Suppression of the Truth

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

I am oppressed by the absence of you. You are roaming around in my mind like an out of control ping-pong ball. You are stomping through my chest, ripping away at my heart. The silence is screaming in the mangled words that are forming on the paper in front of me. I can hear your voice echoing, “bye”, over and over, and the sliding of my vehicle skidding down the driveway.

We are but little blimps on the maps of this world. Given one time to try to float where we can. But selfishly, we waste it. Every one of us. We focus on things that fizzle out instead of miraculous opportunities that may be right in front of our noses.

Now, look at us, alone we sit. A very familiar place indeed. This is why the silence continues. The stubbornness of our enjoyment of loneliness. The inspiration of the sadness within it. I feel restless and incomplete. The incompetence of what people call relationships is a mystery to someone like me. For me, there’s an investment of time built around the knowledge and adventure a person can match with me. I ask nothing of them in a physical or financial sense on purpose. I want it to be an open book, not capable of resentment for miniscule things. No regrets. If it works, then a lifetime of hard-earned happiness has bred itself from a place of pure dedication and partnership. If it does not work, you move on, grateful for the company, new knowledge, and passion fueled by intrigue. You mend your broken heart over time with the same two feet you stood on, on your own. And you remember everything. Because a lesson is truly the most important tribute you can take with you throughout your entire life, even when the season with each person or adventure has passed.

Love is an equivalent to a broad-stroke of freedom from anchors in the water. The waves can break against you even while you smile with the wind in your hair. You weather through each of the rough patches, clinging to a balcony. And when you finally get still again, what remains is what is to move on to the next phase with you.

So, I’ll sit here in meditation. Pain or not. Because it’s not new to me. And when the waves are done breaking against me, and the air around me becomes still again, I will move to the next phase, whatever that may be, with what or who remains by my side. And no matter how difficult that may be or how that may look, I will be grateful for every presence that has crossed my path, and eternally grateful for the lesson that each one taught me. Because each one, uniquely woven, makes up some of the most magical notches on the most beautiful of Orion’s belts in my galaxy. And who could really frown on such a glorious sky?

Leather Face

I think tonight, just once, I won’t look at myself. Each glimpse, like a dagger in my heart.

I looked in the future, just a dim light. Those I love, falling around me like the years I’ve viewed, seemingly, fleeting.

Each wrinkle on my skin, like pieces of leather, and yet, I have hated the sun all my 36 years. I’ve mostly lived not knowing the kinds of losses others know. For you have to have things and people first to truly lose them.

But now, oh now, the two people I’ve loved truly, melt before my feet while I scrub their kitchen counters hoping, by some chance of rare fate, they will come back to me. But alas, the local news screams in the background, and they, in their weakness, drool on themselves while dozed off on the couch.

My grandma tried to put her pajamas on over her pants tonight, and stumbles on which day and month it is. And for the 13th time today, told me how precious I am to her, and cried. If only she knew, her brown eyes turned blue, had saved my life more times than a few, then maybe, just maybe, she’d come back. But they never come back, do they?

She called me the other night, over and over. Standing at her medication as if frozen on repeat. Did I take my medicine? So it’s…Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday….. and today is..Wednesday? Over and over, I had to explain to her. And I did so, with patience. The next day, she remembered just briefly calling me and cried again. Gave several excuses as to why she just didn’t have a good day that day….

I am constantly reaching. Most times without knowing exactly what I’m reaching for. As if even if someone handed me a star right out of the sky, it wouldn’t ever be enough. A void never able to be filled. A dis-satisfied piece of blob of mere existence.

I’m not angry, and have forgiven most of the causes of my sadness, but they have taught me hard lessons. Ones that will long stick with me, following me, constantly reminding me the paths not to go down, the choices not to make, the people not to trust, what to hold onto, and what to let go of.

Sometimes, I want to jump in anyways, but there’s always hesitations, reservations. The truth is, I find that there are many nights I find it hard to look at myself for many different reasons. I think it should tell me something, but have not yet pinpointed its message just yet. But I’m sure in time, it will reveal itself. And I will record it on my shadow to lug around with me to display spiritually.

I will watch as the grands disappear before my eyes, and in that, I will learn to accept what we can’t keep. And how to truly say goodbye, for the first time, to someone I don’t want to say goodbye to.

