Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Crap Crappiest Season of All...

On December 21st, it will have been five years. Five years since I got the worst phone call of my life - my brother, simply saying, "It's dad.", and his silence when I asked "What happened? I just talked to him last night and he was fine! Did he go back to the hospital?" He couldn't, wouldn't give me details, but I had a feeling. In hindsight, there were some clues, but we'd all kind of brushed them aside, never dreaming that it would come to that. Five years since I've been able to hear my father's gruff voice, doling out advice on my questions. Five years since I've heard him laugh at something my daughter has said.

It's gotten a little easier over those five years, but I still find myself funking out this time of year...getting cranky or weepy for no good reason. Feeling like I'm not good company for anyone. I don't know what would have happened had I not had husband and daughter keeping me grounded. There's been anger. How dare he, didn't he think about how it would mar the holidays for all of us? Didn't he know? There's also been a lot of introspection, which may not have happened under different circumstances.

I feel myself pushing people away, trying to save myself from any possible pain like that again. I avoid bad news because I don't like feeling vulnerable.

That's why, every year since, I've had to pull myself up by my bootstraps and put my big girl pants on to get through. So if I seem distant and standoffish, it's not you. Keep trying; I'll get over it. Somehow.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Happy 2013!

I've never been one for making New Year's Resolutions...promises unkept aren't my thing. This year, though, felt different for some reason. Getting through another Christmas without my dad, and the first one without my father-in-law, was rough. The tragedy at Newtown was unspeakably horrible. I started contemplating my health, and beyond physical health (which I am blessed to be relatively healthy, even though I'm carrying too many extra pounds), I've really started thinking even more about mental and emotional health. Stress and anxiety is so taxing on every aspect of our beings. One of the things I've said a lot lately is, "I used to be much more fun than this...", so I've decided that my single resolution for 2013 is to Have More Fun. I'm eternally grateful to the very funny peeps I have been getting to know, even though it's via FB for now...I think they will be instrumental in helping me get the funny back. My husband and daughter will be grateful as well ;) Cheers!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

New Beginnings?

It's been a while, internets. I was shocked to see 3 years had passed since I'd last updated, hell, even looked at the blog. Lots of changes. My then preschool 4 year old is now 7 (and a half, as she makes sure to tell people) and in second grade. Yikes! 

Recapping the last 3 years is way too overwhelming for my brain, so what's ahead? Ahem. The legitimate mid-life crisis, as the big 4-0 is mere days away. I'm not even sure why it's such a big deal...just because greeting cards and party stores say so? I know it's all in my head, now I've just got to figure out how to make this year be a fabulous one. 

Husband was very excited for my interest in a digital SLR camera...he's been wanting one for years. We went out to the beach last night to try it out. 

 Seagull tracks


The clouds were great. Unfortunately, the sun went behind them and the light didn't change for the better the way I thought it might. Oh well.
So I'll be around, playing with the T3i in nature. That's therapeutic, right?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pre Mid-Life Crisis?

So in the past 19 months with my current therapist, I've danced around a variety of topics. Most of them pertained to my father and his illness, and after December, obviously around his demise. I finally wondered aloud if my dad was the only reason I was there...and she said that, with the background info she'd pieced together, most likely there were more issues to delve into. Uh, thanks...I think. Well, I knew deep down she was right. Let's see...self-esteem, self-worth, a teensy bit obsessive/compulsive (but not the wash-your-hands-10,000-times-a-day/have-to-check-all-the-locks-at-night-kind-of-OCD), control issues, etc. etc. etc. What can I say? I'm a complex kinda gal.

Through all the gobbledygook, brilliant therapist said "Do you think that maybe you're struggling right now because you don't have a "greater goal" in mind?"


