A Tale of Two Mother’s Days

It’s been a rough week, with today being a lot harder than I expected. Talk about different groups of people having vastly different experiences on a holiday. 😟 I haven’t been on Facebook much anyway, but today, the contrast of the posts from the people who were spending the day with their moms, to the posts of those of us who no longer can… ugh… I should have known better than to even open the app.

But by the end of the evening, I had kinda changed my mind about that. Just as everyone wants to share their happy events from today, I realized that there are a whole lot of people who need to share their memories… to not let their moms be forgotten among all of the ongoing activities of the day, just because their moms don’t happen to be around any longer. πŸ˜ͺ And I ended up being one of those people. How could I not post something about Mom? And how could I not be there to click off an emotion or offer some words to friends of mine who are feeling the same way about the day as I was?

So I posted one of the recently scanned slides of Mom from when she was young, playing with “baby me” on a swing in the park. 😊 And I can’t even remember how I worded it, but basically I just tried to show that I wanted to recognize everyone else who has lost their mom (especially since last Mother’s Day) and saying something about how I know that everyone thinks that their mom was the best, and that everyone was absolutely right about that. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I dunno… trying to be a little lighthearted I guess, but honestly – what can you say? So many happy memories, but such a sucky feeling…

And I thought I was feeling basically useless over the past few days? Today, the only thing I was able to do was pick up Brianna as planned, so we could go to the nursery and get some flowers to plant in Mom and Christina’s memory. πŸ˜• I’m glad that Genesee got me that little tin planter box for Easter and suggested the flower idea… but man was it hard to get up and actually do that today. Normally Bri and I function as a distraction from each others “bleh” but there was no avoiding it today. But she picked the same type of flowers that Brantley got her for Mother’s Day last year, we got them planted in the tin, and they’re now decorating the doorstep to her new apartment. πŸ™‚ So many positive things have happened for her in the past few months, stuff that she desperately wishes her mom was still around to see… meh… I don’t think I need to explain further. You either know how it feels, or you’re gonna eventually.

MomFlowers

But I came back home and turned into a physical, mental, and social potato… and I think Bri took a page out of my playbook and just called it a night in the early evening, trying to just go to sleep and make the day go away. πŸ˜” I feel shitty because I haven’t e-mailed Dad in about a week now, and I thought today might be the day… but then, yeah… 😣 I’ve just gotta focus on all the good things about Mom that I can remember tonight as I try to fall asleep, and hope that tomorrow I can wake up and somehow turn this shitty state of mind around and start functioning like a semi-normal person again. 😐 Being twitchy like this in itself isn’t what really bothers me… what bothers me is when it affects the people I care about and the people that care about me. And it’s definitely doing that right now.

*repeating to myself until I get it*“Mom wouldn’t want me sitting here feeling shitty that she’s gone.”

(What is it with me, and not being able to process the type of shit that millions of people process every day? πŸ˜”)

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The Other Stuff

TRIGGER WARNING: This entry is gonna cover some of the other depressing shit that has also been filling my thoughts and influencing my mood recently. But I think it’ll help to explain why when it did hit me, about Mom being gone gone… why it was so easy for it to knock me down and keep me there.

About a year ago my best friend Jim lost his mom to cancer. At the end of last year, Brianna, another of my closest friends, lost her mom to cancer. And Christina was more than just “Bri’s mom” to me… she treated me like family. Rick, a classmate of mine, has been fighting cancer for two years now, and rarely posts to Facebook anymore, which seems like a bad sign. Then on the first of this month, anotherΒ school friend, Stephanie, died in her sleep from unknown and absolutely unexpected causes. Her oldest son turned 18 just two days later. And then today, my “cousin-in-law” Gloria lost her sister Wanda to cancer as well.

Jim’s mom was in her early 70s, but Christina was only in her early 40s, Rick is my age, Stephanie was only two years older than me, and I think Wanda may have been barely into her 50s. And Mom’s best friend through the entirety of her adulthood, Cecil… she passed away within the year as well. I’m actually sitting here afraid that I’ve neglected to mention someone, because it seems like every direction that I turn – sickness and death is what I see, and in many cases – in people far, far too young for most to even think it’s a possibility.

