A ONE HANDED ENTRY

Picture 347
mommy with her sisters, before we knew she was sick.

Picture 433

mom and me at a JW Convention
mom and me at a JW Convention

this is tough, this being me.

i say all kinds of euphemistic things:

endure, be brave, be faithful…

a memory stirs,

i am back to missing you.

i am glad you are not suffering.

i am glad the pain is gone.

but here i am left,

wondering.

how do i carry on?

my life is like typing one-handed,

always swimming uphill

with one broken paddle, one broken pencil,

one half of one one-dollar bill.

i remember the days of our freedom

the two of us crying and laughing at once!

sipping our vodka tonics and talking like schoolgirls

till we were tipsy and high.

your kneecaps jumped up and down,

so i put you to bed,

worried that i somehow harmed

those beautiful knees.

they parted to give me birth,

but i don’t feel alive.

the sunlight changed the day you died

left me all dim and damaged inside.

now my life is like typing one-handed.

always swimming uphill

with one broken paddle,one broken pencil

and one half of one one-dollar bill.

my relief is coming, the shining day

you will return to me-free from any disease

it is our God’s promise to us!

the world will resound with our laughter,

our brothers and sisters will join in

we will all be perfect and no one will die,

not ever, no

never again.

i wont have to type one handed,

no more swimming uphill.

no broken paddles, no more broken pencils,

no need for one-half of one one-dollar bill!!!

Brainstorming

I am feeling a bit more positive than I was in this morning’s post, Dad got up for a while around 2pm, I laid on the couch dozing on and off, keeping my eyes and ears on alert. He fell on Wednesday, big gash on his head, poor Pops.

It happened while his caregiver was here, she called me saying there has been an accident. I believe the first thing you should tell a loved one is that the patient is OK before you dump the accident stuff on them. It keeps from shaving a couple years off their lifespan, because, as a family member, your heart just falls out of your chest when you hear,

” Hello, Ms. Kiko? There has been a terrible accident…”

What is the first thing you think of? Yup, I thought so: That he is dead or maimed or otherwise terribly injured.

So, I had been dropping off a painting at the Art Gallery, so I raced the 10 miles to the hospital in rush hour traffic, all the while telling myself that, as a law abiding Christian, I should be setting a good example and pleasing God by obeying the speed limit. I really tried, and I do always try, but that is a difficult task when your Dad is lying helpless and afraid in an Emergency Room.

I hit the Hospital doors at a trot, had my ID already in hand to be checked in, and rushed down the hall to his bedside, ready to find him at death’s door.

Of course, the scene that greeted me was quite different!

“Hiya there! Where have you been?”, he laughs with a big smile.

He smiles his most charming at the cute little nurse who is taking his blood pressure.

“Are you Ok, Dad? I heard you had a bad fall!”

He looks at me quizically, “Did I?”

I could just pinch him, but he looks so little and frail in the big hospital bed, so I kiss him on the cheek instead. Now I can see the big gash on his scalp, and blood all over the pillow. Oh, my, I think, here we go again. I just cannot bear him spending any time in this hospital, this is the place where he fell twice in May, the place that caused him so much anguish mentally, the hospital that hastened his Alzheimer’s Disease and broke his spirit, and the place where I had to face the reality of my losing him. Imminent. On the Horizon.

I hate that hospital. I told Dad’s doctor that I am trying to sue them for what they had done to him, and the doctor brings me back to reality: I am going to do whatever is necessary to get your Dad better from this fall…

Now I feel like a real heel, like that wasn’t what I wanted too?

I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs:

  I DO NOT WANT TO FEEL THIS!!!!

I DO NOT WANT TO WATCH MY FATHER DIE!!!

WHY DOES THIS ALWAYS FALL TO ME? TO SEE MY PARENTS, TO SEE THE PEOPLE I NEED, THE PEOPLE I LOVE, TO SEE THEM ALL LEAVING?

TO SEE THEM ALL DYING.

TO BE LEFT HERE all alone.

But, I did not say anything except , Ok. Thank You.

Now you understand a little more why I am so tired today, this month, this year.

Each day that goes by I feel a little more dead myself,

all tied up in my solitary cell, watching my life pass by.

I know deep inside that I want to do this, and I want to be with Daddy till the end. I just get so lonely at times. But I don’t mean to sound bitter. I am grateful for everyday I have. Just feeling a bit sorry for myself tonight. It will get better- I promise!

I will place my burdens on Jehovah tonight, He will hear my cries for help. I will pray in Jesus dear name, and Jehovah will breath new endurance into me.

His promises will all come true.Picture 731

That Brave Girl

Artwork and Pictures 074
this is not the one i am entering. this is titled “Angry Daughter”.

