I Had Planned on Writing Something Different Here, but …

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… I read something that made me change my mind.

Funny how that can happen. You’re all prepared to go ahead with plans and then something untoward will occur and there you are frozen where you stand or onto a new and different pathway of being or direction of heading. Serendipity is a great word when things occur that change your life in a happy way. Fate seems to be the word we use when sudden change brings about things that are less than cheerful … or worse.

And yet, having said all that and having lived through a few both serendipitous and fate oriented experiences I must say that I believe there is an undercurrent or relationship to those things that mold and shape us – our life experiences – that is still a rather large unknown.

We, humans, will analyze the heck out of a thing to figure it out and when we are still unsure it becomes a magical unknown. Speaking for myself, I rather like the magical unknowns. It is wearisome to try to determine the how and why when we are so easily influenced by our emotions that insist on getting involved too. Then you find yourself dealing not only with the circumstances of an event but also your own feelings. Guilt, Anger, Depression, Hurt and so on.

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Now that I have your undivided attention …

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We are easily influenced. I believe I already mentioned that … Still it’s worth mentioning again … and the words I read earlier now make me want to write the following to pass on to you:

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“Yesterday is there for a reason. It’s over with. The past. Record the events in your mind, file them in the proper place and move on. Really move on. Let go your susceptible emotions still hanging in there. Recognize them for what they are, then let go and move on.

You are now living in the today of things. This is where you should be too. Not yesterday. Yesterday is for memories and reminders, but not negative emotions clogging up your today. Let go so that when tomorrow comes, you’ll be ready, or as ready as the magical unknown allows you to be – lol.”

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Have a great week ahead everyone.

With much affection,

~ Penny

Inferno of Emptiness

In between happy memories and heartache,

there are the days when it still can’t be born.

Days consumed with my awareness of loss.

 Some days – feelings are ignored, muted, dealt with,

and yet … and yet

there are days

when the need is so strong,

when the “lack of” …  so overwhelming,

the feeling of being so alone and lonely,

it is then, I realize you’re still here,

in my heart,

my mind,

my thoughts,

my being,

and the longing becomes searing, burning pain,

melting tears into little pieces of lost love

and I cry myself to sleep within an inferno of emptiness.

Penny L Howe, 2014

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Meet Plato – The Intelligent Cat!

Plato

Plato, the intelligent Cat

This is Plato. and he’ll have been a part of our family for a year, right around Halloween time. While he’s certain the color for Halloween, he’s far more than just another black cat. He is a smart and beautiful cat with a most magnificent tail.

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Before Plato there had been Sawyer the cat. Emma’s beloved Sawyer left us last fall. She was a beautiful calico cat and at 16 yrs had lived a full life. When Emma was born, Sawyer (who never had kittens), adopted Emma, the two became inseparable, when Emma lost her dear father 4 years ago, Sawyer rarely left her side, she was an amazing cat and we were all sad when she was gone.

Adorable Emma

But for Emma, under the circumstances Sawyer was one too many losses and left an unusually large hole of sadness in her heart and although we had said no more pets, already having 3 cats and 2 dogs (not counting Sawyer) we felt that here was a loss we could partially replace for Emma. So we went to a special rescue place for cats and Emma picked out the kitten of her choice.

Franky cautiously checking out the new kitten!

Plato is beautiful and playful and has turned out, as I mentioned at the beginning, to be very intelligent. He’s thinks about things and studies to improve his learning, LOL. Seriously, he is very clever and we never know what to expect with him even after a year. And he adores Emma!

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He hasn’t replaced Sawyer, Emma still misses her, but he is a wonderful companion for Emma and the other animals have graciously (well not entirely) accepted him into the family as well!

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 You must admit he is beautiful, and take my word for it – he’s also smart! Well okay, to be honest, my Franky and Jonny think he’s a pain in the …

Happy Wednesday/Thursday everyone!

Penny

The Fourth Day of Happiness – The Brightest Star in the Sky!

