Part 3: Watching Your Mother Slowly Die

Yes, I received yet another phone call. It was another aunt. “you need to stop whatever it is you are planning on packing, and you need to get into your car and drive tonight. She’s calling for you. I need you to sit down and listen to what I have to warn you about.” I did as she requested, both Jack and his mother looked at me. I just looked at Jack “get you and the kids packed up.” then I listened to what my aunt said, “sweetie, there’s a very high chance you aren’t going to make it home in time.” My aunt knew this was a huge fear of mine, I had confessed this to her. I was afraid mom was going to push us away, or push me away until the very last minute and we would be jumping through hoops to get home to her.

Despite the fact Jack kept telling me over the course of these past few months that I was overreacting. Sometimes you say things, or feel things that you don’t totally understand yourself. There have been several times in my life that I had wished my intuition was wrong; this was one of those moments.

This was Friday. Hurricane Eduardo was going up the eastern seaboard and it was the beginning of Labor Day weekend. Jack started the leg of the drive. In the passenger side, I buried my head in the pillow so the kids and Jack wouldn’t hear me cry. I prayed, I told God if he had to take her before I got home, that I would be ok. I asked him to not let her suffer or be in pain. She had enough pain in her life; let her die peacefully. I also asked for strength in myself, because God knew from the time I was five my biggest fear was losing mom. It’s a fear most kids have at that age. I think it’s sometimes worse for kids who have a single parent.

We hit all the traffic in every city up I-95. Oh and we caught up with Eduardo in Connecticut. Jack kept us plugging along at 30 mph on the interstate. The stressful part for me, was mom was wondering what was taking me so long. Family told her I was on my way, but she didn’t believe them. So every two hours I called someone and told them where we were at. We actually got out a head of the storm.

Sunday morning, I got us to 2 miles from the border and asked him to switch with me. I had plenty of time to cry on the way up and get it out. “I need you to drive us across the border and talk to customs. You have more patience when it comes to this. As soon as we get through customs and you get us into the parking lot of the hospital, I am running to the hospital, you bring the kids.”

Jack didn’t even get the car stopped and I had taken off running. An aunt was waiting for me at the doors to the hospital and we just ran to the elevator and once the elevator got to mom’s floor I ran to her room.

It had just a  month since I had left her and she had lost so much weight. Her glasses were off (they had gotten heavy on her face, even though they were light as feathers). She was sleeping and I didn’t want to scare her but I also knew without her glasses unless I got right up in her face she wouldn’t have recognized me. “mama. Mama. I am here.” I whispered. I brushed my hand through her hair, the hair stayed with my fingers due to the chemo. I kissed her gently on the forehead, and then she stirred. “How far away is she now? She’s not coming. You guys keep telling me she’s coming but she’s not.” I smiled, “I’m here mama.” She realized, her baby girl made it. She started to cry.

Then she heard Jack and the kids come in. “I must be dying everyone is here.”

Jack didn’t want me to tell our son his nana was dying on the ride up. I didn’t think that was fair to our son. Our son had a better relationship with his nana than any other grandparent, despite the distance. My son stood frozen in the doorway by his father. I regretted not telling him because I could tell he was scared.

Mom saw him immediately and started to cry. He was a trooper though; he wanted to sit up next to his nana. I explained to him while I was helping him up to her bed, that she might look scary but it’s still the same nana he has always known. She’s on medications so she might do things that seem a little weird. “oh nana.” He said as he crawled up next to her, he kissed her on her cheek, wiped the hair from her eyes. She pulled him close to her. He looked a little scared, “it’s ok, nana just wants to hug you.”

The room was full of family. Later in the day she was showing signs we might lose her. She began to do the deep breaths in. Everyone knew what she wanted. She did not want to be kept alive artificially. The medications and oxygen were to keep her comfortable only.

I sat up on the bed with her as well. I had to be very careful. From the moment I stepped in that hospital there were no tears. I had months of crying. It’s amazing how when put into a situation we just do what needs to be done. I remember thinking as I sat beside her, she didn’t deserve to die like this. It was wrong. The hard life she had was enough, couldn’t the woman die without it being so hard? Hell 28 years prior when it was her and I and, I was coming into the world, she almost died. I had watched this woman for 28 years go through hell and back and this is how it all ends. She had hell before I was born. My mother deserved to die better. Honestly, watching my mother go through this and knowing other families go through this as well, I would have preferred her todie in a car accident, or suddenly in her sleep than this. The slow death takes a toll.

That evening when things looked rough I remember hearing a blood curdling cry come from the corner. It was my son. “noooo, I don’t want my nana to die.” It was then my tears started, I hated my son being in so much pain. We all held him close and explained to him.  The tears only lasted awhile.

Jack hardly said anything to me during the time we had gotten to the hospital. I’m not sure if I would have broken down if he had tried to hold me, or shown me some emotion. I was in a zone. He never tried. Honestly, I don’t think he thought it was as bad as what I had been telling him. I think he too was shocked when he saw her. Mom loved Jack (once she got to know him) like he was the son she never had. He sat next to her and held her hand. Her and him had some good memories over the years. He had taken her fishing, on motorcycle rides. Every important event we had in our lives, mom had been there physically for us.  She had been there more for us, than his parents ever were.. Jack had always made reference; he had always had to go see them; very seldom did his parents come visit him.

Jack took the kids to mom’s house and I stayed at the hospital. I was exhausted. I sleep through almost anything, including last rights. My aunts were laughing because as the minster was giving my mom last rights he had to do it through my snores.

In the middle of the night I got awoken by my aunt. I looked over and there she was wrestling with a 70 lb woman. “What the hell?” I looked at my aunt who was trying to contain her, but not break her. “I don’t know how she got of the bed with the rails up, but she doesn’t need to be walking around coming off these meds. Go get a nurse.” I ran down the corridor in my sock feet. “Mom’s getting out of bed, we need your help down here.” I ran back to go help my aunt. “mama what in the world do you think you are doing?’ She looked at me, “getting the fuck out of here.” I laughed; mom very rarely dropped the f bomb. It was everything my aunt and I could do to hold this 70 lb woman back. Being an older hospital they had window AC units and she was literally trying to CLAW the unit out. “Mom what are you doing, stop this please.” She kept clawing, “I need to fly.”

It was honestly amazing and sad watching the death process. I knew what she meant when she said she needed to fly. Time was approaching. Then she looked at me, the most sane and non loopy I had seen her in hours. “you’re coming with me. I can’t fly by myself.” It sunk to my core and gave me chills. “Mama I can’t go with you. I can go part of the way, but I have to stay here for Jack and the kids.

FINALLY, the nurses came running into the room. The doctor had ordered morphine every four hours; we were at hour two and the nurses couldn’t do anything else. “You can’t call the doctor? She doesn’t need to be doing this. The morphine is obviously not lasting as long as he originally thought it would. She’s going to end up hurting herself.” It was the longest two hours I had ever been in. I am sure for my aunts as well.

Let’s just say it was a long damn night. At one point my mother asked me to lean in and she said, “just put the pillow over my face, no one will know.” She was serious despite her coming off morphine. I still remained strong. I knew everything was happening; I think I was in shock. There’s no time to think when your mother is trying to crawl out a window, or struggling to get the hell out of there. You know some of it’s the meds, but you wonder how much is truly the meds.  No one deserves to die like I watched my mother die. Yet so many do.

I had seen this before, when my grandfather was sick. Yes for those of you, I was by my grandfather’s, the one who molested me, side for the most part when he was sick and dying. Funny how it turns out that the ones that you hurt the most end up taking care of your ass. I don’t mean that to be cruel, because if I hadn’t of helped my mother; she would have done it alone and I wasn’t about to let my mother deal with taking care of her father by herself. She and I did it together. Anyway, by seeing this before, I mean, it could take a long damn time for mom’s body to shut down. Where she had worked in a nursing home I had heard over the years the signs of death. She wasn’t displaying many. You knew her body could not go on this way; but as long as her heart was going and her organs were still operating she could literally go on like this for a long time.

That was the part that worried me; she could go on like this for a long time and I didn’t want to see her like that. Looking at her though, you knew her body would not be able to go on like that for long.

