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death

Today We Bury A US President

Can We Also Bury Anger With Him?

I remember the years after Ronald Reagan very well. My parents were still alive, I was young, and times were different. Times were very different then. There wasn’t access to the news at the spur of the moment because smart phones had not been invented. If you wanted to read the news, you went out and got a newspaper. You put your quarter in the machine on the corner and walked back home, past the telephone booth. In my neighborhood, you waved at the local hooker and gave a head nod to the guy across the street who you knew was selling drugs out of his house. You kept your head down and you stayed out of trouble. 

The Early Nineties

The year was 1991 and I had just moved to St Pete, FL. I was working as a waitress in a place that still required me to wear a dress and pantyhose each day. I walked to work or rode a bicycle. I had a car and it was broken down more than it ran. It stayed parked most of the time. It was a brand new Dodge and to this day I won’t own another one. 

I had moved to the coast because my parents lived in Ocala. I had not been very wild about the fact that they sold their house and followed me to FL in 1987. I considered it my mother’s final attempt at ruining my life and continuing her efforts at manipulating everything she could. Of course, she wasn’t all bad. As an adult now, I can admit this. At that time, however, I had just come out as gay and she and I were not getting along at all. 

The AIDS crisis was in full swing. Being a young lesbian, I was aware of it and was fearful of contracting it myself. Even though it predominantly was an issue that affected gay men, women were not totally safe. I read “And the Band Played On” from cover to cover and was somewhat horrified. It would be many years before that made it to the big screen. Gay people knew. We were living in it, neck deep. 

The Real Reagan Legacy

Ronald Reagan didn’t acknowledge the epidemic for what it was. It was never funded. It was, to be blunt, completely ignored. Gay men were dying at astronomical numbers. These deaths were long and painful. Most of the people I personally knew who died passed away from breathing complications – typically pneumonia. I remember one friend the most. His name was Christopher Gomez. Chris was a wonderful person. There were times that he’d see me walking home after work, or on the way to work. He would do a big U-turn in the middle of crazy 4th Street North, stopping traffic in the process, in order to pull-over and yell, “Get in, I’ll drive you!”

He was a nice person. He had dark hair, brown eyes, a pale complexion, and he was short. Chris probably didn’t stand over five feet, six inches tall. He worked as a waiter and he made good money. Like most of us in those days, he spent more on beer and having fun than anything else. We lived in neighborhoods that were seemingly small in the middle of a large city.

I had several  friends, a different life back then than the one I live now. I was more social and could more easily deal with loudness and chaotic situations. As I’ve grown older, my spectrum disorder has become increasingly a challenge. I don’t react well to intrusions into my quiet time, I do not socialize outside of the home much because the recovery time for me is lengthier than it used to be. I get grumpy if I feel intruded upon too much. It unnerves me. I do look back on those times fondly, in part because I was able to be social. People don’t realize that those on the spectrum want to be social. We just cannot be social all the time

George Herbert Walker Bush was our president in 1991. I do not remember ever hating him back then. I disliked his policies and I disliked the fact that we were at war in Iraq. The Middle East has never seemed like a place for American soldiers, in my opinion. Those people don’t like each other, and I don’t think they ever will. Why we have to get in the middle of it all the time is truly beyond me. I am 28 years older now than I was then, and I still don’t understand our constant involvement in the Middle East. It seems a never-ending circle of death for American soldiers to me. 

Times Were Hard

My mind still goes back to a time when I held the hands of dying friends, like Christopher, with tears in their eyes, knowing there was absolutely nothing that could be done. Watching someone die, resigned to their fate, is a very difficult thing to when that person hasn’t led a full life. You mourn the years that should have been.You wonder whose lives they should have touched, the loves they should have had. . . 

What was extremely troubling, and has haunted the legacy of President GHW Bush, was his continuation of the Reagan administration’s neglect of the AIDS crisis. So many in the LGBTQ community hold them personally responsible for the deaths of countless people in our community. As recently as a year ago I was accused of being a single-issue voter, which I’m not and never have been. The accusation was because of my concern over gay rights issues. That just happens to be a life or death thing for me! As is healthcare. As is social security being there when I am 67 years old one day. As is the housing crisis. As is gerrymandering and voting problems, lobbying, term limits, and a nauseating list I don’t want to focus on at this moment.

I digress. The AIDS crisis is still held against the senior Bush. I have recently seen many people bring this up the last two days. I’ve seen some very hateful things said and shared on social media. I’d be a liar if I said that it didn’t make me sad because it makes me weep for the society we have become. We are just very hateful now! 

Human beings are imperfect. Our special qualities have always been in our ability to forgive, to love, and to understand that none of us is perfect. We all struggle with our demons and we all make mistakes. Some of us make bigger mistakes than others. What I base my judgements of people on is whether or not they intended to harm others. I also look at whether or not the individual has done anything to redeem themselves. 

Should Four Years Determine Your Legacy?

The patriarch of the Bush family has left behind a legacy of charity work that most of us will never achieve. George HW Bush worked in every way he could to do bipartisan work with Bill Clinton, to bring humanitarian aid to others. He supported and founded the Bush Clinton Coastal Recovery Fund. He also supported the following charities: Covenant House, FC Harlem, Heifer International, Save the Children, Smile Train, United Nations Development Program, and the Vijay Amritraj Foundation.

President Bush was a man who could reach across aisles and do what he thought was best for the country. He lied about his age so that he could fight for his country. He is guilty of imperfection. Aren’t we all? Has he fully made up for the lives lost to AIDS? I’m not sure that he could ever have done that. Is it so hard to believe that in the early days of AIDS many people made bad decisions? They did. It caused a loss of life greater than what it probably should have been. Is the man responsible or was it the era that we lived in? We have learned more and we have moved on. Have we not?

I can tell you that Christopher would say that ‘the guy did a lot of great things the rest of his life. He made his peace with his own God.’ Forgiveness is the only way forward. Today, I’m making the choice to forgive him and move on. While we shouldn’t use our current administration to normalize anything, I do believe that it certainly must be a basis for clarity.

We can say a lot of good things about the senior Bush. We can say that he was a man who made mistakes but tried to do much that was right with is life. We can say that he was a sensitive man, a family man who loved his children and his grandchildren. He was one of the last truly moderate Republicans who could listen and work with democrats. He was from an era that wasn’t all that bad, even though it wasn’t totally good. 

The older I get, the more I want peace. I have learned to pick and choose my battles and I’ve learned when to forgive. This is a case that I will choose the latter and show my respect to a man who gave most of his life in service to his country. An honorable member of the armed forces, he never shirked his duties. He knew what decorum meant. Even in death, there is a calm, quiet dignity that we are not accustomed to anymore. I can welcome this return to tradition and values today, with my hand over my heart. 

“Thank-you for your service, Mr. President.”

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Categories: aging, American government, death, equal rights, gay lesbian, lesbian, life lessons, love, Politics | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Growing Old Is Getting Old

 

It has been a wild ride, these last 50+ years. This winter, the shoulder pain has been tougher than ever. CBD oil helps immensely though!. If you’ve not tried it, I highly recommend it. The oil helps my ADD and pain. I also recommend turmeric with curcumin. That stuff is an amazing natural anti-inflammatory and scientists agree that it has benefits and warrants more research. It works wonders for arthritis and joint pains from injury. Aches and pains are just there to remind us of the fun we’ve had I suppose, but growing old really does get old some days!

It’s good to be back here in a space I have always held so near to my heart. Butch Ramblings was my healing journey and my happiness. Ramblings was my home for a long time. I blogged my way through isolation, heartache, stupidity, growing pains and more. Someone once said to me that it was’ time I settled down and put down roots somewhere.’ That life isn’t meant for everyone. It isn’t meant for me. I’m an adventurer.

