The Apology

 a·pol·o·gy
əˈpäləjē/
noun
 1.    a regretful acknowledgment of an offense or failure.
“we owe you an apology”
2. a very poor or inadequate example of.
“we were shown into an apology for a bedroom”
As I have aged, the sudden appearance of people from my past or random memories tickling the edges of my mind at strange times has become the norm, rather than the exception. I seem to have the time now to pay attention and puzzle through the appearance of those people I have not communicated directly with in years.
I am sure these types of things have happened throughout my life, but I was not still enough to be aware of them occurring. I was too busy and distracted by the living to hear the whispers, so undoubtedly missed them.
I once had a beautiful cousin named Cindy, who was very dear to me- a surrogate sister in fact.
She came to live with us when I was around 9.
Her mother was my mother’s sister, and although she was seven years my senior, we were always incredibly close. I am sure my parents appreciated having a teenager in the house to do housework and keep us busy, and she definitely pitched in Sunday nights, when my parents had their revolving rummoli games away from home.
My brother and I lived for those Sunday nights when we could be as wild as we wanted, dancing around the house in our underwear, eating cake icing right out of the big metal bowl with the spatulas, and listening to whatever “weird” music Cindy was into that week.
We cut our chops on Alice Cooper and The Grateful Dead and spooked ourselves silly with Cindy’s Ouija board.
We stayed up late watching gritty 70s television like Hawaii 5-0 and The Mod Squad.
My love for Cindy just continued growing over the years; she was one of the few people that was aware of the turmoil in my home and provided comfort and wise counsel always. I believe in my heart that Cindy loved me more than any person I have ever known in my life, with the exception of my brother.
I always felt safe and loved by Cindy.
When she moved to residence in University, many a night she would call me out of the blue and tell me to pack my pajamas and come spend the night with her, pretending she was lonely by herself in her room. Two of us snuggled into her single bed with the flowery spread, watching garbage television and giggling about who was cuter- David Cassidy or Rick Springfield.
She fell in love when she was 20 to a boy she had met at university and had dated for only six months. He was Iranian, and was a doppelganger for Cat Stevens, a singer she had been crushing on for years.
My aunt and uncle told her she was too young to get married and what about university, but she was very adamant that he was her one true love and she would run away to marry him and likely whatever threats silly girls in love tell their parents in order to get their way in the end.
They were married in a formal wedding in 1977 and she looked absolutely beautiful and so in love, like a fairy tale princess.
She, of course, quit school to be a wife, and her husband went to work to support them both, as was the norm in his culture.
Their son was born in 1980, and I was there for his birth, at her request. The first time I held him, I was in love. He was such a beautiful tapestry of races, black and white from his mom and  Persian from his father. I called him little Elvis, as he had so much pitch black hair and even baby sideburns. I was that perfect age to be introduced to a baby- 15- and felt such a closeness to him, as he was part of her, and I had been allowed to be there from the very beginning of his life.
I recall that she started calling me to come stay with her at her new home when Sacha was still tiny, as her husband worked nights. I really cannot remember what job he had then, as most of his jobs seemed to require him to be away from home for more than 12 hours a day.
I would go over and play with the baby and we reverted back to our old ways, of singing together or dancing with the baby. I would spend the nights and go right to school in the mornings. A lot of times her husband wasn’t home yet, and I would find her in the mornings sitting on the couch with the baby, watching the t.v. with the sound off.
I should mention that her husband was always fond of us younger kids, and encouraged us to spend time with them. Cindy had two younger brothers the same age as my brother and I and we were all always welcome with open arms into their home. Her husband drove a very fancy sports car at the time, and I remember him sometimes driving me to school in it, and how cool I felt to be arriving in that car to high school, a dangling cigarette in my hand, with the Bee Gees blaring from his expensive car stereo system.
He was a handsome charmer- I will give him that. He knew how to make a girl feel pretty special.
The problem was, I think he likely made a lot of girls feel special during that time.
Just not his wife.
Cindy and the baby were at my parent’s house one day when I got home from school. Bags of clothes and baby items in the hallway by my room.
She was sitting on the couch with the baby on the floor on his blanket. It was pretty apparent she had been crying. I asked her what was going on and she just shook her head, eyes down.
My Dad told me he had left work to go grab her and the baby as she and her husband had had a fight.
We all just sat there waiting for my mom to get home, as she would definitely be the one to be making any decisions that needed to be made.
When she arrived, they went into the bedroom, leaving my Dad and I with the baby, and were gone for a long time.
