Find your safe place…and go there in your mind when things are rough…

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Daughter, Mother and Grandmother…

From the newsletter, Women who Think Too Much, 2000

DAUGHTER, MOTHER AND GRANDMOTHER. ALL WROTE ABOUT AGING, WITHOUT DISCUSSING IT WITH EACH OTHER.
A COINCIDENCE OR THE TWILIGHT ZONE?
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THINGS I LEARNED THE HARD WAY
1. Johnson’s Stretch Mark Cream doesn’t really prevent or remove the one million stretch marks motherhood is bound to deliver, although it does keep each and every stretch mark incredibly soft!
2. When the man in your young life tells you that you’re much too pretty to wear make up, he’s really saying, “Go scrub your face or someone may actually take a second look at you!”
3. Never call your mother for a ride home, from the 24 hour Wal-Mart, because you locked your keys in the car. Not unless you want a lecture about shopping alone after midnight!
4. Don’t call your mother when she’s writing in Computerville; she won’t even remember the phone call!
5. If your mother is a writer, choose your words very carefully, because if she’s like my mother, she’ll hear a story in every syllable!
6. Never tell her she’s too old to have a life!
LOVE YA MOM, JODIE
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TIME
An old woman
Sits by herself
Staring at her past
Arranged on a shelf.
Time is money
Or so they say
Time stands still
Then slips away.
A baby is born
His first sound
An angry cry,
A rose in bloom
is ready to die.
Time waits for no one
Then just marches on,
It goes by too fast
Then it takes too long.
by Jeanne Marie
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THOUGHTS ON GROWING OLDER
With a smile on my face I meet the dawn
Tomorrow’s not here and yesterday’s gone.
I have just today to live my life
So I’ll try my best to keep out strife.
I’ll count my blessings, one at a time
And the first, and the best, is that
today is mine.
My youth has gone into the night
And old age is no longer a fright,
I face the mirror with eyes away
And don’t see the wrinkles or the hair
that’s gone gray.
I only see the life within
Greeting this old face with a grin,
I say “Old girl, you’ve tried your best,
so relax, and let God handle the rest.”
by Grace (my Mom)

Unconquered Guilt by Jodie Lynne (1994)

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UNCONQUERED GUILT
She wearily stumbles on past
Blinded as survival fogs her path.
Her broken soul aching to reach
Beyond this endless haze,
Desperate to free
What she can no longer see.
Burning with pain
Her aimless arms reaching,
Pulling together strength enough
For one last try.
Fear takes over, for at last
She has felt beyond her gaze,
Fallen into a piece of past.
Even as a small hand clings to her own
Ever so quickly fear becomes shame
As the soft little hand slips from her hold,
Letting smoke turn to roaring flame, and
Still, the shadowed room remains so cold.
As her worn body falls
With unexpected relief
She gives in to the memory
Lies down with the unconquered grief.
One last tear streaks her face
As a terrible blackness drags
Her broken soul to another time,
Another place. A woman-child,
An abusive man, three years dead
Who lives on in nightmares,
That dance through their heads
A little boy, his crying face,
Another time, another place.
Jodie Lynne, 1994

Maggie Mae and her purse…

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I was getting ready to leave for the airport this morning and realized that Maggie Mae was planning on coming with me. I didn’t get out today and rearranged to leave Saturday, so she eased up on her packing. She didn’t realize that she wasn’t going with me and I’m not gonna tell her until I hug her goodbye on Saturday.
She loves her new sister and her new Daddy so she will be fine, but I’m already missing her. If you haven’t been following my saga, “Jodie’s Journey” I adopted Maggie Mae when her Momma, my daughter Jodie, went to prison April 7.
I’m going to Oklahoma to meet my third great grand baby, Violet Dawn, just a little over two weeks old! Met Carter, my second great grand baby last month. He is just over two months old and I met Ricky, my first great grand baby at the same time. Ricky is a handsome one-year-old. Grand baby number 14, courtesy of my son Rick and his angel Jessica, is due in December. It is The Year of the Babies for us.

