Commentary : A Rough Time

I’ve had a hard week. If I was a mythic night of old, I’d say the dragons won this week, and I lost. But I’m not, and life’s not that simple, and clean-cut. Life has oceans of colors, not just black and white. Not yes or no. It’s not binary.

Life’s complicated.

Today, as I left my Doctor’s office, he reminded me, “You can call during the week. Any time during the week. If you need help to get through the rough parts.” He knows I won’t, unless I’m desperate.

I want, desperately, to learn to stand on my own. To learn to face the life that causes me such distress. To learn to live. Feel. Laugh, cry, dance, sing, play, care, sit silently, alone, help. I want to learn all the things I never learned.

My doctor knows I will face whatever comes. Not because I’m strong. Not because I’m proud. Not because I’m not afraid.

Because I want to learn.

Because I want to grow.

There are times I feel like an infant in a giant world. Like I just woke up from a decades long sleep, and have to learn how to live in a strange, new world. A work I don’t always understand. A world that hurts everyone.

Yes, I suffer from depression. No, it’s not something I can decide I don’t have. It’s a biochemical imbalance, aggravated by the life I see around me every day. It’s a serotonin imbalance, coupled with autistic wiring of my nervous system and brain cells. It’s so many things.

Then I remember what I see around me every day. I remember I’m awake. I’m aware. I’m learning. I’m growing. In a world filled with people who are sleeping. I remember I’m in a world filled with people who stopped growing long ago.

It used to make me angry when someone I worked with said they leave the job behind when they walk out of the building. They pronounced they work with this stuff 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and that was enough. They couldn’t and wouldn’t touch it at home.

I always answered them, “Go ahead. Stand still. It makes you easier to run over.” No one understood. They just looked at me like I was crazy, and declared not everyone was nuts like I was.

My doc and I have spoken of this very topic. He’s very much aware of the way people stop learning, growing, maturing. They fought through 12 years of education. Then four or more years of college. Then through any testing and certifications they had to have for their profession. Then, they fought for the job they wanted. The one they’d worked for all their lives. And when they got it. When they became successful. They stopped. As if they’d reached the end of the journey, and had no where left to go.

When I think of that, of what it means, of what it says about people, my heart aches. And my soul cries tears of sorrow, tears of despair. And my depression grows. For to me, those people are waiting to die. Waiting for the end. Waiting for the working part of life to end, so they can enjoy retirement, and wait, in retirement, for the end of life to come for them.

I pray to God as I understand and believe God is, and to the universe, and to life, for all those around me to wake up, though I know most never will. And most of those who wake up will push themselves back to the peaceful escape of endless sleep.

I won’t contact my doctor unless I find I am unable to find my way through this week. Or the next. Or the one after that. Instead, I’ll use all I’ve learned, and practice, and grow, until I learn to stand, and walk through life, as I continue along the path life has for me.

And I’ll cry a million tears across countless nights, for those who stopped somewhere along their own journeys through this life, and are lost somewhere in time, and don’t even know it.

#12DaysBop : Day 4 – Reborn Every Morning

It’s day 3 of Stacy Hoyt’s 12 Days Of Christmas Blog Hop. Today, the topic is rebirth. And perspective is everything.


Joey got ready for bed. He pulled his PJs on, then folded back the covers of his bed, and puffed up his pillows. Joey got down on his knees, held his hands together, closed his eyes, and bowed his head. Then he said his bedtime prayer.

“Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake.
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
Amen.”

He looked up at heaven, and smiled. “Good night, God,” then he went to bed.

Every night, Joey wondered if he would wake up the next day. He wondered what would happen during that day. He might choke on something eating Breakfast. Or trip and fall head first down the stairs. The school bus could explode in a wreck, like in the movies, and everyone would burn to death.

He knew he would probably wake up and be OK. He wouldn’t choke on Breakfast. He wouldn’t trip on the stairs. The school bus wouldn’t be in a wreck and it wouldn’t explode. But it could.