Morning finally came, and more waiting ensued. I had been waiting since the nurses told me they couldn’t do anything for my mother that it had to be doctor ordered. The dumb ass stand in doctor and I (the one that said in his professional opinion a few days before said she wasn’t in the palliative state) were going to have some words. I don’t give a rats behind if this is not how people do things around here. It takes a lot to piss me off. I don’t like confrontation but when I have reached that point where it’s a bunch of BS; I will confront and I will make a HUGE stink about it. However, anyone who knows me; knows it’s because what people or a person are doing is wrong.

The doctor finally showed up and I went out the hallway and waited for him. I had the power of attorney in my hands; along with her living will. He knew exactly who I was. I smiled, introduced myself;  I always give a firm handshake. “We talked on the phone 4 days ago. The hospital all ready has a copy of the power of attorney and mom’s living will and I am going to sound rude and not like I am from around here with my southern accent. The 4 hour dose of morphine you ordered….wore off in 2 hours and her last dose wore off within an hour. I’m telling you I am evoking my power of attorney right now; even though I should have been given the information as soon as this power of attorney was presented to me. However, I wanted to respect my mother’s wishes and do it her way. Doctor, she is unable to make the decision she needs to and I am stepping in to make those decisions for her. Last night was unacceptable. There is no reason that my mother should have gone for two hours in the condition she was in. I don’t care what you have to do, from here on out you are going to make her comfortable.” He hummed and hawed and stuttered. Then said he would put an order in for every two hours if she needed it. I chimed in, “and you are going to call the nurses or you are going to have them call you if that doesn’t work.” I walked away.  I DO NOT like being like that. When I have to be, I will and don’t think I will give up either.

After he accessed her and talked with the nurses he did come up to me and say he would make her as comfortable as possible.

Death is damn weird. I saw this when my grandfather died and I the rest of this day, I saw it while my mother was dying. C-R-E-E-P-Y shit takes place. I don’t care if you are a non believer in the God Almighty. The shit that I saw take, place over this next day sent CHILLS up my spine. For some you might think my thoughts were highly disrespectful. Ask me if I care. I don’t. Some will argue it’s the morphine that made her do this or see stuff. Ahhh you have your beliefs I have mine. My grandfather I don’t recall on any medication and he was seeing stuff….dead people. I can’t say what happens to a person at the end of life because I have never physically been there yet. I wanted to record my mother; that’s how freaky it was. Some of the freaky shit didn’t happen until she died and I talked to people; because I didn’t even know what the hell she was talking about.

At one point my sister and I were in with her. When my mom started to do the stuff she did, we just looked at each other like we had gotten in some time warp. My sister as well had taken care of the elderly and had seen death before; and even she looked at me with a “what the hell” look. Mom began rocking in the chair; that was completely still. She began talking to the “person” next to her. Mom could hear the rocking chairs and she described a setting I had never seen before in my life. It was my sister (who is older than me) that realized “she’s talking about her grandfather.” Mom asked my sister and me to rock on the porch with her. Of course we did as she asked.

From the moment Jack and I arrived mom couldn’t be left alone. Actually, it happened before then. Now I am sure some of you will say “nah uh”. Stuff it. That night I had the melt down, that came on suddenly? Turns out one of the nurses told my aunt (the one I had been on the phone with that night when this occurred) and I, mom woke up in a panic. A friend had to be called because “he” was coming after her. She refused to go to sleep without someone in the room with her in case “he” came back. My aunt and I got chills when the nurse told us the time this occurred. About the same time I went into hysterics. Some people have made fun of me over the years because of this. I can’t explain it; I have never been able to explain it; and it doesn’t occur all the time.  Sometimes people are just connected.

More weird shit took place the entire day. There were times she was doing the “weird” stuff and then she was CLEAR as a damn bell. I saw this also take place with my grandfather in his final hours.

I also noticed that lumps were (large lumps) showing up on her body; one was on the side of her neck. I don’t know if it’s true, but someone said it was the cancer travelling. It wasn’t there the day we arrived.

My mother was a fighter, regardless of how she handled or didn’t handle the cancer. As weak and frail as she was; she still demanded that she go to the bathroom; rather than a bed pan. My sister and I rang for a nurse….it took forever. “Come on mom we’ll help you.” Now I know nurses are busy but I had a problem with the nursing care. 3 nurses for 1 floor. It might be a small hospital but damn it.  There may have been more pressing things going on, however, when the only dignity and independence this woman has is to still be able to get up and go to the bathroom…..damn well help her. We had all ready been told the rules that we shouldn’t help (liability I am sure…blah blah blah). So we helped her. I actually called Jack in to help us. My sister on one side, me on the other side and Jack behind her. In all the years I watched my mother help with the elderly, I had never really took to it like she did. I felt awkward. There was also sadness there as well. No one likes seeing their parent or loved one in this condition. All those years she battled with her weight and now she was skinny as a rail. She had lost the weight so fast; the skin was literally just hanging off her bones. You are also trying to give her respect of privacy by making sure her gown is covering her stuff. Lol When we finally made it to the bathroom I asked her if she wanted me to stay in the bathroom with her. She looked at me, “No, I got enough of that when you were little.” I busted out laughing, “ok mom, I am right outside the door.” Smart ass. My sister and I got in trouble for helping her to the bathroom. Guess what we didn’t care. 45 minutes it took for a nurse to show up finally.

Ok so my aunts and I are all sleep deprived. We start getting damn giddy while all hanging out in mom’s room. Laughing, joking, and just reminiscing about memories we had. We included mom. Even though by this point she was in bed and not talking much, she would smile or make eye contact. That’s how fast this went. That day she was going to the bathroom that night when it turned it turned quickly. We’ve got the entire wing to ourselves and the door is open, the laughter, cackling, literally laughing so hard at all these memories that mom was a part of.  The head nurse came down and we turned when we saw her in the doorway. She was smiling. This nurse was AWESOME. We all turned around at her, laughing with tears in our eyes, about to piss ourselves laughing. “Are we in trouble?” She shook he head and just smiled, “no I am just standing here enjoying this. Not many families do this and this is good for her. It great to see all of you, even in this bad time turn it around and make it full of laughter.” That made me feel good. It was what mom would have wanted us to do. Yes we were sad, we hated that we were losing her. I actually said “mom would whoop our ass if we were standing over her crying and boo hooing. Hell mom whooped all of our asses a time or two.” We then included the head nurse. She had come in to check on mom’s dressing and she also checked what looked to be signs of the end coming. Even in 2012 I remember her name.  I had only met her a couple times but when she was on shift she gave my mother the best care. She treated mom like she was her mother. We told her this funny story of mom or of something that mom did. We had the nurse laughing right along with us. I am sure the pious people in our family would have disapproved. Oh well…lol mom would have been doing the same shit if it were one of us.

Then it started to happen; the signs of death were approaching. I looked at her and her dentures because her face was starting to do something, made her look creepy. I looked at one of my aunts. “For the love of God take her teeth out; she hated the dentures anyway”My aunt looked me “I’m not taking them out. You take them out.” I shook my head “oh hell no, those damn things scared the shit out of me every time I went into the bathroom. I ain’t touching them.” Snicker my aunt did it. She and I were laughing so hard. We told mom we were going to take out her dentures. Honestly, it was a safety issue as well. She nodded with her eyes and once they were taken out we asked if she was more comfortable without them in, she nodded her eyes “yes.” Of course I got the jokes in, I made the teeth chomping motion with my hands, my aunt “stop it.” and was laughing the whole time.

The ending was slow and yet fast all at the same time, if that makes any sense. Her eyes stayed open the whole time. The hardest part was seeing tears roll down her eyes as I fully believe she knew exactly what was happening.  She refused to close her eyes. I too began to panic, even though my aunts never saw it. I kept trying to call Jack, he wasn’t answering his phone. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen once she took her last breath. I didn’t know if I was going to break down and cry (I am tearing up right now just remembering that horrible feeling I had). I just wanted Jack beside me. I had been strong for so long. And like always I couldn’t get in touch with him. It hurt. He had all ready made the excuse when I asked him to stay at the hospital with me; “wouldn’t it make more sense for me to take care of the kids so you can be with your family.” I just said “you’re right; whatever.” And walked away. Again you learn to go numb. It hurt like hell. You learn to put on your poker face and just carry on. Another excuse was “the kids don’t need to be around this.” We had all ready had people say that they would watch the kids; the nurses had set up a place away from the area and people offered to watch the kids. Whatever, I got this.

