For Sake or…

Void of regular emotion
Young become zombies to life
Isolation a given confinement
Self-torcher for insight.
No one knows the adversary
Or understands…
It’s different now
Because reality is what we pretend.
Ghosts walk the halls, movies and games
Solving the next mystery
And deciding who to blame. . .
Then causing new misery
In order to wake up or wise
Without maturity of consequence
Or the ability to reverse time.
So absent of future
And certainty of death-
Merely the sake of forgiveness
Only after true regret.

Posted in Happiness, Life, Parenting, Poetry

Dear Life, Thank you!

For without reality
Where would I be?
One would hope
More than I see.
Change the past
Ignore the present
Forget the parents
Or being peasants…
For wanting more
Loses who we are
Where we’re going
Or even how far.
Or what was innocent
Or even dumb
What we felt
Or being numb…
And we learn
Just a little too late
Beyond missed hugs
Or present dates…
And we wake up
As others sleep
Like the lion
Consuming sheep…
And all the fails
Becomes victory’s win
And when we go to tell
Their gone by then…
But I was young
And you were old
And the middle came late
Before the story unfold.

Posted in Poetry

Dear Teenager


DEAR TEENAGERSeeing the world through your eyes

Would make my hope pretty dark…

Accepting your reality instead 

Would take away the needed spark.

Compromising my rules

Would bring a weakness I won’t like…

Quitting the battle now

Would cost more than just the fight.

Old while learning nothing

Is an idiocy you choose to sell…

Like every teen before and after you

You didn’t think that through very well.

I love you so much

That it hurts to follow things through…

I wish to see the future

And with your teen what you would do.

I want to say I’m sorry

But I am not sure exactly what for-

So I will just have to be here

When you choose to open a door.

You may think I shut it

Even with slamming done by you…

But someday light will dawn

And the truth will be there too.

Posted in Poetry

Letting Go


Black and white

Logic a friend

But just a moment 

Brings color again.

Pain and anger

Calculated space

Clutching tightly 

So nothing is erased.

Patience with time

Praying for you

Feeling helpless

With so little to do.

No way to show you

Or words you will hear

But patiently waiting

While always staying near.

Posted in Healthcare

I thought many of the thoughts she speaks about here. I remember wondering “how could the parents have not known?”. Many years and experiences later – I understand why parents do not know. To advocate awareness, when your pain will never be eradicated, is a special strength… and worthy of us to learn and listen.

https://www.ted.com/talks/sue_klebold_my_son_was_a_columbine_shooter_this_is_my_story

Posted in Short Story, Uncategorized

Picking Up Pieces

sky

The faded blue summer sky highlighted the heat for Amanda’s friends and her to play in today. Hide and seek, running through sprinklers and drinking from the hose would be a part of their play time. Only children appreciate carefree days like this. Amanda loved to play outside. Each year her light blonde hair would turn almost white by summer’s end. Her four friends of similar age and an equal mix of boys and girls helped her enjoy summer days.

Before Amanda I had never noticed how present the sound of silence was even with noises of children playing outside. The silence was often shattered by the ominous sounds of police and ambulance sirens and my daughter’s reaction to them. The sirens would startle Amanda every time. She would drop to her knees, cover her ears with her hands, and scream and cry with a similar eerie sound of the sirens that excited her fears.

Dan and I adopted Amanda when she was almost two-years-old. Her mother and father were killed in a car accident and she was the only survivor. Amanda’s paternal family was limited, and while we kept her paternal grandparents in her life, they too were stolen from her life before she was four years old. She doesn’t seem to have much of a memory of them now, but we keep photos of them and her parents in a collage-type frame on her bedroom wall. Her family didn’t leave her life voluntarily, so Dan and I decided keeping their memory close to her was the right thing to do. She doesn’t ask questions about the pictures, and we haven’t talked much about them so far. Life has a way of helping you know when to do something, and Dan and I were waiting for the prompting.

“Mom!” her voice startled me while lost in thought.

“Yes. What?” I responded as calmly as possible.

“Can we all have a popsicle? It’s hot outside.” She asked with an excitement I admired.

