12 Years Ago, Tonight

12  years ago, tonight at 10:20 pm my father passed away in a hospital in Connecticut. I was never a big fan of New Year’s Eve to begin with but since this happened, I roll into a little ball

English: Sculpture of a woman in fetal positio...

in my bed and cry on and off.

My dad used to buy me a candle every single year on my birthday, without fail, I’m sure my mom reminded him but it was a tradition. My mom, sister and I still have one or two of his well-worn, soft handkerchiefs that are like prized possessions. Our dad had a shelf where he had 13 types of small different after shave cologne which he would point out to us, often!

What’s worse, for my mom, is that January 1st is/was my parents’ wedding anniversary. We try to give each other support but in essence it’s really our own pain we need to get past. I’m the “crier” in the family or as my husband and son call me “the shrieker.” Good or bad and especially when surprised by something: a bug, a person, a loud noise, I have a natural instinct to be scared easily. My daughter is the same way. Sometimes we shriek at

the surprise of seeing each other.

She’s away on a trip and as much as I am happy she is having a fabulous time, part of me wishes she was home. But, as much as I am a mushy mess, my daughter keeps all her emotions inside, deep, down inside. My expectations of wanting her here are really quite different from what her being here would be like. She does not enjoy my massive display of emotions.

My son is definitely more like me, we understand each other. We can read each others feelings on the phone or the breath before we say “hello” on the telephone. I was like that with my dad. My sister and my mother are completely alike, full of false bravado and unaware of their feelings. Being without my dad for so many years has been a struggle.

The balance has been lost, the person who understood me most, is gone. I’m with two family members that don’t really get me at all, they just say I’m “too sensitive,” never realizing that sensitivity is a good thing and that they might be insensitive. What I’ve learned all these years is that people don’t change.

I will get through tonight, thankfully, NOT going out, eating my American cheese sandwich and drinking chocolate milk, my comfort food. Maybe I’ll have some baked Lays for the crunch factor. For dessert, I pre-ordered two of our favorite home-made jelly doughnuts

from a nearby bakery. My husband and I will toast each other with those doughnuts, in memory of my father. Growing up it was a tradition that we all had jelly doughnuts on New Year’s Eve together. I just found out my husband bought four jelly doughnuts and two black and white cookies, he’s definitely like my dad too.

As sad as I am to have lost him, I am trying (not very successfully) to focus on that deep relationship we had and how much he really did love me. I was his baby girl, he loved me plenty of that I am sure. It just doesn’t help to take away the pain. Nothing does.

 

 

*My dad took me to see Two By Two with Danny Kaye, for years after, with spoons and different glasses of water of varying heights, he would conduct and we would both clink all our glasses after the words “Two By Two.” The last time I tried to do that with him, he was very sick and didn’t want to do that. He had lost his joy and I knew that his end was near.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

My Intentions

Here it is, on paper. I want to live in a state where there is much more sun

than there is rain. When the thought of Winter is a warm sweater or a light jacket. I don’t want to worry about sliding on the ice and breaking my bones, I can do without the word snow and wind chill for the rest of my life. Truly.

I will not miss the harsh wind howling through the trees and knocking furiously at my windows, tree branches attacking my house. I know that wherever I live there will be compromises I will have to make. There is always a trade-off.

Maybe there will be tornadoes that will scare me or hurricane season that I am certainly

not used to, I am pretty sure I would cower with one of those. I would want a safe room, stocked with canned items and a can opener and frozen bread I could defrost quickly, cereal and small boxes of milk.

It’s funny, when I pictured that I saw myself surrounded by my two little children but I don’t have little children anymore. Sometimes I miss that. My children are perfectly wonderful grown-ups and I am not thirty anymore. I am closer to sixty.

I probably should look for a town that has an active “Senior Center” (sorry, I just threw up in my mouth for a second) and good hospitals. It would be nice to be in a college town so I can be around all age groups.

The MOST important part is that I need to live by water, some coastal town. I don’t mean swimming pools, sorry hon, a desert town does not count. Anywhere along the coast

English: Beach at Sullivan's Island in Charles...

