Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ode to Barbara B

Hello everyone,

This is proof positive that is it possible to have a heart heavy with sadness and one that is filled with joy inside of a single breath.  On October 19th my beloved Barbara Ellen, wife and partner of 31 years, very suddenly and unexpectedly passed from this world.

A shocking event, to say the least.  I’m still reeling.  One day she was happily planting bulbs in the her garden for flowers that will bloom in the spring, and the following morning her lifeless body was found lying on the floor next to her bed.

In a curious example of synchronicity not uncharacteristic in our relationship, I fell out of my bunk onto the floor of my cell, the only time ever in my life that this has happened, at what was very possibly the moment of her passing.  The cause of physical death was subsequently determined to be a cerebral hemorrhage.  It was quick, no prolonged suffering, just the sort of way Barbara would have preferred to go when her time came (may we all be so lucky).  No muss, no fuss, no lingering illness, no significant debts to be a burden to her family.  Just gone.  It’s as though she has been stolen from us, as a dear mutual friend aptly put it.

I miss her physical presence in my life, of course, every time something happens that I want to share with her, at least a dozen times a day, and I have to remind myself again that she is no longer here among us.  We had a 31-year conversation, probing heart and mind, exploring our humanness while aspiring to the higher levels of wisdom.  I will miss that conversation like I will miss her gaze, her touch, her uninhibited laughter, her embrace, her kiss, and even those human foibles and faults that sometimes annoyed and frustrated me.  There was never anything about her that could realistically stand in the way of my love for her.

Ours was a relationship founded on sacred ground, and therefore not subject to threat from something as wholly natural, commonplace, and ultimately trivial as death. We only borrow these bodies to play in this world for a time.  This is why our relationship held together all these years despite some foolish lapses of dignity and the hardship of my incarceration.  But Barbara was so sturdy, I always assumed I would be the one to go first.  I’ve been caught off guard, and now I grapple with unaccustomed depths of emotion, mourning the loss of her, while knowing full well that she is not the least bit lost to herself.

Some of you had the good fortune to know Barbara personally; others of you may have known her at some distance, or only about her.  In any case, I would like to offer the following words of rememberance, written by Barbara’s son John only days after passing:

“Barbara was, and always will be, a shining example of a how a person can live in peace, harmony and freedom.  She gave more than she took, she loved more than she feared, and she nurtured everything and everybody around her.  We will remember Barbara as a woman of strength, courage, compassion and wisdom-a true Mother Goddess incarnate, treading softly yet powerfully upon this Earth”.

So, yes, there are some waves of sadness lingering in the spaces where Barbara once lived, since her passing.  No one needs to worry that they may draw me into some morose stupor, however.  Barbara would have little patience for that sort of thing. Anyway, she would not have left when she did if she had not been sure that I would remain a strength to her children and grandchildren, and I won’t let her down in that regard.  She would not have any of us feel sorry for her, or for ourselves.  Any why should we? Barbara lived on her own terms and died exactly as she would have wanted to.  I salute her for that, and celebrate the wealth of gifts she brought to the world.

In peace,
Bobby

12 comments:

TomG said...

Wow.

ColScott said...

?

ST. Circumstance said...

Part 1

Sigh…


Very sad all the way around…

Personally, I feel very badly for all the family who loved her and lost her.

Not so much sympathy for Bobby though.

In my opinion he ruined another life. But- not without help.

Barbara made a choice in her life which is fair to question even in her death… Why? Why did she choose Bobby as the best option for a life partner? She never heard of him outside of his , fair or not, association with the “ most evil man on earth” He was locked away forever , and yet this was her choice as the man to spend the rest of her time with?? How could she have felt that it was appropriate to show any interest in someone who she knew only from a violent crime- let alone decide to devote her life to him? Does she ignore the dark elements to this character or is that what drew her to him? I think this is fair to ask. Bobby says the marriage was based on “sacred ground”. I wonder what it was really all about after the usual lines we are always fed about sparks flying and kindred souls meeting blah blah blah. Before any of that can happen you have to be honest with the fact that you’re going to a Jail to meet your new friend and they are never getting out. If Bobby had been a plumber who robbed a bank would Barbara have been willing to sit through all those hours of red tape and paperwork for a stranger to sit in a smelly holding area for a few hours a month?? I honestly wonder??

