What do I say to a black mother whose son was murdered at the hands, or knee, of a white man?
. I saw George dying, in front of all the world, murdered. Every fiber of my being cried out for action to save him, knock that cop off of him, hurt those who were hurting him, scream “STOP!!!!!” at the loudest volume my wind and stretching vocal cords could scream. I saw him die. I could see the actual moment the life left him, we all could. His killer’s arrogance galled me, I cried as if George was my own. Those awful, endless minutes are now emblazoned on my conscience, and the world’s. But George’s suffering was finally over, the pain had ended for him. His family’s pain goes on.
. My daddy died unjustly, and it took years for my anger and pain to subside. But, then, I am white. And it wasn’t a police organization, or even a police man who killed him. For me it was a hospital, who killed him just as surely as if they kneeled on his neck. And he was a Sicilian man, very dark complected, 1st generation borne of immigrants to this country, but I suppose he will be considered a “white” man by history.
. But the pain I felt is the same pain George’s loved one’s feel in this sense: there was death, it was not natural, there was injustice, and there is anger. I feel it now, these years later. I was righteously indignant, I loved my daddy more than any girl ever loved her daddy, ever in the whole world. Whole universe I thought. I never saw his flaws, he was a hero to me, and they murdered him, and someone had to pay. I had to make it right , for him. For his memory.
. They hated me at that hospital, I believed. They had been out to get him, because we were poor, and because everyone knows doctors and hospitals only want one thing, right? Money. And we all know that there are very baaaad people in the medical field, there is a long, very, very long history of distrust in the Sicilian immigrant community against the “establishment”. It carried down from tyranny and mafioso, in the “home” country, where my ancestors were murdered and enslaved and oppressed by terrible injustice. Not only was the regime murderous and corrupt, even the local officials were, requiring payoffs and inflicting gross injustice and physical pain on the poor people who were supposed to be under their care. They had no choice, starve, be murdered, or board ships of misery with their last pennies to try living in a beckoning land across the great sea.
. My granparents had experienced the ghettos in New York when they arrived, cramped, dirty, unlit, no facilities, living in dark, dank, freezing, stinking tenant housing in their new country. Now, instead of their tropical isle, where they knew the enemy, there were new enemies to contend with. Such hatred, such predjudice, such injustice, such poverty. All these conditions shaped the mentality of generations, the distrust of the “system”, the lack of eqaulity, the oppression…
. My father was an angry man. For as far back as I have memory, he was mad at what he perceived as injustice in government. In another age pehaps he would have been a radical, I dont know. But he worked so hard, all his life, had access to more education than his parents ever had, served in the military and was able to move to Florida in his early 50’s. which had been his lifelong dream. He never stopped working, even then, and I had everything I needed as his kid, except love. But I adored and idolized him, to my mother’s dismay. When I became his sole caregiver, he was my child, and I determined to never let anything bad happen to him. For all the grief I had put him through in my life as an addict, now that I was sober I would appease his every whim, and ease his Dementia and Alzheimer’s. He was my reason for being, for except for my dear shih-tzu’s I had lost everyone in my family, and had no children.
. I was a she-bear when it came to his care. Endless research, talking to pro’s and others on caring for the elderly. But no matter what I promised him, no matter how good I cared for him, and no matter how totally committed I was in my devotion, I was not able to save him from being killed.
. So, then. What can I say to the millions of traumatized, oppressed, angry people who are fighting right now? They will do what they believe they must, to find relief for their anger. But to the loved ones of a man who died unjustly, there is something I can say, even in my proverbial “whiteness”: I am so, so sad for you. I can relate. I can relate to the sickening feeling in your gut, that horrendous hot ball of lead where your heart used to be. I remember the anger, the absolute bursting feeling of helplessness, the burning knowledge that this should never have happened to your child, your son, your daddy, your husband, your brother, your uncle, your nephew, your cousin, your dear, dear friend. Your Beloved.
. My pain was real… Your’s is all too real right now. I will never question your pain, or think I know what you should feel, or do. I never want to exaccerbate your suffering. everyone grieves in a different way, for different lengths of time, for different reasons. there is never a right or wrong way to grieve. I wish you peace, someday…healing…a lessening of this great burden you carry.