Cry of the Blackbird Pt. 2

pawpaw and us

March 2020, my grandfather, still in rehab, watched and listened as the world began to crumble. A plague of sorts, not his first of course, had began to ravish the United States. All the while, my sister and I panicked. We begged my mom and uncle to remove him from the nursing home. It no longer mattered to us that his time in rehab since his hospital stay had not yet reached the 21 day insurance order.

I had already began to see the nightmare that was happening in other states to long-term living facilities, and rehab facilities. They were the first places to begin to be locked down. The patients, like prisoners. No visitors. Families that were lucky enough to have loved ones near a window talking through glass. Confused and mentally disabled patients not understanding why their loved ones or visitors wouldn’t just come inside and sit for a while. Then, like a catastrophe, as one elderly patient got sick, therein followed 10-20 more getting sick. All locked inside with each other. Most facilities such as this, seemingly left to their own devices. CNAs and nurses within the facilities pretty much locked inside with them, their only care.

The days started to go by. Being high risk, I was the first to tell my family, and especially my grandfather and grandmother that I could no longer visit to protect myself and my daughter. It was devastating to me. For years, it had just been myself, and my sister when she was in town, taking care of my grandparents. And there had already been turmoil come between us and everyone else once my Uncle had gotten Power of Attorney.

Everything seemed to be like something out of the twilight zone. A dark cloud of sadness in slow motion. My grandfather’s health seemed to improve. The doctor’s decided to release him. It had already been 2 weeks since I had seen him at all.

On his last week in the rehab facility, very intimidating health officials showed up with orders. They locked down the facility and no longer allowed anyone inside, with the exception of close family. My grandmother faithfully had one of us drop her off each day. She had to have her temperature checked before she could enter the front door. And even after that, the officials would decide if they wanted her to enter.

Finally, one day, my mom and uncle arranged and ok’d it for my grandfather to leave. It was as though the grace of God worked his favor on us, because as soon as we got my grandfather home, the next day they began to lock down the facility completely, just as all of those facilities we had heard nightmare stories about in other states.

We were blessed to have watched such a turn around in my grandfather’s health. He had went from shaking like the tremors of an earthquake, and severe memory loss, along with hallucinations, to back his normal self by the time we got him home. Although, even that is not 100% because he’s 91 years old with Parkinson’s Disease.

In the months since, we have seen a tornado of change. Sacrifices by the plenty. Weeks at a time not being able to be in the same room with the grands. Depending on who had possibly been exposed to the virus.

I think at first, back in April, most of us wanted to believe that this virus had been blown out of proportion, even myself, the hypochondriac that I am. However, it didn’t take long for me to fully convince myself that this was the worst. In comparison with the Spanish Flu, dated in the 1950s, this was our depression.

Around May, my grandmother’s mind seemed to deteriorate with intensity. And her complaints about roaring in her ears also intensified. Her balance was not great, and had not been great since about August of 2019, because of Vertigo and Meniere’s disease, which is chronic. This year alone, I can’t count the amount of times I have thought to myself, is this hell, or the twilight zone??

Because of an extreme fear of birds, mainly fearing that they will defecate on me, lol, I’ve also thought it strange that the thought had to cross my mind that a possible slew of birds were taking over my grandparent’s brains. Crazy yes, but after having them my whole life, and now quickly seeing that disappear right before my eyes, I can’t help but not dismiss any excuse I can come up with to explain to me why they have to go one day.

At the end of May, I decided to visit them through their front door, like visiting a prisoner, wrongly convicted. I had them come to the door and sing Amazing Grace with me in harmony, and had my daughter video it. It is something I regret not doing more when they were in better health, but also something I will always truly cherish. Music is something so expressive in my family, like a letter you’re writing that you never quite finish. And no matter how old I get, I can close my eyes and remember being little and waking up on Saturday mornings, the whole house filled with the smell of bacon and eggs, and hearing my grandparents in the kitchen singing and harmonizing with each other. It is one of the memories out of my dark, harum-scarum childhood, that I will always cherish the most.

