Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoiled his nice new rattle.
Alice in Wonderland
Ever find yourself embroiled in a political discussion that has morphed into a battle? Now your morals, intelligence, and even your right to exist on the face of the earth are called into question.
The last few days I’ve been attempting this fruitless activity on Facebook. First with my ex-husband and then with my son. Once again I remember why I hate Facebook and question my sanity for attempting to have a public discussion about anything more emotionally charged than which way the wind blows.
No I take that back. I say the wind is coming out of the east someone will attempt to rip my head off and say “the wind used to blow from the west and this means you don’t care about global warming. Therefore you probably put your cat in the microwave on a regular basis, and when you’re not doing that you spit on homeless people.” Say what? I give up. I usually end up thinking “I know you are trying to make a point, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what it is.”
First my Ex fires a shot across the bow when I commented about how I don’t like how our government spends our tax dollars. “I think we should tax the rich until they bleed.” Oh come on. That’s a rather violent response, don’tcha think? This is coming from a man who used to work for the Internal Revenue Service and knows first-hand how convoluted and crooked the whole tax system is. At this point I murmur to myself, “Now I remember why I divorced your ass.”
Next comes my son. He was raised by his dad. His comments left me wondering “what the hell did your father read for a bedtime story? The Communist Manifesto?” He actually said something to the effect of “I don’t like how the government is spending our money, but I think there should be more taxes.”
I just don’t get it. I feel a migraine coming on. I must refrain from such useless and frustrating attempts to talk about politics. But dammit, sometimes I just can’t help myself. I have a brain and sometimes I like to use it.
And it’s one, two, three,
What are we fighting for?
Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam;
And it’s five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain’t no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we’re all gonna die.
Lyrics – Country Joe and the Fish
I went to see that movie American Sniper last night. It was a rather sobering experience. But how much more sober can you get than stone cold? Who knows? If you haven’t heard about this movie it’s based on the biography of Chris Kyle, a sniper who did 4 tours in Iraq. He is known as the most lethal sniper in American History with 160 confirmed kills. He made it home alive and was murdered by a troubled veteran he was trying to help.
I’m not even going to go into the nasty debate about whether he was a hero or a coward. My opinion is that he was a soldier doing what he thought was the right thing to do to protect his family and country. He didn’t start the war – he just did what he had to do.
That being said, I’ve been pondering the whole war conundrum. I laid awake much of last night thinking about it. In a way we treat our returning warriors the same way we treat people with mental illness. We sweep it under the rug and pretend the problem doesn’t exist.
Those caught up in the war machine seem have the same mental kinks as people who are mentally ill and/or have mental illness or substance abuse problems. “Oh this is just affecting us, no one else has to deal with it, and we’re handling it just fine.” Hogwash!
As I look back over my life I can see that war has tainted my entire life. I was in my mid-teens when the Vietnam War was going on. I faced the fear that if it continued for a few more years that my brothers would have to go. I was the oldest in my family and female, but my girlfriends had older brothers that were sent off to Vietnam. They came home in a box. One of those brothers was the first boy I ever kissed. He kissed me the night before he went off to boot camp.
During that era teenage trouble making was a death sentence if you were boy from a blue collar family. The judge gave them a choice “jail or Vietnam.” Stupid boys chose Nam. I would have much rather they went to jail, but I was a 14 year old girl, my say didn’t matter much then. It probably doesn’t matter much more now. I just have a wider audience.
After my girlfriends lost their brothers, we three musketeers decided to wear black arm bands to school. We got in all kinds of trouble for it. Being teen aged innocents we didn’t know we were protesting, we just knew that our guys died and we were sad and very angry. We had to stay after school for detention every day that we wore those arm bands. Funny thing was no one ever tried to confiscate them. If this happened in the present they probably would have them confiscated. Can’t wear or carry anything to school that might offend someone nowadays. I don’t remember how long we wore them and when we stopped either. How odd. We drifted apart, life goes on I guess.
Fast forward to when I was 18 years old. I fell in love with a Vietnam vet who was one of those who made it home in body but not in mind. My mother hated him and knew he was trouble. She finally told me to not talk to her until I was finished with him. She was right in a way. He was trouble because he was troubled. When we walked down the street he was constantly scanning and looking around at trees, roof tops, alleyways. I thought he was just unusually alert. What did I know about soldiers and PTSD? My dead friends don’t talk about that. 6 months later he committed suicide by cop. Meaning they tried to arrest him, he said “you’re not taking me alive” and boom he’s dead.
So at the tender age of 14 I learned that I was not invincible. People die because of other people’s decisions, shit happens. Should children have to learn that? I don’t know but there are children all over the world in war zones learning this every day. Are we better for it? I don’t think so. But that’s just my opinion among billions of others.
The five stages – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance – are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
All the death gurus I’ve read or heard quoted claim there are stages of grief. I have to say that at the moment I’m in the white hot lava mountain of rage otherwise known as anger.
It’ kind of hard to deal with because at the moment I’m angry with my family and everyone else I’ve even known who puts themselves in harm’s way to the sorrow and fear of their loved ones and friends.
