Jul 19

I’m not even going to pretend any of this makes sense

My mind is all jumbly, and this blog will probably be just as jumbly.

Friday, I had my first social outing since my dad died. I mean, we put together a fairly large 4th of July thing at our house, which turned out wonderfully, by the way. I passed my first big hostess test, or as we called them, woman olympics. I hadn’t done anything with friends, though. It felt good.I even held a huge snake.

I look like hell, but still, I'm holding a huge snake

I look like hell, but still, I’m holding a huge snake

It couldn’t have been more different from the weekend before.

I was alone Friday and Saturday, and I was so depressed I could barely move. I missed my dad, and I felt desperately alone. I didn’t want to bother anyone with my sadness. Tina had her own grief she was dealing with, and I was afraid if I called Mom, I would only depress her further. So, Saturday when I woke up feeling like I was made of loneliness, panic, and sadness, I forced myself to focus on the show I was binge watching and tried not to think and feel. It was the first time in a very long time that I felt like it was a little dangerous for me to be alone.

Later, I talked to Tina and Mom and realized I was being stupid for not reaching out. Grief shared is made lighter for everyone, not heavier. I’m just not good at asking for help. I survived it. I learned a new way not to be stupid.

I meant for this to be a longer blog, but PMS is a bitch. I have a migraine and need chicken wings.

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Jul 09

Dear Ndugu,

I’ve spent the day crying on and off about Tina’s dog, Ndugu.

Sane people would be totally give me side-eye for being broken up about another person’s dog. More empathic people would say I’m so sad because his passing is so close to my dad’s death and it is mingling with the grief that is already there. Or, they might say I’m sad because Tina is obviously hurting, and we hurt when people we love hurt. There is some truth in all of that, but it is only a tiny part of my sadness. Only people who knew Ndugu get it.

There are some creatures (sometimes maybe even humans) who are just beings of joy. We all have met someone who is always smiling, unfailingly kind, and really cares about others. Those are the people version of Ndugu, but Ndugu was better at it. Ndugu had the kindest, purest, most loving soul of anyone (?) I’ve ever met.

Yes, I know most dogs are creatures of love, especially if they are in loving families. Tina definitely provided him a home of love. Aside from my father, I know of few better dog people than Tina and her husband. Ndugu was more than that though. He was more than just happy or loving; he cared about his people. He worried. I know this because I was often at the receiving end of his worried care. When I would spend the night, I slept late. Ndugu always clearly thought this meant something was wrong with me, and he would wake me up to make sure I was still alive then run off to do important Ndugu stuff. He could always tell if I was having a hard time emotionally, and he would do little things to take care of me, like staying up with me instead of going to bed with his parents. I can’t tell you how many nights I spent talking to him and finding comfort in his little old man face.

Ndugu knew a lot of my secrets, fears, and hurts. He cared for them and for me. A lot of humans have a hard time with that.

I'm pretty cute

That old man smile

The world is better for having had him in it. I think the people who loved him are better for having been in his life. And, while the platitude “they’ll never be truly gone if you keep them in your heart” drives me up a wall now, he will be remembered.

The crazy, emo, little shit

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Jun 22

Tequila, Father’s Day, and Frankentoe… But Not All at the Same Time.

So, fourteen days after Dad’s death was Father’s Day.

When I found out like nine days ago, I was FUCKING PISSED. Jesus, the universe was being a total twat-faced asshole. I mean I knew it was pointless to be mad at the calendar, but some times silly things like rationality are secondary. I decided to curl in a little ball on Father’s Day and pretend it wasn’t happening, because that method of dealing with shit had been so useful before. Then I got an invite to my sister’s in-laws for Father’s Day. My first impulse was “Hey how about I just take a hammer and bang the fuck out of frankentoe? (More on frankentoe in a bit.) Sounds about as painful.” I got to thinking about it and realized it was the best idea for a day which was going to hurt no matter what.

