A Second Chance – TT ‘hardy’

TT_bannerHere’s another snippet from A Second Chance, the prequel to My Wildest Dreams, the first book in A Growing Wings series.

In A Second Chance, Jenny suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and is grappling with a flurry of thoughts and emotions about it. This scene takes place about four months later as she and three friends, two of them psychic, spent the day trying to find the body of a murdered woman. This week our prompt is ‘hardy’.

For more fascinating story snippets from the wonderful authors in the group, return to TUESDAY TALES here.

*****

We sat at our booth in the back of Waffle House, each of us intently looking at the menus, except for Carla who always knew immediately what she wanted. “Pork chops and waffles,” she announced.

I waited for the waitress to finish filling up the coffee cups before I looked up and asked my friends a question that had been bothering me for hours. “What made it Maureen’s time to die that day?”

breakfast“What do you mean?” Nancy asked. As the sensitive with the most accurate gift, you’d think she wouldn’t need to ask such a question.

I tried to explain, haltingly, searching for words to express the thoughts that tumbled around in my brain. “I mean…everyone always talks about ‘it’s your time to go’ or ‘it’s not your time to go’. But, what are the determining factors that make it ‘my time’?”

Nancy looked like she was thinking of an answer. Gail sat there trying to look wise and all-knowing, but naturally didn’t have anything to say yet. She had to see what Nancy said before she’d know which direction she wanted to take that would make her look the best. Carla was busy digging in her bag for her cigarettes and I don’t think she’d even heard what I’d said.

“Everyone keeps telling me that ‘it wasn’t my time.’ Which I get. I mean, when I look at the players that were in place, and the situation where I had immediate care, including oxygen, I can easily apply that phrase to what happened to me.” I stirred some creamer in my coffee, waiting. I wasn’t getting any immediate answers, so I continued rambling on. “So, why were all the synergistic forces in place that day to save my life, yet they weren’t there in December to save Maureen’s life? What made it her time?”

“We don’t know all the answers,” Nancy finally said. “Even I don’t. Just because I can contact people that have passed, they don’t give me knowledge of the other side.”

I kept on with my incoherent thoughts. “I kept thinking of questions I wanted to ask her. ‘Did you know you were going to die that day?’ ‘As you were putting on your makeup that morning, did you realize that this was your last day on earth in this physical body?’ ‘As you met with your attorney or drove out to the property, did the thought ever cross your mind that – today I’m going to die, today my husband’s going to kill me?”

“Now, we have to keep an open mind,” Carla spoke up. “We all think that her husband killed her. But there’s no proof yet. That’s what we’re trying to find.”

“I think he did. A big hardy farmer like he was, out in the remote area they lived, with two hundred acres at his disposal?” Nancy smoothed her loose bangs back behind her ear and gazed off into the distance as if trying to see something in the black night sky. “I think he had it planned. But I don’t think she saw it coming, or she wouldn’t have driven out there alone to take him the divorce papers.”

Gail finally spoke up. “Most people never know, since most people aren’t sensitive or aware of other worlds. They don’t know things such as I know.”

crystal ball“But some people have premonitions, of their own or other’s deaths,” I argued back with her. “Not me. That day as I dressed and we drove to the airport, the thought never crossed my mind that ‘Today I will die’.”

Carla held up an empty coffee cup in the air, getting the waitresses attention and signaling for more. “I don’t think we’re meant to know. Most people wouldn’t have the strength to know things like that.”

“Wouldn’t our lives be much different though, if we knew?” I asked. “At work a lady told me how her daughter’s friend was spending the night and started crying. The daughter said she felt her mom was going to die. Jana said she did her best to comfort the child and reassure her. A week later the girl’s mother died form an unknown brain aneurysm.”

Gail replied, “She was probably a young sensitive. Children can be tuned into worlds that adults can’t see. Most lose that ability. Like me, I was a child when I started seeing people that weren’t there. With me though, instead of losing my ability, my gift has only gotten stronger through the years.”

I took a sip of coffee and searched her face for signs of deceit. A memory surfaced of when we were all at a meeting about a year ago. Carla specifically asked Gail about if she had any paranormal gifts and her reply was emphatically ‘no’. I didn’t wish to follow that line of inquiry right then. I was keeping my own doubts about this woman to myself.

Instead, I shared another story. “When my brother died, my sister-in-law told us that he’d been sleep-walking the night before. She said he’d been ill that evening with a fever and sweats. She woke up in the middle of the night as he was getting up and clumsily trying to put on a pair of shorts. She said she tried to get him back in bed and he said ‘I have too much to do.’ Do you think he knew his heart would give out at thirty-five years old?”

The waitress returned to fill our coffee cups and take our orders, bringing the conversation to a halt.

I mused to myself as the others were busy chatting. If my brother knew his heart would fail before the day was over, I doubt he would have gone to work that day. I feel certain that he would have spent the day at home with his wife, on the land that he loved.

