Monday, August 20, 2018

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

As we continue to stumble & stagger our way into the Aquarian age; the planet and all of us on it are facing challenges that seem, and indeed may be, insurmountable.  Despite startling evidence of several looming disasters staring us squarely in the face, we continue to abuse this planet, and ourselves, as if we had somewhere else to move.  Profit before progeny; Business as usual.

Sometimes before we can fully understand things we need to take a few steps back to take in the big picture and see the broader strokes of unfolding "reality."  This applies equally in our personal lives as well as in the world around us.  Things seldom make sense without some perspective on the issues.

Unfortunately for all of us living here; there are no other planets we can reach and even if there were we no longer have a manned space program to get us there.  One of the reasons America no longer has a manned space program is due to the massive amount of space junk and garbage orbiting the planet at 17,500 MPH.

 In addition to over four thousand various working satellites in orbit; there are growing clouds of debris & junk left over from space operations and collisions.  Last year the Chinese wanted to show off, so they shot down one of their own satellites which was falling out of orbit.  That explosion alone added thousands of new pieces of debris to what already existed.  This is a kind of cascading system failure known as a "the Kessler Effect" which at some point will become too large to fix, and will essentially imprison us on this planet because we can no longer get anything into orbit.  Satellites are hit by space junk on a routine basis, (creating still more junk) which is why NASA tracks every single object in orbit, so satellites and the space station can move to avoid impact. If we continue to ignore this problem it will seal our fate as it overtakes the ISS, and gradually destroys the very satellites we depend upon every day.

Seven years after the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima; the Japanese government continues to pour seawater directly onto the melting, exposed core in a futile attempt to fix the un-fixable.  Every single day many thousands of gallons of  this highly radioactive seawater are dumped directly into the ocean.  This of course has turned the Pacific ocean into a dead zone where the toxic radiation is working it's way up the food chain to us.

Last year Pacific tuna caught were inspected; and 15 out of 15 had high levels of radioactivity; the Pacific ocean has been totally contaminated by Fukushima radiation, which of course means that all seafood must now be contaminated, especially Pacific seafood.  Despite these facts we just keep on catching, eating and selling radioactive seafood. In a tragically ironic twist, Japan is a major purchaser of American caught commercial fisheries, so a great many Japanese people are eating that Fukushima flavored seafood every week.  Such insanity!

That spewing nuclear volcano sends up plumes of airborne radioactive fallout every day, just like old faithful at Yellowstone, only way more deadly.  Between Fukushima & the satellite cloud...we cannot continue living on this planet, and we cannot leave until we remove the junk and find a suitable planet to move humanity to...a tall order indeed.

Over 35 earthquakes have shaken the Yellowstone super volcano just this week, adding even more stress to a geologically unstable area and a 35 by 40 mile wide volcano which some experts say is overdue for a major eruption.  If the Yellowstone volcano does erupt it could cover more than half the country in volcanic ash and trigger environmental catastrophes including a "volcanic winter."  Just as with Fukushima, we are powerless to prevent such an event, and ill-equipped to deal with the aftermath.

Here in Trumpland

I never dreamed I'd live to see the day when democracy died, but fascist, autocratic dictators are cropping up everywhere, not just in America.  The cold war never ended, it just moved to cyberspace; where the wars of tomorrow are being fought today.

The FBI was investigating Russia for meddling in our elections when they found Trumps deep connections to them.  Trump incessantly rants about there being "no collusion" yet in the official letter granting Mueller authority to investigate election fraud and Russian tampering; no mention of collusion is made.  The whole "no collusion" symphony is just a straw man argument, a red herring used to misdirect attention.  A real twist of irony considering the Russian factor!

I think we're all on solid ground if we refer to 45 as a Mythomaniac! His tactic is childishly simple; barrage the media with so many lies, exaggerations and half-truths that nobody can fact check them all much less respond to each one.  His other tactic we know so well is to attack others to divert attention from him.

