Tuesday, May 09, 2017


So here's the thing that happened after my father-in-law, my babies, and my dad all died suddenly (without any explanation)...


I cannot outrun it (I'm not kidding...I've actually started walking/running).

I am terrified I am going to die suddenly (with or without an explanation).

Every little ache or pain is now a harbinger of death (and Dr. Google is not helping).

It's irrational...but I can't NOT think about it.

So I'm starting projects again.

Fake it till ya make it, right?

Not sure this blog will be one of those projects...but I think there is something cathartic about writing out all the garbage that's floating around in my brain.

In the meantime, I just hope I don't die.

Sunday, April 16, 2017


Yesterday, the pink walls of my sisters old bedroom whispered to me about the life we had...about what we have...and I was overwhelmed.
Friday night records played on the stereo Dad built himself from a kit.
Mom in the kitchen making hamburgers and fried potatoes.
Roller skating around the pool table.
Dad going golfing every Saturday morning.
Scuffing slippers on the carpet in order to build up static and zap each other.
Sundays with Dad lying on the living room floor watching football or baseball or basketball (and usually falling asleep and snoring).
The long gone swing set put together by Dad and Grandpa, with it's barbershop pole color scheme...white and metallic blue and metallic red.
The purple of the guest bedroom...changed from cheerful yellow after my sister moved into her pink bedroom the basement.
Dad pulling out his guitar and playing a song or two. I only know the refrain of Delta Dawn.
Staying home with a babysitter while Mom and Dad went to bowling league.
The metal roof of the old doghouse in the backyard sitting on top of what remains of the rotten wood structure that seems to have melted into the ground.
Homemade birthday cakes.
Riding bikes up and down the street.
Mom in her bedroom reading a romance novel.
The yellow and white bench at the kitchen table.
The blue of the office...once my brother's room.
Saturday afternoon trips to Kmart and the carton of Whoppers shared during the car ride home...before he was "too tired from golfing."
My husband tightening the wrought iron railing for my mom...who used to tell us, "Don't lean over the railing."
The shelf my Dad built me to hold my ceramic unicorn collection.
The Smuckers box that came from Dad's employer one xmas...filled with little ice cream sundae cups and Smuckers ice cream toppings.
The laughter while writing "Griswold Christmas lights" on the outside of that Smuckers box after the ice cream supplies were unpacked...to store the xmas tree lights.
The xmas party where my sister and I wore matching long blue dresses our mom had made. I got Colorforms from Santa Claus.
The station wagon trips to Indiana (the barf coffee can for the trip home where I had the flu).
The organ I taught myself xmas carols on.
The big soft couch that came from my aunt and was way more comfortable than the one my parents had in the living room...but they put it in the basement.
Sitting on that couch with my only high school boyfriend and watching the little black and white tv while making out.
Coming home from school to an empty house on my 16th birthday...but there was a balloon and a card and a gift on the kitchen table. Mom got me the Timex watch I'd been begging for.
Dad's chair...that nobody but Mom will sit in now.

There wasn't much connection in that house. Maybe that's why these random things seem to suffocate me when I am there. I have these "nice" memories...but that house is not home. It's not a place I ever felt totally comfortable. "Because I said so," and, "As long as you live in my house," were phrases I heard often. It was like I was a visitor throughout my whole childhood...just stopping by on my way to something else. Not allowed to ask questions. Expected to mind my own business.

And so I did.

So now I go there and there are so many things I don't recognize. Maybe that's why the things I do remember stand in such contrast.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

