Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"When your body is exhausted, your brain finally listens."

- Unknown

Sunday, October 24, 2010

When You Believe

There can be miracles
When you believe
Though hope is frail
It's hard to kill

- "When You Believe" - The Prince Of Egypt

Saturday, October 23, 2010

"No man could save you from yourself."

- Darcey Steinke, Suicide Blonde

Friday, October 22, 2010

Meeting with the Trustee

I met with the trustee for my bankruptcy this morning, downtown at the courthouse.

I thought it would be easier than it was. I should have known it would not be easy at all.

I have been fighting this for 2-3 years. It is never something I thought I would do in my life, ever. And it is something I really did not want to do.

I broke down sobbing mid-way through what I will call the interogation.

My attorney handed me tissues, but the whole pack was not enough.

Afterwards, he sat outside with me while I cried and cried. Still I cannot stop.

He says it will get better, and I know he's right. But today I am so very sad.

It still hurts me that I was put in this position, within a family that has so much. That I tried so hard for so many years, and they will never see that.

I gave my blood, my body and my milk for my children - their children too.

I have my tears, my health, my youth, my pride, my time, my energy and my last penny to my ex-husband and his family.

I am grateful that I am out of their "family" - if you can call it that. But it still hurts, and part of me thinks it always will.

I am grateful to have such good friends. 3 of them came and spent last weekend with me. I was embarrassed to share about my financial situation, especially with one friend who is doing very well. She paused for just a second and said, "you just call us when it's time to move out of your house, and we will all be there and help you move with trucks and everything else."

I remember
I was
a point, I was a circle,
I walked
The swords are porous green.
I fell, to the edge of a whitened eyelash,
I laughed, to the edge of death I laughed.
I remember I was a glass that breaks the water, stretched out across a cloud,
I remember I was a butterfly,
despair began to spread like darkness, bullets began to make shadows, pointed shadows.

He is your blue-colored shirt, my cup and fork, my
balcony, the din of silence in the void, my closed eyelids,
the bird that shall bear me to the grave, he is the grave.

How often they have wrangled with mountains on my lips. Hands
that burn are extinguished in wine, rivers that run dry are pinned
to the walls, parched earth tries to imprison
your voice,
your voice.

Have you the courage to dance on a mirror? have you more
strength than the brilliance of a bee upon its knees, than
the kiss of pearls shoulder to shoulder?

Do you spell out tears as I set forth a tree?
From the ledge of each well, pots of hyacinth fly
in all directions. As though temples exploding, they
cross the marble to the final star, like the grasses
that glitter in a pebble. I watch her veiling herself,

On my clothes I write God, I write heaven.
This is me. And this is you.

Like one who lives on a seesaw, I live in the pupil of your eye.
Come morning you destroy me like an arrow
, come evening
I yield to you, without a struggle I turn to dust. I say he is a mountain that bears a city, I say he is a horse that gallops in the sun.

Like one who lives in deceit, I stone myself and call for help
Is there a terror greater than veiled fear, than
a deserted evening, than feet that tread on heaven,
than waves sketched like rainfall, than signs of thunder,than a cage without a bird, a bird without wings, wings
without love, without love?

From your two hands I gather tenderness at night,
from your two hands I grant a smile to each star, from your two hands I bury my head on your breast, from your two hands I search for my prayer.

I draw halos around you, as if you are the foe, as
if you are the Messiah. If you were alone, I tell you, I would
prostrate myself you you. If just ten, I would hide you in my lungs.
Since you are a thousand, I shall give you to drink from my blood. Your wound grows and grows.
it slits my throat from vein to vein. I put sand in your
wound. I put your wound in a giant, and around myself I
light the fire.

Who are you, that I should love you in the space I love you, in
the wound?
The stones are whispering:
There is no myth save in a wrestling goddess, a moon fragmenting. The statues are countless, beyond all computation. The poison is a single dose placed in a cup.
I pluck suns from between your eyes, I pluck thorns

-Orbits, be scattered beyond time, beyond weapons, beyond vipers, Be in harmony with the strength of gods, with mercy like the gods, with optimism like the gods, Upon the trackless sand each teardrop has a garden, the birds a small handful of honey.

Here am I bending down to drink and I lose my memory.

I have not let my face leap like a bat, I have not kicked my foot, I did not move like phantoms over the rooftops, I did not steal the sea's wings,I did not break glass over a breast, I have not withdrawn into despair, I did not go mad in gathering honey,

I did not go mad, I did not go mad, I did not go mad.

No need for the flanks of suffering, for my armor

A ship carries us to the end of the world.
Rivers push us seaward. A destiny in which I dress. Nets by which I am woven. Statues I destroy. A debt I pay. Flocks of birds.

A disaster. An earthquake. Travel. Return.

Return. Return. Return.

