Not Again

Jesus Christ. I can follow the logic but I don’t understand. HOW does this keep happening? I am crying and shaking with anger after reading a story about a mother having to bury her THIRD son, all lost to heroin.

I feel so defeated. I can stand on my soapbox and preach all I want but what good does it do? Everyone already agrees… even the addicts. Yes, this has to stop. Loved ones can advocate and try to help all they want and addicts can want sobriety worse than anything and yet… here we are.

There were two things mentioned between the news story and the GoFundMe page that caught my attention.

The first being, when someone is arrested for a drug related offense, why are we letting them out of jail to wait for a court date? Can’t we hold them until a bed opens up somewhere? If this person was suicidal, there’s no way a judge would let him go out on his own… This catch and release method isn’t working.

Second, someone suggested suing the drug company. Like I said, I’m angry and devastated… I’m sure there are probably answers to both of these ideas… I don’t know which company would be sued, anyone making opiates? Is there any other way to ease pain? Some other solution?

I’m broke. So, so broke and I’d be more than HAPPY to pay extra taxes, drive on a bumpy road, eat crappier food- DO WHATEVER IT TAKES to fix this! Find a cure or an alternative…

I can’t believe I ever feared riding in an airplane, getting murdered or anything other than this epidemic.

Here is the link to the GoFundMe page: Jesse McCauley Memorial Fund.

What Can I Say?

I’ve been thinking about today’s blog on and off, all day. What should I write about? What do I have to say? What can I offer? It doesn’t feel like much… In terms of writing I mean. I feel panic a lot of the day. A pressure in my chest about what’s left to do for the expo (a lot!), have I made all the calls? Covered all the bases? Weekends suck as far as trying to get anything done- few people hold business hours on Saturday and Sunday.

I am afraid. Afraid of not being able to pull this off. Of putting so much of my heart into this, at nobody showing up. Of October 16th, when it’s all over and I lose another part of Natalie, again.

I’m struggling to find balance. I’ve been run, run, running until I crash. And then start over. I need to learn organization. Time management. Meditation. Calm. I’ve worked really hard at seeing beyond just black and white.

We’re trying to get a CD put together and I’m reminded how far her talents stretched. How many genres she reached. How much she accomplished… And I think of how much more could have come.

I struggle to find meaning for her life, meaning that extends beyond her death. She brought happiness to people. Inspiration. Hope… and if that’s all I do in my lifetime? I’d consider it a life well lived.

-Photo by Kate Powell

Daily Prompt: Pretend

via Daily Prompt: Pretend

Today I was a nurse. Well, someone thought I was a nurse. I was at an Asian restaurant tonight, grabbing some lemon chicken. At the register, the cashier asked me how my night was. “Fine” I replied.

“Do you have any plans for the rest of the night?”

“Oh, um… I’m going to go home, eat and try to stay awake until it’s time for bed.”

He asked “Are you a nurse?”

I squinted in confusion as if the sun were in my eyes.

“No” I said, shaking my head slowly.

He nodded toward me, the left of me and I realized I was wearing my sweatshirt with the End the Epidemic logo I designed.

“Oh, because of the syringe?”

“Yeah, that and you look tired. And you mentioned trying to stay awake until it was time for bed…”

“Got it” I said. “No, I’m not a nurse. I just wear this sweatshirt because I lost my sister to the heroin epidemic in May.”

As I was speaking, I was also thinking, “wow, that was almost completely painless”.

“Oh my God” he said. “I’m so sorry. I have two sisters that were heavily into drugs in the 70’s. One has cleaned up, the other… she’s still kind of a mess.”

“I’m sorry to hear that” I said.

We talked for a few more minutes and by the time I got home, I realized the opportunity I’d wasted. Here’s how I imagined the conversation went, had I been a nurse.

“Are you a nurse?”

“Yes” I would say

“Where do you work?” He’d ask.

“Um, at a hospital?”

“What do you do there?”

“What is this, the Spanish Inquisition?”

spanish-inquisition

“Sorry, just trying to make polite conversation…”

“No, I’m sorry, didn’t mean to snap at you. I change bedpans, start IV’s, bring people ice chips… that kind of stuff.”

He would nod, thoughtfully.

Wow. That was WAY LESS INTERESTING than I’d imagined. And really? The first thing I think of for my job description is changing bedpans? WTF?

Longing For Nothing

The past couple of days I’ve been feeling down. More so than usual. I wondered what had happened. Is this just another part of the grieving process? Feeling like you’re coming out of it before getting the door slammed in your face, a picture of what you lost taped to the back? I fell. Hard and into the basement of grief.

Natalie’s birthday pushed me to the edge of what little plateau I’d managed to climb upon. The four month anniversary tomorrow. And the 29th. Noah’s due date. The womb is not empty but full of sorrow. Longing. Aching.

I am holding on, making it through, as if there was another choice. There is, but there isn’t really. Not for me.

I have been keeping busy but the nights are the hardest. I don’t sleep well and there’s no one to talk to. Even if there was, I know I wouldn’t feel like saying anything… just wishing someone could take it away. I know the only way out is through and I am trying to honor the process and the pain. I know it will go away. Not completely but it won’t feel so heavy, leaving me longing for nothing.

PS!

