Early Evening Thoughts ~ The One Last Ride ~

I’ve written about my suicide several times over the last few years, but one aspect that I didn’t cover was one that I really preferred to keep somewhat unknown.  It wasn’t an attempt to keep it secret (if you’ve followed this blog, you know me better than that…) as much as a problem in knowing how to handle this.  When all was said and done, the Dr. felt that I had possibly had 2-3 concussions one right after another … as a result, for several months afterward, I had a lot of difficulty with sentences, names and remembering certain things.  It was, in all honesty, one of the most terrifying times of my life.  I was afraid that I had possibly done severe brain damage (cutting off one’s oxygen supply and hacking one’s neck with an eXacto knife will have a tendency to do that sort of thing…)

At the least, I was afraid that I might have triggered Alzheimer’s and all that would entail.  Fortunately, none of that happened.  Gradually, words, memories and such returned and I seem to hold no further problems from it.

I was and am blessed with wonderful children, and friends who simply said to me – if it happens it happens and we’ll deal with it then.  In other words sir … quit borrowing trouble from the future, you’ve got enough to deal with right now …. and how right they were.

This story, which I understand like yesterday’s has been making the rounds for sometime now, made me cry.  Not only for her, but for the blessings that I have of people around me who know me and mercifully still love me! What would it be like without anyone? I really don’t care if and haven’t looked up to see if the story is true.  The story still makes me cry every time I read it …. [update: the story is true … I just looked it up]

A NYC Taxi driver writes:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’

‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive through downtown?’

‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly..

‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice..’The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.

For the next few hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired.Let’s go now’.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse.

‘Nothing,’ I said

‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.

‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.She held onto me tightly.

‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Please Pass (over) The Nuts (3) ~ Late Evening Thoughts

I, along with many others, watched (in my case overwatched) the inauguration of a new President on the 20th. (Yes, I was still watching at the 10th Presidential dance! If their feet didn’t hurt, mine certainly did!)I was hopeful that a new beginning might signal a new start in areas where so much has been lacking. As a gay and fundamental Christian, I believe I have a Biblical obligation to pray for my leaders, even those I disagree with. As an American, I feel I have an obligation to hope and pray for the best from my leaders, and to “hold their feet to the fire” if they are not doing their best.

The cynicism that I posted about last, had even gotten into that area where I could no longer even look at any of the governments – federal, state and local – with any degree of objectivity or hope. In the amazing book “Language In Thought And Action,” the author talks about when we have cast someone in the role of the “enemy” ALL communications/actions by them are immediately suspect and are filtered through the lens of how I view the “enemy” regardless of the truth.

So, I began to climb out of THAT hole and back to the level playing ground of attempting to see what was truth and what was not. And based on the last several years of watching government, not an easy task ~ not an easy task at all.

Over the last couple of days, two instances of people working on the premise that someone is the enemy and all communications are to be dismissed as lies and deceit have really hit me. Both are disturbing in many ways, but most disturbing to me as to their own lack of humanity and belief in people. Both would claim that is not true, but sadly both would be wrong.

The first came from a supposed christian (small c) self-appointed leader. Joseph Farah is the founder of a very conservative web-site WorldNet Daily. It has a number of contributors who echo the views of the founder. That’s not a problem for me, as I will defend their right to say what they think, just as I will defend my right not to read it. I will also defend my right to comment on it, and give my view of it.

Back in August, I posted about christian hate and christian witchcraft. Christian witchcraft to me is asking the Almighty (however you regard that) to do something “to” another rather than “for” another. It’s charging into the Throne Room ~ demands in hand and expecting that regardless of the Person on the Throne’s attitude/statements/desire we will get what we want, when we want it and, “oh yes, make that yesterday” because I say so. In this case Joseph Farah does something a little more insidious than that. He cloaks his witchcraft in a seemingly nice Christian outfit, with a few well chosen verses thrown in for good effect. He is asking ~ Well, here’s the article. . .

Joseph Farah Pray Obama fails
Posted: January 19, 2009
1:00 am Eastern

Many American Christians believe, as an article of faith, that we are to pray for the success of our leaders.

