Still here, still grieving

Hey all. My blogging has been put on hold over the last few months. I’ve been really bad about it. I need to get better about it and make this a more routine habit.

It goes without saying, 2018 was not the best year for me. However, there were some things that I would not have changed for the world. I met the man of my dreams, my future husband, my future baby daddy 😉 (there is a joke about that in my family I swear). I have reconnected with certain members of my family, and I have been accepted completely by another family (there will come a day when I do a post all about him).

I could have done without the loss of my mom. But on the other hand, I am happy that she is no longer suffering. I like to think that she is in a better place. We cremated her after all, so I at least know her soul isn’t trapped here. She is hopefully able to move on to wherever she believes is her final resting place.

We had a party for her in March of 2017 because she was feeling a little down . We printed pictures of our life with her and put them in the shape of a heart. She got the biggest kick out of seeing all the pictures.

Because we had her cremated, she doesn’t have a “burial” site, nowhere that we can go to visit with her specifically. One of my brothers and I believed that even if we did, it wouldn’t have mattered. We didn’t think we would feel her there. We thought we would feel her at the Healing Garden. This was her place (aside from the beach). She was involved with this project in one way or another from day one. Through the Art of Life Cancer Foundation, my mom was able to take part in several projects that are prominently displayed at this garden.

I wholeheartedly believed I would be able to feel her here. Today was the first day I’ve gone in over four months. I have driven to it several times, but have not been able to get out of my car until today. Today, I got out of the car. I sat near her tile for awhile and enjoyed my peppermint white mocha. I walked around the lavender garden. I watched as the children played on the play scape and played on the musical instruments. I sat and tried to feel her spirit around me. She wasn’t there. I couldn’t feel her. Maybe she was at the beach today.

This is the tile we created for/with my mom. There will forever be a piece of my mom at the Healing Garden.

I usually have a difficult time thinking about my mom. Thoughts of her generally lead me to a breakdown. I know I haven’t REALLY dealt with her death. I know I haven’t. Most days when I feel myself leading to a breakdown, I find something to distract myself. Anything really will distract me from these thoughts. December was the hardest month on me and I feel like I did the most “dealing” with her death. Her birthday was on 12/13. That day wasn’t as horrible as I thought it was going to be. I spent the day with my aunt (who could be her twin in every possible way). I thought it would kill me being with her for almost an entire day, but it didn’t. My aunt and I had a great time, getting a pedicure, talking, laughing, crying, and sharing our memories. I concluded her birthday by having dinner with my brothers and dad. We had a good time as well. We didn’t talk about my mom. Obviously, she was the reason we were all together, but nobody wanted to mention it.

The next day, I had work. This day was the most difficult day I had experienced since she passed. All I wanted to to was stay in bed and just lay in the dark. It took everything I had to get up and go to work. I had to go to work, I have bills to pay. I know my boss wouldn’t have minded if I had called in sick, but it just wasn’t something I could do. My mom would have been pissed if I had, she raised me with a better work ethic than that. So, I got up, showered, got dressed, and made my way to work. Work is always a way for me to distract myself. It works great.. while I am there. The minute I am back in my car heading home, the dam breaks and the tears come freely.

I keep strong for those around me, but inside I feel like I am dying. I started going to therapy because of this, because I don’t know how to grieve the loss of my mother. I don’t know what I am doing. I don’t fully believe my therapist knows what she is doing either. I feel like when I need to talk or get things out the most, she is the one doing all the talking and grieving over the loss of her own parents (15+ years ago). Maybe in her own way she is trying to show me it gets better….

This tile caught my eye the other day while I was walking around. It instantly made me think of my mom and all the love she has in her.

My mom had so much love for my brothers and me. She wasn’t always the best parent, but looking back on my life with her, she did the best that she could with the resources she had. She had an unreliable partner (yes, my father). My dad came and went as he pleased. She couldn’t depend on him to be there to help support her. He was constantly out of work or finding ways so he wouldn’t have to go to work. My mom was the one constant in our lives growing up. We may have moved one to three times a year, didn’t always know if the power would be on when we got home, but one thing we knew for sure was that mom would be there at the end of the day. Mom was always there for us when we needed her, even when we didn’t. She wasn’t just there for the three of us, she was there for our friends, she was there for our neighbors, for our family. Whatever she had, she gave freely to other people. My mom was one of the kindest most positive people I knew, until she got sick. When she got sick, she became more negative and bitter. It was hard seeing her like that. Now that she is gone though, I mostly remember her as the mom I had growing up. The happy version of her.

