Wednesday, December 6, 2023

How My Grief Has Changed

The following is a post on what has become a series.  If you have been through an illness or death of a parent/loved one, consider this what the young'uns call a 'trigger warning' as it deals with the raw emotions of an unexpected death which may include cursing, dark humor and not holding back my feelings about my experience.  If that's offensive, go elsewhere as this post isn't likely going to benefit you.  If you are new here and want to see the posts leading up to this one, you can start with posts on July 7th and go forward.


When you are in the days of anticipatory and early grief, your world is leveled.  There is no better word for it.  Everything you are, were, and hoped to be is gone because that person that was so a part of your core is gone.  Never to be seen again.  Your entire view of the world, your life, the life you used to have (because that dies with them) and people changes.  People you thought without a doubt would be there for you, aren't and those you weren't sure what to expect, step up in ways you could never imagine.  You learn a lot about how other people grieve and if they've ever been through it because they tend to rush to you to let you know they know a bit about how devastating it is.  I grieve loudly and in the early days, some find that acceptable and others walk around you like if they step in you're grief they're going to somehow catch it like a disease.  But what happens when you're a few months out?  When society deems if you're still talking about it that you've got a problem or need counseling.  Mine or anyone else's grief is no one's problem to be solved.  

I have dealt with the last thing hanging out there that was my responsibility on the sucky post death to do list.  I went over the heads of the cemetery douches to the owner and finally got her headstone ordered after they dicked me around for months.  I know there is still some things from her sib that will come to me after they have gone through them and they are handling probate which is "easy" according to the lawyer because Mom wasn't living high on the hog.  She always joked "I hope you're not expecting an inheritance!" and I said "uh, I was there Mom and I'd want you here over your money anyway."  So there is no estate to settle anymore, it's just getting a judge to sign off to say it's over.  The final thing to say she's really gone.  When the second by second tremors of loss stop because you have checked the last thing off of the post death 'to do' list and all you have is wading through the rubble, you just look around and think 'how the hell is this my life now?' 

There are so many remnants of how she was failed and medical settings are very triggering for me.  The shitty tissues they provide in the hospital?  They've been at every doctors appointment I've been to since July.  Dermatologist (two of them), primary care physician, and gynecologist.  Everywhere.  They sent me into panic attacks early on and now they just make me want to set them on fire when I see them.  Most doctors are very understanding, holding my hand or hugging me which is nice.  Then you have my 2nd-year-in, new-to-us primary doctor.  While she's better than our previous doctor, which wouldn't have taken much, she's also clearly incentivized by drug companies.  Let me tell you something lady, just because someone is crying when talking about their mother's death story less than 4 months later does NOT mean throw anti-depressants at the problem.  Grief is not a problem to be solved and any book worth the pages it's printed on will tell you that.  I was venting to a friend of mine who is a grief counselor and she said how often she hears that BS and it's maddening.  Again, society trying to tamp down the process and get you back to 'normal.'  I am allowed to be sad and I am not going to mask my feelings.  Period.  I let her know as much.  I am so tired of people sweeping other people's pain under the rug.  Think about how many people have lost a parent, spouse, child, close friend.  I mean the ones that just level you as a person when they go.  They are amongst us everyday even if you never leave your house.  Driving beside us.  Standing in line at the grocery store next to us.  Singing at a concert with us.  Delivering our packages.  Helping us with returns.  Answering phones wherever you call.  They are surrounding us more than people who have not experienced those losses and our answer as a society is either shut up about it after a few weeks, or, medicate yourself and get on with it.  Look around at our world.  You see how well that's going, right?


So how am I currently doing?  Honestly, my brain has done a very dangerous thing.  It's convinced me it didn't happen.  I know it did, I'm not delusional but as a coping mechanism, it's like "it's the holidays, she's busy.  That's why you haven't caught up yet."  That's the problem when you don't see someone as much or if they don't live close to you or whatever the circumstance, it's easy to think that.  It's also easy to get dropped to your knees when you have moments throughout the day that remind you that they're really gone.  The Mr said the other day I don't cry as much, and I don't, but I don't do it in front of him unless it's a landmine.  Just as I've done from day one, I cry in the morning and at night in private if I need to but that emotion has slipped into numbness and I feel like a sponge that sadness has soaked into every crevice of me.  No, this isn't the 'acceptance' stage, which by the way that author never intended for those stages to be taken so literally and has spoken out against them, this is just another step in coping right now.  But, you know, now let's throw the holidays on top of it.  We would've met by now at grandma's grave to chat and catch up.  This was going to be the year we were going to work out a way to safely see her if she wasn't already sick.  (October-December every year of our marriage it seems like she was always snotting up from something! 😆)  We'd been looking forward to that and it's gone and now there's just a pile of traditions to tie us to her and new ones we have to do to honor her to sort through.  

Then you have the secondary losses.

The losses of what will never be.  The things I can't email or chat with her about and telling it to the air hoping she can hear me isn't the same.  I will never see her grow old and while no one wants to really see that and the issues that can come with it, I knew she would be a sassy old lady if given the chance.  The hugs that will never be given.  The way her eyes lit up when she saw us even in the hospital initially.  The asking her not to get us candy in our stockings because we had enough but she'd get it for us anyway.  I had a grand kumbaya vision that maybe her sibs and friends would rally around me after mom's death and we would comfort each other in our mutual grief over her.  We would have a get together or maybe my cousins would reach out to me as we were always so close years ago before they were so busy.  I mean, I know they lost her too but I'm the one who lost a mother so that has to count for something, right as far as people making sure you're okay?  Nope.  Her closest sib has kept in touch with me but not like I thought it would be.  I know that they need to have their personal grief journey as well but I guess I just thought maybe I would be more a part of it.  It's abundantly clear as I continue to shout Mom's name, stories and memories on my personal social media page that I am still grieving and that sharing her will not stop anytime soon.  The 'likes' are getting less; signaling people either don't want to hear it anymore or maybe think by acknowledging it that it's encouraging me to 'wallow' or whatever.  Last time I checked, love wasn't something to be ashamed of.  Of course, I can only assume but when it's something obvious where you can literally track the numbers it's right there in your face.  "It's holiday time...fuck your grief, it's time for celebration!"  Yeah, with your family...that's still here.  Some of us are newly thrown into basically no family when all of our memories include what you still get to have if you're lucky which is a room full of people you love (and tolerate.)  So cut us a little slack and click a button for God's sake so we don't feel any more abandoned!  I see the same thing here.  Far less interaction with posts, less likes.  It happens.  I remember back in 2011 when a food blogger lost her husband suddenly and the whole blogging community bonded together all making his favorite peanut butter pie for Mikey.  Because of that, I began following her and reading her heart wrenching updates as she counted off the days until she saw him last.  Sharing his favorite recipes, what it was like to never feel his touch again, how their lives had changed as she continued sharing into the hundreds of days.  I remember getting to a point where I couldn't read it any more because I hadn't known loss of someone so a part of your core yet.  I can understand even people who have endured deep loss but don't want to relive it would not want to read about it anymore.  I won't lie that even if I understand it, that it doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.  In addition to the Mr, I have three friends who make sure I'm okay and it means everything to me even as they are all going through their own crap or just life.  Grief is lonely.  Like, REALLY lonely even if you have the most amazing support system you could ask for.  It's in those moments you look skyward and wonder is Hell actually here?  I mean what is more cruel than watching the people you love, grew up with or who were closest to you die?  Yes, there is joy and laughter but look around...we are not a society of happy people.  Most people go on social media to give the illusion of it but especially if you know their current circumstances, you can clearly see when people are projecting something else when they're actually not living what they're posting. ain't gettin' that here for better or worse, yo. 

