Friday, August 31, 2007


mom died this morning, 8/31/07, at 11:50am.
i don't have tons to say about it right now.
sad, relieved, tired to my bones.
she died about 5 minutes after i came in to check on her.
her breathing had been funky (not the good kind) for the last few days, but there was only a very little bit of the breathing apnea.
working out how to deal with her remains (donated to science) now. almost done.
i deserve a long-ass nap.
the mortuary in town is coming to get her body soon, and will store it until the donation people can come get it.
lu and tab washed mom's body, put on a clean shirt, removed all unsightly facial hairs, and put some tasteful make-up and oils on her. she looks lovely, but decidedly inanimate.
tiredtiredtired. sadsadsad. a little flat-ish.

they're wheeling her out right now, wrapped in a sheet, strapped to a gurney.
bon voyage, mom.


mom's skin is drawn looking now, and a waxy, yellowish color.
(when the family came to visit this weekend, we were all impressed by how lovely mom's skin looked - really glowing. that time has passed now.)
her breathing is scary. last night she had what could only be described as a death gurgle. the hospice nurse warned us to not make too much of it, and said it probably wasn't as distressing for her to have as it was for us to hear. good, because that was a terrible sound. her breathing was really quick last night, but it's even more so now. it's like she's jogging, sucking in tiny gasps and puffing them out. the nurse says that she's not getting much oxygen, hence the gasping.
she has a fever all the time, no matter what we do.
she doesn't respond to speech.
last night she made moaning noises.
we're done with the phase where we try to deal with individual symptoms.
now we just give her morphine regularly and try to keep her comfortable.
the nurse on-call last night said mom won't go if she's not comfortable (like, if she's gasping for breath, actively involved in the fight to live, she's not going to be inclined to just stop.) she recommended that we make mom ultra-comfy (crush an ativan up and mix it with morphine, for example) so that she'll be more likely to just drift off and not wake up.
that same nurse also recommended that i think about where i want to be when people come to take mom's body out of the house. she said that that can be a traumatic thing to see, so some people wish they'd left the house, or at least stayed in another room.
i appreciated the suggestion.
we're all so tired.
since mom could die at any moment, we all want to be ready all the time.
last night, while i was giving her some meds, i happened to look at her face, and it looked SO much like my mom, the way that i know her, and yet so NOT her. it really hit me, again, that this is her dying.
my mom is dying in the next room.
every breath is getting her closer to her last. (again, i guess the same could be said for all of us, but it's clearly not the same.)
my mom.
she's not ever going to be herself again, the way i know her.
being around it constantly it's easy, and necessary, to sometimes let that fact drift a little from our consciousness.
this is the worst/best/worst time of my life.
in a lot of ways, it's so much like The Golden Summer.
me, lu and tab barely working, spending all our time together.
a time of tremendous internal change and personal growth.
tons of laughing and crying.
and my mom, the center point of everything.
ben's comment about still having a relationship with his mom, past her death, was helpful.
i hope that i am able to check in with her sometimes, or feel her presence.
and, at this point, i hope she doesn't wait too much longer.
it's only going to get yuckier, physically.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


today, shannon gave me my birthday present.
it's a sexy-ass iphone.
it's an 8gb one, too.
none of this pansy-ass 4gb bull.


'cavorting' is one of my mom's favorite words.
when i was little, and we'd wrestle and tickle each other 'til we cried, or take turns waiting for the other one to drop their guard, so we could lick the other person's face, we called it 'cavorting.'
so, the other day, tab was in here with mom in the early morning, while allen did morning chores around the house.
tab is connects with my mom on a spiritual level, more than anything i can manage. even at my most healy-feelie, i am a heady, brainy lass who has difficult getting her mind to shut its trap. but tab lives a huge portion of her life on her spiritual level, and mom did/does, too. so, that morning, tab sat with mom and watched the sun rise, sang her songs and talked to her. she asked mom how she was doing, and mom said, clear as day, in her normal mom voice,
'i'm cavorting.'
because tab is tab, her response was a deep and soulful, 'word.'
that feels so right.
people here have talked about how aware mom is. how responsive and alert. i have been dubious about this. maybe she's slipping out whenever i get into the room, but i am not seeing a whole lot of alertness from her. perhaps she is responsive sometimes, but i don't imagine her spirit hanging out in this dying body very often. given how comfortable she was/is on a spiritual level, i imagine her slipping out freely, to get herself acclimated with the Beyond, and then popping in every once in a while, to see how we're doing, and how much longer she has to wait for her body to give out.
i just don't feel her here at all.
then again, i have also been thinking really a lot about reality.
in light of my crisis of faith, where thoughts or beliefs that previously brought me comfort now seem empty, i have been looking at the things we tell ourselves to come to terms with reality.
for example, mom not responding to me.
what is true and real is that she doesn't respond to me all the time, at least not in a way that i can recognize.
i can explain that any way i want to.
she's mad at me.
she's out cavorting on the spiritual level.
she's not really aware at all, only awake sometimes. her responses are the result of impulses in her brain that sometimes coincide with what is happening around her and sometimes don't.
all those explanations are just ideas that i have come up with to try to bridge the gap between reality and my understanding.
the truth is, she doesn't always respond to my presence, and i don't know why.
*that* is something i can grab hold of, because it's not open to interpretation.
everything else that i try to grab hold of feels slippery to me, because i just am not sure whether it's true or not, and i am not in a place right now where i am able to just choose to believe because i want to.
i *hope* that she's cavorting on the spirit plane.
i *hope* there is a spirit plain for her to cavort on.
i *hope* that the essence of who we are is eternal, and that some element of her remains available for me to tap into, or will visit me sometimes.
and, what i know for certain is that her life as i know it will end. and our relationship as i know it will end.
i was telling the girls last night, i am not concerned about losing the important aspects of her and my relationship - the intangibles, like our love, or the depth of our connections, or the feeling of her totally nonjudgmental love for me.
the things i am concerned about losing are the physical aspects of her.
like i said before - the texture of her skin; the sound of her voice; her smell; her facial expressions.
those are the things that don't stick around, it seems, and which i am already mourning the loss of.
who we are together, and what we mean to each other, won't ever change.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

the day after.

