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Friday, December 4, 2009

JEAN'S VIOLET

jean



It is 3 years ago today Jean left the body and went to the light. I stopped by the shop to see Ross, he was at Jr's house working on the "water stove," a wood stove that heats water for the house while heating the house. It was a curious feeling being in there. I wasn't curious about anything inside. It felt cold and asleep to me. I found the violet Jean gave Jr not many months before she died. I kept it going on the table at Jr's and it lived. It had been in the cold house for a month and was still living. I brought it home to keep it living as my memory of Jean and Jr. Jean has been on my mind all day today.

I don't mean to carry on so about the dead, but it's just worked out that way right now. To me, they're not dead, just over yonder. Jean was one of the most remarkable people I've known. Another humble soul. She was humble without self-defense such that she was used and abused by everyone around her. She believed she had to take it, so she did. She was a beat down puppy dog after 3 hardcore redneck husbands who treated her like a beast of burden, a boy who was killed over drug money, a boy on death row in Florida, a preacher daughter Jean said was the one that belonged on death row and the boy there the preacher.

Much of her adult life was spent in asylums, institutions. It started with a post-partem depression after her first baby when she was 15, married to get out of the house, living on an Army base in Georgia, alone, a hillbilly country girl with a baby and a husband in VietNam, who liked it. When he was at home he hung out at the enlisted men's lounge picking up women like he did in VietNam. The next husband was worse and the next one even worse. After her commitment over the post-partem depression, she was in the system. Jean couldn't say no to anyone, so she was a willing participant, a guinea pig, they tested new drugs on, drugs with side-effects that kept her debilitated nearly all the time.

From the time she was a baby, no one ever treated her with any regard for herself. She was never good enough. Her mother was an undiagnosed bi-polar mess Jean got married to get away from. She was the bottom of the pecking order wherever she was all her life. That was her role. In the first months I knew her, she was spaced out nearly all the time on drugs for schizophrenia and other things Jean was not. One of the first things I saw in Jean was she had an automatically loving spirit. She was a gentle, humble soul beset from all around all her life by people beating her down, physically, verbally, psychically. I don't mean to imply she was a sweetie pie. Her life made her tough inside. Like Jr, she was good at taking it.

First thing I set out to do when she came around to Jr's in the evening, when the 3 of us sat at the table talking, was get her out of negative mind, which kept her down and out all the time. She passed it to Jr and kept him dragging. It didn't take long. We talked about it some, rationally. It seemed like when she got it, that was it. Her negative mind just fell away. When mine went away, it did the same way. I saw what I was doing, saw what frame of mind it kept me in, saw how unrealistic that thinking is, and stopped right then, convinced by sufficient evidence. From then on there was no negative mind going around the table.

Except when the niece below the mountain made four at the table, blowing cigarette smoke in Jr's face every puff. I mean putting his head in the middle of a big cloud of cigarette smoke blown straight into his face. She talked a lot about loving her Uncle Jr. Watching her blow smoke in his face every time she took a drag, I wondered about that as an expression of love. She could get Jean to scuttle on the bottom with her for a little bit, but not like before, until Jean didn't go there anymore. Then niece quit coming around. She also thought pouring out Jr's liquor every time she came around, when he wasn't looking, endeared her to him. Of course, she always denied it.

When I say we got past negative mind, I don't mean we did it in a Zig Ziglar motivational positive thinking way. We quit talking down about whatever we were talking about. Our spirits around the table perked up and we became a happy bunch and it stayed that way. Until the day Jr put his hand on Jean's ass the last time. He didn't do it often, but from time to time he couldn't help himself. She'd lecture in his face, I love you Jr, but I don't love you like that! He'd just smile. But the last time broke the camel's back. She quit coming around because it made her so damn mad and he never quit doing it. He alienated a few other women in his later years like that.

The moon was full when Jean's soul left the body. It was full when Jr's did too. The moon is full now. In the time soon after Jean left, I wanted my mind to retain her and felt sorrow seeing her fade from the front of my mind. She stayed in the front of my mind today. When I woke up, I remembered it was Jean's day. I was glad to see no one wanted the violet. It couldn't have made it much longer without care. Jr was partial to the plant. Jean gave it to him a year or so before she died. It had a good place on the table where it bloomed frequently. I didn't know how to take care of violets, so I asked a woman I know who was good with them for some advice. Keeping it alive was important. It is a memory of Jean.




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