joannebest











sick

 

I was all kinds of proud of me and my declaration of independence and freedom for the Brand New Year numbered 2018.

I even made plans to (gasp) leave the house and go out.

On a Saturday night.

With my favorite person in the world.

I was giddy with anticipation and delighted at the idea of spending time with my Not-Daughter. We were going to some really cool coffee house type place to talk and do girl stuff aka I have Christmas gifts that arrived late which is really just an excuse for me to spend time with my Not-Daughter.

Then came the Great Collision of 2018, The Bombogenisis named Grayson and a nasty cold on the verge of turning into bronchitis. Because I can’t have nice things.

After the latest storm dumped a whole lotta snow and dragged the temperatures down so low that single digits felt warm compared to the wind chill factor, I, of course, started getting sick. Anyone with fibromyalgia knows what that means, it means a simple head cold can turn into bronchitis, pneumonia, you name it, the possibilities are endless.

Unfortunately, it also means I had a choice to make, should I stay or should I go?

I spent half the day pro and con-ing in between going through boxes of tissues at an alarming rate and attempting to sleep my sickness away.

It didn’t work.

I had to cancel.

And cancelling plans with my Not-Daughter damn near broke my heart. She’s a sweetheart and understood but I still feel awful having to cancel our attempt at getting together. Because I worry and worry and worry due to years of cancelled plans and the reactions of whoever I’ve had to cancel plans with. That’s probably not even close to being grammatically correct but I can’t care about grammar right now. I’ve been writing this for 2 days because I’ve spent more time sleeping than I have being awake. Saturday I slept from 7:30pm until 7:30am Sunday morning, when I woke up feeling worse. I drank a few cups of tea and went back to sleep around noon and woke up a little after 5pm, still sick. One bowl of chicken soup, one cup of tea and a small handful of vitamins later and I was back in bed, asleep before 8pm.

And now, here I am. Still sick, still feeling awful about cancelled plans and still wishing I was a time traveler.

Did I forget to mention I wish I was a time traveler? Is my fevered brain making nonsense out of nonsense? Will all these cups of tea and bowls of chicken soup finally make me feel better? Will I ever get rid of this flu-like thing that does nothing but make me want to sleep? Will I ever get to spend quality time with my Not-Daughter? Will I ever stop babbling guiltily and end this nonsensical post?

I love you Not-Daughter, I hope some day I can grow up and be just like you. And also, I hope I can sleep more and wake up feeling all better.

Until then, due to circumstances beyond my control, in the almost-words of Not-Helen Reddy, I am woman, hear me snore.

 

sick2

 

 

 

Advertisements


{January 3, 2018}   2018 : The Year Of Me

butterfly1

“For a new year to bring you something new, make a move, like a butterfly tearing its cocoon! Make a move!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan

 

I hereby declare 2018 to be The Year Of Me.

If you either know me or “know” me, you understand this is a big deal.

I do not put myself first.

I do not put myself second.

It’s actually a miracle if I make my own list at all so to attempt to devote an entire year to me and my own selfish whims way of doing things, you know, thinking of myself for a change, well that is a huge deal.

Huge enough that I’ve been writing this since January 1st but have been intimidated, by myself no less, because it’s not very polite to make it all about me.

Well, after a lifetime of devoting myself to those around me I finally realized you kinda get treated in a way somewhat similar to the way you treat yourself.

Yeah, fuck that anymore. Oh, and any and all grammar Nazis can piss off too. Mangling words is one of the few pleasures of life so, uh, there. Now back to me.

I, as is common knowledge, am a trifecta of guilt. Middle and only girl child? Check. Catholic School education? Check. Born under the sign of Cancer? Check. Don’t get all picky, it’s a trifecta, take my word for it. I’m also Irish, believe me, there’s guilt in there somewhere as well.

I’m not going to re-live all the stuff that kept me running in place getting nowhere, suffice it to say I was a caretaker for various Family members, blood or otherwise, for a good 10 years. The odd thing about it all is I was born to take care of others and I actually enjoy it. Making others feel good, helping others out in times of trouble, doing any little thing to makes someone else’s life even a little bit easier, these are things that make me feel good. The problem is I’m an all-in kinda gal. Once I dip a toe in, before I know it I’m in over my head while everyone else is just floating.

I wanna float for awhile too.

I should have been a nurse. Or a teacher. Or a Mother to human babies instead of only fur babies. Sometimes I just want to hug the world and everyone in it. But it would be nice, I imagine, if somebody wanted to return the favor once in awhile.

