(#2 SHE Saga) She’s Back

She’s back, but she has an entirely different attitude.
I’m sure God had something to do with that change.
She asked if she could hang out with me today, and while she admitted that she was sad, she said we could do something that made us happy.
So, I said she could stay. I know, I’m taking a big chance, but we’ve been together since I was born, and I do love her.
She has given me some of the happiest moments of my life, especially when she comes out to play with the grandchildren.
I’d been missing her anyway, not her emotions, just her company and her playful attitude. She’s the one who taught me to chase butterflies and to climb trees.
We sat down and tried to decide what we would do today, something that wouldn’t upset either of us.
I went upstairs to get a book and I saw a pile of my mother’s letters lying on a table, waiting months for me to scan and share them.
I was going to write today, but with the water department digging up the road in front of my driveway and an appointment to show my house at 1:00, I’m a little distracted. (Yes. House Fifteen for sale after barely a year.)
The minute I saw the letters, I knew what we would do today. I picked them up and read them as I walked downstairs. (I know…another crazy idea, stairs and not paying attention.)
As I read the notes, they brought tears to my eyes.
The pleasure of hearing my mother’s words speak to me once again, touching the paper she had written on, envisioning her sitting at her tiny kitchen table, with me on her mind, removed everything that was hurting me.
Touching the letters, physically pulled her back into my life for just a little bit.
I am so grateful because of all the things I’ve lost from moving too many times, I still have every note and card she sent me.
Her love and her admiration poured over me and I felt it as strongly as if she was standing beside me.
When I ignored her, she got restless and I had to ask her to go back to sit with my mum in Heaven. Yes. That’s exactly where God placed her when I released her to His care.
At least I am learning to share my personal space with her, without getting bull dozed emotionally.
l have been learning to set boundaries this past year and I think I left her for last because I knew she would be my greatest challenge.
Funniest thing about this day, thanks to Mum’s notes, I’m writing after all.

(# 1 SHE Saga) SHE

(#3 SHE Saga) What are we gonna do?

(#4 SHE Saga) Thirty Days

(#5 SHE Saga) She Forced Me Out Of Bed

 

 

I Am My Father’s Daughter

I am my father’s daughter.
He taught me about reality, insanity and how to find crumbs of love beneath the rubble.
I listened to him for so many years, ranting and raving against society, the government and his bosses.
He was a mason.
He wouldn’t build fireplaces if the contractors didn’t build the houses to his standards and he always fought with his bosses until they would fire him or he would quit.
The excitement we all felt as he found each job and the despair we felt when he lost them was a roller coaster ride of emotions. Do we eat hamburgers versus do we eat saltines and peanut butter.
What he said when he was screaming and yelling was not always crazy. He was equally intelligent and creative, such a hard combination to juggle mentally. Very confusing.
When I first went to AA he was there during one of his rare fits of sobriety.
People would insist that I stay away from that man, crazy Bill, and I’d tell them, “I would, but he’s my dad and he’s sober today and I love him.”
He didn’t ever stay sober very long, but when he was sober, he was quiet and soft and gentle.
He taught me to love nature and to appreciate the free beauty in the world.
My daughters loved their grandpa, but they only saw him when he was sober so that was all they knew…
One winter when he was sober, I asked him if he wanted to come inside and live with us, but he chose to sleep outside in his truck because he said he felt safe there.
He would come in my little apartment to shave and shower and wipe away every trace that he had ever been inside.
Every week when he got paid, he would give me thirteen dollars. Ten for me and a dollar for each of the kids.
I still have the note he wrapped the money in the first week. He left it in my mailbox.
I treasure that note because I am my father’s daughter.
He taught me that material possessions meant nothing.
He taught me that by always leaving everything we had behind when we moved, but I learned it.
He taught me that by selling everything he bought my mother in the moneyed days of summer during the cold, bitter days of winter, to buy his beer, but I learned it.
He taught me that money was hard earned. He taught me that by making me beg for a nickel for the ice cream man, but I learned it.
He taught me that women were strong and that they could survive almost anything and get up and go to work the next day because they had to feed the family, pay the rent and put fuel in the furnace.
He taught me that by the way that he treated my mom, screaming at her and calling her a whore all night and I learned from her too.
I watched the way she survived, how she went to work every morning no matter how little sleep she had the night before, and yes, I learned.
My dad was a paranoid, schizophrenic, bipolar, seldom sober alcoholic, but much of what he said was the truth and he was before his time, so I guess he was also a prophet.
He was a prophet who filled prescriptions for Valium and Librium to stay sober. He was a prophet who could not handle the ugliest parts of humanity when he was sober, (including himself) so he drank to forget and would once more become ugly and cruel and then he would get sober again, hating himself so much that he would drink just to forget again.
He taught my brother the craft of brick laying and then he tortured my brother for being his equal.
Yet, when Dad went crazy and tried to kill his mother and father, it was my brother who got him from jail and into a VA hospital, all the while accepting verbal abuse and being disowned for bringing him where he could get help instead of jail time.
One of my best memories of my dad is when at fourteen I asked for a stereo and had it the next day.
One of my brother’s worst memories is when Dad took away his hunting rifle and sold it to buy my stereo. I never even knew until my brother and I were talking after Mom’s funeral.
My dad was a good man and he was a bad man.
He was my father and I hated him and I loved him.
Forty years ago, when he was living on the streets, my sister and I got him a little apartment in our building.
He lived as if he were staying at a campground. Instead of the stove, he used a little propane cooker and instead of the bed we gave him, he slept on the floor in a sleeping bag. He wouldn’t accept any meals we tried to share and he only ate food out of cans to be sure he wasn’t being poisoned.
He walked the streets during the day, wearing sandals and a long white shirt, telling people that he was Jesus. He believed that…
The last time I saw him was in 1983. He was living in a shed on his friend’s farm. His friend had died and the son didn’t want him there anymore. Dad didn’t care.
As I walked up to the shed, he looked out the window.
His first words were, “Has your mother remarried?”
Second thoughts, “What happened to your hair? That’s not your real hair color.”
He wouldn’t come out to talk to me. I asked him to come out several times. He refused and he talked through the screen.
He told me that I had no right to have remarried after my divorce. He would not acknowledge my husband.
I asked him if he’d like to meet my son, his five-year-old grandson, who stood right beside me and he said, “No.”
He told me to never come back or to try to see him again. He said it would be better that way.
He didn’t have much else to say and as he wished, I have never seen him again.
My brother swears that he saw him slip into my mom’s funeral in 2009.
My mother was his one true love, his obsession, his everything; although he nearly destroyed her before she left him after forty-years of hell.
One granddaughter searches for him to this day. I do too. I don’t know why.
We have not found a death certificate, so we believe that he’s still alive. He would be ninety-one.
We were told that he was possibly still living in the VA hospital, but we were also told that he insisted that he had no family, so they couldn’t tell us if he was there.
Many things in life can be overcome, changed, fixed.
I have been sober since I was twenty-three, yet one unchangeable reality stands out to me.
I am my father’s daughter.

