Belated Grieving Sucks

mom

I woke up this morning with this dull ache down to my core. I went about my routine of getting kids ready for school and out the door, and then walking back up the hill towards the house, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Twenty six years ago, my mom died.

 

The principal of my high school came into our room.  Our heads were bent down working on our quiz, but we could all hear the muffled whispers.  Mr. Jennings glanced briefly in my direction, shaking his head from side to side. He looked concerned, and had an intense eyebrow furrow. I looked back down at my quiz and continued working.

“Kathy”, said Mr. Jennings, who had suddenly appeared at my desk.  I glanced up at him, still in a slumber from the sleepless night.

“I need you to go to the nurse’s office.”

Confused, but curious, I stood up and started towards the door.

“You’re gonna want to bring your backpack”, he stated before I could take too many steps. I nodded and started packing up my books, feeling the piercing stares of my classmates. Walking out the door, I made eye contact with John, and saw a strange sadness in his eyes, which only drove me to walk faster. What in the world was going on?  Had John heard the Principal and Mr. Jennings whispering?

In the nurse’s office, I was directed to sit down, and Mrs. Tyler proceeded to explain why I was there.  Her words were deafening.  My ears were literally ringing.  My head started spinning and I found myself flat on my back on the clinic bed, looking up at the ceiling. I was lost in a fit of emotions….loss, sadness, but indifference at the same time. I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to feel.  I tried to will myself to cry, but the tears wouldn’t come.

My grandparents were waiting for me at the front office.  I don’t even remember walking up to them.  I felt like I was floating above the entire world, and no one even knew I was up there, looking down.  I was looking down on someone else’s life, not mine.

We arrived at the hospital, and wandered aimlessly around until we found my mother’s best friend, Terry, who was waiting outside my mother’s room, with a tear stained face and red puffy eyes. Her hands were shaking violently as she reached out to me and took me in a huge suffocating hug. It was all too much, and I struggled to break free.  Surely, this was all a nightmare, and I would wake up.  I would go about my day, with visions of my mother coming to visit me, while we build our relationship to another level, where she was my mother, and I was her daughter.  We would go shopping together, and laugh at funny  movies. We wouldn’t be saying goodbye again, and certainly not for the last time.

My mom laid there in a hushed silence, all but the sound of the machines around her.  They were like menacing monsters, hovering over her and I wanted to push them away, and crawl in bed with her, but I didn’t.

I wanted to talk to her, because maybe she could hear me?  I wanted to tell her that I was sorry I left her, that I should have stayed and taken care of her.  I wanted to explain to her how she was always on my mind, how I waited for her to come to my door.  I wanted to tell her that I never got her one single letter, and that my grandma didn’t give it to me.  And mostly, I wanted to tell her that it was okay.  She didn’t mean to hurt me because she was sick, and sick people did terrible things.

She was bloated.  Even her eyelids were abnormally puffy.  She was a tiny, petite woman, but not today.  The infection had spread all over her body, and was like a cancer, attacking her vital organs.  She wasn’t going to wake up, but I’ve seen miracles on TV, and I was certain she would hear my voice and open her eyes.

I pressed my eyes closed tightly, and it was like yesterday, when I ran away on that cold night.  I ran like the wind, as if I were being chased, but I wasn’t.  I was barefoot and shivering, but didn’t stop.  I could see the lights of the convenient store ahead, and that was my refuge.

But then something stopped me.  This intense and undeniable presence. It knocked the breath out of me, and I turned around, breathing heavily.  There was a pain in my chest and I coughed violently.

Mom. She was calling my name, waving my note frantically up above her head, and racing towards me. I was frozen in my spot, and tears were flowing freely down my face. I couldn’t move my feet.  And then I blinked a few times, wiped my face, and she was gone. She was never there. She was still passed out with her bottle on the couch.

Maybe she was calling my name now, as she lay so still.  Maybe she was trying to get out of her own head and outside to me. Maybe she wanted to encircle me with her arms and kiss my forehead, and tell me everything would be okay. Or maybe not. Maybe she was just gone.

I never opened my mouth to speak to her.  I spoke to her silently in my own mind, and then I moved away from her. I watched in a trance-like state as my grandma stood over her and repeatedly told her, “fight, fight, fight”, and then the day was over.

I cried a few tears for the next couple of days, but I had another week of high school left, and then my graduation, so I fought to keep it in.  After my graduation, I waited for the breakdown, but it never came.  Why I did not mourn for my mother, I will never know, but one day it came.

I was looking through my grandma’s office, and I came across a ton of letters from my mother to me. Letters that I never received, stashed away in one of grandma’s books, as if they were a dirty secret.

I sat on my bedroom floor and read through them.  She wanted to see me, and why couldn’t she see me?  She missed me badly, and wanted to make amends. She wanted to be my mother and she was trying to do better for me.

All of those years, 8 of them, and I was heartbroken that she never came for me. All of those years, and she wanted me all along.

She was not drinking herself into a stupor or using herself into abusive relationships. She was working as a house cleaner, and she was taking assignments that were close to me, so that she could drive by, and watch me playing in the front yard. She watched me toss my baton, she watched ride my bike with my friends, and she watched me live my life without her.

