Sleeping our way to the top

November 10, 2020

This is going to be a triggering post – so I want you to be aware before I begin. If you are having a rough day, you may want to wait.

My husband is a wonderful man – unfortunately, he is 10 percent Neanderthal. He is also a Trump voter, although he acknowledges that DJT is a complete asshole. Sometimes, my husband finds my available trigger and sticks his big old foot right on it – which ends in me sticking my foot up his ….

My husband pays a lot of attention to what is on FB and what his friends say. That is most of America, so I’m not going to be too hard on him for that. At the same time, this causes things to come out of his mouth that should never be said.

He was discussing his concerns about the new Biden presidency when he walked into a big pile of shit. He brought up Vice President Kamala Harris and then said…..

Wait for it….

Are you ready…

Deep breath…

“I heard she slept her way into that job!”

I think he realized he had made a mistake the minute it came out of his mouth. Or, maybe it was when he heard what came out of my mouth. I detailed to him EXACTLY how I got my full time job with the National Guard. I told him about sucking off the board during the interview, having to get it on with my supervisor, and I told him that my number one job was to be a walking mattress for the entire BATTALION staff! After all, if you listened to the rumors told by the man who didn’t get the job, that is what I did.

This is part of that abusive relationship that I spoke about in my last job. Even now, a woman who gets ahead got there by giving head. It is repugnant. No one accused Vice President Pence of sleeping with Donald Trump to get his job. Have you ever heard anyone accuse a man of sexual favors for promotion?

No – this is placed strictly on women. The reality of the situation is that I did choose to have some inappropriate relationships my last years in the military. It was not to get promoted…it was self-protection. I had already figured out on Active Duty that “NO” only gets you raped. I had also discovered that being in a relationship with someone made you “off limits” to sexual predation – especially if the person you were “doing” had some rank and power. At the same time – I actually really was crazy about the guy. I did do things I am not proud of…but it was mostly my choice, and I never received any workplace benefit – except to be “off the market.”

Even then…what if a woman likes sex? Maybe she wants to have sex with a lot of different people. If you are a man you get called a stud – if you are a woman – you get called a whore. This is misogyny at it’s very finest. A woman can’t get ahead unless she has sex. Women who enjoy sex are whores and they are dangerous.

Men have to fear us. Donald Trump fears women – which is why he treats us so bad. Sexual violence is never about sex – it is always about power and control. Donald Trump is always about power and control.

On the 100th Anniversary of a Woman’s right to vote – America elected a woman of color into the position of Vice President. I can only imagine what she has put up with to get there. When Kamala Harris told Mike Pence that she was speaking at the debate – I could hear the collective roar of every woman that has struggled just to speak! The earth shook with it.

We have been silenced and abused – but we must continue to speak.



We have been in a bad relationship!

November 10, 2020

So, as I stated in my last post, I am going to be breaking this down. Mostly, so that is in chunks that I can process.

Let’s be real here – America’s relationship with Donald Trump has been abusive. We have been lied to, gaslighted, verbally abused, called names, and many of us have lived in very fear for our lives. I want to lay out just a few things…

Let’s talk about “injecting disinfectant.” If you remember, at a Coronavirus briefing in April of 2020, Donald Trump recommended injecting disinfectant to kill the virus. This has since been categorized as a “joke.” At the same time, it was bad enough to cause the White House to stop their daily briefings with Donald Trump. Over time, when he was called out on it, he reinterated that he was “joking.” We have been told he didn’t say that – even though we have clear and convincing evidence that he did. His supporters have told us to “lighten up” and even tried to convince us that CNN made it up.

We know what we heard. We know that Donald Trump does not follow the science. We know this is absolutely true…and yet we are told we are the crazy ones. This, my friends, is classic gaslighting. Let’s pretend he was joking…who makes jokes in a pandemic?! How many people were harmed by this? Even if he was just “spitballing ideas” – this is not something that should be done in front of America! Words matter.

