Books Read in 2015

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
Gator Bait

Laura's favorite books »

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Beginning of Closure

I signed my second batch of papers to finalize the divorce in front of the Notary.  She gave me a high five as I got up to leave.  It is strange to be so happy over the ending of a marriage.  But I am thrilled!  I want to be out of this marriage more than I wanted to be married 17 years ago.

I took his wedding band away when I discovered he was cheating on me.  I told him then that he didn't deserve the ring anymore.  I have kept that ring since then.  How long has it been?  May 31, 2011 was when I caught him cheating.  The Last Straw

Four Years!  It has taken me four years, what was my problem?  It was comfortable, it was what I was used too.  I was abused and I was in no position to get out.  June 4, 2011 (An Emotional Collapse) I took away his ring.  I have held onto that ring and refused to wear mine since then.

Today I decided that I had enough of those rings just taking up space.  I don't want to see them and I refuse to wear them.  He gave me the anniversary band on our first anniversary.  Back then he bought me gifts and back then he really loved me and cared for me.  Overtime I looked at his ring I thought of our wedding and when I looked at my ring I remembered our first anniversary and how happy we were.  I can remember where we were when he gave me it.  It is burned into my mind.  The memories just make me cry now.

So I went to a local jewelry store that advertises the fact that they pay well for jewelry you don't want anymore.  I pulled into the lot and parked.  Walked into the store and was greeted nicely by a sales person.  I explained that I had some rings I had to get rid of.  I was getting divorced and they needed to be out of my life.  He chuckled and took out a scale.  He weighed them and took a breath.  Next he explained they would be scrapped, melted down and I gleefully said good, melt them, make them go away!  He apologetically looked at me and told me I could only get $XX.xx, which was more than I thought I would get.  I could have kissed him!

The deal was made and I walked out of there with one more symbol of my marriage gone and just a little bit richer.  Good thing too, because my son managed to buy things from iTunes that he should have been able too.  I swear he is gifted at spending my money.  So instead of celebrating I had to call Apple and my bank.  Get things taken care of.  Of course the bank is quick at taking my money but not so quick at returning it.

Sigh, at least those pesky rings are gone!  Now if the judge will just sign those papers and I can have my divorce party then I will finally have my closure!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Marriage Ends

The divorce papers are signed and have been sent to the courts.  Now I just need to wait for the Judge to approve them.  So much hassle to be free of him.  My goal was to get out and not financial so I didn't worry about alimony or the like.  We had no assets so the divorce is fairly simple.

I have been separated from him legally for over a year, emotionally for about four years.  Still I have to see him five nights a week for about two minutes at a time when we switch who is with the children.  The decision was made to keep the kids in one place and because we (the adults) work opposite shifts will rotate who is with the kids.

Oddly just after I signed the papers I found some CDs that held copies of photos from when the children were younger.  Photos from when we were happy.  Photos that helped me pinpoint when things began to turn.

So many memories, so many moments of our lives.  Most when we were happy, but some of tears or moments that were less than ideal.  Moments that I thought were lost, moments I had forgotten about.  Moments that have been returned to me.

I look at the photos and wonder what I would have done then if I had known what was coming.  If I had known that out days of happiness were reaching the end.  Would I have changed some of the things I did?  Would I have protected myself or my children better?

These photos started when the children were babies and I watched them grow up again.  I watched them take their first steps and their joy at holidays.  Their reactions to life, and vacations that we will never take again.  Cuts and scrapes, mud and markers on skin.  Everyday life of a family.

I witnessed things they possessed as treasures.  Things they played with in their own special way.  Bubble baths in the backyard and birthday cakes that I used to make.  I need to start making them again.  That tree we named Viviane and gave her a face.  Holes they dug in the grass.

Sports played in the backyard and in the arenas.  Some sporting events that we went to as a family.  I remembered walking around and around the arena chasing my toddlers who couldn't sit still while their father watched the game.  Mascots they met and even some players too.

That dress we bought in Disney when she was just 10 months old.  She would have gone home with Winnie the Pooh and wanted nothing to do with Grandma.  We laughed about that for years.  My son met Mickey Mouse and went swimming in the hot tub in our hotel room.

We went raspberry picking and visited local farms.  That was before he would get upset if I spent $1.00.  We visited local amusement parks that my father built rides for.  We played in the yard together.  All of us rolling on the grass and playing with the hose.  