Love Waits~For you Jodie From Michelle Marie. Thank you, JM

Love Waits~For you Jodie.

My heart holds on when you feel like letting go

My heart holds on when you feel like letting go.

Momma’s Amazing Pink Love from Michelle Marie

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Change Is Forever Constant by Jodie Lynne

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The woman I am, shall not be the woman I will be or the woman I once was.
The morning always brings another beginning, thank God.
And I, always becoming, am not allowed to go back to the once was… that woman is no longer there.
Older. Wiser. I have learned to live and let live.
I, after years, have acquired perspective which lends me sanity, sanity where once there was none.
The pains that once overwhelmed and undermined the nurturing, developing woman that I was, helped to shape the woman that I am now becoming.
If only mastering and accepting these lessons, if only I could blindly trust, there is a gift, the gift of change that accompanies each pain.
I am becoming and with becoming comes peace. I can see and sense this for I know where I was yesterday.

by Jodie Lynne

Remember Me, The Mannequin

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She has no legs, arms or hands
yet, she communicates from her stand.
Her head was never found
just her body on the ground.
She has no voice to speak
but still I feel her tear drops leak.
She is me and she is you.
She is every woman ever broken in two.
No eyes to see, no voice to shout
no one to speak her words
to hear her screams that can’t come out.
She remains still, she has no choice
she is crippled and she has no voice.
She stands for you…she stands for me…
I hear her thoughts so clear.
You are where you chose to be.
You have legs and you have arms
you even have your eyes to see
don’t be fooled by his sweet lies
if you are tempted, remember me.
Get moving woman
don’t you fret.
For me too late.
For you? Not Yet.

Poetry by Jeanne Marie, 2014
Mannequin by Jessica Mae McClellan, 2013

Christmas For Grace

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How could one woman touch so many lives?
Mom, we all remember you in different ways and for who you were to each of us. Mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, cousin, aunt and friend. I know your three daughters miss you the most because I am one of the three. Your middle daughter, Jeanne Marie, the baby for seven years until Susanne Louise, your last baby, was born. I should have resented her but; somehow, I never did. It was like getting my very own live baby doll and I cherished her. And Cherie Anne, seven years older than me, she cherished me and Susanne equally and now she tries to fill your shoes and she babies her little sisters, middle-aged little girls who want their mama, even though she misses you too.
I talked to my grand-daughter Rachel about you today and Mom, we were wondering, how your presence could have been so strong that we all feel lost without you?
Was it the way you taught us to be a lady in public, at least in front of you? Was it your always open door and open arms? Was it the way you were always there for each of us, ready to listen, never to judge? Was it your crepes, your pot roast, your home-made jams and pickles? What quality endeared you to us, made you irreplaceable? Why is it that not a day goes by that I don’t miss you; still, after nearly four years?
I have the questions, Mom, but I don’t have the answers. I would give anything for just one more hug, for one more of your smiles, to wake up in your bed as you held the world at bay. Did you know that you did that for me Mom? That I always left the world outside when I went home and walked in your door?
I didn’t have to be a wife, a mother or a grandmother, for just a while, all I needed to be was your daughter.
I want to smell Spam and fried potatoes burning in your cast iron skillet just once more, I want to watch your face light up with love when I walk in your door, just once more.
Every time I left you to fly back home, I walked backwards out your door, trying to take every smile with me, knowing it could be the last smile you gave me, but somehow I still wasn’t ready when you left this world.
Even now, I feel your arms around me when I cry Mom; the memories of your hugs are so strong.
I told Cherie that I hated Christmas because I miss you and she said you would be so mad that I hated Christmas. I know that’s true because you taught us to love Christmas and not for the gifts, God knows Dad kept us short on those, but for the traditions, the holiday cooking, the baking (especially your huge batches of Italian cookies) for the family you loved to gather around our table.
I know if you could visit me, you would, so I hope I’ll see you as I go through each day and I watch for signs that you are still near.
When I see a butterfly, I chase it, calling out, “Mom, is that you?” When a dragonfly allowed me to pick it up and hold it in my hand, before it flew away, Rachel and I both asked it, “Is that you Nana?”
I smell the wind for traces of Oil of Olay. I still pick up the phone to call you, only to set it back down, in tears. I still get excited when I see things that you love on sale. I pick them up for your Christmas stocking, only to set them back down, in tears.
All you ever wanted for your girls, your ‘beautiful daughters’ was for them to find happiness. So why do I cry every time I think of you?
Ok, Mom. I put up a small fiber optic tree and Cherie sent me the butterflies that cover it now. It’s your tree Mom.
Remember the year when I sent you the six foot fiber optic tree? You loved it so much that you sat for hours, just watching the colors change and glow. I’m going to celebrate Christmas this year and even though I do miss you so much, I’m gonna be a big girl.
Just one more thing, Mom. I want to thank you for giving us Cherie because she too is a woman who touches the lives of every person she meets and her influence, love and support are every bit as strong as yours, so although I miss you every day, I thank God and I thank you, for giving us Cherie.

