What Happens to You Happens to Me

What Happens to You Happens to Me
by Barb Tilsen

Voices rise, lifting up on the wings
of song, of tears and prayers
when the world cracks open
and the sky sweeps me upside down
on the wild winds of meningitis
Arms link together ready to catch
my swinging, swaying, falling, flailing body dropping back into myself
From my pockets traces of me drift down buttons, rocks, gems, thimbles and thread
torn snippets of memory, broken bits of poetry faded photographs, strains of music
a sprinkling of angel dust
Communal arms and hands reach out
to catch me in singing and in love
My brother said
What happens to you happens to me The pain that you feel, I feel
When a part of you disappears
Part of me does too
Everything in its totality
weaves together bringing me back
with my own fierce strength at the core
The skilled care of doctors, nurses
cleaners, cooks, attendants, transport, PT, OT staff
in the fluid somewhat chaotic curve of hospital dynamics Along with the just-as-essential closeness
of my family, my friends, my loved ones
in the most extended communal sense
surrounding me with their presence
Their song stretching out in a musical net
made of heartstrings and tears
prayers, healing vibes, loving thoughts
the solo voice, the singing circles near and far
in beautiful cards and poetry, deep conversations
in ritual and the healing sanctuary of flowers
in Sun Dance, on Caring Bridge
People of many faiths from all directions
bringing me into their services, their congregations
to pray for my health, to pray for my survival What happens to me happens to you
All in concert save my life
working as one to bring me back
All acts big and small, an essential part
of the return to wholeness, the return to balance
What happens to you happens to me
from this dying state into the expansive, shining, intuitive interconnected fullness of all living things

© Barbara S. Tilsen

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