My Daily Ransom

Facing the Unknown…

Linda, My Sounding Board — November 19, 2017

Linda, My Sounding Board

How can I describe Linda? How can I express the feelings I’ve shared with her and the light she gave me? I’m not sure that’s possible, at least not at this time.

Linda came into my life after I reached out to CancerConnect. When Bubba (my Dad) was  first diagnosed with cancer I had meltdown, or in other words a panic attack. I knew I was going to have a very difficult time. I was here in Austin, Texas while he was back home in Conneaut, Ohio about 1500 miles away.

I started questioning how I was going to survive this. How could I be there for him if I was here, so far away from him. I knew I couldn’t do it alone so I started doing research online for resources. That’s when CancerConnect, which is now apart of The Care Communities, shined like a beacon. I called and told them a little bit about my situation of being long distance with my family and not having money to get counseling. They said they would connect me with a counselor who could help. A few days later is when Linda reached out to me.

Linda had experienced giving long distance support for her family when her father got sick. She understood me in a way that no one else did. She wasn’t pushy about getting a lot of information right away. She allowed me to open up as I felt safe to. I still struggle with letting people in, to let others know my true feelings inside but she didn’t mind. She had me start with that day and go back as I needed to. That’s when I knew she was different. She would be there to help me through this painful time of my life and guide me with experience and true concern.

She wasn’t getting anything out of it. She wasn’t getting paid (at least not from me) yet she was so present. She was the most sincere person I had ever met. If I started down a hole that would lead me to more darkness, she wouldn’t cut me off. She allowed me to express the shadows that were weighing me down and then showed me how to crawl out from under them. The power she showed me I had was remarkable. Never had I understood the capacity I had to endure so much.

Within 6 months of my Dad getting sick, he was gone. We lost him early Saturday morning at 1:50 a.m. on February 18th 2012. I was suppose to fly out on Friday but I felt a pull on my soul. I knew he needed me and I needed to go. I changed my plane ticket early Wednesday morning and flew out to Cleveland within 3 hours. Linda told me I could call her while I was there whenever I needed to.

I always felt so weak but she shone lights on things that didn’t make sense to me. I felt so pathetic and broken without any strength left to go on but she saw me in a different way. She understood my weaknesses and imperfections but said that doesn’t mean I’m feeble or inadequate. It means I’m human who’s gone through some traumatic situations and I need to be patient with myself.

I called her while I was in Ohio, after it all happened. After I had sat there holding his hand for days. After calling for the body donation people to come get him. After curling up in his chair where he took his last breath and dreamt of only white for a couple hours. She didn’t say much but just having her answer her phone was significant. She showed me that she cared enough even though she didn’t have to.

That is what set the tone for your relationship. She was there when I needed her. She was still there after I came back from saying Goodbye to Bubba, to the abusive relationship that ended, to starting a new relationship, to losing grandparents and most life altering after my Dad, losing my brothers. She has helped me so much.

Linda has sat on the floor with me as I collapsed on her rug as soon as I entered her room the day after we lost Adam. That’s all I remember about that day. Crying on her rug that had given me so much comfort before. Her presence with that rug soothed me in a way I can’t explain. She’s hugged me and I felt some pain melt away. She would gently rubbed my back as I exited her door and that gave me a sense of ease that I could walk out that door and not dissolve.

Linda and I shared precious and painful moments for over 5 years. I learned so much about her and from her. She became a trusted friend who I love and cherish dearly. The amount of tenderness I hold for her can never be measured. Her pure heart has made a genuine difference in this world.

She retired the last day of September. I have mixed feelings about it for only selfish reasons. I miss our meetings and that rug that soothed me. But I’m happy she’s doing what’s best for her. She gets to experience life in a new way and she deserves that. She can take her pup for hikes whenever she wants, she can bird watch and travel the world.

Linda, the woman who changed my life. Thank you. I truly do love you for who you are.

 

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Am I A Vampire? — November 17, 2017

Am I A Vampire?