The Trump who defiantly shouted that Mexico would pay for the wall ("in some form") is now demanding that taxpayers pay for the wall or he will shut down the government.

The closer Mueller gets to nabbing Trump, the more rallies Trump holds, almost as if he cannot function (at his normal level of low) without the injection of cheering crowds in decreasing numbers and increasing average age.  This narcissistic man-child is so unhinged that while recently speaking to the VFW  he actually said "What you're seeing and reading is not what's happening."  Straight out of George Orwell's 1984 novel.

If that doesn't worry you just a little then perhaps this will: Trump recently revoked the security clearance of former top intelligence official John Brennan, who has been a vocal opponent.  If you like irony you'll love this: Trump said he revoked Brennan's security clearance because of his wild rants on social media against Trump, and abnormal, erratic behavior in public.  You simply can't make this shit up folks, it kinda writes itself. 

The worrisome part of all this is, the same day Trump released a list of ten other people who might be next to have their security clearances revoked.  A very effective way to silence your opposition.  He no doubt got the idea from Putin...and if those he tries to silence won't shut up, what then, poison perhaps?  Oh yeah, and the next day he told white house chief of staff John Kelly to have fired aide Omarosa arrested, although he couldn't come up with what law she allegedly broke.  Just more diversion & distraction from the Russia probe & Trump's treason ... Just another step on the road to fascism.

"Trump has embarrassed us in the eyes of our children,
humiliated us on the world stage, and worst of all
divided us as a nation"
                                                ~ (Ret) Admiral Bill McCraven ~

In case you missed it somehow, Trump has recently declared space to be a war fighting arena and that he is going to create "Space Force" as a fifth arm of Americas military.  In Washington crypto-speak what this means is everyone already knows we have a secret military space program; it just continued after the ending of the civilian NASA programs.  America already has a Space Command as part of the air force, complete with "off earth duty assignments."  When astronaut Mark Kelly heard this news he just said it was ridiculous... "It's like you make a seventh branch of the military just for submarines then call it the under-sea force." At this point Trump can feel Mueller closing in on him and will say or do anything to distract attention from it.

 Lamentably no matter how much worse Trump becomes; he's not going to be removed from office because he will hide behind executive privilege and pardon himself.  The constitution only provides two methods for removing an evil, unfit madman from office: one is the 25th amendment permits the cabinet to remove a crazy person as unfit, but you'll never see that from his hand picked cabinet of plunder monkeys.  The other method is impeachment, which requires 67 votes in the senate, and with the current atmosphere in Washington that would mean more than twelve republicans crossing the aisle and voting against trump: and that just isn't going to happen...which makes the upcoming mid-term elections the most important this country will ever have, and perhaps the last one as well.

What happens in 2020 when we and the Russians will pick another president?  Hopefully the 4 million young people who just became eligible voters will show up at the polls to even the odds, and Trump will be defeated even in the electoral college.  Do you think The defeated Trump would leave with grace & dignity?  Not a chance.  He will dig in his heels screaming deep state, & fake news - even as the straight jacket is put on him.

I never thought I would see the day when my constitutional right to free speech would be restricted to government chosen areas far from the ears of those being protested.  We first saw them in the first G.W. Bush administration.  They were getting tired of renting busses to block Bush's sight of the protesters, until one genius got the idea of finding already fenced in areas far from the president's view and designated them as "Free Speech Zones." 

 The closer Mueller gets to him the more unhinged Trump is getting, and it's showing.  There are many stories from within the white house about Trump's angry rants and tirades that send staffers looking for cover.  One of Trump's top lawyers, Don McGahn calls Trump "King Kong" because of his volcanic temper tantrums.

I never thought I would live to see the day when my government would steal immigrant children from their parents for fun & profit, but that is exactly what is happening.  With so much public outcry of resentment; the government slowly began giving some of those 2000 kids back but only after the parents forked over $800 bucks for DNA testing.  The majority of those 2000 children just disappeared into thin air, and the government will not account for them.  You just take note & watch; in time some will show up as victims of human trafficking outlaws.

