Shakti Krahe-Wolf: Midlife Mayhem

“Wild woman are an unexplainable spark of life. They ooze freedom and seek awareness, they belong to nobody but themselves yet give a piece of who they are to everyone they meet. If you have met one, hold on to her, she'll allow you into her chaos but she'll also show you her magic.” ― Nikki Rowe


Sometimes, a Wild Girl-God moves in and rearranges what you thought was real. She thumbs her nose at propriety and property, social and monetary capital. She wakes me up in the morning and asks, full of wonder-delight-menace-daring, “What are we going to do today?”

From Karina Black Heart

There’s a gorgeous poem-prose piece, “Sometimes a Wild God,” that everyone should read or listen to at least seven dozen times in their lives. For me, it is an affirmation of how I invite the Gods I am in relationship with to inform my life and give me courage to live as they do.

These symbiotic relationships with Gods have gotten me in all kinds of trouble, including roller-coaster relationships, courageous acts and harrowing feats, landing in foreign countries with less than $70 in my wallet, moving out of state to be near my Madre–the Sea, zip-lining, fire-walking, hand-crafting, vegetable gardening, visiting…

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New Life Chapter One Typewriter

Remember in school, when you’d come back and have to write the short essay to share about what you did over summer.  Mine were always the welfare summer vacations of city pools, public libraries and hanging with my mom.

This summer though, it was a vastly different and very deep dive into places I have not seen nor acknowledged in decades.

My life has off and on been a shit show circus of my own design and decisions and often of a design I had no say in and now way for many years to make meaning, to make sense out of the multitude of deaths and the sheer amount of locust that reigned through my life.

I have seen my part in many of the choices I made and I’ve made amends to those where to do so would not harm them.  This is the part where personal responsibility holds true and steady in my life today, and for many days, months and years.

This past year, has been one of fire for me.  Trials by fire.  Life on fire.  Politics on fire, it’s been fiery for me, the Goddess and her charge and heat have most certainly been full tilt boogie in my soul.

June 14th came about and everything I knew before, it’s been shifting.  All of it.  From my internal organs to my soul, to my decisions and to my choices and  energies.

As, many know, I had a hysterectomy.  I was not prepared for it to happen, and within a week of trying to plan for everything to happen, everything happened.  My life, as I knew it burnt up, metaphorically, into tiny pieces of ash that I would tend to over the ensuing weeks.

Why, you say would I write about it?  Because, no one really shares their full and true experiences and we write it off as a surgery that women have often enough, that we don’t need to care.  A part of it, is that we as women are tough, we heal and we move on, but in that liminal time of healing, it is so painful, that re-birth to a new you, a woman, as in my case, I no longer recognized as me.

The grief for me was not what one would imagine, it was a dead set ache of tears and sobbing that wracked my body and soul. The full tilt guilt and shame of the woman I have been came crashing forward.  All the poor decisions, the poor choices, the pain I had caused any and everyone in my life.  I spent the first week in pain and sobbing until I had no more tears for all the shitty things I had said, done, or not done in my life to that point.  Yes, it was hormonal, and it was honest.  It was the deepest seated anguish of all the losses I have felt, I have withstood and I have moved forward in my life from.  Mostly shitty on that last part of moving forward.

I was writing out amends to bugs I had unintentionally killed in my life, along with the men and women I had ever even glanced sideways at, or thought shitty things about.

I had written small novellas and dispatched them to those who needed for me to just acknowledge the shit show that was me, my life, and my choices.  Mind you, I had done this before and they knew it, but this time, it was different, it was as if all that was before, it had crumbled into a tiny ball in my heart and it had burned up.  I had to acknowledge the loss of my life prior to this surgery and sit in the unknown of my life from this moment forward…the cycle of birth, life, death, birth, life, death.

This didn’t stop after the first week.  It was a deep, deep,  dive into my soul and psyche.  It was a dive I was not sure I would come up from.  It was the compression of depression, grief, anxiety, and trauma all balled up in the pit of my soul, belly and heart.  I had to sit still, I had to sit on my hands and move through this, with all the lovingkindness I could muster and the peace of mind I was searching for throughout the healing.

I am best described by those who even remotely know me as authentic and strong.

Suddenly, I felt weak, so very weak, and I didn’t know what to do or what I was going to do and when.

My physical strength would rebuild, my spiritual strength was in my back yard in ashes.

I had so much support and love through the process, but I could not share the real parts of this, the terror, the night terrors, nightmares, the sweating, OMG the sweating, the tears and the utter frustration at so many things within myself.  Love poured out and I worked to accept it with the grace and strength I had, only to find myself again up at 3am crying and pouring my heart out to the Goddess to hear me and to help me find myself again…she whispered back, that I, as I was, would no longer be here, that part of me and my life was gone.

