Jilly D.

Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page

There are still no words….

In Anniversary and memorials, Pictures and memories on September 15, 2011 at 4:38 am

Madly, deeply, truly in love. From the minute he laid eyes on me — the snowflakes on his eyelashes, the orange snowpants, welding cap, moustache and beard — he captured my soul. I gave him everything he ever wanted and more. He gave me his heart.

Sammy Minor Warren (Dec 6, 1951-Sept 15, 2009).

There are still no words to explain what happened, or why, two years ago. There is Sam’s story and he’s not here to tell it or explain himself. And if he were here, I know what he’d say.

“None of your business.” But then Sam would go on and without shame and much embellishment tell a good story.

I know Sam thought he was doing a heroic thing — some Sylvester Stallone manly man Hari Kari thing; an honor killing.  Sam wasn’t one to use a lot of words. Actions spoke louder. He took full responsibility for ending his life and it spoke volumes to those who had let him down.

He never said goodbye to me. His suicide blindsided me. He had me convinced we’d spend the winter in Louisiana because he couldn’t live through another cold winter. After the first two winters together in a small cabin, he could never get warm enough with snow on the ground. I wanted to believe this was a good sign in our relationship. With all of the ups and downs and then a miserable cold wet summer our planning towards a sunny adventure is one way he kept the romance in our dinner and pillow conversations. The night before he killed himself, we made passionate love and I slept in his arms entangled between his legs and feet. I felt certain in my bones we’d make it through anything together.

Sam knew me well enough to know I am too weak to inflict pain and injury on myself. He ripped my heart out when he died and I didn’t want to live. But I felt his tremendous personal courage in taking his own life because I didn’t have it in me to end my pain and suffering as he did his own.  The grief of suicide crippled me for a long time. Mourning feels like an unwelcome spiritual rehabilitation program. But in my weaknesses I have found other strengths, and one of those is writing.

Sam encouraged my efforts at writing. I know when he died he felt certain the memoir I’d written about him would soon be published. He dictated the last unwritten chapter of this true to life story and I can’t write that part yet. Sam was such a unique character and his story worth telling, that I continue to work on it. Good things take time.

For me it’s a book of our memories of twelve enchanted years before September 15th, 2009. He changed my life. I’ll keep working on writing the story of Sam Warren that might change your life too.



Labor Day Struggle

In Grief, Holidays, Mourning, Signs from beyond, Time and seasons on September 6, 2011 at 2:06 am

Labor Day. Rained hard all day long. Long face; can’t wipe it off. Feels like the sky weeps. My heart sinks. Another day without Sam; another shitty day. He’s not here to say what everybody’s thinking about this weather. If I had anybody to talk to, it would be his profane voice coming out of my mouth.

Not that the weather matters anymore to my survival. I don’t have to pick beans or corn or spend the days in the fields under the sun and in the heat. I don’t have to worry about the pond overflowing or the lane washing out. The wind can howl all it wants; no windmill tower is going to crash on top of my roof. I can throw my wet washed clothes in the dryer during a storm. I love laundry day and any day can be laundry day.

The weather still sets my mood even if it no longer dictates my daily schedule off-the-grid. The dark grey skies and steady downpour day and night is downright gloomy. No getting around that fact. And the doom descends around me as the day turns again to night. Some holiday.

The grump of grief came out to play. Like this gnome, I felt small and squashed. I shuffled through the simplest housework tasks.

Chit. Another day marked off the calendar. Damn depressing. But today I chalked it up to the weather; sang the blues.

Am I feeling sorry for myself? Yeah. Nobody else is going to. I won’t let them. But I need some sorry. Think I’ll eat some worms. A whole lot of my tears are for what I have had to go through to get to here and now. My wailing releases all that I have had to suffer for so long. The relentless raindrops pounding on the rooftop, I listen and weep with the sky.  

The dripping in syncopation with the rooftop beats makes my home a drum. Its steady tempo gives a heartbeat to my sorrow. Thunder and lightning are the rumblings of emotions and flashpoints of memories replayed in the darkness of day. Oh, let this date roll over.

Melodramatic? Mellow, yes, not yellow. I’m not afraid to admit how I feel in the face of another day without Sam. After two years, it still hurts: every damn waking moment. There is no drama; only a dullness about the drudgery of everydayness. And the point is?

