Got home a while ago from visiting Jim in the hospital, he had surgery on Thursday & will be coming home tomorrow, thankfully :) Joe came here on Thursday & just left today, I already miss him. He went to visit Jim 2 times & they talked about RC planes, things a father & son would talk about, ‘cept they’re not father & son. They’re actually much closer than Joe & Gary. Gary went to Vegas in July & about a week before Joe was very nervous cuz he was worrying about what to talk to his dad about. Since Gary was never around when my kids were growing up, he doesn’t know anything about their personalities or who they are, if we’re being honest. Joe said it’s not like he can have a casual conversation with his dad, there’s just nothing there, so it’s a building block, I suppose.

Yes, I’m gloating in the fact that Joe & Jim have so much in common, that Jim has watched Joe grow since he was 13 years old & has seen how much Joe’s matured & knows Joe’s heart, as I said earlier… like a father should. To see my son finally have the connection with someone he admires like a father is such a touching experience, Joe has always longed for this & tried to prove himself to his biological dad, Gary, forever. Gary being the self-centered son of a bitch that he is, is incapable of such love. This makes me even happier I got away from him (even 28 years later!) and met a man that is a man in every sense of the word, he is able to love & be loved unconditionally.

But tonight I’m missing everyone: Jim, Nicole and Joe. Jim is in the hospital tonight, Nicole has moved to Texas & Joe went back to Nevada today. This is the 1st time I’ve been home alone, before I had Trixi home with me & felt safe. (If you think a 200 lb. pig isn’t protection, think again) Up until last year all my close family was right here with me, including my mom & Trixi- until Aug. 22nd; we were all within 20 minutes of each other. It’s interesting how we never know what tomorrow will hold in life, that’s why every moment we are alive we should let those closest know we love them; this is one thing I can say with certainty that I’ve done right.

Sadness

I don’t know why but tonight I’m feeling very sad. I’m missing my mom & Trixi, for the past few nights when I go to bed, they’re both on my mind. I wish I knew the word to describe what I feel then, it’s a sense of loss, shock and emptiness of some sort. The emptiness is from missing them (I think).

Death is never as we expect it or planned. With my mom, when my brother told me they were bringing her home to die, I was upset with her cuz I thought she was faking it. I can’t explain myself. I didn’t believe she was dying, perhaps I knew I couldn’t handle her dying, I’ll never know. I did well for 3 weeks after she died & then my life went drastically downhill. As a result of that, I’ve lost a lot of my memories.

With Trixi, I know we did what was right. I just miss her, especially at night when I walk into the room to change and she’s not there. She was always there, sleeping, snoring. Sometimes I couldn’t tell the difference between her snores & Jim’s, it was so funny. She never got old, always on the top of her game. She was ornery til the very end & we loved her for it.

My mom never got old either, yes she was 85 but she was still the life of a party. She’d go to bingo 2 times a week & if I was at her house at bingo time she’d start looking at the clock 20 mins. before & putting her hands on the walker… hint, hint ;) Then she’d just get up & say she was going! But that was our relationship, we were best friends & honest with each other.

I miss her so much. Rarely do I talk to her and when I do, it’s usually to say I’m sorry. I just wish I’d known it would be our last week together.

What life throws at us

Sometimes life seems too boring and at other times it’s overwhelming. Right now, it’s the latter. Figuratively speaking, I feel like I’m in a war zone emotionally. On Aug. 22 we had to put Trixi to sleep, while I know it was the humane thing to do, the past few days I’ve been missing her tremendously. She was my buddy, my sidekick, always present. No matter what happened, Trixi was always here, literally. Even though she was usually sleeping, there was comfort in knowing when I got home, or woke up, went to bed, anything… she was here. All I had to do was rub her belly & she’d listen to me all day long. Now, she’s gone & her absence is felt, painfully so; inside I ache. When we lose someone we love, whether it be human or animal, the initial loss isn’t the difficult part. It’s living every day without them. There is an emptiness where that loving soul once was, now they’ve gone on in their journey and we’re here realizing how great their presence really was. That isn’t to say they weren’t appreciated when they were alive, but there is no way to realize how MUCH they were in our life until they’re gone. Add to this, Nicole moving out of state with her husband, and Jim having surgery in October ~ I feel as though if I could fast forward to November and look back, what I see today and what I will see then could not even resemble one another. I’m worried about a lot of things. Usually I’m able to practice mindfulness and stay in the moment, actually I do that very well. Right now though, it feels like I’ve been punched in the gut & am gasping for air, and I may be punched a few more times before this round is over.

