Spider Lilies

Every once in awhile, I’ll read something from an amazing blogger that will touch upon a hard truth in my own life. That was the case both today and yesterday as well. In yesterday’s case, I read a post from my blogger friend, Lille Sparven, who suffers with Bipolar Disorder. She is open and honest about her struggles. That makes her brave in my book — not that she’s asking or even wants to be brave. If I were her, I’d probably respond back — fuck bravery. Yeah, I get it. Bravery — one of those damned blessing/curse things. I’m not nearly as brave as she is; hence, I don’t tend to “open up” in my own blog as much as I did to her yesterday. However, once I opened up yesterday, it came spilling forth, to the point that when I went to post my response to her post, I got a weird little message saying something about my html being too many characters so I couldn’t post my reply. So then I heavily edited, which was a good thing, and the response finally went through. Today, I read her post — replies and all  —  to David. Of course, he worried that I’d divulged too much about our personal lives on the internet.

I told him that’s why I write under a pen name. “I’m glad you do,” was his response. Still, I have this fear, one that I believe David shares as well. A little perspective: David and I just got finished watching Judgment at Nuremberg, the 1961 movie with Spencer Tracy and an all-star cast, this past weekend. Excellent movie and I think everyone should see it at least once in their lives. It was while watching that movie that my concern about oversharing came to the forefront of my mind, again — about why we need to be careful with what we put out there into the world, especially in writing. Especially on the internet.

People, all people, are really good at justifying their actions, their thoughts, their belief systems. And there’s nothing wrong with that per se, except when you find yourself on the wrong side of the “Powers That Be,” who have a completely different agenda and belief system than you do; and “they” are more than able and willing to justify their actions (no matter how heinous.) Then you’re just fucked. So my philosophy has been — best not to let everyone know my business, the really scary things in my life, lest it be used against me or my loved ones, either now or in the future.

As it stands, what I know is this — if my family were to have lived in Germany during the Nazi reign, we wouldn’t have survived. It is true that we are not Jewish. However, we do have mental illness that runs through our family; ergo, more than likely, none of us would have survived. It’s good to keep that in mind from time-to-time. Anyway, I’m not convinced that those atrocities, horrors and hate that were fostered in Germany in the 1930’s and then spread across the world could not happen (large scale) again. As a matter of fact, I believe they do continue to happen, just on a smaller scale and in sometimes/sometimes not more subtle ways. This, however, is not a political post. I refuse to go there. Agree or disagree with me. I don’t care. It is simply my explanation about why I’m less likely to divulge certain things, especially on the internet. And you might find my “caution” silly or stupid or — whatevs.  Again, not asking to be talked out of my opinion; and as long as you respect mine, I’ll respect yours. Of course, now that I’ve written this post, when the time comes, I’m sure I’ve just signed my death warrant. Maybe that day isn’t today, though.

So, I overshared too much on a friend’s post, but I always use M.L. James when I do. So at least there’s that. Then today on our newly formed Face Book group, Dungeons of Loom (DOL), thank you Allen, Kat, Adie, Katie, Pip, Lori and all the rest who are part of this group for allowing me to be a part — Lori wrote something that hit me right between the eyes. I’m still hoping she’ll give me permission to put what she wrote on my post as she wrote it. Let me check. I’ll be right back.

Okay, I just got Lori Rose Bebko’s permission to reprint what she wrote on Dungeons of Loom today,  So you can either click here and check out what she wrote there and our responses or you can read her words below without responses attached. Anyway, thanks, Lori, for your permission to reprint!  Lori wrote:

You all inspire me with your steadfast blogging, despite everyday life. Your discipline inspires me.

I’m really struggling right now. I’ve wanted to write but I am in the midst of a whirlwind of anxiety and oncoming sadness. I know that I say that I write what my heart feels, but lately, it’s been less than humorous and I’m weary of that.

Next Monday will be the 6th anniversary of my mother’s death; what’s most upsetting is that it is occurring, for the first time, on the exact day of the week that she died. The three days – Saturday, Sunday, and Monday – were complete nightmares. While I know that many, many people experience(d) similar, horrible events in their own lives, it’s hard not to dwell. Her death was the linchpin to the grenade that became my life after that, and I’ve struggled very hard to recover from the eventual blast.