The kids would "steal" my coffee, they still do actually.   I would pretend to chase them.  But the older they got the more he changed.  I did too, we all did.  Sadly not all the changes were for the better and many led to tears and screaming.  But so many of those photos were moments of joy.

Some of the photos made me cry.  I found wedding photos.  Photos when the marriage began.  When I was sure I met the one I would spend the rest of my life with.  When I was walking down that aisle I never thought out marriage would end with our signatures on a piece of paper.  

And so a marriage ends...

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Just When I Think It Is Almost Over...

The divorce papers are here and I am going over them with a highlighter.  Too many little things that bother me like the kids won't be able to call anyone the other other parent marries mom or dad.  Of course he didn't have any idea that was in the agreement which means that of course he didn't read it at all.

Then he tells me the car insurance is due and I need to find my own.  Reasonable, I have no problem with that.  I did have issue with him only giving me two weeks notice after I had two weeks off of work.  Christmas shopping would have been different if I had known.  My bad, I could have looked at the renewal date but I didn't.  He didn't need to over react and accuse me of trying to scam him by asking for one more month of us being not he same policy giving me time to get the money together.

He knows I make about 1/3 of what he makes.  It isn't a secret.  Of course he won't give me any money because I don't deserve it and he owes me nothing.  I need to add it to my budget and I can get it done.  I am working more but still two weeks off with no pay is a roadblock this time of year.

But then he goes the extra step of being down right mean and nasty.  Making it hurtful and abusive.  Why did I think it would be any different?  Yes, I did cover up names but changes nothing that was written.

Tonight was a winner.  He has asked me to give him a list of food to buy for the week since I make dinner for the kids.  No problem.  Of course the last two weeks he has ignored the list and the refrigerator is getting bare.  Today I got upset to find he went shopping and bought the exact same thing I made for dinner yesterday.

He may enjoy eating the same food everyday but neither I nor our children do.  With three supermarkets within 2 miles of his house there is no excuse for it.  He got upset because the food I ask for is too expensive.  Food I have asked for and he didn't get was tomato soup, cheese soup, mustard, beef rice or beef noodles, Italian or Polish sausage, bread, cheese.  These are things he usually buys.  But when I ask for them they are too expensive.

So he shows me food in the freezer.  Food I honestly have not cooked because neither I or the children like it  I assumed he bought them for him.  Sadly I may have to resort to these items since he won't buy any other food it seems.

We of course fought over the food selection tonight.  I brought it up because P complained about dinner tonight.  I wouldn't let him have anything to eat until he finished dinner so of course I am mean.  D got upset and started screaming at me because I was unreasonable in my food choices and he wasn't going to buy food that was so expensive.  I chose not to point out the food he bought was more expensive than the soup I wanted.

Then into the driveway because he pulls in every night behind my car.  Which means I can't go home until he backs out of the driveway.  There is no parking allowed at anytime in front of the house on the street.  I hate when he comes home because I have to see him and usually he isn't pleasant.  I tell myself its for the kids, they don't need to be shuffled from house to house.  We only have to see each other for 1 or 2 minutes five days a week.  We should be able to be civil to each other.  If not just don't say anything to each other.  Well only one of us seems to want those few minutes to be stress free.

Tonight he wouldn't let me close my car door.  Yes, I felt threatened.  Then he once again wished I would get hit by a car.  Isn't he so nice to me?  I asked him in a text message to let me know when he was close so I could pull out of the driveway just as he arrives.  Eliminating all physical contact between us.  He replied that he was deleting my texts without reading them.

I save every text message he sends me.  I am going to make sure we have a section of the divorce agreement allowing a no contact way for us to change who is with the children.  Having the children in one house with us moving back and forth seemed like a good idea.  They have some stability.  I work first shift and he works second shift.  On paper it seemed like it would work.

If there was no contact physically between us it would.  Funny he says he was hoping we could be friends after the divorce.  I can't see that happening with all the hostility has has towards me.  Of course he doesn't think he is hostile towards me, he says he is just brutally honest.  I really don't want to get the police involved but he is escalating and I fear I may have too.  I should have enough money to finish paying for my lawyer soon.  I hope this doesn't become a long involved battle between us.  But every time I think its almost over he goes and does something like tonight.  Sigh!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A New Year, Will it be a Good One?

