Letters To Mom 021: Goddamnit

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Goddamnit, mom.

That was the thought I had ricocheting over and over again in my head as I left the gym today.

I know you’re still here. I know you know all of this. I know you see everything, but goddamnit. This is the only way I can talk to you, other than talking to myself and wondering if I’m crazy. This is one of the few physical things I feel I have to represent our connection. It’s not just words in the air, carried away by the wind, never to be heard again.

This is lasting. This can be printed out and held and hugged and cried on, and so I need to write it even though you know it. I need to make it physical.

It’s worse this year. And maybe worse isn’t the right word. I didn’t understand it as I left the gym. I haven’t understood it every time it feels like I backtrack to square one. What’s different this time is I’ve had time to talk to Jon and Ox and I’ve had time to be home and to read posts online and to try to figure it out because in my head there’s a problem and so I need to find a solution to fix it, only there isn’t a problem according to the internet. It’s normal. Worse is normal even though it’s not actually worse.

The first year you died sucked. It sucked so much mom. Every fucking day. Yet at the same time, it didn’t. I didn’t feel much of anything for the longest time. There wasn’t a point in feeling anything. I was on auto piolet a lot of those days. The only thing I had to do was survive.

I had to eat. I had to drink. I had to care for my body enough for it to not break down. And when I started taking CNA classes I had to study and learn and make good grades. Things I have always been decent at. It didn’t take effort. More auto piolet. Just do what needs to be done. No thinking. No emotion. Just do.

In a way, it was simpler than it is now. I cared about things less. I didn’t worry about a lot of things because I didn’t have the energy to care.

I’m past the survival stage. I’m past learning how to meet my basic needs without you being here. I’ve learned how to wake up with the pain. I’ve learned how to cope with the hard days where I want to break down and cry. I’ve learned how to breathe while I tend to an invisible wound I can’t touch or show anyone.

I’ve done all of that, and so now we’re going into year three. I made it through Mother’s Day. But Saturday is your birthday and goddamnit, I’m back to crying and feeling directionless and hopeless and alone and angry and sad and it sucks.

It sucks worse then it did the first time because the first time was about surviving. It sucks worse than the second year because I was in the middle of training for work and worrying about paying my bills and having a roof over my head and enough gas in the car and food in the kitchen since Warren was a dick and not paying rent. So, really, the second year was still the survival phase for me, maybe moreso than the first because at least in the first year I had the money you left me to cover my needs. It was more about figuring out how to drive to the store without screaming in emotional agony over doing it while knowing that you were dead.

The second year I had to donate plasma just to keep making ends meet. While I still had hard days, I was still more focused on becoming stable. I had to figure out all of my shit for work and not quit because there were a lot of days that I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I had to worry about becoming a stronger member of my team so no one dreaded working with me. I had to figure out how to support two adults on a single paycheck because Warren wasn’t holding up his end of the deal. It wasn’t emotional survival the second year; it was actual survival and I did it.

I moved to Nebraska because I was done figuring out everyone else’s crap. I moved here to take care of me, and I guess this is part of that process. I’ve been stuck in the first year of grieving for two years because for two years I’ve had to worry about survival.

I’m past that now, though, and so now I get to move on to phase two, which are the emotions.

I actually feel the pain this time and so now I have to cope with a whole new aspect of my grief and I guess a lot of people go through this.

There’s the expectation that surviving the first year means it will make coping with the countless additional years easier or more manageable or doable or something. It will be more “something” but painful was never on my list. That’s the reality of my grief over your death, though. I feel the pain more now because I don’t have to put all of my time and effort and energy into merely surviving. I have the energy to deal with the emotional aspect of it all and I almost wish I didn’t because I’m supposed to be doing better. I’m supposed to not cry as much. I’m supposed to be more ok and not have people worry about me or darken their days with my sadness and that’s not what’s happening.

I’ve gained two pounds of muscle and two pounds of fat since my last weigh in two weeks ago.

When my trainer asked how my eating has been going I said I’ve been inconsistent. On my days off I have the tendency to skip breakfast. If I eat breakfast I normally forgo lunch. I don’t eat my snacks like I know I should. Dinner usually happens, but it’s a crapshoot as to when. The days I work are a bit better, but not by much. I’m still not really drinking enough water, though I am doing better than I was last week.

So it’s not that I’m eating poorly, it’s that my body is freaking out and thinking that it’s never going to be fed so it’s holding onto what I do give it. Which, to be fair to my body, it’s not wrong at the moment.

When my trainer asked if I’ve gone to the dojo I said no because I haven’t. When he asked if I’ve gone to the gym near home I said no because I haven’t. Since my race two weeks ago, I haven’t done anything extra. I go to my training and that’s it and even then, I missed one of my sessions because I didn’t want to go.

I don’t want to go anywhere. I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to talk to people. I don’t want to pretend to be ok when I’m not. I don’t want to explain why I’m not ok because it’s no one’s fucking business and even if I did, a vast majority of people wouldn’t understand and just feel awkward so it would be a waste of time and energy.

I mean, really, when someone asks you, “What’s wrong?” What are you supposed to say? “Oh, nothing. It’s just that my mom died. It’s cool though. Don’t worry about me. I’ll get over it.” No one is prepared for a super heavy answer like, “My mom died.” That’s not the answer they want. It’s supposed to be something small and manageable like a breakup or a bad day at work. They don’t want a real answer so why give one?

It’s like when people ask, “How are you?” “Fine” or “Ok” or “Good” feel like the only ok answers because 99.9999999999999999% of people are only asking out of social obligation, not because they actually want to legitimately know how you are doing emotionally.

I want to be left alone. I want to be alone. I want to make it through this hard time and I don’t want outside input on how I should or should not be getting through it.

My trainer has goals for me, but I don’t care. My work has expectations of me, but I don’t care. I don’t have goals for me. I don’t have expectations of me.

It’s almost your birthday. Nothing else matters right now. Everything else is insignificant and trivial and meaningless when held against the fact that you’re dead.

I woke up today. I showed up to training instead of canceling again. I need that to count towards something. I need it to matter that I’m trying as much as I am when I don’t have an answer for “What’s the point?”

If none of it matters, if waking up doesn’t count, then why even do it? I showered. I had breakfast. I got dressed and drove like a diligent, responsible adult. I parked within the lines in the parking lot instead of like a douchebag who doesn’t care. I need all of those stupid, small, little things to matter because if they don’t then why bother?

I want to know why there’s more anger now. What is there to be angry at? There wasn’t a drunk driver. There wasn’t malpractice. It was a shitty situation and we’re both doing the best we can now. What good does anger do? Why is it here, within myself? What am I supposed to learn or gain from it? Where is it supposed to go?

All of the posts I’ve read have helped. There was one about loving through separation. All of the posts were things I can relate to. They’re things that I feel now. It helps, knowing that it’s worse in future years for others, too.

It’s not regression. It’s not abnormal. It’s not a fuck up on my part.

The first year is about survival. The other years is about figuring out why you survived in the first place. What was the point of that horrific struggle? You’re still not here. You didn’t magically come back. You’re still gone and I have to go through all of these days all over again, without you, still, and they’re not magically easier because fairy dust doesn’t fix anything, so why? Why go through it all again, and again, and again, and again, and for forever again?

Goddamnit, mom, I wish I had an answer, for you, for me, but I don’t, and that makes me angry and frustrated.

I don’t want it to be your birthday again. I don’t want to not be able to call. I want an address where I can send a card and know that it will reach you and make you smile and feel loved because I still love you so goddamn much it hurts.

I want to be better even though I never will be and I really don’t want to be because that would mean whatever it is we still have will be gone. In a way, I love my grief because it’s you. It’s the result of our connection being changed by your death. If my grief wasn’t there or if it changed or didn’t hurt as much it would mean our connection when you were alive had been different and I would never want to change what we had. I’m ok with my grief because it means I had you in my life for as long as I did the ways that I did.

I’m in another wave, mom. I’m getting through it. At least I think I am. And I think it’s ok that I’m here. I have more hope that I’ll get through it than I did when I left the gym.

