My grandma passed away recently. She was a quiet, unassuming woman who lived a quiet, unassuming life, but she meant the world to me.
When many people die, it is as if they were suddenly saints, no matter what sort of person they were in life. But not grandma. This isn’t to say she didn’t have flaws, she was human after all.
She was my rock, my port in the storm, my true north. If I ever got lost all I had to do was look to grandma and I could get right again.
And she did all of that with few words. She showed me more than told me. She showed me how to live in strength through terrible heartache, although I am not convinced I would be able to endure what she endured. She showed me what unconditional love could be. I believe it is thanks to her that I am able to love my kids the way I do because, other than her and mom, I didn’t really have much in the way of role models there. She showed me so much more than I can express here.
I miss her. I always will.
She deserves to be remembered. She deserves recognition.
All she gets are these weak words because I can’t find any strong enough to say what I think she deserves said.
Even “I loved her with everything I have,” isn’t strong enough.
I have never been through anything worse than the night my mother died. I have never felt the gnawing guilt I feel right now thinking that some decision I made took her from everyone that loved her.
She entrusted herself into my care and now she is dead.
The night she died, Sarah and I walked into her room at the care center about 6 p.m. and she was laying in her bed, one arm behind her head, one leg raised up bent at the knee, sticking out of her gown. I laughed to myself. It looked like she was posing but it was totally accidental. I said “Hey sexy.” and she chuckled a little. Six hours later she would be dead, but I didn’t know it at the time. She was gurgling in her throat some when she breathed and it concerned me because the last time she sounded like that she ended up in the hospital with pneumonia. In a crazy bit of irony, we were supposed to get her port installed the next day so that she could get her treatments without an IV. Just exactly like the first time we were supposed to have it installed. That set us back a whole month on her treatment. In my mind, I was terrified that if she did end up with pneumonia again that the oncologist would call it quits so I wanted the facility to do what they could to prevent that without sending us to the hospital.
And that is Guilt Point One for me.
Should I have just said let’s go now so that she could get the top notch care. I know the facility people do what they can and I blame none of them, but they weren’t totally prepared for this I don’t think. But, fearing that a hospital stay would either throw us out of treatment altogether or set us back another month while her cancer continued to eat away at her, I opted to go with them trying what they could and then if it got worse to go to the hospital. There were X-rays and blood samples taken. The on-call doctor was consulted and she kept talking about palliative care. I grew more terrified inside. No. No. NO. Stop talking like that dammit. We just got started! The X-rays showed her lungs were clear, so there was no pneumonia. Good news. I eased up a little in my worry. The nurse came in and gave her Albuterol to help her breathe.
Enter Guilt Point Two.
Was the Albuterol treatment they gave her there what set the blood clot that ultimately took her life free? If I had just left her alone and let her take on her cold or whatever it was naturally, without panicking inside, would she still be here? Yes, she was gurgling then, but it didn’t seem too serious. Yet, after a treatment or two of Albuterol (at least I think that is what they gave her) she was really panting hard and losing consciousness. That was when we called the emergency services. They came and the first thing they did was give her another Albuterol treatment even though the nurse and I both told them clearly that she had just had two. Again, no blame but this ticked me off. But this is the source of my guilt. Should I have been more forceful than I was? I felt intimidated by a roomful of EMS and fire department people and just stopped talking and let them work. I wonder if I should have been more brave and insistent? I feel like I should have now, after the fact, of course. She wasn’t responsive to questions at this point. I think the blood clot had already started to do its nefarious deed.
So, enter Guilt Point Three
That goddamn blood clot. I think it eats at me the most. When she was in the hospital with pneumonia I recall them giving her something to prevent blood clots while she was laying immobile….but I didn’t recall it until after the ER doctor told me that was probably what got her and my brothers asked me if she hadn’t been on blood clot medicine at the facility. I fucking felt like punching myself in the face right then. Why….why…WHY did I not mention that to the PT facility????? She was immobile the whole time there. People tell me I couldn’t have known, that they should have, but those people are overworked and overwhelmed in those kind of places. I feel like it was totally my responsibility to be the advocate my mom need to ensure she received everything she needed and to stay on top of all of that. And I dropped the fucking ball.
