The Thirteenth Year

May. The month of darkness. The month of flashbacks, nightmares, anger at being robbed of loved ones… It’s hell. I suffer silently; no one is particularly interested in what I have to say. I remind myself it isn’t personal, some people simply aren’t full-fledged human beings. C’est la vie.

Thirteen years ago tonight, my mother’s heart gave out. I got the phone call, “We’re trying to revive her, but…” The BUT was my mother’s DNR; a point of contention between us for years. I had power of attorney and I remember saying, “Screw the DNR. If she can be revived, you save her life.” An hour later and I knew. I remember looking at the clock, in pure silence, and knowing the exact moment when she left. When I received her death certificate, the time was not a shock, but it jolted me. My life was permanently altered. I feel like I’ve lived a nightmare almost every day since.

One of the most important messages my mother instilled in me was to ALWAYS be honest and speak up for my beliefs. I am not a passive, gullible, peace-keeper; I was built for war and educated argument. My mother knew, before I was born, that I was strong and a force to be reckoned with. That’s the kind of daughter she wanted; one who would always speak her mind, one who would not pretend, and one who wouldn’t take shit from anyone, because she’d know her worth and would not be afraid of walking into rooms and being a strong, powerful, determined individual. I suspect she got what she ordered. 😉

My parents taught my brother and I to focus on facts, and to know when we were being lied to. Not everyone is blessed with intuitive education. I was not taught to hate. I am an intuitive person with a mind which pays attention to details others might miss. Micro-aggressions, body language, any shift in behavior or verbal tone is something I will notice. I am grateful for these things, because I know other parents weren’t teaching such things, and because much of this knowledge has saved my life in many situations.

My mother was the best. I was blessed with someone truly devoted to her children, imperfections aside, because NO ONE is perfect. We’re all human.

I miss you. There are no words for the amount of pain I am still trying to work through. Time does not heal a damn thing. Not in this situation.

The Dark Days

I’ve kept an extremely low profile the past few days. For starters, I am still fighting off an infection. It’s draining me terribly. My brain understood I really needed to shovel snow yesterday, but my body sent me back to bed because I couldn’t keep my head up or my eyes open. I was battling a migraine, chronic pain, and a damn infection. My body can only handle so much right now. Second, today is the thirteenth anniversary of my father’s death, and it is fresh in my mind. I’ve needed the rest I’ve managed to get, but it doesn’t wash my mind clean.

I have often told people that when I speak from experience and from no need to, “please anyone”, it stems from being an adult orphan. You are never fully prepared to lose your parents, no matter your age, or theirs. I only have to make myself proud, because no one else is as invested in me as my parents and grandparents were. It is sad that even in 2020, people still make it clear that they don’t appreciate me in any way. There’s nothing I plan on doing about the issues of others. It isn’t my responsibility, and it likely has nothing to do with me, personally. In 2021, I’d like to take things a lot less personally

I’ve always been clear that my father and I were not close or on the best of terms during the course of my life. I come from an abusive home and background, and I am trying hard to make sure the next generation is not affected by this. It was maybe in the final years of his life that he was able to appreciate me. As a person, as a daughter, as the responsible member of the family.

Each year, as I revisit the losses I’ve endured in my life, I also try to keep the good memories alive in my heart. And yet, these are still dark days for me. It’s hard to, “celebrate” a life half-lived. Any time someone dies and they are older than my parents were at the times of their deaths, I don’t have much to offer. It’s a sympathy card, a fruit basket, something I know anyone in mourning can appreciate, but sometimes I want to say, “He was 95. He lived his life.” I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way, but in a, “It was an inevitability.” type of statement, yet I tend to keep that to myself 99.9% of the time.

It’s taken me a while to realize I am choosing to lack empathy and compassion at times. It’s something I’m consciously doing on nearly every dark day. I am not trying to take anyone’s private pain away from them, as much as I am choosing to embrace a fact in my life to keep me from going off the deep end.

I was not shown a whole lot of compassion or empathy after losing my father, and then my mother. I received such things in tiny doses. And I’m not going to lie; it’s important to grieve until you can feel yourself slowly start to heal. Until you no longer feel completely shattered. It does not happen overnight.

My dark day is now a dark night, and I am trying to keep myself calm as I approach the anniversary of the funeral and everything that occurred after the fact. It’s not “dwelling on the past”, as much as it is hoping for a better future.

Be Near Me When My Light Is Low…

“Be near me when my light is low,
When the blood creeps, and the nerves prick
And tingle; and the heart is sick,
And all the wheels of Being slow.

Be near me when the sensuous frame
Is rack’d with pangs that conquer trust;
And Time, a maniac scattering dust,
And Life, a fury slinging flame.

Be near me when my faith is dry,
And men the flies of latter spring,
That lay their eggs, and sting and sing
And weave their petty cells and die.

Be near me when I fade away,
To point the term of human strife,
And on the low dark verge of life
The twilight of eternal day.”
―Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam

Midnight Musings

I may have shared the quote below last year around this time, or not. If it’s repetitive, it’s not intentional.

My mind has been focused a lot these days on home and my deceased loved ones.

Some people leave their hometowns and eventually feel no ties to wherever it is they’re from. I’m not one of them.

Home is deeply engrained in my soul. Going back is painful. And yet, the streets know my name and my blood feels calmer there. It’s more than a place, more than memories, and more than one particular moment. It simply IS.

When asked where I’m from, it’s an automatic reply. In Massachusetts, they ask because I, “talk funny”. It rarely occurs to them that I simply don’t have a Boston accent. Having filmed periodically over the last few months, I have noticed that, on film, I don’t sound the way I do in my daily life. I have, however, noticed that my accent (Which is one of many. Polyglots can often find themselves “stuck” in an accent if they’ve been thinking in a language and actively using it. I regularly take on an accent if I’ve talked to someone who isn’t American and speaks a language I know, or am extremely familiar with. In regular conversation with a friend, he jokingly noticed my “perfect London accent.” As I type this, I can hear his voice and in turn, my brain switches into the accent he mentioned. I’ve been doing it a lot lately without realizing it. 🤷 He refers to it as “Star Bird Lisa”. That’s a compliment.) is this overly perfected, “middle of nowhere” American English. I NEVER noticed the gradual change until my best friend pointed it out. But when I’m exhausted beyond words, I hear my accent completely change. Inevitably, each one will end up on film. Hopefully I’ll amuse someone besides myself. 

Where was I going with this? Home. It’s not just a place. It’s my heart.

Sleep well, mes amis. 😗

“The tears I feel today
I’ll wait to shed tomorrow.
Though I’ll not sleep this night
Nor find surcease from sorrow.
My eyes must keep their sight:
I dare not be tear-blinded.
I must be free to talk
Not choked with grief, clear-minded.
My mouth cannot betray
The anguish that I know.
Yes, I’ll keep my tears til later:
But my grief will never go.”
―Anne McCaffrey

*In Memory Of My Grandfather…Великою людиною дійсно ніколи не може бути втрачено або забуто- A great man can never truly be lost or forgotten.*