I don’t really know what else to say right now. I don’t have answers for you or myself. I guess I just wanted to let you know that what I’m feeling is ok and that I’m angry but I’m not angry at you. I’m sorry that I’m angry. I’m sorry I’m having a harder time than I think I should be. And I’m sorry I put that expectation on myself.

I’m trying to be understanding with myself and after reading the things I have, I think it’s easier for me to do that.

I love you, mom. Forever and for always.

With love ~ Your Angry Dragon

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Letters to Mom 016: I Promise I’ll Try

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Hey mom,

I woke up tired today.

I miss you.

I miss a lot of things.

I miss Jon. I talked to him today while I was on break at work. I got to tell him that I’m homesick.

I guess it started when I got a text message from Big Bad.

I miss him, too.

And there’s a part of me that wants to hate myself for that. I want to be angry at myself for missing the times he and I cuddled together. For missing our quiet mornings. For fucking up our plans to do the Warrior Dash in February.

I want to not miss him. I want to remember what it felt like to read his message about being “disappointed. Thanks.”

But I’m bad about remembering things like that. I’m bad about remembering how he never said, “I love you.” I’m bad about remembering that there most likely would have never been a family Thanksgiving that I would have been invited to. A house I could come home to with him. There wouldn’t have been an “ever after”, but that doesn’t make me miss what I had less.

I miss wrestling with him. I miss kicking his ass at Mortal Kombat.

I miss my friend.

Just like I miss Jon. I miss going to Friendly Confines with him. I miss driving up to Daytona for breakfast. I miss our sappy hugs goodbye. I miss the times I slept on his couch.

I miss my dojo. I miss not having anxiety over going to work out. I miss feeling strong and healthy.

I miss feeling like a warrior because right now I don’t.

In a lot of areas in my life I know I’m doing better, but the overall feeling I have right now, the most pervasive one, is that I’m treading water. I’m bearly holding on and maybe that’s just the tiredness. Maybe that’s just the overwhelm of having the kids for the weekend and not having a safe space to get away to.

I feel apathetic right now about most things. About gaming. About working out. About eating.

I don’t want to do anything.

I want to sleep. I want to wake up and feel ok even though I know I’m not “not ok”.

I don’t have drive or motivation for anything at the moment, mom, and it sucks.

I’ve been breathing better for the past few days. I’ve been taking a lot of decongestant stuff and I guess it’s working. So now that I don’t have to struggle so hard to breathe I guess my body thinks it’s ok to remind me that my soul hurts. That’s I’m actually still really injured and I need to take care of that.

But I don’t know how because I don’t know what’s wrong.

I know I like it here. I know I’m starting to love my job again. I know that I don’t dread getting up in the morning even though I still wake up at 3 am.

I know I don’t want my own apartment because I like coming home here. I like being part of a family. I enjoy falling asleep next to Ox. Being away wouldn’t feel right. At the same time, all of my things are mostly still in storage. When the kids are here I don’t have a space for myself. And there’s a part of me who’s not ok with giving up the few days I have off to socialize.

Maybe “not ok” isn’t the right words. I would rather it be a choice rather than something I’m forced to do due to the living situation. But it’s not a choice. I have to and there isn’t really a way to change it at the moment. Maybe ever.

If I’m not “ok” but I’m not “not ok” then what am I?

Why can’t I just figure out what it is that I need to do?

Why can’t you be here for me to talk to? Why can’t I hear your voice on the other end of the phone? And saying, “because I’m dead” doesn’t count.

I don’t care right now. Because you’re dead isn’t a good enough answer.

I miss you, mom, and I so desperately want to say that I need you, but I know that word isn’t true because I’ll wake up tomorrow having survived another day without you and so it’s not a true need. Not like air or water or electrical impulses within my heart.

But I need you, mom. I need you to be here and you’re not and it sucks and I hate it.

I meet with a personal trainer tomorrow. I’ve signed up for a Warrior Dash in July. I have no motivation to do either of those things, but I’m going to do them because I know they need to be done.

This is the therapy part of healing. This is the hard part. The part that hurts. The part that sucks. The part that makes me cry and want to give up because the thought of doing them feels like it’s too much. Too heavy. Too hard.

It’s so much easier to hide away and stay in bed and be sad and to not do anything, but I know that’s not what I truly want for myself. I know it’s not what you would want for me either, so I’m going to go to my stupid meeting tomorrow, mom.

I’m going to try, mom. For you. For me. For us.

I’m so sorry I can’t promise more than that. I’m sorry I can’t do more than try. I’m sorry I can’t say that I’ll kick ass and take over the world and be an amazing person who does amazing things.

I wish I could, but right now I don’t feel those things. I don’t feel amazing or strong. I feel weak and broken and all I can do is say that I won’t let the sadness win and that I’ll try really hard for you.

Today sucks, mom. Nothing bad happened. Work went smoothly. I’m back home and I’m writing, but today just really, really sucks.

I love you. I promise I’ll try to make tomorrow better.

 

Daily Post 080: Finishing the Recap

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So last week started with what will forever be known as the horrifically sockless Monday. I continued improving at work and doing more things on my own like spinning labs, packing labs, and switching the CWP over to disinfect and taking it back out of disinfecting for normal operation. It was also the first week of working on my own, out of training. I was able to get measurements for things like shelving units and plastic bins to eventually make different areas/processes at the clinic easier.

Work-wise it was a good week.

Emotionally, the week had its ups and downs. Monday was pretty bad. Unintentionally making a mom joke didn’t help anything in that regard. As far as my writing goes, I recapped all the way up to Saturday evening, which Saturday was an amazingly good day.

That brings us up to Sunday, so I’ll continue from there.


 

April 1st – Sunday

April. Mom’s death month. And it’s not even like it’s a week into the month. Only four days later… Maybe it’s because her death happened so close to the first that the changing of months feels significant.

I woke up to snow on the ground; about an inch of it. It was still coming down, too. We were projected to get roughly three inches, which we did.

We had a good breakfast that morning. Mama Ox made monkey bread, Ox made eggs, and I made bacon. Real bacon, not the microwavable things they typically buy.

I didn’t do much of anything for the rest of the morning.

I was sad and it was hard to fight through the apathy and sadness. The weather didn’t help since it was cold. Ox helped a bit. Laundry needed to get done so he carried the basket into the laundry room for me.

Eventually, somehow, we ended up going to the U-Stop in town to do minor grocery shopping. It’s really a gas station with a mini food mart built into it. It’s nice and clean inside and their prices aren’t bad.

I guess it helped that the snow did stop in the afternoon and the sun came out and the day did warm up nicely. It helped that Ox was there to make it feel less like I was fighting my battle on my own.

Did it still suck? Yes. But not all of it sucked and it was up to me to recognize that fact or not. he could have been a jerk and not helped at all with the laundry. He could have given me shit for feeling sad instead of being understanding. He could have been harsh or distant verses encouraging and warm.

The trip to the store helped. Being productive usually does, regardless of how hard it is to start that upward trend/turnaround. I was able to get chicken and instant potatoes to make decent lunches for my work week. That led to a conversation with Mama Ox when I got back to the house about what to do for dinner. I said that I could make Parmesan chicken with the leftover seasoning packet I had. That led to another trip to the store for more chicken and to me making dinner for everyone.

The meal didn’t turn out as good as I wanted. I should have used more sauce. The whole package of noodles ended up being too much so there was a ton leftover. The bag of frozen broccoli sucked and I really should have bought some fresh instead of being cheap frugal.

It wasn’t an awful meal, but it wasn’t one that left everyone saying, “That was good.” It was a meal and no one left the table hungry or puking and swearing off my cooking for the rest of forever. Small victories I suppose.

The day ended up being a good day even though it was rough in the morning. I was looking forward to going to work and being able to set up my shelving unit next to the bleach sink.

