Category Archives: Narratives

Death of a loving man

Seberg / Belmondo. À Bout de Souffle. ‘60.

Photo credits:  Seberg / Belmondo. À Bout de Souffle. ‘60.

I chose the death of Fred, my step-father to share my first experience with the darkness of grief, feeling a huge loss that left me empty for almost 8 years.  There were 2 deaths that marked my life the most…as a child my grandfather and as an adult at 31 when my step-father died.

We live in a culture that is uncomfortable with death. We don’t even say the D word, now do we…much?  In the 70’s we heard of Dr. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross talk about the stages of grief and initially at that time, she was observing people who were diagnosed with a terminal illness.  The stages at that time were in relation to a process when faced with dying and death as in her book On Death and Dying: the Five Stages of Grief, first published in 1969: The Shock, denial, anger,  bargaining, depression…then acceptance; but negotiating/bargaining,   for example  would make more sense when we put in perspective someone who is negotiating with their creator, “Oh, G-d, are you sure it’s really my time? Maybe there is one more procedure…one last try…test…”  Kubler-Ross theory  was followed by so many people including professionals, throughout time up to about the mid or late nineties.   

I remember when this book came out.  It was  like THE gospel, the apostles’ creed of sorts; and although helpful the order of stages, at that time, confined many to feel they were not grieving “adequately” if they skipped a stage or if it lasted too long.  How can one measure one’s grief compared to another? 

Thank goodness in 2002 I joined a bereavement support agency (Bereaved Families of Toronto)  as a professional advisor helping youths grieve the loss of a sibling or parent. In my training, I felt so relieved when the grief counselor and professor at York University said, “Remember all those stages you learned in the 70’s and 80’s?”  We all bobbed our heads like good students. “Well, you can throw that out the window now.”  And a sense of relief came over me. What he meant was I was not tied to a set order of stages…the burden was finally removed.  No ONE was set to fit into a see through jar so everyone could evaluate if they were grieving right.

I remember when my step-father died in the summer of 1982.    My mother had not really accepted her loss until about a year or so later.

It was quite simple. Mom always said she felt his presence even when she went to bed at night. “He is right next to me each night. I am not lonely because he has never left me in spirit.”

I believe this is, on some level to be true. A year later, it was as if she suddenly woke up…her grief turned into a violent rage.  She had a difficult time dealing with this time…angry that he left her, angry that she was really alone. It was difficult on so many levels. Being a woman of that generation, born in 1926, strict Catholic upbringing…good girls do not get angry…must comply…accept.  Good thing they added “guilt” as another stage or emotion one feels with grieving. A good Catholic female knows how to feel guilt real well!

In a way, this stage of her grief was unleashing a very angry lioness.  Before it became liberating, it was quite frightening for her.  Many professionals and family to her she was experiencing a delay or complicated grief.   It was not delayed …she was simply grieving in her own unique way and in her own time. 

Thereafter, she felt much sadness, guilt and fell into depression. It was in spurts…not all in one shot since my children were young and she was often with us. I think the children eased the pain…made it more palpable. I hope so.

I had been exposed to death as a young child but children under 7 do have the same concept on death, developmentally they just cannot understand abstract thinking, only concrete. (Children and Grief by C.L. Roberts)

My step father was my first loss that I truly grieved a long long time…many years thereafter.  Perhaps the process was longer as I could not grieve all at once…I mean, I did not have the freedom to feel my sadness and emotions when I was with the children…they were so young both one and 4.  So it was only when I would go for a bike ride, a drive somewhere or long walk that I could be alone with my grief.

I loved him as my father…more than my father…he was good to me and loved my mother with so much affection and admiration that I loved him more for that.  His love took Mom out of her depression, I think for the 13 years they were together.  She made him fill with wonder, his eyes smiled at her always.  They both came from dark places, having suffered broken hearts, undeserving anguish.

You  know that GaGa look you get when you first fall in love?  My mother had that look for him …always!  Of course when I was 17, it made me sick…thought she was so silly and making a fool of herself sashaying around, flirting and all.  But as a teen we knew very little about love, sexuality and sensuality.  We think it is reserved for the young and firm bodies only.  Well, of course I learned differently as I matured but back then, my mother and my step-father were such an enigma.   I still was in awe at their love…that current of love waves…I say this because it was not electric…they did not have a hot, sizzling love affair but a warm, loving relationship…like warm, soft mellow waves wrapping them together, soothing, nice, sweet, calm and safe. 

She always loved him even into her dark illness of dementia…she would often still call out to her third husband, Fred.  Perhaps in her dementia, she is comforted with spiritual visits from her love, Fred.

