Joseph John Mileto 5/9/2020 5:31pm

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I got the chance to say goodbye to my father, via iPhone, FaceTime video, as he lay dying in the Medical ICU, in Albany Med. I had known, from the minute he was admitted almost 3 weeks ago, that this was going to be the fight of his life.

My dad fought his entire life for everything he had. I won’t say he made the best choices, in fact the opposite was true, but two things I know more plainly than the nose on my face; he fought for everything he had, and he loved me with all his heart.

For 22 years he was incarcerated in a maximum security prison for a crime we are not quite certain he committed. To his last day he maintained his innocence and his drive to come home to me. I shared this dream with him, after reconnecting again after almost 10 years of me completely ignoring his existence and moving on with my life. It wasn’t always easy having a dad in prison, and I couldn’t always meet the demands he had, as he made friends with guys that needed things they couldn’t get. He was a bleeding heart and wanted to help them, but it put me in difficult positions, and I just couldn’t do it. But I can tell you right now, almost 4 hours after his death, I am grateful to have reconnected, to have forgiven him, and to have had an opportunity to make peace with his passing this very day.

This is not the story I wanted to write. I want to share the nitty gritty, horrendously painful details of his passing so some part of our human condition, involving the pain of love, can be documented. Turns out I can be machine when I need to be, and get things done that maybe others could not handle and I get that from my dad.

He’d become a math tutor for other inmates at Greenhaven Correctional. He was the teacher’s aid for many years with Mrs. Z, helping guys learn fractions and division so they could get their GEDs and work towards a better life. He coached guys younger than him, from ghettos and projects who no one ever gave a shit about. My dad mentored them, told them don’t get mad, get educated, and that’s how you beat the injustice of this system. When I tell you he was wrongfully incarcerated, it wasn’t without profound reason. For 22 years he changed these guys lives, and there’s plenty of them out there right now, doing better, because of my dad.

Because he was incarcerated, there was a thick layer between me and any update on my dad’s condition. I was hung up on by the prison, told I was harassing the nurses at the hospital, all because no one would tell me if he was ok. The answer always was- the procedure is for you to contact the prison for updates- but the prison reminded me countless times that they faxed over his HIPA form so the hospital should be calling me directly. Nothing. For days. For a week and a day. And then, Dr. Wales.

Dr. Danielle Wales at Albany Medical called me on Tuesday of this week to give me the first update I’d had in a while. The Saturday before I’d been hung up on by whatever jack-off answers the phone at Eastern prison on the weekends. Real classy guy, and I explained why I called, with tears in my eyes. He said I had no business calling, they’d call me if there were any updates, and he hung up. So when she called and said she was the doctor treating my father, it was like the clouds parting after a long, difficult storm. She explained that my dad’s oxygen was low due to Covid-19 complications. He also had Influenza and a urinary tract infection. His underlying conditions? High blood pressure, a heart condition, obesity and diabetes. He once showed me a little pill during a visit and said, “hey, put this under my tongue if I fall on the floor.” His other ailments? He suffered from herniated discs in his back, numbness in his legs, fainting spells and tenitis which is a constant ringing in your ears. He was also hard of hearing.

Dr. Wales said he was doing better than she’d expect someone with his conditions to be doing. We had a lot of hope, and trying the nasal canula which forced oxygen into his lungs was a great way to open up his breathing and raise his oxygen levels.

The next update was also hopeful, while they hadn’t raised his oxygen levels yet, they suspected he was a snorer, to which I confirmed- he snores like a water buffalo! The doctor chuckled and thanked me for confirming. She had suspected we could be adding sleep apnea to the list of ailments. The plan was to put him on a CPAP machine that night and see how he does.

The next update, Thursday, he’d not done so well with the CPAP machine but was willing to try it again that night. His oxygen levels were still very low and she suspected now that there was a blood clot in his lung, affecting his ability to absorb the oxygen they forced into him. His cough had gotten worse as well and there was fluid and inflammation in his lungs. They gave him a diuretic to help get rid of some it.

I arranged to have 10 lunches delivered to the nurse staff caring for my dad, and they received it that day. I was told the staff was excited, and that they made a thank you sign for my dad and held it up outside his room. Once he realized what the hell the sign was for he was touched by the gesture and proud of me for doing such a kind thing. The truth is, I could never do enough to thank these people for what they did for my dad. I will never be able to express how much their kindness meant to me. By the middle of the day we had permission to have a FaceTime call so that I may see and talk to him for the first time in weeks. The doctor thought that would boost his spirits and light the fire to help him fight. I suspect the sandwiches tipped the scales in our favor.

So they called me. The image of dad on the phone was shocking, and I instantly knew he was in bad shape. He looked like himself, he sounded like himself, but he was fragile, bed ridden and hooked to every tube, hose and wire they could conjure up in the ICU. We cried together and he told me he loved me and I told him I loved him. I gave him the messages from family and friends that they were praying for him. He told me he was still fighting to come home to me and he said he didn’t want to disappoint me. The call meant the world to me, and though it set the tone for an inevitably tragic end, I was grateful to hear his voice.

