day 40, a.d.

Apparently, it costs well over a third of a million dollars to kill a man you already know is about to die. Seriously. When I checked the mail today and opened the doctor bill for his execution, I was floored. I couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry. How could anyone like me owe anyone that kind of dough? Further, how could thirty six hours in the hospital cost so much? It truly speaks to the greed of big pharma and the medical industry, as a whole, in the United States of America.

I feel as though I’ve been through so much in the last five years that I’m almost numb to situations like this. I’ve already lost everything, except the small homestead and bit of land we had. I feel naked in the face of MORE. I have the feeling that I’m standing before a giant wave about to crash, yet I’m calm. So many waves have come my way…they mean little to me anymore. My husband, as much of a dickhead as he was, is dead and gone. Dead. It’s a done deal. Financially, we were fucked the minute Obama took his first oath of office. We had savings to get through the first term, or most of it, at least. As the oil industry took one hit after another via an out of control EPA, material things began to disappear until, finally, it was all gone. House, vehicle…everything. Half of that time, personal issues kept pounding away at the proverbial shore. We finally see a ray of light, he dies, now I owe a hideous amount of money to a bunch of killers. Wow. Really?

Sometimes, I do wonder what the last straw will be. Since I was a child, I’ve fought for everything that’s meant anything to me. Nothing has come easy. Not one fucking thing. I’ve been through shit that would make most people blow their fucking head off. But I’m still here and I don’t know why. My kids are grown, they don’t need me. It’s not as if anyone would really miss my physical presence. I just keep on, though. Because I have this twisted need to see how the story ends. That’s it. That’s the whole reason, right there. I’m not even sure what story. Something just always tells me, when I’m at the point of putting a hole in my head, that there is something about to happen that I just have to witness.

We live in a large world full of wonder and miracles and blessings and curses. Animals that have yet to be discovered. Creatures of legend that I just know are lurking just beyond the treeline. There are people and cultures and meanings of life that I haven’t even had a chance to touch on yet in my own life. And I may never know about every little thing. But, I do know that every little thing exists and it is all here for a reason and, if I leave a moment too soon, I might miss the big answer of it all. Who could leave a world like that? What if I’m the answer? OMG! That would be some shit! lol! But, what if YOU are the answer and I missed you, somehow? What if there is a beauty that you offer this world that my heart won’t get a chance to feel because I threw my life away? Yes, I’m selfish. No, I do not fear Death in any way. Perhaps my heart is simply too involved in wondering and dreaming to let you go…to let any of this place go…until God picks me, by hand, and takes me home.

Tomorrow, I will make appointments. I’ll gather important papers and such and I’ll conduct the business that needs to be taken care of. I will do what needs to be done, just l always do. I’ll be frustrated by the jackoffery of 90% of the goings on, but I will still participate until it’s finished. Eventually, this endless death of his will come to a close and I can think of other things. Day 40, post death, has been a mixed bag, to say the least.

Posted in Him

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…

sex&love&the middle

20160510_235932

I find that I’m in a strange situation. I’ve been celibate for more than five years now. He and I lived together as roommates, only, while we were separated. This caused a lot of tension between us. He viewed me as his property, as far as anyone could tell by the way he treated me. In his view, how dare his property refuse him that which was his? But I didn’t give in because I knew that, if I ever did, there would be no end to it. He always seemed to forget that I only returned home on the advice of our attorney, retained to handle the serious legal issues we faced.

The day he died, once the doctors left and things were quiet in the room, my mother, brother and oldest son sat at his bedside. I was crying…I could not believe he was gone. I mentioned that I felt strange being so very upset since we’d been separated for years. I did not expect to experience a feeling of such deep loss. My oldest son looked up and said, “Mom, Dad always said you’d be his wife till the day he died. Yep, he called that one!” We all had a good laugh as we sat together, taking in the sight of this man who was so alive only one day before. He grew colder and colder as minutes wore on. Finally, I had to leave, so my mother and brother went to get my truck for me. My son walked me downstairs and we embraced and he told me he was going to sit with his father for a bit. I told him I loved him as I walked out the doors of the hospital.

