“My eyes are dim, I cannot see,
I have not brought my specs with me.”
From the Quartermaster’s Store.
“There were foxes - stuffed in little boxes.”
From the Quartermaster's Store.
Jane died two months before Ginny was born.
The awakening for Ginny was traumatic.
For Jane, it was also somewhat of a shock.
Her massive heart attack dropped her to the ground and the last thing she remembered was talking to her sister-in-law as they sipped cocktails and smoked a forbidden cigarette.
Jane had left her Island farm to visit a favourite brother on the mainland. The purpose of the visit was to see a heart specialist. It was hoped that this surgeon would be able to correct a congenital problem, present in Jane’s heart since her birth in the early 1900’s.
Times were early and advancements in cardiovascular medicine had not yet taken place. Surgery was iffy and though the connection between smoking and heart disease had not yet been firmly established, many doctors had begun to connect the dots.
Jane's various doctors had firmly warned her, “You must give up smoking.”
Her daughter, Ginny’s mother, had begged Jane, “Mom, please listen to your doctor and quit smoking.”
Jane tried, she really did, all to no avail. She eventually accepted with a sigh of resignation that her fate was something beyond her ability to control. She did her best to limit the amount of tobacco she used and had weaned herself from forty rollies a day to a conservative three or four.
She was determined to hide her vice from her doctor and went to great lengths to protect her already nicotine stained fingers from further damage.
She would carefully spread a hair pin, gently clip it to the taboo paperskin filled with sweet tobacco and light the forbidden stick with great anticipation.
She sighed with resignation as she inhaled the smoke that sent a rush of exhilaration to her head.
Unfortunately, the powerful drug had effects that went far beyond pleasure. Her last drag of nicotine made its way through her lungs, increased her blood pressure and slammed into her damaged heart with a massive surge of blood. The poor organ was unable to withstand the pressure and Jane died within minutes. Her distraught sister-in-law stood helpless as Jane expired before her eyes.
Jane’s next memory was of being somewhere safe, warm and full of vibrant energy.
She wasn’t exactly sure of where she was and yet, knew it was somehow familiar.
Her confusion was compounded by feelings of intense pain and the strangest part was, she knew the pain was not her own.
Ginny's 'memory' of the experience was somewhat different from her grandmother.
At seven months inutreo, Ginny awoke to the electric shock of her mother's reaction to THE telephone call.
"Beatrice, we have terrible news, your mom has passed away."
Jane's only child was beyond grief stricken. The two had been especially close and the child Beatrice carried, her first, was anticipated with great joy.
In 1949 gender reveal was unheard of and yet somehow, both women knew the baby who was soon to arrive, was a girl. She was to be named after her grandmother. No one had a clue that the baby girl was to carry much more than a beloved name.
This child, quite capable of holding her own, spent the next two months tortured with the pain of her mother's grief.
Her 'memories' were of heaving sobs that left her weak and confused.
Underneath the pain, was an eerie awareness of the presence of another being.
As Ginny grew and matured, her resemblance to her grandmother was noted. Those close to the family were puzzled by the child's familiar personality and often felt as though they were with Jane and not Ginny.
Those closest to her, feared that Ginny's strangeness was but a ripple on the current of her life.
Beatrice never got over her mother's death and Ginny never was able to fully comprehend that her grandmother's spirit remained inside her. Her identity confusion caused her much grief.
It took her many years to sort through the sequence of events to realize that her grandmother's death had somehow allowed her spirit to travel the miles between herself and her daughter, eventually making its home inside space that was not meant to be shared.
Years passed and with intense therapy, Ginny was finally able to sort through the events of her life. She gave up trying to explain to others what she believed had happened and simply accepted her own understanding.
When she was in her forties, she gently gave her grandmother notice to vacate.
Ginny, by this time recognized the woman's presence and though she had not begrudged her the experience of remaining attached to this plane of existence, she no longer wished to share that inner sanctum where Jane rested.
She always felt deep love and protection from this woman, who was the only grandmother she'd ever really known. She found it hard to finally let her go. Jane had been with her for so long that she wasn't sure she could survive on her own. Yet, that was exactly what she needed to learn.
Jane's love for Ginny made her compliance a foregone conclusion. She knew it was time to move on. That same love remained always, a strong bond between them.
Though Ginny considered herself blessed to have provided more years for Jane, she was well aware that the other side of the coin was something of a curse.
Her empathic abilities amounted to a force that could best be described as "psychic".
Her powers to connect with others was uncanny and often left her floundering in a sea of confusion, not knowing where she ended and others began.
As she settled into life without the presence of her grandmother, her skills at separating herself from others began to improve.
She sometimes looked back over the years and was heartbroken to see the devastation that had plagued her from birth. Her lack of boundaries brought her many life lessons, not all pleasant.
Though possessed by the spirit of a fiery Leo, she was also born in the year of the Ox. Ginny's tenacity was astonishing and she simply pulled up her big girl panties and moved on with life.
Many lessons awaited her.
“There were beavers - with little meat cleavers.”
From the Quartermaster's Store.