Let’s look at the rally in Charlottesville and how that became a White Supremacy push within the Trump organization. To quote, “there are good people on both sides.” We WANT to believe in the goodness of people. We truly do. In this instance, Trump is telling us that the “goodness” of people on both sides is a non-negotiable. WE have to accept that there are good racists. We are told that we need to believe this, by Trump, by our families, his supporters. To back this up, we see the beginnings of a new Civil Rights movement. This is created by the public killing of black individuals. Of course, this led to riots. We do know, that there were individuals in those riots that were brought in specifically to increase the violence. This is why, in Minneapolis, we saw white men stacking wood to burn. There is a video confrontation with a man dressed in all black and carrying a hammer that he uses to break the windows at Auto Zone to start the fires. When confronted, he moves towards law enforcement lines, not away from them. Is there a reason he did not fear law enforcement?

This leads to outcrys about cancel culture and what JFK and MLK would have wanted us to do. You know what, when Colin Kapernick kneeled, he was “cancelled” by white America. I don’t need to tell you what happened to JFK and MLK – but yeah, they killed them, too. Let’s not forget AL (Abe Lincoln) – they killed him, too. White Supremacy needs you to FEAR Black people. They need you to look at their culture and to be afraid. They want you to look at a Black woman speaking her truth and to call her “an Angry Black Woman.” They need you to be afraid of Black people moving into your neighborhood. They want to reinforce our stereotypes of poor, crime ridden, Black neighborhoods. They must diminish their humanity and make us “other” them.

This includes the immigrant community. Have horrible crimes been perpetrated by undocumented immigrants in America. Yes – they have. In fact, a young woman that I have knowledge of was raped and murdered by an undocumented immigrant. They want me to blame ALL immigrants – but I will not – and she would not have, either. White Americans commit more violent crimes than undocumented immigrants…but we have to fear people who crossed borders for a better life. Never mind all of the good they do! Never mind that, unless we are Native Americans, we are all immigrants.

The people have spoken and we have voted against Donald Trump. This is the point when we are filled with joy and anticipation – but scared to death that he will find us. He will find the bag that we packed, the money squirreled away to make our escape, one of the kids will say something. Our families and friends are telling us that he cares for us, we must be delusional if we feel abused, our lives will fall apart without him. We know we have to get away – but we fear what is on the other side – and we know that we will lose everything we love.

I have been through this before. I have fled from two abusive husbands. One, was physically abusive, the second, was emotionally abusive. The second was so abusive that a church counselor called him an “asshole.” Yup – it was that bad. As America leaves her relationship with DJT – many of us are experiencing the same symptoms of being an abused partner. We feel helpless, hopeless, and even question whether or not we will make it. As I stated in an earlier post, I have even considered making the crossing, not staying here on earth. To put it bluntly, ending my life.

In dissecting this – it is exactly what we see when a partner escapes an abusive relationship. It is okay to acknowledge the trauma that you have experienced these last 4 years. I think that acknowledging it will be the first step to moving beyond it. It is okay to pull away from social media and friends that drag you back down. It is okay to say, “we are not talking about this!” You don’t have to be polite when you are being victimized! We have all been broken by this man!

Take care of you. Protect your peace. Find time for yourself to decompress. The “divorce” will be final on January 20th! It is going to happen. DJT cannot stop it. Personally, I am looking forward to watching Jill Biden drag him out by his ears like the petulant child that he is!

Peace to you all!


Warning – Politics Ahead

November 10, 2020

Hello, Friends,

It has been some time since I sat down to write. I am a full-time student again. The loss of my job as a sexual abuse advocate is just one more piece of fall out coming from the current administration. They failed to renew federal grants that kept us working. I can’t believe my first year of school is nearly at an end! It has gone by quickly and I know that Brigid would be so proud of me.

