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 28, 2013

One

"You say
love is a temple
love a higher law
love is a temple
love a higher law"

- U2 "One"

I also overheard Asa singing this in the bathroom the other day :)

Series Finales

I hate saying goodbye to a good tv show because I always get emotional. Except when it's "The Soprano's" and it's a really fucking shitty finale that pisses me off. I usually start to cry about 30 seconds before the end and can't stop until way after the credits stop rolling. I would always be on the phone with sissy and sometimes we'd cry together (Sex and the City) or be mad together (see the above).

Since she died I've had to watch many series finales by myself, the first of which was "Nip/Tuck". That show ended just weeks after she died. I was so angry that she wasn't there to watch it with me.

I was angry when "Lost" ended and I didn't have her to talk things over with. Together we would have solved the shit out of that mysterious ending.

"Leverage" also just recently ended. That was one of her favorite shows and I didn't start watching it until  after she died.

Thursday night marks the end of one of our favorites.

"30 Rock"

BLURGH!

Again, I'm angry that she's not here with me. I keep a journal to sissy and in it I jot down various memories. Sometimes they are pages long, sometimes they are only one sentence. It's just when the mood hits me and I'm able to write it down without really feeling what I'm writing. A disconnect if you will. I always write in there whenever yet another one of our shows goes off the air.

TV had a big impact on our life. We would watch tv together over the phone. Yes. You read that right. We would be on the phone together, watching the same thing. Sometimes we'd do a 3 way:

{ring} {ring}

"hi" (because we didn't even have to look at the caller ID, we just knew if it was during a commercial break or just before a show started one of us was calling the other)

"Hi. Are you calling mom or am I?"

"I am. Hold on."

click

click back {phone ringing in the background} "you there?"

"yeah"

"Hello?" mom would answer

"Did you see that?" Trina and I would usually say the same thing at the same time to mom and thus our 3 way phone call would be complete.

With each series finale I'm slapped in the face with the reality that life, really, does go on.  Life goes on even when you feel as if it should stand still forever. Even when you feel like you can't move one more inch. Even when you feel like this is it, it's all too much, you can't keep doing it.

TV show series finales just bring to the forefront (like it's ever NOT at the front of my mind, ha!) that I've already had to live through one of the worst finales I'll ever have to.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Head Shrunk Family

The other morning Valentina was complaining that she thought Asa was bragging when I complimented him on what a great job he had done of showering, dressing and getting his breakfast ready all by himself.

"That makes me feel bad," Valentina started, "because I'm not big and I can't do those things on my own yet. It feels like he's bragging."

"Asa, can you please tell her that you weren't bragging?" I asked him.

Asa walked over, hugged Valentina and said "I'm sorry I made you feel that way. I wasn't bragging, I was just really proud of myself. I'm sorry you thought I was bragging. I don't want you to feel bad, that wasn't what I meant."

I guess my almost 12 years of therapy does rub off on the kids.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Nailed It!

I've been teaching the kids how to tell the difference between U2, Kings of Leon and The White Stripes, my three mainstays on my iPod. I don't listen to the radio so all we have during the 3 minute drive to school is about enough time for one song. They have become quite good and Valentina is making great progress given that Asa has two years of a headstart.

The other day Valentina was home sick so it was just Asa and me again. I kind of miss those mornings of just the two of us but I also love taking and picking up both kids every day. Anyway, I warned Asa I was going to test him with a song. I put on Jack White's version of U2's "Love is Blind."

Asa paused at the intro, did what I have taught him and listened to the singers voice. About 30 seconds into the song he said "hmmmm.....the SINGER sounds like The White Stripes but the SONG sounds like U2."

"YES!" I exclaimed. I told him it was a cover song (he's very familiar with The Killers version of U2's "Ultravoilet") and told him he nailed it!

I'm so proud of my little music maestro.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

My Little Pain In The Ass

About 8 months ago Valentina had decided on a fireman birthday theme. I was so happy. I love it when she picks unusual (for a girl) birthdays.

Remember how her 2nd birthday was Shrek?

