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Archive for the ‘#grief’ Category

Aunt Anne passed away on Sat. Morning at 7:30 am. We got word yesterday from family that the funeral is this Thurs. up in Harland, WI. The Rosary is at 4:00 pm, visitation is from 4:30-6:45 pm with the mass at 7:00 pm. Then Greg got a call from his mother saying to call Sara (Anne’s youngest child) right away. So he did and she asked him to be a pallbearer. Greg is taking Thurs. and Friday off but using hours he got from an award and not sick leave. It’s about 2 hours from here so we’ll have to leave mid-afternoon to get there and skip dinner until afterwards. That’s not a big deal but something to consider. When we saw the funeral would be at St. Charles Catholic Church in Harland, we wondered why. Aunt Anne was devoted and passionate about her faith. She was a Catholic and she got Uncle Dean to convert to Catholicism before he married her. She was selfless and loving with everyone. She and Uncle Dean lived their faith and were really the only examples I’ve known of true Catholics. They even ministered to prisoners. Besides going to church religiously and tithing, they were the first to help anyone. Aunt Anne belonged to St. Mary’s in Pewaukee her entire life. The church was sold and the congregation began going to Queen Of Apostles in 1999. I never liked that church. It has such a modern look inside, it feels soulless. St. Mary’s reminds me of the church I grew up going to that was not much bigger than a house. Anyway, for all that Aunt Anne has done for the church and the congregation over the years, they won’t let her funeral be there. The day they are having the funeral is CHOIR PRACTICE. That is laughable. They could sing at her funeral. They could cancel and just wing it on Sunday. You’d think church-going people would understand. Instead they put out this nice family in their time of need. This is everything that is wrong with religion. 

 
There is still no word on Stephanie’s funeral. The coroner hasn’t even released the body yet since they are waiting for a dental expert because it was vehicular homicide. 


Today being March 10th gives me all the feels. It was my parents’ wedding day (in 1961). It was the birthday of my best friend in jr. and sr. high school. March 10th is also the day my last best friend died 10 years ago. I don’t think I’ve ever written about it because it was so weird. I don’t like writing mushy stuff. Maybe when I was a teen or in my 20’s, I might. I don’t even talk about this best friend. We met in slams (the question booklets sent through the mail) in about 1997. We had known of each other for another 10 years before that. Her name was Joni Souers. She was 11 years older than me. So she was a year older than I am now when she died. Joni and I were opposites in a lot of ways. She was only 4’10” tall and I’m 5’ 6 1/2”. She was Southern through and through and I’m as Northern as they come. She was brassy and loud and I tend to be quieter. We were both generous with people and had a tendency to be taken advantage of. She had led a hard life and been estranged from her few relatives. Her brother died and her nephew was like a son to her. She doted on Mike, his wife Cherie and their 3 daughters. I helped her through Cherie’s murder by her oldest teen daughter’s boyfriend. We wrote long letters to each other and then emailed every single day. That didn’t work for me. I balked at it and said it was too much for me. She let me know it was too important for me not to do it for her. So I did it anyway. It was the one “fight” we had. We talked on the phone sometimes and when we did, it could be hours. She was a truck driver (long haul) for decades but had quit to become a police officer for a short time. She loved trucking and her husband had been a trucker. He turned out to be a no-good liar who was a bigamist. She got rid of him but she didn’t hate him the way I thought she should. She was a forgiving sort of person who would give the shirt off her back to anyone. She had no living children and had lost a few babies to miscarriage. She fell in love with another trucker (John) and they worked together going cross country trading off driving but never married. She couldn’t have loved him more. Her home base was Texas but in the last few years she had settled in Colorado (outside Denver). She had 2 teacup chihuahuas (Tiny & Muffin) that she took everywhere with her. She and John had gotten a home in CO and she’d been staying home more and more often. She had fixed it up and did a lot of home cooking. She smoked like a fiend which I hate. She enjoyed it so much that nothing could make her stop. She had some health problems towards the end. She would get stomach and back aches. I encouraged her to go to the doctor. That didn’t really help until she doubled over and passed out. They took her to the hospital and found she had a huge mass in her stomach. They operated and removed it and it wasn’t cancer. I called her in the hospital and told her to rest and get well. I told her I loved her which I’ll always be happy about. I had no reason to believe she wouldn’t recover. Then I found out a day or two later that she was being taken for some other tests and she had an aneurysm burst and she was brain dead. Just. Like. That. Her nephew Mike told them to pull the plug because he knew she wouldn’t want to lay there as a shell any longer. I went into shock, as you do when given unexpected news. I can’t think of a worse time for it to happen. Not that there’s ever a good time.
 
