answers???

Tomorrow is the big day, I am getting scoped.

It’s been an eventful last couple of days to say the least. In the last couple of days I wrote about 4 drafts that I threw away. They seemed so negative and angry. Am I really that way?

It was a long holiday weekend. What should have been relaxing left me quite drained. I went up north for the holiday weekend. For the 4th of July, in Wisconsin, there is no place I’d rather be. Every night there were fireworks on the lake. Then it seemed like every day there were fireworks with my family. My dad picked fights with my mom. My brother Mark and his wife Carla were bickering. My mom got in an argument with Carla which was unlike her.

It was hot outside. The people of WI are not used to the heat. My dad sat around the cabin in only his underwear for some of the weekend which was disturbing to say the least. There were fights about whether the windows should be opened or closed.

I hope I’m wrong, but I feel fairly certain that I might have Celiac. I tried to spend some time relaxing drinking some of my favorite craft beers, hopefully not for the last time. Every time I cracked open a beer, my niece Gracie would lay into me. How many beers have you had? Wow, you really like beer. Are you a drunk? Her nagging got very annoying after awhile. I told her that she would make a very good wife someday in jest because of all her nagging. Then Gracie bragged to her sister Eva that I said she would make a great wife. Then Eva got upset that I didn’t say it to her. I just couldn’t win.

To make matters worse, my husband and I were having the argument of a decade. I was so angry and hurt that I wanted to take my wedding ring off and chuck it into the weeds. Incidentally, the fight started about a half an hour before I was supposed to meet the first guy that Arabella wanted to date. I tried not to look too angry.

I was so stressed out that I’m sure what happened next could’ve only have been explained by my relaxing (not) weekend. A few days after I stopped taking Prilosec, I was in GI distress. I spent Friday and Saturday barely eating and feeling so sick that I slept very little because I had to keep getting up to go to the bathroom. I had a lot of stomach pain and only got about 6 hours of sleep the whole weekend. When I did sleep, I had nightmares. It was terrible.

Then I had to drive home. I would not let Arabella drive home because it would take an experienced driver to fight the traffic going south on a Sunday afternoon after a holiday weekend. I had to wait 10 minutes to turn right to go south onto a 2 lane highway. I was only let in because someone stopped on the highway to let us in. There were times traffic came to a dead stop.

All in all, except for the beautiful fireworks at night, it was a miserable weekend. I am feeling a lot better now. Paul and I are getting along again. But for awhile, I was very angry with God. I am worried about my health. Even my brother Luke is having health issues and might need a biopsy. Not to mention all the crap going on with family over the weekend.

Tomorrow I might not get the answers I want, but at least I should have some answers. I guess that is a start.

Fortune cookie wisdom #17

The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Let’s talk about wheels a bit today…shall we?

You may remember a couple of months back when I told the story of my son’s new set of wheels…The very night, less than several hours after we got him the car, some small town criminals decided to chase him down because he was squealing his tires. They smashed the front end of his car and took a tire iron to the back of it.

Shortly thereafter, he hit a deer which smashed his headlight. The car was also leaking oil everywhere in big pools. We decided to make an appointment with someone that would fix foreign cars. It took a couple of weeks to get in.

Once the mechanic opened the hood, he took one look and said he wouldn’t work on it. He said that someone spent a whole lot of money to make the car completely worthless. In essence, we bought a lemon. It was their policy that they do not work on modified cars. So here we were stuck with a 17 year old foreign modified car that no one would fix. He did say that it would probably cost thousands to fix the oil leak.

Then we got the estimate for the damages incurred. The damage from the deer cost $2500 and the damage from the hoodlums was $3500. So, technically, the first few hours after my son got the car it was already totaled.

The two offenders are middle aged men. One man was charged with disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property. The other was charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespass to property when he chased my son and his friend into the friend’s house threatening to kill them. We are hoping to get restitution for the damage to the car.

