Estrangement from Family …

Estrangement from Family…

With the book, Flying with Broken Wings finished and in the “mail”; before I begin the next writing project I wanted to post my own feelings about ESTRANGEMENT …some type of estrangement appears to be an ongoing part of my life.  Therefore, I will share a few with you…

I want to write about estrangement from family, mine and my point of view.  First comes the Alabama “shirttail” redneck relatives oh yes…I use to go back home to visit and their first words upon seeing me was “You still a Yankee”?  Still living is an aunt and uncle neither have ever been outside their home town except when my uncle went to fight “The Big War”, which in reality was the end of the Korean Conflict.  He returned to work in the same factory forty or more years and she was a homemaker.  Nothing wrong with either of those statements accept you would have to know them personally, as there are various levels of “Redneck”.

I call it a YO-YO estrangement spanning about forty- years.  I went those many years going back to a place I knew was never “home” just a place where I grew up.  Always spring and Thanksgiving breaks with my parents whom have since passed, I had one sibling who passed as well.  During those, many years visiting on Holidays brought a new meaning to the word relatives.    

I understand that I left home when I was sixteen, but I tried to keep in touch with many of them.  I must say that it was a one-way communication, hard to believe but it was…I would call my parents weekly, reach out to the only sibling I had, and the others who I thought of as relatives.

Now after all of these many years later I have to wonder why relatives chose to distance themselves, choose to demonize you while painting themselves as virtuous, sailing a tide of bitterness and anger mostly for unknown reasons.  Most thought if you crossed the Alabama state line you would fall into the Pits of Hell, yep, Alabama was the world and it was flat.  It appeared the closer the “Pecking Order” leading to the top…the nastier they were when talking behind one is back.  Oh, this was not just me; this deeply embedded Redneck dysfunctional family went after each other as well.

My parents made it known to me in the hidden messages in their conversations that visitors should stay in a motel.  I was the visiting relative.  I kept my visits short and casual, the love I had for my out of touch parents would never end.  I was not alone in these situations, my aunts, uncles and families were not welcome, including my only sibling.  The only one my parents ever accepted was a grandchild whom had lived off my parents all of their life. However, this individual would never learn to function alone, not my problem I say.

Three years before my mother died (my father already dead); ask that I “not come back”.  I honored her wish and did not return until her death.  Estrangement…the only relative I felt close too ostracized me for about ten years.  I reached out and the email relationship and an occasional visits were on and off for another twenty years, having three year gaps.  Please understand that I continued to try and “hold on” to this individual because of my parents.  In the beginning of 2017, the mixed messages and/or lies seem to give me reason to turn loose, to stop the acting, to stop listening to how their entitlement created by my parents caused all of the problems.  From parents that made the mistake of “dying” leaving them to fend for themselves.  Oh my, what a dilemma! 

I finally went “Oh my God”; I have been holding onto a family member that clearly does not want to continue communicating with me or have a family relationship.  Since, I have made it very clear that I no longer want to be a puppet in their lives, strung along to whatever tune they are playing. 

I realize that some might be empathetic and others will say for the sake of peace live with their poor reasoning skills and their sense of entitlement.  I understand struggling, but I was not the child that lived free well into adulthood under my parents “roof”, I was not the one who did not know how to survive.   

Honestly, I wrestle with the challenges, struggles, and consequences of writing about my estrangement.  It is hard to decide what to omit and what to disclose.  The stakes are high and paying the price for transparency can strike hard.  While many people are empathetic, some think I should bury the hatchet for the sake of peace and family.

While I am no person’s judge, I do not presume to know what others should or should not do in the same predicament.  I do not have to explain or justify my decision to draw boundaries between my family and me.  I do not have to help these people understand my position.  I do not have to defend myself or prove myself. Please do not underestimate the power or long-lasting effect of emotional and verbal abuse.  With the death of my parents, I would tread lightly as the family I was dealing with had a passion for lying and being a victim.  I have known all my life that my family would never inspire to match the image of a Norman Rockwell painting.

For those who are empathetic with my situation or suffer from their own estrangement, thank you for understanding!  I know estrangement is tough especially during the holidays, which promotes families and togetherness.  It is plagued by awkward moments where we dodge communication about our family and suffer in silence.  

I try to remember that no two people view any event the same, even within a family.  We have different vantage points, shaped by our own perspectives & life experiences.  Our different levels of awareness are impacted by our beliefs, ideas, fears, & motives.  I have quit trying to change my estranged family or trying to get them to consign to a common perspective.

There are NO completely innocent parties with estrangement.  I try to reflect on my part.  I do not question if somehow I could have handled things differently.  What would I do differently next time, nothing, as there will not be a next time?  Life hands us pain and hurt to teach us lessons.  I have finally with aged wisdom learned from my experiences with family.

I have chosen to focus on the healthy relationships in my life and my children and grandchildren, which I have built on respect, support, & appreciation where I am loved for who I am and not what others wanted me to be.  My was not imprinted with images of unconditional love and acceptance from family.  I do know that I am not alone…with these words in closing old wounds, I have a new perspective on my life and will now begin my next writing project…”Rain, Fire and Lies”, my autobiography.

Thank you for reading and supporting me, I will do my best to keep all of you posted with the progress of the book and my daily life.  Love to all of you.

2017©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

Honey Wine – A 100 Word Story

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Honey Wine

Serena knew that beauty had an ending, that all things fade and die she was in the winter of her years.  All her friends were gone as was much of her family, some forgotten like goldenrods falling to dust upon the wind.  Her eyes yearned, her heart bled for love, she kept repeating the words…

“Old, old, old.”