I’m afraid I’m a vampire. I feel as if I’ve lived a thousand lifetimes and I have to just continue on as I watch everyone I’ve ever loved leave me.

I’ve watched the ones most dear to me leave this earth as I pray to whatever might be listening to take me with them. I long to just be with those ones who left too soon. The ones I’m meant to grow old with but they can’t return and I can’t leave to be with them. I’m trapped here begging to feel their presence and warmth again.

That’s what all this darkness must be, the life of a vampire. I must crawl around in this damp cold life, longing to find that warmth that has disappeared. My skin so fair, my veins easily seen through it’s transparency. The yearning is for the warm blood of those who have vanished;  to pump through their hearts once again, to have them raise to their feet and dance with me.

The daylight hurts my eyes and burns my colorless casing they call skin. I just stumble through my days on autopilot waiting for the sleepless nights to arrive. I spend the nights sleeping for a few hours then my mind races to what I should do as I continue to exist.

For I must be a vampire, there is no other explanation.

 

 

Muted Colors — November 13, 2017

Muted Colors

Seeing the world in muted colors is a strange life. Taking that once beautiful vibrancy away from your everyday experience is frightening at first. Now, I feel numb to the muted colors. My emotions are so strong that the once beautiful things in life, aren’t as beautiful as they once were. I wonder to myself, “Will the beauty ever return?” and it appears doubtful, even cloudy at times.

I long to write but it feels like a burden to share my grievance with others. The thought of someone else knowing my truth, makes it hard to breathe. I’m fighting this battle within myself as I try to reach out and share my moments but then it’s suddenly too dark. The darkness cuts my breath off, squeezes my muscles and stops me dead in my tracks. My mind starts this wave of fears and I can’t see straight.

When this happens, I can’t carry on. I can’t drink, I can’t eat, I can’t talk, I can’t walk, I can’t do anything. I’m stuck in this dread that’s holding me down. How do I get this boulder off? That’s why these muted colors no longer have the significance to me. I’m so lost in the darkness.

I’m not even sure what all I’m afraid of anymore. I know I’m horrified of my past, of what I’m missing in my life and what’s to come without them but I’m also afraid of so much more. But, what is that “so much more”? How do I figure that out? Do I want to figure it out?

I look around and nothing is where it’s supposed to be. Or is that just my perception playing tricks on me again. All my senses are off and nothing seems quite right. Can it be that the darkness is just a ruse? For now, I’m unsure . I’m unsure of it it all. But I’m forced to continue this journey in the darkness. Scared and alone longing to find the light that I hope is only hidden away in all this darkness.

How Do I Choose To Suffer? — June 9, 2017

How Do I Choose To Suffer?

There’s this saying that goes something like, “Pain is Inevitable but Suffering Is Optional”. I HATE that saying.

My life has changed drastically for the worse these past few years. I have lost 3 of the most important people in my life. The ones who knew me better than anyone. The ones who held me when I was sick, when I was heartbroken, when I was damaged and needed put back together. I can tell you that I am not choosing to suffer.

My days are filled with raw emotions. I cry every single day. I scream inside as I see smiling faces, laughing families and love that fills the air. It makes me angry that I can’t share that with my brothers and my Dad. It makes me sick knowing that I will continue to meet milestones in my life and they won’t be here to see them. It infuriates me that I can’t see their faces and hear their voices.

These emotions I speak of come on without notice. They run up my back and beat against me until I’m dizzy and can’t see. They fight me when I try to think of something good and break me down each time. These emotions are more powerful than anything I’ve ever experiences. They are relentless.

So tell me, when do I choose to suffer? Where do I choose to suffer? How do I choose to suffer?

I go to counseling, grief meetings. I write. I scream. I talked to people who loved them. I talk about the good times. I get up and go to work. I even laugh here and there yet the unyielding agony is so deep in my soul that I’m in constant pain. My body aches to the bone. My muscles cramp with tightness. My head throbs with misery.

