Tag Archive | Other

from “Into the Darkness”


“Alone. Yes, that’s the key word, the most awful word in the English tongue. Murder doesn’t hold a candle to it and hell is only a poor synonym.” ~Stephen King

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She looked at me with all the compassion she could muster when she told me I had to move on without him. And I longed to whisper, “Be very careful when you wish for my silence, because your wish may come true,” but I only looked at the ground. What could I possibly say—it was over? I was done? Death took my love from me?—there was nothing I could say, there was no way in which to explain how empty I felt or how bleak the future appeared. It didn’t matter what I said—I was alone.

Whether I saw it happen or not—it happened—the day he died, I began dying too. As I watched the light fade from his eyes, it began fading from mine too. All the times we stood gazing into each other’s eyes—all the times I told him I could sink into his blue eyes—all the times he told me that my brown eyes just knew—everything—had seen everything. . . and now the light faded. For nearly five years, the light continued to flicker, but now—the light is dead.

I must have read a thousand pieces telling me how to grieve, but grief has a mind of its own. There is not a manual specific to every case—there is not a set of instructions—each soul is alone in its grief. Some recover; some do not. I’ve faced the inevitable truth of my own grief—I struggle to live without love. I love still—my children, my parents, my family, my friends—there is still love, but I no longer know the love of a man so that he sees the world in my eyes. There is no passion in my life, no one will ever think I am beautiful or that my soul is made of light. The light is dead.

It took a long time for me to realize that there is no way to explain my loss to others. It is impossible for them to understand what life is without passion and love, because they have it. They claim understanding, but they claim it from the embrace of their lover. For me, life is empty without passion, without my love. The light of life is dead.

I have nothing left to give. I grieved through my words, believing they would help me heal, but the wound is so deep that it will not heal. I’ve put all my energy into overcoming human frailty—overcoming the need for affection—overcoming the need to be loved. I think I’ve beat it. I no longer cling to an idea that I have a future; I’ve accepted that I will spend the rest of my days in solitude—alone. Accepting it is the easy part—eliminating the yearning for affection is the most difficult task I’ve undertaken. But I agreed. On some level—I agreed. On some subconscious level beyond my memory—I agreed. I accept my fate, but if only I could move beyond the human shell I inhabit and overcome all the emotion. Mechanical? Perhaps, but it would be so easy to continue. I function in the dark now, so on some level; the transformation is underway.

I’ve read so many articles and papers on what solitude does to the human being, so I accept my plight with full knowledge of the danger. They say it cannot be done, but I am an anomaly to the species—I can do it. I can march through the seasons, alone and cold. For reasons unknown to me—it is my only choice. I surrender to solitude, but I will not surrender to rhetoric. They say it cannot be done; I say that it can be done.

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The girl I was once is dead. She battled so hard to stay alive, but defeat was inevitable. No one can look beyond the physical scars to feel attraction to her—no one can reach beyond the emotional scars to save her—she is gone. How upsetting it is that people believe strength comes from solitude. Perhaps it does when solitude is a choice, but when you find yourself alone because of death, your strength only comes from struggling to survive. I’ve given up trying to explain to people that there is a difference in finding moments alone, while someone who loves you is waiting for you and living every moment alone while no one waits.

It is impossible to explain what life devoid of passion and love is like after knowing it so thoroughly. Perhaps if I’d never known, the transition would be much easier, but having known it is like having manna from the gods, and then starving without it. There are those of us who fail to present beauty in its societal form. There are those of us who only attract one person. One man loved me completely, regardless of how I looked to the rest of the world. Then fate took him from me, and left me to exist alone. They say, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” well, he was my “beholder.” He saw past the scars and through the demons to my soul, and loved me anyway.

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Words were my vice—I loved to write—but without anyone listening—my words are empty now. They are only words, and they are not reaching anyone. I crave the feedback that he gave to me—and it no longer exists. I am finished. How happy others will be to know that I’ve finally accepted the challenge fate gave to me—I accept my mission wholeheartedly—to embrace the solitude in all its darkness and complete my work in silence. No one will ever love me or hold me again. The long, cold years have hardened me. No one will ever laugh at my silly jokes or hold my hand when I am scared. He is gone, and I walk alone . . . into the darkness. Until I see him again.