I write blog posts on Wednesdays and Sundays and occasionally on other days… like this past Thursday. Did you see it? It was titled “Sometimes I’m an Asshole”. If you didn’t catch it, Please “follow me” and get an alert each time I post! Never again will you have to miss one of my many witty musings or bitch fests… What could be better than that? Nothing, right?

i-hate-it-when-you-make-me-laugh_o_1319979

Another Loss

The picture of her is blurry, I know. Fuzzy or out of focus, I know. I’m using it anyway, maybe as a way to let go -just a little bit. Dull the pain, just a touch.

Like most of the state, I heard yesterday about Jacob Wetterling. Don had called and when I answered he said “Did you hear about Jacob Wetterling?”

“No. What?”

“They found him.”

I was holding my breath and waiting for more but nothing came…

“Dead or alive?” I asked.

“Oh, dead.”

“Shit!”

“That’s not why I’m calling though…” and I didn’t hear or don’t remember what he said after that because nothing else mattered. Not in that moment. In those few moments, I remembered Jacob. His aunt taught my home economics class in middle school. I was about the same age as Jacob when he was taken. I, along with everyone else, waited for news of safe return of the boy with the bright smile and yellow t-shirt.

A statement released by The Jacob Wetterling Resource Center said in part: “We are in deep grief. We didn’t want Jacob’s story to end this way. … Our hearts are heavy, but we are being held up by all of the people who have been a part of making Jacob’s Hope a light that will never be extinguished. It shines on in a different way. We are, and we will continue to be, Jacob’s Hope.”

Really? Deep grief? Still? It’s been 27 years… It sounds harsh, I know… I think I was trying to be optimistic? As backwards as that sounds. I guess I was hoping that after a certain number of years, it wouldn’t hurt so much… I’m sure finding the remains brought up all sorts of horror I don’t want to imagine…

We went to Natalie’s friend’s house yesterday to clean her stuff out of his garage. I figured it would be emotionally draining and it was. I only broke down twice though. Once when cleaning out her nightstand and I found a couple of pictures of Tayla as a baby and the other time, when cleaning out her desk and I found one of the books I had a story published in and a hand written letter I’d sent her in November of 2010.

For six hours we sorted, moved, piled and hauled. We finished up (for the day) at 6:00 pm and I was a zombie. I drove home in silence and once upstairs, I flopped onto the bed. I balled up a couple of her shirts and held them to my chest and buried my face in them and tried to remember her scent.

Don made dinner. I wasn’t hungry but ate a little bit. I don’t remember what triggered it… whatever we’d been talking about, he said something, something “once in a blue moon”. The song she sang for the high school talent show, Blue Moon of Kentucky. I heard her voice in my head and felt her absence in my heart.

I cried. And cried. And cried until I couldn’t breathe. I went to bed. Of course, I couldn’t sleep. I turned to Facebook. News of Jacob Wetterling was everywhere.

In many of the comments I read in reaction to the news of finding Jacob Wetterling, almost everyone said something to the effect of “at least now they have closure”. I guess it sounds like a good thing but after 27 years, to find out this is how it ends? I think I’d rather hang on to hope, no matter how slight.

Today, I worked. I was still tired and achy from yesterday but it wasn’t busy, I didn’t have to do much. Afterward, I’d made plans to meet up with Shar. On my way there, I heard that song “Lost Boy” by Ruth B. I listened to the whole thing without even tearing up! I was proud of myself… for about two seconds.

The song after that, was “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Haley Reinhart. The significance of this song comes from a session of healing I took with my mom, lead by Laurie Wondra. She told us that the frequency of Reinhart’s voice was optimal for connecting with angels or spirits on the other side… man, I really hope I’m remembering this right… Anyway, I cried in the car. The crying turned into screaming. I screamed and screamed. NATALIE! No! Nooo! This is NOT the best time to be flying down 35E at 70 mph when you can’t see shit… but, I didn’t have much of a choice.

Thankfully I calmed down by the time I got to Shar’s. My throat hurts, my emotions are stirred up and I’m left remembering Justin’s phone call to tell me Nat was dead. Why couldn’t she have been in a coma? I wondered over and over again. Because I wanted that hope…

I guess hope is my new drug of choice.

But now I have to have hope for other people. Help them to have hope for themselves.

Puddles

Tonight I am finding myself at a loss for words. Exhausted, I have a million things to write about but justice would be done to none. Instead of doing less than my best, here is a free write from my Friday class.

Disclaimer! As we say in our family, towards the end, it “takes a turn”.

Things That Make Me Melt:

*When Tayla crawls into my lap and throws her arms around my neck.

*When she says “mom, do you want to see what I wrote?”.

*Most everyone on America’s Got Talent… watching  the culmination of a persons dedicated and hard work summed up in a smile or a tear, receiving what I’m sure feels like the ultimate validation.

*Comedians who laugh at their own jokes.

*When one of my cats stretch themselves across my bare feet, not so subtly demanding a belly rub.

*Doggies. Especially Niles. Probably seven pounds of miniature dachshund, minus an eye. Minus my sister. My heart breaks when I think of him alone with Natalie’s body. Tenderly washing her exposed skin in desperate kisses.

I remember sitting in that conference room. The apartment building on LaSalle Ave when the medical examiner told us she’d most likely passed around 2 or 3 am that morning. Hours. Just hours we missed her by. Eight hours earlier I could have called and expected she’d answer.

I don’t know how time works for animals. I know part of him understands, like part of me understands but I can’t help but tear up whenever I see him, still searching for her, like me.