Though he and I had no sexual relationship, I did not date during our separation, although I did talk to several men I was interested in. Prior to an actual date, I’d come up with some crazy shit to argue with them about and they’d tell me to fuck off and that was that. I had good reason. In spite of my insistence that I was a single individual, I always knew that, were I to actually date anyone, he or I would end up in the morgue. My husband’s addiction had led him to a point where certain aspects of his personality, already volatile, were greatly exacerbated by his drug intake. He was always a jealous man, even though he was the one who cheated and was well aware that I never had.

Last year, after we moved up here, he began a habit that I found chilling and infuriating, at once. If he thought that I was chatting with a man on my phone or pc, he’d go get his AK and prop it up by his chair. He’d say he heard a noise or what have you, even in the light of day. A man stoned out of his mind sitting next to a rifle is a powerful image. It was an image that did not go ignored by me. I told him on many occasions to go ahead and shoot me and get it over with, since he was slowly sucking my life away, anyhow. He wouldn’t even say a word. Sometimes, he’d roll his eyes, but that was about it. But, to me, at the end of the day, it wasn’t worth the trouble. So, I never dated…although I did fall in love with someone online. Yeah. I did. I’ve written about it here a little. But, that’s another story.

The thing is that I’m starting to really feel as though I want a man in my bed. Not necessarily in my life. It goes against everything I believe to have that ‘hit it and quit it’ hookup thing going on, but I just want to make love. I don’t want any S&M involved, or any kink whatsoever, for that matter. I just want to feel the touch of a man who at least pretends to care.

Yes, I do think that it would be settling to engage in that behavior. But I don’t know if I’m ever going to find a relationship. I don’t ever want to marry again. If I do, it will only be a promise we both make before God, no paper for the tax man or the national headcount. I want to have big huge love in my life. I want to take care of a strong man and know that I’m the only woman in his mind and heart. I want an honest man. One who’d never cheat and lie to me. I want a man who can handle me. And that’s asking a lot. I’m too much. And I know that. But I can’t change it.

Being 49 and pre menopausal, there are days on end when I don’t even think about sex. Then, there are other times when it’s all consuming. During those times, I feel so incomplete as a woman without a man to call her own. This didn’t just start when he died. I’ve felt this way for years. Only now, I can pursue any sort of relationship I want to. When I think about it, my brain literally shakes. I swear! And my eyes feel as though they’re gazing into a vast canyon…miles and miles of emptiness before me. I don’t know whether to jump off into it, or run away from it.

I’ve been on a dating site for some time now. Mostly for conversation. It would be so easy to pick up the phone and have a man in my bed tonight. I think that’s pretty funny, since I’ve gotten so fat, but lots of men like that. lol! Wow! I could have a slave, a man with a foot fetish, one who likes to be tickled…a true blue masochist (yummy!)…on and on. It’s like standing in front of the cooler at a convenience store trying to decide what type of soda you want. But, the thing is, what none of them really seem to need is love. And I need to give it as much as receive it. Love, that is. It’s an aching need to care for a man…to truly love someone.

One of my FB friends left a comment on my timeline one day. He said: ‘Elle, you’re like a box of chocolates.’ He was absolutely right. Even I never know what I’m gonna get from one day to the next, especially since he died and all these emotions about my childhood and life with him and so many other things have surfaced. It’s all coming at me so fast and I just don’t know how to …get it from my head to my life to problem solved status. Now this love thing is rearing its head again and I’m so confused.