Friday was the last day Dr. Wales was on the floor. I asked her to please make sure the next doctor called me regularly, if at all possible. She said she would. Dad had told me he fell into the sink in the bathroom and fractured one of his ribs. He was already in a world of pain, and having trouble breathing, but now it would be even more difficult for him to bear. Dr. Wales informed me that they’d started dad on blood thinners for the blood clot in his lung, and that they’d had the conversation with him- if you don’t get better and things take a turn for the worst- what are your wishes.

Dad said he would not go onto a ventilator. He refused the more potent blood thinners as they could lead to ‘brain bleed’. I agreed with his decisions, and supported them in my conversations with the doctor.

Saturday early afternoon, today, the new Dr. Kumar called me to give me the latest. He recapped the situation and let me know there was still more they could do for him. There hadn’t been much of a change, meaning no improvements, which was concerning to me. Still the doctor remained positive and said he would arrange another call for me later in the day. I was thrilled, and ready to deliver another message of hope to ignite the fight in him. Still, I had a terrible feeling, and a quiet, calm acceptance, that this could be my last conversation with my dad. In fact I said it to my brother, who I’d contacted right away, and asked if he had any last messages for dad. He said he had nothing. Their relationship was broken and severed many years ago.

I got a call from a nurse, Kevin, who was with my dad. He said he would set up the iPad so my dad could see me and he’d get us talking. He immediately said he was sorry I had to go through this, that I couldn’t be with him, and I felt the pit of my stomach turn. I knew something was wrong then. Kevin wheeled the stand with the iPad to my dad’s bedside. Took a few minutes to set it up where I could see him and he could hear me. The machines were loud, Kevin warned me the alarms may go off, but that he was watching dad as we talked. I smiled at my dad, waiting to start my well wishing, but he started first.

“I’m tired Jess, I don’t want to fight anymore.”

I felt my soul collapse inside of me. I had no reaction, other than sobbing, at this image of my precious father, on his death bed.

“It’s ok, dad, it’s your decision,” I told him.

“I don’t want to disappoint you, but I’m in pain, so much pain.”

“I’m not disappointed dad. You fought your whole life, for everything you had, and you fought the best fight here too. I’m proud of you.”

“I’m proud of you,” he said.

We talked another twenty minutes or so, as he grasped the plastic mask and pressed it to his face when he felt short of breath. He coughed a little and took his time before he spoke again.

“I’m ready to go,” he said. “I can’t fight anymore.”

All I could do was nod and give him the ok, that he could let go and end his suffering, and do it with his pride and his dignity intact. It was on his terms, it was his decision, and he wanted to go before the end came for him in the worst possible way.

“Get the doctor,” he called at the nurse. “Give me a shot, I’m done.”

I say all these things not to expose a dying man’s weakness, but to show you the fight my dad still had in him. These were the wishes of a man whose mind was still sharp as an axe and very much in control of his fate. I want you to see it was on his terms and he just needed to hear that I would be ok.

Other people may beg and plead for their loved ones to fight and hang on, and shove their hope and talk of prayers and miracles at them with a blind faith that anything can be overcome. Anything can be and I admire the relentless strength of love, but for my father and I, we subscribe to another belief. Death should be on your terms. The end of your life should be handled with pride and dignity. I chose to support my father’s decision from the first minute he said he was done. It’s ok, was all I said, over and over. The doctor came and explained what would happen next for us. He would administer morphine, an anti-anxiety drug, and then something to put him to sleep. At that point he’d be comfortable and resting, and then nature would take its course.

My father thanked him and accepted that these were his last hours.

“I love you,” he said to me, many many times. He put his hand on his heart and said it slow and steady. “I. Love. You. I. Love. You.”

The nurse came in and explained to me what she was giving him. Morphine for his pain, pain killers for his ‘air hunger’ and anti-anxiety meds. She said he would fall asleep. She asked if I wanted to stay on the line. “Of course I do.” She said ok and administered the drugs for him.

My father and I talked another 10, maybe 15 minutes. He continued the same conversation from earlier, that he was sorry, he was afraid to disappoint me, but he couldn’t fight anymore. “If it wasn’t for the blood clot,” he said, “but there’s just too much wrong with me.”

“It’s ok,” I continued to say. “I’m so proud of you.”

He smiled at me, with the brightest smile you can imagine. I saw all his pearly white teeth from under his long grey beard and it made me laugh. “Look at your smile!” I said, “it’s the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen,” I told him. “It’s not as beautiful as yours,” he said. “But it is,” I told him, “because I have your smile!” I’ll never forget that smile, it truly was the greatest gift he could have given me, to hold on to for the rest of my life.

He drifted off, waking here and there to deliver another message for friends and family. Specific people he called out, for me to share his last messages with. At one point he looked up, quite alert and focused, “And tell Joe,” he said about my husband, “To take care of my little girl.” I know he loved my husband so much, and knew that I had picked the right one. To get his blessing on our relationship, meant the world to me and to my husband, and he happily agreed, with tears in his eyes, “I will, Joe.”

