December 19

The whole thing started on December 12.

I got a phone call from the assisted living my dad was living in saying he’d fallen. The first call was in the middle of the night. They said he was in pain, but they were going to have the doctor talk to him in the morning. At around 7 am, I got a phone call that they’d done an x-ray & it showed a fracture in his hip, so they were taking him to the hospital. I talked to him briefly that day & he said they were planning to do surgery the next morning. For some reason, that got bumped to Friday. M took the boys to see him Thursday night & he said that my dad was downright chipper; the best mood M had seen Dad in, in a long time.

Friday morning, my dad called me to let me know they were doing surgery that day. He told me he was going to turn his phone off because he figured he’d be out of it the rest of the day due to the anesthesia. That evening I got another phone call from him that surgery had gone well & he was going to be up & walking in about an hour. I told him I’d talk with him soon, that I loved him, & that I’d be there on Friday.

That was the last time I talked to my dad & he was coherent.

I’m really glad I told him I loved him.

Sunday morning, I got a call around 5:30. Because there was no message left, I assumed it was my dad & that he’d called me from his room because his phone had died & he’d probably been up all night. I figured I’d call him Monday morning because I worked Sunday night. I wanted him to get his rest.

Monday I got another call from the hospital. That was when I learned he’d been in the ICU. The PA I talked with said she was releasing him back to the floor. I thought we were out of the woods.

And then . . .

And then, Tuesday happened.

I was at work, doing a job I don’t always do. I had my phone on me because of Dad being in the hospital & I went to take a restroom break. As I was washing my hands, my phone rang. The hospital again.

My world kind of shattered at that moment.

The doctor on the other end told me my dad had coded, that they’d done CPR for 10 minutes & he was back in the ICU on a ventilator.

I hung up with the doctor & called my mom. When she didn’t answer, I called M. You see, my mom was in Delaware. For over a month, we all thought Butter’s winter concert was December 18. I couldn’t be there, so my mom went, which is awesome. The concert was not that night. Mom asked me if I wanted her to go the hospital & through my tears, I said yes.

She called me once, but she was smart. She texted J, the guy I’m seeing. Mom said something along the lines of we should probably not wait until the morning to leave. Through my tears, I asked a kitchen manager to let the rest of the managers on duty know I needed to leave NOW.

I was all but booted out of the restaurant. If I haven’t said before I love the management team at this location, please know that I adore them. They had my back 1000%.

I came home & threw a bunch of stuff into a bag. I was planning to head up for Christmas on Thursday anyway, so I just packed for the week. J drove with me. As he said, God forbid I got a call from my mom on the way that he’d passed. We got to the hospital around 4am. At that point, Mom met us in the waiting room. She gave me a head’s up that the information I’d gotten over the phone was inaccurate. Dad was totally unresponsive.

The first person I called was M. We’ve been through a lot together in the last 15 years & I wanted him to be there. Around 7:30, the staff told me to go home & get some rest. I didn’t want to, but it was what everyone wanted, so I did. I went back to M’s house & I rested. I watched a lot of TV. I took a shower. I got around 45 minutes of sleep & was back at the hospital by noon.

At that point, another PA spoke with me. The CT scan hadn’t really shown anything. Neither had the EEG. We could wait, or we could make some heavy decisions.

The hard decision was the one eventually made.

My dad passed peacefully just after 2:30 pm on December 19, 2018.


One Breath at a Time

There are many days when taking one breath at a time is the only way I get through.

I tell myself more often than I’d like to admit: one breath, one second, one minute, one hour at a time. When I am alone – truly alone; no guy or kid in the house, just the cats & me – I sometimes go to dark, dark places. Places where I am certain my children hate me. Places where I am the worst mother, the worst HUMAN, in the entire world. I know deep down that is not the case, but still.

As I said before, I cry more than I should. At least I feel that way. Stupid little things set me off like seeing a boy grab his mom’s hand on the way into the grocery store or a baby smiling at me at work because I’ve waved & given her a big smile. My heart breaks on a daily basis & I know it’s all my doing. You can tell me until you’re blue in the face that I am not at fault for the way I’m feeling, but it never works. So many people have tried. The thing is, when that darkness sets in? Nothing gets through to me. It takes time. It takes breathing & crying & talking to the boys, no matter how much it breaks my heart at that moment.

