Surreality.

Every day I see people who knew you in life, sometimes running into them for the first time in decades; and, they inevitably ask about you as if they expect to find out that you’ve moved away to Canada, like you always threatened to do. The news of your short battle and premature death unfailingly drops jaws all the way around, and I regularly find myself in the position of having to firmly convince someone that you are dead and gone: a highly dissatisfying instance for me.
At least once a month I see a dress or a couch or a set of dishes that oozes your still lingering essence, and this essence permeates my existence for some time – maybe an hour; maybe a day…and as much as it stirs the burn of the embers inside the firepit called Pain, I greedily and secretly lean into the heat because it’s the only way I feel like I still know my Mom. Like I still have my Mom.
Every single night I walk my dog down the street your house is on. Although somebody else lives there and its appearance has been drastically altered since you died, I sometimes see your faint ghost on the front porch doing a crossword puzzle. I see your ghost watering the lawn too, or occasionally it even excitedly waves a hand at me from across Camden Avenue in the darkness.
I catch myself more frequently spitting out random statements and sayings that were always unique to you, alone.
Things like,

“In like Flynn.”

Or I sing stupid bits if stupid songs like,

“Here we come,
on the run,
like a hamburger on a bun.”
Or,
“Jonathan Joe had a mouth like an O”

I know its really you speaking in my voice, but I wonder what any of it means.

I often thank the Gods that you and I were able to at least scratch the surface of our reciprocal amendments to each other before you died so horribly fast and miserably. I’m continually thankful that I was able to thoroughly explain myself to you after all was said and done between us, but before your brain got so full of metastatic tumors that you were unable to comprehend me. I’m ever thankful that your passing wasn’t during any of our many former years apart, and that I was there to hold your hand when you asked me to be, because I can vividly remember that you were afraid, truly afraid. You never lost face though, you remain a bonebreakingly strong idol of my candlelit shrine. And no matter what else life throws at me, I will meet my last day on Earth with your smile on my face and your strength in my bloodstream. And, while your death killed off parts of me and stole any comfort I knew in the big, bad world, I haven’t let it burden me.
Though, I still bitterly wish we could have had Christmas in Sutter Creek, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Every single day passes with a strangling sense of your absence. And some days, I find you staring back at me from a mirror or the reflection from a storefront window as I pass. The tiniest and subtlest bits of your essence still trickle from the hole that losing you that way has left in my heart.

Futile. 

I’ve never felt so alone.
And, Ive spent my life feeling alone.
…didn’t know this kind of alone was even possible.

Pins and Needles.

My fingertips are pins and needles,
That tuck the hospital corners of your world,
and smooth the blankets of your mind,
It’s chaos, come to adjust the pillows ’round your heart,
Anxiety, come to massage your broken hands,
See my sparkling, salt encrusted crown of worry,
Ever thickening with hardness,
Never weakening with softness,
My fingertips are ten tiny doorways,
That seek you out, thus desperately
It’s a welcome party sporting shotguns,
It’s death, come to holler in the deafened ears,
Life, come to go away again,
See my hate-infused senses trying so hard to love,
Ever faltering with drunkenness,
Ever drinking in this emptiness.

The End.

My mom seemed a little “off” on Thanksgiving…maybe a little more tired than most other times I’d seen her recently. She’d been doing the withdrawal thing for some time leading up to that night…resigning herself to the death that has been chasing her since this time last year. Her spark had been low and she didn’t eat much on Turkey Day. That was the last time I saw my mom.

She must’ve had the stroke sometime after we all left her for the night…
Now, she just lays in her bed at the hospital, no signs of life besides her breathing. She sometimes responds to a question or comment, but mostly, she just lies there starring at a spot on the ceiling.

She has a low-grade fever every night, further damaging what brain cells that have managed to spare themselves from destruction throughout everything. The doctors say that the stroke was caused by her brain mets (her most recent PET scan showed several very small tumors in the frontal lobe above her eyes); they say that is the root cause of the lasting delirium and confusion also.

The full sentences that she manages to get out make no sense at all and range from topics like horse racing to stigmata (not a single topic being anything familiar or realistic). Sometime during the first week of this hospitalization, she blurted out pretty loudly and clearly

“I don’t wanna be part of this two-bit town!”

She also has a recurring theme of horses and sweeping out the garbage into a trash bag or sometimes into a pile, depending on who she is talking to. My Grandma Joey is “visiting her” regularly, despite the fact that my Grandma has been dead for almost 6 years now. My great grandma T left the reservation to come lay hands on my mom (an ominous act if ever there was one), but my mother didn’t recognize her and became agitated and uncomfortable with the presence of my Uncle Horse.

This goes on since the morning  after Turkey Day…no change for better or worse although I can read between the lines that this is likely the wrap up for the bitter end of my mom’s fight with Cancer.

Clingy.

When you aren’t available, the world feels hollow.
I can only pray to nobody and nothing that you haven’t left me behind yet.
After all these years, no grip of mine is tighter than this desperate clinging to you.

Daily Disillusions. One.

Some of my longtime readers may recall how, throughout the lifetime of my blog, I’ve described the very deep-seated issues surrounding my long tattered relationship with my mama; things that stemmed from early childhood and only snowballed throughout my life until I was an adult and became estranged from her on my own terms for a time. Some might recall the ways in which I was openly struggling with the actual severing of ties between her and me due to her direct and quite unhealthy ties to my own daughter in the months prior to her diagnosis. The cruelly finite death sentence of late stage lung cancer that was handed down to her early last December quickly changed my life’s direction, and before I knew it, I became her main (if not her only) confidant, caretaker, nurse and administrative assistant/scheduler.

I can’t believe she has survived so long…at least not when compared to the very short time that was originally laid out in her prognosis, not to mention the very close brush with sudden death she initially undertook on the trail of her first chemo via febrile pneumonia and neutropenia that landed her in the ICU for several weeks. At that point, she was recovering from the dip in her white blood cells that had left her open like a sitting duck for the infections that literally almost killed her in the beginning of her “treatment”, and wanted to spend Christmas at my Aunt and Uncle’s house with our family. Given the circumstances, I was certain that last year would be her final holiday season alive, so I killed myself emotionally and financially to make her holiday as close to perfect as possible.

It was also during that period of time that her husband of 40 years, my long-time father figure, abandoned my mama completely in the face of her illness and impending death. She never went back home again, as her husband repeatedly failed to clear out the presence of my daughter and her disgusting friends from the house.

Some of my readers might recall how I had been struggling for several years with my parents over their unwavering loyalty (to the point of sheer stupidity) to my absolutely sociopathic and parasitic offspring – and the undeniable affect that such loyalties would inevitably leave in their proverbial laps. It only got worse as time went by; and as soon as my mom was out of the house, it went to Hell in a hand-basket. They began getting notices from the landlord within weeks, my daughter having gotten a puppy that destroyed the carpets and some of the walls and woodwork. In the passage of time between then and now, my former step father also managed to lose his car, his savings, his healthcare coverage and anything else worth anything at all that he might have owned.

Two days ago, a 3 day notice to quit the premises was posted on the front door of the house that was once my mama’s home. For some reason, my former step father was surprised enough by this that he called my mom and told her, obviously upsetting her on many levels. She now also has been burdened.by the anxiety, disappointment, worry, and heartbreak attached to learning (being reminded of) of the reality that her entire estate of 50 years’ worth of the obsessively collected, pack-rat-esque, silverfish friendly belongings that she has bent over backward to hang onto throughout handfuls of relocations, burglarized storage units, rats and various destructive insect infestations, and 2 fires: is gone with a 3 day notice to quit the premises.  I know this breaks her heart because I know how she is and I have come to accept and endear the wacky things that she holds closest to her heart, as indecipherable as most may be.

That house is full of my own history also, mine and my daughter’s…and any of the things that I would’ve wanted to have from my mama will be gone as well. I have not been surprised by this unfolding of the Living Hell that has come to define every direction of what I would’ve once called “my family”; I was writing letters on my mom’s behalf to her landlord almost a year ago, so it’s not like my former step father and daughter (who will soon be homeless and without much but the things each can carry somehow) can say they didn’t see this coming.

