Coral’s Healing Room at Coralsblog.com 505-269-9242 iwritetohealmyself@gmail.com I rise early. I go to bed early. If you need me, I will make myself available to you.

If ever there comes a day…(last one from the Coral vault and a hard read, as I was in a very dark place when I wrote this many months ago)

Last one from the drafts vault. I just needed to clear all of that out. As I am in the raging war with depression, I must pick my battles. I must change my thoughts. I must let go. I must let God. With my drafts folder empty, I begin again. As always, take what you need and leave all the rest. And we send it all back to the universe I be recycled for the greatest good of us all. And so it is. This is a dark read.

As I just published my last blog about carrying my Mom home and why didn’t she say goodbye…it occurred to me that I have a post to write…not to publish, but one that must be written.

I have come to know that time does run out. We have so many cliches, don’t we?  Time is a cliche…

I am sitting completely suspended in time…suspended animation, a state of bliss (thank you Pink Floyd for the amazing lyric and the memories that go with it). Or am I?

I feel pretty fucking suspended…in slow motion, timeless and weightless, pretty literally weightless these days and dropping.

Which brings me to this unpostable post. The post that will never leave you all saying…why didn’t Coral say goodbye?

I mean, here I am, every single day, invited into your life, honoring my daily commitment to myself, of writing for 365 days…and I know I could be really, really sick, and I don’t want to be that guy…you know, the one who knew and said nothing. Only in my case, I don’t “know”, I mean I don’t ever really “know”, and yet I know…In this case, I don’t know, and I’m getting checked out, as soon as they can see me, so don’t fret.

The thing is, I really don’t feel right. My ass, which don’t lie, you either stopped following me for, you started following me for, or you know absolutely nothing about. Consider yourself blessed if it’s the latter…truly, I’m a lot. Ask the people closest to me…I am a fucking handful.

Just to get you up to speed, I’m having some intense pain and discomfort in my ass. Nothing about that is easy for me to talk about, and so I’ve openly talked about it.

The physical and emotional pain of it all leaves me feeling nauseous and exhausted. I can’t sit and I can’t stand and I cannot do anything, except to lie down, semi-comfortably.

These things are concerning and isolated, I would probably still be really freaked out. Probably, my ass…I would be freaked the fuck out, about all things ass, always, especially my own ass.

In addition to all of that, I am having difficulty eating. I get really hungry,  like so hungry, and I eat a few bites and can’t eat anymore. A few moments later, I’m hungry again, and it’s the same thing, unless I’ve no appetite at all.

I have opted for no pain management of any kind, except for medical cannabis. I am desperate to find the right dosing for this intense and chronic pain. I know I need to feel this, and I mean really feel it, so that I can release it, and I mean really release it.

With that being said, cannabis, prior to this ass incident, was a huge appetite stimulant for me, like inessaciable, eat myself stupid, appetite, and now, at much higher doses, nothing.

Cramming brownies down my throat and trying to smoke enough and smile enough to keep the pain at bay. Trying not to WebMD and knowing my tendency, at times, to be dramatic…and feeling like I’m fucking dying…well, I guess I just thought maybe I should say something, you know? So I will never be “that guy”, or any guy for that matter….just to clear that up once and for all…I’m that girl, not that guy…

Anyway, I know myself and the irony of my life. Those of you who know me well will also appreciate the irony of the idea of…even just the thought or mention of…ass cancer, colon cancer, rectal cancer…and Coral in the same sentence. It’s the most fucked up thing I could possibly imagine…the fucking worst thing.

This is the girl who has literally driven to the next town to shit, because I can’t shit if you’re with in a mile radius. That may be a slight exaggeration, not much though.

My ass is an exit only. No salad tossing and no entry. My ass and all things about my ass horrify me and they always have and your ass horrifies me too. Truly, you’ve just no idea, unless you’ve an idea, and then you know that this would be the worst thing to take me out, that I could possibly imagine. My ass…really?

So, I’m sitting in this and trying to figure out how much to say and how much not to say. All you really have to do is look at me and I don’t have to say anything at all.

Tamara says that I look gaunt. I asked her what that meant and should I take it as a compliment. Tamara said that my face just looks drawn in…you know, gaunt. I didn’t know and so I just looked it up and the definition is pretty fucking eerie.

Gaunt;extremely thin and bony; haggard and drawn, as from great hunger, weariness, or torture; emaciated.

