Monday, July 23, 2012

Umbilical Cord

The first sounds you heard, the first music, the first voice, was mine.  I was the composer and arranger of your initial entrance into this universe.  The cocoon that held you, bathed you, cradled and nurtured you were of my design.  As flawed as it was, it loved you, my precious pearl.  I worshipped you, my unknown living creature, for no reason and for every reason.

The guilt and pain for you is fresh, uncontained, unimagined, unexpressed.  It is slowly unraveling itself, weaving its snake-like tendrils into every crack and crevice of my being, like Medusa.  Each snake is alive, pulsating, hissing, leaving entrails of guilt, horror, disgust and disdain, all lopped together, festering deep within.

How do I contain it and not let it touch you, my sweet baby?  You, who have been ravaged before your understanding of life was complete; you, who need protection and soothing, who harbors a darkness that is not yours.  It was an unwanted “gift”, no more of your sweet precious gift of innocence, torn from your flesh, left bleeding from secret wounds, invisible blood, a blood letting you endured in silence, your own private hell.

I didn’t know.  I search and search for the clues I missed.  Did you try to tell me, your failed protector, and I missed them?  What are the clues anyway?   I saved you from my own demons; a sigh of relief knowing they could not touch you.  But one slipped past as I carefully crafted the protective covering that was supposed to keep you safe.  A monster, known and nearby, snuck under the steel fences and came right through the front door, masked as friend, and battled with you in our front room, not once, not twice, leaving you with your own demons to fight for years to come.

And I hurt, knowing the pain of living with demons for a lifetime.  That was my destiny.  It was not yours.  And yet it is yours.  Now.  My own monsters laugh with glee at the pain that creeps up from the basement of me where the memories are vaulted.  I am familiar, yet unfamiliar with the stings of my past revisited.  Is it this? Is it that?  Are they yours?  Is it mine?

I am here.  I always have been.  We have a common thread of demons that now run through us, attaches us, a new kind of umbilical cord.  This one I cannot sever.  It will nourish and heal you.  It is our lifeline.  Once again I feed you, sustain you as you make your way into this world again, the second time, a man before you were able, your two souls that will heal into one.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Love, Loss and Fibber McGee's Closet

My dear friend lost her father suddenly this past weekend.  He and his wife took their regularly schedule nap, sitting side by side in matching barcaloungers.  She awoke, he didn’t.  A horrible thing for those he left behind but sweetness for he who left, peacefully in his sleep.  Did he give a peck to his wife of 65 years before sinking down into that cushion perfectly configured to his shape after years of sharing that space with her?  Did he whisper “sweet dreams, my love”, as they both drifted into the sweet slumber so deserved after so many years of family, work, good and bad times, illness and health?

Those he left behind gather together at a family reunion just days after he left peacefully.  Did he know how perfect the timing was of his departure?  Golf, picnics, music and laughter were scheduled and family came from across the country.  Did this cost conscious Depression Era man wish not to burden his family with the cost of an additional trip just for his behalf?  Did he wish to leave with the sounds of laughter, loving children and grandchildren reminiscing as he watched from above, laughing along?

This love will not be contained this weekend.  It is foreign to me as I recall the departures of both of my parents.  I don’t understand the pain that my dear friend feels today.  She lives in the pockets of her parents, dependent on their continued love and affection; not a bad place to be, warm and snuggly knowing that you are loved totally and unconditionally. 

I can’t say there is envy in that, as I don’t understand that kind of love at all.  I have no memories of unconditional parental love; warm cookies when coming home from school, the shoulder to cry on when I lost my job, broke up with a boyfriend, or the pain of not being able to conceive a child.  The tears from their departures from this earth were from the numbness that took over my body knowing that now I was an orphan. 

Who was I now?  No longer daughter, no longer frustrated caretaker during the years of illnesses.  As I try to free associate words and emotions that go with loss and parent, I am coming up short of anything that wouldn’t put the most hardened listener into a state of depression.  The closest I come to happy memories are those related to loss and grandparent.

Summer cottage and the endless days at Island Lake beach and the ongoing stories about Princesses Opal and Black Pearl, The White and Black Knights and Prince Dally Rimple Pimple every night before bed in the feather quilted beds of the attic bedroom, gramps slathering whole milk butter onto every corner of our morning toast so that the task of biting into it was to see if you could keep the butter from dripping down your fingers, or the Jell-O that was carefully mixed with just the perfect amount of cream so that each spoonful contained equal amounts of each.

Or new Barbie dolls delivered every birthday, regardless if it was mine or sis’s and the stacks of the flat costume boxes and accessories that came with.  Grams noodle making afternoons where every noodle draped chair in the house looked like longhaired Rastafarians as we danced between them while the “hair” dried.

It was the hide and seek in the closet she named Fibber McGee’s because Grams had no idea what really was in there and if something were missing, it must be in Fibber McGee’s closet.

These must be the memories that come to mind at times of loss.  I have to believe this is true and so I hold dear to them. These are the stories that my children have heard and their children will hear. 

My grams and gramps, too, passed on in their dreams.  And while this sudden departure brought with it intense pain of loss, it also brought back the tucked away memories that bring tears of joy and laughter with every retelling.

And so I cry with my dear friend’s loss, but I also rejoice in the beauty of the love she will hold and share till she quietly sneaks away in her dreams many years from now, once again to climb back into their soft pockets of their never ending unconditional love.