Thursday, July 23, 2015


Fifteen years ago our youngest daughter was begging for a cat of her own, even through we already had a dog and a cat. At the time Peachie collected pandas and wanted a black and white kitten. I started calling the shelters and finally found one. A person had left 7 kittens tied up in a bag on the side of the road, and only 2 of the kittens had survived. Of course we took them both - Lucy and Magic.

On Tuesday Lucy passed away very suddenly.  In the afternoon we noticed that she would walk a little and then lay down.  Walk a little and then lay down.  When she did not come out when dinner was served I went looking for her and found her lying rather limp under our bed.  She would occasionally mew but did not sound like she was in any distress.  We wrapped her in a towel and immediately took her to the vet. We called Peachie who was at work and she asked that we not do anything until she could get there. Unfortunately the vet said that her belly was filling with blood (most likely a ruptured tumor) and that she didn't have long.  I made the decision to end it quickly and held that little fur ball while the vet gave her her last shots.  

The office was closing but the vet said she would stay until Peachie and Beaner could get there. (It is such a luxury to be good friends with your vet)  She put us in the "grieving room" and wrapped Lucy in a warm, soft blanket and placed a little bouquet of flowers next to her. The girls finally arrived and there were lots and lots of tears.  

We are all still struggling with tears that ebb and flow with each passing memory. It is a good thing for rescue animals to find homes where they are so loved.  And it is a wonderful thing to have 15 years of soft and fluffy memories from a companion who asked nothing in return except an occasional scratch under her chin..

So here's to Lucy:

- the softest, silkiest animal I ever had the pleasure of petting
- who loved to carry socks up from the laundry room and leave them randomly throughout the house
- who was the best mouser I've ever lived with
- who was a gentle caretaker to both her sister Magic and her dog Misha
- who's love got Peachie thru boyfriend breakups, sports' heart breaks and the transitions of       elementary to middle to high school to college.
- who loved to be spooned
- who didn't mind me burying my face in her fur and would lick my eyelids when I was sad.
- who passed quickly and without suffering thereby sparing me the agony of having to witness that.

I like to think that she is now with my mother who liked nothing better than to rub Lucy's long haired mushy belly.  

She will be greatly missed.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Full of Grace

  • That my perennial/memory garden seems to be very forgiving that I have had very little time to tend to it.

  • Floating in a cool mountain lake while the temperatures climbed.

  • Lingering in bed when neither one of us has to get up to work.

  • My massage therapist who spent an hour on my breast scars because they are starting to adhere to the tissue below, which is a really unpleasant feeling.  She is a miracle worker.

  • And most especially, after weeks of nail biting anxiety and gut wrenching scary medical reports, Harper (my newest grand niece) has arrived in the world, early but healthy.  

Saturday, July 11, 2015


Trigger warning: This post contains some description of the physical impact of violence. It may be triggering to some.

For quite a few months my left hip has been bothering me.  Not severe pain, just a nagging ache which often prevents me from being able to lift my leg into the car or to sit comfortably.  My massage therapist told me that the surface muscle and the subsurface muscle were very tight and constricted.  She has worked on it every month, giving me some relief, but still the hip bothered me.  She then suggested that there may be something more structural going on.

So onto a chiropractor.  She also noticed how tight these underlying muscles were but also found some weirdness when she tested for range of motion, bending my leg in every possible, and some impossible directions. She asked if I had experienced any sports injuries, to which I said no.  And so she sent me for xrays.

Yesterday I went back and was told that my hip shows many old fractured lines, scarred over, filling with arthritis and a pelvis that is out of alignment.  The chiropractor just looked at me and said “you don’t remember any trauma to your hip?”

Well when you put it that way . . .

And once again I got body slammed back in time as the memories came flooding back.

I have done a lot of work dealing with the emotional impact of violent gang rape.  In fact, this new revelation about my hip would have sent me to a whimpering, fetal PTSD mess just a couple of years ago.  Fortunately I am now in a much better place emotionally.  

But physically I am feeling it and it is really starting to piss me off.  

The first revelation of how much physical damage I sustained came when Martha and I decided to have children and I found out that so much internal damage had been done to my body that I could no longer have children.  At the time this news didn’t seem to impact me much as I was still very much in a black hole and numb and Martha was willing to step up to pregnancy.  Now, quite suddenly, I am feeling an overwhelming sense of loss.

