Part II – Opening a Window

today she wakes
and looks in the mirror
again
she notices first
that she is not alone
there, in the reflected layers of her life
a reunion of all who have walked with her
loved with her
laughed and cried with her
survived with her
leaving pieces of their own hearts, like beacons
along the path she now travels
softly focused, each smile touches her soul
some, instantly recognizable
familiar and loved faces of those who have made a difference in her life
how could she have forgotten?
others are strangers, unknown and unmet
but she hears them whisper…
you have made a difference in ours
how could she have known?
so many
she never realized
the power of one
but she feels its truth in the swelling of her heart

she feels him there
she doesn’t have to seek him out
in every layer, his is the brightest light
drawing her back through each layer
back and back and back to their beginning
he shows her and whispers to her heart…
“this is how you’ll always be to me; this is how I’ll always be to you”
he takes her hand and moves forward
she sees the evolution of their lives
the birth of their greatest joy
great gains and greater losses
buds of youth giving way to blossoms of senescence
destined to fall from the tree of life
as all things must
closer and closer and closer
to this moment of here and now
he shows her and whispers to her heart…
“I am and always will be”
“You are and have always been”
“Nothing else matters”
“Nothing will ever change that”

she turns, eyes bright with unshed tears
she sees
lines deep beside her smiling mouth
she knows
love’s power surging through her veins
she feels
whole

then…
she opens the window

Part I – Knocking on the Door

today she wakes
and looks in the mirror
again
she notices first
the remnants of last night’s all too familiar routine
fully clothed still
with bruise colored footprints left where mascara met shadow
during the waltz of silent tears
evident again in the echo of wine and spit
that mixed and mingled in the dark
leaving traces of their orgy in the corners of her mouth
she raises a limb as heavy as any redwood branch
to touch the nest of bad dreams atop her head
she stares blankly at the woman before her
youth still lives here, but it wears an old coat
to look at the ghost of auburn that was once a crown
a flaming glory that framed her naturally pretty face
is now to look at a reminder
of yet another step further from who she was
another step closer to who she is becoming
where once there was silk and cream
her face is now but a road map
to anywhere but where she wants to be
no distinction can she find
between the sleep weary blouse
and those roads leading everywhere but back
she draws breath and holds it while she raises her gaze
could those eyes really be hers?
the once vivid seas of blue now faded and dull
surrounded by tributaries of red
brooks and streams of guilt, anguish, worry, pain, and sorrow
clouding the windows to her soul
where once there shined such joy and true passion
eyes that burned so bright, they lit the path to his heart
like no man made torch ever could
but
her passion lies miles away
alone, crooked, and silent
his windows too
mostly cloudy with a slight chance of sun
a chance she lives for
but the light thief will return
and she won’t be ready, can never be ready
for that one moment the thief becomes a murderer
the villain of darkness called dementia
her love waits, unknowingly, for that day
she waits with him, but she knows he’s coming
and it’s killing her

part II – Opening a Window

One stop on the memory train

I read a post today that transported me

That happens quite often doesn’t it?

To all of us?

We’ll hear a tune drifting out the open windows of a passing car and no longer are we standing on a hot sidewalk in line at the ATM, but magically taken to an ‘out of school for the summer’ beach trip with our best girlfriends, laughing and flirting while sand filled our shorts and Sun-In made us all one shade of blonde or another.

Or we’ll catch a smell in the air that immediately takes us back.  Maybe to a warm and tiny kitchen in the back of a house shared with the post office; where a grandmother is frying donuts in a big cast iron pot and where too, the back porch isn’t just a place to take off your muddy boots before tramping into Gram’s small but tidy nook…but a place where Gramp sits grinding fresh horseradish, tears rolling down his stubbled cheeks as easily as the sweat pours off his shiny bald knob.

And there are times, we’ll read something, like Tink’s post today, that’s like peeking into that too-long forgotten toy box in your mind’s attic…the one where you keep all your found treasures and best memories of childhood…waiting for a day like today.

Sometimes, these trips down memory lane can cover us in a cloak of sorrow or pain, bringing us back to a time and place we’d rather not go back to, for one reason or another.

Other times, happily I think most times, the places we go in our mind are…

…the places we want to be and in the company of people we want to be with.

This is where I went today, when the toy box opened…with thoughts of long candy counters and a shop owner with the patience God gives older folk…

roxbury store 2

It sits there still, where it always did.

