Saying good bye?

I have often wondered why we say the words good bye. What is ever good about parting with someone that you care about?

This morning I said good bye to Angel as she left to go back to college. I won’t be seeing her again until March.

Last night Angel said good bye to her grandma, probably for the last time.

It was a rough week. Darryl called earlier this week very distraught. The doctor told him that Martha was never going to go back home again. She was going to be transferred from the hospital into a nursing home. They thought that she was going to beat this terminal stage 4 cancer thing. It is hard to blame them for feeling that way as they don’t have the internet at home and we are all new to this stage 4 cancer thing.

Living with her day to day, I’m sure that Darryl didn’t see how the cancer eroded her body like we did. Losing 100 lbs isn’t as noticeable if you lose it 1 lb a day. It broke Paul’s heart to see his step-dad break down and start talking about final wishes and funeral arrangements. We knew we had to arrange one last visit with Angel and her grandma before she left.

The night that Darryl called, Paul cried. Before all of this, in the 20+ years I’ve known Paul, he has only cried a handful of times. Mainly when his grandma, who helped raise him, died. Dealing with his mother dying has brought out a whole new range of emotions, some of them not very good. I want to fix things, but I can’t.

Sometimes I worry about Paul. He takes on too much responsibility. He is a great leader and everyone wants his help on this board, committee, or that. I find that most people care more about what he can do for them instead of him.

Besides Paul and my friend Cindy (who keeps calling and asking how I am doing), I have been pushing everyone in my life away. When things get difficult I shut everyone out. No personal Facebook statuses for me. I don’t want anyone to know. It surprises me that I even talk to you. Sorry, no offense, I’m sure you are a great person.

Instead of dealing with my emotions, I put more things on my plate. No, not food, if I’m really stressed I barely eat. Working long hours…yes…trying out for a part in the play…yes…signing up for an 18 mile trail run…yes…another marathon…yes, yes, yes….a half iron…yes, yes, oh yes!

Keeping very busy has always been a tactic of mine.

I’m not sure I can keep going at this pace. But I am afraid. If I stop juggling all of these busyness balls, I will surely drown.

I will keep going. I am determined to persevere. And I am going to keep writing (take you along on this journey with me)! Lucky you! XOXXO

 

 

The end of the race

I ran my last race for this year, a half marathon. I was happy with my time, just a few minutes over 2 hours. Although when compared to my running friends, that is not impressive. 

Cori stayed up until 3 AM the night before. She drank a 12 pack of beer. I went to bed by 10 and only had one beer. She beat my time by 10 minutes! Lisa stayed up until 2 AM and had a couple of beers. She beat my time too. Then for the 5k we ran together, she stayed up all night long drinking and was probably still drunk. I went to bed early. She beat my time. WTH? Why am I so slow? I try to do everything right! 

I wish I was an ultra runner. It seems like I am prone to injury. I wasn’t able to finish any race this year without knee pain. This year I planned on running a 5k, 10k, half, full, and my first tri. I achieved my goal, however no PR’s. Every single race day was either hot and/or humid. Then there was my knee. 

Maybe I should find some friends that aren’t runners. Someone who hears the word marathon and thinks of Netflix. I can hear it now…. Wow, a 5k! You’re so amazing! Did you win? Would that be better than trying to do everything right and still not being good enough? Idk. I took second place so I am not bad. So, whatever. I just feel sometimes that they look down at me for not being as good as they are. In my defense, Cori doesn’t work and dedicated her life to running and working out. How can I compete with that? 

After the race, I picked up Arabella and her BFF from camp. I had to do a lot of driving. That made me a little nervous. Would I fall asleep behind the wheel? After I picked up the girls, we headed up north. We stopped by my in-laws on the way. Martha lost more weight since I saw her last. She looked like a feeble old woman walking around slowly with her walker. Cancer, the horrible devastating destroyer. Martha started giving away some of her items. She gave me a platter that she got as a free gift from some casino. I don’t know what to do with all of the “treasures” she is giving me. 

I would much rather hear family stories from her, like who Paul’s father is. Does she even know?? Does it even matter anymore though? Paul will never look for him. I want to hear stories of her childhood and growing up. This is our last chance to really know her. 

Martha’s husband Darryl invited us to stay for supper. He had some raccoons cooking in the crock pot. I politely declined. I’m not sure trying raccoon is on my bucket list.

