Reality

  • It’s been almost 10 months since my mom died. I miss her every single day and find myself thinking that I need to call her to check in and see how she’s doing today.
  • Just typing that sentence brought tears to my eyes.
  • 10 months ago I experienced my very first ever anxiety attack. I seriously thought I was going to die. I had quite a few attacks that week. They are a very real thing and I don’t wish them on anyone. I still have one occasionally but with the help of my kids I’m able to get through them.
  • Beauty is back home and doing well. She’s going to school and working hard. I’m very proud of her.
  • MiniMe got another Citizenship Award a few weeks ago. I am so proud of the great young lady she is becoming.
  • I thought my RA was pretty under control but after meeting with the doctor a week ago I realized that it’s not as under control as it should be. This means switching medications and dealing with a different set of side effects.
  • I still love my job. I am learning new things all the time and so appreciate my boss and her generosity.
  • For the first time ever the girls and I are taking a really real vacation. Our usual vacations are to visit family, which IS a vacation, but not. This time we are going to Texas! Neither of the girls has ever flown so it should be an experience.

 

  • Not every day is easy but every single day is worth it.
Advertisements

My Thankfulness Post

I’m a little late, I know. But life has been a little busy. Ya know?

I’m thankful for my boss. This year has been a difficult one in a lot of ways but my boss has been understanding in ways I didn’t expect. She is also currently laying on a beach in Hawaii while we freeze our butts off here at home.

I’m thankful for MiniMe. Yes she’s a teenager now and that brings all kinds of angst but she is still my sweet girl and I love her.

I’m thankful for my girl Beauty. This has probably been the most difficult year of her life so far but she still continues to amaze me with her caring attitude and the love she shows her family.

I’m thankful for my brothers and sisters. Without them I would be lost.

I’m thankful for my nieces and nephews and cousins and aunts and uncles and all the rest of the extended family. They were so supportive when my mom passed away. Without them I’m not sure I would be here today.

I am thankful for all of my friends. You know how to make a girl feel loved.

I’m thankful that even though my mom is gone from our everyday life we know we will see her again.

I’m thankful this year is almost over. My birthday is in a couple of days so I can officially be done with this year. Turning 40 was painful a year ago but I’m happy to turn 41. Maybe it will be a lot less stressful!

 

A new reality

I haven’t posted much recently because everything I’ve written is sad and depressing and that’s so not what I wanted to do with this blog. Unfortunately that’s just the way my mind is working right now.

I want to be funny but find myself struggling not to cry most days. And that’s not funny.

I’m still adjusting to this new reality. You know, the one where my mom died and Beauty is in another state? Yeah, that’s been a lot of fun. NOT! I can’t help it. I miss my mom and I miss my girl. We talk on the phone almost every day which helps but it’s not the same. We have gotten to Skype a few times and that’s a little better but still not the same. I can’t touch her and give her a hug.

MiniMe and I will be going on a long weekend trip to see Beauty in a week and a half. I’m so very excited!!! We haven’t seen her since August when we went on our epic adventure and it’s been a looooooooooong 3 months. MiniMe misses her sissy a lot and can’t wait to see her. She’s not the only one! I’m also happy because I’ll get to see my sister who I haven’t seen since mom’s funeral.

With the holidays fast approaching we will have a whole season of firsts. I have Valium for the worst rough spots but I think I’ll be okay because I have the love and support of my family.

Oh yeah, and I’ve decided after almost 25 years to quit smoking! Please pray for MiniMe and I as we try not to kill each other during this time.

 

I miss her

Mom and I 2013

Mom and I 2013

Today marks the 4 month anniversary of my mom passing away. This morning my sister reminded me that this means that for 4 months Mom hasn’t been in any pain. She’s right. It also means it’s been 4 months since I last held her hand and told her I loved her.