I could hear my mother’s voice at times..shrill..angry, and I could hear Cindy’s sobbing.
That night, when we were laying together in my bed, with the baby between us, in the dark, I asked her what was happening. She told me he had hit her with the baby in her arms, because she accused him of having a girlfriend. The baby had fallen from her arms onto the bed, which was a blessing, but not one that my Mom could see.
My Mom and her sister had numerous phone calls over the next few days, going back and forth on what should be done, with Cindy’s husband calling repeatedly in between those marathon sister-calls, begging his wife to come home with their son.
She went back home to him a week later, against my Mother’s advice, her explanation being ” I have to try for my son’s sake, he’s sorry, it won’t happen again, Auntie.”
Cindy managed to hold on until Sacha was around 3 years old, the final break occurring during a months- long visit by his parents from Iran.
He had been fooling around again, not coming home, and she confronted him about it in front of his parents, which escalated into an ugly scene, with his Mother asking him why he allowed his  wife to disrespect him like that in his own home, and him responding with a few slaps to his wife to prove his masculinity.
My Dad and Mom went to get her together that time, and although I wasn’t there with them, and I certainly wasn’t told all the details, the sight of my father’s bloody knuckles were all I needed to know that this time, she wouldn’t be going back.
After staying with us for a bit, Cindy eventually got a place of her own with her son, and managed to regain her confidence and respect in herself. She went back to school, began working, and I babysat for her in the evenings while she worked.
The bond I had with her son grew even stronger during this time, and Cindy encouraged that. She shared him with all of us, and he was such a happy little boy.
His father moved over 1000 miles away, didn’t provide any support, but when he called, Cindy would proudly share with him their son’s accomplishments and encourage Sacha to talk to him on the phone.
One evening when Sacha was 10, he called me to tell me he was playing soccer that evening at a park by my home, where I lived with my husband and two young sons. I told him to pack his over night bag, and I would come with the boys, watch his game, and he could come home with us for the night.
Having talked to Cindy the day before, I knew she had been sick and told by the doctor at the emergency room that she had a sinus infection, so thought I could keep him the night, which would allow her to rest.
I told him to tell his mom the plan, and he told me his mom was in bed but could not talk to him.  I asked him if she was sleeping and he told me her eyes were open and she looked scared but couldn’t talk.
I called Cindy’s Dad and asked him to drive over to her house, as I was at home with my two sons and no car.
My uncle called an ambulance immediately upon assessing the situation with his daughter and Sacha was taken to school by the neighbour.
By the time I got to the hospital, they were taking her for a spinal tap to rule out meningitis.  As they wheeled her away, I will never forget her eyes looking at me, full of tears, but determined I understand what she was trying to convey without the ability to speak to me. She didn’t need words. I knew what she wanted and my eyes sent right back to her that I understood and would do what she needed.
( My son, Shannon, my son, what is going to happen to my son? Take care of him for me, Shannon, take care of him.)
I never saw her eyes open again.
She was transferred to intensive care and as family gathered, the doctors informed us that she had no brain activity. The virus had ravaged her system and there was no hope for survival.
Her parents asked that she be left on life support until her brother could arrive from out of province to say his goodbye to his sister, and I left to go pick Sacha up at school.
It was his last school day of the year, and he had his report card in his hand when he ran towards my car.
I cannot for the life of me remember what I said to him as I drove us back to the hospital. I likely told him Mommy was sick, and he was excitedly chattering away about his last day and plans for the summer with his friends, so I was allowed to remain silent.
I am pretty sure I  told him his Nan and Poppa were waiting for him at the hospital.
I do remember them all asking me if I could take him in to see her, as her parents were too emotional to do it.
Sitting by her bedside, I encouraged him to read his report card to her.
He asked me if she could hear him as she was sleeping and I told him she would hear everything he said.
Later that evening at his grandparent’s house, I took him outside.
It was twilight of a beautiful summer evening, and I had to tell a 10 year old child that his mother had died.
I remember us standing on the patio looking up at the sky.
I promised him that this was the hardest thing he would ever go through in his whole life and that because he was so young, that meant the rest of his life would be blessed.
That losing your mother so young meant that only good things could happen in the future.
Her eyes, his eyes, those eyes looking up at me, full of tears but also searching inside of me to reassure himself that I was telling the truth…nothing could ever be worse than this moment moving forward.
I held him as he cried and told him I would always be there for him whenever he needed me.