I laid on my floor, and cried like I never have before.  My stomach hurt from the wracking sobs, and I curled up into a fetal position.  All of those years were lost, and there was no getting them back.  All of my anger and bitterness went away at that moment, and I was conflicted and bitter towards my grandma for keeping her letters from me.

The years were stolen from me. My mother wasn’t going to show up at my door and take me in her arms, and smooth my hair, and kiss my cheek. She was gone forever, and there were no second chances.

#ihateapril29th

 

 

 

Easy 3 Ingredient Dog Treats

dogtreats

I finally found my own perfect combination of healthy dog treats!! 🙂  There are only 3 ingredients, and the most time consuming part is the cookie cutter assembly.  I have a bone shaped cookie cutter, but I’m sure the dogs won’t care if you use another shape, or simply form balls. A treat is a treat, and these are yummy!!

INGREDIENTS:

1 can of pureed pumpkin

1/2 cup of peanut butter

2 cups of whole wheat flour, or rice flour (please do NOT use white flour because it’s very bad for your dogs)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Simply mix all 3 ingredients, and roll out onto a floured surface (whole wheat).  Either use a rolling pin to spread out the dough, or just use the palms of your hands like I do.  Cut out your shapes and place on your baking sheet, as if you are making sugar cookies. Please make sure to use parchment paper, because this does reduce burning.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.

I always make a double batch, because I have 6 dogs, but these do freeze really well.  They also stay soft when frozen, so you can offer your pups a frozen treat!! 🙂

#yummydoggietummy

Hello, my name is Kathy Moore, and I am a self blamer

reaganandmom

 

I am a chronic worrier.  Always have been.  As I get older, it has gotten worse.  I am responsible for my children, my dogs, my grandma, my household, and my part of the dog rescue. I am very overwhelmed. It shouldn’t be a big deal, right?  A lot of people are overwhelmed.

Most of the time, I am able to function accordingly, and do my daily routine like a champ, but every now and then, I am consumed with chaos, noise, and find myself recoiling from interaction.  This is the point where I need to be alone and breathe in the silence. If there is no silence to breathe in, I will suffocate.

My Reagan has inherited my anxiety. It hurts my heart that he is such a worrier at age 8.  He is worried about his grades, the STARR test, where we are going, when we are going, what time it is, what he should wear, are the dogs fighting or playing……his wheels are constantly turning, and he carries around a heavy burden. If I could take his burden, I would, but I cannot. That is the hardest aspect of parenting, that feeling of helplessness when your child needs more than you can provide.

Why is he this way?  Is it because his sister is autistic?  Is it because he watches me doing everything so tediously and precise?  Does he feel my tension?  Is it because he has carried this gene from birth?

These were my questions that I presented to the school counselor. She explained to me that his OCD tendencies were based on anxiety, and that his ritualistic mannerisms helped him cope.  How an adult copes versus a child are very different.  There is nothing that we have done as parents to make him this way, because he puts this weight upon himself.

I will always blame myself, though.  I still blame myself for Bailey’s autism.  And yes, I know that it is neurological and that I had nothing to do with her disorder scientifically, but I was caring for my Grandma at the time of Bailey’s diagnoses. My Grandma was very distraught with her dementia, and there were days she would scream at me with my children present. Many times I would be buckling them into their car seats while they cried. I have always felt guilt from that.  As a parent, guilt never leaves us, but lingers like a cancer in our hearts.

I will always blame myself for my son’s anxiety.  He watches me, after all, and I am that way.  Our household is like no other, and there is not another family that will ever understand what we live from day to day.  There are many aspects that make us different, and trying to explain to someone is just not possible.

To give myself a break, though, I have to clarify…..my mother is deceased, my father is not in my life, my grandma has dementia, and my grandpa is deceased.  There is not any family support that I can talk openly with, that will not JUDGE me or make me feel incompetent as a mother.  I can only surround myself with those who bring positive vibes, because I am already hard on myself as it is.  Who needs the additional criticism?

Sometimes you have to make your own family, and I am fine with that. I am going to get help for my anxiety, and then I am going to get help for my Reagan.

It’s time. #anxietysucks

Personalized Wall Art – Easy Peasy!

modpodge modpodge2

I have never been a great DIY person, not even a little bit.  I’ve seen these mod podge ideas posted on Pinterest, and have always wanted to try it.  And guess what?  I really IS very easy, even for those less than crafty women like me!! Here are the steps so that you can see just how little effort it takes.

SUPPLIES:

Canvas in the size of your choice.  I used 8x10s, but they come much bigger than this at the craft stores (not pictured).

Foam Brushes

Mod Podge, either matte or glossy finish

Acrylic Paint, in your color choice. This goes around the edges of your canvas, so you can pick any color that matches your decor. I used black.

Hair dryer, if you grow impatient!!

Step (1) Get your picture(s) ready, by holding them up to your canvas to see if you need a slight trim.  It must fit the canvas perfectly, or as close to perfect as you can get!