“Of course. Trash, and I mean all trash, better make it to the trash when you are done.”

“Okay.” She ran out the door to give the good news to her friends.

Dan and I always keep a stash of popsicles in the freezer in the garage for Amanda and her friends. It is a cheap treat and helps keep Amanda and her friends close to home. Dan threatens to quit buying them often because he is always cleaning up the trash they leave behind. Someday they will learn. I hope.

“I see my words fell on deaf ears again, Megan.” Dan says in a playful tone while coming in from the garage.

“I will check on them in a few, and make sure they put their trash in the trash” I assured him.

“Don’t forget to look behind the bushes. They are great at hiding it there.”

The twinkle in his eyes always made my heart melt. I wish he could have passed those eyes onto a child for us to have together, but God had a different plan for us. Amanda was our plan, and what a wonderful blessing she was to our family.

“I need to go into the office for a bit. Are you okay to watch the kids? After I check on the trash of course.”

“That’s fine. I talked to Seth’s dad a moment ago and his wife did the same thing. Stuck him at home with the kids that is.”

“I am so glad the men of today can handle the responsibility” I teased.

“Very funny” he said while kissing me goodbye.

His truck was blocking my car in the garage, so I guess I’ll be driving that today. It is silver, with chrome trim, and in perfect condition. The truck is five years old, and with the exception of the body style, looks brand new. I always worried damage would happen when I was driving it. I hated having that responsibility.

“Amanda” I yelled. Did you guys throw your trash away?”

“I think so” she replied.

“Then why do I see wrappers and sticks on the porch?”

“Sorry Mrs. Helton! I will do it right now” Johanna offered to save her friend.

I watch Johanna scurry to keep her friend out of trouble. Her hair was black, straight and as long as Amanda’s. They were best friends and I could see their friendship lasting a lifetime. Just as I started the truck sirens in the distance sounded. I looked towards my daughter as she was quickly paralyzed with fear. Suddenly she ran into the back of the garage, cowered to her knees and started screaming. I shut off the truck and ran to be with her.

“Amanda Honey. It’s okay. Those sounds won’t hurt you” I said while wrapping her in my arms and rocking her calmly.

Just then Dan came running into the garage, and her friends stood at the garage opening. They all looked confused and concerned just like the other times this had happened. The noise kept getting louder, so we knew they were going to stop close to our home.

“Hey princess…. it’s okay” Dan offered while rubbing her back.

As luck would have it the emergency vehicles came to the house across from ours. Amanda’s eyes had a new and elevated fear that her voice could have never matched. We watched patiently as men jumped out of their vehicles to get inside our neighbors home.

“Henry is in trouble so these guys are just here to help” I said to Amanda.

Amanda’s friends slowly inched closer to her while watching the paramedics and police scramble outside. We all watched in silence except for Amanda’s cries. She had never spoken when the sirens made her scream, and when the sounds ended, life simply resumed as it had before. But not this time. This was too close for life to go on once the sounds were over.

After what seemed like forever, but really only six minutes, we watched the paramedics bring our older neighbor, Henry, out of his house while secured on a stretcher. They were talking to him, but we couldn’t hear anything they were saying.

“Amanda” I said softly. “Let’s move closer to our driveway so you can see he is okay.”

I picked her up while I stood to walk out of the garage. Dan and her friends followed my lead. We were all worried about Henry so getting closer seemed to be the right thing to do. After putting Henry in the ambulance, and shutting the doors, my daughter’s voice finally found life.

“He is dead?” she asked through sobs.

“No princess” Dan said. “he is just sick somehow and they are here to help him.”

The lights came back on for the ambulance and quickly drove away.

“He will never come back.” Amanda said.

“Of course he will” I said.

“That’s not what that truck does! They leave and never come back!” Amanda yelled while squirming out of my arms and running inside.

“Sorry guys. Come back in a couple of hours. She just needs some alone time with this happening today” Dan told her friends. They all left quietly with their heads down.

Dan and I walked inside and up the stairs to Amanda’s room. As expected, she was in her room, with her purple comforter pulled over her head. Quiet sniffles let us know she was still really upset. We reached her bed and I half-balanced myself on the limited available space on the side of her twin bed. Dan stood beside me.