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On the fourth day of Happiness a young girl and a little older boy (brother and sister) were looking up at the evening sky staring at the glorious blanket of seemingly endless sparking stars spread out across the heavens.

(The following is a true and recent conversation that I heard and witnessed. These children lost their loving dad to an unfortunate and sudden accident several years previously, As a result even the happiest holiday season is poignant with memories of times past for these young ones.)

“Look,” She said pointing to the brightest star in the sky. “It’s daddy, I know it is.” Her brother looked and was quick to agree with her.

“Yes it is Daddy. He is the brightest star in the sky,” her brother said smiling proudly.

The little girl was just as quick to answer her brother. “Of course he’s the brightest star. He’s shining down and smiling at us from heaven because he loves us and is happy we are doing okay.”

The two young ones watched for awhile, content to stare silently up into the starry sky. Their thoughts a combination of longing for their father interwoven with the enriching feeling that they and their dad were still a part of each other and the Universe (both the seen and unseen).

We are all blessed. And whatever our beliefs, all of us derive a happiness when looking up into the majestic night sky to view eternal stars shining in the sky, and yes some stars definitely shine brighter than others!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe children of this story!

We are so lucky when we consider, and remember the stars in our lives! Happy New Year everyone. Take care of you as you begin your new year most definitely with lots of hope and love (and dreams)!

With much love and affection to all of you,

Penny

I wish you could touch me now …

I am vulnerable because of loving so pure and deeply, my walls of protection cannot keep my desire for you at bay.

and so … I wish you could touch me now. Not my heart, you’ve touched me there too deeply, it’s still bruised and bleeding. But my body still hungers for you.

I need your touch …

I desire the warmth of your caress, the closeness of your body, the physical contact of … you!

I wish you could touch me now …

… even as I understand morning light will illuminate the true reality of our relationship. I know for all your tender caring words, you would be gone and my loving soul will still be bruised … for all your promises said in the moonlight hours of sensual need and gratification. I know all this.

But the longing remains so …

I still wish you could touch me now.

I’ll always have our memories of the night time to sustain me, in daylight hours spent alone, reflecting on why you said one thing and did another. Belittling my efforts instead of supporting them, and yet still I love you. And wish you to be happy.

I am pleased to hear you are where you’ve wanted to be for so long. I am happy for you. Resigned, accepting and aware of some of the hard learned lessons of life, when one exposes one’s soul during love.

But now in these evening hours I dream of you touching me again, filling my sensual needs. Even, as reality has come full circle and comprehension of the cruelty of those who love and those who take in the guise of love, is complete.

Touch me … but let it be only the physical, my bruised soul cannot bear the mockery of a pretense at true love (yours were personal and emotional needs for yourself. I don’t believe you really thought of my needs – perhaps as an afterthought), but my body does respond to your loving body. So in that, there is truth.

I wish you could touch me. I’m prepared now for tomorrow … it hurts, but I understand. With all the love in my heart that I give so freely, I was so sure someone might love me the way I loved them in return … it seems I was mistaken!

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Most definitely an unrequited love piece here. Not to worry, my next fictional piece is part two of adventure and excitement. Dry your tears and stay tuned for fun! Our fictional young lady in the piece above (p.s.- she’s the one trapped in the tunnel https://thewhyaboutthis.com/2013/07/22/alastairs-photo-fiction-the-tunnel-and-survival/ , although brokenhearted, she’s about to kick some serious a..!) More to come!

~ Penny

penny

A Special Prayer for a Friend

There is a very special person I know. She lives a great distance away, an ocean and another continent separate us. But when we are in the world of blogging we become next door neighbors, exchanging creativity, thoughts and emotional connections.

Most recently she lost someone close to her and her family. It is in these moments that faith (all faiths) can be of great value to turn to for comfort.

The man singing this song (and his wife) had just lost his father and dedicated this song to him. All the voices you hear melding together are theirs – this is a prayer sung with great talent, total sincerity and much emotion).

