On a Not So Special Day…

In October of 2000, I remember going to Eastland Cemetery in Eastland, TX…I found my way to the woman whose suicide I blamed myself for many years…She wasn’t famous.  No one heard of her except the locals who knew of her tirades.  Her name was Judy.  She was my stepmother.  For about 3.5 years, I endured much at her hands but it was on this day that I came to one stark realization.  She could not help her mental illness.  In the last two weeks of her life, she thought she was four years old, and that I was her mother.

For years after her death, I kept asking, what if I had done this? What if I had done that.  The fact of the matter is that it does not matter, especially now. There are two things nobody has control over besides life and death and those things are the past and future. Neither can be changed. However I spent much of my 20’s trying to run from the memories of what went on in my home during the time she was with us. It was rather violent. I got shoved into walls, cabinets, picked up and thrown into one once–and those times were on the days when she wasn’t too pissed off and went off on EVERYONE.

Do I hate her? No.  Do the memories of a pistol getting pointed at my head still haunt me? Yes. That is probably why I never owned a gun. However times change and I do often think about obtaining one now. Please, if you’re into gun control, don’t preach at me. My family hunted for decades and before that my ancestors did also.  Not everyone who owns a gun is a nut-case.

Anyway back to my point.  There is only one thing that enabled me to get beyond the shadows of the past  when it came to her and that was to make this particular trip, on this not so special day to her grave.  It was in the 60’s and the sun was out.  And I stood here for a long time pondering what I would say if she were to stand next to me. It was then I said something very close to this:

This is my stepmother's grave. My father was buried elsewhere

This is my stepmother’s grave. My father was buried elsewhere

 

“It has been many years now. I have done some digging and now I can understand why you were so tormented over several things. Losing your own children and losing two sisters prior took a toll on you. I understand now, Judy. I understand the hell you went through at home as a child too. I forgive you.  I actually forgave you a long time ago but I had to come here to say it. I hope that you are at peace and that you are no longer suffering. I would wish what you endured on nobody now that I have put it together.”

Her suicide took a devastating toll on my emotions all the way through high school and beyond. I buried myself in my writing and my school work. I almost ended up getting into cutting but one of the counselors saw my journal and encouraged me to channel my energy elsewhere.  That was when I picked up a pen.

The chilling remarks when I came back to school after her death were the most cutting. Some new kid asked why anyone would shoot themselves.  My teacher in that class was a coach everyone got pissed at every day it seemed.  As I sat there he said, “I don’t know but women usually don’t go around shooting themselves because they are afraid to mess up their looks.”

I was livid. There is no way he didn’t know about her suicide being that he worked part-time for DPS.  I got up and bolted out of the room.  I stayed home for a couple of days and was in a different class after that. My dad made sure of it.  Even in her death the bullying and idiotic behavior of some of the other students continued as well. I never forgot that either. To them it was all a joke.  Well I hope they enjoyed their years at school afterward, because much of their entertainment came at the expense of others who were broken. This is why I don’t attend class reunions either–along with many others who opt not to show.

It is actually them I feel sad for. Even in adulthood they do not have a clue as to the scars they inflicted with their actions and words, yet most have suffered their own tragedies and seem to forget their past actions.  Ironically, I forgive them too. Some will have much to answer for one day. Until then, I will live my life and continue to work to get questions answered. For Judy, it’s the least I can do. She deserved better than what life dealt her.

 

Westboro Baptist Church–Political Organizations Should NOT be Tax Exempt!

My son came home from the war in Afghanistan almost 2 years ago.  There was a  point during which I wondered if I would ever really have him back, because he is not the same young man who left home.  Then today, someone pointed  out to me that he is here–just buried inside somewhere.  I think she is right.  Over the past couple of years, he has composed and played music again.  He can sing also.  That is one thing that this war cannot take from him–his passion for music.