What do you know? Tamara is right. Gaunt is the perfect adjective to describe the shape I’m in, as of late, or is it as of most recent? Anyway, no matter.

So, being gaunt and unable to eat, nauseous from the constant pain and the horrific sensations down there, I won’t lie, I am a little more than a little concerned.

Oh and there is cancer all over both sides of my family, including my Mom, who died of Stage 4 breast cancer, with metastasis to the liver, the lungs and her brain. My Dad has skin cancer. That’s just the beginning of cancer in my family.

Oh and the fact that I have been drinking alcohol since near birth, until just over four years ago, smoking like a fucking train since I was eleven years old, until just over a year ago, and eaten whatever the fuck I wanted until going vegan four years ago. I’ve not been kind to my body.

In addition to me being unkind to my body, others have tortured and abused this body to a point of nearly, literally breaking it, over a lifetime.

It would not be any wonder if my liver and my lungs and my kidneys are riddled with disease too. Countless head injuries have undoubtedly taken their toll as well.

So, I would be remiss in not entertaining the idea that maybe, just maybe, this could be the beginning of the end. My ass might take me out after all. “Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think? Yeah….I really do think…”

This will be the first of an unpublished series, of my deeply personal journey, through whatever ails my ass.

Did you really think that I would change after all of these years? I mean, I guess a lot of you did think I would change, hope I would change…this personal account is for those of you who loved me just the way I was…always, in all ways, without ever wanting me to change.

This is for Tamara. May she never have to ask, why I didn’t say good bye.

Tamara, may you also know that I am doing all I can to stay. I’m just writing this, in case there comes a day that I can’t.

If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.
A.A. Milne-Winnie the Pooh

If ever there comes a time when I am unable, I want to have begun to try to get all of my words out…every single last one of them…

This shall be the first post of my private journey through this, which I hope I neve have to publish).

In the event that this did get published, and I am no longer here, go grab that cup of coffee and hey, grab me one too, would you?Also, don’t forget to remember…I am always right here, for our morning coffee. You just have to invite me and I will find a my way to find you. I know you know I will…

 

Another from the Coral vault. “You left here without me.”

Another old writing from the vault…and so I release the hold that was in my “draft” folder…back to the universe, to be recycled for the greater good of us all. And so it is.

The shift seems to be coming. The changes are imminent. I am shedding. The light is making its way in. Being different and being alone…being the Lame Goat makes sense to me now. I had to hang back to prepare myself to lead the way. The tide is turning. That is what I a feeling. The Lame Goat is waiting to bring us all home. I have been here all along. Right here, all along. Unbeknownst to even myself, I have been right here all along. Thank you brother Rumi. I love you.

I wandered a ways from my thoughts on this one. Picturing a scape goat of days gone before. I have been in so much pain lately. Posting it just hasn’t seemed like the right thing to do, until it subsided a bit. In the throes of it, I wasn’t sure I would come out on the other side of this darkness. Feeling like a martyr and knowing I’m not…feeling sorry for everyone except myself for having to endure my pain. Fuck, this rhetoric is old and stale as fuck and misplaced. These words trailing and lost…some of them blaming and angry. My life has become a place of wreckage and I have become a traveler. There is nothing for me here, in the wasteland of my past. The wreckage is me. The void is me. The darkness has become me and does not become me at all.

My mind is slowing down. All of my wondering about where you went and why…settling at my feet…for it matters not why. You are not here now. I am here now. You and I…we are not. I don’t know what to do with that. I truly don’t. If I think about it for one second, the lump in my throat overflows and the tears well up. How could we come to be…this? I mean how did you and I lose our way? How did you just leave here without me, after bringing me here? I do not understand. My life has been hard…so, so fucking hard. You know. And you…you were my safe place. You. And now you have left. I thought that I left too. I didn’t leave though. I stayed. I am trying to leave because staying here without you…well, there is no point to that. The chairs I will never sit in and the views I will never see out those windows…the clothes on the clothesline and the dinner on the table…happy hour on the back patio and Sunday brunch. All faded and dead with the woman in the middle of it all. She died and we died too. She left and we left too. Everyone left when she left. Her things. Just things. Her things. Memories though…they just won’t quit. Like old records and familiar lyrics…they play over and over and over again and remind me that you left here without me.

