joannebest











{November 6, 2015}   Letting Go, Slowly

dadmomDad and Mom pre-marriage
bestparentsMom and Dad in Branch Brook Park, Newark NJ

I have two choices.
I can either continue to wallow in grief and despair or I can move on and try something else like, say, living my life before I myself drop dead.
I’m starting to lean towards the second, more alive version of me.
Don’t get me wrong, my heart is killing me, I could easily curl up into a ball and cry for a few years, but I’m starting to make even my own self sick with the Poor Me Parade banging ’round my head.

I cast thee out! Be gone unclean spirit! Away with you Evil Monster of Unending Grief! Enough!

Okay, so I’m not making light of death and grief, and with all these major life changes happening one after another in the course of three or so years, well, the burden is decidedly weighty.
But.
I have to let it go.
Not the love, not the memories, but the sadness.
It’s not healthy and I can imagine my Mom’s face, giving me the patented Carey-Look-Of-Disapproval, a Medusa-like look capable of stopping you in your tracks and possibly turning you to stone.
“Joanne Bridget,” I can imagine her saying, “don’t you dare stop living just because I’m not right there with you. I’m in your heart, now stop grieving and start doing. And don’t even think for a minute I’m not watching over you, get your ass moving, keep writing, and for the love of God, get yourself back down to Cape May and enjoy yourself. Live. For me. For you. You’ll see me again one day and FYI, they have wooden spoons up here in Heaven, don’t make me have to use it on you missy. Now go and live your dreams and for God’s sake, stop feeling guilty, you are my daughter, act like it before I send your Father down there to ground you!”

I’ve been grounded enough times to know I better start living and stop, well, not.

My brothers and I have mended fences and are once again we three instead of strangers.
The last few days were spent talking together, the way we used to once upon a time.
We shared memories and some family secrets were revealed, things that made our past a little more understandable. Looking back on things from an adult perspective instead of the eyes of a broken child. None of us were ever really broken, we were just kids raised by Parents who did the best they could and I can honestly say they did a damn good job.
I wouldn’t trade either of my Parents for anyone in the world. They made me who I am, they made me me and it’s long past time I live up to myself.

I will never completely stop grieving, I will never not miss them like crazy, but it’s time to move on and live again. For Mom, for Dad, and for the three of us, two brothers and a sister, a small, but loving Family.
We will never forget you Mom and Dad, but we will love you forever and honor your memory by remaining your children, forever.

bestfamily1Mom, Dad, and baby brother Tommy

bestfamily2Brother Donald, me, Mom with brother Tommy in her belly

bestfanilyMom, Tommy, me, Dad, Donald took the picture
3ofusDonald, Tommy, me in the Poconos

bestfamilyThe three of us, once upon a time

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kindness of strangers

“I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers”

A few mornings ago, I woke up sobbing. And I’m not ashamed to admit my weakness.
I am beyond overwhelmed and I am guilty of intentionally adding more to my burden-filled plate. I am also guilty of misdirected anger and extreme disappointment while trying to mask my feelings.

I miss my Mom and I miss my Dad and this whole dissolving of the estate also know as ripping my heart out and tearing it into three equal portions, is slowly killing me.
Or a reasonable facsimile thereof…
It freezes my usually warm heart knowing that we are already showing the house to realtors when my Dad died a month today, and it hurts me to the core seeing our childhood reduced to nothing more than a dollar amount.
From the age of 5, when we moved from Newark NJ to Sayreville NJ, up until this very day, that home has been the ‘no place like home’ security blanket that always made me feel safe, no matter where I was.
Now it’s all about numbers and “get rid of this” and “curb appeal” and “throw away all this stuff” aka get a dumpster and discard every bit of memory and character left in your heart, um, I mean house.

Let me be clear, I am the least money-hungry person you may or may not ever meet in your life.

To me, money is a necessary evil we need to survive.
I am simple to please, a roof over my head, a cup of tea, a couple of cats, a million books and a place to write are enough to keep me happy and thriving. Okay, maybe an occasional Carmello bar thrown in there once in awhile doesn’t hurt.

But.

I’m grieving.

And I can count the number of family members who care that my Father died on one hand.
If you have no respect for the death of my Father, that’s your business and also your right. But don’t you think you should have a little bit of respect for me, a grieving Daughter who loved BOTH of her Parents unconditionally?

And did it ever cross your mind that perhaps taking joy from the fact that my Father died and being vocal about it might just hurt me a little bit? Did any of the guilty parties ever think that perhaps, upon hearing the news of my Father’s death, telling his adult children you would get up and do a jig if you were physically capable of doing so is beyond disrespectful? Never mind how much it hurt to hear something like that from someone you have loved and looked up to since the day you were born.
I’m not naming names and I’m not pointing fingers, it’s more like a wave in your general direction. I do this out of respect for family ties, which have been reduced from a capital F ‘Family’ to just plain small letter ‘family’ even though whoever it is I’m referring to will most likely never see these words.

