Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Going Out Ain’t What It Used to Be

The other night, I went out to an event at a bar with my friend, Karen. Now Karen is a really pretty girl. Really pretty. She is blonde and has a great figure. So I know when I go out with her, I am going to spend most of the night watching men hit on her. I can’t go if I am having a low self-esteem spurt because it would push me over the edge. We get there, pick a table and within minutes some guy saunters over and asks to sit next to her. And so it begins.

Shortly after that, a guy with a fun, outgoing personality plops himself down in the empty seat at our table and announces he is going to join us. I immediately like him as he livens things up. Within minutes, he assesses the situation. He tells me how one of his closest friends is tall, blonde and great-looking. He says when he goes out with him, he just assumes the role of “side-kick” and that’s how the night goes. I’m surprised at his sizing-up skills and think about how that’s a good description of my role as well.

It’s not that I think I’m ugly or unattractive. But I’m realistic. I am actually okay with my assumed position and settle in for the evening. It turns out to be a fun one, but what ends up being entertaining to you as you get older changes drastically. Here are some of the highlights of the evening.

Because Karen is heavily sought after, she usually doesn’t have to buy drinks all night other than the first one. And because she is heavily sought after, men will sometimes offer to be the side-kick drinks too. And because Karen is awesome, if they don’t, she asks them to buy me one. Bonus. One of the sexist parts of society that I actually take advantage of. Letting a man buy you a drink. Cool. And when they aren’t hitting on you, there are no expectations.

Next highlight is more interesting than entertaining, but it stood out. We are wearing name tags and I walk by this table of people in their sixties or so. (I’m guessing.) There’s this big, tall man with a tag that says, “Mr. Darcy” so I stop and say, “Hey, I should marry you. Then I could be Darcy Darcy. That would be awesome!” The table cracks up and he tells me Darcy is actually his first name, but he calls himself Mr. Darcy because of the character in “Pride and Prejudice”. I come back with, “Ah, damn. Well, wait! That would still be great. We could get married and just be Darcy and Darcy.”

One guy at the table says that he can’t believe it. He was just telling everyone how that at his age, he never met a Darcy in his life until tonight. Now he meets two. What are the chances?

I ask the other Darcy if he knows what our name means. He says, “Yes, ‘Dweller in Darkness’.” I’m like, “Yeah, doesn’t that suck?” He agrees. I tell him I know its weird, but I wrote a book about death and dying and now I lecture about it everywhere. How fitting. He tells me he can top that one. He says I won’t believe it but his last name is “Mourn.” He topped me. Totally weird.

The next highlights fall into the peeing category. Now every girl in the world knows that you try not to “break the seal” until as late as possible, because once you do it never stops. I have no idea if that’s true for men or not, but it is for us girls. I try not to wait too long though, because if you go to the bathroom and there is a line, well that could get ugly. Accidents happen the older you get. I go to the bathroom and this woman mercifully tells me I have toilet paper stuck to my shoe. Big, long piece. Thank you, girlfriend! That would have sucked.

A little while later, I’m in the bathroom, waiting in line again. Again, I’m thinking I waited too long to start this process. I start chatting with this woman who is a little older than me. I tell her the toilet paper story from earlier in the evening and we crack up. (Things getting funnier later in the night due to fatigue and increased alcohol content.) Well, I’ll be damned if while we are talking a woman walks out of the stall and has toilet paper stuck to her shoe. I let her know immediately, of course. We laugh at the coincidence and I thank the heavens out loud for the chance to pay-it-forward so soon in my life and get my karma going in the right direction. Phew.

Now it’s getting later. I go to the bathroom yet again and sure enough, the same woman I chatted with earlier is in there again. Now we feel like old friends. The line is much longer, it’s much later, and there’s more alcohol involved. I look at her and tell her it’s time to check the men’s room. She knew exactly what I meant. Men’s rooms never have lines. So sometimes, a girl just has to use that room and have someone guard the door for a minute. Off we go. Uh oh, the men’s room is packed. We get a few comments about being welcome to come in anyway, but of course, we don’t.

She looks at me and tells me we should just pee outside in the woods. I don’t usually meet women crazier than I am, but it sounds like a good alternative to me. Karen walks up just at that moment and decides to go with us. The three of us exit the building, go over to some trees (it is dark out) and think we successfully and discreetly take care of business. But then we start to walk in the building and I realize I’ve lost my sweater. Uh oh. We go back to the scene of the crime and sure enough, there is my sweater on top of some stranger’s car.

