In Memorium

Dimitra Clark

August 27, 1959 – May 6, 2023

Dimitra was a lover of knowledge, devour-er of books (especially science fiction and science discoveries), and she was also a vocalist with a beautiful, clear voice who loved many musical genres, and who sang back-up in various bands as a teen and continued singing with individuals and groups throughout her life, as well as having sung in the Greenfield Community College Choir for several years in the early to mid-1980’s.

She enjoyed playing a range of video games from Zelda, and Myst, to other interesting finds. She especially enjoyed all things Star Trek, and was so excited when William Shatner got to orbit the earth on the Blue Origin rocket ship in 2021.

Dimitra was also a writer who spent years honing her craft. She had so many ideas for books, especially her favorite Science Fiction genre, and she was developing an online marketing business to teach writing.

As a lifelong scholar, Dimitra’s thirst for knowledge, understanding, justice, and compassion was unceasing.

Her spirit and life animals were cats, and she had many throughout her life. Dimitra saw and felt her devoted cat, Skitty, every day while she battled body-ravaging cancer in the last weeks of her life, even though Skitty’s physical body was miles away at home. Dimitra said that Skitty would lay curled up to her neck every night.

Dimitra was a devoted and generous friend and parent who treated all children in her life as she would her own. She raised five children, mainly by herself, and worked several jobs just to keep her children clothed and housed. Her love, wit, and great humor filled in many rough spots along the way.

Through a childhood filled with deep trauma and neglect, she found a way to break those chains for her children to be free, even if lifting those chains off of herself proved too onerous.

Her love and care was apparent through her children’s, and daughter-in-law Audrey’s, devotion, and all of her children: Brendan, Moriah, Levi, David (and his wife Audrey) and Sam, were by her side in the last weeks of her life, along with her adored grandchildren, Penny and Milo, who all surrounded her with love and care. Her best friend, Jerri, was also able to come out to see her, and Dimitra was such an amazing friend that she asked for less pain medication so she could be present for Jerri’s visit – even though it cost her more comfort.

Any who wish to donate for Dimitra’s medical expenses can contribute through her family’s GoFundMe account:

https://gofund.me/8bb65d9d

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh), Making A Way Blog, 2010 – current

To Everything…

All morning the rain has fallen, soaking the greening ground in my northeastern town. The growing season is here – the birds trill out their morning song most days, but not today.

The birds are sheltering in while the hard rain falls. Only the deer venture out from the woods to eat the fresh tender shoots.

Spring mornings feel gentle, though I know strenuous work has been (and continues) happening to break new buds open, to push up the snow drops, crocuses, daffodils and tulips from the hard, cold earth in rapid succession.

So many trees and flowers are gorgeous with their blooms, but standing out are the yellows of daffodils, dandelions and forsythia blooms that are now bursting out along their stems.

I once learned at a Chinese medicine workshop that spring is the season of anger, and yellow is its color. That anger offers the force needed to push through the semi-frozen, hard-packed soil of my mind.

It’s a losing proposition to try to regulate my emotions well, and lately The Byrds’ version of Turn, Turn, Turn plays in my mind several times a day as I keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Pete Seeger arranged passages from the biblical book of Ecclesiastes:

To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time for every purpose, under Heave
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A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together…

Death is as close as life, but I act as though I will be here forever so endings always feel too soon.

I know it’s fear. I shouldn’t fear the ‘unknown’ because I once knew it, if I were somewhere before I was here – and the conservation of energy tells me that I was because energy is neither created nor destroyed. Energy can only be transformed or transmuted. While that could be comforting, it does not comfort or console.

I don’t know what it was like before this time. I don’t know if I had any senses to determine anything. It appears that this is a unique experience.

Do we report back somewhere? If I am taken to account will I quiver in a dark corner for eternity?

It’s important to me to do my best in this world – whatever my best has looked like, and whatever it will continue to look like until I die.

Another biblical passage from I-don’t-care-where reads that ‘the wages of sin are death.’ Like a bulb flash the other day, I understood that the payment for being born (sin) is death. It’s as simple as that. It’s not a judgement, it’s a fact.