Shake it off Suzy, this ain’t no pity party. Grow a spine and deal with it. That was me giving myself a pep talk. I tend to open my mouth and my Mother’s words come out of it lately. That, well, that is a good thing.

Back on topic, 2018 will be is the year of Me with a capital “M”.

I resolve to start thinking about myself for a change. To stop leaving myself out of the loop and start living. Socializing. Getting out of the damn house and doing stuff. Write. Write some more. Keep writing. But, also, most importantly, live. And if living includes doing things for other people, even better, I just have to remind myself daily that I count too.

I have a plan. Sorta.

Of course I’ve picked the worst time of the year to become all about me because it’s damn near freezing outside and we’re due for another snowstorm but I can’t let that be an excuse stop me from reaching my goals. Sure, I can strap on my Fitbit and walk around in circles but that’s not the same as walking outside and getting in a few miles a day. So instead of beating myself up as per usual, I’ve decided to accept the fact that I won’t be getting anywhere near 7 miles a day until Springtime and that’s okay.

I resolve to go with the flow yet make sure that flow includes me at the top, or whatever the correct terminology is when referring to a flow.

I resolve to remove myself from the floor and stop allowing people to walk all over me.

I resolve to laugh more and cry less, although a good hard cry now and then is a good thing.

I resolve to do things that may be expected of me, as long as I do things my way.

I resolve to finish writing this stupid blog-type thing I’m writing which, by my own admission, is kinda boring but guess what? It’s my blog and I get to write whatever I want.

It is also my life. It’s time for me to take it back and live it.

 

 

 

“I used to have this toy, a magic slate. You wrote or drew on it and then, just by pulling up the plastic cover, everything you did disappeared and you could start new. Maybe everyone feels that on New Year’s Eve: They can pull up the magic sheet and rewrite their lives.”

― V.C. Andrews

magic slate

 

 

 

 

 

 



{December 29, 2017}   The Plot Bunny Hop

plot bunny

Oh boy.

Wait. Is that considered sexist these days? I can’t keep up with the ever-changing rearranging list of words we may or may not use, but that’s a bunny for another day. This day? Well this day has my head full of ideas, like ideas are multiplying and I’m hopping from one to another, unable to settle on just one.

Is it an embarrassment of riches when you have eleventy twelve plots-to-be and you can’t figure out which way to go? I have so many almost-done stories I need to finish while new ideas keep hopping through my brain yelling “pick me! pick me!” and that’s where the embarrassment comes in. Because I’m having trouble figuring out who to give my rose to and my Muse is about ready to smack me upside the head, so to speak.

Focus.

Easier said than done.

I took a break from writing, a very long unproductive break. The reasons, legitimate as they are, are no longer acceptable to me. I can no longer not write, it’s inexcusable to allow life to keep me from doing the thing I love most. Not that thing, that thing is a plot bunny of a different color, but writing? Well, writing snuck up on me without my knowledge, I was a reader, not a writer. But I could write letters easily as I draw breath, and when I won a reading with a psychic astrologer-stop laughing please and thank you- he told me he saw writing in my future. Ok, this is the part where you can laugh because that was my reaction.

Blah blah blah and the next thing I know, I’m writing a fiction column for a summer newspaper, somewhere around 24 short pieces of beach/family-friendly horror stories that I actually got paid to write before the paper folded.

I work best under pressure.

What do you do when you no longer have a deadline to meet? In my case, I once again found myself thrown into something completely unexpected, song writing. Oh, but that wasn’t enough, I also, through no fault of my own, was pushed right up front, a lead singer singing songs I wrote.

I started to like this thing called writing and short version, I found myself here, blogging.

The problem with blogging was I had nobody pushing me, I had to push myself. So push I did until I didn’t, which brings me back to my point; too many ideas and not enough fingers to type with because 10 fingers can only type so fast. So I find myself with a bookshelf’s worth of almost finished novel-length stories because I keep hopping from one to another.

What do I do now?

Do I start something completely brandy new? Do I pull out my unfinished words and, say, finish something already started?

I can picture my Muse, standing over me, her arms folded, tapping a foot impatiently, that look of dominant disappointment on her face because she wants me to finish her story. She doesn’t care that I’ve got an apocalyptic survivor waiting for me to continue her adventures. She doesn’t care about Lizzie and James, two vampires hanging out at a human club while Liam, James’s twin brother is wreaking havoc just for fun. She doesn’t care about Persephone leaving Hades and his desperate attempts to get her back, never mind the Djinn, who happens to be part of my Muse’s story. She’s all about me, me, me!!! She’s also really pissed that I’m even considering doing the bunny hop with a new plot bunny instead of dancing with her.

