Monthly Archives: October 2018

Becoming a Mom

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Becoming a Mom

I was one of those doe-eyed first time moms who took the birthing classes, read libraries full of books and even (and I still chuckle at this) created a birth plan. My birth plan included a leisurely stroll on a New Jersey boardwalk while admiring the view of the Atlantic Ocean. This would be followed by a trip to the International House of Pancake (IHOP) where I would consume my soon-to-be-born baby’s weight in pancakes.

 

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Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_bhofack2′>bhofack2 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

 

Full disclosure, I was a vegetarian when I became a human incubator and instead of embracing the holistic lifestyle, I decided to reintroduce meat. In fact, I fell off the vegetarian wagon during my first trimester when I ordered a hot dog at the San Francisco Airport. I was of the mindset that if my body wants it, I must need it. I was an idiot. My birth plan included stacks of pancakes and bacon, glorious bacon.

At 39 weeks pregnant, I had an ache behind my left knee. Whenever I tried to sleep on that side (I know who sleeps at 39 weeks pregnant) it hurt more. I told my doctor about it and she sent me for an ultrasound. Shortly after, I discovered I had a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and needed to go straight to the hospital. This was NOT in the birth plan. Sh*t got real very fast but I still wasn’t entirely aware of the danger.

The panicked looks on the medical staff in the Maternity Ward alerted me to the seriousness of the situation. A blood clot could have easily broken away from the DVT and instantly killed me or my baby. I was told to make one last trip to the bathroom, put on a hospital gown and then, DON’T MOVE!

A few hours later I was taken to the trauma unit. The plan was to insert a retractable filter in preparation of childbirth (apparently giving birth is fertile ground for throwing blood clots). The filter would, fingers crossed, break up any clots before they got to my lungs, heart or brain.  I was petrified. I sent my husband on an errand to distract him. I told him to get me a tuna sub because, hello…pregnancy cravings.

I silently begged God not to take me or my son away. Thoughts of my husband raising our boy alone were excruciating. I was placed on an operating room table and told to turn my head and not move. First they inserted a needle in to my jugular vein to numb the area (thank you and how about a little something to take the f*cking edge off) then the retractable filter was gently guided in to place.

 

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Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_megaflopp’>megaflopp / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

I don’t remember how long it took, it was an overwhelming blur. I do remember a sweet nurse holding my hand and telling me it would be OK while a stream a defiant tears made their silent escape. I wanted to ugly cry with sobs, snot and a heaving chest but the procedure did not allow for that. First lesson of motherhood, put your issues on the back burner honey, you have a small human depending on you now.

The retractable filter became my “get out of jail free” card (or try not to die card). The doctors and nurses were pretty sure that I wouldn’t clot out so they transitioned from let’s-keep-this-woman-alive to let’s get-this-baby-out. Shortly after the filter was inserted (tuna sub, consumed) I was told that labor would be induced.

Well, YAY! What first time mom doesn’t look forward to that. This was also NOT in the birth plan. I got the prostaglandin insert which is basically a tampon that is supposed to prepare the cervix for labor. I had mine “in” overnight. The next day was removal time and lucky for me they sent in Nurse Krueger for the process. She could not get it out despite her claw-like hands. Finally my OBGYN came to my rescue and removed it, humanely. Then we just waited for the magic to happen.

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The nurse must have been related to this guy.

The hours ticked by and I happily took the epidural.The idea of biting on a stick or focusing on some object to get me through this seemed a bit ridiculous. At this point I was happy to be alive. My whole beach walk, pancake eating birth plan was out the window. Eventually it was time to push. I pushed and pushed and pushed some more.

Two hours passed, then three, my OBGYN told me she had to go to NYC that night.  I pushed harder, she told me about the doc who would fill in for her (gasp, a man). Four hours of pushing, then five. My baby wasn’t coming out and my sweet doctor stayed with me. I have no idea what she sacrificed to stay with me that night but she did and I will always be grateful for that.

At one point during this process a group of eager looking med students came by to ask if they could observe.That was a big “HELL NO!” from me. I wouldn’t even let my mother in the room. It was just me, my stubborn refusing-to-be-born baby, my husband, my doctor and two nurses.That was enough of an audience.

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Scrubs: “Can we observe your tremendously complicated child birth?”                                                     Me: “Hell No!”

