We All Miss Her

A time has passed since Sweet Lucy Lou went from her heaven on Earth to that Rainbow Bridge in the sky, where she awaits her family in due time.  I haven’t written about it or even posted a short excerpt on Facebook because this feels like such a huge loss, and I didn’t want to trivialize it, and I didn’t want a bunch of FB “friends” extending their condolences that I didn’t feel up to accepting gracefully.

Truth be told, Lucy was my mom’s first standard poodle and she rescued her almost 11 years ago.  I grew up with Lucy, but she came to live with me about three years ago, when it was deemed that my flat house with no stairs would be better for her ailing hips and back.  LarBear and I have loved her to the moon and back and poured everything we have into making her happy over the latter years of her life,  And Lucy and Kizzie, they were quite a pair, always keeping each other company, keeping each other entertained, loving each other.

But as we all know, dogs generally have shorter lives than those of their humans.  Lucy actually lived about two to three years longer than she may have, and I would like to think it was because she was so well loved.  I remember clearly my last moments with Lucy, and the blessing my mother gave me when she took Lucy from my home so that they could visit the vet and Lucy could be pain-free and happy forever.  I never could have dealt with that and my mom knew that, and besides that, Lucy was her love, too.

I have been sad awhile now, not all to be put down on the loss of Lucy, and I have actually been quite in denial, just letting it smack me upside the head at the most inopportune times.  Like today.  Today was Kizie’s first car trip since Lucy left.  She hasn’t stopped looking for Lucy or keeping Larry and I in her signt since Lucy left, and that all came to a head today.  We drove her to the vet for an allergy shot, and she uncharacteristically whined the whole way and paced the seats.  Nothing would calm her.

After her shot, LarBear dropped me at the urgent care clinic to get a prescription for a sinus infection, among other things, and he said that she cried and cried when I got out out of the car and was cocmpletely inconsolable and stuck right to his heels the time he was home.  When I came home from the doctor’s office, Kizzie was just so happy to see me.  She turned into the puppy that I only see so often, and it was clear that she thought, too, that I had left her like Lucy.

And so it goes like this, and I am all heartbroken again.  Lucy was a good dog, the best kind of dog, with a sweet smile and a wagging tail always and the best disposition.  And she really loved popcorn.  And cheese.  I sit here typing this with Kizie at my feet, LarBear by my side, and I miss her.  I miss her and so does everyone else.  The only thing giving me peace is that she is waiting for us and is in pain no longer.

Rest in Peace Lucy Lou.  There is still a whole lot of love for you here in this world.

 

 

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Dear Gramps

I have read of such loss lately, Gramps, and just like it always does, any loss (whether it’s mine or my family’s or the guy down the road or my good friend losing her dog or a tragic ending in a book) reminds me of the late August night, almost 12 years ago, when Big Dawg came and picked me up in a raging thunderstorm to go see you one last time.

I remember I was on a low-carb diet at the time, and I had just started eating dinner — flank steak and broccoli and salad.  I still can’t use that particular seasoning rub to this day, without nearly breaking down in my kitchen.  I don’t remember exactly what was said, but whatever was said, I had hopes in my head that I was going to get to talk to you again and hear your scratchy and gruff voice say my name, Rosie.

It didn’t turn out that way.  You were wrapped in a white sheet from head to toe and on a gurney and I touched your chest and put my face close to yours and my whole world exploded and, while I don’t remember the exact details, I remember hearing a howling noise and then realizing that noise was me and shutting my eyes tight and saying something about how I had just seen you a few days before and you had been FINE.  FINE, DAMMIT.

I turned back around because I wanted to kiss your cheek before they took you away, but I was in a big empty room, just me and QoB and BD and some nursing staff.  I couldn’t tolerate that I had ruined my chance to say goodbye to you by getting overly emotional.  Whoever thought it was a good idea to wheel you off at that point was obviously a person that did not know me deeply.

The next week was a blur.  I tried to go into work, failed miserably.  Everyone around me was a complete wreck.  I can remember going through pictures to put up at the memorial service and I remember breaking down into tears time and time again.  Hysterical tears, hot tears, fast-moving, and unforgiving tears.