Since this is more of an update/babble, there is no order to my thoughts, no beginning, middle, or end.
There is no message, no point, no lessons to be taught or learned, more of just a purge of stuff that has been weaving through my brain, not all of it of course, because when it comes down to it, I’m more of a ‘don’t say anything if you can’t say anything nice’ kinda girl, and at this moment in time, I can’t think of anything nice to say upon hearing all the negativity toward my Father.

I guess some people think they are perfect and have decided slamming a man who, along with my Mother, practically raised them during their childhood, for reasons.

I have a lot of anger issues.
Not one sympathy card or phone call from anyone on my Mom’s side of the family*, while my Dad’s side, consisting of 3 cousins, have been more supportive than everyone else put together.

My Mother would be so disappointed in the branch of her family tree.

Things have settled down between my two brothers and I, after a long face to face talk, we’ve come to terms for the most part, so at least I feel a bit better knowing that we three are on the same page.

So while I am still an emotional wreck, at least I am an emotional wreck with two brothers who love me as I love them.

I have discovered that it’s really true, blood doesn’t make family, but loving and caring friends can become more of a Family than blood relatives.

And while it is very comforting to know that I do have a support system, it saddens me to know how the people you expected to be there for you are nowhere to be found.

I will end this now, because I’m verging on whining, but one last thing: I have met some of the best friends I could ever hope for as a result of writing, it doesn’t matter that I have never met a lot of them in person, they have still showed me more love and concern than I’ve received from blood ties.
So dear friends, if I haven’t made myself clear enough, you, and you, and you too, my writerly-friends, have made a tragic time in my life a little bit easier, just by being there for me when I needed someone more than ever.
I thank you and I love you with a love usually reserved for family, because you are now my Family.
This fact alone has made it easier to sleep at night.

*a few of my cousins commented on my Facebook status when I posted that my Dad had passed.

family4



{October 3, 2015}   Now I Am An Orphan

bestfanilyMom, Dad, Tommy and me. I assume my older brother took this picture.

Now I am an orphan.
As anyone who has ever glanced at my blog knows, I’m one of those daughters who needs her Parents in her life. Mommy’s girl, Daddy’s girl, whatever the kids are calling it these days, that’s me.
Always and without fail, my Parents have been my rock.
When I lost my Mom 2 years, 5 months and 14 days ago, my world was upended and nothing was ever completely right again. She was my best friend, my keeper of secrets and knew me better than anyone in the world. To this day I find myself reaching for the phone to call her.
So I carried on the best I could because someone had to take care of my Dad, who else but the middle girl-child would take on the task?
In my brother Tom’s defense, he did what he could to help out, but lets face it, a man born in 1927 is more likely to expect a woman’s help than accept a man’s help. Male pride runs deep, especially when you’re an ex-Navy man. Showing weakness to your son is not acceptable to some people, and my Dad was certainly one of those people.
My older brother, well, he’ll get a post of his own once the estate is settled. I don’t know if he just finds me beneath him because I never went to college and instead pursued my dreams; singing songs I wrote in my own band and working towards becoming a real writer to name a few, but the point is I followed my heart and not my bank account. Lets put it this way: when I mentioned to my older brother as we sat around my Mom’s Thanksgiving table maybe 8 years ago, that I didn’t realize he was on Facebook and I’d send him a friend request he gave me a song and dance answer that translated into a big fat no you will not be my FB friend. I only use it for business, he told me. Oddly enough, I found this was a lie and all my relatives, including my younger brother, were all on his ‘friends’ list.
A virtual slap in the face. But more about that another time.

My Father was stubborn, grouchy, and refused to let me move in with him to make his life a little easier. Instead, I spent a lot of time in my car, driving 20 minutes each way at the drop of a hat. Doctor appointments? I took him to all of them and Dad was the kind of senior citizen who liked to make doctor appointments the way people make plans to go to lunch, they were social engagements to him more than necessary appointments but I understood and played the game.
My daily phone calls with my Mom now turned into many, many phone calls from Dad, a few times a day is one thing but he’d call to tell me there was a John Wayne movie on, or to let me know what the song of the day was. See, he’d walk every morning down at the waterfront and that was part of his shtick, every morning he’d sing a different song as he walked, like the Pied Piper, little kids would follow him asking “what’s the song of the day Charlie?” He’d talk to their parents and ask if it was okay to give them a piece of candy or a lollipop, and whenever it was vacation time, a group of teenagers would talk to him and tell him they were watching out for him.
He was loved by strangers, openly showing affection, but he had a hard time doing the same for his immediate family.

