Darkness greets me with a sigh
‘though he won’t be ’round for long

Half moon holds my secrets high
He knows my painful song

I’ve never liked the daytime much
That light seems so unkind
I’m safer in the midnight clutch
Of a secret world, confined

But I’ve always feared the silence

It’s silence that won’t let me be
A hardened face that stares at me
Pushing hard to set me free
from the place I always hide

The silence wants my memory
To face the truth and find the key
I’ve hidden well beneath the sea
of emptiness inside

And I’ve always feared the silence

There’s comfort in those wasted years
As each night comes and goes
And the midnight winds that dry my tears
Will bring more highs than lows

And forced smiles hide my darkened eyes
On the outside, I am whole

I’ve pulled the shades, you’d be surprised
If you could see my soul

How I’ve always feared the silence

The silence is a mocking rain
Forcing me back home again
A dirty needle in my vein
and I don’t want to know

What silence opens in my mind
The box of memories unkind
A movie playing in rewind
and I’m starring in the show

And I’ll always fear the silence

A thick blanket of snow had fallen the night before we met.  It was unusual weather for spring, when Easter daffodils should have been blooming, their golden yawns glowing brightly in the warmth of the sun. Instead, Mother Nature covered the city with a beautiful blanket of soft, white snow that presented a magical backdrop for our introduction. The street lights glistened off the snowflakes that morning as I drove to our prearranged destination.  I was an anxious girl watching a woman’s life unfold before my eyes. The swarm of butterflies I had swallowed with my evening tea was fluttering beneath my heart, tickling my stomach from inside with every brush of their delicate, persistent wings.

An assistant met me at the entrance of the sacred hallway. She dutifully swaddled me in the ceremonial garb, disappointing as it was. I felt under-dressed for such a special occasion.  I longed to choose my own attire, but tradition stood in the way.  The tired old gown of someone else’s choosing made me feel like a queen wrapped in hand-me-down cloth. The faded garment worn by the long line of those who were here before me featured openings that left little to the imagination, though I was sure you wouldn’t mind the indiscretion.  Your acceptance of me would depend not on what I wore, but how much I loved you. I had vowed long before, when God answered my prayer with the sign of a cross, to love you as big as I could. I prayed for His guidance and strength for the journey long before I met you.

I arrived for my date with destiny, already tired but ready to begin my journey to a life that I was sure would make me feel happy and whole.  I had chosen to invite only a few supporters to witness this right of passage; something so private should be witnessed by only those closest to my heart, I had protectively determined.

The agony of waiting on you to make your appearance was almost unbearable. My face soon sparkled from the dew on my brow as I concentrated on the battery operated clock on the wall—every tick of the second-hand signifying one more breath closer to you. The pale walls of the meeting room seemed abrasive and bright behind the dark leather chairs against them. The others who were there to greet you spoke quietly among themselves as they awaited your arrival.  Vases of fresh white roses wrapped in blue satin ribbon sat along the windowsills, soaking up the midday sun.

“He’ll be here soon,” the usher promised, temporarily appeasing the anxious lot. His words were lost on me; I was envisioning an even more private and serene surrounding for our rendezvous. In my mind, I imagined myself walking toward you in a peaceful meadow; violet alfalfa blossoms swayed in the breeze as I picked a bouquet of wild daisies to offer you. Fluffy white clouds played a game of charades against the clear blue sky above me as the wind blew my long dark hair from my face. Though unable to see you, I continued to walk forward, knowing you were there waiting for me. As I walked lazily along, I plucked the petals from a perfect, white daisy, tempting fate with a flower.

He loves me. He loves me not.

And you loved me.

Content with destiny, I breathed a long sigh of relief. The fresh, spring air rejuvenated my body, giving me strength to continue my journey to you.

“Here he comes,” the usher proclaimed, waking me from my daydream. His overt excitement demanded the attention of everyone present. He moved toward you and silently but quickly tugged you into the room.

It was obvious to all present that you were unprepared for your entrance. You were thrust toward me, red-faced and angry with fists clenched, screaming at those who pulled at your body. Your impatience and frustration filled the room until I wrapped my arms around you.

Ours was love at first sight. Your thick, velvet-like black hair fell across your perfectly shaped eyebrows, drawing attention to your dark and piercing eyes. Those deep and questioning eyes held my gaze intently as held you close to me and breathed you in. I kissed your perfectly formed lips softly, feeling your body relax in contentment.

