Dear Mom (4)

Dear Mom,

I love that I can be of service to you and to Dad during this time. I feel confident that I will never have the regret of feeling I could have done more after you’ve gone.

But, I’m exhausted. And my old nemesis insomnia has set up camp in my life once again. It’s not a great combo – it has made me short-tempered and downright bitchy at the smallest of annoyances.

So, thank you for understanding that I couldn’t come down-state to be with you this weekend. I needed to stay home, take my sleeping pills and try to recover a little from the exhaustion that I have let take over.

While I am awake this weekend I’m trying to get my house clean – or at least not as unclean as it has been for the last month. And packing, preparing to move downstate to be near you and to help care for both you and Dad on more than just weekends. It’s a big change, but I know it’s the right move to make.

And, to be honest, the move isn’t all about you, you know that. You know I’ve been contemplating this move for over a year now. You didn’t want me to, until recently, and now you’re feeling urgent for me to get the move done. You even bought a condo for me before I could even find a job or get my house up north ready for showing & sale. But, I can’t move until I find a new job. So, for the time being I’m in a sort of stand still, until the job is offered & accepted. Then the move will happen quickly.

The problem is I just got this job that I enjoy & doesn’t stress me out. Sigh.
But, don’t take that as a complaint – I am glad to be moving back to my hometown, to be with you, to soak up every memory I can with you and Dad.

I love you,
M

Dear Mom (3)

Dear Mom,

In the context of all of the suck that is cancer we got some good news this week – the doctor believes that if you take care of yourself you should see another birthday and maybe another Christmas.

This means you’ll also get to see the next two grandkids get married – and they’ll get to celebrate their weddings without the dark cloud of your death hanging over them.

Unfortunately, Dad didn’t really get it. He took it to mean that you didn’t have cancer. And he told people you were mis-diagnosed. And then you had to tell people that you do have cancer – again. And you had to tell Dad that you have cancer – again.
And I know that it hurts to have to tell him this once, a second time and a third…and…and…and…

And it’s so hard, these extreme emotions. I want to celebrate the good, and I want to forget the not-so-great.
But, that doesn’t seem to be in my nature. And I know I got that from you so I imagine you struggle with this as much – or likely you struggle even more – than I do.

Sigh. I’m trying not to think about it too much. Most of the time I’m failing.

With all my love,

M

Dear Mom (2)

Dear Mom,

Christmas was this past weekend, and I’m so thankful that you were up to the celebration.
I know you pushed yourself more than you probably should have, for our sake, but it was still nice to be able to enjoy one more family holiday with all of us there.

Leading up to the day of was interesting – I had drawn your name in the family gift exchange and at first I was so excited but then it sank in…what Christmas gift do you get a woman who is dying?

In the end I decided to ignore your diagnosis and get you a gift that I would have gotten you if I didn’t know. So, I ended up getting you a really soft lovely blanket scarf, a beautiful set of colored pencils and a beautiful coloring book as well as a couple of treats.

It’s funny that a good weekend gives me little to write about.

M

Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

We recently found out, after months of you feeling ill, that you’ve been diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer that has spread to your lymph nodes in your armpit and chest. While I understand why you’ve decided to not pursue treatment, I feel it’s really unfair that I’m going to lose my mommy and by best friend all at once.

And I’ve been crying almost non-stop for weeks. I’ve been able to pull it together enough to go to work each day, but really not any more than that.
Cry. Work. Cry. Sleep. That’s pretty much the makeup of my week days. Weekends I’m down to visit you, but really just change “work” to “caring for you and Dad” and that’s my weekends.

My only real down time is driving downstate and back up north on either end of the weekend, and still then I only maintain my grip because I know it would worry you if I were to cry while driving. So, I put my earbuds in my ears and turn on some podcasts to try and distract my mind from weightier issues.

I’m sorry that I worry you with the panic attacks that I’ve been trying, somewhat unsuccessfully, to hide. It’s just so much to know that you won’t be here to talk to in the future. Of course, I’m an adult so I’ve known in the abstract it would happen someday, but now it’s no longer abstract and my mind and body don’t know how to deal with that. The caring for you and Dad helps burn off some of that adrenaline so at least I can do something productive.
So, I drive down and do laundry, cook, grocery shop and make you eat real food. It’s the only thing I can do in an attempt to find my footing again.

Dad. Well, I don’t know how he’s doing. On the surface he seems to be doing well with all of this, but I’m concerned that he’s tapping into a well of strength that isn’t as deep as it used to be. That’s the thing about Alzheimer’s that no one warned us about – he can push himself sometimes and come off as if he’s not failing, but once that well runs dry he ends up in such a state that he’s worse off than he was before. But how do you tell a man not to take care of his wife and children in order to save himself?

The fact is I know you do something similar to yourself when I’m in town. And for now I’m letting you, even thought I know it isn’t the healthiest thing for you.
It’s selfish of me, but it’s just so nice to see those moments of your being fully you.

