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Archive for the ‘Bereavement’ Category

I don’t think that I want to be the kind of girl that hangs out at penitentiaries, or asylums, or places of incarceration. That girl whose fingertips stretch further than they are able to try to touch the flesh of another palm. One whose skin is white like paper and whose eyes look deep and dark and hidden. I like the freckles on my shoulders and across my nose. I like the way my skin smells when the babe and I have spent hours searching for polywogs and beetles in the lake. When I kiss, I like the taste of my lover’s lips and the old coffee and sandwiches that cling to his tongue to dance across mine. I don’t want to be another mouth pressed up against glass trying to feel the heat on the other side.

But in too many other ways I already am that girl and always have been. My attraction to caged things is undying. As a child I liked to catch lizards and flies and hold them close to me in an attempt to make them happy in my warmth. I’ve always loved the zoo, the fact that I could stand so close to lions and tigers and monkeys, but I would always will them out. Someone told me that if you believed in something with enough of you, if it was real to you, it was real. In childhood this is an easy concept. I believed that by willing it, I could release the animals from their cages. I believed that they would come out and lie prostrate at my feet. That they would bite me, just enough to draw blood, and then lick the wound when I cried out. I want to believe this now. That by willing the bars to come down I can grant freedom, and that in that freedom all that the incarcerated will want is to be trapped by me.

The babe is sleeping now. He gets so sweaty when he sleeps and I like to go in there and cuddle up to him and smell his hair. It still smells like newborn to me, maybe because I wash it maybe once every two weeks. No crib, babe sleeps on the mattress on the floor next to me. We’ll go out tomorrow to enjoy the sunshine, but lately this is what life has looked like for us:

Light up UCF with the aunties

A medieval wedding for my Uncle and his Bride, Eldonna

Sister and Me, who has been holding my hands in dreams and brushing my hair.

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Okay, Deep breath.

I want this blog to be happy and full of love and funny stories. But somehow it always ends up sad and heartbreaking and heartbroken. I’ve been putting off this post because I haven’t been ready to write it, but maybe I should. Maybe I should face it and feel good and enjoy the sunshine again.

On Monday I gathered up the kitten, who’s legs had begun to drag behind her. I gathered her up and cooed nice words and she was sweet and sat in the pet carrier and didn’t even mew. Didn’t say a word. When we got to the vet’s she was good and sweet and didn’t hiss or act too wild. The vet took her out with a little help, and examined her. He told us her back was broken. She had been hit by a car and the wound that I had been looking after, that I thought was a simple scrape from her life outdoors, was a result of that. There was an infection in the bone, in her spine. The feeling in her legs was gone. She was in a lot of pain.

And I broke. I felt like all those things that I’ve lost along the way; grandpa, sully, Tiny, sister-that they were all there in that room with us and they were all gone. Especially sister, who in some way was like the kitten, Bones-that the babe named her, who looked at us with eyes that were scared and knew knew knew that somehow this was the end. And I had to put her down. Because even if I had the $3,000 to pay to have her hips re-broken and her spine realigned she would never walk again, would maybe never recover. And maybe it was wrong that I did. Her eyes were wide and she was afraid. She wasn’t a pet. She was a wild cat and all that she wanted to do was survive survive survive. This wasn’t like when we put Tiny down, who was old and loved us, and was happy that we were crowded around. Bones didn’t want anyone around. Didn’t trust people. Maybe she would have rather fallen asleep outside under the tree and just let the infection spread and never wake up. Or maybe she would have suffered. But would the suffering have been as bad as her fear in that room with us? It was suffocating.

I wonder if this was the last thing. I wonder how much I can take before I turn into something that isn’t me. I build up these little things inside my heart to try to make sure it keeps on going, keeps me up in the morning and making breakfast for the little person. In the vets office, in that room with the kitten, with Bones, something started to break, like I could hear it splintering and cracking and folding over. All I could think to do was say, “Oh god, Oh god,” while little kitten huddled in the corner.

Now, she is buried in the backyard. The part-time lover came with me and he dug a deep hole for her. He lifted her on the soft little blankets that I put in the carrier for her, that we carried her home in, and laid her down in the ground as softly as he could. I sprinkled the dirt over the blankets and wished her a happy journey, safe and beautiful lives forever after.

I don’t know what else to do or what to say. I’d like to just stop for a little while. Or maybe a long while. But I know I can’t. So, for right now at least, I go on for the babe. Up in the morning for him, up at night for him. For a while that will be okay, I imagine.

When she first found us

Her first food

Shortly before our trip to the vet.

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Tonight I found myself with my arms wrapped around the tree-trunk chest of my dog. I rubbed my nose on his fur and held on. I held him like he was a person, a friend, a family. I haven’t done that in a long time. I haven’t run my hands down the creases of his face or let him press his big head into my hip either.