With much love, respect and affection I gift this prayer to you my friend ~ Take care of you!

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~ Penny

To all Bloggers who write – A Challenge

The Challenge

I have become increasingly impressed with the quality of talent that I see out there every day in the online blog world so today I am offering a challenge and a “featured” reward to those who write (as in almost every single one of you, lol). THE CHALLENGE: Write a poem, your own creative version of Unrequited Love (When it comes to Love, nothing is sadder or  more potentially tragic than to have your love not returned by the one whom you love).

A few days ago, on the first day of September, I wrote of a (pretend) conversation going on in my head between my “muse” and my “imagination”. It was for fun and included two poems, each written from their varying perspectives. The “muse” – from a female gender perspective and “imagination” – a male gender perspective (hey, don’t read anything into the gender thing going on there. Well okay, read a little something into it if you want to – lol)

Since I wrote these two poems however I’ve been uncomfortable because I tried to write each poem from those (mythical) perspectives. So today with both my muse and my imagination working together I am in a full and completely creative mode. My challenge … to surpass the two short poems written previously on Unrequited Love,

Your Challenge, should you choose to accept, is to send me your own creative version of Unrequited Love. Email all entries to penny1717howe@gmail.com. This can be a poem you’ve already written or something new, The challenge will stay open until September 14th, The winning entries will be featured a few days later here on my blog with attached short bio’s about each of the writers and of course a link to their blog! So come on all of you, show me your stuff!

But first my offering in this challenge of creativity:

Shattered Dreams

You

all I was,

all I thought,

all I tasted, all I felt,

all I dreamed.

you,

only you

the essence of you

everything.

nothing now,

I lay broken

in pieces,

shattered dreams

splinters of time,

withering

Our dreams of love,

forever

gone,

 passionate emptiness

pain

exquisitely tormenting,

 empty tears

suffer

a broken soul,

I

cease

to be

me!

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Okay, now it’s your turn, once again submit your entries (yes, you may submit more than one) to: penny1717howe@gmail.com final deadline is Midnight -September 14th, 2012

Penny

Copyright © 2012 by Penny l Howe

…and then she waited.

Sometimes words aren’t enough but I am going to try. I do have a way with words. I know this, but when you’re discussing something so intensely personal and real, it can become hard to put the right words where you want them.

I call this post …and then she waited. It is a long post, something I don’t normally do. But to me this is the most important post I will ever write, So for those of you who have enjoyed some of my other posts I would ask of you as a favor to take the time to read this all the way through – The message I share is for all families out there. Thank you!

This is a post about my daughter Christina! The mother of Jordan, Jack, and Emma (my beloved grandchildren) whom many of you have already met in my other posts! This is a post of several things. Love lost, hardship endured and overcoming adversity against all odds!

This story begins 2 ½ years ago. Christina came down with H1N1 (with severe added complications) and almost died, several times. It was a slow and agonizing recovery – complicated by previous and ongoing chronic pain which she doesn’t let interfere with her life.

Within a few months of recovery she was up and about, her and her husband were busy cleaning the house getting ready for their son Jack’s 10th Birthday celebration. Her husband, was called away mid-day to assist another and never returned. He was struck and killed in a vehicular accident, within an hour he was gone. While this is overwhelmingly sad in and of itself, this is actually where my story begins. After the H1N1, after this families loss.

Something happened to Duane’s (her deceased husband) parents. I don’t know if it was an accumulation of previous events in their life ending with the death of their only son, I just don’t know, but this highly Christian couple turned on both Christina and the children.

It was slow and insidious at first, but it kept creeping in, Innuendo’s to the children about what mom wasn’t doing for them. Being harsh when with them, both in deeds and actions. Two months after their father’s death telling these little ones to grow up, move on. On the night of his death (we didn’t know this till later) showing these 8 and 10 year old children a photograph that had been taken of their father’s body at the hospital to prove he was gone!