I have been learning this new me.  This woman who is old, has many new wrinkles, is softer in skin and in soul.  I lay myself bare in this not to find love or accolade, but to share the experience of being a woman.  A woman who has in this transition, grown into a more loving woman, a softer woman, who’s strength is still rebuilding to a new form.

A woman who at once melts at the sight of a baby and who longs and will not have her own grandchildren. To coo, cuddle, be loved and love in that fashion. Whose experience of being a parent is often marginalized in our culture, but who for decades longed for one child.  I envy grand babies, and those who have them, but not in the traditional, jealous sense, but the grieving and yet joyful sense for others who experience that deeply embodied love.

I am gathering my thoughts for this  blog…the newness of my life even to me has brought about great and significant changes.  Those that are scary as fuck, and those that begin to settle in like a gentle friend to tap you and just let you know, you’re not alone.

It’s been a wild and wonderful, strange and scary summer, but one I will soon not forget.

Stay tuned, I plan on sharing the fuck out of this…please feel free to share it if you feel it would benefit others.

Next Post:  Intimacy and the Crone.


lonely left out

Dear Dharma,

I love social media, it’s a fun way to keep up with my friends and family.  Sometimes, it can be painful.  Last month, a friend posted the love she has for her ‘soul sisters’ and how they all fit together and share many wonderful experiences.  I read the post and I was not included in their group.  

I have always felt I had a connection with their group, but apparently it was only on the sidelines and I was the only one who felt it.   I cried after I read it, sad, lonely and loud cry.  I am a tough person, but sometimes I feel very left out in life.  

This has not been the first time that this has happened and no matter how I work to be the best me I can be, it hurt and I wanted to respond to the post with ‘hey, where am I in your circle?’  ‘Why wasn’t I included?’  I did not, but I wanted to.

I’ve realized over the years that I’ve been a back-burner friend to many.  I used to call people out on their behaviors because it hurt so much, and I felt like if I said something, they’d realize their error and somehow through a small miracle of love and light, include me or at the very least validate me.  I wanted to be seen too.  Now, I am not sure what to do, I thought of messaging this person privately, but I’ve done that before and it’s backfired, I feel lost, alone and jealous.


Lost and Left Out

Dear Sweet Lost and Left Out,

I received your email two months ago and I had to sit with my response and my own feelings of left out, alone and jealous.  Your email is so tender in that you are hurt and yet, your courage shows through. You are strong, and I see your vulnerability peaking through the words. I feel the sadness and the bravery it took to write this email and press send.  

I understand how in our face forward, quick connecting and social media friendly culture we can feel lost and left out.  It is something that I struggle with and I know many others struggle too.  It is difficult to be real and vulnerable on social media, in a genuine manner that is authentic and truthful.

People can exploit their victim-nature on social media, and many respond deeply to that, feeling if they acknowledge the victim, they assuage their own feelings of  lonely, lost and unseen.  It is not healthy to assuage others in a surface manner.  We are only affirming their victim-nature.  I allow and accept where the person is, and I hold space for their status or shares.  I do not offer “light and love” or “hugs.”  I just acknowledge and witness.

Then, there are the posts that you encountered.  Where you are reading along and FUCK-SHIT, you realize, you were somehow not included.  You may think, “wait, what?”  

I have encountered these posts too.

I have watched women I know, and love, walk away together into other rooms to talk about whatever it is that I am not privy too.  

I have sat and listened to friends discuss getting together and doing things, where I was not invited, wondering to myself as they talked, why I was not included.  

What was wrong with me?  What did I do?  

I have gone to my friends and asked if I’d done something wrong, or offended them, as I cannot imagine that it would be them not including me, but it was or has to somehow be a flaw in me, that would preclude them from including me.  

I am the reason why, I am somehow not worthy of friendship and inclusion. Note: the world does not revolve around me, I am seriously not that important in the big picture, but rejection digs deep to our hearts.  The paragraph below offers insight into how this low self worth is created.

Earlier in my life, I had a husband (I’ve had more than a few, a story for a later date) and he kept a bag/suitcase under our bed. When he was upset, angry, hurt or wanted to escape to the life of another woman, he would grab the bag, fill it quickly with clothes, as he kept everything else at the ready, and he would leave.  

THIS. FUCKING.HURT. TO.MY.CORE.  I would cry, scream, kick, throw, be hurt and jealous, lonely and lost, all in the same moment.  I was unseen, invalidated, lonely, hurt, sad, broken and had no idea what to do.  Thus creating rejection, fear of abandonment and low self worth in one felled swoop.  

