Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Happy Birthday Dad!!!


My father and I

My father... loved me and... I loved him.
My father... helped me and... I tried to help him.
My father...wrote songs and... I sang them.
My father... smiled and... my heart smiled back.
My father... gave and... I took.
My father's first love was his mother...and my father was mine.
My father loved Mario Lanza and I loved the Beach Boys
My father loved Music and... so did I.
My father taught me right from wrong and... I learned.
My father glided across the ice rink and...I followed.
My father held my hand and... I held his love.
My father loved to play the piano and I loved to listen.
My father loved my mother and so did I.
My father's journey on this mortal life is done, but his spirit lives.
A tree drops it's leaves, a rose blooms, a baby giggles, a hug gives warmth, and the words I love you bring peace.
My dad dropped his dreams to help mine. He made my world bloom with joy. He lit up my life.
His hugs were warmer than the bright sun.
His deep voice spoke volumes with the words, "I love you"
His laughter pierced my soul with delight and comfort.
My father's sky blue eyes...sparkled and still sparkle when, I see stars dress the sky.
Happy Birthday dearest, lovable, priceless Dad...You are missed each time I take a breath, look at my children and grandchildren. YOU will forever be imbedded in my life.  
I love you to the moon and back. I love you always and forever.
I appreciate you being my father and letting me be your daughter.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Life Cycle Is Like A Rose


It starts out as a seed

Craving water and sun.

The roots seek to find rich soil

And the rosebud wants to exhibit it beauty.

With each new bloom

Followed by a thorn or too.

As the wind blows and the rain descends

The petals begin to fall.

The rose reaches and stretches for energy,

Hopeful that the day ahead will bring

More potency.

New buds appear

Filled with splendor.

The mature rose

Greets each bud,

Gives them a wave,

And then,

Becomes exhausted.

Anxious to shed its petals,

And return to the soil it once came from.
Written By: Pamela Shelton Reynolds

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thousand years...of Pain.



Life, as a teenager...these were my thoughts...of how I saw life.
Below is a section of an experience I had as a youth. I thought I would share a small part from one of my chapters that I have often reflected on.
Here is a song that ties in to how I felt
 and still stirs emotions from decades ago.
I was admitted to a mental hospital at the age of 18 1/2
with a broken heart from a teenage love.
This song peels away the scar that has never disappeared from my soul.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9ayN39xmsI&feature=youtu.be

Chapter 37 Mom's Wonderful Trick
Paul and Chad entered my thoughts while I sat on a firm bed. I knew, this time, they would not be able to comfort me like they had when I had Guillain-BarrĂ© Syndrome. I wondered what classes Paul was taking, whom he walked with as he moved from one class to the next. Who did he sit with when he ate dinner, lunch and breakfast. Curious if he thought of me as he went out on Friday and Saturday night. My lowest moment as I felt my head droop was, has he already met someone new. Here at this hospital there would be no Paul, no Chad, no phone, no pictures, and no possessions of mine on the nightstand. I had circled back to the familiar displacement I had experienced over and over with my past foster home visits. But, in this unusual abandonment by Paul, Chad, and now my parents, sorrow pierced my soul. Rejection was just one of the negative words that seemed to linger in my head. I was not just physically alone, I was mentally alone.

The sound of footsteps became more potent with each second. A different nurse in bright orange scrubs and long brown hair stood at the doorway.

“Elizabeth, it’s time for dinner. Could you come with me?”

I felt eerie as I followed her. I didn’t pay attention to the directions to the cafeteria. When I entered, it seemed lifeless, even though it was full of strange people. Tears formed in my eyes, and I felt frightened. I did not have a desire to step farther into the room, but I knew I had to go through the line to receive food. A young man about twenty stood behind the counter and served. I stared at his white and blue football jersey with BYU across the upper back. I froze with no desire to move, unsure of how to cope with the fact he attended the same university Paul had escaped to when he abandoned me. I shook my leg and forced myself to walk over to one of the round tables. I sat by myself and began to sob. I tried to hold back the tears, but they continued to pour out, making a pool of water on my tray. I pulled the upper part of my shirt collar to wipe the tears. I turned my head and told myself I wouldn’t look over at that young man again. I took several deep breaths, rubbed my eyes. My face felt hot and my heart turned cold from the anguish of wanting Paul, needing Paul. I closed my eyes and pictured Paul with me, his warmth breath on my neck and his lips against mine.