Across the road from my where my grandparent’s lived, and up two from where I did.

One of two one-room shops in our town of less than…

where one holds the memories of a barrels of chocolate drops, returning bottles for a penny, wood smoke, and men laughing.

while the other is made of children’s dares and double dares to see who’ll go buy the ice cream from the ‘mean old lady’ behind the counter.

And this is who joined me in today’s trip…Gramp in his engineer’s cap and Gram looking the same as everyday I can remember.

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And though this is where they are now…

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Their permanent home is here…always here…

love

I thank Tink and her Crazy Train for the ride today.  It was welcome and reminded me that I have enough in my heart and my mind to get me through whatever life wants to throw my way.

And maybe someday, when he’s older or I’m gone, this one will hear or see or smell something, some small thing, that will take him back to a time when he knew he was cherished.

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it’s not easy

IT’S NOT EASY IS IT?

trying to find a title for a discussion of this magnitude is not easy.

trying to find a way to speak openly and frankly about this subject is not easy.

trying to come to grips with teen and young adult suicide is not easy.

trying to understand the minds of those that bully, in real space or cyber space, is not easy.

trying to find a solution is not easy.

seeing signs or hearing that your child may be a bully is not easy.

taking responsibility is not easy.

OR IS IT?

justifying their actions is easy.

saying that’s just how kids are is easy.

victim blaming is easy.

changing the channel or turning the page is easy.

giving a silent prayer of thanks that it’s not your child so not your problem is easy.

judging others is easy.

but…

facing facts is not.

easy.

WHERE ARE WE GOING WRONG?

Mattie Yates:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2607248/Im-doing-world-favor-Heartbreaking-farewell-video-girl-16-posted-YouTube-committing-suicide.html

Amanda Todd:

Ryan Halligan:

http://www.ryanpatrickhalligan.org/index.htm

Megan Meier:

http://www.meganmeierfoundation.org/megans-story.html

Phoebe Prince:

http://www.truecrimereport.com/2010/01/phoebe_prince_15_commits_suici.php

Jessica Logan:

Tyler Clementi:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/sep/30/tyler-clementi-gay-student-suicide

Shannon Gallagher: (this one is especially hard to fathom…the teen sister of a cyber bullied suicide victim)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/13/shannon-gallagher-sister-cyberbullying-suicide-erin-gallagher_n_2296488.html

Rehtaeh Parsons:

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/09/rehtaeh-parsons-girl-dies-suicide-rape-canada_n_3045033.html

Audrey Pott:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/reports-3-teens-admit-assaulting-norcal-girl-who-later-killed-herself/

this list is far from complete, but I find I can look at no more.

those families left behind have not been idle.

they’ve formed foundations, initiated awareness campaigns, and again, the list goes on and on.

as do the suicides.

additionally, we now have, literally at our fingertips, the following, just to name a few of the resources available, as a direct result of this problem:

  • no bullying websites – one example

NoBullying.com features many pages dedicated to parents, teens, teachers, health professionals as well as posts related to cyber safety and the latest news about law making concerning curbing bullying worldwide as well as inspirational bullying poems and famous bullying quotes

  • suicide prevention blogs – one example

http://www.activeminds.org/our-programming/awareness-campaigns/suicide-prevention-month/suicide-prevention-month-blog

  • national suicide hotlines – one example

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

  • cyber bullying studies and statistics one example

http://cyberbullying.ua.edu/index.php/casestudies/

wherein they recite:

The National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center estimates that nearly 30 percent of American youth are either a bully or a target of bullying

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people with approximately 4,400 deaths every year

(and those stats are just here, but this is not an American problem.  this is a world problem.)

PLUS:

  • child protection software
  • web filtering software
  • social media safety programs
  • free teen safety e-books

so…what are we missing?

what are we doing wrong?

or maybe the better question is…

what are we NOT doing right?