Love,  Jeanne Marie

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i catch a glimpse of you

peeking out now and then

just when you are sober

before you’re off again.

my little girl peeks out from

the battered woman’s eyes

i brush your hair

off your pretty face

we hug and hug

and tell each other lies.

the only words that are true

among the words we say

i love you mom

i love you jodie lynne

thus we survive

despite the odds

to fight another day,

again.

Bird In A Cage

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Bird In The Cage

The bird in the cage can’t fly

She can’t spread her wings

and soar through the sky.

There’s always somebody

who lusts after her beauty

someone who captures

her bright feathered booty.

With a few dirty pennies

and cruel lies she is bought.

She does not dream

never free, she is caught.

She doesn’t live

she just grows older.

Cripple winged bird

crying on your shoulder.

The bird in the cage can’t fly

she’s bound her own wings

but if he puckers his lips

to make a kiss, she will sing.

Their Song

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Their Song

She came home today

lipstick on her lips

suitcase in her hand

knowing it went

against everything

she had planned.

She’d left for good

then that song

hurt her so bad

smashed her to pieces

pierced her with sad.

And so she went home

back to a place where

she no longer belonged

led astray by her memories

betrayed by her heart

manipulated by their song.

by Jeanne Marie

Our Prisoner Of War

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prisoner of war, can he ever forget what he

heard, what he saw?

turns on the TV, slams his bedroom door

still hears their shouts, damn their stupid war!

love has been beaten wrong side out by thoughtless acts,

lost to words that pound like fists,

scream and shout!

no hands were laid upon her, twas conflict that stripped her bare

naked soul withering, disintegrating, until she didn’t care.

bruises fade to yellow, begin to melt away

fresh sounds assault the soul, raising welts of colorful array.

she slips in to say goodnight, he pretends he doesn’t see

whispering to herself, a trembling hand shuts off his blank TV.

secrets confront his ears, unrelenting silence surrenders up to him her fears.

my angry son, when you grow up and are a man, will you take prisoners of war?

will you beat them with your voice, bruise them with your anger and never

lift a hand?

will you use their love to build a prison, design each brick to beat them down,

enslave their trusting hearts?

when she cries, will you turn your head, slap her face with words instead?

will your harshness sting and blind her eyes, cloak the disorder you disguise?

when she sobs herself to sleep, wondering if she’s insane,

will you kiss away her tears just to strike again?

prisoner of war, can you ever forget what you heard, what you saw?

when you leave this house can you wash clean, shed the stench of in between?

can you ever forget what you heard, what you saw, can you ever be released,

our prisoner of war?

by Jeanne Marie

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

 

Cold Winter’s Bite… by Jodie Lynne

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No matter how much I put in…