And she died. My mother died.
I had to watch her struggle to breathe. I had to watch her eyes roll up into her head and her hands claw up and turn purple. And ultimately I had to leave her body there on that bed, surrounded by the sterile equipment of an ER room. As many of us were there that could be and that could handle it. My daughter was in there through the whole ordeal, sometimes alone as even I had to step out from time to time because it was so goddamn hard to watch.But I knew I would feel even more guilt later if I wasn’t. I told her everything my heart and head could think of while I brushed her hair with my hands, but it doesn’t feel like enough now. I keep thinking of all the time we spent together in her PT room and how most of it was just quiet because neither of us were big talkers. I let her watch her soaps and her shows. I wish that I had read to her out of her favorite books, but again it was just something I thought of too late.
Everyone says I am a good son. I did everything I could. My head says yes along with my mouth but my heart and my spirit are saying that is all bullshit. I should have done more. She needed me to do more. And I failed.
And she died.
Maybe one day my head and my heart will come to terms but right now they are barely speaking. I don’t know how I can face my family this next week. They also trusted me to take care of her. And I let them down too.
I make it through the day most of the time until that picture of my mom laying in that ER room pops up. As it will forever. That is why I usually avoid those scenes. I just couldn’t allow myself to do that this time. And so when I see that in my mind’s eye all I can do is tell my mom that I am so, so sorry I let her down and let my tears flow and hope they can wash some of this guilt off of me.
I’m sharing this. Not to get a lot of sympathy I don’t really want or think I deserve, but in the hopes that maybe if someone else goes through something like this they can know they aren’t alone. I know I am not alone.
Actually, that could be Guilt Point Four. I personally know so many people who have lost their mothers before me, including my girlfriend (I also worry that this is stirring up memories for her and that this is making her hurt all over again.) Some in way worst circumstances way too early. And so I feel guilty for even being sad. Like my situation is unique or something. I feel their pain. They all probably went through similar emotions. And they are dealing with it. Right now, they are my heroes as they trek on and live their life.
I am going to try and accomplish things in honor of my mom. I am sorry I didn’t get them done while she was still here.
I am also going to tie up this rambling mess and torture the two or three people that will read it now. 🙂 Lucky for the world I am not that popular of a blogger.
There is a jarring moment when you realize that someone you have put so much of yourself into, so much love, so much effort, so much…everything… is a cowardly, self-centered, piece of shit.
But it’s a good sort of jarring. Liberating. Because in that moment of realization the chains fall free and the blindfold is removed. You can see her for what she really is and you can then move away from her and leave her to whatever idiot is willing to live with all that crap. Kiss that human shaped pile of feces.
I’m off to more pleasantly fragrant pastures to enjoy my liberation.
(found this languishing in my draft box for some reason)
i sat down to write some words, but nothing came to me. i hoped that wasn’t a sign, that nothing. it wasn’t that i didn’t have anything to say. it wasn’t that nothing was in there. it was all still there. every bit of it. it was more the fact that i had said it all so many times. it hit me that i was becoming a broken record. actually…not broken really. more like scratched. i was at that point where the needle would stick on the same phrase over and over again. and i just couldn’t write the same old bit anymore. i just couldn’t. i wanted it to be for a different reason. i wanted my fingers to hit the keys to say beautiful things because i had a beautiful reason to. i wanted the moment i was playing in my head to be the inspiration for what i wrote. the ecstasy, not the agony. i wanted to write things while my inspiration lay next to me pretending to wonder what i was writing, but secretly absolutely sure the entire time. secure and enjoying it the whole while. i just wanted things to change, but they were stuck in the ancient amber of sameness and there i was listening to forlorn music wondering what the fuck was going on within that space i wasn’t sure i would ever be able to reach. wondering why i could write so much better than i could speak. why every time i opened my mouth nothing much came out, as if my heart had a much better line of communication with my fingers as opposed to my mouth. i figured it was because my mouth was waiting. it knew exactly what it wanted to say but it wanted to say it at a particular moment so in the meantime it just bode its time. but that time turned out to be nonexistent.