©2014 Relinda R.

The 10 Best and Worst Things I’ve Learned after Losing my Spouse


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Best Things:

1. You learn which people are your true friends. (People who really care will show up, not to dispense advice, but to be there for whatever you need)

2. You realize to what great depth you loved someone. (Love deeply, you will grieve deeply)
3. You notice your loved one’s presence from time to time. (An important reminder that his or her soul continues to live)
4. You learn the truth about people. (People will show their true colors by their actions)
5. You learn to listen. (Listen to people, read everything—non-verbal behavior, verbal behavior, and between the lines, and you will see either their compassion or their annoyance with you)
6. You learn that cemeteries are sacred, and not to be feared.
7. You get to know yourself completely. (You may not like what you find, but at least you know the truth)
8. You realize how important love is during incarnations. (You discover that love is the only thing that matters)
9. You learn that people live to love.
10. You become strong. (Even if you were already strong, you become stronger)

Worst Things:
1. You learn which people are your true friends. (You realize that most people are merely acquaintances, and really do not care about your well-being unless it affects their life in some manner)
2. You realize to what great depth you loved someone. (Realizing the extent of your love means you also realize that your heart is ripped open and beyond repair)
3. You realize you can drink straight from the milk carton and it does not matter because there is no one there to care.
4. You learn the truth about people. (You learn that most people do not really care what you feel inside, but are concerned about what you reveal on the outside)
5. You learn to listen. (Unfortunately, while learning to listen—you develop an uncanny ability to read non-verbal clues)
6. You learn that people make assumptions based on appearances. (You realize that unless you are attractive, no one will ever get to know you)
7. You get to know yourself completely. (You may discover that it is impossible to function as yourself because people merely tolerate you)
8. You realize how important love is during incarnations. (By discovering that love is all that matters, you realize that everything that mattered is gone for the duration of this incarnation)
9. You learn that people live to love. (You realize that without love and affection, you cannot live, only exist)
10. You become strong. (If you were already strong, becoming stronger means that your heart begins to close, and eventually, it closes completely)

We all know that grief is different for everyone. We can read about the stages of grief, and the stories of grief, but ultimately, everyone experiences it differently. For me, losing my husband meant losing the best part of me. For nearly 20 years, I functioned on the premise that life was about happiness, affection, and love. For the last four years, I’ve realized that I was right—without those emotions, life is an unfulfilled journey. My husband and I were very passionate, and we laughed . . . we laughed so much. My personal experience dictates my list of the 10 best and worst things about losing a spouse. Everyone’s list is different.

You will note that many of the things on my “best” list are also on my “worst” list. It is all about perception. For instance, there is a positive and negative about learning who your true friends really are. If you think you have a wide circle of friends, you may realize that you only have a few. The true friends will not change the subject or ignore you. They will show up unexpectedly to mow your lawn or just listen. They will be there when you call them in the middle of the night, just to listen. And they never tell you that you are wrong to grieve. Treasure those people in your life, for they are few. On the other hand, finding out who your true friends are is a good thing because you realize where you stand with people. If they tire of your sadness, they tire of you. Those are the people who do not care about your feelings, but rather about what it is you can do for them. It is good to know where you stand. The cliché about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer is accurate. Know who your friends are and make adjustments accordingly.

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Realizing that you loved someone so completely that he or she was a part of you is wonderful, and equally devastating. You begin to know just how fully and completely you were loved and gave love, but at the same time, you realize that is gone and you will never have it again. For me, life has no purpose beyond that of loving. I can accumulate degrees and awards, but they mean nothing because at the end of the day—I have no one with whom to share those accomplishments. My life centered on affection—there were always good morning hugs, middle-of-the-day hugs, and night hugs. Now, I am fortunate to receive a hug once a year or so, and those hugs are usually forced. It is difficult learning to live life devoid of human affection. There are usually children and true friends to hug, but that is different, I am speaking of no holds barred, all-out partner hugs. Eventually, you learn that you can exist without affection, but that is all it is—existence. I continue to exist.