Another passage allegedly from Jesus, is that ‘those who love their life will lose it, and those who hate their life will keep it forever.’ To me that speaks to the ‘middle way.’ Don’t be overly attached, or despairing. This was always temporary.

That still doesn’t answer what the point of having a flesh body is, except that it is a singular experience, I guess.

Maybe we reincarnate and maybe we don’t. Maybe the physical world is like choosing an adventure package from the spirit realm. Maybe there are infinite worlds we can inhabit in different forms – or maybe we never have to leave home and can learn about it from others? I suppose that would make experiencing it for oneself attractive. (Suckers!)

(Maybe being in a flesh body is more like the carnival in Tom Sawyer where you pay your entrance fee, but there is nothing to see inside – you’ve been suckered – but you leave and tell those about to enter how great it is.)

I can ponder the unknowable all day and I will be right back where I am now, no closer to understanding a damn thing. The clue has always been right there in bold type: it’s UNKNOWABLE.

All I can do is focus on the moment.

What stones am I gathering? What should I cast away? Is that something I can know? I think I should cast away what hinders me – but with all the practice from all the therapy and knowledge I have gained throughout my life, I still haven’t cast much away!

I don’t want any of my people to leave this world while I’m here, but so many already have – and one day – sooner than I can imagine, I will too. I just really hope it doesn’t suck.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh), Making A Way Blog, 2010 – current

Burning Bright

She laughed and smiled, and went home planning to die.

She drank or drugged to feel different, and for several beautiful minutes she felt whole and worthy, but it was so brief, and it didn’t fill the gaping hole of worthlessness.

Justifying her existence became her job. Hiding became her daily pursuit. Hiding in plain sight.

She couldn’t afford to let you know her even though she was desperate to be known, to be loved, to be accepted – to matter.

Every failure confirmed her lack of value, and she told herself that everyone knew she was shit – it was a pheromone radiating off of her.

Shame was her cloak – its vile fabric wrapping its folds so tightly around her.

She didn’t even know she had fallen back into the pit. She had reopened all the old escape hatches, but they didn’t hide her anymore.

Until she remembered, and really understood that she had to change her self-beliefs – to love her unlovable self, and learn to act differently, nothing could change.

Living was becoming unendurable, but she was still too afraid to kill herself. In a fog of self-loathing, she was gifted the memory of once having worked hard to like herself – even reaching a sense of love and self-worth.

“No one provides worth or value,” came the small voice. “It is always self-derived. It was never fostered as a child – that shame belonged to others who failed their duties. But it’s still possible,” said the voice.

“Let the flicker become a brilliant blaze, and know that all fires go out if they are not fed. And a fire will burn whatever fuel its given – so feed it worthy fuel.”

Addendum: It’s also okay to borrow fuel from others if all you have is shit to burn.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh), Making A Way Blog, 2010 – current

None Of My Business

I heard something today that I heard a long time ago, but keep forgetting: it is none of my business what anyone else thinks of me, and none of anyone else’s business what I think of them. What I think is irrelevant.

Tending to my own life, to my own path, is all that is required of me.

I cannot count on anyone else – it isn’t fair to put that burden on anyone – but it sure is nice to have friends who don’t mind walking beside me time to time through this world.

My job is to meet people where they are and have no expectations of them. It sounds easy, but it’s not.

I hate change, and I hate having to change. LOL

It’s uncomfortable, it’s painful, even, but it’s life.

Is there some being or force overseeing all of this, guiding us, or willing to guide us if we so choose?

I have no idea.

Sometimes I would like to believe that, but in order to accept that I have to also accept that that force or being is also cool with horror. So I stay away.

Let it be.

I don’t want to argue anyone else’s philosophy, or point of view. Evil exists. We see it every day. It’s so enormous that it’s almost paralyzing, and I have to tune it out.

Maybe I’m a coward. Maybe I deserve all that I get.

I don’t know.

I believed in love. I really thought love would change the world. I really thought showing up and speaking out would change the world for the better.

Maybe it has and I can’t see it.

I don’t know. It feels like just a lot of wasted energy.