I was getting angry, but their mom, a gentle loving soul said to give his parents time. They were being inappropriate because they were grieving and so Christina’s personal grieving had to wait while she did damage control regarding the grandparent’s inappropriate comments and behavior.

She called in psychologists/counselors known to the grandparents, and then the pastor of her/their church for help. These people met and spoke with them several times. Duane’s parents became more bitter in response while cloaking their actions with loving words (“it’s for the best” they would say to others). After a particularly bad incident, the psychologists recommended the children not be allowed to spend time alone with their grandparents.

And so she waited, her own personal grief continuing to be held at bay while she protected and problem solved for her family. At Christmas, that first year without him, the neighborhood, other family and friends and her church were wonderful and amazing. So Christina went and visited them, Duane’s parents and asked for a coming together at this time of year. She came back and I could see she had been crying. Christina does not easily cry.

Their response: She was told they had monetary (their income is double my daughters) concerns and with Duane no longer there to help them, they would have to sell Christina’s house (A home to this family for 12 years that was supposed to have become theirs, the house payment that she had continued to faithfully make payments – on time – after Duane’s death, plus maintenance plus for the last several months she had been paying one of their credit card payments to ease the load – which she could not afford to do. An additional $500 per month!)

Because of work done on the house over the years by Duane and his dad, the value of the house had doubled. They, his parents had decided to sell the house from under this family for the increased equity value. When Christina mentioned the promise his parents had made to the two of them 12 years before when his parents had purchased this house (fixer/upper at that time) to help the young couple, she was told that the promise had been made to Duane not her.

And so again she waited to mourn and geared herself up to fight the battle of her life, saving her family’s home and those special memories so dear to them all. The cruelties to the children are hard to describe. I will name but a few: Them waking up one day to a FOR SALE sign on the lawn (no warning) of the only home the two youngest had ever known. Emma would sit by the sign and look up at it trying to understand and cry. Jack would kick the sign and they would both ask me why. The neighbors were angry and several times removed the sign only to have us ask them (the neighbors) to return the sign or there would be more problems.

It became my habit to take several showers a day. I could cry in the showers and the water cascading down my face would wipe away the traces of my tears so that my daughter and her children couldn’t see them. (In those previous few years I had not worked much, being there for my dad, caregiving my mother and finally my husband – all gone now, so I did not have the money needed to help.) The children had so many nightmares to cope with, as did my daughter. They were all waiting to grieve but the fear of what might happen to their home and those most precious memories of their dad were stronger.

It just kept continuing, this onslaught of insensitivity while Christina attempted to come up with either a legal recourse or the additional financing she needed to purchase the house as a single provider, the church helped as best it could, there just wasn’t enough available funds for what Duane’s parents were asking.

And Christina kept waiting to grieve while trying to come up with solutions. She asked them for time to raise the additional funds needed. She said if they worked together they could work it out. And she continued to faithfully make all payments on time and then came that fateful Sunday in April of this year when after the grandparents attended church they showed up and with official documents served eviction notices to not only her daughter-in-law but also THE CHILDREN. With a smile on her face she handed to each of them a sealed envelope that they took to be a treat.

No word of what was inside, just a sweet loving smile and said they’d see everyone later and they left. It was unbelievable when we saw the legal eviction notices folded up inside.

The unspeakable look on their mom’s face, (it was too late to stop the children from opening the envelopes with excitement) watching the children’s faces, change to confusion by what was inside. Yes, this is absolutely true. Christina did see an attorney regarding the legalities, and while the attorney was horrified and called upon several attorney friends, nothing Duane’s parents had done was illegal – cruel – but not illegal!

So bravely Christina told the children they would be moving. They asked why, she explained what the words on the paper addressed to them meant; they asked why would their grandparents do this? Not wanting to scar the children further, she said the grandparents had become confused since the loss of their son. Jack did say, “I don’t think Daddy would be very happy with them.” And then he too was quiet!

