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It's getting better.

I'm starting to find a new normal. Things are still hard, especially financially since Jordan lost his job the same day Mom died. I'm trying to stay positive and work more hours and schedule my time well. Someday things won't be this difficult. I keep looking toward the future. I will be doing art again soon. I've missed it so much, but just couldn't bring myself to create. The spark is coming back. 

Funeral, Guilt, and Relief

I don't want a funeral when I die. I want a party. I want my family and friends to get together and eat a lot of food and drink a lot of drink and hang out around a fire and tell entertaining stories about me. I think "modern" funerals are ridiculous for a variety of reasons, but that's a topic for another day.

Yesterday I attended my mom's funeral. It went as well as a funeral can I suppose. I didn't cry as much as I thought I would, probably because I've already done a lot of grieving over the last week (months, years). I teared up during the solo song "Jealous of the Angels" because it was beautiful, and I could appreciate and identify with many of the lyrics even though the song has a religious theme. I saw a lot of family that I hadn't seen in a while, some co-workers came, friends, and a few people I didn't know. I think the number of guests was in the 80-100 range.

I believe my mom was honored well, which I think is the most important part of a funeral. My sister and I spent a lot of time going through photos and Jordan put together a great digital slideshow that was watched and appreciated by many. We also had a photo board that included some pictures that weren't in the slideshow and many that were. Many beautiful flowers. The pastor said all the right things. No one dropped the casket.

At the burial site there was a little mole stuck down in the hole. Some of us were worried it might get squished when the casket was lowered in, but it was fine. It reminded me of Mom's love for critters and how we rescued many from the cats over the years.

I went back to work today after being off a week. It felt good. It felt normal. I'm so thankful for my supportive boss and co-workers - they're all amazing. I'm happy to be back, and I'm feeling a sense of renewal. I got to thinking how odd it was that I felt so good the day after my mother's funeral, and then I felt a little tinge of guilt. I felt guilty for feeling relieved. Then I realized why.

The last few months have been hard. The last few years have been hard, but especially toward the end. I've been playing a horrible mental game called "Are you there enough?" I was focused on how often I should visit with Mom. Part of me felt I should visit every day; she was only a few miles away. I also felt like I still needed to live my life, though I was often tired and depressed too, so doing much of anything required a lot of effort and I sought happy escapes. If a couple days went by, my feelings of guilt for not visiting made it even harder.

I got my anxiety from my mom and we both found it difficult to reach out, even to each other. I recognized my need to go to her, but it was also really hard to see her declining. Still, I did visit often. I have regrets for sure, but I was there. I cooked and cleaned, and talked, and tried to make everyone smile (while I tried not to cry). But it's over now. I don't have to feel that anxiety anymore. I was there, and I've been relieved of my unwritten obligations. Relieved.

I think it's okay to feel this way. My mom is no longer suffering, and I'm ready to take the beautiful things she taught me and focus on fixing my life again. Hopefully without too much guilt - I still have plenty to worry about.

Love you, Mom. You were proud of me despite my screw-ups and difficulties. You encouraged me when I was discouraged. You had faith in me when I had no faith in myself. I'll always remember that.

Goodbye, Mom

I'm so happy you were mine! I wish more people could have experienced the joy of having you in their lives. Rest in peace, beautiful soul. I wish you didn't have to go. :(

Oct. 3, 1950 - July 27, 2017

"A Few Days"

I'm supposed to write the obituary.

It won't be difficult to say good things about my mom. She is the most kind, patient person I've ever known. She cared for every and all, animals and people. She loves unconditionally. She taught me love. She deserves so much more than what she had in this life. All I can hope to do is pass on her kindness to others throughout my life.

I love you, Mom. May your light shine on forever in the hearts of those who knew you.

It won't be long now.

The last few weeks have been hard, but especially the last few days. Mom isn't able to do or say much now, but we did exchange "I-love-yous" today. She is very tired, but comfortable. I can't bring myself to go in and see her alone. It's too hard, and I can't help crying when I'm there. And home. And in my car. I was too distraught to go to work today.

I know she's going to be gone soon, and today I've been punishing myself. Regrets and guilt are deblitating. I should have been home more, I should have spent more time with her when I was able. Instead I was caught up in my own anxieties and detatched myself from the things that were most important. Now that time is gone forever. There's nothing I can do to change the past. Was I a good enough daughter? I could have/should have done so much more but I will never have that chance. I didn't appreciate her enough. I love her so much, more than words can say.

I see myself in her in so many ways. I take some comfort knowing she will live on through me and my siblings. She's the reason I connect with animals. She's the reason I'm patient and kind. I'm going to live out her hobby farm dream. It's tragic that she'll never be able to do the things she wanted to do in life, and she always held herself back. There was supposed to be more time.

Despite the sadness, I've begun taking better care of myself. I've decreased my amount of daily sugar dramatically, which has been difficult but necessary. I went to my doctor's appointment and my overall health is good, but the steroids I was given for my eczema only helped for a short time so my arms and hands are still an itchy bumpy mess. It might be a sugar intolerance. Stress is a big factor too, though at least my blood pressure is normal. I have a neurological appointment on the 4th but I might cancel it because I haven't felt any headaches since last month, and that's a full day committment (4 hours+ drive time). I haven't fixed my tooth yet either. Priorities, one thing at a time.

Sad day.

I feel down today.

Saturday my mom got out of the hospital and came home for a couple hours, which she really enjoyed. It was supposed to be a practice run for Father's Day because we were going to grill outside. Unfortunately the trip took a lot out of her and she didn't feel well enough, and it rained anyway so plans changed. We still had a small family gathering out to eat which was nice, and then visited Mom afterward. She was feeling really weak and hadn't been eating much.

