mammogram monday

fell asleep with a headache, woke up with a headache. not too bad yet, refuse to call them migraines. how am I supposed to know trigger points or if it is the start of a migraine vs. a regular headache, this is all new to me.

the house is cluttered, my room overflowing with trash and in disarray. i keep saying i will do it tomorrow when i don’t have a headache yet that day hasn’t come yet. it’s been about two weeks in a row. yes, I am seeing my doctor on monday after my mammogram and ultrasound, yippee.

English: Woman undergoing a mammogram of the r...

English: Woman undergoing a mammogram of the right breast (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

really looking forward to that day….to be over. how could it be another year? how many posts have i written about measuring the time going by so quickly by the time in the pink-purple room of the waiting room in the mammogram section. i should count them or maybe you can. they are all in this blog, i’m sure saying the same thing over and over like the warnings not to use deodorant or baby powder.

it’s always the same, not the outcome, but the process. I worry, I know everyone worries, most people can hide it, i can’t. there’s a shocker. i try to make light conversation and people seem so grateful. we are all the same in this room, in every mammogram room, we breathe the same nervous air, we give each other half smiles laden with fear, we wink, we nod. when someone leaves happily, there is always the thumbs up for them, spreading fear within.

this time i will try to do mindful meditation, it helped during my dentist appointment and i didn’t need nitrous oxide, i was so proud of myself, the dentist so proud of me. will it help on monday? i have no idea but at least i know this much, i know it won’t hurt.

a universal feeling, women in their robes, waiting to be called in. we smile encouragingly to each other. one by one we go in, we leave, sometimes through different doors.

*IF YOU DON’T SEE IMAGES, I DON’T EITHER. I ALREADY TOLD ZEMANTA/GETTY SUPPORT. I’M SO TIRED OF THIS HAPPENING.  THANKS FOR YOUR PATIENCE.
 
 

 

 

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The Reunion

 

Coffee in the morningMy husband Gary and I were sitting at the kitchen counter, drinking coffee, when he brought up the same conversation about my college reunion that I thought we had finished discussing long ago.  “You just don’t want to go to the reunion, he said “because your best friend hurt your feelings.”  “Gary, I replied slowly, she didn’t just hurt my feelings, she  decimated them, there’s a big difference, don’t you think?”

“What I think, he said, is that you’re being too sensitive, after all, you were best friends for four years.”

I had never wanted to go to any type of college reunion, what was the point to seeing people twenty years older, heavier, thinner with more or less hair? This time my husband pushed me to go “Come on, he said to me “why not? Everyone should go to one class reunion. Think of it as a rite of passage,”

I sighed.

Then, the final blow, my husband shouted “you just don’t want to go because you think Caroline might be there, admit it.”

I paused, of course he was right, but how dare he say that?  Did he not know the rules of marriage? He was supposed to stick up for me no matter what. “Asshole” I replied,  “that has nothing to do with it.” “Oh come on, he said, she was your best friend in the world, you think she betrayed you and you have never forgiven her.” “Just grow up,” he said impatiently.

I paused on the stairs leading up to the bedroom, gave him a killer stare and in a slow, moderated voice I said “Fine, if it is that important to YOU let’s just go” I said airily as I climbed the stairs to our master bathroom to shower, condition my hair and shave my legs very carefully.

We drove up on a Saturday morning, we checked in at the front desk of the University as if we were registering for classes. I saw my ex -best friend, Caroline, from the corner of my eye, I turned quickly away before she could see me.

“Bitch” I muttered under my breath.

“What? Gary said? “Nothing,  I didn’t say anything.”

Then, as my worst fear became realized, Gary, spotted Caroline and they waved to each other wildly. He nudged me, “Look Caroline’s waving” At that moment all I wanted was a divorce attorney. I turned to look at her and put my arm up with the faintest crack of a fake smile plastered to my face.

During college, the infamous Caroline, had been my  roommate and best friend. I loved her, like a sister and she was the one who introduced me to Gary; we had all been good friends.

After college we each moved home, she lived in Massachusetts and I lived in NY. We assured each other that we would always be best friends and find an apartment together somewhere in the middle.