Trump recently paid a wad of cash to the farmers (unions) after seriously fucking them over with his recent tariffs, and he will brag about that to no end but what he won't tell us is he borrowed the money from China!!

On August 19th it was Rudy Giuliani who was quoting Orwell's 1984 when he blatantly said "Truth isn't Truth" while discussing the Russia investigation.  Do they really expect us to actually take them seriously when they talk like that?  Are they just seeing who is paying attention; or how far into the absurd they can go before we push back?

How apathetic do we have to be when the president schemes with the Russians, rips the constitution to shreds and starts quoting George Orwell?  Good God folks, if it looks like a skunk, ad it smells lie a skunk - it's a damn skunk!

It was bad enough when all we had to deal with was rigged voting and stolen elections.  It's quite another thing to have our strongest enemy secretly screwing around with our elections.  Right this minute the Russians are still at it, seeking to skew the results of our mid-term and 20/20 elections; and nobody is lifting a hand to stop them. 

Trump not only fired Comey for investigating him, he has also fired 7 of the 8 top FBI agents working for Comey.  Factoring in Trumps many and deep connections to Russia, how is this not treason?

Just remember that everything happening now, and all that will follow are the direct result of Obama once making fun of a thin-skinned, arrogant, childish narcissist.  Trumps revenge is to un-do everything Obama did, and for that alone he should be impeached and in jail.

With the deployment of the patriot act, Carnivore & Eschelon the government began reading our email and listening to our phone calls we became a surveillance society right out of "1984" and every administration since has been paving the road to American fascism.

 Meanwhile, here in California, firestorms are the new normal now and most if not all of us have some degree or another of PTSD when we fall asleep, about whether we will be awakened in a burning house.  I have a couple "bug-out bags" next to the front door which I constantly upgrade and improve upon.  These firestorms move so fast, leaping from ridge to ridge that you simply don't have time to pack from scratch.

You may have heard about the isolated New Mexico ranch where children were held captive and trained to carry out school shootings... well today the judge in that case just released those arrested on bail! It is stories like this that make me wonder if we aren't already too far gone as a species in decline.  The corruption is now system-wide and greed is the king.  No word of the fate of those children being trained to conduct school shootings, and there isn't likely to be either as the story gets quietly swept under the carpet.

Elsewhere, the scientific group who operates the doomsday clock has recently added climate change to the list of things endangering human survival on this planet; and companies are now selling backpacks with bullet proof Kevlar inserts for school kids, and parents are buying them in great numbers.  It was recently reported that 68% of baby food samples had at least one heavy metal in them, which health officials are calling worrisome...I call it alarming!  What are they doing to us?

Taking those steps back to gain perspective; I don't exaggerate when I say that we are between a rock & a hard place no matter where we turn.  There just seems to be no easy way out of this multi-level disaster unfolding before our astonished eyes; especially when those in power fan the flames of chaos and hatred with every breath.

There is one thing we can do as concerned citizens, and that is to vote in such overwhelming numbers that all the electing tampering doesn't matter.  Voter suppression has resulted in so much voter apathy that nobody cares anymore because they don't think their vote counts.  But what if it did?  Suppose we got our shit together just long enough to speak with a single, deafening voice on election day.  I wonder what that would look like.

© 2018 full re-post with permission only

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Zero Tolerance

In the last six weeks over 2000 immigrant children have been separated from their parents at the border by the Trump administration; and placed in cages at hastily made tent city detention centers and abandoned big box stores.

This so called Zero Tolerance immigration policy was implemented just over a month ago, by Jeff Sessions, and marks this country's lowest ebb ever in human rights abuse.  Clearly and admittedly this is a coercion tactic to deter hopeful immigrants from attempting to enter America; but beyond that it is just mean natured and nasty.  It rather reminds me of the last government who separated children from their families, the Nazi's.

