Izzy's Archive

Crossing to Safety, (2)

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

 

 

Marion, Loving Izzy

Marion, Loving Izzy

  Crossing to Safety , (cont.):

    When you love someone,
    more than you.
    when you listen,
    when you trust,
    when you are trusted.
    when you talk to your sister,
    make a friend, 
    when you listen,
    when you hear.
    When you look ahead,
    and not back.
    When you take a leap,
    into the air,
    and ride the wind,
    into your life.

Izzy’s broken soul

Monday, August 4th, 2008

 

August 4, 2008 – I have always thought that Izzy is a broken soul, and so he knews another troubled or broken soul when he sees one, and a broken heart. The truth is, no matter how good life is, hearts are broken sometimes, just by life itself, and Izzy seems to know that, and to soothe those broken hearts and souls, although he cannot heal them or change their fate.

There is a sense of vulnerability in his eyes, and he always knows need when he sees need, and is drawn to it, and be knowing, helps.

I always remember Izzy the first time I saw him, running wild in a fence at a farm, covered with burrs, going around and around, in circle after circle. And Izzy, I now see, was not running, but waiting, for me, and for Helen and Warren and Marion and Jo, and for Barb and Timmy, and the other souls who have crossed his path and been touched by his spirit.

“Izzy, are you well?”

Monday, August 4th, 2008

 

Marion, asking Izzy about his life.

Marion, asking Izzy about his life.

Marion, asking Izzy about his life.

 

“Izzy, are you well? How did you get to be the way you are? What did you do, running around that farm? You always watch him, don’t  you? You always look to see where he is? I won’t take you away from him, but I love  you, I do love you, and I know that you love me, and I see that, even thought I don’t see well, and it makes me feel good. I guess that is what love is, isn’t Izzy, you beautiful, beautiful dog. I know that you come and go, and will come back if you can, but sometimes it does make me sad, to see you go, but then I can look forward to seeing you again. Izzy, did I tell you about my dog – now, gosh, I can’t remember his name, he was a terrier, and it just went out of my head. Izzy, that happens to me sometimes. But you do not go out of my head.”

Intervals, and life

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008

 

This photo, to me, is just like a painting.

There is no such thing as a simple photograph in hospice work. The subjects can’t be told to move or sit still, the light is never, ever good, there is medical equipment and personal information everywhere, and you can’t use any of the tools, like a flash or lightstand. You also have to be especially sensitive, keeping out of the photo any elements that shouldn’t be seen.

So you learn something every time, and grow. I am thinking differently about my hospice photos.

I am deep into the composition of photos these days, in between writing for my next book, and I am focused on the idea of intervals and variety in composing photos. I am thinking differently about the placement of objects, centering, and mixing up shapes and sizes. As recommended by Craig Albert in his book “The simple secret to better painting,” the cardinal rule of design is “never make any two intervals the same.”

Mix it up. Tilt the shot, look for different shapes and sizes, think of how the eye works when it looks at a painting or phot.

I identify with the idea of intervals, because it is more or less my idea about life. You don’t have to do what is expected, you can bring different elements into life, try things others might not encourage you to try, listen to voices inside of you that want to come out. There is joy and satisfaction in life, and sometimes you have to battle your way to it.  It is always worth it.

Izzy and I, traveling to other dimensions

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008

August 2, 2008 – I feel sometimes as if Izzy and I are time travelers, going from one dimension – my life – into another, the realm of the dying. People and their families ought not to experience death alone, and Izzy is doing his bit. People ask me all the time what I think is going on with Izzy, how does he connect the way he does, why do people respond to him the way they do, and I always think the same thing – I don’t know.
  Two things stand out. His ability to focus on people, and let them love him, and the quite extraordinary reaction of people to him. Carolyn, a loving and hard working nurse said the whole ward has changed since Izzy began visiting. Everyone is calmer, happier. I can see it.
  I have to say, these travels are among the most fascinating and jarring of my life, and I am nothing but grateful for them.
  Our work has become ritualized, in a good way. We go into homes and nursing homes, and we are welcome. My dog is welcome, my camera is welcome and I am welcome.  Always. And trusted. And that means a lot.
  We visit Marion, then we drift into the common rooms of Alzheimer’s and dementia, the hallways, lounges, dining rooms. Alarms are always going off – packs patients carry if they tilt or move suddenly. They are almost always false, but the nurses always go running, back and forth.
  These alarms give a surreal air to these wards. So do some of the patients yelling, some shouting angrily, others for help they don’t need. I talk to the nurses, and see how hard they work, and hear amazing stories about their lives and struggles, and they give me tips on how to communicate. Now, we are known – the patients clearly know us – and they light up when we come in. And there is laughter, smiling, talk. I try and bring cookies or pies for the nurses. I admire them, greatly. They work hard. They are patient, they counsel patience.
  My girl friend Jo proposed to me the other day, asked me if I wanted to get married, and today, when I came in, she was waiting for me, asked me if I had considered the proposal. “What about it?,” she said. “I’m not getting any older.”
  Sure, I said, let’s do it, let’s get married. I could not, I say, be luckier. But I am a lot older than you, she said. We’ll deal with that later. And let’s plan to dance at the wedding, I said, can you dance still?
  Sure, she said, what do you think?
  And she and  her friend Min began putting together a guest list, including some of their fellow patients. Stan would not be invited, as he is messy with meals, and grumpy. Angela would be a bridesmaid. And, said Jo, can my husband come?
  Sure, I said, as long as he didn’t shoot me. And there were hoots of laughter, and the clapping of hands, and eyes were rolled. That is a nice dog, said Jo. When I was younger, I was afraid of dogs, afraid they would bite me. But Izzy wouldn’t bite me, would he?
  No, I said, he wouldn’t.
  When I was four, Jo said.
  What?
  When I was four, that was when I thought dogs would bite me.

Hands on Izzy, volunteer

Friday, August 1st, 2008

Izzy and Barb (poem to follow later)

Friday, August 1st, 2008