[Dialogue] [Oe List ...] Who Could Have Known . . .?

RICHARD HOWIE via Dialogue dialogue at lists.wedgeblade.net
Wed Oct 28 04:38:09 PDT 2015

Hi Rosanna and Gordon,
The 3am hour is one with which Monks around the world, including  
myself, are offering brief prayers, so it is wonder-ful to know that  
you also are likely awake!
Thank you for this T/Y note and update for all of us.
With love, God's Grace & Peace,
Ellen and Dick
On Oct 25, 2015, at 7:53 PM, Gordon Harper via OE wrote:

> My Troublesome Colleagues --
> I certainly couldn’t have anticipated the cascade of responses that  
> my Brief Collegium note turns out to have precipitated.  You have  
> overwhelmed me with all your well wishes, memories, reflections,  
> shared experiences, suggestions, quotations, music, art--such a  
> cornucopia, an effulgence of gifts that could come only from you.
> My first reflection was that what you’d done had left me with a  
> crushing burden of guilt.  I felt that each of your thoughtful  
> notes fully deserved--and has failed to receive--an equally  
> personal word of appreciation from me.  The severe diminution of  
> energy that I’m living with simply made that impossible.  This  
> anemic state is the primary physical effect I experience from my  
> form of leukemia, the result of  inadequate production of red blood  
> cells by my bone marrow.  About all the time I could muster for  
> working at my computer was taken by just reading your comments and  
> doing triage on the numerous other message headers.
> This note, therefore, began as an excuse for that extended  
> dereliction on my part and an attempt to express the heartfelt  
> gratitude I have for each one of your responses. Each has been such  
> a rich gift.  I truly experience being enclosed by your circle of  
> love and support, as well as by that of the cosmos itself. I found  
> myself thinking that it was a good thing how frequently  in our  
> previous life we rehearsed that accountability had always to be  
> followed by absolution.  (Of course I also recall that it had to be  
> pronounced by someone other than yourself.)
> In the course of my writing this, however, I’ve had a second  
> reflection.  I now recognize that I quite misconstrued the actual  
> nature of your responses. They are of an entirely different order  
> than personal notes expecting individual replies.  Indeed, they are  
> much more akin to the word we addressed to one another on the  
> occasion of our birthday celebrations.  We were expected, you will  
> recall, to simply stand before the community and receive that word-- 
> no thank you, corrections or rebuttal permitted--we just had to  
> allow our lives to be addressed in this way as an important part of  
> celebrating our unique being.  (Now, how’s that for creatively  
> offloading the aforementioned burden of guilt?!)
> -----------------------
> A brief update on our situation at this moment.  By now, Roxana and  
> I have handled the end of life paperwork and had good conversations  
> with our kids over the week they spent with us, in which they got  
> to ask many of the questions they’d always wanted time to explore.   
> Some of this was video recorded for the grandchildren as well.
> In terms of the dance that this rare and unfamiliar form of   
> leukemia (CMML) and I are doing, things seem to have leveled out a  
> bit, at least for the moment.  I’ve now shed about thirty pounds,  
> am just below what the statisticians calculate to be my ideal  
> weight and am approaching where I tipped the scale upon returning  
> from India for Joe’s funeral, while still recovering from my bout  
> with hepatitis.  The only form of treatment we’re doing is the red  
> blood transfusions (two so far), which seem to give my tired blood  
> a bit of a boost.  My doctor and I are seeking to learn how long we  
> can extend the time between these (currently appears to be five or  
> six weeks), since at some point we know they will cease to be  
> effective.
> We’re not trying to fight the disease, rather learn from it and  
> work with it.  I’ve come to call this period of time since the  
> diagnosis, Extraordinary Time (I think we used that term, in  
> distinction to Ordinary Time, but I can no longer recall in what  
> context).  I’m particularly grateful for the work we did to explore  
> and experiment with shifting our living patterns and time designs,  
> discovering how fluid time can be.  This has helped me to shape my  
> days and nights into modules of roughly three hours each (shades of  
> the Canonical Hours).
> When I finish a rest and restoration module (generally about two  
> hours), I have a bit over three hours to use as creatively as  
> possible before I need to go down again.  These social modules are  
> the occasions when Roxana and I schedule routine tasks, clinic  
> visits, mealtimes, checking email, drop-ins from our local friends  
> and the somewhat rare outside excursion that we hazard to places  
> like church or the supermarket.  At the start of one of these  
> modules,I experience my highest level of energy; approaching the  
> end of the three hours, my tank has run dry and I am visibly dragging.
> Surprising how natural and manageable this pattern has become.  We  
> keep our friends’ visits to under an hour, but during that time I  
> am relatively perky, even moderately civil with our guests.  I have  
> trouble sleeping through the night, so somewhere between  2 and 5  
> am I regularly get up and do my daily stretch exercises, read,  
> meditate and listen to classical music.
> I’m not in pain, beyond the normal aches and twitches for my age.   
> Roxana and I have explored how our health care insurance handles  
> palliative care, hospice service and even death with dignity (legal  
> in WA state), for possible future reference.  We suspect that  
> hospice is the one we’ll draw on when this chronic state leukemia  
> makes its anticipated transition to the acute form.
> Roxana continues to be my caretaker nonpareil.  In addition to  
> ensuring that I make and get to clinic appointments, accommodating  
> my strange time designs and catering to some equally strange  
> requests for foods that I come up with, she facilitates the phone  
> calls with friends wanting updates or opportunities to come by.   
> She somehow manages to find times for these that work for me and  
> keeps my calendar current.  When family members or close friends  
> ask to stay with us (our living room hideabed has been surprisingly  
> in use these past weeks), she plays Wayside Inn host to our guests  
> with a flourish.  Our Order community here in the Northwest also  
> continues to be most supportive, even providing the meals when our  
> kids were here with us.
> Vanity, as we know, never dies.  I’ve indulged myself in a striking  
> rosewood cane, which I can use when I go out, either as a  
> sophisticated New Yorker walking stick (when I’m at peak energy) or  
> as something to help keep my shaky balance when the tank is drying  
> up.  To facilitate streaming my favorite classical music station  
> (WFMT Chicago, of course), you will find me sporting a new BOSE  
> wireless headphone that provides exceptional sound reproduction.   
> Last week, our 27 inch analog TV went to Goodwill, and a 40 inch  
> flat screen replacement appeared in its place. Finally, I do always  
> try to comb my hair and beard when I’m going to be on a Skype call  
> with one of you.
> Even with limited mobility, it seems I’m still capable of causing a  
> little trouble.  Just recently, Bill and Sheila Westre dropped in,  
> and Bill asked if I could help him with some technical support for  
> a proposed direct action to wean one of our providers of electrical  
> power here in the Northwest off its use of coal generated power.  I  
> was able to connect him with one of my most knowledgeable Occupy  
> Movement colleagues, who just happens to have written the book on  
> that particular technology.  (So far, no word of any arrests in the  
> Seattle paper.)
> --------------------------
> I hope this provides a vignette of where things stand at present.   
> We’re trying to take each day as a special gift, I’m practicing  
> mindfulness of the given moment and rendering up each day to the  
> Mystery at its conclusion.
> Roxana and I deeply appreciate all that you’ve done to make this  
> Extraordinary Time the blessing it is for both of us --
> Gordon
> _______________________________________________
> OE mailing list
> OE at lists.wedgeblade.net
> http://lists.wedgeblade.net/listinfo.cgi/oe-wedgeblade.net

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.wedgeblade.net/pipermail/dialogue-wedgeblade.net/attachments/20151028/4cdbaad7/attachment.html>

More information about the Dialogue mailing list