In the years following her death, he lived with me at times, and at other times with his grandparents. We remained close and I traveled back for his graduation from high school. My gift to him was a scrapbook of sorts, with stories about his childhood and his mother and pictures of us all together.
I wrote about how proud I was of him and how incredibly proud his mother would be of him; how she always knew he would be an achiever of great things.
He spent time with me during summer breaks in university until he moved further away across the country to begin law school.
I have always felt his physical absence deeply, although we remain in contact via texts and calls. He is always the one to start the conversations, because I don’t want to bother him…the busy lawyer working for the justice department now.
The busy father of two beautiful daughters – one that looks so much like his mother, I cannot look at her pictures without tears streaming down my face.
The apology part of this story arrives with a phone call I received a week ago.
From his father, who I have not seen in 26 years, since Cindy’s funeral.
When she died, he came back home for the funeral, and I suppose out of duty of sorts, not sure what was going to happen to his son.
Sacha was staying with me during this time, as his grandparents were just too emotionally unstable, grief-stricken, and unable to provide him with the care he needed immediately following their daughter’s death.
Of course, his father did not get the red carpet welcome from the majority of my family, but I made an attempt to be civil with him for his son’s sake.
He visited Sacha at my home, minimizing the time he would have to spend with his former in-laws.
I buffered a lot during that week.
All sides.
At the funeral home during the viewing, he asked me if he could see Cindy one last time, and Sacha responded that he wanted to be with his Dad during that.
I made sure no one was looking, and got the two of them into the room together, where Cindy was in her casket. I remember at the time knowing if any of my family saw that happening, or my part in it, I would receive an earful and a half, and it would not be pleasant for me at all. I remember feeling that it was the last time the three of them would ever be together again, as a family, and I likely wouldn’t have even attempted it but for the fact that Sacha wanted it to happen.
So, 26 years later, I receive a phone call that he is in the city I live in on a business trip, and would like to see me.
He was as charming as I remembered, still affectionate with me, and seemingly ecstatic that I had even showed up to see him.
We reminisced about old times with the family, holidays spent together over Christmas and summer vacations at the cabin. Like many people as they age, he seemed to only recall the good times and none of the bad, and I was OK with that.
We discussed his son, who he has seen intermittently over the years; he seems to feel a closeness that I know his son does not reciprocate, but I let him brag about the accomplishments and those of his 2 younger sons, who he had with another woman following Cindy’s death.
As dusk approached, we sat side by side on a bench in a public area.
The words slowed down and the silences grew.
I felt him shake a bit beside me, and turned to look at him in the dark- he was crying.
Commenced to telling me he was wracked with regret, could never forgive himself for what he did to her.  The things he didn’t do, but should have.
For both her and the son they made together.
Worrying about his judgement day- what would be in store for him. Did I know?
Shuddering sobs, spilling all of it all over me, sitting there in silence, trying not to react or fall apart myself.
He was wanting my forgiveness- wanting me to release him somehow from his pain.
Perhaps to forgive him on BEHALF of Cindy- a delegate of sorts, the family forgiver of wrong-doings.
I didn’t do it.
What I did do was tell him he could not turn back time; he could only move forward and try to make things right/better with his son.
I told him Cindy was not vindictive and would not want anyone spending a lifetime suffering with regret.
Said they were both incredibly young- and that she did love him with all her heart; truths I told him.
I refused to comfort him with emotional salve for his soul wounds. I just could not do it.
The part of me that was young and forgiving of everything is gone, I guess, and my reaction surprised me. I have always been the type to want to nurture those that are in pain, and he was certainly in pain that night.
But I couldn’t let him off that hook he placed himself on all those years ago.
Not for Cindy and most certainly not for his son.
I believe I provided him with some comfort with my truth-telling, but not what he came to me for- complete and utter absolution of his sins towards his wife and son.
Since then, I think about how we change as we age, and how regrets can grow in a person until they eventually need release of some kind.
Speaking to his son the next day, I didn’t share the details of my visit with his Dad, just the highlight reel. I suggested that his dad had regrets, and that I hoped they could some day find their way back to each other, as life is fleeting.
Sacha responded with, ” He planted the seed in the garden and walked away from it, never looking back. No water, no tending the weeds, and yet despite having done no work in that garden to help the flowers bloom, he expects to reap the bounty and receive a share of the dividend.”
No apologies.