I’m pretty sure I played WoW for a bit. I don’t remember specifically when I did that, but it did happen over the weekend at some point. I basically screwed around in Outlands completing super low-level quests and one shotting elite mobs that use to kick my ass. It was a nostalgic feeling. And gratifying…

That fel reaver totally deserved getting destroyed. Just sayin’ >.>


 

April 2nd – Monday

I worked Monday. It was a smooth day. I liked how I knew how the clinic would be since I worked Saturday. No guesswork as to if the lab packs were made or if the correct supplies would be laid out.

Nope. Everything was exactly how I wanted it because I made it that way.

The first shift went well. After my break, I put the shelves together. I love them. ❤

The second shift went well until four out of six people wanted off their machine at the same time. Holy fuck was that a bunch of crazy. Me and the RN survived though and once everyone was taken care of I spent the remaining time cleaning stations and getting ready to close up for the day.

I would have left the clinic early but I ended up staying to talk to our AA, administrative assistant. I haven’t had a chance to really interact with her all that much, so I had a distant level of respect for her but no real opinion of her as a person. After talking with her though, my opinion has changed to one of “You’re one of the people I super like”.

She showed me where the extra highlighters were. If that’s not true love I don’t know what is.

All joking aside, though, she was amazingly complimentary about how I’m helping to improve the clinic and she’s glad to have me as one of the solid, stable members of the crew.

She was supportive of my suggestion to rearrange a few things in the stock room for ease of use. She said if there was anything that I wanted to be purchased for the clinic to let her know. We talked about the future prospect of getting a second shift on TTS and she told me a bit of her story and why she is only part-time for the company at the moment.

She even emailed me a few files so I can print things out when I need them, versus having to wait or ask for someone to do it for me. I know that may not seem like a big deal. I mean, it’s not like their top secret files or anything, but I do feel it shows a level of trust that didn’t have to be given. It helps make me more independent as a worker. I’m able to be helpful rather than a hindrance. It’s a good feeling.

That actually led to how we were able to share part of our stories with each other. She had been trying to find my email address in the company directory, but could only find a Jennifer Conley in Orlando, so she didn’t think that was me since I’m clearly not in Orlando. I said no, that was me, that I had been working at the downtown clinic in Orlando, Florida before moving to Nebraska. She had no idea I had moved or been part of the company beforehand. She said that made her even more comfortable with me working at the Beatrice clinic because I had previous experience.

Even though it would have been nice to leave work early rather than on time, I’m glad I stayed. Getting to know her better makes me more comfortable with having to interact with her in the future and I think our conversation gave each of us a better understanding and level of respect for each other as people as well as coworkers.

Because we had so many noodles left over from the failed mediocre parmesan dinner the night before, I stopped by the Walmart near my clinic to pick up a few ingredients to make a soy sauce noodle recipe I found online. I am not a fan of that Walmart, or any Walmart really, so I’ll most likely avoid having to go there in the future, but I was able to get the things I needed. Since my mission was successful I headed home.

Dinner was super quick to make. It turned out pretty awesome, too. Hopefully, that makes up for the not amazing-ness of Sunday.

I had messaged Warren super early Monday morning; before I left for work which would have been around 5 am his time. I asked him to please reply to my previous message. You know… the one I sent on Friday asking about my spare key, the internet account, and our financial situation. I had emailed my old landlord Friday and was told everything was square with the lease. Ms. Side Chick is on it. I’m off it. We’re done in that regard.

I had let Warren know what the landlord had said, but still wanted answers for everything else. I had my “not amused” face on as I sent him a text Monday morning.

Me: Dude… Seriously… I know your phone is an extension of your hand because I’ve lived with you for a year. I know you’ve seen my message. I know you’re choosing not to reply to me. This is why people think you’re a dick when I tell them about our situation and why it’s hard to defend you against their opinions. You’re not doing much to make yourself look “non-dickish”.

He did eventually reply that evening, but it was after I had gone to sleep so I didn’t get his reply until Tuesday morning; yesterday.

All in all, Monday was a good day. I don’t remember being sad. I knew I was worried about the next two days since they were/are my days off. I was glad I wasn’t going to have to go to work, but at the same time, not having anything requiring me to be busy left me worried since the sadness and grief of mom’s death would have a better chance of seeping in.

I curled up in bed with Ox and went to sleep, turning my alarm off before doing so since I didn’t want to wake up at 3 am on a day I didn’t have to.


 

April 3rd – Tuesday – Yesterday

Yesterday started ok. It was weird not having to be up before Ox. Normally I’m the one up and dressed, lunch packed, breakfast eaten, sometimes showered, other times not with a bandana strategically covering up my bedhead used to keep my hair out of the way while I’m working…

We still did our “goodbye cigarette” in the morning only it was reversed with me being the one to crawl back into bed and Ox being the one to leave for work, off to be the breadwinner for the day.

I think I didn’t make yesterday easy for myself. I was still fuzzy and sort of headachey from drinking the night before. I ended up oversleeping with left me feeling groggy when I did actually wake up. I didn’t have a reason to shower, so I didn’t. Instead, I had breakfast then decided that I was still tired and got back in bed, in the dark. I basically stewed in my own thoughts of “this is the eve of mom’s death” for most of the day.

Ox called me a few times. He’s been talking to one of his friends and he wants me to meet her. It worked out that yesterday would have been a good day to do it. The thought of having to go out into the world, to interact with anyone, anything, hurt. The thought of doing anything hurt, much like the way I imagine physical therapy to hurt.

You know you need to do it. You know it’s beneficial and that doing nothing is only going to make things worse in the long run, but the thought of having to stretch those muscles is agonizing because you know it’s going to suck. It’s going to take a lot of work. It’s going to take a lot of time and effort and determination and willpower and discipline, and sometimes you really just don’t want to do it. Sometimes it just sucks and you need to have those moments of self-pity where you allow yourself to feel that suckage in all its unadulterated realness.

Everytime Ox called me yesterday I ended up crying. He mentioned that I sounded sad during our second call and I said I was. It was as if finally being able to admit to someone that today sucked made it more ok; less like an overwhelming weakness I was trying to hide from.

It was ok to be sad because being sad isn’t inherently a bad thing.

He ended up convincing me to shower and to drive into town. We could get dinner together, just us. We could drive up to his friend’s work and say hi, or not. Staying at home all day hadn’t helped anything though, so maybe trying being out of the house would.

I agreed that going out had a better shot than staying in since staying in had done nothing but make things worse.

So I showered. Getting up and doing it was hard at first, but I felt slightly better after doing it. I had done “something” so doing “something else” didn’t seem as bad; as hard.

I got dressed, putting on the overcoat/jacket thing I wore to my interview during my initial trip to Nebraska. I knew that I felt injured internally, emotionally. I don’t know why, but putting in that one small extra effort to make myself look a bit more presentable made me feel a bit better about myself. Yeah, I’m still sad, but you know what? I still did amazing enough in an interview to get a job that I’m doing well with. I can still look classy while being injured. I can feel broken and still function because I’m doing it, right here, right now.

I guess the jacket thing was more of a visual reminder to myself that have I done, and am doing, well regardless of what my emotions make me feel sometimes.

I picked up the Amazon package that had been sitting on the porch all morning. It had been there when had my first cigarette after waking up, but the thought of bringing it inside with me was too much at the time. It would get done eventually… by someone…

I’m glad that I’m the one who did it and that I didn’t let the apathy I had been struggling with all day make someone else’s day mildly inconvenient. I’m able-bodied enough to pick up a box and put it on the kitchen table, damnit.

Me: Fuck you, Brain. I KNOW I’m not that weak and feeble.

I cried almost the whole time on the drive into town and I really can’t explain why. The sun had finally come out and though it was still cold, there were puffs of warmth mixed in, like the Earth is struggling to wake up out of its winter sleep. Coughs of spring mixed into the fierceness of the wind.

It hurt to drive. It hurt to be outside, slightly dressed up, driving into town to do normal things on a day that isn’t normal.

It’s the “Eve”.

It’s the night code STEMI was called on mom. It’s the night she bled all over her hospital gown. It’s the night I didn’t sleep and I worried about her bleeding out while I held her hand because the heparin wouldn’t let her blood clot properly.

