it’s not about YOU, it’s about THEM

25 01 2011

When someone’s horribly injured, or terminally ill, it seems I hear an astonishing number of people say that they didn’t go see someone because they don’t want to remember someone “that way”.

Horse-shit.

I’m all for honoring yourself and your limits, but come on. Get over yourself. Yes, I clearly remember her discomfort, her puffy face, her scant scraggly bits of remaining hair, the flaky grey skin that wasn’t quite hers, and even at the end: her struggles, sweats, and gasps.

Yes, that memory is very clear. Crystal clear. But so what?

I loved her. Any discomfort I might have of what images might linger wasn’t diddly squat compared to what she was up against. There are loads of other memories. It wouldn’t have even crossed my mind to NOT be there. How could it?

She needed comfort. Most especially right at those very moments. And what a privilege for me to be able to be there and hold her hand, stroke what was left of her hair, breathe with and maybe even FOR her at times, and speak soothing memories and comforts to her as she endured the pain and fear until she was freed into the big peaceful unknown. Most of us aren’t so lucky– squashed on the highway, heart-attack alone, and if you’re one of the lucky ones you’re in a home for years and years only to end up choking on the mashed peas– I just hope I’m as lucky to have that kind of love surrounding me when it’s my time.

As awful as those long minutes were, and as much as I wanted them to pass, both for her to be out of discomfort and for myself to be out of it too, at the same time I wanted to hold onto every last precious second we had together.

So yeah, I remember. Some may call those images ugly. And I suppose they are in some ways.

But I see it differently.

Sure, I still cry when those images come. Because they were beautiful.

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i get on my own nerves too, don’tchu worry

19 01 2011

I’m an only child.

Well, sorta.

I do have a baby half-brother. He’s a full 15 years behind me, so in essence, we’re BOTH only children. I was out of the house before he was out of diapers, plus mother was a completely different person by then, with different circumstances, etc, as you might guess.

So now that she’s gone, I’ve become the matriarch, and therefore also the mother figure. Which is fine. Really. He’s really one of the sweetest souls I know. He’s got his own problems and gets in his own way, but then again don’t we all?

Point being, I confess: sometimes it’s hard to not be annoyed. And DAMN, I know it shows, no matter how hard I try for it not to.

It’s my problem, not his. I didn’t have the prep time of having the baby/toddler/kid/tween/teen progression beforehand, I just skipped straight from baby to Young Adult. And my official “I’m Practicing Kindness” mindset this year mandates that I not only of course show kindness and patience to him as his inner-self grows to match his size 13 shoes, but also that I show kindness and patience to myself as I adjust too.

Just the same, it makes me realize that what I found mildly irritating, is likely because on some level I cringe that I probably used to do whatever that is too (and please GAWD, hopefully I have grown out of it otherwise I wouldn’t be recognizing it in him when it goes awry.). All minor things, none of which are a crime of course, but still, *sigh*.

And yeah, even still: every now and then, just like watching him, I also watch myself. I see my own lips flapping, and I am powerless to stop my own annoying self. I’m choosing to find it “mildly, charmingly, annoying”. (I’m trying really hard here, work with me…)

Pesky “witness”.

Phone conversations rather than face-to-face might have something to do with it, but fortunately so far, I think I’ve been pretty good with him not noticing the occasional eyeroll.

The Witness agrees.

(whew)

And that is all for tonight.





one last thing

18 08 2010

It may not appear so at first glance, but this is the best funeral song, EVER.

All my life, she always said she wanted to go out with a brass band. Those aren’t easy to come by in the middle of a rice field, so the best we could come up with was an impromptu boombox, graveside, with a little Gladys Knight & the Pips.

Why, you ask?

Every spring cleaning, she’d hard-wax the wood floors, put me on an old wool army blanket, and sping me around on the floors to buff ’em, with old Motown blaring.

So last year, this came on in a random shuffle, and the dam broke. And there it was.

Holy hell, she would’ve LOVED the boombox-funeral bit. Use your imagination, and you can see her grinnin and swinging me around. Shiniest floors, ever.

Anyone else wanna wax some floors?





just another lap around the sun…

18 08 2010

me and momma - circa 1976-ish

… makes the sky a little brighter.

And no, it’s not my birthday. 🙂

(Yeah, I know, I know. I disappeared again. 😦 But only for a little while.)

It was all coming to a head one year ago. One year ago this past Saturday, One Tough Lady passed away. And one year ago today, we buried her.

Last year on my birthday is when she “spilled the beans” that she was sick, so between 7/15 this year and now, I’ve somehwat been reliving all of it, day by day. Even though I knew I was, I’ve been burrowed deeper into the fog than I realized I guess.

Earlier today, that fog that I was mostly unaware of this past month… lifted. In what seemed like an instant. I stopped dead in my tracks, for no reason. Not upset, just ginormous Pause button. And wouldn’t ya know it, it was about 2p, which is about exactly one year later, to the minute, of when we buried her.

I’m beyond awed of the quiet a swarm of friends stealthily surrounding me this month. I’m not sure I noticed it at the individual moments, but I’m so full of gratitude to have found such fantastic people– everywhere. From the nice stranger in Office Depot’s parking lot, to friends old and shiny-new, and to my poor taken-for-granted hubby this past month– there’s been a lot of love goin’ around. I tried to find the words to express my gratitude for that last year, but they still fall short of doing it any justice.  