Today, I view these situations differently and my self worth with greater regard.

Not with anywhere near perfection and grace, but with authenticity. 

I sit with these feelings, as un-fucking-comfortable as that sounds, it is and it can feel even worse, I won’t lie.  

I sit.  

I observe my feelings of hurt and my feelings of left out.  

I allow myself to feel the feels and to acknowledge my own hurt.  

I realize that my hurt is a trigger from other times in my life that rejection, pain, and fear happened. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last time, that I experience the feeling of alone and left out.  

Rejection is the core of the issue you speak of, that in not being included, it hit the heart directly at rejection.

I imagine my gentle-heart Lonely and Left Out, that you can find places in your life where you were jealous, felt alone, left out and betrayed.  Where you felt  aware of your own burdens and troubles.  And they all felt at their core rejection, when you wanted to be seen.

Rejection bring up to the heart, all fears of abandonment, betrayal, not being worthy, not feeling seen, validated or understood.  It is not an easy emotional suitcase or train car to work through, as we are complex in our dealings with ourselves and each other.

Our tendency is to react, we feel the need to say something or we may die the death of 1000 paper cuts.

Here’s why: the amygdala is where jealousy resides in the brain. It is the part of the brain that also controls basic emotions of fear, pleasure and jealousy.  So, when we suddenly realize we were left out, it can feel deeply  visceral to us.  The amygdala is there to protect, serve and monitor our memories and how we process such.  

Your ability to acknowledge the amygdala and it’s mighty force is what can help to push back the fight/flight/freeze response.  

I breathe in… almost suck in my breath, I realize I have a trigger, a soft spot covered by a scar that is tender, a memory that is in this new moment.  I breathe to allow space, and honor my fear and amygdala as it warns me of my impending rejection. 

I observe my feelings.  Allowing them, not pushing them into a box to be buried, but acknowledging the scar from which they rise from and not reacting to the scar, instead tending to the scar and its sudden pain.

I work to not react to the situation.   

I have experienced first hand what happens when you react, and I am here to  share that it’s not a good outcome.  Ever.  It creates drama and confusion. It has NEVER been the salve that soothed my scars.   It is from that place of low self worth that it sources from and serves your already rejected heart.

Turn your energies back to you, allow yourself to be creative and loving to you.  

Reach In. Cry. Walk. Cook. Shower. Bathe. Go outside to nature. Spend time with your loving fur kids. Spend time with your loving two legged kids. Watch a movie. Read a book. Write shitty poems or epic poems. Write. Read. Journal.

Reach out.  Call, text, or drive to meet that person in your life you trust the most and who loves you, it’s NOT going to be any of the folks in the post that you discovered.  Trust me. It may be, your parents, your partners, a true,, deep friend, a four legged friend, even a trusted colleague or neighbor.  Just trust them and your intuition about them.

I’ve come to understand that life is not fair, we are not given guarantees of love and friendship.

We have no guarantee of love, friendship or inclusion, the other side of that is no one is given that guarantee.  No one.  We are all in this rejection boat together, learning to row to our own shores.


Whatever I do, I don’t ask them now, if it’s something I’ve done.  

Chances are, it’s not. I’ve learned the world does not revolve around me and my feelings. My self worth is better for the not asking and the confusion that will ensue as I try to explain why I asked and only end up sounding ridiculous and even more awkward, as the truth, to state it, is that I feel rejected and hurt.  

Learning to accept my own feelings and myself has also increased my awareness and compassion to accept others, right where they are, I do NOT need to change them, make them see me, add to any form of their existence. I can just acknowledge, accept and move to the next right thing.

You will find your tribe, or in the stronger heart that you are, you will create your tribe. Whichever you chose, they are there, waiting for you, don’t wait on others to include you, allow them their presence and move into your own energy and presence.

My misfit heart, greats your misfit heart in love, loss, and peace.


If you have a question for Dharma you can mail her at :

She may not have answers, or answers you are looking for, but she will respond with love and compassion.  Authenticity and peace.













This is the story where I tell you that my ex-husband messaged me today.

That is not always unusual, we have managed to cobble together what was the best part of our marriage and turn it into some form of wonky-tallied friendship for the things we shared.  Meaning, we talk movies, books, television, and music.

Today he messaged me about music.  That Chris Cornell had passed. We don’t message often, so when I saw his message, I knew what it would contain.  I had heard the news. I was sick to my stomach.  I felt like someone had sucker punched me in my throat.

Last year, I let go of many of my musical loves, but this one, it hurt, the way that Bowie, Cohen, Prince, Sharon Jones and George Michael hurt, but there was more for me.

