Finally, after many complaints about pain in various areas of my mouth, and after many suggestions of needing a mouth guard by the dentist, one was purchased last year. And the mysterious aches went away. If only I knew. If only I’d paid heed to the suggestions.

But a mouth guard? Samuel needed one but he ground his teeth in the night so loudly I could hear it. But I didn’t grind my teeth. It wasn’t until the hygienist used the word clench did I begin to think a mouth guard might be appropriate for me.

Clench my jaw? That might be a possibility as I must face many demons in my sleep, slaying them one by one, over and over again.

“Can I breathe with one in? Will I choke?” I ask her fearfully.

 The dentist replied, “I have never heard of that. There are many on the market that are inexpensive. Try one. If you have trouble we can fit you with one here.”

So I did, warming it in the microwave as the directions outlined, then fitting it to the top teeth. It fits perfectly, stays in, no choking or other irritant, and voila, no more mysterious pains.

Little had I known. I wish I had known years ago before the first gum surgery when the unskilled dentist took the tissue down severely because he wasn’t a specialist, but wanted my business and the money.

Then the next, a specialist.

During the procedure she said, “Oops. That’s OK,” knifing through to the upper sinus cavity having to put mesh there as a protector between the two places.


Then yet another surgery where the new periodontist was up on modern procedures using cadaver tissue to regenerate new growth. Unfortunately that was also at the same time the area’s tissue bank faced charges of collecting uncertified tissue putting patients at great risk. Was mine OK? Turns out it was OK. 

It was the next procedure that made me decide no matter how many teeth fall out, no more surgeries. My terror was so great that on that way there I kept popping Xanax. She had to give oxygen during the surgery, later telling my husband I should have a breathing apparatus for snoring.

No, I don’t need one of those. I need you to stop digging around in my gums with your knife. I could have killed myself with those little white pills used out of terror for going through a procedure where she did not answer questions, and shouldn’t have been doing it anyway. In her haste she proceeded, and I let her.

All those terrifying experiences could have been avoided with a mouth guard long ago. Of course monsters appear when I sleep. What happened as a child is being reenacted, this time  I am victor. My strength is all powerful.

My greatest soul need has been to smash their filthy hands off me. To be the power. To smash their faces away that were so close I couldn’t breathe or ever feel comfortable with closeness  again. In my dreams I fearlessly conquer.  What I couldn’t do then, I do now. 



Looking at my son’s face over lunch in the city with Samuel at my side, I am feeling my age. His face is no longer young, more tired. Yet he is passionate about his work, family, and life. Both sons are.

Time moves on, days go by. My eyes mist at so many lost due to anxiety ruling the moments, dissociating from my body to escape pain. No comfort found in either place. No one, no place felt safe.

Pleasure is absorbed now, being in the now, not getting tangled in little things, except when I do; Samuel adds a three dollar tip to the cashier after lunch, a self-serve place.

“Are you crazy?” I said, looking at the receipt when we returned home.

“It came up on the receipt, so I added a tip, and they are service people” he said, then after a thoughtful pause, “It was a lot though.”

“We go to the counter, get our own drinks, and do everything ourselves,” I said, adding, “If it came up can I have all your bank account, would you give that?”

Exasperated, immediately my body went into overdrive thinking of every little thing he already does to annoy me, knowing at the same time that this has been my way of life, not liking, not trusting, not letting go…wanting to stop it, but stuck with being me.

Usually 5 PM is a time I am too tired to walk, but was drawn out to the meadow as the last of the sun’s rays dappled the mix of colors with gold like a kiss goodnight. Lap after lap calmed me, sitting by the creek after the last lap until the sun began to set behind the clouds.  

All this man does and you’re going to be mad about a 3 dollar tip? (The place Shane chose was already way over-priced for soup and salad- I could feed an office building full of people for what we paid, and by the way, no one tipped me when I was a cashier)

When coming back inside I felt more myself. I become so easily crazed over nothing. But there is often more behind it; like his driving the entire way to the city in the passing lane blocking us between the guardrail and traffic with no way out. The feeling of pressure in my gut over-rode the enjoyment of fall foliage.

How many times have I told him how that makes me feel? He means no harm. That message in my head is an improvement from the years of rage towards him when feeling discounted or not thought of.

He means no harm, yet he also does not take into account how hard this aspect of my life is. PTSD, and the ramifications. Instead of patiently teaching him about it, I’d not talk.

This day was no different, though short-lived. The walk out in nature cured me. I was able to return to cordiality.

It is expected that we will both annoy each other at times. Taking time alone, soothing what feels ragged, helps to reclaim the person I can and want to be, finding gratitude and peace once again. 



Something trivial, seemingly innocuous occurs of Samuel’s doing and my entire body is in upheaval. Walking the meadow, can the neighbors hear the string of vile curses, the hatred, spewing out of me? A walk to unwind, untangle the rage woken from long past. Praying to heal what lie beneath the rage. What is it?

