Secrets

Today I sat in a hospital room, surrounded by the sterile environment I had learned to hate, to fear. In a not so distant past, a childhood not so far from me, I to was in need of cleansing. This though, is different. This, is my child. The heart of my heart. I wanted to cover him with me. I needed that. Tonight an ambulance drove away with my son. To a sterile place. No curtains no string. No guns, razors or glass. No privacy. Tonight he is without me, but also without the means to take his own life. 

For you my son….

Hello. I’m sure you’re not asleep. I know you’re laying there staring at your hands, wondering if you will ever have the chance to hurt the man, once a child, that raped you…again and again. I know that pain. That loss. My words will never be enough to heal you, no matter how many are here…this time, I just can’t do it alone. I heard you. I know you hate me right now and that’s okay because so do I. I have nightmares of you being chased, and I am unable to save you, to give you warmth and love, safety and peace. I can’t do anything. Much like you, I just don’t know what to do or who to be or even who I am anymore. If I was the kind of person who could take a life it would be his, for you. I was blessed to feel your heart beat next to mine, to smell you and hold you as close as one ever could. And for you I would kill, and right now, I wish I was that kind of human being. 

My sweet son, my love, I’m sorry you’re where you are. That I cannot make you better, make you forget, make you whole, is my failure to own. It was never and will never be yours. You are so brave, beyond and measure you are the courage I need now. For you I am still awake. I am here. I am here for you. 

Please don’t die. I know you want to. I know you’re in there, somewhere, under the pain, waiting to live again. I love you. I miss you. I love you so much my heart is truly, and completely, beating for you. I, will always be here, for you, heart of my heart.

Love, Me.

I am angry. I want to hurt him, make him bleed for what he has done. I want him to feel all the pain, to rip his innocence from him and I want him to be wrapped in my sons shame, rage, and fear. I want….I want this to be over. 
There is no amount of surrender I can give to this. I don’t want to. There is no forgiveness. My family is broken. Now, at least, I suppose, we know when the broken pieces fell for our son and where we can begin a new life…unknown but new. That has to be something right? That’s all I have…I don’t know what to say to my precious child. The child who’s photos are throughout our home. Looking at them, I can see when it started, I can see the pain. I feel the pain. I can hear the screams and it cuts me, bleeds me dry. This new and unknown is what I have. I’ll take it. I’ll take it because it means my son is still here, and I will not sit by and allow him to be a victim a moment longer. 

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Murderer

Like wind blowing across hot dry sand my memories are fleeting

But the stones so heavily in place keep the things I want to forget 

As if branded like cattle before slaughter

They are always here

When I thought like a child I had two abortions. 

When I felt like an adult I made decisions that scarred my womb, my heart, forever.
The thought of what I was about to do, the life I knew I was about to end, made me ill. I threw up all the medication they gave me, and because I didn’t show them my vomit and flushed it, they refused more meds and told me I’d be fine. I wasn’t. I felt the life they took on my behalf. I felt the tearing as my eyes welled, and tried to get away. They held me down. They did an ultrasound, and found more of my unborn, and held me down again while they leaned up the mess I had made, and vacuumed out what was left of my aching heart. 

I lay there, and imagined what my birth mother chose not to do to me. For the first time in my life I was truly thankful for the life I had, and thankful that she didn’t have to endure the same pain I was in. 

I was alone.

I took a pill that was meant for abortions at under seven weeks. I went in for an ultrasound. The nurse took my lies while looking at my womb, grey and alive. She took them and made them her own and signed papers giving me permission to abort at home. 

I took the pill, alone, on a spring morning. I sat on a toilet as my body spasmed when the medicine kicked in. I cried. I held my body close. I was alone with my choice. Alone with yet another life I CHOSE to take. My body bore a tiny life, in which I gathered up in a specimen jar, and placed in a bag, in a freezer, in a doctors hands, in a trash can for human waste, in a burning pit, deep deep in my soul. 

I knew the lives I took. I felt their end. I love them even now. 

Alone.

For a Heart that is sick…

There is a little girl, not quite three, dying of stage four cancer. Her parents are friends of a fellow infantryman my husband is close with. 

