Monday, November 20, 2006

For real

Yeah babe?
Can I ask you a question?
You just did! ::chuckle::
No, really.
Sure, hun, anything you want. What's up?
How old would Nicky be now? Two?
He'd be two in February. About a year and a half, I guess. This would be his second Christmas.
For real?
Yeah. Let's see... (counting on my fingers...) ...about one year, nine months.
You sure?
Yes, dear. His birthday is February 24th. 2005.
I'm sorry I forgot.
It's okay, hun.
I love you.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

This fat lady ain't singing, yet

Perhaps the most compelling issue that made this recent obsession come to a head is that of worthiness. If we believe in a higher power who directs the day-to-day happenings of his liege, then we must believe that there is a score card and points given (or taken away).
One would find it hard, in this era of democracy and free will, to trust any such leader who just throws out decisions all willy-nilly without much thought or reasoning. Wouldn't one?
I came home to a disturbing news item which I will include below.
On the very day that DD found out about Wolf.
And I got madder than a rained-on rooster.
All I could think is how fucking unfair it is. How ridiculous.

Published: November 08, 2006 11:40 pm
Somerset father charged in gruesome abuse of infant
BY KECIA BALThe Tribune-Democrat
SOMERSET — A 21-year-old Somerset father is in jail after police charged him with repeatedly abusing his infant, including jolting the baby with a stun gun.Brandon Alan Austill of Somerset was charged Wednesday by borough police and arraigned before District Judge Arthur Cook on charges he broke several of the infant’s bones, fractured his skull twice and shocked him twice with a cattle-prod stun gun.The abuse, police said, happened between Sept. 11 – four days after the baby was born – and Oct. 31, when the baby was flown from Somerset Hospital to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.Officer Richard Appel said the man indicated that he was unable to comfort the baby or get him to stop crying. Austill and the baby’s mother, Briana Dawn Clark, accompanied the infant to the Pittsburgh hospital.Medical staff and medical records indicated that the broken bones and fractures were at various stages of healing and had occurred during separate incidents, according to a police release. Austill admitted to forcefully smashing his child’s head onto a bathroom sink and a dining-room table, bending the child’s leg over his shoulder until he heard it break and using a stun gun, police said.Austill, who is in the Somerset County Jail in lieu of $75,000 straight bail, faces charges including six counts of aggravated assault and eight counts of reckless endangerment. His address is listed as in apartments at 800 East Main St.

I have often thought about adoption. Foster care. Anything to help out poor, innocent children who need a loving home. Even if it meant giving them back up eventually, I could give them more love than they've received in their short life, and hopefully make a difference. I'd volunteer to be a crisis haven. Just let me love a baby.
These people had a baby.
My thoughts were on DD. On Kellie. On Catherine.
Again. WHY. Whywhywhywhywhy.
I think about DD losing Wolf.
I think about Kellie losing her uterus.
I think about Cathy losing two beautiful baby boys. And being turned down for adoption.
Yes, you have a two-income household and desperately want to add another child to your loving family. Sorry, you don't meet our requirements.
These are words I often think I'd hear if I pursued an agency for fostercare/adoption.
Sorry, but we need a stay-at-home mom.
Sorry, but you're too emotionally unstable.
Sorry, but you're white, and we need to be politically-correct and place these children with an ethnically-matched household.
That would be from the bureaucrats.
What do you hear from "god"?
Sorry, but these people are more deserving than you.
They have more points. You suck.
Now, isn't that comforting? A loving, all-knowing god who chooses where to place babies, according to his "plan"? Free will plays little part if you really read the scriptures and understand that god knows everything. He knew these assholes would hurt that baby. Yet he still chose to give it to them.
And here we are with empty arms.
Thanks, buddy!