Here’s the thing; my Father was, for all intents and purposes, an orphan. He never knew his own Father and his Mother died before he was 5 years old. He was raised by his maiden Aunt, who we all referred to as our Grandmother.
My Dad used to roller skate all the time when he was a kid, and one night, when he and his posse came out of the rink, they heard the news, Pearl Harbor was bombed. Right then and there my Dad decided he was going to enlist in the Navy. He had some hoops to jump through because he was only 17 years old but he did it, he went to boot camp in Buffalo NY and that young boy became a man quickly as he boarded a ship and soon found himself a part of the Normandy Beach Invasion on D-Day. He’s told me a lot of stories from back then but one in particular sticks out in my mind. He was on LST 279, a torpedo missed his ship by 20 feet but that’s not the story I’m referring to; the ships were at the mercy of the tides, they were unable to move when the tide was low and sometimes little French children would walk out to the ships and wave to the sailors on the ship. One day, when they were serving lemon meringue pie, something my Dad hated, he took a pie and put it in his helmet to lower it down to the kids in the surf. On the way down, the helmet did a 360 and through the grace of God, or maybe just pure luck, as the helmet flipped the pie slipped out and somehow managed to land right-side up inside the helmet, undamaged. Dad told me those kids were so thrilled to have a pie to eat they were scooping it out of the pie tin with their fingers until they got every drop.

A week ago today, on September 26th, 2015, my Dad passed away in the same hospital my Mom did, although I talked to him every day and saw him a few times a week, he gave no indication of any problems, although I felt a chill when he told me he wanted to die but didn’t want to kill himself. He missed my Mom. He wanted to be with her. We had this conversation Tuesday night and Wednesday I went to pick him up for his doctor appointment. I walked in the house and found him on the floor, unable to move. I called 911 and spent the next few days at the hospital with my younger brother.
The first thing my Dad said when he was stable was “Her name is Alice Bridget Carey”, my Mom’s maiden name. I felt like he was letting his higher power know he was looking for his wife. The last thing he said to me was “I love you”.
And I know he did.

I made a conscious decision around 10 years ago that I would spend as much time as I could with my Parents. I knew how lucky I was to have both my Parents alive and I wanted no regrets when they were gone. I didn’t want to say ‘I should have spent more time with them’.
There are a lot of relatives who didn’t like my Father. After my Mom died, not one relative ever made any effort to contact my Father in any way. This made me so sad, because even if he was a grouchy old man, he was my Father, he was my Mother’s husband. He was Family but he was written off.
But not by me.

I love you Dad, and I always will. Rest In Peace, I will never forget you.

bestparents Mom and Dad in Branch Brook Park, Newark NJ



{September 3, 2015}   I Am A Rug, I Am A Carpet…

walkonme

… and a rug feels no pain, and a carpet never cries.

So I woke up extra early (for me) yesterday morning, 5am, and figured I’d write for a few hours then spend the rest of the day trying to straighten out this financial mess my Father made because, male pride and I’m a girl.
Had a few cups of tea, did a few things around the house, got all the paperwork together I need for the financial finagling I needed to do so I could just pick it up after I wrote for awhile.
Then my Father calls.
Nothing unusual about that, but this time he’s telling me he needs me to come down right away, something isn’t right, he says, he needs me to take him to the hospital, now. I’ve got him on speakerphone as I dash around the house locking the doors, making sure the dogs are in and no cats snuck outside and I ask him to tell me how he feels. “Just hurry”, he says and hangs up the phone.

I’m in a controlled state of panic and run out in my yoga pants and t-shirt, slip on a pair of sneakers, stuff all his paperwork into a bag and fly out the door with my Ray Bans covering my worried eyes after first splashing water on my face and putting on some lipstick.
Don’t judge, Ray Bans and lipstick make me feel better in all circumstances.

I make the ride in record time, pull into his driveway only to find all the doors locked and my key to his house back home on my other keychain. I knock loud and call out to my Dad, all the while my brain is figuring out which window I should crawl through, something I haven’t done since I was a teenager but luckily I’m still able to fit through. Window-crawling mission aborted as I hear my Dad yell “come in”.
“The door is locked,” say I.
“Wait a minute,” he replies as I hear him slowly shuffle to unlock the Dutch door.
Each second is an hour as I imagine every horrible scenario possible, remember past emergencies, generally freak myself out until he finally gets to the door and unlocks it.
I burst through the door, “Dad! What happened? Are you OK? Tell me what happened, let’s get your wallet and go to the emergency room.” I babble the way I do when I’m nervous and he just looks at me.
“Let’s go,” he says. “I want to get some money out of the bank.”
“Don’t worry about money right now Dad, let’s go to the hospital first and I’ll go to the bank after a doctor sees you.”
I’m impatient, worried, thinking ten steps ahead and I realize he’s looking at me like I’m a crazy person.
“Dad? Are you ok? Let’s go! We need to get to the hospital!”
“Hospital? I just want you to take me to the bank.”
Silence for what seems like forever.
“Dad,” I say calmly, “You told me you needed to go to the hospital, what’s going on? Are you ok?”
“Wait, let’s go sit in the living room,” he says as he shuffles away.
It all begins to sink in.
Manipulated once again.
I can see the gears turning in his head as he attempts to concoct a believable story.
He doesn’t succeed, he can’t talk his way out of it because he knows I’m catching on.
“I didn’t feel like driving to the bank,” he admits.
By now my head is pounding due to rising blood pressure yet I remain calm.
Outwardly calm.
We’d already had it set up for me to go to the bank for him on Friday/today (I’d already been to his house Monday, Wednesday, and now Thursday). This day was meant for me to get the SBA on the phone so I could talk them into not holding back 15% of my Dad’s Social Security checks due to him missing a few payments of $53 per month. I used to take care of this particular loan payment from Hurricane Irene’s destruction but Dad insisted he wanted to take care of his own bills so I had no choice but to turn it over to him.
After spending more than half the previous day on the phone with the Department of Treasury I was told my Dad now has to pay the DOT $485 per month in addition to losing 15% of his SS checks. The loan was taken out when my Mom was alive so my Dad’s income alone barely makes it, coming up with an extra $400+ is undoable. The man at the DOT was very nice and told me if I had the gift/power of persuasion I might be able to get the SBA to change it back. Which was what I was going to take care of before dear old Dad told me he had to go the emergency room.

