joannebest











 

 

bestfamilyI was barely 5 years old the day I met my baby brother for the first time. Excited beyond belief at the thought of no longer being the youngest, I was going to have a tiny little brother to fuss over. I was sure life was going to be wonderful and I was going to be the best big sister that ever existed.

I remember every detail of that day, the clothes I wore, the constant trips to the window impatiently waiting for Dad’s Rambler to pull into the driveway bringing my Mom and new little brother home. After what seemed like forever, they finally got home and I ran as fast as my little legs would carry me. In a portent of things to come, I grabbed onto the porch railing, my soft little hand landing squarely on a very angry bee who decided it was more important to sting me rather than welcome the new arrival to the Best Family. In retrospect, I should have realized what life with Tommy would become.

Never boring.

It wasn’t long after his arrival that the two of us contacted a nasty case of chicken pox, our poor Mom spent half the time applying calamine lotion and the rest of the time trying to convince us to not scratch, not an easy feat when you’re dealing with a newborn baby and a 5 year old, but we made it through unscathed.

Living in Newark raising 3 young children didn’t last long as our Parents decided it was time to move to the suburbs, and before we knew it, we were living in Sayreville NJ, a 4 bedroom house giving each of us kids our very own bedroom. There was a 5 year age difference between the 3 of us, so in a way, Donald was almost a generation older than Tommy. Being in the middle, as well as being the only girl-child, it fell to me to keep an eye on Tommy.

Believe me, it sounds a lot easier than it was. Tommy had a lust for life and a fearless nature from the day he was born and he never lost that. Nothing scared him, nothing kept him from living life to the fullest on his own terms.

I have so many memories of growing up with Tommy I could easily fill a book long enough to rival War and Peace, but I would like to share just a few.

As most of you know, Tommy loved music and was a drummer in a few bands, most notably, Genocide. His obsession with drums began before he could even talk. We had an ongoing feud when we were kids that could be broken down into 2 sentences: Tommy complaining to our Mom about my neverending singing. “Ma! Make her stop singing!” he would say constantly, to which I would reply, “Ma! Make him stop playing drums!” It didn’t take long for us to realize this was a battle neither of us would ever win as he grew up to be a drummer in a band and I became a singer in another band . Tommy never needed a drum set back then and he didn’t need drumsticks, he would use anything he could get his hands on, including his fingers to bang away on any and every thing in his sight. One 4th of July he marched around the house using a garbage can lid and a red magic marker as a makeshift drum set. In true Tommy fashion, the marker exploded, covering Tommy from head to toe in what looked like blood but turned out to be magic marker.

When I was around 17 years old and heavily obsessed with the Punk scene, I got it in my mind that Tommy should have a drum set. I brokered a deal with one of my President Park Punk friends and lo and behold, at the age of 12, Tommy got his first drum set. Now although our musical tastes were similar, we had to keep it on the down-low. It wasn’t cool for a brother and sister to share too much at that age, but when he didn’t know I was in the house, I caught him switching his Iron Maiden and ACDC albums to my “borrowed” Ramones and Dead Boys albums. I never let on that I knew, but I was secretly pleased that we were becoming closer, at least when we were out of the public eye.

Fast forward a few years and before I knew it, somehow Tommy’s friends and my friends became one and the same for the most part. We drifted apart a bit after Tommy got married and had 3 children, but I was so proud of him whenever I saw him with his children. He lived and breathed for Tommy, Danny and Alexa. There was nothing more important to him than his children, he loved them with every ounce of his being and in fact the last words Tommy said to me was this : “If anything happens to me, please make sure my kids are taken care of.” I didn’t think much of this and in fact asked him why he was talking like that. I knew he was having problems with his heart but I also knew that there was nothing that could take him down. Not Tommy. He was, as our Dad used to say “Strong like bull”, he lived through war and made it back, there was no way any kind of illness would defeat him. He lived through a nasty divorce which I won’t describe out of respect for his children, but I will say that after his divorce, he had the most difficult years of his entire life.

