Category Archives: LIFE DEATH LOVE LOSS

Moja Polska Rodzina. I’m sure one of my readers will correct my Polish, if need be ;)

Me and my cousin Steve. I’m very short as you can see.

Steve and my youngest child Elijah, who at 13 years old is catching up to Steve, height-wise. He’s taller than everyone in our house. LOL!

So, my cousin Steve, whom I had never even heard about, came to visit me a couple of weeks ago (his sister lives in St. Clair Shores). He is our family’s genealogist and came bearing gifts, the greatest of which was our family tree dating back to Poland, 1856. I am thankful that he found me by way of this very blog, or else I would have never known he existed. It’s a long story, but to shorten it just a bit, my grandmother was not so proud of her mulatto grandbaby (me). Whoever said blood is thicker than water was obviously not the czarna owca of their family. It was a sign of the times, I guess. What are ya gonna do? Sometimes that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. Life gives you lemons, you make koolaid, or something like that. Hmmm…. are there any other cliches that I can add here? Ah, yes, at the end of the day… at the end of the day, all that matters is that I was found. Laughing out loud (I just had to type that out)!

But I digress. Steve lives in Colorado with his wife Jane, daughter Emily and son Clark. He has visited our homeland (Poland) many times and even visited my great-grandparents’ grave. If you read my earlier post, which detailed my grandmother’s treatment at the hands of the Nazis, you may remember that my great-grandfather’s body was never recovered. So his grave is empty, it’s just a memorial really. Isn’t that messed up? Ugh! The atrocities! And for anyone to even dispute what happened way back when under Hitler’s regime, well, that’s just appalling.

Following are pics of my great-grandparents Helena Madalinska & Tadeusz Kryska along with a picture of their tombstone. I am very grateful for cousin Steve to share these with me. I would like to go and see their tombstone and hometown for myself one day, but ya know, I may get some crazy looks. I mean, look at me. Do I look Polish to you or do I look more Latina? Exactly! However, anyone that knows me, knows that I don’t give a damn what anyone thinks of me…. anymore. The most important opinion is my own, when it comes to acceptance and rejection. It took me forty years to get to this space and I like it. I like it a lot!

My great-grandparents. Look at the roundness of Helena’s face, this is where I get my fat face from. Wow.

My great-grandparents’ grave. My great-grandfather’s body is not in this tomb, for it was never recovered.

I guess I’ll go to sleep now. I have to be to physical therapy in a few hours and I’ll need my strength. I’ll post more pics as I get them.


Lenette 😉

My relationship with my Mommy…

Not sure if you can tell from my last post, which was copied verbatim from a letter that my mother sent me, but we had a volatile relationship. “I love you very much – and  I am truly sorry that I have been such a disappointment and failure as a mother.” Reading those words is extremely painful for me. I never forgave my mother for abandoning me as a baby. That letter was dated June 9, 1995. My Mommy died on July  9, 1995. She died thinking that she was a disappointment and failure as a mother to me. When I first read that letter back in 1995, I did not know that it was the very last thing that I would ever receive from her. Ever. When she referenced her “imminent death”, I didn’t realize that she would be dead a month later. You know how people say, “I’m dying. The end is near. I’ll be gone soon.” and we normally think that they’re just talking? How could they possibly know that their eventual demise is so near? Well, she knew. I don’t know how she knew, but she knew. I’m almost certain that she did NOT take her life. If there is anything that I have taken from my mother, I know that it is her strength. She would never take her own life. She was in prison for YEARS, why wouldn’t she have done it sooner?

I know she was probably depressed. She had lost her last appeal in 1994. That was it. A jury of her “peers” found her guilty and she was sentenced to die in jail. I don’t mean that she received the death penalty. No, she received a 15 year sentence, which, if you have HIV and no proper medical care, is a death sentence. My Mommy died in prison from complications attributed to her HIV status. I’m not sure if she had full-blown aids at the time of her death. What I do know is that my grandmother thinks that my Mommy was murdered. I think my grandmother may be in denial. She wanted an independent autopsy performed.

At any rate, I don’t want to get into specifics of her case on this post other than to say I believe her HIV status was the reason she received such a harsh sentence for an offense that normally carries a 6 month sentence and $1,000 fine. Please stay tuned, I will write about the specifics of her case in a later post.