The entire situation, which has gotten so far out of control that it’s beyond repair or interference from any outside party, is beyond my ability to intellectually grasp on any level. I am ashamed of my former step father for his absolute lack of action in even keeping himself afloat in the face of my daughter’s shenanigans. He has not only allowed and enabled this nightmare to play out like it is – but he also dares to call my dying mother (who is separated from him for the very same lack of action) and heap the load onto her already broken back. I am so sad and miserable over all of it, as I am in no position to offer anything in terms of any kind of aid or guidance to such an obviously lost cause as the situation at my mom’s old house, I want no part of that noise at all.

I also feel very bitter toward my mama again for the shit she painted herself into this corner with; a notion not so foreign to my heart and mind…I just wish she would’ve listened to me in the first place about letting my daughter move into her home when she left the hospital with her tracheotomy a few years ago. Thinking back to that now in this very moment, my eyes are swollen with tears because I remember my mom’s staunch position on “seeing Boo through the removal of the trach and subsequent recovery”, no matter what I said about it. I was dumb-founded by her blind loyalty to someone who had burglarized her home and stolen her car. I have come to feel so embittered by and ashamed of Boo these days, I have no words for that element of things…besides bad ones.

In short, everything is as bad as ever…waiting for that other shoe to drop hard on my head and heart…working with an asshole who fucked with my emotions and made me hate him as a result – having to look at his weasel face every day, has been wearing on me…too distracted to touch myself, too disgusted to touch anyone else…working hard and earning shit…more disillusioned every day beginning with my commute to work at 7am.

It Hurts.

me n mama 2017

“Watching your mother tortuously and slowly sink into the grips of death is equal to that of existing on a daily basis without being able to make anything at all better for someone who has always found a way to make things better for me.”

Selective Listening.

I was aware of the seemingly minor discrepancies that have popped up between my mom’s and aunt’s stories about trivial things at first – but increasingly, these slight alterations in the ways that they perceive things have grown into regular spats between them. I feel like a small child again, stuck between my mom and dad when they argued and said awful things about each other. But now my mom is my dad’s role and my aunt is in my mom’s. My dad and aunt are both “by the book” people; each being a law-abiding citizen and tax-paying voter. My mom…well my mom is just my mom…she’s not into any category by itself, she’s too much of a social butterfly (or used to be) to sit still very for long.

My aunt used to be an ICU nurse, years ago when I was young, before becoming an attorney on the County Counsel; she married well (in terms of security and stability, at least – he’s a jar-head and also a retired lawyer) I think when they are alone, they hardly ever say a word to each other. She loves basketball (being 5’11’, long and lean with legs to stop traffic, even at her age), loves good food and wine, and fosters a rather warped (though rich) sense of humor.

My mom used to move furniture with her (soon-to-be EX) husband, cross-country for decades. We all know the horrible story of her choice in a mate, so she is currently alone. My poor mom is newly homeless, jobless, dying of cancer in one hospital setting after the next with the same three (sometimes five or six) faces hovering around her constantly; mama told me yesterday that she feels helpless and hopeless – like the thorn in the foot.

It was at the wrapping up of such a discouraged conversation, as I folded the paperwork pertaining to her life insurance policy and her bank account back into my purse to mail off on Tuesday, that I turned around to see my stepdad in the doorway of her room, standing with his eyes on the floor in total submission, almost as if he were kneeling at the chopping block already.

Apparently, since my visit to him, he found the balls (although, too late to make any difference) to eradicate my offspring from his residence “for good”, so he claimed.

It became obvious to me within a matter of minutes that they he and my mom have been in contact quite recently, as she had no issue with him pulling up a chair to her bed and sitting with her.

The things he came there for were 1) brought with him certain pieces of mail that mama has been worrying over; 2) told her that he doubled his own life insurance policy since he has no known medical conditions; lastly, but most shockingly and painfully, he announced,

 

“Boo is out of my life for good.”

(I say “painfully” because it was obviously a painful reality for him as he said it to her).

It was at that point that, despite my threats against his life if he came near her, I opted to leave and give them some time once I received the nod and wink from mama. I didn’t want to listen to any of the unhealthy bullshit that they have both grown accustomed to over the time that Boo has been pirating their’ (former) household and lives. I didn’t want to listen to my stepdad (my former karate sensei from the summer between kindergarten and first grade that’s been part of mom’s tribe ever since) talk about planning his own suicide due to the irreversibly damaging choices he’s made for both of them since her diagnosis. And maybe seeing him all broken down and with his bottom lip quivering like that will give my mom some sense of something, after all – who knows?

When my Aunt hears of this, she will lose her gods damned mind and be very angry with me for NOT making my stepdad leave immediately; but that wasn’t what my mom wanted at the time and she is a grown and lucid (for now at least) woman still, isn’t she?

 

Guess Who Has Resurfaced?

…For now, at least.

And, I will not squawk at a single thing about her mental return, no matter it’s duration. Gods, it is just so fucking good to see my REAL mom again, after the last few weeks of her  degenerative Living Hell. I honestly believed that I would never get to talk with her all about the traumatic events that have led us here; I was sure we’d never be able to sit and sift through the details that ended with the horrid, 5-day-long brain seizure that she endured right under my nose; I was certain that I would never know why and how it all went to shit so fast for her after her diagnosis…I had prepared myself for the reality that my REAL mama died recently, and what I had in her place was the “New Mom”.

(Didn’t I say that there was definitely something besides depression, fatigue, side-effects of chemo or simply late stage cancer happening to my mama?)

The rest of her once: thick, long, widely admired, randomly touched by friends and strangers, alike “dirty dishwater blonde” hair had fallen out while she was in delirium; and she was not happy at all. A few fruit cups and an whole milk cappuccino later, she was directing me through her bureau to find her new t-shirt. It’s  a shirt I bought her when her chemo started last month; though she didn’t find it amusing, much less wore it. She sported it tonight with her bald head and nose hose as I wheeled her around the grounds of the rehab center in the pouring rain, with the song ‘Whose Crying Now?’ by Journey (her all-time favorite band) playing in her lap. She was totally alert and full of her normal piss and vinegar tonight. I loved every minute of it. It was a gods damned good night.

More (Scattered) Thoughts.

I’ve written about it before, the way the shine went out of my mom’s eyes upon the death of her mother; I’ve written about the extended period of mourning and bereavement that she experienced (and continues to experience in many ways, even now); I’ve written about the weird things she did after her mom passed away late one night, i.e. refusing to take off the sweater that belonged to my grandma for at least a year afterwards, or the taking up of chain-smoking cigarettes like it was a sport and she held the title of Champion (she is now paying for those solo marathon smoking fests that sometimes lasted throughout the night on the front porch of her former home). I have written about all these intricacies belonging to the grief that seems to have drained the life right out of my mama in the end; and I have picked apart the ins and outs to the responses and behaviors attached to my (former) mom’s processing of it all. I can now say that I honestly and thoroughly understand and comprehend on a deep level: how and why the shine left her eyes with the emotional blow of her mom’s death – I can see the shine going dull in my own eyes little by little too, if I dare look into a mirror. My skin has changed in texture and color, my mouth perpetually wears a frown – my shoulders sag, I sigh a lot, and deeply.

I have also been on an emotional kind of high-alert in regard to my mom’s feelings and her personal level of overall peace throughout her recent diagnosis of cancer (her death sentence) and the subsequent nightmare-esque circumstances that have become our day to day existence. I have been watching her stiffen her lip and put on the dog through it all, telling herself and everyone else that she doesn’t think cancer is going to kill her, and things like that. I have been able to sympathize with her and what she’s going through all along so far for the most part; but I still can’t seem to bring myself to imagine the world after she’s gone…

I have written about my many longstanding issues with my mom stemming from childhood; I have written about the many years we let pass by hardly knowing one another at all; and the things we knew about each other were not born of fond sentiment (on my own part, at least). I have always been so afraid to turn out like my mom did – the way my young brain has molded her in my recollections from early on – raving and spitting mad, a foul-mouthed Squaw, the drunken breaker of my mine and my brothers’ hearts. I spent so long in judgment of her for how she dealt with the loss of her youngest child, my brother JJ; for how she never allowed me to even mention him in her engaged presence after his tragic death; for how she never acknowledged his hurt and pain, even after he was gone – like I am anyone pass judgment on anyone – look at my kid, for Gods sake. I see so many things differently nowadays, and am glad that I have had the chances to accept her as she is while she was still able to comprehend that acceptance and appreciate what it all meant to both of us.

