Post Conviction Paralysis


This daunting image is what it felt like after John was convicted and mom died.  I felt captured in mid-air leaving one nightmare and entering another.  Full of uncontrollable fear. I had nowhere to go, nowhere to run and no safety net to catch me.  What’s even more symbolic of this picture, is it happened 9 days after his sentence, 9/11 was felt so deep down inside me this moment resonated with me and I couldn’t get it out of my head.

For years I have had dreams of falling from a tall building or cliff, wide awake feeling the crisis of the moment all the way down, and right before I hit the ground I wake up.  This is a recurrent dream for me and I’ve had it since I was a pre-teen. This is how I’ve felt since I last posted about this douche bag.  Over the past week I have kept feeling like something is about to happen.  Something bad, maybe an anniversary or birthday; it didn’t hit me until today.  January 30, 2002 was the night I was attacked at my home.

My subconsciousness knew this was the next chapter of John, hell I even knew it but couldn’t come to writing about it.  Yet this moment has been gnawing at me and this anniversary is not one to celebrate.  The longer I ignore this demon gnawing at me the more I will crawl into my hole.  So, I’m taking my jump by choice, I’m jumping into the next round of my story and it is my choice to do so.  Praying this is a healing moment.

From August 2001 until January, 30, 2002; I lived in a cave.  I didn’t go places, I shut myself off from everyone, broke up with a guy I was dating and I lived in constant fear.  John wasn’t put in prison, there was still nothing protecting me.  I still woke up 4-6 times per night checking and re checking every door and window in the house.  Kept my porch lights on, alarm armed and my gun within quick reach.  I even had a knife hidden between my mattress set.  My dog was a wolf hybrid and she was a badass and very protective.  I got a job that was 45 miles away from my home, I left medicine as a nurse and went into the mortgage industry.  I felt that I needed to change my career so he couldn’t find me again, driving to a from places was different every day and I read every book I could to learn more about stalking and the effects.

On the day of January 30th, I went to work and my son was staying with his father that night, we had a set schedule of when he would be with his dad.  On those nights I would work late, I dove into my work so I didn’t have to be at home alone.  When I got home and pulled into my driveway it was about 9:30 pm and obviously dark outside.  I noticed immediately that the side gate to my backyard was open and I immediately thought only about my dog.  What if she got out, how will I find her, she had a doggie door she could use.  I decided to go through the gate and call for her, because then if she was home she would come through the doggie door and meet me in the backyard.  It’s a pitch black area, no lights on this side of the house, as I entered through the gate I yelled for her.  Then out of nowhere I hear “Hello Katy” and I’m immediately hit in the forehead with a large object.  I know I lost consciousness because I woke up face down in the dirt with someone sitting on my back with a rope around my neck.  Fuck I’m having flashbacks typing this, I’m shaking.

The fight or flight in me kicked in immediately and I started fighting.  Trying to grab at his hands, but he had gloves on and a Carthartt canvas feeling coat.  The rope was really thin and I couldn’t get my fingers between it and my throat.  I flailed around the best I could and then I realized my car keys were stabbing me in the leg and I grabbed for them.  I had a key fob with an alarm and that car alarm was loud as hell and I managed to push the alarm button.  Then he was gone.  He took off and I don’t know which way he went, when I realized he was off of me I got up and ran to my door and got in, pushed the house alarm panic button and locked myself in the bathroom with the phone.  I coward to the floor in fetal position calling 911 and what felt to be hours was merely minutes before a I heard sirens and a female voice at the bathroom door.  She told me who she was and it was safe to come out.  I came out to my home full of police officers and flashlights and questions coming at me.  I was coughing because my throat was swelling up from the strangulation, I had blood all over my hands and didn’t know here it was coming from, I couldn’t breathe through my nose and I was covered in dirt with rips in my blouse and holes in the knees of my slacks, and I was missing a shoe.  I kept asking for my dog, where the fuck is my dog?  A lady officer told me she was asleep on my bed, breathing but she wouldn’t wake up.  I ran to her and cried and was dropping blood off my face onto her and couldn’t comprehend shit.