We finally got to the cabin around supper time. The water wasn’t working and the pump was running nonstop. My dad decided to come up to the cabin to look at it. Thankfully, it was an easy fix. So I ended up spending the evening talking alone with my dad while the girls played games in the next room. It was strange since I don’t remember ever spending the evening up north with my dad without a lot of other adults around. It was actually nice to talk to him. Who knows how much time he has left?

Other than that, the weekend was rather uneventful. It is nice to be done racing for the year. I am already starting the think about next year…

Ready to call it a day…

It has been a long day…

Paul and I awoke this morning at 6 AM by the jarring ring of his cell phone. His busybody cousin was calling early to tell him that she thought his mother needed more home care. His mother has been in and out of the hospital over the past month with terminal cancer. Martha insisted that she didn’t need home care. His cousin who is a CNA that acts like a doctor said that Martha was lying. Then she started accusing Paul for not being there more. This is a cousin that we have not seen for about 15 years. She swooped in out of nowhere and started taking charge. Paul suggested that if she has a problem with Martha’s care, then she should talk to Martha’s husband Darryl. 

It really wasn’t the best start this morning. Paul felt so offended by his cousin. It is always so terrifying to have a late night or early morning call when you have a dying parent. Who does that?? 

Then I scrambled to work for a half day to find out that the employee that would be covering for me in the afternoon couldn’t make it in because her brother-in-law had a heart attack. Oh, and she told me that she had to take my birthday off for a doctor appointment after I already made plans. So I had to cancel my birthday plans. 

At this point, I am feeling stressed and angry. Not a good morning at all.

I took the afternoon off of work to take my son in for his driving test. We spent a couple of hours before the test having a “crash” course on driving. He only got honked at once. Then he went in and passed the test. Afterwards, he started asking if he could borrow the car for the weekend to hang out with his friends. So now this starts?? I’ve accepted the fact that I am not his number one hang buddy. He is finally starting to talk to me more. Last night he even hung out with me and played his favorite rap songs. I can’t say that I approved of all the lyrics. But he wanted to hang out with me, so I tolerated it. Pathetic, I know. Wait until you have a teenage son that never comes out of his room. I did get a few new running songs though.

Then this evening I have plans to organize Angel’s graduation party. It is only a few weeks away and I have no idea what I am doing. I am not a crafty mom at all. 

I am ready to call it a day already!

Lilacs, mushrooms, roadkill, and dandelion wine 

Every year when the lilacs bloom, I think of Darryl.

Darryl is my husband’s step-dad. He is a rugged outdoors man of the wild north woods. He doesn’t even have (gasp) internet. Except for being a non smoker, he is reminiscent of the Marlboro man of old. He is tall, lean, and ruggedly handsome for a man in his early 60’s. He has a head full of thick wavy hair. He works full-time as a forklift driver. He is a hard worker and has many other side jobs such as janitor, chimney sweep, and lumberjack. In the winter, he hooks up a plow to his pick up truck to earn some extra money. In the summer, he works in his massive garden.

Darryl lives off the land. In the fall, he is a deer hunter. He even goes black powder hunting. He processes his own venison. He takes the hides from the deer and sews his own clothing. In the winter, he goes ice fishing. In summer, he fishes from his boat. Life for Darryl is simple yet satisfying.

Darryl also picks up roadkill. One time he picked up a dead raccoon off the side of the road. He threw it into a crock pot and served it to my kids telling them it was chicken. They loved it.

I have learned over the years not to eat any of Darryl’s food. He has been known to leave brats in the fridge for months then serve them. Sometimes his food has a funny taste to it. He seems to have a strong constitution though.

Darryl also makes his own wine. He never follows a recipe when he makes his wine out of unusual ingredients such as potatoes or dandelions. It doesn’t always taste the greatest and sometimes has a high alcohol content. People have been known to spend the evening sick after a few glasses. In fact, a couple of weeks ago Paul and Darryl shared a bottle of wine while out fishing. Darryl lost his balance and fell out of the boat. Then he fell several more times on his walk back home. If Darryl offers me his wine, I tell him that I am strictly a beer drinker which isn’t entirely true.

Darryl says that every year when the lilacs bloom, the morel mushrooms are ready. Morel mushrooms are a very expensive delicacy in these parts. One year, he asked us if we wanted to go mushroom hunting with him. It sounded like an adventure, so we went. We combed the woods and found a few. On the car ride home, my skin was crawling with ticks. Darryl and Paul decided to fry up their mushrooms for supper that night. I don’t like mushrooms and was a tad bit worried when they wanted to eat their find since there is a false morel mushroom which is similar but poisonous. Darryl was fixated on mushrooms for awhile and even started carving a large intricate mushroom out of wood.