A lady at the next table had marks on her face. She constantly picked at her facial sores that dripped blood on her hands. I ate quickly and made a break for the exit.

I ran out into the hallway and rested against the wall, trying to remember the way back to my room. It was a blur and finally a nurse helped me. When I entered my room I rested my head on a stiff white pillow that I covered with tears. I laid on top of the covers with no desire to use them. Emptiness stirred the room, filled my heart. I talked to the moon that showed its face in the window, a moon I hoped would relay a message to Paul that I loved him, a moon I hoped he was talking to also. I was mesmerized by the stars that dressed the sky, stars that danced freely. I wished at that moment I had the freedom to love Paul. Before I drifted off to sleep, I made a wish on the star that seemed brighter than any other. And hoped Paul was wishing on that same star for us to be together. I wished that Paul still loved me.

I awoke to a bleak speck of sun early that morning. I felt gross and rolled out of bed to use the restroom. With each stroke of the toothbrush against my teeth, I begged for someone to rescue me. I brushed my hair with the bargain-basement style brushes they had provided. I splashed water on my face to remove the tears that I had the night before. I closed the bathroom door and leisurely walk back and sat on the bed. I waited for what seemed hours for the nurse to appear. I stared at the doorway that led out to an empty hallway. I shook my leg and wondered what new dreadful surprises awaited me. I felt an urge to pray. I closed my eyes, bowed my head and folded my arms. Words welled through my lips.

Heavenly Father, please help me cope. Please, Heavenly Father, give me strength to pull through this. I’m trapped in a well and unable to pull myself out. Lower a rope to pull me up. Please let the doctors see I’m not suicidal. Know Heavenly Father that my mother is the one that thought I was suicidal, not me. Never would I destroy something you had created.

 Peace entered my heart when I ended my prayer. It was at peace of knowing I would leave this place soon. I tried to pull the bitterness towards my mother out of me, but the anger that stirred with each moment that passed made it hard to do.

I heard footsteps coming and took one look around the room. When I looked back at the door the nurse was standing at the door and smiling.

“You are moving to another room and will have a roommate. Follow me.”

I knew, once I walked out the door, I would never enter that room again, because they would realize I wasn’t suicidal. I followed the nurse down a narrow hallway that went to the cafeteria. I smelled the food as we passed by the entrance to the dining hall. My stomach felt empty and my heart did too.
  I believed, I would have loved Paul and Chad for a thousand years, and I believed they would have loved me for a thousand more.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Life, Love, and Beauty


Life has been wild these last three months with priceless moments I will hold forever. My second son left for his mission to Serbia, Russia. It’s been quiet in our home with him gone. His hobbie of rebuilding speakers and then playing his music that often made our windows dance to the rhythm of several different composers has been greatly missed. From the melody of Tchaikovsky's Symphony 4, IV FINALE, Phantom of the Opera, Pirates of the Caribbean, Maroon 5, David Guetta, Jason Mraz, Ed Sheeran and many more..Those last few I wrote I don’t think were his favorite, but he loved some of the songs. I miss him more each day, but at the same time feel greater peace that he is where he needs to be. His dimple, smile and the warmth of his embrace are held close to my heart each second, minute and hour of the day.

I have been observing others and watching how they interact…what makes a smile appear and what draws sadness painted on their faces. Some people cover their sadness with unspoken words, or they fill their days with meaningless time. I wonder how many people stay hidden in the walls of their homes to shelter them from feeling rejection. How many people use material things to fill the emptiness of loneliness?  

For me…I keep the memories that can never be bought or given to anyone and they are what help me to cope when trials come and rejection plays games with my feelings. Not often do I ever feel sad, but there are times I have had a day of havoc of not knowing which way is up.

The awesome thing is we are beautiful souls who all have a purpose in life. We can share a smile, or wave that sends a warmth of kindness. I love it when I can smile at a stranger and make their smile appear seconds after mine.

The world is full of love that goes unspoken. It doesn’t mean that it’s felt less deeply or that its separation leaves to clean the sore.

Its beauty and its pain are in its silence

Love cannot be spoken only shown and everything that makes the heart beat must be hushed. Do we all feel this way? Does anyone feel like they can never let their heart beat as they wished? Their heart locked deep in the silence of a sore unable to be nursed by the one you deeply love.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My Kids, My Life, My past


Seconds after I glazed into my granddaughter’s eyes, warmth filled my soul. To hold her, love her and kiss her cheek is only one of the million reasons I love being a mother and grandmother.