So many things could happen. Things grown-ups never thought about. It was like grown-ups had forgotten how exciting life was. Of ignoring the possibilities. As he laid beneath the covers, nice and warm, he made a wish to God.

“Oh, God? Would you remind Mom and Dad how priceless life is? And before I go to sleep tonight, is it OK if I ask you to bring me back to life in the morning? Thank you, God.”

Joey went to sleep, knowing if he woke up in the morning it would be like being born again. “I wish grown-ups could remember that,” he thought, as he drifted off to sleep.


Please go enjoy the rest of the stories in the blog hop. There are some really gifted writers out there. It’s well worth reading their work. You can find the other entries here:

The 12 Days Of Christmas Blog Hop, Day 4 – Rebirth

I Close My Eyes

It is night.
I turn out the lights.
Pull the covers aside.
Climb into bed.
Lay down my head.

But no sleep comes.

A flood of thoughts
Won’t let me sleep.
Waves of my fears
Wash over me.
Haunting me.
Taunting me.

And no sleep comes.

I lie there
On the bed.
Wishing.
Wishing I could find a way
To ease the ache
Within my heart.
To dry the tears
My soul cries.

How can people live
In this world
They never made?

There was a time
Not long ago
When sleep would have
Eluded me
All night long.

But I’ve learned.
I’ve changed.
Now.
I know
What I have to do.
I know
How to care
For me.
To south the aching
Of my heart.
To dry the tears
My soul cries.

While I lie there
In my bed.
I close my eyes.
And then.

I breathe.
I breathe in slowly.
I breathe out slowly too.
And I remember.

Fear is just a feeling.
Nothing more.
Just like anger.
Just like joy.
And feelings come
And go.

And I decide
As I breathe in
To breathe in all my fears.
And then
As I breathe out,
I exhale tenderness.
Concern,
And caring.

And I decide
To remember
Fears are like the monsters
In the dark.

They’re not really there.

As I breathe,
With my eyes closed.
I extend my hand
To my side.
And there, I find
Her.
Sleeping next to me.

And I know.
I know.
I’m not alone.
And never will be.
So long as she’s alive.
She’s a part of me.

Then I remember
Each friend I have.
And as I breathe in
I inhale
The things I know hurt them.
The fears I know they have.

Then I exhale once again.
The caring.
The compassion,
The tenderness
That lies at the very heart
Of me.

I breathe.
And I remember.
Who I am.

And before long
Sleep comes to me
Again.

But before I close my eyes
And drift off to sleep
There’s always one last thing
For me to do.

I remember you,
My friends.
And the problems you have had.
The fears that you face.
And I breathe all of them in.
And then
I breathe out the truth
That you are not alone.
And even though
I may be far away from you.
So that I can’t hold you,
Or touch you.
Or show you
That I care.

I breathe out that same
Kindness.
Tenderness.
And compassion
That soothed the aching of my heart
And dried the tears
My soul cried.
And breathe them out
For you.

Good night
Wounded hearts and souls
Of so many people
That I know.

Oh how I wish
There was so much more
I could do
For you.

Fairies : For Rose (Part 3)

On the first night of his journey, Scream found he didn’t sleep well at all. He kept waking up, afraid he would fall out of the tree. So, with the coming of the dawn, he decided he should find a good vine he could use as a rope, to hold himself in place while he slept at night. Or, he had to learn to sleep on the ground, which his mother had suggested he not do. He also noticed that he slept bent at funny angles, so he was stiff, and sore when he woke up. And sleeping in a tree, he felt as if his body had tried to conform to the shape of the tree. It took a while for the pattern of the tree bark to fade from his skin that morning.

He concluded the journey would be a bit more difficult than he’d expected. But, that was OK. Rose and her sisters would be there at the end of his journey. He’d spend some time with them, and have fun.

He continued to move from tree to tree. The trees continued to grow taller. And the woodland changed into a forest. There was no clear line or marker. But somehow, Scream knew he’d reached the edge of the Northern Forest.

