Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Illustration Friday: Captain / Emergency

We're wading through haunted waters after losing our captain in our own personal 9/11.


Syringe caps litter my bedroom floor
Like ammunition shells on a barren battlefield.
Smoke rises from the ashes in my heart forevermore,
And the emptiness that's left behind won't be healed.

The quiet morning is so much louder than the night before.
Battle cries that sounded so distant and unreal
Are now echoing screams through a sunlit door,
And the settling dust and nightmares are unrelentingly real.

Your last breath hovers
On my lips lost forever
In the torment of a terrorist strike.
Blowing desperate pleas
Into lungs that gurgle and wheeze,
And still your losing the fight.

The vision of finding you on the floor
Frozen stiff in pain and fear haunts me.
All your spirit and strength is reduced to this horror,
And my helplessness appalls and taunts me.

Pounding on a gentle heart that used to care,
The whites of your eyes are turning gray.
You heave with all that your might can bear,
And strain to keep your life from fading away.

I love you,
I miss you,
I can't stand seeing you in pain.
I wish I treated
You better, I wish
I could've stopped the pain.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Illustration Friday: Missing 2

Studio Lolo's post a few weeks back reminded me of Max. Max was a huge 110 pound loyal Lab whose love for my husband, Mike, was so great that he knew the sound of Mike's truck from several blocks away. He waited each evening to hear that sound of Mike's return from work. The rest of the time they were inseparable.

Max's sole purpose in life was to retrieve anything that was thrown from Mike's hand. As soon as he heard Mike's truck, he would fetch his tennis ball and wait at the door. When Mike pulled in the driveway, he would bark with tennis ball in mouth a loud ear piercing bark. Nothing about Max was small. Not his bark, nor his appetite, nor his smells and messes, nor his desire to please Mike.

Once, Mike made the mistake of taking Max fishing. Before Mike's cast line could hit the water, Max did with an enthusiastic splash. Max swam straight for the little orange bobber with his usual skill, while Mike nervously reeled his line in as fast as he could, yelling, "no Max, no!" It was a race to see who would get the bobber first. Thankfully, Mike won. Barely. After which, Max was promptly tied to a tree. Poor tree! Max would charge full force toward the water then bark helplessly every time Mike cast his line. No fish were caught that day because I'm sure the echos of his cries across the water scared them all away. Max just didn't understand this "new game".

Another thing I don't think Max understood was Mike's death. He still waited every evening for the sound of Mike's truck. When Mike hadn't returned be night fall, Max would howl a slow, sad, mournful howl up into the sky. During the day, he took to head-butting fence boards to make his escape from the backyard. Something he hadn't done since he was a pup. Then he would search the neighborhood for his Mike until evening when he would wander back home and hope for his return.

I tried to console Max by spending more time with him. After all, it was just the two of us now. I could tell, though, I just wouldn't be able to take Mike's place. Any time a man would come over, be it my brother, a friend, a date, or just the repairman, Max would bring him his tennis ball wanting to play. I would try to throw his ball for him, but I couldn't throw as far as Mike, and he seemed to get bored with it after a while. I would try to take him for a walk, but unfortunately I'm not as big as Mike was, so I was usually dragged down the street much to the amusement of my neighbors. As Max got older, though, I would just lay with him in the grass of my front yard and watch the clouds. He would lay his head on me and seemed very content. He didn't have the energy of his youth anymore, and this is probably when we bonded the most.

Max was 11 years old when Mike died. I knew he probably wouldn't live much longer, and we had several scares, but each time I was able to nurse him back to health. Then one day when he was 15, I knew it was his time. I had tried to prepare myself for this day, but that was impossible. I cried, "oh Max." He tried to lift his head and wag his tail, but he couldn't. I held his head in my lap and petted him while I cried. Friends helped me get him to the vet where they put him to sleep. Again, I held his head in my lap and cried while they gave him the injection. He looked up at me. I covered his eyes with my hands and said, "it's ok Max, everything's going to be ok." Then he closed his eyes and took his last breath.

It suddenly occurred to me that he had been hanging on for me. All those afternoons laying in the grass when I thought I was consoling him, he was consoling me. I miss him.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Stuart Smalley Meme

I was tagged for this meme by Mary at No Polar Coordinates. I'm supposed to list 10 things I like about myself. Hmm... Well I've never done one of these before, and I don't want to be a party pooper, so here goes.

  1. I like that I'm friendly. I've been told that I'm approachable, and that's a good thing because I like people. They fascinate me.

  2. I like that I'm empathetic. This helps me with my work, since I usually work with people who are suffering from some kind of ailment, and I love my job. I like being able to help people.

  3. I like that I'm loyal. Sometimes family and friends are all we have to get us through, so I think it's important not to take them for granted. My family and friends know that I'm loyal, so I've always had someone to turn to when I'm down.

  4. I like that I'm conscientious. Some people would call it perfectionism, but that has such a negative connotation, and this is supposed to be a positive list.

  5. I like that I'm a survivor. I use to worry about things like that, but after some of the things I've been through, I've learned that's one less thing I have to worry about. Someday I plan to do more than just survive.

  6. I like that I'm creative. It gives me all kinds of options for therapy.

  7. I like that I'm a good swimmer, which comes in real handy when you love the water.

  8. I like that I'm a nature lover. Otherwise, I would miss out on all the peace that comes from gardening or a walk in the woods, or the joy that comes from the love of a pet or witnessing some of the miracles of life in the animal kingdom.

  9. I like that I'm independent, although, my father and a few ex boyfriends have referred to it as stubborn. Other people say I have strong willpower or determination. Whatever you want to call it, it helps me survive.

  10. And last but not least... I like that I can like myself. I know how horrible it feels to not like yourself, and it's a relief to finally be able to like myself.

Oh yes, it's all about me. Probably more than you wanted to know, but maybe not if you've read this far. This is the part where I'm supposed to tag other people. I'll tag Lynda, Karen, Carol Rose, and Kelly and Dominique if they ever get their blogs started.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Illustration Friday: Moon and Poem

I've been on vacation and still trying to recover, so I thought I'd combine the last two topics. Below are the original photos I used to make this collage.