12 Years Ago, Tonight

12  years ago, tonight at 10:20 pm my father passed away in a hospital in Connecticut. I was never a big fan of New Year’s Eve to begin with but since this happened, I roll into a little ball

English: Sculpture of a woman in fetal positio...

in my bed and cry on and off.

My dad used to buy me a candle every single year on my birthday, without fail, I’m sure my mom reminded him but it was a tradition. My mom, sister and I still have one or two of his well-worn, soft handkerchiefs that are like prized possessions. Our dad had a shelf where he had 13 types of small different after shave cologne which he would point out to us, often!

What’s worse, for my mom, is that January 1st is/was my parents’ wedding anniversary. We try to give each other support but in essence it’s really our own pain we need to get past. I’m the “crier” in the family or as my husband and son call me “the shrieker.” Good or bad and especially when surprised by something: a bug, a person, a loud noise, I have a natural instinct to be scared easily. My daughter is the same way. Sometimes we shriek at

the surprise of seeing each other.

She’s away on a trip and as much as I am happy she is having a fabulous time, part of me wishes she was home. But, as much as I am a mushy mess, my daughter keeps all her emotions inside, deep, down inside. My expectations of wanting her here are really quite different from what her being here would be like. She does not enjoy my massive display of emotions.

My son is definitely more like me, we understand each other. We can read each others feelings on the phone or the breath before we say “hello” on the telephone. I was like that with my dad. My sister and my mother are completely alike, full of false bravado and unaware of their feelings. Being without my dad for so many years has been a struggle.

The balance has been lost, the person who understood me most, is gone. I’m with two family members that don’t really get me at all, they just say I’m “too sensitive,” never realizing that sensitivity is a good thing and that they might be insensitive. What I’ve learned all these years is that people don’t change.

I will get through tonight, thankfully, NOT going out, eating my American cheese sandwich and drinking chocolate milk, my comfort food. Maybe I’ll have some baked Lays for the crunch factor. For dessert, I pre-ordered two of our favorite home-made jelly doughnuts

from a nearby bakery. My husband and I will toast each other with those doughnuts, in memory of my father. Growing up it was a tradition that we all had jelly doughnuts on New Year’s Eve together. I just found out my husband bought four jelly doughnuts and two black and white cookies, he’s definitely like my dad too.

As sad as I am to have lost him, I am trying (not very successfully) to focus on that deep relationship we had and how much he really did love me. I was his baby girl, he loved me plenty of that I am sure. It just doesn’t help to take away the pain. Nothing does.

 

 

*My dad took me to see Two By Two with Danny Kaye, for years after, with spoons and different glasses of water of varying heights, he would conduct and we would both clink all our glasses after the words “Two By Two.” The last time I tried to do that with him, he was very sick and didn’t want to do that. He had lost his joy and I knew that his end was near.

 

 

 

 

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The Kindness Of Little Things

We read, all the time, about the kindness of strangers, about gratitude and blessings and I am for all of them and more. I did random acts of kindness even before people knew that expression. I started when my little boy was four years old, He is now 22, and has just been accepted into medical school, he still never wants to miss anything.

 

I took my little “farmer”

 

 

who always woke up at five am to a diner where we ate blueberry pancakes and drank tinny flavored orange juice. We noticed a very cranky, “mean looking” old woman sitting at the next table. He said she looked “mean.”  I explained to him “maybe she was just having a very bad day or was unhappy.” I asked him what we thought we should do, to cheer her up? We decided to pay her check and not tell her. We gave an extra twenty-dollar bill to the waitress

 

 

 

to pay for her bill and the next customer’s.

 

No way did we start this trend but I’m sure my son and I were way ahead of the crowd. Now, I decided to take another approach to kindness and gratitude.

I am appreciating those things I have or own that I take for granted. Like my pillow, not the saggy old one that is basically flat, but the newer one that has some bounce to it like the hop of a bunny on a lazy green lawn.

