Life After Covid-19

The third week of May 2021, my mom developed a dry cough. I had a cold the week before, so we figured not every cough is Covid, right? By this time I was on my second round of antibiotics as usual since I have chronic sinusitis. But as the days went on, I began to ache in my body like nothing I ever felt before. My mom’s cough worsened and my sister began to cough. My skin was sore to touch and my Mom began running a fever. My sister already had her first of the Moderna vaccine.

I told my mom we all needed to get tested because I was sure we had Covid-19. But it would be another week before we were able to get someone to take us to the doctor. On June 3, 2021, my 77 year old Mother, my sister, and I tested positive for Covid-19. Mom’s breathing was a hard pant and her oxygen saturation was only only 70% (90-100% is normal). I commend our doctors office for jumping into action, stabilizing he,r and getting her to the hospital. Being positive myself, I could not go with her and I was devastated, afraid, and completely unprepared for what was to come.

I couldn’t help but feel guilty for not forcing mom to get to the doctor sooner. Hundreds of thoughts were running through my head as tears constantly ran down my face. I cried all night and didn’t sleep at all. We were relieved the next morning as Mom made it through the night. We’ve all heard the statistics concerning the elderly and those with preexisting conditions. All we could do was pray that Mommy wouldn’t die from this awful virus.

At home, my sister and I conditions quickly worsened. If I felt like breathing was making me sicker, I couldn’t imagine what Mom was going through. The nurses did an amazing job keeping us up to date on her condition. So far she was taking the high flow oxygen well but   there’s Covid pneumonia in both lungs. She was holding her own and even called us from her room on the Covid floor to try and lift our spirits! Can you believe that? I had never been so relieved to hear her voice and all I could do was cry good tears. Our joy was turned to panic as night fell and she was rushed to ICU.

On the evening of June 5, 2021, after doing well all day, Mommy took a turn for the worse. She went down fast! She began struggling so hard to breath that the doctor called me for the permission to put my mom on the on the ventilator. Without it, she would tire and go into respiratory distress on 100% high flow oxygen. He also said she was in no state of mind to make any decisions concerning her health. In my head I could hear my friend saying, whatever you do don’t let them put her on the ventilator, then I remember all my friends whose parents died from Covid. So, I made the difficult executive decision to intubate.

After Mom was stabilized on the vent, the doctor called a family meeting. The doctor met my sister and I (we got permission to come but couldn’t see her) and all the older grandkids in a conference room. Mom had been sedated and placed on the ventilator to allow her to rest and for her lungs to heal themselves. She had not responded to the antiviral medication nor any other. With the utmost respect, kindness, and tact he informed us that due to my mom’s age, weight, and preexisting conditions (a prior ongoing infection, diabetes and heart disease) she had a very low chance of recovering. He answered all of our questions and heard our concerns. When he left out the room, we knew all we could do was pray.

Leaving the hospital without seeing my Mom was the hardest, but I felt some peace knowing she could rest and didn’t have to fight so hard, at least for the night. The nurses in ICU were wonderful. She would be on the vent a few days before they’d try reducing settings to get her off. My sister and I took those days to rest and try to get well. Family and friends sent groceries, money, humidifiers, and anything they thought we needed we received. The hospital only allowed one person per day to visit outside her room through the glass for 15 minutes. My oldest sister from Colorado stood in the gap for those of us who couldn’t be there.

They had sedated mom so her lungs could heal themselves and she could regain her strength. After two days, they were still unable to wean her from the ventilator. Her O2 sats kept dropping but they were able to decrease her sedation. But God! By the end of third day, Mom was awake and strong enough to be taken off the ventilator. She tolerated the high flow oxygen so well that she eventually was put on regular oxygen. She did so well on that, the doctor turned it off and the next day she was released home. The ICU nurse referred to her as their ‘miracle patient’.

It’s crazy how life can change in the blink of an eye! And it’s miraculous how God intervenes! This was the scariest time of my life. I was almost certain that I was going to lose my mom to Covid-19. We can’t say for certain what medically turned her around, if there was something we did different or not, or what miraculously saved her life. But what I do know is we are a praying family serving a merciful God. The doctor who told us Mom had a low chance of survival, was just doing his job. Mom is here through the grace of God! As a nurse, I believe in science but I ultimately believe in God. Why people choose one over the other, I don’t know. The doctors did everything right, but God did everything period!!