Life

My brain wakes up at night, which is only bad if the rest of the world operates in the day, which it does. Today was 1 of the most meaningful days I’ve had in a long time. It started with my daughter coming over, she brought me a card & some heartfelt birthday gifts; she always knows exactly what will touch my heart. The card made me cry, she got me a lil stuffed Piglet (in memory of Trixi… I haven’t written about that yet :( ) some stationary to write to her when she moves to Texas in 2 weeks & a coffee mug that says “embrace change” by my favorite artist Kelly Rae Roberts- i love her work.

It was 1 year ago tomorrow that Nicole & I started talking again, she texted me for my birthday last August 28th. In July of ’13 we both agreed we needed some time apart, this was the first time we ever stopped talking to one another & it lasted about 2 months. My respect for her grew, I was so proud of her for saying what she needed & sticking to it. Nicole has always been a people-pleaser, so knowing she was actually saying & following through with what’s best for her was a good thing. Time apart also helped our relationship when we did start talking again.

In the afternoon I went to her house to spend time with her & my 6 granddoggies. There is Mishka (mama) a 10+ year old rescue, Cleveland (gooper) a 10+ year old rescue, Shorty a 4 year old French bulldog, Lily (stinky) a 1 1/2 year old French bulldog, and Thelma & Louise, they’re about 8 months old, Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dogs- they’re sisters & rescue dogs. I love them ALL.

2 of them would come in the house at a time. First it was Louise & Shorty, then Lily & Gooper and finally, Mama & Thelma. Each dog wanted my undivided attention. Gooper paid the most attention to me he has in almost his entire life. Louise (the escape artist) insists on looking into my eyes & causing my heart to absolutely melt. I’ve never seen another dog that seems so human, her legs are as though she has 2 arms & 2 legs. She lays on top of you (over my shoulder) puts her 2 front legs around my neck & it feels like she’s holding on for life.

Mama, oh dear Mama, as puppies Gooper was always into mischief & Mama was perfectly behaved. Often she was in the background cuz he got so much attention, but I always noticed & paid attention to her. Gooper is an extraordinary dog, anyone that meets him will tell you this. Mama is kind of your average dog. Now Mama is blind & has diabetes, I know this may be one of the last times I see her. She actually tried to get in the chair with me, so instead I sat on the floor with her & gave her a belly rub, she was so comfortable on her back, she fell completely asleep. She & Gooper survived being raised by a 21 & 23 year old (my kids), who had no idea what they were getting into but this odd little family managed to stay together, although my son now lives in another state. Raul, Nicole’s husband, brought Shorty into the fold, then they got Lily & a few months back Thelma & Louise- their pack is complete.

No kids. Nicole doesn’t want kids, she doesn’t like them, so it’s probably a good thing she doesn’t have them. ;) I am fine with not having grandkids. There are things I would like about them, but there is no worrying about sicknesses or attitudes, or injuries. Granddoggies are just fine by me.

Disbelief

I feel a sense of sadness when I thought about Trixi. I also feel like I’m going to throw up. She still seems okay, so the idea of her having a cancerous tumor just doesn’t seem right.

Powerless, we’re supposed to protect & take care of her and we can to a point, but then? We’ll have to let her go & there will be such a void in our home. I’ve been able to stay in the moment except for late at night when my thoughts creep in. I know she’s had a good life & 12 years is average for a pbp- I don’t know the right words to describe how I’m feeling. Down, I guess.

Trixi update

Tuesday, July 29th, we had a vet come here to remove a foxtail from Trixi’s nose. They had to anesthesize her, Jim & I waited in the living room for him to take care of her. When he returned to the living room he told us it wasn’t a foxtail, it’s a large tumor & he’s almost positive it’s cancerous. He had both Jim & I feel her nostrils & on 1 side you could feel how it’s supposed to be, on the other side there is a golf ball size lump- that’s the cancer.

