The Winds of Autumn

My mom is constructed of anxiety. Today, she is worried about possible tornadoes, and a possible railroad strike.

She bought $500 worth of food from BJ’s wholesale. She calls all of her descendents to warn them of inclement weather. Today, she is upset that my niece isn’t home when a storm is coming. She’s worried about loaves of bread getting smaller. She has given me 20 pounds of tomatoes and a jar of salsa from her garden.

My mother’s fears are never unfounded. She is sensitive. She senses things before they happen. Her severe history of trauma has strengthened this gift because she needed it to survive everything she’s been through.

Everyone in my mom’s side of this family has this gift.

Mostly, it just causes anxiety, but we fucking survive. We’re like damn cockroaches. You can’t kill us. If we take care of ourselves, we live to our 90’s on that side. Late 80’s if we don’t. And then, we basically spiral out in anxiety until it degenerates to dementia, causes a stroke, and we die, basically, of anxiety.

I hiked on Pine Hill today. I can’t be there without thinking of my ancestors on that hill.

We’re tough, but always problematic.

My great-great grandmother died having a seizure which opened a self-inflicted injury to her throat from a suicide attempt. She bled to death. My great grandfather shared a room with her, so was there when it happened. He was 9. He lived to be 93, and was the kindest man I ever met. He and my great grandmother fought like cats and dogs. He loved her, until the day he died. He smoked unfiltered Camels like a chimney, and walked with a limp because a horse fell on him.

Grandma Drayton came from parents who came to own all the land from Napoli to Steamburg, after being indentured servants. They spoiled their sons. Both of them were alcoholics. They spent all of the money, and burned down the house. Grandma D couldn’t stand alcohol. Her son, Edward, was killed by a drunk driver at 11.

God, thinking of the pain of that. She got chicken pox while she was pregnant with her third child. The baby was stillborn, and he had decomposed. His head fell off. I was told that story by my grandmother, along with a children’s rhyme illustrated with a dandelion.

That’s all I can think of when I see a dandelion.

My grandfather was deaf in one ear because his father beat him with rope when he didn’t tie a calf correctly. He was in the 29th infantry division and landed at Normandy, driving over the bodies of his comrades. He was a truck driver. I can’t imagine what that must have been like for him. He was a good man, but got so mean when he had dementia. He was always a man who most showed his love through his craftsmanship, and to his beagles. He struggled to be affectionate with people. He and grandma fought. Constantly. Mom relates as a funny story that she used to pretend to be a referee when she was little.

Lord, I never had a chance to be healthy without a lot of work .

But, we’re tough in my family, and tend to do better with every generation, on Mom’s side.

Dad’s side? We’re autistic. We have ADHD. We’re smart, but we struggle. This shows across the generations. However, I have close family with connections to Berkeley, Harvard, Columbia, and Cornell, in spite of that fact.

We’re tough. We’re smart.

We get through, my family and I.

I’ve started eating again, and have lost 5 pounds. My body is so weird. I ate about 500 calories a day from June to the end of August, and the scale stayed completely stable.

I only care about my weight as it impacts my mobility at this point, but still…

It is what it is. Lean and mean, I am not. Shooting for “fat and happy”.

I hiked today. I’ve missed it so much. I’m most myself in nature. It gives me such peace.

We had fried chicken from Tops and fresh tomato with cream cheese sandwiches for supper.

Ya know, I wanted to celebrate losing 5 pounds.

I’m laughing my fucking ass off.


I’ll survive.

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