Devil’s Backbone (Again)

Some shots from Devil’s Backbone…

Also, had this on my mind tonight:

You don’t know what someone is dealing with…what they’re going through. Sometimes a person can be confident and also anxious, look healthy but be sick, look happy and be miserable, look good but feel ugly, act hopeful but feel hopeless, smile and be broken, or never smile at all and be happy… You don’t know. So unless you ask, don’t judge. Don’t assume. Sometimes a person you see every single day or think you know very well can be fighting battles you know nothing about.

Be kind.

A Lifetime Ago

11 years ago today, where we used to live in Coosa County. Actually this was taken in 2004 but I edited it and posted it 11 years ago today.

A lot of days I miss it. Not today, but a lot of days. I’m also very grateful for where we are now in many ways. Especially with depression, but maybe for everyone, peace comes and goes.

I see people strive so hard to attain peace when the reality is that it just comes and goes. Sometimes, it’s even harder to attain when you’re working so hard to find it. Sometimes, most of the time, if it’s to be had it’s just right there within. That’s been my experience.

We are human. It’s hard to be at peace in a world where you see so much that is wrong – abused children and elderly and animals and women and even men, hell, people in general. Wars. TRUMP. Capitalism. Most everyone getting the short end of a very fucked up stick… Yes – if you have any compassion or heart at all, if you care anything at all about others, it’s very hard to live in this world and have a constant feeling of peace.

But, we can speak kindly, offer a hand, take responsibility and apologize when we have not behaved our best, and do our best not to be a part of the problem. Of course we always will be because for most of us there is no way not to be a consumer. But you get what I’m saying, right? Peace comes and goes. Good times and bad times fluctuate – just like weight and the economy and lots of other things.

The only certain thing for me is that one day I’ll be dead and a few generations after that I’ll be forgotten and cease to matter. I intend to make it count while I’m here – and that’s what we did back then. I’m grateful to be where I am today. I wouldn’t trade a thing for my child. But the days back when this was taken? Not even gonna lie. Best days of my life.

Nothing can beat the freedom of that life. The people I had around me. The beauty and seclusion of where I lived. The lack of worry and responsibility for another human being…. Easy times. And we knew it. And we lived it to the fullest. And I’m grateful for every memory and experience. ❤️❤️

I hope that you have a lovely day today…

All the love,


Coping with Cancer #37162

I have written many of these posts over the last three years. Especially after her death, I haven’t shared them publicly. In fact, after her death I took most of the ones written when she was alive down… But today, I just feel compelled to share one. I feel compelled to share more of me. Again. 

This is my best friend and one of the soulmates in my existence. I took this photo on the day of the diagnosis, after a long ‘ol conversation and a lot of tears. It was not the first time that sitting on this front porch was heavy and difficult, not even the day it was heaviest and hardest (for me, that would be the day she died, and I was on this porch watching in disbelief and denial as they took her away). It was also not the first time smiles prevailed over hardship there… They always did. But, definitely this was the day that the truest miracle of friendship happened between us – the day we made the hardest promises, and kept them. 

I miss having this in my life – not just her but what we were. I can’t say I wish to have this in my life again – I don’t believe it exists for any of us more than once, if we have it once at all; it would almost feel selfish to ask for it, anyway. But to look back and to be so grateful to have had it once, for half my life, makes me so very aware – joyfully so – of the miracle I had in my life in these people, and still have to some extent because some things just can’t be destroyed by death. 

I don’t know why I’m so randomly missing them today – because that’s the way grief works, I suppose. But today, I do miss them – especially her – from somewhere deep inside my soul. Not just missing a moment or a memory but missing what felt…feels…like such an essential essence to my being. All I know to do is recycle it into whatever it is I can give to the world…

I miss my Dad, my dog, my family and my friends and my life being what it used to be. I want it back. I can’t have that, necessarily… Some things can be mended, some things can’t…either way, it’s never the same. But I feel this today without tears or doubts. I feel this today with nostalgia and gratitude, with a sense of reverence for what it was, and look to it to find the tools to build whatever is next. I feel like that’s such a powerful gift. I don’t want to waste it; I want to live on…and I am. 