It has become a sort of conventional wisdom among soft-minded believers. The biblical proof-text for this misguided way of thinking is Romans 13:1-4:

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

“Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

“For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

“For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”

What could be more clear-cut? At face value, it would seem the Bible is telling us government is a God-ordained good and that we are not to resist its terrors.

Many a coward has been bolstered in his conviction against challenging tyranny by not reading too deeply into the Scriptures. Yet, nowhere does the Bible ever suggest evil rulers are to be obeyed. When the rule of men conflicts with the commands of God, the Bible leaves no doubt about where we should stand.

That’s why I do not hesitate today in calling on godly Americans to pray that Barack Hussein Obama fail in his efforts to change our country from one anchored on self-governance and constitutional republicanism to one based on the raw and unlimited power of the central state.

It would be folly to pray for his success in such an evil campaign.

I want Obama to fail because his agenda is 100 percent at odds with God’s. Pretending it is not simply makes a mockery of God’s straightforward Commandments.

So you will not see me joining in the ritual of affirming Obama and his mission in public or private prayer this week – or any other week.

Instead, I uphold the words of Jesus in Matthew 15:14: “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” And I take warning from Isaiah 9:16: “For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.”

And please don’t tell me about “rendering unto Caesar.”

It’s important to consider the circumstances and the audience behind Jesus’ instructions to “render unto Caesar.” The Sadducees were attempting to trap Jesus into advocating open contempt for Caesar. He recognized their wicked and hypocritical little game and answered them with a totally truthful response that astonished everyone.

But think about it. There are two components to Jesus’ words. We are to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,” but we are also to “render unto God the things that are God’s.” Well, everything ultimately belongs to God. But, most of all, this injunction by Jesus instructs us that government laws cannot trump God’s laws – ever.

If government commands you to do evil, as a Christian you must resist. There is no alternative. Citing the “render unto Caesar” line is an apologetic for accountability to God – nothing more, nothing less.

Furthermore, it needs to be pointed out that in America we don’t have a Caesar. Never have, never will. You see, our system of government is called a free republic, and it is based on the concept of constitutional self-government. We have no “rulers” in America – except ourselves and our God. We believe in the rule of law, not the rule of men.

This is an important distinction, not a semantic one.

Nowhere in the Bible does it teach us to obey evil rulers. Nowhere.

This is a time for principled biblical resistance, not phony Christian appeasement.

If, indeed, Mr. Farah is the Christian he claims, and not the christian he seems to be representing here ~ there’s a very strong disconnect from the reality of Scripture. I’m not going to head into a theological argument here, that will be for another time. But I will say time and again The Bible makes it perfectly clear that indeed we do have leaders and we have an obligation to pray for them.

He also conveniently ignores the number of instances where Biblical characters not only DID support what Mr. Farah would consider to be evil, but actually in some cases ruled WITH them.

Yes, there is a time for resistance – but this is not one of them.

And a final thought on this man ~ if, indeed, the President WERE to fail would he stand on his cyberspace rooftop and shout that God had answered his prayer? I rather doubt it. . .

Then, today ~ I ran across this gem from someone who should know better, or is so desperate for ratings or sell his material that he would grasp at straws to accomplish his ends. Rush Limbaugh (remember him from the prescription addiction/pharmacy shopping episode). had this to say about being asked for a 400 word article on what he hopes from an Obama administration:

So I’m thinking of replying to the guy, “Okay, I’ll send you a response, but I don’t need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails.” (interruption) What are you laughing at? See, here’s the point. Everybody thinks it’s outrageous to say. Look, even my staff, “Oh, you can’t do that.” Why not? Why is it any different, what’s new, what is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails? Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what’s gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here. Why do I want more of it? I don’t care what the Drive-By story is. I would be honored if the Drive-By Media headlined me all day long: “Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails.” Somebody’s gotta say it.

Again, this from the man who indicated a number of years ago that dissent was equal to terrorism ~ I suspect echoing the press secretary right after 9/11 who warned that “Americans…need to watch what they say, watch what they do.” They were chilling words back then and became even more so during these last years.

I’ve discovered I’m not as young as I used to be ~ my body keeps reminding me of that daily and going out and about reminds me of that as well. One of the things it has done is allow me the luxury of looking at things with very different “eyes” and outlook. These people are sad in different and similar ways.

