I know people have wondered about it: the way that one of my dearest friends passed out of this world in silence almost a year ago now – without a word from me about it on my blog. I have gnawed a hole in one cheek over her death and the subsequent silence that has been attached to its deeply reverberating shock waves.
Teela was like a sister to me…she will always be like a sister to me.
The reason behind my lack of public response to Teela’s death is complex:
My late friend has children, the notable forces behind her strength and perseverance, the driving factor behind her survival for many years out of her life, the most recent years. Her children, as innocents, have undoubtedly been victimized alongside her throughout her domestic violence Hell over the years; they have also been subjected to loads of trauma and grief that no individual should have to carry, especially not alone.
I have been (im)patiently waiting to hear from any one of the three of them since Teela’s shocking death, to no avail. This has been why I have not openly mourned my friend’s passing yet – as I wanted to get in touch with her children, I wanted to allow them to have time to process and grieve. It was hard as Hell to wait without any word from them, and without any way to find them either.
I have been worried sick over the younger two (a boy and a girl – both still underage) since I learned that Tee was gone; I have been feeling things on a personal level in regard to their well-being (or lack, thereof), as Teela spent so much energy and time in carving out the taste of freedom and goodness that she was able to give them in the half-year or so leading up to her passing. I know that she would have looked out for my babies if the situation had ever called for it in our history together, and I have felt as if I needed to find her babies and look out for them now…in whatever capacity Life allows.
Teela’s daughter, (2 years younger than my own) finally reached out to me last night after all this time; and let me tell you it was one of the most surreal and touching (in ways both good and painful) experiences I have ever had. She is a beautiful young woman with a heart that mirrors her mama’s heart perfectly; she is a soldier just like her mama; she is struggling more than her mama would have ever been able to bear knowing – in so many various ways. But she reached out; and I intend to support her as strongly and undeniably as if she were Tee.
I was validated in my fears of what has become of Teela’s babies, that they have been forced through necessity to return from the Bat Cave to their father’s home in North Carolina…a fact that makes me want to wretch.
I confirmed many negatives and very few (if any) positives last night regarding the status of my late “Right Hand’s” surviving children…and I feel compelled to make it known to the world: the ways that these two underage and grieving children (of a TRUE mother bear that many of us knew and loved here at WP) continue to fight for the simplest of comforts and safety and security. I will write more on this topic after work, but in the meantime here’s how we can help Teela Hart’s Survivors. I thank you in advance for any humanity you might show these young people who have lost the ONLY positive force they’ve ever had.
Ahhhh, this is monumental…a monumental day…this postcard from Freedom holds super extra special meaning…it’s one I’ve been waiting FOREVER to be able to “send out” into the Universe with a big, fat “FUCK YOU”.
Some of my readers might remember, and even themselves, follow “Tee” here on WP; she one of the founding members of the Cut Throat Clubhouse Blog here with me also; she is someone special to me and always was – since the very first contact we had through writing – when she shone her spirit at me like a cop shines his light in your eyes, catching me off guard, and making me feel like a chump for ever having allowed anyone to call me as a “battered wife” – she is kindred.
Tee is an awesome and inspiring writer (a fellow sailor mouth who doesn’t spit horse shit), she has dropped off of here completely over the past few months as a means of simple survival…but she did it, you guys.
Until VERY VERY recently, my dear friend and sister has been in the grips of her own domestic captor – – –
FOR NINETEEN YEARS. THREE CHILDREN. COUNTLESS BROKEN BONES.
A HEART AS PURE AS SOLID GOLD.
This postcard from Freedom is that one that I had in mind when I first began the series – the one that I have been dying to create under the inspired circumstances of Tee’s actual ongoing Freedom and Safety. And tonight, I got to do that. This has made my month. I want to share Tee’s note with any of her other friends who may read this post, because it’s so fucking….ahhhh….no words…
“I feel like a new woman now that I’m away from the ex…safe and secure…”
If anyone deserves to be safe and secure, it’s most certainly my sister in survival, Teela Hart – currently enjoying FREEDOM AT LAST.
My family has struggled mightily with the suicide of our clan’s ‘youngest brother’, my one and only little brother: JJ (1981-1999).