They called for an ambulance to take me to the hospital, animal control took my dog to get checked out at a vet and I couldn’t stop shaking.  I shook like I had hypothermia, I felt paralyzed and confused.  The emergency room doctor looked me over, took x-rays of my throat and CT of my head and nose. Gave me one hell of a sedative to calm me down and watched over me for hours.  Meanwhile I had this detective, a woman, who was there to ask me questions.  I explained over and over what transpired.  It was fresh in my head, and I kept telling myself “you have to keep remembering, close your eyes, keep the imprint in your mind”.  I remember the doctor giving me a steroid for the swelling in my throat, a narcotic for pain and the sedative all in my system.  I was at that moment just trying to piece things together, all these drugs and I couldn’t keep anything straight.

Once the hospital released me the detective took me to the police department.  Took me into an interrogation room with mirrored windows and a camera.  Then proceeded to ask me more of the same questions.  I kept relaying to her about the stalker, kept telling her to go find John.  I felt like she just wouldn’t listen.  I got very frustrated and upset and demanded to see the lead detective that helped with John in the first place and she kept saying “He’s not on duty, I am”.  After telling her my story and what happened, she said I couldn’t go home because the police were processing the scene and would be there all night.  I had to stay at a neighbor’s house. My sister lived across the street and when the officers originally went over there to tell her what had happened, she was high or drunk and told them she just didn’t have time to deal with any of it.  Yeah, my own sister, the self-absorbed trained narcissist just couldn’t deal with it. So I stayed at the neighbors.  I laid on their couch, I tried to sleep but seriously who was I kidding.  I couldn’t sleep.

The next day I went home, called the vet and went to pick up my dog.  She had been sedated with a hotdog laced with an animal sedative. I called my dad Clint and he was on his way to my house, he was 5 hours away.  My son stayed with his father.  I just laid in my bed, waiting….

The detective called me the next day and asked if I had any ideas of who would want to hurt me.  I busted out laughing. “Are you fucking kidding me? Do you not remember me telling you over and over about John?  Did you find him, did you interview him?” Her response took this trauma to a whole new level, “No we didn’t, we felt that if we came to him about you it would reopen his obsession with you.” UN-FUCKING-BELIEVABLE! She asked if she could call my psychologist to see if maybe she could understand better what I’ve been through with the stalker.  Weird ass question, but okay, please go for it.  I had an appointment with Madeline the next day because of this attack, maybe she could shine some light on me about this detective and what the fuck she is doing.  Madeline trained Police Officers on this type of violence and the victims.

That night my dad was with me shaking his head in shock, then told me he was going to run an errand and would be back so I wasn’t alone for long.  5 hours later Clint stumbled into my house, so drunk he couldn’t even speak.  Good ol’ dad went and got drunk, that was his coping mechanism and his way of helping me.

My support system, non-existent.  Sister didn’t want to be bothered and didn’t even come to check on me once, because she was headed to Mexico for a vacation.  Dad was drunk the whole time.  My ex-husband was threatening to get a court order to take my son away (once again) on the grounds of an unsafe home.  I had no friendships because I cut them all off during my cave hibernation.  I was so very alone there were no words to explain how alone I was. I went to see Madeline that next day, she told me that the detective hinted around that she thought I did this to myself.  It “Just seemed weird that I was able to get away so easily. That based on her experience she’d never seen anything like it before.”

If you’re sitting there with your mouth wide open and shaking your head, yeah, that just happened.  Madeline knew me better than that, she knew I was telling the truth.  I’m still not sure how I hit myself over the head and wrapped a “shoestring” around my neck and strangled myself.  Not sure how I broke my nose.  Really not sure how I could have sedated my dog while I was at work for 12 hours and she was still sedated when I got home.  Apparently according to Inspector Gadget, I did this to myself and she refused to further investigate.

At that very moment I was crying so hard in Madeline’s office I couldn’t breathe.  I hyperventilated and told her I was just going to kill myself.  Fuck it.  Nobody cares, everyone around me is fucked in the head, I’m scared as hell and I will not live like this any longer.  My .38 would have been my best choice, hollow point bullets, blow my fucking head off.

