Signs?

Sunday’s post was admittedly very depressing. I thought about ending with a joke or in some other way, discount or invalidate my feelings- to make other people more comfortable. I write to honor my experiences, myself. It’s for that reason, I ended it the way I did.

Understandably, my mom was worried. “I want to discuss your post” she texted shortly after it was published.

I told her I was tired and asked if we could talk tomorrow.

“Of course” she said.

First thing Monday morning she called and asked if I was feeling any better. I was, I guess, maybe a little bit.

We talked about Noah and about maybe he is just waiting for me to get healthy… I liked that idea. I thought again of how relieved I was that I lost Noah before Natalie. I didn’t need to blame her for anything more than what I already was.

I guess I need to back up a bit. The other day mom and I were talking about symbols and the which ones in particular we were going to use for the expo. “Rainbows” she said. She kept getting rainbows. Seeing them show up in her paintings, finding “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” song etc. Ok, I thought. Is there anything more to the rainbow? Are we just using it because it symbolizes something beautiful after a storm? While on the phone with her, I googled rainbow symbolism.

It stands for unity. Bridging Heaven and Earth. This felt better… Right.

I thought of it Monday morning on my way to work. I got a text of Natalie singing “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey.

“Don’t stop believing what? In Natalie? In life after death? What?” (Yes, I do routinely talk to myself, especially when I’m in the car.)

Just then, I caught the license plate on the car next to me. 444 NA(w?). 444 Is a sign for angels. I was hoping that the last letter would’ve been a T, I know it was not. Still initials? the triple 4? Signs, right? They had to be.

So you saw a license plate and that to you is a sign? Not everything is a sign! (This is the cynical part of myself, taking the wheel, momentarily.) I’m reading too much into this, I thought. Just then, a Rainbow Taxi cab pulled up next to me.

“Hi Nat… Thanks” I said.

The next morning, on our way out to the car to take Tayla to school, there stood two deer. They paused from chewing their grass to give us a minute or two of eye connection. Once in the car, I googled what a deer as a spirit animal represented.

I don’t remember now the exact meaning but the point of it was that Don asked what I was doing. I told him and he let out a huge sigh. “Why does it have to be a sign or mean anything?” He said.

“Do you know how common it is to see deer out here? Where in the middle of some pretty heavily wooded areas…”

“Yeah?” I asked

“How many deer have you seen here? Since we moved in?”

He was silent.

Was it a sign? Was it a message? Am I making things out that are not necessarily there? Is it possible that it IS a sign or message? Why is THAT so hard to believe? Yes, you can probably make a lot of sense of otherwise seemingly nonsense but today, I am of the opinion of Roald  Dahl who said “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it”.

If you’re looking for answers, you will find them. Who knows, maybe this post is a sign for you!

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Daily Prompt: Fragile

via Daily Prompt: Fragile

Yesterday I felt fragile. Small and breakable. It started out that way because I was putting the finishing touches on the “End the Epidemic” brochure for the expo on the 15th and spent a lot of time finding the right photos and making them the perfect sizes. Writing her name and her dates and a little of her story…

I had an appointment at 1:00 and I was grateful for the break. Afterward, I planned on going to Sally Beauty to get some hair dye. Once in the car though, I realized how badly I needed to pee! I knew Sally’s didn’t have a restroom, so I opted for Unique… hey, at least they’ll have ONE thing I need! I finished washing my hands and dried them on my jeans on the way out. “I wonder if they’ll have anything that reminds me of Natalie…” I looked up to see this:

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“Ok, fine. You’re here. Thank you very much AND I’m still pretty pissed off.”

I wandered a bit because I had a little time to kill before picking Tayla up from school. Because of Halloween coming up, the store is laid out a little differently than I’m used to. I was perusing the kitchen gadget isle (our toasted WAS toast last week) looking for a toaster but found myself in the movie section.

I’ve been trying to get more in tune with my intuition and so I tried to “feel” which way to go, what message I was supposed to get. Standing in front of shelf after shelf of movies, I quickly became overwhelmed. “I know Nat. You love movies but seriously, you loved them so much, I’ll never know which one I’m supposed to find!”

