A survivor’s task is essentially the same as everyone else’s:  to find the coherent narrative of our life story.  A survivor’s story is a far tougher story than most.  It has been broken into billions of billions of pieces by the continued experience of interruption of ongoing inner experience – often from birth – by trauma. Where is OUR story hiding?

Each of us is living our story with every breath we take.  Sometimes, however, even our ongoing story is not one we are enjoying.  Are there ‘bad stories’ or are there just good stories, some of them with some really tough and ‘bad’ things in it?


I am living a part of my life story right now that is not feeling very pleasant to me.  I am trying really really hard to keep what troubles me from my past from totally overwhelming what I am living through in my present.

I have been in a very complicated relationship for 12 years with a man I love with all my heart who recently turned 75 and has had diabetes (which he pays serious attention to trying to ‘live right’) for many years.  Six months ago tests showed his kidney and liver function to be at 70%, three months ago at 40%, and a week ago at 25%.  What does this mean?

Difficult times ahead.  My dear friend is not showing symptoms yet of either condition.  He states that he has no intention of ever taking kidney dialysis treatments.  There is nothing that can be done for the increasing deterioration of his liver.

My friend.  My dearest friend — life is getting very complicated and is likely to increasingly become so.

I have MANY intense feelings, thoughts and reactions to what is going on right now in his life.  Trying to tease apart and become more clear about what I am feeling for my own self and what I am feeling for him — as well as what I am feeling from what he is feeling — would be a full time task for me right now

With a few diversions…..


Firstly, the 1,700 mile trip up north to see my children and grandchildren was planned before the latest medical news appeared on the radar for my friend — and for me.  Change the ticket?  Don’t go?  Conflicts…..

On top of this with our increasing humidity I have discovered what is to me a TERRIBLE condition within the walls of my own home.  I cannot ignore this problem.  I cannot run from it.  Facing it and dealing with it — beginning yesterday — is one of the STUPIDEST and nastiest things I have ever had to work my way through.

Most housing construction down here in the high desert of southeastern Arizona, right along the Mexican borderline, is pathetic by most current standards.  No insulation, single pane windows that can only be sealed against winter cold and drafts and our long season of blowing DIRT, few studs in the walls, etc. present a challenge to all of us (it does get cold here in winter, elevation a mile high).

As I have been cleaning my house during this very brief monsoon season in which the dirt has been settled by rain, I have discovered a water-cockroach infestation in two of my closets such as nobody I have spoken with has ever heard of or seen.  (These people are not especially helpful as they speak quietly of “signs” and of Stephen King.)

Yesterday I moved aside some of the hanging clothes in the one closet only to have LARGE roaches, eggs half the size of pinto beans, and poop scatter to the floor at my feet!!  I cleaned this closet completely less than 6 months ago.  The other bedroom closet that shares a wall is also completely infested.

Of course, me being me, not one minute of effort I put in yesterday to cope with this problem could be disentangled from what I know about how unresolved trauma, passed down to some of us from GENERATIONS in the past within our families, contaminates our lives.

I thought about this as I grabbed hangar bunches of clothes yesterday and raced out of my house with them, tossing them in absolute disgust onto the sidewalk at the east side of my house as I then did the cockroach stomp dance trying to smash to death every single large bug that scattered from my CLOTHES!  I hosed every piece of clothing inside and out, then dragged them all off to the laundromat for thorough cleaning (which cost me more money I had not planned to spend this month – and I am far from done.  Even my SHOES were infested).

All the time I felt I was in the twilight zone!  Why after 6 years in this house have these bugs (that fly) moved into my closets?  EVERYTHING in the closet has been affected.  These two closets share a wall where a porch, long ago enclosed, was added onto the south end of the house.  The infestations is currently confined only to these closets.  Of course my fear is that now as I disturb them and try to kill them they will spread all over my house!

I ran to our local hardware store and spent nearly $50 on POISON which I normally do not use on my property.  I talked to everyone I could find who had information for me about what the hell is going on and how to cope with it.

I have roach boxes and traps and hotels, sprays, powders and bombs.  (I am still trying to decide about people’s recommendation to throw mothballs in the crawl space under the house.  Seems to me all the bugs of all kinds down there would just as soon then run up INTO the house.)

