Hope, a photo by DebraAnn813 on Flickr.
This piece is called Hope, it is folded up in one of the bins in my studio at the moment. This is the first art piece that I ever made. It is called Hope because sometimes you live in a black hole so deep and so vast that the only thing you have left is a hand coming out of it and a faith in something bigger than yourself. Before I found myself in this beautiful part of the world I call home, I lived in this black hole all my life. Everyone I have ever loved was lost except my son, my husband, my brother , my aunts and my dog. I was literally a living lost soul. Everyone else died but yet somehow I still remained with a smile on my face. I had to have that smile at a very early age probably before I even knew what a life was. I was 2 years old when one of my brothers was born with a hole in his heart(I mentioned him in a blog post 2 days ago as that would have been the day he was 51 years old). He was always sick and when he was 4 he had a life saving operation and he died on the table. That is literally all I know, I was 6 years old and didn't know much about death and living or happiness. Nothing. A few months later my father was in a terrible accident which we passed on the way home from the store and I saw his car and yes it was his car. He lived through the accident, was told he would never walk again, but yet he did. He was in the hospital for a year I think, I was 6 years old and really don't remember it. My mother I think must have had a nervous break down because all I remember is that she took lithium till I was a teenager and she suffered from insomnia and slept late every morning. No breakfast, no lunch, no clean clothes. Nothing but the greatest love a mother could have for her children. I think my mother is the reason my brother and I are still alive today because although we lived in an environment not conducive to anything living, she gave all the love she had in her heart to her two remaining children. She did everything with us. Any interest in anything she indulged us. I love to read, to dance to sing because my mother would spend her days dancing in my living room with her daughter who she so adored. My brother was a real card and always getting into little boy trouble but she just loved us to death. We were her world and she was going to keep us safe from everything. Most kids fall off a bike, they get right back on she put our bicycles away. She would make the most extraordinary breakfasts when we were sick and of course we were always sick. Once in high school she got mad at me because I liked a boy in school and went to school in the snow. She was the most nurturing mother ever on the planet ever. However my whole childhood was spent dancicng around a hoarders episode complete with dead mice, dead birds, dead pets, decaying food. Kids never came to our house or if they did they never came back. She filled our time though with great listening and you could literally tell her anything and she would understand. She also taught me acceptance and the value of making people laugh. I could always spin a good yarn and make even the most stuffiest of people laugh. Even cruel children who didn't have any freakin idea the trauma my brother and I went through. School was hell and those breakfasts were extraordinary. I never went to school, ever. Missed weeks at a time sometimes. Who knows where I would have ended up had I gone to school. I could be writing a book and making million dollar paychecks doing it. I loved to write too. Was exceptionally good at it too when I was a kid. My grandmothers and aunts and uncles also helped to pick up the slack, my exceptionally strong maternal grandmother was the most generous soul on the planet, she also had an extremely hard life and managed to rear absoluting amazing children. My paternal grandmother who gave me my greatest gift, my love of the needles and the ability to stitch just about anything back together and she lived above a church . So here I was a little girl with a flair for the dramatic, who could make people laugh, who was completely sheltered from the bad world(somewhat) who would say anything to anybody and never had a filter, which let me tell you is a great way to make people laugh. My mother used to paint clowns, lots of them, with tears running down their cheeks and she would say that I was that clown. I still am. My grandmother used to take me to church and lady in the church would say I can see the whole world in your eyes little girl. And I guess she could, there was a lot of the world for a little girl. My brother and I continued on that way with a babysitter till I was 14, a lovely neighbor used to bring us hardened marshmallows and pretzels(still have a great mind for details). Lovely woman. And then the fun started, I turned 16, sweet 16 and never been kissed. Met a wonderful boy who is a facebook friend with his wife. Lovely. Met lots of boys had a knack for doing that too I might add. When I turned 18 I went out 4 nights a week and danced and kissed my way through northern NJ and had a hell of a good time doing it. Until I was 22. My mother came down with unoperable lymphoma, but didn't know it was terminal until after she died a year later on January 3, 1983. During those years and the rest of my life I made some very bad choices which haunt me till this day. I was a train wreck waiting to happen and literally my car got stuck on a railroad track of the real kind not the metaphorical kind, obviously it was towed. Dark, dark, days and stupid, stupid ways. My father well I think he kinda died a little when my brother died and a lot more when my mother died. He decided he wanted to be happy and he left with his new wife and never looked back on his old life. Did call once a week and send christmas cards from Arthur and Maria. Wonderful really. Also let my 14 year old house cat out in the middle of the winter where I found her when Peter and I went back to visit them. My brother had to end up taking care of her. The dog was lucky only her name was changed. And my brother was lucky too, they let him live in his room without paying rent. My father was very charming though and that is something I did inherit from him. No matter what happened, it didn't really matter because when my son was 5 he had a heart attack, which gave him a stroke, which put him in a coma for 8 months because his new life wasn't over. He was a kind of wonderful father when he was a father. He died a few hours into January 1, 1997. It was really a gift because watching someone on machines and knowing they wouldn't have wanted it that way was very painful, dark night of the soul painful.I often visualize my brother, my mother and my father holding hands in a circle in a field. It gives me joy. Andrea Bocelli got me through those horrible 8 months I discovered him and he touched my soul, I also made many embroidered christening outfits without a pattern and worked in a preschool where I could be around beautiful little souls. Those children kept me alive with their wonderful little happy faces every day. Later on in January my paternal grandmother died. My maternal grandmother died in August 1987, 2 months after my wedding and my maternal grandfather a truly wonderful, wonderful, wonderful man died May 1991, the same month my son was born. No matter what, no matter when whenever I was happy the ground gave out under my feet. And I laughed, and loved, and lived through it all. I was given so many wonderful gifts from so many different angels on my path and I talk about them every day on my blog. They are the reason I am alive today. I have a penchant for meeting new people and a penchant for talking really good combination and every single one of them knows a little something about my life, but this is the first time it is all put together. 9/11 was exceptionally hard for me because I knew exactly how all those families felt and how those poor children's lives were changed forever. Luckily that happened when mental health doesn't hold such a stigma, hopefully they will heal before it takes them 50 years to do it. I decided to do this because I no longer just have hope to keep me going, I have a place I love, a nice peaceful place. I have friends who love me for the crazy I bring into everyone's life, I have a son who the sun rises and sets on and always will even when he lives to the ripe old age of 100, I have a husband who moved me to this beautiful place. I have a wonderful bunch of artist friends giving and warm and beautiful souled. I have my beloved embroidery and a penchant for bright colors to brighten the darkness. I have the Black Keys and their songs that seem to have healed everything from 2 to 52, they have been living in my head through my earphones while I've embroidered for the last 4 months as all of the other music I listened to is too loud, too depressing or too painful to listen to anymore. I have been set free and I am a miracle. People like me usually succumb to drugs, to drink, to food, to recklessness but thanks to my mother and my son as long as one of them has been in my life I've been able to survive. Unconditional love. I know this was a long tale to read, I kind of wish it was a novel being paid for and kind of all over the place and raw but it is 3:30 in the morning and I am finally free. I am a freakin miracle. Blessings to all who stayed to the end and all of the angels I have in my life now who worry about me so and the angels I loved in the past . I love you all. Don't worry about that roast that is burned or that car that is dented it could be so much worse.