I think if I only remember her happy times, maybe it will be easier to start healing. I’m really not sure though. Sadly for me, I am not sure what is the best course of action for a loss like this. If anyone has any ideas on how they have handled grief in the past, those would be appreciated. I would like to get back to a place where I am not constantly on the verge of a breakdown.

One of our last trips together. Bass Lake, CA. Enjoying her wine by the fire.

The start of 2019 is something to look forward to. I will be making changes in my life, in all aspects of my life. Check back soon for some of these updates. Hope you have an amazing year and hope you are able to accomplish the goals you have set for yourself. Cheers to the happiest of new years!!

Dear Momma,

Hey momma, it’s me. You know that already. I feel like this is the only way for me to get things out right now. It’s sad to say, but I don’t really feel like I can talk to anyone about what I’m feeling. So I guess this is going to be my way to grieve.

I shouldn’t do this at work, it’s difficult for me to do this at home. T doesn’t know how to handle it when I cry.  I think he wants to be supportive but doesn’t fully understand what I am going through. I think he is afraid to ask how I am really doing.

Truth be told, I don’t know how I am really doing. It doesn’t seem people really want to know, to I push my feelings down and move forward. Much of how I have always done.  I am constantly on the verge of tears.  I think I might need a good cry session. The tears seem to want to come at the worst times, like when I am at work and shouldn’t be crying.

The boys and I haven’t really been talking. Not much is new with that, except after your funeral they made it seem like they wanted to get closer.  It’s all well and good as long as they put forth the effort too.  I get ignored when I text, so I just stopped unless they text me.  The last time JA and I talked, he yelled and screamed the whole time. He is angry and I don’t know how to help him. He is hurting and so so angry.

I hear more from H than I do JA. He is busy with football, of course.  I hear he has good days and bad days, just like the rest of us. I wish I had more info than that, but you see all of what is going on.  You see how we are all doing I guess.

K will text me daily, telling me what a hard time she is having now that you are gone.  She says it like I am the adult here and I am supposed to be comforting her. Or maybe she is trying to come from a sibling aspect, she saw you more as a mother than a sister, so maybe that’s it.  I am not sure. 

D got a tattoo a couple weeks ago.  Something to honor you, to show the world just how much he loves you. I think of all the things he has done, this makes me the most upset.  I know he loved you, but at the same time, I still find it hard to believe.  You know just as well as I do, it was rare that he was faithful to you, even as you were battling cancer he was seeing other women. Asshole.  Like how do you respect a person that does that?  He has developed this whole Holier than Thou attitude lately. He is pissed at your family for not giving him money. When K said she has helped support you guys numerous times, he got offended and said it wasn’t true. We all know it was.  She helped you guys a lot financially. I know she did, you know she did, and D certainly knows she did.  I don’t know what it is that makes him think he actually provided for his family all these years.  He is a low life.  It’s a sad thing to say about ones father, but it’s the truth. 

During one of my cry sessions the other day in the car, I heard the song “Best of Intentions” by Travis Tritt.  It made me think of D and how he promised you everything you ever wanted. Promises he could never deliver on, promises he repeatedly broke.  I wish he could have made a better life for the two of you. I wish he could have been that kind of man for you. You deserved the world. You deserved to see the world.

I had kind of an ah-ha moment the other day while talking to B at work.  I was talking about how I wanted to spread your ashes at the coast, like I feel you would have wanted. But then, I think I am going to take you traveling with me, and leave you all over the world.  You always wanted to see the world.  T and I are starting next year in Chile, so momma, you are going to make all my trips with me and you will get to see the world with me. I am not sure I am going to tell anyone else about this, I don’t think they would agree with it.  I want you to see all these places that you never got to see.  I am going to take you with me when we do a wine tour in Italy, go see the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and the rolling hills of Ireland.  This I think is the best way to honor you.  Not just spread your ashes at the beach.  I think you need to see the world.

I feel like I am not able to grieve because I am trying to be strong for everyone else, the others grief is becoming more important than my own.  I have my moments, like here are work today, or driving home where I break down. It’s a terrible world when you lose your best friend.

Who do I talk to? Who do I vent to? Who is going to teach me about being a mom? JA tells me that we are lucky you passed away now as compared to when we were kids. He says you taught us everything you could, there was nothing left.  I still call bullshit on that, but I guess I really can’t. I mean you have taught me my whole life how to be a mom. You were a great mom to us. You made sacrifices for us that we never saw until we were older.  You never held it against me when I was a bitchy teenager and screamed how much I hated you.  I never hated you mom.  Never.  I am sorry for all the hateful things I ever said to you. I wish I could take them back and just tell you one more time how much I love you and am so thankful for all the love you ever gave me.  I am glad that you were my mom and not someone else.  I am who I am today because of you.