As time passes, new ways to show me just how I'm not in my old life anymore pop up all the time in unexpected ways and I just have to hope I'm in a headspace to handle it.  If I'm not, oh well!  Cry where  no matter where I am or who I'm with.  (Flashes to GP sitting there uncomfortably behind her mask wishing she could teleport to anywhere but there.)  Unfortunately, there is someone around you who gets it, I guarantee.  Or I thought "hey, let's watch Scrooged, that's always a funny one!"  Yeah, until I got to the part of him being cremated at the end and burst into tears.  Everything is a new landmine waiting to be stepped on.  Some days you could jump up and down on it and nothing happens and the next day, you could walk 30 feet from it and it goes off.  You just don't know and you can never predict it no matter how long it's been.  

The other thing is, life just continues to blast you.  There is no get out of jail free card just because you're grieving.  The empathetic angels I dealt with in the beginning of it all when having to make phone calls I thought were 20 years away were replaced in a month for follow ups with the same sighing, apathetic jags you were blessed not to answer the phone initially.  Health issues still pop up for one or both of you as well as pretty much everyone around you it seems.  I have never seen as much death and disease as I've seen the past 5 months and it is relentless.  Irritants like spending a month of time and money and stubbornness on two pantries that should've been 2 hours of the Mr's assembly time then became a month of research, purchasing products hoping they would work, buying other products when some of them failed and basically being a big, fat pain in my ass.  Now it's time to decorate for Fall and Christmas and meals to prepare for holidays.  Yes, I could skip it but what happens if GOD FORBID (lookin' skyward at you big man) this is the Mr or I's last Christmas and we looked back and didn't have one?  I know now more than ever that you can't take anyone for granted.  You definitely can't assume the people around your table, texting you, sitting next to you at work or the cute couple you pass with their dog on the sidewalk and give friendly waves to will be there in any minute other than the moment you have with them.  So even if it took me a week to decorate the tree when it would normally take an hour or another week to get the rest of the decorations up, so be it.  It eventually got done and yes, it feels nice because Mom got me some of these decorations when I was 20 years old for my hope chest.  She gazed upon them all and took pictures of them because she liked the way they looked when she was here on Christmas Eve's.  As I hung the tinsel on the tree, I swear I could feel her happiness of Christmases past infused into each strand which is why I'll never stop taking down and reusing the same tinsel I've used for decades.  You learn to take those small bursts of energy or motivation and ride them no matter how long or short it is.  That hasn't changed for me yet because grief is effing exhausting regardless of how far out you are.

The day before Mom's interment ceremony, I was pulling rose petals off the stems for bags to sprinkle on her grave.  While grabbing one of them, a rogue thorn pierced the side of my right thumb.  It felt like it went straight to the bone.  It hurt like a mother but I knew it would heal.  A week went by, still there.  A month went by, still there.  Four months... still there.  So every morning, as I reach for my phone, the first thing to start my day, every day, is this physical reminder of the day I said goodbye to her forever that still cuts me to the bone.   A pain that is literally never healing and with me every day.  A reminder of what I lost, and what I had, that I can't ignore.  It feels like a metaphor for what I'm living.  I'll endure that pain Mom because it's infinitesimal compared to what you endured for me to raise me.

The journey continues.


If you or someone you know is going through a grief process, you may find these resources given to me by a friend helpful:

Crisis Text Line or text 741741

Books I'm currently reading:

(The above are affiliate links.  Should you buy through them, I may receive a few shekels commission at no cost to you to help keep the blog up and running.)

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Monday, December 4, 2023

Done Not Done Weekend Recap

Welcome to the first Monday of December.  I wish I could say we're walking in a winter wonderland like they are in Stowe but nope.  

Last week we mailed out our Christmas cards which was basically me signing our last names to them and including our usual newsletter.  Go ahead, roll your eyes.  Yes, we're newsletter people and I send them because I like receiving them.  If people don't want to hear how our year has treated us as well as get a consumer tip of the year with the good, bad and ugly on local businesses, trash it.  If our newsletter didn't make people appreciate their families a little more, then there's no hope for anyone out there.  I wasn't going to sit there and pretend that in 4 months I didn't lose my favorite uncle, my mom and my grandma.  I got comments from three people who received them saying they weren't sure if I was sending them this year and/or the bittersweet memories I shared of those we lost.  So anyone who ever was tempted to call them 'brag and gags' will think twice.  Twas nothing to brag about this year.

I'm still nursing ridiculously effed up legs from hip to toes so it was a weekend of getting done what they would allow.   I got downstairs and got the shelves put back into the pantries since they appeared not to smell.  I sealed the Eucaboard we got for the backing to replace their cheap AF ones.  I ended up having to repaint the entire outside of the pantries from the sealer where I obviously got thicker in some parts like where I was trying to seal crevices.  This stuff is primer so it has a high probability of scratching so I took furniture wax and sealed the top and buffed it.  I know that will take 30 days to cure but I don't need to store stuff on top of it so that part is fine.  What wasn't fine was not being able to find the friggin' knobs I bought for the top section after the Mr put the pulls on the bottom.  After hobbling around the house looking everywhere, I said screw it and ordered new ones that actually matched the pulls so if I find the knobs at some point before 1/24/24, I've got the ability to return them.  Of course those won't be here until this weekend because why would we ever be done?  That was the extend of the activity.  I looked at Christmas movies on our server and nothing looked like anything I wanted to watch so we didn't.

Sunday I didn't get to sleep until 3ish am so I slept until the alarm went off at 7:45am and then took the extra 2 hours I managed to get back to sleep.  The Mr brought coffee up to bed after doing a grocery pickup and we finished the usual Sunday morning skim session of a few shows while I applied stinky ointment to my calves and spent an hour digging at knots.  Then downstairs for lunch of grilled cheese and soup.  I asked if he had been downstairs yet because I knew he'd kept the bottom of the pantry closed overnight allowing any potential skeevies to build up if it was going to.  Now keep in mind at this point I have sealed EVERYTHING that would touch the inside.  The only thing I hadn't sealed was the back of the Eucaboard because there's no need, right?  Plus when I smelled them on their own after painting, I couldn't smell anything.  So he goes downstairs and opens the doors. 

"Now it smells like Eucaboard."