Greg was scheduled to leave 3-4 days after I got the news. He was going to be gone for 10 weeks to canine training. It ended up being only 6 weeks. Anyway, I had all kinds of plans to chat on the phone with Joni and just make the most of not having a husband to monopolize my time. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want him to leave but I wanted him to be happy. I knew if I had Joni to talk to, the time would go faster. Well, that didn’t pan out. I was in shock. Greg wasn’t able to comfort me because he was so wound up with leaving. While he was gone, he didn’t know how hard it was for me to be missing him AND my friend. He was only thinking about his own stuff and then his sister had called him while he was there to tell him she had leukemia. If I hadn’t had my mom with me, I don’t know what I would’ve done. She knew Joni from me telling her all about her. Joni sent her a couple gifts which was so sweet. She thought the world of my mom which endeared her to me. Joni had lost a lot of weight and she a bunch of Walmart/Sam’s Club type clothes she had boughten and most were never even worn. They were the size Mom and I wore. She offered to send them to us. I balked at first but she was so happy that I was willing to take them and wear them, I said ok. She sent a huge box of mostly shorts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc. Mom and I divided up the clothes in half. We both wore them and I still wear them. It makes me feel good every time I do because I think of her. I also wear my mom’s clothes which may be creepy to some people but it makes me feel closer to her as well.
 
I’ve pretty much always had barriers up where friendship is concerned. Especially ever since high school. Then after losing Joni, I think I keep people even more at arm’s length. Sometimes I regret not being more open but other times it just feels like the right way to be.
 
All this talk and thinking of death just makes you realize that you can make plans but that doesn’t mean you’ll be here to live them out. I worry about hubby’s retirement. He’s about 4 years away. At times he wants to retire even earlier, then other times wants to wait until exactly then. Still other times he thinks he may want to work longer. It is such a hard call. If you’ve got enough money to last, is it better to retire or is it better to stay active? I hear too many stories of people dying right after they retire. I’m having a hard time deciding what I want to do in our later years. We talk about getting a larger home to fix up and then move to down the line. In your 30’s you have unlimited ideas and energy, in your 50’s not so much. You may feel like doing some renovation but tying yourself down to a long term project is not as appealing. Maybe I should just live day by day as that is all we are promised. Who knows what the future holds with the Coronavirus out there.

 

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Things have taken a turn for the worse. It’s been one thing after another. Last Thursday night, one of my husband’s coworkers was driving home from work on I-57 at 2 am. She was hit by a drunk driver who was going 85 in a 55 mph zone. He was out celebrating his 25th birthday and his blood alcohol level was .123. He struck Stephanie’s 1999 Jeep and it went over a concrete barrier, flying off a bridge, landing on railroad tracks below. We were originally told the car burst into flames then but later found out it burst into flames when it was hit before it went over the side. She was so burned up that they had to use DNA to verify the body. When Greg was at work on Friday, he was told that they weren’t sure if it was her. They knew it was her car and that she hadn’t picked up her child or gone home the night before. Everyone in his office is pretty shaken up. Stephanie was only 39, married with one boy about 5 or 6 years old. My husband worked with her the last 10 years or so at both O’hare airport and Midway. We are waiting to hear when her funeral will be. A GoFundMe has been set up in her name (Stephanie Anselmo) for her family. I don’t usually believe in donating to those but in this case it seemed the right thing to do. I met her a few years ago when I volunteered to help with the canine training at Greg’s office. We donated $100 and it’s now over $10,000.

 
About 2 1/2 weeks ago, Greg got a phone call from his oldest brother John. He was crying and saying that his wife Jane had just been diagnosed with breast cancer in both breasts. She is about 64 years old. Greg called John back this past weekend to find out how things are going. Jane was having an MRI on Monday and then meeting with her chemotherapy doctor. It sounds like there is one tumor in each breast and they are different kinds of cancer. She is having chemo first to shrink the cancer, then a lumpectomy and radiation. She caught it early and it doesn’t sound like it has spread to her lymph nodes. I have no doubt Jane will beat this as she is tough and she has a really great team of doctors up at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee.
 
