8 days

Another dream, this time where the past meets the present. My best friend, not even invited. Not by my side as the matron of honor. Never to see or talk to again. I had a dream she was not invited to my daughter’s wedding. How could she be when she was not invited to mine?

I felt the pain of those left behind. Before it was Shelly. She was supposed to be my matron of honor. I was the maid of honor in her wedding. But along the way life happened and screwed it all up. You see, Shelly needed a job and my brother Matt needed a teacher’s aide in his special ed classroom. Maybe that’s where things went wrong. Matt was physically violent and at the time he was a full sized adult.

Matt didn’t like school much and had the tendency to hurt someone when he didn’t want to do school work which was quite often. One day after attacking Shelly at school, the police were called. The police came to school, handcuffed my brother, put him in the back of the squad car, and took him to jail. It was something my mom always warned us about. Watch Matt carefully he is an adult now and if he hurts someone he could get locked away forever. I haven’t been able to get over my fear of the police. Every time I hear a siren my heart races.

My mom was sick with fear for Matt. He was facing assault charges which were eventually dropped because he was incompetent to stand trial. I never spoke to my childhood best friend again. My mom flippantly said, “Oh well, you were going separate ways anyways.” I was going to college and she was working with my brother. But I wanted the choice.

My plan was to go to school to become a counselor. Then I was going to fix my family. That was when I was young and dumb enough to think I could. I already felt the weight and responsibility. If I only knew Matt was going to hurt someone before he did. I could have stopped it. It’s my fault he attacked someone because I was not vigilant enough. If I believed it was my fault, I also believed I could fix it.

I felt guilty on my wedding day because I didn’t want Matt there. I didn’t want Matt to hurt someone. When I got married, Matt was going through some serious health issues and my parents thought Matt could die which intensified my guilt. They got a room for him in the hotel we had our reception at. After the ceremony, which he didn’t attend, we had the photographer come to the room to take wedding photos with Matt. We were gone so long some of the guests chided us about what took us so long as we were coming down from the hotel room.

Now it’s my dad who is not invited to the wedding. I can’t say I blame my daughter for not wanting him there, but it’s still painful. What if people ask where he is? He was pretty sick a month ago and in my mind I thought maybe he would die and free me from the shame he brought upon us. It’s a horrible thing to wish for. As if I will ever be free from the pain he caused me. My counselor said if asked I could tell people he is not well enough to go. If further asked, I could tell them I will talk to them about it later. I am good with the plan. It’s the last thing I want to talk about. It’s my mom I worry about. She has a tendency to overshare and play the victim making it all about her when the focus should be on someone else.

Call me a slow learner, but I just figured out this year I can’t fix people. In fact, I don’t have any control at all. I thought I could fix my family of origin but they are way too beyond broken to be put back together. I can’t even fix myself. I tried to fix my husband when he was drinking too much. I felt like it was my fault. I was responsible for him. It was my job to fix him. How easily it was to jump back into my old role. At times I even thought he was drinking just to hurt me. He has been seeing a counselor too which has been helpful, but I think it will be something he will always struggle with. At times I can’t blame him. If drinking took away my pain, there wouldn’t be enough I couldn’t drink.

He thought he could fix me too. He thought he could be my knight in shining armor. He thought he could bring me out of the dark spaces I hide within myself. He tried to make me happy so he could fix my depression. Why didn’t my fear and anxiety go away? Didn’t I love him? Didn’t I trust him? Wasn’t he something to live for? Couldn’t I just stop feeling that way? Couldn’t he just stop drinking??

We couldn’t fix our parents, both of us having parents with addiction/mental health issues. We couldn’t fix each other. We can’t fix our kids who all show signs of addictiveness and/or familial mental health struggles to some degree. That was a hard lesson to learn. There is nothing like having to watch someone you love hurting. I wanted to do anything I could to take the pain away from them. It’s harder as a parent, especially being the mom, because there is a huge sense of responsibility to fix your children. How often is the finger pointed at the parents when the kids struggle? (I can tell you with a daughter who has Borderline, it’s a lot even from professionals that should know better). It’s even easier to blame myself.

I guess if there is any silver lining in this, we have been waging war against these demons for a long enough time to know how to fight them in the best way possible. It wasn’t the first time someone I was close to wasn’t invited or wasn’t well enough to go to a wedding. My best friend wasn’t invited to my wedding and I never saw her again. My own grandpa didn’t go to my wedding because he wasn’t well enough. I can only control what I can control. It’s not easy, but there is some peace in knowing when to let go.