The fact that Trump is blaming the democrats for this "law" is yet another indication of his cowardly personality.  Making matters even worse is the fact that last week Trump's government admitted they had "lost" several hundred of these detained children, being unable to specifically state where they were! 

How about some zero tolerance for zero accountability!

As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words but this one only really requires nine: World leaders dealing with a spoiled brat counterfeit president.  This captured moment from the recent G7 conference perfectly shows what the Trump presidency has been so far. 

As a combat veteran, father & citizen I rather take offense when the commander in chief hits our best allies with trade tariffs, while openly singing the praises of murderous dictators like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un.  You could say I have a zero tolerance for treason.

When Trump is separating children from their families I say it is time to officially declare the 2016 presidential election invalid due to Russian tampering and Trump's collusion with them.  Toss out and jail the whole entire administration, erase all the harm done so far while installing a provisional government; then hold a new presidential election.  We seriously need to hit the reset button on that election.

When your house is on fire you don't say "Oh let's just see where this is going"
Make the call, let's put this fire out while we still can.

© 2018 full re-post with permission only 

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Friday, May 18, 2018

The Thing About Guns

The problem isn't Guns...
The problem is Humans !

"Good to be Alive Today"  - Michael Franti

Sunday, April 1, 2018

A Rare & Beautiful Soul

Have you ever known someone who is the brightest light in any room?  Have you known someone who is always "up" and in a positive frame of mind no matter what?  Do you know someone who adds to your quality of life just by being in it?  Is there a person in your life who people are drawn to as if by some invisible magnetism?

Do you know someone who has no need for the petty little mind games we humans are so fond of playing with each authentic human being?  Do you know someone whose heart is so big they always look for the good in any situation?  Do you know someone who has overcome challenges without being defined by them?

Most can answer yes to these questions if you include everyone they know.  I am fortunate to know one person who exemplifies all the above attributes and qualities.

The Power of Two
When I moved to California in the summer of 2000, The first friends I made were a dynamic young couple, Ivan Taylor and the love of his life, Martha Heino.  Although I actually met Ivan at work one day, when mutual interests in common made for a fast friendship: it turned out I also shared other common interests with Martha as well, and we soon became buddies; she became my younger sister.  Young, brilliant and beautiful, she was just expressing life thru the 3 keys she lived by...

Love,  Light & Laughter.

By actually living her belief system Martha actually drew friends to her as if by some magnetic attraction.  We tend to gravitate towards those things and people we find inspirational, and real.  Right from the start I recognized this couple as authentic human beings, and I recall thinking at the time, If all Californians are like these two; I've found my way to heaven.

Ivan calls Martha "My favorite toy" which at first makes him sound a bit like a womanizer, but he uses it with her approval and even encouragement; which leads me to suspect it's all an inside joke on the rest of us.... they are twin flame soulmates*, just like two binary stars out in the galaxy, orbiting each other.

They are nearly always just referred to as Martha & Ivan, sort of like Earth & the moon, or the Sun and Earth.  The greater luminary is always mentioned first.  That is Martha, always the brightest light in any room, and my friend Ivan is the kind of man who never minded sharing her with so many friends.  Martha celebrates life by participating in it; whether it be as a gourmet cook & nutritionist or running in the annual Human Race marathon.

Almost 18 months ago Martha was diagnosed with having metastasized stage 4 uterine cancer.**  Chemotherapy was began almost immediately.  Other medications given her had some serious side effects, and my heart just sank each time there was a midnight run to the emergency room.  This was a pernicious and highly aggressive cancer that quickly attacked other vital systems and organs in her body.  The cancer drug "keytruda" damaged Martha's thyroid, and caused fluid build up around heart lungs. "keytruda" was also the only thing tried that showed any reduction of the actual cancer.  In Martha's case; the cure was as equally harmful as the disease.

