As I rummage and ruminate, categorize and discard, too many items, and thoughts, long of little utility, to you or I, though stubbornly occupying space, in my physical and internal environments, I am thunderstruck! …with that which we pay lip-service to; as a matter of course, in our excessive, daily rabblings and babblings; but rarely to never, truly abide by… . And of a sudden, nothing matters! Nothing; …with the exception, of how we choose to utilize, This Moment. And of a sudden, in this temporarily, to the outside world obligation-less life, I find freedom. ________________________________________________________ With boundless love, ~Marcela: choosing to live well, in the midst of my own, and our collective, uncertainty. March 24, 2020.
Dearest Young’en (it’s a new one, aren’t you excited?):
But I digress, how odd…
Dear Thomas George Raphael Turjančík (see, I remember your real name!): this day, at 13:29 Central European Standard Time, in the year 1991 (I did not have to look at the tattoo on my left forearm to remember), I met you.
You were as calm about it as you often are today, outwardly anyway, though we both know it’s different on the inside, I and your father on the other hand, wore our stuff, loudly on our sleeves.
We were happy, so very very happy, and excited beyond measure, and not a bit frightened, a great many bits frightened, each for our own reasons. The inner demons we had yet to quell, respectively and as a couple, had not yet been fully outed, never mind sorted.
But this event, your homecoming, changed us, at least for a short while, for the better, so much better. For you took us out of ourselves and into a frontier that your father had traveled to previously with your brothers, but one that I, had not yet ventured into; a world in which someone else is 100% reliant upon my reliability; a universe in which by default, I became the center of your universe. I was not ready for that, and I had so much to learn.
We know that there was a time I failed you, failed us, and we have jumped and tripped over many hurdles, vaulted over seemingly unreachable bars, and spent time in a deep, dark, abyss, individually and together; but we have both made it here. And you, the perfectly-imperfect child you have been, continue to be for me, have found to yourself, in a way that inspires awe in everyone you meet, and me, every.single.day.
And while I like to believe that my particular brand of parenting, what I stand for, has had a positive influence on who you are, how beautifully you function in the astonishingly complex world we occupy, that is; with a critically thinking intelligence, with grace, insight, with compassion, and kindness, all of this and more, is yours, yours alone, to own and take credit for.
It is the fruit of your labour, Thomas, of the hard, often painful personal work I have watched you wrestle with these past few years, supported when asked, but viewed from a distance that was often excruciating for me to keep. Know, as I believe you do, that I was (am) always ready and waiting with a life-ring when needed.
I cannot ask for a better gift on this day, the day I met you 29 years ago, than knowing, trusting, that when life offers up her lifey-life bitch-slaps, or we walk willingly, stupidly into them with eyes wide shut, for to believe that we do not, is to lie to self first and foremost, you will eventually find your way back out, and with a newly forged, temporarily, until next time, sense of self.
It is a gift for me to believe that you understand the importance of introspection, and personal revision, the critical role of, and need for personal evaluation and re-evaluation, the imperative of personal evolution as a constant, not as an event, and I thank my F.U.Gs that I can believe you are aware of this, central tidbit: every response or reaction you choose, to anything or anyone else, that while fueled by those outward influences, is a thing generated internally, by self, and self-alone, it is a choice.
This is important, for to believe otherwise cloaks us in a coat of personal powerlessness, a coat I could not bear to watch you wear, the coat of blame and perpetual victim-hood. I have worn it; it is an outdated, heavy, ugly garment, best recycled into something more useful, like a pair of really great shoes, or better yet, an I-love-me/you-jacket.
And so we have found to next: you have found Love this year, with a capital L, and already, the two of you are weathering pitiless life storms. She has not been kind to you both and your still fledgling union, but I see you walking through it, limping at times, and I fear less for you both, because you have each other, and folks like me and her tribe to help hold you up over the roughest spots.
And I am so grateful that you have her, Alison, this gift to both of us. It is a monumental time in our world, and if I don’t make it through the other side of the current, real and present danger, knowing she is here with you, will have made everything, every.single.thing I didn’t finish, still have a burning desire to accomplish, irrelevant. Because you, the only thing of value to me, will not be alone to wade through the wreckages of the havocs we have wreaked upon ourselves as a species.