I still don’t remember much of that time, but I do know that I think of you all the time.  The wounds have healed over some, but I still have regret.  That I didn’t see you often enough or say thank you enough or stop by with a box of Cheez-its (our special favorite) just to say hi.  It was so hard being around Grandma, I just wanted my Grandpa back, the one who gardened on his knees for hours on end, even when he could barely walk, and the Grandpa that taught me how to drive by having me take back-roads from Topeka to Silver Lake at every opportunity.

The grandpa after the apartment with Sparky was sad, when he had to live with grandma again, when he didn’t feel as good physically, when PTSD from his time in the Navy rattled him as it never had before, when he couldn’t drive, couldn’t walk, couldn’t do whatever the hell it was he wanted to do.  Because he was like that, he was a man who did whatever he pleased.  If he wanted to whip up a bunch of refrigerator pickles, then he was going to do it, and if he felt like taking a drive or going to all of your basketball games (even though he could barely walk), then that is what he was going to do.

I find that every year that passes, I lose more of my memories of him.  Some are extremely fresh in my mind, some not so much.  In a day or maybe a week where there has been so much loss, the pang to my heart from Grandpa being gone is next-to-unbearable.  Should I be over this MUCH better 12 years down the road, yes.  I don’t need anyone to tell me that.  Some things are really hard, and this is one of those really hard things.  Every loss reminds me of him, and everytime I think of him, I am frightened by how much I don’t remember.

I hope you are proud of me, Grandpa, up on that big pontoon boat in the sky, and I am pretty sure you are.  Sometimes when I don’t feel like being tough, I think about your life and it gives me strength.  I hope you would be happy for me, too.  I have found love and love conquers all, and I know that you knew that.  It is still a month and several days until the anniversary of your death, but I wanted to be the first one to say how I miss you so, and how I wouldn’t be where I am today without all the love you poured into me when you were here.  I know you weren’t into religion or going to church, but I do believe that you and Sparky (and Mom’s childhood dogs) are out there somewhere, catching crappie after crappie, and moving around with the legs and back of a 16-year-old.

Always, Forever, Amen.  I love you.

 

 

Because That Phrase Doesn’t Work

buck up

Although I have heard this one often, sometimes in jest, some other more PC versions include “Can’t You Just Get it Together?” OR “Just Pull Yourself Back into the Saddle” OR “Get Your Shit Straight!”

For everyone’s information, Rosa is working very hard at getting her shit straight, at “bucking up,” if you will.  The problem, when you are also dealing with a mental illness, in addition to serious life stress — it may just not be so simple.

When Rosa stays at home all day, relaxing, chatting with friends on the Internet, reading blogs, reading on the Kindle, playing with the Kizzer dog, this is how she recharges.  Because people.  Well, people.  What can I say, being around people, it just drains the life right out of me.

The most current issue of the “just buck up” phrase comes from the fact that Rosa and her bipolarity have driven away oh-so-many people, and she finds herself with only a very few close friends and family members that she can rely on.  This means that, out of four people, there might not be someone to call at midnight, or five in the morning, or what have you.  With more resources, it might be easier.  I’d like to think it would be.

I have a stepsister and a best friend from grade school.  Both live close, both have kids and husbands.  In the past, they would always make time for me, but I guess I have worn them out.  The ups and downs of bipolar disorder, the cancelling meetings, the crying on the phone, my insistent attempts to get them to talk to me, perhaps me just seeming too desperate.  It is clear they have given up on me.  No, it’s really not in my head.  Other people see it too.

And there’s the question of my stepmom, who should love and care for me, at least in some small way, for the simple fact that she loves my dad.  Well, this is not the case.  She let it slip a couple weeks ago that she is “completely  unsympathetic to the mentally ill.”  What the FUCK would give you an idea to say that to me of all people.  She complained about people getting hospitalized, of which I actually  have twice and have thought about even more.  She had nothing good to say about a person with a mental illness — not even me.

