Dark Night of the Soul 2.0

I did that thing where I exposed my heart and then ended up surprised to see it thoroughly trampled. Silly me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not maudlin or melodramatically, romantically distraught. My heart’s just broken. It hurts and it’s exhausting.

And I’m not a kid. I’ve had plenty of heartbreak. Ain’t none of it ever measured up to this.

You see–over my six-month hiatus, I had a bit of a life-changing adventure. The beginning of the year saw me defeated by a number of things in my personal life and left me questioning all those things which I imagined as “essential” to my identity.

  • A good mother
  • A strong leader
  • An ethical person
  • A spiritual person
  • An effective teacher

Things happened with my kids, my job, my marriage, my tribe, my family of origin, my physical household–all of which left me ready to fling up my hands. Not bad things (mostly–one was pretty damned bad), just irksome thing that didn’t win out on the side of benefit when considering cost. Then Midsummer rolled around and I had something to hang on to. Something easy that was all benefit. Something sparked in me and I had the tenacity to move through the rest of the year. Something saved my effing life–and I didn’t even realize it needed saving. If you read my post from August, you know I had taken a turn for the outright hopeful.

I felt as if everything was divinely ordained. That, for whatever reason, the divine was placing me in a particular position to do something good. Or at least meaningful. Even if only on the personal level. And I needed something good and meaningful on the personal level–so this was a real boon for my ailing spirit. I really listened to spiritual guidance and chose my steps with great care and deliberation. They weren’t all easy, trust me. This road was paved with shards of glass. But it seemed an absolutely worthwhile road–and I was alive. 

Yeah. Well. All things end. This one just ended abruptly and in a way that leaves me asking why the gods put me in such a position in the first place.

I’m pretty sure I misstepped and had the cosmic rug pulled out from under me because I was “disobedient.” We don’t really think in terms of “sin” and “damnation” but there is a sense of “obedient” and “punitive.” Plus, the one sort-of (it’s too complicated and personal to write about) triggered the other. It’s hard not to see a connection instead of a mere corollary.

Nearly Winter Solstice and the decline comes with the seasons. Ah, I love a good pathetic fallacy.

When I saw the end approaching, I have to admit, it was damned hard not to whip up the witchyness. It has taken a good deal of willpower to keep myself from tossing magic on top of desire and the fear of loss. There’s a part of me that knew from experience that all I had to do was *that one thing* and I could turn the tide for myself. But, there’s the other part of me that knew from experience that the unintended consequences, “Monkey Paw Style,” of magical intervention can be devastating.

Yesterday was my birthday and in 36 hours I managed to accumulate more loss than in the past year combined. Today I’m struggling against anguish that crushes in waves, leaving me gasping for air as I get pulled under again.

The thing about mourning is that it comes and goes. I know this. Eventually it comes less often and stays gone longer. But when too many losses happen at once, the mourning tends to get confused. The feelings of loss for one thing (that might have been manageable on its own) gets conflated with and compounded by other losses.

Some might say I’m embarking on The Dark Night of the Soul, after which I will find peace and enlightenment. Part 220px-JohnCrossof me says, “I hope so.” The rest of me says, “Bah.” I never much bought into Eckhart Tolle anyhow.

But considering this term, “dark night of the soul,” goes back to–at least–Saint John of the Cross, I can consider it in Tolle’s terms without too much chagrin.

It is a term used to describe what one could call a collapse of a perceived meaning in life…an eruption into your life of a deep sense of meaninglessness. … Nothing makes sense anymore, there’s no purpose to anything.  Sometimes it’s triggered by some external event, some disaster perhaps, on an external level.  The death of someone close to you could trigger it, especially premature death, for example if your child dies.  Or you had built up your life, and given it meaning – and the meaning that you had given your life, your activities, your achievements, where you are going, what is considered important, and the meaning that you had given your life for some reason collapses.

It’s a great way to approach the holiday season–I promise that’s irony.

Rather than flinging my pain outward with magic or banal actions that potentially cause more damage, I’m spending some quality time in my head with some awesome poets.

I think Kahlil Gibran captured the experience of The Dark Night of the Soul best in his poem, “Defeat,” from The Madman:

defeat

I’ve not come to terms yet with the final line–do I really want to be dangerous? Part of me cringes, the other part says, “Hell yeah.” Someone recently said to me that there was no one more dangerous than the person with nothing left to loose. I argued that a witch with nothing left to lose was more dangerous than anything.