I’m trying to work out what I want to blog. It’s just hard right now. I tend to go underground to avoid things that distress me like this, and to do things to distract me. Perhaps I ought to just spill it, and then maybe it will pass. Thanks for letting me put this out there.

My first thought was to reply “ditto” to Lori — and leave it at that. That seemed kind of harsh in light of what she is going through, though. Also, I don’t know her that well, so I needed to add more words to that; though, it felt like she was reading my mind and writing my own thoughts. Anyway, I was reading this on my phone, so I tried to do what I know better than to do — reply from my phone. Par for the course, I wrote a lengthy reply and then my phone ran out of juice before I hit “post” and I lost the whole thing. So I came back to my PC in my office and wrote her a different response. I’ll try and share what I originally wrote to her. If I can remember most of it. I may add other stuff as well.

Lori,

Ditto to most of what you wrote, except my mom died two years ago on November 3. However, she started her major decline in September of 2016; and like I did last year, I’m feeling this overwhelming sense of sadness as I go about my days. As if I have the time to be sad right now. Even so…right before you posted just now, I was listening to “You Can Close Your Eyes” by James Taylor

and I was thinking about Mom and the tears began. I miss her. Time hasn’t lessened this. I’m not sure why I ever thought it would. I think someone told me that lie once.  I don’t remember who. A different person, a friend, told me awhile back that my life will forever be divided now — that I will think in terms of my life before Mom died and after Mom died. What my friend didn’t know when she told me this (hi, Sandy, if you’re reading this) is that my life had already been divided that way.

There was the life I had before my son changed on September 22/23, 2002; and life since. My son has autism and he was beaten by his bio dad and stepmom the day of the 22nd when he was spending the weekend with him (court-ordered visitation.) He was returned home to me in the wee hours (around 2 a.m.) of September 23. That just so happened to be David’s 60th birthday, btw.

My son wasn’t able to “just get over” his beating. Our world turned upside down.

At age 29, he and we still struggle. Ry’s better today. Most days, anyway. He’s definitely not the same. I don’t expect he ever will be. Along with his primary diagnosis of autism, he was diagnosed secondarily with PTSD from the beating. My therapist told me that in dealing with my son, my husband and I could very easily be diagnosed with PTSD ourselves. You tend to walk on eggshells and you start changing what you do, why you do, how you do what you do when you live with someone who has PTSD. It creeps into your life/lives. Anyway, Ry’s life changed then and with it, David’s and my life changed. So did Lauren’s. We’re coming up to that anniversary in a couple of days.

Even so, I’m planning on celebrating David’s birthday. We need something joyous to celebrate. It’s been too long. I’ve planned a party for him. What the hell was I thinking?! People are coming to our home on Sunday! I don’t remember the last time we had people over. We kind of gave up doing that. Life’s been too unpredictable to plan parties and entertain at home. But it’s David’s birthday and the Cowboys are playing in Seattle and so, I’m keeping it low key. It’ll be a birthday/ Cowboy-watching party and we’ll eat tacos. Maybe I’ll even get a margarita machine. Where the hell do I rent one of those? Needless to say, my anxiety is high. Maybe that will end up as fodder for another post. Not today, though. It’s enough to know that we are going to celebrate David’s birthday on Sunday. At our house. God, I need to clean and organize and prepare and plan in case things go south for Ry/for us!

Lori, as I read what you wrote, it occurred to me that maybe you’ve hit on why I haven’t been able to write lately — in what seems like ages now. I seem to be able to write responses to other bloggers, and I’ve written quite a bit that way — but I haven’t been able to write one damned post on my blog in weeks. Sadness has settled over me. I guess there’s too much right now. And, like you, I don’t want to put something out that makes others sad or that makes others feel sorry for me or my family or — whatever. I want to be able to sublimate the hell out of the absurdity of my life, the sadness — even — and make others laugh. I want to laugh. And right now, I simply can’t.

If we lived close by, Lori, we could meet somewhere and drink heavily, listen to sad songs, cry and laugh at memories of our moms — maybe even share a few funny memories (I have a couple about Mom.)  I miss my mom’s cooking. There’s a whole post I could write about that alone, but I probably won’t. I miss Mom’s laughter and the way she used to care so much about each of her family members. Too much.  I miss her style and I miss her yelling at my dad. I miss her getting into my business. I need to stop now. Sorry.

