You will not be forgotten

I feel a little lost and uncertain as to what to write some days, yet find myself here anyway. I often feel empty some days. At the end, when we knew G’s death was inevitable, I promised I would write so that her memories would last a lifetime. I promised I would have her book published. I would keep her legacy alive.

I feel so sad that her daughter is so young. I hope with all my heart I can do her justice so that she will never forget what an awesome mother she had and how much she loved her.

And although there is a big crack in my heart that will always have G’s name etched on it, I am lucky to have faith that she is in a better place. I do believe that she’s in heaven, cancer-free and pain free.

My biggest fear as her best friend is that she will be forgotten. I know she worried that she left this world before she had enough time to really make an impact on others and leave this world a better place. But, it feels like everytime that fear makes a nest in my heart, there is someone that reminds me that she touched many hearts. Divine intervention or a message from heaven – I don’t know.

I think about how she always made sure she asked about the people taking care of her. Like she wanted to know about them. She genuinely cared about the people caring for her. She would make an effort to learn about the nurses and send them fruit baskets or cookies for taking such good care of her. She would learn about them so she could talk about things they wanted to talk about. Favorite Disney character? She’d find out about it and it would come up. A nurse who loves Vera Bradley- I would walk in one day and they’d be discussing the best tote or make up bag. That was g. Maybe that’s why she was always the favorite patient. And also her cardiologist’s favorite but we joked that that was for a different reason.

When she was so sick before Christmas her daughter seemed to be following right in her footsteps. I think it was then she saw the rawness of just how sick her mom was and rather than be fearful she tried to comfort her mom. Once when G was struggling with anxiety during a procedure and her daughter was with her, her daughter gently reminded her to breathe and repeated, “mom, look at me. Look at me.” It touched the nurse so much she asked me how her daughter was doing two months later when she was taking care of G again.

I know she was a tough lady, she was. But I remember these moments of her vulnerability and I try hard to hold back my tears.I miss her so much. She was my person. She knew me. Even in a text she could tell when something was off and she’d call me out. She would know when something was wrong no matter how hard I tried to cover it up.

Everywhere I look I see the essence of her. And for that reason I know she will never be forgotten. I see her in movies, in books, in music. I see her in her daughter. Needless to say, I cry a lot. At times tears of sorrow, other times tears of joy. Tears of love. I feel so lucky and so blessed to have had her in my life for the years I did.

Love you most, M

Friendship- a history

I first met G when our boys were in second grade. They played baseball on the same team and we would say hi and bye at the games but we didn’t really hang out, other then the small talk at the sporting events. Then when our boys were in middle school, I ran into her at an after school event. She was alone with her son, and my now ex-husband, and I were chaperoning our son to the dinner theater. The boys wanted to sit together so I invited her to sit with us. She didn’t seem exactly the same as she did back from second grade, but did any of us? It has been six years since I remember seeing her. She wore a hat, even inside, and although it was winter, something seemed off. Don’t get me wrong, she didn’t seem wrecked, or anything. She was wearing black heeled boots with black pants and a very stylish jacket. Once we were seated, my now ex, in all his political correctness, noticed she had something sticking out on her chest and asked her about it. I was embarrassed, but she took it in stride and explained that she had recently began chemotherapy and the line we could barely see was how she received her medication. I was mortified. But she didn’t seem phased. We had fun that night at the dinner theater, but it was a few months later when our boys become quite close and began hanging out nearly every weekend.

I’m embarrassed to say the next time I saw her was when she was picking her son up from my house and my dog ran out the door chasing a bicyclist and I had to stop our conversation and run after her. I don’t run, run, but I took off down the street chasing the dog with my Pajamas on and no bra. I imagine it was pretty glamorous. By the time I caught up with my dog, she had tripped up the cyclist and when I made it back to my house G and her son were gone.

A month or so later, she text me and asked me to dinner. I was shocked, honestly, as her son made it very clear he was not to give out phone numbers or really any information. But I accepted, not sure exactly what I was walking into.

The night we went to dinner was a Friday. Apparently, G had made it a point to organize a Friday evening dinner with family, and a few close friends and they met every Friday night at a local restaurant. It was really casual and fun. Looking back, I know that she must have done this as a distraction to her trauma past, but at the time it just seemed like her and a couple of girlfriends had made a weekly date to get together. Every Friday, at 530, they would meet: her, and two girlfriends, and their husbands, and children.