Is it so wrong to want your husband; the one you love and have loved to just be there for you? Is it so wrong to want to feel his arms wrap around you.  Why was love, compassion, tenderness, and just that reaching out for someone when you know they are hurting….so hard for him? I have always tried to be tougher than I really am. It’s not that I am NOT afraid of that emotion; Lord knows people have seen me cry (I hate it). He hated when I got emotional about things. Whether he realizes it or not, he put me down when I did cry. “You’re crying over that?” You learn to be tough! At what cost?  I didn’t cry from the moment we arrived at the hospital and I continued not to cry.

I was used to him not being there when I needed him the most. I look back now and feel he was never there. In the hind sight of things; by him not being able to give that to me, it emotionally drained me. Show some tenderness, compassion, support, love. SHOW SOME EMOTION. What kind of man can’t hold his wife, or reach out to her. Does a man really need a crystal ball, when his wife’s mother is dying to know she needs him? While I had my aunts, friends and other family members around me; I was going through this alone. Yes we all consoled one another. It wasn’t the same. That’s not what I needed. I needed him. I needed my husband. Why is that so wrong?

The hours moved on; then the minutes turned into hours. The last 10-15 minutes were horrible. She would take a deep breath in and 2 minutes later, she would gasp again for a breath. In between that first labored breath we thought she had gone and then that large gasp happened again. At this point you’re willing her to stop breathing, so it will be over for her. She still had her eyes open and she looked straight at you. Does she know what is going on? There’s tears coming from her eyes as she gasps. Is she aware? Or has that part of her body shut down and it’s just her body doing this? It felt like we all held our breath as her body gasped for air. The gasps then got further apart and you wondered is that the last one. You couldn’t really tell because her eyes were open.  Then…..there were no more gasps for air. Mom was gone. While my aunts cried; I wanted to cry but I couldn’t. How can you be surrounded by people in a room and still feel alone? I had just lost my rock, my friend, the pain in my ass, the comfort, and partner in crime. My body began to convulse (you know where you cry so much you can’t get a breath), but I still didn’t break down; no tears no crying. Two hours after mom was gone; Jack showed up with the kids. I was the one that told the kids “nana is gone.” Yes tears came when I told my son and he began to cry. They quickly stopped when Jack spoke and there was no emotion, consoling in his voice at all. It was literally like he drove up onto a scene being dispatched to a call. I had seen in car video of almost every stop he did, it was the same. A wife doesn’t deserve that.

There was still more to be done. A nurse asked if I wanted to donate mom’s corneas and I immediately said yes. Mom would have wanted that not only because I worked in optometry but she also loved helping other people.

We also had to clean out her room and make all preparations. Jack didn’t go with me even though I asked him to. He did go with me to meet the minister for the memorial arrangements. I still hadn’t cried. There was no time for me to break down.

That Friday was the memorial. I didn’t break down during the service, or when I stood in line for people to give condolences to the family. At one point during the service Jack did put his hand on the top of my leg, but that was all.  If I recall the family and I, estimated about 250 people in the church.

This is how much Jack thought I was overreacting with things. He didn’t bother to bring anything dress up for the funeral. Before the service he told me that and I asked him, “you didn’t bring a set of nice clothes? I told you pack something for a funeral.” His response to me was, “I didn’t think there would be one.” You just drop it and move on because there is more shit going on in your world to bitch about it. Looking back now on this; I see how little he cared about me or even respected me.

Surrounded by hundreds of people, standing in line with the family as people gave their condolences; I felt alone. The only time I never felt alone was when my children were around. I was so thankful that I still had Jack and the kids. Mom was gone.

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Part 2: Watching Your Mother Slowly Die

July 16th, 2006:

11 a.m. the phone rang, it was a number from back home. I answered. It was my aunt from home, she had been crying. “You need to come home now,” she was trying to be strong but she broke down in tears. “My God your mother is going to kill me if she finds out I called you. Sweetie she made me promise, not to call you or tell you what has been really going on. I told her this was not right what she was doing to you. She’s sicker than she has let on. Sweetie your mom was rushed to the hospital last night and no one is telling me anything. She doesn’t want me to call you. You need to come home.” I was speechless.

While she was telling me this I had all ready dashed down to the garage to get the suitcase. Threw it on my bed where Jack was sleeping. He gave me a look of disgust. I was used to his look of disgust. He still wasn’t privy to the conversation I was having. “When did she get rushed to the hospital?” His disgust went away when I said that. “I’m packing up right now, I will be on the road in 2-3 hours.” I was upset, I was pissed; then Jack opened his mouth. “If you are going home, then you need to take lil miss with you.” I stopped dead in my tracks. “You want me to take our two year old?  I am rushing home because my mother who is on the palliative care of the hospital, which means END OF LIFE. I have no idea what I am walking into, and you are telling me I need to take our two year old with me?”  He could tell I was pissed; again it got turned around on me, “See you get pissed over every little thing. Not everything revolves around you. I can’t just call up my boss and say I need to switch to days. Me doing that, affects everyone on shift. It makes sense that you take her; doesn’t it?” I had all ready exited and returned to the room with another suitcase, throwing my daughters stuff into it. “Nope doesn’t make sense to me, but what the fuck ever. Last time I checked the police department had 200 employees I am sure that during the years the police department has been in existence, family emergencies come up.” I was in tears. I was so hurt. He was still talking. “you’ll go home, find out she is fine and then you will be on vacation the rest of your time there.” He drove the knife in deeper. I stopped talking. I made a phone calls to my boss, then made the phone call to my sister who was staying in NC at my nieces’ house.

My daughter and I pulled out of the driveway and once on the road with lil miss, I cried as I drove. Not because of my mother; because of Jack. I wiped the tears away; I had things to take care of. I was on the phone with my sister; my niece had been home briefly from her tour in Iraq. The relationship between my mother and sister had never been good. “Listen I don’t know what I am walking into up there. It’s on you if you do not come home to see her.” I also talked to my niece and prepared her. “I know you have to head back to Iraq in a few days. What you do is also your choice. I just want you to know when you come back from Iraq nana might not be here.”

By the time I got to my nieces’ house they had all decided what they were going to do. My niece and her son would ride up to Canada with me. My sister would take my nieces vehicle, stop to get the other niece and great niece and be there a day behind us. My niece who was driving with me, could only spend 1 day with her nana and then she would have to beat feet back to catch her plane for Iraq.

That night I hardly slept a wink. I was still hurt at what Jack had said and done. I was worried about what I was going to be walking into back home.

The next day with only a couple hours of sleep around 10 or 11 am , we caravanned up I-95 until my car continued up I-95 and my sister veered off to go pick up her other daughter. My niece and I didn’t roll into the hospital parking lot until Tuesday mid-morning. Her and I drove 28 straight hours.

I knew what floor and room. As I stood at the room door that was open, I looked at my niece, “they said this number right?” She nodded and I turned. “I think they gave us the wrong room.” As I turned to go the nursing station, I heard mom’s voice and my heart sunk. It wasn’t the wrong room. That frail body in the room….was my mothers. The voice sounded just like it always had; strong. I looked at my niece, “if you and I get upset, we leave the room; we are not going to let her see us upset.” My niece agreed.

The last time I saw my mom was May 2005, she had come down for Jack’s retirement from the military; she was 160 lbs. The woman in that hospital bed before me, just over a year later; was 80 lbs if she was lucky. I was careful to hug her like I normally did when I saw her; I was scarred she might break. In my smile and good cheer, I was noting around the room of the machines (though not many) that were attached to my mother. Her oxygen mask that she could use…if she so desired. The flowers family and friends had sent the ones I had sent her closest to her. You suck it up, even though on the inside you are crying and wondering about the bandages that you see under her grown are for.  How the hell did this happen?

The children are antsy; they’ve been in a car for 28 hours. The adults are exhausted. I grabbed the key to the house from mom, gave her a kiss and then drove my niece to her sisters dads’ house and then drove my daughter and I to my childhood home.

As I turned into the laneway from the road, I again cried. The area was all grown up, the grass around the house as high as my daughter. I parked the car, breathed in and then went into the house. OMG! You look around and you see exactly what you feared the most. Mom had been sick for a long time. In true mother fashion, I scooped up my daughter, refusing to let her down. Not until I know she is safe and can’t get into anything. This wasn’t how I left the house 10 years ago. There were now trails throughout the house. I ran to the bathroom and threw up, crying.

