Politics

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My parents were young when I was born. From my adult and parental perspective, far too young to have become parents, but they made it work. In some ways, we all grew up together, discovering ourselves and learning about the world.  However, in all the ways that counted they were most decidedly not friends or compatriots, but PARENTS. They were strict and set exceedingly high expectations for me, expectations that I internalized and pushed myself to exceed. Read more

The Majesty of Thanks

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True Majesty: American bald eagle in flight, July 2013

As I begin the great Thanksgiving cook-fest, with the feast looming less than twenty-four hours in my future, I thought I’d wipe off my hands on the dish towel and turn from the stove for a few moments to give thanks. Read more

Hands Tied

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On Monday, I had the most disquieting experience of not being able to get to my child.

A little more than an hour before I was to pick up The Boy at school, I received one of those insanely frightening emergency line calls from his school. You know the ones; they are prerecorded and a computer calls all the parents and emergency contact numbers at once so all the mommies and daddies can panic at the same time. Read more

Keep a Contented Heart in November

Well, here it is again. That time of the month. The time when I drag out my muse’s guide to finding happiness and write myself notes on the next layer of my happiness and joyful cake creation. Here’s what Ms. Muse has to say for the month of November.

Keep a contented heart.  A contented heart is a even sea in the midst of all storms.  So said William Secker in his treatise The Nonsuch Professor in His Meridian Splendor, published in 1660.  Amazing that it’s the same some three hundred and fifty years later.

a) Laugh out loud.

She’s right. I should laugh out loud more. We all should laugh out loud more. It just feels so gosh darn fantabulous when we do it. The sun seems to shine brighter for a few moments, the air seems to warm, and the endorphins rush through our bodies. It can change my whole outlook on a day.

What do I do to ensure I laugh out loud at least once a day? For starters, I have a child who is learning to read and sometimes mispronounces words in such a way that I can barely even understand what he’s trying to say. My child also loves to sing, and I mean loves it as if it’s his favorite chocolate treat. He belts out whatever tune he is listening to, and at times it’s all I can do to keep the car on the road I’m laughing so hard. Which makes him smile and sing more loudly, which makes me laugh more…. You get the picture.

I also read amusing books. Currently on my nightstand is Jen Lancaster‘s The Tao of Martha.  Ms. Lancaster is a seriously funny woman who doesn’t take herself too seriously. Consequently, when reading her books, of which there are many, I tend to laugh out loud and try to live my life with the same grain of salt approach she seems to espouse in her essays.

Laughter is good for anything that might ail us. We all need more, so I’m going to continue laughing and smiling and feeling good. It helps me get through the days when the sun doesn’t shine so brightly, which was a lot of September.

b) Use good manners.

I have my mother and Emily Post to thank for my somewhat rigid adherence to “proper” and “appropriate” behavior. My parents drilled me like they were each an Army Drill Sergeant to ensure that I knew and utilized manners. Proper table etiquette, even when all we were eating was grilled cheese sandwiches. Thank you notes for everything and in a timely manner, e.g. no later than two weeks after the event, the gift, etc.

One year for Christmas my mother found and gifted me a book on manners penned by none other than Ms. Emily Post. I still have it on my shelf with the the note-filled margins, underlined text, and dog-eared pages. I still consult Ms. Post regularly, but these days it seems that most of her advice is considered antiquated niceties that we can all eliminate from our lives due to the instantaneous and often impersonal nature of the digital age. I disagree wholeheartedly and so stick to the advice and manners that have gotten me this far in life.

Several years ago I bought the updated version of Emily Post’s book for my two step-daughters.

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I thought that as they went out into the world as young women and began interviewing for jobs, receiving engagement, wedding or baby gifts, knowing how to deal with the acknowledging and thanking people for their kindnesses would be helpful, especially since so few people attend to social niceties these days with the advent of e-mail. I gave the books with that precise sentiment.  As both opened the gift in my presence, they both said thank you, having such a resource would be great.