Today isn’t normal, but it’s sunny and I’m showered and I’m about to go do whatever it is I’m about to go do and it sucks and I cried because, for me, all of those facts suck. For me, the memory of April 3rd, 2016 will always suck, no matter how bright and sunny and warm the day may be.

Ox and I met at the parking lot of the PetCo in town since his snake needed more mice. I had a few minutes alone to compose myself and to come to terms with the fact that mom wanted me to get through yesterday. She wouldn’t have wanted me to stay home in the dark being sad. I know she would understand my sadness, but she would want me to find something about the day to enjoy, no matter how small so I was going to try to. For her. For me. For us.

One of the things Ox and I ended up doing was going to a HyVee and getting Bang energy drinks for me. There was a Super Saver in the plaza we met up at, but they don’t sell my drink and the thought of having one made me feel better in one of those silly, slightly childish “a piece of chocolate would give me warm fuzzy feelings” sort of way.

When I asked if we could go get one, Ox said sure. It nearly brought me to tears all over again because I know it was a silly request and yet he made it seem like it was no problem at all. He could have said no or asked why and forced me to explain all of the things I didn’t want to explain, but instead, he said yes with a smile and drove us in his car so we could be together, leaving mine in the parking lot until our impromptu adventure through the town was done for the evening.

He drove to a nearby HyVee where I got 12 cans of Bang because they were on sale. I don’t know why those drinks are so amazing, but having one of the Cotten Candy flavored cans makes me feel like I’m drinking liquid childhood or something. It was another small action that helped keep up the emotional improvement.

We drove to the Home Depot where his friend worked since she was getting off work soon. I was nervous. I mean, obviously… It’s a person I’ve never met before. Their sole purpose in life is to attack me on sight…

Me: You can chill the fuck out, Brain. I would be totally ok with that right now…

While Ox and I waited, we looked at paint and wood stain for the kitchen cabinets. We walked back and looked at the countertops since his mom wants new ones. We talked about color scheme and tile backsplashes for the kitchen walls and looked at different pantry cabinets since I want to get one for the kitchen. We talked about how we could move things in the house around and what type of flooring we want to put down in the addition once it’s done. We talked about how a lot of things in the house feel half down and how I’m not wrong in feeling that way; that’s an issue with his dad. Projects not getting finished.

It was a really awesome experience. I’m not sure if it was intentional on Ox’s part, but I’m grateful for the time we spent together in the store looking at home improvement stuff. It helped me remember there’s a lot of things in the future I want to be here for and that I’m looking forward to being a part of.

I was also able to get a white milk crate for work. I want one as a “shred” box for the treatment floor. It’s so annoying having to constantly walk back behind the nurse’s station to put documents into the bin there. Now I have a crate I can put on the main tech counter. I can put treatment sheets and lab forms and all sorts of paper in there and at the end of the day I can take my crate and empty it all at once. It’s a small, trivial thing, but it makes me happy knowing that my workflow will be improved.

I did get to meet Ox’s friend. She seems nice and I’m curious to get to know her better. I think we have had very different experiences, I also think we’re very different people. I don’t think we’ll be best buds or BFFs or hang out buddies, but it would be nice to know if we wanted to hang out with people other than ourselves that Ox and I have people we can call up and spend time with.

Once we left Home Depot we decided to try Buffalo Wings and Rings again, the wing place we had tried to go to Saturday evening. I can’t lie, part of the reason I’ve wanted to go there is simply because the name makes me smile because I think it’s cute. The other part is because I really like their color scheme. A very small, insignificant portion is because I want to find another wing place. I had already determined before moving that nothing would compare to my sports bar in Orlando.

BW&R was much quieter yesterday evening and though the food wasn’t as good as my sports bar in Orlando, it definitely is better than Buffalo Wild Wings in my book and overall I was satisfied with my meal. I would be ok with going back there. In fact, it might be where I go for lunch today since I’ll be in town.

Dinner was nice. Once we were done we drove back to my car and picked up snake food before coming home. I spent most of the evening writing which helped iron out details and timelines in my head. It helped shift things into a clearer, less sad perspective.

I’m glad to say that even though yesterday was hard that it turned out to be a pretty amazing day; one that I’m grateful for experiencing.


 

That brings us to today. April 4th, 2018. The two-year anniversary of my mom’s death. I… am ok so far. Better than I was yesterday. I’m already showered. I’ve written again and was able to remember all of the positive things of yesterday. I have therapy scheduled for 1 pm today and I’m actually looking forward to that phone call. I haven’t spoken with my therapist in almost two months now. There’s so much that has happened that I want to share with her. She’s been on this journey of recovery with me since the beginning. It was only about a month after mom’s death that I sought out counseling, and I do believe it’s one of the reasons I’m as stable and strong as I am today.

I need to buy a flower today. A second one to go into the vase I have by mom’s urn. I want to go to the gym today because I know mom wants me to keep living my life and to actually live it rather than exist through it. I want to cook dinner tonight since I didn’t last night and I already know the recipes I want to do. I’ll most likely need to stop by the store for a handful of things. Making sure laundry is squared away so I have scrubs and socks for the next three days would be a smart move, too.

Since I have a few hours before my phone call I think I’m going to try going through and organizing the piles on top of the freeze and cabinet in the laundry room. Maybe I’ll even poke around inside of the cabinet if I have time.

I don’t know. Today has possibilities and I can still enjoy them, experience them, while I miss my mom.

Today, two years ago, my mom died, and yet I am still her daughter. That is the fact I take comfort in right now. Life can’t change that fact. Death can’t change that fact. She and I are forever connected because I’m her daughter and she’s my mother.

Fuck you, Universe. You can’t take that away from us.

And with that, I’m going to go live my life today because I know that’s what my mom wants me to do.

I love you, mom. Forever and for always.

Musing Moments 112: Linked Dreams

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I had a dream a few nights ago which I only just remembered today because last night’s dream built on top of it.

I think this is the first time where I’ve had dreams that were connected to each other as if they were a continuation of the same dream; touching the same thread with my fingertips and tracing it, following it as it travels along its path.

In the first dream, I finally had my own place. It was a house I think. I remember the main room I was in was very open with a high wood beam ceiling and tall floor to ceiling windows.

Someone else was with me. I don’t remember who, but it was someone I was close to; someone I trusted. They were worried about the house because it was old. It needed a lot of work done to it. The beams were worn and old looking. There was dust and cobwebs, but I loved the house because it was mine. My very own dragon den.

The person I was with didn’t think it was a good investment and were hesitant to give their blessing, but I didn’t care.

It was mine and I was alone and it was perfect.

In the dream, there was a storm coming, so everything was overcast and couldy instead of bright and sunny. I think the storm was a hurricane, or at the very least a severe thunderstorm. The kind of tropical downpours which are so common during the rainy months here in Florida.

I remember it started raining while we were still in the house and even though the water was leaking in through holes in the roof I loved the way the water cascaded down the windows. I loved the sound of the water. I loved the cold feeling in the air. I was worried about damages but at the same time, I was drawing strength from the storm. I wanted it to rain. I wanted to stand and scream back at the wind and thunder because I wouldn’t leave my house. I had earned that house and even if it wasn’t perfect I wasn’t going to leave it to face the storm alone.

The dream from last night built on top of that dream.

I recently booked a room at an extended stay for five days. It’s my birthday / Christmas present to myself. In the dream last night I was having lunch or coffee or something outside at a cafe. I was talking to someone, explaining why I had gotten the room for myself. I don’t remember if they were actually there at the table with me or if I was talking on the phone. I remember it was warm and sunny and one of those “movie perfect” moments.

While I was explaining my decision to book the room I had the realization that it was silly of me to have done that. I had my house that I could have gone to. Why did I book the extended stay if I wanted to be alone when I simply could have gone to my house to get away from Warren and Kyle?

I’m not really sure what to make of this dream; this “realization”.

The closest I have to a home outside of the apartment would be Big Bad’s. I do feel a sense of relief when he closes the door behind me. I do have a feeling of “coming home” when he hugs me hello. We have progressed to the point where I sleep better next to him than on my own, which sucks when we only see each other once a week.

