How did I get here?
What happened to my family?
Only the main characters are still with me.
My son and my daughter exist in the real world, where I wish to reside with them, despite life’s obvious absurdities and complications, like crosses or woolen coats we have to put on in winter weather, despite rashes incurred from bearing them about the neck.
I think of one coat in particular, my first black woolen dress coat, which left a mark on the back of my neck so painful I thought I would bleed to stay warm.
But the others, the more distant living relatives, have faded into a surreal past, where happy memories compete with the cold hard reality of growing up. I’m one of the few left now who doesn’t suffer mental illness, hidden abuse, commit criminal actions, live lies or perform suspicious behavior.
I even have an elderly aunt who lives in fear, and said recently she’d lie in court to protect an abusive relative who stole his living son’s property, and confiscates money from the living son to pay his dead son’s bills.
It feels somewhat like growing old and realizing your family really did belong to the mafia, were all brainwashed except for you, or one of your parents was not who they said they were.
And were they really?
The question is fair, considering my social security number attests I was born in Texas but my birth certificate says Indiana. I was told by a counselor my elderly, post-abortive mother still blames me for being born, and thus her jealous schizophrenia. Yet I am verbally assaulted by the “others” almost daily, or called paranoid just for being curious about my birth.
It is like being the swan but still reprimanded for not looking and acting like a stupid duck.
Follow the leader. Do not think for yourself.
What’s wrong with Judy?
She can actually think.
The approach of evening brings with it respite, from the toils of the mind.
That is when I feel closest to those that were sane, those that loved me a long time ago, and are still capable of love, albeit from a different realm, as the sun sets.
As a child I was afraid of ghosts.
At West Point in the 1970’s there was the ghost of a Civil War cadet who haunted the barracks, and this story hit the headlines in the local publications as well as circulating around post. One wet and spooky October around Halloween there was a bathrobe swinging incident, on a bathroom hook, and one cadet so frightened he hopped up on top of a filing cabinet to say his rosary, because he was Catholic. Apparently the thermometer outside the room had plummetted so low it cracked and the ghost disappeared when the rosary was finished.
Yes, I was afraid. I said the rosary too, even as a little girl. Honestly, I did not want a spooky ghost coming to ask me for prayers. I probably said one or two for him right away just so he’d stay away.
I remember surveying the bathroom before I showered, staring at the door knob, or anything that looked like a hook, a knob or a bathrobe, in the bathroom, praying to God that He would never let a ghost come visit my house.
Do not put your bathrobe on the doorknob Judy. It just might swing.
That’s why I think it’s so funny that now when I hear my father’s silent voice it sometimes follows me into the bathroom, and I don’t think he’s asking for prayers, because of his basicly martyrdom death.
I think he’s already in heaven.
The joke’s on me, and my father certainly cracks jokes time and time again, just like he did this side of life, as if in evidence that he’s up there eating garbage can pizza with Uncle Frank and having an uproarious good time.
I couldn’t make this stuff up, the sentences I’ve heard silently in my brain.
I think of the time Dad referred in my head to my brother as the Manchurian Candidate, before I had ever seen the movie or read the story.
I had to google Manchurian Candidate on my iPhone to find out just what the expression actually meant.
And my brother certainly behaves like the Manchurian Candidate, complete with the narcissist mother still brainwashing him. Apparently, Dad likes to provide movie themes to honor my oft-stated quip that my life is turning out to be like a Lifetime Chanel Movie, after all.
So I ponder these things in contemplation.
How is it that what we sometimes see and hear and can touch is so false, so deceptive, yet reality as it exists in eternity, and the persons already there, are more alive and honest than sometimes one’s closest relatives on earth, that we can feel and touch?
It’s like all mental illness is a mockery of this joyous truth.
Mother of Christ, Mother of Christ,
What shall I ask of thee?
I do not sigh for the wealth of earth,
For joys that fade and flee;
But, Mother of Christ, Mother of Christ,
This do I long to see,
The bliss untold which thine arms enfold,
The treasure upon thy knee.