A Little Boy

I knew a boy nicknamed “coco”. The nickname was not an endearing name, it was more of a play on words. He was nicknamed “coco” (Spanish for coconut) for his round head, and for apparently being thick headed. He couldn’t have been more than ten years old. He lived in a small village with his large family.

It was a typical stormy night. The downpour could be heard loudly inside the house, with its rumbling thunder, and lighting that could make an otherwise very dark night look like daylight. Was it a routine night? Was it a special night? Not really sure. The activity of the other family members gets lost as the memory of that little boy comes into focus.

There is a knock at the door. Why is he knocking? Doesn’t he have a key? This is his home, after all.

Home – a place one should always be welcomed. The place where love and protection should be.

Home – can you picture the perfect postcard with the beautiful cottage, surrounded with its white picket fence?

Home – is it a man-made structure? Or is it what or who is in it?

The door is opened. The little boy is standing in the pouring rain, soaked already, yet still “getting wet”. His round face with those big brown eyes with an expression of fear, terror, anxiety, pleading for help, like he was running, escaping from something…yet he remained composed. He’s crying, but not a sobbing cry to match the look in his eyes. It’s almost as if, even those tears rolling out of his eyes are escaping what he so desperately is trying to hold in. He is just a little boy, why doesn’t he cry openly and freely?

He is covered with “something”…well, it should be covering him, but it is just not adequate enough for the downpour. Yeah, nothing like the pictures of cute little boys with their yellow rain coats with matching hat and boots. Nope, this is far, far from that.

He finally manages to open his mouth to speak. Almost in a whisper, with a tremble in his voice he says, “I’m scared. I don’t want to go back. Can I just stay home.” He is still standing outside. My heart! My thoughts…can you please bring him inside? Can you hold him? Can you change him into warm, dry clothes? Can you make him feel safe?

Finally, he is inside! Yes, I can breath! Wait! He is being scolded for leaving that “scary place”. He is told to change and get some sleep, cause tomorrow he has to go back…

The Sauna

Saunaa small room, heated to high temperatures used for health and relaxation. I place to unplug, unwind. I place of peace and quiet (my definition). Can you almost hear the waves splashing as the seagulls fly around? Yes, serenity!

My doctor initially recommended I join a full service gym to help with my chronic health issues. Now we have added “to help cope” with grief and sorrow with the added PTSD that has decided to tag along.

From my above definition, can you “see” what my expectations are as I venture into this “oasis” of tranquility? Allow me to entertain you with my brain activity during one, yes one, of my sauna sessions ⇒⇒⇒

Sitting down, legs crossed, eyes closed, deep breaths…yes, zoned out…come on! Door opens…don’t move…don’t open your eyes…stay in the zone.

Noises! What is that? Why is he grunting like that? Oh, seriously?! Is that music? LOUD music…the lyrics…goodness, they ain’t singing good things…oh that’s nasty. Wait, doesn’t he have headphones (oops, opened my eyes)…he does?!?!

Someone else enters – wait? it must be two people cause they are having a full blown conversation, a very loud conversation, if you ask me. She is on the phone…seriously?! who is she talking to at this hour? Oh, not a PG conversation…should I cover my ears?

Another – coughing and sniffling, really?! Cover your cough! Do you have a tissue? Do you need a tissue? In my opinion, you need lots of tissues AND you need to go to the bathroom to blow your nose…just saying.

Another – Salsa music, loud and clear. Yes, he has headphones (man, I opened my eyes again). He is dancing, like nobody is watching. Yeah, he needs some dancing lessons, but don’t tell him cause he thinks he is all that and a bag of chips.

Ok, this place is getting crowded. My time is up. I don’t think I found “the zone”.

Until next time…

The Graveyard

Normally, I would say cemetery, but today I will use a more unpalatable word, GRAVEYARD!

The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as, “a place, often next to a church, where dead people are buried.”

I spend lots of time here. Somehow, I find solace and peace in the midst of pain. Somehow, my moments of great anxiety are calmed and eased as I sit in the place where the shell of my daughter’s body remains.

On one of those visits…

I see a handful of people sitting under that “dreaded” green canopy. Those chairs…they make your already achy body feel even more stiff and unsure. That green “carpet”…really?!?! Why? Is all this to make an otherwise unnatural setting look a bit more, don’t know, natural? Would it be better to keep it “natural”? Would that make the process easier? Yeah, probably not!

