Happy Birthday! Today you would have been 48 years old! Wow, that sounds really old, huh? I turned 40 in August and I can only imagine what you would have done had you been here being such a practical joker. It wasn’t all that great as most special days aren’t anymore. I missed you and dad so badly. It seems nothing has the excitement it once did. So, are you and daddy enjoying the freedom from pain and bouncing from cloud to cloud? I know you were so tired there at the end. I don’t blame you for leaving. I know I did for a long time. I’ve been thinking about our life and all I can say is I am one of the luckiest girls in the world to have known you for 15 years. You will never know how much you taught me about life and unconditional love. My mind has played everything over and over kind of like a movie reel. I have laughed and I have cried. We had so many good times and of course some rough times in that last few years. I’m glad there was never a fight between us and no harsh words. I have no regrets when it comes to our relationship as siblings. Mama misses you to this day. She has really nearly grieved herself to death and quite honestly I think she wishes she would have went on when she had her accident. Life has been really sad since you left. Daddy’s death nearly killed me and sometimes I wonder if it still won’t. I cry because I miss you guys so much. I do wonder if you are smiling down on me though because sometimes I can you both so strongly. You know after you passed daddy put all of his grief into caring for others. He worked for free at the funeral home helping Diana with funerals and counseling families. He cared for the cemetery without wanting anything in return. Your grave was always the most beautiful in the place. It really is peaceful out there and I go often to talk to you. I look back on our years growing up and remember how protective you were of me. With there being 8 years in between us you were more of a dad instead of a brother. You were my rock during so many struggles. Without you I would have never made it through mom and dad’s struggle to recover from the addiction to pain killers. That was one of the roughest patches we had. I look back and think about the day you left to go on tour with that band….it broke my heart. I knew it was your dream and you were the best drummer EVER. Oh yeah thanks for teaching me how to play. You know I got a lot of dates that way over the years. Not funny, huh? Remember watching Friday the 13th? You had already watched it so you knew how it ended and you nearly gave me a heart attack grabbing me from behind when Jason jumped up out of the water!!! You laughed for days over that. Remember when our house burnt right after Christmas? You took your whole week’s paycheck and took me Christmas shopping since all of my stuff burnt up. Living in that motel room for almost a year really brought us all so much closer as a family. I will never forget those days! Us all cramped up in a little room together fighting over who got to sleep where and who took a shower first all in fun. Ha, those were the days when we got so excited to RENT a VCR and some videos to watch. OMG you wouldn’t believe how far things have come. We have DVR’s and Bluerays. Sounds crazy huh? No more cassette tape players either. It’s all Mp3 players and new cell phones. Yep, you never had one of those or even heard of them. Insane, right? Above all I remember the day we found out. I remember the sirens blaring in my head and knowing that something was wrong with you. I remember the look on your face when mom and dad had to tell you that you may not live three weeks. My world kind of went black. I don’t remember the following week. It was a blur. The journey began. All the trips back and forth to Nashville for chemo and the hospital stays really got tiring. You didn’t let it get to you though. I can still remember you being so sick from treatments and vomiting all the way home. You would lay down in the backseat and put your head in my lap and I would hold the pan for you. You never complained…not one time in almost four years. I think back to the time when your hair starting falling out and you decided to just shave it all off. You wore that red bandana like a champ!!! I saved that thing and it is still in a box in Aunt Jean’s house. Do you remember all the picnics and gatherings we had? It was tons of family and friends and so much food. Remember the water fight we got into at Danny’s house? How he was trying to run away from you and he tripped over the water hose and fell? You laughed so hard. I remember the day you thought you would teach me to drive a stick shift too!!! I can picture daddy’s face when he came outside to see his pinto sitting in the side of the house! I told you I couldn’t do it!!! Oh yea, remember the night you, me, Robbie, and Joy lynn decided to make a cassette tape of completely insane things thinking that it would make you boys comedians? You sand King Tut while Robbie danced around with toilet paper wrapped around his body! You two were nuts! I still think about you and Mark putting the cat in the mailbox and nearly giving the mailman a heart attack! I don’t think I have ever heard of a mailman quitting his job because of two rowdy boys playing pranks on him. Oh man those were the good times. I miss them all. I miss your smile, your laugh, and your hugs. I miss having someone to talk to about anything. You touched the lives of so many people. I remember Brandon, the young boy across the hall from you. You two would have them wheel you room to room so you could talk. He told me you had changed his life in so many ways. The night he passed he asked that they open the door so he could see you. You helped him ease out of the world with a smile on his face. Your nurse Rita gave up her job to come live with us just to care for you…that is dedication. Your doctor who was straight laced and to the point ended up wearing polka dot ties and coming in to see you on his days off just because!! I laugh when I think about the guys from your band coming to visit you. They couldn’t find the right parking lot so they parked in an adjacent lot and ended up wading through a creek just to see you! It was hilarious. You guys laughed and played a tape that you all had recorded. It was a good day for you. They had written a song about you and they stood there in the hospital and played it for you. The tears fell down your cheeks. Do you remember Thanksgiving and Christmas and how we had our own little celebration in the hospital room? Members from the church, people from the community, and family members cooked tons of food and drove nearly two hours to bring it to us and share the day with us. The homemade Christmas tree made out of construction paper was the best tree ever. Those were the happy moments. The week you left me was one of the worst of my life. I stayed in the hospital with you day and night. I went to the chapel and I prayed so hard that God would take me instead of you. I asked him that if he really