Category Archives: death

Today is May 14, 2017. I am alive and well.

Is it too cliche to write about mother on Mother’s Day? I do it anyway.

My mother has been dead for a long time. I miss her more today then I did when she first died. I have more life experiences to share with her. A whole tablet full of life; sentences that breathe…I had a boyfriend for fourteen years who left me for another woman and moved to Florida. Mom was not familiar with me having boyfriends. She knew me to have girlfriends. She hated the fact that I had girlfriends.

Mom died from a liver that stopped working. Yes, it was an alcohol related death. I knew she drank too much, but I didn’t know it was signed up to kill her. She was walking around as usual on Thursday and then in a coma that night. The second to last thing she said to me was from a psychiatric urgent care. She was acting crazy and her roommate called crisis. Crisis took her to the urgent care. She said to me she trusted “all the wrong people.” I’m certain she meant my father for one. He ran away with another woman the same month that both mom’s parents had died. It was tragic. It was a river stopped by a damn beavers had made. The flow interrupted. She asked me one morning to go to my father’s apartment to catch him with the other woman. My father was living in an apartment for work and would go home on the weekends until he wouldn’t anymore. I refused to go catch him.

The psychiatric urgent care wanted to clear my mom physically before treating her mind. They thought she looked bad. She fell into a coma in the ambulance on the way to Lincoln Memorial hospital. Honest Abe. The honest thing to say about her death is that her alcohol consumption killed her. She was a drunk. I tell her story with the hope that other people will put down the bourbon, knowing that alcohol is “cunning, baffling, and powerful.” A person can’t direct what heavily drinking will do. The alcohol is the beast with all the power.

I visited her at Lincoln Memorial. The last thing she did was sit up and stare at me. I told her I loved her. I told her I knew she loved her daughters. She laid back down with a sigh. And that was it. She died without waking again. She was only 58. Five years more than I am right now. Five years I have to set the world afire doing my thing. What is my thing to do? To write. To read. To work. To love. To write.

I miss you mom. When the cats are both staring at the entrance to my bedroom, I choose to believe it’s you who has come to visit. You give me strength. You taught me to be courageous. I will always be your daughter. I will live past 58. I hope you are proud of me. I love you like I do walking. I walk forward with you on my mind. You, leading me to water. Thank you.

Today is May 1, 2017. I am alive and well.

The first thing my sister said to me when I ran into her after 7 years of no contact was “Wow, you’re still alive.” And then my uncle said to me yesterday “I bet you didn’t think you’d see 53.”

It is true. I had no intention of living to 53. A driver has no intention of holding up traffic when her truck stalls out. I have had somewhere between 15 and 20 suicide attempts in my lifetime. The last one was in 1999. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to die since then; that’s simply the last time I attempted. Maybe the East Indian doctor with the soulful dark eyes, smelling of lavender, rubbed off on me. She told me at my bedside in the hospital ICU that I had a lot of life to live. That I had something special to offer. A five-year-old gets excited when she opens the door of the restaurant for her mother for the first time, offering entrance. I got excited about my book being published in 2014. It documented my recovery from schizophrenia and alcoholism. And yes, my time away from my last suicide attempt.

I have been free from the obsession to die for sometime now. That thought had plagued me like wanting a cigarette, needing a cigarette, in a smoke free coffee house. All thinking got set aside as I prayed for God to take me after swallowing handfuls of pills.

I am very bad at dying. It is hard to kill one’s self. I believe that those who do die from suicide were meant too….I can’t tell you why I believe this. Some ice cubes in a glass of tea float to the top while others remain at the bottom. I can’t tell you why all the ice doesn’t float to the top, getting in the way of the straw.

I am in the way of death. I have floated to the top. God removed my obsession to die. Life is new to me on a daily basis.

I remember the first time I tied my own shoes. I was excited to be able to do this on my own. On occasion, my shoe becomes untied while walking on the treadmill. I push the pause button and then bend over to tie my shoe. Ready to walk again, I hit a button and the treadmill resumes.