My fun loving grandson has a giggle that brings back fantastic memories of his father (my son) standing at my parents front door giving that same identical giggle.

I have had the wonderful experience of living in 12 different foster homes before the age of 14. I remember coping with a mother who dealt with rejection and mental illness. A sickness filled with poison not just to her, but to all those around. Mental illness brought a dark cold cloud over my family.

My past haunts me. Memories I have capture deep in my heart that sometimes bleed out and drain me from the life I lived as a child and teenager. I think of the blessings I have been given. The blessing of being able to see out of one eye, to give birth to five amazing children and now to raise a special needs son who has brought full circle what matters in life. I have many blessings that encompass my heart from the pain.

I want to share part of a chapter from my novel. A manuscript that took years to nourish and now it is starting to breathe on its own.

 

Mom’s illnesses came in cycles, like the orbits of the moon around the earth, and it gave different appearances. My favorite type of moon is either a full moon or a half moon. I had heard a new moon, also called the dark moon when shadowed from the sun, can either be invisible or have a slender crescent. On this visit, I realized my mom was invisible and in the dark moon cycle, which made it impossible for her to be a part of our family or my life.

We stepped off the elevator and I found her across the room with her uncombed, matted hair. She sat on the edge of her bed, with her light-blue hospital gown displaying the outline of her large breasts. With each step I took, I observed Mom’s right leg bouncing with a constant rhythm. I was familiar with this habit of hers. Taking a seat by her and rubbing her arm, I hoped she would awake and escape from the world that held her captive.

She rocked back and forth, making a continual hum under her breath. She didn’t move her arm or respond to my touch, but her leg continually bounced. My heart ached to have any kind of love and attention from my mother. I glanced at her expression. There was no smile, no twinkle in her eyes, and I sensed bottomless pain, deeper than any ocean and taller than any mountain, unending in either direction.

Dad sat on the other side of Mom and tenderly touched her back.

I took a leisurely look around the room and noticed other patients in the same state as my mother. Some yelled out, some banged their hands against the wall and a small, old lady pulled her hair for gratification.

I repeated several times to myself the word, “Courage.” I felt I needed to show courage to be strong for Mom; bravery to not be afraid of the people who surrounded me. My hands trembled. I clasped them and hoped no one noticed. I watched as a worker stopped at the bed of each patient. He pushed a cart with small, clear cups on a tray and a water pitcher with individual medication containers.

Mom usually wasn’t on the third floor, but, for some odd reason, she had taken a step back emotionally. I liked our visits on the second floor better, because she was verbal. 

When my hands stopped shaking, I touched my mother’s hand and wondered if she remembered using those hands as she held Gigi’s head under the bath water or when she placed them around my neck.

I hoped she would abandon the ugly memories from her past locked inside her. My dad told me that the twenty-one electroshock therapies, she has had these last two years, had helped some of the past vanish. I personally hated the electroshock, because it made her vacant inside with no emotion. It made her become a robot.

I grabbed my ponytail and stroked it slowly, trying to think of the words I could say that would persuade her to come home. Now that I was twelve, I needed her. I needed her to teach me how to style my hair. I heard my friends talk at school about shaving their legs, wearing a bra. I needed guidance. I wanted my mom to teach me about what my friends had learned already.

“Mom, when are you coming home?”

I waited five minutes and, while I waited, I watched a woman across the room who yelled nonstop. When Mom spoke, I ignored the other woman and listened to my mom.

“I am not sure, Lizzie.”

I took a deep breath and smelled an unfamiliar odor. I began to get sick to my stomach. I exhaled and bent forward so I could see my dad on the other side of my mother. Amidst all the people, I felt Dad and I were the only ordinary ones in the room. This time my brothers didn’t come; I wished they had.

A clock on the far north wall made a distinct sound. I looked at the clock and wondered If Mom realized the date and time. I wondered if my mom heard the sound of the clock.

Moments before we left, I wrapped my arms around her and whispered into her ear,” “I love you, Mom.”

I then walked over to the elevator and waited while Dad talked privately with Mom. She glanced away as he spoke words of comfort. She hadn’t responded to either of us. I took a picture in my mind of my parents and captured it in my heart with a prayer; someday we’d be a normal family under the same roof again.