Learning the truth about people, much like learning who your friends are, is equally wonderful and devastating. You learn so much about people by reading their mannerisms and listening to their words. Unfortunately, you learn that the majority of people want to avoid you and just want to see you smile. They do not care whether those smiles are real or not; they just do not want to deal with the negativity or sadness. Essentially, you learn to wear a mask in public. Wearing a mask is not about deception necessarily, but about functioning in society. You must maintain a mask to work efficiently.

Learning that people live to love is a quandary. Love is the most powerful of all human emotion, and it does not matter how independent one is—when there is no one who looks into your eyes with total love, what is the point of anything? I’ve recently heard a lot about loving yourself, etc.—that is all great, but human beings still need to hear “I love you,” and not while gazing at your reflection. It is great to love yourself . . . to a point. When you love yourself too much, you become narcissistic and indifferent. I’ve always been independent, but I’ve also always believed that love is real. Ultimately, accepting that you will be alone for the rest of your days and no one will ever truly love you again is a pivotal point in life. For me, I have to accept it so that I can continue, but for anyone else—I would say never do this. Never accept solitude. Only the extremely strong will survive this way. Once you accept solitude, your heart begins to turn cold. I liked the “old me,” the person who loved completely and was loved in return. The “new me” has been alone so long that the thought of not being alone horrifies me. I am to the point that I look forward to coming home to an empty, cold, lonely home because for two days, I can be the “old me.” I can shed the mask and stop pretending, even if for just a few moments.

I was already strong. In fact, that was one of the qualities that my husband loved most about me. The “new me” has become even stronger. Colder, yes, but stronger—after all, the cold is a side effect of strength. You have to maintain a wall in order to build strength. You build a wall to cope and keep people out. Unfortunately, the wall eventually becomes so high that no one can penetrate it.

This list is primarily for me. I would never want anyone else to learn about grief in the manner I have. I will stop writing one day, I will stop talking about my loneliness one day, and I will completely accept solitude one day. I am still straddling the fence right now, with most of me almost there. “Hope” has all but taken his last breath inside my heart. When he gasps for the last breath of air, and I accept solitude completely, there will be no turning back. None. The “old me” looked forward to every day; the “new me” has nothing to look forward to, which is pointless. When Hope dies completely, I will have fulfilled my purpose in life as my heart closes forever. No doubt that it will be a great relief to most—they will no longer have to read about my grief or sadness, they will not hear negativity, they will see what they want. There will not be posts on social media sites, there will not be any more pleas for help; all will be silent. This is a good thing though, a good thing indeed, but not for those few true friends in my life, and certainly not for me.

©2014 Relinda R.

The Spring (revised)


As I gaze upon the vivid colors of the fresh rose blooms, I recall your laughter in the spring. Do you remember how we laughed while we worked in our gardens filled with the magic of spring? I do. I remember the time it started raining while we dug in the earth with our bare hands. We were so filthy with the soil that turned to mud, but it smelled like the dry earth after a spring shower. What a lovely scent that was. I think we even danced around in the rain that day, laughing as though we did not have a worry in the world. Do you remember dancing with me?

Seeing the flowers in glorious bloom reminds me of the year we worked so diligently on our patio. We called it our little paradise. We joked that our beautiful wall of stones had our blood, sweat, and tears in its layers. We literally spent every moment we could building a place in which we could spend our golden years. Do you remember King Arthur, our first hummingbird? I saw him this past June. I think he sensed things were different this summer. The honeybees never came.

The spot that you had marked for the water fountain is still there. Our little puppy girl spent a lot of time lying in that very spot. She would lie in the sun as though she were working on a tan. I buried her in July. Did you see how strong I was as I placed the dirt over her lifeless body? I put her pink blanket over the top of her because I could not bear to put dirt on her beautiful fur. I believe she is at peace. Did you happen to see her?

Do you remember how we could not wait for spring just to see all our beautiful plants come to life? We often sat at the patio talking, sometimes just in silence, drinking in all the beauty that nature had to offer. Last May, tiny pink blooms adorned the fairy rosebush that you gave me. I was very careful as I cut the grass behind it. Did you see how big it has grown? The daisies that I loved never bloomed. It was as though they just could not grow. I saw them peeping from the dirt, but it seemed they were lacking the strength to battle the elements. Do you remember how I loved the bright red one? The different shades of red just called out to me. The beautiful red hue of the daisy seemed to blend all the joys and pains of life.

