Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Perspectives

Sometimes, life/universe/God seems to bring a pattern of things to your attention. Other therapists have told me this happens to them too- suddenly your clients seem to mirror the same things you are personally going through. Sometimes it may not match my life personally but I seem to get the same topics thrown at me over and over. Sometimes though, it is just your perspective. It’s like when you buy a new car and suddenly you see the same make/model every time you drive somewhere. There really isn’t more of them on the road, but your own awareness level has changed.

This December has been one of the toughest months I’ve had in a long time. I decided my strategy was only to survive until a new year can arrive and bring new possibilities. Not every holiday has to be full of new memories and great moments. Sometimes you just need to survive them and that is good enough.

So I don’t know if I’m just projecting that on other people, but I feel like I’ve heard it from so, so many other people. Clients and friends alike. So many just seem to be trying to usher 2013 out the door, hoping that somehow 2014 will bring something better. I hear it over and over. Let’s just get this month over with.

Every once in a while, something or someone comes along to put things into perspective for you. When I am out speaking about my book, I am often that voice for others. They tell me all the time. But sometimes I am the one who needs a kick in the pants.

Enter Michele DeMeo. My brilliant Brigette found her somehow. We are going to meet her in person in January. She lives in Pennsylvania. My first phone conference with her, I asked her to just give me a background of who she was. She is autistic- the brilliant kind- and has ALS, brain cancer, bone cancer, bone marrow cancer, and has two broken legs. At this point, I interrupted her and said, “Other than that though, you’re doing ok?” She laughed and said the docs keep telling her she is going to die but she just keeps living for some reason.

She has written over 50 books. One of them was made into a movie, which is about her life. She is an inspirational speaker and has connections internationally. I am including this link, which is a fund-raiser for her next project: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/615222/emal/2032628 Check it out if you are interested.

She’s my kick in the pants. She’s my perspective. What the heck do I have to complain about? Thanks Michele, and we look forward to meeting you in a few, short weeks. In the mean time, to hell with 2013. We are waiting for 2014 and IT WILL BE FULL OF HOPE!!!
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Holiday Parties

Holiday parties. Mine is a different one. It’s a pity party. So if you want to skip this blog, feel free. If not, grab the kleenex.

I know that life isn’t fair. I know that suffering is not distributed evenly in life. But sometimes, that just plain pisses me off.

Everyone goes through loss. Everyone loses loved ones. Everyone loses pets. There are definitely people whose life is much, much worse than anything we could experience here in the United States. However, I think I could make a case for having a little more than our fair share of unfair.

In 2007, we lost my mom. She was my favorite person. Frankie was four years old. The year she died, I attended another 16 funerals that year. Most of my family went to almost as many. Sixteen! That’s just cra-cra. (Just learned recently that’s another term for especially crazy.)

Three years later, this is how our lives went. Tim was diagnosed with a terminal illness and died five months later. While he was sick, our cat Oreo was diagnosed with cancer as well. We treated him with steroids and lost him a month later. The scene was a tough one. No one escaped the irony. We knew what else was going to happen in our household. One of the last physical tasks Tim was able to accomplish was digging Oreo’s grave. Two months later, Tim was on steroids. During that time, Colin brought home another cat- Louie. He was great and brought us smiles when we needed them. Then Tim passed away.

The next summer, we had Frankie’s teachers over for a swim. While we were all there to watch, my niece’s husky suffered some kind of stroke, fell in the pool and drowned. I was so so so angry. Really? Who has something like that happen to them? Almost no one. And yet the family that just lost their husband and father were the lucky recipients of that experience.

A couple of weeks later, Louie was diagnosed with a kidney disease. That led to a very difficult conversation with Frankie. I had to explain that Louie would not live to be an old age. I was just writing about this in the new book. I had forgotten how gut-wrenching it was to watch Frankie grieve. He asked a boatload of tough questions about his dad dying and how much it hurt to know he would lose his cat too.

The next Christmas, we lost Louie. Colin had gone with me when we put Oreo down, and he accompanied me with Louie as well. We brought him home in a beautiful box. Frankie said his sad goodbyes and the two boys buried him in the backyard near Oreo.

