Sunday, June 9, 2019

TYOFWM - Two Monthaversary

Well, at least I am no longer suicidal....
But I still cry occasionally for no apparent reason.
And, I am often overcome by waves of melancholy...
How can she be gone...?

The world is so different.
And, I have changed too...
DH says it's like I suddenly don't know what to do with myself...

I've had the last two weeks off work.
I initially spent a lot of this off time on the internet...
and, I found this image:


I don't know why I've always equated hummingbirds with my Mom.
I can't say it's her favorite bird.
I don't even know if she had a favorite bird.
But, if I bought her jewelry, or a shirt, it would have a 
hummingbird on it.

As part of my self-imposed grief therapy during this time off,
 I made myself start
sketching and drawing again...
One day, I found myself sketching that second bird in the series...
then, I added a pretty basic background of just 
shapes.
Next thing I knew, I was filling in an ocean and fields
and hills and clouds in the sky...

And this happened:


I stopped for a moment and 
looked in shock at my sketch and realized I had drawn a hummingbird
flying over the area where I live.
And, I realized it felt like my mother's soul as it left this earth;
flying high about everything, free from confines,
light as a bird...
And, it brought me some measure of peace.

So much so, that in the last week, I've been spending
less time on the internet and more time doing creative things:
like painting again...

I took some art work from a painting class in acrylics
and re-painted over them in oils...

This is one of my favorites:
 I first painted it in 2014, and I loved the fall feel it had...

Here it is in oils:

I feel like I brightened it up and gave it some more depth...

It's been a good week.
And, I've even started a new larger painting.
But, we'll keep that one under wraps for a bit...
Right now, I'm just glad to have found a little bit of joy
in the dark and gloomy new world
I've suddenly found myself in...







Wednesday, May 29, 2019

TYOFWM - Come on Sevens!


Momma loved to play the slots,
and darn it, she was pretty lucky.
It got to the point where no one wanted to play 
with her because inevitably she would hit a jackpot.
Maybe not a big one every time, but usually enough
to cover her initial investment.

Momma could pull out a $20 and by the end of the weekend
she'd earned back her original $20 and then some.

As she got older in life, we'd sit her down at a machine - 
mind you not any machine, it had to be to her specifications - 
anything with 7's were her favorites, couldn't have any letters
or symbols, maybe had to have diamonds involved.
She'd put in her money, I'd put in her player's card,
and then I would walk away.
Sooner or later I would hear a lot of clanging
and there she was, winning some jackpot,
telling me she didn't understand which buttons she had pushed.
Doesn't matter, Momma, you won... again...

She taught me to only take as much money with me as I was willing to lose.
And, she told me to consider it as entertainment...
something to enjoy for a while and not take too seriously...
have fun with it...

And, we had a lot of fun - 
In Vegas, Laughlin, Carson City, Reno,
Atlantic City, and various Indian casinos...
on multiple cruise ships...
She walked into the casino in Nassau, Bahamas 
and jokingly put some money into a machine... 
$75 later she was walking out a winner...
again...

Only once or twice did I see her play roulette,
and we did occasionally play bingo,
but she was never as lucky at those as she was on the slots.

This weekend, we went to a casino for the first time since her death.
It was weird not wondering where she was, how long did I have
to play poker before I had to go back and check on her,
make sure she didn't need some water or to go to the bathroom.

As I wandered around in a bit of a fog
I found a machine with sevens and played a $100 for her.
I could almost imagine I felt her touch just as I was about to get up
from the machine without really hitting anything major, 
telling me to play just one more time...
I bet the max and watched the reels spin...
and hit the bonus round...
and hit the repeat bonus round...
and get a nice $120 jackpot...

That one was for you, Momma,
because even in Heaven, you're still lucky... 



Thursday, May 23, 2019

TYOFWM - Life Begins Anew


Momma was our chick whisperer...
Whenever we'd get a hatching or orphaned chicks,
it was Momma's job to raise them...



She'd fuss over them,
talk to them,
feed and clean them...

They'd stay in her 80+ degree room until they were
big enough to join the others in the barn.
That was always a sad day for Momma.

But soon there would be another orphan chick to raise...
Like Baby...


He was the last chick Momma raised,
and I really think he was her most favorite of all.

He followed her everywhere.
He'd climb on her walker and get pushed around
the kitchen and her room.


He was one very spoiled little rooster,
but alas, even he eventually had to move out
to the barn.

But Momma would stand at her window looking for him.
She'd ask how he was doing.
He is so tame you can walk up to him at any time and pick him up.
I'd bring him in the house for her to fuss over
before taking him back out with the other chickens.


Now there's a new baby in the house...
a little peachick we're calling "Petie..."
And, there's no Momma here to raise it...
So DH and I are having to do the mothering...


It seems to like to find warm spots...

I think of Momma and know she would have enjoyed
seeing this little one grow up.
She loved to see young animals.
That's why she enjoyed the farm so much,
especially the new chicks.

This winter she got to at least see the first lamb born
on Boxing Day and pet him.

During her last weekend at home,
all 8 of the spring lambs bounded and played
just outside her window.
And her little Baby, who's just learning to crow,
called out in his fledgling rooster voice.

I wonder sometimes if Baby misses her somehow...
I'm sure he does...
She was his Momma, too...







