I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, that he may hear me. In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted. (Psalm 77:1-2) ............................................ A journal chronicling my struggle as a woman, to find my way out of an abusive relationship, and to find myself again.

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Location: Georgia, United States

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Home again, home again...

I got home from the hospital Saturday evening. Dale came to get me after he'd
gone to Macon to see Emily. Doc would not let me out before then, because he thought that seeing her would upset me too much. Probably true, but I did want to see her. I think we may be going this weekend. Dale says she is doing well, considering, so maybe it will be OK.

Ah, the mental hospital, the loony bin, the nuthouse, "the womb", as Dr. Connell calls it. I suppose it has some womb-like qualities. It also has some jail-like qualities. And as always, I met some very brave, very tough, very sad people. Strong people, even the ones who probably couldn't tell you what day or season it is. But they are still alive, and still coping, in their own ways. I love the old folks. Betty, 70+, in her ruffly, pink seersucker pajamas, always with a smile, was my favorite. Her walker had folded up on her, so she was afraid to use it, and she held my arm as we walked back to her room after smoke break. What a lovely familiar feeling, an old lady's trembly arm in mine. Yeah, somewhat womb-like.

I got sick (physically) my third day at Laurelwood. Maybe a sinus infection? I don't know, but it was plenty crappy. Sneezing, coughing, sniffling, fever. Now I'm home and still sick, even though I've finished a course of antibiotics. Feels like whatever it is has settled in my bronchial passages. Feels like bronchial pneumonia. If it lasts another day, I'll try and get to a doctor.

The good thing? I can't smoke. My bronchus rejects the smoke as if I was trying to stuff cotton down my windpipe. So I sorta 'sip' a cigarette when I want one, which is seldom. Hm. Wouldn't it be an amazing thing if I was able to quit smoking? Mysterious ways and all that.

More later. I am so exhausted from coughing, and my brain is not functioning on all cylinders.


Thursday, August 19, 2004

Coming to take me away, haha

Crap. Heckuva way to start, eh? Sums it up, though. Of course I'm going to write the details anyway.

I went to see my shrink today, the Wonderful Wizard named John Connell. I spent most of last night wondering why I continue to struggle. Same-old, same-old, blah, blah, blah. I was in a fine state by the time I got to his office.

I got a ride from Logisticare, the Medicaid-paid van service. My ride came to pick me up at 12:30 and I got to Dr. C's office at 1:15 for my 2:00 appointment. I had a lot of waiting to do. It wasn't so bad. I met a lady who had brought in her 7-yr-old daughter, who has Asperger's. Her name was Hannah, and she reminded me so very much of Emily at that age. I told her she was lucky to have had her daughter diagnosed at such a young age. But people are finally beginning to realize that a lot of cases of 'ADHD' are not that at all, but Asperger's. My neighbor's kid has ADHD, and he is nothing like Emily was. He's a wild child! Hannah's mom, too thought Hannah was autistic until she began talking at an early age.

Then my friend Melinda came in with her three kids. I can't believe I've known her for 10 years now. She and I were part of the 'original' Laurelwood Gang. Anyway, I talked with her for a while, until it was time for me to see the all-wise man himself. Please know I say that with a bit of sarcasm. As much as I love and admire my doc, I never had a crush on him as so many patients of his have. All I ever wanted was for him to be my doc, and that's all he's ever been, for the most part. I think he's hugged me maybe half a dozen times over the past 10 years. We are friends, too, on a certain level, but only because we have a lot in common.

I don't know why I strayed there.

Anyhow, I was a real mess by the time I got into his office. I was tired, and I guess my defenses were down, because I started talking and crying almost immediately, which I don't usually do. He finally told me to STOP. He said that Emily was exactly where she needed to be, and that I had to stop trying to rescue my kids from everything. He said I've made them selfish, which is very true. Funny how that works. I wanted to save them the pain of a cold and distant mother, and instead I sorta 'overloved' them. Therefore they often feel that anything I can't fix now is my fault. Even the older kids. Of course it went deeper than that, but I do try to give the short version.

Then I just whined, I guess, or maybe not....I certainly was ranting, anyhow. Money, Dale, money, Dale, somebody to love me, somebody to just touch me for crissakes, money, Dale. On and on. I got a scrip for Valium, and a hug(!), and I left. Couldn't stop crying though. Usually the tears I shed in Dr. C's office magically dry up as soon as I hit the door. Melinda's boy, Dalton, asked me why I was crying. "Just a little upset," I said. "I'm sorry you're crying," he said. Hell, I don't get that much caring at home.