Now apparently the nephew of one of those hoodlums goes to school with my son Alex. We have had problems with this kid before. In middle school, Alex and this kid wrestled in the same weight class. He was first, Alex was second. One year Alex decided he wanted to try harder. He went to summer wrestling camps and signed up for preseason lessons. He got to be really good at wrestling. He was so good at wrestling that he challenged this kid who was first and beat him several times.

This did not bode well with the other kid who was the son of a son of a son of a wrestler whose ancestors have been going to the school probably since the school first opened its doors. This kid got a group of other wrestlers together and started bullying Alex because he threatened his position. The coach did nothing and finally my husband took the situation into his own hands and contacted the parents directly. That was the year my son quit wrestling after doing it for 8 years, the year he wrestled his best.

Now this kid is talking bad about my son to my son’s girlfriend over what happened with the car. My son said that if this kid disrespects him to his face then he will fight him. He said that if he does that, he would probably get kicked out of school. Yeah, that will show them all! Fighting will surely fix the car and all of the other problems. NOT!

The strange thing is that I understand. When I heard about the hoodlums that damaged his car, I was so angry that I wanted to go over there and kick the crap out of those guys myself. I think I have so much pent up anger and rage that I have one good fight in me. Is that bad?? I would never act on it, but that is how I felt.

So, yeah, the squeaky wheel gets the oil.. I talk about my son a lot on this blog. I probably talk about him a lot more than my honor student daughters.

Ta(l)king f(l)ight

When Angel found out the news that her grandma passed away, she was on tour with her college choir. Then she came down with the stomach flu the next day.

I thought that maybe she wouldn’t want the lifestyle of being on the road after all of this happened, but she seems to want it more than ever.

Then there was this guy who took compassion on her while she was down when many of her other friends turned away….he bought her ginger ale when she was sick..he listened while she was crying…

Angel’s boyfriend Mitch was out at the movies with friends when Angel needed to talk…

Just like that, a 3 year relationship over..

I feel like the last thread of Angel’s childhood had been severed when she broke up with Mitch. It is really hard to let go because I miss her being my little girl.

Without tethers, she is soaring away like a songbird in flight. It will be exciting to see where her dreams will take her. It makes it easier to let go, although it leaves an empty place in my nest, to see her fly so high.

Mitch and Angel were going in different directions anyway. Perhaps it is for the best. Angel eventually wants to be an opera singer in a big city or preferably in Europe. Mitch wants to be a teacher in a small town.

This weekend Angel is performing in her first opera. Mitch bought tickets before they broke up to surprise her and still intends to go. He wants to get back together.

There is some talk of a confrontation between the new guy that Angel is not dating but likes and Mitch.

Once again, it seems like there is more drama off stage than on.

For a moment it took me back to ’91 when I was 16. At that time I was going out with this guy named Timmy T. Ironically, ‘our song’ was One More Try by Timmy T. It was a warm night in June when Timmy T and I gave it our last one more try. I picked him up and took him out to teen night at a local club. Once his friends showed up, he left me sitting in the corner alone.

That was the night I met Bobby. When I told him what happened with Timmy T, Bobby took him out to the parking lot to fight. They reminded me of a nature show when the young bucks would ram their antlers into each other. It was nerve wracking yet exciting that someone would fight over me, the damsel in distress. Oh please! Timmy T’s friends talked to me and asked me what was happening as if I knew a lot about boxing.

After the fight, Bobby and I went for a long walk and talked in the park. When I went back to pick up Timmy T, he had already left. The next day he called upset saying that his mom was going to buy me a promise ring from him. How could I ignore him?? Blah blah blah..he wasn’t half as nice as Mitch…and now my daughter is going through it..

I do remember Bobby asking me why I was hanging around Timmy T’s friends while he was fighting for me. Hello, I just met you and didn’t know your friends.

So I sit around and wonder…will there be a guy in costume with full makeup fighting in front of the school cathedral with Mitch over my daughter? Whose side will I take?? Is that how I will meet the new guy for the first time??

I certainly hope there isn’t any off stage fighting or drama.

Who knows? Maybe the whole weekend will be uneventful.

But if not, I’m sure you will be hearing all about it..