English: Beach at Sullivan’s Island in Charleston, South Carolina, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

where it is warm (‘wrong’ Freudian slip.) I don’t want to leave my mom….but I will know when the timing is right. It doesn’t have to be tomorrow, it can be in five years, we will work something out. I will FEEL when it is right.

Something will come up, something always comes up. Eventually. Deep breathing and mindful meditation. My heart is open to new things. I’m not sure my husband is as ready as I am but when he is, when we both are and the opportunity presents itself, we will know. Well, one of us will for sure, and the other one will know when he takes time to get more comfortable with the idea. There’s nothing wrong with that, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

We have been married for twenty-six years,  we’re a team, we are going to stay that way.

6 Weeks

We were told by his adult children that he was supposed to die from an inoperable, aggressive brain tumor within six weeks, that was at least three months ago. I thought, for sure, he would die when he was told his wife had passed away but, again, he was so relieved, so grateful she was out of her pain that he actually felt and looked a bit better. Nobody could change or help his diagnosis, he had an inoperable brain tumor but his spirit was so relieved that the love of his life was free of pain and free of suffering, he felt just a little better. They knew his wife was going to die in one or two days and they were correct. You could see relief sketched on his face yet he was not allowed to go to her funeral, he was in hospice care.

Many years ago, when my father laid, by himself, in a hospital room, in another state I called at the exact time when a freshly minted unsettled female voice said:”something has just happened and that the doctors are working on him now.” I didn’t understand, I had no idea what she was talking about but I remember calling my mother. I never thought about it like this but I guess I was there at his death as well. We were together and I still left him that sacred message, so did my mom. “It was okay to go, it was okay, we would take care of each other…”

The cardiologist called me and I asked him if I should come? His voice was gentle, I remember that, and he said “Sweetie, you won’t make it in time, don’t come.” ” Do you promise?” I asked through wracking sobs? “Yes”, he promised. Moments later, my father was dead. I didn’t know until a few days ago my mom had made the same call and was told the same thing. She was ready to drive there alone, in the dark, even though she was terrified to drive.

He had crashed in the hospital while under observation with a fatal heart attack. He had suffered heart attacks before. I still see that digital clock in my mind, the one my dad had given me so many years ago, well, “sold” to me even after all these years. My own children were across the hall, mere babies. I see their sweet, innocent faces, me in my bed, a moment, frozen in time. It was 10:20 pm.

I thought I would never be able to feel happiness again but I did though it was different. I was different as well. Before and After Different. That’s how I now measured my life, in a lot of things.

There are always new phases in our lives, new beginnings, new endings, new chapters, the closures, doors slammed and opened. Right now we are in the middle of a chapter and can’t seem to go forward or back, we are stuck, like dead birds smashed against a windowpane.

Eventually, we will move on. It may take some more time but life does not have to be stagnant forever although sometimes it feels that way. Turn that attitude around and enjoy what you have instead of what you don’t know. Nestle in comfort for the time being. Luxuriate in proximity, memories, familiarity and family.

Change will come, whether you are ready for it or not, it will sneak in like a softly padded black cat stealthily coming in the darkened bedroom, with only green cat eyes following every step you take.

.

Too Much Death In The Air

I haven’t written. I know. I’m down. Way down. I admit it. The scent of death lurking in the air. Gail, John’s wife is dead. John has an inoperable brain tumor, everyone wishes he would die, especially him. He only has days to live, Gail died yesterday. These people were like part of my family. They loved our dog, once they had their own dog. It brought back memories for them. Sweet memories.

Waiting. In tears, or on the verge of, always. Like now, all the time. Writing it down doesn’t make it easier or harder, there is no solution. Nothing can resolve this miserable situation, not a funeral, not two funerals.

Only, if they were buried together, if he died too, in the next two days, then, I could somehow see something positive because they were meant to be together always, married together, buried together. Everyone would feel better. When you tell a terminally ill brain tumor patient that his wife has passed and he says “Thank God” what does that mean?

Her suffering was more important to him than his own. I can’t seem to get over this very personal story, this couple, extended family, invited to every birthday party of my children, every summer barbecue for years.

