You took the desire to write with you.
I mean, initially I was writing my way through grief. It’s the only real coping skill I had at a time the world couldn’t handle my grief. They think it was hard for them to be around? They should have walked in my shoes for a bit.
To be clear, it’s been no mother fucking picnick.
This last weekend I woke up early on Saturday. I cried for over two hours about you being DEAD. I cried all through out the day and then again Sunday morning.
I “can’t” watch grief themed shows, but it’s what I am drawn to, because there is truth ingrained in “art” and performance. There’s a solace in having a brief, “Someone gets it!” moment, because no one really gets it except your kids. They should be coming TO ME, not me to THEM, so I try not to let them see the worst of it for me. I think we are all protecting one another from our grief. Mik lets me see the most and she is like you. Self preserving.
Saturday morning I went to work for my friend Dan, helping him clean bachelor-cobwebs and he asked me if I wanted Mel’s old antique espresso pot? He feels like it’s time for him to let go of some of her things. I asked him how far out he is from the death of his Mel?
I told him how odd it was that… “Here I am 3 years and 19 days out (as of last Saturday) from your death and I woke at 1:30 and cried for two hours. Full of sadness and anger. I still feel shocked, because I was supposed to die first!” He just got quiet and said that the third year was harder than the second. 3 years and 21 days passed your death, I believe him.
Mik is missing TXR So badly. She makes Facebook posts to him periodically. This morning I realized he lost two mamas when you died, because we both know how hands on Mik was with her baby brother. My hope is when he’s an adult and finds her and the boys, he will find a huge missing part of you.
I’ve text D to ask when his brother plans on letting your children see their brother. I can’t stand Mik’s tears, but we both know baby daddy hates me and will never deal with me…being he’s so Christian and forgiving of things I have never done to him.
I miss you.
You would be becoming a grandma again. #2’s g/f is pregnant. LOTS going on.
I hope I do this next phase, right by you, because there are some unresolved issues your son is facing as he is becoming a father with Miss R.
I will never be you, but I will love your kids like I am the only “you” they have. Surprise! It’s Auntie and I am here to step up to the plate.
Love you through SicknSin or should I now say SicknSin&Death?
Sometimes, Saturday and Sunday are the hardest mornings of the week. These are the mornings we power phoned, after she moved to Texas in 2008.
Not many weekend mornings go by without me getting a little emotional because two years and three months later, I still want to pick up the phone and call Mel. I wind up reflecting, remembering, reliving the woman and my time with her.
It was more than just drugs that weakened her body to the point of, at 46, having a massive spinal cord infarction AKA a stroke in her spinal cord.
Mel had three children with her husband and after they divorced, she had a fourth with someone else. Of her first three kids, her youngest had major health issues. It started when she was 6 or 7. She would get severely sick, winding up with pneumonia. They spent a lot of time at Children’s Hospital. Tests were done for Leukemia, AIDS, and I don’t know how many others and always, no idea what the illness was that was causing Necrotizing Granuloma in her lungs. The CDC and NIH took samples and ran tests, it didn’t show anything micro or micra. In the lab, no one could solve wtf was wrong. It was noted that winters in Washington were not good for her daughter.
The illness was treated with chemo drugs, though she did not have cancer. Mel’s bank accounts, savings accounts and credit cards all went to the medical bills of her daughter, which reached astronomical proportions. I watched my friend go from comfortable and able to financially care for all her children with or without child support or emotional support from her former spouse, to having nothing. Her land where she was going to build was gone, her rentals were gone, her job was gone, and she had very little support.
It was the health of her daughter in the winters here, that took them away from me to Texas. I thought I would die. For almost 25 years, I had never been more than a 30 minute drive from her. I’d never been unable to contact her by phone whenever I wanted except for the two summers I was in Alaska.
A good thing did happen in Texas. Her daughter stopped getting “winter sick” (my term). Her lungs stopped dying and as she grew older, the percentage of damage area lessened. Of course, all the drugs she was on for an unknown illness, created other issues. Arthritis, IBS, and Crohns are things she lives with. At the time of her death, three of her children were with her in Texas and one was here with her ex husband.
Mel had health issues of her own. She had become diabetic with her pregnancies. I am unclear if the condition persisted afterwards. I thought not, but I found the kit and lancet pack in her bathroom after the stroke. I don’t know if she was currently diabetic or not and she wasn’t taking anything for it if she were, because. TEXAS. There was no health exchange in Texas because. OBAMA. Her daughter, was covered still through Washington, as well as the courts stepping in and forcing her ex to take some responsibility and keep his daughter insured no matter what.
Because of the health of her daughter, the amount of time spent in hospitals, at doctors, having surgeries, Mel couldn’t hold down a job. It isn’t that she didn’t try, she did. She decided to go back to school.
Right before her death, she was taking calculus. Everything hinged on passing calculus. If she failed, she would lose her funding and she would no longer be able to put so much time into her daughter’s care. She was burning herself out, was down to under 90 lbs. She was living on caffeine, cigarettes, and pills. She had suffered migraines since I had met her. It didn’t strike me as odd that she was taking stuff for a migraine. I never made the pill connection. I worried about her daughter being addicted because the names of pills they had her on. I “badgered” Mel about her daughters opioid intake.
So all this dribble came from thinking of her this morning and remembering the morning she told me she passed calculus. I was SO proud of her and I told her so. I know many people who have had to change the course of their education because. CALCULUS. I remember saying, “I am SO PROUD of you!” I remember the silence and then hearing her soft crying and heavy sigh followed by, “Thank you **sniffles** I needed to hear that.”