I have to launder and seal in bags everything I own, bleach the coat hangars, and after all the spraying and bombing I have to caulk every conceivable crack in that wall I can find.

Meanwhile, my desire to eat and my ability to eat in my own home has dropped below zero.

ALL of my sewing supplies and fabric still need to be dealt with today in the other closet.

Needless to say, these are not FUN DAYS!

But still I found reason to be grateful.  At least I LIVE in a house, have a home, have clothing, have a hose connected to water, and at least it’s not freezing winter out there!  And, as several town folk reminded me yesterday, “At least they can’t hiss at you like the roaches in the southeast would!”

I still found reason to chuckle last night.  For the emerging and escalating fear I have for what is coming for my friend and for me as I lose him, and for my increasing sorrow that could so easily overwhelm me if I do not work very hard to keep it separate from all the other sorrow I have had in my life, I realized that my horrible, disgusting, incredibly EERIE cockroach problem DID take my mind and feelings off of the BIG ISSUES in my life right now.

It WOULD take something as massively overwhelming to all my senses as this MESS I have to deal with to accomplish this feat.


Today is another day.  Armed with every weapon at my disposal I will continue to fight my war against bugs.

I still think of trauma – how it infests and infects and contaminates early abuse and trauma survivors’ lives.  Or not?

How do we get rid of the ICK ICK ICK and still keep what belongs to US, what we want, what we own, what we need??

I do not have the resources to call some outside person in to deal with this problem in my home.  I don’t have the resources to run out of the house waving my hands frantically and pathetically over my head squealing helplessly.  I can’t throw out everything I own!

There is nobody but me to work my hardest to solve this problem.

Darn it all anyway.  But as my dear friend calmly said to me yesterday, “You’ll get through it.”

Yes.  My point exactly.  The ‘getting through it’ is the substance of life itself, and the living provides us with the stuff of our story.  If we are most fortunate after we are gone someone will remember our stories.


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19 thoughts on “+SOMETIMES THERE IS CRAP

  1. So sorry about your friend and those terrible bugs. I hope you can go on your trip with peace and enjoy .

    Not sure how to say this but I think survivors have a instinct to deal with the issues that come up. Since I’ve been on my own I’ve had to deal with mice, snakes and every bug you can think of. People say how can I kill a snake without being scared . I answer who else is going to do it ? Sometimes we have no choice but to deal with the ugly.

    Now about your friend. How do one deals with this news. Just recently I became very close with a friend and I can say I love her like a sister. We just found out she has breast cancer . We are hoping they found it early and she will be having surgery to remove them. So how do I deal with this news ? I am scared for her and I’m scared for myself. Will I lose what I just learn to except as a friend. Am I being selfish on my feeling. How can I be strong for her. And so forth. It should not be about me but I see this as a possibility of losing a person I allowed myself to love.

    How strange we are both kind of facing the same thing. It’s a God moment and he has brought us together to support each other in any way we can. I have no answer for you but will keep you and your friend in prayers. I ask you do the same for me. This time on earth is very hard and life can be so unfair.


    • Too tired at moment to reply other than to say hello – and I will be thinking about your words – as I process my very long day – I will be back this weekend!! yes, PRAYERS! and much love blessings each and every one of us!!!

  2. I read about your short-story last night, and was very overwhelmed by it … I can’t imagine what you are dealing with in 3D. I feel your strength while knowing the tears. I’m back again today and seem to be coping better. Enough at least to offer our best wishes in eradicating the bugs. Nothing to do, but keep wiping them out like all of our bad memories. Just sometimes its all together and sometimes one-to-one. I know you can do this because you’ve already done so much. No envy though for the trial it is causing you in spirit. I took heart in all the feelings you were going through and then your partner dismissing them so easily from his own perspective. Maybe you’re just an incredibly feeling person … here is to better times – AND always a good solid YAY to choices! Looking forward to hearing more of them 🙂

    Our best,

    • Thank you so much!!! Maybe hard times really let the sunshine, bright light of friendship SHINE! Close to tears today – feeling pitifully whiny – ashamed of self with all the terrible trauma people all over this world are facing

      As one of my sisters would say, “Linda! It’s time to put on your big girl panties!!”


