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Ahmad Cox  Jul 2012
Helpful
Ahmad Cox Jul 2012
Its good to be helpful
Its nice to give back
Whenever you can
Sometimes being a little helpful
Can mean the difference
In someone else's day
Sometimes something as simple
As sharing a little time
A little extra energy
Taking that little extra effort
To be a little more helpful
Can have huge effects
For the people
Who are receiving your kindness
And who you are being helpful to
Patrick Austin Sep 2018
Our Backgrounds before we met...

I'm an only child born in Montana in 1983, from a divided home. Parents divorced at seven, Mom was unstable and unfaithful. Dad obtained custody of me and we moved to Oregon Coast to live with my Grandma. I had unhealthy visits and relationship with Mom thereafter. My Grandma died at 12 and at 13 my Dad remarried an alcoholic woman, I had a strained relationship with them until adulthood when she stopped drinking. I had exposure to trauma; alcoholism, mental illness, verbal abuse and juvenile troubles. I rebelled by using drugs in my late teens and early twenties, I lived on my own for a few years after high school but had little direction.

My bride is the eldest with two little brothers, parents stayed in same area of Portland during childhood with lots of family support and her parents stayed married. They had Christian values but some anger and anxiety issues at home. She was sexually assaulted at 17 and never had good closure with this. She told me her parents didn't provide her enough help with things like this growing up. Status quo was the backbone of the family dynamic, challenging emotions were discouraged. She rebelled by being reckless with herself, financially and sexually. She decided to join the Navy at 19. She lived alone briefly, but mostly with Grandparents & Parents before our marriage.

I loved how we both grew up reading Archie comics. No other girl I had ever met had that in common with me. I think we wanted a surreal life like the one in Riverdale.

2002

She and I were 19 when we first met in my home town on the coast at an arcade. We became friends and secretly liked each other. I was too nervous to ever make a move on her. We traveled together, she stayed with me, we used drugs together and drank at times. One night she drank too much and had *** with a guy I knew at a party. I was devastated by this. She was Navy bound and I didn't see a real future for us. The next morning she left and I didn't talk to her again for two years. I figured she would be gone with the Navy soon and that she must not have been interested in a relationship with me despite the time we spent together.

2003

I was depressed about this rejection. I dated an older woman who was interested in me but was no substitute. I eventually moved to the Portland area to work and live. I still had few plans and was lonely, in or out of the few brief relationships I attempted. I never found someone that I felt safe with or had a true connection, let alone true love. She ended up not following through with the Navy and continued working her way up in her job at the call center. She attended community college and dated a few guys. She dated one guy for a couple of years who was not a good match for her but stayed with him off and on despite issues. His family was wealthy and treated her well. He slept around on her as did she. At one point he gave her an STD. She also had an ongoing affair with a married man in the military that she went to high school with. He had a child and a wife with mental health issues. She was still hurting a lot at times and not always doing well.

2004

She reached out to me via email after two years of no contact. We emailed back and forth a couple times over the next few months. We talked about meeting up. We spoke on the phone and eventually met up in Portland. We had an amazing night getting to know each other again and work past the confusion of our earlier days of friendship. I realized that she did in fact like me before but since I was timid and trying to be proper and take things slowly she didn't understand my motives. She apologized for her actions at the party as well. She claimed she was in a really messed up place and was making bad choices at that time. Getting our feelings out in the open was good and she appreciated my attitude towards being slow to make moves on her when we first met. I was worried about falling for her based on our history but eventually I was determined to give it a shot. We soon after starting dating and being intimate. Our love was extremely powerful and beyond all others we had both experienced. She broke ties with other suitors and shortly after we talked about marriage and started planning a wedding for the next year.

I remember when we first held hands. We were so shakey and she was quivering on my couch as I had my arm around her. We felt so safe with each other. We could finally be ourselves and do what our hearts desired. We knew we were on to something new and so amazing. We were so patient with each other as we navigated our new love and emotional thresholds.

I remember when we saw Matisyahu in concert together. That was a once in a lifetime experience and a life-changing moment for us. I feel it set the tone for things to come in our future.

I remember how creative my proposal to her was, in the Arcade where we first met. I hid the ring in a prize container from one of those claw machines. Pretending I got the ring from inside by reaching into the machine on one knee I was so nervous and wasn't sure if I could pull it off before she caught on. She looked so shocked and surprised. I was so excited she said yes! We took pictures in the photo machine and had burgers afterwards, I'd do all of it all over again just to see her face in that moment.

2005

We found an apartment for us in Portland. I moved in while she was still living back with her parents until the wedding. She had to change her number because the married man she was previously involved with kept calling her about changing her mind about marriage and continuing their relationship. She was offered a job in Denver and we decided to move away together after our sandy wedding in Cannon Beach. I still had a very hard time and was embarrassed with my past history with her. Many of my friends knew what had happened at 19 and how much it hurt me but I was so crazy about her I think I tried to pretend it didn't happen or that it was not a big deal because we were younger. We got married and moved to Colorado soon after. We made friends at a church, I became more active as a Christian and really loved being married. We were very involved in keeping spirituality in our marriage. I began to notice her poor financial decisions and practices more. This caused conflict but we always tried to communicate and work on things.

I remember when we went down to my folks for New Year's in 2005. We sipped tea in my Datsun as we drove to the coast over the snowy mountain pass. We told them of our engagement. We were all so blissful and excited. We never knew what was to come. We didn't even know about the opportunity in Denver yet. Our story is amazing!

I remember when I wanted to go see her in Portland and the roads were iced over. I left my car at a park and ride before I caused a wreck. I took the light rail across town then rode a bus to the Eastside shopping mall. The bus to her house was not running because it wasn't safe so I walked the rest of the 4 Miles sometimes having to crawl on my hands and knees to make it up hills in the ice and then I finally made it only to just spend a couple hours with her and fall asleep on her parents couch. Her Dad drove us back the next morning to my car so I could get to work. It was all worth it just to see her for that little extra time. I would have done anything for her.

I remember when she was interviewing for the new position in Denver? I drove all over Portland trying to find little toy cars to help with her illustration about how a team is like a car having all four wheels and how they work together to accomplish a goal. I was so proud of her for giving it her all and succeeding at earning that position. Now that I think of it, that car analogy applies to our family and us. We all need each other to be better and keep on track and be a team. I am so motivated by that and our boys. I lose my way without that and I want to be her reflection and motivation as she has been that for me. I truly thought we brought out the best in each other when we were together.

I remember when we were given tickets to see Fiona Apple. That was so spontaneous and a great way to kick off our time in Denver together. We always used to watch our same movies over and over again. Like the Friends DVDs and White Christmas every winter break and The Wedding Singer. We walked everywhere and lived simply. "I wanna be the guy, who grows old with you"

I remember in our first Denver apartment when we took baths together in our claw foot tub in the big bathroom. We put a board over the top and played cards. I liked playing Uno with her in bed too. She was so funny being slightly color blind and in the dark, mixing up the greens and blues. We played Uno in Breckenridge too at that cool bed and breakfast in the fall.

2006

We had continued fun and adventure in our new home of Denver. She was doing well as a trainer for the bank and I started working in health foods. We went camping in New Mexico a couple times with friends and we both took individual trips to Oregon as well as one together for her uncle's wedding. We had marital spats on occasion but always bounced back. The issues we had seemed like part of a normal marriage and were far better than what I had grown up around. I realized that marriage was a lot of work but I was up for the task. She occasionally became aggressive throwing things at me or breaking things during conflict.  I believed I was the problem and tried to change for her in many ways. With two incomes we still had trouble making our bills at times. She had debts that I never knew about that started to catch up with us but I took care of getting them settled and we paid off her car and traded it for an older Volvo Wagon that we both loved, I even had it repainted her favorite color for a birthday gift. Overall things seemed like they were progressing in a positive way.

I remember when we saw Midnight in concert in Boulder. That was the peak of our hippy days. We were alive with pleasure in our healthy vegetarian diets and practices living in a time and place like no other. I want to be like that again. Reggae was our music. We had much in common.

