Through the continuum of time, there be me remembered by the son and daughter left behind.
The I that is me today is about past adversity and depressive events. I exist within these indelible memories of which the totality is like an effusive rhapsody. Though I may try to mitigate these experiences, I stand with failure. Considering my reflection in the mirror, I see an old woman. Brought to heart from the reflection is a raw sensitivity to a substantial loss. Albeit, this loss has yet to come to fruition, I am cognizant of its finality.
As time separates generations the intimate nature of my opinion on life will not be understood by the youthful. Words will not suffice to express the entanglement of life with death but are where my sentiments about love and loss reside.
Selfishly, I want to remain in the audience and forever bear witness to the development of my children’s lives as they journey over roads not yet named to arrive at destinations not yet created. The inevitability of my non-existence elicits profound emotions and this is where I find the cruelty in life itself.
This unavoidable awareness that my story will come to end spreads across the blank pages that turn over each morning. Created within set tabs and margins are unedited pages from the past. In hindsight, I wish there had been more of this and less of that. Come the day I face my maker, should he exist, I shall demand a refund for this life lived to die for.
“There’s no time to lose, I heard her say. Catch your dreams before they slip away. Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you will lose your mind. Ain’t life unkind? Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday, who could hang a name on you when you change with every new day?” ~ Rolling Stones.
By the time I started Kindergarten, I knew my family was different from all other families in my neighborhood. The other families took vacations, celebrated Christmas, and held birthday parties, we did none of those. People came to visit my neighbors, we had no visitors. Most mother’s worked part-time or not at all. My mom was gone before we left for school and did not return until after dark. We were poor the others were not.
My little friend, Terri, lived across the street and was the only house that had a built-in swimming pool. Honestly, that’s the only reason I liked her. One day after swimming her mother wanted to wash the chlorine from Terri’s now blonde/green hair. Her mom lifted Terri up and laid her across the kitchen counter-top and pulled her close to the edge of the sink where her head hung down. I stood there watching intently. Terri’s mom carefully wrapped a towel around her daughter’s neck and turned the sprayer on. As Terri’s mom ran her fingers through Terri’s hair, which was full of shampoo, she would suddenly stop and with excitement in her voice would say, “Oh, my, what is this? Have you been eating chocolate? I see candy in your hair.” Terri giggled as her mom smiled. I stood there confused, did she really find chocolate in Terri’s hair? The game repeated with bubble gum, a lollipop, or popcorn. The genuine love and affection exchanged between Terri and her mom was something I would never come to know with my mom. Perhaps this is the reason I carry the memory with me through the passing decades.
It is the uncomfortable times in childhood I recall most vividly. Like at age seven, thereabout, the city erected at the corner from my parent’s business a stoplight and a cross walk made for pedestrians. There was a market across the street that sold giant dill pickles. Every time I had to cross the street and pass the cars that had stopped, I could not lift my eyes from the ground, I knew they were all looking at me, judging me. It was the most horrible experience I can remember. Although both of my older brothers were mean to me, the one older by a year was a budding psychopath. He delighted in torturing me. Once when I was six or so, he rolled me up in the living room rug and sat on top of me while I was trapped inside. I could not move an inch and screamed, let me out! He laughed as I struggled to breathe. Other times he would tackle me and use his knees to pin my arms to the floor and give me a pick belly by slapping my stomach until it turned pick. Next, he would commence with the Chinese water torture where he would repeatedly tap his finger between my eyes until I cried. Every doll my grandmother sent from New York he would dismember, cut off all its hair and throw it into the pond in the back yard where I would find it with a knife sticking out its torso or other parts. At some point in time, he learned how to ground himself with batteries. He would hide around a corner in the house, as I passed, he would grab hold of my arm and electricity would shoot through my body.
My eldest brother by four years lifted me up over his head in the front lawn and threw me down onto a bed of rocks that surrounded a small tree my mom had planted. I lay there in shock, I was around eight. My older brothers would take the rotary off the telephone making it impossible to call mom for help. That same night a parent from the neighborhood came knocking on our door. When my mom let her in the doorway, I was hidden close enough to listen to their verbal exchange. “The other parents in the neighborhood and I have discussed the neglect of your children. They need supervision when not in school. Today, a neighbor witnessed your daughter thrown to the ground from over your son’s head. If this continues we will report you to the proper authorities.” She said with condemnation. Unmoved, my mom replied, “Well if anything were to happen, I am assured my children can fend for themselves and will survive.”
Survive what, what was going to happen? My imagination went around the world with all the terrible things that my inexperienced mind could conjure. I thought my parents were going to die and from that day forward my mind was constantly on guard. Afterward, at least twice a month, I started breaking out in hives across my stomach and neck.
My mother was mentally ill. I knew it long ago but never gave it much thought. In my adulthood, she would think she was Queen Esther. She said there was cancer causing agents underneath the house. The police picked my mom up at 3:00 am walking in her pajamas three miles from the house. My father left my mother in a huge five-bedroom house that sat on three acres of land. We children had grown up, married, and did not pay mom much attention. I was the one left in Santa Barbara but became estranged from my mom by choice. When my son was born, my need for my mom resurfaced and we reconciled. Soon after, I realized how her mental illness had affected every aspect of her being. I took her to a psychiatrist who diagnosed her as bipolar and prescribed Lithium. Unfortunately, two years later diagnosed with terminal lung cancer my mom died.
I was 43, recently divorced, and drinking alcohol heavily. My psychiatrist called county mental health to assess my condition when I confessed I had made a list of people who I was going to kill. In the hospital, I believed I could pass through the locked door if I could reach maximum running speed down the long hallway. When I slammed head on into the door I flew back five feet through the air. They tied me four points to my bed, shot me up with drugs, and left me there for hours. The following years passed with many hospitalizations and psychotic episodes, or black outs I like to call them because I cannot remember anything during those days of not knowing I existed.
