this too

this too shall pass

I need you to think 

as you look past that jagged piece of glass

sitting on your counter reminding you

of that blood tainted dream 

you dreamt last night 

remember the dread and then relief

hang on to that fleeting feeling of fright 

 

this too shall pass

I need you to think

as you look into

that pool of blue sinking 

stupid girl

I know what you’re thinking 

but turn away

don’t let that horrid image stay 

 

this too shall pass

I need you to think 

when he warps and wraps

his sickness into your brain

makes you turn into ice

when his vapor speaks

breaks you into a thousand pieces

that slide about his pacing feet

 

this too shall pass

I need you to think 

of how much more you’ll take

how much more will you take?

wait till he turns his back 

then scramble your way out 

forget your shoes and move 

don’t look over your shoulder

 

just run, fly

much like that flock of massive crows

with their black and blue feathers

that match your arms

match your soul

depart, feel no pain

as the spiny palms try

to stop you in vain

 

this too shall pass

I need you to think

as you look past your life gone mad

hold back your blinding tears

let the ghostly syllables

play about in your ears

I need you to hear

this too shall pass

break

red chameleon beckoned me out 

entranced me with its glossy glaze

matched the blood that fell from me

walked past the broken grill

with the torn black cover

said hello to the baby leaves 

and

let the purple tendrils wrap themselves 

around my knees

“Stay with us forever!”

I pretend to hear them plead

What beautiful, caring creatures – I think 

look up at the black

feel the moisture run down my back

marvel that it’s too humid to even breathe

watch the red chameleon crawl into

a place that I cannot go 

we all can’t be Alice that gets to fall

into that glorious rabbit hole 

look away – rip my eyes from its gaze

feel the purple tendrils unwrap their grip

from my knees 

go back into my crumbling house

ignore their saddened stance

ignore their fictitious pleas

away from this

Baby girl,

I read that you wanted to run 

away from this, away from him

never me, never us

Go ahead and run baby girl

run as far from here

away from him, away from this 

Baby girl,

it broke my heart to hear you cry

sitting far from our crumbling house

our poor aching house 

we hear its moans in the middle of night

it interrupts our conversations

with its whispers of fright 

walls with holes so deep we want to crawl in

to escape this, to escape him 

Crawl in and weep for years and years 

then crawl back out to ask,

Is it over yet?”

but no one is there to answer back 

the house is empty 

all that’s left is the fear

that fear could live for a million years

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.

 

snippet of her

She could have been the mother of a dozen girls; all with raven hair and cheeks dusted with the pale pink sheen that left her countenance ages ago.  Lovely, airy, gentle girls with names like: Polly, Emmaline, and Mae; with giggles in the morning, books in the afternoon, and Rooibos tea in the evening.  They would love her and show her affection, and she would know they cared.  Know that she was their mother.  Unlike how she felt today: invisible, worthless, stranded, and forgotten.

She could have been the mother of an army of girls with pigtails and curls, petticoats, and dolls.  Stupid, perfect dolls with porcelain skin and fingers, so delicate she would hold her breath to touch, just to touch their dainty fingers.  She would cry herself to sleep not knowing the wedded and domestic future of her unborn, imaginary army of girls.  Cry over grandchildren she would never see, never love, never hold.  She would mourn this loss over and over until her heart broke into a million tiny pieces, scattering and chasing each other  while blaming themselves for the break.  If only her heart had been stronger, tougher, maybe she wouldn’t have failed so miserably.

This mother, this very same mother, looking past her broken son, in a puddle of his own urine, with stained straw hair and with eyes, seemingly so dark, she couldn’t see the blue.  With eyes that pained her with every blink she could scarcely look at him as he waited on what she did not know.  She could have been a good mother if only her son could have given her a chance.  But it escaped him, he was lost in his own world.  His world filled with chaos, destruction; senselessness that cruelly clashed with her idyllic, impossible thoughts.   Her impossible thoughts.  

They would never understand, she’d think.  This mother with guilt so alive it walked beside her clutching her hand, would collapse under impossible pressure countless times.  She would drown daily with not a life guard or life preserve in sight.  They would just look at her with disapproving eyes – eyes that didn’t know the story.  The story of love and hope that in one minute would turn into duty and despair.  They would not know the doctor that said her son was haunted by ghosts or know all the medicines, the little colorful pills that turned against him and caused him rage.  They would never know the pain, not ever, even if explained.  She was sick of explaining.

This mother would crawl into bed and pray for forgiveness.  This woman would dream of her army of girls, all fancy and sweet, singing lullabies.  These tiny angels would dance with ribbons of pink and peace would overcome her until she was reduced to tears.  She  would feel happiness in this dream;  this gift, this blessing of a dream.  It was always enough to give this woman a fragment, a drop of hope that the next day could be that day.  That day where she would reach her son and her son would live in her world.  That day where neither anxiety nor frustration dwelled.  That day where her thoughts were not so impossible and laughter cradled, rocked, and soothed the both of them, mother and son.

She didn’t need an army of daughters – she just needed her one son.  

My one son,” she would cry and release to the air.  That had to be enough.

 

hard time

You know it’s been difficult.  I don’t need to remind you when you already feel the pulse of the beast that ails us.  Hear the unmentionables of the many voices that seem to spew out of his mouth to poison our ears.  Oh God, why is that voice in my own ears?  See the shadow lurking around the corner taking the breath from our lungs one molecule at a time.  Running away swiftly from his sighs when it’s dark.  I wake up blind in the middle of the night thinking about these times.

Cry out for help but not one person hears.  People witness the crimes but turn around as if I were a ghost.  As if we were all ghosts.  I want to scream, “Can’t you see us?  Do you see this?”

But I yell only at clouds – vapor that takes my consonants and vowels and swirls them around till they grow into an angry twister that finds its way back to me.  It always finds its way back to me.  To rip me into shreds, fill my heart with dread, and slam my head to the floor whispering, “Are you ready for more?”

I don’t know how much more I can take, when at any given moment, while sitting at the kitchen table, my eyeballs explode with sadness.  The drooping orchid that has not yet bloomed reminds me of this.  Our crumbling house reminds me of this.  The blue hue and scars on my arms reminds me of this.  Being stuck is this.  What life is this.

I don’t know how much more you can take, when at the same table, during a different meal; I watch your tired eyes swell up with tears so large I’d need a bucket to collect them all.  And my heart silently breaks watching each one fall.