joannebest











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.

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cryin4
“Lost and useless much?”
I can’t win with her. She’s here, she’s gone. She’s back, she disappears again.
“Sound familiar chica?”
Perched on my desk, she looks down at me, all nonchalant and judge-y at the same time.
“Don’t you have someone else to bother?” I mutter.
I try, I really do try, yet my Muse refuses to leave me alone which is kinda contradictory when you think about it.
I mean, she’s supposed to muse me, help me stir up my brain, give me something to write about, but no, she’d rather hang around my personal space and annoy me. Without inspiring me.
She gets more amusement out of me than I get inspiration out of her.
“Hey little missy! I’m not supposed to do anything.” She hops off my desk and starts pacing.
Shit.
I hate when she starts pacing.
“It’s not like there’s some big payoff for me chica,” she crouches in front of me and grabs me by the chin, forcing me to look at her. “You’re more like a punishment if you ask me.”
“I didn’t ask you,” I snap.
Her kaleidoscope eyes hold my big baby blues so intently I can practically see wheels turning in her head. Not good.
“Hmm, punishment….”. Her eyes glimmer and shine with something resembling excitement.
Aww hell, here we go again. I can’t help it, I pull away from her and bang my head on my keyboard. On purpose.
Her right hand flies out to grab my hair, yanking my head back.
“Youch! Knock it off, I’m not in the mood for your shit!” I attempt to escape her grip but she won’t let go.
She opens her perfect red stained mouth, her eyes flash the same shade of red and I prepare myself for the verbal onslaught to come but it doesn’t.
Instead she closes her mouth and her eyes transform into a calm waveless ocean.
She continues to stare, not saying a word.
It’s an old fashioned staring contest going on for what seems like hours. Maybe it is hours, I don’t know anything anymore but I stare back anyway.
I swear there are tiny little gears turning inside her pupils and that scares me more than her red-eyed look.
Then, the strangest thing happened.
She switched gears, pardon the pun, in a big way because, for the first time in ever, she, She, my Malevolent Muse and Mistress of my Fate showed me something I never ever imagined I’d see; a tear, a real live salty tear slipped from the corner of her eye.
I was so shocked by her display of any emotion other than anger or sarcasm which probably doesn’t fall in the emotion category anyway but still, what the hell?
Why is my Muse kinda crying?
What did I do now? Because everything is my fault it had to be something I did or didn’t do, yet still I remained stoic.
Unfeeling.
Uncaring.
Indifferent.
And yes, my default mode, frozen.
Another tear followed and if I’m going to be truthful with myself, my stoicism was beginning to crumble.
I try and hide it but when it comes down to it, I’m a crybaby. And I have a lot to cry about these days, yet I refuse to let myself fall apart. Maybe I’m afraid I’d pull a Humpty Dumpty and never be able to put myself back together again. Maybe I’m afraid if I start to cry I’ll never be able to stop.
“Chica,” she whispered her pet name for me, soft, gentle, dare I say caring?
She stopped yanking my hair and instead a soft bristle brush appeared in her hand as she gently brushed my hair, slow, soothing, a reminder of my Mom doing the same when I was a little girl.
She began to hum softly, a few words slipped out and I realized she was singing a song my Mom used to sing to me. I closed my eyes, my mind taking me back in time and it was Mom’s voice I heard, “when I was just a little girl, I asked my Mother, what would I be”.
I took a deep breath and realized I couldn’t remember the last time I let myself just breathe. I was so used to chaos in my life that, even though the other shoe had already dropped, even though my life had turned inside out, I didn’t trust, well, anything anymore.
My Muse? She came and went, in and out of my life, she delighted in torturing me, she had the same ridiculous sense of humor I had and she was convinced there was some world-saving that needed to be done and for some reason, she insisted I had a role to play in the upcoming Apocalypse.
But this was a different Muse, another facet to her many personalities I’d never seen and certainly never thought she was capable of, compassion looked good on her.
I, on the other hand, looked like hell. I was the portrait of Dorian Gray in reverse as I spent my days in my Dad’s old sweatshirt and my Mom’s old sweatpants, as if wearing their clothes would somehow bring them back to life.
As she continued to stroke my hair, “Que Sera,Sera” lyrics filled the air. I mean literally, each word she sang formed in the air, swirling around my head, wrapping around my body like an Angel’s hug, bringing me a comfort I hadn’t felt since my life fell apart when my Mom died.
I tried to keep it together but my eyes welled up, I blinked furiously, trying to keep my tears from flowing but I failed.
Like a waterfall, tear after tear fell, fast, furious, and then, without my permission, I began to sob uncontrollably.
Her arms pulled me into a hug, the kind of hug my Mom used to give me.
I broke down completely.
The world I carried on my shoulders for so very long was finally too much for me to handle, the fact that my Muse, of all people, was holding me, encouraging me to let go, to stop trying to be strong and let her carry me for awhile was something I filed away in my mind to be pulled out another time but for now? I let myself feel.
I let myself unfreeze and feel emotions I’d locked up tight and she let me.
It wouldn’t last, this I knew without a doubt, but for now, as I sobbed my broken heart out, as I soaked her clothes with my long hidden tears, for the first time in longer than I could remember, I accepted comfort. An unusual feeling for me, but it felt right, and while I knew reality would set in, things would get back to what passed for normal and the World Saving gig would rear it’s ugly head again soon, I treasured this time.
She, who delighted in driving me crazy, seemed to be the only one to get through to me, to let me be weak at a time I needed to be weak.
“Don’t get used to it Chica,” she said softly as she continued to stroke my hair. “I may have frozen time for you, but I can’t stop time forever.”
She gently held my face, forcing me to meet her gaze. “Let it out my sweet Chica, let it all go. We have a lot to do and while I admit your sadness is so loud it pierces my ears, you need to let it out because you are too full of sadness to let anything else in.”
“Cry little one, cry for everything you haven’t let yourself cry for, I need you strong for the upcoming battle.” She leaned in and kissed my forehead.
“The time grows nearer Chica, you can do this with my help, together we can win, but I need you strong. And you will be little one, this I promise you.”
My sobs grew quieter, my tears slowed a bit as a calmness began to settle over me.
My Muse continued to stroke my hair and softly sing, ” what will be, will be”.
And for once, without any inner argument, I believed her.
cryin3



