Tag Archives: Family

Loved You May and Hello June


May was the most interesting month I’ve had for what seems like forever!

A new medication for sleeping has done wonders for me.  Instead of needing and getting 12 to 14 hours of sleep almost every day, I now get up after only 7 hours and feel pretty perky.  All my other meds are the same and seem to be working really well for the most part.  I think the weather helps too.  I’m not isolating 1380021_10155657943450221_190890452345083084_nmyself so much as I was a few short weeks ago.  I love my yard; the sun sucks all the dreary winter from my body and brings the summer into my soul.

We found a cute baby kitty that we were going to adopt and kept him in the house with us for a few days until we could get him to the Humane Society to have him checked out and neutered.  He got out just before one of the most weirdest storms I’ve ever been through happened.  Snow with lightning and high damaging winds.  Then he never came back.  I still grieve for him.  He was so lovable and sweet.

The end of May marked the first anniversary of the death of my dad.  I still have the image of him taking his last breath as my sister and I clutched his hands, crying, and telling him to go.  It was okay to go.  I should have left right away so I wouldn’t have had to see his empty, thin body lying there.  I can’t forget it.  I still remember my mom as she looked after her death too.  I dream of them so much.    His birthday was 2 days after his death as well.  It was hard this year as I’m sure it will be every year.  It’s funny when I dream of my dad because, in my dreams, apparently his death was all a big mistake and he isn’t really dead and is still alive.

What makes it better, though, is in between the anniversary of my dad’s death 11107728_10155729474615221_1500065792585678561_nand his birthday my youngest granddaughter had her first birthday.  I remember the joy I felt when she was born in spite of the sad, dark time of a year ago.  This year was no different, really.  She is cute as can be and I love both of my grandgirls to bits.  Such bright and wonderful children who give me so much joy.

My daughter turned 18 in March and is almost 30.  Yeah. But she’s really doing great.  Doing fantastic in school, winning 2 awards and made the honour roll!  So proud of that girl.

I also met a man.  I decided to give up on the “bad boys” after reading several articles written by nice men who never seem to get a chance.  I also read some blog posts and comments from them where women have been stuck with the bad boys just like I was. And they just didn’t get it either. So…I’m giving one a chance.  It’s only been a few weeks but holy moly…wow.  He treats me like a queen, takes me for dinners, lunches and breakfasts.  He lent me his truck for 4 days (which my kids thought was really weird).

I have had to stop him from spending so much money on me.  If he had his way he would lavish me with gifts.  He wants to find me a car. He wants to buy me clothes. I said no. I keep saying no. He really giftswants me to be happy and expects a commitment in the future.  THAT I’ve  never heard before.  It’s been all disconcerting as I have not met anyone like him.  He loves how I look.  He’s beyond eager to meet my kids.  He wants to be with me all the time and I had to tell him I needed space to breathe and learn about myself in this new role.  It was a battle at first, only because of his own insecurities I think.  I notice he really doesn’t have that many of those so far.  He lives out-of-town on a beautiful 4 acre lot with an apple orchard and all the toys near a beautiful lake.  I’ve stayed there a few times and love the privacy, the birds and the sun on beautiful days.

I had a surprise graduation party for my son, his wife and my daughter on Sunday because they are all graduating.  My son got his GED back in the fall, my 11224583_10155851597945221_3784232355226808323_ndaughter-in-law went to night school to finish her high school and, of course, my daughter graduates high school in June.  My fella paid for all the food and drove me around everywhere to find supplies and presents.  He wanted to come to the party to do the cooking but I held him off as we had only been together for such a short time.  I just felt it was too soon.

He smiles all the time. And that’s important to me. We like and love so many of the same things and every time we discover something new it’s such a surprise.  He wants to make sure I’m not stuck inside and plans outings all the time.  He missed me yesterday and drove the hour drive and showed up at 4 in the afternoon with Chinese food for supper.

To think I was fighting this.  Neither of us could really understand my imagesCA48VGCDreasoning.  I do though, of course.  All those failed relationships, all the heartache and all the work invested and lessons learned.  He doesn’t want me to lump him into the same category as those guys.  He’s assured me he’s different.  I’m starting to believe it. His health isn’t very good at this time but we both hope for improvements.

I have high hopes for this wonderful man.  If it doesn’t work out at least I know there are nice men out there.

So bring on June.  Graduations, beaches, long drives and love.  Bring it on.

Finding My Groove Again.


I may have found my groove today.