Death of a loving man

(Tanka)

A true Love Story.

Two anguished souls mend their hearts.

Affectionate love.

One day his body failed him.

A part of her died with him.

 

**************

 

I asked a favour of the Lord

to have his life extend

until my daughter walked.

She still was only 8 months old.

 

****************

 

He was given three

months to live

when he left the hospital

so he could die at home

but, he stopped at the court house

to marry my mother officially

and ensure she would be secure

with his military pension as his widow.

What an act of love!

He sent her off to a ten week course

Assertiveness and building self-confidence.

He wanted her to be strong,

be able to stand on her own

and stand up for her rights

when he no longer would be here

to stand up for her.

What an act of love!

My daughter and I were visiting one day

Fred was lying in a hospital bed in the living room

resting and admiring my youngest child.

She crawled on her knees joyfully,

then up she stood so suddenly

and walked towards her grandfather.

Eleven months she was, and walking now.

my feelings were so bittersweet

I shed my tears of fear,

because her walking meant

his death would soon be near.

 

One night I felt I had to see

him one more time

And on my drive a bird hit…smack

the windshield of my car

I knew then, his time was near.

 

I told him for the very first time

I whispered softly in his ear,

“Don’t worry, Fred, I’ll be hear

and watch for Mom. I love you.”

He died that night in mother’s arms

I’m sad I did not tell him more

how much he meant to me.

 

© Cheryl-Lynn, 2014/02/21

Dungeon Prompts – Season 2, Week 8: When did Death Become Real for You
 
 
Related article:  Youth and Grief (Ntouch-Alecoute)

Teachers’ Appreciation Day

me sidewaysI am a bit late in submitting this and I have only listlessness to blame. First day of my long awaited vacation I am spending NOT on balconville but pretty much close to le balcon. 

This is humbly written (because I don’t write as many real poets I know) but it is from the heart.  If it were not for some amazing teachers I had growing up, I may have slipped between the cracks. I do appreciate this difficult vocation because I do believe that it is a vocation for good teachers who go beyond their mandate. And yes, many do. I only worked 5 years teaching a very easy course and could not believe the work involved to keep courses alive and students engaged but that is what you need to do…keep them engaged.

I am sure you all can remember a teacher or two (I’ve had more) that inspired you and mostly that believed in you. So here are my thoughts…

Dear Teacher,
without your guidance I’d not be
here writing any form of poetry.
You taught me my ABC`s
and how to write with ease
entrenched a love of word
my nose so often in a book
I did not know I could afford
to have become so hooked.
Arithmetic, geography,
literature and history
opened my mind to the world
except for algebra and geometry
I did not seem to catch on fast
until university
where a humble math professor
with immense serenity
unassuming and patient…
a quality math teachers
could benefit in the future…(hint)
I breezed through with an A minus!
I learned much more from you, Teacher
but it was still sown in academia
whether you were French or Latin teacher,
Physical Education or Drama..
you inspired and moved me to awe
encouragement and self-worth
filled me with determination
stirred such an inspiration
and allowed me to believe
in me… and not give up
you sealed my fate
a long time ago
today …I can`t seem to satiate
my thirst and hunger for truth…
knowledge and understanding
of life by examining, exploring,
investigating, discovering
realities about humanity
probing with curiosity.
Dear Teacher,
many years ago
you lit a flame
that`s still aglow .
So on this Teacher`s appreciation Day
I thank you all for filling minds
and mostly rousing souls…
stirring them to reach their goals.
Thank you evermore.
© Cheryl-Lynn 2014/02/14
 
PostScript: I just noticed a prompt at The Seeker’s Dungeon and I think this would qualify as a good contribution as well to who has inspired me to be the person I am today.

Le `tit vieux du Manoir Merveilleux

Source: Pinterest

#FWF Free Write Friday: Image Prompt

Season 2, Week 6, Dungeon Prompts this week, Purpose and the Art of Holding Back 

Le `tit vieux du Château Merveilleux
Le `Tit vieux était si mal compris et sérieux
allons voir ce qui se passe dans son milieux
Ah! vous ne saviez pas qu’il était si généreux.
Écoutez! voici une histoire d’un homme merveilleux
Je vais vous présenter monsieur Elphège Vielleux.

*************

Maître  Elphège Veilleux died suddenly. He was a recently retired corporate lawyer. The village were mourning such a generous and wise man. He was only sixty-two.  They say he had an aneurism. That is supposed to be quick death…not too much suffering except, of course, for the survivors. What a shock! Such sadness and harrowing grief due to this unexpected ending!