In between the many midnight runs to the ER hospital Martha was at home probably more than ever before because she led a busy, fulfilling, multitasking kind of life.  I could always tell when she was getting cabin fever as she would ask me if I needed to go to the bank or anything.  At such times we would plan ourselves a little jailbreak to get lunch or some quick errand. 

There then came the emergency run to the hospital when Martha had trouble breathing, and as it turned out she was going into the heart failure zone.  As the doctors raced to save her from congestive heart failure, both of her lungs partially collapsed.  It would be 30 days before she returned home from the hospital.  Martha was such a frequent patient in that hospital that the nurses ALL wanted her on their rounds.  Even when she was fighting for her life, people were attracted to her like magnets. 

The last Jailbreak we got to do was just a couple months  ago, back when she could still drive.  Upon returning home we were standing on the porch when Martha looks me right in the eye, and said, "Sometimes I'm not a very nice person."  This was about the last thing I expected to hear from her, but I felt it deserved my best reply, so I told her "Welcome to the human race; it's what's in your heart that counts, and  yours is rare and beautiful.

A long time friend recently posted the following message on Martha's facebook page..."When I saw you get off the school bus I just knew you were someone I wanted to know."  That pretty much sums up the magnetic attraction she exudes, along with that infectious smile that lit up every room she entered.

Martha always had the cutest quirky side to her you'll ever see.  She loved to glam it up from wearing alien sunglasses, to those googly eye selfies (alone or with Ivan) she posted to Facebook.  Yes she loved to make those rubber faced selfies, which I suspect were just a normal part of her irrepressible spirit.  As I said earlier, Martha lived life according to 3 key principles, love, light and laughter, and she was a master at making people smile.

Skulls, Dexter & the Macabre
Martha had a love of skulls which showed up in some of her apparel, accessories and the home she shared with her husband; in fact in certain circles she is known as the keeper of the skulls.  It's one of those things which we have in common; in fact we often joke about who has more skulls. To get one up on her on Halloween two years ago I got a full size replica skeleton, and when they were at the Halloween party I put that skeleton sitting in a deck chair outside their bedroom window so it would be the first thing she saw the next morning.  When she saw it she just giggled that little laugh of hers and woke Ivan up to see it.

I'm not sure exactly whether or not Halloween was her favorite holiday, but I think it beats out whatever has 3rd place.  She never missed an episode of Dexter, admiring the TV serial killer enough to name her new car after him.  She also loves the macabre, everything from horror shows to the Walking Dead.  The three of us would get together every Sunday night for dinner & the latest walking dead episode.  I am really going to miss those Sunday nights very much.

Marta loved having a house full of friends over for dinner, and a favorite after dinner activity was a hilarious evening of Cards Against Humanity.  As far as I know the only thing on this earth she feared was walking face-first into an unseen spider web.  Immediately after making the spider web face she'd go into her "instant ninja" mode; a rare treat I saw a few times on our security camera system.

The Bucket List Road Trip
Several weeks ago Ivan shared with me that seeing the Grand Canyon was one of two things Martha wanted before she died.  At the time she was still in good enough shape physically to make the trip.  It is entirely within my ability to make that bucket list wish come true, so we began making the plans and arrangements to make the trip happen.  Lamentably, this cancer was so aggressive, so fast spreading, that the trip was simply out of the question.  I was looking into renting a virtual reality helmet and video of the grand canyon as a sort of next best thing, when a friend of Martha's father heard about the trip being cancelled, and sent an entire souvenir package including a DVD video and hat.  So one afternoon with friends and family filling the house, we watched the grand canyon video with Martha as an alternative for the trip she was too weak to endure.

The Living Wake
The second thing on Martha's bucket list was having a living wake instead of a traditional funeral.  She wanted see all her old friends one more time by having a celebration of life party.  Unlike the aborted road trip, This we can make happen, so Ivan began setting it up with a little help from a couple friends, and Martha's brother Rob.

