A Deaf In The Family – 1.0

Slyfoot said he was half deaf, half blind, and half crazy.  He said I drove him sane…  

I didn’t think anything he said about himself was true.  I was a realistic, but when it came to people, one on one, individually, I was an optimistic.

 People say all sorts of weird things about themselves on the internet to make thems sound interesting. I’m not sure all those particular ‘half’s’ are all that interesting, but I thought it was just an attention grabber.  

I didn’t know Slyfoot, or Sam as I came to know him later, irl (in real life).  I just thought he was some gamer/hacker/computer geek who was way too into Linux and rosaries.  I never put it all together until we started talking in earnest–and that didn’t happen until after the dream and we were making plans to get married.  By that time it was too late.  God had already let me set my own trap and watched quietly as I walked right into it.  

I couldn’t blame Him. I had given him permission.  I’d invited him to in a flippant moment.  Truth be told, I had practically dared him to.  I didn’t think he’d take me seriously, and I never imagined it would end up the way it did.

It all started two years after my divorce.  I was in my mid thirties.  I had four children, but only the two youngest lived with me: Erin, my daughter, and Josh, my youngest son.  My two older boys, Benjamin and Bryce, lived with their father in the same area we had all lived together before the divorce: Katy, Texas.  

At that time, I lived in the northwest of Houston in a decent, inexpensive (relatively speaking), townhome apartment, struggling as a single mother still having a difficult time with my ex, even two years after we split.  

My father told me to start dating.  At this time, my father had been divorced three times and married four times–twice to my mother.  I told him I would work on that, with no intention of doing so.  I gave the appearance of respect.  I didn’t tell him that he was the last person I’d take advice on romance from, or that I couldn’t understand why he and my mother decided to get back together with him. But being my dad, I did listen and I thought about what he said, but not much more than that.

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (The Mormons) we have Wards instead of a Parish.  And instead of a parish priest, we have a Bishop.  You can’t switch wards or bishops, as some people outside the Mormon church do, with some special exceptions.  

None of the clergy in the Mormon church is paid.

Temples are not like Ward buildings, where Mormons meet every week to partake of the sacrament, attend Sunday School and auxiliary meetings.  They are sacred places where ordinances are performed that tie us to our families for eternity and give a glimpse of heaven.  Only worthy members, those with a recommend, are allowed in the temple.  To obtain this recommend, members have to adhere to the Word of Wisdom–a guideline to a healthy, God directed/centered lifestyle–pay their tithing–1/10th of their increase, be interviewed and found worthy by your bishop and your stake president, who is a little like a Bishop of the several parishes in his district.

Sometime after my father had told me to start dating, I went in to my bishop for a temple recommend interview and he,Bishop Slack, told me that I needed to start dating.  I laughed nervously and told him that my father had said the same thing just a few weeks earlier.  

I made no commitments and didn’t do anything more about that admonition than I had my fathers.

When I went into the interview with the stake president, I didn’t expect much small talk.  Stake Presidents have even less time to themselves, and more appointments to get to, than bishops. It was a bit of a surprise then, after the stake president started with the question on how my life had been–the trials of single motherhood, how hard that is in a ward full of functional, intact families–that he told me that I needed to start dating.

I laughed and decided that I better take the advice before one of the Twelve Apostles called me.  I didn’t want to take a chance on getting all the way up the chain to the prophet.

I started to take the idea of dating seriously, and tried to be open.

While I was trying to put together in my mind what I wanted from a potential husband (something I never really did when I was young) I kept writing and stayed in contact with most of my family and friends through email, livejournal (the precursor to “blogs”) or instant messaging.

Writing consumed most of my free time at this period in my life. It was a good diversion from feeling sorry for myself, my situation, being angry at the ex, and trying to adjust to being a single mom.  I was delving into scifi, something I hadn’t really done before, and my first serious foray was a short story called: A Rock and a Hard Place. I posted on my livejournal and it went like this:

Richard “Rock” Klein

Captain’s Log 14.10.2665

Outside Uranus (isn’t that ironic)

Kerry Portsmith Station

Docking Bay 24

 

They say space is cold. But it’s not *just* cold. No one has ever really felt how cold it is and lived to tell about it. We know instinctively that anything so vast and so empty must be cold.

 

The irony is that all the things we spend time with while in space also make us feel cold and empty. We travel in cold metalic ships from cold empty space to cold empty space.