It's a New Year and a new me.  I finally have a copy of the 24 page separation/divorce agreement and expect the divorce will be final soon.  I have mixed feelings about that.  To be finally be no longer married to him will be wonderful.  Though I see him all the time.  Five days a week I have to see him because we still are parents.  Sadly almost five days a week he reminds me why I left.  He just cannot be nice I think.

This was the first New Year's without my family as it fell on a weekday.  The kids spent the day with their father and I spent it with my extended family.  We had lasagna and played Trivial Pursuit (I won) into the wee hours of the New Year.  It felt strange not to watch the ball drop without my children.  Holidays felt strange through out this year.  Without my children I just don't feel complete.

My ex makes more money than I do and is very clear that he won't give me any money.  Even when the kids were with me he refused to give me any money.  My gas tank is on empty and I have a week before payday.  I spent my last two dollars today on soup.  During the week I take care of the kids at his house.  I eat his food.  But I sleep in my own place.  Basically all that has changed is where my bed is.

I have my own place.  I could be a single mother.  But I agreed to let the kids stay in the house where their father lives so they are not moved back and forth.  Instead I am the one who moves back and forth.  Every day I go take care of them after school and work.  I make sure they have dinner and do their homework and I do it all at his house.  The house he and I used to share.  The house that his mother owns.  I never felt like it was my home.  I never was allowed to make it my own.

Here it is a New Year and I still am in that house more than I want to be and I slowly see my influence being stripped from it.  Sports teams flags have become curtains and hang from the walls.  My knick knacks have been packed and the books are slowly being moved as I find space for them.  He still resists all new books entering the house.  He still claims they have too many.  He hasn't changed.

Have I changed.  I have lost weight, so I know I have.  I am free to practice my religion the way I need to and want to finally.  I have embraced my Paganism and won't let anyone keep me from practicing it again.  I have been dating and have discovered that I never really had a good relationship with him.  I have changed.

So I have changed, I need my life to change too.  I need to feel at home with my children.  I can't do that at his place.  He doesn't want the kids to be moved.  I feel a fight coming on and our awkward stalemate will end.  I read the divorce agreement and I am not signing it as it reads.  Looks like this new year will find me meeting with a lawyer a lot.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

When I Can't Sleep I Think...

This morning a close friend and I were talking about a woman who was being abused and left her abuser and then decided to go back to him.  Her family doesn't understand, nor do most people.  I listened as I struggled to stay awake, knowing that even though I had no sleep I had to work this morning.  I listened...

On my drive to work I thought.  That is what I do when I drive alone, I listen to my music loud and I think.  Today I thought of our conversation and how I too have been abused by the man I am still married too.  I have been hurt by his words, actions and hands.  I started writing this blog in 2009 and I knew then I needed to get out.

I wrote on and off through the years.  Some readers wrote to me with encouragement, others with questions like "Why am I still with him?" or  "Why haven't I moved out?"  and similar thoughts.  Today I can say that I have left him and moved on and I have discovered the will power to stay away from him.  Yes I had friends who helped me get to this point but I had to do the work on my own.  My brain had to figure it all out.  Of course it also helps that whenever I do see him he reminds me why I left.  His words no longer have power over me though.

Today as I drove I thought of when I went back to school, got my master;s degree and something we learned; Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.  My minds was wandering as I drive, but still I stayed on the road, both in thought and action.

It is shaped like a pyramid.  Physiological is the base, what we need the most.  Breathing, Food, Water, Sleep, but Sex also is there.  Why?  Because sex is good!  It is not only how we reproduce but it gives us pleasure.  People could argue that we don't NEED it after we reproduce but our bodies and mind prove them wrong over and over again.

We will do the stupidest things for sex.  We also will do some fantastic things for sex.  Sex is something our bodies need, want and desire.  How does this go back to why someone might stay with their abuser?  Sometimes it is for the sex.  Not for me.  That I can say with certainty, but I believe for others this is a reason.  Of course sometimes it is because they provide us with our food, they are in our home, where we sleep.  The base of a pyramid is a powerful place.

The next tier up is Safety.  In that tier we find Security and Safety, Family and Property are here as well.  Why would someone staying with their abuser for safety and security may sound wrong and it is.  But to the abused sometimes to them it is safe.  it is their world and they are comfortable there.  If they stop, leave, seek help or alter their world they may change so much that they are no longer safe.  The mind is a powerful thing and it can make you feel safe in an unsafe condition.

