hafacenturyncounting

Motivated by a lack of material.

Sometimes We Just Know

When my mother passed away there was sadness, but in her passing there was a sense of relief. Mom and I were close. When I became and adult we were friends. It was nice, she was my mom who I loved and respected, but she was the friend who knew things about me that I didn’t, things I had forgotten. Like one time we were out shopping and I laughingly told her how much my husband hated shopping with me and how nice it was to do something small like shop with my mom and NOT worry that she was bored.  I told her how he said I would be in search of a particular item and find it almost in the first place I looked but I would abandon it, in search of another one that might be better, then I would ultimately come back to that first item. She laughed and told me about a time when I was a little girl and she and I were out shopping for Easter shoes. She told me I tried on every shoe in the store that was my size that I did not like anything. She said she told me after all possibilities were exhausted she turned to me and said,” I guess you won’t be getting any new shoes for Easter..” she said I looked at her in shock and quickly grabbed the very first shoes I tried on and handed them to her. She said she did not know what my problem was and I said I have no idea, but I also wonder why SHE was being so gracious on that day, because Mom was not a game-player.  I do know with that little story she in effect told me that my shopping habits go waaaay back to childhood.

Now Mom would no longer be in pain, she would no longer be confined, she would no longer be confused, she would no longer be unhappy.  Yet, I remember thinking why she no longer  wanted to be here. What was it that made my mother give up, because she was stubborn and she was a fighter. I knew it was something and I knew it was something, SHE could not endure. My rock, the lady who taught me to be strong, there was something she did not want to face. So Mom left us quietly October 30, 2016 and while I managed to brush the question aside, it lingered just beneath the surface of my consciousness.

2017 rolled in; I had made it through my first Christmas without my mom, but February was on the horizon. We had so many birthdays in February, so many good times, so many memories. I wondered if this would be my breakdown point. It was not; maybe because I did not concentrate on the loss of she and my father, but celebrated the people who were still here with me that shared that February birth month my Godson, my youngest son and so many friends, friends who considered family from our street in Inglewood.

Late in 2017 things became complex. Illnesses came from out-of-the-blue and they were illnesses that would likely bring about loss. By the time the anniversary of my moms passing came around I was too preoccupied with the business of living to fall apart. There were millions of questions, where did this come from, could we have done something different to avoid this condition.  The answers were vague and really rather pointless. Things are never as they seem, we can almost never make plans, for the way we think it should be often turns on a dime.

We prepared to do battle now and there were going to be tough ones ahead. Two rounds of chemo therapy,  test after test, clearance after clearance for surgery, low and behold it was Christmas again. My dear friend told me to make this a good one, take lots of pictures and video. A polite way of saying this may be the last one like this for “someone” would not see another. We always had great Christmases this would be no different. I would heed my friend’s warning, but not interfere with the mood of the holiday. I was prepared for the change to take place; I did not know the exact time, season, or manner but I was fairly certain I knew who.

I was wrong in focusing on who, that when the loss came it was beyond devastating. 14 days into the new year, after a fantastic holiday, after a wonderful vacation, after things were ready to move forward, they came to a screeching, abrupt halt. We were all looking for/ looking at something, we were all aware of something but we were misdirected. We all knew something was going to happen, we just did NOT know what.  Was this what mom could not live with/through? Was this why my friend told me to make this the best Christmas ever? Something turned on a dime for us all, but the truth is sometimes you do just know. Even when you don’t want to.

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Meggie, M’Lynn, Florida, and Me

As I did my best to navigate through yet another day feeling some-kinda-way, I thought of strong characters, I thought of women and I thought of our relationships with God. Eve did us in ladies, and the sooner we accept this the better we will be.

Enter my first character Megan “Meggie” Cleary. Meggie is a favorite character from the novel, “The Thornbirds”.  Meggie is the pretty, lone daughter in a family of strapping boys living on a well-to-do aunt’s station in Australia. Her life’s significance is summed up by her mother, Fiona,” What is a daughter but someone to make the same mistakes you already made”. Wow..But was her mother right(read the book to see the similarities). Meggie lived out her mother’s life without ever really knowing her story. Ultimately, Meggie fell in love with and seduced a Holy Man..a Cardinal. She went on to give birth to his son, unbeknownst to him, and settle into being happy with her chosen life.  Never truly having the man she loved, but having a love relationship of sorts, having their son who was proof of such an intense beautiful love, that gave her a sense of being contented.

