Tag Archives: death

silent hospitals

silence

the hum of the hospital elevator still buzzes in my brain. one of those sounds that puts you at ease and into a comfortable, deep sleep. i remember the furnace in our basement gave off a sound just like the hospital elevator’s hum. i was 7, maybe 8, and i wouldn’t fall asleep until i heard the click of the furnace, then the hum that followed after.

mental thumb-sucking, probably.

dave is sitting up in his bed when i arrive, attempting to eat his dinner. pork chops and mashes potatoes. looks decent for hospital food. small cartons of milk and ensure line the right side edge of his hospital table. he really likes milk.

“is it snowing again?” he asks.

i shake my head. “not today.”

he reaches over and removes a couple of books from the visitor’s chair.

“here, sit down,” he tells me.

i thank him and sit. a trio of nurses looks over our way and talk amongst themselves, about which i can’t be sure. i’ve met a couple of them since i’ve been visiting dave. they seem friendly and caring. dave tells me some of the older nurses don’t even acknowledge him, even while administering to his medical needs.

i wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that he’s a homeless man.

dave tells me he received good news from the doctor. one of three infections surrounding his heart is successfully being treated by the cocktail of antibiotics he takes everyday. still two more infections to fight off, though but he seems up to the challenge. i don’t get the impression he wants to lie down and die.

not yet.

somehow, him and i begin talking about ancient historical leaders and the times in which they lived. dave has a few things to tell me about alexander the great. the brief history lesson draws in one of the younger nurses and soon there’s three of us discussing and debating and laughing.

dave has a good hearty laugh at one point, but it’s interrupted by a cough that echoes deep in his lungs. it puts a halt to the conversation. he puts his head back against the upright bed and closes his eyes.

“i could really do without those,” he says.

everything is quiet for a while. the nurse goes back to her station, i listen to the hum from the elevator still trapped in my head and dave rests his eyes.

i lean back to check the clock on the wall.

“you got somewhere to go?” dave asks me.

“actually, i do, but not for a while.”

he slowly nods and smiles, his eyes fixed on the ceiling tile above his hospital bed.

“i stare at the tiles on the ceiling for hours,” he explains to me. “i try to count the black marks on each one, then try to estimate how many ceiling tiles there must be in the entire hospital. i’ll figure out how many black marks this hospital has by the time they discharge me.”

i’m almost certain he will.

i notice a new necklace he is wearing. it’s made of fabric and has something written on the back of the square-shaped wool pendant. it says something to the effect that ‘anyone who is wearing this when they die will not go to hell’. it’s an old roman catholic superstition from what dave tells me.

“a priest brought it by for me. i figured ‘why not?’ it couldn’t hurt, right?”

“you scared of dying?” i ask him.

“not yet,” he says, eyes fixed on mine. “but i’m sure i will be if or when things get worse.”

“ya?”

“ya..”

silence.

i’m hit anew with the gravity of dave’s situation. this is happening right now. this isn’t a movie i can turn off and return to watch later if i want.

“if i grab that necklace from around your neck, yank it off and run out the door, would you feel any different about your present condition?” i ask him.

he laughs at the idea and tells me, “no. this necklace isn’t going to save me. God restored my soul many years ago. i may have been running from him these past years, but he’s not going to undo what’s been already spiritually done in me. it was grace that changed me and it’ll be grace that keeps me until my final hour.”

his back seems to have gotten a bit stronger after saying that because he’s sitting up straight now in bed, not slumping like he was. his face looks resolute as he turns towards me, courage seems to beam from his eyes. i’m not sure what to say or if any words are even necessary.

more silence.

when i was in grade school we had to read john steinbeck’s book ‘of men and mice’. my teacher’s love for the book inspired my classmates and i as we read through the novel together. it was the first book i remember having such an emotional impact on me. during a particularly important moment in the book, steinbeck writes:

“as happens sometimes, a moment settled and hovered and remained for much more than a moment. and sound stopped and movement stopped for much, much more than a moment.”

and, so it was for dave and i as we sat there together in his hospital room, letting the silence do all the talking for us.