{September 11, 2015}   I Can Never Forget

9 11abb

I’m sure I’m not the only one who is having a hard time getting through another September 11th. I tried desperately to write today but found myself staring at a near blank page and clicking back and forth between writing and looking at Facebook.

Basically wasting time.

I can’t even muster up the ability to write about that day in 2001 from my perspective, but it nags at me, to post something. I can’t ignore the day without acknowledging it some way,  yet I can’t write anything today, the words are stuck in my heart because my head is filled with all the what-ifs, all the lives that were touched that day, and how there was a ripple effect that day. You didn’t have to live in New York or New Jersey or Pennsylvania or Washington DC or Boston, it doesn’t matter where you lived, the World changed that day and Innocence became a memory the instant that first plane hit the first Tower.

I dug out some of my blank books, the books I use to keep track of rehearsals and write lyrics. I also tend to doodle when there’s lead singer down time, and it just so happened we had rehearsal on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001. I wanted to cancel but in the end we decided to go to the studio and try to not think for two hours. We had a gig coming up where we had to add a few cover songs to usual original set so I had a bit of doodle time while the musicians musicianed other people’s songs.

So I decided to take a few photographs of my doodles, and the lyrics to a song I wrote that night called “Lay Me Down”, just my feelings about that day jotted down quickly in a blank book as the horrifying terrible smell was everywhere and the smoke continued to take over the sky no matter where you turned.

This year was worse for me. Don’t know why, it just was.

So I shall share some pages from journals written and doodled on Tuesday, September 11th,2001 at Stage Right Studios while our Innocence disappeared slowly, nearly unnoticed, like that tragic scent and the never-ending smoke. I never claimed to be an artist, but I just needed to share this, and hope to sleep tonight nightmare-less, unlike last night when I had one of those same nightmares where I’m lost in New York City alone in the dark.

If you click on this photo you can see a scribbled NYC skyline, the one I saw every single day.

911a

If you click on this you can see my mental me unravel a bit, writing down words to songs my Mom sang to me when I would cry and she’d sing “Why oh why oh why oh, did I ever leave Ohio?” Neither one of us ever went to Ohio but it became our code song, kind of like clicking your ruby slippers three times or Calgon, take me away type stuff.