I guess I better get something done. It’s nearly five o’clock and I’ve spent the day thinking about sex and love and watching The Middle. Maybe a lil chocolate will help…

 

this and that

20150920_142005.jpg

It’s a beautiful morning. Outside, the birds chirp and carry on with their tiny labors, making the world a better place by their very existence. It would be a blessing to be like a bird or wolf…to instinctively know, from the very day you are born, that you have a purpose and what that purpose is.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever know what my reason to be is. Yes, I am a mother. But, I believe we’re all here for a reason, so it stands to reason that my boys would have been born of another were I not here. In fact, nothing that I’ve ever done couldn’t have been accomplished by a stand-in, so to speak. It’s humbling…that thought. And it’s why I would like to make the next years of my life more deliberate and conscious than the last I have lived.

He has been dead 39 days now, and I feel as though I’m am beginning to wake up. The Dark Empty is still there. Yet, I am beginning to feel other things, too. Things like strength and perspective. Each day that separates me from his death is filled with less trepidation than the one that came before it. I feel him losing his grip on my mind, and that is a wonderful feeling. My heart still hurts for him. There is grief for the man he once was, as I’ve said before. I feel especially bad that he died the way he did. But I’m proud of him for facing it like a man. Even the doctors said he went into surgery without a tear in his eye. He said, “Let’s do this.” I guess those were his last words. It would be daunting to realize your last moments had finally found you, and to turn towards them instead of begging the Time Keeper for more. I’m proud of him for that. It is the bravest thing he’d ever done. God bless his soul.

Benno

I miss him this morning, although I’m not sure why. Mornings were never good when he was alive. As soon as my eyes opened, I was aware of the tension in the air. It was thick and weighed heavily on me. It was always better when he woke up before I did. Waking him was like pulling a pin from a grenade…something was about to go off and you’d better take cover. But, if I didn’t wake him, he’d sleep late and be angry that I let him do it. It was a lose/lose situation.

I have real serenity in my life now. I’m a little scared because I have two loose ends, legally speaking, to tie up, but I feel that I can face them just fine. They are only technicalities and, if I can’t take care of them, myself, that’s what my attorney is for. There is no one here to make them seem monstrous or as though it’s the end of the world. I’m ok with the normal goings on of life. Paying bills…having to put them off and juggle finances. Normal things people do. He always made those things seem so frightening, as though they were insurmountable problems. He kept me so nervous that my hair was falling out. And I think he actually loved doing that to me.

In the end, his actions caused us to lose most of our material possessions. It was much more difficult for him because he grew up in a pampered, upper middle class, environment. I was not as fortunate, by any means. I suppose, for me, it was just like being picked up and sat back down right where I started in life. We were able to save this place…his family land…this little house. And that’s because of me, which is something he resented till the day he died. I discovered that after reading some things he had written to another woman about me and the situation. I never expected accolades for making sure this place stayed in the family. That’s a good thing, since there were none offered. lol! But to read the things he wrote…to see, in black and white, how he actually felt about me and his family land and such…it was literally a shock. To read outright lies he wrote to her about me hurt so much. I shouldn’t have read those things, but they were right there and I wanted to know, I guess. The way she responded to him…it was very sweet. She was very much on his side and I think she really loved him. I told him, over and over, I wanted him to find someone to make him happy…to have a life with. I was perfectly willing to leave here, as long as I got my share of the land. Which was only a fraction of it. I didn’t even want half. He passed up happiness with a woman he obviously cared for in order to make sure I ‘didn’t get one square inch’ of his property. Wow. And here I sit with all of it. Irony is a motherfucker. So is Karma.

Wow…I don’t know where all that came from. I guess I’m letting go a little more every day. I still cry every day, but not as much. And I realized weeks ago that I wasn’t grieving the man who died. I was grieving the man he once was…the man I loved and who loved me. I was grieving the best dad I ever saw and I’ll always be grateful that he was the man I had children with because I don’t think there was ever a better father. But there are no tears for that fucker who died.

 

free thought ramblilng

th_8faa721d

I’m missing something, inside. It’s something that was never really there, but having him in my life made me feel as though it was. The pain he caused made my insides feel full…bursting at the seems at all times. I was an emotional Roman alone in my vomitorium, awaiting the next course.

