Well today we went up to Bellingham to do a few things.
- Drop off some tupperware with my brother’s family.
- We went up to get pictures of all of Wolsey’s old places he lived at.
- Went up to place a wreath on my parents grave for the holidays, along with stringing some lights.
I do have to say though, the travel up to Bellingham and back was unprecedentedly smooth. It is a 112+ mile trip each way and we were up within 2.5 hours after stopping three times for bathroom attempts… Hubby couldn’t find a stall to use… and only 2 hours coming home with us doing shopping at Target for the cat. There are a lot of pictures of places the hubby has lived, and like the photos I took of where I lived I will have in depth postings about those places and why they are important.
First we stopped by my brother’s place, we saw his kids and their mother and hung out for a little while. Wolsey dropped off some of his jewelry from pre-transition to Kristen our niece while I gave Tupperware to Monica. Hopefully they will find uses for all of those. Fortunately the family seems to be doing pretty well. We got some ideas for the kids for Christmas and it was nice to just see my brother sober.
Then we were off to see Wolsey’s childhood places he had lived at. We went over through the Alderwood/Birchwood area and hit up a few places. Things went well on this leg of the journey except for an old man coming out of one of the houses we went by and we had to take stealth pictures of it, so as not to alarm him.
We then went up to Toad Lake area and saw the first home his parents built. It is also near where his grandparents lived, so we swung by there. The house is obviously still owned by his sister, and we saw a white SUV in the driveway which means his mother was probably there as well, so we were in ultra-stealth mode to avoid contact.
Although I really wanted to take him up to the door, and when Debbie and Toni answered (Debbie is mom, Toni sister) I would be excited, give Debbie a hug saying I found Clark’s long lost son (Clark is Wolsey’s dad) and pull Wolsey in front of me. I can only imagine the reaction, and yes it isn’t a fully positive thing that I would love to see the confusion and then the apoplectic shock.
After we snuck away, we then went down to the Gladstone/James street homes. These are some of the places where he lived as a gutter punk and where I watched him do a photo shoot with a flower and nothing else. I thought he was so beautiful (and he was still my best friend then, although this was pre-transition for him). I do find it a bit humorous though, the whole time I had a crush on him, he wanted to be with me and would have dropped anyone he was with to see if it would work between us.
Then we went to the Blue Dolphin and had a very nice lunch, however we forgot to hit his parents home (last place in Bellingham he lived at that I didn’t) because of the food induced dementia. It is ok though, it was already stressful enough at his sister’s/grandparent’s house so it was a good idea for a break.
We also had swung by my parents’ grave. We noted that the wind chimes were gone. It has been super stormy lately so it could very well have been blown off. Also, the cemetery often has teenagers that prowl it, they might have grabbed it. Either way it doesn’t bother me at all. If it was the wind, it was totally expected and it probably made some cool sounds as it blew away, and if it was teenagers/college kids I hope they are enjoying the tinkling sound it makes.
Either way we will replace it next time we go up. We knew the stuff we place on the grave isn’t permanent.We also noticed no one had been to their grave since we went last time. The remains of decayed flowers we had planted were still there. We cleaned it up, and the ever inventive Wolsey found some stuff to wipe it down with. I figure next time I will bring a small cleaning kit just in case.
Even with all this, Wolsey was kind enough to set up the new solar powered christmas lights along the shepherds crook and we set up a wreath. My parents always loved Xmas (well at least my mom, and my dad did anything my mom asked of him).
I noticed “Angel Eyes” a statue of an angel as part of a family grave about 50 feet down from where they are was there and a bit worn looking. Angel Eyes is sort of a cemetery icon, and as teenagers we would run up to her at night and dear each other to sleep on the “death bed” beside her. I had remembered earlier this week I had scanned a photo of Angel Eyes from 1994 so I present to you the passing of 23 years (1994 to 2017). It is amazing how time slips by. I think I might have to do a photo session with the graveyard itself, it is still the most beautiful one I have seen ever.
