Sunday, March 4, 2012

Quiet Memories

Memories… How quietly they sneak up on me.

Emotion as I set in my favorite chair. Something about that comforting little nook allows my mind to wander and it so often goes to places I would rather lock away. If I catch myself before I get too lost in the remembrances, I make myself busy. If not, I find myself just setting there in silence as hurt washes over me. It may only be a moment yet time, in the words of Einstein, is relative. And that moment may feel like years.

He said he never meant to hurt anyone, but he was the sharpest blade.  Maybe our love was just the blind leading the blind. You never really know what you will do until you truly love someone. How far you will go, what you will risk. I never saw it coming because I had let him walk through my walls like a ghost. Somewhere deep inside, no matter how bad things were between us, I had faith in him. I had believed in him. Unexpected and painful, he turned my feelings into a handful of nothing. I never saw at all.

Empty, I bounce back, brought into reality by the tears coursing down my cheeks and the cat that had just jumped into my lap. 

Memories… How quietly they sneak up on me.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ugly Truths

Speech therapists, neurologists, and psychiatrists all agree that I am not insane. They agree that I am not a freak. I have been told that my symptoms are ‘normal for the injury that you suffered’ and ‘time will help you learn to deal with it’ and ‘some things will never get better, but you can get around them,’ and ‘some things will heal, we can’t tell when, time will tell’ and ‘talk about it, go to counseling,’ and other phrases that blend together in a monologue of positivity that is encouraging yet, at the same time, daunting. Because I know that I will never be the same as I was. I know that I have a few ‘issues’ or ‘problems’… Whatever the label, I am a bit different now. It seldom comes out unless you live with me and I have a blackout in front of you and do something a bit ‘off.’ Like lose a telephone for several hours and recruit the household to look for it, only to have one of my daughters find it placed neatly in the freezer with the vegetables. Or think that I went to bed with a severe migraine, get up and walk about the house and have conversations with family members and binge on Twizzlers. I am a healthy woman who seldom eats candy, much less binges on it. I have no memory at all of these blackouts. I have had sex during them and to my dismay, no memory of it later. It is frightening, to make the understatement of the year, to be absolutely not in control of yourself.

These were things that my husband picked on me about. It made me feel so small. I know it is not my fault, but it still cut me deep. The rational side of me can say that it was just him and his personal lack of self-worth. The little girl in me cries and feels less. I forget things a lot. Though I am only thirty-six, I can sympathize with Alzheimer’s sufferers. He picked on me about that a lot. It was never pleasant to have a man that I loved make fun of something I was trying to conquer. When I would cry and he knew that he had pushed me too far, he would hold me and act comforting, but by then it was too late. I was already wounded. I still battle the memory loss demon. I forget words often. He made fun when I would pause, mid-sentence, and forget that I was saying. Completely forget the topic, sometimes just forget the word I was trying to use. ‘Come on… Use your words like a big girl, you can do it.’ And he would laugh as I cried, then ask why I was crying and look as though I had wounded him for spoiling his joke by not understanding its comic genius. He took great pleasure in this. While I have been told it is fairly common with brain injuries of this sort, it made me cry.

In my everyday life, I am fairly normal. It has gotten better over the years. As a single woman, I am just fine. I do not have these little ‘episodes’ every day on a noticeable level. I am very good at covering up. We adapt and overcome our little problems. But I want love. I ardently would have loved to have had a husband to stand by me all of my days, a good man to grow old with. I have resigned myself to the fact that it will not happen. Who would ever want me now? That thought alone is heartbreaking. It is not a lack of self-confidence, it is an ugly truth.  While I may still be pleasing to the eye, intelligent, driven to succeed, jovial though reclusive in nature and magnificent in bed, what man would want to dedicate to a woman with the slew of problems that go with the brain injury that I have? I do well at keeping them hidden, but they are there. Sometimes I simply can’t help it, it is beyond my control. This is why I hurt. This is why I cry over the divorce. Because I feel badly about myself, now more than ever before. I feel lonely and afraid. I miss what could have been had he been a good man.

Not to mention how long it takes my heart to heal and how jaded I am. I will date. I currently have a boyfriend. But I fear that I will always hold my heart away, hidden. That no man will want me as a ‘keeper’. That I will have playmates, not a real love.

It is an ugly truth, but I am strong enough to face it. I think that it is going to be me and my cat. And I am strangely alright with this, even if it stings more than just a little bit.

Monday, Happy Monday

I stood naked and slightly shivering in the chilly morning air.  My bare feet crossed the linoleum floor and I poured my cat a bowl of food.  She jumped gracefully down from the cedar hope chest at the foot of my bed when she heard the kibble rattle into her metal dish.  She gave her customary greeting as she passed by, a gentle caress against my leg, then continued on to her breakfast where she sat and began to eat in her regal manner. Sometimes, it is the little things that keep us going.
A long, hot shower washed away the last of the nightmares and I was beginning to calm down.  The house was quiet and the children were off to school. It had been an easy morning.