Tonight, I feel the vacuous me that I am. Neither drug, nor drink can stir any emotion but dread. The dread one might feel as they stand at cliff’s edge, wondering if someone might come along and give them a push. Because that’s all I need. I need push. A reason. The lightest tap will do.

In my wildest dreams, I never thought he’d die. I wished it, begged God for it…There were many times that I was close to dispatching him, myself. The love his sons had for him saved his sorry ass. I think that’s part of why I feel like I do. I am shocked that I didn’t kill him. Is that bad? I don’t know anymore. I honestly don’t. He always said I was a sociopath. If I were, he’d have been gone long ago. I’m only a woman who has lived with a fucking pain machine for three decades. That’s all. I. Am. Only. A. Woman.

I feel as though I’m dying, too. I can feel the cold of the Darkness inside of me. It’s all consuming, and something I haven’t felt in a very long time. Even as a child, it was there. I was a child living in a world of degenerates. Every minute of spare time was spent tagging along from one bar to the next with my grandparents, who raised me. It isn’t easy for a girl child in those circumstances. My Darkness saved me. It allowed me to recognize the Darkness in others and, knowing mine was always stronger, as my grandmother taught me, I was able to deal with them. These disgusting men with their wandering eyes…hands…stealing kisses from a child. Disgusting maggots. I wish I’d had the ability to kill every, single, one. I never told my dad because I knew that he WOULD kill them. My grandmother knew, but did nothing about it. I quickly learned the art of being frozen in a smile. I was a mimic; a puppet with no emotion of her own, only that which she adopted from others.

I don’t understand how his death has brought these things up in my mind and heart. I don’t allow these thoughts in my world. They are lighting in a storm, already raging. Perhaps it’s because I have never had a moment on my own. Truly on my own. I went from home to being a wife, mother, reconciled with my own mother…the list is long. Maybe the pain was good for me because it occupied my mind. And there was love. There were good times. Great times, even. But things didn’t end well between he and I. And, the second he was gone, I felt it…the Darkness at my shoulder. Within a week, the memories came to the forefront, tired of their home in the recesses of my brain, I suppose. They seem to have mixed quite well with the guilt and sorrow and grief. I feel like a playground for devils and fallen angels. Overrun and pushed around. Yet, I know that nothing they do can compare to the damage I can do to myself, of my own free will.

I’m tired now. Meds are finally beginning to do their job. I hope to sleep tonight. I hope he stays put and leaves me alone. I want him to go on to wherever he is supposed to be and leave me be. I want to close my eyes and see nothing but blackness. No faces. Not his, not anyone’s. I just want to be left alone to figure out who I’m supposed to be. It has to happen soon, or I’ll cease to be.

f.u.

3d938277-6ea1-484a-b1ab-893e616898b7

I miss Bennie today. Can’t put my finger on why. I just do. Fuckin bullshit. He’s dead and suddenly I give a shit. There was a time when I’d lie awake at night praying for his death, fully expecting that, sooner or later, it would come by way of my own hands. Now, I’m falling apart without him. I’m so angry with myself for that. I did love him. From the second I ever laid eyes on him. But, that’s the problem with me…Once I love someone, I won’t let them go or let them down if there’s any possible way to avoid it. I’m what you call a stupid bitch like that.

Jay called yesterday. We were talking about our phone plan and he mentioned that he had taken his dad’s memory card out of his phone. I told him that it was ok, I’d pick it up next time I was down there in case there was anything special on it. He said, “No, Mom…I still have his laptop and I put everything you need off the card onto it.” Sonofabitch! I knew there was shit on that card, but I didn’t want to see it. I wanted to keep our boys from seeing it. All the time, Jay was worried about what I’d find. I love that kid. Both of my boys are good men. But, I’d never have put that on one of my sons. Never.

