I have been thinking a lot about the way I live within my own little world of “Me, Myself, & I.” At times I can be very painfully oblivious. Like so many others I selfishly wander around having the distorted outlook that somehow everything is about me.
I have a client in her 80’s who has Alzheimer’s. When I blog I refer to her as Ms, Lee. She was a teacher by profession. Ms’ Lee was born, and raised in Mississippi. Her mother was also a teacher, and her father was a pull-man porter for the railroad service. What makes Ms. Lee & her family so extraordinary is the fact that they were African-American citizens with careers in Mississippi during the 1920’s & 1930’s. No small accomplishment by any means.
Ms. Lee is declining on a daily basis, but her essence remains powerfully in tact. I have grown to both respect, and love her. When we are together I confide in her. This has become beneficial to us both. It helps to stimulate her mind by focusing on real situations. Ms. Lee naturally falls into the role of teacher, and I have the privilege of being the student of a highly educated beautiful soul. Her wisdom is timeless, and she possesses the ability to remind me in the most gentle manner that my way of viewing the the world is not the only way.
After Tarzan took his life I found myself in such a dark place. I questioned my every conversation with him. I went over every single scenario trying to figure out why I had not been able to see how much he was suffering. Why didn’t he confide in me the same way he did when something was going on with he and Jane? Ms. Lee continued to listen to me ramble on as though I had been somehow more hurt by Tarzan”s death than he had been. At that point I was still completely oblivious to my own behavior.
Then while staring directly into her eyes, I felt the warmth of her hand as it covered mine. Very softly she said “It hurts me to see you suffering so much. Maybe your friend had no words for his suffering.” The empathy that filled her powerful words immediately removed the “Me, Myself, & I” from mine.
It’s entirely too easy to get caught up in the whole “Me, Myself. & I” world. It’s also deeply humbling to realize that some things are not simply about us. “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.”
I can hardly believe it’s been two months since Tarzan’s funeral. The last thing I wrote about him was our discovering his alcoholism. His stay at rehab was followed by a blackout drinking binge after just four short days of sobriety. Tarzan returned to rehab again. I don’t believe he went back because he wanted to, I believe he went because we all begged him to try again.
When he returned home he was clearly not the Tarzan we all seemed to know. I think we just never knew him sober. He was not the kind of drinker who smelled of booze. He was always upbeat, and busy. No one in our little circle ever once had even a single clue that he had an issue prior to the incident before his first rehab stay.
Tarzan committed suicide two weeks after his return from his second rehab stay. It’s been two months since his funeral, and it still does not seem real.
Most of the time when your phone rings in the middle of the night your mind knows that something horrible is about to change your life. All I could hear was her uncontrollable crying while she tried to tell me that she just couldn’t breathe.She was panic-stricken, and she started to speak so rapidly that my still groggy mind could not keep up. I thought that her brother had died, so I asked her if she was at the hospital. She told me no, then I heard her shudder through the phone.
I asked her if she needed me to come, and once again she said no. Then she stopped crying, and asked me “How could she have done this to us?” I felt a sudden chill run through my body, and her sudden calmness was so much more frightening than her uncontrollable crying. I didn’t want to wake up Mr G-uno so I slipped out of bed, and went into the other room.The “She” that she spoke about was her mother.A woman who had married a man who had abused her children for almost a decade before she finally divorced him.
He was publicly a man of God, and a prominent man in his community. In his private life he was a monster who had tortured, and raped his step daughter, step son, and his own biological son who was several years younger than the other children. Like all abusers he had carefully chosen a weaker woman who he understood he could manipulate, and terrify into obeying his every command. She is the kind of woman who I suspect felt so unlovable that her mothering abilities had always taken a backseat to the man in her life.
I have never understood why her children did not walk away from their relationship with her years ago, or why they have continued to be a part of her life. I can only tell you as a mother myself I will never understand how she could have allowed the horrible things that happened to her children to go on for even a single day. She still pretends that she didn’t know her children were continuously raped, and tortured in their home on a nightly basis, Maybe her own mind will not let her comprehend the deplorable act of sacrificing her own children to this monster. I am not a psychiatrist, but I have seen the irreparable damage that her now adult children exhibit.I know that it is wrong to sit in judgement of another person, but I would be a liar if I told you that I don’t judge her, or the monster she married.
As horrible as the abuse was, I believe in my heart that the most severe damage was caused by knowing that their mother knew about the abuse they endured, and simply did nothing. After dinner he would pick the child that suited his monstrous desires as casually as one might pick a television show to watch after dinner. He would then instruct his wife not to disturb him. Then he would take the tearful child to the basement as the other children watched in terror knowing the horror their sibling was about to endure as the door to the basement closed.
As I sat on the couch in the dark with tears running down my face she waited for my answer to her question. A question that I had no answer for, because some questions can not be answered.
“Maybe being grateful
means recognizing what
you have for what it is,
victories. Admiring the
struggle it takes simply
to be human. Maybe
we’re thankful for the
familiar things we know,
And maybe we’re
thankful for the things
we’ll never know. At the
end of the day, the fact
that we have the
courage to still be
standing in reason
enough to celebrate.”