Back to my non-compliant baby…at some point it was obvious that my baby wasn’t coming out the traditional way and a C-section was in order. Great let’s do it.  Whaaaaaat? I have to wait for an operating room? Oh come on and there is a backup for C-sections. What are we at Newark airport, waiting to take off?

Since my baby wasn’t in distress, I needed to wait. I was grateful my baby was not in distress, I on the other hand was exhausted. About an hour later we got in and my son was born via C-section. I will never forget the relief I felt when I heard his cry. I was able to hold and nurse my son soon after delivery. It was miraculous especially after such a stressful delivery. It didn’t matter, nothing mattered except that my boy was healthy. Of course there were medical issues that I needed to confront and those would once again alter my plans.

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Actual photo of my birth plan...(not really).Photo by Movidagrafica Barcelona from Pexels

I had planned to breastfeed for six months. I figured once the teeth started to come in, I would transition out of it. I never considered not nursing in my “plan”. Apparently, that wasn’t in the cards. I was to be given a blood thinner for a minimum of six months as follow up treatment for my DVT. The retractable filter that was inserted could only stay in for two weeks.

The first time I felt like a sh*tty mom was the night of my son’s birth. I was talking to a friend (a staunch breast milk advocate) on the phone and her disappointment in my inability to breastfeed was palpable through the phone. I may have muttered something like “you know I almost died” while she extolled the benefits of breastfeeding. This is how it is for moms…you can come within a millimeter of death and someone will say something ridiculous to try and make you feel bad. I just wasn’t “Mom Enough” (screw you TIME Magazine).

I remember being somewhat shell-shocked the day we left the hospital. They let us leave with our son, I didn’t think we were qualified. My husband is an engineer and proper car seat installation was a bit daunting for him (unusual). The early arrival threw him off balance as well. Our son arrived a week before his due date.

My husband had a plan too, a project plan. We renovated our kitchen during my pregnancy. Kitchen renovations during pregnancy are a bad idea. You have to eat out all the time and wash the few dishes you do use in odd places like tubs or the laundry room sink. Our laundry room sink was in the basement with uneven stairs and my stomach was the size of 5 basketballs tethered together. The hubs had a renovation plan detailed out by date and the finish date for the renovation coincided with our son’s due date (feel free to laugh at the naivety of that one). I have no idea how he pulled it off but he managed to finish the kitchen before we came home from the hospital.

I don’t think we ever discussed it but when we got home our residential census grew by three – our newborn son and my in-laws. My mother and father in-law just moved in with us for the first week. Thank God they did, it was overwhelming. I remember sitting in the living room chair feeling like my breasts were two flaming bowling balls. I looked down a few times to make sure they were not actually on fire. My mother in-law brought me ice packs and happily held the baby.

Having your first baby is life changing. Having a newborn with your own medical complications ups the ante. Suddenly I had doctor appointments with a hematologist, and a pulmonologist, I had to get the “gist” of my condition. I also had to have my blood tested weekly to determine if the medication was effective.

Two weeks into the parenting thing, we felt like we were getting a handle on things. That was short-lived, out of nowhere our son started screaming, continuously…for hours at a time. We took him to the pediatrician and were basically told that we won the lottery and got a colicky baby.

He would literally scream for hours. We would hold him, rock him, swaddle him, sing to him, feed him, change him, drive him in the car, attempt bribes, nothing worked. It got to the point where I looked forward to blood draws and the doctor appointments just to get away from the screaming.

On top of this, I had to have my retractable filter removed. Keep in mind this was my safety net. I insisted on having an ultrasound on my leg to see if the DVT was gone before they removed the filter. You may think that would be a given but I had to advocate for myself to get that done. The prevailing thought was the filter needed to come out whether there was a clot or not. I needed to know.Thankfully the DVT had resolved.

A few weeks later, the blood thinners I was taking were giving me unusual symptoms, tingling in odd parts of my body like the bridge of my nose or my forearms. This prompted more visits to the “ists” – a neurologist and a radiologist to see if I had Lupus or MS. It was such a daunting time, it was a lot to juggle.

Things started to settle into a new normal and three months in, my maternity leave was coming to an end. I had it all worked out, my mother and mother in-law would each take one day a week and I found a great sitter for the other 3 days. I could work from home most days so I would be able to check in on my baby throughout the day. My new plan was on track (cue the foreboding music).

 

 

Mother’s Note: I want you to know that the once colicky baby is a great teenager today. In fact, once he got past the screaming non-stop for hours every night and not sleeping phase, he became the best behaved kid on the planet.