I stopped talking and just...absorbed. Could it be? Hmm. Well, after high school's swarm of activity, I entered college and of course, always had some sort of goal/assignment/hellishness to complete. Once the B.A. was done, there was the checklist with "get a real job" in bold print, right on top, followed closely by "move out of parental house". It took a little over a year to achieve that one (after hundreds of resumes and a few interviews...elementary teachers of the non-minority variety were a dime a dozen). There was also the short term outcome of "find a man better than that piece of crap that cheated on you with a snow cow" that was checked off...since I met the man who would become Molly's Dad. Then I moved in with him ($22,000/year employment by a charter school does not pay for a solo apartment, utilities, car payment, and student loans. Damn.) and we began wedding planning. Next goal? Getting through the hellish first year of teaching, after which I decided something else needed doing - it was a reeeeeeally sucky year. I took the GRE (after a prep period of 2 weeks) and applied to the speech path program at a local university - and got in for the fall semester. Okay! So then my next 4 years was filled with short term outcomes leading to the big goal of graduation. I was busy and mentally occupied...life was good. Check.

Next goal after the M.A., naturally, was get a real job. Didn't have to wait long for that; I started R.J. 2 weeks before physically graduating. So then? STO was to get to the end of the CFY (clinical fellow year) and take/pass the certification test. Check.

And then baby planning came into play. As with everything else in my fracking life, this child was ├╝ber planned and, while she wasn't conceived exactly when I would've liked for her to have a spring birthday (stop rolling your eyes. I have issues.), it worked out just fine. I changed jobs so as to have a shorter workday and work year (although I was giving up a job I otherwise loved), and we moved along. STO at that time was to not be a shitty mom and sink or swim in the world of speech path in the schools. Check.

The spring after M turned 2, husband started getting a bit tired of his micromanaging boss and decided to look for other employment options. This was before the fall of Detroit (and I'm soooo glad he got out when he did...his company was in a contract with one of the car companies that went bankrupt this year so who knows what happened with that contract?). I was super tired of living in metro D and we were clearly outgrowing our tiny tract bungalow, so when he found a job on the west side of the state (an hour away from my hometown), we decided to go for it. I found a job in a fairly short amount of time. Check.

Then my dad got sick. I knew this would be a hard journey for me, being a daddy's girl. But the next 14 months were spent basically waiting to hear results of PET scans, letting go of breaths when all looked well, and just holding on. Then the bottom fell out of my world and I've been just sort of floating here ever since. No STOs, no goals...just to stop my mind from manufacturing crazy - staving off horrific anxiety, depression, etc.

The fog has started to lift ever so slightly. I can see light at the end of the tunnel. My laugh comes a bit more easily these days. But now? Now I need to see what the next goal will be. I am not one of those women who lives and breathes solely for her family...I love them to pieces, but I cannot function that way. I (selfishly) need a goal for me. But I don't know what it is.

Any of you, whether you normally read this (crappily boring) blog or whether you just happened upon it. Any ideas for a new life goal? For a pre mid-life crisis? I wish it were just as easy as a hot pool boy to look at or some plastic surgery, but it ain't. So give me your two cents. How do you guys handle this? Do you even run off little goals like that, or am I some kind of freakish robot like human? (Wait, don't answer that part. I'm still sensitive.)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Post That Took Me Seven Months to Write...

It's been a rough 7 months. The roughest 7 months I've ever known...or ever want to know again. There were many, many days I had to really reach inside of myself to find the strength to keep going. The depression and anxiety that were probably always lurking (even though I went to therapy for the first time after being diagnosed with postpartum depression) went gangbusters in my brain.

This all may be pretty normal for someone who's lost a parent, right?

My father, since his suck-ass diagnosis, had been a trouper (or is it trooper? I've never really known.). He took chemo like a champ, and I think did WAY better than any of the doctors thought a crusty 77 year old man could do. PET scans showed that the one involved lymph node was no longer swollen. There were no metasteses to any other organs. Even the activity at the main lesion was quieted. There was only one area that was still lighting up on the scans - a spot on his sternum. As the heavy chemo meds were taking a toll on his aging kidneys, his doctors recommended a break from chemo last summer. His hair grew back (my husband was jealous), albeit now more white than the salt and pepper it was before. Other than the fact that his job was not calling him much - obviously the car industry was doing a swift tanking. The dealer did not need him to pick up any new cars or go to any auctions. This was probably the first step.

