Here I sit, FINALLY, ready to blog you out. I want to be fun; I am fun 2/3 of the time. When I am fun, I am funny. I have not been too much fun lately. I wanted to write fun, and then I wanted to write real. What you hopefully are going to get is understanding. I am Dorothy; I live on the outskirts of Kansas with my little pug Eyeore because I never made it back home after that tornado hit.
Last year, I thought I had come home but this year it is apparent to me that I haven’t yet. Maybe a bit closer but not quite there. Many of you know the story I shall tell but how many actually realize how much it affects me? I was just talking with a good friend and it seems we may be in agreement as to the how and whys. I am not searching for your sympathy, I am searching for a way to release my soul and writing it once instead of verbalizing it may be the way. This is the story of my October.
October has always been a bit of a full month in my family as we have many birthdays…aunts, uncles, cousins but a couple of decades ago it turned from all joy to sorrow. At the end of September 1992, nine days after their 50th wedding anniversary, my grandfather, Frank, died from cancer. Four weeks to the day later, on the night of my mother’s birthday, my grandmother, Pearl, was pronounced brain dead from an aneurysm. They say that you can’t die from a broken heart, they are wrong. I was extremely close to my grandparents, we were friends. They were life in many ways. I was 20 years old. I have missed them more than I could ever describe to you. I look at my oldest son and I can see my grandfather. The eyebrows, the eyes, the shape of his face. Life goes on and it has become easier over the years to just live day to day without wallowing in it. This year marks 20 years that they have been gone, I miss them but I thought I would feel a greater sadness, instead I got together with a couple of cousins and my aunt and we laughed and remembered at the cemetery, it was the first time I hadn’t cried there and it was nice. I think I realized that my grandparents know how much I love them, I was able to say these things to them prior to their passing and they were able to say them back to me, I will hold on to those words forever. They are a part of my memories.
So why do I sit here on the morning of October 20th, feeling like I do? Tears streaming down my face, snot sniffling in my nose? It goes back to the year before my grandparents died, to the reason I believe I was able to make it through what happened with them. It goes back to my friend Stef.
Shortly after midnight on October 20, 1991, the young woman that had been my best friend, soul mate like, died in a car accident on a road with virtually no lighting or houses, on the corner of 2 cross streets where there still lies a field of nothing. Nothing except the thought of what happened that night. The thought of the sounds and lights, the aftermath, the stories from those who came across the scene. When she died, we were just starting to bounce back from a little trip to outsville because of untruths told by someone else, but whatever, teenagers are stupid right? How could this be? She was beautiful, intelligent, funny, and sociable; everyone loved her, I LOVED HER. We had fun; we were virtually inseparable for years. We would do stupid things like write letters to each other and then pass them across the room to read them, just because we didn’t feel like talking at the time. I still have one, the only one I saved and funny enough, the date on it is October 20th, probably 4 years before she died. I have lots of things still, I have the newspaper article, the obituary, the leaflet from her viewing, the dress of hers that I wore to the 8th grade dance, I have Harry the hand puppet that at one point we took everywhere with us (please don’t ask why). I have so many memories and so many things I can’t remember (again, don’t ask why, LOL).
What I don’t have is any closure. I thought I had obtained it last year when I started therapy on the 20th anniversary of her death. I felt weights lifted and I still do a little. For two decades I would literally have anxiety attacks when people I loved left my side be it in a car, vacation, walking, didn’t matter. I couldn’t breathe, I would cry uncontrollably. I just knew that they were never coming back, I would never get to say goodbye or I love you. I sometimes still do with my kids but it’s much milder now but still, here I sit, feeling like this. Why? I don’t want to. It doesn’t feel nice, I certainly don’t need more drama in my life but I can’t seem to let it go. I feel like a crazy lady, I feel stupid, repressed. Cuz J and I went to talk to a medium that our friend knows, back in February of this year. I am a believer and Cuz J is a skeptic. Most of the session was jumbled together until the very end when we were wrapping it up and Stef stepped forward. Now you can believe or not believe but I am here to tell you that IT WAS Stef, I guarantee it and I think even Cuz J was amazed by it. This woman told me things that nobody could have known and if I could transcribe it here for you, I would, maybe I will someday because I do have it on CD. She told me she was happy and okay and that she loved me and was with me (the condensed version) and she did offer up a few things to validate that it was indeed her, including the pumpkins, which is where my name stems from. When we were much younger, Stef, Cuz J, his bestie RJ-my pseudo hubby and I went out on the town. We ended up hanging out at Mira Lynn Park and back in those days they had a big Cinderella pumpkin carriage that rocked like you were riding in it. We decided (for whatever reason) that we were forming a band and even did a photo shoot (fake of course, no camera phones back then) for our album cover. Our band was christened “ANGRY PUMPKINS OUT OF CONTROL” and that is who we remain. Stef brought that up the night of the medium (RJ was there but not in the room with us). I suppose it was her way of saying that she knew we were all together in that one place.