We head back into the building but the bouncer stops us. He says, “Are you one of the women that just peed outside?” I decide he is probably NOT flirting with me (I’m pretty smart) and I just look at him and try to decide what to say. This female bartender is there having a smoke and she jumps in and says, “No, that wasn’t her. She’s okay.” So the bouncer lets me back in the building.

Later in the night, I am at the bar and I say to the bartender, “Hey, did you save my butt back there?” And she explains that some women had peed outside and the bouncer thought it was me so she let him know it wasn’t because I would never do that. I confessed and told her it indeed was me and that I appreciated her saving my butt. Literally. She laughed. We weren’t trying to cause trouble. Just couldn’t hold it and at least there was no toilet paper to get stuck to our shoes.

The rest of the night was spent singing “Don’t Stop Believing” or “Sweet Caroline” with the band, the whole middle-aged crowd knowing every word. We would have held up our lighters if we had any. It was a fun night. It’s amazing though, what ends up entertaining you when you’re older. Bonding with women over bathroom issues, not getting kicked out, hearing music you can still understand the words to. Super great night 🙂


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Les Miserables

I had a situation happen this week that surprised me by the controversy it stirred up- internally and with others.

When Tim was sick, a long-lost, young relative came around and reunited with him. He and his family ended up coming around a lot while he was sick. After Tim died, they continued to come around and there appeared to be a mutual give and take relationship between us. Until money got involved. Then things went sour. Suffice it to say, they borrowed money they didn’t pay back. Because of some strange circumstances, the police got involved. They told the police that my husband died and I was having a nervous breakdown. It was really, really bad. I had gone above and beyond (while going through the trial of a lifetime) to be kind and they repaid me by lying and saying awful things about me.

They showed up at my door this week after two years of silence. It eventually came out. They needed money again. No brainer, right? No way. Except that this woman of only 31 years also had a shaved head because she has two forms of cancer. Not sure of her prognosis, but it doesn’t look good. There are also two young daughters involved. Not so simple for me.

I handled it the best way I could. I forgave them, gave them lots of helpful information to follow-up on, said no to loaning them money, but gave them a little bit of cash. I think I turned the other cheek, but kept my eyes open. I’m not a dummy. Without their desperation for money, there would have been no apology at my door. I get it.

But I woke up the next morning feeling sick. I was angry. Really angry. Still think I did the right thing, but it sure didn’t feel good.

What surprised me though, was the variety of responses I got from the story. I am not sure why it bothered me so much, but it did. Lately, I seem to have run into a lot of people (mostly men I must admit) who have treated me like I’m another dumb female. Like I’m weak, or it’s assumed I don’t know what I’m talking about. It infuriates me. This was just another situation. I was not taken in. I was not blinded. I am not a pushover. I chose to respond the way I did with my eyes open.

Then the story of Les Miserables hit me. I went online and reviewed the plot to be sure I was remembering it correctly. It is a very revered and celebrated story/movie. In it, the main character is arrested for stealing a loaf of bread for his starving family. He spends the next 19 years in prison. When he is finally released, he is branded (literally) so all will know he is a criminal. He goes to a priest’s house who takes him in. He is kind to him. He gives him a second chance. The man repays him by stealing his silver and running away. Nice.

The police catch him and return him to the priest. The priest tells the man that he has forgotten to take the candlesticks with him as well. The police believe the priest and the man is released. He deserved to be punished after what he did to the one person who was kind to him and give him a chance. Instead of giving him what he deserved, the priest gave him even more. He was even nicer to him. The rest of the story? That man turns his life around. He spends the rest of his life helping others.

Now what if that guy didn’t turn his life around? Would the priest have been foolish? The concept of grace is showing kindness to people who DON’T DESERVE IT. That’s the whole point.

I don’t know what will happen to that family that came to my house. I doubt they have turned their lives around. But is that the point? I’m not sure it’s the most important point. Enabling bad behavior is NOT good and I preach that all the time in counseling situations. But I’m not so sure I gave them enough to call it enabling. But my kindness was also a gesture. A gesture that puts shame on their head for ever deceiving anyone else in the future. What they did to me was wrong. Coming back for more was beyond gutsy. But looking them in the eye and offering them my candlesticks is the decision I stick by. It hurt me deeply. But I think it is what God calls me to be.

