21 Years Long

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Twenty one years ago, I was Ashley’s age. I was in the 5th grade, I had long brown hair that my mother refused to let me cut, and I was even more of a dork that I am now. I still liked to read more than I liked to talk to people, and you could still find me hanging out with animals more than with my friends.

Today, in 2018, we had a pretty standard day. Jon and I had to work, and Noodle had to go to school. So the day started off with Jon getting to work, me having coffee in bed, and Noodle playing around with the cats. A pretty relaxed morning before I had to drop her off at school. She had a regular day at school, I had a regular day at work, and we both got home and are relaxing while Jon makes us stuffed mushrooms for dinner. Right now I’m writing, Ashley’s harassing my sister on Snapchat, and Jon’s listening to his videos while dinner is finishing up. It’s a decent day.

In 1997? It was a much different day. I had woken up in the early morning hours to use the bathroom, only to find out that my mother had fallen into a coma. I remember mumbling “uh okay” and going back to bed just to dwell on the fact that my mom had been too tired to sing her “good night” song to me before bed the night before. I had insisted my little sister go first.. trying to be a good older sister and all. A few hours later, I crawled out of bed to be informed my grandparents were coming to pick my sister and I up for the day. 

We spent the rest of the morning trying to be .. normal? I don’t think my brain quite understood what a coma was being in 5th grade and all. All I knew is that my mom was asleep and not waking up. It was pretty surreal, even when my grandparents encouraged me to crawl into bed with my mom and say goodbye. I remember laying there and praying to whatever god I believed in to let my mom be okay.

Because what 5th grader understands “terminal cancer”? 

I realized maybe 15 minutes later that she wasn’t going to be when my grandmother started describing her version of heaven once we got into her car. 

I don’t remember the rest of that day from 21 years ago. 

… 

21 years have past. Each year that passes I reflect, I remember, and I learn. This year I think is a bit special to me since Ashley and I are the same age. She’s the age I was when I lost my mom.. so this year it just hits a little closer to my heart. So this year? I am grateful for the very simple things. 21 years ago, I was exactly her age, in exactly her grade, and had *just* lost my mother. I was starting on a new, seemingly horrific part of my life. 

Today? I’m sitting next to my own daughter, listening to her send her screeching raptor noises over snap chat to my unsuspecting sister and cracking up. We may not have done anything super fun today, or anything she’ll remember in 21 years, but that’s okay with me. Considering what I remember 21 years ago? I’ll take it. I’m grateful for the simple things, and how lucky I  really am.

 

I miss you mom.

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Frustration and Insomnia

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These past couple of days have been really frustrating for me, to the point where it’s keeping me up at night.  I haven’t had insomnia in years and quite frankly, I’m not too happy to be reunited with this old “friend”.  Everything has just been so incredibly hectic lately, both at work and with my family.

One of my family members is in hospice right now, and while we’re not super close, it has hit me pretty hard.  Not just because I’ll miss him, but because it’s reminding me of my mother.  Saying goodbye on Friday was painful, not just because of the impending loss of life, but because I know the pain his direct family will feel.  I remember it from when I was a kid.  Watching him in his bed brought up a lot of memories I didn’t really want to remember.  I’ve been trying to drown out those memories with great memories of him.  My favorite was the summer we spent at his house (my mother had passed and my dad had to work).  We’d get dropped off in the morning and picked up at night.  I remember sitting on the porch, watching him mess with the guitar.  I thought he was so cool, I even bought him (a really girly haha) earring because he was the only guy in my family who had his ear pierced, and sure as shit he put it in and rocked it.  I’m trying to remember that, and that’s how I will remember him, not ridden with cancer.  Yeah, I’m just having a hard time wrapping my head around the whole situation and battling the memories of my mom being sick and worrying about his family.  I’m just.. yeah.  Out of words.

Work has been… well… work.  It goes through waves, it gets really hectic and we get behind, and then it gets better and we’re on top again.  The stress from that on top of my family issues and my (3 week) cold has just really got me down.  I was reminded how much I appreciate my “work family” though on Friday.  One of our CSRs called off (despite it being hell week) on Thursday and had already planned on being off Friday through Monday, so on top of it being super hectic, I had to do her job as well.  On Friday, I was just having a super hard time (mostly getting my brain prepared to go to hospice that evening) and, for lack of better terms, I was a hot mess.  My coworkers did their best to help me out and let me know that they understand.  Small favors with the literal work, and dealing with my moodiness and rapid breaks.  On my drive down to hospice I realized (yet again) how grateful I am for the people I work with.  Sure, we all get on each others nerves and we’ve had our bumps in the road, but every last one of them has proven time and time again that they’re just a different extension of my family.

Today I’ve calmed down a bit.  Caught up on some work I left behind Friday afternoon ( I left early to beat rush hour to get to hospice ), went shopping with the boyfriend and kid and relaxed.  Tomorrow I’m going to take the monkey kid bowling, she’s been asking to go for quite a while now.  I think some hang out time with her will definitely cheer me up.

I just have to remember to keep my chin up.