“Amanda” I said softly.

“What” she asked while sucking snot through her nose.

“Let’s talk about what just happened outside, okay?”

Her comforter tossed in the air abruptly, and she sat up with attitude in her arms while continuing to push the covers for her bed away.

“Tell us what you are feeling so we can help you” Dan said.

“He is never coming back!” she yelled again.

“Amanda, I have been in an ambulance before and I am still here. Just because you get help doesn’t mean you don’t come back” I offered.

“Well, maybe you weren’t in the one I just saw.” Her eyes showed a defiance to the comfort I tried to offer.

“No, but an ambulance comes when there is an emergency. If you need more help they take you to the hospital, and when you are better you get to come home” I said.

“That’s a lie!” she screamed.

“Let me try” Dan offered while signaling he wanted to sit down. Reluctantly I got up.

“Hi princess. I want you to try to listen to me, okay?”

Amanda nodded in response. Admittedly I was annoyed she seemed more willing to listen to him.

“A long time ago, before you were even two-years-old, you were in a serious car accident with these people.” Dan took the frame of pictures off of her wall and pointed to Amanda’s mom and dad.

“Do you remember who they are?” Dan asked.

“Yes, you guys said they were my family first” she answered through a shaky voice from crying.

“Yes. See, this woman is your birth mom. And this guy is your birth dad. Kind of like Mom and I now, but you came from these two people. A truck, a big truck, hit the car you and your first family were riding in. It was a really bad accident.” Dan paused to allow what he was telling her to sink in. I then moved to sit at the foot of her bed so she could see me too.

“The truck hit the front of the car and you were in the back seat. Someone called 911 and the police and ambulances came to where your family was at. Your mom and dad were taken away in a different ambulance than you were taken in. But all of you were transported to the hospital from the accident.”

Amanda sat quietly as though she was living the details he was giving her. Almost like there was a new memory sparked inside of her.

“The doctors tried really hard at the hospital to save your mom and dad. Unfortunately the accident was really bad, and their injuries couldn’t be fixed. Your first mom and dad died that day, but they really didn’t want to leave you. We believe they worked with God in Heaven to help us find each other.”

“I don’t understand” Amanda finally said.

“Your mom and I adopted you because your mom and dad had to go to Heaven. People can raise children whose parents had to leave and it’s called adoption. Megan and I couldn’t have children together, but we were lucky to find you when you needed a family. You went away in an ambulance and you are still here. Megan went into an ambulance when she had a scary diabetic attack once, but she got better and came home too.”

“Amanda, I am so sorry your first parents had to go away.” I said.

Amanda looked down at the pictures and said “I barely remember them. I am not sure that I do.”
“You were really young. But, you do remember that day. Somewhere deep inside you remember, and that is why you get so scared when you hear sirens. They bring back the fear and confusion you suffered the day of your accident” I answered.

“This is a lot of information we are giving you, but we wanted you to have this truth so you can understand what is happening later on” Dan said.

“We love you so much. If you have any questions you just need to ask them. Today, tomorrow – whenever. Okay?” I said.

Amanda nodded and wiped her eyes and nose with the tissues Dan handed her.

“So I have two moms and two dads?” she asked.

“Yes” we replied in unison.

“Are you okay?” Dan asked.

“Ya. I guess I am okay” she answered.

“Do you want me to see if we can find Henry at the hospital? So you can see he is okay?” I asked.

“He is not coming home” she said flatly.

Dan and I both sat confused about what to say next.

“I know that look. I don’t know why. I know that look. He was sad as he said goodbye to me with his eyes. Maybe my other mom and dad had that look?”

“Sweetie, from what we know about what happened… you would not have seen them on the stretcher or going into the ambulance” Dan said.

“I just know that look. Can I go play now?” Amanda asked.

“Of course.” I said. Dan and I were both surprised by the abrupt ending to the conversation.

Amanda was quick to run down the stairs and out the door. Her friends came back over quickly and they enjoyed the rest of their summer day. I never went into the office. Instead we grilled burgers and hotdogs, and tried to make the hours as happy as possible. Amanda seemed okay. I was amazed how so much drama could be tabled by a child. If only adults could keep that craft in their older years.