It’s a weird jumble of thoughts that have been swimming been around in my head and heart lately; and it’s all rather hard to put into words, if not impossible, but I want to try:

I see that we are each, indeed, creatures made of the same stardust – all of us.

I see how it’s a fact of Life – the very essence of Life – everything we do and everything we are is seeded by our parents; each thought that we have, even subconsciously, somehow and on some level ties back to the ones who bore us, nurtured us or contributed to our young lives; the moments when we think out loud and say things that we don’t even completely understand to ourselves, or when we quietly chuckle at a distant memory  from our childhood – it’s all loosely, but surely woven into the very essence of the many individualized notions of love, of being loved, of loving the best we know how to love, to the bitter end of Life…be it ours or our parents’ end, it will be the most bitter taste that the other has ever had to swallow. I know that the sun will not cease to shine on the day after my mom lets go of this world; I know that things will carry on like they always did: cars will drive people to work, and people will get married and babies will be born and my family will eat dinner together somewhere and drunkenly celebrate my mama’s Life…I just can’t picture it.

 

On a lighter note, I got a new job at the cemetery/mortuary today. And I’m not being horribly un-funny either, I am serious. I’ll be keeping books in the back offices, but I think it’s rather fitting all the same…a place where you are encouraged to wear black or dark colors to work EVERYDAY; a place where you aren’t allowed to laugh in the hallways for any reason, a place where you get kudos for the most sullen look in the office. I thought it was perfect. And apparently, so did they.

White Noise.

It’s mind boggling how quickly everything can evaporate away into nothingness; it’s amazing to behold: the way that within the span of time it takes to order certain documents and sign certain papers, everything around you shifts into a totally different form, shape and appearance than that of the former “everything” that defined existence…how little anything means all of the sudden, how trivial the majority of things are in Life…the cold, hard fact that here is no justice, even in death.

I have been catching myself saying things out loud to nobody in particular sometimes; hateful and angry things that come from the bottom of my tattered heart…things like,

 

“Fuck every God, fuck the Gods…there are NO Gods…and if there are Gods, the Gods are bitch-made pieces of shit!”

 

or

 

“Kiddie-fuckers and psychopathic murderers, terrorists and those sick fucks that torture and abuse animals…they’re all walking around, they’re all taking deep breaths, somehow…as my Mama suffers, as she fixedly circles the proverbial drain in a fucking hospital bed, fighting for even the misery of spending one more day that way.”

 

The past two nights were spent consecutively in the same ER, watching my mom’s stiffened figure shake and tremor on a gurney as she detoxed from every pill she takes for chronic pain; nobody cares at all about her because she won’t be staying (she’s a Kaiser member) and my brain felt as if it began to sizzle at some point. I sat on the stool next to her, stifling silent, frustrated tears as I watched my mom feebly trying to scratch at the neck brace/head collar that the hospital staff refused to remove for over 24 hours straight (they supposedly needed some elusive “trauma team” to clear her of the possibility of some serious fracture). She was FINALLY moved upstairs to the trauma care unit early this morning, whereupon she promptly fell hard asleep for the first time since her arrival, at least. The time leading up to this glorious sleep was spent miserably and tortuously in attempting to comfort and calm her delirium. Two nights and days of sheer helplessness and uselessness at her side; just a fucking breathing lump of waste rubbing her head and holding her hand as she swallowed moment after moment of terror-filled hallucinations and imagined unwelcome visitors. At one point, she was thoroughly convinced that “someone, a person” was looking at her from the ceiling tile, before becoming absolutely enthralled by the back of her own hand upon pointing up to show me which tile.

She asked me,

 

“Did I try to kill myself?”

 

This was an unexpected query coming from my mother; definitely a quite surreal elapse of time between she and I in the moment. This struck a chord in me, the daughter that my mama has nearly lost to suicide a handful of times throughout our rocky history together, to hear coming out of my mom’s mouth, as, she has been many things in her time alive – but NEVER has she before displayed even remotely suicidal ideation or tendencies. I stuttered and stammered in response, before just saying the truth:

 

“I don’t know Mama, I don’t think so…I think the pills were by accident, in confusion or something…I hope so, at least…”

 

I was thinking to myself at the time of how I’d surely want to die if I were in her shoes…ditched by my husband of 30 plus years when I needed him most; forgotten by the granddaughter I spent almost 20 years trying to show unconditional love to in attempt to make up for the absence I offered her mom; ripped from any semblance of normalcy or familiarity altogether and made to feel so sick that my hair all fell out;

…need I go on?

My New Mom.

Because of the collective whirlwind effect created by the sudden appearance of, and the subsequent hijacking of any former Life by this hideous reality, this thing known only as “my mama’s terminal cancer”:

  • I pushed it to the limit with keeping her with me at my house (actually, just a single rented room in a home shared with 2 bachelors) and nearly bit off way more than my can possibly chew;
  • I nearly pushed myself to the point of no return in regard to my own sanity and my own abilities;
  • I allowed myself to totally reside on the back burner for too long, and in turn began the cycle of forgetfulness and neglect in light of my own basic needs and any prior commitments made before the nightmare of Anticipatory Grief entered my day to day existence.
  • I stiffened my upper lip and sucked it up – I refuse to ask anyone for anything in the context of help with my mom, especially my new mom, due to her total and complete lack of any sense of self.
  • I moved her to a place where she isn’t going to be waited on hand and foot like I had been doing for her – having such a personal caregiver isn’t a good routine for her overall independence, despite what she says now.
  • Since the move, she has slowly declined in mentality to the point where as of now, she is too confused to find or answer her phone 9 times out of 10; she still cannot walk on her own either for some reason; she forgets her medicines and forgets to eat, she doesn’t shower at a;; anymore unless she is made to do so; she has no sense of humor, the only remaining thing about my former mama was the crazy thick hair – but that has fallen out now.

 

It’s like I have slowly come to be caring for a total stranger; this person is nothing like my mama. My new mom is stoic and scowls at me for no reason; she snaps at me for offering to help her with things when she is struggling.

 

“I wish you would just get out of my face for a change!”

 

This was what she hissed at me on New Year’s Eve, when I showed up to surprise her with some sparkling cider and pizza. She said she was tired of seeing my face whenever she opened her eyes. I left well before midnight and cried the whole way home.

Daunted By Joy.

I must have read it somewhere in each and every piece on terminal cancer that I have pored over since her diagnosis…references to:

“The people you least expect to offer any kind of support to you during this chaotic time will surprise you while those you were certain you could depend on will be nowhere to be found…”

Since my mom’s admission to the ER and subsequently, the ICU and so on, I have been trying to ignore the nagging buzz in my inner ear surrounding my mom’s overall situation at home. I have been trying super hard NOT to judge my dad for letting her sink so low, without even noticing she had such a bad fever and was deathly ill until it was literally just an inarguable fact that she was in some serious trouble; and needed serious help. Like I wrote before, this had been the VERY FIRST DAY I left her alone all day – and look where she ended up before 8pm. Needless to say, I have some serious concerns about her well-being; given the fact that she was quite apparently not being cared for properly BEFORE her chemo dance with death to the tune of septic pneumonia; how can I expect that she will be adequately looked after NOW, being released from the hospital following a closely related (to the lack of care she received that day) near-death experience? Mom will be coming home with me for at least the next few days (I am both overwhelmed with joy and thoroughly daunted at the same time by this reality), through Christmas at least. I can’t bear the thought of sending her to her home and dropping her off to be overlooked and not taken care of during such a crucial time for her ongoing survival.

My dad has been such a dick throughout this whole thing…he has been shining my mom everyday – not showing up at the hospital to see her or never bringing her the stuff she asked for. Not answering his phone or calling back. Not showing up at the job that I’m totally winging in order to cover my mom’s standing commitments to her former clients to let bring me supplies or to help me meet a deadline. It’s been a fucking insane week for everyone, and apparently he has slept through most of. I understand that we all deal with grief differently, and he is probably really heartbroken and distraught. But the fact that he has allowed Boo back in full-time in my mom’s absence has things really fucked up between my parents again at present. And the creature I gave birth to, Boo, can’t just do the right thing, can she?