I am no judge

I am no jury

I am no winner of any super parent of the year award

however…I am a survivor.

and living proof that

‘it’s a phase’

belongs at the top of “The Worst Things A Parent Can Assume” list

STOP!  DON’T ASSUME!  ASK!  LISTEN!  PAY ATTENTION!

no one knows your child better than you do. and no one does or will ever, care more.

and then there is “The Worst Things A Parent Can Say” list
(and I’m as guilty as the next guy for saying most of these things because I heard those things):

“that’s just how kids are”
“you’ll grow out of it”
“you’ll get over it, you’ll see”
“go find something to do”
“it’s not that important”
“ignore it, they’ll get bored”
“you don’t want to be like everyone else do you?”
“you’re too young to understand”
“sticks and stones…”

i am not being a Monday morning quarterback, at least, I hope you don’t see it that way.

i am not blaming all parents for all things as I certainly couldn’t look myself in the mirror if I took the blame for everything my children did growing up.

what I am trying to do, is shed some light on a few of THE most common, albeit loving, words of advice and/or wisdom we impart to our kids in an attempt to make them ‘feel better’ about themselves.

it doesn’t work.  I know, that’s harsh.

but it doesn’t work.

our children know we love them. they know we’ll say anything to make it better (in our own minds).

but we need to stop putting acne cream or liquid foundation on what WE PERCIEVE to be our kids’ source of their low self-image, and I say that because, if they saw themselves as WE do, this would not be the fucking horrific problem it is.

they don’t see themselves through OUR eyes.

they see themselves through the eyes of their peers.

just as the majority of all of us did.

no…this is not a new war.

it’s an old war on a different battleground.

an anonymous one.

one that affords bullies (who otherwise might not ever have dreamed of pulling the trigger) a haven of relative safety with which to thrust their swords of misguided judgment and fire those malice filled bullets.

all in an attempt to…what?

you know the answer.

to hide their own insecurities, to assuage their own feelings of inadequacy, to belie the perception that they are lacking, to feel big, and most importantly…to mask their own pain.  to make themselves feel better than…by making someone else feel worse than.

this is not a new concept.

and it’s certainly not only employed by teenage bullies.

knowing this…is it a stretch to think that the corporate bullies, the ball field bullies, the ‘my kid is better than your kid’ bullies, were bullied as youths?

nope.

OR

on the flip side…

if not bullied…were bullies as children, left to their own devices because ‘that’s just kids being kids”?

sadly, there is no easy solution.

it’s not easy, after all.

but…there are things we can do, as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, friends…

stop making assumptions
stop making excuses
stop enabling our kids by ‘trying to be friends’

be a parent now and a friend later.
if you feel the no…say the no.
if ‘but johnny has one’ or ‘suzie gets to’ arguments sway you…get to know johnny and suzie a little better so you can perhaps point out to your kids the things they have that johnny and suzie do not.
allow your children to suffer the consequence of their choices but always offer an alternative to better ones. don’t take away the responsibility of their actions because you feel sorry for them.
if they say they hate you now…they’ll love you later, especially when they have their own kids.

no amount of money you spend ‘keeping up with…’ will ever make them feel pretty or popular on the outside if they don’t feel it on the inside. give them reasons to feel it on the inside. teach them compassion and empathy by living it. teach them to see beyond by doing it.

temper the time spent praising their feats by counting their blessings, whatever they might be.

teach them that each of us are blessed in our own way, some on the outside, some on the inside, but it’s all worthy of love and respect.

help them celebrate our differences by being well-rounded, informed, engaged, and interested parents who take the time to get to know their school, their teachers, their friends, and their friends parents.

yes, this is a different age. parents today have very little free time.
but…that was our choice yes?
say what you will…but every generation’s evolution is a direct result of that generation’s choices.
we cannot use ‘I have no time’ as an excuse to not raise our own kids.
we cannot blame society or teachers for ‘not giving’ our children the values we should be giving them at home.

our children need us.
they will never admit to this, but they do.
not just the first 10 years or the next…
it is a lifetime job.
and the job of a lifetime.

let’s help give our kids that lifetime, that looooong lifetime.

please

i dedicate this post to the fire starter, you know who you are, and you know what you mean to me…and i thank you for knowing i had something to say, no matter how small

Possibilities

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she is the light, she is the warmth
when she wakes the world wakes with her

“yours is the light by which my spirit’s born…”

yet he must go for her to shine

he too is light, but he is cold
when he wakes, the world calms

“…yours is the darkness of my soul’s return”

yet she must go for him to thrive

but before this day can turn to night
she fills the white western sky with fire
as she battles the end of another day without him

from her western prison, she throws her sol-mate kisses on long-fingered shadows
and inflames him with the vision of her fiery tresses caught on the wind
teasing, assaulting, as they reach toward the Bastille in the east where he is captive

