Grief is Not Grief

 

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Grief in a word is Difficult!  It is Difficult to explain, Difficult to describe, Difficult to go through, and Difficult to watch someone you care about to go through it!  But grief is a very personal thing, some people think that it is love, others believe it is darkness!  Many people believe that they can fix you, and others like to equate their grief with yours.  If they lost a sibling or a parent, they feel they understand your loss of a child because the grief must match yours, it is the same!  Grief is Grief – right?  No, Grief is not Grief!

I am by nature strong woman; I am not the person who would go to counseling of any kind, because I work through it myself!  When our daughter Megan died, our grief was so overwhelming, so consuming.  We had to stop the life-sustaining machines that were keeping her alive, and it was so incredibly heartbreaking!  I will tell her whole story at another time!  The pain was immediate, it was gut-wrenching, it was all consuming, and it was profound!!  What I remember the most about it – was all I did was sob!  When we were making the arrangements, Keith and I were zombies, the funeral director was speaking, but we could hear no words.  He took us to pick out a casket, and there was nothing any more surreal than having to decide how to bury our child!! He said to us “Of course you want the best for your daughter?” Of course, we did, so he proceeded to show us, three models!  We have the economy model, some sort of heavy-duty cardboard that was $1,000, but you don’t want that – bugs get inside!  The next model was a sturdy white wooden casket that was $3,000, less chance of bugs getting inside or the golden model – a golden casket that was $6,000 with this model bugs will never get in!!!  Well, as disgusting as this was, this was his pitch to us – we could not afford the golden model, we really could only afford the $1,000 model, but the thought of our child not being protected horrified us, so we went with the $3,000 model!  (Just a side note – years later we found out that it didn’t matter one from the other – you cannot stop the bugs) I remember saying to Keith, why are we here??

During the wake, people actually came up to us and would say things like, “you know, 99% percent of all marriages break up after the loss of a child”, or “you now have an angel watching out for you” or my favorite, “you are young, you can have more children”, REALLY?!?!?

When everyone went home, and we were all alone, we discovered that we were both grieving so differently.  I was usually the strong one, let’s get things done, kind of person, but when Meg died, I shut down – completely!  Keith, on the other hand, who was usually the more reflective one, and could sit quietly for long periods of time, he was almost manic, in everything he did.  He was so hyper it was virtually dizzying!  Everyone tended to gravitate toward me because I was the mother, and the “public” opinion was that he is strong, he can handle it!  Sadly the dads are in as much pain, in fact, we were both drowning!  No one within our immediate family or friends had lost a child, we were at a place no one could relate to, no one could fathom, no one ever wanted to be!  And worst of all No One could really understand, they tried, but we were alone in this!!

One day I was so depressed, I could barely put one foot in front of me, I was driving my car and came to an intersection where the light was red, with no car in front of me!  As I approached, I had more than a split second to decide that the truck that would be barrelling through the intersection, about the same time I get to it, would help me to end it all in one clean fashion!  However, at that moment, I only thought of Keith, and I knew that it would absolutely devastate him if he had lost me too!  So, I put my brakes on and stopped at the light!  I decided I would never tell him!

Since neither of us knew how to deal with this overwhelming grief, I thought we should go to a Parent Bereavement Support Group.  Keith did not want to go, but I asked him, and he came only for me!  When we got there, the room was full of people mostly women.  We sat around a table, and each of the parents told their heartbreaking stories.  When they got to us, I told our story about Megan’s life.  The woman next to me had also lost a daughter at 33 years old about two years prior.  She proceeded to tell us that she loved her daughter longer and that her grief was worse since I only had my daughter for only 19 months and 27 days!  I couldn’t believe that this is what she was saying.  How can your grief be more significant than mine!  I started to argue with her, and I was getting so mad, that was when Keith got up and said, let’s go – we never went back again!!!!

Even though it was utterly upsetting, it helped us to realize that everyone grieves differently, and so do we, we promised to pay attention to each other and give each other lots of hugs and space!  However, we did not tiptoe around each other either, if one of us were having a particularly rough day, we would be there for the other, we would listen to each other, and more importantly, we would embrace each other as if the world would fall apart if we let go!!!

We kept the world out because everyone was trying to fix us, with cliches like  “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle,” “God gives us lessons in life and sometimes we won’t know the why only God knows the why”!  These statements only made us angry; they were not comforting.  My reaction was “Fuck God, what kind of a God would give our beautiful daughter the new heart that she so desperately needed only to take her away six weeks later!!!”  Growing up Irish Catholic, I have struggled with God, since I was 14, but now it is magnified since Meg died!  My cousin Laurine, who is a soul healer (I only found out about this after Keith died, because she knew how I felt about things) is trying to help me – but that is a much bigger story!