He lost his home and Family in one fell swoop without warning and moved back home with our Parents. After a week of so he broke his leg yet it didn’t stop him. Very soon thereafter Hurricane Irene did a number on our Family home and by the Grace of God, Tommy, hearing a loud boom ran downstairs, broken leg and all, called 911 and got our Mom and Dad out of the house before the entire house collapsed. I shudder to think what would have happened to them if Tommy hadn’t been there that night.

As soon as the State of Emergency was lifted, Mom, Dad, and Tommy moved in with my husband Mike and me and my sister-in-law Pat. It was a full house, with 6 adults, 2 dogs, and 3 cats, but we made it work. After Mom and Dad found an apartment to live in until the house was repaired, Tommy continued to live with us for nearly a year. When Christmas rolled around, Tommy was concerned that he wouldn’t be able to give anyone any gifts. Every penny he had went to his children yet still he worried about us. As long as I live I will never ever forget that Christmas morning. Santa, in his infinite wisdom, delivered a stack of gifts from Tommy to all of us. Now I’m the first one to admit we tend to go overboard when it comes to Christmas morning, we always feel a childlike joy when it comes to giving to others and that year was no different. We spent hours unwrapping gifts, and as the morning progressed I noticed Tommy would get up periodically and leave the room. It wasn’t until a few days later when the two of us were alone in the house that Tommy told me that this particular Christmas was the best Christmas he celebrated in his entire life. Never in his life, he said, had he received so many gifts as he did that year. He also filled me in on a little secret I wasn’t aware of, Christmas day, my husband Mike took Tommy aside privately and gave him a Christmas card containing quite a few hundred dollar bills. Tommy tried to give it back but we have a rule, no such thing as take-backs when it comes to gifts. That was the first time in my life I ever saw my 6’3″ baby brother cry tears of happiness, love, and acceptance.

I’ve written a lot of words here in an attempt to give you a little insight into the Tommy you may not have known. He was a gentle giant, a big guy with a heart of gold, he would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need. He was a quiet hero, helping anyone, whether he knew them or not. One day, Tommy and his Family were driving back from a day trip and saw a terrible accident on the Garden State Parkway, a van full of people had crashed, rolling over trapping everyone inside. Without a thought for his own safety, Tommy literally crawled through broken glass and got every single person out of that van, covering them up with his own jacket and sweaters and anything else he could find. He even crawled back in one more time when one of the passengers realized his medication was in the front seat of the van. By the time the EMT’s and Police arrived on the scene, everyone was safely out of the vehicle, Tommy told the Police what happened and like a true Angel, Tommy disappeared, never getting credit nor wanting credit. Because that is who Tommy was. And that is who Tommy always will be, an unsung hero who will live on through his children, and a never to be forgotten baby brother, living on in my heart for the rest of my days.

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{March 10, 2016}   Either Or

depressed

Would it matter if I ran to you
legs pumping heart beating
arms open wide?

Or

Would you say you wish you made it
and then tell me that you tried
but it was out of your control?

Will my happy ever after
appear out of nowhere
the way the music told me?

Or

Will I have to crawl and beg
gobble up the crumbs thrown my way
and swallow with a smile?

When this black fog lifts
will the sun shine down on me
leading me out of this darkness?

Or

Will this black fog darken
thicken as it chokes me
laughing as it sees me crumble?

Will it matter either way?

disappearing girl1



{December 24, 2015}   Harder Than They Told Me

christmaswou4
well it’s Christmas Eve
but I don’t feel Christmas in my heart
oh it’s Christmas Eve and I don’t feel a thing
yeah it’s Christmas Eve
and memories keep running through my mind
yeah it’s Christmas Eve and you aren’t coming back

they told me it gets easier as the years crawl by
they said there’d come a time
when I would smile
they told me I would feel your warmth
your love surrounding me
but all I feel are teardrops in my eyes

nothing is the same since you’ve been gone
no matter how I try to get along
nothing much makes sense to me
I’m not the girl I used to be
another Christmas Eve again without you here
christmaswou3

christmaswou

for all those alone at Christmas, even if you’re surrounded by people, and for those alone wishing desperately that they weren’t… for all of us who suffered loss of any kind…. sometimes, it’s more raw than you expected and…. well, as alone as we feel, remember, we aren’t alone, even when it seems like it, but sometimes we need to wallow… shutting up now to watch Christmas movies set unrealistic expectations so we can all feel worse about our lives 😛

