Thursday, March 13, 2008


I had a horrible dream last night. It was about my blind kitty Sunny being locked in a big store room filled with stacks of boxes and furniture; he was locked in a little cage that had been thoughtlessly tossed atop a stack as the store room was being filled up while I was apparently in the process of moving. I kept forgetting to take care of him during the course of 4 whole days during which time he had no food or water. Suddenly realizing this in my dream, I ran to dig him out from behind all the boxes and furniture and all kinds of weird things that were thrown in there, and I fully expected to find him dead. I was panicking and felt so sick inside. I could not believe I had done anything so despicable.

I woke up with a shock, horrified that I'd done that to him, imagining the suffering he'd had to endure. I'm still heart sick over it. It was only a dream. It never happened. But my heart doesn't seem to be able to realize that and I am feeling despicable and so sorry.

The reality is that he and I were never apart a single day in 10 straight years. Where ever I went, he came with me, and he was always set up in style and comfort. I went away for a week once in the tenth year I had him, but got a live-in sitter to stay with him. He was a gift to me at the spiritual level, and I adored him. I could never forget him. It's too much to think I could ever neglect him like I did in that dream when he was so special to me.

Sunny died about a year and a half ago. It was a terrible situation that I'm still not over. He required medical care that I could not afford and no one would help him. I had to have him put down. I felt as though I betrayed my dearest friend. But I also felt betrayed and demoralized by a society literally swimming in wealth, that could not be bothered to help this precious creature. People and places that could have saved his life with nothing much more than some of their time were everywhere. But no one cared. It was too much to ask. I was completely unreasonable to think that my little guy just plain deserved to live.

In a value system where money matters more than life itself, that idea is completely unreasonable. But what kind of a value system is that?

I found out that in America no one deserves to be helped, even when help is all around you, if you don't have the money. Only money makes you deserving of being helped, of getting your needs met, of being deserving of life itself. The offense I felt over having to grasp this reality can't be expressed, but believe me when I say I fully understood then the reality and the truth that this is officially how it is in our country. For human beings and for all living things, you can starve to death in the midst of mountains of food, in immeasurable acres of wasted food, but if you don't have money you'll just have to starve. If you are sick or suffering and all you need is some medical care, if you don't have the money, you will remain sick, you will continue to suffer, and when you die no one will feel any guilt. You had no money. You didn't deserve anything. You didn't count. Good riddance. Don't tell me that's not reality because it's too stone cold, I know it's stone cold. But it is reality.

In America money matters more than life. Money matters more than relieving suffering. Money matters above all else. Life is cheap and has no inherent value here.

Money matters. Money is the reason that the whole world gets up in the morning. Money is God. Money is all. Having it, possessing it, this is what gives a human being value. This is what determines the worth of a person. Doubt that? Name any person famous for being ethical. How about a household name famous for their honor? No such thing. Nothing else comes anywhere near the esteem we hold for cold hard cash, nothing else is more sought after or more desired. With enough money your crimes are excused. You are not held accountable for the harm you do to others, others who have no money. There is simply no getting around it. Nothing counts more than money in America. Nothing.

It's all backwards, I can't see it any other way. What is money for? It's a tool. But it is not used as a tool to build, it is used as a tool to deprive. It is hoarded and not put to good use, it is not used to benefit the world and keep making it a better place for everyone. What a ridiculous notion. Money is the ultimate symbol of selfishness and indifference. It is about having more than you need and more than you can ever use. It's about needing unnatural physical abundance to feel good about yourself and not being at all bothered by those who can't even get what they need to survive because you're preventing it with all of your hoarding and unfair access to ways to get more to hoard. Winner takes all. Cheating is fair, as long as somebody else loses. It's who we are. It's what we've become. We're a nation that misses the point of life completely.

Everything that we think of as life now comes with a price tag attached. Life itself is being manufactured, bought and sold without any recognition of what that means or what it destroys for all time. It's about profits and when it comes to profits nothing else matters.

The trouble is I don't see it that way. I don't think it's at all true and when push comes to shove, that philosophy dies a cold hard death. But as many times as that's been proven, the belief that money is all that matters persists. It's a religion forced on us at gunpoint, it is not a truth. The truth is it doesn't cost anything to live on this planet. The people with all of the money have even prevented those who don't want anything to do with their stupid system from living on the land and from nature as we are entitled by birth right to do. The reality is that they have stolen all our natural wealth, the wealth that is everyone's birthright, in order to turn it into their kind of wealth, using our labor, cheating us every step of the way, and making up all the rules that allow them to be the ones that keep it all for themselves while leaving us all with nothing. It's nothing but a scam. It's a big fat rip off.

So excuse me if I don't see everything in terms of dollar signs and profits. In fact, I don't see anything as valid when money's a part of it, because to folks like you and me, we will always be getting ripped off when money is involved. That's the entire system, and that's why the wealth accumulates at the top. It defies common sense AND gravity. It's about as unnatural as it can get.