He saw several wolves that day. It amazed him how silently something the size of a wolf could move through the forest. Along the ground. Through the brush, the fallen tree limbs, and the dead leaves along the ground. From his perch high above the ground, he watched each wolf he encountered. He even followed one for a time. The wolves were not just silent. They were very quick. Able to cover large distances easily, and rapidly. And they did not tire easily.

Scream also saw an eagle. And several hawks. The eagle was majestic. The way it rode the air currents, its wings extended, catching the wind and gliding along. He saw the eagle’s tail feathers adjusting to keep its flight level. He decided that one day, he would learn to soar through the sky, effortlessly, like that eagle. Riding the wind, and not endlessly flapping his wings to just stay aloft.

The hawks flew in much the same way. But they flew lower, closer to the ground. And they used their wings more frequently. Scream was surprised to see a hawk fold its wings, and plummet toward the ground, extending its wings just before reaching the ground, extending its talons, and capturing a small rabbit as it flapped its wings and returned to the sky. The hawk had landed in a tree, and started consuming its prey.

The raw power and grace of the hawk making it’s kill convinced Scream that a skilled warrior knew, and used technique to best his opponent. A skilled warrior knew, as that hawk knew, that technique provided a warrior an edge in battle.

Scream saw many bird nests on his journey. He stayed a safe distance from them, so he didn’t frighten the parents, or their young. After seeing several bird nests, he realized he didn’t have to tie himself to a tree. He could use tree limbs and leaves to make a small, temporary nest of his own to sleep in. It would take practice, and it would take time. But he knew he could learn. And he felt that learning to build simple places to rest in the trees would allow him to sleep better on his trip, and would keep him from falling out of the tree while he slept.

“Mother,” he thought, “you were right. There is much we can learn about life simply by watching the animals. The animals were here before we were. They know how to live in the forest, in the sea, on the land.” His appreciation of his mother increased. He remembered Mystica’s home, and the homes of her daughters, in the trees. Made by the trees. How natural they were. How simple. How solid. How safe. He could learn much about living in the forest from them.

He had plenty of water to drink that day. He found a stream of water running through the forest. He realized there were a lot of streams and rivers in the forest. There was plenty of water to drink, and plenty of water for things to grow. It was something he hadn’t expected. He’d expected trees, and water to be separate. Much like the river and the lake where Rose lived. He didn’t expect them to be so thoroughly mixed together.

He decided to take a bath in one of the streams. He splashed water all over himself. Rinsing the dust, the sweat, and the dirt of his journey off. It was refreshing to feel clean. He stayed on the ground long enough to eat some dried fish, and some of the sea weed. He marveled at the way the sunlight filtered through the trees. The way he could see beams of light passing through gaps in the limbs and leaves. The way the ground was always in shadow, never brightly lit.

While he was on the ground, he got to see a couple of deer, and a raccoon visit the edge of the stream, and drink. He got to watch the raccoon stand in the stream, and watch the water. He watched as it plunged a front leg into the stream, and pulled it out, holding a small fish. He hadn’t realized raccoons had workable hands.

He took back to the trees, when he was ready, and continued his journey. That evening, as the sun began to set, he found some tree branches that had fallen. He placed them across the gap between a couple of tree limbs, and tested the resulting surface to see if it could hold his weight. He had to try several times to get the right branches, and to get them positioned properly, so they acted like a little floor between the limbs. He covered that little floor with dead leaves.

As he prepared for sleep on the second night of his journey, he thought of Rose. Of holding her hand. Of her smile, and how it made everything seem OK.  He remembered how, when he was lost, and alone, and wondered if he’d ever see his mother, and his home again, Rose had smiled at him, and held his hand.  And he felt like everything was OK. Like being lost forever wouldn’t be so bad.

That night, he slept on his own little nest in the trees. And he slept well, finding he wasn’t afraid of falling. And having dreams of walking with Rose among the trees, holding her hand, and getting to see her smile.