Dinner was fun that night, and honestly, I think we have been inseparable ever since. Well… we were. I always admired her sense of humor, and, at times, brash honesty. She made sure she saved a seat for me next to her, and at one point, during dinner, she leaned over and said, “if we’re going to be friends, you need to know that I say fuck a lot.” And I laughed and told her that I did too.

So many memories we shared together on those Friday nights. Looking back, I don’t think anything was off limits for discussion. G was the social organizer of our group then. She organized lunches, dinners, and even girls nights out that were complete with piano bars and limousines. Family trips with all of our families for the weekends. She supported me when my ex and I split and I was with her through surgeries, scans, biopsies, chemos, and hospital stays. I was the one who held her when she cried about her therapeutic break-up, after some strong encouragement from friends, and I was with her when she found the strength to read the notes her therapist wrote about her. I was the one she would call (well, text) when she was lost and I can’t tell you how many dreams, and visions, and tears we shared.

She was the first person I text in the mornings and the last person I text at night. She was my person. And I was hers. And I’d give anything to have one more cheap glass of wine with her at the corner cafe.

In the arms of the angels

My best friend, my hero, warrior, fighter, and light is off for a well earned rest, after a courageous battle and a far too short, but otherwise gracious, adventurous and love-filled life. G was beautiful, gentle, compassionate, smart, outgoing, and she radiated love.

I will be back to provide more detail and a tribute to this lady that she deserves, but my heart is shattered and I am unable to do so right now.
I keep coming back to life not being fair and how we joked about that. We were with each other though so much holding each other up. Now I feel as though a part of me died with her. No, my dear friend, “life wasn’t fair, and you of all people should know that”.  It sure wasn’t. But you always did your best. And it was always good enough. Right up to your last breath.

I miss you so much already, G. Save me a space. And I’ll see you later. Love you most, M

You shouldn’t have hate in your heart, or allow outsiders in

I was going to post something about my estrogen filled ball of fire teenage daughter – in fact, it’s half written, in draft, like about a 100 other posts (wonder why adhd isn’t something I’ve found in therapist’s notes, there’s everything else…a “kitchen sink” kind of chart) anyway, I got distracted, and I’m not in “the mood” though according to Michelle Duggar you should always be… That’s partly why I’m in this mood, in an adhd kind of fucked up way.  No pun intended.

And then last night after I tucked my little fire ball into bed, and she didn’t shiv me, I noticed that the 17 year old had left the kitchen light on downstairs (which he never does).  So I grudgingly went back downstairs to turn off the light, and I turned the corner of the entryway, and I smelled my gramma’s perfume.  That happens occasionally.  I know, you’re skeptical, and you think it could be anyone, but I assure you, it is hers, and hers alone.  And no one else has even been in my home recently, with the exception of my daughter’s friend, and she doesn’t wear old lady perfume.  This happens only a few times a year but this time I ignored it.

While downstairs I went to check the garage door was closed and locked because since the 17 year old had left the light on I thought maybe he had forgotten that too.  And then I was already in the laundry room, so I put his work uniform in the dryer because I knew he had to work right after school the following day and chances were the hus would forget in the morning when he got up.  I checked the door, turned off the kitchen light, and walked right into the entryway and the smell of my gramma again.  I grabbed the railing and stepped onto the first step.  And then I stopped.  I stopped because I knew she was there for a reason and it is only in the entryway that I ever smell her.  And it’s only at night and it’s only when I’m alone.  I stopped on the first step and breathed in, and I whispered goodnight to her and I continued up the stairs and down the hallway to my bedroom.  There have been nights I have cried and rocked myself in pain and despair on the bathroom floor begging for her to comfort me and I did not feel her presence.  Last night was not one of those nights.  I do not know why she was here.

A few weeks ago I was looking for a letter that my mother wrote my gramma that I thought I had given the therapist years ago, but when I was getting my things from her during our “break up”, she said she didn’t have it.  And this is one thing I think she was probably telling the truth about.  As I was searching though my secret stash of hidden things, I, unfortunately, didn’t find it either.  I did find my gramma’s college diploma and a photo of her graduating class.  I found a lot of letters she wrote me though the years,  I found some photos of her and my mother and some of the three of us.  And I even found a letter her father had written her after her mother died.