So what is life after Covid-19?? It’s sitting here writing this with a view of my Mom sitting in her recliner a few feet from me. It’s testing negative and being able to see my granddaughter for the first time in almost two years! It’s so many things big and small, but the most of all it’s an appreciation for the people in my life, for family, for friends, for strangers.

Mommy- Alive and well in her recliner working a word puzzle!

I’d like to thank Dr. Bridgette Smith, M.D., of Crimson Urgent Care of West Alabama under Dr. Ramesh Paremsetti and staff for stabilizing my Mom at the office.

We’d like to thank the Covid nursing staff of 5 South and Dr. Henna, M.D., and the ICU staff for doing an amazing job caring for my Mom and us, her family! Thank you so much!!

#vfurrmstheblogger #ValerieMarieCollins #Mypoeticlifethebook #newheightscomingsoon

Justice Feeling Perplexed

I never knew one word read three times could sound so good. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.

I should be elated, but actually, I’m not sure how to feel. On April 20, 2021, people all over the country waited nervously for the verdict of George Floyd’s murderer, the ex cop Derik Chauvin. To be honest, until the last charge was read, I was not able to breath. Then finally I exhaled a sigh of relief for justice for Mr. Floyd’s family, my own son, nephews, cousins, uncle’s, and friends and for people of color around the globe.

I never knew one word read three times could sound so good. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.

But I’m also perplexed. Why? Because we still live in a world where I am, along side million who look like me, holding my breath and hoping justice is served this time. It should be served every time. Better yet this does not need to ever happen again. We as black people, in a “free” country, should expect our boys and men to come home safe. We shouldn’t lose our lives when we get stopped for a tail light. We shouldn’t have to be at the point of panic when we get pulled over bekieving this may be our last day alive.

For me personally, I’m a praying mother. But should my prayers include protect my son, daughter, and her husband from the police? My son is in the process of getting his driver’s license. For others this is a proud moment. But for me, I’m scared because his chances of dying at a traffic stop increase. This should not be!

We are we being murdered by cops for simple violations, when mass murderers are taken alive unless they kill themselves. Is the guilty verdict in the Derik Chauvin the beginning of change or just pacivity? Will police departments begin to hold officers accountable for choke holds, excessive force, killing children, or using their firearm instead less force? Although I hope Chauvin’s sentencing is great, more has to be done to ensure our safety while in custody.

So where do we go from here? There must be changes in how police are trained. Plus they need to stop putting officers in communities that they are afraid to protect. If you’re not afraid you are less likely to find a black man walking to the store a threat. Every nephew who has visited my home has been stopped by the police and questioned for walking to the store.

Will there ever be a day we can send our children into the world unafraid they will be murdered by police?

Thanks for hearing my thoughts,

vfurrmstheblogger
Valerie Furr-Collins

#georgefloydguiltyverdict #derikchauvin #valeriefurrcollins #valeriecollins #rememberinggeorgefloyd

My Mini Breakdown

Here we are a little over a year after Covid-19 first began; we might be seeing a small flicker of light at the end of the tunnel. The two vaccines circulating has offered hope to the American people and strengthens the idea that there can possibly be an end this pandemic soon. Still, this entire year has taken a toll on many of us and our mental a d physical health. And I’m not ashamed to admit these past few weeks, my mental health has suffered.

Mental illness is such a broad spectrum that includes many illnesses. For me, anxiety and depression are those I have trouble with. Depression doesn’t let you know when it will creep up. It just appears out of nowhere and takes over your life. At least that’s how it is for me. In recent time, well, before Covid, when it reared it’s ugly head, I was able to stay busy and shake it off. But these days, unable to travel, act, or do much outside my home, I’m unable to distract myself and depression takes over. I’m blessed to have a good support system; and to be able to put my experiences into words helps a lot.

I used to suffer from bad panic attacks. It feels just like it’s depicted in movies on TV. The room seems to narrow, people get bigger and/or closer, you feel like your choking as your heart races. Thankfully I do not have panic attacks that severe any more and hadn’t had an anxiety attack in years until Covid. The fear of contracting and dying from Covid caused so much anxiety all of a sudden that I could not control it. Toppled with depression and pain from fibromyalgia flares, I began to feel so overwhelmed.