Tracy (receptionist) called Logisticare for me, and I went outside to wait. And wait. And I still couldn't stop crying. I was sitting in the shade under the crepe myrtle trees, just feeling like I was going nuts. I had bummed a cigarette from Melinda, and wondered if burning myself with it would calm me down like it used to. I wondered if it would hurt.

It didn't. But then Dalton and his sister came outside and said, "Whatcha doin'?" He hadn't seen, and I hid my arm and put the cigarette out in the grass, feeling stupid and guilty and ashamed. I have a huge blister on my arm. It shocked me.

After Melinda left and Tracy had called for my ride again, I went back inside, still crying. Tracy came out into the waiting room to talk to me, and asked me if I thought I needed to go into the hospital. I said, yeah, I reckon I do. I told her I couldn't, though. I had to go bumming tonight in Helen, so I could get some money for smokes to take with me. No way I can be locked up without smokes. Tracy asked me, "If I give you some money for cigarettes, do you promise to come to the hospital tomorrow?" I told her I would. She gave me five bucks, on top of two Melinda had given me, she hugged me, I gave back the Valium scrip and I went back to waiting under the tree. Now I had another reason to cry. I hate telling Dale and Abby I'm going back to the hospital. Why couldn't I just get bleeding ulcers or something? There's no shame in that. For that, I might even get flowers. Maybe even phone calls and visits. Yep, if major stress is gonna manifest itself in you in some way, bleeding ulcers is the way to go. Depression has so, like, been done. So lame.

My ride finally came at almost 5:00, and then we had to stop at another doctor's office to pick up a woman going to Toccoa. Valerie, the driver asked me if I minded going there first, and I said it was fine. But we had to wait nearly an hour for the woman to come out. The van was having transmission problems, too. Didn't want to shift, and when it did, it was with this whiplash-inducing jerk. It didn't get any better on the way to Toccoa, which actually was Eastanolee (?), outside of Toccoa. By the time we dropped the other lady off, it just didn't want to climb hills at all. Good grief. And then as we were almost to Cleveland, the van ran out of gas! (I am not making this up!) It was almost 8:00PM by this time. Valerie called another driver who came to give her some gas money, and when the other driver offered to take me the rest of way to Helen, I jumped at it. After we'd gone a few miles, she said. "I'm glad I only had one glass of wine so far." Yeah. Me too. It was almost 9:00 when I got home. This is what being poor means. It means you get a whole day taken out of your life for 30 minutes in the shrink's office.

When I got home, my neighbor, who is Indian, asked me to talk to his 17-yr-old son, who was just released from an overnight in jail for breaking into a Coke machine. Poor Boop. (I call him Boop because I can't properly pronounce his name. Other people call him Bob. I like Boop.) He barely speaks English, and this incident really has him rattled. I think he hoped that since I can speak the same 'culture' as his son, maybe I could talk some sense into him. Hmm. Boop knows my daughter is in jail, too. Lotta good I'm gonna do. But we actually had a really good conversation. He's a good kid, but way too Americanized. Sad.

After he left, Dale said he had good (relatively) news about Emily and the Macon YDC. Someone had called him to get permission for Emily to take GED classes. He asked her a lot of questions about the place, and was quite reassured. Emily is in 'Cabin D', there are no locks; it's a dorm-style setting, which of course Emily had not seen yet when she made that first frantic call. Still the razor-wire, but this place is not like RYDC. It used to be a juvenile boot camp, but since juvenile boot camps have been outlawed (thank god) in Georgia, it's now a regular detention center, where she'll get some education and some counseling. and a whole heck of a lot of 'structure.' I hate that word. But it is true, as Dr. Connell reminded me, that kids like Em can be very, very manipulative, and the strictness can be a good thing. Lord knows loving her to pieces hasn't worked.

So I do feel somewhat better, except when I happen to see this damn blister in with the other scars on my arms, and when I think about going off to Laurelwood tomorrow, once again. Damn. I have worked so hard, and come so far. To be sliding back this badly sucks. But I am at my wits' end. How do you explain to a cat, looking up at you with trusting, quizzical eyes, that you haven't got cat food?