I have had a headache that feels like a spinal fluid pressure headache since last night, which means my pseudotumor cerebri is showing up to the party. I have a doc appointment this week that I will not cancel. It seems to have subsided now but I did stay home from work. I might go in this evening to do some catch-up.

I haven't been taking very good care of myself, and I need to focus on that. I have red bumps all over my arms from eczema from stress and probably from eating too much sugar. I've been sleeping too little or sleeping too much and haven't been getting any exercise. I've been better about taking my pills every day but I always miss my evening dose so I need to figure out a schedule to stick to.

I don't want to be here, doing any of this. 

What a Mess

Someday I'm going to look back on this period of time and realize so many things, but right now, in the middle of it, I feel like I'm drowning. There are no easy answers, no easy choices, no one to show me the right way. Stumbling along, hoping it will all work out. Trying to be enough, to do enough. I really wish I could afford a therapist, but Livejournal is doing a decent job. Thanks to the few of you reading my whining. It might be the most helpful and cathartic thing for me to do.

The Last Time

I got a call from my dad at 10 minutes to 6:00 tonight saying Mom wanted me and my sister and brother to come see her.

She's had some fainting spells, and the doctor mentioned that it might be a sign that things are moving that direction, that everone "goes differently." My mom's foot and leg trouble could be related as well. No one can say what will happen or when, but she's feeling weaker. I'm sure she's scared, too.

We cried together. I told her she's amazing and thanked her for everything, and we hugged a lot. Small talk filled the empty spaces. This is so fucking hard. No one wants this to happen. There are no easy answers. We're all helpless.

I have to treat every meeting as if it's the last time I'm going to see my mom. We talked about maybe taking her for a car ride this weekend if she feels up to it. Her last car ride. Her last time seeing this town, the places she's called home. We're going to bring her dog, Sven, in to see her. I don't know why that hasn't happened yet. Maybe that will be the last time she pets him. I'm making goulash tomorrow, one of her favorite dishes that her dad used to make. It will likely be the last time she has it.

For everything there is a first time, and a last time. Hello, goodbye.

My mom loves with every fiber of her soul, so strongly. She's beautiful, and genuine. Her love for family, for animals... she's taught me so much. Her smile, her laughter, her playfulness. So much happiness brings so much pain, so many regrets. So much wasted time. So many things that mean nothing, and more that mean everything. She has the biggest heart, and my heart hurts for her. I don't know what more to say.


Everything is shit.

This is the only place I feel comfortable sharing my feelings. I feel like if I post something on Twitter I'm just going to bring everyone down (no one wants to read that shit), and if I post on FB it's too personal and I don't need half the town asking me questions I don't want to answer.

I want to be numb, but I'm not there yet. I haven't been to see my mom in two days. It's really hard for me to see her like this. I've been struggling with these feelings for the last year. Escaping. My brother has been doing the same thing, but worse. I'm worried about him too. I need to visit Mom more, be there for her benefit. I also feel uncomfortable in hospitals in general. Everything about this sucks.

Jordan doesn't know what to do with me when I get emotional, but I know he's trying his best. He's been helping out by doing chores and making food. I've been caring for the pets and sometimes not caring for myself. I'm trying to keep the house clean and failing. I'm trying to pretend I'm not falling apart. Most of the time my masks fit okay. Sometimes they slip off.

We're supposed to go down to Chicago for a few days to visit Jordan's mom (and see a concert - Air) near the end of the month, but I don't think that's a good idea right now. I don't think we can afford it, and I don't want to be away from town when the worst happens.

There's no easy way to get through this. I know that. I just hope it's the least painful it can be, especially for my mom. She deserved so much more in life. I wish I could believe she's going to a better place.

Slow spiral

I saw my brother cry for the first time ever today. Well, I didn't actually see it. My eyes were blurry too, but he got up and left for a while. We were talking with my sister and a health/human services person about end of life considerations for my mom. I'm thankful there are people we can see for information, advice and support, but it's still hard. We're all dealing with it in our own way.

My mom is in the hospital right now. She was weak from an infection and high blood sugar, but she's doing much better since she's been there. She is able to walk some again, and if she continues to improve she can go home in a couple days. It's likely we'll see some back and forth like this. She wants to be home to die, but understands if she needs to be in the care center or hospital. No one knows how long it's going to be, but it feels like soon. We're trying to plan best we can. Next weekend we're going to get together and go through stuff in an old Swedish trunk that's been in the family a long time so Mom can tell us about it.

I'm still trying to be sorta upbeat and keep conversation light around others to cover the pain. I rode with my dad to see Mom at the hospital today, and on the way back I half-joked that it's time he got a new vehicle because the old suburban was sounding pretty shaky. He said he doesn't want to get anything until "Mom gets better." That took me by surprise and I didn't reply, but all I could think was "she's not going to get better." He must understand this, but like my brother he keeps his emotions highly guarded. I don't know how he's handling all of this. When she's home, he's there with her, helping her do everything. I can't imagine how hard that must be. It's hard for Mom too, because she can't speak loudly and Dad can barely hear her so there's communication difficulties.

Blrrg. There are no easy answers to any of this. Shitty stuff is happening that we can't control, yet we can't just hit the pause button on our own lives. I still have to go to work, still have to keep things together at home, still have to make plans and try to do fun things too. There's just a blanket of sadness that covers everything. Once in a while it feels like I'm being strangled. Sometimes I'm just numb.

At least my anxiety over crying seems to have subsided some, and I think it's because instead of trying really hard to stop the tears completely (which is often impossible), I've started telling myself it's okay to cry, it's appropriate to be sad right now. I just needed to give myself permission.