Frankie started bugging me about getting a new cat a few months later. I told him we wouldn’t just go get a cat someplace, but that we would wait for the right one. I knew we would hear a story at some point about a cat that desperately needed us and we would be ready for her. As summer died down, things started to change. I started to blog about how it felt like spring and maybe we were finally turning the corner. The neighbor called and said her daughter is a vet and they had a cat that needed a home. Bingo.

We brought her home and it was clear she had had a rough go living on the streets for a while. Frankie wanted to name her Football, and I just couldn’t bring myself to letting him do that. I compromised on Jill, named in honor of the Buffalo Jills. Frankie adored her.

Things continued to change. I actually met a man that we both thought was the ticket. I guess all of my family and friends thought the same thing. He had kids too. We even took a vacation together with the boys and had a great time. I knew that Frankie and I were experiencing something new, that was really something old. We were a real family again. Even though we have lots of amazing friends and family, it’s not the same as being a family unit. We finally felt whole again.

The relationship ended up abruptly and without warning in the beginning of December, just in time for the Christmas holidays. We went from being truly excited again, to feeling the loss again. This time, the hole felt even bigger than it originally was.

The kicker? Jill started drooling which seemed odd. I looked it up on the Internet and made an appointment with the vet. Most likely reason is a tooth that needs to be extracted. I knew it might be costly, but maybe that was why she wasn’t eating so much. I think my jaw truly hit the floor as I set on the bench and listened to our very loved vet explain to me that Jill had a cancerous tumor that had literally eaten her jaw away. The only compassionate option was to put her down.

ARE YOU F*****G KIDDING ME?

I thought she needed a tooth out. I couldn’t believe it. I dreaded going home. How on earth was I going to tell Frankie?

I took him into my bedroom and gave him the news. He sank down to the floor, buried his head on the bed and just sobbed. He cried. Then I watched my little Colvin man. At age 11, he is already a Colvin pacer. He paced around the room, cried, and then asked questions. But she doesn’t look like she’s in pain! How can this be true? Yes, he wanted to come to the appointment in the morning. I had been right in what I suspected. He said he had one regret in his life and that was not being there for Louie when he died. He wasn’t going to make that mistake again. More pacing, more crying. Then I brought Jill in the room and in his usual grown-up way he told me he wanted a little privacy with her. He locked the door and spent another 30 minutes with her before he reappeared.

This morning at 9:00 AM, we took her to the vet. She came in today, even though it was her day off. She had been there for Oreo and Louie. She has a lovely bedside manner and gives a special blessing to them and sends them on their journey. You don’t find professionals often that care like that anymore. Frankie wanted to hold her while it happened. Jill purred right up until the second she died. Me and the boys cried throughout the process, then they came home and buried cat number three in the backyard.

Then the usual rituals. Carrying that stupid empty cat carrier back in the house. Putting away all the food and the litter box. Washing the bedding because she had a terrible sick smell due to her infections. Putting the empty envelope aside that was budgeted money for animal expenses. I had to put the balance on the credit card. I didn’t budget for two animal deaths in the same year.

Things like this happen to people all the time. But I can’t help but feel overwhelmed for my brave 11-year-old. My friends keeping telling me he will be a strong man, and a compassionate one. But what if he just stops attaching? He has already experienced the death of three pets. He lost his grandmother. He lost his father at age eight, for God’s sake. And then he lost what he would have loved to be his “new” family.

I’m been saying some vulgar holiday sayings that make me chuckle through the tears. Things like “Merry F******G Christmas.” Brigette came up with the best one yet today. Fa la F*****G la… sung merrily along. I actually laughed out loud at that one.

So this year, my holiday party is a pity one. I will bounce back. Frankie will before I do. We are a damn, strong family. But I think we deserve some time to be pissed off at the bad luck we seem to have. Feel free to comment, but comments that acknowledge what we are going through are more appreciated than any that tell me I should just focus on the positive. Even though it’s true, I’ve earned a couple of negative days.


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Solving Problems in Bed

Did I get your attention with that title? I can’t wait to see what kind of followers I get this week- lol.

Those of you who have read Bitter and Sweet may remember the story about Tim and I purchasing an adjustable king-size bed. When he was sick, he couldn’t lay the same way so he slept for several weeks on the recliner in the living room. After a bunch of research, we purchased a new bed. We opted for a split bed so that each of us could move the bed up or down and not bother the other. We thought we were pretty smart.