My memories. I sort and shift them…I toss and I turn them. I hold them and I let them go. I cry a lot. We were so, so broken. We weren’t. You were. I was. He was and she was. We though…we weren’t, or we would still be. In Gods hands means that you wash your hands of it. God doesn’t do our dirty work and you taught me this. God gave us tools and you have set your tools down…the very tools you showed me how to use. I pick my tools up and I thank you for the teaching. I will not stay here watching you and your tools do nothing, as you hand it to God. God handed it right back to you and you let it fall. You knew it would break if you did not stretch out your arms. You knew it would shatter if you hit it again. You knew it was over because you made it so. This is not Gods mess. This is not my mess. Generations of nothing but fucking messes and this one is the one that ends them all. This one mess that you made…this one step that you took…this one gesture to end it…it ended it. I have gone to my ends not to end it and yet, it has ended. Now I return to my senses to accept that it is finished. Your business with me, as it were….your obligation to me…met. And here I stood, outstretched before you, throwing my soul for you to save yourself from drowning. I had no idea that you jumped in on purpose. I almost died trying to bring you back to safety and you pulled me under. You left me under and hurried the other direction. I cannot not feel how this feels. I can’t not hurt. You, the one who would never betray…the one who would never go…the one that would never hurt me…You simply taught me that there is no such someone as this.

Someday I will thank you for all the teaching you are doing in your absence. Someday when my heart comes back together, if the pain of it doesn’t take me first, I will know that you favored me by discarding me. Today though, I just feel discarded. Today everything that feels anything at all hurts me, as I search for you. Someday I won’t look anymore. Someday I won’t cry anymore. Someday I will remember without tears and grief. Today though….today I die inside. Today I bury myself next to mom, for that is where you left me. For you, that is where I shall stay. For me though…for me…I lie elsewhere. I lie in fields with Rumi. I don’t belong in your trash pile. One mans trash, they say…another mans treasure. Maybe once I polish me off…maybe then I shall be someone’s treasure. Today though…today, I am in shambles. Today I am not fit for me…not fit for the world. Today…this day…my only day…hurts me.

These ramblings…my salvation. This awareness shall be the launching pad for my orbit to the moon.

There will never be anyone or anything that will keep me from loving you. Not even and especially you. Loving you has to come after loving me now though. My wellness comes before yours. My happy, more important to me than yours. You threw me away and I forgive you, for I can see that you’ve no idea what you have done. No care or concern for what you’ve done either, and so I step aside. Loving you shall be the one thing that you cannot take from me. You have done your best and you may stop now, for nothing you ever do to me will diminish my love for you. All you have done in all of this is to show me how very little you love yourself. I am sad to see you love yourself so little, for I have always loved you so much.

Before I turn away, I find myself trying to focus in on who we really were. At that kitchen table…on those church pews…in this crazy world, who were we? In that house that we grew up in, who the fuck were we? Where did we go? Was the only we in all of us, actually only ever her? Was she the whole picture and we were just the backdrop? Who the fuck were we in that little family before she died? Did we all just live out our lives to her will and her vision. When she left, did we not have vision of our own? Did we really lie down next to her and die too? Did you die the day her heart stopped beating? I will say my truth. I will say it now. I think you died right there with her. I think you are already buried right there on top of her. Your dash stopped when her heart stopped. You went to find her and she hasn’t got you and we haven’t got you. You are in oblivion somewhere, out there, without us…trying to reach her. You left us to find her. She left us to find her. We are here and we don’t know that in the fuck has happened to us… to you. Who were we? I mean, who were we behind who we said we were? Who were we really? Were we ever really who people thought we were or were we someone else? I guess it doesn’t really matter much at all. Some days though, I can’t help but wonder who we really were. I wonder who and where you are. I miss you and I love you and I try so hard to put it far enough out for you to feel it. Maybe it doesn’t matter to you now. I feel that and I hurt. I thought I would always matter to you. We do run out of time, don’t we? To live? To die? To do what we came here to do…we do run out of time.

Depression has me. The depths and the darkness. The pain and the loss. Yep, depression picked me up right where you dropped me off and I haven’t been quite right since. At every stop the door opens and I cannot move to get out, so I stay another round. Depression picked me up right where you left me and she will not set me down. Some days she spares my life and that is about all. Other days, my life force goes with her to look for you. Yes, depression came for me when you threw me away. Depression has her claws in me and you don’t even know if I’m here or gone. It matters not anymore. You are done with me and depression has picked me up and taken me away. Of all of the things I have ever loved and lost, you have been the hardest….the most shocking and the most painful. My guts and my heart and my chest, all caved in. My hopes gone. You gone. Me gone. Depression came for me, and she knows less mercy than you, and cares less for me than you did, if you ever really did.