Leave a comment

Filed under randoms

if excuses were only enough

i had all the reasons and excuses i could think of not to go and still, there i am covered head to toe in snow, walking down my street in the middle of a blizzard. excuses begin to poke and jab my mind, trying to convince it to turn around and head back to my warm apartment. each snowflake that scrapes at my eyes gives the excuses more confidence to continue their harassment.

i almost buckle.

the walk isn’t long. at the end of my short street sits the queen elizabeth hospital. it, too, is covered head to toe in snow.  i avoid the sidewalk snowplow and then a sliding car on my way to the entrance.

my years of athletics pays off again.

knock on wood.

the wide glass doors open as i’m approaching the entrance. another set of doors open as well and welcome me into the hospital lobby. i see a few people busy hurrying to separate places in the hospital.  a quick pause to de-snow myself a bit.

i don’t like hospitals.

i push the big white elevator button with an arrow pointing towards my feet. automatically the door to my right slides open. a large coffee spill accompanied by a bright cone indicating ‘slippery surface’ are my ride mates to the next floor.

i start thinking about what i’ll say..

the elevator door opens to a large corridor that makes me instantly recall  creepy movies i’ve watched in the past.

hospital-corridor-bwweb

more excuses come rushing in, though these of the more irrational variety.  as gripping as the picture in front of me looks, these excuses are much easier to shrug off and i make my way down the hallway.

IMCU.

i flick on my phone to see if this is the place.  it is.

i have no idea what the ‘m’ stand for but i’m fairly certain that the other letters spell out ‘intensive ____ care unit’. i’m not really sure what to expect when i enter. i take a deep breath and open the door.

‘hi, may i help you?’ asks the short, kind-eyed rn.

i ask her where i can find my friend.

she points down another corridor, though much shorter than the last. i thank her and make my way towards bed 7.  i see him before he sees me.  he doesn’t recognize me at first. he wasn’t expecting company.

who visits homeless guys in hospitals?

‘hi, dave. how are you?’ i ask.

‘hey, lucas! i’ve been better but i’m alive,” he replies.

we talk and catch up on the past couple months. i know dave from the streets of halifax. i wrote about his incredible survival about 5 months ago, when he was jumped by a couple of punks and left for dead, and his fight with a garbage truck when it scooped up the bin he was sleeping in.

after updating me on all the injuries he received from those incidents, he brings me back in time a bit.

‘i was born almost 10 weeks premature. they didn’t think i’d make it. well, i’m here now!’

it appears dave has the nine lives of a cat, because, by all rights, he should be dead by now.

i put it off question longer than my mind can take until it can’t take any more.

‘why are you here?’ i blurt out.

his eyes drop and he explains how a head cold he got while staying at the men’s shelter turned into an infection surrounding his heart. and if one infection wasn’t enough, two more have since jumped on board.  he now has 3 separate infections surrounding an organ than we can’t live without.

dave is rather casual while describing it. he doesn’t seem depressed by the diagnosis nor overly thrilled about it. he says it hurts when he coughs. like thousands of needles poking out his lungs and esophagus.

right then he coughs, and i can almost feel the pain he feels by the look on his face.

his optimism makes me feel optimistic, too, even if i know it’s only make-believe. the vicious kicks to the head from the robbery and the crushing steel walls from the garbage truck couldn’t kill dave, but these infections probably will.

this is what i was afraid of.

i was afraid i’d have to say goodbye to another friend from the street.

and it looks like i was right..

i track down the nurse who was attending to dave earlier in our visit and ask her his chances. she shakes her head,’i’m technically not allowed to tell you anything without his consent, since you aren’t family.’

‘is he going to die?’

i ask but i don’t really want to hear the answer i fear is coming.

her eyes drop.  people’s eyes always drop when they give bad news.

‘it doesn’t look good..’

i head back to dave’s bed to say goodbye for the night. i pray with him and say i’ll see him tomorrow.  i tell him to get healthy so we can move him into the new apartment he just got before he became sick.

