“Life is not about finding our limitations, it’s about finding our infinity”. ∞ Herbie Hancock
Gratitude is the entrée of today. Thanksgiving has a very special meaning to me since it is only my brother and me. I am filled with gratitude every season because Breast Cancer changed my life forever. Jazz saved my life. This is my conversation with the universe before I went into major reconstructive surgery and things went totally wrong.
It was Thursday, November 30th, 2000 I was 48 years old. A week after Thanksgiving, this was my big Reconstructive Surgery Day. It was my attempt to make up for all of the losses and the ravages that resulted from the traumatic complications of breast cancer. Life, as I knew it six months before today, would be restored. I wanted to believe that life was the space between the notes and would free me from the exiled island where I had come to live. Today, I realize that every breath I take is the space between the notes in a melody that was fueled by God’s love and grace. I learned that surrendering, accepting and embracing everything that has happened in my “so called perfect life”, i.e., … In 1990 being completely paralyzed from Guillain-Barré; 1994 my father’s death; 2003 my mom’s return of cancer that was terminal; my diagnosis on April 14, 2000 (ironically on my father’s birthday); and today. Yes, today is going to be my day; I get the chance to make things right with my soul and universe within. I hoped that it was not just an illusion.
Counting, 100…99…95, I am breathing in life, I see my surgeon with her mask, her eyes were reassuring and smiling, I blink. 85…80 I open my eyes again halfway, I see my mom, beautifully 1960’s coiffed hair; almond shaped pools of peaceful hazel green eyes; skin so soft and radiant now paled by society’s proscriptions; a sweet smile that always masked the pain of living in two worlds. She is now standing by my side, smiling and leans over to kiss me on my cheek. I hear my father’s music that I gave the surgical team begin to play, “The Shadow of Your Smile”, it is filling the O.R., I inhale — my soul is moving —feeling every note. 75…70, I open my eyes again, I see my father, I close my eyes tightly and slowly opening them again– he is still there, he is smiling, he kisses my forehead and says, you are playing my music, I added the song I wrote for you can you hear it? I feel myself nodding. Darkness now has consumed me.
The next time my eyes open I am in the ICU. I am connected to several machines, and they are beeping. Morphine drip is set on automatic. I stir trying to find some comfort in being in a lot of pain, searching for relief. I turn my head and open my eyes and see Todd a friend from work is standing by my bed. He said I sneaked in, your mom told me where I was. We laughed. Suddenly, an alarm went off—nurses and staff come running in. I scream. What’s going on? My mouth is being covered with an oxygen mask. My surgeon is now standing next to me, says, The graft failed, I have to take you back into the OR. I gasp WAIT! How long have I been in surgery? She answered slowly, 16 hours I took another deep breath What about my DNR? She said, Your mom rescinded it. Suddenly my mother was beside the gurney as I was being wheeled to the OR. My mom motioned for them to stop the gurney and positioned herself to be in front of me. I can’t mom, just let me go, I cried. She took my hand and said, I need you, you have been my caregiver for the past 3 years and I still need you, I am your caregiver now and it is not your time.
That was the moment my meditative journey began. My fears drifted into the darkness at the center of my soul. I felt God’s presence. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and then I exhaled — letting go of the most frightening and painful parts of my life. I began to feel as though I was sailing into uncharted waters, letting go of everything I thought I could control. Now I am completely trusting and have faith that my life’s purpose and wake would take care of itself. Became an elemental person and was driven inward to my creative sea. I reconnected with my early roots of Jazz and it was my portal to the life that is waiting for me. Happy Thanksgiving! Peace & Love Out! JBC 😎 & <3.
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