Facts and fallacies

Unable to conceive for 14 years.
God answers prayers.
Dear God, I have been praying to you daily for the past 14 years. We are devout Christians. We attend Mass every Sunday, volunteer on parish committees, and donate large amount of time and money. Our son has attended catholic school since kindergarten, and serves as an alter boy. We aren't asking for material things or even a miracle. All we want is to share our love and home with another child, one more baby, because we have so much to give. We would give him a good life, Lord, as you see how we try so hard to live by your rules and be good people. Please, God. We have suffered with infertility for a long, long time. We have tried lifestyle changes, relaxation, and medical treatment. We need your hand in this God. Please help us. We have faith. We have faith that you will see our worthiness, and bless us with another child. Please, God. It has been fourteen years. Please acknowledge our humble begging. In your name we pray, Amen.
God gives me a miscarriage at 7 weeks.
God knows what is best for you.
Lord, I thank you for the attempt at making our dreams come true. I must have done something wrong to make it not turn our the way we'd hoped. Please forgive me of all my sins and errors I have surely made along the way, and give me another chance. I will do everything in my power to serve you in reverence and gratitude. My vocation is that of caring and easing other's sufferings. Allow me to expand that love for mankind to nurturing a tiny soul. Please, Lord, we trust in you to help us to do your will. St. Gerard, protector of pregnant mothers, we ask you to intervene on our behalf. Holy Mary, mother of God, please pray for us. Amen.
By the grace of God, I am allowed to carry a beautiful, perfect baby boy to term.
God answers prayers, but sometimes, you won't like the answer you get.
Nicholas Gerard died as the result of not one, but two knots in his umbilical cord.
God has a plan.
Dear God. I do not know what your plan is for us, or what your plan was for our little Nick. I am struggling to find the "good" to come of this, but trust that your all-knowing reasoning is beyond our mortal comprehension. Please keep him at your side and know how strongly we grieve our loss. Please help us through this difficult time and forgive us as we question your plan. We struggle with our faith, Dear Lord, but believe that for everything there is a reason. Please help us to find what that reason is, and how this experience can help us to grow as Christians and human beings. Please help us to realize our dreams as we try again for another child, Lord, because I know that you are trying, and surely it is I who am at fault. Please, by all that is good and holy, allow us to birth a live baby. Amen.
Sometimes the answer is "NO".
Little Girl Angel, 13 weeks, is purged, intact and in her watery tomb, from my uterus - without explanation.
Ok, God. You've got my attention. What is your point? Tell me, and I will fix whatever it is you're so pissed about. This passive-aggressive behavior is not winning you any points in my book. I can understand the infertility, if that's what your goal is - no more kids for me - but you have GOT to explain why you are killing my babies. It makes no sense! None whatsoever! Why, on your green earth, would you create life and then take it away - repeatedly - just like that? Innocent souls who deserved a chance to be better than we poor, wretched, miserable sorts who only wanted to love them and raise them to be good people. We are told that you are perfect and make no mistakes. So it must be me, huh? The miscarriage I can chalk up to poor lifestyle in the 15 years you ignored our pleas and I gave up "trying". You caught me off guard. My bad. I can even accept the most recent loss, possibly due to increased stress and who knows what other fault I can pin on myself. But Nick? Try as I might, I absolutely CAN NOT wrap my head around that one. As perfect as you may be, there is a design flaw in that whole umbilical cord business you created. Unless, of course, it somehow is Nick's fault he got all tangled up. Oh, but babies are completely innocent and without sin. Would you prefer me to believe my own stress levels caused him to become too nervous and *that's* how he developed the knots? Nope, no way, nuh-uh. Ain't gonna believe that one for one minute. Sorry. Ya lost me. The only reason my stress levels were so high anyway, is because You have taken babies from before, Dear Lord, and I worried as if it would make a difference. I'm a whole lot angry at you right now, God, but all my years of good, solid, Christian upbringing is causing me to feel guilty about my anger, and question my worth. Maybe my faith wasn't as strong as I led myself to believe. Maybe you had a good reason for teaching me a lesson. I'll have to mull that one over a bit. You have said before that you are always with us, and will be here for us in our time of doubt and need. I'm doubting now. I'm only seeing that one set of footprints, God, so I sure hope it's because you're lifting me up from this funk that I'm in.
Is God keeping score?
Ok. So. My friend is dying from cancer. A slow, painful death. Quite possibly this could be explained in a variety of ways. And then there's my mother in law, who is old. So very old. And Jim, who was not old, nor did he have cancer. It gets a little harder to explain that one, but much like catastrophic events and plain old accidents, sometimes, shit just happens. Sometimes repeatedly. To the same people. And this is where I wonder, why?
Is there "a plan"?
If you are a compulsive link-clicker, good for you. I aim to please. And perhaps you are wondering why I keep referring back to this same site. It is not for endorsement, as I don't even know who the group is that sponsors it. They have a few good points to ponder. And these same arguments are ones that I have been pondering for years; the difference being that *I* am unable to articulate them in a way that makes sense. So here's more.
A most compelling point.
I think what finally drove this home to me, was sitting there listening to the preacher during Jim's funeral service. I have not attended another funeral since Nicholas was buried. I've been to another memorial, which was sad and lovely, and fitting for the family (whom I can only imagine did not wish to endure another religion-laden pat on the back either). But we have stopped going to church. I tried, for a long time after Nick died, to keep my chin up and to "be good". I often found myself crying inconsolably, and seething with anger. I can't blame myself, and it's so easy to blame "God". To be mad at "He" who surely caused this. Unlike my mother, who helpfully suggested that maybe it wasn't "God" who killed my children. No, she thinks it might just have been the devil. Thanks, mom. Even MORE comforting to me. I don't know how you sleep at night.
No, I'm pretty sure it was God who killed my babies.
I zone out during the scripture and think about the man at the pulpit who said all the wrong things at a memorial for a little dead baby and was of absolutely NO comfort whatsoever to the grieving parents and brother who needed some solace. Some answers. Some platitudes. ANYTHING to ease the crushing weight on our chests. Was it appropriate to give the same "in a better place" and "no more suffering" speech? Was it acceptable to tell the attendees that God has saved little Nicholas from a life of rotting in hell by forgiving all of his earthly sins? Is there not a special service that most sane clergy-persons offer for CHILDREN? You know, the INNOCENTS? The ones whose families are so torn apart by grief at an unexpected death, the death of a baby whose life hadn't even begun, some soothing words to offer when your whole world has been torn apart? By the time these thoughts (and more!) have moved from one side of my brain to the other, unoccupied lobe, the priest is giving his homily about how we should be living our lives. Been there, done that, didn't work. And then there's the pro-lifers. The ones carrying photos of aborted babies are the best. Just what I need to see, thanks so very much. So, heathen that I am, I stopped attending church. Just too much, too painful, too awkward, too inept. I didn't immediately set out stealing and murdering people. Undoing of years of "right" takes a while. There was that little old lady that I tripped one time, but she healed. Sorry, mom.
My point is, after much consideration, is I was mad at "God".
And that makes so many people rather uncomfortable.
You can't hate God! You'll go to hell! You're wrong. That attitude will get you nowhere. How can you not believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect Lord and Saviour? All those years of having it pounded into your thick skull and this is what you've become? You should be ashamed.
Perhaps, if you are a true believer, my views give you a little quiver of shock and sadness for my mortal soul.
Perhaps, if you've experienced the type of shit that most of my readers have, you tend to sit on the fence about this issue. You might even lean my way just a little bit.
God forbid I should push you over to the other side.
Personally, I don't care what you believe. If I came up to you expressing full and utter faith in lucky rabbits feet and the number "9", you might think I was nuts. But am I?
Little kids believe in Santa Claus, but we grow up and realize that his Christmas miracles are impossible and untrue. Why then, do so many 'faithful' believe in god-related miracles, and have for all of recorded history? Could it be that the human mind finds unanswered questions to be so stressing that we have to give everything a "reason" just to accept it?
For what it's worth, I took TWO YEARS of a psych/religion program - AT A CATHOLIC COLLEGE - in which the psychology professor stressed repeatedly how religion is a man-created entity. The religion professor conceded that the bible and most Christian beliefs are, indeed, invented by man. The existence of a higher power was tossed around on many different levels. Few doubted, most believed as devoutly as any good bible-thumper would, but two of us stood our grounds on agnosticism. Call it the scientist in me, but ambiguity means very little. I will work even harder at trying to prove something than I would just roll over and accept it because everyone else does and has for years.
So, be mad at me for denouncing my faith. Hate me for hating "God". Notice the contradiction in your beliefs if you are enduring either one of those sensations. Take a moment to browse around books or websites that dissect and examine the human mind and the need for structure and control. Take some time to really THINK about religion.
Would you be less upset if I told you I just.don't.believe in a "god", rather than if I was mad at "him"? Does it change your views of me as a person? Do I matter less? Do I deserve all that I have suffered, especially NOW that I've laid it all out?
I'm still a good person who works tirelessly at caring for other people and easing their suffering. I don't covet my neighbors' anything and I believe in the golden rule/do unto others/respect your elders/don't kill/don't steal, etc. If you think about it, it is possible to be a decent human being without magical delusions. Unless I'm being delusional about my goodness and the loose change I drop in the Easter Seals and Special Olympics containers is the wrong thing to do. Why do we do that, anyway? Why won't god just fix those poor kids?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Of chemical reactions and an active imagination

