Saturday, July 16, 2016

Divorce Diary - My Vermont Divorce Journey.

A Vermont divorce journal of raw, exposed, honest feelings and thoughts as I transition from being married to being divorced. These writings cover some of the emotional aspects of my divorce.

3/16/2017 update: The legal process (for divorce in Vermont) that I experienced is another story that I will write and publish over the next few months. A process I found laden with pitfalls, errors, waste, intimidation. And a process that is not very transparent regarding rules. (In my opinion based on my experience.) My intent is to highlight what I view, as weaknesses at best and process failure at worst, as experienced in my divorce case. This will be about the process not a judgment on my divorce case results.

Here is a sampling of the topics I will cover:
·         Stamina and perseverance to minimize inequality
·       Justice and Fairness definition (If you answered I don’t know, you are less likely to expect more than the system can provide.)
·       Written agreements: double edge sword
·       Beware intimidation, pressure tactics,
·       Your lawyer’s mission – may be different than you think.
·       Negotiation time is the Crown Jewel.
·       Day in Court
·       Asset split – Frozen assets: for long after the divorce decree.
·       Tit for Tat – tempting but… (Watch Tin Man Movie)
·       Good people finish last sometimes – be honest, fair, and compassionate anyway.
·       You are in the jaws of the State legal process now.
·       Good Luck finding out the rules of the process
·       Professional standards:  The spirit of the law vs. the letter of the law
·       Divorce process costs
·       Leave your home at your own peril
·       Hope for but don’t count on rational behavior from the other party.

Journal entries below are for the most part my writings, though a few are from other authors - authors are noted.

For entries authored by Bernie Paquette: All rights reserved, please do not reproduce without permission by author.

Journaling (Divorce Diary) is perhaps the single most powerful tool that you can use to resolve negative feelings that arise from divorce while fostering attitudes and perspectives that will serve to amplify your happiness and well-being." 12 reasons to Journal After Your Divorce by stilllearningb



Dark days make for darker nights.
~Bernie Paquette

I am so scared so fearful
why won’t someone listen to me
will someone please hold me
will someone please stay with me
I am so scared so vulnerable and at risk
please don’t leave me alone.

Fear and sadness, loss and vacancy – images of long blocked or held at bay, compartmentalized, managed, endured, and suffered quietly – now flood mind and body. For love - how long can one stay and endure?

I am so scared so fearful
crying out
and all I hear is to leave
the one I love
though she beats me down every hour
I know you don’t give up on family
solemn wedding vows – better or worse
values I cannot drop without stepping away from who I am.

But it hurts so much, it hurts so much, it HURTS SO MUCH.
Why won’t someone listen to me, why won’t she come with me to get help
for us
for her
for me?

I only experience darkness from the eyes I love,
from once fertile green now ice cold depths.
I only see armed fists where once were
soft, caring and most gentle hands.

Tears finally come in full deluge. No more, choke, cry, and recover.
These are tears of a well turned upside down,
tears of hurt so deep they threaten to uproot
and turn (my) insides out. 

Go to the Benzodiazepine family
for calm
only more sadness and fog fill in.
Only real family and friends ground me, secures me,
reminds me I have some value – that words thrown at me
do not change who I am. 

(Messages from the heart are much easier to carry than those prescribed only or mostly in the mind.)

Locked doors no longer ease my fear.
Hold my hand, please don’t go, don’t let go.
Be near to ease my fear.

For over two years, no day allowed to see light

no night brought relief of fright. Longing for an hour of delight each morning’s optimism soon took flight. Perhaps eternal optimism is a sign of insanity.

Dark days make for Darker nights. 

~Bernie Paquette

The Peace of Wild Things
by Wendell Berry

When despair in the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake 
rests in his beauty on the water,
and the great heron feeds. 
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of stillwater.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life. 

Thank You M. for sending these poems my way. Life is good even when living is hard. ~Bernie

"The Truth Shall Set Me Free"

I will fight this force
This force thats pressing downward
And i will break these chains
That blind me from myself so i walk the same
And i will walk this path
Without your false direction
And i will find myself
And tear open these eyes so now i can see

The truth shall set me free

When the sun is gone
And the rain starts to fall
I will be the one
I will rise through it all

And i will take this chance
To break from your tradition
And i will burn those words
And burn all that you said
And I'll finally face this day
When my eyes open wide
And i will refrain your lies
Tear of this disguise
So i walk the same

The truth shall set me free

When the sun is gone
And the rain starts to fall
I will be the one
I will rise through it all
When the sun is gone
And the rain starts to fall
I will be the one
I will rise, rise up through it all

Rise through it all!
Rise through it all!