Some people will admire me, some will be disgusted by me. But ultimately I sleep alone every night and I have to be ok with myself. A close friend sent me an email about this and it touched me very deeply. Here is what she wrote:

“I was thinking if you had asked me my opinion about this situation before you and I became friends, I probably would have similar reactions to other people in your life. You should have shut the door on them. But I think since getting to know you, listening to you, and watching you conduct your life I truly do get what you are doing, and why you did what you did. When I watch you now, the thought that comes to my mind is would I, could I, be as open, forgiving, and loving to another human being in spite of how they may have treated me in my past? I hope so.

Before you were in my life I would have to say probably not. But you challenge me as a human being and as a Christian all the time. I hope I am a better person now because of you. I hope others allow themselves to open their hearts too because it makes you feel incredibly open to possibilities and a feeling of knowing you are making better choices and decisions for yourself and others. So, thank you for always making me think outside of the box.”

I’m no Victor Hugo, but I hope I can make a difference in the world. And I hope as time passes I feel less angry and bitter. But hey, I’m a work in progress.


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Good Stuff Happening

It’s been a good week. In spite of the cold!!

Last week I received flowers and chocolates from the group in Indiana that stayed at my house during the blizzard. What a lovely surprise. I have been receiving emails and posts from grateful parents. The warm buzz has continued.

Last Saturday, I was invited to the Nardin Academy’s Relay for Life. It was held at the Burt Fleckinger Center downtown. What a lovely event it was. The majority of the people were older teen girls. I was terribly impressed with the depth and warmth with which they displayed themselves.

There was karaoke and dancing. That was fun. But then the evening ends with the Luminaria service. There were at least a dozen young ladies lined up on the gym floor, along with myself and the other speaker. Each one of them has had a close encounter with terminal illness and/or death. Each one of them. At age 18 or younger. And each one of them wants to do something positive to fight back.

The biggest hero of the night was the last speaker. She is a junior at Hobart College and was a graduate of Nardin Academy. She is also a cancer survivor. At barely 20. She had a delightful, calm and gentle spirit. She told me that this was the first time she had ever spoken in public about her illness. She was a champ. She was the hero among many other heroes that night. It was truly a privilege to be a part of it.

Yesterday I was able to be on the air for just under five minutes on Tom Bauerle’s show. I was clued in by a former client who contacted me. It was a quick chat, but he has promised to visit my site and consider putting links on his. I am looking forward to working with him in the future.

The sun is shining today. It’s still cold as heck, but it seems promising out. I was put on the spot yesterday on the radio about where I am at three years later. There was much to say but little time to say it. I would have to say, life is still bitter and sweet. Life has it’s tough times. There are still times when my heart aches. But there is much, much sweet.

I still have amazing people in my life. While I already have more than one person deserves, I have new people in my life too. People that love and support me and care and make me smile. Honestly, who could ask for more?


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Blizzard Bliss

I’ve been pretty cranky lately, just want to sleep and complain. I think it’s common these days with all the cold, snow and lack of sunshine. Then we get news of a coming blizzard. Great. Good things come in strange packages sometimes and this time God used a blizzard to knock some sense into me.

For those of you that read “Bitter and Sweet,” you may remember Ann, who wrote some journal entries for us when Tim was in the hospital. I also talked about going to Chicago to see her after Tim got diagnosed. Anyhow, Ann and her son were taking a trip from Indiana to Troy, NY (near Albany) for a robotics competition. We don’t get to see each other very often so we were trying to figure out a way to work in a Buffalo stop. The problem was, there were sixteen other teenagers and eleven other adults on this trip as well. I am just crazy enough to offer to fit 29 people in my house for an overnight if needed. However, the group decided to rent a full-sized bus instead which would enable them to drive straight through so the suggestion was dropped.

Fast forward to yesterday. Ann and I promised to talk a lot on the phone if we couldn’t see each other so we stayed in touch throughout the day. They were encountering terrible weather and had to stop a few times to keep the windshield wipers going. They witnessed thirteen semi’s and thirteen other vehicles off the side of the Thruway. It was getting scarier. (And what is with the number 13?)