(Oof… this is gonna be a downer of an entry, that’s for sure…)

And of course, having cancer myself… or at least having had cancer (fingers crossed)… all of the stuff mentioned above doesn’t exactly do a lot to put my mind at ease. A long life before passing… that is something that hurts, but we understand it. People dying at my age or younger, from things like lung cancer when they were very vocal non-smokers… those are the ones where it starts to make less sense. And then ones like Stephanie that are there one day, making posts about her dog and her son’s upcoming birthday, then *poof* … simply gone the next. No rhyme or reason, and I’m not good when it comes to shit like that.

But for my stuff, I did get another appointment with my family doctor at the beginning of this week, tried to sum up all of the things I’ve been talking about here, and told her that I’m not really comfortable with what (to me) feels like a lack of concern or urgency once my thyroid removal and radiation treatment was completed. I’m not being neglected or anything… but after the surgery, radiation, and scan – other than the thyroid guy getting my levels right via medication, nothing else has happened or was scheduled to happen until July. I realized that I’m not okay with that. “You have cancer. We cut the cancer thing out. We think we got all the cancer. See you in half-a-year.”Β Christina also got the “we think we got it all” speech after her first surgery as well (I was there) so… umm… no. Not good enough.

It would be another thing if I honestly just felt great, and all these other things were just spooking me, but that’s not the case. Without going into details, there are things that just feel “wrong” for lack of a better term, and since I’ve gone with the “flashy” insurance this year I would be dumb to not metaphorically pound my fist on the table and ask for a little more. So that’s where I’m at now… the start of “a little more” phase. Tomorrow I’m seeing someone regarding my come-and-go, sometimes excruciatingly painful back problem… and, thankfully, with the lab being in the same building, my primary care provider has ordered an assload of blood and urine tests to not only hit on the regular “physical” type stuff, but cancer indicators as well… so I’ll do those right after the back guy.

So yeah… I’ll admit that with all of this stuff on my mind, I’ve essentially disappeared as far as my friends would describe it. At least in person, I mean. One, it’s hard to want to go out and do anything fun or visit with anyone when my brain is so full of this shit… and two, more than half of the time I just physically feel too crappy to even consider it. Now that it’s going to be looked into with a little more detail, I’m hoping that with good or at least encouraging results I’ll be more likely to spend at least a few days trying to act like everything is fine, and hopefully trying to start living my life again.

I’ve been out to see Dad a few times in the past month and a half, but when it’s hard to make myself get up and do anything even on good days – I know that I’ve not been visiting as much as I should or as much as I want. It’s hard to explain “I just can’t.” to someone, when it’s hard for you to even understand yourself. I can’t remember the last time I’ve opened my e-mail app, but I’m gonna try to at least start doing that again. My biggest problem is that I’m not exactly some cheery ray of sunshine right now, and I’ll probably struggle to come up with e-mails to Dad that are any less depressing than this particular blog entry. I guess that’ll force me to really think about each day, or couple of days, to find the little good (or at least “okay”) moments that I’m sure are there. But yeah, that’s the plan for now…

(And I’ll try to limit the depressing topics here in the blog for a while after today’s posts. Wish me luck.)

Delayed Reaction

It’s been an up and down week. I had those two or three pretty good days right after being sick for a day and a half… but like I said, probably not so much that I felt any better than normal – but the relief of not puking every few hours for an entire day and night just makes you appreciate a normal “bleh” mood a bit more. 😏 But then right after that, it was the strangest thing…

Mom has been gone for more than a month… and of course the first week or two after she passed was filled with well-wishes, company, and general “fuss” (I don’t mean that in a bad way at all) that one expects after such a thing. Then I took some time to really isolate myself so I could just feel it… adjust to it… I dunno… I just wanted nobody around so I could react however I needed to. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈΒ And my dumb ass assumed that after all of the above, my brain had processed and handled it. Heh… nope. 😟