When I see Spider Lilies, I think of Mom. I remember bringing  her a bunch in an old canning jar when she was in the rehab facility after she left the hospital. The lilies were cut from her garden. They brightened the dreary room in which she stayed. The flowers added something, they seemed kind of exotic, I think. Like Mom. She added something unique and different to everything she touched. I brought her flowers to her because she wasn’t able to go outside, go to her home, go to see them for herself. She smiled that day when I walked in with flowers from her garden.

Should I have known that instead of getting better, she was preparing for her death in her own way? She didn’t commit suicide or anything. She just lost her will and her strength to live as she battled the final stages of COPD. She was ready to go. I wasn’t ready for her to go, though. I had hope that she would get to go home. She wanted desperately to “go home.” Was she talking about home with Dad or home with Jesus? I wonder about that now. She and I had a complicated relationship. I remember being so angry at her for the years of smoking that led to her COPD. I remember how saying that hurt my dad.

“She suffered. How the hell could you be angry at her?” he wanted to know.

Maybe he told me I should be ashamed of myself. I probably felt ashamed.  No probably about it. I’m over the anger now. Don’t even remember when that happened. I also don’t blame her anymore. If it hadn’t been COPD, it would eventually have been something else. As it will be for everyone. Still, I wish that the quality of her life could have been better those last several years. I wish she could still be here and that we had this upcoming holiday season to look forward to together. On the day that we buried her ashes — was it the Saturday — or was it the Friday — after Thanksgiving? Either way, the weather had turned bitterly cold and the spider lilies were long gone. We put roses on her grave. There are things I’ll write about that day. One day. That writing won’t go on my blog.

The spider lilies were in glorious bloom two years ago. We must have had a fair amount of rain that fall. Maybe we’ll get a nice bloom from them again this year. That would make Mom happy.

I’m so sorry for the loss of your mother, Lori. I’m sorry for our loss. I’m sorry for the struggle you are going through, and the grief. I don’t know what kind of flowers your mother loved best; perhaps, roses. Thank you for sharing with us today on Dungeons of Loom. Thank you for inspiring me to write a post. May you find peace. You certainly matter and you made a difference in my life today. Bless you, my new friend. ~ M

And so Wayward Friends, I’ve finally written something. Thank you, Lori Rose Bebko, for the inspiration to do so. You can find her at Come Hell or High Water Blog.  That’s an amazing name for a blogsite, btw! Now I have to scour the house and prepare for a party on Sunday. If you want to feel sorry for me about something, that would be the thing to feel sorry for me about. I’m both looking forward to it and dreading it all at the same time. Until we meet again — hugs and peace,

Mona 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

20 thoughts on “Spider Lilies

  1. Mona, this is beautiful. I am so honored to have been a part of your writing. And so sorry – and glad – that your everyday life is the way it is. I, too, have autism in my everyday life. The Male Sibling Unit is on the spectrum, as well as having brain damage and mental retardation. There are days filled with hilarity, and days that are not. But every day is a surprise, and every day is a gift. I am SO glad we have “met”!!!!

    • You said it, Lori — everyday is a surprise and a gift! I’m glad we met, too! Sorry I screwed up your last name up on DOL! I can’t wait to delve into your blog.
      Mona

  2. I can’t say anything more than I said to Lori in the group. Grief is a tricky thing. My Dad will have been gone 25 years on the 29th of this month and some days the grief still hits me as fresh as when it happened. Mom has been gone 8 years and it’s the same thing. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. Just keep moving, as they say. Take care, friend!

  3. This was a beautiful post, Mona. I’ve contemplated writing similar blog posts before (and I kind of touched on these types of things in a post about realizing that JoJo was the person I wanted to spend my life with when my father died unexpectantly)…but I tend to steer clear. July 2010-March 2011 was a really bad time in my life where I lost 3 people very close to me in a very short time period (two natural yet very sudden, the third suicide and, obviously, unexpected)–but I can never bring myself to write about it clearly and adequately. And I find it hard to talk to others about similar issues because it’s just a difficult topic. I’m glad folks find comfort in writing about these topics–maybe one day I will, too.