I sat a long time, and would have sat forever, clutching my phone and staring at his sleeping image. The oxygen would turn on and the noise in the room would be deafening, but he just stayed peaceful, with his hand on the mask, asleep. I watched his chest rise and fall, rise and fall. The nurse came to the iPad to check in on us. “He’s asleep,” she told me. I nodded. “You want to stay?” Yes, I nodded. She rushed away again, leaving us to our final moments.

I spoke to him, though he was no longer responding. I said the Catholic prayers for him that he would say himself if he could. I held my rosary and lit a white candle for him. I imagined a white light opening above his head and whispered to him to go. Minutes later  we lost connection, but I had already found my peace and said goodbye.

I called the nurses desk and let them know I was disconnected but that I was ok. The gentleman on the phone was amazing, as all the nurses and doctors had been throughout the week. “We’ll keep him comfortable, we’ll check in on him, and let you know when it’s over.”

“I cannot thank you enough,” I said tearfully, “I can’t believe what you all do there, everyday, for all these people. You’re all angels, you’re all heroes and I can never thank you for all you’ve done for my father.”

“It’s our pleasure, ma’am, I am so sorry for you going through this. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

“Please just keep him comfortable,” I said tearfully.

“We will, of course. And I will call when he passes.”

“Yes, thank you.”

He asked me again if there was anything else he could do. It was like he didn’t want to hang up the phone until he knew I was ok. I told him, it is you I’m worried about! I am so sorry you have to see this everyday, and I wish you all the best too. He laughed and thanked me, and said he appreciated me saying that, and we hung up.

My father passed at 5:31 pm today. The gentleman ‘Oday’ (and I wish I could spell it correctly), called me back, as he said he would. It was about two hours later. I saw the number on my phone and already knew. “I’m sorry to tell you,” he said, “he passed 5 minutes ago, very comfortably, in his sleep.”

There aren’t words for the reaction you have, as your body crushes in on itself, heaving and crying with every bit of air in your lungs. My husband came to me and we embraced. “I’m ok,” I told him. “I’m so happy for him, that he is free. I am so happy that he is not suffering.” I meant that with all my heart. The grief, the pain, the raw emotion was almost silly to me, as I smiled through it all. I did feel joy, and I felt the confirmation of what awaits us so strongly within me. Heaven. whatever that means for you, it is where we go next, and no one deserved the peace of that place more than my dad.

“It’s ok, dad, you can go. I love you.”

“I always suspected but wasn’t sure”

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Goals. What are they really but little promises we make to ourselves. A contract of sorts, taking on a debt, like a mortgage. You pay into them your entire life, working so hard for them, spending hours, days, weeks and years on achieving them, until all your years are spent. A beautiful journey of things unfolding, along the path to your bliss and everything you could ever want. That’s if you got your goal right.
If you haven’t gotten it right, you’ve spent years chasing a dream that wasn’t yours, that perhaps was put there by expectation or society, or by family and friends. Perhaps the small circle of people you existed with guided you that way. Perhaps you knew all along what you WANTED but you were afraid, so a new goal was shoved in front of the true one. Regardless, if the goal is wrong, your years were almost wasted- except that you gained some experience or friends along the way. You probably also learned what your true goal should have been the whole time.
I realized I have no monetary goal, or any measurable goal other than comfort, a sense of accomplishment and happiness. I want to be happy. Happy is simplicity. Happy is kindness. Happy is being in control of your own time, your own day, your own schedule. Spending hours the way you choose to. Of course on your way to happy there are ’things you don’t want to do’ but why? Is this an immature way of stomping my feet and saying I want some instant gratification on the least work possible? I have no idea. I do believe now more than ever that we don’t need even a quarter of the things we have. Outside a great pair of yoga pants and a warm sweatshirt, I haven’t needed my Dooney & Burke purse or my Coach flats. I probably need a hair cut, but other than a hot shower and a bar of soap and some fresh produce and a pack of chicken- I actually don’t need any of this shit. My house, yes, my car…. No?
So what is it that I learned? What is it that I need? What is my true goal? I always suspected but I wasn’t sure; the goal was quiet simplicity, comfort and yoga pants. But no it was also sunshine and fresh air. Animals returning to empty streets, the ocean clearing of garbage, the air refreshed and unpolluted. I suspected I was a tree hugging, animal loving, conservative republican who believes capitalism is the greatest opportunity we have in the world. What? How does a tree hugging capitalist set a goal for herself?
The goal is simple. To live simple. To simply help. To have a simplistic approach to people and things. To simply enjoy each day. Contribute, empower, create positivity and encourage dreams. While remaining quiet, and simple. I’m not the nuclear power plant I thought I was. I’ve become introverted and majestic, like a quiet stream in the remote mountain forests. I want to dig into people’s hearts and ask them- what did you really want to do with your life? I learned there is still time, to do whatever you want, to play by your own rules, to change the game in some profound way. Or to leave the game behind. What is it that you really need? Less, that’s for sure. What is it that you really want? Soap? What do you really love? Now that is the true question. What do you love, because after this, you should do that.

Write About Writing

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Well here’s a strange thing… I’d like to take a minute to write about writing.

It’s like talking, eating, sleeping, almost everyone can write, if they’ve been taught. Since almost anyone can write anything, then what makes you so special? You is actually me, I mean me.

