Friday, June 20, 2014


Time healing all wounds is a matter of perspective. I know from experience that for most people in the community Jason's death is an event that happened six months ago. In collective experience six months is a long time. I remember when the towers were attacked on September 11th. Like the rest of the world I was shocked. I was not sure if I should continue on with the plans for my day. I did, simply because I could not think of a reason not to. I drove to Liberal and went grocery shopping. Everybody I met was in the same state of shock I was. The thought that made me the saddest was knowing that in a few days, or maybe weeks, my life would go back to the how it had been. So many people were suffering a tragedy that would hurt for the rest of their lives, and I would be ok in a few weeks. I was right. It did not take long for the every day tasks of my life to smother my thoughts of a tragedy so far away. I know that this same thing is happening concerning the death of my son. 

Jason's death is becoming something people will talk about without emotion. They will shake their heads in sadness, remember where they were when they heard the news, but remembering will not make them feel as if a knife is twisting in their heart.

For me the pain has changed also. I no longer feel that raw, horrible pain that was with me for the first few months. I do not wake up and feel as if I have been kicked in the gut when I remember. The pain is now an ache that resonates through my soul. I miss my son. It has been six months since I have seen him, hugged him, since he has made me smile. There is no cure for my missing him. I know that this is the shortest time I will have been away from him. Everyday the time between us grows longer. My pain grows in size. Soon it will be bigger than me.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

For several months I have actively tried to balance my time so that I was both keeping busy and spending time alone with my grief. Lately though I have lost that balance. Somehow I let myself slip into a constantly busy mode. I do not think this has been good for me. I find myself fighting back tears at work more often. If I do not find time to deal with my emotions they are going to overwhelm me.

Part of the reason is having the girls living here. It is hard to find time for yourself when you have a baby in the house. Twice in the last week I have wanted to give up. I felt like I needed to quit trying to raise children, quit everything. I just wanted to be left all alone. I do not handle stress as well as I used to and raising children is stressful. Especially when the children legally belong to someone else, someone who is erratic and hard to deal with.

Today I had the most beautiful day. The morning I spent with Lane and the baby. He laid his head in my lap while we watched soccer highlights. She kept pushing his head with her foot in an attempt to claim her territory. After lunch I dropped the baby off with my mom and drove Beezus and Ramona to the Two Buttes Reservoir to jump off of the cliffs. Back at home I took a long shower then drank a glass of wine with Fria Chica while we sat in hammock chairs and watched the sunset. It was a wonderful day off.

Tired, I was in bed before eleven. Around midnight Lane woke me up to talk about a pickup he wanted to buy. I fell quickly back to sleep. Over an hour later I hear Lane say, "I'm going to the beat the shit out of that boy." The door slammed. He was gone before I jumped out of bed.  I knew right away which boy he was talking about. Beezus has been running around with an eighteen year old boy from a neighboring town. Lane asked around about him and what he found concerned us both.  He had come home that night to find his pickup pulling away from the house and Beezus's bed filled with a wad of clothes. She came in quickly to insist she had just been out at the hammocks. Lane came home without having fought. He did stop the boy on the highway out of town and threaten him. The boy insisted he had just been buying her cigarettes. Lane pointed out that he was buying cigarettes for  a fifteen year old and that in Kansas anything he did with a fifteen year old was illegal.

Through all of this the only thing Beezus seemed concerned about was her phone. Lane had taken it from her. I had taken it from him. She does not seem to have any concern for the people around her. She is very much like my sister.

I could not fall asleep as quickly after this interruption. I am worried Lane will be hurt because of me trying to do the right thing.  Frankly I am also worried about Beezus somehow hurting all of us because I am trying to do the right thing. Trying to keep this girl out of trouble is a fulltime job for Lane and I. It is way too much stress for both of us right now.

As I slowly started to slip back to sleep the baby woke up. She had been sleeping fitfully for awhile. She crawls in her sleep sometimes. This time she crawled into a wall. The bump on her head woke her up. Something kept her awake and crying for an hour. She is teething. It also seemed like she might have a stomach ache.

I do not want to do this anymore.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

It has been six months today since I found Jason. I am not sure if that is why Lane and I have been so emotional today or if it is just a coincidence. After working a half a day I came home and was immediately irritated with the kids. Lane and I argued off and on all day. During a point while we were not arguing he mentioned that he thought he was depressed. I responded in what I thought was a helpful way. That just started another fight.

While we were arguing, not long after I came home, I found a water leak under the kitchen sink. It was an easy one to fix. Soon I was turning the water back on. For some reason there was only a small stream of water coming from the kitchen sink. While we were looking for the cause of this lack of water another pipe broke. We decided to just replace the faucet with an extra one my brother had given me.

After a whole day of trying to take out the old faucet we still have no water. There is a fitting I just cannot get to budge. The prospect of working all day with Lane made me happy. Apparently he did not feel the same. He gave up on the project when we realized how hard it was going to be.  I know I am surrounded by people who love me, but it seems like when life gets to be the hardest I am always alone. Most likely I cause this myself by pushing people away and refusing to ask for help. It just seems like people usually let me down when I need them so it is easier to just go it alone.

I came to bed and tried to sleep. This is the night the baby decided to wake up crying at midnight. So here I am awake.  She is sleeping soundly now. Maybe I will be able to go back to sleep soon. I am ready for a good day.

Monday, June 09, 2014

     I spent most of my day feeling despondent. A string of good days is still followed by a bad day or two. Yesterday I could feel the mood settling in. I had spent Saturday night in Amarillo with my boyfriend. It is simple phrases like that last one that make my head itch and my stomach ache.
      I have been dating the man who came to Rolando's birthday party.  We took his two daughters to Amarillo to do some shopping. Even admitting it here that I have a boyfriend makes me cringe. Obviously my flaws as a parent are apparent now. How can I have a boyfriend, try for any level of happiness, when my son has only been dead for six months? There is a battle going on inside of me. It is between the faction that knows I have to try and live and the faction that insists I am a horrible person for being able to do so.
      Sitting here alone in my room crying won't make Jason any more alive. I also feel that I am showing Lane how to move on too. He has become indecisive since Jason died. He has made it clear he won't move away from home. Because of this he turned down a scholarship to WSU and decided at the last minute not to sign with the Navy.  Then, just a couple of days ago, he told me that after he finishes the vo-tech course he is signed up for he is planning on moving to Colorado. Inside I was ecstatic.  Even talking about moving away is a big step for him.
     However, there is that faction of me that is disgusted. If I truly loved my son would I be able to go to Amarillo and have fun? It would have been different if it had been my nieces I took down to shop. Then it would seem like a necessity. I was not necessary on this trip. Although his youngest daughter did seem excited to have somebody to try on dresses for and to talk about boys with. I did make her shudder though when I mentioned that her dad was cute. It was just a frivolous weekend for me. Somehow I can't stop that thought from making me sick.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

I have not mastered being an adult yet.

For some much needed levity I will tell a ridiculous and true story.  Thursday I night I stopped by Anna's house for a few minutes. We had only planned to stay a few minutes, but it was a beautiful night and Anna offered me a glass of wine so the baby and I stayed for several hours. We talked while the baby crawled in the grass. The trees looked nice against the pink sky at sunset. Baby had her bottle and fell asleep in my arms. Having drank a couple of glasses of water and four glasses of wine in as many hours. I decided it was time to walk home.

The baby stayed asleep on my shoulder. I held the diaper bag over the other arm. About halfway home I realized I really needed to use the toilet. I ran up the steps and burst into the empty house. I shucked off the diaper bag and started trying to undo my button with one hand while doing a pee dance. As I rushed through the bathroom door the button came undone, but I realized I did not have time to shimmy my shorts down with one hand. My body was starting without me. At the last moment I jumped in the shower and pissed my pants, a lot. The baby stayed asleep as I stood there thinking 'this is happening. This is part of my life now.'

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I had a lovely evening. I have had several nice nights in a row. These nice nights are hard on me. I know they will need to be paid for eventually.  It is a beautiful time of year right now. The sun does not go down until close to ten so it is perfect for sitting outside with a glass of wine and talking with friends.

Today at work I planned out all of the housework I would get done tonight. I was going to make pasta for dinner too. I came home to an empty house. I decided to eat some yogurt before going to my mom's to pick up the baby. Yogurt accomplished I found that the baby was not at my mom's. Her sisters had her. I started walking towards my sister's house, where I was sure they were. Then it hit me. If they had the baby and were not looking for me why was I looking for them?

I turned to walk home, but decided to stop by Anna's house on the way. Last night we had planned to have a few shots of Agavera with her neighbor. The man who I have been dating then called to say he was in the area. The two of us walked to Anna's and sat at her table drinking a beer while we waited on her to put her groceries away. There was a knock on the door. I answered it. I was not expecting it to be the police.

We sat quietly as the family drama unfolded. Anna's daughter was arrested. The man I was with had an expression on his face I took to be due to awkwardness. As the drama came to an end and we all three walked out of Anna's house and headed to her neighbors, tequila in hand, I learned that it was not awkwardness at all but sense of wanting to help and not being able to do so. That is how I always feel in these situations too. We all, Anna included, enjoyed the night together while we sat talking until the sun went down.