Temple of the Dog.  Need I say more.

This is the part of the story, when I was blitzed out drunk, laying in my bedroom, my full size bed took up the whole room, I had one dresser, on top of it, my stereo.  My most cherished treasure.  I was listening to Temple of the Dog.  I couldn’t think straight, I was lost and lonely. I didn’t feel as though anyone would ever see me or even want to.

Please, mother of mercy,                                                                                                                                                               Take me from this place                                                                                                               and the long winded curses                                                                                                         I keep here in my head                                                                                                             Words never listen”

Or the story where I  would play Soundgarden in the backdrop of my body as I was being groped by the love of the night, who was thrusting himself on my body, squeezing my tits so hard, I would scream.  He would only squeeze harder.  I would grow still, quiet and just listen, the alcohol, the love of the night and this voice, coursing through my body.
Close your eyes and bow your head
I need a little sympathy
‘Cause fear is strong and love’s for everyone
Who isn’t me
©Down on the upside 1996
The once upon a time story where I was happy and drunk, relaxed and unburdened for a moment. The loss of my mother, filled each room I entered.  I was 22 and my future husband and I, well fumbled and fell in love. But first there was crazy and alarmingly filled with confidence and strangeness, sex.  Sex filled the evening, the late evening, the early morning.  We were young, and this was what we were listening to, as every moment of that evening filled my life, soul and body.
So now you know, who gets mystified
Show me the power child
I’d like to say
That I’m down on my knees today
It gives me the butterflies
Gives me away
Till I’m up on my feet again
I’m feeling outshined
©Badmotofinger 1991
 Then there was the part of the story where my daughter died and my husband died a year after, and all that I could listen to, was his voice fill my soul with understanding of these moments, and their darkness.

And whomsoever I’ve cradled, I’ve put you down                                                              I’m a search light soul they say                                                                                                 But I can’t see it in the night                                                                                                        I’m only faking when I get it right                                                                                             When I get it right                                                                                                                          ‘Cause I fell on black days                                                                                                             I fell on black days

 Then there was that crazier part my once upon a time where I moved to West Virginia and never went home to Oregon.  I flew to West Virginia and listened to Badmotofinger the whole way here, only to meet the  boy who would become my husband for the next ten years, the one who messaged me today.  We won’t go into the nuances of our marriage, but I will say, he knows my love of this music, this man, and this part of my life.
Every part of my life is in the lyrics of Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, I can see, feel and smell each moment of those songs, and how I felt, who I was with and how I ended up there, all in his songs, lyrics, albums.
I sobered and found recovery with Chris Cornell and his super-genius, he too found some sobriety in his life, today I am not sure he found his peace.
Chris and his so clear, lyrically brilliant, rock ballads, he managed to have the vocal range of the four-octave reach.
Every other day I blast his cover of “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson, his voice, subtle, soft, husky and easy to put on your playlist of “let’s make love or let’s fuck” the song suits both.  His voice weaves through the body, insidious and yet remembered.

For many it was the loss of Bowie, Prince, Cohen, Michael, for me, it was you, Chris Cornell.  The times of every part of my life, covered in your voice, covered in your sad, lonely, dark lyrics.  You helped me to see that those feelings had a place.

Drunk, sober, living life, surviving, thriving.  Sadly, it was not your ending.  You made a different choice for yourself.  One that I may not understand today, but at the core of my soul, I do understand, maybe too closely, as my last suicide attempt was in the 1990’s and I was alone, scared, terrified and yet, you were the voice I heard when the cab took me home.

No one would come to the hospital to pick me up.  I had a life that on the outside looked amazing, but on the inside it was shame, hurt, regret, sadness, loneliness, and rinse and repeat. That taxi man, he put my CD in and I cried in the back of his cab.  I was lonely, you were there, and I got out of the cab, tipped the taxi man with the CD, as he walked me to my door.  I went inside my lovely home, and began again.

Tongues will wag at all the reasons you may have hung yourself, their will be theories thrust about regarding your lyrics and your life.  You are, like all of us, your own soul. With your own journey.  I am not here to judge the choices, I am here like all of us to learn acceptance.  Acceptance of who you are and who you were, and those two will be burned in my soul.

I have cried all day, and that may seem trivial to many, but to me this was very true, very real and very visceral.  If you know me, you know my love of lyrics, music and how it has played out in my life.  There is a part of my metaphorical heart that will beat with the rhythm of the songs that have been my darkest and my brightest burning days.

Thank you Chris, for everything. The lyrics, the voice, the ability to sing like it meant as much to you as it did to me.

