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From High To Low in 30 Seconds Flat

Things have been swinging back and forth for the last couple of weeks. I try to get up and do some work on packing and sorting and storage etc. For added incentive, I watched eight seasons of “Hoarder” which has be motivated beyond belief. Not that my house is a ‘hoard’ but that there are a lot of things that have to be moved.

Today, I had a phone interview. Talked with the HR woman for like 45 minutes, went through the job requirements etc., my job history, the company environment, everything. I hung up the phone excited and happy that not only does this possible job represent everything I believe in and have the experience to do, but their salary dollars are in my price range.

For some odd reason, my ‘husband’ was in the kitchen over hearing all of this. I thought he’d be happy, because this possibility represents what he thinks of as his “duty” to make sure I was “okay” (whatever the hell that is supposed to mean) before he left for his retirement in Arizona.

He asked me where it was, and frankly I knew the general area in the ‘greater Kansas City area’, but I flipped to the company website and on the homepage was this map:

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I replied: “I’m not sure exactly but it is directly across the road from “Johnson County Funeral Chapel.”

He looked at me and in a voice that had zero emotion, replied: “Hey, that’s the place I went to pick up Streeter’s ashes. I know where that is.

Forget that he is talking about my only son’s death and ashes no differently than if I was saying a golf course or shopping mall. Forget that it has only been four months since I found him dead in his room; I was just on a high about a real opportunity that I was excited about and very qualified after spending the past 18 or 20 months out of work; it would mean that I was offered and I accepted, I would spend every day across the fucking street from where my baby was cremated. And I hit rock bottom. In an instant, I went from feeling like I was standing on the tallest building and the next I hit the pavement. I was at rock bottom.

And that never occurred to him. To say such a thing without emotion or any empathy or thought beforehand. And I felt like I lost Streeter all over again. And he still didn’t get it. When I finally came back out of my bedroom (another two hour crying jag), he mumbles something under his breath that was supposed to be an apology. I don’t think he even got it then!

Thankfully, it wasn’t the funeral home. I wouldn’t have been able to drive to work every day knowing it was across the street. Am I making too much of this? Was it really such a big deal?

You better believe it.

Streeter's Mom Final

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Oh, It Was Fun

Looking back on the totality of my life, I’d have to say that my life was more fun and adventurous rather than sad.

True, what I wanted usually seemed so difficult to make happen, in the end it usually worked out. But everything always seemed to come with a price, be it stress, money, frustration and disappointment. Or something more.

I enjoyed a long and productive career making more money than many of my male colleagues… and this was unusual during much of my thirty years in technology. I had many men who looked to me for the answer, who sought out my counsel and relied on my expertise.

I’ve owned two brand new houses, the second being a “semi-custom” home (we found it while it was in its last stages). I’ve enjoyed new clothes, dinners out, new cars and the latest technology. Both with work and personally, I traveled all over the country… up to 48 states visited. I will soon make a final trip to Alaska (number 49!), but somehow that last state will elude me (Maine).

I had wonderful lovers and been married, although I lived in a very non-conventional lifestyle. Although I never completed my studies, I am well read and have certain favorites I return to again and again.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet many great and intelligent people. Many of them, I call ‘friend’ and am very proud to be able to do so.

I was fortunate to be born into a world where progress is being made with those who’s lives are a little different. I was able to see same-sex marriages happen and strides with others’ issues to be accepted for who they are.

After nearly five years of testing and surgeries and guesses and IVF tries, my son was born. There was nothing more precious and wonderful than the 22 plus years that I was proud to call him my son. More than proud. He was my beautiful baby boy.

Streeter Playing

Its been a good life. When I look back….

Streeter's Mom Final

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The Dreaded Question

So, it finally happened. And I was no where near ready to answer the question:

“So, do you have any kids?”

The kind of question asked hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands of time a day every day. An innocent question 99% of the time.