She’s too old for us to do surgery & even if she were younger, Jim & I have always agreed we’d do what’s in her best interest, not our selfishness. We’ve seen people go to such drastic measures for their pets, yet the pet looks like it’s hanging on by 1 hair. IMO, the person is doing it for themselves, not the pet. Anyways, surgery is not an option.

We’re going to take care of Trixi as we have for 12 years, we’ll love & spoil her as much as possible! I’m trying to stay in the moment with her & not ruminate about what will someday be. As long as we have her here with us, there is no need to grieve.

We both cried yesterday & I’m sure there will be more days like that. Our lives are forever evolving & unfortunately, death is a part of the life cycle. I’m trying this Buddhist belief & accepting what is. Anyways, that’s all for now

Frustration

Where to begin… my outlook on the USA is very bleak right now. I feel extremely hopeless about our society, where it is & can NOT imagine it getting any worse, but I believe it will.

Our values are so backward; we only focus on the end result & not on the investment- therefore what we “see” looks good, however it’s just a hollow shell, a facade. When kids or adults have emotional or mental problems, “if” they have insurance they’ll be referred to a therapist who will in turn refer them to a psychiatrist who will give them pills… pills to make you happy, pills to make you calm, pills to make you sleep, eat, not eat, energetic, pills that will make your fucking mind go crazy & you won’t know who you are anymore. It’s always the quickest, easiest way out.

The only solution psychiatrists (not psychologists) know is medicine, so they give out the latest, greatest medicine they have. Of course, they don’t really know what it’s going to do to you and they definitely do not know the long term effects- everyone is a guinea pig. Of course, they don’t first tell you about vitamins that may help or eating better & exercising… no, just take a pill. All they care about is that their door stay revolving. A great way to let psychiatrists know the risk they’re taking when they prescribe meds is to put them on some psychiatric drugs (in a hospital so they’re safe) and let them experience how these medicines effect people. Everybody will have a different experience, but they’ll see how they can fuck with you, side effects that aren’t listed yet are found in forums galore. Let these professionals have a taste of their own medicine~ literally and figuratively. I bet they ease off the prescriptions & dosages.

I wonder how many individuals would benefit solely from therapy (not only 10 sessions) w/o medications involved, but someone who cares actually listening to what ails you. Someone that can help find solutions, ways to cope & even how to interact properly with others; these are things that don’t come naturally for everyone- probably for most. But everybody is programmed to hurry, hurry, hurry… run here & do this activity then go on another & not sitting down with each other, listening, just taking time to do nothing- it doesn’t cost a penny & yet it’s the most valuable gift we have: time.

Jails & prisons house the mentally ill now because we don’t have sufficient mental health facilities. Since some mentally ill cannot cope in society, they must be bad, right? Let’s just stick em behind bars, nobody will notice & if they do, they’ll be relieved anyways. We can solve our problems by violating their civil rights & making their medical information accessible to everyone; they aren’t normal!

We have a problem with firearms in our country & the solution, in my opinion, we’d have to go backwards & undo much of what has been done. If we set new regulations, how will we get firearms back from people? The ones that intend on doing damage are not going to surrender them. I’m not afraid of gang members having guns; I’m afraid of almost everybody else having a gun!

I do realize I’m jumping all over the place & really making sense only to myself, but I’ve been so angry & frustrated about so much lately. My biggest gripe about all this is our gov’t skips around viable solutions, now we have bulletproof blankets for school kids… how about practical gun laws? How about families looking inward & spending some time together daily with cellphones OFF. How about parents not allowing their child to go on social media sites until they’re 13 & then actually monitoring their behavior on there? Young kids don’t need cellphones in the damn 1st place! I’m so sick of hearing parents bitch about how fast their kids are growing up, then stating their 9 year old has a smartphone! WHO is raising your kid?? Society or YOU? Take responsibility for something you chose to bring in this world.

