Come Visit Me

She’s been calling me for days. I thought I was making it up, but she is persistent.

Go see Mom.

“She’s not there,” I think. “You’re just chasing a memory. You’ll go and the stinky, moldy trailer will be empty, and cold, and you will leave empty and cold.”

“Go anyway.”

“Why, Mom?”

“Because I’m lonely.”

Wait, she’s lonely? I thought she could come see me anytime. I thought that when you’re in spirit, you’re free? Maybe there are things that need to be righted though. Maybe there is unfinished business.

Maybe those final days there were not days she would have wished for. It was not how she wanted to leave it. And my presence will bring love and companionship, even if for a minute.

It will suffice.

And I will keep going back, Mom, even if I’m making it up. I’ll keep going back to say hi until there are no more reasons to go, or no more tears to shed – I guess? I honestly feel like this isn’t just me.

That was your heaven on earth, you said. So I will visit your temple.

I will enter in prayer, and I will leave in prayer.

I wish you peace. I wish you abundant love. I wish you goodness, and light, and laughter all of your existence.

Joni Mitchell has been singing to me too, Mom:

“It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on.”

Joni Mitchell, River from Blue, 1971

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh), Debts To Pay, and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Late November

The sun shines brightly over the brown, leafless trees outside the kitchen window. A breeze ruffles the tan stalks of grass and hay poking up in patches of the neighbors back property like several days of stubble growth on earth’s face. The blue sky rimmed with white and grey clouds gathered near the horizon makes me think of the soft summer days recently erased – an artist ever changing its mind.

The chug of the tractor’s engine is heard well before the machine trundles into view. The stack of wood will warm us as the evening chill descends.

Ever turning.

Ever turning.

Each day a chance for a different thought, a different choice – until the chugging of my own heart ceases – and all the fuel has left my body.

Until then, my machine needs the same care any aging machine does – I can no longer skimp on maintenance.

Seeing myself with the same respectful reverence I have for that eighty year old tractor is a hard sell for me, but I keep trying.

I’ll keep trying.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh), Debts To Pay, and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

I Should Have Gone

Earlier this year I was determined to skip the holidays and go hang out with my friend in Arizona until my inner storm blew over.

I couldn’t afford it, but I think I should have anyway. I should have gone the American way and put it on a credit card I’ll pay off for the next decade, but it would have been worth it.

Instead, I psyched myself up to make all these dishes tonight that I’ve never made before, and tomorrow we’ll cook a turkey, and be with my partner and his parents. I charged in doing the holiday thing, full steam ahead, and made biscuits and a cranberry orange relish, and stuffing, and cleaned up after myself, and then I broke down.

I glanced at the TV while I worked and saw an advertisement with some blue water in the background – maybe it was for beer, or maybe some tropical get away place – and I suddenly saw how fake everything is. Just stupid and pointless and it’s all made up. Life is just a big lie.

I should have gone to Arizona.

I told my partner we’re done – and not because of us, but because it’s all pointless, and I hate being here, and then I remembered last year.

My mom had been staying with one of my sisters, recuperating from a shoulder surgery in September, and we all met at my other sister’s house in Vermont for Thanksgiving.

I just wanted to be near my mom. So much so that I pulled up a stool to sit in front of her, and she sort of balked at me doing that.

It was a bit odd, but she had just been away for about two months, and I was glad to see her – but the subtext was an urgency to get whatever time I could with her.

Look, I know my mom was older, and didn’t take the best care of herself, but she fucking said she was going to live to 103 to beat her father’s lifespan by a year. All my life that is what she said. All my life.

So I can be forgiven for being crushed that she died at 89, alright?

I am grateful she lived that long, and things were far from perfect for most of my growing up, but we worked through so much baggage when I became a mom. She really stepped up for me. Selfish, self-centered, lost, clueless, traumatized me who needed a mom more than my son needed a grandmother, and she did both.

She showed up, and she stayed for months. She taught me how to be a mother in some ways – in the better ways. She loved being grandma.

I really miss her, and I intensely dislike the holiday season, and I don’t think I care to be in the world either.

I should have saved her somehow, but really, I should have gone to Arizona.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh), Debts To Pay, and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Time Slipper

Existential angst. Unanswerable questions – classic configuration: who, what, where, when, why.

Especially why. To what purpose? To a purpose?

Accidental? By design?

A soup of elemental goop, dividing, evolving, adapting – created the world we’re currently in?

Preposterous?

Yes and No.

The question has become: “does it matter?”

We get to determine what matters, and what to do.

I heard Jane Fonda say she is a repeater – and I realized that I am too.

I am a light receptacle. I travel the helper network, and have found so many others along the way.

There are other networks, some flashy, some dreadful, none as lasting or strong as ours – and we’re open to every single soul, forever.