My sister married my brother-in-law when I was 18, ahem, 15 years-ish ago. His family welcomed us with open arms, and his father was kind to me from the very moment I met him. I spent a lot of years there feeling uncomfortable and out of place at family gatherings, and his dad always made an effort to make me like I belonged. They always sent love and care while Dad was in the hospital, and the days after my dad’s death, my brother’s mom was so kind and gentle with my mom, I cry whenever I think about it. These are the very best kind of people. They made a potentially shit, painful into a sad painful day surrounded by people who loved us, understood it was painful, and just wanted us to be there. Also, my brother’s mom and the Viking decided we are having a big 4th of July at our house. I’m daunted because my house is a mess, but excited. The Viking is so excited to have everyone over, it makes me far less worried. Gawd, I picked a good man.

Now, tequila…

Thursday and Friday night I woke up several times in the middle of panic attacks. I think saying I wasn’t doing well is sorta an understatement. Saturday night, I was terrified to lay down to sleep because of panic attacks. I was feeling wound up and destructive. I was angry. There were also four damn jugs of out of date milk in my fridge along with a couple of puddles of decomposed something. There was also a bottle of high quality premixed margaritas in my fridge. I pulled the fuck face, dick bag garbage bin (it gave me frankentoe)  into the garage, opened the margarita bottle, and started cleaning. I got blitzed ass drunk and cleaned my fridge. I got the whole thing clean and realized I was too drunk to take the last bag of trash through the back door, down a little step, and put it in the bin. So, I left it in the middle of the floor, warmed up some tortillas, and started to play Minecraft because trying to sleep while the world was all spinny was bad. That was my bad night, blowing off steam. That was me being self-destructive. /facepalm

The next time I logged on to Minecraft I had no idea where my character was, how she got there, or how to get back to home base. I guess it’s better it happened in game than in real life?

On a side note, I’ve learned meditation is a pretty decent substitute to drinking until the world spins.

Frankentoe

Thursday, I bent down to pick up our giant trash bin off the ground at the end of the drive way. The edge of the lid got caught under the nail of my big toe and ripped the fucker down to the bottom cuticle. I drug the bin to our garage, grabbed the groceries from my car, and put them away in my kitchen while my flip flop filled with blood. Our kitchen floor looked like a murder scene from my attempts at impromptu surgery.

This was the end result of my attempts at wound care

This was the end result of my attempts at wound care

Finally, I did the only sensible thing I could do; I called my mom. She fixed me up far better. Now, this might not seem like a big trauma. I promise you, if I had insurance, I would have made someone take me to the ER. I might have even tried to get that shit amputated. This hurts worse than a burn. I did not know there was pain worse than a burn. Just take the top knuckle and give me pain medicine and call it good. The Viking just scoffs at me when I suggest it… daily.

 

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Jun 13

I Miss My Dad

Normally, I try to come up with a little more creative title than today’s, but it’s the truth. I miss him. I will never smooth back the four hairs on his bald spot, kiss his forehead, and tell him ‘I love you, Old Man.’

You bet your ass I was the only one who got away with calling him that, too.

I’m lucky. I had him as a father. I have him as a father? I don’t know.

I can tell you this, I feel more loved and less alone than ever have. I promise y’all I’ll never get around to sending out little pretty thank you cards. I’ll get distracted by shiny things, as is my nature. But, everyone who showed up, brought over food, or has given a piece of yourself with sympathy has made a difference. I was terrified before he died, I would find myself in a shaky world with a far smaller safety net. My world is steady, and my net is strong.

More than anything, though, thank you everyone who has helped me take care of my mom. This morning I got to shake my Viking awake and ask him to go to Chickasha to get a new Netflix machine (our old one was a victim of the tigernado) and get all the meats for us and mom from Jake’s Rib. I was feeling sad and empty, and I wanted to do something with my partner to make me less sad and empty. He’s been there in every way I’ve needed. I lost my daddy, but my mom lost her mate. The idea she doesn’t have anyone to shake awake when she is feeling sad crushes my heart. She is strong, and she will survive.

My sister made these videos for Dad’s memorial. I want to share them with you.

This is the first one.

Here is the one we closed the memorial with. It felt right to leave with a hopeful song.

They fill me with sadness and joy at the same time. They are so perfectly my father.

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Jun 12

Foot Baths and Saber Tooth Tigers

I fell asleep during therapy today.

My therapist went to the restroom, and in the two minutes she was gone, I fell flat out asleep. I got back to my mom’s house and tried to use her foot bath (you know the awesome jiggly massage tubs of warm heaven)  from like 1987, and the fucker was broken. I still had hot water in it, and apparently that is all it takes to put me into a mini-coma for FIVE HOURS. I woke up with one foot still in the tepid water and the other one out of the bath at an odd angle.

