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.