I love you.

M

 

Been gone so long…

And I’m not going to make excuses for it.

I simply needed to do what I needed to do, I was in a funk and had to work it out before I could really be authentic about what I write and what I share. So I did, and now I can.

A quick catch up – – – really general, not at all covering everything in the last few months of course:

I slept A LOT. For about two months all I did was sleep and work. It was unhealthy but I couldn’t find the energy to even fix the lack of energy. I’m doing better now, and have been for a little while, but still I have made an appointment with a doctor to find out what’s going on. I suspect it’ll turn out to be something to do with my thyroid. Fingers crossed it’s not worse than that.

Work. It’s been hard, but it’s getting better. I have been offered a new position that’s more my speed, but it’ll be a while before I get to reap the benefits of it though because they have to fill my current position before they can move me into the new position full time. Once they do though I should be working 4 days a week instead of 5 so I should be able to get back to school as well as simply having more time to do fun things. And my job will be more behind the scenes so I don’t expect that I’ll be so emotionally exhausted at the end of the day because I won’t be constantly in a public space like I am in my current position. For an introvert like me that’s huge!

Family. Ugh. Things aren’t improving there at this point, sadly. Dad’s Alzheimer’s has progressed significantly. Mom’s overwhelmed but not ready to accept help. And a couple siblings have their own things going on that have added to Mom’s stress levels, which in turn adds to mine – I can’t really say more on those situations though because they’re not my stories to tell. Suffice it to say that they’re both choosing sad paths and none of us have been able to help.

Getting my house in better shape – it’s about even between the good and bad on this one. I’ve made progress, but I wish I could report that I’d made further progress than I have. Letting go of the hard & fast goal line has been a good thing though, so now I don’t have a end date but I do just expect myself to do some each week. And this is working for me. I have a long way to go before I can say I’ve gone through and organized all the “stuff” in my house, but the progress I’ve made has been more in depth than I really thought I’d be able to do in a first pass through getting rid of crap.

One thing I have kept up with through these last few months has been my reading goal – I’m ahead of schedule to finish 52 books before the end of 2016. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been enjoyable. I think I’ll set another reading goal for next year, but it won’t be as high a goal since I’ll be back in school (fingers crossed).

Anyhow, I’m going to go read before going to sleep.

Good night.

 

Sharing is Caring…

I Believe…Soul Mates

I believe in soul mates. The Yin & Yang of two people mixing and matching. Contrasting. Fitting together.

I also believe that soul mates are in one’s life forever. Even if the person isn’t.

I didn’t just contradict myself there, I fully know that the movies and books say that soul mates will find a way to be together, that the fates will always bring them back together.
But reality doesn’t always work that way. People are fallible and make choices that change the course of one’s life and by result change the course of the lives of others. Sometimes for the negative, but often times for the positive.

But the experience remains. The memory of the feeling remains. This is forever.

You may be wondering why I’ve chosen to write about this particular belief.
A little while back I came across something on Instagram that made me realize that my belief is not insane, I’m not alone in believing that sometimes we don’t marry our soul mate.
And today I was cleaning out my links, procrastinating on some work that I needed to get done, and I came across the link again. And the weight of the thought felt so heavy that I needed to share it. So, I am.

No, wait. This is about me and my beliefs so I’m going to re-word that – – –

I’m not going to marry my soul mate. My soul mate will live on in my soul and out in the world, but it will be in a separate orbit from mine. Our paths will cross from time to time, and I’ll cherish those moments for what they are. Just like I’ll cherish all the other moments that imprint on my soul in my lifetime.

I Believe…Bullying

I believe bullying has a lifetime effect.

I was short. Fat. Wore glasses and had braces.I made a perfect target for a mean girl and the rest of the girls followed her.

And even though I’m now grown up, have done the therapy to get beyond it and for the most part okay with who I am, when I see her name come up on my Facebook feed (I’m not her friend, but we have friends in common) I get anxious, physically and emotionally.

Back then it wasn’t thought of as bullying, bully’s were boys who physically beat other kids. The classic kid stealing other kids lunch money.
At the time people didn’t address girls “teasing” other girls beyond telling the kids that were being “teased” that it’s jealousy (it’s not) and that the other girl/s feel bad about themselves…blah, blah, blah…and that it’s nothing big. Just girls being girls was what I got from it.

If I could go back in time and relive it, I don’t know that I’d change the fact that it happened – I believe it made me a better human being, more compassionate and aware of others emotions – but I would have changed how it was “explained” to me by the adults in my life.
I’d have loved to have been embraced by one of the adults and have them tell me that they get that it sucks and feels like crap instead of pooh-poohing it as nothing.

I don’t think this girl or her posse turned out to be bad people. Truthfully I doubt they even remember that these things happened. But they did, and those actions have had impact that continues to shape my life – even thought I don’t want it to.