Her 3rd birthday was Disney Princess. This was the year sissy died and we decided to change her birthday to her referral date, February 16. For some reason we just don't feel like celebrating her birthday five days after the date sissy died.

Fourth birthday was Pirate, aaarrrrgggghhh!!!! I loved this theme for her. She also demanded that this party be a surprise party.

Last year, her 5th, was Strawberry Shortcake. Yawn.

So when Valentina told me she wanted a fireman birthday I was excited. I told her I could find out if we could have a REAL firetruck come by! I was all over that shit.

A few weeks ago she started mentioning she wanted a My Little Pony birthday. I kept hoping she would change her mind.

Nope. No go. So I'm stuck with a normal hum drum My Little Pony theme.

SSSCCRREECCHHH!!!! Beep! Beep! Beep! Back that truck up. This is MY daughter we're talking about. NOTHING is normal or hum drum about her.

A few days ago I looked online for some Pony cake ideas. I started to get excited because there are some really pretty ones. Yesterday morning I asked Valentina to pick one out. We scrolled through web page after web page of My Little Pony cakes.

"WAIT! WAIT! STOP RIGHT THERE! THAT ONE! I WANT THAT CAKE MOM! THAT ONE! THAT'S THE ONE I WANT! CAN I HAVE IT? MOM, CAN I HAVE THAT CAKE? THAT'S THE CAKE I WANT!"

"That one?" I asked, hoping like hell I was pointing out the wrong one.

"YES!!!! THAT'S THE ONE I WANT!" Valentina shrieked with delight.

Oooooohhhhhh ffffuuuuuddddgggggee. Only I wasn't saying fudge in my head.

Of course. My kid picks out the gaudiest My Little Pony cake that included a My Little Pony ferris wheel as a topper.

But, she had her heart set on it. The first thing I did was look for the ferris wheel online to make sure it was even available. Of course it wasn't. It had come out something like five years ago and to buy it new online was $50.

For a My Little Pony ferris wheel to go on top of a fucking ugly cake.

I did some quick looking around and lo and behold there was one on craigslist for $10! Norm was in a Saturday meeting and after a few frantic calls he came home an hour later with the necessary ferris wheel, ready to be cleaned up and bleached down.

But of course I can't leave that shit alone. Oh no. So this morning I pulled up wedding cakes, hoping Valentina would find something else prettier. I called her over and we looked at them. And looked at them. And looked some more.

"No, no, no, no. I want a Rainbow Dash cake!" she insisted. Ok, so I plug in "rainbow cakes" not knowing the horrors that waited for me.

"Oh, look at that one! That one is pretty! Oh, I like that one! Oooooh! Aaaahhhh! Asa, look at that one! And this is nice. WAIT! WAIT! WAIT! I LIKE THAT ONE! YES! THAT'S THE ONE I WANT! I DON'T WANT THE FERRIS WHEEL ONE ANYMORE! CAN I HAVE THAT ONE MOM? CAN I? CAN I? I CHANGED MY MIND!"

Why oh why did I have to do this to myself? I found myself wishing I had left ugly enough alone because now I'm stuck with a God awful rainbow cake that makes the ferris wheel cake look like a gorgeous masterpiece.

I'm tempted to look some more because I know she can't find an uglier cake now.

Or can she?

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Ugly, The Bad And The Good


First off, it's January 9th. Three years. So let me get some shit, aka the ugly, out of the way before I get to the good. 

I had therapy Monday, blah blah blah, had a major anxiety attack during it but with my trusty ever present xanex I was able to wait it out. That and Dr. B yelling instructions to me, "BREATHE OUT! YOU CAN BREATHE! CALM DOWN!" It was quite comical and I was able to see the humor at the time too. However, in the middle of the night I was having severe pain so I got up to take some pain meds when "it" hit, a full blown panic attack. I didn't pass out but I did blackout. Blah blah blah. 

For the past 2-3 months I have NOT been waking up at the time Trina died on the 9th. Every month without fail, even if I wasn't aware the next day was the 9th I would inexplicably wake up at the exact time she left us. Sometimes I didn't even know it was the 9th until later on in the day. Last night I imbibed with a little alcohol to help me sleep thinking "this will for SURE make me sleep through the night!" Nope. Sure as shit I woke up at that dreaded time. 