man, yesterday was so lame.
one good thing happened - or, didn't happen.
mom didn't die on my birthday.
the day before yesterday, i wished at 11:11 that mom wouldn't die on my birthday, and my wish came true.
i was thankful for that.
otherwise, the day was almost totally crappy.
even when things are terrible, me and lu and tab are able to have fun with each other.
snot streaming out of our noses, scared from the tussle with allen, we're able to laugh at the 'holy crap, that just happened'-ness of the situation.
that's very, very valuable.
my dad came up yesterday and stayed the night in a hotel in town.
my uncle is staying for the rest of the week.
daddy came in today and did an amazing feat of counseling prowess, mediating a conversation between allen, me, lu and tab.
allen got a little bit snappy with my dad at a certain point, after saying something particularly irksome and allen-ish, and i freaked a little bit and had to utilize our newly agreed upon 'time out' system. i went into the driveway and screamed a little bit, bitched to my aunt ginny, and then came in.
i am unable to enter into a new period of openness and supportive lovingness with allen, having been burnt too many times. every blow up we've had, every time he's been an unforgivable asshole, i've tried to put my past resentment behind me and move forward fresh, letting go of the previous negativity. obviously that's hard to do completely, but i have been really good about being conscious even of the way i think about allen, holding the space for us to connect and for him to be the highest version of himself.
and every time i have gotten kicked in the crotch for my trouble.
i had to admit in the talk that i was having a very hard time letting go of what happened yesterday, and wasn't feeling very hopeful about us progressing past civility.
that's a change for me, because i have always harbored dreams of me and allen forging a really special bond. it sounds silly when i put it out there like that, but it's true. it's always been very hard for me to accept that me and my mom's life-mate/partner don't really like each other very much. i got to a point where i admitted that it was unlikely, and that i didn't really need to like him that much. i was old enough by that point for it to not be such a big deal. but i never really let go of the dream.
he and i have had some rocky times since december, but have been doing pretty well since i moved up here almost full time, so this new blow up was a grievous wound to my faith.
i've never been in a situation like this. it's given me a peek into what it might be like to be in an abusive relationship.
i love him for the care he's giving my mom. i love him for how happy he made her, and for helping her realize her dream up here in The Valley.
i pity him for his loneliness, and his total out-of-stepness with the rest of the world. he's one of the most socially stunted people i've ever come across. he has almost no friends. my mom was the only person who understood him and loved him for who he is (which is a very complex bundle) and he's losing her. his future is entirely dependent on my generosity, as i am the legal owner of the house and could be an asshole and kick him out at any moment, if i so desired. (which i have been disinclined to do, out of respect for my mom's wishes, but which i have been dangerously toying with in my head during this period of unrest. oh, how sweet to be free of him forever...) he can barely hear, and has compensated for his poor hearing with what he believes to be heightened perceptive abilities, but which is actually heightened paranoia, rendering him borderline delusional. if he's talking to me, and i roll my eyes, because i have an eyelash in there, or, wriggle my nose, because i have a boogie, it is not out of the realm of possibility that he will decide that i am making fun of him, or trying to 'fuck with his head.' it will not usually occur to him that i have a purely legitimate, not even vaguely sinister motive. that is the idea that he will have, and he will run with it.
it makes communicating with him unimaginably tricky. who the fuck knows how he hears stuff or perceives it? how can i avoid misinterpretation when he is looking for reasons to believe that i am out to get him?
so then, we add in a very healthy amount of fear and resentment into the spicy goulash of emotions i have. he is so unpredictable, and so prone to unexpectedly violent outbursts, that it makes me afraid to even talk to him sometimes. i ask him a benign question, and am met with this unforeseen firestorm of hate, suspicion, judgment, etc. he barely apologizes, he says terrible things when he's angry, and he defends himself about it after the fact by acting really blase about the whole thing. like, 'oh, did i tell you to get fucked in the hospital, the day after your mom had had brain surgery? oh. well, i was just upset.' as if everything that's said in the heat of the moment melts away in the mind of the hearer once the speaker's emotion has passed. i had to explain to him that when he calls me a 'fucking bitch' when he's mad, that doesn't go away for me. that, even when he's being nice, or i am not mad at him, i can't help but remember that he called me that. it doesn't go away just because he said it in the heat of the moment and didn't really mean it.
duh. if you don't mean it, don't say it. why is that hard?
so, i find myself really afraid of him. me and lu and tab were sitting on the front porch, talking, in the afternoon after the fight, and i heard his stomping footsteps into the kitchen, and felt my stomach clench, from fear. i initially wasn't going to tell anyone about me and him grappling, because i didn't want them to go crazy and try to kill him. i find myself making excuses for his atrocious behavior (oh, he's like a little kid. he can't help it. or he doesn't mean it. he just gets crazy when he's mad.)
i got really freaked out by those responses, feeling like he was my abusive husband. i walk on eggshells, afraid of upsetting him, trying to 'manage' him, and just give him chance after chance to treat me like crap.
finally, my resentment over having to deal with his crap while my mom is dying. when i would like to be focusing on my emotions over my mom's imminent death, i am having to handle allen with kid gloves. we spent all yesterday, and most of today, dealing with him being a whack-job. what that fuck? we're not here to make sure allen is coping okay. it's allen's fault that allen hasn't got a support system. i am not sending my support system home to make him feel more comfortable. i am not going to give him permission to crap all over me and my friends, because he's lonely and doesn't have anyone to talk to about his feelings. maybe if he was less of a jerk, we'd be more likely to reach out and talk to him about how he's doing. as it is, i'm terrified of asking how he's feeling and having my skin flayed off my face for, like, putting the washcloths back in the wrong place.
so, that time is over.
i'm not saying 'fuck him forever,' but i'm also not trying to do anything except the bare minimum of getting along.
how many times do i have to burn my hand before i just accept, that pot is too hot to hold. whether it's burning me on purpose or not, my shit is crispy now and i am done reaching for it.
so, we'll have mediators to help some.
daddy, uncle keith and mom's friend, cassandra, are going to be go-betweens, to talk to if things get tense.
we only need to maintain our civility in this manner until mom passes, which the nurses say will be days. i'll deal with my relationship with him, post-mom's death, when we get there.
so, overall, a VERY uncomfortable birthday.
at least i had my ladies and my dad here. at least mom didn't die.
yesterday, i told her that it was my birthday. she widened her eyes, putting her mouth into an 'o' shape. i told her how, at the hour, 29 years before, she and i had only just met. we barely knew each other.
she doesn't respond to everything that you say, but when she does, it's really special.
i'm really tired, from the trauma yesterday and the talking today. i'm exhausted. i slept a lot las night, but i felt anxious all night. i woke up this morning because i felt so nervous, probably partly about mom's well-being (i keep waiting to hear allen shouting for me, and having to run in because mom is dead) and partly about allen.
i am tired of worrying about him.
i am ready to go back to worrying about myself.
or, rather, not worrying at all. just taking care of myself.