While Christina waited for her time to be able to grieve her private loss of her husband, she became very proactive – she met with Duane’s mother and told her what she thought (finally) of their actions in creative and colorful words that I didn’t even know she knew. She of such a loving, forgiving and gentle nature.

We began to pack and then just a few days before we would have moved, her brother who lives on the other end of the country and had not been fully versed with the activities happening here (his sister, Christina had kept silent about so much because she did not want to be a bother) called her and said: “We (His wife and himself) can’t let Duane’s parents do this to you. Her brother Nick and her sister-in-law, Julie reached out and made the needed financial difference.

As of the beginning of June my daughter owns her own home. She had protected her family and kept the home she and Duane built, not the house but those oh so precious memories and finally she and they could begin to heal in safety.

Finally no more waiting for any of them. The confusion still remains to the youngest as they try to understand what happened to the grandparents, Duane’s parents, whom they still love. Luckily for all in this house, the grandparents will have moved to another state by September 1st, and as for my beautiful incredible amazing daughter Christina…

Well…She discovered blogging. And she discovered all of you. Prior to starting her blog she had never written a poem in her entire life, but if you go there to her blog you will see for yourself a blossoming person who is finally releasing long held emotions and healing from the inside out.

Thank you for greeting her so lovingly, for making her feel cared for, loved and accepted. Just the other day she wrote a post called “You Said…” about her enduring love for Duane. Every word she writes is true and the response from her fellow bloggers was/is amazing. reconstructingchristina

I was sitting nearby and watched. She stared at the computer for the longest time. I watched her repeatedly cry (she who doesn’t show emotions) as she read all the lovely responses she was receiving from each of you.

Speaking personally here as her mother to all of your love and support… I-CANNOT-THANK-YOU-ENOUGH…So if anyone should ask me what I feel about blogging and bloggers this should clarify that. Christina is my daughter and Nick is my son, his wife Julie my wonderful daughter-in-law. I have 5 beautiful grandchildren between them and I am the luckiest person I know because now I also have all of you, my fellow bloggers. I am greatly blessed.

Thank you for reading this chapter of mine and my family’s life. Please take the time right now to hug your partner in life, your parents, your sons and your daughters, your grandsons, your granddaughters. All that you hold most dear and take for granted can be gone or change in a heartbeat.

Penny L. Howe, August 10th 2012

Perception – A misleading thing!

Our society is so quickly judgmental today that we immediately assume things, based on an exterior appearance, and look no further.

I’m guessing your initial reaction to this photograph is that of a beautiful model within a choreographed setting. This is not the case. Because of her looks people have mistakenly presumed to judge her as nothing more.

Allow me to introduce to you Jack and Emma’s big sister Jordan. This beautiful young lady is 18 years old. That is her bed in her bedroom; she had actually been awake for only a short time and was temporarily babysitting a stray kitten that had wandered into our neighborhood until Jordan could find it a good home. Which she did two days later.

I had gone into her room to make sure she was awake (she had asked me to check in and make sure she was up, as she had an appointment to keep that morning, and like many teenagers is up late at night!) I was struck by the black and white of most everything except her hair (She’s a teenager, her hair changes as frequently as her mood. :D)

On a more serious note two years ago when the children suddenly lost their father in a senseless accident caused by a meth-using driver, Jordan (just like her mom) went into extreme shock.

Her dad had been her buddy, her pal. He and her mom taught her to believe in God (she is an active member in her church youth group), to love life, music and that beauty comes from the inside out. With her youth group she has travelled twice to Mexico – called A Labor of Love, to help construct homes for the homeless.

And her dad also taught her to drive and to love the river. The last two years have been very hard for her. They had spent every summer on the water. One of the first things to go (financial needs) was the ski boat. (Interjecting a quick note here. I live with this family now and I am a close relative, I help as I can since the accident, the focus here is on their journey after a tragic event in their lives).