I have been very naïve my whole life. I was idealistic, I was hopeful. I’m not ready to give into the forces of evil, but they feel stronger than the forces of love lately.

I’m ready to leave the world – whenever my time comes. I believe I have done my best.

My imagination leads me to a quiet place out in the universe somewhere. There is no sight or sound, and no worries. There is no happiness, no sadness, no anger, no hate, but also no love. It’s just energy, I guess. At least that’s what science says. Energy is neither created nor destroyed, and everything must go somewhere.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh), Making A Way Blog, 2010 – current

Implausible

I forgot about the passage of time. I knew it was happening, but I didn’t believe it was real. My body sure knows it’s real.

I didn’t believe I would one day look in the mirror and see my mother as she was at my age – when I thought she was old – but now I know she really wasn’t, at least not in the way I thought of age thirty years ago. It’s all perspective.

It’s also the package deal I accepted by being born. You live, you grow, you age, and then you die.

When I was 12 I saw some illustrations in a book about the human life cycle. One showed a male and the other showed a female going from babyhood to old age. I was so angry and disgusted when I saw aging illustrated, and I vowed it would not happen to me – as though it only happened because some idiot made a drawing of it.

I did not want to become old and wrinkled. I did not want my life to be taken from me. I thought I had beat aging because I remained relatively young-looking for a long time.

I’m certainly not what I assumed about that drawing – that life was over because you’ve aged – but I internalized that. I think I thought that people age because of their attitude. Some people at the commune/cult I lived in actually said that, and I internalized that as well. “You only age because you think you’re going to,” said that 20-something-year-old to the general agreement of the throng of people sitting around.

And I thought we were special. I thought we were “chosen” as I so often heard. I really believed it though. Part of me still believes it despite knowing better.

I failed, I think to myself. I let the world get to me – or I wouldn’t have aged.

I see people give up all the time – otherwise known as acceptance.

I want to fight it. I see people fighting it to the very end. Isn’t that what all the plastic surgery and body modification is about? Isn’t it a wish for immortality?

I have deeper lines and sagging neck skin now. It pisses me off every time I see it. My failure staring back at me.

My mother stopped looking in the mirror and now I know why.

Without the mirror I can feel like I am still young, and believe I look to others as I wish to appear. But then I see that I am somehow cordoned-off from those not-so-young-themselves-anymore, but younger than me, and I am shunted into the next category. It’s just an observation, but sure, it’s sad. It’s probably self-pitying.

The saying: “We’re here for a good time, not a long time,” should pacify me. I repeat many of those type of sayings to myself. “Life is what you make it – always has been – always will be,” – and the woman who said that was about 80 at the time. Grandma Moses – Anna Mary Robertson Moses. It’s just whistling in the dark though. A platitude. A pacifier.

Life happens with or without consent, approval or control. I do my best to be steadfast and positive, but you can only eat so many shit sandwiches before starting to call them what they are.

I am trying to accept my aging in a culture that tells me in a million subtle (and not so subtle) ways that to age is to fail.

I’m a little late to the show but I’m trying to embrace my aging and not just pretend to accept it. How do I do that?

Defiance.

I defy the 12 year-old girl looking at that book making a lifetime judgement through an illustration. She has no right to determine how my life has unfolded, or what my aging means. Fuck her. She’s fucking 12 for god’s sake! I defy the 20-something-year-old know-nothings, no wiser than that 12 year-old, and whose lives unfolded as all life on earth unfolds. They aged, and they died, or they will die. They have health struggles, and memory problems, right along with any wisdom accrued. I defy all the plastic surgery (which I would get in a damn heartbeat if I could afford it), but it’s still an inability to accept aging. It’s also a form of defiance too, though, but it often just looks circus-freakish (no offense to non-conforming circus persons).

So what is wisdom and perspective for? Is it just to talk to myself because the young have no interest in what the old have to say? I don’t know. My son has no use for any wisdom I possess, but maybe my wisdom is just anxiety? I want his life to defy life itself!

