Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Difference of a Day

Yesterday was brilliant
There was Tea & Friends & Cats & Reading & Bunnies & Conversation & Art 
I only had one big cry

I dealt with issues at work
And difficult patrons
With panache and a smile

I even had a moment 
During a hug
When a friend said sorry

Where I thought
"For what?"
Before it all came back

I forgot to be SORROW for a moment
It was delightful in that sense that I 
Was filled with LIGHT

But today
I woke up crying
And in migraine pain

Waking from nightmares 
Of dead cats
Of dead sister

Waking to feelings
Of hopelessness
Of helplessness

Waking to fears
Of what else
What comes next

Glad for the day off
I laid in bed courting sleep
Until after one pm

I am measuring the day 
In increments
In accomplishments

Things so small 
I'd normally 
Not notice

I got up
I fed the bunnies
I'm eating healthy

I emptied the top rack of the dishwasher
(Bending down hurts my head
The bottom rack can wait)

I have cried
So many times
I've lost count

I am glad
No one else is home
To witness

I hold onto yesterday
As proof of light

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Smile Deflect Rinse Repeat

At work
“Hi! How are you?”
“Fine! You?”
I am “okay”
(I am not okay)

Smile deflect rinse repeat

Out in public
“How are you holding up?”
“Well, I haven’t fallen over!”
((canned laughter))

Smile deflect rinse repeat

With friends
“How’s it been? Is there anything I can do?”
“It’s hard but I’m managing.”
((managing? What does that even mean?))
“Just, what you’re doing... be my friend.”

Smile deflect rinse repeat

In the car
At home
In my room
I crumble

I haven’t gone a day
Without crying

Smile deflect rinse repeat

It’s been
1 month
15 days
(is that all? is it that long?)
Since it happened

Smile deflect rinse repeat

Since she died

Smile deflect rinse repeat

Since she was killed

Smile deflect rinse repeat

Smile deflect rinse repeat
Smile deflect rinse repeat
Smiledeflect rinserepeat






Thursday, December 27, 2018

December 25 & 26, 2018

Dec. 25:
To say that I'm overwhelmed emotionally today would be an understatement. Today is exactly one month after Joy's death and it's christmas, a holiday I already have mixed feelings about. I did a lovely ritual for Yule on the Winter's Solstice that helped me release some of my anger. On Sunday, I had an excellent dinner with my cousin Heather who (whether she knows it or not) helped me mentally sort through some things. I'm still crying every day, but apparently tears are great for shielding from illness as I haven't caught Bek's plague. I have received so many amazing cards and gifts (I have such wonderful friends and family!), both condolences and celebratory. Today I even accomplished cleaning and straightening the bunny area (happy bunnies!), petting buns, cuddled all the cats, and did laundry. I still have presents and things to finish, but I'm not stressing about it.
My favorite gift, the one that made me weep with sorrow and happiness, is the painting Bek did of our two boys, Meander and Nemesis. 💙

Dec. 26:
Today was rough. At work we were unexpectedly short staffed, I had to be mentally present for a business meeting, and there were tech issues... (At one point, the power went out in the library in the middle of me helping a patron who was dealing with some legal stuff online! Fortunately, once the power came back on, I was able to help her recreate everything, and she was very kind, but it was super frustrating.) I was so glad for Alex, who checked in ALL THE BOOKS IN THE WORLD!! Okay, maybe a few less than that, but there was a lot due to us being closed for two days. Since I had a meeting then was consumed with helping patrons on tbe computers, it was pretty much just him for the morning.
The hardest part was all the people asking me if I had a good Christmas. Saying I don't celebrate just changed the question to, "well, did you have a good time on your days off?" I couldn't lie, so I said no and turned the question back on them. Most folks took the hint, but I had one regular who kept pushing and was asking where my family was, did I grow up around here, etc. He's a sweet man, but I really, really, really didn't want to get into any of that.
When I got to my car, I saw that my dad had called. My first thought was, "who died now?" I hated that I was right... My aunt Liz, who was 93 and had health issues, died peacefully this morning. While I'm so glad for the peaceful going, it is still loss and I bawled.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

I want to Eat His Heart

He killed my sister
I want to eat his heat
I want to hit him with a truck
I want to rip him limb from limb
I want him to feel the pain my sister felt
Until there's nothing left but his eyes
I want his body to be crushed
I want to eat his eyes
He killed my sister

