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all is silent here in Mayberry. i sit here, quiet as a church mouse, chain smoking and thinking of you. your memory shrouds my heart this morning, as golden sun falls upon grateful ground

as i look across the room at the bed we shared,
i recall when you and i were ‘we’. my rocking chair creaks a bit
as i consider the things we shared in that bed. passion and pain; tears and laughter…all packaged like a lovely gift, wrapped up in the pillows and comfort. even so, as much as i stare at that bed,
you are never coming back.

i remember the last time i held your hand in mine. it was cold…swollen…lifeless. next to your deathbed, i stood, realizing that i held the hand of a corpse. i was so angry at what they did to you; those ghouls in their white coats. i was angry with you for what you did to yourself, hating myself for never finding the courage to walk away so that you could have a better life with someone new.

it’s been a year and a half now, but, every day, when my eyes open i see your face and i feel your cold, dead, hand in mine. i don’t know if i’ll ever let go of that hand. i love you so much. no matter how bad things were between us, that is still my truth, as it has been for the last 34 years of my life.

the man i mourn

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It’s a beautiful morning here in Mayberry, and I am feeling so very grateful to be here. I’ve gone through a lot the last month or so. A misguided attempt to help someone who was very special to me led to hurt feelings and what have you. Honestly, I don’t know who I thought I was that I would even attempt to save someone else. I can’t even save myself. But some people just sort of stick to your heart for reasons you may not even understand. When that happens, you have to at least try to help them, should they find themselves in a terrible dilemma. That’s what I think, anyway.

I’ve been being productive on the homefront. My little house is beginning to take on the ambiance of a sanctuary. It’s like a tiny jewel box, holding all of my very favorite things. I have no room for much else. If something doesn’t qualify as an heirloom or ‘most loved’ possession, it doesn’t get a spot here. The reason is a simple one: My dining area, den and bedroom could all comfortably fit into the den at my old house. My entire kitchen is about the size of my old bathroom, and my bathroom is the size of my old closet. To say that I have downsized is the understatement of the century. However, in light of how badly things turned out in the year before Bennie’s death, I’m thankful that I’m not living in a refrigerator box under an overpass.

Bro is coming to visit at the end of October. We are finally going to all be together, at once, and will be spreading Bennie’s ashes. He will have been gone a year and a half by then. I know that seems a rather long time to wait to have a proper funeral, but Bro couldn’t get enough time off of work before, and we all wanted to be together when we finally laid Bennie to rest. It will be nice to have my boys together. I wish it weren’t such a grim deed that they will gather for, but it is suiting that they be the ones who dispense of their father’s remains. Bennie was their hero…a god to them. Even after he changed, the relationship with his sons remained the same. I thank God for that.

Yesterday, I took Bennie’s picture off of the shelf. It’s in the buffet with every other picture with him in it. I enjoy having family pictures sitting about, but it’s not easy to see his face at every turn. So, for the holiday season, his image will be long gone from my view. I feel better, already. I didn’t realize how much it was bothering me until I closed the door to the buffet. The moment it closed, I swear I could breathe deeper. My chest hurt less. It was, instantly, less tumultuous inside of my head. I had no idea that it was bothering me so much.

I think that we all grieve differently and that we are never certain how grief will manifest in our lives, over time. I had joined a couple of groups after Bennie passed. There was much discussion of the Five Stages of Grief. Initially, I was relieved that there were only five stages, figuring that I could work right through them and be done with it. However, I quickly learned that there are a million stages of grief. And, they don’t come in a specific order. They reveal themselves when THEY decide it’s time.

In so many ways, I have yet to truly acknowledge Bennie’s death. I don’t know if I ever will. Don’t care if I do, or not. All I know is that it’s taken me seventeen months to make my personal boat stop rocking and to find some real footing without him being here. As horrible as it was to be married to him, at least I knew my role in life. I believe that knowing who you really are, and what your role in this world is, is the most difficult part to deal with when your abuser passes. You grow so used to catering to someone that it becomes natural. You don’t even hear the noise of it all until it’s quieted by the hand of God. It’s a paralyzing thing, that. Silence. Normalcy. Taking care of yourself instead of someone else. You wouldn’t think the last thing would be so difficult, but it is. Because, when you live with someone who constantly puts you in your place, the only thing you want to do is take care of them so that they will leave you alone, if that makes sense. You don’t spend a lot of time on how you look or dress, as they may call upon you at any moment and you don’t want to be ‘dragging ass’ when they do. Unless you enjoy getting spit at and/or on, or find the sight of a man with his hand on a gun while he yells at you to be a good thing.

