101 Days til Bliss

Life is just bizarre at times. This past week has been a whirlwind of emotions as a family member passed away. At 97 no one can say they didn’t see it coming but the drama of it all still takes it’s toll.

In a lot of ways, the whole process was healing to me. Being able to be there as he let go was something a few years ago would have terrified me. Now I just realized that the process had started & accepted it for what it was. The death rattle didn’t scare me, just made me wish there was something I could do to prevent the pain & confusion. Thankfully although all I could do is talk with him & hold his hand, hospice was there to assist with the pain & anxiety. Not sure how people pass without them & their gifts but again I am grateful for all they do & amazed that people do this daily yet stay so positive and caring.

The good-bye itself carried a lot of emotion. I believe that you never turn your back on family & that blood binds, but at times that is tested for sure. He & I didn’t agree on a lot of things, but he cared for my father when he was young & tried to be there for us all. Listening to so many rave about him at his funeral almost made me forget the bad times. I am thankful that there are so many who do remember him fondly & that I could hear the good things he did in his life. His time on earth truly has impacted many people in a lot of ways which is an achievement for sure. He fought hard to make it to 100, but in the end it was time for him to go on.

Now it is time for us to move on. Getting hugs at the end of the days from my nephew and seeing his smile reminded me that there is hope for a better tomorrow. Just have to make it so.

Which got me thinking- why abandon this blog? Because it reminds me of the tough times? Nah. Those are the times that made me strong enough to be who I am today. Scars and all.

So time to revamp & renew. Change this into something that once again makes me feel at peace with life. Happy to be me. Thus the new look.

Hopefully the changes will be good ones. Time will tell.  All we can do is the best we can & find something to always look forward to. See the glimmer of hope.

For me today that spark is knowing that in 101 days I will be in Disney World with the cutest kid I know as one of the happiest aunts alive.

That and that there is always a snuggle waiting patiently by my side.

Pugs lives are just hard sometimes.

Pugs lives are just hard sometimes.

 

 

 

Mellowing Me

Dealing

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A lot of crying.  Lot of anger. Lot of dreaming. Lot of hoping.
Few revisions of life.

Lucky to have family,  past and present who show me about survival.  And what real love looks like.  If my Dad can survive losing my mom and  If my grams can survive losing my grampa, after all those years of devotion and being together everyday, I can deal with losing someone who never cared for me an inch compared to their miles.

Relationships come and go, but when it is real, it stays and grows.

I still love him. But that will mellow.  I’m still angry that he could leave.  But that too will mellow in time. I cry for the memories of when we were together and I cry for the plans we had that will never happen.  I miss him during the night.  I miss him sharing meals (which I realized tonight may be part of why I have been forgetting to eat lately). I miss so much.

But there is so much changing in my life anyway that hopefully the distractions will keep me sane. If not there is still a closet and junk draw to clear out. Feeling another purge session. There is a freedom in letting go of the clutter in our lives.

My schedule is changing since the semester is over & summer session will be day classes.  Changing habits that I let slip trying to wait to get time to do them together. Pedometer goes back on today! I have a 5k coming up (in September, but surely there will be another before that). My lack of recent meditation sessions certainly can’t be blamed on him, but time to bring them back. Getting together with friends & accepting invites that before I would have wanted to check to see if “we” had plans or wanted to go. Photography has slipped away unless you can count phone shots, which while fun just isn’t the same. I’m journaling again & reading more. Helps the time pass.

Sooner or later it will feel better. Always does.

Also as much as I dread touching anything dosage wise after the last fiasco, we’re changing my meds again. See if it helps. Also going for a physical to see if there is anything else going on that may have changed things. Not sure I want a positive confirmation but with diagnosis you are more likely to better know how to treat.  Hope so. Scary but also I know something isn’t right. Figuring out how to make it better has to be better than just waiting for another meltdown.

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Discovered another Ali who went through a breakup & changed it into a positive recently. Her blog, The Break Up List, chronicles her life changing from the pain of having a 9 year relationship end to the pleasures of creating a life lived to its fullest. She even continues the list beyond the original 100 things and keeps going years later. By living life by her list she kept herself and (spoiler alert, but come on anyone sees this coming) she finds a new relationship that respects and encourages who she is.

So who knows. Maybe I will take time to create my own list. Certainly wasn’t as earth shattering a split, but I do miss my friend. It is time for a reinvention. Refocus on getting back to me.

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SNOOOOOOMAGEDON

Woke up this morning to see a couple of tiny flakes descending from the white sky.  Thankfully that was the end of that.  Last year had enough snow in it to last me for a while.  After it snowing for Mom’s funeral, I just can’t look at snow in the same way.  It makes me sad.  It is freezing cold and reminds me of days I would rather not remember.  Still the excitement of it all seems to please others so be it.