How hard I did try…

Right back down

this mountain I’d slide…

I’ve climbed and

I’ve crawled…

Had faith, I believed…

How well I took life’s test

karmas from Eve…

Told myself never quit…

or never I’d gain…

Worth it this fight…

I bore all my might…

Picked thorn woven weeds

filled purely of pain…

Maybe I went too far…

Took a wrong trail or two…

Left…I am here…

Damning fate who already knew…

Foreseen was my future

she holds in her grip

same end it does seem…

Maybe my character once questionable…

Maybe my motives once unclean…

Surely she sees greatest all efforts

this queen all unseen…

I put all that was left…here…

I went out on a whim…

Judgment’s cold harshness

tears through my skin…

Stuck…in…

hells…I created…

Life battles again…

Falters and falls… seems the only win-win

this damn endings forever…

lost in the cruelest of winds…

Forever this fairy tale needs simply to end…

F—Cinderella and f—Snow White…

I’m left here alone…in fate’s cold winter’s bite.

by Jodie Lynne

To Jeanne, from Mum 1987

My mother, Grace, wrote this poem for me after she read about fifty of my poems for the first time.

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The Angel’s Feather

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The Angel’s Feather
by Grace Christine Doucette 1926-2009

To Jeanne Marie. It was 1953 and two angels were sitting on a cloud over the small town of Tewksbury. They were sunning themselves, if angels can sun themselves, and these two angels were smiling and happy. As they looked down they saw a woman sitting on a doorstep. She was crying and so sad and so alone and it upset the angels.
One angel said, “What can we do to help this poor soul cheer up a little bit?”
The second angel said, “Well, this woman is about to give birth to a little girl. Maybe through this little girl we can bring some joy into the woman’s life.”
The first angel said, “That’s a great idea and we can do that!”
So, she reached up and plucked a feather from her wing and she placed it next to the little baby’s heart. She said, “Now, this baby will bring joy and love and laughter to that sad woman.”
Sure enough when the baby was born, she had a smile on her face and she instantly brought happiness to this lonely woman and day after day, they grew closer and closer together. One day as the woman was holding the baby and looking down at her, her heart was just bursting with love and she had to sing a song about this love. And she sang:

Whose baby are you?
Whose baby are you?
Your hair is brown
And your eyes are too,
So, whose baby are you?
You’re mine, yes you’re mine
Cause God gave you to me,
You’re mine, yes you’re mine,
Now my days are no longer gloomy.
Whose baby are you?
Whose baby are you?
You’re mine, yes you’re mine
Cause God gave you to me,
You’re mine, yes you’re mine
And you will always be.

And for the rest of her life, whenever the woman looked at that baby girl the angel’s feather would tickle them both and they would both burst into laughter and they brought joy to each other’s lives.
“This is a true story sweetheart, and I know you still have that angel’s feather near your heart cause every time you come near me, you fill my heart with joy and laughter and you have made my life complete. Love, Mom”

I was going for my first surgery in 2001 and I begged my mom to make me a tape to listen to when I was under the knife. I wanted her with me in spirit and I was so happy when I got the tape in the mail. My surgeon agreed to play the tape for me and when I came out of surgery, I was told that everyone in the operating room had been crying.
It’s funny how time runs away from us and our priorities turn upside down. When I came home from the hospital, I put the tape in a drawer because I knew it was special, it was my mom’s voice, but I didn’t listen to it again after my surgery, not until Mom passed away in 2009. It has taken me four years to copy the entire tape onto a CD (a one hour procedure) and to write out this story. Time. Why do we always assume there is more?
This story was mixed in with my favorite songs that she had sung for me when I was a little girl, the songs I had asked her to record for me so I would feel safe in surgery. What a precious gift. This story is the reason I named my book of poetry Gracie’s Glimmer. I am Gracie’s Glimmer and I believe she is still with me everyday.

