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Posts Tagged ‘death’

It was around the 1940’s, while World War II was in full-swing, hopefully to be over soon. In America, soldiers would go to bars to flirt and have some fun before they got sent off to their next assignment. The ladies enjoyed themselves as well, but if a guy got too fresh with them, they had pointed hairpins that they could use to set him straight.

At one such bar, a young man named John Thomas was socializing and having fun. He had his eye on an attractive lady with great legs. Claire Ewalt was sitting next to him, minding her own business as best she could in a noisy bar, until that clumsy guy accidentally spilled his beer on her fancy new green skirt. His attention tore away from the other woman, and he profusely apologized, offering to have her skirt cleaned. Claire declined his offer and said she would wash it herself. Unfortunately, in washing it by herself, she ended up ruining that skirt. But it did bring John Thomas into her life.

One thing led to another, and they ended up falling in love. He wasn’t Catholic, so Claire’s parents didn’t quite approve. Love won, and they ran away together to get married in 1950. John and Claire Thomas began their new life together filled with the utmost love and devotion. He did end up converting to Catholicism which blessed their marriage with faith and love.

Over the years, they moved several times as a military family, living in Illinois, London, England, elsewhere, and eventually settling in South Dakota. They had four children, one daughter and three sons: Cynthia, Lawrence, John, and Stephen. While they didn’t have a lot of money, they still maintained a life of simplicity, love, and a close family bond.

As their children grew older and settled down with their own families all over the United States, Claire and John ended up moving themselves to Texas where they finally put down roots to remain. Throughout my life, they lived in the same house in a great retirement community with a golf course in their backyard. I always loved visiting them and can even remember the welcoming smell in their house. My family and I lived in Saint Louis, Missouri, so it was a lengthy drive, but I always looked forward to visiting with them.

There’s even a family video recording of my grandparents meeting me for the first time after I was born when we flew up for a family reunion in South Dakota. My grandma had tears in her eyes as she welcomed me. As a child, my brother and I would play dogs with my grandma and grandpa. I can remember with fondness how compassionate and loving they were. It was always a great treat when Grandpa and Grandma Thomas came to visit. Throughout my adolescence they were always so supportive of me and were always so proud to hear about my accomplishments in school, band, choir, theatre, and beyond. They were even able to attend my Senior Vocal Performance Recital, which was the culmination of my Bachelors degree in Music at Webster University.

The love between my grandparents was always visible. They were always holding hands, placing their hand on the other’s leg, stealing kisses, and being affectionate with each other. I remember one time while we were driving somewhere with my Dad and Grandpa in the front while Grandma and I were in the backseat. Grandpa reached back to caress his wife’s leg, but he didn’t look behind him, which caused him to touch my leg instead. I cleared my throat and said, “Grandpa, I think you’re touching the wrong leg. That’s mine.” It was a funny moment.

My Grandpa always had a positive attitude. He was silly, laughed all the time, and created different voices and sounds to put everyone in a good mood. In all my time with him, I never saw him complain once. He was completely devoted to his wife. He was an admirable man with quiet strength. When my father played the guitar during their visits, my grandpa would always chime in singing.

I last visited my grandparents in 2012. It was after that time in August that my grandpa’s health began to steadily decline. They moved to a nursing home where he could receive more care. In December of 2013, he was hospitalized for serious issues, and we thought that we would lose him. But he surprised everyone and held on. Over time, he gradually lost the ability to speak coherently. My family would FaceTime Grandma, and she would include him in the video calls. One Christmas, we called them, and I sang “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” for him. He opened his eyes to listen. It hurt to see his health declining so much.

Last Sunday, on the day before my father would go into surgery for a major spinal fusion, we received word that my grandpa, his father, had passed on to Heaven. We were in the middle of Costco shopping for our dinner that night. We all just formed a big group hug and cried together in the middle of the store. And that night we grilled some great New York Strip Steaks with salad and red wine, toasting a great man.

His body was blessed, and he will be cremated. He will be buried in a major cemetery for veterans in the Dallas area. That internment ceremony will be next year when my father is able to fly to be with his family. I’m very glad that they will be waiting for him to be there along with everyone else. I wish I could be there too, but France is very far away, and I won’t be able to afford the plane ticket.