10 days

The church was full and I was in the front row. The sermon seemed to go on forever. It didn’t seem right, how a wedding was supposed to be. It started with a sermon and then they do the rest of the wedding later? I got a call saying it was time to get ready. On the way out, someone said next time not to do such a long sermon.

I went upstairs in the attic of the church to get ready. There was big puffy insulation laying on the floor and the ceiling hung low over my head in an upside down V. There was a small mirror, nothing else. I didn’t look right. Something was wrong with my hair. Something was wrong with my daughter’s hair too. Her long golden tresses were shorn short and didn’t look good. She was the bride, so my hair shouldn’t matter but I kept trying to fix it but nothing worked.

Angel’s college roommate’s mom was there helping us but she really wasn’t helping. She clucked and chirped acting really helpful but did nothing besides make me feel totally inadequate in helping my daughter get ready. I couldn’t even help myself. It reminded me of the college music competitions. Angel and her roommate getting ready to compete, both equally talented, but her roommate’s mom also went to school for music. She dropped names and acted like a big shot whereas I sat silently watching because I had nothing to say.

Angel, who thought I was an amazing singer and wanted my guidance in high school, long left me in the dust. I could hear the mistakes back then. The college competition singers were all extremely talented. Angel would ask, “Mom, did you hear where they messed up?” But I couldn’t hear it anymore. It all sounded the same to me. I was no longer holding that special knowledge we once shared. She could hear things beyond what I could hear. I gave her a gift and she went off running with it. What more could I ask for really? It was the feeling of being left behind when what I thought was once necessary and important. Bittersweet, a loss for me was a gain for her. I couldn’t help her anymore.

Loud heavy metal music was playing as we were getting ready. I knew the song, maybe it was a song by Alice in Chains both Angel and I like. I felt like it was sacrilegious to be playing that music loudly in a church especially overheard by the wedding guests waiting below. It made me uncomfortable. I felt like a prude when I told someone to turn it off because it was inappropriate. They put something else on, something I didn’t like which was more appropriate. I felt comfortable with that although it wasn’t what I wanted.

Then I woke up with 10 more days…

24 days

In 24 days my daughter is getting married. Until now, the date seemed so far away. July was the bachelorette party with friends at the cabin up north. August was the bridal shower. Our 25th anniversary trip in between those events, still the wedding seemed far away. The calendar on my wall flipped once again and now it is less than a month away.

Time keeps marching on although I wanted it to slow down a little. Maybe we could go back to when Angel was still young and holding my hand. I find myself wishing for things that have already passed. I haven’t experienced a lot of longing for the past in my life up until now. The other day I had a dream she was leaving me. The feelings seem silly because she will always be our daughter even though she will no longer carry our name.

I have been busying myself getting everyone else ready for the wedding. I made the appointment for Paul to get his tux fitted. Yesterday I took Arabella shopping. I want my other children to have something nice to wear to their sister’s wedding. I don’t know why I thought I could just waltz into a store and find something. I haven’t seriously shopped for a nice dress for my daughter since before COVID. Remember when department stores had racks and racks of homecoming and party dresses? It’s not like that anymore. The only dresses I found a lot of looked like nightgowns, pajama dresses.

It’s even more difficult to find something nice in the plus sizes. The only acceptable dresses that didn’t look like nightgowns were dresses my grandmother would be too young to wear, never mind a teenage girl. I ended up ordering a dress on Facebook marketplace and I’m praying it is going to work because my daughter is extremely busty. Thankfully she does have one nice dress she could wear if it doesn’t work.

I had a heck of a time finding shoes. My daughter wants me to wear nude dress shoes since I am standing up in the wedding. I do not own a nice pair of nude colored dress shoes. I started that search several weeks ago and came up empty handed until last night. I don’t wear dress shoes anymore. (Plus I hate the color). The only thing I could find looked either like ballet shoes or were two inch stilettos. No way! I did find a cute pair that looked promising only to try them on to experience excruciating pain with my arthritis and bunion. There was no way I could stand to have them on my feet much less stand up with them for the wedding. Last night I found an ugly pair of dress sandals on clearance that don’t make me feel like someone is sawing off my foot. Done.

