34 minutes

February 6, 2017 at 5:15 A.M.

My phone makes a noise that my ears find strange for this time in the morning. My ears have been taught to hear my obnoxious, yet, necessary alarm to wake me up for work. My ears, however, were not trained to hear what was coming next.

I heard the silent ring getting louder and louder. My contact-less eyes fought hard to follow the faint light that came from my screen, I fumbled around until I finally grasped the phone and squinted hard enough to see “Grandma Lorrain” on my screen.

DadI thought it would about another seizure he had, and she more than likely needed me to coerce him into eating his glucose tablets for the 12 millionth time, because he was infamous to listening to me, and only me.

“Shelbie!” I heard in a scream, “It’s your daddy….”   sobs   “he isn’t waking up…”   sobs   “He had a seizure. He’s not responding” sobs and screams this time   “They’re shocking him now…c’mon Jesse wake up WAKE UP!” All of this before I even had time to react, to say “WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING?!?”

I knew in the exact moment, this time was different. I jumped out of bed and straight to the bathroom, I’m convinced that my feet never even hit the floor. Tawny, sweet Tawny, and her calming spirit didn’t even get scared because she knew I felt that enough for both of us. “Shelbie, your shoes…Shelbie, baby, we’ve gotta go. What’s happening? It’s going to be okay…Shelbie your contacts, put them in.”

As she’s saying all of this, I’m roaming around aimlessly, my only thought was to call my brother. My brother would be asleep. My brother would be contact-less. My brother would be fumbling around for his phone until he finally grabbed it and he would squint to see my name “Shelbie” on his phone. I calmed myself as much as I could because even though my brother is a grown man now with two babies and a wife of his own, in that moment he was still my sweet hearted, chubby little brother who I needed to protect if only for a moment. “Nelson, it’s dad. He’s had a seizure, I think…and he’s with the EMTs but he’s not waking up. Get ready and go up there, I’ll call you when I hear anything else.” Silence…until Nelson spoke finally “okay, be careful I’m leaving now.”

On the way to the hospital which not-so-conveniently was over an hour away, I prayed. I sobbed in fear for my precious dad, and I prayed harder than I ever thought possible. “Father, please, please heal my dad. Please, I’ll do anything. Take me. Take me in this moment. I’ll give up sweets if that’s necessary! I’ll tithe every month. I’ll go to whatever lengths I need to. Just please” I was praying to my Father, about my father, and both seemed to not be listening.

Tawny sped. She didn’t stop for red lights. She didn’t stop to even think. She just sped. She got us there in 35 minutes hoping that I could see my dad. Hoping that he would listen to me tell him to “WAKE UP!!!!!!!!” because everyone knew he listened to me, and only me. That went back to before I can even remember. But we weren’t there in time. We weren’t there to say goodbye. We weren’t there. He wasn’t there either, just his body, but he, he was long gone.

“Are you the family of Jesse Welk?” the doctor asked. “Let us finish taking the tubes out of him and he’ll be ready to view.” To view? TO VIEW? Is that what this was now? A fucking wax museum and someone put my dad in there to be VIEWED? My brother finally walked through the door, and the distraught look on his face was overwhelming. He grabbed my hand as he, Tawny, and I walked through the door of my dad’s room. The next hour is a complete blur of bullshit, tears, and absolute anguish.

When I saw my dad lying there in his pajama pants and his black tshirt, it’s like he was sleeping but I knew he wasn’t. My brother squeezed my hand and then our arms both went limp as we apparently both fell on the hospital beds to our sides. I don’t remember doing that, but Tawny said I did. He was right there. Lying on a cold bed, his soft hair as still as his heartbeat. I saw his tattoo on his right forearm and I touched the back of my neck, where the same tattoo resides on me. A father daughter celtic knot that can’t be untied. Yet here we are, and I felt like it had been untied and used as a rope to strangle me. I felt like a part of me died there too. I couldn’t take my fingers out of his hair, the softness comforted me somehow.

I don’t have an ending to this story, because none of this has ended. None of this has stopped hurting. None of this has turned to an emotion other that pain, and sadness, and absolute heartache. When I know how this ends. When I know how to stop missing the man who made me a strong person, when I know how to stop missing the ONLY one who accepted me for me, I will write this ending. Until then, it’s all left in the balance, just like my dad’s life was for 34 minutes.