And i will be the one to rise up through ALL!

The truth shall set me free
The truth shall set me free
The truth shall set me free NOW!

I will not, I will rise
Through this i will rise [x4]
Through this i will rise
The truth shall set me free

When the sun is gone
And the rain starts to fall
I will be the one
I will rise thorough it all [x2]

Rise through it all! [x4]

By Story of the Year (Rock Band)
I want me back
by Bernie Paquette
I am lost to myself
to others.
Storm swept over with intent of utmost destruction.
No time to salvage or shed - light.
Self esteem KO’d again this time for a count of eight.

Optimism once a life preserver now merely a distant spec – dim far away.
Surgical gutting displaced pleasures simple pleasures like flowers deprived of sunshine now fail to open to me.
What I have found are eternal, abyss depth grief, sorrow, soul eroding caustic pain.
Where is the door to truth? What is this land of false images and projections?
Nightfall I am crestfallen. I fear unquenchable attacks within ambush of darkness. Alone - Lost despair seeks and nearly finds me.

When will I once again sense the calmness of quiet strength and refreshment of solitude tears of laughter hugs of joy? When will I once again hear the wisp of butterfly wings birds slicing a new pathway through the sky, leaves waving as hands on a parade march? When will I once again smell the sweet odor of cows, roses, spring water dancing over stones…?
Judas has made another delivery me to this strange land surrounding me expands upon itself feeds upon anguish while it starves me. This dark mean overpowering masked land survives on intimidation, anger, false pretensions, and imposed isolation.
I must not accept its draw into feeding the black hole.
A few remaining flares well received yet quickly diminish – their promise strong – cannot replace my green (eyed) suns, at least not yet.

Notches - days, weeks, months, years of endured - degradation longing on hope, vows, and unwillingness to give up on family -threaten to girdle what once was strong, sturdy, and steadfast.
Forecast storm long in delivery packed a most powerful punch obliterating already tattered sails.

I am lost when will I find home? When will I find me again?
My stomach lost hunger. My heart lost its love and cherished other. My mind has become a pinball machine with emotions pinging and gyrating rolling up a new record of loss.

I am lost
when will I find home?
When will I find me again?


Sad - Sad All Day
by Bernie Paquette

No more thinking
No flooding of memories Flood gates open only a trickle flows through.

Energy depleted
(My own) arms wrapped tightly around me holding in what is left inside. It is quiet today the voice vacated for now. Occasionally a few get through choking, tearing, gulping - blocking Holding myself, arms wrapped tightly rocking till the memory subsides. Sad, utterly - deeply sad. Not depressed, shy of despair -simply sad as a tattered lost puppy,
sad as an abandoned child left unwanted on a door step,
sad as a farmer in the tenth year of drought. Sad as a fisherman watching his catch dwindle though he travels farther and farther out to sea each year. A depth of sadness that quickly absorbs
any goodness encountered swallows it whole tasting little of the light.
Perhaps black holes are not just outer space phenomena.

The calm is refreshing as when an island castaway
finally accepts they are not coming back. Forever hopeful is tiring;
it is difficult to mask the harsh reality endlessly. Which is the greater hell?
A ravaging flood that overpowers all in its path
or a dried out lake all of its depth exposed and vulnerable. Gutted of it's innards the mountain lies dormant. Does it retain character, or is the blasted scraped and ravaged mountain
no more than a clam shell strewn on the beach empty of muscle that once drove its motion and being? It's so very quiet now perhaps the quiet of
a baby content in a mother's womb. Or is it the quiet we will all at some point experience
when our coal no longer fires our furnace?

Eventually the tides
power over sand castles
relinquish first their walls (of defense)
then their towers (their inner being).
Flags and family crests
wash out to sea.

Its quiet now
only a slight rippling.
Do the waves miss
overpowering the castle once its gone?
Or do the waves feel the emptiness,
where not even a footprint remains?

" seems like a miracle to be able to look forward, to see all the minutes in front of one come hopping along with something marvelous in them, instead of just saying, Well, that one didn’t actually hurt and the next may be quite bearable."
~From Busman’s Honeymoon.


"The chaffinches in the tops of the pine trees
were singing happily, and would have made [him]
happy if [he] had not felt so sad."

From 'Dag and Daga, and the Flying Troll of Sky Mountain'
by Harald Ostenson
Inside Out
by Bernie Paquette
I'm so scared to look out
into the world
so scared to look
into the mirror
the outside is frightening
the inside so lonely, empty.