Her heart may be ravaged by this terrible disease, but her smile shines bright when the police officers stop by and visit. Her time on this earth is short and her mom would like to make her a gift…a quilt of police badges, blue and bright, to keep her safe on lonely nights.

If you have a spare or know someone who may give a badge to place on this blanket of love, email me at bitslittleblog@gmail.com and I will give you my address. I will then forward it to the family. Thank you friends!

Never Make A Plan!!!

Feeling overwhelmed minions? I too struggle with this little turd called anxiety…I just never know when that riptide of panic will hit, but I have grown enough to know who or what can trigger it…

We went fishing for the Fourth of July weekend, and let me tell you that after all the epic (as in expensive) mechanical failures of the past month I couldn’t make the following up if I tried.

Let’s set the tone with a pre-road trip run down shall we? 

Washing machine leaked all over basement.

My van has a flat tire…damn it

Couldn’t (still can’t) find glasses

Migraine

***In our SUV we have me, my husband, one man size 14 year old son and our daughter, Little son, baby son, 130 lb dog child, 40 lb puppy child. Packed around us are our needs for the weekend. On top of said SUV are two kayaks.***

Driving to our favorite fishing hole on the Missouri/Arkansas border is about four hours give or take…unless you make plans, as I did, to get there in that time frame. 
First was the traffic which was backed for miles in both directions at a crucial point of our road trip – so we had to take a two hour detour which only got us 33 miles from home. Siri, if you’re maker is reading this – kiss my butt.

Two hours later we reach the famed, nay infamous ‘candy shop’ and baby needs to stretch his legs. While walking around our beloved SUV had over heated AND the oil light was on AND the check engine light was giving off the ‘it’s to late you’re doomed’ glare. In need oil? Yes! Nearest gas station? 6 miles away. Stress level high and pricey! Oh did I forget to mention that as a result of Siri’s flagrant disregard of our schedule said candy shop/gas station was closed when we pulled up? Yeah, it was that kind of night.

We get to our destination at around midnight. SEVEN hours after we’ve left home. Both dogs need to pee, I need to pee, baby is pissed off and my husband looks like he’s about to stroke out. Baby slips on wet floors. I slip on wet floor…because you know…it’s RAINING! Pardon my language but in my mind I thought to myself ‘what fuckery is this?!?’ 

Alas we wake Saturday to find rain but no fish. Our son Jay caught one…just one troutsie…for the entire day. (That was one splendid fish…so yummy, but as a total for the day not enough for a family meal.) We decided to load up our hot-n-sexy SUV for a beer run…which yes, Siri, that bitch, took us on a scenic drive for 1.5 hours to a Walmart we had never seen, past the one we would have had to do an illegal u-turn (on a major four lane road no less) to get to. Sigh. Forget the beer, I bought two loaves of French bread and a bag of cookies. Omm nomm nomm. I love you bread. You heal me.

But Sunday, sweet sweet blessed Sunday…
It rained just enough to keep the fish biting and the temperature pleasant, well, for July anyway!


Jay (man sized child) caught his limit of trout…

Birdie caught hers too!


It was nice enough that we got to swim in the afternoon…so we all got to nap too for the bonus. Yay me!

Bravo caught his limit and met a guy who was a nephew of a man he served with – small world! It made his weekend.


I got to fish ALONE. Peace. Quiet. I even caught a few trout myself! 

My husband Bravo and Jay got to kayak…and promised that next time I get first dibs. 


#familyfishingfun

Where Water Meets the Fire

The worlds gone mad

Flash

Bang

This is not 

The world

I imagined 

Living in

Time

Stands still

The calm

Before

The storm

My world

Is filled

With joy

And peace

With love

With hope
It runs deep
With hate
Follow me 

Some cry

For me 

I will stand

I won’t 

Sit by

As lives are taken

As my

Child

Within

Fears for

My child with out

Safety

Peace

Quiet

Calm

Voices of

Those 

Who fight

To make their world

A better place

Place me here

Above the noise

I choose 

A life

Without 

Violence

Creeping

To my door

Fogging 

The glass

To see 

Through 

The window

To feel that

Light

For my children

And theirs 

I say

Love

I say

Love

As Petals Fall, So do We

I do not know how to hate

A person 

For the color

Of their skin

Or their choice of faith

I do not understand

The seething rage

That lies within others

Are we all not woven 

From the same tapestry

One of vibrant color

Each strand a different story

All together creating 

That which blankets 

The earth

I do not see

Your shades of brown, red, nude, tattoos

I do not see your denomination or lack there of

I see what it covers

Not so different 

Never the same

No color

No hate

***My thoughts and prayers are with those who have suffered loss on both sides of the police brutality equation – Those taken before their time at the hands of someone designated to protect them and those who have died protecting us in all the right ways. Bravery knows no color.***

