Tag Archives: Grief

CAN I DO THIS?

I started to notice small differences in my Dad after his car accident.

He was taking a lot of medication he should not have been taking. His Doctor never explained the medication to him. You give a strong opioid to someone who never used to take so much as an aspirin.

He struck a guardrail, his front tire became stuck up on the rail and he took out 350 feet of rail. His brand new truck was destroyed, both airbags deployed, the State and Town Police came to the scene. He refused to get in the ambulance or go to the hospital.

I handled the insurance company (not easy), the State and the Town. My Dad winced every time he moved the wrong way. We argued about him seeing his Doctor and he still refused. It took several weeks to settle everything and we discussed that he should get a used truck and not a new one. He agreed.

Next thing I know he’s bought a brand new Nissan Rogue. He had it 2 days when I noticed a big dent in the back.

I told my twin sister all of this because I knew something wasn’t right. My Dad is extremely frugal. He doesn’t like to owe money and after everything was paid he wasn’t getting much from the insurance company.

My Dad also began having problems talking. He kept running out of breath. I told him the day after the accident that he could possibly get fluid in his lung from the rib I could see sticking out. He still refused to see anyone. I called his dialysis place and let them know what was going on.

We were trying to get him help with his bladder that had been ongoing for years. He was at the point where he was screaming into a towel each time he urinated.

We finally got him in to see a Urologist. My Dad insisted on going alone. They inserted a catheter for a few days so he could go back and have tests done. He was in so much pain all he could do was sit there and grit his teeth. He thought the nurse cut him while inserting the catheter.

Three days later he goes to dialysis thene24a0470e843063ac24ede8055779515 back to the Urologist for tests. When I got home he was in his chair unresponsive. I couldn’t wake him right away. When I did wake him he was confused.

He could only give me his first name, he didn’t know the day of the week, and he said the year was 2008 (this is the year my Mom passed away). I called my sister and even though he was mad I called 911.

I should also say during this entire time his weight was steadily going down which I complained to everyone about for months.

When the EMTs came they tried to ask him similar questions that he couldn’t answer. He had a fever and his vitals were all over the place. One of them said “Sepsis”.

He had been to 2 different places with plenty of doctors and nurses who had to have noticed that he was walking like he was drunk, was incoherent, confused, had a temperature, any of the above! He was driving like this!

He spent a month in the Hospital. He had a UTI, Pneumonia, a Pleural Effusion, Sepsis and weighed 127 pounds.

He spent 20 days in a Skilled Nursing Facility for Rehabilitation. He was too weak for any rehab. When my sister and I brought him home we had to half carry him in.

Most people don’t know that a UTI and Sepsis can cause a form of Dementia, there is also a type of Dementia that people on Dialysis are prone to.

I’m with my Dad 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He didn’t want this for me but right now he’s scared. We talked about this. He didn’t want me to take care of and watch another parent die. We didn’t talk about any of this with my twin sister or anyone else.

My Dad didn’t do any paperwork. No Will, Durable Power of Attorney, nothing. He didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or cause arguments so he kept putting it off. I kept telling him I didn’t want anything that he needed to just do it. Then my brother would do something stupid and my Dad would be back at square one.

My twin said she would be with me all the way and help as much as she could.

She did for the first two weeks. Now she comes twice a week and stays 2 hours. She does do our laundry because of course we can’t go in our basement right now (don’t ask). She also insists on cooking which is tricky with my Dad. He’s become picky in the last few years.

I don’t know how he went from a vibrant 75 year old who did everything to a stooped over frail old man in diapers. One who wakes up every hour on the hour to get ready for dialysis because he can no longer tell what time it is or what day it is.

I had to explain time to a man who fixed and collected antique clocks.

There are days I want to leave and never come back.

There are days I’m so afraid I can’t swallow because of the lump in my throat.

There are days I don’t want to do this anymore.

There are days I’m so tired I can’t sleep.

And there are days I’m angry, sad, and feel alone.

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HOW MUCH LONGER?

