MOST ALL OF MY MEMORIES, EVEN HAPPY ONES...END IN PAIN... LOOKING BACK... AGAIN
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
I was sitting here writing to Ms Nancy... always each day we email each other and have been doing this many years... in fact, since 1999, when we saw each other again for the first time since being childhood friends. Goodness, how time flies.
It's amazing to think about because 1998 I almost died from a major illness and didn't know I was sick again... when Ms Nancy came back into my life in May, 1999. In fact, I had a produce store just across the street from where she lived.
I want to remember right here just several weeks before... April 19, 1999.. is when Lena, my systervan who lived in Sweden, came into my life. Lena died in August, 2011. Lena and Ms Nancy..... all these years meant the world to me. They were there through so many shocks from so much that happened in my life... they know and knew... just alittle about my life.
She came walking in one day with her grandchildren and that day began our friendship .. anew. Ms Nancy... that's the way I thought of her in my mind... that Ms Nancy!
Sometimes when Skip and I speak of her ... we will say 'that Ms Nancy'... with so much affection and love. She's special to us more than words can say.
As I write ..you will begin to 'see' why I call her 'Ms Nancy'.... to me calling her that means she is more special beyond words. This is my childhood friend and now ... my friend throughout the rest of my life.
The 'in-between'... we went our separate paths in life... and in 1999.. we somehow circled all the way back.. to have each other in our lives... again. I love Ms Nancy, somehow she is more than just 'friend' to me.
She is a part of my life in the most special way... she understands 'me' and knows I have my ways... just as I do her. I may get this saying wrong but, you will recognize it........... 'to know someone, is to love them'. This is very true in this situation. To 'know me'... is to either hate or love me... I'm myself... I'm real. To love Ms Nancy... is to love her.... but, one really has to stop for a time to 'see.. us'... we keep our lives private and our 'real' feelings... private.
We are like the 'trees in the forest'.. you don't see 'us' for all the trees.. but, we are there... and we are ...strong... we are the trees who withstand the storms. Lena was like the redwood tree in my mind and the storm of her life came... we all will face a 'storm of our life'... at one time or the other... and whether you or I like it... it will be the last storm we are in. It's sad but, true... and my words...again.... 'that's the way life is'. Life is like that.
The round table in the motel room...the dim lights from the lamps and the bedspreads on the beds, and the tv on... I see Skip standing near the mirror and countertop outside the bathroom, the pups investigating all the 'new' things to them. I'd made coffee in the coffeemaker and I was sitting at the round table..in shock from losing our home to a fire that day. I think I poured the hot coffee into the mug I was holding in my hands. This is my memory of that first night at the motel the Red Cross found for us.
I put the mug on the round table and placed both hands on it and I closed my eyes and 'just was'...... the warmth and comfort from that mug was reaching to my very soul.
I won't even try to put into words here more than what I just told you... close your eyes with your hands around a hot mug of coffee when you are in shock or hurt or sad.......... feel that warmth and comfort flow through 'you'... then, pick it up still holding the mug with both hands, still have your eyes closed tightly... and begin to take little sips of it, savoring every little drop of hot coffee taking your time.... do you 'feel' it... do you feel how the comfort and warmth reaches to your very soul?
You can even put that warm mug up to just rest one cheek on it and then, the other after most of the coffee is gone to not waste any of the comfort and warmth it gives you. I have done this many times in my life... I've needed alot of comfort and warmth through the times.
Sitting in that motel room that night is what I was doing. I could hear the tv from the invisible curtain of shock I was in... but, I couldn't understand the words. Numb.........
I could see, but, I couldn't really ...see. I could feel but, I couldn't really 'feel'... my senses were in shock.
The one thing that could and did reach through was.... a little mug that held hot coffee in it. I held onto it like a lifesaver... I closed my eyes and held on to the warmth and comfort it offered me and I didn't let go.
