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Upon Their Hands They Will Carry you
Page 50

Was I Already Gone?

"Tired, Iím tired, so tired." I was thinking, "Is this the way people cope with their own death and in fact sometimes have out of body experiences? Was I really already gone?" It was like an observer was watching the happenings of my own family.

What good is it to talk about it? Rodney was already doing all he could and had taken on the full responsibility of our family. It Ďs better I keep my thoughts to myself I decided.

Like a sick animal needing to become very still became necessary, too. Rod cut the side of Grandmotherís wall beside the bed completely out and put in a sliding glass door. The sun coming through that was wonderfully warm and healing while I was on our bed. This new window looked out onto a beautiful yard which was an extra lot belonging to the property. It took no effort to stay on the bed and not have to exert any energy at all to enjoy the outdoors.

Squirrels played on the low hanging branches, red birds flew for the sunflower seeds in the feeder and children were always at one time or another playing there. A moaning like sound all night long after Rodney cut the wall out only happened that one night. After he filled the space with these spacious lovely glass doors, sometimes I imagined I could see my Grandmother sitting in the overstuffed, large chair covered with pink and white chintz fabric just as she had done when I was a teenager and she told me of the story of her youth.

"If I live," I was thinking, "I will never care what Rodney does or does not do for the rest of our lives. I shall love him unconditionally for the care and love he has given to me and the children."

He did do everything again: the cooking, the washing, cleaning, and worked part time at jobs that were menial and rough. He never complained about trimming trees for people instead of working at his own skill, electronics. With his care and the advice from a very wise, country doctor who taught me a whole new way to live, I began to slowly improve. I owe my life to so many people who have treated me with so much love. I feel there is no way I can ever repay them. I murmured this to my baby daughter. "Maybe you can," my love.

Dr. Gibson was witing for me after a call from my doctor in Oklahoma City alerted him to my condition. He was firm and for him to treat me he insisted I attend his lectures.

"There will be no more starvation diets to keep fashionably thin, no grueling exercises to push yourself over the limit, no making stress a part of your life, and by all means you will know to live with good common sense." On this the man did not waver. I owe my life to him for his lectures on good nuitrition.

"If you canít read it, donít eat it," he warned us to read labels religiously.

Rhonda attended school at Senior High. Her class was on the third floor and normally Rod took her up and down the elevator.

After I began to improve he went to work full time which left Rhonda with no help up to the third floor. Following my doctors advice I didnít dare take on the chore of running her back and forth. The school sent out a teacher for Rhonda to work with her in our home. It wasnít giving this teen-age girl the opportunity to blend in with people and in no way allowed for making friends. However, we had family at the time and that was her social activities.

"Oh my goodness! There go Sisterís girls down the hill with Rhonda in her wheelchair!" This was not the only fun activity they enjoyed. Other times Kemy could be seen playing some board game with Rhonda while they both laughed at one or another loss or win.

As our tribal connection was practiced we learned the relationships there. There were no cousins, only brother and sisters. If two people had grandparents who were brother and sister, forever into any length of time, they were still grandmother and grandfather to the children. It was a wonderful carrying on of not marrying, even into their own clan and, no doubt, was what gave them the strong genes for exceptionally strong bodies and minds.

To carefully stay away from the adulterated customs the missionaries had introduced and stay with the old ways as had been taught by our Native American grandmother became our goal. This, too, gave us a freedom from Anglo traditions with Celtic practices sprinkled into Christianity like salt on food.

"We didnít use to do that! " Our Native grandmothers told us when referring to todayís Native traditions with funerals.

"When someone died we fasted and prayed. Today the bigger feast and long funerals were not done back there. We took our folks and buried them right away and then that was a time to go home and pray."

These gentle old ways, although not practiced much anymore, still stayed with us. This was a workable thing , too. Remembered nomadic ways of our ancestors which often did not allow them to spend too much time on ceremony was a reasonable thing, we thought.

Our family without my being able to keep up didnít make the meetings, only but hit and miss. My devotion now would have to take a new turn. We went from active, regular participation to someone who didnít conform to the regimens required. Others were able to continue even during their illnesses. I could not.

As the prairie saying goes, "I was too long in the wind." Too many near misses with that old man with the cycle left me very, very cautious about pushing myself past any sensible place.

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