The only thing that really bothered me and still bothers me is that it was obvious no one had visited their grave. I suspect I am the only one that visits, which is ok in the end. Wolsey pointed out we were the only ones that tried to take care of them when they were alive, somehow it seems fitting it is only us now. Even though I understand that, it still makes me angry, especially with my sister who has done nothing, not offered to help with anything and was the source of a lot of real grief when both parents passed (that is part of the upcoming continuing posts of my parents passing, still so angry I can’t write it).
So there it was, a fairly easy going trip up to Bellingham and then back home.
Yesterday the husband and I went up to Bellingham early. The purpose was to visit my mom’s grave, as it was her birthday a short time ago, we had just gotten the solar Christmas lights they would want, and then to continue my photography project where I photograph all of the old places I lived.
The first place in Bellingham we stopped at was Fred Meyer’s for flowers and a super rich, chocolate frosted, chocolate cupcake with a chocolate straw and sprinkles on it. My mom loved chocolate cake with chocolate icing and would always sneak it in even with her diabetes.
We visited their grave and noted that our solar candle and wind chimes are still there. That was a surprise to both of us as we figured when we put them up in May, we would have to replace them every few months either due to teenagers, or just the weather.
We pulled out the solar Christmas lights and realized we didn’t have any ties to run it up the shepherds crook. We will be going up the weekend after Thanksgiving to put a Christmas wreath on it so we will just put the lights up then. We would wait closer to Christmas to spread out the going up now and then, but with the hubby’s surgery the following Tuesday Nov. 28th, we won’t be able to come up until after Christmas.
I felt a bit guilty since I hadn’t been up there in almost five months and due to work/injuries and stress I put off doing it. My goal is to come up four times a year to visit, both of their birthdays, wedding anniversary and Christmas. I realize over time this will probably lessen, but I guess there hasn’t been enough time yet.
While we were up there, we went to visit my brother who had just gotten out of rehab and is temporarily staying at his ex’s place with his kids. We dropped off a HD video camera we bought about five years ago since our phones and my camera match it to them. The kids evidently have youtube channels and wanted a better camera to film. I am glad to see my brother, sister (in-law unofficially) and younger grouping of nephew and niece.
We then went around to the remaining places I lived in Bellingham and photographed them as they look now. All I have left after this is the Everett, Lake Stevens, and Seattle areas, but the Whatcom County areas for living are done. I was incredibly pleased when they hubby said I could photograph his old places he lived in before being with me. We will do that the weekend we come up to put the wreath and lights up. I also told him I considered doing the same of a project of all the places I worked (dozens and dozens of places, literally), because it is a larger scale then the living, we will see if that goes that way.
We then left town and on our way back stopped by Flyer’s Restaurant and Brewery (their Burlington location). I will probably do a full Yelp review, but suffice to say the burger was really good, the staff was nice, but it was not quite the atmosphere we were looking for.
We were wanting to check it out as a possible entry in our 2019 book we are trying to get started that is a guide to greasy spoons and American diners in Western Washington. Way to upscale a place. Its on the Skagit Regional Airport and people literally can fly their small planes in and park next to the restaurant. Not what we were looking for, but still pretty good meals.
We then got home and before I could pull of my walking cast and rest, the drain pipe of our garbage disposal cracked and spilled everywhere. Hubby was great, he jumped in, cleaned up the water as I watched helplessly unable to help with my cast. We then called maintenance and they put a plug on the drain and supposedly this week they will repair it (replace is probably more likely).
Well that was my day today, went pretty well overall. All that matters is I got to spend it with my best friend and husband (yes they are the same person).
I woke up a little confused this morning, dreams of my mom and dad. Then when I sat down I realized she had passed away a year ago today, on their 46th wedding anniversary (today would be their 47th anniversary). Of course it happened that way, my parents loved each other too much to go long without seeing one another. My mom liked holidays so this seems perfectly in her style to pick one of her favorite holidays to pass.
She didn’t do well after my dad passed away in February of 2016. She was lonely a lot, and I couldn’t be with her daily (but at least weekly I was). I did call her multiple times a day, every day and she seemed buoyed by it. Then my brother stayed with her. She tried hard to keep things going, but in the end her body couldn’t hold up to her grief.