I grow more tired every single day. My Dad grows more difficult to deal with each day. The pain medication mixed with anti-anxiety medication has changed his personality even more.

I find myself jumping at his voice and trying to make myself invisible when he’s around. I cringe when he slams doors and growls at the smallest things. I know he’s in pain but none of this is helping me.

Where are my siblings? My brother is somewhere in the state but I haven’t heard from him in at least 8 months. He never called to wish my Dad a Happy 75th Birthday in June and he hasn’t been by to get his mail.

My twin sister didn’t call my Dad on his birthday either. She called after his birthday or said she would. We are having a tough time. I need help with my Dad and she refuses. She lives 10 minutes away and doesn’t work. She did say that her “Mono” became active again and she had to rest. I then find out that she’s at her mother-in-law’s beach house with the kids going to all these events. Not resting.

My Dad fell out of his truck after dialysis the other day and couldn’t get himself up from the hot pavement in our driveway. I couldn’t hear him yelling my name. He eventually crawled to the door. One arm was covered in blood and missing the skin on his entire bicep. I couldn’t stop crying while I cleaned him up and bandaged everything. Of course he yelled at me to “Quit your crying!”. He’s my Dad, I couldn’t help it.

I can’t watch another parent die. I’m not healthy enough. My last stent exchange didn’t go well. It was done May 20th and I’m still urinating mostly blood (sorry for the over sharing). I also have a lot of pain in my back and pelvis. I know something is wrong but I can’t take care of it right now. My Dad is going for Injection Therapy on his back on the 31st. I have to take him. I hate the hospital he’s having it done at, it’s where my Mom passed away, it’s where I died for a short time when I went into Kidney Failure, and it’s where nurses commented on my mental health in front of me.

I’m tired, lonely, angry, disappointed, and keep wondering why I’m fighting so hard.

People go out of their way not to talk to me. It isn’t because of anything I’ve said or done. It’s because of what I might say or do. And that’s the worst part of all.6fdde65c60ad6b93a59fc21b54fa7621


TO MY MOM

It’s been 10 years since you passed away. It hasn’t gotten any easier. I still can’t bring myself to visit your grave. The rest of the family make comments about this. I don’t care.

You would be disappointed with us. I know you would. The petty fighting and grudges we hold against each other. Some things can’t be forgiven. You could always forgive and that’s why we loved you.

The one thing I had a problem with was your enabling everyone around you. I know it came from love but you never realized when someone wasn’t being truthful or sincere. Maybe I had been around too many liars, cons, addicts, and thieves so I spotted it easily. It would take years after your death for people to believe me.

There’s nothing worse than your family thinking your “too dramatic” or “making stuff up” all the time. One thing I don’t do when I’m sober is lie. Actually when I drank I was too truthful and that got me into trouble too.

When I first saw you in that hospital room I felt like I wasn’t in my own body. I was outside of it watching as it all happened. I didn’t feel anything for a long time. I somehow knew if I did it would end me. It almost did anyway.

Months later I found myself in the bathroom at work screaming into a bunch of paper towels. I couldn’t move or stop crying. All I could see was your face, eyes open and blank, bloody foam that wouldn’t stop bubbling from your mouth. All I heard were nurses laughing and Dad wailing like a wounded animal. I didn’t want to remember any of it.

Your oldest granddaughter decided to dedicate many tattoos to you and acts as if she was the only one who lost you. Her mother visits your grave often. Your granddaughter also decided to write me and say some of the most hurtful things I’ve ever had said to me.

She has replaced J as number 1 on my shit list. I’d rather be punched in the face than have someone say what the things she said. But she’s found God so I guess she thinks it’s okay to make someone feel like dirt. It’s okay to tell them they should’ve killed themselves because they are waste of space and their own mother didn’t love them as much as she loved other people. It was 3 pages of this crap.

I hope you don’t know what’s going Mom because you would be as hurt and angry as I am. Dad finally told me what you really thought today and you weren’t fooled after all.

