“Over the dark Abyss, whose boiling Gulf
Tamely endur’d a Bridge of wondrous length
From Hell continu’d reaching th’ utmost Orbe
Of this frail World; by which the Spirits perverse
With easie intercourse pass to and fro
To tempt or punish mortals, except whom
God and good Angels guard by special grace.” ~John Milton
Where do I begin this over long tale of misadventure and change? The past two years have been mind-altering to say the least, full of some seriously significant life changing events. This is more of a short novel than a blog post, but who cares? Read it or don’t read it. It’s divided into event chapters. You might read one at a time. It will be laced with profanity here and there, and stories you will not believe. I’ll keep it as short as possible and there will be a video at the end. Hurray!
It’s December fifteenth of 2013, ten days before Christmas. I don’t remember exactly what happened. The morning of the accident it was twenty five degrees below zero, roads covered in snow, and I had just cut down a Spruce tree for Christmas off of my property. The phone rang. One moment, I’m here, and the next I’m waking from a coma in the hospital five days later, hooked into every life support device you can think of, breathing tube lodged firmly down my now very sore throat. My dad and brother, who live halfway across the country, are standing over me, as well as my two kids on either side who are holding my hands. Love those kids!! I motioned to them that I needed a drink of water…the first stirring of life…I was thirsty as hell. I felt a bit like Dorothy just returned from Oz, minus the shoes and the pigtails. Just before opening my eyes, as I was regaining consciousness, I could see a thin tendril of smoke in my mind’s eye, rising through cross-hairs drawn on an old, quartered parchment and vanishing into the ether. It was very Zen, very peaceful.
Over the course of the next few days I was filled in on some of the gory details, past and present, of my situation. After I was air lifted to Essentia in Duluth, my family got the dreaded phone call. “There’s been an accident…you better get here now…he might not make it.” I was stapled from pubis to sternum, with two drainage tubes protruding one on either side of my abdomen. They had cut me open twice. The first time there was too much of a mess, internal bleeding, to make heads or tails, so I was quickly stitched back together. The second time I was opened up, it was determined that I had a lacerated pancreas which could have been a serious complication. My kids were informed that if I managed to pull through, I would probably be looking at a four to six month stay. Seven ribs were broken. I was later told by my son that a burly biker looking nurse sat with me all that first night keeping vigil. I was put into some type of sleeping bag apparatus to bring my body temperature back to normal. I had hypothermia and frostbitten fingers. My poor son had driven the three hours from Minneapolis wondering if I would be alive or dead when he got to the hospital. Sorry Tanner.
I was also given a new body full of blood as there wasn’t much left in me when I’d arrived. A friend had gone to collect a few things from what was left of my Ford Escape after it had been hauled away from the accident scene. Apparently, the vehicle more closely resembled an accordion than a car, the engine must have been almost in my lap, and my blood was still a frozen puddle about an inch deep over the floor mats. There was a nice impression of my head and shoulders in what was left of the windshield.
The following day, a nice young doctor Rolando came in to visit me to inspect his work on my face and head. My kids told me I was looking pretty rough that first night and were wondering if I would ever look like dad again. I somewhat resembled the Elephant Man. After the swelling subsided and post the hundreds of stitches I’d received, I was beginning to look a little more like me. The doctor described to me the phenomenal work he had done, as well as the nerve damage I’d received on the right side of my head, and that I would probably never raise that eyebrow again. He did do a fantastic job; stitching up a bit of my leg as well …I’m now as handsome as ever with a few extra scars. The eyebrow isn’t quite back to one hundred percent, but it’s workable. My tongue, which I’d nearly forked, hasn’t quite healed perfectly…a constant reminder. Five months after the fact, I had pulled a sliver of glass out of it. I’d also removed a small piece of automobile from the bridge of my nose at home. I think I’ve still got a piece embedded under my eyebrow. I guess it’s going to stay there.