Despite those feelings, I am hyper aware that his home is NOT my home, regardless of how I feel. He has his own life and schedule. He has his kids. We’ve never broached the subject of exchanging keys much less living together.

We’re not there yet and may never be and I accept that about our relationship, much like I accepted, until recent conversations, that I would most likely never have children with him since he already has four daughters.

We may never live together and I accept that. I’m ok with the time we are able to spend together.

I don’t know. It’s interesting. I do feel like both of these dreams are important, especially since they seem connected. It reminds me of the dream I had about the beach houses, and how I knew none of them would be mine. I would never want to live somewhere like that because the houses would never be safe from the water.

I liked the feeling of the house I was in. It felt like it was in the woods. Maybe a mildly swampy area. It felt old. Like it had stood the test of time and would continue to do so. It was sturdy, reliable. It was secure and isolated. It was everything my dream-self needed it to be, even if it wasn’t perfect.

I’m glad I remembered that dream. It gives me something to hold on to. It reminds me of the feelings I used to have when I would visit mom. When I would take my weekend trips home and sit on the couch with her.

Even with the chill in the air from the storm, there was a warmth in that dream house that I haven’t felt in a very long time. It reminded me that those feelings are and were real. That at one point in my life I did feel them. It wasn’t always this coldness and aversion. At one point there was a place I thought of as mine; that I had a sense of ownership over.

Maybe one day I’ll get back there. Maybe one day I’ll find the new spot where I’m supposed to belong and it will seem silly to go elsewhere.

Daily Post 063: Waking Up Awake

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Tuesday was my day of self-care. I still think of it that way even though it turned into a crap-tastic day. I broke that evening. I knew it was coming, I could feel it, I just wasn’t expecting it to be now I guess.

Tuesday I wrote. I had planned to study. I had planned things. A light to-do list, but never the less I had planned for the day to be productive and relaxing.

It started with writing, which helped. It moved from there to paying bills since I was still on the computer. I figured I wouldn’t be able to pay all of my bills this early in the month since I was missing so much of Warren’s contribution, but I figured I could pay rent and have that out of the way. The one major, main bill I have anxiety over would be taken care of.

That quickly turned into realizing that I am short $100 to make the payment. Not that I myself am short. I have my part of the payment. What I am missing is the rest of Warren’s part.

That spiraled into depression and sadness because I do have the savings to cover it, but that’s savings that I already have plans for. Like saving for myself so I have a cushion when my car suddenly breaks down or having to buy a $700 plane ticket to be with a dying family member because I’ve learned from personal experience that shit like that actually happens.

My savings, as meager as it is now, is the emergency money for the shit I can’t plan for. It was money left to me from mom that was never meant to help other people. It was meant to help me and it’s the last of it I have.

I decided, sitting there looking at my bank account and the numbers not working, that I wasn’t going to fix this problem. I wasn’t going to dip into the money I had just transferred into my “Me” fund and I wasn’t going to touch my savings. If Warren wanted rent to be paid then he needed to come up with the rest of his share, otherwise, there would be a late fee and I wouldn’t be the one paying it.

I decided then and there that I was done. I was done being the parent. The problem solver. I was done giving to make things easier for someone else.

I sent him a message saying we were short $100 for rent and then laid on the couch and let the silent tears have their way.

It was seven days until my birthday. Seven days until I’m 29.

Right Brain: Happy birthday! Your gift is not being able to pay rent.

Left Brain: You know… if you want… you can go fuck yourself right now. I’m cool with that.

Warren eventually came downstairs since he woke up. He ignored me for a little bit and I didn’t care. Before he took Bruno out he asked when rent was due. I said not until the 19th but because the amount was so large it takes a few days to transfer it. I said liked having it done as soon as possible to avoid complications.

He asked if it could wait until Friday. He would get paid Friday and he would be able to transfer me more to help out. I said yes. I said once rent was paid that I would have no money for any of the other bills like internet, power, my phone bill or car insurance. It was hard not to cry while admitting to that. That this is what my life is at the moment.

I asked him if I could ask something without it being a bitchy question. Warren said yes, so I asked what happened? What happened to all of the overtime he was supposed to have worked and the promotion with the dollar increase? How are things worse when everything should have been better?

He said that after the first week of the iPhone release his company took away the overtime because the call volume drastically dropped compared to what they were expected. The raise has only just started to kick in since he’s officially out of training. He was also denied FEMA assistance for Erma, which is pretty fucked up.

His side chick, which I realize she’s his companion and I’m being dismissive by referring to her in such a way, but right now, on my blog, in my head, I’m resentful of Warren indulging in things while I feel like I suffer, so yeah, for the time being, she’s Miss Side Chick. Anyway, she’s a Nero Scientist / Therapist / Doctor. Like, legit has a doctorate already and makes complete bank on her own.

She got FEMA assistance of $1000.

Warren on the other hand, who was without power for three days and then without internet for about another week and who could legitimately not work during that entire time, was denied any assistance. Nothing to replace the food we lost. Nothing to replace the income he missed out on because he couldn’t log into work. In fact, he told me he’s being investigated for fraud…

Yeah…

So he’s been trying to catch up from getting screwed in all of those ways.

I’m more understanding of his situation. I’m less irrationally angry and more frustrated with the situation. It sucks, but it is what it is. We’re all doing our best and trying to adult as well as we can.

Warren is assuming his mom is going to send him money for Christmas. She has for years. It hurts knowing he’ll get a Christmas gift from her; that he counts on it being there.

I’m not going to get anything. I’m not going to be in Vegas with my older brother and sister-in-law so I doubt we’ll do more than send text messages to each other. Maybe a phone call. My younger brother and I aren’t going to do much in the way of gift exchange. He mentioned he has bought something for me months ago at Salvation Army because when he saw it he knew it was meant for me, but we’re not wrapping gifts. We’re not going to have “holiday cheer”. We’re going to spend the day much like Thanksgiving; at his apartment surviving, understanding that both of us are sad and trying to hold our shit together.

I’m not going to be getting anything for my birthday either, which I don’t mean to make it sound like these days are about receiving things because they aren’t. I’ve never been big into giving or receiving gifts. I would rather spend time with the people I care about. But always, without fail, there would be a card from mom. AND a phone call. Not just text messages.

I have a meeting at work on Sunday. We’re doing a secret Santa exchange. We’re most likely going to be doing birthday wishes since a few of us have birthdays either recently passed or coming up. I don’t want to get a card from them. I don’t want it acknowledged. I don’t want to pretend like there isn’t a wound there that is having salt unintentionally ground into it. I don’t want to pretend like I’m ok with where I’m at in life when I’m not.

Tuesday I realized that I went from working out three hours five days a week to a single hour a week. Since the end of April, since getting this job, I have done nothing but give up my “Me” time. I work to the point where on my days off I don’t have it in me to do anything other than sleep. On the days I do train I also have to donate plasma now, so afterward I can’t do anything intense like sparring.

It sucks. I’m not ok with any of this.

Wednesday, yesterday, I woke up and wanted to cry at the thought of having to get out of bed and go to work for 16 hours. I hit snooze more than I should have. I was slow in the shower. I didn’t want to eat. I didn’t finish my coffee. I put on my scrubs and made sure everything was packed for the day before fighting through the pain, tears running down my cheeks, as I walked to my car.

I drove to work. I tried not to break down as I put my bag down and switched into my work shoes. The day was rougher then it needed to be since I was working with Star Lord. That’s the nickname he has at the clinic. I don’t know the story behind it. He’s not a bad guy, but he’s super slow. On all of the days where I’ve had him as my RN, it’s felt like we’ve been short a person because he does so little. He takes 40 minutes to put one patient on the machine. He leaves tasks halfway finished because he hasn’t figured out how to multitask in such a fast-paced and demanding environment.

I’ll be the first to throw up my hand and admit that I was slow and disoriented in the beginning. I messed up and made things harder for my teammates for a while I’m sure. I was the weakest link and I’m sure when people saw my name on their side of the clinic there was an inward sigh of “fuck me… ”

But I’m no longer that person. I’m a strong and confident member of the team; to the point where some people prefer to work with me over others. In eight months I have gotten to the point where I am on par.