 

 

More importantly, I am thankful for my white comforter because it keeps me warm at night perched on top of three, sometimes four, other blankets. I get cold easily either from Fibromyalgia or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or a combination of maladies.

 

 

 

No, “she” is not a down-filled comforter, I tried that. I ordered a queen sized comforter from a very well-known and expensive store, put it into a duvet cover and within three days there were feathers flying everywhere both in and out of the duvet. About 2,000 flying feathers.

 

 

I started sneezing and I couldn’t stop. I have had down comforters before with no problem but THIS company/store was quite arrogant about the problem and turned me off so much I decided not to get a replacement for it. It was horrible, it looked like the down comforter had exploded. Not a good experience with THAT company! Be nicer to your clients please. I would have stayed with you if your service people had been kinder.

It doesn’t take much to make me happy, it could be a piece (or two) of milk chocolate or rainbow sprinkles on vanilla ice cream, it could be a new book or a gift card to Amazon. Most of all it could be an appreciative grin or the blink of an eye or my husband’s loud laughter when he thinks something I’ve said is silly and funny.

Appreciate all the small stuff, because you know what? It’s all small stuff and in the end, if you start noticing more and more of the good stuff? It will make your day-to-day life a lot happier.

Focus on the good and not on the bad. Hold the door for someone, smile at a stranger, always say “Thank you” and “You are welcome”, if someone was kind to you, thank them.  It really IS the little things that count. Life is scary, it’s unpredictable and it is short. Families can be stressful and hard and filled with tension BUT, they are still family. Appreciate the good people in your life. Get rid of the negative people who influence you.

We ALL need reminders once in a while, that’s okay. Just come back to it.

WISHING ALL OF MY FACEBOOK FRIENDS A HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR.

 

Dear C.L.

I’m reading a message from a friend and I’m furious. How DARE she flippantly suggest suicide

in such a casual way. Guess what, it is NOT funny in any way. Hey, lady, you know that my father died, 12 years ago on New Year’s Eve. Did you ever think of what I would give to spend 5 minutes with him again instead of you faking your suicide attempt saying “good-bye all.”

YOU didn’t say one word about taking a break from Facebook so that’s all kinds of bullshit and yes, my son gave me your message but I am not calling you back tonight. Maybe sometime but not yet.

I’m not laughing, C.L. Not only that, I don’t know if I can ever forgive you for this. Really, now you are joking about suicide and saying “good-bye?” WHAT THE BLEEP IS WRONG WITH YOU? How dare you? I wrote on your message  if you are serious, someone should please call 911 because I don’t know the town you live in. If you AREN’T serious, they should be called anyway, to teach you that life is worth living, that life is Precious.

There is steam coming from my head, sparks

that I feel, oozing anger like fireworks. Is this what you want your children to see? That mommy is threatening suicide when people hurt her feelings? You have a job, to be a mother and they come first, before you, always.

I want to rip the book I gave you out of your selfish hands, I want to shake  your shoulders. and tell you to wake up and grow up. I am so mad and so sad and angry at life and death that if I started crying now I could not stop.The word for me is Inconsolable.

How dare you take life for granted? Grief is no fun, trust me, I know and it lasts forever, it will be 12 years tomorrow that my dad died. It does not get better every year. At certain times, anniversaries or birthdays, the pain is ripped apart, raw, bloody, new again.

Thanks for all that you have done for me.

I can’t think of you as my friend now..

 

I’ve calmed down a bit but I’m still mad and angry and very sad so I will be in touch NOT on the phone but when I can and do not Bullshit me. There wasn’t a word about FB on that post. You know it and so do I.

Thanks for ending 2014 just the way it started, in the trash.

English: Community Relations worker Donald Jer...

 

 

 

“The Reason”

For you, I will play “The Reason” less often but I will never stop thinking of the look in your big sad, brown eyes after the fight with your dad. You were younger than thirteen, I think. My heart breaks for you every time I hear that song, it reminds me of your hurt and deeply saddened face.