I’m not joining the “cast them into the fiery pit of hell” crowd because dissent is a natural and important part of the American political process. What I, and I hope others, will do is to point out the hypocrisy and errors of their dissent.

And, alas, to pray for them.

Post-Valentine’s-Mortum ~ Early Evening Thoughts

Let me say up front, there were a couple of people that thought I was little (!?!) cynical about Valentine’s Day. I will reply in honesty … Yes, I probably was. However – let me explain.

(Assuming best Masterpiece Theater voice)

My week of working in the florist shop began on Tuesday … the calm calm before the storm. It was a long day, but fairly uneventful. By the afternoon, the temperature had begun to rise in the clients calling in for orders. Still, no one appeared to have “lost it” at this point.

Wednesday the floodgates opened at 8:30am and the phone did not stop ringing until 5pm that night. There were 120 orders and walk-ins that went out the door that day … some were called in, some were web orders from Telefloral and FTD. Still, the day went smoothly and people seemed pleased. By the end of the day – there appeared to be over 230 orders that were going to have to be delivered on Thursday.

Thursday (the actual day of Valentine) the phones started ringing at 7am … they were not answered until 9am. From that point on it was non-stop. We actually had people calling in at 10am wanting to know why the arrangements they had ordered had not been delivered yet.

Finally all the drivers had loaded their vans and headed out to all points of delivery. At this point, we are keeping tabs on inventory AND zip codes. There were several people who had not listened when they were told there were no guaranteed delivery times for that day … it would get there, we just couldn’t say when.

The day was moving forward (cue sound track from Jaws here). At this point the calls were being balanced between people wanting to know when, people wanting deliveries to areas we didn’t and people wanting the impossible. “I’m sorry sir, we don’t sell carnations — of any color and we would be unable to deliver them to Clutch, TX even if we did. (actual name of town).

There was only one complaint at that point – she didn’t think her arrangement was “perfection” and wanted another. Fortunately, she was in the building so a new one was walked up to her – and the “imperfect” one brought back to the shop. As it was sitting on the counter ready to be put back in the cooler, someone walked in and bought it. The front of the store was beginning to resemble a bargain basement – people trying to wheel and deal.

Technically there is no smoking in the building, but as I was not going to be able to leave to go outside, I was given an ashtray and I took two smoke breaks the entire day. Lunch was at the desk … the work must go on.

At this point I was dealing with people who forgot it was Valentine’s Day — or just waited until the last minute…not a good idea on this holiday ~ trust me on that one!! There is a certain 800/internet outfit that takes any order that comes in and then tries to farm them out to local florists at the last minute. I had to deal with about 10 phone calls from them and ended spending quite a bit of time explaining each time why we couldn’t/wouldn’t be able to help.

The wire brought in 3 orders for funerals in town and I ended up wiring out several funeral orders for out of town. And the phones kept ringing. The system that the shop uses allows us to look up florists in a specific zip code – I was using that a lot to tell people who to call that might be able to deliver. Also, we have a similar name to another florist close by … several calls from people who were unhappy with the arrangement only to be told that they had called the wrong shop …

Four O’clock came and thought we were surely through with all the last minute orders – when this gentleman(?) called in to demand that a dozen roses be delivered to an address forty-five miles away in rush hour traffic. He became highly incensed that had to tell him that we were not going to be able to do that. I was going to offer to deliver it for a $100 delivery charge, but thought better of it.

Why the chaos? It can be summed up, I think, by saying that of all the holidays Valentine’s Day is the most personal. People do remember their friends (thank you DB, EM for your ecards!!) But by and large this is a time that seems to be for those who are in a relationship, want to be in a relationship or need to be in a relationship. And, they get crazy and somewhat stupid illogical. For example … I got a call (on Thursday) from a gentleman who wanted to recognize that he had been with this person for two Valentine’s Days. He was insistent that there be only two roses in a vase … no greenery, etc. AND that it be delivered. This delivery was going only a few blocks from where we were ~ and not much further than from where he was. No, it had to be delivered and as soon as possible. This arrangement probably would have cost him at the most $12 using premium rose buds. We have a $35 minimum delivery AND a $15 holiday delivery fee. He spent $50 to have it delivered.