Fine.  I may have just enough sealer left to seal the backs, hope for an effing miracle that apparently is not going to happen with these cursed bastard cabinets.  I grab the stupid roller, strip naked because I'm not getting grubby clothes again and put on the last of the clear sealer.  I know there is NO WAY that is going to be enough because that side of the Eucaboard is fibrous and porous (again, shouldn't make a difference because the other side is basically sealed and shiny BEFORE the additional 2-3 coats of actual sealer I used.  I had to wait for those to dry before I could put on the second coat of sealer which will be splotchy white because I will barely have enough to coat what's there.  At this point, the project is just to use up whatever is leftover I guess.  As I type, I'm in the waiting to paint it white stage.  The Mr brought up the two Christmas bins.  It took me a week to get the Christmas tree decorated because it just sucked and frankly, I was fine with it just being that tree and nothing else.  But a lot of the Christmas pieces are things that Mom bought me before I got married for my hope chest and I wanted to make sure those got put out.  It's just getting the motivation that I had when I started the day back that the extra pantry related project sucked out of me.  Actually, let me go to IKEA real quick and make sure they have the cabinets we need if this goes south tomorrow.    

Out of stock online.


I had the Mr check when he was down there and he said the clear coat was dry so I poured the white sealer in the tray and got to rolling.  I had JUST enough to roll the back and edges of the boards and press into the crevices.  I turned on the fan and asked the Mr if he wanted to walk and he said yes.  It was later than usual for us but we still got our 3 miles in and now my feet are yelling at me.  It's always the 4th lap.  So I'll be breaking out the frozen water bottle after dinner to roll those and then when we go up to watch Yosemite Sam (Homestead Rescue) I'll be digging my calves out again for the duration of the show because standing ain't gonna happen tonight.  The Mr did run downstairs and he said now he can only smell the paint right now and not the board so we'll see what today holds.

But it did round out on a very sweet note.  My dear friend B, sent me some gifts.

A beautiful remembrance lantern as well as an ornament with white feathers and little plaques to hang on it.  (Mom has sent white feathers in the WEIRDEST spots when she first passed like feathers flying straight at us or straight down on us with no breeze or birds around several times and we talked about that.)  It was so very sweet of her, she is in the bereavement business and this woman is truly living her purpose.  She turned a tragedy of losing her best friend very young into a life's work that helps so many people, especially children with grief.  Thank you so much!  

It was nice to round out this poopie weekend of bitter with some sweet!

What did you get into this weekend?

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Friday, December 1, 2023

What I'm Reading This Week #48

It's December.  😳

I mean, happy Friday.  We had a bit of a cold snap earlier which made walking interesting but the weekend is clearly taking care of that with highs back in the 50's.  😕  I just sit there longingly looking at the Stowe cam.

This week dragged.  Starting things out with the delightful doctor's appointment in which I feel like it just reinforced my mistrust of the medical community.  I know how to read...and reputable sites to boot!  Gasp!  This doctor is only marginally better than the last in that she will run tests and actually listen to concerns instead of waving us off.  The problem is she doesn't know what to do with a patient that does actual research other than give her canned responses and when I can politely back up what I'm saying she gives me a constipated look.  If I get emotional she freezes and is empathetic to a degree but doesn't seem emotionally equipped herself.  So unless I have something other than my rising cholesterol going on, I'm just going to smile and nod.  I don't think its a coincidence once the Mr and I both began drinking coffee at his liver doctors suggestion that both of our cholesterols shot up.  What do we put in our coffee?  1 tbsp of almond milk which is 2 calories and zero fat and we don't use sugar.  She acted like I was nuts and the raise is negligible.  Really?  Because I have about 16 studies from JAMA and other doctors journals that says otherwise.  Now don't get me wrong, we've also been eating probably more crap than we did before over the past 5 months so I know that is showing up too.  But my levels were already raised after 3 MONTHS of drinking coffee and that was after I had lowered my cholesterol in the previous 6 months by 27 points when I wasn't drinking it.  Like I was super proud of myself and then got kicked in the gut at my annual blood draw.  I know...statins.  Nope.  Not right now given all of the side effects they have.  The Mr and I have had the talk, I've already got some things ordered and to quote Gaston we're evolving a plan.  Part of it is to finish the coffee we've got then we're going back to tea.  I am SOOOO hoping that (along with other stuff) makes a dent so I can rub it in her damn face next year.  🖕

Now let's face:

3 Impressive Reasons Walking After Eating Is So Good for You  (The Mr and I did our 3 miler after Thanksgiving dinner and it was utter torture on that full of a gut especially on the inclines but I didn't have to sleep sitting up so there's that.)

The 3 Best Workouts That Can Help You Poop and 2 to Avoid  ("Wind releasing pose" giggles my inner 6 year old)

Eating ready meals raises your risk of mouth cancer, scientists warn  (Welp, just another reason for me to stop buying 'crutch lunches' of "healthy choice" and such.  Going to have to figure out a better lunch alternative that doesn't require me to whip out the einkorn flour every two days and go back to pioneer times.)

The 2 Best Ways to Get Rid of Calluses on Your Feet  (I don't personally feel like pumice stones do anything especially after I used this glass foot file on mine.  I get them on the sides of my big toes even though I have wide toe box shoes but that foot file is a lifesaver... when I remember to do it. 🙄)

Things bakers know: “Crust dust” is the secret ingredient to preventing a soggy bottom  (Dang it, I wish I'd found this before Thanksgiving because my bottom was quite soggy and now my actual bottom is quite saggy.)

Justine Bateman, 57, on Aging: Women Should ‘Opt Out’ of Idea That ‘Their Faces Are Broken’ (She's so right.  I admit, I do get sad if I see a celeb of any gender that looks old compared to what I'm used to but it's because it just reminds me of how quick all that time went.  I'll take wrinkles over this immovable chipmunk cheek look basically every woman over 30 seems to be sporting now in the media.)

How to make honeycomb paper ornaments  (I really want to do this but my little brain is cramping looking at the steps.  Honeycomb ornaments spark such wonderful memories from parties past.)

Today are our eye appointments.  Is that what life is over 40?  10,622 doctors appointments on the yearly??  MR!!  Don't let me forget to bring my ragged ass prescription sunglasses in to have them replace the lenses please.  If the clear coat bothers coming this weekend then I will finally get to painting those cursed bastard pantries.  If it doesn't, then who knows.  We don't really make weekend plans anymore so your guess is as good as mine.

What about you?  Any plans?

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Monday, November 27, 2023

"That tracks" Holiday Weekend Recap

Hello and welcome to your Monday folks!  I hope you had a lovely time with your families with lots of gratitude for the people surrounding your tables and those you were able to call/text with.  I did a lot of the work beforehand but as always life likes to throw some obstacles in there like it's the first season of Wipeout.  I cooked myself into hobbletown the night before finishing with grandma's noodles which I was in no mood to make but I got through it.  It also didn't help my website crapped the bed and I had to spend 3 hours fixing it when I was supposed to be doing food prep and potentially getting downstairs to paint the pantries (which are smelling more toxic by the day.)