Stuck at the Gate

I arrived home, realizing I’d been avoiding my mailbox like the plague. My life has been busy lately, and busy tends to be translated as anxious x10 to my worrisome mind.

I killed our lawn mower. My husband killed our SUV and my van nearly died. All in that order over a three week period. While I’d like to say I handled this and the heating element of my dryer also dying with grace and patience…I did not. (But I sure thought I did!) It’s was all well and good until I showered a few nights ago. Then the tears fell – over my inability to use the soap dispenser with my ‘write’ hand. I sat down and sobbed, which made it worse, which made me sadder still. (Holy shit it’s been a ride. So glad I can’t repeat the past.)

Air drying towels and jeans should be a sin. There’s nothing I hate more than crispy towels and crunchy jeans. I can only compare it to stale cereal. Just yuck.

Anyway. That’s not what this is about.

In my mailbox was a letter…from my mother. Her cursive writing that spelled out my name and address made me feel heavy, like a laundry basket full of wet towels. I just placed it under my arm, walking inside feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders…

As I opened the envelope and pulled out the card I could see through the light blue background more cursive, more wordy thoughts, more glaring, dead references about my life, because judging is what she has always seemed to do best when it came to me. There wasn’t a bit of space left. Words were everywhere.

Not now I thought. I just can’t. I put the baby to sleep. I did dishes, folded clothes. I could not forget I’d gotten it.

Mom wrote…

Dear Bits, I was in a car accident in December in Portland. I was on my way to see my friend, my best friend since preschool. She took her own life. I didn’t know. It happened in October, but her husband hadn’t told anyone. He sent my Christmas card back, writing on the back that she’d passed. I called him and he told me everything. Just so sad.

I felt like the world had swallowed me up. 

I felt like an asshole.

I felt like a selfish asshole.

I read the rest. Out of guilt, out of remorse, and because my shame compelled me to.

Deep breath. It’s just words right?

My mothers parting lines – 

I want to ask your forgiveness and begin the restoration of our mother/daughter relationship. Let us cross over the bridge together that has kept our relationship apart, and move forward.

In my 35 years of life, not once has she said ‘I’m sorry’ for the things she’s done. Though she raised me to say it, believe it, bleed that forgiveness from every sorry pore.

I’m not ready

Deep breath

I don’t want to put away that list

The one filled with pain

Of abuse and manipulation

That one that keeps me here

Standing at the gate

My mother, filled with religion, with blame

The abyss I see just before the bridge she asks me to cross with her

I can’t

I know I should. I know that. Everything I have ever been taught, by her no less, has shown me it’s better, easier, right to cross that bridge. Everything , every Thing she’s ever done has only led me to a road void of love, and laden with the pot holes of her heavy hand, my burden to lay bare here.

Here is where I admit I hate the things she did/didn’t do. My own seething anger for all the times she beat the shit out of us because she wasn’t stable, able, willing to love – it leaves a taste of bitter fruit. The thought of letting go is at first so enticing, until a bite is taken and the drip of reality hits my palette. I can’t…

…But I will.

Father, Teacher, Friend

He made them a fortress on the wood line, on a broken oak from the storm two years ago. Hobbling on the knees that caused him so much pain. He cut most of that tree, a little each day. Rolling the trunk chunks to fit under the corners just so. A look of pain in his eyes but a smile upon his face

He goes to work each day, EVERY day, without complaint and always/only for his family. For 18 years. Without fail, without expectation of grander dividends.

He goes to the school plays, graduation ceremonies, family outings and fishing trips despite his desires to escape the crowds. He throws the parties and sings the songs even though he’d rather find a quiet mountain to stand on.