I was so grateful to so many friends and family, each one, in their own way trying to comfort Keith and me as much as they could.  One day, my lifelong friend Diane called me, she happened to be pregnant at the time with her first child.  I answered the phone, she said, hi how are you? and for the next 45 minutes, I proceeded to cry in her ear.   No words could come out, I just sobbed!  Diane stayed on the phone, and I do not think she said a word, she just listened to me cry!  When I was done, I told her that I needed to go, and we hung up!  Many years later I told her how grateful I was for just being able to cry and her not telling me it will be alright!  She called me all the time and does not remember this call, but it stayed with me forever!

As we were trying to navigate the heaviness and sorrow that we were feeling, I had gotten pregnant 3 weeks after the funeral, I said Keith had a lot of energy!  I knew immediately that I was pregnant (I knew it with Megan as well) and I was freaked out, to say the least.  I was deep in this hell, and I had a hard time grappling with the loss of Meg, and now I was pregnant?!?!?!  I told my sister first because I knew if I told Keith, he would have been happy, and I didn’t know if I could handle that!  I think I cried on the phone for 20 minutes before I could get it out!  I really did not know if I wanted to keep this child, I was so distraught, how can I love another child like I loved Meg??  How horribly unfair to her memory, if I have this child!!!  How can I even go through this pregnancy with all the angst and sorrow I feel!  And the most important of all, since they could never really explain to us how Megan got sick, I was utterly stricken with fear, that this baby would be ill as well.  When I finally told Keith a few days later, he said to me, well, we have some time to make a decision, let’s just take it one day at a time, we still haven’t even taken the test yet, it is too early!

Two weeks later, we were sitting in the living room as the timer went off, and we both sat there not moving.  About a half an hour later, we got up and walked to the bathroom, and there it was, positive!!!!  We both started to cry, and I said I don’t know if I can do this!  Keith said to me can I tell you what I have observed in the last couple of weeks?  I noticed that you stopped taking the Ativan, (the Dr. gave it to me to help me sleep), I noticed that you cut back on your tea intake (I drink massive amounts of tea), and I also noticed that you are eating better!!!  I sat in silence for almost an hour letting it sink it what he was saying, and finally, I said, ok, so I guess we are having a baby!  It was hard to smile or feel joyous, but I did feel relief!  It was still terrifying, the birth was a long way away, but as we stood together we knew we would get through this – together!

On August 10th after an extremely stressful pregnancy, and going through every possible test at that time, I gave birth to our beautiful, healthy new daughter, Kellie, and even though our hearts were still with our Megan, we learned to live with her always in our hearts.  Kellie grew up always knowing about Megan.  Keith’s son and daughter were 13 and 10 at the time and lived in Florida, but we saw them twice a year.  They got to know Meg and understood that she was sick, but when Meg died, and even though Keith so desperately wanted them by his side – it was impossible to get them up for the funeral! But it deeply impacted their young lives as well, especially Justin!

As the years went by, one day I decided to tell Keith about my encounter with that 18 wheeler, and he looked at me and started to cry!  He told me the only reason “I stopped myself from ending it all, was because of YOU – I knew that I could never do that to YOU!” We both just stared at each other for a really long time, we could not believe that we both had these thoughts and never told each other until now!!  We talked into the night, and we knew how so very lucky we were to have each other!!

On February 8, 2018, exactly 26 years, three months and 16 days, or a total of 9605 days, after we lost our beautiful daughter, my favorite person in the entire world, the pure love of my life died.  But this time, I was grieving alone!  Of course, everyone around me was grieving, my children, my family, and our friends.  But, this has proven to be very lonely, very scary and very debilitating!

The first night after Keith died, I came home and sat on my couch, and I really did not move for nearly 10 hours.  I did not turn the television on, I just sat there, I couldn’t move, and I didn’t want to move.  Kellie was the opposite, just like her dad, she could not sit still.  She actually said she read something that said that people grief opposite their personalities.  I immediately knew that was right, having been through what I thought was my worst nightmare and now grieving again, I could feel some of the same emotions.  Almost every night, I did the same thing. I really did not want to speak with anyone, I didn’t want anyone to come to my house. I just wanted to be alone, and for the first time in 31 years, I was completely alone!  I didn’t want to speak with anyone, and if I did only through texts, and that was only if I felt like answering.  During the day, I had to work to keep the business going, but during the night, I locked the door and shut the world out!  My beautiful sister-in-law, Laura had lost her husband 18 months earlier, and she became a wonderful guide for me to at least help me to know what I might expect.