I wonder what makes for the size of the gathering? Popularity or can it be that this family wants a private moment, with their loved one, to say goodbye? Brings back to mind past experiences. The onlookers, the huge crowd, the whispers…my mind all over the place. At times, having been told “not to cry”, holding my breath until I would pass out. Another time, everything in me wanted to run…to never stop running. The crowd, the accusatory looks, more whispers, the looks of disdain.

Many experiences, each with its own story. However, NOTHING ever prepared me for the day I would sit before a beautiful white casket which held part of my heart. Yanked, torn, pulled apart! Can one ever be prepared for such a gut wrenching departure? I think not!!!

Sitting, standing, knowing what’s next. Realizing that eventually that white container, with such precious cargo, will be lowered down into that cold, damp dirt.

Stomach tight and heavy as rocks. Chest heavy, unyielding, yet ever so full of an ache that threatens to explode into a cry that will shatter every glass house…that will never end. The sobs, the wails, yet nothing calms the reality of an absence that is so deep within my soul. This side of heaven, this is my reality…this is my journey.

How? Why? Who invented this torturous process? Can it be done any other way? No! The pain is the pain no matter how kosher the process. There is no way of making “this” look pretty. Hey, maybe, we could all sit or stand like statutes – emotionless, unyielding? Maybe, we could make everyone around us think “this is normal”, “everything is ok”? Yup, no! Been there, done that…know the drill…it doesn’t work!

The “duct-tape” has been yanked off! Reality…feeling it all is much better than the alternative.

I have learned that grief is another name for love. ~ author unknown

It is impossible to go on as you were before, so you must go on as you never have. ~ Cheryl Strayed

The Writer’s Club

Moving forward one step at a time. Sometimes the steps backwards are more than those forward, but, hey, I’m trying.In my quest of forward moving, I decided to go to a Writer’s Club. Something new, yet familiar. I’ll let you in on my visit. Here we go…I’m here. No ones talks to me. No one says hello, or even makes eye contact. Do I leave? Do I stay? “Hey, you are already here”, I tell myself. I sit and wait for whatever is next. Wow, this takes me back to my school days. I feel like I’m in the not-so-popular-table…awkward! Finally, someone is at the podium and is getting this meeting started. She introduces herself as the club’s president.  She gives us a “writing exercise”. For 10 minutes write about a “donut”.  This is what I write:At the writers club-my first time! People are snotty and to themselves. If they know you, they talk to you, if they don’t, well you just sit in the corner feeling like you are back in school. Funny, did we ever grow up? I know each of these people has a story or a dream (to be a famous writer) but they rather write it on paper than talk. Is that called being an introvert?Assignment: pick a donut from the box being passed around. You can eat it, observe it or throw it away, it doesn’t matter. Just write something about the donut for 10 minutes.Watching people pick their donut was very interesting. Some picked their favorite, others just a prop. The grumpy man sitting in front of me – who by the way didn’t even say hello –  decided he didn’t want a donut. Thinking I was helping I said to him, “She said you didn’t have to eat it. You can even throw it away.” He growled at me, “I don’t need a donut! In fact, I have a story why I don’t need a donut!!!” Well, okay then…Times up! Some volunteered to read what they wrote. I might say that there was really creative writing and stories. I enjoyed that. I, for obvious reasons, opted out.The meeting ended, I quickly made my way out. Yeah, I tried…not my thing. But it was interesting.

Love of Writing

Writing is something I have always loved to do. As far as I can remember, the love of pen and paper in all it’s flow and permanence. I remember I wanted to be a teacher when I “grew up”.  A desk, books, pen and paper drew me in like a magnet. In a perfect world the “happily ever afters” and the “fulfilled” goals and dreams are subjects movies are famous for. I don’t think you can have a best seller without a happy ending…or can you? I guess it depends on the story.

Back to my reality…

Once upon a time I wrote what I thought was an honest and open letter. I felt that by writing my thoughts it would make it easier to express myself. Lets just say that the outcome was far from what I envisioned. The content and purpose of said letter was twisted and skewed. “It” became a weapon and further muzzled and destroyed “my voice”.

Walking in the valley of the shadow of death, somehow, is helping me find “my voice”. A deep mystery I have yet to understand.  And, so the journey continues…one step at a time.

“There is no greater agony then bearing an untold story inside you.” ~Maya Angelou