And it occured to me — this woman does not love me, she does not respect me, and in fact she sees me as a burden on my father’s time.  She has actually said those words — burden on my father’s time.  No doubt that she can go up once a week to see my sister and spend 12 hours up there, or spend money and time on her daughter.  I am that red-headed step-child that no one wants around.  Save for Dad.

So after much introspection, I am left mainly with anger.  Anger for these people abandoning me in my life, when I could have used them most.  My dad came by last night and I cursed and yelled and cried and, while I think it was overwhelming for him, I think he needed to hear it.

He cried, because, well, this shit is sad.  The people I thought I could depend on are not there, and the list of people that I CAN depend on shrinks by the moment.  On my part, there will be no more contacting these people.  They have my number, my email, my web address, my home address.  They can figure out how to find me.

So here I am, at the end of the day, and I am done.done.done. with a large group of people.  I am not going to subject myself to heartache anymore, just as I suppose they wouldn’t themselves.

Remember this?

 

Possibilities and Challenges

I like to blog more often than a month worth of every 10 days or so, but life is getting in the way.  Not necessarily in a good way.  In short words, my parents are getting a divorce.

Longer words, current circumstances are stressful, interpersonal relationships are either weakened or strengthened.  I find myself crying a lot and screaming, “I can’t do this” in my head (and sometimes, out-loud, usually in my car), even though I’m not sure exactly what “this” is.

And sometimes, actually, it’s more like mostly, it hurts so much and its so badly stressful because you see your parents, people you have known your entire life, who have loved you and protected you and sang silly songs to you and called you out on your curfew, well, you see them suffering.

Suffering and crying and being angry and being sad.  Having to make really hard, life-changing decisions.  It is very difficult, as a grown woman, for the first time after 30-some years of living life together, that you see your dad cry.  Not able to talk to you because he is so upset.  Absolutely heartbreaking.

All the people around you, who so clearly don’t see your position and obviously think you are an idiot, tell you it’s not your fault (of course it’s not!) and that it is between them and there is nothing you can do to make it better (well, YES, no kidding, really?).  I spent the first bit trying to get them back together, of course, which is a natural human response, I believe.  But then I realized, this is not my battle to fight.  There is absolutely not one single thing I can do that will “fix” this or make it better.

I am hoping I am going to turn the corner from being extremely stressed out and upset and crying and going on to some sort of acceptance.  I am working on it, is all I can say.  Maybe do a little more of what Mr. Merton says:

You do not need to know precisely what is happening,

or exactly where it is all going.

What you need is to recognize the possibilities

and challenges offered by the present moment,

and to embrace them with courage.

Thomas Merton


A quick note…

I have been very behind reading, liking, and commenting on other blogs.  If you haven’t seen me stop by in awhile, my emotional turmoil and all the stress is what is keeping me away.  I hope to return to the blogosphere with much enthusiasm in November for NaBloPoMo and plan to be doing a lot of reading of blogs I have followed forever and hopefully some new blogs starting very soon.

Rosa

Don’t Live There: Get Up

 

 

 

melt down

 

As anybody who knows me or has talked to me in the last week or has done even a minimally good job at following this blog, ya’ll know the past week or two has been beyond the bounds of stress.  I may have snapped at a few people, been less than my cheerful self, become irritated by small things you asked me to do, seemed overwhelmed at a task that wasn’t that big, not returned your calls, or avoided you all together.

Right here, right now:  I intend to fix that.  Like the picture above says, “cry it out and then refocus on where you are headed.”  Well, I think, after tonight, I’ll be done crying it out, at least for a little while.  I could say for a week or a day or a month, but we all know what Father Time can do and how Mother Earth likes to smack us upside the head sometimes, maybe when we’re getting a little too proud or confident.

 

bad day

It’s easy to generalize a bad day into a bad year, for sure.  Especially at the start of the year, when not much time has passed.  It has not been a great year for DSB’s health.  There was the abcess from the kidney removal, the subsequent surgery to remove the abcess, and then, to add insult to injury, a wound vac that must be changed three times a week by a registered nurse.  And now a (going on 5-day) stint in the hospital with pneumonia.  DSB’s 2014 has been unpleasant, medically speaking.

