The Lighthouse

Discussion in 'Family of Origin' started by New Leaf, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    We had a long day yesterday, driving two hours towards the coast to our first destination, Portland Headlight, Cape Elizabeth-the oldest lighthouse in Maine. This area was also the location of an old fort-my Great Uncle trained there preparing for duty in World War I. Brother has done some research and found that Great Uncle falsified his age to enlist with his older brother (our Grandfather on Dads side). He was just 16, his brother 17 and a half. These young boys toured in Germany and were subjected to the inhumane ravages of war. It is amazing to me that they returned and were able to live somewhat normal lives (from what little I know).
    My brother brought out a box full of family artifacts with letters written by my Grandfather and Great Uncle to their Mother, from the German front and France; dated from October 1917 through January 1919. Two young men writing about fighting for their country, at first eager to get to the front, then longing to go home after their difficult tour. They were left in Europe for awhile and despaired that newer, less seasoned troops were sent home prior to them. They wrote of the Spanish influenza and of their hope that it would end. How much these boys must have endured, so young, not knowing what the future held for them.
    They eventually made it home, my Grandfather married, his brother remained a lifelong bachelor, caring for his Mother until her death.
    Grandpa passed before I was born, Great Uncle stepped in as surrogate. He would come for holidays with a suitcase chock full of goods- fresh fish wrapped in newspaper, eggs, bacon, loaves of bread and donuts. A big bag of Maine potatoes would be carted to the dark cool basement. My Mom cooked up delicious meals and Great Uncle ate to his content, after dessert and a cup of coffee, leaned back, stretched his arms up high, then rubbed his full belly and thanked my Mom in his thick Maine drawl. He would recline to the easy chair and call for us. We hesitated, we knew what was coming. Grabbing us one by one in his ceremonious bear hug ever so tight, then kissed us, rubbing his poky whiskers on our faces. Each visit, before he left, he would line us up and hand us crispy silver certificate dollar bills, teasingly admonishing us to save them.
    Now we were taking a day trip to visit the place he called home, to see for ourselves where he readied himself as a young man to enter unknown happenstance.
    It was a beautiful day for a drive to the ocean.The trees painted more brilliantly the further north we went. Nearing the coast, we opened the windows, in wafted crisp fall, low tide;pungent with kelp-salty air. Getting out of the car our cheeks were met with the chill of sea breeze mixed with the warmth of sun rays. We strolled through neatly kept garden paths towards lands edge where sharp granite cliffs met the Atlantic, and beheld the lighthouse.

    There is something sacred about these tall, whitewashed monuments perched on cragged rock outposts, standing the test of time and the stormiest of seas. Countless men in ships crossing treacherous waters have viewed this sight and held hope for navigating a safe journeys end. This same sight my Great Uncle beheld as he trained for the battlefield abroad and a future unknown.
    It is this symbol I cling to as I go tomorrow with my dear Mom to be by her side in one small part of the brave fight she wages to hang on to what future will be. As sure as the blinking beacon on the jagged cliffs gave hope to so many in peril, I focus on faith, the blessing of life, the goodness and light of God and pray for Mom to pull through. We are venturing into uncertainty, sailing a ship into unchartered waters. With God as our lighthouse, whatever the outcome, we may rest assured for a safe journeys end.
  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    What a lovely story of a wonderful family, New Leaf. What memories.

    I have always wanted to visit Maine. It seems like the ends of the earth in the US. Farther away, more remote even than Alaska.

    How is the family doing? It is a lot, no?

    However much Hawaii is home, the way you describe Maine seems like home too. How are you doing, New Leaf? You have been carrying everybody it seems? How are you?
  3. Feeling Sad

    Feeling Sad Active Member

    Beautiful...just beautifully written. You are a very descriptive writer. I could visualize it!

    I went to Hawaii when I was 16 and on the drill team in high school. My friend was head cheerleader. Both of us were young and blonde. Boys liked us there, but we were both way too shy.

    Flash forward to 2007, I went to Maine with my youngest son. I did not know my future. My surgery for my brain tumor was a few months off. I loved the trip and the location. I love the sea...either coast or Hawaii. I have ocean paintings and Victorian antiques in my house.