 

Fights with myself

Using my strength to fight my weakness has become a double edged sword right in the gut.

After yesterday, I thought I would have to call the doctor today. This has been the worst GERD episode that I have had in awhile. I know that it was stress related. The stress has been eating me alive lately despite the double dose of Prilosec the doctor prescribed me. That and a strong family history of ulcers and stomach issues probably doesn’t help.

Parenting teenagers has been difficult lately. Things have gotten better since we last spoke. My daughter is being more respectful. Life has been difficult for us all lately.

The situation with my son has gotten better too..Now instead of driving across the state with a car full of teens, my son decided to spend the weekend at home studying. While this may look good to you on paper(?), my son is working on a science project for the school science fair that involves doing an experiment on sleep. The kids are going to stay up for 24 hours and do testing every hour. This experiment is going to be done at my house. So, might as well just add me to the study. I almost wish now that he packed the car up with all of his friends (even the boy that rides in the trunk) and drove across the state.

Do you think he is trying to get back at me for not letting him go??

Then add in my mother-in-law being in the final stages of cancer, I have been stressed to the max.

I figured I wouldn’t be doing anyone any favors if I land myself in the hospital with an ulcer. I am NEEDED at home and at work.

I need to learn how to relax and find ways to take better care of myself.

My natural tendency after any perceived weakness is to be harder on myself. If my body fails me, I’m going to push it. I work harder. I make my workouts more grueling. I make sure to not rest or take it easy. I take on too much.

I use my biggest strength, my determination, to fight myself. I have to stop beating myself up. The world does that enough already!

It seems like the stress during this round of the fight has chosen to attack my body and not my mind. For the moment, the demons in my mind have not been stirred from their hibernation. It makes it easier to deal with the external stress.

Now I just need to learn how to relax. It has never been my strong suit.

My determination and self-discipline is what gets me out of bed in the morning. It forces me to work hard. It’s my drill seargant for my tough exercise routine. It’s what keeps me going. It helps me accomplish my goals.

And sometimes it is a double edged sword..I beat myself up instead of taking care of myself like I should.

 

Sailing empty beaches with a dose of sibling warfare

  

Yesterday we were able to check sailing off of an acquaintance’s bucket list for his 50th birthday. It was a hot day in WI. We were asked earlier this month by his wife to surprise him with a sail. In the morning, we were able to sail into town for some lunch and live music. The winds were light, but that meant we didn’t do a lot of heeling which sometimes freaks out the newbies. 

After lunch we sailed to the beach. We spent several hours swimming. The beach that is boat to boat on the weekends was practically deserted. The photo that I took doesn’t do it justice. We had a bit of an issue. I tossed Paul his hat, wine glass, and the bottle of wine. Except he didn’t catch it all. The bottle sunk to the bottom, we saw a few bubbles and then it was gone. Who would’ve guessed? I was thinking of the floating message in the bottle.  Paul did end up stepping on the bottle later so I didn’t get in too much trouble. Lol. 

My friend and I gossiped about our mutual friend Cori. She is the one that got first place last weekend on the half in our age group while I took second. She beat my time by 10 minutes. My friend told me that Cori works out almost 30 hours per week. I thought that my 5 hours were a lot. She works out as much as I work! It just bothered me that she can stay up all night partying and whip me. Did I tell you that she smokes too?? Geez, I shouldn’t be such a crab because she always has been helpful giving me pointers even though I am technically competition. Albeit, not that much. When I heard how much she works out, she can have that first. Someday when I am independently wealthy I will work out more, but not that much! 

Anyway, after having an absolutely gorgeous day sailing, the other couple took us out to eat for their gratitude. They have been wanting to sail for a very long time and almost went for a weekend almost a decade ago. They had everything planned then found out that their hosts wanted to take them for the weekend without clothes. Good thing they didn’t put any money down for that trip!