Not believing I have a mental illness other than depression now and then, I stopped taking my medication six months ago. These past months I realized I do not know who I am. My life feels as if caught in a rip tide, pulled into uncharted waters. I told my few friends they were using me and I deleted their phone numbers, blocked them from Messenger, and unfriended them from Facebook. My moods were like corn seeds in a popcorn maker heating up to explode. In contrast, everything was black and I had a plan worked out as to how I was going to commit suicide, the only thing that troubled me was what to do with my two dogs, should I take them with me?
Sometimes, I do not sleep for days and have so much energy my legs refuse to be still. Or I am very depressed and I drink all day, conjuring up all the woes in my life time accomplishing nothing but sinking deeper into despair and anxiety. I have been looking for the correct diagnosis for what might be my mental illness. I took an online test which read I needed to seek help immediately. I called the psychiatrist I buffed off and made an appointment. Two days later in his office, I asked him, the first time in three years, what was my diagnosis? With the air of authority, he answered “Schizoid-effective Disorder – Bipolar Type II,” adding, “Your perception of events is often wrong or delusional.” “What is this medication for?” I asked. “Schizophrenia.” He answered as doctors do in a monotone voice. I was speechless, delusions… I don’t have delusions… or do I? If so, who am I really? How can I ever be known to myself if my perceptions of myself are wrong or delusional? Sitting in the quiet of the night, someone began knocking at my front door. I was surprised to find my deleted friend laughing as she said, “You can’t get rid of me that easy, crazy woman.” I nearly cried.
Thousands died when two towers became engulfed in flames
Trained terrorists conspired and targeted them with planes
Overnight the world changed vilified Muslims were blamed
All of them are evil, disgusting murders many still say
I do not think it is possible for all of them to be this way
Mothers feel the pain and suffering born in these days
How ignorant and foolish to blame all for the deeds of a few
Anger breeds hatred that seeks to kill and this I will not do
Most are innocent victims caught up in an insane war
It is inhumane to close our border to lock our door
I will stand with the innocent for as long as there is need
It is my empathetic nature, who I am, the way I must be
I hit the bathtub in these dying moments of depression only to find the stillness brings on more anxiety. Keep moving, keep moving my brain signals. Standing up, I turn the knob to the shower position, bow my head, and listen to thoughts that I feel are not mine.
Hot water pours over my face, across my bent shoulders, and down my aching back until this moment concludes as always with tears. Tears run down my face and drip from my chin to be lost within the drops of hot water pouring from above. I keep listening to unspoken thoughts that I am unable to picture in a tangible form. Sinking lower in the fluidity of emotion, I come to believe life is like the hot water disappearing down the drain to return recycled elsewhere.
The emptiness in my being, numb flesh, and my shallow breath these are the things I know for certain. Under the weight of the water in the darkness that I cannot abate, I surrender once again to the unknown, thinking, I’ve got to get out of here.
My days start and end with tears. Pictures will flash through my mind of the inhumanity in humanity. I rarely cry for my own woes, though there are a few, in comparison, I could say they are petty as to not warrant attention.
I found my way in the mountains alone on the edge of a two-way road. Exhausted, I leaned against the mountain side. For a moment, I closed my eyes thinking I must be dreaming. A cigarette fell from above my head and landed at my feet; I could see it had broken in half. A man jumped down from a crevice and stood before me with a red backpack over his shoulder. He bent down, picked up the broken cigarette, and handed it to me. He tried to light the cigarette, but it failed to catch. He turned and started to walk away from me so I followed behind. There were no words spoken between us yet I knew there was a need to follow. After a few hours, we came to an abandoned house. The front door hung from one hinge at an angle that felt unnatural. The man entered and I followed him into the front room where I found two dogs. The man searched the dilapidated house as I knelt and coaxed the dogs into my open arms.
After the man found nothing of use, he left the house. I put the dogs in a room and shut the door, but I could not leave the house. Through a shattered window, I watched as the man got further away. I yelled, “What about the dogs?” “Leave them.” He shouted back. I turned to the sound of the barking dogs that were scratching against the closed-door and then back to the man who kept on walking without ever looking back. I watched the man until his red backpack disappeared.
My eyes opened, tears were dripping down the sides of my face. Wiping my wet face, I felt that life-long pain in my chest the one thing that has never left me since childhood and still I have no answer why this pain refuses to leave me alone, what it wants, or how to rid myself of its power.
It is said that the vast majority of the 1.8 million Palestinians who are held prisoner by Israel in Gaza approve of Hamas launching patchwork rockets into Israel.
This false claim is ludicrous considering that for every one rocket launched into Israel twenty sophisticated retaliatory rockets are indiscriminately launched into Gaza. Unsuspecting citizens scramble with their children in tow. Terrorized, they pray to Allah they not be the next family obliviated under piles of rubble.
Israel has indiscriminately fired rockets from jet fighters, tanks, and rocket launchers into Gaza causing complete destruction of neighborhoods with a death toll exceeding five hundred children in fifty days. Unabated, Israel has stooped so low as to fire rockets to destroy schools, UN Sanctuaries, and hospitals.
It is obvious that Israel is using Hamas as a precept to force Palestinian Arabs from the region.
If ever an illegitimate state caused this degree of suffering to my people or my family I would be filled with vengeful hatred. One can only endure so much insult and injury before the need for Justice pushes one to strike back.
What aggressor would be surprised that Palestinians would strike back? Israel.