The world quakes
I seem to forever shake

I'ts hot enough to fry
yet all I seem to want to do is cry
no relief in sight.
When will it be over? Summer will be gone
winter will come more-over
from heat of the day
to cold of the night.
I am so thirsty.
Like looking in a mirror
-the world outside. People moving, speaking - living
while I stand small and still
on this side of the looking glass
watching my image fade,
(and falsely distorted)
break, shatter.

Others, so kind
holding on to my shadow.
Why do I feel
like I'm losing my mind?

The world is safe
the world is kind (I keep reminding myself).
I'm lost and helpless, stalked and tracked, corralled and poked. A predator feeds for hunger
burrowing into my mind.
No key to allow me outside
no haven for rest
my mind is a prison
my heart under a vice of duress.

I'm scared to face the world
that once was so kind
and tired, tired, tired.
When will I find a place to rest (inside and out)?


by Bernie Paquette

Who am I?
Once I knew.

Where am I
awash at sea?

What will become
of me, what will be?

When will this end
when will I (ever) mend?

Why do I matter
the pieces all a scatter.

As hard as they tried
all the king's horses
and all the king's men
couldn't put H.D.
back together again.

The Pillow
by Bernie Paquette
Through the door
            I fall
            escaping the roar.

            holding tightly
            against my chest.

            sometimes yellow, sometimes purple...
            fat or thin
            rectangle or square
            always there
            counselors office
            on the couch
            at someones house
            on the bed
            in the car
            never very far.

            Holding tight
            squeezing hard
            to escape the

            Squeezing tight
            with all my might
            holding in
            what might fall out
            and out of sight.

            as well as 

Endangered rescuers
by Bernie Paquette
            Help me I'm drowning
              in a sea 
              of my own tears and fears

              Nearly filling
              the boat
              putting at risk
              those who are afloat.

              The sea coughs and chokes
              spitting out much larger
              than a minnow like me.

              throw life rings
              but I sink
              in the hole,
              my (wedding) ring no longer sings.

              Look out
              rescue boats
              launched from safe havens,
              the corals and reef
              hold beauty no more-
              Cut you down
              into pieces
              shred your heart and spirit
              sending them scurrying
              into a waterspout.
              Sharks are encircling
              save yourself
              I wish not to pull you down
              with me
              in a sea of my tears.

                    "I think it is one of the pains in life that does not have a quick fix and one that the mind and heart must work together to move to a better place .
My Mom told me many years ago that when challenging times come to spend your time thinking about what was and is good and only that . 
Th[en] focus your thoughts and energy on what you want to happen . "     

Thank You G., for the words of wisdom.
by Bernie Paquette

               I've lost her
              once more
              this time it was me
              who went out the door.

              I tried to help
              in ways that were not understood
              -lost mail, letter returned to sender.
              Praise and reward
              were not my goals.

              Help and caring were needed,
              of which I tried in many ways to bring
              my delivery
              too slow, mismatched, defeated.

              Just a soft knock on the door
              would have made my heart soar
              instead I find her inexplicably lying on the floor
(I plea what happened, are you ok, how can I help....)
              no explanation except for a silent roar.

              Looking up at the stars
              twinkles of her green eyes
              enticingly beautiful
              yet distant in space.

              Missing keys
              brings her to tears
              missing her
              I was always in arrears.

              Gone for long stretches (she)
              only occasionally appearing
              - an unsolicited and rare hug
              a warm embrace.
              Distant campfire light
              barely seen through the branches.
              An ocean of anger
              makes for a desolate search.
              Never give up on family!
              For better or worse.
              I vowed.

              To finally accepting
               not knowing where she went.


               At some point all searches must end.
               Though I vowed to never give up (on her)
               She has been gone a very long time
               I must finally accept

               Only now I've lost her
               for ever more. 

                                    Dad showed me the way.
                                     by Bernie Paquette
Dad was married to mom
for fifty four years
true to her
through the day he died.

              Dad worked twenty one years
              at VT. Furniture Co. in Winooski,
              and seventeen years 
              at Crower Cam in California.         
              Dad served in the U.S. Army 
              in Korea

              Dad and Mom 
              supported and raised five children
              Working extremely hard and long hours.
              Still finding time to love and care for us.

              Dad moved from Winooski to California
              in 1974, after VT furniture burned to the ground.
              Quickly finding a job, he called for his family to follow.
              My family left for the sunshine state, 
              I stayed behind to give college a try.

              Dad died in 2009.
              I do now,
              I expect I will forever
              for him.