 

…and then he was gone. – Pt.2

wpid-20150816_084327.jpg

At 9:30 a.m., on the morning that they say Bennie died, I was asked to leave his room so that they could perform a sterile procedure. Minutes earlier, I had given written consent to one of the ghouls to allow him and his cohorts to attempt dialysis. I made it clear that this was their only shot. I could not bring myself to pull the plug, nor did I realize that it was within my legal ability to do so, at the time. Honestly, the thought did not cross my mind.

I was escorted to the waiting room where I encountered a woman I’d met the night before. She and her sister were there for the duration, as their brother was receiving a liver transplant. Both were very kind and sociable women in their late 50’s. I politely engaged in light conversation with them for a few minutes, then turned to the window and tried to pretend I was somewhere else.

The scenery was industrial and, to me, beautiful. I greatly enjoy the shape of things meant to work, maintain or create. Those things interest me. And so I sat in total silence, listening to the sisters giggling and staring through the glass. Suddenly, a flutter caught my eye. It was a sparrow that had flown from beneath a nearby overhang. I watched fly for a second, maybe two, then it fell out of the sky onto the roof of the building below. It flipped and flopped for a good half minute before giving up and dying. I even took a picture of it. I was so shocked I couldn’t even call the sisters over to have a look. All of everything inside of me was focused on the sparrow and I knew then, more strongly than I ever knew before, that Bennie had died.

I couldn’t help but cry when I saw this terrible confirmation of my feeling. It was a bit after ten, so I called the nurse’s desk and she said it could take a bit longer, not to worry. I got lost in the blue sky that presented itself so gloriously on the other side of the window. You could see beyond the buildings, all the way to the Gulf. Pelicans flew their patrols in groups, as always. My eyes could not get enough of them as I sat there wondering what was going to happen once he passed. I tried to remember all of his funeral songs and which tee shirt he wanted to be dressed in. I couldn’t remember a thing, but it gave me something to occupy my brain with.

The younger sister had gone to visit her brother in his room for a few minutes. When she returned, I heard her saying that there was a big commotion going on ‘back there’. She said someone was dying and that every doctor and nurse on the floor was in the room. I turned and asked if it was the first room on the left. She said that it was. I told her it was Bennie and that he wasn’t coming back. I let more time pass before I called again. It was around noon. The nurse told me the same thing as before. I thanked her and hung up. I wondered if they were preparing his body, somehow, since I knew he was dead. I thought that they might be taking the tubes away and whatsuch. The sisters kept asking if I was okay and if I wanted cookies or a sandwich from the giant bag they’d packed. I tried to just be quiet and think.

Two more hours rolled around before I called the nurse, again. There was noise in the background this time. Her voice was shaking as she reassured me, finally telling me she’d send a person to come get me soon. The older sister had, by now, gone back to see her brother. She had trouble walking and complained quietly to the younger sister that she had to take the long way ’round because the hallway was blocked with machines and people. I could still hear her, though. They began to speculate on whether, or not, Bennie would survive. Then, out of nowhere, a young girl appeared. She asked me to come with her. As soon as we cleared the waiting room, she took my arm and said we’d be talking in the conference room. Everyone knows what that means. Oh, shit…

I walked into a huge room with an equally huge conference table. At the end nearest the door sat the anesthesiologist and, across from her, a doctor. The girl that brought me there pulled the seat at the head of the table out and asked me to sit down. The doctor immediately began his routine…’Ma’am, we’ve been doing chest compressions for two hours and he is not responding….’. I went crazy when he said that. I told him to tell those bastards to get their hands off of Bennie NOW. The doctor just stared blankly at me like he didn’t understand why I wasn’t thanking him. I repeated myself, even louder, until the anesthesiologist finally got off her ass and went to tell them to stop. I asked the doctor if they could please removed the machinery before my sons arrived. He agreed, and left the room. I called both of the boys, but told neither that their father had passed. I didn’t want them driving with that in their heads. They would find out soon enough. I called my mother…

