Some Dogs I Have Known Before

Sharing a few pictures of dogs I’ve cared for in the past. I used to do pet sitting work for two companies (at separate times) and a little on the side for myself when a dog would stay with us at our house.

Most dogs adjusted well and were just happy to have almost continuous human attention.

Commentary for the photos are under each correlating photo for the most part. There is one photo that has the commentary to the right of it.

If you’d like to see a larger version of the pictures, click on them.



Belle looks like a Clumber Spaniel but in the little searching and reading I’ve done on the breed, which isn’t a lot, I have not found a Clumber with back spots.  She was a sweet dog who loved people with an indifference to other dogs. One day while I was walking her, we crossed paths with a woman walking another dog. Belle approached the woman and immediately clung to her legs as if giving a hug. Belle and the woman had never met before that.

The photo on the left is edited to black and white and the photo on the right is an effect of having a little fun in PhotoShop.


This little guy was named Boo after the character in To Kill a Mockingbird. He was young, active and always excited to go for a walk.

This guy (Dawson) is a German Shepherd mix with, it looks like to me, Rhodesian Ridgeback. He loves people and kids but he can get a bit hyped up and can play rough. I still see him from time to time when his humans go out of town, but the twice a week walks I used to give him had to stop. His unpredictable reactions to other dogs really did a number on my PTSD symptoms. When I visit now, I don’t walk him. We just hang out and sometimes play in his back yard. He also has a dog door to go in and out as he pleases.

The photo on the left is Dawson with a Beagle named Thunder. I was still walking Dawson at this point. Thunder would sometimes be in his yard by himself and would come running down the hill when D-dog and I would walk by. Thankfully they were always friendly with each other.




Domino was one of my mother’s friend’s dogs. He was a little Shi Tzu who stayed with us for a short time when his human was out of town. Unfortunately I don’t remember much about this cute little guy, but wanted to include a picture because his pics bring a smile to my face and I thought he might do the same for others.


To be continued…maybe. I have a habit of saying “I’m gonna…(fill in the blank) and then I never do it. So enjoy these and if the urge strikes I’ll share more. I have a lot of dog photos from my pet sitting days. I hope you enjoy these.

If you like and want to see more, let me know. It may encourage me to get a round tuit. 😀


Thoughts While Making Breakfast

After shoving a spoonful of oatmeal in my mouth for a taste test, I thought, “Mmm, tastes like…home.”

The hesitation… see that?

Yeah, she made oatmeal. But mine’s better. And I still don’t feel like I’m at home.

Fantasy. Wonder if I’ll ever feel like I’m home…before I die that is.

I imagined the landlady getting nosy and asking me about my family. She never has. Thankfully. I wonder often what I would say if she asked. I’ve played with the idea of telling her they all died in a plane crash but I always have second thoughts about that.

Not that I’d tell Nasty the truth. She wouldn’t get that much vulnerability from me. No fucking way.

It’s funny how fast thoughts occur because simultaneously, right after feeling like the oatmeal tasted like home, I said to myself, “I used to think there was love there.” Immediately following came, “Yeah but i was fooled.”

“Fake love.”

“Remember that show, ‘Big Love?”

“Well my family could’ve had a show called , ‘Fake Love.'”

Car Wreck at 17 or How to be a Neglectful Parent

Here’s a post originally posted on October 18, 2016. It’s been edited and I added something at the end. Going through all the old stuff making the posts public again, I am reading them. I put this one off for a while. It brought up some tears as I new it would.

Sleeping Tiger

When I was 17, I got into a really bad car wreck and had no seat belt on.

I was taking a left turn at a busy intersection that had no green turning arrow at the time and it was at night. The traffic light turned from green to yellow just as I got to the end of the turning lane. I saw no cars or headlights coming toward me so I began to take my turn.

Suddenly, (in the middle of the intersection) I could see glaring headlights from my peripheral vision. It seemed like they were right beside me, like an interrogation light in the face. Only the next thing that was in my face was a windshield.