It captures a moment in time, not all moments have to be good, I know you think they should but you will learn later in life that the bad moments teach us things as well. We get past them, we appreciate when they have passed, we learn from them.

I know you don’t like confrontation, except when you delight in starting it, your dad, will run miles to escape anything even slightly confrontational. I’d rather he yelled and screamed but his family brought him up to ” sweep things under the rug.” They don’t fight, they don’t express their feelings, they hide.

I’m so glad you and your sister have parents with different styles but I’m afraid your sister is definitely like dad. She makes dad seem like a beginner; he is emotional compared to her. There are layers and layers of this beautiful young woman and even if I try to delve inside a bit, try being the operative word, she closes up like a clam shell in a matter of seconds.

You and I wear our hearts on our sleeves, but your sister hides her emotions, I think she shows you the most emotion she shows anyone and I am so glad for that. The fact that you and your younger sister are best friends is better than winning the lottery for me, I never had that relationship with my sister. I don’t know what that feels like but I’m sure it feels wonderful. You have a built-in best friend.

When I was pregnant with your sister (or brother at the time) I swore I would do anything and everything to not have the kind of drama and angst that my sister and I have. I am not going to assign specific blame here, part of it was our parents’ fault, part our own. But, in any case, it is not a healthy relationship and seeing you and your sister together makes your dad and I so happy.

Luckily, your two cousins have a close relationship too. The four cousins loving and liking each other is incredible, growing up we had nobody. I take great joy that the cousins have each other and will always have each other. I’m sure my sister feels the same way.

When the grown-ups are gone, I know you, your sister and the cousins will be close, maybe your kids will spread the icing on the cinnamon rolls at Christmas.

We indulged this morning.

We indulged this morning. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

Certain memories get stuck in our brains for different reasons. Why I reacted so strongly to you sitting in your room, playing that song, I’m not sure but it is one moment I will never forget and I know you know that. Luckily, it was one of the rare sad moments of your life.

I remember more, you’re smiling face, you being the prankster, tricking your gullible mom ALL the time, your enthusiasm for food and your kind and sensitive nature. We know each others’ mood over the phone, the breath before we say “hello.” I’m here for you always, I’m sure you know that but once in a while it’s nice to have a reminder, for both of us, I’m sure.

 

 

 

 

 

Watching My Baryshnikov

It was like watching Mikhail Baryshnikov springing across the stage,so handsome, so technically perfect; exactly like that, as I

drove my old clunky gray car down the street and gasped. A beautiful, strong deer with antlers danced right in front of me, crossing the road. I slammed hard on the brakes, very hard, not to injure this beauty. I hadn’t really thought of the car or of myself. It was like a beautiful ballet dancer I had seen long ago, so gorgeous and delicate yet so strong. I waited to see, with cars honking behind me, if more of

the family was about to cross as well but no, this deer had crossed the road by himself.

The Turning Point was one of my favorite movies when I was young. The romance, the intrigue, the ballet. A girl growing up to be a woman, a mother and her best friend, secretly jealous of each other, egos fighting egos. The best friend trying to mother the other woman’s daughter. Comparing lives as if they were comparing tastes in a food competition. The daughter learning to grow up and realize the truth about love and being in love and people and their true characters.

My Baryshnikov danced across the street to an admiring audience of one.

Haiku Horizons, #45 Just

Just, Right, Fair, Peace, Trust

World upside down, bloody mess

No senseless killings.

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Measure, Love and Hope

Just in time, align with God

We give gratitude

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Sun, honey dripping

Vacation, just for me, you

Cleanse our inner souls.

The Reason Is You

Even during the darkest days, when the clouds were black and threatening, and I felt lost inside myself, panicked and scared, I held on. When those things happened, even though they happened a lot,  I held on, and caught my grip even when I thought I couldn’t.