Don’t let people tell you what to do. You do what is best for yourself and you’ll always be fine. Trust me on that. These are my roots right here. This is my legacy. This website will be around long after I am gone. Hopefully that won’t be for a little while yet. On the other hand, if it happens tomorrow, I’m prepared. I’ve lived a good life and I’ve come to terms with most of the lessons I have learned along this path. I’ve had ups and I have had downs.

I’ve had many sleepless nights. I’ve had other nights where I have slept like a log. I have awakened with clarity over things I had been worried about. I’ve ruminated over a decision for far too long. I have still made the wrong choice. In fact, I’ve made a lot of bad choices. I’ve also made some pretty damned great choices. The universe is awesome that way because there is balance in everything we do. The wisdom that we receive, once we are open to it, is pretty amazing.

I have heard people whine about losing their trust of others. I’ve seen people place blame on everyone else in their life for all the messed up shit they have been neck deep in for years. At some point you have to take responsibility for yourself and realize that you’ve been an asshole to everyone around you and that’s why nobody sticks around. At some point you choose to trust or not to. You either get tired of living a life that is an empty shell or you get down in it and get dirty. Bathe in the mud!

I’m a mud bather. I admit it. If shit gets deep, I’ll swim out into it a little further just to see how deep it will get. I figure once I have some mud on my boots I may as well get really dirty. I take chances on people. I walk away from people fast too. Things that will get me to walk away fast are people who become passive aggressive. People who don’t know when to shut up or respect my space drive me cuckoo too. People who, in every single conversation, relive the past and place blame on other people constantly. That gets old really, really fast. At some point, stop being a victim in your own novel. Choose to be the hero.

That’s all of my deep thoughts for now. I’ll move on to reality. I am living with a friend who is letting me use her place as a staging area before I make a big move that I’m not quite ready to talk about yet. While here, I’m trying to help her as much as possible. She’s getting older and her house has been falling into disarray for the last few years. She broke her back and has had difficulty with mundane tasks. My goal is to do some work, help her put into place some things/processes that will make it easier for her to function, and make sure that she has what she needs to survive. Right now we are in the middle of showering her with Christmas gifts, thanks to so many Facebook friends! I’m so blessed to have really good, caring individuals that I’ve met there and I choose to keep them around in my life! Such GOOD we get accomplished as a tribe! Love and kindness really do go a long way in keeping people in your life.

I have plans to do some wildlife photography soon, while I still can. I’m writing again, while I still can. Last year I was diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy. In other words, the capillaries in the backs of my eyes have been bleeding. It clouds the vision over time. It has slowed drastically with my blood sugar more under control but the odds of me going blind in time are very high. My eyesight is not what it used to be and I have issues already. I miss little typos here and there. The doctors at the Kittner Eye Institue in Chapel Hill, NC,  also noticed that I have a cataract on my left eye. It isn’t really operable and it is from scar tissue, likely from blunt force trauma. Apparently, according to them, I’ve had it my whole life since infancy. It is very old and that explains a lot about my sensitivity to light. Lasting effects from childhood abuse I presume but don’t really know for sure. At any rate, my vision is an issue but I don’t intend to let it stop me. When the time comes, I’ll see about voice recognition software and dictate.

I’ve been playing guitar again over this last year. I promised myself that I’d do something for myself, personally enriching, for my 50th year on the planet. I’m having the time of my life with it. I used to noodle around with some chords a long time ago. I’ve picked guitars up and put them down a dozen times over the years. I never really got enthusiastically involved in practice and learning because I never really knew exactly where to start. Fender Play got me down the right path. Technology is so advanced these days that there are lessons online everywhere and I’m really absorbing them. I love it! Best thing I’ve ever done was to pick it up again.

I have plans to begin submitting articles, with wildlife and outdoor themes, to some magazines in the outdoor genre. I have lost a lot of weight in the last year and gained a little winter weight back but I’m on an indoor bike trainer that I was able to plop my Fuji mountain bike on so I am hoping to get that weight right back off plus some more. My mental state is free and easy these days. I’m not running from anything or to anything. I just AM. It’s a great place to be! I’m living life for me. I spread a little joy here and there and just work on being the best me that I can be. If everyone else did that, the world would be such a better place! Don’t you all agree?

Categories: ADHD, aging, child abuse, death, life lessons, love, self-help, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Lost And Found – Getting Home

 

This is the type of thing I love to write – part of this is based in fact, but told like fiction. Emotions dictate, music added to set the mood for you to match what I was feeling as I wrote … and in the end – a message. I hope that you enjoy! Take the time to listen to the music and let the messages sink in.  ~ Jesse

 

A wall paper

 

 

 

 

I Keep Holding On

I was awakened by the smell of ocean air and the sound of waves softly rolling up onto the beach. The breeze blowing through the screen of my camper was cool as I snuggled down further into my comforter and pillows, not quite ready to give up on my cozy slumber. My mind began to drift as it always does in the early morning hours; half in and half out of sleep. I thought about the day ahead and what I would do with the hours. So much time on my hands left me with constantly seeking something to keep myself busy. Boredom truly can become exhausting.

I began thinking about my last conversation with Raleigh. She truly left me puzzled sometimes. Raleigh was that sort of woman who would tell you to not try to fix her problems; she just wanted me to listen. She would clearly tell me that she had boundaries. This wasn’t what puzzled me – I was glad to have a forthright person in my life who wasn’t afraid to talk about anything. What left me confused was the way that she would jump in, whenever I was trying to vent about something, and start offering suggestions and tell me what I should do. I sighed out loud and thought to myself that it was probably my own fault for not setting my own boundaries. I decided that day that the next time we talked, I’d address this issue and the way I felt about it.

As I swung my feet out of bed, I made my mind up that the next time we talked, I was going to have to tell her how this was making me feel. I didn’t like feeling like I wasn’t allowed to share my feelings about something without being chided for being negative. I knew I was not typically a negative person, but felt that everyone deserved to feel down sometimes and should be able to share that with someone they they trust. Getting told what to do and told not to react the way I did, just made me feel like I had to close part of myself off…and I hated that feeling. It didn’t feel safe. I spent a lot of time being “up” for other people…fans, friends and sometimes suicidal people that I volunteered to help listen to and encourage to get proper help. I felt like I had to maintain for them all…but in private, I needed to feel safe to be able to just “be” however I felt. I shook my head because it made me feel sad. I had to get the thoughts out of my head and I decided that a walk on the beach was in order.

I stumbled past the galley and into the tiny bathroom to relieve my bladder before making my way back to the coffee maker and starting the morning brew. As it slowly dripped and steamed, the coffee began to emerge in the pot. I put creamer in my big plastic coffee mug and then went to go put on some board shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt. As I was slipping on my flip-flops, the coffee maker groaned and gasped for air as it gave birth to the last few drops of caffeine that would start my day out perfectly. I poured my cup of coffee into the large mug and walked out into the world.

The campground was beginning to stir with evidence of life. I could smell someone’s breakfast cooking on an outdoor grill. I saw another family stowing gear and rolling their hose and electrical cord. They were just passing through; probably on their way to some attraction or theme park.

My flip-flops tossed the sand into the breeze and I could feel it on my shins as I made my way to the beach, only a short walk away. The closer I came to the water’s edge, the finer the sand became and eventually my toes were baptized by the cold water creeping onto the shore. It only took a moment for my feet to grow accustomed to the cool water and it began to feel so good that I slipped my flops off and tied them to the string hanging from my waistband so that I could walk with free hands. Why is that as soon as your toes hit cold water, you feel like you need to pee?