“My beautiful, beautiful son,” I whispered, tears of joy filling my eyes. I held my heart in the shape of a baby boy in my arms. I was breathless under the weight of the love I felt for you.

As I stand before you sixteen years later, I am breathless once again. The weight of the venomous words you have spewed forth has broken my heart. Those beautiful, piercing eyes cut me to pieces with laser-like precision as your glare penetrates my soul. Hate has consumed you. Your addiction has consumed us both. The drug that separates you from reality is dividing us, too; the monster inside you rages and the mother within me weeps.

I have found your drugs again, thoughtfully hidden in a pocket you have fashioned by cutting the liner of your school backpack. It was a great hiding spot, you’d confided to your brothers. They fear what you have become, of what might happen to you if you don’t stop using drugs. They are petrified of what will happen to them if you find out that they’ve betrayed your trust.

Why are you doing this ? How can you continue to put our family through this? Do you know how it makes me feel to know you are destroying your body?  Don’t you care about what’s happening to you? Don’t you care what’s happening to me?” I want to scream, but your ears are deaf to my voice.

You are angry with my invasion of your property. You seem to have forgotten that you have forfeited your right to privacy. You agreed with your therapist and me to abide by the house rules. You signed the contract stating that you understood the ramifications of your actions. You agreed to take random drug tests administered by me. You agreed to bedroom and article searches. How can you be angry with what you agreed to? Or, is it that you are angry at being “busted”, as you say? Angry, perhaps, that your “using” has been discovered, thus deeming you what you despise being called—an “addict”?

I cannot find the words to convey or the actions to take to make you understand what your death will do to me. My life has revolved around you for the last seventeen years. I cannot exist without you now.

Your nonchalance makes me angry and I want to punish you, but I don’t know how.

You were two years old the first time I spanked you. Back then, we were buddies and loved to spend lazy afternoons playing in the park and reading at the library downtown, often eating lunch by the fountain between adventures. A deli just across the street from the library offered simple sack lunches consisting of a sandwich, chips and a cookie. We would share the bologna sandwich, potato chips and chocolate chip cookie, throwing the leftovers to the beggar birds on the park lawn. Ours was a regular routine; when we were ready for lunch, you would walk toward the deli, always a few steps in front of me, stopping at the parking meter. From there, you’d take my hand and we’d cross the street together. On this day, you decided to be a brave boy, walking beyond the parking meter to the edge of the car parked in front of it. Your body threatened to go further, your dimpled knees bending to pick up your step. I grabbed your arm and yanked you back toward me. Filled with the fear of what might have happened, I held you over my knee and spanked you. You started crying immediately; you were not accustomed to being disciplined in this way.

“You have to hold mommy’s hand! You could have been hit by a car! I’m sorry I had to spank you, but you cannot walk out into traffic,” I scolded. You looked at me as if I had spoken in a foreign language, your little mind unable to understand what terrified me. It pained me emotionally more than it hurt you physically; I had nightmares for weeks afterward. The thought of someone or something hurting you, my child, was simply unbearable.

And here you stand, that same far away look in your eyes; again, you are unwilling and unable to process what I am saying. I want to pick you up and hold you over my knee again, to spank you until you comply.

“You have to stop ‘using’!  We cannot continue to live this way. Your addiction is killing you and is killing me,” I long to scream, but my tongue is numb. My throat is held hostage by the emotional pain that has manifested in the form of a lump there.

Your faraway gaze tells me you’ve locked yourself inside the secret room within you. There are no spare keys to your room. The blinds are drawn and visitors are not welcome there. It is your private place—a drug induced room without a view, where you are the king of your castle. When you are there, nothing and no one else matters.  Not even yourself.

The nightmares haunt me continually; there is no escape. My dreams and reality merge to portray a world that I don’t want to live in but know I cannot flee.  I have to save you.  In my dreams, I am just below the surface of cool water colored like the night sky. Your voice plays a deep and haunting melody that resounds in the waters around me as you cry out for help. The moon illuminates the reflection of your face just above the water’s surface; you are a little boy again, terrified and alone.  I try to swim to the surface, but something grips my ankles from below. Shrill laughter bubbling from the abyss below swirls around me like a hurricane, drowning out your cries. I try to kick free from what shackles me, frantically pushing toward the water’s surface. My mind wills my arms to fight for freedom.  Rebelliously, they act as anchors in the dark water, floating heavily at my sides. You run away before I can break the water’s surface. I am helpless. I wake up to the same nightmare, breathless and helpless still.