We also need our family and property.  Sometimes knowing you have to leave people or things behind is too much and we just can't do it.  Sometimes it could be your child.  This is where the relationship is cult like.  Ex cult members talk about being shunned by their family when they leave and sometimes this need for family is so strong they will return.  Sometimes the abused return to their abuser for the same reason.

Belonging is the next tier up.  We all need a place to belong and here is where I think the tipping point lies.  It is when we have a sense of belonging that we start to be able to leave our abuser.  This tier may be smaller but it is higher in the pyramid and is strong enough to give us that extra push.  But how do the abused get this feeling?  How is it stronger than Safety?

Honestly it takes one person or one life event.  It just takes one moving pebble to start a landslide.  When one person reaches out to them especially if it is at the right time they will find the strength to leave.  Then I thought, what gave me the strength to leave?  I was miserable, I hated my marriage, I knew I was abused and still I stayed.

The tipping point for me happened when my mom got hurt and my dad needed me.  He needed me, and that gave me the self-esteem to get out and not go back.  I stayed and did all I could for them even after I got so sick I couldn't take care of everyone and me.  I also took time to get to know me again.  I was not the same person who married him 17 years ago.

When my mom did die, I mourned but I had to get away to do it.  I left.  I had a chance to leave and get further away from my ex and I took it.   Some family will say I was selfish, let them!  We all mourn in our own way.  I needed to be away from my family and from my ex.  I was weak then and it would have been so easy to go back.  Instead I ran away.  And I am not sorry that I did.

I had a safe place to stay, a job I enjoyed and people near me who were good for me.  The thing I learned was when people near me were no longer good for me then it is time to move on.  No longer was I going to be caught in my mind or in my reality with someone who was not good for me.  My eyes were opened and my spirit was as well.

This year I have escaped my abuser, I found my father, lost my mother and discovered who among my family and friends had my back and who was just along for the ride.  I met new people who were life changing for me and discovered strength inside myself I never knew was there.  I left my comfort zone and moved up those tiers.  They may get smaller but their meaning grows stronger the higher up you go.

My friend, who knows the abused woman who went back to her abuser, she needs to move up her pyramid.  It won't be her family rushing in to save her, she has to be the one to move up those tiers.  Just be there to lend a hand or shoulder for support.  Hopefully her pebble will move soon, she has to be the one to move it and recognize it though.

That was my drive into work today.  I couldn't sleep so I just thought...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Autumn is Lonely Without Her this Year

I have always loved the season of autumn.  The colors, the smells, the cooler temperatures and the sounds.  But This year, the first autumn without my mother.  I drove home from the mountains of Pennsylvania and the trees were all changing and beautiful.  When the wind blew you could see the leaves blowing around in the wind following the patters and flow.  I was driving home and about to turn on my street so excited to tell mom about it and show her the photo and then my heart sank because she wasn't there.  She would never see an autumn leaf, she would never see them blowing in the wind again and she would never jump into a leaf pile with B and P again.

In the village we live in, I know it sounds so quaint but I can see the city from my bedroom window so it is rather urban, not all the streets run straight.  Some streets wind and turn and may start at one street but have no real outlet.  Typically these are the more wealthier homes.  No joke I was riding my bicycle down one of the streets and a woman opened her front door.  Out waddled a mama duck and all her ducklings flowing her behind her.  There houses where were we wanted to trick or treat because they would often hand out full size candy bars.

My father is like me he wants to go from point A to point B and get there the fastest way possible.  A straight line was his favorite.  My mother however was led by beauty and by sights and sounds.  If she was driving we would always go down theses streets that were windy and meandered to the next busy street.  Her excuse was she had to see one tree.  I have to admit it was a beautiful tree and when autumn came its colors were spectacular,  She would often stop the car and just sit there and watch the tree.  Sometimes she would find a particularly beautiful leaf that she just had to have.

Now that mom has gone I find myself driving home that same way.  I can't remember which tree was her favorite, but I stop and spend some time with them and remember ow aggravated I was because I wanted to get home to watch TV.  now I just want to sit there and connect with my mother through our love of autumn leaves.

