Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Hump Day Poll: One More Season

For me, Six Feet Under and it has nothing to do with what I'm going through right now.  It was just SO brilliant and I know it ended where it needed to but damn, so much more I wished they would've done t see where these people's lived took them.  (The only caveat being they'd need to have the exact team that brought you season one because they knew what they were doing from writers to director to DP.)

How about you?  What show would you want one more season of if you knew they weren't going to screw the pooch by doing it?

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Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Anything But Restful Weekend Recap

Happy not Monday, all!  I hope you had a great last weekend of August.  Ours was interesting.  Friday is when we were to lay Mom to rest.  I'd been up since 4am and around 7:45am, I finally got back to sleep.  The Mr bursts in from the office that the guy from the cemetery is on the phone and needs to talk to me.  Welp, that's never good.  

"I just wanted to let you know that our AC is out, he had to order a part (90 degrees that day) and also the water main to the chapel broke so there's no available bathrooms."



"We can either move it to a hallway with AC (and no chairs after 1949 that would support anyone over 50 lbs) or have it graveside (in 97 heat index with no tent because you're burying ashes and only full bodies get tents.)"

"Actually I bought paper fans for people (because I anticipated something or you f*cking it up) and I'm not having older people stand in the blazing sun.  It's going on as planned in the chapel."

This is my nightmare and not how I wanted to start the day.  We packed everything the night before ready to roll by the door but the morning still went by super fast to the point we were almost running late.  I got the lavender roses separated into organza bags for us to sprinkle on her when she was buried.  We stopped by the florist who had the exact measurements of the urn and said they use a "special mold" for the flowers.  No they don't.  They soak a big ass floral foam wreath until it's sopping wet with nothing to protect the table (which I foresaw and grabbed a large grocery pickup bag) and give you flowers that resemble the picture online.  Thankfully they were still colors Mom likes but that's not the point.  Then if you have a plaque on the urn like we did, it is covered by the flowers so I put two hard ice packs I bought for the arrangement (which of course didn't fit in the cooler) and a styrofoam block we keep in the car for grave maintenance under the urn to raise it up to an acceptable level.  (So money saving tip for you- get your own wreath form, soak it and get bundles of unarranged flowers and spend half the money if you have an eye for arranging.)  

I said I wanted to stop graveside first and it was covered.  I uncovered it and to my horror the hole was filled to the top with water.  It had rained the previous two nights and I anticipated it being muddy but not flooded especially when it was dug hours after the rain had stopped.  I'm not dropping her in there like Rose's Titanic necklace!  


I had the Mr call to get it taken care of.  We began unloading and even with two fans going, it was ungodly hot in there.  We were halfway set up and three old rando's came wandering in to go to the one dude's crypt and the door was locked for some reason.  He starts pitching a fit about why were they locked and they wouldn't leave.  One lady is wandering around looking for the bathroom even after we told them 3x it was out of order.  I was getting pissed.  They were calling the office bitching to them and the Mr just turned on our instrumental music loud to try to drive them out.  The woman up front comes in and is horrified that they are bothering us when it's clear we're setting up for a service and takes them away.  I was one more old coot squawk from jail.

We are sweaty pigs with zero time to recover before people start coming in early.  It was small with about 12 people there but the fans were loud so I had to turn them to low while the Mr spoke first.  He made the mistake of listening to the lyrics of the opening song Never Alone by Lady Antebellum and the poor thing was quite emotional the whole way through.  😥  My little nugget.  I know Mom was fanning herself trying not to cry too but feeling the love he has for her just warmed my heart.  You always wonder if they say she's like a mom but that solidified it for anyone wondering and this has been so hard on him as well.  We gave people the opportunity to share memories but only one sibling took us up on it and then I spoke.  Not a tear was shed as "task mode" came through again.  We let people write messages to go in with her and I put them in as the menfolk tore down and loaded the car.  I gave her siblings and friends an ornament of her which they loved.  (She's already hanging in two of their homes.) 

We went to the gravesite which should've been the easy part.  Nope.  The gravedigger, after mostly siphoning out the hole, left the epoxy in the sun and it hardened.  They apparently needed it to put some identifier piece of paper glued to the top.  Let's think about this.  You're putting her in water and then slogging mud on top of her.   


Five heat laden minutes later they finally got that on and her in the hole. As that was happening, I was humming the Benny Hill theme under my breath and the Mr and I giggled.   I read a poem called Death Is Nothing at All which I was never able to get through in practicing it 6x but somehow made it through.  Then I dropped my rose petals on her urn, followed by the Mr then the rest of the guests.  I let people know they'd be burying her (totally forgetting the lord's prayer but saying it once we were alone with her.  Mr former Catholic totally botched it which was hilarious). I got her vase flowers with temporary headstone and showed people as they were leaving and they all seemed to love it.  I'm going to see if I can find some purple crocus bulbs to plant while the sod is still freshly off since they won't be mowing when those pop up.

We got a curbside ice cream order when we were done and they screwed it up.  Of course they did.  Why would anything go right that day?  When we got home we were completely drained.  We got dinner a few hours later but damn that heat and humidity and stress of the crap we shouldn't have had to deal with took all we had left and we wouldn't have had much to give under normal circumstances but add whatever bad stars we were born under and you have the taint smear that is our life on top of it all.