Today she sent me a text saying that her daughter was back at home. She has only been out of jail a few weeks since her last long stay, so I was happy to hear this. She has struggled with drug addiction for her whole adult life. She looks so healthy right now. We all hope she has reached a turning point. I stopped by to hear the details. We sat and talked over a few glasses of wine. I was drinking slowly because I knew the baby would show up soon. When she did she really enjoyed crawling around outside. She liked watching the dogs play, but was sure to keep her distance. By the time we came home she desperately needed a bath.

Before all of this. Before I started looking for the baby, but after the yogurt I went outside. I looked at the room Jason had died in. Suddenly I knew what I needed. Lately, especially when I am feeling happy or normal the picture of Jason hanging from the rafter has been floating behind my eyes. I am afraid to look others in the eye in case they can see it too. I walked up and started talking. Then I realized it was not a good time to lose it. I needed to wait until night time so I could be alone.

Now that I am alone, the baby is asleep, and the other kids are staying the night with friends, I feel the emotions building. I keep picturing one of the evenings soon after he overdosed on meth. Some of his friends and family members wanted to see him now that he was out of the hospital. It turned into an impromptu party/campfire at my house. Jason was not up to seeing that many people yet. He took some sleeping pills and crashed on my bed. I still remember how happy I was every time I peaked in my room and found him alive. A friend sat looking at the fire and said it had been a hard week, especially for me. I responded that I had had a great week. I could have spent the evening burying my son, instead I was celebrating that he was still alive.

Now I realize even more how much I had to be thankful for, everything can be lost in an instant. The next scene that pops in my head is of finding him hanging. His face is calm and relaxed looking. His lips and tongue are a dark purple, almost black. The phrase, "That really happened" keeps running through my head.

There is a part of me that does not believe I deserve happiness. The fact that I do sometimes smile and laugh is a sign of what a crappy mother I am. I know that I have to keep pushing through this until I do reach a place where I can be happy. Not like before, but as the person I am now. I a person who will always feel a great loss, but who had vowed to live her life anyway.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


I am a mess tonight. Any sort of stress sends me crying these days. Today was not a bad day, but it had its moments. I woke early and decided to go grocery shopping. I had not been intending to decorate Jason's grave today. For one reason I still think of Memorial Day as a day we honor vets, but mostly because I have never relied on a calendar to tell me when to think of someone. I feel the same way about Valentine's day. If a man is only going to act sweet and romantic one day a year because society tells him he should then I would rather he not bother.

Then a few people mentioned it to me, Rolando bought flowers for Jason's grave, and I felt guilty. So I decided that while I was shopping I would pick up flowers. At the store I looked over my list, saw that I was done, and headed to check out. Suddenly I remembered I was going to get flowers. I had forgotten them. I had forgotten the one thing I was going to do for him. I started crying in the store.

By time I had checked out and loaded the groceries in the car I felt better. Then on the drive home for some reason, it escapes me now, I was thinking about why I stayed in the same small town all of these years. I had wanted to give my children roots. I wanted them to have a place they called their hometown. I think some of my siblings would have been better adjusted adults if they would not have had to deal with the stress of always being the new kid as a child.

For all of my good intentions nothing changed. Jason still died. Tears flowing again. The thing is I cannot save anybody. I am trying to give my nieces a stable home for as long as I can, but it will not change anything. No matter how much I try to help the same problems will still course through my family and society flowing down the generations.

The drive was over. The kids helped carry in groceries. I felt better. A glass of wine with Anna and her husband, cookout with the Rolando's family, and then a game of Loteria and I was feeling happy. I took the girls for a walk. My nephew came along on his bike. It was a peaceful evening. I did not make it out to the cemetery, but I was fine with that.

Then after I had cuddled up with the baby and fell asleep my phone rang. It was Drama Queen. I did not answer it. She never calls at midnight with pleasant things to say. I drifted off again. My phone was buzzing as she sent me several messages.  I should not have read them, but I did. She said a few hateful things about me being a drunk and a hot mess. I ignored that. Then she told me she was giving the baby to her dad for the summer. I love this baby. Hopefully I'm wrong, or Drama Queen was lying, but I do not think this is a good idea.  The stress of worrying about this baby's future has brought me to full blown sobbing.

If I can go to sleep now I can sleep for five hours.

Sunday, May 25, 2014


I have not posted in a while, not even sure why. I have plenty to say. Having spent a lot of time driving has given me time to think out several posts. I just do not post them. Partly because having a baby is exhausting. At forty I thought I was firmly out of this stage of my life. Now that I am back in it for a while I remember how little else gets done when there is a baby in the house. Partly because I seem to be having trouble communicating lately.

After the kids had been here a week I drove Beezus and the baby back to Wichita. Beezus had a doctors appointment and I thought my sister would like to see the baby. Ramona refused to go. She was afraid her mom would try to keep her. My plan was to drop the girls off and drive on to Lawrence to see Lee. Of course that all hinged on how my sister was doing. On the phone she sounded better. She was trying to detox and get sober so she could get her kids back. That morning she looked stable. She was sober, but had the morning shakes. I hung around for a couple of hours to make sure before continuing on my way.

The time with Lee is exactly what I needed. He looked good. We talked about cooking, mixing drinks, movies, and life. We went to see the movie Under The Skin at the Liberty. I enjoyed the movie, but felt slow because I left the theater with so many questions. I left after a late breakfast the next day. It was a short visit, but worth the drive.

Beezus had another appointment the next week. She has been having stomach issues that have eluded diagnosis. This time she wanted to stay with her mom. She was ready to move back home. It was obvious that she was moving back because of a boyfriend and friends, but she is fifteen  now. That seems old enough to be able to make a few of her own mistakes. A drove to Wichita, dropped her off, and drove the four hours home. At that time Drama Queen was sure that she would be driving down to pick up the baby in a couple of weeks. That would have been this week we are starting today. At the time I really hoped she was right.

Last Monday I was exhausted. I had had a long weekend, which will deserve a post of its own. All day I kept thinking of the nap I was going to take as soon as possible. On the drive home from work Beezus called me. She was frantic, crying and hard to understand. Eventually I understood that her mom was drinking and violent again. She was outside the apartment and afraid to go back in. I could hear my sister yelling at her. A neighbor volunteered to drive her to Great Bend. This was a stroke of luck because it shortened my driving time by an hour, and I could avoid dealing with Drama Queen. I picked up Ramona, made a thermos of tea, and drove to get her. I did finally get to bed at two in the morning. 

Now that I am not expecting to have this baby back with her mother in a short time period I am settling into the role and enjoying it. Today I noticed that her top two teeth are coming in. It was calm and cool last night. The girls wanted a fire. While I built one I called my other niece over to roast hotdogs. It was the baby's first fire. She loved it. She waved her little hands and talked to the flames. My two youngest nieces, Ramona and Mimi, told me that I was their favorite aunt because I did fun things with them. It warmed my heart.

*See, I had to stop in the middle of writing this to feed the baby and put her back to sleep. Babies do not understand that they should not interrupt a person early in the morning. If you are awake this is a time to reflect. They are so uncivilized.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Spring is just a thought

It has been sprinkling off and on all day. The dirt has also been blowing all day. Basically it is raining mud. Except for when the sprinkling stops. That is when the dirt sticks to every drop of moisture to be found. After fighting its way through dirt filled clouds the sunlight has a tan cast to it. Add all this together and our world looks like a sepia photo from the past.

 On days like today it is easy to remember that the plains have not recovered from all of the damage that caused the dust bowl. Experts say it will take centuries for them to fully recover, if we continue to take care of them. Lessons from the past are easily forgotten, especially when money is to be made by forgetting them. I do not have much faith in humans as stewards of the earth. We have all the potential to do a great job of it, but are blinded by short term gains.

I want to go outside and enjoy spring. The lilacs are blooming, strawberries plants and asparagus are up, but it is too miserable to be outside. I am instead enjoying the last remnants of a cozy winter. Soon it will be over a hundred outside and I will miss sitting here wrapped in a blanket drinking hot chocolate. Today, during my lunch break, I am enjoying that. I am also enjoying a quiet house while the kids are at school. Having three extra kids means quiet time is harder to find.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

My birthday party/date

A man I have known for years asked me out last week. I hesitantly agreed.  Before Jason became sick I only dated men inappropriate for a long term relationship. I knew I was not ready to make any commitments any time soon. While Jason was sick I did not have the time or energy to date. Now I am pretty sure I am not stable enough for a relationship. This is a man I have known for years. He is smart, funny, and kind. I have known for a year or two that eventually he would ask me out, if he ever met me in a social setting. I was invited to a party a few weeks ago that I knew he would be at. I went and had a good time. We were drunk; he kissed me. I went home without giving him my number. He messaged me on Facebook and mentioned that he did not have my number. I messaged him back, but did not give him my number until a week later when he point blank asked for it. I was not trying to be rude, but that was a hard week for me, and I feel like he may be a suitable boyfriend. I do not know if I am ready for one of those yet.

A week went past before he asked me out. We decided Friday would be a good night. Then on Thursday I realized that Friday was Rolando's birthday. He has been a blessing for the whole family for years, but it was really apparent when Jason was sick. He took an active part in his recovery. He checked on him daily while I worked. He did everything he could to support him. Then when he died he did everything he could to support me. I asked Miss Universe if anybody had made plans to celebrate. Nobody had thought to do anything. I offered to make cake and dinner. Suddenly actual party plans began to form. 

