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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204

Upon opening the door
Lies dirt ridden shovels
amongst red-spined journals
in apartment two-oh-four.

Black lines appear
on white walls forming
mountains and valleys- a timeline
beginning to end, up and down, up and down.

Steam, the tea kettle screeches
an aroma of green tea and coffee,
familiarize the surroundings,
memories of bodies move through the rooms.

Upon the bedside table
lies the book of love, of fictitious
trickery, words written and uttered
left by the sink, forgotten
as the reflection in turn.

What is love? I ask
you point to the book, left
frivolously scratching your mark, locking
the key taken, I cannot enter.

 

j.f.

Empowerment of the Day

My motivation/empowerment/mantra for the day…

I am a fucking badass rock star. I just went through one of the most difficult things anyone will EVER go through, an 18 month confrontational therapy based therapeutic community. I’m deprogramming and getting back into the real world, socializing, contemplating, living, planning, working, breathing, staying sober, praying, laughing, singing, dancing, writing, reading, loving, sharing, bonding, being. It’s all up to me now. I create my destiny, I desire myself and my future, I see myself finally. Sure, sometimes I get anxiety and fear that fills me up to the brim until I start to leak, but I breathe and live through it without destroying myself.

My life is my message, my life is my lesson. I will never cower away from it again. I will never shrink down again. I will stand up and hold my head high. I won’t allow you to be a part of my life or plan unless you have something positive and meaningful to bring to the table. I can be a bitch now, I give myself permission. I won’t allow you to take up space in my life or head if your intentions are to use me, if your intentions are dishonest and below mediocre. I can tell now, and I won’t allow it to move on a stagnant, meaningless level. I’m not ignorant, I’m not stupid, I’m not shallow, I’m not weak, I’m not that girl anymore. I’m a wise young woman with a head full of knowledge and a heart full of pure amazingness. I am beautiful not only on the outside, but on the inside as well. I literally cannot be stopped, and that is the most exhilarating feeling in the universe. I am my own universe. Sometimes I can’t help but let the words flow freely, and share them with the universe, because a little part of myself is transferred and I get positivity transferred back. Thank God I had the courage to make that one decision that would influence the rest of my life, and I am living it.

Captive

I watched you from afar

though I couldn’t see you,

and I still wonder where you are,

a part of me sees you

gazing under the stars.

 

And dear,

even with all of the friction,

the manipulation and confusion,

even with all of the fear

 

I still hold you near.

There’s a part of me

that will not release you

or am I simply

still your captive my dear?

Fire Agate

Don’t fail me

now,

my stone of wonders-

this time is different.

I feel

stronger, but love

I can’t escape,

nor do I want to,

no matter how

viciously it sucks

the life out of me-

a vampire at twilight

who craves a

victim-

but life it gives

me, those rare moments

that seem to last

a lifetime and

seem to be the life

that i’d always

been looking for.

Binaries control

my path-

two choices of complete

opposition suddenly

arise, and I

must do something-

or let it bleed me

and do nothing at all.

 

10 Things I Hate About You

I hate the fact

that you live right above me,

it means that I

can hear almost every move you make.

I hate how you

designate yourself as the rule maker,

establishing how we can act and how often we can see each other.

I hate the way

I go along with these rules,

just here for the ride with no questions asked.

I hate the way

you get to me,

constantly clinging to the cells inside my brain.

I hate how you

make me feel tingly all over,

sometimes good, sometimes bad,

but most of all when I can’t distinguish from the two.

I hate the fact

that I can’t stop thinking about you,

feeling you, sensing your presence all around me.

I hate how

when I get mad at you,

I can’t help but getting over it just like that.

I hate the way

I love you so,

helplessly, hopelessly, relentlessly so.

I hate the

things I say sometimes,

because I really don’t mean them, not at all.

I hate how

I can’t keep hating you,

sometimes I wish I could, but really I’m glad I can’t.

 

 