Ah yes, the wonders of the holiday…I’m glad I only do this once a year to help out. There was talk about having me work Christmas week, but I think I’m going to be very “busy” that week. I think I’ll be able to appreciate the season more!!!

He loved her very much.

He wanted this Valentine’s day to be special, so he had ordered a bottle of her favorite liquor imported from France and it had arrived in time for the occasion.

On his way home, he stopped at the local florist. He had planned to have a bouquet made with her favorite flower, white anemones. But to his dismay, he found that the florist had sold all her flowers and had only a few sterns of feathery ferns left for decoration.

In a moment of inspiration, he had the answer.

He asked the florist to make a bouquet using the flask of liquor instead of flowers and what she produced was magnificent well beyond his expectations. He added a card, and proceeded home.

When he arrived, his wife was beautiful in her most elegant gown, and it was apparent that she had spent much of the day preparing a romantic candlelight dinner for the two of them.

He presented her with his gift, and she opened the card to read, “Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.”

With a tear in her eye, she whispered to him lovingly, “Yes, and with fronds like these, who needs anemones.”
—Stan Kegel

A Short Thought ~ Late Evening Thoughts

Yesterday I found this image of the world according to Ptolemy (born around 85 A.D. and died around 185 A. D.) As I was looking at this image, I got to wondering what kind of a map of my life could be made. Where would things go? Would there be more mountains than valleys? What about rivers, oceans and such. I began to sketch around some ideas…then decided that I would just stick with enjoying this beautiful rendition of what the man knew.
(For a larger view —>click here<—)

And as I often do, I’ve turned to others to describe their feelings ..

Blessed Earth

Consecrated waters flow
From this blessed earth I know.
We owe so much to this earth,
And its life supply of hearth
Here everything thing can grow.

Consecrated waters flow,
From this blessed earth I know.
I was born here,
And I shall die here.
Precious times, this earth did sow.

Consecrated waters flow,
From this blessed earth I know.
It has seen all my days,
And every one of my childish ways.
Oh beautiful earth I hoe!
—Ashley Donovan

Waves at Hawkwood
(from the book “In Touch with Water”)

This grass is like the sea;
I ride over it with big strides
uphill away from the spray of civilisation.
Deep breaths of green
rinse over my head and chest.

At the forest edge the water level rises;
trunks are awash with ivy.
The green sound of crows
flaps up from the valley
like wet raincoats.

Stalks bob buoyant heads
in the wind, and I take
the seed of their image
back with me towards the buildings
where roses cling to liferaft walls.

I walk in the translucent water
of silence.
The wooded hill behind the house
is a tall green wave
towering over the place.
—written by Julia (Jay)
(note that the three lines in italics can also be a haiku)

And last ~

Shall earth no more inspire thee

Shall earth no more inspire thee,
Thou lonely dreamer now?
Since passion may not fire thee,
Shall nature cease to bow?

Thy mind is ever moving,
In regions dark to thee;
Recall its useless roving,
Come back, and dwell with me.

I know my mountain breezes
Enchant and soothe thee still,
I know my sunshine pleases,
Despite thy wayward will.

When day with evening blending,
Sinks from the summer sky,
I’ve seen thy spirit bending
In fond idolatry.

I’ve watched thee every hour;
I know my mighty sway:
I know my magic power
To drive thy griefs away.

Few hearts to mortals given,
On earth so wildly pine;
Yet few would ask a heaven
More like this earth than thine.

Then let my winds caress thee
Thy comrade let me be:
Since nought beside can bless thee,
Return–and dwell with me.
–Emily Bronte

The New Year Begins With A Look Back (part 5) ~ Late Evening Thoughts

Life is a journey not for us to be lowered into the grave all pretty and looking rested. It is a journey for us to slide into the grave broadside at the last minute ~ banged up, used up but still proclaiming ~
Wow!!! What a ride…WOW!!! What a RIDE!!!

