Gone

All the things I’ve ever done

Now fade away, into the sun

The wars we lost, the battles won

Those memories can’t be undone

RIP Dad Cat

1/26/1950-5/19/2018

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Death Row

What do you say to someone who’s dying

Without getting swept up in tears?

All the should’ves and could’ves and maybes and would’ves

Added up over the years

Unable to talk, unable to eat,

Unable to get out of bed

Unable to shake off the shackles of grief

From the prisons of bodies or heads

What do you say when you don’t have the words

To express how it is that you feel?

No amount of I’m sorry’s will negate the neglect

Over years, there are no appeals

The sentence is death and the timing is soon

That’s the certainty that we know

What do you say to someone who’s dying

When you all know it’s their time to go?

This was supposed to be published on Wednesday, 5/23/18. I wrote it on Thursday, 5/17/18. My father passed away on Saturday, 5/19/18.

I didn’t get to say goodbye.

Death Wish

Just a form, no need to fear

Soon you will find comfort here…

I was a witness to my father’s death wish today; my shaking hands signed the witness line of his updated DNR. He was accepted into Hospice.

My mom had RB sign a DNR for her. Not that she’s expecting anything to happen, but if it does (like she’s in a car accident) she doesn’t “want to be a vegetable” or anything. Fair, but seriously shitty timing.

Conversation

It had been a rough day and Chinese was on our menu for dinner. After that BB and I had to drive the half hour to my parents’ house, then to the airport to pick up RB; he had been gone since Wednesday at conference in Albany and I felt guilty because, as excited as I knew he was going to be about it, I didn’t really care. RB had a retirement party to attend back in our neighborhood immediately following his pickup. Although he had said he wouldn’t go I insisted; it was an important networking opportunity. I was supposed to go glamping (glamorous camping, I was told) with some girlfriends, but my mother was unable to watch BB over night due to my father’s ailing health. I would miss one night but was planning on attending the next day. I did my best to not make her feel guilty about it.

We were rounding a traffic circle, finishing up a conversation about my father; I had told BB that his Papa was very sick (he was at the hospital for the third time in four weeks) and there was a chance he’d be going to see GG [my maternal Grandmother who passed away last year] soon. “Why Mommy?”

I told him that everyone goes to see GG at some point, but it’s okay because they can fly. I’m not a religious person and am still working out the kinks as far as talks about death. Even though he’s (almost) only three, I wanted to give him the heads up.

“Where’s my buddy Papa going?”

“Hopefully nowhere for a while.” I had been crying all day at work; my eyes were swollen and my head hurt. My mother was getting Hospice involved.

“Oh.” I glanced back at him; he was staring out his window, half paying attention, half already engaged in our next conversation. “Momy, look at that!” His still kind of chubby index finger pointed at the cemetery we were driving past.

“That’s like where GG lives. Can you say cemetery?”

“Cim-it-awy.”

“Good. Do you remember visiting GG?”

“GG is up on the mountain!” (She’s buried on top of a hill; I took BB to visit her for her birthday a couple weeks ago.)

“That’s right, baby.”

We kept driving, the flowers and headstones disappearing in my side mirror. “Mommy, that’s super awesome!”

I actually laughed out loud. He’d been saying that, super cool, and never ever for the past couple weeks; I’m still not sure who he got it from. Tom Petty played gently on the radio in the background.

“You know what, baby? You’re super awesome.”

“Mommy you’re super awesome!” As I turned onto the main street to get to the restaurant I beamed. Did he know what he was saying? Probably not. But it made me feel awesome for the first time that day.

“Aww, thanks baby. That was really kind of you to say.”

“You’re welcome.” I watched his sweet face in the rearview mirror as he continued to stare out his window and just take it all in.

The world is huge and there are so many wonderful things to see. I hope he never stops looking for them.