. My anger was only relieved by my learning the true reason for death, suffering and in justice. Knowing and believing in the the knowledge that God will soon do away with the true source of the evils we experience as humans. the tormenter of us down thru the ages, all the way back to the garden of Eden. The father of the lie, Satan.
God had an answer to Satan’s lie right there on the spot: Jesus Christ, God’s Only-Begotten Son and The King of God’s Kingdom would crush Satan and throw him and all his cohorts into the Abyss!! It will happen very soon, when God says it is time! Then the words of Revelation will come true!
Revelation 21:3-5 reads:
. ” With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them , and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them.(4)And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”
(5) And the One seated on the throne said:”Look! I am making all things new.” Also he says:”Write, for these words are faithful and true.”
. Such beautiful words…a beautiful dream, perhaps? No. A promised reality from our God who cannot lie, whose purposes always succeed, and whose prophecies always come true. I have a favorite scripture about the surety of all God’s promises coming true, maybe because I am a farmer at heart, who has always loved the rain.
. This is in the Bible book of Isaiah, in Chapter 55, beginning in verse 8: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways,” declares Jehovah. (9) “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (10) For just as the rain and snow pour down from heaven And do not return there until they saturate the earth, making it produce and sprout, Giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,(11) So my word that goes out of my mouth will prove to be. It will not return to me without results, But it will certainly accomplish whatever is my delight, and it will have sure success in what I send it to do.”
. Yes, The Creator of the entire Universe has everything taken care of, he has told us that he will be the only Judge, and His Son will carry out his Judgement. The Ride of the Four Horsemen is already well underway. One day soon our dead loved ones will be resurrected and what joy there will be, when this earth is finally free of evil and we will live forever in peace.
. Please take the time to learn what the Bible says, I want you to have the peace of mind and heart that I finally found. It is not too late, my friend.
Is anyone out there as old as I am? I grew up to the Mary Tyler Moore show, on every week as I recall. When I was 10 or so, she was beautiful to me, not just as a pretty woman (which she was and is, if she is still alive, is she?…)but as a woman in “the workplace”. I was too young to understand the dynamics of discrimination against women, I was buying into the whole “be a good girl, speak when you are spoken to” misogynist mantra.
Flamingo Billiards Tour at Amy’s Billiards (pictured) The Year Before Fall
Day Old Cleopatra
Mommy and Izzy, in Alabama
my sweet, one eyed pup
That is where the slogan “We’re going to make it after all” first made me feel warm and fuzzy. My folks both worked long, hard hours to feed my brother and I. We saw them briefly each morning. Mom on her way to bed after all night at a local “old folks” hospital, and Dad on his way to the Speciality Steel Mill. The only thing “special” about the steel mill that I could see was the fact that Dad was “‘specially”angry when he got home.
Baby Cleo, who had to learn to live with one eye!
aren’t i the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?
baby cleo, in her new dress!
KODAK Digital Still Camera
Dad and his Fan Club!
inside the circle of my heart
In God’s Memory
. We didn’t want for anything that I ever knew, except that I never got designer jeans like my best friend, with the rich dad. No, my belly was full, and I was as happy as a chubby pre-teen with thick glasses and a mouth full of braces could be in the late 70’s. The only thing lacking was joy, any kind of joy, at home. Even “The Holidays”, when I still celebrated them, were joyless, because there was always disappointment lurking under the tree. Family gatherings were nice before I got old enough to feel the undercurrents of dislike and tension that flowed thru the affairs, like the lambrusco in the fancy glasses.
. We are going to make it. After all.
sunset in paradise
African Lily, one of my favorites!
“i’m not sure how my feet work yet…”
He Love Us!
. I’m in the ” after all” phase of life now. And I have made it, thus far . All the family drama is distant history, now that my parents are dead they don’t fight as much.(chuckle). I have learned to live without them here, and I have gleefully learned to live without my abusive ex and now deceased husband. (No, I’m not gleeful at his being deceased.)
. I have lived on my own for 4 years now, Dad died on 3/7/16, and Mom on 3/21/10. The grief did not stab me like a bayonet to the stomach this year, no, it was a dull, ongoing ache that I thought I didn’t feel, until this very moment. A heaviness inside my heart, a gray, damp blanket on my view. But I have made it, after all…
My Izzy, 2005-2017
This is me now, the pain has mellowed, I see love ahead!