And so this, my child, the child I would have chosen had I been given a choice of who I want you to be, is my Advanced Directive: do not wait for lifey-life to get back to ‘normal,’ ever. Live it as best you can, in the moment, right-the-fuck-now, under the current circumstance, and/or restriction. Live it with purpose, and accomplish, take a single step toward something you yearn, burn to do, every.single.day.
Take my advice, for I was not using it. I have wasted too many of my days on irrelevant (to me) endeavors, in the name of others, their beliefs, their needs, their power, their ill or well intentions toward me… bla bla fucking bla…. Do NOT, I beseech you, under any circumstances, follow my ill-fated lead in this regard.
I love you more than any word will ever do justice to, and I thank my F.U.Gs for you, every.single.day, for 10,593 days, and counting, and I thank them for you too, our Alison.
All my love,
(I got a new one too!)
My son, the hu(man) I love most in the world, is in love with a seemingly amazing young woman. He is happier than I have seen him in too long. He has worked with great diligence and purpose, on himself, on being a good (hu)man, on learning from that which has brought him self- and other inflicted pain. He has worked extraordinarily hard on accepting what is and what isn’t, on taking the best out of the worst, and on what life and happiness mean, to him.
I had nowhere near the insight into self, life, and the world, at his age, and I am grateful that I saw fit, before MY pain and ignorance perpetuated a cycle in HIS life, that many struggle to break, to change our present and future, by working through my traumatic past, and the ‘survival ‘skills’ that came with it. I am grateful that I never hid the truth of my realities from him, so that he got a balanced picture, of what some of my best successes, and worst failures, truly gave me, as a human, as a woman, as a parent, and give him, as a human, as a man, as someone’s love, as her love.
I am happy to have something to be happy about, in the midst of this, a brand new level of body-hell.
And Ima pay that young woman a surprise visit (we’ve not met yet), bearing flowers of thanks, at her place of work on Saturday.
Because I am grateful to her, for seeing in him, what anyone who meets him, often only briefly, sees, senses, is often awed by. What I have known, appreciated, loved about him, his entire life, along with the darker bits, because he has them, just like me, just like her, just like all of us.
I am grateful that they found to one another, because he is why I chose to live, more times than I care to count, in the past, and in very recent times, he is still the reason, for that, and his happiness of paramount importance to me.
I will bring her flowers because she may not have had the benefit of a supportive family, through the hard stuff, or cheerleaders, through her triumphs, so I want to welcome her, into ours, because we know how to do that. We know how to do all that, and then some, really well.
Gratefully unfiltered: Marcela.
October 10, 2019
My oppositional flailings to the expectation-less relationship you desired, have inadvertently weathered my person into a deepening of spirit, reminiscent of the sea-years etched upon your face dearest Sailor. With the persistence of waves on stone at the seashore, these flailings and failings have smoothed harmful rough edges, jagged bits of a younger, old me no longer useful to anyone. And I am grateful. Not despite, but because of, that which my net failed to capture. ~Marcela: version 57.9 despite myself. June 22, 2019 __________________________ "Let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit. For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught." -kahlil Gibran Interestingly enough, I deliberately cast a net a few years ago, and in so doing, despite my oppositional flailings against its very nature, the 'catch' quite inadvertently developed, through a love and friendship unlike any other I have known, into a profound deepening of my spirit, one not unlike what Mr. Gibran speaks of. ~M.Y.M. Kahlil Gibran quote from Google Search Poetry and Image: All Rights Reserved Marcela Mrnka, please share but do attribute. Thank you. ~M.
From: John R Sent: Friday, May 24, 2019 11:33 PMTo: Marcela Yvonne Subject: Re: Just wondering….
How are things at your end? I hope summer has arrived there. It has only been the last couple of days that it has warmed up here. Prague, Vienna, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Belgrad, Prishtina, Sarajevo all required sweater and jacket. Here in Mostar was hot yesterday. Just waiting for a bus to Budva in Montenegro right now. It seems all the train tracks were blown up in the war here in the 1990s… and have not been replaced. From Budva, it will be in to Albania then Greece…
So what has been turning your world upside down? Give me the Reader’s Digest version.. not just the headlines! I hope you are _________ blankety-blank-blank (because some things are just too precious to share).
From: Marcela Yvonne Sent: Friday, May 25, 2019 12:47 PM To: John R Subject: Not a quick story / Re: Just wondering….
