Sunday, January 29, 2017


I remember when Dad died, Mom counted the days, then months, then years. It seemed odd, to me, at the time for her to be so aware of how long it had been.

And now?

Now I get it. I find myself thinking, "Mom's been gone for two weeks."

And then I think, "Two weeks?" It just doesn't seem possible. It feels like she is still just a phone call away.

I'm doing OK, I guess. I received a book about Grief in the mail (from who I don't know) and I've been reading it with my eyes wide open. You never really understand grief until your knee deep in it.

I feel bad because I didn't understand Mom's grief with regards to dad. Sure, I missed dad. But he wasn't my every day conversation. He was the man I loved who raised me. I miss him. But not the same way Mom would have.

Now, with Mom gone, I get it. I totally get it. I feel like my right hand has been removed. To say there's a hole in my heart that will never be filled, seems like a cliche...and yet so very accurate.

Most my meltdowns happen at night. They happen when I settle into bed and my mind starts to slow down a bit. I start to think about everything I've been doing to settle Mom's estate and then it hits me like a ton of books.

Her phone rang the other night. It was The Niece. When I texted her and asked why she was calling Grandma, she said, "I forgot. I used to call her on my way home all the time." That broke my heart. I told her I'd be that call now if she needs it, but to understand, and be reminded, that other people are grieving her loss is just as difficult as grieving myself.

Mom and The Niece

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Longest Week Ever

Mom has been gone just over a week now. I'm still coming to grips with what happened. I held it together for the week we had to clean out the house. I got home on Sunday night, unpacked, went to bed and completely lost it.

I cried for 30 minutes straight. I miss her so much.

I know that the next year will be hard and I'll want to rage, and scream, and cry on a regular basis. I've already had some moments of realizing I can't call Mom for answers on things. I can't call her and tell her what goofy thing Linus did. I can't call and argue with her about politics. I can't call her on Thanksgiving and tell her the Bird is in and the Clam dip is done. I can't do any of that and that breaks my heart.

Much like when BigBro died I spent a good chunk of time being in denial - the first stage of grieving.

The say it helps us survive the loss, we become numb, we wonder how we can go on with out the person we lost. In this phase you take one day at a time and learn to cope with the hole in your heart. "Denial helps us to pace our feelings of grief." They say it's "nature's way of letting in only as much as we can handle." At some point you will start asking questions, then is when you start the healing process. And it's at THIS point that all the feelings you were denying begin to surface.

Oh great!

I think I am very much still in the denial phase. I really felt denial in the hospital and think I went through all 5 phases of grieving that week in the hospital. Denial - Anger - Bargaining - Depression - Acceptance. The week in the hospital was hard and all those emotions did surface in that short time frame. I knew she wasn't coming back to us. When the reality set in, and she passed, there was relief. Then there was work that needed to be done.

The next week was cleaning out the house. I compartmentalized my feelings for that week to "get it done." The sadness of throwing or giving away someone's life was overwhelming. All I could do was tuck those emotions neatly inside to be dealt with another day.

Now I'm home. Alone. Two cats who missed me horribly and no mom to call to tell how much the cats missed me.

The Final Hours

Its 3:26 am on January the 14th 2017. I'm sitting in a hospital waiting room waiting, not so patiently, for the MomUnit to pass. We took her off life support at 8:00 tonight. She's being her typical stubborn self. We've all told her she can go, but something is still keeping her here. The doctors say it won't be long. UPDATE: 5:19am: Just went back to see mom. She's still holding on.

The family and friends have come and gone. Each saying their personal goodbyes to a woman we all loved so dearly. She truly knew no stranger.

As a family, we've spent the last 3 days sitting vigil by mom's side. We literally "took over" this waiting room and had, at one time, 20 people standing around talking to each other. People from differnt arms of mom's life. All here with one very sad purpose, to say goodbye.

Mom was never alone in the back until we all left for the night - usually around midnight. During the day, someone would be back there just sitting with her. Just showing her the love we all felt for her.

And now? Now it's silent. Just me and the tapping of the keys. It's too quite and now my brain has started to think. And I find myself starting to do what I do every time I'm about to begin something I know nothing about.

Truthfully, I'm a procrastinator when it comes to doing a task that I 1) don't know how to begin and 2) really don't want to do. And the task in front of me, closing Mom's estate - fits both those criteria.

So I start researching. Typing into the Googles "checklist to follow when a loved one dies". I'm not sure why I think there's a "manual" for this, but sure enough...there are tons and tons of sites.

And as  I sit here with my clouded brain just glancing at the pages, and nothing really sticking I find that my thoughts travel through my life with the MomUnit.

