Last Breath

The darkened room was silent, except for the sound of labored breathing and muffled tears. I held her hand as she cried in her sleep. In the next bed lay the body of her husband. The peaceful look on his face hid the fact that his soul was gone from his now cooling flesh. We waited together in the dark for the undertakers arrival. They had years together, built a family and an empire. But in the end it had only been she and I with him. His mind had wandered in and out. Conversations had been scattered through the pages of their life. She had kept pace with his ramblings as if it were normal. I had smoothed his hair and the covers of his bed. She smiled at me with appreciation, for doing the things her body would no longer allow her to do. She looked as me and quietly said, “he is leaving us soon, I know it” And there in the darkness he left. But not before turning his head and gazing in her direction. His last words were of his love. No I will not share them. Those were special and private and THEIRS. I was honored to have been, but a fly on the wall in that moment. To see what years of love could bring.

After he was gone I did my job and laid him out in preparation as I had been taught. I placed the call and returned to her side. We were together through the night, the three of us. Her hand, with fingers bent from illness and time, so firmly grasped mine. Tear filled eyes looked at me and lips uttered this phrase repeatedly. “I knew it was going to be hard, I had no idea it would be this hard”

In the end she lost her own battle. Only a short month latter she gave up the fight. And I spent that night with her too. The rasping breath of a woman who’s heart had left her when he left. She had not the strength to talk. So I smoothed her hair and her covers and held her hand as she let go of her last breath. And like before I laid her out, made the call, and waited. And there in the darkness I cried. And I heard her voice ring I my ears. “I knew it was going to be hard, but I had no idea it was going to be this hard”.

 

Life sometimes give you the basis for the best stories. Every word of this one is true. I think of them often and how after a lifetime together they loved as deeply as ever. And how their loss marked my heart.

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Kinda

She sat in her chair and lovingly ran her hand across her stomach. It had become rounder and softer with age. The lines there were from her only child. She remembered how her body had changed and grown with each passing day. She joking called the stretch marks a down town LA road map. She had wanted more, but that had not been in the cards. Life with her ex had been hard enough as it was. He could barley stand to compete with their daughter for her attention, much less one or two more.

Now years had past and she was a woman with eggs but no basket. Health issues had forced her to let the doctors perform surgery. And by then she had welcomed it. Begged for it in fact. But now, now in the arms of a loving a wonderful man she had MOMENTS. The ones when she wished. Well Kinda. She had begun to understand her ex husbands behavior some. As much as part of her would of loved to have another child. Especially with the man her heart held so tightly. She knew it was all for the best. She was not young any more. And she was now the one who wanted all of the attention her mate had to offer. Instead she would embrace with abandon the grandchildren she was about to inherit. The beautiful shinny faces that called her grandma. And she would hope for the day when her own daughter had road map stretch marks and lovingly rubber her own growing stomach.

If nothing else she had learned this in life… Family is not always blood. And love, real love, will grab ahold of your heart and give you all that you need, if you just let it. With one more glace down she patted her once firmer body and relished in the fact that her heart and flesh now slept happily next to a man who called her beautiful, and princess, and pumpkin, and my Queen. And who loved her curves. And her grandkids.

That perfect spot

The day was a busy one. Full of hustle and bustle. Her life at the moment was one mad symphony of movement. So much happening all at one time. Her work was a bit slow, but that just meant she had work to do. She needed to re build it after letting everything fall apart when she did. Her baby girl was about to become a bride. And all of the planning was falling into place. But that meant she was even busier. She loved it. The bowling seasons where coming to an end, but now there were tournaments to attend and help run. To someone else it would all be to much. To her it was the sign of a happy life.

She had spent the day doing a 100 little things. Move the couch, vaccume everything, dust, clean the space under the sink, hang pictures, move the bed, move the table, sort, clean,dust, laundry…… On and on. And by the end of the day she was spent. Still she cooked him dinner. Baked chicken, fresh hot rolls, squash and cowboy caviar ( corn, onion, black beans, peppers, and mango). When he got home his kiss was the first thing. She loved his kisses. Dinner and conversation about the day followed. That talk meant so much to her. For him to share his life, even the little things, was a great gift to  her heart. Finally it was Her time.