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I am the Damn Sunshine!

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I am the Damn Sunshine!

My friend over at mydangblog listed me for the very exclusive Sunshine Blogger thingy. Basically, you answer some questions and suggest some blogs that your readers may enjoy. I’ve actually done this before but since she mentioned it, I’ll do it again. Someone sent her 10 questions and she modified them a bit to be specific to her blog. I’m not going to do that. I am going to answer her questions (some are basic and can be answered by anyone, I’ll let you determine which ones are specific to her blog).

  1. What country do you come from? That’s a tough one. I know it seems like this should be a no brainer, but the way things have been spiraling out of control the past few years, I often wonder what planet I’m on. I was born in the USA and have resided here my entire life (had a few extended stays in Switzerland, never an official resident – pretty sure they wouldn’t have had me, they are particular like that. I will say that within just a month or so of being there, I became fluent is Swiss-German and learned to yodel. Also, no one in Switzerland ever requests more cow bell, they have plenty. (some of this may not be true)). These days I refer to my country of origin as CrAzYtOwN.
  2. Have you solved the mystery of the mouth guard that you found on the floor? I’m embarrassed to admit it but no, I have not solved this mystery. I also can’t find my car key so I’ve been using my husband’s spare for the past week and this morning he busted me. In other news, I found this weird wire pocket sculpture whilst doing the laundry this weekend (psst…it’s the featured image, you’re welcome). I’d love to meet the artist to get the background on the inspiration alas, this too remains a mystery .
  3. What place are you currently in for the hockey pool? Again, more shame, I’m dead last. Apparently you’ve got to be in it to win or some such nonsense.
  4. Have you discovered how you are like Jeff yet? This is tricky to answer. I can’t quite pin it down yet but I feel a connection to Jeff that is beyond definition. Truly a mystery.
  5. What is your dream destination? A Mediterranean Cruise is on the top of my wish list.
  6. Why did you burst out laughing in a meeting on Thursday? Well if by “meeting” you mean the overly aggressive weight training class that I took last Thursday, then you mistook laughter for sounds of anguish. I usually only cry on the inside during the class however, our usual instructor was out. I can count on the ex-marine to punish us with planks and push ups, the substitute had a more menacing approach. It seems she took the summer off to spend time with her kids and she was determined to punish us all for her extended absence. You aren’t going to get those triceps defined in one day Trish, calm the f*ck down. I haven’t been able to lift my arms over my head in 4 days, bitch.
  7. What is your favorite movie? Home for the Holidays (Directed by Jodie Foster, 1995). I watch it every year around Thanksgiving.
  8. What crazy thing did you do Friday night? Thankfully I actually did something last Friday. I went out to dinner and to a local theater show with four ladies. The show was Curtains which is a funny whodunit in a 1950’s setting. A good time was had by all.
  9. Are you happy with your current life? Damn right I am.
  10.  Do you have any new and interesting bathroom stories? When we were in Australia this past summer I was entertained by the signs found in many of the ladies bathrooms. By the way the buttons are for a half (left) or full (right) flush. IMG_6416.JPG

Here are some blogs that I visit on the regular:

Freethinkers Anonymous

Little Miss Wordy

Redneck Latte Ravings

Feel free to nominate any blogger of your choosing for this prestigious award. Questions are at your discretion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Politically Motivated Halloween Costumes

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Politically Motivated Halloween Costumes

Halloween is just a couple of weeks away. Have a party to attend or plan to follow some random kids and act like you’re taking them trick or treating so you can get free candy (no, I haven’t done that). Well, if you are in need of a costume, I have a few ideas:

Libtard – Dressed in all black form fitting clothing, they pull it off though because they run 47.8 miles a week. Holding a bottle of kombucha, sipping from a bamboo straw. Tosses sunflower seeds that have been re-engineered to look like snow flakes. Why yes they are sustainable, good for the environment and pleasing to the eye. The male version has a beard, the female version shows some arm pit hair. If you can’t find a black top just dig out that concert T-shirt from the 1997 Lilith Fair.

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Brett Kavanaugh – This one’s easy – judicial robe, beer hat funnel and something protruding under the robe from the groin area. Oh and a spiral bound calendar from June of 1982 with “Beach Week” visible. Feel free to add your own spin on the calendar entries such as, assault random girl at house party 9pm June 17th. magafunnel.jpg

Handmaid’s Tale – To avoid confusion I will have statements attached to the red robe:

  1. No, I’m not Little Red Riding Hood – read a f*cking grown up book once in a while.
  2. F*ck the Patriarchy! (No really, I have to f*ck the patriarchy, it’s not a choice)
  3. Help I’ve fallen into a dystopian nightmare and I can’t get up!
  4. Vote assholes so this doesn’t become my reality.