I really hadn’t thought about it. It wasn’t a stranger exactly, not someone I’d never meet again, but someone I would have to spend a not less than significant time (at the moment). I stammered something, something that wasn’t yes but wasn’t no. I’m not sure what I said, but she stepped in elegantly with words, I too, don’t recall, but were so very tactful and she let slide by my non-answer.

The past two months have been so difficult but I thought that I had told everyone that I thought of. It hadn’t dawned on me that there would be strangers in the world that would crack the door on my life and ask me personal questions. I guess there always has been and in the past, I would gladly and joyfully told them all about the perfect son that I had and how wonderful a child he was and how much he brought to my life.

But how do I answer now? “Yes.” “No.” “I did.” “I don’t.”

I did manager, however, not to cry. Came close, but held it together. She was working on my hair, cutting, coloring, etc., and finally the question came back around in another form. I finally told her that he had passed away. Nothing more was said and nothing more was asked.

No doubt this will occur again, and probably many times. Perhaps the next time it won’t be so raw, this hurt and pain I feel, and I will be ready to answer the question. But what will the answer be?

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Streeter's Mom Final

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Erasing His Memory?

Wow, I wondered if this day would ever end. Yesterday they finally replaced the carpet from his bedroom and of course, they screwed it up. So now they have to order more carpet to replace it, once again.

But I started in on his video gaming systems and the games themselves. He has been collecting them for years and at one point it hit me that it seemed that what was happening was that I was simply erasing everything that is left of my son. It hit hard and honestly, between crying jags, I simply could not really even get started. All these ‘things’ were precious to him and I want to keep them all, but I simply cannot.

How do I get through this? It is just killing me inside to have to go through all of his things and try to make decisions about keeping and selling. It doesn’t help that all day long I kept thinking that tomorrow marks two months since he died. My mind knows that he is gone, but my heart keeps wanting him to just appear. God, this is killing me.

I consider myself a strong, level-headed person normally, but how does that help me now? I am falling apart and usually barely ahead of just breaking down in tears and it takes all my strength just to keep going from day to day. And most days I really see no reason to get out of bed.

I honestly don’t know how much longer I can continue this madness. This grief is literally tearing me to pieces.

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Such a happy kid… what happened and why didn’t I see it?

Streeter's Mom Final

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Doing Better, But Missing Him More

It usually seems to be this time of the day that once all the chores are done and the errands done, I start to really think about him. And I always think that this is just some bad dream that I will wake up from and he will be here with him saying “Hey Momma Momma” and giving me a hug and a kiss.

I recently watched an HOB special called “A Dangerous Son” that talked about children with mental illness. Mostly it focused on the angry and aggressive boys, but one really hit him with me. The (then) Governor of Virginia had a son very much like mine. Brilliant, eager, a pleaser and caring boy. Then out of the blue, the changes begin and with almost no warning or signs, he kills himself.

(There is more to the story, so if you’re interested, watch on HBO “A Dangerous Son”.

I miss him more everyday. As I make my way through each day of insanity and emotions, I feel his loss every minute. His wonderful humor and the way he would respond so quickly to my  requests or even suggestions of things he could do for me. I loved that, although we were in separate rooms, we were never physically for apart (maybe 15 feet) and loved knowing that he was there. Just there. There.

There. And now I will never see or hold him, never sweep the hair back from his face or feel that unexpected moment when he would hold my hand. His inquisitive nature of everything – always ready to try anything.

He was so like me in so many ways. I guess that happens when you have a child that is so miraculous – the five years and countless doctors and treatments and procedures and the worrisome of preterm labor that then turned into an overdue baby (13 days!).

Of course, I feel like he was special. To me he was my whole world. What do you do when your whole world is gone?

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Streeter's Mom Final

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Having To Retrain Myself

This is exactly the kind of shit that just rips my heart in two. Humming along trying to stay sane for at least the day at hand, when something happens and makes me think of my boy.