My spirit speaks to me in whispers and in fleeting visions, packaged into a fictional wonderland of vibrant characters and stories. It is showing me, ME, my past and who I am without the burden of facing it as myself. My characters are beautifully flawed, ill informed, prone to mistakes, bad choices and some downright very bad choices that are willfully chosen. I am not ashamed of them, nor do I judge them. They are always forgiven with love, compassion and understanding…

But not me. If I ventured into the truth behind these fictional writings and saw myself there, naked and exposed, I would judge this stripped down version of myself so harshly, with such animosity, even while she was down, cowering, ashamed. My wrath could not come swift enough. My hate could be assuaged. Such is the inner monologue I have for this feeble minded ‘Jessica’ so they call her.

Still, she writes. She contributes in her own way to the tradition and history that is inherent in literature and written word. She speaks to those before her, she draws life from their words, inspiration, merit and awe. That is a good thing she does. She also does not judge others, but meets them with the same acceptance and kindness she does with her characters. Forgiving, understanding, compassionate.

What is the point of it all? To write and to continue writing even without a reader. Who is reading this anyway? Who has read her books? Not many. She claims that if even one person read something of hers and was inspired, or ‘Rekindled’ as she calls it, when our inner light and spirit is ignited to purpose and love. If one person is Rekindled by her words, this great undertaking is justified. Or is it?

Is it wasted on the blind? Am I blind just because I don’t see it?

And I claimed this entry was about WRITING, alas, it is about the writer, but isn’t all WRITING about the one that pushes the pen across page, inking lines, curves, dots and punctuations? Isn’t this just another way to pour out our hearts in a safe medium, to be praised as art as any painter who paints, or singer who sings. WRI-TING and WRI-TOR are one in the same, as the portrait artist draws themselves in every face they render.

This gift is so often a curse, to be gifted with this urge to write and yet be limited by the possibility that no one will ever read it. Does it matter if words spoken are not heard, or the damned tree in the forest that falls without a witness? Are words unread wasted? Are thoughts unshared just quiet musings of the insane? For how many people have spoken their inner truths and been committed? Don’t answer that!

WRI-TING was the topic, but to bear witness to these characters and their antics inside of ones own mind may be the very definition of insane! I can’t get a glass of water, take a nap, or walk to the mailbox without someone in my head DOING something to get my attention. All of Jessica’s life reminds me of them. All of her experiences influence them. She is part of them and them part of she, and she has claimed to even MISS them, as if they could be missed.

You know the poem by Jorge Luis Borges called Borges and I. Stop reading this and read that. It is exactly how I feel about Jessica. She is one small part of the enormity of who I am and what I represent in the infinity of the universe. One small part. And she calls herself a WRI-TOR. The use of the ‘O’ is deliberate, like a conductor who conducts. I propose we change the spelling of WRITER to WRI-TOR so we can get on with other unimportant things.

She writes and gives us life.

 

My Father

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My father and I have always been very close, but there were many choices he made that showed me his family was of little importance, at certain times in our lives. While I’m sure he always loved me, he will say himself he’s made many mistakes. It’s very easy to say now of course, in prison, in hindsight, when everyone you love is gone and you need them more than ever. Of course he will say the things necessary to bring us back in. My period of not speaking to him was a result of being treated like a secretary, after he was convicted. As if I was not already affected by it very negatively, I had to listen to stories about how much he loved my brother and by the way can I have some inmate mail something to you so you could drop it off at his mother’s and is it ok he has your address, and he’ll be out soon…. WHAT? Every week he had new assignments and new ways to try and manipulate me into manipulating my brother to go see him, meanwhile I was there as often as I could be with very little appreciation or acknowledgement of how difficult that was for a young woman to drive to a maximum security prison to see her father. He was very selfish anyway, and it only heightened as I was broken down in the aftermath of his conviction.
I say all of this because my father is very different now, and I am very grateful that I became strong enough to be able to say no. He started a few times recently, hey Jess can you buy this for this guy, mail this to this guy, let this guy call, he just got out…. What??? His friends in prison may ALL be innocent to him, but giving out my personal contact information or sending me on errands is not the way I choose to have this very limited relationship with my father. I feel strong, and I know my strength, in part, is from him. I’ve learned to set boundaries and I use them. I value the traits I have that I have from him. I value our conversations when he turns the focus to me and my life, which isn’t very often, even now. There are visits that exhaust me in a way that sends me back into the time when I did not visit, after long hours of hearing about his entire life and all his mistakes, rather than moving forward and focusing on what happens next for all of us. I want to do things for him because I want to, because he’s my dad, not because I was asked or expected by a man from my past who only made empty promises and disappointed me at every turn. Why would I help that guy? Well, because he’s my father, but there’s a constant battle inside of me, help him because you should, don’t help him because he expects it and more, help him because you love him, don’t help him because he’s let you down more times than you could ever count.
I admire his strong will. Even as he awaited trial, went through it and was subsequently convicted, he maintained his innocence and his bravado. I love that about him, in the face of any odds, he stays true to himself. The survivor. The victor. Even behind bars for the rest of his life, he is true and steadfast in his belief in his exoneration. After 20 years, and a denied appeal, he’s never wavered on his story, his innocence, his fight. I have this trait as well, and it also doesn’t allow us to give up on anything. I will see something through until it is ash in my mouth or a complete success. I’m cunning, I’m good with people, I know how to get them what they want and how that ultimately gets me what I want. I’m multi-faceted, multi-layered, soft on the outside, then hard, then soft again, then at my center, a devastating rock fall. My spirit cannot be broken. My will cannot be swayed. I get this all from that incredible, foolish man. I love him as I love myself and I judge him as I judge myself. I have not yet deciphered if he cares for us because of us, or because of his great survival spirit that whispers to him, he needs us to continue everyday. If he were free, would he even call us?
I am downloading this onto the world of things finally spoken, and I appreciate your reading it and tolerating it. I forgive my father, I accept who he is, but I will never forget who he was. He has been one of the people to hurt me most in my life and I visit each time with an anxiety, waiting for the next wound. Thankfully, I have been able to express myself directly to him, that I am not a child, nor his secretary, nor his vehicle to move his agenda around the world out here. And we seem to have an understanding.

