I've lived in Wyoming, Texas, California, Ohio, Missouri, Kansas, Alaska, New Mexico, Tennessee, and now Kentucky.
I went to 13 different schools before I graduated from High School. College was the worst experience of my life. My years in graduate school at the University of Missouri Kansas City were the most interesting years of my life. Getting my Ph.D. at Walden University was so busy, it's now a blur. I worked full time and went to school full time for most of my education, but I wouldn't trade them for anything...it's exactly what I wanted to do.
I was following my dream.
In addition to traveling all over the US, I've been to several countries: Canada, Mexico, Ireland, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Scotland, and England. Again I was following my dreams. And when you travel like Rick Steves, you get a lot more bang for your buck.
I was a fundamentalist minister for seven years. Then I spent twenty years as a Gestalt psychotherapist working both for non-profits and in private practice. Another twenty-one years were spent working as a Cancer Registrar and managing a cancer clinical trials program.
I retired in 2019 and have been living the dream ever since. I didn't start writing until after I retired. All this has provided enough fodder for my writing to last me forever. But every day, something tickles my brain and I add it to the list.
Thank you for taking the time today to browse through my website.
Join me in Living Life to the Fullest and following your dreams.
The Dance began when first I heard your voice.
Never touching, pushing, pulling.
Two steps forward, two steps back.
Then your left hand touched my right
and the Dance took a turn that night.
The roar of the thunder rose and fell
as we danced our Dance in the swell.
Round and round, back and forth, up and down
deafened by the sound.
The sound of our hearts keeping rhythm for the dance.
Hearts ripping and tearing at every turn
wanting a dance that was not to be
only to create our agony.
Our only escape, after many a try
was to simply turn and say goodbye.
The roar subsides, and the agony dulls.
But hearts leave nothing to be forgotten as
we turn and leave the dance floor behind.
Again with the dreams, I thought as I woke in the middle of the night. The same or similar dreams had haunted me both day and night for the last couple of years. But now they
were getting stronger. Maybe I should take action, I thought as I crawled out of bed.
Thank goodness for the internet. I could find anyone and this morning I needed to find
Ralph Miller in Durham, North Carolina. The dreams about him were getting more urgent.
Although hard to believe, I often feel a ‘disturbance in the force’ when I need to address
something. Ralph and I had some unfinished business and I felt an urgency after nearly 30 years
to contact him.
We had been fellow Gestalt psychotherapists during and after graduate school at the
University of Missouri in Kansas City. We lived together, bought a house together, moved to
Alaska together, and ran a private practice together. But neither of us was ever really serious
about a long-term relationship. We were friends, sometimes. But our connection was often
unexplainable to the outside world. To be honest, it was unexplainable to us most of the time.
Our connection was strong and yet we pushed and pulled against each other for years. He once
suggested that maybe it was some unresolved past life issue that we struggled with. Whatever it
was, we eventually went our separate ways.
The disturbance began a couple of years ago, but I ignored it. It was a whisper and didn’t
feel significant. But now the vibration reverberated through every moment of every day and was
getting stronger. I’m glad I listened this time. When I finally reached his home by phone, his
wife said he was in the bathroom and could he call me back when he was settled. Having worked
with cancer and hospice patients for years, I sensed something was wrong.
When he called me back a few minutes later, he told me that he was dying and it
wouldn’t be very long. “That makes me so sad,” I said through my tears. He said something that
he would never have said years ago. He said, “Oh, don’t be sad.”
But I was sad. We talked for nearly thirty minutes while he explained his journey with
prostate cancer that was first found in his bones making it a stage four at diagnosis. That was five
years ago, just about the time I first began feeling the ‘disturbance’.
We talked about old times, trips we’d taken, and fun we’d had. We talked about watching Dr.
Who late in the evening, going to parties during graduate school and dancing all night long, and
about our dogs, Kito and Ching Lee. I promised to send pictures of the dogs and other reminders
of our travels together. Then he grew too tired to talk anymore and needed to take his medicines.