The WI-FI installed in my house was conveniently (that’s sarcasm) installed with all of the routers and Airports installed under my desk, you know, to keep things neat and tidy. But since the double knee replacement surgery, you can imagine what it takes to get under there now.

Well the WI-FI has been acting up all day, my Nest camera and thermostat keeps going offline and I’ve had some difficulty with my iPhone as well. This is the place where I would usually yell upstairs to The Kid to come reboot the system.

Yeah, it just turned into a very bad day.

(Sorry about the quality of the picture)

Streeter meeting his Grandfather for the first time.

Streeter's Mom Final

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This Has Been A Bad Day

This writing has been an outlet for me and I hope that it proves cathartic tonight as well.

Tonight is a bad one. Tomorrow will mark the sixth week since he died. I am no closer to answering the millions of questions I have, maybe the most pressing one is what do I have to live for now?

For as long as I can remember it has always been about Streeter. It was like finding out that I finally pregnant and looked like I would carry to term, that I have found the missing piece of me. He and I were practically joined to each at the hip… and everyone around me knew of Streeter. I changed my whole life so that it was first and foremost about him.

So, now with him gone, what is there for me? I don’t feel like I really have a purpose in this world. It will only be about sustaining a purposeless life… working to pay for a place to live and buy food and gas and missing him.

I spent the better part of the day going through some of his “things”, really his treasures, and it just broke my heart to have to part with a single object. His smell is gone from the house and I still want to turn to him for his help, his comfort, his love every single minute. I find myself ready to shout up to him (in his room) “Hey sweetheart!” or turn to him and telling him that I recognize an actor in a show from one of our favorite shows. I saw an Allstate ad and my instinct was to tell him that ‘Mayhem’ was back!

And I see less and less people replying or commenting about him. Some of the people I considered to be very important people appear to be too uncomfortable about my intense sadness to even reach out anymore. Some have never reached out.

I thank God for those who steadfastly push their way into my life. Without these people – and you know who you are – I would probably be over the edge already. If it weren’t for you, I’d probably check myself into a mental hospital if I knew I could be drugged out of consciousness 24/7. Doesn’t that sound pleasant? Sleep away your life until you die?

There are days when I think I might just make it and then there are days like today; especially like tonight. Again the sleeping pill doesn’t seem to be working and I can’t take more if I want to get anything done tomorrow.

I wish I didn’t have to think about things. Maybe what I need to do is get my tattoo tomorrow to feel like I have him closer to me. And maybe the pain of it all will help drown out this heartache.

Streeter's Mom Final

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Yesterday Was Good But Last Night Was Hell

I have a great friend who has been helping me through all this. I sometimes feel like I might be taking advantage of him and his willingness to listen to my cry and complain and worry, but we’ve known each other a long time and we’re really comfortable with one another.

Last night was awesome! He invited me over for dinner and he made the best steaks and fresh green beans I have ever had. I am not exaggerating one bit, it rocked! Me, of course, forgot the dessert I was supposed to bring. 😦

Afterwards we just opted to watch a movie (The Fifth Element) together kicked off our shoes and stretched out on separate couches and I enjoyed playing with his cat. All was good even when his son came home, a really sweet and polite young man, which I think both of us were a little worried how I would react to it.

We chatted some through the movie and just generally hung out. Because of all the new meds that I am on, I opted not to drink, but I was fine with him drinking. I had told him about the odd experiment of making Jolly Ranchers’ vodka (five different flavors) and had told him I was going to give them to him because of the whole ‘not drinking’ thing; forgot to bring those as well. (The day had started out as one of those ‘just unable to keep my mind on any one thing for more than about 15 minutes all day, so maybe it was good that there wasn’t any open alcohol containers in the car in case of being pulled over!)

So, once the movie was over, it seemed like a good time to head home. On the drive, though, it started to sink in that those were evenings that Streeter and I had shared almost every night since he was very young and that I would soon be living alone (for the first time in my whole life) and would be watching and spending much time alone.