Star Lord isn’t there and I don’t think he ever will be. I don’t think he’s cut out for this type of environment. I think a lot of his slowness is from hesitation and insecurity but instead of rising to the challenge he’s shrinking away from it which is why he isn’t getting better.

It means the people he works with have to pull his weight. It means patients are an hour or more late getting on the machine. It means that trickles into all of the other shifts. It means breaks get messed up. It means it’s a rough day when it didn’t need to be one.

That’s what yesterday was. I knew when I saw his name on the schedule it would be like that. I was tapped out before the day had begun and it was going to be a hard, long day.

I think I did well most of the day. I worked as best I could and that’s all I could do. By the time we got to third shift it was the home stretch. No other patients were going to be coming in. There were six CVCs to take care of. That’s a lot, but we got everyone on the machine.

My final patient was having complications. We got the clinical coordinator over to check out her CVC and to clear her for her treatment. I completed her CVC care and got her connected to the machine and dialyzing. Everything was finally settling down. Everyone was on. I could start cleaning up the unused chairs and closing stations down. I could be done with people for a little bit.

Only I couldn’t because five minutes later that same patient wanted to be taken off the machine so she could use the restroom. And it’s not like she could walk on her own. She’s in a wheelchair and wanted me to take her to the restroom. I had to rinse her back, secure her CVC which has been hurting her because two of the stitches are bothering her, so she’s in pain as I’m trying to take care of her, then help transfer into her chair…

It felt like a lot, like too much. I just needed a break from having to do something for someone else. I wanted to go home. I wanted to cry. But I didn’t. I took her to the restroom, went back on the floor to clean until the assistance light started flashing, went back to the restroom to get my patient, got her back on the machine, then went back to cleaning.

I listened to music while making needle packs. I took my final break. I spent about 20 minutes afterward making CVC kits in the stockroom, alone, listening to more music.

We were out of terminations like I knew we would be. We’ll be out of them again by the end of today, but I don’t go back to work until Saturday so it’s someone else’s problem on Friday. According to the log I am the only person who has made CVC kits for the past 14 days of December. That’s pretty shitty and something I will bring up at the meeting on Sunday. We need a better system with the CVC kits because right now ours isn’t working.

I didn’t leave the clinic until around 9 pm last night. I didn’t get home until 9:30. It was a long day. Kyle was in the living room. I didn’t care. I ate dinner in the kitchen. I went upstairs and brushed Scarlet for a while. I took a shower. I fell asleep with my light on.

I woke up at midnight. Everyone was asleep by then. I went downstairs and ate again then fell back asleep on the couch. When I woke up it was light outside. I had a moment of freaking out thinking I had overslept and missed my training session, but it was only 7:40. I had plenty of time.

Today I woke up feeling awake.

I’m not sure how to really describe it or if anyone else has ever had that feeling. I woke up feeling clear-headed and aware. I wasn’t sad or tired. I wasn’t injured feeling. I felt like myself with my own perspectives rather than the fuzziness or fog or weight that I’ve been contending with.

I don’t know if my break down Tuesday has anything to do with this feeling, which I just realized I mentioned it but never explained what happened.

Tuesday didn’t recover from the “can’t pay rent” realization. I didn’t go out and study. I stayed on the couch and slept. For the few hours I wasn’t asleep I watched more of Fate/Stay Night. I hurt. I knew I hurt. I knew there wasn’t going to be anything to make it feel better. I knew I didn’t want to smoke. I knew I couldn’t drink because I’m trying to stay hydrated.

In the evening Kyle came downstairs and asked if he could have the TV when I was done. I was just starting another episode of Fate/Stay Night which I really didn’t want to watch. I knew it wouldn’t make me feel better I just didn’t know what else to do so I had let it start on its own.

I told him I was done. He could have it. I got up and put my dishes in the kitchen. I knew I sounded like I was on the verge of tears because I was. As I was walking by him to get to the stairs Kyle tried to poke my arm. It’s a thing we have, from the Facebook poke feature I guess. We randomly poke each other and say, “Poke”. It’s stupid and I know it is and I couldn’t handle it last night.

He reached out to poke me and I backed away.

Me: I’m sorry. I hurt right now. It’s seven days until my birthday.

It was only three sentences, but it was the first time I verbally told anyone that I hurt. It was the first time admitting my fear even though I didn’t really say it was a fear. I’m scared of my birthday. I don’t want it to come. My throat kept getting tighter as I said those words and even though they were so few by the end I thought I would choke if I had to say more.

I think Kyle tried to say something to me but I was so close to breaking down that I didn’t stay to listen. I jogged up the stairs as fast as I could and bearly closed the door before I started sobbing.

I hate how all of my writings recently seem to come back to this. Me crying. Me talking about mom. Me missing her and obsessing over the fact that she’s dead. I’m sure it’s annoying to read. At what point am I going to get on with my life and stop whining about not having her?

It’s my second birthday without her.

It sucks.

It sucks and I hate this. Even though there’s a lot of really awesome things in my life now like Big Bad and Master and jiujitsu when I’m able to actually get to the dojo and losing 20% body fat and leaving Full Sail, this one thing, this one piece of my life overshadows all of that. Or at least makes it break even to where I’m neutral.

I have all these things. I have all of this confidence in myself.

I don’t have my mom.

I won’t have a phone call from her on the 20th. I won’t have a birthday card. I won’t have an “I love you.”

I knew this time would be the hardest for me, which is why I took the coming week off from work. I only have 20 hours of PTO to cover it. That means my check is going to be short by half.

This is why I have my savings. This is why I’m not going to take care of other people anymore. Because there are still going to be times where I need to take care of myself, like know. Like on April 4th; the two-year mark.

I cried for a really long time Tuesday night and I cried hard and I didn’t care if my roommates could hear my screams through my pillows. I didn’t care if my grief made anyone else uncomfortable because in that moment I was bleeding out on my bed all of the hurt and pain that I have been trying to work with and breath around and hold on to because I have to go to work, I have to donate plasma, or grocery shop, or take care of laundry, or any of the number of life things that I “need” to take care of.

I can’t stop and deal with the pain. I can’t cope with it and slow down and let myself heal the way I need to. I have to keep up with society. I have to keep functioning because you can’t not function in the world we’ve allowed to develop.

Tuesday night I gave zero fucks and I cried all of it into my pillows.

I eventually calmed down. I looked at my phone and had a message from Kyle saying he was sorry. He hasn’t meant to push me.

I said there was nothing to be sorry for. That he had done nothing wrong and that I would get better eventually even though I didn’t have a specific time for when that would happen.

He offered for me to come downstairs and watch the rest of The Incredible Hulk with him since we had watched part of it Sunday night before I had to call it quits to get to sleep on time.

I said I might cry if I came downstairs to which he replied that was ok.

I got up. I showered. I changed into comfy pjs. I took my contacts out and put my glasses on. I dragged my fuzzy blanket with me. It’s not as awesome as Big Bad’s fuzzy blanket, but it’s a decent substitute. I curled up in “my” corner of the couch and we finished watching the movie together.

I wasn’t ready to go to work on Wednesday, not after Tuesday night, but I did it. I survived it and I only have one more day of work to get through before my week off.

And so now I’m at today.

I woke up feeling “with it”. I don’t know how else to explain it.

I trained really well. I know my arms will be sore tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it.

I only have one more training session left with L before I have to buy more. I don’t think I’m going to, though. Right now I can’t justify that much money. But I think that’s ok. On Tuesdays and Thursdays there a 6:30 am jiujitsu class at the dojo. I can go there in the morning before school. I can potentially do boxing/kickboxing during the afternoons. I can definitely get to Title Club on Fridays, which I’ll start having off in January. That also leaves me Sundays which I’ll be able to start working out on again since I won’t be working two 16 hour shifts in a row anymore.