While it’s safe to say that DSB has not had a stellar start to 2014, I can’t take that on as my own.  To generalize that to myself, to say that dearest Rosa has not had a stellar start to 2014, would be a lie that only I would tell myself.  That I have sometimes told myself time and time again, when things between DSB and I were not going well.  Because when someone is sick and someone is tending, tensions grow.  When someone is sick, the other person worries and stress rises.  But Rosa has not  had a bad start to 2014.  Some amazing things have  happened, and I think I have chronicled some of them in my TToT posts.

To, me, I can feel like the woman in that picture above.  I can sense the wonder at the rising or setting sun, the yellowed grasses around me, the sky, the very being of myself.  Some truly wondrous things have happened to me so far this year.  I have:

1) Formed and continued solid friendships with my bloggie friends.

2) Solidified my love for DSB, by choosing right over wrong, trust over lies, consideration for the other over self-indulgence.

3) Forged deeper connections with my inner voice.  I can let that voice out now, and have it be heard, and not worry (too much), about what effect that voice is going to  have on a person that chooses willingly to read what I have written.

4) Given up trying to hide myself from the one who has always hunted me.

5) Learned to forgive, not to forget.  Learned to trade in anxiety and lonesomeness and uncertainty in a fatherly relationship for compassion for what that person must be going through at this time.  We are all human, even dads.

6) Learned to separate myself from that which is negative in my life.  I choose not to have negativity in my life, and won’t tolerate it.  Even if this means giving up people that I thought I cared about.

7) Started to open myself up to the possibility of rejection.  Making jokes, telling fish stories, and selling bait isn’t as easy as you might think.  There is a world of nuance within those walls.

8) Decided to stop counting my breaths as I am trying to fall asleep, and instead to just.breathe.  In, out.  Don’t say it, don’t think it, just do it.  Appreciate the feel of the air through your nose, through your mouth, the rise and fall of your chest, the tickle in your throat.  Don’t put a word on it, just be, just do.

To celebrate, let’s take a listen to my second most favorite meditation practice, singing bowls.  And let’s be honest, Goddess of Mindfulness, my first pick is always the metal, but nowhere else can I get those bowls.  They are addictive and the stories you told me on Wednesday left happy traces of puppies and friends and love on my heart.  Bless you.

Please note that these are quartz singing bowls and they have a very special place in my heart.  If you can (after you get through the commercial-ish first section), do take a listen.  Take off your shoes, set your feet on the floor, sit upright, and breathe.  You can do this.  You really can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because it’s Hard

The past 24 hours have been a complete roller-coaster.  I started out yesterday morning feeling somewhat optimistic about the day, was fairly productive, then irritability and annoyance crept in that was so intense I couldn’t control my behavior.  I ended up leaving the house so I wouldn’t take it out on my sweet boyfriend, and was able to calm down a little.

Then, it was back home and then out and about with Dad.  I felt numb, detached.  Either the meds or the mania are making me feel almost high.  Everything is so vivid, my senses are painfully alive, and it’s almost like I’m having an out-of-body experience.  I don’t remember much of what was said, but I do remember getting home and being really upset.  I know that wasn’t Dad’s fault, that there wasn’t anything he did or said, it just was.

QoB came over after she was done at the shop, as she has been doing regularly since I started feeling bad (one of the few things that makes me feel better and sane).  She explained a few things to dear, sweet boyfriend that hopefully made sense to him and as to why sometimes I act the way I act.  God, I am so worried that he will leave me.  He says he won’t, but this is so much to handle.

After that, dear sweet boyfriend made a fire and lit the grill.  We had pork chops, asparagus, and baked potatoes.  Very good.  We then watched a movie and went to bed.  That part of the evening was good.  I went to bed feeling satisfied and somewhat at peace.

Now I’ve been up for an hour and I can’t stop crying.  I fucking hate this.  All over the place.  I feel sad and anxious and racing.  I feel angry and the most intense self-hatred.  I need to get off my ass and take a Klonopin, but it’s almost like I feel like I deserve to feel like this.  I need to get my shit together before dear sweet boyfriend gets out of bed.