Four days later I was asking to go home. “And by the way, I think my ankle is broken. “ They wheeled me back to the basement for more CAT scans of my internals and to have a look at my ankle. An orderly wheeled me into an old elevator that wasn’t working that day, then off to another elevator and down to the basement, eerie gothic ceramic, I was feeling like I was in the film Jacob’s Ladder or that maybe I had brought something back with me from the other side… a little bit of Hell. Sure enough, my ankle is broken. “Ok, can I go home now?” Well, we need to get you walking on your own two feet again. Up and down the hall with the walker for a day. You need to talk with Tiffany, (a cute red headed P.A . who would be the one to pull out my staples weeks later). Doctor Hatchett needs to meet with you tomorrow. I met with her the following day, a lovely vibrant woman who had me hobble across the room to look at the results of my scan. “I can see where your son gets it”, she said. In her words, my healing was ‘astounding’. My pancreas was her main concern. “Ok? Looks good? Can I go home now? Tomorrow? Ok, great!!” So much for four to six months. Ten days later on Christmas Day, my sweet beautiful daughter came to pick me up. After being wheeled down to the pharmacy for a hefty prescription of Oxycodone, I was released at the front door. The word pain wouldn’t begin to describe my condition. I’ve done pain…extremes of it. Merry Christmas!
Thank you, thank you, and thank you to the many people involved in saving my life and putting me back together! Words can’t say. Thank you Dawn for taking care of Jack. Thank you Minnesota Care for footing ninety nine percent of the bill after a year and a half’s worth of endless paperwork. Thank you, Emma, for coming to live with me and for helping me out with everything. I love you and Tanner so much. So very sorry for the trouble I’ve caused.
I’m home in recovery mode, with no car, I can’t drive with a broken ankle, I’m medicated with cheap wine and Oxycodone, Sandy and Emma are hauling me around on errands, I’m hauling firewood while still stapled from here to there, follow up doctor’s visits, a cast on my ankle for ten weeks which solved nothing, and back to work before the staples came out. There is no such thing as paid sick leave for self-employed artists, is there? It’s not like working for the government, is it? No rest for the wicked or wounded. I soldier on. For months I’m dreading the arrival of the mailman, wondering what the county is going to charge me with…every day dreading.
I get an email. There is an Ayahuasca event at a non-disclosed location in South America in April. Aya is also known as ‘the purge, the vine of the dead, the little death, and the spirit vine.’ Purging, catharsis…letting go. After years of wanting to go, and years of “I can’t afford it”, while looking at two hundred thousand dollars of medical bills, I say to myself, “Fuck that! Life is short. I’m alive! I’m going!!” I also thought I might have to leave the country as a fugitive from the law. I’m just kidding. Wink.
I ask my son to go with me. Should I make the arrangements? If I end up in jail, you can bring Molly in my stead. April arrives. There’s a song for everything, you know? Achilles Last Stand.
It was an April morning
When they told us we should go
And as I turn to you, you smiled at me
How could we say no
Whoa, the fun to have
To live the dreams we always had
Whoa, the songs to sing
When we at last return again
(OK..I lied. There’s two videos. Double hurray!)
Yes, April…Right. I got side tracked. Head trauma equals short attention span and shorter memory. It wasn’t my first time through a windshield. Twenty years earlier I’d broken my neck in six places. Black ice… rolled truck. Amazing, huh? I’m still here. I’m still vertical. I have a really bad memory. Did I mention that already?
So, with cast removed, ankle still broken and surgery scheduled for May, I soon find myself boarding a plane to Ecuador with my phenomenal son whose four years of Spanish classes will prove to be invaluable. Plane landing, customs, taxi to hotel, sleep, shuttle to venue, a bit of orientation on the way from our terrific host…meanwhile we’ve both been on a restricted diet for the past two weeks. The place we are staying is a beautiful, Spanish style Hacienda with volcanic views and stunning floral landscaping. Enough said…we’ll get to the meat and bones of the story. The journey.
Ironically, or not so coincidentally, after waiting four and a half months to find out what I would be charged with regarding the accident, my daughter texted me an hour before the first ceremony to tell me I was being charged with Careless Driving with Endangerment of Life and Property.