Yesterday I started a new diet. Okay, I will tell you right now I am an incredibly vain woman. A couple months back when I was diagnosed with arthritis, I also got diagnosed with being overweight. The doctor said I should exercise more. Funny thing was before I started being in pain all the time I was at the gym 3 times a week and was running marathons. I was in a strength training class. I prided myself on maintaining a youthful figure. I thought it would always be that way until my own body humbled me. Now I’m all squishy. Not that anyone expects me to look like I’m 25 besides me when I’m almost twice that.

Yesterday I started the diet of no alcohol, gluten, dairy, and sugar. I’ve done it before after the bad bout of colitis I had. I did feel a lot better, but it is hard to maintain. I am hoping to lose some weight, but mainly to just feel better. I am not going to be super anal about it. But I would like to get back to being healthier again.

I thought I would write about getting ready for the wedding as that is what is happening in my life right now. I feel like I dropped the ball a little with everything being a super organized planner and all. In some ways I don’t think I’ve had to do a lot of worrying because my daughter is also a super organized worrier at planning her own wedding and I don’t want to step on her feet. I really didn’t think about it all that much and here we are at 24 days already.

Fortune cookie wisdom #46

You will always have good luck in your personal affairs.

When is this supposed to start again??

Sometimes I wonder if this is all there is. Just me waiting for the other shoe to drop stuck in an endless loop of meaningless tasks. Cleaning the house, just to watch it get dirty again. Why don’t things stay clean and orderly? Why is life so messy?

I have been on edge and out of sorts lately. There has been so much change in my life lately. I wish I could tell you that I embrace change, or like it, but I don’t. I haven’t been sleeping all that well and last night had a nightmare I was watching my cat drown.

In the mornings and at night sometimes, my cat stares out the window. I wonder if he is waiting for our dog to come back. We used to sit their together staring out that window at night waiting for the dog to come in for the night. Today I washed the remaining dog nose smudges off that same sliding glass door. He won’t be coming back. I vacuumed the rest of the pet hair from the rug he entered eternal sleep on.

Yesterday my daughter and her fiancĂ© bought a house. This weekend she will be moving out. It is bittersweet. I got used to her living here for the last year and a half. I know it is time for her to move on with her own life and she is happy. But that somehow doesn’t make it easier right now. I’m not sure what will happen next. This will be the first time my husband and I have been alone since we had kids.

I know I should view this as an opportunity for growth. But it really doesn’t feel like that right now.

So here I’ll be waiting for the good luck….

Gratitude week 107

I’m not going to lie, it’s been a shitty week. I started the week out with COVID and ended the week by putting my dog to sleep. So…I think I’m good on my share of problems for awhile. Oh, if I could bet against my luck I would be most fortunate indeed. Anyway…

  1. About the only good thing about having COVID is now I don’t have to worry about getting COVID.
  2. I’m glad my kids were all able to say their final good-byes to our dog. They all gathered around our dog when the vet came out to put him down.
  3. I’m grateful all my children are in good relationships and their significant others really helped them through the process.
  4. The vet who came out to our house was kind and compassionate. She did everything she could to be gentle to ease our dog’s suffering and our own.
  5. I’m grateful for the 14 years we got to spend loving our dog. I feel at such a loss, my kids lost their childhood pet and their childhood is over. It’s a strange feeling, the regret of not being able to go back. It’s over. It’s final. But it was good.
  6. I’m grateful that Arabella’s boyfriend is going to be taking her pet frogs home to his house today. I have been taking care of them since she moved out and it will be nice to give them back to her.
  7. I have an appointment to get my haircut today and just got my nails done for the trip.
  8. I am getting excited to get away for a couple of days. I seriously think betting against myself would be a wise plan in Vegas. But I’m not much of a gambler.
  9. I was FINALLY able to get a good night’s sleep last night.
  10. It will be nice having high temps in the mid-60’s for a few days. Right now the wind chills are below zero.
You will be missed, my puppy!

Update 1/11/22

Sorry if it seems I dropped off the side of the planet the last couple of days. I think COVID finally caught me. Or maybe I caught it? Besides having a fever for a day and severe body aches, my symptoms have been relatively minor. No sore throat, a slight cough, mild congestion, no problems breathing. It started out like the flu and is ending like a mild cold.

Practically everyone I know is sick or has been sick in the last couple of weeks with the exception of my husband. It’s crazy, but my husband in the last 26 years I’ve known him has only been sick once that I can remember with strep. I hope he stays healthy.

