Friday, December 17, 2010

Long Time, No Blog

My goodness. March was a long time ago. I have made some big changes in my life since then! The most significant one being that I am no longer married (well, will be final in January.) I have pretty much abandoned this format, using Facebook notes instead. And since I have a wider audience on there than I did on here, it makes sense to use it more.

Well, now that I've started this post, I find I have nothing to say. How pathetic. What else has changed? Still at the library, but have a new boss. That's all good. Still a mom, but the kids are older. They seem to be handling the divorce as well as can be expected.

Oh!! I completed ALL of my New Year's Resolutions a few months ago. :) Yay me!! Now I need to figure out what to do for 2011.

Christmas time is upon us. Shopping, planning--it's all different this year. I'm feeling like we need to start new traditions to replace the ones we have lost. Thanksgiving worked out fairly well with going out to eat with my mom and brother. I cooked on Friday when I was home with the kids. (NTS: don't take a nap when cooking a brisket in the oven.) Still figuring out what Christmas will look like for us this year.

Um...that's all I've got to say right now. If you really want to know what I'm doing, follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Remembering March 26, 2008

We knew it was going to be soon. But we thought it would be during the night. We'd each been telling him it was okay to go. We'd be fine. Shows you how much we knew.

The day my dad died, I had come over to my parent's house to bring my mom flowers for her birthday, which was the next day. He had not been conscious since the beginning of the week. Not eating, not drinking, his breathing was very labored. The hospice nurses said he was "in transition." His breathing would slow down, they said, and then it would stop. We'd been in and out of the room all day, listening for his breathing. Listening for it to stop.

By the way his breathing was slowing, we knew it was coming. I decided to stay the night with my mom. There was only one problem: I hadn't brought any clothes with me. I could wear something of hers except for under garments. I would have to have my own. Rather than drive all the way home and back, I decided to run to the store and buy some new ones. One more time, I went into his room and told him to let go. "We'll be fine. I'll take care of her," I said. And I left.

I really wasn't gone that long. I ran to the closest store and bought some cheap undies. Then I stopped into work to tell them I most likely would not be in the following week, and went back to my parent's house. I walked into the house, up the steps, into the hallway and listened. My mom was on the phone and called out that his breathing was getting slower. I listened. I didn't hear his labored breathing. Then I looked into the room. He wasn't breathing. I kept watching him, waiting for his chest to rise, but it didn't. He was gone. My dad died alone because I just had to go buy underwear. And I wasn't fine.

My mom said she had only been out of the room for a few seconds; the phone had just rung right before I walked in the door. Maybe he was waiting to be alone to let go. Maybe he knew we couldn't handle it if he let go in front of us. It helps a little to tell myself that, but I don't really believe it. We'd been telling him to go, and he went! We said we'd be fine! We were wrong.

Before it happened, I honestly thought I would feel relief when he was gone. He had been in so much pain for so long. I just wanted that to end for him. Yes, I'd be sad, but I was sure that I would be mostly relieved that his suffering was over. To say I was unprepared for the utter devastation I felt would be an understatement! I've struggled to try to put the right simile on it: It was like a light went out. It was like my heart was ripped out. It was...I don't know. It HURT. I felt alone and abandoned. He had always been there for me, and I wasn't there for him. I'm not sure I will ever be able to forgive myself for that.

Grieving sucks. At first, with so much to do, I just functioned on auto-pilot. I'd go where people told me to go, do what they told me to do. I cried constantly. It was exhausting. I'd crawl into bed at night desperately needing sleep, and just lay there and think and cry. The empty, hollow feeling was so overwhelming.

I was asked to speak at my dad's funeral, to represent the family. How in the hell was I supposed to do that? I could barely get myself dressed in the mornings! How could I put my feelings into coherent thoughts and stand up in front of people to say those thoughts out loud? Somehow, I summoned the strength and did my dad justice. I spoke about some of my favorite memories. I spoke about his unconditional love for me and my brother that I only understood after I had my own kids. I am proud of what I said that day. I think he would have been proud of what I said, too. But why did I wait to say those important things to him? Why do I wait to tell others how much I love them and how much they mean to me? I still don't have the answer for that.