Did I mention she can be really scary when she doesn’t get her way?

Did I just figure out where I should stop hopping and start writing?

Did my Muse just command me to give more attention to her?

You bet your pretty neck she did.

museleather



{December 28, 2017}   Uncomfortably Numb

cant care

I’m not sure of the exact moment it happened but it hit me without leaving a mark this morning when I woke up.

I can’t care.

About anything.

It’s not that I don’t want to care, it’s that I can’t care. I’m numb. Uncomfortably numb because I don’t very much love this feeling, but I can’t seem to care enough to do anything about it. And therein lies the problem. It’s one of those circular chicken and egg things. You know, where did it start? What came first?

Apparently I can’t seem to care enough to figure it out.

Or can I?

That’s one of the reasons I’m here right now instead of say, going back to bed and pulling the covers over my head hoping to slip back into a deep sleep, perchance to live in a dream world where it doesn’t matter whether I care or not.

It’s pathetic.

Check this out, when I lift my head from my laptop I see an 8 foot tree blazing with colored lights and shiny decorations, each one either hand-picked by me or hand-made by my Mom. There are several huge piles of gifts, wonderful beautiful gifts we’ve all picked out for each other I mean Santa left under the tree on Christmas Eve, practical needed gifts as well as dream gifts, you know, the stuff you want but wouldn’t buy for yourself. Yet still, I can’t care.

I mean, there’s a Buffy The Vampire Slayer Board Game I’ve wanted since before it existed. I can be Buffy and slay the day away. I swear I even heard Spike call me out I mean call my name and I’m ignoring that lovely British accent because, well, the caring is gone. Again.

I tend to be a reactionary sponge. I soak up all the emotion around me and usually let it all take over, get in the driver’s seat, so to speak. Puppet-like, my strings get yanked to and fro but recently, an imaginary pair of scissors has cut nearly every damn string leaving me motionless, emotionless, just plain less. Still, knowing all of this, I can’t muster up even one drop of caring.

Listen, I’m not stupid, I’ve been through many years of therapy, I recognize that nobody can save me except me but, say it with me, I can’t care. There are a myriad of reasons, real, true, valid reasons for my non-caring. I get it. I understand that the last 5 or 6 years have blown up my world and changed the me I used to be.
I can visualize it in my mind like falling dominos; the hurricane crashing the house, my Mom dying the following year just 5 months after moving back home, my Dad dying the year after that, the house being sold and my brother dying the same week, basically my entire support system yanked away from me and me trying to not talk about it because nobody wants to hear it anymore, hell, don’t want to hear it anymore.

So what do I do? Being born under the sign of Cancer, I can cry my eyeballs out but I’m sick to death of tears. I can pull into my shell and I do, more than anyone knows because I pretend. I turned myself into an actress playing a part. Those smiles you see on my face? Fake. Those cute little sarcastic quips I throw out like I’m channeling my Mother? Fake. Those prescription RayBan sunglasses I wear whenever I leave the house? Not fake but useful because they hide my eyes, the windows to my battered soul. My damn eyes give me away every damn time, but only to those who care to look. And hell, if I don’t care, why should anyone else?

This is not a cry for help, a plea for understanding, a desperate attempt looking for attention. Those things would require me caring, but my capacity to really care somehow slipped away when I wasn’t paying attention.

And please don’t get me wrong, I care about other people I love, I just can’t care when it comes to myself. A therapist would probably say I just summed it up in that last bit of words, a therapist would probably say I have to love myself in order to care about myself. But a therapist isn’t walking around in this shell of a body, I am. I am the one in the driver’s seat and apparently I’ve stalled. I need a jump start, a new battery, something to bring me back to life and that is all on me. I get it logically, I can diagnose and fix anybody’s life, but when I look in the mirror and see the blank look in my baby blues, all I feel is colder.

So is that all there is? Am I to be forever stuck in neutral, idling and wasting gas as the world passes me by? Will I forever be in a constant state of nope, not even caring enough to take all my wonderful gifts sitting under the tree out of the boxes? Will I remain uncomfortably numb for the rest of my life?

Perhaps being uncomfortably numb isn’t the worst thing in the world. Uncomfortably numb implies I’m not comfortable with the numbness, I’m not a Pink Floyd song, I’m not comfortably numb, so maybe there’s hope for me after all.