I saw The Crow. Is it this one? Oh, Pulp Fiction- that has to be it, right? But no internal alarm sounded, no sensation was felt. My arms were getting fuller and my calculated cost grew with each title. “Sorry Nat. I can’t buy all these. Then watch all of them? I guess the only way I’ll really know if I’m on to something is if I see a movie like Somewhere in Time…” I actually laughed at the prospect of finding such a movie, in such a place.

Guess what? Not a minute later, my eyes found this:

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Somewhere in Time

The sensation of a brain freeze took hold of me and I clutched the movie to my chest, trying with all I had not to cry until I got out of the store (which I did!).

I had a big cry and pulled myself together before turning the car on. As I looked around, checking for cars, I saw three black birds circling overhead.

“Show off” I thought.

But there’s more. The first song I heard was “Save Me” by Shinedown.

I got a candle
And I’ve got a spoon
I live in a hallway with no doors and no rooms
And under a window sill
They all were found
A touch of concrete within the doorway
Without a sound

Someone save me if you will
And take away all these pills
And please just save me, if you can
From my blasphemy in my wasteland

How did I get here
And what went wrong
Couldn’t handle forgiveness
Now I’m far beyond gone
And I can hardly remember
The look of my own eyes
How could I love this,
My life so dishonest
It made me compromise

Someone save me if you will
And take away all these pills
And please just save me, if you can
From my blasphemy in my wasteland

Jump in the water
Jump in with me
Jump on the altar
Lay down with me
My hardest question
To answer is why
Why

Someone save me if you will
And take away all these pills
And please just save me, if you can
From my blasphemy in my wasteland

Someone save me [Repeat: x2]
Somebody save me [Repeat: x2]
Please don’t erase me

Hearing that made me hungry for more…

I turned to Siri and Apple Music requesting “music by Shinedown”.

Here is what came up, in the order it played:

Cut the Cord (to self harm) so you can survive “don’t be a casualty, cut the cord”

Second Chance “sometimes goodbye is a second chance”

Save Me

Through the Ghost

Sometimes, ok, a lot of times, I feel like a toddler throwing a tantrum. I want her to be with me, show me she’s here and when she does, it’s not good enough. It’s coincidence. It’s an accident. My mind is filling my life with “signs”, it’s all in my head because that way I don’t have to forgive her. If she abandons me, it’s ok for me to still be so angry… Even though deep down, I know she’s sorry. She didn’t mean to abandon us. She is still around. She will always be around and it’s ok for me to be angry.

The Gift of Powerlessness

“I just wish I KNEW there was nothing more I could’ve done” my mom said to me this morning.

“Mom. There WAS NOTHING more ANYONE could’ve done. As a mother, I know you would’ve done anything for her. We all would have. That’s the one thing that haunts me. I can’t help but think, if it were all to happen again, I don’t think I’d do anything different. We did what we could. If I had known how much she was struggling, or even struggling at all, I would’ve done whatever it took to help her. I know though, she would’ve outsmarted me. Even if we kidnapped her, babysat her, watched her like a hawk… we couldn’t keep it up forever. Natalie was an adult…”

“Thank you for saying that. I needed to hear that.”

“Well, good. It’s the truth.”

We talked a little while longer and I told her about how Monday was so hard for me. Facebook was out to get me, with its postings of new mothers, days old baby boy, another little boy who didn’t make it. I couldn’t get away from it.

Out of the frying pan into the fire, I turned my attention away from the computer and once again, tried to clear my desk from the mounds of paperwork.

A picture fell off the cork board. A snapshot of Natalie and Niles, in Florida. Under a stack of papers was an envelope from Target, more pictures of Natalie. I collected them up and put them in a box.

“God dammit Natalie. How could you do this? How could you leave, now I have to put you in a box in my closet because it hurts too much to look at you.”

Tears had been slipping, intermittently until I heard her voice. So strong and clear, I had to look up to see if she was actually sitting next to me.

“I’m sorry Melly” she said.