‘..you do not know what tomorrow will bring.  what is life?  for you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.’ james 3:14

2 Comments

Filed under randoms

ashes to ashes

‘pick three items, lucas’.

he was already up off the couch and heading towards the kitchen.  this is dave at his best.

after street soccer on sunday night, dave came over to hang out for a bit.  he’s not living in the best of neighborhoods at the moment and as much time spent away, the better.  we debate whether or not it’s better than him living at the shelter.  the shelter was recently shot up.  7 rounds into the front of the building in a drive-by.  we side with his present location but have started apartment hunting again.

dave is an incredible cook.  everything he has ever made me to eat has been nothing less than amazing.  everything.  and he can do it with next to nothing in the kitchen.  he thrives off of making tasty dishes with as little as possible.  i think its his game.  it’s a fun game when you’re the one eating good food.

dave teaches me a bit about cooking.  he believes cooking is really easy and attempts to convince me of his truth.  after 10 minutes im pretty sure i can cook just as well as him.  power of persuasion takes another one down.

1o  minutes later we are eating a delicious meal.  kat and i compliment dave as we scarf down his recent creation.  he humbly brushes it off likes it’s nothing.  he picks up my guitar and starts playing some of his original licks.  he’s a good musician, too.

good times.  community at it’s finest.

dave has been making it more of a habit to come hang out.  i like that.  in the past, dave would disappear from months on end.  when you work with guys on the street it plays with your mind when your friends disappear for a while.  you dont know if they’re dead or alive.

the longer you do not hear from them, the deeper your fears become.

i hope dave keeps this habit up.

 

i lost another one of my friends back in east van last week.  wally had a lot of health problems when i first met at first united, constantly in and out of the hospital.  he had a very gentle spirit about him and a calming voice.  he always looked on the bright side of things, aware of but not willing to settle for the darker side of reality.

every time i asked wally how he was doing, he always answered ‘copasetic’.  i had to look up the word in the dictionary to figure out what he meant.  completely satisfactory.  when i pressed further what he meant, he told me that no matter what life threw at him, he wasn’t going to get too high on life nor would he go too low.  everything has a purpose, he would tell me.

i think he found great comfort in that.  i do too.

wally was another member of the first nations crew that spent their time drinking rubbing alcohol and mouth wash.  im not sure if it was the alcoholism that killed him or the cancer that ate away at his body.  im not sure what’s worse.

i’m pretty sure i could write a big, long post about wally that i did about africa but i don’t feel like doing that today.  i’m going to keep these memories inside for now.

 

lent started today.  happy ash wednesday.

i decided to give up losing any more friends for 40 days.  hopefully this works.

your prayers are appreciated.

 

you’ll be missed, wally.  dearly missed..

2 Comments

Filed under randoms

death, where is your sting?

the past few days have been difficult. africa dying hit closer to home than i ever expected. his passing has me thinking about death more. no, not in the morbid sense. im not completely off my rocker yet. its got me thinking about life and the death of life. big picture stuff.

death isnt really the end. its a new beginning to the rest of your life. well, thats what i believe. i think we live forever and ever, somewhere. heaven, paradise, city of gold, kingdom of God, home.

i know atheists will probably scold me for saying such a thing, but i feel bad for atheists. i really do. genuine pity. if i understand atheism, and i think do, the logical conclusion of its philosophy is that there is no meaning, no purpose, no life after death. not only does nothing really matter nor any truth really exist, but when we die thats it.

what an awful thing to believe.

worm food. lights go out and they dont come back on.

i realize that this isnt an argument against atheism, because something being unfortunately terrible doesnt make it wrong, but it does make it terrible and something that offers very little hope for this life. no thanks, atheism.

id rather see and embrace the hope we have in the gospel. thanks, Jesus.

im going to leave it at that. for now.

i miss the dtes a lot right now. i havent missed it there this much since i first left. i wonder how so many people are doing. i wonder how aj is doing and if he has kicked his addiction. i wonder how elizabeth is doing and if she beat cancer. i wonder how daryl has been and if he has gone home to nunavut like he told me he needed to.

i wonder about many others and wonder when ill go back, if ever.

i hope to.

today i worked the door at hope cottage. eddie had taken the night off and andrew asked if i wanted the gig. no apron, greet everyone that entered the building and carry a clicker to count guests. its even better than it sounds.

cheque day was on wednesday so business is slow. the regulars are all there though and a few new faces. kenny comes in with rap blasting from his cell phone. a few heads in the room turn in his direction and he graciously turns it off as he grabs a tray. considerate member of the community.

skylar comes in for dinner late. he grabs some bread and dinner and comes to talk with me. he finally got an apartment! i congratulate him and we high five.

high fiving is a great celebratory gesture on the streets. i quite enjoy it.

