Am I really “still me”?

Lost is a place, right?

Are you there, too?

Hi, everyone! Welcome to “Lost”! It’s the new and improved place we used to call “Here”.

We don’t call it ‘Here” anymore because we’ve moved away from “Here”. “Here” is a place from afar. A place removed from what is relevant and current.

Destination: Unknown

I’m at home in “Lost”. And that’s sad.

Sad, but true.

“Lost” is both familiar and painful.

“Lost” is not that far away from “The Past” and just around the corner from “Hindsight”. It is 20/20, no?

And “Lost” is just before you get to “Far, Far Away”.

“Lost” is both confusing and exciting at the same time.

It is unknown and to some, might seem tragic.

To me, however, it’s not tragic.

It’s home.

I’m ready.

Ready to get to know my way around “Lost”. It seems that I may be here a while and I might as well get my bearings in this place.

Most of the people that live here are pretty nice. My neighbors keep to themselves, but smile and wave, if waved to.

And I do wave.

Every damn day.

The sights in this town are pretty nice, too. Old homes with character surrounded by new growth and change.

“Lost” has pretty great schools, too. With teachers that seem to actually care. Teachers that take the time to know their students by name and learning style.

The students seem to reciprocate with a sense of simple splendor. With a joy of learning! They converse in small groups out on the patio, while teachers smile their knowing smiles.

“Lost” even has a big chain Super Store!

Hooray, for “Lost”!

One day, we’ll catch up to the big city, but as of now, we’re pretty proud of our Super Store, thank you very much.

“Lost” is an easy commute to the finest jobs around. And, as luck may have it, my job, too. I love my drive to work from”Lost”. It’s a quiet and serene time that I can hear myself think. No one needs to be tended to and everyone can hear me.

I’ve found a nice niche in my little part of “Lost”. Albeit small, it’s mine.

I will miss “The Past”, but I’m not there anymore.

Now is the time to revel in the here and now and appreciate this thing we call life.

Do you appreciate life? Or do you, like I, take just about every minute for granted?

Geez, guys!

Let’s start the new year with a pact, OK?

Let’s be happy and content.

Whether we live in “Lost”, “Far, Far Away”, “Here”, “Now” or “In the Moment”.

Let us appreciate and savor every hour we get.

Every minute.

Every hour.

Every second.

Why?

Because before long we’ll be living in “Gone, but Not Forgotten” and I for one, want to put the final move off for as long as possible.

So, I will live in “Lost”.

I will love in “Lost”.

 I will be in “Lost”.

And for once, I’ll finally just be “me”…

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Everything stays the same…

Everything stays the same.

Time is passing.

Leaves are falling.

Costumed children have tricked their treat and turkeys are starting to get scared.

Yet, everything stays the same.

Chris has had two, two month check up’s since I last wrote. To be perfectly honest. I didn’t know what to say.

Everything stays the same.

His doctors are happy and we’re excited! His tumor isn’t growing.

Yes, Chuck is still hanging out in his brain. but he’s not growing.

Every single time we hear this it gets more and more hopeful.

An “all clear” at the two moth appointment means more time.

Chris, however, is struggling.

You know those steps of the grieving process? There are five and he’s knocking back and forth between steps two and four.

Anger and depression.

One day he’s happy and I see a glimpse of the man I used to know.

One day, he’s so angry that I can’t get a word in edgewise because he’s so damn mad at me he can’t see straight.

And then there are the days that hurt the most. The days that I watch that strong, amazing man crumple at the feet of cancer.

He doesn’t move.

He doesn’t talk.

He doesn’t…

I long for the “good” days.

The days that he laughs and sings in that horrible baritone that I love.

The days that the kids can joke with him and he laughs back.

But, more often than not, he has an anger or depressive day.

Now, I’m not saying he’s ALWAYS like this. I’m just saying that it’s hard to have a good day when you’re trapped in a three way cycle of happy, mad and depression.

He’s still Chris.

With his hat on, you might not know that he has brain cancer. He still looks the same. Handsome as ever!

The only things you might notice is his aphasia.

He talks with effort.

To someone who didn’t know, it’d be like talking to someone who’s distracted. Like talking to someone who isn’t really listening.

Except, it’s the exact opposite of distraction.

It’s extreme concentration.

Words are difficult and following an entire conversation takes as much concentration as he can muster.

Which is a lot!

You might not know he has cancer.

But, you do.

Other than the cycle of grief, everything is ok.

Everything stays the same.

The kids are starting back to public school and I couldn’t be happier!

Not that I didn’t enjoy homeschool, but I just couldn’t do it.

I’m good at a lot of things. Great at some. But, homeschooling wasn’t my forte and I’m ok admitting that.

So, today Doodle two started at the elementary school near our new house and Doodle one starts Monday in middle.

Ugh!

Where has the time gone?!

