Shortness of breath sounding like a flat tire and enervating weakness compel the directive, Pause! My walker and continuous oxygen support sinking into my arm chair and propping my legs upon an upturned wicker basket. Across from me, a male cardinal alights upon the board fence, its black face communing with the sun.

With each breath more evenly spaced, I begin hearing from my depths, You are just what I need. Moments evaporate like sun-drenched droplets upon the sidewalk after a sudden storm. Another communion relishes my distress, until the next pause.

Some have noticed a lull in my blogging. It’s puzzled me, too. No longer do words come facilely as I sit at my word processor, distracted by the flowering of the summer snowflake viburnum outside my study window.

Rather than there being nothing to write about, my apparent shut down is related to my terminal illness: interstitial lung disease with rheumatoid arthritis that crimps my energies, my mental faculties, and my overall functioning. Practicing daily acceptance in CPA’s Step One, these past two years, has softened the distress of my shortness of breath, extreme weakness, need for continuous rest, with increasing difficulty to speak.

Other than sloughing off my aging body for another realm, there is no remedy—save for the time-released morphine pill and two Nebulizer treatments, taken daily. It is this process I’m to focus upon—such was my Inner Writer’s intent in stifling words from my depths.

The end of my life approaches; its symptoms have their own story to tell, and I hope to honor them.

At 7:30 A. M., it was difficult waking from this celebratory dream:

I was initially alone, walking the country roads. Sunshine emboldened the trees, shrubs, meadows, even the dusty road curving ahead of me. After I turned the next bend, faint strains of guitars, rhythmic instruments, songs in all languages met me; the closer I got, the more distinct the strains. Then, a tall colorful character, dressed in scarlets and feathers blew a reed pipe, the breezes swirling the decorative ribbons attached to his wrists. Behind him, laughing children skipped and hopped making merry. As he approached other children sitting in the middle of the road, he handed them an instrument from his sack and invited them to join their celebration—a tambourine fell into mine and I began dancing with the others. 

At length the celebratory dance concluded, with promises to return next year. My heart felt heavy.

It was a gift to remember this dream, given the racing effects of my nightly “Cocktail”: small amounts of liquid morphine to help with breathing and lorazepam, with sleep. For months, mornings have been a tumble of splintered dreams that quickly fade, only leaving a brief residue of feelings.

In this dream, I am ecstatic. The appearance of a tall colorful character, likely Creator God in disguise, seemed intent upon actualizing everyone’s birthright before making their transition. Conceivably, the laughing children have already attained theirs.

But sadness concludes the dream

Still another year must pass before I’m permitted to celebrate another celebration with the tall colorful character, dressed in scarlets and feathers—Perhaps, referencing my own demise, burdened by more practice of my tambourine.

But this glance into my psyche gives me hope. I’ll know where to find Him.

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