I am Autumn Crow.  Autumn is my favorite season and the Crow is my favorite bird.  My mother loved owls.  I am getting a tribute tattoo designed for her for might shoulder.  I want an owl, a crow and autumn leaves.  If anyone wants to try to design it for me I would love to see your artwork.

We bonded over autumn and treasure our birds.  I miss my mom and I wish she could have seen the autumn views I saw this year.  I love you Mommy and I know you are always with me.

Friday, October 17, 2014

It's my Birthday and I am Taking Charge of Who I am

Today is my birthday, I turn 47.  I'm getting closer to 50. Sigh!  Guess what I do t care.  I a, taking this year, 47 to become me again. Last year I left my ex and he still calls me to help him solve problems. I took care of my Dad, who has dimentia and my mom who started with two brain bleeds and finally after nine months her body just gave up.

I have gotten flack from my family because I got sick and left to recover physically and mentally.  I have discussed it with the, and they want nothing to do with my point of view.  So today is the day I dp say screw it!  I've taken care of others for so long I have forgotten how to take care of me and be me,

This is supposed to be about my New Beginnings. So here is my next one. I am going to find myself and embrace who I am this year.  I joined a Druid organization to expand on my studies.  I am part of our local Pagan Pride Committee and and hoping to expand my role with them. I an part of a. New unified pagan organization in our community that in just a few weeks has become a huge unifying force in outer community.

I am working on becoming a priestess, my calling has always been to be religious clergy. Now I have the opportunity to finally achieve it.

I went to the top of a mountain to be with nature on my birthday. To feeling was Fantastic


Thursday, September 18, 2014

I Never Thought I Would...

I went WHERE?  I enjoyed WHAT?

Yes, I went to a speedway; cars racing, fumes filling the air, the sound of engines in my ears.  If you had asked me even a few weeks ago if I would ever go to a speedway or dare I say it even enjoy it I would have laughed in your face.  But in our lives we change and meet people who effect us.  In this case I met someone who introduced me to car racing.  I know I have had friends that were interested in racing before, why this friend was the one who managed to introduce me to the sport, who knows?  Maybe I needed a change, I know my life has been filled with chaos recently so maybe I needed to controlled chaos of car racing?  Who knows?
I did also recently move and it turns out there is a track near to where I moved too.  Well, to be fair there was one near my last home as well but I never went there.  So on my first payday from my new
job I splurged the $20.00 and treated us to a night at the races.

We entered the track and were greeted with the usual warning sign companied by a NO PROFANITY sign.  There were many children there and a few dogs as well.  The track was made of dirt and as we arrived trucks and cars were slowly driving on the track.  We assumed it was to smooth the track down.  Basically they were like Zambonis for dirt.  Of course we listened to and sang the National Anthem before the racing began.  It was a recording, no singer inside the oval, we just had to know the words.  A few announcements followed and then the racing began.  
The first cars were small sprint cars.  They were adorable, though I bet their drivers wouldn't
appreciate their cars being called that.  The engines sounded like bees in tin can, a high pitched sound that got louder as they approached, The doppler effect in action.  Yes I still love my science.  They moved around so fast we couldn't get a clear photo of them.

The first few races were qualifiers.  To see where each driver would be placed for the feature races that would end our day at the races.  It was amazing to see them go around so fast and with such skill that there were not many accidents, or incidents as I am told they are called.  When an incident occurs a yellow flag is waved and the race is put on pause.

Some of the incidents were spectacular and cars flipped.  Luckily the drivers were okay.  Others involved more than one car and a few drivers tempers were also involved.  The track handled it all with ease, fire trucks, rescue and tow trucks were there rapidly and cleared the track off so the racing could begin again.  The cars started in the same order they were in prior to the incident.  Some drivers got a bit confused but eventually with some help they found their spots.

The evening was more fun that I could have imagined.  I was sure I would be bored but for some reason I enjoyed myself.  Maybe it was the company?  Who knows.  Still I never thought I would go to a speedway let alone enjoy myself.  I guess this proves that I am ever evolving and coming up with new beginnings.  I have to say I like finding new things to enjoy.  It sure keeps life interesting.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

In Memory Of My Mother

You may have noticed that I have not blogged at all in the recent months.  I got lost in time while taking care of my Mom when she came home from the assisted living facility that she was staying at. She was so happy and vibrant when she came home.  She had several surgeries on her obstructed trachea.  I lost count of all the doctor appointments I took her too.  We had some good times, some hysterical times and yes some bad times.