I Am Sixty

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So how do you plan a perfect 60th birthday? You don’t. You just let it happen or at least that’s how it worked out perfect for me. I really dreaded turning sixty and I did a lot of whining about it for maybe a month before my birthday. Loud whining. Okay, so maybe it leaned toward ranting and sobbing, but let’s not judge.
I have recently gained twenty-pounds and my hair was burned and butchered last February with a subsequent offer of the famous Florida retiree discount the same day. (A first for me.) To make it worse, my hair has only grown two inches since then and my confidence has definitely taken a hit because of the hair massacre and the fat belly. However, that’s another story. (The Day I Lost My Cute)
WARNING! Although I detest long, rambling stories about nothing, stories you have to wade through to discover if it is hopefully about something, this might be one.
August 8
Okay, about my birthday. I meet with several women each week for a writer’s meeting and that is where my birthday celebration began.
We had decided to honor each other’s day of birth a few years ago.
A.) Because we care about each other and B.) We all love cake.
Especially my Mile High, Cool Whip, Jell-O Cake adorned with fresh strawberries, blue berries and kiwi slices. Or my Cool Whip smothered chocolate butterscotch pudding cake.
So, as I got ready for this meeting, I knew it was my birthday week and I had my usual “don’t make a fuss over me, I’m not worth it” jitters bordering on a full-fledged panic attack. I asked myself why I loved to give and why I was so uncomfortable when receiving, but as usual, I had no answer.
My friend Deanne picked me up, which was a good thing as I might have given in to the jitters and gone AWOL. Monica was hosting this week and she made an incredible dinner with all the extras including a special lamb dish just for me. She had also invited several friends I’d never met and I teased her that she had hired guests for my party.
These guests turned out to be unique, creative, unforgettable women and it was a pleasure visiting with them and my writing friends all evening. I read my August Is Gone story (https://womenwhothinktoomuch.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/august-is-gone/)  and I swore that not another August would pass me by without something special taking place, something just for me that I had never done before.
Oh ya, and let me tell you about the cakes. Three cakes. One even had a desk and a computer decoration. A strawberry cheesecake (my favorite) a fancy white cake and the best chocolate/Almond Joy/Cool Whip truffle cake I have ever tasted. Mmmm. My new favorite.
My friend Minzie had made the chocolate cake and it was just incredible. I am allergic to chocolate, so I hesitated and then took two Benadryl tablets. I ate two huge pieces of chocolate cake and a piece of cheesecake. I’m allergic to whole cheese products too, but I was in a devilish mood and I did tell everyone my Epi-pen was in my purse.
The crowd sang Happy Birthday to me! Then I got presents that only women who really know you could bestow. A striking black frame enclosed the ISBN from my book, Women Who Think Too Much (available at  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/287988 ) and Minzie’s daughter had talked to her about me and then written me a poem that I will treasure always. Minzie also gave me a gorgeous new journal, a friendship pen and a book, “Why Men Make Bad Pets.” Monica gave me an original oil painting. Beautiful, thoughtful presents.
Late into the night, we ate and we talked. I went home feeling so blessed to have these writing friends in my life. That night spun me into a new mood for my birthday week and I actually stopped whining. (Ya, ranting, sobbing, whatever.)
August 10
I was sound asleep when the doorbell rang on Saturday morning. My honey got up and answered the door and came back carrying the biggest plant my son and his fiancé had ever sent me. As I held it for a picture, I could barely hang onto it because it was so heavy. (Big isn’t always better, but when turning sixty, it helps.) With tears streaming, I proudly placed it as a centerpiece on my dining room table.
That afternoon, my honey takes me to the store and I pick out a strawberry cheesecake for a birthday dessert tomorrow.
I stay up and hug every minute till midnight cause I will never be 59 again. Maybe in some parallel world, I am still 17. Gotta love imagination.
August 11
The big day is here. I am sixty.
Our little dog is sick so we decide to stay home with her. We hang out while my honey and I talk about what I’d like for a present. I usually choose money to go shopping because I love to do a major hit on the clearance racks for clothes, but that thought doesn’t excite me this year. I have gained twenty pounds thanks to cortisone shots for bursitis and I’m not in the mood to try on a bigger size. Much bigger.
The week before my birthday, I had suggested that he search out an easel in the thrift stores and he didn’t seem too excited about it.
Late afternoon, he goes to Wal-Mart and comes home with a collapsible easel, three different sizes of canvas boards and acrylic paints. I was thrilled that he remembered until I realize, oh no, now I have to paint or he will feel bad! I have been collecting painting supplies and promising myself that I would experiment with painting for about four years, so it really was time to paint-up or shut-up.
Well, I walked around thinking about it for an hour and then I traced a picture of Tinker Bell onto a canvas and I started playing with the paints.
I only had about five colors but I was happy with the choices. I spent about four hours doing my first painting and I painted over Tinker Bell so many times that I lost her body. She morphed into a long black wig sitting on a brown toadstool. I didn’t care. I just let my hand work with my imagination. I was amazed that I had painted anything and I was quite thrilled to have done something that I had never done before–on my 60th birthday!
I got the same rush from painting that I did from writing and thanks to the present of an easel from my guy, I had now fulfilled a fantasy. I had painted.
As I started to throw my first work of art in the trash, stating, “What an ugly fairy,” my husband said, “No! Keep it! It is your first painting.”
So I signed it and left it on the easel to dry. When I looked at my painting the next morning, the dry colors seemed softer and my work had taken on a personality. In the days since, I have actually grown to love it. Of course, I love what it symbolizes more than the actual painting. I also showed it to my daughter and she told me that I had painted a mirror image of her first (very bad) tattoo. Spooky, cause I didn’t even remember her tattoo and it was covered long ago.
Okay, so here comes the grand finale. My husband of over thirty years had told me that I could have anything that would make me happy for my birthday. He had no clue what to get me because he already buys me anything I even think I want, within our means and sometimes even beyond our means.
All I could think about is how much I wanted to go to Sanibel Beach. For about three years, my friend Deanne (she spent every summer there when she was growing up) has been telling me about the huge conch shells (and more) that wash in with the tide and she had the shell collection to prove it. I invite the writing girls to go on an RV trip to Sanibel, but in the planning stage, it gets down to Deanne and me. My honey tells me to rent a room instead of fussing with the RV and I think that sounds good. He does the research and reserves us a room at the Holiday Inn on Sanibel for three nights, three days. It looks tropical and beautiful, but I don’t trust advertising pictures so we will see. PS I don’t drink but it was 5:00 o’clock somewhere!
To Be Continued