Help from the Past

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Last night I attended my very first medium party with an old friend from my childhood. I was excited to see my friend, and hug her, for her recent loss of her mother, who was a good woman. I spent so much time at my friend’s house growing up, that her mom played a special role in my life as well, and I am grateful for our time with her.

Her passing has a ripple effect on all of us, and now even more profoundly, this past relationship, friendship, will now shape my future.

My friend had psychic medium Bianca Star over to do private 30 minute sessions with anyone who wanted a message from spirit. I walked into it very open minded, I believe her gift is god-given and a direct line of communication to ‘The Great Divine’ as Bianca called it. I envy and appreciate her gift and others with gifts like it, and pray that maybe one day I could open up my own abilities…. so…. we began.

Bianca takes notes as she talks through the spirit message she is receiving. She began writing immediately, saying ‘there is a very strong woman here’. She stopped writing to react to her, ‘very strong’ she repeated, which made me smile. Grandma Rose. She said Grandma didn’t like help, she did everything independently, on her own, her way. She said my grandma told her that I was just like her. ‘Strong’ she said again. I want to be self-sufficient. She also said that grandma hears me speak to her and she answers back. Not in a creepy disembodied ‘ghost voice’, but in my thoughts, in my mind. I get impressions, feelings, a gut reaction to something. That’s grandma. Turns out, she was going to guide this entire session.

She brought through another ‘father-figure’ and it took a minute to figure out who this was. You must always be open to these experiences, you never know who will pop in! A father figure, who passed after my grandmother… but both of my grandfather’s passed before her, and my dad is living, at least he was yesterday. Who could this be? And there went my gut reaction again. My stepfather.

I don’t talk much about this person. My mother had a short marriage to him, which ended with me leaving and refusing to go back at 14 years old. I saw what took her time to see, that a few mouthfuls of vodka secretly poured into his cup of tea, changed him into a monster. I knew he was good under the fermented potatoes, but he was bad out front, in my face, and made my life miserable between the ages of 11 and 14. These years were difficult anyway, I was bullied by neighborhood kids in Yaphank Long Island, kids I wish I cared enough to find now in adulthood, to repay the kindness. So I had no one, nothing, not at home, not at school, but luckily enough, I had my love of music (Seattle grunge) and a few friends that I loved, that loved me, and one of them was the one who invited me last night.

Bianca described my step-father as ‘not so emotional, very cut and dry’ to which my answer was, ‘he was German, yeh.’ She said my mother loved him, which gave me pause. I understood that. I understood that in the wake of my father’s leaving us and not bothering to look back, my mother wanted me to have a whole family. My step-father was willing to help her, to share the load, to pay bills, mow the lawn, and take her car for oil changes. My mother needed help. She was alone for many years, raising two strong-willed and sometimes rotten children. I understood why she loved and needed him. I understood that she had no idea she was leading me into the lion’s den.

My step-father didn’t apologize in this quick visit through Bianca, he simply stated that I worry a lot about my mother, but that I didn’t need to. He was her protector. He just wanted me to know this, and knew I would be open to it. I had forgiven him years ago.

My grandmother remained present and picked up the mic again at this point. She told Bianca that I am very spiritually connected. She said my spirit has been calling me for a while, and now, more than it ever has. She wants me to know to trust what I get, what I feel. When I ‘know things’ about people, believe it. She said I have abilities to work on, maybe not through spirits, the way Bianca works, but through my ‘intuition’. I was elated, but I felt my ‘beach ball-sized lady nuts’ get even bigger. Trust myself more? You got it!

My father’s father came through then, another ever-present loved one, like mom’s mom, who was always around me. I had said he didn’t have to come through, because I KNOW he’s there everyday, and I speak to him as well. But of course he came, because it made me happy, and he had a message for me as well. First Bianca described him as an ‘old fashioned manly man’ and I could just see him in his trench coat, dressed to the nines and handsome as ever. Bianca said there were ‘scents’ that connected me to him. I laughed. I laughed harder the more I thought about it. ‘Yes!’ I told her, ‘Literally scents! Incense! I burn his incense everyday!’ My grandparents had 13 cats in a basement apartment in Ridgewood. I can probably name them all… Blue Eyes, Queenie, Tiger, Boy, Pretty Boy, Morris, Fluffy… that may be it for the moment! Anyway, the way they handled the smell? Nag Champa incense, imported from India. Best. Shit. Ever. I still burn it every time my cat takes a dump.