Before my daughter and I could even rest I spent 8 hours cleaning my mother’s house. There were times I cried. There were times I got so PISSED that I allowed this to happen. How did I allow it to happen? In the 9-10 years our family started, we only went to my home as a family once; 2001 after we got back from Japan. In 2002, I flew back home by myself to attend my best friends’ wedding. How many times did mom come see us? How many times did Jack and I go on vacation to where his family was? How many times did I request we go on a family vacation to my hometown? How many times did that notion get knocked down?

As soon as I walked into the door, I was also greeted with The Will and the Power of Attorney. I refused to open it. I felt it was bad ju-ju to look until I needed it.

My daughter and I stayed for 2 weeks. In the two weeks, I was running around all over the place. Going to banks to get my name added to the accounts so if she did die the accounts wouldn’t be frozen and I could continue to pay her bills. All her utility bills, and other monthly bills I had to put my name on, so once I got back to Georgia; I would be able to contact these people and not get the bullshit line of “you’re not on the account.” It wasn’t without a fight either. My mother didn’t want me to do it. And I had to get tough on her. She had it all figured out. Her friend brought her a laptop so she could use it in the hospital. She didn’t need anyone’s help. She was even talking about the doctors releasing her to go home. She and I came to blows on that one.

“Mom I know you are not going to like what I say. Do you really think the doctor is just going to release you without inspecting your home to make sure you are safe?” I got the dumbfound look of “what do you mean.? There’s nothing wrong with my house.” I shut the door to the hospital room and calmly pulled my chair up next to her. “Mom it’s not a matter of you going home. I want you to listen and listen carefully to what I say to you, without feeling like I am backing you into a corner. I want you to listen without the notion that I am trying to keep you from something you want or need to do.” She nodded. “You’re house in the condition it is in right now, if not safe for you. I don’t know how this all works, but I would suspect if you want to go home, the doctor is going to request your house be inspected to ensure your house is safe for you. You’re talking about getting oxygen in there. If it’s anything like my friend’s dad had, they will put a centralized unit into the house. He could go from one end of the house to the other, and there was tubing all over the house so he could. Guess what mom if that tubing gets snagged on something in the trail in your house, you will not get oxygen. A portable unit only lasts for so long. I want you to come home. I don’t want to stop you from coming home. You think about how that house was left, do you really think the doctor is going to approve you living in there the way it was when you left it?” She was getting a little pissed. I was pointing out the obvious. “I will move heaven and earth for you so you can come home. If you need help to get up to go to the bathroom in the hospital you are going to need help at home. It’s not a matter of just going home. I’m watching and my untrained eye says that doctor is probably going to request a full time nurse in your house. If you want to come home, I will make it happen. I will look into full time nursing care. I will get that house in tip top shape so you can come home. Mom you can’t do this by yourself. I know you think you can, but this time you can’t get through this by yourself. You can’t shut out the world. In order for me to make this possible for you; I can’t do this on my own as well. I can’t get that house the way you need it without help. I can’t even find out how to help you and what you need because you won’t let me talk to your doctors.” It was a tough conversation. I just gave her the facts. I wasn’t pulling the stuff out of my ass.

You go to all of these places with the two year in tow. While the individuals at the places are giving you important information about what you need to take care of before things might take a turn for the worse, you are distracted by the two year old. You have a LIST a mile long just on everything you need to make sure is done so that when you get back home, you can still take care of your mother so she has less to worry about. Then Jack calls bitching that the financing company for the car has been “blowing up” his phone. You don’t get a how is your mom doing, or a sympathetic shoulder to cry on miles away you get “I can’t have them blowing up my phone, take care of it.” I look back after all these years after this happened. I learned to go numb from the pain. I learned to just take care of it myself and just keep going despite the pain.

It didn’t matter to Jack; I didn’t matter to Jack. It was easier for him to put me down and to tell me all the ways I was inadequate. I don’t know how many times I told him, “I am only one person I can only do so much.” His response to that was, he could do it all better than me. Go numb and you won’t feel the pain.

I had busted my ass for two weeks. Friends, who knew I was in town; came to see me in the hospital to give me a break. Family who came into town, our visiting was done either in the hospital or on our way to get a bite to eat.

Mom, Jack and the family had no idea what I was going through. I couldn’t talk to mom this time about what was troubling me; even though I was honest with her about how she was doing all of this, was bothering me. The other person who I tried to come to, had proven time and time again that my feelings, thoughts, concerns were not his concern.

I was dealing with a friend who was not looking into the best interests of my mother and was starting drama left and right. Not just with my mom, but me and the family. She had my mother all spun up about who she saw at the house. My mother had laid down the law, there were only 3 people allowed to come into the house. I got a phone call after one of those people had left, “who was in the house?” It had been a couple hours since this person came and I said “no one” then I got the 3rd degree from my mother. “A little bird told me there was a blue minivan at the house and your aunt from out of town has a blue minivan. I told you I don’t want them in my house.” I rolled my eyes. “The little bird needs to get her vision checked cause it was a GRAY van and who do you know that has a gray van mother.” Stuttering occurred. “Tell your bird the next time she wants to start shit to get her facts straight.” She was also pulling me in.

While mom wasn’t telling anyone or allowing anyone in the family to talk to doctors, this lil bird was trying to start the drama with me. She told me how she was able to talk to all the doctors and get all the information and she got me all spun up. I have a stupid power of attorney and still can’t get them to talk, yet she traps one in an elevator and the doctor divulges person patient information?  While she was talking to me about all this stuff, she was telling my mother lies about what I was doing. I don’t have time for this drama. I nipped that in the bud real quick!

Then you go to visit your mother with your daughter. You mother looks at you and says, “you need to go home. I love my granddaughter, but I can’t handle it when she visits here. We can’t talk about anything. We can’t visit. Why did you bring her? Tell me he isn’t that selfish.” I sat there and cried. I didn’t respond.

Two days later my daughter and I headed home. It was late at night; Jack was all ready at work. I was looking forward to coming home. My daughter was excited to see the cats and dog, her brother, her daddy. We missed our home. I wanted and needed some kind of normal. When I got home; the cats were gone. I called him, “Where are the cats?” I was in tears over stupid cats. “You told me to take care of them, so I took care of them. They’re gone.” The dagger went a little deeper. I knew what Jack did to cats. “What the hell did you do with the cats? Did you kill them? Did you give them to a shelter? What the hell did you do with the cats?” He paused, “you don’t need to know what happened with the cats. You just need to know they are gone.” I cried. We got into an argument. I was yelling and screaming at him. He was calm cool and rational. “They are just cats. Get over it.” Fire breathing dragon is an understatement of what I became when he said that to me. As much as I pointed out how insensitive, uncaring and inconsiderate he was of what I was dealing with, it once again got turned around onto me. Whatever the fuck ever! Raise your hands if you don’t require a crystal ball, to get it wasn’t about the cats.

I had managed to get home in time for my son to start his first day of school. I actually went back to work almost as soon as I got home. The next month was HELL!

Within a week of my being home in Georgia, mom started to go downhill. She wasn’t answering the phone in her room, she wasn’t even responding to emails. Everyone had noticed it. My biggest worry she wasn’t going to call me when it got bad. I would be rushing home because she waited too long. I didn’t want my mother to die alone. It got to the point I was calling the nursing station. They would not tell me anything. “You guys have my power of attorney on file.” It didn’t matter as long as she was able to speak and tell them no, they refused to disclose any information to me.

It kept getting worse. Her regular doctor was going back to her home because a friend of hers going through breast cancer as well. A stand in doctor would be taking care of her. I called this doctor because I was concerned for my mother. His response, “I don’t even know why she is in palliative care. She’s not giving any indications that she has taken a turn for the worst. In my professional opinion she’s got a year.” I listened, “you’re shitting me right? Have you been to her room? Have you talked with her? Have you not seen her deteriorate in the past few weeks? Funny doctor, the people who are visiting her, tell me she has lost about 10 lbs since I left. And you are telling me you do not feel she should be in palliative state?”

That night something happened that I cannot explain. I went ballistic and I had no idea why. My guts were screaming. I was on the phone with my aunt and I could not explain what was happening. I was crying, my chest was heavy; my aunt encouraged me to call Jack. I did, and all I could get out was a cry. And then I heard, “What do I have to come home and take care of you because you can’t handle this? Do I have to stop what I am doing, tell my boss I have to come home because my wife can’t stop crying?” I wiped the tears from my face. “No” and hung up. I thought I was having a heart attack. One hour of sleep the alarm went off and all I could do was, call my boss. When she answered I started crying. I told her what happened and I told her I was going to the doctor.