The most recent bad news is that my husband’s favorite aunt was put into hospice on Monday evening. She had a fall last Wed. and had been going downhill ever since. She has quit eating and drinking which means it won’t be long now. Aunt Ann is 84 and I have loved her deeply since I first met her almost 35 years ago. Above everyone else, she made me feel welcome and accepted. I always said if I didn’t have my mother, I would want her as a mother. She is a saint and I hate that she has to leave this world already. So now we are expecting a call any day about her. 
 
The situation my husband has been dealing with which I’m not at liberty to discuss is still hanging over our heads. There is a glimmer of hope in that he has a few people helping him now but there is still no end in sight. We are both excessively nervous/worried and having trouble sleeping. It is taking a toll on us but I am pretty confident we will make it through.
 
There’s not a lot to look forward to. We got new iPhones on Valentine’s Day as a gift to each other. We both got the new iphone11. I got the pro max and he got the regular 11. Neither one of us have figured out how to use all the features. I thought it would make me want to take more pictures and post more on Instagram but that hasn’t changed. I will touch base when I know more about what’s going on.

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Today is one year since my mom died. It seems like I should do a post about the significance of this milestone. I honestly don’t know what to say. I should have been thinking about it for some time and planning it out. Greg and I have been mentioning it to each other almost every day. Instead of grieving though, we have been living. 

Mom2
Thinking where I was emotionally a year ago to how I’m doing now is nothing short of miraculous. I had spent so much time with my mother in my lifetime, that life without her was unfathomable. I didn’t see how I could handle being alone. Luckily, I’m not alone. I have the best husband in the world. Needless to say, when he’s at work, I’ve had to be alone. Of course, we’ve got 3 dogs so alone is a relative term. I have come to realize there are a lot worse things than being alone. I even relish some time alone now. You’d think having time to myself would motivate me to write blog posts, list things for sale online, write emails to people I’ve lost touch with, make phone calls, post pictures to Instagram, etc. None of this is happening. I don’t know why. When I’m with my hubby, I am active and almost bubbly. When alone, I tend to gravitate to the boob tube (tv). Sure, I’ve got lots recorded on Directv to catch up on from when we were gone. But that’s no excuse to not have goals or things you want to get done every day. 
MomandElvis
I’m not completely sedentary. I still walk the dogs every single day, rain or shine. I do laundry, load the dishwasher, minimal cleaning, regular hygiene. As far as striving to attain or accomplish anything, it’s not happening. Maybe part of it is I no longer have anyone to tell when something good happens. I used to love to share everything with Mom, the good and the bad in my life. I know I’m not depressed like I was after she passed away. 
Mom3
I have come so far and yet I feel like I still have more unseen healing to do to get back to myself. I asked hubby when he felt like he recovered from Mom’s death and he said, “I’ll let you know.” Today he sent me an email with tons of pictures of Mom in it. It didn’t make me cry, it made me happy to see her smiling face. I don’t feel sorry for myself anymore but I had a moment the other night. I asked Greg, “Do you think Mom misses me?” He said, “Of course she does!” I still miss her every day but in a good way. The other night I got to thinking about how we both would start laughing hysterically if we saw the other one laughing. There didn’t even need to be anything funny. It was just a contagious thing that felt good. 
Mom1
I realize this post is “all about me” instead of honoring her. She is the wind beneath my wings and I want to make her proud again. I recently heard the Ed Sheehan song, “Supermarket Flowers” for the first time. It made my cry but it made me realize she really lived her life. I could live to her age but not have gone through half of what she did. She had no regrets and did everything she wanted to. The lyrics “A life with love is a life that’s been lived” and “A heart that’s broke is a heart that’s been loved” ring true. “You were an angel in the shape of my mum. You got to see the person I have become. Spread your wings and I know that when God took you back he said Hallelujah You’re home.” 

