Too Much Death In The Air

I haven’t written. I know. I’m down. Way down. I admit it. The scent of death lurking in the air. Gail, John’s wife is dead. John has an inoperable brain tumor, everyone wishes he would die, especially him. He only has days to live, Gail died yesterday. These people were like part of my family. They loved our dog, once they had their own dog. It brought back memories for them. Sweet memories.

Waiting. In tears, or on the verge of, always. Like now, all the time. Writing it down doesn’t make it easier or harder, there is no solution. Nothing can resolve this miserable situation, not a funeral, not two funerals.

Only, if they were buried together, if he died too, in the next two days, then, I could somehow see something positive because they were meant to be together always, married together, buried together. Everyone would feel better. When you tell a terminally ill brain tumor patient that his wife has passed and he says “Thank God” what does that mean?

Her suffering was more important to him than his own. I can’t seem to get over this very personal story, this couple, extended family, invited to every birthday party of my children, every summer barbecue for years.

When my father was alive they were my parents’ best friends, very best friends. When my dad died, they “adopted” my mother, were so wonderful to her, every day. When the wife coveted a certain kind of brownie I would buy it for because she loved nothing more than chocolate, except her husband, always her husband.

Somewhere, this must be bringing up my father’s funeral inside me, it has to be, I am sobbing in that way, down deep place that there is no control over. Of course it would bring up his death. I am really slow. My mother, who would never acknowledge this about herself has lost her two closest friends, while she may not relate this to her husband’s death, deep down she will feel it unconsciously.

I feel helpless and I acknowledge I am helpless. I am oversensitive and needy. I ask friends for reassurance, while direct, is not necessary. Because once asked, does it really mean the same thing? I regret asking now.

Taking a short break from social media where some people are cruel with their words, there is no room in my life for cruelty of any kind.  I want to be moving and doing and yet, I remain huddled in bed. Last night I crashed at 8:30 pm and I am still in bed at 11:00 am with no motivation to move.

Everyone wants them to be buried together at the same time. It would give the story some meaning, a tiny bit of meaning.

I cry, I dry my eyes, I cry again.

 

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Haiku Horizons: HOME 4

English: Image of comet C/1996 B2 (Hyakutake),...

English: Image of comet C/1996 B2 (Hyakutake), taken on 1996 March 25, with a 225mm f/2.0 Schmidt Camera (focal length 450mm) on Kodak Panther 400 color slide film. Exposure 0:56 to 1:06 UT (10 minutes). The field shown is about 6.5°x4.8°. Note the prominent disconnection event in the comet’s ion tail. Stars in the image appear trailed, as the camera tracked the comet during the exposure. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

Hubble Space Telescope Advanced Camera for Sur...

Hubble Space Telescope Advanced Camera for Surveys image of Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 fragment B on 2006 April 18, 19 and 20. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1)

Small, deaf, sun-filled home,

Corner shadows, two adults

Lost in the echoes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2)

Where will my home be?

Old, runny eyes, gray hair, death.

Misery, Alone

 

 

3)

There is no home now

walking on red glass, blood, pain

There won’t be, ever.

4)

Spoons of honey drip

into drooling mouths, no teeth

I hope I don’t know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Slow Unraveling Of The Boomer Generation

Red Yarn | 331/365 (EXPLORED)

Red Yarn | 331/365 (EXPLORED) (Photo credit: mfhiatt)

Yes, it’s true. I know, I know, a lot of you are licking your chops. The baby boomers are getting old, who dared shout “you are already old?” Shut up.  What’s worse is that many people I know feel depressed  about it, and are whining, kvetching and complaining about it to everyone. Why me? Why us? Where did those last forty years go? Were we not just putting our kids on the kindergarten bus? Now our little ones are sophomores or juniors in undergraduate school or working at jobs they love or hate. How did it happen, more importantly, how did it happen to us?

Are we all having a later mid- life crisis together again? Didn’t Melanie sing that?  Hey, don’t ask me I have no memory left. I blame it on Fibromyalgia Fog but my memory is fading fast. Fibromyalgia just makes it a hundred times worse.  When talking to my female friends it seems we are all going through something. What the Boomer generation didn’t expect is that we would become the Sandwich Generation.  Caught right in the middle of taking care of parent(s) and still taking care of or paying for our not yet independent children.