Today, and so, so many days, losing you feels to be the beginning of the end of me. Of all he things I have ever lost, I miss you the very most.

Old drafts from the Coral vault, with a message for you?

I am cleaning out my draft folder and I’m just going to post these for you guys…if I reread them before I post, they may not make it. If I took this much time to write it…it’s going up. I feel like there is something in here for someone. This one is from January and I held it…I release it now! Fly free little blog! Fly free!

Some days I cannot find the words. Today is a day like that. I feel like I’m not tethered down at all to anything or anyone. I feel suspended in space that knows no beginning and no end. Back into the rooms for a noon meeting, I am so thankful for the fellowship of AA. I am so fucking thankful for the rooms and for the amazing people in the rooms! Disconnected and not grounded…I return to the rooms to find myself and the strength I need to keep on keeping on. Lost, I’m searching for a sponsor. I realize that I need some help right now, and so I reach.

Mostly, I feel melancholy. Mostly I feel the weight of other people’s struggles and decisions right now. Mostly, I just want to lie down and sleep for a week because I am so exhausted and so overwhelmed and under-sourced. Right now I am fucking irritated and blaming and short-tempered. I am sitting here, meditating myself back into my body, for I feel tethered to absolutely nothing.

It’s an odd thing when the stability that I relied on has been swept from beneath me. No words. Just pain. It’s an odd thing to watch someone do to someone what has been done to me and I am angry and in protective mode. I am also fucking sick of hurt people hurting people. I am sick of the unaccountably and the avoidance. I am sick to fucking death of the blame and the hooray for me and fuck you all around me. When will we truly understand that we are all one? When will we love each other and let ourselves be loved? When will we actually love the people that we claim to love, like a verb? We are so full of shit that it’s nauseating really. We lie to ourselves enough to be so foolish and then we violently attack anyone who questions us. Who the fuck do we think we are? Do we really believe that others do not see us as we are? Do we really think that we are hiding all of our undesirables? We are hiding nothing from no one. We are a hot fucking mess. Why can’t we see that?

The healing room is a place that I envision to be a space that we will all be in together someday. Right now though…we are so fucking angry, so blaming and so fucking unhappy that I we feel bifurcated. We are selfish and we are egotistical and we only give a fuck about what we need, and I’ve had just about enough. My sadness today if for us all, for having truly lost our way to the important things in life. Our children. Our families and our friends…how much do we really care about the closest people to us? We find new people and we leave the people who never left us. It’s sad…it is really fucking sad.

When did we stop seeing the children as children? Truly, when did their innocence and their needs and their dreams stop mattering to all of us? We put them in adult roles, expecting them to know what to do and they don’t. I’m in an adult role and I don’t know what the fuck to do a lot of the time. We owe our children their childhoods. We owe our children safety and security and love and nurturing. We brought them here and we need to start being fucking accountable.

I am all peace, love and a little go fuck yourself. When I see children being disregarded and harmed…I’m heavy on the go fuck yourself, as we owe our children more. Every single adult in this room owes it to our children to be their voice, to be their cheerleader, to be their protector.

This rant is far from over and fairly unproductive at best. I just had to get this out. I have got to find a way to come down from the drama that is not even mine and try to find my center again. I have to find a space within myself to accept what I cannot change. Until I’m absolutely sure I can’t change it though, I’m not done trying. We must be the change. We must speak, even and especially when our voices shake. This is not a dress rehearsal. We might want to start knowing this, so we stop dressing up and showing up to the fucking party as who we are not.

My life, right now, just is. I just am. For once, I am just being. I just want to be. I am not equipped for the situation at hand and so I pray for guidance. I am fucking angry and so I pray for peace. I am lost and so I turn to God to help me to know what to do. I am sober and I’m doing all I can to stay that way. Getting these thoughts out is a start. Changing my thinking is my best bet.

My name is Coral and I am five years vegan tomorrow!

I am sitting here in the studio with Nahko on Shawn’s Birthday, and I was remembering that the last time I ate my friends. Tomorrow is my five year veganversary! It was March 9th 2014 and My mom made my brothers favorite meal…my mom made her famous enchiladas. My last non-vegan meal was my moms ground beef enchiladas, smothered in cheese. My brothers birthday meal was my very last non-vegan meal. Five years ago something shifted for me and I want to write about that this afternoon. I didn’t stop eating animals because I didn’t fancy the taste of those enchiladas. If you ever had my moms enchiladas, you know what I am saying. They were the best enchiladas I have EVER eaten! And her birthday cakes…I didn’t stop eating those because I didn’t like how they tasted. I have to tell you that I stopped eating animals because I finally realized that I was eating animals.