My toes sunk into the cool, wet sand as I enjoyed the walk. Every so often I would feel a hard shell and stop to take a closer look at it. While I rarely picked them up, I was always on the look-out for the perfect shell. Sometimes I would come across a clam but never had the heart to remove them from their environment and eat them. Typically, I tossed them out into deeper water to ‘rescue’ them from other clam hunters. I hadn’t killed a spider in years. I’m not sure I honestly have a mean bone in my body, though I was able to show my Scottish temper from time to time. I knew I could get testy about some things … especially when it felt like I was being judged or told that I was living my life “wrong.”

To be perfectly honest, I’d never gotten over the dominant rule of a mother who was abusive, ill-tempered, quick with a fist and even more vicious with her tongue. It took me so many years to believe that I was capable of anything at all, that anyone even questioning me immediately put me on the defense. I was aware that it was an issue … but not really sure how to fix it. I didn’t like being that way. Raleigh said that it often took an equal number of years to get over the amount of time you were in a bad situation. My mother was a dark spot in my world for almost thirty years. I sighed deeply and become aware that my forehead was creased and my eyebrows were furrowed. I brought myself to the present moment and consciously relaxed. Still, I knew that ‘just letting go’ wasn’t so easily done in this case. I walked on.

Closer To Fine

By the time I had returned to the camper, the sun was getting high in the sky. I had no idea what time it was because I’d almost completely stopped wearing a watch. For so many years, wearing a watch had been an anal part of my personality. From years of working in fields that required I manage others and know what time to start projects, I had always worn a watch. Knowing what time it was had become an obsession; almost compulsive. After becoming a writer and deciding that I’d live by my own rules, even if that meant going without a lot of things sometimes, I also gave up caring about the time. Recently, I’d become so carefree about it that I often forgot what day it was and holidays came upon me with complete surprise. Every day of my life was a holiday in so many ways now.

While it was true that I really had little money and couldn’t afford the finer things in life, I was predominantly happy now. It was a little unsettling to me that I had become so reclusive, but there was no drama that way. I avoided drama and stress almost as passionately as I wrote. Sometimes it bothered me that I may just be avoiding a natural part of life, instead of learning how to just deal with it in a healthy way. I considered that perhaps I was just ‘taking a break from it all’ and that was okay … but how was I going to re-emerge? When would I know the time was right?

Raleigh and I had seen a lot of each over the summer. There was a relationship between us that was deeply rooted in friendship. It was more than a friendship …  but then it wasn’t. There was really no description that fit. We had both reached places in our lives where we resisted being labeled, placed into boxes or having expectations placed upon us. Neither of us did well with that sort of thing. We never talked about how we felt about each other, it was just the way it was and we accepted it the way that you accept the breeze upon your face … it is welcomed but understood that even the best of breezes don’t last forever and one cannot fully depend on a good breeze being there for you all the time. This was how I thought of her. She was a gentle breeze at times, that made my life a happy place. There were times that she was a hurricane force wind that made me uncomfortable or knocked me off my feet, but I still relished the adrenaline rush that came from it. Other times … there was no breeze at all and I knew that she was still out there and patiently awaited her return. It was free, as all things should be. I respected it as something that was not to be controlled or always understood. It was imperfect, in all the most beautiful ways that something, or someone, can be – it was, in fact, perfect.

Who Says You Can’t Go Home?

 

I poured another cup of coffee and sat down in front of my computer. As I pushed the button that would connect me to the world beyond, I was still pondering how I’d come to be where I was. Home is something that I’d sought for most of the last twenty years of my life and it had only been in the last year of my life that I’d come to realize that home is inside of me.  I’d been getting ‘my house’ in order now for a few months and it hadn’t been easy – once your shit falls so far apart, it takes a while to go through all the pieces and figure it out. What I was coming to realize was that I’d been running away from so much, for so long, that finding my way back to the beginning was like following a trail of tears that had long since dried-up. I got lost sometimes.

Raleigh had confronted me about spending so much time in my home town earlier that year. Apparently, I’d been sounding pretty negative about the place over the phone and she didn’t understand what it was I’d been seeking. I supposed that she’d known me well enough to know there was a reason? At that time, until thinking it over, I hadn’t been sure either. It was just a gut feeling I’d had. Visiting my hometown was something that I had always been compelled to do, but it was less about the present and more about reclaiming my past. That was the place I had been abused, traumatized and belittled behind closed doors. It was a place that I should have felt safe … but I never did. It was a source of angry energy that I had been drawn to, like a moth to a flame. I’d either burn alive or the flame would be extinguished. That had been my resolve.

As an adult, I was able to stare at the house I grew up in and reclaim some happy memories. I had made a journal, with a list of all the bad things I remembered. Back in Florida now, I intended to burn those memories to ashes in a can, take them to the cemetery my parents were buried in and spread them over their graves. With this ritual, I also meant to forgive them once and for all. I knew that when I did this, I’d never return to their graves again. I was cutting the cord and releasing the Karmic debt. I would be absolving myself of the past and freeing myself to move on – burning the symbolic bridges and breaking the invisible chains.

For some people, I supposed this could be seen as walking away from the past and therefore just running again. I imagined that some people may view my way of dealing with it to be very extreme. I didn’t really care. For me, it had become a trip towards something – a return of my soul to self. This had been my way of ‘going home’ and finding my way back to who I was when I was not burdened with the memories. Who says you can’t go home? Don’t question the trip, question where home really is!

For now, life was coming back together. I used my walks along the beach to call my energy back to me. Every ounce of energy that I had freely given to others for so many years, I was now calling back to me. I stopped to look at shells on the beach and I savored every breath that I took, knowing that it could potentially be a last breath at any time. My house was getting in order and though I had no idea where tomorrow would lead me, I was happier than I had ever been; I was home.

 

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Categories: abuse, child abuse, death, Free Books, life lessons, love, self-help | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

Just Get Up

A strange fog has come over the world outside my window. It has been raining since yesterday, a constant trickle and pitter patter from the roof as a gentle reminder to me that there is a world outside, awaiting my return to it. I pour another cup of coffee and ponder so many things about this world and this life as my spoon disappears into the creamy mixture. I like a little coffee with my cream, thank-you very much. I’ve given sugar up almost entirely, but I am not giving up the cream in my coffee, it is one of those little indulgences of my life that I will be stubborn about.

Today, I think about the husband of a friend who is in the hospital. He’s in very bad condition, originally admitted with congestive heart failure and since admittance having suffered from a massive stroke. He has a clot in his brain. The doctor administered medication that he declared ‘will either help him or kill him.’  I think about this man in particular, and the legacy he leaves behind. His has not been a particularly good life and he’s not always been a good person. Still … he is a person and a child of this Universe.

Today, I think about the unborn child that is being carried by a girl who is but a child herself. She’s already had two such children taken away from her because of her mental inability to take care of them. She is due again, any day, and my heart is heavy with thoughts of what will become of this child. The first two were lucky enough to be adopted by family. This same family is out of financial resources now and simply cannot keep taking in children, especially when they are being delivered almost like kittens at this rate. The girl cannot be held completely responsible for her inability to cope with the world. There are many factors at play. The grandparents cannot be held responsible because she was raised as well as any other child. She is capable of making these decisions but not doing a very good job, I’m afraid. In the end … I mourn for this unborn child who is about to come into a world with absolutely nothing stable in her world. Yes, we know it is a girl. In fact, her name is to be Brooklyn ( I am unsure of how it will be spelled ) and she will have the same middle name as I was given at birth, Renee.

I suppose my heart is heavy today, like the fog outside my window. The heaviness crept into me just as unexpectedly and I only know to put it all down and share it … as I nearly always do. Things touch me deeply. Knowing the way in which all things are connected, I wonder what my role in all of it is? Recently I have thought deeply about those words, “it takes a village” and they keep rattling around in my head. Is it my hormones and the fact that I know I am soon to be beyond the ability to have a child that is bothering me? I don’t think that is entirely it. I never wanted to be pregnant. I never had the desire to give birth but I loved children none the less.