(You can read the previous posts here … >1<>2<>3<>4<)

At this point in the story, I was finally in a hospital bed. There were bandages for the gash in my forehead ~ for which, since I was hanging by my neck in a looped belt, there is no explanation. There were bandages running up the operation incision (running from just below the ear almost to the collar bone) in my neck ~ which was closed with butterfly bandages to reduce the scarring. There were no bandages on the slits I made in my neck ~ those, I was told, would heal by themselves with no visible scarring. So far … I was able to absorb that much information. I was also introduced to “the watcher.” Basically, there was going to be someone sitting at the foot of my bed 24/7. While people think that it’s only to keep someone from trying again, it actually provides much more than that.

There was constant monitoring (and recording) of what I was doing, my mood and my activities. They were also expected, during the day, to engage me in conversation.

They were supposed to, but I really didn’t want much of that. I discovered that the day watchers loved “trash TV.” If you are not familiar with that term, it covers all the reality (supposedly) type shows from Jerry Springer to Divorce Court and everything in between. So I would turn the TV (which I didn’t want to watch anyway.) toward the foot of my bed and they could watch to their heart’s delight.

The statistics are a little frightening. Someone of my..um…age who is depressed, is very likely to make a suicide attempt (there had been three half-hearted previous ~ I’d posted about one of them in Poison to Medicine) and what I did before was not more than an overture for this event. The most frightening statistic is that those of my age who make an attempt are probably going to make another one ~ and succeed without life skills retraining and/or serious intervention and/or continued therapy, help/support system. And so, the real journey had started.

— more tomorrow

The New Year Begins With A Look Back (part 3) ~ Late Evening Thoughts

Life is a journey not for us to be lowered into the grave all pretty and looking rested. It is a journey for us to slide into the grave broadside ~ banged up, used up but still proclaiming ~
Wow!!! What a ride…WOW!!! What a RIDE!!!

When I left off the last post, I mentioned that EMT, Police and Fire had arrived at the complex and all of them in my apartment. I had sat down in the chair by the computer and awaited the arrival. I had not realized that as many people would show up. I also had not realized I was going to be asked so many questions ~ some of which did not make sense. Please understand, at that time I was without any money, no resources, no insurance and no place to stay. I really didn’t think there was anyone that would help me. I became at that moment completely homeless and penniless. A very interesting situation to find myself.

Finally they decided I would not be able to walk and they brought a gurney in to take me to the ambulance. This meant that I would be taken through the courtyard of the apartment complex, which was full of residents trying to find out what was going on. It was not an exit I was looking forward to but I really didn’t have much choice in the matter. This involved taking me through the living room door into the office and down six steps. I was barely aware of who was there … except for three people, one of whom I gestured to come up and I held her hand for a long time. I had no idea what was going to happen to me, and for the first time in a very long time I was very, very frightened.

There was a discussion in the ambulance about where I wanted to be taken. They suggested this very nice and very expensive hospital ~ not really an option. I wanted to be taken to the level 1 trauma center here, which also treats people without question of money and/or insurance. I finally convinced them to take me there. I realize now that I must have had a concussion of some type from the fall that created the very large gash to the bone in my forehead. The ambulance people were very concerned that I stay awake and kept asking me “stuff.” I had to describe at least three times what I had done, how I did it and with what ~ all I wanted to do was go to sleep.

I have no memory of the arrival at the hospital ER room. This particular ER I had written about before last December and didn’t realize how accurate it would be.

The trauma team
all wear
black shirts.
Around them
an occasional
flash of
white whirling

I don’t think
I would
want to wake
up surrounded
by black shirts.
There are times
my life is
black enough
as it is.

It is true, most of the team wear black t-shirts saying trauma on the back. There are memories of the black shirts all around getting me undressed ~ and damn it was cold in there. There was poking, prodding, turning me this way and that, many questions I don’t remember. Finally two white coats were suddenly there. All I could remember was a very, very old song ~ “They’re coming to take me away … hee hee. They’re coming to take me away … ho ho. The little men in the little white coats are coming to take me away.”

All I wanted to do was sleep … but there were a number of forms to sign ~ I had left my glasses back in the apartment, and couldn’t read any of them. There were some discussions that occurred. Finally, there were nothing but white coats around me, and all of them were concerned with the gash in my forehead and evidently the concussion. I kept trying to tell them about my neck … and they kept poking the forehead and shining a flashlight in my eyes.

