Monday, July 16, 2012

What's your spooky kid talent ?

Perhaps I watched too many spooky movies before bed? Or was it that it the reading I did before bed, the last thing I remember is responding to a post on a page where the poster asked :

"So question, does any one else have Inherited spiritual Gifts that Surprised you as a Young Child did it Scare you or did it not?" (thanks Chris R. for the inspiration!)

I posted about my connection with Death and how as I child I started to get this feelings in my tummy and in my gut about when someone was going to leave this mortal plane. 

It started in 1982 or 1983 when I went to the hospital as my Mother's mother was ailing. My Grandfather had taken care of her until he died (she had a stroke) and she was put into a care home. We stayed overnight with her and I couldn't sleep. I walked the halls where I heard the voices of the lonely calling me in the middle of the night, "Little girl, come here , little girl" and understandably I was quite scared. It was really late at night when my Mum gave me a little herbal remedy pill to help me sleep. The next day was a cloudy day, we sat with Grandma as we waited for our other Aunts and Uncles to get there. I really loved how our family was big and how we would come together to support each other. 
We had a family joke "We have to stop meeting like this and have real family reunions instead of meeting up at funerals!" As a way to lighten the burden of grief we shared.

I went to my Grandma and watched her labouriously breath in and out. I felt something was happening so I went to cuddle her, hold her hands, wrap my little arms around her just as she used to do with me.

As long as I knew my Grandma Ray , she was dealing with the after effects of a stroke she suffered. As a little one I had no idea and thought that Grandma's just had a special language all their own and all needed a little help getting into wheel chairs and getting dressed. She talked and talked to me and though I couldn't understand the world I could get her meaning. She missed me, she wanted to hold me and how! She was so strong for someone weighed around 85-90 lbs. She could pull me into her lap and squeeze me till I couldn't breathe and that was ok cause I missed her too.When we would sit outside I was wander her acre with her namesake goat Alice. Such a sweet and lovely goat. Perhaps that is why,even though I have cleaned , prepared and helped cook many a goat in the past , I could never quite eat them. I just want to take them all home and love them. 

As I was with my Grandma and holding her in the rest home, my family milling about behind me, my Grandma took her last breath. Then it seemed she got lighter somehow. I got up and turned around and went to my Mother.

"Mommy, your Mom, Grandma is dead" and then the crying began. I often wished I wasn't the bearer of that news and from then on I would find a much nicer way , then bluntly, to deliver that news. I guess that is hard to a 9 year old to vocalize sensitively when in shock.

Not much later my Auntie Marion and Uncle Ned arrived. Aunt Marion knew, she said as they were driving trying not to speed, they saw the sky open up and a ray of sunlight cut through the cloudy day and touch the ground . She knew then that her Mother had passed. Her story stuck with me because since then I have had that same experience when they my other Grandma and my dear friends  and Brothers have all passed.

I had one Uncle , Uncle Charles who I could swear could shake his first at Death and say "Ah no, not yet!" I'd gotten the feeling a couple times to rush home and ask my Mum about him and hear he was in the hospital. I have such great memories of my Uncle , he was a Navy Man , both he and my Auntie worked in San Francisco for the Police Dept. He was so strong and could knock the wind out of me picking me up and swinging me around. Must have run in that side of the family , like my Grandma, his Mum!  Even though he had some health issues it never seemed to slow him down, that I could tell. He seemed to do everything with a zest for life and the only time I'd see him get very serious is when I would bug him with my questions about the Masons. I knew he was high up there and I was so fascinated that my Uncle was apart of a "Secret Society" I have been collecting Masonic and Eastern Star stuff , mostly gifts from friends : "This looks spooky and weird, give it to Angelique" and I hoped in vain he would share the secrets. There were a couple time he would go into the hospital and wake up and pull his tubes out and walk out. I was happy that someone could do that for as long as he did.