I’m nervous as hell. The smell of California White Sage permeates the air as we enter a large prepared space and meet our Peruvian Shaman. There are about thirty of us. Only five of us are ‘newbies’. The others are somewhat ‘veteran’. Through a translator, our Shaman gives us a brief description of what we might expect. “It’s a lot like surfing”, he says, demonstrating how a surfer might ride a wave. Really?! I’ve tried surfing and I don’t recall any inter-dimensional demons!! “We’re all crazy”, he says, “…good crazy…bueno loco”. We were told we might expect a few trips to the toilet as well as vomiting for which we were given an ice cream bucket…that we might forget to breathe…that we shouldn’t interfere with anyone. The room was darkened with the exception of a candle before the shaman, and a nice fire burning in the corner of the room to my right. My son was to the left of me at the left corner of the room. We all took our turn coming up for our drink of the brew about the size of a shot glass full. This was a really thick batch we’d been told. If we weren’t feeling any effects in about ninety minutes, we would have the opportunity to come up for a second dose. Someone had lost track of the time and we were called up about forty minutes later. Feeling nothing, and always one to over indulge, yes, of course I took the second batch, as did my son.
The first effects were physical…a kind of bodily numbing. Then there was the energy which both of our shamans were keenly attuned to with their Icaros, singing, chanting, whistling, rattling…directing the flow of this power that felt to me like a cold breath…the dragon’s breath. We were also told before that if the energy got too much, we should place our hands flat on the floor to ground some of it out. As for the physical purging, I never did go to the toilet or vomit. My way of releasing was through my breath and my hands. It still is.
I had the realization that I could no longer protect my children. I looked over at Tanner with death’s head transposed over his face and looked away. I’d brought with me a small picture of my daughter from when she was younger and always focused on it when things were getting intense. I projected all my love to her. I saw my parents as small dolls I cradled, one in each arm. I saw myself burying them in the ground with a small garden shovel as you would bury a small pet. Our wonderful host came around the room and blessed everyone, one at a time, and as he moved closer I could feel the energy intensify, growing stronger and stronger. Tanner was flat on his pillow facing the wall, wrapped in his Alpaca blanket. I had the sudden fear that he wasn’t breathing. Although we were told not to interfere, I thought, “Fuck that! That’s my son!” I poked him and he sat up. He told me later he was glad that I did. He was lost out in deep space. At one point, I saw what might have been a small troupe of maybe carnies, entering this dimension from deep space to my upper left. KarnEvil…something wicked this way comes. Their energy was here with us.
Eventually, our shamans closed the ceremony with “Thank you mother, thank you father” to the four directions, and then some happy songs. There was a wonderful Peruvian guitar player/singer who was with us, a phenomenal visual artist who also doubled as a musician (which is usually the case), and a young woman who played the pan flute, and who would the next day have her first Aya experience..screaming her head off and praying to god to make it stop. I was told I could stay where I was as long as need be, food would be served upstairs. Tanner left for some food. I stayed.
My trip was far from over! As I lay there on my mat facing the wall with the firelight to my back, I began to hear voices. As I listened, the terror began to creep in. The voices were not of this earth…not human! I tried to shake them. The voices continued. They were discussing me, while snickering. They were in my head and they knew my every thought. We were communicating telepathically. I had the impression that they were insectoid. They stood around me, maybe five or six. I thought, ‘What the hell are you?!’ And then it dawned on me, ‘What the hell am I?!’ As great a mystery. I saw their shadows dancing on the wall, not knowing if my eyes were open or closed. I was aware of them and they were very aware of me. I once heard demons described as ‘morally ambivalent.’ Well, that’s putting it mildly. They were filthy. They would switch back between English when they wanted me to hear, and Insectoid Space Demon when they wanted to discuss among themselves. To put it bluntly, they were seriously trying to fuck with me. They made cracks such as, “your girlfriend’s ‘pussy is a fetid swamp”. They made jokes about the missing Malaysian flight. Some comment about Drones. “I bet we can make him shit himself…ha ha.” “Maybe you shouldn’t have gone for that second dose.” They tried to give me the impression they were running the whole show down here…everything from 911 to the Kennedy assassination. The joke’s on me I thought…’ha ha ha’. At one point, through mutterings of ‘fuck off’ , ‘give it a fucking rest’, ‘mother fucker’, ‘ fucking hell’, and ‘son of a bitch’, I thought, ‘you’re just jealous you’re not me’. They got real quiet then and had another little discussion among themselves in their alien language. They didn’t like that. I thought, ‘why don’t you just kill me now and quit trying to play with me, because there is no way I’ll be kissing your ass’. They didn’t like that either. I’ve got to get the fuck out of here, I thought. Yeah, I came real close to shitting myself. I fought for control. I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction. I was terrified. I eventually mustered up enough courage to open my eyes and sit up, fully prepared to fight six demons, broken ankle and all, to get out of the room or to die trying. When I sat up and had a look, a few of the guys were in the room with me. “Biscuit, Kev?” That’s British for cookie. “Ahh… no thanks.” The last thing I need is a fucking cookie.
