20 Lines A Day

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She remembered when love was like a blanket. In the beginning, they were both wrapped tightly and snuggled in it. Their faces brushed so closely together that she could feel his breath upon her cheek.

Over time, things began to slowly change. She realized that although they were covered with the blanket’s warmth, now their faces were turned away from each other. It was more comfortable that way. But even when they were not facing each other, their bodies still touched. They often rubbed each other’s toes with their feet.

With the passage of more time, they began to pull at the blanket in order to find comfort.     

While sleeping, they would both take turns grabbing at it. He would become upset if she pushed it off and lay on top of it. She would wake up and find herself cold without a blanket nearby; then she would pull it back.

Eventually, they both adjusted. But she realized that neither of them found the blanket to be comfortable anymore.       

When it was time to leave, it felt to her as if all of the years of adjustment had caused the blanket to simply become a fabric. It required unraveling in order for her to leave. 

She began to pull apart all of the threads. She cried for each and every one. He did not show her that he was crying, too.    

When she pulled apart the last thread, she turned to leave. As she went through the door, she wrapped herself tightly with an imaginary blanket so the memory would sustain her.

© 2012 by Judy Unger, http://www.myjourneysinsight.com and 20 Lines A Day. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Ruby is Dead (Open Book Challenge)

At 17 she packed her bags and left her sleepy town
while her daughter laid in her crib…
and all she left behind were
a kiss on the forehead and a pair
of knitted booties with a monogram – Ruby…
She took the bus to Vegas
wanting to make it big…
pretending she’d never heard the cry
when she closed the door behind her…
time slipped by like a blur and
all she had to show for the years she was away
were bruises here and there -
souvenirs from the men who made her promises…
a broken heart and a tired soul…
And like the prodigal son
she returned to her sleepy town…
to find comfort…wanting redemption -
to cradle the daughter she left behind
only to be told “Ruby is dead. She died in her sleep.”







I wait every day for you to call,

just to know that you have thought of me,

have remembered I am still here,

in spite of the pain, the sorrow, the past.

I feel so relieved when you include me,

so special when we go somewhere, just us.

I guess, it seems selfish, but often, I dream

that its only me that was invited, included.

And my heart fills with disappointment

when I find out I was one of many.

Once, you were part of me-

I was the person you adored.

Letting go is hard, but moms have to.

Remember, as you move on,,

I am still here, waiting.




I feel the angst as it builds up in me.
This afternoon I cross a swirling sea
of an emotion I would rather hide.
My face drips with the many tears I’ve cried

about this situation that will not
be changed. The saber in my heart, white-hot
and constant, pierced its blade two years ago.
While I should be sky-high, I’ve fallen low,

and no, I cannot figure out the whys.
A deprivation makes my anger rise.
I’ve learned to keep this feeling under wraps
so I don’t fall down further in its traps.

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In My Quest For Self-Discovery…

So, enough with the heavy stuff. I wrote this piece this morning, but I don’t think it is cheating to use it here too, since I’ve written several things today, and this one is the better of the bunch. So…let’s ride…

Let’s talk about ancestors.

Obviously, we all have some. A friend of mine, about a year ago, set off on a personal quest

Mel Gibson as William Wallace wearing woad.

Mel Gibson as William Wallace wearing woad. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

to trace her lineage as far back as the written records would allow. Each time I would meet up with her, she would fascinate me with some tidbit of history that she’d uncovered in her family tree. Turns out Pocahontas made an appearance in her lineage!! Wow!

I was intrigued, but not enough to pay the $275+ it would take to join Ancestry.com and forge out on my own  path of self-discovery. Besides, even though I had heard my grandmother’s stories of our lineage, I was mildly positive that our ancestors would be boring and uninteresting. I mean, seriously. We can’t all be descended from kings and queens, can we? And I guess I didn’t want the proof that I was sure to find. My family was descended from the apes…ha, ha. Just kidding. Seeing if you were still with me… :-)

About this same time, I began to deal with the relationships in my life, and one that was sorely missing was my father. Without rehashing old history, here is the back-story in a nutshell. My mother divorced my father when I was 6-ish, and then spent my childhood hiding me and my brother from him. I met up with him after seeing him talking to a reporter about my aunt, who was being featured as a guest on the Sally Jesse Raphael Show. I know. I’m going to write that story next, and post it on 20 Lines A Day…It was surreal… But, then lost him again, over the years. Life just got busy, and he fell through the cracks.

So, returning to my story, I set out to find my dad again, and I needed some extra information. My dad is at war with The Man, and as such, he’s lived off the grid for most of his life. So, it took some major detective work on my part to locate him. And one of my tools was Ancestry.com. After I found him, and reconnected, I still had this membership to this genealogical site. And, as I wanted to get my money’s worth, I set out in my quest to find out the truth.