I suppose the trick is to hang on to at least one last shred of something that’s worth losing. It’s a risky business: caring. It’s a sight riskier to stop caring, throw caution to the wind, and cast blindly into the aether for a balm or compensation for loss. Better to just vomit and move on. It’s working for me today.

If you’re in a dark spot, hang on. Morning comes. And I’ll be on the other side of night looking for you.

 

And because it’s therapeutic, I’ll be writing about “regret” and “remorse” over the weekend using T.V. Tropes and Idioms at The Big Bad Words Blog.

Advertisements

Home Mountains

DSC_0097It’s been a rough week.

A week ago yesterday I made the hard choice to euthanize two of my fur-babies. A few years ago, the oldest dog started 49_541206540661_8863_nshowing signs of a spinal injury or neurological damage. We did anti-inflammatories and acupuncture and Reiki and massage, but it only ever helped a little. Last summer the second doggie–the best, prettiest, most loyal dog ever–had an acute onset of something strangely similar. We don’t know if they had the same thing or what. It doesn’t matter. There came a point when we had to realize that we were holding on out of our own desires and that the most humane thing to do was dig a hole and call the vet.[1] So, Sunday night I pulled out an unused cloth painter’s tarp and Sharpies and set up a table in the living room. I told the kids to write their messages and leave farewell items on the table. We would wrap our boys in the shroud and bury them together. I cooked up some hamburger and bought an extra loaf of bread and some bacon-strips and made a dog feast. We sat in the floor and watched Sunday-night TV for the last time together. I wouldn’t trade that.

DSC_0400

Monday went as Monday went. It was over before 3:00. The hubby came home from work early to meet the vet in the driveway, the kids were with them until it was over, I assisted the vet as best I could. You see, I’m the one you want in a crisis. In the moment? Yup. That’s me. A few days later, however, I am apt to fall apart over an unmowed lawn or broken tea-kettle. If you’re not paying attention, you might think I was really upset about recycling. But in the thick of it, I’m rock-solid.

Then my momma called. I had expected to mourn my dogs in my idiomatic slow-burn, but the news that we also lost a human family member doused my smoldering sorrow with kerosene.[2]

Having spent the weekend at a family funeral, you’d think I’d be exhausted from grief and travel. But I feel pretty renewed. I don’t mean to make light of the tragedy of having lost a relative (unexpectedly and way too soon), but I know a few things about him that make me think he’d be OK with my saying so. You see, family and laughter were his favorites. Maudlin mulling about? Not so much. And he loved the water.

The view as I stepped out my door.

The view as I stepped out my door.

I’d been hankering for water lately. I kept saying that I needed to get myself near some water. It was a craving I had never experienced so intensely before. I was planning a trip to Daphne to see the pseudo-grand-behbeh[3] but was having a hard time arranging it all. I also wanted to make the semi-regular pilgrimage to the ancestral grounds, cemetery, and cave. I feel best in a cave. But I really don’t like to go to North Alabama. It’s-just-weird. (It might seem contradictory to those of you not from The South. The northern part of the state is a totally different place than the south of the state. Proximity to the mountains is everything.) I wanted to go to the ocean or the Gulf. I wanted to sleep with that particular rush of white noise only an outgoing tide can make. And if I have to go to North Alabama, I’m more inclined to go to Colbert and Franklin Counties in the west, where my parents live.

So, when we found we had to go to the foot of Appalachia, I thought I’d be “making the best of it.” The hubby booked a room at the bend of Lake Guntersville (I still say “Gunnersville“) and soothed the hurt as best he could.[4] Tightly knit-up in the old family range of Marshall and Madison (and almost-Jackson) counties, I felt a levee that had dammed up a year’s worth of stagnant residue give way. Not like a rush of putrid contamination into a pond, but like a scanty blight that is slowly but steadily washed away with the tide.

DSC_0092Last summer I told you that I found my fire on the open sea. This summer I just may have found my earthly footing on a lake just off Sand Mountain. I stood grounded at Pisgah Cemetary[5] and hiked and healed in the belly of the earth. Now, you might read this and think, “That’s an oddly profound reaction to losing a relative you haven’t seen in eight years.”[6] But that’s not it at all. This was just the proverbial straw that made the camel say, “Enough, I cain’t carry n’more.” And for once I see a broken back as liberating. The gravity which pulled all the “trappings” I was carrying around on others’ behalf left me free to raise my arms unburdened.