There are people who have asked me if I’m dealing with depression. Probably. I’ve likely been dealing with it for years. I have this grand idea of getting on a service like Talkspace [because for real, with my schedule the way it is, I am one of those people who literally does not have time for in person therapy] but there’s the issue of paying for it.

When my dad died, M called our doctor’s office. We still use the same PCP & he made a phone call that made me realize the benefit of still being technically married sometimes outweighs the negative. He was honest. I’d been back & forth between the ICU & home for two days. I hadn’t slept. [By the time my dad’s heart beat for the last time, I’d gotten maybe 45 minutes of sleep in about 36 hours.] I made a crack to my mom [I genuinely need to blog about how the universe works in mysterious ways & my mom just happened to be in Delaware the day Dad coded] about whether or not the doctors who came in to ask me if I wanted to autopsy [no] & told me they had to do an official examination so they could pronounce him [I understood that wholeheartedly] could write me a prescription for Xanax or Ambien or anything to help me sleep. That’s where M making a phone call came in. He made the call & went to pick up what our doctor called in & have I mentioned that I’m grateful as hell for him & I’m so glad we’re still friends despite all of the things we’re dealing with? If I haven’t, take this as my notice. I still adore that man & I am desperately sorry our marriage failed, but he’s the father of my kids & one of the best friends I’ve ever had in my life & I’m glad we seem to be keeping that friendship. All of that being said, the doctor called in a prescription for Xanax. I’d only ever taken it once when I had an MRI so this time I only ever took half a pill. I needed to sleep.

I don’t think I’m a Xanax person. I’d rather be unmedicated if possible. I also know I need to schedule a physical & talk with the doctor who is taking over my PCP’s patients [he is retiring]. I’d like to remain off of medication because there are so many complications with the Moyamoya. However, M has seen the new doctor & she knows what Moyamoya is, so that is immeasurably helpful. I’m so tired of explaining it to people. It’s medical condition & you’re a medical professional, either read my chart or figure it out. Please.

I am working through this in the best way I currently know how. I got a gym membership & I am set on using it. Not only because I feel that it helps me, but also because I’m in a wedding in September & am unhappy with the turn my body has taken in the last year. I’m starting to write again [hi, hello, thanks for reading if you’re doing so!]. I am drinking a lot of wine because that helps, too, & I don’t want to be judged for it, thanks. I’m planning on reading more this year. Self help, true crime, fiction, & nonfiction. Nothing is off limits, so if you have recommendations, please throw them my way in the comments. I had this idea to take my journal & write down one thing I like about myself every day, but that hasn’t happened. Maybe it will in the future. Who knows? My life is chaotic, but I’m learning to own it.


What a Difference a Year Makes.

A year ago today, I did maybe the hardest thing ever.

I drove away from Delaware, & from my babies, to start a new journey.

You see, M & I agreed in October of 2017 that we should separate. Part of that separation was me moving to Virginia.

I know, right? That’s a LONG way from my kiddos. [Roughly 4.5 hours, for those of you playing at home.]

It’s not easy. Not at all. I go back to Delaware for about a week once a month. I have a place to stay [with M & the boys] & I have the opportunity to work [both at the restaurant I’ve been working at for nearly 5 years & for M, whenever he needs help].

So. In a year. I have been separated. I have driven one car basically into the ground. The boys were here for summer break & again for the Thanksgiving holiday [they get the entire week off]. This summer, I took a new position at work which has been simultaneously chaotic & enriching. I started dating.

I’ve grown as a human being. I’ve grown as a mom. I have done a lot of self searching.

I can’t lie & say this has been a walk in the park. I’ve already said more than once it isn’t easy. I miss the kids constantly. I cry more than a human ever should. I have learned to appreciate the time I have with the babies more than I would have if I’d stayed in Delaware.

That being said, I am most definitely moving back. Being away from the boys is way too difficult. I don’t know when it’s going to happen, but I hope this summer. That’s my goal, anyway.

2018 was both an awful year & an amazing year. I got a position at work I’d longed for, for well over a year. I moved out on my own, which I’d never done before. In December, my dad passed away, so 2019 is going to be another year of firsts in a way I didn’t expect so soon.

Please forgive the awkward. I haven’t blogged in a very long time. This year . . . Maybe I’ll do it more. I don’t think I can make any promises though. But thanks for listening to my rant.