Rick was on his way down to the nightclub. It was late and he was already drunk, but knew he needed something more to numb the pain that gripped his soul.
It was approximately two years since he’d murdered his ex-girlfriends sister.
Technically, he was found not guilty of vehicular manslaughter, and yet, that was exactly what he was guilty of.
It had been a hot day in July when he’d been coerced into driving out of town. His girlfriend, Louise had twisted his arm to take her sister Val and their friend Ginny out to camp on the ocean.
To say the least, he was in a foul temper and it reflected in his driving.
The teenagers all piled into his car, Louise in the front with Rick and Val behind. Ginny sat behind the front passenger seat, with window that did not open.
Rick was pissed off and not in the mood to tolerate much insubordination. He was not pleased when Ginny traded places with Val.
He had stopped for gas and when Val went into the bathroom, Ginny scooted over and took her spot. When Val returned to the car she jokingly chided her friend for stealing her spot.
Ginny pretended it was because of the broken window. The seat behind Rick had the only window that worked in the back. It was a hot day and this window allowed air to somewhat cool down the passenger on that side.
For Ginny, it was more than prime location that had caused her to scoot over and steal her friend’s spot.
She’d felt uneasy from the moment they’d entered the car. She was aware of Rick’s foul temper and knew that his erratic driving as he sped towards the outskirts of the city was but a preview of what was to come. Her intuition came with a tap on her shoulder and a firm voice whispering in her ear, “move over.”
She knew she should never have gotten in the car and yet convinced herself that the danger was worth the risk. Her parents owned property along a beautiful stretch of ocean and had built a summer camp there.
Gin’s mother took foster children, mostly teenage boys and the summer spot was a fun place to be around.
Val and Ginny looked forward to spending several days tanning on the beach, frolicking in the water and flirting with the boys that seemed to find Val like flies to honey.
She was a stunningly beautiful young woman, over six feet tall, with long naturally blonde hair, huge blue eyes and a body that made males drool. Her Scandinavian heritage manifested itself in the projection of a mighty Warrior Goddess.
Her given name, Val, resonated with the persona of a Valkyrian handmaiden sent to conduct slain soldiers from the battlefield to Valhalla, the eternal resting place that was their reward for the exchange of their life on earth.
Sadly, Val's journey through life's battlefield left her lying dead on a country road, her head crushed by the car which had sped into a corner, and gone out of control.
The most amazing part of the accident was that only one of the four teens was killed.
Ginny took her friend's death hard. At some level, she felt responsible. Her survivor's guilt nudged her with the most damning accusation, "She'd be alive if you hadn't taken her spot."
Perhaps the saddest part of this story is that Rick never had to face the full consequences of his actions.
The inquest into the accident rendered a verdict that found him 'not guilty'.
Ginny did not agree with the verdict and was not especially quiet about her opinion that he had not been punished properly for his crime.
The Fates took matters into their own hands.
The night Rick went to the nightclub, a man, who had just shot his girlfriend and the man she was cheating with, barreled out of the door and in a reflex action, shoved his gun into Rick's stomach and fired.
Rick's spinal cord was severed and he barely survived the attack. He was left a quadriplegic for the rest of his life.
In her heart, Ginny felt the punishment was somewhat harsh.
Though she firmly believed that Rick should have been held accountable for his part in Val's death, even she would not have wished for what happened to him.
The most important lesson she learned was an unshakeable awareness that,
"When it was your time, it was your time, when it wasn't, it wasn't."
It was not the first time she'd been touched by death and it would not be the last.
"There were rats, rats, big as bloody cats."
From the Quartermaster's Store.
Over the years of Ginny’s life, she had planted many seeds of anger and resentment. Her garden was a virtual cesspool of old shit, new shit and shit she never even knew was there.
From the outside the garden looked lush and verdant. It appeared filled with small woodland creatures that came at her bidding.
They might not have been efficient at doing dishes, sweeping and performing other household chores, but they were wonderful diggers. Ginny followed their lead as they helped routed out her many character defects, paving the way to a future that promised some degree of peace and serenity.
She was grateful to have been shown that a spiritual life was the ticket to redemption and she diligently worked towards a more balanced existence.
She found satisfaction in accepting "progression rather than perfection" and over the years, steadily peeled back the layers of the onion. As she progressed, exposing defects, they gradually withered and eventually vanished in the light of day.
She made her amends with those she's harmed and was entirely willing to live a life that mapped the process to continue this practise to the end.
She forgave rather easily and yet one elusive person escaped her forgiveness.
Though not a Christian, Ginny loved a prayer that rose out of that tradition.
Each word held deep meaning for her and as she recited the line, "forgive us our trespasses AS we forgive others", she came to understand that the sword of judgement was not hers to wield.
Her final amends came in a gentle reminder that a much higher power than herself held that sword.
The night she awoke with the Battle Hymn of the Republic blasting from the cobwebs of her brain, closed a door that had been opened those many years before.
Ginny happily hummed the tune and sang,
"Mine eyes have seen the glory
Of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage
Where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning
Of His terrible swift sword;His truth is marching on."
Her eyes may have been dim, but to the core of her being she knew...life was good.
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