Bully Bested

His friends called him 'Port'. He stood a big man, massive in comparison to us as children.  Calves, the size of footballs, carried the load of his muscular frame and well hydrated beer belly, hidden underneath a thick mane of wavy grey hair, worn long, beneath a greasy, frayed ball cap.  For spring, summer and fall he…

Gardening 101

Spending the summers rambling under the feet of my precious maternal grandparents, I relished the crash courses in Gardening 101.   Whether tending to their mammoth vegetable garden or planting flowers in the yard, we grandchildren were required to assist, in pulling weeds if nothing else.  Curiously intrigued by their ability to make anything grow, I…

Ashes and Medallions

They sat on my dining room table for months; tucked inside cardboard boxes, Mama and Eric’s ashes filled two plastic bags, secured by silver medallions etched with numbers. Toiling through my grief, I struggled to accept the concept that their lives lay there in boxes. If ashes were all that remained of their existences, I…

Death’s Moan

In bright red, 4:00 a.m. glowed on the clock's face, signaling alarm.  It wasn't a dream, the phone continued ringing, raising me from a one eyed slumber.  Without answering, I knew death was calling. ∼ The hallway, looming and long, sucked me into its vortex, past the reverent faces' greetings at the front door.  Awake…

The Love Letter

Penned by Margaret on May 19, 1976 Dear Husband, I thought that I would give you a nice surprise by writing you a letter.  I'm not much good at this so don't be surprised if it turns out to be a flop.  I want you to know that I'll always love you and I'll do…

A Final Plea

Letter written to my mother 2 1/2 years after Eric hung himself Mama, When I write, I'm better able to speak my heart, without the distractions of how you may take something.  Just know as you read this, you are loved and respected and cherished.  And sometimes everyone, even you, needs someone to help take…

The Dirty Deed

Ten days.  Ten, all too short, days I waited before forcing myself to visit Eric.  The charade of going through the motions, standing by his bedside, telling him she's dead, knowing he wouldn't....couldn't respond, unsure if he could hear me, more less comprehend what I would say, was futile.  He already knew. Contemplating a make-shift…

My Brother’s Keeper

Determined to stay positive, I turned a deaf ear to caution.  After reading a few books about schizophrenia, I considered myself educated, concluding that there were many things we could at least try, to acclimate him to living with his illness.  Naïve with ideas of enabling Eric to find his self-worth again, I underestimated the…