to calm

To calm your wild

I’d give my life

stop being a mother 

stop being a wife 

 

To calm your wild

I’d except my tired eyes

die a painful death 

swim in a storm of lies

 

To calm your wild

I’d do anything 

stop being human 

crumble my beating heart

become a thing 

 

To calm your wild

for you to have a life? 

I’d do these things 

I wouldn’t think twice

hidden

there’s a suitcase in the far corner of my closet

the older one with the worn brown

checkerboard pattern and a faded luggage tag

can’t make out the name any longer

not going anywhere anyway

and if I pretend

the flattened leather handle still feels warm

probably from when you used it last

back when life was happy and our souls were stronger

sometimes when things get loud

I want to place a blanket in that suitcase,

in the far corner of my closet,

crawl inside, zip it up and lie

quietly, silently

will he find me

I want to say aloud

but I don’t dare make a sound

these days, these long days

after the first door slam, I want to bolt

run far before the terror takes hold

but no

I have to stand there and take it

stand there and stand there

stand there and fake it

place my trembling hands in my pockets

ignore my heart pounding in my ears

taste the rapid beats, choke them down

why is it getting so difficult

I’ve been doing this for years

every time I enter my closet

I give that suitcase an extra glance

maybe one day I could do it

run quick when I have the chance

when I’m first warned

place a blanket inside, make it cozy and warm

crawl inside, zip it up

lie quietly, silently battered and worn

when she be

 

When she be coming for me

in the wee hours of the morn

it’ll be the same as

when I had no breath

the moment I was born

 

When she be coming for me

wearing her soft gown of white

riding the tails of wind

in the blackest part of night

 

She be coming for me

the dreams foretold

left me hiding scared

under a blanket

with arms scarred up and old

 

She’ll leave the door open

as if in a trance

the zephyr will try to usher her back

I’ll whisper for one more chance

 

When she be coming for me

I’ll hear the gale swoosh down the hall

sound so deafening

you won’t even hear my call

 

When she be coming for me

her hair still wet with dew

kindness shining bright as stars

her eyes the palest hue

 

She be coming for me as

old man Winter blows in the snow

the floorboards will creak and crack

I’ll witness the last of my tears

before I have to go

 

When she be coming for me

in the wee hours of the morn

off and away I’ll be

and

when we meet again

dear one 

we’ll just have to

wait and see

 

 

momentary

Do you remember the seashore?  Do you remember the water?  How it cooled us, held us, renewed us that day on the shore.

That day where we escaped what we’re going through and just focused on the crests of foam breaking down as it came in twos, chasing each other; only to be crushed by the bigger waves that almost always followed.  It always seems to follow.  But for those few hours – we pretended that it would not.  We closed our eyes and felt the sun soothe us, we calmed our trembling brains.  We breathed in the salt air – tasted it on our lips.  Breathed it in again and held our breath.  Is this what peace feels like?  Stillness.  Roaring in our ears.

Opposite of  being lost in the fire where our whispers turn to shouts.  Remembering all the battles, but the scars we’ve lost count.  Fleeing from the panicked, pale creature with the crazed blue eyes and drowning out the threats to die, his sighs, the cries.

Perhaps that is why I liked it there,  I’m nothing compared to that vast place.  In that place, I was only between the sand and the sun;  I wasn’t an emotional stress ball for my autistic son.

That day, I reclined and watched you play in the water.  The sun sprayed off your back and you looked happy.  The possibilities were endless and you sang with the mermaids in my dreams that night.  I watched the seagulls choreograph a flight to the violins that played in my head.  Those beautiful violins.  Is this what mercy feels like?  Those moments, that place.

 

 

grief

I long to surrender

to the rainfall;

feel wet hair

against my cheek.

Laugh until I feel hollow,

cry until I can’t speak.

I long to surrender

to the rainfall;

feel the drops travel

down my spine.

Hear the rain clouds

murmur,

you are as good as mine.

Fall into the emptiness

away from all my fears.

Oh, how I long to surrender,

surrender all my tears.

 

 

madness

 Does it mean I love you any less,

 if I want to keep the best of you,

 but want to change the rest?    