Paul and I almost slept out on the hook for the first time this week. It was a hot, sunny, wind free evening when we left home. When we got to the marina it was cool, cloudy, and windy. We anchored at the beach in 3 to 4 foot waves and strong winds. Paul was afraid that the anchor would let loose and crash us into shore. That was the end of that idea. Maybe next week…

When we got home last night, I received a call from my son saying that the car wouldn’t start. Angel and I went out to get him last night around 10 PM. After the great day of sailing, it seemed like I was in another world. Back to reality! The car needed towing. On the ride back home, Alex and Angel fought something vicious. Alex got out of the car and started walking the 15 miles home. By the time I straightened things out and we all got home it was after 11:30PM. Seems like there are a lot more fireworks in fights when siblings are teens. And to think I thought I would be able to come home and go to bed after sailing!

Sometimes you just have to take the good with the bad. One thing is for sure…my life is always an adventure!

Urgent matters

Work has been busy. Tempers have been flaring. Angry hot words sizzle like an egg frying on the hot summer sidewalk. 

On Monday, I paid for the afternoon I took off from work on Friday. I am afraid to take any time off because I have to work ten times as hard to make up for it. I feel guilty leaving our employee to cover for me when the work load is heavy.  

Over the past couple weeks, one of our vendors was updating their website which caused an order that we spent over an hour placing to be all messed up. This kept our clients waiting longer than they usually do. Our vendor did not return our calls regarding our issues because they were bottlenecked which caused us to be bottlenecked. Deadlines were approaching, clients called in desperation. Tetris again. I made the decision to spend a couple hours after work placing the order again despite the double charges. I asked for reimbursement but we might end up eating the double charges. Stress. It seems to happen day after day.

Paul and I were finally getting along only to fight again. We only have time for the urgent matters now not the important things. I was upset that he had play practice on my birthday. He said that he wished he never decided to try out for the play. He was pressured because he would make a perfect lead. He thought I would understand the commitment that 450 lines would take. The play is only a few weeks away. He apologized.  

I was a little miffed that he took 2 of his theater friends sailboat racing last week. I didn’t like the fact that he took a younger single woman that has the hots for him. He had an open invitation to whoever wanted to crew and she took it. Not me. Whatever. I guess she had a horrible time. He had 2 new crew members on a really windy race night. The boat did a lot of heeling and the woman was terrified. She spent a lot of time hiding in the cabin. It wasn’t a peaceful evening like their first sail. Paul didn’t do too well that night. He apologized that I felt left out. 

We finally were able to talk things through and work things out just to fight again. Friday night Paul exploded. He tends to let it all out in one angry storm. It reminded me of a time last summer when Paul was angry. He made homemade pizza for supper which we were starting to enjoy on our deck table outside. He was angry about something. He set his glass down on the table hard to emphasize a point. The table cracked and shattered into a zillion little pieces. Then he went around the house roaring and screaming as loud as he could with the windows open. I briefly wondered what the new neighbor’s thought. Afterwards, he apologized. 

There have been a lot of stressors for Paul. He is stressed about the play, work, the kids, and his mother with terminal cancer. He had a screaming fit Friday night, the day before the graduation party. It was stressful preparing for the party. Would the weather be nice? Did we have enough food? Etc..  Plus it was hard for Paul because not one family member of his would be attending. How strange is it to have a big party for your child with no one respresenting you there? He is like an adult orphan, all alone. He only really has me.

I have been really stressed out too. My anger releases slowly, just a little steam at a time. I criticize. I condemn. I judge his outburst with unforgiveness. I hate. I consistently pour out whispered four letter “s” and “f” words throughout the day. I am no better. SSsssstttrreesssss…

I think that we are finally getting along again. It took awhile. Marriage can be like that at times. 

I am trying not to let the day to day stress get to me. Paul and I have to be on the same team to make this marriage, family, and business work. 

I need to look forward to some stress free time away. I am starting to plan a business trip out to California this fall. Paul and I have never been out to the west coast. Maybe we can add a couple of days of fun while we are out there.  

Weak end

I sat alone by the lake close to the spot where my brother almost drowned. “Why didn’t you try to save me?” I heard him ask. Because I was only six. He told me that he still has nightmares about drowning. How can that be? He was only two. Sometimes when I am all alone the memories scratch my mind. 