A few days following the funeral,  Notaire Bergeron requested the presence of Iréné Veilleux,  the only son of Elphège. He was 33 years old and still never worked a day in his life. He had been kicked out of 5 private schools, 2 universities and had been in and out of 8 detox centres.  He was currently trying to fight the battle with his heroin addiction.  He thought to himself, if he can settle his father`s estate soon enough, he had good intentions to get into a private clinic in Magog, La Façon d’être.  He had spoken to his father about this last month. “If only he were still alive to see him succeed…IF only he could this time.”

The appointment of the reading of his father`s will was two o`clock and Iréné arrived just a few minutes early.  The receptionist offered him a cup of coffee and led him to the board room. Iréné was confused. “Why must the meeting be in such a big room when he was the only beneficiary?”

He took a place near the head of the long oval cherry wood table. He heard people arriving at the front of the office and looked towards the mahogany doors curiously.  The double doors opened and he was surprised to see so many people in the waiting room.

Madame Champagne, the village librarian, monsieur Desrosier, the accountant, mademoiselle  Gagnon, the head nurse at La Maison Renaud and monsieur Pierre Antoine Colbert but everyone called him PaCo, the former groundskeeper of Elphège Veilleux`s estate. He lived in the cottage behind le manoir.  Iréné was a bit surprised to see PaCo arrive.  He was in his late fifties but he had not aged well; arthritis had ravaged his body.  He had been with Elphège since he was a child. His mother was Elphège`s gouvernante and raised PaCo in the old carriage house.  There had always been an understanding that Paco could stay in his humble but comfortable loft for as long as he wished.  He was a bit of an enigma to most here.  No one knew where he went every afternoon returning at twilight.

His stride was shaky, shuffling towards the nearest chair, he was the first seated and the others all took a seat.  Monsieur le notaire took his place and advised he had very little to say, “Monsieur Veilleux has recorded his last Will and Testament on this video, a copy is in all your envelopes along with necessary supporting documents as well.  Allons-y…”

The video commenced: Monsieur Veilleux is seated in the carriage house in an overstuffed arm chair…

“Bonjour mes chers amis…mon fils, Iréné. Comme vous voyez…I am a humble man.  I was born in a privileged environment with little needs but those who know me well, I have always worked hard. I love this village and if you are viewing this video, I have already taken off to new territories; hopefully I will be joining ma belle et douce Alys; perhaps I will also meet with maman et papa  who taught me to respect nature and human dignity. I have tried to do both.  The orchard is not as vibrant as it was but it has managed well enough to offer work to many in the village.  For that I am pleased.

During the ice storm several years ago, I was fortunate enough having 3 generators and welcomed many of you wonderful people in my home.  What a learning experience mother nature offered me.   That entire month co-habitating under difficult climatic circumstances was a turning point for me. You were privileged in one sense, being in college outside the triangle that got hit from this ice storm.  I had forged closer relations with some of you who are here today.  For that I thank you. Merci mes chers amis…you have blessed me with a gift that is priceless …the gift of purpose.

Voici, mon cher fils, I want to offer you this wonderful opportunity…you have no idea how enrichissant it feels to have such a blessing and here is my offering to you with love and hope that you grow with this dowry.

Iréné, you have struggled since the death of Alys, ta charmante maman; you were so young.  A boy at eleven still needs the love and comfort of sa maman. Since then you left me, your family, your friends and followed your own path and got lost along the way. I only hope you are here, present, as my friends are viewing this last discourse I share with you.

Sometimes when a person is lost in obscurity he finds himself in the clutches of des esprits douteux.  For you, it has been the spirits of the mind that robbed your will. You did not know that addiction was the poison of your forefathers.  Alas, yes, and this poisonous concoction disguised as a healing cocktail turns into a possessive demon…who robbed me of my son and deprived you of living.  I know you have suffered and still ache, mon fils.

I am turning le Manoir Merveilleux into a halfway house for men and women recovering from addiction.  I have more space than I have ever required and since the ice storm I have been exploring opportunities to develop my purpose in the days remaining in my life. I have visited Le Virage and la Maison Foster and mademoiselle Gagnon has helped me in this research, educated me more on the wrath of addictions and the long rehabilitation required to remain sober.  I never realized how difficult this could be. I always assumed you did not have enough willpower or that I had spoiled you too much and somehow I had enabled you.  Pardonne-moi, mon fils, I was so ignorant.

