Impossible Things: Pam Hudspeth

“It was the sweetness of your skin
It was the hope of all we might have been
That filled me with the hope to wish
Impossible things…” ~The Cure

Pam tries to enjoy a hot air balloon festival we attended together in August 1992.
Pam tries to enjoy a hot air balloon festival we attended together in August 1992.

Pam and I dated very seriously for a very short time. We met when she worked as a reporter and columnist at my newspaper.

It might have been the most intense relationship of my life, and although I desired it, our time together was one of the most difficult in my life.

Most of why I loved Pam was that she was so beautiful, but part of me was attracted to how intense and interesting she was.

Pam poses for a photo illustration for our newspaper in 1990. She was really beautiful to me at the time.
Pam poses for a photo illustration for our newspaper in 1990. She was really beautiful to me at the time.

Journal, October 24, 1990: Pam fascinates me more than the others, but she’s cold and withdrawn because (of her divorce). She’s beautiful, smart, sweet, and she’s always got me figured out. I really like the way she dresses, too. 

Pam and I went out to lunch a week later, and later that afternoon, she knocked on the darkroom door and told me she didn’t really want to date, since, “I still have some graveyards to build.”

Journal, May 25, 1992: Her smile says, “I like you, but I see through you.” Even when she doesn’t . . . “Richard,” she asked, “why do you want to get into Pam’s head so much?” Heart. You should be able to tell from the way I hold you that I want to get into your heart.

Pam poses for my medium format camera at her desk in the newsroom in the spring of 1992.
Pam poses for my medium format camera at her desk in the newsroom in the spring of 1992.

Journal, May 30, 1992: Pam, I awoke this morning dreaming about the sound of your voice. Why don’t we love each other? I mean, if you were to look at it more or less objectively, you’d think we were meant for each other. We’re both single, highly intelligent and creative, filled with admiration and respect for each other, physically affectionate, and attracted to each other. And yet, there’s always a certain tension between us.

One very attractive thing about Pam is that she wrote. She penned a column at our newspaper, often politically unpopular and inflammatory, and claimed she wanted to write books, stories, and an autobiography. Along with Frank Rodrigues and Melissa Price, Pam joined my writing club in 1991. Oddly, it was hard to get her to write much, and now, decades later, her claims of wanting to write have never come to fruition.

Pam and her son Dane, who was four at the time, pose on their front porch. As cute as he was as a little boy, he turned into a drug-stealing douchebag as an adult.
Pam and her son Dane, who was four at the time, pose on their front porch. As cute as he was as a little boy, he turned into a drug-stealing douchebag as an adult.

She was one of just three smokers I dated. Her brand was Virginia Slims, and she was as addicted to them as I have ever seen anyone addicted to anything. She was also one of four women I dated who had children. She had a son named Dane.

At the end of May 1992, she and I started seeing each romantically. By July we were known as a couple. The romance never turned sexual, though, because of what was about to transpire.

Early in our dating she copied a poem into my journal and signed it as her own, but I almost immediately discovered it was not hers. When I confronted her, she made up some kind of “I wrote it to you” excuse, and I accepted it.

Journal, June 3, 1992: After holding her for a long time at her front door, I took her hands in mine and looked into her eyes, soaking up her beauty, her affection. We smiled and just stared at each other. It was wonderful.

“I’ve never felt so comfortable with a man,” she told me early on, but now I realize she still wasn’t comfortable. She also told me early on that she thought of me as “genderless,” meaning that she felt safe with me, but insulting me at the same time.

After looking through a box of photographs that included some of my old girlfriends, Pam decided she did not generally want to be photographed because she didn’t want “to end up in a box like that.”

At left, Pam smiles for a head shot at our newspaper in 1991, at roughly the peak of her beauty. On the right is a head shot I made of her during a brief period in 1995 when she returned to Ada to work at Valley View Hospital.
At left, Pam smiles for a head shot at our newspaper in 1991, at roughly the peak of her beauty. On the right is a head shot I made of her during a brief period in 1995 when she returned to Ada to work at Valley View Hospital.

Journal, June 18, 1992: Once again feeling very close to Pam, very much like she and I have some reason for being in each other’s lives. (For her), she’s never known a man with whom she could share so much, with whom she felt so comfortable.

Journal, June 23, 1992: “Do you feel it when I hold you?” I asked. “Sometimes,” she answered.

I looked at her beautiful face inches from me. I let her eyes soak me up. I let trust and love swell inside me. “What are  you thinking?” she asked.

“I was thinking,” I told her, “What a great moment this is.”

Later, sitting at home, a feeling of surprise and disbelief sneaked up on me. How could it be that this beautiful woman who is so full of love and pain and joy and life be in my arms?

She got into the habit of calling me “Rusty,” which was my nickname for the first seven years of my life. She said it was the name of my “inner child,” which I thought was ridiculous, but I let her do it anyway.

“Our song” became Elton John’s relatively obscure The One. She liked the line, “a spirit born of earth and water. “I looked up our horoscopes again,” she said, “and found that my element is earth and yours is water.” I find horoscopy to be complete crap, but she was so beautiful, I let it ride.

Someone told me I had "suede blue" eyes, but Pam had this to say about them.
Someone told me I had “suede blue” eyes, but Pam had this to say about them.

Journal, June 26, 1992, 1:51 am: “I have to confess that I sometimes hope that when you are I are both ready, we could marry each other,” I said.

“Yes,” she answered, “I’ve thought that too.” Then I watched her eyes fill with tears as she told me she thanks god every day for putting me in her life. Hopes fill her eyes.

Pam and I dressed up for a friend's Cole Porter party in the summer of 1992. I think we both look great in this image.
Pam and I dressed up for a friend’s Cole Porter party in the summer of 1992. I think we both look great in this image.

Journal, June 29, 1992: Words from Pam tonight, “No matter what happens, I’ll never abandon you.” Words from Kathy in 1988: “No matter what, I will never desert you.”

“Do they abandon you, or do you drive them away?” ~Frank, in his journal.

Journal, July 11, 1992: As I was leaving, she was going to tell me about how she will remember me years from now. “I picture you with a glass of iced tea in your hand, sitting on the porch swing in front of your house.” She paused and looked down.

“Was it ours?” I asked. She looked at me and smiled, embarrassed that I caught her thinking that. She didn’t answer, but didn’t have to.