existed to just spare your life. I fully believed you would be okay. The day before you slipped into a coma I remember you taking my hand and writing in it. You told me you would see me again someday. I cried so hard I couldn’t breathe and you wiped my tears away. You never spoke to me again. The night you left I had decided to go up to the gym and take a shower. I remember your nurse Rita coming to get me. The expression on her face told it all. She told me I had to get back to the room immediately because your breaths were becoming shallow. My heart raced and I could feel myself hyperventilating. We ran as fast as we could and all I can remember is saying “GOD NO NOT NOW. PLEASE DON’T TAKE HIM AWAY FROM ME!!!” I walked in the room, sat down in the chair beside you, took your hand in mine, and laid my head on your chest. I felt your hand tighten up on mine and then you breathed in and out…..just like that you were gone. You left me. I laid there and sobbed like a baby. I laid there until they pulled me away from you. I looked down on you and you had the prettiest smile on your face. I was at complete peace. I knew in that moment that all your pain was gone but mine was only beginning. The day we buried you I buried a piece of my heart and soul with you. You would have been so pleased to see how many people came to say goodbye to you. The church was completely full and they were lined up out the door. I saw more tears shed that day than I have have in my entire life. You were loved more than you will ever know!!! I wouldn’t bring you back because I wouldn’t want you to be in pain but I would give anything if I could spend just one more day with you. I wish you could see your nieces and nephew. You wanted kids so badly. I named my son after you and believe me he carries your spirit with him. He is caring, funny, and independent. I have showed them pictures of you and talk about you all of the time. I feel they know you because I have kept you alive in my heart. There are so many things I would love to tell you but I am sure you are having a much better time where you are. I just wanted to take a few minutes to tell you Happy Birthday and let you know that you remain in my heart now and forever. I love you to the moon and back. Thank you for being the best big brother a girl could ever have.
I love you Bubby!
*Christopher Aaron Ray*
September 18th 1965 to March 29th 1989
It’s been way too long since I have written anything. However, I decided over the past few weeks that although this blog is entitled “The Madness of Mommyhood” most of my thoughts are not about that topic, for the most part. My mind is a very complicated thing. It stays in a complete state of chaos. I never know when the day starts if it is going to play nice or if I am going to have to battle it all day. The last few years have really taken a toll on how I view life in it’s entirety. The depression comes and goes but for the most part it comes. The medicines just can’t seem to take the darkness away on most days.
I’m supposed to be this “happy” person all of the time and the truth is we all have this sadness inside that sometimes takes over. I’m not saying my life sucks or that I don’t want to live. That isn’t it at all. What I’m saying is that at age 39 I am looking back over my life saying “why” or “what was I thinking”. You hear people say I have no regrets…bullshit. We all have regrets and if we didn’t then we wouldn’t be human. My regrets lie mostly in the fact that I didn’t spend enough time with my loved ones before they were pulled away from me back into the universe. I miss my dad and my brother so much my heart literally aches. You know I can remember being this smart ass, know it all teenager who thought she had all the answers and that her parents were complete idiots who just wanted to rule her life. I remember saying I hate you on more than one occasion. I also remember both of my parents at some point saying “you will regret all of this someday but by then it will be too late”. Guess what? They were entirely right. My dad is gone. I can’t call him up, I can’t go see him, I can’t wish him a Happy Birthday or Merry Christmas. I can’t tell him I love him and worst of all I can’t hear him say I love you. Death takes more than the person it takes the heart of those left behind.
I don’t think my heart will ever heal from the loss. I think what it is about is learning to live with the grief. It is about learning to get up each day and go on with life even if it is without those we love. I still feel him around me at times and I see him everywhere. I hate feeling this way because so many people out there have it much worse than I do. They have lost children which is something I don’t think I could ever recover from. I have some friends who I think of each day. I think of their heartache and I want to help them but I know it is impossible. If I can’t help myself how am I supposed to help anyone else. Depression sucks ass and death sucks even more. Yes, I have depression. Yes, I have lost the most important people in my life. Yes, I fall apart on more days than not. Is that okay? Yes, it is. Throughout the journey I have learned that I don’t have to be happy every minute of everyday. I keep as positive as I can be and I look for the good things in everything. It has made me more aware of how precious life is and how important it is to tell my husband and kids how much I love them every single day. My struggles have taught me what it is to be a friend and that judgment of others is a waste of time and pretty toxic. I’m me…plain and simple. I’m a mess most times but being a mess has led me to being kind and more understanding. I don’t think every thing in life happens for a reason but I do believe that we have a purpose. My purpose in life is to reach out to others and to give them hope. It is to tell them that in life they are going to face many struggles and they are going to be sad but in that sadness they will find the strength it takes to climb the mountain. It is okay for you to be sad. It is okay for you to completely break down. Don’t compare your trials to other people’s because that isn’t fair. You are a unique person and your life is unique to YOU. The big thing is learning to live in the NOW. Yesterday is gone and we have to learn to let go. The future isn’t here and honestly it may never come. Don’t worry about it and let it consume you. You are here in the present and you have to learn to accept that and enjoy it. That is all you have for sure…the here and now. Love today. Say what you need to your loved ones. Act as everyday is your last because if you do then you are going to do things that normally you take for granted or forget to. Hug a little tighter, love a little more. I don’t know if any of this has made sense because I am on the struggle up the mountain today. I just wanted you to know it is okay to be sad but don’t forget to live. Don’t force a smile when you don’t feel like smiling but when you do feel like it then smile with all you got!!