Like those who use ATWA as a reason to support Charlie’s every move- it just can’t be rationalized with any common sense. You can say the right things and sound very convincing. But then you can’t hold up the joker card and expect people to keep a straight face. You can find people who spend time and energy really helping the environment every day who haven’t hurt anyone else and hasn't been a criminal their entire life. In fact, it is counter-productive using Charlie as a face of the mission. Even the ATWA warriors know that 90% of the world doesn't think anything else about Charlie outside of the face of evil crap. When they put him out there as an example - nobody takes them seriously, and this makes their efforts twice as difficult in getting their message across. Why not use the good intentions backing someone who can really get things done?? Why not back someone who is out there every day making a real difference instead of a career criminal who never met a person in his whole life he hasn’t exploited or used to his own selfish advantage? If helping the environment was really the goal- this would serve the purpose much more efficiently. It would be much easier to get support and help get things done. Why insist on doing it only as an extension of Charlie’s ideas and wishes? People stop listening in any productive way the minute his name is mentioned, and they know this. When you list all of Charlie’s crimes why is the answer always the good things he SAYS (he never personally raised a dime or made a physical contribution to any of these causes outside of his sermons and speeches) about the environment? Why do you never get an answer when you ask if it was o.k. for Charlie to shoot Crowe or rape and give drugs to underage girls?? I wrote Star a sincere letter once asking these questions. Do you think Star could ever give an honest answer to me about a question like this? Probably not. It would be very hard to make it sound like it makes sense to someone with an ounce of common sense . I think they get that. They don’t really want to have that conversation because it forces them to confront the uneasy truth about themselves.

ST. Circumstance said...

Part 2


Which is- in most cases- is that Charlie and the darkness he represents is the real turn on and what brings them in. The sad, scary, unfortunate truth is that some people just dig a darker side than the rest of us. The rest is smoke and mirrors. People like Star don’t move to the woods to live with Greywolf because Charlie wants to save trees. I just will never accept that. Something else pulled Star into this life she has chosen. I argue it is something inside a certain few of us which is much darker. I think I came to realize this while researching Nicholas Schreck. Some of us are just wired differently. The heroes and values that some are raised with are very different from mine. We can argue all day and some of us will never see eye to eye because we just have completely different ideas of right and wrong and what is acceptable and what is not. I think Barbara’s involvement with Bobby was a case of something like this in some ways. Someone who for whatever reason was attracted to the ultimate “Bad Boy”. Now I am sure that bobby did his very best to help this along. With so much time and so few options- Bobby probably gave the full out charm bum rush to this woman in all those lonely letters he wrote. He gave her the key to his heart and soul and let her into places none of us will ever go. I understand what a guy can write when he is sad and alone and insecure… Not always the same way he will act when he has options available to him I might argue. I think most of us know that. We have all seen or lived some version of the difference between how much you can want something you can’t have - until you have it day to day… The truth is, you always need to spend real time with anyone before you can devote your life to them in any meaningful way. You have to go through good and bad times together to develop that bond which makes relationships strong. Suffering , wins/losses- it is all part of it. Bobby could paint a beautiful picture of what the trip through life could still be like for them without these intimate encounters and life experiences we all go through in forming our personal relationships and bonds BUT…

She had to want to go there. What makes a woman feel this is her very best option in choosing a partner for the rest of life? What makes someone want to meet a violent locked up criminal let alone marry and devote the entirety of the life she has left on him? These are very dark and hard questions maybe but, these are questions I feel are fair to ask...

I hope she can rest in peace. I truly do... I wonder if Bobby can?

bobby said...

St. C. I am on board with all the points you make. Especially with the ATWA thing and peoples motivations for using CM as some sort of icon for the enviromental movement. As a Christian I have always found one of the directions that Jesus taught was to care for , visit & confort those in prison to be a tuff challenge to live up to. I don't think he meant for us to be like the nut job woman who fall in love with Ted Bundy or the Menendez brothers. But I can see a smart person like Barbara falling for a smart person like Bobby while fullfilling an obligation to provide comfort to those in prison. I hope I made an once of sense. At the same time I completely get your point and I cant live up to very many Christian principles myself including compansion for those in prison for horrible crimes.