We were so excited the first night to be able to sleep in the same room again. However, we learned almost immediately that the split bed was a bad idea. What it did is make for a very uncomfortable crack down the middle of the bed. You either had to sleep a mile away from each other, or both squeeze into a twin-size bed.

I did some research on line and of course there was actually a product for such problems. I spent about $80 for a fleece piece that you put over the center of the crack and then it straps around the mattresses. That created another problem. I had to find sheets on line that you could buy separately. We had extra long twin fitted sheets for the mattresses, then had a king top sheet. With the fleece down the middle, you couldn’t have separate fitted sheets so I had to buy king fitted sheets. What a pain in the butt.

And it didn’t work. The fleece wasn’t very wide and all that happened was it would get pushed down the crack in the middle. Then when Frankie started coming into bed, he purposely pushed the mattresses apart and made a cave for himself to sleep in. Problems.

After Tim died, I tried a couple of times to put the bed on Craig’s list. Never even got offers. Can’t trade them in cuz the stores won’t take em back. While it’s adjustable, it’s not a hospital bed as there are no rails. Can’t really donate them to Hospice or anything. So I just keep living with it.

Yesterday, I decided it was time to do something about it. Why yesterday did it become urgent? I have no idea but I just get that way sometimes. A friend told me about those foam mattresses you can put on top. I thought that was a brilliant idea. Off to Kohl’s I went. Brigitte met me there as she has the charge card and all the coupons. We found what we were looking for. For a cool $580, I could solve my bed problems.

I laughed out loud. Ain’t no way in hell I’m paying that. Could get a new bed for Peter’s sake!

Of course, you have probably gathered by now that Brigitte is the world’s best problem solver and need meeter around. She called her husband and he said he would come look at the bed. He could probably build something to keep the mattresses together. Then I would just have to special order a mattress pad cover and try to solve it that way. Sigh.

Then it hit me. Why don’t I just trade beds with Frankie?

When he got home from school I asked him and he could care less. He’s never in his room anyway. Both he and Colin sleep in the guest room. Go figure.

So Colin helped me drag that bed upstairs with all the mechanics attached. It took about an hour and I was dripping in sweat. And of course that started the next seven loads of laundry for all the bedding. And I wouldn’t want anyone to know what my floor looked like once the bed got moved. Yikes! So there was more cleaning…

My room looks so much bigger now. Frankie’s looks so much smaller. But I don’t have a crack down the middle of my bed. In the process of all this, somehow it became some kind of symbolic moment. Frankie hardly ever sleeps with me now. And it felt like Moving Forward. Putting the past to bed, so to speak.

Of course, I’ve almost fallen twice already. Once when I went to get up, and once when I sat down to put on my socks. It’s much lower and it’s obviously going to take me a long time to adjust my equilibrium.

Anyone know how to solve balance problems?


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Nickels

I had a spiritual direction session with Ellen yesterday. As usual, she impressed and amazed me. She always says things like “But you do all the work, Darcy” and I remind her that she is the one that challenges me, says things in certain ways that get me to think, and puts things into perspective. I almost always walk away from her office with more clarity and peace than when I walked in. She has a sign on her door that says “Hokey Pokey Clinic, where you can turn yourself around.” I love it!

Yesterday I walked away with a new therapeutic intervention that I can’t wait to try with a client when the appropriate time to use it arises. It was so simple and yet so brilliant. And of all things, it involved a nickel.

I was struggling with a decision I had to make. With all my conscious mind, the choices truly seemed equally plausible. So my mind wasn’t making it clear. When people would say, “What does your heart tell you?” I realized that my heart was failing me as well. I am usually pretty in tune with my instincts, but this time I was not getting any direction with that either. For all intents and purposes, I just couldn’t figure it out.

We did the usual therapeutic things. We talked about how the pressure to decide things was purely internal for me. There were no outside forces that were pressing me to figure things out. It was just my usual over-analyzing, intensely feeling self that was keeping me awake at night and feeling anxious through the day. We discussed my self-concept and all that stuff. It appeared during the first half of the session, that I needed to be comfortable with not making a decision. I sat with that for a while and “tried on” being okay with it. I was surprised by my ability to do it.