I’m rambling again.
Back to the non-hospital trip: he wanted me to go to the bank, take out some cash and go to the corner store for the newspaper and lottery tickets.
I remained outwardly calm, drove to the bank and noticed my car was verging on overheating. Over 90 degrees outside and I’m driving with my windows open and the heat blasting so it wouldn’t overheat.
Drove around town getting his cash, his newspaper and lottery tickets, all the while dripping sweat.

When I got back to his house, I channeled my Mother and exploded.
Respectfully exploded.
Although the F-word did escape my mouth a few times, I explained that all he had to do was tell me the truth, I would have stopped at the bank and store on my way down and gone merrily on my way. I told him it was unacceptable, the lies I mean. Because he’s been known to stretch the truth before, I sat him down and explained thoroughly the tale of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. I explained that his health is better than mine and if he continued to play games like this (because he found the incident funny) there might come a day when he really needed me and I wouldn’t be there, because I don’t know anymore when he’s telling the truth or lying. I explained the mess he made out of everything, and asked him who else helps him besides me, the answer being nobody. He drove my younger brother away by constantly treating him like garbage and my older brother, well, he flat-out doesn’t care to help in any way shape or form. I think he’s still pissed at me because he hated the idea of the house being fixed after Hurricane Irene, he wanted them to sell the house as is and move them into an assisted living place but they wanted their house back. Truth is, I don’t even know my brother’s phone number or address because he moved and never gave me the information.

I’m a nervous wreck still worrying about my Dad, still making excuses for him, and still being taken advantage of. I know I’m lucky I have at least one Parent still alive but at this rate he’ll be burying me instead of the other way around. If that sounds cold it’s not meant to be. I told my Father I love him and always will but if he continues to lie to me my Mother’s dreaded saying would come true, he will live the rest of his life a lonely old man. I think of all the times I defended him to my Mother and compare them to all the knife wounds in my back.
I try to make him understand that we’re all we got, it’s just us now, and I asked him if he’s actually trying to kill me, death by stress.

So yes, I am a rug. I am a carpet stepped on again and again and I’m wearing thin.

Can I please stop being the adult?

walkonme1



{August 7, 2015}   Where I’ve Been (And Why)

morning2Write what you can write when you can write else you may never be able to write again.

Substitute any word that may apply to you and your passion and never ever neglect it, because you never know when your passion, or your ability to pursue your passion, may be taken away from you.

My recent passionless existence began with a near-crippling case of carpal tunnel rearing it’s ugly head a few months ago. I’ve already gone the surgery route but all I got for my trouble was two wrists more painful than before surgery and two hands constantly reminding me that I have to choose where when and how I use my small windows of pain-free time.

So I stopped writing.
And began a downward spiral.

Fibromyalgia, once closed off in a box somewhere in my mind escaped much like Pandora’s Box, only this time, hope fled as well and I experienced the most excruciating fibro-flare I’ve ever had.

I shut myself down, nearly every part of me, shut down. Caring about anything became a distant memory. I couldn’t even fake it anymore. Nothing made me smile. Nobody made me laugh. I stopped believing in anything good ever happening to me again. Ever. Sleep became the only thing I looked forward to and the sound of the phone ringing made me cringe. My computer may as well have been nothing more than a dust collector because I had no interest. In anything.

I may as well have stopped living because whatever it was I was doing, going through the motions, was not in any way shape or form a life.

Grief.
I thought I would have been over it already. I mean, it’s been over two years since my Mom died, why does it still feel like it happened yesterday?