I consider myself to be quite a strong person, to a point, but also quite vulnerable at times. Looking past my fears of the birds for a moment, I can’t help but admit, I want to hear them. Even if just for a moment, I wanna know what they are hearing and feeling. And I want to take it from them. I want to see my grandfather working in his shop in the back yard again, or sneaking a dip in the laundry room. I want to see my grandmother laughing so hard at me that she cries, cackling. I want to see her understand when we are making a joke, and for my grandfather to even be able to hear me at all when I am talking to him. My mind stays in chaos trying to discover ways I can bring them back around, even though deep down, I am also trying to find a way to let go and accept that what they are now, is what I am blessed with for however long until their ailments worsen, or til they’re gone for good.

Most people think of cardinals as the spiritual presence of a loved one, but as for myself, I follow the black birds, hiding so I see them, but that they may not see me. I will always see them as the loved ones who are screeching around us, decade after decade, generation after generation, watching us succeed, watching us fail, watching us grow old as they did, and waiting for us to one day, join them…

Cry of the Black Bird Pt. 1

pawpaw black and white

It’s erie.

You step outside. There are so many noises around. Sometimes, you hear nothing but the loud, echoing cries of the hundreds of black birds seeming to surround wherever you are, like the start of the greatest battle. It’s a screeching that sticks with you. Echoing, even after they’ve long flown to a different portion of trees in the distance.

They have an incredibly scary ora about them.

You can imagine the things they have long been witness to. Generations come and gone. Old homesteads freshly built with hardworking hands, down to the moment decades later, where they crumble from lack of attention. They watch as families abandon each other. Heads of the table that loved their famillies with everything and would have given every breath and parcel of their own bodies for their families, grow old seemingly alone as most of whom they loved ignore their need and brand their lives with small excuses, just enough to sleep at night.

The black bird waits. Speaking to the other black birds as this head slips from existence as its bloodline carries on.

I sat with my grandfather one day. The day was sunny. The tv was as loud as it could go. He is incredibly hard of hearing. And when in the room, so are you. But with the tv muted briefly, I spoke with him of the amount of black birds that surround the trees at the farm I live on, on a daily basis. As if they are plotting something of foul play. He began to describe to me what he hears in his now, 91 year old ears. He said it was mysterious that I brought up the black birds and their echo’d screeching. He says as he sits there day in and day out, that is all he can hear in his ears. All day screeching, ringing in his ears. Like a mixture of white noise, with bird.

I tried to imagine what that must be like. To constantly be trapped in a room with birds. It frightened me.

These black birds, I wonder. Did they see the life he had led?

Had they been on his homestead where even as a young boy, he worked fields, starved, and learned to be appreciative for even a sweet bite of an unripe banana? Where he, as a young boy of 10, watched his father die right in the living room of the little shack that his siblings, himself, and mother shared. Then, because of the times, also watched as his father’s body lie in state across the worn kitchen table, leg hanging off and draining in a bucket as the children went about their way with normalcy? All the village’s men in that same livingroom shack all night as a sign of respect. Nothing but a candle, and a lit fire. And maybe the screeching black birds lined around the trees outside in the night.

Did they watch as my grandfather met the love of his life in a lunchroom? Predicting to his associates that this was the woman he was going to marry, at first sight?

Marrying her at her young age of 15, did they follow the life of love and poverty as they moved back and forth with his almost unpaid touring gospel group? Proud as they were to sing as the “Pioneers”, Were they screeching as each child was born and the struggle became that much harder?

I can imagine the screech of these black birds raging across the fields of different zipcodes when my grandfather finally landed the job that would save his starving family. The proud job he had worked for and after 25 years, would retire from.

Through the years, did the black birds cry out when my grandparent’s first born died later in life after having a family of his own? Did they hear my grandfather screaming out in the night in agony? Did they see the change? A man grieving his deceased son, all the while almost forgetting for a while that he had any other family, and understandably so. Did the black birds lower their screech to a whisper to pay their respects to a pain that no one would be able to take away?

Have they watched this man throughout the years age all the while grandchildren grew into adults themselves, and even great grandchildren?

Have they bowed their heads as most go on with their lives not seeing this man’s great sadness for his family, for his ailing wife?

The wife now with her own memory failing at 86, stands by his side, trying to remember what she can, day to day, to keep a routine. Bacon, eggs, biscuits. Bacon, eggs, biscuits. Sausage, eggs, biscuits. Cheese toast on the days that are just too much. Both unable to drive any longer, as per doctor’s orders. Do these black birds watch in awe of these two loves as their spirits lower each day?