 

I don’t know why I’m feeling the way I do.  The way I was last night, it wasn’t me, it wasn’t right.  But he started up again; wanting this, wanting that.  Throwing this, throwing that.  He took my phone and jammed it into his wall.  The glass is shattered, I can barely make a call.  I tried to keep him in his room as you were moving his wooden toy toaster and his broom.  Removing scissors, long objects, and most anything that he could turn into a weapon.  We, unfortunately, know that part too well.  I kept him in his room as long as I could, but I let him run out, thinking that it would help calm him.  He said he was calmer anyway.  What a good storyteller he is.  Off to the sitting room he went, to put holes in the walls.  I tried for ten minutes, but I wasn’t able to block them all.  Out he ran, he said his blood sugar felt low – 

Ok, I’ll test you – let’s calm down, let’s go…”

He tried to go into your room – to put holes in the wall…he said. 

My voice got louder, my face burned with confusion, exhaustion –

Please calm down.  Please go to your room and calm down.”  Please, over and over again.

He punched my arms harder.  I grabbed his arms just to stop the pain, and you thought I took it too far. 

Mom, give him space – let’s have space!”  You repeated yourself louder and he felt more rage.  I ignored you, concentrating on your brother, but I saw his wrath boil into a crimson fury.  He was on fire and he kicked four new holes into our walls – big ones too, it was what I didn’t want him to do.  I felt warmth escape my ears – I thought…

Why does it seem nobody can hear?”

I collapsed to the ground and grabbed my head with my trembling hands and I wailed a scream I didn’t know I had.  I became primal for about five seconds.  I lost my sense for a fraction of time, I lost my wit – I witnessed my soul escape and enter again.  My vocal chords instantly felt ripped apart; very fitting, they matched my heart.  Something happened, something clicked.  I’m one step closer to feeling insane.  One step closer to losing my mind.  It’s all so very unfortunate.  

This above incident happened August 10, 2017, and it left me at odds with my youngest daughter for about two days.  I felt decimated – perhaps even betrayed a little.  I got over it – but I guess that’s what mental illness can do.  It can turn loved ones against each other in the swirls of madness, in the twisting of insanity.  Prompt loved ones to turn into frozen statues paralyzed with fear to only thaw out long enough to survive.  That’s what we’re doing now, surviving.

These past two years have been really trying but something about these past few months have been especially sinister.  His punches are harder, the damage is greater, and his thoughts are more tortuous.  Is it the Abilify?  Is it the antidepressant?  Is it too much Abilify?  Does he need a new seizure med?  Who knows anymore.

I remember when a trial of Seroquel turned him into a demonic giant with powers that terrorized us day and night.  Night and day.  Two weeks of pure hell and the games got sicker when I had to increase it.

We need more time to see if it will work,”  the doctors would say.

I would nervously laugh, and think, “I pray we have more time.”  It was just my youngest daughter, about 16 at the time, and I during five days of the roughest part of the med trial. My oldest daughter and husband were on a school trip to Paris.  My Mom, who was staying with us at the time, went back to Missouri to help out my sister and her family.

My daughter and I would wake up to battles and the ritualistic dismantling of our house.  I would stand at his doorway during an event to lessen most of his tornadic activity that could happen to the main part of the house.  But most of his torment landed on various areas of my already bruised body.  I would put on an old winter jacket that my husband used to wear and put on heavy utility gloves, but it offered only a bit of protection.  I became the guard and he became the beast – with foam dripping out of his mouth, and my brain would have to recover from all the horrific words he shouted.

The longest event on one particular bad day lasted a little over an hour.  It was one of the five or six events per day he would have during this Seroquel trial.  My heart raced and I would feel like I ran a marathon after each event.  Between episodes I would put ice packs on my arms and maybe even my face, rest, and pop Motrin like candy.  My daughter would ask if I was okay, but her eyes had already been stained with his violence.  There’d be no turning back.

We’d have a little reprieve where he’d act more “normal” and we’d take a walk or play a game, but we didn’t venture out during this time.  We’d eat our meals between violent events and act as if nothing had ever happened.  He’d say he loved me and I’d respond back with an, “I love you too.”  Most always an event would happen before bedtime and then he’d collapse into bed, praise the Lord.  Once he was asleep, we would assess the damage of the day and clean up accordingly.  Put home decor back on their resting shelves, move end tables, and place remotes back to their original, eager location.

During this time, when he was asleep, the house was unnaturally quiet and appeared unshaken.  My daughter and I would get our pajamas on, fix a snack, and fall on the couch.  After a console session and a good cry, we’d  put on a movie and zone out.  Escape to a different world where we weren’t hurt, bullied, or terrorized.

Around midnight, we’d say goodnight, crawl into our beds, and pray for a better day to be waiting for us.  We’d close our eyes and let the stillness lead us into calm waters.  We would either dream of old ladies whispering hush or bloody mouthed wolves that chased.  There was no in-between.  It was madness.