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It’s another in a series of dark, rainy days. Gloom begets gloom. All my life, I thought I was a good writer. Not contest winning good but captivating. Someone able to hold the attention of my readers. A few months back, I read some of my earlier blog entries and my life story that I wrote at 21. It seems so mediocre to me. Not very good at all. Now I’ve lost my will to write. I don’t want to write emails, blog posts, Instagram posts, Etsy listings, grocery or to-do lists, etc. It could be because I’m grieving still for the loss of my mother. Or it could be that I’ve lost confidence in the only thing I was ever good at. The only thing I ever had confidence in to begin with. I’m not about to start day drinking although the though has crossed my mind. It gives me perspective. I always wondered at what point does someone actually start doing heroin?! A fully rational adult knows better but if life has no substance for them anymore, will they do anything to get their motivation back?! Before you start worrying that I’m on the verge of shooting up, I won’t. I can promise you that. Not just because I don’t care for needles or putting foreign substances in my body. Mostly because I already know it’s not the answer.

When Mom was alive and I was so busy taking care of her, I used her as an excuse. I couldn’t write more because I never had a block of time to sit down and write without being interrupted. I figured when she eventually passed, I would spend part of every day writing. I would either be writing a book or at least do regular blog entires. Instead I feel even less like writing. The truth is she never kept me from writing or anything else. I’m doing that all by myself.

My days are all a blur now. I no longer get up with my husband in the morning (7 am) like I always did until the first of the year. I usually get up by 8 or 8:30 am. I still walk the dogs every day except today because it is raining hard all day long with no break. I still cook meals and bake desserts. I stay caught up with the laundry. I keep my housework and hygiene routine. I pay bills on time. I still watch “Stories” on Instagram every morning and throughout the day. Snippets of other people’s full and vibrant lives. I feel almost paralyzed about sharing on social media. I’ve felt this way on and off since I first got on the internet 21 years ago. In the past month I’ve only posted a handful of pictures (mostly food). I’ve taken lots more and should be excited about sharing but feel almost afraid to share. I don’t know why but the more I need people, the more I pull away. I watch tv but only half-heartedly. TV was always such a joy to me. It was something I’d look forward to at night. Now I still watch the same shows (and some new ones) but most of the time I’m not giving it my full attention. I wouldn’t be able to tell anyone what happened in a particular episode.

I’m very short-sighted and impatient when it comes to getting over things. I like to forge ahead and get on with things. When I had the chicken pox at age 30, I was so afraid that the red marks left on my face (scars) would be there forever. I asked a coworker who had them in his 20’s if he remembered them on his face and he said yes. He said they go away over time. Of course, he was right. Everything goes away over time… A decade ago I had a medical condition I’ve never written about. Someday I will. It was so painful and kept coming back. I finally had surgery and it cured me forever. Sadly, for a few years I was petrified that it would come back. I mean, it was a daily worry that I’d have to deal with it again and forever. That was during the time I almost went on drugs for depression. I was making myself sick with fear. I couldn’t see long term. I never took the drugs and over time my anxiety about reoccurrence went away.

Now I’m back to that place again. The grief over my mom’s death has only intensified. I feel empty and alone. I feel sorry for myself. The worst thing is I’m worrying that this feeling will never end. Just through living all these years, I ought to know logically that I won’t always feel like this. However, I don’t know how long it will last. It could be weeks, months, years?! When I had Mom with me, I pushed myself to get things done every day. Extra things like listing things to sell online or just reorganizing things. Now I don’t push myself. I don’t know why. The only thing I can come up with is that “nothing matters”. It doesn’t make a difference if I do it or not. She’s still dead and I’m still here. I don’t even like posting about my grief on Instagram. People are so kind and wonderful leaving cheerful comments. But what it comes down to is there’s nothing anyone can do to help. It’s going to take time. I feel embarrassed that I’m not handling this better. I don’t like feeling vulnerable. I want to be strong and be able to just go on without being phased by the loss. April 7th will be 5 months since Mom passed away. It seems like it should be long enough to live like this. I’ve always hated “wasting time”. I know how precious life is and grieving this long feels like a waste of time. Maybe it’s one of those things that just sneaks up on you. One day, without realizing it, I’ll notice that I no longer feel this way. That I’m able to find joy again in life. Only God knows how long I need to grieve and when he thinks I’m done. In the meantime, I’m soldiering on.