There was one big snag right off the bat, and that was where to have this party.  The veterans hall was too small, and in fact every venue considered the story was the same.
Martha has so many friends ... We had to rent the fairgrounds !  The party is scheduled for Saturday March 31st from at the Cloverdale Ca. fairgrounds.  This woman put so much love into so many lives around her, we are all bracing for a massive turnout and one hell of a send off.

The Cancer Hospice Bed & Breakfast
The last week in February they made yet another late night run to the hospital because Martha was having trouble breathing again.  At first they said she'd be home in two days, which became more than four days.  Fluids were building up in her chest cavity, putting pressure on already weakened lungs; and the doctors had to do yet another procedure to insert drainage tubes.  A collector similar to a colonoscopy bag would have to be drained every two days.  Knowing that her chances of walking out of this were zero, Martha elected hospice at home over the prospect of dying in the hospital.

Martha returned home from the hospital on February 26th and almost immediately her father, Leo flew down from Oregon to assist with the home care.  A few days later the house filled to capacity, as more family showed up.  Her brother Rob came down as did her sister Amanda, and Rob's son Ben.  Ivan took the entire month off from work to be at his wife's side, as we could all see her losing ground on an almost daily basis. This family has been devastated by cancer.  Martha lost her mother and Ivan lost his father to cancer; which makes this family gathering even more solemn and painful.  Ivan's mother, Patricia Lee Taylor and sister, Christine Ammen drove down from northern California to spend several days being here to help and show support, and of course to say goodbye. 

Low Flying Angels
Throughout this ordeal I have been so impressed with the cadre of hospice workers and volunteer caregivers.  I was there much of the time, and I cannot recall many instances where there were no hospice people there tending to Martha's needs; all at zero billing hours!  These low flying angels provided the environment allowing Martha to cross over with dignity, in her own way.  Whenever there was a problem of any sort, a simple phone call got them there in 25 minutes of less.  We live in a very rural area on a heavily wooded hillside, and finding the house the first time is so difficult it's not unusual for us to have to drive down to the little store on the corner to guide visitors up.  Not with the hospice workers.  None of them had trouble finding the place, it was almost as if they were being guided by a higher power than Google maps.

The first two weeks of home care were grueling as the nurses sought to balance Martha's medications in a way that would afford the greatest amount of comfort, awareness, and quality if life.  It was anything but easy, as the regimen kept her in an incoherent drug induced haze much of the time.  One day when she was fairly lucid coming out from under that haze, she looked at her dad and husband and said,  "What are you guys trying to do, kill me?"

On the morning of March 21st Martha stunned everyone by walking unassisted from her bedroom into the guest room where her dad was sleeping, and summarily pouring a glass of water on reason given and forgiveness un-necessary !  Later that afternoon she announced she wanted to get outside and take a ride, so Ivan, her brother and dad took her for a ride.

At any given time there are between 7 or more people gathered each with a cell phone;  waiting in line for a charger or spare cord because they cannot be turned off or allowed to drain the battery.  Thus is the modern vigil.

Holding Onto Life
In the space of just a week I saw Martha go from sweeping the front porch; to being wheeled out onto the porch in a wheelchair.  That's how aggressive and fast moving this cancer is.  Its nature is so very pernicious the only word that comes close to describing it is, evil

I want to envision myself as the one who always has the right, or profound thing to say in any given moment; to help my friends thru this process.  To feel this way is normal for me, as I've always been the wordsmith, the communicator.  My great fear is that the words will leave me now, with just an empty expression of pending loss on my face.  Speaking with a close mutual friend I opined that with this being my fourth friend lost to cancer one might think I'd be better at dealing with it.  She then told me that her mother worked in hospice for 20 years and told her; "You never get better at dealing with death; it just becomes more familiar." 

One day she told Rob; "Don't rush me into dying," which I took to mean there were still people she wanted to see before leaving.  It seems as if she is determined to make it to the living wake on March 31st.