skylar was a youth that was living at the shelter when i worked there. i got to know him there and when he came out to play street soccer for a while. smart cree kid, very athletic, advocate for others, but with a bit of a temper.

he has had housing for just over a month. he moved in just before christmas. good gift from santa, id say. already its helping him. he is taking his addictions more seriously and doing what he needs to do to be healthy. hes staying out of trouble which means the police arent harassing him.. as much.

i couldnt be happier for him!

we talk school and where things are at with that. school is next on his list of things to do but he feels lost. hes not sure where to go from here. i agree to help him figure that out. hes too smart and gifted not to get his high school diploma and give himself a better chance at life. he agrees. he promises to come out for street soccer this sunday and bring his sudanese roommate who loves playing soccer with him.

i hear they start playing soccer in the womb over there. i expect this guy to be good.

skylars big success has me hopeful. even in the midst of death, grief and sadness, theres a lot to be hopeful for. hope for at-risk youth getting housed and educated. hope for my other friends on the street rising up out of poverty. hope for me seeing my friend, africa again (and all the others) on the other side.

bye, grief. hello, hope.

Leave a comment

Filed under randoms

deeper grief

they always come out of left field.

blindsided..

i lost another one of my friends today to addiciton.  he wasnt much older than myself.  losing africa hurts a lot.  much more than i ever thought it would, but then again, i never pictured losing africa.  for whatever reason i thought he would make it out alive.

i hate being wrong.

i met africa my first day on the job at first united.  i was standing in the lobby talking with a new coworker when in walked a very tall, skinny african man wearing a giant hat with large sunglasses.  he didnt walk so much as he stumbled into the building.  as soon as he saw me, he stumbled over to shake my hand.

‘hi, im africa.’

his african accent and intoxication level made it difficult to understand him but i got the gist.  this problem stayed the same for as long as i knew africa.  the more he drank the thicker his accent got and the harder it was to understand him.  sometimes he would lecture me for minutes on end, all the while i couldnt understand a single word he said.

africa’s name wasnt actually africa, but a nickname given to him by his friends in the downtown eastside.  not very imaginative but pragmatism wins out in a world when remembering where you woke up isnt easy.  the tall black man would forever be known as africa and he didnt seem to mind it one bit.

a nickname usually means acceptance and when you are thousands of miles from home, acceptance is just what you need.

africa’s friends got him drinking rubbing alcohol one day and he became hooked.  addiction to rubby (as they called it) was not a pretty addiction.  for me, its quite possibly the worse one to watch someone struggle with.

africa had an apartment somewhere in the dtes but he spent most days and nights hanging out or around first united.  thats where his friends lived and hung out.  this was the case for a few of the guys i knew in the dtes.  they would get a worker in housing to help them get an apartment in hopes of getting away from their addiction and the people they consumed their poison with.  some lasted longer than others but, one by one, they all made their way back.

since i left vancouver ive lost 4 guys from just one group.  since i joined the dtes community ive lost over 15 people.  those are just the ones i can remember..

i hate losing my friends to addiction.

this doesnt seem get any easier..

when i decided to start giving my life to the poor years ago, i didnt think that id see this many people die.  people who i had relationship with, a connection, a friendship.

i didnt sign up for this.

i invited africa to a small church in east van with me one summer sunday.  the church was having a community party in the local park with live music, games for the kids and bbq.  as soon as i told africa there would be food there he was coming come hell or high water.  he marched there like a man on a mission.  for as rail-thin skinny he was, the man could pack down the food.  we could never explain where the food went.

a couple other guys came along as well.  edson, one of my favorite guys to talk with at the shelter, came along with us as did aj (edson is now married and living in northern bc and doing great!).  as soon as the music starts up africa is dancing.  by himself.  in a dance only he knew the steps to.

it was something else to see.

we laughed until our sides split. aj fell off his chair he was laughing so hard.

i like that memory.

just as quickly as i remember that memory, the reality that hes gone comes crashing back.  my heart is grieved deeply..

in fyodor dostoevsky’s ‘crime and punishment ‘, he says something that gives me great comfort in times like this:

“the darker the night, the brighter the stars,
the deeper the grief, the closer is God!”

thankfully, this truth is more real to me than anything else i know.

