Tag Archives: death

Today is October 27, 2017. I am alive and well.

My blog is delayed. I actually wrote a blog on Monday to post but decided it wasn’t appropriate. It was about my friend who lost her 93-year-old mom and my relative who attempted suicide by trying to slit an artery in her leg. Her attempt was fueled by alcohol.

I love these two people. It’s not always easy to know what to say. The best I can do is to say I love you. Which I’ve done.

We leave this world in all different ways. Death greets us fiercely. Except for near death experiences, death is blind; we don’t know what’s beyond it.

Some doctors feel like we’re not honoring death because we’re treating it like a disease. Doctors try to cure it no matter what. Keep the patient alive no matter what. Sometimes I believe we simply, or not so simply, need to let the person go so the suffering ends. As hard as that may be it can be the kind thing to do.

Sadly, my grandmother ended up feeling bad and responsible for my grandfather’s death. My grandfather broke his neck. He couldn’t swallow with the halo, so then they gave him a feeding tube. Then he got pneumonia. It was one thing after another. When they took off the halo, they discovered the bones had not fused together because of osteoporosis. By then he was too fragile for surgery. My grandmother decided to put him in hospice. The hospital had a floor for hospice patients. His room was nice. Warm. Even cozy. There was no medical equipment and he was in a regular bed, dressed in his own pajamas with a quilt as a cover.

My grandmother didn’t realize that they weren’t going to feed him. I do believe he died from starvation. He went peacefully. My grandmother was with him when he took his last breath.

My grandfather always raked the leaves that had fallen from the trees in the front yard. The morning after his death, I raked these leaves. Raking them allowed me to feel the presence of him.

Today I have a healthy fear of death. That was not always the case. I have many times sought death to no avail. It hasn’t been my time to go.

My last suicide attempt has been at least nineteen years ago. Since then, I have lived much life. My relationships with friends have deepened. I had a fourteen year relationship with one man who I loved with the whole of me. I completed an MFA and had a book published. A short memoir piece of mine is being published in the Delmarva Review out in November and currently on-line.

I have breathed life. My breath is steady like the clip clop of a horse in cantor. The raven soars with ease. I soar while having my boots keep me heavy to the earth.

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Today is September 12, 2015. I am alive and well.

Does our mind follow our body like a pan following heat? Or does our body follow our mind like that of a comatose individual?

As someone with schizophrenia, I have to be careful when following my mind. When psychotic, delusional, and/or paranoid, I am instructed by my mind to do bizarre things. None of these bizarre  things include killing. Unlike the media suggests, not all mentally ill people have it in them to kill and act violently.

I am a pigeon, gray wings folded against my body in anticipation of flight. I sit, spine straight, head up, eyes opened but not focused, on my bed. I send my mind to the corner lot down the street. My body does not follow.

Construction workers are building a house. I settle on the branch of an oak. I smell fresh sawdust. It is cool. One of the workers wears a red scarf. I covet the scarf, but cannot act to get it because my body is not with me.

One day, the house will hold people. The people will make memories. The boy will become a congressman, the girl, a forensic pathologist. The father is a teacher and the mother, a phlebotomist. They can afford to pay for their children’s education. They can afford to pay for fancy cereals and fresh greens. The kids dress in the latest fashion and play golf on Sundays. No one can tell me this is not so because my mind believes it. I believe it.

The wind tugs on my feathers. I enter the sky and return to my body.

My body craves movement. My body craves exercise. I drive to the gym and get on a treadmill. I read trashy magazines while my body walks. My mind is following my body. My body falls into a steady rhythm of walk. My body carries my mind gracefully; I do not trip, shoe laces tied, feet moving repetitively, one-two, one-two, up-down, up-down.

In answer to my original questions, I believe the mind and body are both powerful. I believe they are inseparable even though a torture victim leaves her body. In order to die, the mind will retune to the body. Both are locked in death. After death, well, that is a whole other thing. The soul speaks…

Today is March 16, 2015. I am alive and well.

They know she enters. Their cat eyes focus as snap dragons, their ears perk, the shape of the end of a butter knife. I take a breath in. Hold it as if I’ll be able to hear her. She is thinner than air, lighter than the flame at the end of a paper match. Death has left her to dust my desk.

I need more than cat knowledge. I need the miraculous–her framed photo to fall, my desk chair to quiver, her hands on my keyboard. I let breath out. Nothing changes in front of me. There is no mist.

But I feel her. She is warmth around my wrist. Pictures as memory–her teaching me to make a Greek salad, her on the toboggan with me, the snow not biting because she leans forward, wrapping her arms around me …I feel her coat as I do skin.

She is here as I feel the love for her. This love reaches out and comes to rest on a spindle. The love is invisible but strong. The spike of the spindle I imagine rotates like the bowl of a blender turning powered cocoa to chocolate syrup.

Mom, you make me bold. I am able to ride in an inner tube down the stream, opening into the river. I can jump off a cliff to the water below. I can write anything I damn well please. Ketchup mixing with mustard. A bare ass flashing me outside my window. President Obama not being given a warm welcome by all the vets at the Veteran’s Hospital.

Your mail came to me for a while. I don’t know how they found my address. I didn’t open it knowing you don’t need a bank account any longer. You don’t need coupons. You have no need to buy a car. Your mail made me sad. It was not you sending me letters. I miss you like I do leaves in autumn. Be at peace. Walk in the grass. Hold my love as you do fog.