ST. Circumstance said...

Thanks Bobby... You make perfect sense

I would just ask people to consider that you can have compassion for those in prison and you can provide support and give understanding to them as well. Forgiveness, comfort - all of these things are certainly great ideas for those inclined to spend their energies in those directions...

but to choose to feel love and devotion on a level to where you will dedicate the rest of your life and sacrifice so much for them is just a little bit too much in my opinion. I would argue that 1 out of maybe 50 people would let it get to that point or even have the desire to take the first few steps down that road...

its those one or two people I question?

What is it that makes them go this way?

in many ways it is like the original girls and Charlie- same concept?? What was the attraction?

Was it something Barbara saw in Bobby that made her sacrifice so much to get back so little, or was it something inside of herself that made him so attractive???

That is all I ask and maybe now is not the time to ask, but when people make such insensitive life choices- I feel it is less inappropriate to stretch the boundaries of good taste myself...

I will however- leave it at that understanding some will certainly disagree...

bobby said...

"many ways it is like the original girls and Charlie- same concept?? What was the attraction?" I think he conned them hook line & sinker and they were easy targets.

Bobby may have conned Barbara as well, but he is really good. I read all his responses to emails on his old web site and he had me hook line an sinker as being sincere etc. I fear I maybe a sucker though. lol.

Doc Sierra said...

Good post St C. You're a tiger in a trance....

fiona1933 said...

Charlie didnt 'con' the girls. The attraction is easy to understand.
1. He was very gentle. All the girls had distant or abusive fathers. Charlie defied the macho culture (look at Mad Men) . Here was a guy who played with kittens.
2.He was sexually attentive. He 'gave himself completely" Susan said. Rare enough ever. He took his time and pleased them. When it was over, the girls would be anxious to look after him. (There were Hollywood women who came looking for Charlie: "I hear you do it good, baby...")
3. He listened to them, truly listened. He didnt boast and show off and try to dominate them. He gave them intense attention. Again, rare enough. Men hardly ever listen to women. They pretend to to get you in bed and then insult you if you don't come across ("That was a waste of an hour" for example)
He came to dominate them because they made him their leader although he tried to avoid this. It took hold of him after a while.
4. He was always happy. This is irresistible to everyone. He could get a kick out of combing his hair remembering always he couldnt do that at will in jail. He was aware. He could always find something to enjoy. He laughed and played and giggled like a child. You can hear it on recordings...he has such joy in his voice. It's seductive.

All this is before endless police harassment soured him and things darkened and his stored up anger rose to the surface. Not aided by bikers and criminals hanging around and changing the atmosphere along with the general climate of violence engulfing the country with the backdrop of Vietnam.

fiona1933 said...

No Doc Sierra, I got the tranced tiger...

recy said...

A beautiful tribute to a loving wonderful woman Barbara, your love is a inspiration. Thank you Bobby. Shine on Barbara.

grimtraveller said...

To reply to ST Circumstance even though it's 3 years later and out of date, re: ATWA --> even a criminal that hurts people and hates society may have a love of nature, animals and a strong environmental conscience. Actually, a hate for society is more likely to cause a focus on animals and the environment.
Re: Love for lifers--> I've followed two or three years of posts of your viewpoint on this subject of jailhouse love & marriages and truth be told, the heart wants what the heart wants. Why is it strange that men and women may find themselves attracted to men and women doing life sentences ? Some of those marriages last far longer than those on the outside. Some of those friendships and relationships go a long way towards smoothing the chip on the shoulder of the lifer and showing them the reality of the fact that not everyone is out to take advantage. If our brother[s] or sister[s] or parent[s] or Uncle[s] or Auntie[s] or cousin[s] or friend[s] were in jail for life, we wouldn't abandon them, hopefully.
Fact is, when you get on with someone, you get on with them, regardless of their station in life or what they have done.
The heart loves who the heart loves.