After the funeral and taking care of all of the details, there is nothing left to do. There is nothing else to focus on except the deep loss you feel. And cry. I had no idea the human body could make so many tears. One thing I truly regret is how much I focused on myself and on my mom, but not on my kids. They were grieving, too. But they didn't want to come to me because they were afraid they would upset me. I feel terrible about that. I hope when we face a loss again they will come to me. We can cry together.

Today, it has been two years since my dad died. I still regret not being there. I am still shocked at how deeply I felt the loss. I am still ashamed of how much I took him for granted. And I still can't watch his favorite movie (and one of mine, too), "A Christmas Story." It hurts too much to watch it knowing I'll never hear him laughing at it again. I would give anything to watch it with him one more time. But where do I go from here?

Why his death seems to occupy my thoughts more this year than it did last year is a mystery. I have realized and finally made peace with the fact that I am always going to miss him. It hurts, but not in the same way. It's more like a constant ache than a stabbing pain. I can talk about him now without tearing up, most of the time. But I still see or hear things that remind me of him when I'm not expecting it. That swift cut of pain always takes me by surprise. I will always miss him, but I also will always have a part of him with me. I have wonderful memories and life lessons that will stay with me as long as I live.

I said at his funeral that a good parent leads by example. He taught me to put my family first. Because that's what he always did. So that's what I do. He taught me to do my best. Which is a lesson I learned perhaps too well. I warped doing my best into being perfect, and that became an obsession for me. I'm just now learning to let go of that obsession and to not beat myself up when I make a mistake. He taught me to not to give up. One of my worst memories from childhood was when my dad was laid off from his job. He took a job delivering newspapers to keep us in our house. I remember that was a very lean year; I still hate Hamburger Helper! I desperately wanted to spare my kids that experience, but here we are. I am trying to not give up. It's been hard, but we haven't missed a house payment yet. Looking back and living through this same experience as the adult/parent, I don't know where he found the strength to go on. He was much stronger and braver than I ever knew. And I wish I could tell him that now.

I am very blessed that I had my dad in my life as long as I did. And I'm thankful that my kids got to know him so well. He touched their lives just as he touched mine. My son is named after him, and my daughter's first word was "Pa Pa." I hope I am teaching them the same lessons he taught me. I hope they feel the intense unconditional love I feel for them.

I have no special plans to mark this day like I did last year, mainly because I have to work. He would tell me to stop thinking about him and to do my job! I will do my job, but I will never stop thinking about him. And I will do my best, because that's what he taught me to do.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Progress and No Progress

I am using this space this year mainly as an area to update my work on New Year's Resolutions. Read them if you want to, or ignore them. I find I keep things in mind better if I keep track of them, keep myself honest, as it were. So, here is how I've done.

I think I've made the most progress with having my picture taken. I took the kids and their friends bowling on MLK Day and took the camera along. I took several shots of them, and turned the camera over to them to take some of me. I even posted those on FB! That wasn't part of the original resolution, but I have very few pics of myself on there. As the year progresses, I hope to fix that. Anyway, one of the pics is my new profile shot. I have gotten so many compliments on that picture! Of course, all I see when I look at it is my double chin. So thank you for pointing out my smile, rosy cheeks, and just how genuinely happy I looked. It was a fun day and I'm glad I have the pictures (including those of me) to remember it by.

The year of watching Mel Brooks' movies continues. I did skip "The Twelve Chairs" because the library doesn't own it. Still haven't decided if I want to spend moolah on this quest or not. Maybe. Anyway, I moved on to one of my personal favorites, "Blazing Saddles." So many quotable lines in that movie! Here are just a few that my hubby and I say on a routine basis:

"Excuse me while I whip this out..."
"Why do I always get a warped one?"
"It's twue! It's twue!"

