Monday, May 11, 2020

This blood

I want to forget y’all are gone
I just act like y’all are still here
I need to figure out how to survive
In this world without yall being here
I hold onto this blood
This blood

All the memories I wish I didn’t have at times
Some say “you should cherish them”
 That’s easy to say in your eyes

My world exploded when they died
But the earth kept spinning
The sun kept rising and setting
The Employer kept expecting
But I’m still holding onto this blood
This blood

I want to be the man God called me to be
A husband and father that leaves a legacy
How do I move on from this?
Tragedy after tragedy
I’m holding onto this blood
This blood

“Give it to God” they state
You should read a little more I say
The Sovereign King makes no promises
Of a peaceful life in this place
It doesn’t take away the pain
He promised life here would be strained

My world is right in front of me
My sons running and dancing
My bride loving me softly
I’m still holding on to this blood
This blood

My emotions are brittle
My confidence belittled

I’m terrified to answer the phone
Don’t take my sons Father
I beg you to spare my wife
Please Lord I can’t do this alone
Tragedy after Tragedy
I’m still holding onto this blood
This blood

Monday, April 20, 2020

This blood: Therapy sessions part 4

Happy moments, happy times. That’s what I was living in. I had just turned 10, bo was 14, and our baby sister was a newborn. On top of that we had just moved into our new home. Barry landscape business was flourishing, and mom was still delivering mail for USPS.

However challenges were going to hit soon..

*disclaimer* -this is where I will begin telling a part of the story I have been scared to tell. I’m sure I’m gonna leave things out, or possibly leave people out. So I apologize up front if this offends some family members. However, Understand this, this is my story to tell. It’s factual, and if you are offended that I mentioned you negatively, you could have easily changed this story, but you didn’t. So here we go.

Our home was like a dream come true, other than not having really any kids living around us. Well, there was one family on the street that had two sons, they were cool. I remember taking a lot of pride in my bedroom, (Seeing as how my bedroom at the trailer park was a glorified closet). Bo was getting into his teenage years. You know, the years where a 10 year old isn’t really cool to play with anymore. So I was usually out in the woods by myself pretending to be a navy seal, or playing video games, and he was beginning to get to old to play. I understood. We were still very close, just things were changing, you know what I mean?

Me and my best friend Colton would hang out a lot. His mom and my mom were best friends. We were very close. He definitely plays a major part in this story. I just don’t have enough time to jot every thing down. So to keep it short. We are still close after all those years if that helps you understand.

Bragan was not quite old enough to play with yet. Big bummer . I could not wait until She got old enough where I could play with her, I spent so much time just holding her. She was so beautiful. When she was a newborn she had super curly hair, and these big ole blue eyes. Man they were something. I would just hold her and study her. My answered prayer. My dream come true. My assurance that God was real. I would talk to her all the time, even though she couldn’t talk back. I felt she understood me though, so I just kept on talking.

I was always at my moms hip. I was a mommas boy for sure, I’m sure I’ve already mentioned that. She was my everything. That’s the thing about parenting. You get some kind of pure love from your kids that really can’t be matched. Its magic. Oh , and we still had our early morning date. I would always hear her SUV crank up, and I would roll my blinds up, and there she was. No matter if she was late for work or not. She was there, blowing me kisses and telling me she loved me. I really think that’s why I have a hard time getting up early now.

Alright it’s time to get sidetracked and talk about difficult things

I earnestly desired my dads and barry’s attention and approval. I really did.

I could not wait every other weekend to get to go see my dad. He had a condo in B’ham that over looked the city. To me, it was amazing. It was a small place, but had everything he needed. He would always pick me up on that Friday. We would usually go to the grocery store on our way to his condo. He had enough food for him, but I could eat a house so.. we would usually go to Bruno’s in south side. I named my first dog Bruno that for that reason. My dad was manager of a bbq restaurant and and could (and still can) cook really well. I loved watching him pick the spices and whatever food he was gonna cook. Other Friday’s he would order pizza and that was awesome too. If I could characterize my dad it would be: laid back I guess. To me he was always cool. I mean, sure, he would get upset ever so often, but for the most part he was very laid back with me.  I never really got in trouble when I was with him.  If I could count all the times i got in trouble with my dad, I would say no more than 5 times. I really can only remember like 3 times. I’m sure dad can remember more, but I’m the one telling the story, so maybe that paints the picture. I was(and still am) a devout Christian. I think that kind of put a wedge between us. My dad had a rocky relationship with his parents. He loves them very much, but I think they went too far on some things. But i don’t want to speak on it, cause i don’t know a whole lot about it. He has only told me bits and pieces. But I do know, that due to his upbringing he was apathetic to Christianity. That was hard for me, but those were the cards I was dealt. The hardest part for my dad and I really, is this: I’m a very emotional person. My dad isn’t really. At least not to me. I’ve always wanted our relationship to be closer. Especially now.
But anyway, i rambled there for a bit.