    My son's favorite thing in Maine was a life-sized chocolate moose...I believe his name was Lenny. He had seen it in a travel brochure before our trip and had asked to see it. I told him..."Sure, if we run into it". I thought that I was safe... Well, sure enough, we did on our drive up the coast. Afterall, it was only fair because I was dragging the poor thing to every antique store in sight.

    One time I was stopping to buy him donuts, when he saw, to his horror, that right next door stood a two-story antique store. He yelled, "Abort...abort!!!"

    The ocean is so peaceful and very healing. I often feel closest to God there. My problems seem so small compared to the immense ocean.

    God's Peace.
  4. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I love this.

    I can see it, clear as day.


    My grandmother had a basement lined with shelves filled with jar after jar of home canned food. Tomatoes and corn and beans and beets. There was an especially spooky room, cool and dark and spidery, where the potatoes were kept, and a wringer washing machine in the basement, too. And in the yard, there was what I now know to be a tie out to hook a dog's leash to. But when I was a little girl?

    I thought that if I pulled too hard on that circular metal thing in the ground, it would open into Hell.

    For heaven's sake.

    I enjoyed your posting, New Leaf.

    We lived where there was a lighthouse, once. In the night, the foghorn would blow. There is no sound like it in all the world.

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    Last edited: Oct 9, 2015
  5. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    The rain falls persistently in the late hours of this evening. Clouds cover luminous moonlight, casting shadows, shadows of uncertainty.
    Clouds dripping rain, a steady symphony of sounds
    slowly cascading over rooftop, then eaves,
    and on to the thirsty soil.

    It is a thousand times a thousand drumbeats, slow, muted, sorrowful.

    I am here, and yet I am not. I am lost in the in between.
    It is a chasm, deep, wet, cold and dark.
    The earth has swallowed me up.

    And yet I breathe.

    I awoke in the early hours, as if by other- worldly energies.
    Not able to find sleep, up I got, weary eyed, yet restless.
    My phone chimed, a text, from my sister.



    rare fungal infection.


    Infectious disease center

    18 month treatment,

    much like chemo

    As I write the words above, they drip off of the screen, with the rain sounds, melding into puddles on the floor.

    Call her.

    My fingers tremble as I key the number,
    drawing in deep breaths,
    the silence of the morning,
    the silence

    Moms voice is flat, shaky. She speaks in slow, forced words. It is not what she expected to hear. She is tired. She coughs. She is discouraged. She does not know what she is going to do, see the Doctors, find out.

    I hear myself telling her gently, "One day at a time, Mom, one foot forward. We are with you."

    Dressing for work, I am not in my body, I am outside, watching myself.
    I tell my son the news and I tell him to be ready.
    I call my daughter, and tell her to be ready.
    I go to work and tell my workmates to be ready.

    I cannot tell myself to be ready, I am not ready.

    I go throughout my day, outside of myself.

    My sister calls, separated by time, it is night here,
    two a.m. for her,
    she is awakened by other worldly energies.

    "I need to talk" She says. And we speak about what the Doctor said, what our guts are telling us, what we have learned from our days desperate internet search.

    "We have been here before, this game of uncertainty, with Dad."
    "Yes, we have."

    So opposite in nature,
    we are,
    but in times like these,
    drawn together.

    Sharing our deepest fears and anxieties,
    speaking out loud
    thoughts our siblings will not hear.

    "Mom is very, very sick, this may be it for her" she laments.

    "I know that sister, but you can only say that to me. Our brother and sister won't understand, they will not want to go there, you must measure your words with them and with Mom.
    I will be here for you, like always. You can share this with me, I will not be offended.
    We must prepare ourselves.
    Yet we are not God, nobody knows for certain, when anyones' time has come."

    A melancholy mist has come over me, like a fog.


    I am here, and yet I am not. I am lost in the in between.

    It is a chasm, deep, wet, cold and dark.

    The sky has swallowed me up.

    And yet I breathe.
  6. Feeling Sad

    Feeling Sad Active Member

    Oh, Leafy, I am so sorry. Beautifully sad and despairing.

    I am here for you as you ready yourself. Yes, we do not know what the future may bring..

    My prayers are being sent out to you.