I drove myself to the doctor. The chest pains were horrible. When the doctor came in, all I could do was cry. I told her what was going on. I told her I was having chest pains, I told her I was scared I was having a heart attack. She accessed me and she was pretty sure I was experiencing a panic attack. She looked at me and said “I think the best thing for you regardless of what your mother says is for you to be home near her.”

My aunt back home was going to have a coming to Jesus moment with my mother. My aunt sat down and told my mother what had transpired with me the night before. She told my mother I was at the doctor right now while the two of them were talking. I called my aunt once I got was done and told her what the doctor had said. It was then that my mother realized the stress I was under and that she felt I should come home.

I told mom I was going to hold off until Tuesday (September 5th) so I wouldn’t have to drive with the Labor Day traffic. I was coming home to be there until the end. I talked with my husband and told him what was going to happen. I would go home, get a part time job or a full time job so it would not put us in a hardship. My boss had given me a letter of recommendation to present to employers back home. Jack despite not wanting to, had called in his mother to help with the kids.

Friday Jack’s mother was coming up. I was still getting things ready for my trip on Tuesday. His mother had only been in the house 1 hour when I got the phone call.

Getting To Know Me

It’s taken me about a week to get a chance to get be able to write. Single mom here, as much as I love to write with the kiddos and working and all the “life” tasks and responsibilities I have, I just don’t get the opportunity to pump out the writings as much as I would like.

That doesn’t mean the wheels aren’t spinning.  One would be amazed at the hours in which I do get the opportunity to write. I’ve woken straight up out of bed at 2 am in the morning plagued by the words swirling around in my head. If I do not get them out and on paper the wheels will church harder and faster.

Last week as I was cleaning up my house while the kids were gone to their dads I was thinking of topics, ideas for the blog. I had my music cranked up while in my cleaning zone and just thought, “I need to write a getting to know me post so my readers kind of know a little but more about me.”

Well hello!  Thus this post is born. I just haven’t been able to write it and it’s been plaguing my darned brain for over a week.  Even when I would get writing this post…another post would come into my head because I was spending too much time on a certain aspect. BLAH!!

One of the things that people must know about me, this is how my brain has worked all my life. It’s nothing new. Another topic or article idea will pop into my head as I am writing the current article. Then I go to my list of article ideas I all ready have and add to the list.

Anyway, back to the getting to know me. Basically this is a summary as I will get into more in future articles for the blog.

Where I grew up:

I grew up in a small coastal town in New Brunswick, Canada. In the summers it’s a tourist destination for people all over the world. We border Maine. Locals will not say they are going across the border; we are simply going “over the river.” I am sure that ease of that since 9/11 is not the same.  As a child the small town was awesome. I was always exploring. I loved being outside, on the beaches, in the water etc.  Growing up in a small town has it’s pros and cons; just like living in other places has it’s pros and cons.

As a teenager I couldn’t wait to get out of the small town.  Now as an adult I find I yearn to go home, even if it’s just for vacation to get grounded once again, and to also show my kids how I lived growing up. Despite, what they would think I was not a deprived child. Friends and I were always outside playing and there were always things to do.

The Younger Years:

As you all know I was raised by my mother. There are a lot of memories of a great childhood. The fun times she and I would share, the times with family and friends. I was independent right from the start. (Laughing) sometimes my independence got me into trouble. My mom was always proud of me, encouraged me, and was my biggest fan. Despite that people thought I was spoiled by her, I was to a certain degree. However, unlike the other kids my mother always had to know where I was, who I was with and I had a curfew.  Once home from school I always had to check in with her, if I was going to a friend’s house while she was still at work, I had to call to let her know.  I had responsibilities and chores just like other kids, mine were different.  Not only was it inside chores it was outside chores. I actually loved doing the outside work over the inside work.

Like with everyone else, there are scars from my childhood. I was molested as a child. And I will get into that later in another post. Despite that and all the family turmoil that takes place in any family, I had an awesome childhood. What doesn’t break you; makes you stronger.

I’m My Own Grandpa:

It’s the song I sing when trying to explain to others the family. My mother was the oldest of nine. At five she was adopted by her aunt and uncle (her biological fathers’ identical twin brother). So her brothers and sisters became her cousins. Are you confused yet? Well that’s why I sing “I am my own grandpa.”

I have an older sister (she’s technically a half sister). I have 3 nieces and 6 great nieces and nephews. There is also another half sister and half brother out there somewhere from my father’s previous marriage.

Our family is no different than any other family. For years I thought it was only my family that was screwed up. Then after being a part of another family for so long and seeing friends families; I have learned there’s other families that are more screwed up than mine. We aren’t perfect, we have our moments, there’s ones I won’t talk to, there’s some I wish I talked to more. We fight, bicker, laugh, cry, and go through all the emotions, troubles, good times every family goes through.

My personality:

I’m am and always have been a very independent female. I’m not this GI Jane but there’s not much I can’t do by myself. The girly girl woman; I am not. I can clean up pretty good though, when I want to. I just do not like doing it all the time.  I am opinionated, set in my ways and do have attitude. At the same time, I am also considerate, kind, thoughtful and sometimes will take more crap off of people than I should. I enjoy being around people, but when it comes time for me to have alone time, or solitude I need it. I don’t want to be around people all the time. I don’t want to be on the go all the time.  Many people do not understand that, because I can be at a huge party or get together and it just gets too overwhelming for me and I will go find a quiet spot and chill for a little while.

I can be abrasive when I need to be, but most of the time I do not like to be. Confrontation? I do not like.  It takes a lot for me to confront a person, many times I will let a lot of things go, but when I have had enough, I will say something.

I have squirrel moments, also known as ADD. I’ve had it for years but it wasn’t until I began going to therapy when Jack and I separated that I was told, I had it. Over the years because I was “different” I found ways to help me when I would get my squirrel moments which was writing things down to stay on task. Every job I have ever had and even in school, I have had to multitask so when you are going is 12 different directions I learned ways that helped me.

I’ve worked in the customer service industry from the time I was 14 and I treat my customers the same way I would want to be treated. I have a huge pet peeve about people that do not give quality customer service.  Over the years there has been numerous times I have walked out of a place of business due to lack of customer service.  I have been complimented by both customers and co-workers about how much they love to work with me and how I treat the customer. I’ve had plenty of rude customers in my day and they receive the same care, consideration as the rest.

My friend the other day also told me I follow the rules. She’s very right on that. For years Jack would get onto me when out of habit I would walk the sidewalk or pathway and not dash across the grass. That’s not to say I haven’t broken a few rules in my day; but the end result no matter how simple it is, doesn’t make me feel good as a person. One of the most valuable things my mother instilled in me was when you do wrong you take the consequence. It takes a bigger person to admit when they are wrong and take the consequence. Her famous and most irritating phrase growing up (and my sister heard the phrase too) “you make your bed you lie in it.” Funny how a friend that has only known me truly for two years was able to point that out, accept it, love it and yet my own husband out of the 13.5 years we were together saw it but didn’t care that was the type of person I am. I was raised when you lie it turns into a bigger lie and then it goes into a snowball. When he would “lie” and tell people we met on a skiing trip and not online; it didn’t make me feel good. When we went skiing shortly after my son was born and the guy said “one adult..one child and I wanted to say “no two adults” I got elbowed (not hard) in the ribs and told to “be quiet” and “bank error in our favor.”

For years I had to hear “you’re such a Canadian.” What the hell is THAT supposed to mean? It’s a compliment that’s how I take it. Not all Canadians are like me. I’m a Maritimer. I set the standards high for myself. Sometimes I don’t even make the bar and that’s frustrating. I can be harder on myself when I make a mistake than anyone else can be. What a lot of people don’t understand when I make a mistake I recognize it and a lot of times they don’t need to point it out; I’ve all ready kicked myself in the ass for it.

To give you a perspective of me, I am now 34; I got my drivers license when I was 16. I’ve never had a speeding ticket. The first time I have been pulled over in my life was a couple months ago and it was for an expired tag. I could have cried, boo hooed when that cop pulled me over, put the blame on Jack that he’s being a jerk and hasn’t helped me financially with the kids so when it came to updating my car tag and groceries, power or rent for the kids, I choose the kids over the car tag. Guess what my fault. I took the ticket, and told the officer have a good day and be safe out there. Got the tag updated and then went to court and showed I had gotten it updated and the judge reduced the ticket to half. It is what it is people.