I was blessed to cross paths with an amazing woman who I now consider one of my best friends. She has taught me so much in the little time I have known her. On days when I think I have it bad my thoughts immediately go to her and her losses and I am quickly reminded that my burdens are not that heavy. We will all go through loss and grief in our lives. There is no way to avoid it. We will lose our parents, our friends, siblings, spouses, and so on but there is no greater loss than that of a child. My mother lost my brother when he was 23 years old and in that moment of loss she was forever changed. She was left with a hole in her heart that no matter what will remain with her until she takes her last breath. I want you to meet Crystal Presnell, a mom whose life was forever changed when she lost not only one but two sweet babies. This is her story of loss, grief, and strength.
They say “life is what you make of it” and I am a firm believer in this, but sometimes no matter how hard you try life doesn’t turn out the way you would like for it to. When life throws you a curve ball you have no choice but to keep living. I have been told again and again that I am the strongest person ever and that people don’t know how I have remained sane. Well, I don’t always feel strong. I have my ups and downs, I have screaming fits, panic attacks and days that quite frankly I feel like giving someone a high five upside the head with a chair. I get so frustrated, I feel lost but I have to pull out of it and be a mom. You see I am a mommy to 3 beautiful angels. Sounds like a perfect life, doesn’t it? Well, I will tell you why it is so hard for me to be happy some days. I have 3 angels, but I only have 1 here on earth with me. This is my story: In October of 1999 I found out I was expecting. I wasn’t married, just out of high school and thinking strongly of joining the military, but it did not matter. The day I saw that big “plus sign” I was beyond ecstatic. My (now) ex-husband proposed to me on Christmas night of ’99 . We wanted to bring our little bundle of joy into a stable home. We set our date for May 20th, just 4 days before my birthday. The days and weeks went by and I started getting a little tummy and I could feel movement. I loved when I could see a little foot impression moving across my tummy. Everything was perfect. We bought a little home that would be perfect for our little family. Everything was coming together perfectly and we were so excited. The nursery was beautifully decorated and ready for the new arrival. I was scheduled for a sonogram at 6 months to find out the sex of the baby. I was really nervous I have to admit, after all this was all new to me. As I lay there the doctor placed the “magic wand” on my tummy and began to look at the monitor. He then looked at me and said “this baby is going to die” point blank that is how he said it. I began to cry, he then looked at me and said “if it doesn’t die it WILL be retarded” I then went from crying to screaming for him to please just shut up. The rest of that visit is a complete blur to me. I remember my mom helping me walk to the car and trying to calm me down but I was heart broke. Then I remembered miracles can happen and I could not or would not believe my baby would die. We didn’t find out the sex that day because the baby wouldn’t turn for us to see. I had every hope that the doctor was wrong and that everything would be ok. On May 20th we said our “I do’s”, I turned 19 on May 24th and on the night of May 28th a month before my due date I went into labor. We go to the hospital and after a very hard delivery of a breech baby with hydrocephalus I finally delivered a 4IB 2Oz baby boy that we named Hunter Allen. His heart was beating but his brain had never formed. His little heart continued to beat for 45 minutes before he flew away to Heaven. It would take forever to tell all of the details so I will leave it at that. I was completely crushed. I didn’t want to see or be around ANYONE!!! I went home to a house that felt completely empty. My mom had gone and took down the nursery because I couldn’t bear the thought of seeing it. I cried and screamed for months. I remember hyperventilating from screaming “I want my baby back” over and over every day for months. It just seemed so unfair and I was completely lost. The specialist I had seen told me this had happened at conception and there was only a 1 in 10 million chance that it would ever happen again. 2 ½ years went by and we decided to try again. Of course when I found out we were expecting again I was on edge; everyone was. I had a great pregnancy and the baby looked perfect at every visit. I went in to labor at almost 8 months and it couldn’t be stopped so my daughter was brought into the world on August 10, 2002 at 5IBS 7OZ and we named her Madison Cheyenne. She was very sick and had to be sent to a children’s hospital 4 hours away. The doctors in my home town said nothing more could be done for her just after one day. But amazingly she started to improve the day after she arrived at the children’s hospital and we got to bring her home in 2 weeks. This was the best day of my entire life. I finally had my sweet baby home with me. I am very happy to say that she is now a very happy, healthy, beautiful and sassy 10 year old. Life was finally starting to look up and the hurt from Hunters passing was becoming somewhat more bearable. My little Maddie was so perfect. She had the most beautiful tan complexion and jet black hair all over her tiny head. I could have eaten her up. When Maddie was 11 months old we found out we were expecting again. Once again we were so happy. We had wanted to have at least one more and now we were having just that. I was very nervous but since Maddie had been ok I remained positive. At 3 months into the pregnancy the doctor noticed I had lost a lot of weight since the month before. I had no morning sickness so it wasn’t from that and being “high risk” he decided it best to go for a sonogram. I will NEVER forget the look on the doctor’s face when he looked at the screen. He turned and looked at me with tears in his eyes and asked me what the complications with my first pregnancy had been. (This was a different, much friendlier doctor) I burst into tears because I knew what he was getting at. He wanted me to see a specialist in another town so off I went. I spent 8 ½ hours having sonograms and I have no clue how many doctors came in to have a look. They then talked amongst themselves and came back to tell me I should terminate the pregnancy. My answer to that was NO! I would give this child every chance at life that I possibly could. Those were the most miserable months of my entire life. I couldn’t eat or sleep. I itched so bad from my nerves that my legs were a bloody mess from scratching so much. It was a living nightmare but I had to stay strong for Maddie and for the most part did as good as could be expected. I was almost 9 months when I woke up in labor. I didn’t want to go to the hospital but had no choice in the matter. By the time I got