I didn’t want to worry my loved ones so I kept how I was feeling to myself until it was too late. I was in a fibro flare, panicked, and in a state of fear all at the same time. Sound familiar? I thought about death so much basically, feeling it coming for me. I began having night terrors which made me afraid to go to sleep. My pain made it impossible to cope. I had to push with every ounce of me to take care of my mom, my brother, and myself.

I tried explaining how I was feeling but at the time, I thought they could never understand. That frustrated me even more. I got to the point where I knew I had to do something. So, I took some me time, distanced myself a little, did some writing, and decided to wait it out. I stayed in prayer and read daily devotionals. I took long showers and bubble baths, talked to my mom and eventually after about three weeks, I began to feel the spirit of depression release.

It sounds simple, but it was not. All I know is that this is what worked for me. It took three weeks or more before I felt better but I knew it was only temporary. I had to work through it on my own. When I emerged, family and friends I was met with so much love. I thank God that after each storm, when the clouds lift, my life is still full of hope, love, and joy.

I hope this helps some one know they are not alone.

Love, Valerie Collins
vfurrmstheblogger

#mentalhealth #covid19mentalbreakdown #covid19crisis #valeriefurrcollins #valeriemariecollins #mypoeticlifebook #vfurrmstheblogger

Ms. Cecily Tyson: The Legend, The Life, The Talent, The Inspiration

Sounder, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitman, and Busting Loose, are just a few of the most popular movie titles of which Ms. Cecily Tyson spread about her acting talent. Actually Ms. Tyson career began on stage and on the silver screen with what possibly was her first movie, Carib Gold in 1956. As a woman of color, this was groundbreaking! Many others would follow such as The Angry Man in 1959 and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter in 1968. Her career spand over 60 years and was decorated with many awards and accolades.

As a little girl growing up in Arizona and Alabama, I didn’t realize as a brown child, that I too could grace the stage. It wasn’t until I saw Roots and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman many years after they originally aired, that I saw a beautiful woman who looked like me prove me wrong. My highschool wishlist included acting on stage. I finally got that chance last 2019 and early 2020 in three plays for Mor-Shy Productions.

Ms. Tyson continued to portray her every roll with grace and class. My favorite movies were Mama Flora’s House and Tyler Perry’s 2006 release, Madea’s Family Reunion. Her monologue in the latter movie was cinematic gold. Ms. Tyson spoke not only to the young actors but to the nation as she encouraged us all to “love on one another” and to respect our elders and ourselves, and etc.

The loss of Ms. Cecily Tyson rocked the world on January 28, 2021, just two days after the release of her memiors “Just as I Am”, at the cool age of 96 years old. She was an icon. A true legend. She worked all the way up to her death with her final works including A Fall From Grace, and How to Get Away with Murder, where she played Viola Davis’ mother, a woman with Dimentia. It was an honor to be her fan.

When the news of her passing was released, it felt as if a family member had died. Ms. Tyson had been a staple in our home my entire life. She was an inspiration, an example of classiness, a portrayal of kindness, and lived her life and carried herself with grace and mindfulness. She taught us that there was nothing we could not do if only we believed in ourselves and a higher power that watched over us all.

We could learn from this Queens career that breaking barriers can be done through action and through what we choose say. She once said, “I realized that I could not afford the luxury of just being an actress, that there were a number of issues that I needed to address. So I made the decision to use my career as my platform”. And she did just that! Let’s all use our platforms to address the issues and injustices of today. So that even though Ms. Tyson life on Earth has ended, her legacy will live on.

Bowing,

Ms. Valerie Collins

#MsCecilyTyson #TheAutobiographyofMsJanepittman #legend #actress #AsIAm

Unapologetically Disgusted

This blog will not sit well with some. But after much thought, I decided that is fine with me. Depression hit me hard a few days ago as I went about my daily routine at home. Sometimes it simply comes out of nowhere and knocks the wind out of me. I can’t explain it. It is just part of who I am. But as I shut myself off from the world as I often do when this occurs, I missed one of the most diabolical events to happen in our nation.

When I rose to climb from under the weight of my own thoughts just before midnight, I flipped through Facebook only to find the majority of my friends in an uproar. I had no clue what had happened at the US Capitol or that lives were lost and people were hurt. The unbelievable part was that 45 ignited a fire within the belly’s of his “army” basically telling them to storm the Capitol. That was all I needed to be in an uproar myself.