Back to the story

Mine and Barry’s relationship sort of began to change. As I aforementioned, my dad was laid back. Barry was a polar opposite. He was very strict, and often too strict. Things got physical. It’s been a permanent scar that I have for a long time made myself forget. But it happened. I loved Barry very much and begged for his love and attention. Often times though I would get something else entirely. I was a difficult boy to raise, that’s a fact. But I longed for his love. So when that happened, it left a deep scar that never healed. Mom knew that, and things got rocky in there relationship as well. They fought quite a bit. Bo had a little different relationship with Barry. Barry wasn’t quite as tough on Barry as he was me.

There, I said it.

There were very good days though, days that will forever trump the bad memories. I know he loved me very much, and I loved him very very much. I loved working with him, and learning from him.
He did have a soft side, I just rarely got to see it.

The times he would break character, were when he was with Bragan. Man he loved her. I would often see him from afar, tears rolling down my cheek, he’d just gaze at her and love on her. I anxiously Hoped that maybe he would show that love to me. Just maybe.

Looking back, I held on to a hope that never came to fruition.

Also during this time we started having new visitors.

My moms family always came over. Very often. My dads family lived in Texas (aside from one sister who lives in north Alabama) so I didn’t get to see them much.
But when Bragan was born, Barry’s (mother’s side) family would visit from time to time. Barry’s fathers side we saw very often. His brother and sisters we would see a good bit. His brother had kids around our age, we have great memories together.
We saw (Barry’s Mothers side of the family) them 1-3 times a year. Literally Only on holidays. They came over a few more times right after Bragan was born. And would always be at her birthdays and events. I started to see something was different with them. At first I thought they were nice, until I realized most of time I saw them they were buzzed.
They treated bo and I differently, and my mom for that matter. It was almost like we were just there. But didn’t exist. They definitely didn’t treat us like family. Sure, they bought us presents and gave us money. But family can’t be bought.

They were a holiday family, nothing more , nothing less. I caught on to that at a very young age.

 The family I knew always called, always asked if we could come over, visited very often, and checked on us always. Thats what family was to me. Family meant something. Family meant love. Barry’s family, nope. I asked Barry about it on numerous occasions. He always said the same thing “Caleb, they just do family differently, they aren’t gonna be real involved. They’re a holiday-only family. They’re money-driven. Caleb, they’re ruthless.”

That statement would later ring in my ear 20 years later.

But at the time I didn’t really understand. I got used to it. It didn’t really bother me then.
I usually would forget all about that when my moms side would call or come get us. Whether it was granny, Duju, Teeta, uncle john, or my dad. They were my standard.

Up next
Bragan goes to school
I start taking football and school seriously.
Bo gets his drivers license, and the fun begins.
Mom and Barry’s relationship continues to unravel
Barry and I continue to have issues
Christ flips my world on its head.

Part 5 to follow

Friday, March 20, 2020

This blood: Therapy Sessions part 3

Football was life for bo and I, we loved it. We also were on a swim team in inverness during the summer when we stayed with Duju and Unle Sam. We had a very active childhood to say the least.
I always played an age group ahead because mom new the coach, and because I was bigger that most my age (I liked food). I have so many great memories on the field and swim competitions.

A few years went by. Barry began running his own landscaping company and mom was still a mail carrier. They had aspirations of moving. Obviously we were oblivious to that.

Around this time I remember praying for another sibling, specifically.. a sister. I deeply desired a baby sister. I wanted to spoil her and protect her. I specifically remember praying for a sister and a sister that had dark hair like mine. Bo and mom had blonde hair and Barry and I had dark hair so I wanted a sister with dark hair, I still laugh at myself for making that a big deal.