I am unsure of my plans for the day.  I know that we are going to drop off the two dog rescues this morning and pick up my CPAP supplies.  Maybe we can do some driving around or go out to the lake.  I need to feel better.  I need to feel more in control of my emotions.  I practice and practice my DBT skills but they do not always give me relief.  I wish there was some quick and easy fix but I know there is not.

I really miss my sister and it makes me cry to think that I have disappointed her by taking this turn in my life, although I know deep in my head that she is not disappointed.  I really want her acceptance and, although I know I have it, it feels like I am not worthy of it.

I just miss everyone in general.  I still see QoB, dear sweet boyfriend, Big Dog, Dad but everyone else is missing.  If I could be doing anything right now, it would be making pancakes with my sister, tucked away safe in her house in the big city, where no one knows my problems.

I just want some semblance of normalcy, whatever that might be.  I want to not go from crying to angry to crying to overly happy (elevated) to depressed and back again.  I want to feel stable for longer than two hours and I not feel like I am a burden on the people around me.

I can’t stand being around myself, so I don’t understand how anyone else can stand to be around me.  So I worry that they will leave.  I worry that dear sweet boyfriend will head out and never come back.  I worry that I will alienate my friends and I will never hear from them.  I know QoB and Big Dog will always be there, but I worry they will get so tired.

I’m sick to death of feeling this way.  I don’t feel like I deserve the love of anyone, from my dog to dear sweet boyfriend to family.  Sometimes this just hurts so much, its unbearable.  I’m not getting ready to end my life or anything like that, but if I didn’t have the support system that I do, I’d have been dead long ago.

On that note, here I am, trying to stay alive, to make it through.  To be ok.  To not even be ok, but just to be.

Even though it doesn’t always feel this way, this is dear sweet boyfriend talking to me:

Eli Young Band, Crazy Girl

 

Complaints and Possible Regret

The past few weeks have been both amazing and trying.  I have found that I have much less anxiety with being in a different office than my supervisor, and she supervising me from a distance.  What is clear, however, is that she clearly feels wronged that I went to her supervisor with my concerns, and she now does not give a damn about what I do to an extent.  What is also clear is that I really need to mind my “P’s and Q’s,” because she is a vengeful person and I have no doubt that she will throw me  under the bus at any moment.

So, the anxiety is still there.  She is basically ignoring me, which I suppose is fine, but it makes for very uncomfortable exchanges between the two of us.  Or, rather, very uncomfortable when I attempt to tell her anything and she ignores me.  It doesn’t seem to matter what I say, her answer is “Ok.”  Nothing more than an “ok.”  Well whatever.  I wish I didn’t care so much, but I do.  This is painful.

To some degree, I regret going to her supervisor because it has made her swing her attitude even further against me, but at least now I have my own office and am not stuck in that hell-hole with her and my other two negative co-workers.  I trust about 1.5 people in the whole facility, and a few at Central Office.  It is difficult not to have a go-to person when I am having a problem, because I sure don’t feel like I can bring anything to my direct supervisor and she has discouraged me from contacting anyone else.  In a way it is still a very negative work experience, and I guess I should just get a thicker skin, and realize that there will be no pleasing her, no returning to the easy relationship that we once shared.  In some ways, I am grieving that loss and dealing with my own issues about wanting to please everyone.  I just don’t understand why people (myself and her included) can’t just get along.  I really don’t.

In other crap news, my Grandma died yesterday.  It hasn’t fully hit me yet, but I know it will.  Right now, I am just feeling guilty because I haven’t seen her since this past Spring, even though we live in the same town.  After my Grandpa died in 2004, it was all I could to to bring myself to visit Grandma.  I was so angry at her for such a long time and then felt nothing toward her.  No sense of obligation, no sense of love, nothing.  As QoB said last night, her death is somewhat the loss of what could-have-been.  That desire for acceptance never faded, but it seems that I lost that from her a long time ago.  Now, there is no going back and trying again.  In some ways I care about that, in some ways I don’t (at least not right at the moment).  I think what I am struggling with most right now is my complete ambivalence about her death.  It’s difficult to think that I cared so little that I don’t have an opinion or a feeling about her passing.

The Wallflowers, I Wish I Felt Nothing