Sunday I was going to scatter her ashes a few places.  I asked her for validation if that was okay because I didn't want to put her somewhere she didn't want to be.  We got the okay within 18 hours and got on our way.  We went to a place she loved to go have fun with her sibling and got several signs to go ahead with our plan so we did.  We then went up the street to her Dad's grave and I reunited them as the church bells played while I was doing that along with healthy sobs from me.  We walked the cemetery in the blazing sun and carried umbrellas.  We almost made our full route but we were 10 days out of practice by then so all of the muscles were not happy.  We got linner from one of her favorite restaurants and went back to eat at one of her new resting places in the shade.  

After that, we drove to her place and I went through 3/4 of the bedroom so that we could get things sorted.  Her sibling wanted me to see what things I wanted bookmarked for me and then they would go through it and then of course, the horrible task of what to do with the rest when probate is over.  You feel so guilty not being able to keep it all.  That meant something to that person and it just feels crappy.  I threw away things that were obvious trash around the house and we went back last night to go through the last of it and start cleaning things out.  That isn't even all of it.  There are things that were moved before she passed to her siblings house and I have to go through all of that.  

Then I had my first nightmare that I was looking for her in a house the three of us shared and couldn't find her and I was trying to scream as loud as I could but nothing was coming out.  (Think Casey Becker screaming for her mom after she'd been stabbed in the throat in Scream)  I've done that before and usually when that happens, I'm screaming IRL.  I woke myself up and thought "OMG, I'll have to call and tell her..."

And then I remembered.

So that was our weekend.  I just want as much done as possible so her siblings can do their part and we can start cleaning the place up too so they will hopefully give back her deposit.  

I hate this.


Please tell me about your weekend!  I know it was better than dealing with cemetery mooks!

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Monday, August 28, 2023


Hey y'all!  I'm too beat to do a post for today so weekend recap will be tomorrow.  

But in the meantime...

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Friday, August 25, 2023

What I'm Reading This Week #34

Howzit y'all and I hope you've got your sassy pants on because it's Friday!  *tries to twerk - throws out back - sits down with a heating pad*  Can you believe it's the last Friday of August??  I mean I know why my summer is gone but does it seem like that way to everyone else?  Kids were back to school here for like ten days already!  What rat bastard did that?!  This date was always when we started school.  I'd pack up my chisel and rock and start my hieroglyphics for the year whilst evading pterodactyls.

Now let's stop evading:

How Bad Is It Really to Skip Protein After a Workout?  (Kind of throws in the face of everything we've been taught eh?)

3 Must-Have Tips For Kidney Health, From An Internal Medicine Doctor   (Good to know.  You don't think about your kidneys until there are problems.)

8 Simple Ways to Fit Stretching Into Your Day  (I need to do this for sure.  I'm a tight, hobbly mess!)

The Truth About How Your Diet Affects Your Cholesterol (I really need to do my doctor recommended old lady Metamucil but I also don't like that there's aspartame in it. Has anyone tried psyllium husk pills for their cholesterol with success and if so, what kind?)

How to Stop Being So Mean to Yourself (If I thought it was bad before Mom died, this is a whole new level.)

How to (actually) talk to kids (I SOOOO suck at this.  I do the stupid adult thing and revert back to school which immediately puts you in the "lame, out of touch old fart" category.)

PB&J: An American Love Story  (One of my faves.  I live on peanut butter in some form.)

Are Online Banks Safe?  (Good info to know especially since some give better rates than the bigger brick and mortars!)

Today is Mom's final service.  She's been having dinner with us every night for two weeks.  I asked the Mr if he was weirded out but he said no and we both say Hi to her or pat the urn.  I like to think of it as infusing our love to take with her.  I've got smaller ones too that I'll share in a post.  This is our first cremation so lots of new things to learn but most of it was covered from watching Six Feet Under which we're getting ready to watch again.  We watched during grandma's funeral days and the Fisher family brings an odd comfort with them.  I've got to pick up her urn flower arrangement, remember to bring scissors in case some filler needs cut out of the way when placed, paper for messages from those in attendance to go with her, pens, pictures, memorabilia and tissues.  Sorry, had to write that out as a reminder to myself!  Then I need to put the wine on the counter back into the fridge, put one of her T-shirts over her pillow and scream into it.  So that will be the sonic boom you hear tonight signaling the pulling out a chair for grief to take a permanent spot at the table.  Yay. 😑

What's on tap for your weekend?  

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Wednesday, August 23, 2023

A Walk with Mom

Last week when the rain was finishing up, the Mr and I thought it was time we got back to taking a walk.  In addition to everything going on with Mom, the Mr also had varicose vein surgery during that time and this was the first time he would be able to walk.  We weren't going to put pressure on ourselves.  We knew our previous four lap usual was likely out of the question so we said anything two or more would be fine.  It felt good to be outside as the rain turned to mist.  The Mr said maybe there was a metaphor in there somewhere about walking after the rain.  I'm sure there is to some, I just know my body needed to be outside while it wasn't over 85 degrees so I was going to take the short window we had.

We'd walked here only 6 weeks ago regularly between the dying of the spring flowers and flop sweat heat of summer.  So much had happened in that time and our world is never going to be the same.  As we talked about Mom a little, it seemed everything caught my eye.  I was looking at the world through new eyes; her eyes to some degree.  We were enjoying something she couldn't and that's not just because she was gone.  Even when she was alive, she had lymphedema for many decades which made walking tough for her.  She had a walker and a cane but with bone on bone knees, a leisurely stroll wasn't something she could really do.  So I enjoyed it enough for both of us.

Her favorite color, purple.

No idea WTF this is but I noticed it.

More purple for her.

Rushing streams which very much felt like what we were walking against every day for 30 days.