He holds his children when they cry and picks up his babies when they reach for him, all while hiding the pain in his back. 

He teaches our children to fish. Teaches them to defend themselves and others. He shows them how to make cookies, pie crust and pasta, even when he’s been up all night tossing and turning. He sows the seeds and teaches our children how to make them grow.

*****

Bravo, thank you for the days, months, years, of being present in our children’s lives. Thank you for the life lessons, momentous occasions, small moments, and life you have helped to provide for our seven children. Each one of them have the best of you. You never hesitate to stand up for them, and give them what we didn’t have most years of our lives…a father. Loving, playful, hard-working, hilarious.

Happy Fathers Day my love. 

For Just One Day…

I don’t remember the last Fathers Day I spent with my dad, but I’m imagining it was great. He would have oohed and such at the silly things we’d made for him. He would have made a drink to celebrate the occasion, and by 3pm would’ve needed a nap. I can’t remember the name I gave him for writing in my blog, but his real name was Edward. To all he was Ed. That tall and lanky man with a beautiful laugh and snarky attitude. He never met a screwdriver he didn’t enjoy and he never met my two youngest children.

When I was very young Ed made me a swing set, and I remember him lining up nails, laid on their sides so that I could hammer on them with my favorite whittled stick.

Once, when my mother was away, Ed decided to make us a treehouse. Using just one nail for each piece of wood leading to the planks that were to be our fort, and my insistence on climbing up first – I got to the second board and slid/fell/smacked my way down. Scraped and bleeding Dad picked me up. Holding me close he ran inside and with mom not there to nurse my wounds, he tried to take the pain away. My brother sat in living room, watching as Ed gave me wet hand towels to dab the cuts, while he warmed up spaghetti-o’s. When that didn’t take the sting away dad gave me a Popsicle. A banana Popsicle. That is a tradition in our house nowadays. Cut cleaning and cold treats make for easy bandaid placement. 
Once when Ed took us camping it rained so hard that the military surplus tent collapsed from the weight, and we had to sleep in the old suburban. My brother and I, in our matching baseball jackets were just terrified by the darkness. Dad was our comfort, and gave us a flashlight and chewy watermelon candy to ease our fears. 

We use to visit old cemeteries with Ed. He loved the history, and reading old headstones, and pulling weeds away from a final resting place. One day I will do the same for him.

(I look up as I type this, and in our yard is a five point buck. He’s a beautiful specimen. I think to myself that perhaps Dad has sent him for me. The deer is staring at me. The dogs, for now, don’t smell him. I wonder if God sent the deer, reminding me that He’s never far, always with me.)

My memories of my Father Ed, though mostly faded, tattered by time and a life taken too soon by alcohol and depression, are with me here. They are in my heart, my mind. And though I try to focus on the good there is a very small part that feels that twinge of pain about all he missed, I missed, we missed as a family. 

I chose to share his name here, with you, my friends/family, because today I miss the speghetti-o’s, and I miss his smile. I wanted him to meet all my children and take them camping, build them a tree house, make them laugh. But really, I want him to call me Honey again. I want him here.

I love you Dad. Happy Fathers Day.

Reflections

What does it mean to be a woman?I think that the answer lies within the heart and mind of each woman reading this.

(Still thinking of that beautiful young lady who was killed in Orlando, I’ve been stuck emotionally, and the best way to unstick is to unload.)

I don’t know her but I know she matters, and I know she loved, is loved.
I am a woman. 
I often tried to put myself into a certain group of people, and it’s not because I was craving that high school groupy-ness but because more often than not, I just didn’t fit in. It use to bother me immensely. It made me insecure. It made me someone I wasn’t meant to be….

*****

My femininity is beautiful. My gentleness/strength is empowering.

***** 

While trying to pen who I am, I’ve been thinking of all the women that have influenced me in the last year of life. This last year has taught me much about the human condition and all its glory/gore. The gray side of life. (Because for me as I age, the black/white, left/right, near/far on many things have melted to a calming shade of gray. There is less to fuss about. Don’t get me wrong – I still have absolutes, but in the gray I have found understanding and I’ve learned to understand.) 