Merry Christmas my lovelies, you keep me writing, and while I’ve been MIA lately, I’m dipping my toes in and New Year Resolutions and all {happy dance} so try and enjoy, and I will too, a New Year and new beginnings my friends, yes?
oh, one more thing, this is being written as song lyrics and I just spit these words out a little while ago and didn’t want to forget, keep you updated on the outcome of these words 🙂

All the love from me to you ❤



{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



{August 7, 2015}   Where I’ve Been (And Why)

morning2Write what you can write when you can write else you may never be able to write again.

Substitute any word that may apply to you and your passion and never ever neglect it, because you never know when your passion, or your ability to pursue your passion, may be taken away from you.

My recent passionless existence began with a near-crippling case of carpal tunnel rearing it’s ugly head a few months ago. I’ve already gone the surgery route but all I got for my trouble was two wrists more painful than before surgery and two hands constantly reminding me that I have to choose where when and how I use my small windows of pain-free time.

So I stopped writing.
And began a downward spiral.

Fibromyalgia, once closed off in a box somewhere in my mind escaped much like Pandora’s Box, only this time, hope fled as well and I experienced the most excruciating fibro-flare I’ve ever had.

I shut myself down, nearly every part of me, shut down. Caring about anything became a distant memory. I couldn’t even fake it anymore. Nothing made me smile. Nobody made me laugh. I stopped believing in anything good ever happening to me again. Ever. Sleep became the only thing I looked forward to and the sound of the phone ringing made me cringe. My computer may as well have been nothing more than a dust collector because I had no interest. In anything.

I may as well have stopped living because whatever it was I was doing, going through the motions, was not in any way shape or form a life.

Grief.
I thought I would have been over it already. I mean, it’s been over two years since my Mom died, why does it still feel like it happened yesterday?

My whole world has changed without her and I have a new understanding of the effects of grief. My family has imploded. I used to have two brothers but now I have one, my older brother has basically cut me out of his life, guilt-calls my Father maybe once a month while I twist myself pretzel-like to do everything I can to help out my Dad. He’s going on 89 and while he can still be as sharp as a tack, he’s fading away. Lost without my Mother, he’s reimagined their life together, turning it into a Love Story For The Ages. And while I know the real version was nothing like he wants to remember, I agree with him as my heart breaks a little bit more every time I see him.
My younger brother and I have become closer than ever, as my older brother doesn’t talk to him either. The eldest, as far as I understood it to be, was supposed to step up and help us out. Instead, after taking my Father to his lawyer and having a will drawn up with him as the executor (not my Father’s wishes, but as the only one of us who went to college, his opinion seems to be the only one that matters) my older brother, when he was still talking to my younger brother, told him if anything in the will was changed, he would take me to court and say that I forged documents. He has some resentment towards me because when Hurricane Irene destroyed our house he wanted to put my Parents in an assisted living place while my Parents just wanted their house back. I, with the help of my younger brother, moved Heaven and Earth to make that happen and it pissed him off that I, a girl who never went to college, was able to get them back home.

So I’ve been dealing with a lot health-wise, and the three things that made me happiest disappeared. No more daily phone calls and Mother/Daughter getaways, my BFF became my occasional F due to, well, life, and my writing became a distant memory. With virtually no one to truly confide in anymore, I began to think of myself as worthless, cold and uncaring about anything. Basically, I make myself sickeningly pathetic and I’m sick of it. I sometimes wish I could just breakdown and cry my eyeballs out, but my feelings have frozen and I feel unmeltable.

Even my Birthday came and went without fanfare, it took me weeks to open the Birthday Card my favorite Aunt Judy sent me, as if I wasn’t even worthy of a card. I feel like an idiot for allowing myself to fall this hard and I realize I’m the only one who can save me.

