Yuki Love for All…


Yuki Love.

This is Yuki – the cat who chose to love me.  What we know of his kittenhood is patchy – it wasn’t easy. He was seen with different injuries while he was still young, and the way he loves to lie in front of the woodstove or cuddle in beds makes me think he still has vivid memories of being cold…

And somehow, despite everything, Yuki knows how to love. He  loves people… he is on “bathing-each-other-and-sleeping-together” terms with almost every other cat in the house (all 4 with very different personalities)… and he is a willing playmate. He’s also brilliant, which means he finds ways to entertain himself that are not always appreciated by his human housemates. 😉 (Though I have a thing for brilliance wherever it is found – I am smitten with him – the fact that he has seafoam-green eyes and a beautiful marbled coat is just icing on the cake. 😊) Somehow, he knew I was in need of his love, too. Everyone needs to know love like Yuki Love – no strings attached, no judgment calls, no expectations. Just love.

Work has been heavy recently – the mission of Hopewell House is beautiful, and I still can’t  believe I get to be part of this team that is striving to help people “live well while dying”… but it is hard to carry so much grief and suffering… hard to  carry the constant reminders that “bad things” don’t happen to “bad people” – you can’t  be “good enough” to avoid suffering. Suffering happens. It is part of this human existence.

Even on the days we aren’t scheduled to work, our hearts are usually at The House anyway… bearing witness to the journeys of these people who become so dear to us so quickly.  What we do there is very much like Yuki Love. Once you come in our doors, we will love you to your last breath and beyond – we will love your loved ones… we will come alongside you and ease your journey. There are no judgments, no strings attached, no expectations… you are loved exactly as you are – with the fierceness of a mama bear. These women on our care team know how to love without limit… I am in awe of them – together we will sing your spirit home.

I’m sending Yuki Love to you all – spread it around, Dear Ones… we need it.


Hope Springs…

Spring is here in all its bright-green-glory, and my bookend sister and I stole an evening walk the other day to celebrate.
We took the now periwinkle-lined path down to the creek, and then followed it to where it falls into the river – ducking under branches newly-leafed, and being mindful of each step. The whole world down there had come back to life!
And the air was so rich with the sweet-spiced-earthy scent of Spring in the woods…

That must be what hope smells like… sweet and spicy, with the grounded scent of damp earth and fresh water. It must sound like the song of the creek – water unfrozen and running away to the sea – laughing and bubbling over any obstacles in its path…

Spring is the reminder that rebirth is a part of life – that new seasons come and change can be beautiful – it is the fruit of hope during a long winter…
This year I am clinging to this promise of Spring – that winters don’t last forever.  The one I’m living will end in a Spring someday too. I am weary… bone-weary… but there is still hope.
And I am still here on this spinning orb watching the seasons change – there is so much Life here.

And so much to love.

Blessed Spring to you all…

Soft sight…



I love these tiny flowers – it was such a lovely surprise to come across such a large patch of them when my bookend sister and I were walking yesterday evening.  Such simple, startling joy…
a spark of light in the dark right now.

Some seasons of life are velvet-black even when the Springtime sun returns. I keep thinking we will turn a corner, and there will be a break in the darkness – but right now, my boys and I are just wandering in the night together. We are together… tiny flames in that velvet-deep black – as long as we stay together, our flickering keeps the night creatures at bay.

I want so much more for them – but I can only give what I have… mama-love and soft eyes. I really have little else to give – but gentle hearts can find peace when they learn how to see softly. It’s the only way to see in the dark… see the good that may be more quiet than the bad… see the starlight beyond the storm… see the seed buried and waiting, believing that there is a sun beyond the darkness that surrounds it.

See the Forget-me-nots.

Remember – another season is coming.

44 years and Winnie-the-Pooh

Me and Winnie-the-Pooh

Flashback – little me, 5 years old – reading my Winnie-the-Pooh. These books were my favorites then – I had the whole set: Winnie-the-Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner, and the two books of poetry – When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six. (I remember my excitement when eventually I turned six and was able to read those poems when I matched the age in the title. 😁) Some of my other treasures at the time are on the shelf next to me – especially my Fisher Price cassette player. When I was 2, that cassette player took a terrible tumble down a long flight of stairs — if I close my eyes I can still see it falling down the orange-carpeted staircase of our house at the time. I can feel my fear – the overwhelming distress – even now tears come to my eyes at the depth of the memory. But it survived and continued to play my music faithfully for years.

