Eleven Years Ago

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I buried my father eleven years ago today. It is the exact day; a cold Sunday that seemed to go on forever. When a funeral home employee pulled me aside that day and asked me to identify the body, I tried holding my brother back, in an attempt to shield him from what I’d just seen. It was not a peaceful image, and it still haunts me to some extent.  

So YES, the holidays are hard, even though Chanukah and Yule are over. Minimal celebration was had this year. It was as if I didn’t exist and YES, THAT HURT.

Eleven years ago, I eulogized my father in front of family and friends (Many of his coworkers attended, and we were quite surprised to discover how loved my father was. At the end of the service, one woman came up to me to tell me how much I meant to him; how he always lit up whenever I would call him. It was hard to compartmentalize the information at the time, and it’s hard now, too.), and his nieces, nephews, great niece, and great nephews didn’t even bother to show up. 😡 They didn’t call, didn’t send a card, and they didn’t acknowledge what my mother, brother, and I were going through. My mother’s extended family was not much better. When someone is more interested in their spin class instead of the death of a family member, I should be permitted to shoot them in the ass, thus making spin class unnecessary.

The family member who called the night of my father’s funeral and told me “G-d isn’t ready for your mother yet.” 😲😡 #InsensitiveAF I don’t think I’ll EVER be able to forgive her for putting that message out into the Universe, because five months later, I had to return and do the whole thing all over again. She offered to be there for me after the fact, but after a few months, I soon realized her guilt taught her nothing and my contact with her ended. 

We knew my father was dying. It was not a secret. He had terminal cancer. I began writing the eulogy in late September, and I finalized it around 2:00 a.m. the morning of the funeral service. With my Mom, it was so unexpected for me that I wrote everything at the last minute. I’m not really sure how I got through either eulogy, but I remember reading them and trying to emotionally detach.   

The holidays are hard for so many people, all for different reasons.

I’m SO PROUD of my amazing friends who baked for people who are suffering so they wouldn’t feel alone or be forgotten, those who passed over time with family in order to help feed the homeless, those who participated in charity fundraisers to help those in need, those who sponsored families to ensure there would be gifts, food, and necessities, and those who donated their birthdays this month to raise money for worthy charities.

Today, I’m trying not to revisit the pain. I’m trying to keep my emotions in check because I KNOW I’m still angry. I also know I have every right to be. My feelings are valid.

Check on your strong friends these next few weeks. Sometimes, the holidays shatter our lives. It may not be permanent, but right now, it certainly feels that way. 😦

I’m okay-ish, but I’m not good. I don’t think people who haven’t experienced loss quite like I have are able to fully understand what it takes each day to get out of bed and live. I know so many people who have never been to a funeral or lost anyone. They have Great-Great-Grandparents who are still alive (which is pretty amazing, when you think about it.)! Their naivete is unbelievable, but hopefully they will understand at some point. I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone, but I do worry about those who lack empathy and compassion. Where is their humanity?!

Today, I got to relive the horror of what my brother and I have been through. Our text messages to each other were short, simple, and impersonal, neither one bringing the subject up. I know we’re both thinking it, though. I know it is too hard for him to fully focus on, so I take up the responsibility. We’re as different as we are alike, but last year he told me “You are the best of both Mom and Dad. You inherited all their goodness.” I was so stunned by his comment, and now it just makes me wonder because I’d never use the word “good” to describe myself. Perhaps he sees something I don’t. In many respects, I am my own worst critic.

If it wasn’t for medication prescribed for Complex PTSD, I wouldn’t have been able to get through the holidays. I’m barely keeping it together, but my brother’s words… They kind of stick in the back of my mind. I have witnessed so much goodness in him, so I think he might be overestimating me in some capacity.

Regardless, this is rough day for me. The fact that I’ve had a migraine since last weekend hasn’t made things better, either. C’est la vie. Somehow, we survive specific life experiences and we move on, but I’m far from healed. That’s been part of my focus this year; learning how to heal.    

copyright 2018 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. All written work may not be re-posted anywhere without express written consent from the author. This authors’ work and personal photos are protected under United States and International copyright laws. Additional protection is covered under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.  