And then something happened to wake me up. Out of nowhere, I received something in the mail from some very special Miscreants. There was no return address so it wasn’t until I opened it that I realized what it was, a fun pack that to this very second still makes me smile, hard.

Somehow, I’ve managed to babble about nothing important to anyone but me myself and I, but I have to admit, I feel a little bit better.

I was Blessed enough to attend two Facebook events this past week, one was a release party for
Anastasia Vitsky‘s new book Taliaschild and the other was Decadent Publishing 5th Annivesary Party.

They both gave me life. Inspired me. Woke me up. Stirred something in my soul to remind me who I am.

I’m back, and this time, I’m back to stay. No more not answering comments, no more ignoring life. It’s time to live again, and a great part of my resurrection is you. And you. Also you.
While these words are not my own, the sentiment is a perfect truth : “Love is all that matters.”

This time, I will not forget that.
And one last thing, I apologize to everyone I’ve seemingly ignored, it wasn’t you, it was me.
Love. It is once again in my heart, I would like nothing more than to spread it around.

a me I want to go back to these days (my Mom in the background, me and my Uncle)



{May 15, 2015}   The First Time I Saw Jesus

grotto4
I was eight years old the first time I saw Jesus.
Near the ponds, where I would ice skate whenever they froze solid enough to hold my skinny frame, there was a grove of birch trees set back a bit from the thick cluster of pine surrounding everything , as far as my young eyes could see.
He didn’t speak, at least not out loud. I don’t remember what He said inside my mind because that’s where I heard Him, that’s what it was, a mindmeld. If anyone could mindmeld, surely He could.
I only remember peace. Silent calming peace amidst the wind gusts and stinging hail mixed with small tiny snowflakes blowing sideways. My cheeks were red from the cold, my toes frozen inside my rubber boots and the thermos of hot chocolate my Mom made for me did nothing to warm my mitten-clad hands.
He did though. He glowed, surrounded by bright fluffy white clouds and I felt like I was in a grotto, straight from the pages of one of my books from Catholic School.
The wind stilled, that I remember, but the rest of it remains a dreamlike memory of an eight year old girl seeing Jesus for the first time.
I never told anyone for surely they wouldn’t believe me.
~
I was nine years old the first time I heard Angels sing.
It was the day Bobby Kennedy died. Too young to really understand death except to know it was bad and sad. It was my Godmother’s birthday, how could the day turn into a day of sadness?
It was hot that day and my bedroom was upstairs, an attic converted into two bedrooms, back when air conditioning was for the wealthy, not the middle class.
I lay on my bed, a big box fan aimed at me, too hot to even turn the pages of the book I was reading when I heard the Angels sing.
The sound was glorious, Heavenly, sweeter than the Church Choir I sang with every Sunday. But somehow I knew nobody else could hear it except me. I also knew, believed with all my heart, that the Angels were rejoicing as they escorted Bobby Kennedy to Heaven.
I listened to that unearthly sound and told no-one. Surely they would think I was crazy.
~
I was sixteen years old the first time a vampire snuck into my room.
Some friends and I were vampire hunting. We’d found a business card, slightly crumbled and worn from too many dirty footsteps walking over it as it lay on the ground, partially covered and unnoticed. A corner stuck out, catching my eye and I crouched down to slip it from the dirt. Brushing it off against my already dirty jeans I struggled to read the worn out words imprinted on the card in red. My friends gathered around me as we struggled to see what was left on the card. “Vampire” and “Club” were all we could make out, along with a partial address. Mustering up our courage, we climbed back into the old worn out van we’d been cruising around town in and drove up and down the street listed on the card. The house number wasn’t readable but the neighborhood was beautifully frightening, full of old rundown Victorian houses. Most seemed abandoned and we saw no signs indicating Vampires so we called it a night.
As I hopped out of the van, the streetlight in front of my house popped, making the dark seem darker. We laughed nervously, joking that a vampire must have followed us home to warn us away. I slipped quietly into the house, the sound of my Parents snoring assuring me my missed curfew would go unnoticed, just like the business card we found.
Sleep came quick that night, followed by the vampire. It was summertime, steamy, my skin too clammy for even a sheet. The thought of sleeping naked tempted me but I could imagine, with my luck, the house burning down and me running outside bare-assed.
I fell asleep to the sound of thunder as a summer storm blew in. The white cotton curtains rippled in the breeze and a particularly bright lightening bolt illuminated my bedroom. That’s when I saw him standing at the window. The curtains billowed around him as his eyes pierced mine, beckoning me to come to him.
I found myself sitting on my wicker chair, the loose white cotton shirt I slept in had slipped down leaving my shoulders exposed, showing the silver cross I always wore. I felt no panic, no worry, just a sense of peace as he gently lifted the cross over my head, dropping it on the floor next to me while he stroked my hair, pushing it back before his mouth came down to my neck.
The following morning I awoke in my bed, drained, fatigued, the memory of a vampire in my room vivid, clear, and undeniably real. I checked my neck for any sign of vampire fangs but there was nothing. Although I did notice my cross was no longer around my neck but puddled on the floor next to the white wicker chair I’d been sitting on.

