Seasons of Change

Daily Prompt: Mid-Season Replacement
by michelle w. on October 11, 2013
For many of us the seasons are changing, bouncing unpredictably between cold and warm. Are you glad to be moving into a new season, or wishing for one more week of the old?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us SEASONS.


Zillah Lakes Sunset

It’s that first glimpse of a golden amber leaf…slowly swaying .. gently touching the ground
The evening glow of deep shades of orange, pink, and even a touch of red…all melding together,
creating the “perfect” autumn sunset in our backyard..just past the greens of hole #1
The colors begin to fade as I savour that last sip of wine … cherishing my favorite season,
This is the season I wait for each year…the season that inspires me… the season I love.

Seasons of Change

It’s that first morning chill that quickly changes into a pleasant brisk afternoon ..
Just warm enough for a soft cozy oversized sweater, some leggings and your favorite pair of boots.
A pumpkin spice latte in one hand and a dog leash..a book.. or maybe even his hand in the other,
An afternoon stroll around a favorite park, a hayride in search of the pumpkin, a kiss on the cheek,
This is the season I wish stayed longer, the season that says “hello” and “goodbye”.. too quickly for me.

Reflections.

It’s when I realize the golden amber leaf belongs to a tree,  changing into its own shade of autumn, overnight.
It’s when I realize that just like life, seasons DO change and you can’t hold onto a season or a life.
It’s when I realize that the last “hello” could truly be the last “goodbye”.
It’s when I realize that just as I cherish this season – I’ll always cherish those ..
Who like the seasons ..come in and out of my life ..

Fall at PNWU

This is the season of change

By Heather Decker

*This post is inspired by the daily prompt: Mid-Season Replacement*

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Insincerity at its finest

“Weekly Writing Challenge: Mail It In” – DPchallenge
Use a subject from your inbox to write a story. It can be a line from a ridiculous Groupon offer that prompts your tale, or a sincere message from a blog follower. Use whichever email subject that strikes your family as a writing prompt and go from there.

My afternoon started out just as it did any other day of the week. the digital clock on the corner of my monitor turned from 11:59AM to 12:00PM, feeling a grumble in my stomach, that was my que to take a break and eat lunch. Lunch time is often the hour I use to catch up on emails and Facebook messages.. status updates.. posts, etc. I often look forward to this hour as I’m able to reconnect with friends whom I’ve kept in touch with my entire life. As I opened my Hotmail account, I noticed an email in my inbox from donotreply, subject heading stated: Subject: [ It’s A Charmed Life… ] Please moderate: “Ignorance Living In A Glass House“. Without hesitation, I opened the email and read a response (that caught me off guard) from my half-brother Patrick, someone who has not spoken to me in over three years, but to my dismay, is apparently following my blog. We all have our own reasons for starting a blog. Mine was simple, I wanted the chance to write about my life through poetry, short stories, and basically challenge my own mind with different writing styles. I love to write and seeing how I minored in creative writing, it was important to me to continue in writing, continue in my creativity.

I’ve read those irrational comments on Facebook .. left by friends.. and relatives .. posted with intent to hurt someone else. I’ve witnessed an entire breakup – posted for all to see. I’ve never been on the receiving end, until now. As I read his response, I could feel my heart beating faster, I considered not even reading it and deleting it out of my inbox. The “Delete Button”, an advantage to an electronic email versus a real written letter you receive in your mailbox at home.. just one click of the right button, and it’s gone. Or, even having such conversations in person, which requires you to walk away.. while still listening to them yell and scream at you. However, there is a disadvantage to emails such as this one .. if you are reading it while you’re at work, on your lunch break, you still have to maintain a professional demeanor, all the while, thinking about what someone has said to you.. and half of your day still remains.