We also have the worst economic disaster and many of us have lost jobs, have been laid off and if we are lucky to have a job it probably pays two-thirds less than the last job but hey, it’s a job. You don’t love your job anymore, you just suffer through it. Why? because it’s a paycheck which is better than unemployment. I tried to get a part-time job, right, good luck to me, if it wasn’t so sad it would be laughable. A lot of us, unless we are independently wealthy, are scared.

As my husband and I approach our 25th wedding anniversary we look at each other, depressed, feeling alone, not particularly in love like when we got married but we DO love one another. We love each other and are grateful to have each other in our lives. We are also friends,companions, the parents of our children. Sometimes when he snores we sleep in different beds. Romance? Apparently I have watched too many movies. My husband never knew the meaning of the word and I sure as hell don’t expect him to learn it now. Let’s face it, it’s a fantasy.

My husband and his friends are stuck at jobs that they don’t like but have to stay in to earn money, retirement is not around the corner. They have settled like we all have settled and it’s not a good feeling at all. Women, trying to get back in the workplace are finding the same thing the men are finding: there are no jobs, especially at our age. Did you say age discrimination? You bet and nobody cares. You can easily hire a 24-year-old kid than us “alte kackes” (Woody Allen can you help me describe it to them?) who don’t know social media from the NBC Peacock.

We can’t retire yet, well at least not us, we didn’t sell out ( sorry for holding that grudge, I would have probably done the same thing) like our beloved Ben and Jerry.  It’s scary but we really are all alone in this world. Truthfully, we have no idea what we are doing. Some people look at that as exciting and starting another chapter in their lives, whoever you are, I salute you.

It’s a new step, another change, another phase, one we honestly don’t like but we have no choice. We’re getting old, older and while we try to be gracious sometimes it can just take our breath away. It gives us a quick pain in the ass and stomach or whatever ailments we have by now. In addition to that, and I’m just telling  you this, there is a slight case of fear, ice-cold fear running up and down our veins every once in a while. We seek our friends to talk to, to share our feelings, they are the only ones who understand. We unravel, slowly, together.

Free Write Friday, Kellie Elmore: Tulips

English: Cultivations of Tulips in South Holla...

English: Cultivations of Tulips in South Holland Italiano: Coltivazioni di tulipani dell’Olanda Meridionale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Today you have been granted the opportunity to go anywhere, do anything, meet anyone, travel in time…whatever you wish, it is yours. Now, there’s a catch. (Isn’t there always?) When you wake up tomorrow… you will not remember any of it.Would you still choose to take the offer? Can you drink in the moment and enjoy it knowing you will have no recollection of what happened? Think about it?  How important is a memory?”

Part 1:

I would hop on a first class plane, sipping orange juice and amaretto on my flight to Holland. I stretch my legs and marvel at how wonderfully everybody treats you when you are sitting in first class. I have a menu in my hands and I need to pick what I want to eat for dinner. I decide on the Surf and Turf for my entrée, happy not to have to pick just one item. After the flight attendants take everyone’s order they pass around trays of appetizers: mini lobster rolls, Brie or St. André cheese and crackers, pulled pork sliders and chicken salad with chutney in phyllo dough. Loving food, as I do, my tastebuds are dancing with joy loving the different sensations in my mouth.

I sleep for three hours and by that time the pilot announces our descent which brings me right into the airport/and waiting limousine to take me to the Tulip Festival, now in full bloom. I bask in the beautiful scenery, the rows of color: red, pink, rose, orange, green that stand in line like tiny soldiers. I drink up the sight and as fresh, cold bubbly spring water quenches my thirst, these rows of tulips fill another need. The primordial need to see beauty .  Rows upon rows of beautiful tulips, in every color, so vast that you think it is a prop from a movie. Yes, it is real and the gigantic proportions make me feel like an insect crawling on the freshly mowed grass. The scent of the grass tickles my nose and I laugh.