I put my shoes on and fumbled my way back to my room in the dark. I roused Tanner. I made a fire in the fireplace. It took me hours to wind down. I was afraid for my life. Exhausted, I finally fell asleep on top of our passports when the sun came up.
Now, you might consider all of this to be a wild hallucination, purely subjective. Here are a couple of excerpts from DMT: The Spirit Molecule , a book that a friend dropped off shortly after my return.
There is a sinister backdrop, an alien-type insectoid, not quite pleasant side of this, isn’t there? It’s not a “We’re-going-to-get-you-motherfucker.” It’s more like being possessed. During the experience there is a sense of someone, or something else, there taking control. It’s like you have to defend yourself against them, whoever they are, but they certainly are there. I’m aware of them and they’re aware of me. It’s like they have an agenda. It’s like walking into a different neighborhood. You’re really not quite sure what the culture is. It’s got such a distinct flavor, the reptilian being or beings that are present.
When I was first going under there were these insect creatures all around me. They were clearly trying to break through. I was fighting letting go of who I am or was. The more I fought, the more demonic they became, probing into my psyche and being. I finally started letting go of parts of myself, as I could no longer keep so much of me together. As I did, I still clung to the idea that all was God, and that God was love, and I was giving myself up to God and God’s love because I was certain I was dying. As I accepted my death and dissolution into God’s love, the insectoids began to feed on my heart, devouring the feelings of love and surrender.
What is the difference between these two experiences? One kept them at bay, and the other caved in. Right? Angels and Demons. In Michael Harner’s Way of the Shaman, he mentions the Archangel Michael. I just put that in there for a friend who was praying to him last week. It’s all real.
A word of advice: Never let anyone tell you that you’re crazy and never under any circumstance give your power or your soul away. OK, next chapter. Follow if you will.
Shortly after my ankle surgery in May which involved two very long screws, bone scraping and grafting with a piece of my heel (more extreme pain, Dilaudid, and more Oxycodone), I was talking on the phone with my girlfriend an hour before a friend’s memorial service. She’s English. We had been doing the back and forth visiting between here and there, Liverpool proximity, for about six years. The plan was she would eventually come over. I got the, ‘we need to talk’ message pretty clear. I said, “You’re breaking up with me?! Now?!” I hung up the phone. The shaman had foretold that certain people would be disappearing from our lives. I guess I wasn’t expecting one of them to be her. We’ve continued to talk and text over the year through my trials and tribulations until fairly recently. We’re still friends. I’ll always love her and have great memories of the time we had together. It was a blast and a great adventure for me post-divorce. I’m sure it was for her as well. Getting lost in Sherwood Forest. Minnesota…’Ya sure, you betcha!” …the June Bug bouncing off my face into my Gin and Tonic. She would be real interested to learn that Tanner’s house is just off Pilot Knob Road. At the time, the separation hurt like hell…for a while. I had gotten pretty attached to her. A lot happens in almost seven years. But, in the end she wasn’t my soul mate, was she?
While licking my wounds and trying to digest all the crazy shit that had been happening to me, I eventually learned my public hearing was set for September. Fuck!! My anxiety kicked in full throttle, out of control. I hadn’t had so much as a parking ticket in the last 20 years…never mind a public hearing. After weeks of trying unsuccessfully to stave it off, a friend who is an Occupational Therapist suggested I get some medication immediately. Great idea! A few hours later I was back home from the clinic with a filled prescription of Lorazepam. What a blessed relief!! I love the stuff.
