Dec 032014
 

Death has been on my mind a lot lately. A few people I know peripherally have lost someone close to them in the week, both were children. One was due to a long battle with an illness, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

Recently Michael and I met with an attorney to to have a Will drawn up. It seemed like the responsible thing to do as adults and newlyweds who have assets. It didn’t bother me going into it because I’m practical and pragmatic in most things. I’m a planner. If I can plan for something, I will over-plan for it. That’s just who I am. So we met with a local attorney and had the papers drawn up. It still didn’t bother me until it got down to the nitty-gritty stuff. Like who gets the animals if we both go at the same time? I sure as hell don’t want them sitting in a cage at the humane society, where my cats will most likely be euthanized because they are older. I know that when we have kids someday and update this shit it’s going to be even more complicated and emotionally trying–who will take care of them when we both go?

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We also filled out Advance Health Directives–you know, the unplug me if I’m not waking up kind of forms. I’ve always known that I didn’t want my life prolonged if I was never going to wake up or get better. I watched two aunts die very slow, very painful deaths due to a genetic disease that had them in a nursing home with a feeding tube unable to communicate for the last decade of their lives. As a little kid visiting them, I knew then and there I didn’t want that. So it was fairly easy for me to fill out my wishes for the Directive.

It wasn’t comfortable, by any means. Especially when Michael and I started discussing different things and scenarios. We both tried to make jokes, to lighten the mood, but it was still uncomfortable.

I don’t know that anyone deals with loss very well. I know that I didn’t deal well with the big loss of my life, my grandfather. That was the start of my weight gain and depression issues. I had a flare-up of similar feelings this summer as I was preparing to marry the love of my life. It should have been a happy time. Mostly it was, but the stressors that popped up in the planning process triggered feelings in me I didn’t know how to deal with. Well, I did, I ate food I shouldn’t have. Hence the pounds creeping on. The closer the wedding got, the more anxious I felt. I withdrew from a lot of people, I was irritable and cranky, I felt overwhelmed. I couldn’t shake the feeling that something horrible might happen to interfere with the wedding. My internal monologue was, I don’t deserve to be happy, something is going to ruin this. I won’t get my “DAY”.  I talked about this with my therapist. She tried to help me address the irrational anxiety attacks I was suffering from and honestly, once the wedding day was here, everything WAS alright and I WAS happy and nothing was ruined.

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Sure, these are all irrational fears and thoughts, everyone has them. But they were really overwhelming for me. I struggled. I didn’t share these feelings with very many people. I tried to share them with Michael but he doesn’t understand anxiety. He thinks it’s just something you can shut off. “Just stop thinking about it.” Mmmm. Right. I’ll do that.

Anyways. Last night after I got home from the gym, after Michael and I had eaten a delicious dinner he prepared for me and we settled in to watch some TV and relax, I saw something on Instagram from another blogger that made my heart stop and the breathe in my chest pause. She lost her husband.

You may have seen her blog, My Bizzy Kitchen, or you may have seen her comments on my blog. I’ve been a huge fan of her blog for years, since I first discovered blogs. She’s diabetic and counts her calories and her outlook on life has always been upbeat and positive when it comes to weight loss and keeping it off. Her recipes always look delicious and I’ve just enjoyed her posts over the years…

I knew her husband was really sick. He’d been in the hospital off and on this year and most recently he was there for an extended period of time. While I knew it it was serious from the bits and pieces she shared on her blog I had no idea it was this grave. When she posted last night that he had passed away at home surrounded by family, my heart broke for her and everyone there with her. Words just can’t describe how sad it made me feel.

It reminded me just how fragile life is. Things can change in a moment, completely unexpected, completely unplanned for. The rug is pulled out from your feet and you are on the floor on your back with a dazed feeling. That shock of grieve is something that, once you experience, you never forget. The disbelief. The sadness. The anger. All of it. I’ve felt it several times in my lifetime–my grandfather, my coworker a few years ago and one of my coworker’s daughters that died suddenly.

I hugged Michael and tried not to cry, feeling really sad about this blogger’s sudden sorrow. I started to think about the things that make me unhappy in my life and once again I asked myself, “If I died tomorrow, would I be satisfied with how I spent my time?” Would I be glad I spent time at a job that, while I enjoy the WORK, the environment is a toxic cesspool of unhappy, negative people? Would I be satisfied with how I spent my free time? Spending hours on Netflix disengaging because I just needed to escape? Or should I have spent that time doing something more fulfilling?  What about the countless hours every week I spend in the gym working out when I could be spending it with my husband and friends? People I love? Is the calorie burn more important than that? Is getting up early on the weekend to make a fitness class more important that sleeping in or snuggling with my husband for hours and being lazy? What about that Lean Cuisine I ate for dinner when what I really wanted was something REAL and delicious and nurturing? Was staying under my calories for the day more important that a happy, healthy, satisfied body?