This all has me thinking about the circle of life, beginnings and endings and all the things that fall between. We make mistakes because we are human. Everything we do touches someone else. We can touch others in a positive way or we can be a negative influence. Most of the time, this is a very conscious choice that each of us makes. What about those times that we do something for ourselves and it inadvertently harms someone else in some way? What about the people who just aren’t “there” yet? I’m speaking about the ones who don’t see their place in the universe or understand how they affect everyone else. Do we all constantly create ‘Karmic debts’ that need to be paid in full or is the answer to being taught the lesson is simply that we come to the realization that our decisions have harmed others and have real regret for this? Perhaps changing our ways is enough? What an interesting concept that would imply that it is never too late for anyone!

Humility is a word that I’ve been introduced to in recent years. “What have you done with your life in the past sixteen years?”  These were the words I heard as if they had been spoken to me by God himself. My entire life flashed before my eyes in a matter of 30 seconds. I was reminded of every single time I’d been selfish. I literally saw the scenes before my eyes, as the Ghost of Christmas’ Past. As soon as I felt true humility, I felt that my burdens were lifted and my soul had been set free. Gone was the anger that I had harbored both in resentments and hurts that were well in the past. In a few seconds my view of life swiveled on axis like a camera on a tripod. Suddenly all the scenes were changed and everything became clear. I came to fully accept that I had been wasting a lot of time. I had to own it! When I fully accepted my role in this life, everything was revealed to me in a way that gave me direction. Suddenly I had a purpose – to reach people, to teach people and to bring those who suffer to a place of calm.

Now, it would seem, that I am haunted by the Ghost of Christmas’ Yet To Come. I’m gravely concerned for the sick, the dying and the unborn with nothing but chaos that awaits – yet, I am calm and steadfast in my faith that it will all happen with reason and with purpose. Each and every one of you is born with a purpose and a meaning for your life. It will reveal itself if you give yourself over to humility. So much can be accomplished when ego is removed from the equation. In the place of ego, add faith and you will begin to see the answers to your problems. I believe that God has a funny way of allowing us to make the same mistakes over and over until we get it right. Every parent knows that you can tell a child over and over that something is hot, but until they have finally been burned enough to cause real hurt, they often don’t get the lesson. Don’t be angry with God, or the Universe, or Mother God, or Allah, or Jehovah, or Buddha, or Jesus Christ, or Mary, or even with Cerridwen for letting you get burned. You obviously needed the lesson if you are feeling the pain. The reason may not be clear yet, but in time it will reveal itself if you remain open to being taught. That requires humility.

As far as the specific things I ponder today, as the traffic grows heavier with people getting out of church, I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that there is reason for all these things. When we lose someone in death, it makes us stand on our own two feet and forces us to make decisions that we may never have made before. When a child is born into the world, they are a new beginning, a new chance at mankind getting something right. She is a blank slate and this is a chance for her to touch the world in the way she will. How she is raised will possibly affect the way in which she touches the world, but the circumstances in which we are raised do not have to define us. Humility allows us to grow beyond any constraints placed upon us in this world. We are given minds and hearts to seek, question and constantly grow. My friends, may you all grow a little today and may the world around you not get you down. If it does, just remember to always fall forward and that you are never a failure until the day you choose to not get up. Today, I beseech you … GET UP!

*BELIEVE*BREATHE*BECOME

Categories: Adoption, child abuse, death, life lessons, love, self-help | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Falling Into The Abyss

I wanted to take the time to remind everyone that my latest book is out. “Falling Into the Abyss” deals with child abuse and how it can touch your life forever, if you let it. Even when you think you are a survivor, something may just come along and remind you that you have things you haven’t truly dealt with.

 

 

“A tale of child abuse, suicide and survival. An account of surviving the worst things life can throw at you and coming out on the side, changed for the better and able to look at life with new eyes and a new perspective. This is my story. I’ll take you from the the time 

I’ve shared my life and my journey with thousands of fans through my blog at butchramblings.com and now I tell the whole story, with all the background. See how I came out and got to where I am today. Learn why I advocate for those who have no voice.”

 

Set to launch October 17th.

Set to launch October 17th.

Categories: abuse, ADHD, Adoption, child abuse, death, equal rights, gay lesbian, lesbian, life lessons, love, Politics, self-help | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why I Live Like I Do – Blown By the Wind

Great live version!

 

All My Dreams Pass Before My Eyes of Curiosity

Nothing lasts forever, but the earth and sky….no truer words were ever spoken. My philosophy on life, the actual process of living and the purpose for our existence, is far removed from that which most people feel. Firstly, I don’t believe that this is our only ride on the pony. I believe that we come back many times to this earthly realm and we learn more and more as we progress up a ladder, so to speak. In all honesty, I think it a little bold to believe that you could learn all there is to know from living only one lifetime.

I have nearly died a few times. I’ve known others in the same place. All of my life I have been very intuitive and after my parents passed it became very strong and I had to work with a woman to help teach me how to ‘turn it down’ when I needed to. I feel emotions far more deeply than many others do for this reason. I also tend to know when I am being lied to. What makes me different than most people is that I’ll forgive the lies and try to get straight to the root of the thing that is causing you to tell the lies. I am not like most people. Some might call me crazy…that’s okay. I can take it. I forgive them too. I am actually very quick to forgive, but I don’t necessarily let everyone back in. I weigh the circumstances and I wonder whether or not I can help them…or if there is another lesson for me at hand. This determines my decisions.

My belief is that before we are born, we actually plan this life out to a large degree…like an outline. You are still free to write the story the way you wish, but the general outline will guide you. I believe that we choose the battles that we are going to be facing, based on the lessons that we need to learn this time around. I was told by a psychic in 2007/08 that this was my last time to be reincarnated and that I had asked to make this lifetime to be a very big challenge. In her words, “You really wanted everything possible thrown at you so that you could really go out with a bang this time. You wanted to experience it ALL.”

To be perfectly honest….at that time, I thought she was little bit full of shit. She knows it because I sort of told her that. She’s still on my Facebook friends list and she’s honestly really good. As it turns out, I believe her now. It took me a while – it was a slow progression and almost like a game…to see what else could possibly happen and what would I survive. You see, I have complete faith now that I’m SUPPOSED to just keep going through more shit and that I will survive. I also know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I have a reward of some sort coming. I know that God is going to give me peace and rest, love and somewhere to put down roots. I can feel it moving towards me. Faith. This is my only explanation. I’ve survived many things that should have killed me. I know that I am SUPPOSED to be here, sitting in this booth right now, writing this. Someone out there is being moved by every word and their life is beginning to make more sense to them as they read on. YOU! You may be that person I am supposed to be helping right now. Have some faith and know that you are not alone. I’m aware of your pain and many others are too. You can and will survive, my friend.

My days are spent attempting to touch people with a dose of reality and trying to show others that humility is a good thing. Yes, I get confused and I get scared. You see, while my soul knows the outline I am following, I have no memory of it. For now, I’m just a human being that is also making mistakes and getting by through much trial and error. I’m simply trying to trust that I’m being shown opportunities to grow and given chances to rise above. I’m challenged and tested each and every day. We all are! Some just don’t understand it.

Same Old Song…Just a Drop of Water In An Endless Sea

I’ve risen above homelessness, hunger, my father’s suicide, near death experiences, child abuse from my mother, being cheated on by at least two people that I loved, lied to by people that I trusted with my life and being put in harm’s way, having no family in my life at all…I’m a complete loner, being diagnosed with diabetes in 2005, put on psychotropic drugs that actually caused me to lose my mind for a long time, watching someone die in my arms, being beaten half to death by three grown men just because I was a lesbian, having an older brother come to live with me and take me for money, hit me and break everything I owned for going on two years, having a younger brother go to work at the job I helped him get and tell everyone that as far as he was concerned he didn’t have a sister as long as I was gay, living in a cabin in the winter of 2011 with no running water, no heat, no electricity and surviving by letting the dogs sleep on top of me on those nights when ice formed on the inside of the walls. I’ve tried to help a lot of people who burned me badly. I’ve had people tell lies about me and others judge me. I have been diagnosed with ADHD/ADD and auditory processing disorder, anxiety, agoraphobia and a few other things. All of those issues come and go. I had a panic attack last night and my chest hurt. I knew that it would pass.