First of all, I’ll state the obvious. Had those been hundreds of BLM peaceful protestors they’d all be dead or close to it. There is no way we would have gotten close to the Capitol. As soon as officials would have gotten wind of an uprising we would have been rubber bulleted, gassed, shot dead, and jailed. In that order!There is no way we would have ever made it across the street, down the street, or a few blocks over from the Capitol before being attacked!

Now that that is out of the way, let’s go on to the person who ensued this riot. Wednesday, January 9, 2021, the “leader” of America incited an inssurrection against the US government and our Constitution. As of today, 2 days later, 5 lives were lost with many others injured. I am unapologetically disgusted!! So many fellow Americans share in my deplaurum. I applaud Mark Zuckerberg for deactivating the social media accounts used to cause pandemonium for the last four years and insure this heinous act. Some see it as a breach of the first amendment. I see it as removing the fuel that ignites the fire. For me, January 20th can’t come soon enough.

Now, let’s move on to how the rest of the world has got to be looking at us as they shake their collective heads. Because of Lie after lie, blatant open treason, causing the deaths of thousands by belittling Covid-19, the impeachment dibocal, making enemies allies, and yes, the last four years of idiotcy through twitter, etc., America is probably the laughing stock of the world. Some would say, we are the nation that has fallen from grace. 45’s legacy will be tainted by his bigotry, racism, hate, supremacy, and division. Added to the list is hypocrisy and utter disregard for human life simply because Georgia stood up against him and won!!

Now, where do we go from here. We must chose our battles wisely. We’ve already shined a global light on the plight of being black in America and the world stood in solidarity with us. We’ve learned that when we raise our voices and exercise our rights we can invoke change. But we cannot lose that momentum. Never forget aside from all the politic rhederic, the elections, the pandemic, and renewed hope in Biden and Harris, we cannot become complacent in our efforts for progressive change. Continue to sign the petitions, repeatedly say their names, hold steadfast in your convictions, always vote like your life depends on it, live like there’s no tomorrow, and as you do, pray for a better future for this nation and the world.

Hope and peace,

Val

vfurrmstheblogger

#unapologeticallydisgusted #unapologetically #vfurrmstheblogger #mypoeticlife #mypoeticlifebook #valeriefurr-collins #valeriemariecollins #valeriecollins #capitolriots #dcriot #capitolinsurrection #45

Sweet Potato Pie

Pandemic aside, the last few months of 2020 have been trying but also eye opening. After several tests and appointments we found out my Mom would need her third, and hopefully her last, knee surgery (a total knee reconstruction with tibia replacement). After finding out her tibia was broken, the doctors sent her to UAB Hospital Highlands in Birmingham, Al, about an hour away. I felt relieved that some the best surgeons in the nation would be doing her surgery. The date was set for October 23, 2020.

Because of Covid-19, and with a little coercion, my niece and I were the only ones able to stay at the hospital with her. When they took her to the holding room, I found myself completely terrified as I sat there quietly trying to come to grips with my sweet Momma’s mortality. Not wanting to face the reality that I could possibly lose her, I put her in God’s hands. Good thing for me, so did my family’s. Their prayers, calls, and texts kept me strong. Of course she made it through due to her incredible faith and her wonderful doctors and nurses. Thankfully, Momma is recovering wonderfully at home.

During the week of Thanksgiving, my son was sent home from work with Covid symptoms. Because he was tested the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, we had to wait five days to get his results. He quarantined himself to his room. Still we needed to get through Thanksgiving dinner which I prepared as my Mom needed to rest. After the time with her in the hospital, praying so hard that she would see this Thanksgiving, I wanted everything to be perfect. That’s where sweet potato pie comes in.

When I remember holidays as a child, no memory is complete without my mom’s incredible sweet potato pie. Everyone blessed to have a slice raved about her pies. Every year my three older sisters and I asked for her recipe but she would never let us in on the magic. A few years ago, she finally shared her secret recipe with my older sisters and this year she entrusted it to me. I was overjoyed and afraid at the same time; afraid that I would mess it up for a good reason.