I dressed and walked out to the kitchen to fix myself breakfast. I felt like having a gourmet morning! A toasted wheat bagel topped with thick slices of juicy tomato, melted Swiss, just a hint of mayonnaise, Chipotle sauce and onion powder, coupled with a steaming hot cup of coffee with a spoon full of honey and fat free milk poured into my favorite mug. I arranged my vegetarian breakfast neatly on the table, enjoying the way the deep brown and cream place setting and coaster looked against the dark green table cloth, accented by rich mahogany furniture. Across from me, I gazed at a magnificent bronze sculpture, “the Lovers” by Hippolyte Moreau. The luxurious shades of warmth with burgundy and green patina made my spirits lift even more. A russet fruit bowl filled with apples and bananas sat gracefully on a beautiful table runner that was a few shades lighter green than the cloth and accented with lovely soft purples. I looked across the small dining area to the living room that shared the space. Marble topped mahogany furniture, everything elegant and neat. The two matching end tables each held a bronze sculpture that I had wonderful memories of selecting. Auburn and chocolate lamps adorned each, along with family photographs. The one closest to me held a scented candle. The entertainment center contained a display of precious items that had belonged to my Grandmother, passed away a year ago, some pottery in earth tone colors, and a flower centerpiece of burgundy and cream. The camel colored furniture held throws, a thick Woolrich blanket on the rocking chair. A Persian rug centered the marble coffee table top. I seemed to notice every small detail around me, every color and every shade of color. Yes, this home is small. But it is decorated in a most charming way.  It is clean, it is paid off and most importantly… It is mine.

I sat down and took a moment to appreciate the tranquility purchased by keeping a nice, tidy home. Oh yes, it is all about the little things. Taking life not simply one day at a time, but one moment at a time, and relishing the seemingly miniscule things that most take for granted. My morning seemed to glow… My morning.

I had no husband to clean up after. The house would stay as spotless as I kept it. No extra chores, no angry words thrown at me as I reminded him that I was neither his personal maid nor his mother, nothing to do except what I wanted… My day.

I savored every bite of my sandwich, cleared my dishes, brushed my teeth, put on my two pairs of sunglasses in hopes of avoiding a headache from the excessively bright sun being reflected off the snow, and went outside.

It ended up being a more difficult day than I would have liked because of my husband’s refusal to talk about it when I went to the prison and attempted to have him agree to an uncontested divorce. I will now potentially have to pay thousands of needless dollars extra and be drug through painful litigation. I had honestly wanted to be kind. Funny to want to give kindness to a man who, only just a couple months ago, wanted to take my life because I no longer wanted to be in his. And yet I did. It is my personality at my very core to simply not be mean. (I am the type to rescue a spider from going down the drain when I realized it wasn’t lint and, dripping wet with a spider in my bare hand, let it go outside.) And yet somehow, it is alright. Today, everything was just alright. Today, and every day, would belong to me.

On Sunday, my best had friend called. We talked for a time and she put things into perspective as she always does, giving me that reality check that nobody else could because she knows me better than anyone else does. Today, I felt so much better. Nothing could have bothered me today. My best friend has been steadfast for over a decade. My children are so sweet and good and my boyfriend’s text messages and telephone calls always make me smile. It reminds me that I am genuinely loved by others who I love back.

There will be times that it hurts, times it is hard. But today, I know that everything will simply be alright in the end.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Day Last Week

The incessant buzzing of my cellphone alarm woke me from yet another nightmare filled, nearly sleepless night. My head hurt and not just a little bit. My brain had a pulse. This was a morning with auras abounding. For anyone who has never suffered a severe migraine, there is no way of truly understanding one unless you can survive having a truck run over your skull as molten daggers are driven into your eye sockets.  I was nauseous as I got out of bed to stop the howling monster that had so rudely intruded on what little sleep my injured brain had allowed me.

I pushed the necessary button to make it stop, shuffled into the bathroom, took narcotic pain medication for migraines and brushed my teeth. I have had this kind of pain on a regular basis for over seven years now, ever since some Jihad jackass in Fallujah decided that blowing up our convoy would be better than facing us in a firefight. Every time I think of why I have migraines, I am thankful that I am relatively alright and I remind myself that one is only as injured as one wants to be. I make myself stronger. I face my immediate task. I have two children to get ready for school.