This made going to sleep very difficult, in fact, didn’t fall asleep (I fear it was just sheer exhaustion) around 5:00am and woke up a few hours later missing my sweet boy almost more than I had since he died. I think in my head I am making all these lists and chores and projects to do so that I will be so busy that I think I won’t miss him, but he pops into my head at the oddest times and quite often. Just talking about it here is starting to make me cry.

I finished the cross stitch pattern that I have been working on – took a hiatus through all of this – and so I fear that I need to find something else to work on. I start different projects in his room and then have to step away pretty quickly. I can’t seem to decide what I should keep and what I should get rid of. Everything is sort of in flux because I have to find a job and find a house and find someone to do an ‘estate sale’ sort of thing and sell this house and it is all so overwhelming that I just opt to do nothing and start new projects.

I need to go to bed early tonight and try to get a solid night’s sleep… I have been a basket case all day.

Streeter's Mom

PS The photo was of us at Obama’s first presidential rally here in KC. We had a great time!

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Five Weeks, But Seems A Lot Longer

This has been a whole helluva weekend. I wander around totally unfocused, spending a few minutes looking at this room and that closet and the drawers in the kitchen and not having a clue as to what I am going to do with it all. Or where I am going to take it all.

Where am I going to live and how will I find it. If I find it, will I have a room that has his collectibles and keepsakes. He was an avid collector – must have gotten it from his momma – and how can I just throw his treasures away? The house is a mess with moving things around, trying to figure out what can go and what stays. I’ve spent more than a decade collecting for my hobbies and those things that I love. I have a well stocked and supplied garage workshop. I need a house the size I am living in now, although I suppose I could do without a guest room, I suppose, and I am ready to give up my giant bedroom suite for something more simple, but I don’t image see parting with a single thing in my sewing room.

And then my mind shifts to Mother’s Day in a couple of weeks and how I will never get flowers or breakfast in bed from my baby. Ever. Again. I will never hear his sweet voice telling me how much he loves me or do I want eggs over or scrambled. Never have him watch television with me or share the viewing of our favorite move “The Thing” again and say all the lines together. Never have those inside jokes and those telling looks we used to give one another.

I’m afraid that people are getting tired of me going on about it. Sometimes I feel like I won;t be able to take another breath and sometimes I wish I could get on with things. I just feel so hopeless.

I have this book in my bathroom called “8979 Words of Wisdom” and the most apt line that I have read so far is: “Some questions will never have an answer.”

I suppose over time the little issues will resolve themselves, but right now they are right there in from of my mind. The bigger issues – like why? – will never be understood.

Streeter's Mom

Oh, for Mother’s Day I am planning to get my blog signature tattooed over my heart. He, of course, will always be there.

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Thank Heavens for Good Friends

It just really dawned on me that I could not have made it this far without the friends I have in my life.

There are so many issues that I have to deal with and usually with strangers without knowledge or understanding. And most people in business are so cheerful and happy, always wishing me a ‘great day’. I know that it isn’t their fault, they need to be happy and cheerful… but it still hurts that I cannot be happy in return. To the few that I tried to explain that I wasn’t being rude… it caused me to break down in tears. Mostly, I just try to not interact with the public. Over the phone seems to work better, but honestly, I’d just rather not talk to anyone just now.

On the other hand, texting and emails are perfect. There is no expectation of response or the real emotion that underlies the texted words.

I love these friends and that they know me and when to reach out and when to be there when I need them. I just found the most beautiful flowers on the front porch (after I checked the Nest camera feed. (Thanks Kim and Robert!)

And the real proof is that the people who have contributed to my GoFundMe project. I can tell you that it has made all the difference in how I look at my friends, my true family.

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Here he is helping me hang my quilts to get photos for OnMyCreativeSide blog. What a sly grin as I caught him unprepared.

 

 

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