Two years later?  Both books are still sitting on the shelf in their respective closets upstairs, unopened. One moved out and left her copy here.  Does anybody want to purchase a slightly used copy of Emily Post’s Etiquette? I can give you a really good deal!

c) Give positive reviews.

I consider this up there with manners. If I’ve received good service or had a good experience, I say it. I shout it from the rooftops. I am a firm believer in the maxim that if you let people know they’ve done a good job, that will make them want to do it again and again to get the feel good rush from positive feedback.

Accordingly, I’m one of those people on Amazon and Yelp and Open Table who reviews service providers. If the meal, the product, the service has been good, I let the provider know. Of course, I also let them know if it’s been bad, but I think it’s just as important to put out good vibes into the world as bad.

d) Find an area of refuge.

I’m working on this. I actually reclaimed my sunroom over Labor Day weekend and made it into a sitting/reading area.

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However, it’s off the kitchen, so although it’s a lovely spot in which to have a cup of coffee and chat with Ernie Hemingway or a friend when children are playing, it’s not really a refuge. Too public. So I’m looking for different space in the house.

Our house has a central family room where everything happens. We also have a formal living room, which at this stage of our lives is largely unused. The only time it sees traffic is when the Christmas tree goes up and when packages are delivered to the front door. It also tends – like so many other open spaces – to attract junk and become a storage area when it’s not being used for the Christmas tree.

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For some time, I’ve been planning to make the back corner of the room into a quiet area where I can meditate and practice yoga. It’s sunny and bright, and the farthest corner of the house away from the main traffic areas, so it feels distant. Just what I need for quieting my mind and soul.

Of course, I have an office, too, but currently it’s situated in the laundry room on the other side of the master bath, and over the garage, so it’s not quite as isolated and quiet.

Plus, it’s cold. It is so cold that even when the heat is on, I need an electric space heater to keep marginally warm. It is so cold that once the outside temperature drops below 40 degrees, my cat won’t even hang out in there with me. It is so cold that the winter after we moved into our house we needed to install heat into our garage to ensure that the pipes for the laundry didn’t freeze. I don’t know precisely what the previous owners did about that particular problem, but I don’t care. I now have a garage that stays at a relatively balmy 55 degrees all winter. Getting into a cold car is not really a problem, unless of course, I’ve been lazy and haven’t put the car into the garage, nor is frozen pipes, truly the most important thing.

My husband decided several months ago that his office, located off the family room, should be mine so that I wouldn’t have to spend so much time upstairs away from the central living area, but it’s still got a lot of his books and other stuff in it, so it doesn’t feel like mine yet.

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Maybe I’ll work on getting the walls covered with my stuff and then I’ll want to use it more. I’ll keep you posted.

For now, though, I think my quiet area in the formal living room – or the Christmas tree room as we call it – is my best bet. I’ve got a folding room divider that I’ll put behind the couch, a meditation chair for which I’ve just redone the cushion, my super thick yoga mat, and a Bose sound dock into which I can pop my iPhone to play ocean music. Now I just need to get all the junk out of that room.

And did I forget to mention that Thanksgiving is at our house?  Namaste.

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Halloween Past

As part of The SITS Girls Blogtober Challenge for Throwback Thursday I thought I would share some old photos of my parents in their Halloween costumes from the year of The Wizard of Oz theme.  I think I went as Dorothy that year, but I can’t seem to find a photo.  Mum said it was okay to post photos of her and Dad as long as it wouldn’t get them arrested.  I think they’re safe.

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Enjoy!

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Mean People

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I know they’re out in the world, but it nevertheless appalls me when I encounter them. I am disappointed in their lack of humanity, their absolute certainty that their own priorities and things to which they feel entitled matter more than the anyone or anything else. The selfish and mean ones demand consideration from the rest of us for any tiny speed bump in their journey, yet refuse to give any consideration for the most monumental explosions in other people’s lives: death, life-threatening illness, birth, etc.