I sipped it slowly, savoring and 'feeling' as hard as I could the hot coffee... and only focusing in my numb world on that hot liquid, my mind interpreting it as comfort, warmth. It was the only thing that I could feel... does that make sense? It warmed me on the 'inside' .... I could feel it deep inside trying to make me hold on to reality, to know 'everything's going to be alright'.
I was wrapped in a blanket and I was so cold from being outside that whole day ...watching as our life changed... our whole life changing. Skip was always close by... his presence comforted me, his voice. Skip is my hero, my best friend, my life. I love you, Skip. You are 'perfect' for me.
During the time after our home burned down and realizing we had lost almost everything we had... I drank alot of coffee from that little mug that had become so precious to me... so, did Skip. (I will write later about being in more shock.. plus the shock I was now in.....to be only shocked again to realize that even people we knew... were stopping there to take things that did survive the fire, our things... you wouldn't believe).
We'd gotten up that morning and I'd showered and dressed to go to Curves and I would get there by 8:00 am when they opened. I was getting ready to walk out the back door when a 'soft red' glowing light caught the corner of my eye and I turned to see 'what in the world?'... and at the other door I saw that it was... on fire!
I instantly went on alert and in shock but, I was thinking to save our 4 pups and I had my purse already! I screamed to Skip who got up instantly, ran outside to begin trying to put the fire out with the garden hose. I, somehow, got our big pups into my Expedition and rolled the windows down some... and backed it out of the driveway down the street so, our pups could be contained and be safe!
I ran back (I could feel such pain from 2 major surgeries... through my shock from lifting and carrying each dog out to my Expedition.. I couldn't take the chance they'd escape! Skip had also, had 2 major surgeries he come through since I had!)... I ran back to the house looking for Skip. Walter had come running up the street after seeing the house was on fire.. and .... I was in shock... thereafter... I have fleeting memories of many things.
I was standing there watching that two-story house burn... Tommy's things (his valuable knife collection and old coins and his huge jug filled with hundreds of dollars in change he'd saved for several years, his diving equipment that was still new, his whole room of belongings, all of our belongings... were going up in smoke.
These are some of the impressions and thoughts I had as I watched our home burn down, our life go up in smoke........ I found out later that Skip had went back into that house to get his wallet and... almost didn't make it out. His leg had a burn on it and some of his hair was singed. I think Walter's voice led him out as he called for him.
Earline was somehow there (our precious neighbors Bill and Earline) and she was crying... I never wanted to see her cry and I remember as I stood there watching in shock our 'home' going up in smoke.. for a moment I became aware of myself... patting her shoulder and comforting her by telling her 'everything is going to be alright, everything is going to be alright'. Just only for a brief second... I was amazed at myself.. it was like I was trying to tell 'myself' the ..same thing.
I kept seeing myself standing here and standing there (just like when Tommy died... I became a leaf blowing in the wind only to move when the wind blew me...... and I stopped.. when the wind stopped... moved when it blew... from here and there).
I can imagine how only my eyes just moved and in my mind I can 'see' at this moment... how silent all seemed and the red-hot flames on the roof and in the windows and... it makes me feel alittle ... shaky ..thinking about it, even now. It was just too real, it was real and it was so scary. I'm afraid of fire now, and feel very nervous if I see or smell smoke... once my mind has identified 'where and what' it's coming from... only then, am I okay.
My eyes were seeing the firemen and the hoses spraying water on the huge house. I saw one of the fireman take one of Tommy's air tanks that he used to go deep-sea diving just that past summer... he put it on the firetruck. I just saw it and ... at that moment I would have never thought to ask 'why did you do that?'
Cotton was saying 'Gloria, everything's going to be alright... you'll come out smelling like a rose'. He stood there talking to me about making sure everything would be alright... he got sick and died just weeks after that. Things weren't alright for a long time after that. We lost everything we had and could have lost our lives. He never got to keep his promise. He and his wife were standing there beside Skip and I. He knew that the wiring in the house was old and that it needed to be replaced. There was a new box on the outside...the old wire was still there. It hadn't been changed out.
