My Mother’s Day

I used to have a son. He didn’t die nor get physically ill lingering in a hospital. He just walked away. The story of how he came to be in my life is as intense now as when he first appeared 21 years ago next month in a phone call from a liar.

Matt winning awards for his academics and a scholarship

Matt winning awards for his academics and a scholarship

I hear the words, “Keep a stiff upper lip” ringing in my ears, maintaining my distance from the heartbreak I feel and felt.

Before he was born, I longed for him to come home to me. I created the “perfect” nursery in Looney Tunes theme. I filled the dresser and changing table with all the necessities. I made curtains, blankets, and diapers. I can’t sew, but I did because those were straight lines. I put up soft lighting, filled the room with whimsical pictures and loving thoughts.

I’d done the chlomid and pergonal to no avail. I’d taken my temperature faithfully every morning. I’d resolved to adopt a child. I resolved to adopt THIS child. I went to every doctor’s appointment with his birth mother, my step-sister (sister=same difference). When she was about 5-6 months along she was burned out of her apartment by her neighbor’s murderers. My church, at the time, put together a care package of clothes and cash which I brought to her to help her rebuild. She got really sick towards the end of her January due date. The plan was for me to stay with her until the baby was born.

Lies were told to she and I which kept us distanced just far enough to not realize it. A week before my “son” was to be born, my sister called me as I walked in the door from picking up the temporary custody with intention to adopt papers up from our attorney.

“Hey, uh, we need to talk but I don’t know how to say this.” She sadly said.

“Whatever it is, just say it and we’ll work through it together.” I commented as I unloaded my purse, my coat, my manila folder holding the precious promise. “Hold on a second while I finish getting in the door.” My intention was to finish loading up the car and head from Northern Indiana in Lake Station to drive to Knoxville, TN.

“Mare, I don’t know what to do.”

“It’s okay. Really, we’ll work through it. What’s on your mind?” I asked as I prepared to sit down on my couch.

“I’ve decided to keep the baby.” She whispered but the words I heard were deafening.
“What?” I asked as I held the phone away from my ear.

I was positive the phone had turned into a cobra that was striking viciously at me. I couldn’t hear anything but the tremendous amount of grief that broke me in two. I fell to the ground with my hands held above my head in complete surrender. Every pore of my body screamed the words of my soul to the Universe. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t take anything into my body. I couldn’t accept anything with any clarity because it was all nonsense. It was absolute void as everything I’d ever tried to become collapsed upon itself in a tumble of hopes, dreams, ambitions, goals, promises, vows, and possibilities vanished in six words. Poof. Absence.

Less then three months later, my good friend Jamie K Haley was murdered. I was completely lost in the bottom of a bottle. I couldn’t find my way out. I couldn’t drown the feelings fast enough or deep enough to have any success which, of course, didn’t stop me from trying. My friends intervened, forcing me to choose them or death. I opted to live. For the longest time, I had no idea why I made that choice. When I say that, I mean twelve years of bad choices and horrible decisions that continuously punished me for my failure.

Thanksgiving 2004, after the death of my father’s wife (Truthfully a horrid person, judge me if you want to about that, but it is not only my perception), I was passing through to pick up my best friend’s boyfriend to return him to her in Arizona where I resided with my husband. I stopped off in Tennessee to visit.

My father explained that he was getting too old to take care of a twelve year old boy. He wanted to know if I’d consider moving closer to build a relationship with the boy because, “My health isn’t all that great and he’ll need someone to take care of him that he knows when I die.” That sounded fair and logical. I said I’d consider it.

That twelve year old boy (nearly 13 at that point) was the same child that had been denied me in 1995. That was the same child that I’d dreamed of holding, comforting, crying over, teaching, feeding, healing, reading to, guiding, exploring the world with. That child was the manifestation of my heart. Okay, that sounds like I may have romanticized it a tad (YES! I know, a LOT!) but before I go any farther in the story, go ahead and guess what my choice was…I didn’t even finish that sentence before you knew. Yes. I did in fact go back and talk to my husband about moving to Tennessee.

Plans were made. My job as a radio DJ/personality/head copy writer got more complicated then it had ever been before, everything in my Arizona life pushed me towards a new life. I complied. In February of 2005, right after the boy’s 13th birthday, my best friend, her boyfriend, and myself were driven across the country by Charles Tupper and his son to live at my father’s house. My husband was supposed to join us later (which is a whole different story).

It didn’t take long before things were found to be amiss. The boy didn’t fit very well. He was skittish. Time passed, I divorced my Arizona husband, moved about finally landing in Oak Ridge with my joyfriend/current husband. In March of 2010, the young man came to live with me by court order because of the neglect and violent abuse he’d suffered at the hands of my father and his new girlfriend.