I haven’t had the chance to really and truly cry and grieve the passing of my Grandpa Thomas, but I wanted to take the time and write a brief account of the love story between my grandparents that lasted 65 years. Their story and enduring love is an inspiration for the entire family and everyone who knew them. I can only hope that my marriage will endure all those years into the future as well. I never knew my maternal grandfather because he died the year my parents married in 1984, but I had the privilege to know John M. Thomas throughout my 25 years of age. I will miss him dearly, but I know that he is in a much better place at peace and able to run, jump, laugh, and speak in Heaven. He is no longer suffering and in the arms of his Father.

We love you, Grandpa.

Easter 1991

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I feel haunted by Death

She entered into my life

When I was fourteen years old

And hasn’t ever left

I feel haunted by Death

She took my cousin when he was ten

She took my uncle and husband to my godmother

Who was also the father of my cousin

She took my grandmother

She took my husband’s father

She took my husband’s godmother

She has taken so many lives

Close to me and of people that I never met

I feel haunted by Death

She plants seeds of thought

That turn into ideas and feelings

Images that involve me and her

The thought that she may take me someday too

Sometimes I imagine how she would take my hand

And lure me into her home in the underworld

I feel haunted by Death

These ideas aren’t new

They’ve been around for years

I’ve never actually attempted

The temptations have stayed in my mind

Sometimes I tell others

And then they help me through it

I feel haunted by Death

I know that I have a lot to live for

I know that I am loved

I just got married

My new life is across the Atlantic in France

Don’t take this as a sign that I need professional help

I’m just sharing my feelings

I feel haunted by Death

But she won’t take me until I’m old and ready

death and the maiden

-Jenna

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On Fire

I’m on fire
Flames licking my skin
Sweat droplets beading on my body
Melting away the pain and brokenness

I’m consumed
Burning up with a fever of passion
Mania and madness
Chaos at every turn

I’m blinded by the brightness
Unable to see what lies before me
All I know is the past
And the present moment

I want to finish dying
So I may rise again from the ashes
Reborn a new woman
More powerful than ever before

I will be a goddess of the flames
Of desire and passion
Of strength and resilience
Of love

I am becoming a new true me
So I will happily burn
Consumed by these flames
Until I can spread my new wings

I’m on fire

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❤ Me

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Withering

Everything I touch
Seems to slowly wither now
In slow motion deaths

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-Me

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Instead of a video or poem, I feel like sharing with you a few things I’m thankful for. On Facebook, I have been saying something that I’m thankful for each day in November. Here’s what I’ve said so far:

  1. Today, I’m grateful for my musical abilities and talents! It has such a special place in my heart!
  2. I am thankful for all of the innovations in technology today and the genius of inventors everywhere. Without it, we wouldn’t have cell phones, iPods, the Internet, laptops, and all the crazy awesome gadgets out there for our use! I love being able to store my thousands of songs in one little place to listen to wherever I go! It’s amazing being able to connect with people all over the world from my own home!
  3. Today I am thankful for the miracle of life. It is such an amazing event from conception to birth to growing up and becoming an adult human being in the wide world. I am so grateful to be alive and learning in this great big world. I am thankful for all mothers, especially expectant mothers! You all have such a complex and awesome challenge ahead of you in the raising of a child! I’m so happy my mother chose to give life to me, and I thank all of you mothers out there for choosing life as well! I love you all!
  4. Today, I am thankful for angels. There are a few angels in heaven that have a particular place in my life. One is my cousin Alexandre Morrow. As you may or may not know, today is the day the vibrant young 10 year-old was brought to heaven to escape the pain of his brain tumor and the other woes of this world. I miss him every day and even have a tattoo of a monarch butterfly on my shoulder in memory of him. He’s always with me, and he helps me remember that I should always enjoy life as though I’m a child, open to everything and not taking it too seriously. I was 14 and a freshman in high school when we lost him. 8 years have past, and it’s amazing to see how far I’ve come.The next angel in my life is Alex’s father, Jim Morrow. 4 years after his son’s death, he was killed on the day before Thanksgiving in a car accident. Yet another angel that was brought to heaven too soon… I know that the two of them are together having fun and exploring the sky while looking down on us with love and care.My Aunt Clara was a family friend. I knew her when I was very little, and she loved angels, art, and music, especially opera. I can’t remember how old she was when I died, but I was young. It wasn’t until I went to Webster University and was pursuing a Music degree with an emphasis in vocal performance that my mom told me how much Clara loved to go to Webster to see the Opera Theatre of St. Louis and enjoy all of the arts performed there! At that moment, I realized where my talents in the arts and singing came from! She has been helping me through my training all this time! My own personal Angel of Music.Finally, the other major angel in my life is my grandfather, Gerald Koch. He died in 1984 before I was born, but I have always felt him by my side and supporting me. When I was really little, we had a swingset in my backyard that I loved to play on. I didn’t know how to swing though. My mom was with me, and after a while she saw me swinging. She asked how I learned, and I said, “Grandpa Koch helped me and was pushing me.” I don’t remember this, but it makes me smile. I’ll meet him someday when I go to heaven.
  5. I am thankful for each and every one of my friends both past and present, near and far, young and old in my life. I can’t express in words how much you all mean to me. Thank you for speaking up for me when I was too shy to defend myself. Thank you for being there to listen when I needed to rant about my woes. Thank you for feeding me when I was hungry and couldn’t afford to get food. Thank you for giving me shelter when I needed to stay with someone. Thank you for remaining my friend through all of my challenges and tribulations. Thank you for thinking I’m beautiful when I couldn’t see it. Thank you for telling me that I’m beautiful and worth living on this wonderful earth. Thank you for saving my life. Thank you for being you. I love you.
  6. I am thankful for having the right and privilege to vote. 100 years ago, women weren’t even allowed to vote. I’m so thankful for the suffrage movement! Women are such a strong force in this nation, rising up for our beliefs and making our voices heard! I am thankful that it’s no longer older white males that are controlling our country. (Hopefully this remains the case…) Every race, gender, and religion deserves the right to have their voice heard and respected. No one type is more important than the other. In a couple hours I will be voting for my second election. In 2008 I was excited about all of this. Now, I’m actually nervous and a bit frightened when I think of the  possible outcomes that could happen. I just hope that the people who are going out to vote today are making their choices based on research and true beliefs, not just because they don’t want a black guy in office or because one single issue a candidate stands for. That’s not the right way to make a decision. Vote for who each person is as a human being. Vote for who you think will be the best leader for our country. Vote for someone that other countries won’t despise and seek to start a war with. Vote for a good person. I will not hate or criticize you if you have chosen to vote for Romney, even though I am personally not voting for him. It’s your right, and if you personally and wholeheartedly believe he is the best person for the job, then fair enough. Don’t hate me for wanting Obama either. May the best candidate win today. I’m hoping and praying it’s the right one.

 

 

❤ Me

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This poem is in memory of my cousin Alex, who left us too soon at the age of 10 years old. He would have been 18 this year…

 

I remember you, my angel

Your laughter and your mischievous nature

Exploring and getting into all of the trouble you could

I miss you

 

I remember you, my angel

When you terrorized the hotel guests

Running up and down the halls

Having so hot a shower the steam caused the smoke detectors to go off

I miss you

 

I remember you, my angel

When we found out your tumor enlarged

And we could do nothing to stop it except pray

Ten years ending too soon

I miss you

 

I remember you, my angel

The last time I visited you at your home

Seeing you wasting, fading away

Wishing for a healing miracle

I miss you

 

I remember you, my angel

After I received the call telling me of your passing

And falling to the floor in sobs

Embraced by the consoling arms of my friends and teachers

I miss you

 

I remember you, my angel

Your funeral at the school

Wondering why God took you

Wanting to see you happy and healthy again

I miss you

 

I will always remember you, my angel

You are tattooed on my shoulder

Never to be forgotten

Cherished forever in my heart

I miss you

 

 

❤ Me

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Sonnet 13

I decided to change things up a bit and write a sonnet instead of my usual free-verse, acrostic, and haiku forms. It’s nice to exercise your mind with new ways to write.

 

The words from their lips plunge me in darkness

Sinking and choking on their hateful spite

While I long to feel my hero’s sweet kiss

And save me from the depths of evil night

I feel lost in this world without my guide

As I stumble along holding back tears

Waiting for the ebb and flow of the tide

Unveiling your approach to fight my fears

You succeed in chasing them far away

My heart leaps with a joyful ecstasy

To know you are forever here to stay

That this is not some thought up fantasy

I will love you until my dying breath

For our faithful love is stronger than death

 

 

❤ Me

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