Forgive me O Lord!

a shore gathering pearls, a white horse enfolding me and taking wing, a bird that immolates me as I am warmed by its eyes, eyes in which I pray and weep, my ribs that are translucent, trees of emerald, the rose of compassion above unity,the dissension of daybreak's crown, the willfulness of nightly grandeur,the sanctity of pain, roses raining down,

him, him, him

I grasp the wave and I tumble

A divine vigilance in my eyes?

I leave at your door the burnt moments of time, the sunset, the harvest of error, and endless slipping, the grasp of truth, ingots of gold, faces of those who have died, faces of those who will die, footsteps of the prophets, shadows of the priests, the thinness of words, the misfortuneof the world, the secrets of the fields,

my love for you, your hatred for me,
and the white lilies
and the white lilies.

I grasp the wave and I tumble...
I remember I was a point, I was a circle.

I Remember I was a Point, I was a Circle, Hoda Al-Namani
partially translated from the Arabic by Tim Mitchell

(The full poem was not reprinted here - because of the layout of the blog, the poem may not be layed out properly either. If you can find it online, I highly recommend reading the entire poem. It's a favorite.)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give."

-Winston Churchill

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Energy is Back

I seem to be getting my old energy back. (The level I had before I met J and before this last 6 mos of caretaking.) I've been doing all sorts of things that I enjoy and expanding into new areas. I have even have increased my brisk 45 min walk that I often didn't finish (or wasn't brisk) to include some running, which feels good. I am back to my kundalini yoga and a lot of other activities that only seem in increase my stamina and energy. I am finally excited about life again and so grateful to be divorced. I only wish I had done it sooner.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

would you harbor me?


I would harbor you sister/even when the feds are after our very essence/harbor you in the mist of the southern willow trees/ the unknowing/among the moon lit daybreak/ while they search and I howl at the midnight sun as we move through time together.

I would harbor you sister despite race class religion or politics/I would harbor you knowing we are all one; in spite of those who wish to tear apart our union, our houses, our countries, even our very bodies/I would harbor your face, your curves, your breasts, your womb, your children, your thoughts, your dreams, your love. I would harbor you like my own daughter, mother, sister/ I would harbor you through war, debt, death and destruction/ I would harbor you through beatings, disease, love, hate, breakups, weddings, funerals, longing, heartache and return.

I would harbor you sister/ just and virgin as things are to be/sick and shut in, seeking to shut out/trying to be tough/I will break you in one breath/converting myself to O2/ clouding your room with confirmation/I would bring you hand squeezed juices, raw food, hot elixir, menthol salve and my granny’s quilt/ with bowl of water under bed, amethyst aroundyou/breathing in nag champa/faint smells of lavender I wear between/I watch/ you sleep/like a mother that protects her eggs as you dream/waiting in turn like double dutch to jump in… to get uncle, stranger, daddy, teacher, preacher off you/sister I will harbor you as we discuss the unfortunates and I will always ask if you are ok.

I would harbor you from your own sons, wrecked by their fathers’ violence/I would hide your daughters and granddaughters in my own breast/ I would put them back in my womb if I had to, until they are ready for this world.

I would harbor you sister/even when you look strong/but turning into stone in your weakest moments/weep/grieve/rejoice the love with you/provide a safe haven for your wounds/call the healer to touch you/ask her to keep it quiet in the darkness of the night/burn sage/light candles/breathe and pray for you/ask for forgiveness for us/ even in the midst of your anger/madness/sadness/when folks say it’s way too much/just suck it up/shut it up/ I listen.

I would harbor you from grief and depression/ I would remind you of your smile and our laughter, of better days behind/ahead/and right now/I would hide you from your own self-criticism and shame.

Sistren I would harbor you in the healing crevices of the Goddesses soul/Take your hand, carefully guiding you through distant lands/The salve of my words rebirth you a reminder your essence is whole/You are freedom, you are love…no more guilt or shame/LOVE is your birthright, to explore this land/LOVE is in your DNA makeup which spells your name/I labor not in vain for I share my truth and the life born of my seed/Sistren I would harbor you/in covenant/ for you I bleed….


I would harbor you sister/even when draught purges this earth /harbor you in the midst of dried wheat fields/ dancing, sacrificing, chanting for the rain with sweat and tears popping the ground/ Pulling up dried beet root plant/ peeling back the stems/ showing you/ the encouraging green life.

I would harbor your tears/use the salt to make us a feast for dinner/dance joyfully to the sound track of our lives/drink wine/break glasses and whisper in your ear to let you know you are not alone. I would harbor you in my wisdom/carry you in the bosom of my experience and pains/ guide you through the pit falls of life’s mind field/ like a girl scout/ Mother Theresa/ Sojourner Truth/ Joan Arch/ Harriet Tubman, I will lead you to safety

I would harbor you in your last days when others desert you in your own rancid shit and make you wait for paradise/I would hand you back the keys to your own life and let you float away in peace and freedom.