             Dad, you set the bar high.
             The plaque you sent me years ago
                      "You got it from your father, it was all he had to give.
                 So it's yours to use and cherish, for as long as you may live.
                 If you lose the watch he gave you, it can always be replaced.
                     But a black mark on your name, son, can never be erased.
                 It was clean the day you took it, and a worthy name to bear.
                 When he got it from his father, there was no dishonor there.
                  So make sure you guard it wisely, after all is said and done.
            You'll be glad the name is spotless, when you give it to your son."
               I tried to follow your example dad.
               I am truly sorry I had not the 
               strength, wisdom, and perseverance
                                (to stay married) 
               that you carried. 

               I hope you find at least a few
               traits in me
               worthy of the honor
               of being called your son.

               I am very proud to be your son
               - you set the bar high
               as does the rising and setting sun.

               Thank You Dad for showing me the way.
                I loved her dad
                  and cared for her
                    the best I knew how.
                I stayed true to her
                     honoring my vows.

                Perhaps it takes courage
                     to let go
                How could I have done better
                      as good as you 
                 - perhaps I will never know.

                 We have real fine children
                  as you can see.
                  They each excel
                  in their own individual way.
                  They are good people dad-
                   following your way.

                   I miss you Dad
                   I'll keep trying 
                      to be like you
                         each day
                            to find
                               yours and my

                             From "The Boy and the Trolls, or the Adventure."

            "Sorrow had weighed so heavily on him that he became like a child again."

         " And so one adventure ended and another began, just as it happens in life."


                             Struggles of our Life
Once upon a time a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed. Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire.
Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot and ground coffee beans in the third pot. He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup.
Turning to her, he asked. “Daughter, what do you see?” “Potatoes, eggs and coffee,” she hastily replied.
“Look closer”, he said, “and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted that they were soft.
He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.
Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.
“Father, what does this mean?” she asked.
He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity-the boiling water. However, each one reacted differently. The potato went in strong, hard and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak. The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard. However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.
“Which one are you?” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

Moral: In life, things happen around us, things happen to us, but the only thing that truly matters is how you choose to react to it and what you make out of it. Life is all about leaning, adopting and converting all the struggles that we experience into something positive.
                                          Escape from Intimidation
                                                                                                by Bernie Paquette

        [Her] insecurities touched
           hurt then anger triggered.

           Childhood feelings of ?
           transferred to me.

           NO MORE

           I will learn to 
           no longer

           personal hygiene insults
           unreasonable explosion of anger
           victimization whipping post
           not being allowed to not enter a circular discussion
           bear brunt of enviousness
           be blamed for all problems
           accepting shouting, hollering on a daily basis
           made to feel ashamed of normal sexual desires

           conspiracy theories (about my family)
           extreme restrictions (eating, bathroom, ...)
           charges of abuse from typing to loud, chewing aggressively... 
           threats (go ahead I dare you to touch me [as you are passing by]
           false accusations - LIES
           And I will learn
           to let go of that 
           eternal optimism 
           that in part, kept me in this environment for so long. 

           I will forgive
           myself for letting go
           of wedding vows (better or worse)
           of values (never give up on family).

           Yet, a long captured 
            and caged animal
           upon escaping its tormentors
           does not quickly or easily
            re-adapt to normal life.

            How long
            before I 
            recognize normal relationships from abnormal relationships
            normal everyday trials from explosive unwarranted rage?
            How long before I can 
            trust again?        

            How long before I am
            no longer afraid?

            How long before I
            regain my self esteem?

            How long before I 
            stop shaking,
            stomach aching
            feeling scared
            wanting to cry, and cry, and cry
            squeezing, holding, anyone who offers
            food for taste and hunger
            see flowers for beauty
            nature for healing? 
             I have 
             Why do I feel
              as though 
               the shadow 
                 of intimidation
                   has followed 

              When will 
                I truly leave
                     the cage
                        and the tormentor's
                                                strikes ?
                            Can I hear you now?
                                 Bernie Paquette

            I kept one cassette tape for me
            recordings of daily screaming and hollering I received at least                     once a day for many months
            as a future reminder
            perhaps unnecessarily - as I only wish to forget

            Unknowningly left a tape 
            of Dad's gentle voice
            Both echo in my mind
            one I wish to forget
            one I wish I could hear again and again.
           Some ask if I am angry or mad
                                         Bernie Paquette
    I think the more accurate answer is that I am angry with myself for still feeling love for a     person that has treated me as she has for a long long time now.        
    Angry at myself for not giving up sooner.

    Angry at myself for not finding a way to get help for her and us.

    Angry at myself for allowing her to dupe me so many times.
   Angry at myself for accepting the intimidation, coercion ... for so long.   

