When a Twizzler is really a bird...

Updated: Nov 1, 2020

Maybe it’s the drugs or the anesthesia hasn’t left my system all the way, but I am so inspired by this stuff that I have to one hand type this to share. Sidebar – one handed typing is dumb, and I invite your compassion to ignore any typos or grammar challenges on my part. The topic of this post is connection. I will start with my hypothesis which actually isn’t up for debate. WE ARE ALL CONNECTED. This is not something I just tripped on; I have had this awareness for some time. I just haven’t talked about it on this blog yet. I spent the better part of my afternoon dozing and watching Netflix in my big comfy recliner. (So far, the big recliner is the best part of rotator cuff surgery.) Also, please know I am lightyears behind on Netflix. I am not hip with TV, I watch HGTV and the Food Network, Grey’s Anatomy (yes, still) and This is Us (which Dave refers to as This is Boring.) There might be a few other things sprinkled in there but that’s pretty close to everything. I would also argue that I have watched more TV in the last 24 hours than I have all summer.


So, back to dozing and Netflix. I watched a cool show called Connected. I am only three episodes in so I can only comment on what I have seen thus far. I do not know what made me watch that over the other things I have been told to watch like Away and Schitt’s Creek. And maybe it’s possible the very first segment on the very first show featured a bird called the Veery is what drew me in. First, you may or may not know that I am a bird nerd and I love birds. It’s likely genetic as both my mom and grandmother loved them and I grew up feeding them as part of my daily chores while learning which was which, what they sounded like, which were “crazy” (that was my grandmothers term for both the Red Headed Woodpeckers and the Blue Jays). But the Veery, that was my mom’s Moby Dick bird that she nicknamed the Twizzler because of its curious call and the fact that it was shy, as in, I have likely never really seen one though I have heard them. They are small and brown and not that elaborate but their call is really unique and turns out they are super smart, as I learned earlier today. I won’t ruin it for you if you want to watch it but just the mention of the Veery captivated me. (Spoiler alert, having surgery after you lose your mom is hard and could make one feel a little weepy, and needy and sad.) Veeries make me feel connected to my mom and that made me smile.


There were lots of other cool things in the show, like how dust from the Sahara Desert helps stop hurricanes and that that scientists recently unearthed people poop that was 50,000 years old. So, it got me thinking, if dust from the desert might affect whether you have to evacuate your home or not, why it so hard to believe that people truly impact each other? I can also say that the love I have gotten from my friends and family during this last few days has made my life better. I have received flowers, food, offers to drive me places, a fun drawing and not one but two people said to let them know if I need any facial hairs plucked. I am choosing to let that one fly by without drawing too many conclusions about my appearance at this time. It really does take a village sometimes. I know there are others who have sent me prayers and energy which I also greatly appreciate.


Which leads me to my next story. I was raised Catholic, I made my Confirmation, I know all the prayers. I don’t really attend church anymore for a number of reasons and in truth, I seldom said a lot of prayers. I was more of a, “Sending you good vibes and positive thoughts” kind of person. Prayers seemed to be a little silly in my estimation, no judgement if YOU said them, but I am not that girl. That is, until my mother became terribly sick, disabled overnight and later died in 6 weeks’ time. She was at the gym doing TRX on Sunday, and by the following Sunday, unable to walk, hold herself up and had lost her ability to speak clearly. That is when I started saying prayers again.


There was a slew of magical not coincidences that happened in that 6-week period of hell on earth which I truly now cannot explain to you. Again, fodder for the book I may write one day when I can use both my hands, but there is one story I will share now. I had bought my mom a rosary for her final birthday from the hospital gift shop in Orlando where she had gone on vacation but where she also fell ill. The rosary was good for her as it helped with her fine motor skills which were waning, plus I believe she found the rosary to be very soothing. I recall setting up a few group prayer/”good vibe” sessions with the group we had started on Facebook to keep friends and family up to date. (All connected) We welcomed the prayers of course, but what I have always found especially powerful is the cumulative energy that comes when a whole bunch of people are doing things at the same time. Things like praying, meditating and maybe saying the rosary. I am not sure I would ever have been able to effectively meditate today if it hadn’t been for the group meditation circles I used to attend, but I digress (I have also been watching Golden Girls reruns on Hulu if you couldn’t tell.) These prayer sessions really put a smile on Mom’s face and I know she felt the love.


The most powerful one of these sessions for me anyway was the one that got her home from Florida. Mom had gotten so disabled that she was not stable enough to fly commercially, or for that matter on a helicopter or other planes of the sort that transport sick people. She needed to fly on a stretcher. We had raised enough money through the grace of our family and friends, and their networks who were strangers to us to get a private plane from Mercy Flight. (all connected) The last hurdle was that no one in Buffalo wanted to take her on as a patient. It was complicated because she had been misdiagnosed so she was coming from being in rehabilitation center getting PT and OT to needing inpatient cancer care. I was at home at this point where my brother and stepfather were still in Orlando. On Friday November 16, 2018, all afternoon and evening, I called, text and emailed every person I could who might be able to help us get her placed. I worked at the cancer center and even that wasn’t a lock because most cancer care is outpatient. All these nuances led to a messy situation. The plane was ready as soon as they knew where to take her.


Saturday morning at 9 a.m. we held our group prayer/good vibe session with the Facebook friends. I sat in tears during this session worried that she wouldn’t make it home to see her grandkids before she passed if some place wouldn’t take her as a patient. At 9:15, my phone rang and it was the head of GYN oncology from the cancer center calling me from his personal cell, he had heard of my mom’s case and he very much wanted her as his patient, could she come today? I was overjoyed and I am sure sweating which is my default in a situation like that, and I said we needed to get the plane scheduled but that yes, of course she could come! She arrived home late on Monday, November 19, 2018. She had the biggest smile on her face as we poured into her room that night. She magically slept the whole way home without any issues and was brought directly to the hospital as coordinated by my brother and by Mercy Flight.


So perhaps you scoff at the idea that the call to accept her home came as a result of the prayer session, call it a coincidence and that is your prerogative. Of course lots of other things came together to make that happen, but right then, on a Saturday morning? I like my way better thank you Veery much.


Mom passed away in the early morning of December 5, 2018. She got to be with her family and friends before she crossed over and that is magical all by itself.


Never doubt that the prayer or good vibe you send, or the donation to someone’s Go Fund Me or whatever act of love you share makes a difference. It is not only the act of love but the energy behind it that makes a wave. I have been blessed to see that difference firsthand and I will be the first to send prayers and love your way when asked. #veery #connected #netflix #rotatorcuff #prayers


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