Creative Journal – Entry Twenty-two – Loss

Monday, November 02, 2009


I am well acquainted with loss. I lost my dog, Peppy, because she was run over when I was a child. This was the first death that really affected me. I did not deal with it well. I loved my Miniature Doberman Pinscher very much. She was my first dog and she meant so much to me. I lost various Aunts, but their deaths meant little because I did not know them well.


My best friend, Reba, moved away while we were children. Although she did not move far it was long distance and we could not stay in contact very often. This was a great loss. She was so close to me that we called each other sister and we were practically inseparable before she moved. I missed her terribly. No one could replace her. I lost my dog, Schatzi, a Dachshund who died of old age. He was given to me by my Aunt Essie, and was a special dog.


I married when I was sixteen and divorced by eighteen. My husband was abusive, but even so, I felt the marriage was a great loss. Marriage was supposed to be forever and I felt awful when we divorced. That was in 1981, the same year I graduated high school. I lost more that year because I had the first of my mental breakdowns. I was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. My life was never to be the same. I could not simply bounce back. I was on horrible medicines that caused me terrible side effects, like weight gain. I tried to get SSDI, but could not.


When I was off the meds and doing well I tried to enlist in the Army. I passed the tests and was near being accepted. One day as I exercised one of my knees made a sound like a gun going off. I balled up on the floor and cried because I was in so much pain. The injury kept me from going in the Army, which was the loss of a dream. I had another breakdown.


I held several jobs. I never liked any of them much, but was happy to be making money. I had many boyfriends, but none of them wanted to move to a committed relationship. Then I met Richard and he asked me to move to Chattanooga to live with him. I moved and we lived together for some time. Our relationship had trouble when I became pregnant and he did not want a baby. He pushed me to have an abortion, but I would not, and finally we got married. Alex was born in May of 1988 and Richard became increasingly unhappy. Before the two years of our trial marriage were up we got a divorce and I felt adrift in time. It was a terrible loss.


I moved home with my parents. I had another breakdown. I was on medication a while, then I went off it and went to work. I became the manager of a convenience store. I met Jeff there. He and I got married in 1992 and had a wonderful time. I had a breakdown in 1993 because I was working ninety hours a week. I lost my job, which was an awful loss for me. I loved that job.


My nephew, Jim, was killed in an auto accident in 1996. He and I were very close and it was devastating to lose him. Ten days later, my father died of a ruptured aneurysm in his aorta. I was sad that my Dad had died, even though it freed me of his attentions. Jeff and I began having some problems. Our finances were a mess and we could not straighten them out. We separated and then divorced in early 1997. This loss nearly killed me. By the time we divorced, I had another crisis mentally. Jeff took my Alaskan Malamute, Keiko, and gave her away. This loss hurt me because I was very attached to the dog.


I applied for SSDI and was approved after months of begging for my benefits. This meant I could somewhat take care of Alex and myself. We moved in with my mother. Alex and I were comfortable there. I stayed in touch with Jeff and in 1999, Alex and I moved back in with him. I became pregnant with twins, but lost them in 2000 because of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. This was a devastating loss. A month later, I did something I was forbidden to do and Jeff kicked me out of the house. I tried to kill myself and was hospitalized. When I was released Alex and I moved back in with my Mom. Because Jeff put all our stuff out on his carport and I did not get to pick it up we lost almost everything we owned.


My brother, James, became sick with lung cancer in 2003. My other brother, Melvin, found out about the abuse my father had done and stopped being family because he blamed my mother for my father’s transgressions. In 2005, I became manic, made some serious mistakes and had to file bankruptcy. I was hospitalized for a couple of weeks and then participated in an outpatient psych program.


Alex went into the Marine Corps in June of 2006. It was a loss having him leave. In September, I bought Hope. She helped fill the void Alex left.


My brother became increasingly ill. In March of 2009, James died of cancer. I hope his death is my last loss for some time. I could use a break.



Jo Ann

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