Cycle of Abuse: Family of Lies


Cycle of Abuse: the Matriarch/Part Two

harold 2

How odd, it seems to me, that the frigidly, Irish, sardonic, and catholic…persons, seem to die in the winter.  While their bodies can lay above the ground, in wonder…for what seems like years.

My unpleasant grandfather died in a month filled with snowstorms.  My grandmother paid homage to the Saints in similar weather.

Ground stiff, solid and uncaring.  Winds chaffing and abusive.  Oak trees from centuries pass…dotting the graveyard.  All that surrounds… had become gray.  No better word to describe it.  Gray!

I will say, discovering Irish names, among the filler in a Massachusetts’s catholic cemetery, is not an easy affair.

Along the holding lines of remorse and disarray: January and February, I felt a renewed need to find something.

My only certainty had been my Irish blood.  Thick and swollen as a, dark red liquid pulsing through a bottle of Jack.  Yukon Jack, that is.

Eventually, after my grandmother’s funeral,  family dispersed.  My brother and his wife took flight.  As they often do, when push comes to shove.  And, anger is no longer needed.

My sister?  Well, most likely she too moved on.  Moved on to her grandchildren, her daughter, her son.  Clinging, minus the Good Book, to all that a solemn mother should be.

My parents?  They walk about distilled in the dysfunction of daily tasks.  My daily tasks. .  Encouraging me to come inside and visit in between…shoveling, snow blowing, changing out light sockets, walking dogs, doing laundry, monitoring mother’s medications…etc.

I clung on to my lack of history until mid February.  Perhaps, such like other writers, or most likely, overwhelmed by the lack of daylight; I fail at finding anything gregarious to pen about…in the depths of a New Hampshire winter.  Still, I sat myself down, between almost daily visits to the parents.  Sat myself in front of needed research.

Needed research into the fine lines that held the prongs of my blood relations, upright.

Turning to  It had been midnight, Marlboro Red blaring and soundless, I dug the depths of lies.

To my ‘not’ credit.  I have many degrees.  None of wish require much adding, subtraction, researching, digging and/or metallic depth.  I am not a scientist.  I am not a researcher.  I am blessed not wanting any further knowledge than 1 plus 1 equals…2.

Or, at least, the last I looked, that had been simple math.

However, when one delves into what is, what was, how long ago, names, dates, etc.; It is a handy trait.  Concentration, that is.

‘Round or about two in the morning.  I discovered a name!  My father’s mother was called, LuLu.  She was a full-fledged Cherokee Indian.

LuLu Bowley.  Lulu Rebel.  Lulu Rebel Hammond.  Lulu!

She passed in 1964.  I can only assume she died of the rumors spoken about behind clasped hands.  Gambling, drinking, infidelity, teaching school.

Bits and pieces of the Bowley past were just that.  Bits, segments, discarded notions handed down from angry relation to angry relation.  How much reigned true?  I never knew for certain.

I had been…set up in what is known in my home as the, game room (though there are no games.)  Set up I had been, with laptop in lap, burning cigarette in hand.  Set up!  Or, so I thought.  Living in the merry world of the unknown.

I gave up quickly on weeding through the death certificates, census data, phonebook information.  As I have already stated, concentration is not my strong suit.

Finding Lulu’s eulogy and obituary in the Portsmouth Herald seemed the easiest route.  Less digging, fewer files and photographs!  Right up my alley!

blood 2

I would like to think, my anger has lessened.  That over decades of reminders, I became a person with some depth…Hoping that the not so gentle up bringing of flippant, aggressive, discourse…would bleed out.  Well, not bleed out but seed, flower and eventually, become something more artistic.

My father beat us with leather belts, wire hair brushes, words, hands, punches, etc.  And, had he not been available.  Due to work constraints…my mother would abide.  Though, Janice had been a martyr.  She carried the torch when father was not available.

Growing up, not soundly, but with many horrific sounds, I had been referred to as…

You are just like your father!  Angry!

Daily fist fights with drunken and sober turns of fate, I  hope to have amassed what I believe to be the opposite.  I currently hide from outbursts, pointing of the finger and lastly, degradation of others for my betterment.  This has taken time.  Yet, I know that there is no great prize in having abused others.

I could linger for pages on the black sheep, spoiled brat, angry little girl, scenario.  I am not my father.  I know that in my heart of hearts.  However, that was not an easy road of self-reflection to travel.

As previously stated, my siblings are quite different from I.  Living in a world of conservatism, do as I say, not as I do, judge ye’ first, attitude.  It appears to work for them.  We are completely indifferent to each other.

I often wonder what life could have been like?  Had a much older half-brother and sister listened to themselves, other than elders lacking pride.

But that is another story…Perhaps, for another time.

Oddly enough.  Or, better said, not odd at all, reading of my clan at work on the pages of police logs.  I eventually found, at 3 in the morning…Lulu’s newspaper clipping.

No real information on her ‘true’ demise.  No delegation on her physical illness.  However…a few lines on Harold Bowley needing to be released from care to oblige the funeral processions in Kingston.

Aghast!  What more can one say?imageedit_62_9747238982

Again, in slow, sometimes, untrue, verbal releases from my mother.  I had been very uncertain of Harold’s whereabouts…before my birth.

Had he been in the Korean war?  Probably not

Had he been born along the northern coast of Massachusetts?  Close but not really!

Had he really been married before?

To a young child, terrified of this man with a worn, brown belt.  A daughter reminded daily of her father’s genes infiltrated hers!  Genes, crumpled and filled with hate.  To my toddler self, I could not fathom, this horrific, infrequently caring, man, married to anyone other than…Other than, my mother, a woman who seemed to fill his dented persona with her own depressions.