I learned that many font des rechutes, relapses as well. So I asked my friends to explore this more for me. Madame Champagne headed the research.  We found that when a person who had the support of loving friends and family,  had more chances in succeeding but what seemed to be a stronger influence was having a sense of purpose.  The strongest motivator seemed to be purpose…un raison d’être was key to maintaining sobriety.  Perhaps it is not the only source of success but I am willing to wager it may be what the doctor ordered for you, mon fils.

Paco will be the Clinical Director.

Iréné gasped and almost spilled his coffee on his lap. The villagers listened but did not seem as shocked by this announcement.  Paco lowered his eyes and stared at his hands waiting for his childhood friend to finish his discourse. He was saddened by this great loss…a brother in so many ways and his confidant.

“Paco has a PhD in psychology as you may not have known and has been the psychologist at the Cowansville Correctional Insititute for the past 25 years working the evening shift;  in 1998 I asked him if he would consider getting his certification in addictions and I am pleased he seemed as interested in this field of study as I did.

Paco is a humble man, Iréné. Do not judge him by his modest living and scruffy attire. He wears the same outdoor garb when chopping wood or raking the leaves, that belonged to his father who died not long after your mother passed.    He says it brings him closer to his father`s spirit.  He maintains the grounds at his insistence for he says it frees his spirit and feeds his mind. We already have students who come regularly to maintain the grounds who are part of another programme I have set up for aspiring college students. When they complete their high school, I will cover their tuition fees IF they succeed in their studies for a total of 6 years. Education is a free pass to life, my son.

Paco has always lived in the carriage house where he was raised and it is with great humility he accepted to take his place in le Manoir.  The carriage house is being refurbished and all latest digital instruments helpful in pursing post-secondary studies will be installed along with updated furnishings.  This will be your new home, Iréné, once you return from La Façon d’être. I am hoping you will try one more time…giving sobriety a chance.

When you return, you will have access to an addiction counsellor and group support in le Manoir anytime.  You will be given a list of chores you are required to do as all the residents do at this new halfway house.  Once you have completed your term here, you will have access to the carriage house as your new home for as long as you wish.   I have set aside funding for you to eventually return to academia.  The mind is a precious gift one must not waste…you are privileged in so many ways, mon fils. I hope you will benefit from this opportunity.

I have one stipulation for you, mon fils, if you wish to continue receiving the monthly allowance from your trust fund, you must volunteer a minimum of 10 hours a month in a non-profit agency that offers support to children, youths, men, women or  families in need. Once you find your “calling” PaCo and mademoiselle Gagnon must approve the organization and will be your advisor/mentor along this rich journey.

I will always be with you, mon fils, in love and spirit.”

© Cheryl-Lynn, 2014/02/08

**********************************************

I started writing a story about this prompted image and along the way another prompt from Dungeon Prompts this week, Purpose and the Art of Holding Back  was on my mind and it slipped into the theme of this story.  I thought to myself, Well, that is sort of cheating, isn’t it?  But I don’t write many narratives or poems on this blog and I thought this would be an appropriate contribution. I hope you enjoyed it, Cheryl-Lynn.

A chat with impatience

Photo: Cheryl-Lynn 2013
Photo: Cheryl-Lynn 2013

Patience:  Why are you so antsy right now? We’ll get there stop fretting!

Impatience: I want everything to be just right, to be perfect, the best EVER!  I have an important presentation to give. I want the students to feel good about this lecture.

Patience:  Whoa! you don’t have any control of the outcome really, you know.

Impatience: Why do you say that? You just want to rain on my parade.

Patience: I am sorry my words upset you but the truth is you ARE great and I am sure that things will turn out fine BUT you have no control of the reaction of your audience.

Impatience: I don’t want to hear you! Stop it! We are wasting time…just drive already so we can get there on time.

Patience: Okay, I’m going as fast as I can.

Impatience: No, you’re not! You are driving like an old lady!! Pass that Versa ahead of you…can’t you see he’s holding up traffic. Everyone is passing that car but YOU.  Put on your flasher and cut to the left lane…hurry, there is a little spot…go go go!!

Patience:   I don’t have to pass this driver …look the exit is just up ahead, we are turning off anyway. Stop worrying…relax…

Impatience: How can I relax when you are driving like a 90 year old man!

Patience: Well, actually if I were 90 years old and able to still drive, I would be quite proud to still have my driver’s permit. {chuckles} And if I were 90 what would that make you…heh heh! one hundred and two?!!! {snicker}

Impatience: {laughs nervously}  Okay, point taken.

Patience: why don’t you take out your presentation and go over your notes…that may help to ground you…be in the moment.

