Shadows to Shade

18 01 2012

I’m scared.

There. I actually wrote the words down; I wasn’t sure if I could. Many know I’m grieving right now, but few know how scared I am. Not a panic that I feel when I try to sing in public; not my posttraumatic stress disorder panic and anxiety related to certain medical procedures that remind me of an assault that occurred in my 20’s and/or my recent hospitalization for whatever happened to my arm that resulted in that horrible infection I had. This is…..something else.

I’ve been in denial about it for several months, believing from head to toe that if I thought it was NOT true, it would turn out not to BE true–the power of positive thinking. Names have great power; I did not want this to have any power.

When I found out last Monday that my friend, Diane, died, it snapped me back to semi-reality and I accepted that my test results on Friday would come back positive (as my doctor had informed me they would), but the question of what it was and to what degree still lurked in the shadows.

Shadows remind me of my childhood in our tenement in Brooklyn where this spine-chillingly vicious dog lived that would lurch out and try to bite me every time I went up the stairs. Shadows were the bad things that were about to happen to me in the rooms of my home most of my so-called childhood. Wondering, when I was age 4-5, if the wife could survive the beating from her husband in the shadows under the neighbor’s door. Shadows are the terrors that torment you, the face you see in every person after you’ve been told at age 9 that your stepfather may show up one day and try to kill you. Shadows of the life you would never have had when your mother tells you she wished she had aborted you (and meant it). Shadows are the abandonment you feel at age 14 when she tells you to leave and take only what you have bought with your own money with you. And the shadows that stretched from her grave to crush my heart one last time when my sisters found their baby pictures while going through her stuff, confirming that when she laughed in my face when she said she threw mine out, that I guess she really did. The only evidence of my existence that I was in her life are in those pictures I happened to be in with my sisters. Thrown away into the shadows of garbage she felt I was.

I was about 14 months old here; the earliest picture that exists of me now. My sister, Eva, holding my hand. I was a cute baby!

After all I’ve been through and all I’ve seen, to say I’m scared now seems illogical. The tests did come back positive, but there seemed to be more questions now after the kidney biopsy than answers. A lot of blood work was drawn after that visit–more shadows.  Yet, there is a difference.  There is trust, great trust, in those caring for me that is helping to keep the shadows in their place.

On February 3, I hope we will be able to modpodge some of the puzzle.  Names have great power, even names things are not. Until then, I remain in….shade.



17 responses

18 01 2012

You’re in my prayers and thoughts.

18 01 2012

My friends make it not so scary. Thank you for reading it. I felt like I was sharing something from my soul and something about my past I don’t talk a lot about to people. Often have wanted to do motivational speaking to young kids and teens going through problems at home how they can rise up it, live through it, dream it and achieve it, find other mentors, etc. But that would mean finishing my book.

18 01 2012

Hilda, is Shadows to Shade going to be the title of the book you’re going to finish…and I know you must finish it. You’re too gifted a writer not to do so.

18 01 2012

We make our lives one day at a time. We trust that things get better. Where you are now is miles away from where you were. You are a strong person. You have your own beautiful family. If you focus on the light the shadows don’t matter so much. I will continue to hope that your medical situation is just another bump in the road.

20 01 2012

Thank you Madison for your kind words.

18 01 2012
Brenda VanDorsten

I was so surprised by your post…you’re so accomplished, so self-assured, such a wonderful mother and wife…to have gone through that kind of childhood abuse and mistrust. I’m in awe of you, girl. While I worked at SmartMed and you had to call me with training, I was so nervous, but you put me right at ease, making everything seem easier and making me feel less “dumb”. I thank you. I anxiously await more news regarding your tests. Keep God in your heart, he will be there whenever your need him, he has been for me. Love and Hugs. Brenda V.

23 01 2012

Brenda: I always hoped to be a good teacher, to be the teacher I would want if I came to a company and had to learn a new software. Thanks for sharing that it was a positive experience for you. I missed the days where we talked often; so glad Facebook brought us together again. XXO

18 01 2012

Hilda-My prayers are with you. I am glad you shared your past, in my ignorance of youth I had no idea what you lived through and lived in. I always saw you as the smart, put together girl who would achieve great things in life. It’s nice to know that you have done just that. -Jackie

20 01 2012

Jackie: Most people didn’t, but you didn’t know my mother. I was with a foster family on Long Island when we met, and more stories there. There were maybe 5 people who knew. Mr. Sexton knew a lot since the sophomore class officers met in his office as homeroom. Mr. Degner knew some. Like my original home, I lived a double life. Mr. Sexton got to meet Jeff before he retired & then I lost track of him. I often tried to find him on line to just thank him one more time for all he had done before it was too late. When Mr. D posted Mr. Sexton passed away, I was able to share a letter with Mr. D to carry to his family (it was a long letter). His daughter was kind to email me and she remembered some of what I told her (it happening at the time). I very much wanted to be adopted by Mr. Sexton. He (along with Mr. D) were great male role models for me because I really had none. I’m so glad that we got to have lunch in Jan. Next time I’m headed up that way I’ll let you know. Are you going to the reunion?