Later on though, things shifted again. As we continued to process things, Ellen said she remembered a powerful intervention she saw at a lecture she attended. She left the room and came back with a nickel.

She said when things are truly equal, you really can just toss a coin. Either decision would be fine and no matter where the coin lands, it will be okay. So she said “Heads will mean this, tails will mean this,” and she tossed it in the air. Before she revealed the coin, she looked at me and said “Tell me what you are thinking in this exact moment.” And I blurted out without hesitating what I thought my decision should be.

It was really amazing. It was an emotional shift. When that coin was up in the air, I couldn’t believe the flood of thoughts that went through my mind in those seconds. If it was heads, how would I feel? If it was tails, how would I respond? And suddenly, after hours of pondering, it was clear what I should do. And by the way, the actual coin toss showed the same decision I blurted out. I know it’s just chance, but it felt like confirmation anyway.

Brilliant. I love spiritual direction and therapy and figuring out the human mind and heart. It’s fascinating!


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More Serious Cheating

Ok, I’m cheating on a more serious level this week, because I didn’t even write what you are about to read. My sister’s friend is caretaking for her husband who is in the late stages of cancer. I believe they are in their 50’s. She sent me her latest journal entry because she thought it was right up my ally. She was right. She is one of my new heroes. See if you agree:

“It’s funny, this journey we are all on. It is kind of like a book that we are the star of. We are the leading character, the hero and sometimes the villain. No one knows quite where their character will take them, how the story will go and where and when or even how it will end. We do not write the story but we can change the story with choices we make along the way. Through this recent chapter of my journey, I am choosing to make changes that I have found will enhance my story.

Lately, I have learned to listen more and talk less. I am hearing more birds singing their sweet love songs to their mates that are eagerly munching on the seeds we have provided them out our dining room window. I am finding that I am engaging more in play with the little ones. They are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and they have deemed me to be the silly one, Michaelangelo, or Mikey (as the new ones are all called shortened versions of their old formal names). This is because I never choose to do battle or injure another, that being my nature to do no harm to anyone. So I embrace my character, Mikey, and enjoy my time at the table drawing with the boys and displaying their works of art for all to admire.

I am learning to use more perfume, not to save it for special times, every day with my husband is special and he deserves to know that. I long for the day I can stand with him, hand in hand on the beach, letting each wave bring the cool ocean water over our feet and feeling the warm sand beneath our feet gently glide back out into the ocean with each returning wave. I want to spend less time on the computer and more time with people I love, not letting them feel unnoticed or unappreciated. I want each of them to have quality time and not quantity minutes that mean nothing as we did not communicate, being too busy on phones or games played all by yourself. I want to interact more with people, not things that will not love me back. There will be more treats made, just because I want to smell the aromas of things I loved and brought me special memories of times gone by and will in return, make memories for the children that they can pass down. I want to share the time with the boys, teaching them how to love the earth and respect it and all the creatures in it.

As the lyrics say, we only pass this way once, so I want to live while I am here. I have become too keenly aware of how quickly your story can change and into a new direction you will go, a new chapter you never saw coming will be where you suddenly have entered into blindly. Learn to be nicer, kinder, care more, take less, want less, open your heart and soul and let people in, and love, love with all your being. Have no regrets, no should haves, no I always wanted to, no I always thought I woulds. Breathe, really breathe, close your eyes and imagine how you can make people you love, happy. That is a gift only you can give. Love them and tell them what is in your heart, they deserve to hear it right now, they long for it. I don’t know how my story will end but I do know I have the power to change little things that will make my journey a better one. On my last day, I want to have a smile on my face and a heart so full of wonderful memories of a life well lived, and leave, knowing I am on a new journey, a whole new book.”

Wow, thanks for sharing that with us. You are an inspiration. You make us want to make better choices too. Peace and love and healing and support your way, dear friend.


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Patterns and Such

I saw my spiritual director Ellen again today. She is a calm soul. No matter how chaotic I feel when I go there, I end up leaving feeling more sane. I told her today she is like a “deep breath.”

Today we were talking about various subjects and I realized that it was pretty obvious that I choose the same type of thinking in many areas of my life. For lack of a better word, we were talking about openness.

