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.