The Gift

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She picked up the book
and placed it back on the shelf
when she saw the price.
But…then she thought of her daughter
to send her this treasure, would be a delight.
She lovingly touched the glossy roses
she’d wanted this kind of book for ages.
She pictured her daughter’s garden, then
she paid the price and mailed the pages.
As she weeded her own, she softly smiled
imagining the distant flowers in full-bloom
and she thought of her daughter all the while.
Little did she see that the greatest gift
she’d sent was the bloom of her love
carried on the petals of a book
delivered by the sliver of a mid-summer’s moon.
To give her child what she herself desired
seemed to be the mother’s greatest pleasure.
God made this woman quite special
and then He doubled it twice over
beyond her daughter’s measure.
by Jeanne Marie

Suicide No Longer An Option

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I look down at her limp body.

She is face down on the large bed, alone. Her fine, blonde hair is like a halo around her head as she lies so still on the brown, patchwork quilt.

As I watch her, I am sobbing. I don’t understand my gut wrenching tears. Why am I crying tears of desperation and tears of terror? I don’t know why I am hysterical and then, with a sudden sense of horror, I realize that it is my body on the quilt and I am not breathing. My body is cold. I am dead.

“Oh my God,” I think. “She finally did it, she really did it this time and there’s no rescue, there’s no turning back.”

“Why did she give up?”

“I don’t want to be dead!”

At this point, I no longer feel connected to the woman on the bed. I think of the body as her and I am me.

I have no memory of her final act, but I am filled with shame and loathing at what she has done. I’d always thought that death would release me from her unending pain; now, seeing what really happens, I am horrified.

All that I can feel is her hurt and my disgust.

“Why did she give up?” I moan. “How could she do this terrible thing without my permission?”

I sob even harder because now I understand that death doesn’t release me from her despair. No, on the contrary, I’d carried her burdens with me to this nether world. All I’d lost was her body and her ability to change her life. If only she had known.

