Inspired By 6 Words And Loss

This represents what 2015 is for me thus far
Snapshot of my 2015…

Death trails behind me,

Decaying carcasses lie uncovered;

Youthful hopes and dusty memories-

Remnants of broken dreams,

Haunt…

Taunt…

Each breath reminds me,

Eternal failures rediscovered;

I’m unable to escape shortcomings-

Fragments of who I used to be,

Haunt…

Taunt…

Scattered ashes cover

Three quarters of a year-

Whether I rise remains to be seen,

But I have to accept what will be.

~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-

I have a bad habit of explaining my poetry, and I will continue that, but first, I’ll take you on a scary ride of how my train of thought ended up here.  Hold on, it’s a twisty one 😯

This post was originally going to be to refer you to a post compiled by Eli Pacheco at Coach Daddy where he asked bloggers how they would upgrade themselves – in six words.  (If you have some time, check it out… there were some great contributions.  Mine is #46)… “accept what will be; no worries”.  Hold this thought…

In the past month, I’ve had to say goodbye to two of my pets.  First, my seventeen-year-old Yorkie-Poo, Bulwinquel.  Then, a few days ago, I lost my beloved cat, Cybil.  She was fifteen years old and had been in kidney failure for over a year.

When I started writing this poem, it was to deal with the grief of loss over my pets.  Then my mind wandered a bit farther back, over the landscape of this year.  I half-joke that I’m done with 2015, but I don’t think it’s done with me.  This poem ended up being more about another loss I’ve been dealing with:  in January, I made the decision to end my 18-year marriage. Until last week, we were living in the same house which has been… well, miserable.

I won’t go into details as to what led to this because I have kids who might happen upon my ramblings here someday.  There were several factors involved, but one aspect, I wrote about last October in a poem that was particularly difficult to share.  Sharing that poem forced me to see things I chose to ignore for years.

This brings me back to my six-word contribution and this poem.  The death that trails behind me are my pets, my marriage, and the idea of what I thought my life would be eighteen years ago.  I failed.  I don’t like failing and stubbornly tried to deny this failure, but the first 3/4 of this year has been coming to terms with it.  It’s a continuing process.

I have spent a lot of time thinking (obsessing, really) about things I have no control over.  It’s a daily thing to remind myself not to worry about tomorrow and to instead, rely on faith.  I have no idea what the future holds.  I’ll find out when it gets here.

This isn’t supposed to be a depressing post. I’m okay really. I’m working on a photo-inspired story but was too busy to complete it for September as I had planned. I’m not going to jinx it by saying when I think it’ll be done. I’ll just leave it at “soon.” 🙂

Thanks for hanging on to this thought train. Now, relax and have a beautiful Thursday!

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Dead Flowers

Darlene stared at the bouquet of withered roses, contemplating her next move. The crinkled brown leaves curled around brittle stems and the dried, almost black, rose blooms drooped from the mouth of the crystal vase.

A reasonable person might suggest she discard the arrangement, dump the foul chemical-filmed water and scrub the vase clean. But her heart couldn’t do it. Scott gave her those flowers before he disappeared. The only trace of him: a blood stain left in his truck parked near the Mogollon Rim.

Like a torrential monsoon rain, tears gushed down her cheeks. Each sob sent a wave of misery through her, so she wrapped her arms around her torso to ease the movement of her cracked ribs. It had been nearly four weeks since she almost died, but her wounds still gaped.

The emotional agony rivaled her physical scars. Nightmares of smoke and flames interrupted her sleep. She relived the panic of the stuck windows, the desperate grasp at life she made by throwing herself through the glass, and the jarring smack of concrete twenty feet below.

Scott had stayed with her in the hospital. He held her hand, slumped over with his head next to her on the bed. He did this for five days and then he was gone.

Darlene took a shallow breath and forced herself to slowly exhale.  She grabbed the bunch of stems and dropped them in the trash. She spotted the unopened pink envelope on top of the heap, still held by the plastic pitchfork.

She stared at the small rectangle until it grew blurry.  Finally, she lifted the envelope and slid her finger under the sealed flap, saying a quick prayer before reading his message.

“I’m sorry. You’re stronger than I thought…it wasn’t supposed to end this way.”

His apology left her with more questions than answers and a fury that sent crystal shards and putrid water spraying across the ceramic tile floor.

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TrifectaPicture11-1This is my response to the Trifecta weekday challenge, which was to write a 33 to 333 word piece (mine came in at 323 words) using the following word/definition:

MOUTH:  something that resembles a mouth especially in affording entrance or exit: as (a)the place where a stream enters a larger body of water; (b) the surface opening of an underground cavity; (c)the opening of a container; (d)an opening in the side of an organ flue pipe

If you want to try the challenge yourself, or read the other responses, click on the tricycle picture to view Trifecta’s site.  As always, thanks for reading 🙂

Wisps of You

You

dance in my soul,

tug on my heart.

My

tears console

no – rip me apart,

arms are empty

but memories behold-

wisps of you

going…

going…

but never gone.