    I am so sorry that you are going through this. Be 'there' for your mom in your words and support. She will feel your comfort.
  7. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    The uncertainty is so hard to deal with. That place of feeling at a loss and wanting to do something to make things better.

    I am praying for you and your family for comfort and peace while you prepare for whatever the future holds.
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  8. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Feeling. I am in a daze it seems. Going through the motions.
    My friend asked me "When are you going?" I replied "I don't know."
    How do I know? Mom is relatively stable at this point. Who knows?
    I am functioning, outside of myself.
    Damn this distance.
    I love my home.
    But, damn this distance.

    Thank you Feeling.
    I am truly comforted by your words.
  9. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Thank you Pasa, for reaching out in your time of need.
    Your son, Pasa, have you heard anything? My heart breaks for you.
    I have been there with my two, the not knowing.

    It seems all tangled up.
    The uncertainty.
    Like a ball of yarn
    twisted and knotted
    in disarray.

    Thank you Pasa, you are in my prayers as well.
    Lord, help us all.
  10. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Dear Friends,

    I pushed myself to get up and go for my walk. Gentle rain fell, the streets black and winding. In the movement, I began to feel myself center again.

    I must keep this routine. Movement, sweat, blood coursing through my veins. It grounds me.

    A new day.
    Thank you for comforting me.
  11. Feeling Sad

    Feeling Sad Active Member

    Leafy, I like your analogy that our Difficult Child's lives are like yarn in knots ...a LOT of knots.

    I am glad that walking helped you to feel better. It helps you put things into perspective.

    Pasa, I am praying for both of you. You are both in my prayers.
  12. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    You write beautifully, Leafy.

    This is a hard thing, to be far away from your mother now. You are doing well. You are standing, though the load is very heavy. Like Atlas, you are holding up the sky. For your sibs, for your sister.

    For yourself, even.

    The walking in the rain, in the breezes, seems to strengthen you, Leafy.

    Maybe that is where Atlas found strength to accomplish the impossible thing, too.

    I am so sorry, Leafy. How long will it take until you will be there, when you do decide to go home?

  13. Feeling Sad

    Feeling Sad Active Member

    How are you doing my friend? I am glad that your walk helped you feel calmer and take in some fresh air.

    Have you any more news? Just take it one day at a time. I am sending out prayers to Hawaii. Be kind to yourself and be sure you eat and sleep well.

    Does your mother skype? That might make her feel, as well.

    You write beautifully, was sad, yet very beautiful. Poignant is the word I am searching for.

    God's peace.
  14. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Thank you Cedar. I do not cry as much as I used to. My tears come in the form of typing, or ink on paper.
    To get my feelings out, out, out.
    Keeping them locked up, is not an option, I shall go mad.
    You write beautifully Cedar and Feeling and Copa, so much imagery and thoughtfulness in the words you write. How amazing and brilliant my warrior sisters are.
    Yes, the load is heavy, but one of time immemorial. Who am I to question what is? I must take the winds and harness them within my sails and direct my ship. If I have to tack across the angry sea, I must. One day, the storm shall pass, and the angst will lessen.

    In the retrospect of it, how did I fare? Did I do my utmost to hold fast to the teachings of my parents?

    Life is such a tapestry.
    Will I be able to weave a story worthy of the strands, through my actions and responses? When I should falter, in word or deed, will I be able to unravel the misstep and recreate something of beauty?

    Yes, walking has always comforted me. When I was younger, I would walk for hours. It helps my mind work through things.

    It will take me 12-14 hours to get home.

    The trouble is, when do I go? I have duties here. The hubs has some medical tests mid November. I need to be here for that. Mom has an appointment with the Infectious Center Doctor on Monday. Sisters will go with her, a good thing. Mom tends to hear what she wants to, as we all do. How can one absorb all of this? Sisters will jot down notes. Mom wants to speak with her cancer Doctor, to see what he thinks, and then decide what to do. The drugs to battle the fungus are very strong, and make one sickly.
    Mom already went through chemo. She does not want to go through a similar experience.
    We are talking about quality of life.
    I called her this morning and we had an emotional chat. She is processing everything.
    She is very tired and losing weight. An independent woman, she wants to take care of herself.
    How long she can do this, I don't know.
    She has her friends and neighbors.
    But she is alone.
    When does one step in, without imposing on that fierce independence?