This is his story told to me by him, written by me to create a more gentle version of a vicious life:

Becoming Human

I was born abandoned. According to legend, I was either brought to my grandparent’s tattered life. Or I was saved from the state by them as a last resort; rescued from the hospital.

I had a brother, also known as God to Jack who was my grandfather. My brother was his everything but he was taken away by the courts. My uncle was murdered by fringe family members and my grandmother who died of Cancer. They were all gone by the time I was eleven, except for the worst one, Jack.

I didn’t get to say any goodbyes. The pain became my normal. It was the only thing that was real and tangible. I had nowhere to go and that’s right where I thought I was going.

Nobody heard me. Nobody stopped me. Nobody recognized me. Caine was gone and I was all that was left.

I became, over time, a non-entity. Nobody cared to listen to what I thought or felt.

My house was never silent. Rage filled the air with compulsive shrieks and blistering names that still sting. Jack and I had no quiet conversations at the dinner table. There were no jokes told. The questions that I had, of my losses, went unanswered.

Three weeks after my grandmother died, Jack moved Val into our house. Things became very different. At night, Jack gave me vodka and Val gave me beer to put me to sleep. It wasn’t long before Val started sneaking into my room and the nightly abuse began. In an attempt to protect myself, I slept in a bed of knives and swords that I’d collected. It didn’t work.

I screamed out to be saved, but Jack never came. I tried fighting against her, but my drunken youthful self wasn’t yet strong enough. I told myself it was all a dream. Nobody heard me. Nobody stopped what was happening to me. Nobody saw me. My family was gone and I was all that was left.

Boys I called my friends began to ask me to do things that I didn’t understand but soon learned. I became an object to be used.

Huffhead was the worst offender. He called me his friend and I called him mine. But I always returned to him. Even knowing that nothing I did for him was ever good enough, I returned. He always demanded more and more from me. No matter how he abused me, I accepted it. The abuse was normal. I’d learned my lessons well. I was so desperate for his “friendship” that I returned to him time and again. I didn’t deserve to feel good. I didn’t feel worthy of kindness or love. I didn’t know this wasn’t okay. How I was living was my normal.

The threat of losing another person was too much. I had no choice. I lost my identity and gave up control of myself. I deserved it. I no longer smiled because I didn’t deserve to feel good. I felt guilty about my basic needs. I felt shame for eating, drinking, using the bathroom, smiling, laughing, joking. In other words, the thought of me being considered a human was enough to make me cringe. Everything and anything I did was constantly criticized. I was never good enough. I wasn’t my brother and Jack reminded me of this daily. Jack called me so many bad names that it caught me off guard, sounded alien, when he said the name given to me at my birth.

I developed into an isolated zombie. Not the kind you see in the movies, but just as much of a non-human. I was an object who didn’t object to the abuse. I lived to serve in any capacity.                                                                                                     I screamed, “I HATE YOU!” in my mind. Nobody heard me. Nobody stopped me. Nobody recognized me. I was gone. Yet I was all that was left.

I started hearing voices after my brother was taken. Sometimes they’d get so loud that my mouth would speak their words. My body was no longer my own. The voices became people that walked, talked, and acted differently while using my body. That’s when the forgotten times began.

I woke up in the strangest of places; in a driveway during a winter storm, in a shed, in a storm drain, in a different state all together. I began to lose hours and days worth of time. People would come up to me on the street acting like they knew me, calling me by different names. I didn’t let on that I had no idea who they were. Time no longer had meaning because I lost so much of it so often.

I didn’t realize I was a human being. I was so detached from reality that nothing seemed real. I tried sleeping for a year so I wouldn’t have to feel what little seeped through the drugs I’d started doing. I’d mastered, as I was taught, to turn pain off like a light switch that kept turning itself back on.

When I turned fifteen, my screams were loud enough to be heard by the courts. I got in trouble with the law twice in two months. I went to court to accept my fate with Jack and his daughter. She was a woman that Jack called a lying, controlling, bulldozer that ripped him off. I despised her at his word. After all was said and done, I was placed in Jack’s daughter’s custody.

In the three years that I’ve been with her, I’ve learned what it’s like to be happy. I am grateful that the courts finally heard me. I’m glad the judge stopped what was happening to me. I’m glad that they finally saw me. I finally earned my freedom and another life to learn. Somebody heard me. Somebody helped me. Somebody recognized me. My success is all that’s left.

2014

In August of 2014, he disappeared. My husband and I went to work, came home, and he was gone. He didn’t say goodbye. He didn’t say anything. Like the phone call so many years before, he’d decided to keep the baby.