I would harbor you sister/ even when they come knocking/ papers & guns drawn/ smelling of blood/looking for that escaped/ goat /I will stand there/blanked face/answering no questions while you jumped from roof top to roof top / dodging through alley ways/getting the pumping fist while passing the onlookers/then meet you at the gates with the doors open to a new passage way for life.

I would harbor your temple in my mosque and your synagogue in my church/I would light a candle, say a prayer and speak in tongues of fire/I would hide your unreligious soul in my own backpack on the journey towards wholeness/I would ask the goddess to please forgive us for not calling first.

I would harbor you just as it is my rite to/we are all we have/I would harbor you when your heart is filled with fear of the new, questioned by the past/as you lay awake aching for me/I would harbor you as you strike my name against the electric air we make/ as we overcome the past while painting the future on these perspiring windows.

I would harbor you sister/even when the passion burns at the touch/with sweat rolling down our butts/seeing vision dancing at the thought of us/the embrace/the saving face/the trials/the grace/the trousers unzipped all the way/you swollen to the touch/unconcerned at what might be discovered/whispering soft moans of pleasure/laughter reverberating out into the night/knowing smiles/nervous/unsure and full of something.

I would harbor you sister/even when they call you he and you a she/or you a he but now a she/our clothes blinds us to reality/just call me/let it ring three times then I’ll know, I’ll answer.

I would harbor you; would you harbor me?

- written collectively by Poet On Watch, Nubian Sun, Trista Hendren and Irradiance Theinfinitefemme

Monday, October 18, 2010

As I Lay

As I lay here in the dark night my eyes I can not shut..
I'm aching with not so sweet pain for my lovers touch; sadly I stray.
I fear my loneliness not to know it's end...fear for my heart to fail. I'm hurting from his given pain...willing to let my pride die in vain.. willing with his smooth touch let my sorrow fade away and with his body my body peacefully lie.. In the night
I can't wait to smile again...I can't wait for my heart to sing his song...I'm yearning deeply for that pleasant face to show me his happiness for our love again.
What is life...but a test of faith? What is love..but a painful ache?
My life with him is my faith constantly testing...and with his love the aches never ending.

When you are un well...You tell me how miserable I make you...you show me the mistakes I do. You let me see my imperfections as if yours are not so noticeable too.
I wish that one day when you are feeling fine..and your heart swimming in my exotic wine....you would keep it there and let it sink...so that we can both get lost in each other...so Devine. I'm yearning for that night...of pure passion and innocence of love in dim light. Yearning for the night that would let all hurtful words get lost.
Yearning for our love to fade away the distance...Waiting here I am in the dark night.

-Lida Ajami

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Love is not something to be used

You may hide emptiness under the word "love," but when the object of your love is no longer there or does not respond, then you are aware of emptiness, you are frustrated.

We use the word "love" as a means of escaping from ourselves, from our own insufficiency. We cling to the one we love, we are jealous, we miss him when he is not there and are utterly lost when he dies; and then we seek comfort in some other form, in some belief, in some substitute.

Is all this love?

Love is not an idea, the result of association; love is not something to be used as an escape from our own wretchedness and when we do so use it, we make problems which have no solutions.

- jk - Commentaries on Living Series I Chapter 42 Loneliness

Friday, October 15, 2010

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

- Maya Angelou

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Scorpion and the Frog

I am very angry tonight with my ex and have been since this afternoon. I am too exhausted from crying to even write everything (or anything) that transpired. I decided to look back to the beginning of this blog, which gave me a lot of perspective.

After reading many of the old posts, it made me realize it probably doesn't even really matter what transpired. It is just more of the same shit that has been going on for over 8 years.

I think, deep down, I have still been hoping that my ex will change at some level. That we can at least be friends. That he can be a better person.

I happened to see this and it was a reminder that he will always be him.

There once lived a scorpion and a frog.

The scorpion wanted to cross the pond, but being a scorpion, he couldn't swim. So he scuttled up to the frog and asked: "Please, Mr Frog, can you carry me across the pond on your back?"

"I would," replied the frog, "but, under the circumstances, I must refuse. You might sting me as I swim across."

"But why would I do that?" asked the scorpion. "It is not not in my interests to sting you, because you will die and then I will drown."

Although the frog knew how lethal scorpions were, the logic proved quite persuasive. Perhaps, felt the frog, in this one instance the scorpion would keep his tail in check.

So the frog agreed. The scorpion climbed on his back, and together they set off across the pond. Just as they reached the middle of the pond, the scorpion twitched his tail and stung the frog.

Mortally wounded, the frog cried out: "Why did you sting me? It is not in your interests to sting me, because now I will die and you will drown."

"I know," replied the scorpion as he sank into the pond. "But I am a scorpion. I have to sting you. It's in my nature."

The wisdom behind this story is: People don't change that much. So don't waste time trying to put in what was left out. Try to draw out what was left in. That is hard enough.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I feel so sad and so lost today.

I expected to feel relieved when she finally died after so many days of dragging things out. But instead I feel like I don't know what to do with myself.