You are MY MOM I took care of you and loved you. I think about you always and miss you often. I’m letting go of the toxic people. I don’t have the time to help people who don’t want to be helped. From now on I’m helping myself and Dad from time to time. I love you.11059761_10207494279902008_1407885758767048615_n


THE BEAST INSIDE

Sometimes I want to rage at everyone, all the liars, the manipulators, the insensitive ones, the ones who can’t look me in the eye or make time for me.

It was easy when I drank to release the beast inside. I screamed, threw things, swung my fists at the nearest offender.

The problem is there will always be a bigger, badder, beast than you. When that day comes it changes you.

You swallow any anger, rage, resentment, fear, sadness, for as long as you can. You are too afraid to release any of it because of that one moment you were crushed, broken into a million pieces.

There was nothing left of you after that. Your smile never quite reached your eyes again, your laughter sounded forced, fake, at least to your own ears. No one else noticed you just going through the motions. No one noticed how jumpy you became when a door slammed or voices were raised. How you had to have your back to a wall so you could see every person coming and going. NO ONE NOTICED.

They now notice a sliver of the beast creeping out here and there. Eventually you get full, you can only swallow so much.

What happens when the beast is set completely free? Self-destruction is the only hand I have left to play.

Everyone has gone. I stayed silent too long or not long enough depending on who you ask.

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GRIEF FOR A PARENT: When There’s So Much Love And Pain

My Mom was the one who held everyone together. Not just my Dad, my brother, my twin sister, and me, but also all of her siblings, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. She made sure everyone kept in touch or visited one another.

When she died it collapsed like a house of cards. It was like my Dad and I didn’t exist anymore. The phone only rang with telemarketers and there were no visits.

My Mom was outgoing, talkative, loud, bossy, and you did what she told you to do. She also had periods where there was no laughing, no talking, and she stayed in bed for a week or so. She could be quick tempered also. Her capacity to love and forgive almost made up for those times. Almost.

It isn’t easy as a child to wake up and find your Mom gone. Your Dad doesn’t really know how to explain where she is except “She’s sick and she’ll be home soon.” The first two times I was scared and I wanted my Mom. When you’re that young and you know nothing about Mental Illness and no one else really does either it’s horrible.

My Dad had to work so my sister and I would have to stay at my Grandmother’s house. My Dad’s mother. She wasn’t a warm, affectionate woman which explains a lot about my Dad. I was at her house the first time I got my period. I had no idea what was going on. My Mom was in a Hospital, I was at a mean woman’s house, and I was bleeding to death. It kind of left some damage over the years. It’s a good thing my Dad is the man he is and I finally told him what was going on and he took care of me like a pro.

But in my head I thought my Mom should’ve been there. I loved her more than anything in this World. If I knew 100% what happens when we die, if we do go somewhere beautiful and see our loved ones again, I would go right now.

Her death was so bad I still have nightmares sometimes. The year before her death was tough on my Dad and me. There were times when I had to get up early for work but couldn’t sleep because I could hear her moaning. For a long time my Mom went to Doctors who never found anything wrong with her. It was like the boy who cried wolf. When years later the Doctors told her she had Lung Cancer I don’t think any of us reacted the way we were supposed to. Our sympathy had been used for years and years. It was hard living with someone who would scream your name from their bedroom like they were dying making you run upstairs to their room only to have them say “Can you change the channel on my TV?” There was something wrong with that.

In my head I would tell her to shut up. I have to live with that. What we didn’t know was that all the chemo and radiation had weakened her bones so much she had fractured 2 bones in her back. That’s why she was in so much pain.

The Doctors she had made everything worse for us. They had no clue what they were doing. We did get 7 more years with her but it came at a price.

My memory of her was changed forever.

I no longer see the smiling beautiful woman that was my Mom when I close my eyes.

I see the nightmare version I walked in to at the Hospital.

It kills me to remember her like that. I’ve only been to her grave once. I refuse to go. The rest of my family has made comments about this. I don’t care. I can’t do it. I won’t do it. No one is going to bully me anymore or make me feel guilty about things that were out of my control. I do that to myself enough.11059761_10207494279902008_1407885758767048615_n


You Stopped Trying Goes Both Ways

I am told often to “Stop living in the past”. Why people assume that I can click these emotions and memories on and off whenever I want I don’t know. The truth is I can’t.

