Cry of the Blackbird Pt. 3

When you’re younger, you never dream of getting to the day where you have to begin to watch any of your loved ones dwindle away. The truth is, you also plow through your own life thinking you’re untouchable. Eating what you want, doing spontaneous things with an indirect carelessness. Never thinking of the later in life consequences that will be waiting. When those days come, they slam into you like a ton of bricks.

I can remember very clearly the seldom good memories that surround my adolescent years. I can tell you with absolution that most every one of them involve my grandparents. They hold such a huge piece of this puzzle that has been my life.

I can hear my grandmother’s laugh. Her incredible sense of humor lit up the entire room every single second she was present, and you absolutely noticed when she wasn’t around. Her immense sense of innocence from the time she grew up in was so humbling, and honestly to us growing up, hilarious. No matter what, she loved people with her whole heart. Even when they treated her unfair or unloving. She was the direct reflection of Christ. She cooked the greatest of meals, and had a perfect medical remedy for any sickness or ailment you were suffering. It was all right there in a medical search book that was almost bigger than she was.

The most fondest of times throughout my life was watching the love between her and my grandfather. 70 years of marriage and not a second of love lost. A type of relationship that will almost die with their generation. Her being 16 when they married, and living of poverty that most people only read about. I’ve heard time and time again, throughout my entire life, the horrors of their starvation, kids left wanting, tears from not knowing what they were going to do, but also the beautiful stories of togetherness, all the way up until the time my grandfather miraculously got the job that would change their life forever. It’s a story for the books. A story for the world. In the most humbling of sorts, and I want to hear it over and over. I hear something new every time that I do. The part that strikes me as rare, and as the realest form of love, is the fact that throughout all of these years of struggles and fear, they never faltered in their love for one another and their family. They never gave up on each other, even when they wanted to.

My grandmother, the great mother of this whole family, went through so much in her life. An alcoholic father, and a detached and seemingly emotionless mother. Yet, when you meet her, she is one of the most selfless, caring, and loving people you will ever meet in your life. She is one of the rarities that go through trauma, struggles and strife, and make it out in the end making the tough decision to not only not let it define her, but also choosing to love all people right where they are. She incredibly chose to love them with an unconditional love and kindness that is immeasurable. No matter what you were going through, she saw through the bad and could always find the good in anyone.

I can look back on an extensive amount of time I took for granted with my grandparents. Beautiful times I simply flushed down the toilet being selfish, being absent, and most of all, being angry in the most evil of ways. The way I spoke to them and the way I treated them and walked all over them is something that haunts me to this day. Being overly passive, they let me walk all over them. And absolutely never gave up on me. They are two that I can say with absolute certainty, that 100% believed in me, and loved me through every very horrible moment up to this very day. They were and are the reason that I learned the very basic of skills that started me out in this world and kept me alive in the hardest of times. Times that someone of such a young age should never have to experience. I credit them for the gift of prayers, protection, and immense amounts of love that at that time, and sometimes even now, I didn’t and don’t understand, and definitely didn’t and don’t feel I deserve. But my grandmother, she is the one that stands out. My best friend, my confidant. The one person I have always ran to when things were crumbling and completely hopeless. Always having the greatest words of encouragement, and never failing to remind me that I was capable of anything and everything in this great big world.

I never, not in a million years, thought that I would watch my grandparents dwindle away to nothing. My grandfather, now 92, is ate up with Parkinson’s disease, shaking and stumbling around, stubbornly, on a walker, and stumbling around like the tin man. He spends all of his days planted on the couch, a prisoner to his body, falling asleep and drooling on himself. I try to reach back in my mind and picture him out in his building tinkering with a new project, perfectly manicuring his perfect yard. Labeling everything, down to the fly-swatter and each lightbulb throughout the house with the date purchased, and/or the first date used. The memories of those days are fading from my memory, and being replaced with these sad days on repeat.

My grandmother, now going to be 87 this month, is just a shell of herself. Dementia tearing away at her entire being. You yearn in each moment with her to reach in and pull out that comforter, to watch her put on her signature red lipstick, to hear her incredibly encouraging words to pick you back up, but instead, each sad moment, current and long ago, playing on repeat in her mind like a skipping record. The recent death of her sister, the recent death of her pastor’s wife, her brother being in horrible health and on a defibrillator. All seeming to bounce around in her mind like a pinball machine and as each one makes its way to the front, she voices it again, as if it’s the first time.