By far the most interesting story I heard about Darryl happened the time that he cut his leg open with a chain saw. Now Darryl is the cheapest guy that I know. He has been known to dumpster dive or collect items that others don’t want. In fact, he is a bit of a hoarder. His house is decorated in vintage 1970’s mismatched furniture. He has two refrigerators in his kitchen, one works and the other he uses for storage. After he cut his leg with a chain saw, he was too cheap to go to the doctor to get his leg stitched up. So he did it himself. He took a needle and some fish line and sewed it right up. He could win a survival competition hands down (or even tied behind his back)!

Darryl sure is an eccentric fellow. 

 

 

Back to the present

Today I struggled with what to write. I want to go back to my autism series that I started earlier this month but so much is happening in my life right now. How can I talk about the past when the present is exciting, here, and almost gone?? I will finish it though. With the marathon last weekend and my first child’s graduation this weekend, I have a thousand thoughts and emotions running through my head. And it all has to fit into one post per day that should contain an average of 500 words. Lol.

Last night, Paul and I decided to call our parents to try to convince them into going to Angel’s graduation. I called my dad and asked him directly if he was going. Now I typically call my dad twice a year, on his birthday and on Father’s Day. So it was a big deal that I was calling him. He seemed happy to hear from me. He told me that Angel was a nice and good girl. He said that he was planning on going to her graduation. I was floored. Then he even asked me how my marathon went. I was shocked that the whole conversation was very positive.

Then I walked out of my bedroom to find that things didn’t go quite as well with Paul and his mom. Martha was on the phone with Angel saying that she wasn’t feeling well and wouldn’t be able to make it. But this time she is really sick. So sick that she couldn’t make it in to her chemo appointment yesterday. I believe that she is really sick this time. But I liken it to the story of the boy that called wolf. Martha has been calling wolf so many times over the past several years that now my mind finds it had to believe that there is a wolf.

But there is a wolf. Martha has terminal cancer, the big devouring wolf. A few weeks ago, Martha was going to go with me to see Angel perform her solo and ensemble pieces at state. Martha was supposed to be at my house by nine. I waited around until 11:00, Martha didn’t show up or call. By that time I had already missed half of Angel’s performances. At 11, Paul called his mom and she was still at home an hour away from our house. She wasn’t feeling good enough to go but didn’t bother to call. She was going to try to make it out to eat with us later that evening for Mother’s Day.

I knew that Martha was sick. But it still brought up all of those old feelings that I had towards her for standing up my kids. I was very angry and hurt. I drove fast to get to the remainder of Angel’s events. I was pissed that I wasn’t there to support Angel when I told her I would be there to watch her. Then I even started to feel a little guilty that I was angry with my mother-in-law who is dying. So I have become tolerant. I have repressed the years of resentment, hurt, and anger.

It is hard because now I think that Martha might want to go to Angel’s graduation. But it is too late now. She should have gone to more things when she was able to. She should have been the involved grandparent then. Now it is much too late.

 

Remembering to forget

I love writing a series about the past, but I don’t like that it prevents me from talking about the present. But then I figured it is my blog, I can write about whatever I want to.

I remembered so much over the past couple of days just by thinking and writing about things that I haven’t thought or wrote about in awhile. Things that are very elementary, like grade school. I remembered that Matt used to stand by the school and flap his hands. I remembered how he used to laugh after attacking someone. I even remembered the signals of his agitation before he attacked someone. His pupils would constrict. His eyes were wild. His teeth and fists would clench. His face and ears turned red. 

Sometimes I think that we have to remember things in order to be able to forget. It’s a strange concept and I can barely grasp it.

A couple of days ago, my mother-in-law Martha turned 67. It was a warm day that promised evening storms. Arabella and I went to see Cindy’s son perform in a middle school play. While I was at the show, I felt a strange mixture of emotions. I suddenly felt like time was going by very quickly, quicker than it should. While I was at the show, I found out that Martha’s brother died (on her birthday) from lung cancer, the very disease that will eventually claim her. Rain came down and thunder cracked like the striking of a big clock. It was pouring after the show ended and lightning zigzagged across the sky. I ran across the parking lot in the pouring rain in search of my car laughing as I was getting drenched by the cold rain. 