Just me then? [shrugs]

 

911b

These are the lyrics to Lay Me Down, the song I wrote that night, the song sitting in another studio waiting for me to finish some vocals and a few other touchups. If you click on the photo I was surprised to find the words legible. Um, just me then? Either way, I believe I may have posted them previously, if not, perhaps I will.  Right this moment, this is all I can do.

I’ll get back to my WIP tomorrow after Dad Duty. How do you make an almost 89 year old ex Navy Man who was actually there on D Day let you help him? He doesn’t want my help, he wants my Mom back and so do I but that isn’t possible. So I shall visit and clean and do laundry and go food shopping, shout louder than I sing so he can hear me, and bite my tongue near in half at the way he talks to me and the fight he gives me about cleaning. He can do it himself you know. That translates into what I call Covert Cleaning. I’m getting better at it. Oh, my point, I will have to remember to post my lyrics if I already haven’t. I think I may have but my head is telling me to watch Anthony Stewart Head in Dominion then sleep. Without lost in NYC dreams please.

911d

Well would you look at that! Over 700 words, much more than I thought I had in me.

I have to thank Kate Richards and Nina Cooper, their collective words to me on Facebook healed me enough to post this. Thank you both, you are truly amazing women I am extremely Blessed to know in any capacity, this virtual world we gather in really does make miles disappear. For that I am very grateful ❤



{June 3, 2014}   Rest In Peace Mr Big

big16
“There are two means of refuge from the misery of life – music and cats.”
~
Without warning, one of our cats died yesterday.
It was a normal day, me trying to break my writers block in-between the usual housewifey chores, windows open with a slight breeze gifting me with an occasional kiss as I ran through my well-caffeinated day from room to room multitasking, hoping desperately to break my brick wall.
The three cats were all sprawled in various places throughout the house, catnapping their way through the heat in their usual stretched out positions, safe and secure in their home because lets face it, our pets own us, we don’t own them. They just like to watch us pretend we’re in charge, it amuses them, but we all know they own our hearts and rule the roost.
It was nearing 7pm and nobody was home from work yet, I was taking advantage of the empty house to stare at the empty page in front of me and Mr Big was sprawled out at my feet, nothing unusual about that. Mr Big liked being around people unlike our other two female felines.
He’d follow you, chirping and purring and loving on you, so grateful for his forever home.
Mr Big, a lynx point Siamese was left outside when his owners moved. Abandoned. Some people shouldn’t be allowed to have pets.
After he was rescued he fostered in 3 or 4 houses, they were always multi-cat households and the excuse was usually the other cats didn’t get along with him.
My sister-in-law works at an animal hospital, she’s a vet tech, and we all followed the Tale of The Abandoned Cat, knowing we already had 3 cats and 2 dogs and there was no way we were able to…..
Yeah, we ended up with Mr Big, as we called him. Nobody had even bothered to give the poor thing a name, nobody knew for sure how old he was, but one look at him and Mr Big he became.
He was like no cat I ever knew, but the weird thing was he looked exactly like the lynx point Siamese we inherited after a neighbor passed away, they were like twins.
Except Mr Big was a love machine from the start. You’d pick him up and he’s put his paws around you, one on each shoulder like he was hugging you. He’d randomly howl for absolutely no reason then turn it into a yawn and a stretch, his Siamese cat eyes crossing before beginning a staring contest he always won. Because he had people eyes, not cat eyes.
Like clockwork, you could hear him coming up the stairs at night then he’d jump on the bed, do his best Stevie Wonder impersonation (Mr Big had bad vision and hearing) then flop himself down right in the middle of me and my husband, laying his head on one shoulder and putting his paw on the other’s shoulder. You know, so nobody would feel left out.
He’d stare at my face intently, his human eyes locking onto mine and he’d reach up a paw, claws in, and touch my face soft. Sometimes he’d try to lick my face and I had to tell him no thank you I don’t make out with cats and just keep petting him till I sneezed.
Did I mention I’m allergic to cats?
He was so long when he stretched he nearly took up the width of a queen mattress from claw to tail. And he’d lay his head on the pillow and get under the blankets watching television with us and purring loud with an occasional chirp thrown in there.
Then he’d remember he was a cat and spring up because he had to be somewhere else.
For absolutely no reason. Just cat logic.
I was petting him, explaining how frustrated I was with my writers block as he lay at my feet, he just did that low purr he always did, to let me know he was on my side.
I got up to make yet another cup of tea and stepped over him instead of making him move because, awww, it’s Mr Big, Senor Grande, The Biggest Man In The Vorld (that’s not a misspell, he demanded we say vorld instead of world, don’t ask.), Big Moner!
I stepped gingerly over him again so as not to spill hot tea on him and reached down to pet him only this time he didn’t purr.
I called him but I know he’s a heavy sleeper and half deaf so I got down on the floor to shake him awake and got no reaction from him. His eyes were half open but he sometimes sleeps like that and I continued to shake him, I started shouting his name, running my hands over him to feel him breathing, feel his heart beating, I checked his mouth, his breath, anything I could think of because this wasn’t happening I wasn’t losing another loved one we couldn’t lose Mr Big no no no no no God please no!
He was warm! He was just purring a second ago! All I did was walk a few feet and pour a cup of tea! There was nothing wrong with him!
Then I saw a puddle, forcing me to acknowledge the truth.
Mr Big was dead.
Just like that.
That’s when I started sobbing.
big19
“What greater gift than the love of a cat?” – Charles Dickens
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{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.