2007

We really fell into our roles in our marriage and the community; church and culture, friends etc. Things seemed very balanced and appropriate for us at that time and that age (24-25). We had separate bank accounts and jobs. I had money in savings. We started the process of buying a house so we could invest in something. She became pregnant shortly after. I embraced the challenge with positive energy but we were both in for a big change. We started having more fights. I didn't have many friends and would write to old friends via social media just so I could to catch up and tell them things were going great with being married to make myself feel better than I actually did. She hated the dawn of social media and also felt isolated I'm sure. She felt I should be doing more for her and I didn't know how to do what she needed but I failed to ask a lot of the time. After one argument, she left the house. My instinct told me to look at ******* and ******* as a retaliation. I had not done this much once we were married because she always met my needs but when things were difficult between us I felt more emotionally isolated. She walked in and realized what I had been doing. She was very upset, and because she was pregnant, thought I was not attracted to her. The truth is I found her even more beautiful and in fact when I looked at ******* I tried to look at women I found less attractive than her so that I feel good about what I have. I mostly fantasized about how these women were more submissive and loving than her. That is the part I needed to feel good about and feel better about myself with because I felt very dominated and controlled. She has never forgiven me for this and I will never stop feeling sorry to her for my brokenness. During one particular argument that year she was getting close to being violent towards me again and I pushed her away on the chest with my fingertips. She got very mad and said I hurt her. I immediately felt terrible and apologized. I never let something like that happen again. I have always avoided violence towards others especially women and of course her. I was defenseless against physical and emotional abuse.

2008

Our eldest son was born at the beginning of the year, it was a traumatic birth for everyone. We wanted a natural birth with a midwife but we were transferred to a hospital and she ended up having an emergency C-section, nothing went as planned. We had a really hard time coping with the emotions of this experience. A lot of buried feelings and trauma from both of us started coming out. We moved a month later into our new home outside of town. No more walking or biking to places, we had to drive everywhere. This house was next to our friends from church. We thought this would make us feel less isolated but we didn’t really have the community with them that we had hoped for. They were upset that they didn't have a child of their own yet and being around us might have been hard for them. My wife stopped working and stayed home with our son. All these changes made for a very difficult time. I did my best to support them but this was the first time we shared a bank account and needed to follow a budget more than ever before. We had no debt at the beginning of the year with money in savings but then the hospital bills put us down about $7,000 and rising with new home and moving expenses and baby needs. My job could barely keep up. She and I had a hard time adjusting. We could not afford to travel home to Oregon and visit family as much and we felt more and more isolated. She started showing me more signs of instability, locking herself in the bathroom with kitchen knives and scraping her legs which continued off and on for years to come. Talks of divorce and suicide threats seemed to happen more than before. I felt responsible and tried to fix her ever changing issues with me.

I remember when herr ******* were full and swollen with milk. It is so beautiful the way she could feed our babies. I wanted her in every way, our bodies belonged to each other. I was there for her and our shared pleasure. I loved it when she told me that she was mine in the heat of passion. This spark could only be a bandage for so long but I didn't know that yet.

2009

I tried to promote within my company but was not selected, they were cutting budgets and employment all around me. I felt worried about our future. I had always thought the military might be a good opportunity and could move us closer to family back home. My father-in-law encouraged me to look into the Coast Guard. I felt this would be a good way to get moved closer to Oregon.  I ended up joining the Navy because we found out we were pregnant again with our second son and that was the only way I could join a military branch. She worked off and on as a nanny and later in the year at a coffee house working nights. We barely spent time together and when we did it was a lot of hard conversations or arguments about finances with making up intimately in the middle of the night between times of caring for the baby. She once scratched my neck with her fingernails during an argument. People I worked with noticed. It was a hard time and we knew change was on the horizon with jobs and moving. We did visit Oregon that summer though and had a great vacation at the beach with a borrowed 4x4 and staying at a hotel and picnicking out of a cooler as well as going to her brothers wedding. I was 26 and about to join the Navy to provide better for my family at all costs sacrificing myself for their benefit because I would have rather died than look like I didn't try my best for them.

I remember when our babies would kick and move around inside her belly. I loved laying by her and feeling her tummy. I would hum to the baby and hear them move and squirm. I loved giving our boys baths when they were babies too. We had our little bundles of our love, wrapped in a towel in our hands, so tiny and vulnerable. I miss those days and want to remember them with her, aside from this state of melancholy.

2010

The Navy recruiters would only take me if we rented out our home and had her stay with family during boot camp and training. We moved to a furnished apartment in Denver and put our things in storage. She was 5 months pregnant and our eldest was two. I shortly after was let go from my job. Our second son was born in April. I got a contract with the Navy at the last minute but didn't leave until August. We sold our beloved vehicles and lived off retirement funds for six months and moved down to Florida where her parents had just moved out of the blue for work, to stay with them until I left for boot camp. I applied for temporary work in Florida at a dozen places but had no luck in my three months there. I took care of our eldest a lot while she took care of the new baby. Being in Florida was a culture shock for us but we had our moments of romance and made the best of it. Eventually I left for boot camp in August. It was really hard and sad to be gone. She stayed in Florida and came to visit me with the baby at boot camp graduation in October. I then went to Connecticut for five months of training. It was also hard but at least I could call home every day and be in the same time zone. I visited Florida during the winter break and saw my boys and her. We went to Disney world and had a great time on her parents. We also made a romantic home movie I could enjoy while away from her. I flew back to Connecticut and tried to make the best of things. My roommate was very abusive of substances and I resisted the temptation for a long time but the threat of being submarine service bound and missing my family pushed me to drinking every weekend and getting messed up to escape before I left.

I remember when we drove to Key Largo, Florida and stopped at a crazy bird wildlife center. I remember our oldest was so amazed hearing a bird say hello back to us. It was so foreign and fun there. I am glad we all shared that experience together.

I remember our trip to the citrus grove in Florida. That was such a great day for our family. I always look back on that with really fond sentiment. I felt like I was in a beautiful family music video with them.

2011

I finished Submarine Training and got orders back to the Northwest. The plan was all coming together. I arrived first and bought a car and got our items moved from storage in Denver to our townhouse rental in Washington. She and the boys joined me a month later. I didn't report to my Sub for another month as they were at sea. She became pregnant again with our third son right after arriving. We had just bought a small car and were not planning on another child. Towards the end of the year I was working a lot and having a really hard time, being bullied and treated poorly at work plus our financial situation was still very difficult. Adjusting to the military was hard among younger men being 28. I dreaded each day in that environment but I tried to endure it for my family. I went to sea for a couple months at the end of the year stopping in Hawaii and California. During this time She reached out to her ex married affair partner after six years of no contact. She didn't tell me until later. She said she needed closure with him, we were not in counseling yet but she decided this was appropriate. I flew home early from sea and wanted to surprise her. The stress and trauma of this quick transition home after being to sea for the first time (which was also traumatic) made me want to drink and get messed up before flying. I arrived home and surprised her but I seemed off to her which I was but didn’t explain why, I have never done that since. I got to be home for two months almost work free while we celebrated the holidays and prepared for the new baby to be born. She started getting more involved with a church and building a community for us which was great. Our financial struggles almost led us to foreclosure of our home back in Colorado but by the grace of God we got it sold with a short sale just in time.

I remember when I came back from Hawaii and brought her a beaded necklace and she wore it naked with her big beautiful pregnant goddess belly and we made passionate hippy love together. I want to grow out my beard again and spend my life making hippy love and feeling free again.

2012

Our third son was born in January. It was a very positive birth experience and much less stressful than the other two. Shortly after I flew out to finish the other half of the deployment I had missed. I really focused on being positive and spiritually connected by reading my Bible at sea which was helpful. I called her when I arrived in Japan halfway through being gone. She was upset because she tested positive for an STD while trying to get on birth control. I became suspicious of her yet she was suspicious of me. We both got tested again and I was clean, she told me she had a false positive after all. This put a big strain on our trust, especially being so far away. This forced us to be honest with each other about some things such as her contact with her ex lover and my drinking to cope. We were both very upset until I returned home and we could start some counseling to work through things. Forgiveness seemed to be difficult for us. It brought up hurts of the past when we were 19. She also had severe postpartum depression that became worse after each birth. I was still having a hard time with work and the submarine environment. Our church friends tried to counsel us but it was not the most helpful. My submarine was scheduled for extended repairs and not going to sea for three years, I would be transferred before the end of that period. I used this time to bond with her and my boys. I wanted to get better involved in our community and do volunteer work and side jobs to earn extra money. Our boys were all given diagnosis's for autism which begun to fill our lives with appointments and challenges for years to come but we were a good team in dealing with all of it. It gave us something to work together on but took our focus away from working on our own personal issues and relationship with each other as much as we should have.