I am going to wade in neck deep into an area that I don’t normally address. However, the Trump administration has been extremely hard on me and on many of my fellow survivors. I don’t want to address things from a Red/Blue viewpoint…because I feel that is counterproductive right now. What I am going to do is talk about politics from my experience, how my life has changed my political views over time. I am also going to say some things that I have not been able to say on my personal Facebook page…because of the trauma it incites and the backlash. The last few weeks, and the last week especially, I have bordered on the veil. I have actively engaged in thoughts of suicide, of not being part of this anymore. I’m hanging in there, and I know better things are coming, and I know Brigid would kick my ass if I made an early dismount. I also know that I still have things to do here on earth. I also know that others have felt the same way I have.

I would understand if, at this point, some of you choose not to read on. That’s okay. You have to protect your own sanity and your own peace. I will promise you that the following posts will not be rants against Donald J. Trump. They will be thoughtful and kind and focus on things I feel needs to be said.

So..with that said, Buckle up, Buttercup! We are about to “boldly go where I have never gone before.”



Catching up…falling down

August 12, 2019

Hello, Friends,

Well, for those who read my last posting – I did win the court case that Brigid’s mother brought against me. It took until February of this year…but I did win.

It is a hollow victory in as much as the family remains shattered. I rarely get to see her granddaughters. I don’t talk with the family, except Brigid’s daughter, but that is primarily when she needs to vent or needs me for something.

As many of you know, I took a gamble on a job in May of 2018, and became a full time sexual abuse advocate. My job ends this month. I originally believed I was in a 3 year grant, in reality, I had 15 months left on a 3 year grant. The state I live in chose not to fund the program again. My last day is August 30th.

This is extremely triggering for me. I have to remind myself that I am not losing my job because they don’t want me…but because the state doesn’t think that sexual violence should be a priority. I am still waiting on two Federal grants that my agency has applied for; but those won’t come through until October.

I believe that much of this is a backlash of the #Metoo movement. Victim’s services across the country are seeing cuts in funding. No services, no victims, no statistics. When there is no where for people to go there will be no justice. We who are military survivors know this to be true! After all, if anyone knows the “no where to go” scenario…it is us!!

Please keep me in your prayers. I am struggling with the concept of unemployment on top of depression. Part of me is looking forward to stopping for a few weeks and getting so much done! Part of me is terrified that when I wake up on the 3rd of September with no where to go…nothing will get done. I have filed for VA Vocational Rehab – and maybe something really good will come out of that. I’m also going to wait to see if the Federal grants come through – and maybe they will. I HATE that the circumstances are out of my control. I also hate the fact that I may just let fear take over and I will be cleaning the local VA. (Not that housekeeping is NOT an important and valuable job!!) It just feels like I finally got to the point where someone believed in me. Where I was successful doing full-time advocacy – only to have it taken away…again!

It reminds me so much of being discharged from the Army. I was a full time National Guard Training NCO…I was good at my job! I remember sitting my office box down on the desk on my very first day and thinking…”I can do this for the rest of my life.” NOPE! I was never going to be allowed to stay, because I was a woman…and I had taken the job away from a man who wanted it. A man who was more powerful than I was who would use any means necessary to create destruction.

I could be happy being an advocate for the rest of my life. So dear friends, please pray that whatever happens next is for the good. I’m just not really sure I can handle this kind of shattering again.

Peace and love,


In the dust left behind

November 14, 2018

Hello, Friends,

You know that movie, Thelma and Louise, that was the way that this was supposed to happen. Like in the movie, Practical Magic, we were supposed to be two old biddies living in a house full of cats (okay, Brigid didn’t like cats so much) and we were going to die on the same day. We were going to be two crazy ladies on a mission of justice and empowerment that ended with us flying in a convertible off of a cliff. Either that or her Buick – either one!

I feel like I am standing on the edge of that cliff in a swirling cloud of dust that she has left behind. She flew away and I am still here.