Thanksgiving morning, we started with our Covid era tradition of my light pumpkin pie but this time we had it in bed and watched the CBS coverage of the parade about 9:30am while recording both.  When we got to 'halftime' we refueled with apple pie and proceeded with our bed rotting until 12:40pm.  I mean why not, everything was made!  Oh.  You silly little minion.  We came down so I could cut Grandma's egg noodles...that I left out on the counter overnight...and we were out of eggs.  So the Mr ran to the store while I mixed the dry ingredients because nothing says fun like doing something you kind of dread twice.  I got everything in the oven while he was at the store but no real sense of timing on any of it.  When it was time to pull everything out, the mashed potatoes turned into some gluten ball when I've made them this way forever without issue.  Thankfully, I had 1/2 cup of instant mashed potatoes left from the immediate post death era so I slightly beefed them back up.  It was all just irritating but this explains why most women who are hosting are snappy, irritated and/or drunk when everyone shows up, even if you're only hosting two.  We watched a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving while we ate our Thanksgiving linner on Mom's pumpkin placemats.  Then we were too full to move but did anyway by walking our almost 3 miles at the park at dusk.  

It was miserable as the inclines felt like we were going to yak.  We felt a little better by the 4th lap which was nice.  I saw another 2023 Hallmark movie...dead parents.  Eff off...OJ trial on Court TV it is.  At least I was going to be seeing my friend who flew up from the south for a s'more sesh in the park at the fireplace shelter.  I was so proud of us because we got everything loaded so all I needed to do was heat up the water and put it in the thermos and the Mr would join us after he got off work.  We really lucked out because her brother said he'd bring her over which meant I didn't have to waste 40 minutes going to and fro and could get the shelter all set up the way I wanted.  Woo hoo!

The next morning, I was running on about 4 hours sleep but nothing a shower couldn't fix.  I check my email and see a note from my friend saying "livid."  She's sick.  That tracks with how the weekend is shaping up.  She came in and her niece had been sick who now passed it on to her sister in law hacking up a lung and now 2 days later, she has the creeping crud.  So there went our gathering we'd been looking forward to.  😞  It just figured we finally got our crap together to be all loaded (and I mean LOADED) and ready to go to be on top of things and I should've known when I heard a mysterious universe chuckle in the wind it wouldn't happen.  We chatted for 45 minutes on the phone and I told her I would drop off the gift I got her and something I made for her brother on the door handle.  We loaded up Mom's wreath that I made for her grave since they live close to there and we got moving after the Mr got off work.  I dropped off her gift and we chatted from a good 20 ft away.  She said her brother was also starting to feel sick too.  The flu is rampant in her parts and she said she was feeling slightly off the day she left but thought it was her usual sinus issues so I have a feeling despite getting the flu shot, that might be what she has unless it's Covid from work.  Tis the season to spin the wheel o' sickness.  

Then we went to the cemetery to install Mom's wreath at her and grandma's grave.  (How the hell did I just type that sentence!?)   

(Protecting Mom's privacy but I made ornaments with memories and sealed them to hopefully be weather proof and used the poinsettias she bought but never got to use.)

It was bittersweet but I hope it helps anyone who goes to visit, if they do.  Then we went on our 3 miler and my legs are so shot between the constant walking and the cook fest.  We lounged a little then decided screw it, we'd have our leftovers for dinner but we'd already walked so it was pretty much watching the latest episode of Project Fear and trying not to fall asleep.  I taped a bunch of episodes of Bedtime Stories with Ryan (Reynolds) and I swear every time they put me to sleep!  I always wake up with him saying the sheep are asleep, am I?  Apparently I was sir.  They even purposely have low whisper commercials and no big flashing ones that basically make it impossible for someone like me to fall asleep to them without a pillow covering my eyes.  Then I was up for a while so I journaled to Mom since it had been a little while because I felt like every entry was the same.  Eventually I fell asleep but getting to sleep before 3am is a major victory.

Saturday was upon us and the last game of the season for the Mr's team so I knew there'd be 4 hours I'd be bored and should probably do something productive.  Should being the operative word.  You know what did get done?  Me only getting TWO of the four obscenely priced mugs from Williams Sonoma I reluctantly splurged on when I saw they weren't going on sale for Black Friday.  The two I did get were embarrassingly small and no way would it hold what we are used to drinking out of mugs.  I didn't have it in me to call because I knew I was going to just lose it crying.  We got a refund for the two we didn't receive after the Mr patiently dealt with the moron who was making it way harder than it needed to be.  I ordered two other mugs I was originally eyeing that I knew were on sale at Macy's so I scheduled those for pickup Sunday.  We drove to Mom's favorite donut shop on a whim they were still open because I got a strong craving out of nowhere and despite not answering their phone, they were open.  The Mr and I had a long weepy talk on the way over.  I saw this meme the other day that said "the holidays don't show us the empty chair, they magnify them."  Accurate.  We're in magnification stage and if we didn't feel her absence before, all we have lost but more importantly can never have again is just rubbed in your face with every Christmas song, gleeful family oriented commercial, the 6th Hallmark movie you've recorded with another dead parent even when it's not pertinent to the story.  The loss of Mom and the loss of what can never be the year we were supposed to finally get together is suffocating all over again.  We are eating to fill the void and despite walking three miles almost daily, it's not enough to out walk the crutches I have built in to our diets like packaged lunches because I can't be bothered with something that takes brain power to put together.  It's a shit show over here and I just have to watch people share pics with their families and pretend it doesn't gut me.  Pretend that every opportunity I ever had over my lifetime that I put off or turned down spending time with Mom because I had something else planned doesn't shred me into a thousand pieces now.  Knowing that the presents from her under our tree this Christmas Eve wrapped in her paper and paid for with her money, will only be there because we chose them for her.  

Sunday we had coffee in bed after the Mr picked up groceries and watched some DVR stuff.  We went down and finished up our noodles and turkey then I got to work on those god forsaken pantries.  I got the Dixie Belle Boss white primer I bought which is supposed to work some kind of miracle that shellac doesn't ready to roll.  I do know the outside I treated with the clear doesn't smell so that's at least encouraging.  I coated the inside twice while the Mr cut the eucaboard for the new backs instead of the cheap ass one that came with it.  I'll have to give it two days before we can determine if this works or not and if it does, I'm going to have to use some poly on the shelves so it doesn't scratch off as things are moved in and out of it over time.  I swear they won't be done until Christmas.  Such a pain in my butt...our butts because it's taking over our workout space.

The Mr was kind enough to put up the tree.  I will fluff the gaps when I get a chance and then we'll decorate at some point.  I've got my annual check up today and the Mr is going with me since medical settings are still very triggering to me right now.  I will be having her check my prolactin levels in the regular blood test in which she tells me my blood is high fructose corn syrup.  I'm not going to go my whole life with a treatable prolactin issue that gives me a brain tumor like Mom had and no doctor gave a crap enough to treat when they knew about it 40 YEARS ago!  I'll be getting some shots too so just call me your friendly(ish) neighborhood pincushion.

That about wraps up our long weekend.

How was your holiday?  Do you remember how to do your job?  😂

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Friday, November 24, 2023

What I'm Reading This Week #47

Who is still in a turkey coma?


Who is Black Friday shopping today?