I felt and heard the intense impact of a car smashing into the corner of the passenger side o the small Toyota I’d been driving.

My forehead slammed into the…

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Just Change the Battery Already!

For months now there has been a smoke alarm beeping periodically from the building next door. It needs a new battery. My guess is that the apartment that the smoke alarm is in, is empty. Only a deaf person could tolerate that sound inside their own apartment. But even if that were the case, I would think that it’s mandatory that the landlord have a working battery in the smoke alarm when a tenant lives in the apartment.

Considering all the tenants and units in the building, I would think that it would be necessary to have the smoke alarms working even in empty apartments. But I don’t know for sure since I am not a property owner.

It’s been an irritating distraction since I first noticed it. For solutions, I have closed the windows in the dining room, where I can hear it each time it beeps if the windows are open.  In my bedroom, I have been able to hear it clearly with the air conditioner in the window if I’m not running any ‘sound machines.’ I have been running both the air conditioner and a fan since it’s been so hot lately, that has been fine. I also have a noise machine that I am running now and it masks the sound OK.

Today, I have a box fan running by one of the dining room windows. I have not done this before. We have a ceiling fan in there but it doesn’t mask the sound of the high pitched beeping. The box fan is better for this and it seems to work. But in my bedroom, I can still hear it unless I use something in there too.

I could just shut the windows and run the central air but remember, there’s the smoke from Nasty’s cigarettes that comes up through the vents. It’s a double whammy. It’s been hot and the answer has just been to stay in my bedroom with the window unit, open the windows in the rest of the apartment and run the ceiling fan in the dining room. That doesn’t do much for the heat as we are on the second floor. And it certainly has not masked the sound from the smoke alarm next door.

I have ways I utilize to mask noises to ensure that I can sleep at night. I have no real problem with this. I don’t even have a problem using all those things during the day when traffic gets heavy out front or someone is doing construction on their house around here. It even works for barking dogs in the distance.

But it’s not always busy out front. And there isn’t always someone hammering or sawing something in the neighborhood.

Sometimes it’s quiet and out my back bedroom window, I can hear beautiful sounds of singing birds and leaves (for now) blowing in the wind. But now, there’s this rude interupption of this enjoyment by an obnoxious abrupt beep every 15-30 seconds.

And now with summer coming to an end and the temps about to become more milder, I want to be able to open the dining room window and enjoy the air from out there circulating through this stale apartment.

The high pitched sound has become stressful and quite distracting. I’ve become angry about it because it takes away from the quality of any enjoyment that can be derived from this aparment…just another shit thing on the list.

I want to stop here and point something out: The apartment itself is nice. The rooms are spacious and there is plenty of room for B and I to have privacy away from each other when we are both here if we want it. It’s decently kept. It’s in a decent neighborhood. I like the apartment itself. I just don’t like the landlady that comes with it and some of the things she does. And yes, there are some cheaply done things here. She left the old carpet from the last couple tenants and there are cig burns on it in my bedroom. But the plus is that we don’t have to worry much about it getting ruined. Lol…Our cat vomits often with hairballs or from eating too fast so we don’t care if we can’t get it perfectly clean. One less stressor.

OK, back to the smoke detector dilemma.
A couple weeks after the sound started, I wrote a nice note requesting (whoever it may concern) to take care of it. (Whatever that meant. I didn’t want to make a bunch of assumptions about something I can’t see.)  B taped the note on the front door of the building but nothing happened.

Well that’s not completely true.

A day or two after B left the note, I saw a man walking around on the property. He was coming from his truck and walking across the grass as I exited our garage to get into my car. The guy’s and my eyes met and his eyes seem to penetrate. I said Hi, but he just kept staring and said nothing.  It appeared that he was searching my face, giving me a nasty look.

I really figured he’d put a new battery in to the smoke alarm, but nope. That was weeks ago. More than a month.