2013

We had new years with both sides of our family in a snowy mountain setting in Oregon. It looked like it was going to be a great year until her Grandpa passed away suddenly. It ripped our entire family apart but especially her. He kept the family grounded and she was very close to him, he really loved all of us. She and I started going on dates again because we had Navy sponsored child care. It was the beginning of a really good thing for us. Tragically one night after a date we were dancing with the boys on the patio and I tried to pick her up and I lost my balance and fell on her, breaking her collar bone severely. She needed surgery and was very mad at me for years to come. She has a scar, a metal plate and numbness in her chest. We worked through it with our community from church but she still is very mad at me. I feel more terrible about this incident than she could ever know. I would lose a finger in place of that incident if I could. I continued having a really hard time in the Navy and I didn't want to stay in but She insisted our boys needed care only the Navy could offer. She also said she would divorce me if I ever left the Navy. I took this threat seriously even though she assured me later that she would never actually do that. Against my own convictions I reenlisted because I wanted to do the best thing for my family. We moved into base housing at the end of summer and didn’t go out to do things as much anymore. The house was nice but it ****** us in, we also had less community with people around our home. I started volunteering at church more and doing work with special needs people. I felt like I was doing good things and that I had purpose all around. I think she appreciated this about me.

2014

We started seeing a professional counselor together and individually. It became a regular event. I worked on myself and she worked on herself. I had a lot of issues with my Mom and eventually broke off communication with her for my own well-being and the betterment of my family. I got past a lot of the bad feelings I had. She worked on her traumatic experiences and our relationship dynamics. Just when things were going well I got a new boss who made things hard for me and others at work and I started messing up more. I got in trouble for messing up a job at work and was given strike one on my record. She lost respect for me as a provider but I tried to stay strong showing her that I would continue to do my best.

I remember when we had an appointment in Tacoma and we had a brunch date together afterwards. She looked so beautiful that day, I took her picture and was so proud to enjoy  huevos rancheros and momosas with her. I remember going to the Tacoma Art Museum seeing the Georgia O’Keefe exhibit, we have a great time together doing new things and feeding each other's interests. I loved laughing with her too, sometimes we just bust up like nobody's around. I loved the sound of her laughter. I loved watching Portlandia with her, it is so funny to remember the funny place where we became close and be able to relate together.

2015

I kept working hard and being involved with family and appointments for my boys and her. I still maintained my volunteer work and part time side jobs. I got strike two with the Navy for messing up again... I had just gained orders to leave the sub for local shore duty. I could not get out of the extended repair situation soon enough. She was very disappointed in me and not so understanding. I worked through this situation with our counselor as did she. He always told her I am a good man and that I do a lot for her and the boys. It's true, I care more than anything about them, I made mistakes and I feel bad especially when I cause my family stress. I left for shore duty in April. It was a hard time adjusting to the new routine but eventually we seemed to make it work. That summer we took a trip to visit Texas where her parents had just moved from Florida. We spent a great night together for our 10th anniversary in a hotel in Texas and went dancing. We had a lot more time together as my work schedule was less. The more people we had in our home working with our kids on issues the less useful my input seemed. I was not included as much in making family decisions because they all seemed to happen while I was at work, despite my objections. We tried to get our budget under control but she still had anxiety discussing spending. She continued to struggle with depression and was put on medication because she had still been harming herself. She was put on Prozac daily and anti anxiety medication as needed. He family members were not very supportive of medication which upset her but I always tried to be supportive in seeking help and continued care for both of us.

2016

We had a busy routine of kids in school now and home school and preschool and appointments for all of us. She wanted to go to church less and less. I started drinking a couple beers at night almost every day. I tried to mask my stress from her mood swings. She decided not to go to church at all anymore and focused teaching the boys about Jewish traditions exclusively which was hard for me to adjust to and confusing for the boys. I loved her and wanted to be supportive. As usual I was submissive and removed myself from the Christian church and some friendships. I feel like we lost our community at that point. We searched for a good place to have a new community with Jewish people but it was like starting over. I felt like I converted to Christianity for her when we got together and now I had to convert again, either way I would have done it for her because I loved her that much. The kids were confused by this change. After trying and failing at many synagogues we finally found one that seemed right for us.

2017

We finally had some money in savings because I kept it a secret and ended up planning a trip to visit her parents in Texas but it fell through due to lack of military flights. Instead we spent three nights away in a nice hotel resort as a family in February. We had three days of pure family time. Playing Battleship and other games in our room as a family, watching movies and eating at all the different restaurants and getting room service. Going swimming everyday in the foggy pool. I love our family and how we can have a great time together doing nothing but at the same time so much. That was so peaceful and relaxing. I wanted to keep doing things like that together as a family before our boys got too old. Shortly after this vacation she wanted to go back to school, then we bought a third vehicle so she could. Shortly after this she changed her mind about school and wanted to buy another house instead. I went along with it to please her and we practically killed ourselves trying to get the move accomplished with not much help or money. We had a good year over all. We got away for a romantic anniversary together in the summer. Just before the boys were going to start public school in the fall, her parents moved back to the area. She had anxiety with this and cut off contact with her parents and brothers for a while. Her Dad called me very upset and I tried to keep the peace until they reconciled. I was doing better with work and made up for lost progress as well as making arrangements to change jobs in the Navy to something more fitting. Since the boys started public school, I planned on leaving for Navy training in my new position after the beginning of the new year when they would be at a more settled place in their routine.

I remember when we went to the Olympic Club for our anniversary and we stayed there for a night away. We drove the long way through the countryside talking about new music that she wanted to share with me and she made notes of it on my phone notepad. We brought our own cooler and picnic that included Session Lagers and chocolate. We checked in to our room and made noisy bohemian love on the edge of the creaky bed in our small European room inches from the door. Then we went to the theater downstairs and watched the late showing of a really interesting Sci-fi movie "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets". We took showers and slept sweetly together. We made love again in the morning before we had a delicious brunch outside on the patio. We took the long way home and drove around on new roads and found our way out of cell phone reception. We figured out the road less traveled to get back to our home. We loved being alone and away together, just one night can make such a difference and mean so much.

I remember going to the Forest Theater to see Tarzan with our boys. That was such a great time. I would love to get our boys into theater and go see them someday. I wanted to keep our dreams and goals together alive and not lose opportunity and fall short by losing our partnership.

I loved going camping in Seabeck. Loading the truck with all our gear and getting away. Archer got sick from the cowboy caviar and I had to clean him and the tent up in the night. I was glad we had each other to be a team in our marriage in that situation as with all the other times. These sorts of things are what escape a person's mind when they are determined to get a divorce.

2018

We had a lot less money than the year before, again buying a house took its toll on finances as did the boys school and after school activities. I stayed very involved taking the boys to appointments and sporting practices. We stopped going to synagogue but tried to practice Judaism at home as much as possible, which I was very supportive of and involved with. She was still depressed and talking about suicide at times. I encouraged her to get help as I always had. Eventually she was diagnosed as Bipolar 2 and manic depressive by a new provider. She started taking new medicine for this and was worried I would want to leave her. I assured her I would never leave her and that I always wanted to work on things with her and help her. I left for training in Mississippi February 8th. It was going to be hard but I thought it might be good to have some time apart from each other to miss one another and reflect on things as well as prepare for times when I would be away at sea. I got in trouble in Mississippi for giving junior personnel a ride and being negligent of people who might be underage and possibly drinking, this became strike three. I never thought this could happen. I became recommend for separation from the Navy shortly after and was stuck in Mississippi for six months instead of six weeks. She was supportive through most of it but seemed to fall into hopelessness. Money was spent by her that we didn't have without discussion. She quietly leased appliances and tires and purchased a vehicle as well as having a secret bank account and email address. I discovered through our insurance company that she wanted to leave our policy for divorce. I didn't know this and she had even told the boys she wanted a divorce before I even knew. I was caught off guard and confused. I kept trying to communicate and reason with her but she didn't want to talk. I refused to give up and wrote emails and a letter but it only seemed to push her away further. By the time I left Mississippi she had filed for divorce and a restraining order against me saying I was unstable and a threat. I couldn't return to my home. My whole life fell apart in just a couple months. I found out she had been talking to other men in the Navy and keeping more secrets. I assumed this was her way of taking control during a difficult situation. I really needed her support during this hard time of transition out of the military. I became homeless, jobless and without my family in a month. I prayed to God that given time things might change between us but it was of no use. Bipolar had consumed whatever was left of my bride and there was no turning back.

