Lipstick On Suicide

I can’t believe I’m writing about this, I can’t fully express myself verbally but I am about to try. I have got to get this out of my mind.

The night before Easter, right after my husband and I got the Easter goodies prepared for our son’s seeking adventure the next morning…I got the call.

My father usually never calls me past 8:30 at night as he knows we’re usually getting our son to sleep, but sometimes Clint (Dad) has had way too much to drink and calls me drunk and depressed. So when the phone showed he was calling at 9:30 PM, I just didn’t have it in me to answer the phone and deal with his ramblings like I have for the past 2 1/2 years. I waited for the little alert on my phone to show a voicemail was recorded, but it never showed. I assumed he realized the time or decided calling me drunk once again wasn’t a good idea. Until my phone rang again and it was my cousin. At that moment I knew something bad had happened and I had to answer. “Hey Katy it’s Josh, my mom wanted me to try to get a hold of you. You’re dad is in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. He’s overdosed on Ambien and has been drinking all day. That’s all I know. She tried calling you, but you didn’t answer and your sister won’t answer either so I’m not sure what to do next.”

My heart hit the floor and was pounding out of my chest. FUCK!

I kept calling my Aunts cell phone and she wouldn’t answer. I kept calling my sister and her husband and they wouldn’t answer. The drive from dad’s house to the hospital is 45 minutes and I was shaking uncontrollably. I called the hospital ahead of time to give them my name and number, who I was and that he was coming via ambulance and why. For one hour I sat with my heart pounding and dying inside with panic because I couldn’t reach anyone. Is he dead?

Clint tried to kill himself the day after my brother died a year and a half ago, luckily he only had ingested 5 Ambien before he was able to get stopped by his friend. Then 6 months later he parked his truck in the garage running and closed the door, to have been discovered by a friend in time again. Then 2 months later he called me drunk again telling me he was going to do kill himself as he just couldn’t walk this earth any longer, so I called the Sheriffs office to get there. They did, he said he was fine and they left.  He was really pissed at me that I did that to him. Since then he has spoken of killing himself on a weekly basis. I have called his doctor begging her to stop prescribing Ambien to him and she ignored me. I have begged him to get counseling, grief group, help of some sort…but he’s refused. Always the next day after he sobers up he says he feels stupid and doesn’t know why he gets that way. I have talked to him until blue in my face and he refuses to get help. I’ve cried, begged, threatened…you name it I’ve done it.

After 1 hour I called the hospital, all she could tell me is they were working on him and she would have the doctor call me. My father has been an alcoholic all his life, he has had many traumas and crisis that he’s refused to get help for. Recently his wife died of alcoholism complications 2 1/2 years ago and then his son 10 months later from a tragic fall from a cliff. I have yet to tackle writing about my brother’s death because it hurts so bad.

Basically my dad is a 73-year-old hot mess and I can’t save him.

Finally the phone rang and it was the doctor. Dad took 30 Ambien with a lot of alcohol, he was dead on arrival to the emergency room, but they were able to counteract the sedative and bring him back. He was placed on life support measures to help him breathe because the Ambien would cause him possible respiratory distress for the next 12 hours. The Doctor was admitting him to the ICU for close observation. He should survive this, but only time will tell.

Finally my sister called me and she was extremely intoxicated as well as her husband was, both of them very dysfunctional and incapable of rationalizing. My sister and I have medical power of attorney, but my copy is at my dad’s house 5 hours away, so we agreed she would get her copy faxed to the hospital the next morning.

I cried myself to sleep and woke up crying, slept for 3 hours and had to wake up and do the Easter egg hunt with our 4-year-old son. After a couple of hours awake I called the ICU and talked with the doctor, he said based on my dad’s history and his deep intent on dying he is going to recommend admitting my dad to a mental health facility for a few weeks. I started to prepare myself to drive there so I could help with the logistics and being there for when dad woke up. I called my sister and explained to her the hospital needed the POA as soon as possible and to please get it faxed there. She said she would.

Two hours later the doctor called and told me they got dad awake and extubated and he was breathing on his own so not to rush myself, that my dad would be in the ICU for a few days. I called my sister to explain this and she refused to talk to me because she was drunk and couldn’t deal with it, as was her husband.

My Aunt lives with my dad, she had gone up to my dad’s bedroom the night before to check on him and say good night and found him unresponsive with the empty bottle. She saved his life. That next day I called her and asked her to please grab my dad’s legal papers for the hospital and she refused. She knew he was going to possibly go into a long-term admission to the mental health facility and she didn’t want to lose her drinking buddy, nor the control she has over him. She also told me that she wouldn’t let me into the house, so don’t bother showing up. Later that day my Dad called me and told me I wasn’t allowed to come and he put an order with the nurses not to let me in.