Dad drove me back to the Nottingham’s and parked in front of their house. I wished he would have driven me home instead.

Dad squeezed my shoulder, “Elizabeth we are here.”

I moved my body nearer to him and hugged him.

“I love you, dad. Can you please take me home with you?”

Dad rubbed his hand over his mouth.

“Oh, honey, I wish you could come home. Let’s have faith that it will be soon. Look, they are waiting for you at the door.”

I didn’t want to let go, but I knew I had to. I walked up the driveway of the foster family’s home and kept the warmth of my father’s love with each step I took. Under my breath, I said, “I want to go home.”

That night I laid back on the bed they had provided me and clasped my hands behind my head. I stared out the window with a desire to reminisce about an experience I had with my dad, when he drove me around town in his semi-truck, delivering orange juice, lemon juice, pickled onions, plus other foods to bars, stores and restaurants. I thought of the happiness I felt when I was with my dad. Even though I had to ride in the trailer, which was basically a large refrigerator on wheels with crates stacked and tied from floor to ceiling, I realized if I didn’t go with Dad on his delivery route, I had to be put back in a foster home. Mom wasn’t able to be a mother to me, so Dad took over and kept me safe. When I first climbed into the trailer, the arctic breeze circled around me--an added bonus after being out in hundred-plus degree Phoenix weather. My dad turned a crate upside down so I could sit on it.

Dad smiled at me.

“Are you okay there? I wish you could ride in the cab with me, but if my boss found out, he’d fire me.” 

I smiled and sat down.

“Yup,” I said.

He grinned as he closed the doors of the trailer and, within minutes, darkness surrounded me, blacker than the midnight sky. I heard the door latch shut and then counted how long it took for my dad to climb up into the cab to start it up. I always visualized his short, stocky legs as they reached up to the steps. Even though the trailer was cold and I often got scared, I trusted that my dad would unlock the doors and let me out. When my dad turned a corner, the crate I sat on slid quickly across the trailer. I attached my fingers tightly in the crate holes and prayed it wouldn’t fall over.

A knock on the bedroom door broke that safe place I felt I was at. At least I believed I was there in thought in the back of Dad’s truck and on my way home.

 

I lived this…I know all trials are filled with pain and joy. To me this trial was one of faith, hope and love for not just myself, but for all those around me. I feel blessed that the Nottingham’s took me in and let me live under their roof.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

High School Poems

I wrote this first poem after I was dumped by my high school boyfriend.
I can still feel the pain of the rejection and sorrow that course through my bloodstream like battery acid as I wrote each word.

TOO REAL


He came to me
We cared
We laughed
We loved
And the love was real
And then it was gone
We argued
We cried
We hated
And the hate was real
Too Real
Written by Pamela Sheltong November 1982

Another poem I wrote using the first part of the Alphabet

Boys

A
Boy
Could
Do
Every
Fun
Good
Hateful
Important
Jealous
Kind
Lovable
Mean
Neat
Obnoxious
Pleasant
Questionable
Ridiculous
special
Thing
Written by Pamela Shelton February 1983

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Storm That Lived Outside


This last weekend I attended the ANWA 21st Annual Writers Conference. I sat near a lady who looked about my mother's age. She asked about my book I had written and I told her it was about me living with Congenital Rubella Syndrome.

She jumped from her chair and came over to hug me. She revealed how she had the German measles during the time she delivered her baby and how the hospital isolated her because the German measles was contagious. She was shocked that I had survived though the German measles so early in my mother’s pregnancy.

Last night at three in the morning I felt warmth encircled me as I walked down the dark walkway to the bathroom. That conversation I had with that lovely lady two days ago lingered in my mind.  Her story brought a peace as I envisioned my mother pregnant with me. I was startled with thoughts of how the German measles came through the back door and entered the womb that should have shield me from any harm. Thoughts of how it could have done more damage than it did. I could have made me mentally challenge, completely deaf, and caused so many other dreadful problems that could have change my life even more than it did.

I have been richly blessed. Even though I only have vision in one eye; I can still see my children; I can drive, and function like anyone else.

I have witness over the years mothers trying to get the right amount of rest, eat healthy, and make sure to take care of the unborn child that is growing inside them.