In the beginning we talked on the phone every day. After that it dwindled to once or twice a week. Soon, I stopped hearing from her, she wouldn’t even return my calls. I wrote her but she never wrote me back. I convinced myself that she was dying and called her parents in desperation but they assured me she was fine.

I lived with that pain and that rejection in my life for many years. I just wanted to understand but I couldn’t, she wouldn’t even talk to me. Eventually, with time, It became more of a mystery and a dull pain and less of a piercing betrayal.

Many years later, on a vacation to Boston, Gary and I ran into Caroline at an Ice cream store where we took our two children, Nicholas, 5 and Erika, 3 for a special treat.  We were happy, laughing, eating dripping ice cream cones with rainbow sprinkles and I froze as soon as I saw her walk in the door.

 

First Ice Cream Cone

I said ” hello” to her then, so did Gary and she commented on how cute the kids were. She was about to start playing with them and I felt the flush of heat go through my body. I tried hard not to say anything and then, suddenly, my temper flared and I pulled her aside. I demanded to know the truth: “Why did you stop the friendship? What happened? We were best friends!”

She looked at me blankly, she shrugged her shoulders and I will never forget the words she said: ” out of sight, out of mind.” I was speechless.

The next time I saw her was at the reunion, she came up to Gary and me and started chatting about neutral topics, the weather,  our jobs, and finally she asked about our children.

“Ben is applying to Medical school, I said and Sarah is finishing up college, with a degree in International Relations.” “What about you,” I asked somewhat sneakily. “How is your life?” She blinked and looked away for a split second and then said lightly “Oh you know me, I’m destined to live a life alone, I’m too much of a free bird to have a family,” she said  chuckling.

I nodded politely, “yes, I said, slowly, staring directly into her eyes, I think you made that clear many years ago.

I turned to Gary, who by now was grinning, he took my hand and we went into the seminar together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FWF, Kellie Elmore. Fire.

 

 

HER

 

Everyone says that teenagers are moody.  I’m not. I’m depressed or nothing. My shrink says I’m in a “Clinical Depression” my parents say I’m very depressed. I don’t care what they call it, I just don’t want to live anymore.

I’m 15, I hate my life or well, I used to, now I just want to leave and not exist. I have no friends.

 

Her

Her (Photo credit: Forty Photographs)

 

Not that anyone would miss me, my parents just wanted to commit me to a crazy hospital and lock me up or drag me to church, every single day and night. My little brother, Billy, well he is okay, he’s five and to him I am,  everything, silly jerk. He didn’t think I was as crazy as a bat but what did he know, he still sucked his thumb.

 

I wasn’t the shrieking, breaking- glass bloody kind of crazy you see on television, or the raging mad screaming in the streets throwing knives and pulling out my gun, feeling ugly angry. Nope, It’s like I lived in the air. I existed, I blended in with the beige lockers in the middle school hallways. http://magicinthebackyard.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/campfire.gif?w=290&h=290&crop=1

My secret plan kept me going, it was the only thing I had looked forward to for over six months now. Today was November 11th, my favorite day and I knew where I would be  tonight. I knew where I would go tonight after dark. I had the place, I had the alibi, people didn’t care about me and I didn’t care about them anyway. I didn’t feel loved or hated. I didn’t feel anything at all. I read that’s the worst kind of crazy-bad or maybe it’s something my shrink said. I don’t remember.

She once said that if I could have cried, “released my inner emotions” maybe it would have been better but I had no inner emotions that I knew about, nothing that I was hiding, no conflict or cover-up, no tragic past. I felt nothing, bad or good, I didn’t complain and I didn’t want attention. I was just empty, all the time.

All I wanted was to go to sleep forever, and I loved playing with fire. I wanted to leave this world in a way that made me disappear for good. I wanted a quick death so months ago I stole a can of lighter fluid from the hardware store. My plan was to spray my clothes and jump, go poof up in flames.

The fire was still burning strongly, I opened the can of lighter fluid, smelled it and it made me cough. I hadn’t squirted it on my clothes yet. I walked closer to the fire, just a tiny bit. The long hem of the left leg of my jeans caught on fire as I edged closer accidentally but instead of jumping in all the way I instinctively fell to the ground and smothered the flames.