I was hoping that my weekend up north would be peaceful and relaxing. For the first time all summer, I had a weekend without plans. I decided to go up north with my two daughters to prepare for Angel’s graduation party next weekend. I cleaned the cabin and hid the clutter. My parents still have boxes with my middle school books in them. 

Saturday morning I received a call from my son. He said that the car wouldn’t start. As I sit here typing, my car is broke down in the front lawn awaiting repair. There has already been fighting over the use of vehicles since Alex got his license almost 2 weeks ago. This is the start to the busiest week so far this summer. My youngest is in summer school and needs a ride. Angel got asked to babysit and provide transportation for 3 different families this week. Plus she took on Arabella’s pet sitting job while she is in summer school. We need a car! I had to find a ride to work and back. 

I ended up letting Alex drive my car this past weekend while I was gone. He was asked to pick up the mother of his girlfriend’s best friend who was too drunk to drive. Great! He was happy because she bought him food at the drive thru. I don’t even know this woman! It is not too uncommon for new driver’s to be the designated driver. That’s real life in the drinking state. I know people that have their kids pick them up from the bar almost every weekend. I suppose it is better than driving drunk. What kind of life is that for a teen? 

With all the driving around that my kids are doing, I should put an Uber sticker on the car. Maybe they can make enough money to pay for the gas.

The whole rest of the weekend my daughters fought something terrible. It even carried over into today. Arabella brought a friend up north. She made rules for her friend that she was not allowed to talk about how awesome her sister Angel is or spend time with her. The rules didn’t work out too well. Her friend didn’t like being bossed around. Arabella didn’t want to play the games that she wanted to play whereas her sister did. We tried playing badminton, Arabella would only be on the team with her friend. She didn’t want to play by the rules and got mad at her sister when our team was winning. Then she chased her sister around the yard with the racquet. 

They screamed at each other. Arabella accused Angel of stealing her friends. Her friend was crying because she liked both of them and just wanted them to get along. It was absolutely miserable. I just wanted to pull out my hair. I have never seen Arabella so jealous and angry at her sister before. She even told me that she was afraid that the dog she was pet sitting would like Angel more. It is hard because Angel is older and has better people skills. Last weekend her cousins told her that they liked Angel but not her. Then she tries to force them to like her and it doesn’t work. 

I spent the weekend worried about problems. I was irritated by the constant fighting when we could be having a fun time. Then I thought about memories that made me feel sad. 

I wish I could just do the whole weekend over. 

Weathering the storms

  

Today is the first official unofficial day of summer here in Wisconsin. But apparently WI did not get the memo. Paul and I tentatively made plans yesterday to go on our first sail of the season today. The weather looked iffy but we decided to take off of work a little early and head to the boat anyway. 

It has been a stressful last couple of weeks. We have been busy at home, busy at work, just busy. You might be thinking that since Paul and I work together that we probably spend a lot of time together. We do, in fact, but it is not quality time. It is more of the “I’m really busy right now and you are bothering me” kind of time. Or can you take care of this problem for me because I don’t have time for it now. Then to make things even busier, Paul decided to audition for the lead part at the community theater. He got the lead along with 450 lines to memorize within the next two months.

So, we decided to take the boat out for a date, a time to focus on each other and have fun in the sun. Except the sun wasn’t shining. The winds were rather strong. Then when the winds finally started to die down, it started to rain. A long band of rain and storms popped up on the radar. So no smooth sailing for us today.

Instead, we weathered the storm without making it out of the harbor. We huddled inside the boat, cold and damp. Then we started to argue. The sentences started with, “It really annoys me when……. Then we spewed out 20 plus years of criticisms, annoyances, and irritations. The things that were once cute but have long since become annoying. Yes, I was pissy. My expectations were once again too high. I pictured this nice intimate sail with warm light breezes and sunshine. What I ended up getting was whipping winds and cool rain showers splattered with a touch of domestic dissatisfaction.

So, yeah, you could say that I am feeling a bit pissy along with the weather.

Living in a drunken state

I really think it is time for an intervention. 