Grandpa Pete’s message was not to keep a tidy litter box for Mimi, but to be patient. Bianca was describing him earlier and I blurted out… ‘he was a saint!’ to which she responded, ‘he was patient.’ I always remember everyone in the family describing him on numerous occasions, of ‘having the patience of a saint’. So, his presence was with us completely now. He said I need to be patient with myself, things take time. I have an aggressive attitude, I want things NOW. Bianca said that he taught me patience, and is teaching me that now. I immediately remembered my favorite moments with him, spending hours playing cards… playing Memory! That made me patient, even as I ripped the cards over to see if they matched! I taught him how to play Chess years later. Patience. After that, I could never beat him again, and I got frustrated. He told me, ‘That’s how you know a good teacher, when the student becomes better at it.’ Oddly enough, at my young age, I accepted that explanation, and was satisfied. I taught him so good that I couldn’t beat him anymore. He also said I need to go with the flow, like he did, and not to hold to control so much.

And then he brought up our connection to music. If you know me at all, you know I was always musical. Into music, playing music, in bands, singing, writing music, playing the piano and flute, and keyboards. Music was and is my life, as it was for grandpa. He LOVED music, and he played Bianca a song that she called ‘jazzy’. I can only imagine it was the old music from the 20’s and 30’s. Then she asked me, ‘Do you know when a song comes on and it happens to fit what’s going on in your life right then? It’s the universe delivering a message. If the station changes or a random song comes on, pay attention to it, listen, listen to the words, there’s a message for you.’ That’s 100% true. Almost everyday that happens and I say to myself- I was just thinking of this song, or I was just feeling like that, or how weird that this song comes on now. Grandpa? Is that you?

Bianca drew two lines on the page, maybe mechanically, to signify this was a shift in energies. She asked me if I had a sibling passed. No. She asked me if I understood a young male, 25, dying from a drug overdose. A sibling? No. She said, ‘It’s ok, I’ll write this down and you will come back to it later. He had a short name. Mike?’ I shook my head. ‘Maybe someone connected to my sibling?’ I asked her. ‘Maybe’ she said, and kept jotting down notes. ‘He needs them to know that he’s ok. He didn’t suffer. They tried to save him but they weren’t meant to. He wants them to know he’s ok where he is.’ Ok, I said, open to it. ‘They have his baseball hat.’ she added. Ok, I said, so curious to know who this could be! Bianca suddenly got his name, ‘Doug!’

This is an aside… (an aside is a theatre term for when an actor steps out of character to address the audience directly) Today I had a lease signing for my neighbor, I do real estate full time. My husband and I found this wonderful couple, both EMT’s, he’s a firefighter, she’s a nurse. His mother sold their house and they are moving to Long Island, but he has to stay in NYC to qualify for FDNY, so voila, looking for an apartment in Queens. Boom, I love them, they love the apartment, my neighbor loves them, my husband loves them, boom, new neighbors. So we do the lease signing this morning, I get the checks from the couple and it isn’t until I’m in the office later that I see the names on the check. His parents. Dad’s name is Douglas.

I get chills. Is there a Doug ‘Jr’, the 25 year old from my reading? Does my new neighbor have a brother Doug that passed from an overdose that he TRIED TO SAVE because he has the training to? I have to trust myself… right? This neighbor is 28. A younger brother of 25 fits. I met this couple Wednesday, so is it possible his brother Doug was with him, knew I was going to see Bianca on Friday night and took the opportunity to get his message through her, to me, to his brother the EMT whom I’d never met before? Fucking awesome. Mind blown. So now I have to figure out how to give him this message! It’s not an email or a text, I have to wait to see him and I will have to update you if I’m right!

Bianca continued. Spiritually, we were talking about my ‘passion path’ now. My purpose. I will see a shift in my career within two years. She said ‘You love what you do, but it’s not your passion.’ Yep. ‘You help people now?’ Yes, I answered, I’m in real estate. The truth is I do nothing but HELP people! These deals are not easy, there’s a lot of money at stake and you truly need an advocate who is working for you and not their commission. I have found a way to truly take care of people and make a living doing it, and I do love it. She said I have to trust the connections I have.

Grandma Rose guided us to the next message. She said she is thankful for the way I am with my mom. She said it took patience, which seems to be the theme of the evening. She said I am more like the mom and mom is like my daughter! Yes, I always say, I don’t have kids, I have my mother. She mentioned my brother, who I am not currently speaking to, but love very much. She said I feel responsible for him. I do. But that I am overbearing, and that he’s stubborn, and that I have to let him do things his way. That’s fine, I have come to that conclusion myself. I don’t have to make everyone happy, was the message conveyed to me, and it spoke volumes.