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It does make me stop to realize how different my life is than this time last year.  Makes me grateful for the positive changes even if I do miss my Mom.  I don’t miss having to make the drive each week, remember all the medication times and all the other stuff that went along with that hard time.  I would do it again in a heartbeat to have her back, but I much prefer working on building my life here as opposed to the sad times of ending a life.

I’m ready for Spring.  In so many ways.

What should have been

It is one sad weekend around this house.

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Football season in my eyes ended this afternoon when referees saw to it that the 49ers got handed the lead over my beloved Panthers.  Still stand 100% behind the crew & I refuse to cheer on anyone else at this point.  To me NFL season is over today.

For once I was grateful not to be at the stadium.  Too say I didn’t keep my cool would be a nice way to put it.  Like I have said before, you mess with those I love & treat them unfairly & woe be you.  Time and chilling at home has calmed me down some but I still feel like we have been robbed of a great opportunity and I don’t understand why.  What I do know is there is nothing I can do about it other than start counting down the days until the draft party that starts the next Panthers preseason.

Acceptance of disappointments that I can not change is a theme this weekend.

Yesterday would have been Mom’s birthday & looking back I should have planned on it effecting me.  I thought I would have been better by now, but grief isn’t like that.  It truly is like waves that come and go.  I miss her & a lot lately I just want to call her up to vent or ask a question or relay a message in that way she had to other family members.  The gaps are still there and the pain still stings.

If I was still living solo I probably would have spent the day in bed not talking to a soul other than when my sister called to check in.  Dad was off camping with his cannon buddies, so I feel like he was taken care of.  My sister had friends coming in to visit, so she was good.  I didn’t think that maybe I would need the support too.  Luckily I had it by my side.  Thankfully he is a heavy sleeper & I did most of my “ugly cry” sobbing while he was still asleep.  Baxter however made sure to snuggle especially close.  Dogs just know.

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Reading also is helping me.  At one point before dawn I got up & made some tea & started a new book, Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman.  Sometimes the right thing gets to you at just the right time.  This is one of those times for sure.  Just at the start but already relating very closely and I recommend this for woman who is struggling with the loss of their mother.  A lot of the information is about those who have lost their mothers at a young age, but in a lot of ways it doesn’t matter the age.  Support systems play a big role in healing and I found myself realizing that not having one certainly has made the impact of her passing feel bigger.

Thankfully I am working on that and having Mr Man here to hold me & comfort me was luxury.  Still not feeling entirely like we aren’t just having a long sleep over as best friends, but I guess that is how good relationships should feel.  I just have to get used to it & remember it is ok to enjoy it without worrying about when it will end.  Scary as it is I am grateful that while mourning the loss of one loved one I am able to feel loved and valued.

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Even if she wasn’t here to celebrate I made sure to have cake.  He last birthday cake was angel food, so I picked one up.  Got it just to feel the comfort and connection to that day a year ago when we celebrated by her bedside watching her determinedly feeding herself spoonfuls of cake, strawberries & whipped cream.  Thinking about it afterwards I have to laugh at the obvious pun of having ANGEL food cake.  Then again it very easily could be a simple new tradition of remembrance.

& yes of course I made a wish.

Pretty sure she would have & would have wanted me too.  Moms are just like that sometimes.

Survived

 

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It wasn’t the same, but we tried.  We cooked, we baked, we wrapped, we decorated, we got together… but there was a missing piece.  You truly don’t realize how much someone does until they no longer do what they do.  This year we realized how much Mom did.

Going in, we knew it wouldn’t be the same.  Still we knew we had to try.

Thankfully we had a few more faces to join us, my new man and the best lil nephew a girl could ever have.  They brought new life to the traditions and helped to ease the pain of wishing memories were something we could bring back.

Dad, my sister & I went to visit the grave and I can see it becoming a new tradition.  Somber moment to honor what was.  Ghost of Christmas past if you will.

Did our best to live in the present and plan for the future, but just like the lights on the tree, when one bulb goes it effects the whole strand.

Still we shine on.

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My Dear Groucho

Thankfully I have survived Thanksgiving.  Now just a few more weeks til we bid 2013 adieu and welcome with open arms 2014.

Sadly 2013 claimed another life to shatter my heart and world.

Thanksgiving was a hectic day spent caring for sick family & trying to maintain some sense of tradition without completely breaking down at the empty chair left in Mom’s absence.   Stressed isn’t the word for it all.  The exciting good news was that my nephew now has the very first of his teeth breaking through & I got the news that a dear friend was actually ok after rolling and totaling his truck thanks to a rambling dear.  It was late when I finally got back to Dad’s.  He had retreated from the chaos at my sister’s place earlier.  I’m sure he needed some alone time.  The parrots cages were in a room just off the main hallway & usually Grouch enjoys keeping up with the comings and goings from the post making sure to greet everyone.  If it is dark the greeting is a simple “Night Grouch” letting who ever know they are indeed interrupting his sleep.  I rush by & got about 4 steps when it hit me… I didn’t get the call.

