We were the closest family possible. Our world was turned upside down on 05/03/09 when my best friend, the person I love most next only to our children, my sister Trina was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. Her body gave out on her on 01/09/10 but she will ALWAYS be a part of our daily life and will continue to be in my posts. I started my blog to chronicle our daughter's international adoption from Guatemala and have continued to use it as a journal.

What you will find is my family trying to adapt to our new lives that were handed to us.



Monday, January 31, 2011

Crossroads

Today is January 31, 2011. The last day of January. In a nutshell,

January kicked my ass.

I mean in every way possible I got beat up by January.

Tomorrow starts a new month. A new time. A new start. Actually I already feel a new start. After an emergency session with my psychiatrist this morning, he confirmed what I already thought.

I must take this time to talk just a second about my psychiatrist. First off it feels weird saying "my psychiatrist" as he was sissy's too and we would always go to see him together. For a while I kept saying "our psychiatrist" and now it has slowly turned into "my" psychiatrist. Anyway, he is amazing. I love him. Trina? Not so much which is funny because he adored her and two days after she died he was the first non-family member to call me to offer condolences. Her obituary wasn't even in the paper, he had obviously looked up her medical records (I had called him the week she was in the hospital) and he was keeping tabs on what was going on with her. Anyway, sissy had gotten to the point where she didn't want to see him anymore but I knew he was helping with her meds and I loved him so I was basically making her continue to see him. Anyway, I left a message for him this morning and I didn't really know what to say, I haven't been in my right mind lately and I just blurted out "I need to see you ASAP." It usually takes two months to get in but I got a call at 10:30 am this morning and was told if I could be there in a half hour Dr. X would be happy to see me. I made it to my appointment with 10 minutes to spare. I walked into his office and broke down into an ugly cry. No, it was even worse than an ugly cry, it was a FUGLY cry. Even his three big dogs that he keeps in his office and are always trying to muscle their way into our sessions (Trina HATED them! Oh how we'd bitch and complain about those damn dogs together!) ran away and hid from me.

So, Dr. X's consensus? It was the same thing I already knew.

There was a definitive shift after January 15th. Things inside me did change. I had made it one year without my sissy. One whole year. I am at a new crossroads now. I am no longer at the corner of Shock Street and Disbelief Drive.

Today I stand at Starting To Accept Avenue and Fuck, This Is Reality Road.

These are two intersections that I never wanted to travel to. These were not pathways that I had programmed into my GPS of Life and yet I've already gone past one of them and I'm sitting in neutral at the other one.

So yes, the shit part is that I am coming out of shock. My sister is dead. She's not coming back. I'll never have my life again. I will never have "my" person back. No disrespect to my husband, but sissy was "my" person. Josh was Trina's person and I knew and respected that but sissy was mine. We had grown up together. We had 4,907,182,356 inside jokes between the two of us. We could literally look at each other and know what the other was thinking.

I guess it's no wonder why I feel so empty inside. I told Dr. X that there are times when I look down and fully expect to see my entire body bleeding because I feel so raw and fragile. One of the only things I remember of the first few months was telling myself that this was temporary. Losing Trina was only temporary, she would come back. She WOULD be back. Logically I knew this was impossible but in order to even get up in the morning I had to have that in my mind. She would come back to us. She had to. We can't live without her.

And yet we are. But it's not the same. It will never be the same. Nothing will ever be the same again.

Here comes my standard disclaimer. My home is not at all like my blog is. I do my best to fill my house with laughter and fun for the kids. We all watch "Wipeout" together and "Minute to Win It" and now we're on to "American Idol." We do crafts together, we read together, we play Lego's, we have tickle fights and pillow pile time. I do let the kids watch some somewhat educational tv on their own but the most important to me is that we laugh, we have fun, we talk about everything, we tell stories, we laugh at new stories, we bake together. If a stranger were to come into my home at any given time he would think we were a happy family but know that a close family member had died because we do talk about her. But he would see a house full of laughter and fun. THAT is what I owe the kids. THAT is why I get up every day. THAT is why my blog is so dark and dreary. I keep this side, the REAL side, away from the kids. They don't need to deal or hear or listen to my grief. I am there for them with their grief but mine does not touch their already wounded hearts. Instead I get it all out here. So if you think my life is too dreary and too dark and too sad, well, you would be correct. It is. But the other side, the side that belongs to the kids, is full of happiness and laughter. Not the same laughter and happiness we had before, it's very hollow but I am doing my damnedest to make it seem it's a real as can be.

So my crossroads right now are Starting To Accept Avenue and Fuck, This Is Reality Road. Shock Street and Disbelief Drive are in my rear view mirror. In a way I want to go back. I want to go back to not believing this is real. I want to go back to being so wounded and shocked that I actually thought my dead sister was coming back to life. I want to go back to when I can't remember a damn thing. I see pictures from the past year and I don't remember any of it. 2010 was a throwaway. It was disposable. It's gone and I can't remember it.