Children of Alcoholics

I stumbled across this article today and felt  the need to share in the hopes that those that need to see it find it.

http://www.reachoutrecovery.com/recovery-topics/parenting-tips/10-things-to-know-about-children-of-alcoholics

In the Moment

The Sandbox challenge this week asks us the following:

Can you recall a time in your life
when you were able to live fully in the present moment?
How or why did that happen?
What would it take for it to happen again?

I can honestly say that during the births of my children, I was fully in the moment, every one of them. It was the first time in my life that I blocked everyone and everything out, including the coaches and clinical people. I knew I had a job to do and that it was MY job to do, and I slipped effortlessly into that mode.

Due to my childhood, I have always had the capability to compartmentalize with ease, but this wasn’t quite like that…this was instinctual and as old as time.

My Mother confessed afterwards that she was pretty nervous about how I would perform during labour and birth. In her eyes, I was a bit emotional as a child and she feared they would hear me for miles and that I would embarrass her in front of the hospital staff.

I surprised her and also annoyed her with my refusal or inability to even respond to her or my husband by a certain point in my labouring. I quite honestly remember feeling like I was the most powerful beast in the universe, riding those waves and breathing in and out, and feeling my sons working hard to enter the world. I felt like it was fate and I was just the machine that was tasked with making it happen for them. It was my job, and by God, I was going to do it well.

No drugs.

Long labours.

Exquisite results with the last two.

I seem to recall staying in that cocoon for at least my hospital stays with them, as well as drifting into those moments in the dark after returning home, up during the night with them. Staring out the window at the stars in the inky black sky and then looking down at them nursing and feeling like we were the only two in the world awake at that hour.

Much more recently, I experienced living in the now once again.

I had been bothered by my one eye on and off for months and had put off going to the Dr as I was busy with work and Xmas, and the things we all get busy with.

Waking up every few mornings and feeling like I had something in my eye, and rubbing it made it feel worse. But it always resolved within an hour, so kept telling myself I would book an appointment when I got a chance.

A few weeks back, I woke up on a cold Sunday and my eye was really painful and felt almost like I had glass in it. I went through the day trying to see what was in it, watching it watering and watering and swelling up by the hour. The light sensitivity was excruciating.

My good eye was aching as well, which I found out later was due to overuse and over compensation.

It had been desperately cold outside for a week straight and when I looked outside, I realized there was now quite the little blizzard going on.

So, I made the decision to wait it out until Monday morning and go to my Dr right across the street.