{March 29, 2014}   Patterns

teardrop
the snow does indeed turn to rain,
torrential, relentless,
a reflection of my insides
pouring down like every soul is crying at once,
but tears are just a joke these days,
weakness,
comparable enough for me to keep them hidden,
i am not a weeping willow tree, on a quest to strangle and tangle myself around you
but i am not a warrior princess either,
there is no strength beneath this shell that carries me,
i am full of fear and mistrust
because patterns,
even armed with that knowledge
we still ride that train cyclical,
hitting that same bump over and over,
the past can rear it’s ugly head like a snake unprovoked,
and we pay for our sins eternal,
real or imagined, we pay,
when the cold war sets in
there is no differentiating between a memory or a dream,
fiction becomes non-fiction to the inconsistent eye,
so i lay my head down and listen to another loud deluge pounding me from the outside in,
seeping through my skin only to seek release unnoticed,
slipping from the corners of my eyes
cryy



{January 27, 2014}   Another Day Another Blahg

blag
I’m stuck in a hamster wheel going nowhere fast.
No matter how hard I try, and believe me, I try, I can’t seem to get moving. I thought at first it must be just another case of writer’s block but that isn’t it. It’s more like I have life-block.
Make that life-block on ice.
Intellectually I understand there are valid reasons as to why I’m all funked-up, but knowing something and acting on that knowledge are two completely different animals.
The weather.
That’s an obvious explanation for the way I feel. Fibromyalgia and the coldest cold in forever do not good bedfellows make, or; the pain, she hurts. That good old barometric pressure has my bones and muscles on fire, like the devil’s got a pitchfork that’s been sitting in the fiery pits of Hell and he’s poking my body all over the place.
Repeatedly.
Buried grief.
I’m not an expert on the grieving process even though I’ve lost more friends over the years than I can count on all my fingers and toes. Grandparents, cousins, Aunts, Uncles, boyfriends, the whole shebang.
But nothing, and I mean nothing, could have prepared me for the loss of my Mom and it’s just recently that I’ve realized I still haven’t processed it properly.
I keep pushing it down, trying to go on as if my life is still the same when in reality my entire world is shattered and I can’t really talk about it.
I don’t want to talk about it think about it dream about it know about it deal with it, any of it.
I’m the biggest crybaby in the world, always have been but it’s like somebody put a lock on my tear ducts and turned my heart into stone, cold, frozen, sharp stone that weighs more than I do.
I don’t want to feel.
Which is convenient because lately I feel nothing.
Numb.
Dead inside.
Depression.
Yeah, good old depression has always visited me from time to time but now it’s packed it’s bags and moved right on into this empty yet broken heart of mine.
One of these days, I hope I can gather together my strength and somehow manage to pick up the jagged pieces of my heart and put it back together again.
In a non-Humpty Dumpty way.
blagg
AUTHORS NOTE: the pictures used in this post were drawn by me on my phone. There’s an app for that.