You are running away from reality, you say.  You are safer above the clouds.  I am instantly inside the memory of the first time you ever ran away.  You were four years old and angrily packing a bag for your journey.  You were determined that somewhere in the world, you would find a mommy who would live up to your expectations.  You speak of a place where there is no “time out” and where picking up toys is a parent’s chore.   I laughed inside as you readied yourself for travel.  You stuffed your backpack full of items you thought you would need:  a favorite blanket (the one with the bunny, tattered and stained from your first nosebleed), a pair of socks, a juice pack and Goodnight Moon.  I watched you walk to the end of the driveway and you hesitated.  You sat on the ground with your legs crossed in front of you and your elbows resting on your knees.  You held your little face in your hands.  After awhile, I joined you.

“What are you doing,” I asked innocently, sitting down beside you on the cool and prickly grass. You continued to look at the ground.

“Have you decided not to take your trip?”

You turned to face me, your face streaked with dirt from the little hands that wiped away your tears. You broke my heart and made me proud with your answer.

I’m still going, mommy.  But I’m not allowed to cross the street alone.”

Acceptance of authority caused you to hesitate, keeping my little boy safe.  Now, you laugh at the rules and my wanting to protect you.  The drugs protect you, you say.  They protect you from yourself, you reason.  And I still don’t understand.

The lullabies I once softly sang to you have been replaced by the tirades between us. Your voice overwhelms me as you defend your actions. The depression disappears when you’re high.  I’m overacting.  The substance feeds your artistic ability, and why can’t I just accept you the way you are.

“I think you are a fabulous artist,” I argue.  You truly are.

“I painted this when I was high,” you boast, showing me the prize-winning portrait you painted of a lonely man on a desolate street.  You search my face for expression, your dimpled grin and raised eyebrows insinuating my defeat.

I am proud of your accomplishments—eleven days clean, seventeen days clean, twenty-eight days clean.  I am proud of you and I love you more than anything in the world.  I love you enough to help you restore the respect for life that you once felt, to help you find the soul that’s been lost and to help you learn to love yourself again.  These feelings are lost on you now.  They have been replaced with a psychedelic mixture of rage and remorse.  You are blindingly angry when I find a way to prevent you from getting the drugs, leaving a path of destruction in your wake. You are apologetic and affectionate when you find me on my knees, crying to God and offering up my life in lieu of yours.

It is then that I know I haven’t lost you completely, that your soul has been leased but not sold.  The sweet, dimpled face of my little boy is what urges me to continue to fight for your life, for my life and our rebirth.  I will keep fighting, my beautiful, angry son.  I will keep kicking and screaming and clawing until the demons release you from their deadly grip, and I will bathe you in forgiveness and love and give you life again.

Oblivion, ob-li’vi-on, n. State of being forgotten; forgetfulness; act of forgetting.

That’s Webster’s Dictionary’s definition.  For me, oblivion is a state of mind that enables me to function on a daily basis; to awaken each day with thoughts of what matters need to be handled rather than lying in bed with the pillow on my head and regret in my heart.  Oblivion has been a good friend to me; a soothing blanket around my broken heart, a comforting breeze drying my tears, a dark embrace when the light of reality reflects too brightly.  In short, it’s my “safe place”.

In fact, it’s where I stay most of the time.  In my mind, when the threat of pain wafts too closely to my soul, I just swim into the deep blue sea of oblivion.  And, it’s exactly where I was, comfortably floating, when my mother called to tell me that my dad was gravely ill and in a hospital some two hundred miles away.  She explained that he had suffered a massive stroke and was in a medically induced coma.  It was then that I rushed to the proverbial surface of the water and faced reality square in the face.

When I finally reached my dad’s bedside, I was shocked at what I saw.  An old man lay still in the bed.  Machines were attached to his body and a respirator pushed life into the empty shell that once embodied the soul of the first man I ever loved.  I pulled a chair next to him and took his left hand, the one the doctor’s said was unaffected by the stroke.  I caressed him and spoke softly to him.  In that moment, I became a child of five again.  I told him I was with him and begged him to open his eyes.  Without warning, thirty-year old tears broke free and ran from my face to his chest.  I could no longer speak.  I could only allow the hurt and guilt of so many years wasted to make their presence known to me and to him.  And he wasn’t there.  The only sounds were the sounds of my anguish and the humming of the respirator fighting for his life.  When the pain finally released it’s angry grasp from my throat, I pleaded and bargained.  I promised to be a better daughter and to never again let him go, if only he would come back to me.  And while everyone else had given up on him this time, I was there to rally him on, if only to be left half of what he was before the stroke.  It didn’t matter to me.  But, the game of life was over, and we were all on the losing team.