So today, I searched for the owner of the property on line. I thought I’d try to speak to them directly.  I didn’t spend a lot of time doing this though and I didn’t find that information. So then I found the township building’s website. I looked around for a department that would make sense to call and found a phone number.

I called, a woman answered and proceeded to tell her what was going on.  She was nice enough and then told me she’d need to transfer me to the “Requests Department.”

The next woman got on the phone and I said, “I’m calling to see if there can be anything done about this.”

I won’t lie, as I explained the story, I felt like they would think I was being petty. That it was too small a thing to call about.

I explained also that I waited so long to call because I was giving them a chance to take care of it after leaving a note asking them to do so.

She stopped after I’d explained enough and said, “I’m going to enter this for you.”

This meant that it would then be on record and an inspector would come out.

I don’t know how this is going to turn out. I just got off the phone less than 30 minutes ago, but I was happy to be heard and seemingly understood as to why this would be a problem.

It could very well be that the concern is more about safety and getting the smoke alarm to be able to do its job, more than a concern about how distracting it is for me. But that doesn’t matter.

If the outcome is what I want it to be, then I’ll be happy.

We’ll see. I don’t expect much to be perfectly honest with you. I know how one person can promise the world but when the ball gets passed, it can get dropped. Or the guy will come out, stand outside for five seconds, miss the sound and decide there isn’t a problem.

I’m actually expecting one of those two things.

I’ll keep you posted.

Another one for the Nasty Archives: Left the Front Door Unlocked

I just got back from the farmers’ market. When I left, I went out the back door, through the garage. I didn’t even look at the front (main) door as I passed it. I had no reason to.

Not true anymore. I will be sure to look every single fucking time now.

When I got home I went out that front door to get the mail and just before I opened the door, Isaw that both locks, top and bottom were unlocked.

In case you’re new, I have Complex PTSD. The front door was completely unlocked, allowing for anyone walking the fuck by to be able to simply walk through the front door. The basement is wide open, just a short stairway down from the door, and there are plenty of places to hide down there among all the stuff.

When I came upstairs I found out that the smoke alarm was beeping again. But of course it’s not just a normal, every-now-and-then-dead-battery beep. It beeps as if you pushed the button to test it when you shut the door. That means I will need ear plugs when I go down there to get the laundry out of the drier. My ears and head cannot handle that intense high pitched sound.

Proof-reading I just looked at the time and see that B will be home soon so will likely get the laundry on his way up or at least bring home a 9-volt to tide us over for a bit with the smoke alarm.

The annoying thing about the smoke alarm issue, is that we just replaced the battery a month ago for the same problem. The whole fucking thing probably needs to be replaced but I’m sure this asshole (really resisting using the c word and finding it most difficult when I talk about her) will find a way to skirt her landlordly duties over to us.

I texted her a combined message about the unlocked door and the smoke alarm but expecting to be ignored. She ignored me on Monday when I texted to ask if the basement light over the storage area is on our electric bill because I found that light along with the hall light by the front door left on IN THE MIDDLE OF THE AFTERNOON!

I have it all recorded in my text messages as well, with dates so I can keep a record of all her fuckery.

My main concern is that front door. I asked B to take that up with her. I can’t stand to look at her ugly face while she deflects and pretends what she did is our fault. At some point I may haul off and smack her. And that will be elder abuse. So that’s not good.

I don’t want to pay for her leaving a light on that we pay for either, but I’m way more concerned about that door. If she’s forgetful, she needs to figure out a way not to forget to lock a door.

Knowing enough about her habits, I’m guessing she only leaned out of to get the mail, only to go right back in. WTF???

Edit and update early Thursday morning:
Nasty texted me last night and said that she’d replace the smoke detector if necessary. And then asked if we had removed the battery. I left it and didn’t answer. She didn’t acknowledge my main concern, which is the unlocked front door. I’m certain she was the one to leave it unlocked. Before I let her know about it, I called and asked B if he had been out front and perhaps forgot to lock it again. Not likely, but I wanted to cover the bases. He said he had not been out there.