Regardless of what camp you may or may not be in today, I hope you are recovering from any holiday shenanigans you may have gotten into and are still getting into if you're hitting the streets early.  I mean is Black Friday even still relevant since they have BF sales the beginning of November?  I've found better prices outside of it than on it like when I was a kid.  I don't know that I ever did that stuff except maybe once.  I remember the Mr waiting in line for a game console or something a long time ago but yeah, so not ever my scene.  God speed to those of you out in it today.

For the rest of you, let's get to:

2 Alternatives That Are Just As Beneficial as Walking 10,000 Steps  (Wow, the first one we incorporate into our walk anyway when we approach them and I'll have to add a few more trips to the loo because that's not much at all!)

Rucking can help you burn fat, build muscle, and stay strong as you age — and you don't need a gym  (Hmm, Mr- maybe we need to start doing this with backpacks and 10 pounder?)

Nine Vegetables That Are Healthier for You When Cooked  (Still not gonna eat kale.  "How do we make kale taste worse?"  "I know!")

Maria Menounos reveals a pancreatic cancer symptom she noticed a year before diagnosis  (The second you get tests and they come back 'you're fine' get a friggin' MRI.  Better to pay toward your deductible and be wrong than catch it too late.)

The Depression Symptom We Don't Talk About Enough (Always had it and it's only gotten worse so that's fun!)

Menopause Is Having a Moment  (Anyone else get a flush on one side of their face?  That's been fun)

Gardeners aren't surprised as USDA updates key map  (Exciting if your region changed but also terrifying when you think about it.)

I’ve Been a Retirement Planner for 17 Years—Here Are the 18 Biggest Mistakes Most People Make  (Never too early to start planning because it sure as hell sneaks up on you sooner than you think if you're lucky enough to get there.)

64 Ways to Honor Deceased Loved Ones (Some lovely ideas, many I've already done.)

If you can believe it, we're STILL dealing with the pantries.  It has seriously hindered my plans for getting this place into some kind of order.  I mean our suitcases from Canada are still upstairs because we were supposed to be able to move stuff from that area elsewhere once the pantries were loaded up.  I was at least able to get my money back on them due to how much toxic gas they continue to emit 3 weeks later, having to shellac the inside (which did NOTHING), had to rip off the backing to replace that with Eucaboard and then get MORE odor blocking paint I'm waiting on due to the holiday and pray to God that works because I've looked all over the place for other stuff that will fit in that spot and they do not exist.  This is our only option so say a little prayer because dealing with these rat bastards is going to break me further.  I'm ready to set them ablaze and leaf blow them into oblivion.

My thought is to decorate for Christmas this weekend.  The Mr and I both agree while it's going to suck, neither of us are promised next Christmas so we should do it.  I just hope we get the place in order to be able to do it.  It feels like I finally just got it done for Fall.

How are you you spending this weekend?

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Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Happy early Thanksgiving!

Here's an oldie but goodie that always made Mom and I laugh.

(via Pinterest)

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with your family and/or friends!  Enjoy your traditions, those special recipes, those silly games, the eye rolling moments or solitude if it's a celebration of gratitude for one or two.  

Grateful for all of you!

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Monday, November 20, 2023

Pizz off Hallmark Movies Weekend Recap

Tis Monday again.  At least it's a short week for many (or with a day off thrown in the middle...unless you work retail.  My condolences.)  I wish I had some exciting stuff to report but it was a blah weekend as most of them tend to be anymore.  Friday we went for a walk in the rain and the park had put up Christmas lights.  

The Mr said he couldn't even get excited about them and that's the first time he's ever felt that way.  I agreed.  We had some emotional talks about Mom and how it still is not registering that she's gone.  We both feel like the past two months have rocketed by with zero headspace to prepare for the first holidays without her.  We know we'd be meeting up with her at the cemetery to visit grandma this week and I never thought we were anywhere near visiting her at the cemetery with grandma.   I made a wreath for their grave with pictures and sealed them hoping the rain (sure as heck know it won't be snow) won't soak through.  It shouldn't be this way yet. 

Sometimes I can look at pictures and smile but last week my heart ached as every day was like getting the news all over again.  How are all of those wonderful family holidays the Mr and I loved (and groaned through depending on the year) gone?  Something so engrained in my soul and the heart of who I am is just never going to happen?  It was bad enough learning to adjust to them with grandma's condition and then passing but Mom gone?  No.  That wasn't even a thought.  She just turned 66 and now she's not here anymore?  It doesn't help every stupid Christmas movie I've recorded on GAC or Hallmark has at least one dead parent...usually the mom.  Thanks.  Who the hell wants to see that in a movie anyway?  We're trying to escape real life not be reminded of what we lost.  I told the Mr if I see one more dead mother movie on either of those effing channels I'm not recording any more of them.  Edit:  I recorded Navigating Christmas which was supposed to be about a divorcee but nope, throw in the lighthouse keeper with a dead dad and he's riddled with guilt about.  Effffff youuuuuuu!!!  Done.  Hell, we even watched A Christmas Carol and I silently cried because I'm Scrooge with no way to make any meaningful difference to anyone in our lives who count as much as Mom did.  This whole thing sucks and we both feel like constant crap.

My friends' Christmas gifts mostly arrived with the last two coming today but the Mr and I stayed in bed until 1pm watching SNL and Sunday Morning.  Motivation level- zero.  I made brunch which frustrated me because the pancakes stuck to the ceramic green pan because it's shot to hell so I felt like the universe was pointing and laughing.  I have uncomfortable weight gain because of the way certain things fit.  We were supposed to reign it in this weekend...didn't happen.  The Mr has his annual today and I've got mine a week from today where she'll probably tell me my blood is made of high fructose corn syrup and she wants to put me on statins.  Take a leap, lady.  My body is under constant stress under the best of circumstances but the past few months it is hanging on to weight like it's being paid for it.  I'm tired of being uncomfortable but I'm also walking the line of 'who cares?'  Not a good place to be.  I guess the only good thing is we've kept up our 3 mile walks every day so there's something.

We put on the Menendez trial because apparently nothing soothes me these days than old trials and procedural reruns.  Before we knew it, it was time to go for said 3 miler and forgot it was the tree lighting.  Luckily, no one was interested much in walking the areas we were so we didn't encounter too many people but we did enjoy hearing the clip clops of the horses pulling bougie mom's with their brats to and fro.

We dropped off a book I'm mailing out to my engaged family member that I like to give my engaged peeps now called We Do.  I figure it's worth giving someone the tools to a happy marriage especially when you have a first hand peek into potential issues that you could see coming a mile away but they may not.  Who knows if she'll actually read it or not but consider it my attempt to stay relevant in the family.

That bring us to now.  I hell in these parts.

How was your weekend?