Then my other friend told me that the Thruway was closed off just past Rochester. The blizzard conditions were supposed to continue for several more hours. Suddenly, the idea of them stopping in Buffalo was back on the table. Frankie heard me on the phone and was a bit panicked. Was I kidding? How would he have any peace in the house with that many people in here with us? I told him it probably wouldn’t happen, impolitely called him a “prince” and apologized for disturbing his world.

By 5:00 PM, the decision was made. They were coming! By this time, my mind had changed the number to seventeen people. Probably some sort of unconscious self-protection. Seventeen was crazy enough, so who would have agreed to 29? Well, only 27 of them were total strangers :). Those of you that know me, would know that of course I was crazy enough. In fact, I actually was excited.

I had 90 minutes to spring into action. First, I hit up Colin and Frankie. I asked Frankie if he preferred I find him a sleepover somewhere but he said he could handle it. Good boy! With no notice, they both pitched in. They shoveled the driveway (which they had already done earlier to no avail with the snowfall continuing). They also had to vacuum the entire house- all three floors. There was no way I would want anyone to sleep on those floors. Kudos to the boys for being good sports.

Next, I walk over to the neighbor’s house. I keep thinking that eventually they are just going to lock their doors when they see me coming. I feel like I am always wanting something. I explain the situation and they offer me several blankets, sleeping bags, pads, and a large blow up bed. Of course, I couldn’t figure out the blow up bed so he had to come over and do it for me. Thankfully, he needed to borrow my snow blower so at least we could exchange favors. Just neighbors being good neighbors.

Next, food. For 29 people. Ann loves Metzger’s Pub at the end of my street. She loves their beef on weck. They don’t have that in the mid-west. Half of the stuff in the neighborhood is closed due to the storm. So I drive there and go inside. I speak to the owner. I tell him a bus with 29 people is coming in an hour. Will they stay open and be able to feed them? Sure they will and sure they can! Great!

Next, breakfast food. The closest grocery store is closed. I drive to Aldi’s. It’s not very far away, but it is blizzard conditions on the road and I’m not even sure they will be open. I pull into the parking lot, and I see one of two Aldi’s employees outside. I find out later his name is Eric and he is shoveling some person out who has gotten themselves stuck in the parking lot. I offer to help and he says he will yell if he needs me to push.

I go in the store and try to figure out mentally what I need. Pop, chips and dip. That’s enough snacks. For breakfast, several boxes of cereal and milk. A box of pop tarts for good measure. Cinnamon rolls and a danish. Sausage and ingredients to make French toast. A case of water. We don’t drink coffee at my house, but I assume most adults do so I grab some of that. Orange juice is a good idea.

When I walked in, I had told the only other employee there what I was doing. We were chuckling about what a crazy thing it was to have happen. So I’m in her line and I ask her to think through the menu with me. I’ve done pretty good. Plenty of food, but not over the top.

Then it hits me. Aldi’s only takes cash. Shoot. Shoot, shoot, shoot. Only I probably didn’t say shoot. I am fourteen dollars short. They don’t take credit cards. They do take debit cards. I don’t have one. Oh, but the company does. I quickly run it through my head and think I can use it, but I just won’t mark off the expenses on the business. I scan the card and enter my PIN. It doesn’t work. There is no way I can run home and get back with more money with the roads being the way they were and the time crunch I was under. This young cashier says “That’s ok, I’ve got it covered.” She tells me she thinks it’s very cool that I am helping out a bus full of people and she wants in on the deal. I was shocked. And grateful. I told her I would bring her back the money but she wouldn’t tell me her name. I look at the shoveling machine and he tells me her name is Jackie. I told Jackie she made my heart warm and thanked her for reminding me that people are good.

I paid for my groceries and went to load the car. The next thing I know, Jackie and Eric have both come outside in the continuing blizzard weather to help me load my car. I could have cried. I told them it may be a weird gift, but the only thing I could offer was to give them both a copy of “Bitter and Sweet.” I explained quickly what it was about and that the message was about community and paying it forward and I thought they both embodied that sentiment. They actually seemed excited and impressed that I had written a book.

I drove away embarrassed by all the complaining I’ve done the last few weeks. I called Ann and told her what happened. I knew this was all meant to be. Her group promptly posted it. They had over 860 hits on their site yesterday with people following their trip. It started a lovely flurry of people thanking us for keeping their kids safe and warm and fed.