No big reveal, or pithy moments, or dialog. So I feel… well, I dunno. Maybe it’s just that: I FEEL.

That’ll hafta do. (And I’m good with that.)





un-press the pause button, it’s on again

29 07 2010

Press play.

Less going on than usual, but still lots on my mind. Expected this week to be horrible, as it’s the One-Year-Later, and it is, but it’s also not. Horrible, that is.

Let’s see…

  • One year ago today, we were having Craig’s BBQ. Her choice. 🙂 It was a great day.
  • Two days later would be the day we loaded her into the ambulance, and after that she was unable to communicate. Two more weeks would pass and were making this very decision.
  • Back to the present: Last week, I went to the global company meeting-marathon to get a dose of much needed Kool-Aid. (I really do like this thing, I’m merely being tongue-in-cheek with my snark.) The minute I left town, the attorney finally sent over the estate closing docs. And I couldn’t do a damned thing about it until I got back this week.
  • So now that I’m back in town, I sat down with the docs. Two days ago, I signed the last papers for closing out mother’s estate. It hasn’t rained in forever, but that day– it rained like hell. And then… a rainbow. I haven’t seen one in I can’t REMEMBER how long. Go figure.
  • About that conference? It’s the same one that I missed last year– and the irony of the attorney’s timing with sending the docs is that the minute I got on the road to go to it last year, I ended up heading west instead, and staying for 6 weeks straight. (With that not-so-happy ending for mother.) So going this year, was like unpressing that pause button.

Next week? Going to study with a couple of fantabulous yoga masters for a week long intensive. And get this: Day 1 of travel is the exact one year later of when she went into the hospital for her final stay.

With the way the timing has been lately, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the courts post those final estate docs exactly one year to the day of her passing.

Maybe the Pause button makes it appearance again over the next couple of weeks. (Especially through the 14th.) But good to know the Pause & Play button are one and the same.

Yep, I’ll keep pressing the button. Pause, Play, or Clear, either way. Eventually I’ll end up on Play.

Keep pressing.





blech

14 07 2010

A year ago tomorrow, I found out mother had some kind of cancer, only she wouldn’t tell me what kind.

She also wouldn’t allow her docs to talk to me at the time.

I was in France.

It was my birthday.

Not sure how I’m going to feel about that tomorrow.

I’ve been somewhat reliving bits & pieces from last year already. I’m sure from tomorrow on through 8/14, I’m really going to be *in* it. So do bear with me if I get a little maudlin.

I’ll also try to find the good bits too. Because believe it or not, there were aplenty.

But for today, the good bit is, I got to BE there.

And what a privilege.





yeah, because I’m the weird one….

2 07 2010

 

One of my Crazy Cousins on my momma’s dad’s side  (let’s call this one Crazy Cousin. As in the Original. Hey! We’ll call her OCC!), sent me an image of an obituary from one of my mom’s mother’s crazy sisters. Well, Mema’s other sister was quite a demure lady. This particular one was hell on wheels. In the best way possible. We’ll call her Great-Go-To-Hell-Hat-Aunt, or G2H. The fourth sibling was the baby brother – Great Uncle Army Colonel man. Funny, but an over achiever. (Stories for another day.)

Still with me?

It sparked some memories– what’s funny to me, is that somehow it’s ME that’s the weird one?

Some things I shared with O.C.C.:

Aunt G2H was a hoot. You may not have ever met her but a handful of times, but I bet you probably remember Uncle Colonel (Mema’s baby brother)—he’d come visit mother every now and then, and go fishing on the farm. The point of telling you that is: Aunt G2H looked remarkably like Uncle Colonel in a dress.

Aunt G2H’s self-appointed job was to go to the public courts every day. Every. Day. Her mission was to make sure that people with public defenders were getting a fair shake. I’m sure she was hell on wheels about THAT.

One memory: Mema and I went to Indiana to visit her when I was about 6. Wintertime. Snow everywhere. Very proud of my orange parka with blue stripes around the arms (oye vey– circa 1978, gimme a break), but was still freezing my tail off. Farrell’s Ice Cream was pretty popular in most malls at about that time—we ended up there for lunch one day on the visit, and the servers come around the corner, banging a humongous marching band bass drum, singing Happy Birthday to someone named Tiffany, some weird ice cream conglomeration with a candle, the whole works. Well lo and behold if they didn’t end up right at our table, directing all that right at me. Meanwhile Aunt G2H is doing her best to act surprised (Yeah RIGHT), and Mema is twisting her head like a tennis match: to them, to G2H, to me, to them….

I never did know why she told them my name was Tiffany though. I guess to ensure it was a surprise. And my birthday? Yeah, NOT in the wintertime.

And that doesn’t even count her go-to-hell hats she used to crochet. Red ones. Sometimes with beer cans cut up, hole-punched, and imbedded. Her sense of irony and snark was fully developed.

And did I ever mention she knitted my Lovey a penis warmer when we got married? The design was a cylinder (slide on), with a sack at the bottom for the balls, plus a removable “lid”  that was tethered on (so I guess you didn’t lose it when you removed the lid to pee). I have NO idea where that dang thing is—I should have my knitter friend whip up a replacement.

Gee, did I mention she was a hoot?

Yep. Those are my peoples. No wonder I’m weird.