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Native American Supporter – I don’t recommend making light of this crowd, haven’t we done enough damage here, colonizer. If you do attempt this for G-sake do not go for a traditional headdress or anything remotely close, you will botch that and be offensive. There is a simple solution just wear a shirt like this – 44146415_957543824451653_6495466547128041472_n.jpgScared White Woman – Requires a basic outfit, with “Becky” embroidered somewhere, a pony tail is preferable and a cell phone is required. Calls the cops whenever she comes across two or more black people. She is indignant and frightened, sample call:

SWW: Hi…um, I’m calling because there is a situation here. There are some black children selling candy bars outside the grocery store. I don’t think they have a permit and I’m frightened.

Dispatch: That’s a probably a band fundraiser for the middle school ma’am, my kid is selling them too. Is there a banner or something, perhaps some sign?

SWW: Well, sure there is a banner with the school name on it but it could be a fake.

Dispatch: Is it just those two kids or are other people there?

SWW: I see a man wearing a jacket with the school logo on it, he seems OK, might be a teacher (barely audible: he’s white) and there are other children here.

Dispatch: And why are you calling about these two kids?

SWW: (Whisper screams)…they’re black!

Dispatch: I can’t help you. Seriously, I don’t think anyone can help you. Good day ma’am.

 

If you have the means, I highly recommend getting full size candy bars to hand out, you will be an instant rock star. Happy Halloween!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Handmaid’s Halloween

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Handmaid’s Halloween

You guys, it’s too much. All the hate swirling around, everyone’s trauma, keyboards screaming at each other, forgetting there are actual people reading their comments on the interwebs. America has turned into the worst dysfunctional family discussing politics at the Thanksgiving dinner table, and it’s Thanksgiving every G-damn night. Time to take a humor break and trigger warning: if you are offended by political humor or cursing, you may want to abandon ship, now.

Oh thank Gawd they left. If I have to eat Aunt Jojo’s sweet potato casserole one more time I will slip into a diabetic coma for sure. I mean I don’t actually have diabetes yet but that bitch has been trying to kill us for years with “naturally occurring sugar”. It’s in the yellow zone for Keto Aunt Jojo, slow your roll lady. Speaking of rolls, who brought these gluten laden monster balls? Since we’re discussing monster balls, Uncle Jimmy insists on wearing his oil stained “Love trumps hate, but Trump don’t give a f*ck about you libtard!” t-shirt to every family gathering. Come to think of it, I don’t think Jimmy has taken that shirt off in two years, I’m not even sure if he’s showered. But I digress…

Thanksgiving will be here soon enough, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. My favorite holiday is Halloween. You can dress however you want and there is free candy. I don’t care if I’m 50, I’m trick or treating. Don’t come at me with your judgement Susan, free fucking candy. OK so, I’ve been thinking about what to be, I usually like obscure ideas that I can turn into a lazy costume and maybe 10% of the people I see can figure it out. Last year I was Captain Obvious except I didn’t have a beard. I did rock a red jacket and a hat with a “Duh” pin on it. Too much obscure and not enough obvious, ironic.

This year I’m going for IN YOUR FACE! I’ve decided to get a Handmaid’s Tale inspired costume. To avoid confusion I will have statements attached to the red robe and here’s what I have so far:

  1. No, I’m not Little Red Riding Hood – read a f*cking grown up book once in a while.
  2. F*ck the Patriarchy! (No really, I have to f*ck the patriarchy, it’s not a choice)
  3. Help I’ve fallen into a dystopian nightmare and I can’t get up!
  4. Red is the color I am forced to wear. (It’s also the color of Satan, blood and Republicans… coincidence, you decide)
  5. Access to women’s reproductive choices is fine as long as it’s an unbaby (Google it)
  6. Damn it, I lost another finger. I swear, I was just reading the nutritional label of the quinoa.
  7. Where’s my check George Soros?

Feel free to comment with suggestions for other statements that I can add. And kudos to Magaret Atwood for being so ahead of her time (clairvoyant?). The Handmaid’s Tale was first published in 1985.