    Angry at myself for being so naive about thinking if I followed the counselors advice        on how to cope with her behavior and how to minimize sparking her   
   inflamed anger, (me thinking) that eventually things would go back to normal. 

    I am angry at myself for the self tormenting and contradictory feelings of my
    love for her, and my
    loss of myself AGAIN, as a result of her behaviors towards me. 

    Am I am angry at her - no. 
     Hurt by her - yes, tremendously- more than I knew
      I could absorb. 

     I am angry at whomever and whatever caused such a caring, kind,                          thoughtful, considerate, smart person she was years ago,
     to feel and behave like she does today.

8/8                                     Mania
                                 not cold
                                 not warm
                                 not even

                                 cool cavern dark
                                 without the
                                 luster of coal

                                 What would you do
                                 if I turned out the light
                                 I'd get by with the help of my friends
                                 I'd get by with the help of my friends
                                 Ooooh I'd get by with the help of my friends.

                                 What would you do if I fell out of sight
                                 If I was lost out of fright
                                 Would you tell me goodbye
                                  Would you leave me all alone
                                 Oooooh I'd get by with the help of my friends.

                                 What is hope
                                 without reason
                                 What is tomorrow
                                 if I cannot get through today?

                                 What would you do if I sang you a song
                                  Would you tell me I sang out of key?

                                  What would it take
                                  for me to once again feel free?
                                  Would you tell me it happens all the time?
                                  Or shall I simply sail out to sea
                                  where even I won't be able to find me.

                                  What will you do when I turn out the light
                                   Will you have biscuits and tea?
                                   In my honor
                                   will you spread my ashes
                                   under a tree
                                   and hug it for me?

                                   Tears in the dark
                                   are the loneliest ones you can't see.
                                   The walls are closing in
                                   I can't flee.

                                   What would you do if I wrote down the words
                                   would you tell me there's no rhythm or rhyme?
                                    Would you listen to my plea?

                                    Ooooh I get by with the help of my frieeeeeeeends.

8/8                    The light saves the night 

                       I'll leave the light on
                       so it won't be dark

                       think of tomorrow
                       of tonight be less weary.

                       Let go of sorrow
                       lest you hold the anchor
                       long enough to reach Davey Jones's locker.

                       Swim up to the surface
                       take a breath of fresh air.

                       Lay back and close your eyes
                       rest and sleep.
                       The storm soon will be over
                       think of spring and sweet clover.

                       Dark clouds hover
                       Pull up the blankets, get under the covers.

                       I'll leave the light on
                       perhaps it won't seem so gray.                                     

When nature turned to black and white.
Bernie Paquette

I've always hated to be sick on beautiful warm sunny days instead of cloudy dreary or cold days. I often think that when my time comes to die, may it be in the dark cold dreary months of winter instead of the hot bright days of summer. Would prefer the fall (to come to the end of my life) with its beautiful farewell over spring with its promise of delivery and yet to come new birth.

Now, to have such unrelenting, gut wrenching, sorrow, sadness, and painful memories and feelings in the midst of beloved warm and hot, sunny and partly cloudy - big white puffy cumulus clouds - long daylight days, leaves me even more desolate for I cannot access the beauty surrounding me.

Oh my, look at him cry.
Bernie Paquette
Some People
perhaps mostly men
though not all
are reluctant
at least in public
to show themselves
when they

Indeed they would tell you
tis better to

holding back emotions
one must try.

For which,
being a man
I say little
yet deep down
I sigh.

if not during
sorrow, hurt, or sadness
will the river flow
will the dry crusty sand
built up under lashes
dam'd eternally
reserved in pitiful pride
no longer hold back
what is felt inside
releasing the parched lie.

River of Hades
from tears
falling from the sky.

Some people
don't find themselves
until they

Escaped Captive by BEP
Screaming won't stop
stretch taut


why the fear
constantly re-awakening
never far away.

It's O.K.
go back to sleep
only a dream
Only it wasn't
over and over and over again -
Why won't the screaming stop?
The storm is over
broken glass underfoot
tears at bare feet.

Walls nearly all gone
a bare minimum of framing
holds together one unbroken frame.

Viewed from within
or without
the damage

Roar of the storm
- driven to cover
Quiet of despair
does not allow
the shades to be drawn.

Whereas the thunder
and flying debris
stymied a desire to flee;
daylight from clear skies
and landed insults
create quiet as a petrified tree
stolid blank empty colorless.

Calm vacancy prevail
in the aftermath of storm
only trembling hands
dispel the normalcy.

Leaves fall from the trees
as they will in time.

A rogue gust slaps
an oak leaf against
the surviving window
shattering the glass
in shards of conditioning.

