Better Than A Micro-Cassette

It’s funny, I’ve got this really nice Sony digital audio recorder that I picked up on eBay a couple years back for cheap – but technically, with everything our phones can do these days, and at the quality they can do it, having a dedicated digital voice recorder can probably be thought of as old school. 😏 But I actually started putting it to use a little over a year ago, before my thyroid surgery. I just thought it would be nice to make a bunch of little recordings in case something happened to me… or now, for whenever it is that I happen to not be around anymore. 😯😬 It sounds morbid as I type it, but I think at least some folks would appreciate it.

Despite being nervous and uncertain about my own medical condition at the time, I made sure that everything I recorded was generally upbeat or at least not gloomy overall. πŸ™‚πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ A little bit of everything… stories I haven’t talked about in a long time, stories I haven’t talked about ever, lots of memories and stories from when I was younger and in school… I dunno, I don’t even remember most of what all I said by this point, other than having a little numbered index with a one sentence description of what that particular recording was mostly about. (Which, honestly, doesn’t tell me shit now… heh)

But I do know that I made recordings every couple of days up until my surgery, and after that it just kinda slipped from my thoughts and I haven’t done any since then. 😟 I think I wanna try to start up again, because a lot has happened in the past year. Problem is, it’s not necessarily a lot of good stuff… and I’m trying to figure out how to talk about some of that stuff without the recordings becoming totally depressing. 😞 I guess I could start off with the good news that I’m at least still here. Wish I could say the same for some other folks, obviously… and that’s where the problem lies. πŸ₯Ί

But I’ll figure it out. Sad or depressing stuff doesn’t necessarily have to translate into sad and depressing recordings. Just gotta do like I’m trying to do with my day to day life – making sure I recognize (and therefore talk about) the good among whatever “bad” there might be. This could very well end up just another one of the many things that I put on the “might do” list that ends up getting forgotten again, but even just planning random little side-projects like this makes me feel a bit better, like every day doesn’t have to end up being almost identical to the one before it and the one after it. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚

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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˜”)

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.

Mixed Emotions

While Genesee was here we were of course talking about all sorts of memories, and we even watched some old home videos that I’ve got uploaded to YouTube in an “unlisted” area. As we watched some of the Atlantic City videos we got to talking about the story behind how I found and got her a key from The Continental motel for Christmas last year, which just so happened to be a key to a room that we actually stayed in – with video proof, as I walked up to and recorded the number on the door (like the nerd that I am) with the camcorder. 😏 It really was amazing…

That then immediately made me remember how I made an awesome, lengthy blog post about it… but then due to certain people reading my blog and giving me shit about the choices I was making in my life – I ended up deleting the entire blog without archiving it. πŸ˜” So unless I find some internet archiving site that managed to capture it, that post (and all the others from that short era) is gone forever. And if you know me, you know that’s not like me at all – just impulsively wiping out a significant chunk of my own history. 😠

That’s what happens though when you’ve got someone who’s words meant everything to you, suddenly and repeatedly getting really fucking shitty about things. πŸ˜’ Rather than leaving my words up here to be picked apart and used against me, I just instinctively made them go away – theorizing that without a detailed view into my life, there’d be less for anyone to be shitty about. πŸ™‡πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Meh… I still deal with internal mental fallout from that (and other things) every single day. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ In fact, it’s usually the first thing on my mind when I wake up and the last thing I think about before falling asleep. Good times.

But anyway… speaking of memories… another fun thing to come from going through the old photos was discovering a stack that focused on school parties, birthdays, and holidays with friends when I was little. And thanks to Facebook, I’m still linked to a lot of the friends that were also in those photos – so it was a good time when I scanned and posted a bunch of them. πŸ™‚ My god… the outfits and haircuts are so embarrassing, but everyone was excited to see them and laugh.

That’s one thing that I’m glad of, and one thing that a lot of friends are jealous about… how Mom and Dad documented and saved so, so much stuff from when I was little. 😊 Tons of photos, stacks of old school papers, favorite books, favorite stuffed animals, baby books filled out with all sorts of details about me… it’s just an amazing amount of stuff from my birth onward that I’ve got here – stuff that a lot of people’s parents never bothered doing/saving. I’m lucky to have it all.