I’m sure they’ll love being around more kids their own age and I’ll enjoy being with Chris ALONE on my days off.

What’s that like?

I forgot.

We moved to a new town and although it’s only a county away, I’m tee totally lost!

I’ll find my way.

Right now, I know where the schools are and the gas station.

It’s weird to be in a new town.

A fresh start.

Will we meet new friends?

Will we enjoy and become comfortable here?

I hope so! I certainly do.

That’s that!

Chris’s two month appointment went so well. Although, his brain is still swollen, it has gone down exponentially in the last few months.

Although weak, he has the ability to get stronger.

His will to fight is still there.

And, although dealing with the tremendous burden of grief, he is doing well.

The kids are starting school and they are nervously excited! They don’t seem as scared as they were before and my heart is happy to finally see them enjoy education again.

We are ok. We are together and enjoying what it feels like to be a normal family. We are happy with the notion that we get more time. We are starting to remember what it felt like before cancer entered our lives.

But, it did.

Everything stays the same.

When your Mother in Law becomes your friend

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Can you have a real relationship with the mother of your husband?

Won’t she always see him as her baby and you as the evil person that took him away?

I never thought I’d be able to answer that first question with a resounding YES!! I never thought I would’ve developed the type of relationship that I have with my mother in law.

Her name is Lisa.

Her titles are Mom, “Happy”(her grandmother name), mother in law, daughter, sister and friend.

She will always be Chris’ mom. She will always be the grandmother of my children, but I never thought I’d get the chance to call her my friend.

It has been a long 13 years. Chris and I’s relationship has had many up’s and down’s. MANY up’s and down’s. We’ve loved and hated each other so many times that I, myself, actually have lost count of the times that we’ve been “broken up”. I’m sure many of our friends did, too. I’m also sure that that’s why, in the course of our 13 years, that we’ve lost so many.

Who wants to be a part of constant calamity?

No one.

It has taken many different things to get Chris and I to where we are today. Be it time or just plain maturation. We did it. And we did it together.

Throughout these up’s and down’s there’s always been someone there. Someone who had to endure the drama. Someone who couldn’t leave.

That person is his Mom.

His mom and I have hated each other and loved each other just about the same amount of times that Chris and I have. And she should’ve hated me. I agree with her. I didn’t treat him the way he should’ve been treated. (He didn’t treat me the way I deserved either and my parents felt the same, but that’s another post)

I remember one meeting with Lisa and her anger was so apparent, she actually seemed evil. Her eyes were dark and her soul was full of a sense of hate so deep that I’m not sure it could be explained. She seethed anger.

And she had a right to that anger.

I wasn’t scared of her. Don’t get me wrong. I was trying to explain myself and nothing, and I mean nothing, would’ve gotten through that protective barrier you call a mother’s love. The meeting was futile. My efforts at explanation fell on deaf ears and at the time I thought that I could break down the barrier, but in the end, nothing really can ever break that barrier, can it?

It’s taken years, actual years, for us to gain each others trust. It wasn’t just her that didn’t trust me. I knew in a second she could stop being my friend and turn into my mortal enemy. I knew she could do it in a heartbeat and not blink a perfectly lined eye.

About 5 years ago things changed. She and I were both changing and I’m not really sure the other knew it. I was embracing my mental illness and doing something about it. She was going through a divorce. Both situations, although very different, were turning points in our lives. Our lives individually and our lives together. We both had a storm to pass through and now we were going to go through them together.

My mental illness is something that I’ve written about before, so I won’t get into the ends and outs of it, but I will say this simple statement. Better living through chemistry. It’s my truth and I own it.

But Lisa was going through something that I didn’t understand. She wanted a divorce? From a man she’d been with for 30 years? How could that be?

It turns out that we were searching for the same thing at the same time.

She simply wanted to be happy.

She found her happy and I found my truth and then we found each other.

We have changed. The girl that fell in love with her son is now a woman married to the man of my dreams. The woman that I met is now a butterfly that owns her life and is no longer the caterpillar stuck in the beautiful chrysalis. We are both free to be our true selves.

 I’ve always admired her. I’ve always been a tad bit jealous of this woman that could make a perfect dip, sip a glass of wine, write a thank you note and rock a baby all at the same time. She seemed like Superwoman to me.

And she still is.

She’s just a different kind of Superwoman.

It takes a special person to be a mother. It takes a special person to be a friend. Lisa manages to do both with ease. She always has time for you. She always has a laugh for you and she’d give you the shirt off her own back if you could fit in it!

Through all the pain that I’ve put Lisa through, she still loves me and I’m grateful. She still holds my hand when I cry about Chris and most of the time, cries with me. The light in her eye and the spring in her step is infectious.

I’m lucky to have a mother in law. I’m lucky to have a “Happy” for my babies.

I’m lucky to have a friend.