Our cars are out back. We leave by going all the way down to the basement, out a door that leads to the garage and then out the garage door to our cars. B parks in the driveway and I park on the street. I prefer the street because the end of the driveway scrapes the underside of my car. B drives a Jeep, which is high off the ground and isn’t effected.

Anyway, my point is, we go out front for the mail. I have used the front door to go down the road for coffee. But I am always conscious of locking the door when I leave and when I get back.

Nasty parks in the garage. And she has told me that she does not walk to the store down the road. When she goes out, she drives everywhere. She opens that front door to get the mail and to let repair people in. So whatever the reason for it today, and I’m pretty sure it was for the mail, I sure it was Nasty who left it unlocked. I know for sure it wasn’t me and I trust it not to be B as well. 

I’m sure she didn’t do it to be malicious. She owns the building. I doubt she is looking for a break in…or in this case it would have been an easy walk in. But I am still having a difficult time. Even if a person who walked in with the intention of just stealing stuff, if I walked in while they were there, the chances of them hurting me in such a situation is high. I could not care less about the stuff in comparison to my safety.

So much stuff goes wrong here. It’s like one thing after another. And to top it off, the landlady prefers to deflect shit back onto us in one way or another. Every time something comes up, our thoughts go back to the pizza carrying man who walked hurriedly by us in the driveway, on our first night here.

He said, “Oh, (Landlord’s Name) next victims.”

Maybe he cursed us.

“Say Something”: For My Father

I wrote this last year and after having it in Private mode for a while I just went through and read it again and made it Public. I edited this one very little. It is something that still breaks my heart to think about and probably always will.

Sleeping Tiger

I have a third of my father’s ashes from his cremation.

I wasn’t really all that sure about cremation.  And unfortunately my father never talked about what he wanted, nor did he put it in writing anywhere.

So the three toxic musketeers were left to decide on their own. (That would be my siblings and me.)

If I’m remembering correctly, it was my brother who introduced cremation because he couldn’t bear to think of my father’s body underground, considering the decay that takes place. He was really sensitive about that.  And my sister, I’d bet my small inheritance, liked the idea because it was cheaper than a traditional burial. I’m convinced she was worried about making sure there was something left to inherit.

I was on the fence but didn’t have much say. Even though I mentioned that I wasn’t sure about cremation. it was two to three by the…

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Foggy with a Chance of Self-Compassion

In my brain that is.

I have been staying up way too late, not getting enough sleep and in addition not getting the sleep in the ‘right’ window of time.It has a big effect on my body and brain.

So even after coffee, I am struggling.

I went through an old post to edit it and did that. In fact it was easy to insert additional thoughts that I have now about something that came up for me in the past. But then I found that my thoughts were going even further and felt like I wanted to clarify even further.  For those reading yes, but more for myself.

And I got overwhelmed.

At some point as my thoughts continue to go and go and free associate in at least two different directions, I just need to click update and leave it private or in draft and plan to go back later when my brain feels more clear.

Reading through it though, it’s coherent. I just tend to branch off and I’m not sure where to insert and elaborate in a place in the post where it would make the most sense.

It is also important to me to be able to ‘get others to understand.’  Obviously this stems from old wounds when I had to plead, whine, scream and feel the need to include tons of detail, in order to be heard and still not feel that it was enough.

I can feel the pull to go back and read, edit and finish it. But in reality this is not a good idea today. Some things just can’t be rushed, especially when it comes to emotional healing.

The important thing is that I read through it, I understand what I’m saying. I understand where my thought process goes and I understand why my free association goes in the directions it does.

And that is all that matters. It is all I need to contemplate the issue and further heal from it.

It will get done, just probably not today.


Somatics: Link to Article in Helping to Cope with Distress in Emotional Flashbacks

Anyone who has complex trauma understands emotional flashbacks. If you have complex trauma or know someone who does, I highly recommend Pete Walker’s book, Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving. He explains this miserable phenomenon very well. In fact it was because of him and his explanation in this book that helped me understand what had been happening to me.