Sadly 17 days after Keith’s death, a friend of mine in town, lost her husband.  Mona’s husband Jim had cancer, but he was done with Chemo and doing so much better,  Mona, Jim, and their children began to feel safe to start thinking of the future again, but then tragedy suddenly struck, Jim after a complication following emergency surgery, died!!  Stunning!!!  Just as Mona came to Keith’s wake, I went to Jim’s.  It was at the same funeral home, but I knew that I needed to be there for her!!  My heart was breaking for her because I knew exactly where she was at this moment in time!

I was able to keep myself very busy during the day, taking care of matters and work, and just trying to keep things running.  This went on for 6 weeks until I decided to close the business because I did not, and more importantly I could not do it without Keith!  That first couple of months, I was in an automatic mode if you will, I was heartbroken, but I was moving. However, once I stopped, I was overwhelmed with the gut-wrenching pain I was feeling.  The heaviness began to set in, the sadness and pain were profound and insurmountable.  I was completely alone!!!  Of course, I have had so many loving people around me, the kids, my sister, cousin, family, and friends, but I did not want anyone around.  I didn’t want to speak with anyone, it took too much energy!  Everyone wanted to know if I was ok, I was not, but I said I was!

For the first month or so I tried to be active, getting up, taking a shower, looking for a job, cleaning my house, taking care of Bailey!  But as the days and months went by, those activities became quite a struggle!  I was not sleeping, how could I, my lover, my partner, my friend is no longer by my side!!  He laid next to me for the past 31 years, and now he is not there.  My bed is empty, I still lay on my side of the bed as if he is there. I would wash my sheets and find it so bizarre that I am cleaning a pillowcase for a pillow that was never laid on!  Sometimes I cry myself to sleep, and other times I just lay awake afraid to shut the light off because I have become acutely aware of how alone I am!  Even with Kellie in the next room!

Keith and I were truly one!  We loved our togetherness!  We worked, slept, ate and went to the grocery store together!  We would work all day together, get in the car, get home and walk Bailey!  We were not freaks, it just so easy for us to be together.  We were able to give to each other like no one else could!!  Life around us was hard, very hard, but our life together never was!!  That is what makes this so difficult for me to move forward, the hardest part is learning to live without him in my life!  The hollowness, the profound sadness, the future feels so dark and bleak.  It is so paralyzing and difficult to leave the house to even look for a job.

Many times, I would wake up and genuinely wish I didn’t wake up.  I would get up, take a shower and decide that I was going out to look for a job today!!!  But instead, I would take a shower, go sit on the couch, and only get up to take Bailey out!  Poor Bailey, I was walking him 5 to 6 miles a day.

So many times, people would say to us over the years, that they could not imagine losing their child, and it is true that there is nothing like it at all!  But I have lost a child and my husband!  I have lost half of my family!  When Meg died, we had each other to hang on to, we supported each other, we cried to sleep together, we cried during the day together, we held each other up!  We were the support for each other to get up, get dressed, get going!  Now there is nothing!  My sister cannot help me, my cousin cannot help me, my children cannot help me!  I am alone! I do not do alone well, Keith loved his alone time, me – not so much!  Now I am always alone, even when I am not!  I have had a lot of love from family, friends, and acquaintances that tell me that Keith is still with me, but that is not a comfort, it makes me angry!!!  He is not holding me, he is not talking to me, he is not comforting to me!!!  All I feel is the emptiness. I have become a hollow shell of myself, I have lost myself, my soul, my confidence and I really could care less to find it!  I even started thinking that I was unable to take care of Bailey, and began contemplating putting him up for adoption because it was just so hard!

I tried to go to the grocery store, late at night so I did not have to see people.  One of two things would happen, I would see someone and they would look down, because they did not want to speak with me, or they would come up and hug me and say things like, it is time to start cheering up!  Or yes, unbelievably, you are young Keith would never want you to be alone!!!!  REALLY People!?!?!?!

Speaking with Mona, I think has helped us both, because I know exactly where she is going, like no other.  We started texting, but then went to lunch and would just cry, and listen, and because NO ONE else knew how we were feeling, at this very moment.    Mona’s grief is the same, yet different than mine, she has three children, two adults and a 13-year-old daughter at home that needs her mother.  Mona needs to be strong especially for her.  Yes, she will mourn together along with her other children, but she cannot sit on the couch and cry all day, her daughter needs to go to school, and after-school activities and go to sleepovers.  Mona’s oldest daughter was getting married in May.  I said to her OMG!  How are you doing this???  I cannot!  I so admire Mona, she has strength well beyond me!

