A Facebook Post from my Mother-In-Law

FIL’s health is declining rapidly and he is being sucked in by the terrible-ness of his ALS in distressing ways. ALS usually only affects muscular function, leaving the afflicted fully aware but unable to control body movement. Rarely though, it also can have an effect on brain function and will cause frontal lobe dementia. There are indications (nothing empirically proven) that ALS with a psychological dimension has a much faster progression. This is what FIL has. He is already on a feeding tube as he is unable to swallow. You can not understand his speech. He will be getting a breathing apparatus sometime within the next few weeks as well as a special type of vest that will help him clear the secretions in his lungs since he is no longer able to cough on his own. He shuffles around since he doesn’t seem able to really pick up his feet properly to walk anymore. And he has mood swings. He gets frustrated and angry easily (understandably) but he will also randomly giggle at inappropriate things. He doesn’t seem to grasp what is happening to him. We had to fight with him to get him to stop working. MIL had to hide his keys so he wouldn’t go driving off somewhere. She’s going through the process to be named his guardian.

Thanksgiving was bittersweet.

There were 12 of us total. My Mom, The Zen Master, Princess Punk, The Peach and me, plus The Zen Master’s sister (we’ll just refer to her as SIL), her three kids aged 4, 10 and 12 (I think?), MIL and FIL. Oh and The Boy (Princess Punk’s boyfriend) was there as well.

We made WAY too much food. A 22lb turkey, stuffing, gravy, spinach soup, maple pecan sweet potatoes, cornbread pudding, brussel sprouts, a veritable vat of macaroni and cheese and fresh-made rolls plus 4 pies for dessert (2 pumpkin an apple and a pecan). Princess Punk and My Mom made the turkey, Princess Punk made the apple pie and I did pretty much everything else. It was quite the spread.

And we all got to sit together at the table as a family. FIL sat with us even though he couldn’t eat, and he enjoyed the time with us, especially with all his grandkids together in one place. This  was likely to be his last Thanksgiving. MIL was angry. Not at anyone in particular, just “stages of grief” kind of anger at the unfairness of it all. It was a blessing to all be together. I did miss my own father a bit though.

Anyway. This was all to lead in to MIL’s Facebook post this afternoon

As my Beloved and I face our ultimate challenge, I share a prayer with family and friends given to the Life Force in whatever form your perception takes. I ask those who are willing to say the words when they think of us, or read them once aloud as you find them. As I say them, I think of those of you facing similar challenges. You are in my heart daily.MIL

Even if you don’t pray

I’m asking for your prayers.

So obviously, it’s been awhile. On my last post, a few weeks ago, I revealed that Snarky Girl (formerly Newbie… still a work in progress) and Crazy Girl are pregnant. Ok… WERE pregnant. Snarky Girl still remains with child, but Crazy Girl? She had her baby at 2:38am on Friday April 10th. At an estimated 24 weeks. She was less than 2lb at birth. And so far, she’s making it. Crazy Girl had messaged me Thursday night…

Ugh have you ever felt so bloated that you couldn’t even feel the baby move but a few times?

Or should I totally freak and head to the hospital?

lol

I literally feel like I’m going to pop

:/

I told her to call the doctor’s office. I frequently made use of the on-call service when pregnant with The Peach as I was high risk and totally neurotic.

She decided to wait it out since she was at work. She went home and took a shower and the cramps started. It got worse and she thinks she might have passed her mucous plug, at which point she woke up her man and had him take her to the local hospital. The little one. With no NICU or anything.

She thought it was already over.

Yes. A boulder. The size of a truck. In the interstate.

Yes. A boulder. The size of a truck. In the interstate.