In the last month, I came to IL to help someone. She told me she loved me and she tried to hide a lot from me…but I already knew she was lying to me. Again, like I ALWAYS do…I forgave her. It just isn’t worth being angry anymore. I let go of all my anger last summer. God showed me that my life was my own and that He had honestly given me every possible chance to turn things around. This is when I realized that my purpose…my TRUE purpose in life was to help other people. Even if it is a kind word and nothing else…I feel that I can touch people in a way that can change their life. This is what I try to do each and every day now. I don’t hold onto anger and I don’t let things keep me down. Yes, I get down because I’m human, but I quickly recover and remember that I have a purpose and a meaning to my life. I move on.

These days, I’m being tried and challenged with each breath that I take. I’m single and it looks like it’s going to stay that way. You cannot help someone who refuses to be helped because their path has not yet led them to have any faith in themselves or in the world around them. I weep for her, not because she’s hurt me…but because I could not help her. I have still offered to be here and be her friend, but one thing I have become very good at – turning my feelings for someone off. If I choose not to let you in, then you are done. I only resort to this when I feel that the damage I am incurring is greater than I can heal. One of my very first lessons in life was how to save myself, even when it was very traumatic. Honestly, that trauma has followed me for many years and only recently I believe that I was forgiven for it in a way that was meant to help me move on from this current experience faster as well.

I don’t tend to regret much, as I know it is a learning experience. I do regret when I can’t help someone…but it is time for me to move on. It is time to let the wind blow me again. I place it in God’s hands and where I end-up, I trust I am supposed to be there.

~ all we are is dust in the wind….

 

Categories: abuse, ADHD, child abuse, death, equal rights, gay lesbian, lesbian, life lessons, love, self-help | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

I Won’t Let Go

I push the button to connect and wait for you. You miss the call – typically –  and I am sitting here laughing as I know I will get an IM saying something like “oops….try again! LOL”

Chuckling at you, I try again. I hear you answer but it takes a moment to load. Suddenly there you are, looking back at me and I feel myself getting warm all over. You think you are “average” and don’t see yourself the way I do at all. I think you are stunning and you take my breath away.

You don’t know how the things you say about your past hurt me inside. The abuse… I was there for part of it …but when you talk about it or tell me things that I didn’t know about …. it makes me cry. I fight tears in front of you, because I know you’re so proud. I know that you have the same convictions in life that I do. You tell me that these were lessons and that they made you strong. Woman, you are so strong. I see a beauty in you that you will probably never be able to understand, but I want to spend the next 50+ years doing my best to make you see it.

There’s something in your eyes, when you look at me, that makes me tingle all over. No one’s ever looked at me like that. It makes me feel so humble and so happy. You make me see how unbelievably lucky we have both been to find ourselves back to where we are. How many gazillion little things all had to happen in this crazy world in order for us to ever meet in the first place? Then for me to go so far away from you, only to find out that you had never let me go? Who could know I’d be going to somewhat crazy lengths to try to get back to you now? I feel like it’s you….YOU are my destination.

 

MolineILHP

 

 

I’ve never believed in having a soul mate. I’ve never believed in any of that. I always just felt like we found someone that we could care about and we called it love. So many things have happened in the last year of my life and I’ve come to learn so much. I finally understood how one single event could set-off a chain of other events. I came to realize that making the wrong choice was okay with God. He let me make a LOT of wrong choices in my life, knowing that I’d eventually figure it all out. He sent people into my world to help teach me those lessons and some of the lessons were very hard. I’ve cried my fair share of tears. I know you have too. Now we have angels working on our behalf to help me get back to you. SO many people that I owe thanks to. I give thanks every night when I crawl into my little sleeping bunk …. then I dream about you.

All of a sudden, here you are again. It was like we collided in a turmoil once before. Both of us in so much of a vacuum in our own lives that we both trapped in our worlds. There was simply no way we could just “happen” back then. It wasn’t going to happen then, but it seems like we both got sent on our own adventure’s and pains, heartbreaks and lessons to learn. Now, here you are in front of me, on my screen … smiling at me and stealing my heart with every smile and each sigh. Do you realize that I’ve told you things and admitted fears to you that I don’t tell anyone else? Do you realize that I’m not AFRAID to tell you those things and that I know beyond a doubt that I am perfectly safe to tell you those things.

I used to say that you were too young for me. I used to think in terms of being human and having an expiration date. You used to tell me that it was just a number and you didn’t care about it – but I did. When we started talking again, I remember telling you about the fears that I had, laying in that hospital bed this summer. I felt your reaction to my words and what you said to me too. I realized for the first time, that day and in that conversation, that you may have a different birth year than I but you are an old soul. You are wise beyond your years about matters of the heart. You understand what is important in this life. I think you are amazing and inspiring.

We keep saying to each other, “you get me.” We both seem equally amazed because for too many years we’ve been told by other people that they didn’t get us. There’s nothing you can’t tell me or I can tell you. Today we talked about our fears. That is a huge thing for me. It’s big for you too…yet we seem to do it with each other like it’s no big deal. I’m reminded that you are my miracle in life. You simply being there, typing to me, talking to me…. you are a miracle.

I told you that I was playing for keeps this time. I will stand by you. I will hold you and I will never let you go.

Categories: death, gay lesbian, lesbian, life lessons, love, self-help | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Coming Out Early, Coming To Terms Late, Coming Full Circle Finally

Today is National Coming Out Day! Congratulations to those of you who like myself, have been out for many years. You have paved the way for those who will come out today!

To those of you who are just out or coming out now, congratulations to you as well! This is a very serious and personal decision. Only you can decide if this is something that you want to do. Some of you will come out to strangers but not to family. Some will come out at work but not to others. Some of you will come out to family only. Many people come out in stages and others jump out of that closet with a vengeance. My friend, Lisa, told me many years, “Dawn (my given name), you didn’t just come out of the closet, you jumped out of the whole fucking house!”

My own story was that I was very closeted in early years. I moved away from home when I was 19 and came to Florida on my own. I was not really out yet but working towards it. My family put their home up for sale and sold a lot of stuff and actually followed me to Florida. I was not very happy about this at all!!

As it turned-out, when my parents had moved, they had neglected to clean out the closet that had been in my room very well. I had forgotten about a journal that I had kept…and kept hidden in my closet. (appropriate place eh?) The people who moved into the house had school aged kids and they found it. They took it to school  – the same school in the small town that I had attended. Pretty soon, I received a letter in the mail from the person who used to call herself my best friend.

The letter explained that the whole town now knew and it would be wise if I probably never came back there. She made it clear that she didn’t really want to talk to me anymore. Of course, I was mortified and it became a race –  either ME telling my parents or someone from the hometown telling them. I sat my mother down and I told her. Now, you must understand that my mother and I had a very bad relationship as it was. She had been my abuser and tormentor in so many ways growing up. Now I had to face her in terror and tell her what I was. (I still felt very abnormal and often referred to myself as a mistake and a monster)

Things did not go well and to make a very long story short, my parents and I didn’t speak to each other for about two years. I moved AGAIN, to another city in Florida so that I could have space, privacy and be myself. Oh what a process it was! My life has been full of confusion and a trail of bad decisions, all of which I had a hard time owning up to. It was easy to blame everything on how unfair my own life had been.