Now, I could spend eternity roaming this sphere, trapped with the emotions I’d carried from her physical realm of reality, caught at that moment in time when she’d given in to hopelessness, surrendered to depression.

I feel enormous regret. I want to be alive! I want to go back and keep on trying.
I didn’t give up. She did!

I have no memory of my physical death. Where was my vote in such an important decision? I, her very soul, I have been forced from her body without my permission.

It doesn’t seem fair and I am so angry. This is a horrendous experience. I hate it! Floating above her dead physical form, I want to shake her, scream at her, but what good would it do?

How could she have done this irreversible deed? I, the very essence of her existence, I did not have a choice, no voice in the matter of her physical demise.

Now there truly is no hope and no escape from the emotional blows she’d been dealt. She was free but I, her inner being–I am condemned to carry her pain through this new plane of reality.

I feel doom such as she could’ve never imagined. No person still in possession of their body could begin to conceive the shock I feel, awakening on the other side with all of her pain still weighing down my soul; amplified by the powerlessness of being separated from the body that had housed my substance for almost forty-two years.

She had given up and her pain was my prison! Death isn’t a release!
“Oh God,” I cry, “if only she had known that, but now it’s too late.”

I wonder how her family and her friends are taking it.

At once, before the thought is even finished, I feel my spirit surrounded by them.
I am crushed. I taste their anger, their pain, their guilt and their shock at her selfish act. Their unbearable fury and their horrible sadness are added to the emotional load I already own.
Unseen, I cower beside them, burdened more than ever, dirty and ashamed.

Why hadn’t she realized that suicide was not her answer? What would it have taken to show her this celestial space, this spiritual prison? Didn’t a glimpse of this possible netherworld ever enter her thoughts; didn’t it ever trickle into her conscious mind?

I can’t describe the distress I feel, the grief that showers over me as I watch the chaos created by her self-inflicted slaughter.

I want to live! I want to live!

Sobs wrack my ghostly form as fruitless tears exhaust my ethereal energy. I begin to float and I lose touch with my being. I am losing all conscious thought.

My eyes open. I am crying, disoriented and lying face down on my familiar, brown patchwork comforter. Could it be?
I reach for my face with my hands.
My fingers touch my warm, living flesh.
I am alive! It was only a nightmare. Thank God!

But wait, was it just a nightmare? Perhaps I’d left my body and traveled to the other side. Perhaps I’d been given a horrifying warning. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had traveled a far distance, that for a time I had left the material world behind. Tears rolled down my hot cheeks, tears of gratitude. I still had a chance and I still had a choice.

However, now I know. I don’t have forever to catch my star, to work through my conflict.

I get up from the bed, shaking with relief. I am alive! Another chance to heal, to forgive myself and to fulfill my destiny, another chance is mine.

I understand, perhaps for the first time, that the emotional baggage I choose to carry on my back, the pain that I’ve refused to let go of–it could all travel with me into the hereafter.

In fact, my baggage would weigh more than ever because the anger and the grief that my suicide would cause my family and friends, that weight would also be laid upon my spirit.

I am alive! I don’t want to waste this chance to heal my broken heart and somehow; I know, nightmare or spirit travel, this was a final warning from my Creator.

Post note: This was an extremely real experience. Jeanne Marie, 1995

Caught In Myself

pictable1

The girl inside the woman

Runs the show.

You ask me to stop her

But I can’t, not now.

She has too firm a hold

And her fears are too great,

Born of a painful reality

Her needs will not wait.

She needs so many things

No one could ever supply,

She demands my attention

When I try to set her aside.

Her ways are not healthy

Thus, she damages us both.

Yet, she is so strong

We are tragically betrothed.

Wed in our long ago pain

She won’t give me control,

But I’ll continue to fight her

Until she has to let go.

It’s to soon. I’ve just begun

To feel her emotions, her fears.

Just begun to process her pain

Buried, denied, for so many years.

Jeanne Marie, 1990