It’s not really that “we win”. That implies competition, but it’s just a journey home.

I grieve for those who won’t make it home for a long time. I’m going home after this life is done.

In the meantime, I’ve got light to spread as I slip through this time.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh), Debts To Pay, and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Rise Up!

I understand why we are where we are now…

The hollowing out of public education – no longer teaching civics and good citizenship – and those in power feeding our fears, telling us to fear anyone who does not look, act, or believe as we do.

So much is happening around us it is overwhelming – on purpose.

As one person we cannot possibly hold onto all the terror.

Hitler rose to power and was followed so fervently because he, like Trump, knew how to manipulate and feed into fear. How is 150,000, and counting, dead Americans acceptable? How is taking children and babies from their mothers and families for seeking a better life in America not reviled?

Trump successfully got people to believe “those” people are the rapists, murderers, gang members, looters, lazy grifters – when he is credibly accused, with current court proceedings against him by at least 2 women, backed up by at least 32 other women, of rape and molestation, and several of those he harmed were children. He has robbed people of their wealth, and his wealthy ‘gang’ is wreaking havoc across our nation. I’d rather see a territorial street gang in one city, than a cross-country crime spree USING OUR MONEY!

But that does not bother anyone? That does not disqualify him?

Learned helplessness is a thing. But I am not helpless. There are answers, and they are not easy, and they require dedication and sacrifice – sometimes our lives – but not one movement has changed anything without great disruption to the status quo. My right to vote was granted through spilled blood. Our right to direct representation was a desperate fight.

We are there. Oppressed people, and thankfully their allies, have come to the point where their oppression is so onerous that they would rather die fighting mob and dictatorial rule than be stomped on anymore.

And the resistance to their uprising among other, mostly ignorant, citizens is painful to witness.

We are so good at xenophobic responses when it is the people who look like America’s idea of the “right” color and class status doing the greatest harm.

Yeah, I could calm down and go for a walk or something, and I do step away and recharge, but this is not ending.

Maybe this is what my life has been all about. I have seen the writing on the wall since I was young. I did not witness an assassinated President, and his brother, or Martin Luther King, or Malcolm X, or any other freedom fighters in our nation, but notice how the ones who are killed are fighting oppression.

Other modern presidents have had assassination attempts, such as Reagan, but it was a crazed person, not a coordinated effort to kill his message or movement.

This world is ruled by evil, but good gets to moderate it as best we can. I am sure I contribute to the evil in ways I might not even realize, but I am championing good to win.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Debts To Pay’s Blog, 2010 – current

After The Storm

Our summer has been hot and humid – and I’ve already heard “Hot enough for ya?” greetings where a nod and a commiserating look suffices in answer.

We have been edging into drought since late May again for the third year in a row. There was no rain for over a month, but then a string of storms descended, like a fire hose on a match, and the town crews got busy removing felled branches and trees in the aftermath, while the electric company restores power, and residents clean up their yards and assess damage to their gardens or land.

We were lucky. Our garden sits to the side of the house, looking like it has no idea what the bother was.

Our neighbor’s weren’t so lucky.

A large tree crashed down, gouging into a long swath of the neighbor’s prized asparagus patch, the tree branches swiping through most of the row of blackberry bushes he planted last fall – sending not-quite-ripe berries scattered through their yard. Their asparagus which had grown tall and spindly with seeds, is no more. The roots are deep though, and next spring will likely see a new crop – and if the neighbors are brave, they’ll plant blackberry bushes again.

We pick ourselves back up and move on, if we haven’t been flattened. Maybe pieces were scattered over our soul’s yard – crumpled, raw, and overwhelming to look at, but we start somewhere. Maybe picking up bigger pieces and try to salvage whatever we can.

The job is too big for a day, and time fills in with other necessary tasks, and days turn to weeks turn to months – but we see it out there. It’s not going anywhere until we do something about it.

After inspecting our oblivious growing garden, I pull on my work gloves and start picking up branches and twigs in the neighbor’s yard and put them on the burn pile for next spring.

My neighbor is pushing bigger limbs with his tractor back into the tangle of vines and poplar trees that line the back of his property. I wave and smile and after he’s through we look at the damage together.

“Could have been worse,” he says with a grimace.

“Could have been better too,” I think, but just give a sympathetic smile and return to picking up some of the debris before heading back into the coolness of my house.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Where Are You, Mom?

Doe, Winter 2014, by her chicken coop

“Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom!” I just kept saying it over and over for several days, as if I could conjure you. I was lost. My guttural howls could not take away the emptiness.

I knew I would not be prepared. How could I be?

I thought our relationship was solid and clean, but regret has inched in anyway. Why couldn’t I save you? Did I do enough? Was I a good daughter, Mom? Did you feel loved and cared about?

You were.