Sure, many people have lost their spouse or significant other, but their experience is not mine.  And if it happened several years ago, you can remember how you felt, and it brings back the pain, but you are in a different place.  Sadly soo many people I know have lost children since Meg, I would never say to them, I know how you feel because I do not!  I lost my child, I understand that, but I do not know how you feel.  I can reach out and say – I am here if you need a shoulder to cry on!  I can possibly guide you, but I do not know what you are going through!  My friend Patty had lost her son, 10 years ago, we had been out of touch for many years, and because of Facebook, reconnected.  I tried to guide her but did not want to in any way diminish her pain.  We were in two different places, but still shared the pain of losing a child.  My sister-in-law Laura has been my beacon for what I should expect, and for the most part, she had to relive her own heartache, yet Keith was her big brother, she is in her own sadness, and grieving differently than I am, but yet very similar!

Last night, my stepson Justin called, and after about a half an hour of me being emotional about not finding a job, he said to me,  “what has happened to my strong, confident stepmom? The woman who picked herself up every single time and became stronger and more confident!!”  I told him she died, he said no she is hiding!  It was kind of a kick in the ass, bringing me to reality!  I realized that he was right, although, I will not be flexing my biceps anytime soon.  It really made me begin to stop feeling sorry for myself.  I realized that Keith would be so disappointed in how I am acting!  Today, I slowly started to move in at least a forward motion.  Hopefully, as I put one foot in front of the other, and yes with Bailey by my side, the darkness will lighten up, and the hollowness will start to close!  I have been a Phoenix most of my life, the Phoenix will rise again, but I truly hope this is the last time I have to do this!

 

For the Love of Our Human

 

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When we lose the most important person in our lives, we as humans all grieve differently and need time to heal.  So do our animals, this is the story of how our puppy dealt with the loss of his favorite human, Keith!

Our daughter, Kellie, had been sending Keith and I pictures of this dog, a small black Labrador-Beagle mix.  She was telling us how adorable he was, but he was living in a terrible situation. “He needs a home, our home, we have to rescue him!!!” Keith and I owned a business. We were so busy, that the thought of having to care and be responsible for a dog was just too daunting, even though, mind you, we love animals, and have had both, dogs and cats in our lives.  We told Kellie that it was just impossible, a puppy is so much work.  As much as we were saddened for his situation, bringing him into a home where he would be alone all day, just didn’t seem any better!

Kellie had a different idea, however.  She decided to let us see for ourselves.  One evening, she brought him to our home.  I’m sure you know where this is going!!!  After about 30 seconds, Keith was on the floor playing with this adorable 4-month-old puppy and fell in love.  It took a little more convincing on my part “How are we going to manage this?” Keith replied, “As we do with everything else, we will figure it out!!”

On that day, December 14, 2016, George “Bailey” came into our lives. “It’s a Wonderful Life” is one of our family’s favorite movies, and we knew it was right.  Bailey did too!

Bailey and Keith became instant best buds.  Wherever Keith went, Bailey had to be there, too!  Since Keith was a chef, you could always find the two of them in the kitchen.  Bailey was happily awaiting anything that might happen to fall off the cutting board.

The two of them loved taking long walks together, and with Keith being 6’4″ and having very long strides, Bailey, only four months, happily kept up the pace.  When I would come home the three of us would take long strolls during the evenings, it was one of our favorite things to do.  Bailey loved the pack walks; as long as his favorite human came along.  At the end of the night, Bailey always jumped into our bed; snuggling between us.

One year later, Christmas 2017, Keith was not feeling well.  So much so that we took him to the hospital the next day, where we received devastating news.  Keith had a tumor on his liver and needed a liver transplant.

Bailey saw me leave with Keith that morning and when I didn’t come back home with him, he was confused and miserable!  That night, I could not find him, he was hiding from me under Kellie’s bed, and he ended up sleeping in her room all night long!

Keith came home about ten days later, but he was frail.  We did not want Bailey jumping on him and overwhelming either of them.  So while I was bringing Keith into the house, Kellie brought Bailey out through the back door.  Once I got Keith settled, I texted Kellie to bring him in.  It was like something out of the videos you see on YouTube.  Before Bailey saw him, he knew Keith was home and practically torn Kellie’s arm off, as he tried to run to him.  The reunion was beautiful, Keith stretched out his arms and Bailey flew into them.  All was right with the world.  That night Bailey slept in our bed, snuggling next to his favorite human.

About a week later, I had to bring Keith back to the hospital.  Not only was this devastating to our family, but to Bailey as well.  When I did not bring Keith home that night, Bailey was very very angry, thinking I had something to do with it.  If I walked into the room he was in, he walked out!  Of course, he did not sleep with me that night, he slept with Kellie!!

Bailey was missing his daily long walks with his favorite human.  He got the essential exercise, but it just wasn’t the same for him.  When Kellie and I were not at the hospital or running the business, Bailey got our attention!!  However, as the days became nights, and we spent most of our time at the hospital, he became very destructive.  Kellie would go back and forth to take care of him and give him hugs, but he bore holes in the walls and ripped up the carpet.  We knew that he was so upset, so we found it difficult to be angry with him.

