Category Archives: love

Welcome to my ramblings

It’s at time likes this when I can’t get my mom off my mind.  I was sitting outside & started worrying if she was okay in her apt., then it hit me that she died.  In an odd way, I felt relief for her and for me, I don’t have to picture her (in my mind) fallen on her bathroom floor…suffering, or worry about the most unrealistic things happening to her.  Even though she’s gone, I know she’s safe.  That seems like kind of a backwards way of thinking, doesn’t it?

In many ways I’m fortunate.  Although I am able to think of things I regret regarding my mom, they are very few, and quite honestly, I really have to think hard to come up with them. My mom lived 85 wonderful years, she died 6 days after her birthday. She’d told me a few days before that, that this would be her last birthday. I told her not to say that, even though I knew it was most likely true, Although the days before her death weren’t how I envisioned them, she was well cared for and surrounded by family that loved her.

My daughter’s co-worker lost her mom recently and said something to the affect that her mom’s death was nothing like she expected; it wasn’t what we see in the movies, or on t.v.   And to add to the issue is that in our society, death is rarely talked about… it’s a taboo subject. Every single death, or act of dying is different. I’ve learned that worrying about somebody dying, or trying to think how you’ll feel after their gone, is such a waste of time, and I think it’s more common than we like to admit.  We want to be in control, especially of our loved ones, but at that time, in that process, we’re not.  We can just love them and take care of their needs; Hospice is such a godsend

In other societies the passing onto the afterlife is considered sacred; I consider it sacred, but at the same time that has no effect on how painful the loss of my mother is. I’m pretty sure my beliefs about the afterlife are nontraditional and I struggled for years to find my “truth”.  It’s not the truth most have.  I believe my mom is in a beautiful place filled with light, love and all her loved ones.  I don’t believe in a mean, angry or vengeful “god”, I don’t even believe in 1 particular entity.  Quite honestly, I don’t find that part relevant. I simply believe that when we pass to the afterlife, we’re surrounded by love-no matter who we are, or were. That’s enough for me.

I have this peace of mind and yet I ache for her.  I can’t tell you how many mornings I’ve woken up and it’s like that movie, Groundhog Day, except it’s awful. In my sleep I forgot my mom died, so when I wake up, I think she’s alive, and then I remember and I just cry. One time last week it happened 3 times in one morning. It is happening less and I think I’m less shocked when I remember, perhaps I should be happy in that moment that I think she’s still alive.

I know I’m jumping all over the place, that’s what my mind does at night. This may not make sense to anyone but me, but I think this (me thinking of my mom so much) is in a way, hanging on to her. When this part passes or I move on from it, it will be 1 less part of my mom that I have here with me.

I’m an honest person, so when I say “I’m going to be perfectly honest…” don’t think it means I’m not at other times, k? That said, I’m going to be perfectly honest here: I will completely understand if anybody stops reading my blog. Right now I know I’m writing for me. I do have a journal that I write to my mom in, but this is part of my therapy. I’m sure some people must think I think of my mom too much, and maybe I do. What I’m trying to say is I realize this probably interests/benefits nobody but me.

Until she died I hadn’t realized how close we were, how much time we spent together. I was at her beckon call for the past 2 years and I didn’t dislike it.  Yes, at times I was lazy & didn’t want to go out, but she helped me in that way cuz I’d take her for her hair appt., mani/pedi, to the market, clothes shopping, visiting relatives. She gave me a purpose, she really did.

When Will I See You Again?

I can’t write a whole lot now, for 1 thing: I’m exhausted. Buy in case there is anybody that doesn’t know yet, my mom, my world…died on March 18, 2013. It was 6 days after her 85th birthday. Today wasn’t such an easy one, I spent much of it in tears. I miss her more than I ever thought it was possible to miss another human, not to mention my best friend and my mom.