So, basically, my mom feels as if my dad has “chosen Boo over her” again…and he is just oblivious with his fucking head further up his ass every day, it seems…

I refuse to have any contact with my daughter; while my parents have allowed her to remain a constant presence in their home, despite her many violations against them in the face of their kindness. And now, this leaves us in quite the predicament, because I can’t go home with my mom to her house and take care of her when Boo is smoking meth in the next room. It’s fucking absurd, how my dad won’t open his fucking eyes and just kick my drug-addict hooker daughter the fuck out so that MY MOM CAN RECOVER FROM FUCKING PNEUMONIA IN HER OWN HOME. I am at a loss as to what to do about any of it…I just know I can’t possibly send my mom into that environment as it is now, and won’t even consider it. Gods damn it, she pulled through this recent crisis, and she should have a good Christmas without the worries associated with her living situation…it’s most likely her last one…how does my dad not give a fuck about that?

Wake Up, You’re Dreaming.

I had been dreaming of her the whole time I was asleep, I think. There were these hazy flashes of days long gone; in which she was healthy and full of life, never slowing down to breathe – never really having learned to make any time for herself, always talking until the minute she fell asleep. She was always one of the most unpredictable people in my life, good –bad – or otherwise. I was dreaming of how her incredibly long hair smelled when I was small, and would cling to her neck for the time she’d hold me, which was never long enough in my recollections. I was dreaming of being in total awe, watching her rub “cold cream” into the soft skin covering her sharp cheekbones in the wallpapered bathroom on Skylark Drive. The mint green soap dish I don’t think she ever cleaned once. I dreamed of her ever-present, and accurate, self-comparison to the Princess from the Princess and Pea. I even dreamed vividly and randomly of the vacuum running at 11pm when she was manic…which reminds the waking me of the total absence of any sound other than her snoring coming from her bedroom when she crashed and got depressed. But this morning, I was dreaming of her voice and her smile and her OCD quirks that I always knew I’d miss the instant they ceased. It was the second time I have slept in my own bed at home since whenever it was that she was taken by ambulance to ER with the fever, and I was actually sleeping (dreaming). Oddly, there was already some conscious piece of my mind that was begrudgingly aware of the fact that I would soon have to awaken, so there was some hazy and sleepy hesitancy and disgruntlement already present when my phone started ringing loudly in my ear and woke me from such things.

Let me say this:

Never, have I been yanked from snuggly sleep in the early morning hours by anyone, especially ringing me in my ear on the phone, with an even remotely positive response…until this morning.

The voice on the other end of the line was my Mama’s; not the fever ravaged, brain damaged Mama, either, but My Mama.

“Hey Honey!”

I’m stunned in total wakefulness…

“Hi Mama!”

It’s her voice; the words are spoken with so much gusto and her tone is so calm and genuine; it’s an instant comfort to my heart when I hear it. I honestly feel like it’s been a long time since Life has allowed things to feel as okay as they did during that moment for me…the Gods have given us a little more time together, maybe one last Christmas…maybe not – but she’s stepping down from ICU now and they’ve got most of her problems stabilized, but not all. She’s not out of the woods yet by any means, but she’s alive… and not pissed off about it. On the contrary, she’s starting to come back around to her normal state of mind and perceptive awareness; she has a good grasp on the severity of her condition. Her platelets are still very low, as well as her oxygen levels; but she ate real food today and got out of her bed briefly. She became exhausted by this exercise though, so I don’t think she’ll be doing that again yet. I just hope she continues to improve. Yesterday I was hoping that she would just remain stable. The day before that, I was hoping that they wouldn’t have to give her a blood transfusion or intubate her again. and two nights in row before that, I mean it when I say that I was hoping nothing more than that if the Gods took her then, that they wouldn’t make her suffer much more – but more often those nights, my energies were focused on simply maintaining Life in her dying body.

Several days ago, when she woke up with a start at random, when she began to come of her catatonic-esque state, she had lost all the time in between the present and the night she went to sleep (the day that I last saw her before the fever struck that welcomed pneumonia). She sat bolt upright and gasped at me through her face mask something like,

“It’s okay, don’t be sorry, it’s okay Honey, stop apologizing…”

She was staring into my eyes with a hollowed, searching gaze saying things like that. Later, when she was “awake” for a breathing treatment, she told me that she’d been sure I was kneeling at her bedside, begging her forgiveness; but, I hadn’t been. For a while, this bugged me after she fell back asleep until I realized that she was mentally still in the ER at the hospital the ambulance had dropped her off at initially. I did kneel beside her bed (more like a short table than a bed) there; when I first got there and saw her it was just my reflexive response, I didn’t even think about being in the way of the people trying to stabilize her or anything, I just felt so horrible that she was so sick so suddenly, I was so shocked by her condition, I was truly sorry at that moment. And I did tell her at her bedside that I was so sorry, I desperately begged her forgiveness and kissed her hand.

I quickly pulled myself together though, realizing that she needed me to be strong right then, not some blubbery child. It was just funny to me that she had heard me and understood the context of what I was saying and how I was feeling; this was during what had to have been the closest to death that she has ever been thus far in her time alive. She couldn’t see or move, she was in delirium; but she received my apologies and she felt my concern for her. That’s pretty amazing to me. She is getting better on her loss of days too, so her confusion is dissipating also. I’m not expecting anything from her, one day and night at a time is how the cookie crumbles this Christmas. Which isn’t good and isn’t bad; it just has to be like that.

Sinking.


“Don’t go out anywhere tomorrow…it’s supposed to rain enough to flood up in the mountains all day, a storm’s comin’ down tomorrow, put off whatever you gotta do until Friday, Hon; we’re planning to stay in and hole up for the day, ourselves.”

Those were the words my mama said to me (the “we” referring to my stepdad and her) as we parted ways on Wednesday afternoon. A storm came down, alright.

Yesterday was the very first day since my mom was diagnosed with cancer that I actually let her be the whole day, thinking she was snuggled in a blanket at home, watching reruns of Bonanza…I got the call at 8pm last night, mom was being taken via ambulance from her house to the hospital; she was unresponsive and burning up. My stepdad thought she was sleeping all day (he likely slept in the TV room in his recliner most of the day as well, as he has been exhausted in every way by everything just as much as any of us)…I don’t know exactly how it all went down but the summary is that by the time her found her essentially unresponsive and incoherent, her fever had likely already caused brain damage, at 104 degrees.

When I arrived at the hospital and saw her, I was overcome with so many different feelings of dread and guilt and disbelief and pity and mercy and various others, too. I have never seen my mama anywhere near so ill, so lost and childlike, scared…I don’t think I have ever seen my mom scared like that before, nor even imagined that she was capable of such fearfulness. My mama has a combative spirit; she is a Taurus; she is the spazz drummer of the band, she is strong-willed and hard-headed…I’ve seen her scrap in the street, I’ve seen her drunk and high, I have seen her in the grips of schizophrenic delusions and paranoia, I have seen her through each and every one of her 6 joint replacement surgeries (and the subsequent recoveries, more notably)…but last night…

It was as if I walked to into a nightmare straight from the warped perceptions of my childhood subconscious; she was so hot to the touch; at one point, she was trying to leave the bed over and over. Once she somewhat came around the first time, she was very angry and completely confused. She couldn’t focus her eyes but she never blinked either; she just stared at the ceiling with her arms crossed, shivering and mumbling things I couldn’t make out. Finally, they had to give her Haldol because she was becoming so out of control in her fever’s rage; eventually they got her to sleep and her fever went down. But the aftermath of that shit has a long life and she hasn’t been able to swim back to the surface like she would have under better circumstances i.e. without the fever’s toll on her brain and the presence of terminal cancer, to name a couple. Upon her transfer to her own hospital however, her BP dropped suddenly and they still haven’t gotten it up without heavy medication. Since her arrival to the ICU, it has been one issue after another with her body and its ability to fight this off, not to mention, her inability to understand what is happening and in turn, the anger and fearfulness. They aren’t sure of the level of damage her brain has endured during the fever and the effects of the drugs they have given he, everything is really touch and go still, she is not well though, she barely hanging in, just barely.

Relief.

I noticed it the instant she arrived this morning; and walked through my front door on her own: no struggling for breath, no panicked look on her rosy-cheeked face, no coughing…

I smiled bigger than I have dared in weeks at her as she shuffled past me in the entryway for a cup of coffee (she used to love my coffee, but hasn’t wanted any for a long time now). My smile was immediately reciprocated; and my heart warmed me down to my toes at that. I don’t know when she last genuinely smiled at me before today, but I do know it was too long ago.

