The Year You Did Not Crack.

 

This is for You. For everyone.

For those in my real social life, and those who are just as real in my social media life.

For those who may have entered my orbit yet remain unknown.

For those I do know who occasionally irk me, this one’s for you, too.

 

Turn the camera on yourself, right now. Take a selfie no one else will ever see.

 

Then, consider this:

2020 is going to go down as The Year You Did Not Crack.

 

There’ve been a lot of attitude adjustments. Mostly for the better.

But some of you have faced multiple moments of: I’m too old for this. I don’t have to put up with that. I’m done for good – and for my own good.

Even as you solidly define your new limits, I’m still hearing apologetic self-belittlement for taking a stand, narrated as shame: “I cracked.”

No. No, you did not. You did not crack.

You un-cracked.

You filled fissures that have been worn deep for years with self-saving cement; not to harden yourself, but to protect yourself.

You’ve broken down who you are and decided not to be broken, anymore. You stunted the cracks.

Bravo.

Think about that. How kind you’ve been to yourself. How you’ve decided you love yourself instead of focusing on those who don’t.

Filling your voids has made you stronger. On behalf of every soul in your universe, I thank you.

This gift of self-favor has freed you. The most precious part? Affording others your priceless presence when your strength is needed to shore them.

Smoothing over the surface doesn’t mean you are hiding anything.

It means you have layered purposeful protective boundaries. Swathed the hurt in pristine swatches of emotionally sterile gauze. Taped down so hard, the underneath can’t help but heal from the inside out.

The process never needed to be pretty, you just thought it did. Blisters heal ugly, and you probably call them so. But, knowing you the way I do, I think they’re absolutely gorgeous.

 

Choose your poison – doesn’t matter to me which way you say it. Just say it aloud.

Alone, if you are. Or, alone, if it makes you feel better.

“2020 is going down as The Year I Did Not Crack.”

“2020 is going down as The (explicatives can be empowering) Year I Did Not Crack.”

 

Turn the camera back on. Take another selfie.

Do you see the difference? Believe what you see.

No apologies needed; none accepted.

Now, show the world what you got.

 

Quote for the Week: 2020 05 12 Stop thinking soon ill be free jakorte

Song for the Week: Fall Out Boy, Save Rock And Roll.

You are what you love

Not who loves you

The Literal Grief of “I”

 

I’m getting tired of saying, “I.”

“I don’t remember…”

“I don’t know…”

“I think…”

You might be, too. I need to drop those I’s. Literally.

*

Don’t know which day it was: Monday, Tuesday?

Know my brother picked me up and took me to the funeral home. Don’t remember the drive.

Do remember arriving, entering and standing in the foyer of Handler’s. Think it might have been raining, or maybe the umbrellas and jackets are snippets from another family funeral.

Think the meeting room was downstairs. If not, it was still in what I thought was an unusual location. Not that I had any experience in usual funerals.

Remember being surprised and touched by the number of people around the table. Sorry, don’t recall everyone there, but I know the family group included one brother, one sister, Jeff’s father, at least one Uncle, my brother and me.

Fuzzy on whether or not there was an Aunt, non-step-brother or exactly how many cousins there were or if I am erroneously conjuring the other end of the table; same side, not in my direct line of vision.

Contemplated this on my walk home this afternoon. How wonderful it was to have the support of so many people to help me through, and how very touched I was.

A stride-stopping, startling thought smacked me – a whip-branch snapped back from those who should have been traveling the grief trail ahead of me. Slapped my mind – after 12+ years – my tunnel-visioned grief-blur ended today, on this revelation.

All of those people weren’t there for just me.

A bit shameful really.  Unfathomable, as well.  Can’t apologize for my thoughts because I’m not even sure what my thoughts were or if I even had any.

Benumbed, appropriately or not, the blinding spotlight on my grief was, singularly, “I.”