How horrible it must have been for my mother to deal with this awful disease that was destroying her baby. She couldn’t take a pill, get more rest or eat healthier to make the German measles leave her body.

As I walked back to my bedroom I thought about how my mother’s desire to protect me from harm was one of millions of trials she had to deal with in her life. I slipped back into bed and pulled the covers to protect me from the chill in the air. I thought as I rested my head on my pillow that my mother tried to protect me, from the storm that lived outside the walls of the womb that was under attack from the horrible decease named the German measles.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Poems I wrote in my youth.

Understanding

 I do not understand
   Why friendships are so expensive?
   Why money attract a friendship?
   Why jealously is so famous?
But most of all I do not understand
  Why people have to argue,
   and always have to fight.
   Year after year hurt people lives 
   with anger and lies.
What I understand most are relationships
   With true love and happy times,
   faith with in the heart and,
   A smile that last a life time.
 
Written by Pamela Shelton 9-19-1982
 
 
I entered this next poem in a state poetry contest and won first place.

Who?

Who am I?
Not a person you see
and know.
I am an actor,
choosing my parts carefully.
Bright, friendly, happy
are the characters I play.
Your world is my stage, and
it is so easy to play my roles,
deny the real me.
I have an impregnable wall
Behind which I hide myself.
Sadness, despair, and hate
Raise their ugly heads
And parade my inadequacy
to the world.
Some actors are fulfilled,
someday I hope to be.
I'm not sure to have
a "real myself" to be.
Written by Pamela Shelton 11-1982
 
The poem below I wrote during a difficult time in my youth.
 

ME

Please God,
Help me never to rush the years,
and let my heart remain a little girls.
So that it may know
only April tears
with tiny rosebuds dreams
deep in it's ferns
Let my life be a brand new day
where ever I go
help me to keep my tip toes
Eagerness and be a place
Where loveliness may grow.
I guess one wish could cover
Every other.
If you would just help me
grow up to be
the kind of daughter
that my dad and mother were
dreaming of
when they first ordered me.
 
Written by Pamela Shelton 6-1982
 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Life!

 
Romeo...where did you go?
Sherlock Holmes who are you investigating?
Santa how many cookies did you eat Christmas Eve?
 

Life is filled with questions…guesses and thoughts of what next.

How did I end up where I am?
Why did my mother and father have to die?
Why did my mother have the German Mealses while pregnant with me?
Why do I have to live with CRS (Congenital Rubella Syndrome)?
Why am I blind in my right eye?
Why did I have five children and not 27?
Why do I love to soak my feet in a wintry creek?
How many of us picture ourselves differently than how we feel deep inside?
I know for me. I see myself as a sensitive soul who can’t stand the sight of an elderly person with run down clothes and their head drooping.

Each tick of the clock brings a new life, a death, a break up, and true love embraced in someone’s life.


I love how the wind blows against my face and brings a gentle sound to my ears.
I love how my flowers reach for the sky for a new adventure with the sun.
I love how my grandson’s smile reaches his ears
and a simultaneously giggle fills the room.
I love it when my granddaughter lays her head on my chest and sleeps peacefully.
My questions, thoughts, and guesses are what keep my life full of wonderful adventures.

I’m thankful for my vision.
 I’m thankful for the opportunity to be one of the few who survived from
Congenital Rubella Syndrome.

 I’m thankful for the time I had with my parents.
I’m thankful for the opportunity to write a novel.
It made me strip every fabric of my skin; it made me unveil my pain, my trials, but most of all it HELPED ME to feel a warmth of gratitude.
 It gave me a firm foundation that anyone can survive ANYTHING.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Mom I Miss You!


Ever since 2006 the date February 8th, chills my heart, a day that brings a memory of my mother resting peacefully on her bed. I can still recall the coldness of her skin when I gently pulled off her watch. I tried to block out any thought that my mother has gone home. A policeman touched my shoulder and brought me back to real life and his question pierced me with pain. “Is she your mother?"  My response escaped from my eyes as the tears cascaded down my face. Tears that flooded the room as I witness them carry her out.

Daily I try to replace that horrible memory with past experiences that have brought warmth. My manuscript is filled with her failures, secrets and long buried hurts from our dysfunctional family.  Stories I have edited and relived each time I read them. They have strengthened and given me the insight that life is a precious gift from God. I hope my story will bring as much comfort to others as it has to me.

Mom I miss you. Mom, thank you for giving me life.