I am here, at the tulip festival, a place I have always wanted to see. I am giddy, my cheeks are pink from the excitement, like the color of one of the rows of tulips, my body trembles. I sit down on one of the many benches they provide for tourists, wooden slated benches, simple, nothing overdone, they mustn’t out-do the beauty ahead of them. Looking around me there are other people, each one, staring at the beautiful scene in front of us. There is no litter here, just rows of flowers, tilting their heads to the sun. Some tourists try to take photographs but you can’t capture an entire field in a photograph. Or the smell. The smell in the air is clean, fresh, with a hint of sweetness, freshly moved grass, and sunshine.

There is nothing else I want to do but sit back, stare and breathe, long, take long, deep breaths.  I do not want to sit on a bus like some of the other people, seeing churches  and old houses and attractions. I am where I want to be, in the garden of beauty, nature’s beauty and I, a quiet admirer, overwhelmed by this magnificent sight. There is nothing else I want to do but stare and take in this picture of magnificence and beauty.  I am where I want to be, in the garden of beauty, nature’s beauty and I a shy yet ardent admirer.

****

Part 2:

It’s early morning in our house. My husband, Steve, has already left to go to work by train. He has left me coffee to drink in the machine and I greedily reach for it and drink it in two or three big gulps. I go about my chores as usual. I wake up the children who need to get ready for school. Fortunately, I always make their lunches the night before so I don’t have to do it in the morning. I don’t tell the kids but I hate mornings too. I pour cereal and milk, my two kids, 8 and 11 are loud but we laugh a lot. I rush them outside to wait for the bus, get them on the bus and I wave as the bus leaves. They still wave back to me, I know it won’t last very long, they are growing up so quickly.

I go to the grocery store with my list, a long one for four people in the family. I start checking off items on the list. Milk, bread, chicken, cheese, steak on sale, and about ten other items.  After I am done I wait on a very long line, reading a trashy Hollywood magazine that I refuse to buy but actually love to read. Finally, it is about to be my turn, I start unloading my cart. I add a pack of sugarless gum because I can’t resist those items at the end  of the aisle where their placement seems to stare at you, practically begging you to buy them.  My husband calls me”The ultimate consumer ” because I love to see new products at the store.  At the very last second, I reach over the counter to stretch and grab just one more thing. It’s something I never do, but I didn’t even think about this, it was impromptu. I reached over the counter and I bought tulips.  Pink tulips.

Pink Tulip 2 of 3

Pink Tulip 2 of 3 (Photo credit: krispijn.scholte)

Carry on Tuesday: My Favorite Things

Daffodills in St. James', close

Daffodills in St. James’, close (Photo credit: existential hero)

Don’t you know that it is human nature to be able to list the worst memories in your life more easily than it is to remember the best ones? Why is that? Why do we all remember, more clearly, things that we don’t like at all instead of all the things we do?  Maybe because sad things leave us scarred emotionally, we remember them because they wound us like a deep cut into raw flesh. Your skin is deeply cut, blood seeps out, you’ll probably have that scar for the rest of your life and it will remind you, forever, of what happened to cause that pain.

When I am feeling lonely or blue I try to think of peaceful things, the things that make me happiest, my favorite things: the ocean, dogs, collecting seashells while walking on the beach, the mass of yellow daffodils that come up once a year in the same place in my neighborhood. This year I only saw the start of the meadow of yellow flowers, when they barely started to bloom. It rained every day for a week after that, it wasn’t an auspicious start to summer.

It is harder for me to remember the happiest days than the worst days. There have been moments of magnificence in my life, with my husband, certainly the birth of my two children, but other than that, my head is cloudy. I can’t blame everything on Fibromyalgia,or Fibro-Fog as we call it. I don’t think I could have come up with this before anyway.

Perhaps tonight I’m steeped in self-pity, oh yes, now I know why. I just figured it out. The great unconscious, the biggest moment, months, years of grief: the death of my father. Father’s day is two weeks away. It gets to me every year around this time and every year I forget. How on earth could I forget that my father is dead? I know he is dead. What is wrong with me? Every year since his death, eleven years ago, I still go to the Father’s Day section for cards, or this year I picked up a new pen that I knew he would love, forgetting that there was no physical him anymore. I guess I will never stop doing that.