Adjusting to this new reality without my mom has been really hard. Mom died on May 16th. On July 17th I put Beauty on a bus to Idaho. I’ve seen her exactly one time since then and that was a month ago at our family reunion. (That epic adventure will be told in a future post) A few weeks ago I met a friend for coffee and we ended up sitting and talking for 4 hours. Before we even got out of the car I made the comment “My mom died and 2 months later, almost to the day, I put my daughter on a bus.” My friend looked at me and just totally got what I was saying. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said “So it feels like you lost your mom AND your daughter.”

She was exactly right.

I know Beauty is safe and doing well and really needs to be where she is right now but I miss her so much. We have always had a very close relationship, something that I’m sure most single parents can understand. The bond we have is something like the bond I had with my mom. My dad died when I was 12 and from then on it was just Mom and I against the world. Well, that’s the way it has pretty much always been with Beauty and I. Us against the world. She has been my rock more times than I care to admit. She was there by my side as I held my mother’s hand and told her I loved her for the last time. She was there when I had to call the doctor because I was having an anxiety attack and thought I was going to die. She was with me when we had a service locally for all of the friends and family that couldn’t make it to the second service. She was with me when we drove all night to get to my sisters for the final service and graveside memorial. She was with me a month ago when I had to tell my mom’s sisters about the last week of my mother’s life. She was right there with me holding my hand and making sure I was okay.

Today is the day that I grieve for my mom and remember the amazing life she had. She made me who I am today and I can only hope that I’ve done half as good a job with my girls.

After Mom died a friend posted something on my Facebook that I struggle to remember every day. She told me to keep my chin up and a smile on my face so my Mama can see my beautiful face as she looks down from Heaven.

I love you Mom and I’ll see you later.

I love you Beauty and I’m so proud of you for the amazing young woman you have become. I’m so glad God made me your mom.

I love this girl!!!

I love this girl!!!

51 Days later…

51 days ago my mom passed away. I had what I can only call the most stressful week of my life so far. There have been good days and bad days in the last 51 days. Some have been easier than others and I know that will continue to happen likely forever. A week ago my niece and I got matching tattoos in memory of my mom. It was a pretty amazing experience and I’m glad we did it together. I haven’t been posting because every time I try to think of something to write, I feel like I can’t breathe so I stop.

I don’t want to turn this into a place where all I do is vent about how sad I am. That’s not who I am in real life so why should I let that be who I am on here? Father’s Day was really hard because that was the 1 month mark. But I got through it and I’m still here.

We started our Horse Camp season the first week of June and have been having a blast getting to know all the new families and being able to reconnect with old friends. My family does something we lovingly call “Horse Camp” every summer. We started 13 years ago when MiniMe was just a baby. I got a call from my brother asking if we wanted to come over after soccer practice and ride horses. That really is how we started. My niece and nephew started coming and I invited one of my co-workers one time and my brother invited the crew from his roofing business to bring their families out. Because we were doing this right at dinner time we pulled out the BBQ and started cooking up hotdogs. A few years later we had grown to anywhere between 20 and 50 people each Wednesday. One night my brother gathered everybody around and started telling a story about a cowboy named Cactus Jack. When I was in college a few years ago (well, more than a few but who’s counting, right?) I had to create a Powerpoint presentation and I chose to make mine about Horse Camp. I came up with the name Cactus Jack’s Hope Ranch because that’s what it’s all about for us. We have never done any real advertising, it’s all been word of mouth. We do have a Facebook page that I created this season that you can find by just searching for Cactus Jack’s Horse Camp. I’ll try to post a link later.

So that’s how the last 51 days have been for me. I still miss my mom, sometimes so much that I can actually feel a hole in my heart where she should be. But most days I “Just Keep Swimming” and breathe in and out until it doesn’t hurt so bad.

I don’t know how to do this

Life has thrown me some big huge curve balls lately and I can honestly say I don’t think I’m handling it very well. That being said, I’m not exactly sure how one is supposed to handle the amount of stress and tragedy I’ve been subjected to in the last few weeks so maybe I’m handling it just exactly right. I have no idea, but I DO know that this part just sucks!

My brother asked me the other day how I was doing. I answered him truthfully. In that very minute I really was ok. A couple of minutes later I was crying.