For those who know me, they would laugh at me saying I’m a bit anal. A bit OCDish. They would laugh at the “bit” part. But on the other hand, I am very open and flexible which is kind of an odd mixture.

It starts with my dog Taffy. Frankie gets frustrated with me because Taffy runs away regularly. Ultimately, it is my fault because I don’t leash her very often. It is a little embarrassing because when your dog runs away a couple of times a week, you leash her, right? If she ever got hit by a car or something, I would never forgive myself. Frankie would never forgive me. Keeping her on a leash is actually for her own good, right?

But I can’t stand to leash her. We go in the creek or the woods almost every day. Most of the time she doesn’t go far. She just likes to sniff around, hunt a little, and then trot to catch up and will go ahead of me for awhile. If she chases a duck, deer, or rabbit (or whatever!) she runs so fast and free. She loves her little life. She loves her independence. It’s not that she wants to run away from me, I don’t think. She is my shadow. I can’t even go to the bathroom without her being next to me. But she just loves to be free and go at her own pace.

The trade-off is, that if she runs, I really can’t be mad at her. I get mad at her anyway though and I have spent countless hours talking with her. I explain clearly that if she likes to be off the leash, then she can’t run away. I think she is listening intently but she obviously doesn’t understand.

So am I reckless? Irresponsible? I hope not. I choose to be “hands off” as much as possible and most of the time it’s not a problem. But the price is when she runs I have to worry and run around like a big goof looking for her. I have to deal with Frankie being disgusted with me. But when I see her run in all her glory, I have to admit, it’s worth it. My “parenting”style has its drawbacks, but it sure has its good moments too.


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Progress

One of the things that happens with writing a personal book about terminal illness, is that people tell me their stories. Part of why I work so hard to “heal,” is so that I can be present for other people as they grieve.

There are so many stories to share and they effect me in so many different ways. One family in particular has been giving me quite an education about things I haven’t experienced or heard about before. And they challenge me to figure out how to help them grieve because their situation is so unique.

Their loved one died from a MRSA infection. I have heard of that, but have never known anyone who has personally dealt with it. You can’t imagine all the added horror that is heaped on top of the already tough job of losing a human being. Spending those last precious last days, hours, and finally minutes while you are scrubbed up and covered in all kinds of barriers to prevent infection, sure changes the atmosphere of that time together. I can’t even imagine. I crawled right into bed with Tim the whole time he was sick, in treatment, or in the last stages of the dying process. This family was robbed of that.

They were told after he died that all of his belongings, including medical equipment would need to be destroyed. Incinerated in fact. As an organizer who goes into people’s homes and tries to help them de-clutter, I know how hard of a time people have letting go of “things.” But try to get rid of things that belonged to a person who is deceased, and it is almost impossible. It is a very, very difficult thing to do. One of the things that helps immensely, is when you can adopt a “pay it forward” mindset. Knowing someone else (maybe even someone you know) can use things helps to let them go. I remember being excited when I found out about how the Lyon’s Club can use old eye glasses. I had found so many pairs of Tim’s around the house that I didn’t even know he had. Donating them made me feel great inside and I knew Tim was smiling about it too.

This family? Robbed again. They thought they had to burn everything. How the hell do you find the strength and energy to do that?

We decided to do some research. It appears that the information they were told may have been incorrect. One of the worst things about accepting our mortality is how powerless we are. It is rough on us Westerners to not have control over things. When I decided to jump into research today, I didn’t know how much time it would take. But boy, was I aware at how pumped I was when I actually made progress. I bounced around a whole bunch of places and websites til I finally hit the jackpot with someone in the Erie County Health Department. He was a wealth of information, was friendly and compassionate. I couldn’t send an email fast enough to that family.

Hopefully this information will help them get back some of those things about the grief process that can help us get through it. No, it won’t bring their loved one back. Nothing will do that. Their hearts will still be broken. But maybe now they can start to create some “sweets” from thier “bitter” situation. I call that progress 🙂


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Not Meant To Be

Some things just aren’t meant to be.

Last night, we hoped to go see the fireworks in East Aurora. They have the best ones I’ve seen around here by far. Of course, the weather has been on, off, on, off so we didn’t know if they would happen. I called the police station and they said they were still on at 10:00 PM. Then it would rain a little, so I would call back. Same answer. Nice guy that kept answering.

