Catharsis

You’ve been here for over a week. You’ve barely had anything to drink, and nothing to eat. I don’t know how you are still breathing. Today, Maureen Daily came in and sang hymns for you that you love. She has such a beautiful voice. I was laying in the pull-out bed and couldn’t sit up. But I was listening the whole time, while mom sang along with her and you seemed to sing along too.

Brad also came by to see you. He’s been such a good friend of yours. It’s hard for him to go to a hospice, because his wife died in one. He is still depressed about that. But you gave Brad the joy and comfort he needed after his wife passed. You were a blessing to him, and I know he appreciates that more than you can know.

Leigh brought your friend, Trudy today as well. I’m not sure how close you guys were, but she said some very kind things to you, and about you. You’ve had so many visitors and phone calls and people that don’t want to see you go.

Grandma, you’ve always been so strong. Relentless even. The doctors said you were going to die six months ago because of liver failure, even though you’re not a drinker. But you came back from that, a miraculous recovery. You were doing so well, walking around, with and without your walker. You even bought a new car! A Subaru of course. I know you’re strong, but grandma, it’s time to let go. Mom and I have been spending the night ever since you entered the hospice. I came home to sleep one night after work. And I had to come home tonight.

I feel bad for leaving mom alone. But I think tonight is the night. I’m sorry I couldn’t stay there. I had to do this for me. I said my goodbyes, and you heard them, I know. But if you go tomorrow, that’s okay too. Easter Sunday. The 31st. Just like G.G. who died on January 31st a year ago. If you’re still there tomorrow, I’ll come. But if you’re not, I know where you’ll be.

I’m so tired. Exhausted. Mom, your only child, has been there with you this whole time. I can only imagine how she’s feeling. I had to call work and let them know I couldn’t come in this morning. I thought you’d be gone by then. But you’re still breathing. We’re thinking the funeral’s going to be on Friday.

Let go Grandma, Please, let go. Go gently into that good night. Don’t rage against the dying of the light. You don’t need to suffer anymore. You don’t need to sustain these worldly problems on your shoulders anymore. Just think of the relief.

I love you, grandma. I’ll be singing for you tomorrow.

-March 31, 2013.

——

Something

What do you do when the anxiety you have for no known reason fills your stomach up to your neck up to your head with an unbearable weight which weighs you down with the sensation of sloth, an inability to move or act and all you can do is just sit there and stare? All you can think about is how anxious you are because that is all you can feel, a mad cycle attached with immense difficulty to escape. Surveillance is a substantial way to be brought out of this. But sometimes writing about it exacerbates the anxiety because of the focus focus focusing the mind on the anxiety, the problem at hand. Yet it does help the understanding of it a little more. “Know thyself.” How does one know thyself. Self. I am my. self. I am me. What am I. Feelings. What I know. How do I know. Why do you care.

 —

vul·ner·a·bil·i·ty:

noun

  1. The quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.
  • Vulnerability is writing
  • Even if the world doesn’t see your words
  • I used to post things to blogs and social media
  • Vulnerable. Sensitive. Personal.
  • Now I don’t post anything unless I am positive it is worthy to be posted.
  • What happened?
  • What makes it worthy… That I think people will like it?
  • If one writes only to make an audience happy, is one really a writer?

Vulnerability scares me. I’m afraid to show people my words. I’m afraid of what they think. Have I put myself on too high of a pedestal? What if I’m not up to par? My words are my vulnerability, a complete expression of me. Maybe I don’t want people to know me. Maybe I like to keep people at a safe distance- not necessarily to keep myself safe from them, but to keep them safe from me.

“Stream-of-consciousness writing a la Jack Kerouac is a meditation tool. Writing about regrets over the past or fears of the future, no.”