I drove 20 miles home in a steady downpour. It wasn’t raining cats and dogs, but it was sure raining worms and frogs! Arabella was angry with me for not stopping for ice cream. It was late and I wanted to get home. I wanted to make sure that Paul was okay after hearing the news of his uncle, although they weren’t very close. Arabella argued with me. She told me that I was old and I couldn’t relate. She said that my life was boring like an old black and white photograph. I have done my job right, she knows nothing about my life. Someday she will read this and understand.

Last night we took Martha out for her birthday to see Paul and Angel perform in the musical. Yesterday was the first time I saw Martha without hair. She looked very gaunt, frail, weak, and tired. But she was not coughing, gasping for breath, or wheezing at all. Next week we will find out if the combination of chemo and radiation did anything to shrink the cancer in her lungs that spread to her brain. Martha kept saying that she was going to fight it, but said good bye like it was the last time she was going to see us. 

The show itself was great. Angel was able to do her high soprano singing this weekend since she was feeling better. Paul danced around on stage like he was a young man in his 20’s. Everyone found it hard to believe that he is pushing 50. I married a man that is 6 years older than me. He always tells me what I have to look forward to.  Isn’t that wonderful? Lol. Soon I will need to wear glasses to read things and I will probably lose my hair. Geez, I hope that I don’t experience age exactly the way he does.

I am getting excited that the marathon I am running in is a month away. I ran 18 miles today and feel great. I put on a total of 30 miles this week. I feel strong. I feel ready. I feel sore.

That is about it here. Tomorrow I am going to get back to the series.

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.  

 

Making a pact

This past weekend something happened that made me rather upset.

Last minute, Paul and I had our friends Cindy and Jack over. Jack wanted to make plans with Paul to go on a fly fishing trip over Easter break. The place that they want to fish is 5 hours away, very close to Cindy’s parents. Cindy and Jack were having a hard time finding a babysitter for their 5 year old son and we couldn’t help. That seemed like a no brainer fix to me. I suggested that they drop their son off with Cindy’s parents. Cindy said that her parents wouldn’t do that for them. They were still complaining about the time that they had to watch him for 2 hours. Really? That made me angry.

Then I told Cindy that my aunt wanted my daughter to sing in her only child’s wedding. She told me that my younger two children weren’t going to be invited to the wedding. It wouldn’t be that big of a deal except that the wedding is a couple of hours away. Being a part of the wedding would require a hotel room a couple of nights for the rehearsal and wedding. Another relative said that I should leave my other kids with some friends or my in-laws. My in-laws? They didn’t help out with the kids much before my mother-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer. How can people ask a favor and be so insensitive?? Paul offered to stay home with the youngest kids so I could take Angel to sing in the wedding. But it makes me angry!

Then it took me back to a time in my life when I needed help but found myself alone. On Angel’s 4th birthday, Matt attacked her. It took my brother and husband to pull him off of her. This event caused a chain reaction of hurt that lasted years after the actual attack took place. I decided that I didn’t want my children victimized by my brother like I was. Things were different, when my brother hurt me he was a child. When he hurt Angel, he was a grown man and she was just a little girl. For years there was a time where there was very minimal contact between Matt and my children. Because of this, my mom lost her number one caregiver, me. We also lost our number one helper, my mom.

Less than a year after Matt attacked Angel, I gave birth to my third child. I scheduled the C-section for a Friday because I didn’t have anyone to help watch the kids during the week while Paul worked. My mom stayed over the night before, then dropped the kids off at the hospital the morning that I had my third child because Matt had a doctor’s appointment. Paul and I never had the celebratory meal together. After I got home from the hospital, my mother-in-law helped for one day then I was on my own less than a week after having major surgery with my three little kids.

In response to everything that happened, I decided to solve my problems by starting up a babysitting co-op. It worked great. We exchanged points for child care instead of money. We had monthly play groups. I developed close friends that for some reason or other found it hard to get the support that they needed as a parent.