Bianca said, ‘Your dad is strong-willed too!’ Yes, I’m his clone-spawn. She said I am connected to his mother as well, that she is living. ‘Yes,’ I said and ‘this is my sore spot. I know I should do more for her.’ Bianca went on to ‘nail’ the situation with my dad’s mom, saying ‘where she is, is difficult’ and that it’s not my fault. She said she ‘lost her marbles so communication is a bit hard.’ My grandmother is in a nursing home about 10 miles from the Canadian border. Where she is, is difficult. I know it isn’t my fault, but I feel guilt, such a heavy grief and guilt for the way things went with her. Bianca understood that and said, ‘it’s not like you can call her.’ No, I’d have to get into the car and drive 11 hours to see if she even knows who I am. I know she’s in a good place, and she has good people around her who are taking care of her who I am so grateful for. Still, this is my sore spot. I was never close to my dad’s mom, though my dad’s dad was everything to me. Dad’s mom took dad’s side, even when he was dead wrong, even when I needed her and him in those difficult years between 11 and 14. They were both so selfish and so caught up in their own bullshit that they had no idea what I was dealing with at home, nor did I feel they would care. My grandmother told me, ‘you never call your dad, you don’t worry about him?’ Well, lady, not really because I’m dealing with an alcoholic day in and day out, so no, not really worried about my dad’s frequent trips to Vegas. I never felt love or loyalty for her after that. It’s something I will have to work on.

Bianca continued with ‘Don’t force relationships with friends’. She said I am beginning to align with my passion path and I will lose people on the way. I very confidently said, ‘Fine.’ If my passion, my purpose, is not in line with what anyone else likes, ask me if I give two flying shits? No, cause I’ll keep those flying shits for someone who deserves them. Bianca had a universal message for me. That I am doing ok. Stop being so hard on myself. And when I am hard on myself, I make it difficult for everyone around me. She also said my path would be something like ‘spiritual life coaching’. Oh, man! I just had that same thought last week! How much I love to motivate people, lift them up, help them, make them see how powerful they are. Make them see how beautiful they are! I think the best day of my life would be to change someone else’s life… for the absolute best future they could ever imagine, cause they deserve that.

Grandma Rose recognized my cousin’s new baby, her new great grandbaby and I know she’s looking out for him. Shout out to Benjamin from Grandma Rose!

Bianca asked me if I had any questions. Well, just one, and I am laughing now even as I recount it. This god-damed friggin pain in the ass book I’m writing… I feel like there’s this energy with me MADROS who fucking bothers me every waking moment of life MADROS this son of a bitch haunts my every step MADROS where the hell does this shit come from and who the hell does he think he is? Bianca looked up to the ceiling, as if consorting with the heavens before delivering the answer I have longed for for many years. ‘It’s you.’ She said. ‘Your book is a past life of yours. It happened to you.’

Note to self: You are your own pain in the ass. Makes perfect sense. Thank you Bianca 🙂

 

 

 

A Letter to My Human

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A letter to the human encapsulating my soul:

Hi there, wasn’t sure if you knew I was in here this whole time. 38 years. It’s been a journey together, that’s for sure. I’ve been with you through everything, I’ve recorded it deeply within myself, to carry it, to learn from it, to help to steer you from such pain again. I was hoping you could do a few things for me, as I have always done the best I can for you. You know that ‘gut feeling’, well that’s me. I am here, now and always. You are never alone because I am with you.

I connect you to the greatest power ever imagined in this universe. I am part of it, which means that power is within you. Don’t deny it anymore. It’s quite frustrating to watch you wallow, drivel, complain, hurt. You are so powerful, invincible really, and capable of achieving all you ever hope for, through me. Let me help you.

Listen to me, I am speaking all the time. I know what you truly need. Some of those needs are in line with the things you want, so listen up, so I can help you get them.

Jessica, it is a name you barely identify yourself with, but it is who you are now and all that matters. Jessica was born with a very special set of gifts, talents, abilities that are unique in every way. Everyone is. The combination of traits you have make you the only one that can do what you can do, and with our great power, you can just imagine all the possibilities. Your world is not real, though it feels like it is, I know. The stress, the fight to survive, the hopelessness at times. It is all your experience, and ones that you create. I am sorry, but yes, you create them, so let’s create better experiences now.

I started this letter with an agenda, to ask you to do a few things for me. The most important, never forget I am here. Never forget your power. Never forget the universe is within you.

Two, you have a book to write. It is your purpose. It is everything you can ever hope for, to share this very special story with as many people in this world as you can. Because it matters to them. It inspires, it makes them see their own power and don’t you want that more than anything? To ‘Rekindle’ people as you’ve so elegantly stated in your writing. To wake the light within us all, to teach us our greatness. Your book will deliver that to you tenfold, because it is the purest gift you can give to another person. Hope. Your story will leave such an imprint on this world, as to inspire for years to come. You’ve already inspired others to write, to do, to heal. Stop telling yourself you can’t do it, because I don’t believe you. I believe that you can.