She was stubborn and would do too much, like walking down stairs when there was a chair glider that would safely bring her down or upstairs.  She would refuse to use her walker and I can't tell you how many times I would find her walker in a room with her in a different room.  Sadly this led to more than a few injuries and several calls to 911.

The most horrible sound I have ever heard was a thud one morning.  I ran into the living room to find my mother unresponsive, not breathing and head down - body lying up the stairs.  Do I move her and get her breathing again?  What if she broke her neck or back?  I did take some first aid classes and they always told us to check for ABCs first.  Airway, Breathing and Circulation.  Her head was blocking her tracheotomy (no airway), she wasn't breathing, circulation was working as evidence by the growing pool of blood under her head.

I chose to move her and make sure she was breathing.  Then I called 911.  This was the beginning of the end I think.  At the time I didn't know it though.  The paramedics took good care of her and even though she didn't want to I INSISTED that she go to the hospital saying that when you stop breathing after falling down 10 steps it was probably a good idea to go to the hospital.  When I was let into the emergency room they were stitching up her head.  Luckily there were no brain bleeds this time.  She did however break four ribs.  They kept her in the hospital for a few days and then home with me again.

She fell down the stairs one other time, she has diabetes and her blood sugars started getting out of whack.  I got a kidney infection, then I caught mono (and not from the fun way either). So much was happening all at once and finally one day I snapped.

I woke up early and Dad said he couldn't wake up Mom.  I couldn't either.  I tested her blood sugar and it was 20.  It should be around 9 - 100.  She was almost dead basically.  What if Dad hadn't tried to wake her up, he usually doesn't?  What if I wasn't there?  I called 911 for maybe the 11th time and they were there quickly.  They brought her blood sugar back up and again she refused to go to the hospital.  I couldn't make her.  Everyone left and I needed some fresh air.  Before I could step out my dad told me that he was in insulin reaction.  She I got him food, two with low blood sugar almost at the same time.

While this is going on the toilet upstairs overflowed and in-between my parents a crack formed in the ceiling and it was raining in the living room.  I had to turn off the water upstairs and figure out how to soak up at least an inch of water covering the entire bathroom.  I started with towels, moved to sheets and finally resorted to newspapers.  It was a mess but the water finally was soaked up.

I went out, picked up a friend, came back and tried to relax and refocus.  I needed to get food for dinner, Dad wanted ham and we didn't have any.  So I was getting ready to go and my mother who has not been eating a lot all day checks her blood sugar level and it is over 400.  WHAT?  So she takes insulin, just a little I think 4 units and I go to the store.  I am there for a half hour and come back to my mother in insulin reaction again.

We had been watching my brother's dog for a week and she was biting us and knocking us over.  It was just so much all at once.  Mom had surgery coming up that week, Dad was to start chemo for bladder cancer on Monday.  I wash't allowed to take either of them to the appointments because I was sick.  My brother was coming home that night and I needed to get away.  I had been taking care of my parents for 9 months with not many breaks.  I took one weekend off.  So I packed up a bag and said I needed a week to myself.  I filled my brother in on what needed to be done that week with the appointments.  My aunt was coming in to stay with them so I knew he would have backup.  I made sure to hug and kiss both mom and dad before I left telling them both that I loved them.

I drove to Pennsylvania that night to stay with a friend.  All was good until Wednesday when I got a call that mom fell again.  This time her heart stopped.  My aunt gave her CPR and one final call to 911 was made.  This time I wasn't there.  I don't know if the usual paramedics that I have become aquatinted with responded.  Sadly, I recognize many of them from repeated visits to the house.  I was told to stay in PA, there was nothing I could do.

I called my aunt to thank her and she and I talked about how it was too much for me now.  And maybe we should think about assisted living for them.  My friend offered to let me move in with her and got me job interviews by the end of the week.  On the following Monday after my second job interview I went home.  I had to go to the hospital to sign the DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order and watch them disconnect my mother from life support.  My daughter joined me to say goodbye to Grandma.

My brother and I sat with her as she continued to breath on her own.  Her brain was not functioning.  Still Mom is stubborn.  She may have not wanted to be connected to machines but still she wanted to hang on.  My brothers wife and middle son joined him.  They support each other through the night.  My aunt and uncle were there for part of the time.  Finally around 7 am we all left, we needed sleep.  Mom was doing fine.