Her mother is suing me over the final report on the estate. It is a back door move around the fact that Brigid had a “no contest” provision in her will. She is saying the most ridiculous things – like I spent too much for the funeral and on the funeral dinner. (Well – it was her family bellied up to the table!) It has been a constant assault, just when I thought this was over. We had a court hearing yesterday but the judge didn’t rule on anything. She wants me removed as executor/trustee and wants me to return any and all property – even the things Brigid left specifically to me. My attorney says I did great – but I don’t know. I just don’t know if this judge is going to buy this woman’s bullshit. She even said that, “The day after Brigid died, Joan ran out of the house yelling, Brigid left me 10,000 dollars!! YEAH!”

Well, if you have read this blog at all – or know who we are in real life – you know I have spent every day of the last 2 and 1/2 years trying really, really hard not to jump off that cliff that I am left standing on alone. I look at everything around me and I sometimes ask myself, “Is it even worth it anymore?” I know that leaving is not an option – that there are so many great things in my life. My family, my kids, my adorable grand-baby, Brigid’s adorable grand-babies. Brigid’s daughter. The promises I made that I am doing trying my hardest to keep! It is all so hard, though. I had to go over to the storage shed the other day and it is full of her things that are being kept for her oldest granddaughter. It still smells like her house and I just stand in the door and weep. This is supposed to get easier with time – but it doesn’t. People around me demand that I be who I was and I don’t even know where to find that person anymore. She doesn’t exist. I’m so tired all of the time.

I adore my husband, but this is hard on him, and he makes it harder on me. The house isn’t cleaned, the work isn’t done, I sit in the chair and stare at the TV. What he doesn’t see is me standing by the pictures of Brigid and I and crying – because I want to go back there. He is a good man and he loves me, but he wants to fix what is shattered. No one can fix this. I wrote this for him – but I can’t bring myself to give it to him.

What if I told you that you are not enough to fix my pain? That as much as I love you and I am grateful for you…you can’t replace her.

Would it help if I explained that if you had died and she had not…she would not have been enough to fix the pain of losing you. Would it help to know that losing you is my greatest fear?

What if what I have accomplished today is all I can do? Can you appreciate what was done and ignore what was left undone?

What if all I could do today was sustain life? If my only accomplishment was to get up and get through another day; can you honor that? Can you understand that I pushed through the sadness because I don’t want anyone to hurt like I hurt.

I am down the road. I am at the point where people say, “You need to move on.” What I cannot explain is that the absence of her has left a hole so large in me that the loneliness blows through it like wind through canyon walls.

Wounds become scars. The tears dry up. The things she left behind are settled. It doesn’t change the fact that she will never come through the door again.

I went to a Metaphysical Fair the other day and I did decide to do a reading. She nailed Brigid!! Down to the type of cigarettes she smoked and how she used to fling it around. I don’t know if the Psychic was that good or if Brigid is just that good – I put most of it on Brigid. She lets me (and unsuspecting people like my lawyer) know that she is still around. She told me that Brigid has heard me when I have yelled at her and that it is time that I start to forgive myself. She even told me that Brigid would be sending me someone special. These are things that I already knew. (I have my own abilities – but it is nice to get confirmation from someone else) They are things that make me weep. Yes – I need to forgive myself…I know that! Yes – I know that I will make a new friend…and it will be someone really, really special…but I didn’t want to hear that and I still don’t. Yes – I need to forgive Brigid – and I do forgive her and I don’t blame her – but there are so many times that I look around at something wonderful happening and think, “YOU SHOULD BE HERE!”

Now I am, once again, waiting for a judge to decide “justice.” Such a funny word. What is just, what is right, what is good. Personally, I would really like to see justice – just once! We don’t see much of that…do we? What little we may see we have to fight for even with out hands tied.

Even sitting here today writing “Brigid” feels so odd. I don’t want to call her that – I want to call her by her name. I can’t. We made a deal that this blog would be a place for people to find help…that we would be anonymous and they would be anonymous. I know that with every part of her she is telling me to step away from the “cliff” that I am staring at. I had come so far in coping with this before the court case came up…now it is like it is May 2016 all over again. The light was right there – I could almost grab it – the estate was nearly closed. Now it is gone again and some man who never met us will decide if I am “good enough” and if I have “done enough” to be the executor/trustee. Some man who doesn’t even know what Brigid’s mother did to her – the childhood of abuse. But, she is the grieving mother and once again…I am just some friend that manipulated the situation.