I woke up with an idea in my head one day so I sat down and wrote this intro while it was still fresh. I have a vague idea, but nothing substantial, but I wonder if I should explore it further (once deadsville is finished). What do you think?
The call came in at 9:30 pm on Tuesday.
Officers Mortelli and Jackson were first on the scene. They were now lying in pools of their own blood on the floor of an otherwise nondescript living room in an otherwise nondescript neighborhood in suburban America.
Mortelli had been the first to go. He lay spread eagle, studying the ceiling. A large chunk of his head was missing and he was most assuredly surprised to be dead. You could tell by the look on his face. His eyes wide. His mouth open.
Jackson was still alive, if only just barely, as evidenced by his kicking leg and clawing hand, and was thinking of his kid and the fact that they were supposed to go to a ballgame the weekend coming up. It was an idle thought, one born of shock. It was also his last thought, something that will never be known by anyone else. His leg was kicking in a rhythmic, almost hypnotic fashion, sliding up and down the hardwood floor as if he was trying to escape his fate. He was attempting to speak but the words got caught and drowned in the dark, red liquid that was flowing from his mouth. Whatever he had been trying to say disappeared along with Jackson in one last gout of coughed up blood. Jackson’s hand stopped its clawing motion and his leg followed soon after.
It was 10:07 pm.
But the house wasn’t still. There was frantic motion as someone stepped over the mess the two police officers had made as they died and took a furtive look outside. That someone was Fred Durkinson, 42, father of three children (now deceased): daughter, Terri, 16; son, Paul, 14; and daughter Alice, 10. Alice hadn’t been in the plans but Fred and his wife, Martina (also now deceased) had just shrugged and buckled down. Fred hadn’t minded that much. He loved his wife and kids, heart and soul. There was nothing he wouldn’t do for them and their well-being.
Which is exactly why he had shot them all to death.
On the surface that wouldn’t appear to make sense. After all, why would a man who was completely in love with his family and wanted only the best for them end their lives in such a violent manner? The answer for Fred Durkinson was simple. He couldn’t let them be stolen. Not by those things. The things that haunted his dreams and were slowly and insidiously working their way into his waking thoughts, whispering to him. Telling him to do such horrible things that he could hardly believe the evil that was slowly taking over. He felt he was no longer Fred Durkinson, happy father of three and loving husband of Martina. He was a dark thing now.
There was still a small spark of Fred left inside of him and he was determined that before that last spark was snuffed out, whether by the bullet he had saved for himself, or by being totally consumed by whatever it was that was eating him inside out, that he was going to have his say and tell the world what was happening. Someone had to know, even if Fred could see absolutely no way of stopping it. It would get everyone sooner or later, Fred knew, and there was little that could be done about that. But maybe if the world was warned it could start putting up a fight. How, Fred couldn’t begin to guess.
People had to sleep after all.
And that was the reason Fred Durkinson hadn’t put a bullet into his own brain before anyone had a chance to try and stop him. He still had some work to do. He cursed himself for not writing the letter already, but he had a rare moment of lucidity and he had decided to take care of the most important thing first. Taking his family away from all of this. After that he was going to write his missive to the world, but before he had barely sat down at his computer the cops had come banging on his door. He had smiled and lulled them into complacency and then he had taken care of them too, but he knew he only had a short moment before more came beating on his door and he also knew that there was no way he would be able to take care of all of them. He had to write and write fast.