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Listing, part I

Five Emotions:
  • First and foremost, sorrow. No, that's not right... SORROW That's better. Well, not better... nothing is better. Everything is worse. (Hence, the sorrow.) It feels like a wet, sticky blanket and it's heavy, oh so heavy. I can't take it off, it shrouds me. There are several very tangible points of sorrow - my cat dying, my sister being crushed to death in her bed by a truck, my other sister losing her home because a truck drove through it, that same sister's dog dying, my missing my chance to go to the International Book Fair, my other cat dying, the five year anniversary of my mom's sudden death, not being nearby for my dad and my sisters - and each one another layer of  heavy, sticky, wet blanket of SORROW. It is constantly with me, heavy and dripping toxic sludge on those around me. I try to keep it all to myself, but I can't. It's too obvious; too prevailing; too consuming. It oozes and drips on all who get too close. It's like a cold... contagious upon exposure.
  • Next comes the emotion that is not mine, but is directed at me. While I try to hide my sorrow or even just express it without emotion, it affects them. They can feel it when I am near, hear it in my voice, see it on my face. I can see them reacting to it before I even speak of it. PITY is what their expressions scream out. I hate pity. I always have. It is a deep and soulless emotion. It is the bastard child of arrogance and sorrow. It has little purpose. But sometimes, it's impossible to avoid.
  • Third, GUILT. You might notice the missing my chance to go to the International Book Fair wedged in between my sister's dog dying and my cat dying. And I know, I know, I shouldn't feel guilty. But I do. When there are so many horrible things to be sad about, how do I have a right to be sad about that? There are so many worse thing going on in the world and even in my own life. But I am sad and frustrated about it. I also feel that GUILT because I am here in Illinois, far from where the legal proceedings are. I can't be with my sister, I'm not there to stare the guy who killed my other sister in the face. 
  • Fourth, ANGER. But, right now, the anger is muted, it's buried in the sorrow, though I see little peeks of it. Anger at life, anger at the asshole who drove the truck, anger that I can't just be there. 
  • Fifth is ANGST. According to some dictionary somewhere in internetlandia, "a feeling of deep anxiety or dread, typically an unfocused one about the human condition or the state of the world in general." Now this may seem weird since there is so much closer to home to feel anxious about, and I do, but it does leave one feeling angst about the rest of the world too. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018


I am lost. Someone from my writing group chose to leave rather than stay in the same room as me and my sorrow. I should not have told what happened to my sister. But this is where I am. I am sorrow. She tried to comfort with saying it must have been part of something; that there are lessons for us to learn. I just cannot deal with thinking of my sister's life as a lesson and said as much. I should have kept my mouth shut... I should have nodded and let her believe that she was truly comforting me. But my level of tolerance for pithy declarations is low. Why am I, the aggrieved, expected to placate you in your stumbling efforts to comfort? Why do I have to deal with that too? It upset her and she left. My cohort in this writers group mentioned something about this being a safe space. I do not feel safe. (When a truck can drive through the wall of a house and kill your sister in the bed where she is sleeping, your view of safety, that was tenuous at best, is broken. "Safe as houses" is such a crock of shit.) But there, I laid my heart out and it was trampled on. I hate it. I want to compartmentalize. But how can compartmentalizing happen when you're dealing with writing and emotion? When this is where your writing is? I was angry at her for being upset and leaving, then I felt selfish... I am so selfish when I am sorrow.

Joy Swan
I got a memorial tattoo on my head that night. I needed that. A physical pain to commemorate the emotional pain with a beautiful swan that represents my sister. When I got the memorial tattoo for my mom, I cried. It was an emotional release. This one had no tears since I have been crying every day and night off and on for almost a month now.

But I feel I haven't hit the truth of my emotions with my sister. There is too much tangle with sorrow over cats dying and dog dying and worry about my other sisters and guilt for feeling sad about missing my trip and guilt for feeling relieved to be home... But deeper down I can feel an anger building. It's not here yet. I am still mired in sorrow. I am still sorrow... but the anger will come eventually.

And I am so tired. I feel like I might fall asleep in the middle of anything if I am not careful. I am sleeping more, but not well. My dreams suck. My writing sucks. I hate everything. I love everyone. I can do nothing right. I have the worst luck. That is not always the case. Do I go through cycles of luck and fortune? I feel like I do. But whenever my luck and fortune are good, I'm always waiting/dreading for the bad to come. When it does, it's always so much.