Among the things I let fall away were concerns about my immediate family’s reaction to my religion. Mom is cool with it, Dad doesn’t ask questions. But I still have siblings. And regarding my closest relatives? I garnered some very empowering insights. You see, it’s like this. My extended family? I get them. I fit in with them. My immediate family? I have always felt alien. And there was always guilt about the incongruity of honoring my ancestors but not really speaking to my siblings. This time around? It felt good to be “unlike.” This time around I understand that it’s they that built the walls between us, I simply respect those boundaries. I realize that, in trying to bridge the differences between us instead of simply recognizing the integral incompatibilities between us, I was creating unnecessary friction. I’m starting to realize it’s OK not to talk to my family of origin if the talking leads only to hurt. As long as I remain accessible for reunion, all I can do is wait for them to be ready. And in the meantime—love them just the same.

And guilt is a useless emotion.

I also let some rigidity about my belief-system fall away. I felt a certain obligation to the path I had chosen. But I forgot that the path I had chosen was one of continuing revelation. Duh. Learn some and evolve, learn some and evolve. This is my mantra.

I let my resistance to North Alabama fall away too. As much as I chanted, “I do not want to live in North Alabama, please gods don’t send me to North Alabama,” I forgot that the universe does not like a vacuum and that it fills those negatives with affirmatives. I might as well have been begging to be drop-shipped to North Alabama. I still prefer to stay put or go south to the water, but I’ve stopped beating that drum.[7]

Overlooking the cove.

Overlooking the cove.

And in letting these things go, I’ve made room for new things. Who knows, maybe you can’t teach an old dog new tricks and maybe I’ll fill that newly vacated space with something equally problematic as what I’ve learned to let go. But maybe not. Maybe with help of the spirits of the lake and the cave, I’ll gather some better apples.

As ever, I’ll let you know.

G’night Robert. I’ll see you later.

I always try to imagine what made the first of my kin say, "Here. This is the place. Let's do this."

I always try to imagine what made the first of my kin say, “Here. This is the place. Let’s do this.”

I’ll get back to talking about witchy-er things soon. But now, these are the seemingly mundane places where I am finding the most magic.

Waes thu hael,

~E


[1] If it ever comes down to it, I recommend you act in that order.I promise. You do not want to dig a three foot hole while grieving at that level.

[2] I told Momma that I wasn’t sure if I was crying for my dogs or my cousin. Likely both.

[3] And will still go.

[4] We could have driven up and back without staying over, but there was more to do than just attend a funeral.

[5] And learned about “Primitive Baptists.”

[6] And one of you in particular might say that’s “insane” or “egotistical.” But that’s OK. Your words tend to have more to do with you than with me.

[7] Speaking of drums, I found a bodhrán that went missing about a year ago.

Let’s Do Some Living After We Die

I struggled with that little field above. How does one title this?

“Funeral for a Friend”? No.

“Another One Bites the Dust”? Hell no.

. . . Wild Horses . . .

It’s happened again.

It was 1988 and I was sitting in French class. Monsieur Ellis was interrupted by the Spanish teacher. She came in and told him something in whispered tones. Without missing a beat, he pointed to the empty seat next to mine and announced that Gina, the girl who had become one of my dearest high school friends, had died that morning.

Gina was an artist. She loved Pink Floyd. And she had had a bought with pneumonia that she just couldn’t beat. She also had these strange lesions that came and went and eventually came and came and came. She had been an IV drug user. (But, really, who among us in 1988 hadn’t been?) Gina had long blonde hair and the thickest eyelashes I had ever seen. She had a gap between her teeth and she wore a lot of eyeliner and a fringed leather jacket – even in the summer.

Gina was one of the first “heterosexuals” to die in the AIDS outbreak in the 1980s. At least in Illinois.

And Monsieur Ellis pointed at her chair and announced that she had died like he was telling us our test results.

I was devastated.

But I was in French class. How does one mourn in French?

Fast forward through Grandpa Fred’s death, through a boyfriend’s death (car accident), through a number of family leave-takings, and place me squarely in the produce section of Kroger with my phone ringing and my Momma on the other end. Just wantin’ t’let me know that my closest male cousin in life was now on the other side.

As I thumped a melon.

As if it were nothing.

Because how do you mourn in the produce section?

