The Spell

bird-383245_960_720

No words

uttered

the smoke rises

she turns looking

at the only face

that has stayed with her

shining silver

constant

changeless over ages

she tells the moon her dreams

her wishes

shadows wait

frozen

watching

waiting to carry her love

on the wind

letters consumed

flames and wisps

smoke

and the ashes dance

lifting lightly

floating over the miles

settling light on a hand

lying in the darkness

lost in the warmth

of her dreams

swirling about him

enchanting

stirring

washing his pain away

waking to the dark

thinking

oh

thinking she was there

but the room holds

his breath alone

And she waits

as the waters mirror

that silvered face

framed by the mountains

knowing her secret

knowing her pain

shrouding her desires

as the gilt shadows

dissolve in darkness

to place a kiss

on a furrowed brow

resting restless

scented with cedar and pine

and the stirring incense

of a woman

burning bright on the shores

of a lake

miles away

stirring his heart to her

warming flames

and the moon touches the mountain

in a caress

both knowing

the moment is fleeting

but will

play over and over

in the eons of time

LAS copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

 

Coyote

coyote-57490_960_720

I dreamt of coyote

last night

He came to me

through the opening

of a tight orange canyon

eye to eye

coyote was not laughing

and I knew this was bad

the visions came

A broken lance

“Snake Oil”

I stood on a rock in white deer skin

howling into falling snow

as horses ran

a painful lesson

of needing to

let go

LAS  copyright 2017  All Rights Reserved

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Struggling

I suffer from Depression and PTSD.  I was diagnosed with this three months after my husband passed away from cancer almost three years ago.

Before that I just had the Depression, but it was mild enough to work around with my artwork and reading.  Taking a walk or listening to soothing music also helped to do the trick.

Due to grief over the death of my soulmate and a huge amount of unnecessary toxic family drama during and after my husband’s death, I began to withdraw.  The crying would not stop.  Sometimes it went on all day into the night.  I distracted myself as best I could, but nothing seemed to help.  I am very strong in my faith in God and my church, but still I couldn’t shake the overwhelming, debilitating feelings that would flow over me and through me like water.  With that, suicidal thoughts.

I went to grief counseling, took the anti-depressants that my doctor prescribed and it took a bit of a edge of it.  I didn’t feel like I wanted to curl up in my blankets and hide from the world, but I didn’t feel right either.

People do not understand those suffering from Depression unless they either have it themselves or they live with someone who fights with it.  People think that those of us with this chemical imbalance are weird, crazy, to be avoided.

We’re not.

We are average individuals, most of us highly functioning members of society.  Many of us have very high i.q.’s.  Many of us hide our depression under the guise of the class clown, the joker, or the person who is always up and on top of things.  We are chameleons and hide it very, very well.  Many of us are highly creative individuals that look happy on the outside and are going through a war torn hell on the inside.

The reason I am talking about this is because it’s something that just doesn’t magically go away.  I still suffer from it, despite having days even weeks of no problems.  One thing which may seem completely insignificant to everyone can trigger it.  It’s a domino effect and once the dominos fall, it’s difficult to stop them.

This was a very difficult holiday season for me.My husband and I got engaged on Thanksgiving 2009, after finally finding each other after 32 years.  He was my high school love, and I his.  We married on New Years Eve that same year.  We had both agreed it was the best thing we ever did and we had 4 years of absolute bliss together until the cancer hit him.  Why it has hit me so hard after this time, I’m not sure.  But it did.  I had to quit night school, my health was beginning to deteriorate from pushing myself and saying I’d get over it.  I wasn’t.

I cried off and on throughout the season and opted to go to bed very early on New Year’s Eve after a sleeping pill and basically miss the celebration.

