Rabbit on the Run

This song takes me back to King of Prussia and our local ice skating rink. I can smell the ice, taste the poignancy of the moment-now lost to time. Lately, as I’ve looked back upon my fifty seven years; I am amazed that I have such a propensity of good memories-you would think quite the opposite. The facts are I was pretty darn happy until anorexia. My closeness to my father had not yet threatened my mother to the point of narcissistic abuse-although Mary Lou died young? She became a loving and generous mother, whom I have completely forgiven. I seethed in rage for years and years, like any addict; popping any pill I could to change my reality-to just feel better for a moment or two. I pushed down my rage and grief, and the end result almost killed me.

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The anger had to come out some way: windows were broken, suitcases packed-even physical restraint because I had become violent from drinking. This all happened after mom died. You see, rather than dealing with the emotion, or addressing a concern with a family member-I took everything out on myself. Somehow, some way along the line, someone had taught me I deserved to be punished. That I was so unworthy that to this day I have to keep my reality in check.

If I was furious with Dwain? I drank myself to sleep. Smoked two packs of cigarettes. If I thought no one loved me? I would cut my skin, as if to say “of course, no one loves you because you are unlovable…,” the pain from the self harming soothed me, pouring over me like so much manna-in essence, the pain transcended the emotional trauma, serving to distract my shattered heart.

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One day an epiphany: I am not the predator. I don’t purposely hurt others. I had love and joy in my heart, Christ in my very being. Why were so many people, those whose job was simply to love me; why was I constantly in emotional pain? More importantly-why was I allowing them the opportunity? It took years of trusting, loving and following Jesus; before I could trust Him enough to realize the truth of the matter. I am a sensitive Empath who bleeds openly for others, especially animals as their nature is pure. I can’t sit through an SPCA commercial, for crying out loud. I am opinionated. I have made a few more enemies than I would prefer, but when I believe in something; when the Holy Spirit is telling me I am right on the mark? Well, then I am a rabid dog, biting at the chance to right the wrong. I don’t like authority, ignorance, condescension or bullies. It takes me an hour to get ready in the morning and I am high maintenance; meaning I carry seltzer, gum and mace wherever I go-it drives my husband crazy, especially on Sundays: I always oversleep, which means I have to bring my coffee and makeup along as well.

Through faith, and because I cling to His robes for dear life-I have learned that people who treat you with disrespect, violence or apathy; well, they don’t belong in your life. You are a beloved child of God. You deserve to be loved, respected and treated as others would like to be treated by you! It isn’t easy to end a friendship, but I have had to end my familial relationships, and if that doesn’t make you tough as nails, well, I don’t know what will.

And once you start treating yourself with love, dignity and reverence-others won’t even try messing with your heart. They’ll know you won’t put up with it; they’ll know that you are somebody.

Brand New Dandy……

As a teenager, I wished I could tell what the future would hold.  Would I find a good man?  Would I find a career I enjoyed?  Would I be fat and happy in my old age?  And will I have one or two children?  Will I finally have a grasp on my depression and eating disorder?  Will our family stay connected after mom and dad are gone?

Now that I am older, and hopefully wiser, I see the brilliance in the uncertainty.  Certainly, we as humans have control and freedom over our decisions…but what about the attitudes of the people you are surrounded by?  Would I have been content with the foreknowledge   of knowing that my in-laws and step son would hate me?  And would I have done things differently had I known?  The answers lie in the cornerstone of my faith, where Jesus has his way with me and I accept and even condone His will for my life.  If I had known that in the year 2018 that I would go on a search for myself, and in doing so, lose almost every single connection to family I would not have changed a thing.  For I have always been led by my heart, and, for better or worse, my discernment.

I feel that I have paid my dues, and living next to my in laws has proved a perilous and daunting task.  From day one I was mistreated, ignored and abused.  Yet no one would hear me, no one would listen-I was for the most part ignored, unless of course it was a holiday; and I learned to dread each and every one after my father died.

She’s so sensitive!