More purple with another pale lavender bloom.

The earliest fiery signs of an impending season change.  How appropriate.

Some may mistake this walk, noticing this beauty around us, as a reason to exhale.  

"Oh good, she's feeling better!"  


There are simply moments in the pain where the clouds lift just long enough to show some light to your newly darkened world.  You can choose to take in those moments or not.  It's not a step back to "normalcy" because that no longer exists.  Nothing will ever be the same.  That park will likely always be there waiting on us when we choose to walk it.  To soak in the rain, to hear the laughter of a child trying to catch frogs or fish in their net, or to pass people walking to their own soundtrack in their heads whether they're out for exercise or fighting their own invisible battle inside like we are.  I'm grateful we took the time and I'm glad to share this place with her in a way I couldn't when she was here.  It was nice walking with you, Mom.  I love and miss you every second.


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:

Follow me on Bloglovin. Some posts may contain affiliate links that help keep this blog running at no cost to you.  See the Disclaimer page for more info. All posts copyright Success Along the Weigh. All rights reserved.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Before and After

The following is a post on what has become a series.  If you have been through a death of a parent, 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 and not holding back my feelings about my experience.  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 the phone rang at just after 5am that horrible day, the Mr answered it.  The man on the other end said "I'm sure you know why I'm calling."  The Mr said he did and he was my husband and the chaplain said he had to speak to me to tell me.  When the Mr handed me the phone to talk to him, he began getting ready so he was in the bathroom as I was getting the news she was gone.  I called her sibling and threw back on the clothes that I wore a few hours before to get ready to leave to go see her.  I was very calm because of how we sent her off with her favorite songs seeing she was trying to sing with us and surrounded by pictures and love.  When the Mr came out, he mentioned something about getting the call so we could say our goodbyes.  (The nurse said the night before if they noticed end of life changes, they would call so we could get over there.)  I paused a moment, gave him a soft smile and said "hon, she's gone." The look of shock on his face still breaks my heart.  He thought we'd get to see her one last time alive and send her off and we did, hon.  We did.

From that point on, life shifted into before and after.  I remember looking at the banister and that it needed cleaned and I thought "that dirt is from when she was alive."  Even now as I type, my nails long enough to catch on the edges of the keys, I see the peeling top coat.  A coat I applied a week before her ordeal began.  This top coat has witnessed the horrors, had Mom's hair dance on the top of my nails as I stroked her forehead until she fell asleep and been held by her hand in laughter, tears and the faint squeeze she was able to give her last day.  It's yellowed, worn, split, peeling and I know it needs to come off but the thought of doing it strips one more part of her from me.

Everything cuts in this finite way that the Mr remembered from when his dad died 20 years ago.  He said "your brain just does that" and I replied "well, my brain is an asshole!"  There were reminders all over the house of what we endured for weeks as we went on this hellish journey with her in various stages of before and after.

Leftover tea bags from when she was alive that we would drink trying to decompress from the latest horror of the day.

Papers and items she gave me at the start of it all she'd been putting off decluttering in the hopes of her making it back home to a cleaner house to recoup from chemo.  All of this represents the hope we had and the broken hearts we now carried because she never even got the chance.

The yak bin full of medical supplies the hospital sent with her on discharge to the God awful facility that we suspect accelerated her death.  This represents the panic we had when we grabbed it along with everything in her room when we 911'd her out of there.  It got thrown under the dining table to get it out of the car.

Then the after.  The remnants of scraps from putting together her memory boards, something that was always her job for funerals and reunions.  She loved putting them together to tell a story and picking out just the right colors and embellishments even if they were simple.  This represents the love, stress of trying to make her proud as I was up until 2am every night and sense of accomplishment when I thought I might have done something close to as good as she would have.

The dying flowers of condolences from her service.  If I throw them away, it'll have been too long since I saw her last and now have to deal with never being able to see her again.  I spent hours on her social media doing screenshots of birthday and anniversary greetings, little uplifting quotes she would use to start people's days or weekend, recipes she wanted to try (or hoped someone else would think looked good enough to make so she wouldn't have to 😝) and anything in between.  

A table full of 5 weeks worth of "I'll get to it later" that seems too overwhelming to ever deal with so we just eat our meals in a spot no larger than where our plates will fit and ignore the rest for now.

These physical things are all I have left to her connection wise.  Reminders of hope, horror, love, panic, nostalgia and grief.  Now I begin the arduous journey of 'firsts' that those of us who have lost someone  know all too well.  With Grandma dying, it was a relief because she'd been unavailable to us for years and it seemed like hell on Earth for her to live that way.  With Mom dying...I can't believe I just typed that.  With Mom dying in this horrible, unfair, torturous way she did, we all feel robbed and she did too because she said it in so many words.  No time to process the news for any of us.  Attention diverted to things taking away the time we could've spent with her instead of trying to get the people who failed her in that month to even respond to us.  Trying to comprehend how she was here to start one month and not here to start the next when she seemed perfectly fine.  It took me three days to shower after she died.  I didn't want the lips that kissed her forehead, the hands the rubbed her hair and forehead before and after she died or the cheeks that leaned gently against her to be free of her.  When I finally did shower, as the soap lathered and took the last cellular bits of her off of me, I sobbed.

Now we have these physical things that we have to deal with; these reminders that are too painful to throw away but some too painful to keep.  The pain the past week has been visceral, suffocating, soul crushing and my eyes feel like they're never going to recover.  I am in constant pain emotionally and physically.

We're in the after.

And the after effing SUCKS.


