Category Archives: loss

To “Me Too,” or Not to “Me Too”

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you’ve seen the sexual assault/ harassment posts going around on Facebook. Tons of women (and I have seen some men!) have raised their hands in a show of solidarity to show just how prevalent the problem is and to support each other.

This post is not for them. While their ability to put it out there is admirable, this post is for those who still aren’t brave enough to do so, who fear repercussions for one reason or another, or simply just don’t feel like sharing a vulnerable moment in their lives with so many people they aren’t comfortable with.

This post is for those who are staying silent rather than joining in the sharing. Whose fingers are numb and frozen, who can’t breathe when they think about it.

Whatever happened, it’s ok if you don’t want to tell everyone. If and when you share your story, you should feel comfortable. Safe. Even if the words feel like glass leaving your mouth and you feel like you’re raw and bleeding when you’re done speaking, you should feel safe.

You matter. Your story matters. Whomever you tell that story to matters. It’s a tough thing to open up and make yourself vulnerable, and it’s ok if you don’t do it on Facebook and put it out there.

You survived whatever happened to you.

You are still putting one foot in front of the other every day.

You are still breathing.

Those things matter, too.

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Marriage and the Antibiotic Olympics

I’ve mentioned before how the Mr. has been struggling with his health, especially over the last year. First he had digestive issues and then he developed a diabetic ulcer on the ball of his foot that he’s struggled with for nearly a year now. He took as much sick time and short-term disability as he could from his job, but eventually it reached a point where his job felt forced to let him go and he lost his insurance. Trying to get insurance through the state (my job does not offer any health insurance) has been a whole other herd of lions to fight, and in the meantime, he was unable to keep receiving the medical care he had been getting and things got bad for him – and then they took a turn for the worst.

He wound up being hospitalized for three weeks, guys. Diabetes, bone infection, and sepsis are no joke. They will take your body and hold it hostage. The man has been through so many powerful antibiotics that I almost believe he could be immune to herpes at this point.

When a bone becomes infected, there isn’t much they can do. Even with aggressive antibiotic therapy it can still spread and spread quickly – even to your blood. And since your blood goes everywhere in your body it is extremely dangerous. He wound up having the second toe and some of one of the long bones in his foot amputated and was still so septic he had to remain in the hospital for an extended amount of time.

So much time that we wound up spending our very first wedding anniversary in the hospital. I had a grilled ham and cheese sandwich and a piece of cheesecake, in case you were wondering. It was delicious.

It was also not at all how I expected our first wedding anniversary to go, you know? Not that I ever put too much thought into my expectations for it, but still. Everybody always hints around that when you get married your relationship changes, but I didn’t really expect mine to. We had been together for four years beforehand. We had weathered serious issues in that time – the death of his father and subsequent family turmoil, a child custody arrangement on my end, moving in together and job changes. Getting married never mattered much to me but it was so important to him that it became important to me as well. It was less than two months later he developed the ulcer and the issue continued to snowball from there. I certainly didn’t expect the “in sickness and in health” portion of those canned wedding vows to become so front and center so soon.

And while those canned wedding vows may be the standard in wedding ceremonies, I am still me and I still have my shining sense of humor that has gotten me through the many shitty hands of cards that life has dealt me over the years. This whole experience has taken its toll on the Mr., and it breaks my heart to see him so down.

So I made it my personal mission to make him smile in some way every day. The man is my best friend and he puts up with all of my shenanigans and special quirks. He knows my house may be messy, but by god my towels will be folded just so and put in a certain place in the closet. He knows I like sweet, cold things just before bed and that I will always throw my leg over his in my sleep, almost like I’m afraid he’s going to jump up and make a run for it. Losing a toe and some bone? That’s ok, babe. It doesn’t change a thing about how I feel toward you. I’m still going to treat you the same and make fun of you just as much. It’s how I show my affection.

And with that in mind I contacted a friend of mine who makes shirts upon request. And BAM, these beauties came into fruition:

 

 

I know that second one has a small print, but it says “You can count on me, but only to 19!” ūüėČ

Everyone who snickered at me when they said marriage changes things was absolutely right. That man is stuck with me now, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Respite 

People want so desperately to wipe the slate clean, start over with no past. Like there’s no history clinging like a second skin, no memories playing repeat of past mistakes and regrets so powerful you can taste them on your tongue like icing.