Step (2) Paint around the edges of your canvas using a foam brush. I recommend that you overlap a little bit onto the front side, because you don’t want any white to show on the edges. Let Dry.

Step (3) Brush a heavy layer of Mod Podge on the front of the canvas. If you would like the same finish on the edges, you can brush over those as well. Try to make your strokes even as to avoid any air bubbles when you place the photo on top.

Step (4) Before this layer of Mod Podge dries, carefully place your photo on top of the canvas. You have a few seconds to position it just right before it starts to dry. Smooth your fingers over the photo to ensure you have no creases or bubbles.

Step (5) Brush a thin layer of Mod Podge OVER THE PHOTO (don’t worry, it dries clear!).  Try your best to make even strokes in one direction. This is where you get your finished product!!

Step (6) Let Dry, or use a hair dryer on low heat.

Done!!  You can create beautiful, personalized walls!!  I have also printed out pictures that I love, as well as quotes.  You can mod podge ANYTHING onto canvas, as well as wood. The possibilities are endless. I plan on decorating my entire house this way, in many different canvas sizes.

Thanks for visiting!!

#modpodgerocks

 

My Perfect Easter

grandpa2

Easter is right around the corner, and though it’s a day spent with my family with all of the nostalgia of bluebonnet pictures, dying and hunting Easter eggs, it is a day that I fondly remember my Grandpa. It was an Easter that I will cherish forever.

I was extremely dramatic and theatrical, go figure, but I lived for entertaining others, and always said, “singing is my life”, or “dancing is my life”, or whatever it was in the moment, as with most young girls.

I had already hunted eggs and played with my little chick in the backyard, and had grown bored. My mother had not come home from the night before, and I had already pestered Grandma enough and had been shooed away.

Grandpa was sitting in his green folding chair with his binoculars, one of his favorite past times of bird watching. I wandered out back with my trusty tape recorder, and a cassette with music that my Grandpa had turned me on to, which was patriotic marching band tunes. Not the typical modern day pop songs, but marching music, which I find a little bit strange, looking back.

I proceeded to pull up Grandpa’s ladder and place the tape recorder on the top step. I glanced over at my Grandpa, who was drinking his Tang and clearing his throat as he always did with exaggeration.  He nodded his head at me, and put his drink down to glance in his binoculars. He wasn’t really interested in me being there, so I grabbed the end of a thick rope that had been tied to our huge oak tree, and climbed the ladder. There was a huge knot towards the end of the rope, which was made for sitting. I had always imagined that we had a pond below for me to jump into, as I had seen at swimming holes before.

I pushed the PLAY button on the tape recorder and assumed my position, right toe pointed and head back ever so gracefully. Here came the drums, and I was off, swinging on my rope, pointing my toes and leaning backwards with the wind in my hair. I was laughing and feeling the rush of excitement, when I looked over at Grandpa, who was shaking his head disapprovingly. I pretended not to see him, and pumped my legs to go even higher. I was flying like a bird, but maybe even higher than a bird!!  The birds had nothing on me!  I closed my eyes and savored the cool wind rushing past me.

When I opened my eyes, I was quite dizzy, but could still see my Grandpa standing there, hands on his hips and his furrowed eyebrows.

I let myself slowly come to a stop, still on my high, huffing and puffing and giggling.

“Get down from there right now”, he barked gruffly. I climbed off the knot and went to turn off the music.

“That music was way too loud!!” He continued barking. I felt a smile on my face, because for some reason, when he was upset, it made me want to laugh. He was such a grumpy old man, but it was SO dang easy to butter him up after.

I walked over and took a sip of his Tang, and then spun around to poke him in the ribs. He grunted and said, “oh, stop it, stop it, for God’s sakes!”, and then chuckled, throwing his hands up, admitting defeat.

I sat crossed legged on the patio, with Grandpa’s binoculars, while he told me stories about the war, mostly the funny parts about how his battalion was passing wind from all the canned beans, even under gun fire. I laughed at the time, because from a kid’s perspective, passing wind while frantically running for your life, struck me as hilarious. Of course, I had no clue about war, not to mention the PTSD he had developed from it. Now I can honestly say that he was protecting me from the atrocities by making light of the story.

He also taught me a lot about birds that afternoon, and we spent hours looking through the binoculars. I asked him way to many questions, which he answered with eagerly. He was well educated, and though an engineer before retirement, his first love was always nature.

After I got tired of birds and war stories, I made him sing Peter Cotton Tail with me, which was a real hoot, and had me laughing until my sides hurt. He kept saying, “boom boom boom”, in place of the words he didn’t know. I got my recorder and taped his singing, which I played back many times for years after that day.

I misplaced that cassette with my Grandpa and I singing during my last move. The impact of that loss is hard hitting, and I find myself searching for it from time to time. In that moment, on that very day, I knew it was precious, and I wanted to keep it forever.

The following week, my grandparents took a trip to Hawaii. I couldn’t explain why I felt such a desperation before their departure, but that feeling of panic was intense. I didn’t want them to go, and I cried for days after they left.

When they returned a two weeks later, my mother and I were gone.