Journal, August 5, 1992: What if she’s the one I’ve been waiting for my whole life? Today was her first official use of the word “boyfriend” to describe me.

“Do you think you could fall in love with me?” she asked.

“I think I already have.”

Pam is the second on the left in this image with some of her friends in the late 1980s. She has her arm around her best friend Stacy, with whom I went to college and who worked with my wife for a while at PrePaid Legal.
Pam is the second on the left in this image with some of her friends in the late 1980s. She has her arm around her best friend Stacy, with whom I went to college and who worked with my wife for a while at PrePaid Legal.

Journal, August 11, 1992: She finally told me the story in detail about her sexual abuse.

“I never thought I’d tell that to a guy. I can’t believe I did it,” she said afterwards.

On August 15, 1992, I took my first flying lesson, somewhat at her urging, and I have been a licensed pilot since May 1, 1993.

In September of 1992, after a fair amount of soul-searching, Pam entered a treatment center called Cottonwood in Los Lunas, New Mexico, and in the first week of October, I visited her there where I participated in their “Family Program.” The program was during the peak of the sexual abuse mass hysteria that swept the nation and ruined lives in the late 80s and early 90s. That experience showed me first hand how divorced from reality psychology can get, and how dangerous the human psyche can be.

Probably the craziest things she wrote me about were the concept of multiple “inner children” residing inside us, and the “anger wall,” a place where therapists would take patients to scream at their abusers.

Cottonwood was little more than a house that had been hastily converted to serve the rapidly-expanding sexual adube treatment market, the same way that paintless hail repair places spring up after a hailstorm. This is an actual picture of Cottonwood I made some years later, not long before it closed.
Cottonwood was little more than a house that had been hastily converted to serve the rapidly-expanding sexual adube treatment market, the same way that paintless hail repair places spring up after a hailstorm. This is an actual picture of Cottonwood I made some years later, not long before it closed.

The time when she was at Cottonwood and I remained behind was difficult for me.

“i fear nothing
besides myself
please don’t watch me
love like an infant trying to stand up

“am i two souls
one hard, one whole
am i real
i don’t want to feel anything

“i feel nothing
besides this pain
please don’t watch me
love like an infant
scared and crawling…”

~Toad the Wet Sprocket

She wrote letters describing insanity among her co-patients, being terrified, being numb, being lonely, being shut down. I cared about her so deeply at the time that it was difficult for me to let her face the situation alone. I wrote her almost every day, and she wrote me about twice a week. My letters were too needy in their efforts to comfort her, and didn’t help an already difficult situation. I visited her son, Dane, who was with Pam’s mom, but Pam’s mom was against the whole situation, and vilified me.

We’ve been sharing so many words and feelingsAge is heavier, it seems, than years aloneBut, I told you things I wouldn’t dream of telling anyoneAre we drying out, like flowers from a forgotten someone
Don’t go awayI can’t feel the same without you
Don’t go awayI can’t feel the same without you
~Toad the Wet Sprocket

In my journal, I nervously, impatiently counted down the days until I could see her again.

This is the medallion I got for participating in the family program at the long-defunct Cottonwood Treatment Center in Los Lunas, New Mexico. It sits on the other relic from the place, a "god bag." The idea is that you write your unsolvable problems and put them in the bag, thus "giving them to god."
This is the medallion I got for participating in the family program at the long-defunct Cottonwood Treatment Center in Los Lunas, New Mexico. It sits on the other relic from the place, a “god bag.” The idea is that you write your unsolvable problems and put them in the bag, thus “giving them to god.”

As time for the Family Program grew near, she and I got into a dispute about her son, her mom, watering her houseplants, etc., and just before I drove to Albuquerque, she wrote a bitter, angry, hateful letter, which she read to my answering machine before mailing it. She apparently told our mutual friends about it, and turned them against me. That represented the bottom of our relationship, and I was about one angry thought from never speaking to her again.

Pam smiles in this 2010 social media photo.
Pam smiles in this 2010 social media photo.

I arrived Sunday afternoon, October 4 to a sea of uncertainty. She and I talked under the cottonwood trees for a while, deciding little. At on point, she tearfully asked, “What do we have? Do we have intimacy?” The truth, of course, was that we only had moments of intimacy, moments she would talk to me, trembling like a soaking-wet kitten, about that really happened to her and what it meant. “Yes,” I said instead, “We have the simple intimacy of these moments.”

I made extensive notes as I attended the Family Program, which was unpolished. There were about 10 of us from all around the country. One, Arye, was a recovering heroin addict, as was his girlfriend, patient Tammy. Some years later Arye died of an overdose. Tammy’s mother Putzie claimed to be under a great deal of pressure (possibly from guilt), and one night wandered off into the desert, returning hours later shivering and muttering.

Fun fact: Arye used the phrase “swirling toilet of despair,” which I use to this day.

On the fourth day of the Program, Pam and I were supposed to meet with the shrinks to share some exercises we wrote out. Facing each other in an upstairs bedroom at Cottonwood Treatment Center, she told me she “couldn’t be in a codependent relationship,” and could barely be there for her son, let alone me.

The Cottonwood Treatment Center was little more than a couple of houses and an office, in the middle of a field in the bottom area of the Rio Grande near Los Lunas, New Mexico. Years later I read that it was closed and its business was moved to a substance abuse center in Arizona.
The Cottonwood Treatment Center was little more than a couple of houses and an office, in the middle of a field in the bottom area of the Rio Grande near Los Lunas, New Mexico. Years later I read that it was closed and its business was moved to a substance abuse center in Arizona.

I drove home listening to the World Series on the radio, thinking about her and the relationship I felt had ended unfairly.

Pam smiles for her webcam in 2013.
Pam smiles for her webcam in 2013.

I wrote a somewhat fictionalized account of my trip to Cottonwood called Sangre de Christo.

I loved her very intensely, though she was always hesitant and conditional about professing her love to me.

Sadly, Pam’s life has not gone well in the many years since we were together. She married Kevin La Born not long after we parted, and divorced in about 2002. She married again to Renée Janski in 2003-ish, but was alone again by 2008 or so. She has spent all her time and energy since then resenting and despising Renée.