I want to remember everything.

I want to remember all the times I ever felt alive with the people who are now dead. I want to remember crooked smiles that lit up the world like sunshine. 

I want to remember this vast world of infinite possibilities reduced to a moment, a piece of time where everything was perfect. 

But you can’t have all the good without the bad, the other moments where it felt like your soul was sliced down and made into glass. When you shattered and lost pieces. You may come back together, but you’ll never be the same because some were lost. Pieces were stolen. People were careless; people were so busy trying to collect their own pieces they didn’t realize they were crushing yours beneath their feet.

I want to remember those moments too.

When it tasted like blood in my mouth from trying not to beg and half-moons lined my palms from clenching my fists when I was just trying to hold myself together. All the times I tried not to cry, all the times I hated myself for looking weak. 

Because those moments are precious too. Those moments led to growth, even when the growing pains wormed into my bones and I couldn’t catch my breath.

Every moment has led to this one. This moment isn’t perfect, but I can see every strand, every decision (mine or not) that led to me being right here, right now. A person able to withstand. Survive. And smile.

Just a Little Bit of Prose

Just once I’d like to lay my head down and go to sleep. Sleep without the play play play pause play of constant loops in my head and all the conversations I never had with the people I should have burning in my throat.

I need to go to San Fransisco. I need to see my unbiological brother and sit by the ocean smoking cigarettes and listening to waves until we finally break down and start talking about all the ghosts that haunt us because he gets it. He gets how people are there and you watch them spiral down and no matter how hard you try to hold on you’re just left with splinters and bleeding onto pages. 

Because even though it hurts like hell to relive the worst moments in your life, sometimes it’s the only way to fall asleep and make room for dreams.

Those Wedding Bells Finally Rang

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Except they didn’t because we didn’t get married at a church because they tend to frown on people like me.

What can I say about that day? It was exciting, it was nerve-wracking and stressful trying to get everything done. We made it, we got married, and then I almost starved because they made me get pictures done while everyone else was eating. I had a great picture of me taken while trying to cram a whole cupcake in my mouth for that first-dance thing. I haven’t seen it yet,but I bet it’s a thing of beauty.

For the wedding, we rented a shelter at the park where we had our first (this is so not a date) date. Here’s my brother helping with setting up our decorations:

And my fabulous sister-in-law:

‚ÄčMy un-biological sister:

‚ÄčAnd my lovely aunt, who hurt her foot and leg a few days before the wedding, but came anyways to help decorate:

All of whom I owe massive thanks to for helping me pull off my wedding. They showed up early, they showed up injured, and what they pulled off was better than I imagined. They hung lights, they hung paper lanterns, they hung balloons, they stapled down tablecloths and wrapped ribbons and made centerpieces. It was amazing! You can see some of it here:

‚ÄčThe wedding itself was short and sweet, but very Christian – Darrick did have his requests after all. I figured I owed him since he puts up with my shenigans. Like slapping him with raw bacon.

I haven’t gotten all my pictures back yet, but here’s some teasers:‚Äč

I’m trying very hard not to laugh in that one because Sophie had just farted.‚Äč

‚Äč‚ÄčThat sign says “lost my balls.” I’m so proud.‚Äč

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It was an amazing night, and everything I could have asked for except one thing – my dad. I held it together all day. I was too busy and nervous for anything else. It wasn’t until the ride home alone with Darrick that I let myself feel that missing piece and started crying.

He held my hand and said nothing. 

I Want a Love Like Carrie and the Girls

Who else likes to sit around in their jammies late at night and settle in for a Netflix or Amazon Prime marathon while they drift into (ahem…postpone) sleep? I’m sure I’m not the only one. Lately I’ve gotten into Sex and the City, which my fiance is still making fun of me for. “It’s just all about sex,” he says, “there isn’t anything else to it.”

But he’s completely wrong when it comes to this show. Yes, it features sex sometimes, but that isn’t the focal point. The focal point is Carrie learning about herself through her relationships. She’s continually questioning everything and in a very public forum – a weekly column in a New York newspaper – and judging by the popularity of that column and her ensuing book deal, her curiosity and explorations resonate with her readers.