I still remember 1 day when I drove us to Denny’s Restaurant and I was fixing her hair, or her blouse (I always did both), I think I kissed her & held her hand and she said, “Jane! People are going to think we’re lesbians!!” Being that my mom has a gay daughter & granddaughter she knew exactly what she was saying. I laughed so hard I almost peed, she couldn’t figure out what I found so funny, even when I said, “Well, hopefully they’ll notice there’s a few years difference between us.” (30 to be exact)

I love my mom. I miss her. The pain, when I feel it, is unbearable. I want to get in the car & just drive forever…with no destination- just to find my mom. I want to hold her hand again. I want to count the age spots on her hands. Admire how beautiful she was. How easily she laughed. How polite she was.

Funny, Spanish was her 1st language, assimilation was important to her & her family. Yet in her last hours it was all she could understand…which made it difficult for us children to speak to her as we spoke none. (It was the mystery language she kept from us, saved exclusively for her Spanish-speaking friends to gossip with.) She kept staring at me, as though she had cataracts, but she had them removed. I’d give anything to know what she wanted to say, but it was probably in Spanish & her communication skills were at their weakest…English or Spanish.

When she passed, I was happy for her, no suffering. I was sad for me, and yes, I know that is extremely selfish, but it’s true. Had anyone told me the immense pain I’d feel in my inner most being, I wouldn’t have believed them. Honestly, I don’t know how I’ve coped this long. My heart is broken.

As I said, I’m happy for her, shes with her mom, her husband, her siblings, her cousins, aunts, uncles, her niece-my cousin, Lola. And while I’m happy for her, my heart is still broken into two- one part is with her, and one part is here with me. I’ll be whole when we’re together again.

12/23/12

First of all, I want to thank all my friends that were supportive, whether in comments here or on Twitter, it’s amazing how many people are struggling thru the same feelings. Just knowing you aren’t alone, in itself, is a big relief.

My mom called last nite & mentioned 2 of my cousins called her cuz they left me messages, but haven’t heard back. They want to get together Dec. 26 & I wasn’t sure if I could handle it as the anxiety hits without warning. Then I started thinking about my cousins & my mom, and the tears started falling. I told her about my anxiety & how late at night I worry about losing her or other loved ones. My mom has lived thru what I’m afraid to, yet she’s not only survived, she’s grown stronger. And she told me I’m tough, she’s right, I am… I just don’t want to have to be tough.

As I’ve shared before. I consider Nov./Dec. to be “the dying season.” Most of our family that has died, has died in these 2 months. Between my mom, myself, my cousin Lucy & other cousin, Lisa, I’ve suffered the least. Lisa is the daughter of my cousin, Lola, who was Lucy’s sister-both my cousins, my mom’s sister’s daughters. I know I’ve written many times about Lola, although there were 15 years between us, she was my closest cousin-we were 2 peas in a pod in the way we thought. Our sisters, Lucy & my sis think alike, but much differently than Lola & I.

Lola died on Dec. 27, 2007. Her mom, my mom’s sister, died on Dec. 3, 2005. Both of my uncles- my mom’s brothers, also died in December- one on the 24th. My Grandma died on Jan. 1, 1954 (4 years before I was born) of brain cancer. How my mom manages during the holidays is baffling, she doesn’t bring up all the deaths, none of us really do…but she’s basically lost her mom & all siblings during the holidays. My dad died on Nov. 8, 1993, and Lucy’s husband died on Nov. 9, 2010. Recently, my sister-in-law’s sister died on Nov. 21 of leukemia, she was my age- 54.

Lucy only has 1 brother left (not counting her own children, etc.) and Lisa lost her mom & Grandma within a few years of each other. I helped take care of my Auntie when she was diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas, until the day she passed away. With Lola, I didn’t, and that is something I will always regret. Granted, my mom had contracted MRSA & I was busy taking care of her, but not being there for Lola is something that weighs so heavy on my heart. Part of me thinks that’s how she wanted it~ she’d always watched out for me…we shared similar life experiences, being the youngest in our families, we even shared the same Godfather. What I think about how she felt is irrelevant; she was surrounded by loved ones & very well cared for until she passed.