Please don’t worry – I am hanging in for now. I’m not planning on an “unscheduled dismount” of life. I’m just tired, sad, and alone…and there is no where that I can say that and there is no one I can say that to….except you.

Still Standing

March 22, 2018

Hello, Friends,

It has almost been a year since I have written. Actually, it has almost been a year since I even opened this blog. It is still raw…so extremely raw.

Well, April is upon us, Sexual Assault Awareness Month and I needed to complete the selections for our Survivor’s Voices Round Table. This left me browsing through old posts – Brigid’s posts. I can hear her voice in every word she wrote. At one point, I could even smell her because her voice and her presence was so clear. Great thing to have happen at the office – huh! “Hi, don’t mind me – I’m just having a little breakdown!”

My little granddaughter turns 4 next week. 4 years have gone by. Sometimes the loss of Brigid hits me so hard I stop breathing. I look at her with her big hazel eyes and her sweet but incredibly independent ways – and I can’t help but feel so sad that she will never know her “grandma Brigid.” She will only have a few pictures and a ton of stories…but she will be no more real, no more relevant than George Washington. Just a person in history she has only heard about.

I’m still standing, though. Still hanging in there. I have a job interview next week that would take me away from VA and into a different organization. I’m excited – I’m terrified. However, it would be working full time in sexual assault advocacy…instead of only being allowed to “speak” from March 30th to May 1st of any given year.

I often wonder what Brigid would want – would she want me to go for it? Would she want me to stay where I am and continue the fight? The one thing I do know is that she would be there to answer the phone – to help me figure out what I should do. There to tell me that I am “good enough” to do the job; that I make a difference; that I have value. It seems stupid…I know…to not be able to find that within myself – to rely on another person. Maybe what I need is just that she would tell me these thing, things I already know, without me having to ask. That is what I miss…to be so emotionally and spiritually in tune with another individual that you never even have to speak. Your soul and their soul just are.

The last two year…yes! TWO YEARS in May – have been the hardest of my entire life. Harder than the rape, harder than the bad marriages, harder than the last days of the military. Maybe it is because I feel so detached from everyone. Maybe it is because I keep telling myself to “soldier on” and move forward and don’t fail. Maybe it is because the reality of her absence is worse with each passing day. Not a day goes by that I don’t talk to her. Maybe it is because I can’t stop the continuous loop of those three months in my mind. Maybe it is because she lied to me and I don’t know why.

There is a song by Rich Mullins…one of my favorites – called We Are Not As Strong As We Think We Are…

“Well, it took the hand of God Almighty
To part the waters of the sea
But it only took one little lie
To separate you and me”

“And the Master said their faith was
Gonna make them mountains move
But me, I tremble like a hill on a fault line
Just at the thought of how I lost you”

Maybe this is where I am left trembling? If I lost her so easily – how am I to keep anyone in my life. I find myself being hyper-concerned about losing my parents, my husband, children, granddaughter.

Maybe it is because she was the only person in the world in my whole life that was just 100 percent there for me – and I was 100 percent there for her. No question, no judgment, no need to ask, no apologies. It was a given – always a given – but never taken for granted.

At the end of the day – there is only really one person to blame…and that is the asshole that beat her. I know that. Yet I still find myself wondering…why did I fail her?



When the Lilacs Bloom

May 2, 2017

When the lilacs bloom, I will always think of you. I used to go looking to find the first blooms and would snip off the prettiest stems and take them to you. Sometimes just a few, and sometimes by the arm load, but I always brought you lilacs.