If you don’t want to spend time with your child then don’t have em! Do people thinks kids are stupid enough to not know when they’re not wanted? That doesn’t mean buy them everything there is or take them everywhere, it means spend TIME with them. LISTEN to them- what a novel concept!

I was amazed when I heard some Canadians in such shock over a shooting last week; they were devastated. That’s when it dawned on me that it’s absolute commonplace here. I don’t know when our country got here, but here we are and we’re pretty fucked up.

Our country is missing empathy, and I don’t mean enabling. When and why did we stop caring about the homeless? The mentally ill? Families that don’t have food? If you can’t stay in step with a society paced like energized robots, you are kicked to the curb as if you’ve committed a crime. I am so ashamed that with all of the things we’re blessed with, this is how we would even consider treating another human being.

My instinct tells me to move away to some place remote and just put my head in the sand. That is a depressing solution, but right now, it’s the only one I can think of.

My Trixi Sue

Trixi will be 12 years old on July 5th. We got her on October 5, 2002, when she was exactly 3 months old. Her parents were Faith Hill & Elvis Presley, we were told she’d get between 70-75 lbs; the lady lied. Jim says she’s probably 200 lbs. & we’ve always fed her healthy food- no “slop” or table scraps. She isn’t a very cute pig, but to us, that makes her cuter. To go with her “not so cute” appearance she has 1 helluva attitude & kind of a reputation in my family… but that’s okay ;)

We got a pet to help with my depression. At the time, I’d been depressed for well over 6 months & was sleeping 18-20 hours a day (which isn’t abnormal for someone depressed). I had had a pot bellied pig once before, but Tootsie was an outdoor pet, Trixi is an indoor diva! While I wanted a pet to help with my depression, she had things in mind that would actually help me, but I never imagined it.

If I didn’t stay up with Trixi (in the living room) she’d start tipping over furniture with her nose (pigs have VERY strong noses). She’d tip over our barstools, the computer chair, she’d get into things she knew she wasn’t supposed to & Moooooo – who ever knew a pig could Moo?

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We used to take her camping with us, she loved taking walks by small streams & sticking her nose in the water. At home, I could put items on the floor (hat, ball, shoe, etc) & teach her each 1 then tell her to touch a particular 1 & she’d walk over & push it with her nose- then she’d get a treat! Of course, that’s what it was all about in the 1st place. :)

When she got an infection a few weeks back Jim & I had a talk, that dreaded talk. We both agreed when it was her time, we wouldn’t go to extreme measures to “save” her. We’re not going to make her go thru pain or discomfort so that we still have her alive. It seems that time may be arriving sometime soon.

I hope between us, we use a lot of wisdom to know what to do and when the time is right. Trixi has a wonderful life & we want the end of her time here to be as peaceful a transition as possible.

*UPDATE: Trixi is doing much better, she’s completely back to herself- healthwise. We’ve been giving her antibiotics & they must be kicking “whatever it is’s” ass. :)

My beautiful Mom

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Tonight my friend Kathie, tweeted: “Tell your family & friends you love them. Pick up the phone & call them. Life can change in a heart beat.”

It’s here. The day I’ve anticipated and dreaded.  March 18, 2014,  the 1st anniversary of my mom’s death.  You can tell yourself over & over your parent is going to die, that’s completely different than realizing they are actively dying.  I always knew the day would come but didn’t accept it, even though I’d been told she was dying. At the time reality and reason did not co-exist.

Ever since March 9th I’ve been remembering what occurred each day last year, she started getting sick around the 4th & my kids & I (mostly my son) stayed at her apt. and took care of her. March 9 we took her to the ER cuz her breathing was so labored & shallow. On March 11 she was sent to a rehab hospital and on the 15th she was sent home to die.

I remember when my mom was well, sometimes I’d worry about her getting hurt or even dying. It felt as though if she were to die, there would be no air to breathe, my world would cease to exist. Here it is, 1 year later and yes, my world did cease to exist, yet somehow I am still breathing.