The last month has been getting steadily worse for me in regards to moods and thoughts.  There have been some really good things too, of course but then, as the night approaches, so does the sadness, loneliness and racing thoughts of doom.

Here is a little catch up for you since I last posted. I’m way behind:

I MOVED!  My daughter and I finally got a call from low-income housing and we movingmoved in to a beautiful townhouse at the end of February.  It’s been all renovated with new everything.  The bathtub is even slippery and doesn’t scratch my bottom.  hee hee.  Unfortunately I did re-injure my back during the move and it took quite a while for it to be tolerable again.  I still can’t go for my walks or stand for too long.  I’m pretty sure my depression is because of all the excitement of moving and the natural letdown that follows.  Never mind the stress from the move itself both on my body and my mind.  I just feel exhausted all the time.  I could sleep all day but make myself get up. It’s late in the day but I’m up before Carly is home from school.

I’ve seen my granddaughters more.  Such joy they give me.  I have one video of the 2-year-old in my lift chair saying “this is awesome” over and over while I worked the controls.  She says it in her very grownup 2-year-old voice.  I play it every day.  It really helps.

coffeeI met up with an old friend for coffee a few times after my last post.  It was nice to connect again.

My son turned 30.  I can’t believe I have a son who is 30.

My daughter’s 18th birthday is in 10 days.  My sister and I are going to the casino to ply her with liquor and bingo.  I can’t believe my baby is 18.

I finally had someone to talk to today.

I realized last night, while I was feeling my lowest, that I’ve been waiting for something.  I don’t know what it is but I figure it’s time to stop waiting.  Thinking back  I realized there are some things I took control of which felt beyond finishing.  A quick email to my lawyer telling him I want to go to court and not meet with that man ever again resulted in what I hope is finally action on that man’s part.  So it’s not done yet. But it feels like it’s getting closer.  It’s been 5 years since I left him.

I saw my mental health worker today where I spewed out words and feelings and spewingtears. On the bus ride over there I was listening to music I had downloaded on my phone (I finally figured it out) and every song was making me feel sadder and more lost.  When I left my worker, I felt better.  On the ride home I was listening to Paul McCartney sing “Hey Jude” live.  I had shivers up and down my back hearing the love from the crowd as they sang back.  Na na na naaaa.

I guess I must have been acting like I was really into the song because the guy next to me (young, in his 20’s) asked me what I was listening to.  I told him and he had no idea who or what I was talking about (!) so I started it again for him to hear.  It’s a long song but he listened to it all.

He thanked me for allowing him into my groove.  His words.

It might be time to let in a few more.groove

Roller Coaster


Finally, I feel I have the ability to write again, both electronically and emotionally.  Well, I still don’t know about the emotional part.  Its been a very emotion-filled few weeks, with many ups and even more downs.  My laptop may overheat but I will write with breaks so it can cool down.

During these times I came to learn valuable lessons about myself:  I’m still strong, there is always something new on the horizon, and I have my pride intact.  There were lots more lessons learned but those are the big ones.

I was always waiting for something.  Exterminators because we had bedbugs.  It took the landlord 2 months to get them here so poor Carly and I would go to bed each night so the critters could feast upon our milky flesh.  All the info we read from the government and exterminator’s websites recommended you don’t sleep on the couch or they will find you.  Where. Ever. You. Go.  So I couldn’t sleep.  I would stay awake until the sun came up, killing any that crawled on me and put them in a jar of bleach and laugh manically as they dissolved before my eyes (I bet you didn’t know how sadistic I can be).  During the day I would pick though my daughter’s bed, trying to decrease her discomfort.  She would still have new bites every few days.

During this 2 month time we were banned from seeing my grandchildren as my son has an almost supersized fear of the bugs and he did not want to risk any hugstransfer from us.  Ditto for the boyfriend.  I maybe saw him 4 times in that 2 months and that was to go to movies.  I was so relieved when we were finally sprayed at the beginning of December.  My oldest granddaughter was overjoyed when I walked though their door.  The hugs!  Hugs beat the bedbug blues every time!

Unfortunately the bugs seemed to be the beginning of the end for the boyfriend. He called less and less and I saw him very infrequently. We seemed to have a plan to go to Cuba though, where I hoped some alone time would help.  Over the holidays, he just stopped calling except for a text telling me Happy New year and don’t be mad, I’m going to Cuba with my friend.  That was almost 2 weeks ago and not a word since.