After learning of our brother’s tragic suicide and the horrid details surrounding his final hours alive, we, as a family – were forced to accept several realities that were likely the most unwelcome any of us had seen previously. Our departed sibling not only killed himself; he also killed a female police officer in the process.This was something that made the entire situation of his suicide, the aftermath, the social stigmas, the judgment of others, etc. – much, much more complicated.
My brother had been off of his medication for some time, and had been playing the cat and mouse with me as well; I had not been successful in locating him for several weeks (a task that was typically hard enough by itself, as I was still a hostage to The Ripper). His ex-girlfriend (who has become part of our family since that time) had just told him that she was pregnant with his child, despite their recent breakup; he was likely spinning out of control for many reasons, but this put him over the edge.
JJ never thought much of himself, in contrast to what he actually was…to me, at least.
Me and JJ, back in the day
I can imagine that finding out he was not only going to become a father, but a father to a child he would undoubtedly anticipate being kept separate from, for whatever reasons (that’s just how he was); I can imagine how big of self-fulfilled Failure this made him perceive himself as having become rather quickly, as a result of these thoughts. He didn’t pick up his gun and just shoot himself, and that was it…
He found his way to his very best friend Jeremy’s house (Jeremy is the next best thing to a little brother for me – we all grew up together), and honks the horn out front. When Jeremy goes outside, he sees JJ in an unfamiliar truck and asks him wtf is going on; he says that JJ was in disarray emotionally, and he obviously needed some support. He gets in the truck, likely against his better judgment, and agrees to ride with JJ to “SouthWest for a while”. During the drive, the police take chase and JJ leads a high speed pursuit through the massive clusterfuck of the city’s expressways – picking up more and more units along the way, of course.
Inside the stolen truck, Jeremy is trying to calmly talk to him and get him to pull over so that they don’t get in any more trouble than they’ve already found – to no avail. JJ is beside himself; not making sense and very agitated; Jeremy feels afraid of him for the first time on all of their years together as friends. They wind down into the loading dock behind a Wal-Mart, where Jeremy assumes JJ will finally park the car and get out. Somehow, a police cruiser had slipped in behind them in the dock, against the roll up door, unseen by either of them. JJ is still talking gibberish and making no sense – completely embodying a maniac. They become surrounded by a barricade of police cars and trucks one by one as they arrive to the loading dock.
I’m very unclear of the details, and always have been; but right around this moment, my brother threw the truck in reverse and floored it – smashing backwards with the force of a jet plane – instantly crushing the police officer between her vehicle and the solid concrete wall to his rear-right hand side. Jeremy says that he realized at time what was happening, and began to holler at JJ to “Stop the truck! Stop the truck! Stop the truck!”, to which my brother’s immediate response was to abide by.
*Jeremy’s Version of the events that followed:
JJ turned around in his seat, after putting the truck in PARK, and realized in the most raw and surreal sense what had just occurred, though he was still “incoherent”, in comparison with his true nature. The reality set him off to a point beyond retrieval; and he withdrew a .357 handgun from inside of a small cooler in the back seat. At this point, Jeremy is very afraid for his life, somehow – which tells me beyond the shadow of any doubt: the severity of JJ’s temperament and agitation, as they grew up like brothers together. Jeremy says something like,
“Dude, what the fuck are you gonna do? Shoot the rest of ‘em, now?”
He remembers the look on JJs face then: betrayal – like, ‘How could you say that to me?’. Before there was even time for another word between them, and amongst the background of megaphone voices, sirens and a helicopter overhead, JJ put the gun upward to his chin, and fired. TWICE. The coroner later described how a person often has all kinds of reflexive mechanisms that fire after a brain trauma like a fatal gunshot wound; they explained this as having been a reflex in his finger to pull the trigger again, merely reflexively, in death. But in the cab of the truck, in the moment, Jeremy was riddled right alongside of my brother’s body by the barrage of gunfire that immediately followed in response to the discharge of a firearm inside of the vehicle that just run over an officer.
