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

Causalities of Life…

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The homeless cannot sleep on cold nights, some gather around burning barrels, men, women and children, forgotten, shattered and despised by those who are more fortunate… those who have a home, a job.  In the distance, you may hear a baby cry.  Mothers’, Fathers’ are begging for food, living on the streets, no jobs, the family no longer sound. 

Government talks end up in contradictions, a lifetime of poverty is the homeless prediction.   The spirit freezes, fruit of labors rot, life squeezes and struggles persist.   Bad luck smothering heart and soul, hope ceases to exist.  Shifting winds turn into storms, will the world grow wiser or beaten back into servility?  Trust departed, a cardboard box in the streets is where the homeless make their beds, hope disappears and the future appears dead.  Wake up America! 

 

 

Writing

©2017.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

The Intention to Deceive…

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An excerpt from “Fire, Rain and Lies”…

 

The intention to deceive…

A sad woman and her children stood in the graveyard on top of a small knoll watching the funeral service of her mother; asking herself, why she had come to this so-called deified ground.  The real “family”, the one acknowledged by a small gathering of people standing quietly next to the little mound of Alabama’s blood red dirt accepted the family, the two people and their children worthy of mourning the dead.  These worthy people sat in front of the casket, chairs prepared for a “family”.  A relative, a lecher, a pander of a church, an on-line bought preacher spoke of someone that he did not really know. 

There on the knoll stood four people, the woman too proud to let it show that she was being insulted and snubbed; her children protectively at her side.  Treated like yesterdays garbage upon arrival for this audacious occasion, shunned, hate shown without remorse from the “family”.  Why, because she dared to be there.  The dead, the woman in the casket had never wanted her, and although she came to see her faithfully, the selfish woman pushed her away.  Is there a hell for such people, should they or do they deserve to be called Mother?

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One week earlier, when the Mother lay dying… the lies began, “family” needed time to  open Wills, to move around assets to the “family” coffers.  Like so many years before, greed was again desperately trying to kill the seed.  Kept an aged body alive for financial gain, keeping “it” alive was beneficial. 

She was told not to come to the hospital.  The lies quickly followed, while all the time the entitlement that raged through the “family” was all that was present, no grief, instead of the grimness of death there were on faces of greedy ploys.  Gluttony bloomed before the sun would set upon that final day; looks of lying and take, take, take, their lives took on the presence of a forged tongue.  Always speaking of God, hope and prayer will not remove the presence of lies.

She left with her children knowing the “family” would hope that she would never return and they got what they wanted for a time.  She eventually returned in hopes of finding change, finding a family that wanted her, as she had always wanted them.  Lastly, she said her final good-bye. Never again, to face open jeers, false deeds, see honors lost; the price of greed can be at a great cost.  Roars of detest, to feel abhorrence of; hate; dislike intense continues now with the one’s that worry she may return.  Most of the “family” has since died but there still lies in the misty breath of strife… hate.  She is glad that the “bad omen” did not follow her in life and now destiny has finally caught up with the liar’s and their lives.          

 

©2017.elizabethannjohnsonmurphre

 

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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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Willa – A 100 Word Story

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Willa

Morning, sunbeams seeping through the windowpane like frost from winters frozen ground.    The breeze bathes Willa Sandusky with the scent of lilacs that are growing lavishly; a plum dusk sky lingers in the west.    Combing her snow-white hair, she takes the well-worn path down the hillside toward the sea.   Again, at dusk, Willa washed the dried sand from her feet, climbed in bed beneath old quilts and closed her eyes.  She knew the time had come, her soul left its earthly body and floated over silver sands and emerald seas; one-hundred year old Willa knew that she was going home.

 

 

©2016.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

 

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Pungent Memories

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A crystal moon, a frozen branch dancing outside the window, a fire, ash and a crumpled charred log; memories open and angry, resembling streamers in the wind of life. Always remembering each day, each hour, fate unrelentingly climbs, seeks answers and nothing in life is forgotten.

 

©2016.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

 

 

thBPHSKA15“Life is short, live it. Love is rare, grab it. Anger is bad, dump it. Fear is awful, face it. Memories are sweet, cherish it.”

 

 

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Rubble of Yesterday

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Rubble of Yesterday

Promises of the mind set aside in the days of youth;

visions stored in a hopeful place to become dim

memories and fade away.  A glimpse into the window

of twilight time lays the tombstones of yesterday’s

promises; rubble covered with reminiscent vine.

 

Embers burn within the soul no peace can one find;

there are fewer tomorrows, weep for the uncertainty

of the future and of dreams left behind.  If you could

turn back time would you trust your heart to relive your

life, accepting the future whatever it may be, would you

disregard truth and trust what your eyes see?

 

Yesterday’s promises are hidden dreams, try to find new

excitement in your life, rid yourself of turmoil and strife.

Awake your consciousness, your journey is not yet over,

there are new mountains to climb, forget the rubble of

yesterday, use wisely your time.

 

©2016.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

 

thBPHSKA15“Life is short, live it. Love is rare, grab it. Anger is bad, dump it. Fear is awful, face it. Memories are sweet, cherish it.”

 

 

Click on author’s book page to view poetry and art books at Amazon.com

March

24. Yellow Dragonfly

March

The riches of March have pierced the landscape,

bathing earth’s veins in the promise of warmth,

expectations come from the possibly flowering of

the countryside; the winds are melodies.

The thought that a heart could have fallen never to

beat again the seasons marked by hours; speaking softly

a promise to return as time and space were silent toward

a journey into a place that only death can relate.

The pilgrimage moved forward exhausted, pain seized the

helm of a sickened ship; a war fought by a spiritual soul as

the tides of suffering rolled in and out.

March the soul felt alive, the pain gone living more than a

stagnant lifeless pond, life flowed like a river long and wide

and hope turned into grace.

 

©2016.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

thBPHSKA15“Life is short, live it. Love is rare, grab it. Anger is bad, dump it. Fear is awful, face it. Memories are sweet, cherish it.”

 

Click on author’s book page to view poetry and art books at Amazon.com

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Benevolent Memories

I have enough memories from the past to last me for the rest of my life. My bountiful memory will not bury them from which they were born.  A small country church, a chorus of crows; the splashing sounds of the brook running through the Birch trees. The wind caressing the colossal row of Oaks in the field.

Death, a road away from the weathered house of worship, followed by black feathered angels. No longer will the water beneath the Birch cool, nor will the winds surrounding the Oaks embrace flesh.  The rocker on the porch is stilled, no hand waves goodbye. In a cobwebbed corner of the room, the sun shines through a cloudy window, as the image of tattered curtains dance in a nearby mirror. Childhood is dead.

©2015.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

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“Our past is the map we followed into the future!” eajm