The little lilac seems to withstand anything that comes its way. Late spring snow, freezing cold, and still they bloomed and stayed strong. No matter what the world threw at them they were sweet and lush. They brought you joy and laughter; your nose buried, breathing deep.

Then it seemed that as quickly as they came, they fell away. Still warm and fragrant even as they began to fade and lose their color and their joy. As though they gave everything they had left, because they knew they were dying.

The lilacs are in bloom and I know that before the month ends; they will die. I never even imagined that you would die with them. Everything in time will pass away and only the memory of their gentle fragrance will remain.

I see you now surrounded by the stacks of lilacs that I brought you. Each branch fully flowered, bright, vibrant, fresh, and full of joy. They are wild and glorious on their bushes no longer fearing the warming days. I know that you are where the lilacs will never again sleep. I will wait and weep as the lilacs bloom; until you can take me where the lilacs never wither.



April looms large

March 24, 2017

Hello, Friends –

April is just around the corner and I have multiple events surrounding Sexual Assault Awareness Month. I have a quote on my desk reminding myself that I only have to do the next thing…and maybe have some chocolate.

As April approaches grief and guilt are becoming overwhelming again. In May it will be one year, and I can’t help but wonder if I wasn’t so all fired busy doing events in April if I would have seen what I obviously failed to see. I wonder if I should have been less of an advocate and paid attention to what I didn’t even know was happening. But what is done is done and what is behind me is behind me…and there is no way to fix this. I remind myself that I am not a mind reader, that I always made time for Brigid, that I would leave my house at any given moment and make the drive to her home for the smallest need. That I loved her with a love that stretches beyond death.

I have been dreaming of her, a lot, early in the morning just as I am waking up. It is like she is there and I reach out my hand and just before I can touch her I am awake and she is gone. It was extremely distressing for sometime. I would leave the bedroom immediately and go down to my recliner and just weep. Not just cry – but gut wrenching tears that came from the darkness that is now an empty black hole inside of me. So I was at a store the other day looking for the things I needed to do her memorial T-Shirt for the Clothesline Display and while fishing through the little jewelry parts I found this quote:

“You know that place between sleep and awake, that place where you still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you. That’s where I’ll be waiting.” J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

I think that must be what she is trying to say to me. I hear her voice often, telling me to “knock it off.” Mostly when the feelings of failure or that I must have betrayed her somehow come. Since I found that little quote on a piece of metal (which I bought of course!) she has stopped coming in the early morning.

I am unsure how April will go – except that I have to carry on. I have to move forward and leave the past in the past. If I falter on the journey and everything comes to an end…then all of the risks we took together will be for nothing.

I continue with therapy, although my old therapist retired and I am breaking in a new one. I have had two leave me now…wonder if it is me – LOL. She is nice and I like her. I still spend most of the time in session crying – but that is to be expected I suppose. I think what scares me the most is that I wonder how long I will have to wait to see her again? When the natural course of living becomes dying and I get to join her. I am nearly through the first year of firsts. The first birthdays, the first Christmas, the first St. Patrick’s Day and they say it gets better once you pass the “firsts” – but I don’t know…what about the seconds, or the fifths, or even the 25ths. She was only 45 and I am only a couple of years older. The average lifespan is roughly 70 – so how long must I miss her? At the same time, I know I can’t just go be with her. It doesn’t work that way. I have to stay here. I have a husband, children, and a granddaughter that needs me. I have her granddaughter that needs me. To leave would just be to pass my grief on to others.

So I will stay the course, finish the race, no matter how long it may be. And I will miss her every day. I will hope for those moments between asleep and awake when she smiles at me and when, for a single moment, I can almost touch her. I will mourn…but I will carry on.



20 Years Ago

November 7, 2016

Today would have been mine and Brigid’s 20th Anniversary as “besties.”

We were both new employees to a buffet/full service style restaurant. We had never worked together; but we were both assigned to work this massive party. The thing about these kinds of restaurants is the service staff is always short. Instead of carrying three or four tables, like in a traditional full-service restaurant, it was not uncommon to have 10 to 20 tables. This was a full party – the entire back room – if memory serves me we probably had 100+ guests. It was just the two of us.

