Life Is Short

Reader Contribution by Angela Pomponio
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My long blog absence shouldn’t fool you, life on the Pomponio Homestead continues.  The garden continues to grow weeds in healthy profusion.  The dust bunnies and dishes pile up.  I am secretly thankful that we have not had time to build a clothesline, forcing me to use the dryer.  My husband’s aunt was recently and suddenly diagnosed with a very aggressive terminal brain cancer.  At 58, after just building the country retirement dream home and getting her only child off to college, Cindy suddenly appeared to have a stroke.

The ensuing two months have been even more devastating than the initial diagnoses.  From healthy to eight brain tumors.  Paralyzed on her left side and unsafe to be at home with family.  Insurance, after 30 years at the same job paying in, denying her coverage it claims to cover in her policy.  Bankruptcy looming, temporary loans to cover nursing home care, bills rolling over this very proud couple like a tsunami.  

Nick, Cindy’s husband and my mother-in-law’s brother, who asks the world for nothing and shows up ready to work every day; called me for help.  In the midst of an insurance denial crisis, a translation disaster dealing with industry lingo, and the devastation in hearing ‘all we can do is keep her comfortable, maybe 6 months’ Nick cried out for help.

So instead of gardening, cleaning, canning, and summering, I have talked with social workers and insurance boards.  Filed and defended insurance appeals, written letters and cried at Cindy’s bedside.  The absolute isolation of facing your mortality holds at bay every friend and loved one.  We enter and exit alone.

Every death cliche bursts forth in these times.  I had a week of not yelling at anyone and just kissing them when they drove me nuts.  Watching the sunrise and practicing gratitude with more frequency than routine often allows.  Focusing on what truly matters in your life becomes paramount.

What matters to me is my family life.  Healthy, loving, supportive, compassionate and service oriented family life.  And I am more committed than ever to live this life sharing my gifts with the world.  Giving, sharing, loving and fighting for the right.  This homestead is my vehicle.

For the 10 years before us, the homeowner hayed a sloping swath down to the pond conventionally and drove his four wheeler around with a sprayer full of roundup on the back.  He never once saw a blue heron and he poured herbicide into the spring fed pond.

This morning as I fed the geese and pulled clover out of the garden, I spotted our first heron grazing in the pond.  Growing our food and hopefully food for other families, enriching the land, cleaning the water, teaching about the cycles of life, filling our bodies and environment with natural healthful inputs and intent, and taking the time to enjoy it all is how this little farm will make us healthier, guard against disease and improve the world.

Living with passion, intent, and compassion can only add to the good energy of the world.  Removing poisons from our environment and poisonous food from our plate protects us all.  The glow of content satisfaction, kindness and purpose radiate to others like the warmth of the sun.  And so I homestead not to cheat death, but to make this life count.