Τρίτη, 28 Φεβρουαρίου 2012

On death

 Death is simple. One moment you're btreathing and the next moment you don't breathe anymore.

Last week Antonis could not breathe. We were rushed to hospital and the doctors were certain. He would not come out of there alive. For two days he tried to breathe. The oxygen mask would not help him. His left lung was not working at all and the right one was almost destroyed. He was fighting to breathe. It was such a pain watching him...

After two days of fighting he said "This is not life. Give me some painkillers so I can go to sleep". Throughout his illness Antonis refused to sleep. Now he was asking for sleep.

Around twelve at night he said "I can't take this anymore. I am in pain." And I asked him "Where is your pain?" "Everywhere!" he sighed. He turned on his side. I went on the other side of the bed. He was looking up. I said "Look at me my love" But his eyes moved right, left and inside. I looked at his neck. There was no breath. And I thought "Is this it? Is he gone? No dramatic goodbyes? Not a chance to say anything? So quietly?"

I called the nurses and the doctor. He was gone. And then I looked up. And talked to him. I told him in my head that he is safe. I told him he should not be scared. I told him I knew he is still here. I was calm and serene. I called his parents and my parents. The doctor was good to me. She stayed with me until they came to take me. I did cry. And then I stopped. And then I cried again. And then I stopped again.

And then I was home. I lit all the lights. Inside and out. I wanted him to know we are here. His bed was there. Freeda was there and she was full of happiness to see me. I gave her a hug and told her Antonis is not coming home anymore. The kind people who took me from the hospital stayed with me all night. They were people who cared for Antonis, helped us througout the illness. We made coffee. One seat empty for him to sit. One cup for coffee for him to drink. He loved coffee.

I tried to sleep for an hour before dawn. I didn't sleep. I just cried. I lost my breath from crying.

And the morning came. And I put the 4 Seasons by Vivaldi on his big beloved stereo system. He used to listen to this music every morning. And the sun came out and it was red and bright. And I went out and looked at the sun and the music was playing and he was here. He loved the sun and he loved the music. I cried. And the new day begun.

And the people came to the house. And my dad and my sister. My mom was sick. And the friends. And the relatives. And the phonecalls. And the tears. And the laughs. And tears again. And laughs again.

The funeral.

I was wearing white and red. He was a man of colour and laughter. He was not in the coffin. A body was in the coffin. Still I put some things in the coffin.

A cd by Pink Floyd. When he learned about his illness he wrote with big charcoal letters on the wall "Shine on u crazy diamond"

A cd by Tom Waits. His favorite. He has hundreds of cds. I couldn't really choose...

His tobacco pouch and a lighter. He never stopped smoking. He had his last cigarette the day we went to the hospital.

One of his harmonicas. He loved to play his harmonica to the blues.

His childhood pocket chess. He loved chess.

The two necklaces and the ring he was wearing throughout the illness.

I broke down when I was putting this things. They thought I was going to faint but I did not.

In the church I closed my eyes and talked to him. I was telling him we made it. I was telling him we did the best we could. I was telling him he is safe. I was telling him I love him. I told him to give me a sign he is ok. I opened my eyes and doves were flying outside the window. And I smiled brightly and cried. But this time it was happiness. He is ok. He is here.

And then the tomb. I stayed behind. Did not see him going in. When he was going in I sung. "Shine_on_you cra_zy diamond"....

In the funeral there were a lot of hugs. And a lot of tears. It was over. The sufferning was over. The illness was over. He rested.

For three days I was surrounded by people. Frends and relatives. My sister slept with me. She took care of me. I needed her comfort. I did not want to sleep alone. Thank you sister. Only now I realise how much I needed you.

I don't want to go to the cemetery again. He is not there. He is in the mountain when I walk the dog. He is around me all the time.

On the third day we went to the theater with the friends. "The death of Antonello" was the play's title. How ironic! It was about a painting. How ironic!