Although she was incredibly brave, and remarkably at peace as things failed her. She didn’t want to be here anymore. As her heart was giving out, we talked with her and she went into hospice. By this time we were driving up daily to see her. So many things happened I will talk about later. I remember her asking me for the days in hospice what day it was. She wanted to make it so badly to their anniversary. It was important to her.
I kept telling her it wasn’t “today” yet. Eventually that day did come, no matter how much I wished it wouldn’t. Their anniversary arrived quietly on a hot summer day, and as we went up to see her in the hospice house I knew it would be for the last time.
We arrived there, met with family, drama and a desire that I could whisk her away somewhere she could get true peace. We sat with her for hours, she was slowly fading, but would occasionally stir and say something garbled.
I was holding her hand most of the day, she was less responsive then the previous days. I leaned over and whispered to her that it was ok, today was her anniversary she had been waiting for and it was ok to go. She was mostly unconscious but she still squeezed my hand.
We stayed a few more hours, and I thought I had been wrong. Not more than 30 minutes later, while we were still driving through Mount Vernon on our way home, I got a call from my sister. She had passed away. I was numb for the rest of the car ride, but that will be talked about in a future post (along with everything else that happened around her passing).
I love you mom. I still miss you and I hope you are in a better place. Even with all the issues our family had, I am grateful you were my mother. I know you loved all of us deeply.
It is funny, I still remember you more towards the way you looked in the 1970s.
Oh, and my mom was a stickler about holidays, ALL OF THE HOLIDAYS, so I know she expects me to wish her and my dad a happy anniversary, 47 years ago today. So HAPPY 47th ANNIVERSARY MOM AND DAD!
I love you, just wanted you to know that we love you, and we miss you and dad.
I am trying to track my dreams again. This morning it was a longer dream, but I laid in bed long enough that a lot of it disappeared.
I dreamt me and the husband were living in a house. My parents were living there as well as my brother. We had been running around doing different things away from the house. I know that involved mostly just me and my hubby, when we got back the place was still cluttered. There were Battletech photocopies everywhere, moving boxes and just a messy floor.
I started cleaning things up and putting them away. For some reason I clearly remember sweeping the floor and picking up the Battletech books and photocopies. I was wondering where my parents were and as I was sweeping I realized why they were gone.
I started looking around in some of the side rooms of the house and couldn’t find them at all, which is unusual since my parents wouldn’t usually leave the house unless they were drinking and I knew they weren’t drinking. I got up to their room and found it empty. That is when it hit me, I knew that they wouldn’t be back.
Then I woke up.
I woke up last night, New Year’s Day at 1:44am panicking that I had missed a phone call from my parents. It was a ritual since I moved out in 1990, my mom or dad would call, wish me Happy New Year. It took me a few seconds to realize I hadn’t missed a phone call. With my mom passing in July and my dad earlier in February, there wouldn’t ever be another call. That thought woke me up harder than a glass of cold water hitting me in the face.
As I laid there it dawned on me the troubled past I have had with the phone. Not just cell phone, but even back when we just had landlines during the time of the dinosaurs. Phones have always been an anxious point for me, I wonder if last night might be the crescendo and as we go they will be less anxious as time pass.
The only people I have ever regularly called were my parents. No one else, not even my husband. With everyone else I almost always rely on text. However, my parents didn’t like technology beyond 1988 so the phone was how they talked to me.
There was good parts. I would talk with them daily, sometimes more than once a day. They would tell me about their day, what had been happening. My mom would talk about family or stuff she saw on tv, documentaries, news broadcasts. My dad loved to tell me about a movie he saw and that he thought I would really like. They both would call daily just to tell both the hubby and I that they loved us. I am not joking, when I say every single day.
The bad parts were not as numerous, but they are what caused the anxiety. When I was younger (mid-thirties and earlier) I was anxious because I would get one of two types of bad calls intermixed with the good calls. The call that my dad was in jail, due to some fight he got into when he was drunk.