I am limited, and I wish with all my heart I could have made your life better. I never got beyond thinking about how to do that, and everything we talked about doing felt like moving a mountain.

I imagine you’re free and flying around in the spirit world – or have you reincarnated (which was your fervent desire)?

Doe taking direction from Jerri – “Come on, Mom, it’ll be hilarious!”
Doe having a great time: “Take the damn picture,” she said.

It breaks my heart to think you might have stepped into another life – abandoning me again. I was too much for you – your children were too much – so you left, even if not physically. I was a child and needed you Mom. All your children needed you. I still feel like I need you.

I can understand how difficult your life was, and I know you loved us, but love is also a verb.

I forgave you as life went on, and I thought we got whole. I guess the onion metaphor is apt, but how many damn layers are there?

You did make living amends when I had my son, your only grandson. You were such a great grandmother. You helped heal so many of my childhood wounds, but your passing opened them again.

Grandma Doe with Austen
Doe with her daughters and grandson 2017

I wanted you to be here my whole life, as unrealistic as that is. I would have kept you suffering in your painful body for my selfish desire to have you near me, like I owned you or something. Like you somehow belonged to me – and I think that’s a trauma bit from when I was so very little, and so much terribleness was happening in our family, and in the world – just like it is again.

You’re lucky Mom. You got out. You’re not suffering anymore.

Do you miss being here though? Or is it better “there”? Where is “there”? Are you conscious? Is consciousness outside of the body, and we just believe it’s in the brain, or are you completely gone?

Please forgive me for my lack, Mom. Please forgive what I couldn’t manage. I don’t know if it was my job to make life the best it could be for you, but it feels like I failed you.

I liked our conversations and our mostly shared values and morals. I am grateful for the time I got with you. I am so glad I was close enough physically and emotionally to help you and spend time with you regularly.

Doe and Jerri in 2010
Laurel Lake swim day

I had wanted to do a “Tuesdays with Morrie” thing with you, but never got it together. I was going to call it “Wednesdays with Mom.” I have never been accused of being original.

Today is Wednesday, so, I guess I’ve begun. If you’re answering me, I’m too dull to hear it. I keep waiting for a sign that you’re still around, but I would doubt whatever you would send me anyway – and you probably know that – so why waste your energy?

Energy is something I absolutely know you still have because of the first law of thermodynamics: energy is neither created nor destroyed. It can only change form or increase. Physicist I am not. I don’t even understand much of it beyond the simplest of terms. Not that I don’t try. I blame my love of standing in front of Dad’s Lincoln Continental and breathing in the leaded gas fumes coming out of the car’s grill for my intelligence deficits. Sweet Jesus, why didn’t anyone stop me? I was 5? Did you even know about that, Mom? I doubt it.

Now, of course, we know that the leaded gas was spewing toxic lead into the air and landing everywhere, especially into my tender lungs and organs and bones as I stood there breathing deeply.

You wanted to make it to 103 years to best your Dad’s 102 years on earth, but you missed 90 by two months instead. Still, not a bad stretch.

I believed you though. My whole life you repeated that like a mantra. You were going to live to 103. It was just a fact we all accepted. You seemed to know, but obviously it was just hope.

Doe March 22, 1930 – January 2, 2020

And maybe you would have made that milestone if you didn’t drink so much, or if you had let us clean up your mildewing/ moldy stuff trailer while you lived – or if I was able to follow through on getting you a new-to-you trailer, or a tiny house that could have given you those 13 more years?

I know that what I was able to do was worthwhile. I have some sweet memories to savor. My job now is to keep the bitterness from spoiling them.

I love you Mom.

Doe circa 1936
High School graduation 1947
Doe 1950 something

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

I’m Tired Of It Too

I haven’t been here in a while. It’s all different, just like out in the world.

Pandemic, Epidemic

I’ve never been in one before – likely, neither have you. I say likely because there have been some epidemics – Ebola (continuing, but largely contained), MERS, and SARS (of which COVID-19 is one).

My partner and I have been sheltering-in-place for over a month, like most of America, and I just read an article in the Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/05/17/coronavirus-reopening-shopping-mall-georgia/?arc404=true

The article talks about a locale that has just ‘opened up’ and how everyone is feeling so chipper, and alive, and connected – and holy shit, isn’t that wonderful?

I get it. I do. But if/when they’re sucking air on a ventilator, or their loved-ones are, whom they blithely exposed to a deadly virus, will they feel the same?

I read with envy and despair.  A moment of pleasure means more to them than coping with hardship. They would totally eat the first marshmallow in the marshmallow challenge.

So, no amount of dead is too much for them. Some were quoted as how much this has been ‘overblown’. Did they see any fucking news for the last few months? Overblown?

