Our Journey to Joy ~ Nuestro viaje a la alegría
Updated: Feb 3, 2021
. . .ruin is the road to Transformation! ~
la ruina es el camino hacia la transformación!
THE RUIN ~ la ruina
The pacific northwest of Washington is tall treed, foggy aired, grey skied & brisk, for the vast majority of days. A few weeks out of the year, it transforms into a tall treed, warm aired, brilliant blued, sunny exterior. The pacific northwest was ‘home’ for four + years. Linnea & Ginny & I arrived in the fall of 2016 from the rolling, sacred, blue ridge mountains of North Carolina. After my divorce, Linnea & I moved from sunny, beachy, South West Florida to Ashville, N.C., where Ginny was living. Washington had been Ginny’s home for 20+ years & I wanted to fully experience its beauty....thunderous crashing waves of the coasts, the gnarled, ochre colored Madrona trees, 128 San Juan Island escapes, farm to table exquisite foods & snow-capped fir treed peaks. I had visited several times during the decades & those short visits plus Ginny’s love for the area, beckoned.
Before writing further, I realize that several recipients of this blog do not know Ginny. My wife of almost five years, Ginny has been my best friend since I was 16 years old! In 1979, she became my first boss at a horse ranch in East Texas. She, as the head wrangler, hired me as her first ranch wrangler. A major part of each other’s life since, we became a true couple in mid 2016. I will answer any questions you may have about my personal journey to living (finally!) my most amazing, authentic lesbian life!
Many of you reading also do not know about Linnea, my youngest child, my shadow, my right hand and my complete joy! Born in 1993, with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, she is a miracle. 22q deletion syndrome is caused by a missing section (microdeletion) of chromosome 22, which is present from the time a child is conceived. Present in 1 out of every 1,000 live pregnancies, the deletion has the potential to affect almost every system in the body & causes a wide range of health problems. Linnea had emergency heart surgery at four days of age to attach her aorta, close three holes in her heart and monitor her aortic valve. Her recovery was complicated by seizures that lasted 36+ hours during which she, at some time, had two strokes. No two people with 22q are ever exactly alike, even though they have the same syndrome, because not every person with the deletion is affected in the same way. To learn more, click here: www.22q.org
I share about Linnea because she is an important key to our move to Mexico. In summer of 2017 at almost 25 years of age, she began, as almost 50% of young adults with 22q will, to move from mildly intellectually delayed into the realm of serious mental illness …schizophrenia. Schizophrenia reared its ugly claws, swooped into our life and snatched our beloved girl…sigh, and schizophrenia is never gentle, kind or forgiving. The one it snatches, it keeps.
Without all the tragic details into the peril of mental illness, fast forward to 2018. We bought with high hopes & grand plans, what we believed to be our forever home, a majestic log home on serene acreage in the lush green mountains barely south of the border between British Colombia, Canada and Northern Washington State. We bought this home for all three of us, simultaneously as the voices of Schizophrenia completely, utterly & heart-breakingly convinced Linnea that if she ever moved into that log home, that Ginny & I would die & she would be left utterly alone in this huge world. She lived for the most part, during the remodel in her tiny RV trailer on the land separate from the house and reluctantly came inside for meals & movies.
Steadfastly & stubbornly, I clung to a futility that we could handle, manage and even be the rare ones that beat schizophrenia. We did all we could for months & months – doctors x 4, vitamins, multiple FDA recommended prescriptions, blood work, natural medicines, counseling, yoga, mindfulness…etc. Schizophrenic incidences, like fog over a bleak, winter morning, coerced me to recognize & ultimately admit out loud, that we could no longer safely protect her or care for her. In the end, because I love Linnea, I broke my own heart, and in the fall of 2018, I allowed (& astonishingly even encouraged) her to move into an amazing community with her very own apartment in south Washington.
They specialize in giving adults with special needs: opportunity, care, love, safety, peace...a home! Her care is of the highest quality and honestly, that high care is costly – even though she is oh, so worth every penny, candidly it is quite an expensive salvation. We spent hours in anguish over the WHY of Linnea: losing Linnea, loving Linnea and accepting the status of Linnea’s mind. I had one kiddo for 25 years and now, due to mental illness, I am forced to learn how to parent a very different kiddo. The new Linnea is very much like the 10-year-old Linnea of years past. We are deeply thankful, for now she is once again, (usually) happy, funny, more mentally stable & at peace even as her spirit remains tender, caring & compassionate.