In the meanwhile, please check out HIV Law and Policy. It really is unfair how persons that are HIV positive are treated in the justice system.

Dear Lenette,


Hi! How are you? Happy and in good health I hope. I think about you often. Especially now that I get closer to my imminent death.

I look at the pictures that you’ve sent me and I think to myself, you all look so happy. If possible, I would really like a new picture of all of you together. You, Eric Sr., Loren, and Eric Jr.

I am sending you these beaded earrings – I hope you like them. You know, I don’t even know if you like costume jewelry or not.

I love you very much – and I am truly sorry that I have been such a disappointment and failure as a mother to you.

I wish for you to have peace and the utmost happiness. Somehow those two things have always eluded me.



(Here are the earrings that my Mommy sent to me. There were 4 pairs in total. This letter and earrings were the last things that I ever received from my Mommy. She died a month later on July 9, 1995, in prison.)

I haven’t worn mascara in 3 days…

That’s probably no big deal to a lot of people, but it’s significant to me because it means that I’ve been crying for three days. My eyes are puffy and I have a headache. Although I’m still taking showers, I’ve cut them down to 2 a day or… gasp… 1 a day! If you heard a hint of humor there, that was all it was, you hearing things! Because this shit is not funny! Not in the least! Yeah, you’ve probably noticed that I’m using a lot of exclamation marks. And? Your point is? At least I still care enough to “make a point”! And at least I’m not SHOUTING AT YOU!! Ya know why? Because my head hurts and I don’t like shouting when my head hurts! It’s painful. I am in pain! I hate it! I’m miserable. I’m inconsolable. I’m sad. I’m angry! I’m a fucking walking contradiction! I don’t even care though, I’m just telling you how I feel! Ya feel me?

Feel. My. Pain.


I’m unhappy…

I just can’t…

I’m done…

Let me Abuse you! Please!

Okay, like, this is my objective for the rest of the year: to make everyone else’s life livable. Is that a tall order? I don’t know, possibly. You’re listening to a Leo here, everything is about me….. or is it? Yes, it is. Your happiness affects me somewhat….. I am unhappy no matter what, so at least I can bring some joy to your life, yes?

I am so not a crybaby, but lately it feels so good to cry. I am soooooooo sad…. The tears flow freely, with wild abandon… there is no stopping these tears…. If you ever thought that you meant something to me, please believe that unless you made me cry uncontrollably, you have not touched me and therefore you don’t mean as much to me as maybe you thought. This is not a narcissistic stance to take….. no, this is a “Lenette” stance to take…. Anyone that has felt jilted by me (the numbers shouldn’t be that high) could attest to this….. I cannot even apologize for that. I can only be me…. The little Mulatto child that so desperately wanted to fit into your “norm”…. *sigh*…. Guess what? Your norm is not normal! You’re more fucked up than me! Yup, I said it. It is you that is fucked up! I will die knowing that I have a pretty good idea of who I am. Not fully mature, be it chronologically or physchologically, but hell, who is?!? I’ve got an idea and I’m sticking with it! Wanna be tortured? A masochist, are you? Well, please, step into my life and let me abuse you!

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

So now I just can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I CAN’T BREATHE! Can you hear me now? Have you ever been so full that when you try to cry it gets caught in your chest and you can’t breathe? I cannot breathe/I cannot die. I am full/I feel empty. I cannot get everything out/there’s nothing there. I can tell you that all is well/I don’t want to tell you anything. You understand/you’ll never get it. I don’t want to exist/I want to live. Life is hard/death is easy… for losers. I am a winner/I am losing. He makes life bearable/he makes living easier/they make life a necessity/they make living enjoyable/she made life possible/she makes living lonely. I am not a loner/I am lonely. Life in constraints is freeing/living freely is prison.

You have Lupus/you suffer from anxiety/you are depressed/you have Sjogren’s Syndrome/you also have Reynaud’s/you are still grieving/your PMDD is getting worse/I think you may also be suffering from RLS/your ANA results were positive/you are a textbook case/you are quite lucky that your kidneys are not involved…. yet/You have Lupus. You have Lupus. You, my dear, have Lupus.