On the fourth day I left for my parents house. I need them. I need their comforting words. The food. The hugs. The words. I am still here writing this post.

I need time. I will go back in a couple of days. I have to deal with myself and being alone. I have to sleep alone in the empty house. But this is for another post.

The days after the death I have not cried a lot. The illness was so intense I had the time to cry, be angry, tired and then angery again and then sad again... The feelings were coming and going in circles. I mourned for the relationship and I mourned for Antonis. He was never talking about death. He never said he is going to die. We never had the chance to look back. He never told me what he wants me to do with his stuff...

It's ok. He might send me a sign to tell me all this. Or he might not.

I know that everything happened for a reason. I know there were no "mistakes". I know we lived a happy life, we were a fantastic team. I know our life together was full of light and laughs and colour and creativity. I know he was supportive and he loved me. And I loved him too. We dreamt of a family. We dreamt of children. He would be a great dad. He taught me a lot of things. He supported me on my quest to be my true self. He supported my need to be different and free.

He will live in my heart. I will live and thrive on my own. Our roles changed now. He is there, I am here. Different paths, different needs.

Goodbye my love.

Σάββατο, 18 Φεβρουαρίου 2012

I will still dream


How dare you? How dare you ask for a camera when there are people without food?

My monster has struck again...

The child asked for something. The child asked for a toy. And some of the adults out there run to tear the dream apart.

The child made a mistake. Forgot to bcc the e-mail addresses. Big mistake. Some of the adults decided to answer publicly using unacceptable violence. Some others did it more discreetly and politely. Some just ignored it. Some were forced to read a public conversation that was not their business. And they were rightfully angry about that. Some decided to encourage the child. Some even decided to help the child get on with the dream.

What the child forgot to say is that she will be ok if she is not helped. And she will be grateful if helped.

The whole thing just triggered some questions.

This so called crisis of Greece must stop us from dreaming?
This so called crisis has stopped us from helping for causes other than famine and sickness?
They have done it? They have convinced us that we are not worthy of dreaming anymore?

And now, enough with the “they”.

Where am I and where do I stand in this? I dared to ask for assistance. Yes. My man is sick. He can’t breathe properly. He can’t walk properly. He can’t eat. I’m here for him. I took my week off and I’m here for him. Calmer. I am his nurse. 24/7. Anyone that has done it knows very well what I’m talking about.

While on my break from nursing, I worked hard for myself. I printed out my blog. I dreamed I had a new camera. Without a proper job, I dreamed I had 100 euros for a camera. Like a child I put the request out there for anyone to see. I was scared. The adult inside me was telling me exactly this: Antonis is dying and you want a fucking camera? How dare you? Anyway the adult still made way for the child. The adult assisted the child to ask.

It was really interesting to see the reactions.

Maybe this is what I really seek. The reactions. Maybe that’s my role. Trigger everyone’s reactions.

I will still write, even without a camera. Besides, I have thousands of photos still to choose from. I will still be here for my blog, for myself. I will still dream. I will still dream of this wonderful new world where no one has to go out and burn buildings. I will still dream of a world where no one has to die from cancer. I will still dream of a pinky, colorful earth where no one is hungry and no one has any regrets or guilt about anything.

I will still dream I have a new camera.
I will still dream I’m travelling around the world.
I will still dream.

Τρίτη, 14 Φεβρουαρίου 2012

Please help me get a new camera...

My dear friends, readers, lovers and haters.

This blog was always based on two things. Writing and photography. I have been loyal to my blog for more than two years and I still want to. But... our adorable cat managed to ruin the camera and there is no photography without a camera...

I made this wonderful widget on both this blog and travellerlina's photogallery to help you donate.

Thanks in advance, please spread the word...

PS For those who have not got a credit card, here are the bank accounts (I will end the donation when the amount of 100 euros are completed)
Eleni Anthopoulou
Piraeus Bank
5013 029 020 411

Ethniki Bank
GR64 0110 1820 0000 1826 1431 649


Travellerlina on print?