Stay tuned, as we end this year and move on to another. Maybe I can resolve to shake off this numbness and start feeling something, anything even. At the least, I can hope.

Or, as someone much more proficient with words than I once said:

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”
― Alfred Tennyson



{December 8, 2017}   Breaking The Ice

breaking ice1

Is it possible to forget how to write?

It’s 3:42am EST as I type these words, I woke up half an hour ago and found myself unable to go back to sleep. You know how your mind switches on and no matter what you do, you can’t stop those thoughts from swirling and cluttering? It’s usually your worst fears or insecurities that seem to pop up most around those hours, I heard that 3am is the Devil’s hour, it was in some article talking about a weird phenomena where a whole bunch of people around the world wake up during the 3am hour, like the Devil has an alarm clock somewhere and it wakes up those who are susceptible.

The major flaw I find in that theory is time zones. Does everyone wake up at the same time, or does everyone wake up at 3am local time? Either Hell is full of alarm clocks all set for the same time or my mind is scrambling for something to write about.

Because it’s been a long time.

I hate to play the death card again but those of you who have followed my blog previously,you all know I had that Trifecta of Death, the domino effect that began with a hurricane acting all “I’ll huff and puff and blow your house down”, followed by the year of rebuilding, then the Trifecta of Death which was actually more like Double Digits of Death because almost my entire Family got wiped out one by one leaving me with one older brother who has no use I mean love I mean, well, he doesn’t really know me nor does he want to, one Aunt I love who lives far away and a handful of cousins, most of who live across the country, and no more Family home I worked so hard to save, which I did with the help of many, but since the sale after my Parents died, I’ve yet to drive by the house, I’m afraid I’ll break down and bawl like a baby.

I just wanted to get that out of the way, for those of you at home playing along for the first time.

So much has changed, I seem to find myself lost and aimless, the only person able to understand me is a 19 year old daughter of friends of mine. She’s me when I was 19 and the daughter I never had, only way cooler than me.

I’m doing that thing I do, ramble, babble, talk too much.

I hear that accusation a lot these days which is pretty ironic seeing as I talk to no one except my husband and his sister, we all still live in the same house, they go to work and I have no job which is all good when I’m writing but I haven’t been writing so I’ve been feeling pretty useless/worthless/all-the-less-words.

Maybe I have Stockholm Syndrome.

Hey, that’s a thing you know!

I talk to myself, my cats, an occasional few minutes on the phone with my bestie who’s life is pretty much the same as mine so our contact is more textual than vocal. I’m the girl who would talk to her Mother 5 times a day, even my Dad and deceased Brother would call me all they time but they were more like 16 times a day.

So when you’re backed against the wall you might as well give in and hope your Muse wakes up and smacks you awake. Because I’ve been sleepwalking through life and it’s time to WAKE UP!!!

Silence isn’t always golden, sometimes silence sucks.

 

breaking ice

 



{November 6, 2015}   Letting Go, Slowly

dadmomDad and Mom pre-marriage
bestparentsMom and Dad in Branch Brook Park, Newark NJ

I have two choices.
I can either continue to wallow in grief and despair or I can move on and try something else like, say, living my life before I myself drop dead.
I’m starting to lean towards the second, more alive version of me.
Don’t get me wrong, my heart is killing me, I could easily curl up into a ball and cry for a few years, but I’m starting to make even my own self sick with the Poor Me Parade banging ’round my head.

I cast thee out! Be gone unclean spirit! Away with you Evil Monster of Unending Grief! Enough!

Okay, so I’m not making light of death and grief, and with all these major life changes happening one after another in the course of three or so years, well, the burden is decidedly weighty.
But.
I have to let it go.
Not the love, not the memories, but the sadness.
It’s not healthy and I can imagine my Mom’s face, giving me the patented Carey-Look-Of-Disapproval, a Medusa-like look capable of stopping you in your tracks and possibly turning you to stone.
“Joanne Bridget,” I can imagine her saying, “don’t you dare stop living just because I’m not right there with you. I’m in your heart, now stop grieving and start doing. And don’t even think for a minute I’m not watching over you, get your ass moving, keep writing, and for the love of God, get yourself back down to Cape May and enjoy yourself. Live. For me. For you. You’ll see me again one day and FYI, they have wooden spoons up here in Heaven, don’t make me have to use it on you missy. Now go and live your dreams and for God’s sake, stop feeling guilty, you are my daughter, act like it before I send your Father down there to ground you!”