The other, and even more anxiety driven part was when he would call drunk. He was a severe alcoholic and he would rant, or possibly yell if we had a fight earlier. Mostly it was apologizing for being an alcoholic and for the poverty and anxiety we went through when I was a kid. Occasionally he would call and yell about something. This usually resulted in me hanging up. I knew that my parents were incredibly loving parents, they supported me in everything and went hungry so we could eat. However, they were unable to cope as fully as adults due to the alcoholism, and my dad’s multiple brain injuries and experiences in Vietnam.
Those phone calls would keep me up for days. I have since learned I have PTSD and that is what it would set off. It didn’t change they were good parents for almost all other aspects, but the alcoholism made it so they were in poverty, violence surrounding us, and in various levels of homelessness after I was 10 years old.
After my mid-thirties things changed. My parents stopped drinking as much, and within a few years stopped drinking altogether. However, the bad calls now were health related. My mom had a major heart attack, minor heart attacks, breast cancer, mini-strokes, blood clots and severe health issues with her diabetes. In part, due to lifestyle choices including smoking, drinking and hard drugs when they were younger.
My dad’s health also started tanking in my mid-thirties. He was diagnosed with a terminal lung disease, and since he was poor and on social security by this time there were no other options given. However, he continued on for almost a decade when he originally only had two years to live.
So the bad calls had lessened compared to the drunken calls, but each time I got one I was told one of my parents had gone to the ER, and sometimes included the phrase “they might not make it.” Over the last three years or so these calls had intensified to almost monthly. The hubby and I several times had to miss work or even leave from work depending on when the call came.
This resulted in me never leaving my phone at home. I don’t think I ever left my cell phone home since we got one in 2006. It was always on me, and I always answered the phone from my parents no matter where I was. If I was busy I would excuse myself and go talk to them. Most of the time it was a good call and I would never tell them they interrupted me. I liked the good calls and didn’t want to have them hesitate in calling me. Sometimes however it was a bad call. These are the calls that dictated how I handled my phone. These are the calls that made me unable to let my parents go to voicemail.
Fast forward months after they passed, the hubby noticed one day last week that I hadn’t brought my phone with us at all. I had forgotten it. He was surprised and commented on it. It was strange, I didn’t feel anxious having left it at home. I had never before not been worried about who might call, after all I was with the most important person in my life.
So I laid there this morning. My heart still pounding a bit from waking up and thinking I had missed the call. My grief which still hasn’t been handled was hiding away from me, just lurking at the edges. Even like that though, I know it will get easier. I won’t say better, but definitely easier.
Maybe I don’t need to worry about my phone anymore.
Normally the holidays are a bit stressful from me. Usually my parents would be behind a rock and a hard place cash wise. I would have screaming nephews and nieces who need presents and my siblings are doing whatever they are doing. This doesn’t even include the hubby and I’s personal holiday celebrations. So stress during the holidays was normal (along with a huge cash hit).
Fast forward to this year and I found that it has been stressful last couple of weeks. My sleep pattern has shifted negatively (common during this time of year), and I know I have been raw emotionally in reacting to people. However it is different then previous years.
Today we went shopping for Thanksgiving for the first time after my parents passing. It’s funny I will go for a bit of time without thinking about them now, but the shopping for Thanksgiving specifically brings back the awkward holidays. Fortunately the drinking ended years ago, but there was always a need for us to spend about $100 extra to feed the rest of the family. I didn’t begrudge my parents, but the rest of the family was a little harder.
Combine this with the last minute requests from my mom was definitely always a stressful time in the holidays. Don’t take it as something I hated, I loved holidays with my parents, even if we constantly threatened we weren’t going to do it the next year. Last year we followed through on our threat and did something different. We had catered thanksgiving with just the hubby, myself and both parents and it was fantastic. Even dad said it was probably the best thanksgiving in a decade. Funny enough, it was also cheaper to cater it for four people than to provide just our portion of the overall homemade Thanksgiving dinner.