I felt that our love was not one to be cast away. Other people might not understand or agree but what we had was truly special. We may have surely needed some time and space to get counseling as well as reconfigure and repair our marriage but I didn't feel like our relationship was irretrievably broken. She was so important to me and I thought she was the love of my life and would always have my heart. I wanted to be her partner in love and life, watching our boys grow up and being there to support each other. Being that she is Bipolar I knew she will need a lot of help and I was more than willing to assist her in making sure she was taking care of herself and not throwing herself into harm's way, ensuring she sticks with a plan we agree to for consistency. I cared about her deeply and had much compassion for her. I didn't believe she was thinking this through or thinking about the future. I really wanted to look at the long and short game with her, neither seemed appealing to me if we progressed but here we are. Things are not going to be easier. She will still have to face her problems and deal with me on a regular basis for the rest of our lives no matter what happens. She can believe her lawyer when they promise she'll get the moon and stars out of this in the end but they only see half of the story. Above all they want our money. It would have been good for her to face me in person and tell me she wanted to divorce and we could have started talking about it with a counselor to figure out how that could even work. Instead she chose to avoid as much responsibility for her actions as possible by doing everything in my absence as if I am not a real person. I had to find out about it from our insurance company and was last to know.

Immediately after I hear the word divorce I looked into her cell usage history and find she has a new military boyfriend that she talks to 20-30 times a day. She felt she owed me no explanation for this and it was none of my business. A mature person would have let me know about this months before and I would have seen it coming but there was no sign until it was seemingly too late. She strayed down a dark path and never turned back.

Her proposed parenting plan was cruel and had no thought put into it. Two hours a week with supervision, no holidays but father's day? She said she’s not trying to keep me from the kids but this is the exact opposite of what she’s saying with the paperwork she filed. She seems very mixed up and still you continues to make rash and sudden choices. Like a completely bogus restraining order against me that contradicts so many facts she has stated herself on record during my Navy retention process. She was so bold as to want to change her identity and even put it in ink on the divorce paperwork as well to a whole new name. That is not the actions of a stable person. She has since changed her mind again on that just as quickly as everything else in her recent life choices. I can't trust that any decisions she is making right now are for the right reasons or that she is of sound mind. I have never seen her so conflicted and confused, grasping at straws and running scared from herself.

Using the legal system so carelessly and going back and forth makes me feel like she is not ready to be making big choices and changes for her and our family. It is very unfair that she can’t consider my feelings on things and what I wish for the boys as well. Very reckless behavior. She can’t anticipate that the day would come where she has to face me and talk to me like an adult. She wants to hide behind the legal system which only leaves much to be unresolved. Ghosting me is not really an option in a marriage of 13 years with children.

Having relationship conversations is too difficult for her at this time and she would rather avoid it and skip to divorce because she thinks that will somehow be easier. I suspect she knows she is making poor choices, possibly out of fear and lust for something new and less painful than the reality of things right now. Our marriage was nowhere close to divorce when I left. She was sad to see me leave and woke with me at 3:30 am to say goodbye, making me coffee and cookies for me to take with.

Our community and accountability seems to be gone due to the continued trend of isolation that she is drawn to. The God fearing loving committed wife I thought I had is gone or trapped inside a terrified shell of herself. She cut me off from her family members and I can't discuss my concerns about her with them either. She only seems to have community with those who are not going to discourage her from these destructive choices.

I understand we have had issues and struggles but we are no worse off than other couples during challenging times. I think that because we loved each other so much it just hurt more when things got hard. I can't accept or believe this is justified or the right choice based on the positive trend we were on before I left. This was the longest break we have ever had from each other and I think she just needed someone to be there more for her, no matter who it was. Time can heal all wounds and I hope that is true for our relationship as co-parents.

She still refuses to tell me about why she wanted a divorce or talk about anything beyond caring for the kids. I have fought the restraining and I can see my boys again but I am still not allowed to my home without her permission.

I have risen from the ashes in just a couple months. I rent a room from a nice couple from our old church and obtained a good paying job while I continue paying the household bills.

This is a really hard time, this difficult spell could have been a tool to better our relationship. I wanted to experience more beautiful memories with her. We had so many more beautiful memories and dreams left to create. This is what marriage looks like to me now as I lower the casket.
This is a timeline of the major events during my 13 year marriage. Amidst the reality, I injected all the lovely memories that refuse to leave my mind.
Curtis C Jun 2017
Ms. Minerva’s
Helpful Hints and a guide through life



Ms.Minerva…
Born September 1885….died September 1976, 91 years old.  She didn’t marry until she was 45 and had her first child that year.  Getting married at 45 was something that didn’t happen to often for women back then, especially a black woman.  Then low and behold 5 years later: what the doctor called her second tumor, she had her second and last child at 50, a baby girl and her change of life in one shot.
        But her true joy came along 17 years later at 67….only being a mother for 22 years; she was now a grandmother……that’s where I came in!  My mother’s oldest child and Ms Minerva, my grandmother’s baby boy……..Mama!!

    It is important to tell you that from here on, the stories will be in no certain order….they’re as I remember them.  As I found understanding, THE LIGHT, as she called it.
MS. MINERVA’S HELPFUL HINTS…
2
[Song – Higher & Higher]
This song became her theme song for a while:  Love, knowledge taking you higher!!  Ms Minerva (Mama) the first career women I knew.  In 1967, she heard this song and realizes that this song talked about what kept her going…LOVE!  Love took her higher and higher and it was love that she shared………with me!

MM: “Boy, you might not understand what I’m telling you, but remember it remember all you hear, see, taste and feel….. because understanding come with time and when you ready for it!”
Knowledge……. Love………Understanding……Enlightenment take us higher.

How?  How did a black woman in south Louisiana go out, have a career, a family with little education but wise beyond her years.  Oh, when I say career woman I mean a cook, maid, nanny but mama said,

MM: “those jobs keep us going and I was one of the best, always be the best at what you do…greatness comes in all sizes!”


3
Another thing I should say is: some of the stories that I will share have not been documented as fact.  They were hers that she shared with me…..
Like one night watching TV…….

MM: Lord, Lord, Lord…
CC:  What’s the matter Mama?
MM:  Did I ever tell you about when I worked at an all boys’ school in New (N’Orleans) Orleans.  I was the one who stayed with the boys at
night.  Well, there was one lil’ boy that was always
sneaking out of bed going outside playing his horn.
I would take it from him and beat his ****.  The day
they give it back to him, that night he would sneak outside
again.  Beating his **** didn’t help, he just kept sneaking out
no matter how long we kept the horn.
CC: What happen to him mama?
She pointed to the TV and said:
MM:  There he is……


4
Louie Armstrong singing HELLO DOLLY raise in an all boys home in New (N’Orleans) Orleans….was this true……I don’t know.  Did and do I believe it….YES!
This was also one of the times I receive one of ….Ms Minerva’s Helpful Hint:

MM: You can be anything you want if you believe
and have the passion for it! Believe in
your passion because you are your passion
and you must always believe in you….yourself!  
No matter what others say or think….it’s you who
must believe!

Believing, she was a big believer. she believed in people and the good in them.


5
MM:  Always see the positive in people, in everything thing.
No matter how negative someone or something is
there is always an ounce of positive…..go for the positive,
it will always carry you through and shine light

Everywhere, positive light.

I often wonder how someone so positive in my life, who taught me to look up and be strong could be so down on her daughter , my mother.  When I was sent to fly with the eagles she was told to stay on earth.  This was one of my confusions, I knew there was a lot of love there between them but so hard for them to share……Understanding comes with time.

