Life as Lessons, Life as Loss, Life as Love, My Short Stories, My Writing LIfe

The Fall of Camelot…est. 1978

Monday, February 21, 2011, was to be simply another bright and brisk morning that began with no signs nor warning of the destruction that was on a collision course aimed at all I ever knew.

No alarm bells sounding to alert me of the unthinkable that was to become my forever truth… that lie in wait.

At times, I often wonder lost in reflection of those early days, how? How is it possible that a day seemingly as ordinary as any other, can transform itself into the day that stops time?

How can so much pain be inflicted by a single unwanted and undeserving minute ? Giving the next fourteen hundred and thirty-nine minutes the power to sear an unwanted fate?

For once death had my brother in its sights, and Joe and his life began to slip away into darkness so did mine. As he was letting go of living with his unnoticed and increasingly labored gasps. Death simultaneously began scribbling erratically upon my life.  It used an ink laced with agony, torment and tragedy and stained the pages of my history, for never can they be erased.

An ordinary Monday became infamously the day that changed me forever and cast me into a role I never wanted to play. A sister without her brother, her life’s witness and constant companion, trapped now perpetually between tears and pain.

I grew up with my family intact while so many of my friend’s parents had divorced. I had always known I was loved and in turn I truly loved my parents. My two brothers and I grew up the best of friends and although I know better, our childhood seemed almost enchanted.

We had a wonderful home, which provided a foundation of love and laughter, one others seemed to envy. However, we saw ourselves as an ordinary family with an ordinary and most common life.  Yet, having been the one who lived it and lost it, I assure anyone of this, what made it magical was the two young boys I shared it with. For we lived and laughed together in a life untouched by hardship, oblivious to sadness and ignorantly unaware of loss.

In those days life was a pond smooth and stagnant, and flawless as that of glass. Until without warning and in an instant boring and normal were gone. The day had come without reason or warning. The day in which the universe cruelly tossed a stone, haphazardly landing in our quite pond and destroying the gift of it stillness forever.

A gift I never fully had time to feel, to cherish, to be grateful for, and its absence has left me treading water and drowning daily in its unforgiving relentless wake.

The continual disruption comes and goes in waves. Ring after ring rippling outwardly from the first moment of impact  and shakes my soul to its core and alters me and carries me slightly further. Further, from what once was and all that now will never be.

For the shore, I long to reach, allowing me to emerge from the sea of my despair and return “home” no longer exists. There is no map, no directions in which will ever lead me to finding my way back.

Imagine a snow globe and what is within can be described as perfectly imperfect. Our family’s Camelot. However, for the past two years, six months, and nineteen days the ground has not stopped shaking in my upside down world. The snow continues to flurry and fall without any signs of stopping, concealing our Camelot not only from the outside but from inside as well.

Snowflakes like daggers chip away at my heart, flashbacks of our life together. Who were we when we woke all under the same roof to each new sunrise and the limitless possibilities that were ours for the taking?  Longing to scream through the thick and tempered glass, yet my voice won’t carry, and the people living their Camelot, the one we once were, have no way of knowing that each morning we all woke up together, we had more than anything we will ever know again.

I can no longer remember the way I felt when I was the young girl playing with the little blonde haired boy, connected to him at the hip. For those children live now only within memories. Memories that no longer feel like mine. I play them over and over and yet try as I may I fear I have lost my connection to past, severed by the truth of my present.

I become ill when I admit the ease in which I was able to take that life for granted . How could I have ever known that boring and normal were anything and everything, I would one day spend my eternity now wishing for.

Why did we not drift off to dream under each starry night sky deliriously grateful for the absolute perfection of that quiet house?  Why were we not more aware of the love we shared, built intricately upon and around each of us? The foundation of all we ever knew sleeping peacefully, tucked within the four bedrooms of our home. When the life I was naive enough to take for granted was mine.

I panicked in the days immediately following the death of my brother. Living in a perpetual state of heart-wrenching panic. For my life and my family had become unrecognizable. The only certainty was the continually snow storm that showed no sign of letting up, distorting the view of our Camelot. A storm I feared would never stop and the beauty of our life would never be clearly seen again.