We're back from Jim's funeral.
Oh, how was it?
I'd give it two thumbs up, minus a few points for the preacher's performance.
You shouldn't mock a funeral. That's just wrong.
I'm not mocking the memorial service. His family's remembrances were particularly moving, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house.
You sound so disrespectful. Their loved one has died and is gone forever.
I'm not being disrespectful of anything relating to Jim and his family and friends. The two of us even cried as we recalled stories of how Jim touched our lives in so many ways. I can't believe we'll never see him again. All the things we'd planned to do, but never got around to. Time, wasted.
He's in a better place, now.
His body is in a box awaiting cremation.
But, I mean, heaven! He'll be happy and pain free. You'll meet up with him again someday.
Let me stop you right there. This is where I took issue with the platitudes and fantasies offered up by the preacher man.
Do you think for one instant that the family took the slightest bit of comfort in hearing how Jim, a sinner, has been saved by the lord and led to pretend fantasy land to be happier than he was down here with them, all because some high falutin' big shot created his own child (half man, half magic) for the sole purpose of being murdered to allow us to break free from the miserable life we've led and thus live on forever in the place that is so perfect and wonderful and need-free that it defies the very essence of the sacrifices we are supposed to endure down here as mortals? Sorry, you lost me. Wait, where are you going? I'm not done!
When you die, you die.
And so it goes.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I have written, rewritten, edited and revised more ways to express my feelings today than I care to acknowledge.
My views on life, love, and the pursuit of happiness are insignificant; my beliefs on topics such as religion and luck and delusions and imagination are not necessary.
I don't want to argue, I don't care to explain, and my wish is to not have to persuade anyone to understand what paths my life has led me to arrive where I am.
Furthermore, I don't have the energy nor concern to correct the flow of the preceding statement.
I've gone into details already about my mother-in-law and my friend, both of whom are not faring well. Someone IRL said to me, "Aw, what a shame, and so near the holidays." The fuck. Holidays? Holydays?! Any GODDAMN day, asshat. What the fuckingfuck difference does it make if she's sick (or dead) by December 25th? Or maybe sometime in the spring (but not too close to Bunny Day, of course!). And if by "holiday" you mean "Thanksgiving", then let's observe the giving of thanks TO EACH OTHER for the small, everyday moments we give and share with one another, because *that*, my friends, is what makes the world go 'round. *That* is what creates our realities and shapes our experiences and changes our lives. The 'holy'days as we know them are based purely around pagan observances, and I'm ending my conversation of religion right there.
One of our - Gerry's - closest friends died on Monday. Natural causes. He was 50. And now he's dead. Just like that. Just stopped breathing.
And that's how it happens. From the elderly person who has finally suffered long enough, to the unborn baby that never got to look into his parent's faces - the heart stops, and you cease to breathe. Just like that. I wonder, under what circumstances, is it easier to accept another's death? When they've struggled and suffered for a long period of time, or when they just go suddenly? A violent accident or a stillbirth? Cancer or old age, or it was just his time. It doesn't matter when they die. They just will. And it will be an inconvenience as the world moves on around us. Life is short. Savor the small things, the little moments, the nothing that is everything. You never know which breath will be your last.
I had to call G in Virginia to break the news. We talked for an hour. He called me back seven times to relive One More Memory. One More Story. So Many Questions.
The last time they spoke, Gerry told him, hey buddy, next time I'm down that way, I'll stop in to see ya. He never did. Life moved on, we got busy, it wasn't convenient, maybe later, summer came and went, he'd still be there next time... And now he's not. And Gerry is wracked with the guilt of "what ifs" and "should haves".
So we're driving to WV in the morning to celebrate life. Life that Jim was once a part of. Ours.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Sorry, girls. He's all mine.

