We cannot just pay homage to those who lost their lives but everyone who survived any war is a victim, haunted by ghosts of the past. Every vet I ever met who survived in combat situations. And not just in wars past but those today. Families of survivors are victims too. My father’s family suffered with the scars and memories brought back by their loved ones as did most others. Putting on a brave face determined how one appeared to survive in life, but in the dark and at end of life even seventy or eighty years later every horror heard and seen could be recounted. Brave faces, broken hearts, broken souls. There are no winners. Ever.
Changing My Mind
As you know I am a fast reader, usually finishing a book in twenty-four hours or less. If it doesn’t intrigue me little time is wasted and if it does then it is worth a reread.
My week as Queen of Hamilton is almost up – the family returns tomorrow evening from Disney and I will once again take up my royal residence in Kitchener. My subjects in the last seven days have been; Bree the yellow, eating everything plastic or metal in sight Lab, Jack a white blue eyed but deaf very social entity cat, and Jewels also a white but I don’t think deaf, and a Queen onto herself cat who frankly does not give a damn.
I came prepared with my iPad and journal and books, however the first night I saw a book on the dresser called ‘Changing My Mind’ by Margaret Trudeau. For my non Canadian friends who may not have heard of her, Margaret was a way too young hippy in the sixties who caught the eye and captured the heart of our then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who was I think twenty-nine years her senior. Sort of a Charles and Diana scenario in the extreme.
Anyway it turns out that our free thinking pot smoking, very sexual heroine suffers from bipolar illness. This is a very serious illness and obviously a popular one since some of the ‘stars’ of late have glamorized it. Are you listening Catherine Zeta Jones? I am surprised Lindsay Lohan has not laid claim to it to excuse her behavior.
As a nurse I have seen the effects of this horrible affliction, patients finally balanced with medication who when they are feeling their best decide they feel so good they do not need their medication. It is an ongoing cycle and I can only applaud those in their never ending struggle. For a struggle it is.
When I first started reading this book I was tempted to put it down a dozen times. Just another public figure always using the same excuse ….oh I did drugs and had affairs (including Teddy Kennedy) and embarrassed myself and my family countless times because I was ill. Oh poor me.
It took me a whole week to finish this book, to put aside my judgements on public manipulation. I put it down and swore I would not finish it again and again.
In the last three chapters Margaret makes her point, and I am glad I hung in there till the end. It wasn’t easy. It is not an easy book to read.
So all in all, I am glad I was not the one changing her mind!
Yesterday my post on S. C. Barrus at awayandaway.com was my 100th post. I am not sure it merits recognition..just saying..
The Woman on the Train and What is Wrong with Enlightenment
Last year I travelled to Toronto by train every day for three days. The first morning I chatted with a woman, not the one in the title, but a very nice gal who was a teacher doing some work for the Ministry of Education. She was fascinating and we clicked. Going home that evening I saw her again at the train station and we picked up our conversation from the morning. This went on each of the three days.
When I got to the station at the end of the third day I did not see my friend right away so chatted with a pleasant woman while we waited for the boarding call. The woman said she had been to a hospital in the city for an appointment. I didn’t pry into her health issues and she talked a bit about her life. There was something very strange about her, an aura, a radiating peace. She appeared to be smiling even when she wasn’t, speaking softly but with great power and at the same time seeming amazingly humble. I was in awe just looking at her and could not understand why. I felt for some reason I was in the presence of greatness but could not give it definition.
I spotted my friend further down the queue and knew she would be looking for me so I excused myself even though I did not want to move. Shaking my head in puzzlement I went to join my friend.
On the train this strange woman was sitting by herself in one of those sets of seats where four face each other. I asked if we could join her. We three chatted about nothing in particular. Then this strange woman looked at me -into me-and told me her story quietly. And all else ceased to exist.
She said her appointment had been to assess her status. She said that her mother and two sisters had died of cardiomyopathy (a deadly heart condition). It was genetic. I whispered to her, “And you have it too?”
She nodded. The only cure was a heart transplant but it could not be done until a certain point had been reached in her condition. I knew from experience that often when patients reached that point their condition often worsened and they died before a heart came available. And still she radiated joy and incredible peace.
My friend and I got off the train before that woman’s stop. As we walked away, my friend asked if this condition was serious. I told her that the woman is walking with death.
I think of her often and feel I was blessed to have been in her company.
Enlightenment – and finding it has been on my mind for a long time. I have read some things that made sense but I also read a book on enlightenment that just didn’t feel right. It calls for us to wake up in the the morning and start jumping and yelling YES! YES! It says that to be financially rich have friends gather around and shower us with money, literally. It said a few things that perplexed me. It might come to your mind that I am frequently perplexed.
But then the thought came to me recently………the woman on the train was true enlightenment. She was one with God, the universe or whatever our centre is. No yelling. No jumping. Just incredible peace and joy and love and gentleness and humility.
I don’t know if I will ever see that kind of thing again. I just know that for a short time I was closer to purity than I have ever been. And I am humbled.