ill miss you, africa.

africa

harry and africa

3 Comments

Filed under randoms

remembering nate

the last 13 years have come and gone so fast.  it seems time slips by faster and faster the older i get.  it seems like just yesterday i was an 17-year-old teenager, living at home with my parents and trying to finish up my senior year of high school.

where does the time go?

i remember older family members and friends telling me that time went by faster as you got older.  i thought that was just something old people told young people like me so we would appreciate our youth more.

i guess not.

i met nate when i was 12 years old.  instead of attending the junior high my elementary school classmates went to, i was forced to go to another junior high since my mother and i had moved districts.  i had to make friends all over again.  nate was one of those friends.

i cant remember the first time i met nate but id wager it was during a game of pick-up basketball we often played at lunch time.  i wasnt much of a basketball player at the time, having spent much of my childhood playing baseball and soccer.  basketball was nate’s sport.  he would dribble circles around all of us and score whenever he felt like it.  the rest of us were pylons.

by the time we were in grade 9 nate had really come into his own.  40, 50, 60-point games.  he single-handedly won us basketball games and even tournaments.  i remember watching from the bench in awe of the things he could do with a basketball.  after seeing him dismantle other teams, we didnt feel so bad that he did the same to us during practice.

we knew nate was special, but he acted as if nothing he did was out of the ordinary.  there was no arrogance or ego to him.  sure, he carried himself with confidence but he had a humility about him that kids at 15 arent supposed to have.  at a time in life when most kids are forming clichés and singling other kids out, nate wouldnt have anything to do with it.  he was mature past his years.

nate was also the first authentic christian i ever met.  i remember when we would travel to play tournaments, either on the bus or in the hotel room, guys would ask nate all kind of questions about his faith, church and God.  regardless of the question, he always took the time to give an answer. by the way he talked and walked, nate gave us all a compelling reason to believe him.

like i said, nate was special.

after grade 9, i moved to comox and went to a different high school than my other junior high classmates.  once again, i had to make new friends.  if that wasnt hard enough, when basketball season started i didnt have the luxury of having nate on my team.

i now had to play against him!

id have to lie through my teeth to say i won any battles him and i had during our grade 10 and 11 years.  i didnt.  nate had my number.  to be fair to myself, he had everyones number.  as improved as the rest of us got, nate got even better.  it frustrated me like nothing else in my life at the time.

so i decided to dedicate my life to basketball.  i ate, slept, breathed and dreamed basketball.  evenings after school and my entire weekends were spent at the gym, often by myself, running, shooting, dribbling and passing to myself off the walls.  i would dribble my ball the 5 or 6 kilometers to the gym and home.  my fingertips would crack and bleed from overuse so i would  have to tape them up so i could keep playing.

i was determined to get better.

more than that, i was determined to beat nate.  every time i went to practice by myself i pictured him practicing at his gym getting better.  when i got tired and wanted to go home and eat, i would tell myself that nate was still practicing.  that mental image forced me to stay longer and keep playing.
come hell or high water, i was going to beat nate.

over the summer between grades 11 and 12 i had a breakthrough.  my skinny body put on some well-needed muscle and my skills really came together.  all my hard work was finally paying off and just in time for my senior year.  i knew that this was my year.

i felt ready.

nate came to my church for the christmas play that we put on that year.  i was chosen to be joseph and had to perform a large monologue that i was nervous for.  i nailed it on opening night and felt pretty good about it.  as i stood in the church lounge accepting congratulations from people in my church, nate surprised me with a handshake and a hug.  we caught up on each others lives and talked basketball.  our schools were playing each other in a few weeks at his schools annual tournament.  my first chance to go head-to-head with him.

i still remember what i was doing when i heard the news.  i had just come up the stairs from my room and was going to the fridge to make a sandwich.  the phone had rung and my mom answered it.  she hung up the phone and told me the news: nate had died in a car accident on the way to his basketball game.  he had fallen asleep at the wheel and his small car had crossed the center line and collided with a large truck.

everything in my life came to a standstill.

i remember looking out the window at the tree in my backyard as my mom told me the bad news, wishing that this was somehow an awful dream that any moment i would awake from.  as the tears rolled down my face, much like they do right now, i couldnt believe what i heard.  this couldnt have happened to nate.  of all the people in the world..