When my father was alive they were my parents’ best friends, very best friends. When my dad died, they “adopted” my mother, were so wonderful to her, every day. When the wife coveted a certain kind of brownie I would buy it for because she loved nothing more than chocolate, except her husband, always her husband.

Somewhere, this must be bringing up my father’s funeral inside me, it has to be, I am sobbing in that way, down deep place that there is no control over. Of course it would bring up his death. I am really slow. My mother, who would never acknowledge this about herself has lost her two closest friends, while she may not relate this to her husband’s death, deep down she will feel it unconsciously.

I feel helpless and I acknowledge I am helpless. I am oversensitive and needy. I ask friends for reassurance, while direct, is not necessary. Because once asked, does it really mean the same thing? I regret asking now.

Taking a short break from social media where some people are cruel with their words, there is no room in my life for cruelty of any kind.  I want to be moving and doing and yet, I remain huddled in bed. Last night I crashed at 8:30 pm and I am still in bed at 11:00 am with no motivation to move.

Everyone wants them to be buried together at the same time. It would give the story some meaning, a tiny bit of meaning.

I cry, I dry my eyes, I cry again.

 

Smelling Change, Part 2 (2 weeks ago)

Illustration of the Devil in the Codex Gigas, ...

Illustration of the Devil in the Codex Gigas, folio 270 recto (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A follow-up to “Smelling Change” where I was highly optimistic….

It was a long week or two that followed that one amazing day of innocence.

 

WHAT THE HELL WAS I  THINKING?

 

At least I thought things were going to change for the better.

I know, nice try. The thought of happiness and joy, like being enveloped in a soft pink cotton shawl didn’t work at all. Maybe it was a lot of bull—-. Maybe I was just in a really good, positive, affirming mood that day. I’ve tried so hard, you know I have, but I went from gratitude and perseverance to sadness, depression and disgust. Now, I’m plain fed up.

The fantasy of hope was delicious for a few days, like savoring a spoonful of a rich, vanilla bean ice cream twirling on your tongue, letting it melt and slowly swallowing. A tantalizing, sensual process. I lick my lips with the tip of my tongue.

 

Now?

I have lost all feelings. I’m in an empty, lonely place and that scares me more than any situational depression. I am a woman with great emotions, always, good or bad, high or low and now I feel like I am pressed in a corner, invisible, except for the dust bunnies that surround me. My husband will most likely vacuüm around me but not see. He prides himself on his vacuuming skills.

Worst of all, now I feel nothing. If you can feel numbness, that’s what I feel. Things haven’t been going well at all. I feel alone, not the “we’re in this together” support that usually holds us closer together. We may watch television together but he holds his cell phone in his hand playing games and not my hand.

Droid Apps Cell Phone

Droid Apps Cell Phone (Photo credit: GoodNCrazy)

This is the person who was my support system, my best friend in the world. Whoever is living in the same house now, I do not know. He’s a stranger to me. Yes, I am here, imperfect, with all my flaws and disabilities but I have raised our children and have done a great job of doing that. I need more in my life than emptiness, and sitting on my bed to eat alone. I have my dog who keeps me company, I enjoy that.

I feel sad when I write this, is that a good sign? I know all couples go through good and bad times. It’s not the very first time this has happened in 25 years but of course, it feels that way.

When my husband brought up my disability, Fibromyalgia, in a threatening/demeaning way, “when I get a job, things will be different because you are sick” what the HELL did he mean by that? AM I NOW supposed to apologize for my pain? Get down on my hands and knees, scrub the floors but not be able to get up?

That was insulting to me and to my Fibromyalgia sisters and brothers, something I will not accept.

EVER

 

underwater fibro fog (unfinished)-altered jour...

underwater fibro fogSigh,

We both need to work harder to communicate more clearly. Over and over again. Riding the waves, up and down, in and out; there are never new problems, just old problems recycled again and again.

The work is endless, the peaks and valleys are like that of an EKG. Everyone has problems, we go up, we go down like waves on the beach, we’ve been down together for a long time. Are we ever going to be able to get up? To rejoice? We, have lost all hope in the world, not in us, but in the world.