 

Machines have no disability like perception. Filled with Artificial Intelligence and hundreds of processors heating up their hard drives, they are still only metal and plastic. They don’t care if they sit in space or in a shipyard for twenty years. They do not desire warmth and companionship. They just exist.

 

If you have one of those new bioships it might feel a little more like a horse than a cold lifeless THING, but in the end, it’s still a machine. It gives out as much personality and intelligence as an animal and it only lives to fill it’s purpose. It knows exactly what it should be and do. There is no goal for a spaceship to one day be a station. It is what it is and will never be more.

 

We try to fill the spaces with ego or warm it with personality. Those of us who spend so much time in space hardly know what exaggerated bravado is. We believe the lies we tell ourselves. We believe all the fantasies we create about ourselves and the things… and people, we love – or maybe it’s just ‘want.’

 

I’ve given up trying to tell the difference between love and desire. I just want warmth.

 

We leave a planet’s atmosphere to be greeted by a sheet of black with pinpricks of light. There is so much empty blackness between each point of light, that space seems cold even without feeling the temperature drop. We spend much of our time trying to make it feel warm and filled.

 

The ship is cold and empty this morning, but it won’t be tonight. Tonight she comes.

 

Samantha.

 

Three years ago she warmed these halls. It was three years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. No one has ever turned me on, out and completely neutroned me like Sam did. We were good. No. That’s a lie. We were slammin’ fantastic. I know how good it can be between a man and a woman.

 

That’s why I hate her.

 

You might look at the logs from six years ago and come to the same conclusion I did: She could be a cold hearted bitch.

 

Still… a cold hearted bitch is better company than an empty starship.

 

It was just a little story told using the method of narrating from a captain’s journal, but there was a reply from someone who had never replied to my journal before and the comments after the story went like this:

Slyfoot: Hey, I’m a Sci-Fi fan!

You’ve really got me interested in what happens next!

I really am interested, it’s not just ‘coz it’s the polite thing to say.

Me: I believe you. You don’t normally drop me ‘polite’ comments just to tag my LJ, so I appreciate the attention. (and I’m serious about this story, so it’s good to have someone to help me gauge if it’s still interesting).

Slyfoot: Yeah, keep at it! Maybe you’ll be the next Orson Scott Card. 🙂

PS: I have a Star Trek tattoo, too, lol.

Me: Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.

Letters To My Hobbit – 12

Sam,

I cry almost every day.  I want to stop crying and at the same time, I’m afraid that I will stop crying.  Does that make sense?

There is more to say, but it all sounds selfish and childish upon examination, so I’ll let it go.

I miss you.

Maybe if I was a better woman, maybe if I were more Christlike, I would be close enough to the veil to feel you.  But even great prophets mourned with sackcloth and ashes.  I am not better than they.

I do wish the veil were thinner…

Love

Noelle

Letters To My Hobbit – 9

Dear Sam,

Today, I don’t like the bedroom. Remember how I painted it dark blue with white trim so you could see the doorways a little more clearly? I know you felt a little more comfortable in the dark with only one light to focus on (usually your computer). But this is not helping me. Dear Daughter helped me put up stars on the walls and ceiling, and I even put up a blacklight, but I don’t like the dark walls. I am depressed and I can’t say that the walls aid the depression or merely reflect it.

I am having a hard time getting a hold of your death certificate. It is quite frustrating. The funeral home tells me to call the county and the county tells me to call the funeral home. The lawyer needs it, however, and I will probably just have to make a lunchtime trip to the clerks office and get a copy–which is, of course, how every girl loves to spend her lunch.

Mother’s Day was ok. #1 gave me an edible arrangement. #2 bought me new lights to put up outside on the patio–and they are delightful–then he told me later that he was leaving the church. I said “ok.” I really am not into micromanaging or putting additional emotion into something that seems fruitless at the moment. I am emotionally tapped out. This is his journey, and I guess he wants to do it alone. It’s a lot harder that way, as you could probably tell him from past experience, but it is his choice. I went to the deaf branch and gave them your suits. I went to the hearing ward too, and I will be going out on Saturday with an aquaintance from R.S. Maybe we’ll be friends. Who knows? All of this has really brought so many people out of the woodwork to tell me they love and support me. It has been wonderful, overwhelming, and bittersweet. I wish it hadn’t taken you dying for it to happen. I feel so selfish, but I can’t seem to help what I’m feeling because at the same time, I don’t think mourning is really all that selfish.