i cried everyday for the next several months.

in my anger i wanted to give up playing basketball.  i had worked so hard to get better and finally beat nate and now he was gone.  i wanted to kick all the basketballs i owned into the forest behind my house and never play again.

but i didnt.

i found that basketball, unlike anything else in my life, brought me the peace my hurting and angry heart needed. i found comfort and joy in playing the sport nate and i both loved.  it became my place of escape.

it still is today.

more than an escape, basketball became a way for me to build life-long friendships, receive university scholarships and teach young kids life skills through sport.  for all the injuries it has incurred on my body, it has paid me back many times over in blessings; blessings i would have never experienced had i not met nate dasilva.

13 years later as i sit here at my computer, my left ankle still slightly swollen from a sprain i received the last time i played, writing about the friend that changed my life in more ways than he ever knew, i remember that mid-january day as if it were just yesterday.

thanks for everything, nate.

natesarticle

Leave a comment

Filed under randoms

tragedy in kansas

for some of us its just another sunday.  for those in kansas city, this sunday will be much different than last sunday and all the preceding sunday’s leading up to today.  tragedy has a way of doing that.

a couple of days ago, a young professional football player who plays for the kansas city chiefs took a gun and shot his girlfriend, the mother of his newborn baby, multiple times dead.  he then went to the practice facility where he works to thank his coach and general manager for all that they had done for him.  then he turned the gun on himself and took his own life.

we hear about these situations in the news often enough that we become numb to them.  people murder other people.  its a sad reality that we a forced to deal with.  people also take their own lives, leaving behind people who cared for and loved them.

i came across this story because im a sports fan and because im a sports fan i tend to visit sports websites to get my ‘fix’.  what was first reported as a suicide by a football player soon became a story about a football player who committed murder-suicide.

what happened inside that young man’s head?

i read a few of the comments tagged along at the end of one of the articles.  most people were very sympathetic towards the situation, offering their rip’s and condolences.  some people werent as kind and offered their distaste and judgment towards the young man.  i read some very harsh and hurtful things that i hope his family or friends didnt come across.

it amazes me the senselessness that comes out of some peoples mouths and, in this case, fingers at times.

was this simply a case of domestic violence taken to the extreme?  maybe, but maybe not.

football is a violent sport that involves men crashing into each other with tremendous impact, often times injuring players.  many times those injuries cant be seen on an x-ray or be helped with some physiotherapy.  head injuries are very common in a game where men bash their helmets against another man’s.  with enough force, a person’s brain can shake inside their skull and cause damage.  we call this a concussion.  concussions have been shown to contribute to depression, anxiety, mood swings, lack of ability to control stress, loss of social judgment and aggression.
could this young man have been dealing with some mental illness due to head trauma that had flown under the radar?

in a society that stigmatizes people who deal with mental illness, its more common for people to live with unaddressed and undiagnosed mental health issues/illnesses then seek help.  people who wouldnt think of saying a racial or ethnic slur glibly talk about nut cakes, lunatics and crazies.  its no wonder more people dont seek help.

or maybe the young football player just snapped.

in professional football, as in most professional sports, players are more commodities than human beings.  weight, strength, height, 40 time, jersey number, etc.  im just as guilty of it at times, getting frustrated when one of my favorite players has an off-shooting night.  they arent simply numbers on a roster or spreadsheet.  they are people with emotions, sensitivities, dreams, families and lives away from the sports field.  when we dehumanize human beings, should we be shocked when they dont always act human?

whether it was mental illness, a sudden aggressive, irrational mood or something else we are unaware of, it saddens me more than i can articulate in words.  but why?  i didnt know know him, his victim or anyone related or close to them.  i cant explain the why, i simply am.

im learning as i get older i cant nor do i feel the need to explain everything.  some things just are.

rip jb and kp

Leave a comment

Filed under randoms

im told

im told im supposed to support israel.

when there is good reason to support a cause im usually pretty open to the idea.  today i signed a petition going around my city for an investigation into possible illegal happenings in one of the long-running orphanages.  i think its good to closely look at how things have been and are currently being done and evaluate the results.  i feel the same about the on-again, off-again wars between the israelis and their arab neighbours.