{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/



momanddadmomandus

It’s usually the first time that’s the most difficult and life changing.
The first word uttered, the first step taken, the first day of school, the first date, the first sexual experience, you get the idea because we all have our own firsts.
Some firsts are harder than others, regardless of what that first is, and while I’ve already used over 50 words in an effort to avoid getting to my point, I can’t put it off any longer.
This is my year of firsts without my Mom.
In my defense, it’s only been 6 months since she was ripped out of my life without warning.
If you’ve followed my blog from the beginning you may already be aware that I lost my Mom the 19th day of April, 2013.
And that loss was the impetus behind this very blog.
Not to be flippant about such a serious life altering occasion but why is it said like that? “I lost my Mom” isn’t quite strong enough to express the devastation I still feel along with the fact that, no, we don’t “lose” people like they are a set of car keys we can’t find, car keys can be replaced (at which point we usually find them, after buying another set) but when we “lose” people, they can not be replaced.
Perhaps it would have been a little less shocking if the hospital didn’t call me at 9pm on the 18th of April to tell me she was fine and being moved to the local rehab for her broken shoulder only to get a phone call at 5am the following morning telling me she was gone. Lost. Dead.
Leaving it to me to call my Father and 2 brothers with the unbelievable news; the glue in our Family was gone.
Thus began my Year Of Firsts.
My first time having to “identify the body”, such cold clinical words to describe the last time I ever saw my Mother.
My first time having to “make arrangements”, more stupid words making it sound as if I was planning a party.
My first birthday without Mom, bittersweet, as I found the birthday card she’d already bought me, oddly enough, while she always gave me funny cards, this year she’d picked out a beautiful card from Mother to Daughter, comparing me to an angel. While it wasn’t signed, to this day I have it in a special place so I can see it every day.
The first time my Dad was alone for their Wedding Anniversary, which would have been 65 years married.
It isn’t always major events that count as “firsts”, sometimes it’s the little things you take for granted that can hit you out of nowhere and kick you in the gut, hard.
The first time in many many years Mom and I didn’t take our usual Autumn getaway to Cape May, and if I’m honest about it, I don’t know if I will ever be strong enough to go to Cape May again. Another first, I let my subscription to Exit Zero expire, a weekly newspaper I’ve been getting for over 10 years. It hurts too much to look at that magazine anymore and in fact I have a pile of unopened issues waiting to be read.
Today is Halloween, another first without Mom, who always without fail decorated the entire house for every Holiday imaginable.
My Dad still has some of the Easter decorations Mom put up right before she went into the hospital, I haven’t been able to talk him into letting me put them away yet.
Every year my Mom cooked a huge Thanksgiving feast, the entire Family gathered around the table and we were looking forward to getting back to our usual Thanksgiving Day Dinner since the year before was a no-go as the house Hurricane Irene destroyed wasn’t finished yet. This Thanksgiving we knew we had a lot to be Thankful for, but that was taken away with my Mom.
This year I will be cooking Thanksgiving Dinner here, my Dad will join us but both of my brothers turned down my invitation.
And Christmas? And New Years Eve? My Dad’s Birthday? My Mom’s Birthday, which we last celebrated in the hospital, 2 days before she died?
As I’ve been writing this, my phone rang and it was my Dad. He’s worried he’s going to lose the house. There is no way this will happen, he just worries about things, it’s always been a hobby of his but he’s in hyper-drive now because the tax assessor came to the house saying his taxes were to be increased by $2500.00 a year for the addition of a porch on the house. Problem with that is we had a porch before the house collapsed from the hurricane and all we did was replace what was there.
So I guess this is another first, I have to go to the tax office and argue on my Father’s behalf. He’s 87 years old and he’s beginning to develop Alzheimer’s according to his Doctor, so now I have to step up and take care of him without him knowing that I’m taking care of him. He is a proud man who refuses to accept parts of the aging process, so I must tread carefully.
This conversation I just had with Dad was a first, it was the first time I asked my Father to please trust me, to understand that I will never let anything happen to him and his house, and to recognize that he is the most important thing in my world, I have his back as I always have and I always will.
And for the first time in my life, my Dad agreed with me.

momdad

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/daily-prompt-beginning/



et cetera