Monday, August 27, 2007

a very unmerry birthday to me.

today was not a merry day.
allen went insane and we got into a bizarro fight this morning, at 8am, during which i slapped him and he semi-tried to choke me.
we (me, lu, tab) called my dad and my uncle, and asked them to come over, to help bring some male authority energy.
for people who have been following my blog for a while, i think you might have heard about what a "character" allen is.
i was thinking today about what an amazing movie this will make, if i ever write a screenplay for it, because it's truly got everything in it, now, also a physical fight between me and a 250 lb bear-man.
so, allen is a challenging person.
i am not going to get into a list of reasons why he is basically a crown of thorns on my brow, but i can sum it up by stating he has poor communication skills, and explosive temper, and a life-long steady pot habit, which has left him deeply paranoid. my mom is the only person who has ever understood him, i think. i certainly don't.
we have gotten along thus far through me just being the 'bigger person' and letting it go when he gets angry and screams obscenities at me.
whatever, i tell myself. he's like a small child. he just says the first thing that comes to his mind. he doesn't mean it.
but today i just reached the end of my rope.
i went in to talk to him about how mom was doing, how her night was, and it somehow escalated to him calling me a fucking bitch and telling me to shut up, telling me that he doesn't know why i'm even here because he has to do everything, etc.
i responded in a totally unacceptable manner, contrary to my training and inclination, and slapped him.
he lunged at me and grabbed my throat.
lu and tab rushed in and pulled us apart. (tab said she felt like gandalf, throwing her arms around and pointing her finger authoritatively.)
the rest of the day was spent dealing with the aftermath of this.
i am done making excuses for him being a rage-aholic with no respect for other people's feelings. i have had enough tiptoe-ing around, for fear of setting him off unexpectedly.
today, i said 'no more.'
i admitted i was powerless to control his insanity, and i asked for help. (from my dad and uncle and the nurses.)
i got the help i needed, and hopefully things will be tolerable for the next little bit.
the nurses agree that mom has probably days left.
i have a lot of feelings about today's incident, but i am tired down to my bones from the sucking today, and i am going to bed.
hopefully tomorrow i'll have a fresher perspective. and, hopefully, i'll remember to write more about this, because it really brought up a lot.

29 years ago...

i was born.
at this time (12:19am), my mom had had me for 19 minutes. we were just barely getting to know each other.
me and lu and tab spent the last hour talking about this year, and some of the good things that happened this year. (there really were some.)
i hope 29 is a more joyful year and i am grateful for the things i've learned this year, if not for the delivery method.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


allen felt like mom was in pain a little bit ago, which set off a flurry of activity and worrying inside me.
he feels like he can ask her questions and she'll answer them, but i think that most of the time he's just projecting. i think those days are past.
so, we couldn't figure out if she was in pain or not. i don't want to start giving her morphine for no reason (because then i won't have any for myself - wockawocka) but obviously i don't want to let her just hang out, in pain but unable to express herself.
eventually we all agreed that it wasn't pain, so much as agitation.
in hospice, they say that people often get agitated before they die. they thrash around, or make discontented noises. they try to grab for things, to try to lurch out of bed. our nurse calls it 'getting away behavior,' like they're trying to jump out of bed and get away from death. which is might very well be.
we were given a plastic bag full of medications for mom, for different uses. phenobarbitol, lorazepam, acetominophen, morphine...the usual suspects. i couldn't find the one i wanted and thought it wasn't in there, so i called the nurse on call and had her paged.
then i lay down on the sofa and cried for a while.
mom isn't the only one experiencing some agitation, truth be told. i, too, am starting to exhibit some 'getting away behavior.'
i have been wanting to spend time by myself. i have been really lucky to have a lot of visitors lately, which is lovely, and i am also wanting more alone time. but when i am alone, i don't really know what i'm doing. i cry some, which helps, but then i'm done and the sadness is still there. i wrote in my art book some last night, which helped me get some stuff out of my head. i am missing having a god to ask for peace, or a universe to ask for help. now i just have to breathe through things feeling hard.
i want to call people, specific people, but then when i really think about it, i don't want to talk to them. i want to lie down, but i just lie there staring. i want to sit next to mom, but being around her when i am really emotional is hard and i try not to bring in my unpredictable energy.
allen is annoying me, but i think it's me and not him.
i am just agitated. maybe i need some ativan/lorazepam, too. i am not much for meds, honestly. i don't trust them.
any number of unhealthy avoidance urges have been floating across my mind - smoking, drinking, driving away forever, getting mad...but still i just stay here.
i am not feeling comfortable.
this is not a comfortable time.