We are both under a lot of stress and have been for many months, we both realize that. But, we are on the same team and need to rally, once again to support each other. To keep each others hopes and dreams alive.

Baking For Cousins

It’s been a rough week, I’ve started about twenty new posts and never finished any but last night I talked to a new friend and it felt refreshing like biting into a piece of lemon cake on a hot summer day. Sometimes, when things feel black, an unexpected opening, like a crack in a window, appears from nowhere and you can finally start to breathe normally again.

Open Window

It doesn’t solve your problems and It may not last,  but at least it makes you remember that “normal” really isn’t the deep-down, below the ground hurt, sadness and resentment you have felt for the last few days. It’s as if you have been given a “time-out” to think about your marriage, your grown up children, your family and friends, your Life.

It’s like taking a break without traveling. It’s NOT dreading the barbeque at your house that you felt two days ago but happily making food. Slicing the mozzarella and the tomatoes, drizzling olive oil, and balsamic glaze and scattering chopped pieces of fresh basil on top.

English: Guacamole in a bowl. Photograph taken...

I’m making my daughter’s favorite, everyone’s favorite, guacamole with avocados that have ripened in a paper bag with two apples. I will squeeze fresh lemon on them, add chopped onions, tomatoes, garlic, pepper, salt and a few grains of sugar (my secret recipe) to undercut the acidity.

 

My mouth is beginning to drool. My husband and son are at the supermarket buying meat for the rest of the carnivores, hamburgers and hot dogs.

Mostly, I am hosting this barbeque, to see the four cousins together which never ceases to delight me. Jon, Anna, Tim and Jillian. All grown up but still as close as they were when they were young and building forts in my living room with “Milton.” (Don’t ask)

banana bread!

Our house was the favorite, of course, because my sister and her husband were much stricter about food than we were. Hence, when the cousins came over, they said hello, gave us hugs and went directly to our pantry. I loved every minute of it and still do and even though I swore I would never bake another banana bread again…there are two freshly baked loaves waiting for them, on the granite counter.

One with raisins, one with chocolate chips, both with love.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

That Darn Fantasy Scone

English: They baked up into a wonderful tender...

English: They baked up into a wonderful tender and flaky scone! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I finally found the scone that I had fantasized about last week,( see post ” Cranky Is As Cranky Does, I’m Hungry…”) in a Viennese Pattisserie, where I’ve been to once before. At that precious moment, I did not have any common sense. I mean after all, this was not a British Bakery.

They had delicious looking pastries, cakes, and bite size mini-desserts. Once they had a plate of samples out but we were not in luck this particular day.

I see scones and I literally squeal with joy. I asked the lovely woman who worked there what flavor the scones were (of course only the one with the baked sugar frosting) and she told me: apple. Done. I ordered it and for the rest of the evening I dreamed about having the scone to go along with my one large, white mug (out of my favorite, well-fitting mug, the right thickness for my lips) of very strong coffee in the morning.

Once out of the bakery, my husband, looked at me as if I were out of my mind. “You’re not eating that now?” he asked. I stared back at him (you know “THE LOOK” implying after 25 years of marriage don’t you know me by now?) Of course I wouldn’t eat it on the spot, I was “Saving It.” Yes, I am one of those people. It’s neither right or wrong, it’s a style. I would never say he was right or wrong (I am always right.)

Maybe it was too much anticipation but my first taste of the scone in the morning was so hard and barely “chewable”, I thought my jaw would pop out again. I tried to soften it up in the microwave which helped a little but frankly not that much.

The last time I had scones was in England with my parents when I was a child and that was the real deal, of course I remember the clotted cream, the afternoon tea, the scones and small sandwiches which were without the dreaded crusts and the fresh sweetness of the strawberry preserves.

Yes, leave it to me to associate place by food only. That’s my job (and passion.) I’m on the look out now for something “breakfasty” to either buy or make (easy only) that’s soft like a muffin but doesn’t have as many calories yet a TINY BIT firmer like a GOOD scone, raisins are a must. Vegetables are okay, but I don’t have a chopper thing, delicious factor desperately needed..Simple and easy, a must. My stomach thanks you.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Plinky Prompt: You Get Fantastic News, What’s The First Thing You Do?