Plans

I was going to… “told” I was going to be a straight A student. I was going to go to college, graduate, and have an excellent, fulfilling and good paying career. I was going to find a nice, young, good looking christian man, my prince to marry and lose my virginity to and have babies. I was going to be a fashion designer, I was going to be an Olympic Ice Skater. I was going to be a famous author. I was going to travel the world, be fluent in Spanish, and backpack around Europe. I was going to space. I was going to be a violinist. I was going to be in a band. I was going to change the world. I was going to live the American Dream. I was told I could do anything I put my mind to, that I would just have to believe it, and it would just somehow ‘happen.’ Out of no where. I don’t know, maybe that’s why I never went anywhere, because I just waited for things to happen magically without actually doing. What did I expect it to be? I. Love. D. I don’t know what I expected it to be. It just happened so fast. A feeling I’d never felt before. Maybe I expected more, but deep down I knew it wouldn’t be forever. I did expect it to last longer than it did. But in hindsight, I’m glad it didn’t.
But I didn’t… I didn’t plan for him to find another girl so fast. I didn’t plan on him breaking my heart in half. I didn’t plan on dropping out of college through this. And turning to chemicals to numb myself and be able to fall asleep. I didn’t plan on moving out of my best friends’s. I didn’t plan on getting so emotionally involved that I couldn’t think about anything else, do anything else. It still takes up a lot of my ind, 2 years later, almost like an obsession. Especially with what I’m going through currently. I wish it didn’t happen at all sometimes. That I never met him. That my mom didn’t take me to that party that night. I didn’t plan on falling in love with him, to let my whole being, revolve around him. For him to end up fucking her. Marrying her. Having twins with her. Leaving me in the dust. It makes me sick writing about it. I literally vomited the first time he told me about it. I knew something was up, too. And I was all the way in Fort Collins, at my cousin’s house whom  I barely knew because I “had” to move out of my place. It made me physically ill. Shaking uncontrollably. Why did I still talk to him? I didn’t plan on still being attached to him.

Expression

It’s weird how words express our feelings.
Sometimes words can’t do this.
I was looking at a tree today.
I’m not sure what kind.
A tree with green leaves.
Really tall and overpowering.
What I thought of was,
I’ve never really appreciated this tree.
Or trees in general, in a really long time.
“Appreciate” being the key word.
That’s the closest word I could come to the emotions that I felt.
But it was more than appreciation.
It was love, it was sad, it was happy,
It was… Confusing.
I moved to an apartment
In an area where I don’t see trees
that often.
But I used to live by trees and see
trees all the time.
But i didn’t appreciate them.
I didn’t miss them
Until I went to my parents’ house,
the house I used to live.
I saw the tree, and I saw the life
that  I forgot about.
Maybe not forgot, just never
noticed.

No Longer

Do you think you can hurt me still? I’m not going to let you. Do you think I’m going to continue to let this shit phase me? Well I’m not. Maybe the old me would, but I don’t give two shits about what they say behind my back. What you say behind my back. You think your ignoring me scares me? That playing games with my head is okay? That’s fine, keep going, it will only make me stronger in the end. I have already accepted what I should have realized long before… this meant nothing to you. I was safe to you, your security blanket. Maybe you stayed with me this long out of obligation. You see, that doesn’t work for me. Your deception and manipulation can no longer be a tool against me, I will not be brought down to your level now or ever. I deserve to be someone’s everything. I deserve honesty, not humiliation. I will have fire and passion, and love that’s returned, equally. I will be someone’s heart, even if that means breaking my own. Don’t worry, I won’t call you, I won’t fall for your mind tricks any more. I won’t be the first to break this time. I didn’t want this. I wanted us to be okay, to be mutual, to be civil. Especially with the close proximity we must be around each other. I tried, probably too hard, to make it right, so don’t get all butt hurt when it doesn’t work out your way.  The last time we spoke, you said we’d be friends. We’d be happy for each other and supportive as well. The next day, you act like I have a bug on my face. You heard things about me, and changed your mind I suppose. Yeah this hurt for a bit, knowing that someone who called me their soul mate could be as cold as this, but I think I’m getting used to it by now. No longer will I let you hurt me, no longer will I let you rent space for free in my head. I am detaching myself emotionally, letting myself move on, can’t think about the past, only about a future of bettering myself. Maybe I owe you a thanks for showing me how. How to let go, how to move on, and the need to love myself first. I hope you do the same, I don’t wish ill upon you, even though I think I deserve to have hatred towards you. You see, I didn’t grow up that way. Maybe I should have grown thicker skin earlier, but where I come from you don’t treat people you say ‘I love you’ with such malice and disgrace. Sometimes it makes me sick just thinking about it, how I fell for it all over again. But this time will be different, this time I won’t budge and go back with false hopes to have my heart hammered bloody all over again.

Abra Kadabra

What are these words
we throw around?
What do we want
their purpose to be?
I sit at my desk
and write
I’m taking a vactation in
my head
while you’re vactationing
in your world
out of your head.
Mine is actually
no vacation
it’s a prison
toxic to my brain, forced
to do my inventories and
vomit out old resentments
that I tried so hard
to suppress and make
disappear forever.
Abra Kadabra
and they’re summoned
back to the surface.

Sometimes you look at
me different.
You talk to me different.
Like i’m not the one
you love.
Sometimes I pray to God
that your purpose of
some of the words you use
are solely
to cause pain.
With no truth involved.
Either way,
they bring jolts
to my chest,
clouds of fire
in my brain.
But to think of you
actually leaving
causes all
breath to cease
as well as
the blood flow
in my veins.
Everything stops,
including Time
as I gaze into
your dark eyes.
you stay still
but the rest of the world
collapses all around you.
Sometimes my greedy
and selfish mind
yearns to make
your heart feel
the same offence
that took control
of mine.