They found a heartbeat strong and healthy and she was shocked. Then even more shocked when the doctor checked her and told her the baby was coming. Now. And she pushed. And the doc caught Itty-Bitty with one hand on the bed. And the baby cried. Not loud but she cried. Which is amazing. And then they were able to intubate her and get her lungs fully inflated. And they kept her stable for the 3 hours it took for the NICU transport team from UVM Medical Center to assemble to take Itty Bitty to a real NICU. 3 hours, you say? Yes. Because on Aril 10th, here in VT, it was sleeting and the roads were terrifyingly slippery and slick. And on the way to UVM, there was a boulder on the interstate. A boulder. A fucking boulder blocking one lane of the highway and slowing traffic to a crawl.

And yet she made it. Kicking and punching and pink with a strong heartbeat. And now she’s even breathing on her own as much as one so little can.

Itty-Bitty's diaper

Itty-Bitty’s diaper

But she’s tiny. I haven’t been able to see her and I won’t be able to for months since only parents are allowed in NICU and she’ll be there until her due date. Which should have been August. But all Crazy Girl kept saying was, “She’s just so tiny.”

And Crazy Girl and her man… Doing okay. In shock still I think, but hopeful. I told Crazy Girl that only she could have a pregnancy so short. She only was aware of the pregnancy for about 6 weeks. In labor (at least the painful part) for 2 hours.

Now though… Now is where the long journey starts. Because even after the first two critical weeks, there’s a long road ahead for Itty-Bitty. There’s so many things that can happen and she’s so fragile and teeny and God I am so scared for her.

So pray for her. Pray for Itty-Bitty and Crazy Girl and Her Man. Even if you don’t believe in prayer.

Just Pray.

Just Pros, no cons

Mount Mansfield

Mount Mansfield

It just doesn’t get better than this.

Stowe, VT

Stowe, VT

I am never leaving Vermont. Ever.

Random Cow

Random Cow

What can you say?

I have co-workers that I consider friends. I have co-workers that I consider acquaintances. I have a couple of co-workers that I hardly know at all, even though I’ve been working with them for years.

When I had my training on my birthday last month, I ended up eating lunch with one of my co-worker acquaintances. She took a call in the middle of lunch and then apologized, her mother was quite ill and she had been struggling with insurance to get her treatment. She spoke briefly about what was going on and then we finished our training and moved on. We’ve interacted at work since then but not really spoken about anything personal.

Today, I overheard her talking to someone about the trouble she was having with funeral arrangements for her mom.

Seriously, what can you say to someone who’s just lost a parent? It’s hard for me to think of anything to say to a friend that would be supportive but not intrusive.

I would never say, even to a friend,

“Well, they’re in a better place now.” Even if the person believes in an afterlife or something akin to it, it’s a stupid thing to say. People mourn the passing of their loved ones because they’re not here. Pointing out that minor detail seems to be almost rubbing it in.

“At least it wasn’t sudden, you had time to prepare.” When are you ever prepared for someone you love dying? Even if I knew the exact date and time, down to the last second, it would still be a horrible shock.

“Well, you can take comfort in the fact they’re not suffering anymore.” Maybe they aren’t suffering anymore… But I am.

“I remember when I lost my…” Yeah, cuz making it about you is really going to help.

“You should just try and stay positive!” Fuck. You.

“I’m sorry.” Pity is never really helpful in my experience.

“Is there anything I can do?” Is there ever really anything? Unless you’re very close and can help with things like funeral arrangements and sorting belongings and whatnot, there’s not a lot of help you can give. It’s not a boo-boo you can put a band-aid on. The only thing that really helps is time. I dunno, maybe some people DO want to hear that.

So what do you say?

I dunno. I just said,

“Can I give you a hug?”

Sometimes it just hits me

I lay here in my bed, listening to The Zen Master snore. I just Brought The Rain and now I’m watching The Peach as she falls into the deep sleep that permits a move to her own bed.

And I realize…

I’m a wife. And a mom. I have a husband who loves me. I have two incredible, beautiful daughters. I’m staring at my Peach, looking so innocent and angelic and I am (almost) forgetting the multiple temper tantrums she hurled our way today.

And I see it. Or rather, I see me. I get a glimpse of her and she looks… Like me.