Wow. None of those really make sense out of context. You'll just have to watch the movie yourself. Most of the other lines are not, well, politically correct. I'm not entirely sure this movie would be made today. The script would never make it past the censors and the Politically Correct Police. I was also struck by the talent of Harvey Korman. How under-rated was he as a comedic actor? I remember watching him on "The Carol Burnett Show" growing up. I loved it when he would giggle through the scene he was in. I just knew he was having as much fun doing the show as I was watching it. And I cannot let my comment go by without noting the brilliance of Madeline Kahn. Fearless and fabulous. The DVD box said "Blazing Saddles" was voted the 6th funniest movie of all time by The American Film Institute. Of course, I had to go look that up, and here is the proof. That's a lot of laughter. Next on the list is my all time favorite, "Young Frankenstein." Can't wait!

Moving on the No Progress portion of my entry. Exercise. Damn exercise. No exercise this week, and I didn't really even think about it. And now I'm sick, so that gives me the perfect excuse to not do any this week, either. I did, however, have a "Come to Jesus" moment this week. I was sitting pretzel sytle (Indian Style, for those of you who grew up before it became politically incorrect to call it that...) in a public area of the library. A customer saw me sitting that way and asked me how I did it. I don't know HOW; I just bend my legs and they move that way. Who cares? Then she adds, "You aren't skinny; how are you so flexible?" Well. Thank you very much, bitch. Up yours, and I hope you have a crappy day. Now, I will admit: I am not skinny. She spoke the truth. And, actually, she paid me a compliment. Not many adults my age can still sit this way and get up afterwards. But still. You don't tell someone "You aren't skinny." That's rude! And to my ears "you aren't skinny" equals "YOU ARE FAT." So, maybe she helped motivate me. Because that comment is going to stick with me awhile. Maybe next report I can include that I at least did 1 sit up.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Was it really May when I last updated this blog? Wow. That is truly lame. Well, what's changed since May? Not a whole helleva lot! Still broke (actually broker.) Still no job prospects for Rob. Still worry about being broke constantly. I'm surprised I don't have an ulcer. Hey, something new to worry about! Yippee.

Okay, on to the topic of this post: I made some Resolutions for 2010. I resolved to exercise at least 3 times a week. So far, I have thought about exercising every day but not actually done it. I did join an online website to help me keep track of exercise points. I lost almost 20 pounds 2 years ago with a similar approach, so maybe it will work again. I just have to do it. And, yes, I have to re-lose those 20 pounds all over again. See what happens when you stop exercising?

What's really odd is my main motivation for losing weight was getting my heart in better shape. At the time I lost the weight, my dad was in the final stages of heart disease. Watching him die was no picnic, and I really don't want to put my kids through what I went through. But then he died. And that motivation died, too. I'm sure part of that was grief. I pretty much did nothing for months. But it's been almost 2 years, and I have not had any luck getting the motivation back. I still have the lousy genetics that make me prone to heart disease. I still don't eat a heart-healthy diet. Lack of exercise is not helping me any. I know how buy-in works: I know the price of not exercising and the value of doing it, too. So why doesn't that make me want to do it?

Moving on to less depressing resolutions: I also resolved to watch (or re-watch) all of Mel Brooks' movies. I decided to watch them in the order he directed them. Why, yes, I am a librarian who likes things in order! How did you guess that? I was inspired to do this after watching part of the Kennedy Center Honors in which he was an honoree. I've always liked his humor, so I hope this will be a fun resolution to keep. First up is the original Producers. This is one of his movies I haven't seen yet. I have always liked Gene Wilder, so I assume I will enjoy it. I will try post my comments here or on FB.

Hmmm...I think I made one more, but I can't remember what it was. That's a bad sign, isn't it? If I can't remember what it was, then I certainly haven't made any progress toward it. I should have written them down. Wait--I think I posted them on Facebook. I'll have to look at my old postings and see what I said. Wait here while I go amongst yourselves.

Ah, yes!! Have more pictures taken of myself. I have not had any pictures taken. I posted on FB a couple of days ago that I was having a good hair day. Then someone asked me why I didn't take a picture of it. D'OH!! Didn't even think of it. Okay--sometime this week I will have at least 1 picture taken of myself and post it. Even if I'm not having a good hair day.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

One Good Thing

I am determined to be positive here today! A couple of weeks go, my pastor had a sermon on finding the one good thing that had happened that day. It really seemed like she was speaking just to me. I have been focusing on the bad stuff, because there's been so damned much of it! But I am going to focus today one one good thing. Okay, maybe more than one. I have a friend who blogs about 3 beautiful things. This is a great idea I have always been too pessimistic to attempt, but I'm giving it a try today.