I thought this would be a new beginning and I could move on to something else in my life besides caretaking, but I don't have a desire to do anything else now.

I forgot my checkbook and had to come home. A friend had sent a dozen beautiful white roses, which was really a lovely surprise. I don't know how he managed to ship them here overnight from out of town when I didn't even find out she had passed until after 5, but he did, and it means a lot.

For the Dying

May death come gently towards you,
Leaving you time to make your way
Through the cold embrace of fear
To the place of inner tranquility.

May death arrive only after a long life
To find you at home among your own
With every comfort and care you require.

May your leave-taking be gracious,
Enabling you to hold dignity
Through awkwardness and illness.

May you see the reflection
Of your life's kindness and beauty
In all the tears that fall for you.

As your eyes focus on each face,
May your soul take its imprint
Drawing each image within
As companions for the journey.

May you find for each one you love
A different locket of jewelled words
To be worn around the heart
To warm your absence.

May someone who knows and loves
The complex village of your heart
Be there to echo you back to yourself
And create a sure word-raft
To carry you to the further shore.

May your spirit feel
The surge of true delight
When the veil of the visible
Is raised, and you glimpse again
The living faces
Of departed family and friends.

May there be some beautiful surprise
Waiting for you inside death,
Something you never knew or felt,
Which with one simple touch
Absolves you of all loneliness and loss,
As you quicken within the embrace
For which your soul was eternally made.

May your heart be speechless
At the sight of the truth
Of all your belief had hoped,
Your heart breathless
In the light and lightness
Where each and every thing
Is at last its true self
Within that serene belonging
That dwells beside us
On the other side
Of what we see.

For the Dying
by John O'Donohue

(from the book 'Benedictus: A book of Blessings')

Monday, October 11, 2010

Nana Died

Nana passed away early this evening surrounded throughout the day, and the last months, by her family. The cancer took over her entire body.

It seems much to early to be the end of her life. She was a young grandma. She had 5 children by the time she was 22. I was born when she was only 36. It seems crazy to think of myself being a grandma now, at this age.

She was an unconventional, but loving grandma. She was always reading when I was young, and I remember that the first book she gave me as a kid (at least that I remember) was Dr. Wayne Dyer's Your Erroneous Zones. I think I read it twice, and I had to have been about 12-years-old. The biggest thing it helped me with growing up as a born-again Christian was guilt. I recently saw it and read it again.

There were so many things like that with her - quiet nudges to prevent us from living painful lives.

She was always beautiful and very smart. I remember hearing my sister Andee's boyfriend, who is in his twenties, remark recently that she was a "damned sexy lady." It was always like that with her.

She taught me a lot about owning my own sexuality as a woman, and never letting society's double standards take hold over me. There was never any nonsense with her, about anything. She never beat around the bush, and I appreciated that about her. That being said, she did not have an unkind bone in her body. I never saw her do anything malicious or mean. If she didn't like something or someone, she was direct about it.

She didn't just praise you just because you were hers - if she did give praise it was sincere and measured. I started making my own body-oils a few years ago, and made a special batch for her for Mother's Day last year. She asked me about the ingredients and such and then just said, "Humph!". A week later she called to tell me that she had put mine on one arm and hers on the other for a week to test which one was really better. She asked her manicurist and a few other people. She was very excited and proud to tell me mine really was better!

What I will miss most about Nana is to be able to call her with any cooking question. Neither one of us liked to talk on the phone, but that was one thing we really connected on. She knew the answer to everything. She saved many recipes for me.

A few months ago, I had sat out in the sun for too long and then proceeded to try to make 2 new (and very complicated) appetizers for my friend Bill's birthday party. I was so ditsy she asked me, Are you drunk? We laughed for a good long time about that and I told her that I had not only sat out too long but then proceeded to cut up and empty out 20 jalapeno peppers with my bare hands and every part of me seemed to be on fire. She always had the answer for everything - and both recipes turned out great.

She was never very emotional or a smothering grandma, but she always made sure you knew how much she loved you. The last months we were together, we almost always sat out on her back deck, until the very end. She always hugged me and told me she really loved me. She and my uncle were almost always laughing, even when things were pretty bad for her.

She often surprised me with her thoughtfulness, whether it was calling to check on how a recipe had turned out or worrying about our dog getting trimmed after she became ill.

She loved all of her children so very much, and that was really what stuck out to me the most in our last visits together. She was always so concerned about everyone else. When I showed her a wig I had worn at a recent party, she told me she had a perfect bag to go with it and told me to go and get it so I could use it for my Halloween costume.

She, like my other grandparents, always came to all my parties I threw throughout my 20's and 30's - and there were some crazy ones! She would always join right in and drink whatever we were drinking.

She taught me a lot about taking care of myself and getting lots of exercise. She was moderate in everything and so self-sufficient. She believed you had to find your own happiness, and she found hers just being at home, whether cooking or working in her beautiful yard. She was steadfastly not religious and I do not believe she ever feared death. The last few days she talked about going to a better place to be with her brother. She never doubted her right to exist in heaven, and neither did I.

