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.

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…

this and that

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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.

Miss Spider midnight singsong drivel

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Miss Spider could not sleep that night

Her dreams were full of shock and fright

And nothing but love would make it right

But she knew it wasn’t worth the fight

Her legs were crossed

And her face was grim

The moment she caught sight of him

She posed as pretty as could be

In hopes of attracting he to She

Perhaps this one would behave

And cherish all the love She gave

As he walked by, she gave a wave

And a big smile crossed his handsome face

He sat down near Her feat

The look in his eye was such a treat

Under the moonlight, She would meet

The one who’d sweep Her off Her feet

In only days, it turned to love

Her dream come true

A gift from above

He showed Her a side of things, unseen

He made Miss Spider his love

His Queen

As She reveled in his love and passion

She wondered how She’d ever fashion

A life with one who could hurt her so

Should he decide to up and go

Then She began to push him away

Harsh words and actions to hasten the day

That She knew would come about, anyway

“Goodbye, My love. Now, go away!”

Though he did not understand

Was he not enough a man?

He was simply too blind to see

That She was terrified to be a We

free thought ramblilng

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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.

the wee hours

In the wee hours, you see things that the Light won’t allow. There are shadows and sounds, whispers of another world. Spirits dance in the wee hours. Some hostile, some as gentle as doves…but all of them, they dance. Your heart calls to you in hours so late that they’ve become early. Revealing your secrets, long kept. Exposing the forgotten things…forcing you to witness their power. Then, they pull back, ever so gently, letting you know that they will return to that hidden place where they’re kept.

As dawn threatens the darkness, you find yourself anxious. Eyes probing the darkness, awaiting the slightest hint of blue, because your hope lives there, in the Light. The new day offers redemption from the rituals of the Night. Offerings are tucked away, and the challis, long since drunk dry, is carefully posed in its place of honor. Always within view, it reminds you of the yield, fed you by the willing. Just as you begin to realize the glory of what was, morning sun washes away the ceremony of it all and leaves you, a child of Darkness, to your redemption.

 

Dear Fucking Diary,

fu

I woke up to a total mess this morning. The ashtray was turned over, there was makeup tossed around and all of my cookies were gone. I guess I was busy in my sleep last night. That’s probably why I’ve been so tired lately. I suspected that I may have been sleepwalking again because, when I wake up in the mornings, things aren’t always the way I remembered them from the night before. Plus, I’ve been sleeping later and later, even though I go to bed at the same time. Sonofabitch! I don’t need this shit right now. I guess I’ll get out my shackles and attach myself to the couch, since I can’t bring myself to sleep in my own fucking bed anymore.

Shit! I’m so pissed off this morning! I’m mad at myself for doing such a bad job on my diet since he died. At first, I was getting sick every day because I was forgetting to eat. Now that I’ve been having my Lady’s Days, I cannot get enough to eat. Fucking hormones. But it’s not just that. I haven’t even been trying. At anything. I go to the chicken place every other day and get enough food to last for a couple of days. They must think I’m fucking crazy. But, economically, you can’t shop cheaper for one person, plus, I don’t have to cook. Which is good, since I’m using the stovetop for counter space at the moment. And I couldn’t shop if I wanted to because my anxiety level stays maxed out all the time. I haven’t even been in a real grocery store for ten years. He always did the shopping. Because I can’t handle nice people in confined spaces. Put me in a room full of lowlifes and fuck ups and I’m just fine. I’d be golden if they started selling groceries in skid row bars.

 

f.u.

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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

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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.

…and then, he was gone. – Pt.1

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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.

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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?