When I was 7 years old I was sent to the kitchen to cook for a family of 5.  It wasn’t what you think.  At 72 years old Ms. Minerva wasn’t seeing things to well. So, instead of saying; Old woman you need to stop, you’re losing it.  She was told; “It’s time for Curtis to start learning how to cook, he needs to know how to take care of himself.”  So, what I thought was a prison

6

sentence became some of the most wonderful and important times of my life……
I was allow to be a child and do the things children do but at 5, maybe 5:30 I went to spend my hour or two with Ms. Minerva, my best friend…..learning the secrets of the kitchen and of life.

MM:  you have got to know how to take care of yourself.
I won’t be here to take care of you but I’ll always
be watching over you, I'll always be with you!

Like a lot of things, I didn’t get it then, but I do now:

One day, I was tormenting my grandfather….Oh I haven’t and won’t say much about him because that is a whole other story, but I’ll share this much with you:
  His name was Tower Jackson Sr. better known as Bud (papa to me).  He was born in December of 1880 and died in 1969, it’s funny but I don’t remember the month or day, it just kinda went a way.  Anyway, I think he
7
was married once before Ms Minerva…that’s what he said.  He had a daughter…Aunt Traci….who was old enough to be my mother’s mother.  Remember THE COLOR PURPLE he was kinda like Mister and Old Mister but not as bad.  But Ms Minerva wasn’t Ms Celia…she was more like Sophia. Papa loved me unconditionally and he was my playmate but I don’t think he realized that point but I had a great time.

Back to one of the days I was tormenting him…he was finish with me and he got up and came after me…he was between 75 or 80.  I starting running and he came after me.  We lived in a house that was once a duplex, I ran out of his room, which was in the middle of the house, took a left and headed for the kitchen and the back door, that was open to freedom.  I got to the kitchen and I could see the back door standing open and waiting for me….  But out the corner of my eye, I see Ms. Minerva washing dishes.  I turn right, then a sharp left and I’m almost to the door…..just then an arm reach out and push the door close…..I can’t stop……I hit the door and fall to the floor.  Just before papa grab me to start the whipen’ and mama looks down at me and say:      

8
MM: Boy, didn’t I tell you to stop running in my house and don’t every run away!”
Well, it was all over.  I got a whipin’…one I would never forget.  Papa felt so guilty he took me for Ice Cream almost everyday for a week.
But later that day…….Ms Minerva’s helpful hint:

MM:  Baby the reason I don’t want you running, especially when
you’re scared, is because you’ll be running for the rest
of your life.  When you run out of fear you’re only
running from yourself.  No matter what people think
or what’s happening stand and face it…Don’t Run!
Believe in yourself and you can beat it.

I didn’t really understand what she was saying, but when I’m scared I hear her voice and I stand (sometime that old confusion comes in with my mother) but most time I stand, face it and deal with it.  Growing, Changing and changing and growing!  Stronger everyday.


9
I remember when I was 12, it was a Sat and a beautiful day and Ms. Minerva called me into the house.  It wasn’t time for cooking and it was Sat but I went:
MM:  I need to talk to you.
CC: Mama can we talk later I’m playing.
MM:   No, I want and need to talk to you NOW!. let’s cook.

I knew that was it.  When she says: “let’s cook” the battle was over, she felt it was important.  We got to the kitchen and started pulling stuff out …
MM: You’re special
CC:  No, no don’t start this again.
MM:  No, no, no you’re special! You’re a *****, a punk, *****…

There were a few other choice colorful names…Then she said:

MM:  Now that someone that loves you, truly loves you have
called you these names they can’t hurt you.  You’re gay
and it’s not something I would chose for you but it’s

10
who you are.  But it makes you more special and wonderful because you are different. You are my special, but it’s only apart of you and your life, not your whole life or the whole you.  You can chose to practice or not.  You are made up of many parts, many yous…..Be Proud of who you are! Never hang your head, You will be a great man…even greater because you know who and what you are.

That day, I knew what love was and what love is.  Unconditional Love.  I was Proud to be who and what I was and who and what I was to become.  Proud of Who I Am and What I Am.

Music was always heard in my house, all kind, mama believed in   experiencing everything in everyway.
MM:  You need to know about it all, don’t let ignorance
be your down fall.  That’s what’s wrong with most folk,
they just don’t know and don’t want to learn.  Education
is freedom; knowledge is light….don’t ever stand
in the dark, you’ll only hurt yourself.

11

There were a few things I didn’t learn or just didn’t remember.  Remember I said; she didn’t like running in her house.  Well, when I was a kid I was a runner, a mover, didn’t want to get caught…so I just kept moving.   Well, one day my mother was going to whip my ****, I don’t even know why this time but she grab my arm and I just started running around her and every time I heard the belt hit…I would yell.  I think I might have gotten hit once or twice but my mother’s legs, oh boy, but she kept going and so did I.
Then I heard the voice…….
MM:  Sister, what are you doing?
Sister, that’s what everyone called my mother, even me.  she sat down in her chair
MM: Bring that boy over here and let me show you
how to do that.

The she put me on my knees and stuck my head between her knees and turn her feet in and locked her knees.  My ears were hurting but not compared to how my **** was going to feel.  Then I heard……

12
MM:  Now, see you got wide-open ****!

Then the whipping began and it was one I’d never forget and the whole time she just kept talking to my mother…..I can hear her and feel the belt now..

MM:  Girl you need to get out of the way and stop making
it so hard.  Just breathe and believe, it’ll come together….
Now, go put something on your legs.

It took me awhile to start breathing but I did and I remembered what she said; “Just breathe and believe.” and when I don’t I just remember that belt on my ****.
Whenever people hear this story, they’re shocked, confuse…well, this was a different time and Ms. Minerva was a different kind of woman.  A wipen' wasn’t something that happen everyday, I never ended up in the hospital and I was shower with love….. a different day – a different time.
              


13
Around that time I remember I went through my Ultra Black stage.  I had some problem at school and I hated all white people and I was very
vocal about it.  Mama, just listen and I went on and on and on….and somewhere in there she hit me and it shocked and stopped me in my tracks.  Then she looked at me and said:
MM:  Who spit on you?  Who’s bus did you sit on the back of?  
Who’s kitchen or yard did you work in?  Nothing, nothing has happen to you that bad to hate…..Don’t hate it takes to much energy.  Remember the positive.  Some white people are ignorance and you have to educate them.  You can’t be just one thing in America you have to know about all……people and things.  There will come a time in America when people will be more than just one race, we have and are mixing it up.  LEARN…we are all connected, we are all one, and we are all God!














  14

One other thing about my grandfather (Bud)…he had a scar over his right eye and I always asked him about it and he would say, “Go ask mama.”  But being a kid I would forget and then ask him again.  Well one day I remembered to ask Mama how he got the scar.  

MM: Who told you to ask me?

CC:  Papa……..

She started laughing and told me to sit down……

MM: One day papa came home and had decided he was going to beat me.  Someone had told him that I would take it because I should feel lucky he married an old woman.  So, he came in and hit me!  I had the broom in my hand (I had just finish sweeping) and I took that broom and started beating him with it until I broke the handle on his head.  But he kept coming and backed me up to the mantle where I had my teacups. (She collected cups and saucer) and I begin throwing them at him and when I realize I was breaking my cups…. I got mad and threw them harder and one hit him over the eye…. He stopped and went down…it was a bad cut.

cc:  What did you do?

MM:  I stepped over him and finishing cooking.  I knew he would live and I saw it didn’t hit him in the eye and it gave him something to remember this moment.  You have to leave a mark on people to remember you by….. hopefully it’s a positive mark but sometime it might have to be an ugly one.  People will treat you the way you let them and there will be time you have to show and leave them something to remember it by.  Don’t go through life getting beat up especially by yourself.

There were a few times I didn’t follow that bit of advice…...but understanding, the light came in time.


15
MM:  You have to open up and let people in --- because a lot of times you see yourself through them and don’t you want them and yourself to see the truth?  THE TRUE YOU!

Early mornings were wonderful for Ms. Minerva:

MM:  Morning is my time to talk to Me and God and get us together for the day.  Some folks don’t know that they are God….your positive energy creates your world and parts of the world of others.  When you create you must be honest, positive, loving……God!  So, my quiet times in the morning is finding honest, positive, loving, creative things and feeling…..finding God in me!!!!!!!!