And I got home too late to go spare-changin', so I'm off to the loony bin with no smokes, and no money for drinks. But it's all good. At least they have toilet paper.


My fault

Emily called this morning, almost hysterical. She has been transferred to Macon YDC. Macon! I have no way to visit here there, and she can't even call me for another week. What have I done??? This is not what I was told was going to happen. This is not what the judge ordered. This is NOT, NOT, NOT in Emily's best interests, and NOT what I wanted for her. This is ripping out my heart, my guts, my soul. (See 'Drama Queen', below)

I called Emily's probation officer, who gave me a royal runaround, as usual. Well, really not as usual. Usually I can't get in touch with her at all. I asked her why Emily had been moved, and she said that RYDC is a holding facility, and could only keep her a short time. Yeah, well, why didn't SHE call me and tell me Em was being taken to Macon? I told her that SHE had assured us that Em would be in RYDC "probably less than a week", and she said that wasn't so. Oh, yes it is. We know what we heard. She said that if she couldn't get Emily into three Springs, Emily would have to serve out her 90 days of 'STP' in Macon. I told her that I was told that the judge had ordered Emily into a short-term program, and that she had said that she DID NOT want Emily in RYDC for any longer than it took to get her into the STP. But Sharon, the probation officer, said that there was never any guarantee that Emily could get into the STP, and certainly no guarantee that she could get into OTP; that it was something the judge could not order, only suggest. Oh. I didn't know judges made "suggestions." Sharon treated me so coldly. I kept asking for clarification of things I don't understand, and she just got snotty with me.

Emily is not a criminal, dammit, she is a sweet girl with problems. I've been asking for help since almost the day she was born, and I was finally told that this was the only way. I still believe that OTP would be good for her, or would have been, but this is nothing but trauma upon trauma for her, and I'd sure like to know how this is helping. Well, I know it's not. If she is made to serve 90 days in prison....and what is being locked up behind razor wire besides prison?.....the girl we will get back will not be a girl who was 'helped', but a girl who was traumatized, and angry girl, a resentful girl, and how in god's name will I ever make it up to her? This is Emily's defining moment. I'm afraid in the end the definition of Emily will be forever changed.

And yeah, I'm feeling guilty as hell. She will hate me, maybe. What have I done, what have I done, what have I done??? And Dale will forever be able to sit back and say, "your mother did this."

Out of smokes today. Stayed in bed all day, didn't eat, didn't drink, took no meds. Dale came up once and said "You're not taking care of yourself. You should eat. You didn't take your meds." I said I didn't care. He left. This from a guy who'd get so drunk he'd hold his head out the window like a dog to puke on the way home from any social engagement. I'd always put him to bed, never complained. You know when he quit drinking? When I finally let him stay passed out on the bathroom floor, because I was too tired to help him. This, from a guy who's always, always had his weed, and his cigarettes, too, until the heart attack. Maybe three days on morphine would help me, too. Maybe I'm headed there, who knows? This from a guy who less than two weeks ago was in bed sick, and his wife took him soup, brought him medicine, kept his tea glass filled and made sure he drank it. But how do you do less for a human being, especially one you once said you loved "until death us do part"?

No amount of money should be worth this. But it is. I cannot take care of my girls and myself without it. Fault me for it if you will, but it's a fact. I can't.

I want my Emily home! Why is this happening? Why am I so stupid? Why didn't I know this would happen? I just want to take her to bed with me and hold her, hold her, hold her and never let her go.


Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Church sign

Today's church sign, from a local 'non-denominational' church:

"God sends us into deep waters to cleanse us."

I've seen this one before as "Sometimes god sends us into deep water NOT to drown us, but to cleanse us. "Hmm. I wonder if He's noticed yet that me and my family are drowning? I guess the "sometimes" means just that. It's like "God answers prayer. Sometimes the answer is 'NO.' " What a capricious, mean and hateful god that is. If I'm included in the 'sometimes' -- meaning sometimes he actually does send you into deep water to drown you, I'd like to know what I've done to offend Him so. After all, I've been sprinkled, baptized, re-baptized, baptized into another denomination, and baptized again as a true Southern Baptist. I don't need cleansing, if what they taught me is to be believed. All my sins, then and now and in the future, were made 'white as snow.' (I thought I smelled chlorine!)