I’m not sure how long I spent in the conference room. It was so quiet and serene in that room. But, when I came out and went into Bennie’s room, my mother and older brother were already there. A very attractive young doctor came in to explain that they did the very best they could. I asked him to stop the bullshit because the best they could have done was let him die with some dignity. I told him that I did not want to hear another thing about it and I wanted him to leave. He asked if I’d sign papers donating organs for research before he left. I told him that I would not, since they’d experimented enough, already. Again, he came back with more soft voiced reassurances that they were, in fact, a team of heroes who’d given their all. He just could not stop himself from trying to paint the situation into a pretty picture. I told him that they are only people and that there was nothing good that came from what they did and that they knew they couldn’t save him. I asked why they’d do chest compressions on someone with no brain activity…someone they already knew would be paraplegic. Not to mention that they did that on someone who had a chest full of microscopically attached arteries and such. Did they plan to send home a biologically functional meat sack? Was that the goal? Would they have considered THAT a success? Why would anyone do that? Dr. Goodlooking didn’t like my line of questioning and he did finally leave the room. Thank God.

The rest of the afternoon and evening went much as you’d think it would. Now, it’s…now. I’m alone. The boys are doing fine. Life goes on. I left some details out of this story because they are simply too painful to recall. I have never witnessed anything as horrific as I did in the 14 hours I spent with Bennie’s corpse throughout the night and morning after his surgery. I know that I’ll never be the same again. Maybe life feels a little more valuable to me, at this point. Moreso, the end of life seems more precious to me. We have a right to die with dignity. No doctor should be able to rush us into emergency surgery that we don’t want simply because they can’t legally give you some pain medication and put you in a quiet room until the event occurs. They knew Bennie would die that day. By their own account, he’d have been dead in five seconds after the aneurysm burst. Instead, they subjected him to what was supposed to be a twelve hour procedure, even though they closed him up after eight, then put him on life support just to cover their asses, as far as I can tell. His kidneys had stopped functioning during surgery. That certainly coincides with the cause of death on the death certificate. Then they did two hours of chest compressions to finish up the show? I haven’t seen anything that says that’s protocol. I’m so disturbed by it all that I can’t sleep well. It’s just all too, too much. And it always will be.

666 Memory Lane

BensTattoo3a-1

It’s a peaceful morning here, as usual. Miss Cocoa has taken up a spot in the litter box and the girls are outside rolling around and playing in the sunshine. As for me, I’m just smoking and waiting for my pain pills to work so I can clean the kitchen.

I haven’t cleaned since Bennie passed. I keep putting it off, thinking that, if I take his cup off the table by his chair, he’ll be gone for good. But he’s already long gone and I’m being silly. In the back seat of my truck are two large plastic bags, full of the work clothes he took with him when he left for his last job. My brother loaded them up for me when I came home two weeks ago. I need to bring them in and hang them up, wash what needs to be washed, and find someone who could use them. They’re all fire retardant and are very expensive to buy. I know there’s a young hand out there needing work clothes and feel terrible about keeping them. I just don’t want to bring them in. I don’t want to touch them. And I don’t know why.

Life with Bennie was difficult, to say the least. He made sure of it. He cheated on me before our first anniversary, and never stopped. He seemed to enjoy ‘accidentally’ letting me find out. It hurt so much, at first. I thought I’d die, honestly. But, I was busy raising our boys and they worshiped their father, as he did them. I could never justify hurting them by taking them away. I even asked Bennie if he’d keep the boys and let me go. He said there was no way he’d do that. So, I stopped taking his cheating personally and went on with life.

I think what I hated more, much more, than his cheating was his bullying. He hit me a few times over the years, shoved me around, spit in my face. Just bully shit. Once, he got a butcher knife out and I figured I was about to get it. He had it raised over his head and I was just staring at it. I knew that, coming downward that way, it was gonna hurt like a motherfucker. I saw his arm start to move and shut my eyes, but, instead of stabbing me, he brought the knife down and stuck it into the kitchen table. When he did, his hand slid down and it cut the shit out of his hand. I was shocked. He was shocked, too. I grabbed the first aid kit and wrapped his hand up for him. Things were very quiet after that and, a few hours later, we went to his mother’s house for gumbo. The boys were already there, as they spent most weekends with his mother. His whole family was there, as well. They thought the cut was a defensive wound and they were very outspoken about it, even in front of my boys. I couldn’t tell them the truth, so I left.