I see Facebook flooded with wishes of goodwill towards mothers. I do not resent or feel anger towards anyone who is a mother. I do not feel jealousy or unkind thoughts towards that are successful. I feel like a liar and outsider when it is wished to me. That chapter of my life is the most painful I’ve ever endured of which I have no control or power over in any way shape or form. It is my deepest grief and my truest human moment that I cherish because at least I got to understand, be, and for a short while, know the joy a parent feels.

The Public Execution of Walter Scott

April 4th, 2015 North Charleston, South Carolina
Weather forecast called for weather in the mid to upper 70’s,
But a new low front was ushered in under guise of hate

I checked the forecast but it said nothing of despair.
It said nothing of the wrenching guts or the tearing of the hair.
It didn’t think to warn, on the balmy day in spring,
Just how much that father would be sacrificing
Because he bought a brand new car, a Mercedes, shiny clean
But like a beacon to the racist rants it attended glaring screams
A cell phone captured video of the systematic lies
Told by Walter Scott’s murderer that watched that human die.
No remorse, no regret, just a planted Taser laid near blood
Deny what crime your hands committed, deny the hateful flood
But truth is not as fickle as the weather we predict
The rules are far less flexible, in fact, they’re rather fixed.
When will you foolish humans learn, LOVE ALWAYS WINS, not hate.
April 4th, in Memphis on a balcony, 1968

NaPoWriMo

NaPoWriMo

NaPoWriMo: Thirteen Weeks

Give, Receive, Love

With open heart and willing hands I give to you my gifts

I lay them on the blooming altar to do with as you wish

For when I walk in faith and trust I take such grand adventures

But they never seem to work quite right unless I allow surrender

With open mind and willing heart I will receive your blessings

I wrap them up with loving arms the joys of not repressing

For when I walk in grace and trust, I gain such grand adventures

They always flow as smooth as water, these my greatest treasures

With sacred heart and open mind I’m willing to offer love

As I give so shall I receive from all Watchtowers, below and above.

For when I shine in spirit love, I find a peaceful center

With conscious thought and mindfulness the Otherwhere I enter.

“Old Time” and “Squeezy”

I’ve met him before in this life. Just a brief interaction with my friend’s son with nothing spectacular to mention. But today was different. Today we recognized each other’s spirits to the point where we talked about things we couldn’t possibly have experienced now. Forgive, but indulge my recollection of my brief time in VietNam before I was killed by a brother triggered trip wire.

I was a Captain, he my lieutenant. We were working on an engineering project together when the explosions started. The initial shock blew out half the buildings barracks. We lost 12 men from that. One of them men we called “Mustard” razzed me and Old Time, my best friend, calling us brother and sister. They called me Squeezy because I snored loud enough they’d have to keep covering my head with my blanket to dull the sound which made me wheeze.

From the room we were working in, we could see J-Pod and Durkee run by with their rifles down. Durkee smoked as much as he could get his hands on so I’d give him mine, so would Old Time. I watched the packs lined up like carnival ducks on his helmet fly by the window.

“Okay, Old Time. We have to pack. Drop down.” I commanded as I scrambled to get my responsibility packaged into my trekker.

“I’m almost there, Squeezy. I don’t want to mess this connection. A few more minutes.” He half answered me.

“Look, Durk and J-Pod just ran by with rifles down. We don’t have a couple minutes. Pack up, now.” I commanded finishing my assembly. I rushed over to his station and started packing his gear. “Pack up. Drop down.”

“And, got it.” He said, pushing back from the table.

I realized he hadn’t even been aware of the sounds or the smells from the burning buildings until he pushed away. Realizing the gravity, he grabbed his gear and helped me fill his bag with the essentials.

“Shit, I didn’t realize…” His voice was blasted out by a shell that hit the north side of the building exploding concrete and glass into our work space. “Squeeze, you’re bleeding.” He said as he crawled from under the table where he’d ducked down. I wasn’t as quick as he was, my head was bleeding almost as much as my right shoulder which still had a sizeable shard of glass sticking out of it. He leaned over, assessed the wound, and pulled the glass clean out. “Let me help you Squeezy.”

I nodded as he jacked his pack onto his back and helped me get into mine. The strap helped ease the bleeding in my shoulder but my head was starting to swim.

“Old Time, I don’t know if I can. My head is swimming.” I protested.

“You look here. I’m not going to lose another brother. Come on.” He dragged me to my feet wrapping his right arm under my uninjured left shoulder. He grunted a bit as he realized I wasn’t moving half my body the right way. “Don’t you worry Squeeze, we’ll get to the rendezvous point.” His face was so close to mine but I was having trouble focusing. I saw him smile at me, but the fear in his eyes was deep.