someone posted a comment on my blog, that ended with the statement that everything happens for a reason.
i am not so sure about that.
when me and brian were going out, he said he didn't believe in destiny or anything because that was like saying it was good that his dad died when he did.
i have been thinking about that a lot now. people want to help and be comforting, and they feel like hinting at the big picture will be helpful.
i think that's getting it backwards.
i think things happen. period.
we can't get to where we are now without having passed through what happened before, but that doesn't mean that Now is the reason why Then happened.
that's like saying that God is looking down, checking the game plan, and regretfully sacrificing certain players for the good of the team, and that's bullshit.
i don't accept that mom HAS to die in order for my future to be bright.
mom is not a necessary sacrifice to the rosy future.
there is no Plan.
there is just what happens.
yes, the past prepares us for the future, if we're wise enough to let it.
but i don't accept the premise that the past happens so that the future can.
that doesn't feel right to me.

holly was saying that people tried to comfort her, during her mother's death, with 'it's going to be fine.'
she was saying how, no, actually it's not going to be fine.
cancer is not fine at all.
it fucking sucks.
*we* will be fine.
but the situation is not fine, nor will losing a loved one be 'fine.'

i know, i'm agitated.
i know that people say these things to offer comfort in whatever way they know.
i know it's coming from a place of love.
i accept it as such.

but i am done with 'everything happens for a reason.'
i am interested in 'things happen and we have the opportunity of learning lessons as they do.'

i would like to learn how to have faith in something aside from myself.
i lost my faith in external saving, but i have become a whole-hearted believer in myself, and my own ability to abide. the kira abides, as the film says.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

highs and lows.

- an espresso shake with holly
-chatting about books and knitting and movies and lots of stuff that isn't my mom's death with holly
-chatting about my mom's death with holly
-wearing my tomato tent dress with braids
-getting a really thoughtful email from my cousin in tennessee. he's born-again, and his email was god squad-style, but in an inoffensive, very sweet way.

-helping the nurse give my mom an enema
-not getting along with shannon
-feeling dirty and wanting to shower, but being stuck up here in crappy shower land
-allen keeping the TV on 24 hours a day in my mom's room
-that tv being on the country music channel, which plays the shittiest music imaginable. (seriously, i can't believe people buy that crap.)
-seeing mom napping on her hospital bed, covered in the kitties, with the rabbit hunkered down at the foot.

Monday, August 20, 2007

sometimes it just hits you.

while i was getting my mani/pedi, i was reading a magazine.

they had a rundown on spas that were great, around the world.

one of the spas catered to women only, and the magazine said that that made it perfect for mother-daughter getaways.

and i thought, i'm not going to get to do that with my mom. the 40 year old me won't be able to take the almost 70 year old mom to a spa weekend. because my mom is dying right now.

i know that, but sometimes the details of what it means are easy to overlook.

my mom isn't going to be there to be at my wedding, or to hold my hand when i'm giving birth, or to send a card to on mother's day.

my mom is dying.

she wasn't at my surprise party on saturday, and she won't be there on my actual birthday. and she isn't even alert enough to know anything about those things.

she'd love the new show starring holly hunter. she doesn't know how harry potter ended. she can't see how well me and allen are getting along. she can't read the cards and letters people are sending her.

because she's dying. right now, she's dying.

and so are we all, dying right now, getting closer to our deaths.

it makes living more difficult, spending time thinking about our deaths, but that doesn't make it any less true.

i'm really chewing on spirituality right now.

i know it would make mom really sad if her death was the reason i stopped believing in god, but that isn't helping much.

it seems like every religion or spiritual path is a way to help us deal with the unknown. (this is obviously not a revolutionary idea.) even without all the trappings that the modern world allows us to place between us and our most basic existence, being a human is overwhelming and frightening. bad things happen to people who don't deserve them. people we love die and we miss them so much we feel like we can't go on. it's only natural that people want something they can cling to, something to make them feel like they aren't alone. i can understand that. i want that, too.

but we don't really know the truth. gina's religion section on her myspace says she's a militant agnostic - she says 'i don't know and you don't either.' as much as i have been raised on the idea of a benevolent force that wants me to succeed, i have no idea if that's true. while it makes some people feel a lot better to believe that there is a nanny-type figure, holding their hands as they toddle along, it is a game we play with ourselves, in our heads. if you're looking very hard for confirmation of your beliefs, certainly you'll find them, and be able to explain anything that seems to deviate from your expectations. but that isn't the same as proof.

i don't think people should let go of the beliefs that allow them to make it through life. yes, organized religion has some serious blood on its hands, but i think it's the 'organized' part that's to blame, not the 'religion' part. the second you take the religious practice out of the hands of individual believers, and start making rules for everyone to follow, you're stepping away from the core of what i feel religion is about - one person coming to terms with existence. what the hell does cutting your hair, or eating pork, have to do with the greater matters of life and death? nothing. it's like a bureaucracy that's allowed to grow unwieldy.