So three years. Shitty shitty fuck fuck. 

That's the UGLY. 

The BAD. 

Well, I'm staying off Facebook because (almost) everyone tends to piss me off this month. I've also disabled comments for the same reason. There are only a handful of people who are able to NOT say the wrong thing. I see my psychiatrist in a week or so and we're going to address this "problem." I keep hearing it's me, it's not them but I tend to go the other way. It's stupid people who piss me off and if they weren't so fucking idiotic I'd have no problem with them! 

Ok, the GOOD. 

There is a LOT of good in my life. 



The other day when I picked up the kids from school they were so excited to tell me that "the reptile man" had come to school and brought all these reptiles and HE WAS GOING TO BE THERE AGAIN THAT NIGHT! WITH DIFFERENT REPTILES! "It's only $1 to get in and that's all unless you want a picture taken with an animal and then the picture is only $5!" Oh yeah, both kids had the spiel down pat! I hate reptiles. They were begging me to take them that evening. I tried to say no but the fuss they put up was borderline full on temper tantrum and I didn't feel like dealing with it so I told them we'd table the conversation. Yes, I've taught my kids the meaning of "tabling" a conversation. Not only that but BOTH of them can tell the difference between U2, Kings of Leon and White Stripes. I must admit this is one of my greatest achievements as a mother. That and the fact that neither one of them know a single Justin Bieber song. Oh the accolades I give myself as a mother are very strange, I know. ANYWAY, I kept tabling the whole going to the school that evening to see the reptile man as long as I could for a few reasons. First, I don't like hanging out with other parents (see anger issues above). I adore all the teachers, I love the principle, hell I'm even fond of some of the students but the parents? Oh hell no. Spending an evening in the school gym surrounded by reptiles of both the human and animal variety is akin to, well, nothing comes to mind that is as bad as that. Second, I hate snakes. I am terrified of snakes. If I'm watching tv and a snake comes on I have to look away. I've had many a dream where I wake up screaming because there's a snake involved. Norm has said I've even flung pillows, apparently thinking they were snakes in my nightmare. I did overhear Valentina angrily mutter to Asa "Asa, we shouldn't have told mom there were going to be snakes. Now she for SURE won't take us." 

I was able to avoid the conversation for a bit while I was on the phone with Amanda (I hid in my bedroom) and voila! When I came out the problem was solved! Norm had come home and the kids had hit him up and talked him into taking them. WOOHOO!!!! Not only did I NOT have to, A-deal with the fallout of not taking the kids to see the reptiles, B-have to take the kids to see the reptiles or C-deal with other humans, I was able to have over an hour to myself while Norm and the kids were out! 



The $5 picture Norm got hosed into paying for. I love the sheer happiness on Asa's face while he's holding the alligator. And check out Valentina's pride at holding the tail. 



While I was home alone I was able to get caught up on the Jodi Arias trial. I have become a bit obsessed with it. It really sucks that TruTV isn't covering the entire courtroom day and that I have to finish the afternoon of the trial online but at least I can stream it. I can't record it and that sucks because sometimes I have to do other things in the afternoon and then I miss it. Thank goodness for Nancy Grace and Jane Velez-Mitchell in the evening! 

More good, my family is healthy. 

More good, Norm has a steady job whereas 3 years ago he was only 2 months into a 13 month work layoff. 

More good. I am so fortunate to have my mom. Beya is my best friend, a third of me, knows me inside and out, understands and really gets my grief because hers is the same. It's really so good to have someone who I can laugh with and yet at the same time know she's thinking the exact same thing, "it should be three of us laughing. I know you're laughing and inside you're crying and falling apart." 