Friday Night Write #15 : Closer Than This

I never intended to let her get so close. To let her past all my defenses. Past the image I let everyone see. But I had. I looked at her. Asleep. On the sofa. Wearing nothing but this lacy black lingerie. My pillow stuck under her head. My blanket keeping her warm.

I was both terrified and thrilled. I wanted her to stay, and I wanted to never see her again. So, I just stood there and stared at her, watching her sleep. Wishing I could remember that moment all my life.

I didn’t understand at all how she wound up on my sofa all night. She’d called me, and asked to come over. She’d done that for years. I never knew when she’d call. But I always made time for her. So, I’d told her it was OK. We’d gone to eat dinner. If you can call Subway sandwiches dinner. Then, we’d walked all over the local Wal-Mart store. All 130,000 square feet of it.

I have to admit, it was not easy to stand there while she looked at women’s lingerie. Didn’t help me any when she held up that black lace one in front of herself. “Oh, this is pretty,” she’d said. And then she’d asked me, “What do you think? Do you like this one?”
I’d frozen solid. Couldn’t blink my eyes. Couldn’t twitch my fingers. Couldn’t talk. She’d laughed, and kept it.

We’d gone to the electronics department. And she’d found a movie she wanted to watch. “I’ve never see it. I missed it when it was in theaters.” She showed it to me. Some silly love story, chick-flick movie. The kind you only watch when a girl drags you to it, and makes you. She kept that too.

When we finished shopping, we returned to my place. She put that movie on. “Watch it with me.” How could I refuse? We sat down on the sofa and before I knew what was going on, she had pulled my arm over her shoulders, and then snuggled in against me.
I don’t remember the movie. I know we watched it all. But I have no idea what happened it in.

Sometime during the movie, she got up, went to the bathroom, and changed into that black lace. She came back, put her feet up on the sofa, and stretched out, putting her head in my lap. She’d pulled my arm around her. Right under her breasts.

When the movie ended, I realized she was asleep, and I didn’t want to wake her up. So, I let her sleep. With her head in my lap. After a while, she woke up. “Can I just stay here tonight?”

She could have asked me anything. I’d have said yes.

So, there she was. On my sofa. Under my blanket. Her head on my pillow. And me, standing there, watching her, wondering how she got so close to me. And if she knew how close she was.

Memories : Sangai

Sangai and Kaosu were adopted brothers.
We got them on the same day
From the SPCA.
They even got neutered
On the same day.
At the same Vets office.
They grew from kittens
Into cats.
With each other.
And with us.

Sangai was almost orange.
With really soft hair.
And he was a whopper
Of a cat
At 14 pounds.
But he was skinny
As a rail.
A flyweight for his size.

And the funniest thing of all
Was to hear him talk.
The boy was a soprano.
With the highest pitched meow
I’ve ever hear.

Sangai and Kaosu
Slept with us.
Almost every night.
She complained always
About the little slice of bed
She wound up with,
Between me
And the boys.

But she never seemed to mind.

Life was good.
Like it was supposed to be.
Until one day…

… Sangai stopped eating.

We tried to feed him
All his favorite foods.
Even tuna
From a can.

He wouldn’t eat a thing.

She took our sick kitty
To the Vets office
Where we always go.
And they tried
Everything they knew.

Special food.
Medicine.
Fluids injected over night.
All kinds of things
Were tried.

To no avail.

Sangai wouldn’t eat.

They told us to take him
To a veterinary hospital.
They recommended one.
And that’s just what we did.
They recommended surgery.
There was a chance
It wouldn’t work.
But also a chance
It would.

He was one of the family.
And neither of us cared
At all
How much it cost.
We had to try
To help our boy.

He went through surgery.
And a few days later
He came home.
For the weekend.
He spent that Friday night,
Saturday,
And Sunday with us.

On that Monday,
I called in to work.
And took our boy
Back to the hospital.

They took him in.
To check him out.
And I went home.
To wait.

Before I got home,
She called me.
Back to the hospital.
It was time.

The surgery had failed.
They could keep Sangai alive
For a while.
On a respirator.
But that wouldn’t have been right.