He also has a love for animals–which is one thing this war could not change.  Here is a link to an interview he did with GQ while he was in Afghanistan.  I was upset when I read it, not because of the war itself, but it was because I could see in his own words what the war was doing to him.

http://www.gq.com/news-politics/big-issues/200904/obama-afghanistan-iraq-war-troops

It may have been my intuition but there were times I couldn’t sleep at night wondering if my boy was safe.   When he came home, I realized that he had been discharged a bit early–not by much.  I found out why a month later.  He was hurt when an IED exploded–killing others, but he survived.  He didn’t let the hospital tell us either because he knew he was going to live.  He said, “I didn’t want them to worry you, Mom.”  Right…He knew I worried anyway, but he knew I would have told my employer to take a hike if I had to and I would have been on the next military hop to Germany.

Now that he is back, he has been diagnosed with PTSD  and depression, along with some physical issues from the blast.  He can play piano as beautifully as he did before he left and he can still compose and sing.  These are the only two things that really give him a sense of purpose at the moment.  I intend to get him the program he wants to laying out his music on his computer as soon as I can get it.  I do not voice my opinions or show a lot of what I feel around him, but there is not much I won’t do for that young man who could have lost his life doing his duty.

Then there are those detractors who will go and protest a dead soldier’s funeral, but they don’t have the guts to show up to protest at a VFW fundraiser.  Why?  They have no cojones.   I am referring to those cult followers of the Westboro Baptist Church–and I shouldn’t call them a church because they are a political organization.  I feel that they should be audited and their tax exempt status revoked.  If they are receiving donated funds that are supposed to be used for charitable purposes, they should have to prove what they are using it for.  I also think that they are a modern-day cult at its worst.

Political rallies (which is what these protests are) are not EDUCATIONAL either if that is what they want to try to claim.  There is a huge difference between education and indoctrination.  Their own words condemn them as much as their actions.  They are a political organization spreading hate speech about military service members (many of whom die daily to protect their rights to act like fools), Jews and homosexuals–among other things.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westboro_Baptist_Church

While Wikipedia is a good place to start, I am going to put images here that should seal the deal for revoking their status.  If any other preacher that is actually with the Baptist Convention (which none of the denominations claim this bunch) were to do this, the Federal Government would have taken swift action, so why has this so-called church NOT been audited?  They call Barack Obama the anti-christ and say all kinds of stuff that put them in the same league as Jeremiah Wright.  Too many of these nuts and fanatics, which is what they are, are crossing lines that people would face jail time over under Bill Clinton–that is for sure!  A charge called “sedition” would cover it if treason wouldn’t. First, here is my favorite message to that group the WBC:

Appropriate for this bunch of fanatics...

 

I don’t know about the rest of you, but this does not sound Christian to me…Just listen to it.  Then get back to me. Click play at the top left of the page.  It’s nothing but hate speech and crap from that WBC group–and for  this “parody” (If you can call it that) I am quite surprised that Lady Gaga has not sued yet.  As I stated, to me it is hate speech…I am no fan of hers, and I often criticize some of her antics but this is so depraved that I would not blame her if she did sue.

http://meganphelpsroper.tumblr.com/post/653165655/ever-burn-wbc-parody-of-lady-gagas

And then the WBC will  put children into the mix.  Can they be charged for this type of crap?

I think it is a travesty that my son and others who survived, as well as  the many sons and daughters who did not, have either been wounded or killed defending the rights of those who constantly spread hate speech about them.  Groups like this are a shame to this country and should be scrutinized if they are tax exempt.  I deal daily with watching my son’s struggle.  I promise you not ONE of these detractors will ever do this to a live soldier or show up to protest a VA function either.  They only protest the dead because they can’t defend themselves.  That makes these fanatics nothing more than cowards.

In the meantime, I am thankful every day for my son’s presence.  I still hug him even though he doesn’t like that as much as he did before he left.  He knows that it is  a “mom thing”.  I have lunch or dinner with my boys when I can.  I will say this, they are grown men, but I would lay down my life for them in a heartbeat.  They know it too.  I just wish they didn’t have to deal with today’s crap.  I don’t think any parent wants their kid to deal with what is going on in today’s world.  We never would have thought this possible even 10 years ago.

I do have some bad news for the Westboro Baptist Church, though.  It does say in every bible I have read that “…Judgment begins with the house of God…” That tells me that groups like this will get theirs long before anyone they condemn will if that is the case.