I don’t even know what triggered it, but man… a couple of days ago – it finally really hit me. 😒 Or finally hit me for the first time, because Genesee said that she completely understood what I was trying to explain to her, and she says it was by no means a one-time deal for her after her daddy passed away several years ago. I think what happened was I crossed the line where I was just happy and relieved for Mom, that she was no longer struggling with a mind and body that were fighting against her… and I hit the point where it really sank in that she was gone gone – and then I was worthless for the better part of three days, feeling indescribably sad about everything that her being gone made me think and feel. πŸ˜” Gawd this is such a difficult thing to explain…

It’s probably all selfish, but understandable emotion… but the thing that wouldn’t leave my mind is that from this point on, any “new” person that I meet or that comes into my life… they won’t get to know her, and I can’t explain how unfair that is for all of those people. 😠 For those few days I just lost the ability to be happy about all of the happy memories and experiences, and it was all sad, mad, bitter, etc. Then I finally decided to talk out loud to her… the first time that I had done that since she passed.

I’m sure some people might think it’s strange, but with all of my grandparents gone, a couple uncles, an aunt, some friends… at one point or another, I’ve spoken out loud to them as I sat in the recliner, did my laundry, walked around outside, fed the cat… whatever the case may have been that made me want to say something to them. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚ But I hadn’t been able to do that with Mom until just the other day, and I was actually feeling guilty about it. That I had so easily done it with the others, but for some reason wasn’t able yet to do that with her. But I’m glad that I finally did, because that’s what started pulling me out of that awful mood.

I reminded myself that she’s now up there with her mom and dad, among so many other relatives and friends that I may not even remember myself – but who were all waiting to greet her when she got there. 😊 And then I told her that I knew she wouldn’t want me to just sit in the house and feel how I was feeling, and I told her that I was going to try as hard as I could to get out of that funk and focus on the happy rather than the negative feelings. I don’t want her checking in on me, only to find that I’m a useless, crying, angry mess. I can’t let it mess me up like it was messing me up for those few days.

I talked for probably fifteen minutes or so… heh… and again, I know, it does sound a little weird… but with every thing that I’d say, I could feel the weight being lifted off of me… at least to when it comes how I was feeling about Mom being gone. (More of the “other stuff” in the next entry, coming fairly soon.) It’s weird though… not only did I feel guilty for not talking to her sooner, but also a little bit guilty for that horrible feeling not hitting me this hard way before this point. 😟 But again, Genesee helped… saying it was roughly a month for her as well, before she got the real “gut punch” feeling that you almost expect to feel the day of, or day after it happens. Of course I missΒ Mom… but I really do think I was just getting past my feelings of relief and happiness for her, and on to feeling sorry for myselfΒ – and everyone else that no longer gets to have her as an ongoing part of their life.

I’m sorry if this comes off as gloomy… but what I’m actually trying to say is that yeah, it hurt… then it really really hurt… but then you find a way back from it. 😌 I’m not looking forward to this becoming a recurring “surprise” thing, but I do know now that that’s just the way it works. πŸ₯Ί But I think each time that it happens, it’s gonna be easier for me to talk to her, remember all of the good – and there was a lot of good – and not let that awful feeling consume me like it was during these past few days.

Carry On

Well, Genesee made it home safely a little bit ago, so now officially starts the time of “carrying on” I guess. When all the condolences have been given, everyone’s concern has been shown, etc… so now it’s just back to normal. As much as I appreciated the company, I’m glad that I’m gonna have a couple days and nights where it’s just me and the cat. I can feel crappy if I want, I can feel good if I want, and I can talk out loud to Mom if I want. I could have done all that with Genesee here, but you know how it is when you have company… you want it to be the best experience for them, and right now I’m definitely not the person to be around for the best experience. Meh… I know it sounds weird, but she understands.