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while the eastern sky shows no sign of struggle
still blue, he climbs unnoticed, in silence
desperate for a glimpse of her before the god’s
realize they are both awake

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he tries desperately to grasp her love
now caught in the branches of the tress that separate them
he, struggling to cast off his gossamer shroud
so she may see the love he yearns to shine on her
so she may know his calming and cooling touch
as he longs to know her passion and feel her fire

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she is gone now
he’d always known he would never feel her touch, nor she his
for as long as she was awake, he could not be
and she’d always known his power, his radiance, his true essence
could only thrive where she could not
and it would always be so…

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or would it?

as it is had always been
this night too, it was his light that lived
yet he felt warm
he radiated warmth
he was not cold
he was not alone

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for he knew her touch
and she knew his
through the power of love
the wonders of time and space
she lived when he lived
and they knew…each other

a rare evening
a lover’s evening
a curse lifted for but a moment
but a moment worth a lifetime

“…you are my sun, my moon, and my stars”

may it always be

P O S S I B L E

 

An Interim Quickie…

A man and his wife were awakened at 3:00 am by a loud pounding on the door.

 The man gets up, goes to the door where a drunken stranger, standing in the pouring rain, is asking for a push.

“Not a chance,” says the husband, “it is 3:00 in the morning!”

 He slams the door and returns to bed.

 “Who was that?” asked his wife.

.”Some drunk asking for a push,” he answers.

“Did you help him?” she asks.

 “No, it’s 3 o’clock in the morning and it is bloody pouring rain out there!”

 “Well, you have a short memory,” says his wife.

“Can’t you remember about three months ago when we broke down, and those two guys helped us?

 I think you should help him, and you should be ashamed of yourself!  “God loves drunk people too you know.”

 The man does as he is told, gets dressed, and goes out into the pounding rain.

He calls out into the dark, “Hello, are you still there?”

 “Yes,” comes back the answer.

 “Do you still need a push?” calls out the husband.

“Yes, please!” comes the reply from the dark.

“Where are you?” asks the husband.

 “Over here on the swing,” replied the drunk.

Be nice to your fellow BirdBrain…we can all use a push now and then.  Now get out there and play in the rain!

 

One Day

By dinner time tomorrow, our soggy, box-full, furniture-empty, house will feel like home despite it all.

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He leaves the deep freeze on the shores of the Arctic Ocean tonight and will arrive on the unusually frozen southern shores of the Atlantic tomorrow.  Knowing he had not planned on bringing his arctic gear, an emergency phone call took care of that.  True winter in the lower 48 awaits his arrival.  He doesn’t mind though, winter is kind of his thing…

matt2

We’ve not seen him for over a year, Christmas 2012 to be exact. So much has happened in his life and ours since then, I’m not sure his two weeks will be enough time to sort it all out.  And sort it out we must, for as much excitement as there is in his return, it wears the shroud of sadness that only a broken heart wears.

You see, he fell in love with a dog, who owned the girl, that stole our son’s heart…

tandum

He chose the ring for the knot that means a great deal to her and announced to the world “SHE SAID YES!” on July 20th…

the ring

She chose the dress in the color that says “I am not afraid as I face the world with the man I love

the dress

They chose the date, Friday, February 13, 2015, to tell the world “We have no fear of your superstitions, we’ll face it together

They spent every spare moment they had together, traveling the land they both love so much…

matts land

One of the hardest things to witness is the breaking of your child’s heart.  Whether 2 or 25, the heart cares not the why or the how, only that it’s a pain unlike any other.

The life plan has changed. The love won, now lost. “She said yes!” echoes hollowly in the darkness following “I’ve changed my mind, I don’t want to be with anyone”

As his mother, I grieve for his tender heart and shattered dreams.

As his mother I silently thank the girl for knowing this truth now and being brave enough to say so.

As his mother, I weep for and with him, longing to make it better, but knowing I can offer nothing but a safe place for him to cry.

So, it’s time for this boy, this man, our Matthew, to come home to slide into the open arms of his Dad and me; the only place he can let it all go.

The place where the man can again be the boy who needs what only his family can give him…a safe place to grieve, a hearth to warm the bone deep chill of lost love, and the touch of those that know the truest nature of him…love.  He shines with it and has since he was born.

He will find The One.