Apparently my Aunt told my dad that I was going up to commit him into the mental ward and use the medical POA as my tool. My sister was refusing to help because she thought I was doing the same.

Seriously? Even with the medical POA, I don’t have the power to do this; but in all of their codependent alcoholic dysfunction they couldn’t see that. Even if I could have done this, it’s to save his life!

So now what?

The next day psych does their interview with him and he told them everything they needed to hear so he couldn’t get admitted. Small country town therapist, NOT a psychiatrist made this decision. Instead she agreed to let him go home and that he had to enroll into a strict outpatient mental health program. Mainly because all of his previous attempts aren’t documented, because none of his codependent alcoholic friends didn’t want to cause problems and get him the help.

The day he was to be discharged he had a minor issue that had to keep him in the hospital one more night. That evening he finally started alcohol withdrawal. He is so pickled in Black Velvet that it took 3 days for the withdrawal to start. The hospital started him on a sedative to keep him comfortable and calm, but still discharging him home the next day.

I tried calling my sister again, and I was immediately placed into voicemail.  I called her husband and got the same.  I sent a text to both of them and still no response. Through our mom’s death and our brother’s death, I was in charge of everything, because no one else could stay sober and get the job done.

I watched my mother slowly kill herself with alcohol, most ugly heartbreaking and emotional fuck of my life. Now I’m faced to watch my father do the same? Yet the suicide attempt is really messing with me. Why aren’t my sister and I and his two grandson’s enough to want to live for? Why does he tell me how much he loves me, yet chooses the fucked up way out? Why leave us (actually me) with another mess to clean up?

I can’t take it anymore. I can’t sit on the sidelines and watch him continue down this road. I can’t continue in a relationship with him, my sister and aunt; which is actually a very sick triangulation of emotional fucks of narcissism. My son had to watch his mommy cry all day on Easter and at four years old can’t understand nor should he have to. My husband feeling deeply pained to watch my pain, knowing there’s nothing he could do either to ease my pain. Then my oldest son who is 22 knowing that his most favorite Grandpa is a destructive mess. Not only can’t I take it anymore, I can’t do it, and I can’t let my family go through this anymore.

So I quit. I wrote my dad and sister both a letter telling them goodbye. Letting them know that how this all transpired is beyond dysfunctional and completely unacceptable. I’ve learned that when trying to help an addict, you should never work harder than the addict. That I am tired and exhausted from trying to help and be there as expected, but only if I support them in their endeavors to continue to be sick. I won’t do it. I deserve better than this, my husband and children deserve better than this. That I am going back into counseling so I can make sense of what the fuck just happened. Heal myself once again and walk away from their choices.

Before I mailed these letters I received a voicemail from my dad. Damn it…you can block numbers from calling you or texting, but it doesn’t stop the voicemail. In the small valley he lives in, everyone knows everything about you and what happens. One neighbor checked on my aunt and asked what had happened, because ambulances with lights and sirens in a small town that has no stop light is noticed. My aunt told this neighbor, who then told another and it was spread like wildfire within one day. Most of the people up there know me very well, I used to live there and they’ve all been extremely supportive of me after my brother died up there. I received messages from people and calls and I verified the stories and corrected the mistakes, but I won’t lie for my dad. I won’t make this a dirty family secret, because those secrets will eat you alive. They wanted to know why I wasn’t there yet, so I told them the truth.  I was stopped for bullshit dysfunctional reasons. In turn many of those people reached out to my dad, as they too have had run-ins with my aunt and they also think she is a bad influence on my dad. They spoke their truth.

As part of my dads embarrassment for what he did and is continuing to do, he called me and let me know the following. I needed to basically get the “burr” out of my butt about my aunt and that I should be grateful she saved his life and that all I have been doing his “hurting” him. Wow. Hello pot…have you met kettle yet? Look in the mirror dad! I will not lie for you, I will no longer be your escape goat as the “black sheep” of the family, I am choosing MY family and health over your sick choices. Oh and by the way you hurt me.

Can you tell I’m extremely angry with him? As well as my sister and Aunt? Can you tell my pain runs so deep just typing this brings tears to my eyes? I’m the one and only one making the healthy decisions and I am being punished for it. S fuck it. The letters have been sent, written with a lot of love and compassion, but most importantly honesty. It’s time to cut those ties that have bound me and restricted my growth, it’s time for me to fly. I refuse to put lipstick on suicide.

