Shadows Come & Go!
April 2, 2002
In youth, I never thought about death or dying very often,if
at all. At least not that I can recall. I was abandoned and
rescued more times than I care to recount. I experienced
love and indifference. I experienced cruelty and abuse in
There are clear memories of lying in my bed, alone,wondering
why I was treated differently by the man and woman in my
life; those I believed to be my father and mother. They were
not. They were my Uncle and Aunt. I suppose they loved me?
Still it's not that easy to know for sure, especially when
looking back and trying to put it all into a chronological
order and at the same time attempting to ignore the too many
times they rejected me and sent me packing.
When four or five, it was revealed to me in a very cruel
way, under very frightening circumstances, that my Mommy
wasn't my mother! Furthermore, I should never let the
informant hear me call that person Mommy ever again! I never
told Mommy about the incident. Not long after, I was sent
away to boarding school.
The years in boarding school were with only a visit or two.
On visiting days, it was routine for me to be sitting
unnoticed at a table nestled in a far corner. It was painful
watching the room, as the visitors entered to the sounds of
squealing, delighted children running towards them and
jumping into their arms. Hot tears silently built-up behind
my dam of refusal to open the flood gates. No one would know
my pain. I was strong. Then, only six or seven years old.
By the time I was eighteen, there would be many relatives,
friends of relatives, families, and several foster families;
including a couple of institutional style or group home type
living experiences, before being put out on the sidewalk.
I remember as clearly as if it were yesterday, standing on
the sidewalk like a stone cold statue in a park, watching
the county government car growing smaller as it disappeared
up the road. What on earth was I going to do now? I was all
alone. I was truly terrified.
Turning eighteen back then, coupled with being a female and
not being married, was an entirely different scenario than
it is today. I remember turning defiant at some point. No
one was going to hurt me or see my pain. No one was going to
break me. I would survive in spite of them, every one of
them. They would not win. I didn't need any of them. I
existed, therefore, I would be. But I was going to more than
survive. I was going to live life to its fullest!
With adulthood came even more disappointments, cruelties,
abuses, and rejections. But there are also satisfactions,
successes, joyful occasions, and an unnumbered amount of
Life is a precious gift. It is given to the individual. It
is up to the individual to do something with it. To make it
something of value. It isn't something we get from someone
else. It is something that is already ours.
Life is an individual theater of sorts and the stage is
filled with one scene following another, some anticipated,
some surprise, some disappoint, some delight. Be your own
writer, director, actor, stage designer.... cast your own
light! Shadows come and go. Death comes soon enough, and
appears to last a very, long time. Why rush into it?