-- Bernie Paquette
History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived,
but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.
--Maya Angelou


8/14 How I feel this AM; scared, scarred, and broken.


by Ron Meredith
President, Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre
Many people who are training horses will ask them questions that the horse has no way of understanding or answering. Then they will fight with the horse or hold him hostage until the horse either gives in or gives up. The so-called trainer walks away feeling like he or she has won the game because the horse finally did what they wanted him to do. But no actual communication took place. What happened was "breaking" not training.
When you break a horse rather than train it, you get a trained flea. What do I mean by that? Well, you start training fleas by putting them in a jar. You know they are going to jump and if they do that, they'll jump out of the jar. So you put a lid on the jar.
Now when the fleas jump, they hit their heads on the lid. Being smart fleas, they learn not to jump so high. Now you can take the lid off and they won't jump out. Voila! You have trained your fleas not to jump so high. That is exactly what you do when you "break" a horse.
A lot of people train horses this way. They condition the horse to random tasks one by one.

     I can relate to the horse. 
       Does a broken horse ever recover free will, purpose, and passion?
                                                                                                                              -- BEP
                                  Simple Secret for eating less: Go through a divorce process. 

                                                          Mid July 174 lbs. Mid Aug. 160 lbs.


            What is it about human touch, skin to skin, that exhilarates, warms, caresses, stimulates, awakens, tickles, acknowledges, speaks all languages, empathizes, excites, tells us reassuringly we are not alone.     --- Bep

Walking into and past memories of marriage. 
                                                                                                    --Bernie Paquette                                  

                         It is a warm, overcast, cloudy, misty, rainy day. Yet I am not feeling down. Wonderful day to walk down a tree lined dirt road to contemplate a new life, and most importantly to remember the good parts of my and our past life. There was a good deal of good life in our marriage. These memories are precious, and not so buried under the recent few years of Jekyll and Hyde, that they cannot be uncovered and written down. By thinking on some of the specific enjoyable times together, and by writing about them, I can more easily let go, I think.

A good story does not always have a good ending, nor is it always without trials and tribulations. I think I will always cherish our story as a whole as I will always carry love for her. 

And I will try to acknowledge how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to begin a new life, realize more fully who and what I am, develop friendships with people who have similar interests to me and who see some goodness in me. 

I have a lot of walking to do and the road stretching out ahead looks promising as well as challenging. 


                                  Friendship Love         
When you first see snow as not just a sport or chore,
                                        when grass does for you more than mow and grow,
                                          when rain calls you out instead of sends you in,
                                            when cold brings warm embrace
                                              when heat brings cool showers and giggles
                                                when words exchanged make pleasuring dreams
                                        The first time you realize there is love
                                                and there is friendship love. 

                                                                                  -- Bernie Paquette                         
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------              8/21
   What does friendship mean?, asked Christopher Robin.
   It means they have common interest, insights, passions, and views, yet honor each others differences and weaknesses. 
   Though the name over the door be not the same, they both reside under it.
    Winnie-the Pooh wasn't quite sure, said Christopher Robin. 
    Now I am said a growly voice.
    Then I will go on, said I. 
                              -- Bernie Paquette 
                     To hear a Loon yodel one last time
               watch sunrise over foggy waters
                 dew soaked grasses sway in the breeze
             This I will decry on the day I die.
                                                                                         --Bernie Paquette
                                 Last Day - day

                                     Every day 
                                     tell yourself this IS you last day.
                                     Hug & Hold.
                                     Do what you may
                                       Don't left unsaid 
                                     to whom you love - love is to be told, love behold.
                                     Tell yourself today is THE day
                                     Go away or stay
                                     cry or laugh
                                     walk or run
                                     Do what you may, fully - Today
                                     Dance with the music 
                                     swing and sway
                                     though you may be alone

                                     Enjoy today - your last day
 I try to keep reminding myself that reacting negatively (to another person's actions, or lack thereof) does me no good nor does it change the other person's behavior. Bep

8/25                             Wrecking Ball
                                             Bernie Paquette
         The print appears small, tiny, hard to read this 4 AM, like I feel. Don't understand all the words coming at me like bricks from a falling building. The plus symbol doesn't enlarge the story. The bricks no longer make a wall. The words all defeating, deafening, dislocating.
         Swing in it will come, I can hear but not see the wrecking ball, though it may not be there now, it is there now; though it may not collide into the wall now, the blow is inevitable. The force is unyielding, unrelenting, persistent, ongoing. Listen to the swish as it cuts through the air , cuts through like nothing or no one is in its path. I am in the path this time

        Fear? What is fear of the daily, repetitious, unending, unyielding pounding of the wall? Even after the wrecking ball swings away-it always comes back. What is fear of exposure once the wall is breached? Will the wrecking ball subside when all the bricks lay still, flattened, broken? Or will it drop down on them to crush them further till mere dust they become?   
                Lost Harvest
                        Bernie Paquette
    A whole bed of onions 
           I will not reap
          though tears come just the same.

