Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ghosts of the Indian Herb

May 17, 2011 will mark two years since Carmen passed away. She lives on in my heart and in this story.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The year after Carmen

Carmen Martinez passed away on May 17, 2009. We were very close, and in some ways, I still struggle with the idea that she’s gone.

And now that it’s been a year, I thought it would be good to post the program that I put together for her memorial service. I printed it on this really amazing metallic paper that looked like it would last forever.

I read somewhere that the people who come into your life have a message for you, an answer to a question you’re trying to resolve. And in this theory, they aren’t even aware of the answer that they are passing along. Carmen wasn’t like that. She seemed to be conscious of the questions and the answers, even when she couldn’t find them for herself.

People like Carmen are a great gift to us all. Their capacity to love is limitless. And in them we see the potential of what we should be.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Carmen Memorial Picnic June 28, 2009

Please join us for the Celebration of Carmen picnic! This is a potluck picnic at Laurelhurst Park with lots of friends, family and live music. Caution: Dancing may be required (Carmen would not have it any other way)!

Where: Laurelhurst Park (SE 39th Ave. and Stark St.), picnic site A
Map to park
Map of park
When: Sunday, June 28th, 2:30 pm – 8 pm.
What to bring: A potluck dish to share, picnic blanket, your own beverages, plates and
utensils (keepin’ it green!)
Notes: Beer and wine are allowed, but hard alcohol is against park rules

Join us and celebrate the spirit of Carmen.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rest in Peace, Carmen

Carmen Martinez passed away this morning after a long fight with cancer.

Carmen did not want a funeral service. She wanted her Celebration of Life party to be her farewell. So instead of a service, a memorial picnic for Carmen is being planned sometime this Summer at Cathedral Park in St. Johns. Everyone who knew Carmen will be welcome, so look for a notice here.

We all have things we want to say, I guess. Towards the end, Carmen enjoyed being read to. I tried to write her something wonderful and inspiring, but I couldn't find any better words than this:

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
by E. E. Cummings

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Please Send us your Carmen Stories

Carmen is not planning to have a traditional wake or funeral service.

Many of us have had a chance to give her our best wishes and say goodbye at the Celebration of Life party, but what we didn't get to do was share our Carmen stories as a group.

So I got an idea today--why not ask everyone to send in their favorite Carmen story and publish them all here? I know these stories would mean a lot to her.

The stories don't have to be long: The day you met. Something she taught you. A place you visited. Maybe a conversation you had that still sticks with you.

Carmen has touched us all in so many ways. This is our chance to give something back.

Please send your stories by hitting the comment button or just email them to Rich at overheardinpdx@gmail.com


Carmen checks out of hospice

Many thanks to the PCC folks who came to visit Carmen this weekend at the hospice. It meant a lot to her to say goodbye to her colleagues.

Carmen was not comfortable with the hospice, so she checked out on Saturday, February 28 and is now staying at her sister's place in Aloha. This will make it much easier for her family to give her the 24 hour care she needs.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Carmen Hospitalized

Carmen was hospitalized for abdominal pain at Good Sam on Wednesday, Feb 18. She is feeling better now, and if they get her stabilized she expects to be discharged on Monday, Feb 23 at the earliest. She will probably transition to hospice care next week.

In the meantime, she has asked that friends limit their visits to the following visitor hours:

10am - 12noon
5:00pm - 7:00 pm

Carmen gets tired quickly, so please limit your visits to 20 minutes.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Back on Chemo

Carmen wants everyone to know that she is not bedridden or anything like that. Here we see her in good spirits as she prepares for a blood transfusion on February 3.

This week she started chemo, so that's what she's keeping in the purse there. She also has daily radiation, but neither one is causing her discomfort at this time.

Even though Carmen has lost weight, she does has an appetite. So you are encouraged to push doughnuts and cheeseburgers at her ;-)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Carmen Resting at Home

I just heard from Wendy that Carmen is on her way home from the hospital.

She will be starting daily radiation treatments this week, so watch this space for a link to the helper volunteer calender.

Carmen to check out of Good Sam

Carmen was in a lot of pain after checking in to Good Samaratin last week, so on January 20 her doctors did surgery to put in a colostomy. This took a lot of pressure off of her bowels and she started feeling better soon after.

I saw Carmen on Saturday and she was in great spirits, even to the point where seriously considered sneaking out to go salsa dancing. Now that she is able to eat well, we expect that she will check out of Good Sam sometime in the next day or so.

Many of you stopped in to see Carmen and she was truly overwhelmed with the outpouring of support from friends and family. I think she even had to turn off her phone because all the daytime calls were interrupting her rest.

How to get a hold of Carmen

Carmen is weeks behind on her email, text messages, and voicemail. We have decided to set up this blog for ongoing communications.

To send her your best wishes, please click the comment button below and be sure to leave your name.



Carmen Hospitalized

From: twconnelly@upwardaccess.com
Subject: Carmen hospitalized
Date: January 21, 2009 8:41:43 AM PST

Hi All,

Things have gotten worse with Carmen very fast. She has basically been told by three different doctors that at this point, they can only try to make her more comfortable and try to extend her life. The tumor has put down roots into her organs and will not be removable. She has seen doctors from Providence and Good Samaritan, both of whom have been great, but was told the same thing.

On Monday, she went to Good Sam for an appointment with the doctor and was admitted straight into the hospital because she was in so much pain. Last night, she had emergency surgery to “install” a colostomy to relieve pressure on her bowels.

She will be in the hospital for three or four days and probably will not be in any shape to receive visits or phone calls, but I think cards and flowers would help show how many people love her. Let’s fill her room! If we all send some, I think it will lift her spirits considerably.

You can call an outside flower shop, or the gift shop at the hospital has a small assortment of arrangements that can be ordered.
Their website is: http://www.legacyhealth.org/body.cfm?id=898

Here is the address:

Carmen Martinez c/o
Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital
1015 NW 22nd Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97210
Room - 686

Most important – we do not know what kind of help she will need when she gets home. I don’t know if she will go to her house, or to her sister’s. If/when she goes to her house she may need a lot of assistance. Please stay tuned and I will try to keep you updated as best I can.


Monday, October 20, 2008


Here is the second video Rich showed at the party on Saturday night. He wrecked my eye makeup!

He introduced the video this way:

This video starts with the story of our trip to Horsetail Falls. Carmen's Buddhist teacher met with her and told her to take yellow flowers to a spiritual place. Yellow has a healing power, he said.

On the path, we came across this caterpiller. Carmen stopped, placed a flower by the little critter and waited for him to pass. Then she stood by the falls and cast the flowers in, one by one.

As she did this, people on the path just stopped and watched. Soon there were like 30 of them and no one kept going. It was really a moving experience.

And on the way back home, I remember Carmen saying something about Free Tibet. I was kind of half-listening, doing my geeky iPhone thing and then this news story came up about how the Tibetans put up a protest banner on Mount Everest where the Chinese couldn't get at it.

This seemed so odd to me at the time--that these two moments came together like that. Both are stories of great suffering and great hope. What I wanted to show in the video was that they are really one story.

We are one world.

Message about Celebration of Life- Carmen's Party

OMG, OMG, OMG!!! What a night! What a life! And you ask how am I doing? Are you kidding!! You say I am so strong yet the truth is that it only comes from all the love and support I receive from you. Thank you, thank you, thank you! There are lots of things I want to say but I am on my way to day surgery so I will write more when I get back.

In the meantime check out the pictures that my beautiful and talented friend Marc posted for us!

Delia has posted her pictures as well, including some great shots of the Crowne Ballroom's unique features.