Looking back, our relationship was very abusive. He knew I loved him with all of my heart, and he used that as a weapon against me. Eventually, I just stopped feeling a lot of things. It’s funny…the things you can get used to just to get by. I really hated the screaming. Bennie would get so angry that his face would turn red and he’d shake. He’d get right in my face, almost touching nose to nose, and he’d scream at the top of his lungs calling me every name he could think of. I was raised in a violent home, so it probably never bothered me as much as it should have. I had no natural fear of violence…still don’t…so I’d just sit perfectly still and zone out while he screamed. Spitting in my face was always the grand finale. I knew that, if I had moved an inch, he would have beaten my ass, so I almost feel fortunate that I was raised the way I was.

There is so much more to recall about that man. Things I don’t want to recall. I guess that I need to accept that he never loved me like I loved him, even in the end. One of the last text messages he sent was to a woman who he’d been seeing off and on throughout our marriage, long before we were separated. She wanted him to leave me and be with her. He told her that he couldn’t, or I’d get half of everything. The thing is, we were going to hire surveyors to split this land in half after he got off of this job, but I told him that I’d be fine with the back eight acres and a tiny house. That parcel is on a separate deed and he could just do a family sale to me. Done deal. That was the plan. He got everything but just one little bit. He’d have lost virtually nothing.

Bennie passed on a Friday, so it was the following business day, Monday, before I could do anything like an obituary. I went on his FB and let his friends and relations know what had happened. The next day, I checked his FB and the woman I mentioned had posted some pretty harsh things about me not caring enough to get an obit done. I messaged her, reminding her that I couldn’t take care of that over the weekend, but that I was getting it done that day. She messaged me back telling me how miserable Bennie was and that is why he died. She said he worried too much about supporting me and, were it not for that, he’d be alive. I told her that wasn’t true, but she wouldn’t hear of it. She said she knew A LOT about our marriage. I informed her that she knew what he wanted her to know. I also let her know that for five years, he’d been free to live with her, date her, whatever he wanted, without any reprisal from me because we’d been separated all of that time. Yep…I guess ol Bennie failed to mention that to her. I haven’t heard from her since then. Score!

Well, I’m gonna wrap up this lil walk down Memory Lane. I don’t like to speak ill of the dead, but I really need to get some perspective on who I’m crying over. Bennie was my own personal pain machine. It ran all the time. I went dry inside keeping it fueled. That’s the man I have been married to for the last twenty years. That’s why I feel empty inside. Not because he’s gone, but because the part of me he killed off left a hole inside of me that is no longer filled by the daily pain of living with him. I always say he was my best friend. In many ways, he was. But in more ways than that, he was anything but a friend. Maybe I need to remember THAT.

 

…and then, he was gone. – Pt.1

10250286_734175196603917_1759610565291133206_n-1

Seventeen days ago, today, my husband of thirty years, Bennie, died during an emergency surgery that the doctors knew would kill him. I suppose it was the oath they took that compelled them to attempt to save this dying man, in spite of all odds. I’ll never know. But, I do know that what resulted from their attempt to save him was the most ghoulish, twisted, sickening mockery of life that I have ever witnessed.

Three years ago, Bennie went to the ER in extreme pain from what he thought was a kidney stone. It was then that the doctors found a serious dissection in his downward aorta. By the time it was discovered, his chances of surviving the corrective surgery hovered at the 20% mark. He told them to fuck off. That was in October of 2013. They assured him that he would not see the new year.