There is so much about my life with Bennie I’ve never told anyone about. Partly, because I don’t like who I was with him, and I think the fact I stayed with him all of those years reflects very poorly on me as a person. I don’t recall having too many good things to say to the man during the last years of his life. I do recall jumping when he said jump. No matter what I said, he always knew that he was in control of me. He loved that. He loved to control me. And, it was only me. I don’t know why.

I really don’t know why I miss him. But, I do. I guess it’s because he knew everything about me, and I, him. At my age, there will never be another who knows me that well. I’ll never look into another man’s face and be able to remember what that face looked like at 18. There will never be another man who was my first. Nobody will be able to laugh with me about that night in the back of his truck, fumbling around like idiots under his old sleeping bag. lol! It may not have been the ideal ‘first time’, but I’d take it over a planned night at the San Louis any day. I guess that’s the guy I’m mourning. He’s the one who danced in the living room with me…the one who’d take me to the beach to make love while we watched the sun rise. He was the one who woke me during a midnight thunderstorm to take me outside to play in the rain because he knew I loved it so much. Truly, I think I’ve been grieving for that man for fifteen years, already. I never really knew the man who died in that hospital. That man was cruel and selfish and hated everything about me. He wasn’t my Bennie. And he deserved what he got.

the note

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Recently, I wrote that I was going to see a psychiatrist. I did. He was a gracious and kind man. I have seen a couple of shrinks before, many years ago. They devastated my life with their arrogance and disrespect for the lives they affected. Neither truly listened, and the last one fired me as a patient because I made him feel ‘sad’ because no pill he could find would right me.

As reluctant as I was to see this new doctor, I was quick to realize that he had the heart of a shaman. He seemed to hold certain things in high esteem, and recognized how important the correct application of his knowledge was. I think that he has an intrinsic understanding of human nature that would follow him in life, with, or without, the exchange of money. In my view, I have finally found someone who is knowledgeable by measure of heart and head, expresses a subdued ego, and that may actually help me out of the situation I’m in.

I was in a full on panic upon my arrival at the doctor’s office. Fortunately, I was alone in the waiting room. As I looked around, I saw a beautiful collection of art. It was eclectic, to say the least. The focal point of the collection was a post modern interpretation of American Gothic. I enjoyed it, but the eyes were quite disturbing. In any case, it pulled my mind away from the panic I felt, and I settled down after a while. When it was time to go back, another wave of panic hit that was much worse than the first. For a moment, I thought I’d die right then and there. Ridiculous, I know. But that’s the nature of panic.

The doctor spent the next hour asking questions that I had no answer for. As I explained my life to him, he sprinkled his insights here and there. Slowly, I began to understand that, perhaps, my life was not particularly normal. Most children aren’t abandoned by their parents. Most aren’t beaten on a daily basis by someone more suited to be a porn star than a grandmother.  And, I’m fairly sure that most kids have never had cover in a bar fight, or when shots were exchanged between people who couldn’t agree. Sadly, there are many, many, children who suffer much worse than I. That’s the world we live in.

Drunks. Violent and unpredictable, like wild animals, really. When you’re a child, you become used to the life you have and you adapt to it. I think that’s where my fascination with controlled violence comes from. Even my sexuality has been influenced by that obsessive need to understand the most subtle nature of violence. Violence teaches the violent a language, all their own. If you really take time to watch explosive situations unfold, you can almost predict the actions that are to follow, and in what form and to what degree those actions will manifest. It’s like ballet performed by the beastly man, unafraid and unrepentant, as he unleashes his power. Or, maybe it’s simply a horrible thing that I’ve rationalized into a field of study, for all intents and purposes, in order to be able to box it up and put it in a place where I feel okay with it. Potato/potahhhto, as it were.

Doc went on to ask about my marriage and adult life. It has been a second act of my childhood, though in a few different ways. Again, I didn’t realize there is a pathology to that which correlates to childhood experience. I do now. And, still, I find it hard to accept.