Sadly when I checked he was laying at the bottom of the cage.  He passed on hours before we realized.

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Do I even need to say I lost it completely?

My world is so much quieter without him.  Baxter may be my snuggle pug but Grouch was my conversation companion.  No more “Hi Grouch” to greet me at the start of the day or anytime I come through the door.  No more “Night Grouch” telling me to go to bed.  All his phrases have gone silent.

You never realize how much they are a part of your world til they aren’t.

I have found myself a couple of times making kissy sounds and listening for them to be returned… which they aren’t.

Thankfully the new budgie and Barris are completely smitten with each other and doing wonderful but they are so quiet even when they get excited and chirp about who knows what.

Part of adopting an older animal is that your time together is shorter than it could be, and I know that going in, but it doesn’t take the sting away when it happens.  I certainly wasn’t expecting it.  He was 15 when he came to me 4 years ago. Looking back I can see him slowing and being a tad more grouchy than his norm, but I attributed it to my own stress levels, emotions or maybe the change in seasons.  Not sure I could have done anything differently, but I will always wish I had been able to pamper him more and had more time together.

 Captive mustache parakeets have a life expectancy of around 20 to 25 years with good care.  Grouch was well loved his entire life, but in the years before me he certainly wasn’t able to receive the best in care or diet.  It was with love and worry for him that his former owner relinquished him to my care.  Over time he got color back, he learned that food would always be there and got picky & demanding if his favs didn’t appear quick enough.  He developed muscles where he had atrophied from lack of flight his whole life and minimum out of cage time.  While he never was able to fly, he learned to pretend and flap those wings fast as any flighted parrot.  Occasionally he tested his abilities which always scared me & would lead him to stomping around on the floor with a look mixed with confusion and annoyance.   I would lower my palm & he would step right up thankful for the lift up.  His lack of flight enabled me to feel comfortable taking him outside to enjoy sunlight on his beak and watch the world beyond the walls.  Trade off I guess.  The trust he showed allowed him freedom others didn’t get.

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The promise I made when he came to me that he would never be rehomed and always be loved has been kept.  Our time together ended but the memories I will always treasure dearly.

Always in my heart Groucho.  There will never be another quiet like you.

Beaker, Barris & bonkers.

I think I must have slipped down a rabbit hole.

Swear it was just the start of November… now it is nearly the end!

Wish I knew where it all went, but the upside is at least we made it this far.

Traveled to my Dad’s place today after watching the Panther’s defeat the Dolphins (GO PANTHERS!).  Soon after I got here and got the crew settled in, yes the pug & all the parrots, Dad was snoozing away in his recliner.

Has been a tough one.  Driving in I thought I was really going to lose it.  All week I have been dreading being here.

 The holidays last year were so different and started Mom’s decline.  Keep remembering how it all was.  How frail she looked as she waited up to see my reaction at my sister’s news that she was pregnant when I arrived here for Thanksgiving last year.  Remember laying in bed beside her watching cheesy holiday movies.  How she used to always spend this week stressing over what to buy when & which fridge to store this or that, planning out what would cook in her oven & what would cook across the street.  So much I want to talk to her about.  Get her opinion on or just to hear her be excited about ideas.  Plotting out who would buy what for who was always our thing.  We were a great team brainstorming, getting & hiding, then wrapping and popping it under the tree.

Honestly I feel a little like I am going through the motions this year.  Just trying to stay in the game but knowing I don’t have a chance.  Still hard to grasp in moments like these that she is just gone.  A friend, who also lost his mom to cancer several years ago tried to make me feel better by saying how “they are always with us in the traditions”, but I just feel the empty spaces of where she used to be.  In time they will fill with new memories and family will grow, but tonight in this cold dark house, I just want to imagine that she is still just in the other room napping before I go and wake her to make sure she gets the next dose of whatever is needed.  Almost can still hear her oxygen machine.  It almost feels like she is here, but just out of sight no matter how hard I look one step ahead.  I just can’t connect with her.  Breaks my heart.

I have no idea how Dad is able to sleep here.

BUT… I am trying very hard to focus on the upside of things.  Like that he is still living, and living here.  He got so excited about us all being together again that he spent most of last week setting half the front lawn ablaze in colorful lights you can see half way down the street.  So at least that tradition is still in tact.

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I am very thankful I have memories to remember and that my sister and I know the recipes and have done them for years.  We may not be able to run back and check on how to do something, but we were able to learn.  Unbelievably thankful that we still will need the same number of chairs at the table.  We just have to replace her big one for my nephew’s high chair…. which he is starting to use a little!