I knew this was a man who has lived with a very traumatic past and this is the worst time of year for him.  It took me a while to realize that he could not be ready for a relationship.  He needs to find his own self before he could ever trust his life won’t be ripped apart again.  I, of course, have had my own traumatic past.  The difference is I have both professional and familial support.  He chooses to have a different way of handling his feelings.  I’m afraid it ended with me having a broken heart because of the silence.  Or maybe I’m giving him too much credit and he really is just a jerk.  I don’t believe that though.  I do know, really, it’s for the best because, unless there is help in his life, my heart would never heal and would keep going through these unresolved issues he carries.  I think I might be stronger in some ways.  Unfortunately, I’ve now developed some trust issues of my own.  My self-esteem is even more damaged than before.  Who would want me?  I don’t feel attractive physically or emotionally/mentally.  What a mess.

There was one day that I slept away.  22 hours.  That was when I knew I had to try to do something but everything was pretty dark for me.  For those who survive depression hopefully knows everyone feels it differently; it’s never a contest, like “I have more reasons to be depressed than you do” kind of thing.  No.  What I feel ????is physical (heavy like an elephant) and mentally (my brain is a foggy bog of poo).  It’s how to get out of it is the challenge.  Sleeping 22 hours may not seem like a healthy way to do it but that was all I could do that day.  The next day was less, more like 14 hours.  Then it was 12.  I can handle 12. I did the dishes.  I tried to go grocery shopping.  Then suddenly I had stuff to do and had to get out of bed to do them so my going to bed at 7 am was not going to work anymore.  I seem to have developed a fairly normal schedule.

How I felt is so hard to explain.  I wish I had the words to tell you how dark my world was.  My dreams were where I wanted to be.  I couldn’t wait to dream because what happened in them was so much more exciting and meaningful than what my life was.  My bi-polar dreams have always been vivid but never so much as during this time.  My awake-time flashbacks from the dreams would leave me  quite confused. Once, on the rare occasion I did go out, I was very nearly hit by a bus and leapt 3 feet in the air as the driver laid on the horn, inches from my hip, waking me from my musings.  I thought no one would care anyway.  Of course I know now that is not and never been true.  I have my peeps who love me and always will.

Before Christmas, I was on the bus after seeing my mental health worker and tearsjust broke down.  I was crying in public.  No one did anything except for the lady beside me who handed me a used tissue.  I sat there with tears streaming down my face, suffering in silence.  Which is what most people do.    All this was not necessarily because of a man.  I was on my way to my darkness partly due to the isolation I was in and the feeling of not being wanted anywhere because of the blasted bugs.  I was just so sad and lonely and alone.

I missed my Dad so much over Christmas.  His joy was like a child’s when he opened gifts.  His place was empty at the table where we would squeeze his walker in.  I did have a wonderful day with my family though.  We all felt his presence there, especially when, for no explicable reason, glassware started banana-cream-pie-004falling out of the cupboard and breaking on the ceramic floor at my sister’s.  I was making the banana cream pie at the moment, which was his favourite dessert.  I had to stir and stir the homemade pudding for at about 45 minutes so it wouldn’t burn.  Maybe Dad thought I wasn’t doing it right but I kept right on stirring during all the crashing and sweeping and didn’t burn the pudding at all.  One of the best we ever made.  He was keeping me on my toes I guess.

Carly and I got wonderful news the other day.  We now have a townhouse we’re moving to through public housing.  Instead of paying rent I cannot afford it will be covered by the benefits I receive from Disability.  This is a huge financial relief for me.

I have lots to look forward to.  I will get to purge yet again.  The crap that weighs me down.  Crap that I hang on to.  Crap I can let go.   And it ain’t just because of the packing.

If I can help it, life is going be like taking a deep breath of fresh air.

 

Away From Home


There we were, two of the most anxious females I know, going to a strange city by Greyhound.  Whatever gave me the idea that this was a GOOD idea?  Well mainly it was because Carly and I were going to spend some good quality time together.

My son was driving us to the bus depot and I was feeling pretty calm until we were almost there.  Then my mind started racing with questions.  What do we do?  Where do we go?  We started off doing what we thought was the right thing.  We went to the counter at the depot and told the guy (who turned out to be our driver) that we were going to Edmonton and what do we do?  He looked at our tickets and, very kindly, told us we would be departing at Gate 1 at 6:45.  We found seats nearby and waited impatiently.  It got later and later and Carly was coming up with more and more dire scenarios (What if we don’t sit together?  Why did I have to read about Tim McLean? What if people smell bad?)  then finally we saw the bus arrive and security being set up.  We were about 5th in line and finally got to the security table when we noticed we were the only ones without any tags on  our luggage.