As I sat down beside her at my kitchen table, and said something like,

 

“Well, well…look who wants coffee again and seems to be feeling a little better…”

 I saw it; the lump on her neck that was the cause for her diagnosis with terminal cancer; or shall I say, the lack of the lump, altogether. It has become invisible to the naked eye since yesterday, somehow, amazingly. Anyway, I am not deluding myself about her survival or anything; I am just SO VERY HAPPY TO SEE HER GETTING SOME RELIEF from the constant inability to breath or stop coughing…so very happy. Today was a throwback for me of my healthy Mama, who smiles and drinks coffee.

 

Eye-rony.

Wow, the irony in everything is just overwhelming to me at the moment…

I cancelled our Christmas reservation in the cozy Gold Country B&B yesterday; needless to say, my original plan to go with or without anyone else has fizzled into a memory from a time when the world looked and felt quite different; what was that, like two weeks ago or something? We had both been so looking forward to the trip, too…the very FIRST thing we ever planned together…surely the last one, too…

Mom says we’ll go in the springtime; I smile at her and wink from across the room. I smile and nod a lot to her agreeably, in spite of the tears stinging behind my eyes constantly and unrelentingly. I honestly look like I’ve aged like 10 years in the past week, and don’t give two fucks about it.

So, here’s my newest tangle within myself:

My readers know I have issues…with my Mama, myself, and the past. With her being given a death sentence and failing so suddenly and totally, obviously those issues have begun to kick for the surface. I am trying to remain realistic about things, and have accepted the fact that this is going to leave me with some newborn causes for sessions with the over-caffeinated tree squirrel, regardless of how it all actually unfolds.

Historically speaking, my mother is impossible to please, truly she is…I’ve written about it before. She is NEVER satisfied with the job I’ve done at anything, there’s always something I left off or did incorrectly. Willow gives away little affection, and what she gives, comes guardedly and with strings attached. So, since she has been diagnosed and had to begin treatments and all sorts of degrading and invasive medical procedures, there has not been a single instance in which she has even seemed remotely satisfied with anything I’m doing; be it the way I pilot her wheelchair around the hospital, the way I wash her laundry, the way I pack her bag in the morning, or even how I tie her shoes. It’s been a lot of instances with me trying my best to make her as comfortable as humanly possible, and her being absolutely miserable no matter what I do. I do realize she is in a very bad place, and not much will give her any joy or happiness, per se, but that doesn’t make the fact that I can’t even make her smile bear any less weight on my heavy heart.

The cough:

The coughing is literally non-stop right now; and, please do trust me when I say that I fully understand that this element is NOT harder on ANYBODY than her; she has spent the past two weeks solid in gasping for breath and panicking when it won’t come. Does anyone reading this have the slightest clue what it is like to watch your Mama suffocate from the inside before your very eyes – – – all day, every day – all night, every night? It is sheer terror in its own right, such an absolutely helpless and resigned emotion has crawled into my lap for a while, I guess…

People have said nothing but supportive things to me like,

 

“Spend as much quality time as you can with her…”,

 

or

 

“Tell her whatever you feel it’s important she knows before it is too late…”

 

The problem with this wise theory in our circumstance, however, is that she can’t speak anymore because of the gods damned cough; and she can’t hear anything I say to her over the awful fits of coughing, either. I haven’t been able to communicate anything to her on that level so far….they say the treatment will help to shrink the mass and her cough will get better; that she will get some relief from the chemo, gods willing. But in the meantime, it’s been horrendously difficult all the way around.

Yesterday, I became so irritated that almost smoked a cigarette while she was here at my house. She left this morning with my aunt (her sister, who is a yuppie, and barely found time for my mom even when she was still healthy) for chemo. I have been with her at the hospital every day since last Wednesday, and felt like if I went one more time without a break, I would end up being unfair and out-of-line to my poor mom out of the monotonous irritability that has built up. 8 hours at a time of chemo every day is hardcore, I’m told. I apologized to her last night while we ate dinner for being such a snippy bitch yesterday (I almost want to say that I am having mood swings lately, as the snippiness can seem to just appear out of nowhere with me) and I explained to her that it ISN’T her or anything she’s doing…she understood. She understands, she told me with her eyes – she’s been telling me a lot with her eyes lately, a connection I wasn’t even aware that she and I have until the fucked up event of her terminal cancer.

 

 

Glow.

They are displaying some Doppler radar effect on a screen that details my mother’s body in infra-red 3-D; scrolling up and around and through the entire scan of her body, head to toe. What we are looking for is yellow, that’s the injected dye glowing somewhere it shouldn’t be…the yellow equals my mom’s cancer having the fucking nerve to glow.

Mom’s liver? Clear.

Mom’s kidneys? Clear.

Mom’s Spine? Clear

Mom’s Brain? Clear.

For today, at least, we saw very few yellow patches or spots, which was almost a relief until the scrolling stopped and began to pan from various angles on an area that just about matched the size and mass of my mom’s head – but it is in her chest. Not only is this hideously obese, cancerous mass of death invading my mom’s lungs and vessels, but get this: the fuckin thing has actually wrapped itself around her fucking heart; “like a claw”, as her oncologist so eloquently put it. She starts chemo and radiation tomorrow, simply to be able to get enough relief to breathe a little. She has declined so quickly in the past weeks, it’s crazy. It suddenly and instantaneously made sense to me, watching that thing pulse and glow and suck the very life from my mama’s heart and breaths, why she has been so exhausted for six months…why she has been shriveling away to skin and bones, why she spent weeks in a row one time, not long ago, without being able to keep A THING down…her cough…she coughs from her toes, so hard for so long, she can’t breathe, she’s been working full-time til just a few days ago…I took her remaining packs of cigarettes with me when I left her for the night tonight, she didn’t argue with me. She told me over dinner tonight that she feels like if she quit now and died in a week from now, it would be worth it in order to die a non-smoker. This was poignant as hell in the moment because my mama is never coming out of these woods alive, and we both know that. I will never smoke one around her again or even let her smell it on me…I feel closer to wanting to quit smoking than I can ever recall having been since I started when I was 13…

On a physical level, my mother has always been an exceptional specimen. Her physical strength has always been impressive to me (she used to move furniture “cross-country”), her stamina on the job is unmatched, she is a hard worker. Was a hard worker, she worked up until pretty much the day she literally couldn’t. I just want her to be able to get some air for a while, she suffers so and it’s tough – it exhausts her and has made her irritable most of the time anymore, understandably. She’s so frail…so thin and fragile and childlike; but she’s also still my mother beneath it all…which is a reality that is becoming more surreal by the day.

Harry Bosch Said it Best When He Said:

I think Harry Bosch (from the TV series Bosch based on the book of the same title) said it best when he said to his teenage daughter:

All I know is that you only get ONE mother…and you don’t wanna blow it with her; because, when the time comes and she’s not around anymore, the world becomes a cold and hard place.

 Excerpt from Chapter Nine – “Us and Them”

bosch2

“Anticipatory Grief”.

Well, I almost made it the entire day without falling apart at some point. I made it to around 11pm at least, before disintegrating into the blubbering, snot-nosed train-wreck I’ve been so often lately…it’s crazy.

For a while today, watching movies with my mama, doing her hair, listening to her snore while she dozed…I almost forgot at times, if you can believe that…and then, it’s like a forcefully painful chop to the throat when I realize something random like how she’ll most likely never see another decorated Christmas tree after this holiday. Or, the newfound inability to delete the hundreds of voicemails I’ve accumulated from her on my current phone, no matter how insignificant. I just want to breathe any Life I have into her; it’s so intense: these feelings that I harbor of protectiveness and defeat all wrapped into one big, ball of sheer grief-stricken idleness.

Stupidness.

Aimless.

Sadness.

“Anticipatory Grief”, that’s the label they’ve given to what I am currently experiencing…

but it’s label makes no difference to me or anyone else, some fancy surname or amendment changes nothing about the bottomless depths of grief’s sadness.

Life-Darkening.