Sister Claybrook brought me the quilt she made me out of your shirts. It is wonderful.
MemorialQuilt
I try not to cry very loud, so #4 won’t hear it, though she has headphones on most of the time anyway…

Right now, I’m not certain I will stay at this job when my contract is over. If the house were paid off, I think I would stick to trying to write, live off my art, but then again, I’d probably get sick of being poor. I dunno. Today I was just really not happy with being at my job, and it wasn’t because anything had gone wrong. I have tremendous liberty there as opposed to the last job. They treat me like an adult and not like a high school student that needs to be monitored… you know… just in case I’m 2 minutes late from break. I’m trying to be practical. I’m trying to plan and make good choices, but I don’t think I’m doing a very good job.

I think our new parakeet is suffering from anxiety. The cats trying to get him every time he flies to the window probably doesn’t help. He runs from end to end of the magic window, trying to get out, until he gets tired and goes back on the perch we provide for him. He acts like I feel. We’re just trying to let him get used to being in my room, make him as comfortable as possible and happy, we hope, with his freedom–such as it is.

I really, really want to like my life–my life without you here–but I don’t. I wish I could at least be content with it and do something I thought was productive. Something I felt was making the world better, if I have to still be here. But I don’t. I had an email exchange with the probate lawyer and it doesn’t make me any more happy to be here following these bread crumbs that the spirit has to leave me because I just can’t think as clearly as I used to be able to. It’s like I have ADHD but I’m too depressed to notice. I told friends I feel like I’ve lost a limb — like my right hand — and I just don’t know how to use my left hand even half as well.

It’s more than a hand, you know. It’s more like half of my heart, the part I used the most.

Do I sound bitter? I hope not.

Why can’t I keep myself together? I just want to know when will I stop crying?

Love you.

Miss you.

Noelle

All arayed in spotless white…

Feel incredibly depressed today, but I also feel like I don’t have a right to be depressed.

A good friend passed away this week.  I knew there was trouble because I hadn’t heard from his wife in a while (with a personal contact).  His wife was essentially my mentor in ASL.  She is a professional interpreter who corrected me, taught me and helped me through my trials in the Deaf Community and with the problems of having a deaf spouse brings into a family.  I generally know enough now that I have been on my own in most cases regarding ASL, but when it came to family problems, she and her husband, who just passed, were always there to help us through them.

Before this friend passed away, he had been through a coma/stroke that affected his brain.  He almost died.  It was remarkable that he pulled through it.  The Deaf Branch prayed and fasted for him, and he recovered.  He was remarkably recovered, but there were still obvious new quirks that reminded us that he had not got back everything he had lost.  His wife spent a lot of time with him, helping in his recovery, the therapy, and just enduring the times when he wasn’t quite himself.  This is where we became more similar as a couple than we had before.  She had frustrations when her husband wasn’t quite himself like I did, and frustrations when her husband thought he could do things that he used to do before when she would have to remind him that it just wasn’t possible now, like I do sometimes too.  In this way we commiserated and supported each other.

Then her husband got cancer.  It must have been quite a blow to have recovered from one near death experience only to face another.

Her husband was one of My Hobbit’s dearest friends.  They traded hats like some kids trade CCG’s.

I asked My Hobbit how he was doing, because I could tell he was feeling low after the Memorial for this dear friend, and he  said: “I am doing ok.  I didn’t cry.”  And I said: “I cried for you.”  And I think I did.

I am very sober this evening.  I am glad that the challenges we have at our house have given us an opportunity to be so close and spend so much time together, even if it presents other challenges (like financial challenges) that are difficult to navigate. I am glad to have My Hobbit, for as long as I have him, and now I am even glad for the challenges that have brought us so low financially.  I get to be with him, my eternal companion, much more often than I would be if I worked.  I think, after the Memorial today, that I appreciate that much more than I ever have before.

Rough Stone Rolling

The prophet Joseph Smith said that he felt worn and shaped like a rough stone rolling, with all the rough edges knocked off of him.  I feel like that a lot – like a rock in a tumbler, with no control over who/what I hit in the process or where I will rebound.  How strange and funny that we feel worn smooth or thin (like butter spread over too much bread), when the world sees us as harder and more solid.  Though we feel worn smooth, we also feel less like the child full of wonder who actually found smooth stones quite remarkable…

Halfway Mark!

Am halfway to my goal on my kickstarter project! A big thanks to those of you who have helped out. There is still more to go! Need 100 more dollars! Every little bit helps and the sooner I get funded, the sooner I can start the project. Thank you so much to all who have helped! And I hope the rest of you can help me make that last 100$! URL below.