Now, remember, we did go to the counter and no one said anything about tags.  We had to go back to the nice man and tell him we needed them. There was a lineup there too and only 2 people on duty.  One staff member was being held up by a guy who was trying to say his 3 bags were all carry-on’s and the bag that weighs 100 lbs. is free.  That was not true and vigorous arguments ensued.  We finally got to the nice man and he apologized for his mistake and even let me take my heavy carry-on with me.  By this time there was no line at security.

Security checked my bags and waved the wand over me.  Then Carly.  Good, nothing was pierced on her that I don’t know about.

The thing about the motor coach I noticed the most was the smells that made their way to me throughout the trip to Edmonton.  The first half hour I smelled vomit.  The guy across the aisle kept belching really loud and they were quite stinky too.  As were his farts.  Then I thought everyone was drinking on the bus because someone would walk by me and I would smell alcohol.  Turns out it was the hand sanitizer from the bathroom.  Good for them for being so clean.  At least I knew they washed their hands after they did their business.

The smell that started half way there and never really went away came from a cup of coffee that a woman behind me spilled which proceeded to go downhill where Carly’s backpack was directly in its path.  Carly was already so stressed out at this point she went over the edge for a bit.  She cried over her Vans backpack and her new toiletries bag inside, now reeking of and dripping with coffee.  The lady felt so bad and mopped up everything with toilet paper.  Then there wasn’t any TP for the bathroom.  Finally the driver found some.  Whew.

feetMy legs and feet swelled up so much it was ridiculous.  I have a history of blood clots and made sure I walked around whenever we had a stop.  My feet hurt so much throughout the trip.  The swelling never really went away.

When we got there, after 18 hours on the bus and with barely any sleep, we still went shopping.  I could barely walk and would send Carly into a store while I would find a bench to sit on and rest. I had to buy a sweater because it wasn’t summer in Edmonton.  Fall weather had hit and I was in shorts and tank tops.  I was miserly with money and was so glad to find a pretty good one for only $10.  Carly must have spent over $300 the first day.   Her money not mine.

I slept so good that night and was out like a light before 9 pm.  I loved the pillows.  Our hotel was nicer than I expected.  I used booking.com and found a pretty good deal.  I give it 3-4 stars.

We hit so many stores.  There were so many people, especially on Saturday.  It was almost impossible to get through some of the aisles as they were clogged with crazy shoppers.

Saturday at the Mall!

Saturday at the Mall!

Friday was my birthday and another day of shopping was planned.  I got some great deals just telling people it was my birthday.  My new fella had given me a card with strict instructions not to open it until my birthday and I actually obeyed.  It was one of the first things I did when I woke up.  Open it I mean.  Lo and behold it had money in it!  With more strict orders (he seems to be a little bossy) to spend it frivolously on myself.  So I bought Body Shop stuff, which I never buy because it’s too expensive.  Because it was my birthday I got free hand lotion thrown in.

Carly spoiled me rotten on my birthday.  She paid for all the meals and cabs and bought me a beautiful forever scarf which was handy on the way home in the air-conditioned bus.  She paid for more than half the food on the trip and half the cab fares.  Almost every time I looked at her she had her bank card out.  She was so patient with me and my sore feet, as long as she knew where I was.  Thank goodness for texting and cell phones.

I noticed a lot of things that makes Edmonton different from Winnipeg, besides the mall.  The noise is unbelievable and overwhelming. We had to shout to each other most of the time at the mall.  Everybody goes really fast there too.  Cars and people.  Some of the fashions I saw I haven’t seen here, at least not yet.  AND I didn’t see one butt crack when people were sitting down.  In Winnipeg you can count on seeing several in any food court, on the bus or even just walking around.  I didn’t see one and that made me happy.

Leaving Edmonton was very different then leaving Winnipeg.  For one thing there was absolutely no security check done.  This caused a whole new round of anxiety for Carly as now anyone could have a knife or a gun and cut off our heads.  No one did but even so the trip home was a nightmare.  For 20 hours we listened to a baby either screaming with misery or laughter, depending on her mood.  At least I had to listen, Carly had her iPod so she plugged into her music world and drowned it all out.  The baby rarely stopped and it was horrible.  When she did stop another would start.  There were 8 children on that bus under the age of 5.  One mom had 4.  Another mom had 2 and one of hers was the devil child who kept screaming.