As I left, the doctor handed me a note. Perhaps it was in answer to my staunch denial that anything was truly wrong and that I simply needed a bit of help through the panic, so that I can live my life. At the top of the page, he had written in big, bold, underlined letters: YOU HAVE… Below, were a list of diagnoses. I thanked him, and left the office. When I got into my car, I opened the folded page and read its full contents. I still couldn’t understand, or see myself, as the type of person who’d allow things to get so bad in her life that these labels were fitting, even though the criteria for each described me to a T.

It’s been ten days since my visit with the good doctor. Every day, I’ve looked at that note and tried to feel something that connected me to those words. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that my lack of connection is what makes them true of me. I go see the doctor, again, this Friday. I don’t know what will come of the visit. I explained to him that I would not take a bunch of psych drugs, as I’ve managed pretty well without them, and those I’d taken before had no other effect than to ruin what was left of who I used to be. He assured me that he’d find a way to make things better without a bag full of pills. I’m choosing to trust him, for now, although I remain skeptical of people in his field, in spite of him seeming to be an exception.

Maybe, one day, I’ll have the courage to share the contents of the note. Today, I’m not that brave. Those labels carry weight and, in the past, I’ve found that friends and associates find that weight too much to bear, even though you are the same person they always knew. I benefit from the blogs here that are written by those who are brave enough to share their lives that way. I admire them. People who are label-free really don’t understand what it’s like. Words. They can give life…they can take it.

 

 

 

Day 59 a.d.

Going to see the lawyer. Time to deal with probate. I don’t think I can do this. But I have to. I’m so tired of doing things I don’t think I can do. I’ve always faced things…took care of what need be. This is different, that’s all. Every step I take, I the more dead he becomes.

Just last night, I felt I was making good progress in distancing myself from the misery of it all. This morning, that misery rains down like bricks. I don’t want to go. I do not want to go.

Please, God…I can’t face his death today. My heart feels broken in a million pieces. He was a horrible husband and, in the end, I learned he wasn’t really my friend. So, I don’t understand why this won’t stop, but it won’t. To me, he’s that cool guy I met cruising the boulevard with my friend. He’s the scared young man waiting for me at the alter as Dad led me down the aisle. He’s the best father I ever knew. If those guys could die, maybe he would, too. But guys like that live forever. As they should.

day 47 a.d.

He’s been dead 47 days now. As hard as I try, I can’t stop counting the days. In so many ways, I feel like a murderess, caught up in her own betrayals and sentenced to a life sentence. But, it is no crime, nor is there a sentence, for betraying oneself. And, each day you killed off because you could not break free of the entanglements of the heart is only that…a day. Even though each and every one we live is one that we can’t get back any more than we could bring blood-life, again, to one we took.

My mother insists that I should remember his terrible ways. She says that, should I have a good memory of him, to immediately recall a hurtful thing. True, I could to that. I did enough of it while he lived and breathed, after all. But, Mom wasn’t there for the good things…the intimate things a woman only shares with the man she loves. She wasn’t there for Christmas mornings spent hiding with him, camcorder in hand, waiting to hear the first little feet hitting the stairs to come see what Santa left. She wasn’t there to see him flying into the parking lot after a hard day’s work, to catch the last bit of Little League practice, or how he’d tell me to stay in bed as he’d get up to check on the boys if one cried out in the night. She never heard his laugh. Not the one I heard as we’d trade stories of childhood misadventure and awkward first dates. We had some great times together, he and I. They count, too. Just because things didn’t end well with us does not mean that we did not share something amazing once. If I’m going to live with his memory, I want those things to be part of it. I’d honestly love to let the bad things fall to the dirt with him. I can’t, but I’d love to.

the love of my life

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As I drove to the Dollar General this morning, I though how fortunate I am to live in this beautiful place. I rolled down my window and took in the cool, country, air. I got lost in thought of things past…of him. I remembered happy times, when we’d gone down the same road to town, together, listening to music and laughing. The morning sun blessed the fields and pastures with its golden glow. Everything my eyes fell upon could have been a painting.

In spite of the bucolic paradise that is Mayberry, I still miss my desert. The Chihuahuan Desert is the most beautiful place on earth, to me. The sun is so large that it absolutely commands the sky. When morning rays meet the desert floor there is an explosion of beauty beyond compare. The shadows on the mountains come to life…showing themselves, slowly as sun rises, daring mere humans to come see what they hide. Birds of prey begin their hunt early, as the rabbits and critters come our to feed on the greasewood bushes and the like. Soon after, the buzzards begin to search for the leftover handiwork of the things that kill in the night. There is a stillness there that I never felt before, or since.

