Sleep Walking


I see myself
sleeping walking.
I watch from a distance
me, walking away.
I see my body.
I see my hair.
I see my feet.
Wandering aimlessly
toward the water.
I shout to myself
come back, wake up
before you wander too far,
before you slip away and
disappear into the waves.
I keep walking forward.
I don’t even look back.
I have never listened to myself.

Ghosts (2003)


The Ghost of Past haunts me at night. As I drift off to sleep, I slip into the gentle dreams of an innocent child. Then; charging in with a roar, the Ghost of Past invades my tender fantasies.
He brutally drags me from my warm covers. I scream and fight him, to no avail. He pulls my unwilling frame down dark, twisting corridors; through tormented memories that yet burn, flames blister my skin. A bottomless pit of pain awaits me at the end of the obscure hallway and Past dumps me there on my butt. Sweating from the heat and crying with fear, I fight the numbness that weighs my body down. Cruel paralysis traps me here, in this tortured hallway created by Nightmare.
But wait! What evil ghost is this? Ghost of Shoulda. “Oh Angel,” he moans, “you shoulda done better, if only you had, why didn’t you?” “I did my best!” I scream in his ugly face. “But you still failed!” he says with delight. His hideous voice cuts through my anger and goes straight to my grief.
“You belong to me now and your dreamscapes are mine to wander. My power grows,” he gloats. “Remember that day when I sauntered into your thoughts when you were wide awake?”
“I popped into your head as you showered, and memories rose unbidden. I brought you to your knees and you fell and sobbed as the water went down the drain. Dirty, filthy water swirled around your body and washed the smile from your face.”
I remember.
I rage at him insanely until I begin to retch. He smiles.
His accomplice, the Ghost of Regret, walks up to us. He approaches slowly because he has all the time in the world at his command. They both roar with laughter as Regret chokes me.
I can’t breathe.
I can’t breathe.
Keeping his hands around my neck, he sits on my chest. Regret is so heavy.
Blackness surrounds me, tragedies from my past flash across my mind, flash cards from Regret’s Hall of Pain.
Weeping, I am in no shape to fight the Spirit of Guilt, as he steps out from behind the Ghost of Regret, shoving Regret off my chest.
My hero, Guilt does not laugh in my face; he simply sits there with me while I cry. He offers to hold me. I know if I let Guilt put his comforting arms around me, accept his deceitful promise that he can console me, I will be lost. Still, Guilt’s arms entice me. The image of Guilt, holding me close, is seductive. It would be so easy to give up and I could blame Guilt.
Guilt is no stranger to me. He and I have fought to near death (mine of course) and although I can send him away, I cannot annihilate him.
His companion, the Black Cloud of Despair (as always) is right behind him. As I glance over Guilt’s bony shoulder, I see that Despair is getting ready to settle in for the duration. He shakes out his moldy tent and drives the stakes into my heart.
“Hey,” I scream at him, “get the hell out of here! I haven’t given up yet!” Ignoring me, he just continues to settle in, taking the tools of his trade from his abysmal, black bag.
He knows.
I have never won this battle with Past and Despair is so sure that there will be a place for him in my heart, he just ignores my curses.
Sighing, he declares, “I don’t know why I even bother to pack up and move out, Angel. I know that you never last long without us.” He moans softly and settles down all around me, like a blanket of heavy, gray fog.
I look down at my trembling hand and I see a key. The very key that unlocked the door that Past rushed through. “Damn it!” I shout. “I let them in again; it was me who gave them access to my soul.”
In the distance I see a glowing inferno.
Dragging my ghosts, I struggle, crawling towards the flame. The warmth beckons me, draws me closer. If only I can reach the fire, I will throw myself and these unholy demons into the flames!
I haven’t much strength left, but with a last, gut wrenching expenditure, I reach the funeral pyre. Leaning towards its center, I let the orange and blue flames lick at my hands, blistering my fingers.
At first, the pain feels good and it soothes me with its fiery warmth. I close my eyes, at peace, ready for the final sleep. The last nightmare.
Then a fiercer pain invades my lethal lethargy and terror fills my soul. Here we are again, at the edge of distinction. They have led me to this fiery pit and instead of breaking free, I have, once more, allowed them to motivate my unrelenting descent.
The Wisp of Future taps me on the shoulder. “Excuse me for interrupting your pity party, but I have something you need to see before you end it all.”
I see the Spirit of Hope standing there beside him. Our eyes meet but then Shame slaps my face and I can’t meet Hope’s eyes. Hope stays silent.
Future flashes my children’s faces across my mind. They are standing around my grave, and their faces reflect deep anger. They are crying.
If I give up, my suicide will be their legacy.
It won’t matter to them how long or how hard I have fought this bitter war. All they will see is my defeat and my surrender.
Pulling back from the roaring inferno, I struggle to free myself from my ghoulish companions.
One by one, my demons take their hands off me and my strength returns. They know that for tonight, it’s over. They have lost control.
I wake up shivering and shaking, afraid of tomorrow. My familiar bedroom now surrounds me like grey prison walls. There is no comfort here.
How many nights must I fight this battle, over and over? Why do I fight?
I fight to save my children and my family the torturous pain of my suicide. I fight for the chance to hold my precious grandchildren once more in my arms. To see their smiles, to feel their hugs. To feel the warmth of their untainted love flowing into my cold and weary soul.
I live for the nights when I am not haunted. I live because the Spirit of Hope and I used to walk hand in hand; inseparable; until I let Grief and Guilt tear me away from him. I live because I can see Hope and although he now walks just beyond my reach, he is beckoning to me, pleading with me to believe, to remember, to follow.
I live because I know that if I keep fighting my ghosts, I can catch up to Hope and once more we will laugh and play, dancing together beneath the summer rains.
Until then, I will continue to fight.
I wrote this 17 years ago and reading it with today’s eyes, showed me how far I’ve come, by the grace of God.