      • Nothin wrong with your panties – you can tell sister you could split closets with her! There’s noone that would look forward to what your going through. We’ll see you to the other side! You could look at it as coming down with YOUR hand of justice … die you damn ugly bug die! YEEKS! This from otherwise normal well-mannered Anns’ … we just believe in your cause!

        Maybe think in shifts – Even the 911 emergency relief teams took mental-wellness breaks!

        Our best,

  3. DARN IT…I also wanted to say that I`m Canadian, and houses around here are built like tanks.Building codes here are strict and houses are built according to government regulations.Our winters are hard and long…we need loads of insulation,weather proof windows and sturdy foundations.I don`t really have to turn up my a/c my house is so well insulated that it stays cool with minimal energy….I guess our building codes are strictest, I’ve heard a lot of Europeans complain about lack of insulation and very lose building codes.I know English peeps are sick of old buildings and when new ones are built they are poorly constructed along with taking almost a decade to build.I guess I’m lucky I live here.

    • My sis lived in Edmonton for many years, now is in Seattle.

      I just finally got home from laundromat – 10 hours there today washing fabric and stuff from those roaches. I am not usually annoyed at innocuous bugs – but I am finding while dealing with this home invasion I feel mean to ALL BUGS (not my lady bugs or the butterflies).

      Boy am I tired!! Pathetic reply, please forgive! Enjoyed hearing from you ladies!!!!!! zzzzzzzzzzzzz

      • I hate laundromats!!The heat, the people, and the waiting!I couldn’t fathom spending ten hours in one!!!!!

        • We are very blessed with a very special laundromat here in our very special town. It is owned by a very wise spiritual woman – who HAS money, but works hard at this laundromat-cafe – ‘to feed God’s people’ – though she never says a spoken word – all in her actions – but people feel this

          I go there even without laundry – to meet very interesting people at those times I can handle being with people at all.

          One woman whom I have recently met and visited with outside the cafe — brought me pizza in the middle of my washing marathon yesterday. Later she brought me a tall icy soda. Because I was still there working after dark, she returned and brought me a bowl of Italian Wedding Soup with bread braids — made sure I sat down to eat it — never took a dime, took my smiles — such friendship.

          This is a friendly laundromat! It helps sustain folks in the days of our lives.

  4. I have another neurofeedback session tonight.Just thought I’d let u know that my dreams and memories ARE becoming clearer and extremely vivid.I’m finding that I have more impulse control and my quality of sleep is improving.I’m also noticing my husband’s lack of impulse/rage control..it’s irritating the hell out of me.He can flip his “angry switch” anytime, it’s like watching a big two year old scream and yell in the grocery store..you just have to walk away, ( II refuse to do any activity with him).I think drastic changes are coming, they`re coming faster than I anticipated. Well, another session tonight……

    Helen 🙂

  5. I’ve poisoned many irritating critters too.I’ve got my own special recipe for each critter.Funny how I’ve become so stealth at killing things . It’s fine line for me ( neighbors dog or something worse)…I’m trying to stop this behavior as my children may catch me and with my lack of empathy it could go a step further.Bugs…ok, people’s pets…NO!!For someone afflicted with RAD, ants are irritating..KILL THE ANT,birds are annoying…KILL THE BIRD, mice are annoying..KILL THE MICE, people are annoying……

    • Alchemynow: that is a LONG day! These bugs are really quite an intense infestation, but you’re gonna
      Get them out. its nice hearing how you are doing. For some reason thinking of my bugs reactions I
      remember my 3 year-old self so terrified of dragonflies that I tried to climb on my mother’s shoulders!
      Helen: once a jumping spider jumped at me at the bottom of my garden and I fled screaming into the
      house imagining it was following. It was as big as my pinkie nail. I was not a child! Somehow, these things
      Can just be overwhelming – an infestation like that sure isn’t fun..

      • Thanks all for your CARE! I feel like I am disintegrating – not far from tears – with things piled up in my life, piling up – near tears – feeling weak and fragile and inadequate (=NOT TOUGH ENOUGH) – the disorientation, disorganization THING — (insecure attachment – my HOUSE invaded by big BUGS!!)