Yesterday was the birth of my first great-granddaughter.  I was ecstatic!  Big mile stone for her and me.  And yet, 3 in the afternoon, the Big Nasty hit.  I was able to finish work, barely, and stopped off at the store for the obligatory pint of Ben and Jerry’s on the way home.  It got worse.  I basically bawled hysterically all evening, got a blessing from the church missionaries, and finally was able to fall asleep after some NyQuil and about three movies.  Three am, up again.  I played video games until I could fall asleep once again at 4:30.  I slept late and went to work at 7:45  (I’m usually there by 7:30 am).  It was triggered by not having my husband, Terry, here to see the new Great Grandchild.  We’d had a playful bet going as to who would be the first of us to become the Great-Grandparent (we had children through different marriages).

This is not a pity party about me.  This is what a lot of us go through who fight with this.  I am at work writing this right now.  I smile and greet everyone.  I will function and get my work done today by focusing.  But the Depression is still there.  You will never know it to look at me.  None of my co-workers really do, except one.

I write to make you aware that we’re just like you.  I am writing to let you know that we are not loony tunes that need to be locked away.   I am asking you to understand when we cry for help or when we need space.

I am writing to take some of the stigma off of us, bring it all into the light, so that you can understand us. Don’t write us offas hopeless nut jobs that you shake your head and turn away from.

We’re your bosses, friends, co-workers, boy scout leader, mom, dad, teacher, celebrities, sister, brother, grandma or grandpa.  We are no different than you, but we have a disorder.

That’s all.  Let’s stop the silent suffering because of stigma so we can stop losing those we love due to the despair that is Depression.

If you have it, get help.  There are great therapists and groups out there.  Please do not turn to alcohol or drugs to get rid of the pain.  It won’t work.  Working through it will.  If you are suicidal, please speak out.  We don’t want to lose you.  There are those of us out there that understand.

Please discuss this with your family, friends, clergy, and most importantly your health care provider!

For more information on Depression, please go for more information :

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/

Thi is the National Institute of Mental Health.

If you are contemplating Suicide, Please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Here is their number:  Call 1-800-273-8255

Make the call, save a life…even if it is your own.

Bludgeon – The Extern

via Daily Prompt: Bludgeon

Not a momentary hesitation, the needle shot through my skin and skewered the vein before I could move from the woman’s grasp. Jabbing deliberately due to some imaginary insult I had dealt her, she drew blood for a final sample.  She drew blood with a sick, sadistic worm of something twisting in her brain that the other students noticed.  It was almost gleeful, that look in her eyes. Something not quite right.

They stayed away from the pond, gazelle staring at the latest “kill” across the room.  None of them would allow her to draw from them again.  Fresh blood…new student…new victim.

She externed the week after.  The hematoma lasting two weeks, black and purple bruising, fading to decayed yellows and putrid green and eventually nothing.  I wondered if her career would last that long.

Planning Ahead

In the last two and a half years I have lost sight of many things…some by choice and others by neglect.  There are many things that can come into our lives that stun us or blind us from what we have always known as true and right.  Grief did that for me.
Despite knowing that I will see my husband again, my mind was so concerned with the immediate pain of his death that I did not see what surrounded me.  I was consumed with what we had planned, what we had found and what we had lost in a mere few months that it derailed me from what my husband and I had been working on…an eternal marriage…and eternal lifetime together as a family.  We can be together forever!
The darkness spoken of in Lehi’s dream is a very real tangible thing.  Without our realizing it, we can slip away into what we are told are the comforting ways of the world or what the world thinks is true and lose sight of what we know in our soul is true.  Temptations come in ways that are not often recognized.  Temptations can even come in the form of suggestions for relief and comfort from respected sources: a long time friend, a psychologist, or teacher. They don’t mean to be throw us into the mouth of temptation or leaving what we know to be good, full of light and healthy; we make that choice.  Whether it is through desperation for relief of an almost unhealable wound or through the stresses of day to day life, we reach for that seemingly harmless bottle of tablets or worldly remedy that will temporarily take away our pain.  We do not look farther than the immediate relief and are thrilled when the remedy works for the moment.  But that’s the catch, it’s momentary, fleeting, and DOES NOT LAST.
I read an article on lds.org this morning that made me think a little harder about everything I have and what I really appreciate.  I was reminded once again of what the actual relief of my pain and grief is.
I don’t mean to be preach-y.  I’m not trying to ram my beliefs down anyone’s throat.  What you do with this is up to you.  I know that this works for me in my pain.  This is what I know is working for me during these days that I struggle with being a widow, missing my husband, and getting back on my feet.  It may work for someone else.  Either way, here is an excerpt from that article.  I hope you find it helpful.  For the full article see below the excerpt and click on the link.
O How Great the Plan of Our God!