I recall quite vividly, being thirteen years old and enduring the sudden and shocking reality check of having lost my primary (up to that point, more or less) parent to a massive heart attack that struck him dead instantaneously, thinking to myself things like,

I wish perhaps he could’ve had an illness or something instead of the instant death, selfishly, so that I might have had the time to make amends to him…

 

The amends I was referring to, were for the “tween-aged” shit-headedness that had reared its ugly head during the months leading up to my Dad’s death; a nose ring, big, rock-hard bangs that looked like some tidal wave in my hair, etc.

Anyway, I now can say with certainty that I would not have wanted that for him at all, in spite of the robbery that such a tragic and sudden death of a parent becomes to a young person, I am very grateful that he went quickly and without the suffering that my mom is looking at, and in many ways is already undertaking. When my grandma died, it tolled terribly on my mother, and still does to date – she has never been the same as she was prior to my grandma’s passing. She stopped eating, sleeping, keeping a healthy schedule for herself quickly and completely became a thing of her past, she even wore my grandma’s old lady clothes around as do some widows and widowers. She was altered deeply by the loss of her mother for good. I remember one time as we sat together and she described her sorrow to me, she turned to me at one point and said something along the lines of,

“With my Mom being dead, sometimes, I wish I was dead, too…”

 

It had been that very statement that opened my eyes to the depths of grief and loss she was experiencing. She had lost the remaining twinkle from her eyes, she felt like the world was an uglier, less satisfying place that matched her dwindling existence. Lately, as in like the past six months or so, she has been wrapping up her loose ends to the best of her increasingly limited ability; she has said things to me that represented goodbyes in variously subtle ways; she makes comments about how she probably doesn’t have that much longer left on this Earth, or how she has had a good run. I never took her too seriously, I couldn’t. I couldn’t even begin to entertain such an idea as losing her so soon…I feel like I just got her and have been getting my mom, little by little. As the cards fall, in reality, I have, since those recent sugar-coated conversations with my “healthy mom”, been forced to swallow her mortality whole.

I have been with her every possible moment since we found out she is dying. She is much further along than the original consult suggested; we will find out exactly how much worse it is on Wednesday. She is resigned, I can tell. She actually apologized to me “for dying like this”, which was a heartbreakingly raw moment between us as well. She is in shock, I think, to be honest. She has a warrior’s game face and the pain thresh-hold of an elephant on peyote. But, she has to be in shock…anyone would be – whether she had a notion or not. She sees the child in my face these past few days as we interact, she says. She says she recognizes the terror and helplessness there when I don’t know she’s watching me, but she is.

She called me up the other night (Friday or Saturday – my days are all running together) to say,

“I don’t want you to mourn me like I mourned my mom, Honey…I know it sounds weird, but, I think that’s when I started to die, really; of sadness and loss…I don’t want that for you, babe…I don’t want that at all. I want for you to try and find a way to accept this and be at peace with this, somehow, will you do that for me?…Will you try?”

 I wasn’t prepared for this to be so painful and life-darkening at all.

 

 

 

Invasive.

I have my own invasive mass of cancerous needs,

dotting my insides like tumors to match yours,

but, mine won’t kill me – not yet at least,

they’ll grow bigger along with yours, though…

as time is inhaled into the night skies,

our allotment dwindles before our eyes,

I’ve always foreseen and known,

but could never fully imagine it’s blow,

like a repeated cinch around my throat,

the defeated pitch of my voice as I choke,

over words and feelings I can’t integrate,

in order to make sense of such sensible fate,

there is a break in the line,

if there’s no you in the future of mine,

there’s no way I will prove to be,

strong as I’ve always liked to believe,

without certain pieces of you ever-hanging,

like homemade chimes over my life,

a dreamcatcher made to be grasped at from my bed,

now, nothing in the Universe feels right in my head,

there’s a new hole somewhere in my soul,

of which spills out unstoppably –

my childlike love and adoration,

I miss you already, even as we plan Christmas,

even as we plan your death, together,

you apologize to me for dying of cancer,

a different person now, you feel bad and regretful,

for the fact that you will, indeed, be leaving me soon,

You whispered:

“…but, I’ve only myself to blame – I did this…”

as I put out a cigarette and wipe my face.

 

 

 

Begins A Dread Ending.

Well, the biopsy results came back this morning…my mother has officially been given 1 to 2 years to live, “depending on her treatment choices”…stage 4 lung cancer that has already metastasized quite aggressively, hence that huge lump growing on her neck that I wrote about recently.

When I was driving her back to her job following this news, it was weird, almost like for the first time in my conscious memory, I didn’t want to let her out of my car – I didn’t want her to go. I’ve tried twice to speak to her since then, and had to hang up abruptly both times because I choked up completely, like a desperately bitter child.

Due to the location of the lump in her throat (it straddles her carotid artery), they have had a difficult time in diagnosing this because they didn’t want to biopsy the regular way and cut her by accident. In the meantime, she was given x-ray, CT scan, and sonogram in order to get precise measurements of its position in relation to her veins and arteries. I took her for a radiology appointment last week; when I saw the thing on the screen in the sonogram room, I went cold; something about it made my knees like jelly for a few seconds, I just got this sense of what it was – the finality it represents…I had to sit down.

Plaster Hand.

I have this plaster hand…
Likened to yours;
Hanging above the kitchen door…
The one we made so long ago…
On Christmas Eve Day, just bored…
I have a poem written…
By your tiny hand;
As tiny as the one that hangs…
Above the kitchen door frame…
It says “Mommy I Love You”…
And the Gods help me…
If when I pass it by, I don’t hear the words…
In a sigh, a whispering…
I keep a tiny, silver jewelry box…
The one you saved up for;
Inscribed across the dusty top …
Is chiseled in, beautifully:
“I Love You Mommy”…
And Mommy dies a little more…
I have all these haunting memories…
Of having future plans;
Fulfilling hopes and dreams…
Just you and I surviving…
Getting back up to stand…
I saved these Christmas things…
Yours and mine;
Stored away like a box to mourn…
Every year, when it’s opened again…
And looks the same…
As the years before…
I held on to your special ornaments…
All of them;
Though I never hang them high…
I never get a tree anymore…
I see no reason why…
But I keep these things…
To remind myself…
Of the twinkle lost to my eye…
I held on to so many things…
Of yours;
Desperately trying…
To keep you somehow, near…
Closer at least…
Than wherever you are…
I have this little butterfly wing…
You brought home;
You flew it behind you like a kite…
A colorful ghost that chased you…
Right out of second grade…
I find these notes you wrote…
To me; To Mommy;
They read your apologies…
For spilling toothpaste on the rug…
And I want to come find you wherever you are…
And tell you that rug never mattered to me.

Smile, and Nod.

So last year (as well as the previous year), I recall writing a post around my birthday about how my mother flaked me off for the dinner that she had planned and made me commit myself to way ahead of time. She is a professional at this type of thing and has been celebrating my birthday in such a manner since I can remember, in all honesty; so it doesn’t affect me, anymore. If anything, the instance of this type of things wins me money placed on bets made with various people leading up to my birthday, without fail.

  •  May the Gods bless my mother and each and every one of her strange and remarkably injurious shortcomings toward her children.

This year, she surprised me a bit by completely switching the date of my birth to that of yesterday. We sat through a meal last night following an intense disagreement surrounding the day that I was actually born. Upon my pulling out my driver’s license, she even went as far as to try and tell me that they incorrectly recorded my birth details (because I was born on the reservation and the record-keeping wasn’t too reliable back then), a statement which I KNOW to be untrue because my father told me so many times about taking me, himself, to the local hospital and county clerk, etc. to handle my true and technical registration as a person.

In my Life, any discretion between my parents always ends in my own mind with my long-dead (too fucking long already) father winning, hands down. He was a logical man; an engineer brain, a computer geek, and a military spirit…the one and only fluke to his behavior was the uncharacteristic element of “a psychedelic artist”, in spite of being the notorious “wet blanket” among his friends due to his unwillingness to ever try any type of hallucinogen during the 60’s and 70’s. He was a damned good acid-trip painter; and painted shit that made me cross-eyes, even as a sober little girl. But, I digress…

Point is, there has always been a striking contrast between my parents; the story of them is so bizarre and happenstance in its totality that it left me and my brothers pondering their union as very young children, in the face of such differences in their characters. Apparently, these ponderings will never end until we are all dead and gone, because they were strong as ever last night as I “celebrated my birthday” with my beloved mother, Willow, three days early.

Mama.