I’ve been grounded enough times to know I better start living and stop, well, not.

My brothers and I have mended fences and are once again we three instead of strangers.
The last few days were spent talking together, the way we used to once upon a time.
We shared memories and some family secrets were revealed, things that made our past a little more understandable. Looking back on things from an adult perspective instead of the eyes of a broken child. None of us were ever really broken, we were just kids raised by Parents who did the best they could and I can honestly say they did a damn good job.
I wouldn’t trade either of my Parents for anyone in the world. They made me who I am, they made me me and it’s long past time I live up to myself.

I will never completely stop grieving, I will never not miss them like crazy, but it’s time to move on and live again. For Mom, for Dad, and for the three of us, two brothers and a sister, a small, but loving Family.
We will never forget you Mom and Dad, but we will love you forever and honor your memory by remaining your children, forever.

bestfamily1Mom, Dad, and baby brother Tommy

bestfamily2Brother Donald, me, Mom with brother Tommy in her belly

bestfanilyMom, Tommy, me, Dad, Donald took the picture
3ofusDonald, Tommy, me in the Poconos

bestfamilyThe three of us, once upon a time



kindness of strangers

“I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers”

A few mornings ago, I woke up sobbing. And I’m not ashamed to admit my weakness.
I am beyond overwhelmed and I am guilty of intentionally adding more to my burden-filled plate. I am also guilty of misdirected anger and extreme disappointment while trying to mask my feelings.

I miss my Mom and I miss my Dad and this whole dissolving of the estate also know as ripping my heart out and tearing it into three equal portions, is slowly killing me.
Or a reasonable facsimile thereof…
It freezes my usually warm heart knowing that we are already showing the house to realtors when my Dad died a month today, and it hurts me to the core seeing our childhood reduced to nothing more than a dollar amount.
From the age of 5, when we moved from Newark NJ to Sayreville NJ, up until this very day, that home has been the ‘no place like home’ security blanket that always made me feel safe, no matter where I was.
Now it’s all about numbers and “get rid of this” and “curb appeal” and “throw away all this stuff” aka get a dumpster and discard every bit of memory and character left in your heart, um, I mean house.

Let me be clear, I am the least money-hungry person you may or may not ever meet in your life.

To me, money is a necessary evil we need to survive.
I am simple to please, a roof over my head, a cup of tea, a couple of cats, a million books and a place to write are enough to keep me happy and thriving. Okay, maybe an occasional Carmello bar thrown in there once in awhile doesn’t hurt.

But.

I’m grieving.

And I can count the number of family members who care that my Father died on one hand.
If you have no respect for the death of my Father, that’s your business and also your right. But don’t you think you should have a little bit of respect for me, a grieving Daughter who loved BOTH of her Parents unconditionally?

And did it ever cross your mind that perhaps taking joy from the fact that my Father died and being vocal about it might just hurt me a little bit? Did any of the guilty parties ever think that perhaps, upon hearing the news of my Father’s death, telling his adult children you would get up and do a jig if you were physically capable of doing so is beyond disrespectful? Never mind how much it hurt to hear something like that from someone you have loved and looked up to since the day you were born.
I’m not naming names and I’m not pointing fingers, it’s more like a wave in your general direction. I do this out of respect for family ties, which have been reduced from a capital F ‘Family’ to just plain small letter ‘family’ even though whoever it is I’m referring to will most likely never see these words.

Since this is more of an update/babble, there is no order to my thoughts, no beginning, middle, or end.
There is no message, no point, no lessons to be taught or learned, more of just a purge of stuff that has been weaving through my brain, not all of it of course, because when it comes down to it, I’m more of a ‘don’t say anything if you can’t say anything nice’ kinda girl, and at this moment in time, I can’t think of anything nice to say upon hearing all the negativity toward my Father.

I guess some people think they are perfect and have decided slamming a man who, along with my Mother, practically raised them during their childhood, for reasons.

I have a lot of anger issues.
Not one sympathy card or phone call from anyone on my Mom’s side of the family*, while my Dad’s side, consisting of 3 cousins, have been more supportive than everyone else put together.

My Mother would be so disappointed in the branch of her family tree.

Things have settled down between my two brothers and I, after a long face to face talk, we’ve come to terms for the most part, so at least I feel a bit better knowing that we three are on the same page.

So while I am still an emotional wreck, at least I am an emotional wreck with two brothers who love me as I love them.