I started having other people call on their cells because I felt stupid calling again. We decide to go and at 9:00 PM it starts pouring. Pouring. We decide to play some cards and see if it clears up. At 9:20 PM we call and yep, fireworks at 10:00 PM. We got there about 9:35 PM and people were leaving and coming all at the same time. I call the police one more time and he says politely, “They are doing them right now.” Sure enough, we could hear them. They started them early!

By the time we parked the car and started to walk, we picked the only street with no crossroads and walked entirely around the park. When we finally hit a visible spot, we literally saw the finale. Ok, we heard the finally. They were the loudest fireworks I’ve ever heard. (Or maybe I’m just getting old?) We had to laugh because we just weren’t meant to see them, no matter how great they were. We had a nice, long walk in the drizzling rain though 🙂

Still good to be with friends. We were going to come back and sit in the hot tub but it was lightning by then so everyone went home or to sleep instead.

I worry about whether keeping my house is just “not meant to be” sometimes. It was a bad week for that topic. I got an electric bill that showed my budget rate went up over $80/month. Surely that was a mistake. I called. Nope, our “consumption” has almost doubled in the last couple of years. “Ma’am, did something change in your house two years ago?” Yep, something huge changed two years ago. My husband died. Wouldn’t you think the bill would go down with one less adult consuming electricity? That didn’t make sense. I told the guy maybe my husband went around the house yelling at everyone to turn the lights off…

The salt generator on my pool bit the dust last week. After about 10 or 12 phone calls, I finally found the only place in western New York that services them. Half hour drive, miscommunication, rude sales people. It’s an almost $400 repair. Tomorrow’s to-do list includes fighting with the company to cover it by warranty. It’s a $2000 part and I missed the warranty by a week. So far they are refusing to cover it. Ain’t that a pisser.

The camper is being picked up next week. My dad is frantically trying to make sure everything works so we spent the day bickering yesterday. In between all the other chaos, he wanted me to find information, locate the missing electric piece, and fill the propane tank (for someone else that is buying the camper), all of which I didn’t want to deal with. I didn’t have time to, and frankly didn’t think we needed to go beyond the call of duty knowing I sold the camper at a low price and the agreement was made it would be taken “as is.”

While all that is going on, I am cleaning out the hot tub. I have to drain it, then clean the sides. We broke our new hose a couple of days ago so the old one is back on. In the middle of it, the old hose splits and water is squirting everywhere. Have to figure this one out fast because I have to work soon. Gotta earn money to pay for camper parts, pool repairs, and new hoses.

It’s very circus-like here some days and at those times I usually think I just need to sell my dream house and get a tiny little place for Frankie and I. Today though, I can almost laugh at the comedy of errors the last few days. Almost, but not quite. Happy Birthday, America. I’m gonna celebrate by taking a quiet nap 🙂


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Campers

Saturday I called my friend Summer. She answered and immediately said “Do you have allergies or are you sniffling?” “Definitely sniffling,” I choked out. SHe is surprised and says I haven’t called her crying for months and months!

Tim and I bought a pop-up camper several years ago. The first summer after he died, my ever-practical father asked me if I was going to sell it. I told him that “they” recommend you don’t make any big decisions for at least a year after a death. I considered selling the camper a big decision.

The second summer came around and my dad was the first to ask again if I was going to sell it. Apparently you shouldn’t sell campers the second year either. I just couldn’t do it.

Now it is summer three. Here’s the thing. I no longer have a hitch on my vehicle. If I did have a hitch, I couldn’t drive the camper anyhow. If i could drive the camper, I couldn’t put it up or take it down. So every summer, good ‘ol dad or someone else puts it up in our driveway.

I love it. I nap out there all the time. My favorite time is when it’s raining. Sometimes Frankie has his buddies over. It comes in handy when we have company. Last summer my college roommate came with her very-allergic-to-dogs son and they slept happily out there while they were here.

This year, dad couldn’t remember how to put it up so we got out the DVD Tim made for us while he was sick. I watch it every year but I still haven’t got a clue how to do it. It helped dad though and he got it up.