Mean people, those who just can’t be nice, who spend their time spewing thorns and littering the world with their particular brand of spite and anger.

The day after my husband’s father died, the ex-wife texted me looking for her alimony check. When I politely declined to engage in said discussion with her and opined that my husband had a few other things on his mind, she promptly e-mailed my husband with the message that she was oh-so-sorry for his loss and didn’t want to bother him at this time, but she had no choice because I was being a meanie and wouldn’t give her satisfaction.

Aside from the fact that she was looking for information pertaining to something about which I had no knowledge (nor do I want any as it’s … wait for it … alimony paid by one former spouse to another and, therefore, none of my business), I have a question: what kind of person does that? It’s a rhetorical question, nevertheless one to which I think we all know the answer. A mean person. An inconsiderate person. A callous person. A selfish person.

I’m sure many of us have forgotten to pay a bill that was due the day a loved one died, or perhaps even sometime during the week after. Even if a mortgage payment were missed, I’m pretty sure the lender would understand why and make an exception to the late payment rule. Perhaps a credit card company probably would do the same.  As much as we might love to malign them for unscrupulous business practices, the reality is that large corporations have humans working the phones and collections desks, and most people have compassion and understanding for their fellow human beings. Because we’re all pretty much in the same boat.

We’ve all either got parents or had them at some point in our lives. If we’ve lost them, we have grieved. If we still have them, we fear the day they leave us. We’ve all got loved ones: parents, children, friends, spouses, relatives. The death of someone we love, perhaps someone on whom we depend, someone who makes us smile and whom we want to be around, can be, and often is, devastating, especially when it is unexpected, sudden.

It is heartbreaking to me that anyone – especially someone with whom my husband shared nearly twenty years of his life and with whom he raised two children – would blunder so miserably and show not even a shred of compassion for him in the most human moment of losing his father. I am angry and disappointed. While my knee-jerk reaction is I hope she doesn’t seek any consideration from either Ernie Hemingway or me when she loses her parents because she wouldn’t deserve it, I know that compassion is my truth. No matter what she’s done, no matter how mean she may be, I will feel for her and I will have sympathy for her loss.

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The First Loss

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Today I had to tell my little boy that his grandfather died.  My father-in-law’s death was sudden, and my heart broke for my sweet boy when I told him that his Papa had died.  All I could do was wrap him in my arms and hold tight.  Until he pulled his head back, took my face in his little hands and said, “Mama, you need to blow your nose.  You keep sniffing in.”  Then I laughed.  He smiled, kissed my cheek and told me he loved me, then scampered off my lap to play with the bowling set he has set up in the family room.  Normal, everyday routine.

I know what it’s like to lose a grandfather.  I lost my mother’s father, my Grampy, in 1987.  I was 18 when he died, and I miss him always.  Every time something wonderful happens, I hope he knows about it and is happy for me.  Each time I accomplish something, I hope he knows and is proud of me.  When my son was born, I thought how much he would have loved to have another great grandson.  When I got married the first time, I hoped he would approve; when I got divorced, I knew he would be angry at my ex-husband for the way he treated me.  When I married my Ernie Hemingway, I knew Grampy would be happy that I had found someone to love and with whom I could build a life.  And every holiday season, when I pull out my tree and all the decorations I miss him desperately.  Still, even after all this time.

My heart aches for my husband, who lost his father.  I want to put my arms around him and absorb all the pain for him, take it away so that he can smile again.  I know he will someday smile again, but I would give anything for him not to hurt until then.  I will do whatever he needs me to do in the coming days, pushing my own grief to the back of the line so that I can help him, hold him through his own tears and the waves of grief, and perhaps in that way take some of the blows for him.  I want to comfort him, but I know that what he wants most I cannot give.