We talked many, many times about my marriage and my life. There were a lot of things we related very well on there. She never told me what to do, but her own life served as an answer for me on many things. In many ways, she had a hard life. But she always seemed content. I will miss her so very much.

I have always felt, when times were hard, that at least I had my family, who is so very dear to me. My grandparents in particular have always been a rock for me. Although Nano and Pappa are gone now, I often forget that they are not here. I still feel them very much around me and inside me, and they still buoy me when I would otherwise sink.

I hope that, in time, I will feel this way about Nana too. For now, there is just emptiness and great sadness.

It seems fitting to end with this quote from the book she gave me 23 years ago. It was something that I completely forgot and that I hope to finally learn. She seemed to know it so well.

"If the world were so organized that everything had to be fair, no living creature could survive for a day. The birds would be forbidden to eat worms, and everyone's self interest would have to be served."

I hope Nana is happy and at peace, hopefully eating well in a beautiful garden.

Lesson Learned

My ex called me today while I was picking up my son. It had been an exhausting day by my grandmas bed.

My aunt went nuts and decided to call hospice and say that she thinks my uncle will try to assist my grandma in suicide. So now, they are really watching him.

I had to go through and document and destroy all the meds with the nurse. She had to have me sign that I had witnessed this and helped her dispose of everything and put it all in coffee grounds. We had to account for everything.

She can't swallow anymore so these are all things she can not use anymore. Usually they don't do this until someone dies, but since my aunt called, she thought we should do it then while we were both there.

I could not believe my aunt did this to my uncle.

He's been there 24-7 for weeks, if not months, and today is probably the last day. He broke down several times. My uncle looks like the Brawny Man, and apart from when his dog died, I don't remember ever seeing him cry.

I had to sit there and defend him and remind everyone that the bottom line was she didn't want to be like this and she wanted to die over a week ago.

After she left, I looked at the sexy Glamour Shot of her on the wall and thought, that wasn’t so long ago. You would never know she was the same person, laying there, completely unaware, bald, with her mouth wide open, gargling.

It is one of the worst things I have ever witnessed to see my Nana like this. It's not like my other grandparents, who were in their nineties. She still had life yet.

I had sent our Associate Pastor a picture of her several weeks ago, with her hat to cover her baldness. (She did not want any religious visits, but the women in my church have been continually praying for her.) Then I realized that it did not really show her who she was praying for, so I sent another one of her from a few years ago. She thanked me and said it helped her really recognize our loss.

So there were three people in that room with me - the beautiful grandma I have grown up with, the warrior cancer patient who rose to the occasion, and the corpse lying there half-dead.

I tried to sing every comforting, non-religious song I could think of and pulled up the “For the Dying” poem which my sister had read to my other grandma just prior to her passing. I kept thinking it would be anytime, but she did not pass in my presense.

By the time my ex called, I wasn't in the mood to hear what he had the nerve to say to me.

He said he knows just what I'm going through because he's done this before. He seems to completely forget that I've known him nearly 10 years and I know he's never done this.

I wanted to tell him he was full of shit and had nothing to compare this to, but I sucked in my breathe.

I sent a text to my sister venting, or so I thought. I sent it to him instead.

"Really funny!! HaHa I have watched many people that I love die from cancer in the last 10 years! Maybe, you should call whoever you sent that to next time you need any help?!"

I told him I didn’t want to get into it with him and that I was sorry I sent it to him. I told him, “You have not been a caregiver day after day for weeks or months. So I don't think you have any idea what I am going through.”

His response: Fuck you!

So next time, I will not hold back. I will speak my mind.

And here is some of what is on my mind.

When my grandpa was dying of cancer, 3 years ago, he was no where to be found. It was a terrible and difficult time and he made it 50 times worse by being a complete prick.

It is harder now for me to lose this grandma like this, because she is so damned young and I blame the alcoholics in her life for shortening her life.

One of the biggest reasons I finally left him is because she never had that option for herself, and she told me that many times.

Even though this is a harder death to deal with on that level, it is easier being a single woman without the support of a "husband" than it was to have a supposed husband who was so completely non-supportive of that loss.

I am stronger now, because I have to be.

While he may have visited his aunt or his grandpa a few times during their illness, he never cared for them. Not one day. And with all the money that family has, the way his aunt died in particular is completely disgraceful.

While my family may have its issues, we don't leave our own to die alone.

One of the reasons I think my grandma died so young is that continual sucking in that I just did this afternoon.

I really don't want to ever do that again.


"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all barriers within yourself that you have built against it."


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Being a desert in oneself

Being nothing, being a desert in oneself, one hopes through another to find water.

Being empty, poor, wretched, insufficient, devoid of interest or importance, one hopes through another to be enriched. Through the love of another one hopes to forget oneself. Through the beauty of another one hopes to acquire beauty. Through the family, through the nation, through the lover, through some fantastic belief, one hopes to cover this desert with flowers. And God is the ultimate lover.