The decision to enter my painting in an art show at a real art gallery was easy to make. I believe I am being motivated by fear, having learned while Pops was in hospital that I will basically be destitute after he dies or if he must be placed in a home. I had always hoped that I could make a living with my art, knew I could, really, but I never wanted to let anyone see it. It isn’t that I am ashamed, it is just so personal. That is my heart on the canvas, my veins torn open, my blood on the page.

I never wanted to sell out. to allow complete strangers to dissect my innermost thoughts, to critique my self expression. My life has been so full of can’ts:

You aren’t a boy, Susan. You can’t play ball like that.

You can’t just draw from your imagination- you must be trained properly.

You can’t go to art school, it is not realistic.

You are too sensitive, you can’t take everything to heart.

YES I CAN!!!!

The latest critic in my life is an elderly aunt, who believes she has my best interest at heart by terrifying me about my future. She wan’ts me to look into selling my antiques, selling my china, selling my whole sense of home and safety in preparation for the big nothingness that she keeps reminding me that looms ahead when Dad dies.

I try very hard to be smilingly pleasant on the phone with her, but it is the most negative words she can say. She totally does not understand my bipolar disorder or depression. I absolutely CAN NOT focus on what MIGHT happen. I will dwell on it, I will obsess about it, and if I am not careful, I will drink and drug over it. Her constant warnings of doom will be a self fulfilling prophecy for me.

Afterward
Afterward

I was on my own for many years without any material possessions, and those were some of the most meaningful years of my life. Meaningful in that I learned how to survive happily with nothing, that I appreciated every single meal, blanket, pot, pan, article of clothing, tree, water faucet, sunrise- and every single human being who crossed my path.

I was much younger, sure, but I learned how to SURVIVE. And I succeeded.

Jesus had no place to lay his head- he lived by faith. He lived free, and appreciated all His Father’s blessings. He did not fear not knowing where he would sleep, what he would eat, and the Bible counsels us to follow in his footsteps.Picture 012

I do not want to sell Mom’s china, and I won’t. If I have to eat dog food on it in the dark, then that is what I will do. I will use my considerable brain function to keep my head above the proverbial water, but not by selling the things I hold dear, or by giving into fear of what may or may not happen.blue luster ware, bavaria 257

virginia rose antique china
virginia rose antique china
Cleo 1-31-12 072
after I lost 70 pounds in 2010! (now I have to lose it again!!)

books 178 books 173

If something good can come out of my anger at her doubt in me, it is that I am taking a leap of faith and taking my painting to the Gallery.

And I might just take a binder on my writings to an editor while I am at it!

So thank you Auntie Doubtful for the motivation. I remember that I am still the brave girl who jumped on a freight train and rode across Arizona, hitchhiked through 6 states, dumpster dove for greasy Mcdonald’s burgers, and that they tasted like T-bones!

I am the brave girl who worked 27 jobs in 25 years, rigged for the crane building Missle Silos, worked with Belgians and Shires and Clydesdales and Andalusians, and groomed the Atlanta Police department’s horses, learned to decorate cakes and operate forklifts, did lawn maintenance and worked on the tip of an island in the Atlantic. I have befriended train tramps and illegal immigrants, and helped a 15 year old Mexican kid hide in a grain car to get to his uncle’s house, his only relative in this world! I have accepted gifts of food, and given some, accepted rides and given many, and I have loved and believed in the very best of my fellow man, and I also believe in myself.

I am the brave girl who survived rape ad beatings, being stabbed and shot at, falling in holes and having horses roll on me, having a riding lawnmower flip over on me, divorcing a dangerous man, jail, drug addiction, alcoholism, hepatitis C, and the death of my beloved Mom, and losing my sanity, and I am still standing, even if it is crooked.

I am that brave girl, and I am a survivor.100_1559100_1629

That Brave Girl!
That Brave Girl!

Why Do I Hurt Myself?

smoke on the water
smoke on the water

I answered his call tonight. What a foolish foolish girl. I knew that it was wrong, to talk to the abuser, but I did it anyway. After years of being strong, of cutting out the gangrenous heart of me. How could I sell my broken soul out so cheaply? I knew he would say something that would bring it all back, and when I heard the liquor in his voice I remembered the loathing I felt for myself when I realized I had given away all that ever was good inside me, given it to a psychopath who only loved me for the pain I would suffer at his hands.

Now that I let that voice into my ears, that devil’s voice as sticky as Karo, how do I unhear it? When it professes “love” to me from a dead man’s mouth? How do I wash the blood off of my mind’s eye, when I dream of his devil fists, his green devil eyes, his devilish ways with his devilish hands on my broken and battered memory of myself?