I sent a text to my date. "Not probably the best first date choice, but would you mind a birthday party tomorrow night? There will be food." My family can be a bit overwhelming at first. At a party we are loud, vulgar, and drink copiously. If I wanted to scare him off this might be just the thing to do it.

The night of the party he sent me a text. "To make the first date more interesting I may have my daughter." His youngest daughter is twelve. She was not going to be a problem for me, but I did wonder if he would regret exposing her to us.

I was making rum punch when Drama Queen called. She was drunk and not making much sense. Suddenly it dawned on me that she was saying her girls were on the way to my house. She was not sure when they left Wichita, but wanted me to make sure they came to my house and not to their dad's house. She made me promise to keep all three of them together. The baby has a different dad. She was afraid the older girls dad would take them. He was threatening to take the baby too.None of this was making any sense to me.

After talking to my mom it became slightly more clear. My sister had been drunk the night before. She locked all three of the girls outside of their apartment. Every since Jason died she has been threatening suicide. Beezus called her dad. He called a distant relative of his that lived in Wichita. She went to check on the girls and called the police. The police told Drama Queen that they were not going to release the girls back to her, but would release them to my mom. This girl offered to drive them to us, which was sweet of her. During the drive here the dad kept texting her telling her she had to take them to him. She was confused so at my mom's place she called the Wichita police. They told her to release them to their grandmother.

My sister is not the best mom, but she is the better choice of their two parents. He lives 17 miles from me, yet in all the years the girls lived with me he rarely took time to see them. He is only interested in them when he wants to fight with their mom. The two of them both love the action of fighting with each other. Often the girls are pawns in the game. He has a drug problem to match her drinking problem.  Beezus is old enough to try to pit them against each other to get her way. Ramona just wants to live a calm life with me. Then there is the baby.

The girls were here in time for the party. So our date was a loud party, with his daughter, and a crying baby. She was stressed out after being away from her mom for a whole day and now in a crowd of people she did not know. Over-stimulated and too tired to sleep she cried for most of the evening. Fria Chica was tired too. She took the baby home with her to sleep.

The teenagers went out and started us a campfire. We carried our drinks outside to sit around the fire. In the past Miss Universe, who is insane, has said she would love to wear adult diapers and just sit anywhere and piss. The crowd had shrunk as the night wore on. She stated that she had to piss, but did not get up. a few minutes later she stood and unbuttoned her pants. I thought she was going to piss on the fire. Instead she pulled one of those blue hospital pads, the ones they cover the beds with,  out of her pants and threw it on the fire. She had found the pad in my bathroom. While Jason was in the Amarillo hospital, after his od, they opened a package and charged the whole thing to us. Being frugal I brought the rest home with me to find a use for. That was not the use I intended.

My date sent a text the next day saying that he had had a great time. He left before the pad in the fire incident.  He wanted to go out again on Saturday, but I felt like I should take a turn with the baby instead of sticking my mom with her all weekend. She is going to have to babysit all week while I work.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


It is interesting to me how different people are in the night as compared to how they are in the morning. At least I am anyway, so I assume most people are. In the night I am more susceptible to my fears. I worry more. In some ways I am more creative. I wonder if it is not the dark we are afraid of, but our own thoughts. In the mornings I am confidant and practical. I am creative, but in a more organized manner.

As an example, look at my last post. It was night; every negative thought seemed to be soaked in truth. I could not believe I would ever be myself again.  Yesterday morning I read something somebody wrote that said, "having kids doesn't change who you are." There was no context to it, just a statement hanging out there. I thought I had ignored it and went on. Later in the morning I had stumbled onto a learning site called I have been slowly trying to become fluent in Spanish for over fifteen years so I was trying out their Spanish session.  I mentally stepped back and looked at myself. I was curled on my couch wrapped in a blanket, cup of tea in hand, trying to learn something. Unbidden the thought, "Losing a child does not change who you are either."  I knew it was the truth. I love my son and could never have imagined living without him, but I am. My grief will always be a part of me. On low days, and lower nights, it will take control, but it will not change me or keep me from enjoying life as much as I can.

Normally I am not walking around repeating clichés, but the morning I found Jason I kept silently repeating the phrase "life is for the living."  Instinctively I knew I had to remind myself to focus on my two living sons. The mantra helped me make it through the morning without breaking down. It helped me to clear my mind and make arrangements for my other children to be told about their brother, and arrangements for Jason's body as well.  Later, Grace told me about a couple she knew that forgot they had other children the day they lost a child. They had to be reminded about them. I can understand that. The shock and pain are enough to damage the mind. Slowly I am healing, learning to live again.

Monday, April 21, 2014

sleepless night

Earlier I read Clash of Kings until I my eyes were shutting on their own. I slept until 12:30. Now I am awake. As I woke I received a text from Lee telling me my gumbo was great. The jambalaya was too salty, so I should try again and resend it. I had froze some food and mailed it to him last week. I miss cooking for him. I was worried because Lane is not home yet, and he always has trouble going to school on Mondays. I was in the middle of sending him a text when I remembered there is no school tomorrow. So the text was revised to ask where he was and tell him I love him. This paragraph is a jumbled mess. I know that, but that is how my mind is feeling right now.

Something is keeping me awake. Something is making me feel like I should run, scream, do something. What is bothering me? My mind jumps from worry about Lane to worry about Lee. He is between jobs. I worry that he will not find another good one. That I will not be able to keep helping him financially until he does. That somehow I will fail. Maybe my failure as a parent will hinder my children in their adult lives.

My mind keeps running over the day. There was a long period when I was annoyed by a sibling and my mom. I wanted them to go home. Why should they have to leave and be alone at their houses because I am a bitch? I need to learn to be more generous. Later, I wanted everybody to leave so I can be alone. Now I am alone and wish someone were here.

I am replaying my role in conversations tonight, and conversations last weekend at the wedding. Thinking about things I have said, things I have not expressed well, jokes I should not have made, all of them make me cringe. More than cringe, I feel I am beating against myself from the inside. I realize I do not like myself. How do I become somebody I can like again? What does one do when the person who annoys you is one's self?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

I was asked to celebrate 4/20 today. Not being much of a smoker the novelty of it did appeal to me so I half heartedly agreed. The stipulation being that I needed to put all of the food up from our holiday meal first. There was a part of me quietly saying that this was a bad idea. I did not understand why until my eyes landed on a picture of Jason. My first thought was "Why? Why aren't you still here with me?" I understood then that I am just not mentally strong enough for an altered state of consciousness.

Also, I was getting really tired. I was too the point where I wanted everybody to leave so I could be alone for awhile. I love my friends and family, but I need so much more time alone than I used to. I excused myself from the smoking. They apologized for even asking me. That made me laugh. It is ok to ask if it is ok for me to decline.

So here I am alone and thinking of my son. Exactly where I need to be for now.
Maybe a happy post for a change, wouldn't that be nice? I can't say I am exceptionally happy this morning, but I am content. That is not totally due to the fact that I drank a glass of wine for breakfast. It is a beautiful day out. I have put a roast in for Easter dinner and am about to start some brioche dough. I just feel good today. Of course I have to do all the things I should have done yesterday, like dishes, peeling potatoes, cleaning the yard for an egg hunt. I find myself working extra hard on the good days to make up for the laziness of the low days .I do still have so much to be thankful for. Yes, life can be hard, but it is also beautiful.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Another low day

After having a good week today has been low day. I felt alright this morning, but as the day wore on I could feel my mood sinking. I wanted to be alone.  Relief swept over me when work was over and I could come home. On the ride home I kept tearing up and almost crying, but I could not quite do it. After so many days of pushing the tears away so I could function they were stuck and would not come when I needed them.

Lane and I watched the most recent Red Dawn movie. It almost made me cry a couple of times. Afterwards I was exhausted and decided to take a nap. Grace had invited me over for supper tonight. She was making home made beef noodles, which are excellent. Her daughter, who is also a good friend, and granddaughter, and brother were in town to visit. Her brother is a man I enjoy having long conversations with.  As I lied down I knew I was not going to feel like leaving my house again today. I did not think I would make it to dinner. I decided to scroll through Facebook before I fell asleep.

A teacher had posted a note she found while cleaning out her desk. Jason had took one of her customized post it notes, which had her name on it, and left a note saying that he loved her. That opened the tear gates; suddenly they were unstuck. That was the kind of person Jason was. He would rummage through a teachers desk, hack her Facebook page if she left her phone laying around, play pranks, but he always let people know he loved them.

My face was swollen and red when I left, but I made myself get dressed and drive to Grace's house. I drove slow and made myself quit crying halfway there. Once on the dirt road I slowed down and applied make up to cover the blotching. The noodles were good, but the company was better. My mood did not completely lift, however I did enjoy myself while I was there. I came home early to go to bed.

Once in bed I opened my laptop. It had downloaded an update, but insisted I plug into a power source before it was installed. "What else?" I thought. I felt as if the whole universe were against me. Honestly, I did not even have to get out of bed to plug it in. I may be getting a bit over dramatic.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I have been having a good days lately. Until today, today, I was off a bit. I went about my normal schedule. I went to work, talked, read, cooked supper for my family. I even helped my niece and nephew make Easter treats for their school parties. Even though nobody could, tell my grief was always there close to the surface today.