I'm watching my friend of 18 years agonizing over the pending death of his soulmate.  The toll it is taking on him is all pervasive. His world is in chaos just now, and I do believe a lesser man would have cracked before this point.  In addition to being Martha's primary caregiver, Ivan is also designing the living wake, with all its many details, and dealing with a plethora of legal issues like switching into his name, bills etc that are in  Martha's name.  Ivan makes the money and was happy to leave Martha in charge of spending and bill paying, now he has both responsibilities.  The pressure he feels must be enough to crush diamonds out of coal, and in the end he may very well become that diamond, brilliant, even beautiful, but oh so very hard.  I'm not entirely sure that is what Martha would wish for him.

I can see the effect this cancer is having with the combined family members gathering for the vigil; and I can see the effect it is having on myself.  Just like tectonic plates the stress is building with each passing day, working its way to the eventual and inevitable release.  It is very hard on me seeing the anguish Ivan is in, mixed with the pressure of having members of both families present most of this last month. Each in our own way we have tried to tell Ivan it's okay to delegate some stuff, and to actually eat and sleep, but he cannot hear us just now, his pain is too great, his sense of loss too loud.  We will all still be here for him on the other side of this tragedy.

One by one we would quietly go in and sit next to Martha's bed, to spend a little more time with her and say goodbye.  Sensing she was near the finish line of this, her final marathon, I took my turn the evening of the 23rd.  As I sat there with her in silence; her cat Phish was on the bed, staring up at the ceiling.  I looked to see what had the cats attention but there was nothing to see.  No bug, no moth, no spider...then with a frail arm Martha points to the same spot on the ceiling.  When I felt a gentile arm across my shoulders, I knew what they were seeing.  I am sure that along with a few angels and a chorus of unseen friends, Martha's mom and other family members were there also.

Unfinished Chapters
Everyone including myself is walking around conducting the business of life with the look of being utterly Godsmacked by Martha's passing; and how very fast it all happened, leaving so many of her hopes and dreams unfulfilled.  When one as young, healthy & vibrant as Martha is taken at the prime of life, it just doesn't set well with us.  Before the cancer Ivan and I conspired behind Martha's back to fulfill one of her long standing wishes.  She wanted to drive a McLaren sports car on the track at the Sonoma raceway.  Even though we tried our best to keep it a secret, Martha's powerful intuition told her something was cooking; so to verify our innocence we had to divulge the plans.

Just as we all do, Martha had plans for the future.  She was plotting out where she wanted to be, what she wanted to become and how she'd make it all manifest.  Before the cancer struck, Martha and Ivan were discussing having a child because they both had blooming careers, I guess you could say they were building their own ladder to success.  It was the right time to build the family.

"You eat good food, exercise every day, go to the gym every week, and even run marathons so your body & organs will be in perfect health, which in the end prolongs the agony of dying this way." ~ Rob, Martha's brother

Perhaps Martha's greatest legacy is the way she dealt with having this monster we call cancer rip all of her dreams asunder.  She never once asked "why me?"  She never once gave up or surrendered to it.  Each time a new treatment or procedure didn't work, she never lost hope.  At those times she'd just say, "OK, what's  next?"  I want one thing to be crystal clear here, and that is, Martha was a warrior!  Because she ate well, ran marathons and had a house full of kettle bells & a track runner; she was in peak health, and this time, cancer messed with the wrong girl, because she simply wore it's ass out, then killed it.

8:20 AM
The morning of March 25 I got the call from Martha's father that it was time; so I joined the family upstairs.  Through this entire last month of hospice at home I've often felt rather helpless, unable to do much to help  besides being there for emotional and spiritual support.  Martha's husband & father were doing an outstanding job of being primary caregivers, and I didn't want to interfere with that process.  Today was different; as I knew exactly what to do now.  All my training and experience kicked in.  A few days before I'd given Ivan a copy of The Mahamrityunjaya Mantra sung by Hein Bratt, and as I walked into the bedroom it was playing softly in the background. 