The hubby and I have always talked about what it would be like when the holidays were ours. It was always a far off thing, and even at the start of this year we assumed at least another four or five years before things happened. Well that wasn’t how it progressed at and with both parents gone in six months we went from full family to a hard off. We have no intention on meeting with siblings and extended family (the deaths of both parents, but especially dad really tore some holes in those relationships).
The idea of just staying home, enjoying the hubby’s food (and my baking of course) and just watching tv/playing video games was so entrancing. Especially during those years when we did both families and the nightmare of hubby’s parents then to my parents.
So we were wandering around Winco shopping and I was struck with a weird sense of anxiety mixed with sadness. For the first time in a month I had stepped into the grocery store and pulled out my phone automatically as if I was going to call my parents and ask them what they needed for thanksgiving. I caught myself and went back to wandering the aisles with the hubby.
We wandered through the place, picked up a whole lot of groceries for thanksgiving. I wasn’t necessarily sad, just more nostalgic that I wasn’t picking up stuff for our old trip to Bellingham. We got to the cash register and it was almost $100 cheaper than we normally expect for holidays.
So we came away from Winco and I feel a little bad. I miss my parents and I assume my anxiety will get worse before it gets better. But I am really looking forward to just spending time with the hubby as well.
Had a strange dream that I woke up pretty early from. It was a group of us sitting around, I believe myself, Jello, maybe Ted, Torie and maybe Sean. Also there were both of my parents (older).
We were going through a pile of Shadowrun books, mostly trying to figure out weapons and characters. Something about a submarine was involved as well. There were pictures we were trying to refer back to, and I think Jello was asking about a specific picture but we couldn’t find which book.
During this I mentioned some of the books were mine (I believe there was an “ork” book for Shadowrun I had in my hand). My mom mentioned for some reason that that specific book wasn’t mine. I popped it open and was expecting my name to be in the front page but it wasn’t. It had someone else’s name. I was sure it was actually my book, since none of our group had owned the book. I flipped through that book and a couple other books and while I did that, the books came apart at the binding.
Meanwhile my mom started talking about terrorism. Some things seemed right, some things I tried to correct her on. I ended up waking up alarmed and uncomfortable. Nothing bad had happened, no issues, no monsters, no one hurt. Not sure what was up with that dream.
I woke up this morning at 3:30. Not a huge surprise, I am an anxious person, with an anxiety disorder and our life is currently a bit stressful. Also doesn’t help that my job requires me to be up by about 4:15am at the latest anyways and there is a switch in me that if I have to get up too early too often my circadian rhythm gets messed up and anxiety attacks will hit me.
However, this anxiety was due to a bit of dreams (which are just a blur now, I waited to long to post), my current employment situation, but mostly my parents. Things have seemed to settle well for them, they are on the wagon and their health has stabilized. It sounds weird I would have an anxiety attack about them when things are going well, but for some reason that is the trigger for me. Evidently I like anxiety on some subconscious level.
I think my biggest anxiety is the fact that my dad’s 66th birthday is Monday. I realize he isn’t very old, but there health makes them about 10 years older in body then in years. I feel guilty/sad that I haven’t “made it rich” enough to support them as they get older. This means I have less time to take care of them like I want. I barely can support my husband, let alone do much more then a food run for my parents. It isn’t like my parents expect it, or that anyone outside my own head looks poorly on me (in fact my parents are very proud of how far I have gotten).
I guess it is just a way for my mental issues to rise up and remind me that they haven’t left yet.
I just woke up from a horrible dream. Not a zombie, nightmare infested dream but one that could happen.
We were at an older house, one that had fallen into a lot of disrepair. It belonged to an old lady who I never saw the face of, but we could hear in the background freaking out about the fact she might have to leave. We decided to start cleaning in the kitchen, anything to get her place into a liveable condition. The kitchen was pretty darn bad, it looked like one of those “hoarder” type setups, full of garbage and other debris, along with a broken down feeling.
I started cleaning the walls and noticed they were a weird stucco type texture. As I dug into cleaning, I realized they were stucco because of dirt, grime, but especially because of bug eggs everywhere. As I cleaned, the eggs would hatch, mostly cockroaches, but other types of bugs. This isn’t very surprising, I do have a weird phobia with roaches and of course if this was a bad dream it would have that.