Feelings hypnotize unsatisfied ruler of my brain. Please don’t come down here there is really something wrong with my brain. Today, at least. Well, most days. Unconventional, unacceptable as “normal” let me apologize now before you decide to run away. Sometimes I wish I could run away, take a vacation and escape from the pounding confusion, lifting the fog that’s in my head. I used to be afraid to showcase these things, people wouldn’t understand. But still face to face I have to pretend that I belong in this world with these socially acceptable behaviors. I really have no idea what I’m doing.

Patricia Ann Dewey, 73, of Aurora, Colorado, passed away on April 3, 2013.

There are still so many questions. I was told she died of cirrhosis of the liver. Causes of cirrhosis of the liver:

-Chronic alcohol abuse. She never drank.

-Chronic viral hepatitis (hepatitis B, C and D) I think someone told me once she had some form of hepatitis. How did she get this?

-Fat accumulating in the liver (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease) yeah, she was overweight.

-Cystic Fibrosis nope.

-Inherited disorders of sugar metabolism Is this inherited in my family?

-Genetic digestive disorder (Alagille syndrome) ?

-Liver disease caused by your body’s immune system (autoimmune hepatitis) well, duh, but maybe this was the type of hepatitis she had?

Ok, we get the point. Maybe one of these things caused it. Maybe a whole mixture of these things. Maybe something that wasn’t even on this list. I was told that it was also because she took a lot of naproxen, a non-opiate pain killer, like Aleve, after she had a couple falls. Which takes a big hit on the liver. I guess she took a shit ton of this. She didn’t want to get hooked on prescription pain pills. Which I commend her for, but would she still be here if she was a pill junky?

Elements of a lyric essay: Metaphor. Research. Bullet points. Pace. Poeticism. Odd concepts. Fragments. Surprising verb and/or noun-turned-verb (i.e, a noun verbed). (You can totally Chelsey a sentence). Surprising structure. Surprising imagery. Unconventional associations. Juxtoposition. A declarative and/or witty and/or telling title. Subtle humor via wordplay. Quirky way of looking at and addressing the theme(s). At least one paragraph so elusive that even the author isn’t quite sure of what she’s trying to say.

-Chelsey Clammer

Obituary

Patricia Ann Dewey, 73, of Aurora, Colorado, passed away on April 3, 2013. The funeral service will be held at Fairmount Mortuary at 430 South Quebec Street on Wednesday, April 10 at 11:00. Pastor Ray Cook of Colorado Community Church will be officiating. Viewing will be held at Fairmount Mortuary on Tuesday, April 9 from 12:00 to 4:00 pm. Burial will follow the funeral at Fairmount Mortuary.
Patricia was born in Tucson, Arizona on February 26, 1940 to Joseph and Edith Wilson. She graduated from Whittier High School, and continued on to receive an Accounting degree from Metro State in Colorado. Patricia had one brother, Richard, who proceeded her in death in 2006. Karen, Patricia’s daughter, was born in La Mirada, California on March 3, 1966.
In 1972, Patricia and her family moved to Colorado. She worked as a Controller for Fairmount Mortuary for 18 years. She enjoyed playing golf, camping, and painting. Patricia was also actively involved in Eastern Star.  Patricia is survived by her daughter and son in law, Karen and John Faust, as well as two grandchildren, Jordan and Ryan Faust. She is also survived by two nieces, Jamie and Jodi Wilson. Patricia was very active in her church no matter where she lived. Patricia’s kindness, generosity, joy, love, and humor touched everyone she knew, and will be greatly missed by her family and friends.

Is it weird that I wrote this official obituary for her in my time of grieving? Such a complex, deep, wise, strong, and mysterious woman summed up into three paragraphs of un-emotional, formal, dry prose.

About four months after my grandma died, I met Chelsey Clammer in the oddest of circumstances. Not that it was odd that I would meet her at this place, but it was the place that I somehow found myself. Those months after she died were all kind of a blur.

