Archive | August, 2012

Look What the Cat Dragged In

17 Aug

I am readying myself to attend a two day wedding affair.  And though such a celebratory event should bring forth prose or poetry reflective of the joyous occasion, I don’t have time to come up with anything at the moment.  The following was written by me during a very dark time in my life.  No, not last year when my son Cole was diagnosed with the brain tumor.  It was written in 2008, six months after I had nursed my mother-in-law through horrific suffering and then removal of life support.  I came across this writing while searching my files for a piece I had written on love.  If anything, I can look back at my struggle to live by faith and realize that a yielded spirit to the will of G-d, above all else, brings forth a great presence of peace.  It is almost as if my time with her was a ‘boot-camp’ preparation for what was awaiting me(us) with my son’s diagnosis.  At any rate, I don’t have much time to ramble on about it because I need to pack my case and hit the road.  Take from it what you like, or leave it all together.

“I was just thinking…

My package is being torn apart…the package I bought into.  If I do this, I will yield that.  And I have done this, and it hasn’t yielded what I expected.  The fault is putting my faith in the package, not in G-d’s will above all else.  And while I am getting to a place where I am willing and fully accepting of G-d’s will and not putting expectation in the package, the disappointment, for me, lies in my disillusionment with my failed expectations.  Thus, the pain, or hardship, for me is in the inner struggle I still have between G-d’s will and what I thought my actions or faith would yield.  No man can fix that!  The words of men cannot comfort me here.  I am on my own with G-d and his timing to meet me in this.” 4/2008

I am happy to report that the good Lord did meet me.  He brought me out of the darkness and I have not been without his peace since.  Even when,  a year or so ago, my son looked as if he would be a vegetable for life.  Our G-d is faithful.  The great ‘I AM’ can be trusted.  My son is not a vegetable and we are not alone in our struggles.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Spark Notes

10 Aug

Today’s title, ‘Spark Notes’, has been patiently awaiting my attention while in the holding cell of my “drafts” folder.  In fact, my opportunity and drive to write, this week, has been somewhat prolific.  And I say, “take it while I can get it,” because I expect next week to have to linger on the tails of my past three postings (this one included).  I have even had time this week to peruse a few blogs I have been introduced to over the past year.  I feel much accomplished, as far as having invested in a few writings and readings that give me a little spark.  AAAhhhh, my segue into the title at hand.  What is your spark?  What is mine?

Now obviously I cannot answer the question for you.  But I can share a bit of the sparks in my life, and in that, in the lives of my nuclear family.

For me, dyed black hair is a pleasure I enjoy.  And if I encounter true, naturally black hair, elation wells up within me.  I began dying my hair black back in high school.  My then boyfriend (who happens to now be my husband) and I bought a bottle of some sort of “cover the gray” black rinse and we applied it, each to the other, without the use of protective gloves (uh oh, in the category of teenagers this could sound like a covert innuendo–I promise it is not).  And because we used our skin exposed hands for the job, we consequently went through the next month with the evidence not only imprinted onto each of our strands of hair, but also emanating from every skin pore on the palm of our hands.  The box said, “washes out with several shampoo’s,” and though our hands recovered after a months time, my long tresses did not.  In fact two years after the occasion, on my wedding day, my long hair was sporting a half and half d00…the top half naturally brown and the bottom half unnaturally black.  My husband, on the other hand, had shaved his hair off long before our betrothal.  Now in between that time and now I have experimented with reds and blondes and blacks.  I like the reds though I don’t like them with my skin tone.  Blonde, I am just not.  So black it is for me.  And though it began as a love affair with the color, it has sadly become my battle cry against father time and his minions in white.

The Black Bottle

Naturally, unnaturally beautiful!

I realize that sharing hair dye as one of my “sparks” is a little weak…at face value.  But truly my greatest spark comes from humor.  Humor in all things, aging included.  And in consideration of the humorous undertone of the black bottle bit, you can better understand my spark.  I am also fueled by that which fuels my husband and children.  I find their happiness to simultaneously fill my cup (this is a very weird sentence structure–any help on it, if it indeed is incorrectly written, is most appreciated).

Thus I will indulge my fancy further by writing about the newest spark in the Bent clan…

A sailboat.  Yep, a 25ft fiberglass hull vessel.  My husband and son have ventured into this purchase together (one has the money and the other has the brawn–read my past post to guess which is which); and it is through their adventurous spirit the rest of us (my daughter Esther, and I) become sailors.

As most of the readers of this blog know, Cole has suffered a very significant loss in his quality of life.  He was a strapping and strong young United States Marine, prior to having his brain tumor removed.  And now he is dependent upon others due to the physical impairments which are his.  Result of cranial nerve damage from having a growth on his brain stem removed (death was the alternate option).  In all reality, we are so very fortunate to have him alive and in as good of shape as he is in.  We know that, but he doesn’t.  He struggles so much–every day.  Every night.  And so becoming an owner of a boat, alongside his dad, is a step in the right direction.  The hope is that there will be a piece of flint lurking about his new adventures…it will find its way to the concrete of his soul and scrape against it.   And when it does, I pray it will create a spark which will turn into a roaring fire.  A fire within my son’s being that will give him back purpose, feeling, and desire.  I do believe G-d can do this with a little 25 foot sailboat.  I just don’t know when.