I called a local defense attorney to set up an appointment. The first question he asked me when I sat down in his office was, “Do you believe in UFOs?” Is he kidding?!! Well, yeah, and demons and yeah, maybe they had a hand in it…set the whole thing up just to get me down to Ecuador so they could finally introduce themselves, after all, they were dying to meet me! I just shook my head numbly. No, I don’t remember what happened. No, I would have to agree that a judge probably was not going to buy UFOs as a probable reason for the accident. He then showed me a file from the county prosecutor’s office that was about an inch thick full of police reports and pictures of myself no doubt bleeding profusely and barely recognizable, as well as the crumpled mess that was my car. Do I want to have a look through it? Hell no. He then told me he’d never seen a file that thick for a careless driving; it’s possible the county was considering amending the charges to something more drastic. “Can they do that?!” I gave him his two thousand dollars and left the office. As it stood, I was looking at the worst, ninety days in jail.
In August, I flew out east for my yearly visit with family. My daughter, my son and his very pregnant girlfriend came with me. She was due in October. Her mother was dying with stage four cancer. We made the best of it. Some beach time, crabbing in the bay and just trying our best to relax. The week flew by and soon we were all safely back in Minnesota
After some back and forth on the phone, and some more poking around the prosecutor’s office by my lawyer, it was finally agreed that I would plead guilty to the charges. I met him at the courthouse on that September morning accompanied by a friend I’d brought along for moral support. Also, driving and Lorazepam are not a good combination. I signed a couple papers regarding my guilty plea. We then entered the courtroom and sat in the first row of chairs. We would be first on the docket. The judge appeared to be in a good mood that day. It was a beautiful morning. Do I understand the charges against me? My lawyer was mumbling something about my nearly dying and head trauma. How do I plead? Guilty. Jail time stayed. Property damage compensation stayed. Fine stayed to $200 and one year unsupervised probation. It was over in 5 minutes. Can I pay with my credit card? The judge made a joke about my frequent flyer miles, and I walked out of the courtroom with a huge weight off my shoulders. I paid the fine, had a brief chit chat with the lawyer in the parking lot, shook his hand, and left with my friend to stop at the farmer’s market on my way home. I sat in the car, while she quickly grabbed some fresh corn, mushrooms, tomatoes and what not, before heading home.
So relieved to have that behind me, I thought if I have any more stress in my life this year, I’m going to lose the plot. How wrong I was.
Emma was off to her first year of college immediately after our return. She was leaving the nest for good. It was devastating. Empty nest…I was alone. Molly went into the hospital on the first of October, a couple of weeks earlier than expected. The next day, there was a brand new person in the world. Oliver… A beautiful boy. I’m a grandfather!! Holy Hell. I still feel like I’m 25.
Fortunately, Molly’s mom had a few weeks at home with her first grandchild before she passed away.
Two October birthdays now…mine would be one of those milestone, big something-0 birthdays (I’m not saying but I think it’s about 120) in two weeks’ time. It’s not possible! I guess I should be grateful I’m still alive, but am I really this old? I almost wasn’t, was I? I think I’m having a midlife crisis. I learned a few months ago that Emma is pregnant and due to have a son this October. Another October birthday makes three. Two grandsons. What is happening?
At some time around Thanksgiving, my son suggested I go out to see my mom and dad in January. He’d had an intuition. We got through Christmas last year unscathed, and the tree actually made it further than lying on its side, still frozen on the screen porch, where it had remained until spring the previous year.
I made the arrangements to fly out east with Emma for a week at the end of January. My mom was happy we were coming, but disappointed we were only staying for a week. This was usually not the case.
When we arrived in Newark, Dad and Craig were there to greet us at the airport. Dad looked a bit tired and disorientated. His memory was getting worse than the last time I saw him. Coupled with my brother’s history of mental illness, they were quite the pair. Arriving at the house we all sat down for dinner in and around the kitchen. Mom had gotten some catered Italian. She was looking frail as ever, malnourished, though diligent with her make-up and hair; her attitude gave one the impression of Keith Richards. There were also the pain meds that kept her going. I was surprised to see her eating solid food, as she normally lived almost entirely on Boost, a high protein dietary supplement. Chocolate milk. We were all coming down with the Flu. I’d brought it with me and was already running a fever of 103 degrees.