So please, tell me, how do I choose to suffer? How can I make my days better? How can I see my life any different than how it truly is? Because my life is nothing how I would ever want it. Not just little things that you can work to change. If you don’t like your job then work to find another one. You don’t like where you live, make a plan to move. But my life was ripped from me. I had no choice in how anything was going to happen.

But my soul, my being, those have changed. I lost the most valuable love to ever be created. And I didn’t just lose them. I watched them slowly fall from my grip. It’s as if they were hanging off the top of a mountain and I tried to hold on to them the best I could but I wasn’t strong enough. I pulled and tore at them as they were slipping from my hands. My body was thrashing against the rocks and dirt as I tried to fight gravity as it pulled with all it’s might. Now I’m sitting on the edge of the mountain, bleeding from my heart, from my eyes, from what remains here on Earth. And I wonder; why not just jump?

So please, tell me, how am I choosing to suffer? How could this be what anyone would ever want to feel or experience? Because this is the most desolate feeling.

May 18th, Just Another Day — May 31, 2017

May 18th, Just Another Day

May 18th has always felt like a magical day. It’s always a beautiful Spring day with life bursting out all around you. The birds are singing in the trees all day long, the flowers are blooming and buzzing with the sound of bees. The streams are flowing with the music of showers that gave birth to the new life of our world. Baby animals are coming out from their homes and exploring the bright colors. It’s a day to celebrate life and love; it’s also the day I was born.

I’ve always been a big birthday person. I love celebrating people’s birthdays and my own. I’m the person telling everyone, “My birthday is coming up.” or “Tomorrow/Today is my birthday!” I plan dinners, celebrations with friends and family, going places to be together. But that has all changed. May 18th has become just another day with a little extra sadness sprinkled on.

This year I didn’t tell anyone it was my birthday. No one in my office knew, many of my friends didn’t know and most of my family didn’t know or didn’t remember. But most of all I didn’t hear from “the boys”, my brothers or Bubba, my Dad. These three were the first ones to usually say Happy Birthday to me. They would call me, text me, put it on Facebook (either all three or at least one). Birthdays were so special to us.

My brother’s have always made me feel extraordinary, especially on my birthday. Ever since I was little they did things with or for me on my birthday. All photos from growing up had me sitting on one of their laps or sitting so close we were touching especially when it came to singing and blowing out candles. They made me feel like I was the best thing to ever happen to them. I remember just loving them so much and feeling their love encompass my entire being. But I don’t feel like that anymore.

I don’t feel like my birthday is worthwhile the way I use to. I don’t feel like celebrating life and the new season of plentiful offspring scouting the environment. I don’t feel that tiny burst of excitement as I open my eyes to a new year of life and growth. I feel heartsick that I’m not sharing this day with the people I love the most. My soul is cheerless as I move throughout my day. The few birthday wishes I receive are recognized but irrelevant.

May 18th, just another day in the world.

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My Sleepless Nights — April 30, 2017

My Sleepless Nights

It’s 4 am, I went to sleep at midnight but I’m wide awake now. This happens each night. I can’t sleep at night, I can’t take naps during the day. I can’t sleep. Ever.

When I do sleep, I have weird dreams. Many times I dream where people argue with me that you aren’t really gone. “No, your brothers are still here. I literally just saw them! What are you talking about?!” Then I wake up, thinking I’m crazy and having bizarre dreams. I go to text you…

But then it hits me. It’s like I relive those horrifying, unbearable, relentless moments, again. I try to rationalize my thoughts but they make no sense. These moments have no reasoning and are just absurd. And the anger is back. Flooding my entire body with rage as I lay there in my bed trying to grasp my thoughts yet I can’t. I want to go back in time and fix things. I want to make your lives better than they were. I need to be your baby sister. I need to hear your voice on the phone, read a text that you just sent me, plan to do things when I come home to visit. Help plan ways to change our lives, the girl’s lives. I NEED YOU BOTH SO MUCH!