I have been doing some research on you, Wisconsin. I think I live in a drunken state. Out of 50 states, we rank number 6 as a top drinking state. We rank first in binge drinking. There is a bar closer to our house than a church. Drinking is a huge part of our culture. If you are trying to quit drinking, this is not the state you want to be in. Everything is tied to drinking here with the exception of school events. I suspect that more parents would attend school events if alcohol was served. I have even seen alcohol served at church events over various denominations. 

Last week I spoke a little about briefly getting into a drinking crowd. I don’t have a problem with people out having a fun time drinking responsibly. It is the binge drinking that I don’t like. I have seen it wreck too many lives. 

When I was 17, my friend’s parents were gone for the weekend and I stayed at her house. We decided to mix whatever liquor we could find in her parents cabinet. It was the most disgusting concoction ever, but I drank some of it. I remember giggling a lot and my legs didn’t seem to work right. We invited some friends over to play a game of truth or dare which resulted in a goldfish being eaten. Before our friends arrived, a squad car parked in front of my friend’s house. We thought her parents made good on their threats of having someone keep an eye on her. My friend hid me in the storage closet off of her parents bedroom. I remember tripping over a large roasting pan and falling down in a dark closet full of junk. Turns out she just lived on a main road in a small town. That was really my first experience with drinking.  

Skip ahead a couple of years later when I was 21. Right after I met my future husband, I was on a dart league with him and a few others at the local bar. I was single, but at the time I didn’t realize that within a few weeks I wouldn’t be. A man across the bar started buying me shots. I thought it would be rude to not drink them. Then he offered me a ride home because I was in no shape to drive. What a ploy! Fortunately, since we lived in the same apartment building, Paul was my ride home. The room was spinning all night. I spent the night puking and was too sick to make it to class the next day. I felt out of control of my body and it was scary feeling that way. I decided since it was self-inflicted that I would not get notes from the class I missed. I ended up doing really bad on the next test. I decided that I was never going to drink that much again and haven’t. Even when it meant leaving behind “free” drinks.

Turning 21 is a rite of passage here. It is encouraged to get really sticking drunk on that day. Even the first drunk driving offense is a traffic violation. We see billboards advertising alcohol next to signs that tell us how many drunk driving deaths occurred during the year. Newspapers advertise liquor next to public service ads cautioning drinking.

Last week I found out why the police were at my son’s ex-friend’s house. The local paper mentioned an intoxicated boy having a physical altercation with his parents on our road. Although this boy started taking his friends down the wrong path, I can’t help feeling sorry for him. His old friends are no longer allowed to hang out with him. While my son and his friends are enjoying the nice weather outside, this kid is locked inside of addiction at a young age.

We have already spoken to our teens telling them that if they ever need a ride home that we will pick them up anytime no questions asked. I don’t want my teens out drinking, but I would rather have them call me then get into a car with a drunk. I don’t know too many people that had their first drink at 21. 

I have known people that died and killed others from drunk driving. My friend’s dad spent years in prison for vehicular homicide while intoxicated. He missed his daughter’s graduation and wedding. He went right back to drinking after prison. One morning he arrived at her house drunk. He hopped into her car with her while she was taking her kids to school. After dropping her kids off, he became belligerent and refused to leave her car. She had to call the police on him outside of her kids school. He had to go back to jail. She was heartbroken.

I also heard of a story of a friend of a friend that was trying to get pregnant. She was a couple of days late, but decided to take a pregnancy test after going out. That night she got wasted enough to get kicked out of the bar. She passed out in the back seat of her friend’s car. The next day she found out she was pregnant. A couple of days later she had a miscarriage. Maybe she thought that it was early enough that a night of binge drinking wouldn’t matter, but it did. 

I had another friend that went out drinking a few weeks before she got married. A group of us were sitting in the living room when she went in the other room with her fiancé.  We heard a scuffling, then we heard a fight. My friend’s fiancé hit her that night. The next day, she wasn’t sure what to do. The wedding was planned and coming up fast. Her fiancé was so drunk that he could not remember hitting her the night before. They got married anyway.

