Thursday, April 30, 2015

Down to the bone

   It feels that way.  Like it can't get any closer, any deeper.  I'm embarrassed.  I wait and I try to find  something you will want to hear.  Something full of love and strength and inspire you a bit. That's what I look for - although your pain, concealed or expressed, comes into open hands. And I know you're not supposed to blog the un-bloggable.  But I keep failing at the first and the second is all I have to write.  Forgive me.

It will get better, I know that , you don't need to tell me - yet anything you say will feed me.

I'd been renting a house for 32 years.  Yes, I did.  I loved it, it was my home.  Cherished, cared for, clean and tidy. My god, the flowers.   A sanctuary.  And I've always needed one.  He finally showed up on the doorstep.  A sunny, warm June day. I knew it was coming, I knew it would come when the sun was finally here. I've waited and feared that knock for 32 years.  He said I had 60 days to leave, he wanted his retirement out of it right now.  $300,000.00 - cash - in 30 days and it could be mine, mine.  In 32 years he had only been there 4 times.  Just to look, no help.
Shaking , sweating , I said that I had just put my ira into it, so proud I had one. Money, please understand.  A new driveway, gutters, paint.  He shrugged. 60 days after 32 years, just a little more time?  He wanted what he wanted, now.  He shrugged.

Boxes and boxes, filling, lifting, filling, lifting.  An nowhere to carry them to.  So, so much left behind. No space, no time.  Space is a blessing, time is divine. Yellow damask Chippendale left on the curb, English secretary with all those sweet, tiny drawers.  Model replica of Palladio's Villa Rotunda, painstakingly made - wood cut with an elves saw, painted floors and plaster ceiling.  Look through the tiny windows into the 16th century.  At one time I had a lot of strength and time and too late now, I realize skill. A little money for some pieces, the Palladio, thank god.  I mourn them and many, many other things - but I take comfort, have learned to take comfort, in knowing that someone must have gasped, I hope they gasped and treasure them now, I hope they treasure them.   I lost 20#'s.

  45 days in and we found something.  Thousands of dollars to move to and in -  first and last, security. But I'm not secure.  Money, down to the bone.  It's lovely. (my beautiful daughter, the apartment whisper) It's a duplex, even better than an apartment.  Clean and spacious, a creek in the backyard. Smuggled in cat is in heaven.  We have 90 days to get out now - at least that's better than 60. They want it back too - they're old, it's nice, they'll be happy here.

30 days in, paint not dry yet but most boxes unpacked or stuffed somewhere.  My Mother is dying. No brothers or sister can or will find room for her.  Daughter and I strip the dining room. There's enough room now for a hospital bed.  There are good, good souls in Hospice, I never knew this.  But thank god.  Still it's 24/7 because I am her daughter.  So much pain between us, so much pain for her, laying in that bed. But unexpected forgiveness too.  She stroked my hair once, that made up for so much.  15 more #'s.  Food just doesn't make sense. I'm close to the bone.

She left some money.  It was her way of saying I love you. Blessings like that, and that one is a blessing, give hope.  She left me with hope.  That makes up for so much. Thanks seems so inadequate.  But that's all I have left, besides the hope. 

Death changes things. 4 siblings and no connection now.  It's to be expected, I guess.  It happens in a lot of families.  Especially when alcohol was the backdrop, the stage, the theme.

My beautiful, smart and a thousand loving adjectives daughter is struggling. It's so fucked.  So fucked that that gene gets passed on.  It will snarl one up with no discrimination.  It doesn't care about the adjectives - it only wants blood.  I don't believe in that whole "pray for me" thing.  But pray for her.  We're gonna' get separated now.  After two years of living together and trying together to beat this monster down, she has to go her own way and so do I.  We are both at the bone now.

She still takes her bipolar medicine - she says she does. But alcohol messes it up so much.  I take mine.  I crave it.  I hold it tight to my chest. It's giving me life now when the illness took away so much - from both of us.  I want her to have life too, but I can't give it to her.  She will have to find it on her own now.

I don't want to move again.  I feel so old all of a sudden.  I want someplace where I can stop for good, build another sanctuary.  But like I said, I have hope and that's so good.  It's another sunny day.  I'm going to go out to the beautiful creek and pet the happy cat.    I am at the bone but I'm skinny now.  That's good, right?