The clouds of time have spun away like fall she now waited for the last leaf to drop.  All that was left was the sweet memories like Honey wine.  Please she whispered let it go quickly…

“I am so tired of time”.

 

 

2016.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Choices – A 100 Word Story

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Choices

A roar of thunder melds with a coming storm, Tom Thornton’s heart is stone; he knows that because he feels nothing.  His wife’s veins once flowed with a passionate fire; now the crimson liquid spread across the floor.  Doors locked, a decision had to be made and quickly.  His life also ended when he would not let Sarah leave.  His heart will never soften; he will never feel the heat of Sarah’s fire again.  The police and ambulance sirens filter into the house.  He sat on the bed asking, “God, will I go to Heaven if I choose to die”?

 

 

©2016.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Unyielding Heart – A 100 Word Story

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Unyielding Heart

Amy Dumont woke begging the world to stop; today her memories did not fill the emptiness left in an unyielding heart.  Her plan was to seal shut the door on life, quietly fade away.  She asks herself how others survive.  At times, she knew that her soul peaked over her walled up heart wanting to escape or be found.  She walked up to the grassy mound laying upon it a single yellow rose, softly she touched the headstone tracing the words Andrew Dumont; then looking to the sky she watched clouds part and said to herself  “Be patient doubtful heart”.

 

©2016.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

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Coffee Table Books – 8 X 11

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On a Blue Bird Day

It is spring, warm breezes float through magnolia trees.  A gracious woman of the South rises from past memories; her thoughts behind the ice blue eyes. She sits on the bank of a pebbly brook under a Blue Bird sky, the scent of lilac rises from her starched dress.  She dips her fingers slowly into the cool water; she is old and life has passed her by, and the depths of her truth never known.  In her secret place of selfishness her hate for an unwanted child; she stops to ponder her own question; does she deserve the name “Mother”.

 

©2016.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

 

Happy Father’s Day Daddy…

30. Women in cottonfield

The painting is from an acrylic and watercolor I did in 2012,  it is one of my favorites as its subjects are from the memory of my childhood; of a place that I loved, and as a child understood the hardships of the times.  My daddy passed away in 1977, he was a good man; he was a Native American farming and living in Northern Alabama.  He farmed almost 500 acres of cotton as a “sharecropper” he made $80 a month and we lived in a tarpaper shack on a small patch of green next to a natural spring that ran into a small creek.  He was the parent who raised me and I would ride on cool mornings to the field in the back of a wagon pulled by two old mules.  At the end of the day I nestled in that same wagon on a soft bed of cotton for the trip home.  My hopes are that he is somewhere beyond the veil of life sitting on the back of a wagon with the sweet smell of smoke from his pipe circling his head as he visits with those he loved and respected.  I wrote the poem below as a tribute to him drawn on the memories of those day.

“A  tribute to Daddy”

 

The Chickasaw Farmer

Rickety old man stood on the cotton wagon a tin of yellow salve in his hand.

Rickety Old Wagon

Rickety Old Man

A hot southern sun hides behind the willows on muddy Flint Creek, cotton pickers sweat falling on parched lips taste like salty brine while they wait for the Old man to call “quitting time”.

Rickety Old Wagon

Rickety Old Man

Young, old, children, women and men bloody fingers cut by the barbs of the cotton boll dig into the old yellow salve tin.

Rickety Old Wagon

Rickety Old Man

Tar bottom sacks emptied of the soft white gold weary feet follow two old sway back mules down a rutted road.

Rickety Old Wagon

Rickety Old Man

Crimson clouds from wagon wheels whirl around tired bodies and drained minds; feels like pickers were working in the cotton fields since the beginning of time.

Rickety Old Wagon

Rickety Old Man

Mules stop at the fork of the road as the cotton pickers walked into the dark of the night the Old man’s heart filled with appreciation, because he is just an old Chickasaw farmer trying to survive inside a “White Nation”.

Rickety Old Wagon

Rickety Old Man

©2015.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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Salty Water – A 100 Word Story

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Salty Water

Jenny’s and Jim’s hearts felt ripped from their chest as their baby, their only child lay unmoving; a blue tint already replacing soft pink skin still covered with sand from the beach.   Why were they not watching her? When the ambulance drove away, they ran to their car driving away from the tiny blue and white cottage by the Gulf. As their car went through the guardrails, they held each other tightly and smiled while the cool salty water flowed through broken windows. Both called out in the darkness; “Sandy we’re coming”. The single headstone read, “HERE LIES THREE HEARTS”.

 

©2016.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree  thBPHSKA15

 

COMING SOON…

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Dedicated to my daughter Charlotte Jean Murphree

1958 – 2010

The Voice 

From me you shall hear

Trampling of insistent voices of those

Whispering in my ear. They

Are fierce, burning with passion, their

Messages clear.

They speak to me with the force of a

Turbulent sea, other times with the

Surge of the tide, and always with

Respect; within me, they reside.

Ann Johnson-Murphree

I will not say that this is my final book of poetry; however, it will be the last until I have pursued my other interest in writing personal and fiction.  I have been on a journey; it has taken me from depths of a bottomless abyss, the path I walked was jagged and brutal both mentally and physically.  The trip is documented in my poetry, it came from deep within my soul and my spirit survived.  The healing continues, an ongoing process that will never end; but today, I can breathe.  I have held my breath too long as I walked these rutted roads; and must now set out on a new path.  I have chosen to begin a new “Story”.

I will continue to blog daily with my own work or reblog in support of my wonderful loyal followers.   I will post when Rutted Roads is published.