Life resumes. I love breathing. I love eating cake with butter cream frosting. I love that my cats woke me up this morning wanting kibbles. I take care of two living things. They thank me by curling up against me while I’m on the bed napping, writing, or reading.

There is no time to die today. Afternoon approaches. I know I will eat vegan chili, salad, and cornbread. I know I will wash my hair later. I will leave the house today to go to a sobriety meeting. I am 53 and loving it. So I say to my sister “I am alive and well.” She responds with a “thank God” and “it’s good to see you.” It is good to be seen. It will reach a 115 degrees here in the desert. And then there is air conditioning to be found inside.

Today is April 3, 2017. I am alive and well.

I’m reading a young adult novel The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall. A young adult novel because I’m interested in writing a young adult novel. And yes, the main characters in the book are ghosts.

One of my closet friends has been a ghost hunter, recording paranormal activity. Obviously, she believes, without a doubt, that places can be haunted. I don’t know that I believe this. I do know that I feel my grandmother and mother near me at times. I don’t know if that’s because they truly are or because I will them to be with all my might. My cats, Grams named after my grandmother, and Annie named after my mother, do often stare at space intently as if they’re watching something move about. Their ears prick up and their eyes focus. I imagine a gust of fog entering my bedroom like smoke trailing from a lit cigarette in somebody’s hand.

I’m  also listening to Andy Cohen read from his diaries. I wonder what makes his drinking coffee and buttering toast more interesting than someone else doing the same thing. Seeing as his diaries made it to fourth on the New York Time’s Bestsellers List he must be doing something right. The mundane becomes extraordinary. I wonder if he can make flossing teeth entertaining simply because he’s Andy.

I write memoirs. I must think, like Andy, that something I’ve done is worth telling. I’ve listened to people say “write what you’d want to read.” So I’ve done this. I’ve written about hope despite the fact that I have schizophrenia and alcoholism. My sweat is no sweeter than others; I’ve just managed to wipe my brow on page ten and change my socks for a clean pair on page eleven.

Writing about my life is hard, is fun, is something I hope to continue doing even if or when someone tells me I’m boring.

Today is July 15, 2016. I am alive.

I have never written about world events. Just like Orlando sickens me, the massacre in France sickens me. How can a person hate so much? The TV telecast did say that here is security in many areas where the perpetrator/s are caught before doing damage and taking lives. We don’t hear about those places. We only hear about devastation.

Is it hate that propels the perpetrator/s to commit such heinous crimes? That’s only part of it, I suppose. I’m tempted to use a metaphor for hate here but hate is nothing but hate. Brutal.

Outside my window, the day moves on in Arizona. The heat on my skin feels tender for about thirty seconds after leaving an overly air conditioned room. After that, it’s like touching the bottom of a frying pan, waiting for it to cool down so it can be washed. The air conditioning in my truck washing me in indoor breeze is desired.

Do I hate? Do I hate random things like a scorching sun? Do I hate that my truck guzzles gasoline like a thirsty baby on the breast of her mother? Do I hate the perpetrator/s of violent crimes? Does hate trump a loving heart? The love poured forth for all the victims by strangers is powerful. Maybe demonstrations of love are mightier than hate. It is true that hate cannot strip a person of the capacity to love, emphasize, feel compassion unless hate is summoned like a callused hand; the callouses prominent on a hardened palm.

Seek love. Offer love. Play the ace with a welcomed queen. I don’t want to minimize anything by using poetic language, but poetry is my call to love.

Today is July 11, 2016. I am alive and well.

My struggling has scuttled away on the back of a cockroach (this is imagined, I don’t have cockroaches in my condo). I brush my obsessions into a small box with a lock and throw the key down the garbage chute. The key clangs as it hits the metal of an empty bin.

One of the things I know about living a sober life is that things change. My thoughts are not clinging to my brain waves like the keys of a piano in the fingers of a beginner playing chop sticks, after chop sticks, after chop sticks. Things have shifted. I am at peace.