I still love God/dess. I still praise God/dess and talk to God/dess. Which is exactly my problem, according to all those who saw me baptized and welcomed me at one time. God doesn't like being called a "girly-man." Oh well. After I saw the church sign, and was still seething, I got into the left-hand lane of the climbing lanes, where I've come close to being driven right off the road numerous times by folks who like to play chicken as the two lanes become one again -- I do honestly believe some drivers are just incensed by my bumper stickers! -- and some guy in a nice red Xterra came up in the right lane, keeping pace with me. I tried to drop back, but he dropped back, too. Then he yelled at me something I rarely hear around here (although I've heard lots of F*** yous and such)

"Kerry and Edwards in '04, Baby!"

Then he passed me, I flashed him a peace sign, he gave me a thumbs-up, and I felt much better. God probably didn't like that, either. (By the way, the guy in the Xterra was from Florida)

God/dess is love, "Baby"!!


PS: Emily called last night, in better spirits than when we saw her on Sunday. A girl she knows, who used to be our neighbor, is there, so she has someone to talk to. She was given psychological tests yesterday, which a step on the road to getting her into the Warm Springs girl's home. I talked to the administrator of the 'home' yesterday, and felt very reassured that it is exactly the right place for Emily. Now, if we could just hurry up and get her there!

Drama Queen?

The day Tessa drowned, I ran to Dale on the beach, grabbed him -- or maybe he grabbed me -- and we hung on to each other. I don't know how long. There was no time. And then it seemed I just didn't have the strength even to cling to him. I don't know what happened, really, but I lost my grip and my legs wouldn't hold me. Dale tried to hang on to me, but I just slid down and away, onto the sand. I vaguely remember someone identifying herself as a nurse, talking about being "in shock", taking my pulse. My Tessa getting CPR, me on the sand.

I feel so close to that scene, so often. But there's no one to hold on to, and so no one to lose my grip on. You can't just go outside and fall down. You can't sink to the floor in the grocery store, although I suppose some sweet someone would come and check your pulse, maybe put a cool cloth on your forehead.

But I'm not Scarlett O'Hara, I don't get the vapors, and I did, sooner rather than later, get myself up from the warm sand and follow the ambulance to the hospital. I made the phone calls, greeted those who joined our vigil, ate, drank, sometimes slept. When arrangements had to be made, I made them. I picked the casket, obviously made for a Tessa-sized girl. Pink embossed velvet on the outside, pink satin inside. And so small. When the clothes had to be washed, I washed them. When the children had to be fed, I fed them. When they needed to talk, I listened.

Oh, the drama! Sometimes my kids accuse me of that. Was that dramatic? Yes, our very own Jessica-in-the-well, just not as much media, and no happy ending.

When someone notable or important goes to jail in handcuffs and leg chains, everyone wants to vicariously live the drama. Note: Scott Peterson, Martha Stewart, Susan Smith.

Note: Emily is in jail. It may be a kids' jail, but it is most certainly jail. But I don't think anyone will be interviewing her family, friends and teachers for national media. No, this is our personal drama, and who gives a rat's ass? Maybe the national spotlight is a great thing, really. You get to hang on to someone as you slowly lose your grip, and no one calls you a drama queen.

Tessa was just as precious as Jessica-in-the-well, just as beautiful as Susan Smith's boys. Emily is just as notable as Martha Stewart, to me.

Add to that the fact that it is August 16, and all I have is a bit of change in my pocket, little gas in the car, I have to take Dale to the pain clinic tomorrow for injections in his back and pick Abby up from school, and I want some fucking cigarettes so fucking badly. There. Drama. You'd probably like me if I was on the 6:00 news. Or most likely, not. If you saw me stoic, you'd say I was a heartless bitch, poor Emily. If you saw me fall, you'd call me theatrical, poor Emily. You'd wonder if I was faking it, like dear, sweet Susan Smith.

So many theories on why self-abusers self-abuse. That's so stupid, because it's so simple, really. There's no one to hang on to, and no place to fall.

(She says, hand to forehead, with a sigh.)

And Dale's still checking out beach front apartments in Florida.


Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Good and bad, bad and good

I miss my girl. Is that fair to say, since I'm the one who was instrumental in her leaving? Yes, I am second-guessing myself. I hope I will feel better about this once she's out of RYDC, 'cause right now I'm plagued with guilt. I fear for her, and wonder every minute of the day if she's ok. I hope she's eating well, sleeping well, and not too afraid of what the future holds.