patrick sanford commented on Ignorance Living In A Glass House

“Say what you want about all of us. We disowned you because youre a selfish, fake, crumby excuse of a sister and honestly i probably speak for the other siblings when I say i really couldn’t care less if you lived or died. We have made our mistakes like everyone else. We have an amazing nephew because of certain “mistakes” and I’m happily married to a very beautiful extremely sweet and smart woman who is a true sister to robbie, christian, and jill. Also i have a very good job making a salary that I’m confident is greater than you and your husband combined. But I’m a “screwup” apparently because I have made mistakes through life. You’re far from perfect so you really don’t have any room to say a single thing about any of us. I think its best that you just stop wasting your breath on here with all of these worthless blogs and just live your own life. If you are trying to get attention consider this you being noticed for being a complete and total bitch. I’m sorry that you feel the need to constantly fill your days time with writing things about people who have forgot about you years ago. It’s sad really. Well, I better sign off for now. You’re probably pretty pissed and flustered right now and most likely want to write me back but let me give you some advice. Don’t. I won’t even waste a second of my valuable time to read a single thing from you. Oh and don’t bad mouth my mom anymore. She’s an amazing mother and I would literally die for her without thinking twice. Take care heather and I really do hope you can just live your life and move on. Maybe have some kids of your own one day and actually serve a purpose in life. Oh and don’t worry about my sister. She has become the most amazing girl and is doing perfectly fine and actually is beginning to live out her dreams. Trust me when i tell you that she doesn’t even think about you or know who you really are. Anyway enjoy your life.
Patrick.”

Approve Trash | Mark as Spam

I would love to say that most people (in person) would have more of a filter when it comes to communication and would not say such insincere words. But I do believe that if he were to see me in person, he would say the same things, without any hesitation, without any remorse, he would say these things to me. Our family has a history of attacking each other with words, and I plan on breaking that cycle. Words hurt, and I would like to think that my response would be the same in person just as it would be in an email. It is interesting to me, after re-reading this email, what non verbal communication says about someone. The quoted statement above indicates to me that my brother is insecure in his own life, and that is why he felt the need to point out to me of his salary, his happiness, and his relationships with my siblings. In the heat of the moment, there was so much I wanted to say, but I thought about what I would say if he was to say these things to my face, instead of over something as impersonal as an email.

That day, as I re-read his email, staring at each word, each word that was filled with hate, I’m pretty sure I went through all seven stages of grief:
Shock and Denial:Even after he continued in lashing out at my husband and personally attacking me, I still hoped and prayed that this relationship could be mended how else could I have been a better sister to him..
Pain & Guilt: When our mother was not playing us against each other, I was the best sister I could be. Had he forgotten about all those times my mom and his dad yelled and screamed at each other.. to the point of bringing him to tears, and I was the one there to console him?
Anger: I’m not much of an angry person, but it did and still does anger me that a mother would cause such division amongst her own children.. and take pride in it all at the same time.
Depression: I was depressed when I realized how much less complicated and chaotic my life is without people (my mother) who cause chaos and drama for themselves and others on a daily basis.
The Upward Turn: My realization that I have friends and relatives in my life who want to be in it and are optimistic individuals, always lifting me up..these are the people I need in my life.
Reconstruction and Working Through: This loss helped me focus on myself and become more independent, living my own life and making my own decisions..finishing college, getting married, having a career in which I love and I’m good at!
Acceptance and Hope: This is a “work in progress” for me, but from the time I’ve been cut off from my mother and siblings, I’ve realized that you can’t control others, you can only control your own actions and how you react to situations. I do wish circumstances could be different, but I’ve accepted it, and I am moving forward.

That being said, I looked at his response once more and wrote my own response:

Submitted on 2012/08/14 at 8:02 PM | In reply to patrick sanford.

“Wow. You definitely are your mother’s son and that is all I have to say about that.. you both have a “way” with words – and you both have hurt each other with your words (I know that for a fact). But, I am glad you are happy with your life and I’m also glad you are happily married – I would never wish anything less for you Patrick – the “favorite” child. I do live my own life, and part of it is writing.. and say what you will – people DO read what I write. I’m not trying to get attention – I’m writing because (while in college) I realized that writing is one of my talents that I enjoy. I’m sorry I was not a better sister to you and I’m sorry you feel the way you do. I am sorry that you feel the need to speak of a salary that you believe is far greater than mine or Nate’s combined. We are happy with the salaries we make and living quite nicely and happily (on our own without the help of anyone else) – regardless of salary – we are happy and that is all that matters to us. Anyone with any kind of class already knows how unclassy it is to bring up salary anyway. I never said I was perfect, nor did I call you a screw up – I just wondered why Mom held me and Jill to higher expectations.. and she did… I was scared to death of the consequences if I did something against her wishes. I’m not pissed or flustered – and.. since nobody reads my blog (according to you) I have nothing to be upset about, right? I’m sorry you view this as bad mouthing – sometimes the truth hurts. We all have a past, and I have the right (like anyone else) to write about my life – which includes my past.. and the people in it. If you knew anything about me – you would know I’m serving a purpose – but YOU haven’t actually spoken to me since the day you decided to join the military… another argument I got caught in the middle of .. defending YOUR MOM because she was so upset with your decision(s). I’m not surprised that Jill has become an amazing girl – I hope she continues down that path as I’m sure she probably will, and I won’t ever believe a word you say about what she thinks of me .. that game has been “played” before. Don’t worry – I’m enjoying my life completely.. it has been SOOOO nice to have a drama-free life for the last 3 years, so really – thank you!!!!! All the best to you & your lovely wife! -Heather
PS – to anyone who may read this .. this would be a post from my (half) brother Patrick.”

