Reading and Remembering

I thought I’d review my experience of 2012 tonight and maybe list some wishes for 2013, but my mind took me to another place.  Earlier this evening I started a novel by Helen Garner, “The Spare Room,” and I started thinking about my son, John,  johnshome.wordpress.com , who died of colon cancer in February, 2001.   The book is about two friends, one of whom is dying of cancer.  But when I thought of John, Cancer wasn’t what I thought of.

I remembered an experience John had at a new middle school he attended after we moved to Connecticut from Indiana.  He was taken into a booth in the boy’s bathroom and beat up by a boy from a corrective institution.  The boy was there on some kind of grant from the government, I believe, a trial program for delinquent boys.  The boy took John’s watch, gave him a black eye, a busted lip and a messed up face.  John was borderline autistic, a mild mannered, gentle soul who was trusting.  Even though the other boy had no marks or injuries, the incident was treated as a “scuffle between boys.”

Even though John was hurting physically, he was mostly injured emotionally.  He drew into himself, stayed up late at night teaching himself to play the guitar, picking out soft, haunting tunes.  He checked a book out of the library called “Violence in America.”   It broke my heart.

I was so angry, I took him to the principal’s office and insisted the principal explain to him why nothing was being done about the boy who hurt him.  I don’t remember the explanation, but it was lame.  It was obvious that something political was going on.  I took John to the head of the education board,  Again, sympathy, but no help.  I called the local newspaper.  A lot of sympathy but no help when the reporter learned where the other boy was from.

I think John and I both lost faith and respect at that time for people in high places.  It’s been a long road trying to change my opinion.

Not a very pretty story.  I’m sorry I can’t do better, especially today when I should be looking back at the positives in my life and thinking about going forward.  But this is real; anything else I might write would be forced.

Tomorrow, perhaps, I’ll take stock and look ahead.  For now, I’m sending John a hug and a prayer, and then I’ll get back to my novel.

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Thank You and Best Wishes

Just want to wish everyone a healthy and happy new year.  May 2013 bring peace and safety to all parts of the world.  Thank you, my blogging friends, for your interest and support in me and my imperfect blog.  I’m amazed by the warmth and caring I’ve found here.  I can’t tell you how I’ve benefited from knowing you.  I hope to have more to give to you in 2013. Love and hugs. XO  Mary

A New Adventure

 

 

 

 

 

 

English: Title page of the first volume of the...
English: Title page of the first volume of the Yale Literary Magazine, published in New Haven, Conn., in 1836, and printed by Herrick & Noyes of New Haven. Image courtesy of the Yale University Manuscripts & Archives Digital Database. Retouched by MarmadukePercy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

This morning I ordered the 2013 Poet’s Market from Amazon.  I’ve made a promise to myself to send out at least one poem a month.  I haven’t tried to publish in literary magazines or small presses in years.  I hate the business end of it and would rather spend the time creating but it IS nice, once in awhile, to see my poems in print along with other poets.  Also, at this time in my life, sending out the poems gives me a purpose, something to look forward to, whether the poems are published or not.   My life has become so humdrum, so void of freshness or excitement.  This will be an adventure.

 

 

 

 

Greetings

English: Live Christmas Music at the Americana...
English: Live Christmas Music at the Americana in Glendale, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy holidays to my fellow bloggers and other friends who stop by.  I wish you peace and many blessings now and always.

Not So Pleasant Holidays

Iconic screen shot from the movie It's a Wonde...
Iconic screen shot from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

“It’s a Wonderful Life” is on the TV tonight.   Scott loved that movie.  He watched it every year.  I’m surprised at how just knowing its on fills me with dread.  It’s been 13 years since Scott killed himself and I still can’t watch his favorite programs, look at his photos, his handwriting, anything that reminds me of him.  He loved  sizzlers, Seinfeld, Star Wars, roast, rice and gravy.

I often wonder what he would look like now, if he’d be married, if he’d have children.  I loved him so much.  I still can’t believe he’s gone.  And I miss him.