She finally passed away on August 20.  We had visited her just 2 hours before and were horrified to see the hospital was giving her oxygen, which she DID NOT want.  We made sure it was disconnected and went home.  The phone rang not long after as soon as I saw it was the hospital I knew.  I called my brother and told him and I had to wake my father up to break the news to him.  They had been married for 50 years.  How do you tell someone their spouse of 50 years has died?

My brother and I took care of all the arrangements, mostly my brother thankfully.  She wanted to be cremated so it was arranged.  I picked out a pendant to carry some of her ashes in for myself and my daughter.  No viewing, but two memorial services were planned.  I read her eulogy and completed it with a reading of her favorite book "There's a Monster at the End of This Book".  A fitting tribute to her.

Mom I miss you, I keep thinking of things I want to talk to you about, find things I want to show you and just want to hug you one more time.

Friday, May 30, 2014

We All Sleep Alone!

I got the kids off to school and Dad his breakfast this morning.  Mom was still asleep, Dad was watching TV and I was tired so I went back to sleep.  I happily drifted back to sleep and was happily dreaming when I heard a loud crash and fall.  Whatever made the sound was big and I knew right away that it was a person.  I didn't know who, but I knew it was bad.  

I think I flew out of my bed and I am sure I made it to the living room in one or two steps.  I screamed "Are you okay?" Hoping to hear a reply as I was running but there was no answer.  I saw Dad calmly sitting in his chair and for a moment I thought everything was okay.  Then I turned towards the stairs and I saw my mother as the bottom of the steps.

Her head and neck were on the floor at an odd angle.  Her body was lying up the stairs so she was basically upside down.  I looked up and saw a pair of pants halfway up the stairs.  I looked down and she was so still.  It took me a moment to realize that she wasn't breathing.  Her head was blocking her tracheotomy and she was unconscious.  At first I thought she was dead.  I moved her so her head was off her stoma and made sure her airway was clear.  Breathing was more important than a possible broken neck.  

Luckily she started to breath on her own and her eyes opened up, but she didn't know what was happening.  I ran to the phone and once again called 911.  I have called 911 too many times in the last six months.  You know you have when start to recognize the paramedics and police officers, and they remember you too.  Luckily I have the routine down now and had all of Mom's meds ready for them so they could write them all down.  

Then I realized that I was asleep, snuggled in my bed and that I'm in my underpants and the police, paramedics and all sorts of people are about to arrive.  I ran and put my pants on and I felt so guilty.  I should have not cared and held Mom's hand while we waited.  Instead I put pants on!

I have to say that it felt like forever for them to come, but I know in reality it was just moments.  They flowed into the house and swarmed around her.  That's when I noticed the blood.  It was under her and the stain was getting bigger.  Dad was still calmly sitting in his chair.  What must this be like for him I wonder?  He isn't reacting like he knows what is going on.  Does he even know what happened I wonder?  Or is he like me in a state of shock wondering what else can possibly go wrong with Mom?  Can't she catch a break and just recover and heal?  

Back to the chaos in my living room,  why was she even walking down the stairs?  We have one of those chairs that takes you up and down the stairs so she should have been using it.  Of course she is stubborn. That is where I get it from.  She has gone into the basement and had trouble getting back up.  My brother and I and her physical therapist all told her she had to stop.  She isn't steady on her feet yet and she was in danger of falling down the stairs.  How right we were!

Chaos!  I don't know how many first responders were in my living room?  They are all asking me different questions.  "Where did she fall from?"  "Was she using the chair lift?"  "When did she fall?"  I call my brother and try to stay focused.  I'm the rock now, it used to be my mom, now it is me.  More and more is becoming my responsibility.  I have to adjust, I have to be responsible, I have to focus on everyone else.  That is my role now.

They get a neck brace and I can finally hear Mom answering some of their questions.  Funny how looking back on this morning and it is all a blur.  I couldn't even tell you how many first responders where in the house.  I had to move the car for the ambulance, that I remember.  Then they strap her to a backboard.  The one thing I remember is one of the paramedics asking for a 4x4 gauze patch so,they could tape her head to the backboard and not have to put tape on her face.  