Ivan and Leo were tending her and saying their goodbyes, and I took my position in the empty chair at the foot of the bed and began massaging her feet.  You really get to know someone after 18 years, and I knew that one of Martha's "tells" when she was pleased, or wanted something, you'd know because she would flex her toes.  As soon as I began gently rubbing her feet...there go the toes, flexing up and down several times.  She was communicating with me.  At that moment I began chanting the famous Sanskrit chant, Om Mani Padme Hum, because my soul just knew it was what she needed.  My confirmation was even more toe flexing.

Other people quietly drifted in and out of the room but I was only marginally aware of them, my entire focus being on chanting my friend across to the other side.  I continued to chant, and Martha continued talking to me with her toes, but not as vigorously as at first.  At twenty minutes after eight in the morning I felt her toes flex for the last time, as the hospice nurse on scene monitored vital signs, and found none remaining.

 I'd lost all awareness of anything else going on except for Ivan kneeling on the floor next to her, and her father kneeling beside the bed praying over her....I just kept chanting.  I continued chanting until I once again felt a non-physical hand gently touch my shoulder...

 I didn't need to hear the words.  I knew it was letting me know, "She's with us now."

Feeling that this was a time for core family and Ivan; and not wanting any witnesses to the flood of tears I was holding back, I returned to my apartment downstairs to cry in private as a tsunami of grief and loss swept over me. Being there with Martha at the very end has changed me in ways I have no words to describe, it is beyond words.  It just IS.

Martha fought this fight for her very life with dignity & grace, every step of the way, and in the end I figure she won the fight because her cancer riddled body was cremated, which of course destroyed and totally annihilated the cancer.  This malignant, evil disease could only ravage her body, but it never touched her soul.

In Martha's career as a professional hostess she worked at many of the finest establishments to be found in these parts, and tonight on the evening of her passing they are all honoring her with the same simple gesture...

A good friend of Ivan's recently told him that the day Martha crossed over he got an urge to drop what he was doing and go have a brew at her favorite place, Ruth McGowan's, in Cloverdale.  He was surprised to see the place busier than usual.  As it turned out people began just drifting in the morning she left, some who hadn't yet heard the news.  That's just how powerful her magnetism was.

~ Marty's Party ~
A celebration of Life
Love,  Light & Laughter.
On the afternoon of March 31st over two hundred friends of Martha gathered on a beautifully sunny day; for a loving sendoff.  They came from all over California, and some even coming from other states.  More than a thousand photos & videos of Martha rotated on the big screen set up on the stage.  Being something of an expert, Ivan set up a computer system to live stream the entire event to the internet; for those dear friends and family who wanted to attend but could not.  The event was catered so Martha could feed everybody one last time and the Cloverdale Ca. Lions club set up a cash bar.  Martha's brother Rob rented & set up a sound system, with an open microphone next to the slideshow.  One by one, those who wanted to share their memories and comments about knowing this beautiful soul, came forward to honor and celebrate her with their words.  After the testimonials, people got up from their seats and mingled, many meeting for the first time.  My friend Martha was an authentic human being, Her physical beauty, charm and compassion were a mirror of the soul within.  That isn't always the case, but it was with Martha, making her indeed a rare and beautiful soul.

After the party a good many attendees proceeded to Ruth McGowan's to continue the sendoff on familiar ground; where they were soon greeted by a brief power outage affecting much of Cloverdale, including the pub.

Was it Martha's way of saying goodbye at the end of her shift, before going home?
You wonder.

 Martha loved social networking, as evidenced by over 400 friends  on Facebook alone.  
To see the clearing house for all things Martha on-line: go to the Facebook homepage of 
Ivan Taylor (Forestville) [open to the public ] for a treasure chest of memories, 
including the live stream of the entire event.

* * * *
© 2018 Augureye Express
 Full re-post permission is granted
to friends of Martha who wish to share
and any others desiring to do so.

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