On a side note: those cute little yarn eggs with a piece of candy inside them are a bitch to make. First of all candy does not want to go inside of a balloon. I shredded several balloons trying to shove candy in. I think about every third balloon was successfully filled and blew up. Of those successful ones about a third of them had a tiny hole that caused them to go flat eventually. The up side was that I got to peel a lot of dried glue from my hands and table.

I know the minute my grief shot back up. I felt it rush to the surface last night. About a year ago an annoying man told me that I would be surprised if I googled my own name. He assured me that every picture that I put on Facebook would show up. I went home and tried that very night. No pictures of me showed up at all. For some reason I thought of that last night and tried again. All but one of the pictures that came up had nothing to do with me. One picture did, it was of Jason. It must have been a homecoming ceremony picture. He was wearing his basketball uniform. His hair was still sweaty from the game. One of his relatives on his dad's side, a woman he had never met, put his obit up on a find a grave website. It did not bother me that she did this, but somehow having it there, reading his obit again, the picture of him looking so alive, just jarred me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

This is the first year in my adult life I have waited until past the deadline to file my taxes. I could do them tonight but I think I will lie in bed and read instead. This is the first night I have been in my bed before midnight in almost a week.

A couple of weeks ago Grace called me and asked if I wanted to go to a 'gay wedding' with her. Of course I was in. Then she told me it was in Roswell, which happens to be six hours away. That sounded even better. I wanted to get out of town for awhile. We left early Saturday and came home Sunday evening.

It was worth the trip. The wedding was lovely. It almost made my cold jaded heart cry, almost. One of the men getting married was Grace's cousin. His mom was not going so Grace wanted to be there for him. His dad and grandmother did show up. More of his family was supportive than we thought would be. It was a simple backyard ceremony. The focus was on the ceremony and then food and drink. There vows were adapted Unitarian vows. As they walked down the aisle I caught his eye and smiled. I saw the 'who in hell was that' look in his eye. I do not think he expected to have a perfect stranger there. After the calmer, read less fun, people left we sat in the yard late into the night drinking and laughing with the couple and their friends.

The weekend away was just what I needed. I had been back to a low place last week. I was trying to laugh and enjoy life, but found myself drinking too much and doing too little. As we drove back across the desert landscape I found myself making plans for projects I want to get done this summer. A voice at the back of my head said, "If you are going to live, live."

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I am pleasantly drunk right now.   There is probably a rule about posting drunk. Lane turns eighteen tomorrow. We had a family dinner tonight to celebrate. Lane and his cousins and friends ate, but left early to celebrate on there own. We went ahead and finished the sparkling wine without him. Then we moved on to the peach moscato. I am usually a merlot girl, but some occasions call for sweet wines.

I do not drink too often. Once a week is a busy month for me. That is kind of unfortunate, because I am such a happy drunk. Right now I am splurging. Last night I wanted a glass of wine so I invited Lady over and we drank a bottle plus half of a tequila shot. Tonight my sister and I drank three bottles of sweet wine. I have a wedding to attend this weekend. This may be the month I go a bit crazy.

Night time thoughts

Dreams are waking me up again. They keep me awake when I should be sleeping. Tomorrow I will wish I could sleep when I cannot. I am physically exhausted yet unable to sleep.

Drama Queen tried calling me again at midnight. I woke up just long enough to silence the call. I never intended to go so long without talking to her, but whenever she calls I think 'not today, I just do not have the energy today.'

The other day Lane told me that he wants Lee to move back home and live with us. I know how he feels. I miss my son and want us all to live closer to each other. On the other hand I am worried about Lane. He had planned on joining the Navy until Jason died. Now he is not sure what to do, but is sure he does not want to leave home.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

After my friends death I realized that I am healed enough to handle everyday life, but not stress, not over emotional situations.

Around a year a ago I was at a local bar. There had been comedians and after that dancing. The woman Fria Chica and I had rode over with got worked up about the place being full of demons or something and left us. We had never met her before that night. She was a friend of a friend so we had not known what to expect. Being good natured drinkers we decided to go on with our night confident that one of our friends would drive us the 17 miles home. That was no problem at all; we had four different offers.

One of the offers was from a young man I was two stepping with. A really young man. He was just barely 21, a month younger than Lee. He offered several times to drive me home. It was clear he did not plan on driving back to his house that night. Of course I did not take him up on that offer. Every once in a while I see him around town and remember that night fondly. It was good for my ego.

When a position came open in the office, where I work, he was picked to fill the spot. I did pause for a second to wonder if this would be awkward. He has been there for two full weeks now. Today would have been the start of his third. It has not been awkward at all. He has been pleasant and proficient at his job. I put on lipstick this morning before work. I have been skipping make-up for months now. Today though I laughed and thought I did not want to lose one of my few admirers. That would not be good for my ego.

He did not come in today. His step grandmother is my friend Pam. She recently retired. It is her spot that he was hired to fill. She called me and told me she was coming in to work for him. She filled us in that his mom had received a text that worried her. He had sent it in the middle of the night, but she had not read it until this morning. The family did not know where he was and were looking for him. A little later I answered the phone. They had found him, he was dead. He had shot himself in the head. The family still had not told Pam. I had to tell her.

After that her phone rang. They filled her in on the details. Just like that my stomachache was back. The headache was back. The complete weariness of grief was pressing down on me. Luckily it was a busy day at work. I tried to smile and be as cheerful as possible for the customers.

There was a moment when my computer did not work right. Of  course it was when I had a long line of customers to help. Not an unusual situation, not one that I usually am overly concerned with, but today I just wanted to scream and throw a fit during the few seconds I waited for it to straighten out. Until Jason died I never understood the inclination towards suicide. Now, when I feel so tired. Tired of moving on, tired of healing, tired of trying to smile, I kind of get it.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Some people thrive on drama; they irritate me.

After spending the evening watching several episodes of Game Of Thrones I started to do some housework. That is when I noticed I could not hear the wind. It has been relentless lately. After spending too much time outside in it yesterday my eyes and sinuses are still filled with dirt. I opened the door and leaned outside. The stars were bright in the sky. The air had a slight chill to it that felt refreshing. I was smiling, thinking of stepping out on to my rickety porch when I noticed somebody walking in the street. The word rickety was not put in for effect; it really is. My house sits far to the back of my lot, so I could not be sure, but it looked like it might be my mom. I quietly shut the door and locked it. The music was already on, so I went back in the kitchen to do dishes. From here I would not be able to hear the door if somebody did knock, not over the music and the running water.

It crosses my mind that someday I may feel bad for not spending more time with my mom. I decide to take my chances. By limiting my exposure to small doses I am keeping the family together. If we spent to much time together I would probably decide it simply is not worth it and run away with the circus.

There is one type of personality that really grates on my nerves. My mom happens to have it. When there is a problem there is a time for planning, doing, and thinking over what you did. Never is there a time for hand wringing. If it is something that you cannot do anything else about for the moment do something else. My childhood was spent watching my mom get worked up over perceived drama. She would pace, worry, and whine. Often she would talk about what should be done, what others would be doing if she were them, but she never did anything. Afterwards she would be quick to point out the mistakes of others. Even more often though nothing would be done by anyone, because there would not actually be a problem. A whole evening would have been spent pacing for nothing.

Last Saturday I was lying in bed, watching Game Of Thrones, when my phone rang. I ignored the next four phone calls because they were all from Drama Queen. I was slightly hung-over from the tequila shots at a friends birthday celebration, tired, and not in the mood. I had already decided the whole day was going to be spent at home being lazy. Soon, I had not even finished the episode yet, my mom walks into my house. She proceeds right into my bedroom  and shoves her phone to my face. "Drama Queen wants to talk to you," she announces.

I take the phone but say "If I wanted to talk to her I would have answered my own damn phone." Of course Drama Queen will not talk to me after that. I hand the phone back and tell my mother that I am out of all this drama. My mom said that Drama Queen wants somebody to drive up and get the girls. I tell her do it then, but I am out. She argues that Drama Queen wants to make it legal. I reply that after Drama Queen makes it legal I will go get them, not before. Later I learned that when my mom told her of my condition she said, "fuck you all then."

Still my mom has not learned her lesson. Yesterday, after my friend's funeral, I tell my mom I am probably going to the house where the family has gathered for a party. Soon after though Miss Universe and her family invite Lane and I to go eat pizza. As we walk to our table my friend, who is the brother to the friend who died, calls my phone. "Your mom wants to talk to you, sorry," he said. Drama Queen and her daughters were fighting. So my mom continues talking to them on her phone, interrupts a funeral party, and has someone call me. She wants me to drop everything and drive to Wichita. She suggests I call the cops. I tell her I will call her when I get back to town. We eat pizza. I stop to talk to my mom. She is pacing, licking her lips, pouring water and not drinking it, the whole thing irritates me. I talk to my sister. The fighting is over and nobody wants/needs me to go to Wichita, which is a four hour drive by the way. The whole episode was an argument between a mother and daughter, both sides pulled in my mom because they know she will take sides. She wants me to take the girls away from my sister so she always tries to pull me in too. They are driving me insane.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

I live in a small community, Even if you take the surrounding area into consideration it is still a population close to 500. Because of this we are close knit and supportive. Years ago when a small tornado jumped over us, but still caused a bit of damage, everybody came out and began cleaning up together. One of our industries cooked food for us.