I miss my mom. A couple of days ago I posted that on Facebook. I hadn’t had much sleep the night before and I was super emotional. I ended up crying pretty much all evening. We had a video slideshow that we played at her service and I ended up watching that a couple of times. That just made it worse! I think it’ll be awhile before I can watch it again.

Last week a former co-worker was killed in a motorcycle accident. When I found out about it I had another anxiety attack. It just so happened that I was standing in a local pizza place at the time. Yeah, that was fun. The service for that amazing young woman was yesterday. I wasn’t sure I would be able to handle it but I think I did ok. I was able to breathe my way through an anxiety attack so that’s something anyway. My heart breaks for her twin sister. I know how hard this journey has been for me since losing my mom 25 days ago and I can only imagine that what she’s going through right now is even harder. Please pray for the family as they figure out this new life without their loved one.

I find myself being so afraid that something is going to happen to another person I love that I feel like I’m becoming an emotional wreck. I’m needy in ways I never have been in my entire life. I want to gather everyone I love close and not let them leave my side so I can make sure they’re safe. I know that isn’t reasonable so I keep it to myself most of the time but it’s always there. Is that normal? Again, I have no idea. Maybe it is… maybe everyone who’s been through this feels the same way.

I just know that pretty much every day is a challenge and I just want things to be ok. Mostly I want ME to be ok.

And I don’t know how to do that.

How am I?

Well, that’s just a loaded question right there.

In the last 12 days:

  • Monday – Beauty was admitted to the hospital with kidney problems again
  • Tuesday – My mom was admitted the following day to the same hospital with internal bleeding. I also had my first ever anxiety attack
  • Early Wednesday morning – My brothers and sisters and I had to make the decision to let mom go. I had another anxiety attack
  • Thursday – Mom passed away. I had 2 more anxiety attacks. It was also my step-dad’s birthday 😦
  • Friday – Beauty was released from the hospital because the doctor is an idiot. My sisters came from Idaho
  • Saturday – Had a service here for mom. Another anxiety attack
  • Sunday – Went to my old church (also the church my parents attended). It was good to see so many of those who have been praying for us but still hard to be there without my mom.
  • Monday – Worked all day and ended up taking Beauty back to the hospital to be re-admitted.
  • Tuesday – Worked all day after getting 2 hours of sleep in a chair at the hospital with Beauty. Doctor released her again because they can tell us what ISN’T wrong with her but can’t figure out why she’s still in so much pain. Really dissatisfied with our healthcare system right about now!
  • Wednesday – Worked all day, probably the most uneventful day I’ve had in a while.
  • Thursday – Got to see the little boy who is like my grandson. Haven’t seen him since Thanksgiving. He’s growing so much! **I didn’t cry for the first time in a week!!!**
  • Also Thursday – A truck with an oversized load hit a bridge on the freeway about 30 miles from where I live and the bridge fell in the water. Thankfully nobody was seriously injured! Bad news for me is that I have to drive that way today after work! Yep, that will be fuuuuuunnnnn!!!! NOT!
  • Today is Friday and after work we are leaving for Idaho for a second service and burial for my mom. Good news is that I have Valium!
  • Tomorrow is Saturday and we will be having the above mentioned service for family and friends that weren’t able to come to the first service. I expect I will cry a really lot.
  • Sunday we will be driving back home.
  • Monday I will sleep and clean my house that I’ve barely been at in the last 2 weeks.
A very sick girl and her very sick Grandma

A very sick girl and her very sick Grandma

During the last 2 weeks I have learned just how amazing my friends are. I can’t thank you guys enough for being there for me during this difficult time in my life. Y’all know how to make a girl feel loved!

Starting Over

Someone recently asked me “Are you happy?”. That question made me stop and think. In the last year:

  • I turned 40
  • I lost my home
  • Lost my job
  • Found a new home and a new job that I love
  • Said goodbye to some people
  • Reconnected with some old friends
  • Purchased a different vehicle
  • Started a new blog
  • Felt heartache and loss
  • Discovered joy in things I hadn’t thought about before
  • Discovered Pinterest and learned  how to make my own yogurt
  • Learned that sometimes people aren’t what they seem

Am I happy? Well, I’m not unhappy so that’s something, right?