Less Than

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Less Than

My emotional bandwidth is full at the moment. The world seems to be a swirling mass of chaos and I cannot process one more thing. My father died a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been trying to find my footing ever since, I’m still shaky. We weren’t close, we weren’t estranged, we were somewhere in-between, a relationship on hold. A quick call on birthdays and holidays, a visit or two throughout the year and lately one or more of those visits was in a hospital room. I always tightened my stomach before dialing his number, it never got easy, but I kept trying. Walking through the awkward became somewhat less traumatic yet, it never vanished.

Our relationship went off the rails the summer I was 9. My twin brother and I were back in New Jersey after living in Florida for a year. Before we moved, there was a custody case, mom won and promptly took us away. While we were gone, we would get weekly calls from our father and stepmother telling us how much they missed us and couldn’t wait to see us again. We believed them.

We made our way back to New Jersey and were visiting a family friend who lived around the corner from our father and stepmother. My brother and I went to the house, excited to see them. We could barely contain ourselves, wouldn’t they be surprised! A somber version of our father emerged and coaxed us away from the door and sat us down on the front steps. I don’t remember his exact words but the gist of it was – you can’t just come here unannounced, I have a family now. I’m sure it had something to do with his baby daughter and a wife that wanted to contain the crazy. Looking back I can see where the man had been put through hell. Trying to get custody, losing that battle, then his insane (certified) ex wife takes his kids to Florida, it must have been an emotional roller coaster for him. I lacked that perspective then. What I heard was I don’t want to see you and then it all faded to black.

I think my little psyche had been through too much at this point so I just shut down. Florida was a nightmare and I had witnessed far more than any child should. If he didn’t want us to visit, then fine I wouldn’t want to be there. I flipped a switch, threw up a wall, deployed the shield. My brother, God bless him, he handled it different. He just tried harder to get the man’s attention. For years, decades even, it was like watching an animal stuck in a trap trying to get free, wailing in pain with each pull of a limb. I avoided the trap.

My father and his second wife had 5 children. They raised them Catholic, took them to church every Sunday and didn’t mention the fact that they had half siblings. My brother and I would visit our paternal grandmother who lived 4 houses away from our father and he would not stop in to visit. A whispered hush fell over the town when we would visit, “those” kids were around. Our uncle lived next door to our father, we could hear our siblings laughing and playing outside while we were across the street. They didn’t even know we existed. I guess the plan was that eventually we would give up on every paternal relative but we didn’t. We kept showing up and at some point our father and stepmother had to tell the other kids about us. Is this the Christian way to raise a family? I mean I don’t go to church too often but this seems a little off, but I digress.

We never had a conversation about this. I wrote him when I was 21, suggested that we  get to know each other. I acknowledged that I had not heard his side of things. He never responded to that letter. In our late twenties my twin and I would see our father and his family at events for extended relatives, things started to thaw.

Back to Dad…

In mid September he went in for a test, that test resulted in an error which required a surgical fix. I went to visit him on a Wednesday, they were talking about discharging him, this was 5 days after his surgery. We did our usual small talk, I showed him digital pics of my kids from a recent trip, we listened to the weather channel. A somewhat bland visit, it was to be our last conversation. Oh how I wish I could redo that chat. The next day he went into cardiac arrest, 5 days later, he was gone.

Those days went by in slow motion, somewhat suspended as we sat in a CCU waiting room, anxious for the next update. I was there with four half siblings, my father’s significant other and other relatives that would stop by. I participated in conversations about his medical directive and eventually we got him transitioned into hospice. I’ve been a hospice volunteer for ten years so I was familiar with the process and knew which questions to ask. He died within 20 minutes of having the ventilator removed, per his wishes which he declared in an Advance Medical Directive. He was surrounded by people that loved him in his final moments and it went about as well as these things can, it was still awful.

I knew the wake would be hard for a variety of reasons. Of course there is the grief of losing a parent. If you’re lucky, you have a lifetime of memories to cherish, inside jokes, and special moments that live in your heart. My memories are scarce and tainted by abandonment, unanswered questions and decades of denial that I wanted, no, needed a father. No more do-overs, mulligans or second chances, in that regard, hope also died. Hope that somehow, someday, somewhere, someway, the awkward yet necessary conversation will happen, it won’t. It never will.

