It’s that time of year to take stock of all we have to be thankful for.
I am thankful for friends and family who have stood by me through some pretty horrific shit.
I am thankful for those who removed themselves when they found they could not stand by me.
I am thankful for my continued health (5 years this month since my diagnosis) and the health of my children and parents.
I am thankful I was given a chance at a job I had zero experience with, where I get to make a difference in people’s lives every day.
I am thankful I live in a country where I can voice my displeasure and disappointment in the results of a contentious election without fear.
I’m thankful for the people who read, comment on, and like this blog and share themselves in their own blogs.
I’m thankful for the 50 years I had with my sister and the 30 years I had with my husband. I will miss them both every day of my life, but the memories will live on in my heart forever .
I hope you all have a lot to be thankful for today, too. xxxooo
How do you fight racism when your president condones it?
How do you fight religious intolerance when your president condones it?
How do you watch families torn apart through involuntary repatriation and then sleep at night in your own safe home?
How do you raise your daughters and keep them safe in a time when boys and men are emboldened by their president to be vulgar predators?
How do you raise your sons to be good men who respect women in this day and age?
How do you help the people who are literally dying in the streets when your government denies benefits to the very people who need it the most?
How do you continue to fight cancer when your president takes away your health insurance with the slash of a pen?
How do you respect people who wanted this?
I’m not super political. I have opinions like anyone else. I’ve been happy with election results, disappointed with them, outraged, amused, disgusted, but my life has pretty much always gone on as usual regardless of the shenanigans in Washington or even here in my own state which has been led by Trump-lite for the past ?5 years (Gawd it seems longer). But I’m having a hard time with this one. I don’t think I’ve slept 2 hours in the past 3 nights. Maybe it’s because I see the suffering up close and personal every day. I’m well aware that there are good hearted people on both sides of the political aisle. And hey, who doesn’t throw a few presents at the homeless and underprivileged this time of year to feel good about themselves? Or drop off their discarded belongings that are still “good enough” for someone who has nothing, after all? Maybe you pledge a few dollars out of your check every pay period for local charities. Good for you. How you vote, who you put in office, carries much more weight than all of that.
I’ll get past this sick feeling. I’ll either have insurance or not after the first of the year. I’ll either continue treatment or not. I’m fortunate. I can work. I’ll add a third job if need be or sell my home. I’ve wanted to downsize anyway. But this isn’t about me. Or you. This is about the millions of people who don’t have a home to sell, the ability to work a second or third job or the wherewith all to fight for themselves in a country that is marginalizing them a little bit more every day. With your blessing.
Sleep tight, America
..I will start telling the truth about you.” One of my favorite lines from the 2008 Presidential run. I have been sitting on this post in my draft folder for a little bit. Today something happened that kind of forced my hand. Like most of this blog, I write to get things out of my head and onto “paper”. I don’t do it to cause discomfort or to ask people to take sides or even to comment. In fact no one need comment, but I need put this down and then let it go. Easier said than done.
Remember when you used to pretend that I was your mother? Remember when your dad died and I was so physically, mentally and emotionally spent that I had no fight in me at all, after losing my husband and sister in the same year while fighting cancer? Remember how you took all you could carry out of the house though I kept saying I wasn’t ready to do this? I wanted you to have some of your dad’s things. Of course, but not yet. Your greed and entitlement was disgusting. But… I didn’t want to lose anyone else. I loved you and your little family, so after my protests were ignored I said nothing. I had nightmares for months, hearing you go through your father’s life and chortling how you “finally” had his albums. Had we even buried him yet? I don’t remember. You took all the albums and the 62 Topps collection along with many other odds and ends. That set was the only one that meant anything to me. We used to talk about it, he and I. Dad said he collected them because it was the year I was born. I know he was bullshitting, but still… I didn’t even know you had taken that until it showed up on FB. You know how you crave constant attention. You had to post everything and carry on about your father’s legacy. That hurt, but aside from making a small joke about how I might need to sell those to survive, I said nothing. When your mom called and proposed she ship you Dad’s drums as her Christmas present to you, I was stunned that she would insert herself into something so personal. But again, I said nothing. You and I had talked about setting the drums aside for your son because you don’t play. I had you break them down and move them against the wall and I covered them to keep them safe until you were ready. That was between us. But your mother and wife discussed it and decided you should have them now. I wasn’t part of the conversation. I had no good reason to say no so I said yes. You got a lot of mileage out of those FB posts and your hero mother. I kept making excuses for you in my mind and decided it was somehow my fault and the only way to reassure you (a 33 year old man child) was to keep you updated on what I found as I worked my way through the many collections. I sent you more boxes than I can count. Remember the quilt I had you made out of your dad’s T-shirts? The hat collection? Tie collection? Books? Vintage magazines? Boxes of family photos? So much, most of which you never acknowledged. I sent box after box for your son too. All in an attempt to keep you close, no matter the cost to myself. That’s on me.