The Things I Enjoy Doing:

I have a lot of interests. Music has always been a part of my life. You can tell the mood I am in by the music I listen to at the time. I like all genres of music…except Classical (sorry mom, just can’t do it). I love to sing, there was a time I wanted to be a singer. I just sing for the enjoyment. When my best friend and I were in high school she and I did two variety shows together. I loved it, but I couldn’t do it every night. Music and me singing allows me to stop my mind from churning. I can focus on the music the lyrics, my voice. The kids know that when the music cranks up in the house….I’m about to get some serious cleaning done. Amazing how much work you can get done while belting out songs and not even realizing how much work you got done. The music goes off when I am studying, writing or doing work that requires concentration.

Anyway, I enjoy writing, reading, spending time with the kiddos, family and friends. Other things I enjoy, and many of them I haven’t been able to do in years are quilting, cross stitch, hiking, biking, horseback riding, camping, designing, photography, swimming, skiing (cross country is my best; I do like downhill) sailing and there are a lot of others things as well.

I also have my bucket list of things I want to do, and some of those are, white water rafting, sky-diving, parasailing, more traveling (I’ve wanted to go to Ireland since I was a child).

Volunteering:

I have volunteered a lot over my life. How many hours? For me the hours do not matter. Back home our community wanted a community hall so we all came together and made it happen. It was amazing to see a small community come together. Even as a young teenager I was there many steps of the way, so many weekends I was right there a long side of the adults, pounding nails. It was an amazing feeling standing beside the other people who had volunteered and seeing the finished building. It didn’t stop there once the building was finished; we had to get money coming in to support the community hall. If I recall correctly when the hall was open we had a wedding reception every weekend for at least 8 weeks. Where was I? Right there beside all the ladies in the kitchen, getting platters ready, getting tables set up, arranging and serving the guests and then cleaned up. They were long hours on our feet, some of those ladies were 70 years old and doing just as much work if not more than I was. We laughed, joked, and solved problems that came up. To this day I remember the feeling of being around all these great people and the times we shared. We also over the years lost some great people and a plague would go up in their memory. They would have contested the plagues. None of us did it for the kudos or the attention. We did it because we enjoyed every moment of it. We were happy seeing other people enjoying the hall; whether it was a wedding, a family reunion, a Christmas concert, or group functions.

As a Marine spouse I also volunteered. 4 days a week, 4 hours a day for 6-8 months, at the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (might be called something different now). Again I loved it. Being as young as I was, it was also a huge learning experience for me. I learned how to do budgets for families, show them their debt to income ratio, offered advice on how to cut back. I also tried to implement it into my marriage and how we did our finances.  It’s not easy when the other person’s attitude is “just make it happen.” When you do not have the other person’s support or willingness to sit down and go over the finances fully, it will not be effective. As much as I tried to implement it alone Jack and I would have been more successful if him and I would have sat down and went through it with a fine tooth comb. It’s easy to say “stop spending” to one another, it’s another when you both make the decision, set the rules, and even goals of where you want your family to be financially.

I loved doing it for the military and their families. We also worked side by side with the Red Cross. When family members received a Red Cross message back home, we worked hard to ensure that they had the funds to get back home to their loved ones.  Seeing a little bit of relief on that person’s face when a loved one of theirs is ill, dying or has died and they are half a world away and they are able to go home made, was the best feeling in the world.

I haven’t volunteered in several years due to work, kids, and just life. However, volunteering is everywhere. It’s just helping others; it could be giving a mom a break from the kids and offering a sleepover. I love helping others.

While the post is long, I wanted my readers to get a little perspective of me.  Some of the topics in this post will be written about further; some of them won’t.

Have a great and safe Fourth out there everyone.

Your Relationship is Over; Don’t Replace it With a New One

One of the HUGE differences about Jack and I; he jumps; I hold back. In the marriage it drove him nuts that I would have to think about something. It would frustrated me to no end. In his mind I couldn’t make a decision. I can also be impulsive, but most of the time I hold back, access the situation then react.

When Jack left and I found out he had been with another for the past few months, I was devastated. I didn’t want our marriage to end. I found a strength in me I never thought I had. I was that woman that would never take back a husband who cheated, so these were new emotions for me. I believed in our marriage. He kept telling me it was over, he was done. I still held on.

Around six months after he left, I got to thinking, Why the hell should he have all the fun? Every time we talked I would try to get him to come back home, or even let’s start over fresh….something. He wanted none of it. His mind was made up. When Jack jumped, he jumped. Why the hell am I sitting at home waiting? I did that all through the marriage. I was so used to him not being there, my life went on without so much as a hiccup. So I went out on dates, when the kids weren’t home. Part of me was feeling lonely, I had felt so lonely in the marriage for so long. Part of me was wanting him to see me out having fun with another guy. I’m only human people; don’t judge. Well feel free to judge it’s your right. You still can’t take away my rights for my feelings.

I learned a valuable lesson in the dating. The pain was still there. And as much as I told myself I didn’t care that I was still married to Jack, because he was out doing whatever. I realized how strong my morals, values and integrity are. After several dates and still NOT feeling any better about any of them. The fact was Jack may have been over me, and he may have been able to sleep good at night with all he had done; I stopped. It was the first time since I had met Jack (at 18), that I didn’t have to jump. My feelings were despite the marriage was over, we are still married.

Not only was there the morals of it. I also realized, I didn’t want a relationship again. My dates(and they knew I was married, they were divorced and I was totally upfront and honest with who I went out with that the marriage was over but we were not divorced), were in a different place than I was totally. I would sit and listen to them when we would go out to dinner and they were looking for a replacement. Their marriages all ended for different reasons but they weren’t out finding themselves they were finding a way to continue life how they had been used to. I am sitting across the dinner table thinking, why I am not feeling anything? They are talking about what they like and how they are finding themselves for the first time. I am thinking, I have known who the hell I have been. It’s also funny how I am sitting across from them and we are talking about the exes for a brief moment (cause I will ask what happened between you and your ex if we go out on a date), I heard she didn’t understand him, she cheated on him, he cheated on her (I exited that one REAL quick), she had absolutely no interests and he had all these interests (it was funny upon my own investigation I found out that she loved painting, she did crafts, she even went hunting with him and did things with him that he liked.)…yup that date didn’t go so well when I told that guy MY opinion on that one. There were a couple I went out on with for more than one date, but in the end I just cut it off completely and said I’m not doing this to MYSELF.

I cannot stress enough the importance of staying single once you have come out of a relationship (short term, long term or marriage). You need that time for yourself. Even all of you jumpers out there you need people like me to tell you to sit down and relax stop jumping. There is a time to jump and there is a time to sit the hell down and think about what you are doing not just for now, but long term.

Today after over 2 years since Jack has left, I am still very happy single. As I have said in previous post I am not against relationship, I am not against marriage, I am happy in my life. Personally, and I have all ready told Jack this several times, I don’t see how jumping from one marriage to another relationship ever works. Jack might have gotten it right this time. I am not in competition with Jack. I no longer have to keep up with Jack. This is my life and this is my happiness. I was happy in my marriage; the marriage needed work but I was happy. He wasn’t willing to do the work because his thoughts were relationships shouldn’t require work they should just happen naturally. He got ticked when I told him flat out, they will work for a little while but they won’t last. “You don’t know that. You don’t know shit.” My famous response, “You’re right!” Time will tell on that one. For his sake, I hope I am wrong. What he did and how he did it might be right for him and they may have a long lasting relationship.

Driving into another relationship, dating has never been right for me. So why start now because Jack’s doing it.? My mother always had a saying, “if all your friends jumped off the wharf would you?” I would look at her, “depends, we talking about at high tide or low tide?” High tides jumping off the wharf would be fun; low tide I’d end up in a body bag. I have always looked before leaping, even if it’s just for a few seconds. I wanted my mother to know that even though my friends and I were doing things, she raised me right to look before leaping. If something didn’t feel right to me, I didn’t do it.