My name is Coral and I am vegan. This is my story and I hope it teaches you a thing or two, as my life has taught me, a thing or two. I was so fucking disassociated that I truthfully had not made the connection, that I was eating a once living, breathing sentient being. Ground beef enchiladas did not equal our beautiful cows, Karuna or Ahimsa to me. We didn’t have Karuna or Ahimsa back then. Chicken fajitas weren’t Piñon. Lisa and Janet and Negro weren’t chicken tacos. Bacon wasn’t Sidney. The pork chops that I ate were not named Jenny Sue or Brixen. Namaste wasn’t a slab of ham on my plate and I wasn’t eating the ovulation of Lisa and calling it my breakfast. I wasn’t waiting to slaughter Samuel and Duncan for Thanksgiving dinner. I wasn’t stroking my lucky rabbits foot and making a wish. I wasn’t eating goat cheese on my crackers. I hadn’t made the correlation that all lives matter. I didn’t get that the lives of the sentient beings on my plate mattered at all. I thought they came here for me. I was so fucking ignorant that I believed that these beings came here for my gratification…to satisfy my tastes and my hunger. Five years ago I did not know that my food was actually the Caracas of my dead friends. I was eating dead flesh. I was drinking the bodily secretions meant for baby cows. I was eating the period of a fucking chicken for breakfast every day, with a side of crispy Tombstone. I was fucking asleep! And the worst part was that I had absolutely no idea that I was asleep. Only a couple of months sober from alcohol, I was definitely a hot fucking mess back then. I was so asleep and tuned out that I was about to be on an adventure like no other. I was beginning the journey of waking up…becoming conscious and aware and concerned. I had no fucking idea then…I was about to be transformed! I had no idea that I was so asleep. I could not have known how disconnected I truly was.

Five years later and I will tell you this, I will never not be vegan. I will never eat my friends again. I will never not know what I have come to know. I have come to know that their lives matter. Every single one of their lives matter. There are more carcinogens in the food that many of you eat than there are in the cigarettes that some of you smoke. Did you know that? Cigarettes have warning labels. The 40 pounds of raw chicken that you just bought is going to kill you quicker than the cigarettes are going to kill the Marlboro man next door, peering at you over his oxygen tank. Don’t believe me? Do your research. And now that we are outsourcing our food supply, so you really think what you are eating is safe? The disconnect is real. That 40 pound tray of chicken that you just bought…those chickens were someone. They were someone. All hacked up on a slab of styrofoam and shrink wrapped, slapped with a price per pound sticker and thrown in your cart. We are so disconnected.

We are raising children. We are teaching classes. We are in leadership roles and in animal rescue. We stand in pulpits and we preach peace. How can we rescue dogs and cats and eat cows, pigs and chickens? Your fucking bologna did have a first name. How do we preach peace when we eat the slaughtered remains of sentient beings? We are disconnected my friends. We are so disconnected.

Five years ago, I began to connect the dots. I began to question things that seemed wrong to me. I began to give a shit about someone other than myself. I set down my carne adovada burrito and I ate my last poached egg. I stopped buying leather and I made different choices. I started to give a shit and I mean really give a shit about other beings on this planet. Five years ago I stopped eating animals because I came to know that they are not mine to eat or to wear or to exploit.

As my brothers birthday lunch came to a close five years ago, I could never have foreseen how drastically our lives would shift. I could not have known that I would never eat another animal again. I could not have known that my mom would get cancer in a few months and die. I could not have known that our dining room would occupy another family that they wouldn’t welcome us. We don’t sit at that table as a family anymore. We are not a family anymore. I could not have known that I would be giving up some things and others would be taken from me. I gave up eating my friends. I lost my mom to cancer and my dad to someone and someplace far, far away from me. As I cleared those dirty dishes and washed the carcass of my friends into the trash, one last time…I could not possibly have known how my life was about to change. As I kissed my mom goodbye and hugged my dad under the garage door…as I hugged Shawn and JiSan “goodbye” and I drove away on that day…I could not have known all that would come to be of my life. We never truly do know what life has in store for us. We do run out of time. We do. People feel better somehow if we don’t run out of time…and so they say that we don’t. I am here to tell you that we actually do run out of time. So, make it count. Your time…your decisions…make them count. Be mindful of what you put into your body. If it shits, don’t eat it. Truly. For me, that was an easy gauge. I hope the simplicity of this helps you also, because it is that simple. If it has a face and it shits, it’s not yours to eat.