Keith spent another 12 days in the hospital only to have them tell us that there was nothing more anyone could do for him.  When he came home for the final time, we had to have Hospice set up in our living room so we could make him as comfortable as possible!

Over the next nine days, I slept in the living room with Keith, because I was afraid I would not hear him when he needed me.  Bailey spent every night in our bed, but during the day, he would nervously go between the couch, to the chair, to the floor, or lay under Keith’s bed as if he was protecting him!

On February 8th, just six weeks and two days, after the initial visit to the hospital, Keith was in and out of consciousness.  At one point, Bailey jumped up on the bed and landed on Keith’s stomach.  Bailey was only 18 months old, and of course, he didn’t realize that he was causing some pain.  He didn’t understand why we quickly shooed him away, and he was so upset that he hid under our bed.  Kellie and I spent the whole day just being by Keith side.  We were playing his favorite music and telling him how much we loved him.

Very late in the afternoon, Bailey came to Keith one more time.  He gently got on the bed, kissed Keith on the face and then he left his bedside.  That night, just before midnight, Keith had passed away.  We had to call the nurse from hospice to come and officially pronounce him.  While we were waiting, Bailey laid under the hospital bed, and the three of us sat there in silence.  He never came from under the bed until the nurse arrived.

The nurse was a kind, 6’6″ gentleman from Jamaica named Godfrey, with a baritone voice, and fedora.  Bailey would typically greet him with his tail wagging, and try giving kisses.  Usually, he would jump up because he was so happy to see him.  Not this time!!  Bailey proceeded to sit in front of Keith at his bed as if guarding him.  As Godfrey gently took care of Keith, Bailey did not move.  Bailey watched intently.  I believe that if Godfrey moved a hair wrong out of Keith’s head, he might have lost a leg.

Once Godfrey left, we then had to wait for the funeral home attendants.  It was so heartbreaking for Kellie and I, but it became so profound as we watched Bailey sit next to Keith when the two gentlemen, dressed in suits, arrived at two in the morning.  As the gentlemen worked, Bailey followed them intently.  He was visibly upset as these guys placed Keith on a gurney.  Bailey was running back and forth; from both sides of the bed to the couch to the chair.  He was whining, crying and trying to catch his breath as they were making there way to the front door!  What were they doing to his favorite human?  Where were they taking him?

As the funeral attendants took Keith away, Bailey followed us down the stairs and watched as the gentlemen placed Keith in the back of the hearse.  Kellie, Bailey and I watched as the vehicle drove away, and then we went upstairs.  Kellie and I went to our bedrooms, Bailey slept in the living room under Keith’s hospital bed, and he did not leave it all night long.

The next morning I had to go to NYC, and Kellie stayed home.  Hospice needed to pick up all of their equipment.  What neither Kellie nor I realized was how devastating this would be for Bailey.  For over ten days, the hospital bed and oxygen machine were part of our lives and an extension of Keith.  When Hospice came, Bailey went crazy and started jumping up at the gentleman taking the equipment.  He was crying and whining as each piece was taken outside to the truck.  Kellie called me to tell me that he was crying so hard that she thought he was choking.  She was so upset as he would run to the window, watching them load the truck, crying.  After they left, Bailey did not know what to do with himself.  He ran from room to room whimpering; he was devastated!!

Over the last few months, it was a real struggle not only for Kellie and me but also for Bailey.  In the beginning, he was so stressed out and super hyper.  Going for a simple walk was agony.  We were so frustrated that we could not control him.  It was beginning to look impossible for us to keep him.

While dealing with our own grief, and because we loved Keith so much, we had to realize how important it was to remember our little non-human.  Bailey is grieving with us.  Each day, we all get up and put one foot or paw, in front of the other, and try to adjust to our new norm.

The three of us are slowly navigating our way out of this deep dark cloud together!  Bailey goes back and forth to Kellie’s room and mine to sleep every night!  We may not be his favorite humans, yet, but as we all get out of bed every day, we are all learning to live life without our favorite human, Keith!