I went to Wal-Mart to pick up some bits and stuff for both Mom and the Viking and I. I was pushing the cart along, exhausted, and realized why all tribes of humans feed people who have lost loved one. Like I sorta got it before, but now I really get it.

You are too damn tired to acquire food. You know you need it, but damn, your entire body is like “Fuck you, I need a nap and why aren’t our feet up, you crazy bitch.’

I was pushing a long that cart and KNEW knew if I had been early man and I was out trying to procure food on the Savannah and a saber tooth tiger, or what the fuck tried to eat humans back then, came after me, I would lay down and tell the thing to please go for my throat because I was just too tired to have survival instincts.

He’d be all like “mmm a plump one…”

You hear people talk about it. You think you understand, but you just don’t. Seriously, I didn’t even know until today. The whole first part of this week I was on this weird energy high. All I could see were the blessings mixed with the pain. I still see them, but I have no energy to respond. It’s like “oh, lovely, blessings and such, where’s the netflix remote? And, seriously, why the fuck are my feet so fucking huge?”

I was also so glad I didn’t run into anyone I knew. I can fake a smile at strangers and mumble about being fine.

Had a loved one seen me my only response could have been “I fell asleep during therapy, and I’m wearing my dead dad’s slippers. He left one in the drive way for me. He clearly wants me to have them. They are mine. Yes, I’m aware this is technically public. I FELL ASLEEP IN THERAPY.”  I would have then shuffled off without ever letting the other person respond.

Grief is glamorous shit.

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Jun 11

Crying to Eatsy because She Gets Me

My father died Sunday, June 7th.

He was in a hospice care center, and for the rest of my life I will be a big advocate of hospice. I will also fight to make the topic of death no longer taboo. My family has always very openly talked about death, and it really helped when the hard decisions came. There were so many.

He spent his last few days with his family. He saved his real conscious times for my mother. He died in his sleep with my mother sleeping in the chair right beside him. I believe it was a good death.

I feel like I should be a lot more devastated than I am I lost my daddy. The first man I ever loved, and my whole life’s hero. Things have been so busy though, and there have been so many blessings wrapped up in his death.

I’m not saying I haven’t cried. I was looking through a bag of stuff and found his glasses. I held his glasses and wept. They were a part of his face as something like his nose. While he was in the hospital, he would wake up and immediately need them on. I must have gotten up a thousand times to help him put them on. Now, they are sitting on my desk. One day, I put them in a shadow box.

I just feel him everywhere, and I see so many good things. I feel closer to my sister than I ever have. I’ve always considered her impressive, but watching her care for our parents and want everything just right for everyone, including me, has shown me how truly deep and loving her soul is. We might go back to be being kind of cold after all is said and done, but I’m going to make an effort to see that we don’t. She is a truly incredible person.

I spent tonight hanging out with my mother’s sisters and my cousin who is a new momma to a handsome boy. Tonight, because my heart was so raw, I was able to be with them without my normal insecurities and fears, and I felt so much love from these amazing women.

Everywhere I turn I keep finding love and kindness. I feel Dad’s hand in it.

The Viking, of course, has been amazing. He’s been my rock.

He was asleep when I got home. Truth is, I should be asleep. I’ve had very little sleep since it happened, and it is starting to wear on me. My feet are like puff loaves of bread dough. I just felt the need to write. I was sitting in front of Eatsy’s cage giving her treats and loving on her. I buy her love with yogurt treats. I was also listening to the dulcimer tones of the Viking snoring. Eatsy kept being demanding and adorable until I just started talking to her about everything.

I’m scared. I’m scared about tomorrow. We’re having a memorial service. I’m getting up to speak. That right there would be enough with someone of my brand of crazy terrified out of my wits. I’m afraid tomorrow will make it real, like somehow the truth of the situation will finally hit me and I will end up in a pull of snot and tears. I have no outline for what I’m going to say, but I have a good idea of what I’m going to say. I’m oddly at peace with that.