Sailorman! I’m just relaxing in my new-ish, light-filled, bedroom (feels like a bit of a tree house :), sipping the Saturday morning/noon cuppa Joe, wondering what his Salty-ness is up to, where on earth his Sexy-assed-self is parked right about now, and then there you be, right in my lappy! The shit storm(s) is/are a big story… the Reader’s Digest is that I have Lyme disease. It got ugly. It’s what started all those bizarre symptoms in the winter, probably been hiding in my body for years (not uncommon at all), triggered by who-knows-what, the possibilities in my world specifically are endless… and because it’s me, and my never-straightforward life, I couldn’t just pick an easy disease, you know, one where you have symptoms, they test, they find it, they diagnose it, they treat it, you live or you die. No no no! I have to pick one that is as politically as it is medically contentious, argued/denied, yes full on denied, controversial, impossible in every way including (mis/un) diagnosis and no treatment works the same for everyone and where it and possible co-infections are at in their body. My (ex) GP literally said this: “I, and many of my colleagues, don’t believe in chronic Lyme disease.” Where the fuck do you go with that? We vaccinate pets and farm animals against it… but they don’t ‘believe’ in it? No seriously? Where the fuck does one go with that?
In any case, thank my own resourcefulness and my Ungods, I’ve had a really great Naturopath in my back pocket for years now (because the mainstream wasn’t doing anything useful for me years ago, either), and she has prescription rights if I decide to go the pharma route. She also has Lyme and even before I knew that, I have always trusted her, fully, unlike previously noted (the real quack) GP. No treatment for this beast is straightforward or simple and pharma-antibiotics are problematic for a thousand and one reasons specific to this/these bug(s) so, there is no quick and dirty fix. I’m taking all manner of things and it is actually working, at times making it worse/before better, but that’s how it works, and costing me buxx I don’t have to spare, but that’s how it works :) It turns out that many of the herbals and my own witches brew that I’ve been making/using for years to keep that annoying virus in my body at bay, also have antibiotic properties, antimicrobial (Lyme/Borrelia in its many incarnations is a bacteria), so quite inadvertently, I have been suppressing its havocs for some time. If I ate garbage food, didn’t exercise regularly and other bla bla, I likely would have been sick years ago. Sweat, elimination, in all its various forms, is one of the keys to getting this thing out, it likes to hide and morph, and in the words of said Naturopath, it is a marathon, not a sprint. Realistically, so is any other serious illness, including cancer and some of the other ones less controversial, in this moment, because they all were/are, at some point. This past week is the first time in many months that I have felt almost OK, it’s on the upswing, and I have so much more big-story on all of it, but that is almost enough of that.
I work really hard at not going down the various rabbit holes around it, it has been nothing short of traumatizing because of all the bullshit around it, never mind the seriously big, seriously scary manifestations and myriad crazy symptoms I was having, it impacts every.single.system in the human body, and is a transformer… between all that and the full on dismissal by previously noted (ex)GP, she just doesn’t know that bit yet, I have my reasons, it has been one of my life’s biggest hells, and we know I’ve seen a few… maybe more than reader’s digest, sorry/not sorry, it isn’t a quick thing in any regard, always prompts big questions from others, so I’ve just tried to pre-empt some of those, for your benefit, and mine.
Also, my world feels upside down cause my mama’s been diagnosed (finally) with Parkinson’s, and really, in her (translated) words, if we’re going to get that particular horribleness, one’s eighties is a much better time than for example one of my clients, our age, or younger. Medication has made a huge difference and she is also doing better than she has in a long long time. My SunnyBoyManchild was an inadvertent auditory-witness to the horrific murder of someone in the suite directly above him in his building, just a short time ago, so my most-loved humans and I have not had an easy time of it in recent weeks and months. Thanks for asking Sailorman, a lot, it means something.
On a better note, moving in here was a challenge (huge understatement) because of the above getting worse and worse, and really crappy space planning on the landfolks’s part, but it’s coming together, has also cost more money/energy than I have, and there is lots left to do, but I’m loving it now, have even had enough energy in the last week to explore, look for trails, spend a bit of time down at Transfer beach… found the marina, and fondly thought about the other one I know, the Lady Jezebel and her Sexy-assed man at the helm… I’m loving Ladysmith so much more than I thought I would, and 30 minutes max door-to-door for work is an absolute luxury. I love this new-ish job, cause if I have to work 5 days a week at this stage to barely make ends meet, that really needs to be the case, so it certainly helps in the grand scheme of things.