Three, you have to take better care of yourself. You keep saying you have to ‘diet’ and lose weight and increase your energy. You’re a mess. You’re carrying fear and doubt, not fat. Just be healthy. Think healthy, make healthy choices, whatever that means to you. Relax, find time for yourself to be still and calm. Ease your senses, your nerves and center your gravity. Feel your heartbeat, feel your muscles and their strength, feel the grass under your toes. It is temporary my love, and when it is gone you will crave it again. Believe me, I’ve been through it before.

You don’t need anyone else, you don’t need anything you don’t currently have. If you focus on what you love, on sharing your light, things will come to you that you could not even work for! Yes, they will come. Whether it’s a book deal or the chance to pitch a tv show. It will come darling, if you write your story, the best you can, remembering the good it will do when it’s out in the world. Just focus on that. Just focus on Rekindling as many people as you can. Awakening their soul to speak to them, and pray for them, that they listen.

One last thing. I love you. I believe in you. And I am great because of you. This is why we’re here, love, to do well, to do good, to learn all we can together. Be open, be honest, be kind. There is no other purpose to this life.

With love,

Your soul

What a way to start a birthday…

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It’s not that I am always depressed, it is that I am always aware of whether or not I am happy. By constantly stopping to check, ‘Am I happy?’ for me, the opposite occurs. I very rarely lose myself in my ‘living’ or pass time without counting it or lose myself in a moment. I am overly aware of my surroundings, my feelings, the way my hair looks, my body temperature, the pain in my knees, the amount of make-up I have on, how do I smell, am I hungry, is my belly sticking out, is there something in my teeth?

I thought it was OCD, the constant systems check, and I find myself organizing things by color, shape or size quite often, and being completely engrossed in it and unable to live the rest of my life until the task is complete. A little nutty, but there are worse things I could be doing. But that’s just a small part of it. There’s a bigger piece to the puzzle.

I am overly sensitive to and worried about what people think, while masterfully making it seem like I couldn’t care any less about it. I just reread the above two paragraphs and decided to delete them, since they weren’t all that important enough to be a full blog post. And maybe someone won’t care about them, or worse, no one will even read them. So why bother to delete it then? So I didn’t. See?

I don’t know if I am alone in my feelings, I’m sure I am not that unique or important enough to stand out any more than anyone else, or have something so special about me it couldn’t possibly be duplicated. We are all the same, I imagine. At the end of the day. So it makes it hard for me. Hard to love, hard to hate, hard to see people for what they are because I truly strive to understand the minute by minute decision making process, as if we always start at zero and nothing in our past or our nature influences how we behave. Yeh right. People are creatures of habit, street cars on a track, we don’t change much, nor do we want to. And yet…. I want to believe the we can.

I am an author. I write books. Well, I write scenes about the same people over and over and I hope to make all of that into a book. I did make one book. It’s good, you should read it. I put everything I am into it, everything I am. It is my life, it is my sound board, it is my bleeding heart, it is all my hopes and every last fear I have. It is me, divided into several main characters set in a fantasy world in another time and possibly another dimension entirely which was unknown to me until one of my characters said it. I can’t say everything I think or feel, no not here, so I say it in my book. I am secretive, deceiving, misleading, manipulative, all to mask who I think I am, while not really knowing the true me at all. I have habits, things I like, music that soothes me, but it is all very vain and showy and my outward personality is boisterous yet fun and inviting. I like people. I hope they like me. I  hope they know who the fuck I am, cause I don’t.

I often feel clogged. Like my brain is trying to solve some human mystery of the ages, and that I am just wasting time while the world hangs in the balance. I watch TV and regret it, but the next day I watch more TV. I don’t really know what I think. I don’t really know what I believe. I am an enigma and a contradiction all at once. I am no one, and I am everything.

I didn’t set out to write any of this. Tomorrow is my birthday and I am tired of living a lie. But I have created so many lies that taking them down would mean starting over with nothing. Big lies. Costly lies. Lies that will change the entire world as I know it. It gets heavier each day, harder each day, but then I realize, I may not be lying at all. I may have actually built something to be proud of, to be involved in. Maybe. But maybe I don’t give myself enough credit. I certainly don’t imagine myself as I am and I wish for the day I could decide. Who to be? What to do? Where to go? None of those answers come.

My father sent me $100 for my birthday. His card arrived by regular mail, with his DIN number printed after his name. Like a VIN number on a car, you get a DIN number when you’re a convict in a maximum security prison. He sent me a check from the ‘inmate fund.’ Totally weird. For a man who left us with nothing when we needed it most this $100 feels like a bandaid on a shotgun blast to the head. Thank you. I will appreciate it anyway, and make sure to waste it on something stupid. Maybe I can tell the daddy-less little girl cowering inside of me not be so crushed anymore, daddy sent a hundred bucks. That and a bag of chips and you could turn a lifetime of being exposed to the world without any fatherly protection or guidance into a 45 minute liberating session with a shrink.

929 words in and I am beginning to feel a tiny bit better. Or not. I know this will not see the light of day anyway. Even on my birthday, none of this will be relevant or important. I know, whine whine whine, wo is me. Yeh well, I feel shitty. I feel alone, I feel desperate and I feel lost. It is my lie that keeps me in this dark place. Or is it?