He noticed a bump beginning to form on his sternum.

This grew a little more, and the doctors did another bone scan to try and get a better idea of what it was. The radiologist thought that it was just "superficial", and since it was starting to cause some discomfort, they decided to try some radiation. His heart was doing better, so it was felt to be safe.

I don't think they really, truly explained and made sure he understood that radiation, especially to the chest, can be damn uncomfortable. I wish they had.

He began a cycle of radiation last November, traveling the 45 miles back to the cancer center and hoping winter weather would hold off a little longer. I never really knew how much he was hurting, but my mom started mentioning that he was coughing a lot, and it hurt to cough. He also started having trouble swallowing (something he'd never even had with a lesion in the esophagus) and would gag on his food at times. My dad did NOT like to be pampered and did not like people to see him get sick like that...even his wife of 57 years. He went back to the oncologist and they mentioned how painful the area was. The oncologist, knowing their medicare prescription coverage was being stretched to the limit, mentioned that Hospice would be able to supply pain meds.

That was the wrong word to mention in front of my strong willed father.

I never got the chance to tell him that the oncologist probably didn't mean HOSPICE the way it seemed...that he was, against all odds, doing pretty darn well for his age and diagnosis. I never got the chance to ask him to please hold on, for me, for my daughter, for all of us.

I'm not sure exactly how long it was after that conversation with the oncologist that my father made his decision, but I know it wasn't terribly long.

On the morning of Sunday, December 21, in a horribly awful snowstorm, while my mother was at church, my father ended his own life.

That'll bring the conversation to a halt, won't it? No wonder I don't advertise. No wonder it took me so damn long to write a post about it. I almost didn't.

It hurts me deeply to write those words. I feel like people will judge him for choosing that end. I feel like people will judge me for being the daughter of someone who would choose that end. I'm devastated. And sad. And PISSED. If you'd asked any one of my family members whether we'd ever thought that scenario possible? ANY one of us would have answered hell to the NO. I'm still in disbelief.

So now, we try to heal. It's been a long, hard road...the anxiety and depression have had a grip on me like no other while I try to beat them back. I don't want to be dependent on medication, although I know there may come a time where I will have to have it.

The winter this year was long. My family was scattered off in different places this spring. So, on July 5, we brought a second step to a close. We buried his ashes in our church Memorial Garden. In a way, I felt just a wee, teensy, microscopic bit of weight lifted off my shoulders after that.

But it has been a HARD 7 months. 7 months that included too many "celebrations" without my dad. Christmas for starters. M's 4th birthday in February. What would've been my dad's 79th birthday. Father's Day. 4th of July, when we've always had a (paternal) family reunion. Too many celebrations that I just wanted to be left out of, to cry and mourn a little more.

But I have to start living again. And realize that, even as I mourn, I can still enjoy life, and laugh. My dad loved laughing. I need to honor him that way.

*I apologize if this post sounds scattered. There were so many ways I wanted to set it up to tell the story, but I never took notes or made any damn outlines or blah blah blah. It says what it needs to say, and that's it. Period.*

Friday, June 26, 2009

Heading Out...

With a friend to drive with her back to Colorado. I'll stay out there for a week, then fly home (first class with my miles upgrade - when else am I ever going to be able to fly first class?!). See you all next week!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Huh?

Hey! I'm FOLOTD today, which is total awesomeness! Thanks for stopping by my little crapholio blog. Haven't posted anything of note in quite a while (dealing with personal stuff that you might be able to deduce whilst reading), but feel free to browse.

Thanks, Cary ; )