The blooms I gaze upon remind me of how beautiful our little paradise used to be. It was not so beautiful this past summer. The weeds kept breaking free from the soil and choking out the beautiful blooms of the flowers we had planted together. I struggled to keep all those weeds out, but in the end, they won. There was a day in June that I worked from dawn to dark just pulling those cursed weeds. I put some more tears and sweat into the layers of stone as I worked in the hot sun. The weeds just seemed to mock me. I finally gave up. There was no laughing on that long, hot day. Did you notice me?

The water well that you built still lacks a top. I remember how you had it all scoped out in your mind. You had the holes for the beams all dug, and the plans for the draw bucket on the table. I am considering filling up the holes now. I remember that I had been gone when you built that and it was the first thing I saw as I pulled into the driveway. What I remember most is the look of pride in your eyes as you watched for my reaction. Did you see the pride in my eyes? It may have been hard to see past all the love I felt for you.

There is no doubt that these beautiful blooms remind me of all the many spring seasons we spent together. It also reminds me of your vegetable garden you worked so hard to make bountiful. Do you remember how frustrated you felt when the deer kept eating all your vegetables? Even with all your frustration, you managed to smile when I told you the deer had to eat too. I remember how hard you studied trying to find a natural way to deter them from your bounty. All that just so I would not worry about the deer starving. I know you were laughing on the inside because you knew the deer had plenty to eat, without intruding on your garden. Do you still smile when you think of that?

The roses I am gazing upon bring tears to my eyes. It makes me remember the year you brought me so many rosebushes home to plant. They were so beautiful. I remember how one of the red rosebuds bloomed last November. It was perfect while the plant’s limbs were hideous in comparison. Just one single rose amidst all the frozen plants. Our daughter asked me why that one bud bloomed that way. I told her that it was a sign. It was good news for her daddy, but it would be the most devastating news for us. I was right. That was the last bloom you ever got to see in our little paradise. Now, you are in your own paradise. I buried you just before Christmas. I believe you are at peace. And I believe that there are beautiful sunflowers and roses of all colors surrounding you every day. Our little paradise is dead now, the flowers have all died, but I still sit at our patio, in silence, waiting for just one sign. If I close my eyes, I can hear your laughter from our last spring together. I miss you.

©2010 Relinda R.

“A Fig for Thee, Oh! Death” and A Fig for Thee, Oh! Grief


Last week, I took an exam that covered interesting aspects of creation as depicted by Native Americans; epistolary literature written by various individuals from Columbus to Samuel Sewall; captivity narratives; and metaphysical poetry. My mind is still muddled from grasping the concept of how metaphysical condensation and metonymic displacement work to diminish a culture. The realization that John Smith is a brilliant propagandist was enlightening for me. Better than that though, was finding a new hero in Roger Williams. Williams advocated separation of church and state, putting power in the hands of the people and…wait for it…wait for it…the tolerance of different religions. That is awesome. Thirty years and thirty pounds ago, I would have donned a revealing skirt, grabbed a pair of pom-poms and yelled, “Go Roger, go Roger.” Now, I will just smile knowing that one man had enough courage to promote the fall of Puritanism. Good thing that whole way of thinking collapsed because I would not have been a very good Puritan. I would have hanged for speaking my mind.

Back to the gist of this post—the metaphysical poet, Edward Taylor. He wrote the poem, “A Fig for Thee, Oh! Death.” The idea that he was addressing death caught my attention when I first read it. Learning that “a fig for thee” is equivalent to the modern day sentiment of “fuck you” is a catalyst to my education. Taylor is saying what I have been thinking for the last three years of my life. “A Fig for Thee” Death. Indeed.