Life as Lessons, My Short Stories

Looking back…is key to moving forward

It was the fall of 1995 and I was sixteen years old. I wasn’t a particularly bad child, nor was I particularly good. I sort of teetered on the verge of both identities most of my childhood and into my late twenties. I stumbled here and excelled there. I made my parents proud and I caused them heartache. I suppose I was a normal kid, simply trying to figure it all out.

However, due to my wild side and my distaste for rules and regulations of any kind, that infringed upon all I felt I was entitled to experience, I simply disregarded them  consequences be damned. Resulting directly from my parent’s inability to tame their free-spirited daughter, I spent many, many hours sitting slouched in the corner chair of our family’s dinning room table, while my father spoke at me.

Sometimes he screamed, sometimes his cruel distaste came out calmly. Most times regardless of their presentation I was truly convinced it didn’t even really matter if I was sitting there or not. Convinced he liked the sound of his voice and the reiteration of his words of disappointments, frustrations and what he must have deemed my anointing of his fatherly wisdom.

I can honestly say I don’t recall much of what was said at our “come to Jesus”  meetings but one night in the middle of  one his “usual speeches”. One that I am sure I could recite forward and backward, he spoke a sentence that has stuck with me my entire life. Oddly, too for at the time it wasn’t relative or applicable to whatever typical teenage offense I must have committed. Yet as the words came out of his mouth they seemed to grab my attention as if a record that had been playing endlessly suddenly scratched and all motion in the room came to an abrupt halt. I was so keenly aware of the disruption from the deviation of his usual banter it felt as time in that moment suddenly stopped.

I was suddenly aware of the coldness outside and how the room smelled of musty heat as it whispered out from our old furnace on its first use of the season. Its knocks and ticks amplified my bated breath as I waited for what was about to come. Normally I would use the radiating heat passing through the baseboard along the wall beside me to play one of the many made up games I had invented over the years to pass the time stuck at the table with him.

I would prop my feet up on them and for the most part of “our” conversations, I would stare down at the whole in my  wool socks and play peekaboo with my toe. Tapping it against the register and testing myself as to how long I could keep it pressed flat against it before the heat became intolerable. Not a highly exciting game but a useful distraction I was normally thankful to have to occupy the minutes that turned into hours of my father’s typically very long-winded rants.

I would eventually tire of that and give up on inflicting any further burns to my toe and then move my attention to again counting the owls that adorned the wallpaper my mother just had to have.

At one time over the course of these one-sided conversations with “Joe” (that is my father’s name) I had counted 347 but I was willing to double even triple check my work in a single session if cut anytime off my sentence. Or enhanced my ability to tune him out, surely lessening the sting of his verbal lashings.

“Sarah, Sarah you better be listening young lady!” A strictly rhetorical question as he never really wanted to hear anyone other than himself.

“Sarah, I am telling you now baby!” “There are a lot of things I don’t know, but there is one thing, that I promise you can bet the farm on.”

This would usually be the time I began daydreaming of my horse and riding out in the fields on a warm summer day. Free and wild under a perfectly clear blue sky nothing but silence and the wind would I be forced to hear.

However, tonight was different and his words cut like a knife through the perfectly painted canvas in my mind and sharply brought me right back to that small kitchen. In actuality it wasn’t a small room at all, but he had a way of making the walls feel as if they were closing in on me with every endless tick of his watch.

He had a way about him in these memories of mine that cause me only to remember the room possessing a single light that hung from the ceiling overhead and swayed ever so slightly back and forth dependent on force of his voice.

The bulb always dim and stained yellow from the constant stream of pollution rising up from the Marlboro Red he lit every three to four minutes. Smoke so thick at times I could taste nothing else even after brushing my teeth for bed after each time all was said and done.

Sarah, one day you’re going to stop right in the middle of your everyday life and if you continue living the way you have been, my ears slightly perked as what could I possibly be doing now that will permanently affect me and the life I will have years from now, I thought to myself?