I just finished listening to the audio book The 27 Club. It talked about the fact that musicians Brian Wilson, Jimmi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse al died at the ago of 27. All deaths were linked to heavy alcohol and drug abuse. I find this bit of trivia astounding. The world mourned their passing. The world lost major talent. The world was robbed of beauty.

I think of my own suicide attempts. As being no celebrity, my death would be a quiet one. After one attempt at suicide, an East Indian doctor came to visit me in the Intensive Care Unit of Scottsdale Osborn Hospital. She was petite. Her hands delicately hung at her sides. Yet, there was a power to her. She said to me, “you still have something to do in this lifetime.” Her words were kind–unlike the treatment I was getting from some of the nurses. I met her gaze and realized she was not kidding or saying something for lack of saying something else comforting.

I do remember as a kid looking into the mirror and saying, “you will speak before audiences and make more money than you’ll ever need.” I have spoke before audiences while telling my story of sobriety. I have read from my poetry manuscript during my defense for my Master of Fine Arts. I have read at a local bookstore parts of my memoir, Mind Without a Home. I still have yet to have a good deal of money, but don’t doubt that it may happen.

So, it is miraculous again to be at peace after a couple of trying days. I am blessed. Thank God for this wave of linen bellowing from a clothesline.

Today is May 27, 2016. I am alive and depressed.

I am no mother for reasons I can list:  one, I’ve never been financially stable; two, I would have to come off all psych medications which would traumatize me and God knows if it would in turn, traumatize my fetus; and last, I would hate to pass on mental illness. I do have friends who have mental illness and have children. They are wonderful parents and their children glow.

My own mother died at the age of 58. Her liver stopped working. She went into a coma and died shortly after. Literally, she was walking around Thursday day and then in the early hours of Friday morning, slipped into a coma. I knew she drank too much but didn’t know that Jack Daniels would chase her into an early death.

I regret time not spent with my mom. Her last year, I was deep into a depression that often stole my mobility. It was like being a stone amongst stones and then being removed to sit on a shelf in a wealthy woman’s home, quickly being covered in a sheet of dust. Occasionally, a person would wipe me clean. The clean wouldn’t last. My shine would be ruined. Being depressed is intense. The world is not welcoming. A fly enters a car. The windows are rolled up. The fly is trapped indefinitely. I am underwater but eventually float to the surface in one big gasp. Depression leaves me. My mother is still dead.

Astonishingly, I was at my mom’s hospital bedside and she sat up and looked at me. Rather than tell her I loved her I said, “I know you loved us.” She smiled, huge smile, then laid back down disappearing into the folds of white cotton sheet.

I miss my mom daily. Sometimes, I will write a poem just for her. I choose to believe that when my cats eye a certain spot suddenly in my room, it is her looking out for me.

 

Today is January 16. I am alive and well.

Dear mom. I’m missing you and your sloppy smiles that fall to the sidewalk as you glint in afternoon sun. The smell of Opium rounds the corner ahead of your polished toes, red like ketchup.

I’m the only one that sees you’re wearing ocean blue flip flops in the desert. I’m the only one that sees you’ve come to life again like an orchid blooming for the second time.

Missing is like this–shaping squares out of windows, framing the height of a mound of sugar.

You sweet in a short dress allowing for knees.

I see you, but I’m greedy. I want your touch on my arm, prompting me to embrace your five feet eight inches, my chin on your shoulder.

How is death? I wonder. “Painless,” you say. The air hangs like dead drapes.

I want to believe you fare better than you had in life, scotch taking your breath, leaving you slumped over a coffee mug. A fool says the liver is not important. You lost yours when it became laced with liquor. All talk stopped.

You looked beautiful in your coma, a painting unlike the Mona Lisa.

I imagine a peach at rest on your chest, waiting to be bitten, its juice making rivulets.

Your arms appear stiff, your hands unclenched. Life escapes from between your fingers that stare at nothing. You hold nothing.

I am glad for the glimpse of you standing in my doorway. It lessens the missing, my missing found in my closed palm, my missing cascading over me as you glint in the afternoon sun.