I just recently had my 44th birthday, and so much of my life has unfolded in ways outside of my control and unexpected. That’s fairly normal for humans riding around on this planet and subject to Time. But so many things about me have remained unchanged from who I was in this picture – I mean, unlike what appears to be the norm – many, many parts of me are exactly the same as I was in this picture. (Autism spectrum echoes here.) Not only do I read Winnie-the-Pooh as my go-to comfort book, but I began reading it to my sons before they could talk and passed it along as a “comfort story” to them as well. I own multiple box sets, and the boys have the two chapter books in one large, blue volume that is falling apart with love. Music and poetry are also still what I use to help make sense of the world. I no longer have my beloved cassette player, but music remains with me – even without an external source, it is usually playing within me… unless the cacophony of my thoughts drowns it out.

I grew in capacity to understand knowledge, but that didn’t necessarily translate into understanding people. I am always watching this world from somewhere behind my eyes – riding around in this ever-changing and usually uncomfortable body that helps me interact with the world, but always feeling somehow like an alien living inside it. Somewhere along the line, I think I’ve just accepted that being a physical being will always feel like a strange surprise to me. My hands, my eyes, all these parts of me that touch the world – that grant me moments of mingling with others – I am frequently in awe of them, but also not quite sure of them… my eyes themselves can be just as awe-inspiring as the views they give to me.

I was coming home from Hopewell House last night under a golden gibbous moon, listening to music, and allowing myself to ride the waves of emotions from my shift. I knew one resident would finish their transition off this earth that night, and I would not get to say goodbye to them or their loved one who had been there with them throughout my shift. It is hard to just be “the weekend nurse” at a hospice house because I am not usually able to say goodbye. I love working with the dying – its complexity and simplicity – and I love how it informs how I live this life of mine… but love isn’t easy. I am grateful to be where I am… but I am also weary right now – for many reasons.

So tonight, I will turn on an audiobook of Winnie-the-Pooh, and I will curl up in bed beside the pile of books by my pillow. I will close my eyes and let myself be however I am… I will listen to the laughter of my sons and the popping of the woodstove across the room. I will breathe with my mental recording of the rhythm of the sea by my old home – and let it soothe me, even though the memory aches. I don’t know what this next year will bring, but this 44th year is starting off with many blessings. It is good to be here…

Thank you my dear ones, for making this strange human journey so full of love and laughter… even when the path is dark. I love you all.

Peace in the Darkness…

Fig and Yuki Cuddle

Sometimes, a few moments in the midst of life’s chaos can bring a deep peace in the darkness…

I was a cat-nap cushion today for these two kitties – neither of which belong to me (though Yuki there on my legs thinks he does). For a good 45 minutes, I used this as an excuse to actually do nothing – nothing but feel their weight and warmth while listening to their soft purring until they fell asleep. Despite the stress of life right now, I found myself relaxing into their peace and almost fell asleep myself. There is something wonderful about the peace an animal feels when they are loved, and that peace and feeling of safety is really what we all want in our relationships too… we’re not that different from the rest of the species riding this planet with us.

Like most of us, I have had my ability to trust other humans badly damaged through the years on this globe. (It turns out I still can’t recognize deception or other more complex social interactions – it may be time to figure out how to access my own autism diagnostician to help me process my recent life traumas that have thrown me into a very dark place of confusion I simply can’t make sense of…) I have met so many beautiful souls recently, though, and I don’t want to miss out on journeying with them because I am afraid of painful interactions. We can’t experience that deep peace we crave in relationships without trusting that we are safe with each other…

I will be 44 in two days. It is a good number… but this last trip around the sun was full of nightmares and trauma – it broke me… yet somehow I am still here. My boys need me – and if I can be a source of peace for the lives around me – whatever species they are – then this life of mine feels like it has value even in its brokenness. Broken can still be beautiful.

Forty-four years… I am still here. My goal remains to be able to say at the end of this ride, “Veni, Vidi, Amavi.” I came, I saw, I loved. I am grateful for the journey.

If you are one of the beautiful souls on the ride of life with me… thank you for your presence – thank you for your smiles, your laughter, your tears, and your stories. You all rock my world.