So, one way to avoid Christmas…dislocate your knee cap…not intentionally, of course.

Yep. Ever well-coordinated me managed to loose my balance while putting my jeans on this morning and fall, dislocating my left knee cap in the process. Smooth, I know. This meant a trip to the hospital in an ambulance & about 2 hours in the ER.

I have experience with this injury. I dislocated my other (right) knee cap when I was a freshman in high school (eeks, like 18 years ago! Wow, that long ago?!?!). I did it on the last day of gym class right before summer vacation started. Luckily my gym teacher was the physical trainer for the football team & she was able to pop it back in right then & there. Still, had to go to the ER & everything, but when your knee cap is sitting on the side of your leg, all you really want is for the damn thing to be put back ASAP!

Unfortunately, this time, I had 5 paramedics/EMTs & they refused to do it. They said I had to wait for the doctor to do it, despite my pleas. When I did get to the hospital, the doctor was able to do it fairly quickly after arriving. Thank God!! Seriously, the pain of having it popped back in is absolutely nothing compared to it being out. Admittedly I was doped up on a good amount of morphine, but it really didn’t do anything for me. Made me a little woozy, but didn’t distract me from the pain like they said it would. Really don’t get why people drug-seek for the stuff. Not impressed.

So, now I’m home in a straight leg brace, on crutches, & vicodin as needed. More or less my knee feels fine–despite the fact that I can’t bend it, bear too much weight on it, etc. There’s just a slight throbbing/pressure pain that the vicodin I just took should help alleviate. Honestly, since I’ve done this before, it’s not too big of a deal. Although the fact that I’m on crutches & in a leg brace for at least a few weeks could prove to be a bigger deal. (I wonder if I can drive?…hmmm.) But for right now, I’m fine & choosing to laugh at the absurdity of this happening now.

My best/oldest friend was on her way to my house when this all happened (I was getting dressed so she could take me to pick up my car at the mechanic-luckily that turned out to be a minor repair). She rode with me in the ambulance & hung out at the hospital with me while my brother stayed home to take care of the dogs & wait for my father to drive up. She pointed out that this was “my 3rd thing.” You know, that whole “things happen in 3’s.” So, we have:

1. my mother

2. Leo’s cancer

3. my dislocated knee cap

So, I’m done according to her. Things can only get better. I choose to think she’s right & to laugh at the silliness of today–like razzing the paramedic who took 3 sticks to get the damn IV in me or telling them they were useless if they weren’t going to pop it  back in & to go get me a gym teacher. What else can I do? Cry. I will. I have. But I can’t do it forever & really I’m tired of focusing on the negative.

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You know, I’m really still waiting for all of this to sink in. Yes, there are constant reminders; and in those moments, there is a realness to it. But for the most part, it just feels like she’s on a long trip. When does that stop?

Today was a good-weird day.

Started it off at my writing group. I haven’t been in 3 weeks, so it was nice to get back. Most of our time was actually focused on writing, but I really only got a paragraph done, and I’m not even sure I like it. I’m struggling a bit with the beginning. I think I’m trying to get it right this time before I go too far forward. Right now it’s between one day & the next. I could jump forward or around & work on something else, but I really want to get this figured out because I don’t want to have to restart again. Also, I guess I’ve been having a little trouble focusing & getting in tune with my character this week. I really want to be over this lack of focus thing, & every time I think I am it just comes right back and kicks me in the ass.

At the end of the day, I guess I sould just be happy that I got 2 hours in of thinking about my story, even if there wasn’t much in the way of word count.