2011 is about to get a whole lot worse. I talked to my next door neighbor who's brother died 2 1/2 years ago, six months post cancer diagnosis, and she felt the same way. The first year is hard but you don't believe it. But the second year? The second year is hell. You realize this is it. This is your life. Your loved one doesn't come back and for the first time you really understand it and it is unbelievably painful.

So that is where I am right now. I'm planning a cute Pirate surprise birthday party for Valentina that I am dreading. How? How is this possible? How can my daughter be turning four years old? She was only 2 when her TT died. Sissy didn't even get to see Valentina have her one "girlie girl" birthday party, although she'd be cracking up at the fact that Valentina chose to have a pirate surprise party..... with a pink pirate cake. It's just plain not fair that sissy can't be here for these big milestones, birthdays, anniversary's, holidays and most importantly, our normal every day to day things that we ALWAYS did together. I never drove more than a mile without sissy in my car because she lived a mile away so the first thing I did when I had to run errands or go shopping was pick up sissy. One mile. That was the longest I drove without her.

I have already driven past one intersection and am about to drive down two more roads.

Alone.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

An Idiot Abroad

I have been anxiously awaiting the premier of "An Idiot Abroad" ever since I saw the first promo for it. I watched the preview show and the first episode back to back and I must say, it was the most I laughed in over a year. I love, love, love this show. The only drawback? I kept wanting to reach for the phone to talk to sissy about it. She would have loved it too. We both loved "Flight of the Conchords" and would recite lines from the show to each other. I had Beya watch the preview episode of "An Idiot Abroad" and she chuckled a few times but said she had no interest in watching the series.

There is another show that Trina loved and would always talk to me about even though I never watched it while she was alive and that is "Castle." Every week I find an hour to myself to sit and watch "Castle". In my mind I'm watching it with sissy. Yes it's painful because I wish so damn much I could talk to her about it but it is my way of still watching tv with sissy. I am going to do the same thing with "An Idiot Abroad".

So thank you Karl Pilkington, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, for allowing me to watch tv with my dead sister. I think that is the highest praise possible for a tv show.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Only Valentina......

This morning when Valentina got out of the tub I had her clothes ready for her.



"NO MAMA!!!! I NEED TO WEAR SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL!!!! THIS isn't beautiful. I NEED something BEAUTIFUL!!!!"

Rather than sit and argue with her, especially on a day when we aren't going anywhere (school days are rough, she likes to design and layer her outfits to suit her "eclectic" style) so I told her to go pick out some clothes.

This, THIS is what she picked out:


Look familiar???? It's basically identical to what I had picked out..... but THIS was BEAUTIFUL!

Yesterday at Red Robin.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Papa!!!!

Today is Papa's 70th Birthday!!!! Here are just a few things that I love about you, papa:

* You always make sure our yard looks impeccable.

* You were the best Papa possible to Trina and me and you are an even better Papa to Asa and Valentina.

* You taught me by example how to work hard and how to earn money.

* You taught me about respect.

* You taught me that if people are racist, most of the time they aren't going to listen to you (or me) show them the error of the ways and that being angry about it isn't going to punish them, it will only punish yourself.

* You taught me that when I had an ear ache, about half the time, rolling a piece of paper into a cone shape, sticking it in your ear and lighting it on fire will usually take care of it. And this was decades before ear candling became popular!

* You taught me that winning by an inch is as good as winning by a mile.

But the best thing of all is that you taught me that you love me unconditionally.

Papa, I love you so much!!!!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Emotional Explosion

Yesterday, Wednesday, January 12, 2011 was not an emotional landmine, it was an explosion.

Josh has been working for the past two months on putting Trina's clothes in boxes to store for Asa to have when he grows up. Once he was done he was going to have mom and I come over to go through them and take what we wanted. Tuesday night Josh came to pick up Asa and asked mom and me if we wanted to come over the next night and do that.

As soon as the words were out of Josh's mouth I had an instant headache and felt like vomiting.

As luck would have it, yesterday was also the day I volunteer in Asa's classroom. My mind was completely gone, my thoughts going forward to what the rest of the day held in store for mom and me. I told Asa's teacher and she was so sympathetic and hugged me. I love Mrs. T and have already made up my mind that when Valentina starts Kindergarten I'm making sure she has Mrs. T too.

After school Papa watched the kids while mom and I went over and did what we had all been putting off for a year.