English: Two women text messaging on their cel...

English: Two women text messaging on their cell phones in a coffee shop on the campus of California State University, Fullerton. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • You get some incredibly, amazingly, wonderfully fantastic news. What’s the first thing you do? See all answers
  • Hello Mom? Hubby?
  • I race to the phone and call my husband and my mother. It is absolute instinct to call my mom first, I think, my fingers are flying over the telephone buttons in my excitement. How many more years will she be in my life? I want to cherish every second. If I’m happy, she’s happy, that’s how she operates. Me being happy would make HER happy. It’s a gift for both of us. I have two adult children, I totally understand.

    At the same time, on another line, I call my husband who is my best friend and life-long partner. He is the person who knows me best and loves me the most and puts up with my crap. He sticks with me, we go through everything together. We have two adult children and a dog. We think alike when it comes to big issues, family first. We’ve been doing that for over 25 years of marriage, I adore him and we still have a lot of fun. He ties for first place, he would genuinely be happy for me, for us.

    There is no joy in having amazingly good, fantastic news if you can’t share it with the ones you love.

Plinky Prompt: Simply Be Thankful For Something or Someone

  • English:

    English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • The internet is full of rants. Help tip the balance: today, simply be thankful for something (or someone). See all answers
  • Thankful
  • I am thankful, every single day and night, for my husband, Dan. We just celebrated our 25th anniversary together, focusing on what we feel is important: Love and Good Food. We went away to a Bed and Breakfast for two nights and spent two dinners at the Culinary Institute of America. In all these years, it seems like we blended into one person. I love him and appreciate him in every way, he is my best friend and the thought of losing him brings me to tears and I panic. I try not to dwell on it. He is the one person that I feel the most comfortable with in the world.
    Being married isn’t always easy, nobody said it would be. People stop us and are amazed that we have been married for so long. One friend told me that all her friends get married for two years at the most, they get divorced, they try again. Marriage vows are not about just “trying” they are about sticking it out and working things through.
    We are NOT talking about a pair of shoes or next year’s jean style.
    We have two wonderful (adult) children, hopefully one day they too will find the husband or wife of their dreams and will treat their marriages with the same respect, friendship and love that we have for each other.

Happy 25th Anniversary To Us

wedding flower preview: my sample bouquet

wedding flower preview: my sample bouquet (Photo credit: Amber Karnes)

Today, October 2nd 2013, Danny and I will have been married for twenty-five years. Wow.  I can hardly believe it myself.  He truly is the best friend I have in the world and the love of my life. There is no one I’d rather be with than him. The thought of not being with him in the future makes me weep. I know it won’t be anyone’s fault but you know me, I worry in advance.

There’s something about being able to trust someone completely without embarrassment that is so intimate. It’s like branches of a tree, the trunk is the center, solid and strong, branches, different personality traits that co-mingle over time. We look at each other sometimes and say “Who ARE you?” and we laugh because we, somewhere along the way have become each other. He makes me feel safe, I feel better with him, together.

Of course, there are our beautiful “children” who by now are adults which is more shocking than most things. We feel so blessed with two amazing adult children, Tim and Jillian. These magnificent kids are our life’s work, to me they are what I have wanted my entire life. If  have contributed nothing else in this world, I am proud, overjoyed to bring two wonderful, smart and kind people to this world. The purpose of my life was to be their mother and I’m so proud of both of them.

Dan and I usually agree on most things, especially on child-rearing. We were always pretty strict, European raised, that’s how we brought up our children, with manners. We did a great job with our kids, and we did it together. We stuck together on issues and we tried not to let the kids play games with us. It worked (mostly.)

Dan is the one true love of my life, he is warm and genuine and a deeply caring person. I like him very much (personal joke.) I can definitely say I am happier now than I was  when I was younger.

Sweetheart, thank you for the best 25 years of my life. I love you with my heart and soul. Truthfully, I love you more than that and then some. Happy Anniversary to my most favorite person in the world. All my love, Me.

Photo credit noted above, Amber Karnes.