Reviewing quickly the true severity of my offenses. I made decent grades. I was on the Varsity Soccer Team. I had no criminal record, never been in any “real” trouble and besides breaking his curfew or skipping a few classes , even stealing a few bucks when it was left lying around, what could he possible deem me labeled in his eyes for life?

I clinched the fists inside my yellow turtle neck sweater and stuck my head as low as it would go into the stretched out neck, as whatever was coming couldn’t be good. Particularly, nervous and I would have sworn I had heard the worst of the worst from that man many times over.

“I’m telling you now baby, you keep living like your living, floating here and there, you’re going to grow up and be one unhappy little girl… Sarah…and then of course he did one of his big dramatic and long-winded pauses, which are always followed up by the light of a smoke. A sure indication of something he considered important looming just inside his mouth. Perched on the tip of his tongue just waiting for the smoke to his ears eloquently lure it out. Trapping his words within and highlighting their definitive presence. Words frozen and suspended in the breath of smoke in which he exhaled them upon.

He continued “One day you’re going to want to pack up your toys and run home.” “But baby you’ll have created a life in which there is no road home nor anyone even there who could save you from it!” “The toys you will then call yours will no longer neatly fit in the toy chest if in fact you even for once tried to clean up your mess.” “For regardless, they won’t be the kind of toys you are able to simply leave when you’ve become bored with them, abandoning them out in the rain for the next girl to come along and find.” “They will be yours for life and you will be miserable every day of yours because of them.” “Mark my words little girl, mark my words.”

I just sat there, for the first time I had no quick interjection of why he was surely wrong! Nor could I conjure up any deep sigh indicating in my teenage way that he had no idea what he was talking about. No snide comment to shoot just as fast back to him acknowledging I even retained his thoughts. I had nothing.

I just sat there stunned and baffled. Clueless as to what he said meant for sure. However, for some reason they felt unshakable and the smoke they hung on seemed to cling and engulf my clothes, my hair and my soul.

My father and I would have many more kitchen table torture sessions before I moved out and finally became an “adult”.

As to what specifically was said in any of them before that day or after I wouldn’t and couldn’t swear to any true content of it now.

However, that single profession. The one that came out of nowhere and held no relevance to the events at hand, seeming to steam from my father’s well of actual insight and intuition scared me.

For something about those words and chance of whatever they meant actually holding some bit truth about me and my life to come was a premonition not easily brushed off.

As if it, as if he had subconsciously sealed my fate. A fate that although I didn’t understand it then, Left me with an uncomfortable awareness, one in which I didn’t like the way it felt to fit before I even had a chance to experience it. The finality of his imposed sentence on what began as  a seemingly ordinary chilly fall day is one that to this day has never left me.

The only clarity I have found after the passing of many years is the shocking and absolute truth in the perfect reflection of his words as in fact despite his unexplained warning did in fact become my life.

TO BE CONTINUED ~ Stay turned as the epiphany is IMPORTANT

Life as Lessons, Life as Loss, Life as Love

Flip it and Reverse it….

“It is not the messenger, nor their words…its the meaning of the collective without the influence of our subconscious mind.” seh

This morning I woke up to a message sent through Facebook in an attempt to hurt me, written by someone who needed to inflict that pain as she foolishly trying to make herself hurt less. I must admit at first I was hurt, I felt defensive and the angry desire to fire back. In most situations I try daily to live my life without ego or the need to be right and prove another wrong and, well you get the idea. However, this particular girl is to me as Kryptonite is to Superman. Every interaction is a fight to the hurt the other more to prove things that in reality and in my soul never needed to be addressed in the first place. So after the last play is made from both sides, regardless of the win…I feel almost dirty and ashamed for having even engaged in the battle. Ultimately, I end up “pissed that I am pissed.”

That being told, this morning was no different for as I read her words and the fight began to grow within. I immediately shut out the world . I can no longer feel the sunshine coming in through the curtains. I no longer see the sweet two-year old peacefully dreaming, curled up alongside me. I no longer smell the coffee, which serves as my daily dose each morning of hope and faith of all that lies ahead. I can no longer hear the faint buzz of my husband as he sands his most recent labor of love, restoring an old desk for me to write upon. No! In as instant all the love and light that surrounds me and flows through me is locked up and turned off. I am consumed with the negative energy that has crept inside my room as I slept and lay waiting for me to wake. Energy I have to admit I provided the medium for it to find me.