It was at this point I noticed the floor had holes in it. It was an old style wooden floored building. However, the hole was pretty big around, I would say almost a foot across. As I cleaned I noticed more and more insects crawling out. Over a couple minutes that I kept killing them, the insects were larger and larger as well. I eventually yelled back at the old lady that she has to come with us as I woke up trying to get her to move.
Now, that may seem like a weird dream. However, at the end I realized it was about my parents. My parents are having their health decline severely lately. They can’t clean as well, which we help with, due to inability to reach places. Their apartment isn’t like the one in the dream. Except two large issues.
The first issue is the floor by the second door into their living room. It is rotten through. You can feel the floor boards give under the carpet that no matter how often you clean, it begins to develop a mold (I assume its because the floor pushes through to under the apartment crawlspace). Supposedly they have talked with the landlords and the landlords are trying to figure out what to do about it. The problem being is my parents don’t want to move. They love the apartment and they are scared to. So it sounds like the landlord is trying to figure out if they can repair the floor while my parents stuff is there (I could repair it, but landlords are always funny, if my parents have even really talked with them).
The second issue is something I can handle, its just a bit of money up front. ALL of my parents furniture is used, ratty and pretty much destroyed (well not pretty much, it is). They haven’t had new furniture in decades, all of these are things that were at goodwill and they have had for 6+ years, or things my dad has been able to find and bring home. They have already agreed to let me buy them a used sofa/couple of padded chairs to replace them, I just haven’t been able to do that lately.
I think I am going to need to do that next weekend. The furniture is incredibly bad due to their health, but especially because of their dog and just the fact it is old furniture. They were fortunate and got a new bed last year so that part is good, the bed is in good shape. I think I will contact the local “We Care” and see if they have any good used furniture for sale. I saw a few years ago they carried some nice stuff, and its for a nice charity. If not I will have to go to another place. I will also have to rent a U-Haul pickup, theirs is dying, to deliver the old stuff to the dump and the new stuff back to the apartment the same day.
Well, I am starting to calm down. I doubt I will sleep the rest of the day, but maybe I will play some video games or something.
Freaked out would be an understatement. I am sorry to everyone who has to read this. I hate bitching about my situation but I am pretty worried about my mother.
For those of you that don’t know I got a call at 7am this morning. My mother had a major heart attack, after hours of tracking down where her and my father were we met up. She seems pretty happy, in good spirits and pretty positive.
Here is the problem, she is a patient at the Doctors office I work for, he wanted to check on her and we found out that her heart CK was 1438, the normal range is 24-170, anything above that is major damage. That means her CK was 20+ times bigger then average which signifies a huge amount of possible heart damage. The kind that can easily have people die shortly thereafter to complications or to a second heart attack (actually the fact that she survived the first attack was due to the uncharacteristic showing of her heart attack, she had an attack like a man. Most women when they have heart attacks think they have backaches, she had a full on chest crimping pain).
Now, the numbers indicate a very very grim situation, but the Cardio unit my mom is in thinks she might be released tommorrow and the cardio tech watching her heart says she has a lot of optimism. Now my mother hasn’t been able to talk to the heart doc but then again neither have we. So on one hand we have a Cath lab that says she is in gravest of situations and on the other hand it seems like the worst is over.
Either way I won’t find out until 7am tomorrow when the doctor does his rounds (I am going in to talk and sit with her at 630am). I am damn worried about losing her, not only that but it wouldn’t be long until my father would become “crazy vietnam vet guy” and probably not live long after her. I am worried about losing my mother and the possibility of my father.
I feel inside this is doubly unfair since they have had alcohol problems for the first 30 years of my life (worse as I got older) and for the last two they have been sober, its almost as if whatever greater power is out there is using them like a carrot to dangle in front of me, saying now that they are happy and sober I am not allowed to have a relationship with them.
Sorry, freaked out, worrying and ranting. I will stop now.
I just hope my mother is ok.