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.