As I contemplated his response and my own response, wondering if this was something I really wanted to post for all the public to view.. I decided that his words can’t hurt me, and quite honestly, it is just a true reflection of who he is and how I decided to react to his response. Since this experience, I’ve made a deal with myself, if I do receive any emails in my inbox from wordpress, I’ll wait until I get home, because like I said earlier, sometimes checking your email can act as a disadvantage, depending on your surroundings and the content of that email.

Turning Back Time

Journal Entry #2
June 22, 1995
The moon & stars and all of its mysterious wonders

“Last night I had the hardest time trying to go to sleep.  I decided to go outside, and stare at the stars for a while.  It was a little chilly outside, so I brought along my blanket.  As I stood there on the deck, looking aimlessly into the sky, I noticed all of the glittering stars.  They seemed so beautiful, but yet so delicate and untouchable.  Then, I gazed toward a new direction.  It was the moon, shining down on me.  I gazed at it for a while, almost as if I wanted some sort of answer about the man that’s missing in my life.  I was thinking about my real father.  If only I could see him again.  He’s only held me in his arms once, when I was a couple of months old.  I try hard to remember what it was like that day, when he looked into my blue eyes, but I can’t.  I know the moon and stars don’t have the answers I need, but they give me hope.  Hope that I will see him again when the time is right, and he will hold me in his arms once more.  The moon connects us both, because no matter where he is, that same moon is shining down on him too.  I wonder what he thinks of the moon or if he even thinks of it at all.  It watches all of us each night, and it reminds me of a guardian that’s always looking over your shoulder.  Wherever you go – the moon will be there to guide you to that certain destination.  My destination is to travel the long miles in search of my father.  I know that someday I will find him, and we will be reunited.  But, until then, I’ll spend my lonely nights with the moon and stars above.”
 

While writing a non-fiction memoir for a class at CWU, I actually found this old journal entry I had written.. still holding on to a story I was told about my real father when I was nine years old .. a story, and that is just what it was.  Because, years later, I found out the truth about my real dad. My dad had actually held me in his arms on many occasions, my dad carried a picture of me at 16 months old, wearing a black velvet dress, white ruffled tights sitting in front of a miniature piano.. with a note on the back of the picture that read: “Daddy, Don’t forget to keep this in your wallet, ok? Love Always (“always” underlined twice) Heather XOXOXXOXOXX.”

Even now, as I look at this tattered picture kept in his wallet for so many years, and faded words.. it reminds me of his love.  He never stopped believing I was his daughter .. He never stopped hoping that one day he would see me again .. and all that time, I was looking for a name: Bob Fast… a name that ended up meaning absolutely nothing .. but a name I obsessed over from the time I was nine years old.  I remember the night I wrote that journal entry, almost feeling a little guilty, for not being happy with the life I had.

I know that my mom did the best she could – trying to find a father figure for me, I only wish that she would have focused less on a father figure and more on someone she could fall hopelessly in love with .. a best friend perhaps, someone who shared her same hopes & dreams..someone who would be so in love with her, that he would also love her daughter just the same, and treat her like a princess, his own daughter. The smallest act of a legal adoption – it would have meant so much, but that meant work, too much work for that matter .. but I guess in the end, my last name was never meant to be legally changed after all .. that last name “ELLIOTT” that really meant nothing to me, ended up meaning everything in the world to me.  I have no regrets in finding you dad – in fact, I thank my lucky stars every night that I’ve found you!

 

A Thousand Words

Weekly Writing Challenge: A Few Of My Favorite Things.  I chose to write about a black and white picture of my Aunt Dina and I.  I had only seen part of this picture in my baby book, and I had always wanted to know just who had been on the other side.  It was such a mystery to me and one that I never thought I would solve.  Thankfully, my great Aunt just happened to have a copy of this picture.  I will never let this picture escape me again, and so it sits on the top of my dresser among good company of a few other cherished photos. This picture, a part of my past, in ONE piece, is definitely one of my favorite things.

