Finding My Footing Pt2

I was stunned. Sitting in the backseat, trying to absorb what I’d just been told. My younger daughter had been downstairs and not aware of anything going on upstairs until she heard the screaming through the heat vents… coming upstairs she realized there were pills all over the counter as well as my sharpest knife. All eldest daughter could repeat was “call mom!” urgently between crying and yelling in anguish. I tried to talk to her from the back seat, trying to get through to her… trying to understand how she could go from okay one day to this. No warning.

When we got to the Emergency Room I helped her inside. She was beginning to get a bit woozy and they quickly rolled up a wheelchair and took her away for treatment.

Younger daughter and I sat and waited, quietly rehashing what had happened. Trying to see what we’d missed. The piece we’d not seen that had brought us here once more. I sent a text to my hubs to let him know and got back two words. “Oh shit.”

After a couple of hours of waiting they let us go back to see her. They’d given her charcoal and her mouth was black with smudges on her nose and cheeks. It made her look like a little orphan waif laying on the bed. I tenderly cleaned off her face and she started crying again. We talked about everything and anything and it all came back to the same thing… the divorce. She was to meet her husband later in the week to file the papers to start the divorce proceedings and it suddenly became very real to her. They had been seperated for months, but until those papers were filed she thought she had a chance, maybe, to work it out with him. It didn’t seem to matter that she had a son who still needed her very badly “He’ll be with his dad and then they can travel like his dad wants to”… She didn’t seem to care that she was still young and beautiful and had so much life ahead of her to look forward to… “I can’t, it hurts too much. How will I ever be able to trust that someone loves me again? I thought HE was the one.”… It wasn’t in her to understand that she wasn’t alone and that she wouldn’t be homeless or starve to death and that she’d have people who loved her and would care for her as long as she needed… “I will never be able to live on my own. I’m not going to ever be able to afford it.” Everything that I said was flung back at me with anger and negativity. I asked her why the knife… “Because this time I meant it. This time was going to be the time I did this right.”

They moved her up to a room on a medical floor so she could be kept supervised for a few hours.They wanted to make sure she didn’t injure her kidneys or liver… or any other physical part. They had a “sitter” who would stay with her all the time. It was that, or they were going to move her to the ICU where they could watch her all the time. They wanted to make sure she didn’t try and harm herself further. We went with her and made sure she got settled in. By this time she was pretty sleepy and we let her sleep, talking to the intake nurse who was trying to get all her medical history. The questions rang so familar… things I’d answered hundreds of times when the kids were little and had to go to the doctor. I felt I was dealing with a child, not a 30-some year old woman.

Then came the question, “Has she been under any stress in the past year?”.

Oh, my. I looked at my younger daughter and we both laughed with awkward nervous laughter. “Where do I begin?”. The depressions, the ECT treatments last summer, the marriage troubles, the separation, the moving out of her house and having it foreclosed on, the bankruptcy, the moving into our house, the having to put her two cats up for adoption, the going back to work after being off for nine months, the 12 year old son who is getting teenage hormones and is giving her grief about where he wants to live and who he wants to live with and how he isn’t ‘comfortable’ living with us, her off-again-on-again relationship with her husband and trying to find other friends after so many years of being isolated… I mean, pick any one of them and they’re a nightmare.

I used to think eldest daughter was the most level headed and competent of all my children. I used to feel she was old before her time when she was young. Part of that I think is my fault for thinking that probably at too young of an age. I asked a lot of her growing up. I put a lot of responsibility on her that I probably shouldn’t have and wish now that I hadn’t. I see now that in some ways she may have suffered for that, just as I suffered from my own parents’ mistakes.

I wish with all my heart I could believe her when she tells me she has promised, for her son’s sake, that she will never do this again. I wish I could know that the next time she is hurting so badly that she will stop and call someone – anyone – and stop. I’m hoping that the support group her therapist is trying to find for her will be a successful match and she’ll find people there who can help her through this. People who have the right things to say and do and who maybe have some strategies to get her through these hard times. I hope she knows she always has us, her family, there for her – but I also know that sometimes it can be us who are the problem. Just as new roommates need to learn to live with each other, her coming home to live has created some turmoil and territorial issues that my OCS (only child syndrome for those of you who haven’t read me before) can bring on. I’m learning to live with another person added to the mix and I keep telling her it isn’t just her, but myself and how I deal with things in life in general… such as, not being a morning person and being snappy when I am stressed…

I tell her… she doesn’t know what the future may bring. I certainly didn’t expect my life to end up how it did! I was the city kid who was never getting married, never having kids… and now on my second marriage (30+ years) and four kids and married to a farmer living in the country? Well, you could have blown me over with a feather if someone had shown me that crystal ball years ago! I tell her all things are possible – that all is not lost. BUT… that she has to be breathing for it to happen.

I just keep telling her the most important thing of all… that I love her, that we love her. I hope she’s listening.

Finding My Footing

What a week it has been.

Last Saturday I spent the day with my mother and my eldest daughter. It was a relatively good day… as good as a day spent trying to make out what is being said in a noisy, crowded Olive Garden with a mother who isn’t wearing her hearing aids and an unwillingness to shout. Later after lunch my daughter was saying she wasn’t feeling well and thought she might be coming down with Hubs’ cold he’d been fighting for a couple of weeks.

When we got back to mom’s, she went to lay down as I tackled mom’s bookwork… ending in me having a massive headache, shoulder pain, and a craving for alchohol.

When we got home I unwound a bit online and my daughter went to lay down. I thought she was feeling a bit better but didn’t realize all that she had running through her mind.