I love you momma.  I’ll write more later.

~Jennie Leigh

Brain Dumping

Today’s post is just going to be a full on brain dump.  I have had so much going on in my head lately, that it’s difficult to try to focus on just one thought.  Let’s see how this goes.

  • First things first, it’s been a month since my mom passed away. I miss her like crazy. Pammy The pain and the loss comes and goes.  There are moments where I am happy remembering or thinking about her. Then there are moments, like this past weekend that are more difficult.  I had my nail appointment, I get my nails done once a month.  My mom was supposed to have gone with me to my last appointment but she was in the hospital and then passed away the following day.  I decided since I was on this specific side of town, I would stop by her favorite coffee shop and get a cup.  It was almost like having coffee with my mom again, and then I stopped and thought about how that will never happen again.  It was a difficult day. Today is a little better, my aunt has been sending me pictures all week from my childhood.  Pictures of me and my mom.  It’s crazy how much my mom and I actually looked alike when she was heavy.
  • I have been listening/watching to the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. I feel bad for this man.  And for the woman.  However, it makes me question why it took her 36 years to come forward with the allegations. I have never gone through something like this, so I really can’t say that I would have come forward right away, I am a private person so I might not have.  But there is a statute of limitations in the US.  On rape, or attempted rape, it’s 30 years. Which to me is still outrageous since there is nothing you can prove after that amount of time.  At this point, it becomes a he said/she said story.  This accuser is a psychologist and a psychology professor, this is someone who would know what attorneys are looking for when questioning a witness, accuser, or a defendant.  There have been moments through her testimony where she appears to be crying, you know, shoulders shaking, sniffling, voice cracking; but not once does she actually shed a tear.  She seems very able to go from “crying” to just being soft-spoken in the next sentence.  Another thing that bothers me is that she has been traumatized by this event, but doesn’t remember where it happened or when it happened.  I can’t imagine that.  If something that horrific happened, surly you would remember the date.  The exact date that it happened.  In her testimony and previous statements, she was even mixing up the years.  At first it was the late 80’s, then it was mid 80’s, and finally early 80’s. I feel like this is just a defamation of character at this point.  There is no proof that this event actually took place.
  • I have been getting bored at work again, it makes me wish that I hadn’t dropped out of my classes this semester. When I am in school, and work is slow, my boss lets me work on my school work. It’s a pretty sweet deal. I’m just going crazy trying to find work to keep me busy… These are going to be a long couple of months.
  • Speaking of school… I think I am going to finish my degree in business administration and then take a course and get certified to teach English as a second language. That will help with getting a job if/when we move abroad.
  • Vacation: I want a real vacation. I would like to get out of the country for a little while, but to where I have no idea. My boyfriend has been getting job offers from companies in North England.  We have been thinking about going. Just picking up and leaving.  I think I am ready for a new adventure.  There is nothing really holding me in CA anymore.  I moved back partially for my mom, and partially to get away from my ex-husband. I needed family again. Now that my mom is gone and I no longer have someone I have to take care of, I feel like I can move forward with my life.
  • Babies: I have been having baby fever lately. My boyfriend and I have discussed this baby_0a lot.  We have agreed for me to go off birth control and let nature take its course. We have gone as far as starting to talk about baby names.  I feel like he might be having second thoughts about that decision, but doesn’t want to tell me.  I don’t know how to really bring this up. I want kids, and I thought he did too, but I don’t know.  I have always wanted kids, I have also always wanted to adopt. I am not sure if I can have babies.  I was married 8 years and never got pregnant. I also wasn’t having regular cycles at that point in my life.  The month after my ex-husband and I separated, I began having normal cycles and have not missed one in over 3 years. So maybe it all had to do with him…
  • Getting healthy: I need to lose some weight. I need to stop drinking soda, eating sugar, and I need to start exercising.  Probably eating healthier.  I will say though, I have started cooking almost every night since moving in with my boyfriend.  We eat out maybe once or twice a week.  I enjoy cooking and I don’t mind cleaning up. I need to get in the better habit of cooking healthier though, maybe try to go carb free.
  • Living with my boyfriend. It has been great, for the most part. I don’t feel like we spend that much time together.  We have a roommate, who he works with.  When they get home from work, they spend most of the evening outback with my dog. That’s right, they stole my dog.  I have developed a routine when I get off work, I come home, do dishes, clean the kitchen and start cooking dinner.  Ideally, I would like dinner to be ready when they get home. That doesn’t always happen. Most nights, they get home, go outside, then we eat, they go back outside, and then it’s time for bed.  They have had this routine before I moved in, so I don’t want to complain about it.  I also don’t want to be the girlfriend that wines about not spending time with him, every minute of the day.
  • imagesWe are going to LA in October to go to the haunted house. This also means we have to go to the movies to see The Nun.  I am soooo looking forward to the haunted house, but not the movies. Lol.  I love scary movies, but this stupid nun; Valik from the Conjuring 2 totally freaks me out.  They are giving this demon its own movie and I am not looking forward to seeing it.  The deal was, if I see this movie, my boyfriend will take me to the haunted house. So, I have to go. I have to face my fears… that is not going to be fun.