We decided to cancel our trip to Puerto Rico next week. They are at a COVID level 3 right now. Basically non-essential travel is not recommended. The government would track us while we were there. We had some friends who got stuck there an extra week because their flight got cancelled. For the money we were spending it sounded a lot more stressful than fun. I booked the trip on Expedia. The hotel is giving us a total refund, the airlines are giving us a credit for around half the cost of the flight. The real kicker is that I bought travel insurance and they said a COVID outbreak is not a valid reason to cancel the trip so we will not be getting a full refund. I am so pissed. What a waste of money that was.

Instead, we decided we are going to go to Las Vegas next week for half the cost of a trip to Puerto Rico. I am hopeful we will be able to go.

I am hoping to do my gratitude list within the next couple of days for the week. I just haven’t been up to much. Not only that, but we are in the process of having to make a difficult decision about our dog. He is 14 years old and is on 5 different medications just to keep him alive. His quality of life has been poor over the last several months and is declining. The last couple of days he has been having accidents in the house.

Today we called a couple of vets that do at home euthanasia. My husband had one call on speaker and I pretty much sobbed the whole time. Why do I feel a tremendous amount of guilt at the thought of putting him down when his quality of life is so poor?? Saying good-bye is always the hardest part of having a pet. I think it’s time, but it’s so hard to let go.

That being said, I’m not sure how much I will be blogging in the next couple of weeks. I will try to do the gratitude for this week and last. Other than that, we’ll see how things go. I just wanted to let everyone know I might be posting erratically.

Bittersweet emptinest

Yesterday Angel and Dan put an offer on a house and it was accepted. I am excited for them. They are getting sick of people asking them if they are going to each live with their parents after they get married.

It’s really starting to feel real now. In a couple months my daughter will be getting married. She will be changing her name. They will have their first house. She will be moving out never to return.

I knew when she moved back home after college that it was temporary. I enjoyed the time she spent back at home with us as an adult. I can’t help but feel incredibly sad she is leaving.

It’s bittersweet, it really is. I am happy for her. Angel is marrying a wonderful guy. They will have their own house and will be starting their own family. I have to let go now.

Last year at this time we had all of our kids living with us. Now they are all moving out. I can’t even guarantee our pets will be with us in a couple months. There is an emptiness inside of me. Hence the empty nest I suppose.

Today as I thought about it, I feel old. My best days are behind me now. My hair is mostly silver instead of the gold it once used to be. I gained 15 lbs. since last year at this time. Almost all of the pants I wore last year are too tight. If I can get them up past my thighs, I might not be able to button them. But I don’t want to get rid of them because maybe I’ll get back to the way I once was.

I don’t see or hear as well anymore. I don’t remember things like I used to. Sometimes I forget what I’m saying as I’m saying it. My body has aches and pains. Things I did effortlessly before seem to take a lot more effort. Aging is a lot harder than I ever thought it would be. Then there are the getting close to 50 crazy lady hormones to deal with.

But in some ways I’m ready for it. My kids are all adults now. I don’t have to run myself ragged anymore doing all the things parents have to do with young children. Maybe my life can be more peaceful and calm. I don’t have to actively take care of my children anymore. Now it’s just me.

Now I can spend time with my husband. By our first wedding anniversary we had our first baby. I don’t regret having children right away, but we missed out on having time alone with just the two of us early in our marriage. We can do that now without having to find a babysitter or worry about the things we had to worry about before.

I really have to look at this whole empty nest thing as something positive. There are some perks to getting older. It’s just the changes I have to adjust to. It feels like everything is happening all at once. Or maybe that is what I am focusing on instead of the pain of my daughter, or in essence of all my children, leaving me and moving on with their own lives.

I’m not sure what the future holds. It is scary and exciting at the same time, bittersweet.

Monday mourning

I’m not in the best of moods today. I woke up at 4:30 AM choking on my own spit. Then I had to go to the bathroom. I tried to go back to sleep, but sleep didn’t come.

I was having a dream about Tom and Lisa. I had a dream their daughter ran away and that was why my daughter Arabella ran away. I thought about our friends who moved away years before. At one time I considered Lisa a best friend. We were running partners and trauma buddies. Both Lisa and her husband experienced a lot of serious trauma in their childhoods.