Impatience:  Oh, alright…can I recite my lines to you?  That may help…

Patience: Sure, that would be lovely…do I have to clap at certain parts? {grins}

Impatience:  No, now stop making a mockery out of this! {sigh!!} Do you want to help or not?!

Patience: Of course…I’m listening

Impatience: Good afternoon, my name is….{recites the introduction then gets to question period}

Patience: Ooooh oooooh!! I have a question? 

Impatience: Yes, what is it?

Patience:  So, I have a friend who has been self-harming lately because he gets soooo impatient and frustrated with his life, he says that he has started to do that. Who do people hurt themselves?

Impatience:  Wow! That is a good question by the way. Some people sometimes cope with emotional problems by unhealthy means.

Patience: Why would someone choose a bad way to cope on purpose?

Impatience: Well, they don’t know it’s bad necessarily or good, they just do it because it sometimes helps to calm them…ease that huge tension they feel inside and it may calm down for a few minutes or hours.

Patience: Oh, really? I had no idea.  So can it stop…I am pretty worried for my friend.

Impatience: If your friend is open to try something else, it can eventually stop but it takes work and effort on her part too.  It can’t always be easy…for some it is like an addiction…you know.

Patience: Yes, yes, I get it now.  Wow!  You know, you are such a different person when we are not concentrating on my driving. I can’t get over how patiently you just answered my questions there. I mean it…thanks.

Impatience: Well, it’s my job, silly…I like what I do…so it’s easy to be more understanding and patient. Now step on it, will you, or the light will turn red!!! Go, go, go, go….

© Cheryl-Lynn, 2014/02/04

Prompt 41 – Consuming Impatience

This prompt was to write about Consumed Impatience.  I find we are sometimes “consumed” with impatience under certain situations in our live.  Some may be more impatient than others and perhaps that can be due to anxiety, anger management (that too can be due to other mental health conditions such as depression), worry and lack of self-confidence for example.  I am sure there are many other reasons why someone may lose patience.  And then there are some who have an abundance of patience…they seem to take things in their stride. What a gift!  Here is ONE example on how “impatience” can play out and “patience” can resume in the life of that same person.

Wolf Girl (haibun)

My contribution to this great prompt at Free Write Friday. Thank you Kellie.

trust[4]

A short Narrative

Wolf Girl

Erik Boone Art

They called her the Wolf girl at the hospital on the psych ward. No one had been able to approach her …much. She was like a wild animal. If you came too close to her, she would howl; if she was hungry she would stand at your table, looking at your tray with the most appealing eyes, no one could refuse her. The staff was curious about her but all, without exception, fell in love with her especially when she would curl up into a ball in the fetus position on the centre of her bed…thumb in mouth, lights ON. If ever a staff member felt pity for anyone sleeping with those bright neon lights and turned it off in her room, she would sit up, howling, eyes wide-eyed holding on to her blanket for dear life.

Her name was Torey.  Child services brought her in 3 months ago to Emergency for a check up and after examination by doctors as well as the psycho-educator in chief, they assumed she would get her discharge no later than 3 days (which was customary in “those” cases). But she never got that release and Dr. Shelley, the Psycho-Educator in chief would not release her. She had a different reason at each court hearing…this last one was selective mutism, and that this youth was sexually assaulted multiple times for years. Torey was 11 by now but what the hell did  “multiple times for years”even mean?  Dr. Shelley just knew that this child should NOT be placed in foster care without guarantees she would be safe.   The system had failed her in the past when this child had put her trust in adults who should have kept her safe.  Dr. Shelley knew there are NO such guarantees.  She  took it upon herself to make sure she remain the ward of the court and in the children’s psychiatric ward indefinitely.  She had hope that some day soon, she just may make a breakthrough. Torey may decide to talk.

It was December 24th, 3 and a half months since Torey’s admission, and she was in her daily interview with Dr. Shelley. This therapist had a unique approach with youths, those with selective mutism.  Her past 10 years experience working solely with teens who had autism spectrum had given her a new skill…EEP.  Her colleagues, mostly professors at the local university scoffed at her when she said it was actually a skill that had to be learned with working with “exceptional” youths.  EEL stands for Exceptional Empathetic Listening skills.  Dr. Shelley had a knack of drawing out the most difficult and resistant child into trusting her enough to start talking…even if it was one hour a day, that was a miracle in many cases she had worked on.

Torey was different. She was brilliant. She had a way of knowing what adults were thinking and what they needed. This is how they discovered her exceptional talent or sixth sense.