Quote for the Week: 2020 02 11 There may not be an I in teamjakorte

 

 

 

to be happy with the memory

 

when the barriers say “don’t go there.”
when the filters don’t make it better.
when cold morning colors hard stop the norm.
when the wind denies still life capture.
when edits are not improvement.
when the shot delays arrival and it doesn’t matter.
this is the thing worth knowing –
time stopped for a reason, true and unknown,
sometime later, sometimes much, a slipped swipe
a thumb-hold too long, a scroll too far, percolates a path
for pictures, dropped from above, gathering thunderous steam
landslides lose landmarks, boulders block intentions,
revisits are hard to resist.
temptation to tamper that
which does not require change, for comfort
is unneeded. it’s just an accidental detour, a temporary stay
to be happy with the memory, only requires
the desire
to be.

Quote for the Week: 2020 02 04 finding formerly forgotten photos is one of life jakorte

 

 

He Would Have Laughed, Part 2 (graphic, dark humor, but it won’t get any worse than this…)

 

This is the last of my confessions. Mostly silent for 13 years; hesitant for dark humor.

At the time, not even an iota amusing. But, you know the bottom line as well as I do:

he would have laughed.

______________________________________________________________

 

Despite what should have been a series of solid physical confirmations, I still wasn’t sure.

I mean I suspected I was sure, but surely there had to be some way to be surely sure.

I needed to be absolutely sure. I didn’t want to tell the EMTs that he was dead if he wasn’t really dead.

After all, it had been getting harder and harder to wake him up, so maybe….

I couldn’t let them just assume he was dead and take him away.

I faintly heard the siren.

Desperation encouraged denial. I launched one final effort for conclusion.

 

I reached out and squeezed.

His stuff.

Hard.

Very hard.

Nothing happened.

Nothing at all.

Nothing. at. all.

 

That was the catalyst. My epiphanic moment, framed with the possibility of tarnished guilt, dully matted with automatic apologetic thoughts.

I believe I was rather rational. Calm, while mentally running through the untimed Sunday morning sequence of events from opening the bedroom door to believing in my own final absolute surety.

I relived it all – this short period of my life flashed before me like I was the one who’s life was ending.

That’s when my internal irrational being woke up and spoke up and slapped me.

A solid smack to the back of my head, snapping it forward, then back, as the blinking-red ticker-tape of panic resumed its scroll.

“Oh, my God. What if there’s bruising? They’re going to think I abused him!”

I hadn’t yet conjured a remedy for that, when the knock came.

“They’re here,” I announced and promptly hung up the phone.

Quote for the Week:2019 10 22 Death should ever be treated with irreverence jakorte

 

 

 

He would have laughed… (beware – graphic, dark-humor truth.)

Warning: graphic, dark-humor truth. He would have laughed. You might, too. You might not, though. 

Peripherally, I spied Jeff’s ever-present mega-jug from Speedway on his night table. I tested the weight out, concluding there was water in it.

Actually, I didn’t conclude there was water – I really just concluded liquid. It likely could have been what I call soda or what he called pop. I assumed it was water, which is why I decided to pull the lid off the monster mug and dump the entire contents on Jeff’s head.

It was water.

There wasn’t as much of it as I’d thought.

It certainly wasn’t the deluge I was hoping for.

He didn’t wake up sputtering.

“Are you doing it?” the operator asked, referring to the mirror test she’d requested.

“Oh, my God!” I cried. “How did this happen? He’s not waking up! How could this have happened?”

Almost out-of-body, hearing myself and thinking; cliché. Soap opera style dramatics.

Frozen, fleetingly, I wondered: was drama reenactment of reality or was my reality a reflection drama?

Sensing my conclusion, I was assured, the ambulance was on the way. She said she’d remain on the line until it arrived.

Having endured Jeff’s preference for based-on-true-events TV, I’d either half-watched or got completely sucked into countless crime-solving and autopsy shows.

A horrifying scenario popped into my still grappling brain.

“They’re going to think I drowned him!”

“Oh, my God!” I blurted aloud, in response to my silent reasoning. I scooted around the bed.

“Do you hear the ambulance?” The voice surprised me out of my own head. I was shocked to find I was still holding my phone – firmly plastered to my ear.

“No. I don’t.” I replied. Swiping a washcloth from the counter, I scrambled back to Jeff.

I used the maroon square to swipe Jeff’s wet face and hair.

My inner dialog continued. “Oh, no! If he starts breathing, inhaling water could kill him!”

I pushed a small corner through the tiny opening between his teeth, trying to sop up any of the gushed liquid that might have run into his mouth.

“They should be there soon…” came consolingly over the line.