You, Brian, my older brother, kept me out of harm’s way, when you could. You were always my hero. My protector, when dad’s abusive arm would try to attack me, stinging my cheek until it was raw and bloody or when he threw me across the room after drinking too much, you tried to help. I wanted you to get out too. Mom was no help, she drank too.

I wept when you joined the Marines,

you knew I would, and yes, I tried to be brave. I tried to stay at home after you left, I lasted six weeks. After that I ran away. I couldn’t live with him drinking night and day, hitting mom, hitting me.

I didn’t want to leave mom but she wouldn’t go with me, she wouldn’t budge. She started drinking even more with him. That was her choice and I knew what my mine was,  I had to leave. You always said I was strong, I trusted you, I took a bus to Seattle, the first bus out of the station and left.

Of course I didn’t want to live on the streets, do you think that’s what I wanted? No, I

looked for jobs every single day but there were many people like me there, the temperature was mild, it was a little rainy but that was okay. I made friends, someone taught me how to play the guitar. Brian, I had no choice, please don’t be mad at me.

I’m here, waiting for you to come find me.

I’ll do whatever you want me to do but please come. I swear I don’t do drugs or nothing, I don’t even drink like most people here do. I live near the picture, sometimes they let me drink coffee, when they need help like washing dishes I help them and they pay me in food.

The only thing I won’t do is go home to them, our horrible parents, never will I do that. How could our parents expect us to live with them? They shouldn’t have been allowed to have us if they were just gonna drink and slap us around.

They should have had classes for people and make them take them before they let them have babies. Check them out, you know? Test them for drugs or alcohol, or watch they see their real personalities. I would never do that to my kid and I know you wouldn’t either Brian. You wouldn’t even let them do it to me when you were home.

Please don’t be mad at me, please. You are the only one I have in my life that I love.

love you,

Samantha

How To Raise A Flower

 

Life is tumultuous and as you age, the days turn into months, months turn into years and decades.  Take a look over your shoulder for just a minute, let your eyes gaze lovingly and the memories will swell from your brain straight up into your soul, reflecting many emotions into your misty, knowing eyes.

Love is a flower that you plant, gingerly, as a seed. You caress it, you whisper encouragement to it, place it with a couple of brother and sisters, gently into the little opening you have made for it, prepare it for it in the warm, raw, earthy ground.

You feel the warmth of the soil through your fingers, meditation, for your mind and your body, you gently cover the mound with loving fingers, with sensitivity and quiet blessings.

You learn patience, consistency, respect, work ethic. You must nurture every day yet give these flowers the opportunity to blossom on their own.

Allow them every chance to help grow with some assistance from Nature’s wily forces. You are a caretaker now.

The sun chuckles and smiles brightly, water is given to quench the Earth’s soil, keeping in mind, the right amount of water, not too much, not too little. Life, as you are learning, is about balance.

You talk to the buds starting to flourish with gratitude, thanking them for their presence in your life, for their gift to you, as they murmur their silent thanks to be alive.

Everybody brightens, the flowers flourish and your soul is filled with happiness and gratitude. Every day you say hello and good-night. Take a photograph, show your loved ones, perhaps sit next to your flower with your favorite book. You already know that it will only last a short time so enjoy every second it is alive. Their lives, like ours, live for only a short time. Embrace that time with gratitude.

Soon, when the buds dry up, we understand things don’t last forever, in your heart you will carry a picture of your journey.

Loving the process all the way through, knowing you helped nourish it, all along, having a friend.

Thank you, dear flowers for your place in our lives, in many people’s lives, for the absolute joy of watching you grow, for the perfumed smell of sweet ecstasy that slips into our hearts and whose memory lasts forever.

Haiku Horizons, # 44 Near

You are not near me

but, love, inside my spirit

living with my soul.

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Cuddle together
Hold me near, close in your arms
Let me feel peaceful.

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Near by, far away

time passes like a cyclone

Don’t close your sweet eyes.

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