More good. Norm has finally agreed to let me sell his truck that has been driven about 5 times in the past two years so I can get a newer vehicle! This is a fight we've been having for the past two years and about six months ago I was finally able to start to turn him to my side but the deal was sealed earlier this week when Norm was venting to his co-worker about how mean I was to want to do this. Lo and behold his co-worker said "Cameo's way makes way more sense than yours! Your argument holds no water! You're way off base with this one!" SCORE! So even though Norm is still "fighting" with me while I'm having the truck detailed to put it up for sale he knows that yes, I'm right. Imagine that, I'M RIGHT! We've been together for almost 19 years now and he's finally realizing that I'm always right! Resistance is futile. 

More good. I have really great friends. I mean really great friends. Friends who don't give up on me. Friends who are there for me even when I pull away and are there waiting for me when I come back. Friends who I can count on to NOT say the wrong thing. You all know who you are because you guys are the only ones I text and talk to, haha. 

Amanda, Holly, Jen and Janet, you guys are the ones I've texted today and talk to on a regular basis. 

LucyAnn, Brittney and Carol, I love you guys too. 

The UGLY is always playing on my ticker but the GOOD is the show that is playing and I'm trying to watch as much of the show as I can.

Especially when it's the Jodi Arias trial.  

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The Ticking Ticker

I've often described my grief to my therapist as the CNN ticker that runs at the bottom of the screen. Even when there's something else on TV it's always there, the ticker, constantly on a loop, never ending:

mysisterisdeadTrinaisgonecancertookherfrommeidonthaveasisterasadoesnthaveamommomandpapalosttheirdaughterfuckcancerhowdidimakearrangementsforherfuneralshesreallygonehowisthisrealthiscantberealihatecancereveryonepissesmeoffnobodyelsegetsitpeoplewhosaytheygetitbuthaventlostachildhavenoideaifonemorepersontellsmeeverythinghappensforareasoniwillsmacktheminthefaceohmygoshismysisterreallygonehowdidthishappenwhatwasitlikebeforeshedieddontthinkaboutititsnotrealholyfuckimgoinginsanemysisterdied

and so on and so forth. It never stops. The ticker would keep me up all night and it's impossible to go to sleep without the help of Ambien. I wake up with the ticker. I wake up in the middle of the night crying because of the ticker. Even when I reach for the phone to call sissy the ticker is still running which is REALLY confusing.

Tomorrow is three years since she died.

Unfuckingbelievable.

Just as my therapist can say the same thing over and over and it doesn't click until the 87th time, I've explained the CNN ticker thing many, many times.

Yesterday it clicked for him.

"That's an excellent way of putting it. I'm going to steal that from you and use it with some of my other patients" he told me. "Don't forget to watch the show that is on too. The ticker is always running but you can also watch the show. Go to a movie with Beya. Become obsessed with Jodi Arias trial. Spend a day playing Facebook games. That's watching the show. Yes, the ticker will always be running, you'll always be thinking of Trina and you'll always be grieving. But don't forget to watch the show too."

Friday, January 04, 2013

Excruciating

This week is excruciating.

Norm knew I was stressed out and a ball of anxiety before Christmas and that evening he looked at me and in all sincerity said "well, now you're done with it!"

I just sat there, in awe, of how clueless he was. "No, now it's beginning" I explained.

December 25th. Sissy's last Christmas. The last time a photo was taken of her and I together. We both knew it was her last Christmas.

December 31st. Trina's last day of chemo. The last time she was at my house.

January 1st. The last time we had a full conversation on the phone. I went to sleep that night with a horrible sense of foreboding, the same feeling I had the night that she was diagnosed.

January 2nd. Trina entered the hospital for what was supposed to be just a few hours to get a blood transfusion to help her get her strength back.

January 3rd. It was a Sunday. She wasn't getting better.

January 4th. Today. It was a Monday. I was there when the doctor told her she wasn't going to get better. She was dying.

January 5th-15th. I can't bear to go into detail about all the horrific details of each and every day. It makes me want to vomit.

So yes, this week is excruciating. Mom and I silently relive each and every day from three years ago. It's impossible not to. This was a week that I never thought would come. This was a week I knew would come. This was a week I didn't think I could live through. This was a week I did live through. This was a week I relive. This was a week I can't forget. This was a week I wish I could forget.

This was a week that has stretched out into three years.

This week is excruciating.