So, last night, I finished a task. I printed out the entire travellerlina blog.

Three days of copying, pasting text and photos.

Almost three years of writing, dreaming, travelling...
In an older post, someone suggested I should read my older posts to remember my strength.

And it was a strange flash back of my thoughts on travelling, my fears and my actual travelling.
I remember a sence of freedom, but I also noticed the word approval being written a lot of times.
Is this what I was looking for? Approval?

Looking back at all these gorgeous pictures and all the wonderful writing...

I'm still here. I'm still writing.
Unfortunately without a camera, but I might use my donation button to buy one.
With a 100 euros you can buy a nice digital camera. 

I'm still at my friends house, resting. Taking care of my blogs. Taking care of myself. Thank you A. I'll be going back soon. To give what I have to give.

Have a nice day.

Κυριακή, 12 Φεβρουαρίου 2012

Thoughts from the sea side, the South of Athens

 As I said, I wanted to leave. I was thinking of escaping to Cairo or Morocco. Or maybe a trip to Skyros? A trip to my parents house? Some days at a friends house?

At the same time a friend calls me. She sensed I'm not felling well. "Can me and my dog stay with you for some days?" Yes. She picked me up yesterday.

It's been 6 months since the cancer diagnosis. Waves of love, anger, hatred, agony, pain, stress, saddness.

It's my time to leave. To take some time off. It's been 2 months since I left the house. It's essential. I don't care about ethics. Is it ethical to leave myself to take care of someone? No. This is about me. Taking time off. Every job needs time off.

I'm writing now from a beautiful house near the sea. It's raining. It's warm inside. It's quiet. I don't have to do anything. I just have to write on my blog.

I had a wonderful conversation with my two best friends earlier. The were mirroring my two sides. My one side which says "leave him, set him free to heal" and the other side which says "stay with him, he is not capable of doing anything right now". It's nice to have friends to talk to. Things become clearer.

One of the things that became clearer was that I have dived in my misery and I refuse to get out. I see all things black. So I made a decision, here in the blog, to list all the things I am greatful about.

I am blessed with friends who provide me with a shelter when I need to.

I am blessed with a beautiful dog who accompanies me and loves me unconditionally and makes me go on wonderful walks in nature.

I am blessed with this wonderful laptop which comes with me everywhere I go and I can write my blog and upload my pictures.

I am blessed with a loving family who, despite of all the arguments, they are here and they support me.


This is all I can think of right now.


I'll take my time off and hope he will be ok on his own with the help of his family and his friends. I will enjoy myself and go back when I feel ready to do so.

Enough with the crying. Time to smile. Cancer patients need a smile. And hugs. A lot of hugs. And patience. When I regain all these assets, I will go back.

Have a good day.

Κυριακή, 5 Φεβρουαρίου 2012

My many questions

It's been almost a month that nothing happens in the house. He gets stronger every day. And I don't know if I should be happy or worried.

I get out of the house and I think of all the bad scenarios. I don't really believe he is going to get well. His cancer is so agressive...

Meanwhile, my mood goes from anger to love to annoyance to saddness to... It's a circle of emotions. It has never been so intense.

Sometimes I want to get into an airplane and leave. But what about my dog? What about Antonis? What would happen if I just left?

But this makes me cry. Apparently this is exactly where I want to be.

How long? For how much longer? For how much longer am I gonna be the nurse and the psychologist and the cook and the partner in a relationship that is not a relationship anymore?

What kind of relationship is this? Not sexual anymore. I just want to go and hide somewhere. Take Freeda with me and stay somewhere and not talk to anybody. Hide somewhere and only talk to myself. In fact I am too scared about the next step. Am I going to find someone else to save? Or am I going to be my wonderful self, saving my own self?

How many more excuses?

We'll see. I'll see.

At least I'm still writing. One thing I have not deprived from myself.