Orange Blossom

Mom loved the scent of orange blossoms, and walking on the beach.

I am my mother’s daughter. We were going to take this trip, and then she couldn’t travel.

So here I am. I can travel alone well, but this trip just hurts. Tears alone. Everything hurts.

“It’s sunny and the water’s great.”

Scent of orange blossom; walk on the beach.

Trust

From our beginnings, we are expected to trust.

Trust that we are protected,

cared for,

loved unconditionally.

Over time, trust proves maladaptive.

A child beaten and abused returns to his abusers, hearing the violations are “because he loved you” or “it’s your fault” – messages repeated endlessly into adulthood.

Sharing feelings and fears, then dismissed with “You’re fucking kidding me,” an admonishment of “not dealing with your crazy,” or exploited with lies.

A mother’s confession that she loved a sibling more “we just have a special connection” as the lesser one struggles to care for her.

Trust. A social construct to ensnare the naive and gullible. A requisite to intimacy of all sorts. A conundrum.

Pondering this moment when everything seems good, questioning wisdom of trust, longing to believe.

Trust is the leap of faith.

Trust is silence when a heart overflows and words fail to explain.

Trust me, trust you.

Three Months /12 Weeks

In two hours and nineteen minutes …

Still counting.

Feels as if you’ve been gone so much longer, or was it yesterday, or maybe just traveling a bit and out of touch?

Today was hard. Thursdays often are now. Sometimes I get on with life and lose track, but invariably the memory slams me.

Nurse calling from ER, “What’s your ETA?”

Brother’s jaw tightening, as he resumes some random conversation topic. Verifying our identity, signing papers, “Wait here for the doctor.” “She’s…”

Walking into the room with her, people standing helplessly waiting for direction, and the machines. Blood splatter in her mouth. The machine still compressing on her chest. A person squeezing a bag. Trying to breathe, to be calm, to be a good sister, good daughter, good person.

“Stop.”

I kept my promise.

Three Months/ 12 Weeks, Two Hours, Six Minutes.

November 21, 2016

My brother texted me today – just to check-in, and he called later on. We don’t usually talk much – being grown-up busy and all that.

I feel sad tonight.

Sad that the man who died three years ago never seemed to know peace.

Sad that his daughter and son struggle even now to believe they are ever good enough – for anyone, for anything.

Sad that a much loved cousin lost her beloved Hoop – on her birthday.

Sad that not everyone understands how deeply we love and are loved unconditionally, at least by our four leggeds.

Sad that cancer overtook KH, and her little girls no longer have her close.

Sad that I feel too embarrassed to admit to those whose birthday falls on this day that I don’t want to celebrate.

I feel powerless tonight.

Powerless to right the wrongs done unto so many.

Powerless to keep children safe.

Powerless to breathe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still. Here.

There are moments some days. Quiet. Laughter. Comfort.

“What you seek, you will find” admonish life coaches and Positive People.

Lock away anger, hurt, disappointment, fear, rage, exhaustion into a box. Seal it shut; permit no seepage into the Positive World.

Positive People ask, “What are you thinking? What are you feeling?”

Remember: those are rhetorical questions; Positive People don’t really want to know. Make them laugh, share a quip, tell a joke (preferably self-deprecating), or invoke the time-honored approach of honesty through omission. “It’s a sunny day, so everything must be great!” Flash a smile, and keep rolling. Nice people do that.

Everything else keep to yourself.

Exhausted trying to be there for all of those who “don’t ask for much”? Thinking that “much” is relative term? Keep it to yourself. Frustrated with aging parents whose health is failing? Angry that they’re using you as a whipping boy for their loss of independence, and continued family disharmony? How could you be impatient with such a wonderful person?  Keep it to yourself.  Tired of hearing about how easy things have been all of your life? Biting your tongue about the price paid for all the “easy things”? Keep it to yourself.

Positive People smile and nod about the sunny day. But, tell them your truth and they quiver with fear and/or disgust, furtively searching for an exit. Question their assumptions and privilege, brace for an endless battle. State an opinion, it’s mean. Keep one’s counsel, you’re cold and selfish.

Mom is dying, angry, and bitter. Given a new audience, she smiles and charms.

Here? Ready to sell everything and start over again elsewhere. Neither love nor passion tether me to this place. Those dreams shattered – a lifetime ago. But, as usual the practical outweighs the impulsive. Simply damn imprudent to move at this point career-wise.

And people? Well, I’ve heard all sorts of things – good and bad. At least dogs usually bark before they attack.

Yeah. Still. Here.

(Here, but hidden. Initial draft early 2019.)

Watch the Cat

Emotions are stray cats weaving between your feet, throwing you off-balance.

Days passed unaccounted, memories foggy, clarity writ small in a journal hidden. “Grief reaction” the medical code.

Emerging awareness. Identifying sadness over mother’s death, accompanying feelings of loss, anxiety, isolation. All mixed with relief that she passed quickly on her terms, respect and gratitude for the hard decisions she made, though she lamented “I thought I had more time.” Still, tears overwhelm without warning, inopportune reminders assaulting; there will be no more visits, calls, or messages from “Wow.”

Meanwhile, surprisingly, happiness peeks out. Heart and mind whistle with joy, shadow box with hope. Flawed, riddled with foibles, but in the moment, back to happy.

Still, watch the cat, maintain balance.