One day, Nurse Grant, who had worked on the pediatric ward on the psychiatric section for 20 years,  walked on the floor with a limp wearing tinted glasses.  Staff all inquired with sympathy what had happened to her over the weekend and she just  brushed them off with a, “Ah just clumsy old me bumped into the glass bus shelter. With the darn sleet and snow mingled, I could not see an inch in front of me and I banged the corner of my left eye and slipped and sprained my ankle. Enough said, no need for pity from anyone, so I got these glasses to avoid your mushy sad looks. Now ya’ll get to work!”  She did have a bit of a bark and everyone went back to work. No one asked her again and most avoided looking at her in the eye…or rather, glasses…except for Torey.  She looked at her suspiciously, sucking her thumb. She circled around her looking up at her and raised her eyebrow.

Then she followed Nurse Grant into the nurse’s lobby and sat right next to her on the couch while she sipped her coffee. Torey looked up and did the most surreal thing…she spoke! “He gave it to you, didn’t he?” she said  in a raspy voice. Nurse Grant almost spilled her coffee and looked at Torey wide eye, in shock.

“What you talkin’ about young lady?!” and Torey did not balk…did not feel intimidated one bit. She just looked up at her this time with compassion, and puppy dog eyes and gave Nurse Grant a hug, whispering in her ear, “I know what them do to you.”

Nurse Grant just savoured this moment because she had a feeling that Torey did, in fact, know.

Later that afternoon, Dr. Shelley was advised about Torey’s first spoken words in private by Dr. Shelley who had to come clean of her own personal circumstances.  Dr. Shelley, called in Torey and asked her, “Well, now, Torey. You certainly gave us a bit of a surprise today and I have to say a very nice surprise. I want to thank you.”  Torey had arrived arms crossed, ready to keep her silence but was cut off guard when Dr. Shelley was thanking her.  She dropped her arms to her side and raised an eyebrow and waited…she was the prize of detectives…she had to know for sure…

Trust no one ever!
Exceptional listening.
Suitable moments.

Dr. Shelley continued, “Torey, Nurse Grant has been in a dratted abusive relationship for years and no one but no one has ever had the courage to confront her and plead with her to get out and to safer environment. Today, Nurse Grant came up to me asking to live in the nurses quarters for the night staff temporarily until she found a new apartment. So I want to thank you for doing something not one counsellor, nurse, doctor or psychologist was able to do until you did.”

Torey stared at her sizing what he had just heard, and took her usual seat in front of Dr. Shelly’s arm chair and said, “Yeah, well, it’s about time she left that f…..g loser. She deserves better.”

That was the first session Torey felt she could trust Dr. Shelley and started disclosing the sexual abuse she was exposed to by her father from the age of 7 to 10 and the abuse in foster car the months following her removal from her home.

Trust has to be earned…Torey was not fool enough to trust just anyone…she knew who could be trusted and she chose to speak to Nurse Grant because she saw peer…a soldier in the fight against abuse  in her…as for Dr. Shelley, well, gosh, Torey, knew she had EEL, she was just waiting for the right moment to feel she could actually trust her.

© Cheryl-Lynn, January 27, 2014

Motivation

Photo credits: KellieElmore http://kellieelmore.com
Photo credits: KellieElmore
http://kellieelmore.com

Photo credits: Kellie Elmore

James’ wife had left him and took the children too.  She told him it was no longer safe with his alcohol induced rages.  He lost his job. He still drank day after day, night after night. He’d finally hit the lowest of lows.  What could he do?  His friends shunned him, his family no longer trusted him and now he was alone.

James tried selling house items that might give him more cash for “drink” but soon there was little left.  He called his favourite aunt and asked for help.  She offered to bring him to hospital for detox and from there he would have to decide his future.   He called Alcoholics Anonymous.  He wanted his family back, he wanted his self-respect back…and that motivated him to work the programme (AA) until he could find the courage to ask his wife to take him back.

Every day he went to meetings.  His sponsor was a kind man and after 6 months, he offered James a good job.  He was originally a brilliant Chartered Accountant and his sponsor saw his potential in offering him this opportunity.

He worked long hours and continued with his meetings.  After he got his one year chip, James asked his wife if she would consider getting back with him so they could be a family again.  His love for his wife and family motivated him to persevere with this difficult struggle with addiction.

Many years passed and the family fell apart eventually again.  James had drifted into over working and dating many women.  He lived a single life far away from his family and over the years he slipped back into his addiction.  He’d been faced with adversity, pain and suffering and he could not handle it.

James eventually found his true love…his purpose to motivate him to stop drinking again.  His love for himself…to regain his self-respect he had to find love for self first.

The End.