We can’t and shouldn’t tell her any of the sad things anymore. Most in the family are the doing the selfish thing and telling her anyway. Which is the ultimate selfish act. It’s like writing in a diary that reads it back to you. I don’t. I no longer confide in her, or fish for her encouraging words. I cherish the days that they are offered naturally. There is no red lipstick, hair is never brushed, and she is always in the same outfit with the same house robe on top of it. She waddles around, door to door in the house, sitting blankly on the porch. Day in and day out, the same day over again. I want to hold her. I want to tell her everything is going to be ok.

She repeats a story to me. We took care of her mother who had and ultimately passed with Alzheimer’s disease. She has always repeated the same thing to me. I will go any way the Lord wants me to, I just ask him not to take my mind. And now, here it is. The one thing she didn’t want to happen. She still repeats it, even in her deteriorating state, that everyday she prays to hold onto her mind, and that home-health says she is doing great, even though we know she’s not.

I’m sure the black bird’s cry is louder than ever. I yearn to peek into that realm even if for just a moment to see what they’re seeing, to hear what they are hearing, to think what they are thinking, and to feel what they are feeling. But it’s for selfish reasons. If only just to comfort myself on the feeling of having already lost them, or even to understand it a bit better when it’s time for them to fly away swiftly with those waiting on them.

The grass grows up past the sidewalk now. The flowerbeds choked with weeds. Building in the backyard, in the past filled with noise of new projects being completed, now sitting in rot in the overgrown yard. A lonely shrill in the air. A sadness in the waiting and the not knowing. An almost beautiful feeling in thinking that every time you’re there with them, is the last. Teaching you, and forcing you to cherish each and every second of the time spent with the parts of them that are not already gone. For now, the black birds compete with the song of the blue birds, which is a lasting hope I’m holding onto.

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.

Worst Case

blue filter me

As you sit, dazed on the front steps, the noises of the wrinkled grump off in the distance on his rusted machinery. You play music in one ear, and listen to your surroundings with the other thinking to yourself, man.. That pill didn’t hit right like it used to. You can still feel. You don’t want to. The stress of each day mounting and you struggle to keep your eyes just barely peeled open each and every day. Smile now, they’re looking. All is fine you say, while your feet are on fire. And just for a moment, you can feel the breeze coming that will spread that blaze.

One hit from a penny pincher. Counting change for the future. A future that is fast changing.

The vibrant garden seeded and grown so beautifully with love wilts quickly, as does your desire and will to tend it. Fast approaching is a day you must face all facts and deal in truth, no matter how hard or fast the rocks will roll down the mountain. And you can no more outrun them than a cat can outrun a wild pack of coyotes.

Alone is not a bad word, nor a bad thing, but the authoritative view and forced fate of alone or being spoken over you is different. Like a magic carpet under you that you have no control over. As they would say, 6 steps forward, and for you, 13 steps backwards.

A bent and broken rod can’t be reshaped in the same form it was. Once bent, it is forever different, as is its uses.

You could blow bubbles of truth that would hurt the masses, but instead are forced to sow your mouth shut while stuffing it with rags for the riches of others. Your turn got skipped, and I’m sorry is an apology you’ve long had to accept without receiving it.

Still dazed on these steps, you think of forgiveness and how far you’ve came within it. Still in pain, untrusting, and at times, completely numb. But in another way, you don’t carry anger for it anymore, just a pinch in the side, or a pin-prick.

Just tell them to hit you again. Hurry. Before long, you’ll be back at the sink, washing dishes, doing laundry while dinner is cooking. Thinking about what you need to do next to keep your mind superbly busy to continue your magnificent escape from these talks the other you has with you about the worst things that could happen, and the helplessness you will feel when they do…..

The Mind of the PTSD

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She sleeps in a dark abyss,

sealed with a fated fatal kiss 

water slowly pouring, filling the space within

she begins to take these last breaths,

accepting the death that comes with these sins.

Screams are deafened by gurgle of her lungs

strum your guitar, echo through the waves, 

maybe she could hold her breath long enough

to navigate these deep caves…

Drowning in the silence, 

she thinks of each memory she had erased;

and the ticking of clocks winding down,

due to the distance and time and space. 