So, after writing group, I had lunch with an old friend from high school. We haven’t seen each other since we were 18. Yep, 15 years. So weird to begin with. Anyways, we reconnected through Facebook. I swore I’d never get on that thing, but I have to admit, in the 5 months I’ve been on I’ve reconnected with 2 friends that I had lost contact with & really had no clue how to get in touch with otherwise. So, very cool. Anyways. It was nice to see her, but it was weird. Right before a 3rd mutual friend showed up to join us (someone who I still keep in touch with, but whom she hadn’t seen), she tells me that her mother passed away 2 months ago. I hadn’t mentioned that my mother had as well until she said it. Before I got there, I wasn’t sure how to mention it or if I would need to. It’s definitely one of those weird things to bring up & just drop in a conversation. It’s kind of mood killer. We really didn’t talk about it because the 3rd person in our group showed up. The only thing I learned was that her  mother’s death was also sudden. It’s just weird to be sitting across the table from someone who really understands what you’re going through & who’s kind of at the same point in processing it. Yes, I have friends who have lost parents, but they’ve lost fathers. And not to devalue fathers–I love mine, but there is a diffrence. And there is something to losing someone suddenly. It’s differnet from losing someone due to long illness. With illness you get to say goodbye; there’s time to process what is about to come. I’m not saying it’s any easier; but it’s different. So, even though we didn’t talk about it today, it was just incredibly strange & comforting. I’m not sure where our relationship is going. We exchanged numbers & talked about getting together again soon. I did send her a message on Facebook saying if she needed to talk, to call me. So, we’ll see. It’s just weird that we’re both going through this & meet up again now.

I do believe there are no coincidences & people come into your life for a reason. So, we’ll see what this reconnection means.

One thing that did come up in our conversation was the fact that this new/old friend mentioned she was ready to get back out & date. I don’t know how much this has to do with the loss of her mother or to a relationship that ended a while back, but it brought up something I’ve been debating. The last deep conversation my mother & I had was the week before she died. The Saturday before we had gone to lunch & she ended up bringing up the fact that she really wanted to see me in a relationship & thinking about marriage. Now, usually my mother doesn’t butt in; but for some reason that weekend she did. There was even a comment about her being willing to fix me up. I said no thanks. Since I moved back here 5 years ago, I haven’t dated anyone seriously. Except for some ill-advised hook-ups with exes, who need to remain exes, I’ve been on my own. I’ve spent a lot of the last couple of years trying to figure out who I am, without needing to explain myself to someone new. I’ve met a couple of people & while I went out a few times with one of them, nothing really stuck. Just really wasn’t my type when it came down to it. So, now, I’ve been debating this whole dating/relationship thing. Yes, there is a part of me that wants to make a more concerted effort, but another part of me that is very conscious of the fact that I’m considering it because I don’t like being alone right now. And for me, that seems like a really bad reason to want a relationship. I don’t trust myself to make good choices right now. Even though I’m very self-aware, I could see myself choosing to be with someone just to be with someone, not because they’re the right person. So, I don’t know. Something to think about. At this point, I’m not going to over think it. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. But I’m a little wary right now.

My brother comes home for Christmas break in 3 days. I’ve never before been so excited to see my brother. It will be nice not to be in this house on my own for a couple of weeks. As okay as I am here, I am alone & as much as I used to love alone time, I’m over it.

Image: Leo Reynolds via flickr

Today I finally got back to the gym. Haven’t been since…. Not that there was any connection between the gym & my mother’s death. I guess it was just part of my old routine that for some reason I hadn’t yet reintergrated into my new routine. So, we’ll see how good I am about going. Fingers crossed. It’s good for me.

It’s pouring rain now; a novelty here in LA. While I usually love the rain, I’m not such a big fan right now. The fact that I just drove home in it in the dark doesn’t help to improve my opinion. It’s not exactly conducive to a happy mood. But still, I’m ok today. And the day is over any way.

Another one down.