I spent this Thursday out with one of my dearest friends that I see all too little. We met a nice boy with a nice accent and she said, “Isn’t sad that we’ll never again love like we did with our first love?”, and it’s true. Our hearts will always be a little protected and a little worn and a little broke up. We’ll always smile for our new lovers when we may have cried for our first.

This is how I feel about the dog. When I held on to Sully I had to tell myself to breath out, to let go. I had to tell myself that I could hold and and cuddle him and speak softly like I did to Tiny and to Cleatus before him. I told myself that it was okay to see him as more than just Dog, or more than just a fleeting moment of happiness that will run out before I would be able to grab onto it, that it would be more pain than comfort. With Sully I’ve found myself holding back. Maybe because he’s not my first dog. He’s not full of the promise of maybe a life time together. He limps with the promise of an early death and another day week month lifetime of heartache.

But this isn’t how we are supposed to love. Maybe I need to love harder, knowing that the love that I get and give is so restricted by time.

I think of the kitten similarly. Some days I want to give up. The simple stroke of fur seems almost too little of a reward. Almost. Then, I see him sitting there. He is calm and he observes me. He likes to watch us now. And maybe he’s teaching me something. There’s something encouraging in the silences between us and in the ways he’ll stay within earshot just to watch us. Maybe the lesson is that it’s okay to love someone without being able to grasp them at all.

These pictures don’t fit the blog, but I was never good at that anyway.

Rainy day adventures

Oh look, a puddle

Cue nice weather, we sat in the car and rocked out to Metallica

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My sweet little baby bean turned the big 2 today (or, yesterday, depending on the hour in which I post this).

WEEEE!

Nom Nom Nom

Just a finger in the picture, nothing to see here, folks

We had a dinosaur themed party and all of his lovely family and friends came out to celebrate.  Obviously, the splash pad was a hit.

When we got home I assumed my initial, “haven’t finished homework” panic mode, and began scanning the room for distractions while I frantically skimmed over passe compose of pronomial verbs in French.  But then I looked at him, all 28 lbs of him, and I wanted to just stop it all and play.  So I did.

I climbed into the puppy tent with my little puppy and we screamed and rolled around.  The pup said, “We’re stuck!”, and we pretended to claw our way out.  He said, “How get out??” and we rolled around more and made the tent fly all across the family room and into feet, legs, and little cousins in our adventure.

When I look at the pictures of my just born baby bean, his tiny pudge cheeks and his little o mouth, and then at my walking talking genius toddler, I feel a surge of panic.  I can’t pinpoint where it comes from.  Me not being where I wanted to be when he turned two, not having accomplished what I set out to accomplish, not necessarily raising him the way that I had planned on raising him.

Some of it is that as he gets older the time between when sister was here, and the time I’ve had without her, grows longer.  And she doesn’t get to see him.  And I’m becoming more and more years older than she was.  I know that it doesn’t help anything by saying it, because it will never be true, but I wish she were here to help me with him.  I wish she were here to see what a beautiful and wonderful person the Babe is, I wish she could be proud of me for helping this sweet person to grow.

I guess that falls into the category of one of those things that I can’t help, so I have to move past.  I can be strong enough to raise this little person, and to help him to see a life that grows more bountiful and wonderful with each passing day.  I know a lot of it is him, but I like to think that his shining face and sweet spirit has been helped along just a little bit by me.

Two years ago this sweet face showed up at my doorstep 🙂

Happy Birthday my sweetie Jude, keep on growing and changing the world, you’ve changed mine fo’ sure.

 

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So, I’ve been neglecting this blogarooski for the past few days.  I apologize.  I’ve even been neglecting my photo project, but I do have a couple for you:

The other day

One of the little bean:

Yes, that is underpants on his head.  Who doesn’t have an awesome underwear head picture from their salad days??

And, one of myself and the baby bean together:

We both look ridiculous.

This little experiment has been shaping up to be more interesting than I once imagined.  I thought that I would grow to appreciate the photos that I snapped, accept them, maybe kind of like them.  I didn’t expect that I would start to like them more than pictures that I have deemed “good.”  I took this picture, posed, smoothed my hair, used the mirror as a guide, to see how I would look in one that I had control over:

The posed picture.

See?  I look pretty here.  I like it, but, see that one at the top?  I like it better.  I look happier, I look cleaner and brighter, and maybe it’s too closely cropped, but it looks more like me.  And that’s what I wanted.  I recognize that face more as me than this face that I’ve carefully watched and photographed to look like the me I wanted.  I’m starting to like the me I am without posing.  I’m starting to recognize the me I am as opposed to the me I have in my head.

I think I’ll keep on with this.  I’m developing it into a project that involves youth of a middle schooled age.  It’s a work in progress but it’s something I’m pretty excited about.

In other news- I stared back to the University this week.  That’s part of the reason for my absence here.  My classes are interesting.  I have a French professor who is sweet and short and has an accent that doesn’t sound quite french.  He’s maybe sixty and his face reminds me of a basset hound.  When he speaks I focus less on the french and more on his mouth.  I like to imagine his face when he was young.  I like to imagine his first kiss.  His lips are flat and rosy and dry looking, but at one time they were moist and red.  At one time his face was pulled tight and his mouth was moving against the parted lips of a black haired french girl.  I like to wonder where this girl is now.  I have a feeling this semester of French is going to be another one full of challenges.