          Elderberries the birds will reap
          my pancakes will miss
          those purple pimples
          just surface deep.

          water droplets
          like tears
          hang from
          each berry
          antioxidants I won't carry.

          Jewel weed's orange blossoms
          drawing butterflies and hummingbirds
          silently call me
          yet I cannot sit with them as before.

          Cucumbers, watermelon, 
          even a first year try of cantaloupe
          will harvest without me.

          Hibiscus galore
          I will see
          no more

          along with peony
          and the bouncy
          I did not get a chance to say goodbye.

          life long bloomers
          no more will
          age for me.

          Blackberries fresh off the vine
          no greater pleasure in August
          this year will not define.

          Raspberries red as Rudolph's nose
          bleed over the 
          two hundred wheel barrel loads
          of mulch - 

          Fruits of labor I will not harvest.

          Roses in a octagon bed
          thorns bygones

          Cherry bushes, cherry trees, birch,
          plum and apple trees
          and quince
          part of my family
          left behind.

          Ferns send me
          calming farewells.

          Tomatoes, and peppers
           fall harvest delight
           I could win
           but do not wish to fight.

           Most of all I miss
           sitting among the mix of plants
           watching them grow
           while butterflies, moths,
           bees of all kinds
           dance and feed
           and propagate.
           for nature never
           relinquishes her vows
           or family.

           Sorry I could not show
           you my garden of Eden mom.
                      -permission not given :(
           no reason, no reply

           Do not pass go, do not spend 1 hr 
           in your own backyard. 

           For every season, 
           there is 
           "To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
..., a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep" (The Byrd's Lyrics, 'Turn, Turn, Turn')
   How much more painful can this get?

Even my name (Paquette) apparently is no longer good enough (after 35 years of marriage). 
   From Wikipedia: Shneidman maintained that people rate the importance of each need differently, which explains why people's level of psychological pain differs when confronted with the same frustrated need. This needs perspective coincides with Patrick David Wall's description of physical pain that says that physical pain indicates a need state much more than a sensory experience.[18]
In the fields of social psychology and personality psychology, the term social pain is used to denote psychological pain caused by harm or threat to social connection; bereavement, embarrassment, shame and hurt feelings are subtypes of social pain.[19] Just like physical pain, social pain is thought to serve a function of adaptation and avoidance from what caused the pain.

The instrument of pain keeps coming at me. 

I will live long enough to see this end if I have to do so by will power alone.       
                                       I am not a bad person. Bernie
          I will get through this. 

                   I will believe in love after love.

The band - The Weight (Take a load off Annie/Fanny)

I pulled into Nazareth, was feelin' about half past dead
I just need some place where I can lay my head
"Hey, mister, can you tell me where a man might find a bed?"
Yeah, take a load off, Fanny
Take a load for free
Take a load off, Fanny
And (and) (and) you put the load right on me
(You put the load right on me) - 

                      Looking back    
                                      Bernie Paquette

          I don't have a pillow 
          so I hold the black knapsack straps
          tightly against my chest.

          No counselor here to validate
          or guide me
          through the seeping expulsions.

          Only water quenches
          my hunger.

          A lady's dog trolled towards me
          -an Irish Setter aged I expect
           given the blend of orange
           with white strands throughout its coat. 
           "He is a therapy dog" she called out.
           "That's good, I could use some therapy today"
            I replied, as the dog nestled her nose against
           my hand and leg. 
           Petting her I could feel the empathy
           and kindness flowing within.
           I thanked her (the dog) for her gentle offering,
           before saying goodbye.

           Desolate quiet though the sun shines, green 
           life flourishes abound, yet the gentle but onerous
           breeze carries in the oncoming demise - the number
           on the roadside mailbox reads "your number is up".

           The tree leaves only just beginning to give a hint
           of what cannot be delayed or avoided - 
           yet they will reach out for daylight, absorbing 
           energy while chemicals begin to alter
           their chemistry. 

           Stressed trees go first, and fast. Fifteen leaves
           fall away in the first month. 
           More will follow at a quickening pace -
           Let go ye hold, let me reach
           rest and peace. 

           I once thought myself loved;
           now like the mole I pass on the road
           -guts splattered, having not reached the other side;
           I feel I may have misjudged 
           the gap between loving, and
           being loved. 