One day mom came in from work and told bo and I she needed to talk to us. We sat around the coffee table and she began telling us some amazing news. She was pregnant! I was excited and amazed. I had just recently prayed about it. At 9 years old there was a lot I didn’t understand. But I did know God answered my prayer. I told mom it was a girl and she had dark hair, and I remember her telling me “baby, we won’t know for sure until after the doctors look at the baby in a couple months.” I kept saying “you don’t need a doctor mommy, I prayed about it and I know God is going to answer my prayer.” I long to get back to my childlike faith.

A little time passed and mom went to the doctor, and guess what, they determined what I already knew, it was a girl. She came and told us, I said “I know mommy, she also has dark hair.”

Mom and Barry also told us they were going to begin looking at houses, because our little trailer wouldn’t be big enough now. Bo and I were obviously excited about living in a house, but we were also sad that we would be leaving our friends. We had so many friends at that trailer park. I often wonder what those childhood friends are up to now.

We looked at a few houses, in Morris and Gardendale. Barry really wanted to live in Gardendale. We eventually found a house in Gardendale that was perfect. Our family home. It was so big to us. The only downside was there were not a lot of kids around. But the house was awesome.

There was a a city pool directly behind us, and that was fun to. I remember the lifeguards always calling bo and I “the boys from the woods” because we always walked through our woods to get there.

And then the day came, the day that changed our world. A day of pure happiness. My sister was born. Bragan Wesley Williams. And guess what, she had dark hair. My baby girl. I remember holding her for the first time, telling her “babygirl, I’m Caleb, your brother, I’m gonna spoil you and protect you forever.”

The was probably the best time in my life with my family. Bragan changed bo and I.
You know that part in a movie where it’s a happy scene and it goes slow motion with a good song in the background? That’s how I remember it. I felt I had it all. I really did have it all.

Bo and I had many new things in our life, but mainly a new house to get used to, and a sister to protect. That took adjusting as we were rough boys.
Part 4 to follow

Sunday, February 23, 2020

This Blood: Therapy Sessions pt. 2

I briefly talked about this before, but I think it would be good to talk about it a bit. At about age 4-5 I suffered some through some tough injuries that would affect me to this very day.
I fractured my skull 3 times. Yes I said three times. I was a very wild kid. The last time, however almost ended my life. I feel off the top of the top floor apartment stairs onto the concrete slab below, head first. My mom thought I was dead, I actually still remember waking up on the ground, my mom was crying trying to keep me awake. I remember asking “momma is this a dream?” And her reply still rings in my head. “No baby, this isn’t a dream.” Consequently, the fall dislodged my stapes bone, which left me deaf in my left ear, and still today I have no hearing in that ear. It makes things difficult, but I have become used to it. I usually have to read lips. As I said before, it has sort of made me a bit of a hermit. Large crowds kind of freak me out, I usually can’t hear every one, so I just keep to myself. Large rooms that echo especially make it difficult. Anyway, back to the story.

Our life in Morris Alabama hold probably the best memories for our family.
My mom started working as a sub for USPS, and Barry just started running his own landscape company.

Often times, Duju and Uncle Sam would come get us occasionally, we spent almost every summer with them.They did so much for us. We were always thrilled when we found out they were coming to get us. On other occasions Granny would come get us. She is an amazing woman. I learned so much from her. She was always teaching me about Jesus. The feeling of family was very rich during this time.

After Barry moved into the trailer park, he asked my mom to marry him. We were all so excited. The start of a new life, a new family. Looking back now, it’s very difficult for me to look at these memories. I just remember the anticipation of “what’s next” and the excitement of being a part of a family. Exciting times they were.

Soon after they were married, he was labeled as my step-dad, A term that I hate very much. He became a father to me , I had two fathers now.I did not choose that, that was the hand that I was dealt.

My dad would always come and get me about every other weekend, I enjoyed that. I really did, but I also missed my brother very much. I had a hard time understanding why dad couldn’t just live with us too. Obviously my age played a factor with that. I felt like I lived in two different worlds. One world had Mom, Barry, and bo. The other world had my dad. I really wanted to join the two.

We never had a dull moment. Bo and I were always having fun at that place. From playing in the woods, to playing games, playing with friends, to wrestling and playing with Barry, I cherish all these memories.