M’Lynn Eatenton lived a bit of a charmed life. Settled into ultimate suburbia; small town life in Louisiana. Married, children, comfortable. Her only snag was her diabetic daughter, but with this strong stable mother in her life her Shelby was virtually unaffected. Until Shelby fell in love, married, and was advised NOT to have children. She of course did and while she gave M’Lynn a beautiful healthy grandson, Shelby’s health suffered.

Finally, we have Florida Evans the struggling matriarch of a 1970’s Chicago family. With a husband who is a constant victim of the economy and three children to raise in a housing project, Florida utilizes her common sense, street smarts, and faith in the Lord to keep her family together. The shows ratings keep the family on air for years but the family’s bad-luck streak seems unending. Finally, life is looking up for this hardworking do-on-their-luck but ever faithful family. Husband James gets a job “down south”. So-long Chicago.

Many a Christian will tell you God loves us all. Well God may love us all, but he is also pretty angry with all us girls. I am not being funny, because I do not have a lot to laugh about right now. While the three characters I mentioned are fictional , there is a degree of relate-able realism attached to each of them for me. Perhaps you can relate as well. No good deed goes unpunished was what we “jokingly” said of the Postal Service. I submit do we as the “descendants of Eve ever get a full pass for what  she did. The ultimate betrayal, the deed that DAMNED mankind and additionally cursed women, but where is the forgiveness

Here is the end game. Meggie loses her beloved son to the priesthood by his choice, and to life by divine intervention? While saving someone he drowns. Meggie defied God by taking that which was not available to her..a Holy man. Meggie said God was greedy. M’Lynn gives her precious daughter one of her kidneys to make her life better after Shelby’s give out but she falls into a diabetic coma and is eventually taken off life support. M’Lynn questioned God telling Annelle she’d rather have her daughter here on Earth with her. Florida in the midst of a farewell party receives a telegram that bluntly tells of her dear husbands death in an auto accident. In the midst of brief favor as well as it’s shadow, Florida cursed God..”DamnDamnDamn”.

I am overcome with grief. I am searching for answers.  I say in my quest, then there is me. I have always been aware of my short comings, my bad behavior, and I was willing to take the responsibility for these things. Just as the characters I spoke of, I know what I have done, I know how I feel, and now I must find a way to live with it. For I  too mistakenly thought I had served my  penance.

 

What Are We Smiling About

It had been exactly 2 weeks since my beloved youngest son left us, when I started this piece and could NOT finish it. As I looked over photos taken at his memorial, I see smiles. I remember when my dad/ his grandfather was alive and how we used to laugh at dad taking so many pictures at funerals. As kids we though, “Dad is just weird.” Life happens and time passes, you realize that these funerals, last rights, memorial services are truly times to celebrate. They are gatherings that may not have happened had the loss NOT occurred. You make promises that this will not be the last time you are in contact with this relative or that long absent friend; no matter how well intended, you may not see one another until yet another passing happens.

What are we smiling about, my mind scans the faces. Some of us just reacted to the camera. Some of us reacted to a feeling. Others felt the love and comfort of being with people who would hold us up when we thought we would fall.

What are we smiling about. I can tell you from the moment he came into my life Jay gave me joy.  I smiled because Jay truly would have been upset to see me sad or crying. All he wanted was for people he loved and cared about to be happy. If he could facilitate that he did, if he could not he encouraged them to look around and within to find that happiness. Jay found happiness, and that was all he needed.

Angel

I knew he was special from the moment I laid eyes on him, but then what parent does not say that.

A free spirit, he was happy and he made people around him smile. My only complaint, the only problem he ever presented was he was too sensitive and caring. I knew I was in for battles. I, who did not have the optimism and high expectations in regards to others. How could I have two children who believed overall people are good..just like my father their grandfather.

Life happens, you grow and you change. It was no different for him. I would one day look back and realize everyone has challenges, even chosen ones. Books and movies suggest these special humans live a charmed life, I submit to you they simply live life. I bit my lip and resisted the need to interfere, besides he already had a fighter standing guard over him a “pit-bull” father.

He settled in and the storms seemed to subside, he began to be who he was intended to be. The form changed, the canvas was illuminated. He conquered and completed, worries were put on the back burner. I now settled into a comfort zone.

Silence and calm shattered at 3:25.A.M. on Sunday January 14, 2018. Time both flew by and stood still simultaneously. When the doctors told us they could NOT save him I felt my heart stop, I could not breathe, I could not scream like I wanted to, I could not comprehend. All I could do is look around at his father and his lovely lady collapsing. I had to hold them up, but how  for I was lost in a flood of emotion I still cannot decipher. All I had was hurt and pain, I was drowning in it.