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:

Follow me on Bloglovin. Some posts may contain affiliate links that help keep this blog running at no cost to you.  See the Disclaimer page for more info. All posts copyright Success Along the Weigh. All rights reserved.

Friday, August 18, 2023

What I'm Reading This Week #33

Hip hip hooray, it's finally friggin' Friday!  I hope you've had a good week and have something you've been looking forward to on tap!  It's been a week of digital clean up of Mom's email, calling proper agencies and going through some physical paperwork.  (My Lord, there was not a thing she didn't sign up for by email.  That much spam would've driven me straight up a wall!)  There's so much I need to do but just zero energy to do it.  Or I think I'm making progress and I look around and it's like "nope, still looks like a shitshow in here!"  Let's not kid ourselves, I didn't need the death of my mom to have the place look like that but there's just some 'extra's' taking up space that need dealt with.  I mean most people keep full sized memory boards just hanging around, right?  

Now let's hang onto:

13 Recipes for Hearty, Meal-Worthy Salads  (I'll try to get these in before my palate flips to fall.)

6 Foods High in Lecithin That Support Brain and Liver Health (You never realize how important the liver is until it's too late.)

At 101 years old, I’m the ‘world’s oldest practicing doctor’: My No. 1 rule for keeping your brain sharp. (Seem pretty doable to me! I might take one out because living to 101 sounds exhausting. Just ask my great grandma.)

Therapy is health care. So why won’t your health insurance pay for it?  (I'll be delving into that search in the next few months.  Insurance should include ALL therapists because what if you don't jibe with your in network people??)

3 Ways to Manage Panic Attacks (One of mom's friends got her a word find she never got to use.  I'll keep that by the couch because Lord knows some doozies have come on.)

Growing Through Grief  (I so wish I had the space for a big garden or flowers.  I do want to plan a memorial garden for mom out front.  I suppose I should get to picking out what to plant bulb wise soon, huh?)

All you need to know to start skipping stones like a pro  (It always makes my heart and love swell to see the Mr do this whenever we're near water.)

New Trader Joe's Products You Won't Want to Miss  (I'm thinking 1,2,9 and 12 are on my list if we can get there in time before the Fall turnover to pumpkin everything.)

Today is a 'fun filled' afternoon appointment at the cemetery to get things rolling for her internment ceremony.  I seriously do NOT want to deal with this schmuck again but it's unavoidable.  It's like dealing with a skeezy used car salesman from the 70's.  😒  Thankfully everything is paid for so there should be no tomfoolery on that end but still, not quite how one wants to bring in the weekend.  I hope we find some shenanigans to get into.  I need some shenanigans.

How about you?  You gots shenanigans??  Spill your weekend plans below!

Follow me on Bloglovin. Some posts may contain affiliate links that help keep this blog running at no cost to you.  See the Disclaimer page for more info.  Copyright Success Along the Weigh

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

The Bubbles

The following is a post on what may become a series.  If you have been through a death of a parent, consider this what the young'uns call a 'trigger warning' as it deals with the raw emotions of an unexpected death which includes cursing and not holding back my feelings about my experience.  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.


If you aren't well versed in illness whether acute, chronic or terminal, let me introduce you to the 'bubbles.'  Bubbles are what the Mr and I refer to as this suspended element of time you enter when someone is in the hospital, an illness or death has occurred.  You begin a myriad of emotions that, depending on why you're there, can range from hope, panic, relief, numbness, denial, happiness and every emotion in between.  You are putting on your game face for those around you and the person you're there for.  You're trying to be everything everyone else needs while potentially ignoring your own.  Time can speed or stretch seemingly endlessly in the bubble you're in depending on what's being thrown at you.  Your own life ceases to be your own because something stupid like dishes or cleaning are not remotely on your priority list.  You will need to still work but good luck, as your brain will likely check out.  I wouldn't be making any big decisions or would delegate anything needing intense concentration to someone else, if possible.

You spend your mornings/day doing your work, then go to the hospital if you're in the illness bubble.  You try to prepare yourself by doing research, preparing for what you may see only to have seemingly a million other things pop up for you to deal with, advocate for or process to see if you need to pivot plans.  After you spend potentially hours there (or at home if you have home health care) and you tuck the person into bed for the night, you make the drive home.  No one else knows except you and the people in that room.  I likened that drive home to unplugging the oil pan in your car and letting the day just drain out of you all over the place.  You're in this zombie survival mode and you decide you can either make dinner but likely not so you grab whatever is open whether it's 8-10pm or even midnight snarfing a pizza trying to numb the day away only to start the process all over the next day.

The only thing worse than that illness bubble that may have given you hope is when it turns to end of life bubble and you're clinging to every moment with the person.  That moment when the machines are no longer going to treat her and they turn them off for comfort care.  There is no more deafening silence in this world.  I cannot prepare you for that enough.  It takes your breath away.  You don't realize how much you depend on those sounds and alarms to give you hope.  When they're no longer monitoring a person because it's now end of life care, it feels like you gave up on them even if that's what the directives called for.  You question yourself.  You plead with the doctors "are you sure we've done everything?!"  You look for the adult in the room whether you're 25, 45 or 65 because isn't someone else supposed to handle this adult stuff?  No're the adult and it f*cking sucks and then you know your next step is the death bubble.