For his 80th birthday I painted him a portrait of him just becoming an adult in his Navy Uniform and presented it to him at his surprise party. I was excited to paint a painting that the subject would get to see while they were with us, instead of my usual Memento Mori portraits. It is one of the few that actually don't have a halo, not that he didn't deserve it , but that he was not a Guardian Angel yet. I took the day at work at the tattoo shop to paint it , I like to think I impressed my co workers.Portraits are kinda considered very difficult in the tattoo world, but they can be a wee bit easier if you train your brain right. Kinda the same way I tattoo the front of my legs and feet, upside down. For the interested I suggest the book "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards. It is the most useful book I have ever read in regards to my work as a professional Artist.

Later months down the road, I got the call that he had passed. I still feel bad to this day I had to call my Mum at work with the news. I sure wish I'd handled it more sensitively. Perhaps waited till she got home or went to pick her up somehow, rather then telling her on the phone at work. I should have known better.  Knowing our history , sometimes people can fear what comes out of my mouth, especially when you have a history of  blurting out what people are thinking without even knowing it. Or the time I described how her Eldest Brother was really sick with Cancer and had taken his own life when he had gone terminal and described how it happened with no one telling me. 

As a Kid it is hard to separate what you hear out loud to what you hear when people are thinking. I hope my Mum can forgive my forwardness. Sometimes I can feel it on the phone, she won't keep me on the line long, I think she knows I can hear her thoughts sometimes, I finish her sentences. But as a kid I remember she never finished them out loud. I didn't really realize that till my sisters pointed it out and I heard them being finished in my head. I knew just what to get for her. When I was pregnant , and now as a Mum, you get even more sensitive. I would go into the drug store to grab some things while my Mum would wait in the car so she could smoke a cigarillo without setting off my gag reflex. I would come out with some nail polish for her saying "that's what you wanted , right? I thought you would like some red nail polish, we can paint your nails" and she would say, "I was thinking about that! I thought about asking you, but you already went in, your doing that thing again, I swear you are psychic!" I would tell her, "Naw Mum, you just think really loud!, haha". 

I think I get my bluntness from my Dad and empathy from my Mum. She still is afraid of me ,but I learned and am much more careful about what I say. answer to the post was a much shorter version, think the Tweet version.

I thought I caught a break when my friend Christopher Starkweather died:

He was young , not someone you would expect to go like an elderly family member.

After that , I hadn't felt anything in a while. It must have been saving up? I was actually hoping it was just a kid thing..

In Mid Oct. of 2001 I was driving across the San Francisco Bay Bridge on the way to the city. It was an overcast day and no sun in sight, all of the sudden the sun broke through and a hard shaft of light hit the water and then that feeling hit my gut with a vengeance. "Oh no , I thought, this is gonna hurt" , I knew that who ever it was it was going to be a doozy and I had an idea whom but I just didn't want to face the fact that I would lose my closest friend in the whole world, Heather Oswald, two weeks later. Or maybe in hindsight it was a few dear friends all at once, but mercy didn't let me know what happened all at once.

I recently shared this story with her sister, who also had a similar premonition and begged her sister to not go to Oakland just before her fatal accident there. Another conclusion her sis and I surmised , is that Heather also knew and often remarked about it.

It was a really tough year 2001, the night before Heather died, my friend from Modesto, Marian Anderson,lead singer for The Insaints, my punk rock older sis full of knowledge passed on.Right after that we lost our advocate for music , room mate and former booker for the Berkeley Square AJ Cardinal and other room mate and Poet/writer/Musician John Sinistere.

I am not sure if I was standing in the wrong line when the Universe handed out its gifts to people but I got a hard one to deal with. Perhaps I got distracted from the knowing the winning lottery numbers line?
What it has fostered in me in a sense of importance of loving people when they are around and appreciating how precious and short our time is here. Also I can be a resource to others who are going through grieving as well. In any case friends are precious to me and it is hard to let go.

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