The following day there was a lot of coughing and sniffling. It was a quiet day for the most part. Dad had a work meeting that evening. When he’d arrived back home later in the night it was snowing. He came through door, nose dripping, shivering, hands shaking, and quickly poured himself a glass of wine. ‘Where’s mom?’ ‘She went up to bed. She’s not feeling well.’ I went up to say goodnight to her. She was sitting up in bed struggling to breathe. The Flu was exacerbating her COPD and Emphysema. Not good. ‘Do you want me to take you to the hospital?’ ‘I’ll be OK, just leave me.’ I said goodnight and went to sleep on the couch downstairs while Emma and Craig took up the spare bedrooms. I was coughing my head off.
In the morning dad came downstairs and poked his head in the door. ‘I think I’m going to lie down on the couch.’ ‘How is mom doing?’ ‘I don’t know.’ He went to lay on the couch…in denial. I went to check on my mom. She was lying across the bed sideways gasping for breath like a fish out of water. I tried talking to her. She was completely unresponsive. I called 911. Soon afterwards, I was following an ambulance to the emergency room at Raritan Bay Medical Center. They put mom in a room and quickly put a stint in her chest in for Intravenous. Once they had gotten some oxygen in her, she fought against the staff crying “no, no, no!” and had to be restrained and sedated so as not to remove the oxygen gear that kept her breathing. There were forms to sign, questions asked. I felt as if I were being looked at suspiciously for my part in some gross neglect. ‘Did you know she had bed sores?’ No, I just got here a day ago. ‘How long had she been unresponsive?’ I don’t know, my dad was with her all night.
The hospital was full. The Flu was epidemic. Eventually a room was cleared for her in the Critical Care Unit on the fifth floor. There was nothing else we could do. I drove back to the house, all of us sick, fearful, shocked, and exhausted. Everything was happening so quickly.
The first night back at the house, my daughter noticed it was getting chilly. I went to check the furnace. The pilots were out and wouldn’t stay re-lit. Two bad thermal couples. More snow. After my brother had helped me haul some firewood from the back yard, I’d spent the entire night keeping two fireplaces going while everyone slept. Emma had taken up my couch as it was closest to the fire. A friend, Robbie who I’d been in contact with, called her ex-husband who happened to be Dad’s neighbor’s son…a friend since the fourth grade. He came over and fixed the furnace after driving the bad roads to get the right parts. What a godsend. Our heat was back on! His father Ritchie next door, that I’ve known since childhood, came over to snow blow the driveway for us. Sweet man…pushing 80!
Days went by, back and forth to the hospital. Some visits from cousins, mom’s sister, and her childhood friend Gail who was a great support. The first morning I was surprised to see mom sitting up in bed, breathing tube down her throat. (Uugh, I know the feeling.) I was dreading the worst. She saw me come in through the large glass window of her room and waved to me right away. I waved back. We had to put on protective clothing and face mask before going into her room so as not to spread the Flu. The whole hospital was taking special precautions so as not to spread any more of it around than possible. She couldn’t speak with the tube. She was making demanding hand gestures, she could be a little bossy at times, pointing and seeming to be telling me to go back home to Minnesota. I had already rescheduled my flight for the following week.
When the breathing tube was removed, she seemed to be doing OK for a while. I would try and get her to eat some solid food, spoon feeding her like a child. She was only eating to humor me, I’m sure. Eventually, she was having difficulty breathing on her own. Back went in the tube. Two days later, back out again. More solid food which she told me she wouldn’t eat. She wanted to die. We combed the house for a living will/advance directive to no avail. I met with Lisa the social worker there who bought us some time when conversation turned to nursing homes, permanent life support, or hospice. The hospital was ready to turn mom out.
Meanwhile, my flight was booked and my daughter needed to get back to Minnesota. In the two weeks we were in New Jersey, she’d decided to change colleges and go into nursing after taking the rest of the year off and re-enrolling in a different school. She needed to get back to get her things out of the dorm. I told my mom we had to go and that I would be back in two days! Hang on, mom!
I flew home, Emma met her boyfriend in the cities and I now had the two hour drive to the house in the dark. By the time I got home I was seeing double. In the morning, I booked a new flight for the day after the next, paid a huge stack of bills and went out to the shop to get as much work done as humanly possible. Emma would now be at the house to watch the pets which was one less thing for me to worry about. The next day I was driving back to the cities for another flight. God, I’m fucking tired.