My whole world has changed without her and I have a new understanding of the effects of grief. My family has imploded. I used to have two brothers but now I have one, my older brother has basically cut me out of his life, guilt-calls my Father maybe once a month while I twist myself pretzel-like to do everything I can to help out my Dad. He’s going on 89 and while he can still be as sharp as a tack, he’s fading away. Lost without my Mother, he’s reimagined their life together, turning it into a Love Story For The Ages. And while I know the real version was nothing like he wants to remember, I agree with him as my heart breaks a little bit more every time I see him.
My younger brother and I have become closer than ever, as my older brother doesn’t talk to him either. The eldest, as far as I understood it to be, was supposed to step up and help us out. Instead, after taking my Father to his lawyer and having a will drawn up with him as the executor (not my Father’s wishes, but as the only one of us who went to college, his opinion seems to be the only one that matters) my older brother, when he was still talking to my younger brother, told him if anything in the will was changed, he would take me to court and say that I forged documents. He has some resentment towards me because when Hurricane Irene destroyed our house he wanted to put my Parents in an assisted living place while my Parents just wanted their house back. I, with the help of my younger brother, moved Heaven and Earth to make that happen and it pissed him off that I, a girl who never went to college, was able to get them back home.

So I’ve been dealing with a lot health-wise, and the three things that made me happiest disappeared. No more daily phone calls and Mother/Daughter getaways, my BFF became my occasional F due to, well, life, and my writing became a distant memory. With virtually no one to truly confide in anymore, I began to think of myself as worthless, cold and uncaring about anything. Basically, I make myself sickeningly pathetic and I’m sick of it. I sometimes wish I could just breakdown and cry my eyeballs out, but my feelings have frozen and I feel unmeltable.

Even my Birthday came and went without fanfare, it took me weeks to open the Birthday Card my favorite Aunt Judy sent me, as if I wasn’t even worthy of a card. I feel like an idiot for allowing myself to fall this hard and I realize I’m the only one who can save me.

And then something happened to wake me up. Out of nowhere, I received something in the mail from some very special Miscreants. There was no return address so it wasn’t until I opened it that I realized what it was, a fun pack that to this very second still makes me smile, hard.

Somehow, I’ve managed to babble about nothing important to anyone but me myself and I, but I have to admit, I feel a little bit better.

I was Blessed enough to attend two Facebook events this past week, one was a release party for
Anastasia Vitsky‘s new book Taliaschild and the other was Decadent Publishing 5th Annivesary Party.

They both gave me life. Inspired me. Woke me up. Stirred something in my soul to remind me who I am.

I’m back, and this time, I’m back to stay. No more not answering comments, no more ignoring life. It’s time to live again, and a great part of my resurrection is you. And you. Also you.
While these words are not my own, the sentiment is a perfect truth : “Love is all that matters.”

This time, I will not forget that.
And one last thing, I apologize to everyone I’ve seemingly ignored, it wasn’t you, it was me.
Love. It is once again in my heart, I would like nothing more than to spread it around.

a me I want to go back to these days (my Mom in the background, me and my Uncle)



{March 21, 2015}   Enough Is Enough ~ A Semi-Rant

writer1

I’ve run out of excuses.
Yeah, I know, legitimate or not, excuses are just that, excuses. And they’re getting me nowhere fast.
I mean really, I’m resorting to clichés on top of it all. What’s up with that?

I am like the moon.

Not only do I go through phases but I’m also rather loony on occasion. See previous moon comparison, I’m a damn Cancer with an emotional rollercoaster attached to my feet and the very few who know me well enough know I hate the whole moon comparison. It’s a joke actually, only not so much with the funny these days.
I’m scatterbrained beyond belief lately and my brain has more holes in it than Alpine Lace Swiss Cheese. You know, the really tiny holes that lets the mustard seep out onto the bread making it soggy.

My brain is soggy.

My phone rings on an average day anywhere between 10 to 26 times, every single call from my Dad.
No rhyme nor reason, no certain time of the day or night, whenever the urge hits him, he calls me. Don’t get me wrong, I get it, he’s lonely since my Mom died and he’s a stubborn, rigid, sticks-to-his-ways 88 year old Navy Vet. He never knew his Father and doesn’t remember his Mother, she died when he was around 2 years old or so. He won’t really talk about his family or much of his childhood, although he frequently mentions that he was a twin but his twin brother died at birth. When he talks about it to me in the way he does, trying to make a joke out of everything, he tells me it’s his fault because he weighed more than his twin so he must have killed him.

I can’t imagine walking around with that thought in your head every day of your life.

He talks about how he was roller skating when Pearl Harbor was bombed and enlisted in the Navy the day he turned 17. He tells the same stories so many times I can repeat them myself. I don’t need more than one hand to count the amount of relatives who like him, but he’s my Father and that alone is reason enough to fall into his trap and pick up the phone every damn time.

My life would be so much easier if I could ignore him but I wasn’t raised that way. Plus I’m a Cancer and a middle child.

I have a memory of being taught to always hug and kiss my Parents when I left the house, and I never end/ended a phone conversation with either Mom or Dad without saying ‘I love you’. Although there was also a little bit of guilt manipulation when I neared my teenage years because what if something happened and we never saw each other again?
And they wondered why I cried until my Aunt Berta would call them to assure me they didn’t get in a car accident on the drive home when I’d sleep over my then-only girl cousin Chrissy’s house.