Brian and Cole

Gilligan and the Skipper

Cole catching a fish

Fishing off the stern

Yet in the meantime the four of us are enjoying the open seas, the calm of the harbor, and each other…at least we are making every effort in this direction (I am prone to seasickness of all things).  We have yet to spend the night on her, but these warm summer nights are like a siren’s call.  I’m sure it won’t be long before we yield.

Esther at the bow

Ahoy Matey! Esther catching some sea air

My last two posts (‘Shut the Hell Up!’ and ‘Betwixt, Bothered, and Be-Whining‘) came fiercely and quickly as the intervention of my cathartic pen was needed for the health of my psyche.  But this post, this patiently awaiting its time, post…this is my spark note.  Please feel free to share yours.

Brian the Skipper, Cole as Gilligan

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, A tale of a fateful trip
That started from this tropic port
Aboard this tiny ship.
The mate was a mighty sailing man,
The skipper brave and sure….
source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/tvthemes/gilligansislandlyrics.html

Betwixt, Bothered, and Be-whining

9 Aug

OK, so my title is a little skewed, though it does give a quasi nod to Rogers and Hart and their musical production, Pal Joey.  Now let’s break it down…

BETWIXT =       For me it means between jobs.  Between life’s.  Between something.  Just plain old, BETWEEN.  I’m not between a rock and a hard place because I am only in a hard place, there is no differentiating of rocks.  And in this place the who and the what branches out to become the when, the how, and the for how long?!  (Is utilizing two different punctuation marks breaking a cardinal grammatical rule?  No matter, it is my Bent to break the rules–or stretch them out very thin.)  The betwixt of life is result of the foundational shift which occurred over one year ago due to the brain tumor of my son.  At that time I was a full time student (mother and wife).  Returned to school for…something?!  Regardless of how much I love to learn and thoroughly enjoy academia, I had the most difficult time landing on a major because they all are so fascinating…as if I’m 18 years old again and have the world awaiting my attack.  Not so true as a forty year old with a family.  But hey, don’t tell my mind about my age…it hasn’t figured it out yet!  So with the world as my oyster I pursued finishing my undergrad certification.  So does that make me a student?  I have a student ID card.  I have some unused books still scattered about my room.  Are those ear marks sufficient to give me the title?  I don’t know, I haven’t been back to class since my son’s diagnosis; hence betwixt.

BOTHERED =     Annoyed by my own indecision.  The questions, “Am I a student?  Do I want to return to school?  Do I want a full time job with benefits?  Do I want to pursue writing for remuneration?  Do I want to become a flight attendant (as if that job is still an option–remember, my brain has yet to catch up to my number)?  Am I content being the caretaker to my son?  Will he require my services full time for much longer?  Will my husband gain the notoriety and compensation he is being promised?  Do we hang on to the promise still?  Do we let go?  …and so on!

BE-WHINING =    It seems to me, the previous two categories also cover this one.  My first choice was to put “belittled”, but my self-esteem is naturally too high to ever get “belittled,” thus I felt “be-whining” a more appropriate fit.  The reason for my angst is that the United States Postal Service delivered some dreaded, though not unexpected, news today.  The claim form for my husband’s final unemployment payment showed itself in our mailbox this morning.  We knew it was coming for we know how to read, and though much of the gobbledygook that is somehow referred to as English was undecipherable, we comprehended enough to dread this moment.  Now in advance of today’s mail, I had perused the internet for job vacancies.  However, I still have two “incompletes” on my academic record from the spring of 2011 that I need to remedy this fall (because the teacher advanced me a good grade on the promise she would see me in class this month).  So entertaining taking on a full time position, maintaining the mountain of paperwork which has attached itself to my military-connected son, and fulfilling my oath to an endeared teacher are in much conflict.  Not to mention I am still a wife and mother.  AH-HAH!  And there you have it…Betwixt, Bothered, and Be-whining.  Makes sense now that I put it to pen.

Now for the tough part, living by the faith I profess to have.  I am, living under the nurturing wing of the great, I AM.  I know this.  I know this, I know this.  …I know this (nod to Neruda).  For example, today when I was walking from the strip-mall drug store over to the beauty supply (I’m going back on the bottle tonight–the black dye bottle that is), I felt the increasing pressure of a panic attack.  Too much, too soon, too abstract.  And I began having trouble catching my breath.  At first I grasped to utilize my own inner resources–they were on a sabbatical.  What else could I do?  I suppose I could have screamed.  I could have cried.  I could have passed out.  I could have called my husband and yelled at him (why not?  except the thought police scrambled his phone number).  But what I did do was cry out to G-d.  It went something like this, “Jesus, YOU are going to have to help me!!!!”  And you know what?  He did.  I didn’t notice right away.  It wasn’t until I got into my car after finishing my beautification purchase that I noticed I was full (filled) of peace.  And with the peace I was able to breathe.  I am thankful for that moment, that reminder that I am not walking this life alone.  And wouldn’t you know it, the open market art dealer just called and told my husband his art was well received and there are two commissions for paintings awaiting him.  She said, “Don’t quit your day job (haha–it just quit us), but the reception was better than I expected.”

I am thankful.  I am walking in faith, though with a touch of vertigo.  I am hopeful.  And, I am still betwixt, bothered, and be-whining.

%d bloggers like this: