cancer, Grief, Guest Posts

After My Sister Died I Became Holey.

September 25, 2014
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By Jessica Yaeger.

Hi! This is me, Jessica. I’m a rectangle. (So- I’m not talking body types here, but just random shapes for the sake of my illustration!)

 

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This is my amazing sister Vanessa. She was a triangle (& see the V?).

 

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This is a hole I have in me. I got it when Vanessa died of stage 4 (metastatic) breast cancer.

 

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cancer, Guest Posts, healing

Falling Hair.

September 25, 2014
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By Sue Lick.

Reddish-blond fur swirled in the air as we groomed the shedding dog. In a single stroke, the comb was filled with yellow fluff. I released the fur to the wind, watching it drift across the deck and the lawn.

Fred ran a nubby rubber glove across Sadie’s back, emptied the fur from the glove, and rubbed her again until the dog squirmed away. Tufts of the pale stuff stuck out around her hips and butt as she walked to the edge of the deck, stepped off and continued across the lawn. She raised her right back leg and peed, then trotted to the hole she had dug under the garden shed, pawing her way in until all that showed was her waving tail. Fur lay in soft puffs on the deck and the lawn. Strands clung to our clothes.

“That’s how Mom looked,” Fred said.

Our eyes met. Oh God. Unconsciously, I stroked my own thick dark hair, which I had just paid $25 to have professionally trimmed and thinned.

When I left for California three weeks earlier, curly white hair covered Helen Lick’s head like a cottony crown. While I was gone, she started chemotherapy. After just one treatment, her hair had started falling out in clumps. We had no idea it would happen so soon.

As we brushed the dog fur off our clothes, Fred told me what I had missed.

Yesterday, when he took his mother to Corvallis for more chemo, they stopped at a wig shop and purchased a head of synthetic hair. It looked like something you’d see on a model in the Sears catalog, gray and white, kind of windblown, he said. The $190 they spent included a wire wig rack, a bottle of wig shampoo and three turbans. The shop, Healing Hands, specialized in cancer patients. The proprietor, Jeanie something, oozed kindness.

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Guest Posts, Inspiration, Manifestation Workshops

Not Just For The Ladies.

September 24, 2014
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By David Krause.

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Note from Jen: David just attended one of my workshops in South Dakota and posted this on my Facebook wall. I am blown away, to say the least.

ManifestStation Workshops-Not Just for the Girls.

I was in Santa Monica last April visiting some friends and thought I’d try yoga.

Jen instructed the 2nd class I ever attended (I had no idea how big of a deal she is-I was pretty lucky). I struggled through class but loved it. Afterward I thanked her for being patient with a rookie from South Dakota. She laughed and invited me to her workshop in Sioux Falls, SD in September. ‘See you there!’ I said, having no idea what a workshop was, but struck mainly by her enthusiasm and energy.

Months later, I learned that 1-Jen is a legend in the yoga world, and 2-yoga workshops involve journaling and talking about feelings.

I like to play sports, climb mountains, shoot trap, fly fish, and look for sweet deals on shotgun shells to shoot trap with. So I don’t have a journal, and I will listen to anyone talk about their feelings but don’t do much with mine. Skeptical about attending, I thought Jen would forget and I could stay in my comfort zone.

More months later, Jen remembered, and wrote on my Facebook timeline where, when, and that I should bring a journal.

Like an absolute goofball, I messaged her – ‘what is class like? I don’t journal much. I’m not sure if this is for me.’ She got down to brass tacks and told me it’s about getting out of my comfort zone.

For 3 hours that night I could be found 100 miles from my nearest comfort zone-45 female yoga pros and the lone male in his late 20s.

It was totally necessary and entirely enlightening. I could end up being pretty damn boring if I’m focused only on being a resident the next 5 or 6 years. I could miss the moments in life to smile, to make somebody smile, and to be fully human.

I could neglect current relationships and not make new ones.

But for 3 hours Jen led and taught me how to prevent that with introspection and a consistent sense of wonder. Jen has that light which lets you know she’s fully human. It is evident that she feels more intensely, more keenly, more loudly. She’s sharing that with the world-the boys just need to show up with an open mind.

And yes . . . a journal!” ~ David in South Dakota.

 

Note from Jen again: Hi, it’s me again. I wanted to share this for the men. You can come. You see? It’s not just for the ladies!  See you Sat in NYC!
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For a list of Jen’s upcoming events click here. 

click to order Simplereminders new book.

click to order Simplereminders new book.

Guest Posts, poetry, writing

Sojourns.

September 24, 2014
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By Abriana Jette.

Saturday, New Jersey Turnpike, 12:33pm

I had better tell you where I am going and why I am watching smoke sift through the hood of a 1993 green Honda Accord as spritzes of coolant spatter like small kisses onto the windshield. I am with a rap artist named the Deafinition, whom I will call Greg, and we are heading to the Poconos. Just a moment ago I was listening to the brashness of his voice seep through the SONY speakers that cost more than this car. Just a moment before life was working out as planned.

Since I have been near him I can’t help but to touch him. There is a meager patch of skin creviced between his head and neck, where his hair remains prickly, where there sits the redolence of a tender man, a place where my fingers seem to travel to trail the ends of his spine. He is soft to the touch. Wears a size thirteen. Hates tomatoes. Writes.

Except he calls it rapping. Same difference, I say. Within my reach I always keep a notepad or pencil, same as he when he scribbles lines at work or keeps a beat to remember with his fingers on the steering wheel. He writes in rhythms of west-coast rooted torments; here is the best friend’s unexpected death, there, the knowledge he has been forced to accept. He prides himself on his growth. He is 6’3”, has quiet green eyes.

I am trying to keep calm. He storms out of the car; swings open the hood, spouts curses while mumbling under his breath. For the first time I notice he is wearing dark blue jeans that he has rolled once, then cuffed, a pair of black Nike Zooms, a plain Hanes t-shirt (black), and a white Rocawear track jacket, with horizontal red and black stripes. His hair is shaved as if he were a soldier.

 

Ten minutes ago his voice sounded closer on the radio; like I could finally hear him speak. There is a distinct east coast flow in his pronunciation, a syncopated voice that manipulates verbs. A troubled voice permeates through all ten unsigned albums. He is judging, and crude, he lacks the desire to reach out and love, and yet his tone is void of rancor: it is kind, it has listened.

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Anxiety, Books, Guest Posts, Meditation

How I Meditated My Way From Panic to Peace.

September 23, 2014
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 By Priscilla Warner.

When I was fifteen years old, I suffered my first terrifying panic attack, while I was a “townie” working as a waitress at the Brown University cafeteria in Providence, Rhode Island.

I thought I was having a heart attack. One minute I was dishing out peas to hordes of bored young students, and then, suddenly, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. My heart raced and flopped around in my chest, my lungs convulsed, I turned hot and cold, shaking head to toe, and my throat began to close.

Was I dying? I wasn’t sure.

Was I going crazy? That was possible.

Mental illness ran through my family like wildfire. My father had been diagnosed as manic depressive, his brother was in and out of mental hospitals all his life, and my namesake, a favorite cousin, grew up to become a homeless schizophrenic woman.

I thought mental illness was contagious.

I rushed home from work and a family doctor was called to our house. He diagnosed me as being “a little bit nervous,” and prescribed Librium, the tranquilizer taken mostly by American housewives twice my age in the 1960s.

I thought I was a freak. The word “panic attack” wasn’t even used back in those days. It certainly wasn’t a term that girls my age had ever heard of. Neither was anxiety.

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