This mom who had 4 children with her was amazing.  We were about to leave Edmonton when a man came running onto the bus looking for seats he said.  There weren’t that many, it was pretty full.  The driver announced that a family of 5 was coming on board at the last-minute and to be patient.  No problem.  Out the doorway I could see this tiny woman, maybe about 25 years old and 4 kids, ranging in age from 8 to 18 months, all holding something; pillows, blankets, books, bags of food.  They climbed on then the driver made ANOTHER announcement that these people had reserved seats so a lot of people had to shuffle around.   The dad then ran off the bus, yelling “love you kids!” and he was a blur going back into the depot.  The little family was in the back and we didn’t hear a peep out of them.

We had a layover in Saskatchewan and these kids totally entertained me.  They danced and sang and giggled and climbed and ran and hid.  All the while, their mother was calm, laughing along with them, getting them to settle down for only minutes at a time and not worrying too much when they started up again.  She spoke to them patiently and kindly and I could tell she does this all the time by the way the kids treated each other; the same.  She met my eyes and laughed telling me they only had 3 hours of sleep so they were really goofy.  I told her, “My dad used to say, It’s better than crying”.  She laughed more.  I could hear a little hysteria in it though.  She was so great.  She would crouch on the floor with them, rocking the youngest against her chest while talking softly to the others and feeding them apples and grapes.  How she could hold that position for so long boggled my mind.

(Carly hates my people watching.  She thinks I’m nosy.  What the heck else would I write about if I didn’t watch other people and what makes them do what they do?)

Meanwhile the other screaming kid was still screaming with the mom begging her not to cry.  The dad did nothing; he just looked mad.  I know the child was tired and they were on a long trip but it was really hard to take by hour 15 of the 20 hour trip.  By the time we got home, I wanted to kiss the ground.

We had a delay before we left Alberta.  A young woman was hanging out with some of the younger guys on the bus, taking smoke breaks with them, etc.  These young men always smelled like pot (SECURITY!).  Anyway, we made a quick stop in a small town and I walked by her where she was commenting to some of the other women (who also smoked) with some concern about how she was swelling up.  I wanted to show her my own feet but didn’t dare scare her.  We all got back on the bus and started off again when she left her seat and went to talk to the driver.  He turned around and took her to the hospital.  According to the guys she hung with, she had taken opiates and then one of the guys gave her something else which didn’t react well with her.  We had to leave her there in the middle of nowhere, hopefully in good care.

I totally had a good time although in pain. Tylenol Arthritis was my best friend.  I’m pretty proud of myself but not totally surprised I could do it.  I had to be a good mom to Carly, who was anxious a lot of the time and keep her calm from her day-mares.  Never mind the hundreds of people or the guy who wanted to give me a makeover and wouldn’t give up, even when he saw me later and practically chased me.  I handled it.  I did good.  It’s taking me a few days to recover from the overload and the swelling but I’m just about there.

I’m still not sure about social situations though.  This was very impersonal as I didn’t have to interact with many people.  Just doing this trip and knowing, even if I am anxious about it, I can breathe through it and continue on.  I don’t know what the future holds but it sure looks good from here.  Going into big crowds like that was amazing and overwhelming at the same time.  We kept it simple; using cabs to get to the mall and back.  We didn’t do any sightseeing at all.  The fear of getting lost is still too strong.

Would I do it again?  Not on a bus.  No way on a bus.  I would fly for sure.

My world just got bigger.

Shopping…


I’m about to test the strengths I’ve learned these last few weeks/months/years.  I’ve planned a great adventure with my daughter which is totally out of my comfort zone.  One that will include a Greyhound bus full of strangers, bad food and poor sleep.  And then…

Destination:  West Edmonton Mall

We will be shopping pretty much non-stop for 3 days then head home again.  loveshoesWell, the girl will be shopping with her money, I will be the one behind her carrying her many purchases and stressing over how to save a nickel (could we have popcorn for supper?  I really don’t want those shoes.  Yes I do.  No I don’t.).

Does this trip fill me with anxiety?  Oh yes, you bet it does.  As a matter of fact today I had to drive to the airport where the bus depot is to purchase tickets and I felt so much panic as soon as I couldn’t see downtown anymore.  Will I get lost?  Will my bank card not work?  Maybe I don’t have any money.  Will my heart decide to stop beating?  Will there be an accident while I’m driving my son’s van?  Watch out for that old lady!!!!

Remember, this was just on the way to the bus station.

The original plan was for me to rent a car to get to Edmonton.  This wouldn’t work out because I don’t have a credit card and also because I would have to sell my body 541,000 times just to get the $1,000 I would need.  So Greyhound it is.  I’m relieved I’m not driving the 15 hour trip.  I would really be scared of getting horrorlost among other things too many to list here.  I’ve watched way too many movies where a car breaks down and weird-looking strangers make sure the passengers are never seen again.  The mom always gets killed first.