And now, as the old man sits in a nursing home rehab, unsure about his coming days. His wife faithfully coming each day to be with him all day. Each time he closes his eyes to sleep, his brain seemingly empties, and he calls to each of the family for them to explain to him where he is, why he is there, and when his wife is to be with him. He cries, not understanding what’s going on. He speaks of hallucinations. The walls disappearing. The windows disappearing. People disappearing, and how he’s pretty sure that at this man’s apartment he got “dumped” at, he had to use this man’s bathroom and had to issue an apology to him. The apartment of course, being the nursing home rehab.

As though in another dimension, this old man comes in and out of this confusion as if coming down off of a twisted drug and as the day goes on, you can see pieces of the actual him return. Then, as if reliving a nightmare, this man starts over again with it all the next day.

All the while, the black birds in his ears, screeching.

I hope they haven’t told him how his family whom he has loved with every fiber, have came up with excuses of why they’re just too busy. Kind of makes you feel sorry for the old man, who his entire life, gave up anything he ever wanted to bring joy to everyone else in his life. Always at the expense of himself, and the wife at the expense of herself, only ever caring about what others thought and felt. Laying there in that bed now, seemingly alone.

In the end, the blood you bleed is just the blood you own. The heart that pumps it, is just that, a pump. It’s a simplicity that everyone tries to exaggerate throughout life until they get to the end and realize that it will quit pumping when its reached its time with no magic exaggeration to save it.

The black birds gather each day over-powering any other noise in the vacinity. Are they there waiting? He hears them. He told me again. And I hang on every word.

 

Forget to Remember

my journey

There are times in an adult’s life where a moment happens, and you are instantly taken back to a time from your past.

Tonight, as I went in my daughter’s room to pray with her, as I did every night before that for 13 years, my back was excruciating, and she moved over to let me lay down with her and immediately decided that she wanted to fall asleep while we cuddle. This was a treasure to me, considering all the nightmarish recent events that have been occuring in our house, which will be a story for another time.

mawmaw and pawpaw

As we lay there, the room became quiet, and I could hear the tv going in the living room that my husband was watching. I began to doze, not fully, but half in, half out, and it was as though a slew of flashbacks came flying in like a projection in my mind. Hearing the tv in my own living room took me instantly back to being awakened in the morning at my grandparent’s house as a child, hearing them both in the kitchen singing beautifully, a perfectly harmonized gospel song of their time. The smell of bacon and eggs filled my nose, and even as a child, although gospel music annoyed me, I wouldn’t want to budge for as long as possible just so I could hear them singing. And also because I didn’t want to get out of bed until right when breakfast was done haha.

Waking at my grandparents was a far cry from waking at my own house where you’d either hear yelling and bickering, or complete and utter silence because of the separation in our house. And the smell would be that of cloudy cigerette smoke, and mold and must from the lack of cleanliness in the house.

I kept flashing back and forth between opening my eyes briefly to watch my beautiful daughter sleeping, hearing my grandparents mesmorizing voices, and the nightmare that was my house.

Sometimes, we don’t get to choose what we remember, and honestly, some things, I have worked my entire life to this point trying to forget. However, pain unresolved, is like a new limb for your body. And it is a limb that you use more frequently than the limbs you were born with.

I laid there tonight, begging to be able to stay in my grandparent’s bliss, even if it was just for an hour, and wishing that my daughter could be there with me, just laying there, experiencing one of the rare times of peace of my childhood.

But alas, I suddenly hoped that the moment that my daughter and I were in right then, could be her time of peace when she looked back one day.

I’ve spent every moment hoping that one day, when and if she had unresolved pain to deal with, that I would not be the cause of it. But I would be lying to myself if I said that I wasn’t a vast majority. I will be part of her torment and part of her bliss when she looks back.

I have always tried to be a good mother, but when you are riddled with unresolved internal pain as I am, you are bound to wreck those who surround you throughout your life.

me and journeyI can only hope that with events currently happening, a knee jerking wake up call, that I will be able to redeem a little of myself before she’s grown and gone and old enough to never call me.

And I hope in the process, I find something else to live for so that it won’t be as painful when she goes off to conquer each and every dream that I have always encouraged. Maybe in time, I could forget my pain, and she could remember her happiness………