I told no one for surely they would tell me I was only dreaming. The fatigue I felt, the cross on the floor, they told me it was true but I kept quiet.
~
I was eighteen the first time I saw a flying saucer.
Four of us were driving home from a Patti Smith concert in Manhattan, it was New Years Eve but we were all stone cold sober. The roads were empty as it neared the midnight hour and as we drove over the Edison Bridge we saw it. Rising from the Raritan Bay, a round object, approximately the size of a station wagon flew slowly out of the water, red and white lights caused the water dripping from the object to look like falling flames.
We were young and fearless, opening the windows and shouting “take us with you!” as we laughed but we knew what we saw. It was real and seemed to follow us. We drove through Sayreville and parked the car near Major’s Pond, the object still hovering over us.
I don’t remember anything else, just the four of us standing outside the car watching an Unidentified Flying Object rising higher and higher until it disappeared. None of us remember exiting the car, none of us remember how long we stood there, and none of us, to this day, talk about it.
Surely no one would believe us, we were just kids, crazy punk rockers. They would think we must have been drinking or doing drugs, neither of which was true. Yet we knew we wouldn’t be believed and to my knowledge, I’m the only one willing to discuss it.
~
I was in my forties the second time I saw another UFO, this time though, it wasn’t just me and a handful of friends who saw it, but the whole town, including a priest, some policeman, as well as hundreds of cars filled with people who pulled over on the New Jersey Turnpike to watch the majestic sight slowly moving in formation, low to the ground.
It was silent as it flew overhead, no crickets chirping, no buzzing of the usually ever-present mosquitos, none of the usual summer night sounds and all plane traffic was non-existent, an unusual occurrence in itself as I live a few miles away from Newark International Airport.
We stood outside on the pool deck, watching the slow glide until it reached a certain point, where it slowly disappeared, what looked like a falling trail of glitter fading as it left our field of vision.
Although we did tell other people about it, and watched and read news stories about it, there were still some doubters who surely thought we were crazy.
~
It was just a few years later the first time I saw a ghost.
In Cape May, known as one of the most haunted towns in New Jersey, my Mother and I were on one of our many Mother/Daughter getaways when it happened.
My memory is unclear and hazy, but my Mother woke up when she heard me talking to someone. “Don’t you see them?” I asked her. I pointed at them, two little children, a boy and a girl, both of them beckoning to me, encouraging me to follow them. Mom had heard me open the door and got up, pulling me back into the room when she found me leaning over the third story railing trying to reach them, to touch them, to follow them. She put me back to bed, as she did when I was a child and we talked about it in the morning over pancakes at Uncle Bills Pancake House. She saw nothing, but she believed me, she believed I saw two ghosts even though she didn’t see them herself.
But I told nobody else, surely they would insist I was in a dream-state, or I was sleepwalking, or it was just my overactive imagination.
~
The last time I saw my Mother she was in the ICU and it was her eighty-forth Birthday. We celebrated in her room with an imaginary candle in her lemon-ice. She told me about the dream she’d had, where she walked into a room and saw my Grandmother and two of her sisters, all deceased. One of her sisters asked her “what are you doing here? you don’t belong here yet”. My heart sank when she described her dream and we laughed it off, “yeah, that sounds like Aunt Jeananne” I said, “she’s just telling you it’s not your time yet.”
The hospital released her the next day, sending her to a rehabilitation center for her broken shoulder.
The following morning I was woken up from a deep sleep when the phone rang. It was a few minutes after five in the morning and they called to tell me my Mother was gone. I argued they were wrong, mistaken, my Mother wouldn’t leave me without saying goodbye.
Unfortunately, I was wrong and she did leave me without saying goodbye.
~
I like to think that day was the first time my Mother saw Jesus.
I like to think she watches over me, sees how much I miss her, how difficult it is for me to move on without her in my life.
I like to think the next time I see Jesus, He will be standing with my Mother, welcoming me home because home is where the heart is and my heart is always with my Mother.
And I don’t care what anyone thinks, because surely I will see her again, and all of this, this life I walk through each day yearning for invisibles will fade away as I move on to something bigger, something better, something understandable that will allow me to forget the forgettable, and instead, finally, I will be able to breathe easy once again.
meeting in heaven2