Fast forward to last month when Facebook told me that Brother Preacherman‘s heart gave out before his spirit did.

Finding out about passings is never fun, but in the day of Facebook, we have decided to let social media do the dirty work for us.

I was pulling weeds on Sunday waiting for my beloved niece and her wife of ten years to arrive at my house when The Bad Eldest staggered out to the yard. “Momma. I know you hate to find out on Facebook. You haven’t been on Facebook today, right?”

My heart sank. I saw the tears streaking my baby-girl’s beautiful face. Puffy-eyed. Confused. Looking for a melon to thump.

“Who?” I tossed my handful of weeds aside and sat down hard.

Twenty-three year old, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, soft-spoken, crooked-smiled, pixie-child, funny-laugh, Southern-pride, WDE, turkey-hunting, raised-right, horsie-girl.

Given the appropriateness of age, my baby was closer to her than I was. It crushed me a little; it must have crushed her a lot. Something about watching my daughter’s face over the last two days as she comes to terms with the fact that her first friend has died has made me want to call everyone and remind them that I love them.

I keep giving in to that urge.

We are going to the wake tomorrow. My family and a small entourage of close friends – “We just don’t want to go alone.”

I was planning to write a post about the ritual of funerals and how Pagans perceive death differently from “one-lifers.” But I can’t. Not yet. Let me get through the funeral of this baby-faced beauty and maybe I can find solace in a discussion of ritual.

Until then, for Abby:

Crossroads

Well, damn.

The Bad Witch just opened an email. You know the kind? The kind that makes you unable to answer the phone or work or do anything real for a few hours.

Well, here I sit. A few unproductive hours later with a couple of phone calls to return.

My sometimes protectress, often teacher, and always kick-ass Voodoo-Mama-friend, “Mama Lisa,” crossed over on Saturday at the age of 98.

That’s a good run, I have to say. But it’s also kinda hot on the heals of having lost another spiritual guide, Brother Preacherman.

I’m jes feelin’ a little . . . at the crossroads.

Farewell Brother Larry

Good night to the man who constantly called attention to me in a Church of God prayer line: “I see the call [caul?] of God on you, child. The spirit is all over you!”

I made fun that I always forgot to open my circles.

This morning, Brother Preacherman died while preparing his Sunday sermon. Hope I go like that.

Love you, sir. Always did. Always will.

In the name of the Christ whom you taught me to revere,

TBW

Evocation, Eastern Star, Early Warning

When I say evocation, we can think of Theurgy (which is the first place my Bad Witch mind automatically goes) or embryogenesis (which is the second place my Bad Witch mind automatically goes) or, if you read about what it’s like to play word association games with The Bad Witch, you know that our script might run a little like this:[1]

Evocation : Monday

Evocation : Jambalaya

Evocation : Bathtub

Evocation : Smell

Smell? Yes, smell. When it comes to place memories, we are at the mercy of olfaction. Whenever I smell Band-Aids, I am sixteen and in the hall of a horribly impersonal medical clinic. reminiscences. Certain tastes evoke childhood, certain songs evoke – well, everything.[2] But stronger than anything is our sense of smell.

Corn-bread, subtle as you please, puts me in Phil Campbell, Alabama – in my mommy’s kitchen.[3]

Cigarettes, whisky, and a slight hint of sewage (you’d be surprised how often this combination crops up [4]) is NOLA in winter.

Burning leaves = My family’s 1980s lake home in St. Joseph, Michigan. And snakes.

Pipe smoke.

Grandpa.

Phew, ladies and gentlemen, The Bad Witch might need to bawl a minute.[5]

I told you that I’ve recently learned some interesting factoids about my family. This spurred a bit of rock-turning on The Bad Witch’s part. Bear with me, because this is a winding-road.[6]

Ready?

I have a maid. She is cherished. She has OCD. This is fantastic as maids go. Not so good for someone working in the home of a Witch or a Ceremonial Magician. Twist #2 – I inherited an ancient and ginormous mirror.[7] Cherished and I had to come to an understanding about what can and cannot be dusted. Long story short – she cleaned the son‘a gun and now my house smells like pipe smoke.[8]

Let the road wind a little. Back in April 2011, most of The Bad Witch’s family’s town was whisked off by an F5. My family was spared the brunt of it – by a cat’s whisker. But, damn. I can still smell that too.