Oh, and don’t worry, I haven’t forgot about the upcoming holiday. Thanksgiving. Honestly, I’m not too worried about it. Thanksgiving really hadn’t been a major holiday for us in a while. Plus, I spent 10 years away from home on Thanksgiving. I’m kind of used to a low key Thanksgiving. For the most part that’s what this will be. I will be meeting up with a couple of my uncles & my grandmother to go eat dinner out–our family tradition. Yes, I’m definitely going to notice my mother’s absence. This is her family. Besides, she hated eating out & last year swore she wasn’t going to do it again. It’s my grandmother who is against anyone cooking. She doesn’t see why anyone should go to the trouble. My mother had planned to make a point of either cooking for the family this year or doing our own thing without her family. But now, I’m going on my own. After that, I’ll probably go to a family friend’s for dinner with my father. There should be enough distraction there that I won’t notice, but at the same time, I know I will. There’s no sense in fighting it or thinking otherwise. What I’m really dreading is Christmas. But I’m not ready to go there yet. I’m putting those plans off until I have to make a decision. Honestly, I’d be happy if the next 4 weeks would just disappear from the calendar this year. No chance of that I guess.

Started the morning off with breakfast with 2 of my uncles (my mother’s brothers). My grandmother was supposed to be there, but she wasn’t feeling well. I come from a very small family, & one that’s not incredibly close. So, now I find myself not minding these Sunday family breakfasts. Even if they are a little early. We discussed my grandmother’s care & me essentially taking over my mother’s responsibilities. They were fine with it. It makes it easier to know they’re ok with it. I’m sure they don’t mind.

Then spent the rest of the afternoon taking my father to lunch & to a movie for his birthday. Totally low key. I don’t think it was lost on either of us when he said he realized that yesterday he was 63, & then all of a sudden today he was 64, another year older. My mother’s not going to get another year older.

We saw Quantum of Solace. I loved Casino Royale, so I really wanted to see this. I like the Bond franchise as a whole, but I’m more of a Daniel Craig fan. Anyways, the movie was better than the reviews made it out to be, but I definitely feel like I need to see it again to get it. I feel like I missed a few things here & there. I will admit, I do think they didn’t give enough emphasis to a few threads that were mentioned early on in the movie. But, overall, I liked it. Good distraction.

This evening I hung out at a friend’s place. Once my father left, I wasn’t really in the mood to be home alone. Felt like I needed to be with people & talking. Now, I’m home watching The Notebook (never seen it before) & typing this.

So, 2 days until Leo’s surgery. I’m not so worried about the surgery. From everything I’ve been told, it sounds like he’ll be doing okay within a couple of days. I’m staying positive & just repeating over & over: It’s benign. It’s benign. It’s benign. Good thoughts.

Currently listening to: Long Division by Death Cab for Cutie

Well, got 2,344 words today. So, I’m just over 5,500 words. Still woefully behind, but at least I did a good chunk of writing this weekend. The nice thing about this NaNoWriMo is that there are a total of 5 weeks this year. One more than usual. Weekends are the best time for marathon writing sessions to catch up, or at least make some headway.

The day started decently enough. Slept in for the first time in weeks. It feels like months since I last had nothing to do on a Sunday. While I have moments where I hate being alone, I find myself needing it nonetheless. I did catch up on some phone calls. Talked to my brother’s girlfriend. She brought up Christmas and an open invitation for us to spend Christmas with her family. That effectively brought my decent day to a crashing halt.

I spent the rest of the evening trying not to think about Christmas: the fact that my mother won’t be here, & the fact that I don’t have a clue what we are going to do. My family is very small. For the most part, Christmas was my mother, me, and my brother with her family thrown in for a couple hours, and my dad. I only ever missed one Christmas with my mother. I was 22 and I was studying for the year in Italy. I was ok with it. This is different. Then, I naively believed there would be a next Christmas. And at least there were 10 more. But now…. I’m trying not to think about it right now. But my mind wanders. I’ve had to yell at myself a couple times this evening, telling myself that I’m not going to cry. I’m not going to worry about this now. But of course, I still do. While my brother always spends sometime with his girlfriend’s family, the primary focus has always been our family. But now…. I appreciate the invitation, but I can’t fathom spending Christmas with her family. They’re nice people, but her parents are so different from my parents. Her mother is the antithesis of my mother. Her mother is politically conservative (Yes, a McCain supporter, complete with a framed & signed 8×10.), and a slightly fanatical Christian. My mother was incredibly liberal (She spent many years registered with the Peace & Freedom Party.), into New Age thinking, and followed Native American traditions. I know what’s really bothering me. The invitation reminded me that if/when my brother & his girlfriend get married & have children, her mother will be the only grandmother their children will ever know. That kills me. I hate that.