Then they were gone.  She was off to the hospital again.  I turned and looked and Dad is still sitting in his chair.  Does he know what happened?  He doesn't seem to be reacting and through all the chaos I was so focused on Mom and the first responders that I don't know what Dad was doing.  I should have been with him too.  All the should of would of could ofs!  I should have stayed awake and made her ride the stair glider.  I could have, I would have then she would be okay.  

Dad doesn't want to go to the hospital. I go alone, but first I draw his insulin in the syringe and make sure he knows to take it with lunch.  Not for the first time I am happy that meals on wheels brings him lunch and I know that he will be okay.  He also is stubborn, but he knows his limitations.  Mom is still adjusting to hers.  I let him stay home.
My brother beat me to the hospital, I called him while the first responders were still at our house.  He was just leaving work when I called.  We sat and waited for them to let us back in the ER.  I was so scared.  I was thinking of the blood, how I had to move her so she could breathe.  Did I make her worse?  What if I wasn't there.  What if I was at work?  So much guilt!

They let us back and Mom is in yet another ER room.  The same doctor as the last time.  He recognizes her, I recognize him and a few of the other people.  We have been here way too often!  The paramedics are talking about pain in her ribs, the blood is so red and it seems like more than before.  Then they roll her on her side and for the first time I see the wound.  

There was so much blood!  The image of watching them roll her and the partially clotted,ropes of blood that were between her head and the backboard made me gasp out loud.  My brother tried to console me, the nurses told me that it looks worse that it really was.  I knew that, I know head wounds bleed a lot. I knew that because she was lying still the blood was starting to clot. I knew all of that but the image was so startling and real.  So much blood!  

They stitched her right there.  She was hurting, her ribs were sore.  I was watching the doctor sew her head closed and her white hair was bright red and matted.  When he thought he had her all patched up the nurse found a spot he missed.  It was hard to tell what was bleeding and what was bled on.  I am so focused on her head I almost miss that she is starting to complain about her ribs more and more.

I have to work in the afternoon.  I know they are short and need me.  I call and see if I can come in a little latter so I can know that Mom will be okay.  I want to hear that she doesn't have a broken neck, I want to hear that she doesn't have another brain bleed.  I am afraid that I will hear that she has both. How am I going to teach while she is in the ER?

Then I feel bad that I'm worried about me when I should be worried about her, I have to make sure that Dad knows what is going on.  I have to get laundry done and the dishwasher emptied.  I have to get my brother to help me finish my daughters room and the front porch and the back porch.  There is so much to do and I should be worried about her.

I have to clean the blood from the rug where she fell.  One spot from the original fall and then a bigger spot from where I moved her to.  Why was that what I was focusing on.  Then the doctor comes in ad tells,us the CT scan was good.  No brain bleed, no broken neck!  She will be just fine.  We still has to wait for the X-ray results about her ribs, but I knew that she had broken at lest one.  She was in so much pain in her ribs.  To hear her cry like that was so hard.  She is my mom. She is supposed to comfort me, not me comfort her.  

I had to leave to go to work.  First I stopped home and let Dad know what was happening.  I made sure he ate and took his insulin and made him tea.  I have become the parent for both my parents. This  is so surreal. I tell him that I have to go to work and I will check on Mom on my way home.  I tell him it will be alright. 

While I'm at work I get text updates.  My brother is with her so I find out that she has four broken ribs and that she is yet again being admitted.  In another text later in I find out that she is in the ICU again.  The other teachers are making sure that I am okay.  They tell me that they are praying for Mom.  Being at work is helping me get through the day.  

On the way home I stop by the hospital and know exactly where to go.  The information desk is unmanned but I know where to go.  I hate that I know where to go.  I hate that I recognize so many people at the hospital. I hate that yet again I have to go home without my mother.  I hate that yet again my dad has to sleep alone in his bed.

I pick up her prescriptions after I leave the hospital. I started trying to get them filled over a week ago.  Because they were from a skilled nursing facility and not her primary doctor it turned into a huge mess to get them refilled.  So much medical drama fills my life now.  I have to order too many meds.  I have to make sure Mom and Dad take them when they are supposed to.  So much responsibility!  I'm so tired!

Mom sleeps in the hospital tonight, Dad sleeps alone and I am in my bed wanting my man to snuggle with. I can't contact him so I am alone.  We all sleep alone!