Peace in your next journey.

“I sure don’t
Mind a change
But I fell on black
How would I know
That this could be
My fate”

©”Superunknown” (1994)

And here’s the story wheremom and me 1972 I tell you about why I think Mother’s Day hurts every part of my metaphorical heart.

I live in the state where the woman who created Mother’s Day lived, and it began in Grafton, WV, at a small church.  Later in life, this same woman, decided that it was not the holiday she intended and she could not support it.

Mother’s Day breaks my heart, and I know I am not alone.

The picture above, it’s my mom, Vivian and I.  It’s 1972, she is 22 and I am 4.  We are in Washington, DC.  Vivian was dating a musician, he would have us fly out and hang out with him at different US tour dates.  This was one of them.  At the time, I did not know this, I was like any four year old, along for the ride.

If you look closely at us, we both look feral, a bit edgy, we are both cut from the wolf-woman cloth, and yet, we are both too young to know what that means.

I raised my mom, she raised me, it was mutual.

We would for years discuss how we both chose each other.  I chose to incarnate with her, and she chose me as her daughter.  We would also laugh, that neither of us were good choices and that we were both difficult.

I was not an easy child.  I was willful, given to tantrums of epic proportion, not agreeing with my mother on things a child needed to, not seeing the world as a child, but as an old soul in that tiny body.  It put me at odds with her and most.  I believe it still does, (see previous post about getting kicked off of girl island.)

My mother, for her wildness had a refined sense of taste and pleasure.  She allowed both to take her life.  She paid for her beauty and it had no problem exacting it’s toll on her life and eventually what she would admit to as her soul.

Growing up, my mom was not like the other moms, they all shunned her,  she had me, my grandmother and small army of tiny dogs, all named Tina.  The one boy dog we had, I named, and his name was Dude, as I knew then, the Dude, abides.  No doubt,  see old soul.

My mom was judged harshly by others.  She was often being called, slut, whore,  the N word, or any variation of words that one would use to marginalize her and her odd brand of strength.

The one name she took to, was Jezebel.  The biblical story, she adored the women of the Bible who were marginalized, judged and often killed for their spirits.  Remember poor Lots, wife, she was turned to a pillar of salt.  For the love of all humanity, she just wanted one more look at her life that was burning.  She in the end was punished for her nostalgia.

My mom and I read the bible on the regular to stay well versed in the tactics and judgments of others.  Having both been so harshly judged by those who cloth themselves in the Christian name, and by name only.

My mom, decided that every car we owned would be named Jezebel.  So, she had it painted on the glove boxes of each car.  I still have the last glove box door it was painted on.  She had her artist friends paint the name, so it looked what at the time I felt was legit.  Really, what the hell did I know.

My mom was at best, complicated.  She would show up to my Parent Teacher conferences drunk or on drugs, maybe fully dressed, maybe not.  Clearly, she was not PTA material, nor was she invited to that party.  Instead, she stopped going to all school events.

She would leave me for periods of time, to fend for myself.  I would get up and she would be gone.  For varying lengths of time.  It was not as terrifying as one would think, I was a swarthy child, and by the time I was five, I knew how to make sandwiches, cook eggs, and lock the doors when no one was home.  I knew how to use our phone, when we had one.  Dear readers, there was a time we did not have a phone, for over five years.  We would walk half a mile to the “mom and pop” market and use the pay phone.  Yep, there I was using the pay phone, could barely reach it, but I knew how to use it.

Stranger danger had not been invented.  My mom would send me to the store to buy her wine/beer and cigarettes with a note from her, that it was legit.  And yes, I would walk home with a bag of beer, wine, cigarettes, matches and sometimes an ice cream for me.

This was not a Norman Rockwell painting of family life.

She would leave,  sometimes for a day, a week, or even weeks,  she would return and life would resume where we left off.  I never shared this with my school mates, teachers, or adults, my mother, was the woman I understood and I no more wanted to be away from her, than to have someone take me away from her.

My mom decided in 5th grade that school was not rigorous enough for me, so she started having me read the classics and writing reports on them to her.  F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Tibetan Book of the Dead,, the Bible, The Grapes of Wrath, A Stranger in a Strange Land, Lolita, Mary Shelley’s, Frankenstein, also add, Mary Shelley’s mom, and her husband, Percy.  Just name a book, I’ve probably reported on it at some point.  She wanted me to know what informed our society, and why people like us existed in it, even if we were invisibly poor, we still had a place and we informed it. Literature, bitches.

She also began a full regimen of old/classic movies that informed life, she would pull me out of school to stay home and watch “Stormy Weather” and we’d discuss the ramifications of the movie, what it meant to be the first woman of color to star in a movie.