Someday.

One who will see him for who he is, and love him completely for it.

We know this.

He will too.

One Day.

Until then, we’ll do what we have always done…love him, guide him beyond his feeling foolish for having loved “too much”.  With the gentlest of reminders that no love is ever foolish or ever wasted or ever “too much”. That to deny the best part of himself for fear of being hurt this way again, would be to deny the very air he breathes.

He won’t.  He can’t.  It’s not in him.

As his mother, this I know.

Welcome Home Matthew…where the heart is

matt1matt 3

Ebb and Flow?

need a paddle

While the recent trauma-drama had not yet completely ‘drained’ from my brain, it had, at least, ‘trickled’ to a minor, albeit steady, unresolved, ‘drip’.

Something akin to Chinese water torture.

However, that said, I was surprised that I was surprised when I found myself, yet again, ‘wading through a ‘puddle of shit’ left behind by another supposed professional’s incompetence!

This time, a new washing machine installation gone horrendously wrong…to the tune of 9,000 bucks (and counting)!!!

[Not to worry though.  The insurance companies are duking it out…and if ours wins, we hope to recover the 3 grand over what the insurance has paid so far to re-build my laundry room and replace 1,296sf of carpet and pad upstairs, along with all the molding, as well as damaged drywall and insulation!  Which of course means I still have basically NO furniture up there and everything still dumped into boxes!  43 Days People!]

To say I was disappointed would be an understatement, I left disappointed in the frozen north about a month and a half ago.

But, surprised?

Yeah, I was.  Surprisingly surprised.  HA

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Are. You. Shitting. Me ???

Because truthfully?  I thought I was on ‘dry land’ once the move was finally over.  Even though I was still having to deal with those numbskulls at Colonial Van Lines Relocation, Inc. out of Margate Florida on a daily basis

(oops, did I just reveal the goon squad’s company?)

…I still felt I’d made strides away from the mind-numb “knuckle-dragger pulling me by the hair” chief cave-cook and horn washer, not to mention head buffalo hide pee-er on-er…

Ugh

…to the “upright walking, slightly behind and to the left of the Neanderthal” can you take me out for a bison burger instead of hacking it off the carcus and throwing it to me to cook cave-slave .

don’t get used to it

In other words, almost human!

Writing about it here helped; receiving validation for my outrage here helped.

Not quite in charge, but gaining power.

Or so I thought.

This is not where I thought I’d be 43 days in

…without a you know what

Ya know?

While you were reading about the moving shade spinning out of control, I was ‘immersed’ in that new ‘flood’ of bad karma.

I know some who’d say that this is just the way things are sometimes, and that I should just ‘ride the wave’.

Others I know might say I should not let this stress me because all things eventually come out clean in the ‘wash’.

And more still who might believe that at some liquid point between the amniotic fluid and the tidal wave that is my life, I did something mighty wrong and am paying for it now.

Am I?

Are these the waters “come to cleanse my soul”?

Maybe.

But then, if that’s true, I’m not sure how happy it makes me to think that my salvation lies in the gushing effluent of semi-rural, semi-agricultural Virginia.

How cleansing could they be having traveled the length and breadth, in 200 year old plumbing, before snaking its way through the plastic portals of my laundry room; sent to bathe me in their healing, mystical, all forgiving, powers?

eeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwww-ah
(that’s a two syllable eew for those that don’t know)

I mean…Noah got rain.  Fresh, pure, clean from the pristine clouds of the pre-industrialized world, never heard of acid rain, sky.  And he only had to deal for 40 days!  I’m already at 43 and I’m NOT done yet!

And I dare say, even HE had a paddle!

anyone seen my paddle?

 I get rusty, fertilizer tainted, used to be filled with poop but now we use chlorine, WASTEWATER!

When is it going to be MY turn?

“Who’s saying ugh now huh?”

Oh nevermind me…a girl can dream can’t she?

(ps…thank you to my grandsons Kyle and Alex for giving me the means to express the faces of surprise and eeeeew)

Celebrate Something…Always

Like a dead tree teaming with life…

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Or a giant symbol of freedom, waving as we go by…

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How about being a little hombre, knowing you’re safe because big brother will always be behind you…

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Even taking your first tractor ride when you don’t want to…

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Whatever it is

and

Wherever you are

Cherish it

Remember it

Celebrate it

Life’s too short for anything less