to the hospital I had half way delivered a breech baby. The doctors tried everything possible to finish but nothing would work. I started slipping away so they rushed me to the OR and put me under. My body had endured so much pain that I went into shock and my heart kept stopping. Thankfully they brought me back each time. Finally after 35 minutes they finished delivering her. The baby I had carried for nearly 9 months had lost the battle during birth. I had no clue until I woke up in recovery that I had gave birth to a 4IB 7Oz baby girl that we named Maria Lynn and that she had already earned her angel wings during birth. I held her for hours and hours. We laid her to rest 3 days later at the same cemetery where my little Hunter and my daddy were laid to rest. I could walk to the graveyard in 2 minutes literally and did so every day. Madison was very young when Maria was born and not even born yet when Hunter was born but she tells everyone about her big brother and little sissy.When we visit their graves (we have since moved) we both sit and talk to them and have a good cry. We still visit them very often and always will. It breaks my heart for Maddie because she wants a sibling so bad but I am seriously too scared of what might happen. She hates being an only child so I go above and beyond to make sure she never feels left out. Life has dealt me some major lemons but I still have a smile on my face. People ask me how I stay sane and my answer to them is “it could have been worse”. I follow these sick baby’s/children on FB and I cannot imagine what those parents deal with every day. Not knowing from one minute to the next if your child will live to see tomorrow. Those people are my definition of a true hero. I miss my baby’s more than anything but I don’t question “why me” because I know God doesn’t make mistakes. I am beyond blessed with my daughter, so I try to keep a smile on my face and be thankful for what I do have. Also, I know the day will come that I will see those precious baby’s again and they are being taking care of by the best babysitter there is, and they are in perfect health. I still have many moments that I cry for them and that will never change. Hunter will be having a birthday this month. I cannot believe my baby will become a teenager this year. Some days seem like all of this took place just yesterday and other days seem like it has been forever since I held them sweet baby’s in my arms last. My favorite quote of all time is “Take all the time you need to heal emotionally. Moving on doesn’t take a day, it takes a lot of little steps to be able to break free of your broken self”. These words are so powerful to me because they are so true. Lord knows I have taken many, many, many steps to get where I am today and it has been far from easy. For those of you that feel like you just can’t go on trust me when I say “yes you can”! At the age of 31 I have been through more than a lot of people in their 60’s and 70’s but I am still here to tell about it so that is a huge blessing in itself.
Okay so yesterday one of my friends said she was getting old and she said I was still a “frying chicken”. I asked her how old she was and she said almost 47. Well, okay I am only a few years behind you. OMG…then it hit me “Holy Shit, I will be 40 in 3 months”!!! 40 years old…I am over half-way through my life and I am totally sad about that…okay I am f’n depressed. I don’t wanna get wrinkles and gray hair. I wanna stay young and “hip” (okay I am definitely not hip…..or at least my kids don’t think I am). You know a few years back I was the mom that all my son’s friends liked. He was on the football team and I remember one day he got in the car after practice and he looked pissed off. I asked him what had happened imagining that one of the other guys or the coach (who I had a huge crush on) had done something to make him mad. Oh no…that was not it. He turns to me and I quote “Mom please find someone else to pick me up from now on and you are not allowed to come to anymore of my games…EVER….do you understand?” I just sat there looking at him like WTF?? About that time three boys knock at the window and ask if they can come spend the night. Jake rolls the window up and tells me to drive. I later realize that they were making him feel very uncomfortable in the locker room because he had a “hot” mom. LMAO…now I have never found myself “hot” in the least bit but you all know how teenage boys think. They are not focused on anything but hot girls…..or older women for some reason. I found it quite hilarious but quite a compliment at the time. Over the past few years I have gained over 50lbs and honestly I have let myself go downhill. I hate it….and I hate the fact that I am getting old. I know considering the alternative aging is a good thing but come on now who wants to wear granny clothes and get their hair teased up in a poof ball that lasts for a week at a time? No rudeness to you grannies because I love you and I myself am now a granna although I don’t tell anyone. I noticed the “crows feet” around my eyes the other day and the f’n cellulite dimples on my ass. I freaked out…totally freaked out. I got online and looked up every product that is supposed to magically get rid of these monstrosities. You want to believe they will vanish and just go away. I know this isn’t going to happen and I have to accept the undeniable fact that I can’t stop the aging process. Okay…hell no….I am fighting it every step of the way and I think I have hit my midlife crisis early. I got a wild ass hair the other day and went and had my nose pierced…yep I did. I still have my belly button ring (which you have to go on a scavenger hunt to find ). I be damned if I take that sucker out because as long as it is there maybe just maybe I will have incentive to find it again. I still have those sweet boxes of hair color that hide the fact my kids are turning my hair a different color and I have all those little facial products that will hopefully keep my wrinkles to a limit. I don’t know if you have seen “This is 40″ but if you haven’t go rent that bitch today and watch it. It gives us ladies some hope and some consolation in the fact that 40 isn’t the end of sexiness! I am taking a lesson from the mom in it as well…..I am now and forever 38 and I am sticking to my story (my lie actually). From now on I am gonna party like it is 1999….lmao….I just had to throw that in there. Geez can you remember when 1999 seemed so far off and honestly believed we would be in flying cars by then…I do. Oh wow…how time flies by. Andy Rooney was absolutely right when he quoted “I’ve learned that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes”. True statement right there. I know I will not handle August 31st very well and as a matter of fact I will probably eat the whole damn cake myself, scarf down a gallon of ice-cream, and cry in my wine all night long. So, right now I am starting to prepare myself for my meltdown…the meltdown of the century. Now, I must go color my hair, do my sit ups, and apply my wrinkle cream.