Concurrently with schizophrenia, as it sometimes happens in life, we hit another dangerous cliff . . . a very unethical building contractor. Another dangerously stressful & difficult experience over the required extensive remodel of the log home, enveloped into two lawsuits! Lawsuits which eventually yes, we won legally, yet we lost. Lost needlessly & through no fault of ours, a tremendous amount of money along with two reconstruction loans! Those losses along with the beginning of COVID, coupled with severe declining book sales (FYI: Ginny and I are authors & own our publishing company) translated that we, as so many others during this COVID time, could no longer afford our beautiful, remodeled, forever home. We spent hours in anguish over this too, over the WHY of 19 months of dedicated blood, sweat, tears & money of that remodel – only to be forced to sell!
We sold that log home as we searched a map wondering where we could/should live. With courage and bravery, Ginny & I, at ages 57 & 63, decided to reclaim our personal desires and again, dedicate our life to growing old with no regrets. Even though we both have moved countless times . . . (between the two of us: a total of 88 moves and four countries!) . . . we moved because the world is an amazing place with wonderful discoveries to be experienced. Simply: Mexico, had been a bucket list move for me for decades & after much research, we discovered it to be a very affordable. A move which allows us to enjoy life in financial freedom, to travel to see Linnea, AND guarantees that she can always keep the life she has made. We never take our eyes off of Linnea, she will require care for as long as she lives. Yes, it is a long way from the highland desert mountains of Mexico to southern Washington, but when our world returns to a pre-COVID status, it is a flight that we can easily make often.
~ free verse poetry written by suess in 2018 regarding Linnea’s move ~
…” a foggy dawn greets me as its cold mist grips my soul. i stumble forward – grasping for support, my hand splinters in blood and i cry for help.
for someone to be near. to prove i am not alone.
i close my eyes and step again, only to feel buckled
crash upon the ragged rocks. throbbing warmth of blood ensnares my shins and
i cry aloud once more, yet in futile despair.
no one hears.
no one comes.
no one but me.
desolation envelopes -
i look behind and see a glorious brightly hued recent past
i see easy footprints . . . steps in sync through grassy knolls & gentle slopes of peace…easy laughter, gentle smiles, clarity of mind and sensible dreams.
beyond me, in front of me, looms in foggy disarray my next steps.
the following move.
the sharp-edged knife of admittance pushes,
the bladed cut stings as my bloody hand reaches inward to eradicate denial,
the gasp of acceptance leaves my heartbeat in cold shock,
with admittance resonating on my voice
with denial disconnected
with acceptance pulsating i, i, i ,i look
i look again to the pathway set before
- in the distance
- i see glimpses - a new world of green, sprouts of life emerging, of a fog lifting to reveal hope,
a fresh courage,
a possibility to return to the green life of hope before.
letting the blood stain i push through- foggy of mind yet, i dare to embrace what lies before me.
what lies before me is possibility and with that fetus of hope, i say yes.
yes, you may move away- move away from me and my daily touch . . .
for you deserve to be in peace, my beloved flesh -you deserve to again live,
live and suffer not.”
This concludes: THE RUIN ~ la ruina
In the next blogs: pictures from the 2,780 plus mile drive, becoming Mexican residents, finally deciding to cross the TX-MX border, the legless man that assisted us on the highway, the deeply touching story of the teenager who discovered our log home & her mom who bought it, the freedom I experienced losing 65 food allergies & the need of an epi-pen, the semi-truck wreck we narrowly escaped, my belief that I am made of Mexican blood … and the very first house we leased which also included a terrorist wanted in 17 countries by Interpol & three dogs living on the roof!!!
As always, I leave you with the belief that there are adventures to be had AND hope that you too will declare to grow old
with no regrets!
Como siempre, los dejo con la creencia de que hay aventuras por vivir Y espero que tú también declares ¡envejecer sin remordimientos!
P.S. Have a question about my being lesbian, 22q, the Pacific Northwest
or anything else? Ask!
Suess: Mexican Cell: 52-442-799-9176
WhatsApp: 52-442-799-9176 or SIGNAL: 52-442-799-9176
& of course, FACEBOOK