I will sit with my husband and his brothers, his mother, his children, in the coming days and nights.  I will hold open my arms for anyone to nestle in, to claim a hug should they need one.  I will cry when I think about what a good man my father-in-law was.  I will know how fortunate I am that my husband was raised by such a remarkable man and that my son got to spend time with him.  I will feel lucky to have known him for as long as I did.  I will murmur to my husband how blessed he is to have had such a father, and how proud his father was of him.  And someday, when my little boy finally understands that his grandfather is gone and comes to me crying, I will tell him how lucky he was to have been loved by his Papa, and how honored his Papa felt to be loved by him.

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Have Ambition, Will Quilt

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I still can’t figure out what I was smoking the day I agreed to be one of the class parents for my son’s kindergarten class and the co-leader of the baked goods section for his school’s annual fair and marketplace. One would be fine, but doing both is going to drive me crazy through the end of the day on October 19, the day of the fair. The Boy is excited; I’m dreading it.

As a class parent, I had to attend an orientation meeting last week. At that meeting, we were instructed on how we should communicate with the other parents in our children’s classes and what information we should disseminate to them. Each class has two class parents, and as the class designees, my co-parent and I were informed that not only we were in charge of keeping up communications with the other kindergarten parents, but that we also had to dream up an idea for a class gift to be auctioned at THE school fundraiser in the spring. And did they forget to mention that we were also tasked with creating said gift? Oops, sorry, but yes. Dreamer and creator. That’s what the job description should have said.

My brain works in funny ways. As I was listening to the class parent overseer describing the responsibilities regarding the class gift, my stomach was simultaneously dropping to the floor and doing back flips at the idea of doing something creative. I love the idea of being creative, and I get thoroughly excited at the prospect of crafting, sewing, scrapbooking … generally anything that involves the creation of original and pretty things. I just never seem to find enough time to execute my grand schemes. An idea popped into my head, and when I shared it with my co-class parent, she loved it. The teachers loved it when I told them. So now I’m committed.

To making a quilt. With all of the little urchins’ handprints and handwriting on individual muslin squares. To dragging out my long dormant sewing machine and figuring out how to use it again. To pulling out all my scrap fabric and cutting the border pieces. To designing the borders with all of that scrap fabric so that it doesn’t look like a paint box threw up on the quilt top. To layering the quilt and batting on the wood floor of my mostly empty living room. In short, I’m committed to driving myself crazy making a quilt that will be auctioned off to the highest bidder among the kindergarten parents.

Regardless of how many hours I actually have or may be able to find, my quilt must be not only good, but great. But not too incredible, lest I end up with a job on the auction committee moving forward. Apparently, in the history of this annual auction, no other class parent has dreamed up an idea quite so early. What I didn’t have the heart to say is that I only came up with the idea so early so that I wouldn’t be stuck playing catch up over the holidays and the school break. I have plans for those school breaks, and I’ve no intention of changing those plans to sit around on my duff and sew.

I used to quilt, actually make gifts for people in my life. One memorable holiday season, I made a king-sized quilt for an old boyfriend. At the time I made it, we had been together for a year and a half; we broke up after three and a half years. Every once in a while when I open my “crafting closet” and see my cutting mat and fabric cutter, I wonder if he kept the quilt, and if he did, whether another girlfriend ever asked where it came from. It’s unlikely that he kept it, but I do hope he at least gave it to his mother, sister, or someone else who might appreciate it. Thinking otherwise might make me crazy to think about all the time I put into that quilt, all the time I took away from other parts of my life. Then again, I did it willingly and happily.

My son’s teachers are excited about helping the kids make their individual squares. I’ve purchased the requisite washable acrylic paints and fabric markers. I’ve designed the quilt, figuring out the best layout for 17 one-of-a-kind squares. This week I will go and get the twelve inch square muslin pieces. I’m excited, too, but I wonder if I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. Of course, regardless whether the quilt fetches $500 or $5,000 at auction (hey, I can dream!), the important thing is the memories my son will retain of my involvement in his life and his education. I can only hope that when he is a parent, he will look back and remember his mother’s reign as a classroom parent with fondness and humor instead of cringing.