Today has been one of the insane maddening mommy days. I am exhausted…drained and all I can think about is the statistics paper I have to do. The dogs woke me up first thing…off to a great morning! Those damn dogs are ALWAYS into something. They are worse than the toddler…okay they are about the same. Somehow Daisy managed to get the bedroom door open and escaped. She then used her “Houdini” skills to jail break Murphy who was in his crate. I hear a banging going on in the living room and when I get in there the dogs had obviously been plotting their escape for awhile because they had managed to get the front door open and they were out in the yard frolicking like Tiny Tim who tiptoes through the tulips. I yelled at the hubs to get his ass up and chase them this time because I wasn’t about to let the “hot” neighbor see me running about in my tank and panties (after he had caught me ass up in the air cleaning their shitty crate the other day)! Well Mitts and I decide to take a shower because I have tons of things to do today and I need to get on it. I always leave her in the shower after I get out so she can play. I put up all the razors and bottles and put her toys in there. Well, I was drying off and starting to get ready when I hear her start crying and then this blood curdling scream pierces my ears. I grab the shower curtain, rip it back, and there she stands pointing to the floor. OH MY HOLY BABY BUDDHA. I swear to you on all that is holy there is a
turd cement block the size of my fist sitting in the middle of the shower floor. It is huge and hard as a rock. I don’t know how in the hell this child just pushed that monstrosity out of her ass. I would have been screaming too. I think she was afraid it was going to raise up and eat her or something. I grab the toilet paper and scoop it up, toss it in the toilet, and then go to clean her up. Well, much to my surprise (okay I am never surprised anymore) there is another mountain of poo behind her and a nice stream running down her legs. I now figure out why she has been crying for days. She had an impaction and the “diarrhea” was the stool running out from around the impaction…yeah yummy stuff to hear huh? Sorry, I’m a nurse and it takes a lot to make me nauseous. Well, I clean up the nice, shitty tub and the baby and I smile because at least it was in the tub and not on the carpet. Lunch time arrives and I decided to fix some coconut shrimp which has to go in the oven. I preheat it like I am suppose to and go to do some of my homework while I am waiting. In the meantime I feel my poor nose start stinging and I have to go check it out. Well, for those of you who do not know, I got my nose pierced for the second time a few weeks back. It has been infected on and off but oh my…never like this. I notice blood around it and my nose is the size of an elephant snout. I try to clean it but the stud has somehow sunk into the skin. I can’t get to it. I fiddle and fiddle with it and finally get it out. I then smell something burning and I remember I lit the oven but why does it smell like the house is burning down? Well I go running in there and there is smoke rolling out of the oven and then the loud annoying fire alarm goes off as the house fills up with smoke. I am terrified to open the door but I do and there is a fire. I shit you not a f’n fire is burning in my oven. I scream at the hubs and me and him both are in there looking like a bunch of firemen on crack trying to get this fire out. Once we got everything under control I get the look of death from him…..I had left a pizza box in there from two nights ago…oops. That box had caught on fire and for some reason the hubs didn’t find it as humorous as I did. While we are trying to prevent the house from burning to the ground Mittens decides she is going to be superbaby. She climbs up in the kitchen chair and tries to jump off frontward but instead loses her balance and falls backwards before I can get to her. She of course lands on the back of her head and I am freaking out. I am yelling at Kyle to get the car cause we are going to the hospital. He tells me to chill out because she is conscious. REALLY? Just because it didn’t knock her out doesn’t mean she don’t have some brain damage….he just laughs at me. Okay, I agree I am exaggerating but head injuries are bad. I do not like them. I sit down to take a break and my 6 year old step-daughter comes and sits beside me. She hands me a letter and says “I wrote this just for you”. I’m thinking awwww so sweet…she knows I am having a crappy day. This is what the letter said: (spelling courtesy of the 6 year old.)
Dear Rebeccy, just cuase you spilled things, just cuase you said oh Jesus to many times, just cuase you got sick tody, just cuase you had to say mitttens all day, just cuase you said shit when you burnned the pizza box and cuased smoke in the house, just cuase you never do your school work, just cuase you let mitttens fall and bunk her head means you are sill a good persun. You are not a bad persun and God still loves you just like I do. No body is purrfect.