When the death happens and you say your final goodbyes before the funeral home gets ahold of them, you're in a walking coma.  There's just no better term for that.  There are calls to be made for their bills and finances, social security, retirement, etc.  The poor woman at the social security office who said "to verify this is for the death of so and so born X and died X" and I burst into tears and said "yes.  Sorry, it's the first time I've heard that."  It's not your job to stifle your emotions for other people's comfort and if you burst into tears or find yourself in hardened task mode or a mix of the approach is any better or worse than another.  When those calls are done, then it's time for the mass email/social media post/phone calls, etc which is draining on its own but at least you're done!  

Now you have the funeral bubble if you were unable to do a pre-need situation.  They want to get them in and out as quick as possible which means it's all on you (or the executor if that's not you) to give them a grand send off.  But your person just I have to plan this shindig and make sure that it both honors them, comforts others and includes enough people in pictures on memory boards and slideshows that people don't get hurt feelings!?  Yep!  Doesn't that sound like fun?  Nope.  Not at all.  You have to call the cemetery and buy the plot, make all of the arrangements, etc.  We took care of that before she passed but it still sucked and felt wrong.  Then planning the service at whatever funeral home.  Let me just tell you this...yes, shop around but don't go for the lowest priced one.  You'll regret it.  Hopefully they told you their wishes because if they didn't, now you have a seriously major choice to make and hope you don't get it wrong.  We were lucky that mom made her wishes known about a year ago and it was a completely different direction than she'd wanted most of her life.  Will you go with burial?  Embalming for an open casket followed by cremation later?  Cremation from the get go?  Then here...pick out the memory cards and what you want it to say (I chose the Afterglow poem which suited her perfectly), the flowers for the casket, and what urn we'd get.  All of which we got zero guidance on from the putz that was at the chosen funeral home.  So you'd better have your chit together before going in there and look for little extras hidden that they might not tell you about like being able to witness the cremation.  I thanked the Mr for seeing that and had him redo the paperwork to include it because I'll be damned if I wasn't sending her off without me there.  I don't know if it's being a bigger person and wanting to make sure your loved one is sent off with dignity or what but nope, she wasn't going to be a number or a job that day.  Get your pearls ready to be clutched when they tell you prices too.  For her urn to be interred with her mother in the ground with use of the chapel for a short ceremony and a bronze headstone with pictures (the most expensive one), was $7200.  I looked at the POA then looked at the cemetery dude and I said 'y'all know you're not getting a whole body, right???"  which broke the tension of the moment with a hearty laugh from all.  If you think that's bad, add on a 3 hour visitation with rental of the casket for it and then cremation a few days later.  for $6000.  So just over $13K to not even have a full body burial.  Don't forget that it'll take at least 6 months in most cases to get in the headstone so you may choose to do what I did and get a temporary grave marker that is more than just a blank spot of dirt or a stake with their name on it.

If you get through all of that and the interment ceremony and whatever follows then you go into the post death bubble.  The one that can be the hardest.  Its when the emails, texts and phone calls checking on you fade.  When people don't know what more to say than they've already said or don't want to bring up that tragedy in case you're having a good day.  When you might have things you moved out prior to their passing surrounding you or their estate to settle and have no idea how to do that.  When you're expected to just get back to life because we just soldier on because "that's what they would've wanted."  You are told by well intentioned people that "it gets better with time" and you're forced to check out on answering the phone for a while because you know you're going to go off on someone.  The death certificates arrive or bills come due or some other reminder is thrown in your face to remind you, "yep...this happened.  It's not a nightmare.  Good luck with the rest of your life."  You want to maybe plan a getaway for a change of scenery for all you've endured and have to deal with but it feels wrong.  They don't get to go anywhere, why should I?  The survivors guilt is real.  Reminders all over the house of things you neglected while going through your bubbles feel like a collapse of your world on top of you.  Doing something as simple as emptying the dishwasher or wiping down a counter feels like a Herculean task because you finally got to the point where you didn't have to stare at the microwave for 5-12 seconds to remember how to work it for the first time.  (True story.)   Even if you have siblings and spouses to lean on, we all deal with the bubbles differently.  Some pop them as soon as possible wanting to get back to life in an effort to forget.  Others float aimlessly around in them unsure about how to move forward.

These bubbles can stir up a lot of resentment toward people just doing nothing more than living their lives.  I remember when we found out the Mr's dad was dying.  We were 5000 miles away in Hawaii on a trip his dad absolutely insisted we take after trying to cancel three times.  When we got the call things had taken a turn, I remember that drive back from Volcano to Kona.  We were in pure silence for 90 minutes.  When we arrived in south Kona, I remember this bikini clad woman with her hair wet, a towel wrapped around her waist laughing as her boyfriend/husband loaded his surfboard on his car.  I wanted to jump out of the car and scream in her face "how are you laughing and having a good time!?  Don't you know what WE'RE going through!?!  His dad is about to die!"  While these visions may pop into your head, they aren't worth going to jail for.  You feel like the world has stopped for everyone and you resent how unaffected everyone is to your plight.  But isn't that how we go through every day?  All of us unaware of what the guy we just cut off in traffic is going through?  When grandma died, we had to run home to grab something the Mr's mom dropped off.  We were going straight and mom was turning right to go to the "after party."  (I friggin' hate the idea that after a funeral you're expected to put on a happy face and entertain while eating.  No thanks.)  Well, some jerk in front of her changed his mind and was hanging half in and half out of her lane.  She couldn't get around him and the light had just changed to red and it's a big intersection.  I wondered what she would do.  If she'd furiously honk at him after just coming from the funeral home in a bad mood after divvying the flowers.  Nope.  She just sat there for 3 1/2 minutes until he could move so she could go.  My heart broke for her.  That man had no idea he was making an already tough day a little bit tougher in its own way.  