A couple years back Tom and Lisa’s oldest daughter died at age 16 in a fiery car accident. Their daughter was driving when she fell asleep killing herself and her friend. A year after that, Lisa’s teenage niece died. She got really drunk and fell into the river and drowned. A couple months after that her mother died. Plus the childhood trauma, I don’t know how she is doing it. Sadly, we fell out of touch when they moved several hours away. We used to talk several times a week, now we send a text every once in awhile.

The last time I spoke to Lisa she wasn’t seeing a therapist. I woke up with Lisa on my mind out of the blue. I’m wondering if she is okay.

At 6:15 AM my mom called. It is NEVER a good sign to get a call from my mom that early in the morning. My mom told me Arabella went into the ditch last night from the snowy roads. The day after Thanksgiving, my daughter moved out of the homeless shelter and back in with my mom. She got another waitressing job and things were looking better. But she already got fired from her job which is not good. She quit taking her meds.

After Arabella went into the ditch, she had her car towed to my parent’s house. Right after it was towed back, she left around 10 PM. She wasn’t back by 6 AM. My mom told me her location and I was able to figure out she was at a park and ride. My mom said she was there at least 4 hours. My mom also got a strange message from Arabella’s friend Will’s grandma saying something about Will triggering PTSD and having to lock up the knives in her house.

What the hell is going on?? Is Will suicidal? Is Arabella?? I couldn’t help but worry maybe someone would come knocking at my door to tell me my daughter is dead. It is a constant fear. My mom said Will and Arabella were planning on coming to our family Christmas party this weekend. I can honestly say I feel worried because they are both mentally unstable. I don’t think Arabella would physically hurt anyone besides herself, but I don’t even know this Will guy. Who knows what she has been telling him about us.

I worry more about violence now. I worried yesterday at the community theater show. Dan and Angel went to the show with us. The people sitting next to them were drunk and disruptive. They were talking loudly during the show, getting up, knocking over glass bottles. Dan and Angel actually told them to be quiet. How rude! But how do you know if those people could be dangerous?

Hearing the news about Arabella this morning was very triggering. At times Angel and I were close to tears. Why is my daughter mentally ill? We blamed ourselves, we blamed each other. But what good does that do?? It’s incredibly stressful wondering if today will be the day I get the phone call or knock on my door. It just tears me down to the point where I don’t even want to live anymore. Not that I’m going to kill myself, but it’s hard to feel any kind of joy. It’s just so painful.

Paul, Angel, and I started to do so much better after Arabella moved out. Our mental health improved significantly. We were under an incredible amount of stress when both my mom and Arabella were living here. The strange thing is that at the time we were blind to the effects it was having on all of us. Thankfully Paul, Angel, and I are seeing counselors to help us process everything.

I was very hesitant about seeing a counselor at first. But now I can’t imagine not seeing her. She has really helped me get through a lot of hard circumstances. That is why I worry about my dear friend Lisa. I’ll have to give her a call soon.

Gratitude week 99

  1. Because of my insomnia I was able to see the lunar eclipse. It looked like a big eyeball in the sky. It was one night I was happy to be up in the middle of the night. Who says good things can’t come out of something bad? LOL
  2. My 15 year old cat had a thyroid check up with the vet. Not only is his condition staying stable but he gained some weight.
  3. I got my haircut and I really like how it turned out. This is the shortest I ever went.
  4. I am finally starting to feel less depressed. Why should I allow other people’s bad decisions ruin my life?? Especially since I don’t have any control over it. Letting go is a process and I finally feel like I am accepting things the way they are. I am in a pretty good mood so I am going to enjoy it while it lasts.
  5. I’m grateful for my husband. He has two days left of his month long detox diet. He did an awesome job with it. He is also willing to make some positive changes and compromise which I appreciate.
  6. Angel took me out to eat and to see a comedian Friday night. I’m thankful for a daughter I can go out and do fun things with. We spent the evening laughing and didn’t talk about problems.
  7. Yesterday I spent the day baking with my best friend. We made four batches of cookies and two batches of candy. We both made some new recipes. We aren’t much for baking but it was nice to spend a couple hours together chatting.
  8. I’m sitting next to a roaring fire while I write these words. I love having a fireplace on cool wintry days.
  9. I finished reading the first edition of my book and started the writing process again.
  10. I am getting excited for the holiday season. My husband, daughter, and I are ready for the race on Thanksgiving day. We will be hosting a small party at our house that evening. Then the following day we will be getting our Christmas tree and decorating the house.
  11. This past week Dan, Angel, and I met up with the DJ. All of the major things are now done for the wedding which is a relief.