In the end, things worked out for me. It took me many, many years to understand how to come to terms with the fact that I always had the ability to be me. I never owed anyone any explanations or apologies. More importantly, there were never any reasons for me to have anger, regrets or pain over this.

To those of you who are concerned with what others think of you now, I want to tell you that you are special. You are unique and wondrous just as you are. There is someone out there for you, even if you think there is not. You are not alone and you never will be if you don’t want to be.

Will this road be easy? No. Certainly not. Being GLBTQ is very difficult. You are not going to have things easy when it comes to fitting in or being respected. You will work harder to be equal and when you love someone, you will have to work harder to stay with that person. Being respected as a couple in the eyes of society is not simple but it IS getting better. I used to harbor much resentment over these things, as well as other things from my childhood and what my parents put me through.

Here is what I have come to learn:

The moment that you accept that all suffering, pain, tears, heartbreak, conflict, loss and grief have been to make you strong enough for the path that God (insert Universe if you are not Christian, for to me it is all the same) has in store for you, everything becomes clearer. Instead of being angry, feeling cheated and unfortunate, you begin to view things from the opposite direction. It suddenly becomes easy to let these things go and look to the future, eagerly awaiting the good things we’ve been training for. Suddenly you realize that THIS IS your purpose! THEN God, can move in you. Peace is the domain of God. When we truly feel peace inside of ourselves then we know that we are right in the center of what he wants for us. This begins with acceptance of your place and your life lessons. You are always okay just as you are, don’t let anyone tell you that you are not worthy or that something is wrong with you. You were born with purpose from the moment you took your first breath, you had a destiny. You should be proud of all that you are. God and the universe are not ashamed of you in any way, so never be ashamed of yourself.

I Peter 5:7 – “God’s presence in our life is our sustaining peace.”

If you are coming out today, know that you are not alone in this world. You now have a support system, thanks to the internet, that I did not have 26 years ago. There are suicide hotlines for you, via the Trevor Project – 1-800-273- TALK (1-800- 273-8255). There are people who are part of that project who are signed-up to help listen and guide you. My facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/jessemacgregorjones and you will notice that my photo has the “Talk To Me” logo from the Trevor Project. I’m here as a mentor and guide for anyone who feels that they have no where to turn. Just as it says, you can talk to me.

Coming out is normally not easy. It can be traumatic but it can also be freeing. In the end, my story has been happy. You need to know that it is worth it. I did eventually reconcile with my family before my parents passed away. I am now free to be me and I don’t hide in a closet, in fear. I have someone in my life that I adore. I’m free to follow my dreams and my heart. So can you. There will be pain and grief along the way and this is the case with any life. Remember that this is simply to prepare you for the joy and the path you are meant to follow. Consider it training and keep it all in perspective. Know that you aren’t alone. Pick that phone up if you need it.

God bless,

Jesse

PS: That friend who wrote me the letter, contacted me YEARS later on Facebook and apologized. She admitted to being a stupid teenager and that life had taught her lessons since then as well. We are friends again, all these years later. Things CAN end well! Let them!

Categories: abuse, child abuse, death, equal rights, gay lesbian, lesbian, life lessons, love | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Suicide Looks Like To the Ones Left Behind – Please, Find Another Way

“Some people misinterpret my stories of my father’s death as my reliving it and living in the past too much. The truth is that I’ m very much moved beyond this story and the pain.

What I honestly hope for, more than anything else, is to use graphic descriptions and the sadness to reach out to anyone else out there who has or is currently contemplating suicide as a way out. This is what you’ll do to those left behind. No matter what you think, people really do care and no matter how flawed your life may be…you are still valued and they still want you in their lives.

The world is ALWAYS a better place with you in it. You may not see your purpose or your reason for being here now, but it will become clear to you soon. Hang on long enough to see what you are capable of. You might just be surprised what you can do and how strong you are. “

Trevor Lifeline: 866 488 7386

National Suicide Hotline – 

1-800-273-8255

Dad had been missing for four days. His body had been hanging from a tree until it had decomposed and fallen to the ground below. It was my understanding that his head was detached from his body. The Florida heat and bugs had made him nothing more than rotting, bug infested flesh that was falling from bones that had been nibbled at by wild animals in the region. This was no longer our father. This was something that used to be a home to his soul and nothing more.

The coroner told us, “Don’t let your son see his father like this. It will give him nightmares the rest of his life.” We agreed and my mother gave the go ahead for the body to be moved to where it would be cremated. My brother never really forgave either one of us for that decision I don’t think? It’s sad that he held my mother responsible for a lot of things, including my father committing suicide in the first place. All along, she tried to protect him and in the end, he was just simply awful to her.

The events that followed were very surreal and I only vaguely remember the days that immediately followed the finding of his body. I know that the funeral for my dad was tiny. There were less than a dozen people there. His own family didn’t come. Two of my mother’s brothers were there and so was her little sister. I was bitterly disappointed that a man who was fifty-eight years old and had touched the lives of so many people only had a handful of people show-up to say good-bye to him.

I had to go pick-up the flowers. My brothers and I were supposed to split this. They both stiffed me. I grumbled to my mother about it because it was so typical and because I was also worried about paying my rent with all this time off work I was taking. I wasn’t going to receive any bereavement pay because my company didn’t offer it.

My mom’s sister, my Aunt Jenny, insisted on giving me money for them. I remember how I felt then. I had rent to pay and it was due in a week. I couldn’t afford the $300 for the wreaths and such. I was relieved that she gave me the money back but I also felt like a heel. It was one more thing that added to the grief and the stress.

Eventually came the day that we had to go collect Dad’s possessions from the sheriff’s department. Mom and I went together. I remember walking back to the window that we were directed to. Everyone seemed to keep looking at us and I felt that they knew who we were. I felt like they felt some sort of sympathy that they couldn’t express. It came out as an awkward silence.

The man behind a window pulled out an envelope. In it was my father’s wallet, his wedding ring, his keys to his car, and his watch. It was the watch I had given him just the year before for Christmas. He’d loved that watch. He always wore it. This thought made me smile.

My mother opened his wallet and began to look through it. I’m not sure why exactly, other than it was probably some connection to him that she felt. She turned it over in her hands, rubbed it and opened it. In a way, it was almost as if she was trying to conjure his spirit from it, as one would call a genie from a bottle.

She pulled out a photo and she gasped, “My God, … you always thought your father didn’t care but look.” In her hand was a photo of the three of us kids, from many years in the past, and on the back of the photo were our names and our dates of birth, in his handwriting. Again, it made me smile, but it was bittersweet. My father had never been the kind of guy to look at you and tell you he loved you. He showed it all the time, but he never ever just came out and said it.

Growing up, he’d been the guy who would cut you a hockey stick out of a sheet of plywood and sand it and paint it, just so you could go out back and play with some other kids and knock around something that we had used as a makeshift puck. He never missed a ball game while I was growing up. He never missed a birthday or an important event ever. Now I was coming to terms with the fact that he would be at nothing else for the rest of my life. It hit me like a rock landing in the pit of my stomach. I didn’t know why my mother said I thought that he didn’t care. I knew he cared. I didn’t know why he had never protected me from her, but I knew he cared.

A deputy who had worked the investigation came up and tried to be comforting. I really cannot say enough nice things about the Marion County sheriff’s department during this time. They treated as like human beings and not just a case they worked. Another deputy walked-up behind him and she said, “Well, at least you have the note he left.”

“Note? There’s a note??” My mother’s face looked shocked and hopeful. She seemed so excited.

“Yes,” the deputy went on, “he left a note. No one told you?” The deputy seemed genuinely shocked and concerned.

“My God! NO!” Tears started to form in my mother’s eyes.