I awoke around 3 in the morning, and could not open my eye. My sight in my good eye was also blurry, which scared me…honestly terrified me for a few moments. Anxiety washed over me as I sat in my bed, gingerly trying to open my bad eye with my fingers. The best way to describe my vision was like someone had smeared Vaseline over my good eye and so I could see shapes but not edges to anything.

I knew I couldn’t see well enough to drive myself in a blizzard, no matter how much pain I was in, and am currently living alone, so had no one to help me.

I couldn’t call anyone for help, or a cab, or even an ambulance because I couldn’t SEE.

So, all that is simply back-story leading up to my living in the now more recently.

After my dark night of the soul, as I will forever refer to it, I saw my Dr the next morning and was taken directly to Emergency to see an Ophthalmologist.

I had a corneal abrasion and to the best of anyone’s knowledge, I have had something in my eye for months, which caused it.

It has taken me almost three weeks to heal and I am still suffering extreme photo-sensitivity.

During that healing time, while my eye was patched, I realized that moving my good eye at all, made my bad eye move, no matter how firmly the dressing was taped to my eye.

So, I quit using my good eye as well when I absolutely didn’t need it to lessen the pain caused by my bad eye involuntarily moving with it.

No reading or television. No playing on my phone or laptop. No work. No driving except to daily medical appointments, where my eye was debrided of the epithelial cells which had grown all willy nilly on my eye, trying to heal on their own in clumpy little masses.

The two weeks I spend alone in the dark was as close to living in the now as I have ever experienced since my sons’ births.

Nothing to do but think and feel.

Living squarely in the right now.

Living experience through senses other than sight.

Adapting to the darkness surrounding me.

Learning the path to the kitchen and bathrooms by touch and then by memory of how many steps.

Calming myself with the sounds of my breath in and out and the purring of the cat in my lap and on my chest.

Hearing things I had never noticed before living in this house.

Coming to prefer the darkness to the light, as light distracts us and shows us a different reality than the one we instinctually know to be true.

Finally turning the television on and listening to silly sitcoms, which really do not require watching with your eyes at all.

An eventual creeping back to the light during the healing time, with visits from the kids and assorted friends.

Lots of long hugs and worried looks from my sons, who are texters and not used to Mom not responding. Unbelievably touched by my oldest son carefully drawing a skull and cross bones in glitter pen on my eye patch during his visit, in an attempt to make me laugh.

Thankful that I am a food hoarding beast in the winter and had more than enough soup and stews and frozen meals stored in the freezer to take us ALL into spring.

Back to work this week as I can tolerate with the fluorescent lights.

Looking like Jackie O at all time with my shades on, even inside!

Content with the knowledge that I have endured and survived one more obstacle.

One more fear successfully smashed through, with the knowledge that while I would never want to repeat those two weeks again, if something should ever happen to my eyesight, I know how to adapt and survive it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sergeant Stinkers aka Lil Sarge

I am so excited I am vibrating!

After serious introspection and decision-making, I am going to collect my new baby next week and could not be more excited.

I lost two beloved furry family members within 6 months of each other two years ago, and it has taken me this long to grieve them properly and allow my heart to open enough to consider the possibility of going through it all over again. But it did, and I am and it is NEXT WEEK!

I have visited with this cutie and have observed him with all his siblings and his momma and actually picked him out from a picture before I ever met him in person.

My previous cats were Sylvester and Yayo aka Babygirl.

Sylvester I have written about here on my blog and he lived longer than any pet I have ever had in my life. He was pitch black in colour and incredibly chill in temperament.

Babygirl was white and black and looked like she had a beaver straddling her back. She was far more fiesty but very funny and adorable, always positioning herself for “spankings”, as she loved being patted, sometimes rather hard, on her rump end. She was also incredibly fickle and could be snuggling with you all content and then if someone she fancied more came into the room, she would sometimes tear half the skin off you in her struggle to plant herself on THEIR lap, instead of yours. My youngest started calling her a little trollop as she reminded us all of a woman who would quickly dump your ass if she caught a whiff  of someone with a fatter wallet approaching!