As independent as I was, the truth of the matter was I went from mom to Jack. I was 18 when I met Jack. Like I said there was no hiccup when Jack left. Despite that I went from my mother to Jack, I didn’t have to learn to get by without Jack. Some in a relationship they have no clue how to do banking, finances, the cost of living, how to cut grass, what to do with a toilet leak, the stress of having the kids all the time. I had all ready lived it. The only thing I had to get used to was the difference in paychecks. That was stressful because Jack left me high and dry. His words were “maybe now you will learn.” The only thing I have learned from Jack is he is a coward and not a real man. A real man regardless of what had transpired would have ensured that his children were taken care of and not left it all on me. Instead Jack made up his mind he was no longer going to be used by me. Two years since he has left I have virtually done it on my own.

Seeing what Jack was doing, again validated (I keep getting validated even though no one else sees it, that’s not the point. I see it), I wasn’t going to do that to my children. He put his needs, wants, desires and his girlfriend first over his children. He can say all the negative he wants to about me, I have never in the 15 years, I have been blessed with these kids put my needs over theirs. Jack has walked from one marriage and he’s going for another, but now he has taken on 3 more children. Sorry buddy but you have got a hell of a lot to learn if you think that relationships should just happen and it should come naturally. Like I said I could be all wrong, I truly hope for both of them I am. Why do I say both? I know Jack, he goes full throttle on things, then when he is done he just walks away. I hope for her sake that the two of them will be able to make it. I know she loves him. I loved him for all the same reasons she does. That is a double edged sword. It may come back to bite her. If Jack hasn’t resolved whatever is going on with him, he will make the exact same mistakes he did with the previous two marriages he has been in. For her and her 3 children I hope he is man enough to not make the same mistakes. The fact that both of them cheated on their marriages says a lot to me about the personalities of both of them. Jack picks certain woman. He likes the independent female. I see how his first wife and I and even the fiancée are very much alike. While we are three different women, we are very independent. I think out of the 3, I was the softest, because as much as I would stand up and tell him when I thought he was wrong or didn’t agree with him, I backed down and compromised. I should have never backed down on certain things.

That’s what I had the opportunity to analyze and think about being on my own without the hindrance of someone influencing this process. It’s easy to sit and talk about with friends and with a new relationship all the things that you now realize , all the mistakes you personally made in the marriage and also his mistakes. I would talk with my friends about this after sitting in my thinking spot (front porch or back deck) and then go to them and give my opinion or the realization I came up with in that thought and reflection. I am still the same person as their friend before Jack, after Jack they see I have done a lot of self growth that Jack hindered. I am a not a new person. I’m an improved person. Doesn’t mean I am great, doesn’t mean I am perfect, I am still going to make mistakes. It also doesn’t mean I am better than Jack or his fiancée. Having the time to myself, I have allowed myself to be stronger. If a relationship does happen for me down the road, there will be things I will not tolerate. Most of all that person who does get into a relationship with me will have to understand and accept the person I am. It won’t be my way or the highway. I have come too far personally to fall back into a relationship or marriage like Jack and I had.

It is easy to get into the throws of a relationship. It’s familiar. Despite you may find the newness of a relationship, or you may find that the person you have gotten into a relationship is much different than your previous partner it’s easy to fall into the same familiar.

For example: This is regardless of your gender as well. Your previous partner was not as outgoing as you were. You think it’s great that the person you are now seeing is as outgoing as you. There are pros and cons to it. You find that your new partner enjoys doing the same things, and that’s enjoyable. Again pros and cons to it. In the previous marriage you may have been used to just going, the outgoing partner may have done things with you that you enjoyed but it wasn’t all the time. What happens when two people are so used to going all the time now come into a relationship. Someone is gonna have to sacrifice to be there for the kids (if there are kids involved). It might even get boring that these two individuals share all the same interests and likes because there’s no longer than individual time, either one of them had.

The same goes for that partner who may not have gotten the romance, the caring compassion, support etc with the previous partner. You may find that you now have a partner that is all those things and likes to give it all the time because that’s who they are. They even might not be outgoing like your partner.

When it comes to relationships there has to be strengths and weaknesses in both. In a relationship I don’t want someone like me and my personality. Just because I wanted my husband to be just a lil romantic doesn’t mean I want it all the time. There were things my husband was very good at and I was not so good at. And whether he wants to believe it or not…I was good at certain things he was not good at. As much as you will hear me complain about all his always on the go, there were many of times I was always on the go with him. Him and I like the same things, I am just different where I don’t want to do it all the time. I think that was good for us. I wanted to go camping with him and the kids. I loved that he enjoyed doing the things he enjoyed. However, it was the excessiveness of it all, that got frustrating. Go be with your friends, just don’t do it all the time. I love you despite you are not this romantic person, just do it a little. I loved Jack because I loved Jack. I didn’t want him to change. I just wanted him to notice that just a little is all someone needs. Do I still love Jack? I loved him the way he was when I was married to him. I don’t love the person he has shown me in the past two years. I loved that we were able to laugh at tiling the kitchen floor together. He didn’t do all the work with the tiling. He cut (I would have gladly cut cause I love some power tools), I placed the spacers, he spread and I placed the tiles. THAT was partnership. I recall the BEST anniversary present I got from my husband. 1999 (2 year anniversary), he had to be away for two months while taking the Gunney’s Course in Okinawa. It was the most special and most romantic thing he ever did for me. I am writing this and the tears are flowing, just like they did that day I found it. He didn’t say a word he just called me up and said he knew he was gone for our anniversary, he didn’t have much time to plan. While on the phone he had me go to the note he had placed before he left. Jack and I were BOTH not perfect in emotional parts of the marriage. He was sorry he had to be away for our anniversary. . He had hidden the gift in a different area (I had to climb on the stool to reach it) it was a picture of the two of us climbing Mt. Fuji in 1998 just 6 months after we arrived in Japan with our family. That was the last ( first and last time) we as husband and wife went anywhere withput our son (at the time) and then our children. That picture of the two of us together, was the MOST romantic, from “his” heart gift he could have ever given me. Still crying at the thought of that day him and I were on the phone together and he had made it like a treasure hunt. He could have given me the world, all the diamonds, all the money and that out of 13.5 years of marriage was the best anniversary gift he had ever given. I didn’t need a bouquet of flowers, or a fancy dinner at some restaurant that was what I wanted from him; from the heart for what felt right for him.

For our 13th wedding anniversary I also remember what “we” bought. We were together when we bought it. We went to Barnes and Noble, we found ourselves in the journal area. He just said which one do you want. It wasn’t the monetary value of it, they were leather journals at 40.00 a pop. My first reaction was I wasn’t buying one, looking at the price tag. If he wanted one that was ok, but we couldn’t be spending this money we were in financial shit ruins and as much as I loved to write in my journal I couldn’t justify spending 40.00 on a journal. He convinced me to buy one. We weren’t leaving until I picked one out. He was even asking me which one I thought he should pick out for himself. All these years of me writing in a journal almost every single day at the 13 year mark he took interest in a journal. I looked at them all and I suggested (not told him he should get it) one that had license plates. It was him to a tee. He smiled and said “you were thinking the same thing I was thinking.“ Without thought I said “I know you and I love you.” Why was that journal so special to me? He showed me that even though he was not a writer, he knew I loved to write. Writing was not his thing. The 2nd and the 13th wedding anniversary presents I will always remember. The 13th one is also a little hard because it was that very journal I found out that he was in love with another woman. I also remember what I told him when we came up on our 13th years. Something is brewing. I do not know if him and the other woman were together when I said it. I said just off the cuff, without thought, I felt our 13th year together was going to be a rocky one. He thought I was crazy when I said it. He even looked at me when I blurted it out. This year was going to be hard. I do know that on our anniversary night she was texting him. I also know she too enjoys writing. I know longer think about it now but when I found out about them, when I looked back through the phone records I always wondered, was it the fact of him giving me that gift because it was from the heart, or was it the fact that she too enjoyed writing. I don’t know I don’t care, it was the perfect gift he could have given to me. Honestly, off the top of my head I couldn’t tell you what the other years gifts were. Year 2 and Year 13 were the ones that meant the most to me.

Despite the fact that yes those memories brought me to tears, that’s life. That’s real. You can still move on and cherish those memories from your ex. I can rant and rave about ALL the things that ticked me off during the marriage. I can tell you the most hurtful moments in my life in that marriage. The one that sticks out the most when my mother was dying of cancer. The affair he had…didn’t hurt as much as what he displayed during the time my mother was sick, when she died and the however long it took “me” to get stronger from that.