I have discovered that it’s really true, blood doesn’t make family, but loving and caring friends can become more of a Family than blood relatives.

And while it is very comforting to know that I do have a support system, it saddens me to know how the people you expected to be there for you are nowhere to be found.

I will end this now, because I’m verging on whining, but one last thing: I have met some of the best friends I could ever hope for as a result of writing, it doesn’t matter that I have never met a lot of them in person, they have still showed me more love and concern than I’ve received from blood ties.
So dear friends, if I haven’t made myself clear enough, you, and you, and you too, my writerly-friends, have made a tragic time in my life a little bit easier, just by being there for me when I needed someone more than ever.
I thank you and I love you with a love usually reserved for family, because you are now my Family.
This fact alone has made it easier to sleep at night.

*a few of my cousins commented on my Facebook status when I posted that my Dad had passed.

family4



{October 11, 2015}   Is This Hell?

hell2

I ate my anger last night,
as if the instigators of my fury would disappear
swallow by swallow, bite by bite,
me furiously chewing without pleasure,
like an alcoholic slamming down drink after drink
until they don’t consider themselves drunk,
but they consider you the cause of every wrong thing in the world,

Carmelo bars, caramel wrapped lovingly in chocolate followed by another bar,
piece after piece popped in a mouthful of sand where everything tastes like the desert,
eating without thought, without taste or pleasure, mindless zombie chomping on chocolate flesh,
Kisses, the chocolate ones, I grab that tag and yank, exposed chocolate in the palm of my handy waiting to melt in my mouth, not in my hands, call my name seductive,
no melt danger there when you eat so fast you don’t taste a thing,
stress eating they call it, but I just call it stupid, a lack of control on my part,
because I hurt no one but me and my favorite skinny jeans

I smoked too many cigarettes again,
after promising myself and my doctor I would quit,
I did quit once, for maybe a year but then my life fell apart so I grabbed onto the nearest mentholated excuse
and drew that acrid smoke into my lungs like it was clean healthy air,
knowing in my mind that just because I roll my own cigarettes doesn’t make it less hazardous to my health
the cost may be less for a carton of machine-rolled than a carton of store bought cigarettes
yet the cost to my health is beyond my means,
all the psychological games I play in my mind to stop me from smoking disappear along with the menthol smoke
and I feel disgust as I look at the wreckage I’ve left in my wake,
empty candy wrappers and an overflowing ashtray adds to my self-loathing
and I wonder when I lost control of my self

infighting and passive aggressive words thrown at me,
and how do you defend yourself against imagined sins when your accuser throws back another shot
as the mental flogging goes on and on and on,
only to be forgotten in the light of day as my self esteem shrinks till my heart is shriveled and Grinch-like
and I flinch at the slightest side-look, waiting for another shoe to drop
knowing all the while I am shoeless, guilty of nothing other than
someone else’s paranoia,
imagined sins and baseless accusations, all courtesy of Mr. Daniels, but you can call him Jack,
he comes with a title you see, but I only know him as the Court Jester
because it’s all a joke you know, those words weren’t meant I’m told, where is my sense of humor and
why don’t I have a drink and calm down

why don’t I have a drink and calm down for
nothing matters you see,
the rollercoaster ride continues and I’m not buckled in,
I twist and turn and morph into a dumpster,
come one, come all, give me your tired, your weary, your problems
bigger than mine, for I am Jan Brady and the middle child gets all the garbage
while trying to keep the boat afloat,
all those years of taking care reduced to ashes
as the trophy boys hold their hands open, waiting for their due
and me?
I just want my Mother.
I want that unconditional love but it is gone for all time and
I must carry on, carry them, carry the guilt for nothing until I wonder,
is this Hell?

What have I done with my life and where did I leave myself?
Because I am gone, I look in a mirror and wonder who is in there, peering back at me,
eyes so sad I could cry from the mere sight of me,
stability ripped away like a rug yanked from beneath me
metaphorically battered and interior bruising,
my previous protectors an illusion shattered,
my desire to sleep forever whispers in my ear like a song stuck in your head
an effort to shake it away, and so much easier to continue wearing my mask…

Don’t let them in, don’t let them too close,
the knife you feel in your back is real, but ignore the blood as you slowly bleed out
play the game and you lose, don’t play along and still, you lose it all,
alone, lost, afraid, a path of darkness ahead and darker still in my rearview mirror
Is anything real? Did I imagine all the good that has left me standing alone,
fighting for nothing
fearing everything
I am swept into a corner and still I wonder,
is this Hell?

depression3



{October 3, 2015}   Now I Am An Orphan

bestfanilyMom, Dad, Tommy and me. I assume my older brother took this picture.