This was the time she had a rainbow on her shoulder and it reminded me of Mardi Gras. This one seems fitting for today, being Fat Tuesday and all. I said to her, “when you get better we should go together,” and she said, “yes! And I’m taking my grandson to Utah, too!” Perhaps it’s silly to make plans when you’re not sure whether you’re gonna be there for them…but are we really ever sure? No. We’re really not. 

We plan our lives when we’re well. Then we (Ok, I) get into panic, depression and sickness and feel like our lives are over. We start to think things like, “the best years are behind me, I’m past my prime, I’m too old, I’m too sick, I’m too afraid,” when in reality – and I know this from experience lately – it’s all bullshit! None of it is valid or true. But we use those things as excuses not to live, because the reality within us is that we don’t feel like we deserve to. 

There are many days that I don’t feel like I deserve goodness, love, patience, etc. I’ve done some terrible things to some people in my life while at the same time thought I was doing wonderful things for other people in my life. Sometimes stories don’t align and sometimes relationships fall apart; sometimes while we are doing what we feel in our hearts is right for someone else we are inadvertently hurting another. We do these things because we are human, not because we are horrible people. 

I truly and deeply believe that we are all doing the best we can with what we have and what we believe in any given moment. We make mistakes, we screw things up, we lose people, we inadvertently “break” ourselves. But we forget that we can make ourselves whole again – and we are the ONLY ones who can do that for ourselves. Then, sometimes we realize and accept it but don’t have the strength or courage to do the work. Maybe we just don’t know where to begin. I haven’t, since she died. The lack of her light in my world has left it a very dark place, indeed – but only because I’ve put my own light out with my tears. Death is so final…

I’m doing my best, every day. There are some I wish I could make amends with. I think of them every day but I can’t contact them. That’s one of my inner battles. I just have to – try to – honor them with the way I live my life now, and hope that they know the love is still there, that the love never left. And that’s what I’m trying to do. 

Sunday Funday

We’ve been going to the dam pretty regularly lately, almost always on a Sunday, it seems. Obviously I spend a lot of time at my mom’s these days, what with being the only child and the primary caregiver for her. On Sundays, though, my mom rides the church bus to Sunday school and Sunday morning worship/preaching. She rides the church bus because of all the things I refuse to compromise on during this current journey of elderly care, my spiritual beliefs are the one thing I protect at all costs. If you know the history between my mother, religion, and I, that probably makes sense to you. If not, no worries. It doesn’t need to make sense to you. It’s just what it is… Hashtag CPTSD.

I find my church – and myself – in nature. Lately it’s been a difficult feat to get out in it, but I do try. It’s a wonderful opportunity for my son and I to chill and to talk, to explore and to have a good time…and, there’s almost always a good homeschool/unschool lesson involved. I don’t get to spend a whole lot of quality time with the boy these days, just me and him, so I treasure these dam Sundays and just being with him. We’re making new memories, and while we continue to build our relationship I’m continuing to rebuild me.

The boy is very into photography and cinematography – in fact, he’s the reason I’ve started trying a bit harder with film/editing lately. I always want to encourage his interests and passions, even though they seem to come and go for him. He’s interested in so many things, and is passionate about so many things… Alas, currently he is obsessed with camera gear and video creation, so I’ve handed down a GoPro Hero+ to him, along with our old point and shoot that we used to use for rugged outdoor adventures and camping (it’s an Olympus and I think “rugged” is a part of the model name, ha). We make that part of our Sunday adventures, and I get to teach him the few things I know about shooting, and have a fun time with him… I’ve grown very fond of Sundays again.

On this particular Sunday I wasn’t sure I would make it. Due to a couple of ongoing health issues I struggled to be present or to have very much fun, but at some point mid-morning I got on board and got in the truck with the man and the boy and before I knew it, there we were at the dam. Man went off on his own, as he tends to do, and the boy and I shuffled off in the other direction together for a shore walk and short shoot. After what seemed like a long time but probably wasn’t, the boy wandered back the other way and walked with the man while I continued on with my usual trespassing/searching for a good image/collapse and rest in peace and quiet and hide for a while shenanigans.