Rewind to the hospice: me sitting at the foot of her bed, while she was going in and out of coherency. All she could really say were slight grumblings and moans; I could tell she wanted to speak so badly, but her body prevented her from forming words. It was just me and her in this moment. And I made her a promise. I told her I would stop drinking. At the utterance of these words, a catharsis of deep sadness and regret spilled out of my eyes as if they would have burst if I kept the moisture in any longer, a sinking ship filling and filling with water until finally it can’t hold on any longer and gravity (is it gravity that makes it sink?) forces the boat down and down to the ocean floor, no longer touching breathable oxygen. I allowed this overhaul of emotions the space it needed, but probably not enough time. I gathered myself back into its normalcy of social acceptance- dry eyes and a quaint little smile. Though my face was still beet red an hour afterwards. Thank you, grandma, for passing down your rosacea.

Fast forward, back to Chelsey. She sat at the desk with her long, mousey brown dreadlocks all pulled to her left side, so they were drooping down the left side of her dark blue Hollister hoody. She always had a college-ruled spiral bound notebook in front of her. Today she was writing down Lil’ Wayne lyrics. She was so amused by the cleverness of the poeticism in his raps and lyrics. I found this ironic and hilarious. Chelsey helped me get my voice back. On paper, she was a night monitor at STAR, a sober living apartment building to help 18-25 year-olds in recovery, where I somehow found myself a resident.

I mean, it wasn’t that bad of a gig: I had my own 1-bedroom apartment rent-free. I didn’t have to work for the first 6-9 months I was there. All I had to do was cruise down to counseling sessions and group classes three times a week and take a bunch of UA’s (urinary analysis) to determine that I was still nice and sober in order to keep living there. So yeah, I guess I was just saying that it was odd because I was a white 23-year old from a suburban family with parents still together with 3 years’ worth of a college education- now a resident of a treatment program that was designed for homeless youth. With no hope. No family. No formal education. I mean, I don’t like to compare myself to others, but I did feel a little out of place at times, and I was constantly wondering if I was somehow taking advantage of this program. But then I would remind myself of the facts: I was under 25. I was homeless (living with my parents was a deadly option at this point). And I needed accountability to stay sober. And therapy was definitely a plus.

ca·thar·sis

noun

  1. The process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.

synonyms:

emotional release, relief, release, venting

Obituary (Revised)

Patricia Ann Dewey, 73, of Aurora, Colorado, passed away on April 3, 2013 of cirrhosis of the liver. She died way too early. Yet, she died almost exactly one year after her mother- her roommate, confidant, and best friend. The funeral service will be held at Fairmount Mortuary at 430 South Quebec Street on Wednesday, April 10 at 11:00. Pastor Ray Cook of Colorado Community Church will be officiating. Viewing will be held at Fairmount Mortuary on Tuesday, April 9 from 12:00 to 4:00 pm. Burial will follow the funeral at Fairmount Mortuary.

Patricia was born in Tucson, Arizona on February 26, 1940 to Joseph and Edith Wilson. Her parents loved her and her brother unconditionally with astounding grace and kindness. She graduated from Whittier High School. Years later, after she moved to Denver with her family, she worked her butt off to obtain an Accounting degree from Metro State. Patricia had one younger brother, Richard, who proceeded her in death in 2006. He decided to take his life by hanging himself at his residence in Las Vegas. Was it because he was addicted to gambling? Maybe. Was it because he saw horrific things as a police officer in Aurora, Colorado? Who knows. We will never know why, but we come up with these things to make sense of it. Karen, Patricia’s only daughter, was born in La Mirada, California on March 3, 1966. The father of Karen and Patricia’s husband left them when Karen was about one year old. She moved back in with her tight-knit family to help raise her daughter.

In 1972, Patricia and her family moved to Colorado. She worked as a Controller for Fairmount Mortuary for 18 years (and the first female controller at that!). She enjoyed playing golf (and taught women how to golf because our anatomy is different than men’s), camping (she bought a motorhome to take her daughter’s family camping), and painting (oil painting, china painting, watercolor painting, you name it). Patricia was also actively involved in Eastern Star, a Christian community for women. Patricia is survived by her daughter and son in law, Karen and John Faust, as well as two grandchildren, Jordan and Ryan Faust. She is also survived by her brother’s children, Jamie and Jodi Wilson. Patricia was very active in her church no matter where she lived. Patricia’s kindness, generosity, joy, love, and humor touched everyone she knew, and will be greatly missed by her family and friends.

