Thursday, May 21, 2015

Where The Words Went

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” ~ Ana├»s Nin

It’s been a while since you’ve been gone. The ache remains, a festering raw wound that I imagine will never fully heal. I can’t help but rake nails across my heart, ripping scabs and bleeding all over everything. Some days it’s the only way I know I’m still alive, the wound weeps. I feel so damn guilty sometimes because I’m still here and you… were far more worthy of this life than I.

You taught me better than that.

Dejan Stojanovic wrote, “There are no clear borders, only merging invisible to the sight.” Life and death overlap and in-between are those who love. I’m stronger now. Do you know the words went away with you? Guilt may be to blame in part. Why breathe life into words, bereft of you? Hell, I made my therapist cry. I had sufficient words for sorrow, absence, loss, and so much raw sewage of hatred, but I felt with such an intensity, he couldn’t escape the emotional seepage.

You know all this, how could you not. I buried it so deep inside that cartilage I called a heart; forgetting for a time I was drowning you. Time is an awkward teacher beating around the bush, until an opening presents room for a lesson. Time…three years later and I get it. The words will keep you and I alive. Even when the silence is so freaking loud without you here.

I owe you my life, a life I was willing to forfeit in lieu of this mute stillness. Because of you I learned calm existed in the gathering quiet of my deaf psyche. I miss you, there are no words for that kind of absence. You were spiritual, beyond understanding, a being of grace wrapped in the fur of a dog. I saw a picture of a man holding his beloved pup today, wailing, so much anguish on his face. His friend died in his arms. I recognized myself and bled a thousand more tears.

Alive is a state of self, soul, a spiral in continuous movement. During the winter snow piled on the head of your statue and I smiled for in some form you were there, along with a barking Bjarki and Yazhi. They both share parts of you. Bjarki is the protector, the one who feels everything with his whole being, the klutz, and the giant lap sitter. Yazhi has your gentle disposition, the feral cat whisperer, the hand (paw) holder, and long ear indignity. Life gives me small windows of you in the most unlikely places.

I’m okay. I’ve learned to stand up for myself against indifference toward my deafness. In those moments, I feel you beside me leaning in close as if my four legged side-kick were still there lending encouragement. I learned strength and perseverance from you and I couldn’t care less if anyone knows what that construes, outside you and I.

The words keep you alive, as long as I write there you are.

*For those who may not know, Pickles was my working dog for the deaf. She was also a Katrina survivor. The only reason I survived those first few years of my deafness was because of her unfailing guidance and love.  She did more for me than any human being possibly could have. Pickles passed away without warning from Acute Leukemia three years ago. My words went with her…

“It's so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.”
 John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent


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Sunday, May 10, 2015

This I Know...

My first thought this morning was, “Today will be what the day brings.”

Mother’s Day - awkward, loathing, disdain, and a bunch of other nonsensical narrative comes to mind whenever the day arrives.  As far as mothers go, I haven’t seen mine since I walked out the door at sixteen and never looked back. Oh, there were the occasional calls on my birthday to check and see if this was the year I would be saved, but even those petered off as the years went by. No regrets though, I was very much in the act of saving myself all these long years, not exactly what she had in mind; still there is a kind of theatrical karma to that statement isn’t there? I wish the deterrent to a mother/daughter relationship stemmed from nothing more than religious prevarication. Alas, no, safe to say everyone else’s normal will never be my normal; a comfortable acceptable reality, to be honest.

“I have no right to call myself one who knows. I was one, who seeks, and I still am, but I no longer seek in the stars or in books; I'm beginning to hear the teachings of my blood pulsing within me. My story isn't pleasant, it's not sweet and harmonious like the invented stories; it tastes of folly and bewilderment, of madness and dream, like the life of all people who no longer want to lie to themselves.” | Hermann Hesse, Demian


Not surprisingly the day found me in the car alternating between Johnny Cash and Jaco Pastorius turned up way high (got to have that bass thrum for my deaf ears to hear), back country mountain roads and dandelion field euphoria. I found myself standing in front of a grave with Rock Rose (Red Dragon) flowers for the only mother I had ever known, brushing lichen off her gravestone. Grace, respect, compassion… all the things my natural mother lacked; this woman bestowed on me for three years. I miss her. She embodied motherhood. This day belongs to women like her.

“Today will be what the day brings.”

Only I hold the key to the gateway to my heart. There are those kindred souls who deserve entrance, to be remembered for the lessons they bestow, the love, and empathy they held in high regard. We each of us choose who is deserving of our heart. There is a woman with a Rock Rose in front of her grave, I call her mother. ~ Sage

*This is dedicated to the three natural children Mom had. I will forever be fortunate she considered me one of her own.