I saw firemen at the back of the house (how I'm moving ...I can't see 'me' doing that... it's like 'I'm there' at different places without any recollection of 'how' I got there).... the flames seemed under control... I could see through the house where the wall once was ... there was the new wardrobe Skip and I had recently purchased to put clothes in... he'd gotten one, also. I had put my red leather jewelry case in there with my diamond and gold rings and my big diamond and birthstone ring in it. My jewelry was very valuable and at that moment, my thought was 'maybe that made it through this fire'.
I asked one of the firemen if he would 'just reach there' and I told him 'where'... and see if there was a red leather jewelry case. He did so, and his hand came back with my jewelry case and he handed it to me. It had been under a stack of clothes... saving it! Nothing was wrong with my jewelry case!
I remember how one of the fireman handed me some bottles of pain medicine that I wouldn't take but, kept getting refilled and just putting the bottles up 'in case'... I have always had a fear of being addicted to drugs... this is a long story and one I'll get to later 'one day'. I can't tell you the pain I live in from those surgeries... 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. It was my trade-off to live, and God ...how I wanted to live. I love life. I still live with that pain every moment of my life... that's alright... I'm strong and I want to live.
I looked at those bottles in amazement thinking I couldn't believe that medicine bottles survived in that fire... and later, when I looked back in my mind... I felt terrible because that fireman probably thought I was a drug addict.... when he saw that pain medicine. What else was he to think? He didn't know me and didn't know that I've been diagnosed with cancer nor about the surgeries to save my life. I felt so ashamed of ....something that I wasn't.
I'm standing there at the porch where the new light fixture had been put in ... just as new tile and new countertops had been put in not long before the fire.
The new light fixture is where the fire began (later... I saw the man who had put it in ..standing there and I could 'feel' he was very upset... he didn't see me because he was so deep into thought... he wasn't a licensed electrician. I kept on driving slowly past to wait to come back after he left. We cared about this man. Not long afterwards, he was living in Florida and.. we got to talk to him several times.. he called us.
Our home burned down on December 28th, 2004. Later.. I found out that was on Wm Ernest's birthday... my brother who lives in Florida.
My cousin, Sylvia, came and she had an envelope in her hand and gave it to us. She gave us a sum of money... $500.00. I remember my eyes filling with tears and being so ... amazed that Sylvia was there after all that time... and she'd do such a thing for us.
Sylvia began giving us household things and she was in the process of getting more money and things to help us... I found this out later... because something so awful happened... that's hard for me to talk about now.
I still have a problem remembering on exactly which date it happened on after our home burned down. My mind says... 3 days. But... I think it was 4 days? I still have a problem remembering 'which' day...
January 01, 2005... we 'moved' to our new place without much of anything to our name (our home burned down on December 28, 2004). Sylvia and her husband came there to see us.
I remember sitting on the big rug on the carpet looking up at Sylvia sitting in the only chair in the living room... a rocking chair. She was talking to me and I remember her bursting into tears .. she was worried about her girls. Sylvia loved her 3 daughters, I saw it in her eyes and I heard it in her voice.
We talked for a long time, and I thanked her from my heart for all she'd done for us (I didn't know at the time how much she was still trying to help us... thank-you, Sylvia... I never got to thank-you, again).
We spoke of Ray, her brother (I used to think of him as 'brother' when I was little)... he'd 'committed suicide' just 3 months before...... it hurt both of us. We discussed what she thought ... happened.
That visit .. we'd also, made a promise that 'for the rest of our lives' we'd be close and not let anyone break us apart ...again. Strangely enough... that was the only promise we ever made and kept... because the 'rest of her life' was the next day.. or was it the day after that? The 2nd.. or was it the 3rd of January?
In 'our family'... no one could ever be close for long... it just didn't happen. Someone was always watching and waiting... to strike the 'death blow' to any kind of a close, loving relationship... and strike it... they did. It never failed... our 'family'... vipers, black widow spiders..........scorpions.