One of them finally ~ begrudgingly ~ looked at the slits in my neck. I learned a new hospital term. Ordinarily when there is a problem that is serious, the term is “Do something STAT!” I’ve seen it in television shows, read it in books and heard it used even in that very ER. THIS time when one of his fingers literally went into one of the slits on my neck ~ quite deeply. I got the hear the new term: “Oh Shit!” I thought it a rather interesting replacement, but who was I to argue??

—more tomorrow

The New Year Begins With A Look Back (part 2) ~ Late Evening Thoughts

As I mentioned in the last post ~ this story I’m telling has undergone some deep thinking an reflection, soul searching and hesitation.

In the last post I said, it was around the 28th of August that I quit my job and supposedly had to move out of my apartment within 72 hours. I had no plans, no place I knew of to go, but somehow, in the sickness of my mind I was convinced that it would all work out. Of course, it wasn’t going to and certainly didn’t. During the 2 1/2 months that I was managing I was also managing to cut myself off from everyone. I still talked to my Mother twice a day, as I had for almost two years, but even she was beginning to suspect things were not right.

And what did I do for the 72 hours that I needed to make plans and provisions? I drank. When you know that your replacement is going to be coming into the office ~ connected to the apartment ~ at 9:00am, any sane person would sneak out of the apartment around 7:00am and drink until it was safe to go back … right? Trust me on this one, there are very few bars worth visiting at 7:00 in the morning.

I would sleep a little, toss and turn, pace the floor and then sleep a little more. Rinse and repeat.

By now, I was not only at the bottom of the cliff, I was under the rocks at the bottom and trying to dig down even further. I kept trying to find ways to sleep the entire night, but nothing worked ~ even overdosing on the over-the-counter medicines that use Benadryl as the only ingredient. By now, I had stopped calling anyone I knew, was refusing to answer my cell phone and decided that I was going to have to disappear to get out of the hell I was living.

–strong stuff follows …you have been warned…

Sometime during the night of the 31st (I believe I have the dates right), I came to a terrible conclusion. The only way out that I could see was to end everything … permanently, finally and absolutely. No partial or half measures. This was going to be it. The final curtain. From this point on, there are flashes of what happened and what happened to me. I do not have all the pieces and may never get them back … and probably don’t want to.

I knew that I needed to get it done early in the morning, before anyone arrived in the office. Now understand that one office door was four steps from my bedroom and the other door was 7 steps to the living room. Not exactly the world’s biggest space and certainly too close to the apartment to hide anything. But I managed to — I managed to.

When I made that decision. it was as if a light switch had been turned off, there was no going back and no pain (that’s important later). And so I committed suicide. No, I did not make a mistake on the verbs. I should not be alive, however, I am so grateful that it didn’t succeed and that I have gone through all that I have been through. I am a very different person from what I was a number of months ago – but, you know what ~ I’m also still the same.

I took my belt and made a loop around the clothes rack in the closet because that was the strongest place and I knew it would hold my weight. A few quick breaths and I put my neck in the loop ~ forcefully. The quickness that blackness overcame me was surprising. I was done. Unfortunately to my sick mind, but fortunately for me ~ I woke up on the floor with a large gash in my forehead down to the bone – that wasn’t bleeding and didn’t hurt. OK, this obviously wasn’t going to work … there must be some other way.

Now, in all honesty, someone in their mind would have simply stopped after the belt failure (makes it sound like a vacuum cleaner!)and said: “Wow! That didn’t work! I should stop here.” But. as I said, the light switch had been turned off. I remembered the eXacto knife I had recently purchased. I also realized that my replacement was due to arrive, and hopefully would stay out of my apartment until I was done. I literally behaved like a secret agent on assignment and slithered into the bathtub and pulled the shower curtain closed. I was determined not to leave a mess for someone to clean-up.

Now, doesn’t that sound healthy? Not wanting to leave a mess? I’m about to do the most selfish act a human being can do, leave people devastated and angry … destroy any chance to accomplish anything with my life and I’m worried about a MESS?!?!?