In the desert, you are a guest, to be sure. There is not one living thing that welcomes  the human to be part of its life. It is a hostile enviromnent that lets us know, in no uncertain terms, that we do not belong there, nor are we particularly wanted. If one is to master the desert, you must understand that. And you must be both fearless and humble, because both are required each and every day in order to live there. All in all, I’ve never felt more human than I did during the time I spent growing up there. The Chihuahuan Desert saved me in many ways. I may never make it back out there, but I will remember it every day, because I owe a debt of gratitude to that place that can never be repaid. If I ever truly loved anything other than my boys, it is that desert.

tie your mother down. well, mine, anyway

I’m going to buy a nice little travel trailer for my son and his gf to live in up here. We’ll share the house, too, but I’d like them to be self contained. When Exish and I were young, his did had a travel trailer that he used as a guest room. It was so romantic. I loved it. The meth heads stole it a few years ago. We found out from Google Earth of all things.

I think a travel trailer would be a nice little love nest and a great environment for him to continue to pare down his intoxicant intake. In the last five to six years, he’s stopped hard drugs, finally quit pot, moved to only drinking, something h

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appened earlier in the week that has him off hard liquor, now he’s down to beer only. He has a case of arrested development that is typical for people who started drinking and drugging early in life, but he’s making progress. He’s accepting his responsibility for the first time and even making amends and acknowledging the damage he did to the family. I never thought these days would come. It’s like a miracle to me, though it happens millions of times over, all over the world, as people who are sick from dope and booze and life, open their eyes for the first time and realize that life is not only about them. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s as though they are being born again, seeing the world through new eyes. For many, it’s too much, and they go back to what they know. You just can’t fight dope for them, though. It always wins. But, when they’re done with it, and they are ready to live again…oh, my God…there is nothing more amazingly beautiful. They are like babies again. New. Brand new. I love that.

I told my mother what I’d decided. For one thing, I wouldn’t be tied down here and could help her during busy times at the shop. She took that to mean that, if having Jay up here was a failure, and she was certain it would be, that I’d blame her. Holy fucking shit! I lost it. Totally. I told her to get back to me when she could name ONE thing I EVER blamed her for. One. And she knew what I meant by that. Because she dumped my infant ass with people she actually hated because of the abuse she suffered at their hands as a child. So that’s who she leaves me with? Great idea, Mom!

After Mother and I reconciled, when I was 19 or 20, I quickly realized she was too emotionally fragile to accept responsibility for her actions. So, I led the way in blaming the people she already hated and deflecting all negatives from her to them. I figured I could bear the pain of it all better than she could. At the time, I was right. But, over the years, the things that were meant to deflect responsibility have become truths to her. That’s fine with me. But she is actually the one who bears the brunt of the responsibility for leaving me in their hands. She left me over and over, because she was still part of the family and I had to call her my sister. My own fucking mother. I called her Lil Sister. How fucked up is that? It would have been so much easier had she parted company with the family, because every time she’d leave I’d wonder why she never took me with her. Till one day, she came over during one of Dad and Grandmother’s huge fights. He was so angry that he was even throwing my things out in the back yard. He never did that. Grandmother was throwing the good china at the wall and breaking it. I was trying to stay out of the way. I think I’m was about four, maybe three, then. I know that I was small enough that I had to stand on my tippy toes to watch my mother leave. She literally walked in, saw the fight and walked back out. So, I ran to the entry way window and watched on my tippy toes as she got into the car with her newest husband. There was something about that car door closing that closed something in me. I knew, from that point on, that she would never claim me. I was no longer her daughter after that day. Done deal.

Even now, I hear that door slam clear as a bell. I feel the let down followed by the feeling of a heart that began to harden. I watched the car as long as I could, before it disappeared around the corner, then I went back into the fray, begging Dad to kill Grandmother and staying out of the way. I never told Mom that story. I never told her anything. Once we reconciled, I let her think that she may as well have dropped me off at Disneyland, because I was so happy and things were so nice.