Okay so I think that was supposed to make me feel better? However after that I decided it was time for a bottle of wine. Well wine does not go well with statistics homework nor does it help my brain to function properly. My nose was hurting and I decided I needed to clean it again and get something in it before it grows up. So I ditch my homework yet again and head to the bathroom. I about shit when I see my nose because it is huge. That should have told me to clean it and leave it alone but do I think along those lines? Nope. I get it cleaned and I find my new belly button ring….which is not made to go into a nose. However, I have learned where there is a will there is a way. Needless to say I keep on poking until I get this spike in my nose. Okay, it looks like a disco ball and one end is on top of my nose while the other is hanging out the bottom of my nose. DQ comes walking in to ask me a question and when I look up at her she immediately starts laughing and her eyes get as big as quarters. She says “mom….seriously have you looked in the mirror? Please tell me you are not going out of the house like that…PLEASE?” Wow, I have succeeded in making my child think I have completely lost any sanity I had left. So anyway, I now have a disco ball in my nose, the fire has been extinguished, the poop is out of the tub, I have a clean baby, the dogs are safely tucked away, I am a good person and God loves me, the wine bottle is empty and I still do not have my statistics paper even started.
Working in a restaurant, especially a state park, you have the people that come & go, your tourist & your regulars. We had an elderly couple that would come eat faithfully almost every night. They had their own table, ate & drank the same thing & you always knew the exact tip you were going to receive. They definately have become part of our “park family.” We lost the man yesterday morning & I think that I can speak for everyone, that we are going to miss him dearly. Praying for his family & especially his wife during this time. So tonight we have made ‘your table’ extra special just for you!
So my son’s girlfriend posted this on her wall today and me being the baby I am I have sat and cried until I am literally snuffing (is that even a word?). Immediately it brought back memories of so many couples I have been blessed to know in my lifetime. Today so many people take love and marriage for granted. I guess I was one of those people at a particular time. My marriage failed because my husband at the time felt the need to romance more than one woman at a time….for ten years. Yes, I finally gave in and just told him to leave. I don’t know how much more I could have taken and I wasn’t about to catch something that Ajax wouldn’t take off. So, anyway, my parents are the prime example of how real love goes. I sit and I think back to days where hugs were plentiful and playful chases throughout the house were common. I always heard my parents say I love you every single day (even if they had just had a knock down drag out….just kidding…no knocking down allowed). I remember silly fights they had over literally nothing. My mom could be so nagging at times and my daddy was just hard headed. With both of them it was “my way or the highway” which usually meant my dad caved in and then my mom felt bad for making him cave in. I watched my parents hold on to each other when my brother passed away. I have heard so many couples say that their marriages just fell apart because they couldn’t stand the grief and they could see the child in their spouse. I’m not saying it was easy because my mom sank into a depression that nearly killed her. She wouldn’t leave the house and my dad had to do all the grocery shopping, paying bills, anything that required an outside trip. It broke my hear to see her in such a shape and my poor daddy having to hold up for both of them. He worshiped my mother and would do anything for her. Every single morning he went to Dairy Queen to talk to the old farts up there about what ever it is old farts talk about and he would always bring my mama a BLT on white bread home with him (every day for over 20 years). My dad had his first heart attack back in 1999 and that completely upset my mom’s “hermit” life. She had no choice but to pull herself together and take care of him. She spent night after night in a little sleeping area while he underwent open heart surgery. She never left his side once he got to a room. I saw a fear in her eyes that I had never seen before….it was a fear of losing him. Over the next ten years the road was very rocky. My mom wanted to stay at home away from everyone but my dad was so sick and required hospital stays every couple of months. It was in those times where my dad was in the hospital I saw just how strong my mama was. I saw her walk outside by herself in the middle of the bad part of Nashville all hours of the night. I saw her hold herself together although she was falling apart inside. The woman that I had always thought was weak was truly a wonder woman. My dad would have his good days and then bad. He continued to work on a monument for the Veterans at the cemetary where my brother was buried. He had trees planted down each side of the drive and he had flags put on every veteran’s grave. He was a good man and he wanted to do good things for others. My mom knew he was keeping himself busy as a way to deal with grief over my brother as well as his illness. Over the next 10 years he had 9 more heart attacks. Each one a little bit worse than the one before. He was life-flighted out 4 times and pulled through being on a ventilator all four times and guess who was right by his side during every sickness and hospitalization….my mother. She wasn’t ever one to cry or show emotion but during certain times I would hear her in another room crying quietly. I can remember one time not to long after a hospitalization my mom and dad got into a spat over something (I don’t even remember…but it wasn’t serious). I pulled up after work and my dad was going around the side of the house with a tv in his arms. I was like ok….what the heck?! Him and mom decided they were splitting up…so dad was headed to the basement to live. Bahahahahaha….I placed bets with my aunt on how long that would last. I think my dad made it two days before he was back upstairs and they were acting like nothing happened. In 2008 my dad began to go down hill quickly. He even quit going to the cemetary everyday. He would call and ask me to take him because his feet were so swollen he couldn’t get shoes on. He had such a hard time breathing and it pained me just to watch him. There are pictures I will never get out of my head. You know you get this “ok nothing bad is going to happen…it will all be okay” attitude. Well