*****

My mother, who I haven’t spoken to since last December, has taught me that I can be accepted – by me, without a desire to please her (or anyone else) and cut myself down. I have learned that I can still love her (and others) from afar, and not feel worthless for doing so. For myself this is HUGE. I try very hard to make everyone that I cherish feel that from me. I don’t ever want to let anyone down. Feeling as though I’ve failed someone feels like I AM the FAILURE. She was one of two voices I would hear in my mind when I’d done less than perfect anything. Hers by far has/had the biggest reach (1700 miles to be exact) and her words until recently cut me deeply, and had the magical ability to change me, how I viewed myself. It is not sad or tragic, though I use to feel that way. It’s life and a lesson I needed to learn for so long. 
My friend Kristal, who is raising her two grandchildren. She is a faithful woman, both with her relationship with those she loves and with God. She listens when I talk to her. She lets me know she’s there when I need that – because we all do sometimes. She accepts me AND my crazy brood just the way we are. I have learned from her, that it’s never too late to love myself. I’ve learned that through her own life story, and how her life story has changed me. 

Alyssa, who was the first person to follow Little Bits of Heaven, has become what I refer to as my ‘one in a million’. Our lives are like the reflections on the water. Almost the same, yet different enough to keep me looking, searching, but in a comforting way. She is the me if I were her and I if she were me. Her journey inspires me to look beyond the introvert I have become and be a part of the world again. She has taught me what it is to overcome, to cleanse, to use my words as a way to move through things rather than stop and stay. And that, for someone with anxiety, is a BIG deal. She is more a part of me than I thought I could find in a friend. I envy the way she can take a simple thought I pen and send it back with such illustration, with words that give life to the slow death that is each passing hour. She is true beyond measure.

My blogging buddy and gracious friend Annabella, who sends me weekly emails just to remind me that in my closed-circuit world someone’s still ‘out there’ caring about me, has shown me that I need not apologize for things I want out of life. Her wit, her desire to be authentic and trust the Lord has helped me through much in the last few months. She sent me the most beautiful something, and it’s real, tangible, touching, authentic. I could send her all the ranting/cursing that this sailors mouth could conjure up and she’d still see ME. ME. What a blessing. She doesn’t allow for shallow self loathing or to skip over the what if’s. She allows me those, and challenges me to take my life and desires head on, which sometimes I/you/me/we need.

Deb, whose life and love and gentle nature, which bleeds through every post and tugs at my heart strings, has taught me the importance of being gentle, but even more so that being gentle, even quiet – does not make me a woman of weakness, but strength. Things don’t always need to be said. Words do not need to be written just for filler. Peace, quiet, and a gentle nature have more power than I ever knew. The struggles have not taken her love away, but magnified it ten fold, in the most wonderful way.

Each of these women I would cross the country for. Be there to pull their hair back from their eyes in those sad and mournful moments, hands held tightly no matter the miles apart. I would/do/will celebrate them and their accomplishments. They inspire. They love. They are all true and beautiful. 

*****

I read what I’ve penned – and stop. I picture that young woman I’ve been thinking so much about. She must have been strong, to love herself in spite of all those who were against her. Her challenges in this life most likely gave her a loving and loyal nature toward those who truly loved all of her. Those gentle smiling eyes no doubt lit every room. I’m sure that she touched many lives in ways she will never know. She has taught me what it means to BE COURAGEOUS. 

*****

Myself, last but not least, always has room in my heart for you. I am loyal, at times to a fault. I’m a lover of God, my husband and family and the diversity of all the women who make up that which is ‘me’. I am beautiful. I have value. What I lack in social graces I make up for in my writing. I’ve lived more than I should have, but it’s given me perspective. I see the cracks in my mirrored reflection as that which keeps me grounded rather than that which stops me in my tracks. Happiness is progress. Wholeness is healing through my pain, and not allowing it to break me. I’m me, and that’s a miraculous thing to accept, more so to love. 

Thank you to all of you, and some that I didn’t mention, for helping me to find myself. It’s a journey every woman needs to take, even if it’s kicking and screaming – which yes, I’ve done that too. Thank you for the love, acceptance, lessons, and humanity. 

***We. Are. One.***