Now I know that I could keep asking for help every year. I know there is nothing wrong with loving to sleep in it and having it out there to do so all summer. But I’m also a pretty practical girl myself. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree I guess.

So when a dear, dear couple came to me and said they were interested in buying a used camper and wanted advice, I sat there with a knot in my stomach. This was probably the situation I was waiting for. I would love to see it go to someone who would use it. I know they will enjoy it and it will be used the way it is meant to be. No advertising, no bartering. They just dropped the opportunity in my lap. I knew it was the “right” thing.

But sometimes the “right” thing doesn’t feel good. I kept it together until they left so they wouldn’t feel bad, then I walked directly into the house and went to my bedroom and cried my eyes out. I’m so damn sad about it!

People ask me if I feel close to Tim when I’m out there. It’s not so much that as I am aware of his presence everywhere. But it is a very cold, hard cup of cold water in my face. If Tim were alive, we would so NOT be selling it. We found it together and had many memories together. I was telling the couple that are buying it about how we used to zip Frankie up in the windows when he was an itty bitty thing. He would wear his warm, footy pajamas when he camped and he would giggle when we’d put him there. (Don’t worry. I am aware that is a little twisted to do as parents but we thought it was funny!)

And truth be told, I also worry if selling it is a symbol of things to come. What if one day it’s no longer practical to keep the house? I have to rely on a lot of people to help me keep up with everything. I hope it never comes to that.

The good part is, they don’t have a hitch on their vehicle yet. So I don’t know how much longer I have my little camper, but I’ve been sleeping in it every night and every chance I can until they take it. I’m slowly cleaning out the cupboards and reminiscing as I do it.

Moral of the story… It can be the “right” thing and still be sad. Sniff.


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Detox

So I am currently on Day Seven of a food detox I signed up for. I’m actually in the last hours of it. Vegetables only, plus 3 small fruits a day for seven days. Doesn’t sound hard to you? Just don’t say that to me.

I’ve been pondering what the word strength means this week. The closest people in the world to me have taken the brunt of this horrid week. One person made the mistake of saying “That’s not that hard” after she found out I vould eat as many vegetables I wanted. After I ripped her head off, I told her not so politely that if she isn’t detoxing she has no right to comment on it at all. No one gets to tell me what is hard and what isn’t.

The next person made the mistake of saying “It’s not that hard” when we were discussing separating egg whites. I’m not supposed to have eggs at all this week, but I was ready to give up on the program altogether. My coach said I could have egg whites if I needed to in order to not give up. So I ate an egg. The WHOLE egg. But I stayed in the program. So this guy says something about how it’s really not that hard to separate out the yolks. I ripped his head off also. Then I cried nonstop for about 20 minutes. He just sat in silence.

The next person said “Go get a snack” when I was going out of my mind. Again, I freaked out. “But you can have as many vegetables as you want” was the next sentence. So I explained (rudely, of course) that I hate vegetables to begin with- or at least most of them. Then I have to eat them breakfast, lunch, and dinner. No exceptions. A friend of mine who detoxed said she went hungry because she just couldn’t stand eating another vegetable. That’s where I was at. Go get a snack? I was glad it was a telephone conversation so I didn’t cause any bodily harm.

I remembered a conversation I had with my friend Summer last September. I was having a nervous breakdown over an orange folder Frankie needed for school. I’d been everywhere and called her in desparation. Because she knows everything about everything, she knew exactly which store and aisle to get it in. (She knows I hate her sometimes for knowing so much…lol.)

Anyhow, I was disgusted with myself for being so undone over it. Of all people, I know better what is important in life. Why would I let it get to me? She gently, and laughingly told me that she thought I understood something about myself already or she would have pointed it out sooner. I’m just the opposite of most people. I can handle the really big stuff- like climbing into a hospital bed with my dying husband and not blink an eye. So the small stuff- like orange folders, do me in sometimes.

And like separating egg whites. No one is more embarrassed than I am that I can’t separate eggs without having a meltdown. But I am strong. I am very, very strong. Sometimes separating egg whites undoes me. It really is too much. And you know what? That’s totally ok.

By this time tomorrow I will be eating lean proteins and it will feel like the biggest feast I’ve ever eaten in my life! I just hope all my headless friends still love me 🙂