Dad and Craig again met me at the airport with cousin Margaret in the back seat. Another Angel, she had come down from upstate NY to hold things together while I was gone. She told me that mom was asking for me, when was I coming back? She was waiting for me to return so she could die. The next couple of days she went downhill very quickly. Her doctor advised us to prepare. We signed a DNR and lovely Lisa the social worker bought us another day as they moved mom down to the fourth floor and took away all life support but a small dose of oxygen. Margaret stayed with us in the morning and then had to go home. My dad, my brother, and I sat with mom most of the day. Holding her hand and giving her little sips of water from a small sponge on a stick, it was clear she had already checked out spiritually and had one foot in the spirit world when I gave her last sip of water. (The day before, I’d told her I loved her and thanked her for everything, and I’d read to her the anniversary card I had gotten for her.) I held her hand as she took her last breath. The death rattle. A single tear trickled from her left eye. The doctor was called for a pronouncement of death. The three of us sat with her for another hour and a half as she grew cold and gray. We went home in a daze.
The next morning I was calling to make cremation/memorial arrangements. We sorted everything for the following weekend and spent the next few days putting pictures together, making arrangements for flowers and catering. My son came out for the four days between mom’s death and the service and helped me comb through all the paperwork in the house so I could get a handle on things. Mom pretty much took care of everything and dad and Craig were out of it. He also cooked a couple nice meals for us and took shopping trips with me as well as a trip to visit mom’s sister now in the hospital with her own issues. Thanks so much Tanner. You were awesome!
It was a short and sweet service. Margaret came down to read a eulogy she had written. Thank you Margaret. And thank you so much to all of Dad’s co-workers who were and continue to be so very caring, helpful, and supportive. You are very much appreciated.
When I’d finally left to come back home, an entire month had elapsed since the beginning of our so-called vacation. I had planned to return again in two weeks…a trial run to see how Dad and Craig were going to manage on their own. Things are working out a bit at a time. If it weren’t for my brother, I wouldn’t be able to be here now trying to get on with my own life. Thanks Craig…Love ya bro.
I did eventually go back in May to help sort out a few more things. Demonic shit like Banking and Tax Returns. Honestly, you don’t have to take my word for it. I’m the crazy one. If you consider yourself perfectly normal, I would consider you perfectly programmed. The demons still try to get through to me now and again…through demonic people, black magic, facebook. I guess I’m now on the radar. Well-met, motherfuckers. You wouldn’t believe the half of it. It scared the shit out of me for a while. But what I find myself saying in my own still voice lately is ‘Who fucking cares?’ and ‘Fuck off!’ It’s the only language they understand.
I’ll probably be going back to Jersey as soon as I get some kind of commitment from my kids. Hopefully, there are no plans to fly any planes out of Newark into the new “FREEDOM” tower. No, it’s not funny at all, is it? It’s terrifying and terribly sad. If they say ‘freedom’, what they really mean is ‘enslavement’. ‘Cause heads is tails just call me Lucifer’. Work it out for yourself. You might recall shortly after 911, the media put us all on ‘Code Red’…everyone put fucking cellophane over your windows! What a pile of shit. Feeding you fear. This is why I don’t watch television. World War Three has been planned for a very long time. Secret Society crap. Ushering in the New World Order.
In the meantime, I’m just taking it a day at a time. It’s really all we have. Now. Everything else is illusion. All your stuff is just stuff. Does it enhance your life or tie you down? It’s all bullshit. Don’t buy into the lie that says your self-worth is determined by the material things in your life. When you leave this earth plane, you won’t be taking a single blade of grass with you. In the words of John Lennon, “You don’t take nothing with you but your soul.” Assuming you have one, and you’re not an ’empty’, it’s the only thing you have really, isn’t it?
What I’m waiting for now is for an angel to realize that I’m her soulmate. I’ve had enough pain and misery…and hopefully I won’t be forced to eat those words. What I want is blissful happiness. What do I have to lose? Love is all that matters. Come what may. New beginnings. Oh yeah, and my probation is over next month.
Yeah, we’re all crazy. Bueno Loco.
