Tag Archives: love

Today is January 1, 2018. I am alive and well.

Wow. Another holiday season come and gone. We now have to wait a whole year again for its return. I love this season and am always a bit blue when it’s over.

Looking back over the year, I’ll say that the most difficult thing for me is knowing that my sister is homeless and missing all her teeth except for one in the front due to crystal meth addiction.

I understand addiction. I know how all consuming it is. It’s like being in a box with one small hole in it and a radio, thinking that you’re sitting on a velvet cushion. The radio is stuck on your favorite song repeating over and over again until the lyrics become irritating and then inconsequential. The hole is the only thing that allows you to breathe.

When the box is opened, you have no idea if it’s day or night. All the new space is overwhelming and the silence, frightening. You seek the comfort of the box again and your favorite song. There’s really no velvet cushion when your certain there is.

Again the song becomes meaningless and you tire from lack of oxygen. The box will be opened again and again. You’ll become overwhelmed and seek confinement again. The rotation is endless. Then someone puts a cork in the hole. Suddenly, you can’t breathe. The person with the cork yells loud enough to be heard over the music. The person wants to know if you’re ready to enter space, breathe freely, and be given possibility one step at a time.

You pound on the box meaning yes. The box is opened. You suck down air and cry because the air tastes so good. Sadly, my sister’s box has not run out of oxygen. I pray for the day that it does.

The highlight of my year was having one of my short writing pieces be nominated for a Pushcart Prize. I’ll find out in the spring if I’ve won or not. Accolades or not, writing is a must for me. Recently, I’ve begun writing a young adult novel. I’m having a great time making things up and love when my characters direct me to places I didn’t know I was headed.

May this year inspire you to be your best. If you believe in God, to be the person God wants you to be. May we all spread love even if that’s the last thing we want to do. Good morning to the sun. Goodnight to the moon. All is well.


Today is December 22, 2017. I am alive and well.

My short memoir piece installed over 4 blogs. Hospital Visit Number 19, final blog.


It is cool in the hospital. I am glad for my thermal shirt, jeans, and thick socks.

Bobby approaches me and says hi. I say hi back.

“Wow,” he says, “You can speak.”

I give him a smile.

“And Smile.”

“Don’t get too use to it,” I say with a grin the size of the Chesire Cat’s in Alice’s Wonderland.

Dr. Purewal arrives at noon. We meet for twenty minutes in which time he determines I am good to go home.

I am on the patio of the hospital. The Phoenix sun is strong, wood thrown onto an already burning fire. The heat reaches my bones. I will be released in an hour. John will go over my medications and aftercare plan.

My mind is a slow hum. The sound is soft like a T-shirt dropped on a tile floor. Today, my mind is my friend. My mind is something to pay attention too. It is a waterfall. Thoughts dropped entering into a pool of calm water, the ripples smoothing out and again returning the pool to calm.

I will go home today and feed my cats. I will sit in a straight backed chair at the kitchen table with my grandmother and eat soup with rye bread. My depression has lifted. I am able to wash the dishes in the sink, dry them, and place them in the cupboard. Exhaustion has lifted. I’m no longer surrounded by dust. Life is clean again, not just a mirage in the desert. I press my hand to my chest. My heart beats strong again. I will protect it, but not to the point of eliminating all relationships. I can be strong and vulnerable at the same time.

I am happy to have my psychosis end. It’s not me that is horribly affected by my loss of reality. It’s the people around me. I am oblivious. I am lost. Those outside myself are well aware. Are present. I am glad to hold hands with my loved ones again. We wish on the stars together and delight in the moon. My wish is simple, stay home and love.

Today is December 18, 2017. I am alive and well.

My short memoir piece. Hospital Visit Number 19. Installment 3 of 4.

The hospital staff and Guy remind me that I have schizophrenia. It is something that does not go away. Not like the pain of a pulled rotten tooth. I cannot pull this from my mind. I am wired, attached to hallucinations. Why do they feel so real? I am the extension of the antennae on an old fashioned television set. Aluminum foil. Yes, it is rigged. I am rigged. Through medication and support of people, they are trying to make the rigged part go away. They are trying to help me stand even when I sense that I am falling. Not falling into sickness, but falling into a different me, one I can only understand with the help of medication and clean people.