I’m angry with my grandson for choosing to live a sad and dangerous life; choices that left his 26 year old beaten, drugged up, frozen dead body on the ground in a train station in Boston. Those of us left behind to mourn him are left holding the bag. I’m pissed off because it seems like he got off easy. He doesn’t have to face each day knowing that he’s gone forever. He’s not left with a life time of “what ifs.”
I’m angry at those members of my family who still abuse drugs and alcohol and live on the razors edge of death in a myriad of ways because of their actions. Who will I have to bury next?
I’m angry at family and friends who suffer from an assortment of mental illness and refuse to seek or maintain treatment. I’ve been told by a number of them that well “I’m not hurting anyone but myself.” Excuse me but that is total unadulterated bullshit. Hello but you are torturing those who love you.
Having substance abusing, and or mentally ill friends and relatives is like having a stalker. The situation grinds on relentlessly for years and then decades. Your heart jumps into your throat every time the phone rings. “What is it THIS time?” Are they in the hospital? Are they in jail? Are they missing…again. Are they dead?
It’s a slow kind of torture that never ends. You can’t do anything about it. Maybe having an actual stalker would be easier to deal with. You can report them to the police. You can take out a restraining order. You can go incognito. If all else fails, you can move to another city or country to get away from it.
But you can’t get away from substance abuse or untreated mental illness. You can hope, you can pray, you can go into denial and refuse to answer the phone, but you can never get away from it.
To anyone who thinks that their self destructive behavior is their business and not anyone else’s….I would like to brain you with an iron frying pan and then lock you in a closet for a year or three. You ARE hurting the people who love you.
For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 1 Thessalonians 5:2 New International Version
My dear readers, the thief in the night came quicker than I thought. My darling grandson, Christopher age 26, was found dead at 5:30 am Saturday morning. My heart is broken at the loss of a sweet but troubled young man. When he first started talking he named me “Grandma Vick.” I was happy with that, because he had another grandma so that was his way of telling us apart.
What is even worse than this loss is the grief I feel for my daughter, my own baby, who has lost her beautiful son, her baby boy. I was with her when he was born, and love the both of them so much it hurts.
Christopher was a young man with a big chip on his shoulder. His father died young from either a suicide of drug overdose. He has suffered for years with mental illness, and drug addiction. Recently he was living in a homeless shelter for veterans. From what I can gather so far, he got in an argument with someone in the shelter and was either kicked out or left. He stormed off and went into a train station. Boston’s temperature lately has been in the low 30’s lately. He probably feel asleep or passed out from drugs or alcohol and succumbed to that and hypothermia.
So today I’m in Boston to be with my daughter to offer any support I can give her. We need to make arrangements to lay Christopher to rest. I’ve had a lot of trouble and arguments with my daughter, but there is no way that I could live with myself if I did not come to her side in this most painful time that any parent will ever experience, the loss of a child.
All I can ask of you is please pray for Christopher, his mother and family in our time of sorrow.
Thank you for listening.
I’ve had this feeling for a while now. It’s kind of like the talk that Morpheus gave Neo in that Matrix movie; “You know something is wrong, but you don’t know what it is. You search day and night, but can’t find it. You can’t smell it, taste it or touch it. It is all around you. You are in a prison for the mind.”
If I’m not careful and I slip up on a daily basis, I begin to doubt my sanity. Every day the news casters gleefully share the latest disaster, murder, insanely unwise new legislation, etc. Then the talking heads analyze it 8 ways from Sunday. But, in the end I’m expected to believe that everything is not only just peachy keen finer than fine, but getting better every day.
If I beg to disagree I am labeled as paranoid, a nervous Nelly, glum, a wannabe prepper nut, depressed, or a glass half empty kind of person. And this labeling even comes from other people who are feeling the same feelings, and talking about it all the damned time. Talk is cheap and so they just want to whine about latest news sound bite. However, they do not want to really get down and dirty and talk about what might be coming. Forget doing anything about it. Oh they may go out and buy a few extra cans of tuna fish and stick a few dollars in a coffee can, but that’s about it.
Well, I don’t buy it. And it’s only when I make a conscious decision to stop buying it that I feel anywhere near what might resemble normal and calm. But the question remains. How can I prepare for something coming when I don’t know what it is, or if it even exists?
All civilizations rise and fall. It usually doesn’t happen overnight. Most start a slow slide to oblivion rather than the fall of Pompeii where the mountain belched and destroyed every living thing in less than a day. Here in the U.S. our rights as private citizens are taking that slow slide to oblivion. The scary part is that much of this legislation chips away at our right and more important our DUTY to be self-reliant.
Did you know that in some states it is illegal to collect rain water? How disturbing is that? The rationale behind this is that rain falling out of the sky is public property. Therefore if we collect it we are “hoarding” the rain water. Well the earth can be considered public property also. Does this mean that I can’t own my home and the ground it stands on? Am I hoarding my little piece of the earth? There and many that think so. The most frightening thing of all is that there are many people who think along these lines in positions of public power.