I do have three hours worth of personal training I bought from Title Club during October while they were doing a super awesome deal. I haven’t cashed that in yet because I haven’t had time to, but my instructor knows about my situation and agreed that the new year would work best for him as well. That’s where I’m going to start focusing on footwork and how to move in the ring with an opponent.

So maybe for this first semester of school, it would be good to back off of the personal training with L and to focus on finding a rhythm with the dojo again. It would also be a break financially which could help things righten themselves.

Kyle hasn’t mentioned anything about his old job but I’m pretty sure he should get the background check cleared by the end of this week.

I gave my FA the form he needed to fill out for my certification yesterday. He was supposed to get it back to me but didn’t, so I’m going to text him and see if he could email it to me. That’s another part of what my savings are going to go towards. My company will reimburse me for the certification fee, but I still have to cover it on my own up front. That’s close to $300.

Hooray…. said no one ever.

I do plan to study today after donating, which I’m about to go do after I shower once more.

I feel stronger today then I have in a while. I know I’m going to have dark days ahead of me, some of them in the very near future, so for right now I’m going to enjoy the warmth and clarity that I feel within myself and get as much done as I can. The more I do know the less rough the hard days will be even if I lose sight of that while I’m in them.

Daily Post 055: No Title

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I’m not going to bother going back and looking at my last post. I don’t remember when it was. I don’t remember what was going on in my life at the time. I’m also not going to name this post because I know it’s going to be all over the place.

This is me trying to untangle the giant ball of emotions that I’ve let form inside me. This post and all of the ups and downs I’ve had over the past few months I feel are a result of not taking proper emotional care of myself.

I am now officially a college student… again. I start classes January 9th. At the moment I will only be taking General Biology. My advisor wants me to contest one of the classes I didn’t receive transfer credit for since it’s a higher level psychology than the General Psychology I need for my program. It would save me about $500 if it gets accepted and push me further into the program than I currently am. I haven’t tackled the whole “contesting” issue yet, but it’s on the to-do list for the not so distant future. At the moment I’m a bit burnt out of troubleshooting through school issues.

Registering for classes was a bitch and a half. The whole “It’s a one-click step” turned into a message of “Oh, it looks like you didn’t sign up for you Student Success class. Go do that before you enroll in other classes.”

Irrational Right Brain: I’m about to fucking flip shit if I have to take a “This is how you succeed in college” class when I already have a bachelors degree. I don’t need to be taught how to succeed in college because I’ve already done it. /sets computer on fire

I took a screenshot of the message and sent it to my advisor saying “Please advise”.

It took about 19 other steps to actually get my submission through. A few days later I checked and found out that my request was accepted.

So yeah… I’m officially working towards my RN.

It’s a good feeling while at the same time it sucks. It makes me miss mom. It makes me hurt. It makes me feel a lot of things. For most of the month or however long it’s been since I’ve written a lot of my time has been spent trying to deal with emotions. Or at least tend to them enough to not drown in them.

I’ve had a lot of downs and hard days lately. I think part of that, a large part of it, has to do with how the seasons are changing to the cold months. The rest months. The months were everything slows down. I understand why we need these months and I respect them, but that doesn’t mean I have to like them or that they’re easy for me.

I wake up cold. There isn’t as much sunlight. It’s not my season and I can feel it like sandpaper under my skin.

I think not being able to workout as much as I want/am used to has a lot to do with it as well. I go to work before the sun is up. I leave after the sun has set. I stay in the same room all day. I’m constantly tending to the needs of others.

Days I work are days where I have almost no time to care for myself. I have no solitude time. I have no destress time. I wake up, work, come home, try to sleep. Those are my work days and so I don’t think they’re helping make this already hard time of the year any easier.

It’s also turning into the holiday season which feels like an added dose of alcohol to the salt already being scrubbed into an infected wound. I have to figure out what to do for Thanksgiving and Christmas and my birthday and New Years, all without mom.

Two Fridays ago I didn’t go to work. I woke up and knew for the first time since I started working at the clinic that I was going to call out and that it didn’t matter if they couldn’t replace me on the floor, I wasn’t going in.

I was sad. It was going to be a 16 hour day. I could either not go in and cover my shift on Saturday, or go in and quit halfway through my shift. And not an “I’m sick and going home” type of quit. It would have been an “I’m not giving two weeks notice. Fuck you guys. I’m not coming back,” type of quit.

I didn’t have it with me that day and I didn’t care. Life showed up to the battlefield ready to go and instead of putting on my armor and taking another beating I refused to show up. I didn’t run away. I didn’t cower in fear. I just gave zero fucks and didn’t show up to the fight because fuck you, Life.

It worked out that I was able to take the whole day to myself. I stayed at home and did literally nothing. I didn’t even change out of my pjs.

At the end of the night, as I was turning off the kitchen light to go back upstairs to my room, I paused and looked at mom’s urn. I thought about leaving but instead, I walked over to my china hutch, mom’s china hutch, and I put both of my hands on her urn.

Me: I promise I’ll do better tomorrow, mom.

From there I completely broke down into tears. I sank to my knees and wrapped my arms around the blue marble rectangle which holds the ashes of what used to be the most incredible person I have ever had the honor of meeting and sobbed until my chest ached from crying so hard.

I told her about work. I told her about loving my patients and hating my job. I told her about school. I told her about still not knowing what I want to do once I’m a nurse. I told her I’m sorry if I make her worry.

I didn’t really feel better after crying, but I felt a bit more stable. Sort of like I was on the path to feeling better.

I ended up researching different nursing positions later that night after I made it back to my room.

I’m looking further into holistic nursing. I think that’s the direction I want to go, though I still don’t know exactly how I would apply the things I want. I feel like I have most of the puzzle pieces and that now it’s a matter of putting them all together.

I did go to work the next day; Saturday. My teammates asked me if I was feeling better to which I replied no. No, I wasn’t, but I had promised I would make today better so I was at work and that in itself was an improvement.

They understood where I was emotionally and were extremely supportive of me.

I finally have taken the CVC class and am now officially a full member of the team. It’s nice knowing that I can be more helpful than not.

I’ve been going to therapy a lot more recently. I think that’s helping work through some things, and maybe I’ve written more recently than I think because I know I wrote about my “trust issues” session. That was only about three weeks ago, right? Something along those lines…

Kyle has moved in. We actually had dinner together last night when I got back from the dojo. He asked how I was doing having him as a roommate. Overall things have been going well. He’s still unemployed but is looking for work. He’s had a few interviews already. The few things that I can see potentially leading to issues later down the line we talked about, like how my computer is now in the dining room because my room is too small to have both a bed and computer desk in it. That means it’s not a very good work environment when he’s in the living room watching movies or talking to his friends via the PlayStation.

It sucks. It’s hard to not feel like a failure when it feels like I have downgraded so far in life.

I’m having to donate plasma to get enough extra money to cover my bills. I could go with the option of working 4 days a week instead, but since doing that on the last schedule had me contemplating self-harm almost every time I clocked out of work I don’t think it would be emotionally or spiritually healthy for me to do entertain that option.

One of the side effects of having to donate plasma is I have to be on top of my water intake as well as my iron and protein levels. It’s making me be more conscious of what I eat and how I’m taking care of myself. It’s making me choose between having a cigarette and not healing well enough to donate a second time or making money so I can buy groceries.

No. I don’t like getting stabbed with needles, but I can’t skim over the fact that there are a few positives to this avenue I’m choosing to take.

I went to the dojo last night. It’s the first time in a while that I’ve gone. I had mild anxiety over going. I pushed through it though and had a pretty good night. Everyone was extremely welcoming. I got to see Jim and Tommy. Caroline and Paul were there, too. It felt like coming home.

This past week I haven’t done much in the way of exercise and I could feel it in my body as we warmed up. I could feel my muscles protesting as I pushed them but also rejoicing as they were finally used and stretched. It was the first fundamentals class I’ve gone to. I enjoyed it. We practiced some techniques from mount which is a position I can get to, but I never know what to do once I’m there, so it was nice.