We never know what the person in the car next to us is going through.  Whether an illness themselves or someone they love, after the death or funeral of a loved one, they've just been laid off, they're losing their house, their pet died, or whatever horror.  We are ALL on the brink and all in our own bubbles.  So be kind to the person on the road, in line or online.  As they say, we're all fighting battles no one else can see.  Be kind.  We're all in a bubble of circumstance or our own making.


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:

Follow me on Bloglovin. Some posts may contain affiliate links that help keep this blog running at no cost to you.  See the Disclaimer page for more info.  Copyright Success Along the Weigh.  All rights reserved.

Monday, August 14, 2023

"At Least She Didn't Suffer"

The following is a post on what may become a series.  If you have been through a death of a parent, consider this what the young'uns call a 'trigger warning' as it deals with the raw emotions of an unexpected death which includes cursing and not holding back my feelings about my experience.  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 with the most recent before this one being this one and this one.


If I heard those words in the title one more time during Mom's visitation, I was going to peel my skin off and run outside screaming.  I know people say stupid shit at funerals in a poor attempt to comfort you but this is the one that had the Mr and I giving each other side eye the most when trying to get through it.  I know you think that if an illness is brief, it must've been nothing more than inconvenient or mildly painful compared to the ups and downs of trying chemo, getting your scans and that whole process.  It's not.  If I were interested in burning my life down before leaving everything behind to start a new life in a different country, the next person to say that would've driven me to make this declaration:

"To those of you telling her family that at least she didn't suffer, shut the f*ck up!  I know you mean well, I know you think that because she "only" fought this for a month and didn't get to have chemo that she was somehow spared.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The families who were there every day keep a lot from you not just today but by our email and text updates.  We pretty things up to comfort you so that you don't have to endure the ugly truth of what we had to witness and process every day.  Days and nights of discomfort progressing to yelps of inconsolable pain that we had to helplessly watch with no way to relieve it.  Praying the pain meds or adjustments so she wouldn't get bed sores would somehow ease her suffering.  Us watching crippling panic attacks send her swirling into uncontrollable shaking as she processed each new piece of bad news delivered to her what seemed like every other day and having her admit that she cried at night alone so she wouldn't upset people.  Do you know what that does to your soul to hear that??  Then seeing her struggle and then be unable to communicate with us when she clearly had a lot she wanted to say that was important to her.  We watched her get neglected at a horrible facility for 2 1/2 days despite having a camera right at the end of her bed and finally had to call 911 to get her the hell out because her pain had gotten uncontrollable and they had no intention of helping her.  

For those of you crying hearing this, I haven't even begun to touch on how she spent the last three days of her life in so much pain screaming how she couldn't do it anymore, her anxiety and pain so high that a dose of fentanyl couldn't relieve it.  Listening to her trying desperately to get out an end of life checklist we would never be able to decipher.  Listening to the sounds she made as they found the "right" concoction to make the screaming and wincing stop only to be introduced to a new circle of hell knowing you were days or hours from her slipping away.  Me trying to comfort her with stories and memories and getting that treasured faint hand squeeze letting me know she can hear me.  Spending your last moments on earth with her trying to bring comfort with her favorite songs, apologizing for every shitty way you ever might've been to her over your life and agonizing over lost time.  Trying to send her off with words of comfort as your tears stream down her cheeks, knowing you will never see her again in the form you've always known.  You would never feel those arms wrapped around you again, see her sweet smile or call me sweetie.  So no, she didn't suffer for years but she suffered enough in those 30 days to fill two years.  For those of us who got to witness it, we saw enough haunting things both in and out of our control for us to suffer the rest of our lives.  So can your "at least she didn't suffer" bullshit because she did.  We are.  The only person who didn't was you.  Pray to God you or someone you love will never have to endure what she and we did for 30 days and find a new phrase.  "This sucks and I'm sorry" will suffice."

So yeah.  If you've ever uttered that phrase to a grieving family, please don't anymore.  I know it may have seemed well intentioned but you don't know what the person or family really went through.  Death is fucking messy and painful and there is not a person in my life that has died that has passed peacefully or miraculously in their sleep with nary a lick of pain preceding it.  That shit is fairy tales or movie fodder or saved for a lucky 1%.  So just say they were a wonderful person, this sucks and you have no words that you feel are adequate because you may be one well intentioned "at least they didn't suffer " from learning the truth.


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:

Follow me on Bloglovin. Some posts may contain affiliate links that help keep this blog running at no cost to you.  See the Disclaimer page for more info.  Copyright Success Along the Weigh

Friday, August 11, 2023

What I'm Reading This Week #32

Howdy do and happy Friday to you!!  Did you have a good week?  

A bad week?  

A week?  

I hope you were able to find small joys if it was a crap fest.  The frames for the interment service came.  Who knew you even had to plan one of those?  I planned the visitation/service and then I looked up 'what happens at an interment ceremony' and all of these ideas popped up and I'm like "well, even if it's small, she deserves another beautiful ceremony."  I'll go into details on that next week.  I promise this won't be an all death, all the time blog but I just have a lot I need to get out and the messages/comments really help when others have been through it.  As you know, we're greeting you from the land of numbness and denial which is, for me, turning into anger and irritability.  