All in all, it was a good day. My mother got to see her precious savior in her favorite man made building, I got to enjoy mine in the original church. Everybody had a nice day, and once we arrived home I was able to happily collapse onto the couch and try to further mend my physical body whilst feeling my soul continue to heal as I played with the footage and images we captured and savored the much needed time to just relax with my little family (human and animal alike).

Here’s a little InstaClip from the outing:



I hope that whoever is reading this had a lovely Sunday (and weekend) doing whatever it is that brings you joy and healing, and I hope that you have a wonderful week ahead.

Much love…


Flashback Friday | Changing Seasons

I propped my phone up in the front window just to play with Hyperlapse and the sunrise this morning. I ended up with an audio-visual of myself (clip above). Played around with the Hyperlapse capture using VivaVideo and iMovie and was both surprised and excited by the result of mirroring clip. 

You know, it’s almost always a shit day in my world lately and I work very hard to not focus there. I feel like for all of us, no matter what’s going on, things can be boiled down to a matter of perspective. I’ve always felt like its a choice. I remind myself (numerous times a day lately) that there’s a light in me somewere, and I try to outshine the shit going down around me so that by the end of every day I’ve convinced myself it wasn’t so bad. 

Usually that’s enough and the shit wave recedes back into the sea of life and the sun comes back out and it’s pretty good for a while. That’s not how it’s been for a while, for me, and while I know at least a couple of my shit things in the last few years have ultimately been down to my own choices and consequences, so many things are down to nothing but “that’s the way life works…” Alas, I continue to “shine,” but I keep saying, “I’m tired,” a lot lately, & my body is rebelling. 

I spend most early mornings and late nights pondering all manner of codependent (with grief) and self-destructive thoughts. I write a lot of journal entries that are effectively letters to people who will never receive them, mostly dead people; they’re mostly just prayers and poems of grief and injustice, bitterness and fear… My heart is upside down and my soul is twisted, and I don’t know where the light comes from exactly but I want to believe it’s from the goodness inside me that the grief and injustice can’t kill with the bitterness and fear. It’s like this inner war is ever raging and I just can’t be fully killed, no matter how readily yet nervously I rush to the front lines to defend myself and no matter how badly certain parts of me wish to die. 

Mostly, my CPTSD battles are still fought in my dreams. I dreamed last night, for example, that my mother was sleeping and I was there with her. I sat with her and I told her so many truths knowing she couldn’t hear them and punish me… “I am my own savior – I don’t need yours. I never have… But I’ve needed a lot of you that you’ve only ever given to that savior. You destroyed me as a child and I have spent the last 25 years trying to rebuild myself. I finally got almost there, and now here I am – not protecting myself from you but protecting you from yourself. How does that even work? I don’t know. But here I am… And you don’t even get it – all you can do is continually thank this savior of yours. This savior who, if they had any compassion at all for you, would just let you go and be with daddy like you want it to be…” 

And then I heard Dorie whisper, “her time’s not done – your lesson is not over.” My heart lifted, and I looked around and there she stood in my mother’s kitchen with a cigarette in her misty, transparent hand and that unmistakeable, uneraseable, beautiful smile on her face. I’ve been fucked up since I woke from that dream – grateful, sad, anxious, so many things all at once… All of this, and the thing I really can’t stop wondering about is “heaven” being a smoke-friendly zone. Go figure. 

So here’s to Flashback Friday (above photo):  early spring blooms hiding in the swamp at Pearl River WMA, March 7, 2015. Found this in my prints folder this morning. God. I can’t believe nearly two years have passed since the day I took this photo. I can’t believe I’ve sold two prints of this. Who’d have thunk it. And what’s up with all the two’s today? I digress. 

I also can’t believe winter is soon to end. Just a few more weeks and the season of change is upon us again. Honestly? This winter hasn’t been as bad as I expected it to be, at least regarding SAD. I really was terrified that I would find myself in the worst bout of SAD depression I’d ever fallen into. Turns out, I was wrong – apparently, nothing can top 2015. Maybe it’s because that me is dead as a door nail. After the last two years it takes a LOT to affect my emotions that powerfully. The winter after my dad died was the most ridiculous winter I have ever faced: the SAD did kick in, I was grieving him, and grieving dead dreams, and watching Scrappy and Dorie die… 

Maybe I’m just that numb now, even though I still have gratitude within me. Maybe it’s because it’s been pretty warm. Maybe it’s because there’s been so damned much going on that I haven’t had time to process anything or feel the seasonal affective cliff-jump happen. Maybe it HAS affected me and I just haven’t consciously noticed it because of the aforementioned BS. Regardless, I have come to realize that winter hasn’t been so bad this year despite my fears that it would be (especially after the CPTSD diagnosis), but I’m not really all that excited for spring (yet) this year. It feels like SAD in reverse. 