{January 2, 2015}   It’s All Fine

fake smile
those instincts of mine
they fail me every time,
slither and slink and go awry
and my memory fools me,
shadows form in certain places
taking me back to other times,
when i believed the words you said
and maybe you actually meant them,
then,
now
i build walls, a fortress to hide behind
painted lipstick red
so i can smile and say it’s fine,
it’s all fine i say,
and yes, i am happy beyond belief because,
you see,
everything is fine,
and no,
you’re mistaken i tell you,
there are no tears in my voice
no longings or expectations,
because i’m fine, it’s all fine,
the reflection you left burned into my brain,
of course it still glows
but i’m fine
that waver you hear in my words
is nothing more than auto-tune,
intentional distraction, mindless noise
to keep the screaming in my head submerged
to a whisper,
a weak defense,
but a defense nonetheless,
so please,
ignore all flashing lights and warning signs,
because i’m fine,
it’s all fine
alone hoody



{August 21, 2014}   Broken ~

haiku, of a sort
connection

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
slow separation
inevitable letdown
connection broken
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

connection4



{August 2, 2014}   If I Wake Up Dead Tomorrow

dead2
if i wake up dead tomorrow
it might take awhile for anyone to notice,
my cats, well they would want me to feed then
although they do love me, this i know,
but sometimes i think, no, i know, they love me best,
selflessly,
even when they want their crunchies,
it gets hard sometimes, living up to my promise,
the one where censuring myself would never cross my mind,
but it’s begun,
little snarks here, direct accusations there,
it makes me wonder sometimes, who is more self-centered,
the reader or the writer?
we weave reality through fiction
and fiction through reality,
words flow, meaningful and meaningless,
as long as they flow it’s a gift
and oh we are blessed if we are gifted,
and we are all gifted, in our own ways,
but my gift it seems, doesn’t weigh too much, so,
usually,
i paint on my smile and lie through my teeth,
it’s not you it’s me and all that,
because it is me, mostly,
i was born on a Wednesday and nothing will keep the woe away,
you can preach to me till you’re blue in the face,
that is, when you find the time and i enter your mind, when you pencil me in,
yes, yes i get it, i get it all,
maybe that’s the problem,
i mean mine, not yours of course,
so if i wake up dead tomorrow
leave me be,
throw me in the ocean and weigh me down with bricks,
dress me in my favorites but please,
if you could, slip me a pen,
regardless of my surroundings, i always find something to write on,
if i wake up dead tomorrow i will carry on, wherever i wind up,
for i always do,
as you will, as you always do,
until then, i may whine, i may cry like the cancer-moon-girl i am, the lunatic howling at the moon
only my howls sound more like sobs,
but in the end i carry me with me,
i am now my hope,
the blood that courses through my veins belongs to me,
they’ve made that clear,
through actions and non-words my blood belongs to me alone,
and it will pump through this body
until that day,
when that tomorrow comes,
and i wake up dead
dead



et cetera