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, January 4, 2014

Story prompted from DungeonPrompts, Season 2, Prompt #1 Motivation

The O’Donnell spirit

me sidewaysMae O’Donnell had been daydreaming, sitting in her rocker as her boys were playing a board game. She smiled fondly at her sons. She felt so fortunate that they enjoyed playing nicely. They never complained about not having computers or television. They were content just being together. Tomorrow she would bring them to the public library to get new books and stay for a few hours. There, they were allowed to get on the computer. The two youngest liked to play on-line games but Liam enjoyed doing research. He was surely to become something great someday, she thought proudly.

She went to the kitchen pantry to start dinner for her children who’d been whining to eat soon. “Come on, Mommy, we’re hungry!” the three shouted in union. The youngest of 5 years old yelled louder than the oldest of 12. Hmmm, she thought, that one takes after his grand-daddy for sure!!

She knew it was time to start scrounging for something to eat…She looked with dismay in her pantry…there was not much to rummage here, she thought. She had to go back to the welfare office to get more food vouchers. She had a can of beans, a large bag of sticky rice and half a carton of molasses (she always had enough molasses, so rich in iron and good for her growing family). This was not good indeed, she thought. What would she make for their lunches for school tomorrow? What will she do for the entire week? She did not have enough money to pay for the bus to the welfare office PLUS the food bank. She had to make a decision quick.

She cooked a big batch of rice and wondered what she would do. Then suddenly, she had an idea! She would make bean balls. She would roll up some beans in the rice and make balls. It would harden and be a great snack! She’d add molasses to the beans to make it sweet and sticky. Why that’s a grand idea! She thought hopefully.

She spread the cooked sticky rice that was on two large cookie sheets and spread the warm beans that she’d heated in a pot with molasses, sparingly to cover BOTH cookie sheets. Then she decided to have the boys participate and tell them her plan. They knew all too well that they had little money and did their best to make the best of things.

“Patrick, Liam and Sean! Come on over here and help Mommy. I need your gifted artistic hands to help me make Rice-Bean balls for school tomorrow.” They ran over to the kitchen table excited and shoulders held back pompously. They were young men helping their mom!!

They managed to roll out 60 balls. They still had not had their supper but they seemed to have forgotten how hungry they actually were. Mae boiled an onion in chicken broth and added the leftover rice…this would do for tonight, she thought.

Tomorrow the boys would sell each ball for .25 cents at school. The students often had Loonies and Toonies and the teachers liked her little special treats. That would give her at least $12.00…(she would give 4 balls to each son for their lunch and sell the remaining 48) enough to get a few things to get through the week. She could go to the corner store and get a few things to eat. Thank goodness they were part of the EMO programme with free Eggs, Milk and Oranges each week delivered on Friday mornings. At least the government did one thing right by offering healthy items for eligible families.

The boys did not complain; they were excited about their new project. Liam, the 12-year-old used to like calling his family the O’Donnell Entrepreneurs…If you need it, we’ll find a way to get it or make it.

“Mom,” Liam looked at his tired mother, “You know if we just mark “donations are appreciated”, we usually average more than .25 per item. Do you want me to do that?
His mother looked proudly at his son who was already 5 inches taller than her. “Maybe another time, Liam, honey. I don’t want to take a gamble on the generosity of folks this week. We need at least $12 to get through the week. Is that okay by you, son?” He nodded and went off to bed.

She finished washing the last of the dishes and got out her notebook to write in her journal. She wrote for a few hours. She yawned, “Time for bed now.” But she added one more line before turning in, Please, Great Spirit, make it that we get a nice surprise for Christmas, so the food bank will spare at least a small chicken for our dinner. Thank you for blessing me with the finest lads in the county!, Mae O’Donnell, December 17, 2013.

The holidays have their highs and lows for most folks. During this season, think of giving a little extra for your local shelter or food bank. This year our office surprisingly doubled their collection of non-perishable food and toys. Just think about it…if everyone gave a little extra, that would fill a few tummies for sure.

Give just a little, it’s better than naught
look at a homeless person this week in the eye and smile…
even if you don’t have money that particular day,
that’s okay,… just don’t turn away…
they’re also actually human by the way;
if you do have something to spare, then
don’t just throw the money their way…
look at the person and wish him/her a good day.
It does make a difference to be treated with dignity.
And trust me, you’ll feel better too!

Happy Holidays

© Cheryl-Lynn, December 17, 2013

Give me strength…

Oh dear I done did it! Dear dear me, please give me the strength to get through the next 7 days without him… {A mother’s sigh…not to be confused with just any sigh…anguish, longing and sense of dread…attracting sympathy especially from other mothers and grandmothers BUT may also illicit groans from the cold hearted.}

I had to send him off for a WHOLE WEEK! I miss him already!!! This brought back so many memories.