1. I have more support than I ever realized. I was really overwhelmed by the number of posts, both on here and on FaceBook to my previous blog post. Everyone made me feel like someone heard me, and that someone cared. Thank you all for reaching out to me in a dark time.

2. This was a beautiful day. I spent some time on my porch swing, reading. This has become my favorite way to spend my free time. So relaxing!

3. I took a 2 hour nap!! Blissful sleep that too often eludes me at night--aahh.

4. My husband cooked dinner tonight. Best lasagna ever!! I will be able to take it for lunch, too, so I don't have to worry about that all week.

5. I have a wonderful mom who took the time to make my favorite cake for me. I adore HER red velvet cake, but it has cocoa powder in it. I gave up chocolate for Lent, and could not have any on my birthday, which fell during the season. We finally found a day that she could come over and make the cake with me. The cake was delicious, but the time spent with her was precious and delightful.

6. My children are both smart asses. I can imagine you are thinking, "That's a good thing?" Well, yes it is. They are both intelligent, quick thinkers who can zing me when I least expect it. That always makes me laugh.

That was easier than I thought it would be. Six good/beautiful things! I am blessed.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Are You There, God? It's Me, Kim.

Hey there! How have you been? I try to talk to you every day, but it's been awhile since I feel like I've heard from you. I know, you're busy. Very important job you have. I just kind of wondered though, if you got my message last night, or any of those other nights?

I've heard the whole "you never give us anything we can't handle" routine. Can I just tell you I can't handle any more? Is there a form I need to fill out? Do you have a customer service department that handles complaints? Please tell me what I need to do; I really need some of this stuff lifted off of me.

That "Footprints" poem has always been one of my favorites. I know a lot of folks think it's hokey, but I've always liked it. I have to tell you, I don't really feel carried right now. I feel like you've dropped me in a big pile of shit. And you're standing there laughing at me. WTF?

Isn't there someone else's life you could drop some crap into? I'm sure there is some evil child molester out there who could use a good car accident. What about that Bin Ladin guy? Can't you send some rain on his parade instead of mine? I mean, really, what did we do to deserve all of this?

I am truly thankful that no one was injured last night. I've been telling myself how lucky we were all day. But I'd really like to know that our neighbors aren't going to sue us and we aren't going to lose our home, though. Can you at least tell me that?

I know, I'm blaming you for things that are not your fault. In my head, I know you don't "zap" people for fun. You're there to support us. I know there are people going through a lot worse crap than what I am, too. My piddly little problems don't seem like much to you. I just don't feel very supported, God. If you can't fix any of this, then show me how to.

Okay, well. I've taken up enough of your time. I'll let you get back to whatever it is you do all day. Please give me a call soon. I'd really love to hear from you.

Thanks or Amen.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Year Ago Today

Today is the one year anniversary of my dad's death. It as taken a year, but I am finally (I think) at the place I thought I would be right after he died. I am relieved he is not in pain anymore. I know he is in a better place. I believe one day I will see him again. Grief has come in waves, and I feel it is out to sea right now. It hasn't come crashing in on me since Christmas. Some little tides have rushed in unexpectedly, but no huge waves. That is a good thing, right? It doesn't mean I've forgotten him. I'm healing. Thus leaving the question: how to spend today?

I feel the need to celebrate his life, to honor the impact he had on my life, and I'm not sure what the best way is to do that. I thought about going bowling, the only sport he played that I actually kind-of enjoy, which we did on Father's Day last year. But I am not feeling up to physical activity. Must be the gray, dreary day outside today. We will certainly have pizza for dinner in his honor. Dad was a self-proclaimed "pizza shark," a trait that has been passed genetically to my son. That is appropriate since I named Will after my dad (and grandfather.)

I think I will call my mom and see what she is up to doing. Her birthday is tomorrow, and we are planning to go to see the butterflies at the Conservatory. Perhaps the best way to honor him is to spend the day with the people I love. Telling and showing them how much they mean to me. That's a tribute he would appreciate, I think.