In randomly scattered moments
I can fool myself cruelly
through the tattered fragments
of a phantasmal memory
Abreast on a breeze of torment
I hear a quiet whispering
of an imaginary figment
a vague and ghostly thing
In the maddening confusion
I can make myself believe
through the comfortable illusion
that a child’s eyes perceive
Within such a warm delusion
I hear words never spoken to me
from the mouth of a fabrication
by the mom that you couldn’t be
In gradually growing resentment
I can hardly seem to breathe
through smoldering enchantment
my eyes still fight re-opening
for the sake of such abandonment
that represents the harsh reality.

Puppeteer.

The drill never changes, if looked at from a very broad perspective:
my parents give in and allow themselves to be further abused and mistreated while I desperately try to distance myself from the situation (because I will ALWAYS eventually be defeated by the helplessness attached to it), before the proverbial explosion takes place once again.
My daughter knows the drill all too well, also; which is the only reason why it works out to her own benefit over and over, without fail; she knows that when she has created a rift and I withdraw from her obnoxious bullshit (while my parents do not), it is at that time that she must strike and strike hard in order to keep the distance in place between then and I. She is well aware of the plethora of ways to manipulate people; she is already a seasoned veteran at doing this as a means of survival. She has honestly been manipulating adult professionals from various backgrounds and specialties in the system since she began counseling at age 6, so the puppeteering of her own grandparents must feel like something she could do with her eyes closed if she wanted to.
I know when she is busy digging down the trench between me and my parents; I know because she holds them hostage through her behaviors (just like she used to do to me in the months leading up to her placement in a “treatment facility” for those very characteristics. I know because I stop hearing from my mom at all – due to the fact that my daughter will have by now painted my mom into a psychological corner, and in turn my mom has been enabling too many things to make excuses for. I know because of a sudden but sharp slice through the fabric of my own meager reality: the silence replacing my mother’s voice in the background of things that creeps its way back into my daily routine in the absence of her constant play by play updates. All of the things that I always wish would cease to exist about my relationship with my mom seemingly CEASE TO EXIST when my daughter is in the picture – and up to no good.

Mama.

“Are you okay, Jake?”

(My mother’s nickname for me is Jake)

Hmmmmm…I don’t know, Mama…

let’s review, shall we? How shall I respond to such a painfully dense query? …

Maybe by throwing myself beneath oncoming freeway traffic…

Or peeling the fucking skin from my face with a smile…

Would spontaneous combustion count as a reply to your stupid-ass question?

crying-woman‘Am I okay?’…

fuck no, I’m not okay…come here and I’ll show you.

floki nooooooDear Mama,

I’ve NEVER been okay, and, as my blood-mother – has it ever occurred to you that you should know these things better than anyone? It hurts me so deeply that you take such little interest in knowing me – never have much cared about WHO I AM.
The irony here Mom, is that I am everything I am because of you, essentially, despite your ongoing carelessness and cruelty throughout my entire life. You will never understand me because you don’t care to; you will never hear me because you don’t listen to my words, and never could be still long enough to…do you know how much that hurts me? Even now after all this time I’ve had to accept who you are, it still just doesn’t sit well with me to know that your only daughter is wasted on you, and always was. You’re ignorance has always wounded me deeply, Mom.
Please keep trying, I will too.

Papa always told me that if you are crossing a bridge and become tired, you have only two options:

1) To sit down in the middle of the crossing and die;

2) To go back or forward until you get to one side or the other…

but you don’t just sit down and die, you keep going.

Huh?

Based on the fact that she is my Mother, and wasn’t present in any way, shape or form throughout my youngest days, she has been glorified in my heart and my mind somehow; in my mind over time, she has morphed into some painted-faced Goddess with great power and control over my actions and sense of self; she continues to have the carrot to dangle before me, and I continue to focus on it and follow her lead.
She is my Mother, yes – but she is not right in the head, and never was – so I’m told…she never had any business having babies of her own with a head as twisted as hers – never had the stuff it takes to be somebody’s Mama. My Mother doesn’t really know how to care about other people; she is just hard-wired that way…some people call it sociopathy, others call narcissism; she’s a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic – she has the history of getting way out there at times, if not medicated and monitored regularly by a “specialist”. She is aggressive and violently explosive in her mental instability; this is the trait about her that she has most impressed upon me throughout my lifetime in observation of her behaviors; she is ruthless when it suits her needs – I have bared witness to this many times, as well as played the role of her “victim” during such instances also.
I cannot trust her word – it is mud in my book; despite what she says, her actions always speak horribly louder than what she tells me. Anyway, our relationship is the epitome of awkward and edgy, because it newborn for the most part – I am only barely getting to know her, I’ve never made the effort in the past. She is a nut job, no doubt – and oftentimes, when I have a conversation with her, I find myself hardly able to control myself from just bursting out:
“The fuck are you talking about, Man?!!!”
I just can’t relate to any of the things that define the daily existence of my Mother, Willow…she is seriously on another planet in my opinion…all I can do is just shake my fucking head over it, I suppose.

Missed Me.

hihater

I’ve been walking on wire
high above a horrific crime scene,
looking down at the sheer
size of such a bloody tragedy
the yellow tape is stretching
for miles across the trees
and the vultures circle
widely around
the tight rope
I’ve been walking.
I look down, muted sounds
while little dots of people
mull their ways around
most of them don’t care
that I’m watching
from the air,
but a few, I see
have taken notice of me
magnified by a cross-hair.
They will try to kill me,
they’ve tried so many times
to shoot me down
from the heights I’ve found,
but they can’t seem
to tap that bead.
And so on I look
bullets flying right at me
I do not falter,
just too desperate to see
the object of this circus show,
the victim of this scene…
tell me.
Is it my baby that you
have down there
amongst such a
massive tragedy?
All I want answered
is this simple query
put down the rifles
and answer me.
They know what I’m after
and they know just as sure
that I won’t be going
a damned place without her.
But, I’ve got a shocker
Folded into my sleeve
and it’s something that
none of these cowards are
expecting from me.
This is what happens,
with all of this time
they’ve given to me,
my mind has mapped
its very own crime scene,
and mine’s filled with bodies
of them, not her and me.
Surprise!
from my high place
above the green trees,
and once it’s all done
I’ll climb down finally
Desperately searching
for my only baby…
I know that she’s here
I can hear her calling to me.
But I never could find her
amongst so many
other dead bodies,
she screams to me
Mommy!
The haunt of my dreams.

Everybody’s Fool.

“Look here she comes now,

bow down and stare in wonder…

oh how we love you, no flaws

when you’re pretending…

but now I know – she

never was, and never will be;

you don’t know how you’ve betrayed me…

and somehow you’ve got everybody fooled…

…without the mask, where will you hide?

Can’t find yourself…lost in your lies…

I know the truth now,

I know who you are,

and I don’t love you any more…

never was, and never will be;

you’re not real and you can’t save me;

and somehow now you’re everybody’s fool.”

Plaster Hand.

I have this plaster hand…
Likened to yours;
Hanging above the kitchen door…
The one we made so long ago…
On Christmas Eve Day, just bored…
I have a poem written…
By your tiny hand;
As tiny as the one that hangs…
Above the kitchen door frame…
It says “Mommy I Love You”…
And the Gods help me…
If when I pass it by, I don’t hear the words…
In a sigh, a whispering…
I keep a tiny, silver jewelry box…
The one you saved up for;
Inscribed across the dusty top …
Is chiseled in, beautifully:
“I Love You Mommy”…
And “Mommy” dies a little more…
I have all these haunting memories…
Of having future plans;
Fulfilling hopes and dreams…
Just you and I surviving…
Getting back up to stand…
I saved these Christmas things…
Yours and mine;
Stored away like a box to mourn…
Every year, when it’s opened again…
And looks the same…
As the years before…
I held on to your special ornaments…
All of them;
Though I never hang them high…
I never get a tree anymore…
I see no reason why…
But I keep these things…
To remind myself…
Of the twinkle lost to my eye…
I held on to so many things…
Of yours;
Desperately trying…
To keep you somehow, near…
Closer at least…
Than wherever you are…
I have this little butterfly wing…
You brought home;
You flew it behind you like a kite…
A colorful ghost that chased you…
Right out of second grade…
I find these notes you wrote…
To me; To Mommy;
They read your apologies…
For spilling toothpaste on the rug…
And I want to come find you wherever you are…
And tell you that rug never mattered to me.