Spring was my time with both of them. Planting, tending, loving the blooms and foods to life, then shooting them with our cameras and sitting together and enjoying them…. The therapy garden… I can’t go to it since the fall of last year. I’ve neglected it, I’ve avoided it. It’s not therapeutic anymore. It just hurts. It just makes her absence (and his) that much more real. Maybe that’s the point… I don’t know. Something to ponder more deeply, I think. 

Yesterday someone commented that I don’t grieve well. I think that I grieve excellently. I think – no, I know – that what I don’t do well (if at all) is let go of the souls I love. Whether they be human or animal, dead or alive when they make their exit from my life, I just hate to say goodbye… I CAN’T say goodbye – not once my heart has loved them. One of the things I’m learning very powerfully from grieving Dorie especially is that I don’t HAVE to let go. It’s not a requirement. Even when you accept their removal from your story and even as life becomes something new and different without them, whether they’re dead or alive, you have to let go at your own pace…and despite so many self help and spirituality pushes and platforms to “let it go?” That’s not always they best thing we can do – especially if we aren’t doing it in our own time and in our own way. I’ve learned to allow myself that, regardless of the opinions of others. 

One more Flashback Friday that my previous train of thought led me to seek out on that same hard drive/folder: if you didn’t know, I LOVE the alligator. I don’t know why. They just, well, I love them… On this day, with this gator, I tried to sit with him; I wanted to lay my hand on his back and I wanted him to heal me. I believed he could. In my soul, I feel like be did, albeit it from afar. This was as close as I got before he swam away. But we had a good moment. We had a good run while it lasted. We all did…me and all my people (and pets) who’ve gone. I’m so glad I had as much time as I did with ALL of them before they “swam away.” I think that memories – reliving the old ones that are good and creating new ones – they, and nature, are hope and healing for me. They keep my soul alive, and grateful. 

Oh, and one more alligator related thing:  truly, there’s no need to fear the gator you can see. It’s the one hiding under the water, hungry, while you’re swimming – that’s the one that will get you.

Now it is late evening (past my bedtime, really), so  I think I will close with more Hyperlapse fun, this clip  recorded this evening in the backyard. As I’ve sat and enjoyed an evening to myself (as it were – a moms job is really never done unless there’s a sitter or a sleepover with a friend or family member involved) I’ve been thinking about my pondering a about time earlier today, and considering some old versus new ideas and questions regarding it. I often refer to time as an illusion, sometimes I refer to it as nonexistent (from one perspective of quantum theory). I’ve been reading a bit from some quantum theory articles this evening and one really struck me:

“Just as the double slit experiment illustrates how factors associated with consciousness collapse the quantum wave function (a piece of matter existing in multiple potential states) into a single piece of matter with defined physical properties (no longer a wave, all those potential states collapsed into one), the delayed choice experiment illustrates how what happens in the present can change what happens(ed) in the past. It also shows how time can go backwards, how cause and effect can be reversed, and how the future caused the past.” 

If my general disbelief in the existence of time AS WE KNOW IT is true, why can I (and do I) observe it (time) in so many ways? Not to mention the fact that I work so hard to remain stuck in a certain point in time, not wanting to leave certain aspects of the past behind no matter the fact that they’ve slipped away already…? I know…I’m weird and no one but me sits around a fire in the backyard on a Friday night and thinks about things like this, right? That’s ok – no place I’d really rather be… 

The day has come to a close, I’m afraid; but, even after all the scattered (yet purposeful) thoughts and struggles of the day I sit here tonight feeling mostly grateful, wanting to thank you for your part in my story, and wishing you all a wonderful weekend.