I thought, "What's my first real memory of Mom?" Do you have one of your mom? I have a few jumbled memories which I'm not sure are "real memories" or memories given to me by photos or stories. I can't really pin point the first. Instead, many more come flooding in.

March 1985
We're leaving Quartz Hill to drive to Seattle Washington. We're moving...again. I'm 16 years old, leaving all my friends and the boy I was sure I was going to marry. We danced, ONCE, to Careless Whispers and I made it "our song". He, of course, had no idea.

Pulling out of the drive way I asked mom if I could put in a song. She said yes. As the opening chords of Careless Whispers begins I burst into tears. I cried for the friends I was leaving and my "one true love." I cried and I cried.

I rewound the song and played it another 150 times crying each time on our trip to Chowchilla (stopping to see the grandparents).

EVERY time either mom or I would hear that song we'd call each other and say, "Listen!"

April 1986
Mom met me in Geneva. Dad was already in Saudi and she was going to meet him there. I had already been at TASIS for 4 months and we were all flying to Saudi. Mom and I were in a hotel. It was about 2 am in the morning. Mom got up to pee and couldn't turn on the bathroom light. She woke me telling me this...and said, "Mom, they're sleeping."

Why she and I giggled like school girls over that I'll never know.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Hello 2017


I didn't stay up and wait for 2017. Me and the demons snuggled into the bed and didn't look back. I vaguely remember hearing some fireworks, but that didn't wake me enough.

The new year to me seems like a clean slate. All the things I didn't complete last year, or any previous year, filters to the top and ends up on a list...again. Here's the thing, my goals are really just ideas of what I'd like to do. I never hold myself too closely to them - some I do, but if I don't reach any of them I don't beat myself up. That's not to say I don't try, I just don't lose sleep if I don't hit them.

Last year I had none. I had "some" in the back of my head, but really didn't write any down...and I'm ok with that. Last year was such a crazy, chaotic mess that there was no way I could even focus on goals. THIS year I think, (read: hope) things have settled a bit. I still expect the crazy, but am hoping it's a lot less.

So ... here's the list.

24 New things
When I turned 40 I decided to do 40 new things. That took a LOT to do. This year I turned 48 and know that 48 won't happen. But half of it 24 new things. I've a list started and we'll see. Maybe I could secretly attempt 48 new things...well, now it's not a secret.

52 Weeks of Saving
I've done this for three years now and figured why not? It's kinda nice to have $1348 at the end of the year to do with what you want. THIS year I'd like it to go to something other than paying off a credit card. The change this year is that I won't be getting cash out, but transferring into savings instead. We'll see if that lasts. I'll also be starting backwards this year like I did last. Starting with week 52 and counting down.

I gave up on photography last year for sure. Even with the trips I took I didn't "feel" it. It wasn't until the end of the Georgia trip that I started to want to take photos again. My problem now is I'm tired of carrying that big DLSR camera with me ... so I bought a smaller camera and am going to see if it will suffice.  My photos aren't ever for big printing or selling, so hopefully the smaller will be better.

When isn't health on the list? I'm still riding the wave of the blood clot scare and am feeling motivated. I have NO plan to jump into this 100% right away. I know myself. It has to be small shopping and prepping again. Planning is key for me.  I also need to get back to the gym. I told the doc on Friday that the gym will be part of my life this next week so it may affect my INR numbers. We shall see.

Make an effort to go out more
I became a home-body last week. I wanted nothing more than to be home. That's all good and fine, but I feel like I am not making memories much anymore. I want my life to be more than inside my house. I also have this problem with "saying" I'll go somewhere, then wanting like nothing else to cancel right before. That has to end.

3 Road Trips
I took one last year. Sparky does not approve! I have two places that are on my list that I HAVE to check off. They've been on the list far too long. So buckle up.

Knowledge / Classes
Not sure what this is just yet, but I do know there's some classes I'd like to take. I'd like to take a Cake decorating class and perhaps a Management class. Something. I need more knowledge.

Along with wanting to get back into photography, Project365 may do the trick. I haven't done this in several why not?

Photo 1 of 365

24 Books
Dah. I hit 24 books this year on Dec 30th. Just in the nick of time. At least 12 will be from book club. I did print off this cool reading Bingo game that helps you read books not in your normal rotation. Should be interesting and fun to do.

Maintain current friends, make new ones
Relationships are big...and I think we all take certain relationships for granted. Need to still cultivate those relationships AND need to always be seeking new ones.

Work goal: Become a manager
It's been said outloud at work. I've heard them say things like, "Jenn's team..." Well, make it real. Make it MY team.

I think I have a couple of more that I may or may not add. They're not a big deal and really just something fun for me to do and are related to scrapbooking and tracking stuff in a year.

So happy new year everyone. What are your goals? Do you make them? Do you keep them? Do you care?