When I was a little girl, like pretty much every little girl since the beginning of time, I dreamed what my life would be like when I grew up. I pictured myself married with 2 or 3 kids, raising my family in the house with a big yard surrounded by a white picket fence. That’s about where my fantasy ended. I never thought beyond that. I’m pretty sure most little girls back then didn’t. Then my life got turned upside down. My parents told me we were moving to a different state. My 9 year-old self was devastated. We all survived the move and I survived starting a new school that had more kids in 3 classrooms than there were in the entire school in my hometown. It wasn’t an easy transition but it was a fresh start and we made it work.

Then my world got turned upside down again. Two months before my 13th birthday my dad died. Talk about devastation! I was a daddy’s girl and pretty much my whole life revolved around him. I once again had to figure out how to start over and get through life without the most important man in my life. My mom did the best she could and I will always be grateful to her for trying to make sure our lives went on. I’ve been a single mom for 19 years now and I now have a small idea how hard that must have been for her.

When I was 19  met the guy I thought was “the one”. I was wrong!!! I didn’t listen to my family or any of my friends when they tried to tell me. I ended up pregnant and alone. I had to learn how to be strong because I didn’t have a choice. If I wasn’t there to advocate for myself and my child, nobody else would do it for me. That child is now 19 herself and I see a lot of myself in her. It scares me to death!

Thirteen years ago I gave birth to my second miracle. We had to start over with a new person to care for and love. It hasn’t been easy but it’s been worth it.

In my 30’s I went to college for a fresh start. I had big dreams of landing a job in the field I had been trained in. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I ended up working at Walmart just to pay the bills.

Last year I landed a great job working in a totally different field that I frankly knew nothing about. I love it! For the first time in my life I feel like I have truely earned the respect I so badly wanted growing up!

Not everything is as I had hoped it would be but I feel like I’ve been given a fresh start this year and I don’t plan to waste it!

Reflection

I haven’t posted anything for a few days because I’ve been leading up to this one.

On this day 27 years ago, my life irrevocably changed. I was a child and I watched my dad die.

That’s not something any child should ever have to experience. Death of a parent is hard any time it happens, whether it is natural causes, accidental or illness. Going to bed, falling asleep thinking about tomorrow but getting woke up in the middle of the night because there’s something really bad happening… sucks. When you’re a child, you think your parents are going to live forever. When something happens and you lose one of them, it changes everything you ever thought you knew about life.

I wonder how different things would have been for all of us if he had lived. There are 15 of his grandkids and great-grandkids that he never got to know. Home much would my life be different if he hadn’t died that night? Would I have made the choice to start a relationship with an older man simply because I was lacking that love in my life? I have to believe that I would still have ended up there because if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have my children who mean everything to me. Would he be disappointed in some of the major life decisions I’ve made or would he be proud of the woman I’ve become? Would he look at my oldest daughter and see how much like him she is? Would he see the similarities between my youngest daughter and myself?

Things would be very different in my brother’s life. The reason he met his wife is because my mom belonged to a support group and met a man. We had a BBQ and met his 2 daughters. One of them ended up becoming my sister-in-law. If my brother had not met her, he would not have the 2 children he does.

My mom would not have met and married the man who became my step-dad. He is a good man and he loves my mom. Both he and my mom are aging and have some of the health problems that come with that. How much different would our lives be if he had not come into her life?

Would I have gone on to have the singing career I dreamed about? My dad is the one who gave me my love of music and the joy of singing. I remember every time we got in the car for long drives my dad and I would sing. My mom wold just listen because she couldn’t carry a tune but my dad just had an amazing voice that I loved to sing with. He taught me lots of songs, including the one that got me 1st place in a talent show! Would he have encouraged me and pushed me in a ways that no one else did?

This morning one of my daughters friends gave birth to a baby girl. As I mourn the loss of what could have been, I rejoice in the new life that begins today.