Flashback

Hello fellow Peppers and followers. Today for my first nano poblano post I am sharing a very rough draft of a book chapter I have been working on.  I normally write in the first person and I am not very good at writing dialogue. First and foremost, I am a poet, and I love poetic license. 😉  So please be kind, but tell me if you are intrigued enough to want to know the rest of the story. 🙂

Flashback

Sarah and Lucas held hands nervously as they waited for Ms. Rosenbaum to appear with the news they were hoping for.  This wasn’t their first visit to the Little Angels Adoption Home, but so far they had come away with empty arms and heavy hearts.  Since the birth of their son Dmitri then 6, Sarah had developed ovarian cancer and opted for a complete hysterectomy.  They both wanted a little girl to complete their happy home.  Karla Rosenbaum was a pretty but simple woman not given to excesses. Her light brown well kept hair rolled neatly into a bun and soft, solid, olive scoop neck three quarter sleeved dress with smart black pumps were a testament to that. With trepidation she stepped into the office to face her eager visitors.  Her apologetic smile was a crushing blow that neither of them had counted on.  “I am so sorry, but the birth mother has decided to keep her baby” she lamented.  “I know this isn’t fair to you, but it is such a difficult, life altering decision to give up a child, and we have to give the birth mother every opportunity until the deadline to change her mind”.  Sarah hid her tearful eyes in her hands while Lucas attempted to console her.  “There are some older children that are in desperate need of loving homes, Karla reminded”.  “I know you wanted a baby girl, and we’ll keep trying… of course, but perhaps you might consider…? Karla’s voice trailed off as the couple stood to leave… “I understand she replied compassionately…call me when you are ready to try again”.   Karla rose to show them out, and as they walked down the long hallway towards the entrance, there on a bench sat a little girl, with big brown eyes and blond ringlet curls.  She sat silent and sweetly ankles crossed, hands folded in her lap and smiled shyly but then averted her eyes as the three adults approached her. Sarah couldn’t help but notice her, and when their gaze met something inexplicable transpired.  Sarah stopped after they passed and asked Karla who the little girl was.  “That’s Isabel Karla said.  She just turned 4.  “Why hasn’t anyone adopted such a beautiful little girl Sarah queried?” Karla lowered her voice to a whisper when they were a safe distance away, and said her mother had been brutally raped and couldn’t bring herself to keep the baby. Many adoptive parents are afraid of rape babies.  They fear the child could somehow inherit the violent tendencies of the father, especially if the child is male.  Although these fears are unsubstantiated, they persist in people’s minds none the less. By law we are required to disclose the birth circumstances to the potential parents, well to the best of our knowledge anyway.”  She really is an angel, such a shame Karla sighed”.  “She’s never given us an ounce of trouble”.

I’d like to take her for a home visit Sarah exclaimed, without a bit of hesitation.  Somehow Lucas wasn’t surprised, and he agreed with a knowing chuckle.  Karla’s eyes widened with hope, “splendid she replied,  I’ll make the necessary arrangements immediately”.  Karla smiled to herself for having had the foresight to arrange the chance encounter.  Sarah and Lucas waited in the lobby for Ms. Rosenbaum to return with Isabel.  It seemed like hours when Karla finally stood in the doorway with a frightened Isabel in tow.  “Isabel, Karla said softly, this is Sarah and Lucas and they would like to take you for a visit”.  Sarah and Lucas both smiled warmly and extended a hand to young Isabel. Isabel smiled nervously and bravely reached up and placed her tiny hands into both of theirs.  This day they did not leave the adoption home with empty arms, and their hearts were filled with promise.  After many subsequent home visits Sarah and Lucas began the process to legally adopt Isabel.

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“Do you remember her Lucas, that first day sitting in the hallway when we were leaving the adoption home?”  Sarah smiles lovingly into Lucas’s eyes, “She had blond curls and her eyes were soft and brown just like yours.  I was in love from the moment I saw her!”  Yes Lucas laughs as he feeds Sarah a piece of brie. Sarah delights at all the decadent food in their final picnic spread that she might otherwise avoid.  Luscious white chocolate covered strawberries, perfectly aged salami and brie, old world recipe sourdough wedges with real butter, her favorite jalapeño stuffed olives, and several bottles of oak y Cabernet from their favorite local vineyard.  Lucas smiles while refilling Sarah’s Cabernet, and professes, “I never doubted for even a second our decision that day and we truly have been blessed with all that is good in this life”. “Here’s to our beloved Isabel, Dmitri, and our 14 grandchildren, and to you my love, still my everything after all these years. They clink their glasses together as they gaze at the setting sun and snuggle a little closer.

Lucas covers Sarah’s shoulders with their blanket as the evening wind picks up. “It’s colder than usual for this time of year she bemoans”. “Here my love, have another glass of wine, it will take the chill off he offers, and pours it for her.  It is nearly winter now and the trees have already lost all their leaves.  The lake half freezes through at night and it doesn’t get hot enough during the day to thaw.  Soon there will be ice skaters zipping to and fro all bundled up in fashionable winter wear.  It is here that Lucas first met Sarah all those years ago.  They were both too shy to speak but intensely drawn to one another.  When Lucas extended his hand for Sarah to take, she silently put her hand in his without question and they simply walked away together.  They were neither one brave enough to skate out onto the frozen water so they snuck away hand in hand till they happened upon this remote, dreamy magical tree. It is here they found their words and their love story began.  They have been coming to this spot under their tree by the lake every Wednesday for as long as they both can remember. It is secluded, and they have cherished their private time immensely here in their secret place.  Now in their elder years, the hike down the hill gives them pause, but still they navigate it faithfully.