As soon as the roads were open, we drove up to lend a hand where needed. But every hand I extended was met with the strangest of handshakes. I asked Momma, “Why are all the men giving me Masonic handshake?”

“They know your kin.” She made a circle around me with her finger, “And they know what you are. Must figure you’re an Eastern Star.”[9]

Fast-forward ten-months and I stumbled on some old family memorabilia. Including an Eastern Star dues card and ritual booklet.

Curious, I start tracking down lodges and learning a little more about my late Grandpa.

OK – Plot here. Let the road wind s’more.

He’s not my biological grandfather. He’s my mother’s older brother. There’s no inbreeding here (that’s elsewhere). He’s a bit older than Momma. When I was born, the hospital wouldn’t allow visitors; he told the staff that he was “The Grandpa!” and they let him visit newly-born and squishy-headed me. From that day to this, he’s been my Grandpa. He has biological grandchildren now. At the last family reunion, I got to see them. Their mother told them, “She may not really be Granddad’s grandbaby, but, to him, she was always special.”

More plot? OK. I’ve always been “bad.” Not really, I am notoriously sweet, compliant, and generous. But somehow, I was always led to believe that I was “bad.”[10] This made it easier for those who wanted to prey on me in adulthood. I’ve always felt the need to make contrition. Ablution. Atonement.

But Grandpa always said I was “good.” I can name a few adults [11] who were threatened by and resentful of his absolute adoration of teenaged me.

Grandpa had a stroke and passed beyond the veil just one week before I discovered I was pregnant with The Youngest.[12]

IK, it wasn't a men's urinal but I'm on a Surrealist kick.

Our family gathered at his house prior to the funeral.  North Alabama swarmed with Macs. My mother and I sat quietly, trying to stay out of the way while the widow’s [13] relatives placed the buffet and received mourners.  The Widow wasn’t there yet. Momma and I had a few glasses of iced tea each while we waited.  My sister and father arrived from the airport with my eldest aunt.  It had been a long flight from St. Petersburg and a long car-ride from Birmingham to Huntsville for the aging matriarch.

She had just lost her baby-brother and she needed to freshen up.[14]  Aunt Flora went directly to the bathroom to change and refresh herself.  She was in there a long time.  I know because I had started to watch the door.

I had had several glasses of tea.

Besides, she was old; I worried.

Finally, she emerged.  Her eyes were swollen with grief and she staggered into the hall asking if there was somewhere where she might lay down for a minute.  As soon as was “seeming,” Momma dashed into the bathroom.  Stunned by my Mother’s speed, my oldest sister sat down in the newly vacated spot next to me and said, “I wish Mom wasn’t so fast, I have been in the car for a long time!”  I wiggled in my seat and watched the time pass on the grandfather clock.

Momma was in there for a thoughtlessly long time.

Sissy and I expressed mutual concern about Aunt Flora’s well-being while we expressed exasperation at Mom’s delay.  When she came out, her eyes were swollen and her face was puffed with signs of weeping.  Her hands, still wet, trembled and she slumped into the nearest chair.  Sissy offered to let me go to the bathroom while she checked on Mom.  I demurred,[15] she had been in a car for hours; my situation was self-inflected.

While we haggled, The Widow, now home, popped in before us.

She was out in no time and it was Sissy’s turn. When Sissy appeared in the bathroom doorway after a surmountable time, she too appeared to have been weeping.  She had tried to compose herself but her lip was still quivering.  She grimaced as I passed her in the hall; she breathed in sterterously and I rushed in, nearly slamming the door closed behind me.  I was sad and at a funeral, yes; but I had to pee.  And I had to pee now.

I tussled with the new black dress I had to buy that morning – mechanically, and thus incongruously, I had packed a black wool suit to wear for a funeral in Alabama in August, therefore, I had to start my day in the mall. Oi. I wrestled my pantyhose down past my knees.  I knew better than to drink that much iced tea, served me right.

Relieved, I looked for some toilet paper remembering how Grandpa used to TP his sisters’ houses whenever he visited.  He was a great prankster. This is, perhaps, an unexpected trait from the recipient of a Bronze Star (+V) and a Purple Heart. Once, during a family reunion, he stole all of the toilet paper out of the women’s johns and put a running video camera in the sink area.  Aunt Lot was outraged when she heard him boast that he had footage of her meandering around the stalls with her drawers at her ankles.

I thought of that and I giggled as I relieved myself.

I peed like Austin-fricking-Powers.

