photos by son, Cory

I need people yet being around too many freezes me. I pull in, become numb from stress and it can take days to unwind and find my way back to myself. Even those closest to me; sons, daughter’s-in-law and grand-children. Taking them one at a time? No problem. All at once?

Love having everyone together because it is rare, yet…the stress of wanting it all to go perfectly caused stiffness that speaks in my shoulders, tendons like taut piano wires.

“I feel frozen,” I tell a dear friend, one who also suffered childhood sexual abuse traumas.

“I’m like that too after being around a lot of people,” she confides, and a burden drops from me like water falling off rock. Having feelings validated and understood is priceless, like my friend.

As the freeze begins to melt the tears come like soft rain, each drop bringing me back to myself, the land, the butterflies, the dappled light at my feet from the leaves overhead, the singsong of birds chanting lively along with the croaking of tree frogs and the tractor in the distance.

Though I love my family, keeping up with 30 year old’s is exhausting. But it is worth it and all did go perfectly, even walking the glen on hike after hike. Just give me a few more days of grass, breeze, quietness, and rest…




In that place that is not now, distracted from the present, and not knowing why, tears fall. Then fall more.

Sometimes an instinctual urge has no name or explanation. Get out. Walk. Doing will help you feel productive, not paralyzed as this new wave of unspoken needs and change take hold.  

Eventually the mind will meet the emotions and the unnamed feelings will make sense; or they won’t. Until then ride the waves and do the work needed to maintain health in all realms; emotional, mental, spiritual and physical. 

Walk, confront the negative voices, bring that dissociated mind back to what is around you now. A scent lifts me, the aroma of lilacs or lily of the valley. The cat splays out on the floor in the sun stretching her expansive furry body able to look adorable even in her sickness. Life goes on…

The feelings move through. Another day arrives, each one a new flavor. 



A walk around the house…

Waking the feelings of sadness pull me down and easily defeat efforts of a productive day. Determined to not let an aging cat cripple me with negativity I push myself out onto the meadow. The day sparkles with sunshine not matching my mood. 

On lap five I lay down in the shade on the gentle bank filled with lilacs standing guard offering protection to the precious ever expanding area of lily of the valley.  I begin pulling the stems then relax asking what’s the hurry? Where are you going? This is what you are doing and where you are. Be here and now. 

The scent fills the empty places. Breezes caress my body as the sun flickers through the leaves making moving patterns around me. I say my prayer and it is heard as my insides unwind and pull in the beauty around me. 

Help me be grateful, feel peace and ease my fears. 

I go in for my camera and take a walk around the house filling my soul with more ‘food.’ 

Do Not Disburb the Peace

photos by patricia

The golden-red glow of the morning sun colors the room with rosy reflections. Pondering the peacefulness, not wanting to disturb it, knowing its grace can be disrupted easily by tiny sudden occurrences due to my tendency towards instant adrenaline rushes… I say a prayer of thanks.

Glorious spring calls me out each day. Little jobs bring deep pleasure. During the meadow walk a basket of rich dirt for the creek garden where my four year old grand-daughter swings hangs in the crook of my arm. She’s been promised a garden with flowers all her own.

Sitting on the lush grass, the birds singing melodies overhead, Cosmos, bulbs, and zinnias are tenderly planted at the base of the tree by the swing. Pausing, looking up while inhaling the fresh air, a feeling of peacefulness wraps her warm arms around me. 

Heading back to the vegetable garden, settling onto the grass once again, chives, basil, and parsley seeds are sowed with visions of upcoming home-made pesto and other luscious, fragrant dishes.

The sweet scent of lilacs hits like a floral wave when turning by the hedgerow after each lap around the grassy meadow. The greens after a dreary winter unfold in their various hues turning greys and browns to a myriad of tints dotted by explosions of complimentary colorful blossoms from cherry, apple, pear and magnolia trees.

The silly mourning dove insists on making her nest once again in the clematis vine that climbs up the porch attached to the new deck. When we sit on the deck she becomes frightened and flies off worriedly keeping an eye on the eggs and us. It makes use of the deck too guilty a pleasure and instead we sit inside the porch to honor her incubation duties.

Mourning doves cannot be the sharpest tools in the shed because why make your nest where there is so much people traffic? But I love them dearly and the soft sing-song cooing that sounds so plaintive and sweet matching their dispositions.