I don't think we need money at all, but greed is far more intoxicating than getting seriously human for once, and taking a big step forward on this earth. Crime does pay. All it takes is being willing to brutalize others and bingo, you can have whatever you want. Why leave a stinking profitable slaughterhouse behind when all we could get in exchange is something really worth having?

I'm so tired of it. I dread the future even more than I resent the present.

I had no choice but to have Sunny put to sleep, he was extremely ill. He could not eat, he was in terrible pain, and yet, he would have been content to lay in my lap in safety, surrounded by my devotion and love for him, and die there. I still cannot get over it. It still hurts so much it's stupid.

I may very well be retarded. It's starting to look like it more all the time. The way I see things and the way most other people see things brings back that message every single day. In a way I'm hoping it's true, because then at least I'll have an explanation.

I'm not sure what that dream was about, but it's a recurring theme that is becoming ever more painful. Where is Freud when you really need him?

When I crawled out of bed today, feeling ripped apart inside from that dream still so vividly lingering in my mind, I saw I had several messages on my answering machine. It turns out that my step brother is in the hospital having a critical liver failure. He's drunk himself to death. My two step brothers are my step dad's sons from his first marriage. One is the compassionate intellectual one, who died last year from an inoperable brain tumor. The other is an unnecessarily good looking Southern man, a womanizer, and a serious alcoholic. Now he is dying. There is nothing they can do for him but try to make him comfortable.

Even though he's been in the hospital for 3 weeks, nobody told me. I only found out when one of his boys called me today. He only called because they couldn't get a hold of my dad, their Grandpa, for a few days and were worried about him. If not for that, I'd have had no idea at all.

I don't hear from my dad but once a month maybe, and then only for a brief moment as he gives his commandments over the phone and then hangs up. So I called my dad and found him to be fine, having had his cataract surgery two days ago he is recovering well. He did not mention that he'd actually left the house and went to stay with my cousin to be cared for after his surgery. This is why the boys couldn't reach him.

They'd actually panicked to the extent that they'd called the local police department where my dad lives, and the police even crawled in the upstairs bedroom window to see if he'd fallen or died. He wasn't there though. He was in perfectly good hands being cared for, and just didn't bother to mention it to anyone. He's done that to me before too and doesn't seem to understand that when we can't get hold of him, we really worry. He is well into his eighties and alone, but he does what he likes and he likes to keep us in the dark when he has a medical situation to deal with.

Once I heard that he'd been off at my cousin's place, I finally understood why he'd hung up on me when I'd asked him if he needed my help after his eye surgery. Instead of simply saying no, he abruptly said, "That's all. Good-bye." Then hung up. He didn't want to tell me he prefers his niece to his daughter. I don't know why, he's already told me that point blank, in her presence. It's not a news flash. I took that on the chin a few years back and have since accepted it. It's his choice after all. But, I had to find that part out from his grand son. I had to find everything out from his grand son.

My Dad felt no compulsion to tell me that his son was on his death bed. Even after telling him I'd just heard that my step brother was in the hospital, and I did not know why. All he said was that he knew, and he'd spoken to him about it. That was all.

You'd think the fact that his only other son was dying a horrible, painful slow death might have been mentioned. But it was something I didn't need to know, I am a persona non grata. One who does not matter. One who does not count because, and I swear this is true, unlike true believers in capitalism and the American way to wealth through war, I don't think money is what matters above all else. I think what has real value cannot be bought and has no price tag attached. Therefore I am worthless. I am nobody to him. My feelings aren't worth a cup of coffee, so I didn't need to be informed.

If you're shocked, think again. Think real long and hard about what it is that parents hold against their children. Think about what's at the root of so many arguments and the bigotry, and arrogance and judgmental nature of those considered to be 'good decent upright citizens' and those who don't get that label. This is so deeply saturated into our culture that it comes out in the home first. It's a mirror of how everything around us, including us, is valued, or not valued.

Needless to say, I am devastated by the news about my step brother, and am completely beyond words as to how sad I feel. I am further re-devastated at the normal operational mode of being left out of everything having to do with my family and the clear message to keep out.

I don't quite know how to explain this, but I feel completely lost at the moment. As though there is no ground for me to stand on. I have no idea what to do, or what to say, or who to say it to. I feel so much hurt inside but it is not something I can share with my own family. Frankly, it's overwhelming.

The money situation for me is such that I cannot just get on a plane and fly across the country to be with my dying step brother. I have my own obstacles that prevent me from being able to do a great many things that a lot of people take for granted, and this situation doesn't change that reality. There is no way I can do anything. I just wish that wasn't such a crime in the eyes of my own relatives. I wish it didn't equate to them my inadequacy as a human being. I don't know how it can, or why it does, but it really does.