We moved into Barry’s trailer at that point, and that was awesome. I mean a trailer is a trailer, but It was nice. I had my own room now, and although small, it was enough for me, and it was right next to Bo’s room, which usually id get scared at night and end up in his bed, so I enjoyed that.
We were real good at letting our imaginations go wild.
We had a bunch of friends there, Bo’s best friend there was Rex, and my best friend was Matthew. We did everything together.
We would play G.I. Joe’s in the woods. If it were up to us we would love in the woods. We even found a small patch of woods behind our trailer. They were small pines at the time, probably 6-10 feet tall. We went to the center of those woods, and went to work. I don’t remember how we did it, but we cut down a bunch of those trees in the center, and made our own spot. From the outside of the woods, you couldn’t tell or see anything. Actually a couple of months ago I went to that trailer park, and found that patch of woods, huge trees now, with shorter trees in the center, made me laugh a little and reminisce.

I remember one occasion, bo and I found a huge vine in the woods, so we used it as a rope swing. I swear we were getting at least 10 feet up in the air. I was so much fun. The owner of the trailer park so I was having fun, And started screaming at us from his back porch telling us to stop and we can’t do that, we just need to get out of the woods. This is where I began noticing Barry as more than just A “step-dad” , but instead a Father. He was working out in the backyard and overheard the guy yelling at us. He instantly became angered, So Bo and I crouched in the woods and watched as Barry chewed out the owner. We felt protected, it was a awesome feeling.

I always got up every morning when mom was leaving for work. I would watch her from the window and cry. She started noticing that, So we begin having a little date every morning, She would get in her mail vehicle and she would go up the road and stop where I could see her from the window. And we would blow kisses at each other and waved at each other, every morning. Oftentimes she would even come back for one more hug. I loved my momma.
We had so many happy memories. I really wish I could travel back in time and hit the pause button so I could see her from the window one more time.

Our bond as brothers continued to grow. Our love for our mother always grew, and now our love and admiration for Barry started to grow.

Now I believe we are at the point when Bo and I started playing football.
Obviously we went to school, I remember a lot about that, but I’m not interested at this point in adding that to this story, because I want to focus on these important memories, and this tragic story.
Part 3 to follow.

This Blood: Therapy Sessions pt. 1

I’ve never written any kind of story, so I’m sure I’m gonna do a whole lot of things wrong on this.
At the very least it will maybe bring peace to myself, maybe a little “therapy session” as rapper NF calls it.
Spoiler alert , this doesn’t have a happy ending. Really no great meaning at the end. So if that’s what your looking for, you can find it somewhere else.
I want to tell you the story of the Williams family. The tragic story of the Williams family. Barry, Teresa and Bragan Williams, and how my brother (bo) and I fit into this tragedy. I just want to remember as much as I can, so this is the only way I know how.

I only know how to tell this story from one perspective, mine. So, let’s do this.
Therapy session begins now...
I was born Nov. 11 1989 to Marvin and Teresa Cole. My mother already had one son , my big brother Bo Holloway. My mom had a bit of a rocky ride with relationships to say the least.
So my mom and dad’s relationship didn’t last long, I would say they were married for a couple years.
Bo’s dad past away around the same time that mom divorced my dad. His death isn’t talked about much. Bo doesn’t really like talking about it, so I honor that.

My mom worked a bunch of jobs, so bo and I jumped around a lot. We stayed with my great aunt “Duju” quite a bit, as well as our grandmother “granny”. We had such fun just being boys. Our imaginations took us away from our unstable life. Everything was crazy around us, but we let our imaginations take us away to an amazing place. That’s just how we rolled. We always couldn’t wait for mom to get off work, we didn’t have much, but we had each other. That’s all we needed.

We moved a lot for awhile, I remember one place we called the “blue house”, mom rented it from this old dude who was super cool. He has a small “put put” joint and would always let us play. My aunt and uncle lived right next to us so that was cool.