So once I conquer the bus and the inevitable motion sickness I’m prone to, we hit the hotel and then the mall.

The huge, incredible “mall”.   mall

 

This is bigger than anything in my city.  There aren’t just stores; there are amusement parks and restaurants and lots and lots of people.  Lots of them.

I want to do this though because this is the last year my last child is a child.  Next summer she will be an adult and making her own trips with her friends.  This way I get her all to myself for a few days with no computer in my face.  I’m really looking forward to it in spite of the gnawing in my stomach.  After all, I made it out of the bus station with a few wrong turns on the way back but made it home, unscathed, just the same.

I take heart in these small steps as they are leaps and bounds to what I could do 5 or 6 or 7 years ago.

Huge.

Like the mall.

Oy.

Better Late…


Oh I have been a bad girl, missing at least 3 posts I had committed to writing.  Things are so busy with summer and all.  I find myself getting out of the apartment just about everyday now except maybe for most weekends.

Summer is always special.  I’ve written about it before and now you can read it summeragain:  The smells (on my skin, in the air, my granddaughters’ hair), the beach when I can get there (which smells totally different by the way), walking and walking even though my knees are older than dirt and so are my hips but I still walk when I can.

I just came back from 5 days at the beach with my daughter and my sister’s family.  I also was able to bring out my oldest granddaughter for the weekend.  It was “Gamma Gamma” and some new words and lots of new dance steps as well as our old favourites.  Even the nephews got into The Wiggles!  Our little gal had lots of fun.  I miss her now.

I also met a guy about a month ago. Things are really good but I won’t jinx anything.  We will just see how it goes.  🙂

It’s been great to feel the freedom from the isolation I had for the last few years.  This getting out everyday sure opened my eyes to my city.  Buses are still the fun buspart of the day with screaming babies, drunks who want to smell my hair and sometimes meeting up with old friends for those brief moments until whoever’s stop comes first.

I’ve been handling the death of my dad by keeping very busy.  It’s been kind of strange helping my sister do inventory on his estate and seeing some things for the first time and yet see the things he used every day too.  I love how he and my mom are now both in my dreams at night.

I still smoke in my dreams every night too.  Crazy.

One thing I am happy to say is we found my missing sister!  Alive and as well as she can possibly be and in touch with another family member.  Such a relief when I found out.  I was in tears knowing she still walked this earth even though her demons are still chasing her.  I don’t think I will ever see her again as it would be too difficult for her but having some contact through another trusted person makes it okay.

All that weight I lost is slowly coming back and Dr. G wants blood work done before I have my next appointment.  Fasting blood work.  Meanie.  He’s glad I seemed to have met a really nice man and also finally made my connection with a mental health worker.

Not that the new guy is my mental health worker.

Oh no, now that’s just confusing.

Dr. G is so pleased with my progress these last few months.  I do feel so much better with more positive things in my life.  These help me handle the negatives going on.

So I hope to get another post in during the next couple of days.  See you in my dreams!

 

Where Did You Go?


I have a sister who has been absent from the family for several years.  No one has heard from her for a very long time.

My sister has schizophrenia.

Since my Dad died a month ago my family has been hoping she will show up or call.  She hasn’t made any contact and my younger sister has gone to extraordinary lengths to locate her, short of hiring a private detective.

It amazes me how someone can disappear like that.  No Manitoba Health card for over 5 years so no medical treatments in that time.  She didn’t even have a card when we know she lived here for sure.

I feel so sad.  Where could she be?  I don’t want her to hide from us, to be afraid of us.

I remember going to see her at her old apartment about 3 years ago and knocking on her door and hearing her drag furniture and boxes away from her door.  After being allowed to enter, seeing her Spartan ways overwhelmed me.  She was scared, lonely and very, very ill. She couldn’t wait for me to leave and when I did, I heard all the boxes and furniture being barricaded on the other side of the door once again.

The last place she was known to live over 2 years ago the landlord said she snuck out of her apartment in the middle of the night, not taking much with her.

The fear.  I can’t know the fear she must live with every day.  All I know is the fear I have for her.  She won’t have ID so if something should have happened to her we might never find out.  No hospital stay information or death certificates would be available because no one will be able to know who she is.

This sister has become a ghost.  I know she might not want to be found but now it’s not about estates and letting her know the news about our Dad.  Now it’s about knowing she still lives, in whatever world she might find herself and hopefully still on the same earth as me.