What I’m really terrified of, what really is breaking my heart, is the possibility after tomorrow people will start to move on and he’ll be forgotten. I don’t want my dad to fade like a preserved painting. Like somehow after tomorrow I’m supposed to put down my pain and memories and move forward. I’m afraid he will be talked about less and less and one day he will truly fade from this earth. I told Eatsy this. She pressed her face into my so I’d knows she understands.

 

I should get to sleep now. Tomorrow I need to roll my hair and put on make-up to pretend to the world I’m a grown up. At least Eatsy gets it.

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Jun 02

A Day in which I Woke Up to My Hallway Pretending to be a Bog

It’s so fucking ridiculous, it’s definitely my life.  The day after we put my dad into hospice, I wake up, step out into my hallway and my foot squishes into our glorious, soggy carpet. My first thought was ‘did the Viking or I pee on the floor here in our sleep?’ until I took another squishy step. Motherfucker.

I text the Viking about what is going down, and call my mom. We discuss stuff that is rather unpleasant. I tell her I love her, and then the Viking calls. I tell him my brilliant plan. I’ll run to buy a carpet cleaner since we need one with our glorious carpet.

I spend all afternoon pulling the water out of the carpet. I don’t know how to shut off the water to our house, so I know it is like bailing out a sinking ship with a tin cup, but I was going to try my best, by gawd. Finally after 3 or so hours of vacuum a few minutes, empty tank, replace tank, vacuum some more, I see the Viking driving up. I empty the tank, walk back into the house, slip, fall, take out the lattice beside our door by putting my fucking arm through it, and then crawl out of the door way. I sit there as he walks in, looks at me on the floor, looks at the house, looks at the lattice, and asks what happened.

I explain, he offers me a hand up, and I refuse. At this point, I’ve decide I give up. I start sobbing. All I can think is, Dude? Seriously? I’m not saying I do or don’t believe in God, but as I’m sitting on the floor with scrapes, scratches, and new bruises and pains, I decide the Powers that Be have a fucked up sense of humor. If the old adage ‘God never gives you more than you can handle’ is true, we have a very different sense of what exactly I can handle.

Eventually, I get up. The Viking shuts off the water to the house, and asks me how to operate the carpet cleaner, and works for a bit to get the water up.

Later he told me he thought he was having a bad day until his saw me sobbing on the floor with the lattice wreckage.

Perspective, bitches.

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Jun 01

No, It’s Totally Normal for Me to Start Crying in the McDonald’s Drive Through

The first person who says something about me eating at McDonald’s gets punched in the throat by my bunny.

This is the eye of a bunny who WILL gladly punch you in the throat.

This is the eye of a bunny who WILL gladly punch you in the throat.

Yes, It has been that sort of day.

Yes, I know it is “drive thru” not “drive through,” but fuck you that’s why.

I’m sorry.

We put Dad into hospice today. My heart hurts. I know this is a long time coming. I know this is better than some outcomes, but, fuck it hurts. You work to prepare yourself, but there is no real preparation for the deep panic when you look at your beloved father and realize soon you won’t ever see them again. All I could think today is ‘this is going to suuuuck.’

I know we will get through it as a family. I know it is right thing to do. Still, it fucking sucks.

There have been many days when the pain and fear has threatened to sink me. Sometimes the only day I can keep the pain from screaming inside of me is be with my Viking or my bunny, Eatsy. Last month, I got the sweetest little bratty bunny. I picked her up the day after a doctor told us Dad would probably not make it long and the day before giant storm took out our internet (for like three damn weeks) and spawned something like seven tornadoes, including a tigernado. No, seriously, there is a big cat sanctuary by my house, and there was speculation a tiger was loose. Seriously, what the fuck Oklahoma?

Look at these glorious Mohawk and mutton chops

Look at these glorious Mohawk and mutton chops

Anyway, so I have this bunny now. She’s my furbaby. The Viking pretends she is only my rabbit, but he talks about her as much as I do. She’s turned us into a little family. And some days petting her little crazy Mohawk and mutton chops is the best thing to help me breathe.

Oh, hi there, did you bring me yogurt treats? No? Fix that.

Oh, hi there, did you bring me yogurt treats? No? Fix that.

To be honest, I have no idea how I’m supposed to do this. I want to stomp my foot and tell people this isn’t happening, so they just need to busy their happy asses fixing it. It doesn’t work like that. That is improper adulting. I’m lackluster at best at adulting, and this shit is like extra gold expert level adulting.