She took me to Black Panther meetings when I was a child, and allowed the men and women to inform me of their struggles and their successes and why we were in the times we were in.  My mother did not steer away from controversy, lord knows she stirred it up just by showing up.

My mom spent hours teaching me and versing me in music, from classical, opera and the stories of modern music, from country and western, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys,  Willie Nelson, Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac, Bo Diddly, Isaac Hayes,  The Isley Brothers, Lou Reed, Patty Smith, Blondie, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, ELO, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles.  How disco and punk rock began in the same decade and the movements behind both.

I shared with her punk rock, Death Rock, Hip Hop, Old School Rap, we discussed for hours the etymologies of musicians and styles of music. I wrote a paper in college on the etymology and philosophy of George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic.

Ultimately,  she failed me as a daughter, as she abandoned me in pursuit of her addictions, and by the time we knew what was wrong, she was dying.

There was and is no cure.   We were too poor and invisible as two women to know what rights she would have in the confusing health care system of the 80’s.

I was left not understanding what it meant to be me without her. What it meant to be a woman.

I held her as she died, I whispered to her over and over that I loved her, and yet in my belly I hurt,  was lost, and terrified of what I would be without her.

It happened, she took her last breath, as my mother, and I held her for an hour after that breath.  Taking in the essence of who she was in that room alone with her, I could feel her spirit there, with me, quietly infusing me throughout my skin and my tears.

I despise mother’s day.  Not because I had a wolf for a mother, but because I miss the wolf-mother.  It’s because I wanted to share with her all that has happened in the ensuing 29 years since her death. I have outlived her by a decade and still have no idea what I’m doing without her.

I don’t begrudge others or their amazing mama’s all over social media, but I do wish that others understood that for some of us the loss of our mama’s makes this impending holiday one of mixed results and desired effects.

As a woman who lost her daughter, and has been a super shitty step-mom/monster/bonus or non-existent other parent, this holiday is one that strikes me at the core and root of my inability to create that most reckless disaster, called life.  Of which we cannot predict it’s path, but only guide it.

I have only had long term miscarriages in my life.  One at the birth of my daughter, who had died in my womb at nine months, one at four months, six months and seven months. It then was revealed to me that my mother was given the drug  DES,  if you’ve not heard about it you can enjoy the read of BIG PHARMA in the sixties, with women.  I decided no children for me.  I still feel lost in these moments, that I am seen.

I watch my peers now, with grandchildren on the way, or here now and I marvel at the life we give, the life we share and the life we get a second chance at with grandchildren.

Women create life.  We give life through our spirits and our voices, we share life in our moments together over tea, lamenting our losses and our creations.

I end this post with this  last letter my mom wrote to me, I was fond of calling her “old hag” and she called me “young hag”  a joke between us that stuck.

“Dear Young Hag,

You were born from me, but not to me, your journey and your life will be terrible, as I did not teach you the things you needed to know to make it through life well.  You are my most sensitive creation, and you will bear a world full of hurt and burden for the heart I gave you.

You are weird, odd, charming, beautiful and very smart, but that will scare most people, so you will hide yourself and your heart away.

I failed you as your mom, I didn’t share with you the good things too often and I opened your heart and poured all of my insecurities into it, without a thought of who you would become.

I abandoned you when you needed me most, relied on you to take care of me when I came home from bar fights and brawls, I remember the mornings where you would find my car, abandoned  or lost in the woods or our life. Maybe there is a god out there, as we were brought together, I chose you and you chose me.

A young, scared, willful, wicked young woman, who could only think of herself.  I carried you home with me to my apartment, I put you on my tiny bed and cried for two days, as I fed and changed you,  I had no fucking clue what to do with you.  I had no right to have you, and yet there you were, head of hair, smiles and laughing with me and at me.  You were a marvel to me, your tiny feet and toes, the way you smelled when you curled up on top of me.  I had no bed for you, no toys for you and only the baby milk that the hospital gave me when I walked home, you in one arm, and a bag of baby supplies in the other arm.

I was kicked out of our apartment because I couldn’t work and stay with you, we moved to my only other possession, my car.  We shared the back seat, and you seemed to not have a care in the world where we were, as long as we were together.  And, that dear daughter is how you’ve always been to me.

And now,  I am dying and we will not be together, you will need to make your way into this world, without me.  I know you will, but know this, I am and always will be you mother, I will and will always be proud of you, no matter what, and even Mary M. and Jezebel are hugging and laughing in heaven over the women, like us.  I love you now, and forever.