(Song – Amazing Grace)


One night while watching TV; we watched a lot of TV…..watching TV and cooking…anyway, it was the Mitch Miller Singers and Leslie Uggams was singing:

MM:  That’s a cute little colored girl.
CC:  Mama, we’re not colored anymore, we’re Black.

There was silent and then a sigh….

CC:  What’s the matter mama?
MM:  I’ve been *****, colored and a few other names that I don’t want to talk about and now I’m Black……I wish they would make up their minds what I am!

Then she told me:

MM:  No matter who or what people think you are…You have to know yourself, people will always try to make you into what they want you to be but the final choice is yours. You Must Know Curtis.

Her helpful hints could and would come anytime, anywhere:
MM:  life is a lesson to learn…never, never stop learning!
16

Whenever I talk about Ms. Minerva I realize how much she means to me and how good it makes me feel because I see how good it makes others feel……people showing me…..Me and Ms. Minerva.

The day Ms. Minerva died I was in Shreveport/Bossier, LA in the Air Force, it was September 1976.  I was at work in the printing plant at Barksdale AFB.  My boss told me the commander wanted to see me, he was acting a little strange but at the time I didn’t think much of it.  Walking out to my car my best friend ran out after me and said he was going with me….”they call for me too.”  We got in the car laughing and talking about all the things they coul
Laurie Fisher Sep 2012
You're too helpful
Push and shoving words of "wisdom" into my ear drum
Prognosis this and treatment that
Mind over matter
Happiness and gratitude
Stop with all your positive attitude
Belief and thought process this
and try this technique that
You're too helpful, don't you see?
Stop pulling out the terms and use your brain
You're killing me with kindness and it's driving me insane
Trying to bring peace, but all that you succeed is expressing your beliefs
You're not really listening, but offering up advice
Please just stop, you're too helpful.
When I grow up
I don't want to be
Famous
Rich
Known
Or the center of  attention
I want to be
helpful

I'd like to be
A psychologist
But not just any
Psychologist
I'd like to be a
Juvenile Clinic Psychologist

You see child therapists
Seem to avoid
Troubled kids in juvenile
But not one child
Ever deserves to be ignored
All children are special
Yes they may have a past
And yes
They may be troubled
But aren't we all?

But you know what
Please continue
To ignore these kids
So then I can be the one to help them
I always have been selfish

Please continue
To ignore these kids
Because you probably had a nice childhood
I never did
So I can relate to these troubled kids
And I can be the one who's helpful
That is all I want anyways
Is to help children
They need it the most
dissociation a curse
dissociation my enemy
enemy barges in
enemy takes control
control is crippling
control must go
go seek advise
go to friends
friends may ignore
friends may listen
listen to god
listen to nothing
nothing is something
nothing is numbing
numbing craves alcohol
numbing craves drugs
drugs are prescribed  
drugs will fix
fix my brain
fix cracked mirrors
mirrors taunt me
mirrors tell lies
lies i tell
lies cover bruise
bruise my hand
bruise my brother
brother is silent
brother please forgive
forgive me father
forgive me mother
father please help
father is futile
futile defines me
futile invites suicide
suicide with pills
suicide i survived
survived from coma
survived in hospital
hospital is helpful
hospital gives answers
answers for family
answers to problems
problems with doctors
problems with diagnosis
diagnosis is discovered
diagnosis is depersonalization
depersonalization creates poet
depresonalization becomes mad

mad
poet
Thanks L.D. Goodwin for introducing me to the Blitz poem!

  The "official" rules are as follows (taken from Robert Lee Brewer of Writer's Digest):

•Line 1 should be one short phrase or image (like “build a boat”)
•Line 2 should be another short phrase or image using the same first word as the first word in Line 1 (something like “build a house”)
•Lines 3 and 4 should be short phrases or images using the last word of Line 2 as their first words (so Line 3 might be “house for sale” and Line 4 might be “house for rent”)
•Lines 5 and 6 should be short phrases or images using the last word of Line 4 as their first words, and so on until you’ve made it through 48 lines
•Line 49 should be the last word of Line 48
•Line 50 should be the last word of Line 47
•The title of the poem should be three words long and follow this format: (first word of Line 3)(preposition or conjunction) (first word of line 47)
•There should be no punctuation
in the outback of australia lived a kangaroo
helping lots of people thats what he liked to
while hopping through the woods heard a little cry
coming from the wood somewhere near by
he searched a little more to what it could be
then he saw a koala bear stuck up in a tree
the kangaroo  jumped up with a mighty bound
save the little bear and took him to the ground
now the bear was safe and rescued from the tree
the little bear was happy and once again was free
he thanked the kangaroo for saving him that day
kangaroo said goodbye and hopped along his way
Jeff Gaines  Apr 2018
Caprice
Jeff Gaines Apr 2018
Hello everyone,

  I'm so very sorry … I feel horrible doing this, but I have no choice. You see, I have published my first book on Amazon/Kindle! This piece (and many others) had to be taken down because they do not allow published material to be available online for free. (Go figure) I wanted to leave the shell of the posts because I felt compelled to leave all your helpful and loving comments. (Silly sentimental, I know), but I also didn't want to just have the pieces disappear without an explanation. I feel bad enough as it is!

  I owe ALL of you so, SO much for all of your reads, love, and support. It was YOU that gave me the gumption to FINALLY get off my **** and publish! Thank you all for the warm comments, camaraderie, and encouragement! I will still be here, reading, uploading and just being the Rascal that I am. How could I EVER leave you guys?

  The book is called “The Way I See It – FictionPhilosophySoul Food” and it will be FREE for the first few days on Kindle Select, so watch for it, if you are interested. I hope that you go and grab it. If you do, I would also hope that you find it worthy, you would leave me a good review. That will help me get in the public eye! Soon afterward (2-3 days or so), it will be available in paperback.

Find the book(s) here: www.amazon.com/author/jeff.gaines

Or find the book(s), and all about me, here: www.JeffGaines.world

  Soon after, I also hope to have my first novel (a supernatural thriller), called “Wanderer” available as well!

  Wish me luck!
Big, Biggest Love,
        Jeff Gaines
It is so sad to see someone change and then have to ponder whether this was them becoming someone else ... or if they were somehow fooling you all along and that now, you are seeing the real them for the first time.

ca·price
kəˈprēs
noun
noun: caprice; plural noun: caprices
1.
a sudden and unaccountable change of mood or behavior.
"her caprices had made his life impossible"
synonyms: whim, whimsy, vagary, fancy, fad, quirk, eccentricity, foible More
2.
MUSIC
another term for capriccio.
_____________________________________________

ca·pric·ci·o
kəˈprēCHēˌō
noun
noun: capriccio; plural noun: capriccios
a lively piece of music, typically one that is short and free in form.
a painting or other work of art representing a fantasy or a mixture of real and imaginary features.
Someone  Apr 2014
Stay Humble
Someone Apr 2014
Stay humble my friend.
For you won't be here one day.
And although you think you might have left a legacy,
In due time it too will fade with you.
You want to be remembered as someone who
Was kind.
Loving.
Respectful.
Helpful.
Friendly.
And above all humble.
So take the compliments nicely.
Try to always be kind.
And try to be forgiving.
Although I know it can sometimes be hard.
Help others.
Stand up for one another.
Because those are the true legacies that impact lives.
Not just some material thing that will fade faster than you think.
Jeff Gaines Mar 2018
Hello everyone,

  I'm so very sorry … I feel horrible doing this, but I have no choice. You see, I have published my first book on Amazon/Kindle! This piece (and many others) had to be taken down because they do not allow published material to be available online for free. (Go figure) I wanted to leave the shell of the posts because I felt compelled to leave all your helpful and loving comments. (Silly sentimental, I know), but I also didn't want to just have the pieces disappear without an explanation. I feel bad enough as it is!

  I owe ALL of you so, SO much for all of your reads, love, and support. It was YOU that gave me the gumption to FINALLY get off my **** and publish! Thank you all for the warm comments, camaraderie, and encouragement! I will still be here, reading, uploading and just being the Rascal that I am. How could I EVER leave you guys?