Always Home For Christmas

 

Today, someone asked me if I’m going home for Christmas.
I told them that I am already home.
I will be home no matter where I park, because I will always be bringing my home with me. My 330 sq. foot home has wheels.
With family in Oklahoma, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Florida, Indiana and Montana, I could never really gather my entire family in one place, so maybe I’ll spend Christmas in a different state each year.
This year it’s Florida.
I’m a bit of a gypsy. I’ve lived in the first five of those states, plus New Jersey and Tennessee. I moved to Oklahoma four times, Florida twice, New Hampshire twice and I have owned fifteen houses.
But, from now on, no matter which destination I choose, with my family and friends safe in my heart and only a phone call away, I will always be home for Christmas.

 

August Is Gone, September 2012

 

Bee Sunflower natural

I think about it. Maybe I’ll take the month of August off and go to a place where I can be alone and I can think for myself.
Make my own decisions.
My birthday was last week and I turned fifty-nine.
How did I get from twenty-seven to fifty-nine so quickly?
Why did I not realize that not making a decision and sleeping my time away so that I wouldn’t think, was a decision in itself?
The days blur together and the months sneak past, quick as the black racer snake that lives in my garden, slithering by my feet as fast as a bubble can burst.
My bubble has burst many times, but I just waited among the shadows for another bubble to shelter me.
I have been foolish, thinking that there is always another bubble and there will always be another August, even though I know that all I have this is very minute.
Yes, I let another August pass me by and I sit here wondering, how, why?
What if that was my last and final August?
It seems like yesterday that I was diapering my babies and now, they are grown.
My arms and my hands are empty and just as surely as my babies grew too large to hold in my arms,  another August is gone.

I Love You

I Love You
I love you does not mean that I will accept
your unacceptable behavior.
I love you does not mean that I will allow
you to hurt me emotionally whenever you choose.
I love you does not mean that I will let
you crush my spirit and wound my soul.
I love you does not mean that I will let you tell me
who I am or control my decisions.
I love you does not mean that I will allow you to hurt people I love.
I love you does not mean that I will not walk away from you,
if you do those things.
I have learned through God’s grace, that I can live without you,
but I cannot live without me.

Thankful for the things that I have left behind…

This might sound strange, but the things that I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving are the things that I have left behind.
This past year for me has been a year of change, letting go and personal growth.
I have let go of so much more than material objects, although I filled my porch with boxes and bags for the trash or the yard sale when I emptied and sold a ten room house.
I let go of three closets and three bureaus filled with clothes.
I let go of trying to earn love. Love is only valuable when it is freely given.
I let go of expecting people to be someone they are not, rejecting the unacceptable behavior and accepting the good. Yes, I let go of my happy-ever-after fantasies, so that I could enjoy today.
I let go of worry about my future and while I still plan, I am only living in today.
I let go of my old habit of saying yes, when I wanted to say no, and I don’t do things I don’t want to do anymore.
I let go of the guilt and the shame and the anger I have always carried over my mistakes and other’s mistakes because I have carried that negativity long enough. Those emotions were so heavy.
I let go of shopping to fill a void.
I let go of cooking unless the mood hits me.
I let go of thousands of books, and I never dreamed that I could get rid of my books.
I let go of owning my own flower garden. Now, I enjoy other people’s flowers.
I am even learning to let go of trying to hold back time.
So, I am thankful for the feelings and possessions I no longer carry and the huge house I no longer have to clean. This feels like freedom to me.
My five-year-old granddaughter explained to her dad, “Grammy wears a disguise because she is not really a Grammy, she is a kid. She plays like me.”
What more could I ask for, than to be told that I have the spirit of a child?
So, the things that I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving are the things that I have left behind.