The picture was titled,”Heather at 3 Years old”.  The email message, short and sweet: “Heather, I was scanning some old pictures and found this one. Enjoy! Love, Mom.” I clicked on the black and white picture, a part of my past but only half the picture remained, I wondered who was cut out of my childhood.  She was notorious for cutting people out of her life. Our family photo album slowly diminishing..forgotten by her and her favorite pair of scissors.

The picture was titled, “Heather Isabel & Aunt Dina”.  The letter, nothing but sentimental: “Heather, she loved and still loves you so much, you guys were attached at the hip! Love, Aunt Patsy.” I held this picture, my past, in my hand..I was HER ballerina girl.  She let me play make-believe, held me in her arms,  counted stars with me, and showed me how to tell time.  She braided my hair, sewed matching dresses for me and my “Really Baby” named Lisa Marie, and watched and sang along to Annie with me. She was my stability..  taken away from me.

It’s my wedding day today and I know she’s not coming.  This is the picture, I wanted to cry because I missed her only for that moment. I wished she could see her daughter in this dress, getting married.  The photographer sensed my sadness and forced smile, “That veil, it must have been expensive..”, he says to me.  I remember my grandmother saying to me, “I want to pay for your wedding dress and veil, it would mean so much to me!” Today, she will stand before us and talk about Family.   She will remind me that family is aunts, uncles, cousins, great aunts, great uncles.  She will light the same candle that’s used to light up our Unity Candle.  She sat quietly in the very last row of her own daughter’s wedding.  She was barely seen or heard, but those were my mother’s wishes. “Yes”, I tell him, “My grandmother got it for me!”  I look out the window, knowing she will not be there, those who love me are waiting to share this special day with me.  I smile, knowing this moment of sadness is gone.

She was there when I stepped off the plane, waiting for me at the gate, no longer a little girl but a young woman, trying (once again) to find her way.  She showed me how to stand up for myself, set some needed boundaries,  and that I’m more than just a pawn in someone elses game.  I’m a person who deserves to love and be loved. She was there when I chose my wedding dress, when I walked down the aisle, when I said “I Do”, and when I moved into my very first home. She was there when I needed someone to tell me, “It’s okay, in her heart, she does love you..she just has an odd way of showing it.” 30 years have passed since the snapshot reunion of a little girl and her long lost aunt.  Parts of my childhood might have been torn into mysterious pieces, but that does not mean those I’ve loved were ever truly cut out of my life.

After the wedding ceremony, Her daughter tells me, “You were so pretty today Heather, you made my mom cry.”  This time, they are not tears of sadness, but tears of joy and love… A love that is never lost or forgotten, regardless of the missing years in between.

Heather Decker

#DPChallenge  http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/weekly-writing-challenge-a-few-of-my-favorite-things/

Remember

He carefully places each sugar cookie
On the table next to the sprinkles and homemade frosting
His mother helps him decorate his heart
He tells her, “Momma, you’re the most important thing in my life”

For a moment
I remember
Rolling out the dough
Pressing the cookie cutters
With my tiny fingers
Decorating
Frosting
Sprinkling
Sugar Cookies
With her, my mother
I remember.

Every morning
She stops by for a cup of coffee
He doesn’t remember all the time
Who she is
But she reminds him with a friendly,
“Dad, you know who I am”
He smiles, and remembers..
His daughter
His grand-kids
His favorite time of the year, the start of blueberry season..
His precious memories
He remembers.

Every afternoon
He takes a walk with his mangled dog he calls “Sally”
to the cafe where he kindly pays for his meal
With his library card
“I’ll be down to pay, so sorry about that”
My aunt says over the phone
She has grown accustomed to this call
Along with spending time at a familiar place: COSTCO
His cart is filled with gallon sized coffee and ranch dressing
He remembers his late wife, “Sally” and dinner parties
Entertaining guests galore
A full house
He remembers.

Every evening
She kisses her youngest daughter goodnight
She has a selective memory
But I know she remembers
Her mother
Her younger sisters
Her oldest daughter
Horseback riding
Homecoming Dress shopping..
Heartfelt conversations
Homemade Sugar Cookies
She remembers.

~Heather Decker