When the time came to allow him to die on his own a few days later, I had resolved that, having told him how much I loved him and how much I appreciated his being my dad when my “real” dad wasn’t, he was finally going to rest.  I sat with him, for hours, and held his hand while he struggled for breath.  His heart, that big heart that loved me as his own from the first day he saw me, beat with an angry determination until it finally and softly stopped.  And there in that very sacred moment, I experienced a miracle.  In those few moments, my emotions became a kaleidoscope inside my heart.  The hurt and guilt gave way to wonder and awe as the breath began to leave his body.  The finality of death wrestled with my belief in life everafter; both heaven and hell were present in those few moments.  A yearning to scream for him not to leave, the way I did when I was a child, struggled with the reality of his need for final comfort.  Those last few moments, though painful and heartbreaking, became private and holy to me, quite like watching the birth of a child, but in reverse.  And how significant to watch his life end there, in that same hospital where he watched my life begin.

And, in the end, my tears and resolve weren’t enough to save my dad.  But perhaps seeing the kaliedoscope within my soul is allowing me to save myself.  Maybe that was the plan all along.

Every now and then someone or something touches your soul so profoundly that you simply cannot attribute it to happenstance. While everyone else around you is shaking their head in disbelief and trying to offer explanation for the unexplainable, you try to listen politely, realizing they just haven’t been lucky enough to be dusted with the magical feathers of serendipity.

Though dates and occurences are important to us both privately, the bigger picture is easier to paint without the initial “coincidences” of my seeing Shawn again after 17 years.

On the way to our pre-determined destination, my mind and heart waged a war within; each with good reason to uphold a solitary and unbeatable position. My head debated that under the current circumstances, a clandestine meeting was the ultimate betrayal to the partners we both had, no matter how broken our current relationships were. The fact remained we were still a party to those relationships. However, my heart argued that we were being manuevered by an unseen hand, each toward the other with a determination neither of us could control. Everything about and between us was connecting, like the pieces of a puzzle to form a beautiful picture.

My stomach became home to a softly fluttering swarm of butterflies who seemed to catch my breath with every flutter of their wings. I spoke to him on the telephone the entire journey. We laughed about the ironies we were discovering, the curiosity and excitment we both felt about seeing each other, and the weather. Our newfound friendship was formed by the endless conversations we were entertained by. The outside world seemingly disappeared when we communicated. The relationship we had forged so many years ago was renewing itself right before our eyes and we seemed to no longer be in control. Fate stood behind us with her arms crossed, head nodding in silent approval.

When I pulled into the parking lot, I recognized the vehicle he described as his, and my heart lodged in my throat. I willed myself to breathe and walked toward him. As he became clearer to me my heart melted, drowning the butterflies beneath it. His ice-blue eyes danced across me as I smiled at the unfamiliar lines etched in his beautiful face. His black hair had faded to a salt-n-pepper hue which was noticable under the baseball cap he sported. His smile was topped by a perfectly manicured mustache. For a split second, I was seventeen years old again and staring at the father of a boy I once loved.

I walked into his open arms and heard him whisper, “Oh my God.” He wrapped himself around me and gently kissed the top of my head, and all the world stood still except for the beating of our two hearts. As I breathed him in, that old familiar smell from so long ago, I realized that at long last I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

And I am loving every second….

I’m new to the world of blogging, so please allow me time to get acquainted with the way this works.

Let me introduce myself.  My name is Amy.  I wear many hats, as you will see, and even I never know where my journey will lead me.  One thing is certain:  I am God’s instrument, and I play the loveliest tune I can.  That’s not to say I don’t find myself ‘off-key’ from time to time, but the important part of the song is playing it through.  While you may not agree with my beliefs (which gives color to our beautiful world),  I ask that you respect them and refrain from being abusive, foul or mean-spirited.  That’s the extent of my expectations from you.

Now, before you get the impression that I am ‘religious’, let me explain that I’m not.  I am, however, deeply spiritual.  It’s between me and God.  It’s personal.  It keeps me satisfied and keeps me moving in the way I know I must.

Here, you’ll read stories about my experiences as a mother, a wife, a friend and woman, as well as the many other roles I play.  I must warn you that you may find me opinionated, but never mean.  I like to see the good inside the bad, and I do have strong feelings on some subjects.

I think we’ll get along just fine.  ;-)