Up the bus came and they all unloaded into the house. The first woman off the bus asked me if I was an angel. I’ve never met such a great group of people. I kept asking the adults where the real teenagers were. These kids were not like teenagers are supposed to be. There was no attitude, no cockiness. Just super polite and very grateful young men and women who made me feel like gold.

We walked down to dinner where most of the staff had called in due to the weather. (Surprise!) One bartender, one waitress, one cook, and one assistant. Thirty people plus a handful of other customers. It took forever, but all those hungry and weary adults and teens had the best attitude. And do you know what that poor waitress said? She said she wanted me to know that she lived in her mother’s house and it wasn’t hers. But if she was the owner, she would be offering to take half the bus to help out. Another warm moment.

I still can’t figure out how the heck everyone slept here. But everyone did. We were up at 5:30 AM cooking breakfast and the bus pulled out at 7:15. I felt like I had a boatload of new friends. I was the one who got paid back a hundred fold. I sold five books too, which I haven’t done in ages. And they all promised to read the blog and post my book info all over their sites!

We got talking last night and one woman told me about her husband’s physical ailments and his inability to continue working. Their lives have been turned upside down. But she has a mission in life to promote positive community. People in their town try to share responsiblity across the board and help each other out.

One of the teen girls shared with me that her little brother has a tumor. He has had surgery already and is doing chemo. At her young age, she already gets it.

Please, please check out the group’s site. They say they have lots of pictures posted from their adventures here in Buffalo and the rest of their trip. Their site is: http://mcrobotics3936.com/ and their Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/mcrobotics3936. The facebook page has photos of them at our house and posts about their saga getting here. Check them out!

By the way, I went back to Aldi’s today. Eric was working but Jackie was not. I asked to speak to the manager and told her the whole story. Guess what? She wasn’t going to let me pay back the fourteen dollars! I insisted, but I gushed about her employees. She told me how to contact the corporate office, which I did. They were thrilled to hear some positive news!

Remember, there is much, much good in the world.

P.S. Everyone knows now not to ever mess with Ann or I. Obviously we are strongly connected to Mother Nature and She made sure we got together :)!


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Corrections and Stars

Ok, first I have to print an apology/retraction type of thing. Last week I referenced a “prison guard.” I was politely told later that corrections officers don’t care for that term. They prefer the official term correction officer. I had no idea. I asked why and was told that their jobs are often misunderstood. They do much more than guard prisoners. They are trying to get a broader view and respect for their stressful and demanding work. So let me say officially, no offense intended. And thank you for the education :).

Secondly, I know many of you are anxious to hear about last night and how the star search went. This last October, Brigette got a star registered in Tim’s name in honor of the third year marker of his passing. But then she went the extra mile and located a planetarium in the area. She and the director spent the last three months putting together a presentation for us to teach us how to locate the major stars so we could locate Tim’s specific star. It was very, very cool.

It was definitely one of those bitter-sweet things. It was a positive experience and a joyful one. But I still found myself feeling weepy before we left. Frankie seemed unusually quiet, but didn’t open up with any of his thoughts or feelings. Just in the last couple of months, I’ve been experiencing new emotions. I’m not sure exactly how to describe them, but something along the lines of having moments of feeling weary from remembering.

I have now built a career around loss. I have always seen clients, which often times means working with grief and loss. But now I speak about it frequently as well, and every day I work on book two, which is also about grief. On the one hand, 95% of the time I am energized by it and feel more and more confident that I am good at it and have been reaching lots of people and helping them. On the other hand, I wonder how long I will be able to continue to do this. I have a sense that this whole thing has a shelf life in some ways.

Anyhow, thanks to Brigette for creating such a meaningful memorial for us. And thank you to all of you who attended. I am still consistently reminded that I have lots of people who love and support us. It is always, always good to have you by my side while Frankie and I are experiencing these things. Love you all!


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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 Hell

Yep, it’s Christmas. No mistaking it. On top of the already busy life we all have, we are also hanging decorations (inside and out), shopping, baking, etc., etc., etc…

But before I get into that, first let me say thank you to all of my followers. I am not very good at remembering to say thank you when I get notification that someone new has joined because I’m just an airhead sometimes. So please forgive me and know I am thrilled that you are interested!