Do you remember the feeling you had the first time your eldest child had to go to daycare or kindergarten? Oh, boy did I cry and wander around for days wondering how I was going to cope and worried about him. Would he be able to tell someone when he was hungry for a snack? Would someone “get it” when his feelings got hurt because he was so sensitive? How would he manage in public not sucking on his thumb for comfort? I do remember when he got home, how he would curl up on the lazy boy, leaning his head on the arm, slip his left hand up his sleeve to minouche {stroke} his forearm, and stick his thumb from his right hand, while watching an episode of Scooby Doo….awww, total bliss!

At least those were hours of detachment I gradually got accustomed to.But at least I had my youngest child with me to fill my heart and my time whilst he was in the hands of “other” adults. Oh, dear, to relinquish trust like that took time. Building a good rapport with educators helped.

But oh, you would think with the second child Kindergarten would be a snap, no problem. I should have been a pro, right? NO! We both cried every morning, my daughter and me, clutching to each other like crazed females.  It took months to get accustomed to my baby no longer home. Now what was I for 6 hours a day?  What was my role now?  That’s when Mommy became a  student again.

Then came the sleepover, oh dear! Part of me was relieved, “Oh, goodie, time for me and his father to play!” and another part of me would sneak out and dig needles of guilt into my “good mommy heart”. “What was I thinking of having some adult fun when my children were away for an entire night?!”

And then the summer camp came around. It was a bible camp in the Eastern Townships at Lac Massawippi. My eldest was staying away for an entire week!!   Oh, my how that was trying!! A whole week at 7 years old, he was to sleep in a tent! The nights would certainly be chilly and damp!! And what if he had a nightmare or woke up looking for HOME? What if an animal was lurking around and he didn’t hear everyone screaming to run out of the tent? He was such a heavy sleeper, a train could run through his bedroom and he would sleep right through it! Oh, how I remember those first few days when he was at camp. I missed him so much and was so worried; I had to shut the door to his bedroom because just walking by that open door in the hallway and seeing that empty room would make my heart sink.

Parents were not even allowed to phone the camp, so the children did not get homesick. I would phone the cook…that’s right? I would check in with the cook a few times that week to see if my little guy was eating alright. And he was!! That was a good sign, right?!

Well, I did get through those trips and so did he and she.  They never knew about my angst…that was for me to know and to eventually grow out of. I did. He’s a grown man. And my daughter and I went through the similar angst as well…almost carbon copy but different…she had a very different personality…very independent. I think we both struggled with the push and pull of becoming separate.

But now today, I am brought right back to those times and am not sure how I am going to manage …a whole week without…a whole week not communicating!! Oh, dear, how will I manage…it is harder now that I live alone…I mean I don’t have a husband or partner or roommate to share my worries and yearnings of not having him around…

Oh dear {sigh!}

I guess I will have to just suck it up, right?! It has been 3 hours already and I am slowly getting used to the idea …I left without crying though…that’s good, right? I left feeling I will be able to trust these people who will be caring for him all week, right?

I had to come to work after dropping him off, so that will keep my mind busy.

I have no clue how I will be by tomorrow or Tuesday! or Wednesday!! Oh, my, maybe I will try to get into the Hallowe’en mood and focus on fun things children like…adults do too, actually.

Just have to suck it up and be an adult about this…

Yes, I will just have to wait until Staples Office (Bureau en Gros calls me when my dear, loving laptop is ready from a week of diagnostic testing and servicing…{sigh} yes, that’s it…I shall have to rely on my sturdy notebook, my smart phone and the computer at work. I know I can do it!!!

The End, by Cheryl-Lynn Roberts

This was a fun exercise Lilith Colbert, a real goddess in poetry and narratives has prompted on Wednesday Short Story Prompt #26 – In Wolf’s Clothing at WDBWP (We Drink Because We’re Poets)

Our challenge this week was to concoct a tale that’s more than meets the eye – a Transformer of shorts, a mind-boggling of epic proportions. What a great occasion to mess with the minds of our readers! I hope my readers enjoyed this fun story. I had a blast writing it.  I was composing it in the car in my head on my drive to work after I dropped off my laptop at Staples.

 

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts,  originally written on October 27, 2013  on my blog httpp://stigmahurtseveryone.wordpress.com

 

Photo credits:  Lonely Evening – Woman Thinking About Problems .  Waiting Of Night …  www.123rf.com