I will fall asleep in the hospital once again. I wake for medication and meals and the occasional conversation with the doctor and staff. I wake for my boyfriend. Sadly, I wake to the voices, too. They are with me like loose sleeves on a jacket that is too tight across my chest. Occasionally, they drop through the wrists of the jacket. It is in these moments that I exalt. I can count ten fingers and ten toes. I can make peace with my God. And most importantly, I can feel the love from those who touch me, warm like a wet washcloth used to remove the dust from my cheek. I am loved and I do love. This slides into my thinking like a person sliding into home plate, scoring the winning run, beating out the baseball sent from the outfield.

My mind slowly gets better. A cake bakes at 400 degrees for twenty minutes. Eventually, the toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Eventually, my mind comes out clean. I am able to communicate in simple sentences not requiring a great deal of thought from the listener. My silence is no longer the result of a sickened mind hiding from the florescent bulbs of the hospital.

It is breakfast time. All of us gather in the main area and receive a tray. I am able to enter the rec room and claim a seat at one of the round tables. French toast and sausage. Cereal and a carton of milk. The voices are soft. Thy no longer berate me. Pick up the fork, they say. Eat, they say. It tastes good, they say. I’m okay with them repeating what it is I’m doing. It is much better than being told to die or told to call the fat man obese and the skinny girl anorexic. My voices can be cruel, can ask me to do cruel things.

After eating, I return the tray to the cart. John, the psych nurse, approaches me, clipboard in hand, like he does every morning.

“Good morning, Kristina.”


“Are you feeling suicidal today?”

Only in a psych hospital would a person start the conversation with this question.

“No,” I respond.

“And the voices?”

“Still there, but not bad.”

“How was breakfast?”

“Good. I’ll be going home soon, I think.”

“Are you ready?”


“Maybe so. Maybe so. The doctor should be in soon.”

John leaves me with this parting thought. It is up to the doctor as to whether or not I go home. Dr. Purewal really listens to me. When I am able to hold a conversation with him and let him know I’m ready to go home, he usually agrees. He knows me well. He has been my doctor in the hospital for years.


Today is November 13, 2017. I am alive and well.

…aren’t we more like pack mules/than gods most days, picking our way/across the desert or up a mountain path with avalanches/and the heaviest of loads are our grudges and fears/while poetry and beauty rest on our shoulders like fairy wings/or one of those pastries in a shop in Paris,/almost too beautiful to eat, but eat them we do/with their frosting of butter and sugar and eggs.   Barbara Hamby

The truth of our pain is all we have, it is the key to who we are.    James Baldwin

An artist must learn to be nourished by his passions and by his despairs.  Francis Bacon

I love quotes and thought these all related nicely. I write “the truth of my pain.” Maybe it’s true that “it’s the key to who I am.” I also believe my passions are the key to who I am.

My pain is deep and not preventable. Because it’s deep it rarely shows up unless I let it. It can storm and I won’t get wet because of my umbrella. Discard the umbrella, and I get soaked. It takes awhile to dry off. Living with pain with no barrier to disguise it can lead me to tears. It also leads me to people who share my same experience. They have made it through and I can too. I watch as a raccoon puts his paw in a jar to fish out a coin. With his paw clenched in a fist, he cannot pull himself from the jar. He has to let go of the coin in order to free his paw.

I have let go of the coin. I write about having schizophrenia. I write about multiple suicide attempts, I write about being alcoholic. Pain can attach itself to all three of these things. But I don’t stay there. I let go of the coin. I step out of the mud. Sometimes I get help cleaning myself off. Help is always there and it’s okay to accept it.

My God takes care of me. My God always has my back. The right people are placed in my life at the right time. My friends nourish me. I am passionate about loving them. I also hope I nourish them. It’s beautiful to watch my cats bathe each other. They are always clean, but they don’t go outside.

I go outside. I live a good life despite occasional falls. I also write about great things, not just painful things. My car still runs after 256,000 miles. I have the money to get my teeth cleaned. I fill the grocery cart with fabulous foods. I loved the same man for fourteen years without straying. Although we’re apart, I still do love him. I am comfortable in my own skin. I am passionate about flowers bought on Friday, about words falling in line with each other to make a sentence, a paragraph, a page. Life is here. Life is staying.

Today is October 17, 2015. I am alive and well.

I have a friend who is suicidal. Last time I attempted suicide was in 1998. It’s been years since I’ve even thought about it. The dragon use to catch me in his flame; ten to fifteen times in my lifetime. Sometimes, I’d be so burnt, I’d have to spend days in the Intensive Care Unit.