I also have an internship at The Florida Review.  Our first meeting with the Editor in Chief was yesterday and the whole atmosphere was one of creative anticipation.  Our Chief also mentioned a certain disorder that goes on in the brain, in her brain, that affects ones ability to memorize a face.  She mentioned that some are so harshly afflicted that they can’t recognize their spouses.  Some can’t recognize themselves.  When she mentioned this I thought of my little project here, and how doing something so public was one of the only ways I could force myself to recognize me.  Or at least recognize me as someone I enjoy looking at.  Maybe my brain is affected by a similar malady, except I can recognize all but myself.

I’ve also not been here because my mind body person has been slowly stewing around all the death in my life, and the loss of my dog, and the loss of my sister.  I need some time to sit down and write it out.  Expect some blogs in the near future.

Baby bean turns two on Sunday!  Get excited!

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There’s a little black and white stripped kitten that is hanging out in my parents backyard, despite the presence of our nearly 200 lb mastiffe.  He mews at me from afar.  A little helpless mew that is just begging for a good kitten snuggle.  I’ve been feeding him cans of tuna in an attempt to bribe him to my fingertips, but every time I make a move in his direction he darts off like the little tease he is.  Finicky bastard.

This is as close as Kitten Little lets me get.

Baby is happy to watch from afar, splashing around in the pool.

I’m not even sure I like cats.  They come out cute and puffy with those big eyes and that little mew voice, but before you know it they’re all claws and teeth and piss.  This kitten looks like he’s the type.  Wiley, skinny, giant green eyes that are just oozing cute innocent kitten.  I know the risks, but over the past two days it has become my own personal goal to harness my animal spirit skills and give this kitty a proper ear scratch.  It is a healthy obsession, and more than that, it has distracted me from life events that I would rather not be a part of.

The first being the three year anniversary of my sisters death.  The day always creeps up on me, it’s like this terrible heaviness that sits inside of me and makes me smell of rot and feel even worse.  I was determined to make it a beautiful day, wonderful and full of hope.  I was determined to bask in the happiness that my sister afforded me in her life and to try to push away all memories of the day of her death.

Unfortunately, fate, or god, or the universe fucking hates me.

My dog, Tiny, that my family has had since we lived in our old house, went into cardiac arrest.  His heart gave away and his lungs filled with fluid.  We spent a night listening to him hack and pant, which isn’t that unusual since he was about 14 years old and he was always old manning it, clearing his throat, shedding, farting.  But this time the pants were heavier and his tick rottweiler tail didn’t quiver in gleeful anticipation of our touch.  We took him to the vet, the vet told us the news, and we all took turns patting and kissing him until it was time for him to go.  I sat with him so he wasn’t scared and stroked his face.  He relaxed and smiled and seemed okay with going, and then his eyes got a little dim and it was all over.

Even though I know he hurt, I feel like in some way I did him a disservice.  I keep thinking about if he wasn’t ready to go.  I keep thinking that maybe he would still be okay, or we could have done more, even though the vet said we couldn’t.

His face smelled like a sweet dust.  Always kind of perfumy.  I liked to hold my cheek to his and smell him,  he would tap his tail to the ground and smile at me when I did. And I miss that the most.

Part of me wants to believe that Tiny chose this day with more knowledge than I have.  That he wanted to help heal me.  That by being beside him when he died, and knowing that he was soft and peaceful and gone when he was gone, would give me some kind of closure.  That he was healing all of us.  I’m just not so sure I believe in that.  I’m not so sure it makes anything hurt less.

My two favorite lady friends came to cheer me up, and to take me out dancing.  Sometimes I feel like maybe I’m too high maintenance of a friend/lover/person.  Like I have so many things that I’m sensitive to, and so many times where I need a helping hand, that I’m just not worth it.  My two best of friends proved to me that I am worth it.  That I always will be.  I am eternally grateful to them for all the love and happiness they give to me, and last night when we danced we were the hottest ladies in the club, and I laughed and smiled sincerely, even if there was sadness behind it, I was free and happy for at least a couple of hours.

I will continue to stalk this kitten.  With every can of tuna he/she/it sneaks closer.  The kitten reminds me of sister in a lot of ways and his presence seems like another coincidence that isn’t so coincidence.  It makes me happy that even if this little pussy runs when I get within 5 feet of it, it comes out mewing when I call.

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Today will be a good and beautiful day because you are good and beautiful.

Today, I will put aside all the hate and anger and piss inside at whatever or whoever took you from me, and I will smile and dance and sing for the moments I got to hold on to you.

Today will be good and beautiful and pure and new, like every day, I will hold onto it until the day that I’m back with you.

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