So one puts hooks into all these things. In this there is pain and uncertainty, and the desert seems more arid than ever before.

Of course it is neither more nor less arid; it is what it was, only one has avoided looking at it while escaping through some form of attachment with its pain, and then escaping from that pain into detachment.

But one remains arid and empty as before.

So instead of trying to escape, either through attachment or through detachment, can we not become aware of this fact, of this deep inward poverty and inadequacy, this dull, hollow isolation? That is the only thing that matters, not attachment or detachment.

Can you look at it without any sense of condemnation or evaluation? When you do, are you looking at it as an observer who looks at the observed, or without the observer?

- jk, The Urgency of Change

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Long Hard Road

There's a long hard road ahead
But a voice inside me said
You know there's something that you need to know
It's gonna be alright
Said there's something that you need to know
It's gonna be alright

And when in this life, in this life
When I can only turn my chin
I know it's gonna be alright
When this big old town is closing in
And I have lost again here

I could stay but I'll keep moving on
Here I could stay but I'll keep moving on
Could be I won't be wrong

There's a long hard road ahead
But a voice inside me said
Said there's something that you need to know

It's gonna be alright
Said there's something that you need to know
It's gonna be alright


Friday, October 8, 2010

Remember Pain

Remember pain. You pain is your key to freedom...and when we speak, the pain dissolves into a river of tears where it belongs.


Irritated at my own Co-Dependency

I am irritated with myself this morning. My house is a mess, my weight is slightly up and my body hurts everywhere.

I started cleaning up yesterday and found several things that should have been dealt with weeks ago, if not months ago. Birthday invites, information for teachers, things that just should have been filed away. I went through each thing and took care of it, little by little, making amends where I needed to.

I have not been doing my Kundalini Yoga, which really helps me with so many things. I started doing some of the moves and promised myself I would get to the video when my ex-husband has the kids this weekend. My body has not felt like this for a long time. I've gone back to taking way too many Excedrin's as a way of powering through my day instead of resting or stretching when I need to.

It's a familiar feeling, but one I don't want to go back to as my "normal." Feeling bad was my "normal" for so damned long.

I have not been eating remotely right. I have mostly been eating ice cream and Popsicles because I just don't feel like eating anything else. My stomach is bloated, as this obviously is not a good food choice for me. I am starting to crave salads and vegetables now, so I will go to the store and get some better options (no ice cream!).

I am struggling between wanting to change and not be so codependent and thinking that we are essentially who we are. Perhaps I will always be this way, but I am getting better at taking care of myself and at least realizing when I go down the dark tunnel again.

It seems to be a fine line between being compassionate and wanting to help and going completely overboard and neglecting myself and my own responsibilities.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I just came from my grandmother's house. She is really out of it now. It is so sad to see her this way. It is good she had some extra meat on her bones to begin with because she is really skinny now.

Her brain is nearly gone. She got confused and told my mom she needed to leave. My mom ran out, and we all knew she was upset. I had been there for about an hour before that, so I knew that she was just completely out of it. I asked her if she wanted me to leave too and she said yes. Then she realized what she had done and they asked me to run back out and get my mom. She had already left.

The Social Worker helped me give her a bath. She perked up then, but it was humiliating for her when we washed her private parts and she started to cry. She broke my heart.

I was glad to have someone there helping me. She was very kind and it didn't seem as hard as it had with my other grandma when I had to do it alone. She kept things light. I will not let myself break down with my grandma again.

My grandma did not want hospice there again today and she has said that several times now. As it turns out, it is a profit thing. My uncle had reiterated to one hospice worker yesterday that she didn't want everyone there and the woman snapped back that he had to let them come because if they didn't come, they wouldn't get paid.

I have learned a lot about our system of dying in the last 3 years. This is the third grandparent to use hospice. There is a lot I would change.

It is too late now for any of the so-called assisted suicide to help us as my grandma had wanted. There is a 15-day waiting period and she will not make it 15 days. She just has to suffer until her death. All we can do is make her as comfortable as she can be.

I was so grateful to my uncle today for being there. Life is so complicated. People are so multi-faceted. I know that my uncle is the only one who could care for my grandma the way she needs to be cared for. She needs someone quick, competent and most of all, someone who will not baby her. She is such a strong and proud woman.

In one way, he's my hero - and certainly hers. In another way, he has traumatized my aunt and my mother and they have felt abused by him.

It's hard for me not to see him as a hero though. He has always been my favorite uncle, and I love him so much.

My grandma said again that her biggest fear is that all her kids will start to fight when she's gone. I told her they wouldn't but I suppose we both know the reality.

Last night, our Associate Pastor called me and asked if she could stop by with her boyfriend. She is a beautiful woman in her seventies who has connected with a childhood friend. They are both just gorgeous people - they shine. They give me a lot of hope about finding a partner one day. They are so happy with each other.