I think the pressure of having to feel "on" for 5 weeks whether that meant being there for her, trying to advocate for her, trying to get some effing answers while the medical field wanted to play hot potato or 'not my problem', going from hope to no hope to WTF just happened has battered me more than I'm even able to convey.  I've had several friends who went through medical things with their parents say they have no idea how I'm still standing given the whirlwind of it all to her being gone.  I'll be honest, I don't know how either and really, I don't feel like I'm standing.  I feel like when you walk out of a pool after floating for a while and as you walk up the stairs, the gravity of your fat ass just seems 1000x heavier than normal.  

Now let's walk into:

11 Biggest Benefits of Walking to Improve Your Health  (It's going to have to be what we do to work some activity back in.)

7 things people with nice-smelling entryways always do  (Both Mom and Grandma's house had a distinct smell when you walked into their homes and you knew where you were just by smell alone.  Ours smells like nothing.  We can be gone and come back 3 weeks later and it smells like construction and despair.)

How to Sell Stuff You No Longer Need  (Looks like I'll have some of this in my future.)

A reading guide for grownups who don’t read  (I'd really like to get into reading more so this could help.  The next on my list is a read my dear friend got me called How to Carry What Can't Be Fixed: A Journal For Grief)

How to DIY an Apothecary Cabinet  (I'd so do this if I had room.)

How to help Maui fire victims: 6 things you can do right now  (PLEASE consider donating anything you can, even $5.  I think people think "oh they live in paradise, they don't need my help."  The LOCALS- those born and raised there- need everyone's help as they navigate now being homeless, losing family members and pets to the wildfires.  Our hearts are broken for you Maui and devastated at the loss of so many wonderful memories along Front Street which is now gone.  Kimo's, where we celebrated our 20th anniversary (and many other anniversaries), is no more and none of it will ever be the same.  I can't stop crying looking at the devastation and knowing the way we left it is not how it will ever be again.  Me ko makou aloha a malama.)

Miss some posts here this week?  Grab some tissues and catch up below:

I have zero idea what we're doing this weekend.  My subconscious brain says I need to clean the house as we have 5 weeks of "throw it on the floor/table/by the banister" all over the place but the body and conscious mind are like "EFF DAT NOISE!  If you ask me to do one. more. thing. I'mma revolt, yo!"  We also still have a hand rail laying in our living/dining room that's become part of the house now.  Maybe we'll have it installed by Christmas as my gift this year?  (This would mean I actually have to strip it the rest of the way and stain/seal it too and we see what a priority that's been without untimely death drop kicking the door down!)

Tell me something good!  What's on tap for your weekend?  I need some normal to aspire to!

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Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Putting the Fun in Funeral?


First off let me say thank you to the countless people who have commented both here and Facebook to give their condolences.  It really has meant so much to the both of us.  

The Mr and I were in shock after the previous days.  We drove down the street to her favorite donut shop and got chocolate cream sticks in her honor and to eat our feelings.  We began the 'must do' lists of who to notify including social security, her retirement, etc.  At the beginning of the month, I had already put a freeze on her credit through all three credit agencies so we wouldn't have that to deal with as well since people are scum balls.  Just when I was starting to come down a little, I got a call from an agency about her organs.  Shit.  I forgot she was an organ donor.  I am telling you this because you need to know that in the hours after your loved ones' passing, you will be getting a phone call(s) from places wanting to harvest what they can and let me tell you, that sucks.  I'm not poo pooing the gifts of life or any of that...we have a family member saved by someone else's gift.  But you need to steady yourself for that call because they have a very small window in which to do that and you'll have to deal with it whether you want to or not.  Definitely not what I was prepared to be talking to some rando about who told me he needed to speed it up because 'he had a busy day ahead of him.'  You know what?  No then.  How's that free up your day, mofo?

Then we had a decision to make.  Sit and stare at each other ugly crying all day or get lunch.  There was a festival going on that we had tickets to from June.  I thought it felt tacky or disrespectful to go but there was nothing but down time ahead of us so we went with the permission to leave if it felt wrong once we got there.  It was surreal.  Here we were, surrounded by people yucking it up, stuffing themselves silly with carnival eats, screaming and enjoying life while we were in the 'post death bubble.'  We'd been there before with the Mr's dad and grandma.  That zombie like state where you want to scream at the top of your lungs "why are you having fun and living your lives??!?!  Don't you know what we're going through!?!"  We walked around aimlessly, wondering if we'd ever find anything that would be appealing and settled on brats.  As we sat at a picnic table, a woman who had the same leg issues mom had with the same walker started making a beeline for us.  I will never forget the look in her eyes like she had to get to me; like she knew me.  I scooted over and said "do you need to sit?" even though she had the other side of the table she could've sat at.  She sat next to me and over the loud speaker that was previously playing classic rock, on came Doris Day singing Que Sera Sera and that woman started belting it.  Did I mention mom sang that to me all the time as a kid/teenager?  When it was over, the lady stood up and left and I burst into tears.  Mom was with us.  She approved that we were at the festival enjoying life on such a sad day.