I am blessed to have learned that animals have just as much right to be here as I do. I am grateful to live in Sanctuary with so many beautiful and sentient beings. You may be astounded to know that I can eat whatever you eat and I can eat it vegan. If it’s not vegan, I won’t eat it at all.

My depression fucks with me a lot lately. I am struggling to stay afloat. Being vegan beings me some peace, as I know I have changed the world for some of them. I will spend the rest of my life fighting for the rest of them. For you see, we are all someone, not something. We each have every right to be here. If my depression takes me, at least it wasn’t someone else deciding that I was food, not friend. Truly, when did we decide that we got to decide for everyone, how things are? We have dominion over…we do not have control or reign or power over those without voices. Who told us that we had the right to crucify species after species after species for our own consumption and convenience? We did. We decided that we have no rules and they have no economic value…so fuck it…we decide. Look at us, deciding and shit. Egotistical, ignorant, insensitive and greedy as fuck…is the mentality that my appetite is more important than your life, isn’t it? I mean truly…that is some entitled and ignorant and ass backwards thinking and we are wrong. Plain and simple. We are wrong to slaughter millions of sentient beings for our own gratification…for sport…for our hunger and our taste in clothing and furniture. We cannot make this right…we just can’t. Excuses abound and generations pile, one on top of the other…doing it the way we have always fucking done it. Let me ask you something…How is the way we’ve always done it actually working for us? How is this entitlement and this superiority working out for us and our human counterparts? All you have to do is look around you to see that this isn’t working at all.

You will never catch me competing with you. Every single day though, you will see me fight like hell to be better than I was yesterday. From whom much is given, much is expected. I owe a great debt to the powers that be for my existence here, for my place and my peace and my work here. The debt can only ever be payed forward and it cannot ever be paid with the life of someone else. We each get what we get when we get it. Five years ago, I got it and I am forever changed. Go vegan. Truly…for yourself, for your health, for the planet…for each other…for your kids. I was pretty ignorant and naive…fuck, I still am…I would like to think that I have made a difference though, for someone, by being here.

Living a compassionate lifestyle includes more than eating a vegan diet, just as being sober means more than abstaining from drinking alcohol. When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change. Friends, not food. Five years not eating my friends has softened my heart and I am so thankful. Five years of learning about the sentient beings in my life and cohabiting them…I cannot imagine how I was ever so thoughtless and reckless and careless. Being more connected now, I shudder at my own disconnect, for I knew not then what I have come to know now.

My life is blessed. I am blessed. I hurt, a lot. Depression keeps me struggling, until it doesn’t. I miss my mom. I miss my dad. Sometimes, I wish I were riding my bike around the block with my little brother, for hours and days on end…going everywhere and nowhere at all. Some days I really do miss my little family so, so much that it throws me into the abyss that swallows me for days. Depression seems to be the one thing I can’t just fucking quit…and every single day, until the day I don’t, I will battle it out. Being vegan has given me a lot of someone’s to fight for and so as best as I can, I stay. As much as I am able, when the calls come and I am needed, I answer. Getting out of me is the only thing that seems to save me at all, in times where I can’t get myself out of the abyss.

Five years ago, I started speaking for them and fighting for them and loving them like a verb. With the love and compassion and guidance of the most amazing vegan I know, I have learned so much. Thank you Tamara for loving me into compassionate space and for helping me to make more compassionate choices. Five years ago my life changed forever. My name is Coral and I am five years vegan tomorrow! For your soul, I encourage you to think about being vegan too. You will not know why you waited so long to assume a lifestyle that does not harm others. Your body will look and feel better. Your heart will open up. You will be better able to look in the mirror…I mean to really look in the mirror. Best of all, no one gets hurt for your appetite. Anyway, that’s all I’ve got today on being vegan. Inspired by my five year veganversary tomorrow…A post for us all to wake up and soften our hearts. Don’t trust me. Go out and try it for yourself! I love you! Have a beautiful day!

Happy Birthday Shawn!!!!!