It won’t be long now, 

the water now mixes with sand,

vision’s become blurred, 

almost too late for a rescue hand..

It’s so dark here, 

and a familiar song is on repeat.

Muffled by the muddy water, 

now concreting her feet. 

If only she could find a light,

an opening to escape,

then maybe she could find the breath 

to recooperate.

But alas she kneels sinking,

into the sand that has claimed her sadness.

And she’s no longer thinking clearly 

becoming much more friendly with the madness…

Heartbeats slowing, echoing like a drum,

slowly reversing back all the pain, 

as she begins to leave this slum….

She begins to smile in the struggle,

succumbing to the release of this horrible pain,

the voices of torment, finally being muzzled.

There’s a light…she hopes is a sunrise,

but alas, it can’t be, in this deep demise. 

Nonetheless, it calls to her, foolish as it seems,

she feels it’s finally her call to redeem.

The light is warm, 

far from the cold, damp waters that have kept her here..

Is it true, is is over? 

These decades of cold pain, 

held down by the most massive of boulders.

She closes her eyes, one final time.

To open them now, would take a supernatual force of change.

She’s never been so dead, to be so alive. 

No one else left to blame. 

It’s beautiful here,

although the light is blinding.

and almost all the chains are gone, 

that had once caused the binding. 

This new life of freedom, is a mystery.

almost scary, to this new she. 

Everything she could imagine, 

in a life free from pain. 

And all the time that was wasted, 

is now hers to gain. 

She takes off running, 

no destination in sight.

A hesitant smile on her face,

arms open wide.

Runs fast through fields of clover,

falling and rolling in laughter.

She thinks for a moment, 

all the heartache was worth it, 

for this ever after..

She doesn’t even know how much time has went by, 

or if time even exists here. 

She only knows that as far as she can see, 

everything has never been more clear. 

Freedom lives here. 

And now, so does she? 

She second guesses for a moment, 

on what the catch might be.  

Having never felt deserving, 

or that she earned a fleet of bliss. 

She runs again to find the damage.     

Storm clouds appear in the distance, 

and the ground begins to shake. 

And all the clovers she had knelt in,

begin to melt away.

Vines begin to chain her,

to ground that briefly was this bliss. 

The winds fly through so strongly, 

it takes her breath away. 

And the storm clouds once in the distance, 

begin to steal the light of day. 

It’s too late to realize, 

this daydream is over, 

and her hell has once again risen. 

What once was her freedom, 

is once again becoming her prison.

A mind never truly happy. 

A soul never quite saved. 

She slowly begins to wake, 

as this violent storm tries to take her away. 

The wake is no more freeing, 

than the winds that ripped through that field.

Or the mind that she is trapped in,

deciding the things that are real.

She awakes coughing up water, 

choking on sand,

wipes it from her face, 

preparing to start the day again. 

She tells herself that someday, 

the freedom will be real. 

And all the light that filled her face,

is something she’ll one day feel. 

 

Until then… 

This is her brain. 

These are her chains. 

These are her truths. 

And this she is…………. me.

that will surely drown her again

The Way Back

hand touching glass
Photo by Josh Hild on Pexels.com

 

She waits…

Lips scorched from burning coffee..

Eyes like poisoned hypnotism.

She spits sadness from her lonesome tongue.

And her hair wraps like a trap you can’t escape.

Her tears like iron weights,

rolling down her face like a rock slide.

Her heart swelling to the size of this tarnished

planet she waits on.

But she waits…

 

More filled with hope, than ever before.

Marry your heart to hers.

For she would wait a thousand lifetimes again,

just to touch the tip of your fingers.

 

She loves you for her first,

and she will only love you

as her last,

First real kiss…

Last real kiss…

Wet her lips with the moisture of an

anticipated rainstorm in the desert.

Find her in this forbidden forest….

For, she waits…

There.

Here.

Everywhere.

 

She sits in meditation.

In a frozen state, where you left her.

Still looking out a locked window…

Dancing around in her mind to the most beautiful of songs.

 

Empty hand held out for no one to touch,

except you.

For in you, she will always find herself,

And in herself,

she will always find you.

 

Oh my love,

I lost my way all the way to you,

And in you,

I found my way, all the way

back to me.