Madeline being the badass psychologist she is, immediately got me admitted into a behavioral health hospital for a full workup.  She even drove me there.  She called my father and told him to go home, that I was admitted and didn’t want anyone to know where to find me.  She told him his behavior did more harm than good. She arranged for my dog to be looked after by neighbors.  She also called the detective and informed her that her disbelief in my attack was destructive, unprofessional and would be reported to the Chief.

I was finally in a safe place.  Getting real help.  Being cared for.  To this day, I can’t wear a scarf, no tight necklaces or fashionable “chokers” and I can’t be grabbed from behind. My little boy now likes to ride on my back, and I have to remind him each time not to grab tightly around my neck and I have to remind myself, it’s just my little boy.



Physical & Emotional



“There are so many secret wounds, so many types of hidden scars. The soul, being stronger than we think, can survive all mutilations and the marks upon it make it perfect and complete.”

This is from the PBS series Call The Midwife Season 6 episode 6. I love this series because of all of the stories of true life. It’s not just in today’s society we see aweful injustices on women. It’s been happening for years, behind closed doors, victims kept silent.

The ending spoken narrative, stuck with me. Something to reflect on.




I started this blog one year ago in an effort to work through my past and present realities. I’ve grown in knowledge based on putting my feelings and experiences into words. I’ve made some amazing “blogging” friends who have similar experiences in life. I’ve even managed to piss some people off.

My goal was to create a space where I could raise awareness to CPTSD, and it evolved from there. I wish I could be writing more currently, but my health isn’t allowing it. My “brain fog” is a mother fucker at its best. So while I’m not able to put feelings and thoughts into words, I’m still going to do my best to raise awareness.

Thank you to those of you who have been loyal readers, without you…I have no voice.

No Contact… Ever Again…


I used to love rollercoasters as a kid, wild ups and downs, unsuspecting turns, feelings of no control and the chance to get back in line to do it again. Not so much as an adult now, in fact I’ll never get on one again.  Now that I’ve experienced grief on many levels, I don’t care for the uncertainty the grief ride leaves me feeling.

When mom died it wasn’t the first time I grieved her loss. This first time was when she became an alcoholic and there was no option for sobriety in sight. She’d been through 3 different rehabs and walked out of them all. The grief of accepting that my mom would never “be” my mom again was a hard acceptance to swallow.  I tried the NC (no contact) method, but she would call me at work, page me constantly, show up at my house unannounced and made it impossible.  I searched for counseling and worked through that loss, but I still had hope that a miracle would happen. Accepting that I couldn’t save her was really hard, since I’m the caretaker in the family and it’s my best co-dependent trait, I felt like a failure.

As her alcoholism got worse, so did her narcissism.  She was a destructive force that triangulated through all aspects of my life and I never felt free. I honestly had moments where I wished she’d just die.  Ignorantly assuming once she was gone, so would the pain she inflicted on us daily. I was honest once about this with whom I thought was a close friend and she berated me over the coals.  My therapist knew I felt this way and she validated my feelings and helped me see that I wasn’t the only person in the history of the world to feel that way.

When mom died my Sis and I both had the same reaction. Immediate sadness, pain and crying…combined with a sense of relief and freedom. What a fucked up feeling!  To be sad yet relieved a person has died is like cooking oil and gasoline…the two don’t mix! Highly flammable! In all honesty we both started to sing “ding dong the witch is dead” and then cried in anger that she made us feel that way. We felt guilty.


The first month was sadness and a feeling of emptiness. I think I walked around in a state of shock and couldn’t believe a person could grieve twice for the same person. Then my friend who berated me earlier for wishing for her death called me to see how I was doing, then arrogantly stated “Well you can’t take that wish back now can ya? Hope you learned something from such a hateful thing to say.”  WOW!  That was helpful, I’d prefer you just shit in my Cheerios next time.  Then I sat back and realized…this friend was just like my mother.  Interesting how we attract what we know.