Molly’s cancer progresses due to hearing the low rattle of air moving through her lungs. She is restless except when lying full out on my body exchanging our warmth, then she seems exceedingly content and almost unconscious. She still purrs and bats at toys, so has playful moments. Trips to the store to return food and try others have become too countless to count.

Finally the realization is that some days are better than others. No matter what is presented, whether home cooked chicken, hamburger, or the most expensive can of cat food, she is either up to eating or is not. It is hard to see her hurting, and tears come often along with the reverent prayer to know when is the right time to end it for her.

Each days holds so much. It is fuller by accepting that each one will hold both pain and pleasure.


Picture 014

photo by patricia

I wonder at the tattered cloth, can it ever be whole? Feelings of wholeness seep in then despair. A depth of dark and cold with no succor. The yearning for something unnamed. Resolve to have it. Then tears.

And more tears. An awakening. The present so infected by the past. Go back? Must I go back? Others say, “Be happy.” My happy is back there to that little lost girl I abandoned. I hurt, she hurts.

“Why?” she asks. “When you had college age women to explore your sexuality with. Others who were willing and your age. Why a little sister? Only a child. A little girl who looked up to you, adored you, trusted you?” And she cries as she asks.

Like a tattered cloth that needs mending, the needles pierce with every stitch. To make it whole again the wounds must be lanced and it hurts. To come to the present I must visit the past and I don’t want to. Yet the visit brings me back to the present more fully.



When a child is forced by the fear of abandonment of family to hold in the crimes and despicable acts against her and her body by others in the ‘family,’ those deep wounds go unhealed, unprocessed, and remain as painful as if the wounds just occurred even fifty years later.

At sixty-four my thoughts keep yammering, “Stop crying. You are mature and need not make such a big deal about this.”

When hurt by the slight or the ‘stuff’ of another close to me it is like a scratch. It seems on the surface that I am making more of it than need be, like Samuel says. And here we go again with a rift in my present day family, my real family, where I am deeply hurt and withdraw. That can last a long time, too long and it is no fun for anyone as I hover in my cave all alone.

But this time, my head bent over the puzzle, the tears dripped down and the wracking sobs were allowed. Why was this scratch a bleeding wound? Do I keep crying or try to shove it away? The tears come throughout the week, while walking the meadow, or sitting by the creek, they erupt with a primal gasp that surprises.

Do I bang at my head for being an idiot and seemingly sad all of the time, or allow what is there to be there, be curious, and accept it. It comes, and it comes in waves over a period of days.

It is Tom, Tom and a life of criticism so veiled the others in the ‘family of origin’ aren’t aware, or have become so used to it that it is accepted. No one ever came to my aid from his put-downs.

The cutting sly remarks began early on at age eight when he crept up in the night to commit cunnilingus on my little eight year old body while asleep. The next day, and ever after, his guilt made me him hate me for my very existence. And he surely made me pay for it.

I believe Chet hated me for that too, for existing and reminding him of he had done. I feel it at times now. If only I hadn’t been born. Given a choice, I would choose not to. But we, none of us, are given one. 

Even here at my table about ten years ago when I tried getting everyone together in the hopes of a family, he put me down using the same snide sneer. I knew then it would never happen—a family. He talked to my younger brother, a realtor with his own company, eluding to my stupidity regarding my not knowing the legalities about buying this house.

Not one person at the table took a stand to say that I couldn’t know about buying houses because it was only the second one I’d ever bought. No one, not one. And that is how it has been in the ‘family,’ not a true family, only the group of people I was unfortunate to be born unto. 

This is typical. The families shame victimizes the victim further to keep her quiet. They all collude with the secrets making each one as culpable. What about the child? How does she heal, how can she possibly? She cannot. Over fifty years of stuffing the pain deep makes it seem not there, yet it colors every interaction with bloody red pain.  

That kind of abuse, psychological, is the one that destroys. I would much rather be like my friends who always seem to smile and have such positive energy. When do I accept that it’s OK to be who I am? A woman who never grieved her past or healed from tragic wounds, some wounds never to be healed but lived with and managed.

So I understand…finally. And in allowing the pain to come up I can forgive the loved one who hurt me and forgive my past ways of withdrawing and retaliating. I can smile a real smile, but first I had to get through the pain a little bit at a time. And it is OK to cry. It opens me.