Think you’re having a hard time trying to figure out what I mean? I’m having a hard time trying to articulate it.


Why do I continue to hurt those that I love? How is it possible that I can be so miserable when I’m surrounded by people who love me? I don’t know. I don’t have the answers to anything. I don’t even know why I feel unhappy. I have no idea why I cry uncontrollably at times. I cannot grasp the concept of taking my own life, yet I have always felt that I will die young. I am in so much pain. The emotional pain sometimes overshadows the physical pain that I endure on a daily basis. Lupus was a diagnosis that came with a sigh of relief for me. I was relieved to finally have a name for all of the pain that I have endured for years. Yes, years!

I made up my mind on Saturday that I would no longer seek happiness for myself, rather I would make sure that everyone around me was happy. And then on Sunday, something happened that pretty much derailed my plan….

Have you ever…..

been so completely sad that nothing can cheer you up? I mean absolutely NOTHING!! Sometimes I wonder if my mother or father had some sort of mental illness that was perhaps passed down to me. I will never know because they’re both dead.

I remember the day that my father died like it was yesterday. I was eleven years old. My friends and I started the day out going over to Canada with one of the mothers of the Richardson clan. We were having so much fun! We ended the day at the Adams’ Theater in Detroit. No adults! No one really paid us much attention, other than a few stares we got because one of my friends carried the albino gene. Some people acted like they had never seen a person so light before, more white than white, with eyes lighter than you could ever imagine in your wildest dreams. Sigh…. anyway, we ended up walking home, taking Michigan Avenue from downtown, past Tiger Stadium, all the way to Southwest Detroit. Cracking jokes, talking smack and singing the whole way home. We passed the Richardson’s street (30th) first, so they went on home and me and my best friend Krystal walked the rest of the way home to my street, North Campbell, which was about six blocks shy of Livernois.

Me and Krystal at Granddad's house on West Grand Blvd.

Krystal was spending the night so we planned on staying up and being silly, maybe play on the phone, call some boys, listen to music, do our hair, watch “Hart to Hart”. Our options were endless. Or at least we thought. We walked up the street in the dark with only the streetlights every few houses to light our way… dancing around, giggling, just so happy to be young and out “after the streetlights”. My oldest sister Adrienne was walking up the street towards us crying…. trying to get her words out but the tears were  coming so fast, no time to well up in her eyes, just streaming down her face, and rolling under her chin…. “D..D..Da…” she sobbed… “Da…Daddy dead Lenette….” My whole world turned upside down. I mean, I knew my father was sick, which is why my sister was even in town from Cleveland, but dead? My young mind could barely process the words that came from her mouth. It was like a dream sequence almost, like, when you try to reach out for something in a dream but it’s beyond your grasp. Or when someone’s saying something but you hear no sound, as if someone hit the mute button. Her lips were moving and I knew it was bad news because as soon as her lips stopped moving, she and Krystal wrapped their arms around me so tightly that it hurt. The days that followed were even more muddled. I remember what I wore to my father’s funeral because, believe it or not, I still have the dress. I took my eighth grade picture in that dress a year later. I get so sad thinking about it now…. and thinking about all the times that I muttered under my breath as I walked away from a scolding  “I wish you would just die”. All of that was said before he ever became sick with cancer. I get so mad sometimes at all of the people that still have parents or a parent, just one would be good for me, and they treat them like crap. Why Lord?

My inebriated Daddy and me. I don't have many pictures of myself as a child.

But I digress. I’m inconsolable right now. I think I definitely have what Holly Golightly described as “the mean reds” in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It went something like this: “You know those days when you’ve got the mean reds…. the blues are because you’re getting fat or maybe it’s been raining too long.  You’re sad, that’s all.  But the mean reds are horrible.  You’re afraid and you sweat like hell, but you don’t know what you’re afraid of.  Except something bad is going to happen, only you don’t know what it is.”  ~Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 1958, spoken by the character Holly Golightly. My sentiments exactly!

If I should die…

before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take……

I love you Loren Ashley Graham, my first born!

I love you Eric Jermel Graham, my second born!

I love you Elijah Joshua Graham, my third born!






I WAS……………..