Well past the verge of hysteria, another terrifying possibility crossed my mind.

“Oh, my GOD!” I wailed, wildly recalling the frequency with which the tiniest of fibers had helped solve mysteries and finger murderers.

Fortunately, only heard within the confines of my scrambling head, my error screamed, “They’re going to think I smothered him!”

Quote for the Week: 2019 10 15 The brain works with remarkable speed to process jakorte

this is my truth

This is my truth. It’s complicated. It’s sequential. It’s simultaneous.

There is no straight path from here.

There is no ‘succinctly’ about it.

Understand there’s going to be temptation to argue it with me. Please don’t.

We could discuss it, but you’re only going to frustrate yourself.

I’ve lived this story-line. I know it how went for me, how it must go forward for you, and how hard it’s going to be for all of us.

I’m not saying you’re going to be wrong from where you’re looking on.

I’ve said it before. Bear with my repeat.

Scientifically, you cannot stand next to me and see the exact same thing.

Your angle affects your impression: size, shape, color, shadows.

Your history affects your perception.

Combined memories can be conflicting.

Every breathing minute moves me away from that one.

Details don’t dim. Everything around expands.

Moments get wider, more complex, more disturbing, circularly clearer, oddly uplifting, occasionally somewhat strangely amusing.

Some, by the Grace of God, will remain blessedly unresolved.

At least, until we all get where we’re going.

Quote for the Week:2019 09 02 cross over seasons can be doubly beautiful jakorte

 

 

 

 

Chucking Chuck

Splat.

It turned out that Jeff hadn’t been expecting me, at all. “No! No! Not you!” He exclaimed. “Sadie!” Jeff shouted and pointed. “It’s Sadie!” He waved his arms as he launched another piece of meat skyward, calling, “Here, Puppy, Puppy!”.

We completed an impressive, synchronized peer-over.

Hyper-girl was ping-ponging around, running a non-direct, Jack Russell route. She was making a bee-line toward the tree line, and Jeff was chucking chuck to get her to come back.

Our only slightly attentive lassie, was only slightly interested in what he had to say, but she was starting to sniff out the meat. Each morsel delay lasted about 2 seconds, then she’d turn her back and resume her directionally impaired run for freedom.

I resituated my grease-smudged glasses, and scooped the fallen bit from my sneaker top where it had finalized its landing. Struggling to quickly (aka ungracefully) open our escape-proof gate, I wasn’t exactly able to immediately bolt down the stairs.

Sadie saw me. Her homeward-galloping greeting was perfectly interrupted by another falling fragment. She was swift. I wasn’t swifter.

I had an advantage, though. By placing her tail-end toward me, I was in prime position to scoop up the little scoundrel just as she scarfed another bite of my supposed supper.

When she was safely back up-top, I set her down, and turned to Jeff. “How the heck did that happen?”

He’d been flipping a burger and caught a blur in the corner of his eye. When he fully turned towards it, he saw Sadie happily prancing along.

“Ok.” I said. “But, how did it happen? The gate was closed. I couldn’t get it open!”

“Hmm,” he remarked. “I kinda wondered what you were doing….”

Jeff and I mirrored surprise faces, and simultaneously scanned. She’d ghosted.

Sadie Bug Lady Bug and I played a one-sided game of tag, for a 5-minute while. Jeff watched and coached, offering wrangling advice and helpful stealth tactics. I finally got her.

Carrying Her Highness of Happiness up the stairs, again, I proposed we watch her to figure out her Houdini act. I waited at the bottom of the stairs. Jeff waited atop; at the barrier.

Soon enough, a patchwork head and two frisky paws popped through to the right of the door.

She was about to make a jump for it, but Jeff snagged her wiggly butt and hauled her back.

Sadie had, somewhat smartly, squeezed between the wider, wooden railing slats, and jumped down to the steps. We remedied with additional, in-between slats.

Since, we weren’t sure she’d be able to gauge the inappropriateness of a 5-foot leap to the ground, Sadie’s future deck-scapades were seriously supervised.

There were a few other canine escapes. The first one was accidentally resolved, which might have made my latter incident easier to resolve. If I’d known about that first one….

Quote for the Week: 2019 03 26 Where there’s a will there’s way jakorte