Your mom,

Old Hag”

Two month later she died in my arms, a river an ocean, a lifetime of tears between us, she never woke up from her coma, and I am thankful for that.

May all of us who created reckless life, see the beauty of that life before us and not take that love for granted, you may feel at times you are failing, but look at it this way, my mom, Vivian is a great litmus test for that.

I am odd, weird, smart and funny. I am now, old, odd, and weird, smart and funny.  I have had an amazing life so far, and I continue that journey, educated, informed, and yes, employed. I have not created reckless life in terms of another life, but I have created with reckless abandonment a small, tiny zoo of only rescued beasts.

I still struggle with the legacy and complicated life of Vivian and her tiny army of Tina’s.  I still come to terms each day with her life her death as I see myself in the mirror a reflection of her.

I see that life is about one thing, love.

That’s it.  Nothing more, nothing less.









We all die.

Before we die, the hope is, that we live a bit of life.

Some travel, some buy a home, have children, find a career, raise children, stay married, divorce, have affairs, change careers, learn to cook, despise cooking, adopt one or five two or four legged children, scream at the top of our lungs, or hold it and press it all down.

This is the part of life we don’t speak of, it’s also the part of life that no one really likes to talk about.

The messy underbelly of life.

Let me tell you sweet peas, this is life.  It is not the picture perfect face(s) that we share on the book of faces, it is neither the tragedy and suffering of the world, and the dying and dead children that are flashed across our media screens.

It is us, real, naked, pooping, farting, fucking, breathing, snoring and misunderstanding(s).

There is a middle ground to life.  One that we don’t share so we have become unfamiliar with its terrain, which is often scary, steep, low, hot, cold, muggy and freezing.

Death has defined my life.  It has been one of the forces that shaped me into he living breathing, awkwardly designed creature you now behold as me.

From age 20 to age 28, my life was filled with death and dying, one loved one, family member and child at a time, but it was death.

All death, all the time.

I am not alone, I know this, we all experience death.

We don’t share out loud, what it’s like to watch someone you love die, we don’t discuss it, it’s horrifying and mesmerizing, all in one, a life well lived or released from psychic or physical pain.

We don’t discuss what a dead person feels like.

Or when you are laying next to them at the morgue so you can say goodbye, I love you, I will always love you and now my life is fucked up because I have no fucking clue what happened to you.

They live on Planet I am GONE.  I live on Planet Earth where I MISS YOU.   The planets circle each other for a time.  They tend to be symbiotic. Then they release one another and it’s at that point when the shit hits the fan.

When we lose a child, we live on planet I Lost a Child, or Planet I lost my Mother or Father, or Husband or Wife.  Our reality is altered and yet we are to still function in a society that does not address the dysfunction of our daily life.

When the death is complicated or unexpected, we have no clue where to begin and when it ends, if it ever ends.

The mystery of life is that is slows down, speeds up and then stretches right in front of our eyes, it stretches out and spreads in front of us, questioning us as we seek to find the answer to the mystery, one in which we will never find the answer for, to and from.  The mystery it now lives within us, and we spend so much time overturning every single stone, to find the reason, the why, the answer to our what seems like unending pain.

My death stories are also filled with life.  The moments before the death, their life, my life, your life…the time suspended in the in between, the underworld of grief, wondering if while you are swimming alone struggling if it will ever not be this struggle.

My first husband died and I fell apart in my apartment with my best friend, having no real clue what this would mean and what it meant, it was an unexpected car accident. That morning, when I left, I told him I loved him and that I would be home.  Sideways, it hit me, and to be honest I don’t know that I recovered.  I had just lost my mom, my grandmom, my daughter.

Not this, not now.  That became my mantra, not me, not again, not me, not again.

I’m here to tell you, this is grief.  Your grief, my grief, our grief.

We have to live it, we have to be in it and we have to drown out and say NO to the voices who would have us not grieving, so that they are comfortable with that distance.

One of the most notable features of being around death, is the hurry up, get them food, get them shelter, get them what they need, then get the hell out.

Death, it’s not contagious, it is just wordless for most.

Some feel that their words are cliche, lame and often horrible, and yes, sometimes they are.

It might be consoling for others to share that it is “all in God’s plan, but I’ve stated to people, “that might fucking bring you comfort, it sadly does nothing for me and my grief.”  Yep, I said it, out loud.  It was a conversation stopper indeed.  But I didn’t want to hear another person tell me it was meant to be this way.

How the fuck do I know what way it is or was supposed to be.  I am not gOd nor do I pretend ever to know the mind of said gOd.  All I know is that my heart is open, bleeding and I can’t seem to make sense of the most obvious things in my life.

When we address death as that which is constant, happening, and not going to stop happening, even our own.