What the hell just happened?  I didn’t know, why did I do that? Why didn’t I just go into the fire as I had planned 1,000 times and burn to a crisp? Couldn’t I even get death right?  I really was a loser, I couldn’t even succeed in offing myself.

 

Ian's Big Boy BedI had been waiting all along for a sign WHEN to jump in. Could that have been the real sign? I told myself, that if I was supposed to die I would have. I wouldn’t have instinctively dropped like my old doll, Raggedy Ann, on the ground to get rid of the fire and save my life. THAT was the sign! I started feeling strongly about this. I moved away from the fire and after sitting there a while, I made sure the fire was out. I was not feeling happy but I was feeling something. It was a lot more than what I started out with.

 

I felt like I was in a daze, confused but I knew deep down I think that I wanted to live. I started walking up the hill, eating a granola bar that was in my pocket,to get to where I parked my car. I sat there for a few minutes.  I took a few deep breaths and drove home really slowly. Before I got to my room, I opened Billy’s door, he was wearing his favorite cowboy pajamas and yes, still sucking his thumb. I tiptoed over to him and ever so gently, kissed him on his head.

24-Hour Crisis Hotline – The Samaritans

samaritansnyc.org/24-hour-crisis-hotline/

  • The Samaritans of New York
     

    Samaritans 24-Hour Crisis Hotline (212) 673-3000. With the goal of helping people in distress and preventing suicide, Samaritans free, confidential.

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I Have No Idea How The Whole Thing Works

English:

English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why is Happiness so fleeting when Sadness lingers around like a viral infection, effecting not just you but everyone near you? It spreads too, so easy to catch, physically and emotionally.

Happiness is a moment or two, the snap, pop, gasp of a sudden leap of joy which feels incredibly good, magical, in fact. Like those first moments of falling in love…  but that first gasp, that amazing, weird feeling in your stomach where you can’t possibly eat because you are a jumble of nerves and anticipation, that ends quickly to the “gasp” that perfect O of your mouth, your tongue wetting your lips that dissipates too. After a while, a long or short while, reality sets in and you still do love your partner but “in love?” not so much.

Things, that at first, take on such importance: the first phone call is electrifying and intense, you can still remember the feeling of your aching cheeks. It came with  dancing eyes and a smile so big that you could light the world with its brilliance.

Sadness.

Sadness. (Photo credit: Neil. Moralee)

It doesn’t last long but you do remember it from time to time with great fondness and sometimes regret and yes, you still love “your” person.

Passion can dip, with maturity, marriage, work, children, time…you can sleep in separate bedrooms because “he snores or she snores” or she can’t fall asleep and he needs to go to bed early because he gets tired easily and they are just older now.

You make compromises,sometimes you just have to give in. It becomes okay that he hates to go dancing, his dancing awkward and stiff but how she loves to go on picnics  and he adamantly refuses. Asking why “I just don’t” is not a reasonable explanation for an adult conversation. You settle, you don’t want to wreck the family boat over a salami and cheese sandwich. But, it’s another tear that drops in the sadness bucket.

Now, people are both stuck in the mud, the same old, grimy, brown mud. Are they completely happy? Is everything perfect? No, of course not, I don’t think anything could be. But, you get to a certain age when your spouse is truly your best friend and you love each other and at this stage of your life, friendship, love, trust is really more than you can ask for and less than many people have. It is a blessing to love someone and to be loved by someone.

Sadness, however, deep, depressing, feeling blue and out of sorts lingers and follows you like a shadow. Wherever that black cloud of unhappiness gets deeper and.stays with you no matter how hard you try “to get over it” sometimes it refuses to budge These people need help, need to reach out for support from a doctor or medical professional and friends and maybe you need medication and to talk with a professional. In time, it will go away. And yes, for a small percent of lucky people it could be very short-lived and will float away on its own, the sky will clear and you can wake up feeling happy again.

We all go through a range of happiness and sadness on a daily basis, I’m talking about the above in extreme cases. Some people, (and it is definitely is NOT me) can hide their feelings so well and appear like a blank slate. Not a good match for me.

People are who they are, accept them or don’t but you can’t change them.