I’m told by my Dad and my twin sister that I’m trying. There must be something more I can do. My one friend has said this also but she understands a lot more than my family. Maybe because she was there for most of it or because when I drank I didn’t hide anything.

I do feel an extreme amount of guilt and grief. The death of my Mom was harder on me than anyone knew. No one understands what I had to see and do when she died. They don’t understand what it was like in the years before her death. They don’t know what I was going through because I never said anything.

I always joked that my twin stole my backbone in the womb. She’s always had twice the backbone while I had none. I had liquid courage. That doesn’t really count.

My entire life I’ve felt invisible, mute, or ignored. I would try to say something and people would talk over me. I have a quiet voice almost like a child.

One employer told me that I should practice changing my voice if I wanted to be taken more seriously. It was a woman who said this. How do you change your voice at 30?

A few years into my alcoholism anyone around me when I was drinking knew when to take me seriously. I admit I liked it for a little while. In the end I didn’t want to be that person and it only caused me great pain.

In the present I have no joy, no pain, nothing. I don’t have friends to talk to or family to talk to. I probably live in the past because it’s when I had the most joy and pain.

It only takes a song, a scent, or a story on the news to trigger the past then I’m snowballing all the emotions at once. It isn’t exactly fun.

When I do go out in public I find myself talking too much and too loud to strangers. I’m over stimulated by the lights and sounds. I feel foolish after and stay home for longer periods of time.

No one takes me seriously either.

My dad had 20 of his birds killed by a weasel recently and was upset. I looked up everything I could about weasels and wrote down what was important. It took a few hours and 3 pages. I tried to show my Dad but he wouldn’t read it. I tried to tell him some of the important things like when he sets the trap he can’t handle it with his bare hands. He brushed me off.

This morning 5 more birds were killed and nothing was in the trap. I asked him if he wore gloves when he handled the trap. He said “No”. I told him he was supposed to and he then became angry at me.

My twin is upset because she has PED related to Chronic Fatigue so I researched all the new information on it, wrote it up and sent it to her in an e-mail. She never responded. I forgot to mention that she asked me to do this.

I don’t want to bother anymore. I want to disappear and see how long it takes for them to wonder where I am or care.

My sister also said she’s glad we were separated in kindergarten because she never wanted to be a twin. She said I have separation anxiety when it comes to her and she can’t handle it. I never asked her to. I only wanted her to be my sister and love me. She said I watch too many movies.

I wish it had been her at the Hospital that night watching our Mother die. Bubbles of blood coming out of her mouth as her empty beautiful blue eyes stared at the ceiling. The nurses laughing and drinking coffee, my father falling to the floor making a noise not quite human more of howl. I couldn’t move in that moment. I stood there recording the scene in my brain to be processed later. Only I’ve never really processed it.

Comments at the wake made to me were “You’re taking this well”. I was. Because to me it didn’t happen. I had to take care of my Dad, make sure my brother wasn’t too wasted, and my sister was over medicated with an infant. What was I supposed to do? The last funeral with my brother at it ended with the casket tipped over and him punching my Dad in the face. My Mom kept everything together.

Right now I can barely make myself a bowl of cereal.

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GRIEF ISN’T SOMETHING I’M ABLE DO

I went to the grocery store yesterday because I was forced to. I went to one I don’t usually go to but my Dad likes. I walked in and saw a very thin, frail looking man, hunched over his carriage. I knew he looked familiar but he looked so old and sick I thought it couldn’t be him, it couldn’t be my Dad.

It was. I couldn’t move, I felt the numbing heat that starts in my legs and travels to my head. I knew the shaking/tremors were going to start, I didn’t know I already had tears on my face. I was stuck where I was standing and staring at him. I felt such fear and anger. Anger because he doesn’t listen to his Doctors or anyone else, anger because my twin sister has once again left me to watch our remaining parent die or kill themselves slowly because they’ve given up.