I told him I loved him and he told me he loved me. Probably the first time we’d ever said those
words to each other. I cried when we hung up.
That was the last time I spoke to him. I did send him the pictures I’d promised and when
he died just a month later, I received a card from his wife. She said that he was deeply touched
when I called him and by the pictures I’d sent. Ralph died on March 31, 2020.
What I felt is not as easy to describe. Never in my life was I so glad to have responded to
the call from the ‘disturbance in the force’ as I was now. I felt a genuine relief with this closure.
As confused and undefined as our connection was in life, our closure felt clear and complete
I can’t explain why I reacted the way I did on that early, hot, and humid June morning. It was out of character for me. My mother had just dropped me off at the babysitter’s house down on Second Street. Almost no one had air conditioning back then, and I went outside and sat on the curb. I tucked my button-down sleeveless navy blue plaid cotton shirt with a collar in my navy blue shorts. I was comfortable in my skinny nine-year-old body that morning.
The street was empty of all life as far as I could see. There wasn’t a car, a dog, a bird, or a person in sight. The small two-room clapboard shacks across the street were dark, inside and out. Large rotting trees shaded them, allowing moss to eat away at the decaying structures.
My thoughts were aimless, and I was content to sit and stare. Then a girl around my age, but a bit bigger than I was, came out of one of the shacks and crossed the street. I knew her, but she wasn’t a friend. I had no friends. Without saying a word, she walked right up to me. When I looked up at her, expecting her to speak, she slapped me hard across the face.
Other than the impact of her hand on my face, I felt nothing. I kid you not. I wasn’t trying to hold back my anger. I wasn’t trying to keep myself from getting into a catfight with her and punching her, which I would typically have done under those circumstances. I wasn’t frozen in fear. I felt nothing at all.
She turned around and retraced her steps back to her home. I continued to sit and stare. I’ve often wondered why I reacted that way on that particular day fifty-six years ago. But to this day, I have no answer. I just felt nothing then, and when I think about it now, all I feel is curiosity.
I drove home from work with a heavy heart. We lost another cancer patient today. One who had stretched her expected survival from 18 months to 6 years, I believe by pure determination and stubbornness. But that had given me six years to get to know her and become friends.
When I parked in the driveway, I wasn’t ready to meet the challenges of co-parenting two special needs kids tonight, so when I got out of my truck and closed the door, I just stood feeling the cool breeze against my face while staring at the woods in an attempt to fortify myself.
I leaned against a tree listening to the ravens speaking. Suddenly, a spider dropped down and stopped at eye level not 12 inches away.
I greeted her and asked about her day. We watched each other and enjoyed a few moments of quiet together and I was about to caution her about hanging out in the open when a dragonfly swooped in front of my face and she was gone. Life is unpredictable and I’d again felt the truth of that as I headed into the house.
I love you
And I'm here, you see because I want to be.
But don't be mistaken, I am still me
A woman who thinks, with opinions and thoughts to share.
So Beware, you are not owner, father, or mother of me.
I am still free to be.
I love you dearly and you bring joy to my life
Respect, honor, equality our love will see.
But don't be mistaken
I am still me.
And if you cross the line I will leave.
Love does not define how you live it.
And I can leave and grieve,
And still, be me.
The Fog of Time
THE FOG OF TIME
Once connected in life by a smell, a song, a touch.
Now disconnected, their memories slip in and out of the fog of time.
J. M. Carroll
Once solid, now ghostly whispers remind me of their part in my life.
Good, bad, or indifferent, their echoes and fleeting shadows move just beyond the edge of my vision.
Like cloth in the sun, they fade, and fade, and fade as time goes by.
Years, decades, centuries. Here, and then not here. Forgotten like old pictures in vintage oval frames found in antique stores.
Who were they?
What were their names?
What would they say if they could?
So short was their time. So many lessons learned and forgotten, only to be learned again and again and again.
And on and on…
Lives here and gone.
Their memories float in and out of the fog of time whispering: remember, remember, remember.
The first in the M&M Cozy Mystery Series
The second book in the Ava McCray trilogy