These weren’t “nice” people either. They were nasty and treated their two servers like dirt; intentionally making things difficult. They demanded that once a plate was dirty it be removed from their table. Never mind the fact that they would go up to the buffet and put one or two things on their plate. You would go to a table and get drink refills, “More tea, ma’am?” “No, I’m good…thanks.” You would return to the table moments later only to have this same woman hand you her empty glass and say, “I would like a refill.” BITCH!! The next time you refilled the drinks you were prepared and brought her a tea anyway. “I don’t want that, take it away!”

It was a long and rough night. To make matter worse this waitress I was working with for the first time was a WACKO. She would be in the kitchen throwing stuff, cussing, and then stomp out with a smile plastered on her face. I wasn’t sure what to think of her but it seemed that she was in the mood swings from hell. I didn’t really care, she was keeping up and we were getting it done. Still – I kept my distance.

Finally the party from the 7th level of HELL went away. She stormed outside for a cigarette and I asked if I could bum one. We got outside and she slid down the wall like Jello and started to cry. She told me that her Grandfather had died that day, but our boss said she had to come in and work the party, then she could go home. I suddenly understood. I told her she needed to leave and be with her family. “Go, get out of here, I will clean the dining room.” She wouldn’t, she would stay and clean up. She said she appreciated it but she wouldn’t leave me to do that alone. We cleaned as fast as we could and she left.

We didn’t know it that day, but the death of her Grandfather and the party from Hell would create an amazing friendship. A friendship that even death can’t destroy.

The years went by. Our children grew. We both divorced horrible husbands. I found a great guy and remarried, she was my Matron of Honor. Our Granddaughters were born and have grown. I hate the fact that they will never know their Grandmother. How amazing and special she was. It will be up to me alone to keep those memories for them.

Tonight would have been special!! We would have gone to dinner, argued over who paid the bill, tipped too much because we hassled the server. Not in a cruel way, just telling old stories the way long time friends do. We would have both purchased gifts that cost way too much, but that meant a lot. Like the antique friendship quilt she bought me for Christmas last year. The one that is now hanging on a ladder by my bed. At the same time her birthday present is still in my closet, still in the Amazon box, unopened, unwrapped. I keep meaning to give it away…but I just can’t. It was the Highlander season 1 box set. She would have gone nuts…she adored Adrian Paul.

How do you lose one of the great loves of your life and move forward. I don’t know? I still don’t know where to go and what to do. I feel like part of me is missing and I know that I cannot join her…not until my time runs out. I remember our 20th – celebrate it in fact – knowing that I may celebrate 40 more November 7th’s without her. (I am only 47) But I also know that I will pass this date as many times as will be required because that is what she wants and my last November 7th is only up to God. I also know that I will never have that kind of love again. It is irreplaceable. I also know that I am blessed to have had it in the first place. People live their entire lives and never love another person the way we loved one another. It was truly a once in a lifetime kind of love.

Happy 20th Anniversary, Brigid. I love you to the moon and back…



The work of mourning

September 19, 2016

Hello Friends –

I want to thank you all for the thoughts and prayers. I thought I would check in and rant for a while. This blog was started as part of my therapy – so I might as well keep going on that.

Those who know me outside of the blog, know that I am a student of history. In particular, the Civil War, in all of it’s craziness. I also grew up in the cemetery industry, my family was 4 generation sextons of a small, country cemetery. Death was something that I grew up around so I am comfortable with the rite and ritual – so to speak.

I bring this up because I believe that we have lost something. There was a time when most of the funerals in America were performed at home. We were not separated from death, it surrounded us, engulfed us, and we walked side by side. Mourning and grief were accepted as normal. Sadness didn’t need to be hidden away.