24 hours later I was numb and confused, damaged beyond repair life was continuing on. I did not know how, but it continued just the same. He showed me he was still nearby in a cautious yet undeniable way, he knew I would be a skeptic. Not one act but several.  First it was a subtle “tug on the coat-tail”, followed by stronger indicators, when he had my full attention I simply allowed myself to be encompassed in his essence. It was powerful, heart-wrenching and seemed to go on for an incredibly long time. I left the space feeling there would most certainly be more contact, I had to prepare for the next time. However, when I returned it was all gone. There was no sign of anything, it felt empty as a warehouse just not as cold.

Only something supernatural could carry you from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other. My boy had been here, he lived, loved, experienced, and influenced. I witnessed it from the front row, but now I would argue he was anywhere. The electricity of his life was erased, but it did not feel bad. I realized he was existing at the next level. He wanted to let me know he was here with me, but we now had to exist apart. He knew the only way for me to let go and accept this would be for me NOT to have something to hold on to. I could not have the little or big contact. My child was making me stand on my own and that is when I realized I had been privy to an existence with angel. The time was real , it was engaging, it was powerful, it was beautiful and as all existence, finite.

I will love and miss him; my angel forever.

Hello/Good-Bye

Ah yes here we are again, the beginning of a new year. Yet it all feels the same. We start off filled with hope and aspirations, we look forward to a year not like the one that just passed. However, by the time December 31st rolls around again, if we are fortunate enough to be here, we will likely reflect upon what we want for the upcoming year and how glad we are to see the current one go.

Maybe we put too much stress on what is to come, in spite of the fact we have no idea what is ahead. Tallulah Bankhead once said,” If I had my life to live over again, I would make the same mistakes, only sooner”.  Interesting thought as we reflect on regrets and triumphs. What will you do with this year? As we take these strides forward at ever increasing speeds, in a hurry for this date to pass, this milestone to arrive, we should bear in mind we are pressing time to pass for us,  ultimately taking us to the place we will no longer be.

Slow down, admire, absorb; try your best to live each day as it is meant to be lived, one day at a time.

VENOM

I have not felt so much hatred as I do in these days. It is infecting and the affects are everywhere. I worry about the innocents. We, old sullen beings can battle it out, but what of the babies? My heart is racing as that thought occurs. I want to be positive, but that is not going to be easy. There is a negative fog looming, but no one wants to budge. The first one who does shows weakness, vulnerability..I get that but what seems to be escaping us all is, we are all weak and vulnerable.

What I see happening is we are all having to think again. In our technologically advanced life we have these gadget to think for us under the guise of making things easier and moving faster. What we have ignored or failed to realize is, our capacity to think is diminishing with every keystroke. Those once passing thoughts become a permanent mark, a point of reference that can and will come back to haunt us, lest we hit the delete button as fast as we share. Mean-spirited, hurtful talk, bullying are difficult to challenge in the “trenches”, when the so-called leader(s) of this nation practice the behavior readily.

The venom is everywhere. Since”truth” has become a questionable concept, and lies have been redefined in a manner that makes them seemingly acceptable, at the very least excusable; the venom has a place to grow and thrive. there is a simple solution. Cut off that “snakes head”. Do not accept this distasteful, undesirable talk. Inaccurate, unreliable statements should be called by their correct name; LIES! Remember when LIES were bad things? Now they are simply vehicles to buy time until you have an excuse for whatever the lie is about. You are called a liar (in a tactful way), and then we move on and seemingly forward. Without any ramifications or repercussions other that YOU being called a liar, what is next? Now that liar is an abstract thought, how valuable is truth?

Contracts are meaningless, promises are just things to say…where is our protection. Think about it. “Truth in lending”, your child’s education, a job you contracted for, attorney client privilege, doctor/ patient relationships ALL can potentially be put under fire. Until then we are forced to navigate carefully, hopefully avoiding the venom but anxiously awaiting the anti-venom’s arrival.

And That Feels Good

Ahh..the sign of relief, the taking in of a deep breath. What a feeling! Meeting my daily walk challenge is satisfying, but a quick sprint is phenomenal. The distant grandchild who is finally coming around; there has always been love, but the way your heart fills when you are told YOU were the subject of her “show and tell” presentation about Why “this”is special. Reconnecting with friends from the past, you can never go back but being among folks who can bear witness to that time, makes that time come alive in you again.