I cannot say how Jason's death made everybody else feel, but it affected most everybody. It made me feel jumpy. Suddenly every bad thing could happen. I went from a calm mother to a worrier overnight.

A few weeks later another young man, from a neighboring community shot himself in the head. This is a man who we had all watched compete against our children for years. His youngest brother played against us in a basketball tournament the night Jason died. I did not go watch the games that weekend. Lane did play. One of our administrators cried when the young man, who did not yet know he too would lose a brother to suicide, came up and hugged Lane before the game.

After a few months to calm my nerves I felt I was healing. I was not so jumpy. Last Sunday night there was a house fire just outside of town. On Monday I had two conversations about it. That evening while talking to Lane he told me two people had died in the fire. I assured him that was not true. Surely somebody would have mentioned that. The next day at work I repeated what Lane had said and my reaction. Everybody stopped what they were doing and looked at me. It had been mentioned. I could remember the conversation, but somehow I had not heard those words. Could my brain have been protecting me?

I did not know the couple real well. My only conversations with them were due to work. He kept me supplied in eggs from his chickens.  He was our community nudist. When Lane went out to look at the remains of the house he returned and said, "That was naked guy." In a land of conformists it is sad to lose an original.

A few days later I was sitting at a school board meeting when the sirens went off. There was a serious wreck north of town. One of my friends was ejected from the pickup. He landed face first on the pavement and died instantly. I am back to being jumpy again.

Walking into the house where the man's family was gathered brought back the feeling of being where they are. The pain is still too raw. The shock is still there to keep you moving. Fria Chica and I carried in food talked for a moment and had to leave quickly. We both knew we were close to crying and being more emotional than the family.

Here I am, awake early in the morning, on the one day I could be sleeping in. Nightmares wake me up and keep me awake.  I do not think it is just me. I think there is a feeling all over town that we have to be alert, look over out shoulders to see what is coming for us next.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Having always romanticized history and the links that travel through generations it is not unusual for me to be in the middle of an activity and think something like 'people have done this since the beginning of people.'  It comforts me, that thought. Somehow I feel less alone and grounded, tied to ancestors when I notice the links. I feel those links when I am needing bread, picking strawberries, or wondering at the beauty of moonlight.

Most people would say I am healing. I am moving through life with energy. I go to work, smile, laugh, make jokes, and eat. There is always food. Even the first day, when people tend to have no appetite, my family sat around the table and ate. Friday I even went dancing. It was a friends birthday. I bought us all tequila shots. We drank and danced until the bar closed. Saturday I went to work hung-over. There was no vomiting until I drove away from work, nobody noticed. I did see my boss notice my makeup. It was leftover eyeliner from the night before. I rarely wear makeup these days. I have started brushing my hair again though.

Nobody sees the times I am alone. The times I break down. Not even I see them coming. Today I was pruning house plants. Suddenly I was bawling and clipping savagely with my scissors.  A voice in the back of my head asked, "Isn't this a scene from a movie?" I had to agree that it probably was. Grief is not original. Mothers have been grieving for children as long as mothers have been having babies. In every generation there a people who die to soon. Young people who never get to reach their potential. This grief also ties me to women throughout history.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

With Lane on his trip I had planned to get much done around here. That has not really happened. A few things have been done, but nothing that can be described as much.

Saturday Grace had suggested we have a fire at my house since her brother would be visiting. It turned out to be a cool, windy, day so she suggested we come to her house for supper instead. When I asked if I should bring anything Grace suggested a salad. She made a sweet and sour chicken, homemade bread, and carrots to go with my salad. By the time I drove to her house that evening the winds were fierce. Tumbleweeds flew across the road in herds, while dust made visibility low. We had a pleasant evening. We ate, joked, talked about movies, religion, politics, books. It was pretty great.

Sunday I was busy cleaning out the closets in my room when Anna's daughter-in-law called me. She invited me to supper that evening. She was cooking ribs. I was hesitant, because I wanted to stay on my cleaning spree, but decided to go. They are a young couple with three young children. I asked if I should bring anything. She suggested a salad. I went in to inspect the contents of my vegetable crisper and decided pasta would be a better idea. While I was making it the phone rang. It was her again. She told me she was going to the store to get bbq sauce and asked if she should buy anything else. Thinking she meant condiments I said no that should do it. After the phone call was over though I began to wonder if I had misunderstood the question. I pulled out some beans I had leftover and made baked beans. For supper that night the five of us had ribs, beans, and pasta. They had ordered a new couch, which was being delivered the next day. They had already hauled their old one off. After supper we sat on the floor and watched several episodes of Game Of Thrones-season one. It was a fun. I am hooked on the series and also reading the first book.

Monday I fried some leftover tortillas into chips and made a huge plate of nachos for myself. Work did get done. It was nice to be alone for once. Before leaving work that day a coworker of mine, Pam, asked me to stop by her house. I declined because I needed time alone. She looked sad so that evening I suggested we go out to eat either Wednesday or Thursday evening. Tuesday I had already planned to go shopping with Grace. Tuesday turned out to be a full blown dust storm. It was like something out of the thirties. Wind at fifty miles an hour filling the sky with dirt. The sun shining through the dirt was an eerie orange color. Even inside I could taste the dirt in my mouth. On my lunch break I walked the couple of blocks from the library back to work while chewing gum. By the time I arrived my gum was gritty. Grace and I decided to wait until Wednesday to shop. I finished off my nachos and did my homework in two MOOC courses I am taking.

Wednesday was shopping, Mexican food, and margaritas. Tonight dinner with Pam. We ate a fried seafood plate with fries. It was good. I prefer my seafood less fried, but it was a nice change. I was off early since I did not clean the office building today. We talked for and hour, went to eat, talked a while more, then I came home. Lane will be home in a few days and I have not washed any dishes. Hopefully I will get to them tomorrow.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


True love. True friendship.

Please share!  :)

"There are probably others I should add here, but I know the personal struggles these ladies have overcome and I am proud of them and thankful that they are my friends, and relatives" --Grace

 Grace tagged me in this Facebook post a few minutes ago. I instantly started to sob. Not to tear up in a 'that's so sweet' way, but to actually ball. It is simply that guilt is such a crushing emotion. It has the power to change a person. To make them ugly if they are not careful. The pain of guilt makes people lash out at others so they too feel pain. To know you will carry this guilt around for the rest of your life is daunting. I am lucky to have such a supportive group of friends and family holding me up.

I had invited Drama Queen to Jason's Memorial/birthday celebration. Part of me did not want to because she has been so hateful to the rest of us since Jason died. For years though I have been working to keep the family together, so I see no reason to stop now. Forgiveness is needed to keep a family together, even in the best of times. I never wanted us to become on of those families who fight over silly things or go years without talking to each other. I also knew she would not come, but would feel hurt if she were not invited. 

That evening as we were sitting around the campfire she started texting me. At first I answered because I thought she wanted to talk. It became apparent soon she was just being hateful again. She accused me of turning my back on her. I did not respond. She said how sad it was that Jason did not have someone in his life that was there for him when he needed her. Instead he had a mom who just sat in the house drinking tea while he died.

My sister is smart and perceptive. Instead of using her power for good she uses it to cause pain. She sees straight into a person and to their inner struggles. With this knowledge she accuses and confirms their fears.

I deleted her texts and laid awake in bed most of the night explaining to myself that she is hurting. She never learned to deal with pain, instead she inflicts it on others. Because of this she does not have the support from friends and family that I have. She has pushed everyone away. I forgave her, but have not reached out to her since. I still need a bit more time.

*edited to add that so often ugly, broken, guilty, and confused is exactly how I feel. That is why the quote caused such violent tears.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Some nights fail to conform to the plan. Thursday night I was sitting on my couch typing on my laptop when the phone rang. It was Anna. She was in a car full of drinking women. They pulled into my drive and waited for me to run out.  I had planned to spend the evening drinking tea, getting some work finished, reading, and falling asleep by 10:30. Instead I was yelling back at Lane, who was leaving himself, that I was going with Anna and by the sound of her voice there would be alcohol involved. 

I don't believe I drank an unusually large amount of wine, but I did drink it rather quickly. Soon after midnight I was at home puking out wine. I slept really well, but was still tired as I drove to work the next morning. Thankfully the puking had stopped.  On my lunch break I took a forty-five minute nap in my car. The day was beautiful so I pulled into the park, rolled down my windows, and slept. I woke right before my alarm went off. Looking up at the wispy clouds in the blue sky I wondered if my alarm had failed to go off, surely I had been asleep for over an hour.

Lane left at 3:30 this morning to go on his senior trip. They are taking a cruise to Mexico. I am jealous. Lately I have been craving a hot beach full of sunshine. A senior trip, that means my baby will be graduating soon. I guess this will be my practice week for living alone.

I do not think Lane will move out right away, but it is reasonable to believe that someday I will be alone.  There were days, back when my house was always full of children, that the idea of living alone seemed like bliss. I have never been a mother who feared the empty nest. I love having my children with me, but I have my own projects and goals too. I was excited to see them venture out and see the world as adults.