He went into the spare room he liked to jokingly call his office, and there, among his sports memorabilia and his family photos and his books and his collectibles, he hunkered down over his laptop and began to type furiously. He resisted all impulse to spell check and look for typos. He just typed. He let the words flow as they would. It could all be sorted out later. Maybe someone somewhere would take him seriously. He hoped, but he doubted. Even in his heightened state he realized he sounded like a crazy person. The news stories would paint him as a monster who had snapped and taken out his whole family in a moment of insane fury. The story would be both true and untrue. He was a monster but he wasn’t insane. Nor was he angry. In fact, as he typed, he felt calm. He had a sense of urgency about him, but he wasn’t anxious or scared or angry. He was empty. He was ready. He wanted to see his family again.
His fingers flew. Almost there. Almost there.
While he typed Officer Jackson twitched again. Once more his hand began to claw the floor and his leg began to kick. It was almost as if the events previous were happening in reverse throughout his body. The twitching ran up his arm and his arm slid up the floor. His legs did the same and soon he was on hands and knees, except his right arm didn’t work too well from the torn tendons and shattered bone that Fred Durkinson’s first bullet had created as it flung its way through his body. That one had hit Jackson’s lung and was the cause of the frothy blood gurgling up and out of his mouth once more. Jackson sat back on his feet and put his left arm on his thigh as if taking a short rest before the truly hard work of rising to his feet began. He noticed his hat and reached out for it on impulse and sat it firmly upon his close cropped graying hair. Jackson was a veteran and he knew looking good at all times was imperative to presenting the best front to the public as an officer of the law. Even when one was a bloody mess otherwise.
Finally Officer Jackson began to rise. It was a long laborious process, pitiful if anyone had been there to witness it, consisting of a lot of lurching and swaying and accompanied by the uncomfortable sounding noises of bones and joints popping and grinding. There were a couple of close calls when it seemed that all progress would be lost in a collapse back down to the floor but finally the job was done and Officer Jackson was once more among the upright.
He smiled and blood oozed out of his mouth and fell on the floor. It didn’t spatter because it splashed down among the rest of his blood congealing on the hardwood floor of the nondescript house in the nondescript neighborhood in suburban America.
His eyes were shadowed by the brim of his hat, but they gleamed in those shadows. And they were black. Oh so black.
Fred Durkinson was so focused on finishing his tale that he didn’t see the figure standing in his doorway for several minutes. The figure just stood there quietly, grinning its malicious grin and waiting patiently. When he did finally notice, Fred Durkinson let out a short scream and reached for his gun. He had just been about to hit the send button to email his story out to all the major news outlets he could think of when the awareness of the police officer standing there startled him and caused him to forget to click it. He would never get the chance again. His computer would disappear and no one would know Fred Durkinson’s true reason for his actions. Fred Durkinson would die and his nondescript house would always be tainted and avoided. It would sit and sit, unable to be sold and at last it would be demolished and a small park dedicated to his family would be placed there instead.
Fred had no way of knowing that at the moment. Fred could barely think. Terror filled every part of his being. The cop standing there glaring at him so malevolently was dead just moments ago, Fred knew this, but even so here he was. Fred raised shaking hands and braced his wrist holding the gun with the other hand. It didn’t still the shaking one bit and it didn’t seem to deter the police officer, although he stayed put with his good hand stuck casually into his belt. Next to his gun.
The police officer tried to speak but only managed to cough out blood. He shook his head frustratedly and coughed again. And again, this time with more force. Fred knew he should pull the trigger but fear had him in its grip. It felt as if he had rigor mortis and he wasn’t even dead. Yet. Finally the officer seemed to have cleared it all out for he straightened up and spoke.
“Fred, Fred, Fred.” the police officer chided. “What do you think you are doing? What is this going to accomplish? Your family is dead. There is no stopping us. We are coming, like it or not. And no one will believe your insane story. Even if it is true.”
He grinned a bloody grin and took a step forward.
Fred found enough nerve to use his voice. He stiffened and pointed the gun at the officer with more resolve.
“Just stay right where you are. You didn’t get my family and you aren’t going to get me either.”
The officer laughed.
“I’m already dead you idiot. Shoot if you like. It won’t matter. And as for you, well, we never wanted you. You were just a test.”