Until late December I couldn’t “see” my mom in my mind, I’d have to look at a picture to remember her face. One night I had a dream about her, we were walking into her apt.- we must’ve gone to a hair appt. She was wearing a familiar blouse & smiling (as always); it was 1 of those dreams you don’t want to wake up from. When I did wake up I tried going back to my dream but couldn’t, ever since that time I’ve been able to remember my mom. It’s best explained to say my memories went from 0 to 100 very fast, it was overwhelming yet I didn’t want it to stop.

Sometimes I can feel my mom with me, it’s not something I actively sought out, it just happened. It happens when I’m alone, out of nowhere I’ll see an image of something we did together, it’s more than just that though- hard to explain. Other times it is a knowing presence, I can feel her with me. One time I went to bed angry at Jim, as I lay there I suddenly had an image of my mom making a funny face (a sarcastic smile) she did when I’d tell her she looked sad, or didn’t look happy. I fought it, but eventually I couldn’t help but smile & burst out laughing. I know without a doubt that was my mom cuz she knows my temper & used to hate it when I’d get so angry… all it took for her to change my mood was a silly smile.

I’ve heard people say (not to me) when you’re older your parent’s death shouldn’t affect you as much as when you’re younger – HOGWASH! Throw that & any other judgments or expectations in the trash. Everybody’s experience is unique. Feelings don’t really make sense: there are days I want to cry but I feel numb, some days I don’t think about my mom- others I’m consumed with her- sometimes I start crying and can’t stop- absolutely no rhyme or reason to it. There is no right or wrong when it comes to grieving.

I spent a lot of time with my mom, helped her when she’d let me, laughed & cried with her. We people-watched, she’d wear sunglasses & feel invisible, sometimes it was so obvious she was staring & I’d be embarrassed, but she’d always make me laugh afterward. Our roles reversed: I’d be calling her to make sure she was home safe & hadn’t been drinking too much. She lived a full life to the very end!

My regrets have to do with my mom’s final days. I wish we’d had time alone, just the two of us. Time to hold her hand, tell her how much I loved her, thank her for everything & for being my best friend. A chance to say good-bye. I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason, maybe my mom and I weren’t meant to say good-bye.

Time… nothing replaces the time you can spend with someone, even if it is sitting by their side, holding their hand and not saying one word.

ps… Lisa S. if you read this please let me know, I’ve lost your email.

 

Been forever

It feels like winter is here, that is winter So. Cal style- it’s 60 degrees outside. I wasn’t able to fall asleep last night until about 4am, lots of things on my mind.  Since the last time I wrote here so much has changed – drastically, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever share any of it & I strongly doubt I’ll ever share all of it- I still haven’t shared all of it with another person.

I’m not looking forward to the holidays for a number of reasons, 1 of them being if I’m invited to functions with my family I’m not going & for once I can say it’s because I just don’t want to go. Yes, I know that may seem insensitive but I don’t. I realized last night part of why I’ve been angry at my siblings & haven’t seen them is they’re going to remind me of my mom. Emotionally, even just thinking about it feels like a gut punch. When I’m home here, just Jim & I, it’s not abnormal for my mom not to be here. But seeing my siblings? I’d ALWAYS have my mom with me when I saw them. Too much pain.

I’ve done well as far as dealing with my emotions regarding my mom’s death…numbness mostly. I was VERY depressed in May & was in the hospital for 2 weeks, then attended an outpatient program for 10 – and here I are! Although I’ve been feeling numb, at times out of nowhere I break down crying; I know that’s normal. Right now it feels as if a dam’s about to burst & I’m not sure I want that to happen. I’ve been afraid of being so sad that I fall into a deep depression again; I can’t afford that.

This Friday will be 20 years since my Dad died. There’s no comparison between my parents, their deaths- so much was different. I was 35 when my Dad died, my kids were 10 & 12, I was a single mom & I still had my mom- my dad was 72. My Dad & I had a cantankerous (that may not be the right word, but I like it) relationship at times, we were both opinionated & hard-headed, but we both respected that about each other. We’d get in debates & be fine, even though it was heated, my mom would be so nervous she’d be slamming cupboards, clearly she should have spoken up! LOL ;)

With my mom, I was 54, kids 30 & 32, my mom & I were best friends. She needed me and I don’t think she realized it, but I needed her, too.