Rest In Peace

As the morning light peeks through the window and you stir into consciousness, sometimes for a fleeting second, you forget.

But you are jerked back into reality as your heart begins to pound– head spinning, choking back acid, muscles aching, nerves burning.

Most days, you lie there for a while, trying to breathe through the pain and gather enough strength to go on about your morning routine.

But a big part of you wonders why you bother to get up at all.

You drag yourself from bed to fight the same battles each day. No end in sight, simply running on a treadmill uphill, hoping to maintain an unfortunate baseline.

It all just becomes so, so very tiresome.

Your physical health continues to deteriorate as your spirit is crushed under the weight of a crumbling sense of self.

You know there are people you would let down if you were to leave. There are those who would suffer if you were to suddenly cease to exist.

So you press on, trying to ignore the fact that you’re trapped– fake smile, one foot in front of the other.

As time passes, your increasing inability to keep up with the world pulls you deeper and deeper into the pit of isolation.

People grow up, get married, move away, retire, or simply forget your existence completely.

You watch as everyone you love fades away.

As night falls and you are left alone with your thoughts, your chest aches with the thought of how alone you have become.

You feel the sting of being unwanted, unneeded, outgrown, forgotten, abandoned.

But as the night turns to dawn, you realize there is no one left to let down. Or at least, there is no one who would have life ripped out from under them if you were to no longer be.

Your body is broken– your very being exhausted and worn– but you close your eyes and let out a sigh of relief.

Tears gilde down your cheeks and a smile slowly creeps across your face as you realize you may finally rest in peace.

 

[Just some musings from a brain and body currently consumed by painsomnia. No worries– I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. Keep fighting, guys.. ❤ ]

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I Understand

I understand why you lied

Your story sent angry mobs after me

Death threats, mental institutions, hatred, and doubt

But I do not regret defending you

A missing patch hair is easier to grasp

than a broken soul and a crushed sense of self

Years of abuse and chaos had taken everything

And I get it, I truly do

I know right now you feel no guilt for your actions

Nor their repercussions

But if one day you do, just know:

While it still hurts and haunts me at night

Brelyn, I understand

Nobody Wins When Everyone’s Losing

You know those songs that just capture your attention, reach into the depths of your soul & hit you at your core?  Yes, that was a very dramatic introduction– I’m aware. 😉 But this particular song, “Not Meant To Be” by Theory Of A Deadman is definitely one of those songs for Keri, Bre & I. When everything was in a chaotic spiral & we would find ourselves so far in Borderland we didn’t know that we’d ever again see the light, there wasn’t much that could help us (or, anyone caught in the path of the storm). But this song– one step forward, two steps back– every single word is/was SO relatable & relevant to our situation. And I’m not sure if it’s that it empowered us or simply validated our feelings, but somehow, singing it always made it easier to breathe.

It’s never enough to say I’m sorry
It’s never enough to say I care
But I’m caught between what you wanted from me
And knowing that if I give that to you
I might just disappear

Nobody wins when everyone’s losing…

[Chorus:]
It’s like one step forward and two steps back
No matter what I do, you’re always mad
And I, I can’t change your mind
I know it’s like trying to turn around on a one-way street
I can’t give you what you want
And it’s killing me
And I, I’m starting to see
Maybe we’re not meant to be

It’s never enough to say I love you
No, it’s never enough to say I try
It’s hard to believe
That’s theres no way out for you and me
And it seems to be the story of our lives

Nobody wins when everyone’s losing…

[Chorus]

There’s still time to turn this around
You could be building this up instead of tearing it down
But I keep thinking
Maybe it’s too late

[Chorus]

It’s like one step forward and two steps back
No matter what I do, you’re always mad
And I, baby I’m sorry to see
Maybe we’re not meant to be…

October 18th

One thing that used to frustrate us the most about our mother was her obsession and hang-up over dates.  I never quite understood why, for example, we were expected to behave a certain way on the anniversary of one’s death.  Don’t we miss the person the same that day as we did the day before?  As we will the day after?

However, October 18th is always a day that will always elicit a moment of somber reflection.

On this day 4 years ago, my sisters and I became wards of the state of North Carolina.  That crisp October morning, we were summoned to a meeting that consisted of our parents, grandparents, family friends, social workers, counselors, psychiatrists, and school principals.

We entered that room with fears, doubts, and heartbreak, sure…but we went as a single unit:

Hand-in-hand.

Three as one.

United by a lifetime of hurt and violent chaos, but also by a fervent hope that somehow always managed to sing its quiet song amidst the storms we weathered…

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October 18, 2012

But we left that meeting completely different people.

We were forced on yet another dark and winding path, but unlike the roads we had travelled in the past, this one split in three.  We were all forced to navigate alone- stumbling along scared and blind- with no hope of getting back to where we started and no promise of an end.

