on my own


Image: clevercupcakes via flickr

Image: clevercupcakes via flickr

I’m another year older. To be honest, I have no problem with getting older. Mainly because I truly don’t feel my age. Although, I’m not entirely sure what 34 is supposed to feel like. Nor for that matter what 33 was supposed to feel like.  I joke that I’m really only turning 24 since the 30’s are the new 20’s. Not that I feel like I’m 24, but I do feel more like someone in their late 20’s. I guess because I’m at a stage where I’m all about figuring out who I am and what I want to do with my life. That’s what you’re supposed to do in your 20’s. Unfortunately, I don’t think I had lived enough to figure out or know what I wanted to do with my life or who I wanted to be during my 20’s. Now that I’m older and wiser (?), I feel like I can actually work through that process. (more…)

Yes, it’s been awhile. I could blame life, but really I think it was laziness that got in the way of me posting.

Yes, life has been trying at times. Definitely some days that I couldn’t wait to get over with–specifically my mother’s birthday (May 9) & Mother’s Day (May 10). Yep, back-to-back. After I passed the 6-month mark in March, I think I became obsessed with how I would or wouldn’t get through that weekend in May. On the upside, I got through it with a trip out of town. I knew I couldn’t be home that weekend. I knew it would be too hard. Instead, I went to DC to spend it with my brother & a lot of really good friends, who for the most part did a great job of distracting me & keeping me busy. Admittedly, attending the wedding of one friend on my mother’s birthday was not ideal. It was a little hard to stand in the church & know that when/if I ever finally decide to get married, my mother won’t be there. That wasn’t a reminder I needed on her birthday. I had thought about skipping the wedding, but I knew I couldn’t. And in the end, as hard as it was to be there, I’m glad I was there. My brother & I dealt with Mother’s Day by essentially ignoring it. Sometimes, that really is the best way to deal with things.

I’m relieved to have made it through that weekend. These last 8 months of events/holidays to get through & get past  have been just that, things & days to get through & get past. Unfortunately, what I realized the day after I returned home was that getting through or past any of these events/holidays really doesn’t mean anything. Yes, I’ve gotten though the one, but there are a lifetime more to come. This just keeps going. Yes, I will admit that today was better than yesterday; but the reality is, however many days, months, or years pass between the day my mother died & where I am, the fact remains, she’s still not here.

God, depressing. I so didn’t mean for this post to be such a downer. (more…)

Image: Inma :) via flickr

Image: Inma 🙂 via flickr

I don’t know where I’ve been, but I’m back.

Weeks 24-27 & number 28 today. They came & went. One just blends into another these days, so I guess I can just let them go without saying much more.

The 6 month mark didn’t pass by as easily. The day was blah. Tears were shed. I finally realized I do most of my crying while driving. Sunglasses help to keep the other drivers from wondering what the hell is wrong. I’ve been able to drive through it; only once in the last 6 months have I had to pull over. Anyways, I’ll get around to writing a post for that day. But for now, I survived it. I guess that’s the important part. The main observation to come out of it was how quickly & how slowly time has passed. And now I get to look forward to 1-year. Fuck.

On the writing front, things have gone really well. I took another writing class this past quarter (just finished last week). As I wrote in my last post, I got incredibly good feedback from my instructor. The positive feedback started with my editing skills and then extended into really great comments on my writing & my novel. The course focused on writing & rewriting the 1st 50-pages of your novel. So, I really feel like I came out of it with a good start, with material that should carry me forward. I had my weaknesses pointed out & spent the course addressing them. I feel like I know how to overcome them now which is great. (more…)

The decision to blog about the aftermath of my mother’s death was difficult. Grieving is incredibly personal. But in those immediate days & weeks after the only thing that still felt right was to write. I could have taken to my journal & kept my words to myself, but I’m glad I didn’t.