The Fright

I heard it the first time while folding laundry; the little pair of pants fell lifelessly to the table onto the other folded items. Did I really hear that? I asked myself. No…

My blood ran cold, ice pushing through my veins, freezing my entire body, fingertips to toes and back up to my head, still struggling to comprehend what it had just heard. My arms remained outstretched, as if still waiting to be told to fold the phantom clothes.

The cats looked at me as if under duress; the three of us locked eyes and strained our ears again, refusing to believe what we had heard until it came again, carried down the stairs on a hellish whisper, breaking all semblance of what was, until now, a normal nap time:

“Mommeeeee….. I got poop on my finger!”

The cats scattered, and I can’t say that I blamed them. What in the actual fuck?

Piss Test

Tonight RB physically had to help my dad walk to the bathroom. My Dad, with bowed head and body unsteady, needed his neck brace put on after he had already stood up. It was difficult due to his standing; he’s still taller than me, although physically a fraction of what he was even two years ago. He asked me to loosen his brace for him. “Too tight!” we were able to make out. I wiped the drool from under his chin off on my jeans as RB lead him down the hallway, steps shuffling. As usual, the baby was laughing and oblivious to the plights of his grandfather. This was normal, just Papa being Papa.

“It wasn’t as bad as I thought,” RB said afterwards. “He farted after I got his pants down so that was uncomfortable, but he excused himself.” I told him how my Uncle had prepped me earlier for how to pull down my father’s pants and move his hand so he could relieve himself; I had to help him adjust himself earlier as well. RB shrugged. “I just stood behind him to make sure he didn’t fall. I feel bad I didn’t get his underwear back on right though. I can barely get mine straight most of the time.”

We chuckled, and I made a comment about how I might have to do the same for his mom someday. He went out to smoke.

I can’t doubt how much he loves me ever again.

I am 2018

Who do you love and

Who do you serve?

Where do you share

Just how you observe?

Are you a tiger

Or are you a snake?

Do you hide under cover

Or make mountains shake?

Are you a follower

Or take the first spot?

Do you believe

You deserve what you got?

Do you create anything

Or take all that you can?

It’s 2018

And I’m still just a Man.

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of the murder of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his support of the Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike, #IAM2018

Solace

To hide to create, to write and to love

To sing and to laugh, to cry and to hug

Some take place in our minds while others cannot

Sometimes this small solace is all that we’ve got

Writer’s Block

I just can’t bring myself to write. Thoughts and ideas swirl around in my brain constantly but everything stops as soon as I touch the keys. Inspiration oozes from between my fingertips like homemade slime. I’ve gone through my poetry stash, leaving only a handful of unfinished pieces left to twist and pull and try to make sense of.

We’re in week seven of BB’s transition into his big boy bed; I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve gotten more than four hours of uninterrupted sleep. We’ve tried different lights, deep breathing, back rubs, baby gates, communicating with the baby monitor, tough love, time outs at 3:15am, shouting from our bedroom and threats to get him to GO BACK TO BED but nothing is fucking working. He wakes up (like he just did after three hours of snoozing) and cries for our attention.

I’m being stretched to my limit but keep pushing myself to work harder. My world is collapsing around me and I’m clinging to as many walls as possible, pushing steel and cement back up against the weight of themselves without result. My hands are bloody, my body is tired. I am hurting.

I keep feeling phantom kicks of the baby I’ll never have pushing out from deep within me, without any rhyme or reason. It makes me so, so sad.

My marriage is far from perfect but I am trying. Communication is difficult when you’re used to burying everything. Nobody ever told us how fucking hard it is to stay married. I still don’t know how my parents did it.

My father is dying and I can’t do anything about it.

I’m drowning in pools of sorrow and using food to stay afloat. I almost can’t fit into my pants anymore, and yet I still had to have that third cookie before bed tonight.

But I can physically eat without assistance. I can wrap my arms around my snoring husband, if I choose. I can feel my belly shake with laughter from my son, who I still believe is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. I’m not reminded of my impending death every time I manage to lift my head to look in the mirror. Every day I have the ability to inflict kindness and hope, as we all do.

Life’s a bitch and she’s in heat. – They Live

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