Consequence of Causality

Consequence of Causality

I married a handsome man wearing an impressive suit
that he had stolen from a telephone booth
Though he was a fraud, a shame
I remained committed to the game
Because, because

Not to deceive nor deny with lies the degree of my grief
that conceived defeat in the seasons void of reasons
My dreams were shattered and no longer did they matter
Because, because

I accepted life’s reprimands for the failure
of my plan to toss in that bad hand
to become greater than I am
Because, because

Measured treasures are now lost
the cost of brutality in a reality
that is about to blow
and I do not care who knows
Just because, just because

The Greatness of You

The Greatness of You

It is true that the years do quickly pass. The year was 1980 when the loud ringing of the telephone woke me from a sound sleep, it was your brother calling.

Into this new year of 2017, I have carried you and our shared experiences. I play the memories over in my mind; the splash of the river water, the rumble of your motorcycle, the feel of your broad chest, and the squeeze of your hand around mine. I feel these memories as if they are at present, though, I am aware of how long it has been since the last time I saw your face, the last words we spoke, and I remember that night as I turned away from you to walk home, I felt you watching. When I turned back around, I saw you sitting on your motorcycle smiling at me and you said, “See Ya”.

You were a great boyfriend even if when we met you were twenty-four and I was seventeen. After my mother threw me out of the house you took me in and each morning you made sure I arrived at school on time. How I wish that had never ended, but my mom was furious when I did not return home, at least it took her two weeks to find out I was living with you. Though she threatened to call the police, I would have stayed with you if you had not told me to go back home.

Fortunately, I have an abundance of pictures of you, of us together. Years ago, I scanned them to my computer, to me they have become priceless. I do look at them every so often even though I know my thoughts will return to that early morning, the morning your brother called.1530342_218371838359668_226481080_n

The phone rang, I rolled over in my bed, picked up the receiver, and brought it to my ear. I heard someone sobbing, “Who is this, what’s the matter?” Your brother took a few seconds before he was able to say who he was, “sob…it’s… sob…it’s Keith, Mark’s brother.” He did not speak further and I thought there must be something wrong. “What is it, what is it?” I asked. “Mark’s dead, he’s dead,” without hesitation, I yelled into the phone, “that’s impossible I just saw him last night. What a sick joke, you asshole.” I  slammed the receiver down. Laying on my back, I stared at the blank ceiling wondering what if it was not a joke. My heart pounded against my chest in a quiet panic. Seconds later, the phone rang again, in the early morning on the day of your death your brother called. I let the phone ring, but it was apparent your brother wasn’t going to end his call. I picked up the receiver and silently took in the details of your apparent suicide.

You should have left me a note, wrote how much you loved me, that it was not my fault. In the memories I keep is the greatness of you. In memories, in dreams, and in my mind you are eternal. I still remember you sitting on your motorcycle that last night and I repeat to myself, “See Ya”.   R.I.P. My Love.

Fragility of Mind

Fragility of Mind

I had not taken the route of using the influence of mental illness as an excuse for my choices that were detrimental to my family. Overcome with guilt, I would lay in my bed convinced that I did not deserve attention and was a failure.

Tired of pessimistic and self-depreciating thoughts, I decided to stop avoiding what worked for others and put into practice the art of forgiveness, letting go of the past, mindfulness, and such. However, this newly developed positivity was vulnerable to the castigation of a hater.

A few days ago, my former husband of twelve years called and said he would pay me to clean his house, though, I would have to drive five hours, I accepted. Two years had passed since I had returned to Santa Barbara (my hometown), and I was excited to visit a few of my favorite spots. I did not anticipate the anger and disdain that would engulf every particle of my being.

Two hours into cleaning, my X became annoyed that I was still cleaning past dinner time, leaving the floor half mopped, I started cooking dinner.

After dinner, without warning, he reminded me of every bad choice I had made over the past fifteen years. He said because of my stupidity I was to blame for everything negative that had happened in my life. He continued with the following: My children do not like to be around me because I am an embarrassment. Twelve years ago, the parents of my children’s schoolmates thought I behaved like “poor white trash.” My best friend for over four decades does not really care about me, in fact, I should dump her. I can never return to Santa Barbara because I burned all my bridges when I became disabled by glaucoma and was unable to pay my creditors. When I left Santa Barbara, I became nothing. I never know when to quit and for that my son resents my visits. I should spend more time thinking about how to improve my life and not waste time creating videos or writing in a blog. I should sell my car, people who receive disability income do not own a car. I told my daughter that I hate Mexicans. (My grandson’s father is Mexican.)

I begged him to stop, “I cannot take any more of this,” I said. He kept on with so much anger that I started to have a panic attack. Glaucoma prevented me from driving at night or I would have left. Finally, at 2:00 p.m., he fell asleep with the TV blaring, but I lay awake on the couch in tears for the entire night. At sunrise, I gathered my belongings and left. During the five hours I drove to reach Merced, I reminded myself that his opinion is not my concern and is irreverent. Nonetheless, what he said about my children was incredibly hurtful. The experience still plays over in my mind causing me to feel broken. I will never again place myself in a position for his acerbic attitude to engulf my spirit.

Despite everything that has befallen me over the years, I have adjusted and developed a life that is rewarding but highly susceptible to injury.

The Lie and The Life

The Lie and The Life

Of the few childhood memories I have kept, the one that especially affected me was to have a profound conclusion.

When I was four months shy of turning five-years-old in 1965, my three brothers, two older and one younger, and I learned of our mother’s pregnancy. I could not be happier with the news I was to become a big sister. There are no other memories about the months that followed until the night my brothers and I were huddled together on the couch in the living room listening to our parents arguing in the back bedroom. The anger was frightening and we children stayed silent.