 

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Restless Spirit I

Restless Spirit I (Photo credit: Bill Liao)

I know if you could help me in any way, you would. There is no doubt in my mind, not a second’s hesitation that your “hands are tied.” Did you think I ever doubted that? No, not once. I know you would move the stars and the earth and the moon and the seas to help make sense of my life, to our life, to guide us on an easy path.

But, that’s not your job, I understand, really I do. You sent me signs and I was so grateful: a bird, our numbers, songs: My Immortal,by Evanescence, Dance With My Father Again, by Luther Vandross.

You knew I was there at the hospital everyday, you and I were the ones that counted. She remembers the day before you died but you did that on purpose, you wanted to see me laughing at you sticking out your tongue, how we heard over the loudspeaker that my car was about to be towed.

I miss you, Daddy, but I know you are with me.

I believe.

 

/photo credit Bill Liao

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FWF: Kellie Elmore, Jhana’s Daughter

 

English: Two candles in love. The flame is inv...

English: Two candles in love. The flame is inverted heart shape. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My name is Jhana, I am very old but I have a young friend translating for me. She knows ‘Merican language real good. Now we start: “The pain in Jhana’s old heart was searing now. The intensity, the throbbing came and went but there were times when she would kneel on the dirty, muddy floor and weep. She only did that when she was sure she was alone. Jhana’s children, all except one, brothers and sisters all lived near-by but she was not looking for comfort, she knew there was none. None for this type of her anguished heart.

We are alone with our grief she had learned through the hard times even though we have family for whom we bless. It took more bravery and strength to be able to hold on to love, than to dismiss it. Love is fleeting, like birds in the sky. That, she knew. Love was there, deep down but could you feel it all the time? Of course not. You had to imagine it, rely on it, pray that it would be there or come back to you. Have faith. Love was an assumption only.fwf4Apr

Love was not the “smiling, holding hands” we would look at in the American magazines that the girls would find and hide under mats, and yes we let them. They looked at something called “romance” not true love but we let them. They did not yet know our plans to move to ‘Merica in a year or two years.

Here, in India, I would look at second daughter’s face as if I was looking through her, I had no problems with my other four children. Why was this child so different? The love was always there in my heart, in her father’s heart and siblings. What happened that was different for this child of mine? How could she not know our love? Did she not know that her father and I blessed the differences from her and the others. She was our pearl, our stand-alone gem. If anything she was more loved but would not take it inside herself.

The other older children could play and work and keep busy but this one held feelings deep inside her heart or just could not communicate. There was hurt and anger, deep inside hammered in to her heart but yet she could not forgive. Nor would she allow us to apologize for something we did not know about. She would not give in, she would be strong, very strong. But, I knew better, of course I did. Well, I thought I did. I was her mother.

This was not a betrayed love, this was a love that ran so deep, only a mother could know. I waited patiently until the day she would find her way back to me. Where did we go wrong I asked the husband? He said of course “we did nothing wrong, she is the child.” But, a mother is different, I tried to tell him. No, that is not the answer.” he told me.

I imagined looking at your face with my two hands one on each side like pressing on cold, hard glass. Press too hard and chips of glass would embed themselves in your fingers, blood would run down slowly each time. Not enough to scream but just enough to notice. I would imagine you trying to get away, twisting, fighting and screaming but my love for you was stronger than everything. You could not run away forever. I held you close, I would not let you go, ever.

I tried to forget the unforgiving words told to me about what you called me and how you viewed me because I do not follow that life. Love was a mystery that couldn’t be easily explained. Where was the joy, the simplicity, the laughter of love? Did it exist past the many layers of the wall you created? As a mother I dearly hoped but I could not know, you would not allow me to know.

Beautiful child, lovely child. No matter how old you are, you still live in my heart no matter what you do or don’t do. There is the difference. I will always cherish you, always love you,  for the goodness in you that I see, that I feel. Yes, certainly. Two hearts, even those estranged, can come back and beat as one.

Until the last breath I will love you. Do you hear me child? Does anyone?  I will say it again and again since I cannot see you, my eyes have failed me many years ago. But, I would still know your face, my hands might be gnarled and brittle with illness but my heart knows, will always know that you, beautiful heart, was so blessedly loved every second of every day and night.

