Seeing 2020 While Looking Death in the Face: Gratitude Overflowing

flower of life in sky

January 23, 2020

Aloha, Magnificent Friends and Angels!

I am finally going home — My Earthly home in Kealakekua Valley. My heart fills with tears of gratitude every time I think of how close to death I was and how you, yes you, pulled me through.

First it was just a scratchy throat, then a fever spiking, and then the nausea. I thought it was the flu. As it worsened and my energy waned, Koakane took me to the emergency room in Kona and the adventure began. The amazing nurses and doctors at Kona thought I was leaving this world for the next world because at first, they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. My heart rate soared, my blood pressure dropped, and I swelled up like a blowfish. In a fitful sweat, I fought the very people who were trying to save my life by pulling out tubes and needles.

They called my sister in Mississippi and told her to prepare for the worst. She flew out immediately and was at my bedside, as were so many friends who came to hold my hand and whisper, “Stay with us, Marya,” and “We love you,” and “Don’t go. It’s not time.” They were stunned at my condition. My face was so swollen that I was almost unrecognizable. My eyes were hidden behind puffy lids as I nestled in a deep medicated slumber. The endotracheal tube was wedged into the corner of my mouth and taped into place, except when I was desperately trying to remove it.

After 11 days in the intubated coma on Hawai’i Island, doctors had discovered a mass in my liver and identified a hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae pathogen in my blood which they couldn’t treat in Kona. I was airlifted 167 miles to Oahu where the doctors at Queens Medical Center found that I had a liver abscess caused by the bacterial infection. Klebsiella infections are rare, life-threatening, and can occur in otherwise healthy people for reasons scientists don’t yet understand. What we do understand is that I am lucky to be alive today. Coming so close to extinction that I could smell the heavenly scents of the afterlife, I am so happy to come back to this beautiful world.

Now, 45 days after the first symptoms appeared, I remember very little of the hardest parts – a protective amnesia I’m told – and embrace the moments I have felt your love and prayers. You saved me. My sister Connie, Erin, Kathleen, Jo Ann, Vert, Ambika, Deb, Nancy, Hank, Donna Marie, and from afar Lori, Susan, Luanne, Leroy, and Barb, the visitors at Queens and Rehab Hospital of the Pacific— Patty, Nancy, Melanie, and Lauren, who with her mom Kathleen brought me shoes, soda water, underwear, street clothes, and nail clipper, kept me going. Erin flew over from the Big Island to bring a cornucopia of gifts – lotions, soap, vitamins, teas, coloring books. I am astonished by the cards and calls from Louize, Francene, Alianna, Diane, Pat, Judy, and more. Lorraine and Bud contributed flight miles for visitors to Queens and in an outpouring of love, the New Thought Center, Ambika, and Lorraine offered to continue my Monday classes at the center while donating proceeds to help pay medical bills – all with an open-hearted kindness that will save our world, just as it has saved me. Randall and April at Island Naturals helped to gather the herbs and potions for building my energy now and later, and there is so much more; in the invisible worlds, I have felt and savored every positive thought you’ve sent. Giving and receiving love is, of course, what life is all about. Everyone who has shown up for me, thank you!

Please forgive me for not remembering all that you’ve brought to my life, and if I missed anyone, know that some cards have not kept up with my movement from Queens to the Rehab Hospital of the Pacific where I’ve been retraining my body and reorganizing my brain for the adventures ahead. My memory is coming back but it’s still healing like every other muscle, nerve, and gland. My energy is actually quite good, as is my attitude and optimism, but I fatigue easily. The recovery is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, like being reparented by some of the great healers of the Pacific Rim. Being in a coma scrambles the brain in unusual ways. Aside from the disorientation which has now mostly subsided, on the positive side, my eyesight improved and the wrist pain that had troubled me is gone.

I feel sadness for worrying my family and friends, and it is no fun being ill, but I can say it has been a beautiful Shamanic journey, and it’s certainly not over! So many prayers, wonderful nurses and doctors, conversations with friends and more intimacy in all my relations -these continue to nurture me. I feel very loved and that’s because of you. Thank you!

Especially, I am grateful to Koakane. From taking me to the emergency room to ferrying my sister around and bringing me clothes, crackers, and chiropractic care, he has shown me once again what a gifted healer he is.

I’ll be back in Kona on Friday, January 24th and after settling in at home and resting for a few days I am starting to see private clients again and will be ready to teach in several weeks, perhaps a month. I am taking it one step at a time, falling in love again with Yoga and the Great Spirit of Life. You can’t rush that. And who would want to?

I look forward to seeing you soon!

Om tāre tu tāre ture soha! (I bow to the Liberator, Bodhisattva of compassion, Mother of the Victorious ones, she who carries us across the sea of suffering to illumination)

Much love and Namaste!

March 3, 2020 (6 weeks later)

Addenda for the incredible human beings who have supported, prayed, nourished, and lifted me beyond belief! There are more than I mention here, and some of these amazing people are mentioned twice, but the gratitude just pours out of me like the morning sun when another day of life has been renewed. Know that it shines on you!

Connie Parker
Koakane Green
Jo Ann Iwane
Kathleen Puon
Vert Yoshida
Nancy Nakata
Eriness Peeples
Deb Pines
Ambika Rose
Lorraine Kohn
Luanne Hopkins
LeRoy Peterson
Alianna Maren
Mahina’s Halau
Bernice and Manuel Roberto
New Thought Center of Hawaii
Society for Kona’s Education and Arts
Kona Lightworkers
The health professionals at Kona Community Hospital, Queens Hospital, and Rehab Hospital of the Pacific

What beautiful souls you are. Thank you for the gift of being you! The truth that nothing – not even a terrible illness — is ever wasted. This time of growth and reflection has shaped and rejuvenated me in remarkable ways. If it weren’t for the dreadful worry I put my family and friends through, I wouldn’t change anything. It has brought me so much awareness – of kindness, of the beauty of natural life, of the blessings and new learnings in renewed intimacy with old friends and growing bonds with new friends. The gifts far outweigh any pain. Renewed compassion, I am convinced, is why these things happen. May we all feel the uplift from each other and carry on with light-hearted fulfillment.

Everything was so sudden when I went into sepsis and came so close to dying – my fourth near-death experience! — and even now, at home, I am moving one step at a time, more slowly than before, and letting natural life wash gracefully over me as I wade back into the world of everyday concerns. I have traveled through the veil and across the spirit waters so many times I feel like I know the ferry-boatman as well as my own hand.

Your thoughtfulness touches me and makes me stronger!
Namaste and deep love to you, Marya

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