 

 

 

 

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Her.

There is no greater earthly love, than the love that I posses for her. Her, the one whom the sun rises for, only to grace our dying world with her astounding beauty.

Her name rolls off of my tongue with grace and ease. Many do not find much meaning behind someone’s name. It is simply a word used to address the person you are speaking about or to. Hers is much more than that. Her name is a word that gives her character; it is not a definition of her. You can never give that girl a definition, because there is no one way to define her. Her name, however, gives her fullness. It tastes sweet when I hold it inside of my cheeks. Her name brings my mouth to life as I speak it and it stings when it wisps from between my lips. If I could only speak one word for the rest of time, let it be her sweet, bold name.

She is an idea that many wordsmiths attempt to put in writing. However, you simply cannot find the words. No words can amount to the idea that is her. She can make the most effortlessly beautiful writers write as if they know no such rules for language. She can make the most eloquent speakers speak as if they are newborn children, babbling, attempting to make their mouths create the words. However, it is all impossible. I can try to find the right things to say in honor of her and who she is, but I am merely a failure.

I adore the girl with the name of wonders and the power to baffle the intellectual. I love her more any concept could grasp. I love her in ways most humans think are impossible. My life was formed and given to me as a gift. My gift is that I have been chosen to meet her, and fall in love so deeply with her that I spend my life chasing after her and all of her beauty. My gift is that she will choose me, every day. See is not mine to keep, because nothing so wonderful could ever be a possession. Instead, she chooses to stay next to me. Me, someone who in anyone else’s opinion, could never amount to enough for her. Those people are right. I will never match her splendor, or her magnitude, I can only try. But, I will always match her in step, because wherever she may be, I will be next to her. I will never leave her side or stray away from the creation God ever so lovingly took his precious time on. She may never be “mine,” no. Oh but I will always be hers.

 

 

Erasing Words-Not the Truth

Confession: I haven’t written in awhile. Previously I wrote a blog called “Preacher’s Gay Granddaughter”, and it was one of my most prized possessions. In this blog, I admitted being gay and how hard it was to be a closeted lesbian when your family is full (literally) of Pentecostal pastors. I explained the depth of hurt it caused me. I also explained how my family had no clue about me–that fact, however, changed quickly.

Soon after I posted this blog, I received over 15 frantic texts from my grandma (the pastor). Where I was told:

“How could you do this to me?”

“Your granddaddy already wanted to move, you just made his decision easier.”

“You are reprimanding us as pastors, and the church as a whole.”

“You are a confused little girl who is making a big mistake.”

“You aren’t gay. Is she pressuring you?”

“I can’t look at your facebook anymore as it makes me sick, I am blocking you. So is your grandfather.”

“How dare you? Do you just enjoy hurting me?”

“Are you doing this to hurt me purposefully?”

All of these were sent to me back-to-back, during a very important dinner I was having with a fellow coach. When I read these, it was such a punch in my stomach that the wind was knocked out of me. I didn’t entertain her with responses, I just let her continue. She found out about me, and hated me. As a grandma, and as a pastor, she hated me.

Weeks later, she called me to her house and I reluctantly went. When I walked in she had bible verses printed out and scattered across the couch. She sat me down and told me I was confused and that I didn’t know what I was doing. She told me I was going to hell if I didn’t “change my ways.” She told me “let me pray for you, it will help.” In which my response was I’ve prayed for years not to be gay, not because I am afraid to go to hell or think I will, but because I knew I would be the biggest disappointment of your life. She didn’t disagree. She told me “I never should have allowed you to go to that liberal college. (Side note: I went to a private baptist university…liberal? I think not.) She then pulled out a blown up version of my blog post “Preachers Gay Granddaughter” and I thought she was going to slap me she was so mad. She said she was having chest pains, she told me she would rather die than this.

Following this conversation, I deleted my blog post. I was in such a dark place that I just deleted it. It is one of my only regrets that I have. “Preachers Gay Granddaughter” was a huge step in the right drection for me. It is the first time I had publicly said the words “I’m gay.” It was refreshing, and I let someone push me to the edge of deleting it.