I’m so hung up about her though. I never told her good-bye, even though I’ve talked to her a multitude of times, since her passing- there was no closure. I let her down, I let Lisa & Lucy down – I let myself down. So many times I could have sat by her side & just talked, listened, or said nothing at all…just held her hand, but I didn’t. And I miss her so dearly, so tremendously – she fought cancer with all her might, she didn’t want to go, and I didn’t want her to go. In hindsight, I’m pretty sure I was in denial of her dying, while the rest were dealing with her on a daily basis, I was busy in denial because she’d told me she would be fine & I hung on to those words.

We’re lucky to find friends that we feel we’ve known all our life. Lola? I actually knew her all of my life & we “got” each other. She was that 1 of a kind person except I was fortunate enough that she was also a relative & she knew absolutely everything about me, and still loved me. And it’s on that note, I’ve decided to call both of my cousins & let them know I’d love to get together with them on the 26th. Yes, it may be emotional for me, but if they can do it when they’ve lost SO many, I certainly can. This is a time of year when family, especially this part of my family, should be seeing each other & sharing our love for each other.

I may have anxiety; I may not. But one thing I know that I certainly don’t want to have is regrets like those regarding Lola. And the very least I can do is spend time with her sister & her daughter; I know she’d be smiling down on us.

Starting to take off the mask

It’s kind of hard to know exactly how to start writing about having a mental illness. As I said in my previous post, I’m diagnosed with 2 disorders, but in 1998 I was initially diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (at that time it wasn’t type I or II-just bipolar). That diagnosis was only because when I was put on anti-depressants (prozac) I became manic (more on that hell another day) which at the time, supposedly meant you were bipolar. Back then, it seemed bipolar was the new & upcoming mental diagnosis – I wonder how many people are still misdiagnosed & being treated for something they don’t have.

Fast fwd to now and I’ve been seeing the same therapist since ’06 or so. I’m no longer on anti-depressants (weaned myself off of them); the only psych. med I’m on is neurontin. When I asked my therapist recently if my diagnosis is still bipolar he said no, it’s Major Depression & Mood Disorders, specifically Borderline Personality Disorder. (If your jaw dropped, pick it up…according to NAMI it’s estimated 4-5% of the population live with it)

I can honestly say I recall living with depression as far back as my memory goes, and the same goes for BPD. I’ve always known I was “different” & never quite fit in with others, I did on a superficial way, but (I’m having a difficult time trying to explain myself here-so I’m gonna quit trying for now)

I’m writing about my mental illness/mood disorder because while I do feel ashamed of it, I shouldn’t. Nobody should. The other day I linked to a blog of a mother who wrote about her son who has a mental illness; I figure if she can write about it, so can I. I know people may look at me differently (and something inside me is screaming “Tell them when you’re depressed you internalize, you don’t hurt other people!” And now that I’ve said that? I’m ashamed, but not so ashamed that I’m deleting it.

I don’t think people with mental illness should be any more embarrassed than someone with diabetes or dyslexia. The problem is, there’s a stigma attached to mental illness, especially with the horrific recent shootings, it seems fingers automatically point at the mentally ill. Perhaps it’s justified but I feel it’s more that people are trying to figure out what kind of person would kill others, especially children.

There are endless possibilities, but so far here are 3 of the “most likely” scenarios I can think of: 1) The person could have a mental illness. 2) It could be a “normal” person that’s had a psychotic break or some sort of mental breakdown. 3) It could be a “normal” person that’s completely evil and hateful.

I think it’s important to try & understand things we don’t, especially if they scare us. Here’s an important article I read & would like to share: Dispelling the Myth of Violence and Mental Illness. My BIGGEST fear is that I’ve overlooked something so obvious to others & I’m coming across as insensitive or a know-it-all; I’ll be the 1st to say: I’m not very educated when it comes to mental illness, however, I’m always trying to learn more.

I can only write about my own experience and hopefully, the person you’ve known me to be is the same person you’ll see me as after I share more about my life; if not, I think I can live with that. I don’t want anybody’s pity, sympathy or anything like that. It may be pretentious of me to assume others would even give a damn about my opinion or life experiences. Regardless, here it is, on the internet, therefore forever “out there.”