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Post Conviction Paralysis

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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

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“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.

 

Blogiversary

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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…

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

 

Katy…the Rough Draft (Part I)

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I believe all masterpieces were created through several rough drafts. A masterpiece comes in many different forms and mediums. Such as oil vs. watercolor, Broadway play vs. film, novel vs. television and food vs. food.

I believe both of my son’s are masterpieces, each unique and beautiful in their own way.

There are flaws in a masterpiece, but only the artist knows of them all. What we see as a possible flaw could have been meant to happen by the artist; therefore I feel critic’s are a waste of space and time. A masterpiece is in the eye of the beholder.

I also believe that God created us each unique and each a masterpiece per His great design.

I also believe that a masterpiece evolves and can continuously be altered, added to or adjusted. For example, Oscar-Claude Monet didn’t conduct just one painting titled Water Lilies. Monet painted over 30 variations, presumably to create each very distinctly, yet with just enough difference you can tell them apart. At least to the trained eye you can identify them.

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What I love about his work are the combinations of color, chaos, free-flowing brush strokes and depth. This is how I feel God created me. I have various colors I portray, I’m not typically just a sterile white, I have several colorful moods I vacillate through. I am not a super intense person about most things, I’m free-flowing and laid back.  There’s a depth to me most will never see on the surface. My mind is in such chaos at times I feel like a tornado sucking up everything in its path.

To know this piece of work, you need to take the time to get to know me. By this time in my life per the blog, I am about 22 years old. I have many appreciations and gifts for who I am and what I have.

Physically I no longer looked like I was 14. I actually started looking more like a woman with curves. Still slender, brown hair, big green eyes, classy dress for work and play.

For employment I was in a career by my own doing, starting off as a receptionist and working my way up in a financial analyst industry. Which is funny to me now, especially since I failed geometry and had to take math for dummies to make up the credit.  Watching my mother and father, who were both professionals, I watched them and absorbed their mannerisms.  I was excellent at customer service and making clients feel important. I cared for them like I’d know them for years. I was well-known for what I did and I loved it.

My domain was perfect and living on my own was liberating, in a little “matchbox” sized house I rented. I’d decorate it from garage sale finds. Heck at Christmas it was decked out, but I don’t think I ever invited anyone over to see it or visit. It was mine and I was “playing” house.

Financially I was able to buy my first new car on my own.  Little red semi sports car. I was so proud of it. I wasn’t a frivolous spender, I watched my money closely. Very responsible.

Relationships were few and far between. I had a couple that were very serious and would have gone somewhere. Yet one had cheated on me,  which ruined the trust factor and reminded me of my father. The other was emotionally destructive, couple bouts of violence and I was done.  I wasn’t sleeping around and just enjoyed life.

My family at this point was scattered. I tried to build a relationship with Joan, it was important to me, maybe hoping she would see how well I was doing on my own. Hoping she would be proud of me..looking for the nod of acceptance. Clint was still in California and we spoke every few weeks. Our closeness went away, his wife basically shamed him when talking to me. Sis moved to California to live with our Father and start over. I guess when I look back, Joan wanted me around more after Sis left.

Spiritually I believed in God and Jesus Christ as my savior. I was baptized non-denominational at age 5. Yet we never went to church, not even on Christmas Eve or Easter. I longed to understand more about the bible. I tried reading it, I didn’t understand it. I’d go to church with my paternal grandmother, it was a Baptist church, I felt like a big piece of sin when I left. I never went back. I’d have moments of feeling lost and unattached, I’d drive up the mountain and go to the beautiful church I was baptized at and just sit.  I felt so safe there. I’d cry. Pray and talk to God and then go home, never to return until that feeling of emptiness came back.

Deep down I was confident in what I knew and I portrayed that confidence in all that I did and how I looked. I was tender-hearted and clearly a caregiver at heart, I helped anyone I could with anything they needed. I was hungry for life and to learn more. I could analyze any situation rather quickly. I thought I wanted to be a career woman with a lot of options to go anywhere anytime. Yet I yearned to be married, to be with a man who would love me unconditionally and take care of me, have babies with. Make a life of longterm, one of which I never had as a child.

This is who I was as a young adult from the foundation laid out for me. Damn if I could go back to when I was 11 with the knowledge I had at this point, was a lot of the thoughts I had during this time.

Naive little piggy.

Ephesians 2:10 NLT

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.