At about 4 years of age, my brother at 9, this new guy started hanging around us and mom. I specifically remember his beard and his fro. It was awesome. A hairy, burly Italian stallion named Barry.
More and more he hung out with us, obviously at my age I couldn’t tell what was going on, but my mother had fallen in love with this guy. To be honest at first I didn’t like him. Mainly because I was a spoiled brat for the most part, and he wouldn’t let me be a spoiled brat, so that was no fun. Eventually I realized he was “cool”. about 1 year later, my world got a little more crazy. I had 3 separate head injuries. The last one almost killed me. I fell from a top floor apartment unto concrete, head first. Long story short I’m half deaf due to that. Also from that came social awkwardness, in a big room, there is a big echo like sound when a bunch of ppl are in it, and so I can’t hear anything anyone says, and it makes me anxious. So usually I’m a hermit. Anyway back to age 5. After almost dying, life went back to normal pretty much. Except we left that apartment complex, hallelujah.
Eventually we moved to morris, a small city north of Birmingham. In a trailer park , and boy did we have fun, there were so many kids. It was heaven to bo and I. This is really where I really start remembering things pretty well. Mom, bo , and I had such a great time with just us. I got to see my dad every other weekend so that was cool. Barry soon moved into the trailer park just a couple trailers up from us. This leads in to probably the best part of our life as a family. Part 2 soon to follow...

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Do you know a time traveler?

Excuse me, I have a favor to ask 
Or to whom it may concern
I just really wanna go back 
Time has done me a terrible act

Do you know a time traveler? 
I would love to meet him 
Id beg for just one hour
To see my family still breathing

To see momma’s smile
That contagious grin
I’d let her baby me for a while
Hug the tar outta her again and again 

To hear Barry playing the drums 
He’d see me watching him from the stairs 
Hands me the sticks and teaches me “here comes the sun”. 

To hear a knock on the door at midnight 
Baby sister is scared, needs me to kill the monsters.
Can I have extra time with her please?
Dial the time back an extra hour for me.
I still need time
 please I’ll double my offer. 

Do you know a time traveler? 
I need to find him 
I’ll give him every last dollar 
To be with them again 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

How you bleed

“As the hard frosts in winter bring on the flowers in the spring, and as the night ushers in the morning-star, so the evils of affliction produce much good to those that love God.”
-Thomas Watson 

Much is said regarding affliction. Whether it be dealing with tragedy, death , disease, addiction..etc, most of what is said sounds something like this:

You can get out of this! 
Time will heal! 
Stay busy, to keep your mind off of it! 
Or my favorite, satan is attacking you, fight back! 

Not all of that is false, but it certainly isn’t all true either.

I do think it would be be to ask this question:

How do you bleed? 

Obviously I’m speaking in metaphorical terms, but hear me out. 

How do you bleed in times of hardship? 
Or better said...what do you bleed?
Is it via a choice drug or alcohol? Many see it as a “escape”. 

Maybe you bleed depression. Many tend to close everyone and everything out during difficult times.

Maybe you bleed anxieties. Difficult and tragic times can lead some to be anxious and worry about everything. 

Maybe you bleed anger. 

Maybe you bleed pleasure. 

Maybe you bleed “staying busy to keep my mind off things”

Maybe you bleed “fill in the blank”.

How do you deal with death? 
How do you deal with the pain and grief?
How do you handle it?

I know I have listed a plethora of questions. 
But the answer to these questions are extremely important. 

Whatever it is you are going through, maybe good or bad. 
When the evils of the life hit you like a ton of bricks. what are you going to do? 

I certainly don’t have all the answers to life’s difficult questions. 
 And I certainly don’t know all there is about pain and suffering. 

But there is only one way to make it through. 
Only by Gods grace. 
And providentially He has set forth help for us:

Bleed the Word
- God gave us a “survivor handbook” at our disposal.
Absorb it all like a sponge! 
Bleed Prayer
- We have access to God , you can talk to him anytime, He will come to your aid! 
-but also remember this:
Silence is not the absence of God.
Bleed fellowship
- if you think for one second you can through this alone you are fooling yourself! 
Bleed Praise
-sing to the Lord! Praise Him! Are you breathing? Who gave you that breathe? 
Bleed thanksgiving:
Don’t forget all the many things God has done for you 
Bleed the Gospel:
Preach the Gospel to yourself everyday
Remember constantly where you were (before Christ) and where you are (in Christ).
Bleed the attributes of God:
Study God’s character 
Why in the world would you not want to know God more? Especially during difficult times! 
Bleed the “old dead guys”:
Most of the best writings regarding our faith (outside of the Bible)
are largely from those who have already crossed the finish line.

I hope and pray this helps someone.
I’m no expert on affliction and tragic circumstances,
But I have been though it, and this helps me get through it.
I pray the same for you.

God’s grace is sufficient.

Soli deo Gloria