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Friday, November 17, 2023

What I'm Reading This Week #46

Howdy do all?  Finally Friday and I'm ready for the weekend.  I FINALLY got mom's friggin' headstone ordered!  Those bastards at the cemetery had been dragging their feet for over 2 months getting me the proof I needed to sign off on it.  When I followed up two weeks ago, I got radio silence.  As I was ready to steady myself for a phone call where I wasn't going to let anyone off the hook, for some reason I decided to look up reviews for them online.  One of them was a 1 star (like I'd give if asked) and the owner responded apologizing and asked the person to please reach out to her and gave her email address.  Her name was the exact name of my aunt who passed the morning of her senior prom back in 1988.  I knew it was a sign.  I emailed her explaining how I got her info and would she be open to chatting with the problems I'm having with my mom's final resting place.  Within 4 minutes she was calling me and within an hour I was e-signing the proof the headstone company was waiting on that the other woman had been sitting on for 3 weeks.  I am so thankful to my aunt for very clearly putting that in my path.  She was literally the sweetest girl ever and it was like she said "I've got this."  It is a huge relief having that off of my plate.

I also made a Christmas wreath for Mom/Grandma's grave that we'll take over on Thanksgiving.  Something I've been putting off but needed done asap.  I really just don't even know how we're halfway through November.  I swear I am losing days.

Now let's get to:

20 Foods That Can Help Prevent Clogged Arteries  (So these are like culinary Drano?)

What Happens to Your Body When You Use Magnesium Daily?  (I need to constantly check mine after logging as I'm always low.  I, along with forums of others, were so ticked when TJ's discontinued their magnesium as they were effective and super affordable.  Using something with similar ingredients but am ticked I have to pay more for it.  Eff you JOE!)

10 Ways to Boost Serotonin Naturally and Without Medication  (It always makes me chuckle when they throw "manage stress" in there like it's so easy.)

5 Things to Understand About Love After Loss (Maybe also mind your own damn business after someone's spouse passes.  Encouraging them to 'get back out there' or '(insert spouse's name) wouldn't want you to be sad' so that they are who YOU think they should be at that point in time is rude and can actually do more harm than good.  When/if they're ready to move on, they will.  That said, this is literally the only Bachelor we've ever watched.  Still not a fan of the process but it's thankfully not as cringe as we feared.)

Cheddar-Apple Cracker Bites Are a New Twist on a Classic Combination  (Oooh, this sounds good.  Can anyone recommend truly FLAVORFUL reduced fat cheese because the ones I've tried all taste like nothing which defeats the purpose.)

Assisted living may not be what you think: 5 crucial facts to know  (That's why the Mr and I need to get some damn muscles and just hope for the best.  These places suck and #4 is reason enough to not depend on them.)

20 Cozy Christmas Aesthetic Ideas to Bring in the Holidays  (In case you need some ideas to gear up.)

I'm considering making Christmas cookie doughs soon as I know it's all going to rocket toward me with as fast as this year has gone.  I did myself a solid back in June by mixing the dry ingredients for most of the doughs and put them in mason jars.  Seems like the universe knew I was going to need that head start this year or they probably weren't going to happen.   I was able to get my bestie's gifts wrapped which is good.  Now I just need my other friend to get me the list I asked for over 2 weeks ago to me and my beau needs to update his list or start looking for ideas. 

What's on tap for your weekend?  Getting ready for the holidays yet?

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Wednesday, November 15, 2023

The "In Thing" That Cost Me Everything

The following is a post on what has become a series.  If you have been through an illness or death of a parent/loved one, consider this what the young'uns call a 'trigger warning' as it deals with the raw emotions of an unexpected death which may include cursing, dark humor and not holding back my feelings about my experience.  If that's offensive, go elsewhere as this post isn't likely going to benefit you.  If you are new here and want to see the posts leading up to this one, you can start with posts on July 7th and go forward.


This post is about how "cut off culture" cost me everything.   I know I don't have to post this for my regulars but some rogue schmuck is going to stumble onto this post and try to poke the bear because they don't read it all before commenting.  There are families that are truly toxic in ways no one should tolerate.  I'm talking sexual (borderline and full on), physical and hardcore verbal abuse.  This post isn't about those people.  This post is about grief and what putting distance instead of just having hard conversations can cost you when it's too late.  I respect the choices of those who feel they are happier with their decisions to distance or cut off certain family members,  I'm asking for the same with my experience. If I feel attacked by someone by expressing what I am going through, your comment will go bye-bye.


Most of you know, I'm a child of divorce.  Dad left when I was 9, cut off contact with me for 3 months and then when settled into his new life expected me to fall in line and give his new wife what she wanted which was a perfect family of four.  When I spent most of those weekends with him sobbing in bed or resentful of the fact I was being court ordered into time with a man who never even acknowledged the divorce or what it was very obviously doing to me, it did more damage than what had already been done when they were married.  I never felt good enough for him.  I always figured he wanted a boy and then when he got one with his 2nd wife, he screwed that up too so it clearly wasn't just me.  I'm not a Pink Floyd fan at all but it truly was the beginning of living my life 'another brick in the wall' style.  His lack of parenting, forcing Mom and I into essentially a life of fight or flight and his own parental issues that became glaring the older I got screwed me up royally.  It set up coping mechanisms in me that only amplified as I got older.  From that point on, Mom was my best friend and going through her stuff only cements that.  TONS of cards, notes, letters from age 5 on about how she was my very best friend.  It's the kind of thing every mother would want to get from their kid and she kept every single one of them.  My favorite great aunt told me very matter of fact at age 10 "I don't know how your mom does it, you be a good girl for her, okay?  She's got a lot on her plate."  I took that like it was orders from the president.  I never wanted to give her more trouble than she was already going through to make sure we survived.  When the Mr came along, she welcomed him with open arms and wallet even though she really didn't have the money to be feeding another kid which I didn't even think about until the Mr brought it up.  I wish I'd thought of it earlier because I would've made sure we paid her back when we were married.  Not that we didn't buy her things outside of typical gift giving times of year but it kind of put another light on just how generous she was.

So I reminded you of all of that to get to my topic.  How many times, particularly over the past 5-10 years have we seen phrases like these:

"Some people are so delusional.  They think it's disrespectful when you don't sit back and allow them to disrespect you."

"Stay away from people who make you feel like you're hard to love."

"When you ask the universe to go to the next level, don't be surprised when every person preventing progress is removed from your life."

"You don't have to explain why you want what you want, do what you do, love what you love or need what you need.  You're allowed to live a life some people don't understand."

Do I agree with these?  Yes.  

Here's the problem.  

When you grow up in a 'suck it up' family in the 70's on his side, watch your family fracture through your grandparents divorce at 5, being thrust into adulthood before you hit double digits (which is how it felt when having to watch Mom sweat it each month and learning after she passed just how close we came to not making it that first year), being abandoned by your father and his whole side of the family so essentially losing 10 people and not only one and so many other things, you develop filters.  These filters are either coping/defense mechanisms or when new situations you are presented with throughout your life bring up old, undealt with feelings or fears.  Therefore you may have a hard time distinguishing what is actual disrespect or what feels like disrespect which has been processed through your filters.  This can be something as simple as someone disagreeing with you which we all know isn't actual disrespect though you wouldn't know that looking at today's climate.  I digress.  Sometimes we project the lack of love for ourselves onto other people.  I have always considered myself a burden though not ONE PERSON has ever said that to my face.  I would think "if they didn't have me as teenagers, Mom wouldn't have to struggle right now" or other similar thoughts.  When anything hard comes up in life...I am always apologizing for it whether I had anything to do with it or not.  When you think others are preventing your progress, sayings like the above make it very easy to justify distancing yourself from people you refuse to reveal your true self to in order to prevent yourself from being hurt or rejected.  And no, you don't owe people an explanation of why you are the way you are or do the things you do but let me tell you something, you can't expect people to ever fully love all of you if you don't explain why some things that are minor to everyone else go deeper for you.  Like if a couple are having communication issues that are severely affecting their happiness and threatening their marriage and they go to therapy or read books to better understand each other, they are praised.  Why is this not encouraged in the other relationships with people that are closest to us?  It sucks to be vulnerable because you're handing yourself to someone on a silver platter and the way someone reacts to what you say can cut you to the bone even if what they said was delivered with the force of a paper cut.