  The book is called “The Way I See It – FictionPhilosophySoul Food” and it will be FREE for the first few days on Kindle Select, so watch for it, if you are interested. I hope that you go and grab it. If you do, I would also hope that you find it worthy, you would leave me a good review. That will help me get in the public eye! Soon afterward (2-3 days or so), it will be available in paperback.

Find the book(s) here: www.amazon.com/author/jeff.gaines

Or find the book(s), and all about me, here: www.JeffGaines.world

  Soon after, I also hope to have my first novel (a supernatural thriller), called “Wanderer” available as well!

  Wish me luck!

                                Big, Biggest Love,

                                               Jeff Gaines
CAM  Feb 2018
Shy?
CAM Feb 2018
God. How am I still not okay?

God. It's been so long.

God. I'm so tired of life right now.

God. What happened to me?

I was such a nice kid.
I was calm all the time.
Mature for my age,
Little but so lively.

I was so helpful.
So loyal.
I always supported my trust.
But I never really spoke my mind.

I was shy.
I was small.
I never stood up for my feelings
I never stood up for myself.

And now I'm older.
I realize I don't need support.
I need myself.
I need confidence.

Speaking your mind is not wrong.
Standing up for your feelings isn't rude.
Standing up for yourself isn't mean.
Saying what you feel doesn't make you imperfect.

No one's perfect. Not even them.
The ones you hate for being so amazing.
Maybe she has anxiety.
Maybe his mom is alcoholic.

No one has a perfect life.
There's not one perfect family in the world.
There is not a person in the world who's perfect.
There's not a person who doesn't have one bit of strife.

But just because you aren't perfect.
Doesn't make you less worth it.
You're amazing.
You're still charming, kind, and strong.

You're just more experienced.
You just understand some more things now.

And maybe, just maybe,
You just aren't as shy anymore.
I'm not perfect. But I'm not shy anymore either.
Jeff Gaines Apr 2018
Hello everyone,

  I'm so very sorry … I feel horrible doing this, but I have no choice. You see, I have published my first book on Amazon/Kindle! This piece (and many others) had to be taken down because they do not allow published material to be available online for free. (Go figure) I wanted to leave the shell of the posts because I felt compelled to leave all your helpful and loving comments. (Silly sentimental, I know), but I also didn't want to just have the pieces disappear without an explanation. I feel bad enough as it is!

  I owe ALL of you so, SO much for all of your reads, love, and support. It was YOU that gave me the gumption to FINALLY get off my **** and publish! Thank you all for the warm comments, camaraderie, and encouragement! I will still be here, reading, uploading and just being the Rascal that I am. How could I EVER leave you guys?

  The book is called “The Way I See It – FictionPhilosophySoul Food” and it will be FREE for the first few days on Kindle Select, so watch for it, if you are interested. I hope that you go and grab it. If you do, I would also hope that you find it worthy, you would leave me a good review. That will help me get in the public eye! Soon afterward (2-3 days or so), it will be available in paperback.

Find the book(s) here: www.amazon.com/author/jeff.gaines

Or find the book(s), and all about me, here: www.JeffGaines.world

  Soon after, I also hope to have my first novel (a supernatural thriller), called “Wanderer” available as well!

  Wish me luck!
Big, Biggest Love,
        Jeff Gaines
In all honesty, I wasn't snooping. It just worked easier in the composition to not explain that. But I will here. I was sitting at the computer desk in our apartment. On my left was a 3 foot wide, 3-shelf, book case. It was filled with ring-binder notebooks of hers. Probably more than 200! She'd told me they were her "Notes from school" and I never gave them another thought. I had never touched one in over 4 years.

But that day, I had found something online that I wanted to write down. The printer tray was empty, so I looked around for a scrap of paper and figured I might find a blank sheet in one of these notebooks. I randomly grabbed one that had a larger ring in its spine, because it was easier to grab. I put it on my lap and opened it to a random page ... RIGHT to that poem.

Once again, the universe showing me things I am in desperate need of seeing. It was one of the sadder moments in my life, I must say. I opened MS Word and wrote the date at the top. Then I cut loose with whatever came out. The format of every line beginning with "I" just happened ... I left it, as is, and that was that.
Hal Loyd Denton Apr 2013
Not funny but this was written on 4-15-12 exactly a year to the day


I re-post this for our last battel field Boston these words are nothing but as you read you will find the one who lives in them and He is everything all the comfort and hope we can ever want


Sorry if this seems at first confusing all my friends on facebook and Redbubble will get it right away as
I asked them to use their love and caring to pray for my hurting distraught friend at her time of great
Loss if you are hurting it will help to at least a degree or it will help at times of future loss

Well dear sweet precious Addy this brutal day is at an end I hope you sleep well I prayed for you and
Kathleen’s son way into the night at first I was terrified you weren’t going to get my post and you would
Enter as I told my wife you would enter the lion’s den the lions all have familiar names pain sorrow
Grief and many others and they maul with cruelty without pity I didn’t want either of you to take those
Fatal steps without your armor not to be to descriptive but reality waited with a blast I tried to diffuse the
Coffin the grave and headstone never could I do it immeasurably my fight for you could only be in the
Smallest victories comfort mined at times like these is like uranium white silver metallic with almost
A power that can’t be harnessed the same as loss of a love one what blow back again the same as a
Nuclear test one problem you don’t get the protection of a bunker no just suffer the blast in your
Body mind and heart you are stepping into the shoes the same as young woman who lost her father
That as she described him he was the light of her life our paths crossed on line when I thought she
Was a classmate’s wife her story of her dad touched me deeply I’m going to add that piece here plus
The comfort I tried to write for my friend that was more like my brother when his mother died I will
Include a small background so it wail make more sense let me add those here the first was Fathers story
What you read here is her hearts knowing and the undying love that it created and that continues.
His precious hands were removed from earthly things. A great and gentle man his greatest possessions his family. I only knew him from his business and the fact that one of his beautiful daughters married a classmate of mine. Then much later by error I made acquaintance with another of his daughters you can tell a lot about a person from the actions of his children. She told me that he passed away and that he was the light of her life. With God’s help I would like to pay tribute to him.
A light did shine it was magnified by the eyes of a daughters love. He took his journey he went above his ship was the care they shared he the captain made the course straight and true he didn’t slow her run until heaven was in plain view they would have cheered but it hard to see through eyes filled with tears. All the wonderful years seemed to be eclipsed by the sickness that came it seemed an angry wind from their lives this stalwart precious soul it did rend. It left the greatest empty hole it took the longest time to fill and then with the sweetest cooing the grand babies made the hole enlivened not the terrible twisted knot that had the family bound but without being able to speak a word grampaw was found. If you looked in their faces his smile is bound to bundles only heaven can design. I’m not saying they asked him how to work these miracles yet this is true he watched with intense interest and was happiest since his departure he knew that back through time and space healing was for all time secured. Their stoic acceptance could now be laid aside the family could run in softer climes know the sweetest of times that were thought to be forever gone.
Love spills down from heights distance is only on a map in peoples heart its no farther than the end of your finger tips. Images are so strong not because we have great minds it’s easy to make these rich finds when your love and its power shake the foundation of the universe is it not said that love is the greatest power. Oh how so many in dark shadows cower when they possess the power to ignite the world on fire. From heart to heart it does dart the wildness of the spirit is told blotting out all of the cold. Yes there is winter but also the spring. The light spoken of is no longer beholden to earth and so the family is free by love he joins his light to the Christ the all glowing light
Life force by haldenton
To all who have lost heroes
This was written to Eva’s son Bill to help him at her passing. With this writing I took him back thirty years when he was in the truck wreck that killed his dad his recovery saved his mother I hoped by him being reminded of that now it would help him the same way.
Tribute to Eva Wafford Life force
For all who lost heroes
In your soul freshly the wind of death did blow.
Cold eerie shadows marched against your tender broken heart.
What defense could this onslaught repel agony’s volcanic flow.
Ominous well filled with grief from this weight no relief.
The child the grim reaper did spare.
Only after leaving the body bruised and in despair.
From this broken body drops of mercy started to make the mother well.
I held your trembling frame today this memory rings sweet as a bell.
Streets and houses without number fill the land.
I can’t help when I look to recall memories grand.
Now they are but dreams that ache in the night.
Images that over ride the present in their glory I take flight.
Brush aside caution raise your voice as a trumpet.
They live only in yesterdays even so indelibly they wrote their stories.
We hold our children we cling only a moment as mist on the summit.
Your life Eva continues to build the next generation.
Your voice is heard in the breath of your grandchildren.
Wonders they spin from golden thread, now that you have gone ahead.
Your spirit glows in the fire that warms the house against winter.
Summer’s cool breeze not sent by chance she doe’s tenderly incite.
Death silently said what I already knew.
To me you were always immortal you were bigger than life
Many were the days when the wind of storms blew
those who know us feel the calm; this is only your life on review