Some Songs Are Right on the Money…

“She won’t recover from her losses
She’s not chosen this path
But she watches who it crosses
Maybe move to the right
Maybe move to the left
So we can all see her pain she wears
Like a banner on her chest
And we all say it’s sad
And we think it’s a shame
And she’s called to our attention
But we do not call her name
The girl with the weight
Of the world in her hands

“Cause we’re busy with our happiness
And busy with our plans
I wonder if alone she wants it
Taken from her hands
But if things didn’t keep getting harder
She might miss her sacred chance
To go a consecrated martyr

“The girl with the weight
Of the world in her hands

“I wonder which saint
That lives inside a bead
Will grant her consolation
When she counts upon her need
It makes us all angry
Though we feign to care
But who will be the scale
To weigh the cross she has to bear
The girl with the weight
Of the world in her hands…”

~Indigo Girls

Pam claimed to have cancer, to have had multiple surgeries, and to be suicidal, and though I have no direct reason to doubt those claims, she has no credibility in my view, so much of it could be untrue.

I made a Polaroid of Pam at her desk while we were dating, which she handtinted.
I made a Polaroid of Pam at her desk while we were dating, which she handtinted.

She once told me in a text message that I was, “the best man I ever dated.” But she used a subtle system of conditions such that there was no clear definition of “best” or “dated,” so it doesn’t hold a huge sway.

She claims to resent being accused of prescription drug addiction, but I believe, based mostly on conversations with her both online and on the phone, that she is either addicted to morphine and/or over-prescribed.

Of all the women I loved in the years before I was married, Pam is easily the most self-destructive, damaged, and tragic.

When she's not enraged by the administration or wasted on morphine, Pam can raise a fair amount of beautiful, as in this 2016 webcam selfie.
When she’s not enraged by the administration or wasted on morphine, Pam can raise a fair amount of beautiful, as in this 2016 webcam selfie.

Her social media presence, which she boycotted for years after seeing The Social Network, is devoted almost entirely to despising the Republican administration, and her rambling, raging posts are usually in all-capital letters. She had a photo gallery called, “Documenting the many moods of cancer,” and another called “What to do when bedridden and lonely and no friends to talk to,” despite the fact that I have made it clear she could call me any time.

Pam poses on her Harley Davidson motorcycle in 2010. She only rode it a few times, since she was incapacitated by illness or prescription drugs or both.
Pam poses on her Harley Davidson motorcycle in 2010. She only rode it a few times, since she was incapacitated by illness or prescription drugs or both.

After years of my encouragement, she finally got some thoughts together – loosely, chaotically – and in May 2019, emailed me a long essay about her situation. The contents of that email is in the comments section.

Email from Pam, June 1, 2019…

And many of my journals – incomplete, some pages blank, others full – many of them, when desperation hit, began with Dear Richard. I’ll make sure YOU get them in my will.

And I love you. All I can do at this point in our lives is say, forgive me. Forgive me for not recognizing love when it was right in front of me. I always think of you – never ever should have let you leave Cottonwood without me on the tail end. But, as you said, you found Abby. And that has been your blessing.

Thank you for what you have done for me – back then – and even to this day. I have never been more grateful for a person than I am you. And please – forgive me. I’m such a stupid fool. Now – I know with all my heart – you were who I should have been with.

Despite her efforts to do interesting things and have fun times, Pam's very posture was guarded and defensive, and her eyes seemed to have the "1000-yard stare."
Despite her efforts to do interesting things and have fun times, Pam’s very posture was guarded and defensive, and her eyes seemed to have the “1000-yard stare.”

As year went by, I curated a long-distance friendship with Pam, in part because I think she is interesting, and in part out of compassion for her difficult, if somewhat self-made life. She frequently told me I was her only friend, but that’s not true, because she told me about talking to other friends.

Pam came to Ada for the first time in many years for her grandmother's funeral March 2, 2022. I only saw her for a short time, but we had a good talk, and she held me tight when it was time for me to leave.
Pam came to Ada for the first time in many years for her grandmother’s funeral March 2, 2022. I only saw her for a short time, but we had a good talk, and she held me tight when it was time for me to leave.

Pam died in hospice care on November 15, 2023. She was 58.


  1. Pam sent this essay to me May 6, 2019…

    You (and whoever you share this with) are the only person in this
    world who knows how badly this hurts. How much my life is
    incapacitated, locked in this bed without a single human being but two
    very loyal Yorkies – one that is smart enough I have taught him sign
    language so he could understand when I need help. Doc doesn’t hear me
    screaming as he lives ACROSS the house-past kitchen, past living room,
    into his office-turn right – bedroom (master suite). Door’s wide open
    and he is 74 years and I have needed to do so much by myself – crawl
    to the toilet (one cannot pee/defecate with this disease), no one
    knows how much or how little medicine I take. I have no girl friends
    for the first time in my life. Hugs are non-existent; love and being
    held is non-existent. I found the perfect one, though – Renee. She was
    my best friend-and later became much more than that – but I left the
    man I truly loved behind, for choking me, choking my son.

    Yet it was she who tore me to pieces, broke my body. There are no
    gays. There are no straight. I am Two-Spirited-which the Native
    Americans honored, for we understood both men and women, were rare to
    find, but fragile from hiding so long. There is love – but it must
    work two ways – and none of mine have, not even with my own son.

    Believe me, when you look into the Abyss and have no hope, no friends
    to hear me,hug me, laugh with me. No matter how kind a man is, women
    will always need a best girlfriends-especially a best friend. We
    die-women have needed women from the beginning of time. There is a
    hole that men will never feel

    Everyone moves so quickly in this world. It has become even faster.
    People like me – and the elderly -yet many young people, especially
    women – live like I do – but we have nowhere to find one another.
    There are no support groups online or off. There is no one that hears
    my pain to the depth that I so desperately need My heart grabs, pain
    shoots into muscles that wrap around the pelvic region, the bones –
    the basket of that makes the pelvis that allow ppl to drive, walk,
    make love, masturbate.
    I am feel trapped. Friends of 30 yrs left me 9 yrs ago, calling me an
    drug addict-when I have this disease, lung and Adrenal cancer-and no
    one loved me enough to do that – simply walked out of my life, as if
    we had known one another even for five minutes.
    I am sure the men who did what they did to me live, are married, are
    dating, making love, having that romantic bed picnic.. I am locked in
    a sick, hurtful, painful body and I watch human behavior on
    television, make up titles for a book, do not write/journal every
    night – Rneee made me do that. She wouldn’t let me stay up when she
    was going to bed. She was 324obs, I was 107 – but I have never seen
    fat or anything like that. She couldn’t go to bed Without me, she
    couldn’t go to sleep. When her breath was steady, I would gently pick
    her arm off of me, scoot out of the bed to get my robe on, and she
    would wake up, groan, tell me to get back to bed..
    She got so angry, she banned me from writing at night – I am a
    vampire. I come alive at 11 p.m., and I stay up all night-insomnia
    even trips over my medicine – which isn’t good, for sleep does heal. I
    pray I sleep forever, every day now. She took my Voice breaking, it
    like shattered glass bursting into my heart. I still dig out chunks
    and have not journaled every night in 17 years.
    You are hearing something I would only send to this friend. He still
    believes in me.