I’m not one to easily talk about my feelings. But the moment I was thrown into this experience I realized that few people understood what it’s like. You don’t know until you’ve been there. I guess I wanted to share my experience in case it could help someone else. But, through this blog I’ve not only been able to keep record of my good & bad days, but I’ve been able to know I’m not alone–even though, I know I’m not alone. I have incredible family & friends who help get me through. Still, it sometimes takes a stranger to put into words what you can’t.

I so appreciate Carol from My Sydney Paris Life for her comment to my post about the 5 month anniversary of my mother’s death. She apparently found my blog through the blog of a good friend of mine. Carol quoted a few lines from a poem written by Donald Hall that put into words the reality I’ve been struggling with all these months. The poem, Distressed Haiku, is about the death of Hall’s wife, but it is this stanza that Carol left for me that says it all:

You think that their
dying is the worst
thing that could happen.

Then they stay dead.

You can find Hall’s complete poem here.

Image: flattop341 via flickr

Image: flattop341 via flickr

Friday, the day before, 5 months, was harder than today.

For the most part, the day was busy. I had my writing group in the morning & then spent the late afternoon & much of the evening at the birthday party of a family friend. “B” is the younger sister of my oldest friend. She, with my friend, & their mother, were the first people here the day my mother died. “B” has proven to be a life-saver. She has helped me with walking the dogs in the last few months. Even before I dislocated my knee, I couldn’t walk them together. Leo & Teddy travel at two decidedly different paces. Leo loves to run. Teddy is content with a just the car ride & seeing the park. He prefers to kick back & lounge in the grass. So, “B” has been there to fill in the gap my mother’s loss left. She used to walk Teddy, while I ran Leo. “B” was also the one who dropped everything the day I had to take Teddy in for surgery & stayed with me until we knew for sure he had made it through surgery. It was good to be there to help her celebrate, but the unfortunate thing about any family event with her family is the noticeable absence of my mother. She would have been there. She was always there for parties, special occasions at their house. But still, it was a nice way to pass the day even if it did suck on some level.

But I’m learning that’s how it goes. Every day, every thing, even if it’s good or ok, still sucks on some level.

Image: Leo Reynolds via flickr

Image: Leo Reynolds via flickr

Five months.

I actually woke up crying. Not a great way to start the day. Luckily an old friend from high school was in town, so we were meeting up with another of my good friends for a late breakfast. We ended up hanging out for about 4 hours, which was a great way to distract myself from the day. I did ok the rest of the day. Enough to keep myself busy. I guess I should see it as a good thing that I was able to get the crying out of the way early in the day.

Today was actually the birthday of one of the friends I met up with today. The unfortunate thing is that my mother died on her 5-year wedding anniversary. My friend, “A”, actually knew my mother well. “A” got the call about my mother in the middle of celebrating her anniversary with her husband. She was here within the hour of me finding my mother & spent the rest of the evening here at the house with everyone else until she had to go home to her 1-year old son.

I guess I’m hyperaware of dates & connections. Saturdays. The 20th. I wonder when that will stop.

avlxyz via flickr

Image: avlxyz via flickr

I’ll gloss over the fact that today is Valentine’s Day. I don’t buy into it. Ok, I’m currently single which could be coloring my view of the whole thing, but I digress.

21 Saturdays now. Not any easier. I made an effort today to try & do something I would normally have done on a Saturday afternoon. More often than not the last 21 Saturdays I’ve found myself at home around the time that I found her. My writing group ends at noon, & I’m usually home by 1 to check on the dogs, & then I just tend to get stuck at home. I don’t have the motivation to do much on Saturday afternoons–especially right around that time. If someone invites me out for that time period, I’m fine. But if left to my own devices, I seem to find myself here. Sometimes I’ll read, sometimes TV, sometimes just sitting outside, sometimes on the laptop; but here. So, today, I made an effort. I went & wandered around a bookstore for the afternoon; something, I oddly don’t think I’ve done in months. I know I have been in bookstores in the last 21 weeks. I have the books & magazines to prove it. But I don’t think I’ve just wandered as I would have any other Saturday afternoon before. So, today I did. I found a couple books to add to my to read list: (more…)

Leo Reynolds via flickr

Image: Leo Reynolds via flickr

20…so much time, but really so little. All a little weird. None of this feels right.