it just got worse. He started forgetting things and some days would forget something I had told him 10 minutes before. He would get so angry because he couldn’t remember and couldn’t stay awake which we learned was the lack of oxygen to his brain. I remember the early morning my mom called…you just have a feeling. She said daddy had fallen in the kitchen floor the night before and his lips were bluish but he was still talking. He had told her not to call the ambulance that he wanted one more night with her. She said they laid there in that kitchen floor with his head in her hands. They talked about how they met, the things they had go to do in life, me and my brother, and how happy they had made each other. Around 4am when he couldn’t breathe anymore she called 911 and then me. When I go to the hospital mom told me it wasn’t good. As I went in to see my daddy I saw his feet were blue and splotched as well as his ears. I knew this was it. My mom stood there holding his hand with her head down. The only thing my dad said was “Please take care of your mom”. The doc rushed in and said they were going to life flight him but they didn’t think he would make it this time. He had a massive heart attack and it was so damaged only 5 % would pump so he would require a machine to do it for him. When we got to Vandy they took us to his room where he was hooked up to machines and the vent. Mom just looked at him with such sadness in her eyes. All those years he had pulled through for us and we both knew this was it. We both laid down with him until the doctor came in and told us he would never make it off of the vent. She told us we had to make up our mind whether to leave him on or take him off. My dad had always been one of those who said if you know I am never coming off the vent or I am never gonna lead a quality life then you unhook me. Those words played over and over in my head. We told them to take it off. My mom sat by his bed holding his hand and I laid down beside him and rubbed his face. I watched that damn monitor just hoping and praying it would improve instead of slowing down. I watched each breath he took and then I would look at my mom whose heart sank a little more each time. I saw the life in her leaving as the life in my dad was leaving. After about an hour we let him go. I whispered in his ear it was okay to let go….I promised to take care of my mom and I told him I loved him more than life itself. My mom bent down and kissed his forehead and as she did he took his last breath. My mom broke down and I have never see her cry like that. Tears of true love…..lost. My parents had been together since my mom was 16 years old. They married when she was 19. Together 53 years and then he suddenly left her life. I will tell you if I have ever experienced true love that was it right there. I just wish more people could experience that kind of love in life or see it. Mom has told me over and over she was so glad she had that last night with him. She said although it doesn’t take the pain away it gives her peace of mind. My parents had a lot of love in their life and although they never had material things they had each other. Today is hard for me….I miss my daddy and I hate the fact that I feel I have let him down by not taking the best care I can with my mom. God knows I have tried. It was me who cared for her during her accident but it is me having to fight her brothers to care for her now. I believe in one way or another it will be okay. Next time you are walking at the store, the part, or the mall and you pass that little old couple who are holding hands and look happier than ever…know that is the love I speak of. It is still out there you just have to work to find and keep it!
Okay so this isn’t going to be the sweet, fun-filled post I would have hoped for today. Nope today I am beyond pissed and I feel like speaking my mind (which is not a good thing because I don’t have too much to lose).
I am pretty sure I have one of the worst extended families in the entire world. Let’s start with my dad’s side. He has one sister left alive whom I love dearly. I was named after her and she helped raise me because we lived next door to her my entire life. She is 80 this year and not in good health. I hate to see it because I know that she will probably be the next person I lose. The bad part of that side of the family comes with her son. He was so good to me as a baby. He used to put headphones on me and let me listen to Elvis (only thing that would shut me up). Over the years he met a woman who was born with a silver spoon in her mouth and one of those lucky people who’s shit don’t stink. Her kids wore all the name brand clothes, were in the beauty pageants, played sports….blah blah blah. I was not as lucky. I wore hand me downs and Good will or Wal-Mart clothes. My house was old, smelled bad (because my parent’s smoked), and was bright yellow and shit brown. I had to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with them looking down their noses at me. It is the only two times I saw them a year. His wife made fun of my Aunt and it made me so mad but I knew if I could get through the night it was over until next year. That is it on that side….all I have left of family. Now, on to my mom’s side who makes my dad’s side look like Mother Teresa. I grew up living two houses down from my mom’s baby brother and his four kids. He was a preacher as far back as I can remember and boy did he let that make his head swell. Over the years I would go to church with him because my parents didn’t go. I was raised in this church that believed in no make-up, no jeans for women, long hair for women, one marriage/no divorce, no rock music….on and on. Well, for my younger years I let this message brainwash my head although I never felt it was right. I heard him preach against so many things that I disagreed with. I also heard him preach kindness and not to be judgmental of others. Show them love and be a good example. Well, needless to say as I aged I decided that I loved God but not the God that he preached about. How could God love me but send me to hell for cutting my hair?? How could God love me but send me to hell for wearing blue jeans? Well, I decided to follow my own path although I continued to go to church there. Immediately I was looked at like satan’s spawn. Oh wow….look at her she is wearing make up and she listens to Kenny Chesney…She is hell bound. I finally quit going because I decided it was not them I needed to please. I immediately became the “black sheep” of the family. My mom’s sister who loved me dearly had died so I didn’t have her to go to…my uncles just sided with the preacher. When I had a child out of wedlock I thought they were going to hang me from a tree and then when my