I put on my sunglasses so that I could handle the minimal light that I would turn on in the kitchen as I prepared their breakfast. I looked at the empty bed. His side of the bed. An invisible hand squeezed my heart and tears not caused by the migraine came and burned my eyes, threatening to fall. My vision blurred even worse. Then I told myself that I was being weak and I call upon the voice of my best friend, my other half. She is my voice of reason when I am on the cusp of sanity. He just tried to kill me. He is in prison for trying to kill me. I have a shotgun hole in my living room ceiling to look at as a reminder should I need to crush out the pain. I reminded myself that I miss the family dynamic, not him. He only used me, he never loved me. How could a man try to murder someone that he ever loved? Why do I allow it to hurt? I drew a deep breath and listened to that voice of reason and I was immediately grateful that I have a best friend that I can trust enough to pull me out of the oubliette and talk me down, even when she isn’t even there. I do not miss him. I miss what could have been and I miss the vibrant lady that I used to be not so long ago.

It hurts most that I fell for all the lies…

I walked slowly down the hall and stared for a moment once I reached the kitchen. I had forgotten what I was going to do. I have moments like this, but they are usually brief. If I just wait, it comes. So I waited. And eventually, it came. Everything is eventual, thank you, Mr. King! Fate has taught me humility and patience if nothing else.  I was going to make coffee and toast. That is what I was going to prepare. I washed my hands, a minor obsession that I have in my quest to kill any and all germs in my home, and pulled down the coffee and filters. I scooped the grounds and made the Folgers. The smell of bread made me queasy as I placed it into the toaster. The ladies chose the flavor yogurt they wanted, prepared their toast when it popped, and I added honey and milk to my younger daughter’s caffeinated drink as my elder teen choose skim milk as her beverage. I later cleaned the breakfast table as the children prepared themselves for school.

Time drags when I have a migraine. Every moment that I wait for the searing pain to subside is its own eternity. My ladies are respectful and kind to their mother, so understanding for just shy of thirteen and fifteen. They were quiet going about their morning rituals. The bus soon took them off to their school day.

I went straight to my bed for half an hour to let my medication work. I was not tired, I was in excruciating pain. I despise sloth and I get bored lying there waiting with nothing to do except be miserable. I am seldom in bed for more than a few hours unless I am ill or have a wretched headache. My loyal companion, as always, came to my side. The Birman breed is noted for its devotion. She is the apex of the breed’s characteristics. I hid under a heated blanket because I had the heat in the house turned down. For some reason, the cold air feels better when my head hurts. I looked over at my lovely friend, at those gorgeous, deep blue, almond round eyes. I stroked her soft, beige fur and my heart was full of love for that sweet companion. I placed a sleep mask on in lieu of the sunglasses and tried to rest as she purred beside me.

I was in bed for more than the half hour that I had planned, but I am used to my life having to adjust its schedules by now. The pain had subsided a little, but it was still enough that I didn’t want to move very much and I still saw that trail of images when there was movement. Auras the neurologist calls them. I was afraid that I would vomit. I know that I had not eaten; I would make the attempt later.  I still didn’t want to move. I looked at my watch and couldn’t read what it said. I picked up the house phone that I keep beside my bed whenever I am in it. 11:15. Sadie was no longer beside me. She had moved. I had rolled over several times. Time… It really has ceased to have much meaning to me as I have your average dog’s concept of it. All about perspective, I suppose.  I got up long enough to relieve myself, washed my hands twice, and set my cell alarm for 3:00 pm. so that I could shower and be presentable for my little ladies when they got home from school. God, I hate days like these. I took two more migraine pills and went back to bed. When the girls came home, I would be on my feet enough to be Mother, to cook and clean and hear about their day and simply be there, to wear a mask and not let them know how much it hurt.

I try so hard to be strong, but right then I cried, just a little bit. When nobody was looking. It hurt so much, I felt lost and isolated.  Not just the migraines, but all the symptoms. I have felt like a freak for so long. Going through a divorce is not much of an esteem boost, especially when your husband has tried, literally, to murder you. I broke down and cried. It hurt my head more, but somehow I felt a bit lighter as the tears poured down my cheeks.

I didn’t sleep, but by the time the girls got home, I was presentable and I was able to do the things that were needed. And I got on with my evening as a mother should.

I will get through this as millions of women do. I have a wonderful family that is there for me, good friends who truly care….

I am strong.  

A Blogger is Born

I know just who I am and exactly what I want.  I am active and take care of myself.  I am an artist, so I am very passionate and imaginative.  I am confident without being arrogant, but when I walk into a room, I know that I own it… hahahaaa!  I am extremely loyal to the few people I trust.  I am a bit sarcastic with a sense of humor.  I don’t do drama; I have no time for it.  I inspire others to do things that they never thought they could do; to live without fear and regret.  I believe in endless possibilities.  I am a dreamer who has lived my dreams.

So why am I writing this blog?  Because I am a single mother of two.  Newly single.  Life is often hard. We fall, we hurt and we get back up.  Sometimes, we lie there and cry for a while as we check out the scrapes.  Sometimes we look for bone shards piercing the skin before we dare attempt to move. This is one of those times for me.

This blog is the silent scream that I carry all day, the quiet ache that never leaves my heart.  These words are the tears that I won’t let others see.