 

 

The Pond Of Reflection

 

 

Once delivered to the pond of tranquility
I longed to drink in it’s glorious stillness
Yet my restless soul remained not at rest
My spirit wandered aimless as a stranger
Unguarded and alone I traveled the wind
I the intruder feeling free to commit wrongs
I wandered free
I witnessed the leaves grow bold with color
Only to wither and fall free from their home
Even with the years of profound knowledge
The mighty tree was unable to hold it’s leaves
By the pond the tree outlived generations o life
Upon reflection leaves in the lake was my own
I became enlightened
Moving through the shadows of evening’s image
I had become the bearer of guilt’s incurred
At the same time a victim of my cycle vicious
Condemned to bear weights of self made burden
Where I sacrificed myself to the blameless redeemer
Who stood in judgment of the ill and illicit
Administering ultimate justice only in the afterlife
Which was my journey

Time chiseled away at my stony regrets
Wisdom finally blossomed it’s bright petals
I understood the separation of the just and unjust
The strangers and friends, the good and evil all
Destined to stumble upon their own ill stones
Whilst clearing the paths of their own choosing
In which all travel naked in the quest of eternity
To reflect the pond

 

Lamentations At An Ancient Banquet

 

For so many years
I’ve been a bench
For weary souls to rest
Share the worn out dreams
Reveal their tired secrets
Toss the burdens away
Lay them on my shoulders
Bathe in the comfort of my words
But the weight has buckled
I have grown tired
I look into my windows
See an old man waiting
Just waiting…..
It’s my turn to sit
I’m tired of begging for scraps at my own table
I want to dine at the ancient banquet

Lamentations At An Ancient Banquet
It’s my time to be sitting
On a bench of salvation
Instead I waste my time
With self reflective meditation
And self inflicted medication
I know I’m merely waiting
Just can’t work out why
Looking for the answers
As if written in the sky
Shaking off the midnight fog
Looking deep inside my eyes
Granite tears fall in the cracks
Things I don’t wanna recognize
Tombstones in my side view mirror
Angels floating in my front view path
A Pale Horse saddled lays in wait
The devil smiles and seethes in wrath
I’m not ready yet
But its getting late
So I wait
Further up the road
So I can unload

Tired of all the irritating hating so impulsive and degrading. Little minds overcompensating smart minds fall deflating. No creating or thoughtful debating as for me I’m only waiting. Waiting and anticipating its so god damn mind frustrating.
Before my eyes my life is flashing from all the bashing time has fashioned while inside my head is thrashing from rehashing all the baggage I kept stashing and the shit I left behind.
Now I’m blind
The running kind
The final line
Seems that’s to be my fate
Sand passes through the hourglass
I just sit and wait
I wait because I know
The secrets from beyond
Are preparing to reveal themselves
Preparing to respond
But the mysteries of the living
The quandaries never solved
Plus everything I’ve left undone
Will never be resolved
Ends will never tie
Nothing more to do
So all I do is wait
Wait until I die

Death Row Stroll

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Modern Beat Rhyme
(In Freeform cadence rhyme, compound signatures)
Cold winters day, late November
Burning in fear inside Purgatory’s ember
On Death Row shuffle
For sins I don’t even remember
Did I do it? Did they misconstrue it?
Too many thoughts I can’t break through it
Screw it, I blew it
If they Want me to die I’ll do it
They wanna open their gates
So we can all seize our fates, our loves and our hates
Is that what life generates?
I’ve got my death date
The reaper anticipates and my grave awaits
Today is the day I take the slow walk to peace
Today is the day when my failed life will cease
Led down he hall with chains on my feet
Comforted by a man who hears all mens shrieks
The voice behind me is the preacher walking
Words of his Bible doing all the talking
Stalking my death and holding my coffin
Its fucking exhausting
Like I’m on another trial
Dead man walking vile
Its my green fucking mile
To make the victims family smile
Get their retribution if I offer my contribution
To their resolution of emotional restitution
When I go from this institution to my persecution
Maybe electrocution is the final solution
They want my allocution?
Screw it what if I didn’t do it
Goes to show ya there ain’t no closure
From a man who stands innocent in a shadow of guilt
A dark of enclosure
Who loses or who wins
Who cares the walk begins
Fear turns to sweat dripping down my neck
Trying to keep a bold face but I just peed on the deck
I don’t want to take this trek
No noose around my neck
I didn’t kill the chick
I loved her
I swear on my life
I never saw that knife
I didn’t kill my wife
The wrong person is walking to death
But I Have nothing left and her families bereft
My attorney didn’t detest when I confessed
I was depressed and oppressed
Caved in at the bequest of a brutal request
Good cop bad cop at its very best
So here I am
Strolling down deaths hall
Taking the fall
Led by my executioner
The infamous Lucifer
Satan has me by the balls
How many others walked down these halls
I’m the moral equivalent of a holy dissident
A miscreant citizen militant innocent
Strolling to shoot up deaths insulin
Forced to mainline my own decline
Seems ironically sublime
Doing drugs was my only crime
Now its my method of dying
But no crying its just my time
I’m here at center stage
The audience full of rage….
Revenge finally comes of age
I wonder why
I only want to see the sun once more
Feel the heat upon my face
Dream about the morning birds
But what I heard was
“Speak your Last Words”
They strap me to their table
Bound in stretchy cable
Stick their needles in my veins
Pull tight on the reigns and what remains
………A dead man still in chains
In a roomful of hosts
A chamber of ghosts
All of us now toast
You may mistrust us or just be disgusted
But this injustice upsets us
And trust us
Death Row is poetic justice
Marching with Satan in tow
As I walked down Death Row