it's funny. cutting the rope that lashed me to a babysitter god hasn't made me feel hopeless. well, it did at first. but the more i think about it, the more i feel like it doesn't actually change anything. okay, so there isn't anything or anyone bigger than myself moving people or events around to suit me. so the weight of everything rests largely on me. but that doesn't seem like too much to handle. i believe that, whether there is a heaven or not, or we have to worry about reincarnation, there is ample reason to do the best we can right now. if you want to end up in heaven, or you don't want to have to re-do the lessons you missed this lifetime, or even if there is nothing after death but Nothing...regardless, there is ample reason to live a life you feel proud of Right Now. if this is all there is, all the more reason to make the absolute most of it. it actually makes me feel more calm and peaceful to let go of the idea of The Universe or God.

looking at what happened to my mom, i kept asking again and again, why did this happen? how can we deserve this? and it made sense to just get - it's not about us. things just happen and we are here to do the best we possibly can with them. maybe my higher power is just the best possible version of me, and all i need to pray for is to get out of my own way. get out of my head, stop being afraid, stop being embarrassed, stop being shy and just live the shit out of this chance.

i was reading a book by marianne williamson to my mom, and it was talking about coming from a place of love, all the time. it said that there is no neutral place. you're either coming from a place of love or you're coming from a place of fear. i think clinging to a nanny-god's hand, asking something/one else to make something happen for me, is more fear based than love based. when i am coming from a place of love (for myself, for you, for the world) i am strong enough to just be with the world, however it is. when i am coming from a place of love, i can forgive us for fucking up the climate, or letting africa die of aids, or mistreating dogs. we're all born to die, and we're all doing the best we can, and that's enough. i don't support those things, or think they are good, but i stop being so smad (sad+mad=smad) that i feel like we're all fucked.

okay, i have to go. daddy just got here, and so did the delivery guy with mom's hospital bed.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


last night my besties threw me a surprise birthday party.
it was The Best.
not only was i very, very surprised (and confused, since my birthday isn't until the 27th), but i was unbelievably grateful.
i really needed it.
now a whole mess of us are headed back up to RV.
other things that happened yesterday:
-me and the besties got mani-pedis. our nails looks lovely. tab's fingers are a classy red with sparkly peachy pink toes. lu's nails are going for a st. tropez theme (to match our fake-tanned, toasty golden brown st. tropez legs), with golden sparkley fingernails and coral toes. i have mysteriously dark, dark sparkly purple fingernails and my favorite hooker pink colored toed.
-we had a not-amazing lunch, but whatevs.
-drinks and hors d'oeuvres at left bank.
-the ladies tricked me into believing we were going someplace later that required tickets. tab 'forgot' the tickets at the house, so we had to head back to get them. but there were no tickets, only a house full of my loved ones. wootwoot!
stuff is still pretty depressing and burly at the house, and i got sad about mom a few times yesterday, but it was an overall celebratory, laughing, smiling, chatting day, which was just right.

Friday, August 17, 2007

it's like growing up, in reverse.

mom isn't able to use the toilet anymore.
yesterday she started peeing in the bed.
at the end of the day, i had changed the sheets on the bed thrice and put an adult diaper on her.
my mom, who smells like jean nate, lavender mint body wash, amber perfume and skin lotion, now smells like pee.
i'm feeling really worried.
there are a bunch of things that needed to get done and i haven't wanted to do them, and i am worried that it's too late now. legal stuff, stuff to sign. mom can't sign anything now. i guess she could do a shaky 'x' but that's about it.
i feel like i fucked it up with my waiting.
also, i am just fucking bummed about mom, obviously.
in other news, me and shannon are home owners now, officially.
my birthday is next week.
i have been watching a lot of 'the west wing' on dvd and tv in general, and i don't think carlos mencia is funny at all.
'wing' made me cry a bunch, but i predisposed to it right now anyway.
i'm not feeling very hopeful or happy. just tired and sad.

Monday, August 13, 2007

our house is a very, very, very fine house.

um...we're home-owners on thursday.
tomorrow morning we do the walk-through, to make sure there isn't anything that they've done to the house since we saw it last that will be a deal breaker, but it'd have to be something really, really big in order for us to be able to use it as an excuse.
so, we'll be able to start moving in on friday.
weird, huh?
well, maybe not that weird for you, because you're not me, but for me, that's really fucking weird.
due to our current landlord being a dunderhead/ass-hat, we have all of august and september to move, so we'll just move one room at a time, i think. on the days i am home, i'll pack and move my stuff. move my stuff, into my house. which we own.
dude, we could do anything we wanted to that house. we could, like, wheat paste huge posters of hard core porn to the outside walls. or have a friend to a mural of bob marley smoking a joint, riding the lion of judah, and put that on the door. we can buy new doorknobs and light fixtures and cover the windows with tinfoil, if we really want to.
on a unrelated note, i got home a little bit ago, after a spectacular shopping spree at sephora, which of course made me feel like a new, skinnier, more lovely and shine-free and tiny-pored version of me with perfectly moist pink lips was absolutely within reach. then i had to stop at kragen to get a new gas cap (again) because i left mine on the roof of my car (again) and to buy a new steering wheel cover (grey suede again.) then, i took my first shower in days and it felt absolutely transcendent. i had to switch to bad old negative ions to fancy new positive ones, and the combination of that, smooth legs, and being at home has radically changed my attitude for the better.
now, margaritas and tasty din-din with luce and shann-o. word to the third, as luce said the other day. word to the third.