We can address it differently with others.  Many who share their “gOd belief, or their it happened for a reason bullshit”, they have not experienced a death that so radically shifted their life, that in a split second, everything, and I  mean everything changed.

All at once, what was before, is really this hazy and surreal place, that you were happy, that this person, laughed with you, cried with you, if a child, vomited on you and told you the worst jokes that lit up your world, they made love to you and fucked you, they cared for you and fought with you, but that is now gone.

And even if you had time to grieve, the brain doesn’t work that way.  Grief is visceral and bleeding while still living your life.

Crying, screaming, beating my hands until the bled as I was wrestling with gOd as much as I was my losses and deaths over the years.

There is a descent and an ascension to death.  One that pulls us down and we may have to do that, allow those closest to you to understand when to throw you the line, and pull you back, or you’ll know when to arise again and face that light of your own.

Knowing it will not be the same, it cannot be the same and attempting to bypass death, we can’t and when we try to, it keeps the grief in a neutral place, not a healing place.

I live in the shadows of death, I share my experiences as they come up, as most people don’t, death no longer scares me, it just opened me to the realization that my heart and my soul understand that there is still, yet, life in death.

There is as we say, life after death for those on Planet GRIEVING, that there is a new life, and one that meshes and coalesces with the old life, the one that is on Planet EARTH, with visits to Planet GRIEVING.

Making meaning of the deaths in your life, any way you know how and feel compelled by your soul to make meaning.  It does not and may not make sense to anyone else, that is the way grief is, like life, it runs it course, and runs through us like the blackberry vines run through the earth and every particle of water runs through the ocean. We too, ride those moments, of such joy and rapture.  Such heaven and pure hell, to put it nicely.  The suffering is there, we are to make meaning of it, by any means necessary. Make your meaning.

When I experienced death, I was young and I had no clue what to do, I was useless to anyone and everyone that came close to me.

I pushed everyone away as quickly as I could, my temper was that of heat lightning and I was left alive, and I had no clue as to why I was still here, still alive and yet, in so much pain.  I was alone as I was young and many of my friends they had no way to understand how to deal with me or even address me, as I was making that deep, dark descent into the underworld, for a bit.

That descent lasted over ten years and there were others that would happen after that.  I would lay in my bed and cry, loud, sobbing, wracking, world and window shattering  crying.  I would break every dish in my house, clean it up, break anything I could touch.  I would argue with you, just to avoid the pain that was inside me.  There are so many stories to share here, but I won’t.

I will share with you what helped me and helped others who have shared with me their stories.

Walk, I walked what seemed like to the ends of the earth.  Remember Forest Gump as he ran, and just kept running, it’s kind of like that.  I would walk, every day, every way I could.  Walking made me focus on my grief and not my grief.  It allowed me to smell fresh air and at the same time.

I cleaned, I cleaned my house a lot.  It didn’t make me feel better, it didn’t make me feel worse, it actually made me feel like I had control over one small thing, that felt big, it felt good to do my dishes and not break them.  I cleaned the cracks and crevices and I know it looked mad to people, but it organized my brain and allowed me to think without having to concentrate.

I’d love to say yoga and meditation saved me, but they did not, I  did not have the capacity to sit still or move my body in such a way that would make sense.  Instead, I took up reading and cross stitch.  Things to do with my brain and my hands, I could move my hands and focus on creating something, even if it was the same word, fuck, fuck, fuck, written over and over in cross stitch scripts of choice.

I learned to love movies, all movies, but nothing that shared death, I had felt and seen enough. I ended up listening to Steve Martin albums, comedy specials became my go to, just so I could spend time laughing, not forcing the laugh, just holding the laughter within me.

I spent time immersed in writing, shitty poetry, distressed stories of anger and vitriol, but I wrote, I wrote all of that shit out of me, I wrote like my hands and heart were on fire. I wrote every scathing, heart wrenching detail of each death and the feelings that I felt with each.  Once it was on the paper, it was out of me for a bit.

I allowed myself anger, I did not always allow it well, that is the truth.  Anger is one of the emotions that was hard, I could feel it and it would spill out of me sideways, at those I loved, some left, I have a wagon of regrets that follow me still in my life.  I have made all the amends I can and if the time and the space if offered, I will continue to amend that misdirected anger.

I allowed myself baths, and when I couldn’t take a bath I would soak my feet, just the feel of water was soothing to me, the feel of the water over my body, over my feet, it didn’t’ matter, it was just the ebb and flow of my breath and the water.  It was a huge part of my healing.

If you are feeling any of this, leave a comment, a question, a concern.

Dharma Moonlight








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