The Person They Left Behind

                  I think I was in my teens when one night something stirred me from my slumber.  A cyclone of words came flooding in my mind whirling around.  I know I couldn't fall back to sleep.  I needed to empty my brain of the slew of alliterations.  So, I got out of bed and reached for any piece of paper and writing utensil that was in sight and the words just spilled out onto the sheet.  This is what flowed out:
The Ocean's Curse
I lay awake, with the covers pulled up tight,
As I listen to the tranquil modulations of night.
The wind rushes over me ripping the sheets from my figure,
Allowing its arms to embrace me with vigor.
Taking me to the vengeful ocean's shore,
The wind tells me of the sea's ever forgotten tales off yore.
Many a day, mortal creatures become victims of this malevolent ocean,
Smothering their bodies in slow motion.
But, the cunning waters looked so harmless and welcoming,
That I was lured into the tempting waters without any questioning.
Its white fingers were touching my bare legs,
And nothing left my mouth: no sounds, no begs.
The cold, advancing body was pulling me down to its heart,
Kissing my lips that did not part.
After that, nothing came to the surface,
Except one last bubble from the abyss.

           The next morning I showed this piece of poetry to my parents.  They immediately thought this was the best thing I had written and exclaimed how beautiful it was.  To this very day they still believe it.  But the thing is the feelings and emotions that were behind these words were not beautiful.  They basically for told the yearning and even the fear that I would experience in the next ten years after.  The feeling that I got every single time a really close loved one died was the feeling of not being able to go with them to the blissful paradise that is Heaven.....being left behind. 
                                            "I'll Never Let Go, Jack" ~ Titanic 1997

        After the death of my maternal grandmother, when I was 18 years old, my grief spiraled out of control.....reliving the images in my head of walking into her room seeing her lifeless body on the bed, eyes glazed over facing the window, and her mouth open giving the appearance of gasping for breath but knew it couldn't.  I dove into school and gave up on sleep.....anything to keep my mind off of the horrid images. 
         When a few years passed I thought all of this was behind me until I had to witness more death (my paternal grandmother and my grandfather).  None of their passings were what you would call peaceful.  One died from a possible abdominal aneurism and the other was smothered to death from fluid build - up in his lungs.  On top of it all, my mom's neurological decline was starting (2008) and now I would have to face a living nightmare (and still am living it).  I could not live.  It was unbearable to live. 
        Sleep at this time was quickly becoming non-existent.  My behavior was appearing more and more erratic.  My grief (if you want to call it that.....because I was going through more change than a typical 25 year old had to go through) was seeping out in toxic ways.......I was headed on a road of self destruction........my mental state just broke down........I wanted out.  Nobody was letting me.  Every dear and precious person that were my kindred spirits were gone......gone to someplace better........leaving me to rot in this so-called life.  Here I am trying to hold on to them for dear life.....but the currents were becoming too strong........the waves of life pulled them away tearing us apart........carrying them further and further into that unknown abyss.  Too tired to fight in keeping that human connection alive, I gave up.......my lifeless body, that had been battered against the sharp reefs by the tumultuous water, just washed up on shore. 
         It took what seemed to be many years for new breath of life to possess my body once more.  Actually, within the last couple of years is when I actually started yearning to live again. 
         Right now, I am acting as co-caregiver for my mom along side my dad.  She has a rare neurological disorder called, Multiple System Atrophy, where every system/function in her body shuts down.  That disease, next to Alzheimer's and ALS, are probably some of the worst diseases a person has to endure because they are literally fully immersed in a living death.....stuck in their own bodies........unable to talk, think, respond in anyway, let alone walk.  So to help her bide time (there's no other term for it because she is unable to live) my dad cleans her, dresses her, administers medication, feeds her, changes her soiled clothes, wipes her bottom......you name it.  And before you say about putting her in a home, the answer is she is in a home.....her home where her loving husband and I are caring for her with unconditional love.  Our lives are her........the woman who risked her life giving me life, who helped me with school and to succeed at my studies when I was struggling with my own disabilities, the one who gave me the stubbornness to never give up......and that trait went to both my dad and me. 
       But these fragile creatures who are,  unfortunately, prisoners of their own bodies awaiting their death sentence, are aware of the loving beings they are about to leave behind not knowing when they will be with them again. 
      The key, I guess, is to keep seeking a LIFE on Earth......give the air that breathes new life into you every second of every day a purpose.  Seize every moment by creating a lasting imprint on God's green acres for generations of humans to remember......a LASTING LEGACY. 
                                                        My mom at 15 years old circa. 1960




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