My Dad died

Thanksgiving was lovely.
It still doesn't seem real...so maybe that's why I keep hearing my own voice in my head saying, "My Dad died." It's not my mom's voice telling me...like what actually happened. It's my own voice...repeating.
My Dad died.
It's like I need to remind myself that things have changed. That he's not here anymore.
My Dad died.
It's so different from losing the babies. It's definitely filled with more regret, anger, and...I don't know...unresolved feelings. I mean, my dad has always been there. He wasn't my most vocal cheerleader. He wasn't anyone's cheerleader. He didn't really use supportive words much. He wasn't warm and cuddly. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times I can remember him saying "I love you." He wasn't open with his stories or life experiences. In fact, I think he subscribed to the belief that children should be seen and not heard. But he was always there. And now...there are just the words in my head...
My Dad died.
Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer in May of 2015. He did everything he could. He followed the doctors' advice. He was doing well. His numbers were good. Thanksgiving was lovely. It was all so normal. And then he got sick overnight with flulike symptoms. And then he went to the hospital. And then Saturday morning his heart stopped. And that was that.
My Dad died.
As a child, every night before bed, I would kiss him on the cheek and say, "Love you, Dad." And he would respond with "Uh-huh" or "goodnight" or "shape up." Now, with my own children, I am certain to say "I love you" first. I never want them to wonder, like I sometimes still do.
My Dad died.
I should have visited him more this summer. I was busy and he was grumpy. And he had a new dog to keep him busy. I don't think I sent a Father's Day card this year. But we saw Fourth of July fireworks together. And we went for lunch at the beginning of July to celebrate both Father's Day and Mom's birthday, like we did every year. But I can't remember...what were my last words to him? Did I kiss him goodbye? I should have gone to see him in the hospital that last day. Instead, I went out for cheesecake and a strawberry daiquiri. I went and looked at art. And when I did go to the hospital I didn't go to his room because I didn't want him to be annoyed with me. I should have risked his annoyance. But I just thought he was sick.
I didn't think he was going to die.
Was he scared? Did he know he was dying? Why did he wait to go to the hospital? There aren't any answers, I know. He's just gone. And we have to figure out how we all fit together as a family without him being there. I don't know how to reconcile my own roles of mother and child so that they make sense in this. Christmas Eve was awful. Everyone smiled and did the best they could. But his recliner sat empty (nobody sat in it all day). Christmas day was awful. I couldn't bring myself to prepare his favorites...because he wasn't there.
My Dad died.
Notoriously hard to buy Christmas presents for, my Dad was the only one I had completed my shopping for by Thanksgiving. His beloved Cubs had won the World Series and I had the best gifts for him. I was ready. He would have loved them.
My Dad died.
And now my mom is alone. And I don't know what she needs. And the thought of her alone makes me sad. With the babies, I mourned for what could have been. But there weren't 45 years of memories to remind me of what I had lost...what I would never experience again. I think it makes me sadder. And angrier. The two of them did such a good job of building their own adventure together without me and my family...that I don't know how we fit...how we are supposed to fit. It feels like there is a piece missing.
My Dad died.
There have been quite a few pop culture icons to die this year. And people my age say they feel like their childhoods are disappearing. And I want to scream...

Monday, October 17, 2016

Not who I used to be

Today, for the first time in a long time, I cooked something. We've been eating out or my husband has been cooking...for a pretty long time now.

Today I was asked, "Did you send that email?" and I had to respond with, "I forgot."

Today I took a phone call from a client who was following up on an issue he brought to my attention last Tuesday. I haven't had a chance to do the necessary research and I could hear his disappointment in his voice.

It's little things like this that make me feel again all that has changed. I used to be so capable. I used to be able to multi-task. While I never "enjoyed" my work, the challenge it presented was rewarding.

It's been eleven years since Alex...ten since Travis...six since the unnamed baby...and I still can't come to grips with who I am now. I just now realized I don't want to stuff who I am now into the life of who I used to be. I've been trying and it is NOT working. That me is gone...and she isn't coming back.

I look around and see people with passion. People who make a difference. People who are able to inspire others. That is not me.

Friday, September 09, 2016

First born

You think I'd be good at this for all the saying goodbye and letting go I've had to do. But I read this and was reduced to sappy sentimental tears.
I miss my son. My living, breathing, 14-year-old, full of opinions, addicted to video games, first born who used to share everything with me. The Wiggles. Thomas the Tank Engine. Pokémon. Hating reading. School. Loving reading. His love of comfort over fashion. His inherited tendency to expect too much from everyone and everything. Ways to cope with his perceived shortcomings. His unshakeable faith in me. His growing belief that he knows everything.
Adolescence has now taken hold and he has become much less inclined to share. Given enough time, asking the right questions, I can usually wheedle information out of him. Tell me one thing you learned today. Tell me one thing interesting that happened today. How are your friends doing? What did you have for lunch? What happened in band today? Is there anything you need for school?
He's in high school now. With high school classes and high school friends and high school activities...and I never see him. There's just no time to persuade him to share with his old mom. He's always working on something or going somewhere or too tired to talk to me.
Today is Friday which means marching band at the football game. I'll see him for the ten minutes it takes to drive to the stadium...and then after the game I'll cart his exhausted body home where he will promptly brush his teeth and fall into bed. And I'll stand in his doorway and watch him sleep and wonder how to deal with this letting go. It's not the same as the permanent goodbyes that fate has forced me to experience. It's a slow goodbye that is supposed to happen.
I know this.
I do.
I'm working on it.