Now, with Jason dead, it all feels different. I feel guilty when I enjoy being alone. Or if I have time and energy to get something finished. If he were alive he would still be here taking up all of my time. I would prefer that, but have no choice in the matter. Nothing is going as planned.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


 For some reason the days that everybody expects to be hard for me, for instance Jason's birthday, are not as hard as the day after. I cannot explain this. I just feel worse after the big days have passed.

My biggest fear is that I will not keep Jason's memory alive. My tendency is to live in the present.
This morning, which is three months, I was thinking that someday it will be three years. Then I suppose I will not hurt as badly as I do now. Jason died three months before his twentieth birthday. I am forty. So he was one of the closest people to me for half of my life. If I live to be sixty he will only have been alive for a third of my life. Will I forget what he was like? My grandchildren will never know him. Today I ran several of the ways families try to keep the memory of their loved ones alive and they all seemed so futile. Sure a scholarship or memorial will keep his name in circulation, but he was so much more that a name.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Twenty years ago today I was spending my first day with my second son. I loved it. Lee came to visit us in the hospital. He was two. He came running in the room and said 'where's my baby?' From that day forward he has filled our life. Jason is one of those people who fill a room, big laugh, big smile, big heart. Lee never played in the toilet until Jason showed him how fun it could be. He had a way of talking people into things. 

Sunday we set his memorial in the cemetery. It turned out better than I expected. Lane had been skeptical about the steel idea. On Sunday he told me he loved it. He was happy that there was not anything else like it. It is original, like Jason.

Saturday morning I went shopping for a few things I needed for Jason's memorial service on Sunday. I had decided I wanted to paint a red heart to mark the spot where his ashes were held in his memorial. I had made this plan a few days before, but the reality had not hit me. Suddenly I realized I was going to get up Sunday morning, take my son's ashes, pour them into his memorial, close it, and paint on a heart. I pictured my family standing back a few paces while I solemnly painted a heart. We would all be tearing up a bit. They would put their arms around my shoulders as we walked away.
I started crying while shopping thinking about it. Suddenly this whole plan for a memorial/birthday service seemed like a bad idea. It was going to be too hard. I was not ready.

The reality of it was a little different. We, Rolando, Jason's dad, Lee, Lane, & Chico (Rolando & Miss Universe's son) were all out at the cemetery. The service was set for one. It was 11:30. We were setting the memorial in place. We poured in the ashes. It didn't go as smoothly as we imagined. Chunks of bone plugged up the funnel. Afterwards I wiped the off the dust left over. Over my shoulder Lane said, "All those years cleaning up after Jason. Now your cleaning up Jason."

I opened the paint and started making a heart. It was looking kind of rough. Everybody was looking over my shoulder making jokes about how bad my heart making skills were. I was laughing so hard it made painting even more difficult. Rolando said he would tell people we had one of the children paint it.

The ceremony went well. Afterwards we had a cookout in my yard. The friends and family all came. We had a bonfire and made smores. It was a lovely day. A nice birthday celebration.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Warm and fuzzy, that is how I feel tonight. It has nothing to do with the comfy sweater, warm quilt, or ginger peach tea either. Lane wanted me to wake him up at 7:30 so he could go out. I woke him up, but we started talking and he forgot to leave. We sat in the living room and talked for over an hour. It was one of those fast moving conversations that covered several topics. I really do have the best kids. Not only have they been easy kids to raise. They are all interesting people in their own right.
Jason never seemed to need much sleep as a teenager. Many weekend or summer nights he would come home from hanging out with his friends, see my light on and come in to talk. He could talk for hours. I tried not to let him catch me checking the clock. I would be silently calculating how few hours of sleep I was going to get before work. Usually when the number became less than four I would start trying to wind down the conversation. I loved it though. All through the next day I would have this warm, fuzzy feeling soaked into me. It is a feeling that can only come from spending time with a person you love.

Thursday, March 06, 2014


Grief is a selfish emotion. Selfishness has always been one of my biggest flaws. One I work on continually, but it is always still there. A month ago I decided to write Jason a letter to read during his interment ceremony. The ceremony is Sunday, we had to change it due to weather, and I have not been able to write a word. The problem is that I want it to be a letter in celebration of his life. One day, a good day, I was able to write it out in my head. Unfortunately I was working and did not get it down on paper. Since then when I try to write it is all about me, my grief.  Grief is a selfish emotion I have taken Jason's death and made it all about me.

On bad days I imagine going to the hospital in Amarillo, or to Area Mental Health in Garden City. I try to fool myself into believing I just want to go so I can relive days I spent with Jason. It does not work though. I know what I really want to do is to ask the people who turned my son away if they remember him. I want to tell them he is dead. Show them a picture of him in his coffin. Why? Where does this come from? I am hurt. My soul has been hurt and I want to lash out in anger and hurt their souls too. This is wrong. There is already so much hurt and anger in the world. I do not want to add to it.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

I found myself saying the oddest thing today. Thank God no one heard. It would have been difficult to explain. "I'm excited for Saturday" came out of my mouth in a truly anticipatory tone. Tuesday is Jason's twentieth birthday. To commemorate we are placing his memorial in the cemetery. Afterward there will be a cookout and campfire. We are planning to do it on Saturday so everybody can make it. Hopefully, there will be these things. The temperature is to climb all week then drop down to fifty on Saturday. Regardless of the weather we have been putting much time and energy into planning the whole ceremony. The headstone is almost finished. It is looking even better than I expected.

So yes, I am getting excited. I like to plan events, have people over, eat, laugh, and drink. More than that it feels like I am doing something for Jason again. Lee is coming home, hopefully. I need to write Jason a letter. I am hoping to write something I can read without too much crying to start us off. Today I wondered if I should find a paragraph to read also. There is so much to do, and yet here I sit.

Part of my excitement probably stems from being able to plan a party without guilt. Although I am an introvert, I am a social person. I like having my friends and family surrounding me. So often I plan parties, or they happen spontaneously. Since Jason died I feel guilty for every moment I spent with my friends during his last few months. To plan a party now that he is dead usually makes me nauseas with guilt.

I realize that my guilt is about me. It will not bring him back. I can mourn forever and he is not less dead.  The thing is I liked being me. I was optimistic and fun. There was hope inside of me. I smiled a lot. Now I am different. I know I will never be the same. I grew up, was disillusioned in one instant. However, I want to get some of myself back. That is what Jason would want too. He loved me.

Sunday, March 02, 2014


Over the last week I have came here several times to write, but nothing seems right. What more can I say about Jason's death? I am still sad, but that is a given. Yet nothing else seems important enough to talk about. I still think about him all the time. I keep reminding myself that I have two living children who need my energy too.

My life was changed in an instant. In one moment I was looking at my troubled son wondering what more I could do for him. In the next moment I had noticed the rope. My stomach dropped and my world was changed. My main goal in life had been to have children and give them the best childhood possible. While I was doing it I thought I was doing a good job. Some people have even heard me say that I had accomplished my one goal in life; now I needed to set another one. I was so confidant that I had succeeded and would succeed in the rest of my life too.  Now every day I wake up and know that all I am going to do is try to make it through this day.

However, I also do more every day. There is the Music Of The Beatles class that I am enjoying. I have went out a couple of times. It hasn't always went well, but I will still go again. I am becoming efficient at work again. For months I have felt slow and plodding, but now I am starting to do my job well again. All of this makes me feel guilty, but not as bad as it used to.  Some days I still feel like it would be easier to just give up, but I know I will not. I am starting to eat healthier again. I make plans to start doing yoga again. It does not go far though. On days when I do not particularly want to be alive there seems to be no reason to forgo the greasy cheeseburger and malt. I am in a sort of wetlands of grief. There is not any dry land, yet there is not really a noticeable body of water either.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

My last night out

Lane is home. I hear his pickup pulling into the yard. Lately we feel like less of a family. We are still close, very close, we talk a lot. However, a family has always been more than two people. It has been for us anyway. We are a family that loves to eat, talk, and drink together. suddenly we are two people who love each other, but two people with separate friends.
 I went to the bar tonight with Diva. I do not go out much anymore because there is a high chance for awkwardness. It seemed safe tonight. We went to the bar and sat with friends. There was a man there who did not know me. He kept winking at me. Since I am not good at meeting new people right now I just smiled, but tried not to encourage him. Then a woman who used to live near me came in. She has a special needs son who had been in Jason's class. All of the parents of special needs children love Jason. Simply because he loved their children. He would throw the kickball into the outfield as their children ran the bases. He was more empathetic than most people. He made sure their children felt like one of the crowd. She found me in the bar and hugged me and balled. It was not quiet crying, it was wailing. I tried to hold it together, but soon I was crying too.

Diva and I went to another bar. We sat with some people I know vaguely from work. One of the men asked me my last name. Then the name of my ex. "Jason" he asked. No, that was my son. I responded. "Is he?" Yes. I said.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Choosing to die

Today, since I have a day off, I have spent the morning watching documentaries on Terry Pratchett. Knowing he has Alzheimer breaks my heart. To think of somebody with an obvious love of life, people, thoughts, and memories slowly losing his ability to think clearly and communicate is like a woodpecker losing his beak.