Summer/balmy spring comes once in a while, it is raining today, not a bad thing, the Duncan area is already mumbling ‘drought,’ and Alberta is already on fire… decent weather predicted for tomorrow, really hoping to get to the beach for an hour or two, and then a simple trail jaunt… it’s so lovely to have enough time left in work days/weekends because I’m not constantly trying to ‘get somewhere,’ or maintaining a ridiculous house and property. If Ima pay someone else’s mortgage, it needs to be like this. Summary: it’s getting good in the hood again SaltySailorman. Big big lessons in all shapes and sizes in all of it for me, and it has all forced a bit of a Marcela-mellowing that is challenging to articulate, but welcome, very welcome, for sure.
Your adventures sound absolutely grand, and I am not a bit jealous, I am full on fucking envious and marvel at how well you have worked this entire life thing out! If I can’t be doing it myself, I am happy to enjoy it in the form of your missives. I LOVED Mostar, that entire part of the world… I was heartbroken when I learned during that war that that most amazing bridge had been destroyed! I spent a month the summer of my 25th birthday in Dubrovnik and its surrounding areas with my mama and step-papa, that was before that particular war, it was stunning, just fucking stunning! Did you get to Plitvice? It’s Sunny’s dream, he is a water(fall) hound, nature nut, like the mama.
___________ blankety-blank-blank (because some things are simply too precious to share…). I’m looking at all these words and thinking oh dear, I’ve written a book, but that dear Sailorman, is what writers do. And I am nothing, if not that. Big brain fog and all. I hope your tribe is well, (almost)new-grand baby and all! Clearly, you are. Yay! Hugs back Sexy-assed SailorZeke, and smooches, and _________blankety-blank-blank, always…
Writing and Zeke/Marcela Photographs are mine, image of the Original Mostar Bridge located via Google Image Search:
Dear John (yeah I did that, again)! I write these words as nothing more, or less, than information. Know that, first and foremost. They change, complicate, nothing, or everything, as the case may be.
You, the man I have come to know and appreciate as ‘Your Sexy-Ass Saltiness,’ and your trusty (real)steel steed, Marty the Sexy-Ass vintage Mercedes,
embarked upon the first leg of your current adventure, some weeks ago now.
I met your recent text update with both pure, unadulterated pleasure, and not a bit of envy, but a great lump of it! When I read in your missive that with friends and family visited, and Marty safely stored in Manitoba, the real adventure part finally began, as you sat in a train station, awaiting your East bound train.
And my ripe imagination envisaged your chill, sexy-ass self, man of many names, many adventures and few words, doing exactly that, which pleases you most. For you are, that unlikeliest of souls, a true traveler, not, in your words, ‘a vacationer.’ I imagined you at that train station, smoke in hand, looking something like a cross between Hemmingway and Van Gogh (two of my historical heros), on a train station bench, outside… because smoke in hand… and then on the train, bumping along the tracks, living in that exact moment, eyes out the window. Perhaps you were thinking about the boarding of that freighter in Halifax, disembarking in Liverpool, and traipsing ‘cross many a country to this adventure’s ultimate goal, mother Russia, and her many parts unknown. But those thoughts never stray too far from that which is right in front of you, and I imagined you applying your vast knowledge of world histories to it, that which is right in front of you, right now, in the moment. For you are, among so many other things, a master of that art, and I have learned by observing you in moments we have shared. I have been paying attention.
To your words, but more importantly, to your actions, and always, to your quiet.
You are a skilled, gifted, even if inadvertent, instructor.
I have thought a great deal lately. I have thought of many things, including of those pertaining to your role in my world, not the least of which, is that you have already been, and will be, gone a long while. If my various and sundry lives have taught me anything, it is that game-changing shit happens, at the drop of a dime, often leaving us with little to no opportunity for communicating the important stuff, to those we are connected with. And so given some of the game-changers thrown at me, historically and in more recent times, I am compelled to articulate previously noted words, for I feel it is important that you know, this:
I appreciate your part in my life Sailorman Zeke. I care about you. The unintentional but most powerful tutelage of our dalliance, has been the source of more insight about myself, and what it is that I really want out of my remaining time here, than most things. And that right there, is a big-ass statement in and of itself, for it is not news that I have lived/led/survived/crashed in/resurrected, more lives, than most folks get, in just one skin.