I'm going on a date!
My husband called me at work tonight...
He's taking tomorrow off to spend with me.
His plans:
We're going to walmart to get tires put on his truck, and get my hair done.
And if there's still time left over, there's a little chinese buffet place next door for lunch.
Damn, I'm spoiled.
Pinch me, I must be dreaming.

And on a final note:
Don't forget to vote!
Vote early, and vote often.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Sorry I have been quiet lately. Many thanks to those who have checked in on me.

Today marks one year since we lost our little girl. She was bound to be gorgeous, I am sure. And spoiled beyond all measure. 13 weeks with us; I never felt her move. There is a large part of me that wishes we hadn't found out the gender, however, I'm pretty certain it would have bothered me more not to know. We didn't name her. Gerry couldn't deal with making it any more real than it already is. We have had the "perfect" girl name reserved for 18 years now, and I can't bring myself to seal our fate by using it on dead baby.

I've been quite ill with viral gastroenteritis aka one nastymuthafucka of a stomach bug. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea aside, I feel as if I have had the shit (literally) beat out of me, and then sucker-punched just for fun. Muscles I didn't know I possessed ache. A lot. You ever throw up SO hard for SO long that it feels like you bruised your ribs? Add whiplash and some IV fluids. Yes, I had to go to the hospital for medication and rehydration. I'm fun like that.

My friend is continuing the chemotherapy, because the cancer has now been located in her liver as well. She has lost all of her hair. The pain medications make her demented. She developed a blood clot in her spleen. I can't be around her while I'm sick.

My mother-in-law is settling in at the nursing home. My sister-in-law, on the other hand, seems to think I have ample time and desire to visit her every day and likes to spread the guilt on real thick and gooey. It's not my fault she didn't listen to us five years ago and consider a personal care home when she needed it back then. The transition would have been a bit easier.

And, of course, while I haven't been posting, I have been reading. My heart goes out to so many of you as you continue your own personal struggles. Please know I do care, albeit in silence.