Personally, it isn’t just the show I love but also my memories of watching the show in bit and pieces as it was being aired years ago. I was in high school and in the beginning stages of my own explorations. It was exciting to me. Inspiring. It was the first time I considered the possibility of being a writer and I took steps toward my interest in journalism to try it on for size. I took a year of journalism in high school writing for the school paper and even went away for a week one summer to a journalism camp at Ball State University (shout out to my Indiana homefolk!). It wasn’t the right fit for me. It turns out, I only like writing about things when I’m actually interested in them.

It was also the first time I realized that adults don’t always have their shit together either. They each go through their own set of problems that is reminiscent of the real world asskicking that happens when your expectations don’t live up to what actually pans out in your life – and it all works out ok in the end anyway. You make it work, one way or another.

And the main thread through the whole storyline is the girls’ friendship with each other. They may fuss and they may fall out over some pretty big issues at times, but they are always there for each other and always make time to be together. Wouldn’t it be nice if real life was like that?

Instead, it’s more like the end of How I Met Your Mother – all the closeness fades away as some have kids, some pursue their dreams at the detriment of everything else, and some just plain don’t change but your opinion of them does. That’s just life. It boils down to “being there for the big moments” and the next thing you know…you’re missing those too. In the end, everyone is just trying to survive their own lives while hanging onto the bits of the people they’ve been throughout the years.

I think that’s one of the many reasons audiences are drawn into tv shows the way they are. You get pulled into the lives of a core group of people. You evolve with them through their struggles, you grieve the loss of some and celebrate the joys of others. It reminds you of times in your life when you were those people on the screen. The adventures. The laughter. The heartaches. The friendships. The family you make for yourself.

So yeah, I’m gonna keep watching the same old tv shows in my pajamas and wax nostalgic about the way things used to be.

There are some damned good people back in those times.

 

 

F is for Forgetting

My father passed away ten years ago yesterday. I’m not much of a talker. I’m a writer by nature. I’m a bit random for a blogger. But I can write.

It’s how I’ve kept my sanity.

…………………….        ………………………

F is for Forgetting.

Forgetting the shake in the voice on the phone as I was told my dad was sick and going to the hospital, forgetting the frantic phone calls to my mother and brother trying to figure out what was happening, why in the world my dad would go to the hospital over being sick when he would barely go to the doctor for a broken bone.

Forgetting my sister-in-law’s panic as she realized I had no idea and had to break the news that he had been taken by ambulance and that he wasn’t breathing and had no heartbeat.

Forgetting the annoyance on the desk clerk’s face when I rushed in asking where he was and she said she had never heard of that patient and I needed to calm down.

I didn’t realize I’d beat the ambulance there since I was closer. I waited outside.

Forgetting them pulling my dad out of the ambulance, breathing bag over his face so I couldn’t really see it, but oh god, his arm. His arm was just hanging off the gurney and he would never do that.

Forgetting running back inside and flipping off the desk clerk who insisted that I WAIT and running to the back, yanking open curtains until I found them. Shirt cut open, cuts in his skin as they did I don’t even know what, he didn’t look right, they were shocking him and prodding him.

Mom. Where’s Mom?

Running back to the waiting room and taking her back to him, but they stopped us and had us go into a room to wait.

It was too quiet. There were too many tears and too much silence and nobody with any answers. Other people were coming and we had more to call to get Dad’s shift taking care of grandma covered.

Forgetting the doctor coming in and telling us what we already knew but didn’t want to admit and the cheerful nurse coming in right behind him to ask if we’d ever given organ donation a thought and how my dad would’ve felt about it.

Forget the itch under my skin to leave, forget the hugs and the crying and the keening noise I didn’t realize I was making as I cried.

Forget going outside. Forget how beautiful the day was, sun shining and birds singing. Forget how traitorous that was.

Forget waiting as his brothers and sisters came, breaking the news to them. Forget the disbelief, the grief.

Forget going back inside.

Forget the hospital letting us see his body, forget the tilt of his head and the way his mouth was just slightly open. Like it was when he snored. The way mom ran her hand down the side of his face, kissed his forehead.

Forget the ride to her house. It didn’t matter where we were. My mouth would still taste like pennies and my hands, I didn’t know what to with them.

Forget all of it.

I survived, even if pieces of me didn’t.