my hardest day

the anti-versary of his death
is my hardest day every year
but it’s not
just
the void of losing
a big brother
it also happens to be the birthday
of the one who
tore out my heart
leaving it to dry
& wither
memories blowing past
like the leaves
dead
&
brown
my brother died…
you know how there comes that time
when you need someone more than ever
& they
fail you?
betray
you?
instead of holding you
& saying everything will be alright
they
take the opportunity
to hurt you even more?
true colors…right?
in the difficult times
we see their true colors
my brother died
on my husband’s birthday
& my husband
never forgave me for that.
so this day
every year
i mourn
the loss of my brother
&
the loss of the greatest love of my life
who
as it turns out
wasn’t so great…
but try telling my heart that.

the two things are hopelessly
interwoven
my brother’s death
my husband’s betrayal
i miss both of them many days
of the year
but this is by far
my hardest day.

the self-portrait above was done for an art class. the assignment was to do a pair of self-portraits (i think there is an art term for two pieces that are meant to be displayed together–who can remind me what that is?)
both of the self-portraits echo back to the last post i did “my m” in that they celebrate my brother’s & my love of movies and
terminator to be exact. with a good dose of catholicism.
here is my ode to sarah connor:

seven hundred years

sometimes i feel 
like i have been alive
for seven hundred years
i barely
remember 
yesterday
so for all i know
i’ve been alive
forever
&
i wonder
if i’ll ever look back
on these days
of struggle
of isolation
from the comfort
of a soul mate’s 
embrace
look back
in wonder
& awe
how did i ever survive
such desolate
times
to feel peace 
in my heart
while remembering
a time when peace
was a fantasy.

this, and a few more pages to come, were written yesterday when i was feeling especially hopeless & suicidal. good times…. being a single mom with next to no support system. i need to tell y’all, do not try this at home.

strangely, once i accepted that there was nothing to hope for, i felt a bit calmer. that’s me. finding comfort in the concept that i will never find comfort. 

this page does not have my standard issue self-portrait…unless you consider that that is my soul flying under the full moon. 
owls symbolize being able to see what others cannot. i identify with the owl, though i assume everyone else can see what i see. 
which, i guess, is not the case.
so!
i make art.

i may have gotten a little carried away. i think i painted my words out.

the color of my tears

the color of my tears
is the color of my eyes
some muted mix
of blue & green
that falls freely from my eyes

i get my brother’s birthday & his death day
mixed up in my head
he was born…
three weeks (& 45 years later)
he died
the last i spoke to him
was his birthday
so it is the last i remember of him
from the end of november
to almost christmas
it all blends together.
the end of him
& every time i see 12:19 on a clock
i forget that it is the birthday
of my children’s father
& only remember
it as my brother’s death
day.

loss…lost

i was breastfeeding
my second son
when i got the call
that my big brother
was dead
…plane crash
he crashed his plane
i’d just gotten his christmas newsletter
“keep christ
in christmas”
& his devastation
over the election of obama
to the presidency…
i had been making fun of him
to one of my liberal sisters
earlier that evening…
just around the time
his plane crashed into an ohio suburb

i usually start my pages with words & finish with a drawing. this one i drew first, and then the words came.
tomorrow is my big brother’s birthday. he would have been 54. he died 9 years ago.

changing of the seasons

today
like every day of late
i struggle
between the dark
& the light.
as the days grow
shorter
i grow
darker.
this is a difficult time of year
for me.
all growing up,
the holidays were times
of more childhood trauma.
then my dad went into rehab
when i was 17
right in time for the holidays.
i didn’t want him to come back
and dreaded visiting him
staring at the houses full of holiday cheer
on our drive to dysfunction.
then as a grown-up
my brother died
right in time for the holidays.
then,
like when i was a kid
a messed up family life
became that much more obvious
with the holidays
when all other families seem so…
so normal…
in a good way
and all i feel is empty & lost….

this year i am trying
to swim my way back to the light
even as the days grow darker
with the season.
this year i want to fight
the dark that creeps
crawls
grasps at my soul.

this year i don’t want to just
survive
the holidays.
i want to thrive.
and i want to show my children
that there is light
in the darkness.

(my ink stain)

inkstainpan

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