She brought her gong and tried do do some relaxation for me. The kids got a little too excited though so it ended up being more about them hitting the gong. She also brought a beautiful white prayer shawl that she had made for me with the ladies at church. They all signed a card to give me encouragement.

I feel bolstered by all the prayers and love. The women at church are so special to me because I know how close many of them were with my grandma.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Distorted Vision

I realized the other day that I do not see people clearly, especially in my family. I have a very distorted view based on what I want to see. There is a quote from Anais Nin that says we don't see people as they are. We see them as we are.

My cousin had told me that my uncle had told his mother that he would kill her and cut her up in little pieces and bury her in the backyard and no one would ever find her. I shrugged this off as exaggeration. How you could exaggerate that I don't know. That was a month ago and he didn't contact me much in-between. I knew he was upset with me but I sided squarely with my uncle.

It bothered me the other day when I joined in on a collective poem with several other feminists based on the premise "would you harbor me?". I thought of all the ways I have sided with abusive men in my life because I saw them as I wanted them to be.

My aunt and mother had taken me aside in my grandmas kitchen the other day after my mom had told me privately she felt like my uncles' abused wife. They repeated the story and it hit me that it was probably true. I say probably because I still just can't fathom my uncle saying this. I still see him as a little girl, even though I remember clearly as a little girl walking in on him and seeing his friends injecting drugs into their arms.

It hit me that when my sister told my mom about my step dad she could not fathom it either. This was a huge disappointment I had with my mom that stood in the way of a relationship between us for a very long time. There is so little backing of the women in my family. I have not felt harbored and I imagine no one else has either.

There is also a part of me that realizes that my uncle has been a protector of me all these years. I have always known that if someone (a man) messed with me, he would, if nothing else, scare them. This gave me a feeling of confidence. But it also came at a price. I never take my uncle to task for anything, even when there were times that I knew he was wrong, and I would usually say something if it were someone else.

I have been silent.

I have also chosen not to recognize the words and feelings of the other women in my family.

I hope that I will begin to at least listen with an open heart. I hope I will begin to see people as they are, for what they are, because that is part of being honest where I have failed myself.

And more than anything else, I don't want to fail my daughter.

I would harbor you sister

I would harbor you sister/even when the feds are after our very essence/harbor you in the mist of the southern willow trees/ the unknowing/among the moon lit daybreak/ while they search and I howl at the midnight sun as we move through time together.

-Poet on Watch

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I had a thought the other day about dying and our inability to deal with aging.

When we put our elderly away, not only do we deprive them of the life and family they deserve, but we deprive ourselves.

I started to think of the grandparents I have cared for in the last 3 years prior to their death. It has been extremely hard in many ways. But one thing that I realized is that I do not fear death or aging the way that many people do.

I have seen things that I would have never thought I could have dealt with - not only seen them, but taken care of them with love and compassion. There were times when I gagged or felt ill at ease, but for the most part, I saw it as an act of caretaking that I was proud to do. These small acts brought me closer to them, and had I not cared for them, we never would have had many of the moments that we did have.

When we care for our elders, not only do we grow in our relationship and intimacy with them, we see ourselves in them and we learn to accept our own death and our own aging. We see the big picture, and we are all better for it.

I feel very worn. I know these last years have aged me and taken a toll on me. But I would not trade them for anything. Of all the things I have done in my life, this was the best thing, and the most important thing - besides raising my children.

My Mother

I must be worth my life
At the hour of my death
Worth the tears of my mother

- the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish

Monday, October 4, 2010

Worst Day

Yesterday had to be one of the worst days of my life.

We skipped church because we all had the beginnigs of colds. The morning was peaceful, just hanging out with the kids and doing not much of anything. I made the kids waffles, and actually ate one myself, which I rarely do anymore. It was really good.

My uncle called early afternoon and told me to get over as soon as I could. He said to to bring the letters and copy of the new will I had helped my grandma with over the last few weeks. He said she was done and intended to have hospice come in the next hour to assist with death.

I rushed over after calling my ex in tears and asking him to meet us over there.

I arrived to see nearly all my aunts and uncles there and my grandma calling other relatives in tears telling them goodbye.

Hospice arrived within 20 minutes of my arrival and we were told that nothing would happen until the next day. My grandma started bawling and said she couldn't live like this anymore and said she would just get the shotgun or jump off a bridge.

A counselor was brought over and the timeframe went to one week and then to 15 days. My grandma explained that she didn't want to keep shitting all over herself and she could no longer do anything that she enjoyed or that made her life worthwhile. It was terrible to see this strong woman reduced to tears and begging.

Meanwhile my aunt and uncle went into the other room to count all the cash money she had saved up all these years, which was more than I would have thought. They divided it by 5 for each of her children, and later by 6 to include her long time boyfriend who she had earlier written out of the will. Everyone was approaching me privately and I left feeling that nearly everyone was conning me in their own way.