Under-counted is the reality – but hey, whatever you need to tell yourself! Just stay the hell away from me and my family and friends. Cool? Cool.

The commune/cult I was in was fond of talking about Earth changes. They weren’t the prognosticator of such views/predictions, but they championed them. I see how they were on the right path in that instance. Even a broken clock is right twice a day…

The Earth has been ravaged by the worst among us – for years – and we’re finally paying the price.

I have been complicit too. I like my car. I like the open road, but not the pollution.

I don’t know what can be done about it. I weep for the Earth.  A dear friend of mine says she weeps because “we could have made the Earth a paradise”. That makes me weep too.

This year is barely half over and it has sucked like few other years have sucked in living memory.

I love my friends and I am grateful for the chance to try to help. Emphasis on “try”.  I have been selfish too. I wish I hadn’t. I wish I had been one of those born with others as my raison d’être, but I’m trying – and I applaud all others who have that as part of their being.

I cannot abide what is happening in the country I love – so I rise.

I will be named among those who sought to stop the kleptocracy and cons, the users and abusers.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

 

 

 

 

Cruel Chisel

There is a cruel chisel of hardened steel running through me.

It wants to harm everything it sees.

That impulse has shown through and marked everything in my life.

My better nature can push that down, or aside, but it’s always there – that cold rage and destructive nature.

Is that God?

God cannot then be infallible, and therefore not God.

If we’re ‘made in God’s image’, then god is, or was, human.

Maybe there are a succession of human gods – each dying off as a new one takes up the mantle.

Sometimes it’s a kind god telling us how we can be noble and creative – that we can use kindness and gladness through all our interactions and deeds.

Sometimes it has a deadly raging instinct and sees our worthlessness. We are a scourge on this earth. We are not ‘good’ or ‘noble’ or worth saving.

We are selfish, self-seeking, self-absorbed creatures fighting for status, relevance, power and greed.

We could have had a paradise.

We could have had a paradise.

We could have made this a paradise.

How will the next iteration fare?

I wish them better skills – better access to their higher natures.

I wish for their hardened steel to melt and reveal their gold.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Dental Revolution

Our teeth are so important to full functioning, and well-being. Mouth health is an important indicator of our overall health.

A dental revolution is important – worldwide. While hampered by circumstances like disease, accidents, disasters, drought, poverty, war, and greed, or other reasons for lack of access to good nutrition and care to keep their natural teeth, either full implants or implant-supported dentures is the way to go.

It’s currently prohibitively expensive for most, but that’s due to price setting. It’s inexpensive to make durable implants and caps, but skilled dentistry is needed for placement, and then good health practices while jawbones heal and continuing.

Or you can just get all your rotten teeth pulled and have to suffer with no dentures or dentures that won’t respond as your mouth changes over time (which is why my preference for all is permanent implants over implant-supported dentures).

Maybe there is bone disease or other illness that makes implants impossible, but a good friend who really wants to eat has dentures she hates, can’t taste her food with them in, and already has trouble feeling hungry due to multiple bouts of cancer and how that, plus radiation and chemotherapy, ravaged her body. She’d love a good steak. She can’t bite into it, and can’t really taste it with her dentures in.

The sooner an implant is placed – like immediately after a tooth removal if possible – the better the prognosis. Sometimes there isn’t enough bone, so a bone graft is needed before the implant body can be placed. It takes another six months or so to heal and set so that the implant can then be placed, and then more special care while that heals before the cap is finally placed.

Now, the cost is anywhere from $7,000 to $90,000 for implant-supported dentures: http:// https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=12&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwikzoDLoq3jAhXoUt8KHZ0mDnoQFjALegQIARAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.authoritydental.org%2Fimplants-cost&usg=AOvVaw0wVKKhkrbGzb_9XM5JXCm_

And the cost for a complete set of implants can be $30,000 – $90,000, according to one dental site: https://www.spiritdental.com/blog/individuals/the-cost-of-dental-implants-broken-down&highlight=WyJicmlkZ2UiXQ==

However, those costs are wildly variable depending on where you get them, and what dental insurance covers. Besides that, with education and lobbying, there is enough tax-money that could be diverted and used to help defray the costs of permanent teeth for all – at least in the U.S. Foundations and charities also exist to help with costs not covered by insurance, or could be set-up to help cover costs.

Proper nutrition and keeping our natural teeth our whole life is best, of course, but humans chronically lack consistent good care for a myriad of reasons, and keeping teeth is more valuable than is currently recognized. Not only does it increase self-esteem to have proper teeth, but our communication and even our facial structures change when we lose our teeth and jawbone anatomy.

Medicine is constantly improving and evolving, and there may be further dental care improvements with 3-D printing, and laser surgery, but until those are perfected, life-long teeth, with its associated less suffering, is achievable. We just have to have the will to see it through.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current