We went to see her Sunday. She looked good, gave us big hugs, and cried to go home. She laughed a lot, too. She was very emotional, which is to be expected. She wasn't the only one we saw in the visiting room crying. She has met a few people, and has even learned some of the tricks. Of course they took all of her jewelry, including her new tongue ring, and someone showed her how to break a small plastic bristle off her brush to put in the hole to keep it from closing up. She kept saying she wanted to go home, and at that point, if it had been possible, I might have snatched her up and taken her. My baby. In jail. At least the place is new and clean. Small consolation, for her or me.

She called last night too. It was a very brief call, but she sounded good, only a little bit sad. Mostly right now she is sad about missing homecoming. She also wants me to call a friend of hers who was supposed to get some gossip for her -- something about the boy she likes. I finally wrote myself a note to do it tomorrow. Hopefully she'll call again soon. Hopefully she'll be out of there soon.

Abby is sick. Seems like a bladder or urinary tract infection. I called her doctor and asked if she'd call in a scrip for antibiotics to the drugstore, but no go. Dammit. She's got an appointment for Friday, but she's in pain NOW. Grr.

When we were at the courthouse in Dahlonega Friday, we met another couple who were there with their daughter, also from White County. The girl and Emily have lots of acquaintances in common, and since we were there for hours, we had lots of time to talk and get to know one another. The parents are from New York, but like us, now call North Georgia home. Dale and Danny got to talking about computers and cars, and Danny mentioned that his computer needed fixing, and Dale told him the door on our van needed fixing. Sunday evening, Dale went to their house and they both tried and failed to fix things. They'll try again.

Today they called and invited us to go out to eat. That was such a treat! We went to Glenda's, which has the best salad bar in town. Danny and Joann talked nonstop! It's sometimes hard to know who to look at! They're a bit younger than we are, but we got along very well, and there was never a lull in the conversation. During dinner, Joann slipped me a twenty-dollar bill. Not that they're much better off financially than we are, but they said they got an unexpected check today, and wanted to share with us. Oh, man. I almost cried. Of course I've done things like that for other people, but it always gets me when someone does it for me. We went to their house later, and talked about a few small businesses Danny is trying to set up with, get this, a settlement check that Joann is waiting for. He is hoping that I'll be able to do some of the typing work, and has something in mind for Dale, too. It wouldn't be much money, but every little bit helps. Good people. We didn't meet under the best of circumstances, but looks like we've found some new friends.

We went to DFACS earlier, to talk to someone about the program they're getting our family into. We will have more home visits, Abby will see a counselor of her own, and we'll have a counselor on call 24/7. Wow. I'm very pleased. Dale will be in an anger management class once a week.

Also, yesterday, I went to the co-op, and found out that some of my work will be going to St. Simon's for a conference there. Vicki will of course price things higher for this event, so maybe I'll make some money. I'll have about 20 pieces of jewelry in the show.

Good and bad, bad and good. Today, mostly good.


Saturday, August 07, 2004

Emily in jail

Yesterday was a hard day. Emily had her court date, stemming from her being gone all night a couple of months ago, at a hotel party. (See posts from 6/05 and 6/06) I had no idea where she was, and the last time she didn't come home, she ended up in Indianapolis. I had wanted to get her into an OTP (Outdoor Training Program) camp at that time a year and a half ago, but I was outnumbered by the rest of the family, and Emily ended up getting only probation, which was a joke. She never once saw a probation officer. Then Zada, who had wanted to take her in because she thought she'd change Emily and show herself to be such a better mother than I am, finally gave up and sent her back to us.

Anyway, the judge we saw yesterday was in no mood to play. She read off to Emily the previous charges she'd had against her -- 1) terroristic threats at school 2) battery for hitting me, and 3) runaway and unruly child, which was the same thing she was charged with this time. She also asked Emily a lot of hard questions about why she left without telling me the truth about where she was going, if there was drinking, drugs and sex at this party (yes, yes and yes) and whether or not Emily had participated in these things. When Emily said "no" the judge replied, "It must not have been much of a party for you then, was it?" She really didn't believe anything Emily said, and much as I do love Emily, I have to say I was with the judge on that.