In happening, quite intentionally, for we know I buy not, into vague and useless concepts like fate, but I digress, how odd… in the intentional happening across that which I believed not to be for me, you, your presence, your particular way of being, in the world, in relationship, and in my life specifically, I have experienced, and mostly enjoyed something that has evolved from (in your words following our first ‘date’), “pleasant enough,” to rude awakening, to something that I am challenged to describe adequately, but it is pleasing to me now, most pleasing indeed. This is important in my current world and incarnation of self and the life I am attempting to lead, while barely treading water. And perhaps more importantly than anything else, it is straightforward. It is transparent. It is uncomplicated. It is nothing more and nothing less, than what we have both agreed to, at any given moment in time. It has developed into a most satisfying surprise.
But you lead me astray yet again, in the best possible way, though astray none the less… so, to those words I have been compelled to scribe for weeks now: I believe, and I could be wrong, shockingly it has happened at least once before… I believe; that the word love is one you do not bandy about often, if at all. At this juncture, nor do I.
That said; I do harbour feelings of love for you Sailor. Interestingly, most refreshingly, they are nothing like anything I have experienced previously, they are so much more, and so much less, all at once.
More, because these feelings are grounded in a process, one which I have either not been provided here to fore, have not provided for myself, or perhaps even, could not ‘deal’ with in pasts further and more recent. The process I speak of is the space required to truly learn another. The space required not only to accept, but to appreciate those very traits, ways of being, I once found unacceptable in a sexual relationship.
More, because bereft of the traps of ownership and ex-pectations, we have afforded, each the other, and selves something only others who function this way, can know, can understand, can appreciate, can savour. More because these feelings I harbour for you are not based in fear of what I would miss without you, for I am secure in my person without any other. More, because they are based in genuine affection, respect for exactly who the other is, not that which we think they ought or desire them to be, or need them to be, to be OK with, to be OK in, our own skins.
More, because they are grounded in continuing curiosity, rather than the erroneous and arrogant trap of believing to fully ‘know,’ the other, any other, ever. More, because curiosity, in all manner of things pertaining to said dalliance and the world in general, historical and current, is what keeps us alive, truly alive, interesting, and interested, to and in self, and the other, any other, ever.
Less, so much less, in the most un-encumbering of ways, has become the ultimate more. Less, because my feelings for you are utterly bereft of, unweighted by, any semblance of clingy need. Less, because I (we) have few-to-no expectations about anything pertaining to ‘you-and-I,’ and so by direct extension, only curiosity remains, and like a full moon, it draws me in, it is enticing, always.
Less, because I feel no pressure to be anyone other than exactly who I am, at any given point in time, and I have not, even for a second, in the course of this thing I call our dalliance, wished you to be anyone, but exactly the person you are, at any given point in time. Not through the (now hilarious) miscommunications and literal ‘Dear John’ and ‘Dear M’ moments, moments of big (for me) heart ache. Not through the differences and varying life experiences informing our respective world-views, political positions, psychological and emotional places, and not through those moments when I questioned myself, because training, in previous romantic failures of proportions most epic, and (too) high prices, paid.
It has been shifting for me for a while, but the most noticeable, most profound change, came about for me last July, during that most memorable, for so many reasons, birthday voyage we shared.
The word love can be such a trap, and also not. I choose not. I choose to continue harbouring feelings of love for you Sailor, for however long, for however we choose, or not, to be connected. And I wanted you to know, because shit happens, and seemingly nothing, nothing at all, changes, complicates, everything.
So from this stark-raving Atheistic-realist of many names, to you, the quieter one of like-beliefs, but no less intensity, the sexy-ass renaissance man of few words, many names, and more real-life adventures than many a more famous traveller:
“No one’s fated or doomed to love anyone. The accidents happen.”
That works for me… and so do you Sailorman… so do you.
Stay safe out there Zeke… smooches,
~M. (Aka, well, you know who she is).
-Mama Marcella at 20-ish -Marcela Jr. at 20-ish
I want to tell you this story. I have told you the untold story of my original dad, the hero status I raised him to, because most of us do, when folks die young, tragically, dramatically. And because his heroism was brash, in your face, and because we as a culture have this bizarre tendency to idolize the dead, forget their misdeeds, while we ignore the living, breathing heroes who walk among us, every single day. My mother is one of those silent heroes.