Richard Grannon also explains it well on his channel: Spartan Life Coach.

Recently I had edited a post I’d written sometime ago to put back up from private to public. Someone had commented when I’d first written it and at the time I’d missed the link they put in their comment. But I caught it this time. I’ve had the tab open now for a few weeks and have finally finished reading the article.

It’s by a trauma therapist who gives an example of how to get someone out of severe distress while in an emotional flashback.

I don’t know how well someone who suffers from C-PTSD would be able to do this on their own. Admittedly I read the article hoping I would find some technique I could implement on my own. And there is something to be derived from it but it comes down to the same thing…awareness of one’s body.

This can be difficult when i the midst of an e-flashback (this will be my abbreviation for emotional flashback from now on). But I don’t see this as a reason to forget it. In fact I will keep it in mind and it really isn’t all that far from what I’m learning in DBT.

HOWEVER…I have not been successful in finding a therapist who understands how the brain is working during an e-flashback. As I read what this therapist did to help the particular client she used as an example, I thought, THIS! Here we go again.I’m reading about a technique that a therapist implements during sessions that I desperately need.

It’s not two therapist who I have asked to implement something similar. A type of somatic intervention. And neither have come through, despite repeating myself and also giving repeated examples.

I’ve never been in the exact state as the client she writes about. But during the time my father was dying, I do remember going in to see my therapist in a sort of shock state. I would dissociate hard at that time but this therapist was clueless and at the time I was not aware that that was what was happening to me.

One thing that tends to happen to me in therapy though is while going through a memory, my distress escalates and increases. I need a therapist who will stop me and help me calm down and come back to the present, so to speak.

Because therapists (even some, probably most, trauma therapists) don’t know how to help their clients, (sorry if this offends, but it’s the truth) in a state of emotional flashback, they can do much more damage by allowing them to continue to escalate. It just fucks up the brain even more and honestly I believe this to be criminal.

I have had one therapist do this one time. She stopped me when I had gotten super escalated and distressed. She had me take a few deep breaths. This helped a lot because it interrupted and distracted me from what was upsetting me so intensely. And I was able to come back to the present in that room with the therapist.

Other ways to guide someone are to ask them to notice their feet and how they feel as they meet the floor, your butt and how it feels on the seat you’re on. And the therapist who writes the article at the link below also gives a decent example that I will try if I remember in the future.

The Ancestor Factor

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while now.

If you’ve spent any time on my blog, it’s no secret that my parents were abusive, insidiously, psychologically and emotionally abusive. Their actions were evil.  Not them. They weren’t evil, but their abusive actions and emotional neglect was evil.

But they didn’t just magically become abusive out of nowhere in some vacuum. They didn’t come from some pristine back ground where their parents validated their feelings. They were not treated with respect as children. And in some instances I have no doubt they were physically abused by being hit.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about how the abuse has just been passed down through the generations.  And that does not free up the two grandmothers I so dearly loved.

I had a favorite grandmother. My mother’s mother (Grandma H) was really special to me. I didn’t know why. When I was really little I thought it was her light hair as opposed to my paternal grandmother’s (Grandma G) dark hair. Then a bit later, still being a child, I thought it was the fact that it was because she was the mother of the parent I liked better.  That one makes more sense and could’ve actually been part of the reason.

But then I learned something from my mother’s brother, my Uncle Brian. When my grandmother became ill for the last time, my mother, my siblings and I were spending quite a bit of time with her. She lived a couple hours away so even though we visited her often, it wasn’t as much as what it became when she was sick.  And my uncle was around a lot too.