Misunderstood

costume

No one really knows my chameleon
Am I reelin’ or how I’m really feeling
What I am inside
The me I tend to hide
The me misunderstood
Beneath the darkened hood
Behind the mask I wear
What will my future bear
I wonder
If they lift the mask what’s under

How will I be defined
Once all is left behind
Maligned?
Refined?
Will the foggy reflections from my mirror make it appear any clearer
How they will remember
Worthless dreg of society or just another member
Will the sound of all their claps
Be in mockery of all my mishaps
Perhaps!
Will they say
He was on the dishonor role
He was such a big asshole
Is that what will remain of my name
Ego held in vain
Then again
Maybe at least he tried they’ll say
We really miss him anyway
But truth is he was just a failure
Junkie drug inhaler locked up by society’s jailor
Living fast
Trash without cash

Holding on to an apron string
Never amounted to a thing
Never saved the world like he promised
Never left anyone astonished
Or left his mark
He could have made a journey but he was too lazy to embark
Or maybe they will be more kind
Say he had a genius mind
Dude was somewhat quirky
Sometimes acted kinda jerky
And when it came to being loud he often seemed introverted
But the dude was innovative
Wish I was that creative
Thought outside the box
Played with oddly shapened blocks
Danced to the beat of his own drum
Even though others thought him dumb
Kept on dancing just the same
He wasn’t insane or lame
Respect compassion and love
That’s what he was made of
Maybe he wasn’t perfect but at least he always tried
So beautiful inside
Always had a hand to lend
Tell you one thing that’s for sure I’m proud he was my friend

So in their retrospect:

Will I rise to the top
Or will I be a flop
Failure misunderstood
One who never could
Am I what I was before
What am I remembered for
A shameful disgrace
Forever running in place
Looking up to see down
The life of a clown
Smiling upside down
How will I be remembered
Doesn’t matter why
I was really just a quiet guy
Though I had a lot to say
I didn’t speak it anyway
So what will my legacy say
Not much I’m sure
Some parts bad some parts good
One thing is for sure though
I know it’ll be misunderstood