    It’s a simple request-not being lonely. Call people. One girlfriend to
    come over and stay the night – let’s talk – please hug me. All those
    friends I was loyal and loving to were literal vampires-still and
    think they were justified leaving me with this disease, adrenal and
    lung cancer – judging that I am a drug addict. I cannot tell the TRUTH
    – I am no drug addict. My body is more complicated than anyone can
    imagine. I feel scared. I ache. I haven’t slept in five days. My legs
    ache-coming up from the ankles that were broken, to my thighs, where
    my vaginal canal aches deep deep inside those muscles, my arms – every
    pain is bursts through the parasympathetic nervous system. Only sleep
    stops it all. Yet, they won’t give me a way to sleep – for it would
    repress my breathing and I might not wake up – which, if you knew me
    better, I consider a blessing. Put me back with my Nana and Papa. My
    Granddad. Put me with my Aunt Lola. People who loved me, who loved me
    without pain. Please – please let me go.
    Mom never calls. Dad never calls. Brother never calls. No one family
    member calls – for months. You – ‘god’ know all of this. I say your
    name in quotations and tell you goddamnit all the time because I now
    you are not the only spoke of this wheel. Allah, Buddha, Jesus Christ.
    We are in hell – yet the Catholic Church invented Genesis to control
    women, to threaten and scare. Just like Donald Trump does his
    audience. He uses scare tactics – divide and conquer. If my social
    security and medicare disappear, I do too. And millions like me.

    Doc tried. He tries everyday-and I tell him, “You have to get a
    hearing aid. You’re not hearing me from my room, Doc.” And he says he
    can hear me fine-but had that been true, he would’ve heard me reaching
    for my medicine, pushing on my dresser, when the nightstand fell over
    as I lose balance. Every pill I have falls, rolling everywhere, under
    everything – at 2:38 a.m. – and I fell to the wood floor while he
    He doesn’t hear me fall – hitting headfirst onto the hardwood floor. I
    am stuck, purse my lips, grit my teeth, reach over groaning, use every
    bit of strength I have to crawl to the bed. It’s tall. Doc got me a
    Tempurpedic-a $5000 bed-yet it makes me cry and is so so high my dogs
    have stairs to get up here with me. They are getting older. I think of
    Lilly and E.B. leaving me and cry and panic. For they hear me fall-and
    if the gate’s not up – E.B. runs across the house and barks to get

    Realizing how bad my self-care and care from Doc, age 74- I thought,
    I’m dead. I will die.
    When I used to walk through cemeteries and read their names, dates of
    birth, dates of death – I always wondered, did you get your dreams on
    this planet? Look at all the graves – did all these people do what
    they loved? Did you have my dream? Did you get published? Did you tell
    someone your life’s story – bad or good – did you finally do something
    for yourself-not others? Was your heart in so much physical pain
    because it has been terribly broken just too many times over too many

    There are moments when I realize how stupid my life is. My friends are
    in the T.V. I have one I tweet all the time – Amy Allan – from The
    Dead Files. She can see and talk to the dead. She works with a New
    York retired homicide detective – and they do not tell each other
    anything. Amy talks to the dead. Steve gathers deeds, histories,
    deaths, all the facts about the location where Amy is speaking to the
    She can see centuries, what people are doing, what they are causing,
    why the land is bloody-from the Native blood shot by the white men
    that came 15,000 years after us. No one can own land, water, the
    sky-but they do. It’s how you make money-Natives knew no one can own
    anything, and our culture, our religion, our voices – our VOICES were
    silenced. Amy can see also see Shadow People-people pitch black that
    do nothing but harm-are evil. The Dead Files and Amy – they are my
    friends – on the The Dead Files on the Travel Channel with Amy Allan
    and Steve DiShavio.

    I always want to ask Amy if she sees dead EVERYWHERE. She does. She
    sees pasts, stories that spirits do not want her to discover as they
    were bad in life, and so in death are too-Shadow People.
    She told me she’d kill me if I committed suicide. And I think that may
    be my only choice. If something happens to Doc, no one will be here.
    My son, Dane, steals my drugs, my money, abuses me, ripped the
    stitches out of my back when they removed my right lung. Yells at me.
    Screams – and never calls to see how I am or write to me – and if
    something happens to Doc, I’m in desperate trouble. Life and death

    We must wrap up business we have with people here on Earth – people
    who have hurt us – or any other outstanding anger or emotional issue,
    for if we do not – we will be unable to get to cross. The seduction of
    the physical world, the people we loved, the places we lived are so
    strong, that unless we take care of that business, we are trapped in a
    place where no one will hear us – even in death and we will still
    suffer. I have left strict instructions, should I decide to do this,
    for Doc to get in touch with Amy Allan, the physical medium, to get me
    unstuck and help me cross over-let go of all that has happened on THIS
    plane. I want relief from this life. I want relief in this body. Will
    my soul be stuck here-by abuse (again), dying quickly and not
    realizing I am dead, still stuck to this earth. My spirit is trapped
    in a body that does not work. And those traumatic things keep us here,
    away from crossing over. Suicide was my choice – but I want OUT of
    here, not stuck wandering around a damn house where no one will hear
    me or help me ‘cross over.’

    My pain is increasing, my body falling apart, dying slowly. I’m just
    an empath – I feel the pain of others. I have done it all my life and
    it has led to this disease – taking away my very independent strength.
    ME is being erased – and I ache for my girlfriends, who left me at a
    time when I needed them desperately. They left calling me a drug
    addict – while I still having surgeries, but more pain in my kidneys

    Stuck in a bed in a house that’s 3500 sq ft, screaming to an old man I
    love – and I am not heard.THAT is life 7 days a week, unless
    interrupted by a doctor appointment.