Yes, the existentialist question arises in weather like this. Perhaps this storm is a segue between one scene and the next; a new chapter or a new trail. Or perhaps there really is no point.

Points are sharp and they can be weapons. Rain has no point. It splotches. Snow and ice have points in their crystal formations, but water is not pointed. Water certainly has its purposes, but what is the goal of water? What is water striving for? Water is just water. It is.

Grief is just grief. Morning greets mourning. There is no escaping it.

Working so hard for so long is my way out of my material suffering. Labor Day let me step away from my work and the grief grump grabbed hold of me. Grump took me by the neck. Its fingers tightened around my throat and left me grasping for my breath. Sobbing, I stopped hearing the rain.

When I got cried out, the sound of wetness all around cleansed me and I sensed a peaceful resignation to what is. What is and what will always be and what has always been. Water, earth, wind, sun, stone, fire. These are the elements that endure. Elements of power. What is missing? The power of love; the greatest element to the life force.

I know love’s brutal force and its tender graces; my love for Sam and his love for me. What we had together wasn’t perfect, but it sure was special. The spark, the passion, the deep connection we had is still there even though he is gone. It’s a continuing bond beyond time and space; our love is one of those powerful elements in the universe that endures.

So as day turns to dusk, I imagine us both weeping because we are apart from one another. The whole world and all the skies cry tonight. The fog gives form to Sam’s sorrow; elusive and ephemeral. Walking through the fields with the dogs, I look into the mist hoping to catch a glimpse of his ghost. No luck. Now I sit inside by the light with the dogs at my feet and wait for a sign; for my spirit to find solace. I listen to the quiet rain as night falls. The peace of sleep envelopes me until mourning.

Reflections on trip to New York City in May

In Other on September 4, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Off the bus and into the flood of pedestrians walking the streets of Manhattan, I headed on foot towards The Travel Inn pulling my suitcase on wheels. Forty-Second Street is clean. No overwhelming fumes of rancid urine. No litter on the streets. No honking. Where have all the homeless gone? 

Without looking anyone in the eye but keeping wide my peripheral vision, I strut with determination down the streets to 44th  Street and Eleventh Avenue. The sign can be spotted half a block away with the hotel letters spelled out vertically above street level. I fooled myself with my street strutting behavior to show that I know where I am going. I am even on the right side of the street to enter the lobby.

Two steps up and I open the door without assistance; while my suitcase twists and turns and tumbles back onto the sidewalk. What an entrance to such a high class establishment. No door man.

Dark and cool inside, the front desk is quiet. There behind the computer screen sits a mature Indian man in a dark suit wearing a linen shirt. He does not look up.

I look at him. I notice how dark his complexion, how shiny his black hair, how smooth his brow. I continue to look at him standing before the check-in counter.

“Check-in is not until 3 p.m.” the man utters without looking up at me.

“Hello,” I say. “Yes, I know I can’t check in yet. I would like to check my bags and confirm my reservation.”

He points at the security officer sitting outside the security desk in the adjacent parking lot.

“Yes, Thank you. I know I can leave my bags there. I would like to confirm my reservation with you,” I say.

He looks up at me from his desk.

“Please. All reservations are handled on the telephone in the lobby,” and he points around the corner of his desk to a courtesy phone just out of eyesight from his vantage point as the lobby’s sentry. His elegant spoken accent of Queen’s English sounds so polite.

“Excuse me?” I blurt out. I am standing in front of him at his computer terminal on his desk and he refers me to the telephone?

“Please. Use the lobby telephone for reservations,” he tells me again.

I walk over to the telephone and pick it up. He is on the line.

“Reservations. How may I help you?” he says into the receiver. I hear him in my left ear on the phone and with my right ear I hear his voice less than ten feet away.

“I would like to confirm my reservation. I am checking in today at 3 pm,” I tell him as though he were in India.

“Please hold.” Click. He puts me on hold.

I turn around towards the front desk and stretch the phone cord just far enough to make eye to eye contact with this man sitting there with his feet on his desk. Doing nothing.

I slam that phone down. I pick up my bags and trot my suitcase right out of that lobby and towards the bag check without looking back. This is the New York City I know.