Then you decided to come home for a visit, which turned into a 2 month nightmare. I was surprised but pleased that you wanted to stay with me. After all, you both have your mothers nearby. I worked my tail off moving mountains of inventory from the spare room so you would be comfortable. I dressed your little boy for cold weather. Twice. Because when you returned after what? a week home? you didn’t bother to bring the warm clothes he had been given. I made sure you all had a good Christmas. Remember the “magic” kitchen? Little secret. Food didn’t just keep appearing. I was at the store every 2-3 days. Huge budget killer. All of that was okay. My family was with me. But you. You had to show your ass again. You bullied your grandmother into giving you an item she clearly stated she didn’t want you to have. You emptied her basement of your father’s belongings, things I never had a chance to go through. You didn’t seem to understand the concept that he willed his things to me. As I did mine to him. I wanted to share. You never gave me the chance. You took and took and took. I thought you couldn’t do that at my house because all of my inventory was in the way of his many “treasures”. I made the mistake of sharing with you that I wanted to have some of the card collection appraised and was considering selling some things. You seemed oblivious to the fact that when he died I lost 75% of my household income, though when you go from 2-1 in a household the only bill that really goes down is food. I lost my health insurance while I was still undergoing treatment. None of that mattered to you. You decided you deserved the collection and anything else that belonged to your father. You stayed up all night on your last day in my home to scavenge and take what you wanted. The shit part is I wouldn’t have known. Sure I would have eventually noticed things missing and suspected you, but without proof I never would have said anything. But you couldn’t resist taunting me. When you puffed up your chest and said in that somber/fake voice that you couldn’t sleep all night and decided to spend time “with your dad” you probably thought I would never say anything in front of your grandmother. And I didn’t say much did I? Just “put it back”. And then all hell broke loose. You came unglued and for the first time in my life I was afraid of you. When you left I breathed a sigh of relief. I prayed it was over, but was it? How many times did you pose your two year old in front of the camera and stage father/son “continuing my dad’s legacy” moments of him ripping open cards. You literally used your baby and my dead husband to try to manipulate me. You let people believe that I withheld from you things your dad had wanted you to have. I lost the friendship and support of many of Dad’s friends and relatives over that. That still stings, but not allowing me the benefit of the doubt? That’s on them.
Eventually I pulled the plug on my FB account. I couldn’t stand it. You tried to buy sets of cards from me that were not even part of Dad’s collection all the while you were begging friends and strangers alike for money. When I put a stop to it you showed your ass again by trying to come between your sisters and myself and even your grandmother and myself. Didn’t work so well did it? They had all seen you in action. I had never lived alone a day in my life before your father died. It took a long time to feel safe. In one night you robbed me of that feeling of security. You moved around my home while I slept and stole from me. It took a long time and medication to feel safe again. Thank you for that. Most recently you are still, more than 10 months later, stalking me on line. Your “friend” bought a vintage wine tray from me. You gleefully shared with the girls that you got one over on me. When they didn’t bite you brought your grandmother into it. The tray? The treasure you had to have from your dad? I found it in a trash heap and rescued it. I thought it was kind of cool. You paid 30.00 for a piece of trash your dad was going to scrap out for the metal. That part made me laugh. What’s not funny is you continue to treat me like your arch enemy. For what? Daring to say no to you? Not buying into your insincere bullshit?