Yes, as a matter of fact, I expect to be listened to when I speak.  Actions speak louder than words, and I got the hint early on when I noticed that no one heard me; instead they talked over me, through and around me-what I had to say had no merit-I wasn’t relevant, and I spent years and years trying to prove myself to people who couldn’t have cared less.

Hey, I’m a tough cookie.  I roll with the punches as well as the next guy, and heaven knows it could be much worse.  However, I am in control of my life now, and if I had to pretend for one more minute?  I just couldn’t, let’s put it that way.

I want to begin anew.  I want to surround myself with people who love me for who I am and who I am not-and boy do I have that in spades.  My close friends are a small circle, but the circle is widening, and I have come to trust those in my church family, with my very life.  Interestingly enough, all of my friends (with the exclusion of Jason, my guy pal extraordinaire, I met him while working with the Intellectually Disabled at a company who treated its personnel like prison inmates.  I left three years ago, yet he remains-God is using him and he knows he is needed, and after winning a Humanitarian award for heroic effort on his part?  I am happy to see him so complete, thriving because of the fact he is making a difference-I adore the man.

 

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My favorite client, Jerry-may he rest in peace.

 

I was happy there for some time, until the powers that be proved to be insidious bottom dwellers who not only stole money from the clients, but food and clothing as well.  My supervisors were always twenty somethings who knew nothing about the clients, and everything about scamming the company, but I digress.

What I need is a new start, a fresh start-and I can’t do it here, no, not living like a bug in a jar, awaiting the next slight, diss or downright slap in the face.  I have to leave.  Thoughts of upstate New York, where my family originated (actually England and Ireland) or Maine-I am a nature lover and feel quite drawn to the Adirondacks, or the coast of Maine, so brutally raw in its beauty-captivating.

I suppose I am day dreaming, but there must be a solution to the gripping and suffocating place in which I dwell this moment.  A pawn in a game I refuse to play, I will be wiser, harden my heart and throw caution to the wind.

I am a rule breaker.  I am a rock.  I am an island.

Everything’s Fine…

I don’t know where to begin, but I’ll try.  I had a girlfriend over to watch this movie on the big screen, as I had taped it and she watched it on her iPad.  Sharon has been my friend for years, and our time together began when I became sober, and actually visited my mother in law’s pool.  I wasn’t sure I liked her at first, she seemed to know it all-but that ended up being one of the very reasons I love her-she knows a lot.  🙂

Sharon and I stopped getting together, right around the time my in-laws decided to “adopt” her.  She has a dysfunctional family, and no relationship with her parents; thus the reason to take her under their wings.  My in-laws took her everywhere-out for lunch, to flower shows, church events.  It silently killed me inside, and I admit-I resented her.  I mean, their daughter in law lives right across the street and they never even call me.  Not that I’m begging for trouble, I could care less.  But at one point I cared too much, and we didn’t get a chance to bond.

Then the unspeakable tragedy.

Two years ago, I was in my kitchen baking when my phone rang.  Seeing it was my MIL, I took a deep breath and answered.

“Sharon’s son Justin is dead.”

WHAT?  Her only child?   He was only 27 years old!  He was her world!  My GOD NO!!!!!

The details began to surface.  While Justin was an expert motorcyclist, (he also had a black belt in the martial arts) he was found by a truck driver, his new Harley overturned, down in the embankment-he was dead on the scene.  There was no snow.  No rain.  No wind.  The best we could figure was that possibly someone ran him off of the road, or he swerved to avoid a deer.

I was devastated for her.  I didn’t know what to do, we weren’t close enough that I could call her, yet I needed to do something.  I drove to the JOY bookstore in town.  I asked about books about grieving.  JOY is a Christian book store, and if you need to find anything Jesus-that is the place to be.  The manager pointed me in the right direction, and I found three, that’s correct three books on the subject, in the entire store.  As a woman trained in hospice, as a woman who has grieved deeply, I felt such sorrow for her.  Her one and only child.

I looked at the books, and one popped out-as the Holy Spirit would have it-I hesitated as this had to be the perfect book for her.  Later on she would confide that this very book is what got her through the rainy days, the searing pain, the funeral.