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I chose my new baby due to his colouring, as I have never owned a gray cat before, so he would be his own person in my heart, with no reminders of the ones that have already carved out their spots before him.

He seems to be that perfect blend of cuddly and independent, which I need in my life at this point. I work and am away from home for at least 7 hours a day. I have the flexibility to run home at lunch to check on him, which I will do during our adjustment period, but apparently he is also OK to be alone, according to  the people he has lived with since birth.

When his siblings all do that kitty-pile thing they do, he curls up with them for a bit, but then wanders off on his own to a chair, or bed, and plays with a toy alone and content. He sounds quite a bit like me, actually. I like my playtime  and socializing but also wander off to be by myself when I need to be.

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It was so hard for me to see all those kittens and only choose one to bring home with me but I want to be able to give everything to Lil Sarge, rather than spread it out. Also, I really could be the type who turns into the “crazy cat lady”, so I tried to use some restraint.

I am already buying the little things he will need and planning to set up a space for him in a spare room, where he will feel safe to run away to, if he is fearful during his first days here.

I cannot wait to have him home with me and just wanted to share my excitement with any cat lovers who may follow my blog.

Stay tuned- you can bet I will be writing more in the future about our shenanigans together.

 

 

 

 

In Search of Legacy

leave-the-legacy-76What would you like to leave  behind?

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies . . . Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die . . . It doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away.”
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

One night, with the lamps casting a soft glow upon our faces, my sons and I discussed how interesting it was that they were both creative souls.

It was a casual, intimate and very low key conversation, much like many others we have shared over the years. I have zero artistic capabilities and have always been a bit confused as to how they both ended up so talented in their own ways.

My older son is the conventional artist (as if there was such a thing)! He paints and draws and constructs sculpture and ceramic and wood and anything he can get his hands on to create amazing pieces that baffle me at times. He is also self taught with the guitar and plays beautiful melodies and sings in such a soft comforting voice for such a big strong man.

My quiet, younger son is a film maker and also writes screenplays. He recently decided to he was going to learn to play the ukulele as he loves the sound they make. In the last year, he has taken a few improv classes and has also ventured into stand up comedy during the evenings. He did this, he tells me, because it was his greatest fear, and now that he has overcome it, he has nothing else to fear for now. I mean, really….at 26.

The conversation turned to what we felt would be our ultimate marks we left behind after we are gone from this earth. I told them both that they were so very fortunate in that their artwork and films will forever be there, and that they are already leaving pieces of their identities in this world that will live on long after they leave. And all this while still in their twenties!

One of them asked me what I thought I would leave behind and I didn’t have to think hard.

I smiled at them both and softly said, ” you are both my art; my finest work.”

As males will, they scoffed and said that I didn’t answer the question right and it wasn’t “fair” for me to answer the question using them as the answer. They wanted something that was more me or mine or that I alone had created or caused to happen.

I humoured them at the time, and said they couldn’t change the rules halfway through or make up new rules after I had answered and I went to the kitchen and started puttering around making us all a snack, while the sound of their voices told me they were already off on another discussion, and I was out of the woods as far as providing them with anything else.

As I have mentioned before on this blog, I truly believe that our energies are constantly mingling. Sometimes the most seemingly insignificant contact, will cause ripples we are not even aware of until years later, when we will suddenly smile when we see something that reminds us of that person, or feel our eyes filling with tears from our interaction with another.

I know I have left many bits of myself behind in the people I have met along my journey.

I have left tears on the gravestones of my father and my son in a city far away.

I  abandoned fragments of my heart in one of the hospitals where I live now, when I said goodbye to my mother and then my brother, seven years later.

The same hospital where I was reborn and renewed myself; so much of me was shared there with my fellow patients and caring nurses.