When my mom died five years ago, I kept waiting for the more. It didn't happen. I thought maybe things were different now. Maybe life was saying, "hey, here's this terrible thing you have to deal with. But here's time to grieve. You know how to grieve since you've had enough sorrow and pets dying and other things, so this is something you'll recover from." It was still so sudden and so sad, missing my mom and knowing all the work that my sisters and my dad were doing to make sure Joy was taken care of (and feeling guilty for being far and not helping)... But it was tenable.

But this... this is shit. This is like life took a huge bucket of suck and dumped it all over my family, making sure my youngest sister whose house it was got the worst of it (next to my oldest sister who died) with me getting a big splash off right in the face. And it splashed in all directions, before and after Joy's death, killing two of my cats, one on each side, before and after the accident, and my sister's dog on the latter side. No, not a bucket of suck... a bomb... an explosion... a truck crashing through a wall.

One of my aunts said, "God only gives you what you can handle." Glazing over the god comment and the pomposity of christians to think that their beliefs are the only ones that matter, I might've sprained my eyeballs trying to force them not to roll into the back of my head. I mean, no one ever commits suicide from not being able to handle the things in their life. Right? RIGHT?!?

Now that I brought up the dreaded 'S' word, I will take a moment to reassure you, dear reader and friend, that I am NOT suicidal. I wouldn't do that to my partner or my friends or my family, especially not with all the other shit they're having to deal with. Also, I don't feel suicidal. (I've been suicidal before... I know what it feels like and this is nowhere near that.) Suicidal for me meant that I was not writing. As long as I'm writing, either about what I'm going through or just random other things, nothing is quite so dire. I am writing every day, even if it is the worst, I am writing out my emotions and trying to make some sense of incomprehensible things through words that are completely fucking inadequate and stupid and I hate them and almost wish I didn't even know language so my thoughts could not form words and I could not write down all this drivel... But I am writing. I am sad and filled with more emotions than I know what to do with, but I am still writing.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

5 Years Ago Today

It's 4 am and I've been awake for at least an hour crying and thinking about my mother who died five years ago. An older wound, not yet healed, and it is infected. The infection gets worse with each more recent wound.

The traumatic death of my sister Joy, the death of my two cats Meander and Nemesis, my worry about my other sister who lost her house when our sister was killed and, less than two weeks later, her sweet dog Besty died. Less wounding but still incredibly disappointing is my trip to Mexico and my visiting the International Book Fair getting thwarted.

Also, I'm pretty sure something is broken. The break keeps getting worse with each wound that has been layered on my heart. My chest physically hurts for these non-physical ailments. (I have never understood that... how we can physically hurt for something that is emotional and psychological.) One after the other, like a slow motion pummeling that leaves me bruised and broken and bleeding. If this was a relationship, I would tell myself to get out. But getting out of this abusive relationship with life would leave too many others bruised and broken and bleeding. I have no illusions that my abuser is going to change... that I can somehow make life be gentle. We've gone through this cycle before. Once the abuse begins, it just keeps coming.

Last time, I tried to die. I committed suicide on the daily, but it didn't stick. I was never very good at killing myself, though I was an expert at hiding my pain, to my detriment. This time, I'm trying to wear my pain out in the open. I will not say I am okay when I am not. I will not apologize for someone else's discomfort. I will allow myself time to grieve and I will not set a timer on it. ("Ding! Times up! Get over being sad and broken!") No, I will do the things I have to do like work, take care of my pets, finish figuring out what all I need to complete my classes, write, eat, sleep (somewhat), and try to take care of myself.

But I will not wallow. Wallowing is what got me dropping out of school 23 years ago after an almost successful attempt at killing myself. I will continue to care about others and remember that strangers might be going through things just as bad or worse than me so I need to be patient and kind. Kindness is so important. I will also resume helping in whatever way I can to rescue animals, but I will be forgiving to myself and wait to do that when I'm ready. I will also celebrate and be there for my friends in whatever way I can because they deserve it.

With that last thought in mind, I want to take a moment to acknowledge that this day is also the birthday of one of my dearest friends, Claire Cooney, who I sometimes call Kikiriki because I always want to crow about her. Someday when I'm not writing in the wee hours of the morning a stream-of-consciousness rant, I will put together something worthy of her. I hope for now it is enough that she is a shining star in my bleak landscape leading me to water when I can find none.

I love you, Ki!