These are things I think about often. I don’t know the answer to any of them. I’m sure we all have feelings of regret like this. It’s important not to be overwhelmed by these feelings. Not every moment of every waking person’s life needs to be focused on the bigger picture…sometimes the stuff we HAVE to do, or SHOULD do really are the priority. But what about that trip to Italy I’ve wanted to take my whole life? I keep putting it off because the money saved should be spent on something PRACTICAL and I don’t want credit card debt…but what if I never get to see Italy?

I think we all get hit with these thoughts and feelings once in awhile. If you are a fan of MyBizzyKitchen, go over to her blog and send her some good vibes. I’m sure this is a really hard time for her and her family. My heart goes out to them. Hug your loved ones.

 

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Jul 092014
 

A few weeks before Easter my Grandma, the one who has been in assisted living/apartment, fell and broke her knee and elbow and hit her head. It was a pretty bad fall. She’s had a lot of strokes over the last 10 years, some worse than others, and was having some other issues. My dad was on vacation in Tucson when he got the call from the doctor that she wasn’t doing well. He knew by the voice of the doctor that has cared for my grandma for years that it was serious. He packed up and left the next day to drive from Tucson to Seattle to see her in time.

She was in the hospital and had chose not to do heroic measures. Her stomach was having bleeding that went into her abdomen and I’m sure it wasn’t comfortable. My mom told me the news that she wasn’t doing great and that the doctor said she had a few days to a few weeks to maybe a month. They weren’t sure. I called my grandma and spoke to her the next day. My mom was there with her. She could understand what I was saying and could still talk but was having a delay in her responses. I’m glad I got to talk to her when she was still lucid. When we ended the phone call my mom said she told her “I’m going to the wedding.” That made me sad–I knew she probably wouldn’t be.

I sent her a card with two cute kittens on the cover and when she got it my aunt read it to her and set it next to her hospital bed so she could see it when she rolled over. I’m glad the card got to her in time for her to see it and understand what it said.

For weeks we all waited. Every time the phone rang I figured it was my mom calling to tell me the news. But she was hanging on. Instead of a few weeks, she’s had a few more months now. She’s in an nursing home/hospice type place now and my parents go and check on her every few days or so. Over the holiday weekend I decided to drive up to Seattle to see her. I felt like I’d been blessed with a few extra months so I could have the chance to see her again.

Michael stayed home with Bella and I drove up to Seattle. I didn’t know what to expect or how bad it would be. I left Portland after the Warrior Room Saturday morning and thankfully missed a lot of the holiday traffic. I got to Seattle about 3ish and my mom and I went to see my grandma. I got some flowers for her–orange-red carnations.

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Thankfully she recognized me and was happy to see me. I sat next to her bed and chatted with her. With the strokes it’s hard for her to communicate. I can tell she understands most of what is said and she tries really hard to respond but the words get jumbled and don’t always make sense or come out in the right order.

I told her about Bella and she remembered her dog from 20 something years ago. Talked about our veggie garden, the wedding plans, the honeymoon, other family members that have visited her. She wanted to see my ring. She wasn’t in great shape. :( My mom and I stayed about an hour and I think it wore her out so we left soon after that. It’s very strange to say goodbye to someone and know that it’s probably the last time you will ever see them.

We went home and I had dinner with my parents and then my mom and I went to the store to rent some movies. She wanted to get Father of the Bride. :) Unfortunately we couldn’t find that. It’s funny how you don’t realize no video rental stores would actually be disappointing. I have netflix at home but my parents don’t. We ended up renting 21 Jump Street (which Michael and I had actually watched a few days ago and yes, it was that good that I was willing to watch it again) and Non-Stop with Liam Nissan. It was a nice evening with the folks.

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My dad told me about his upcoming motorcycle trip and I checked out the bike. It’s been undated since I was a kid and he’s currently working on a few of the issues before he leaves. I remember riding with him when I was a kid! It was fun and terrifying at the same time!

After the movies I went to bed and felt sad about my Grandma. I started to think about how I don’t know a lot about my dad’s side of the family and our family history. My dad’s dad was adopted so that makes it even more difficult to find out family heritage. I regretted not finding out more while I had the chance. Unfortunately my grandma couldn’t communicate the family history now even if she remembered it. I was feeling pretty down and could have used a hug from Michael and some cuddles from the beasts.

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That’s my dad–probably barely 18 years old when he joined the Marines and soon to be off to Vietnam. That picture was on the dresser in the spare bedroom. Hard to believe he was ever that young!!

The next day I had breakfast with my folks and we relaxed on the deck chatting for a bit before it was time for me to jet. I wanted to miss the holiday traffic on the drive home if that was even possible. I was leaving Seattle and feeling homesick. Whenever I visit I feel like moving back. Anyways, I got lucky again and made good time back to Portland. I was happy to be home. Fat Kitty and Bella created me and I’ve never seen Bella more excited and spastic! LOL It was nice to get a hug from Michael and I came home to a nice little gift:

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The neighbor girl was selling rocks she painted and Michael bought me one. :) Anyways, so that’s my random-makes-no-sense post.

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