Maybe all of our lives do just that in the implausibility of us being here at all.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh), Making A Way Blog, 2010 – current

Messages To The Future

Maybe so much of my depression has been because of all the false starts, or half-hearted attempts at completing creative projects. I hear my therapy sessions whispering that my procrastination was and is not laziness. (It’s the PTSD, stupid. It’s the trauma.)

I know the best way out is through, but how long is through? An entire lifetime? I feel like I’m missing out on life’s best moments while hitting all of life’s pitfalls. I guess I need to carry a ladder – but ladders are cumbersome aren’t they?

I know some would just say to avoid the pitfalls, but, for me, that’s like saying “just stop breathing.” So, until I figure out how to no longer need a ladder up and out of these setbacks, I will continue working on a lightweight, fold-able, unobtrusive ladder that works for me.

“Works for me” is the key phrase – for all of us. Maybe what I do is the absolute opposite of what you should do. Maybe the ladder you built, or found, or have always had and used with ease is not attainable for me. Maybe all the guru spewing, consciousness-raising, ego-deflating advice isn’t helpful.

The best I can say is that I hope I find what is important to a more creative life and way less struggle – but I’ll keep championing myself, and us, in the collective struggle, and challenges, and also revel in our victories.

On my doctor’s wall is a framed statement by Brené Brown:

What we don’t need in the midst of struggle is shame for being human.

She also has a sticker on her laptop that says “I love drug users,” so she’s a pretty cool doc. She’s working to address the opioid crisis, while acknowledging that the war on drugs has been a big fail.

The opposite of addiction is connection. Sometimes it’s connection to ourselves most of all.

The ability to choose something different, to hope – to persevere in spite of circumstances – takes self-love, and compassion. And it is creative, even if it’s the smallest speck of belief that I will rise, and that I will complete what’s important to me before my time comes.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh), Making A Way Blog, 2010 – current

Free To Love

I don’t mean to always be writing about a dark journey. This is where I currently am. I just don’t have time for bullshit anymore – if I ever really did.

It used to be important to me to seem like everything was fine. I hid from all except a select few. Like so many of us, most never knew my full story – they got to know what felt safe to tell them.

We grow up knowing the lay of the land, don’t we? If we want to be our true selves, we walk a narrow path. I learned to live in disguise for so much of my life.

While none of us are guaranteed another minute of life, most of us seem to live fairly long lives – in human time at least. Eventually, we have more days behind us than ahead of us, no matter how rich or well-connected we might be.

Maybe we think more urgently about our life’s purpose – if there is such a thing – or what being here means to us. Is there a point?

If you’re religious, the point is built in. You have a structure, and you never have to question anything. You follow the directions, and you’re good – safe in your salvation. Except that we’re often more complicated than that. Faith is tested – sometimes to being undone.

I was never very faithful, but I have always been faithful. A friend once told me I think about God/dess more than anyone she had ever met. It makes me laugh to think about that because I am no friend of deities. I think about it so much because I want to understand it. Who made gods and goddesses? Humans did. Maybe we need to believe. Maybe I need to believe.

But, in what? That some magical being is going to greet me when my body dies and tell me what a good job I did getting through hell?

“Fuck off” is what I will say to that being. It watched me and did nothing? It saw the shit that I and every other being on this rock slog through and thought it was okay to let us slog? Or if all it could do was watch us and hope for the best for us – what is that?

What did we gain? What is the place that we are going to that being “honed” through being alive will be useful for?

I don’t like being a pawn.

My mother thought that we’re all goddesses and gods creating this world as we go.

Roger Ebert’s last words or sentiment stayed with me. His wife said he wrote a note to her that this place is “an elaborate hoax,” or that “it’s all an illusion.”

It’s all an illusion.

What does that mean if that is true? Can you jump off and that is okay? None of this matters?

If I leave now, my son will be sad – I think. He has a whole new family now. A much better one that anything I could ever give him.

His wife’s family lives in a beautiful house on a bay of Lake Champlain. They seem to have what I wish I had had.

My son does not visit me. I am not complaining – I am noticing. I’m noticing that his preferred place is a place I would also prefer. I understand that it’s also his wife’s family home, and that is what they do – which is good. I am happy for them. I’m just saying that my absence wouldn’t be life changing.