She Was

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She Was
The grief encompassed her soul until the elements of her former self were nothing.
Nothing.
Destiny squeezed her guts until she splattered all over the floor.
She was, she was, but now she isn’t, not anymore.
Wait.
Amidst the wreckage of her shattered, twisted dreams perchance a gem remains?
A shred of what was, a stair to climb on, a hand to reach beyond her agony,
clutching what still could be?
Carefully, small slivers extracted of what value they weren’t sure
held up to the light by white coats who thought they knew the cure,
the cure for secrets that had hammered her to her knees
events which paralyzed the frightened child she was before.
Men and women who only added their putrid slime to the illness
then when her hour was up they shoved her through the door.
That of course was just good business, nothing’s free,
no matter how she did implore.
Secrets torn asunder, gaping holes dripping vulnerability,
not unlike her veins the night she’d gashed them open wide.
The dirt, the filth, the grotesque, no longer could she hide.
Naked, restrained, unfamiliar shocked eyes did see and several faces
as familiar as her own beheld the tragedy.
But surely they could have done without, her agonizing screams, her blood, her shouts?
“You have no f…… right, let me die,” she’d screamed that night until no voice remained.
Perhaps that was true, yet they had to consider the fact that she was quite insane.
What else could they do, what else would have been right?
So, they saved her anyway, forced her to breathe another day.
Clothed in anguish and shades of gray, doomed to inhere, she haunts the nights,
a ghost of the woman before, who was, who isn’t, not anymore.
Spirit lacerated, black with pain, red with rage, you would not recognize her aura.
A kaleidoscope of mistrust and betrayal determines her movements.
Such a thin line between yesterday’s grief and hope’s beckoning tomorrow.
One baby step at a time she forges a reality where wounds are but the mortar
between her bricks and angels guard her entrance from Knights in Dirty Leather.
This saddened woman who holds within her a tiny, unhealed girl
this woman who endures the anguish her ignorance invited into her world.
Coloring innocent lives with confusion and bereavement evermore.
She was, she was, but now she isn’t, not anymore.

by Jeanne Marie, 1989

 

Angel Of The Wounded Child

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Wounded child
Can you hear the
Gentle flap
Of angel’s wings?
Lost in your closet
Of endless memories
Come out of the dark
Don’t be afraid.
The screaming has stopped.
The voices you hear
Exist only in your mind
The storage trunk of the past.
Come, open the present.
He will protect you, this
Angel of the Wounded Child.
You want to die
Lost in your pain
Yet, you have not lived.
Open the door
Take down the walls
Let the healing begin.
Angel of the Wounded Child
A light peering into your closet.
He wants you to
Come out and play
The nightmare is over.
Wake up! Wake up!
Sleep is not a cure.
Come out of the darkness
The light does heal
The secrets, the fears, the past.

by Jeanne Marie