I should have known tonight would be a sleepless night. It’s midnight. I have class, my first one of the LPN program, at 8 AM, which means I need to be leaving here around 6:30 AM which means I should be waking up around 5 AM to make sure I’m showered and packed and ready to go.
That means if I fall asleep right now, this instant, that I would get five hours of sleep. It’s not going to happen. I would rather write to you instead.
A lot has happened in a short amount of time.
I worked a billion hours the past two months or so. I’m glad that stint of my life is over. I took a vacation to see Jon. It was nice. I saw Mother Earth and Sir while I was there. We played a new game called Red Flags. I think you would have liked it.
Jon and I talked a lot while I was there. We talked about you. We talked about the fights we had at the hospital while you were there. We talked about our grief and how each of us feels about it. He’s worried that I’m stagnating and not “moving on”. He thinks that because I talked about how your birthday still hurts me. How significant events, important days, still deeply hurt and make me cry.
Maybe he’s right. Maybe I should be “better” or whatever, but I’m not and I’m ok with that. I want your birthday to hurt. I want it to mean something to me. I want all of those days that are connected to you to still mean something because otherwise, it will feel like I’m losing the last bit of you that I still have.
I got sick while I was on vacation. To the point where Sunday morning, after flying back to Nebraska, I was coughing so hard so frequently that I started coughing up trace amounts of blood. I went to an urgent care facility but they wouldn’t see me when I described what was going on. They said that I needed to go to the ER. So I did. Ox drove me. He stayed with me the whole time. I had to have chest x-rays done. I had to have labs drawn. They gave me two breathing treatments while we waited on results because my lungs sounded so awful.
In the end, they diagnosed me with bronchitis and sent me home with an inhaler and steroids to take for five days. I sent a message to work to let them know I wouldn’t be able to cover my shift Monday due to what was going on. I don’t feel bad about it. In a year and a half I’ve called in once and I was literally in the ER.
The online portion of classes unlocked today. Since I stayed home from work I did a bunch of that stuff. It kept me busy while Ox was at work. We met in Lincoln for lunch. I tried a new soup at the Chinese place we like on Sunday after the ER visit. We had time to kill before my prescriptions were filled and I needed to try to eat something since I’ve been eating relatively poorly since Thursday. Something about my body trying its damnedest to kill me just ruins my appetite. Much lame.
Anyway, they had a seafood soup that sounded interesting. I tried it and really liked it. So much so that I asked to go there again today so I could have it for lunch. I only ate half, but that meant I had a snack later. It’s definitely a nice change of pace from the chicken broth and grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve been eating. Ox does make some pretty amazing grilled cheese sandwiches, though. Definitely not slumming it.
While we were in town, Ox and I went to Barns and Noble to look at Dungeons and Dragons books. That’s something that Jon and I did while I was in Florida. We played D&D a couple of times and it was so much fun. Ox and I looked into groups here around Lincoln and found one that meets Wednesday nights. We need to have our own books and dice, so that’s what we did today. We went and got the books we needed and the dice so we can play in a couple of days.
We’ll be able to game together, outside of the house, away from electronics. Maybe we’ll even make friends outside of work.
I don’t know why but I’m super looking forward to it even though I have yet to transfer my character information from Jon’s account to my own. There’s a website where you can keep track of your character information digitally. It’s pretty awesome and I know none of that really makes much sense to you, but I know if we were talking in person you would be smiling at my enthusiasm and happy simply for the fact that I’m happy and excited and looking forward to something.
And I guess that’s where things get weird and painful. I’m looking forward to things and it hurts. I’m kind of excited about my class and that hurts, too. I wrote posts for discussion boards and you weren’t here to proofread them. I’m having to explain all over again why I’m entering the medical field. I’m having to explain the situation we went through and how it affected me and why I feel so deeply about helping people.
I was laying next to Ox before I decided to get up and write. I was thinking about how he’s been so supportive of me over the last year and a half; how he’s been so supportive and kind while I’ve been sick. I remembered some of the conversations I’ve had with him. The ones where I said I felt like I didn’t love him the way he deserved to be loved and that I felt broken and didn’t know if I would ever be able to love the way I used to.
I do love him, mom. I wish you could meet him. I wish he could meet you. I know you want me to be happy. I remember one time, you and I were talking about pets. I think it was about Bonnie, our first cat. She was older than I was when she died. Eighteen years old. I was young. Hardly a teenager, if that.
You said something about getting another pet eventually and I didn’t understand. How could you get another cat? How could you replace Bonnie?
You explained that you weren’t replacing her. You had loved Bonnie as much as you could while she was alive. How could you deny another animal the same love and compassion simply because you hurt? How was it right to withhold something from someone else for something they had nothing to do with?
I know we were talking about pets, animals, and to some people that logic wouldn’t apply to humans, but I think I understand what you were saying back then. What you were really saying.
It’s not right of me to not love as deeply, as intensely, as passionately as I used to just because you died. I know it sucks. I know it hurts. Holy fuck, do I know how much it hurts and aches and tries to tear me apart still. I know how much I hate it and how I wish I could change it and have you still physically be a part of my life.
But at the same time, it’s not fair of me to deny Ox the level and depth of love and connection he deserves to have. The level and depth that I am able to give if only I would allow myself to give it. To accept that yes, one day one of us will die, and that will suck, horrifically suck, but that doesn’t make it right for me to not love in the now. To give that for as long as I can while we are together.
I think that’s what you would want me to do. To allow myself to love, fully, and to not deny the people in my life that simply because I hurt, or am worried about future hurt.
These are pretty heavy thoughts to be having seven hours before my first class, but there you go. Sometimes that’s just how life works I guess.
I miss you, mom. I miss you a lot. I think I’m going to try loving. Actually loving. Fully loving. Ox deserves that. The relationship I have with him deserves that. And I think, deep down, somewhere inside me, you deserve that. You raised me to be stronger than internal and emotional pain. You raised me to overcome things like this. To work through them and function past them. To learn from them.
I think I’m learning. It’s taking a while, and god does it fucking hurt, mom, but I think I’m getting there. One painful remembered lesson at a time.
I love you, forever and for always. Thanks for being my mom and for still being with me.