I looked to my left to find the TP and I saw his lodge handbook. I gasped.  So tightly connected with his brethren, Grandpa kept the handbook in the privy. I giggled again.

Then I looked up and saw the towels. The Widow hadn’t been home since Grandpa’s stroke. This morning, no one but we four ladies had been in the bathroom.  I saw the distinctly male rumpling of the monogrammed towels, the beard wax in the terry cloth; they had an impression like Veronica’s veil.  My heart sank.  Struggling to redress myself without audibly wailing, I turned to the sink. And I didn’t giggle.

There.

His toothbrush was in its holder, his razor was on the shelf – his hairs still imbedded between the blades, his hairbrush and mustache comb were in their places and his nail clippers were still open. Then it struck me. Nearly thirty-years-old, I had the most childlike thought: “No one told his toothbrush that he had died.”

I wanted to shout ridiculously at the objects, “He’s is gone! We’re burying him today!  He won’t be back!  I’ve talked to all of my relatives and while he was good for a practical joke, he could never hold the punch line this long.  It’s no joke, you stupid toothbrush!  You’ll never see his smile again! He’s really gone forever; and you, silly razor, will never caress his handsome face again.”

I wanted to shout those things and to throw all of the objects that The Widow hadn’t had the time or mind to pack away – I wanted to heave them all into the tub, still ringed with his last bath.  I wanted to scream at and hurl the inanimate objects. But instead, I grabbed the sides of the sink and wept silently.

See?

And then I smelled his pipe.

Funny how our brains work. I can’t tell you if his essence was there and I smelled him, or if the lingering smoke in the towels registered in my hCG bionic nose, or if merely the memory of Grandpa triggered the synapse which told my brain to “smell pipe.”

It took me a while to compose myself and emerge from the bathroom.  Mom and Sissy sat together.  Sissy took one resigned look at me and said, “You saw his toothbrush too.”

Yeah.

And now, with crappy springs-a-comin’-but-not-before-a-bit-of-bluster-so-keep-The-Weather-Channel-on-weather and a squeaky-clean mirror, I smell his pipe in my house.

And that smell is evoking something from 1989 . . . but just exactly what storm’s a brewin’, I can’t be certain. Yet.

And I’ve had three conversations in ten days where folks have asked “Eastern Star” questions.

I’ll get back to you on that plotline, deal?

 

 

This post part of a year-long project. Rowan Pendragon’s The Pagan Blog Project; “a way to spend a full year dedicating time each week very specifically to studying, reflecting, and sharing . . . .    The project consists of a single blog post each week posted on prompt that will focus on a letter of the alphabet” (http://onewitchsway.com/pbp2012/).

[1] Some of you even know me well enough to understand one or two of those leaps. And for that, I say, “Thanks for loving me all the same.”

[2] Weather like today’s evokes tornadoes and the scariest few hours of my life: April 27, 2011 for the few hours when I couldn’t find The Momma.

[3] Likewise, moth-balls put me in her linen closet!

[4] Think: drinking and smoking in a neighbor’s yard with a bit of dog-shit on your boots.

[5] That’s a kind of evocation all its own. I don’t know about you, but when I get a good cry going, I call forth all sorts of shite.

[6] Recently, a friend said, “Everything with and about you has a plot and a story.” Yup. Aren’t cha glad?

[7] It should be in the headmaster’s office is all I’m saying.

[8] Five of us live here, we all smell it – it ain’t just me.

[9] Momma points at what I assume are auras that way. Very dismissive of her innate abilities, whenever she says prophetic things and I call her on it, she says, “Aw, that’s jes my schizophrenia acting up again.”  Whenever I say prophetic things, she tells me that I have her mother’s “Indian ways.” Therefore, I have chosen to call this phenomenon “Creeksophrenia.” (WODR.)

[10] For instance, I posted a comment on Facebook that I had to buy a prom dress for my 17 year old. I was told, “I always warned you that you’d have a daughter just like you. Payback time. What goes around comes around!” But it occurred to me that my daughter is fairly angelic. Aside from this Episcopal phase she’s going through. Yeah, just like me. Damn straight.

[11] But I won’t.

[12] Thirteen in two weeks.

[13] This was his fifth marriage. This was not a lifelong relationship. Just the last one.

[14] Having lost two children and a husband, grief was a strange friend to Aunt

[15] On account o’ I’M NICE!