It would be, of course, in some way. My mother’s death was life-altering for me, but my father’s death was not.

I think there was, and remains, a trauma bit left about my mother – something that my brain wiring connects to something so deep I honestly cannot describe it, but I think my son and I are clean and free from that. He does not have the trauma wiring that I have.

What a huge accomplishment that is, says my objective self.

Mostly, being free from myself is what’s important to me. I don’t know how to do that yet. It’s a work in progress. What’s important is not dragging this weight around after I leave my body (if I retain my consciousness). It’s all in my brain. And if it isn’t, then it’s all in my consciousness.

I thought that I was supposed to do something memorable in this world. But most people never do. We just live.

For the few nanoseconds (or way, way less) of eternity that I was here – if there are ever psychic archeologists – I want them to find the vestiges of love left where I walked, and lived, and was. I want them to discover that my love emanated out into the universe in a network that continues on and will never fade.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh), Making A Way Blog, 2010 – current

I Miss My Mom

I was going to write about how rock and roll aging is, but my mother zoomed into my awareness and I dearly miss her. She was fucked up. She trashed her body with alcohol and guilt and shame. Sounds familiar.

Regardless of anything else, I was close to her. She was my mom. She was important to me. She was the person I went to when things sucked – even if we didn’t talk about it. We’d have a crappy cup of coffee, and I just got to be in her presence. She made me. There is no other person on this earth – this heaven – this hell – that can say that.

I have dear, dear friends – and I would be deeply angry if they leave this world before me, especially Dimitra who has been here for me since I was 10 and she was 11. We are soul mates. If there was any type of organization before zooming into this world, we made a plan to stick together no matter how far apart we got. It’s just how it is.

I love my family – deservedly or not. That does not mean I accept terrible treatment, and they are on notice now in a way they never were before. I have self-love and self-respect that I did not have a good handle on for most of my life, so I was often treated less well than I deserved, or at least as I felt I should be treated. Now, however, I think my siblings know that this life is fleeting, and possibly only love remains. Only connection can be accessed beyond this plane of existence. At least, that’s how it seems to me.

I refuse the stupid reward/punishment paradigm. It sucks being on earth – for so many reasons. It’s also astounding to be on earth for so many reasons. I am reveling in how beautiful and varied this world is. I weep for what humanity has done when we had information and choices and ignored both.

As someone once said: humans are the only species that knowingly shits where it eats. That stands for pollution, over population, and all poor stewardship of our planet.

But, today, on my birthday eve, my mom is here. I am glad she is, even if it means I miss her human companionship. I want to talk to her. There are so many things I want to ask her – things that I cannot know without her input, and that is now lost forever. If I were psychic – or super psychic – I would be able to chit chat, and maybe get information that I want, but I can’t see her. I can’t hug her. I can’t be in her presence like I could before. Warranted or not, I felt comforted around my mom. I felt belonging. My oldest brother said that we’re orphans now, the day after my mother’s death.

I feel orphaned because all of the relatives that I loved and felt loved by are gone. My aunts and uncles are all gone, and me & my cousins’ generations are next on life’s conveyor belt. My mother was the youngest of eleven, but several of her siblings were still having children when she was too.

I am choosing to believe that my mom is surrounding me with love, wishing me a happy day tomorrow.

I miss and love you Mom.

One Year To Live

I heard about taking a year to live as if it’s my last, and I’ve decided to do it. Maybe it really will be, who knows!

My son is getting married in October, and I kind of feel nothing. I guess I’m just neutral? I’ll probably feel more interested or invested at the wedding.

I suppose I could tell my son I am doing this ‘last year to live’ experiment and ask for some time with him, because if it actually were my diagnosis, that is what I would want to have happen.

What do you do with a year to live?

I have made plans to do the things I have always wanted to do – that I can do – and I have started clearing out old files and noticing what continues to have importance to me that someone will have to just dump when I kick it.

When I look back on my life I have so much regret. I did not manage to do the things I said were important to me. Some would say that they couldn’t have been that important or I would have pursued them, but that is not a fair assessment. That is someone looking in from the outside and not chained in a mind like mine.