Now I am an orphan.
As anyone who has ever glanced at my blog knows, I’m one of those daughters who needs her Parents in her life. Mommy’s girl, Daddy’s girl, whatever the kids are calling it these days, that’s me.
Always and without fail, my Parents have been my rock.
When I lost my Mom 2 years, 5 months and 14 days ago, my world was upended and nothing was ever completely right again. She was my best friend, my keeper of secrets and knew me better than anyone in the world. To this day I find myself reaching for the phone to call her.
So I carried on the best I could because someone had to take care of my Dad, who else but the middle girl-child would take on the task?
In my brother Tom’s defense, he did what he could to help out, but lets face it, a man born in 1927 is more likely to expect a woman’s help than accept a man’s help. Male pride runs deep, especially when you’re an ex-Navy man. Showing weakness to your son is not acceptable to some people, and my Dad was certainly one of those people.
My older brother, well, he’ll get a post of his own once the estate is settled. I don’t know if he just finds me beneath him because I never went to college and instead pursued my dreams; singing songs I wrote in my own band and working towards becoming a real writer to name a few, but the point is I followed my heart and not my bank account. Lets put it this way: when I mentioned to my older brother as we sat around my Mom’s Thanksgiving table maybe 8 years ago, that I didn’t realize he was on Facebook and I’d send him a friend request he gave me a song and dance answer that translated into a big fat no you will not be my FB friend. I only use it for business, he told me. Oddly enough, I found this was a lie and all my relatives, including my younger brother, were all on his ‘friends’ list.
A virtual slap in the face. But more about that another time.

My Father was stubborn, grouchy, and refused to let me move in with him to make his life a little easier. Instead, I spent a lot of time in my car, driving 20 minutes each way at the drop of a hat. Doctor appointments? I took him to all of them and Dad was the kind of senior citizen who liked to make doctor appointments the way people make plans to go to lunch, they were social engagements to him more than necessary appointments but I understood and played the game.
My daily phone calls with my Mom now turned into many, many phone calls from Dad, a few times a day is one thing but he’d call to tell me there was a John Wayne movie on, or to let me know what the song of the day was. See, he’d walk every morning down at the waterfront and that was part of his shtick, every morning he’d sing a different song as he walked, like the Pied Piper, little kids would follow him asking “what’s the song of the day Charlie?” He’d talk to their parents and ask if it was okay to give them a piece of candy or a lollipop, and whenever it was vacation time, a group of teenagers would talk to him and tell him they were watching out for him.
He was loved by strangers, openly showing affection, but he had a hard time doing the same for his immediate family.

Here’s the thing; my Father was, for all intents and purposes, an orphan. He never knew his own Father and his Mother died before he was 5 years old. He was raised by his maiden Aunt, who we all referred to as our Grandmother.
My Dad used to roller skate all the time when he was a kid, and one night, when he and his posse came out of the rink, they heard the news, Pearl Harbor was bombed. Right then and there my Dad decided he was going to enlist in the Navy. He had some hoops to jump through because he was only 17 years old but he did it, he went to boot camp in Buffalo NY and that young boy became a man quickly as he boarded a ship and soon found himself a part of the Normandy Beach Invasion on D-Day. He’s told me a lot of stories from back then but one in particular sticks out in my mind. He was on LST 279, a torpedo missed his ship by 20 feet but that’s not the story I’m referring to; the ships were at the mercy of the tides, they were unable to move when the tide was low and sometimes little French children would walk out to the ships and wave to the sailors on the ship. One day, when they were serving lemon meringue pie, something my Dad hated, he took a pie and put it in his helmet to lower it down to the kids in the surf. On the way down, the helmet did a 360 and through the grace of God, or maybe just pure luck, as the helmet flipped the pie slipped out and somehow managed to land right-side up inside the helmet, undamaged. Dad told me those kids were so thrilled to have a pie to eat they were scooping it out of the pie tin with their fingers until they got every drop.

A week ago today, on September 26th, 2015, my Dad passed away in the same hospital my Mom did, although I talked to him every day and saw him a few times a week, he gave no indication of any problems, although I felt a chill when he told me he wanted to die but didn’t want to kill himself. He missed my Mom. He wanted to be with her. We had this conversation Tuesday night and Wednesday I went to pick him up for his doctor appointment. I walked in the house and found him on the floor, unable to move. I called 911 and spent the next few days at the hospital with my younger brother.
The first thing my Dad said when he was stable was “Her name is Alice Bridget Carey”, my Mom’s maiden name. I felt like he was letting his higher power know he was looking for his wife. The last thing he said to me was “I love you”.
And I know he did.