  4. Mona, I don’t think you said too much – I think you said everything just right, because that’s how it came out. I will of course take the comment off if you and Dave are too uncomfortable with it staying there, but thank you for the gift of writing it. It has been on my mind today, trying on someone else’s struggle, understanding what few bits can be understood from the outside … it opens a mind up. We give a gift when we write raw truth like that. It isn’t whining. It isn’t over-sharing. It isn’t … what’s that wonderful, useful Southern term? … unseemly. For every person whose story we are wholly offered, we compare it to our own and learn something, and maybe teach something, too. Isn’t that the highest and best use of writing? Even from here, in the pit today, in this now, I believe that.

  5. Thanks, Lille. And you don’t have to delete anything. Thank you for the opportunity to have opened up. This helps both David and me to realize that we aren’t the only ones dealing and struggling and that it’s okay to acknowledge that. OPENLY. Thank you for what you shared and for inspiring and encouraging me and others. I’ll keep what you just wrote in mind as well. You offer really good perspective. I’m hoping that with what everyone seems to be going through right now, that this post plus your post plus others’ posts can be helpful and useful to those out there who are struggling but don’t have a voice or can’t find a way to express their thoughts and feelings or don’t realize how many others are going through something similar. This is an important discussion to have.
    Mona

  6. You probably don’t want to hear this, but I think that beautifully written, heartfelt post was very brave. It’s never easy to lay your feelings bare, but at times it’s necessary…. as well as cathartic. And the wondrous part of blogging is that your words may help others without you ever knowing. I lost my mother in 2014 and not a day goes by that I don’t think of her. You said something that really hit me, “…that my life will forever be divided now — that I will think in terms of my life before Mom died and after Mom died.” and it’s so very true. Traumatic events can rip our lives apart, and I can only imagine how hard it was for your family to heal after your son’s horrible ordeal. But you’re still together, you’re still here, and you’re planning a birthday party! You’re resilient. You’re strong. And through it all, you kept your sense of humor. You may not be laughing right now, but you will…. soon. And we’ll be here to laugh, or offer a virtual hug. Whichever you need most.

    • River,
      Thank you for your kindness and truth! I think my friend Sandy would enjoy knowing that I passed along her wisdom and it spoke to you as well. Hugs to you!
      Mona

  7. Your post is so open, raw, sad and honest. Grief is, I agree, something that changes your life forever. My dad passed away 11 years ago, aged 57, suddenly. I can only describe the pain as being totally frozen and I gradually started to thaw out and accept that he’d gone, but it took many years to do. You never ever get over it, you just kind of get used to them not being around. Your post touched my heart and made me cry because I understand how you feel and I’m so sorry for your loss. Love to you and your family Mona x

  8. Pip,
    I’m sorry about your dad’s passing as well. Thank you for your kind words, wisdom and encouragement. Hugs to you my dear friend!
    Mona

  9. Suzanne,
    Well, it does stay busy around here. Thank you for your sweet words. I don’t know Lori that well yet, but I’ve been reading her blog and like you, she’s an amazing woman and wonderful writer! Be well my friend!
    Mona

  10. This was such a beautiful post, Mona. You have poured your heart into your words, and your love for your family – including your late mother – is so evident. Lovely (albeit heart-wrenching) post – I hope it was cathartic.

    • Robbie,
      Thank you. Posts like yours help me make it through days when life gets a little overwhelming. There is much healing in humor and laughter and your daily poems that are so fun and irreverent do much for my soul! Thank you for all you do in the world, Robbie! I’m virtually hugging everyone through this particular post and you are no exception, my friend. A great big hug to you!
      Mona
      For those of you not acquainted with Robbie’s poetry, you can find him at https://robbieyates.com/
      You will be glad you did!

  11. Such an honest and raw post Mona and beautifully written from the heart. I can relate to the time that you lost your mum, ie life before and life after. My beautiful mum has been gone two years now and it was such a difficult journey. Everything changes, constantly. Big warm hugs to you xx

    • Thank you, Miriam. It sounds like we lost our moms around the same time frame and I’m sorry that your mom is gone as well. Sending a great big hug to you, my friend!
      Mona

  12. Ah, James Taylor makes me think of my mom too.
    Darling, you can be as sad as you want to be, or as silly as you want to be. It’s all you and it’s all worth reading. It doesn’t matter if you make someone laugh or if you make someone cry, either emotion is a gift, these are the things that make life worth living.
    Lots of love to you and yours. <3
    Also an extra helping of sparkles to get you through your sad days! *~*~*

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