        I receive federal HUD rental assistance, most fortunately – but have a yearly house inspection coming up, will happen right after my return from family visit – now can’t use my closets, all in plastic bags and big tubs – nowhere to put ANYTHING — still need to finish emptying the 2nd closet, has big SHELVES in there – and can’t use them? Old wainscoating on walls, all needs to be CAULKED – all cracks into those closets, no time to do THAT right now – all full of SPRAY – where to put my clothing, sewing supplies, winter bedding

        oh, well – life goes on but THIS was not expected — and in the background the stability and calmness of my life threatened by the inevitable demise of my friend to whom I have looked to for stability and calmness (!!) for these past 12 years

        and I HATE to complain! Spent the entire day at laundro (15 loads) trying to think of positives about all this!!

        I have few resources, my collection of odds and ends of fabric = hopes I can sew SOMETHING and sell SOMETHING for cash by spring if I am chased out of here (my friend is landlord here, vultures for family members, he has still not written his will – etc)

        All is JUST material concerns, being material beings – while all the time the condition of our heart and faith is what REALLY matters

      • And – for those of us with these radical insecure attachment disorders (RAD = disorganized-disoriented) — it is the inner feeling of imminent COLLAPSE of any sense of inner cohesiveness when stress/distress escalates that makes hardships so much more difficult

        Threat of losing my FRIEND – coupled with invasion of ICK into my HOME – coupled with travel SOON (which is hard in itself, the risk and instability and change and chance involved with leaving my safety zone!) —

        breath, take it easy, be gentle with self – accept the love of friends all around me — take even the smallest steps into a positive future TODAY – and cry if I need to!!


  6. So sorry about your friend Linda, yep times are going to be tough, hang in there!!Ginger, “I didn’t know some cockroaches hiss – horrid”! I’m just killing myself laughing…but in all seriousness, little things irritate the hell out of us!!The icky annoying stuff just sends us over the deep end.

  7. I had a few chuckles too!

    Yes – hard to know – others lives: my life yet you are such a part of their lives too.
    It just hit home to me recently: that we are ALL connected – I kind of almost understand it.
    That land sounds like a part of you – the earth and nature are so important to me too – the
    Nurturers and friends in my life. Amazing where you are with choices – tough but amazing.
    As I was writing earlier, thinking about your friend I was reminded of an old aunt who was my
    Only good mirror in my life. She died years ago and I never really dealt with it. The other day
    I found myself talking out loud to her, it was a lovely feeling to be able to say thank you to her
    And I knew she heard somehow. I dream about her. Aren’t people like that who are in our lives
    so significant..

  8. Wow, I’m sorry. I don’t know what its like to have a wonderful, complicated friend go through that.. Sending u a hug or two across the atlantic.
    About the cockroaches – sounds awful!! I had a medium infestation in the kitchen and they were small and it was bad enough. My skin crawls too.
    A few weeks ago I had a rat living behind my fridge and my cat ignored it. Was a horrid feeling and made me jumpy and irritable! Caught it eventually.
    I’ve never read Steven King but the connection sounds ominous!
    I’m so sorry you having to deal with that, really would get to me too. Good analogy for trauma – that’s how it can feel, crawly and jumpy – and you just want
    To run about madly stamping on the things that are giving you a fright – the foreign bodies and foreign thoughts that just aren’t yours.

    I didn’t know some cockroaches hiss – horrid! We have “parktown prawns” – crickets that look like they should be in a Hitchcock film!

    Thinking of you, take lots of care of yourself. X

    • So good to hear from you, Gingercat!! Thanks so much for your sentiments – I enjoyed a few chuckles, too. They are a little sparse these days!! I have not poisoned bugs on the property in 6 years here, but YES YES for the rats and mice! There’s a most excellent effective poison I use for them – and I have 2 cats that spend nights outside. Fewer rodents here = fewer snakes — but just learned this summer snakes eat bugs, too!

      Oh well – lately I have been allowing myself to toy around the edges of my heart and mind with idea of returning HOME to Alaska after my dear friend passes. Far away, very dark and cold long winters, etc. But I miss that land and always have since leaving it in 1969.

      Who knows? It would be the first important decision of my life that does not involve anyone else’s life!!! I think allowing myself to consider this is empowering me, alerting me to my ability to make choices — big changes in the lives of those I care so much about, who care for me – that greatly affect my life in important ways – but it’s THEIR lives are not MY LIFE — always a challenge to learn what that means.

      Again, very nice to hear your voice! Many blessings! xo

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