In Victorian times (the period correlating with the reign of Queen Victoria – which follows through the Civil War and ends in around 1901) there were certain expectations of both those who mourn and the public. Most are familiar with the wearing of all black, but it was much more than that. Those who were in mourning were distinguished by their dark clothing or by the black armband that they wore. The amount of “social expectation” placed on these individuals was minimal. Many of you may think of the scene in Gone With The Wind where Scarlett shows up to a ball and is asked to dance by Rhett. She “scandalizes” the community by dancing with him while in mourning. True mourning of the period was much different, although attending a ball/dance would have been prohibited (except for the young…allowances were made for young people.)

Primarily – people were given the space and the time to mourn. If a person was invited to a dinner or a quiet event; they were allowed to decline without being told, “You really should get out.” Callers could be received or declined without judgments. Social pressure was removed. If you didn’t feel like getting out of your night dress and wrapper – that was allowed. If you felt like going out – that was also allowed. The simple statement of “mourning” was accepted and understood by everyone.

So why do I bring this up? I bring it up because this is where my greatest struggle lies. Last week at work, a co-worker came up to me with a movie called, “This Is Where I Leave You.” She asked me if I had seen it, and I have not, and told me it is really funny and to watch it. The movie is about a death and a family coming to terms with it – it is a comedy. She was somewhat upset that I didn’t want to watch a funny movie about death. I have also had to push off many of Brigid’s friends who want to “get together and talk about her.” Most of them want more details of her death; which we are keeping private. I also find that they want more details of the moment of her death, morbidly fascinated about “how it feels to do CPR” and “why didn’t you know” questions. Well, I didn’t know because she didn’t tell me and doing CPR isn’t that bad; so long as it is a stranger in the ER. Doing CPR on your best friend is more awful than I can put into words. Having the medical knowledge to know that no matter how hard you try she is already gone and that only a miracle will bring her back. Screaming inside for that miracle to happen, emergency vehicle sirens and people speaking but there is no sound. There is no sound – just silence. But the silence isn’t quiet – it is so loud that it roars. So many people who want to connect to her through me – “help me with MY grief.” At the same time I cannot help them. One thing I know is that I cannot be their anchor because I am already drowning. The endless communication and work with the attorneys, the thank you cards, the remnants of her life that I have to count, store, donate. The endless loads of laundry at the Laundromat – each opened box holds her smell and I know that once I wash those things – I will lose that connection forever. At the same time; each load of laundry completed and donated is one more step to completing these tasks. These are the trappings of life that she has no use for – no need to save them.

Too much of our world has lost the etiquette that surrounds mourning. This isn’t to say that I feel like I should be allowed a spot in a corner and to be left alone. On the contrary; certain people that I am close to have been my rock and my refuge. They have been the voice of reason – special thanks to Jay and Myst. At the same time; intrusion is at times overwhelming. I also find that too many people are wanting to play the game of, “I knew her longer” and “I loved her more.” I care not to argue with those people. At the same time I also choose not to repeat what Brigid actually thought about some of them. She was a kind soul who would not always push away a broken person – no matter how crazy they drove her!

So I spend my mornings in the shower in tears. I cry alone in the car. I whine to my therapist! All other times I slap a smile on my face and push forward. It is unhealthy, it isn’t honest, and it isn’t what I should be doing. Even with my husband I do this – though I long to tell him so badly exactly how much I hurt. I know that he wants to understand, but more important he wants to FIX it. He can’t fix it. He can’t stop the pain, but since he can’t fix it he can’t deal with it. So I smile and I make jokes – and I privately maintain my rituals.

Mourning doesn’t end when the casket closes. In fact, it only begins. I know that once the estate is closed and the work is done – I will have to find new ways to mourn and cope. In Victorian times – mourning was a minimum of one year – for those in deep mourning it was for two years. How I long for the permission to do that; publicly without judgment. To dress in black and be excused from the requirements of society…no; to be excused from cruel words and harsh statements. To be allowed to take care of myself. To heal with some manner of peace – even if that healing comes in an ocean of tears.