Princess Punk looks startlingly like Sperm Donor. A genetic trait that she has made her own, molded into something that is, at times, absolutely breathtaking. The Peach, from her first screeching breath, has been a clear-cut copy of The Zen Master in female form. It was actually upsetting to me for awhile, if I hadn’t pushed her out myself, I’d have some serious doubts about her origins.

But there I am tonight. Laying there beside me. A pretty, golden, curly, child version of myself.

And she’s mine. I’m her mama. They’re my girls. He’s my husband.

I’m a married mother of two. And I’m not alone anymore. Because they’re all a part of me. A part of my soul. And now, in both girls, I see that I’m a part of them too.

And that’s kinda nice.

A brief hiatus

I took a break from posting for a bit after the awfulness in CT. Mostly because I was just at a loss for words about the utter sorrow and anger about the whole situation. And the fact that people are traumatized every day throughout the world and I felt like talking about the shooting would somehow lessen what happened to them. The shooting in Newtown was a horrible tragedy and because of the scope of the devastation, it became the top thought on everyone’s mind. But as a survivor of a violent act myself, I don’t want to forget all the other people out there that have suffered trauma at the hands of another person.  I’ve been pondering what to say for a bit. That, mixed with the impending holiday tomorrow  and thoughts on how it will be so painful for so many, in Newtown, in my town and around the world, has left me, at least for the moment, quiet. I’m going to begin posting again after Christmas, after I spend some time with My Mom, My Dad, The Zen Master, Princess Punk and The Peach and all my other family and friends that I treasure so dearly.

And to all those reading this I remind you that every moment counts.

Treasure every smile, every hug, every kiss, every laugh.

Because those? Those are the best gifts.

Blessings, Light and Love to you and yours.

Blessings, Light and Love to you and yours.

Scars and reminders

I noticed this morning, the claw marks on my arm from my disintegration 6 months ago are almost completely faded away. And I realized with a pang, I’m almost sad to see them go.

Over the years, I have accumulated a multitude of marks, scars and the like. They are internal and external, intentional and involuntary, beautiful and ugly. And I cherish them all. Everything has a story, each mark holds some kind of meaning for me and each one represents some kind of triumph or tragedy, all lessons learned, whether it be a reminder to watch your hand when closing the car door or a vestige of 200+ pounds of weight loss.

I have gotten 3 tattoos in the past 15 years. Each one signifies a turning point in my life, a moment marked, an acknowledgement of some tiny revelation about who I am. When I was 18 or 19, I had an image of a rose, wrapped around a dagger on my left… chest area. A reminder to protect my heart, that passion is often accompanied with pain.

A few years later, on my right leg, another rose, in full bloom with a large butterfly perched on top. I was in college, coming out of my cocoon and beginning to bloom. This was also when I began to emerge as a mother. I still had a long way to go at that point, caring for Princess Punk was still far beyond my capabilities then. But it was the beginning; I was venturing out into the world and finding that life could be beautiful.

My last is also my favorite. It was custom and it cost way more than I had the budget for at that time. I was still in my 20’s, finishing my BA, figuring out where to go next. I had been through a hellish year, one of my worst. I had been hospitalized and was finally diagnosed as bipolar. Princess Punk was living with my parents and I was trying to grow up a little bit. I’d started to leave behind some of the immaturity that had plagued me. I’d finally realized that drinking and hanging out and smoking pot were not going to get me anywhere and the people I had chosen to associate with were not my friends, that sperm donor and his family did not need to be a part of our lives and The Princess needed a real mom, especially since she didn’t actually have a dad. I was working out some confusion about my own sexuality and trying to figure out what I really wanted in life and love. I had found my good and my bad, my ups and downs, my yin and yang. And while I still hadn’t balanced anything by any means, I had finally recognized that both sides were an integral part of who I was.

I’ve been through a lot in the past few decades. I’m happy now. I love my family, I love my job, I’m happy with my life in general. Obviously I have shit to deal with, as does everyone else in the world, but having these mementos of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come can be extremely grounding.

I’ve been pondering, for a while now, one more tattoo…

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