Binge drinking and domestic violence are not as rare as you might think. Just ask anyone around here what they think the chances of fights are after a day of binge drinking and a Packer loss. 

The stories go on and on. Domestic violence, cheating, divorce, cirrhosis, getting fired at work, drunk driving, incarceration, and even death. I’ve seen all of these things happen in this state. It is the dark side of our drinking culture. That is why I don’t like binge drinking. Nothing good ever comes out of it even though it is portrayed as being so much fun. I’m thankful that my parents were not alcoholics like half of my friends parents were/are. In response to growing up with alcoholic parents, some of my friends decided not to drink. Others tend to struggle.

I am glad we had this little talk. I know it is not going to change things, that is just the way our culture is. Maybe you will have a better understanding of life in our drunken state. 

Last(ing) things

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night crying from a nightmare. In my dream, Paul and I were in some sort of clinic. Someone we knew was close by and received good news. They were expecting a child after years of trying. But we received bad news. I dreamed that Paul had cancer too. We were going to watch his mother die, then he was going to die of the same thing. It was all very horrifying. I woke up upset and crying. I reached over and held onto Paul tightly.

Back in October, Paul’s mother Martha came out to Alex’s confirmation. She had been sick for over a year at that time. She had a cough that would not go away which her doctor said was caused by medicine that she was taking. She was always sick with sinus infections or bronchitis. When we saw her in October, she was wheezing, short of breath, and gasping for air. She looked horrible. We told her to go back to the doctor.

In November, the doctor found a tumor in her stomach and lung. They thought that the tumors were the same kind, that they  would be easily treated with a pill. She was going to be okay. Martha already survived breast cancer 15 years ago. 

Then in January, the doctor found out that the tumors were two different unrelated kinds. In February, Martha was diagnosed with stage 4 terminal lung cancer. The cancer filled one lung and was moving into the other. Then last week, she found out that the cancer had moved into her brain.

Martha is now taking a combination of chemo and radiation. Last week Martha lost her long shiny hair. I haven’t seen her yet without hair. That is going to hit us all hard. I am glad that Paul was given some forewarning to take the time to say good bye. I have to forgive her for all of the past hurts. 

Our relationship with Martha has always been volatile, especially in the earlier years. When Paul and I bought our first house, Martha wanted to help me make curtains. We went together and I spent more than I expected to on material. We started the project, but before we could finish Martha got into a big fight with her son and left me with unfinished curtains. My grandma helped me finish the project.

There were countless times that Paul and Martha would fight. Martha screamed at Paul and kicked him out of her house anytime that we had to discipline the kids. She would show up late for holidays. It has been years since we celebrated any holiday with Martha. Sometimes she would cancel out at last minute or not show up at all.

One time Martha and I were going to take the kids to a water park. She was running late to the point where we weren’t going to be able to make the trip worthwhile. This was the only time that I confronted her. She didn’t talk to me for a year.

Martha often called and spoke of gambling trips that she took with friends then complained that she didn’t have money for gas to come see the kids and their events. Our relationship was marked with a lot of anger, hurt, and resentment. She is a difficult person that likes to argue and say hurtful things, and now she is dying.

This week she called Paul and asked him what we were doing for Easter. We have plans with my family. Today is Matt’s 40th birthday. My whole family will be getting together to celebrate Matt’s birthday on Saturday and then Easter on Sunday. We are able to see each other as a group a couple of times a year. I told Paul that we could cancel the Easter plans with my family to see his mother. It most likely will be her last Easter. Paul decided to keep our plans as is. 

I forgive you, Martha! I will try to remember the good times. When you weren’t crabby, you were always so much fun. Your fun loving, upbeat, optimistic attitude is hard to beat. You provide a lot of excitement. There was never a dull moment with you. You are always happy with the littlest things. You are content with what you have. You try to make the most out of situations. You always had good intentions. 

By far the best gift that Martha gave me was her son. She made the right decision when she decided to keep her unwanted pregnancy. For that, I will be forever grateful.