I had to stop working two years ago, almost. Nerve damage and such prevents me from doing certain things. Fibromyalgia is what doc calls it, but it’s a bucket term for symptoms they can’t seem to fix. In any case, it wears on me that my mother is still working. I thought that, if Jay were here, I could be free to help her out during busy times at the shop. Yes, it hurts like a motherfucker to hold the clippers, but now and then I could manage it. And I could go down and help with my dad and clean house for her…just do things I can to make life a little easier for her. That’s honestly all that is in my heart. I never once thought that I could use that to blame her if things went South where Jay is concerned. I let him know I can’t afford their upkeep, but I could get them something they’d like to live it. It’s just simple shit. And, I do need help with this place. I live on four acres. Plus, the land out back needs to be tended to. Poachers are a problem and things like that. The road needs to be kept cleared…there are a million things he could help out with. We have a huge shop that they could put a pool table in or anything they wanted. He could play his guitar as loud as he’d like with nobody to complain. Lots of upside. The only downside would be if he refused to work. But he’s changed a lot where that’s concerned and is eager to follow in his father’s footsteps. That has become very important to him. He wants to be a turnaround hand, so he’d be working long hard, very well paid, hours during certain times of the year, then have lots of time off to enjoy life. Plus, I’d have a friend here. I love his gf. She’s ten years his senior and is a great gal who has been through some very deep shit in her day. She’s ready to settle down and has already done so. But, if it goes South, they will have to leave. I’m not buying groceries or cigs for them. I’m just giving them a fresh start that will also help me. But my mother doesn’t figure into this in any way.

She really hurt my feelings today. One thing people can’t say about me is that I don’t take responsibility for my own actions. I do. And always have. I spend a lot of time cleaning up other people’s messes for them…old habits die hard. But I don’t ever blame anyone else for my life. Even if they fucking deserve it. I believe things happen for a reason, so my lot in life, however it came about, is mine. I’ll take that. I’ll own whatever comes of it. Because I’m not afraid to be wrong or puffed up and proud when I’m right. I’m right in the middle, where I should be. So she can fucking suck it. And that’s all I can say about that.

peace, man

It’s a lovely and quiet grey morning. Beyond the window, I see a million things to be thankful for. I’m so fortunate to live here, even though I never though that I could be happy here. I suppose I couldn’t have been happy here, had he not passed. Without him, and the constant stress he brought to the table, life is actually peaceful. The lumps and bumps I’m encountering are just that; lumps and bumps. There is no one here to make them into mountains.

Peace can be a difficult thing to accept. It’s almost like faith. For me, at least. I’ve never known peace, even once, in my entire life. I jokingly tell people that I wasn’t raised on the sunny side of the street. If they only knew what that really means, they’d be shocked. My childhood is one that a sane person would look upon in horror. Even now, when I look back, I cannot believe that was me. From my earliest memories, I was just a tiny adult, maneuvering through crowds of predators as I accompanied my grandparents, who raised me, to one bar after another on a daily basis.

Looking back, it’s almost funny. Almost. But, I learned many valuable lessons and some get me through, even now. I am highly functioning in violent situations, (yet I have panic attacks at the Stop N Shop), which helped a lot when my son was on drugs years back. I know how I’d react with a gun in my face. I stay squared up with God on a daily basis because I know that anyone could take my life any time they pleased. That’s a truth about the world that most people refuse to accept, but their lack of acceptance makes it no less true. I know a lot of things about people and how dark they can be. I also know that I can survive anything, if I have to.

But peace…I am enjoying it. I’m feasting on it. It feels so unusual and good. Some days, I wake up and notice my heart isn’t instantly pounding and it freaks me out! I open my eyes to each new day feeling that part of myself that was always waiting for the next shoe to drop sliding away into wherever God puts our messed up parts. I haven’t been yelled at in 41 days. That’s never happened before. Not one time since I can remember in my whole life. How weird is that? lol! It’s super weird! And it’s super great!

I’ll wrap this up by saying that I am overwhelmed by a sense of gratitude. I’m sorry that he had to die for me to enjoy this, but life happens as it will. I spent a lot of time sharing in his bad karma because I wanted to do the right thing by my boys, as I saw it. Now, I get to enjoy my own karma, that I have always worked hard to keep clean and positive. Everyone receives their due in life. Maybe peace is mine. Or…maybe it was there, all along, but I couldn’t see it through the pain of my life. Either way, I’m grateful to have it. Finally.

palm trees

let go, you dead

surrendering your ancient symbols and signs

leave life to the living

and close your dusty mouths

there is nothing left to say now

Last night, I dreamed a dream that featured a Palm tree…

Our first home was built in 1941. It was a large and study structure, not swayed by the many hurricanes it had endured. It was the first to stand in that part of town. Once, the only home in miles of beachy field.