One more
Simply Jim
Old Abe said it right ‘It is right and fitting that we speak these words here to honor these lives so honorably lived. I can say that about Jim and this also he was a prince among men if I do this right the words will convince you.
He had a gentle way and nature he spoke softly but a softness that flowed to you like ribbons that bounced in a little girl’s hair how delightful. He should have been a doctor his hands his mannerism was ideal for that job. I guess thats what made him stand out so strongly like a gentle calm breeze if you came in a panic his soul would float down around you like a parachute first it safely brings you from great anxiety and exaltation to a graceful landing then gently envelops you in its silken embrace. I had this privilege of watching him inter act with his wife as I said and truly he was a prince and I was the beggar that benefitted richly from the sidelines God knew my needs.
He was called from this life but all the days he filled before his home going are the sustaining force noticeably seen felt with keen awareness you know that a gentleman passed this way. In the lives left behind there is a blend of sadness and astonishment you realize you are looking at the work of a master workman who left behind a tightly and perfectly fitted family this unfortunately is sadly rare in this society that boast of its accomplishments.
As a friend his breadth and depth was sufficient you weren’t a burden he had a way of dispelling trouble making you understand with wisdom and unerring judgment then with ease you could extricate yourself from the problem. His heavenly father filled him with tenderness it stood him and others well in a somewhat crabby world. If you’re pressed and anxious about life take from this life expressed. A portion of the good will you need use it as a defense Jim couldn’t be everywhere but God saw fit to make an original that you can duplicate benefit from and be a part of his ongoing legacy. Thanks friend for a life lived well

Well hurting one in the earlier part of a writing I said I am God’s battle field reporter and medic
These writings are my bandages and gauze God gave me great big hands and I fill them with
Salve with all the love I know I gently apply it to your broken hurting wounds mingle it with
Tears that are not always mine alone but His mixes with mine one day He will abolish all tears
Until then this is our duty your heart we hear and we can do no other God bless you Addy and
Your nephew and all others who find this helpful

Mirrored Pool


Wonder for all the hurts

First I knelt just to see my reflection then the depths started to reveal first the flowing thoughts were
Restrained and then a bubbling seemed to dislodge from greater depths hard truths churned with
Violent twisting but the motion made it impossible to turn away there were great large white clouds
From depths then even above the pool they rose fourteen stories high the sensation was you were
Standing outside clear air intoxicating views the pulse of many were throbbing in your ears their
Thoughts and dreams were known and their sorrows were weights that pulled you from the heights
It was a colossal game of tag and you were it first reaction fear then the appearance of bundled gifts
Broke down the fear it was promise in different sizes that met the required needs it was like a divine
Warehouse had just made a delivery there were cards with names and writing gave clarification tears
And smiles intermingled then the outer knowing postulated the difficulty the puzzle an enormous
Streaming that was now congested and it was beginning a vortex all was understood now human thought
With doubts was pulling the answer into this destructive hole where was one to find the lever to stop
This action that would disallow was the answer to touch the water bring the finger to my lips possibly
A blazing thought would occur that would strike the mind no all that brought was words that had the
Letters jumbled they made no sense unless there is a special book that is alive in it the letters and words
Are already set but they cover every act in the human condition the broken can pour over the pages
You won’t find thorns to repel your efforts there are thorns but they will speak and assuage your hurts
At the most basic and needed levels the points of your hurts will begin to dissolve from your eyes to
Your mind this inward rush and power will dislodge even spears driven deep by enemies carried for
Years you searched in vain over sad and lonely paths and days now you journey is at an end thorns of
Suffering for another produces profound power and mercy go in peace beloved one another bears your
Burden now maybe words cut you at depths you can’t even identify what if there is an antidote in a
Book you pick it up with trembling hands your body tingles from the knowledge that this is ancient texts
It will have a revival of appreciation in this world of texting but with gentle fingers and eyes that glow
With respect as you see the wisdom and the love cannot be denied you leave the world you know and
With total abandonment you swim in this sea of words until the your tears spill on this rich world of
Words those cruel barbed words that pierced tender skin and have bled internally all of these years
Begin to dissolve with stories and accounts of betrayals then the swells love and mercy you read about
Restoration not always found after apologies are given but the teaching of forgiveness strikes a cord
You have been made free from your prison the tangles of life are great as a great black cloud it hangs
Over head many are its troubles this isn’t mild but the disruptive made to strike and pierce deep the
Hidden that steals the morning blessing while other feast your hunger and unrest only enlarges a
Tormenting unquenchable fire a slow burn this is a forest being burned at the thermal level the hidden
Roots a slow process destructive but not so visible agony torture I have seen men crawl in war or fire
Fighting that where all else is lost you will know greater thrills than any other living soul with the
Desperate and those heavy burdened unable to stand a word will flow it puts out fires and gives
The luxurious buoyancy heaviness changed to joy the bouncy laughter every outward blast attack
The enemy launches is within its pages they are repelled overwhelmed by love you suffer unduly
If you don’t hold this fortress this informative book of stratagems that have made everyone a victor
Who has ever found themselves at their wits end no place on earth has a contingency plan though it
Will make the greatest claims all is just empty air when life as it too often does ***** the very air of life
Out we practically are unconscious but this help this rescue is activated by one name it’s not just a book
But the word is a person what a pool you will find what a reflection will engage you beyond your hope
To imagine just say Jesus all will be total peace your heart will know no more sorrow peace will surpass
Sorrow love will disallow the specter that was once a constant it will disappear it will return to the
Darkness from which it came stand in this newness totally free abide by still waters as the good
Sheppard stands by bless you



Disgrace

This land void of devotion gone is the church steeples.
Replaced by voices and shadows of drug dealers on each corner.
Now they are the keepers, lost cities, death stalks its peoples.
Nothing is sacred in this polluted and diffused land.

No longer hallowed be thy name, it’s as if he never came.
Forgotten is any standard of moral excellence.
The once high ideals only represent a fool’s parlance.
Man declares I throw off these restraints only to find darker chains.

The book that once guided this great land.
We now betray with each waking day.
Our hearts and mind it did ignite, now it’s word we can’t stand.
Powerless and feeble we stumble, anxious ever moment.

Just to remember is not enough, best confess our pride.
Make sacrifice with our lips, to burn on altars on high.
There is a short season for all to make amends to regain our stride.
March on to glory with it burning on the inside.

You don’t have to be astute in business to see the sound investment.
Bring your poverty of spirit leave with the riches of his last testament.
It offers the greatest rate of exchange.
Light for darkness, life for death, selfless love for selfishness.


Streaks of Jefferson


In freedom’s blessed glorified sky through streaks of immortal gold his visage we behold
He looks upon the fields of liberty that he and the founding fathers sowed he sees the

Richness America has become he also beheld her struggles catastrophic wars abroad
And the most painful the one that divided the nation marred it with southern and northern

Blood saw the affable the sad giant Lincoln take the reins of discontent hold them by
Shear will and with uncommon sagacity guided it back in line to fulfill its destiny as the

Powerful fount that would always pour forth waters of freedom for all of earths peoples
Total unconditional acceptance of liberty and all the fruit it bears to establish a

Government like no other this golden grain has waved under bluest skies and brightest
Sun light its rich harvest has gone to darkest prison cells Mandela was sustained by it

For twenty nine years and by its moral purity it fed the lives of those that over threw
Apartied and Mandela finally freed by principals it avows rose from prison clothes

To wear the mantle of president of his country and the honor of the man instilled
Quality that transcended political office Jefferson not to be disrespectful to his progeny

Whispers today’s politicians could do well to look on this African model of good
Stewardship of public trust with that Jefferson faded back into the mist pray that’s
Not the fate of this country






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— The End —