I understand it’s my own fault in some measure, but I’m also a trauma survivor for whom being able to function has been an achievement of sorts.

We all experience trauma. There is no escaping it. It is what we are able to do in spite of trauma that is our triumph.

Some people who didn’t experience trauma in infancy and continuing through to adulthood might not be as limited by the experience, or maybe they carried on well even if they had intense challenges from the get-go.

That cannot be a measure for everyone else, however. “I did it so you can too,” is one of the most fucked-up things a person can say to another. Tell me how you minimize without telling me how you minimize is what anyone should get from that.

You don’t know me. You don’t know what I’ve lived through, or tried, or continue to work at.

My star was in my ability to laugh and to love.

I did my best to be kind even though I know I’ve been an asshole plenty in my life. I hope that the balance will show more kindness and caring than the opposite.

It is okay to not have reached my goals – at least I had them.

Every time I gave up and railed about life, I got back up.

I lived. I experienced a full range of emotion. I have been a life-long learner. Hell, I’ve been studying Spanish for four years now and I still suck at it – but I haven’t given up. I also tend a garden. I love seeing plants grow – and I love fostering their growth. I adore beauty. Hiking and being in nature fills me with such reverence and joy.

I am with a partner who deeply loves me, and I love him. That was a near miss for me. I had a broken picker for so long when it came to romance that I happily gave it up. Maybe that allowed a space for someone good to come into my life, or maybe I just got lucky.

Sitting outside drinking my coffee on a summer morning with the sun warming me is about as close to paradise as I could imagine.

I will continue to work for peace in this time I have left, and to speak out against injustice.

I’m a bit worried about what’s after this life, if there is anything. I’m not afraid of some terrible god, I’m afraid of being bored. It would probably be good if there is just nothing after this.

If I could report back, I would.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh), Making A Way Blog, 2010 – current

The Years Teach Much

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote “The years teach much which the days never know,” and as time goes on I feel that much deeper.

I carry a weighty sadness for not being able to get out of my own way through the years, and I don’t know whether I was just lazy, or didn’t really want what I said I wanted, or what I said mattered, or if it truly was that most of the time getting through my day was a laudable accomplishment.

I have so many questions if this is not a random universe and my being is not an astounding stroke of luck in such a universe.

I don’t know what the difference is between someone who attains their goals and lives a fulfilled life and someone who doesn’t – even when they sincerely try – or believe they sincerely try.

It’s not like nothing happened. A whole life was lived and managed – for better or worse.

I grew up, procreated, and am coming into my declining years – kicking and screaming.

I am a writer. I am writing. I have been an actor, and I have been a singer – in a band even!

Those were the goals I had. The famous part eluded me. Maybe that’s a good thing.

I was a hurt, vulnerable person in a sick and suffering world, and likely would have been prey as I had been anyway – but maybe not. There is no control me to know for sure.

Maybe I would have had protection from the predators – or lots of dumb luck.

Or I could have died in a back alley somewhere, or become what was done to me.

I did none of that.

I did want to end me – sometimes still do – but it’s far less than it was (most of the time.)

Worries about facing consequences in a spiritual realm kept me from offing myself – that and my son.

I rose as much as I fell though. I battled my way back after every down turn. The problem is the cycle never ended. It was exhausting. It is exhausting.

I couldn’t find a medication that worked, or that I could tolerate. I know several people who have said that they would likely not be alive if they had not found the right medication. Why am I such an anomaly?

That’s rhetorical. I just am, is the answer. It’s not personal. It just sucks.

If I did choose this, why can’t I un-choose it? If karma is real, what the hell did I do (or what hell did I do)? Why don’t we remember how we screwed up before so we can avoid repeating it?

I look around at the world and it seems to be on a perpetual rinse and repeat doom cycle everywhere.

If there is a harmonious, functioning, peaceful society who won’t tolerate predators, they have hidden themselves well away from the rest of us. If there’s a secret handshake, or phrase, or code – I want to find it out and join them.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh), Making A Way Blog, 2010 – current