    Being heard is utmost, though, because abusers didn’t ever hear me.
    They didn’t stop. I have been a slut since I was 8, and I am ending my
    life with no one I love deeply and I mourn every single day – and my
    heart hurts so badly. It squeezes, pulling my heart, aching – as if
    the life of not telling MY truth, of staying silent, of ‘taking it’
    cause ‘it’s my fault’. I would bow at the feet of everyone just to be
    HEARD by those friends – OH GOD, those friends – our laughter, leaving
    when we took weekends away from our men and children-it made us all
    sane, all at peace. They are not here, though, and my loyalty, my
    memories, my truth doesn’t matter to any of them. All at once, lost my
    home, my blue Volkswagon to the bank and finally, because of Renee,
    because of a woman who had used me for nothing but money. SHE told me,
    as she picked me up from ICU – she used to stay with me in the
    hospital, but
    I didn’t know she had set up my drug addict story at the church where
    she was choir director, having an affair with another woman. She
    texted me after upending all I believed me, losing so many people-none
    of my friends like her. All of her friends became mine-so of course I
    was alone.
    To cover her guilt at the church for leaving someone they were
    supposedly committed to with cancer, no way to get food, stuck from a
    surgery to remove my right lung. The drug addict story made everyone
    at the church feel sorry for her-she was a fantastic actor – she used
    the “she’s abusive, a drug addict, a horrid person.” And she would
    tell THAT story – no one not knowing she was using my sickness to
    cover her affair. I am angry at the church and how i was treated.

    I could not find the love of my life – Kevin. I had to leave my
    husband-regardless of Renee. He was hitting my son and almost died
    from being choked. Renee grabbed THAT moment to steal me from Kevin –
    still the love of my life – but when I called him 2 yrs ago, I was
    bawling – I wanted to see HIM. I apologized for MY sins – and never
    confronted what HE had done. I picked a woman over my husband, she
    destroyed my reputation- but my fucking reputation has been ruined
    since I was 8, being sexually abused – I was a whore then. In my 50s,
    or late 40s, I become a drug addict and lost another group of friends
    – ones of 30 yrs left me when I am absolutely in need of all of them
    right now.

    And I know I have many many feelings that would make me’ stuck.’ If
    anyone is alive – I’ll ask them to call Amy, make sure I got OUTA
    here.My heart, though, has been broken for far too many I love. Kevin
    the most – I know I am Two-Spirited (as the Cherokees called them). I
    was always a TomBly, I hate dresses – yet, Kevin and I fell in love –
    and I chose Renee, a woman in love with me, proud to have that rainbow
    flag – which I think is absolutely stupid because it’s like waving to
    all these uptight people who would think this is an absolutely insane
    story – to get their Arkansas rifles and show up at the damn door –
    especially with the climate we have right now. I have been used, used,
    used, used and my body is breaking too slowly.

    I breathe. I do not live.

    When I pull the trigger, I wanna make sure I get help to forgive
    myself-finish out-standing business that still hurts terribly.

    I am broken hearted – left by friends I did not harm, loved deeply
    and without condition – yet none call, none visit, none care – for
    everything moves too fast in life now-except for those of us who are
    trapped in bodies that do not work.
    I am constipated word-wise because I haven’t journaled in 9 years. The
    shame, guilt – the pain – is a weight. How do I climb out of this HELL
    where there is no hand to grasp. I have been in this grave, uncovered,
    deep mud to my knees, tree roots sticking out of the dug dirt, hot
    sunshine – which I despise – showing the black under my eyes. There
    are holes, a desperate attempt to crawl out of this hole. None have
    worked and no one has come. Please please love me – do not use me-for
    that is why I am in this grave, this bed, talking to two dogs and
    writing an essay for a man I loved and love still. A friend-this
    man-who never once deserted me. Not even when I deserted him. He has
    been to me what I was to my friends of 30 years, who told me they did
    not want me in their lives – and I was dumbfounded. It was a ball from
    left field I was not prepared to catch. A home-run that never
    happened. Democrats call me -for I am about to lose all that sustains
    me – social security, medicare. Murdered by a billionaire president,
    billionaire Republicans, millionaire Democrats who tell me they care.
    All the idiot religions sit and wait for this world to end – for they
    believe the demagogy written by the Catholic Church and have not done
    their own investigations. They could not read Hebrew.
    Hell is here.
    Biblical Archaeology has become a past time the more my body fails me
    and I contemplate death. But my chest lies heavy with stories tied and
    knotted up like a ball of twine put down a century ago, unfinished,
    unallowyed. Now my heart hurts, physically, for I cannot untangle them
    without the heaviness of the friends I knew, the grief I have not been
    able to stop. The desperation of loneliness. The ‘what do I do’
    question in the back of my mind. My heart has been used and broken –
    and this last time, with the desertion of my marriage, my lover, my
    friends – it has been absolutely smashed under weight of tears held
    back and keeps grabbing, stabbing, causing me to catch my breath. I
    try not to let it hurt the dogs. I know they carry my burdens for me.
    I do not want them dead with MY grief. Yet without them, I am lost.

    Though you may move with the world, remember not everyone is out there
    with you. You perform a service when you remember us – the disabled,
    the mentally disturbed (depressed, sad, dying), the elderly-who saw
    electricity and indoor toilets arrive. The holocaust survivors – the
    children even – losing to one of the greatest horrors of dictator in
    Germany, but not remembered by members of our own Congress-forTrump
    has created our own Auscwitz at the border-though all little girls
    have been sent away, all over the world, hidden inside the sex
    traffic. They are no doubt being raped, beaten, shut, hidden, used.
    They will die, like me. They will THINK that is love – and they will
    never know it.

    We are abandoned daily. It is like being a vinyl record with scratches
    reaching out across from the middle. We are also reminded everyday how
    very alone we truly are and wish for death.
    (Just google Amy Allan, pay her to make sure I’m not stuck in this
    goddamn bed for eternity Richard-thank you).

    Little drop,
    give yourself up without regret
    and in return
    you will gain the ocean.