“Brothers and sisters, we are eternal beings, without beginning and without end. We have always existed.1 We are the literal spirit children of divine, immortal, and omnipotent Heavenly Parents!

We come from the heavenly courts of the Lord our God. We are of the royal house of Elohim, the Most High God. We walked with Him in our premortal life. We heard Him speak, witnessed His majesty, learned His ways.

You and I participated in a Grand Council where our beloved Father presented His plan for us—that we would come to earth, receive mortal bodies, learn to choose between good and evil, and progress in ways that would not otherwise be possible.

When we passed through the veil and entered this mortal life, we knew that we would no longer remember the life before. There would be opposition and adversity and temptation. But we also knew that gaining a physical body was of paramount importance for us. Oh, how we hoped that we would quickly learn to make the correct choices, withstand the temptations of Satan, and eventually return to our beloved Parents in Heaven.

We knew we would sin and make mistakes—perhaps even serious ones. But we also knew that our Savior, Jesus Christ, had pledged to come to earth, live a sinless life, and voluntarily lay down His life in an eternal sacrifice. We knew that if we gave our heart to Him, trusted Him, and strived with all the energy of our soul to walk in the path of discipleship, we could be washed clean and once again enter the presence of our beloved Father in Heaven.

So, with faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, you and I accepted, by our free will, Heavenly Father’s plan.

That is why we are here on this beautiful planet earth—because God offered us the opportunity, and we chose to accept it. Our mortal life, however, is only temporary and will end with the death of our physical body. But the essence of who you and I are will not be destroyed. Our spirits will continue living and await the Resurrection—a free gift to all by our loving Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.2 At the Resurrection, our spirits and bodies will be reunited, free from pain and physical imperfections.

After the Resurrection, there will be a Day of Judgment. While all will eventually be saved and inherit a kingdom of glory, those who trust in God and seek to follow His laws and ordinances will inherit lives in the eternities that are unimaginable in glory and overwhelming in majesty.

That Day of Judgment will be a day of mercy and love—a day when broken hearts are healed, when tears of grief are replaced with tears of gratitude, when all will be made right.3

Yes, there will be deep sorrow because of sin. Yes, there will be regrets and even anguish because of our mistakes, our foolishness, and our stubbornness that caused us to miss opportunities for a much greater future.

But I have confidence that we will not only be satisfied with the judgment of God; we will also be astonished and overwhelmed by His infinite grace, mercy, generosity, and love for us, His children. If our desires and works are good, if we have faith in a living God, then we can look forward to what Moroni called “the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge.”4

Pro Tanto Quid Retribuamus

My beloved brothers and sisters, my dear friends, does it not fill our hearts and minds with wonder and awe to contemplate the great plan of happiness our Heavenly Father has prepared for us? Does it not fill us with unspeakable joy to know of the glorious future that is prepared for all who wait upon the Lord?

If you have never felt such wonder and joy, I invite you to seek, study, and ponder the simple yet profound truths of the restored gospel. “Let the solemnities of eternity rest upon your minds.”5 Let them bear testimony unto you of the divine plan of salvation.

If you have felt these things before, I ask you today, “Can [you] feel so now?”6

Recently I had the opportunity to travel to Belfast, Northern Ireland. While there, I noticed the Belfast Coat of Arms, which includes the motto “Pro tanto quid retribuamus,” or “What shall we give in return for so much?”7

I invite each of us to consider this question. What shall we give in return for the flood of light and truth God has poured out upon us?