I wish that there was a flow chart with parenting solutions sometimes. If your child does this, you do that. Every parenting class that I have ever attended was always filled with controversy. To spank or not to spank? Work or stay at home? Breast or bottle? Private, public, or home school? One child wins or everybody wins? Vaccinate or not to vaccinate? Yada, yada, yada… I am sure it wouldn’t take too long to find a blog where someone is fighting over these issues. Nobody seems to have the answers. 
Having your first child is such a major shock. I find it funny when women seem worried about childbirth. I was the same way. Seriously, you should be more worried about the next 18 years! Suddenly you are thrown into parenting without any idea what you are doing. Having a second child is also a shock. Yes, I was one of those people that thought it wouldn’t change my life at all. I also thought that my kids wouldn’t fight. That expectation got shattered pretty fast. I also thought that if I did the best job that I could possibly do that my kids wouldn’t rebel or make the wrong choices. Boy am I still learning! Having a third child was no adjustment at all. Wait, did I have a third child? I think so, except I did not document the first time she started to crawl, the first word she said, or the first time she spit up like I did with my first child.

Grandparents, why does our culture sometimes treat you like you are outdated and worthless? What a lie! You are a wealth of knowledge. You have the experience that some of us are learning through trial and error at the expense of our children. For all of the grandparents out there who are helping out their children some way or another, thank you. God bless you for making this world a better place. You are needed. You are appreciated. Parents, if you have parents that are wonderful grandparents, show them your gratitude. I know many parents that would do almost anything to have a little guidance.

This past weekend Paul suggested that we (Paul, Cindy, Jack, and I) make a pact to be good grandparents. The four of us promised that we would be there for our children when they have children of their own. We promised to be supportive, offer advice if asked, and to take our grandchildren for a few days to give their parents a break. We will take the wrongs and make them right.

This is our pact.

The travel diaries, hidden places

I want you to close your eyes for just a moment and think about the busiest place that you have ever been. I am thinking about New York City. Horns honking, tires squealing, brakes squeaking, street vendors selling loudly, all a jumbled mass of sounds echoing off of buildings. Now I want you to think of the most remote location that you have ever been to then multiply it by 100.

A few years ago, Paul and I wanted to get away for the weekend to escape from the noise of life. I reserved a remote camping site at the Northern Highlands State Forest in Wisconsin.The site I reserved was called Sunset Point. It was one of five camp sites. Three were located on the main lake, one was on the second lake, and the site I reserved was on the farthest end of the third lake.

Paul reserved remote camping sites before. He would get together with a group of guys and take his fishing boat filled with camping gear to the remote site. They would spend the weekend fishing and cooking up their catch. This time I wanted in on the adventure but with just the two of us.

There were a few very important things that I overlooked when I reserved this site. We had the truck loaded up with camping gear when Paul decided to take one last look at the site details before we left. He noticed that our camp site was not a boat in remote site like we thought. It was actually a canoe in remote site. We would have to carry our canoe and gear a couple of football fields between lakes to get there. Oh, and a storm was coming.

Thankfully we were able to drop off the kids at my in-laws and pick up a canoe that they had up in the rafters of their shed. That afternoon we were finally able to check into our camp site. The park ranger said that due to the bad weather expected almost all of the campers canceled their sites. We decided to keep our site on the furthest lake. He told us that in the event of a severe storm, we were on our own. He gave us a map and wished us luck.

We drove about 15 minutes down a one lane dusty dirt road. It was full of potholes. We were bouncing around so much that I thought our canoe would fall off. Vines and brush pressed against the truck on both sides. It was a great place to hide a body and we didn’t even get to our site yet. Once we got to the parking spot, we realized that we majorly over packed. We packed for a boat ride across the lake, not a canoe ride across three lakes. We took three trips back and forth across each lake to be able to fit our most essential gear. Then we carried the canoe across a couple of football fields down a little dirt path to get to the second and third lakes. We had to make multiple trips to get the rest of our gear. It took us several hours to finally get to our site. We arrived just before it got dark hurrying our exhausted muscles along more and more as dusk approached. We still had to set up camp, eat, and try to hunker down before the storm came.

We truly were out in the middle of nowhere on a small lake in a heavily wooded area. There weren’t any electrical hook ups here. A short distance from the camp was a pit toilet in the middle of the woods without a structure around it. We were completely in the dark once night hit. We settled into our tent early that night trying to sleep before the storm arrived. Paul tied our tent up to the trees surrounding it to give it more support. We heard a coyote howl in the night. Taking a hike to go to the bathroom would be a little scary. Not to mention feeling vulnerable out in the wide open.