 

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Dazed, Confused, and Out Of Sorts

I’m running out of ways to describe my current state of mind. Earlier this week I had a different sense of self, and then I came home to discover I had lost my house key and the remote for the alarm. Thankfully, they were found and brought to “Lost & Found”. I received a return call the following morning letting me know they were safe and sound, and that I could come and get them, which I did on Thursday. You cannot imagine how stupid I felt in the moment, especially considering my history. I have had a set of house keys since I was eleven years old. I still have keys for every place I’ve ever lived, except my last place of residence where I tossed the keys onto the front lawn on the final day of moving. That was my way of shedding myself of the negativity of a horrible experience that is still haunting and affecting me on a daily basis. It wasn’t an exact science, but in the moment, I didn’t want to physically be carrying around a physical memory filled with pain.

I don’t normally lose something I tend to keep my eye on. That error made me so upset, and it made me question myself for days. It was an enormous “What the fuck is wrong with you?” moment, at least for me. I know many people will say I am human, no one is perfect, and/or shit happens, etc., but I take my responsibilities seriously. Anyone who thinks otherwise doesn’t know me at all.

Despite that incident, I had an extremely productive neurology consult with a new doctor. I waited nearly six months to see her, and I was definitely feeling iffy walking into the situation. After going through all of the standard questions, a quick baseline test, and doing a neuro history to rule out what I have and haven’t tried, she immediately discussed the treatment method with me that she feels I am the best candidate for. I was relieved to hear someone cut through all the bullshit and go straight to precisely what I have wanted to do migraine-wise for the past six years. I have a three to six month wait, but she feels it will be worth it, and I am hopeful. It’s by no means a cure; I will still get migraines, but after my first year of treatment, I shouldn’t be getting daily migraines any more, or migraines that last for weeks at a time. In less than three years, I have had eighty migraine-free days. That isn’t even two straight months without searing pain. To be taken seriously right out of the gate and have someone treat me with such respect was truly a bit of a shock. As I’ve likely said before, my faith and trust in the medical community is basically nonexistent. In the past year, I have met three good doctors and maybe one or two decent medical professionals, but everyone else has been a medical failure, and for me, even one medical failure is one too many.

When I explained the appointment to my brother and told him how it went, he asked me what I am supposed to do for my migraines for the next three to six months. His exact words were “What are you supposed to do in the meantime? Chew Excedrin?” It was a valid question, and it reminded me that I had not asked for an abortive, so I will call ASAP and see if my doctor is willing to get Relpax approved until the new treatment begins. Thus far, my insurance company has been very on the ball with nearly all of the things I’ve needed, so I hope this won’t become a battle. I honestly can’t handle another moment where I have to battle anyone or anything. I am mostly a basket case (which is truly nothing to joke about) on Promethazine. As it turns out, stress really DOES affect us far more than we realize.

I have seen myself decline in a dramatic way over the past year. I have never felt more “off” or out of touch with myself than I am now. Being chronically ill isn’t fun, nor is it glamorous. It is a daily battle just to get out of bed. This is something people don’t seem to realize, unless it’s happening to them.

I am having a difficult time wrapping my mind around the fact that it is June. I rarely say “I want to go back to this month and start over.”, but I have definitely been feeling like this quite a bit lately. The heat waves and then 30-40 degree drops in temperature have taken their toll on me. But from here on out, I expect this to be a disturbingly hot summer and I am stressed with the thought of trying to navigate through it. I don’t want to deal with being sick, dehydrated, and isolated. There’s not much I can really do about any of these things, but the knowledge that it’s all headed my way is genuinely too much for me.

I am trying to keep up with everything here and still live my daily life. The truth is, my daily life is exceedingly dull and unhappy. I lack the ability to be fake and pretend it’s something it isn’t. So while I am clearly not writing as much as I would like, I am still doing the best I can. I thank everyone who has stuck with me all these years, for better or worse. Having an outlet for my thoughts is important to me.

Hopefully I will be able to write more this summer. I can’t make any promises, but I can try my best.  Here’s hoping I achieve more than heatstroke over the next few months.

copyright © 2018 Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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