Her kindness, generosity, joy, love, and humor especially affected her granddaughter, Jordan. Patricia decided to retire early so she could spend more time with her grandchildren. She took them to the Aquarium downtown. She took them to Dairy Queen as often as they wanted to go. And then they started to grow older. After Jordan graduated high school, Patricia took her on a cruise to Hawaii as a celebration. When Jordan went off to college, Patricia helped her find appropriate student loans and bought her very first laptop to take to school. Patricia would talk about Aliens, God, and all kinds of mysteries with Jordan. Jordan got swooped up by the worldly, unfulfilling yet addictive pleasures and stopped visiting her grandma and great grandma. All of a sudden, Patricia’s mother passed away and Patricia started becoming weaker, taking heavy falls which caused her body to stop fighting. But nobody knew she was going to die from this so suddenly. Yet it wasn’t sudden- all of a sudden she was supposed to die- and they sent her to the hospice- and she laid in there for over two weeks- waiting for death. No, waiting for God to come swoop her up and take her to heaven. And finally, he did. Now she is standing in heaven, with her mother, father, and brother, standing over us and beaming with joy. Even after her death, she showered Jordan with limitless gratitude- paying off portions of her student loans, even though she dropped out after three years. She had faith in Jordan, that she was strong and there was something special about her, even if Jordan didn’t believe so herself. But now, Jordan has faith that her grandma is looking down at her, pleased as ever, patient in love, and perfect in kindness.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 New International Version (NIV)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

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Insurmountable

We are

the expendables-

how extraordinary

is the notion

that we could be gone

from this world

tomorrow

maybe some people

weren’t made

for this world-

their pain is felt

more than most.

It is all relative.

Contextual, at best-

the differences in

our lives,

insurmountable

 

JHF

Journal Entry: Hospice Day 3

She’s in a lot of pain, and moving around, agitated. She’s talked a little bit. She has weird chunks in her mouth. She has swelling in her hand. “Will you take it off please” is the clearest thing I’ve heard her say tonight, regarding her broken shoulder/arm on the pillow. “Help me, Hurry,” is what she’s saying. She just asked for water.

Maybe I should blog about it. Maybe people will have some words of wisdom or advice. Maybe it would be nice to share my story. It’s a hard story to tell. It’s a hard story to live. I don’t know how to describe it, how I lost G.G. (Great Grandma) one year ago, and now I’m losing my grandma. In the worst way imaginable. Maybe I should keep it to myself for a while.

I just don’t know what to do. I need something to keep me busy while I’m here. Maybe read, write some more. But write about what?

Dear Grandma,

Soon, you will find the sunlight over those rocky hills. All of your pain will be dissolved into the brisk air. You will feel the warmth of God’s breath on your forehead. You will have the relief to take a full, deep breath again.

I wish I could take all of your pain, and put it into me instead. You always took care of me. You always knew what to say when I came to you for advice. I know I was stubborn sometimes, and didn’t visit you enough, and I wish I could take it back.

You gave me your car, the ’93 Subaru Legacy when I was 16. I still have childhood memories of you taking me to pre-school in that car, always having a sucker for me in the glove box when you picked me up.

You are an example to live by. You changed so many people’s lives. You accepted everybody, no matter their race, religion, ethnicity, socio-economic status- and you always had humor and kind words to cheer someone up.

I accept your departure from this earth, into the other realm. I can only Imagine. What it will be like to meet Jesus. And your mother, brother, father, grandfather.

I will be okay. We will be okay. I just don’t want to see you suffer anymore.

I know where you are going, and I know that you will be with me always and forever. Give a big kiss to G.G. for me.

Love,

Jordy