I dropped the box and crumpled to the ground sobbing.

The hurt is so near to unbearable, I don’t know what to do.

Part of me says to be grateful.

And, part of me IS grateful. I know that she is around me.

The other part though… is so angry and confused. So hurt. And SO VERY SICK of hearing “she’s in a better place”. I know people mean well, I guess I’m just selfish… I’m not worried about where she is. I KNOW where she is. I’m not crying for her. I’m crying because I have to fucking figure out how to live without her. How to be without her. Who I AM without her. I am in a worse place. Yes, she’s out of pain. She’s in heaven. Paradise. I’m stuck in Hell on Earth.

And if I had it all to do again? I don’t know that I’d change anything. We didn’t have things left unsaid or unfelt. She (I believe) knows how it all works out now. She knows my and our family, our wishes, intentions, hopes and we have to wait patiently for the day when it all makes sense to us.

We didn’t have the power to control her or her addiction anymore than she could control her cravings for the heroin.

And there’s an odd sense of relief with that knowledge. A slight satisfaction, knowing, we really did everything we could.

That is one small gift to come of this horrific event and if that’s all?

I’ll take it.

Signs

“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?”

Ok, now that I’ve gotten THAT outta my system (thank you Google and the Five Man Electrical Band), I can get on with this post!

Like I have a point today. Run, run, run and hit the red light. Hurry up to get nowhere fast. Get on with this post, even though I have no idea what to talk about…

Today was another shitty day. Glazed over eyes and blank stares punctuated by outbursts of anger and torrential downpours of tears. I don’t know how long its been, four days maybe? That I’m starting to absorb the full effect of her absence. Of the consequences I’m suffering because of her actions. Of the sense of my invisible sister.

Moving more stuff and cleaning out the townhouse was another loss, not for the place itself but because it was the last place we lived that Natalie came to visit us. I don’t want to let that go. But I have to.

Someone asked me if I’d considered the possibility that someone may have murdered her. Came over, hung out, gave her that last fatal dose and slipped out the door as she slipped out of our lives.

Initially, my heart started to race. Yes! That had to be it… She didn’t do this to herself, she didn’t do this to us. It was someone else and they need to be found and prosecuted. They need to know the horrible side effects her death has caused… but after a few minutes, my heart sank. I knew it’d be a wild goose chase. I know it. I feel it in my body and my being… The invincible, the immortal Natalie was in fact human. Not super human. She made a mistake, misjudged her tolerance and is gone. To believe anything else would be a certain suicide. I would cease to live my own life while I hunted down monsters that didn’t exist. At least not in this case.

As horrible as I feel, as much as I miss her and love her and am angry about what has happened…I need to feel this. I need to move through the pain. I know it will never go away completely and I don’t want it to. But for my own sanity, I have to grieve the loss of my sister because when it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter why she’s dead- she just is and nothing can change that.

On the other end of that, I know she’s near, also. Like I mentioned earlier, these last few days have been excruciating. Physically painful to be awake and alive without her… but life goes on and I have to go with it. We were at Big Lots and I saw a nail polish bottle, it was a light purple color and the the bottle said Kylie. At first I thought it say Kyle, like I named my car, so I grabbed it. I played a game I’ve played a thousand times over since May 19th. I hold something and ask Natalie to show me she’s around. “God I miss you Nat… PLEASE, let me know you’re here?” I turned the nail polish bottle to read the color: Miss Chief. I burst into tears right there. Aside from being a renowned trouble maker, one of Natalie’s music groups she played with was called Mischief.

Our next stop was a thrift store where I came across a Magic 8 ball. I couldn’t resist. “Natalie, are you still here?” I whispered to the plastic ball. I shook it and waited for the bubbles to dissipate. When it was clear, the message read “the 411 is yes”.

My inner child started to tantrum. But wwwhhheeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrreeee? I want to SEE you! I want to hug you and kiss you and smack you!

Sigh. I know. And I’m grateful for the signs she does send me. Maybe if it’s not to much to ask, I can see her in my dreams? I exhausted and going to bed and crossing my fingers!