It can’t be a simple occurrence that set me off. It makes no sense. It must be something deeper. What he did is reminiscent of Chet and Tom, both at separate times stealing my pony, the other my horse, without my permission. Both laughing about it, even my mother laughing when Tom was bucked off. My sweet horse bucking? Lobo, not once ever, bucked with me, which made me realize how cruel he must have been with her.

Disrespect, not being heard, not mattering, invisible, requests, needs, desires, basic rights going unnoticed, not listened to…. freedom, taking what little bit of joy there was, or is. Theft out of selfishness. 

Old feelings rise up choking me with rage. Meditation, and walking didn’t ease the violence construed inside me. I wanted to hurt back, choke to death the ones who took everything I had, my body, my life, my dearly beloved horse, and my mother who thought it was funny. They took her too.


Alone with old rage able to fume out of seemingly nowhere and choke me dead. Dead but so alive; it took a whopping dose of xanax to fall asleep finally at 3 am.

The ghosts of the past will forever haunt me.

Traveling This Life

Rhubarb from a friend. Jam, my favorite canning job!

Trying to canoe with Samuel is like trying to lasso water. There is no synchronicity as he does his own thing. But on this journey in a new part of the canal going against the light current, it’d be nice to work together. He tries, but doesn’t pay attention for longer than a paddle or two.

Laying my oar down, enjoying the bright sunny day, exasperation moves through me with the breeze while pondering the life we’ve had. We put each other through so much, he with my rage that had nothing to do with him, and his quietness masking anger coming back ten-fold passive aggressively. It is interesting that two such diverse temperaments stayed loyal for over 40 years. 

Though we have our spats, we’ve also learned not to stew over them. Soon we are back to enjoying the moment. That progress is noted on this perfectly brilliant day with azure skies painted with emerald green trees exploding with thickly sweet scented blossoming locusts wafting their aroma down upon us..

In a few weeks we go on our first camping trip to the mountains for three nights. Part of the fun is the anticipation, and readying for the trip; campfires, loons on the lake, sandy beach swimming — and to try my patience, more canoeing…

Compassion or Rage?

Time and again attacked. Coming up for air as if almost drowned, gasping for breath, even if figuratively, that was my childhood. Interspersed were moments of great joy, galloping my horse down the meadow path, long hair flying back, sweat glistening on my brow, and the horse’s skin… life became black or white, joyful or terror filled.

Where is the love others freely feel and give? Hidden away to preserve what is left. Yet compassion? Rage sometimes directed my behavior. Tempering that rage took great resolve. But something else. It took compassion. Not for myself, it was for others.

The attacking siblings did not rip that well of compassion from me. My essence is made of compassion. Compassion kept me whole inside my brokenness. When it matters, warmth overrides aloofness dissolving my chilly armor. 



photo by Patricia

A decision to concentrate on gratefulness lasted a few hours, until not long after Samuel got up.

“Gas in the garage, an open container?” I exclaim coming out of the studio in surprise. Usually he is overly careful about details.

With great disgust and a few choice words he goes into the garage returning to mutter, “It has evaporated.”

The snow-blower stopped working when we went out to clear the drive, me with a shovel while he puttered on the machine with no luck. Finally he shoveled too. The machine has been in the garage while he works on it, so far without success. The gas needed to be drained to check the lines. Maybe my worries were unfounded but he is no fun to be around and need not take it out on me.

Going in to mediate the anger melts away and what really lies beneath it is hurt from his disgust with me. When the half-hour is over a spitting anger gurgles back up, fury at being jabbed at. From gratefulness to barely contained rage in 60 seconds.

Errands gave a break from Samuel but it wasn’t easy to return. While driving memories of so much rage at my brothers and my mother erupts. My body was never mine. Nothing was. My attitude after returning home was quiet and reserved. Thanks for ruining my day Samuel went my thoughts yet the whisper behind them knows better.

My emotions ran the day and I was victim to them. Past rage can still ignite when hurt. All my self-talk didn’t seem to stop the internal storm of wanting to hurt back. He lived with a raging wife and he has a right for anger too. Get over it. It took a while, all day really.

Lock Ness

Forgive: When a person decides to satisfy their lust using a child’s body, their actions are not forgivable. If one does not forgive the unforgivable how do you move on? By unclenching the clawed, hairy fist of the beast from my heart, squeezing it so tight I could hardly breathe or function. Rage, hate and anxiety ruled my life.

It took years to release the grip of each finger, blood flowing smoother until each sticky claw was off. The beast slipped back into the murky black depths of the scum topped lake. My precious heart was free and once again able to gently pump blood to the extremities, pure, clear and at peace.

Yet the beast rears it’s ugly head at times. In present day scenarios hurts occur. Some run deep reminiscent of wounds unhealed that never will. My heart becomes grasped by hate, anger and resentment.

Help me to forgive. Release me from this. The call to the source within that universally connects us all to each other helps set me on the path to peace. So easily my heart is disrupted needing to be soothed.

Compassion and kindness erupt while walking the yellowy meadow. Tears fall for the child held down, the child despised by the adult me..