It was a terrible feeling. I wish I had never gotten involved in the will or anything else. I don't know what else I could have done different, because I would not have said no to my grandma if she asked me to do anything. Nonetheless, I have gotten away from most of the drama in my life and returning to that spot felt really uncomfortable and terrible.

I laid with my grandma in her bed for the last hour before I left. I was crying softely and she noticed. She told me that I would be ok and that I would find a nice man who would love me and my kids. I realized in that moment that she had full confidence in me and she didn't have the worry for me she did with many of her kids. It was a very empowering moment. She didn't leave me with money. She left me with her full trust and confidence in me. That is a greater gift.

I am very angry that she is not able to leave her life with dignity as she had planned. The morals of our coutry make no sense to me. We have no problem taking the lives of people around the world who are not ready to leave their life or their family. But when one of our own is suffering and ready to go, we suddenly have morals and they have to wait an arbitrary 15 days.

15 days of additional profit is what it amounts to. Everything in life, seems to come back to money.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

We were never meant to survive

I reread the first 3 Darcey Steinke novels a few weeks ago and then purchased the last one and her memoir.

I really relate to her since we both grew up in fundamentalist homes and have since "gone astray". The memoir started out good but I was disappointed with the ending. It seemed rushed and unfinished. But one thing I did get from it was that I need to change my ways around my ex. I have been very angry towards him lately, moving backwards. I think it's because of the bankruptcy. It's just never something I ever saw myself doing. It unhinged me.

I saw in this memoir that regardless of what each parent does, they both have their own points of view, and the kids all have theirs.

Holding onto my anger won't help my kids or me, and will only keep me in this same bitter place forever.

My grandma is nearly dead. It seems we are just all waiting now for the inevitable to happen. It is sad and painful. I seem to be almost in a daze, getting lost going places that I have been a million times.

Yesterday she was so out of it. Her face had turned gray and my crazy aunt from Texas had decided to put makeup on her. She looked like a ridiculous clown. Her bald head covered by a pink hat and black eye brows painted above her eyes with a smudge of mis-colored rouge over her cheeks. I preferred seeing her gray. It was better than haphazardly hiding what we all know is about to happen.

My aunt had made turkey that looked undercooked to me. I didn't say anything but declined to eat. My grandmother wouldn't eat the turkey either. She kept looking at the clock and saying it hadn't cooked long enough. Everyone else was drunk except for my mom and me so they didn't seem to notice. They all acted like my grandma was nuts, but I told her I thought it needed more time too. My uncle had given up feeding her and told me to do it so I transferred most of her food to my moms plate. She asked me if I could lie. I realized I could, for her.

I'm worried that this death will tear apart the relationship that my mom and I had finally come to terms with. Alcoholism seems to destroy everything. There is such an insane pull to it.

My Mormon uncle who had been sober almost 20 years had started drinking again. I have reconnected with my cousin lately but had not realized that we had both married alcoholics. It is crazy that alcoholism is so damned secretive - even in families that should know better. We could have been helping each other all these years. Instead, we both held our shame privately, always pretending that our lives were just so. No wonder her daughter and my son, who are only 2 weeks apart, had such an instant connection.

It's almost like a strange destiny we were both pulled towards. All the blame I have been feeling towards myself sort of dissipated when I heard this. I suppose you are pulled toward what you know.

And in knowing this I realized that all of my family is pulled this direction and so is my ex.

And despite all the things I am angry about, it is only because my ex texted me out of the blue yesterday and offered to take the kids - that I could be there for these last moments.

My uncle is recently divorced and is already talking about getting remarried. I asked him and the rest of my family sitting around the table out back - does anyone in our family ever have good relationships? Is anyone or was anyone ever happily married? Only one person - ever - my cousin Tina.

My grandma has been telling him and me both not to get remarried. She keeps telling me not to have more children. She says it urgently, nearly every time I see her. I keep thinking of the Audre Lorde poem, A Litany for Survival.

For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone
for those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going
in the hours between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
like bread in our children's mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours:

For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother's milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.

And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
of indigestion
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak
we are afraid our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid

So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive

How especially true for those of us born into alcoholic families...we were never meant to survive.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


The other day my son brought home a picture (above) that he drew of the inside of our house for a school project. It was both interesting and heartbreaking to see. Both the kids have emphasized how much they like living in this house. It has been shelter for all of us for 6 years now.

My grandmother is very close to death and I am worn out. There has been a lot of drama, and I don't really want to be involved in it, but I feel stuck nonetheless.

Last night my mom came to watch the kids so I could get a break. I drove around for a few hours but I just couldn't bring myself to get out anywhere. I am fortunate to have so many good friends, but there was no one I wanted to see. I felt like no one could understand me at that particular moment and I didn't feel like explaining myself.

So I drove home and my mother left.

I realized once I got into my bed with the kids that this home is comfort for me too. It's inconvenient and has painful memories too. But at the end of a hard week, the only thing I really wanted to do was crawl into my own bed with my children and go to sleep.