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The Right Decisions

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“Can I invite Jill on Saturday?”

This question came from  my son in the back seat as we drove home this afternoon.  Our town is having a fair on Saturday, a festival of entertainment that celebrates our community by providing fundraising opportunities for town youth groups and non-profits, and highlights the work of our town’s service organizations.  The town center is closed to all traffic, and the streets come alive with pedestrians swarming and darting where there are normally only cars.

The fire and police stations are open to the attendees, and the kids get to climb up into a fire truck and sit in a police car, complete with the opportunity to sound the sirens.  There are bouncy houses, miniature golf, electronic race car courses, food stands, and all sorts of demonstrations and vendors.  It’s kind of like a parent approved free-for-all for the kids.  There are police everywhere, and kids don’t stray too far from their parents, as one or both hold the key to a successful day:  the money.

For the past two years, my son has invited his friend, Jack, from nursery school, whose mother became a good friend once the boys began begging us for playdates.  Although our boys attend different schools and we live about 25 miles apart, we try to get together every couple of months, more if time and scheduling permits.  Jack and his mother will come again this year, and we plan to ride our bikes down to the town center from my house.  Both boys enjoy riding, as long as the riding involves their tandem bikes.

And then today my little guy tossed out his request to invite Jill.

Jill is an eighth grader at his school and the daughter of a school administrator.  She is a lovely young woman and I enjoy watching them interact.  It is sweet that The Boy has such a great relationship with her.  He often talks to me about playing with Jill on the playground during recess, and how he really likes that she pushes him and his friends on the swings.  One day toward the end of the summer, when The Boy was getting a little nervous about going back to school in general, and in particular about starting kindergarten and having full days, I opened the mailbox and there was a letter for him.

It was from Jill.  She wrote that she missed him and was looking forward to seeing him back at school and hanging out and playing with him at recess.  My heart melted as I read the letter to my son and I saw his eyes light up.

Upon the kids’ return to school, I told Jill’s mother what a sweet gesture I thought her letter was.  Her mother relayed that Jill had asked if she could write to my son because she missed him and wanted to make sure he was having a good summer.  A few days after school began, The Boy and I arrived at drop-off at the same time as Jill and her mother.  Jill bounded out of the car and yelled a hello to my son, then scampered over to walk in with him.  He let got of my hand and took hers, then happily skipped away with her.

When Ernie and I were looking at schools for The Boy, one of the things I loved most about his now-school was that they allow children to be children and encourage the older kids to interact with the younger ones.  I wasn’t entirely sure how it would work out in practice.  Seeing his smile when I drop him off and pick him up, hearing the excitement in his voice when he tells me about something new he’s learning, and watching the relationship develop between my son and his eighth grade friend, I’m thrilled with the decision we made.

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Confronting the Ghosts

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When I was four years old, my mother and her first husband divorced. Her first husband is my biological father. Since about age seventeen, I’ve referred to him as The Sperm Donor (TSD). Until two months ago, I hadn’t seen him in over twenty years.

When I was six years old, my mom and I moved in with the man she ultimately married, who raised me and who is my sister’s and my father. The man who became and who is my dad. The man I call when I need advice. The man who picked me up from the playground pavement, knees bleeding and unable to walk from the pain after the chains broke on the swing I was riding and I fell from what felt like a height of a hundred feet but was in reality probably 8 or 9 feet.

My dad is the man who helped me with my homework, who listened and gave me advice when I’d had a particularly rough tangle with my mother as a teenager. My dad is the man who intimidated my high school and college boyfriends and who stood proudly applauding when I accepted every one of my diplomas. My dad is the man who taught me that it was okay to stand on my own two feet and speak my truth, even if my voice were nothing more than a whisper when I did that. My dad taught me that even if started out whispering if I believed in myself and kept speaking my truth, eventually I would be shouting it so loudly that the world wouldn’t be able to ignore me.