What I thought I knew?

Perhaps, he had been married before.  Perhaps, his first wife had been a harlot?  Perhaps, he had bred another child!  Perhaps, all had passed away in an automobile accident…along with the first wife’s lover!

Nothing could have prepared me for the anger unleashed in deluded ink.

Yet, there it sat.

Harold Bowley, local man stabs estranged wife…35 times!  That is a killing of love with hate.  That is the taking of someone’s life in such a way that there is meaning.  It was not a drive by shooting.  It had not been a robbery.  It had been an act of vulgar, closeness.

Actions so false.  Romance tied with a lack of emotion, a culvert for the fallen to hide.

This had been the man who raised me.  

cycle of abuse 1

However, only the beginning has come to life.

So much hung in the balance.  In a trance like state, finding it difficult to breath; I wept for the first time in many years.  Wept for my life.  How it had been so easily discarded with lies!





Afrin and my Irish Mother

Duck and cover
When the big one drops…make sure to assign guilt!

Jezebel threw open the sash that had held her tiny little life together.  With the sweat of the night before and/or the heat flashes that seemed to encompass her daily routine…the Bell of the ball…felt the wind being sucked from her sails.

‘This fuckin’ cold is kicking my ass.  Today!?  Today!  Is the last day of the rest of my life!’

What with a 100 degree temperature, a swollen big toe, one runny nostril and a handful of other ailments…one of which being, potty mouth and potty bottom…

With all these small but increasingly life threatening ailments, Jezebel, knew the end would be coming soon.

Common colds are for commoners.  This particular cold was much different than all the others for the very simple reason…Jezebell was prone to the dramatics in life.

What had made her careen from the bed to the window…with the speed of a cat in heat?  The bi-yearly visit to dear old grandma Jeze’s tomb!

Today had been the day to end all days.  Today Jezebel, Sister Lelah Catherine, Mother Sarah and Jezebel’s partner in crime and in the bedroom…Meghan, would be churning up the old Volvo station wagon and pointing it toward the badlands…commonly known as, Massachusetts.

Yet, as Jeze, stood milling over her short life…how her obit would read…

…a fellow sister has fallen today.  Gone by way of the heavens.  Leaving behind a lifelong legacy of self fulfilling prophecies…a writer by day, lover by night and guilty as sin every hour in between…

…Jeze, succumbed two days ago, to a 36 hour illness known as the common cold!

Not only did tears well up in the eyes of our heroine.  A memory, a deju vu, a recollection of the night before and it’s dreams crept up and reminded her of guilt and it’s true and far reaching legacy.

They had been traveling at the lightening speed of 45 mph.  Meghan had been at the helm.  Up snug and close to banging her contact lens on the windshield…Meghan had only just received her license 2 years ago.  After several failed attempts and one bad hot coffee spill!

Of course, Meghan had been the obvious choice… to make the long trek down to the armpit of New England…the suburbs of Boston.  The two other co-pilots straddling the bench seat were less likely to get the group to it’s destination than they were in receiving a book of matches, a map and a reward…if they could navigate their way out of a corn maze!

Sister Lelah had been warned by her doctor to lay off the cosmetic braces.  That she had been wearing adult braces for so long…they could possibly be responsible for the good sister’s lack of common sense.

And, Mother Sarah?  Well, Jezebel’s mother had needed help getting her acceleration leg in the car since she was diagnosed with Shenanigan Syndrome.  An old malady, handed down from one catholic female to the next.  Often confused with the following term; SPELL

‘Oh, the good sister?  Well, she had a spell!  No other way to explain.  One leg went out from underneath her, than the next and well, the last thing I remember, her dentures flew across the lawn.’

And, of course, due to the simple fact that Jezebel has thrown theology out the proverbial window…in exchange for the Goddess.  Jeze found herself entombed in the back.  Arms crossed delicately on the upper torso.  Ankles crossed virgin-ally…on the lower torso.  Between living between sin and homosexuality...made your’s truly a prime target for the dreadful sniffles.  Jezebel was indeed death warmed over.  And, make no doubt about it, her tawdry ways coupled with guilt, were key ingredients to this boiler maker cold!

Sneezing and coughing and spewing.  Jezebel had been the season’s first victim to the common cold.  Her only hope?  The hidden bottle of Afrin…placed beneath the chains that held her wallet in place…

Current day, Jezebel, shivered from the memory, the dream.  Had she concocted the whole scenario?  Did her mother, as in the dream, denounce the Afrin demon with ten rounds of the Our Father, five rounds of the Hail Mary and a promise to never scratch a sweepstakes’s ticket again!

During the hysteria!  Her partner, Meghan driving recklessly arguing with Sister Lelah Catherine on the proper arrangement of ‘thongs’ while being wheeled away by EMS...Sister Lelah texting her new found love, a virtual IGO (image generated object)!  Igo declining to take the relationship to a new level.  The Sister debating the pro’s and con’s of sex one handed!

Amid the bad karma, playing heavily in the background, Brand New Key, by a little known artist named, Melanie!

Turning from the window, placing the day in order.  Placing the nightmare in a box of pinky sized laughing BuddhasJezebel took a hit off her pipe, shook the air our of her head and took two good tugs of a bottle of Afrin.

Slowly she made her way downstairs.  Readying herself for the tormenting phone call that lay ahead.

‘Hey, Mom, it’s me…I know I promised you.  But I’m too sick to go anywhere.  Can we go to the Cemetery next week?  I know, I know…you’re disappointed!’


Known to cause paralysis from the neck down.  No known cause.  No known cure.

Common symptoms:

flighty behavior

immobility of brain cells

road rash


Age of onset: 15 yr., in catholic/irish/females