The next day we went to the funeral home and with mom passing, so went the POA authority so all of the funeral arrangements were up to me.   A place that I didn't have a great feeling on was chosen prior to her death because it was a little less expensive and the POA's in-laws had been there.  Don't make that mistake when your gut is telling you something.  I wish I had not been so worried about ruffling feathers.  The guy basically chucked some price lists at us, asked us a bunch of questions that I felt were irrelevant, didn't explain much of anything about anything from the service to urn options.  He wrote us up for the wrong type of service and had to redo paperwork.  Then had to redo it again when the Mr spotted we could view the cremation for a fee and there was no way in hell I was sending her from this Earth without me there.  It was 90 minutes that should've been 30 tops for what we got.  I had zero faith these people were going to do a good job on her to the point I told the Mr I would need him to look at her before seeing her because I was not going to traumatize myself.  It felt like two dudes got left their uncle's funeral home and quit their jobs in accounting and running the Home Depot tool rental counter to see if they could give funeral directing a go.  The date thrown out by her sib for the service was essentially 3 days later with no option to extend an extra day.  That meant the slide show (which was thankfully mostly built) and music, memory boards, eulogy and obituary all fell on me to get done in two full days.  Sure, no problem.  😳

It was a LOT of work.  Writing the perfect obituary that sums up someone's life that gave just enough detail but not so long people would zone out took way longer than I thought it would.  Once you see that obituary published- shit gets real and your heart is ripped to shreds.  But time for that!  Then there's a lot of getting people to upload pictures I wanted used for both the slideshow and memory boards that you have no control over them getting with it or getting the ones you want.  Then trying to guesstimate timelines for slideshows and memory boards based on weight and hair hoping that you put things in the right order.  Staying up until 2-3am every night working on memory boards and making sure enough people are hopefully included that no one goes home all butt hurt over it.  Throw in the funeral home having a dipshit snafu that we had to run on the other side of town to rectify and then it's time for the visitation and service.  That should go smoothly, right?  Sorry.  Nothing about this has been smooth or easy.  We arrive early, no one is ready and we're greeted with Mom's earring has broken so she'll just have one.  I made it clear I knew they had special glue they could use and FIX IT.  These schmucks certainly were not putting the fun in funeral.  The Mr knew from the trauma of seeing my grandpa look so horrible just over 20 years ago that if she looked bad, I wouldn't really look at her so he agreed to look at her first.  Remember, we'd both seen her looking quite peaceful and beautiful at the hospital so we had that image in our heads.  He came over and even with a mask on, his eyes told the tale.  I asked what and should I not look.  He said she didn't look like she did in the hospital, overly made up so use my judgment.  I took pics of the flowers and when I made my way to her, I glanced a bit, looked away and patted her shoulder and said I loved her.  I would not really be looking at her again after that.  They did a terrible job.  They filled in all of her weight loss in her neck and I said "oh, she's pissed."  So they over filled her neck and underfilled her hands.  They claimed the overuse from makeup was due to skin darkening but research has shown given our time frame with her to the time she was moved, that should not have occurred.  The Mr said her earring was fixed but I never checked because I had no interest in looking at that side.  I didn't need the open casket.  I only agreed to it for those who saw her over the last two weeks of her life and needed closure.  I regret it but it's done.  We sat with her slideshows playing so we could harden ourselves to the soundtrack which included Kenny Rogers, John Denver's version of Let It Be and a lighter one that included Isn't She Lovely and We Are Family by Sister Sledge.  After 45 minutes on loop, I was impenetrable.

Then you have to go into "emcee mode" and host this big shindig where you're required to hold it together and comfort others when I always thought that was supposed to be their job for you.  Most people try to be comforting and share memories that warm your heart and that does help.  Then you have people say some stupid things that make you want to rip your hair out but you have to grit your teeth and act like you don't want to smack them upside their big, fat heads.  I'll post about that next week.  I did a little memory book I put together along with a tea box full of her favorite tea for others to enjoy in a moment of reflection of her.  Beside that was Grandma's Butter Ball recipe if people wanted to enjoy the two together.  I saw my dad's mom for likely the last time whom I had to console.  Her high school friends, old co-workers, friends old and new and all saying about the same thing.  How they would miss her big smile and kind heart.  Us too as we were always a recipient of that kind heart.  While the first half dragged, the second half, with the Mr and I's peeps, went by quickly.  Then it was time for her sibling's eulogy followed by mine.  I'd practiced it several times and found myself crying at different points so who knew how it would go.  I pulled off the four page eulogy without a hitch.  I had disconnected from everything around me.  My only focus was inflection and making sure I made eye contact with different areas of the room like I remembered from AP English junior year.  So many people said I reminded them so much of her as I delivered it.  A wonderful compliment, indeed.  Then people filed out and it was time to divvy up the flowers.  I purposely didn't put 'in lieu of flowers' because Mom deserved all of the flowers.  I took the ones from my two besties, a rando pink rose bouquet I liked and a wind chime from my old kindergarten bus driver that will be an interim marker at her grave until her stone comes in.  

I was asked what the heck was going to happen to the casket spray and I said I would take them to Grandma's grave where she will be interred and they liked the idea.  As we all went our separate ways after loading our cars, I began a slow decompression.  I asked the Mr how he thought it went as it began to barely drizzle enough to call it rain because I was having an out of body experience and can't recall much of it.  He said he thought it went great, he was proud of me and that all of my work over the previous few days really brought everything together.  I said I wondered how mom felt.  If I was able to honor her and do her proud.  Just then, I spotted something out of the corner of my eye and got my answer:

I'd like to think Mom was shining her approval with Grandma giving a nod right behind her.  There was zero reason for me to be looking that direction and after I saw it, the drizzle stopped like it had never happened.  We dropped off the flowers at the cemetery and within 5 minutes, Grandma gave one of her usual signs so she was pleased with her new pretties.

I would love to say it's all over but it wasn't.  It was a long, stressful, bittersweet stretch of time where I didn't know if I was coming or going in addition to the loss and how fast it all happened.  I hope at minimum Mom thought I did right by her in the things I had control over.  

Every last bit of it seems not remotely real that she has been gone for just over a week and yet here we are...with more ahead of us.

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