The two of them curled up on the couch. That perfect spot with her head on his chest listening to the combined rhythm of his breath and his heart. All day she had felt hurried, but here the world slowed. She closed her eyes and felt his kisses on her forhead. All she could do was smile and snuggle in closer. With his chin resting on her head she was finally steady and slowed. Life was indeed filled with may things to bring one joy. But for her this was the perfect place and her perfect moment.

Making Pretty…..

What she did was not magic. But, well maybe it was. Often she felt like the combination of sculptor and therapist. Digging beneath the layers of life to find the pretty. All the while listening to the stories of life that made each client so unique. She loved her job, she always had. Even on the days when everyone came in snarling instead of smiling. Mostly because she knew that by the time they left they would at least have a little spring back in their step. Nothing made the world brighter than a good shampoo and to erase a year or 10 with fresh color. Most people thought her job was easy, but they had not spent 20 years behind the chair. Physically it beat the crap out of you. Standing for hours on end, your arms held up in the air like a marionette without the strings. And Mentally, more emotionally as your clients developed a comfort level with you like a beloved friend. They unloaded all of their emotions on you. And if you were empathic like she was, well then you not only heard, but FELT every emotion right along with them.

This day was no different than most. She had a book full and was eager to dive in. Spring was here and that meant change. Women changed their hair with the seasons. And the creative spirit in her was chomping at the bit to get out. Today was one of those days and she would make pretty where ever she could.

Broken Princess

brokenprincess

Her dress was to short, her heels to high. And the crimson shade on her lips was smeared across her battered face. How she had tried to be a better woman. But life kept handing her some rough hands. Once she had been his princess. Living a life on a tufted pedestal. Held with such high reguard. Men admired her from afar and only had quiet desires. She was out of their league. She enjoyed the adoration and was adept at baiting them into craving her even more. But she was perfectly placed on her glass shelf to shine above the world.

 

Then one day it happened. He bored of her and tossed her aside into the gutter of life. She had no real skills. Pretty was her only asset. And here in the mean streets pretty only got you one thing. Used. So she set out with her only skill set, attempting to survive. And pretty faded. Like the pink in her dress that was once Marilyn bright, it was now faded Barbie. To many times through the washer in attempt to erase her choices. To extract the stench of layers of men off of her once pretty party gown. Hand were no longer sweet and loving. But hard and brutal. They took from her what little she had left and did so without a single care. She was used, abused, and tossed out like so much fodder.

There in the dark, she lost the battle. The war had won and there were no more rounds. The broken princess simply faded into the dark. Some where in a dimly lit coffee shop he thought of her with fond memories and wondered what had become of her. But his pride had not let him admit he had been wrong. So he lived to the end of his days missing her once pretty face and never knowing how she faded.

Through my eyes

Have you ever hoped that someone could see themselves through your eyes?

To see in themselves all that you so clearly see?

I have, I do, and I can only wait patiently for that to happen.

For him to see in himself all that everyone else knows is there.

I see that confidence in him in other places

The strength and self assurance of a man who knows who he is and what he is capable of

I see it in him when he takes my hand and looks into my eyes

A man who knows that he has my heart and my love

I see it when he holds conversations with friends

How they will sit with intent and listen to what he as to say

I see it when he is quietly talking to my unruly grandson and magically he does exactly as I asked

I see it during talks with my daughter, how she is clearly aware of how happy this man has made me

In his laugh and his jokes and in his kiss

In how he patiently listens as his grandmother talks

And how he takes in the lessons from his dad and grandfather

How when everyone else is losing patience with his step mom he gently reminds us that she is Just who she is

He struggles to find his groove in this new job.

But I see the man his boss sees. Otherwise she would not have offered him this place in her world.

He is smart and capable and strong. Not just of body but of heart and soul.

He forgets my simple rule…

One Day

one breath

one moment…

for this is all we have. And that no matter what life throws our way

I see my King.

And I would know, because he calls me his Queen

Old Demons

ImageSo much of her life had been a swirl of abuse and neglect and torment. Somewhere in it all she had learned one lesson, sex was love.