Why did you do it?

Did you really need another reason to be afraid today?

Did you need another reason to doubt your own sanity?

Did you really need to add all those forgotten nightmares to the list of must-see flashbacks you have on file?

Now the phone won’t stop ringing, so I turned them all off. But can I turn of that record that has played in my mind ever since I broke free?

That record that keeps going round and round playing a tune called,

” If I can’t have you, then nobody will…”

How long until he’s at my door?

Did I just invite him when I answered that call tonight?

A Poem Written for a Forgotten Reason…by S. T. Martin

Picture 059Ode to my Father who Alzheimer’s took: A filthy thief, a nasty crook.

A man much adored by I, obscured by madness, left to die.

I care for him in his disappearance-vivid, charismatic, brilliant, delirious.

He who counted the planets, could name all the stars,

Now his stare’s distant like he’s gazing at Mars.

Oh, my dear Father,who Alzheimer’s took: You dirty thief! You evil crook!

Why did you steal my dear old dad? Leave me lonely-going mad!

I care so deeply, lost so much, do I now feel your demon touch?

Sometimes I sit alone to think, thoughts evaporate before I blink!

A family’s legacy of madness owned, no one here now, all alone.

Will I forget to wipe my chin? Neglect to wash the clothes I’m in?

Or, perchance, will someone see: find me in darkness, care for me.

Lead us through dementia’s night, help to cure this cruel  blight!

Or are all our children due to bear their aging parents’ Alzheimer’s care?

 c.S.T. Martin, April 27, more self portraits 0542015

Living With Venomous Snakes

I saw two movies in the last two days about families. Dysfunctional families very much like mine. The first, called “The Judge”, was one of the most brilliantly acted films I think I have ever seen. Perhaps it touched so close to home for the fact that Robert Duvall played a man with terminal colo/rectal cancer. Perhaps it was the son, Robert Downey Jr., perfectly illuminating the blinding need for approval from a father incapable of giving him any.

It may have been any frame in the story I thought so uniquely mine, splashed there across the television screen in all it’s feces and blood glory. But I was so moved, so deeply effected that I cried for thirty minutes, the kind of tears that only came twice before in my life: the day my mother’s GI told me she would soon die of rectal cancer, and then the day she did.

Robert Duvall became my mother, my grandfather, my dad sitting next to me, and the whole family became my own. Totally and completely. I feel tears coming up now, just thinking about it. How about that, huh?

————————————————————————————————————————————

It’s funny how emotions sneak up on me like that. I realized, through my tears, as I ran into the laundry room to let them rip, that I have been petrified of dying. And that deep down, I believe I am. This blood clot thing I have been dealing with is this secret monster in my closet, and if I admit it’s there then it will get me for sure. It will kill me. I will die.

Gosh, even as I write the words I feel my chest constrict, the panic just below the surface, the clot moving to drop me like a stone. How will it feel? Will it hurt? Bad? Will I have time to say goodbye to anyone, and who would I say goodbye to? I don’t want my dad to know the reality of my condition, I know that he will worry, so I have no one to lean on, no one to share this incredibly heavy burden with.

I tried to talk to my brother, but he shuts down on me, always thinking I am going to ask for money, or for him to come help me with our Dad. Really, he is my Dad, because my brother has refused to help me with him, every time I have asked. He took Dad once for ten days, when I had by back/neck fusion in April of 2014. But for all the falls, trips to the ER, surgeries, illnesses and just plain exhaustion he has not been able or willing to help at all.

So why tell him how afraid I am? He will think it is some ploy, some plot to ruin his perfect life.

I was at death’s door before, in Intensive Care, bitten by a copperhead rattlesnake.

It was August 10th of 1995, and I was alone at my trailer in the South Carolina Lowcountry. I had had a few beers, and my husband (I was still married to him then) had gone to the big city for business, and probably to spend the weekend with his mistress. I heard my husky, Gypsy, barking her fool head off, and I went to investigate.

What I found under our mobile home was a two foot long copperhead, beautiful and dangerous, in defensive stance. Gypsy would dart at it and it would strike at her, and I had to do something, fast. I had caught many snakes before this, some venomous, and I was pretty buzzed by this time. Thinking about what an impression I would make on my husband and all our friends, I took off my shirt (we lived in the middle of a 25 acre field), and threw it on top of the terrified snake.

Then, with what I considered a flourish, I reached down and pinned the snake to the ground before carefully grasping the serpent behind it’s distinctive head.

Ooopsie Daisy!!!