Things are exponentially more challenging for a great many people than a lot of folks seem able to understand, and I'm basically pushed to my limits as standard operating procedure. People who have never had to live like this seem absolutely incapable of comprehending that it is reality for a whole lot of people. I think it's reality for the majority of the people in this country and the bottom line is, it's not because anyone deserves it. It's because the whole system is set up to serve the most to the fewest and the least to the most. But those who are comfortable insist that all of the access and privilege and means they had to get their nice share is exactly the same as everyone else has. It's an utterly moronic belief, but it's real and expressed on a daily basis out there.

Whenever I hear one of them going on about how he worked his way to wealth and nobody ever gave him a single thing to help him get there, I always have to ask, "And when was that? In the 1940's?" Hard work is the last thing that will get you something these days. If hard work was all it took, we'd all be rich. Things have changed a hell of a lot from the days our "self-made" millionaires caught the train to personal success. The station is closed now and all of the trains have been broken down and used for scrap metal.

There is a very real attitude of open disdain for those who do not have or do not worship the almighty dollar that I think is most insulting and incomprehensible. Yet it is absolutely true that a disdain for those with less is part and parcel of the capitalist mentality that rules our lives. How anyone can actually feel greater entitlement to have and enjoy life because they possess an inanimate object that in and of itself is utterly worthless, is a form of double think that offends me to my core. I wish people would come down out of the clouds and try reality just once. It's really not that bad. But I won't be holding my breath on that one. It will never happen in my life time, and I doubt it will happen in any life time. Not as long as we choose to worship wealth and the wealthy and disdain everyone else. As long as that seems perfectly normal and reasonable we won't see anything change, but we will continue to see vast portions of humanity excluded to death. What a sorry shame it truly is.

Coping with this much heartache on top of everything else is a real challenge. This much heartache, again, so very soon. The people I call family are all but gone except one, and he doesn't seem to think it's anything that could matter to someone like me.

If my mom were still around I'd still be in the loop and I'd even have an advocate. She was aware enough to value money but also understood the value of things without price tags. Unfortunately she died of pancreatic cancer barely six months after being diagnosed, it was so fast it was shocking. I was totally unprepared for it, and totally ignorant of how crappy our health care system had become, even for those who can pay for it. Only after it was too late did I come into the knowledge that might have made a difference, or at least might have made it easier on her.

Four days after her funeral I woke up to the events of September 11th. It just feels like it keeps on coming.

Hearing about my step brother today took my breath away, leaving a weight inside my body that literally makes it hard to breathe. It's just a matter of time and he will be forever gone. They were both far too young to die. There was already a world of hurt I've been trying to wrestle down to something that I am not being controlled by. Though I can usually manage to surf the waves of emotion and anger and outrage, most of them due to the reality of the present day and the condition of life on this earth, today I am reduced to painful helplessness. All I can do is sit quietly and feel the pain. I don't know how to fix it. I don't think it can be fixed.

This is not the sort of thing you want to keep repeating, but it keeps repeating for me. It's not the kind of thing you can ever take in stride. It never gets easier. It always feels like it's too much pain to take. It always feels wrong. It's always horrible. It's always devastating. Some people win the lottery, some people win again and again in Vegas. But I just keep losing the ones I love. I keep losing the things I need, and the things I believed in. I hate this. The good news is when I finally lose it all, I won't have anything left to lose. This part of it will finally be over. There's something to look forward to, huh?

My dream last night would have been more accurate if it had been me in that cage. That would correspond very well to what I'm feeling. I can't give anything to be there for someone else, and I can't ask for anything to save myself because there is no one there to ask. And I can't get out of the cage either. Sadly, from what I can see, there is no way out.


  1. Ang. Don't despair. Families are strange. I spent the first part of my life putting up with my family and being a complete ego-centric, selfish, rude, arrogant person to the point my parents asked me to leave the family home. I duly left the next day (even though they gave me 2 weeks to get myself sorted) and spent the next 2 years going wild, with no-one to care for but myself. By throwing me out, my dad did me the biggest favour he could. What did I learn? That friendships are meaningful (all my friends up to this point had done nothing but turn me against my own family), that 'survival' wasn't as easy, and most importantly, that I can't exclude my family from my life. I had no idea how much my dad was hurting about me being away for 2 years with no contact (i did phone my mum and lied to her frequently about things being OK) so when I was at breaking point and made a last chance grab for my family, they welcomed me with open arms and started from scratch. It was the most amazing thing ever to hear my dad say , "OK? Shall we forget about the last 2yrs and start again?" I broke down and cried, hugged and loved my dad properly for the first time.
    Between then and the time of his early death I built a new relationship with all my family but never forgot how we all collectively grew more accepting of eachother. I guess thats my advice, sometimes you have t be tough, even with the people you love, for your own, and their own sanity. I have few regrets other than spending a whole 2 years wasting my life away.
    I have my own son now, who is remarkably like me in some ways. I hope he doesn't cause me and his mum as much grief as I did mine, but it's something I'm prepared to accept upfront.
    Hope you're on the way up, and not on the way down as you read this.
    Take care, Edo.

  2. Anonymous1:35 PM

    Thank you, ang for your heartfelt post. I am so sorry for your loss, and hope that you find the strength to heal