marriage failed, due to years of cheating by the spouse, I was kicked out of the church (even though I didn’t go anymore). The take your name off of the member book if you divorce and re-marry. How is this right? I can’t make mistakes and go to Heaven? I can’t wear certain clothes and make it to Heaven? If I don’t conform to what you thing God wants then I am a sinner and I have bought my one way ticket to hell? Well so be it because if Heaven is full of judgmental people like you then I don’t want to be there. After last night I have completely washed my hands with him and that entire side of the family. When my mom had her accident that nearly claimed her life I sat with her for the three months she was on a vent fighting for her life. I saw her brothers visit a total of three times (one of those times the only reason the preacher came was because he was visiting someone else at the hospital). He runs a church with over 500 people and they were always doing benefit singings to raise money for those in the church who needed help. When I called and asked if he could raise some money for mom and I since I couldn’t work and none of the bills was getting paid he said no. I told him I had just received her first hospital bill and we hadn’t even left. I kid you not this bill was over 1 million dollars for a bed in the trauma unit. I about pissed my pants. My heart broke when we wouldn’t ask for help just because she was “his sister” as he told me. I brought her home with me, took her back and forth to Nashville for visits, sat with her every time she ended up in the hospital, changed her bandages and a colostomy bad up to 10 times a day….did he once call and ask me if I needed help? Hell no. I needed a ramp built to the front of my house because of her wheel chair(she wasn’t walking yet) and guess what? It took volunteers from the community to buy the supplies and build the ramp. Now you tell me that is showing love for others when you let people that don’t even know my mom build a simple ramp because it would be “wrong” for you to ask help for your own sister. Well, after two years of caring for her I got pregnant with MIttens. I continued to care for her even after the doc put me on bedrest. Once I went to the hospital I needed someone to help care for my mom until I could get back on my feet. My mom’s other sister (the only one who had helped me any at all) decided she would take her and care for her until I could. She had POA switched to herself so she could make all decisions. Well she couldn’t handle mom. Mom’s memory was still very bad and she would get out of the house at night. Joyce didn’t want to chance her getting hurt so she put her in the nursing home. That broke my heart and I felt it was my fault because I couldn’t care for her. Over the next few weeks I talked to my Aunt and she said she wanted to keep mom out there for rehab just to see if they couldn’t get some of her memory back. I agreed. Mom did start improving so I didn’t fuss to much. We never thought about POA until my Aunt admitted she had lung cancer and didn’t know how long she would live. Every time we were to go to court to switch it back over she was sick and we couldn’t get there. She passed away before anything was switched so I was in a mess. I needed a 1000 dollars to put up as “collateral”. You have to protect the person who needs a guardian. So they require you to pay so much money just in case you take advantage of the person. I had a court date set and was working on getting the money. Well, I was too late because the “preacher” went behind my back and got POA over her. I was literally fuming. Now, I have to ask him to even get my mom out of the nursing home for visits. I have asked to bring her back home and he says no because he feels her memory isn’t good enough. I am her daughter and I am the one who cared for her without anyone’s help….now he is telling me I can’t care for my own mom? I finally got to take her to an appointment last week because he had a funeral to preach. We had such a good time. I took her to eat, we went to the mall and I bought her some clothes, and we went to Starbucks which she had been begging for. I was supposed to take her back yesterday just for a re-check but of course Hallie had been sick vomiting and with diarrhea. I called the doctor and rescheduled the appointment, I called mom and told her what was going on, and I called the nursing home to let them know what happened and when her next appointment was. Well, I didn’t call him and that pissed him off. He called me last night and talked to me like I was a five year old child. He scolded me for not calling him. He told me I would never be allowed to take her anywhere else again. This is MY mom and I feel like I can’t even have a relationship with her without getting permission from the f’n warden. I am sick and tired of it but can’t do a damn thing. He is a huge part of our town. Everyone knows him and respects him. There wouldn’t be anyway I could talk a judge into giving me back POA. I want to bring her home so badly. Last night I was in tears and I called mom and told her how much I loved her and told her why I may not be back out there. She told me she loved me so much and for me to quit crying. She said she would talk to him that it really wasn’t up to him who took care of her. The bad thing is her memory is still bad at times and she may not even remember our conversation. My heart is broken and now I sit here thinking I have no one. It is my hubs, my kids, and me. Over the years I have learned so much about humanity and how cruel some can be. I learned who my true friends were during mom’s accident and I learned how shitty my family really is. I can’t let this destroy me though. I have to just keep on keepin on. Yeah, I am remarried, I wear jeans, I wear makeup, and I listen to the “devil music”. It is none of your business the road I choose to travel. In my eyes I am just as good as you. I care for others without judgment. I don’t beat them down and tell them they are going to hell for being divorced. I don’t have two cents to rub together sometimes but I give to charity every month. If I can help someone I will and I don’t expect anything in return or the “notoriety” for doing it. I am so sorry for the rant but this is my only outlet. It is the one place I can speak my mind without condemnation. I truly hope you are not the black sheep of your family but if you are then rock that title. Show them just how amazing a black sheep can be. To me it is better to stand out than to just disappear in the crowd. As for me…I am moving on. I am counting my losses and cutting them loose. I don’t need anyone in my life that don’t need me. My life is mine to live…my choices. The only one who will judge me is my maker.