Now, back to holiday Hell.

By now, I am sure it will come as no surprise that I am slightly psychotic. Ok, on some days more than slightly. My OCD tendencies can be quite silly, but if you look at them right, they are harmless and actually humorous. For example, I am big on holiday traditions. Really big. But then I turn a fun and sentimental activity into a “rule” that must be followed without exception, otherwise it just doesn’t feel right.

The day after Thanksgiving, I put up our Christmas decorations. Well, there are so many between the tree, other decorations, and outside lights, that it usually takes more than one day. I have Christmas books, music cds, and Christmas movies. Every year I buy another movie. And then I discovered that Tim had a bunch of Christmas albums and I had to add those to the mix. Oh yea, and Christmas piano music. A few entire books of them, plus some other sheet music. And every single one of those things must be watched, listened to, read, or played. And it has to be between the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas. IT MUST BE THAT WAY. Now, long ago, I gave up on making anyone else in the house share in the absurdity, but it’s my personal goal. I’m a bit of a tyrant too. I figure that I don’t use the TV the rest of the year. So for one month, I get first choice. Everyone else can use one of the other twenty thousand tvs or rooms in the house.

All of that is fine and dandy. But I’m having lunch with Summer and she looks at me (because she has gone through several Christmas seasons with me) and asks me what I am going to do this year?  First of all, I went out of town for Thanksgiving, which didn’t bring me home until the Sunday after. Secondly, Thanksgiving is really late this year. There is no way I could possibly get all that stuff in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. And she knows- it will completely stress me out if I don’t watch all those damn movies I watch every single one, plus the new one I get, every single year.

She was right and I panicked. Then, being the brilliant woman she is, she suggested I make an “exception clause” in my mental contract with myself for years like this. Truly brilliant. I gave my OCD brain an acceptable way out. I can make exceptions to my rules when there are circumstances like this year.

Surprisingly, the heavens did not fall out of the sky when I took down my Thanksgiving decorations BEFORE Thanksgiving was over.  With some help from the boys, I was able to get up the decorations inside and out of the house before we left on our trip. Good thing, because when I got back, the holiday Hell started.

In the last three days, besides living all the regular life of working full-time, I have done the following tasks/errands, while also going through some personal problems:

My spiritual direction appointment

A chiropractic appointment

A back massage appointment

Luncheon appointment with another therapist

Bank

Post office

Market in the Square

Dollar Tree (twice)

Game Stop

Oogie Games

Subway

Applebee’s

Walmart

Eileen’s Bakery

Edible Arrangements

Sam’s Club

Pizza Hut

Olive Garden

7 Eleven

Consumer Beverage’s

Lowe’s

McDonald’s

KFC

Aldi’s

I’m very sure there are more that I can’t remember, but the last one has a funny story. We had no groceries in the house at all from being gone. I also had to buy a lot of things for our family Progressive Dinner, baking supplies, etc.. I filled my cart and realized it was overflowing. So I paid, went and loaded the groceries in the car and went back in and filled another cart. I kept letting people ahead of me that only had one or two items. This sweet older lady gets ahead of me and she clearly can’t believe I would doing something nice for her. We stood in line and chatted about Christmas shopping, etc..

I get out to my car with my second load and lo and behold I had left the car door wide open. Wide open. I nervously went over and nothing was missing. The car started too. Can’t believe I did that. (Last week I walked the dog the morning of our trip and came back from the woods and found I had left the car door unlocked, the keys to the car inside on the front seat, sitting next to my wallet with $500 cash in it. Someone is watching out for me!) I turn around and there is that dear, sweet, old lady. She looks at me with her car keys in her hand and tells me she can’t find her car anywhere. I told her about leaving my door open. We just laughed and laughed at ourselves. Of course, she had about twenty years on me (which makes her confusion more acceptable than mine) but we didn’t mention that.

So I’ve been ridiculously exhausted every night when I drop into bed. My whole body aches. I feel like I could cry.

But I love it anyway. I have Christmas music playing in the car while I’m running all those errands. I sneak in a few minutes of Christmas movies whenever I can. People love my lights on the house, especially my big, red stars. I walk around humming “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” spurred on from watching Elf. I’m just a big kid who loves the spirit of Christmas. A big, OCD kid. So good luck with your own holiday Hell, but remember to stop and smell the hot chocolate :).