Friday, May 17, 2019

Dogs Make Everything Better


If you haven't been a follower of my blog,
you may not have met Dixie...
I chronicled her early years in the blog



And, this is Dillon; Dixie's younger brother by 8 months.
He had his own blog too...



When the time constraints became too much to write
two different blogs I created
which I honestly haven't written in since April of 2016.
And, yes, these dogs have traveled to all of the places
listed on the side bar!


Most recently as part of my grief therapy, I took them
to one of their favorite places:  the beach....
To say I haven't been in a while is an understatement.
We live five miles from the beach, and I haven't been in over 6 months.
And, the only reason we went that time was because our guests
wanted to see the beach.

Another thing I haven't done in a while is 
go to the beach with my camera.


I love photographing tree trunks on the beach...


I like to shoot pictures of waves...


And, I almost forgot how much I love to shoot
pictures of my dogs in action...
Give them water to swim in and a place to run and they are so happy.


Maybe add another dog they can run around with and it adds to the fun...


What do you think, guys?
We need more beach days...



Sunday, May 12, 2019

TYOFWM - Mother's Day


Boy have the last two weeks been so hard.
Everywhere there were reminders that Mother's Day was approaching.
Emails about gifts to send to your mother.
Commercials about where to take your mother out to eat.
Restaurant signs advertising Mother's Day Brunch.
It's really hard to be reminded about not having a mother
to celebrate this year.
About not having to find the right card...
About not having to think about flowers...
About not having to wonder if she'd like some more earrings,
or a sweater, or a new purse.

Momma would have said, "All of the above!"

It's hard living so far away from where she's buried as well.
To not even be able to take flowers to her tomb.
I don't know that I've ever felt so separated from my mother
and so alone.
A part of me wishes she might have been cremated...
to have some of her ashes here...
to have a sense of a part of her still around....

I worked today.
A very busy busy day in the ED,
but even then my thoughts turned to her.
People wishing "Happy Mother's Day!" just reminded me
that I don't have one over and over again.
At least I made it to the bathroom before I broke down
and cried for a few moments...
Very few because I knew others were waiting.
Others who needed my help today,
and I had to be strong for them.

There'd be plenty of time for tears later on at home...
alone...
still grieving...

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

TYOFWM - One Monthaversary

It's hard to believe it's been a month since she died.  Sometimes it's still like a dream.  I wake up some days and imagine hearing the door to her room creak open... the sound of her walker as she got it over the door jamb... the slight rolling sound as she hit the kitchen linoleum... then the teapot brewing the water for her instant decaf coffee which she drank steaming hot... the refrigerator opening and closing... her special frying pan for her one egg... the toaster with her one piece of toast... then the roll back to her room and the creak of the door closing...

Then I really wake up as tears come to my eyes remembering that she's dead.  At times it's surreal walking around the house.  Remembering that today I don't have to take her to dialysis... that today I don't have to worry about a doctor's appointment... nail appointment... hair appointment... thinking that tomorrow I'll bring myself up to sorting through her clothes and shoes and jewelry... or maybe the next day...

On my first trip to the grocery store I stood for a few moments lost as to where to go first... you see, I did all of her grocery shopping, so I was used to shopping based on making sure I didn't forget her diet cranberry juice in the small bottles... her favorite wheat bread... her fruity bagels... her favorite ice cream... her stuffed crust mini pizzas... her Mocha Mix... Suddenly it was hard to think of what I needed to buy for myself because I'd always made sure I had her things first and foremost and my groceries came second to that...

Even driving back to LA and around Orange County was hard because I saw all the places we used to go to... I thought getting away would be better, but I almost lost it at Chicago O'Hare... an airport I have been to many times... there was Garrett's Popcorn - I always brought her home a bag on every trip and we'd been to Garrett's often when she'd come out to Chicago to visit... there was Chicago Dog - another of Momma's favorites... pictures of the Miracle Mile where we'd shopped at Christmas time... Giordano's Chicago Style pizza and so many other memories of times with Momma in Chicago during my med school years and the year I lived there as an intern.

And the thoughts that interrupt my day at times when I forget - I wanted to ask her about some paperwork I received in the mail.  I wanted to talk to her about planning our summer travel.  And, most of all, I wanted to ask her if I was doing the right thing with all of the decisions I suddenly had to make in her absence. She was my greatest council.

And, as I grieve and cover the 5 stages (sometimes all in one day) I get angry... angry that she died before her 81st birthday on the 17th... angry that the week I had taken off in anticipation of a road trip once she was cleared to walk again and would be coming home I instead spent working on her funeral Mass and burial.... angry that I never got to ask for the answers to so many questions that are now coming to light once I've started going through her papers... angry that despite 51 years of having my mother always by my side, on my side, on the other side I now have to go through life without her... and that still hurts worst of all...


*TYOFWM = the year of firsts without Momma

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Z is for Zilch


Well, another year has come and gone
and another A to Z Challenge is put to rest.

Why did I pick "zilch" as my word...?
Because today I had zilch to talk about.
Next month will start for me the
"Year of Firsts without Momma"

Actually, that started on April 9th which was my
First Day without Momma
And April 17th which was
Momma's First Birthday in Heaven

The last three weeks have been painful,
and I know that the initial grief will pass.
However, there's still times when it all seems so surreal.
Times when I wonder if I'm in a dream.
I knew it was going to be hard, but I never imagined
it would be this hard.

It's going to be a long year.