She turned 81 today, and I need to tell you this story while my mama Marcella, yes, two L’s in her name is still with us, because she deserves more than a eulogy, because she deserves more than me extolling her virtues, waxing poetic about her loving (mis?)deeds, when she can no longer hear me.
It is far less cumbersome to paint a balanced portrait of a dead hero than a live one. For a dead hero cannot take offense, be hurt by, feel misunderstood, when I shed light on the dark side of their humanity, or my experience of it. The telling of these truths as I know them, shining light on all of our human parts, is a significant piece of the indescribable thing which drives me to write anything, about anything, in the first place. It is about normalizing humanity again, in all of its glory and folly. It is about refusing to buy into culturally-boxed ideas of what is real, what is appropriate, what is worthwhile, who and sadly what, we ought to idolize.
My mama Marcella is a Warrior Woman. One of a much subtler ilk and variety than the outwardly visible, unfiltered rebel-rebel style I inherited from our mutual hero, my original dad. She has known more strife and hardship, worked harder in her life, waded through more shit than you and I combined have ever flushed. She has trudged up more hills, bled herself dry for my dad, for my step-dad, for my brother and I, our children, and so many others, more times than I have the mathematical skillset to count.
She grew up in war-torn Eastern Europe with a mal-adjusted, alcohol-loving, violence-inclined father. When my grandmother finally managed to get them the hell out of his reach, with nowhere to go and no-how to get there, she learned by the same quietly tenacious example of her mama, Žofie Ševčíková, that I have experienced and learned from her, my mama Marcella, with two L’s.
When my babi Ševčíková forbid her to date my über unruly, leather clad, motor bike riding, womanizing, Czech Casanova of a dad, she up and married that boy, with my big brother Tom already in her womb. Keep in mind that this was 1960 in Eastern Europe, and nothing about him or their love story, was ‘appropriate’ or ‘acceptable,’ but especially not in my very strict and proper grandmother’s world view, and the hopes and vision she had for her only child.
When my dad was up against an extended jail term (for various political and other rebellions) she lessened that term by several years, doing what a good, loyal wife would do and made sure the authorities did not find everything they were looking for; she shoveled coal in our basement for days, to ‘obscure’ the immediate visual existence of various artifacts of interest to them.
When the Soviets rolled their tanks into our lives on that notoriously famous day in 1968, she quietly went about the business of being my dad’s right hand, in the complex affair of ‘getting him out of jail,’ think about that, and all of us out of the country. She literally bled her hands dry when she went to work with him in a metal toy factory in Germany while we were in hiding, because they were looking for him. She did it again when we finally got to this country, working at night producing and repairing the massive anchor lines used in the Port of Vancouver.
When he died two years later in a mysterious mining ‘accident’ in Stewart BC, she found herself standing in a world completely unknown to her, with two kids under the age of 12, no language, no job, no money, and no family support to speak of. We had fled former Czechoslovakia ‘illegally’ and going back was not an option. So like the Warrior Woman she is, she chose to put down his rifle the day they came to tell us he was dead, she chose to stay alive, and make the life for me and my brother that he always dreamed of, for all of us. I don’t think she ever thought of it as making a life for herself and her children, it was always about making sure my brother and I had what we needed, and then some. She slaved at several jobs to give us what our two-parent Canadian friends had, and so much more, always. This has never changed.
When we first landed in Canada I felt completely alien and in an effort to fit in, decided to change the spelling of our shared first name, Marcela, to Marcella with two L’s. My 1st grade friend Michelle had two, and I thought if I did, I would be more like her. My mama agreed because she needed her daughter to be happy. When I started to figure out who I really was in my mid-thirties, I changed it back to Marcela with one L, announced it to her, and the woman who hates profanity said ‘fuck you,’ I’m not changing it again. I’m keeping two.’ Insert that accent we all love so much and boom, you know where my feisty comes from. She may be a silent hero, but she ain’t no pushover!