Work. Is that how any of us would choose to spend our last living hours? Probably not if we knew it. Right now I work at Crafty Hands. Do I love it? Nope. Not one iota. If I knew I was going to die tomorrow, or next week, or next month…would I continue working there? Absolutely not. I’d call the boss and quit in an instant.

The conversation picked back up and I returned my attention to the three friends in front of me. I knew my thoughts would return to this subject later, when I could reflect on them more. Gail launched into a monologue about her physic abilities and how talented she was and how many people she’s accurately read for. I figured that she was tired of the conversation focusing on someone other than herself.

Our friendly server headed our way, her arms laden with plates. Talk stopped and we quieted down and spent our energy cleaning up our plates. It had been a long day out driving around the countryside as my friends attempted to tune into energies and messages from the other side.

Nancy finished her meal first, pushed the plate slightly away from her and leaned back in her seat. “I am so ready for a nap now. What time is it anyway?” She pulled her cell phone from her back pocket and looked. “Oh my goodness. It’s eight o’clock already!”

“I’ve got to get home soon, then,” I said. “Tomorrow’s my long day. Six am will get here too soon.”

We quickly wrapped up the evening after that. Nancy and Gail headed off to their opposite sides of the world while Carla and I headed back to the parking lot where we’d met up. On the way back I ran some of my obscure thoughts by Carla. “So if working at Crafty Hands isn’t where I’d want to spend my last days, why am I still working there?”

“Um, other than the need to buy gas, buy food, or pay for silly things…like rent?” Carla suggested.

“Well, there’s that,” I agreed. “But it’s been several months since this all happened. If haven’t looked for a new job, there must be something holding me there. Maybe there’s a lesson I still need to learn.”

“Or, you’re comfortable there?”

That’s the bad thing about best friends. She knew me too well; probably even better than I knew myself. “Maybe you’re right,” I agreed. “Maybe a fear I’m afraid to face?”

Carla turned the corner that led into the parking lot where we’d met at eight o’clock that morning. When we’d made our plans for the day, I sure didn’t think that we’d really spend the whole day together.

It was a quiet drive home as I kept mulling over these thoughts. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from October experience it’s that life can end at any unexpected moment. Do I want the last days of my life filled with hours spent at a job I abhor, dreading the alarm clock each morning, hating the five days a week I have to go there?

No!

Life is too short to spend working at a job you don’t relish. However, In the interest of my desire to eat next week and have a roof over my head, I won’t go to work tomorrow and quit. Not yet.

A Second Chance – TT ‘writing’

TT_bannerFor Tuesday Tales this week I’m stepping away from the romance to finish up a contemporary fiction that’s due out in October. A Second Chance is the prequel to My Wildest Dreams, the first book in A Growing Wings series.

In A Second Chance, Jenny finds herself struggling with the aftermath of an unexpected sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). She is coming to terms with having a second chance at life and what these changes will mean to her current life. We jump into this story about half way in, two months after the SCA, because it was the best scene to incorporate our weekly prompt of ‘writing’.

For more fascinating story snippets from the wonderful authors in the group, return to TUESDAY TALES here.

********

A few weeks later, one of the inspirational women I follow on Facebook posted an interesting thought. She was talking about dreaming big dreams and setting goals and intentions, and she wrote:

“…everything that is not in alignment with that rises up to be healed or transformed. I call that ‘Your stuff coming up.’ You can choose to heal and clear this so that you can move forward…”

Hmmm, I’ve noticed that these dreams contained lots of anger and ‘old’ frustrations, surfacing in my mind, mostly when my body has shut down for the night. Some of these memories and angers are from way back, twenty years ago some of them. Maybe, in order to heal and go forward, I can’t suppress these feelings anymore. I need to deal with them and heal them.

TT_journalOne way of releasing hurts and negative emotions is writing in a journal. I decided I needed to pursue this, to try to clear some of this from my mind and my subconscious. I headed to my bookcases, knowing I had several nice, blank journals to choose from. Looking through them I couldn’t decide which one to use. They were all too “pretty”; too pretty to write ugly thoughts in. I thought about getting a school composition book to write in. But then, I thought, if I’m writing these words to “get them out of my life”, then I don’t want them written down and “engraved” so that I can go back and re-read them, keeping them written and permanently in my life.

I decide to use scrap paper and write the “ugly” things on them, the thoughts I don’t want to see again, the thoughts and feelings I’m trying to release. I will write them down, then tear up the paper and toss it in the trash. This will be my “trash journals”. I think that the tearing up and throwing away will also symbolically help me.

The next day at work, as I headed out to my car for lunch, I grabbed some scratch paper to take with me. I scribbled away the entire time.

December 15, 2010: I’m going to begin my “trash” journal. I don’t want to write in a “pretty” journal and keep my words forever. I don’t want these where anyone else can see them – I don’t want them where I can go back and re-read them and keep them in my mind. The purpose of these are to release the negatives and the anger – to write it and acknowledge it and then throw the words away and move on with my life.