My mother began to scream, I got up from the couch to look and saw my mother run down the hallway as my father chased her with a knife, yelling, “get the hell out!” My mother frantically opened the front door and stumbled out just before my father slammed the door shut behind her.

How many days passed before my mother’s return remains a mystery, however, when she did come home her belly was no longer like a balloon. Exactly when I cannot remember, but at some point my brothers and I learned that our sister was stillborn. I have not forgotten how she described stillborn as being dead and went further to describe how the umbilical cord had wrapped around our sister’s neck. Afterward, the death of my baby sister was never mentioned.

Tucked away in the bottom drawer of my mother’s dresser was a pink infant jumper.  No one in my family knew I would often sneak into her bedroom and take the suit out to imagine what it would have been like if …  For years I would check on the jumper until one day the jumper was gone. Throughout my childhood and into my adulthood, I would think about the night my father chased my mother out of the house, her coming back home without my baby sister, and about the infant jumper.

The year was 1983 when I became employed by the County of Santa Barbara and assigned to the adoption agency as administrative support to six social workers. After a few months on the job, I was alphabetically filing a case folder that had the first two letters of my own last name. As I slid the case file into its proper place I noticed a few case files back, spelled out in black bold lettering, was my last name.

Hesitating for a moment, I pulled the case file out wondering why there would be a file. Cautiously, I opened the file and began to read what I had never suspected. The truth about my sister was two pages long and for eighteen years was filed in a drawer. How ironic that my own life would place me in front of the very file cabinet where the lie that ended a life was to bring that life alive.

The information in the report explained that an hour after my sister’s birth, as planned, my mother surrendered her for adoption. Shocked by the plausibility of the idea, I turned to the next page. Unable to conceive what I was reading, I doubled checked the specifics to be sure this was my mother’s case file. Once confirmed, I took the file to my desk and sat down to continue the story that left me dumbfounded.

Like reading a horror novel, the full story unfolded beyond the adoption of my sister. For reasons not explained in the report, my mother also surrendered my brothers and me for adoption. My brothers went to one foster home and me to another, but my mother changed her mind the following week, and we returned to her custody. In that I have no memories around these events, I assume the experience was traumatic.

Filled with dread, I drove to my parent’s home to expose their lifelong lie. Nervously, I approached my father who was in the kitchen. After I explained how I found the case file he responded, “you need to ask your mother about that.” Without having formed a bond to my mother, I can assume I did not want to have that conversation because  I cannot remember anything that was said. Without purpose to let on I knew about the foster care placement of us children, I held that information to myself.

Oddly enough, three months later, while alone in my apartment the phone rang. Picking up the receiver I said hello, the female voice on the other end told me her name is Julie and she was searching for her birth mother.  Amazed by the timing, I asked if she was born January 31, 1965? With excitement, she answered, “yes, I was,” she then asked me how I knew? Drained of emotion, I answered, “because, I am your sister.”

To See the Unseen

To See the Unseen

Entering the fourth year since my diagnosis with glaucoma, I told a friend that my visual loss was not so bad because unless someone pointed out what I could not see I am not aware of the fact. How shallow my thinking, I  learned today that visual loss no matter what is devastating. 

Over the last few months, my monitor displays colors that are distorted or static. Today, I was to complete my twenty-second video but the monitor took its last volt making that impossible.

Investigating what could be done to fix the problem, I discovered both the monitor and computer have an HDMI port. Having HDMI cables in the closet, I connected the two and was blown away by the sharp images displayed. In the background of photographs that I had viewed hundreds of times, I could see objects I had no idea were there. Overwhelmed, the photographs of my daughter and grandson brought me to tears. They were amazingly vivid, I touched the displayed image of my daughter; she was more beautiful than my vision had allowed me to know.

Thinking that my videos would probably also be different, I viewed all twenty-one of them. Afterward, the enormity was such that I could not deny glaucoma has a profound effect on my interpretation of reality. If someone asks me about glaucoma, I will answer that the loss of vision is far worse than one can ever imagine.

If you read to this point, please take heed. There are two ways to learn you have glaucoma, one is by an eye exam the other is when your optic nerves have become permanently damaged and then you schedule an appointment with an optometrist, but by then, it’s too late. >

Without the Way, There is no Going

Without the Way, There is no Going

My life became void of routine and responsibility, three years ago, after early retirement. Often, I stay awake at night and sleep during the day, eat breakfast at three in the afternoon and dinner at midnight. Most often, I do not know the day of the week or the time of day, what useful purpose would I have for such knowledge?

Having developed a dire need to keep myself occupied, the idea of taking a moment to breathe is contrary to my current constitution. There is always something to do even if that something is cleaning the floor cleaned yesterday.

Consistently, my thoughts will turn to matters of the heart if I sit still too long, causing my emotions to become chaotic and depressive. Thereafter, my sense of self becomes depleted and hungers for the conversation and companionship that was lost after moving away from my hometown.

Unfortunately, Merced is not conducive to forming friendships. Believing in the idiom, “Birds of a feather flock together,” I am a rare bird.

Make the Day a Good One

Make the Day a Good One

Today is my birthday as with each birthday people wish me happiness with the advice to make the day a “good one.”

Two years ago, this day was no longer all about my birthday. My birthday became the day my children’s paternal grandma passed away. Now I learned my dear friend, Blake, passed away last week after suffering for years from many physical ailments. Blake’s friendship was of exception for he was an exceptional person. To me, though painful, I think his death is a blessing. 

Each year, when the calendar reads February, I will remember what I find more important than the coming of my birthday, my dear friend, and grandma who will remain in my heart until the day it beats no longer.

Note: The photograph used for this post is of Blake with my now twenty-seven-year-old son, Jacob.