Something else I have learned about American Literature is that slang existed long before it became popular and William Byrd ate boiled milk for breakfast every day. While reading “The Secret Diary,” which by the way is not a secret anymore, I learned that Byrd “[brought his] wife into temper again and rogered her by way of reconciliation.” Imagine my surprise at learning that rogered is equivalent to “having intercourse with.” To say that I was entertained does little to capture my amusement at this little tidbit. My mind immediately envisioned someone in full “pilgrim” dress (including that ghastly hat) elbowing his friend and saying, “How ‘bout it, buddy, did ya’ roger ya’self some of dat?” Yes, my mind goes there. I believe the modern-day expression is, “How ‘bout it, buddy, did ya’ tap some of dat?” I wonder if they sat around a card table while a woman (fully covered, of course) paraded by and said, “I’d like to fig me some of dat.” American Literature is proving to be quite entertaining when I allow myself to let my mind go where it will go.

I have often wanted to say, “A Fig for Thee” Grief. Although I believe that death does not exist, not really, in a sense of finality, that knowledge does little to comfort me. Knowing that we are souls with a body does little to cease grief. Understanding that he is now home and not experiencing pain does not ease the torture of being alone. Knowing that we come here to experience lessons that books cannot teach us does little to stifle the tears. I know that those who have not experienced the loss of a spouse cannot understand, but that does little to lessen my growing frustration. I know he is somewhere out there. I just want to find him. Until then, I just continue trudging along on this frustrating road.

©2012 Relinda R.

Happy Birthday, my Love


“Love is how you stay alive, even after you are gone.”
Mitch Albom

 

I was better today, but tomorrow I begin another downward spiral. Tuesday, September 25 is his birthday. He would have been 57 years old. I find myself wondering if I should say, he is 57 today, or he would have been 57 today. Do the numbers even matter where he is? Do they even matter here anymore? The important thing is that it is his birthday, his special day, but he is not here to celebrate. Certain dates are difficult, but anniversaries are almost unbearable, especially birthdays. You wonder what he is doing, is he comfortable, is he happy…things like that. Most of all, you feel as though you are in a creek sinking deeper and deeper until you are nearly submerged in cold water. You begin to gasp for air because the water is threatening to fill your lungs and then from nowhere, a sound escapes. You realize it is your own scream and you can only cry silently. Silent cries are the worst because your body shakes uncontrollably and sound cannot escape. The hot tears feel as if they are burning your flesh, but you cannot stop them. They never really stop, do they?

I am already listing instructions for that day. That is how I will function without looking like a lunatic. I keep reminding myself how emotions make others uneasy.

  1. Get out of bed.
  2. Get in the shower.
  3. Dry hair.
  4. Get dressed.
  5. Drive to work.
  6. Concentrate on work.
  7. Lock up shop and drive home.
  8. Take care of da’ schnauzer.
  9. Eat something.
  10. Fall apart.

Notice it is only at the end of the day that I give myself permission to fall apart. I hope I do not hear a “Happy Birthday” song. That will ruin my intentions of making everyone else comfortable. I hope I do not hear music at all. Music speaks to the heart. My heart does not feel like listening, especially on that day.

I want to make his favorite, banana pudding, but I have not yet reached a point in which I can do it. Just thinking about it makes me fall apart. He loved banana pudding. I wonder if he can eat banana pudding where he is now. Do they even have bananas there? Do they even eat there? No, I do not think I will be making banana pudding this year. Maybe I will make it for his next birthday. Maybe I can hug him with my eyes wide open on his next birthday. Maybe…just maybe. Happy birthday, my darling, happy birthday to you.

©2012 Relinda R.

 

 

 

The Amazing Correlation between Puberty and Menopause


     When I think of teenagers, I cannot help but to think of the process they go through as they battle the inevitable process of puberty. When I think of puberty, I imagine a culmination of lifelong events which lead to another inevitable process for women—menopause. As I consider these two inexorable events, I recognize the implications of both. Puberty is a long process of preparing for an introduction to adulthood. Menopause is a long process of preparing to enter a realm of golden years while nearing the conclusion to adulthood.

Ask any parent who has witnessed their child experiencing puberty what it was like. They will most likely explain that it was similar to what hell must be like. The first thing that happens is the mood swings. There is nothing worse than watching a pre-pubescent child drifting from an angelic state to a satanic state. A child about to experience Mother Nature’s cruel destiny of raging hormones can literally become the spawn of the devil disguised as an angel within moments.