    Give yourself away
    In the Great Sea
    for there –
    You shall be secure.

  2. Two days later, she rewrote her essay and resent it, though she didn’t improve much on the narrative or consistency…

    No one in this world seems to know the pain of living with a disease
    that affects the entire parasympathetic nervous system and one’s
    entire life. A disease that is degenerative, spreads to every tiny
    nerve, even the tips of fingers and proceeds to cause one to stumble,
    hit the concrete, knees first, cane tangled, cheek ground into the
    gravel, and a sigh with a wish that, at that one second, a car would
    come-and death would be the release from this carcass and this
    disease. It is a sneaky, horrid, disrupting disorder. I thought I had
    already paid in all the ways I could for being sexually abused. I did
    not know that, at the age of almost 40, I would simply be walking and
    suddenly have no legs, fall to the ground, be unable to find my arms,
    or any of my strength-my body-at least the one I thought I had-now
    splayed on the floor. That was the beginning. No amount of therapeutic
    work on flashbacks, triggers, depression, suicidal ideation – no
    amount of years of therapy meant a damn thing when I discovered that
    those men – all of those men all of my life from age 8 to the present
    day-I am still paying for their sins and for mine.

    After years in bed, reading, watching every video, studying everything
    I didn’t have time to before, I KNOW now that the churches couldn’t
    read Hebrew-so being the great Catholic men they were, they used every
    opportunity to make women whores, oppressed, victimized, for
    procreation only. Women were NOT to enjoy sex-and shut the fuck up
    about it-if you tell what I’ve done to you on this table that has
    REST OF YOUR LIFE…And I never told anyone-and yes, he has destroyed
    the rest of my life. THE CHURCH built the Bible-and took words they
    did not know and turned them into words that oppressed, robbed,
    weakened people, said things in Latin that no one understood but they
    had faith in these men of god, not realizing that they are JUST STILL
    STOLE-THE REAL ONE-THE ONE ON PAPYRUS, is hidden in their archives,
    and so religion was born and it has been used against us-women

    It only took five Vaginectomies and one referral to a corrupt
    urologist for another surgery to find a name for it. With a name, at
    least I could begin to find information. That old reporter in me that
    never died-I want to get to the truth-no matter the cost. Interstitial
    Cystitis and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction-urologists equate the pain of
    this disease to End Stage Renal Cancer. It is unbelievable and I have
    never been so sick of pills in my life.
    I used to joke that no man could EVER have five inches cut off like I
    had to have and live with it as well as I have. And though my vagina
    is closed for business and has been for over a decade, in answer to
    everyone’s question, no, five inches being gone doesn’t make a
    difference, at least for women.

    We as humans can see ghosts, believe in ‘god’, believe in a universe
    or aliens, but when it comes to someone having what is known as an
    ‘invisible disability’-no one believes in that. All they see is pain
    medications, deem that that person is a ‘drug addict, part of Trump’s
    opioid crisis (Heroin has made a much bigger comeback than people
    overdosing on opiates-and if a person wants to commit suicide, believe
    me-they will find a way). I was deemed a drug addict by friends I
    loved unconditionally for 25+ years-yet, when I needed these women I
    loved so deeply, they decided I was a drug addict and I was no longer
    needed in their lives, nor did they want me to be. After a lifetime of
    journaling every single night beginning at the age of 8, when I wrote
    my first story, and after a lifetime of writing poems to friends, to
    people I loved, my lifeline of support was gone-my words gone-drowned
    in the black ink in my bottle. I could not dip my pen and pour them
    out in sentences, feeling that delightful, invigorating flow, that
    delicious, wet stain on my fingers from the ink and the quill-wiping
    my fingers on my clothes, looking just like Virginia Woolf in The
    Hours-HER fingers black as she struggled with the voices in her head
    to make sense-to hear those screams-for she too had been raped by her
    brothers. I struggled to make a sentence and there was nothing. A
    large black drop of ink plopped and spread into a puddle-but no words
    for any of this unbearable physical, mental and emotional pain. No one
    to call. No one believed me. It was 2008-my partner used my being a
    drug addict as a cover for the affair they had been having – it didn’t
    look so bad leaving an addict. The church, full of professors that
    knew me, worked with me on campus, hovered over my lover who cried,
    being the actor they still are and cashing in on the fact that me
    being an abusive drug addict gave the perfect excuse to leave me-and
    be open and free with the shiny new person. The church gave comfort to
    ONE of us – and it was not ME.

    Once again – I was BAD -no one wanted to be my friend. I sat with
    nothing but my quill pen, ink bottle, blotter and a stack of empty
    journals. Some with flacid attempts to write-its pages impotent-one
    day, maybe two days. No poetry, nothing-while my insides screamed with
    pain that desperately needed to be put on those blank pages in that
    stack of journals. I could not move. I had given myself away, believed
    everything everyone said-and so, once again, I was a whore, a slut and
    now a drug addict. My heart clenched-stabbing me, causing me to gasp,
    clutch my left breast, lean over and into the pain-while it HIT, HIT,
    HIT – not beat, beat, beat. It has not stopped for the last decade-and
    I clutch it, gasp, wonder if this will be a heart attack, a blessed
    release from this goddamned body-and it never is. It is only the
    imprint of how many times it has shattered because of all it has
    carried for so long.
    Heartbreak is real-it just doesn’t show up on the equipment they use
    in the Emergency Room. As a survivor of sexual assault (which our
    president has also committed against 18 women & probably more-for
    those of you who voted for the bastard) and those women are now
    damaged by that man-and I know precisely what they are going
    through-and WILL go through if they attempt to help themselves with
    therapy). Sexual assault damages our ALL, our SELF. I am your example.
    I am the resurrection, shining a light on the truth of what happens
    when one is assaulted bodily, spiritually, mentally. It never ever
    goes away. It manifests in our tissue, in our organs, the brain, the
    memory. We become DIS-Eased.