I was struck with so many emotions as I watched Choosing To Die. Of course I thought of Jason dying alone while staring at a wall. Of course if he had to die I would have preferred it to be beside a fire. He could have been smoking a cigarette while I held his other hand.  Mostly though I was not only thinking of him. I was thinking of Terry wishing to die in the English sunshine. I was thinking of myself and how I would choose to go, if I had to choose.  I was thinking of Mr. Smedley who had to leave his wife too soon simply because he could not die in his own country. It was obvious he would rather have waited a few years, and died at home after drinking a glass of wine from his own cellar. 

I think I too would like to die in the sunshine. The Kansas sun has a certain feel to it that I love. I enjoy the dry heat we have here. A glass of wine in hand, sitting watching the birds fly from tree to tree, admiring the way the green looks against the blue sky. My family sitting around me making jokes. What music I wonder, maybe Nirvana. Of course the day would be so lovely I would probably wait to watch the sunset too. My family would jokingly tell me to get on with it because they have shit to do. Obviously I am not ready to go now, but you cannot help to think about it while watching the documentary.

Terry Pratchett: Choosing To Die (2011) - Full Documentary

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


It has been two months since I found Jason. The guilt is getting easier to carry. I know it will always be with me. I am getting used to it hanging around my neck on a chain. Sometimes when I lie down at night the weight of it will make it hard for me to breath. Two months since I failed as a mother. It is not that I failed in that one instant. It is that as his mother it was my job to give him what he needed to live.  I did not do that, not because I did not want to, but because I did not know how. Ironically I did not spend all day thinking about Jason today. The thoughts were always there, but at times they were a in the back of my mind.

Instead I was thinking about what type of person I want to be. My supervisor at work can be a mean, petty person. Having worked for her for seven years I am used to it. I see her treat others in a backhanded, deceitful manner on a daily basis. Usually I can be philosophical about it and remind myself of all the good traits she has. She can be a kind, caring person if you are on her good side. As far as bosses go I could do worse. Just so you do not think I am exaggerating I looked back and I am the only employee who has lasted more than 2 years underneath her. The rest have found different jobs and contact me regularly to make sure I am doing ok.

Yesterday though I was fed up. Monday morning started off badly because I refused to laugh at her 'global warming' jokes. I do not get paid enough for that. She pointed out how bad the Olympics were going in Russia. Somehow she tied this to Russia being a communist state and pointed out that it baffled her that everyone in this country wanted to be socialist now. I could have argued about what is and what is not socialism, but I did not see the point. She went on to say that in socialism the rich have everything and the poor just keep getting poorer. I calmly pointed out that all countries and most systems have this problem. It is happening here as we speak. Another coworker took up that line of conversation and we talked about history for several minutes as we worked. All the while our boss muttered opinions in such a low voice we could not hear what she was saying, but could tell she was disagreeing. I was tempted to say that if my arguments would not hold water in a conversation I would make sure nobody could hear them either. Since I still have a leave slip waiting for her signature I bit my tongue. She spent most of the day being hateful to me. I ignored her, and by the end of the day she was happy with me again.

 Yesterday she was nice, but continued a trend she has been trying lately. She does part of my work, has other contract workers volunteer to do my work, sends me home early, and finishes my work. She has explained that it is because I cannot have overtime. If it were saving the company money to limit my hours I would not be angry. It really is not about the money. It is the fact that she gets six to nine hours of overtime a week doing my job. Since she makes more than I do this is costing the company more money. Last time we were shorthanded we split the overtime so neither of us would get burned out and could still have a life.

Having a head cold did not help my attitude. I was tired, cranky, congested, and wondering why I had not called in sick. In the 11 years I have worked at this job I have only called in sick three or four times. I just go to work no matter what. As I walked out the door I decided I was calling in sick the next morning. She could either scramble to replace me or do it all herself. I also considered calling the union or several other backhanded options.

This morning though I decided to go to work. Not just go, but to enjoy myself, smile, get along with my boss, and be positive. If I were to do anything spiteful just to pay her back I would be learning from her example and becoming like her. I like being me. I am not spiteful or backhanded. Despite the occasional temptation. I should be myself and encourage her to follow my example. I did just that and had a nice day. Nice girls do win. She told me today she had gotten approval to give me overtime until we hired another employee.

The thought of Jason was always in the back of my mind. I could see him all day hanging in my peripheral vision. Every since Saturday I have been watching him play basketball in my mind. That was much better. Tomorrow I hope I see him smiling at me. I love him and hope he is proud of me. He is one of the kindest people I have ever met. He should be happy knowing I smiled instead of scowled all day.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Soon after Jason's death I realized I was suffering from ptsd. The first time I noticed it was a couple days after his death. I was coming home for the night. For the first week I spent most of my days at Miss Universe's house. At night I would come home to sleep. I noticed that when I came home I would pause before opening a door, or get tense as I turned a corner. I asked myself what was wrong? Was I afraid of the dark? I realized right away what it was. I was afraid of finding something horrifying.

The hesitation around every corner went away quickly, especially since I refused to sleep away from my home. What has stuck around is social anxiety. Being in a room full of people, especially a room full of people that do not know my situation makes my skin crawl. It is hard to describe. I feel the need to explain to everyone why I am not myself. I realize that these people do not know my son. Some how that makes it worse. I want to run away, maybe scrub myself with brillo pads in the shower.

Last night I agreed to go to a bar with a friend. We agreed that the moment I felt like it we would leave. At first my skin crawled. I started to scratch everywhere. After two tequila sunrises I felt ok. I switched to Blue Moons. The night went well. We came home at two this morning. At six I had to get up for work.

After work I cooked Lane lunch and took a nap. He played in Tribune in the evening and Diva and I were driving up to watch. After the game we went to a gastropub to eat. If you are surprised to hear that there is a gastropub in Tribune do not feel bad I was too. The food was delicious. We tried a couple of new beers and still made it home by ten thirty. Crossing a time zone was helpful.

The food at Elliot's was great. As we were pulling back into town another friend sent me a text asking if I wanted to go out for her brother's birthday. I decided to go. We went to three different bars. Yes there were a few points where I was uncomfortable. I ran into several people who were friends of myself and Jason's. It was an emotional night, but I had to face the public at some point.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

a better day

I really felt like I was just going to give up everything. Why bother to recycle, conserve energy, speak out against social injustice. Suddenly none of it seemed to matter anymore. I wanted to just curl up in my own life with my books let the world go on without me.

This morning I woke to find my water had frozen off. This was after I had made sure I had left it dripping in two different rooms last night. So I went out in the eight degree morning, tramped through the snow and set a couple of heaters under the house. As I walked out the door I decided that I just wanted to sell the place and get an apartment.  Then after I was finished I looked around at everything covered in the beautiful coverlet of snow and smiled at the morning.

At work a co-worker, who I really like, showed me an ad for Duck Dynasty. She wanted to know if I had watched them, because they are really funny. Many days I would have just said no, but something inside of me broke free and pointed out that I find them offensive.

Then as I continued to work alone. Not alone because nobody likes me, but because the bulk if my job is solitary. Something somebody said on FB the day before irritated me. Some people are wondering why an actor who died of a heroin overdose gets more sympathy than a dead soldier. I formed arguments on many subjects today that nobody will likely hear.

At lunch I wanted to be alone. That has become the norm for me. So I went to the park to sit in my car and look at the snow and trees. It was freezing, but I shut off my car. Not to save gas, but for the environment. I had my large coat over me, but it was still very cold. Back at work I changed out of my snow boots and into my shoes. As my feet warmed up I felt my self smile. Not quite in happiness, but in at least contentment.

My second job is cleaning an office building. As I was working today I realized that I missed the old me. I missed being cheerful, funny, and light. Now, even when I'm laughing, I feel heavy. I avoid looking people in the eye now. Probably because I do not want people to see the pain inside of me, but I am not completely sure why. I know that this amount of grief is going to permanently change me. I am just hoping it does not make me mean and bitter.

Monday, February 03, 2014

No more hope

Today it felt like all my hope and joy were gone. Getting out of bed and going to work took a great deal of force. Then once at work I just could not stop crying. I have felt the depression trying to pull me down since late last week. Having read that this was likely to happen after the death of a child I have been trying to fight it.

Saturday after work I wanted to crawl in bed and stay there all evening. Making myself shower and dress Saturday to go the movies with Diva seemed like a step in the right direction. Putting on make up and brushing my hair felt good; that has not been happening as much as it should.

Sunday I did not feel sad. It just felt like an Elton John kind of day. Lane and I spent the morning and early afternoon alone at the house. We had on the pregame crap while I cooked. We talked and laughed; it was a good morning. He left to go watch the game with his cousins. Diva was having a party. My sisters, mom and I were going. I turned on Elton John while I finished up in the kitchen. I did not want to go be with other people. Had it only been the Superbowl I might have stayed home. It was also a birthday party for Diva. My mom does not get out much either, and I knew my family would not go without me. So I went.

I drank too much. Not that it was a big problem that night. We ate, drank, talked, laughed, had fun. I just could not get to a light, fun place. I am truly a social drinker. When I drink I am cheerful, and almost impossible to anger. Since Jason's death the times I have drank with my friends have been a release. I usually feel better the next day.  Of course, these have always been times when I have been ready to come out of my shell and socialize.  Today, I just felt worse than I have in weeks.