  I can provide an experience from my past to verify this unsettling transformation. As my daughter was preparing for this rite of passage into her teen years, I once asked her to do the laundry. At the time I asked, she was comfortably seated in front of a desktop computer, most likely chatting with her friends. I was in an ideal mood at the time and had no idea that I was about to witness this transformation firsthand. As I asked her to do the laundry, she spun around to look at me with this incredible look of hatred in her eyes. I almost winced from the blow. As I looked at my little angel, all I could see was an image of Linda Blair from The Exorcist. I could have sworn her eyes began to glow red and her head was spinning. One would think I had asked her to plow a ten-acre field of corn. I quickly retreated from the room before the projectile vomiting I imagined could begin. This is just one example of the moodiness accompanying puberty. It never ceases to amaze me how a perfect little angel can transform into the devil within mere seconds.

As I began the stages of menopause, I also experienced the same moodiness that puberty brings. The mood swings for which my husband had no previous experience suddenly consumed his world. I went from being a sweet, mild-mannered wife to a violent demon in a matter of seconds. I believe he asked me something about whether I had washed his work clothes. Under normal circumstances, that would have been a casual conversation; however, while I was under the influence of menopause, this meant war. I began to rant and rave about laundry, politics, and religion all at once. I could not see my eyes, but he swears that they were glowing in a suspiciously crimson hue. He also mentioned The Exorcist.

I am not sure what possessed me as I verbally attacked my husband. In hindsight, I can see the undeniable correlation between the moodiness that accompanies puberty and menopause. One event marks the beginning of hormones that control our lives, and the other marks the end of those same hormones. I believe the significance of both events is monumental. As puberty descends upon a child, their subconscious recognizes the vast expectations accompanying it. They are about to undergo physical and mental changes that will determine the crux of their existence. I believe our subconscious also recognizes that the inevitable process of menopause is the body’s way of preparing for the end. While there is no doubt that we usually have many more years to contemplate this wonderment of nature, subconsciously we recognize that we are ending a chapter in our lives.

     As my son underwent the transformation of puberty, he also developed an insufferable temper. I was blissfully unaware of this temper as I asked him to mow the lawn one sunny day. His eyes did not glow red; however, his pupils did become enormously dilated as he looked at me as though I had lost my mind. The process of male puberty now had an example. He managed to throw a tantrum unlike any I had ever witnessed. It seems that I had interrupted a life-altering session with Mario on level five of his Nintendo game. I then witnessed an episode of violence that permanently scarred me. He hit the pillow on the couch. He kicked the chair. I am convinced that if there had been a dog in the room, he would have kicked the poor little thing. He did eventually mow the yard, but not before yelling, kicking, and hitting everything in his path.

  A menopausal woman can most likely relate to this bizarre episode of temper. An innocent telemarketer experienced the misfortune of experiencing the temper of a menopausal woman as he phoned my house one night. A person does not even have to be menopausal to understand how frustrating it is to have strangers calling your home late at night to sell something. I lit into that fellow, practically blaming him for the whole process of menopause. I lost my temper. My fit of rage was not quite as graphic as my son’s tantrum, but the verbal assault I heaped onto this poor telemarketer was enough to make one blush.

These two comparisons of temper are compliments of puberty and menopause. Puberty transforms a mild-mannered child into Attila the Hun within moments. Menopause likewise transforms Betty Crocker into a raving lunatic. Once again, the implications of both are amazingly similar. A normally calm individual can become violent while under the influence of hormonal changes.

As I watched my daughter go through puberty, I witnessed many uncontrollable episodes of crying. I would pick her up at school and make the mistake of asking how her day went. When she began to blubber about the way Tommy Joe was responsible for ruining her life and possibly, to blame for the Holocaust, I knew I should have just stopped at hello. Translating the English language amidst the sounds of sobbing became my destiny. I learned about how I had damaged her psyche by asking her to do laundry and possibly even scarred her for life by insisting that she wear a bra to school. I also learned that it is an unforgivable sin to embrace your child in public. At least that is what I think I learned. It is hard to say with absolute certainty since I was translating all this through the sounds of snuffling and weeping.