    As a Recovering Baptist, I was being molested on Monday and told I
    would go to hell on Sunday because sex is a sin. Baptists, like Trump,
    become well versed in the power of FEAR. Fear makes people believe and
    do the most hideous things and passes on the most horrid beliefs in
    what we deem ‘religion’ but what is really just another way to abuse
    women, let men have power, let Baptists feel like they are bigger,
    better believers-when everything preached and done in the name of the
    church leaves broken people scattered all over the floor – just like
    me. I am walked on, stepped on. I left an imprint there, but no one
    can hear me, or see me, nor do they want to-for that MAN in the ROBE
    up there is a MINISTER-I am a the LIAR. Pieces of me left on those red
    carpets or communion tables can see what the prophets really
    meant-because they leave imprints too-and like ghosts, I see them. I
    see all the little pieces of all the broken people. I see trees,
    grass, rocks, Allah, Buddha, Jesus, Kali, the Hindu gods of many. I
    see Time. I have always seen Time – and was always told, “Oh, God! Why
    are you always SO SERIOUS?”

    Age has left lines in my forehead from years of concentrating so hard
    on what I am doing that no one can see my eyes, just my dark eyebrows
    bending toward the bridge of my nose, while I thought and wrote and
    thought and wrote. I did this when I worked at the newspaper, too,
    especially for my editorials or essays. Inevitably, my beloved
    photographer would come and lean on my computer, his chin resting on
    top of his hands, and I would peer up at a him, not moving my
    eyebrows, and he would smile. And I would say-go back to your cave,

    It has now been 11 years, trapped in bed. I quit driving 7 years
    ago-because pelvic muscles are the ones that allow you to push the
    gas, the break, and stress causes ‘flares’ – meaning traffic will
    throw my legs into a spasm, and the pain will begin to wrap around my
    tail bone, and the seat becomes hard as the blood flows and bulges and
    Alone. Labeled. Being a survivor, I am adept at crying quietly-my eyes
    filling with water, tears dripping down the sides and going into my
    hair, on to my pillow. No one notices unless I cannot stop-there are
    times I fall to the floor and -like a Muslim in prayer- I wrap my
    hands around the back of my head and bawl loudly, crushed with the
    anguish of animals being hurt, or what the news has just said, scared
    that my social security, my medicare-the only thing I have right now –
    will be taken from me by men that are BILLIONAIRES-& VOTED FOR BY MEN

    HIT AND STILL, STILL they believe in a man who has raped 18 women.
    Still they kill all shelter dogs, who are sitting there, trusting that
    something good is coming-but they are then put in a noose and choked
    to death. I re-tweet these to get them to people who may be close to
    the area shelter-and I beg SOMEONE get this DOG-SOMEONE SAVE IT? IT IS

    you done, God? Why did you let this happen? PLEASE RESCUE THAT BLIND

    Don’t we all deserve that? Don’t we deserve love by people who SAID
    they loved us, but now they do not. I know I could never do that – and
    thank God all my friends are on TV or in movies now. At least I know
    they will be there – and even if they get canceled, I can watch
    re-runs. If you, though, know someone suffering with Fibromyalgia,
    IC/PFD-or someone who has a lot of bladder infections-tell them to get
    screened for Interstitial Cystitis and Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and
    realize that it is a degenerative disease and that yes, there will be
    pills – and LOVE THEM THROUGH IT. I do not think I would feel the
    horror of this world so badly if I hadn’t been deserted by every
    single friend I had up here.

    I’m a liar. A whore. I’m not disabled. I’m just another DRUG ADDICT –
    and DRUG ADDICTS LIE. In the meantime, my ex-husband is laughing and
    being the joyful person THEY know-and do not believe he is the monster
    that nearly killed my child. What I wouldn’t give to be able to write
    an editorial about HIM.

  3. A couple of days later still, she sent this retraction…

    Richard – re-reading this – it is a disaster! I should have never sent
    it to you this bad. Jesus Christ. I hope you edited it or didn’t read
    it at all. I’m going to go in and fix it-when I commit suicide, I want
    to make sure I’m not tied to this earth emotionally. That is going to
    involve me dealing with all the anger, hurt, absolute anguish that
    lives in my gut.
    God I miss you. You would hug me right now. Doc never touches me. I
    feel so scared, Richard, about MY money. MY SS/Medicare. I am only
    going to get worse, but I don’t want to commit suicide and be stuck on
    this earth. I could be very mean and haunt a few people-I love
    practical jokes – but boy, R sure as hell did not. I missed that so
    much when Kevin dropped out of my life.
    This is an embarrassing piece. I’m sorry. It has been a terribly long
    time. I never write on the computer-I always start with my quill and
    my ink. I did the same at the paper-began my lead in the break room
    downstairs – writing it on a yellow legal pad. Once I had that, I
    could go upstairs and work on it via computer-but still had to print
    it, edit it, re-write it. This is what Anne Lamott would call a
    ‘shitty first draft.’ She says if you want to be a writer, you have to
    write – and you must begin with that shitty first draft. I have been
    afraid Richard – my dream is to be published, book of essays. I mean –
    this life I’ve had has been unbelievable. We MUST save our country.
    Jesus Christ-I am terrified.
    We have never had such a corrupt Congress. It is Congress & the Dept
    of Justice that intercedes the government FOR the people. Having
    complicit, rich Republicans – and voting machines….I asked for paper
    last time, and it wasn’t even an option. WE WILL TAKE SENATE & HOUSE
    CHEATED-HILLARY WON. Which is why we want rid of the Electoral
    College. Make sure you sign that petition and others – or – they’re all there if you’re missing them.

    I’m so embarrassed that I sent you this. I HAVE to take my medicine,
    Richard. All these mistakes were after I’d taken my meds-but you
    cannot write in pain, either. It is absolutely a meaningless activity
    when you are in horrendous pain. You cannot care what you say, what
    you do, it is like the very base of human behavior-getting out of
    pain, desperate to get out of pain. THAT was when I began drinking
    wine & taking my meds – with Renee. That is where she got the ‘she’s a
    drug addict’ thing from. But I had been walking around for 5 years at
    the time with cancer – I thought it was my disease, but there was a
    tumor the size of a watermelon on my adrenal gland, left. No matter
    how many Demerol I took, how much I drank, I could not get out of
    pain. It was a fluke that they found it.
    Then – that’s when everyone got on the bandwagon that I was an addict.
    They were all there in my hospital room when I woke up from having the
    tumor removed. My friends & the friends I had via Renee. She stayed
    the nite – and was absolutely cruel. I should have known there was
    someone else-she doesn’t have the guts to leave for herself. She was
    CRUEL. She broke me. In many ways-my home, my credit, my cars, my life
    – the life I built and worked for.