But if you find yourself scrolling IG or Facebook or wherever you hang out online and you find something that hits the nail on the head for you when you're feeling rejected or disrespected and YOU have filled in the blanks as to what that person's intent was without asking or giving them the same courtesy of clarification that you want from them, talk about adding gasoline to some smoldering embers.  Then the algorithm shows you more and more just reinforcing the pain you already feel whether real or perceived.  Before you know it, you are putting distance with people when you haven't even had an actual difficult conversation with them because what you think they're saying/thinking has become the narrative.  The families many of us grew up with are gone.  The ones that gathered in droves with cousins overflowing every crevice laughing and playing together.  The ones with adults all gathered playing cards, board games or listening to music, laughing together.  Technology has made it so kids and adults alike can't even sit at a table together without checking their phones giving off the vibe they'd rather be doing anything but spending time together unless there are presents to be opened.  I'd give anything for those gatherings pre-technology but the algorithm finds you one click and one like at a time.  "Oh, they're feeling like no one understands them...send  more of that stuff so they knows other people feel the same!  Make sure to put the ones saying all they have to do is ignore the problem because others don't and never will understand them under the guise of personal peace!"  Yes, it's our choice whether or not to believe those things but when it is seemingly everywhere, you feel like everyone feels that way.  Clearly we have more information now than when we were kids about mental health and attitudes but it's shifting to a place where the goal is to avoid conflict even if you have to weed the friends and family garden for any (potentially perceived) infraction.

**I feel this is a part that is going to set some people off so I need you again to stop and take a breath and listen to what I said.  If someone has not said something to your face and you are filling in the blanks of what you think they meant!  Therefore you are possibly creating a toxic relationship that may not truly even exist or at minimum only needs a gentle nudge back in the right direction.  If someone literally abuses you sexually, physically then yes, get the f*ck questions.  Someone constantly making fun of you or comparing you to someone else, you stick up for yourself and they continue to go at it or double down, then yes, set the boundary and decide how you want to handle that even if that means cutting them out.  Those examples are not what I'm talking about.**

Let me give you an example of what I am talking about.  Mom and I were big time criers especially in the years after the divorce.  We felt safe being emotional with each other and I felt that way most of my life.  After all of the caregiver burnout with grandma over 7 years but 6 months before she passed, Mom was over for a visit and the subject turned to grandma.  I was very sensitive not only about grandma's condition but the horrible way I felt her husband was handling the situation.  I also felt like our opinions were no longer being considered when I asked about why what they said would happen for her care was no longer happening to save her husband money he very much had for grandma's care.  It had been a great visit and as I started talking about Grandma, I began crying.  It may not have even been something particularly cry worthy but I think just talking to someone else other than the poor Mr who had to basically endure all of my feelings in truly endless circles for years, got me weepy.  

She laughed a little and looked at the Mr and said "someone's emotional."

Me:  Initiate emotional shutdown sequence. Brain deems you unsafe on this topic...slap up another brick. 


Was it the best response she could've given?  No but I also know that when you're uncomfortable,  sometimes you just blurt out the first thing to shut down discomfort when it's been a happy visit overall.  Maybe she wasn't in a place she wanted to get emotional about her mother because she felt it's all she ever did and wanted a break from it.  Maybe because of my basically going quiet any time the subject was brought up, she wondered why I always have such a visceral response when her husband is brought up?  Maybe...maybe...maybe.  Instead, I viewed her saying I was "emotional" when I listened to her cry during hard times in our life as hypocritical and why wasn't I allowed to feel the same?  Why couldn't she comfort me instead of feeling like she was criticizing me with two words?  It stirred up feelings of rejection which take me right back to Dad the day he made her do the dirty work and tell me they were getting divorced while he hid in the bathroom, too chicken shit to take responsibility for the rubble he was leaving behind.   We both reacted poorly based on what filters we had in place because of our own experiences.

My point is NEITHER of us said the hard thing which may have been "what upsets you when we talk about her care because I feel like you're judging the way we're taking care of her?" (no idea if she felt that way or not but it was assumed and you know what they say about that) or if I'd said "why is me crying uncomfortable for you now?  We never had a problem with it as a kid or teen, what changed?"  Instead we both shut down and I viewed one bad moment- literally 30 seconds- as the whole visit being ruined.  As they say, 99 people can compliment you but it's the one that says you look like a pile of dog crap that sticks with you.  Then it becomes a matter of me looking for it, being ready for the fight or ready to disconnect if she made a snappy comment that isn't even really that snappy but my filters perceive it as worse than it was.  Make no mistake, like everyone, she could get snippy when frustrated but she gets it honestly which means I get it honestly but then pile it on with a fly off the handle at a moments notice from my dad's side while waiting for life to yank the rug out from me and that is how I've lived my life.  Through my filters based on my experiences.

But it's okay, right?  Someone makes you uncomfortable then you distance yourself from them or cut them off!  That's what everyone says now.  They talked about the 80's being the "me" generation?!  Pshht... they've got nothing on the 2020's!  I saw a different meme that really brought it to my attention too because it said "this generation would rather cut everyone off in their life than have a difficult conversation for 5 minutes and fix it and y'all wonder why you're lonely."  That was on a Gen Z page!  I know we're all responsible for our actions.  I know there are also plenty of things that say stop playing the victim and blaming everyone else for your life or whatever.  Well, guess what, sometimes circumstances of life alter your way of living so hard that it feels impossible to change or improve it no matter how hard you try.  That tape is on hard loop over and over and it filters the way you see, move through and perceive the world.  So you isolate.  When you live always feeling like the rug is going to be pulled out from under you because history has proven it usually happens, then you are constantly looking for something to go wrong.