Grief may have 5 stages to it, but those stages don’t go in any particular order, no time frame, unknowingly hits you at the oddest times and circle back around.  Grief combined with PTSD, depression and severe anxiety is a cocktail for destruction. I went through one of the deepest depressions of my life.  When I didn’t have my son with me I’d stay in bed all day binge watching Trading Spaces. Cry uncontrollably. Then go out in the evening and get sauced at the local watering hole.

I’d pick up the phone often and call her house when I knew Larry wasn’t there, just to hear her voice on the voicemail.  Wear her perfume just to smell her, or her sweater to feel like she was wrapping her arms around me.  It was a deep loving grief. Until the reading of the Will.

Larry was 12 years older than Joan, he almost died several times, so Joan thought he’d clearly die before her.  Her Will was not outlined for me and Sis, just that Larry would decide what we could have. Going into their 8 year marriage mom had a 401k of $150k and $80k in equity from the sale of our childhood home, plus $50k from our grandmother’s estate. Larry had a monthly pension, social security, $75k in home equity and $500k in retirement funds. Let’s just say he didn’t need our mothers money…but he kept it. He wrote Sis and I a check for $10k each and told us to get her things out of his house and that was it.  Bought his grown children all new cars and gambled and drank the rest away.  Larry is a douche bag, plain and simple. Sad excuse of a human being that went from being our high school Principal to a greedy dirty old man with no conscience.

Our anger vacillated from him to mom minute by minute, how could she be so stupid, did she do it out of hate, how could he be so greedy, what in the hell was she thinking?  Money isn’t everything, but being a single mom, living in a tiny house with no retirement plan nor college fund in place, our rightful inheritance would have been very helpful.  That was 16 years ago and I still shake my head in disbelief. Ever see Mommy Dearest? She left her children NOTHING! This is why my mother’s name is Joan in this blog, she fits the role beautifully.

Through anger, disgust, hate and bitterness…you’ll still catch me wearing her perfume, her sweater or her favorite necklace. I still talk to her, sometimes I yell at her and sometimes I cry for her.  I miss her dearly and I’m so relieved she’s not here fucking with me on a daily basis.

Larry died about 6 years back, heart failure caused his lungs to fill with fluid, he basically drowned…good. Some day I’ll find his grave and I WILL piss on it…mark my words.

Not very Christian of me is it?  Well I’m not perfect, if I was I’d be Jesus, so all I can do is ask you to pray for me.

I’m Sorry Mom, But You’re Dying


It was a midsummer morning, I was just pulling away from my house headed for work, and I became extremely uneasy and concerned for my mom. I was 30 years old and working as a nurse, three weeks prior mom had turned jaundice due to cirrhosis of her liver from alcoholism, so I knew her time was limited.

I drove to her house and looked inside the windows. I could see that her husband was gone, most likely took the early bus to the casino, but her purse was on the counter. I grabbed the hidden front door key and let myself in, as I did I announced myself, hoping not to startle her yet praying she’d answer.  When she didn’t answer, my heart was pounding as I inched up the stairs to her room. There was an awful smell and I just wanted to run, I was so scared.

I found her in her room sitting on her couch, awake, breathing but sitting in about 3 days worth of bodily waste and vomit. She had no idea who I was and couldn’t speak, she just mumbled. She had a half bottle of vodka by her side and nothing else. It appeared her husband was coming and going each day to the casino and ignoring her current condition.  I calmly called for an ambulance for transport to the hospital, not because I knew they could save her, but I sure as shit wasn’t leaving her to die that way in filth and neglect.

I didn’t leave a note for her husband, he didn’t deserve to know where she was. My sis was in Mexico on vacation and I had no way of reaching her. I had to handle this on my own, which I preferred because I didn’t need the rest of the drama from everyone else. There were 1 out of 100 casino’s her husband could have been at, no way of locating him. Basically the ER doctor did what he could based on her current condition and that was to make her comfortable, admitted her directly to their Hospice unit and there I sat staring at her unresponsive body. Her body was full of toxins and she wasn’t expected to wake up, after a couple of days during her “sleep” she woke straight up and was asking the nurse what was happening. The nurse called me right away.