mom's home health aide, miriam, is here.
she comes every few days to give mom a bath.
well, so far it's been a sponge bath, but i think she'll get a real bath on friday.
miriam is about 5'3", so seeing her man-handle my mom, who is 5'9" and weighs about 180lbs, is pretty funny. well, not really funny funny, but you know.
i took myself to see 'stardust' last night.
i really liked it.
i am a sucker for anything fairy tale-y or fantasy-y anyway, but then add in that it was based on the book by neil gaiman and i am sold.
i have had a grudge against claire danes, ever since she a) sucked in every role since 'my so-called life' and b) had an affair with billy crudup and broke up him and mary louise parker. i have to admit, she was charming in 'stardust.' it made me remember why i liked her. her accent was flawless and we looked lovely. good comic timing.
michelle pheiffer was great, but her accent sucked balls. sometimes she was from england, and then sometimes she was just her. she seemed like she had fun with the role, which is nice to see.
robert de niro's character was a little embarrassing. at least he didn't try an accent. once i got over feeling embarrassed about his character, i was able to enjoy him.
i have to say, the find was just lovely, i thought. it was exactly what i needed out of my movie that night.
i'm coming to marin today. i'll be in town tonight and tomorrow night. i lined up someone to hang with mom while allen goes to band practice, so i am set to go. i can't wait to go to the gym and take a shower. (the showers at my mom's house all suck. the water takes forever to heat up, then barely lasts 10 minutes. it's so frustrating to take a shower that i just let myself stink and be hairy. whatever. who am i trying to impress, right?
changed the sheets on the bed while mom was getting her bath. folded laundry and and put it away.
i had a dream last night about mom. we were walking together, along this path that skirted a wide grassy field (like scotty's pasture mixed with chrissy field). there were a lot of other people on the path, though none at the same place that we were, and i could see, in the distance around a bend, a big white building, like a museum or city hall-type building. it felt like that was where we were going, and we were walking with purpose. in the dream, i knew that mom was dying, and her being able to walk normally and talk, like none of this had ever happened, was a really big deal. i couldn't just enjoy this last little bit of pre-cancer mom, and i was seized with this panic to make it COUNT. i was on the verge of tears, wanting to go back, to grab my recorder so i could record our conversation. i kept thinking, 'i didn't know. i'm not ready. i'm not ready for this to be the last time.' and i was so angry, because it felt so cruel, to give me this sudden moment of Real Mom, with no warning, and no way to really capture it, and i knew it was going to pass and there was nothing i could do about it. it was so frustrating.
taking some stuff of mom's home with me today...tie-dyed camisole, cherry red leather knee-hight flat boots (i know! she has them in black, too!), some good slips...part of me feels like i'm looting a corpse, but then i think of my mom's response if i told her that. she'd think i was being dumb, and remind me that she certainly wasn't using them, so i might as well.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

dealing with it.

allen freaked out this morning.
i'm tired of handling other people's crazy emotions.
i'll keep doing it, because it needs to be done, but i am feeling tired of it right now.
he exploded over something super-minor (probably after stewing for an unknown length of time) and shouted some dumb, mean stuff at tab, hurting her feelings.
he and i are steady enough for me to just tell him that he doesn't get to kick anyone out of the house, and no one is leaving because we're a family and people don't get kicked out of families.
he's like a little kid - he just says whatever is in his head, with no thought about editing, or any kind of realization that the bizarre stuff he thinks up are just THOUGHTS.
man, life must be so confusing and exhausting when you live in a head where everything you think is totally real to you.
i guess i closed the chicken coop incorrectly last night, but to allen, that doesn't mean that i don't know how to put the chickens away correctly and might need a refresher, it means i am...i don't really know. playing mind games with him and don't give a shit about the house or him. so, based on that thought that he had, he then tells me that he's had enough of me, he's done with the mind games, and i should just stay away from him from now on, and get out.
it's lame that, on top of my mom dying and having to manage my own emotions about that, i also have to worry about him flying off the handle at any given moment, with no warning, based on logic i am not familiar with, and accusing me of weird stuff.
now the energy in the house is really uncomfortable.
s just got here, and he and i haven't really spent much time together since he's been back from his camping trip, 'cause the kid was here, so we're a little awkward.
t's giving mom a massage in the bedroom, so allen can't hide in there to avoid us, which pushes him out into the living room, where mike unknowingly stole allen's place-of-power on the sofa.
then allen changed clothes to do some yard work, which is retarded because it's 1000 degrees out. it's just now reaching the really HOT hot part of the day, and he wasted the cool part of the day being a sulky jerk.
he just pressured s and mike into helping him with yard work, and he's such a freaker-out-er that they didn't want to say 'no' for fear he'd snap.
in the background of all this is the realization that i am going have to start putting mom in her wheelchair to move her around the house because she's so wobbly and i am afraid she'll fall and i won't be able to get her up. allen said the other day that he feels like she's moving into the next phase, more sleeping and less eating, and i agree.
i'm just really tired, i think.
having lu, tab and mike up here recharged my batteries, but allen is threatening to run them back down in one day.
i have bills of mom's to pay, her power of attorney to get dealt with, my own bills to deal with, we're out of escrow on the house this week, which adds a whole nother wrinkle to things...
i'm just tired.