I felt like it was all stuff that was on my level and doable. Just new. There were only two rounds of sparring instead of three or five, which I was also ok with. I pushed hard during them. I was tapped out once by an armbar but the guy was super complimentary about my defense.

By the end of the session, I was done. Physically and emotionally. On the drive home I cried and screamed for the first time in a really long time. It was the first time in a while that I felt angry and so my screams were not only those of pain but also rage at the injustice of mom being dead.

It felt good to scream. It felt good to cry. It felt good to give in to all of those emotions that I keep having to work through. It’s the holidays. It’s winter. It’s hard. And instead of sucking it up I let all of those emotions have their time as I drove from the dojo to the pizza place where I was supposed to meet Kyle.

While we were at dinner I talked about my cry session. Kyle lets me talk without giving advice which I appreciate. Most of the time I don’t want advice. I just want someone to listen. I don’t need to be told it will be ok. I don’t need someone to tell me “they know how I feel”. I want to be able to vocally admit that in some areas of my brain things suck. These emotions exist. They are facts. I feel this way. I want it to be known. That’s all.

I want it to be like any other part of the conversation.

Me: Traffic sucked. The chick at work wouldn’t shut up. I miss mom. By the way, I’m in college again. How was your day?

Big Bad and I had date night Saturday. It was the first time in a while where we went out instead of staying at his place. We saw the new Thor movie and had dinner together. There was a little bit of sexy time when we got home, but mostly we cuddled together and talked about really deep stuff before going to sleep.

Lately, when I’ve played, which is how I refer to my BDSM sessions, I’ve had a very low pain tolerance. We talked about that which was where I genuinely admitted to things being hard emotionally.

I know I’ve told other people that things have been hard, but I always skim over it. I say it in a “yeah things are hard, but I’ll figure it out” sort of way.

When I told Big Bad it was hard I left it at that. Things are hard and I hurt. I didn’t put on a strong face. I didn’t try to cover up any of the pain. I just left it as it is/was. I hurt already. I really don’t want to hurt more. I would rather be held and feel warm and safe because so much of my life feels cold and nebulous right now.

He offered to cuddle which I gladly accepted.

Once we were snuggled under the covers in his bed we started talking again. He told me a fair amount of what’s going on in his life. His ex-wife isn’t being very nice. I’m grateful he talked to me. I’m glad we were able to connect on something other than a sexual level because that’s what it’s felt like recently. Because we see each other so limitedly a lot of our interactions are sexual.

This felt more emotional and I appreciated the difference. I needed the difference.

Earlier in the evening, we had to wait a few hours for the movie to start so we walked around some of the shops before going into the theater. At one point during our meandering we found a bench, so we sat for a while. I told him about school and he congratulated me while hugging me to his chest. He said he was proud of me.

I know he’s not mom, nor do I want him to be my parental figure, but it does mean a lot to me to hear those words from him. It hurts, but it’s a good kind of hurt and I don’t know how else to explain it.

I know mom is proud of me. And as I write all of this I have those stupid, silent tears running down my cheeks making me more dehydrated.

I feel like I’ve been doing really well even though I don’t give myself a lot of credit. I feel like a slacker even though I know I’ve been taking care of Life. I’ve been problem-solving and trying to stay on top of my fitness and work and social life. I’ve been battling with the Evil Voice in my head that likes to whisper that I’m failing even when I know I’m not.

I’ve been hanging in there. Some days are a lot easier than others but so far I have woken up each day and made it to the end. I’ve survived every day and I’m not going to let the Evil Voice take away or diminish the level of accomplishment that is.

I didn’t get everything done on my to-do list today, but I did a lot and I’m happy with that. I go to work tomorrow, but I’ll be spending the evening with Big Bad so I have something to look forward to, and then Thursday and Friday are days off.

Working three days a week has been manageable. I’ve requested the week of my birthday off and was approved.

I know there’s a ton of other stuff I should write about, like how Mother Earth was hospitalized and was released only this evening, but I’m written out. I have no more tears for tonight. I’m back to being flatline rather than the chaotic mess I felt before.

I’m going to go see if Kyle will watch another episode of Stranger Things with me because that’s what we’ve been doing since he moved in. Until next time, thanks for listening.

Letters to Mom 014: Our Last Night

Standard

This was our last night together.

This was the code STEMI. ST Elevated Myocardial Infraction.

This was my final night with you.

This was the night your hospital gown was soaked in your blood.

This is my fear. This is my desperation. This night. This is when I feel I lost you.

I keep having dreams. They all involve water. Emotions.

The shower drain in my bathroom being clogged so that the floor of the shower is submerged in water. Inches of it. Water that won’t drain. Clear, pure water that refuses to leave. It’s only when I reach down, my pale hand pulling a dark matted wad of hair from the drain that the water finally flows and lowers so that damage is avoided.

Me, racing up a snow covered mountain to save Akib from a storm that’s threatening. Somehow we all make it to a boat that will take us away from the mountain. We’re almost to the dock of our destination. We’re almost to safety when the tempest unleashes. The waves are high, the rain comes down in sheets so that the long wooden dock is almost obscured, but I can still see it. I know we’ll make it and so even though the whole event is still an emergency, there’s the feeling of security. We’re so close. We’re there. Even if the boat sinks we can swim to shore. We’re ok.

When I look up the symbology it’s about acknowledging something. Accepting something. Allowing the emotions to exist.

I couldn’t figure it out at first.

You’re dead. I don’t hide from that fact. I don’t sugar coat it when I say it, when I explain it.

That’s not the matted tangle I needed to pull from the drain. Saying those words, thinking them, doesn’t cause an emotional reaction. It’s not something I deny. It’s a fact that I’ve accepted in my life.

So what are my dreams telling me to accept?

I think I found it this morning.

Even though you died, you’re still with me.

You’re still with me.

Those words.

That phrase.

That’s the one that hurts. That’s the one that I don’t fully believe. That’s the one I hide from. That’s the one I don’t tell people because I’m scared of it being wrong or untrue.

I’ve typed it before. I’ve said it to a few people. Trusted people. I know I feel you, as if you’re behind me, wrapping your arms around me so that your hands rest on my arms, my biceps. I can feel you there, of all places, in my arms.

I don’t know if it’s really pain I feel. Maybe it’s just intensity and my brain can’t figure the sensation out so it labels it as pain. It’s so much of something that it’s painful to feel so much so deeply.

I feel like that’s what I need to acknowledge, though.

It’s not the same. It’s not like it was. It’s different and I still don’t know how to deal with that difference because it’s not logical. It’s not mathematical or chemical or rational. It’s not observable.

It’s something I feel. Sometimes others can feel it, too. But how do I know I’m not just making it up as a coping mechanism? How do I know it’s real? How do I know I’m not partially broken and hiding behind some shattered illusion, limping by, rather than facing reality?

I wish you were here. And that phrase is most likely so disrespectful because if you are still with me then why am I wishing for you to be here? You’re already here, just in a different way.

Isn’t that enough?

I’ve written about that before. Near the beginning, I think. I would have to go back through my posts, through my Book of Survival. I remember saying it was enough. So why am I back here, in this spot, thinking that you’re not here when you are?

These days have been hard, mom. They’ve been so hard. So long. So sleepless. So empty.

I know what I want to do for you tomorrow. My ritual for every April 4th from now until the day I die.

I’m going to buy you a rose, mom. I’m going to get a crystal vase and a silken rose, and every year I will add another rose. And when they become too many for the single vase I will buy another. Eventually, there will be 27 roses. One day there will be 28. More roses than years that I knew you. That rose will be different.

For now, until that day, they will be red.

I will keep them next to your urn. It will be my way of acknowledging your deathday. It will be the day I renew my promises to you.

I don’t know what else to say right now. I want to hug you. I want to cry in your arms while you hug me and reassure me that it will be ok. I want the past year to be a dream and to wake up and have you smile at me. But at the same time I know that’s not true. I don’t want to give up all of the good to get rid of all of the bad.

I want the struggle to be over. I want the tears to stop. I want the pain to cease.

You’re with me and it will be ok. I’ll make it through our last night.

I love you, mom. Forever and for always.