The movie August: Osage County kept running through my mind. Something had changed inside of me. There has always been a hope and optimism inside of me. Thinking about the family in the movie just made me see that there is no escape. These things go through families and I cannot stop it. My optimism and hope were silly.

 I do not know what triggered this vein of conversation, but our being homeless several times during our childhood has been a topic of discussion lately. Until somebody said homeless the other day I had never thought of it like that. We were just between houses. People sleep in their car when they are between houses.

Sure we were between houses several times. More than once we lived in little travel trailers or campers. All seven of us kids, at the most, and our parents crammed into tiny spaces at night. In the day though we were free. We ran in parks and explored the country side. There were times when we parked be ponds or streams. We would swim all day. My mom would wash our clothes in the water. I remember carrying water for what seemed like miles to drink. These are not bad memories for me. I thought it was a glorious freedom that we had.

Today it felt like that sense of hope and optimism had left. It was not just Jason being dead. It was him dying because he could not get help. It was Philip Seymour Hoffman dying of a drug overdose. There is a major drought in California. Suddenly it is too much.

The realness of the movie made it obvious to me that whoever had written the play it was based on had lived on the plains. Had experienced the devastation that is caused by addiction and mental illness. Had watched it eat it's way through generations. Generations. All the generations. It will not stop because I hope it will. Up until this last year, until I was forty, I have held on to a naivety that let me believe that this next generation would be better. They will not be.

I have spent my adult life believing that if I tried hard enough if I did everything right. If I loved my kids enough that they would all be better. My siblings and I have all tried to be better parents. We have tried to give our kids a better start than we had. It does not seem to matter anymore. They will still struggle with our demons, suffer, and die.   

I know my father, although a horrible person and parent, was better than his father. We have in turn all tried to be the best we can, but it did not help. I have always believed that families, like society, can improve with each generation. Suddenly my hope is gone for my family, for the world. I still believe there is more good in the world than evil, more goodness than hatefulness, but I do not believe we can over come it all anymore. Every thing is just going to end badly. I feel like I am going to spend the rest of my life watching our kids struggle. Without the optimism of a better future for them. There is no more joy. Still I will get up everyday, go to work, wash dishes, love my kids, but there will be no hope in it.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Diva called today and asked me to go to the movies with her. My first impulse was to say no. Instead I made myself shower, put on make up, and get out of the house. We went and ate too much bbq before the movie. It was one of those places where you order buckets of everything including beer. Then you wipe your hands on a roll of brown paper towels set on the table.

I picked the movie. Having narrowed it down to three it seemed like a no lose decision. The choices were August: Osage County; I, Frankenstein; or Dallas Buyers Club. I chose August: Osage County. No, I did not know the premise. I just knew it had several actors I love in it and it was supposed to be funny.

The minute Beverly disappeared my I knew what was coming and tried to prepare myself. I did enjoy the movie. It was just a little soon. I had a slight panic attack afterwards at the grocery store. Suddenly not being able to find the almond bark seemed too much stress to handle. When I was young, between 16 and 21, I used to have panic attacks when I drove. It just seemed like too much responsibility to be in control of so many lives at once. I found the best way to get better was just to drive a lot, in cities if possible. After a couple of deep breaths I was able to talk myself through it. I never thought the day when come when I would have to say "find the chocolate chip section. It will be fine"

I have made it sound like a disaster of an evening, but it was actually fun. I am glad I did not spend another evening lying in bed reading. Not that those are bad evenings either.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Here is my baby at 18.
My beautiful son a few months before his death.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

More guilt

My last post did not go where I intended it to go. I was planning on only briefly mentioning my guilt over not finding the body, but that was the memory that took over. My trait, once a positive one, now one I find puzzling is what I planned to write about.

Once my guilt over not finding the body was examined over and over a much heavier guilt set in. It is one thing to let a dead person hang for too long. It is quite another to let a live person die. My son walked passed me. My son, who had already attempted suicide once, walked passed me with a determined look on his face. He was stuffing something is his pocket and said he was going out to smoke a cigarette. I was nonchalant. After thirty minutes of waiting for him I did not worry. I went to bed without finding him.

I have always been a laissez-faire parent. By nature I am an optimist and do not worry too much. My kids climbed trees, slid down the stairs, played rough, got dirty and ruined their clothes without me ever freaking out. When I had my children they were text book pregnancies. Thing always seemed to work out. When Lee had surgery for his broken wrist everything turned out like it should. Later when he had a more extensive jaw surgery he healed as expected. There seemed to be a pattern. I did not worry and when things went wrong they righted themselves or we fought our way through them.

Deep down, when Jason was sick, I do not think I ever believed he would die. I expected it to be a long hard fight, a slow recovery, but I knew we would beat this. Looking back I seem so naïve, so stupid. I let my son die, because I believed he was getting better. I thought we were on our way.

There were things in Jason's life that I was watching closely because they were the only way I knew to measure how he was doing. One of the things I watched was where he was sleeping.  He had trouble both being alone and sleeping. Because of this combination bad nights were usually spent in my bed. He had been sleeping in the living room since he came home from the psych ward. I took this as a good sign.

I watched to see if he was being social. He had been laughing and spending more time with the family since he came home too. Tuesday he had went to a friend's house to spend the morning with them. To me this was huge, a big step in the right direction.

The sore on his chin was always the first thing I checked when I came home. On one of his worst nights, the Thursday before his first suicide attempt, he was convinced the whole world could read his mind. This was a delusion he had often, but this night he ripped open his chin and tried to pull the wires out of his face. He told me he could feel the wires that were transmitting his thoughts with his pocket knife. His chin would almost heal then I would notice he had opened the wound again. Tuesday night as I sat on the couch next to him I examined his chin and noticed it had healed. There was a scar, but the wound had healed.

For years I thought my optimism was one of the things that made me a good parent. So often when parents worry they make situations for their children worse. Sometimes when my children were struggling I gave them my support but let them work the problem out for themselves. Now I wish I had been worried and scared. In my memory I picture me jumping out of the chair and tackling him football style when he tried to walk out the door. I cannot change who I am. I cannot change the past.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Autopsy is too vague

I spent all weekend beating myself up. As a mother I really did fail at the one thing a mother is supposed to do: keep her child alive. After a month of thinking this over I believe it was a trait that I used to count as a positive one that failed him.
 After reading his autopsy report I am sure he killed himself Tuesday night. So first I felt horrible for not finding his body sooner. It was cold. I only went outside once on Wednesday. It is hard for me to believe that I did not see him then. Several people came and went that day. It is unreal that nobody did see him. He was hanging in a small building with a both a window frame and a door frame that are wide. I had not gotten around to putting in a window or door yet. He was visible from the street. Nobody who was here can believe that he was there on Wednesday. Diva cried when I told her I thought he was. She is sure she would have seen him.
The day he died Fria Chica told me that she had talked to him Wednesday morning. She pulled up early in the morning. It was still dark outside. My mom's headlights were shining a small amount of light into the building. She said that he was looking down at his phone and would not talk to her. That did not alarm her. Often if he was in a paranoid mood he ignored people, or talked so quite he was hard to hear. She was in a hurry so she took this as assent that she could borrow his car and rushed off to work. Since driving caused him to have a harder time controlling his thoughts he did not use his car much and she had been driving it to work everyday.
I did not know Fria Chica had taken his car, so I thought that Jason had taken his car in the middle of the night. My mom said that Fria Chica told her Jason was in the building as she left. My mom climbed the steps to the building and stood in the doorway. She did not go inside. She looked around and did not see him.
All of this led to much confusion and conversation. Was he in the room alive when Fria Chica talked to him? Did he hide from my mom? Could he have survived all night out in the sub-freezing temperatures in his thin jacket? I kept thinking it was a different scenario.
I suspected he had killed himself Tuesday night. Fria Chica does not have the best eyes. She is also not observant when she is in a hurry. Jason did not have his phone. He left it on the kitchen table. I think he was looking down because he was hanging there already dead. Something deep inside of Fria Chica knew this too. She was over emotional all day. At the end of her work day she walked off and quit without a word.
What then of my mom? She has poor night vision like Fria Chica. She also has a strong defense mechanism that leads her to forget things she does not want to remember. Whenever she talks about the past I wonder if we lived in the same universe. Could her mind just have blocked him out?
I have suggested that maybe there was some sort of spiritual veil over him. How else could so many people have walked passed him and not noticed him. I think I was supposed to find him when I did.
Most everybody else believes he could not have been there all day Wednesday. It must have been after dark on Wednesday when he died.
We have been waiting for the autopsy to see when the doctors would place his time of death. They left it as undetermined. The blood analysis from the state is not back yet. If he had meth in his system we would know that he did leave Tuesday night. After looking up a few things in the report I really believe he did kill himself Tuesday, right after I talked to him. The report had said rigor mortis had passed. Of course freezing temperatures make rigor mortis less accurate as measure for time of death.
His body was frozen when found. The autopsy said there were signs of post mortem hypothermia. He was missing for about 36 hours. I do not think rigor mortis could have set in and passed in much less time than that.