Tuesday, December 31, 2019

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It's New Year's Eve.  The past few years this day has been one of those days where I have reflected back on the past year and think where I'm going to go from here.  This year... Well, to be honest, I don't want to think about this year.

This year has been a roller coaster of epic proportions.   I have nearly a dozen blog entries and they're all stuck in draft mode, unfinished and unpublished. 

On September 16, 2019, I lost my Mom.  I wasn't there.  I couldn't bring myself to get on a plane and be there.  I didn't want to see her die.  I couldn't see her die.  My cousins were there for her in the end.  I got the call in the parking lot of the grocery store.  Casey, my wonderful husband, got me out of the house to go get food because all I had been doing for four days (her doctor suspected a stroke) was pacing.  I would walk back and forth, stare at the walls, the floor.  I didn't know what I was doing and I didn't know what to do with myself.  I couldn't think.  I was waiting for that phone call... It finally came and I was broken.  I am still broken.

I can honestly say that until my Mother passed I did not understand grief. I didn't understand how any emotion could completely shut you down.  Grief can hold you hostage.  It can be the smallest thing that will allow it to creep in and shut you down.   Random things will send me into a spiral of tears. 

I have felt ashamed of those tears.  I feel like I have to hide them from my family, from friends, from the world.  I feel like I have to stand tall, swallowing the knot in the back of my throat; God forbid I let anyone see the sadness in my eyes or the tears staining my face.  Then, here comes Casey. He wraps his arms around me and I'm safe.  I'm home.  He tells me it's okay to cry.

I stopped in the middle of the post.  Casey came out of our room and was just being silly.  I shooed him away; he was just trying to get me to smile.  He casually asked me what I was doing and I just lost it.  He instantly dropped down and held me for several minutes, letting me just getting everything out.  When I started to calm down, I told him "I'm tired of feeling so sad about this."  He looks at me and simply says "You're sad because you had a good Mom."  He's completely right.  Every time I cry and am missing my Mom it's because I want to share something with her or it's because I am remembering something that we've shared.  I am sad because I will never be able to share things with her again.  I want to be this whole believing in an afterlife, we'll be reunited in the end, there's something bigger out there...

What seems like a lifetime ago, Casey introduced me to Neil Gaiman's graphic novel, "Death: The High Cost of Living."  It was an amazing read when I first read it at the age of 18.  I absolutely loved it.  I was amazed by it.  I need to pick it up again.  The TL;DR version of the story is that Death is human for one day.  She tries to get everything she can.  And she's so joyful about it.  To me, it's beautiful. I understand it so much more than I did at the age of 18.   What I said about not being able to share things with my Mom ever again?  It's true.  I can't share it with her, but I can share it with everyone else.

So, that's what I'm going to try and do this year.  I'm going to share everything that I feel like sharing.  Whether it's just a picture, or a story, whatever... Rainbows, rainstorms, if I'm sad, if I'm happy, angry, loopy, sleepy.  I will tell MY story.  My Mom shared her story with me.  I want to share my story with you.  I'm going to tell the good, the bad and the ugly.  No holds bar.  I hope you stick around to see it...


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Holding Hands in the Car

I don't remember too much about that night.  I don't know if it was hot, or if it was slightly chilly.  I don't remember what was on the radio.  I do remember you were driving your sisters' car (the Geo Storm).  I remember that the sun was setting.  I remember holding your hand on the gear shift.  I remember looking at you and smiling.  I remember the feeling that I had - it felt like everything was perfect.  Everything seemed calm and happy and perfect.

I have known and loved Casey for more than half my life.  My friends tell me that we're often attached at the hip.  That makes me smile - even when they say it in a slightly "you shouldn't be like that" way.  Why shouldn't I be attached at the hip to the man that I love?  Why shouldn't I enjoy spending time with the man I love. Sure, sometimes it makes things hard to get done, but I really don't care.  I love my life with him. 

Casey just turned 40 and I'm staring down the barrel of it.  For the past few years we are concentrating on experiences.  We are concentrating on making memories.  We are concentrating on having as many adventures as we can.  I love my husband even more today than I did yesterday.  And that's pretty damn awesome.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

While she moves it, I will lose it.

I have this ball of anxiety sitting in the middle of my chest.  It makes things like eating, breathing and generally being happy slightly difficult.  After last week and Saturday specifically, I keep waiting for the ball to drop.  Onto my head.  Like a cartoon anvil.  Yeah. 

I may or may not have sought assistance from an herbalist/horticulturist to assist me here.

I'll start with Saturday's escapades.  Casey and I walk in and he asks how the carpet got stained.  I'm like "whaaaaa?"  He says "yeah, there's a huge stain."  And then we look into it further and it's not a stain, it's a big fucking puddle.  My mom comes traipsing out of her closet, which was completely dark, we had no idea she was even in there and scared the shit out of us.  Honestly, I don't know who was more scared- her or me.  We're like "Where did this water come from?"  She, naturally, has no clue.

We follow the water into her closet and then the out and to the bathroom.  There is water all over the floor.  The toilet tank is dripping like a mofo.  It's 11:15am.  WHERE THE FUCK ARE THE NURSES?! 

I instantly switch into Producer Jess mode, which means I'm out the door before Casey even gets the water off in search of someone to punch.  I find a nurse in the dining room, serving lunch.  Does anyone else feel like a nurse shouldn't be serving lunch and should be helping patients or at least keeping a fucking eye on the patients? 

" xxx I need a maintenance guy in my mom's room NOW."  My voice is low and growling.

"Maintenance guy, I don't have one."  The nurse says.

"Well, there's water all over the fucking floor in my mom's room. You better get someone in there IMMEDIATELY."   The nurse gets a look of pure panic on her face.  There are very few people that see this particular side of me.  The few that have usually end up in tears. 

I go back to the room and Casey and I are met by my cousins who had come to take Mom out so we could go through her stuff and get rid of stuff.

With mom out and distracted, we took a video and began the cleanout.  I emailed the video to both the executive director and the nursing director.  It's fair to say that I'm still livid about the situation.   I threw all my anger into the clean out and was happy to say that it allowed for a completely impartial trashing.  None of the "Oh, I know she'd like this" or "this is so sentimental!" crap.  We were able to fit all of her clothes into her closet and dresser.  It was awesome. 

Fast forward to Monday.  Still nothing from the director of nursing or from the executive director.  We pick my mom up, I turn in the keys and take mom out.  Good fucking riddance.  Before we left, though, we found mom, in a temporary room upstairs, flopped sideways on the bed, obviously not checked on at all.  We discuss with the nurse on duty and she said she didn't even know my mom was not staying in her room and was actually looking for her until she ran into the maintenance man who knew where my mom was.  NO ONE HAD TOLD ANYONE THAT MY MOM WAS IN A DIFFERENT ROOM!?  WTF?!  There is absolutely no communication from anyone in the old facility.

My mom has started wandering.  For someone to have eyes on her or know where she is is of the utmost importance for us.  Her new facility is secure (meaning she can't get out without someone being with her).  I know she will be safe.  I know she will be on a schedule.  I know she won't be alone and by herself in her room. I want her happy.