Anna,  your sister told me all the talk started about me living alone.  You had nothing to do with it.  I can’t see it as an outsider’s biusiness.  Your brother was here all yesterday afternoon. I feel a lot better after the talk.  Outsiders can plan an old person’s life better than their own. Your sister is certain you had nothing to do with it.  Your brother talks as if he knows several old people.  The greatest trouble is outside interference.  Mertle is real bad with pneumonia. Too bad for him to see her yesterday.  He says to stay by myself. I don’t need anyone here to watch me check out.  Dad

What struck me most was the “never let outsiders interfere”. And also that he just signed the letter “Dad”. Not love, dad, or talk soon, or anything…. I never met him, so I can’t say anything about him but my gramma always held him in high esteem.  He was a farmer. And a teacher, like her.

I was having a convo with my BF the other night on gun violence.  And I honestly have no problem with stricter gun laws, I really don’t.  I have no problem with background checks for people before they get guns.  By all means.  Please do background checks on everyone before they are allowed to purchase a gun.  But the thing is… Is that really going to address the problem?  My parents never owned a gun and they fucked up so many people.   And look at the Duggars! My gawd!  They could easily pass a background check, and buy so many guns they could have their own army… Holy fuck they already do… But they are so fucked up!   And there was zero outside interference.   It’s maddening really that we never really address the true issues.  Maybe it’s because we don’t want to face them.  It’s not always outsiders interference but the lack thereof that is the problem.  And I hate them for it.

I get that. I do.  My gramma always used to tell me, “you shouldn’t have hate in your heart”. But how can you love everyone in this crazy world?  It’s so fucked up.  You get shot for loving people.  I don’t own a gun, I’ve never even seen one up close, and I hope I never will.  But I’ve seen a lot of hate in my life.   My heart is black and closed off because of it.  But if that most recent shooter asked me if I believed in God, I would have said no… Because what kind of God would allow this to happen?  Oh,  this is where I get the “free will” speech, isn’t it?   Ok, then why are people such assholes?  And why doesn’t God (if he is out there) strike the assholes down with cancer instead of children and good people?

 

Everybody loves you- nobody knows you

I’m still here… Which doesn’t necessarily mean the world didn’t end. But my children are also still here- and they are totally innocent and beautiful and Jesus would so want them- assuming he exists and he came back- so I’m guessing that means there was no rapture.

In other news, I was at my part time job this morning… Early, before all the high people got up (and I pretty much think the entire town where the office is was high before weed was legal).  Now that it is legal I can’t believe the mountains are still visible. And that’s probably because everyone is chilling on the edibles… Cuz weed and carbs are like two birds/one stone.  Just my guess.

Anyway… I met my boss’s father this morning. He was so sweet.  And you could tell he was so proud of his son. I was in my office, which I’m rarely, and I could hear someone talking in the hall. I heard my name and my boss was all, “yes, she’s here.” And in he walked to introduce himself.  He told me how “highly” my boss speaks of me, and I told him what a pleasure his son is to work for and how proud he must be of him. And we chatted for a few minutes.

And after he left, I thought: of course my boss thinks of me with such high regard. He doesn’t know me. I do his financials- and I’m awesome at it. And I have great teeth and a pretty smile. And he sees me like a few hours a week.

And I glamoured his father because that’s what I do – but not like in s True Blood/Vampire way. And then I thought: if he really knew me, and saw what the therapist saw, and had written about me, he would think I was trash. My mother isn’t “proud” of me. She hates me- wishes I was never born.  And obviously former therapist does too.  And I wondered what it would be like to have a parent feel proud of you. And how sad and shameful that I immediately think he only thinks highly of me because he doesn’t know me.

That’s what I got out of the 8 year therapeutic relationship folks. I suppose that means I got “nothing” – because I went into it with those traits. I already had the ability to wow the public. To perform and be the perfect woman for everyone else.

I’m glad that wasn’t lost.  The shell of me.  I’ve still got it!  It was just the raw real s”elf” that’s left the body.  But who needs that shit anyway.

Do you need me to say I gave up on you?