I am bad at dying. My cats keep me loving. My friends keep me loving. My God keeps me loving. All this love distances me from the flame. When I was in his clutches, alone in his cave, no one could reach me. I want to say something to my friend, more that just “I’m hear for you,” but when you’re where she’s at you’re like a dried popsicle stick. There is nothing left to melt.

My last stay in ICU, a beautiful, tiny, East Indian doctor woke me simply to tell me I still had many things to do in my lifetime. I was 34-years-old. I blinked, then closed my eyes. I couldn’t hear her footsteps as she left the room. She was tiny in body but large in soul. I’ve never forgotten her.

I would love to say I wanted life right that minute; I didn’t. I still had months in the cave. I finally looked in the door and saw sun, saw moon, saw grass, smelled bacon, felt warmth…felt. I felt something other than despair. I wish love for my friend. I will offer her a popsicle . Grape may be the wrong flavor, but if she holds it long enough it will melt leaving her hand sticky, able to grasp something other than despair.

Today is August 17, 2015. I am alive and well.

I am stumped at how to proceed in the rewrite of my second book which remains untitled. When I get stumped, I walk from my study/bedroom into the kitchen to have a glass of water or make a cup of coffee. Then I pace back to my desk, sit quietly, and hope to start typing. Anything would do just to break the silence of the keyboard or the drag of my pen across lined paper. If nothing happens, I walk back to the kitchen and drink again. Thank God I no longer drink alcohol. I would get tanked and drool over the keyboard, my head eventually falling to rest, making “Q’s”across the screen.

I did my laundry today. My shirt smells like the Fabreeze that was in the detergent. Lavender. I would prefer the apple that is in the dish soap. Smell for me is odd. I mostly don’t like house smells–broccoli, beef, toilet bowl cleaner. But I do like outdoor smells. Hot Pavement. Bushes. The smell of sun like heated water. And I love the smell of gasoline; it reminds me of murder mysteries the way it smells like danger.

Annie has jumped in my lap and is licking her paws. Can you imagine licking the hair on someone’s head? I write about my cat with trepidation. Cats can become too cute. Grandmothers, too sentimental. And love, well. Truth be known I have written about all these things. Particularly love. Love connects me to life, keeps me showing up when I think I can’t anymore. When I can’t drag my body or mind forward. When I am used up. I am too thirsty. I am not a writer The magic is gone. Then I drop a “t” and add “a-s-t-e.” I am hungry again. I feed my new found passion with “rrrrr,s.”

Today is July 21, 2015. I am alive and well.

I dreamt I was with Guy. He reached for me like he would a damp towel. He told me that he made a big mistake–I was the love of his life. In this dream, I wore an electric blue hat. One that had a wide rim which allowed me to bend it into fashion. The shade of the hat kept him from seeing my gaze. I told him I missed our hands locking together. Our hands were hungry for each other. We held hands everywhere, walking down the street, in movie theaters, at dinner, walking the dogs, and sitting sided by side on the couch. Countless places. He knew in this dream, I was not going to rush into his arms. My heart was heavy; I could feel it in my chest. I didn’t reach out to touch him. I didn’t want him to feel me, a brush of finger along his jaw. There will be no more of that.

The dream ends with me being picked up by an Amish man in a buggy. He is dressed the simple way the Amish dress. My electric blue hat brings color to the scene, although I know the Amish are not interested in such things. Before the buggy moves, Guy offers the horse carrots. Anything to keep me in sight awhile longer. The horse knows how to chew and saunter at the same time. Guy becomes a distant memory in the dream, like the memory of my loose tooth being knocked out by the elbow of the fourth grader standing in the line in front of me.

Today, Guy is not a distant memory. He is as visible a presence to me as the cloud puffed up, pregnant with rain outside my window. It has been a year and four months since he left me for Florida and another woman. I still continue to love him. 14 years is a pretty piece of time. It is sitting in a hot car in Arizona, flicking the air conditioner on. The air conditioner works well. We do not sweat it. In the 14 years, we sweat nothing other than finances.

I continue to wish him the best, and he me. There is no reason for us to ever see each other again. I will remain in the buggy with the Amish man. Things are simpler that way.

Today is June 8, 2015. I am alive and well.

The feather of my finger drags across the dusty entertainment center. It’s time. I use a cloth to wipe the dust off the furniture. I let it get so bad so as to see a definite difference between dirty and clean. I do this with the tile floors, also. I am a down on my knees kind of woman, using my hands, sponge attached, to mop the floor minus the mop.