I rushed right over and it was about 10 o’clock in the morning, her doctor wouldn’t be in until that evening and I couldn’t have her sitting there in fear wondering what was happening to her. She needed to know she was dying, but I wasn’t about to let some stranger explain this to her. Her husband was once again out at a casino, wasn’t about to wait for his sorry ass to show up for this critical conversation. I went into her room and sat down on her bed, Joan was as lucid as she could ever be, it was an unexplainable reality. I made small talk asking her how she felt, if she recalled anything from the past few days, trying to gauge her level of orientation. I finally conjured up the courage to tell her where her physical condition was really at and death was imminent.

“Mom you’ve been here in the hospital for 3 days now, I found you at home alone, incoherent and very ill. After many tests and evaluations it is determined that your liver has completely stopped working. This condition is not reversible  and you are expected to die with the next couple of days to couple of weeks.” Then with a deep breath I waited for her response.

She also took a deep breath, looked around the room and says “Well I really fucked up didn’t I”?  I was in utter disbelief. I responded “Yes mom you did, but at least you gave it all you got.” She was silent for a time and I asked her if she had any questions. She replied sternly “No. I don’t want to talk about it anymore. I want ice cream.”  I found her some ice cream and spent the rest of the time organizing her transfer to a long-term hospice facility nearby.

In 24 hours mom was transferred and she was in and out of consciousness. By this point she was 5 days without alcohol, she suffered tremors and anxiety and they treated her for comfort. My Godfather and my dad Clint came to see her. Being very Catholic, my Godfather brought a priest to pray over her. In the room was myself, Joan, her husband Leisure Suit Larry, Clint and my Godfather. She looked at my dad and smiled in delight, looked at Larry while pointing at my dad and said “Look honey it’s my husband!” Larry was pissed, I enjoyed his discomfort. We talked for a bit. Then she fell asleep.

Joan’s best friend showed up the next morning to see her, she prayed with her and asked if she would accept Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and mom did. She had been baptized as a child, but I think she was scared and this brought her some emotional comfort. That day mom slipped into a coma.

I went and saw her every day for the next few days and then woke up on a Friday morning with that gut feeling that I had to go to her that day. When I arrived with my latte and bagel she was now in a private room. I checked her hands and they were starting to stiffen, I called the nurse in for a vital check, she was in the “transition” process of dying and it would happen within 24 hours. Joan was very proud of her rings and watch and was wearing them, the nurse advised that we remove them now. She brought me a bag to put them in, but I immediately put them on the same fingers she had them on, except her wedding ring. I envisioned shoving the wedding ring in Larry’s mouth with hopes he’d choke on it and die.

Since I had this quiet time with her I decided I would write her eulogy and read it to her. I spoke to her about it as of she was in the conversation, I wanted her to hear the love I wrote. After I wrote it the weirdest thing happened. She started humming. Not mumbling but humming. No specific tune but it was a song. I called the nurse in and she was in amazement, she went and got some other hospice staff and the Pastor who were all in amazement. They said they’d never seen it before. She hummed for about 20 minutes and then became silent.

Her CNA came in shortly after to bathe her, asked if I wanted to step out and I said no that I would help her. So in silence and peace we bathed her and combed her hair. By that time I was tired and felt sedated. I grabbed an afghan from the end of the bed and crawled into her bed and cuddled with her.

After 30 years of emotional and some physical abuse, my pain and anger lifted and laying next to her was the most comforting precious moment I’d ever had with her. I napped for about an hour and woke up to the sound of a nurse sniffling, she was overpowered with emotion seeing me asleep next to mom. This nurse knew I hadn’t eaten since early and she came in with a tray of food for me.

I called for my sister to please come as mom was declining quickly and I asked her to bring the memory jar. I made Joan and Sis a jar full of 365 childhood memories for Christmas and I thought we could read them out loud and talk about good times.