While walking me through each step, I discovered baking these pies would be a little more difficult than I anticipated. You see, my Mommy never measured anything. Every ingredient was poured, sprinkled, scooped, and dashed until she felt it was enough. In other words, “until her spirit said stop”. Her recipe included two big globs of this, just a dash of that, a teaspoon of this, and a splash of that. So, following in her footsteps, I listened to my spirit as I prepared the filling until it taste exactly like my Momma’s. The pies turned out amazing!

Being knighted with this family tradition really made me more thankful this Thanksgiving! My heart burst with pride when she tasted my sweet potato pie and loved it! When my brother said it tasted just like Mom’s, I almost cried. It may seem silly that something as simple as sweet potato pie could stir such emotion, but it’s the history in it for me.

This recipe has been passed down from my Great Grandmother Roberts, to my Grandma Leathia, to my own Mommy, my sister’s, and then entrusted to myself. One day soon, I will entrust it to my daughter and she to her daughter, MY granddaughter. I’m honored to be a link in the chain of passage for our family’s traditions. Especially this one which began with a cherished childhood memory of my Momma’s sweet potato pie.

PS. My son’s results were negative. All Glory is to God!!

Happy Holidays!

vfurrmstheblogger
Written by: Valerie Furr-Collins
12/13/2020

#sweetpotatopie #familytradition #holidaytraditions #holidaypie #christmaspie #thanksgiving2020 #covid-19 #family #rightofpassage #happyholidays

Me Too

This was the third time in the past half hour that the light flicked on and off as the thunder clashed and lightning hit so close it hurt her eyes. She made sure the sliding door was locked before she bundled up her two babies and headed to make a dreadful trek into town to the nearest store for candles, matches, soda, light bread, crackers, cookies, and can goods. Hurricane Opal was coming fast and hard!

This would be her only time calling and asking her sweet mother for money. She knew that she would give her last had she known how bad off they were. But she wanted to try to stand on her own. Her mother sent her fifty dollars. By the time she started driving, it was raining so hard she could barely see the road.

According to the radio, she had a little under an hour to get her supplies and get back home before full landfall. Hurricane Opal had already claimed lives in other states and here it was coming full speed to one of the most deployable bases in the country. She prayed all the way there. The drunks and thugs standing in groups in front of the store only scared her more. So she would hurry getting the kids and groceries in the car.

She was terrified of crowds, strangers and storms. Therefore, it made her particularly uneasy that the vagrants in the parking lot were constantly looking at her. Her heart felt like it was going to thump right out her chest! After throwing the groceries in the car, she jumped in her jeep and wasn’t able to exhale until she pulled off. She had never seen the weather so bad! She didn’t know what to expect from a hurricane! A down south tornado, yes, but an up north hurricane as big and bad as Opal, no way!

The strong winds made her swerve a few times but she made it home as the storm began to come down around them. All she wanted was her husband home. She felt safe just knowing he was there, even if he was in the other room. But instead, he said he was stuck doing field maneuvers, only God knows where! At that moment she had no reason to think otherwise. She believed him.

She called him at least a dozen times, with no answer. But when in the field, that was normal. She just needed to hear his voice. The mere sound of it could wrap around her like a warm blanket. But she hadn’t heard anything since the night before. She was such a beautiful, innocent, naive, and gullible young woman. But she loved with her whole heart. He was her first love. He was her very first everything.

She decided to feed and bathe her babies and put them to bed upstairs. Had she known better, she would have kept them downstairs in a safe place. Anyway, she ran her own bath water and tried to relax as the wind howled making her anxious. She gave up quickly, got dressed, and went downstairs to find a flashlight as the lights continued to flicker off and on again.

Earlier that week she bought a nightie for him. She bought everything she wore, for him. She wanted to look good for him. This particular nightie was forest green valour, with a princess cut, and spaghetti straps. It curved and hit in all the right places. She hated the color green. After ironing and sending countless BDUs to the cleaners, she was tired of seeing green. But it was his favorite color.

They had known one another for a total of 12 years; four in high school, eight together, and seven of them married. His previous infidelities had cracked and weakened the foundation of their marriage and her soul. Neither was hardly standing. BUT she wanted to look good for him.

The hours slowly ticked by as the sky fell in outside. Hail hit the storm glass so hard it burst a hole in the sliding door. Terrified she huddled in a corner behind their black leather sectional and watched the rainwater spray in through the busted glass. Toys, benches, chairs, or anything left outside, were basically gone, carried away by harrowing straight-line winds! Then the lights went out.