Mental illness…another one allowed to slip through the cracks.  I can’t blame anyone for that though.  As her family we tried.  Her illness was so frightening.  I couldn’t even let my son drive her home at one time (for which he kindly volunteered) for fear of anything she might say he did or what she might do to him.  Her actions and words struck terror in my gut many times.  The medical community did their best short of locking her up for the rest of her life to make sure she took her meds. The one time she was on meds she was our sweet sister again but it didn’t last long.  Now it must have been years since she’s even seen a doctor.

I remember her when I was a very little girl.  I was very ill for the first few years of my life and still see her lovingly mothering me; taking me for walks in the carriage, scratching my back (which calmed me very much) and giving me treats.  When kids bullied me in school later on she went out and had a T-shirt made for me that said “Marie Boomer – Superstar”.  I wore that thing until the letters fell off.  It made me feel like a superstar.

I’m trying really hard to remember the wonderful sister she could be.  She left home when I was very young though and I rarely saw her until I was an adult again and her illness had progressed so much.  It’s not easy to keep the good memories alive since there are so few of them but I will.

I just hope she knows we are still here for her.

Please come home Sue…

I Need Naps


This week I finally had the chance to do a decent grocery shop.  And I went with my girl, Carly.  We haven’t been shopping together in close to a year.

It seemed that I could never get the shopping quite right; Carly wanted “healthy” things.  Well, so do I but our versions of “healthy” are two different ideas.  I had to teach her about balance and budget.  Since she was complaining so much I made her come with me.

So there we were with a borrowed van at the store and a good wad of cash.  I needed prescriptions and headed to the pharmacy while sending her to the fruit and vegetable section.  While my prescriptions were getting filled we met up again and started cruising up and down the aisles. I don’t usually cruise but I had a list too.

We agreed on some things that didn’t have much to do with food.  The most challenging was a new razor.  Ours was gross already so we agreed to buy a new one.  I was checking out the ladies and Carly insisted we get a men’s razor style.  I wasn’t too sure about that until she found a weird shaped one.  She was reading the package and exclaimed “It has a battery!?”  That perked my interest and it was only $7 on sale, half price.  Carly said she didn’t think we should get it as we probably were too technically challenged to use it.  It had an attached trimmer for heaven’s sake.  That must explain the battery, right?

I ignored her and got the last 2.  She has no faith.

Then it was groceries…she read every label on every box or container of food and exclaiming in a horrified voice every time; “OMG the sodium! …the saturated fat!…the CARBS!” and would quickly put the item back on the shelf.  I would pick it back up again horrifiedand show her what we had to do to make a balanced meal.  She had to realize it was OKAY to have fat, sodium and carbs to a certain degree especially since my cart was full of fruit and veggies too.  We picked up whole grains as alternatives to what we would normally buy.  We also bought a little more organic fresh food as well.  It was all starting to come together.

I must say, shopping with her took twice as long (at least) and three times the cost.  I’m just lucky we  had the money for this trip.  I asked her if she saw how much it cost us and she said she did and was shocked at how much we have to pay to eat healthy.  I warned her that, on our normally very limited budget, this shopping trip would rarely be like this.

I’ll let you in on a little secret though…I did manage to sneak in my Cheez Whiz.  🙂

Boy, I had my exercise this week too.  I’ve been looking after my oldest granddaughter while my youngest granddaughter gets her eating habits in order.  I swear I’ve never been so tired.  It’s a really good tired though.  I go to bed before 11:00 (!!!) and get up for 8:00 am.  Amazing.  And she  has me running.  Running after her, ahead of her, beside her and with her.  In between we watch inane children shows that make me get ridiculous songs stuck in my head which have replaced the songs we played for my Dad while he was on his death-bed.  I don’t know which is worse.

We also nap.  Grandma needs her nap.IMG_0985

So a good week all around. Thank you to all who gave me their support the last couple of weeks.  I really appreciate it as it had to one of the worse times in my life.  I don’t feel as alone as I did.  I feel better being busy and productive.

Until next time….

A Room Packed With Boomers


Well another week has gone by and my Dad’s memorial service is now behind me.  So was seeing some creepy family members I could have done without but I got to see some very beloved ones as well.  Especially cousins I hardly know but love.  The plan is to get to know them better.  It was rather a unique time…a room packed with Boomers is not something you see everyday.  I just ignored the creepy ones as best as I could.

dads finalIt was a glorious day filled with stories, the wind off the lake and my Dad’s ashes scattered at his final resting place.  It was banana cream pie, conversation and hugs.  It was sadness, relief, connections and my grandbabies.  It was seeing my Dad everywhere and hardly having to look.  My Mom too.