When I got
To the hospital.
She and I stood there.
We said good-bye to Sangai.
And we watched
As he fell asleep
One last time.

They tell me
He was just a pet.
Just a cat.
That’s all.

Sometimes people are just stupid.
Or so it seems to me.
Ruthless.
And cold-hearted.
And not at all
The way they ought to be.

He was our Sangai.
Our friend.
And our companion.
And suddenly.
He was just gone.

But I know something
Other people never seem to learn.
Because of how they are.
With their approach of
Kill the pain.
And forget everything.

I remember Sangai.
Watching him climb
On the stair rails in the house.
Rescuing him from the top
Of the ladder more than once.
Where he’d climbed up.
And then gotten stuck.

He use to love
Sliced turkey meat
From the Wal-Mart deli.

And the thing I know.
He’s still there.
In my heart.
In my soul.
And every time
I remember
Watching him.

I just can’t help but smile.

‘Cause my memories
Of our Sangai cat
Are a part of me.

And that’s how
Things are meant
To be.

Memories : The Story

[Author’s Note : This is an old one. I wrote it on 08 April 1999. But, events of this day have lead me to pull it out, and share it. If you know of any children afraid of monsters in the dark, perhaps you can share this one too.]

Once upon a time, there was a little girl. I do not recall her name. I only know she was young, about four years old. She was a pretty little girl, with curly strawberry-blond hair, and ice blue eyes. But she didn’t really look like Shirley Temple…

This little girl didn’t like to go to bed at night. She would scream at her Father, “But, Daddy! The monsters in the dark! They’ll get me! They’ll eat me up!”

And she wouldn’t go to bed. Her father would sit in his big rocking chair, and she would climb into her Father’s lap, and he would rock her to sleep. When she was asleep, he would carry her to her bed, and carefully tuck her in. “Good night, precious. Sleep tight,”
he would say. Then, he would kiss her cheek, and go do the things that Father’s do after everyone else is asleep.

Eventually, the Father became tired of having to rock his daughter to sleep every night. After hundreds of nights in a row, wouldn’t you? So, the Father decided it was time for his daughter to learn to go to sleep in her own bed.

But the little girl refused. “Daddy, the monsters! The monsters in the dark! They scare me! I can’t sleep knowing they are there!” So, the Father had to tell his daughter about the monsters in the dark. What they were, and where they came from. And how to not be
afraid of them.

So, he got his little girl into her bed, and tucked under her covers. And he sat down on the side of her bed, and held her hand, and told her this story…

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who was afraid of the monsters in the dark. And she would not sleep at night, because they scared her so. So, her Father, who was not a wise man, but who knew all about monsters, told her, “You don’t have to be afraid of the
monsters, and tonight, I’ll stay up with you, and I’ll show you why.”

So, that night, when it was time for the little girl to go to bed, her Father tucked her in, and then sat down on the edge of her bed. “Let’s just wait here, and we’ll wait for the monsters to show up.”

And the little girl lay in her bed, and waited. And she watched the shadows on her bedroom walls. And on her bedroom ceiling. And she listened to all the noises in the dark.

And she sat up in her bed, and pointed, “There, Daddy! There’s a monster!” And her Daddy looked at the monster in the dark, resting on her bedroom wall. “Oh, precious,” he said. “That’s just a shadow. And it’s certainly not a shadow to be afraid of. Why, look.” And he stood up, and walked across the room. And he picked up her little, pink Teddy bear. And when he did, the monster on the wall moved, and went away.

“See, precious. It’s not a monster at all. Its just a shadow from your Teddy bear. It’s just Teddy, standing on your dresser, keeping watch over your room. Making sure the monsters of the dark don’t come in. Making sure you’re safe while you sleep.”

And the little girl looked at the wall, where the monster had been. And she looked at her Teddy bear. “Oh, Daddy! I didn’t know it was Teddy. Please put him back, so he can watch me while I sleep!”

And from that night on, the little girl knew that the monsters in the dark were just shadows on the walls. And that they weren’t anything to be afraid of.