I have been to visit that place many times over the years. Sometimes just to look from the car but the last few times to actually wander the field. I have been 3 times this week for different reasons and took pictures each time. Today we met a woman that lives on the corner where it happened. She was having a small yard sale. We asked how long she had been there and about the many accidents that have taken place there. She moved in to her home in October 1991, presumably just days after the accident because it was one she couldn’t remember. She was selling a glass ornament, which I bought. It is a dove holding a small olive branch. I have tried everything else, maybe a dove of peace from the place where this all happened is exactly what I need.
Bottom line is this. Everyone makes it sound so simple “to move on”, “you have to let go”. I can’t figure out how. I don’t want to do this every year for the rest of my life. I thought the therapy was closure, and then I thought the medium was closure but apparently I have been wrong.
I have a deck of self -care cards and one of them somehow got from where I keep them to a drawer in the kitchen where I just found it yesterday. The picture on the front is an old set of broken stairs and it is the “ACTION” card. The quote on the back is this, “Take action. The journey to find your lost self begins with one step”. Someone please tell me what that step is, one that I haven’t tried. One that will allow Dorothy to find her way home.
The one step is Jesus, He is the Only One you have not tried, the One you have been endlessly running from although He relentlessly pursues you and wants you to come to Him for the peace you so desire. Believe on Him and you will be saved from a life of torment and fear. Receive His promises, receive His love, receive His forgiveness. The “universe” dangles many carrots in front of us that you have unquestionably embraced without a thought or doubt. Taste and see that The Lord is good! The dove with the olive branch is symbolic and yet another sign that He gently, lovingly pursues YOU! As Noah (a known drunkard lol, hey now!)and his family were surrounded by water for months after the flood Noah sent out a dove who later returned with the branch. It represents hope, love, peace, and new beginnings! I love you dearly as you well know and am here for you if you need me. I am so sorry these last few months have been so trying on you. Jesus will not take trials from you, but He will make them VERY much more manageable. Love you cousin.
Jesus, is a band-aid for a bullet wound. You may as well go buy some snake-oil from a witch-doctor. When my Caron got sick, Jesus did nothing. When Caron died, Jesus still did nothing. Jesus lived as a teacher about God’s forgiveness for a group of people who still cut the tips of their weiners off. He was a teacher showing all people how to live here on earth–He’s not some BS magical cure-all.
Cara is partially right though. Part of accepting Caron’s death was by realizing that it wasn’t personal, God wasn’t singling me out. Caron got sick because of how she lived, death was of consequence of her decisions. My grief was in missing her, and healing took time — lots of it, but not 21 years.
God didn’t do it to you, God didn’t do it to Stef. Life sadly–is very impersonal — as I am reminded constantly.
PS- you pic’s aren’t loading.
Someone I have, well we have known for a long time was talking to me on facebook about this blog post. I kind of wish he would have said this stuff here but I am going to put pieces of our conversation here for you to see (hope he doesnt get mad). The things he said have started to make me look at it in a new light actually. It makes sense in a different sort of way. You can all tell me what you think after okay.
HIM- Cool blog! I do not think there is an “answer” to your question. Maybe the fact that you are sharing your experiences will serve you with some enlightenment. I have the privilege of knowing you for the past 25+ years and insight to what has brought you to where you are. Everyone is on their own personal journey that presents challenges along the way. You have always been the person who is not afraid to say what is on your mind. You never hesitate to speak up and that is what is so cool about you. You are not a fake. I am confident that one day you will come to an understanding of your experiences that have created Jo. At that moment, you will become the sum total of of those experiences. You could then forward your wisdom to those who seek answers!!!!! Just my opinion, or babble.
ME- Thank you very much, that meant a lot to me. Actually about 2 months ago I finally met the woman who was driving tht car,, I didnt know her before. We sat and talked for about an hour that night. She text me at 3am this morning looking for understanding and wanting me to go up there with her today so I did. I have saved so many things from Stef and that time, she had never seen these things because she had been in a coma and her parents didnt think it was necessary for her to see them so they didnt save anything. I have wondered as of late why I had saved all that stuff, now I know. It was so she could hold it in her hands and see for herself the actual tangible things that existed from that time. I am grateful that I was able to give that to her.
HIM- Realize that you saved those things for yourself. A lot of people tend to forget as time heals all wounds. Time also makes people forget. You appear to be one of the fortunate ones who does not forget.
There is also a reason you met that woman. Why? Who knows. That is not important. What is important is that you have not forgotten!
ME- You make it sound like such a gift, which in many ways I suppose is, if only it didnt come with my soul being tortured again every year 😦
HIM- It could be torture if you choose to look at it that way. Your the only one who chooses to remind everyone else of the past. I don’t see anyone else talking about the past that you share with many. Seems unique to me, which is another great way to describe you. Embrace your “gift” of grieving your way knowing that no one else does.
There are a few more pieces but this was the “body” of it. He is right in many ways. People do forget about those that have left and the impact that they have had on our lives. I think we all know what a passionate person I am and when I am feeling that pain, its isnt always a bad thing, sometimes it is based on gratitude for them and such as that. Does that make sense? Maybe I just need to change my perspective some to channel that more or learn how so that it isnt such a horrible angst.