One day, he and I were in his car alone together and we were talking a bit about abuse. The abuse I endured, the abuse he felt he endured, although he didn’t go into much detail. He was actually telling me about how he confronted his mother (my grandmother) about some of the abuse but ended up feeling guilty because of her age and the sad look she’d given him.  (This was way before she got sick.) He was saying to me, that if I wanted to confront my parents on it then I may want to do it before they get frail when I may end up feeling like the guilty one.

He also told me that when I was really small that my grandmother would stand up to my father when he’d yell and startle me in her presence. This makes me think of how my father didn’t believe in child-proofing the house so instead he’d just bellow when I went for something I wasn’t supposed to touch.  I don’t know if those were the scenarios that my grandmother got in the middle of but that’s not what matter.

When my uncle told me this, a big fat light bulb went off in my head. It completely made sense now as to why my Grandma H was my favorite!

There were other great things about my Grandma H too. She had boxes of indoor toys. I had overnights with her. She’d take me shopping up the road where there were lots of stores in walking distance of her house and when we attended a family reunion, which was a yearly thing for a while, I rode with her in her car.

Don’t get me wrong though. I loved my Grandma G.

My Grandma G was the one with the outdoor toys. Boxes of stuff kept in the garage. I remember a pair of old crutches that we’d pull out (not part of the boxes of toys) and try to use them. But they were for adults and it took years before they fit.  They had a swing set in their yardand my grandmother would swing with me. She could be silly and had a great sense of humor.

My Grandma G and Grandpa G would have cook-outs with my family and my father’s brother’s family, my Uncle Jack.

I have quite a few pleasant memories with both grandmothers. Nothing can ever change how I felt about them. But I think my feelings might be altering, at least for my Grandma G. I definitely have questions but I’ll get to that.

When it comes to my grandfathers, even though they weren’t abusive toward me (or their other grandchildren as far as I know), I do know that they were abusive toward their own kids, which would mean my mother and father were both abused in one way or another.

My Grandpa H has a long story behind him and part of that story involves not knowing his father at all. In addition, he was raised on the lie of believing his mother was his sister. That’s all I’ll say there but it’s enough to understand that he was obviously mind-fucked. Can you imagine finding out this not to be true later in life?

Not that that gives him an excuse to abuse my mother. Not at all. I’m just trying to raise a point here. It’s difficult to bring up the point of my grandmother being the enabler of the abuse my Grandpa H inflicted on my mother only because of the era. Women had to depend on their men much more than they do now.

And I need to add as well, that I would say the same for my Grandma G. She was tied to my grandfather and depended on him. I also think that women were taught to be submissive. It was ingrained that what the man says, for the most part, goes.

My mother’s introduction to her own father was at the age of two when he came home from the war (WW2). She woke up in the morning, went into the living room and saw this man sleeping on the sofa. Imagine that shock. At two you have no way of knowing or understanding that a stranger you see sleeping on your couch is your father.

And of course this man moved right on in to be the boss and take control.  My mother did not have endearing feelings for him throughout her life. My maternal grandparents divorced when my mother was 19 and my mother had no empathy for my grandmother. I remember her telling me the story of how my grandmother was crushed, hurt, heartbroken, and my mother was like, “Get over it.”

I’m shaking my head thinking about it now. Even then as a teen when she told me this, I thought, “Wow mom, you’re cold.”

Guess I shoulda taken the hint there But I also understood the anger toward her father.

At the end of my grandfather’s life, my mother did not go to see him and did not go to the service/funeral. 
Think about the irony of that and how she guilted and shamed me, when I became apprehensive about caring for my sick and dying father. 

My Grandfather G must’ve been a stern father. I don’t know a whole lot of details. But I’m well aware of how my father turned out. He suffered anxiety about things he could not control and when it came to us kids he controlled things with bellowing most of the time, or confronting with a swift opening of a closed door to berate whoever it was he was trying to get control of.  It was never direct outright name calling. But the message was clear about how stupid he thought the behavior was or even the opinion if he didn’t agree with it. He could be tormenting when I wanted to do something that really didn’t constitute not being allowed to. And then after I’d gotten worked up, he’d give in and say yes.