Watching her enter the church from the balcony, I dug my nails deep into my poor husband’s leg.  On my mother’s grave I almost let out a scream, and I know for a fact I had my hand over my mouth.  Almost crippled from late stage Lyme, as thin as a rail, her husband held her up as she walked down the aisle and into the first pew.  She looked so wracked, so broken and frail.  I felt m y heart expand and the Holy Spirit whisper:  allow her in to your life.

Today we spent the day in my full sized bed, giggling our fool heads off; talking a mile a minute and ignoring most of the musical.  It had been so long since I had seen her, as their winters are spent in St. Croix.  Too many memories at Christmas and the holidays.  She was clinically depressed for a long time.  So, we caught up and one thing led to another.

“Tom and Dolly don’t call me any more.  They haven’t phoned in six months,” she felt me out.  I tried not to give my feelings about them away.  I rarely spoke with her about them.

Just then the dog began to bark-Dwain was home.  I called for him and when he entered the bedroom, his face red, well, I knew something wasn’t right.  The words were falling out of his mouth at such warp speed, the movie in the background and Sharon interjecting here and there….I couldn’t understand what he was saying.  I paused the television, spew it, I said.

“I just stopped in with the neighbors (our name for his parents) and they aren’t too pleased with me,” he stammered.  “They told me I can’t disown my son.  They talked to Bud and he denied most of it, lied about the rest.  They said they can’t sleep, that I have to do something.  I think the five of us need to sit down…..”

Hold Up!  The five of us?  No way in the world do your parents need to be involved in our business! My stomach fluttered, my heart beat wildly, I looked to Sharon, her eyes big as saucers.  I knew I couldn’t go through one more minute of their interference.  

“We’ll talk about this later, enjoy your movie.”

Sharon patted the bed beside her.  I sat down and wept.  I had already clued her in on the Bud situation.  We exchanged stories about my in-laws.  I learned that they think she has “grieved far too long” for Justin, and that if she tried to bring him up in conversation, that Dolly would turn the dialogue back around so that she was the focus of attention.  I learned they lie about me, which I long suspected.  She was actually flabbergasted when I told her I had made a Mexican dish last evening.

“You cook?,” she asked, as if she had just learned that I moonlight on 13th and Arch, or ride buffalo bare back, naked.  “I was told that Dwain does all of the cooking.”

She listened, she comforted, she cared.

I walked her to the door, and she leaned in to kiss me goodbye.

“Whatever you do, sweetheart, keep the neighbors out of it.”

God blessed me with an ally, and one who knows the whole story-on both sides.  She understands my grim reality.  She knows grief.  And she and Jesus have come a very long way in healing her heart and soul.  Her name is Sharon, and she is my friend.

And right now, at this very moment, we are two women who have lost their sons, a road far too difficult to navigate alone~

Be cheerful.  Keep things in good repair.  Keep your spirits up.  Think in harmony.  Be agreeable.  Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure.                                                                                                       -2 Corinthians 13:11 MSG

 

 

 

 

 

Believe

I had a totally different topic for today, but that was before, hours before he came to pick up the things he has acquired over 32 years.  His tree stand.  And everything else.  His father, in a desperate attempt at tough love, and after he refused to apologize for his vicious attack on my character and mental health, told him to pick up his things.

“We’re done.”

My heart broke into a zillion pieces that day, a week ago.  If you could cry blood, I would have.  Today was unexpected, and very final.  I feel as if the illusion of family is just a pipe dream-and I must repeatedly remind myself that this is not my lesson, not my story, not my circus, nor monkeys.

I was upstairs, cleaning and sorting laundry.  I knew Bud was down with his grandparents, which made me nervous enough…..later, Jesse barked outside, and I opened the door to see him walk right past the dog he had loved for 5 years-the dog he and his father picked out as a puppy.

I didn’t expect this to feel like an appendectomy without anesthesia, as if the powers that be were ripping my heart to shreds, then stomping on it.  I wailed so loudly in the shower, that my golden retriever began an eerie, soul-shattering moan that snapped me out of my grief.

