Thursday, November 17, 2016

Loosed Hatred

Yesterday was my daughter's death date. Yesterday as I tried to remain focused on my daughter. Honor her memory with my actions and words to others. Reflect in peace and gratitude for the grief that visits me to remind me of my brief role as a mother. Reflect on the complexity of love that both heals and hurts, I found an intrusion of unwelcome thoughts of fear.

I've been reeling from the election. We elected a narcissistic and racist individual. Someone who is a failed businessman, an accused child rapist, a person who brags about sexual assault, who openly praises P.utin and his leadership, who refuses to pay people for their work, who would like to abolish free speech, and who Politifact found tells the truth less than 10% of the time.

Several times throughout the day--as I tried to remain focused on her--my thoughts were rudely and violently yanked to a two second gif of our president-elect mocking a disabled person. I've been told that he didn't mean it. I saw it. I watched him mock a disabled person. It wasn't an edited clip; he sure as f$@k meant it.

I worried about how I would protect her from people like him. How would I make sure she knew she was loved? How would I shield her from hurtful bullying and cruel words and worse--cruel actions?

That f$cker has not one compassionate, caring bone in his body, and he has emboldened the cruel words and actions of many around the country. The very leader of the free world manipulates and mocks, and I feel helpless to protect children like my daughter from that model.

My teacher-friends and students in my area and around the country are witnesses to the loosed hatred and bullying. "Pretty soon you guys will all be slaves again," was a black student's story to a group. "Now I can grab you or any other chick by the pussy," was a tweet from one of my 20-something female college students. "Faggot" painted on a car of an acquaintance. "She can't talk because she's a filthy Muslim," from a fifth grader. "Our president is going to send your parents back to Mexico," from a third-grader at the lunch table. These are real, and he is silent. And no one is really expecting any words of condemnation from a bully.

I can't breathe.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Narcissism & Grief

Let's see if I can make this story short . . .

I'm convinced one of my colleague's is a narcissist. This person is focused on self to a degree that has destroyed past and present friendships and work relationships. I probably shouldn't write about this. But I will.

I have a few things to "say" that I can't say to this person directly. Any attempt to reason or engage in adult conversation will likely "feed the tornado." I did my homework. The psychologist's advice for working for a narcissist is - - - leave. Recently, this person was unsuccessful in winning a bid for administrative control at my workplace. I was blamed for that outcome. Here's my "silent" responses:

  1. I voted my conscience. 
  2. I made the voices of those without power heard.
  3. No threats or promises to destroy my credibility, reputation, or affection of others will deter me from continuing in a manner that honors who I believe I am and who I aspire to be.
  4. You may be successful in "dimming" my light from others, but that's not happening with my permission or without my push-back. 
  5. Success in actually destroying my credibility, reputation, or affection of others may hurt me, but my life experiences assure me that nothing will ever destroy me after surviving and learning to thrive in this life after the death of my child excepting my own death. In which case that stuff won't matter anymore.
  6. I am the boss of my emotions and you have no power over me.
  7. I continue to be grateful for the kindnesses you showed to me in the past. Although, I suspect they may have had selfish motivations, my gratitude for the deeds stand.
  8. I will be kind, but I won't be manipulated or a become a complacent receptacle for your anger.
  9. I wish you didn't believe that hurting others would make your grief lessen. 
  10. I wish you peace and release from the sorrows you bear. 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Cemetery Visit: Year Nine

I made it to the cemetery yesterday. I went without anything. I used to have items in the trunk of my car, so that if I went I was never empty-handed. I have a new car, and the stuff from the old one didn't make it into the trunk. So, I was relieved and comforted, that one of the butterflies was still there from a year ago. And that some human angel(s) left some items there. A comfort. 

I dusted off the grass as there was a recent mowing, and I laid some empty canvas bags on her grave and sat and read John O'Donahue's "Blessings." It was a sunny, yet comfortable day. 

I spent about an hour there. Then went off to a visitation for the former student I had that died tragically. Sat beside another bereaved mom, and we both had a weight only we could see. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Wish She Were Here

I was taking this picture of the sunrise on the beach. It was peaceful and beautiful. When I uploaded the photos I noticed that a little girl who looked about the age Caitlin Anne should be today had run into my shot. I suppose I could say it was a sign. It's not. It's a sad and lovely moment where I am reminded that I should be taking pictures of my daughter at the beach, rather than catching a glimpse of what life should be. I'm glad she ran into the shot. There's so much joy, motion, and life. I'm missing what I do know.

Happy Birthday, Caitlin Anne.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

It's Been Some Time

It's been some time. Some time since I've needed this space. Since I've been unable to focus on anything but my grief. With singular attention on wishing things were different. Experiencing inertia, with some far-off voice of mine begging me to "get up."

Someone's only son was killed a couple days ago. His mother was interviewed. She said, squinting through her swollen eye lids with cheeks still wet, "I'm not prepared to bury a child."

"How is she even talking?" I thought. But, I knew how. What else can she do?

I liked her son. I was hopeful for him. He was kind and gentle. A stable force for his girlfriend. I hoped to have him in my classes again. I was certain he was pulling it together.

"Get up. Get YOUR shit together." to myself again. I know I have limited time to get my tasks completed. Big deal things with deadlines. But all I can do is search for photos. Agonize over poetry and music that may comfort friends, family, me.

I'm ignoring my pleas to get something done. Time is precious. But I remain in the fog. Well, not really. There is clarity of purpose where I am--remembering the dead. But the living, that's all a heavy fog.

Earlier this summer a young mom lost her baby before it was born. She didn't know if it was a boy or girl. We sat and talked for hours. I tried to focus on her story. I did pretty well, but after she left I couldn't breath. The air was thick.

In two days it will be Caitlin's birthday. I hope to make it to the cemetery. I haven't been there is so long. Maybe if I go, I will be able to breath again.