On a unusually warm February afternoon in 2016, my husband John flew from his debilitated body and into the spirit realm. After a very long battle with cancer and a marathon with our local hospice, nine months to be exact, he finally let go and went with the angels. I had a very different reaction than most. I believe it’s because of all I’ve learned from working with animals and humans who have transitioned. But my immediate reaction as I understood what had happened was; “Oh my gosh! He’s experiencing the coolest things right now!” My outburst frightened the caregiver brought in near the end to help me, but I was truly happy for him. He was free.
An “Unusual” Guy
My “Bear” as I called him affectionately, was certainly one-of-a-kind. He was loved in our small beach community and always up to something. He was probably one of our town’s best known pranksters. He drove an art car (many in our twenty five years together) and decorated them always in a Dada theme. His April Fool’s day jokes are legendary in Cannon Beach, one elaborate prank was profiled on NPR. He loved music. He loved listening to it, playing it, and creating his own instruments. I guess he became bored with the twenty eight he could play proficiently. He did work as a combination musician/ mime artist. He was a strong voice on our City Council. And owned and operated Once Upon A Breeze kite shop, the oldest on the Oregon coast for over 40 years. He was brilliant, hysterically funny and could make me laugh out loud up until he couldn’t. But most of all, he was the love of my life.
During our twenty five years together he always had a project going so found nothing unusual or odd when I announced I was learning to communicate telepathically with animals. He was a little hesitant at first but said right away he’d keep an open mind. It wasn’t long before he became truly interested in what I was learning and was very supportive. I had my share of melt downs in those early days of learning AC, but he always had an encouraging word that helped me to get back on the horse. (scuse the pun). We each had dreams and encouraged the other to keep trying, keep at it, we had mutual respect for each other’s ambitions. We were a great team.
A Fun Life Together
We had, for a very long run what people dream of as the perfect beach life. Our kite shop did well through the 90’s and early ’00’s. We had what we needed. I tried to start my professional animal communication business. And John “offended” some of the neighbors with our yard decor. There were art cars in various stages of design and it didn’t quite fit with what many people decided was Cannon Beach. But John could have cared less. He always had some creative idea in his head of something no one had thought of and quietly carried it out. I swear. Half the time I had no idea what he was up to. We had what we needed and lots of lost kids wandered in and out of our lives looking for work. John always hired the best and each left our employment with a little better understanding of how to perform well at a job and more importantly: not to take life too seriously. I didn’t totally see this until after he was gone and the kids began returning to visit me. All of those visits started out a little teary and ended in laughter. I had no idea he collected Beanie Babies so he could launch them over our kite shop via potato gun and land them in the park so the kids would have toys raining from the sky. He carried a huge box of small toys in his car and local kids would come running when they saw him headed up the street as if he were the Ice Cream truck, in order to get a toy. John loved every minute and it would take us a very long time to make a five minute drive. No kid was left empty handed.
The Times Were A Changin’
In the late 2000’s we were hit hard by the recession. Suddenly kites were no longer a wanted commodity. Instead of a kite for each child in the family, it was one kite per family. Admittedly, we didn’t see this coming as we were more focused on John’s health. After his prostate was removed in ’01, he hadn’t made it to the golden five year cancer free mark, but instead it was back and it meant business. It was the beginning of a very stressful period for me. I did my best to get him into the best doctors. I made phone calls to doctors I knew and trusted, and I stayed off the Internet. John was such a great sport. He remained upbeat through all the long procedures. He made the nurses laugh. He was who he was, and he wasn’t giving in without a fight. As his health declined, my to-do list increased. He no longer could do the simple everyday things that a couple splits in order to keep a home and business running, most of that fell to me. And with my plate becoming more full by the day, I had to temporarily drop my dream of becoming a professional animal communicator.
“After his prostate was removed in ’01, he hadn’t made it to the golden five year cancer free mark, but instead it was back and it meant business.”
At some point during those years, John got me a bookkeeper to help relieve some of the stress from me. It didn’t work out well. She talked John into refinancing our home and we qualified for a rather large home equity loan. Nice thought. Wrong choices. I eventually let her go and found a mess of sorts awaiting my return. I’ve never been one to place blame on others, so I did my best to pick up where she left off but it was a little late. We were in serious danger of losing our home. Our business was now limping along instead of predictably sailing along. And John’s health continued to decline.
The Wheels Come Off
In the spring of 2015 two things became very clear. We were going to lose our home of twenty five years, and I was going to lose my Bear. So as his doctor suggested we put John on home hospice care. I redesigned our living room, we got all the new equipment we needed, and so began the long good-bye. I’m not going to go into great detail about this portion since most of it is personal between John and me. But at the same time I was “enduring” loss after loss, I was also becoming more proficient in talking with humans who have transitioned to spirit. This was somewhat comforting to me as I knew my journey with John would not change in some ways. And I had a plan. I was going to be fine.
The Best Made Plans
By June of ’16 I had been moved out of our home and into a much smaller one, with Jack our kitty. Not only was reality setting in, I watched poor little Jack go through a long grieving process. I tried to explain and help him but really? We were both in a daze and stayed that way. This wasn’t part of the plan.
You think you know who will be there for you and who probably won’t as you move through these major life events. I was surprised and kind of shocked that my two “best friends” disappeared from my life. To me, it was just more loss on top of loss. But John was there. Anytime I would melt into tears I could clearly hear him telling me not to cry in that sweet voice I remember so well. One night in an attempt to cheer me, he told me now he could travel the speed of light and was quite excited about it. Then added “but I don’t have to, I am light.” I can hear him, but you can’t cuddle with energy. I miss him everyday.
But just because the people I thought would be here, weren’t, those roles were filled by other friends who have literally carried me through the past year. They’re local friends and now have permanent places in my heart. Because without them, I don’t know how I would have made it through this Year of the Fog. And that’s the best description I can muster. My memory was shot, I was totally exhausted, and had lost over 30 pounds.
One night in an attempt to cheer me, he told me now he could travel the speed of light and was quite excited about it. Then added “but I don’t have to, I am light.”
I can’t say enough, or find the words to those (who know who they are) how much they helped John and me, and then Jack and me. The beauty of a small town is that yes, everybody knows everybody else, but at times like these it can make you feel warm and loved. Not as lost as you might feel in a large city. I have the beach close by and try to get down there, after all, I’m healing in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. But even that has left me feeling a void.
I started out this series of posts to work through my losses, and if you’ve been keeping count, it’s quite a bit. (See stories published since 2016) My husband, our house, my dogs, my cat, and yes even my childhood best friend. But one thing I’ve held onto through all of this: I know I’m going to be all right. I know I’ll get back to “me” and living my passion. And in just the past month or so this has turned out to be true.
Comin’ Round The Moon
My family has been amazing. I have a lot of catching up to do with their lives as I’ve been taking all the attention. But my brother, the guy who grew up two years away from me turns out has probably known me best all along. I’ve spent a lot of time with him this past year. He had the perfect analogy for these past few years and shared it with me recently in the following story:
“remember when we were kids and the lunar module would go behind the moon? And for about eight minutes we’d be out of touch with the astronauts? And everyone on earth would hold their breath until they’d once again, come around the dark side of the moon and we could hear their voices and knew they were fine. Do you remember that? Well that’s you Leese! That’s you! You’re comin’ around the dark side of the moon!”
That’s good little brother.