I will make a concerted effort to continue to think of past, happy, moments and will jot them down. The word “magnificent” sounds like an over-rated French movie. I’ll stick to happy but the point is, my memory can remember the pain first, the pleasure, second.

For all those women* who do not have a Father on Father’s Day, this is for you. I know how you feel, from my broken heart to yours. Do whatever you can to make your own life a little easier, a little happier, whatever it takes. Or honor your dad with a special memory or flowers, a drink, anything to help ease YOUR pain. Buy yourself some chocolate or ice cream or both. I feel for all of us, I really do.

*should say women and men

Father's Day 2009

Father’s Day 2009 (Photo credit: Paul Allison)

Free Write Friday- Kellie Elmore

#FWF Free Write Friday: Image Prompt
Rhythm, a sequence in time repeated, featured ...

Rhythm, a sequence in time repeated, featured in dance: an early moving picture demonstrates the waltz. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They tell me it was a memory I never had, but of course, I am not convinced they are telling me the truth. I am so sure I remember reaching my long, skinny fingers and stroking the soft texture of the speckled leaves on the ground. Wasn’t it just yesterday that the leaves had been vibrant dancers in, yellow, red and orange, pirouetting for us from the upper limbs of the trees, beckoning us to admire them? Our group of friends sat on the dry ground in a circle and we clapped our hands heartily for their lovely show and whistled our love and appreciation. What a lovely dance they put on for us! We talked about it at dinner at the Inn, all of us feeling so lucky to have seen the beauty of art and nature coexisting. We felt blessed.

When we awoke the next morning, after inhaling strong cups of coffee and eating our sugar dusted, apple-cider doughnuts, we headed back eagerly for the early show of the dancing leaves yet something felt different to everyone. We all felt unsettled, out-of-place. It seemed that overnight, all the glorious leaves had slid to the floor, wet, subdued, stepped on, laying on the ground, curled up and crumpled, dead, on a pile of the old, worn, rusty bridge that should have been torn down forty years ago. The bridge had no use anymore except for photographic opportunities, no cars could travel on it, people felt unsteady walking on it. It was unsafe.

You and I, darling, had danced beneath those breathtaking leaves, we waltzed over and over again but you said you could NOT remember that. Well, I remembered it, with perfect clarity of young love, breathtaking beauty, birds sweetly chirping their melodious songs, and our picnic lunch. We waltzed underneath the bright sun, many years ago. I don’t know why you don’t remember it because it is so clear in my mind and SO IMPORTANT. I don’t understand, it meant so much to us then. Please try to remember, at least something, of that magical day, for me, sweetheart, for me. You look blankly at me or am I looking blankly at you? I don’t remember much of anything at all anymore. I was young once, that I know but weren’t you too?

Yellow Magic Madness #3 Candle

Candle-flame-and-reflection

Candle-flame-and-reflection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love candles, always did. I used to collect candles when I was young. My father, for many, many years before he died, would buy me a candle every Christmas. It was a tradition. Now, my mom, my sister, even my son have given me candles as presents. Not only do I love them, but it keeps the memory of my father alive. I think it’s sweet that my family is trying to hold on to a tradition I dearly loved.

It’s Really Not About The Turkey

Folk Family, ca. 1940-1941

Folk Family, ca. 1940-1941 (Photo credit: americanartmuseum)

It’s Thanksgiving Eve’s Eve, if that is a holiday. It’s 11:30 pm and my husband and I are waiting for our two, college aged children to come home from their respective colleges, together. We like that they are traveling in one car; we like that they are getting along. For someone, with Fibromyalgia and chronic pain, I am usually in my sleep shirt as early as seven pm (okay, you got me, sometimes at 4pm) but I wait, dressed, until 12:30 am so I can greet them. There are a lot of things I can’t do for them, but this I can and I’m proud.

Those first sights, those first hugs are amazing but fleeting. My daughter’s friend came over to talk and my son left right away to go to the diner to meet up with his friends from college. His friends from college, you ask? I asked the same thing. “Yes” he replied, grinning widely, “I really don’t know why either, it just happened but I’m looking forward to it.” With our usual admonishment to “wake us up when you get home”( we are old-fashioned) he said “Wow, it’s going to be really hard to remember that.” We replied “Try.”