Our beloved Father simply asks that we live by the truth we have received and that we follow the path He has provided. Therefore, let us take courage and trust in the guidance of the Spirit. Let us in word and in deed share with our fellowmen the amazing and awe-inspiring message of God’s plan of happiness. May our motive be our love for God and for His children, for they are our brothers and sisters. This is the beginning of what we can do in return for so much.

Someday “every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess” that God’s ways are just and His plan is perfect.8 For you and me, let that day be today. Let us proclaim, with Jacob of old, “O how great the plan of our God!”9

Of this I testify in deep gratitude to our Heavenly Father, as I leave you my blessing, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2016/10/o-how-great-the-plan-of-our-god??cid=HP_WE_12-10-2016_dPFD_fGC_xLIDyL1-A_&lang=eng

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Your Own Version and Mine

A thorn sticks in my finger and it penetrates right into my brain. There are times when I am afraid of my thoughts…scared of what my mind will conjure up for it’s own enjoyment or torture.I have been writing since 5 this morning. Unable to sleep, the poems, no, the emotions ran over in my mind ceaselessly.

If I purge this, will it leave me alone? How many times do I have to purge it?

It drones on and on as a nun over her rosary.

rerun….

change the channel

twilight zone and  it is

all
the
same

show!!!

popcorn for breakfast with oatmeal and a dash of brown sugar with my tea. Okay, let’s see where this leads me.

Where it leads you.

There is a dark side to me…glittering, knife-edged and very, very sharp. I am throwing it all up on paper, so to speak…the beautiful, bold, insecure and bizarre.

…the smell of snuffed out candles in the evening air and church confessions banging my head against the dark, on the wood confessional and the words of someone anonymous giving me meaningless absolution for sins I haven’t even thought of committing…..wouldn’t in a million years.

I count candles and rain drops, and tears that were shed over trivialities and nonsense, whose intense meaning in my past look absurd in the now. I keep counting them. Collecting them as scattered beads on the ground, something precious to be put away until I have the patience to re-string them and turn them into something truly beautiful.

The night is young and the spirit is believing in the wax and lighted string, wisps of smoke tangled up in prayers so intimate and unspoken aloud . The silence within me echos up and the choir screams. The spirit boils.

Do you see it? Do you understand ?

So much I pick up and see. So much that goes unnoticed in everyday hurrying to work.

People pass by the building facade and never stop and REALLY see it. They don’t know about the beautiful tiles and the rococo. They don’t see the gargoyle sitting placid and ready to spout water during the rainfall. They see the piece of yesterday’s newspaper and dog crap by the Doric column and have no idea there is a sky above. Eyes to the pavement. Attention to the bits of litter and trash. (My Note: And now cell phones! 8-24-2016)

I see it, too. I just have the nerve to raise my head. That makes me dangerous.. I know too much.

Laying down at the Sutro gate in San Francisco is a cement lion. He waits and watches the decades roll by with the fog from the Pacific. He is covered in sun, covered in dew, cloaked in rain. His roar is frozen. He is wise and aware of everything that has passed before him in the stream of traffic and time that has flowed down the hill over looking the ruins of ghosts and laughter and dancing in the dark to the orchestra after oysters and champagne. Dancing on the floors of a building that you can’t see above the ruins and the tunnel and the boom of the waves at high tide when the spirits run with your candle through the darkness and snuff it out on the rocks and water at the end of cave. Dancing with their ghost lights and dreaming of us as a fantasy in their mind.

Madness, you whisper.

Silent. So much is.

How I Got Here and Where I’m Going Next

Hi!

I wanted to share my poetry, photos, stories. and artwork with you.  It has been a long time since I’ve written anything new.  In the last month, I found my voice again and began to put word on paper.  It’s been a difficult couple of years.

In 2014, I lost the love of my life, Terry Stowell, to Esophageal Cancer.  He is my best friend, boy friend, lover, confessor, co-conspirator, and husband. Terry is also my muse.   Still.

I prayed silently for months to God that He would give me the cancer instead.  I wanted to die in his place.  There was so much I had experienced and seen in the world.  He hadn’t had the chance.  I wanted him to live, and enjoy, and travel.  I wanted him to miraculously be cured.  We did everything we could to enable that, but it wasn’t enough.