That evening when Sylvia and her husband were leaving... I noticed how the winter sun was shining through the bare trees where Sylvia was standing... I never forgot it and each winter we lived there... I'd always think of her standing in that very spot.
The sun was getting ready to set and was low in the sky and Sylvia was standing between the sun and I... we were standing up at the top of the sidewalk up on that 'little mountain' we'd just come to ..to begin living at.
I was looking at Sylvia... and how the sun was shining on her blonde hair and how 'pretty' she looked and how bright her smile was.. and I felt such love for my cousin that I hadn't felt in all those years. Again... I noticed how much 'prettier' she'd become............ the sun was shining 'gold' around her.
Alot of times in the years we lived there ...in the wintertime I'd walk up to the top of the sidewalk to 'imagine' Sylvia standing there.... between me and the sun... to 'see' ..her again. Sylvia, I'll never forget you. You came to help me when I didn't know you could care.... right before your death. I never got to do special things back in appreciation for all you did, for you.
I was really happy she'd just come back into my life... she made me feel comfort... and my heart felt warm toward her. Sylvia, that was the last time I saw 'you'.... the last time I saw 'you' was so horrible that I don't know if I can write it... for a moment just now, I kept typing and messing up.. typing and messing up ...
I forgot... I also, saw you at the funeral home when they didn't want to open your casket. That day I 'saw' alot in that room that your body was in... and 'heard'. 'Our family'......... is something else... I'm telling you. At least they came... no one came to us when our home burned down... excepting for my brother, Rick-Rick.
Mama, all of you... where were you.. why didn't you come there for me? Where were all of you when just several years before when I was dying.... no one came. Skip called... no one ever came but, my brother, Rick-Rick. I was so ill and couldn't talk but, my eyes saw my brother, Rick-Rick... he'd come to the hospital. Tommy was in Germany, not knowing anything... because I made Skip not tell him ...yet. I was afraid he'd die trying to get to me from across that ocean... and he WOULD have come across that ocean to his Mama.
I will write later of the vultures who came to the hospital monitoring my progress 'if' I'd live or if I'd die... and how that affected the inheritance my Grandmother Lola and Aunt Patsy had told me about since I was 9 years old. 'Thank-God for step-mothers and fathers'........ I shake my head when I think of my step-mother and father... you know... my daddy used to work in a carnival when he was a young boy.. that's where my 14 year old mother met him... he charmed her. They didn't stay married long... they say he walked out the day I took my first step... at 9 months old. They called him 'Gypsy' through the years... Hey, those step-mothers are... slick, too.
My brother, Rick-Rick, how I loved you and at this moment how my heart hurts to think of you. I remember seeing you crying and seeing your eyes, your face when you ran to me standing there in front of that house burning... I can't write anymore at this moment about my precious brother, Rick-Rick.. it's the pain in my heart. I'm crying at this very moment... how about that?
So much pain... always so much pain. I love you, Rick-Rick and you are... also, gone. I have your ashes here in our home, in my happy artroom beside Mom's ashes and Jimmy's ashes. Yes, there's always so much ...pain in my heart. Most all my memories.... even the happy ones ... end in pain.
I, also, think of Sylvia just before the fire several days before, when we saw her.... she had on the softest pink top and her blonde hair was fixed so pretty and she had on gold glasses... pink, gold, yellow and blue... Sylvia's eyes were blue. Sylvia looked extra-pretty that evening.
Those are the colors I think of Sylvia ...in. The colors in my mind for Sylvia are pink, yellow and gold, and blue. The strange thing is at that time.. I noticed how extra-pretty Sylvia had become. That's not to say that she wasn't attractive already... I mean something else made her that way. I wonder if 'before' we go sometimes... if 'that' has anything to do with us looking so......'special' in some way?
January 02.... January 03... January 02... January 03... January 02, 2005???
Ms Nancy has to remind me each year of which date is her birthday and which date is ..... when Sylvia .... died. It hurts me so much when I think back...