Her continued education was so important to her and she was the type of person who gave it her all, putting herself lowest on the pole of who needed her help. The pay off was supposed to be getting herself back to being financially independent. She had taken someone’s business from struggling, to a million dollar company. She would do it for herself this time.
I know her well enough to know how hard she was pushing herself. I know she thought tomorrow. Tomorrow I will deal with myself.
Only her tomorrows stopped Christmas eve 2014 when the stroke began. I realize in hindsight that part of the oddness in that last call, with her language, words, thoughts was the beginning of the stroke. I wish I had known. I wish I would have called 911 from my state because I suspected something, but I didn’t.
I really miss her.
I lost many things when I lost my best friend.
I lost security, my soul-mate, my strongest supporter, my confidant, my partner in crime, my favorite reason to laugh, my trust in many things, mainly letting anyone love me or get close enough that I might get hurt if they go away, the comfort of realizing that someone important has gone away, but thank the Creator they didn’t die and my ability to sit almost everyday and write.
I miss that creative outlet, but I realized that I read Mel EVERYTHING I wrote. My writings were part of our hours long conversations. In hindsight, it’s like in my mind I was always writing with her as my audience. I only read my writing to one other friend (and of course, my mother). I read it to no one now.
I am a different person today.
I have made a new friend. I’m tentative and cautious. I haven’t called her a friend to her face yet, but I love her. She’s my girl I have been the most honest with about who I am. She is my head expediter at work. There are only two of us who do this job as well as driving. She was out all week while her kids were on Spring break. Work, without her on a slow day is doable, but work without her on busy days or glitchy paperwork and labeling days SUCK. Yesterday was one of those days. I was so frustrated at having a work ethic so different from others around me. 90% of our mistakes could be eliminated if drivers checked their paperwork so they didn’t just take the food on their shelf assuming what was there, was all theirs. Mistakes do get made and when the expediters check and release the food for drivers to pick, the drivers sometimes help shelve the food. Sometimes I make a shelf mistake, sometimes Nette does, and sometimes drivers do. Check your pack slips to the food on your shelf as you load your van.
Nette text today saying she would be in Monday and she knew I must be burned out after a week without her. I updated her on yesterday and how I got so frustrated I went out to smoke and cried. Beneath it all was the old habit and desire to call Mel and vent to her all the anger and get it out, without saying shitty things to people I mostly like and have to work with. She came back with…”Well I’m not Mel, but I’m Nette and I always have an ear to listen and to vent at.”
It touched me and made me smile to feel like I have a friend again. She’s right. She’s not Mel and I wouldn’t want her to be. I like her as Nette.
Life does go on after a death like that, but for me it is different. It is…less, because I learned so much and lost so much.
Do I miss Mr. Yummy? No, I miss the idea of him like we were years ago, but that guy is long gone and the guy in his place is not the guy for me as I was not the woman of twenty years ago. Now I know.
Do I miss the living people I have lost? Some I do, some I don’t. That’s all I will say about that, because anything I say, could be falsely used against me because the WRONG people would think what was said about another, was said about them. Story of my life and without that kinda confusion, my life is simpler.
Two year and three months later, I am still crying. Not every day, but more than I imagined I would. I think the only thing that would impact me as much would and will be when my mother walks to the Creator. But today, she is here and I let her love me.
Two painful years of learning how to live again.
I met Jake’s girlfriend, Rachel last night. She reminds me of you. I can tell she isn’t going to take Jake’s shit. Initially, my instinct, is to like her, because I am seeing Jake be happy in a way I haven’t seen since he has become a man.
Initially, she is quiet and reserved. She watches a lot. She’s no dummy and I think she will be good for Jake. I hope they found something with each other. They are very cute together.
I gave the boys their key chains last night and they both got three of your candles. I think they like them. Dylan is fine with a tag that says “My Hero” and Jake is fine with one that says, “My Immortal”. I also told them I’ll order one for Tristan that has a tag that says, “Mama”, that they will hold it for him till he comes back so he knows he was never forgotten.
It’s only 5:26 AM and I have been teary three times already. I’ve managed to keep it very below the surface, even as Dylan hugged me extra long last night, in that special way you must have just fucking loved. To see the compassion that he can give as a man, compared to the black out rage he displayed as a child is really a beautiful thing Mel. You would be nothing but proud. I am proud to tell the universe, you did a good job with the kids. Most of their good traits, are yours. They both have Jim’s physical work ethic, so there, I said something nice about him.
We all miss Tristan and think of him often. I make sure I call Mik, Kiki sometimes. It makes her sad, but it feels good too, because someone other than she and her two brothers remember, there is Tristan. We see the injustice his father has done to him by removing him totally from their lives and it angers me to know Skeeter is all over him. She has a right, she is his Grandma, but you know what I am saying.
I made they boys and Rachel, enchiladas last night. They went home so Jake and probably Dylan could do their shopping and do their own Xmas eve thing, but they are coming back this afternoon for a turkey dinner. As long as they will have me, I will have them on this day each year. They will get families and eventually break away, but I imagine I will always have a Holiday invite to their homes. I will take them up on it. I love being Auntie. It is the second best gift you ever gave me. Your love and trust being the first.
For now, it is time to go and turn the tears off. I love you always.
Sick n Sin Forever,