I’ve left her so many texts it’s like I’m a stalker. She hasn’t responded. I left a voicemail and she hasn’t responded. She thinks I’m too dramatic. I’m getting upset over nothing. My Dad’s Nephrologist told him he has less than 4 years and he’s being very optimistic with that estimate.

I told my Dad last night that I don’t want my name on the house or anything. I refuse to be here when my sister and her husband show up and start criticizing the house and yard. I know exactly how it will go. “How could you let it get this bad? How could you let him keep all these birds? How could you let him keep all the clocks? Why wasn’t the floor redone? How could you let him plant more flowers? Why didn’t you have those trees removed?”. I’m not going to listen to it when they weren’t here for any of it.

The didn’t offer to help with anything or come to visit. If my Dad wants to see his grandchildren he has to try to contact my sister and arrange a meeting. Meanwhile I’m a prisoner in this house of antiques and dirt. A prisoner of my own guilt and shame for the things I’ve done in the past that hurt my parents. There’s no way I can ever make up for the things that I’ve done or said.

Is there a time where I say enough is enough? Where I do something I want to do like an adult? Make a decision like an adult? If I turn out to be wrong I take responsibility and try to correct the wrong. Simple things like driving a long distance should not make my Dad angry or worry so much that he’s dry heaving. I might only have a few more years left than he does I think it’s okay to take a road trip or stay out past dark.

I know most of this is my fault because I never really moved out on my own. I knew in the back of my mind that I wouldn’t make it living on my own years ago. I’m a different person now. I still need to do a lot of work and I’m not 100% sure about being on my own but I would like to have the choice. I won’t abandon my Dad. This isn’t in my nature to do.

When I think of the man who taught me to swim, who could swim like a fish himself, who loved the water and looked like he was born from the sea, I smile.

When I think of the man who taught me drive with patience and enough trust to let me drive him over a large bridge in the pouring rain, I smile.

When I think of the man who saved every little animal I brought to him without hesitation, I smile.

When I think of the man who sat by my side night after night watching movies and TV he wasn’t interested in just to keep me company so I wouldn’t feel alone, I smile.

When I think of the man who saved me dying, I shut down and cry.

My mom passed away nine years ago and I still have not come to terms with it. Her death haunts me almost daily. Maybe it was because I watched her die I don’t know.

There are still some of my pets that have died that I have a hard time with when I think about them or something triggers a memory. I know people who are diagnosed Bipolar have a harder time with grief but I also know this is something more.


Why I Connected With “Manchester By The Sea”

Manchester By The Sea was a movie that stayed with me for days. We all have our own ways of coping or not coping with grief and trauma.

I’ve come to realize that I deal with both differently than the majority of most people. Whether it’s because I’m Bipolar or because I have Conversion Disorder, I’m not sure.

I’m tired of apologizing for my emotions. That I do know.

I’m also tired of apologizing for saying “I’m Bipolar” instead of saying “I have Bipolar Disorder”. Bipolar Disorder is about your moods and emotions, to me those are things that kind of influence who you are. It doesn’t necessarily define all of who you are but it does impact some of who you are.  If you disagree that’s okay but you don’t have to keep bashing me over the head with your arguments about why I’m wrong. Got it?

I’ve had to deal with a lot of pain, grief, trauma, guilt, and isolation in 44 years. Some of it I don’t remember and some of it is as vivid as a movie playing in my head. Those are the days that hurt the most. Those are the days I wish I felt nothing and I scream into a towel for as long as I can.

I know all about punishing yourself for something you believe you are responsible for. I do it daily. I’ve hurt my family and some other people so much over the years when I was drinking and even when I stopped. I think I could’ve done more for my mom before she died. When I play back that night I think of all the things I should’ve done. Some of them would’ve landed me in jail but it would have been worth it to wipe the smiles off their faces.

I constantly think I annoy everyone around me and walk on eggshells with every interaction. I say “I’m sorry” about 20 times in one phone conversation with my sister because I’m afraid she will stop talking to me.