In a way it was difficult to make myself do it, but yesterday I took Brianna to her “4D Ultrasound” appointment. She’s approaching 32 weeks, I believe, so she wanted to see if they would be able to get any good pictures of her yet-to-be-popped-out baby. At first he had his hands (and a foot) blocking the view, but after a little poking he moved around and the technician was able to get a handful of really good shots. It’s pretty remarkable… you can actually get a decent idea of how his features look, with his Brantley-like ducky lips, Brianna’s chin and nose, and the daddy’s brow line. She has already been ready to squeeze this kid out, and seeing the pictures in such detail only made that feeling even stronger. I think he needs to cook for a couple more weeks… but she’s right, the time is definitely getting closer. I’m glad that I went.

Meh… I dunno… I just felt like typing something I guess. Not really planning to socialize much for a few days. I just wanna be here in my thoughts, feelings, and memories. Of course I’ve got a doctor appointment tomorrow, so that kinda craps up my isolation plans a bit, but it’s one where I don’t really have a choice. Not really sure what I’m gonna do other than that, but after the weekend I’m probably gonna go in and visit Dad. I’ve got that new batch of scanned photos on the iPad, and rather than just e-mailing them to him, I figured it would be nice to look at them together so he might be able to tell me stories relating to them that I haven’t heard before.

Okay… checking out. Wish me luck. (Sorry for the lack of emojis… maybe next time)

Where To Even Start?

This is probably the fifth or sixth time since last Sunday that I’ve opened up the blog editor and just sat here, staring at the blank screen, unable to come up with “the right words” that would end up being the first post that I’ve made since Mom passed away. I think I just need to accept that right now I just don’t have the right words. If I waited until I could come up with something exceptionally eloquent or thoughtful, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t even update this blog anymore.

Mom’s passing wasn’t unexpected, so a person might be tempted (for that reason) to think that they’ll be ready for it when it happens… but nope, that’s not how it works. It’s been almost a week now, and my brain still hasn’t decided how it wants to handle it. Nothing is “normal” about the days immediately following someone’s death, so we probably won’t really start feeling it until we all settle back into our normal routines.

I was there to support Cassi when her aunt passed away, I was there for Genesee when her dad passed away, and I was there for Brianna when her mom passed away just a few months ago… so of course they’re all being super supportive for me now. And as you’d expect, all of the family has been texting, calling, talking, and supporting each other… but with all of that fuss (which I absolutely appreciate) it doesn’t really let you feel how your brain will eventually decide that it wants to feel. That’ll probably start happening a little more around the middle of this coming week, in large part due to Genesee (who came to Ohio almost as soon as she got the news)Β returning home around that time.

It ends up being kinda perfect though. Having all of the company and support has actually been a good thing for me… but I’m also looking forward to things going back to normal, because I know I’m gonna have days where I want to be absolutely alone, to feel however I wanna feel about it, and without feeling like I have to act this way or that way, or appear strong for someone else’s sake when maybe I don’t want to.

I dunno… that’s all I really care to say right now. Not because I don’t have a billion thoughts and feelings and memories that I could talk about, but because my goal for this post was to just finally acknowledge it and put it out here. Besides, no matter how much I might talk about Mom, there’s simply nothing that I could say that would do her the justice that she deserves. So rather than be awkward and weird and possibly ending up saying the wrong thing due to my brain being a little fried, I’m just gonna leave it like this for now.

Christmas Day

Oh hell… I completely forgot to come back here and update this entry to reflect the crap that I did on Christmas day. πŸ™„ And now that it’s not all fresh in my memory, I’m afraid that I won’t be able to paint a very vivid picture of how things went. πŸ€” Let’s see…

Went up to Columbus fairly early, and Cassi and I threw together our “exclusively microwaved” Christmas dinner for me, her, her mom, and her little cousin. This was also his first “good” Christmas where he had a bunch of packages to open, so it was nice to vibe off of his excitement and enthusiasm. πŸ™‚ And since he knew that I got him a couple things as well, he made sure to have Cassi take him to the dollar store so he could buy me a few little gifts of his own choosing. 😊

Didn’t get back home until late, and like I’ve done in previous years – I saved the gifts that Genesee had gotten me for opening once my day was essentially done and I was settled back in at home. Lots of neat “baby game console” keychains, ranging from a tiny Atari 2600 to a tiny Sony PlayStation. A View-Master viewer with a couple reels of custom photos that she picked from my huge archive of pics from my past… so I’ll probably be able to use my 3D camera for making actual 3D reels for the thing. πŸ˜„ Lots of new candy and wrappers, a big ol’ heavy handmade throw blanket… just lots of unexpected goodies that put a nice cap on a day that was already pretty good.