The men I have loved and been loved by; they will always carry me with them, the love I gave and the love I took from them. I know my energy is still thick around them and that they would never wish to be free of me- not even for a day.

My dear hospice souls that I was with during my time working. I left so much with them and for them. They deserved so much of me for their strength, courage and dignity. Their families that I held following their passing. Their teenagers that I helped with their math homework, while their mother was enduring dressing changes. The nursing staff that would huddle in the med room, wiping their own and my tears away, as we all shared our light with each other. That hospice is a virtual Niagara of combined legacies!

My nieces and nephews and friends’ children and the motherless children I have influenced or counselled or loved over the years. I can SEE me in them and their choices and the ways they raise their own children now.

All of my friends who have laughed at my silly ass; I’m all over them!

Co-workers, so many of them; every time I mimicked our boss, or covered their work so they could run to grab a sick “little” at the daycare or babysitter’s place. I’ve left quite a bundle with them, too.

Even those I have angered or hurt, many times not even having been cognizant of the fact I had done it, they received some of me, too, for better or worse.

So,  even though my sons are and will always be my greatest legacy of my life, I have left legacies throughout my life and in far too many places to even begin to list them.

I know I have made my mark.

 

 

 

 

Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite

It seemed to happen overnight for me.

One moment, I am practically invisible, just the way I liked it.

Being able to quietly and unobtrusively go about my business by day or night. Walking out in the world with my thoughts on things other than the chaotic house I resided in.

Suddenly, it all changed.

Outside, dirty faced boys say things to me I don’t even understand, using words that sound like a bad thing.

Inside, greasy, slippery grins from men who I have been instructed to call “Uncle” .

Uncles that have known my parents for years.  Friends.  Boyfriends of my Mother’s friends.

Uncles that always made me nervous; giving me that tickling feeling against my stomach and ribcage.

Being pushed towards them for the bedtime ritual.

“Go ahead. Give everyone a kiss and hug goodnight.”

Slithering accidental brushes of fingers, hands, arms, upon me.

Breath that reeks of tobacco and whiskey and hair that stinks of Brylcreem.

Big rough calloused hands patting your flannel covered bottom, just a little stray dragging of the nails or fingertips, on the sly. Hugs so tight I can’t breathe, while they measure, deduce, calculate the changes, the growth spurt.

Doing as I’m told and then vomiting as quietly as I can in the bathroom and wiping the wet sleeve of my kitten-patterned pyjamas all over my lips and chin and neck and cheeks with a sliver of soap.

Trying to scrub away the smell so that I can sleep that night.

Dreams of the day I am so big that I don’t have to let people I am scared of touch me.

Lost

Lost in the thought of the last time I saw your eyes looking straight into my heart and the goodbye you could not speak, but we both knew was arriving.

i’m leaving you soon. you’ll be ok. thank you for loving me. you’ll be just fine. you are so strong.

The sight of you wrapped in a heated flannel, strapped to the chair because they knew you would not stay in the bed.

i know, if we just keep moving nothing bad will happen. i know, Mark. i have been where you are.

The impromptu braiding of your long hair after lovingly brushing it out of your ashen face.

they hated your long hair. endless bitching about how you looked like a girl. it was beautiful.

Strands of silver weaving throughout the chestnut and my snipping of the tangled ends stuck to the wires all over your chest.

let me do it. i’ll make sure it doesn’t hurt you. i wont let anyone hurt you. i promise.

When you reached out to take our hands on either side of you, I knew.

i’m not ready. i can’t do this. oh god, not now. you are so strong. you can come back from this.

When the time for leaving came, my walking backwards, making a silly face to see you smile, anything for one more smile. Telling you I would be back tomorrow.

there won’t be any more tomorrows for you and I. we is over and soon just me.

Your head turning ever so slowly towards me, and your sad eyes looking into mine.

i will always be with you. you will never be alone in the world. i will be beside you. forever.

 

I will never be lost. My brother is always with me and wouldn’t allow that to happen.

He will always tell my heart which direction is home.

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