    I did – after Sara left telling me I was a drug addict – I went to the
    treatment center here in NWA – spoke to the admissions director, who
    has the same fucking degree i have. I told her everything. She shook
    her head and said, no, you’re not a drug addict. Admittedly, there are
    days when I just throw pills down and go back to sleep – days when I
    just do not want to deal with anyone or anything. I open my eyes every
    morning and think, what reason do I have to get up? None. No one is
    expecting me. There is no job. There is no deadline. But R knew how to
    play me – shame and guilt. Shame and guilt-and telling everyone at the
    fucking Unitarian church – where professors I worked WITH at the
    University went – telling everyone I was an abusive drug addict hid
    her affair she’d been having with a woman in her choir.

    What bothers me, Richard, is that everyone believes lies. When I was
    in elementary, jr high – i was ‘slut’ whore , etc. – labeled. and now
    I was abandoned based on lies-and I cannot let that go. I’ve written
    everyone-but no one ever emailed or called back- Treatment gave me my
    voice-I would go back today for all of this mess-and it STILL hurts.
    10 years later and it hurts me terribly. I have not felt joy.
    Love-except for my dogs. I have panic attacks when I go to
    Fayetteville because I am afraid of seeing all of these people who
    left my life because i’m a drug addict – and it’s NOT TRUE< GODDAMNIT! Am i just supposed to walk away and let them believe this? Let Renee make it worse and worse and worse - as she has a tendency to do? She ruined everything. EveryONE. Doc says people are going to believe what they want to - no matter what I say. I still want to GO to their homes, make them SEE me - a letter is easy to throw away. It's not so easy to look someone in the eye and say those things. I want closure. Most of all, I want the truth to be known - and Doc thinks that's a futile thing. Do you, Richard? Cottonwood closed their facility in New Mexico. Now they only operate out of Phoenix. After Renee and this - gender confusion - I guess - cuz no label fits. Not gay, lesbian, dyke, carpet muncher, none of that ever fit. What fit was 2-Spirited. That is what Native Americans called it - insofar as the 'love' category, it was much easier and much better with a woman - but not with a drama queen like Renee. I wish I could truly be loved and LOVE and end my life with someone's arms around me, spooning. That - other than doing that on a beach - would be a very nice death. Not Doc. Everyone hates Dane, too. Dane is very hate-able. He's cocky. Has never worked and says he won't. He sucks the life out of people. And when I get sick, I cannot deal with him. He screams, yells, steals my meds - what is my future, Richard? I do not have a child that will care about me or put me before anything or anyone else - and you know what it is like being with someone disabled. Hard on the caretaker-Dane is lazy. He can write. But - he says his soon to be wife, Lisa, wants him to be at home, cleaning, having dinner ready, etc. She comes home, he's a great cook - so he keeps her dinner warm, then she goes to bed - she works up to 80 hours a week and makes a lot of money being the manager of Ross here. I asked Dane what if she died? What if something happened? He said he'd rather kill himself than work. THAT is NOT me. He quit college. He has had testicular cancer, was in a coma, already has signs of THIS disease-but at his age, he can turn it around. I'm telling him what to do - and he just yells at me or talks over me. Yesterday, when we were talking about respecting older people, he just said no, he would never do that - they earn respect. And I said, no, Dane. People 50+ get respect cuz they have made accomplishments, have wisdom from mistakes, can teach instead of learn. They are automatically entitled to respect. He gets loud, I get loud and he's just stepping all over my sentences. And the worst thing is he's right. He's just like his father. He is good to Lisa-but he wastes my money, and there's never a phone call or a visit without an underlying purpose: Mom, can you give me $60 so I can buy this new video game? Mom, the doctor won't give me pain medicine for my shoulders (they dislocate easily), can you give me morphine? He just reaches in my purse and takes. He's 32 and it feels like he's still 5. I'm sick of my kid. And he alienated MY friends, they can't stand him either. Anyway=it's just like getting out of treatment and being able to tell everyone the truth. I'm not a drug addict and I want everyone to be clear on that. Cuz I'm fucking stuck-and moving away would be great but I can't right now-until we sell this monstrosity. I also have a stalker. And then there's thaat person who hijacked my FB acct. Tried to get my gmail acct-but they are ON it - I got a warning via phone IMMEDIATELY. But all that profile info and all those pictures? They have every one of them. Sorry so long - do not use this. It needs heavy work and it is a 'shitty first draft.' I'm better than this - just let me get it edited. At least it is a start, as you said. I need to continue journaling or begin again to journal. Everyone buys me journals-but the only ones I like are unlined, made from REAL paper where you can still see the grain, and a wooden, beautiful cover - People always buy me journals - they mean well, but journals are like picking out an engagement ring for me. They have to feel right. Inside and out. I know you know what I'm talking about. I love you - Pam

  4. She sent this song to me in early 2021…

    [Verse 1]
    Sunday raindrops
    Clock goes tick, tock
    I hate myself for staring at the phone
    Kept all your texts, can’t erase them
    I’d call you up but I know you’re not alone

    [Pre-Chorus 1]
    I know that I should not hold on
    So why can’t I let go?

    ‘Cause every time I’m with you
    Somehow I forget to breathe
    You got me like a rag doll
    Now I’m dancing on your string
    And I keep trying to figure out who you are to me
    But maybe all that we were meant to be
    Is beautifully unfinished
    Beautifully unfinished

    [Verse 2]
    You left your kiss like a bruise on my lips
    Your fingerprints are tattooed on my skin
    And hush now, don’t cry
    Build your walls high
    And don’t you dare come creeping in

    [Pre-Chorus 2]
    ‘Cause you’re the one that I can’t lose
    You’re the one that I can’t win

    ‘Cause every time I’m with you
    Somehow I forget to breathe
    You got me like a rag doll
    Now I’m dancing on your string
    And I keep trying to figure out who you are to me
    But maybe all that we are meant to be
    Is beautifully unfinished

    And I hate you, and I love you
    And I wish you’d go away
    And I hate you, and I love you
    And I wish that you would stay

    ‘Cause every time I’m with you
    Somehow I forget to breathe
    You got me like a rag doll
    Now I’m dancing on your string
    And I keep trying to figure out who you are to me
    But maybe all that we are meant to be
    Oh, beautifully unfinished
    We’re beautifully unfinished

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