“The Sentinel’s Prayer”, acrylic on canvas, Susan T. Martin2017
. I want to share happy tidings, tho’, not the fear mongering that is flying all around the internet and all the airwaves. Yes, this Pandemic is a very, very bad thing. Many of our loved ones, friends and neighbors will get very sick, and many will die. More people will die than usually do in a “regular” time period. It will be very difficult to work, to shop, to meet with friends and family. However, we must endure these difficulties with a hopeful demeanor, and share our hope with Everyone we can!!! We All need to support our fellow humans, and we CAN!!!!!
You may ask why, and I understand how hard it is not to have a pity party when one has no access to TP or Oreos. I am not immune to this situation, especially the Oreo thing. But as a person who has lived with chronic intractable pain all over my body for the last 20years, I do have experience with the power of positivity shared. This will be a HUGE HELP TO ALL OF US: BE UPBEAT AND POSITIVE WHEN SPEAKING TO OTHERS! DO NOT BOG OTHERS DOWN BY SHARING NEGATIVITY SUCH AS WHAT WE CAN’T DO, BUT FOCUS ON STEPS WE CAN TAKE.
One thing we must do to help is STAY POSITIVE when we talk to others. Just as you would not talk to a Child about negative outcomes of a storm, we all, ALL need comfort from our fellow humans right now. Just as we would not want our Mom to be overly anxious about a situation, think of your friends and neighbors who are anxious also!
. We want to help the people we love, and hopefully we want to help our fellow man who we don’t even know. I am going to work on this, and I already know it helps, because people who cared for me when I was incapacitated did it for me. And I made it thru to better days.
. I hope you are doing well, that you can see the sky today, wherever you are. One thing that helps me so much is prayer because I know God is close to me when I pray to him in his Son, Jesus name. Reading the Bible books of Psalms and brings me peace, and talking on the phone to others about God’s promises soon to be fulfilled. If I can just smile at someone, it lifts my mood and hopefully theirs as well. I send out my warm hugs and smiles to all of you.
He has a look, lately. A hateful look, cold. No trace of love. No recognition.
I’m not sure how I feel about that. I used to yearn so much for his love that I would have thrown myself in front of a train, just for a pat on the back. That is all I would get from him, on a good day. A whack that made my cheerios fly off my spoon, as he breezed past in the morning for coffee. I was surprised, actually, when he would take the time to do this, acknowledging my existence. I hated when he whacked me on the back like this, in fact, I did not like him much at that time.
My father had been the light of my life as a child, perhaps the way he withheld his love made me love him more. But those memories I have, memories of laying my head on his chest to hear his heartbeat, and him flying me up in the air on his feet, they put him in such a glow of adoration in my eyes.
I remember Dad at my basketball games, and softball, and taking my brother and I sled riding. He took me with him to play tennis on weekends with his friends, and taught me to love the soil, gardening, birds and clouds. It was enough just to be near him, somehow I felt like I was in on the joke, part of the fun.
But that was the problem with the way he loved. You were either in, and all his attention was on you-or you were on the outside looking at what you were missing. If he was loving my Mom, the kids were ignored, if he was loving my brother, then Mom and I were left out. It was a wheel, a merry-go-round of nightmare-ish fun. It must have been the way he was raised, the poison of co-dependency snaked through a long line of ancestors.
Thinking back, when I moved here after my Ex went to prison, I was the odd man out. Dad was not happy about sharing the house with me, he and Mom had settled into a routine. I upset that routine. I felt very unloved (by Dad, not by Mom), unwelcome, and misunderstood. But finally, as time went on, things seemed to smooth out. Until Mom and I were having fun- then he was angry. And round it went, the codependency wheel.
Then Mom died. And we died with her, for a long, long time. I knew Dad grieved, it was heartbreaking to see his pain. I think he suffered more in his denial, instead of recognizing their painful marriage- he remembered it as being perfect. They were dream lovers in some fairy-tale romance- not the rage-filled, cursing haters they had become.( The truth is they did find peace at the end of Mom’s life, she found it in her heart to forgive him, and herself with God’s help.) To Dad, Mom was an absolute angel. Then the Dementia/ Alzheimer’s kicked into high gear.