18 01 2012

Ahh, Hilda…I love you more for sharing your fears, those past, present and future. I think we’ve hit a similar place in our lives, a time of doubt and introspection, a time to take stock and reevaluate who we are, where we’re going. I have yet another reason to thank Joe M for introducing me to blogging – it’s been a valuable tool for me to be able to put my hidden life out into the world, acknowledging my shadows as you have – but the best outcome of Joe’s blog was meeting you and the other commenters. From shadow you have brought light to my life and many others’; I pray I can emmulate your ability to shine through the darkness – the shadow makes you that much brighter, stronger. Every film which speaks to courage has one character remind another that courage does not mean “without fear,” but rather courage requires that you do what you must despite feeling terrified. I know you’ll continue to be brave and brilliant, even when you can’t see it at the time.

And I think you should definitely write that book!

❤ Julie

20 01 2012

Maybe I could restructure it because if I do this in chronological order, it tends to get boring. I think maybe doing blog entries like this might help. And you underestimate yourself as well. I did really miss you during your absence, but I know sometimes people want to take breaks from the virtual world. Now I feel like an ass for not having inquired more pressingly about what was up.

18 01 2012

I remember the dog and understand your feelings about shadows. I remember running from our stepfather and living in fear that he would find us. I took my baby pictures with me when mom told me to get out. I figured why should she have pictures of me if she didn’t want me. I was so tired of hearing “get out” and “go live with your father and see what kind of life you would have. I am so proud of you that you shared those feelings. But most of all I am glad YOU are my sister. I couldn’t imagine my life without you in it. Love ya sis.

20 01 2012

It was truly demon dog; don’t even remember the breed, just teeth. Surprised I wasn’t traumatized for life by the evil thing. I know it’s not the dog; it’s the owner. You know I’m going to see if I can find those court transcripts because I would like to see the legal record of that whole thing versus what we remember as children mommy telling us. Don’t know if I’ll have time if someone actually does have a record of them when I come up for HS reunion, but I’ll going to start making some phone calls to the courthouses in Elizabeth. Now it’s your turn to share; step up to the plate (not here–you know) 😛

18 01 2012

You are generous…in everyway. I will hopefully start up my blog again…it is hard to put words to real nightmares. I in someways believe we are leaving a record for our family when we are gone. I love this thought:

❤Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.❤~Plato

I hope you have a friend you can say anything to. I have one…and it helps on bad days. The greatest blessing we have is knowing we don’t have to walk our path alone.

It takes courage to fight the darkness…which you have. Your light is so far beyond any shadows. This world is a better place because you are here. You have been a blessing in my life. *TeddyBearHugs*

20 01 2012

Cherluvya I keep hoping that you do (continue your blog). I look sometimes to be sure I did not miss anything. I do have quite a few friends with whom I can say anything in the world and not be judged. These are the people who have seen the ugliest parts of my humanity and still want to be my friend. But there are secrets about me that even Jeff does not know and I will take those secrets to my grave. I tend not to be any shade of gray. I’m black and white, sweet or BITCH. It takes a lot to get that bitch to come out and play but once unleashed, there ain’t nowhere on this earth you can hide (hurting Patrick on purpose is a very good example). 😉 And friends call you out on your behavior. Or tell you what you really need to hear but no one else has the courage to, and gosh you are mad at them, furious even, but after you settle down, you know they speak the truth. Some situations bring out that Brooklyn mouth of mine, too, and usually the first time they hear the F-bomb drop but usually there is every conjugated form of that word within the same sentence, they are shocked. I’m so glad that you have someone like that to confide in as well.

20 01 2012
Carrie Eckles

Saying how you feel — whether it’s via talking or typing — is one of the bravest things a person can do. And you did it. Anyone can say what they think. Almost no one says what they feel, when it comes to the shadows. But you did; and that makes you brave, honest, and good.

Names have power — that’s true. But nothing is more powerful than love, and you have that in spades. You have friends scattered all around that love you, who recognize the love you send their way too. Darkness is scared of love and honesty, which is why it tries so hard to obscure it; you never have to fear the shadows, because you already have the antidote.

I am sending thoughts, love, and prayers your way. I know I’m not alone when I say: we are here for you, and we love you. *hugs*


20 01 2012

Carrie: Sometimes you may have the antidote but injecting it into yourself is where you lack the courage. Like Nicolas Cage’s character stabbing himself in the heart with atropine in “The Rock.” I was feeling more like the fellow co-worker in the lab whose biosuit was melting and he couldn’t do it to himself. I had no idea the overwhelming response I would get to this blog. I knew I have a lot of people who do love me. I guess I also felt like that little kid whose fallen down, is about to burst out into tears, and someone comes over, lifts her up, brushes the dirt off her knees, and says, “look, you’re fine, now go play.” And you have much wisdom young Jedi.

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