“GO! GO! GO!” I heard Maxi-Pad yelling. Through the hole in the wall, I watched Max and four others rush by under heavy fire. The only reason I knew it was Maxi-Pad was because of his lilty voice. He sounded more like a woman than any of us, but nobody had the heart of the lion like him. He knew what to do almost instinctively. Although he was only a sergeant, he ran his squad like a true leader. They loved and trusted him in the way only soldiers know. I saw one of his men crumple as Old Time pulled me over the rubble.

With shells exploding around us, Old Time pulled me as I struggled to keep my feet. I knew I wasn’t long for this plane. I had to let him go. I dropped full weight into his arms forcing his release.

“I can’t. I’m done. Just go.” I wheezed as blood filled my lungs. I could barely catch a breath. My blood was pumping so fast. “I’ll have your back.” I said as I tugged my side arm from the holster.

Old Time got damn near nose to nose with me. His dark brown eyes, filled with fear also held the promise of truth in them. He grabbed my face with both of his hands.

“You sorry son of a bitch. Get up and get moving right now. Loretta would never forgive me. Get up now.” He smacked my face hard with both hands. I hate when he does that.

I struggled up to my feet. My head was swimming, my ears could no longer hear the rifle fire, just the steady pulse and a high pitched squeal of my blood running out of my body too fast. I allowed him to lift me up enough for me to use my last bit of will to move my feet towards the dense jungle just a few more steps in front of us.

He shoved the branches back, never losing grip on me as we disappeared into the heavy smell of acrid gunpowder and sloshed our feet into the barely dried ground after monsoon season. We struggled through the dense fauna, him holding on to me, me desperate to follow his commands because to disobey my inferiors command was to die.

When the wire tripped, there was barely enough time for him to turn and look me in the eye as we both breathed our last breath from the explosion. We died that day, buddy next to buddy. His left arm gone, his right arm still holding me protectively.

I met him again today in this life. He saw me and said, “Sister!” He grinned from ear to ear. “I knew I’d see you again. Man, it’s been a while.”

“As with you, my brother. I’m glad to see you again. Thanks for helping me. You did all you could. I hope you know that.”

“I will never forget it. You still owe me $5 bucks.” He laughed referring to the ongoing penny cribbage we played when we weren’t working.

“You’re not going to get it this time or that time either.” I laughed. I realized that we had to give that life up to meet again in this one. I understood right then, that we really were brother and sister of spirit.”

He’s still interested in electronic projects in this life time. I think that’s because he never quite finished that damn project in the last one. It really amazes me the details I could remember when my spirit saw him. It happens from time to time where I just know people. I’ll call him Old Time when next we meet and I’ll bet he’ll call me Squeezy.

Is it Running?

Taking the journey of a thousand miles

Begins with a step, like those of a child

Returning to home or breaking one down

Making either world turn upside down

Taking the challenge that long is awaited

Bulldozing through obstacles unabated

Loyalty valiant to some of the house

Struggling for liberty in emotional joust.

What once was a longing, a need, an addiction

Is now a source of painful contradiction.

What one house rejects and claims desire

The other beckons with strength in the sire

What confusion lay in the mind of the child

To remain in chaos, trust long defiled

The raping of faith, knocked down from up high

denied the dreams with nary tears in the eyes

Blame things on everything, never their own

In the mean time, for eons, one stands alone

Time has passed by, much time indeed

When the child understands for them, no need

Abandoned, refused, forgotten, unwanted

Should the journey begin, progress undaunted?

Should the heart set aside the anger and sorrow?

Should the child remember there is always tomorrow?

The escape hatch is opened, standing ajar:

Will the house be destroyed from the will from afar?

Will temptation desecrate the once sacred heart?

Is all that it takes is a short time apart?

The Shamed Undone

Cross-bones

Cross-bones

I loved my darkness as much as my birth

My humanity imposed upon my divinity

With mild impunity or dire consequences.

The pixel width line of temperance

United with my poor balance of judgment

Toppled me into temptation

But my deliverance from the Shamed

Came when I opened my spirit

But kept my flesh firmly attached

To the bones that threatened to break

The bones that are now, nearly,

Washed free from my repugnant regret

With a redemption I didn’t deserve

But am ultimately worthy of having.

I strive now, at the knees of wisdom

To fulfill my obligation to the Light

because the alternative…

…Is an inky hate that tastes horrible.

…Is a tar sand of volcanic corruption.

…Is the destruction of my own construction.

…Is laying in wait to assassinate me.

I wait no longer than necessary to stand.

I wait no longer than necessary to defend.

I must balance. I have to. My soul depends on it.