This morning, as I sipped my strong coffee in bed, deeply inhaling the fragrant aroma like a bouquet of flowers, I heard my daughter’s door open, (we have a very small house and she is right across our door) earlier than I thought. She walked in and sat on the bed and started talking about college and I was so incredibly happy. If that wasn’t enough to fill my heart up to near capacity, ten minutes later I heard familiar loud thumps coming up the stairs. It was that moment, when her older brother walked in, made himself comfortable on the bed and started joining in on the conversation that I was so grateful for my life.

I’ve realized with time, that it’s these special moments that make a life worthwhile. If only I had a better memory to remember them; I confess I seem to remember bad things easier, traumatic things, than the glorious moments I had this morning. At least I can look back here and visualize them.
After we talked for about fifteen minutes, my daughter decided she was hungry and I taught her how to make her favorite breakfast meal. While part of her wanted me to make it, at 18, I thought it best for her to do it herself with my help. So there was a little shell (okay a lot) in the eggs but I taught her how to take it out, so the avocado was not perfect, we worked around it, the flame was too high, she lowered it, I told her to ask her brother if he might want some, she did and he said “yes, please.” It’s all a matter of growing up, and if my children still want to come up and talk with me, I’ve done my job well.

(Easy) Scrambled Eggs with Cheese and Avocado (for 2)

Crack 4 eggs in a bowl (remove shell if there is any, and don’t worry if there is-it happens to all of us)
Add a bit of milk (we don’t measure here, just a sip or two from the carton, any milk or cream will do nicely)

Prepare a frying pan with butter or cooking spray, enough to coat the bottom of the pan

Separately, slice the cheese (ANY kind) she used mozzarella and added it to the eggs

Pre-heat the pan and when it is warm, add the cheese and egg mixture

Prepare avocado (use 1/2 or whole depending on taste) slicing it. (I’m assuming you know to peel it and  throw away the pit?)

Do NOT put avocado in frying pan until the eggs and cheese are nearly done.

Once the egg and cheese mixture is almost done, add the avocado, stir gently and serve.

ENJOY!

Plinky Prompt: Write a letter to yourself in 20 years…

  • Letter to (Future) Me
  • What Did We Know?
    beach sunrise 1 Dear Old Lady,
    I want to live someplace simple and warm, with God’s Blessing, with my Old Man, beside me. It’s nice to grow old with someone and we are still lucky to have each other because many of our friends have lost their spouses. Sure, we have our health problems, who doesn’t? I’ve had them as long as I can remember so that’s not so hard for me to get used to but you and your ego, well, that was a little harder but we got through that tough time, didn’t we?.
    We moved to California when I finally put my foot down and said I could not TAKE these bitter cold winters in New York for my bones and muscles and you actually agreed with me. You even loved it when we sat on our deck and could see the ocean and the beach, not so close but it didn’t matter. It was nice and warm and I didn’t complain all the time, you joker. Now I complained just half the time! But, I really did feel better in the warm weather and you took up golf which you said you would never do.”Never say Never!”
    Our kids had kids of their own, just think we are grandparents, imagine that! I had wanted to be a granny since I was 50,and now I’m 76! What a feeling that is, seeing your son and daughter’s husband and wife and their precious children, Oh, I used to love holding them in my arms when they were little and singing them songs. My one regret is that they don’t live closer to us but they have to live their own lives and they can’t live for us, just like we couldn’t live for our mothers and fathers It’s a very hard decision, believe me, I know.
    We have friends here, but really, there is nothing like family. Oh, did I tell you? My sister and her husband moved a few blocks around the corner, shortly after we moved here. Their kids more scattered than ours but we all get together whenever we can and that is something to live for. All of us around a big table, imagine, we’re the grandparents now, who knew time would go by so fast?
    Appreciate every good day you have, life can be difficult but you will get through it.Don’t worry if you don’t have to. Just deal with things as they come your way. Most of all, just know I will always love my family, whenever I go, that’s the most important thing for people to know. I LOVED MY FAMILY and my husband and my kids were my whole life. That’s all I want to say.