Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It was Enchanting To Meet You.

This past weekend I went to visit a friend who has terminal cancer  .His name is Ken. And his wife's name is Marcia. They own a beautiful B&B on acres and acres of land. They create everything from this land-jars of jelly, fresh veggies for dinner, freshly squeezed juice. The name of the B&B is perfect: "The Enchanted Valley." In Cross Plains, Wisconsin.

I have special memories of my own there. I remember the first time I visited the place and it was so serene and beautiful. Ken and Marcia were so charismatic, magical, and loving. Sometimes I believed that when I left the house, Marcia and Ken would disappear because they were actually not human but instead angels, inviting me there to better my life in some way.

It has been 7 years since I faithfully visited their B&B, but I have always kept in contact with Ken & Marcia.Mainly because the last reason I visited, I hugged them and told them they were like my third set of grandparents. That feeling has stuck with me and never left.

Marcia sent me a pretty desperate sounding email a few weeks ago, and it sounded like she was battling a lot of emotional stress.

I knew then that Ken was dying, and I had to go see him before it was too late. So this last weekend I went to The Enchanted Valley all by myself to see Ken & Marcia. I helped Marcia with things she needed around the house. Like the dishes, squeezing grapefruit for fresh juice in the morning. I put sheets on my own bed. I woke up early on a Saturday morning and went to the State Street farmers market in Madison to buy Ken & Marcia a new plant they could add to their beautiful yard. The patio we used to sit on outside to eat breakfast together was dusty and dark. The patio furniture was covered in plastic. There were no heart shaped french toast pieces for breakfast, and I found myself helping Marcia squeeze the grapefruit for fresh juice in the morning. Such a small thing was such a huge help to her.

Post it notes from hospice were stuck on the walls of the house.

Ken was so tired, his eyes would shut in the middle of a conversation. While the words escaped his mouth, his eyelids were closed. I felt him slipping away, and like a part of him was already in another place.

The hard thing to face is that he told me he wasn't ready yet, he still had a lot more he wanted to do here.

Marcia revealed her worries to me over moonlight & a cup of chai in the room off the kitchen.She tried to lay out her life to me and the plans she had for it after he was gone. Her eyes were dry with no tears because she said she had already done most of her grieving. Although sometimes the grief shocked her all at once with no warning. Every once in a while she'd ask me, "Do you think Ken can hear me? I hope not." And she'd look off in the direction of his bedroom.

I have known people who have passed from cancer. I even remember the night my grandma passed away from cancer when I was four years old. I saw this weird light that resembled a disco ball on the ceiling of my room and I swear it was her saying good-bye. I started crying because it was sort of creepy. Then my dad came up to my room to comfort me. I remember him carrying me in his arms, and told him that my grandma was up in Heaven now, smiling down at us. Where I got that from being four years old I don't know.

What I have never experienced is what it is like to actually watch someone pass away from cancer.Someone that you have experienced sweetness and the energy of life with. Ken was always passionate about life, always wanting to move on to the next thing.

Ken loved his life out in the "Enchanted Valley" and had more plans of farming, harvesting, and enjoying the land.

But here he was, lying in a recliner. Shadows that couldn't be erased were cast over the bones on his face.....And the only thing I could do to show him love is to touch his elbow. Or make sure I gave him a huge hug the moment I saw him.

To show him that I wasn't afraid of him, or afraid of the cancer that was killing his body. I wanted to show him my love through it all.

I hope my visit with Ken brought him some light. Or something. Even if my visit was only for two days. I know it brought me something. A chance to give my love to Ken & Marcia. An opportunity to visit the authentic Amanda who is very soft, tender-hearted, and warm.

A few times while I was there I felt sick, and had trouble sleeping. The air was so thick with life, death, sickness, bitter sweet love, and change. I found myself waking up in a sweat with a stomach ache, all alone in the big fluffy B&B bed. I couldn't help but wonder if I was feeling some of Ken's pain at that moment. All I can do now is pray that Ken is comforted through this time, that he finds peace in letting go. That this life here isn't all we have, and he probably has an even better "Enchanted Valley" in his future. I left him a nice note in the B&B Guest Book. I told him it was very "enchanting" to meet him. I hope he read it, and knows that it is true.♥

A Vision Board Blog of how I view the Enchanted Valley:

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