Huh, we’re all pretty much fucked up people, aren’t we?
Nah, we’re all just human I guess.

writing13

I don’t really have a point to this aimless babble, I think I’m tip-toeing my way back to writing consistently again. Publicly. Because I need something to shake me out of this endless winter – I mean really, a snowstorm on the first day of Spring?
Point: I should be writing. And not just about how I should be writing but really writing.
I have no one to blame but myself at this point, I need to establish a schedule and attempt to get my Dad to understand I can’t write when the phone keeps ringing .

writing12

C’mon me! Get your obsessive ass in gear and start re-obsessive writing!

Enough is enough.
NO MORE EXCUSES!

writingexcuse

This rant has been brought to you by Guilt-B-Gone.

guilty3



{January 15, 2015}   I Should Be Writing

writingggggg
catoncomputer1
I’ve been hemming and hawing like a, uh, (an?) heming-haw-er.
It is a thing you know.
It stares at me from everywhere, “You Should Be Writing”.
My screensaver, my Twitter and Facebook thingy, fingers pointing at me in accusation and reminder. Little post-it notes in random places. My head constantly whispers the words, a litany, ‘write little girl, write’, as words of genius, life changing words that can save the entire world with their power fill my head, tumble ass over head in this brain o’mine as I crack my fingers, stretch my mental muscles and prepare to dive right in, a writing force to be reckoned with. A vicious word-tiger ready to pounce.
And then there is William.
He’s the one who pounces and I have the scratches to prove it.
How in the world did I wind up with a 4 month old Siamese kitten obsessed with my computer? Specifically the keyboard. Even more specifically, when it’s open to a blank WordPress page.
But it doesn’t stay blank for long.
It get filled up in a flash with whatever William wants.
Yep, it’s not me. It’s FangFace. He likes to touch random keys with his delicate yet sharp kitten paws.
He likes to stretch across my keyboard, roll over, then stare me in the eye with his person-in-a-cat-face-human-like eyes daring me to move him.
Talk about a battle of the blues, we stare at each other seeing who can hold out longer in a good old fashioned staring contest. ‘Don’t blink’ my mind demands, ‘you are the Alpha, he’s a tiny ball of fur, don’t blink!’
And then William, without breaking eye contact, opens up his fang-filled mouth and says “Meep” and bam! Just like that he wins because I can’t stop myself from laughing.
I am a bad kitten-mother.
He has me wrapped around his fingers/paw-claws making it more than a little difficult to write.
computercat
So I finally break my kitten hostage ties, wherein I’m the hostage of course, only to be hit over the head with the Head Cold From Hell, now with new and improved versions of the flu (immunity not included, previous flu-shot does not prevent this strain and am I gonna turn into a weird hybrid of a vampire-cat?) and what suffers the most? Say it with me: my writing.
Just like that it tumbles to the bottom of the list as I muster up any energy I can so I’m able to:
1.) Pretend I’m fine
2.) Take my Dad to his skin cancer doctor (while cancelling my own doctor appointment)
3.) Make believe I’m not going to hurl as I see the amount of blood pouring down my Father’s face as I crack jokes to keep my Dad distracted (usually making myself the brunt of said jokes because, umm, just because it’s how we roll)
4.) Try and sleep any chance I can get inbetween juggling balls in the air unassisted
5.) Praying that one morning, just one morning, I can wake up to a clean kitchen, you know, the way it was when I went to sleep the previous night. I know. Not. Gonna. Happen.
compg
Yes, of course I can go on and on but I’m already pushing my luck.
Little Willy FangFace is watching the screen as I type, he knows I’m driving him to the Veterinarian today so he’s plotting his future revenge. He’s a Virgo so I know he has the patience of a cat (and that was totally unintentional), I already know what he has in mind, he’s going to cry his tiny little heart out when I’m driving and he’s stuck in a cat carrier just to make me feel guilty. Here’s a hint Wills, I always feel guilty, you’ll just be making me feel guiltier than usual.
And while FangFace is getting his checkup I get to drive around the block, put on my nurse hat, and change my Dad’s bandages, wash his clothes, and pretend I’m not cleaning his house while covertly cleaning his house. He doesn’t need any help ya know! He’s fine on his own! And those 17 times a day phone calls from him are just part of his day. Because after all, I don’t have a “job”, writing is just some thing I do to pass the time/sarcasm font really needed right about now.
computergirl1
So to sum up:
I should be writing.
More.
As much as possible.
I need to reconsider my future plans and instead, move to an igloo somewhere in the depths of Alaska. (Does Alaska have depths?) Whatever, as long as it’s an isolated place without distraction.
Oh Cape May, I hear you calling my name.
writingggg