I think I’ll blame the weather. These days the rain just seems to do me in. Mix it with a Saturday & I don’t know how I get through it. Can you have Seasonal Affective Disorder just on rainy days? Because I’m beginning to think I do. Thank God I don’t live in Seattle! I think it’s supposed to be sunny by Tuesday. Just in time.

Some updates:

  • Teddy is doing great. I’ve weened him off the pain meds & he’s alert & himself. Lab results did show he has an infection in the bladder wall, but that just means a longer course of oral antibiotics. He gets his sutures out on Thursday. Still incredibly grateful that he made it through all this. And still utterly surprised.
  • Leo had chemo last Wednesday–the injectable. Again, no side effects. He’s doing well. So, he has the next 2 weeks off, & then will get a dose of Lomustine–the oral chemo drug.

Oh, & finally, pics…

Teddy

Teddy

Leo

Leo

mav1234 via flickr

Image: mav1234 via flickr

Saturday was rough. Mainly because of Teddy. I spent the better part of Friday night & all day Saturday trying to get his meds & schedule right. Originally the vet had prescribed his pain meds for every 8-hours. The problem was they were wearing off at about hour 6, which made it hard at hour 8 to get him to take the food with his pill. So, the vet agreed that we could go every 6-hours which is working much better; although, the current schedule has me giving meds at 2 & 3 in the morning. Needless to say this is cutting into my sleep.

I hate to admit this, but I was totally the over-wrought parent. I called the animal hospital every couple hours for one thing or another–including a 3 AM phone call. Luckily they were very nice & answered all my questions–& never suggested that maybe I should be the one taking the sedative.

So, I ended up spending the day at home; only going out to grab dinner quickly.

Taking care of Teddy like this brings up a lot of emotions. Even though he’s the “family” dog, he was first & foremost my mother’s dog. He would follow her everywhere–including barging in on her in the bathroom. When she went to bed, he trotted to bed behind her. He slept in his bed next to hers. He got up when she did, & not until she did. Luckily, he’s been ok without her. But I know that has a lot to do with me keeping his routine & environment the same. And I guess he probably thinks of her absence the same way I do–a really long trip.

…but today is Sunday, & Teddy, Leo, & I had a much better day. Teddy was much more alert today. He even went for a very short walk today. His appetite was also better. So, today was better.

Saturday was rough, but we got through it. I got through it. One day at a time. One week at a time. What else can you do?!

Image: mav1234 via flickr

I just brought Teddy home 2 hours ago.

I went to see him twice yesterday. Once in the morning when Leo was there for a regularly scheduled blood test to see how he reacted to the first dose of the Lomustine & to make sure he was okay for next week’s injectable chemo treatment. All clear for him.

So, while Leo was in back, they put me in an exam room with Teddy for a visit. He was definitely out of sorts, but walking around & somewhat alert. They said he’d gotten through the night with no problem & their goal at that point was to start tapering the IV pain meds he was receiving & getting him to eat. They asked me to try & feed him with the dog food & chicken baby food they had. He wasn’t having it. He usually gets chicken & rice at home or a canned food–but it wasn’t the canned food they were peddling him. They also thought he might be refusing the food because the IV meds suppress appetite. So, they asked me to come back later in the day with his food & they would have time to taper the meds in the hope that he would eat. So, I went back around 4PM. It was quickly obvious they had decreased his pain meds. He was whining more than I’d ever heard him & of course refusing food. He won’t eat if he’s uncomfortable or sick. So, the doctor agreed to up his dosage again & to try & feed him his own food again later. By 9PM when I called to check with the vet tech, he said Teddy was more comfortable, even sleeping, but still hadn’t eaten; but he would try to get him to eat again throughout the night. (more…)

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