I’d read enough books and seen enough TV shows to know what I needed to do. Don’t worry, I’m not going to go into detail … if you want that, you can email and ask. Let’s just say, I ended up with three horizontal cuts in the side of my neck and very little blood. The most interesting moment was when my replacement’s boyfriend came in and used the toilet while I was ensconced in the bathtub. It was at that point I finally realized this was NOT working … and had run completely out of options. I very calmly made my way out of the bathtub ~ with my knees it was not an easy thing to do ~ and walked through the living room into the office and announced: “I’ve just tried to kill myself, please call 911.” I then went and sat calmly in the living room and awaited whoever was going to arrive.

I have no idea what she said to the 911 dispatcher, but shortly there were police, a fire truck and EMTs in the place. I was bandaged, tried to answer the many questions that were being asked by various uniformed folks. The one that sticks (sort of) in my mind was: “Do you have any sharp objects on your person that will hurt me if I touch you?”

–part three tomorrow night

The New Year Begins With A Look Back ~ Late Evening Thoughts

This posting has gone through a number of trials and travails. I wasn’t even sure I would even write about it ~ however ~ I also wanted to end the new year with truth and begin the New Year with even more hope, joy and gratitude than I have now.

When I started this blog over a year ago, little did I know the road it would take and the road my life would take. For those of you who do not know, I have suffered for years from depression. What I never knew was the depth and severity of it. I never realized how insidious and deadly it could be. Even as I have read over old postings about the disease I have, I realize just how much I didn’t know about it, how little I really understood what was happening to me and just how seriously it would effect me.

I also realized as I re-read the postings, just how important my attitude and sense of humor would be to me me. And it certainly has.

In my case, not only was I in denial about what was going on, I was convincing those around me that everything was “just fine, thank you very much.” But I was NOT fine and my world had begun to crumble to leave me with absolutely nothing but the clothes on my back. There was no money, no place to stay and nothing to look forward to.

I’ve told about when my apartment mate came in and basically said: “I’ve not paid the rent, I’ve found a place and am moving tomorrow … have a good day.” I finally found a place to land while I tried to figure out what I was going to do. I moved from there into an apartment where I was completely on my own. I had no support system and basically nothing to look forward to or to plan on doing. That, and a couple of very poor choices I made about friends and a possible lover added to the already bubbling cauldron going on in my life.

When I was offered the job of managing the by-the-week apartments I was spiraling in many different and deadly ways. Of course, the fact that I later found out they were ultimate slumlords that didn’t care who was in the apartments as long as they paid the rent and would not release money for real maintenance only made me cling to what was going on with an even tighter grip. Of course, I continued writing the Complex Tales for the blog — all of which were true — but tried to hide the hole I was slipping into ~ the cliff I was falling down from everyone I knew ~ including myself (which by the way, is very very very dumb!)

Serious “stuff” follows … you have been warned…

Also at this point I had been “bending the elbow” with my boss quite regularly. Of course, I certainly didn’t have a problem with alcohol … of course not. Just the fact that once I started with just one … there were always a number more. And since the boss was paying for it AND paid for the cab to take me home ~ this is a problem ~ how? Also during this time I was sleeping about one hour per night (if that) but convincing myself and anyone who asked that I was just fine and sleeping a lot. I was now getting thrown the last 30 feet down the cliff – and was bouncing at the bottom…and no Dudley Doright to cushion the blow. Could it get worse? You bet.

This part gets a little hazy ~ perhaps all the details will come back someday, but I’m really not looking forward to it if they do. I was being complimented and “honored” for having the best collections of rent in the system. For several weeks my tenants owed nothing and a good number even had credit balances. This, of course, led to even more drinks after work with the boss and the eventual discovery that he was a cocaine-head. He actually was stupid enough to do it one afternoon at the very bar we had been drinking at ON the bar. Yes, he created his lines and did them. (the plural is very deliberate! And no, I did not do drugs at least nothing was illegal or required a prescription!

I also had basically stopped eating much and what I did eat usually came back up at some point (my mind should have been going “Ding! Ding! Danger!”) ~ I look back and realize that what was going on had actually been growing for some time, and that I “might” have known, but was in no shape to realize.