My menopausal symptoms included episodes of uncontrollable crying. My husband once made the mistake of asking how my day went. I say “once,” because he never made that mistake again. His simple inquiry led to a sobbing episode of sorts he had never witnessed. Instead of answering his hypothetical question about my day, I began to tell him about the plight of the dolphins in the ocean. I explained the problems of the world to him with dramatic emphasis on the trials of motherhood. He tried to be comforting as I sobbed uncontrollably, while explaining that polar bears were facing extinction.

     I learned that failing to have my daughter’s cerulean blouse washed, ironed, and ready for wear on the day she wanted could send her into a crying episode, altering the world’s balance. I cried if a leaf fell from a tree. She cried because of the hormonal effects of puberty; I cried because of the hormonal effects of menopause. I have to wonder, though…what was it my daughter was really crying for. Was it because of a blouse or was it something much deeper. Was her subconscious possibly crying because it recognized that her life would never again be simple and carefree?  Did she know on some level that she was undergoing a process that would tear the rose-tinted glasses from her eyes? Did she realize that puberty was taking her to a new stage in life? All that cogitation leads me to ask myself why I was crying. Did I recognize that menopause was preparing me for a new stage in life?

There are amazing correlations between puberty and menopause. Both will emphasize mood swings, raging tempers, and of course, uncontrollable episodes of tears. One leads to the beginning of adult life and the other leads to the end. Are the hormonal effects of both so powerful because of nature or because of the power of the mind? I ask myself about that every day now. I have yet to devise an answer. My daughter went through puberty and she is preparing to enter a new world where nothing is as simple as it was in childhood. She is learning that every decision she makes has a consequence. I am going through menopause and learning that life is too short. I have made decisions and faced the consequences—good or bad. Both puberty and menopause are responsible for introducing stages of our lives that we cannot avoid. Despite all the trials, I would not want to miss either event. It is the inevitable cycle of life.

©2008 Relinda R.

My Twilight Land


“My nerves are bad to-night. Yes, bad. Stay with me.
‘Speak to me. Why do you never speak? Speak.
‘What are you thinking of? What thinking? What?
‘I never know what you are thinking. Think.”

T.S. Eliot

It is 12:30 in the morning. Sounds like a reasonable time to be writing, right? It is not normal. Way not normal for me. I have managed to zone out for at least two hours. You might imagine that I am sleeping. No, not sleeping, but hovering somewhere in this twilight land I keep finding. Did I see my dead husband? I thought I did. I talked to him because I heard him say, “I love you, baby.” I smiled and calmly replied, “I wuv-e-d you too.” Saying it that way was one of those cute little games we played, sort of like the typical “I wuv you more.” We were married for nearly 20 years and we still acted like newlyweds. I heard him tonight and I saw him. I saw him standing at the end of the couch. Just a blur, really, but I know it was Doyle. He looks so happy whenever I see him now. Later, I want to scream and ask, “Why are you so happy. How can you be happy,” but I never think of it at the time. All I can think is I love you.

I keep considering all the life going on around me. Everyone around me seems oblivious to my pain while I remain locked in a bubble from which I cannot escape. Then, there is that damn twilight land to which I keep traveling. I do not know if it is even a real place. If I have music playing, I do not even hear it. If I have the television on, I do not sense it. It is just me, well, not just me, but everything that is me, mostly memories of the man I miss so much. I think I go there when I cry so much. I think it is the last stop before my mind snaps and my heart completely breaks. I think I remember reading about it somewhere. It is the mind’s last-ditch effort of retaining sanity. It may not be such a bad place to live though.

Flashes of light. Sounds. That damn buzzing noise. Love. Peace. Laughter. I could live there. I could do without the buzzing noise, but I could live there. Sometimes I imagine just how easy it would be to let go. Grief lives in me now and threatens to annihilate Hope constantly. Hope is tiring. Hope is dying. I think that living in the twilight land could revive Hope. I think chains could restrain Grief and I could smile again and dream of tomorrow.

Reality always manages to creep into my twilight land. Grief returns and Hope cowers in the corner while I cry. It is ironic that I never cried much in the past. I laughed a lot. I cling to the pillow upon which my husband took his last breath, praying that I see him in my dreams. One of the last things I think is, please, please, please…, but the very last thought that crosses my mind before I drift into slumber is I love you. I could learn to live in my twilight land for many reasons, but mostly because he would be there with me.

©2012 Relinda R.