For Jordan her loss of her father turned to anger and depression. It was a struggle for her to overcome. She’s moving on now – in a good way, but it was a very hard loss for a young impressionable teenager just at the beginning of her awareness of all that life can offer.

The musical notes you see in the background of  two of the photos are all over the walls of her room. Her dad had lovingly done this a few years previous. (taking weeks, in his spare time to complete a score from her favorite song “butterfly kisses”– he was like that with his whole family. All those little extras bits of love!)

So this is Jordan today. She was always kind, loving and giving; now she is also wiser and more reflective.

She is also amazing when it comes to repairing the engines of vehicles. Her male friends call her for advice (Yup, totally true – luckily her boyfriend isn’t the jealous type, in fact he asks her for advice in that area also).

She is also an excellent photographer, a photo journalist although her special knack in this area is cinematography. I am hoping this becomes her chosen career.

So there you have it. Jordan, As beautiful on in the inside as she is on the outside and the third of the four members left in this amazing family of loss and courage.

I have two more to write about in the near future. These children’s brave/persevering mom and of course their dad/her husband Duane. Who we all miss so very dearly!

And after that I shall introduce the other most important people in my life  – My son and his wonderful family!

A young boys words

This is Jack. He’s Emma’s older brother. At the start of the weekend of his 10th upcoming birthday he, his dad and mom were busily redoing his bedroom in preparation for his birthday party to be shared by family and friends. He was very excited and really looking forward to it.

Jack and his dad had just finished putting up the new shelves on the walls in his room when his dad got a call from someone. They needed his help to move a larger size aquarium from their home. As always his dad (a generous and kind man) said he’d be right over. Jack, Emma, Jordan and their mom never saw him again.Just a few blocks away he was struck and killed by a meth using driver who failed to yield.

When I wrote “Ethereal Life” and spoke of …in a heartbeat it can be gone… it was true and extremely personal. Just a few days ago Jack had picked the puff ball and was demonstrating to me how quickly it could be blown away, that was when I got the inspiration to write the poem.

I have watched this family struggle for the past two years since the most devastating day of their life.

In Jack’s case it was particularily hard. It happened during what would have been a celebration of his birthday. Jack is a very special boy. He is highly sensitive, he see’s most things in black and white. Borderline Aspergers, intellectually off the charts, but in a few areas, emotionally immature. Prior to his dad’s death he was well on his way to overcoming many of the characteristics common to his type of personality. After his fathers death there was a reversal, but slowly he’s progressing forward again.

On the day of his dad’s eulogy, the family’s church was packed with people. Hundreds. His dad had been well loved and admired in the community for his many acts of kindness and giving. The pastor standing in the front of the gathering had asked all those with a special memory of this man to stand and share. Many did, one after another. Towards the end the pastor asked if there was anyone else who wished to share.

And then amazingly, young Jack who is not an outgoing boy at all, solemnly stood up and turned to the very large group of gathered family & friends and stated … I have some things to share about my dad. And then the most heart breaking, soul wrenching words came forth from him. He held himself upright and spoke quietly and with dignity about the dad he knew and loved.

He spoke of his love and about all the things he would miss and why he loved him so much. In closing he said he was glad his dad was in heaven but he was really going to miss him. Then he quietly said “that’s all” and sat down. The silence in the large filled room that day was broken by the sound of many – crying  tears of sadness over Jack’s earnest young words.

As I said Jack is very special. He’s introspective about people & life. If you’ve been following my blog you met his sister Emma recently when she posted a blog of her own. Jack watched and the other day he approached me and asked if he could post a blog too. Of course I said yes. For him to reach out and share is a sign of some very good things happening in his mind.

For those of you who have commented on Emma’s Post, she is most grateful and I thank you. In a little while soon I will post Jack’s first blog. He is as excited about it as I am for him and his wanting to reaching out to others. I will be most appreciative of all who read this today if you can take just a few minutes to come back, read and comment to him when Jack’s Post appears. Again thank you.