As we sat there we heard a clinking coming down the hall, then a cart pulled up to mom’s room, IT WAS A COCKTAIL CART! We were so shocked! Here she is dying from the effects of alcoholism and there’s a cocktail cart at her Hospice. We looked at each other and giggled and said “fuck it let’s have a cocktail”.  We each ordered one and I ordered Joan a vodka tonic, her favorite, then I grabbed a swab used for moistening their lips and mouth and plunged it into her cocktail. We raised our glasses and said a toast to Joan and I wiped the swab on her lips.

We sat and giggled for hours, cried and shook our heads in disbelief. Then at about 9pm Leisure Suit Larry showed up stumbling in thoroughly intoxicated and could barely walk. I took the initiative to tell him she was on 1/2 hour vital checks as she was nearing her final breath. Standing there swaying he says “She could still pull out of this.”  That hit a nerve and I had a cocktail courage moment and I said “You know for a Retired Principal you’re pretty fucking stupid and your denial is pure ignorance.” I must have been a bit loud as our nurse and Pastor walked in. They pulled Larry out and called him a cab and sent him home.

Late that night mom took a turn for the worse and became very agitated groaning in severe pain. I asked for comfort measures and had a gut check that she wanted us to leave. Joan couldn’t have imagined having her daughters see her so helpless and clearly didn’t want us there when she took her final breath. So we left.

The next day I received the call in the morning that she had passed with Larry by her side.  Which didn’t bother me that he was there. I’ve seen people take their last breath and it’s a memory scarred in your mind forever. I’m glad he witnessed the outcome of their choices, it was his consequence.

My emotions right after her passing and now are such a difficult topic to explain I’m posting that blog next.

Joan passed in 2001 at the age of 54. Now with her Lord and Savior free to laugh, dance, sing and be pain-free. I refuse to wish her back be cause that would be selfish to want to take her away from eternal happiness.

Psalm 23


Dear Deflecting Shamer


My Godmother taught me early on that when pointing your finger at another person in an attempt to shame them, please notice the 3 fingers you have pointing right back at you. Narcissists are classic shamers; grandiose, arrogant, oblivious subtypes dying for envy, admiration and appreciation. Attempting to deflect their true weak internalized self onto another person.

These subtypes don’t want to be center stage IF it’s because of a negative limelight.  These shamers are actually drowning in their own shame, guilt and fear; and will attempt to pull you under and drown you to save themselves.  They get saved from their self guilt when they know they’ve pulled you under. They know this when you respond with angry words, spite, aggression or an argument. They will always do their best to get the last word in, so they can have that false sense of winning.


Some self-proclaimed Christians or from my experience, Catholics, are masters of shame. It’s all about control. They want to control you with every aspect, especially when they feel threatened or perceived as “losing”. Narcissists are control whores, Christian/Catholic narcissists I’ve “crossed” paths with have what is called Cluster B Personality Disorder.1  I consider these subtypes extremely dangerous and not open to rehabilitation.  Especially when you add sexual addiction into the mix; that article to come at a later date.

God has blessed each of us with grace, mercy and truth.  He is a merciful God and through His one true son gave us grace and truth. BUT that grace is not to be trifled with, it is not a free pass to keep treating one of His children with such contempt as a shamer, CBPD or narcissist continues to do.  Love thy neighbor: I would rather build up a person and work side by side with them; than point my finger with shame…in an effort to build up myself.

So dear deflecting shamer, get over yourself. Only God can shame me, if that’s something He really does do. I answer to Him and He controls me, because He made me and He owns my heart, mind and soul.  I am saved because of Him and I owe Him my life. I owe you nothing.  I will pray for you though; that you submit your true self to Him and begin to live a life of vulnerability…which is true strength.  Accept your failures as lessons, learn from them and move on. Do better next time. Hold yourself and your demons accountable.  May God grant you the serenity to accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can and the wisdom to know the difference.

How The Grief Stole Christmas


Christmas has always been most special to me, because it was always celebrated near my birthday. Since I was two years old it’s been family tradition to put the tree up on my birthday and we’ve never faltered from that. Christmas ornaments have been collected by me since I was a little girl and I’ve made sure to never lose nor break the ones that mean so much to my heart.