Friday, August 10, 2007


i bought $100 worth of art and craft supplies.
glitter, glues, a notebook, sparkly letters, skinny pens, paint brushes...
hoping to put my free-time to good, productive use.
i am working on overcoming my internal 'i can't do it' and 'i suck at this so why bother' commentaries and just doing it anyway.
well, i haven't started yet, but i bought stuff for it, which is the first step.
perhaps tonight i'll craft some.
oh, tab, lu and michael are coming up to stay here tonight, so maybe not tonight.
also, the redwood empire fair is happening right NOW, as we speak, so maybe i'll get them to come to the dinky fair with me.
too bad they're getting in so late. the crash-up derby starts at 7pm sharp...
another thing we have a fair amount of here is puzzles.
would that be fun?
i think i enjoy puzzles, but that in between period, where you're working on the puzzle and it's not done and you need a bunch of space to store the unfinished puzzle, is pretty annoying.
i realized last night, with some alarm, that i brought the wrong cord with me for my ipod. i brought the one with the usb plug, but i needed the one with the firewire plug. so, i am not able to transfer my new tunes to my ipod. also, my computer's battery is not so impressive these days, and i can almost watch the charge disappearing. i get maybe an hour out of my battery, whereas before i got hours.
oh well. that's way at the bottom of my list of concerns right now.
also, i see i'm not the only person who finds coldplay revolting.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

albert hammond, jr.

i haven't been very inspired by music lately.
with all my driving, and all my not-rad-stuff-happening, i've been listening to books on cd while i do my 2hr drive to/fro mom's.
i have listened to some good stuff.
'black swan green', by david mitchell was fucking fantastic. exactly what i wanted. funny, charming, heartfelt, gorgeous, sweet. wish i could hear it again for the first time.
'all creatures great and small,' by james herriott is a classic. a light trifle, with plenty of english humor and lots of stories about soulful animals. nice.
i just bought 'harry potter and the chamber of secrets' today. reading the end was just too much for me and i was moved to start all over again, from the beginning. i am yearning for a life filled with warm fires, butterbeer with true friends and things covered in purple velvet. cozy and squashy.
i decided that tonight i would look up the music i have been meaning to check out, but haven't.
admittedly, i didn't listen to whole albums, just what myspace or itunes would let me hear, but i have made some decisions.
-razorlight - violently, no. well, i bought one song and barfed in my mouth over the other ones.
-kings of leon - no, but less so.
-silversun pick ups - undecided. one of the songs made my heart hurt, but the others left me unmoved.
-albert hammond, jr. - brilliant. loving it. i have always been sad for him, because he's the least cute of the guys in the strokes, but he doesn't need me to feel sad for him because he's got some sweet-ass songwriting skillz. i mean, nothing revolutionary, but catchy, non-cloying, mellow but not sleepy. it's thee goodz.
-lily allen - nyeh.
-amy winehouse - yeah, alright. i'll bite. i like my some soulful lady singers, even if her 'look' is pretty repellent. also, that not-so-blind item about her smoking crack in the ladies' bathroom at lollapalooza was gnarls. sad times, amy. love thyself.

i spent some time decorating the hidey hole today. it's musty and spidery and gives me a rash, but it's MY rash-inducing hidey-hole and i am grateful for it. so, in an effort to give myself more ways to take care of myself, i am making the hole more comfy cozers. also, i brought up my paint-by-numbers and some stuff for collaging. i am looking for good ways to step away from the bone-deep sadness of spending so much time with my vegged out dying mom, and reading and computering are both really head-y. i am trying to find ways to get out of my head, so tab suggested art.

i wish the showers at my mom's were better. taking showers up here sucks. the hot water doesn't last for shit. i just end up saving up my dirty until i head home for a shower. groders, but who cares, right? it's fucking redwood valley. being in redwood valley washes away all the low self esteem of living in la. going from an sf 8 to an la 5 to an rv 155 is gratifying. it's like i'm a brazilian supermodel or something.

tomorrow some visitors will come up here and i am looking forward to it. having people visit me is awesome. i am sure mom enjoys visitors some, too, but i am the one who needs them the most.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


i'm spending the majority of my time in RV with my mom now.

last week it seemed like she was slipping away so fast, it would be a matter of weeks until she died, but she's leveled off. it feels weird being disappointed that she's not dying faster.

i think it's because, in a lot of ways, she's already gone to me, and having her here, being less and less her everyday, makes the loss more acute. while it's good to have time to complete, and not be left with things unsaid, it's also a fallacy that you can ever say EVERYTHING you wanted to say, and there's something easy about the sudden death. then you don't have to linger with the dying. it's just alive-to-dead. this period is so uncomfortable that i am having a hard time relaxing into being here, giving up the resistance, and i find myself anxious to get onto the next stage.

this whole dying thing is fucking terrible. well, terribly hard.

mom fell last evening.

one minute she was vegged out on the couch, the next minute she was staggering past me, at alarming speed, and falling. she feel right next to this concrete topped coffee table, with sharp edges. she could have cracked her head open like a fucking egg. she couldn't really explain what she was doing. something about the rolling stone magazine. it was very terrifying. (heh.)

her eyes are doing weird stuff - like, pointing in different directions. her vision is whacked and that's making her balance bad.

they delivered a wheelchair for us day before yesterday.

all this stuff - it's just happening, and it feels so unreal and unfair, but it's just the way it is.

lu and shannon both said yesterday, it's like i saved up all the tough times of my life to this point for right now. (it's true. i've had an almost embarrassingly easy, pain-free life to this point.) i've had little sprints of sadness, but this has been/is an endurance test of sadness and hardness.

i had a really hard day yesterday. i am jealous of my loved ones who can come visit, but then go back to other things. as i am spending my days with my slowly-dying mother, they are off riding bikes, kissing people, going to jobs, planning for the future. and all i have is this. i wish i had somewhere else i could go, leaving this behind for someone else to take care of. i do have allen/jerr-bear. he takes care of stuff when i am not here. but that's a huge weight to just thunk down on him. even for two people, this is a tremendous weight.