Good morning everyone! First a baby bear update: Nahko and Coral slumber party number nine is on the books! Nahko Bear is doing so, so well and we are so proud of our girl! We go to the vet on Wednesday for her post op follow up, so please keep the love and prayers coming. Mala Bear is going out of her mind without her sissy. Anyone who believes that animals do not feel pain has not been sitting with one crying until the other one finally stops crying. There is no consolation for pain and separation like losing the one whom you love more than anyone else in your life. Our girls have only ever known each other and so this has been excruciating to watch. Momma and I are so proud of you baby bears! Very soon you will be reunited and it will feel so good for all of us! I am sitting in almost constant silence, napping in Nahkos baby bear den and resting more than I would have given myself permission to rest. We are blessed. Every day, in every way, we are so, so blessed. Thank you for your love and prayers for our baby bears as they get through this very difficult time of separation from each other.

Today is a very special day to me. Today is my little brother Shawn’s Birthday. Happy Birthday Shawn! Forty three years ago I was waiting anxiously for my Mom and Dad to bring my baby brother home from the hospital. My Mamma and I were making and eating mud pies in the backyard when Shawn finally came home from the hospital. Be still my little heart. Just look at that perfect little boy! Look at my baby brother! I will love him for always, the best I can. I promise. Thank you God. Thank you. I promise to love him always! He is perfect and just who I asked for! Thank you God! I love him! Thank you! My conversation with God went something like that, for God just bestowed upon me, my greatest gift.

All of these years later, and I still thank God for my baby brother every single day. Today I woke thinking of you and tonight when I lie down I will be praying for you. Every day I carry you with me in my heart.

Shawn and I have had a rough few years. Losing our Mom three years ago and being fairly estranged from one another made the pain worse. I felt the loss of my mom and my little brother so deeply and so profoundly. For our whole lives our Birthdays were the one time that we all committed to being together, no matter where we were, if we could. The four of us always tried to honor our birthdays as sacred. This is yet another thing that left with my Mom. I am coming to an acceptance of it and yet I still cling to the way it made me feel to be a part of my family. Today, for me, reminds me that I am not all alone, for today is my little brothers birthday. No matter where he is and no matter where I am..ever…we will always be with one another. We have always been together, even when we felt so far apart. Some days I forgot this and I grieved as though he had passed away too. Today, I thank God for his return and for our continued healing. Happy Birthday Shawn. I love you!

If you have a sibling, I’m sure you can relate to a love that knows no words. For me, and I am of many words, there are not adequate words to describe this love. I will try though, for today is my little brothers birthday.

You were so little and I was so proud. Your big sister and my little brother. Your sparking eyes and your angel smile. A smile sent down from the heavens by God himself. Tiny fingers and toes and tears and laughter. Smelly poops and funny faces. Temper tantrums and squealing. Soft blankets and smelly food on a rubber spoon. Sleepless nights and laying for hours in your baby blanket in the middle of the floor. You laughed a lot. It was more of a giggle. Your cheeks were rosy red and you were so, so happy to finally be here. I don’t know from where you came…you were not of this world. You were kinder and more gentle. You were fragile like an angel fallen. You were more innocent and less inhibited. You were my special and my salvation. Your coming here gave me everything to look forward to. The years grew us closer and the miles never kept us far apart. The chaos wasn’t lost on us and yet it never really was us. The sadness inside of me stayed lit by your smile. My loneliness was lifted by your presence. You were my everything from the moment I knew you were coming here. It is like I knew you would save me somehow. You did, you know, save me. When nothing else of my entire world remained at all, you walked back in. When it all came crashing down, you reached for me. When every single other person left, you returned. Today, especially today, as I write and cry, I thank God for you. God gives. Thank you God for Shawn. Lives separate and coming back together. Memories. Motherless. Who ever thought we would be..just you and I…here? We aren’t big enough to be on our own. We aren’t old enough or strong enough to make it without them. Ahhh, and yet we are. We are strong enough. We are still here. They have gone from us and we stand here before us. We must know that this is something. We must feel that this is special. On your birthday, know that you are perfect. Every other day, know that you are perfect. Today, I celebrate you. Today I remember the day you came in and I thank God again for my greatest gift. 43 years ago I asked God for a baby brother just like you. Thank you God. Happy Birthday Shawn. I love you little brother! Have a beautiful first birthday of the rest of your life!

Happy Saturday everyone else! Please say it with me…”Happy Birthday Shawn!”