The kind deputy told us to wait where we were. A few minutes later, the female deputy came back. The male deputy walked with her. In her hand she held a paper. She had made a copy of the suicide note and she handed to to my mother. She caught Mom’s hand and squeezed it as she released the note to her. I’m sure she must have realized what this mean to us. These were his last words to us and while they didn’t explain much, those words gave my mother so much comfort and for that I was very thankful.

We poured over it. It was short. It didn’t really make any sense other than to show he wasn’t in the soundest frame of mind when he wrote it. He also stated that he would miss us and loved us all. I’d never heard or even seen these words written from my father, in his own handwriting, in my entire life. Still, I did not cry.

Mom made copies for all of us. My copy is folded and lying in the bottom of a jewelry box to this day. Every now and then I will pull it out and look at it. It helps me feel close to him and to remember his handwriting. There is something in seeing his handwriting that gives me a little bit of comfort from time to time. It is like I still hold a piece of him.

Finally, the last business was that I had to drive my father’s car home, following my mother. It was the longest drive of my entire life. Mind you, I’d driven all over the country already. I’d driven from Florida to Illinois a dozen times and sometimes straight through. Yet this drive, alone with the ghost of my deceased father, was the longest drive of my life. I laughed, I yelled, I asked him “why?” and I sincerely wanted answers. None came.

At the funeral, my brothers both wept. I saw my younger brother’s shoulders heave. My older brother has always been a weeper and he had tears streaming down his face the whole time.

My mother was seated right next to me. I was the only one of her children who sat next to her. I remember thinking that was strange. Why me?

Nearing the end of the small, graveside service there was a twenty-one gun salute and then we had to endure Taps. This had come at the insistence of my younger brother. Being in the marines and my father having been in the army all those many years ago made this meaningful to him.

Never mind that my father was drafted and never had one nice thing to say about being in the Army. He hated it and could hardly wait to be discharged. I remember him talking about it from time to time. He’d been drafted as a young man who had been married already for a few years and taking off to basic training hadn’t been his idea of what he wanted to do with his life.

It was Taps that finally caused silent tears to stream down my cheeks. Still, I never openly wept. There was never any shoulder heaving, nose blowing, sobbing that seemed ready to come out of me. Perhaps I was still in shock or perhaps it was just that I had made a lifetime of holding things in and stuffing things down a little deeper? I just was shoving this all down into the abyss that I didn’t realize I was tethered to. The more weight I shoved down there, the further it drug me down with it.

Four days from the time I had first been told about my father’s death, I was back at work. I tied my tie and put on my vest as if it was any other day and off to work I went. I had a job to do and I was ready to get back to life as usual, and so I tried. I was now driving my father’s car. My mom sold it to me for a few hundred dollars. Leave it to her to make me pay for it. She would, just a few short months later, give my younger brother her Lincoln when she got the insurance money from Dad’s death. She bought herself a different vehicle and started spending that money as fast as she could.

I was finally back at my place and staying in my own bed again, leaving my mother to her lonely house. The first night that I was back in my own bed, the strangest thing happened to me. I had a dream that I was sitting on the branch of the tree that my father hung himself from. I was sitting there, swinging my legs. I was trying to talk him out of doing what he was doing.

He never looked at me. He just continued with his work of tying the rope over the tree limb. He ran the rope under the car and anchored it on the front axle of the car. The other end, he had already carefully tied a noose that had a perfect not. I knew this instinctively because my father was a master at tying knots. He taught me to tie a knot and to this day, people who knew him and see me tie a knot will comment that I must have learned that from my father. I’m sure that they mean nothing by it, but it stings a little.

As I begged him not to do what he was doing, he put the rope around his neck and he jumped. I awoke with a start. I was sweaty, had tears running down my face and I was deeply disturbed. I’ll never forget this dream as long as I shall live.

In a way it was healing because it made me realize that there was likely nothing I ever would have been able to say to him to change his mind, even if I’d have known his plans. He probably was going to have done what he did anyway. I adopted the philosophy that it was his life and he owed me nothing. If he was in pain, he had the right to end it. Right or wrong, this is what got me by for sixteen years after his death.

A few days later, I had a second dream. This dream, I would later come to understand was a ‘visitation dream’ and they are frequently bestowed upon those whom the deceased wishes to have some final contact with of some sort. Whether this dream is meant to clarify, give closure and instructions of some sort, it is a way for the loved one left behind to have some answers and to know that the person who has crossed over is in a better place.

I remember going to bed. My dog, Cheyenne, was sleeping next to me in the bed like she always did at night. It felt as though I had barely closed my eyes and drifted-off to sleep when suddenly a sound outside caused me to wake with a jolt.

The room was dark, but the moonlight streaming through the windows rested on the fog that had engulfed my bedroom. There was a waist-deep fog in my entire apartment. It was a blue-gray haze that seemed eerie yet I was not afraid in the slightest.

Again, I heard the noise from outside. It was an engine revving loudly, as if someone was about to drag race outside my back door. I hopped up and put my feet on the wood floor. I made my way to the back door, which led to a porch and another screened door. I walked to the screened door and peeked outside.

In the parking lot, which was just across from the driveway to this house which had been renovated to have two apartments in it, was an old, black Plymouth. It had a chopped top and it was raised in the rear end. This was a fast car, no doubt. It was quite an impressive hot rod and it was still rumbling.

There was an arm resting on the driver’s side door, and it led up to a short-sleeved, white tee-shirt. The arm looked vaguely familiar to me. I ducked my head down for a closer look and the face came into view for me. It was my father. He was much younger now. In fact, he looked like he was very close to my own age. I was twenty-eight and he looked about thirty.

“Dad?”

“Hey. Yes, it’s me. I need to talk to you,” he said as his arm motioned me to come closer.

I stepped out onto the wooden steps. I was barefoot and I could feel the steps on my feet. I remember thinking to myself that this had to be real because I made a mental note of what the steps felt like. I even felt the gravel as I tip-toed across the driveway to the parking lot and I could feel the relief of the grass on the other side. When I was finally standing next to the car, I was within two feet of my father’s arm. I looked back and forth at this old car. The words, “nice car,” escaped my lips.

“Thanks! Its your Uncle Kenny’s. I borrowed it.”

I remembered thinking to myself that Uncle Kenny had passed before I was even born. I was happy that Dad was able to see his brother again after all these years.

The ghostly specter that seemed so real spoke again, “I’ve got to talk to you. There are some things that are going to happen because of what I did. I need you to keep an eye on your mother. Can you do that?”

“Sure, Dad.”

“Listen, your mom is going to have a really hard time. She’s in danger and she’s going to die much sooner than she was supposed to and it’s all because of what I’ve done. I’ve started this all in motion. It can’t be changed now.”

“Okay. What do you mean ‘danger’?”

“You’ll know. Just promise me that you’ll be there for her and look out for her.”

“Okay. Are you okay, Dad?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. Everything here is great. You don’t need to worry about me.”

“Okay.”

“I’m never far away if you need me,” were his last words to me.

Suddenly, I was wide awake and the sun was shining. The dog was sitting there looking at me as if she had been awake already for a long time. I couldn’t help but feel that everything that had just happened, had really happened.

This dream would haunt me for a long time. It bothered me a great deal. It let me know my father was okay, but it also told me my mom wasn’t.

It seemed so typical of my family, let’s not do anything easy or the ‘right’ way. Let’s turn the nice, sweet good-by visitation dream into some ominous foretelling of gloom and death. I remember shaking it off and going about my day, but that dream would come back over and over in the next couple of years that were to follow.

Categories: abuse, death, life lessons, self-help | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

An Excerpt From My Next Book “Falling Into the Abyss”

This is an excerpt from my new book, “Falling Into The Abyss”, which will be released next month. This is my personal story, a short autobiography, which recalls traumatic events from my life that have led me to where I am today. This details the tragedy of my father’s suicide and the years that followed, while digging into my past and my childhood for answers. It’s a compelling story of finding your way back from the deepest griefs.