Bennie made it far beyond the new year before having further problems. Then, one day at work, he literally fell over from pain. He was rushed to the hospital, where he spent a month in CICU. The dissection was too large for a stint, just as it was the first time they saw it, and, again, all they could do would be to replace the artery. Again, Bennie refused. He was put on medication that the doctors felt would, at least, contain the damage.

Throughout, life was pretty good, in spite of the legal difficulties we were going through. Bennie saw the birth of his grandson and they became great friends. His career settled into a good place, and he made peace with the thing that he knew would kill him one day. Around this time, his addiction grew and his health began to fail one tiny bit at a time. During the last six months, he started losing weight, finally dropping 28lbs. He looked gaunt and unhealthy. Obama’s EPA had begun to seriously effect the oil industry in a way that had a direct effect on his job as a turnaround planner. Competition was fierce and he was not up to playing the game.

In the middle of last year, Bennie went on a job up in Montana, I believe. He had a great time and saved plenty to be able to take off all of deer season. We’d moved up here in April, so we were settled in and he enjoyed being off in the place he loved most. I noticed that he spent a lot of time sleeping. That was due, in part, to his constant pill popping. But, it did seem that there was more to it, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

When it was time to get back to work, work was scarce in a way it hadn’t been before. Ever. Money problems ensued and stress came on top of stress. It was awful. Finally, he found a turnaround back in the Galveston area that started April 7th. He packed up and went to stay at Mom’s house while he worked. He had been complaining of a pain in his side for months. It came and went, sometimes a dull pain, sometimes a sharp. We both knew what it was, but constantly danced around the truth. We decided it was a pulled muscle…a lie that we could both live with. On April 14th, he woke up to go to work at 3am. When he stood up, the pain brought him to his knees. He got dressed for work, but decided to go to the hospital, instead. He called me at six o’clock that morning complaining about the idiot doctor and that they were going to have to do another imaging to make sure that they were seeing what they thought they were seeing. I knew then that he was a dead man. I think he did, too. As soon as we hung up, I called Jay, our youngest son, and told him what was going on. He got to the hospital in a half hour.

After his arrival at the hospital, and a lot of hemhawing around, Jay was finally allowed to go back to see his dad. He had just gotten to his father’s bedside when the doctor came in. In blunt language, he told Ben he was going to die that day if he did not have the surgery. The aneurysm in his stomach had doubled in size and his entire aorta was involved, from above his heart all the way to his groin. He told him that, with the surgery, were it successful, he would more than likely be a paraplegic. The doctor told him that it would be a good idea to say goodbye to his loved ones, just in case. He couldn’t get reception on his phone, so he texted our oldest son, then, me. He instructed Jay to take care of me and the girls, (his dogs, Pepper and Jezebel). Minutes later, he was taken to surgery and I was in my truck driving as fast as I could to get there.

Screenshot_2016-04-28-20-38-31

Bennie never woke up after surgery. He died one year, to the day, after we moved here. There is a lot more that I have to say about what went on in that room post op, but I just can’t face it right now. It was, without question, the most horrific thing I have ever witnessed. I cannot stop seeing it. It’s as though the sight has taken up physical residence in my eyes and, at times, I just want to pluck them out and stomp on them so I never have to see it again. Nobody should be put through that Frankenstein bullshit. Nobody. He died and I feel scarred for life. I don’t know how else to say it. People assure me that I’ll get over it, but I don’t think I will. It’s like when I was little and this old lady hit a Bandido on his motorcycle. As we passed, I saw blood and his intestines on the pavement where he lay. I remember every detail. And I’m sure I will remember this.

I’m going to finish up and have a drink. Whatever transpired between Bennie and I, I never wished that on him. I think people deserve to die with dignity, not as a science experiment. I am angry. I am disgusted. I am lost. I want to know more about what happened to Bennie, but I’m afraid of the answers. According to the death certificate, he died of natural causes resulting in brain death during surgery. Yet they brought him out, after closing him up eight hours into a twelve hour procedure, hooked him up to a ventilator and a heart pump and told us he was alive. My God…Oh, my God…Why would they do that to someone?