Ever read those “My Guardian Angel” stories in magazines? The ones where someone asks for a sign from a departed loved one and lo and behold they start finding shiny dimes everywhere, birds serenade their every move and butterflies flit about their heads in weird synchronized formation? Have you ever asked for a sign? Or thought you had gotten an unsolicited one? I can remember seeing a huge black and white butterfly the day Comet passed. I had never seen one quite like it before or since. I’m sure it was a weird coincidence though, because if he was able to come back it would mostly likely be something a little more chaotic than a butterfly. Probably a chupacabra or something.
I was sitting on the deck yesterday thinking about my husband and sister and other family members who passed in the summer. I looked at the butterfly bush we planted as a memorial and said out loud “where is my damn sign?” and then went back to my book. A little later I was scouting around the house and deck looking for my little indoor cat who had decided to make a break for it when I let the dog out. I passed a large honeysuckle bush below my living room window and noticed a wind chime was missing. I have a lot of them in the trees around the house but I had just bought this one and hung it where I would see it every day. It had a wine cork, silver feather and some plastic yellow bead for weight. I liked having it close to the window because it had nice tone.. not too loud. I looked everywhere and started to feel a little put out that someone would take it, then a little nervous. I don’t exactly live on the street and this was pretty close to my back door. I even looked in all the other trees where I might hang wind chimes just in case I had taken up sleep walking and nocturnal redecorating. It was nowhere. This morning when I went out to get my morning paper I did another scan. Nothing. When I was passing by a lilac bush on the way back to the house it. was. right. there. Hanging in plain sight, over a large planter I had watered the night before. It was hanging from a branch just out of my reach. I can see it from several vantage points, both inside and out. It would be hard to miss. So why couldn’t I see it yesterday and how did it get there? Oh, and the yellow bead? It’s a butterfly. I had never noticed.
Every time things settle down there is always that one person who has to reintroduce chaos and unease into the mix and just on cue, this week of all weeks, it’s looking like another shit storm on the horizon. I am feeling unsettled and unnerved. Maybe I moved the damned wind chime and can’t remember, or the guy mowing the lawn got tired of hitting his head. Or maybe it is a sign that I’m not alone in this.
Either way, it made me laugh out loud there in my driveway at 7:30 a.m. in my nightgown with a windbreaker over it and a serious case of bed head. Like the neighbors don’t already wonder…..
June 1st would have been my 33rd wedding anniversary and June 6 was the 5 year anniversary of his death. 5 years. It doesn’t seem possible. It’s a blink and a lifetime. In 5 years I have found new employment, made new friendships and rediscovered old friends. I have had to take on a bigger role in family members’ care – took a crash course or two to that end. Have proudly watched both of my daughters buy their first homes – completely on their own. We recently visited my nephew in London where he is following his dreams and making his mama proud.
I am slowly building a life of my own and no longer feeling guilt for enjoying it. I’m getting closer to making a decision about my home. I trust that when the time is right the decision will make itself.
Last year I had to say goodbye to the world’s worse dog and I miss him terribly. He lived almost three years to the day from the time I wrote about his cancer. Comet And it was a good three years.
Speaking of cancer and anniversaries, I am still cancer free and only have to see the oncologist once a year. Still on medication for another ?8 years and probably longer since they keep moving the goal posts. My diagnosis was 6 years ago and end of (the tough) treatment 5 years. There’s that number again. I’d play the lottery but I used up all my luck in high school.
Whenever I’m absent from the blog for any length of time I feel guilty for not keeping up with all of the wonderful bloggers I follow. I’m going to sign off for now and do some catching up. I hope I find you all well .
Or as I like to say to ’16
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.