I’m having deja vu right now… 🀨 really feeling like I’ve already written an entry like this for the day, but I’m guessing it’s probably just familiar typing – since I texted with a few different people as well and told them about how my day went. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ The only real glitch was the amount of time I had to spend up in Columbus. I mean, I didn’t have to… I wanted to… but after our lunch-time dinner my brain decided to go into protection mode, with Cassi and I both actually taking a nap for a few hours.

That’s about all I’ve got. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it really was a better day than I had been expecting, for this reason and that. Okay, now I’m all “worded out” so I don’t know if I’m gonna make that “pre-NYE” entry that I actually came here to make… before realizing that I hadn’t even gotten this one done yet. 😐 I should probably avoid any optimistic “coming soon” promises in the future. 😏

Amish Country

So, the very next day after all of that dumb shit happened around my doctor appointment, that was the day that we had already set aside for going up to the “Amish Country” up in NE Ohio. 😐 The entire evening before, I was still livid – so I already knew what my plan was… stay up all damn light, do as much research and “planning” regarding my WC stuff as possible, and then as soon as the sun came up (as long as Genesee woke up early)Β we could be on our way. πŸ™‚ And that’s actually pretty much how it went, thankfully.

I’m not sure how I did it… all of it… but the trip was a success, we had a good time, I kept my mind fairly free of the previous day’s drama, and I also didn’t feel myself falling asleep until we were about a half-hour from home. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Despite it being off-season, and rather gray and plain up there, we still made it a “full sized” trip – leaving home around 8a and getting back somewhere around 7p. 😧 And I even made myself to stay awake for several more hours, which allowed me to force my sleep schedule back on a “normal” track. Honestly though, I give all of the credit for anything “good” like that from the day to Genesee. (Actually, she gets the credit for that for the entire duration of her trip here. 😏)

I drove, so we did the official Batina path and itinerary – as if we were traveling with Aunt Carol. πŸ™‚ I’m not gonna spell check any of this… but we started by going up through Charm, then to the Guggisberg Cheese place – where I got some gummy bears and meat sticks, over to Miller’s Bakery – where we stocked up on cheese crowns, followed by a short drive to Hershberger’s farm store – where there were unfortunately no flowers or critters, but I did get some Amish sweet pickles, and then it was off to Berlin for a stop at an antique/craft mall and thrift store, along with the mandatory stop at Heini’s Cheese – where we taste tested all sorts of weird cheese and fudge, and I left with some co-jack and green onion varieties… 😳 and then the last stop was at Wendell August… the place where they create every type of carved and stamped metal “thing” that you could imagine. 😊

Dinner was also at the traditional Aunt Carol place… a huge pretty-much-Amish-style restaurant / buffet – where we both poofed ourselves on potatoes, noodles, stuffing, shredded chicken, rolls, misc salad goodness, etc. 😁 It was too cold to sit out on their long wrap-around porch to un-poof a bit before hitting the road again, and we were starting to lose the light anyway – so we decided to just keep moving. (We took 77 south to 70, and even stopped off at Gabriel’s in Zanesville… and I’ve got no idea how I summoned the energy for that.) Then we took 22 to Lancaster from Zanesville, basically cutting a south-western path that saved us quite a few miles compared to taking the freeway over to Millersport and down. πŸ€”

It wasn’t an ideal trip on paper… off season, cold, no sleep, having already been busy all week… but it ended up being perfect. ☺ Got all the goodies that we wanted, kept myself distracted from anything that might have made me angry, had quite a few flashback memories from different trips with Aunt Carol and my grandparents, and the “goody” from the trip lasted through the evening, even after I was home and Gen was off to her next stop. πŸ™‚