experts. That’s okay thought because in my eyes he is a saint, my saint. He puts the sane in sanity in this life with lupus.
I met a man once who said the key to a fulfilled life was to have no expectations or desires from anyone or anything. He said the art to meaning was to simply be with whatever the moment happened to present. He didn’t come by this through hours of meditation, prayer or contemplation. Instead he found the key to this through walking.
I haven’t thought about him in a while, but while walking with the four-footed in the squall that felt more like autumn than summer, he popped back into my head. It may be that I thought of him because I had put on shoes with very thin soles through which I could feel every small pebble as if I weren’t wearing shoes. After all he told me that if you walk far enough and long enough your feet won’t hurt anymore because they will be numb. If you walk enough hills, uneven and hard ground eventually the ache in your calves drift away for they too a numb. And the heaviness in your legs? You guessed it, your legs go numb.
The art to walking until you are numb, he assured me was to start when there was a cool wind whipping small burst of cold rain across your path. This way you’d soon enough be wet and cold to the point where you couldn’t feel either any more. He walked in the dark so his eyes has less to be distracted by and let the sun’s heat burn him until he could no longer feel it.
I guess if you experienced nature in a way that was more tactile you’d soon find yourself no longer distracted by the colours, smells and touch. After you were no longer distracted you could simply be with the beauty of nature as it was with no expectations or desires to hold or tame it.
He reckoned that the further you walked, especially with heavy steps, the quicker you’d fix your broken heart. Not that it would heal, rather it would shatter and grind the broken pieces to dust. Once it was dust it would eventually shake from your being with each step you took.
If you did his right, when you stopped walking you’d still be numb. You wouldn’t know what to do with yourself at a standstill, but you would be numb and prepared to simply be.
Now while I was wearing my thin soled shoes while walking with the four-footed one I wished to have numb feet so as to no longer feel the sharp edge or bite of a stone. While I admire those who simply can be in the moment with no distractions I’m not so sure I’m ready to go to that extreme. I want to smell the freshness of spring when everything is green and unfurling. I wish to feel the summer wind upon my face and watch the golden grasses form waves as if they were an ocean.