Thats all for now.. Have a great weekend!

Quick Update

I haven’t posted anything in a few days, I have started and stopped many times. I will update later about the concert, but this is weighing heavier on me today than how my weekend went. Everyone says that loss gets better over time, I don’t think that is the truth.  I think you just start to live to learn with it. The hole they left will always be there, that spot in your heart is never going to heal.
I think we are all doing as well as could be expected. I think I had my first semi-breakdown last night.  I had kind of a bad day at work, and usually I would vent to my mom about it and she would talk me through things.  It hit me that I don’t have a mom anymore.  I don’t have her to go to with my problems, accomplishments, or anything. She just isn’t here.  I told her everything, and now that’s just gone.  I want to remember her and all the good times we had with her, but at times, it doesn’t feel like she is gone until I need her in some way.
I miss getting the “what are you doing” texts while she knows I am work.  It’s the little things that would annoy me that I miss. It’s hard going on without her.  I think about all the things I won’t be able to share with her and it kills me now.  It’s hard to keep it together when I think about her too much right now.  I think about the things she won’t be here for, weddings, babies, big accomplishments, everything.  It hurts.  It’s easier to not think about it and while I am at work, that generally helps.
My mom was my best friend.  When I was younger she and I didn’t always get along. She always let the boys do things that I wasn’t allowed to do and her response was always “when you have a daughter, you will understand”. I love her so much. She and I would go on our “mommy daughter dates” this would generally consist of me taking her to lunch or dinner and to get pedicures, or sometimes to a movie.  We would have so much fun together, just laughing and talking about random things. She personality made her the kind of person you could look up to. Before she got sick, she was always so positive and devoted to her family.  She sacrificed so much for us, to make sure that we had the things we needed.  I never realized as a kid how often she went without so she could do a little something extra for us.  We never had any money, but she tried to not let us see that part of our lives.  She tried to protect us from whatever she could. She was a good soul. 
When I was in 7th grade, the animated Tarzan movie came out, and my mom was obsessed with the music! She bought the CD and listened to that on repeat for my entire 7th grade year!  John and I woke up every morning to that soundtrack, and to mom singing and dancing while moving around the apartment trying to get us ready for school and for her to go to work. 
She was full of life before she got sick, and for the most part while she was sick, she didn’t let it keep her down until about the last year or so.  It’s hard watching someone you love so much start to give up, to stop fighting.  We just have to remind ourselves that she fought for a long time and she was tired.  She was tired of everything, being in pain; even if she always told us she wasn’t; tired of not being able to use her body right anymore, tired of watching us see her struggles.  She tried to be strong for all of us, to show us she wasn’t scared and we shouldn’t be either, she was going to beat this. She wasn’t going to let the cancer take anything from her.
It’s just a spiral of memories right now, some I wish I could stop because they are painful for me to relive, but others that I wish I could go back to, just to see her smiling and laughing again. My memories of my mom play like silent films in my head when I let them take over. I think I need to let them take over more often than I have been.

Dave Matthews Day!

So today was the day my boyfriends been waiting for! The Dave Matthews Band concert. We had a great time (even if I’m not too familiar with his music). My boyfriend loved it and that made it great for me.

The day started with us attempting to go on a Harbor Cruise in San Francisco… that didn’t happen. There were protests (which we still don’t know what for), and most of the streets near Fisherman’s Wharf were closed. Traffic sucked. So we decided to try our luck at IKEA. There are a few things we need/want for the house.

The lines and “traffic” at IKEA were no better than the streets of San Francisco. We put our stuff down and left, neither of us are too fond of crowds or long lines. So, we really got nothing accomplished this morning. Oh well.