My dad helped me move out of the house I shared with my first husband after that husband, who had sworn to me and my dad that he would love me and care for me forever, scarred me. My dad, along with my mother, walked me down the aisle when I married my darling Ernie in a fairytale wedding.

But I digress. I divorced TSD when I was seventeen. I was told that he and his second wife were divorcing, and I was told why. Based on that information, I developed an instant and intense revulsion for him, white hot, that followed me through my life.  I never knew anything different from what I was told, and it was only the last time I saw TSD in the early 1990s that I even tried to find out his interpretation of events.

Until last fall. Then curiosity and some deep rooted need of which I was not even aware took over my heart and brain. It might have had something to do with the depression into which I’d fallen and couldn’t shake, or the prescription my doctor wrote me to help alleviate my symptoms, or even the therapist I started seeing every week, but I prefer to think of the mystical rather than the logical explanation. Thinking that way makes me feel a little less like a control freak who willed herself into doing something against all common sense.

My entire adult life I was determined never to acknowledge TSD, never to allow him entry into my carefully constructed and protected world, and since my child came along, never to allow him any access to The Boy. I haven’t changed my mind about my son. I have, however, decided that I am strong enough to allow TSD entry into my life, at least in a limited way.

I reached out to TSD. For years, I had kept tabs on him. I was fearful of him, of what he might want from me, what he was capable of doing to me. After all, I had been told he was a monster. I knew from my own observations and experiences that he had not been any kind of parent.

One early memory I have is sitting on his lap in the front seat of a car, I think it was a convertible, driving through a campground, and I had my hands on the wheel and was steering the car. I have no idea how old I was, but I don’t remember my step-sisters being there, so it was in all likelihood before the age of five. Another memory has me riding shotgun in his convertible on Route I-95, southbound from Boston to Willimantic, Connecticut, Jimmy Buffet blasting, TSD holding an open beer bottle between his legs, gulping as we sped along. I recall riding in the back of a pickup truck he owned at least once until my mother got wind of the riding arrangements and put the kyebosh on it. So from then on I rode in the crowded cab with TSD and his second wife while my step-sisters rode in the open bed. Until that summer everything fell apart, I thought they had cashed in the winning lottery ticket as to fathers.

I remember being left with his older sister, my aunt, on her farm. As an adult, I was told that her then-husband later did some bad things, but I just barely remember him, and only that I didn’t think he was a nice man. I recall that the dog TSD had bought me, a Siberian Husky I named Blue because he had one blue eye and one brown, was clipped by a car, and that we couldn’t get him to the vet because TSD had left me there for an extended period of time and my aunt’s husband had siphoned all the gas out of the second car so that he could go off somewhere, so as a five year-old child I watched my dog die a painful, horrible death. I’ve never owned another dog.

There are a lot of ghosts that have accompanied me through life, but TSD was the pink elephant. I didn’t know what would happen if I extended a branch to TSD. I just knew for certain that no longer could I ignore his ghost. So I picked up a stick and handed it to him, not sure if he would take it or if I would be bludgeoned over the head with it. I was shocked when he took it.

That was several months ago. Since then we’ve communicated via e-mail on an every couple of weeks or so cycle and had an in-person meeting once, at his mother’s funeral. That was the other thing that shocked me. At age 44, I discovered that TSD’s mother was still alive at age 95. Better yet, my request to see her was met with generous welcome by two of my cousins and TSD.

I was fortunate and was able to see her twice between the time I found out she was alive and when she died on July 21. Surprisingly, she recognized me and was able to understand that I had a son. Selfishly, I was glad that she seemed unaware that more than twenty years has passed since I’d last seen her; I didn’t want to have to attempt an explanation of my ghosts with her. She lived a long life, and from what I’m told, suffered her share of trauma and insanity. It’s all hearsay since I never heard any of it from her, but if even a fraction of what I was told is accurate, she deserves every happiness she found in life and more.

