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.





doggie would call, if only she had thumbs

27 10 2010

Is there a magic ratio of who-calls-whom, and how often?

Or is it that the younger one always has to be the one to call the older one? Family-wise, that is.

Mother never called. NEVER. But would get upset if you didn’t call every so often. But also upset if you called TOO often. *sigh*

The reason I bring it up, is because I see the same pattern starting with at least 5 “new” family members.

Then again, maybe they’re trying to tell me something, only I’m not bright enough to *get* it!

Sure would be nice if it wasn’t always a one-way street. Even just once. Maybe that’s why people have kids– grow yer own, so to speak.

Leeloo sure wants some lovin’ though. And that’s enough for now.





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.)





rewind blip

26 06 2010

One year ago today was a Friday. I’d taken the afternoon off, and my sistah-gurl Delightful and I were fetching bawdy provisions for another close friend’s weekend bachelorette soirree at a lakehouse. I had wicked cramps all weekend, and was clawing my way into being sociable, but managed OK (I think). I adore the gals, and wouldn’t have missed it for the world, and fortunately our idea of a bawdy evening mostly consisted of Michael Jackson dancing and Ouija board shenannigans. Oh yeah, and Amish butter. (That stuff is like crack.)

It was also the day that mother went into the hospital for “back pain”, but I wouldn’t know it until a few days later. (And I wouldn’t know about the cancer, or the falling, or any of the rest of it for a goodly while even after that.)

I still don’t have the real details about why/when/how this first hospital stay really started, only snippets and fragments that I’ve pieced together in some kind of mosaic picture. I’ve thought about my side of the experience (how could I not?), but what strikes me now is how unsure and unsettling this particular day must’ve been for her. Other than maternity stuff, she’d never stayed in a hospital, or had any surgeries, or anything prior to then.

She had to chose to rely on a (very dear) neighbor to bring her 60 miles to the hospital, and stubbornly kept the whole thing a secret. Looking back, we know now that the tumors were affecting her brain at this point, but oh the burden that must’ve been on her and her kindhearted friend. That German stubborn streak runs deep, and she would never admit she was frightened, but she had to have been scared shitless.

And despite the best neighbor/friend/angel that was helping her out, she must’ve felt very alone, too.

She lived by herself for so long, and was so damned Independent (with a capital I), that it bit her in the ass. I confess, I tend to be Independent a bit myself too, but the lightbulb is starting to flicker on for me sometimes– so some independence is a good thing, but is too much really fear (Oh yeah? I don’t need you FIRST.), arrogance (I’m so wonderful I can do it myself…), anger (…screw you very much), or just plain ignorance (dunno whatcha dunno) in disguise? So I’ve tried to purposely be a little less Independent. It’s tough. I’m working on it. And I fail sometimes. But what’s weird is it’s allowed me to finally start to see the support that’s been around me the whole time.

*sigh* Who knew?  (Yeah, I know: YOU knew, but I was clueless.)

Why in hell she didn’t let me know then (or before then) what was going on will always baffle me. I’ll keep struggling and hopefully continue to make progress finding harmony around independence myself. I just wish she could’ve too– that pigheaddedness means she missed out on a lot of goodness.

You might not’ve learned it for yourself, Momma, but because of that, you accidentally helped teach it to me. Thanks. I’ll keep trying to learn, promise.