We went back to our hotel, I guess I took and nap and he handled work issues for a couple hours, then decided to get a late lunch. It could have been better for the price he paid, but was still good. When we got back to the room again, he wanted to go to the jacuzzi and I wanted a bath so we spent a little bit of time apart. Then it was time to get ready for the concert!

Parking was a breeze! The line to get in was a mile long, but we made it though. Lines to get our drinks were not too bad. Actually there was nobody in the margarita line, so that went really fast. Finding the right spot on the lawn wasn’t so bad either. We found a great spot near some pretty cool strangers. This is where it started to get crowded. Large crowds tend to freak me out. I would say though, for the most part I handled it well.

There were tons of people smoking weed, we were even offered some. That was interesting to me. To see the cloud of smoke in the lights. And it’s all perfectly legal. Over all, we had a great time and we would both do it all over again. It’s almost midnight and we are just driving back to the hotel. I am wiped and so ready for a shower and bed.

Have a great night internet world

Xoxo

Jennie

Getting Ready for the Weekend

Today is day 2 back to work. It’s easier today. I don’t have everyone coming up to me with the sadness and pity in their eyes. It’s more sympathy than pity, but it still feels like pity and I borderline hate it. My aunt has been texting me all morning, talking about my mom and sharing memories of her. I like to hear the stories and the happy times, but right now, it still feels like too much. It’s hard to deal with that. I know she is grieving, but how do you comfort someone else when you are going through just as much pain? I mean, she was my mother for crying out loud?! Maybe my grieving process is different than hers.

The weekend is upon on and I plan on turning my phone off, to just let me be in the moment. My boyfriend and I are going out of town.  I think it is much needed.  We will be making our way up towards San Francisco for the Dave Matthews Band concert.  I bought him tickets for his birthday last month and he has been looking forward to it.  DMB is his favorite group (that makes us sound so old, it was the music of our youth!!), and has never gone to a concert of theirs. I am glad to be able to give him this experience.

I am looking forward to this trip to be near the ocean. I need some time to just sit on the beach (even if it’s freezing cold), and listen to the waves.  The beach is my happy place and the place I go when I need to get out of my own head. Typically I make those trips alone, but it will be good to have the boyfriend with me on this one.  He has provided so much comfort over the last few weeks.  He hasn’t pushed me to talk, or cry, or yell. He’s just been there, for whatever I need.

My boyfriend got to meet my mom and spend a little time with her two weeks before she passed away. I am so thankful for that.  She adored him, almost as much as I do.  This man has been such a trooper over the last couple weeks.  He met my brothers and their girlfriends for the first time at the hospital on the day my mom passed.  And in the week that followed, he met just about every other person in my life; family, friends, co workers, everyone that came to my moms services. He never once complained, or said it was too much. He even told me he can’t wait to really get to know my brothers and friends. I don’t know many people who would handle that kind of a situation as well as he did.  I truly love this man and can’t wait to spend my life with him.

I think my mom knew he would take care of me.  This year, she got to meet her first grandchild (she has been waiting YEARS for this), she was assured that her children were all with incredible people who would support and love them.  I think she has been ready to move on for quite some time, but didn’t think she could leave us without knowing we would be okay.  She knows that we will all heal from her loss in our lives and we will be okay.

Needless to say, I am looking forward to this weekend.  My boyfriend has given me a lot of firsts in terms of things we have done together, and I am honored to be able to give him a first by seeing his favorite band live, in concert! This is going to be a weekend to remember.

 

Return to Work

Today is my first day back to work since my mom passed. It’s been a week and a half. I thought it would be pretty easy considering I would be busy. However, since all my coworkers knew my mom, it’s been a little rough. I have been able to fight the tears that threaten to break through when someone talks to me about her. For the most part, today has been a good day. A good start to getting back to normal. My guys in the field have kept me busy so my mind hasn’t been able to wander too much.  I printed one of my favorite recent pictures of my mom and have it on my desk. A reminder that she is still here in spirit.

The thing that feels the most out of place right now, is not getting her “what are you doing” text.  Everyday while at work, I would get that text.  My response as always “Working, making that money”. Then I would hear about what she was doing that day. Usually it was how far she was able to go on her walk or if she had enough energy to take a shower, or she would send me pictures of my kitten and tell me how evil she is. My kitten (Bailey) is feisty and enjoys fighting, she would constantly attack my mom; but she loved that kitten all the same.

Overall I would say that today has been a great day for me. A good step forward to a new normal.

~Jennie