In Jeremy’s mind, in the moment, he was shot by the second bullet that JJ fired at himself. He survived his tragic injuries: 8 gunshot wounds, 2 that should have been fatal. He swam for a long time in the states between awareness and hopelessness, in a hospital bed, for nearly a year. The most painful aspect of the entire thing for him was his perception of who had put him there, and how. It was over two years before I actually saw him face to face afterward, as my own traumatic injury happened within a few months of my brother’s suicide (and Jeremy’s traumatic injury). When I did see him, he was awkward and stand-offish, which I thought I understood already, being empathic.
Finally, he asked me “Why?”
He wanted to know why JJ had shot them, both of them, in the truck that day…
I was dumbfounded, needless to say…my heart ripped from my chest cavity all over again, sensing the horrible struggles that Jeremy had been swallowing in regard to believing he had been shot nearly to death by his very best friend on Earth; I found no words to offer him through my stunned affect.
“JJ would never have shot you…” I managed to whisper through my disbelief. “Nobody has bothered to tell you that, Jeremy?”
He collapsed with relief, as if he had been hoping my response would be exactly what I had said, and cried – he said, “Nobody needed to bother to tell me…”
It’s only now, since Jeremy’s passing recently, years and years after this conversation…that I think I finally understand what he meant by that, in its intended context. Days when I am yelling at my JJ’s twin sons (Jeremy and Joshua), as they run amok everywhere and back…the “Hellions”, reborn and growing old together once more. JJ and Jeremy REALLY were closer than brothers.
If you remove the letter ‘R’ from the word ‘FRIEND’, your are left with nothing more than a fiend; when you take the trust and endearment out of a circumstance, you often find yourself sitting with a very ugly reality, firmly attached in your wide-open lap.
When you allow your misguided, faulty sense of trust to lead your decisions regarding such an atrocity as ‘fiends posing as friends’, you are inviting a most sobering wake-up from the lobby in the depths of Living Hell; for choices falling this category have the potential to sway the very course of a lifetime.
When you are stupid enough (in a truly pitiful sense) to allow the vultures (your band of two-faced fiends) to circle overhead and give away your position for all to see – without ever even realizing what was happening, you have tattooed a barcode that translates into “ENSLAVED”.
My therapist says he doesn’t recognize me immediately sometimes upon my entering his creepy, hippie lair on the ninth floor;
“Gee, I didn’t know that was you there, you look different again…” He laughs in a way that I imagine a little, over-caffeinated tree squirrel might laugh, “What’d you do something different to your hair?…”
The spark in his eyes dies down with the shaking of my head and the brisk walk I execute directly toward, frustrated by his ignorance on the topic, as usual.
It’s an ongoing battle for me: nearly impossible at times for me to go out and about without any obvious and public meltdown as a result of the anxiety and self-consciousness…how shallow of me, I know right? Can’t help it though, it’s true and very real – this anxiety driven fear attached to my face and the skin that holds it to my neck, somehow beating to the drum of my very heart; it’s easy to forget that I do not necessarily resemble a grotesque thingthese days (bitter, hater exes, not included) in regard to my “first impression” upon others in appearance.
…but let me tell you, there was a time following the injury when this wasn’t the case…
These days, I try my best to blend myself out with the way that I look – not quite wanting to fit in with everyone else in the flock I’m so desperately trying to ditch, but not attention seeking by any means (unsurprisingly, indefinite number’s of surgeons foggily standing around you, above your head with a finger in your face will teach you to sit back and shut the fuck up pretty quickly).
I’m feeling better now, marching taller; but still quite resentful at the drummer for the absolute relentlessness of the beat I must keep up to.
“Hey! I’m busy feeling sorry for myself over here..can you slow down the tempo for once, please, fuckin’ Ringo!”
I’m not really feeling sorry for myself (Ahem!)
Not so long as I’m on the ‘Up and Up’, I’m alive and…well, I’m alive – that’s the important part to life.
The seventh official Cut Throat is someone who likely thinks she’s been overlooked, but hasn’t. After Tee brought her to my attention, I’ve been reading her blog and relating to so many things she endured at the hands of the man who fathered her child. I love the power in her strength, her fearlessness to be fearless, “anonymous” but so far from that to the people who read her stuff. She must share in my allergy to stupid shit because she tells it like it is. No sugar added.
She is a true inspiration to me; to my ongoing struggle and journey through the aftermath of surviving and escaping Hell. Welcome Cut Throat #7