He thought that grounding would improve grades, instead of looking into the possibility of a learning disability. I could go on but there’s a ton of shit I’ve already written about pertaining to his ogre-like behavior.

He wasn’t an alcoholic but his behavior was unpredictable like one. One day he might not be bothered by a certain behavior and the next day he’d be livid over it.  As I write that, I flash to the day he threw our dog down the basement steps. My father had been up and down the basement steps for some reason, and the dog followed him each time. My father got annoyed with it and that was his solution. Clear as day I can still feel the way I felt that very day. I can feel the energy in the environment/house. I can almost feel what the dog felt. I can still hear the cry.

I was about 12 or 13. I had no say or even the presence of mind to say, “Get the dog to the vet to be checked for broken bones.”

I didn’t even run to see how the dog was. I just ran out the basement door and sat outside on a hill across from the back of our house. My father eventually came out and apologized to me. But I never really felt like he meant that one.

My uncle Jack, his brother became an alcoholic. It eventually killed him because it destroyed his liver.  He never really worked throughout his marriage and my Aunt carried the entire family of seven. They had five kids. Not an easy task throughout the 60s and 70s. Still wondering how she did it.

But you know what? My cousins all talk to each other. They all banned together as children and understood the reality of the situation. They developed an understandable bitterness toward their father. They were close growing up and the oldest was somewhat of a mother figure to the youngest. The age spread was rather big. I know two of the girls…the youngest and next to youngest (who are actually at least five years apart are best friends.

My uncle was a big guy, my father was small in comparison. My father got sick as a child with a serious illness and had to stay in bed for a year. My uncle served in the military. My father got turned away from the draft because of a health issue. My father was born practically blind in one eye and needed glasses early on in life.

My father was not a big fan of sports. My grandfather and uncle were.  My father went to seminary school to study for priesthood. Maybe he was trying to do something that would please my grandfather.  Obviously my father didn’t finish because he married my mother. My father got involved in community theater, loved musicals and movies and became a radio announcer. Not sure how my grandfather felt about any of that, but they are not exactly masculine activities.

My father did however, in even deeper contrast to my uncle, worked all his adult life. He supported his family. When it didn’t work out when he tried to make a living free-lancing, he went back to work doing something else. Something he didn’t like much, but was good at anyway. He understood the necessity of income.

{This is a tough one for me. Because I see my uncle in me. I don’t have kids, but I don’t work, I depend on someone else for my basic needs and I have had some serious binging issues with alcohol.}

When we were over at my grandparents’ house, my father and grandfather would sit and discuss politics. My father was liberal, my grandfather was conservative.  The discussions would get heated and voices would get raised.

And as I said in my last post, my father learned early on that to come home and tell on his teacher for abuse, meant getting abused again at home.

My grandfathers being abusers too, also had it passed down to them. They would’ve likely been abused. I told you a little bit about my maternal grandfathers history and the lie he grew up believing. Unfortunately I do not know my Grandpa G’s history at all. Nor do I know much about my two grandmothers’ histories and their parents. But I do know that my paternal grandparents both grew up Catholic. Imagine what the Catholic church and schools must have been like when they were growing up in the early 1900s!

So all of this I’m getting into, may seem like I’m looking to excuse the behavior. But that’s not it at all. My point is to show that the abuse is handed down and in fact studies are being done (as far as I know) that this sort of thing can become embedded in our DNA. Which is just another reason why abuse breeds abuse.
This is why I’m an advocate for abusers getting help, particularly if they want it.

In some cases, yes, let them sit in jail away from being able to be a perpetrator. But give them help while they are there so when and if they are released the chances of them re-offending, is much less. Of course this is a case by case basis and I would never say that this works for everyone. There are psychopaths out there. I get it.  Thing is that there are babies being born to perpetrators and the chances of them becoming perpetrators is high. This is why I believe it is imperative to rehab those who will at some point be released. Truly rehab, not just throw them to any shrink to kill time.  But then that means the states have to spend money and really look into and pay attention to what is happening. And of course there’s tons of push back on the money and no one wants to take the time that it would take to rehab people the way its needed.