Jack is not in a position anymore to tell me how to think, feel and react. They are all mine. Over him? Yes I am. Doesn’t mean the love, and concern for him fades completely.

Letting Go; Moving On; And Loving Every

The Moving on Part:

For me the moving on part, is being happy, being a mother, being who I am. Truly there is no difference than before, I just don’t have Jack telling me and judging me. My role as a mother is different now. For years I had to hear Jack tell me how I didn’t spend time with the children. I didn’t do things with the children. Which is what brought me to write “The Special Times.” I did and I still do things with them, just not what he felt was quality time with them.

Right now money is still tight. The improvising I have had to do for the “quality time” has not been easy. While Jack is taking them to White Water, here and there and doing this, that and the other with them. I financially cannot. There is plenty to do around here that is free or close to free, but it’s a drive. When you are barely able to pay for the gas that gets you back and forth to work. Getting out and going with the kids to a park or even taking them to their friends house, I literally watch the gas needle go down. 1/8 of a tank makes or breaks me at this point. To a kid I can see how dad’s house would be more fun. I am not going to lie that it hasn’t been frustrating and down right stressful that I have to tell my kids “no we can’t do that.” The reality is the kids don’t see or even understand what it costs just to provide the bare minimum for them.

We spend a lot of time at home. Spending quality time together. Their friends come over. The kids and I will play games sometimes. I watch my son play video games or try to play a video game with him. I’ve never been a video game person, they just don’t grab me like they do some people. My son plays street hockey in the driveway and I watch him and his friends play it. He’s a sports buff and I have never been one for sports, but he loves me to watch all the awesome stuff he can do. The last time I was on roller skates (September) resulted in one heck of a sprained ankle, the kids get nervous if I even talk about skates. I am just now getting into physical therapy for the sprain because I haven’t had the money for the co pay, Jack’s insurance would have sent me probably about 1.5 hours away, and the job I used to be at, if I missed time; I didn’t get paid. With my new job, I have awesome insurance and sick time earned. Four to six weeks my ankle should be good as new. The simple things haven’t been easy with the ankle; climbing up on a stool to get something, playing out in the yard with the kids rough or even terrain I had to be careful. Before the sprain my friend and I were doing the Insanity work out and I was starting back with running. I haven’t been able to do any of that since the sprain. It ticks me off. Now that I am in a place where I can get it taken care of and I am doing it.

Moving on is not always an epiphany. I’m not this new person because Jack left me. I am still me. The epiphany for me is realizing that Jack didn’t love the person I was; because I wasn’t like him. I didn’t do things like him, I didn’t think like him, I wasn’t a mother, wife or person he thought I should have been. I still have the same friends I did when Jack left, but I realized the conversations didn’t get on a personal level as far as the marriage. I didn’t talk about the personal stuff going on in the marriage. Jack didn’t want me to. My friends and I had plenty of conversation. Then I realized once Jack left and I am telling them what took place in the marriage over the years they were looking at me saying “that’s not right. I can’t believe you lived like that.” As long as I have known my friends whether they were childhood friends, friends since moving here or new friends they have all said the exact same thing. I would even throw myself under the bus, “but I didn’t keep the house clean, I didn’t get over moms death quick enough, I was always moody, I wasn’t always patient with the kids or him, I was depressed.” etc. I’ve lost count of people who have said they would have left him a long time ago, and that it was no surprise I was the way I was because of him. They would have been the same way if their spouse treated them the way he did. Talking about it with friends didn’t give me the epiphany. Being outside of it did. Hearing my friends opinions on it, validated my feelings. They weren’t wrong. They were only wrong because Jack told me they were wrong. I can’t blame Jack for all of it, because I was the one who allowed him to do that to me. As strong and independent as I was, he found a weak spot in me.

I analyze, that’s who I am. The thinker. It drove Jack bonkers. He made instantaneous decisions for the right now. Instantaneous decisions are in all aspects of his life. What have I learned from it? There are times when a person needs to be able to make quick decisions. In his occupation as a Marine and now as a cop, hesitation could mean the difference in coming home to his family in a coffin or coming home at the end of shift to see his family. I got that, I still get that. The frustrating part he couldn’t turn off that Marine mode or cop mode. Now outside of it I see what a hypocrite he is. It’s easier for him to put someone else down thansit and evaluate his own faults. Here are some examples of the analyzing I have done.

Jack told me I would always need to be in a relationship. My thought process: I wasn’t the one who left and walked right into another relationship.

Jack told the woman he was seeing “I feel like a school boy again.” My thought process: Why the hell does a 44 year old man want to feel like a school boy again? I WANT TO FEEL LIKE A WOMAN…not a teenager in puppy love. As a woman I want to feel appreciated, supported, have an emotional connection; not just a physical with my partner, loved, cherished, admired, communication and all those stupid emotions. In reading his words to his lover I saw how selfish he was. It was all about him and his feelings. He never stopped to think for once there was someone else in the relationship who wasn’t getting what she needed. It’s a two way street people. Don’t tell me; show me. The day we had our fight and he left…13.5 years and everything we had been through; I was still loving him. I still loved him a year after he left.

He was so busy focusing on the woman he didn’t have; he didn’t see the woman he did have. I knew I wasn’t perfect, I knew he wasn’t perfect. Jack also accused me of the same thing. In the analyzing of the relationship I realize now he may have loved me, but he was never in love with me. I loved him and I was also in love with him. There is a difference in loving someone and being in love with them. A HUGE difference.

I actually had to get up and walk away just now; the tears came flowing and here they come again as I write. He wasn’t in love with me. If he had been he would have tried to give me what I needed in the relationship. The memories of the 13.5 years I was married to him I recall looking into his eyes and I see now, that I never saw in his eyes that he was in love with me. I didn’t see it when I looked in his eyes all those years, now remembering the look, it gives me chills, his eyes were empty. It hurts because why did he stay for all those years. I asked him when he said he was done 7-8 years prior in the marriage. He said he had hope it would all work out. Hope? He had “hoped” it would all work out, but he was telling me “just do it.” He got onto me when I said I got tired of being the one to initiate the emotional, the connection, communication and finally I just “waited” and he is frickin’ “hoping,” the marriage is going to magically change. It might seem selfish; I no longer care; he cheated me long before he physically cheated on me.

The years that I had to hear from him what would make him happy in the marriage and I did it. I did it because I loved him, was in love with him and it was important to him. He took notice that it would last for awhile and then it would taper off. At the end when he walked out, when I pointed out to him I did the things he asked, and his response was, it should have continued. “Just do it” It was then I pointed out to him he too should have just done it. I shouldn’t of had to spend many nights alone while he was off with his buddies, I shouldn’t of had to sleep alone for a majority of the nights in our marriage. And I damn sure should not have felt like I was alone while my mother was dying and 1500 miles away and worrying about her and made to feel something like was wrong with me. I should not have had to ASK to be held by him while I am tried to hold it all together so no one sees me hurting. I refused to ask, I had asked for so many years, I got tired of asking. If we were sitting on the couch together on opposite sides and I wanted to snuggle, I just curled up beside him and put my head on his chest and wrapped his arm around me….I just did it. If he was in the kitchen or somewhere else in the house, I would just come up to him and wrap my arms around his neck and kiss him….I just did it. Not because I had to, not because it was an obligation because I was married to him. I just did it because…I loved him, respected him, in love with him and I wanted him to FEEL that through it all and after 13 years of marriage he still made my heart skip a beat, my eyes would still light up. That is what being in love is. It’s going through everything; good, bad and ugly and still feeling it.

This is where I have moved on. For some who read this it might not seem I have moved on because I am writing about it two years after the fact. The reason I write about it and even talk about it is because it might help someone else. I don’t even look at the years we were married as a waste. There were some awesome times, there were memories. That’s the past. Moving on is seeing the mistakes that were made in the marriage. If he had honestly been in love with me we would still be together. That’s not to say he’s wrong I am right or even vice versa.

I personally don’t believe that starting a new relationship or jumping into a relationship, when the two people can’t even fix the current marriages they are in is solving anything. New relationships don’t breed new people. It’s obvious him and I have a difference of opinion. I’ve said all I needed to say to both of them and more than what they wanted to hear. If they are happy together, good for them. I am happy as well.

Moving on is being happy and loving every moment of it.