I’m trying to accentuate the positive – to think on the good things to bring more of the good into my life. But … I still have some angers and negative, complaining thoughts in my head. Some old. Some new. Some frustrations with life. I won’t consider these “complaints” as I’m trying to strive to be complaint-free. This is for healing. Because I find if I don’t express these thoughts, they creep into my dreams and my sleep. They find their way to surface in some manner. And working themselves out in anxious, angry dreams isn’t helpful. It brings matters to my attention, but if I don’t do anything, it’s like an un-lanced abscess – still festering away and keeping me from the peaceful, joyful life that I deserve.

Releasing these feelings will allow for an enhanced spiritual life – one where I know myself better – where I’m more attuned to those around – where my spiritual and psychic senses can open up – to a life where I can be in contact with my guides and where life in general is the life I need to be living.

I fully believe that for circumstances to have been what they were the day my heart stopped, that it was not my time to go. There is still more I need to learn or something I still have yet to do. Otherwise, I would have left this life peacefully fifteen minutes before the alarm went off on a normal routine Thursday morning.

Instead, I was in an airplane, in an unusual and out of the ordinary trip to San Francisco – with Carla beside me to sound the alarm and start CPR to keep me here … with three doctors within a forty to fifty foot radius of me … with medical equipment and a defibrillator within arm’s reach.

What are the odds of that? Astronomical, I’d venture to guess. To know this, with every fiber of my being – but yet to continue life as before – unchanged – would be a gross waste. A travesty.

To honor the unseen guides and loved ones that were with me, and the physical beings on this earthly plane that were responsible for keeping me here with every effort of their beings, I choose to move forward and live a higher life. The purpose of my life is not to work a mundane day-to-day job, to eke out a bare bones paycheck-to-paycheck life. The trivialities and pettiness of co-workers are not important to me or why I’m here. I choose to move beyond that.

I choose to do the things necessary to my life, in living a higher life. One of the necessary things I need to do is to release anger and frustration – not to keep them sequestered and buried deep in the recesses of my mind. That, I choose to begin doing today. The other things, I’ll learn along my new path.

My intent was to write down the ugly thoughts, then tear it up and throw it in the trash. Something with this first writing prompted me to keep it. I’d started with the negative thoughts and emotions, yet thirty minutes later, at the end of my lunch, I’d already moved into an epiphany. I felt I needed to keep this ‘A-Ha’ moment.

I met Carla for dinner that night, and shared the thoughts that were racing through my head all day.

“I’ll be changing,” I warned her.

“Changing?” she asked, acutely more attentive to my words. “Changing how?”

“I don’t know,” I replied. “I’ll find out as I go along. It won’t be huge changes, like I’m not suddenly going to move out, or move to Alaska, or have any other drastic life changes. My basic personality is still going to remain ‘me’. But my life HAS to change, in some fashion. It would be a huge waste if it didn’t.”

I read her the last part of what I’d written and tried to explain how I felt I must become more attuned with my spirituality, not in a “church” or organized religion way, but as my inner being and connectedness to all that is. I had to question ‘why?’ I intended to slough off the pretenses and false faces that I often wear to the rest of the world. I had to become real. I had to be true to myself.

“I still don’t totally understand. C’mon Jenny. Fess up. Are you, like, going to move? Going to change jobs? Shave your head and move into a commune?” she joked.

“No, nothing that radical. But, I have to take this second chance and have it stand for something. I have to change.” I took a sip of water, trying to come up with the words to explain what raced around in my brain. “To continue life unchanged is like to taking this second chance and throwing it in the trash. It makes it mean nothing. And, I don’t want to disregard the importance of this second chance.”

“As long as we’re still friends. I don’t want to lose your friendship over your journey of becoming more, as you say, real.”

“We will always be friends. You know how far Amber and I go back. You know I don’t take my friendships lightly, nor do I lose friends over trivial matters.” I reached across the table and patted her hand to acknowledge my words. “But, to go further with these new goals, to take off my masks and attempt to truly live a more authentic life, with loftier dreams and aspirations – will mean I must make changes in my life.”

That night I copied a quote in my journal, my ‘pretty’ journal, the one that I keep:

“Nature is one connected whole. At any given moment every part must be precisely what it is, because all other parts are what they are, and not a grain of sand could be moved from its place without changing something throughout all parts of the immeasurable whole.” Johann Gottlies Fichte, 1800

After the quote, I added these words:

My intent is to move some grains of sand, not a lot of sand, but important grains of sand. And in the moving of these few select grains of sand, the immeasurable whole will reflect changes. I cannot do this and remain the same identical person.

Onward bound, here we go … to a life with greater awareness!

Whatever that life may be. What was coming up ahead was the biggest mystery and I had no earthly idea what lay ahead in my future.

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