im told by my mainstream media that supporting israel is the only decision i could possibly make as a canadian citizen.  my government supports israel and so should i.  im told that the poor israelis have been surrounded by angry terrorists who want nothing but to blow them off the face of the planet.  the israelis simply fight back out of necessity.  people who dont agree are labeled anti-semite, racist and other slanderous words.  ad hominem arguments (attack the person not the argument) seem to be the norm not the exception.  that rubs me the wrong way.  shouldnt it?

im still looking for a good reason.

im told that i should support israel because i am a christian.  im told that i should support israel unquestioningly because of their supposed special spiritual status.  im told that it is anti-semitic to speak any ill words against the tiny jewish state.  im told by people who know very little actual history of the modern middle east that to speak harshly about the jewish state is akin to supporting terrorism.

hogwash.

i feel as though im drowning in a sea of ignorance and arrogance.   my mind remembers past arguments and online diatribes from arm-chair internet generals.  it seems that everyone knows exactly who is at fault, what the problems are and the solutions to fix them.  my patience is thin and thinning and my sharp tongue wants to bite back.  i breath deeply and resist the urge.

maybe this is what they call maturity.

i dont support the state of israel.  there!  ive said it in print.  that makes it final now, right?  no going back.  im one of ‘those people’ now.

im ok with that.  im comfortable in my own skin.

at the same time i dont support the side using terrorism against israel.  praying upon weak, damaged people to wage an asymmetrical war against the bully on the block makes you as deplorable and disgusting as the bully himself.  islamic terrorism belongs in the trash heap of world history  along with the other repugnant ideologies.  the sooner its placed there for good the better.

so who does that leave to support?  am i neutral in all this?

no.

i support the people of palestine as well as the people of israel.  i believe that the problem lies more with the zionist and islamic governments, war mongers and racists than with the people themselves.  i support the israeli people who have to run to bomb shelters when the sirens go off in their towns because of incoming rockets.  i support the palestinian people in gaza whose lives are lived in a prison for a country, starved and abused by their oppressive neighbours.  i support the people on both sides of the separation walls who just want to live in peace without prejudice, without racism and without violence.  i support the jews, muslims, christians, men, women and children (especially the children) who are forced to live amongst bombings, vitriolic propaganda, guns shots, separation walls, land seizures, permanent detainment,  more bombings, more gun shots, power outages,  poverty, disease, death, more bombings, more bombings,more bombings..

when will it stop..?

or to ask as bertrand russell once did: “How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty?”

tick tock, tick tock..

Leave a comment

Filed under randoms

mona’s gone..

i chose not to believe it when i heard it. my mind decided to override reason in order to spare me emotionally. at least for the moment..

that moment has left and gone.

when i first started working at the shelter, there was this little round native lady who kept demanding hugs and grabbing my butt inbetween stealthly stealing my name tag several times a day. no, my name tag isnt a pin-on, its a clip on. how much more amazing would her stealth ability have been had my tag been fastened on by a pin? anyways..

i knew this little troublemaker by the name of mona.

mona lived in surrey with her boyfriend but, when things got bad, she would escape her life out there to come and stay with her friends down at first united church.

at the shelter mona was usually found in one of two states – really or kinda drunk. her and i would sit and talk for bits and pieces here and there. shed tell me about her familiy and where she was from. as i got to know mona more i began asking her about her drinking problem. she confided in me that her boyfriend physically abused her. she told me she drank to escape the pain of her reality. my heart sank within me.

we collaborated about getting her into a treatment program and she agreed that that would be the best idea. she wanted so badly to be free of the abuse and free of her addiction. but soon after that, she just left.

lots of people just get up and leave, not to be seen around the shelter again. sometimes its because they found housing, other times treatment programs. i believed that this was the case with mona. i figured she had arranged everything without telling me. but tragically for me and her friends and family, neither was the case.

mona was found dead last week in her apartment.

she had been murdered..

ive never had a friends life stolen from them before. im unsure how to process the pain. my mind doesnt want to accept the truth, choosing to live in a state of disbelief.

its a numb feeling.

im not sure if its numb because this is new to me or because i believe she was so close to getting the help she needed. she was so close to getting alternative housing. she was so close to a better life.

but now nothing.

ill miss that troublemaker more than any other troublemaker before her.

may you finally rest in peace, mona.

Leave a comment

Filed under friends