I’ll be glad when Christmas is over.  Next, I have to get through his birthday, January 9th.  He’d be 49.  The hurt never goes away.

 

Tears

English: Portrait of old woman sitting by a wi...
English: Portrait of old woman sitting by a window. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The woman looking out the window is not me, but she could be me.  I spend a lot of time looking out the window.

I cry every day.  TV, poems, telephone conversations, everything makes me cry.    Sad things, happy moments, but mostly beauty.  There is so much beauty in the world.  And it fills me with tears.  The innocence of children, little acts of kindness between strangers, a loving heart, nature, the long suffering and loyalty of dogs and other animals, and the awful beauty of loss.  Yes, loss, and what it does to us.  Or, what we do with it.  Loss changes people, makes us more patient, compassionate, understanding, loving.

But I cry so much!  It bothers me sometimes.  I remember when Henry,  the man Mother married after Dad died, cried at a birthday party we gave him.  Forrest, my husband, said, “Don’t be a baby.”  It made me sad that he said such an unfeeling thing; And I hope Henry didn’t hear him.  Having worked with the elderly, I knew, from experience, that older people tear up more easily than the young.   There are exceptions, of course.   One obvious reason for this, I think, is that by the time you reach those elder years, you’ve had countless losses and gone through many changes.  And, I believe, we are also grieving our own coming deaths.  Every time someone I care about dies, I feel a little closer to that day.

Tonight, watching Christmas in Rockefeller Center on TV, I had to change the channel.  So many memories attached to the songs.  Happier times, when we were all here enjoying the season together.  I haven’t put up a tree since Scott died thirteen  years ago.   My only two grandchildren, both adopted, live in Connecticut; I live in Missouri.  We don’t have much contact since John, my son (their dad} died.  Sadly, Christmas and many other holidays, are just times for me to get through.  Giving to others, especially the needy, helps, but, still, the heart of Christmas is missing for me.  And many others.

This may seem like a contradiction to what I said about the elderly being compassionate, understanding and loving because of their losses.  And I guess it is.  Much of my life, and feelings, are contradictory.    I’m trying to put it all together so I can feel whole again.

Bad News

I had a cousin just a few months younger than me.  Her name was Terry.  We met 27 years ago when we both were 58.   It’s a long story, but briefly, she lived in Kansas and had been looking for her mother  for years; finally found us in Missouri, but her mother had passed away.  I was thrilled to have her in my life.

She and her husband visited us a couple of times, and my husband and I drove to Kansas to see her.  We talked on the phone and exchanged letters.

She was such a gift; we both lamented the fact that we lived so far from each other.  I felt we had been cheated (she much more than I)  for not knowing each other when we were younger.  My dad’s family all lived close, within walking distance of one another.  If we had known each other then, we would have been playmates, probably best friends.   And then, after finally  meeting, we still couldn’t see each other that often because of the distance, and, later, due to the fact that we both had physical problems that made traveling difficult.

Our contact has been less frequent the past few years, and I’ve been the one to call.  Terry had been quite ill and on medication that left her drowsy, with slurred speech; I did most of the talking.  Not a very rewarding exchange.

I was thinking about her today and realized it had been quite awhile since we talked.  I decided to call her and was looking forward to hearing her voice.   Her husband answered, told me she died last April.    And now I regret that I didn’t call her sooner.

I’ve had that experience before.  I called my best friend after my husband died and learned she had died months before.  You’d think I would have learned by now to live as if today is the only day.  To not let time grow between us.

But time seems to go so fast.  And I think….tomorrow.  Then tomorrow comes, and I let it slide by too  And before I know it, weeks, months have passed.  Nothing in life is so certain that we can take anything for granted.

I’m glad, and grateful, that my cousin and I were able to enjoy each other, if only briefly.   If she hadn’t found us, I would never have known I had a cousin in Kansas.  She enriched my life and she’s a part of me now.

I love you Terry.  Thank you for the gift of you.