I didn’t quite have my grip properly positioned, and, nice as you please, the pretty snake peeped its head out of my shirt and bit me smartly on my left hand. One fang hit my middle finger, the other , my ring finger. I responded with many expletives, and quickly threw the snake into the freezer we kept behind the house for meat.

Believe you me, I was not buzzed any more.

I promptly ran into the trailer and hot-footed it up our 1/4 mile driveway to the main road. I kept telling myself to slow down- the faster my heart pumped, the faster the venom circulated, but then I reasoned – if I didn’t get help quick I was going to die anyway. Thankfully, Dave had an uncle living right near us (half mile away), so we rushed in his Chevelle the 15 miles to the Regional Hospital. I had to keep telling the driver to slow down so we all did not die, he was drunk also. ( there isn’t much else to do in the big woods!)

So, to make a long story short, I was put in the ICU while they marked lines up my arm as the venom’s effect’s moved up my veins. They tested me for the anti-venom, but the doctor said that it would kill me if they used it. My arm turned black and green and swelled to the size of my upper thigh. Through the morphine I remember thinking how foolish I was, to get bitten again, and to be lying there dying, hundreds of miles away from anyone who loved me.

How ironic it all was… and how short my life had been. I had so many amends I wanted to make, as I lie there, so many unfinished stories yet to write. I prayed, pleaded, and wept as I lie there, and then thankfully came unconsciousness. I felt an utter and complete fool, because I had been bitten before!!!! 

And I had not learned my lesson.

It is very late for me now, and I am very tired. One day soon I will tell you that story, and then another and another.

I am glad I have you out there, dear reader. Maybe I am not as afraid now…

After all, if I die then I will be resurrected to life on a paradise earth, and I will never be lonely , sick,  or afraid,  ever, ever, again.

What Color Is Despair?

what color will you paint my soul?

what color will you paint my soul?

blues and greens in endless dreams

what color will you paint my soul?

what color will you paint my life?

what color will you paint my life?

blacks and reds of endless strife

what color will you paint my life?

what color will you paint my house?

what color will you paint my house?

winter white where no one shouts

what color will you paint my house.

what color do you think i see?

what color do you think i see?

a space of clear that once was me

what color do you think i see?

what color should i paint my walls?

what color should i paint my walls?

a shade of pink when no one calls

what color should i paint my walls?

what color should i wear?

what color should i wear?

it don’t matter no one’s there

what color should i wear?

why should i even try?

why should i even try?

cause if i don’t i know i’ll die

why should i even

try?

a poem of sorts by S.T. Martin 3/5/2015

The Soundtrack of My Life/ writing 101,assignment

Deep Purple was my favorite band for many years. My brother was 4 years older than me and so I inherited all his records as he grew up and moved on. But deep Purple’s lead singer, Ian Gillian was my secret dream lover, and his singing their song, “Pictures of Home” cut deep into my aching heart. I was a depressed, or rather, disturbed girl, and very lonely. So the words were my plea for help:,”I’m alone here, with emptiness, eagles and snow- Unfriendliness chilling my body, and taunting with Pictures of Home…” That last echoing cry sent out along the moors, stolen from his “kissy” lips, and making me ache in ways I had yet to understand.

Then there was Black Sabbath, with my idol, Ozzy Osbourne at the helm. It wasn’t the “crazy train” that owned me, but rather a darker,  more personal song, also very dark. I had this song on a cassette that I played in my “Boom-Box” everywhere I went. Selling joints to my school mates, taking quaaludes, and tripping on acid. Always, this song moved through my mind like a mist: “I hide myself inside the shadows of your name… Your silent symphonies were playing their game…” Then, later in the song, my hatred for authority came to a climax with the chorus, “Why don’t you just get out of my life”, repeated twice, and then the big finish,” Why doesn’t EVERYBODY LEAVE ME ALONE!!!” I took that cassete with me to the locked Psych Ward where I spent my eighteenth birthday, along with the 6 razor blades I hid in my clothing. I oozed hatred from every pore that day, but I craved love so much and lacked it so much that my gut felt like a bottomless meat freezer when those doors slammed shut behind my parents,

But there are other songs today that I hear and love. Songs about joy, songs about love. Songs about life. There is one particular song I am hearing now in my exhausted mind. A lilting melody that I can not play without sobbing all nthe way through it. It is by Eva Cassidy, and I have also heard it done by Sting. I believe it is an old song, but I’m not sure. I know that it carries within it the seed of my dead mother’s essence, Carol, my best friend, has been gone for 5 years now, but when I hear this song, it is she who sing it, ” Among the Fields of Gold.”

I miss you, Mum.

I love you Mom!
I love you Mom!