I will wait until the last breath has left my body, which dear one, I know will be soon. I will never give up on you, you see I was learning Patience too and different ways of loving. None was right, none wrong. I was changing too.

That is a mother’s truth spoken in my body now and in the next life. I promise this to you. I love you now and forever. Look for me at night, in the sky, I will be watching you still, loving you, when I am gone.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fear, My Greatest Nemesis

Scared child

Scared child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I felt the tears well up in my eyes before I typed one word. I’m not shocked, I know myself, most of the time. I was given the gift of an unexpected compliment and I broke out into a wide grin.  I wear my heart not only on my sleeve but like a red neon sign on a black night in Broadway, flashing, off and on, non-stop.

Fear is my biggest nemesis. Fear has held me back from so MANY things too many to list. But, I know It has shaped my life. I lied for fear, I changed plans, directions, walked away because of fear, stayed home because of fear. I only hid fear for my children, my gift to them.I didn’t want them to have the same life I had. I’m proud to say they are fearless. An Academy Award please. Thank you. Now, it’s time for me to work on me but it is a little more complex.

Those of us who are called “Empath Intuitives” are sensitive, very sensitive people. Sensitive to others’ emotions but also sensitive in the world we live in. It can be more of a burden than a blessing. You need to grow into it, I’ve learned. As noted earlier, a word of kindness from a stranger means so much to someone like me, it happens so rarely, but when it does you feel it all the more.

My soul sniffs out secrets that I don’t want to know but I feel them like chips of ice starting at the base of my neck and roller-skating slowly down the middle of my spine. They cannot be undone. It will be very hurtful but it will be truthful. I feel much more pain than pleasure in this sad world. Does everybody? Or does it become level at a certain age? I’d say over 50-55 your view on luck starts to change in a downward spiral or maybe the rough patches are more consistent, last so much longer and connect.

I feel someone’s pain before they know it themselves, I can’t read their minds but I can sense what is on them, what they are feeling. I’ve had this quality since I was a child. In many ways, when I was young it only served to hurt me. My family always told me that everything was my fault because “I was too sensitive.” It took many years to figure out that I wasn’t too sensitive but they were not sensitive enough. We just didn’t see things from the same lens.

I believe the answer to fear is to do what you are fearful of. What other way is there? Stare it in the face, you are the boss, not fear. I’m totally guessing here. You control it, don’t let it control you and whatever you do, don’t stop. Face fear and do it and do it until you are not fearful. Is that the only way to go? I’m assuming. Feel free to live other suggestions.

Fear, change, sensitivity, joy, kindness: we are who we are.

Be kind to one another. Take a minute to try to understand not judge.

Celebrate that.

 

 

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Kellie Elmore, FWF

Lady wisdom (2)

Lady wisdom (2) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I didn’t understand it then, but I understand it now…

…though I’d be lying if I said it didn’t take a very long time. Truly, it took almost my entire life to learn this lesson that I so desperately needed to learn. I guess you get small signs at first, maybe you trip you have a pebble in your shoe,a week later you trip over a rock. You, again, think it’s you being clumsy. Still, it’s a coincidence, you barely notice and of course you’ve always been clumsy.

A week goes by and during a heavy rainfall a few small branches from a tree break off and land on the ground but you are not looking so you fall and stumble on them and wind up, wet with sore ankle. Turns out that your ankle was fractured and it has to be in a cast for 4-6 weeks.

Finally you start thinking, what on earth is going on?

What is happening? There is a message waiting for you from whatever God, Spirit, Nature or Force that you Believe in. I never used to see the signs to change my patterns when I was younger, maybe I was too self-absorbed but now in mid-life I pay attention to what the Universe has to tell me and I am grateful.

I used to think everybody acted like me because I was the only person I really knew. My standards were high, different, my style was individual, the friends I connected with were similar; but others weren’t. Some of their styles like empathy and compassion are the same but how they displayed it or didn’t was very different from me.

It’s very hard to get used to, very hard. So you need to trust, trust your instincts and know in your heart that even though D. or C. or M. may love you, they can’t show it to you in the way you need to hear it. It isn’t that they are being obtuse or stubborn it is not something they can do, certainly not easily if at all.