It wasn’t supposed to happen like this.  None of this was ever supposed to happen.

Narcissists ruin families.

And oh what I would do to turn back the sands of time-or perhaps a lobotomy, so the heart stopping memories don’t kill me dead.  I can’t tell my husband, he is at work and I have learned through this entire nightmare that Dwain is what matters.  Aside from his divorce and everything we went through, this is my husband’s first tragedy in his life.  I am as ferocious as the mama bear, tending to her kin.  I will not let evil touch this man, this kind hearted country boy of mine.

And as I threw myself on my knees, I railed:  Father forgive him, he knows not what he does.

This is the cross Dwain will have to carry.

I have to tell him.  And then we  can bleed together.

Brand New Dandy……

As a teenager, I wished I could tell what the future would hold.  Would I find a good man?  Would I find a career I enjoyed?  Would I be fat and happy in my old age?  And will I have one or two children?  Will I finally have a grasp on my depression and eating disorder?  Will our family stay connected after mom and dad are gone?

Now that I am older, and hopefully wiser, I see the brilliance in the uncertainty.  Certainly, we as humans have control and freedom over our decisions…but what about the attitudes of the people you are surrounded by?  Would I have been content with the foreknowledge   of knowing that my in-laws and step son would hate me?  And would I have done things differently had I known?  The answers lie in the cornerstone of my faith, where Jesus has his way with me and I accept and even condone His will for my life.  If I had known that in the year 2018 that I would go on a search for myself, and in doing so, lose almost every single connection to family I would not have changed a thing.  For I have always been led by my heart, and, for better or worse, my discernment.

I feel that I have paid my dues, and living next to my in laws has proved a perilous and daunting task.  From day one I was mistreated, ignored and abused.  Yet no one would hear me, no one would listen-I was for the most part ignored, unless of course it was a holiday; and I learned to dread each and every one after my father died.

She’s so sensitive!

Yes, as a matter of fact, I expect to be listened to when I speak.  Actions speak louder than words, and I got the hint early on when I noticed that no one heard me; instead they talked over me, through and around me-what I had to say had no merit-I wasn’t relevant, and I spent years and years trying to prove myself to people who couldn’t have cared less.

Hey, I’m a tough cookie.  I roll with the punches as well as the next guy, and heaven knows it could be much worse.  However, I am in control of my life now, and if I had to pretend for one more minute?  I just couldn’t, let’s put it that way.

I want to begin anew.  I want to surround myself with people who love me for who I am and who I am not-and boy do I have that in spades.  My close friends are a small circle, but the circle is widening, and I have come to trust those in my church family, with my very life.  Interestingly enough, all of my friends (with the exclusion of Jason, my guy pal extraordinaire, I met him while working with the Intellectually Disabled at a company who treated its personnel like prison inmates.  I left three years ago, yet he remains-God is using him and he knows he is needed, and after winning a Humanitarian award for heroic effort on his part?  I am happy to see him so complete, thriving because of the fact he is making a difference-I adore the man.

 

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My favorite client, Jerry-may he rest in peace.

 

I was happy there for some time, until the powers that be proved to be insidious bottom dwellers who not only stole money from the clients, but food and clothing as well.  My supervisors were always twenty somethings who knew nothing about the clients, and everything about scamming the company, but I digress.

What I need is a new start, a fresh start-and I can’t do it here, no, not living like a bug in a jar, awaiting the next slight, diss or downright slap in the face.  I have to leave.  Thoughts of upstate New York, where my family originated (actually England and Ireland) or Maine-I am a nature lover and feel quite drawn to the Adirondacks, or the coast of Maine, so brutally raw in its beauty-captivating.

I suppose I am day dreaming, but there must be a solution to the gripping and suffocating place in which I dwell this moment.  A pawn in a game I refuse to play, I will be wiser, harden my heart and throw caution to the wind.

I am a rule breaker.  I am a rock.  I am an island.