Or at least that was what she thought. She grew and married. And for a couple of years everything was ok. He loved her, he bedded her. But things changed and they had a child and his love for her grew distant. Soon he never touched her at all. He loved money. At least the things that money bought. That was what he touched. So she worked harder and harder. If she could only make his life easier then maybe. Just maybe. But in the end even that was not enough. And the girl, now a woman, packed her bags and left.

Sex was a weapon, a tool to be used. And she wielded it well. It got her gifts and adoration. But not LOVE.

One day in spite of her best intentions, she found love. Or better yet, love found her. It snuck into her heart and rooted there. But still those old demons would show up. She felt love in his touch. Saw it in his eyes. Knew it by the many little and wonderful things he did for her. Still somehow she waged a war of the mind. If he did not bed her like a hormone raged 19 yr old she began to doubt. Not his love, but her desireability. And if he did not desire her then for how long would he love her.

Foolish woman.. You have learned this lesson. You know its truths and its lies. Why? Why do you let it into your mind like this? What is it you are so afraid of?

I am afraid of losing this love! Life has not given me a love like this one. It is simple and pure and true. But is comes with past demons for us both. I am afraid that one day he will not look at me with want and then he will no longer love me. He is afraid that one day I will wake up and want to be somewhere else. Oh those old Demons. it is time to do battle with the past and embrace the future. For it is full of love.

Today

Today is….

There is no simple one word description of what today is.

It is warm and sunny and coaxing me out into the outdoors in sandals.

It Is happiness because I finally got to talk to a friend on the phone who shares my unique name.

It is bliss because I woke up next to a man who calls me pumpkin and kiss me like no one else ever has.

It is simple joy because my 4 legged children played on the bed this morning like sweet puppies.

It is more than I could of dreamed possible and full of promise

I have been told that Happiness has been good for me.

That I am so visibly different since I took those big steps in my life

And more so since I fell flat on my face for this amazing man

No he is not perfect. But he is perfect for me.

And every day I strive to be perfect for him

I know I fall short. I know I miss the mark.

Ok the mark in my head is probably higher than reachable

But I have perfectionist issues

and I own them

So today I am simply going to embrace the happiness in this moment.

To breath deep this breath

to laugh this laugh

and love this love

because today is here and now

and tomorrow, if I am lucky I will get to embrace it all over again.

Spoiled

yes I am

I need to know I am the center of your universe

I need to feel it in each kiss

To see it in your eyes and in every touch

Do I think I want to much?

Hell no

I deserve to get as good as I give

To have my kisses met with the same passion

To have my skin feel the same fire that runs through my finger tips into yours

To taste on your lips the sweetness from my most precious places

Am I spoiled?

You know I am

Because you have made me this way

I am not your mother

Every day life teaches me a lesson. This has been a hard one. I am not the worlds Mother. Yes I care and that makes me motherly. Yes I give loving support and direction, but that does not make me someone’s mother either. Yes I bake cookies like a fiend, but that does not dictate that I am the MOMMY. I cook, I clean, I mend, I make. But I am not the MOMMY.

There are grown people in my life who need a friend. A friend is there for support in hard times. A shoulder to lean on, someone to dry your tears. The bringer of icecream when your heart is broken. To bring the casserole when life is lost and hearts need reminded to feed the body. Friends do not fix your problem. But they make the suffering less painful as you trudge your way into the fire to fix it yourself.

I have to stop trying to be the fixer of broken stuff. To let people stand on their own two feet. To get their own shit done. Even those who declare that they are GROWN UPS but who some times act more like children. If I do their stuff for them, they will never be able to stand alone and do it for themselves.

This is not easy for me. But I have found that in being the mommy, I have become resentful. Why do I end up angry at you? I am the one who put us in this place. I did not simply go and tend my own garden. But instead I tried to plant yours. And when things shrivled from lack of water, when weeds overtook fine fruit, It was not I who suffered, but you. And now I to have a larder that is empty. Because I did not attend to my own needs. I was over run with my worry for you. So now we are learning. You to show the world through action. and me to show myself by inaction.

I am not your mother. But I am your friend, your love, your support system, and sometimes even yes Your MOM. but you must do it on your own, and I must let you. Because I may be gone one day. And truth is, I have not always been there anyways. Each of us must live and learn and be and do. And I am learning to stop. Stop trying to save the world without first putting my own oxygen mask on.

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