    I cried and said to my Mom, "You must tell me, when it is time, I will be there."
    She cried too and said she would send me ticket fare. I think that is her way of saying she needs me.
    Until then, I will call her every day.
    Thank you Cedar
    Thank you Feeling. I am calmer, yes. There are many unanswered questions.
    Yes, Feeling you are right, one day at a time. I will look after myself to keep my strength up.
    Thank you, you are very kind.
    Mom does not like that sort of thing. It befuddles her.

    Feeling, you have such a way with words as well. Thank you for that. I am thinking of my warrior sisters and wishing you all God's peace.

    I am so very thankful for your loving support.
  15. Phoenix_Flyer

    Phoenix_Flyer New Member

    I absolutely loved reading this!! Your words painted such a vivid and beautiful picture of Maine but also of the enduring love of your family!
  16. Feeling Sad

    Feeling Sad Active Member

    Leafy, you do write beautifully. You definitely have a way with words... A true gift! You give this 'gift' to others. Thank you for sharing your world through your pristine eyes with us. It always creates a peaceful calming mood while our lives are often in such chaos. YOU possess true 'Ha' and 'Manna'!

    Does your family know how your words so eloquently convey such an inspiring and true picture? Did you keep a journal or diary growing up?

    How are you doing this morning, Leafy...Tropical Leaf?
  17. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Thank you Phoenix, you are very kind.
  18. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Feeling, you are very kind. No journal growing up, but I do have numerous notebooks full of thoughts and unfinished poetry.

    There used to be a disheveled, unkempt homeless woman who would frequent an area where I worked. She would sit for hours and write on bits of paper and napkins.
    I sometimes wonder if that will be me one day, the crazy old lady, writing, writing.

    My thoughts come to me quickly in rhymes as I take pen to paper. They pour out of me Feeling, like an overflowing washbasin. I have always been this way, and I wonder if it is what made me the "odd" one of the family. If I do not capture them quickly, they are gone. So I have notepads everywhere.

    Thank you for your words of encouragement Feeling, it is a wonderful feeling to be accepted and embraced by such a beautiful soul as you.

    I was looking for you on the P.E. forum earlier.

    Feeling, find Copa on FOO, she needs us.
  19. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Here is imagery of strength:

    In the days when there were pirates along the American shores, the most courageous, and among the most feared pirates, was a woman. Lil found for us the true story of the woman pirate. I will find it, and post that for you here, on this response. When I was feeling so broken, so helplessly in love with my kids and so helpless in the face of their addictions or illnesses, I posted the following story about a woman pirate. I think the two stories are about the same woman, though the story I am going to relate for you here is not included in the information Lil found for us.

    Here is the story.

    Other pirates have captured the woman pirate's son. Taunting her across the waters, the pirates threaten to hang the boy from the yardarm if the woman pirate does not surrender. Understanding that the only way she can save her child is to call the kidnappers' bluff, the woman pirate roars to the front of her beautiful ship. Throwing her skirts up, she howls: "Go ahead! I will make another!"

    And so, the boy was saved, because his mother was brave and refused to give in; because she refused to buckle in the face of her fear for her child.

    Here is the story Lil found for us:

    Cedar and other P.E. Moms- I found her! - Arrrrr!

    Read more:

    So, she was real, this pirate woman. And in her story, we find strength.

    Your imagery of ships and rough waters had me thinking about this, this morning, Leafy.

    It is a funny, funny thread, this thread that Lil posted for us, but very strengthening, too.

    This is the first thread where Monty Python enters the picture. This also was strengthening for us, here in FOO Chronicles.

    Things seem to work like this here in Conduct Disorders. Each of us keying into just the right things for the others of us to heal.

  20. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    OMG Cedar, that was awesome.
    I shall have to read further.
    The only disparaging thing was
    the saggy under arm skin ad
    at the end of the article.

    Jeanne De Clisson.
    We shall wave our swords in the face of the enemy,
    saggy under arm skin and all.

    Yes, Cedar, I have found this to be very, very true.