She lit a few candles. It rained so hard. As the rain hit the roof and the outside structure of the military housing, the sound of it compounded by the wind was almost deafening. She thought about her babies upstairs, ran up, grabbed them both, and began to pray. She stuck it out. It was single-handedly the scariest thing she had ever gone through. Finally, around 4 am, the radio announcer stated that although the hard rain would continue, the worse was over.

She checked on her sleeping babies. She decided to wait for her hard-working husband downstairs and pulled out the sofa bed. She tried to rest but still couldn’t get a hold of him. She managed to doze off into a light sleep until she heard the jingle of keys and the front door open. He was home, safe, and in one piece-unharmed!

The base housing layouts were all the same. There was the kitchen to the right of the entrance. A staircase to your left leading to three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The living room was adjacent to the dining area. This area was big enough for a large sectional, a bar with stools, a tv stand, tv, coffee table, two end tables, and toys for two babies. All the floors were linoleum. The walls were so thin, we could hear our neighbors arguing daily. The houses were nearly on top of one another with small fenced in back yards and adjacent front yards with a lawn that was shared by everyone on the block.

It was just before 5 am when the door opened. She jumped up to greet her husband. She noticed he looked different but ignored her feelings of doom. But she was just so glad he was home. He looked at the bags of supplies she had gotten earlier still sitting on the kitchen floor next to washer and dryer. As she greeted him, his eyes and the way he looked at her were disturbing. He reeked of alcohol. But she was just so relieved he was home it never crossed her mind where he actually had been for three days.

She noticed his accusatory tone when he asked where she had been. She answered, “Winn Dixie. My momma sent us $50. I was so scared but I had to get food and candles….”. Her words were stopped by his hand around her neck. He nearly picked her up. She fought to loosen his grip as he began to murmur something about her meeting someone at the store. All of a sudden, SHE was the cheater? She struggled to release his grip and ask him what was wrong with him! The look in his eyes terrified her! He was enraged and she had done nothing to deserve it.

He backed her up by her tiny neck and body-slammed her down on the sofa bed. Before she could catch her breath, he began tearing at her clothes. She kicked and struggled beneath his weight to no avail. He whispered something in her ear that she would never forget, “You’re a whore, you wanna know what kind of whore you are? You one of them ghetto hoes. You go from person to person.”

His voice was raspy and he didn’t sound like himself. His breath wreaked of alcohol and pot. He held her down with all his might which felt stronger than usual as if he had some kind of drug in his system. He claimed he caught her before her “man” could get there and she wore the nightie for “him”. He tore it off of her with one hand while continuing to choke her with another. Every time his grip loosened enough, she screamed in fear for her life begging him to stop and get off of her! But her pleas only made him angrier.

He ripped everything off of her within a matter of seconds. She fought hard for this stranger to get off of her! Terror took up every inch of the room. Why was the man she loved violating her in this awful, inhumane way? For some reason, she looked at the clock. It was 5:04 am. She couldn’t move. She couldn’t breathe. All she could do was cry. She figured if she stopped fighting maybe he would stop.

The first time he slipped into a drunken stupor on top of her, she tried to roll his 180 lb body of pure muscle off of her, but he woke up and violated her again. And again. And again. Each time she tried to escape this nightmare, he would wake up and start over. Horrified, she shook with fear, under his weight. The entire time his hand was around her neck or holding her down by her wrist, upper arms or inner thighs. He was so brutal. When he went into a deep sleep for the last time, she looked at the clock. 8:01 am.

She rolled him off of her and cried as silently as she could before crawling her sore body on her hands and knees thankful that her babies were still asleep upstairs. When she made it upstairs herself, she locked her bedroom door behind her. She immediately turned on the shower, sat down in the tub and bawled loudly until the shower water was cold and she had no tears left.

In the aftermath, if she left him, her leaving wouldn’t be about hurting him but healing herself. In fact, her love and gullible nature allowed her to halfway forgive him. Yet she couldn’t believe he’d hurt her so deeply. The next morning, she just laid there drowning in a puddle of her own tears. Later she awakened to her daughter’s laughter while playing outside her bedroom door. Her entire body ached. She had bruises from her neck down. There were actual imprints of his fingers around her neck, wrist, upper arms, and inner thighs. She could hardly walk.