The officer moved like lightning and drew his weapon. Fred screamed and fired, his bullet hitting Officer Jackson in the middle of the chest, but it didn’t so much as slow down the inevitable. Fred’s scream was cut short as Jackson’s own bullet tore into his open mouth and splattered bits of bone and brain and blood all over the wall behind.
When the story finally got told there were a lot of questions about what could have possibly driven such a seemingly normal man to such horrific actions, what could be done to prevent these things from happening again, and, as always, lots of pondering and pontificating without any conclusions ever really being made. There were lots of all of the kinds of things that go on around these types of shocking stories.
But what there wasn’t was true understanding. What Fred Durkinson wanted people to know the most was never spoken of. Not one person ever mentioned Fred Durkinson’s last email because the only person besides Fred Durkinson that had seen it was Officer Jackson. And Officer Jackson wasn’t talking because he, like Fred, was six feet under and silent in his grave.
Al Bellington sat in his undershirt and dirty boxers, stained with spilled beer, the powdery orange dust from a bag of cheese flavored nacho chips, and most definitely the semen from his latest round of porn watching. Al Bellington was currently taking a nap in his favorite comfortable chair, the aforementioned bag of nacho chips resting on his well rounded belly, riding like a ship on the gentle waves of the folds of his fat as it rose and fell in time to his breathing. He snored loudly and his body jerked.
Al Bellington was dreaming.
It started out as a pleasant dream. A wet dream would be the colloquial term. He was currently being serviced by two nubile young beauties, their smiling faces looking up at him with adoration as they took turns sucking his massive member. He was in the middle of telling one of them not to forget his balls when the dream went south on him. What had just been two beautiful, bouncy, full-breasted women turned into horrors beyond compare. One bit his cock off. The other sat on his face and her vagina – a dark, impossibly large cavern of utter darkness – swallowed him whole.
Al Bellington awoke from this dream, this nightmare, but he didn’t awaken with a start. His breathing wasn’t rapid, nor was he particular sweaty. No. The only thing Al Bellington did was open his eyes.
think of the world, the world we see the most of every day, as a large rock half buried in the ground. take that rock, dig it up and turn it over. sure, underneath it is where the creepy crawlies live, the grubs, and the bugs and the other assorted things that make our skin crawl. could even be a snake lying in wait. but it’s also where the life is, the animation, the discoveries. and that is just the top layer of what lies beneath the boring, never changing rock of a world we look at every day. if we dig even further beneath that top layer, down into the soil, what other wonders and fears might we uncover? our hands will be dirty, heaven forbid in this day and age, but that dark soil is cool and damp and also has the potential for life. so i say dig under the rock you observe every day and see what is lying beneath. go to where the life is. make your skin crawl. make your heart beat faster with a slight twinge of fear.
or, leave the rock where it is, doing what it does best.
I know it’s been a long time since I’ve written on here. It’s not that I haven’t been writing anything. I’ve been poking around on deadsville trying to get that done, but mostly it’s been because I haven’t been all that inspired to write the sort of thing I usually write on here. It’s a weird place. The woman I was writing all of these things for and because of has made it clear in no uncertain terms that I am not welcome in her life nor does she want me there, so it feels stupid to continue writing words for her. Especially ones that pine. I haven’t been all that sad and that usually motivates me to write on here, and usually when I am feeling okay I’m not moved to write as much. Kind of weird, kind of not cool. Because I would love to write happy stuff too.
Maybe I will some day but for now I’m simply floating in purgatory.
I think it was the disdain that finally broke me. Yeah. That was it. It was like everything I said was met with a sniff and a wave. That and the sneaky feeling I was nothing more than a puppy wagging its tail and waiting to be scratched behind its faithful little ears. Fuck that. I took off my collar, pissed on her rug, and took my flea riddled ass on out of there. No more smacks with the newspaper followed by “No! Bad dog!” for me. You don’t want this mutt? Fine. I’ll find me a place where puppy dog tails are exactly what the doctor ordered. Now, if I can just avoid the dog pound, I’ll find me a new home where a little face licking is properly appreciated. And maybe someday when you are surrounded by vicious, gnashing, canines trying to draw blood, you’ll think of that little mutt of a puppy that wanted nothing more than to lick your hand and get his belly scratched. But some other little girl will be rubbing my head and telling me how much she loves me, scruff and all. Yep. So, with a smile on my face and my tongue hanging joyfully out of my mouth I set off on my journey.