As with all my obsessive tendencies, I became enthralled. Every day, my kids had to hear of some nugget I had discovered, some interesting story of a relative I’d found hidden, and of course, all the famous people we were somewhat connected to. Their reactions were mildly interested, but I could feel their souls rolling their eyes…lol. God bless my long-suffering family!

And, as one will almost always do, I found some historical characters in my lineage. And as life also does, it was a cruel irony.

Mel Gibson‘s Braveheart has long been a favorite in this family. I suspect some of the attraction is that we’re a family of spiritual soldiers, and the entire premise of one man leading a group of people who will not be ruled, in a war against a corrupt, greedy king and his gay son, sparked by the murder of his beloved wife, with the added intrigue of wooing the soon-to-be-queen to fight for his cause — it just was too much to not love.. And every time that movie comes on, someone in this family is watching it. “I love ya…always have..”

But, the one gripe I’ve always had was that Robert the Bruce is a weak, ineffectual weasel of a man, who never seemed to be able to get on the right side of things at the right times. His leprous father had more balls than he did. I was no admirer of how the movie ended, either, with Robert the Bruce giving a luke-warm rally speech to his fellow Scotsmen – “You fought for Wallace. Now, fight for me!” Seriously?? I’ve heard better speeches in board meetings.

So, here’s the irony. Guess which royal lineage I have coursing through my veins. Who is my 26th Great Grandfather? ….Robert the Bruce. And that leprous, leaky old man who was his father? My 27th Great Grandfather. Yep. No William Wallace in this family…

I think I would have been happier to find a monkey…

– Bird

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Life hands out disappointments with a spade
and turns bright sunshine into darkest shade.
I don’t want you to know how much I cry,
but dreams I had sprout wings, take flight, and fly

to distant lands where I can’t travel. Nine
times out of ten I can’t have what is mine.
Yes, anger pokes the edges of my quilt,
unbalancing my world. Now all a-tilt,

I ask myself: Does this make any sense?
I can’t see clearly through the forest’s dense,
thick shadowed canopy. I carry bags
of sadness like a ragman carries rags.

The Time When I Got Angry At God

Due to a lack of time today, I thought I would repost one of the stories I’ve already written at my other site. I hope you like it. — Bird

Re-posted from Everyone Has A Story:

I’ve always been able to pinpoint exactly who I was angry at. When my parents got divorced when I was six, I was angry at my mom. When she remarried a guy totally the opposite of my dad, I was mad at her and the new guy. When the perpetrator destroyed my innocence, I was mad at him. When I kept making decisions as a young adult that I knew were really, really self-destructive, I was mad at myself. I don’t have a problem knowing who I’m angry at. I own it.

But through all of life’s hurts, I never once got angry at God. It would be fair to say that I understood the concept of free will from a really early age, and didn’t blame God for what people did that hurt me. Until the Motorcycle Accident.

On June 11, 2005, I was involved in a really bad motorcycle accident. A group of us were

Bird, 2005

travelling down one of Oklahoma’s country highways when a van turned left in front of us. I was on the first bike that hit. It was a fluke that I was on this bike, as I usually never rode with anyone but my husband. But on this day, because I wanted to get pictures of him driving his bike, I was riding in the front with a friend….Two bikes hit the van, and three bikes were “laid down”, which means they basically slid on their sides to avoid impact. My husband, who had been bringing up the rear, was the only one who didn’t crash. Instead, he had the poor misfortune of watching his wife and friends all get hurt.

When the bike I was on hit the van, it catapulted me towards the top of the van, and the frame broke all of my ribs….all of them. Some were broken in more than one place. The broken ribs, in turn, punctured both of my lungs in several places. Needless to say, I was dying, and rather quickly. But, as luck would have it, two off duty paramedics happened to be at the convenience store right there, and had seen the whole thing happen. This is in the middle of nowhere at a tiny, franchised Joe’s Convenience Store kind of gas station. Talk about God hedging my bets! (You Rule, God!) They rushed out, and kept both me and another woman hurt really badly (Rose), alive until the helicopters and ambulances arrived.

My body was really torn up. On top of the lungs and ribs, I broke my collar bone, fractured my neck, bruised my heart, lacerated my liver, and fractured my spine and pelvis. And I was in a coma….thank God! I woke up twice briefly that day just long enough to pull the ventilator that was helping me breathe out each time, thus damaging my larynx. And soon after all of this, I developed ARDS and pneumonia in both lungs. I was dying. The whole experience of being in a coma was terrifying…I wish there was a better word for it, but words can’t express the confusion and terror….