Is that a deal breaker? It used to be, for me. Does it have to be? Absolutely not. Does that mean you need to break up a friendship? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. If you feel you are giving ALL the time and not getting anything back, maybe. No friendship can sustain 100 percent on one person doing ALL the work.

But if you know in your heart that if you called said person at 3AM and desperately needing them and you know without a doubt that they wouldn’t hesitate getting dressed to come to you, you should know better.

It’s the measure of Love.

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#FWF Kellie Elmore

Frühlingsblumen verschiedene Krokusse

Frühlingsblumen verschiedene Krokusse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Circle of Life: Death & Rebirth

This is the time for introspection, to put things in order not just for my house, but for me. My life lesson: I have clung to old friendships far too long, they are dead, like the crumpled crisp brown leaves on the yard. Friendships where I am the only one who is trying.  You can’t force a friendship and your real friends, your true friends are always there. “The past” is a nice memory not a basis for friendship.

It is the second week of November, I look out my window and see gray skies and naked trees. There is no more sun peeking from behind blue skies, I mourn the sunshine, the flowers, the bright, orange, red, yellow leaves of the Fall that used to embrace the trees. What was once my favorite season is now seen as the precursor to the worst season, Winter.

Winter is on its way, people are dismissive and say “add layers of clothing” as they stuff themselves into scarves and hats, mittens and feel warmer but not me and not anyone who shares the chronic illness of Fibromyalgia and Hashimoto’s Disease. Those words taunt us, they are a  joke, a cruel comedy, a farce. Nothing helps, the winter chill goes through our bones and latches on like a one huge tick, sucking blood. We are always exhausted, we have no energy, we have what seems like the flu without the fever, every day of our lives. In the winter our bones and muscles are stiff, unyielding and painful.

Many times I don’t get dressed. My nightgown becomes my party dress and my pajamas serve as my jeans and sneakers. I know when I am in a ” Fibro Flare” when I cannot wear anything, that strains against my body. My body is bloated and the jeans make angry red imprints on my stomach even though they are the right size for me. If I have to be outside, as soon as I  come home I literally rip the tight, restricting clothing off, my bra, my pants and change into loose, soft pajama bottoms and a well-worn tee-shirt. It is only then I can breathe. To people with chronic pain, Winter is a slow death, a Tragedy.

After a long, bleak winter, when the temperatures get higher and we have weeks of rain, my body and mind change. My body hurts because of the dampness and the changing weather but my heart knows that soon I will see buds springing from the ground to show off the first fashions of Spring. One day out of the corner of my eye, I see several bright, green buds pushing their way from the deep, dark earth. It is the promise of Spring fulfilled, crocuses have pushed their way above ground: Hope. Once the crocuses have sprung forth, soon we will see the burst of color dancing before our eyes.  It is a ballet I love to watch.  I never get bored. In a matter of days the forsythia bush in my back yard has sprouted brilliant, bright yellow lights, buds and I know that we are safe and loved.

One day, the sun pulls out its lazy arms and stretches, beams its beautiful smile and soars to the top of a deep blue sky. It is officially Summer, It is time to Rejoice, to take advantage of every single day that we have been given, a reprieve, from pain, from gloominess, a treat. I enjoy the summer as much as I can. Even though extreme heat is not good for chronic pain patients, it is good for my soul to look outside and see the painting of flowers and sun and hear the laughter of children riding their bicycles in the neighborhood. The sun, makes me happy, it does affect my mood. It softens the world around us, like a soft, romantic filter on an otherwise hard life. I am grateful for the sun, every single day, it is time to Celebrate with friends: joyous laughter, food, children selling lemonade, dogs running around outside, people holding hands. This would be my final act.

Haiku Heights: Time

Piercing angel souls,

1 in 3 Teens

1 in 3 Teens (Photo credit: Taylor Dawn Fortune)

Secrets unravel in time

Death, by lethal lie.

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Deep lines etched, gray lips

English: Elderly Woman Knitting

English: Elderly Woman Knitting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lowered eyes, dull blue, trembling

kiss of years, past gone.

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