Love, Liv

And PS:   I'm reading, reading lots.
Maeve Binchy -Maeve's Times  - funny little stories she wrote when she worked for The Irish Times.
Katherine Mansfield's - Stories - lovely
Wm & H'ry - the letters of William and Henry James to each other - so loving
Alan Bennett - Untold Stories  - love, love his writing, so sensitive
Vanessa Bell - Sketches in Pen and Ink - stories of the childhood her and Virginia Woolf
and lastly
Leslie Maitland - Crossing the Borders of Time - a true love story

So that and walking, walking and walking sustain and nurture me now -   All good, proud of myself.


  1. This brought me to tears. I am sorry I didn't know you have been going through so much. I'm glad you wrote about it and so poignantly. I am also glad you have hope. I send lots of love your way Liv. The living and writing of all this took great strength.


  2. Dear Jo,

    Thank you so much, Jo. You know I mean it from my heart when I tell you that your comment means so much to me.

    Kind words really do matter.xo

  3. My heart is broken for you and for what you have lost and endured and I hope that you keep writing and that you find what you need and that life is kinder to you starting right here and now. You are going through too much, please be kind and loving to yourself now more than ever. Sending you hugs and hopeful thoughts.

  4. I had no idea either, Liv. My god! So let me understand this- do you have to move from this duplex?
    It sounds as if you are being so strong and I know you are. But I know it must be so hard.
    I send love.


  5. Mel,

    You are always so kind and a dear friend to me. I always wait for your thoughtful comments with anticipation. I know it will get better and your words make it so.


  6. Mary,

    Yes, we have to move yet again, the end of July. I have no idea where and I haven't had to do this for 32 years. So I'm a fish out of water feeling like I'm sinking to the bottom.

    But you my love, buoy me up.
    I will put your comment and all the others under my pillow tonight and I will sleep well.

  7. How many kinds of hard work you are doing, on many levels and simultaneously. You're embodying the qualities whose symbols you explain in the previous post describing
    Under Thy Protection. May you and yours be protected.


  8. A,

    That's a Blessing you just gave me. I feel lighter for having it.

    And I appreciate so much that you looked at my art - and you understood it! Thank you for both.

  9. You have a powerful way with words that is unique and so beautiful. I was so moved and hurt for you reading your story here, your mother dying, your daughter struggling with bipolar and alcoholism, yourself and your siblings. I know very well how hard it is for families to hold together when the beginnings of things were broken.

    I wish so much I had a lot of money and could send you enough to get you settled, I would, I would. I hope that your straightforward and lovely spirit allows you to find a right place to land, somewhere that will also have beautiful flowers and comfort you.

    Life is so hard for so many people and the aloneness makes the hard almost unbearable. I wonder if you are part of any group such as a church group or women's support group or even knitting= a social network that can support you? I want that for you.


  10. You have a heart that holds so much, thanks for letting me crawl in.

    I read you Maggie to see what a good mother does. It heals some of the hurt of not having one myself.
    And to see a woman let the world see the whole of her. You don't know how many people come to you to be fed - now you have kindly come all the way here to feed me.
    Thank you so much - so much. I hope you nourish yourself on our love for you.

    I try to reach out - you know what that's like. Hard. But I'll take a deep breath and try again.

  11. The repetition of being down to the bone just reverberates in me -- is so very powerful and poignant. I will think that your bones are strong, so strong, and that you will be well. I am glad that you are writing here, reaching out with words, asking for response. You have been so generous in your own support, and I'm grateful for that.


  12. You are my port, my harbor. You, E - you sustain me.

    Isn't it funny how just a few words can bring light. It really does all feel just a little bit better now. Thank you.

  13. Liv, I am a big old chicken shit. I read this days ago and didn't know how to comment. I can't imagine having to move out of I home I had tended so lovingly for so long. Heartbreaking. Just heartbreaking.

  14. Steph(anie),

    This is such a treat to see you here, I've missed you.

    Yes, it is overwhelming. And I'm trying to be a good soldier about it and charge forward, but I only seem to be able to lurch and lurch - but much better than being frozen. :)

    Really, to know I have this little world of people who care about me is really holding me up right now. Thank you so much for commenting.

    I hope you are well and Happy!