Lucas kisses Sarah’s forehead and then lays his head back against the tree and closes his eyes. He is starting to feel the effect of the sedatives they placed in their wine.  Sarah sighs and recollects aloud some of her favorite moments from holidays past.  “I do remember when they were little she says smiling.  They are all so grown up now, with lives and careers, and kids of their own.  I remember best when they were small at our annual Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners”.  Quite the bunch they were, weren’t they?  So many little faces, all around our family table, it seems like just yesterday”.  “Such an ingenious plan you had Lucas that they all tell in turn the highs and lows of their day”.  “Thanks to you we learned so much about them. “It’s hard to imagine raising seven children, isn’t it?”  “Strange that Isabel and Dmitri each ended up with the same number of offspring”. “Well you know Dmitri couldn’t stand to be outdone my dear, Lucas says laughing”.  “Yes, despite Dmitri’s poor choices in women he took fatherhood and raising his children very seriously”. “I have long been grateful for that, Sarah responds”.  “Isabel and Augustus have been wonderful parents”.  “Everything has come full circle my love”.  “Life is good!”  Sarah rests her head on Lucas’s chest and closes her eyes too and begins to drift.  “This is the way Lucas; she sighs… where I want to be forever… safe in your arms”. “Yes my love, and so shall you always be Lucas promises”.

Right to Die…a Daughters Perspective.

12th Anniversary 004

It was January 16, 2004.  I remember like it was yesterday.  I was woken from a sound sleep just after 11 pm.  We didn’t answer the phone. Instead we screened the call wondering who would be calling at that late hour? The screaming pain and agony in the voice on the recorder I knew instantly, it was my mom’s husband.  I had long known this day would come, and now it was here.  A sort of numbness ensued, perhaps a little bit of shock. I took a few moments to collect myself before returning his call.  He was in near hysterics and there was little I could do but be the calm soft voice on the other end of the phone.  And so I was.. shelving whatever I did or didn’t feel because right then his pain was more important than mine.  There would be subsequent conversations, albeit not many, we were never close.  In fact it would be inaccurate to say that we even liked each other.  We got along.. because of my mom.

This was how I learned of my mother’s successful suicide. She shot herself in the head in the shower and her husband found her.  She and I spoke about it many times over the years. I always knew that one day she would actually do it.  She talked to him too, but he couldn’t allow himself to believe her even though he knew better than anyone how much she suffered.  She carried that gun with her everywhere.  It made me so nervous when we would go to lunch because I knew the gun was in her backpack.  She said it made her feel safe.  I knew that she needed it close for the moment she decided to go through with it.  I always asked her if she could just call or send me something to say good-bye?  She would tell me softly what I already knew to be true, that there wouldn’t be time once she got up the courage. So I accepted long ago that one day this call would come.

Now you are all probably wondering why I just accepted this and didn’t try to do anything about it?  Well I did try to do something about it, but the truth of the matter is there are some things that cannot be fixed.  My mother did not just give up on life.  She suffered most of her life before making up her mind, and even then she struggled with it. Not the act of doing it, but the pain that doing it would cause others.  She had been in therapy for as long as I can remember.  She had been to a multitude of doctors and had too many tests to count, some of them quite invasive; even exploratory surgery at one point.  She had some sort of stomach issue that would cause her to vomit violently nightly from the high amounts of accumulated acid. Her doctors never could figure out what was wrong with her or cure it.  It was so violent on one occasion that she gave herself whiplash while vomiting.  She suffered horribly with allergies and a lot of the time was unable to leave the house because they were so severe.  She had deep inner demons that she could not face despite all the therapy and soul searching.  Sometimes.. there are things in life that we just can’t get past.

Was she mentally ill?  She suffered from depression, and she was definitely OCD.  She tried many anti-depressants but could not deal with the side effects of any of them.  For many of us, myself included, the side effects of the medicines that take away whatever issues we are dealing with can leave us in such a state that one has to ask, what’s the point?  For those of you who take such medications, I know you know exactly what I mean.  I have hyper sensitivities and a myriad of other things I deal with. There are medicines that would make that part of my life so much easier, but sadly, for me, they also take away all the parts that make life worth living, my passion, my creativity, all the good stuff.  So I  choose to find other ways to deal with said issues; but it is my choice; just as it was my mother’s choice not to.  I support that choice, and I am glad she is finally at peace.  I do wish she could have found that peace here in life, but for her that did not seem possible.  How selfish would it be of me to expect her to continue to suffer just so I can have her around??? If you ask me.. that’s pretty damn selfish. That said, it does hurt. I think I am still grieving in part even today. There are special times and moments that we will not get to share.  She did not get to attend my wedding. I like to believe that she was there in spirit and that she was very happy. I also believe that her essence lives on, and so leaving this place was merely a transition.  I feel she is still with me when she wants to be, but mostly I know she no longer suffers, and that means everything to me.

I do think we should exhaust every avenue before giving up. Generally speaking when people attempt suicide it is a cry for help, and help should be there for those crying out. I did everything I could to help my mom but in the end I had to respect her decision. I believe we should all have the option of assisted suicide, especially if we are terminal, but even if our chances just aren’t good and that’s the choice we make. Have a party and say goodbye to our loved ones, wouldn’t that be so much nicer? Lastly, we cannot know anyone else’s pain, and it is not ours to decide whether or not they can deal with it, whether it is emotional or physical, or like in my mother’s case both.  Compassion and understanding are always in order.