Well, what it came down to was that Emily will be going to the OTP camp in Warm Springs, south of Atlanta, but since it may take 6-8 weeks for a spot to open up for her, she will be in a short-term program until a place comes open. BUT, as that may take as long as a week to get her into, and the judged considered Emily a flight risk, she was sending her to RYDC temporarily to make sure she doesn't run. RYDC is the Regional Youth Detention Center
-- in effect, jail, or prison, for juveniles.

Emily was extremely upset, as you can imagine, and very, very angry with me. I wanted so badly to hug her or just touch her, but she wouldn't let me, and then she was put in handcuffs and taken away. Oh my god, that was so difficult. I couldn't help crying.

Dale and I both have very conflicted feelings about all of this. On the one hand, an OTP camp has been something we've felt would be good for Emily for a long time, but on the other hand, it feels like a huge betrayal of our child. There is relief, and also a lot of guilt. There is much more peace in the house, but also the feeling of her missing.

I did get a call from Emily yesterday evening, just after all the paperwork was completed at RYDC and before she was put in with the rest of the kids. She is so strange! She sounded so upbeat, so childlike. "They brought me in in handcuffs and leg chains, Mom!" -- said in a voice that conveyed it was a majorly cool experience. She said she had eaten and that the food was "okay" and that they had given her blue jeans, a blue T-shirt, a sports bra, "and some really huge underwear!" We had been afraid that she wouldn't want to see us for visiting tomorrow, but when I asked her if she wanted us to come, she said "Sure!" God. Emily in a nutshell, almost.

Crap. Three years until the last of 7 kids is grown and possibly gone, and I've never had to deal with anything like this. It's all new, always new. I pray for boredom.

Other than that, I have been making tomato sauce and canning tomatoes, and that's a very enjoyable thing. Having a vehicle has made me feel more free than I have in a long time, and Bert has asked me to do a short 'something' for the PCG's commemoration of 9/11. It ain't all bad, but some days are just out of the realm of normality, and I hate those days.

And oh, yeah, I was invited to join Blog Sisters, a group of women bloggers.


Monday, August 02, 2004

Drum circle

Some good things happened last night. I went to a drum circle at Julianne's, which is of course always an uplifting and comforting experience. Met some new friends, and took Emily with me for the first time. At the end, when she was getting sleepy, she put her arm around me and rested her head on my shoulder. I thoroughly enjoyed that! Of course, she's mad at me today, but it doesn't diminish the bit of re-bonding that happened last night.

The other very positive happened during a guided imagery that Julianne facilitated for us. It was a walk on a beach, and I settled into it like putting my head on a fluffy down pillow. It took me no time at all to feel the warm sand, hear the gulls and the gently lapping waves. I was listening to Julianne; heard every word she said, but my inner guide was taking me on a slightly different path. As I listened to Julianne's voice, I also began to hear the waves whispering to me. As a wave washed into shore, it said, "Decide now." It's what I've been struggling with lately -- the need to make a quick decision about everything. "Decide now. Decide now." It was definitely taking some of the enjoyment out of my solitary musing in the sand. Then I heard another faint voice, as the waves were pulled back out into the ocean: "You don't have to." It became first the louder whisper of the incoming wave, then the gentler voice of the outgoing undertow. And then it changed.


"You don't have to"

"Decide Now"

"You don't have to"

"Decide now"

"You don't have to" "Decide now" "You don't have to" "Decide now"

"You don't have to" "decide now"

"You don't have to decide now"

And I realized that it's true. I don't have to decide now. I can wait. Wait until the court date. Wait and see if Dale's social security disability claim is approved. Wait and see how he acts when he finally knows the money will soon be in his hand. Wait and see if he continues to control his anger, as he's been doing lately. Just relax for a while, and wait.

There is no way to make a reasonable decision when I'm all churned up inside, and other people are telling me what to do. I have to do what is right for me, and for my girls, and the choice of shoving Dale out the door right now and leaving us with nothing again, nothing at all to show for my patience, turmoil and stoicism is not necessarily the right one. It is entirely possible that waiting for another month or so to see what will happen with the disability claim is the best course of action. I don't have to decide now. I can rest from it for a while, and conjure up the image of the warm, peaceful beach and the wisdom of the waves, and decide when the time feels very right to decide, and my head isn't cluttered with other people's (and my own) chattering voices.

So, that's where I am today. One never knows what tomorrow will bring. For now,