{April 4, 2014}   April Showers Bring Me Tears

momfriends My Mom is 2nd from the right, the hot redhead in green

Last night I dreamed of my Mother.
I’ve dreamed of her a few times since she died but I never saw her face in my dreams. It was always the back of her head, or just that dream-logic-knowledge that she was there with me in the dream. This was the first time I saw her face, looking back at me.
I woke up to a gray rainy day knowing I had a dentist appointment in a few hours, turned on the kettle and fed my meowing babies. As I plugged my phone into the charger I noticed there was a text message, it wasn’t until I began to read it that it hit me.
For those few minutes between waking and looking at my phone, I’d forgotten.
For those few minutes, I forgot my Mother was dead.
For the first time in nearly a year, I lost it. I broke down. Great heaving sobbing break down.
~
It’s no secret I’ve been in the dumps lately.
One of the little habits I have is writing everything down, little notes on a calendar like a mini shorthand diary.
So I knew the day before yesterday, April 2nd last year, she went to the hospital. Only now I am aware of the outcome.
Now I know the ups and downs, released to rehab perfectly fine, only to pass away less than 8 hours later.
~
I’m not wallowing in it, there are a lot of other reasons I’m not feeling up to par, but this, grief, it’s harder than I knew it would be and I don’t know how to do it right.
And I understand it’s different for everyone and we all deal in our own way but I don’t know my way.
I’m lost.
Alone.
Because aren’t we always alone? When you break it down, we are alone. Or maybe it’s just my tunnel vision right now.
I hope it’s my tunnel vision.
~
A few hours ago my Dad called me. My cousin Doreen, my Dad’s (deceased) only Sister’s daughter, died today. She had stage 4 lung cancer. She was in her 60’s and I can’t count all the times I spent at the house with Doreen watching me when I was a child.
I should channel my grief into writing, this I know to be true.
I fear I need a few hours to process, although truth be told, all I want to do is go to sleep and find my Mom again.
I could use a Mom-hug, because there is nothing better.
~
Before I went to sleep last night, I prayed as hard as I could, I begged “Mom, please, I need you, please come to me in my dream, I just need my Mother” and she did.
Is it a coincidence because she was on my mind when I fell asleep?
I choose to believe it was her, because even though it was only a brief period of time, for a little while, my Mom was with me again.
~
But deep in my heart, I know she lives on through me as her blood flows through my veins.
I am truly my Mother’s daughter and for that reason alone, I am blessed.
momdad My beautiful Mom, with my Dad looking at the woman he was lucky enough to marry.



{December 26, 2013}   Day After Christmas Blues

mess
T’was the day after Christmas and all through the house was a huge mess left for me to clean up.
I’m cranky today.
Yeah, yeah, I know, I should be all kinds of happy and joy-filled and grateful for all the wonderful gifts I received blah blah blah.
It started off on a good note, the usual traditional scent of cinnamon rolls in the oven mixed with the smell of coffee brewing… I hate coffee, I’m a tea girl myself but I digress.
So there were lots of ooooh’s and ahhhh’s and I got many goodies that I will enjoy as soon as this stupid pounding headache goes away. The headache started yesterday some time around 1pm EST when the hubby picked up Dad and brought him over for Christmas dinner. While visions of happy filled my naïve mind I slowly deflated as it turned into Let’s Pick On Joanne Day aka Teasing Time.
You know that old saying about marrying your Father/Mother? Yeah, that.
If I was a man I’d say they were busting my balls. You know, all in the name of “fun”.
What makes men people think it’s a good thing to “tease” me other people relentlessly under the guise of “I’m just kidding, what is wrong with you?”?
Maybe I never noticed it as much when Mom was here. She could silence that kind of bullshit with one look. I have a little bit of that “Carey look” in me but yesterday it was MIA and I spent half the time fending off comments while the rest of the time I desperately missed my Mom.
I tried to get stay in a good place, dreading my first Christmas without Mom, and I did a pretty good job of it up till dinner time. That’s about the time I noticed I wasn’t even there. Oh, I was there physically but mentally, not so much. Robotic might be a better way to describe me yesterday.
So Dad decided he wanted to leave around 4pm, I grabbed my keys and bundled up and drove him home and he decided a good topic of conversation for the drive was telling me writing should not be my priority at all in any way shape or form. I’m wasting my time were the words he meant. Nothing I haven’t heard before, no one in my family takes me seriously when I say I’m writing; they snicker while, I might add, they have read nothing I’ve written. My Mom used to read my words and encouraged me, now that it’s me and 3 men in the family, without my Mom as backup, I’m pretty much on my own.
Yeah I know, it’s just a case of those Day After Christmas Blues and a pounding headache. And the lack of alone time which is as vital to me as breathing.
I dropped Dad off, walking him into the house to make sure he was fine then drove back to the place I’m supposed to call home.
It shouldn’t bother me that Dad didn’t give me a Christmas Gift, although he remembered to give gifts to his 6 grandchildren. And I don’t mean to sound bitter because I’m not, just a little bit of  hurt feelings which I’ll get over.
When I got back home I changed into my new Christmas pajama’s and crawled in bed, doing nothing more than stare at the television watching the Doctor Who marathon and Christmas Special even though I was unintentionally spoiled on Twitter by some British people who live in the future and saw it before me, giving away way too much information.
I’ve got a bad case of the sads right now, it’s taking every bit of strength in me to not crawl back into bed and sleep away my worries.
Instead I shall attempt to shrug off my sads and clean up the mess left by the drinkers last night.
I really miss my Mom.
messcy