Mom's sib has always been her best friend since childhood and that bond only got stronger as they got older.  Part of the reason I wasn't as open with her as I used to be was because of their closeness.   I knew pretty much what I told her, she may tell her sib and that would mean her sib told their spouse.   Sorry but I don't need everyone knowing my business so I was always very guarded on what I told her if I wasn't something I wanted two other people to potentially know as well.  When she was 50, she met a great group of ladies who became like sisters to her and her social calendar was always full.  I won't lie, I envied how close they all were because I felt like we used to be that close and now it felt like she wanted to spend her time with everyone but me.  (I know that isn't true.  Try to tell my brain that.)  A few of the times I asked if she wanted to get together for dinner and if she had something planned already and didn't give me a concrete answer on when she could, I perceived it as rejection.  When I say her calendar was full, I mean FULL.  I really don't know how she held down a full time job and still did so much but it's not like her daughter was knocking down her door to spend time with her so why wouldn't she spend time with people who literally clamored to be around her?  I remember a particularly bad Thanksgiving where everyone was utterly and completely miserable.  Grandma was laid out in the living room, people were already in moods, some drunk, others looking around like "how is this our holiday now?" and we choked through it.  (It was the year I decided we were going to start going away to VT every other year because I couldn't take it anymore.)  The next day on social media, there was mom, her sib and best friends completely losing it laughing, yucking it up and dressing up in silly shirts.  I was mad.  Where were those people the day before?  When they were all snapping at each other, no one cracking a smile like their face would break and everyone in every age group basically miserable to be there?  Yes, she was entitled to let loose, laugh and smile but wasn't the point of Thanksgiving to make memories and be thankful?  That year it felt like no one was thankful for anything and I really resented that we didn't even get a 2 minute peek at those happy people.  It felt like "well, you're not here for the weekly caregiving stuff so we're going to shove it all in your face" by all of grandma's kids.  (Again...filters!)  


Then here I am scrolling my empath sites where the key is supposed to be empathy but if you look a little harder, nowhere do they actually encourage you to have the hard conversations.  The ones that could be anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour that could literally undo years of crap thinking and burn those filters.  But you know, you've found your 'tribe' and people who understand and encourage you to keep your distance, set boundaries and such without ever really telling people why those boundaries need set in the first place and then wonder why you feel like people don't understand you.  Yes, there ARE people who literally give zero fucks about understanding you or caring about why things make you feel certain ways... that's not who I mean.  There are also times when you go into a dangerous self preservation mode that basically is code for isolation and since social media is telling us out of one side of its mouth isolating from people is okay while out of the other side of its mouth it's reporting about an epidemic of loneliness how the HELL do we ever do what is truly right for us long term??

Well, I'm here to tell you to have the hard conversation and screw what is floating through your feed.  What's in your heart?  Is it broken?  Why?  What would help fix it?  Would it be having that closer relationship with someone and did you play a part in making it weird?  Own it.  Do you know how many times I wanted to have that hard conversation and then Covid happened and then it was like "well, I don't see her very much so I don't want to ruin the time we do see each other."  Excuses.  Because then you know the next call I end up getting a few years into it?  "Your mom has stage 4 cancer" and 30 days later she's gone.  There is no fixing it then.  Did she know I was there for her?  Yes.  I still see her smile when we'd walk into the room.  The random times she would grab me and hug me holding on for dear life.  The time she told the Mr and I halfway through her ordeal to sit at the end of her bed so she could see us both before she took a nap so we were the last things she saw if she didn't wake up.  To see the look come over her face remembering why she was there and saying "who would've ever thought I'd be going through this?" and having no way to comfort her and tell her I could help make it better.  Watching her ability to communicate with us slip away knowing she had so much left to say that her body wouldn't allow her as it was shutting down.  To know she told her sib 'how good it was to see my kids.'  To feel like shit knowing that I saw her more in the final month of her life than I saw her in the previous three years.  Inundating her with memories the day before she passed as people came in and out to say their goodbyes to let her know how much they all meant to me, what SHE meant to me with faint little hand squeezes on particularly funny ones.  To sit with her playing her favorite artists and singing to her and that she was trying to sing back even though she was basically in a coma from the meds the last time we saw her alive.    

You want to know the worst part?  The snappy part of her...the one we all blamed on unregulated hormones after her hysterectomy that she never really evened out from?  The part of her personality that made me brace up in case she said something that hurt my wittle feelings between her tone and my filtering of that tone that lasted 5 seconds?  She had a brain tumor.  I'm talking a lifelong brain tumor that I found out after she died that she was scanned for and her prolactin level was at 201 in 1981 and it should've been 15.  When it was found in July, her levels were 1150+!!!!  What is one of the side effects of this tumor and where it was?  Irritability.  "Oh you have no way of knowing that's what did it."  Wanna bet?  2 days after she began medication to treat the condition, her personality (which was quite snappy the first day or two rightly so given what she was going through) completely evened out.  It was like having my old mom back... and I could barely breathe.  This thing I had put up walls with her about was not even her fault and I'd wasted every day for over a decade feeling a certain way for something she couldn't even help! 

Now there is a Mt. Everest of regret, shame and guilt I now get to climb in addition to 'regular' grief.  I get to try to find a way to forgive myself which I doubt will happen and beat myself up for something I never could've known.  I'd like to think even if I'd gotten over myself enough to say something and try not to let our defenses go up that it would've made a difference.  That if she saw I wanted to get back to that point of being as close to her as she was with her friends and sib, I know 1000% she would've been on board with that.  That she would've been just as open to it because I know she filled in the blanks about us as much as we did about her and that stopped us from being able to truly go deep at times.  That cuts me like a knife now.  I know when I told her and the rest of the family to please not save up computer issues to talk to the Mr about for hours on a holiday that she seemed to interpret that as we didn't want to help her.  Not what we said.  What accountant wants to crunch numbers on Easter?  What attorney wants to give free advice on Thanksgiving?  The holidays are for rest and family, that's all.  So then I would see posts about an in-law or nephew coming to do this or that around the house and we were never asked.  We would feel like shit about it and then get our undies in a twist about why when we set what we considered a reasonable request, it appeared to be blown out of proportion and you guessed it, another brick.  I guess we both sucked at not wanting to step on each others toes because we thought we knew how the other would react.  Now she's gone and there's no way to fix it, talk about it, hug it out and generally have better communication.  I don't want you to think we had a bad relationship, we didn't.  We laughed a lot, hugged a lot, made stupid faces, got in hilarious situations that had us doubled over laughing, talked about all kinds of things, she loved looking through pictures of our travels, said we always knew how to have fun or find some off the beaten path thing to try.  But it still felt like it was not as good as it could've been at times.  Matter of fact, when I lamented over these things with my closest girlfriends, they all said they'd been through the same with their mom's and it's that mother/daughter dynamic that comes into play even in the best relationships.  But I didn't know how to approach it without wondering if she'd feel attacked, it would make things worse or that I would be rocking the boat.  

ROCK. THE. FUCKING. BOAT.  You must go in with an open mind and heart and tell them you understand if they need to process things once the ball is rolling and come back to it.  However you need to approach it so that it's done with love, care for everyone's feelings and not in a confrontational way will hopefully get the best results.  Otherwise, you may find yourself sitting in the rubble of your old life as your parent, child or spouse is gone wondering why you weren't brave enough to say the uncomfortable thing and stop believing a bunch of morons who just want likes.  I hope no one else ever has to go through the anguish I feel of wishing I'd done things differently.  No one is guaranteed old age and you think you have time to improve things.  

You don't.

Let me repeat that...YOU. DON'T.  

With anyone.


If you or someone you know is going through a grief process, you may find these resources given to me by a friend helpful:

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