           Looking back from whence 
           I traveled - no footprints 
           do I see - how can it be

           when thirty five years ago I wed thee
           - like the forest green of today
           was it all a deception to turn colors
           and drop in a spiral of depletion
           into litter.

           The stories we tell ourselves
           are true to us 
           we step away
           from them. 

                                   The Home Raid
                                                          Bernie Paquette

            A broken branch, a mere twig by some
            standards, dead by most measures,
            reaches for but does not attain final rest on the ground.

           Snagged, captured, held in place
           though gravity pulls unending.
           Value extracted, life near
           completely drained - why not release
           to its final days.

           Elderberry stained hands
           give away my clandestine 
           plundering - the taste is bittersweet-
           guilty for once.
           No sign read "pick your  own - who's to say
           whose Elderberries stain my hands
           whose antioxidants
           keep at bay my broken heart
           until it is allowed to drop and decease
           its throbbing
           into a final
           resting place
           in the ground. 


Two Sets of Footprints Sound as One  

                                                         Bernie Paquette

     Walking along Cilley Hill Road
     this morning,....[Authors note: 
The first part of this poem is held in reserve         for selective reading.]

     I walked slow and deliberate
     only barely passing a centipede,
     as life near its end should go.

     Ferns and Jewelweed stood motionless
     asking me “what is your hurry – treasures
     surround you”. A single orange, red
     and yellow maple leaf as big as my open hand
     lie across the hard packed dirt road -
     Fall is descending upon me, however
     looking up I could see much Verde-green life
     remaining, for I have at least today,
     and today is all we can ever really hold.

     Generations of multi-family pebbles
     of all colors and a variety of shapes
     sit cemented in the packed dirt
     holding the road together
     as one entity.

     Stepped on and riddled over
     they retain their bond,
     for the good of the unit.
     The pebbles that work free
     sense freedom only to await
     the inevitable
     rain-wash that will take them
     tumbling down
     away from family and home.

     A pile of large boulders
     lie at the edge of a farmer’s field-
     miscreants removed  from pasture
     yet held together with an unyielding friendship
     that will endure if not strengthen over time.

     An even soft hum vibrates
     from a huge red barn
     with two silver protrusions as missiles
     reaching out from either end of the roof,
     awaiting launch.

     Gentle humming signals work and activity
     in the shadow of three layers of
     blue, then blue green, then closer – green
     rolling mountains.

     All else, less the crickets, an occasional bird,
     and a buzzing fly, are still and utterly silent.

     Sunshine fights and pushes in to sneak through
     hungry leaves and branches
     reaching across the dirt road to their neighbors
     leaving the road splattered with left over patches
     of light.

     Millions of blades of grass
     stretch, yawn, shake off dew,
     boysenberry flowers fold into berries,
     burdock calls out for taxi’s,
     a caterpillar, white with a row of black dots
     reaches and tops a foot high dead plant stem
     seeing its horizon for perhaps the first time
     before falling to the ground-

     Sounds I can see but not hear.

     With people,
     we cut off stumps and save the body.
     With trees, we leave only the stumps.
     Though much is lost,
     the measure of the man and
     the tree remain.

     The peacefulness and beauty
     of nature enveloping, enclosing, entering me,
     absorbs any hostility thrown at me
     like a sponge to vinegar.

     I am,
     for today
     at peace -
     today is enough.


Note to self: Remember the past, let go, relish today, look forward to tomorrow.          
        Deceiving Well 
                                                        Bernie Paquette

                 I’ve reached the bottom of the well
                 though not reassuringly
                 muddy slippery rocky bottom
                 may hide further pitfalls.

                 It is dark – bleak damp dark
                 yet shadows prevail and haunt
                 my mind sorts, eyes try to adjust
                 hands and feet immobilized.

                 No ladders of any significant or effective height
                 broken stairs like broken promises
                 offer no faith
                 climbing the slimy slick sordid walls
                 seems the only hope
                 offers only frequent lapses
                 gaining inches
                 falling feet.

                 Water rises
                 incessant; unbearably dripping
                 fills the cavern
                 in echoes
                 of torrents

                 Someone took great measures
                 with this well,
                 from above appears life giving
                 trapped below is the true goal
                 of the builder.

                 I looked in
                 never looking back
                 -fell deep
                 forgetting what was on top
                 now slowly drowning.

                 How am I?
                 Wells can be deceiving.
My thoughts on trying to understand come close to this quote by author Barbara Kingsolver: "Children deprived-of love, money, attention, or moral guidance-grow up to have large and powerful needs."