That night, while I was brushing my teeth, Amanda came into the bathroom and sat on the toilet seat lid. After wiping my mouth I turned to look at her.

“I dream about them. I didn’t know who they were. I had their picture so I thought that is where they came from. In my dreams.” She said.

I smiled. “Are you okay?”
“I guess I am happy to know who they are. I remember a little I think. I think I remember her looking at me in the car. I remember that look. Her eyes. I always thought it was a dream.”

“Well, it might be a bit of both. Our minds are funny that way.”

“Maybe” she said while hopping off the lid. “Goodnight.”

“Goodnight” I smiled while she walked away.

After Dan fell asleep I got up to read the articles and information we had about her family and the accident. I hadn’t noticed a line on the police report until reading it now. “The little girl was very confused, but not confused at the same time. Only 22 months old and she said “mom and dad said goodbye.”

I dropped the papers and cupped by hands around my mouth. I started to cry. This poor little girl I thought.

The next day Henry’s son was at the house. Dan and I went out to ask him about Henry, and hoping Amanda was wrong. Amanda was close behind us.

“Hi. We watched what happened yesterday. Is Henry okay?” I asked while expecting the worst.

“He is doing better and inside resting now. Is this little girl Amanda?” he asked.

“Yes” I replied confused.

“My dad asked to talk to her if I saw her. Is she okay to go inside now?”

I looked down at Amanda and she was already walking toward Henry’s front door.

“It’s open” he said. “He is on the couch just inside the door.”

Amanda walked in and somehow Dan and I knew we were supposed to wait outside for her. Inside, Amanda walked slowly toward the couch where Henry was waiting to see her.

“Hi” she said quietly.

“Well Hi to you too. Sit. I won’t break” Henry replied.

“Are you better now?” Amanda asked while sitting.

“I am thanks to you” Henry offered angelically.

“Me?”

“Yep. Thanks to you I had one more job to do” Henry said. “Your family in Heaven needed you to see sirens weren’t a bad thing. They love you and wanted me to tell you that. They are sorry they couldn’t come back after the sirens.”
Amanda started to cry. Finally she offered “Thank you. I am glad you are doing better. I was worried yesterday.”

“Me too” he replied while Amanda was walking out the door to see us.

Our daughter told us what happened with Henry. It only served to warm our souls to learn Henry died that night peacefully in his sleep. Thank God he had the energy for that one last job to do. Thank God her parents are still by her side too.

 

 

Posted in Parenting, Work-in-progress

A Little Slow

turtle

When I went to Petco last Friday I was thankful I didn’t have the money for a turtle. It’s not that a turtle is expensive, but setting up their habitat is, and I knew that was money I didn’t need to spend. BUT – I liked a turtle in the store. It followed me everywhere I moved. It looked up when I was looking over the top of the tank, under the water when ducked down below, and from side to side when I would move. He or she was cool! I have always liked turtles – maybe because I have always been a little slow.

I have stayed away from the writing scene for a while. The election took a lot out of me, and the negativity didn’t end when it was over, and I was so sick of hearing any of it so I went into hiding. Life has continued to get more and more difficult for me as time passes, and the stress finally made my need to write hard to ignore. So, back to writing and publishing I go.

My job will be non-existent at any time. The company sold its operations in Colorado, and the few who are left employed with the company are on borrowed time. My boss quit or was fired on Wednesday. I don’t know which it is, and I am on vacation right now, so I won’t have the story until next week. I have no idea who my boss will be, but I don’t think it will really matter when I do know. Again – I am on borrowed time.