When he passed, I couldn’t think, couldn’t sleep, work, write or do anything but mindlessly watch t.v. and cry.  I did it for months.  One morning for no reason I could think of, I began to walk.  I found myself on the River Bottoms Trail.  Soon,  I began to walk around Spanish Fork and took my camera.  I started to lose myself in time with the lens, but I was still numb.

Gradually my trips began to venture out to Thistle, Hobble Creek Canyon, various locations around Provo, including Provo Canyon, and as far as Eureka.  I finally worked up the nerve to drive to St. George alone and meet up with my kids where we walked the Narrows in Zion National Park.  I was beginning to let out a breath that I had been holding for months.

When the Autumn of 2014 brought it’s beautiful colors, I made one last venture out with my youngest son, Jon, up Hobble Creek Canyon to a place Terry had once lived at during the summer of 1975, after we had been split up by my grandma (long story).  I went to Cherry Campground.  There I wandered around the trees, watched fish in the creek by the bridge and felt my husband walking with me.  Jon and I took photos there and then packed up and drove further up the canyon.  When we drove past the campground on our way home that afternoon, the Rangers had come and padlocked it up for the winter.  We had made it just in time.

And just like that, I was locking down again, too.

I tried to keep myself so busy that I didn’t think about holidays, our anniversary, the day he passed.  It didn’t work.  Thanksgiving Day our store was closed.  I was curled up in my bed, heavily sedated.  The holidays were the absolute worst.  Terry and I had found each other again after 32 years apart in November of 2009.  I couldn’t believe that we had miraculously found each other after all those years just to be split apart again…and in such a cruel and painful way.  The dates would play reruns in my head of places, phone calls, letters, emails.  My chest felt (and still does) like a cannonball had blown through it and tore my heart and guts out.  I wanted to talk to him one last time and hold him.

On my down time, I was in my own little world in the fifth wheel that my husband and I had shared.  PBS, BBC, and ACORN t.v. were my escape from reality.  I watched Inspector Lewis, Vera, reruns of Inspector Morse,and Lovejoy nightly until I could  finally fall asleep, curled up on my life sized Teddy Bear.  Yep!  58 years old and I was back to sleeping with a bear!

With the winter of 2014, I was becoming a recluse and suicidal.  Missing Terry had become a moment by moment anguish.  I couldn’t breathe sometimes.  My chest hurt, my left arm ached, and I was nauseous.  The next thing I knew, I was in Payson Hospital being treated for a heart attack.  Luckily, all tests were negative and the episode was diagnosed as a panic attack.  I had no idea that a panic attack could manifest like that.  I thought they were all crying and hysterics.  Nope!  My doctor placed my on antidepressants for awhile, but that didn’t help.  I knew that I had to face my feelings and grief and work it out myself. Terry told me that he did not want me sad.  He wanted me to live and experience and enjoy life for him;  to make memories I could share with him even though we are temporarily parted, again.  It’s hard as hell.  But then,accomplishing anything worthwhile is.

That winter I worked for a craft supply company and started taking an interest in art supplies.  Stampington Magazine would inspire me to try out techniques.  Gradually, I began sketching, playing with watercolors in my journal and illustrating what I was feeling.  I dove into a book of the Complete Works of Kahlil Gibran and started illustrating pages in my journal with quotes from his book.  I included them in letters that I left on Terry’s grave.  Little by little, I began to create again…read again…think straight.

So, I am sharing with you my grief, my new found joys and the life I am trying to piece back together one breath at a time. Ok… I made it through that breath…breathe again.  I can do this.

Here are the photos, scribbles, and attempts at art that are helping me heal.  I don’t know any other way to do this.  These entries are my laughter, tears, screams of hopelessness, my fingernails digging into the steering wheel while I prayed to God that I didn’t let go of the wheel and crash, my healing, my hope, my repurposed life.

After all this, I can still say most days, that life is good.