This is not meant to be my life. My greatest accomplishment has always been being your sister. That’s how I’ve always identified myself. Constantly saying, “I have two brothers…”, “My brothers…”, “When I was growing up my brothers…”, “I’m the baby with two older brothers….”, “My big brothers…”, that’s who I am. I’m your sister. I’m your baby. That’s where I find peace, being your baby sister. Who am I without my brothers?

I’m lost in this dark world. Literally, I’m surrounded by darkness and my mind is so heavy. It’s like these nights last a lifetime. I’m scared, I’m lonely, my body is in so much pain and I can’t seem to get it to ease up. I see flashes of you in those last moments. It’s like I was right there beside you when it all happened. I died with you. You took me with you and now I’m just a shell of myself.

So I find myself abandoned. Unable to comprehend my surrounds. Fearing everything.

My aches — April 25, 2017

My aches

I have these aches that permeate every part of me.

These aches are in my muscles, bones, blood, brain.

There’s an ache that vibrates my mind and an ache that drills into my soul.

I feel these aches when I’m awake and when I barely asleep.

These aches seem to take place of all the pieces I’m missing; I’m missing a lot.

I feel as if I’m living in this black hole of misery and elongated pain.

Even if I do laugh or smile I still have these aches surrounding me.

Then I have guilt but at least I still have my aches to allow me to feel something true.

Sometimes the only truth I have is the crippling throb of sorrow and heartache.

With each twist and turn the ache deepens and I can’t break away.

Many times the only thing I can feel are the aches that confine me to myself.

I’m fenced in by fear of what’s to come.

For I know these aches are apart of me now.

I’ve lost too much for them to ever disappear.

What’s To Come? — February 28, 2017

What’s To Come?

It feels like a blade has been shoved up through my sternum.

I can feel it’s sharp edges slicing through my throat while I choke on the blood.

That’s how sudden the realization of my pain is.

The change of my day happens as quick as that life altering moment.

Then flashes of what was fleeting in my mind.

My laughter is halted as I’m incapacitated once again with fear.

Fear of feeling, fear of living on, fear of not having you here, fear of my own fear.

Floods of tears cascading down my quivering chin.

While my damn hands keep moving nervously and I’m readjusting my sitting position and shirt so I don’t blurt out how angry I am. How overwhelmed I am.

I’m angry at my eyes that cry.

My heart for breaking.

My life for being what it is.

At this world for taking your love away.

I’m afraid to speak out loud.

What will come out? Could I survive that truth?

Can I actually survive this?

Because I Can’t Be With You — February 9, 2017

Because I Can’t Be With You

I’m tired. I’m sore. I’m angry. I’m beyond grievous.

My skin feels raw down to the bone.

It’s as if I’m bathing in a tub of torment. I’m washing with the ache of what I should have done, what I should have said.

It keeps filling the space enclosing my soul.

When I try to rinse off the sorrow, it feels like fragments of my missing future digging in.

My life will never be how I want it.

I feel like I’m laying on my back and all these realizations are suffocating me.

The tears are so frequent that they feel like razorblades rolling out of the corner of my eyes.

I’m fighting the urge to scream out in horror, in anxious pain.

I rock back and forth, trying to figure out these thoughts that are beating my brain.

How can they be true?

My belly is gorged with rage.

This…this…this has happened. This is happening right now.

These feelings don’t leave, they argue with each other.

Rational thoughts fly out the window when I wake from a dream of being with you.

Because I can’t be with you.

Because I can’t be with you.

 

 

 

The Antidote — February 1, 2017

The Antidote

There’s a rod through my torso

The pain pulsates reality.

Loving ain’t easy when it comes to yourself.

What were you thinking?

The truth is in your veins

That venom staring you down like a shot gun

Our love inundated your ecstasy.

That grip must have been a constraint so burdensome

Painstakingly heavy to be imprisoned by.

Life’s inadequate without your smile.

Your love is the antidote.