At this moment ..I'm thinking that January 02, 2005 is when Sylvia was killed. I'm thinking January 03rd is Ms Nancy's birthday. I know Ms Nancy will write in a comment below later, after reading this to remind me.... again. I need her to do that... 'that same time of the year is here...now... again'.
Tomorrow is the date when our home was destroyed by fire. Tomorrow is my brother's birthday... Happy Birthday, Wm Ernest, I love you. I've cried many tears for you, just as I have for our brother, David. I'm so sorry life has taken us so far away from each other on different paths. When we all meet at times... I wish... yes, I wish................ Life is like that. Life just happens that way.
Ms Nancy, I'm coming back around to you before I stop writing for now... when I speak of the mug of hot coffee and the coffeemaker... the night at the motel the Red Cross got for Skip and the Pups, and I... you know about.
You see... Ms Nancy seemed to somehow be 'there' when we would be at the place where our home burned down... we'd be there trying to savage and find things that didn't burn... especially moreso, when 'friends' and 'neighbors' and people driving by... were competing with us... to find 'our' things... and drive off with them.
Our good neighbors watched and they told us 'who' was doing it... some of them coming back only moments after we'd leave, over and over. I'll never forget those 'good friends and those very good neighbors' who did that... because I know who you are... so does everyone else. We gave you things and you still... came back after we'd leave and you would 'take'..... I forgive you, but, shame on you.
We would have given you most anything if you'd asked... but, you knew that. Life is like that, life happens like that, sometimes. Even in front of people who are ...watching you.
Now... for Ms Nancy.... she gave that coffeemaker, and a big canister of Folger's coffee, and packages of hot chocolate with little marshmallows in it, and .... two nice coffee mugs. That's who gave us that ...comfort and warmth... that was like a little island in the sea... that we came back to ...over and over to 'reach out'.....to get more of.
Yes... Ms Nancy... you are special, more than my words can say. Skip is always amazed that you and I are... childhood friends... you are from my 'past'. I love you, Ms Nancy. You seem to 'know' without being asking or someone telling you... what is so meaningful in life.
I treasure you, my childhood and 'the rest of my life ...friend'. Now.. to be funny here for a moment (you and I always are.... I see no reason not to be here either... 'it's us')............ We are the 'beginning and ending friends', ha! With no between! It is just something that came through my mind... and hit me as humorous.
To describe you in colors.... would be strong, bold colors of yellow, red, orange, blue and green, purple.. you are the colors of fun, your personality bright and funny reflecting warmth.. and comfort. You are alot like the coffee mugs and coffeemaker and coffee, and hot chocolate you gave to us, Ms Nancy. This is not saying you are a cup, or a pot of coffee, now! You are the kind of person everyone would want for a friend, or to be around in an emergency... you instinctively know what's needed... you somehow 'know' just the right thing. That's..... that Ms Nancy!!!
For now... I've looked back... enough. I have to do this... alittle at a time. You know how it is.. sometimes it does hurt and it takes a little time to recoup from... memories. They can weaken one and it's like a person getting too close to the heater... it gets too hot... so, to feel better one has to move back... until another time.
My memories, even my happy ones, have pain in them. Though I'm strong enough and grow moreso, each day... sometimes, they catch me by surprise and make me feel emotions I wouldn't have thought. I've felt quite a few as I wrote this... I really felt like crying so much because I miss my brother, Rick-Rick, my son, Tommy... Sylvia, even if we didn't have years of being close.. we did have the promise we made.. for the 'rest of our lives'.. you kept that promise but, it was too quick.
Do you know? We just don't know how long... the rest of our lives is. I feel just the strangest feeling in my heart ...it's of sadness for people I loved so much, and through the years they never loved me the same way. What a family we'd all been if everyone shared the love in their hearts if it were 'like the love in my heart that's been there... always'. I never took my love away... they would give and take... give and take. That's the way life is and as my brother, Rick-Rick would have said (he was more blunt than I am!!!).... he would have said '_____ happens!'