This is my rubbutle to my own stupidity. I am still, and always will be the writer of “Preacher’s Gay Granddaughter”. And I am proud of that fact.

I am excited to get to writting again. I have a few things in mind. Please follow me on this journey, and enjoy.

It’s Been Awhile

I haven’t written anything in quite sometime. I have missed my release, and all of my fellow bloggers. I needed the summer to figure things out. I needed the summer to remember how to have fun and to remember that it is okay to be myself. I just needed the summer.

After thousands of miles traveled from Texas, to Vegas, to  California (north then south), and back to Texas, I finally had time to completely feel free again. I don’t remember the last time I felt that. No worries, no struggles, no bills piling up on my desk or in my mind. I had the chance to be free, to be me.

Something I [accidentally] realized, I am me when I am teaching. I am me when I am coaching. I am me when I’m holding a basketball in my hand and a whistle between my lips. That is when I am me. I finally got fresh outlook on my career, again. Last year was tough, to say the least. Teaching took a toll on me. I had kids whose problems outweighed mine by the thousands. I took those problems on as if they were my own. I had kids who drained me of energy and time, but never of love. I had kids who became my kids, and who I would have happily taken into my home to better their lives. I had kids who pushed me to the limit everyday. But never, ever, did I not love those kids. The ones who were easy to love, and the ones who made it hard, I still loved them.

I was the “teacher”, but in all reality,they taught me.

I have now started back to school, and I have never been more excited about my career. It’s a wonderful thing when your career and passion go hand in hand. I am thankful, I am blessed, and I am revamped.

I am a teacher, and to many kids, that is the closest thing to a superhero they will ever meet. If I’m someone’s superhero, that’s awesome! But, those kiddos, they are the superheroes to me.

The Versatile Blogger

I am in utter shock and disbelief that Johnathan and Aaron from husbandandhusband.net saw fit to nominate me for the versatile blogger award. When I started blogging I never expected to have anyone read my writing, and I especially never thought anyone would like it enough to follow me! But, I am so glad that the two of them did, and I can’t thank them enough! 🙂

So, 7 things you for sure don’t know about me…

1. I am obsessed with horror movies. The Halloween movies particularly. Halloween 4 literally is my life. I’ve probably seen it over 200 times.

2. I am a percussionist. I can play basically anything I can get my hands on. Give me a day or two with an instrument of your choice and I’ll teach myself how to play. My mom is a drummer, and she taught me well. My whole family makes up a gospel band.

3. I went to college for basketball originally, but didn’t end up playing because I worked and paid my way through school.

4. I am from one of the smallest towns in Texas, where my grandad is the mayor and my mom is a teacher.

5. I have a super thick country accent. When I’m not in teaching/coaching clothes, I’m usually wearing my cowboy boots.

6. My girlfriend and I met at college, she played softball with my roommates and dated one of my best friends at the time……soooooo awkward.

7. I have 8 tattoos. All classy I might add.

I was told to nominate 15 bloggers, but I don’t think I even follow 15 people yet, that’s how new I am. *insert pouting face*  I hope that’s okay! I’ll go ahead and put my nominations on the board, even though it is short of 15.

Drum roll please……

1. voicinghope.wordpress.com

The piece that really drew me in was “whispers & shouts”. There was something about that post that was insanely vulnerable. I loved the simplicity, yet depth of this.

2. icoulddriveforever.com

If you’re looking to go on a journey vicariously through someone else, this is your guy! Wonderful writing, great adventure, fun times!

3. optionalpoetry.wordpress.com

I’m pretty addicted to poetry, and this writer is wonderful. I actually really love that titles of all of the poems, are dates. It’s a different, yet beautiful, raw kind of writing.

4. teenchange.wordpress.com

From one teacher to another, I really enjoy this blog. She drew me in with “Reflections from the Pause Button.” Check her out, you won’t be disappointed.

5. erickaclay.com

I love her post “Taking Chances as a Writer”! First line “Writing is like being naked” and I was hooked. I actually started reading the first chapter of her book online and thoroughly enjoyed it!