Over time, more families built and made their homes in those sandy fields. Streets were built, children played…life grew in that place. There was one street, in particular, that he and I would drive down to go to our makeout spot at the beach. Each time, we’d pass by a big, white house with two giant Date Palms in front, at the sidewalk’s end. By that time, it was the oldest on the street and didn’t look as nice as the others. It was in a line of old homes once known as Doctor’s Row. He and I would laugh and look at the house as we’d drive by, saying that, were we ever able to live on that street, we’d have to buy that one, because it would be the only one we could afford.

Years passed. Two boys were born, he had begun what was to become a career in industrial construction. We were crammed into an apartment and needed, desperately, to find a house for rent. I started looking for a house during the second year that we lived in our apartment. I was constantly loading the boys up to go look at this house, or that one. I only knew that it had to feel like a ‘forever’ house, with a very reasonable rent. That’s a tall order, as most of you know.

One day, I got a call from him during work hours. I was afraid, at first. That was before everyone had a cell phone in their pocket, and they certainly weren’t allowed to have them in a refinery. Nonetheless, he spoke quickly, telling me to write down a number his friend, Woody, had given him. It was a lead on a house. I was ecstatic. As soon as we hung up, I called the number and was told to ‘come on over!’. I called Mom to see if she’d like to come, then loaded up the boys, picked her up, and made a bee line for the house.

When I got to the house, I parked in front of the house on Doctor’s Row…the one we’d always joked about. I was under the impression that the house number belonged to the small house across the street. We sat there for a minute, Mother and I, laughing, saying that we almost nailed it! Then, a small blond woman came out of the big ol house we’d parked in front of. Her name was Charlotte. She said, she was ready to show us the house if we’d like to see it. OMG!!!! THE house!!! We were parked in front of the right house, after all.

We went in and looked around. I instantly loved it. Charlette and I went into the kitchen to discuss the very reasonable rent and the fact that there was a purchase option. I could not write the deposit check quickly enough. We moved in the following month on a very rainy day. I knew I was home.

The Palms out front were my favorite thing. They were huge and beautiful and are the reason that Date Palms are my favorite tree, to this day. We had a good life in that old house. Raised our boys in it, had the happiest days of my entire life in it. We were in love there. Until the day came that we weren’t. By that time, the boys were nearly grown and it was time to move on, even though I didn’t want to. But, move on, we did, selling the house to my mom for what was owed on it. Though it was worth much, much, more, all we got out of that house were memories. Looking back, that was more than enough. Mother promptly had the Palm trees removed and made the place her own. She regrets removing them. I’m happy about that.

Last night, deep into sleep, I began to dream. I was lying on my back, covered in Palm fronds, looking up at the tree on the right side of the walk in front of our old house. Behind the tree, blue skies. There was motion about, but I couldn’t discern what it was, exactly. All I could do was focus on my tree. By all accounts, it was a very simple dream, yet I woke from it with tears in my eyes, mind racing for the meaning.

I am one of those nut jobs who believes that dreams all have some meaning. I immediately looked up the meaning. Turns out that the Palm, in a dream, is a good omen. It means that you will find love or that good things will come your way and life will be good. It represents loyalty and honor and protection. The word ‘protection’ was highlighted as a link. I clicked on it and it took me straight to his FB. I was stunned. And I did wonder if he was watching over me. I don’t believe in all of that. And, if it does happen, I think that it’s only right that the dead move on and leave us be. So, thinking it was a fluke, I reloaded the page and hit the link, again. Once more, I was taken to his FB page.

I’m going to take all of it with a grain of salt. He was not protective of me during his life and I don’t appreciate some version of him playing at it now. I could use some good to come my way in the love department, but it won’t be due to him sending it to me, that much I know.

Now, shoo, Bennie! Go on to where you belong and leave me to live my life. It’s all I ever asked of you, living or dead. I love you. But it’s time for you to go…