DUH, Bambi…

How bad of a thing is it that the most therapeutic thing I can think of whenever I am in the company of my “therapist” is head-butting him until he’s totally unconscious?…like, unconscious for a long time?
I mean, I guess I know by now that he’s NOT necessarily holding a recording device behind his back with every greeting (my own paranoia), or staging a bust with the local psychiatric ward upon my arrival to his office (my own paranoia), or that he is going to “dump me” out of nowhere (my own abandonment issues), or that he is going to force me to sign a contract that holds me liable to see him every other day (my own commitment issues), or that his tiny, too-high-off-the-ground office is eventually gonna swallow me whole (my own agoraphobia and anxiety in enclosed spaces, especially with men). Lastly, I know by now that he poses no physical threat to me whatsoever, but it’s been eight years off and on with him already.
None of these things seem to be able to keep me from wanting to take a chunk out his face with my teeth upon him pointing something that should’ve been plainly obvious to me, in retrospect…I hate when he does that!
Any of my readers know about my longstanding Mommy issues, well – you know as much about them as I do, I should say…my Mom has been acting passive-aggressive again lately to me, and it hurts me when she does that, even still, somehow. Despite all I’ve learned and admitted and accepted – she still has the keen ability to just trample my heart in a very unique manner.
This morning, “Dr. Cluckenquack” said to me in a disgusted tone, “Why do you even allow her close enough to you to hurt you this way?”, as if he were asking me why I hadn’t worn rain boots to his office today (in the rain). I wanted to chop him in his throat right then and there for stating the apparent reality of the circumstance so plainly like that, but didn’t even respond in a snotty way when I stated: “She is my mother, she gave birth to me…she’s my Mom…”
I was spacing out already from the session’s emotionally painful content, so I don’t know why I was so passive in the moment but maybe that’s why…because when I got to work afterwards, I was fuming and super pissed for at least a good hour…wtf??? Therapy???

My Heart Hurts.

ha

“Night Terrors”

Boo suffered Night Terrors since she was old enough to dream, I think…

Even before the attack on her mother – by her father, she always openly dreaded sleeping. She struggled mightily against the act of actually falling asleep since she was a newborn, seriously…she used to do regular face plants into her cereal bowl at night in her high chair at the kitchen table with her father and I. Even as an infant, her sleeping schedule was that of a middle-aged, workaholic adult.

I remember so many frustrating nights with her in her room, trying to lull her to sleep somehow: through traditional bedtime stories, songs, back and/or arm “tickles”, just my quiet presence in the bed beside her little, restless form. I remember how she used to draw invisible things on the wall with her tiny finger in the darkness, in total silence, thinking about Gods know what…I don’t know if Boo still has Night Terrors, but… I would venture to guess her Night Terror has likely evolved into something much more horrible than it ever could have been during her childhood. I wish I knew my Boo at all, anymore…

blueI can say that I now suffer from something similar to the psychological thing known as Night Terrors, as well. Oddly I didn’t experience anything like it throughout my surgeries and hospitalization period – maybe my brain just wasn’t capable of such things back then, who knows? It’s only getting worse as time goes by, too – it’s becoming kind of a problem for me as of late…I can’t really sleep anymore. I just semi-sleep on the tacky surface of this place called Slumber…I ‘dream’ in rapid succession non-stop from the time I sort of fall asleep until I finally “wake up” between 5 and 5:30am in a fucking layer of Jello-sweat and barely able to catch my breath. I usually can’t recall any details of my nightmares …I just know that whatever is happening in my dream-scape is stuff that leaves me feeling terrified and jumpy and paranoid as fuck for the first few hours of every day…no fun. My therapist always defaults everything that I go through during the Holiday Season back onto that factor in itself – especially these days, since I truly and genuinely HATE this season with all of my hollow heart. But I’m just not so sure that he gets me completely, so I continue to doubt his generalized and seemingly lazy opinions of me and my issues.

(They say that’s a red flag symptom of mental illness/instability: second-guessing your shrink like it’s a sport and you’re the Champion) …Fuck ’em….

I do not want to start having to take pills to sleep; I also don’t want to gradually become so delirious from lack of sleep that I lose it, altogether…I don’t want to face the Holidays all over again when I feel like I am still not even recovered from last year’s painful experiences with it…I wish it were different – I used to love the Holidays; I wish I weren’t stuck in this precariously teetering state on the ledge anymore – I wish I could just suck it up and BUST A GRAPE – good, bad, or life-sentence. There is no “better” in the future when it comes to Boo and me; and it hurts like Hell.

Just take it.

Samhuinn

As the “Dark Side of the Year” quickly approaches, my ‘psychological overdrive’ kicks into  ‘Beast Mode’ – every year now, without fail.The holidays are especially difficult for me these days – it was the holidays last year that prompted me to begin a blog here, as a matter of fact – the pain and emptiness has gotten nearly unbearable.

When I was still a Mom, I was no different from most: I obnoxiously over-decorated the house and dressed up in micro-detailed costumes for Halloween with Boo every year since I came home from the hospital when she was almost five. At Christmas, we ALWAYS went and picked out whichever tree she chose (even if it was terribly hard on the eyes for any being with aesthetic ability) before decking it out beyond recognition with the shiniest and near-blinding ornaments and tinsels…some of them even flashed or blinked, it was insane. I spent hours and hours each year wrapping up her fuckloads of presents and stocking stuffers with the girliest wrap I could find (typically, waaaay overpriced stuff that I had spent an arm and a leg on during one of her previous school fundraisers), and baked so many cookies and treats for class parties that I couldn’t even try to count all of the batches in and out of the oven.

Christmastime was when I would finally get to buy Boo things that I had socked cash away for since the prior holiday season; it was always a chance for me to see her happy, even if that happiness was in the temporary form of watching her gaggle over a gift she had opened, and loved. I don’t know…I guess the holidays were the only time that she and I were ever able to feel close enough to one another to let go of the trauma between us, that defined both of us somehow. She always openly missed her Father at Christmas; some of her ONLY existing memories of him are enveloped by the holiday season and everything that’s associated with it. I always told her stories about what he was doing where he was – the most despicable piles of bullshit that I have ever uttered to my daughter – I would tell her about the way “he missed her so much and planned to have her with him again for Christmas someday”, even if it was without me, I assured her that he wished she were there with him. I have no idea if she bought those stories or not, but at the time it was all I could come up with in response to her queries about him. I didn’t even know where he was for a few of those first conversations.

Anyway, yeah…well now days – I’m alone every year. My isolation over the holidays is mostly because I choose to be solo; I prefer to be alone in solitude for whatever reason to endure, as opposed to attending any of the meals or celebrations that I am invited to by various people who probably feel sorry for me. I won’t even spend my holidays with Jack the EMT anymore; I am the wettest of wet blankets during this season – can never wait for it to come and go so that I can begin to recover once more. It’s a recurring wound – a reinfection – a rip down the seam of my mending soul…I know the hollowness and sense of loss that bleeds the brightest, freshest blood from my heart this time of year will never cease to reappear with the Harvest Moon, despite my efforts to ignore Christmas lights and Halloween parties and New Year’s fireworks; I can lie to myself all I want and pretend those things don’t exist anymore, but that hasn’t worked thus far because here I am.

Alone.

Empty.

Embittered.

Spent.

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

A Letter From Boo

 

Image

Received Today, Saturday 3/29/2014


<<<<<<<<<

03.18.14

Dear Mom,

Song: Dear Mama
Artist: Tupac
Lyrics: “I know I can always depend on my Mama…”

Hey, first off Happy Birthday you turned 35. I hope its okay. I’ll be 17 in 41 days!
I know you’re super angry with me so I’m not even gonna talk to you about my experience out there last time…but I want to let you know. You know me, I’m not gonna say sorry because I’ve said sorry so many times and I never got better. If anything, I got worse. I want you to know though Mom it’s not your fault and it is all on me. I want you to know I’m sorry for acting a fool and not doing anything I’m supposed to. I’m addicted to that life-style…
I want you to know I miss you a lot, I miss talking to you. I miss you a lot. I’ve never gone this long without talking to you. I’m sorry I am such a mess. If you wanna call me, you know where I am.
Oh obviously you know my Dad died. Sad. Sad. Sad.
Well
Love Always,
Boo
>>>>>>>>>>