I can’t see my brother, my father, and me celebrating Christmas with them. Maybe we’ll stop by, but that can’t be the primary way we celebrate this Christmas. This is the first time I’ve thought, “I just want to skip the holidays, pretend they don’t exist.” I made it 7 weeks and 1 day before I thought that. I know we’re going to need to find some way to celebrate that feels right for us, for me. But I hate thinking about it. There’s plenty of time for me to obsess about it. I didn’t need to start today.

Image: mrlerone via flickr

My father decreed this morning that we would both have good days today.

I guess I kept up my end of the bargain.

It was a decent day. Spent most of it with my grandmother, taking her to a doctor’s appointment. My mother used to handle all this stuff; now I’ve taken it on. I could have one of my uncles do it, but my mother & I always felt that they weren’t exactly proactive when she had a complaint or ailment. I guess it’s the control freak in me that can’t let it go. But it’s also about wanting to keep up the standard of care my mother gave my grandmother, & being there for her now that her daughter is not. I realize that if this is as hard on anyone else as it is for my brother & I, it’s hard on my grandmother. She lost a daughter–her third & last daughter. She also lost the child she was probably closest to. I find myself clinging to her now. She’s 88 & has said she’s ready to go. Her health is decent for an 88-year-old. She still lives alone & gets around with only the help of a cane. She looks much younger than other women her age. Even if she’s ready to go, I’m not ready. At least right now. We were the bookends to my mother. I’m not ready to be left alone yet.

Crap, I’m crying. I wasn’t & now I am.

My father hasn’t filled me in on how his day went yet. I worry so much about how my brother & grandmother are handling all this that I forget that this has to be hard on him. Yes, they’d been divorced for over 20-years; but, in recent years they’d become friends again. I know for him her loss brings up alot of guilt and regret. He’s said as much. I’ve told him that whatever their issues, my mother had long forgiven him & let them go. For so long my mother was the primary (& sometimes single) parent. Now, it’s his turn. My brother & I might be on either side of 30, but we still need a parent to raise us.

Today was ok, but full of reminders. It’s hard.

I hate this.

Image: peasap via flickr

Let’s start out on a fun note. I saw Eagle Eye today. Hadn’t planned to see it, but must say it was quite good. Highly recommend. Nice distraction. Nice to have something mundane & even fun to talk about in a post.

…and now, because no post these days would be complete without me bumming you out…

The rest of the day…not good. Spent the morning having breakfast with my grandmother–my mother’s mother. At 88, she has outlived all 3 of her daughters now–one who died before the age of 2; another who died 20 years ago in her 40s; & now my mother. It hurts to see her have to go through this, even though she seems to be holding up well. Sitting across from her, I realized I will never see my mother at that age. She will forever be frozen at age 63. I can’t wrap my head around that.

Then spent the better part of the afternoon & evening with my father at the aforementioned movie, then a late lunch, followed by watching the Red Sox-Devil Rays game. I’m glad for the time spent with him & want to spend as much time with him as possible; but it constantly reminds me that my mother isn’t here.

Tomorrow is 1 month.

How is that possible? Seriously. Where did all those days between then & now go, because I don’t remember making my way through them. I know I’ve woken up every morning, eaten, done something, & gone to back to sleep. But I feel as if I wasn’t there for any of it. I’m not in my body. I’m not present. I’m not quite sure where I am.

I hate this.

Image: Barb Henry via flickr