That’s a lot to take in when your standing in 4 inch heals for five hours straight on the back end of the receiving line for your dead father.  He was flanked by honor guards, standing at attention. Honor guards, and some people looked confused as they were trying to sort out my role. I was his oldest daughter, twin to a brother that bore his name and I had to explain that dozens of times throughout the wake. It’s not the first time someone has said “Oh, I didn’t know he had an older daughter”, perhaps it will be the last.

Of course there were pictures. Pictures everywhere of a life I never lived. A seemingly happy family with 5 kids and two parents in matching Christmas outfits, funny birthday shots, tons of beach and bay photos filled with beautiful people on sunny days. I forced myself to put a memory board together and only found one photo of us from my son’s Christening 15 years ago. I filled the board with twin baby and toddler pictures of my brother and I. Then I added some random beach shots of my kids in the town that my father lived in. It was pathetic and sad and I insisted on doing it, I needed to be in that room. I needed my kids to be there too, forced inclusion at it’s lowest level.

The pictures were of particular importance. Nearly 20 years ago, my stepmother died in a car accident. We had just begun to heal our broken relationship when she died suddenly and that wake had a thousand pictures filling the room. My brother and I weren’t in one, believe me we searched with bloodshot eyes, not a single picture. At one point, I needed to leave that wake because I was so overwhelmed by grief of the life we never had with them, it was palpable and I was choking on it. Then 4 years ago, our father’s youngest son died. Another wake, more pictures, more despair, this family has been through hell.

After 5 hours of standing in line, trying my best to look less broken, we were asked to sit. I sat in a chair which was off to the side, it was closest to the casket and gave me a side view of the speaker. An elderly man, a chaplain from the firehouse, who gave a very passionate speech which at times, felt like a personal challenge.

Man: “He was a GREAT man, a great man!

(OK, stay calm this will all be over soon)

Man: “He was the best if you had a problem with him, then that was your problem!”

(Are you challenging me old man. Oh FFS, I saw him beat my mother, he abandoned his first two kids, didn’t pay child support and was likely a neglectful parent to his other kids after his second wife died, he was a serial cheater and probably an alcoholic)

Man: “We will all miss him so much. Truly, a great man (sniffs).”

(Maybe I was the asshole, everyone says he was great. This send off feels like a canonization. Dear God, was it me, was it my fault??? Table that for later…)

The wake was followed by a dinner with a large crowd and it was as nice as these things can be. I truly enjoyed spending time with my brother, niece, nephew, uncle, aunt and half siblings. I don’t know them well, yet I feel a pull towards them. An inexplicable pull that goes beyond having compassion for people that have been through some serious shit of their own.

The funeral was on a Monday and it was as if a Statesman had been laid to rest. His flag draped coffin was placed on the back of a vintage fire truck. Uniformed firefighters saluted his coffin, bag pipes wailed as the church swelled with people. I had to keep reminding myself to walk tall, shoulders back, head held high, looking straight ahead, like an android in mourning. I treated this like a last wish, playing my part in this orchestrated event. After the mass, his casket was placed back on the fire truck and  paraded past the places he frequented most. Cops closed off intersections to let the procession cars go through red lights. Surely, a legend had died, a great man forever sleeps.

The next day the sibling in charge of our father’s estate sent out a group text outlining the details of the Will. Yup, a group text which was sent while my twin was mid-route of his multi-state drive home. We were clearly not the favorite kids that hunch became tangible as some of the finer points were laid out. The house would go to the four kids from the second marriage. That was expected, in fact our father told us his intention in regard to that property. My twin was hurt, I was somewhat indifferent, it still stung a little. Another property with individual components would be divided 6 ways. Wait, there’s a catch, sales from the property being divided 6 ways would first go toward the house mortgage, any remainder would be divided six ways. (Geezus, do I owe money at this point?)

Imagine a pie – perhaps it’s blueberry, pumpkin or custard – it’s your pie, imagine whatever you want, no calories, so YAY! You need to share that pie because sharing is good. Right off the bat 2/3’s of the pie go to the younger 4 siblings. That’s OK 1/3 of the pie split 6 ways is still a delicious little sliver. But before you get your sliver you need to reduce it some more and give it back to the younger ones (the ones Daddy loved more) and you’re left with…crumbs. Crumbs and a bitter taste in your mouth because he didn’t warn you about that bit and clearly a lot of thought went into it.

So for the past two weeks I’ve been cursing at ghosts. Grieving the childhood I didn’t have, feeling my brother’s pain along with my own. I am determined to get through this, lose the bitter taste in my mouth and get on with it. I’m just not there yet, there’s no manual for this.