When a millionaire wanna-be-hobby-pimp turned me out and she heard what I was doing for a living, she combed the known strolls in Vancouver looking for me in the middle of the night, and when I started to pump my veins full of poison to kill the pain of inhuman judgement, she never did, judge. She just wanted me to stay alive. When my brother wanted to get married at 18 and needed her signature, she may not have liked it, but she signed, because she wanted to support her son.
When she finally made the decision to pursue a life of her own again and married my second dad Mickey, there was not a moment’s hesitation, when I asked to follow her to Switzerland less than a year after she had moved to be with him. I needed to escape a life I was seriously unprepared for and she needed her daughter to be safe. Naturally she took me in, right into the middle of her new marriage and life. I was so happy for her. It was so short-lived.
You should know that we both cared deeply for him. He was lovely. That phrase is a standing joke between her and I, because in actuality he carried decades of anger and negativity that had nothing to do with my mother or our family, and she was where he directed it, more often than anywhere else, because he knew she would suffer in silence. In the beginning, for the first 20 years, she defended him almost as fiercely as she had defended the folly of her one true love, my original dad. Later, during moments of profound unhappiness and intense vulnerability, she talked about her sadness, but like so many of our species, was afraid of ending up alone in her old age.
So she stayed, stoically, in what I believe was a deeply unhappy union for both of them, for over 3 decades, until he died in 2012. She cared for him for months, brought a hospital bed into their living room. She slept on the couch so he wouldn’t be alone in his illness and fear and anger. We spent a week together sleeping on the floor of his hospice room, so he wouldn’t be alone and afraid and angry when he died. I learned something from her during his illness and ultimate passing, which almost defies description. I believe it is connected to human dignity, in profoundly undignified moments, and complete and utter un-conditionality and commitment.
This very generosity, loyalty and dedication to the well-being of her children and others, continues to be one of her greatest strengths and pitfalls, all in one. I recognize this characteristic well, because I, her youngest apple, have not fallen far from, am still clinging fiercely to parts of her tree. I share her tendency to stay loyal to individuals, organizations even, that by virtue of their less than stellar behaviour toward her or I, have rendered themselves undeserving of said loyalty.
Giving undeserved loyalty is my mother’s Achilles heel. I have learned from her about getting out of really bad situations sooner than later, and I am beyond sad that I had to learn it by the heart-wrenching example of her prolonged suffering.
Máma, I know that my deep sense of empathy, compassion, and to some extent a sense of obligation to others, come from you. I love you so far beyond these few paragraphs, for they are but a mere snapshot into a life most folks would be challenged to imagine, never mind survive and thrive in. I feel that you cannot possibly comprehend the extent to which you have informed some of the best parts of who I am; they are not the outwardly intense and obvious bits I get from my rebel-rebel father, they are the stoic, silent inside that I so often feel is going to break me, but I know is part of the core, the very root system of that apple tree I come from. For you have always been the roots that keep our family tree healthy and strong, and bearing crazy-ass Ševčík-Mrnka-fruit that defies anything like normal, when it comes to categories.
This story is a work in progress. The task of attempting to portray your heroism is one of proportions most epic, and I am overwhelmed with anxiety about getting it right. There are so many more parts, so many more pages in the story of your life that I feel must be included, but it is important that I release this draft from the vault of my beloved writing lappy, before I am paralyzed with the enormity of painting an accurate word picture, of your beautiful soul. The figurative ‘stick people’ I have managed to draw on this page, will have to do, for your 81st birthday, my dearest máma.
I have faith that we will both continue to flex that never-give-up-muscle we have in common, and while another 81 for either of us is a bit of stretch, I choose to believe that we will enjoy many more years of life, love, learning and growing old(er) together.
More filtered than usual, for I know you hate it when I swear, and with all the love I have:
PS: Thanks for the style, we do love our hats and clothes and shoes’n things!
July 17, 2017
All Rights Reserved
March 22, 2017
This day last year I stood on your doorstep, and told you that Miller had died. Four days ago we stood with so many others and celebrated Matty’s life. They were both your age. Kids you knew, kids we both had significant connections to. And they both died the tragedy which your very existence provided me a most narrow escape from, so many years ago. I owe you Thomas. It has been a bizarre little year, and hard to believe how much changed, in only 365 days. How much you have changed, in only 365 days. How much ‘we’ have changed.