i had a hard day yesterday. mom's power of attorney paperwork was notarized incorrectly, by one of mom's good friends, and because of that the bank won't let me access any of mom's money. i threw a little tempter tantrum in the bank yesterday. again, i can't help but ask god/the universe/whatever - really? i get to deal with *this*, too?

lu and her mom came to visit, and that was perfection. they both have really nice, calming energy. lu's mom gave us some jorei, which i desperately needed. just sitting down, outside on the porch, hearing the bird and squirrel symphony, having someone focus positive, healing energy at me, was special. mom got some, too. lu and i went on an awesome walk, while her mom napped, and i cried some, and laughed some. again, while i am experiencing this, birds are hatching, blackberries are ripening, goats are doing goat things - the world isn't stopping or slowing for the imminent loss of my mother, though mine surely is.

here are somethings i did, just for me, this week. i am not great at taking time away, or doing things to make myself happy, but here are a few of them:
- i bought this jacket. for once, it looks way cuter on me that it does on the model.
-i bought some tennies at ross. they're light grey (my fave!) with sky blue swooshes. they cost $25. little t knows what she's about - ross is pretty amazing.
- i went on a lovely LONG walk with lu. well, long for me. i used to walk everywhere, no matter what the weather, but driving has put an end to that. i'd like to walk places more. i used to really like it. we saw a llama and ate blackberries.
-i took myself to see the bourne ultimatum. unsurprisingly, it was not amazing. some good fight scenes, but the whole movie is just a 2 hour chase scene, which gets old fast. i ate some stale popcorn and some gummi bears, and drank a bucket of root beer.
- i bought some new sheets and pillows for my bed in the yoga studio. i am trying to make it feel more homey. it's tough, since it's full of spiders and mice, but i'm trying. i am deeply thankful to have a place to retreat to at the end of the day, that's my space.

in other news, i got treed by a bobcat the other night. well, not treed. but almost eaten, i think. well, i'm not sure it was a bobcat. in theory it could have been a big angry raccoon, but i don't think so. i stayed up late doing laundry, and, at 2:30am, when my laundry was done, i headed out into the porch with my basket. i was stopped after a single step by a deep rumbling growl, and the sound of bushes moving around. i froze. i stamped my foot down on the deck, to try to scare it away, but it skittered closer to me, so the growling was now coming from directly underneath me, under the deck. okay, if it fits under the deck, it's not a bear. in its rage at me, over the stamping and the intruding in its nighttime prowling, it hissed at me, then went back to growling balefully. i had visions of it darting out at my leg when i stepped off the porch, and it taking me down like i was a gazelle. (i am perhaps flattering myself in imagining myself as a gazelle. perhaps more like a caribou. or a wildebeast.) i then imagined how allen would deal with that, with me being disemboweled by a puma/bobcat, and mom not able to stay by herself. that would be a lot of trouble for allen. also, i didn't relish the mauling scenario in general, so i slunk back into the house and slept on the sofa for a few hours, until it got light out. that bobcat kept up its growling for easily 45 minutes after the lights went out, and i was tucked away. apparently i was very threatening to it.

hey, what form do you think your patronus would take?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

these days.

you know what makes a person really, really tired?
hanging out with their mom, who's dying.
her visit to marin, staying with me, has been tiring and so scary and anxious making, but also really lovely and peaceful.
if you want to come visit my mom, the best visits are when people just come and want to hold her hand, or rub her back. she doesn't have tons to say, or jokes to make, but she fucking loves to get her cuddle/hand-hold on. it's awesome.
i worry about her, no matter what she's doing. she's sleeping? i am worried that maybe she's sleeping to much. she's eating? i am worried that she's not eating enough. she's sitting, with visitors? i'm worried that she's overwhelmed, and might be tired, and maybe she feels confused, and afraid.
it's exhausting to be so worried all the time.
she'll spend hours at a time on the toilet, if i let her. she's not really sleeping, and she's obviously not peeing. she's just...kicking it. zoning out. it takes easily 15 minutes of repeated cajoling to get her out of there usually. she's so pleasant, all the time, about it, but if you encourage her to finish up, she'll forget and just keep sitting there.
i am worried for the time when she can't go to the bathroom by herself.
i think she might already be getting to not showering alone.
her balance is not great.
i'm looking forward to having hospice take over.
these decisions, and the fears about her well-being, feel like too much for a layman to manage alone.
when i was managing everything for her first surgery, i kept thinking, 'i am not at all qualified to make this kind of decision.' but there was no one else to make the decision, and i just had to get over it and make the decision anyway. almost immediately i got over the embarrassment about asking for things, or telling people what i needed. i'd go wandering down the hospital halls, at 4am, opening random doors, trying to find the room they kept the heated blankets in. i acted like i owned the joint. i kept pushing until they gave in, from exasperation, to make them let me spend the night with mom in ICU. i wasn't 'qualified' to ask for these things, but i did it anyway.
so, i keep thinking that same thing now. i need someone else to do this for me. i need someone else to tell me the right answer.
but then i make the best decision i can anyway. right or wrong, i am doing the best i can, and i am proud of the job i've done already in taking care of my mom.
okay, time to harass mom off the toilet again, and get our shapely fannies into bed.
people who have already earned their weight in gold as supports:
-tab - for always being exactly what i need her to be
-holly - for showing up, after years apart, and letting me cry on her
-lucy - for making me laugh when i was feeling like i was going to die from crying
-my uncle keith and aunt ginny - for holding down the fort, no matter what
-daddy and linda - for holding the space for family
-everyone who has emailed and called - for making sure i knew that i was supported