We would never again be the same…

“You’re So Brave!”

There are many instances of my life that haunt me. Rhetoric that plays over and over in my head like some sick tape I cannot escape. Actions that color my dreams, jolting me from nightly slumber. However nothing makes me quite as sick as the innocent words of my then 13-year-old sister, remarking on my self-harm:

“…I tried [to cut myself] but I couldn’t do it.  I wanted to but it hurt too much.  You’re so brave!”

Hearing those words took my breath away.  I was 14 when I started- not much older than she.  It was my heavy, shameful, long sleeves in July secret for 3 miserable years.

Cutting was not brave, and that self-destructive path was certainly not what I wished to model for my little sisters. It’s been more than 4 years since she uttered those words, and while they still shake me to my core, they also push me to keep fighting, to not give in to temptation, and to show her what bravery truly is.

BIO 181 & A Whisper In The Storm

I have no words to describe what is happening right now. My heart is shattered. I am tired and weary and I feel so very afraid. But God is holding us amidst this chaos, even though His presence isn’t always immediately apparent…

Dr. Kosal is my Biology professor and one of the kindest, most compassionate people I have ever known (more on that later). Unable to leave my dad’s side at the hospital, I missed the final exam. I couldn’t even let her know I was going to miss the exam or why because there are no phones or computers allowed when someone is waiting to be involuntarily committed. It was impossible to sneak considering my dad’s rogue state and my role as a primary caretaker. When I could finally access my phone, I emailed her in a panicked frenzy, apologizing profusely, feeling terrible, and begging for a retroactive ‘incomplete’ in the class. Her response…well…it was a total God thing.

Here’s are some excerpts (6/22/16):

“Hi Cassidy,

I’m so sorry to read all of this.  It sounds like you have been given a heavy load to carry and I know you are physically and emotionally exhausted.  I gave you an incomplete for the course already – I knew there was some good reason to not see you…
…So let me know what you think.  Take care of your health first, your dad, and then worry about BIO 181.  It will be here for you when you can tackle it well.  No rush.

Sincerely,
Dr. Kosal”

Thank you, Lord, for placing people like Dr. Kosal in my life. I do not understand why this is happening, but I know You are here and You are working for our good…somehow…

Fear.

bipolar disorder.

manic crisis.

emergency.

i’m on my way.

daddy, are you in there?

daddy, please.

unrecognizable.

fear.

screaming.

wild eyes.

frothing mouth.

it’s a coin toss.

she’s pushed against wall.

pull him off.

back again.

he’s so strong.

fear.

nudity.

i’ll remove my hands.

violence.

out on the deck.

cool breeze.

hot breath.

penis against my back.

fear.

so loud.

where’s the dog?

fist fight.

neighbors scared.

quiet scheming.

police.

yes, we are safe.

lying through our teeth.

fear.

psychotic break.

smile and nod.

where is this coming from?

don’t take it to heart.

feel so shattered.

no sleep.

how many days has it been?

fear.

hushed whispering.

tiptoe.

crushing drugs.

spiking drinks.

laugh or you’ll cry.

share a blanket.

now he’s coming.

pretend you’re asleep.

fear.

sexual advances.

heart is racing.

vivid flashbacks.

PTSD.

not taking no for an answer.

daddy, please stop.

fear.

you don’t want to hurt her, daddy.

you don’t want to hurt me, daddy.

bruises.

run away.

no shoes.

hiding.

fear.

sobbing.

begging.

screaming.

please don’t leave me.

praying.

cursing.

is this really happening?

fear.

flashing lights.

police.

well-practiced lies

please see through us.

are we doing the right thing?

secret recordings.

so much unknown.

fear.

trapped.

no way out.

hopeless.

don’t touch her there.

don’t touch me there.

can’t breathe.

hold my hand.

white knuckles.

fear.

torn clothing.

haven’t showered in days.

mascara streaks.

scraped up knees.

red eyes.

trembling lips.

fear.

confusion.

pleading.

gotta reach him somehow.

it’s me, your daughter.

i love you, daddy.

bruises around my neck.

fear.

car rides.

alcohol.

trapped.

please don’t look.

don’t look away.

can we do this?

patient shows up.

no hiding now.

fear.

shattered glass.

my body, a shield.

please, daddy, stop.

don’t hurt him.

don’t hurt me.

please leave.

i don’t need your help.

fear.

911.

EMS.

strips down naked.

sir, please cooperate.

mom sent away.

daddy, i’m here.

daddy, i’ll stay with you.

daddy, please trust me.

fear.

raspy voice.

shake my hand.

talking in circles.

ambulance ride.

front seat.

monitoring his vitals.

god, can you hear me?

fear.

ER.

he pulls my hair.

grabs my arm.

just a rag doll.

stay calm.

steady voice.

talk to doctors.

fear.

 

(To be continued…)