When my cousin gave the eulogy at my grandmother’s funeral, I found myself crying; not for the life that was lost, but selfishly, for what I missed out on by not having her in my life. I never felt I could have her – or any of TSD’s family members – in my life without also having TSD, and I was always afraid of him, and what he might do or be. I never experienced my grandmother as my cousins and their children did. I never knew her the way they did, never heard all the stories they did, never got to learn anything from her the way they did. Although it would be easy to place all the blame for that at TSD’s feet, I realized too late that the fault lay partly with me; only partly because none of them reached out to me, either.  Perhaps my fears were irrational, but they were based on what I was told, not on anything concrete that I knew for myself.  I never thought about what I knew myself.

Ernie accompanied me to the funeral on July 31. I have only just begun to process what it was like to see TSD and his family after so many years. I was at turns terrified, guilt-ridden, shocked, and heartbroken. I saw bits of myself in those people, and I couldn’t process it. For nearly my entire life, I have observed and been told that I am just like my mother and her mother. On my mother’s side, we were a family without boys until my cousins and I had children. My cousins and I, while various circumstances and geography and other things separate us, are alike in more ways than we may care to admit or may even be able to see.

Yet here I was, confronted with the unalienable fact that I was like the women on TSD’s side of my family, too. TSD’s three sisters, my first cousins, and his mother.  My grandmother apparently was a lifelong writer, a lover of books and music, dedicated to her friends and family. She also had a spine of steel and an indomitable spirit, if even a fraction of what I’ve heard about her life is true. She was widowed in the mid-1960s, when she was in her forties and had four children. As far as I know, she was not college-educated and did not have a career on which she could fall back. Some of her children were adults at that point, some were still young and at home.  She raised those younger children alone and never remarried.  I think she was a remarkable woman who had a fantastic life, and that is what I heard echoed in the sentiments expressed at her memorial.

I held myself together admirably – at least according to Ernie – while at the church, but after we had left … well, all bets were off. I began crying in earnest as we crossed the parking lot, and Ernie pretty much carried me to the car. I often joke with Ernie that he is afraid to drive my car (we call her Christine), but he had no choice that day. I sat in the passenger seat and howled while he struggled with the computer-driven controls. I continued crying all the way home, just continuous tears down my cheeks, the waterworks occasionally escalating into sobbing so convulsive that Ernie had to pull over so I could vomit on the side of the highway.  I was sick at my own misinterpretations, my own failure to know, my own uncertainty.  My body simply could not  hold in the evaporation of the past in my mind.

When I was able to hear Ernie over my crying, he commented that he was glad I’d wanted him to accompany me to the funeral. For most of the time he has known me, I had told him that under no circumstances would I have anything to do with TSD or allow TSD any access to my life or family, so, needless to say, he was a tad surprised when I revealed recent events to him. He was, however, fully supportive, and after it was all over, he expressed that being with me in the bosom of TSD’s family allowed him a window into me that he had never known existed and that he felt closer to me for having seen through it.

I haven’t yet been able to process the whole experience fully as I cannot get too far into thinking without dissolving into a puddle on the floor. Part of me wants for everything I have been told about TSD to be untrue; that part is the four year-old girl who desperately wants all the bad experiences with her father to be nothing more than a bad dream. Another part of me believes all the bad things I’ve been told, but that part is the angry, sullen teenager who does not understand – and doesn’t want to understand – the nuances of a very adult situation into which she was thrust. Still a third part believes that there must be a middle ground somewhere, but doesn’t know yet where to find it or even how to begin searching.

The ghosts of my life haunt me. I have found them at last, but now I need to confront and banish them into the flesh and blood people they are, no larger or smaller than life.