I think that on the 28th of August, I literally snapped and quit my job. Called my friend who managed one of the other properties and gave him my keys. I faxed my resignation into the main office. Now, if you think it was one of those big corporate offices (which they wanted everyone to think) it was only the Patriarch of the Family and three ladies who worked there. As I was living on the property, I had signed a contract that I was to be out of the apartment I was occupying (and in 2 1/2 months still hadn’t unpacked) within 72 hours. I had no plans, provisions or even a safety net that I could see or think of.

To be honest with everyone and true to myself … this is going to take more than one posting. Now that I have complete access to a computer I can truthfully say:

–more tomorrow night!

More Of The Story ~ Late Afternoon Post

Friday, the 23rd my Mother slipped away at around 7:30 in the evening. She went as she wanted, at home looking out the window at Flathead Lake. She had been out of it most of Thursday ~ while I was making travel arrangements for myself and my “tribe” to get there. Alas, that was not to be. She passed away while most of us were in Salt Lake City awaiting the next leg of the trip. While I was saddened, it was NOT a time of mourning. She was 94 years young, and had been desiring to go home for some time.

She was walking the dog on (I believe) the 9th of November and because she had been told not to ~ she took some concrete steps to the house. As near as we can tell she lost her balance and fell down at least 8 of them, landing on her head on the concrete pad. Fortunately, she had an alert bracelet that she managed to press – in spite of a broken arm and a broken shoulder below the rotor cuff.

R & L were on their way down when the alert people called them and also told them they had dispatched an ambulance. Everyone arrived within about 10 minutes of the fall. R had called me and I actually got to talk to Mom on the stretcher. Of course, her reactions were very typical of my Mom. She was telling R to stop crying, and all she would say to me on the cell phone was “I can’t talk right now!” All I told her was that I wanted to say I loved her.

While in the ER, she was ready to go home, they were not sure what they were going to do but she was one determined lady. They wrote a prescription for pain pills and she started to get up to leave. She decided that because she was dizzy and everything now had started to hurt, she would stay overnight. That was sadly, her last independent moment. While she was in the hospital that night, she had what they classified as a moderate stroke. So now, she was dealing with the pain and having a terrible time talking. Not a very good combination for those who were taking care of her, trust me on that one!

With a lot of negotiation (OK, some fits were thrown as well) they moved her on the 13th to an intensive rehabilitation center. Mom knew that this was the ONLY way she was going to be allowed to go home. However…again however, she was NOT prepared for 1) the work she was going to have to do or 2) the people that would be there. I had called Mom twice a day for over two years, and I even had to get into the act of getting her to 1) “play” nice and 2) cooperate with everyone. I can and always will understand her frustration, but I eventually began to realize where this was going ~ even if I didn’t want to admit it!! (Who wants to admit anything like that?)

Things seemed to be going well at the rehab center, when Mom had another mini-stroke. At that point rehab felt they had done all they could there and that Mom needed to be home with therapy coming to see her. Hospice took over on the 19th. At this point there was no longer any fantasy about her recovery. The hospital bed was in the living room so that she would be able to see her beloved Flathead Lake and perchance see the lights across the lake going up the mountain. On Wednesday the 21st, they awoke her to do one of the every two hour moves every early. They sat her up and cleaned her face with a washcloth and then R said: “look Barb, the lights across the lake!!” She had an enormous grin on her face and laid back down. I did get to talk “at” her that day. . . the last living conversation I was to have with her. She was awake occasionally that day, the mind was there ~ but all ability to talk was gone. On the 23rd she was awake only once. Her breathing was somewhat labored, and twice stopped. The at 7:30pm the 23rd of November, my Mother slipped out of her earthly shell and found herself at her new “home” where she had wanted to be for a long long time.

~ more later in the week

At Long Last ~ Grateful Thoughts

Starting next week … I guess this week actually… I will have access to a computer with internet. It’s part of a new venture I am beginning. I know that many of you have had questions about what’s been going on, and I intend to answer as many of the questions as possible. For those who’ve commented and sent emails I thank you!

It’s been an interesting journey over the last couple of months. And I also am grateful to everyone for their patience as I literally have put my life back together!!!

Look back in the next couple of days!!!!!