And those were the last words she would ever say to me. I would never hear her voice again. Those were the words that would ring in my ears forever. They would ring in my soul, and they didn’t just speak to me in that moment. They said to me over and over again, “You aren’t worth it, you aren’t worth my time. You aren’t pretty enough, you aren’t skinny enough. You’re not worth living for or fighting for. You are not good enough.” Every doubt I had ever had in my life . . . now rang out in my ears. Those doubts rang true and they rang out clearly. I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t worth fighting for. I felt like I would always be just a broken piece of the “me” I had always been.As I played out the scene of that horrible afternoon over and over the next few days, I could feel myself getting smaller and smaller. The world was spinning around me . . . nobody was standing still. Life was going on all around me, but all I could feel was the despair that this truth left inside of me. I WAS nothing.
Why hadn’t I been enough? What could I have done or said differently that would have made me good enough? The days would continue to move forward, life would go on, but my mind was somewhere stuck in the past, frozen in anguish.
So many years ago, I sat in a therapist’s office for the first time, pouring out my heart to her, begging her to fix me. “I just have trust issues,” I told her. “I just need you to fix me. I just need to believe in things and not question them. I am here so you can fix all the issues from my past . . . and help me stop feeling so scared all the time. So if you can just let me know what I need to do to fix myself. If you can just teach me how to trust . . . I will do whatever you think I need to do. I really am a quick learner. I’m very independent. I have to let go of my trust issues from the past.” The therapist sat and mostly listened to me that day. She listened to all the fears I had been bottling up inside myself. I told her of the loneliness I had been feeling. She sat there, quietly. I could tell she was listening with her heart. Finally, at the end of my begging her to fix me, she said, “You know those feelings that come from way deep down . . . those times when you feel like something is very wrong . . . those feelings are there for a reason. You were hurt in your past, and you are afraid to be hurt now . . . but those deep feelings inside of you are there to keep you safe. Everyone has insecurities and fears. Sometimes they are because of our past, but other times, they are there for an immediate reason. So each person in a relationship has the role of helping the other person find safety, through trust, love and respect. The things you are telling me today . . . I really believe you are right. It sounds to me like those feelings are there for a reason.”  And her answers gave me hope that I wasn’t totally crazy, but it also left me stirring in my fear. If those feelings were there for a reason . . . then maybe something really was wrong with me, and how could I find answers to that? I had begged her for help—but no one seemed to know how to quiet my fears.  

I remember when I was little and I used to get that “something’s not right” feeling inside. My brother and I were walked inside the door of the trailer where we lived and there was all this screaming and yelling inside. My brother pushed me down but I could still see… All the blood coming from my mother’s head and face, and my step father’s face black and contorted with anger, slamming a glass vodka bottle into her head, screaming obscenities. Something was wrong, and fear can live in your home. Do you need me to say I gave up on you?

I remember when I was pregnant with my son, I had that feeling, “something’s not right”. My brother wasn’t there to try to shield my fear. But it was there. I spent nights combing through cell phone bills, over and over again, wondering where my husband was spending his nights, why there were so many calls to one number. Who was this woman? And although I knew the truth in my heart, I didn’t want to believe it, and I would pray for a sign, “lord, just give me a sign.” Trust issues…I found a box of condom’s in his car. And I still prayed… Insecurities… And still I prayed. Rumors were going around my office. And the only thing I could do was pray. Until he quit his job. And we moved across the country. (Do you want me to say  I gave up on you?) 
Trust issues…fear… I put my one year old son to bed in his crib and my heart was pulling at me to check on him. It’s just anxiety, my rational mind told me, but I could not let it go. I went into his room, his breathing was labored, he we spent the night in the ER doing breathing treatments, followed by a hospital stay for pneumonia, we also found out he had asthma. Trust issues…fear….  

Trust issues. Pain from the past. Fear. We all have them. We all need them to some degree . . . to keep us safe in situations. But then at other times, we all need our insecurities to be calmed and to go away so that we can continue on and live through our past pain. It is our job, in any relationship, to be loving, and to be respectful of the fears others might have. And not to dismiss or minimize their pain, or fear. 

When people in your life are begging for your patience and love as they work through their insecurities how many times have you just told them to stop being so paranoid . . . To deal with it- to blindly trust? Maybe it isn’t a lack of trust in you, maybe those insecurities are there because they are not able to figure out a way to let go of their past. How have they felt when you squelched their fear instead of acknowledging it through your trust and love? Yes, maybe their fears are not because of anything we did or didn’t do . . . maybe their feelings that something is wrong come from their lives before we knew them, or a part of their past of which we were not a part, but it doesn’t change the fact that the fears driving them feel real. (Do you need me to  say I gave  up on you?)

You cannot rewrite the past . . . not even with all the hurt and anger of the world. My fears all came true, once again, in one afternoon, and they were screaming inside of me . . . that I was worth NOTHING. That I was not even worth fighting for . . . and as I walked out that door for the last time, and she said those final words that still ring though my soul, “do you need me to say I gave up on on you?” And the child inside of me cried, “please don’t give up on me, I just need someone to not give up on me..,”  But the adult already knew the answer to her question,  though unspoken,  she had already given up on me. And it did not matter what I needed. There was no going back.