Right now there is a need for something to give you comfort. Perhaps a hug or a movie that makes you laugh and cry… As I held the huge padded notebook that contained legal documents, I began to cry. I felt the tears well, I felt the ache in my chest and the lump in my throat rose and began to choke me. The silent wails were a millisecond away.  There I was cowering in my closet alone. I let go and then I rapidly reeled the feelings back in. I was surprised as I discovered, while I clutched that notebook, I felt comfort and I had missed that so much. I had spent the last year running from the fact, that I forgot how good that comfort felt.

LaLaLa…

I really did not want to think there was any feeling left. Yet a year almost to the day I told myself, “no more EVER”, a simple poke made my day. Emotionless at first,  then I felt rather smug and though I did not even respond, out of the blue I was able to relive our encounters. YIKES!

You truly “don’t miss the water till the well runs dry.” So he thinks about me, so what. It is a big deal, it was a big deal. I can still smell the cologne mixed with his pheromones , his well manicured hands, his beard (and I don’t even like beards) his soft intelligent speaking voice, his beautiful teeth, his eyes as he watched me walk, towards or away from him.

There’s a song, you may have heard it before,”LaLaLa Means I Love You” Well not anymore, but Once-Upon-A-Time….

Do you ever think of love(s) of your past? I don’t see anything wrong with it. As we creep closer and closer to the process of slowing down to an inevitable stop, we must do things that keep us aware of the fact that we were not always who we currently are.  Throughout our time the reaction to that fact will bring mixed feelings, but the flings and relationships of the past seem to have an electric energy. Powered by positive or negative emotions, they are invigorating  just the same.

I recall his face when I left him at the alter, The day I found out she was married, We had the best time at the prom, He handed me a dandelion by the lake.. You can add your own, but you know these times existed and they affected you.

The Decision Was Yours

If photographs tell a story, the body language is a chapter, why is the conclusion a surprise ending.

I sat across from you and our conversation was practically non existent.  We barely made eye contact, you who I prepare to share one of the most intimate experiences in daily life(eating), yet we have nothing to talk about??? What does this mean? How did it get to this? To me it sounds like the beginning of the end, but what about that surprise ending?

Logic in these situations is non-existent..  Now you want to make nice, now you want to sing “Kumbaya”, now it is different. We should be supportive and respectful, we should let bygones be bygones, get over it. All I can say/ do/ think is when the role was reverse..what did YOU do. Stop telling me I need to be the bigger person, stop telling me about moving forward,  stop telling me about God. YOU clearly have NO knowledge and NO right to even let a word that involves fairness or being right, come out of your mouth. YOU need to hear YOU are wrong and foul, YOU need to KNOW that whatever YOU get it is deserved. YOU made the bed now lie in it. .

I want YOU to understand that when you do someone wrong, when you disrespect someone, IT IS NOT YOUR JOB OR CHOICE OR PLACE OR RIGHT to tell them to forgive, forget, or be benevolent towards you because..well YOU are sorry. More like you are sorry YOU got caught. YOU have done the deed and YOU should get what you deserve..if it is mercy it will come from the higher power, for man is flawed as YOU well know. This did not happen by accident. Are you ready for the consequences?

Lost

It has almost been 4 months since my beloved mother passed. I have not really been able to do anything except go through the motions of life. Seasons are changing yet I am not affected. At any given moment I find tears rolling down my cheeks and a lump in my throat. There is a explosive political climate that I am disgusted with and I have moved it to a back burner, because I am lost.

Upon my awakening this morning, the thought of voting came to me. I felt a sense of understanding regarding people who chose not to, or ones who say,”Why should I,it doesn’t count.” That disturbed me immensely. I began reading critiques of a speech read by “45” and I thought, ” Really? Are people so easily swayed that one well read or improved reading of a speech prompted a feeling of, Well now that’s more like it in opposed to Hum what’s he up to now? This IS the same person and aside from a life changing event or experience, people (“45″ included)are all exactly  who and what we demonstrate we are.

We are being attacked on all sides, our only hope for survival is to continue to fight until this corrupt man and his administration is demolished. Their strategy is to exhaust us and when we are down, when we are taking a breather, then they will really do some damage.While I know I have reason to be lost and taking it easy, I have reason to push forward, light a fire under myself and say, ” The fight/resistance must continue and even as a wounded soldier YOU are still valuable.”

Therefore I am here; here to remind you broken, damaged, and weak I am  STILL here to fight along side of you until….

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