Perhaps I should have been more patient. I know for a fact I should have been stronger. Fucking love. Makes me weak when I need to be strong. I always thought it was the other way around and love made you strong when you were weak. But I suppose that is only the case when the other person loves you back. It requires strength to be patient and I lost both when she told me she “Didn’t feel it for us.” Those words exploded every little hope and dream I had. Once uttered it seemed such a waste to even pretend anymore. It seemed pointless to continue to torture myself when she seemed so certain about her feelings. So I left. But doubt began to creep back in. What if all I needed to do was keep fighting? What if all I had to do was keep showing her what she meant to me. What if I had been more patient? What if I had bucked up and been strong and worked through the pain her words caused and kept going? What if it was only insecurity on her part that made her say that? She couldn’t really have known already. Could she? We hadn’t spent that much time together and the time we had spent together was fantastic. I thought. And she seemed to think so too. So what made her say that? She listed off the reasons but when she got to “My heart” my blood froze and my own heart struggled to deal with that fact. I had been so, so certain that once we got to a certain point that she would see what I saw. That we would work. I guess it was the depth of my feeling for her. I loved her so much that there was nothing I wouldn’t have done to make us work. No sacrifice I wouldn’t have made to let her know I was in for the long haul. But no. Those words cut me to my core and I ran away. If she had said anything but that I think I would have stayed, but knowing she didn’t feel us as a couple was more than I could take then. So here I am left with nothing but
Is it cowardice to armor one’s heart against the barbed arrows of a Cupid gone mad? One who shoots his arrows without regard to consequence? Is it cowardice to wish to avoid the pain of his pernicious arrow sinking in to my heart alone? The arrow that he so maliciously forgot to also shoot into the one I fell in love with?
“Perhaps, it is. But I don’t care.” I think as I buckle the armor on and shut my beating heart away into the darkness once again.
I don’t know whether it is from the coffee on an empty stomach or the flurry of emotions that are swirling inside of me, bumping themselves along my nerves and up against my skin. I think it may be a combination of the two and I hope that the emotions aren’t able to find a crack in my facade and work themselves out. They are trying with everything they possess. I feel as if I have an earthquake dwelling within me and it is only a matter of time before I break from the constant shivering.
What started it? What was the butterfly effect? What seemingly innocent action somewhere else set into motion the little ripple that grew into this tsunami inside of me that threatens to drown me in ruin? I don’t know. It’s probable I don’t ever want to know. I wonder how he did it? What words did he use? What caught her eye about him? Did he make her laugh? Did he make her feel special? Did he make her feel sexy? What did he do that I never could? What was it about him that turned her on so much? What the fuck did he do or have that turned her away? What caused her to leave me here
you keep busy. it doesn’t matter what you are doing. you just have to keep yourself busy, keep the mind occupied. make a lot of noise. scream inside of your head. whatever it takes, just so long as you drown out what your mind and your gut are trying to tell you. because you really don’t want to hear it. your heart starts pounding on the walls of its cage of ribs desperately trying to raise a ruckus. it covers its ears. screams “lalalalalalaaaaaaa” at the top of its lungs like a little kid that is trying to ignore some unpleasantry. you can’t let yourself think. you have to keep hammering the nails into those boards. sawing, sanding, shaping. keep building. keep moving forward. because if you let yourself stop, if you let your mind think and your gut knock the wind out of you, if for just a second you make your heart be still and shut up and listen to those tiny voices trying to nag their way to the forefront, you’ll be forced to look around and realize you’ve been busy constructing the kingdom of nothing.