Crossing the River Update

I have gotten some absolutely amazing submissions to the devotional I’m working on for the Beloved Dead.  However, I hope to get some more!  There just aren’t enough yet to publish a robust anthology.  I believe we can get there.

Therefore I’m extending the deadline until September 28th, 2015.

I have more information available here for those interested in submitting.

If you email me in the next few weeks, I may take a very long time to reply, but I will get to it.  I’m currently in the middle of a jaw and tooth infection that has landed me in both the ER and urgent care this week along with the dentist.  I’m on my 2nd round of stronger antibiotics as the 1st didn’t do much good despite the IV administration of a second type.  Because of this I’m on heavy duty pain pills, while having learned that morphine apparently does nothing for me.  I’m dealing with high blood pressure and tachycardia attacks triggered by the stress and pain.  Meanwhile it will be 2 weeks until I have surgery, and I’m terrified that I will be one of the people with Ehlers-Danlos who feels and hears everything but can’t tell the doctor due to anesthesia; Novocaine, Lidocaine, and epidurals decidedly don’t work for me.  I’m having 6 teeth removed, because I have 2 wisdom teeth, a baby tooth, and 3 teeth that have fallen apart due to my faulty collagen.  At this point, we fortunately have the costs covered, which I’m thankful for, so at least there’s that.  If I’m quiet, though, you know why.

The Neighbors

The elderly couple who lived on the other side of our duplex died… The wife first after a terrible fight with cancer, I knew the last time the ambulance left she wasn’t going to be back.  A month later her husband simply got sick and gave up. I never sat with either of them while they were dying. They were private people even in death.  No burial.  No service.  Before they died, they made a final trip to Myrtle Beach with their family instead.

It’s been a bit of a surreal experience, to say the least. Even more so, they’ve both been here to visit since passing. The husband more than the wife. He says he’s hanging around to make sure they get his home cleaned out and rented to someone who won’t make our lives chaotic.  I don’t rush him.  I feel thankful he is willing to watch out for us.  I catch him sitting on the front step, smoking cigarettes. I say “Hey, George!” and then remember he’s not alive anymore. He comes in dreams to tell me stories that he wanted to be sure someone heard.  We laugh about the deer coming through our back yard just as if he were alive…  Me thinking they look beautiful; him thinking they look delicious.

This is my life. I guess it’s always been my life to a certain extent, but it’s become more pronounced in recent years. I no longer can ignore the Dead. They don’t allow for it.

Truth be told, I’m not sure I would really have it any other way.

At L.A. County cemetery, unclaimed dead await a final resting place – LA Times

It’s not very often that I simply put up an article on my blog, but I am still sitting here with a bit of shock about me on this one.  I mentioned elsewhere that my hope is by next year to start a foundation for those in our religious community to help cover funerals and final rites for our people…

This may not seem like a terribly important thing to everyone, but to me this is a silent epidemic in our American society.  It’s something I don’t want to see happen to our people.

I felt like I should share.

At L.A. County cemetery, unclaimed dead await a final resting place – LA Times.

Deathwork Training Update

Slowly but surely, I am getting further along in my death midwife and home funeral certification.  However, my health is still incredibly unstable, and I’m finding myself at an average of 3 doctor appointments a week.  I’m seeing 8 specialists in various disciplines along with a cognitive-behavioral therapist, because who wouldn’t need a therapist when suddenly medical care has become a full-time job?  Yesterday I got the news that brain surgery to place a shunt in was onthe table if medication didn’t keep my symptoms stable.  And that, if I don’t go into remission, I may end up with a shunt anyway. Meanwhile, despite every doctor I’ve seen telling me what a good attitude I have about the fact I have 2 rare diseases and basically the body of a 60-year-old in my 30s,  along with my therapist saying she wished I could go to her group sessions in order to be an example of managing things in a healthy manner, I keep getting told to remain hopeful and positive I will get better by others.  One of my diseases is progressive and will actually get worse as I age.  The brain disease, idiopathic intracranial hypertension or pseudotumor cerebri, has no medication, no treatment, and very little research done specifically for it.  The word idiopathic means they have no idea why my brain is producing too much spinal fluid.  I am pretty resigned to dealing with this my entire life; it’s a better place to be really surprised and happy when things get radically better than to expect the best and have none of it go that way.  When you are 1 in 100,000 people to get a rare disease with no cure, it really is best to go with realistic but willing to do whatever it takes than to be seriously depressed and angry with the universe when suddenly you find yourself headed towards the option of debilitating pain and blindness or brain surgery that doesn’t always fix a problem.  I smile.  I laugh.  I do my best to find fulfilling things to replace my old passions I can no longer do (large-scale gardening, for instance).

I get into this here, because a lot of people donated to me and in turn allowing me to do this training.  None of this current brain-related health issue was in my life when I signed up for the educational program I’m taking, and I’m still dreadfully behind on things promised as rewards for those who donated generously to my education because of it.  There’s a lot of guilt there, because I hate not being able to carry through with it at this point.  I feel like those who donated should be made aware of where I am with all of it…  Which is not as far as I hoped to be.

However, I am pushing through with what I am capable of doing…  Reading, writing, taking the class modules I have to get through, and researching.

After NaNoWriMo in November, I will be setting out to really dig into writing a book on postmortem and funeral rites for the Polytheist community.  I plan on trying to give a summary of historical practices in various civilizations, covering body care and resources for those wishing to embark on a complete home funeral, helping the reader create a funeral that meets both their religious and secular needs inside or outside of a larger community…  Along with an idea for inter-faith help within our local communities and resources for legal questions or further help outside of a religious community.

I am hoping to have it fully ready for publication by the end of next year, though depending on how things go in my own life that’s really a pretty ambitious deadline.  It’s where I am right now.