Today is March 14, 2015. I am alive and well.

Mom, why did you go? Was it Johnny tugging you into the grave. Yes, I know your liver quit…just like that, just like the pop of a champagne bottle, a very expensive champagne in the hands of a small child wed to the bottle because you can’t get off the couch for more booze. The child makes certain the ice trays are filled. I would fill a freezer full of ice for a conversation with you. Do they have nail polish where you are? Hopefully, Johnny showed up in briefs, welcoming you to the unknown–drop your skirt, unbutton your shirt, follow Johnny into the nearly naked.

I was there when they shut down the machines, keeping you lonely in a bed unable to squeeze a hand. Why did you go? Was it Johnny tugging you into the grave?

I’m glad you are free from the shackles of bourbon. I loved being your side kick…I had no idea I was poisoning you. Your reply, You couldn’t have known I was drowning. All you saw was a bed and no river.

She would say, I love you sweet. I have stopped looking in the mirror, stopped looking for the hand on my shoulder, nails painted a deep blue red.

Today is June 15, 2014. I am alive and well.

I am a women whose outline is continually traced by a black pen. Letters flow from the pen in quick succession, creating a quick glimpse of me:  tall, long dark hair, black clothing, Converse sneakers or black boots, slender, ten fingers, ten toes, two arms,two legs, and a hunger that pushes me forward from where I stand.

I haven’t always had the hunger. I was thinking today how good life is and how far I have come from being a woman obsessed with death, believing suicide may be the answer, to the usually joyful person I now am. I have peace. Sometimes my black outline gets smudged and I need to move in a different direction than where I was originally headed. But, move I do. The strength of the outline returns.

I have a friend who has stage 3 cancer. Her cancer has led me to reflect on my own life and inevitable death. I realized today that I actually fear death now. I definitely don’t want to die anytime soon, and not by my own hand. I can’t express in words the miracle that this is. Life is more than possible. Life leaves me ecstatic, wanting to become the person God intended me to be. I grow in the light and dark. The balance of the two I have come to rely on. Step in mud and track it into the house; then gratefully clean it up. 

Today is June 7, 2014. I am alive and well.

My eyes are in my hands as I reach into my purse, shuffling through items, trying to find the protein bar that will stave off my hunger. Rarely, does it occur to me to open the bag and simply look through the items, visually noting that I am carrying too much stuff. This purse, my favorite of all time purses, holds more that I originally thought it could. I actually downsized from the previous purse.

I don’t understand how men get by with no purse. They put everything into a wallet, but then what, what do they do with the wallet? Men, what do you do? Do you make certain that your pants have a pocket or that there is an inside pocket in your jacket. I”m in Phoenix, Arizona and I can tell you, no man is wearing a jacket at the height of summer, unless of course your name is Frosty and you need to shave off a bit of weight before heading back to the cooler you came from.

I dump my purse, curious as to what I have in there. It’s been ages since I actually looked. A wallet, bits of paper with all the passwords to all the various functions my computers at home and work are capable of doing, an extra protein bar, Ativan, much change, mostly pennies as I use the quarters for laundry, a little black book that I’m suppose to write in but never have, pens, work badge, the list is fairly dull. There is no rat or wilted flowers. The rat would chew its way through my protein bar, and the flowers would smell bad once they started rotting. Rotting things are rarely beautiful, ultimately reminding us of death. The body will rot without cremation. It will be rotting six feet under. (Note to self, I just referred to the body as an “it”) In my mind, we lose our names to “it.”

As for the soul, it leaves. I do believe it leaves. We are much more than our carcass. I would love to write what it is that we are after our carcass, but currently that is too complicated for my brain. I’m really not certain what I believe and am very willing to take suggestions. Part of the theme of my next book is discovering what it is I believe happens after death. I would love to hear from anyone who has already answered this question for themselves. Be well my friends. 

 

Today is May 16, 2014. I am alive and well and a bit sad.

Mother’s Day has moved on like a semi, all gears engaged leaving a truck stop. The soup at the cafe was good, but not good enough to keep her off the road for another three hours, when her hunger returns.

My mother lost her hunger to a coffee cup filled with vodka. There was no Easter Egg hunt the year she died. No hanging lights to entice St. Nick to come down the chimney. Hell, the Fourth of July didn’t even get a flag waving from her crumbled hand. I don’t remember the year she died, but I do know it was bleak. She was only 58-years-old.

I was not prepared for my mother to die; there’s knots in my long black hair that conditioner will not get out. Only a rough combing will help. It hurts. Mother loved brushing my hair. I loved that time with her, alone, doing something ultimately feminine. Her hands were smooth then with polished nails, a deep blue red, and the whiff of berry coming from lotion.

How best is it to remember my mother? Her life was tragic. King Alcohol stole her socks. Her beauty, although still hanging on like a spider to its web in rain, was being washed away. Her inner light was being shut down and I didn’t know it. Her liver was failing. 

That’s what happened, her liver failed her. She fell into a coma and didn’t wake up. All this time later, years, I still feel the brush in my hair, her hand in my hair. Is it too late to light a candle for her? An unscented candle? One that she could have lit her cigarette by?

Mother’s Day is heavy feet on a stairwell. Mother’s Day is a sheet knotted on the bed. Mother’s Day is a day of remembrance–mother on her horse, her hair loose in the wind, nothing any louder than hooves on packed dirt. I loved her. I loved her.