The next twenty minutes play out as they always do, the same emotions, the same tears the same disgusting casting of stones and wicked words thrown as daggers to each of our hearts. It is while I am in the heat of this most recent war that the sleeping baby awakes, bounds off the bed and while I am to preoccupied with writing words reflecting my heart’s pain to fire back, my daughter grabs my coffee cup from yesterday.  A cup left from my sheer exhaustion and consumption of the writing I have as of late been trying to get done, that I had lazily left upon my nightstand. What does she do? What any two-year old who trying to direct the attention of her mom to her rather than her cellphone, and with purpose and intent slowly dumps the coffee onto the bedroom carpet.

To me in this moment I feel depleted of everything. I have begun another day fighting a war that doesn’t need to be fought but I can’t stop. I have allowed my daughter to wake up not to kisses and smiles but my tears and frustration and her offense being two and loving me.

It is just after I ran downstairs, handing off my daughter to my husband who is in the midst of his own project ( for me) and run out the back door that my phone rings.

I don’t answer because I particularly want to talk to anyone in that moment but because I know in doing so, I will somehow fix the mess of the morning and find the beauty to begin the day again and stay the course. I answer and from the first exchange of words, as I am asked, “what are you doing?” I confess and admit the silly toxic behavior that I had moments before been a willing participant of and admit all that I should be doing.  I reply, “I am in a war of words with Lindsey and overwhelmed with Calley and I am already over this day.”

I hear nothing, so I then say, “what I should be doing is greeting the day with a quiet cup of coffee, kissing and loving on my daughter, tell my husband how thankful I am for his all his hard work he has put into my desk. I should be beyond excited  and feel accomplished about the daily writing and steps I have taken in the past weeks towards my life’s biggest dream. I should be smiling and grateful for it all, for all of it is love and all of it reaffirms the blessings of my life.

The conversation continues and like a tennis match and inspiration and truth is the ball we volley back and forth for the next thirty minutes and at the end she thanks me for always knowing and showing her what is important and how to find and hold on to her inner peace and live from love and not fear and insecurity. I think wow, she gives me more credit than perhaps I deserve for the person I was acting as from the time I got up to the moment I answered the phone was certainly not inspirational, knowledgeable, or enlightening.  Yet, after our conversation and the peace of speaking to a common soul who not with words spoken with the authority of I know better, or for the purpose to correct or redirect. Rather words that reflect the goodness within us individually radiating off our true souls and like a diamond when it catches the sun’s rays it created prisms of light casting off in all directions.

I hang up the phone and I feel remorse for the moment of weakness when I allowed negative energy to take over the day and forsake the beauty of its potential for things I know better and things I can not change regardless of the fight. Reminding myself sometimes fighting the good fight is most successful when we refuse to fight at all. For some wars are require our attention and are  won when we take action, however we must always be equally aware that some are won by refusing to give an issue or a person attention and despite our ego and our pain refraining from any action at all.

I am not perfect nor ever strive to be, but I do try to learn from mistakes and from the situations that don’t feel authentic to my soul or cause me to give in to behaviors I have learned are not conducive to  a healthy, happy or loving life. Each day is a lesson and some days are lessons testing the ones we deem ourselves to have already passed. Sometimes we show ourselves we truly have grown and sometimes we must accept that we still have some work to do.

I hope to have many days filled with many lessons always aware of them all, willingly and readily seeking them and humbly accepting of who I have always been, and who I want to become. Always searching for the inspirations, personal growth and the accumulation of knowledge understanding something have to be learned the hard way. However, there is good in every bad and bad in every good the trick to sort it all out from a place of love and you’ll see your world and yourself in it with all the purpose and beauty that is intended for and is within us all.

“If A,B,C, and D don’t work flip and reverse it!” GAW