Rolling on to the bitter end…
“Crazy Horse dreamed and went into the world where there is nothing but the spirits of all things. That is the real world that is behind this one, and everything we see here is something like a shadow from that one.” ~Black Elk
My first perception is that I am running hard and fast. I feel powerful vibrations through the bulk of my torso in time with the thunderous crash of my hoofs on an unseen ground. The wind whips back my hair. I feel great..very strong, euphoric. It takes a few moments for the wordless realization…I’m a horse.
The landscape is a featureless, misty white plane as far as I can see in any direction. No sky. No horizon. Nothingness to infinity. As I slow my pace to take in my surroundings, I see over my right shoulder that a strange, impish creature is running beside me. He is maybe three feet tall and running on two legs in a human like body covered in sleek black fur from head to toe. His face is similar to that of a Tamarin or Lemur with large, intelligent eyes and elvish ears. I sense that he is somehow a part of me.
Looking ahead, I spy a fleck of darkness against the endless white backdrop, and make my way toward it. In what passes as the ground in this unexplainable place, it appears to be a hole. As the two halves of myself morph into my own body, I reach into the hole and pull out a shining key that is bigger than my fist.
Immediately, I am shocked and amazed to find myself here, standing in the middle of nothing, fully present and more aware than I’ve ever been in my life. Lucidity!
“What the hell is this place? I’m here…but my body is back in Sewaren having a nice, cozy sleep in bed. Let’s go see!”
In the next instant, I am standing next to my bed looking down at my self while my logic brain lamely tries to make sense of it.
“Am I dreaming him or is he dreaming me? Did I just check out of that body, or what?! Maybe my ‘real’ life is just another facet of this larger dream.”
I somehow rationally contrive that I am in the third level of dreaming. The first being my real life, the second my normal dreaming, and the third being this profound lucid state to which the white expansiveness is something like a mid-world or threshold. I am whisked back to ‘the lonesome plane’.
The white mist begins to swirl and is transformed into a sunny forest glade. Bright and cheerful and full of birdsong. The voice in my head tells me I am now in the fourth level of dreaming. Standing in the middle of the glade is a dilapidated woodshed type of structure about fifteen feet square. It is constructed of rough sawed planks with rusting corrugated tin sheets for a roof. I pull open a creaking door and step inside.
All is darkness as my eyes take time to adjust to the little light that filters through the cracks in the walls. I hear and sense a malevolent presence stirring in the center of the room. I have awoken a sleeping giant who begins to rise with his back towards me. My instinct tells me that if he turns around and sees me, he will undoubtedly murder me. In my peripheral vision I sense more movement along the walls, and start with shock to realize I am being watched intently by a group of robed hooded figures whose faces are concealed in the shadows.
Extreme panic sets in and I realize I have only a split second to act. What will I do?! The key I still clutched tightly in my hand I realize is now a wicked long knife. I plunge it into the giant’s back (not very sporting of me) expecting a fight. He immediately falls dead while I await some form of violent retribution from my audience. To my astonishment, all are nodding their heads in silent approval. (End of dream).
The following day as I was driving the green pickup truck to a job site somewhere in the vicinity of the Middlesex County Jail, I couldn’t help wondering about the strangeness of it all. At just the instant I was wondering what color horse I was, my eyes were magnetically drawn to a small street sign about a quarter mile down the road on the opposite side. When I was close enough to read it properly, I was dumbfounded to read ‘Black Horse Lane’.
“Black Elk saw the earth becoming sick. The animals, the winged ones, and the four-legged ones grew frightened. All living things became gaunt and poor. The air and the waters dirtied and smelled foul. Below, Black Elk saw a blue man living in and empowering the sickness. The powers of the four directions, represented by four horses, charged the blue man, but were beaten back. The Grandfathers called upon Black Elk. His bow changed into a spear, and he swooped down on the blue man, killing him. When the blue man fell, all life came back upon the earth; all things became fresh and healthy again.” Black Elk’s Vision
Who is the Blue Man? What does he represent? See also The Seventh Fire.
A fitting soundtrack to my story. Brilliant song and performance by KT Tunstall. A song about forsaking love one too many times until it eventually turns it’s back on you and walks away forever.
The Black Horse image is by Rashed Al Ben Ali, aka Taaj, who magnanimously gave me his blessing to use it . Here is the link to his Flickr page: