three women

I know a woman whose heart was sick. She was being prepared to receive another heart. Maybe another small, gentle woman’s heart, tucked into her chest, ready to keep beating and give my friend new life.

I was up late the night she got word. Your heart is ready; it’s time. Later still, I sat in meditation. May she have joy, may her heart be healthy, may she heal and thrive, may she have peace and find freedom.

When I meditate, it’s not unusual for an image to flow across my interior field of view. In the quiet desert night, it’s not unusual for that image, dreamlike, to become more real than real.

I said a solid goodbye to the longest and strongest (I thought anyway) love of my life that way.

But my gentle friend, blonde-haired and younger than I am…at the word freedom, I swear I saw her floating over the mountains, so ethereal (she was ethereal, in truth), almost transparent, long blonde hair trailing in the dry wind.

It was wondrous, yet I felt sick. I knew, but I didn’t want to know.

I woke up in the morning to messages that she had died after the surgery. Just like that. Gone.

I didn’t know her face to face; I knew her face to face, virtually.

But I cried real tears on and off, on and off all that day. Longer.

That’s how so much of the online chronic illness community works. Some of us only ever know one another that way, virtually. Some of us cannot travel. Some of us have so very little money, so few resources. I am luckier than some. Others feel they are luckier than I am.

I know another woman whose heart was sick. She was energetic and positive and deeply compassionate. She rarely talked about her heart and how delicate her health was. She mostly cracked jokes and talked about her adventures with her beloved dog along with her plans for the future, and she never, ever gave up on anything that I know about. This young woman was vital, straightforward and she was sweet, too. She had just begun an new job. Everything looked to be a big “go” for her. I expected to hear about job escapades in the near future, adventures on her new job. She sure lived life to the fullest.

The other morning I awoke to messages that she had died. Just like that.

In the last post on this blog I was feeling reflective (or something like that) over how fragile life is. How unexpected it is.

This young woman was another virtual friend. Her memory is still as wrenching as it is sweet. I was told that over the last couple of weeks she was making an effort to tell all of her closest friends how much she loved them. She blows me away, she just does.

I know yet another woman whose heart was sick. She worked where I work. She also raised horses. Lots of horses. I knew her as a teacher and a colleague. I took her classes for fun. She loaned me hilarious books of dirty French.

When I was preparing for graduate school she had helpful advice. She found me a job on campus for a while before I was qualified to teach there.

She had a heart transplant and recovered, ready to take on the next phase of her life. She was surviving several really serious chronic illnesses; she had survived the transplant; she fell and broke her femur while traveling after the surgery. She survived that.

She was broadsided by cancer. She never gave up, as I saw it, but bit by bit, her body was overwhelmed. She held out until her last mare had foaled. That was her stated goal. That was what happened.

So there it is. Inspiration and fear. Beginnings and endings. Mystery.

Right now I’m burrowing deeper into the winter darkness hoping some kind of light will shine out of my dreams. I’m hoping that I can learn better to instill some kind of happiness into the deep and the mystery of all of this. To inspire and be inspired. Now. With whoever is standing next to me. Virtually or in the flesh, even.


About rainshadowfarm

I teach anthropology, am an archaeologist, a drylands agroecologist, community educator, and a single mother of eight grown kids. I currently own and operate an educational and research farm in the southern Mojave Desert, Rainshadow Farm. I'm 100% West Virginia hillbilly. Not necessarily in that order.
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