The Day I Died

day died

So this is it!? Not how I thought I would die that’s for sure, I was certain I would be killed in a car crash or something equally spectacular or at least condusive to how I lived. Like back in the day I thought I would either OD on drugs, or in a bar fight too drunk to defend myself but drunk enough to say something stupid to put me in a dangerous situation. One thing I was sure of is it wouldn’t be suicide, I always play the hand dealt no matter how shitty the cards. I will admit though like a lot of people I have over the years contemplated if suicide was an answer. You know, during any one of the countless worst moments ever! So now I’m laying here feeling the life slowly seep out of my body. At this point I’m oddly serene, maybe even ready. Finally after all the years of meditating and practicing out of the box strange arts rituals I’m having a true out of body experience.
Its not like I obsess about death. Okay maybe a little now that I think about how much of my writings revolve around death, but everyone obsesses about death a little. Or at least have often pondered about their own best if used by date or at the very least how and when they’ll expire. With the exception of a few sick bastards we all hope our death will be quick and painless when our time comes. Mostly I think because we work ourselves up in a tizzy from viewing or reading about so many horrible deaths. Ghost stories, zombie apocalypse, serial killer stories and that’s just the nightly news. I personally watch an assortment of television shows delving into the minds and actions of evil, laced with just enough violence to make me wonder why I suffer from insomnia. Movies and shows with people being buried alive, (OMFG, not that one please), murdered for money, shot during the commission of a crime, revenge killings, chainsaw hacking (far worse than computer hacking), military explosions, viral infections, even tortured to a slow death by someone with the sadistic tendencies of the old Marquis De Sade and the pain bringing skill of Jack Bauer. One of my own worst case scenario’s is suffocation. I grew up near a beach where we used to play chicken diving down in deep water to come up with a handful of sand to prove you made it, and on a few occasions I was worried I wouldn’t make it back up in time only to spring out of the water panting like an Eskimo Sled Dog that took a wrong turn on the Iditarod then ran all the way to the equator. Television and movies have given me a plethora of horrible and unwanted deaths so all in all I guess dying from a gunshot wound ain’t so bad in the scheme of things. I mean either I’ll go into shock soon or I’ll get pumped up with morphine so an ending like this is almost welcome.
Anyway, I don’t think I have much time left so I won’t waste it philosophizing over which manner of death is or isn’t cool. How did I end up with a bullet in my chest? Damned if I know, I was just going about my normal day when I heard a few loud bangs. At first I thought some asshole kids were shooting off cherry bombs or M80’s or something, until I saw people with an unmistakable look of terror on their faces scattering around, diving to the ground behind cars or whatever. Not me! Oh no, I was doing my usual head in the cloud meandering taking care of errands when I felt someone punch me in the chest. I say punch, but it felt more like my chest was catching for a Cy Young pitcher’s fastball. Before I knew it I was on my back looking up at telephone wires and tree tops. Within seconds I felt the warm syrupy blood spreading across my tee shirt. I tried to look down at it but my head wouldn’t move. I grabbed my chest with both hands and felt the blood oozing between my fingers. My first thought was who the hell hit me. Then I thought oh shit almighty I need to do a finger in the dyke maneuver or something. Finally it sunk in and I thought, holy shit, I think I’ve been shot.
I laid there with my chest throbbing and pulsing at the same time. I tried to cry but nothing came out, not even a gasp. It was hard just breathing. WTF? Did it hit a lung or something. Seconds passed by or minutes maybe, IDK, I’d lost all sense of time and reason. That’s it man, I’m freaking dying. Hope I have clean underwear on or my Mom will pissed, that is if I go to wherever she is. I soon, or maybe not so soon realized the pulsing and pounding pain were fading. Taking a breath on the other hand was harder than ever. Next I’m laying here and the pain subsided completely so either I’m getting close to the end or shock has set in. I guess this is the point where my life is supposed to flash before my eyes but honestly I am a bit too tired to watch my own rerun. All I want to do is sleep. Wait, what’s this? Someone is putting their hands on my chest and there’s a lot of commotion, people and noises all around me and people touching me. Appropriately. That’s weird, the noise is oddly soft and fading in and out, not loud and chaotic. Oh oh, the sound seems to be fading out completely along with my eyesight. I know words are being said but they don’t sound like words, more like muffled reverberating sounds. I think I hear sirens but I’m not sure if they’re far off or just more of an illusion. I think I feel some people picking up my body and putting it on some stretcher or something but it doesn’t matter, too little too late. I feel my essence, my very being slipping out through the hole in my chest along with the flow of blood. Weakness took over and silence is filling in my ears now. My last breath, my last whimper. Time to pronounce, wanna make the call doctor? (I watched a few medical shows too) No more anything, done, over, ipso facto, adios ghost, see ya later terminator. Nothing more to do, no more fun and laughs, no more tears and pain, only darkness. My final game of Clue. Colonel Deranged Stranger , on the street, with a handgun!
My Epilogue

It feels unnatural being dead. I see my body in a sort of file cabinet awaiting confirmation of who I am. I’ve seen a lot of morgues on TV and movies but its way less spooky and far too clinical and dare I say cold. I am at this very moment preparing to move on to my next phase and frankly I’m a little excited. Aside from my obsession with dying and death I’ve always had a deeper obsession with the afterlife and now I’m about to find out for real. Am I going before a judge with angel wings, on a hot escalator to Hell, into some weird meeting place for everyone who died, preparing for reincarnation, or just going to sleep? If I can tell you when I get there I will, but I’m afraid they may have rules about “spoilers” in the afterlife. But before I embark on my new journey I’m just curious about something. We….oops, sorry not used to this yet, I mean you live in a society that actually has sub-genres of killings. Random shootings, (like mine), School shootings, Mall shootings, workplace shootings. You have witnessed hundreds of families go through hell after their child’s school was shot up, or someone’s father and mother were murdered for shopping in the wrong place, yet you continue to bicker and fight over personal rights for gun ownership without thinking twice about having to jump through hoops to get a drivers license and registering your car. I mean people get arrested for not keeping their license current, or cars are removed for violations of non registration and non insurance. One could argue cars don’t kill people, people do, and on some level maybe that’s true, but that’s why we have global wide regulations for moving vehicles. Are peoples lives so insignificant that you can’t come to a reasonable compromise that will allow responsible people who want to own guns get them in a reasonable and safe manner, like I don’t know, a handling, care, and using of firearm mandatory class? Kinda like the driving thing ya know what I mean? Is arguing and posturing and allowing corporations sway the voting the best you can do as a society? If that’s so then I guess I really am in a better place as has been suggested.(overheard actually) I have no idea what’s next for my dead ass, but take some advice from a dead guy with nothing to lose. Do something more than just cry about amendments on paper and protect the actual living breathing lives of the innocent. If you all don’t start to take this gun thing real serious and do more than just talk about it after every shooting, wherever I’m going now is gonna get a lot more crowded far too soon. Peace