I worked so hard to keep this little family together. You blew it to pieces. You didn’t lose me. You threw me away with both hands. That’s on you.
I decided to take a year off from my annual Pinktober “pink is a color not a cure” rant and talk politics. However, my givashit is broken again. I was going to complain about the overabundance of political signage marring the beautiful landscape of a New England autumn, but apparently my givashit is not the only one broken. I have counted three signs on my country road just weeks before a Presidential election. Three. All for Trump. Not one Clinton sign. Now, before Trump fans start crowing, let me repeat. THREE signs for Trump on miles and miles of country road that is usually loaded with signs. I started taking note of the lack of commitment in other parts of my community as well and I’m struck by how few people are proclaiming loyalty to either candidate this year. Now, if you go by Facebook and Twitter, people have very strong opinions. Either that or we’ve all been hacked. In person, you get a wary shrug and a haunted “we’re all fucked anyway, what does it matter?” look. On one hand we have a rich, white, misogynistic, anti immigrant pig. On the other hand we have a rich, white, establishment politician married to a misogynistic pig. Whoever wins is bringing so much baggage I’m not sure there is enough room at the White House for all of it. I want to be With Her, because I am a life long Democrat. I will probably vote for her because the alternative scares the bejeesuz out of me but I can’t say I’m ready to post signs and bumper stickers all over my property proclaiming my commitment to a Clinton/Kaine ticket. Of course, I blame the GOP for this. Seventeen candidates and this is the choice you give us? Pull yourselves together. It used to be fun to beat you at the polls. Now it’s just embarrassing. We are about to make history by electing the first woman for President and it already feels pretty anti-climatic. Disappointing really. Hardly a fair fight at all. Wait. You did that on purpose, didn’t you? Well played, GOP, well played…
Oh. I promised you a sign, didn’t I?
Sorry.. couldn’t resist. Here’s a mini rant. No cancer is fun, pretty, whimsical or easy. Simply put, it sucks. It’s hard, painful and scary as hell. Bedecking yourself in pink ribbons is not going to make a bit of difference in the outcome of your treatment. It will, however, make many corporations very rich. Ask yourself how much of those dollars are going into cancer research. Think before you pink. That is all.
I am approaching the dreaded block of time in June and July that drives home all I have lost. June 1st would have been our 31st wedding anniversary, June 6 is the 3rd anniversary of his death and July 10th the 4th anniversary of my sister’s death. My “cancerversary” is not until November when I will be 5 years cancer free. My doctors tell me the clock actually started ticking after I finished treatment and I don’t get the official “cured” for some time yet. I believe that I was cancer free when I left the OR. All the rest was just insurance. That’s my story, anyway, and I’m sticking to it.
This year has brought more losses, not through death, but in some ways more painful and certainly personal. It’s also brought some amazing and positive changes. I have a new career working with the homeless community, helping them to achieve permanent, stable housing. It is the most frustrating and rewarding work I have ever done and I love every minute of it. I still have my business, volunteer work, family and good friends to keep me busy and grounded, not to mention my animals. Comet has survived two bouts of cancer and will be 14 soon. He has a new pep in his step. Clover is nearly 10 and lame with bad hips. She struggles to walk but is content laying in a sunny spot or just hanging with me. Sage, my stolen rescue kitty is still entertaining and loving.
I am approaching my formerly referred to “helliversary” with a lighter heart than I have the past few years. I have set those who have passed, and those who have chosen to remove themselves from my life, free with love and gratitude.
I am also grateful for my readership who has seen me through cancer, highs and lows, loss and more loss and appreciated my cynical and often irreverent view on it all. Seeing the humor in things is much easier and a lot less messy than opening a vein and blogging about it all is certainly a lot cheaper than therapy.