It was surreal walking into Trina and Joshua's house and seeing all of her clothes in big clear containers. It was unbelievable that this even had to be done, the fact that she isn't here to need her clothes is just unreal. The three of us went through every item and talked about what we remembered of her wearing one of her 48 black t-shirts or her 26 denim skirts or her 85 sweaters. I was able to take the things that were really important to me but the bulk of it is being kept for Asa. There was one piece of jewelry that I had wanted ever since she died. I contemplated having her buried with it but decided that I would probably want it later on. It was a small silver bangle that I had given to her just before she started chemo. She wore it to every treatment and at one point she was devastated as she had lost it. Thank goodness it turned out it had fallen off her freakishly small wrist and was in my car. Well, wouldn't you know it, we couldn't find that bangle anywhere. We went through all of her jewelry boxes and every other place and it was nowhere to be found. But just as what had happened to her happened to me, it turned up in the bottom of a box which was in a box inside a box.

I cannot remember the last time I was as emotionally spent as I was last night. I've been angry at times this past year, I've been distraught, I've been shocked, I've been devastated but last night was something different. Last night I was covered in sadness. I had dreaded that day but it was even worse than I thought. For the first time I felt as if I just wanted to curl up and sleep for weeks. I have never had that feeling before. Of course once the kids were in bed I was unable to decompress and didn't fall asleep until almost 2 am despite going to bed before 11 pm.

Sleep has been elusive the past two weeks. Even my ambien isn't doing much good. Saturday night I medicated myself so that I could sleep all night but I still woke up in the middle of the night, only minutes off of the exact time she died. Even death is unable to separate our eerie twin-like connection.

Saturday will be one year since she was buried. I haven't been to her grave site and don't know that I ever will. That is not where she is. Well, technically and physically it is, but it's not where I want to see her. I see her in my pictures that are hanging on my wall. I see her in the bowl that is in my cupboard that she always used to put olives in. I see her in her medication bottle that I haven't been able to remove from my refrigerator. I see her in the fleece throw she gave me just before her last Christmas. I see her in my lights that are around my kitchen window that I had just put up days before she was diagnosed and vowed not to plug in until she was in remission. I see her in Valentina who shares the same thrill for life and finds glee at every possible turn. I see and feel her everywhere. It is, and will be, impossible for me to ever forget that I was lucky enough to have THE best sister any girl could ever dream of.

I see my sister everywhere but the physical absence of her is pure torture.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Still Here

We're still here and we're still standing a year after sissy died.

The last part of that sentence is still so absurd I can't believe I have to write it.

This past week has been hell, reliving every fucking day that she was in the hospital. On the not so shitty side, I had been putting off writing about that week in my book that I took the opportunity to write it since I was thinking and reliving it anyway. Once I got going everything came back, tiny little details that I had forgotten came back as real as if I were going through them for the first time and things that I thought had happened on one day had actually happened on another day. I'm glad I was able to reference my blog and my FB page and get the timeline correct.

This week is hard too although I have virtually no memory of what happened except that we were so busy making the funeral arrangements. I do remember that everything seemed to go wrong! I laughed so hard this morning remembering that we had a horrible time finding a priest to perform the service. The person who did it was fifth on our list of people we wanted. I remember Beya and Papa asking Josh if that priest was ok and Josh said "well it's either him or Joe Blow off the street!"

Yesterday, the one year mark, was much harder than I thought it would be. Then again I always think I can get through the ninth of every month without it being any different than any other day of the month and every time I'm wrong.

Papa turns 70 this month and we are going to have a celebration. We never know how long we have each other for so mom and I do want to do something special for him even if it's just going out to dinner, we have to celebrate it.

Valentina's birthday is Friday. I made the decision to change her birthday to February 16, the day we got her referral. Like mom says, that is the day she was born to us. I can't adequately celebrate my daughter's birthday the way she deserves only five days after my sister died so instead I have changed it to a time that I can devote solely to her. She has decided on a pirate party theme! I love, love, LOVE that my daughter seems to always pick unconventional party themes for her birthday, things that aren't "girly" even though she is all girl. After this week I'm going to throw myself into planning her party.

So that is a longer than I planned update on us. Life is still unbelievably difficult and it's still unreal that I have to go on without half of me. This grief is something nobody can understand unless they have to experience it and even then everyone is different and everyone handles it differently.

I miss having a sister.

I miss having MY sister.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Rabbit Hole

Both mom and I want to see this movie. This clip here sums it up pretty good.


Saturday, January 01, 2011

2011

Things have been going to hell in a hand basket lately and rather than sit here and bitch about it I'm just going to say things are hard. Unbelievably difficult and I never thought it could get worse. It can, it will and it does. I'm so fortunate for my family, especially the kids and Beya. I don't take one second with them for granted. It will be impossible to not compare the next few weeks to last year. I have no clue how we will get through them but we will, along with the weeks and months after that. No matter how hard I want to change things, to stop things, to keep things from happening, I can't. So instead I'm hibernating.