Though after dad left and moved out, Christmas lost its wonderment and magic.  I looked so forward to putting up the tree and celebrating my birthday and the start of Christmas. Let’s face it, Christmas is what a child waits for all year round! When dad left, especially that first year, my mom went through a level of depression I’d never seen before nor knew existed. She lost an extreme amount of weight, lost her smile and her infectious laugh.

Yes my mom was a narcissist and I don’t have many good memories of her, but her smile was big and beautiful and her laugh could be heard miles away. These are a couple of things I’ll always cherish about her.

That first Christmas was rough..and every year after that. Before the divorce on my birthday I would come home from school and find all the Christmas boxes and tree pulled out from the crawl space and in the middle of the living room. Pure bliss would course through my veins! This first year without dad started a landslide for me. I came home from school fully anticipating to find the boxes in the living room, I walked inside with a smile ready to yell “yay”; instead I came home to an empty house and no boxes.

Befuddled, I sat down on the stairs and just stared. About an hour later mom came home with a store-bought cake and a card. Before she had always baked a cake for me and there were always presents to open, but not this year. I was 11 and I was beyond heart-broken. I asked if we were going to put up the tree and she told me that if I wanted to put it up I could have at it on my own, but she wasn’t in the mood.

Now as an adult who suffers with depression, I can completely understand where she was at the time, but as a little girl I felt completely rejected and lost. The divorce was the death of my childhood in so many ways. I couldn’t wrap my head around the rejection and at that moment didn’t realize it was the birth of grief that I have felt every year on my birthday.

I did do just what she said and I dragged those boxes up the stairs one by one. I read the directions for our fake tree and put it together. I wrapped those lights with such care, learned from years of carefully watching my dad. I hung the ornaments with design and meaning. I created a tree of beauty in my eyes and it was lit in brilliant colors.

I finished with decorative nuances around the house, displayed the nativity scene, hung lights in the window and just opened my creative mind. Then I turned all of the house lights off and laid under the tree. As I looked up and gazed at the ornaments I hung inside the tree and the twinkling lights, I day dreamed about being in the movie Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. Like Rudolph, I felt rejected, but hoped in the end I would be seen as useful and I would be loved.

From that point forward in my life I made it my tradition and decorated alone every year after that. Each year I hoped she’d join in and want to be a part of “my day”, it never happened. I was a misfit and although I had hope, it didn’t fill the loss deep in my heart.

Friends would invite me over knowing Christmas Eve and Day were hard for me. Their parents knew my life, they knew my loneliness and they knew my grief. They all did their best to include me, I’m still friends with all of these people to this day.

A couple of years I got to spend my birthday with my dad and he made it all Who-ville for me. Singing, laughing, joking around and celebrating. Moments far and few between, but engraved in my memory.

Unlike the Grinch, Joan didn’t try to make it miserable for me, but she sure didn’t try to make it nice either. Her pain was deep and it wasn’t from having a tiny heart like the Grinch.

However, like the Grinch she didn’t want to appear “bad” to Little Cindy-Lou Whoo, so she tried to be kind and complement my decorating. Would brag to her friends about the beautiful job I did. Unlike the Grinch she didn’t steal anything of monetary value, just made me feel robbed of the happiness of family and love.

I never let her see me cry when I was sad, but I was in deep pain. I grieve for the 11-year-old little girl to this day and I still have moments of pure disgust for Joan at Christmas. This year I told 11 year old me that it’s okay now to have been so sad and I had every right to have expected love, excitement and celebration on Christmas tree day. This year my husband surprised me and jumped right in without me having to say anything. He brought all the boxes in, he helped decorate and he celebrated my birthday like we did when I was a little girl. This year is an extremely healing Christmas tree birthday.

Grief on the other hand is an asshole and I hope someday grief see’s how much more important unconditional love is,  and hopefully grief will learn to love and not be so mean.

No matter the gifts, wrapping nor ribbon…I am in awe of the magic of God’s love for me. 

Merry Christmas to you all, now go enjoy your roast beast.