We awoke that night to distant thunder then the roaring of a great wind. Rain knocked gently at first with a little tap, tap, tap. Then tree branched clapped and tapped along our tent. Everything seemed so loud. I grabbed the flashlight to shine on my face (like the actress from the Blair Witch Project) and jokingly said, “I’m so scared.” But I really was afraid. I was afraid that a big tree would come crashing down on us. I was afraid that I would have to swim across three lakes and run across a couple of football fields with broken legs. Oh heck, might as well just throw in a bear.

Despite my fears, we woke up that morning in paradise. Most of our wood got wet, other than that everything was perfect. We fished on that little lake. We had a great time in the miniature Garden of Eden (without snakes). I even checked skinny dipping off my bucket list. We didn’t see a single person all weekend. Well, except for when that small plane flew over while I was skinny dipping.

The next morning it was time to go home. Once again, we were in a bit of a hurry because another storm was going to hit that afternoon. We decided that we did have enough time to make a good breakfast. While Paul made bacon, we heard howling that came closer and closer to us. I sat in the canoe while he cooked just in case something came out at us. To this day I couldn’t tell you if it was coyotes, wolves, or hunting dogs. All I know was that it was pretty unnerving. It sure did motivate us to get out of there as fast as we could.

We finally were able to load up our bags and head out, but not before we put the weight of the world back on our shoulders. Things didn’t go that well with my mother-in-law and the kids. She couldn’t handle all three kids at once. She was swearing about them while we loaded them up into the truck and left. After that, I didn’t speak to my mother-in-law for about a year. Getting away did wonders for our marriage. Too bad it didn’t have the same effect on my mother-in-law.

We always expected to go back to our hiding spot. In fact, I even made reservations to go back the following summer. We loved the taste of serenity that solitude provided along with a little spice of being survivalists. We wanted to right our wrongs, like not over packing. When the weekend came around to go back, we didn’t have a sitter for the kids and it was going to be stormy the entire weekend. So we never did go back, but sometimes I want to.

 

 

A storm is brewing

I feel the edginess right before the storm hits. The peacefulness and calm from my vacation is leaving slowly like a summertime tan. I feel the wind surround the emptiness inside of me, trying to find a void to fill with cold icy snow. The warmth and sunshine are gone now. Sorrow, darkness, and anger encapsulates me. I cry out to God, but He doesn’t seem to hear my prayers. I feel the tug of emotions trying to drown me in a river of despair. I am alone. I want to be alone. I don’t want to talk. I really don’t want to do anything.

It has been a hard start of the year. I miss my neighbor and friend that passed away a couple of weeks ago. Every time I look at her house, I think that she is still there. She will pull her car out of the driveway and wave at me. We were supposed to do something together next week. But guess what? I can’t go. I looked over the old messages that she sent me. My heart tells me that she is still alive. She just can’t come outside. My brain tells me to stop being such a fool. Stop pretending that things are fine.

Last summer my best friend moved to Florida. I had the opportunity to spend time with her while we were there on vacation. I didn’t realize how much I missed talking to her and seeing her. I miss her. I don’t feel like talking to anyone else. In 4 months, my oldest daughter will be leaving the house. I am excited for her to start the adult chapter in her life, but I am at such a loss. I started crying while she performed her solo and ensemble song for me. It bothered me that she sold her junior prom dress. It just seems so final.

Then yesterday we found out that my mother-in-law has stage 4 terminal lung cancer. They are giving her around 15 months to live. Wait a minute, I am not ready to deal with the loss of our parents yet. I have been having a hard time with this since I saw her last week. I have been feeling sad and angry. With all of the people that were praying for her and my friend that passed away, why didn’t God heal them? I don’t have any control. Why should I expect miracles? I feel helpless. Who can avoid death? It has given Paul time to say goodbye to his only parent. That has been good for him to spend time with her.

This morning my son got suspended from school. He got in a fight with someone in the hallway. It has been no secret that my son has been struggling with school for the last couple of months. He has been begging us to switch schools for a couple months now. Apparently a boy called him a faggot on facebook back in December and has been bullying him with some other kids. My son got in his face today. I suppose that it shouldn’t surprise me that the day after my son finds out that his grandma is dying that he confronts this other boy. Words were exchanged between my son and this boy. They were pushing and shoving each other in the hallway. Then I received a call from the school that my son was suspended for 3 days. He was trying to provoke the other kid that was picking on him. Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe we can finally resolve this issue head on.

We are expecting a snow storm today. We should be getting somewhere around 8 inches of snow with blowing winds. It just started to snow.