I’ve started isolating myself more and more each year so I’ll be use to it when the time comes. I rarely leave the house now. It’s better this way. It won’t hurt as much when I’m completely alone. Someone asked if I was being dramatic. I said “You don’t know my family”.


“SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS”

I can’t explain why but I’ve always hated it when someone says “Sorry for your loss” after a death.

I also hate when anyone says “You look like your handling it well”. This was said to me at my Mom’s wake. So was “Sorry for your loss” about a hundred times. By the end of the night I wanted to punch someone so badly I had to hide in the bathroom.

The reason I looked like I was handling things well was probably because I was in shock and probably because I was manic. My sister was doped up on Valium and after the wake went out with my cousin and my Uncle George to have a few drinks. I wasn’t invited of course. I wonder if he ever knew that she never wanted him at her wedding? By the way they had a great time. I was at home with my Dad who could barely stand up he was so devastated.

The worse part are the people that you know treated her like shit, smiling and saying their fake words. I wanted to scream “Where were you when she needed you? When she went to the VA Hospital every single day to change your father’s diapers and you couldn’t be bothered to even call! But you sure showed up when you thought there was money! Then accused my mother of “taking” his car and refused to speak to her for years! She cried all the time because of it!”.

But as usual I never said a word. I let everything fester or buried it.

I CAN’T REMEMBER THE DATE OR YEAR MY MOM DIED OR THE TIME

I know it was in February. People have told me the date and year but I can’t retain that information. My brain refuses to.

I hate to admit it but there is so much I’m uncertain of when it comes to the date and year. I am confused easily. The number 9 sticks in my head for everything and I don’t know why. I try to tell the truth to people but sometimes I can’t because I honestly don’t remember. I’m only 44. How much of it is from having Bipolar Disorder, Conversion Disorder, Celiac Disease or Kidney Failure? I have no idea. It scares me sometimes. It scares me that sometimes there isn’t anyone to ask.

I can only imagine what will happen if something with my Dad goes wrong. I’ll be alone with no one on my side that still loves me unconditionally. (Except for the four legged beings) That scares me too. Save “your sorry” for someone else because I don’t want to hear it anymore.


THIS IS US~ AN HOMAGE TO LOVE, LOSS, AND MEMORY (*Spoiler Alert*)

I’ve been watching the Television show This Is Us from it’s first episode. I have to say that there haven’t been many episodes that I have not cried at.

The relationship between Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and his biological father William (Ron Cephas Jones) is complicated and poignant. William is a creative carefree poet and musician while Randall is a tightly wound businessman.

Randall searches for his biological father and finds him living in a small apartment with few possessions, only what’s necessary, including his poetry and music. William appears okay with his situation, it’s what he’s used to.

Initially Randall wants to be angry at this man but something inside him can’t.

We find out that William is Terminally Ill with Cancer and he moves in with Randall and his family. He is able to know his grandchildren and daughter in law. Randall is still somewhat allusive. Afraid to get too close.

They eventually begin to open up to one another and William succeeds in bringing out a more spontaneous side of Randall.

In Episode 16~ Memphis, William wants to take a road trip to where he grew up. Randall has recently left the Hospital after having a breakdown, unable to cope with the stress of his job and knowing his time with his father is becoming shorter.

In flashbacks we see William’s childhood. Raised by a single mother he was close to. She encourages him to pursue his poetry and music and he does. Fate intervenes, which sets into motion a series of events leading to how he met Randall’s mother and the death of his own mother.

The music in this episode is outstanding and fits every scene. Ron Cephas Jones is an inspirationthis-is-us throughout this entire show. This episode had me thinking back to when my own mother had lung cancer. Only people who have been through it can truly understand what it’s like to feel so helpless when a loved one is seriously ill.

Randall and William were able to say what they needed to at the end. I wish I had that chance. When William says “My beautiful boy” I lost it. There wasn’t enough toilet paper or Kleenex in the room. My mom would say “My beautiful baby girl” to me when she knew I wasn’t feeling good. When you’re close to a parent like I am it is a life changing event to lose them.

This Is Us did such an incredible job without being too corny or trying to force emotions out of you. It was perfect.


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