Mom became me, or I became Mom. These last years I have cared for my father as my child, as a doting, loving daughter. But the territory is not easy- the terrain is rough. I know he believes I am his wife now, and perhaps he is even forgetting that. He stays in bed all day now- getting more and more feeble. He has gotten so frail that a glass of coca-cola at a restaurant is too heavy to lift, he won’t exercise. I know he has been sick for a week, but he won’t tell me where he hurts. I try to care for him, but he hates me for it, and fights me at every turn. I know he is getting worse, much worse, and the day is fast approaching when I won’t be able to care for him here.
I am unwell myself, with Degenerative Joint disease, Fibromyalgia and a Pulmonary Embolism, and a hip that is scraping bone, so I can’t walk even to the corner without pain. Bless his heart, he tries to understand, but forgets before the words of explanation about my physical condition are even out of my mouth. And why tell him if he will just worry?And he won’t know what he is worrying about.
Today, when he looked at me with that blank-eyed hate, I knew we had turned over a new page in our journey, a page I have been hoping would never come. Today it came.
My father, Anthony, who I adore, does not know who I am anymore. Kiko has left the building, and has been replaced by someone my Daddy doesn’t know, doesn’t trust, and certainly doesn’t love. My Daddy is gone from me now. I am just some stranger in his house.
Bye Dad. You are magnificent, you big meanie. I wish you would whack me on the back.
Where are you in this world? Are you in a war torn land, alone and wondering if anyone knows you are out there? Don’t worry- I know you are there. And I care that you are there. I want you to know that I am here, knowing you are there.
What are you looking at now? (besides the computer screen, of course…) Is the fridge empty? If you have a refridgerator, that is… I hope it has something in it for you to eat. Sometimes when I am afraid, lonely, or sad, I eat. Maybe a piece of toast, a cup of tea. You could pretend I am sitting there with you, on a normal day, two friends just chatting and having a cup of tea. We would not even have to talk, really. Just sitting together is nice.
Do you have a window to look outside? Maybe a wee patch of sky to see? Some blue, I hope, and a puffy white cloud. If the sky isn’t visible, or doesn’t look happy, you can share mine. (Although it is night here right now.) as we sit quietly, having our tea, I could describe a nice sky to you. I saw a pretty one this evening, soft pinks and lavender as the sun set. I see you like to take photos- is that your husband in that one?
Oh, your son? My, is he ever handsome! He’s a soldier in the war! Wow, you must worry constantly! I’m sorry- what a stupid thing to say…um…You don’t look old enough to have a son so grown up. No, really, you look fine. I don’t use much make-up anymore either, but I know you can’t get any where you are. If you were here I would share mine with you, and we could brush each other’s hair. I always find that to be so comforting.
No, I don’t have anyone to brush mine either, I’m divorced. Yeah, he was a bad man, he beat me. Oh, your daughter’s husband is like that? That is too bad. What! He killed her?!
Oh, man, that is terrible- I am so sorry for you. I did not know that went on in your country- and they did not even arrest him? Oh, I don’t know what to say. No, I didn’t know. Let’s just sit, I won’t bring it up. Here, let me hold your hand. It’s ok… there, there…
Me, kids? Oh, no, I don’t have any- wasn’t “in the cards” as they say… No, I wanted them. The truth is I couldn’t have children, no I had an abortion when I was 15.
Please don’t look at me like that- I was too young to understand. And I was abused, sexually, for years… No, it’s alright, I’m not offended.
So, have you had to live alone for long? You husband was killed in the uprising 10 years ago? Oh, my goodness, you really have had a hard time. I understand. You must be so lonely… It’s alright, go ahead and cry- I’m sad and lonely too.. see, now I’m crying!! We can wipe away each others tears, long distance!! No, it’s ok- you don’t have to apologize. Grief can be shared. Let it go, just let all the tears come. It is cathartic, and cleansing.
I’m still here, I haven’t gone anywhere. I will play some soothing music for you- to drown out the sound of the gunfire. Maybe then you could rest a little. That’s good, just shut your eyes a while. I will be here when you wake up.
See, this way I’m not alone either! Goodnight now, my friend. Don’t worry, everything is going to be alright. When you wake up it will be right again, good again. I will be right here, watching out for you…
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.”