There’s always something other to do the clean the house. There’s always something to do then go to coffee with friends. I covet time alone, wishing there were more hours in the day, wishing that my nighttime medication wouldn’t make it so hard to wake up. I try to sleep ten hours. Even this is hard. Left with no place to go, I would sleep sixteen hours. My pillow is always wet in the morning because my meds make me drool. I can’t believe I just told you I drool. Sometimes, I wake briefly and think I am drowning in my own saliva. I am a corpse who dreams through the night. Still. Silent. The bedroom places her hands on me. I am safe.

I make a mental note to schedule coffee with friends. Once at the coffee house, I am ecstatic to see them. They are an arm to reality for me. They help me to actively love. Love becomes a word of action. Love is not static.

I sat to type this with no idea in mind. Might as well begin with a dirty house that I pressured into becoming clean. Do I think blankets have life? Are they glad when I shake them out? Does the toilet breath a sigh of relief? These things are fun to think about. This type of thinking allows me to appreciate and respect  the things I have. My bedroom does breath, this I believe. My sanctuary is complete with cats, books, a dresser, a bed, and a desk.


Today is May 31, 2015. I am alive and well.

I was in bed for three days with a bad cold. Fever that made me sweat and gave me chills, body ache, sore throat, exhaustion. I was so tired that I told a friend in a text that I could not text because texting was too tiring. These three days reminded me of the two years I spent in bed at my grandmother’s eating chocolate cake and cheese danish and showering every other week.

These two years had me trapped beneath a stone slab laying on my chest and abdomen. It cracked, releasing me when I needed to go to the toilet or eat. On my trip to the bathroom, I ignored my reflection in the mirror, knowing it would only prove how dismal I felt and how hollow eyed I was.

I was so sensitive to sound that my grandmother’s foot steps down a carpeted hall drove me to madness. I wanted to shout at her “please stop walking and learn to fly” knowing she would do her best to step silently. As for flight, well, that belonged to another reality, another space and time. My grandmother would have done anything to make life more bearable for me, thus the chocolate cake and cheese danish.

I spent two years reading suspense novels, falling asleep to the murder of Joe and Alice, only to wake miserable once again, seeking solace in the world of books.

So having this cold frightened me. I thought how easy it would be to let the stone slab slip into place; armor against an unknown world. I had to remind myself that those two years were sixteen years behind me; lost to the ragged T-shirts I would put on one on top of the other hoping to mask my body odor.

It amazes me how true it is that our bodies hold memories. My body remembers that painful time of wishing I would die because I could not cope with the sun, I could not cope with waking, I could not cope with my grandmother loving me so much as to not be critical of the fact that I could not leave the house.

And then I left the house. I have had sixteen years of leaving the house. There is joy in my life today. Life is a steady stream of occurrences. I eat salmon and green salads. I bathe regularly. Simply said, I love. I love the way the breeze moves over my skin. I love the touch of my friends as we embrace, which will repeat itself the next time we meet.

My grandmother is dead now, but I love the way I can hold her memory in my palm, hear her feet sliding over the carpet, stare at her photo, knowing she is not missing but rises with me as I leave the house.

(I promise my next blog won’t be so long!)

Today is May 9, 2015. I am alive and well.

Saturday morning. I’m on the treadmill at the gym taking care of cardio. I see him from the corner of my eye. When I shift my view to full frontal, it is not him. I remind myself that he is in Florida with the other woman. I still fluctuate between sadness, anger, and acceptance. If a tulip could talk, she would be angry from being pulled from the earth, sad that she is no longer rooted, but pleased she could show off her bulb in a beautiful bouquet of a variety of flowers.

I am moving through life as a single woman. Stress moving. It has been a year since he left me. I marvel often at how well I am doing without him. My movement takes me to the grocery store on my own where I buy spaghetti squash and blueberry jam, washed spinach and almond butter. I no longer need to buy with him in mind.

He asks me if I’m over him. Answer, no. He is deep under my skin. I find no reason to tug him off my bone. He is my friend, never to return as partner or lover. Damage does not make this possible. Water can be frozen. I am the cube in the ice tray. Warmth can return me to water. My fluidity circles friendship, circles love. The tips of my fingers tingle as I pet Grams and Annie, their cute cat selfs impossible to ignore.

I am a woman with a great many friends. The kind of friends who would walk through mud for me, and I for them. The kind of friends who cup my tears and then show me how to dry my hands.

He is one of these friends. I have quit trying to explain my love for him. It just is and I am glad for it.