mom program this1334853128771mom program back

So unexpected loss is the daily prompt and there is only one thing I can write about, which is, of course, the unexpected loss of my Mom nearly 8 months ago.
It started out with my Mom waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, she slipped her feet into her slippers and tripped, landing on her shoulder. My Dad took her to the emergency room where they gave her a sling and sent her home.
It wasn’t until the following morning when I made my usual morning phone call to Mom when I found out. I felt bad that nobody called me right away but as soon as I found out I packed a bag and went to the house to do whatever I could to help her. After a few days, I woke up early to find my Mom had slipped down the chair she slept in (per doctors orders) and she couldn’t get up by herself. I helped her up but something was off, she seemed confused, unsure of what happened and she asked me if she had a stroke. I didn’t think that was the problem but I called 911 and had an ambulance come, I was petrified but put on a brave face and followed the ambulance to the hospital as my Dad went in the ambulance with her.
We waited hours and hours as they did test after test and said she had a urinary tract infection and she was dehydrated so they wanted to keep her overnight for observation.
I stayed until she was settled in a room and went back first thing the next morning to find she had been moved to the Critical Care Unit. Long story short, they decided she needed dialysis and a blood transfusion. She was coherent, she said she felt fine but she had to stay they said, she needed a few more days of dialysis before they could operate on her shoulder.
A few days turned into 2 weeks, they did the surgery and said she was fine. She was doing so well they said, that they were moving her to a rehab for her shoulder before she could come home.
It was her Birthday while she was in hospital, so we celebrated in her hospital room but due to dietary restrictions she couldn’t have any goodies so we put a candle in her lemon ice and Dad and I sang Happy Birthday to her and spent the day with her until they kicked us out.
The following day she was to be moved so my Mom told me to take the day off, I’d been spending every day sitting and talking with her and she knew that my fibromyalgia had kicked in (I tried to hide it but you can’t fool your Mom), “Stay home today and get some rest, I’ll see you tomorrow when they move me to Briarwood” she told me.
I wish I didn’t listen to her.
They moved her that night around 10pm.
At 5am the next morning I received a call telling me my Mom was gone.
I didn’t believe them. It couldn’t be true, they told me she was fine, they told me she was 100% fine and she was just going there for rehab for her shoulder. She was fine. It couldn’t be true.
I was in shock.
I was the contact number rather than my Dad so it was left to me to break the unbelievable news to my Dad and 2 brothers.
I was a mess as I raced to the house and ran straight into my Dad’s arms and sobbed loudly, holding onto my Dad, who never showed emotion yet held me as I fell apart, crying along with me as my brothers both walked in and I did the same, I couldn’t stop sobbing, I was in shock and denial and now had to go over to Briarwood and see my Mom for the last time, sobbing sniffling and destroyed.
I don’t remember too much after that, I know we went to the funeral home and made the arrangements, I know we all went back to the house and sat in silence and shock, knowing we had to start making those phone calls.
I reached into my pocket and pulled out my cell phone knowing I’d see that screensaver of a picture I took when Mom and I were in Cape May but that’s not what I saw.
See, I have 2 cell phones and had no sd card in my phone, no pictures in my phone, no screensavers or anything at all to change the picture there, it was impossible to change it when there was nothing in there to change it to. I’d used the phone several times that morning before we went to see Mom for the last time and every time I looked at the screen I was overwhelmed with memories of all our trips to Cape May.
Now we all know that in order to change the screensaver you have to go through several steps to make it happen.
As I pulled out the phone to call my Aunt Judy the picture was gone, replaced by a picture I’d never seen before, a picture that wasn’t anywhere in my phone.
My Mom and I shared an interest in the afterlife and ghosts, and we made a deal, whichever one of us went first we would send a sign to let the other know we were ok, that there was something else after this life we live on earth.
With all my heart, I believe that screen-change was my Mom letting me know she was ok and she was with her Parents and everyone else who’d gone before her.
I’m still in shock, I still find myself reaching for the phone to call her, and for the first time in my life I dread the thought of my first Christmas without my Mother, my Best Friend, my world.
I feel guilty, I remember one day in the hospital my Mom looked at me and asked “Am I dying?”, I looked her straight in the eye and said “No! I wouldn’t lie to you about something like that!”. I know I wasn’t lying, I believed it to be true, yet still, I feel guilt.
The last time I saw my Mother alive was on her Birthday, less than 2 days later she was gone and my life is now forever changed.
Rest In Peace my Dear Mother, I’ll see you one day on the other side and remember, I love you always.
mom and me scottish festivalMom and me at the Scottish Festival a few years ago
20130512_104042-1Mom in the green shirt looking at blond-haired me
phone1This is what my Mom switched my screen saver to, it swirls as if it’s the path leading to the Gates of Heaven

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/daily-prompt-unexpected/



et cetera