It was having to hold in all these emotions until leaving for home and reaching a short way from the cottage and then sobbing, uncontrollably, on my daughter’s supporting shoulder.  We held each other in our borrowed vehicle and cried for the loss of a great man.  Our ride the rest of the way was filled with silence but we could hear the songs and his voice in our heads.

That man was my Dad and I’ll miss him and my Mom so much.

Today was the 70th anniversary of D-Day and I found out more about my Dad today than I ever knew before.  My eldest sister sent out an email:

He said that he was suddenly put onto the minesweeper HMCS Minus & it was very much a secret as to where they were heading.
That Canadian ship was part of the huge armada of Allied ships that assaulted the Normandy beaches in order to invade Europe.
Dad was 2nd in command of the landing craft that took troops from the Minus to Juno Beach. He said that it was heartbreaking. The seas were
very rough & a lot of the other landing craft were letting the troops off too soon. He saw lots of men drowning & struggling in the water. He said
that they made sure that they went right to the beach to let off their troops.
On one of their trips into shore the captain of their landing craft (who was standing right beside him) was shot in the head by a German sniper. His head & brains exploded all over Dad.
Dad was now in command of the landing craft that was also now damaged by German gunfire. He could not turn the landing craft around to head back to his
ship so he had to take it in backwards. When he reached the ship the captain on the deck yelled at him for coming in backwards whereupon our father told the captain to “ fuck off”.
Dad said that one of his enduring memories of June 6, 1944 was simply the huge booming noise from the guns on all of the Allied ships that were there that day.

I know he experienced much more pain than even on that day.  I’m proud of him and can’t even comprehend the horrors he faced, even during the years following the war.  The nightmares never left him and he tried so hard to not let them into his daytimes.  He did a fantastic job.

I also said goodbye to a guy I was dating for 7 months who decided he wasn’t “that into me” and broke up with me, by text, the night before my Dad’s memorial.  I sure can pick ’em!  I don’t feel a great sense of loss though.  He was obviously emotionally challenged and I’m pretty sure I was the “interim woman”.  My life certainly moves on.

Well, another week is ahead of me with plans to be with my family and some friends who have been so great helping me get though the last few weeks.

I’m looking forward to looking ahead.

Getting Through the Week


This week my second grandchild was born.  My Dad died on Friday and Lexi was born on Monday , 11 days overdue.  Lexi was supposed to be a boy, according to three 3D ultrasounds but came out a beautiful, healthy girl.  She was a huge surprise.  Hopefully we can find all the receipts for the boy stuff everyone bought.

I was sure having Lexi in my life, now with a huge empty space from losing my Dad, would fill in that big gap in my heart.  She does in a way but I’ve had a cold or allergies since she was born so only saw her once. My Londynn was here, though, and kept me going for one afternoon.  She makes me tired.  🙂

I no longer have my daily visits with my Dad.  Those sure got me out of the Sage, fire, memoriesapartment.  I miss him so much.  Tonight there was a sharing circle at my sisters.  It was wonderful to hear stories about my Dad coming from people I barely knew and from family I love dearly.  I  shared some of my own stories while taking in the scent of the bonfire, the sage burning in the bowl beside it and listening to the birds singing and calling out to each other.  After I was finished I threw cedar into the fire and watched it get eaten up by the flames.  Everyone else did the same. I watched the smoke drift up to the sky.  The sky looked like it wanted to rain but it held off.  I was glad I went.

Never have I felt so alone as I have this week.  It’s been a confusing time and I thought I would have been prepared for this but I wasn’t.  I’m not.  His birthday was on Tuesday and that day was just a write off for me.  I spent that whole day in bed.  I just couldn’t get up.  The same thing happened the day after he died.

I’ve gone downhill in my mental health; feeling more isolated, sleeping so much more and feeling quite alone in my already little world.  Everyone in my family are grieving too and my sister is so busy with arrangements and such.  There are a few people who have written to ask how I’m holding up (badly) or one really nice man I know tried TWICE to get me out but I couldn’t bear to leave the apartment.  He even promised me ice cream!  I received a lot of support on Facebook from my friends.  I thank them all very much for taking the time to acknowledge my loss.

I hope to be in a better frame of mind next week.  My routine goes back to normal with volunteering and seeing Dr. G again.

Now I better check myself for wood ticks.

Ciao