I always knew I had a bridge on my lower left jaw but I never remembered how I lost the teeth or even having the bridge work done.   It wasn’t until I started exposure therapy that I remembered the kick that loosed the teeth and then the horrifying feeling of gagging on the teeth and drowning in the blood.  It was that pivotal moment when the dissociation happened and something in me split forever.    

Years later I began having a lot of pain in my left foot and found out that it had been shattered and never healed correctly. Exposure therapy also had me remembering the sound of that boot cracking the bones.  Today my foot is filled with arthritis and quite painful if I walk on it too long.

And now its the hip.  I cannot sit for too long and the pain often wakes me at night.

I am having difficulty with the realization that this will now haunt me to the end of my days and there is no escaping it.  For years and years my mind suffered, pulling me into frightening
black holes with every trigger. I put myself through hell to finally get some relief.  Now my body is letting me know how much it too has suffered.   

I have finally reached a point of anger.

I have already paid the price for this.  I have already put myself through years of excruciating therapy. I have already suffered enough loss because of this one event.  Why do I still have to deal with this?

Yes, I am having a pity party.  

And I am angry.

Not a yelling, screaming, shaking my fist kind of anger. I think I have long been afraid of allowing any anger out. If you asked my family they would have difficulty listing even one time that I have ever raised my voice. Sometimes I think that I have buried anger so deep that to open it now would be terrifying, like a huge dam breaking. But there is something deep inside that is angry.  Very, very angry.  I am not sure how to handle it but I sense that this may be the final step in my healing.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Full of Grace

Very grateful this week to:

- be able to be outside almost all the time,

- away from work and devices,

- sharing good times with friends

- with summertime food, and

- getting some much needed projects done.

Oh how I love summer!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Veteran PTSD

I met a veteran in group therapy who literally goes underground to avoid the 4th of July fireworks.

Please be considerate and have a safe holiday.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Just When I Thought It Was Safe to go Back Inside

When I first met Martha she was the varsity coach for her small High School alma mater’s basketball team.  She also coached their softball team.  And I, being a good and supportive girlfriend, attended as many games as I could.  

She gave up coaching when our first daughter was born, but as soon as Beaner could hold an object she was given small squishy basketballs and hoops.  By the time Beaner and Peachie were 3 they were enrolled in toddlers’ soccer and I began the first of many, many years of bleacher sitting.  They were always 3 sport, 3 season athletes and as they got older they also played on travel and AAU teams.  Spring sometimes included 3 sports at the same time, often with the two girls going in opposite directions.  My life became dominated by watching my daughters do something with a ball.  Can you tell that I wasn’t thrilled?  I was immensely proud of them and the hard work they put in.  But really?  Wasn’t there more to life than putting a ball in a hoop?  I was obviously missing the competitive gene that the rest of my family has, on steroids.  In fact, I was the bad mother who would just assume see our team lose than to go into overtime.  Go ahead and judge me but after spending hours sitting in a cold sleety October rain, you’d want to go home too.

I was secretly thrilled when Beaner decided not to play basketball in college.  Of course, I couldn’t say that out loud but wow, what a luxury it was to only have Peachie playing.  She had a great high school senior year with many accolades and awards and I thought it would all end on a high note.  Until she got recruited to play field hockey in college.  Well, at least it was only one sport, for one season.  The hard part was that now instead of having to travel to high school competitions within a small radius, we were often driving 5 and 6 hours, one way, to watch her play.  And then we couldn’t even visit with her because the team had to get on a bus and return.  Still, it was only a 12 game season and I was beginning to see the finish line.  

College graduation was hard as Peachie had to say goodbye to housemates/teammates she had been with for 4 years and to the sport she loved  There were lots of tears and I tried hard to look sad too, but deep down I was doing a happy dance.  No more bleacher butt!  No more bundling up in 12 layers! No more concession stand dinners!

Until Martha was asked to be the JV basketball coach at our high school.  I went to a couple games last year, but mostly I spent the season in various medical recoveries that got me out of it.  Now Beaner has volunteered to coach a summer basketball league for girls.  Okay, a few more summer night games in incredibly hot and smelly gyms.   And now Peachie has said yes to coaching our high school varsity field hockey team.  Everywhere I go people are congratulating me saying how thrilled they are and how great Peachie will be.  And all I can think of is dreading Wednesdays and Fridays, sitting on bleachers, freezing my butt off.  

I am a bad mother, I know that.  But all I keeping thinking is that this wouldn’t have happened if they just took piano lessons like I wanted them too.