I can do this. I think. I’m going to go pet my bunny.

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May 04

Love Lesson (What is Actually Important)

I read this article Saturday in which the writer describes the reasons she broke up with “perfect” guys like he didn’t like books or movies. I don’t judge her for it. I don’t believe in staying with anyone. If they aren’t your big love, and you are done for whatever reason, then by all means, take off. Then she wrote removing books or movies removes half of what you can talk about throughout your lives. Love, real love, doesn’t look like that. Lust and infatuation certainly can benefit from having things in common. Real love means having life goals and values in common.

I’ve also read woman writing about how they refuse to date men who are not their physical type no matter how intellectually and emotionally compatible they are. If you are sport dating (dating purely for fun and sex with no intentions of finding a mate), I get this. I never sport dated because I knew I wasn’t emotionally built for it. I also don’t think there is anything wrong with it. Some people don’t want a mate in their lives yet or ever, and sex is fun and healthy. But, if you are looking for real love, hair color matters less than you would think.

I’ve seen real love in my life. It looks nothing like books and movies tell us what it looks like.

Real love looks like spending a week sleeping in a hospital recliner so you can be there in the morning when the doctors come in to tell about your mate’s condition and praying it is good news.

It is begging, threatening, nagging, anything you can to get your mate to eat so they can get better.

It’s spending as much time as possible with the mate you’ve been with for over half your life even though sometimes weakness and confusion makes them almost unbearably cranky because you know they need you.

Real love is when you do everything you can for your mate even when you are exhausted and your body is hurting.

Real love is feeding bites of forbidden desserts on the porch of a nursing home during a birthday picnic with your family (including the dog.)

Real love is agonizing over decisions on whether or not to continue with a medical treatment which might extend life and choosing what you think your partner would want even if it might shorten your time with them.

Real love is praying your loved one has a moment of clarity so they know you were there, they aren’t alone, and you love them.

In these moments, book you’ve read or movies you’ve seen mean nothing. The person’s politics couldn’t be more superfluous. Their height, hair color, or build only matter because you are trying to remember everything about them, or you are trying to think back to better, healthier times. All that matters is what you’ve shared, what you’ve built, and the love you can hang on to after they are gone. Never settle for anything less,  but make sure you are looking for the right thing.

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Apr 22

The Universe Makes Me a Liar

Friday night, I went up to the hospital to sit with Dad and give Mom a break. I brought up the Viking’s voice recorder.  Before I could make it up to the hospital room, I ended up in a bathroom stall taking deep breaths and texting the Viking for encouragement. I know it sounds pathetic, but if you’ve been there, you know.

The Viking sent me this picture of the teapot and cozy we ordered and got in the mail to cheer me up:

I'm a tea cozy type of person now.

I’m a tea cozy type of person now.

I finally made it up to the room, sent my mom off to rest, and sat quietly with Dad.

He hadn’t eaten much in six days and hadn’t been awake or alert much in several days. I found a clear moment and asked him if he minded if I recorded him talking, especially about how much he loves my mom. He looked at me for a few seconds, then he asked in a quiet voice, “Are you expecting me to pass soon?”

“Dad, you haven’t eaten in six days,” was all I could bring myself to answer. He got quiet. I was sure he had fallen asleep. About ten minutes passed before he turned off the television and turned to me.

“I’ve been thinking about what you said, and I’ve decided I’m not going to pass tonight or anytime soon.”

“Okay, good, then you have to eat.” That night he let me help him eat a few bites of dinner. Saturday morning, he woke up and ate almost all of his breakfast. It wore him out so bad he had to take a nap.

Later in the afternoon:

“I’m trying to clear my head so we can have one of our talks. I miss our talks,” he told me when he woke up.

“I miss our talks, too, Dad.”

That night I got several minutes of recording. We talked. He ate dinner. He slept. Sunday morning, he woke up and ate even more. He got help getting out of bed and into the hospital recliner. He bitched about everything. I left Sunday afternoon. I haven’t been back since. I’ve, as per usual, gotten some bug. The Viking gave it to me, and it has some stomach nastiness with it, so I’ve decided not to bring it up to a hospital. Monday, I’m going to go see him again. I won’t have stop in the bathroom to calm myself.

Because he decided to eat.

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