Set to launch October 17th.

Dad had been missing for four days. His body had been hanging from a tree until it had decomposed and fallen to the ground below. It was my understanding that his head was detached from his body. The Florida heat and bugs had made him nothing more than rotting, bug infested flesh that was falling from bones that had been nibbled at by wild animals in the region. This was no longer our father. This was something that used to be a home to his soul and nothing more.

The coroner told us, “Don’t let your son see his father like this. It will give him nightmares the rest of his life.” We agreed and my mother gave the go ahead for the body to be moved to where it would be cremated. My brother never really forgave either one of us for that decision I don’t think? It’s sad that he held my mother responsible for a lot of things, including my father committing suicide in the first place. All along, she tried to protect him and in the end, he was just simply awful to her.

The events that followed were very surreal and I only vaguely remember the days that immediately followed the finding of his body. I know that the funeral for my dad was tiny. There were less than a dozen people there. His own family didn’t come. Two of my mother’s brothers were there and so was her little sister. I was bitterly disappointed that a man who was fifty-eight years old and had touched the lives of so many people only had a handful of people show-up to say good-bye to him.

I had to go pick-up the flowers. My brothers and I were supposed to split this. They both stiffed me. I grumbled to my mother about it because it was so typical and because I was also worried about paying my rent with all this time off work I was taking. I wasn’t going to receive any bereavement pay because my company didn’t offer it.

My mom’s sister, my Aunt Jenny, insisted on giving me money for them. I remember how I felt then. I had rent to pay and it was due in a week. I couldn’t afford the $300 for the wreaths and such. I was relieved that she gave me the money back but I also felt like a heel. It was one more thing that added to the grief and the stress.

Eventually came the day that we had to go collect Dad’s possessions from the sheriff’s department. Mom and I went together. I remember walking back to the window that we were directed to. Everyone seemed to keep looking at us and I felt that they knew who we were. I felt like they felt some sort of sympathy that they couldn’t express. It came out as an awkward silence.

The man behind a window pulled out an envelope. In it were my father’s wallet, his wedding ring, his keys to his car, and his watch. It was the watch I had given him just the year before for Christmas. He’d loved that watch. He always wore it. This thought made me smile.

My mother opened his wallet and began to look through it. I’m not sure why exactly, other than it was probably some connection to him that she felt. She turned it over in her hands, rubbed it and opened it. In a way, it was almost as if she was trying to conjure his spirit from it, as one would call a genie from a bottle.

She pulled out a photo and she gasped, “My God, … you always thought your father didn’t care but look.” In her hand was a photo of the three of us kids, from many years in the past, and on the back of the photo were our names and our dates of birth, in his handwriting. Again, it made me smile, but it was bittersweet. My father had never been the kind of guy to look at you and tell you he loved you. He showed it all the time, but he never ever just came out and said it.

Growing up, he’d been the guy who would cut you a hockey stick out of a sheet of plywood and sand it and paint it, just so you could go out back and play with some other kids and knock around something that we had used as a makeshift puck. He never missed a ball game while I was growing up. He never missed a birthday or an important event ever. Now I was coming to terms with the fact that he would be at nothing else for the rest of my life. It hit me like a rock landing in the pit of my stomach. I didn’t know why my mother said I thought that he didn’t care. I knew he cared. I didn’t know why he had never protected me from her, but I knew he cared.

A deputy who had worked the investigation came up and tried to be comforting. I really cannot say enough nice things about the Marion County sheriff’s department during this time. They treated us like human beings and not just a case they worked. Another deputy walked-up behind him and she said, “Well, at least you have the note he left.”

“Note? There’s a note??” My mother’s face looked shocked and hopeful. She seemed so excited.

“Yes,” the deputy went on, “he left a note. No one told you?” The deputy seemed genuinely shocked and concerned.

“My God! NO!” Tears started to form in my mother’s eyes.

The kind deputy told us to wait where we were. A few minutes later, the female deputy came back. The male deputy walked with her. In her hand she held a paper. She had made a copy of the suicide note and she handed to to my mother. She caught Mom’s hand and squeezed it as she released the note to her. I’m sure she must have realized what this mean to us. These were his last words to us and while they didn’t explain much, those words gave my mother so much comfort and for that I was very thankful.

We poured over it. It was short. It didn’t really make any sense other than to show he wasn’t in the soundest frame of mind when he wrote it. He also stated that he would miss us and loved us all. I’d never heard or even seen these words written from my father, in his own handwriting, in my entire life. Still, I did not cry.

Mom made copies for all of us. My copy is folded and lying in the bottom of a jewelry box to this day. Every now and then I will pull it out and look at it. It helps me feel close to him and to remember his handwriting. There is something in seeing his handwriting that gives me a little bit of comfort from time to time. It is like I still hold a piece of him.

Finally, the last business was that I had to drive my father’s car home, following my mother. It was the longest drive of my entire life. Mind you, I’d driven all over the country already. I’d driven from Florida to Illinois a dozen times and sometimes straight through. Yet this drive, alone with the ghost of my deceased father, was the longest drive of my life. I laughed, I yelled, I asked him “why?” and I sincerely wanted answers. None came.

At the funeral, my brothers both wept. I saw my younger brother’s shoulders heave. My older brother has always been a weeper and he had tears streaming down his face the whole time.

My mother was seated right next to me. I was the only one of her children who sat next to her. I remember thinking that was strange. Why me?

Nearing the end of the small, graveside service there was a twenty-one gun salute and then we had to endure Taps. This had come at the insistence of my younger brother. Being in the marines and my father having been in the army all those many years ago made this meaningful to him.

Never mind that my father was drafted and never had one nice thing to say about being in the Army. He hated it and could hardly wait to be discharged. I remember him talking about it from time to time. He’d been drafted as a young man who had been married already for a few years and taking off to basic training hadn’t been his idea of what he wanted to do with his life.

It was Taps that finally caused silent tears to stream down my cheeks. Still, I never openly wept. There was never any shoulder heaving, nose blowing, sobbing that seemed ready to come out of me. Perhaps I was still in shock or perhaps it was just that I had made a lifetime of holding things in and stuffing things down a little deeper? I just was shoving this all down into the abyss that I didn’t realize I was tethered to. The more weight I shoved down there, the further it drug me down with it.

Four days from the time I had first been told about my father’s death, I was back at work. I tied my tie and put on my vest as if it was any other day and off to work I went. I had a job to do and I was ready to get back to life as usual, and so I tried. I was now driving my father’s car. My mom sold it to me for a few hundred dollars. Leave it to her to make me pay for it. She would, just a few short months later, give my younger brother her Lincoln when she got the insurance money from Dad’s death. She bought herself a different vehicle and started spending that money as fast as she could.

I was finally back at my place and staying in my own bed again, leaving my mother to her lonely house. The first night that I was back in my own bed, the strangest thing happened to me. I had a dream that I was sitting on the branch of the tree that my father hung himself from. I was sitting there, swinging my legs. I was trying to talk him out of doing what he was doing.

He never looked at me. He just continued with his work of tying the rope over the tree limb. He ran the rope under the car and anchored it on the front axle of the car. The other end, he had already carefully tied a noose that had a perfect not. I knew this instinctively because my father was a master at tying knots. He taught me to tie a knot and to this day, people who knew him and see me tie a knot will comment that I must have learned that from my father. I’m sure that they mean nothing by it, but it stings a little.

As I begged him not to do what he was doing, he put the rope around his neck and he jumped. I awoke with a start. I was sweaty, had tears running down my face and I was deeply disturbed. I’ll never forget this dream as long as I shall live. 

Categories: abuse, child abuse, death, gay lesbian, lesbian, life lessons, love, self-help | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

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