12-12 Wisps of Smoke

~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-~~~-

I planned to do something more upbeat today, but I read something this  morning that changed my heart.  I urge you to read this amazing post by Stacy at Jonesing after 40 (the link will open the post in a new window.)  It is gut-wrenching, poignant and raw.  I’ve never met her, but have been touched by her writing for quite a while.  If you are the praying type, please keep her and her family in your prayers…

P.S. You may want to keep tissues handy, just in case.  I went through several.  You’ve been warned.

I hope you hold your blessings tight and have a beautiful day!

A Place For Everything

Our society is one obsessed with organization.  There are even stores that sell nothing but storage bins and totes of all different colors and sizes.  Good thing, so we can put our excess stuff on a shelf, in the closet, or under the bed, in style.  The world tells us that stacking everything neatly is much better than spreading our belongings out in the middle of the floor to sort them one-by-one.

I’m finding my emotions aren’t much different than the “things” I tuck away into their designated storage spaces.  The “bad” feelings are folded up and buried beneath the daily have-to-do’s.  The “good” emotions (the ones that lift me up and draw others to me) flow freely like the toys that are forever strung across my family room floor.

I never consciously chose to avoid feeling sadness, longing, anger or grief – all of the emotions that weigh down a smiling heart.  But like a storage tote stuffed too full, the lid popped off and pain spilled over the sides.

After my grandma passed away, I acknowledged my loss and allowed myself to cry for my own sadness, knowing full well they were selfish tears.  My mind knew I didn’t need to cry for her because she was free.

Within weeks, I returned to “life as usual,” whatever that means, because my life is one continuous crazy mess.  There was enough going on that I didn’t dwell on missing her, or my grandpa, who passed away several years ago.  I thought I had healed, but it turns out that healing is a process of relapse and recovery.

Going to my grandparents’ house was much more difficult than I thought.  Food needed to be cleared out of the house, and I knew being in that house made my mom sad, so I told her my husband and I could do it.  My husband took the lead and I held trash bags open.  Silly as it sounds, I felt like pitching the expired food was like tossing pieces of my grandparents’ lives away.

My mom surprised me by showing up and filling more bags to take to the landfill.  I distanced myself from the labels I peeled off her prescription bottles; I made myself focus on the “things”, not the owner.  It wasn’t until I reflected on it later that night, and days later, that tears fell and I recognized that my wound had opened up again.

Tempting as it is to slap a bandage over it, I’m not going to.  Eventually, joy will replace grief.  This metamorphosis is promised in the Old Testament of the Bible (Jeremiah 31:13) as well as in the New Testament when Jesus prepared the disciples for His death (John 16:20).  One of my favorite songs, Before the Morning, embodies this message.  It’s hard not to feel some joy after listening to it 🙂

I’ve thought of my mom often throughout the week.  Neither one of us cried in my grandparents’ house.  I wonder if her tears come at night too; if her wounds are healing, just as mine are.

Grandma’s Pantry

Pantry

I unlocked the front door and thrust my shoulder into the wood to unstick it from the frame.  I entered with caution and unease because it wasn’t my house.  Although aware that no person would greet me, I remained wary of the memories that would no doubt sneak up on me and exploit my weaknesses.

With a deep breath, I smelled the stale air.  The scent of age hung in the warmth, which had been trapped inside by the locked windows and doors.  The house, uninhabited for years, possessed a certain kinship that lurked beneath the oldness.  I stopped for a moment, my eyes taking in the familiar flowered sofa and loveseat, the filled china hutch, and the painted porcelain birds sitting on the end table, just as they sat on the same table in three different houses during my lifetime.

I exhaled a heavy sigh and shook my head.  I had a job to do.  Memories and nostalgia would only make the task worse.  I walked past the kitchen and took a sharp left to the laundry room and pantry.  I scanned the pantry shelves, sizing up my opponent.  Formidable, but not impossible, I determined.

One by one, I plucked cans from the shelf, dropping them into black plastic bags.  At times, I stopped to check the dates.  Green beans, expired January 2010; cooking oil, best purchased by November 2007; and an opened bag of chips with guaranteed freshness until May 17.  Of what year, I don’t know.  All of it, along with the leaking cans of tomato sauce, went into bags.

I stacked the multiple opened rolls of cling wrap next to each other on a shelf.  I did the same for the Reynold’s Wrap, wax paper and assorted sizes of Ziploc baggies.  I wondered if the stockpile was intentional, or if Alzheimer’s made each purchase seem necessary.  I slid obviously used-but-recycled baggies into the trash.  My throat tightened, but I reminded myself:  I have a job to do.

Sadness enveloped me, brought on by the disparity between what I saw in front of me and the memories of my grandma’s pantry.  As a child, I could always find something sugary and tempting in the cabinets.  Shelves were stocked and ready to feed anyone who walked through my grandparents’ front door.  She loved food; so much so, that she became a lifetime member of Weight Watchers.  No one ever left her house hungry, except by choice.

I tied the bulging bags closed and surveyed the sparsely filled shelves.  All perishable food, which had perished long before that day, was removed.  What remained were stock pots, small appliances, dishes, and memories.  I wanted to mourn the emptiness in my heart, carved by all that was gone, but remembered that she stood with Jesus and Grandpa now.

That last thought could have been what kept the tears at bay.  Or maybe it was the realization that the spice cabinet was full.  After all, I had a job to do.