My daily accomplishment is usually that I haven’t killed my oldest daughter. She is “special” right now. Much like many people in this world – she is struggling with wanting to fit in without fitting in. It’s like she wants to fit into the box while she is a circle, but to get in you need to be a square, and she has no interest in having pointed edges. She is messing with her health in scary ways. She is diagnosed as bipolar, and taking several medications to help her, and has decided to smoke pot on top of it all. She says she is just trying feel better, but is ignoring that she is making things worse, and I thank God daily that I allow her to live. Well, her decisions are catching up to her. She was fired from her job last week, and she is failing her senior year of high school. Life for her is out of control, and until she chooses to control it – life will stay that way. I have shown her real-world examples of the value of earning her diploma, and told her she will regret it the rest of her life if she doesn’t finish, but it is up to her to get it done. Last year she did excellent at school, worked at a different job, and only had a nutty boyfriend for me to complain about. A job change from a movie theatre to a sandwich place lead to smoking pot, dating a girl, and failing high school. Ummm… can I have the boyfriend problem back please? That was an easier problem to deal with.

My daughter didn’t date just any girl. Nope! She likes things as complicated as possible. She chose to date someone she works with (something I have always told my children to never do) AND she is 22 with my daughter only 17! REALLY?? There is huge difference between dating a girl who is 22 and a guy who was 22. I tried to warn her, but I am the idiot who doesn’t know anything like all parents of teenagers. The girl dropped her and she was fired the following day. Coincidence? I doubt it.

I think losing her job is a blessing. It gives her all the time she needs to concentrate on school, but this was a major blow to her ego too. Drugs are not allowed in my house, and she has two younger siblings watching what she does, so she has been warned that her 18th birthday will be spent moving out. She doesn’t want that and swears she is going to give it up. I guess we shall see. March will be here before she knows it. Anyway, smoking pot on top of the medications she is taking is dangerous. Her doctor warned her, we have warned her, and last night might have been a wake-up call.

I was up late reading a book by Dee Henderson titled Taken. This is my second book for the author and it will not be my last. Anyway, about 11:00p my daughter came into my room terrified. There was a man sitting on her desk and he wouldn’t go away. She complained that Scurvy (one of our dogs) wasn’t barking to make him leave either. This was a very real situation to her. I walked into her room and told her no one was there, and there was no way Scurvy would let someone be there – ghost or otherwise. She said “but he was here.”

“Okay” I replied “why isn’t the chair pulled out?”

“Because he was sitting on top of my desk.”

“Okay… then where were his legs?”

“He was sitting Indian-style so his legs were on the desk.”

She then turned to look at her desk and started to see it would be tough for a man to fit on her desk that way. The conversation helped bring some reality into the picture.

“It was a dream. That’s all. Your brain was starting to sleep and dream, you were startled awake, and reality was blurry because of it. That’s all. Scurvy won’t let anything happen to you and I will be awake for a while if he comes back. Come get me if me does.”

I didn’t see her again so he must have stayed away. I am thankful for that!

It was tough seeing my daughter look like a scared 5-year-old at 17. I know with her condition, if she doesn’t find the will to be strong and avoid temptation, her mental health will get worse. It sucks being a mother knowing I cannot fix any of it. I can support her when she asks, and cheer her accomplishments, but she must make the changes to truly be okay. Have I mentioned being a parent sucks? It does sometimes. Locking them in a room from 13 to 25 years old seems to be the only way to avoid how tough it is.

I am not sure I can handle losing my job on top of all my family stuff happening. I am supposed to be a support, a pillar of strength for my family, but losing my job will surely weaken that ability. Did I mention being an adult sucks too?

So, who am I? This is a burning question I have had most of my life. I know what I have done, and who I have been, but I don’t know who I am supposed to be. I went to college years ago because I was hungry for something different, and I wanted to be something more, but I never found the more. Now here I am – a wife, a mother to 4 children, and they need me to be more soon, but how can I be more without knowing who I am or where I am going? Am I 17??

I am a strong person for other people’s problems, but I am weak and broken for my own. I feel like the punch line to my own life story. Or I am just slow – and that is a contributing factor to my love of turtles. So here is to being three steps behind… and having faith God has a plan that will make it all make sense – someday.

Posted in Poetry

Forced Change

 

Mask

Change my make up
Color my hair
Make it short
I don’t care.
Break the rules
Change my friends
No matter what
I’ll find my end.
No logic or emotion
Just do what I want
No thought for anyone
Just more to taunt.
No explanation or virtue
Careless with time
Want it all
Without paying a dime.
No way to stop
All the way I must go
When I’m nothing like you
I’ll be done I know.