Everything I just wrote had to be told to me by other people, because what I remember is something a lot darker. I was caught in hallucinations. It has long been debated that there are several levels of consciousness between life and death, and I agree. I just want to skip all of those next time and go straight from being alive to being dead. Just saying, God…

I still don’t like to talk too much about what my brain thought was going on. I will say that for the first few weeks, it was nothing good. I was caught in rooms with no doors and no windows, with strange red-lipped women. I was going to be killed by a terrorist cell. Some nurse was trying to rape me…It goes on and on. Had it gone on much longer, I would have probably just gone on and died. It would have been preferable.

While I was caught in Dante‘s head, my husband was not pleased with the doctors taking care of me. And when Don isn’t pleased, he can be a very big pain in the butt. Three times they had taken him into the family room and told him to get my affairs in order. And three times, I just kept hanging on. Don had basically parceled out our three teenagers, and all but blew off his job. Medication couldn’t keep my blood pressure from soaring to dangerous heights, but his voice could. So, he rarely left the hospital — for months.

Three weeks into this whole ordeal, Don had had enough. He and a friend went on a quest and found out that the top pulminologist in Oklahoma lived right here in Tulsa. Her name was Dr. Grace Kennedy. That is another long story, but for times’ sake, lets just say that Don sweet talked her into taking my case, bullied the hospital into giving her rights to practice there, and threatened my team of doctors if they didn’t “invite” her to lead my case.

Dr. Kennedy, after visiting me once, decided to take a risk. She told my husband that all that movement I was making might not be pain; instead, it might be a reaction to morphine. She changed up everything — my bed, my antibiotics, and THANK GOD — my pain medication. She put me on Demerol instead. Immediately, I began to heal. Turns out, I was allergic to morphine and all those horrible hallucinations were being caused by that medicine. Every time I would twitch or moan, the nurses would give me more, launching me straight back into hell.

I have a few vague memories of coming to, but it is really hard for me to separate what really happened during that hospital stay and what happened in my head. Until one morning, a really loud voice said, “CATHERINE, WAKE UP!!” And I was awake. I mean, really, really awake. One, because the voice was really loud. And two, because only my dad calls me “Catherine”. It has always only been used when I was in trouble.

I was alone in the room for a minute, and I realized I was in a hospital room. Just then, a female doctor walked in. (Another miracle. How often do you actually catch a doctor in your room??) She seemed startled that I was awake. I motioned to her that I needed something to write on, and she handed me a pad of paper and a pen. I wrote one word, “thirsty”. She explained I couldn’t drink being on a breathing machine. I wrote a second word, “out”. This is another long story, but in the end, they took me off the breathing machine that very hour, and after several months, my numbers stayed where they were supposed to be. They didn’t drop even one point. Remind me to tell you about the moment my husband came in after that…It is just the most romantic story ever…

But I digress. One really significant thing changed about me the day I woke up. I realized I was angry. No, the word “angry” just isn’t graphic enough. I was pissed off. And I was having trouble understanding why.

The anger was just building and building. I was released from the hospital about a week later. I was supposed to stay on oxygen and cart around this tube of air…yeah, I don’t think so. I was a 37 year old woman…too young to be doing that. I tried going back to work, but lo and behold! I transverse numbers now..This is unacceptable for a bookkeeper. My life had been permanently interrupted.

I didn’t talk to God much those days. This is odd behavior for me. I chat with Him all day long. Well, I mean, He doesn’t chat back, but as you’ve probably guessed by now, I am a talker. That was my first clue back then that there was a problem.

Finally, I had to mentally set myself down and examine my feelings. You can’t begin to fix what you won’t acknowledge. And I admitted to myself that I was mad at God. Why? You aren’t going to believe this one….

It wasn’t because I was hurt so badly, or because my hallucinations scared me to death, or that my poor children had all been farmed out for months to people that were relative strangers to me. Oh no. Nothing that noble, or even understandable. I was pissed that God didn’t allow me to see Him or His angels during a near-death experience. My spirit didn’t get to hover over my body, and I felt like it was the least He could have done for me. Seriously.

Have you ever had to have a conversation with your God that you know is just about one of the stupidest conversations you will ever have??? Well, I did. I told Him I needed help getting over my anger. I thanked Him for what He had done for me and my family, and then I tried to explain to Him why I had wanted that so much, as dumb as it may sound.

You know what? He understood. He showed me that it was okay to be honest with Him and with myself. He can handle me being mad at Him. He showed me that there will be a time that I will be in His presence, but that had He given me a glimpse, I might have stopped living here on earth doing my job, and pined instead for what I had seen. He assured me that some people need the “push” that comes from seeing the other side, but for someone like me, who didn’t need that, it could have worked against His purposes for me. And lastly, He let me know that even this accident would be used to reveal His glory. I felt like He was thanking me for going through it.

It is the one time I have ever been angry at God. I doubt anything could make me angry at Him again. But should I ever feel that way again, I can take my concerns and disappointments straight to Him. He isn’t offended by my anger. He can take it!

Thank you again, Jesus!!

– Cathie


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