I made a conscious decision around 10 years ago that I would spend as much time as I could with my Parents. I knew how lucky I was to have both my Parents alive and I wanted no regrets when they were gone. I didn’t want to say ‘I should have spent more time with them’.
There are a lot of relatives who didn’t like my Father. After my Mom died, not one relative ever made any effort to contact my Father in any way. This made me so sad, because even if he was a grouchy old man, he was my Father, he was my Mother’s husband. He was Family but he was written off.
But not by me.

I love you Dad, and I always will. Rest In Peace, I will never forget you.

bestparents Mom and Dad in Branch Brook Park, Newark NJ



{September 11, 2015}   I Can Never Forget

9 11abb

I’m sure I’m not the only one who is having a hard time getting through another September 11th. I tried desperately to write today but found myself staring at a near blank page and clicking back and forth between writing and looking at Facebook.

Basically wasting time.

I can’t even muster up the ability to write about that day in 2001 from my perspective, but it nags at me, to post something. I can’t ignore the day without acknowledging it some way,  yet I can’t write anything today, the words are stuck in my heart because my head is filled with all the what-ifs, all the lives that were touched that day, and how there was a ripple effect that day. You didn’t have to live in New York or New Jersey or Pennsylvania or Washington DC or Boston, it doesn’t matter where you lived, the World changed that day and Innocence became a memory the instant that first plane hit the first Tower.

I dug out some of my blank books, the books I use to keep track of rehearsals and write lyrics. I also tend to doodle when there’s lead singer down time, and it just so happened we had rehearsal on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001. I wanted to cancel but in the end we decided to go to the studio and try to not think for two hours. We had a gig coming up where we had to add a few cover songs to usual original set so I had a bit of doodle time while the musicians musicianed other people’s songs.

So I decided to take a few photographs of my doodles, and the lyrics to a song I wrote that night called “Lay Me Down”, just my feelings about that day jotted down quickly in a blank book as the horrifying terrible smell was everywhere and the smoke continued to take over the sky no matter where you turned.

This year was worse for me. Don’t know why, it just was.

So I shall share some pages from journals written and doodled on Tuesday, September 11th,2001 at Stage Right Studios while our Innocence disappeared slowly, nearly unnoticed, like that tragic scent and the never-ending smoke. I never claimed to be an artist, but I just needed to share this, and hope to sleep tonight nightmare-less, unlike last night when I had one of those same nightmares where I’m lost in New York City alone in the dark.

If you click on this photo you can see a scribbled NYC skyline, the one I saw every single day.

911a

If you click on this you can see my mental me unravel a bit, writing down words to songs my Mom sang to me when I would cry and she’d sing “Why oh why oh why oh, did I ever leave Ohio?” Neither one of us ever went to Ohio but it became our code song, kind of like clicking your ruby slippers three times or Calgon, take me away type stuff.

Just me then? [shrugs]

 

911b

These are the lyrics to Lay Me Down, the song I wrote that night, the song sitting in another studio waiting for me to finish some vocals and a few other touchups. If you click on the photo I was surprised to find the words legible. Um, just me then? Either way, I believe I may have posted them previously, if not, perhaps I will.  Right this moment, this is all I can do.

I’ll get back to my WIP tomorrow after Dad Duty. How do you make an almost 89 year old ex Navy Man who was actually there on D Day let you help him? He doesn’t want my help, he wants my Mom back and so do I but that isn’t possible. So I shall visit and clean and do laundry and go food shopping, shout louder than I sing so he can hear me, and bite my tongue near in half at the way he talks to me and the fight he gives me about cleaning. He can do it himself you know. That translates into what I call Covert Cleaning. I’m getting better at it. Oh, my point, I will have to remember to post my lyrics if I already haven’t. I think I may have but my head is telling me to watch Anthony Stewart Head in Dominion then sleep. Without lost in NYC dreams please.

911d

Well would you look at that! Over 700 words, much more than I thought I had in me.

I have to thank Kate Richards and Nina Cooper, their collective words to me on Facebook healed me enough to post this. Thank you both, you are truly amazing women I am extremely Blessed to know in any capacity, this virtual world we gather in really does make miles disappear. For that I am very grateful ❤



et cetera