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Today hubby is working a double shift. My first instinct was that I’ll have no excuse not to blog when I’m home alone for that many hours. Unfortunately, my will to write has disappeared. Since Mom died, I feel lost. I can’t find my voice to write. It’s not because I don’t have anything to write. It just doesn’t feel good like it used to. Sadly, nothing feels good like it used to. I have moments of happiness but I haven’t felt genuinely happy since she passed away. Not for a lack of trying. It feels like I’m going through the motions of being happy but inside I’m hollow. I guess that’s what true grieving is. I don’t think I’ve had the honor or privilege before. Not to this degree anyway. I spent my days as a child on the verge of tears all the time. I was an overly sensitive child with copious amounts of empathy for others. I also had a natural hate of injustice. As a child, the world had too much wrong with it for my taste. It was too unfair to myself and others. It was too hard and cruel. It left me feeling bad about myself and perpetually with hurt feelings. Aside from being bullied excessivey, I felt left out and forgotten. Or more accurately, uwanted/cast aside.

As it took me decades to realize, my mother wasn’t perfect. I’m sure she didn’t know how to handle a daughter that cried so often. Hell, even though I’ve been one, I don’t think I’d know how to handle one. She wasn’t always sensitive to me and my touchiness. Yet she made me feel like she was always on my side. That no matter what, I could talk to her and share my feelings. That she’d be with me to the ends of the earth and never leave me. < SOB> I could never stand up for myself which made me feel doubly persecuted. If someone attacked me (physically or verbally), I couldn’t fight back. I hated violence and didn’t want to hurt anyone. I felt weak and like there was something wrong with me. I couldn’t fathom someone beating another person up for no reason. I knew I hadn’t done anything to this bully that beat me up every day after grade school but I couldn’t bring myself to fight back. Maybe even then I didn’t feel worthy. Most likely I didn’t know that it was a thing that people picked on others. I didn’t know anyone else who got picked on and bullied except me.

By the time I was 25 and I started working in a factory environment (large city post office), I learned to stand up for myself and not take crap from anybody. It makes me proud that I learned this as I would hate to be in my 50’s and still not advocate for myself. Now I do it for my husband, too. Anyway, as I’ve gotten older, I cry less. I felt almost like I’d outgrown it. I would cry when watching sappy movies, pet rescue commercials or occasionally out of frustration or a fight with my mate. It could be weeks or months between shedding a tear. Then I become an orphan and the waterworks get turned on again. I don’t cry every day now but all I have to do is think too hard, listen to certain song lyrics or really think of what I’ve lost and the tears flow that wrack my whole body. It’s been 2 1/2 mos. since she died. It’s worse now than it was the first 2 months. I don’t see an end in sight. I don’t see me ever NOT missing her. She was my best friend util Alzheimer’s stole her brain. Just having her presence near me was an underlying calming influence to me. Of course, things she did were upsetting while she had Alzheimers but overall, I loved every minute of having her with me. Mom being gone is a loneliness the likes of which I’ve never known. If I didn’t have my husband, all I could think about was joining her.

At first I was going to clear out all her clothes and belongings and try to get on with life. I couldn’t do it. I decided to wait. I can always do it later. I don’t want to act like she was never here. That she didn’t live here as much as I did and wasn’t a huge part of my life. I don’t want to forget her. Not that I ever could. I have been trying to live my life but feel like I’m not making any headway. I’m going through the motions of living like getting up every day and getting dressed every day. I don’t sleep well at all. I have some nights I don’t sleep at all. I have always got up when Greg gets up to go to work (at 7 am). Since the New Year and the cold, wintry, gloomy weather, I’ve been staying in bed for an hour or two after he leaves. It doesn’t matter if I get up with him or not, almost every day I’m sleepy. So sleepy that if I sit down, I will fall asleep sitting up with my phone in my hand. I have tried planning things for us to do on the weekends but it’s hard to get excited about things and then it feels like a letdown afterwards. I have 2 “plans” for what I want to do with my life in the future but am not going to share them until much further down the line. I have so much else to take care of before any of my dreams become a reality.

I’ll be writing a blog post soon on what’s been happening since last month. Much has happened, yet much is the same. In the meantime, I wanted to share some of my feelings as I navigate this maze of grief. Without a map, I will get lost but I know there’s a way through it, if I can only find it.

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