We shared a roof again for the first time since you flew the mama-coop almost 7 years ago, and you got to experience my home world in a much different capacity, as an adult. During that precious, though most difficult cohabitation (we know why, but this isn’t about my ill-fated romantic escapades), I was gifted with many insights into who you have become, a view that I could not have glimpsed in the course of a less closely-quartered relationship, consisting only of weekly drive-by-huggings. I treasure that unexpected and challenging time we shared.
The kind, sweet, compassionate parts I have always known were readily visible, as always, to my ever-biased eye, and came as no surprise. They have been an integral part of you since the moment you took your first breath, and broke my heart so beautifully, on this day 26 years ago. At 1:29 p.m., Central European Time, to be precise.
Sharing space again was not the challenge, rather the battle we each waged with our respective demons-of-the-moment, which then manifested in our adult-child/childish(?)parent duo. A most welcome revelation during that brief roomie-relationship last spring and summer, was witnessing you put into practice, under highly inauspicious circumstances, some of my oft repeated, and most relentless teachings:
- Stand up for yourself and above all, for others when they cannot!
- Question everything, use critical thinking skills to analyze everything and everyone in the world!
- Be willing to re-think and revise your own beliefs, always!
- Question and challenge me, and mine!!!
That last one was/is hard for you, and I am tempted to apologize but I won’t. You did, you do good with it! I don’t make it easy. I know.
To my utter chagrin, I also watched you demonstrate some of my ‘best parenting,’ in a number of your habits, confounding, even provocative and head-strong ways of being! I can but express my remorse and regret for those bits, and forge ahead to lead by a different example than the one I obviously provided you at some point in time. Neither mama-flagellation nor Sunny-bashing is the purpose of including this piece, it is important though, to me, that I live with a more balanced view of my heroes. For not even you, my most beloved, all-time favourite human on this planet, in the galaxy, the universe, are perfect. And for me to live with that skewed perspective is a set-up for you, and for me. Because it damn well hurts when our heroes fall off the lofty pedestals, upon which we situate them. That in mind, I will only raise you to an altitude we can both withstand a fall from. Because we will, fall. Splat.
Watching you this last year, the softness you had for your babi during her painful struggle, and for me, having you close, through some of the hardest times you/we have experienced to date, and holy moly Bat-boy that says something (because have you met our life?), has yet again, been my ultimate saving grace. Once more, I owe you Thomas.
Twenty-six will be fabulous BabyCakes, and I look forward to more! More surprises, more challenges, more of everything we have always known together, more crazy, and more learning, about ourselves, each other, and how to evolve and function even better, individually and as ‘the set,’ we have always been. I can only beseech my atheist Ungods that we will always be, that set. ‘Always’ being so fully and inadequately impermanent and all, but you get my point!?
No words, no language (not even profanity), suffice to describe the gift of your presence in my world, for 26 years and counting. Who says I can’t do long-term relationships?! Our relationship has evolved, and not without serious growing pains, to something it has never been before, something I am loathe to label in any way, other than to say it is more grown up. On both ends. Which means you’re right on schedule, and me, well, sorry, bit of a late bloomer in some areas of life…
High five SunnyBoyManChildBabyCakesSnookemBooBabyCzechThommyCzechBatBoy (did I get them all?), we did well! No, we did fucking awesome! Yeah, that’s better, we did Fucking Awesome!
Happiest of happy birthdays to you child!
With the Maddest of Madd Love,
She, Valkyrie cradles tattered remnants a slaughtered spirit, in her intrepid care. Goddess vision greets wounded gaze and I beseech her, to choose life, for an oft wounded, heart. To Valhalla for mead, and her. Salve for the psyche, soul and flesh, of gods mythical, and mortal, and their concubines. ~Marcela: beautifully lost, in a real-time myth, of my own creation. February 18, 2017 Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valkyrie
“Stop,” she said to herself! “Do refrain from accusing the accusers, from negating the Nellies negative, from despising the Debbies downer! And focus, on the freedom that comes with designing, with owning, your feelings, your thoughts, your life and your choices”!
“Know,” she said to herself, “that as long as you are breathing, life will bitch slap you, over and over again! Feel the fury, agonize in the pain, and then stand up to her like the fucking Warrior Woman you are.”
“Love,” she said to herself, “self above all, for it is not an act of ego, rather the only real survival skill you will ever need.”
~Marcela: Moving, at the speed of a woman Too Much!
January 02, 2017
Photograph: My personal collection. All rights reserved.