Sunday younger daughter and myself decided to do a movie marathon… something we like to do from time to time. We had originally decided on one movie I wanted to see and another one late in the day that Hubs’ wanted to see. We were going to join up with him later for that. Well, I talked to elder daughter and she wasn’t interested in seeing either movie, plus she was still feeling a bit under the weather. After a brief discussion with younger daughter we decided there was another movie she wanted to see as well so we were going to go to it when Hubs’ piped up and said he’d be interested in tagging along. Well, alrighty then!

As it turned out, by the time we’d watched the first two he didn’t want to go see “his” choice after all, so we came home. Elder daughter was still being quiet and I thought she was still feeling ill.

The next morning I heard her up very early showering and when I got around I found out she’d gone back to bed. Said she’d called in sick. I went in to work and about 10:30 am got a phone call from my younger daughter. “Come home. Now. Amanda needs you.”

I drove way faster than I should have been, considering the driving conditions, and flew into the open garage… my mind racing with any number of possibliities as to what was going on. I raced inside not noticing my daughters were already sitting in younger daughter’s vehicle. I hopped in and asked “What happened?”… to be told she’d taken pills. Too many pills. We were on the way to the ER.

…to be continued…

Time sneaks up on you like a windshield on a bug. *

It has now been one year. One year since Dad passed away, quietly, while the hospice women cleaned and cared for him. We were at home, at Mom’s, and getting ready to go to see him. Mom was still in bed when I got the call. I was able to tell her, hug her, hold her, and not cry. I still have not cried. A year and I have not shed a tear for my father.

He was a hard man in so many ways. I have tried to be in his shoes and look through his eyes often. He lost his first wife after a long battle with polio at a very young age and was left with a three-year-old daughter who was the spitting image of his dead bride. Who, though she didn’t know it growing up, was told later that she even had her mother’s mannerisms. Could this be the crisis that hardened his heart? That caused him to withdraw into alchohol and anger? To make him so over-protective that he made his home a prison for his daughter and his second wife?

The public man was a very different man. He was boisterous and bold. Laughing and joking. The life of the party. If you were in a restaurant with him, he was rarely at the table. You would find him in the kitchen, talking to the head chef, the manager, and flirting with all the waitresses.

He was proud of his Irish heritage and St. Patrick’s Day was “his” holiday. He was known for taking off work two days – one to celebrate, one to recouperate. He would go to the local Irish pub and spend the day drinking, joking, laughing, and pinching pretty girls on the backside. His dream was to one day go to the ‘homeland’ and see it all. He never made it… time and life got in the way.

I’m a middle-aged mom of four now. I have a grandchild, a bunch of grand-critters, and a man who has spent three decades with me. I have a life that now revolves around trips to see my mother. To visit, to help out with small chores that she can’t do on her own, to try and give her some company and support. I see the changes in her this year. In many ways she is stronger – not having to follow what rules my father dictated. She is lonely and misses him, I know, and I’m sure she has shed many a tear for him. Me? I still can’t.

I wonder sometimes if I am too harsh a judge. Too unforgiving. I hope he is at peace now. I hope someday to know that for sure. Guess that time will come soon enough. It sure seems to go by quicker all the time… I can’t believe it has really been a year.

Peace be with you, Dad.

*John Lithgow

New Year’s 2010

I remember being a kid watching “2001 A Space Odyssey” and thinking how far away that was in the future. Now we’ve gone far beyond and are entering a new decade. I look back and the past year and so many things have happened that changed the course of my life. My father dying, my daughter having more ECT treatments… then separating from her husband and she and her son moving in with us. It has been a busy year that flew by so fast and I barely have any blog posts to show for it. That disturbs me more than it should.

I’ve decided to set myself some goals this year. Call them resolutions, if you must. I find that a bit overwhelming. Just the fact that resolution has such a bad connotation to it… I mean, seriously, how many people really keep their resolutions? Whereas if you refer to them as goals, it sounds much more obtainable. Perhaps that is all in my own mind, but that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

So I’ve heard the best way to keep goals is to make them public. To share them with family and friends. Guess what? If you’re reading this, you probably qualify. Here goes:
– I’m going to take better care of my health, specifically my diabetes.
– Directly related to the above, I’m going to eat healthier.
– I’m going to exercise more. No, I’m not going to be unrealistic and say something silly like “daily”… because, well, you’d just know I’d be lying. However, when you are as much of a couch potato as I am, “more” isn’t too hard to do.
– I’m going to try and clean out some of my “nests”. I am by no means a hoarder. Watching that show has made me cringe, however, and realize that it wouldn’t be fun for my family to have to clean out some areas of my home were I to be unable to do it. They’ll thank me later.
– I’m going to write. Daily. Yes. You heard it here. Daily. There, I said it again. Doesn’t mean I’m going to be blogging daily, but if I’m ever going to meet my goal of writing a book someday before I die, I’d better get busy. Soon.
– I’m going to start my Christmas shopping early. This does not mean December 1. (Although that would beat this year…) I would like to have it done before we get busy with the harvest. This includes wrapping. Okay, family… stop laughing. Now.
– I would like to re-connect with some of my friends. Real life friends. I’ve been a bad friend and know it. I only hope it isn’t too late.
– I would like to refrain from cutting my hair off every time I get a wild hair… no pun intended. It is never going to grow out if I keep doing that. I know that.
– I am not going to wait until the last minute to have the bookwork caught up for the tax man. Bad Sue. Causes stress that is totally unnecessary. Totally.
– I’m going to take a little time to be grateful for all I have. I would like to think I’ve gotten better at this through the years, but I never want to forget it. I have it good. I have much good fortune that many people do not. I don’t want take those things for granted.

Okay… on that note, keep in mind… I never intend to even start most of these goals until Monday. That would be next Monday.

Happy New Year!