He was staring at the rain as it pounded down onto the glass. It wasn’t as though he’d never seen rain before, but more that he understood it might be the last time that he would. I watched him from the doorway of his room. I was familiar with the deafening sound of the silence that takes over when a person has reached the acceptance of the end of their journey in this life. The difference for me this time was that I had not accepted his end.
He turned slowly to look at me. His face was drawn, and pale. His presence in the room was so large even as his life force diminished. I could not even force my everything is okay smile. We knew each other much to well to even make the attempt. My throat ached from trying to hold back my tears. He walked towards me holding out his arms, and like a little girl I fell into them weeping uncontrollably.
I wept because I could not take away his fears. I wept because I knew we had reached an ending point, and although he had accepted his journey’s end he was not ready to leave. I wept because I was making him be strong for me, when I should have been being strong for him. Mostly I wept because I didn’t want to let him go.
Love pours through tears. It is so powerful that there is no longer a need for words. It takes over every aspect of your being, and in the moments in between you know that you have been a part of something more beautiful than anything you have the capability to imagine. You have loved unconditionally, and you have been loved equally back. I think the secret to life is the moments in between.
I am a person who absolutely stands by scientific data. If you asked my family, and friends if I am a logically sane person the answer would be yes. I am however a person who believes in the existence of a higher spiritual existence. An existence that is much less accepted in our more scientific based world.
If you asked me to prove to you the spiritual things that I have encountered, I have had others with me to witness some of the signs. Like the majority of people, most of my witnesses would try feverishly to explain away what they have seen in order to escape some pretty harsh judgments by those who cannot accept the existence of things they cannot prove.
I personally don’t worry about that kind of judgement. I’m very secure with the things I have experienced, and for the most part my mental sanity. 😉 I will admit that I have been a bit off my personal game since the passing of “Bette Davis Eyes.” In my line of work I deal with the dying on a regular basis. I’m not completely sure why her death affected me so negatively, but it did. I think part of the reason is that I asked her to give me a sign. It’s something I do with all of my clients, and family members.
If “Bette Davis Eyes” gave me a sign then I completely missed it. I have been way off my personal game since her passing in December. In fact I have not taken one single dying client since she died.” The Universe” however has not given me a get out of death free card. My first cousin has been battling cancer since my last visit to Greece. He lost his battle last Tuesday.
There is never a great timing when a death occurs, but last Tuesday was a particularly difficult day for me because of my baby brother’s disability hearing. I have been fighting for this hearing for almost 10 years. I was absolutely wrecked over having to testify in front of him regarding the symptoms of his mental illness. He is fragile, and the idea of breaking him was almost unbearable. I have been praying, and I believe that those who have passed watch over us. so I ask for their guidance when something is particularly difficult for me. I also ask them for signs.
My daughter drove my brother, and I to the hearing which was about a 45 minute drive. I could not stop crying after I got the call that my cousin had passed. She knows I pray for signs. She’s more scientifically inclined like her father, but can not deny the things she has seen with her own eyes. First sign -the hearing was being held in a building that I took our elderly cousin who lived with us until her passing every Thursday for 5 years when she could no longer drive. Second sign- they sent us to room 420. My Father who I specifically asked for a sign from birthday is 4-20! I know all the non believers out there are shaking their heads, while muttering coincidence, but then came the 3rd sign.
While waiting to see the judge I continued to be unable to withhold my tears of grief. The guard thought that I was crying out of my fear of appearing in front of the judge. I apologized telling him I had gotten a call from Greece before coming, and was told my cousin had died. He told me he was sorry then smiled saying one of his closest buddies was a Greek. He tried to pronounce the not so popular town in Greece. I knew what he was trying to say, and said it for him. It was the town my cousins mother is from. It was where he would be buried! This is not a well known town. The chances of someone who even lives in Greece knowing this place are very unlikely.
I knew in my heart I was surrounded in love by those who watched over me. My daughter just looked at me with bewilderment. Can I prove to you that this was nothing more than coincidence? No I can not, but can you prove that is was just a coincidence? 😉
Drama everywhere I look these days. Jane could have never guessed that Tarzan’s secret daughter would have been the problem she wished for instead of his problem with alcohol. I myself come from a long line of alcoholics, and I truly didn’t see this elephant in the room. To be perfectly honest though I have been wrapped up in my own menopausal woes here lately. Like most addicts Tarzan is masterful at hiding his addiction.
I hold no superior judgement on this subject. Alcoholism is no different from having any other disease in my opinion. I would not judge a person harshly for having diabetes, or any other illness in spite of a rather horrifying childhood of having an alcoholic father.
Jane herself is no stranger to life with an alcoholic. Her story differs from mine though. Her mother died from sclerosis of the liver when she was just three years old. Her father did not drink so she really doesn’t have any experience with detecting the symptoms.
So you can imagine her great surprise of finding him passed out cold on his back doorstep completely unresponsive. Having him rushed to the hospital by ambulance, and having the doctor ask you how long has he had a problem with alcohol?
Jane’s response was that he does not have a problem with alcohol. The doctor looking at Jane with an expression of great belief replied that his blood work results showed otherwise. He then strongly suggested that rehab should be the next consideration.