But I’m digressing and that is a topic all in itself. A political one that I don’t know much about.

A story my mother told my siblings and I one day was about one of my Grandma G’s sister. My aunt Betty. She lived with my grandparents and apparently one day my grandparents had a bonfire going in the back yard to burn a bunch of yard debris. (This is not something I ever saw them do and I don’t  think it was something they did on a regular basis. They also did not have a fireplace.)  My father’s aunt Betty, went outside with a pile of pictures she’d had and threw them in the fire.

I remember my reaction to that story because I have always regarded pictures as being so precious. I was shocked. And I questioned, “Why the fuck would anyone do that?” I judged her after hearing that story as crazy.

BUT…now I know better or at least I know that there is a possibility of something deeper. I have since then, in more recent years, thought much about burning photographs of family. I mean why keep memories that entail abusers right? So maybe, perhaps, those photos were of people who abused her. Maybe my Aunt Betty was a scapegoat. Maybe she had good reason to want to burn those pictures and maybe when she brought those photos out to the fire, other than feeling angry she was actually of sound mind and had a good reason for wanting to be rid of the photos.

I have so many questions. About their history, things I had no presence of mind to ask while all of these people were alive. I have a list of the graves where my Grandma G’s family is buried, along with my grandfather. The memory of my grandfather laying in one of the bedrooms at their house when he was ill but still quite coherent, comes back to me. It frustrates me all the questions that come to mind. Not about abuse, but about him, how he grew up, about his parents, who I don’t remember my father talking about, my grandfather’s siblings, where he went to school, what his dreams were. So much I want to ask all of those who are long gone. I even have questions for my father that don’t pertain to abuse. The answer could give me insight on it perhaps, but my questions are not directly linked to it.

My Grandma G’s parents are buried in the same plot and all of her siblings are buried there too. They are buried in a cemetery just blocks from the house B and I moved from a year ago. It is still close enough to visit.

One day I called the church office to find out how I could find the plot. The woman gave me the plot number and then went through all those buried there, while I wrote the list out. She gave me the names, the burial date and age of death.  I still have the list.

There is a name on the list that I don’t know. Her last name is foreign to me. She was 43 when she died in 1945, so maybe she is a sibling of my grandmother’s and maybe the name is her married name (?) I just don’t know. I did ask one of my cousins but he didn’t know either. He said he’d ask his siblings but he never did come back with an answer, so I’m assuming (which I shouldn’t do) that none of them knew

I stopped for a bit at a few different points as I was writing this post. At one point, I stared at the list and just sat with a profound sense of sadness.

Sad about how much I don’t know. Both about the people on the list and about my maternal side. I have no idea where my Grandma H is buried and I certainly don’t know where my Grandpa H is buried. I might be able to find out if I were to email my uncle Brian, but not so sure I’m ready to even do that at this time.

The list is saddening also because I can see how they all stayed together, even in death. They got together as a family and purchased a place to be laid to rest, so that those left alive knew exactly what to do for them.

My father was cremated. It was a decision my siblings made. My father never told us his wishes. So he is not there on the list with his parents and aunts, uncle and grandparents. In fact I have a third of his ashes that I would like to do something with as I feel they are something that weighs me down and keeps me attached to parts of a past I want to let go of. I didn’t agree with the cremation but my siblings had much more say in their minds than I did at that point.

My uncle Jack, my father’s brother is also not there, but my cousins had him buried with his wife, their mother, my aunt, who had died a few years prior to my uncle.

I have this picture of my Grandma G and me that I framed to keep as something good pertaining to my family. But after thinking about how her sister (my aunt Betty) burned those photos in a bon-fire, I have to wonder about my Grandma G too. Was she part of scapegoating her sister?

How far back do we all go and where did the abuse all start?