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Also thankful for family, friends and activities to keep me living.  Keep me from going completely psychotic from all the thoughts in my head and all the time to think them.  Grateful for the phone calls, even the late night midbreak down panic ones, the texts that always end up actually making me lol.  The walks and talks – be they beach or by the lake.  I should have worn the good shoes & this blister is brutal.  Hoping it doesn’t keep me from doing ok in the 5k Saturday.  If so thankfully I will have my Dad there to take care of me & help me not be alone in my walk of defeat. (Which will not happen. I am finishing… even if I bleed in my new socks!)  I’m even thankful for the friend who is dealing with so much stress and bad news in his life that he has blown me off a couple of times and just been too busy to make time to get together.  I know he needs to be with someone and talk, because I have been there, but guys do their own ways.  Hate he is dealing with it all, but upside… I see how far I have come in coping.  It shows me that reaching out, tough as it is, is so beneficial and by being the one who is trying to be there for him…. I can appreciate how tough it can be when you are unsure of what to say or topics to avoid.  Hoping he finds his own way to deal.  Not much can be done.  He knows I am here if he needs someone.  We all have our ways of dealing.  I certainly know the push everyone away method well.  Hard to come back from.

But there is hope.  There are friends all around & family… & tomorrow I get to snuggle the nephew and see what new talents he has developed.  Perhaps I will see a replay of his opinion on carrots.  Eat a bit then save the spoonfuls til you have enough to spray them all over your mom’s face, glasses, work scrubs….  sounded hilarious!  Even got a big wad on her cheek.  Talents!  He will make me smile.  He will be the light in this dark time.  For him I will be happy.  He deserves to know happy holidays.

Also I have news on adding a little one to my family.

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Somehow I didn’t get the same reaction as my sister did, but then again it isn’t the same.  Feathered babies just don’t count with her.  Mom would have been excited & would have been checking it out before I could get the cage through the door!  Grandbirds made her happy, as do the grand dogs.

The rescue group that I work with got a dream to come true & it is WONDERFUL!  We are now an actual non-profit 501c3 filed with the state & we can take donations that let people get tax credit for making them.  Huge step.  Now we can better get in money that we can feel good about knowing they can get something too.

Best news & the one I squealed in getting to visit is the aviary is set up! The first one anyway!  For Budgies who need a home for whatever the reason.  No bird left behind.

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The first residents seems to be in heaven when I visited.  They have a box to sleep in, but they don’t, plenty of perches, heated room and another more open screened area to enjoy the day’s weather and the flow of the breezes.  Plants are being planned to provide more tasty treats, fun to sit around on and a bit of variety.  These birds just moved into the Magic Kingdom for birds!

To get to the box there are a couple of rules for safety.  On being you must be able to fly this high in order to play in the box.  Flash back to when you were too short to ride the coasters.  Thankfully the ones who aren’t ready don’t know what they are missing & seem to be having fun in a big indoor cage together.  Most are there due to wings being clipped to the point where they can’t fly & wouldn’t be able to get to the water dish & food.  So they wait.  Wings grow back & soon they will soar with the others.

Except maybe this one.  The birds come from all places – owners who just don’t know what they were doing and their kid no longer cares, too many babies to keep after their two laid eggs and they were fun watching the babies but don’t want a house full.  Sometimes it is a petstore that knows a bird will not sell.  Enter my playdoh heart.

Perfect? Is any human perfect? no why should the birds be. So when I saw the infant with the displaced wing,  my heart just dripped.  I certainly can relate to having a visible body part that isn’t quite right & doesn’t work the way it was supposed to.  Still it was headed to paradise, I didn’t want to stop that.  When concern came up about if they others would pick on it or if it would ever be able to get food with all the others around….. then it was decided.  IF anything like that happened, I would be called to take it in happily.  Couple hours later I left with the new baby budgie.  Just felt right.  It seemed a very curious lil one coming to check me out at the cage when others backed up.  It deserved a shot at a home life.  All else fails I can get it flying as much as it can to see if it can be in the box later.

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So… I got Barris a buddie.  So far he is estatic!  Still the strangest bird I have ever been around in keeping to him self & quiet but he has taken this one under his wing & already they are inseparable!

Since the new baby is so young, we won’t be able to confirm the gender for a few more months. Has to go through the first molt and the cere will change.  Then we know he or she.

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For now…. Beaker.  Not sure why that name seemed to fit.  I had a name picked when I planned on getting my parrotlet & could have use that one, but it didn’t seem the same.

Beaker is one of my favorite muppets & lovable as can be, there is something a lil off.  Seemed to fit.  Beaker it is.  A bit different but totally loyal and lovable.

A bit different.  Totally loyal.  and lovable.  – Things I forget I am sometimes, but grateful for family & friends who remind me when I do.