She packed a suitcase for herself and another for her kids. She figured she would come back for the rest of their things. She scooped up her son and led her daughter downstairs. She went back up, retrieved her suitcases, and stood beside the sofa bed. He was awake. The only thing she felt for him in that moment was a total lack of respect. No love, no hate, just an urge to be as far away from him as possible. The 900 miles from North Carolina back home to Alabama would suffice.

He pleaded with her to stay. He apologized over and over. He begged her to still love him. He needed her.

He. Needed. Her.

So, unfortunately, she tried to stay. But a few weeks later, after a move promised a fresh start, the monotony of life pressed on. She got up one day, packed up things for her kids and herself, drove to the army base, and asked the first person she saw to go get him from within the building.

Ten minutes later, he emerged from the mass of soldiers and walked over to the running jeep. All she said was that she’s going home for a few days. She drove off with the rape fresh on her mind, along with the possibility of an outside child looming over her.

She was to the point mentally where she wished she had left years ago, where inside I felt physically empty. Having given all I had, I had no more to give to my violator, my aggressor, my husband, the love of my life. During the drive home to Alabama, many tears fell as the radio played song after song reminding me of the man I loved who couldn’t love me.

#vfurrmstheblogger

Valerie Furr-Collins

#metoo #mypoeticlife #mypoeticlifebook #metoomovement

Little Girl Lost

There’s a little girl lost inside of me. How do I release my inner child from bondage, from fear, from believing she’s done something wrong, or she’s not good enough as she is. Release her from obligation to serve anyone but herself. Allow her to see her; to love her; to be there for herself, to releesh in the joy of just being a child. Normalize her world, balance her thoughts, allow her to become whoever or whatever she wants to be.

Release your restraints upon her. She is grown and still feels your ties, still feels your bondage, still lives in your purgatory. Heal my inner child’s heart, she shouldn’t have had to be your reflection, maintain your definition of perfection, dance to your drum, made to believe she was less than.

Back then life was about NOT growing as a person, not living life, not simply being. Being taught what not to do, not to be, not to say, not to have, not to love. The restraints on my life weren’t put there by me. I felt held back physically, held down mentally, held back emotionally. Stiffled, shut in, enslaved, held captive in my own home, my spirit, my mind, my body and my soul. I just wanted to be free to do simple things, like go outside and gaze at the beauty of Gods workings in the sky without being scared, terrified, trembling with crippling fear.

The little girl in me sees all the bondages I broke free from and those that ignited curses from generations past. My mothering was not perfect, my love did not covet, my hope was dashed out. I have pushed through my brokenness for so long. I never realized while pushing through I also pushed aside help, friends, family, love, hope, grace, and peace.

I’ve got to stop. Peace be still. Allow the storm to fester. Take time in the darkness to soul search, heal, apologize, and think. I’ve got to breath. I have to breath. Remember to breath. I’ll never be free until I break these chains. I’ve got to set her free.

To the little girl in me, I see you, I hear you. I release you. Be free little girl, Lil’ Baby, Pooh. Be free, Valerie

I love you!

Valerie Furr-Collins

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Broken

I’m broken. 

Tattered with uneven scars, unhealed wounds, untold stories, impartial agony, and un-reciprocated love.

I’m broken.

Unable to speak the hurtful words that defined me for so long; unable to unravel the tangled web that has become my life’s work. 

I am broken. 

Breathing in the toxicity purged into my soul, bound underneath the weight of my damaged spirit, it seeps through my cracks, though out my being, and into my world. 

I am broken. 

Pleading with myself to find solace as I drown in the despair that covers me. And unlike any experience in my life, grief has adhered to me like permanent paint waiting to dry.

I’m broken

Beyond repair, beyond reprieve; destined to sink in the quicksand named sorrow.  To wallow in the sea of depression, drowning under its current

I am broken. 

Denying myself complete healing, awaiting an apology that will never come, seeking something, searching constantly. So I ask, Lord, where do I go from here?

I am broken

Still, I pray each night to wake up to a new day where I am whole again; without the pain that plagues me. Understanding there are eyes on me; God’s hands are on me, my circles belief is in me.  Never will I give up just because…

I’m broken

By: Valerie Furr-Collins

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