by Grace Christine Doucette (My mom)
It’s cold in New England, ice is King
The flowers are sleeping, waiting for spring.
In my heart, memories are deep
Waiting for old promises to keep.
I planted seeds of love early in life
They’re not dead, buried by strife.
Just waiting for the big thaw when
I’ll see blossoms as never before.
The rose in a grandchild’s smile
The bloom in a hug that stretches a mile.
Yes, my seeds have sprung into life
And bloomed in my garden
Through all the icy strife.
Life goes on, it never will end
When you plant your seeds
In the heart’s of your children and friends.
A young girl picks up a drink
Her fear and pain melts away,
She found a magic cure
She found a best friend today.
She takes that friend with her
Where ever she has to be,
The friend gets her through,
But she’s no longer free.
Hiding her new friend from the rest
It’s true, somehow she always knows,
That this friend is dangerous
But caution, to the wind it goes.
Years slip by, and some begin to see
That she prefers this friend,
People criticize her drinking
And other friendships end.
The bottle becomes her center
It directs her every move,
But what once brought her relief
No longer seems to soothe.
The friend who helped her through
Now cripples, and blinds her sight,
Alone she drinks and she cries
Dreading tomorrow, hating tonight.
She gave up all her friends
To keep the brown liquid close,
Now she has lost them all
Betrayed by what she trusted most.
She reaches out to God
During a desperately lonely hour,
He sends her back His love
He fills her with His power.
She ends the deadly friendship
Stands strong and free again,
The black fog begins to lift, and
Sobriety is one fight, she does win.
Jeanne Marie, 1979
I am my own wife now and I’m finding out just how good I’m going to treat myself.
Am I going to be a good wife or a bad wife?
I didn’t start out very good. I almost starved to death.
I forgot to eat because there was no one to cook for and I didn’t have anybody asking me, what’s to eat, what’s for lunch, what’s for supper, do you want to go out to eat, do you want me to go get something?
I was in a food vacuum, food just didn’t exist.
What I noticed was my deodorant wasn’t working, so I changed brands several times and when that didn’t help, I started to do some research on Google to find out what’s strange illness I might have that was causing an odor deodorant couldn’t manage.
I found out that I wasn’t putting enough food into my body and that my body was burning muscle to survive. The odor was from being in a state of starvation. I was shocked. I knew I had to eat to live, but I didn’t know I could die from not eating enough.
I had been wasting away and I hadn’t even noticed.
I took off my clothes to take a look at my body and it wasn’t good. Skin and bones.
I couldn’t remember the last time I had been hungry. I had already lost too much weight before my husband and I separated and the scale reported that I’d dropped ten more pounds and I hadn’t even noticed.
I had been eating yogurt and an egg once or twice a week, a couple of spoonful’s of peanut butter every day, but my body was not happy and it wanted some real food.
I learned that once you are in the starvation mode, it gets dangerous. I had to start to eat slowly because starvation damages the heart and I could actually have a heart attack if I started to eat too quickly.
I went to the store and I bought more than just peanut butter, coffee, milk and dog food.
I searched for food that I used to like, so I could tempt myself to eat. I stood there crying because I could barely remember what I liked.
Just shopping for groceries was traumatic. I hadn’t shopped for groceries since my husband retired. We used to joke that he was the wife now and he said I could just write while he took care of cooking, shopping and helped with laundry.
It wasn’t really funny. I stopped shopping a few months after he retired because whatever I brought home wasn’t right, wrong brand, wrong price, wrong flavor. I stopped cooking because he would disagree with the what, the how, the why and the end result. I wasn’t even able to feed the dogs the way he wanted, and if I made my own coffee he would ask why I didn’t have him make it for me.
To some, it looked like I was a pampered princess, but I was actually removed from my kitchen. His at home-ness led to my retirement as a wife. He took over the bills, the kitchen, the shopping and the dogs and I allowed it. I gave up.
So I am my own wife now. It’s been five months, and I am treating myself much better, but it takes awareness and effort. I spoiled my husband and my kids forever, so I know how to do it, I just have to turn that love towards myself.
I started eating slowly. I started cooking for myself for the first time in years. Actual meals. My daughter and grandson come over for supper at least twice a week now and that motivates me to cook. I’ve only gained a pound, but I’m back to my favorite deodorant and it works.
The dogs are happy and well fed, so it turns out that I do know how to feed them. I haven’t cried at the grocery store lately, so I believe I am learning to be a good wife. To myself.
Running naked in a field of tall grass
Lying alone on the beach with the sun aglow.
Watching my babies while they sleep
Searching for life’s meaning wherever I go.
In the bath, water like silk caresses my skin
A physical pleasure that’s unsurpassed.
Heaven on earth, you can touch your soul
Escaping the ordinary till the water runs cold.
I saved a Valentine’s Day rose from my son for twenty-odd years.
Then, when it fell apart, I still saved the petals with the card which read, “To the most beautiful girl I know, my mom.”
He was sixteen that day when he brought me a rose at work, handsome and a foot taller than me.
And very smart, because while my tears were still messing with my make-up, he hit me up for a loan to buy his girlfriend a dozen roses and I gave it to him with a smile and a hug…
I kinda knew I had been played, but his technique was awesome. He played it so smooth, almost a man.
He is forty now and I know I’m not the most beautiful girl in his world…two other awesome ladies were destined to share that spot and I love them.
Still, every time I come across the faded card, the sweet words and the dried-out petals…I smile.
I close my eyes and for just a moment, I soak in the memory of his surprise visit, back to the moment when to my son, I was the most beautiful girl he knew…
Have I ever thanked you for all the nights
you sat on your cold bathroom floor
talking me into staying alive,
for praying me sober when I was lost in the swamp,
for holding me close when my heart was broken,
for standing by my side when everyone else
walked away because I was wrong?
Have I ever thanked you for never judging me,
for never giving up on me,
for seeing my beauty
when all I could see was my ugly,
for being my sister, my best friend,
my go-to person for every pain and every joy?
Have I ever thanked you for introducing me to Jesus,
for your powerful prayers
when my daughter was dead in the water,
for your face that she saw as she came up, alive?
God places angels in our lives, and you are mine.
I am me because you loved me through.
For embracing me, for accepting the mission
with all of your heart, my sister, I thank you.