Monday, April 25, 2016


I really love spring.  It's such a beautiful time of year and it's so nice to have everything looking so lovely and feeling so nice outside.  We had a gorgeous weekend of weather aside from some rain on Saturday, and hey, rain is part of spring!

I picked up my new nightstand this weekend, which is so nice to have.  My nightstand from my apartment didn't work with BF's bedroom set because it was espresso instead of black, so I finally found a black nightstand that works well enough for the set.  BF didn't plan ahead for the future and buy two when he bought his bedroom set years back.  ;-)  It's such an improvement over the crappy black table/stand I have been using for over a year.  I got it all organized and it's a small piece of happy for me.

I got to do a little spring shopping this weekend, also.  I got a new work bag, as the handle of my old one ripped.  :-/  I had a hard time finding one that fit the bill I wanted, as I wanted something water-resistant, as the interim bag I'd been using is not, and on rainy days that's a bummer.  I found the new bag at Marshalls for a whole $20!  I also got a pair of shorts and several cute shirts, so that was a nice way to spend a couple hours yesterday afternoon.

It was a good weekend spent with BF and J.  We cooked meals together, we watched a movie, we ran a slew of errands.  I went to the gym both saturday and sunday (!!!) and felt better about not going Thursday & Friday.  I'm trying to go more often, and I was so proud of myself for going Sunday-Wednesday until that point.

We're less than three weeks out from our Omaha trip now.  It looks like we'll be spending the night with my brother and his wife one night and now possibly one night in a hotel downtown near where the relatives are staying.  We thought it would be nice if we all stayed down there so we could stay out later with the family without having to worry about driving back late.  It's just an idea at this point, but it sounds kind of fun to me.  :-)  Selfishly, I also relish the opportunity to sleep in any bed that is not the bed in my bedroom at my mom's house.  It's one million years old and NOT comfortable.  So this would be a definite improvement, even if we have to pay for it!

My ex-H got married a couple of weekends ago.  I saw lots of FB pics and it looked really lovely, as it was on the beach in Mexico.  I'm really happy for him and happy that he was able to get his family out there for the occasion.  Still can't believe he beat me to re-marriage, LOL.

This week is Staff Appreciation week at work, so that's nice.  It breaks up the usual monotony as we have a staff luncheon tomorrow and an all personnel luncheon on Wednesday, plus some kind of afternoon snack event on Thursday.  I'll take anything that distracts from the usual work day grind. My supervisor is on vacation until Thursday, so that's also nice!

Weather is going to be gorgeous today, so I'm planning for an escape over lunch.  Must take advantage before it cools down some later this week.  Rain predicted for tomorrow so that inside planned lunch is sounding better and better.

Finished a good book recently, "The Elementals".  It was described as a gothic horror novel and I really enjoyed it.  Started two different Kindle books and not wholly enthralled by either.  I have two actual books to read as well that I got in Omaha last time.  Hopeful that one of them grabs my interest.

Anyway, that's all I know today.  Happy Monday, if there is such a thing!

Friday, April 22, 2016


I've been MIA for a couple of weeks, but with good reason.  My grandfather passed away the morning of Friday, April 8th.  We all knew it was coming, and he was certainly ready to go.  He went in his sleep that morning and at that point it was honestly a gift.

I flew home to Omaha Sunday and was there until Thursday.  The funeral was Tuesday and I got the chance to spend some time with my family.  The wayward brother was there for almost everything, including the funeral, which was nice, I guess, although weird.  We spent some time going through my grandfather's house, but the project was much bigger than that and will be happening in my absence as well.

It's strange.  Living so far away makes it seem almost not real because I didn't talk to him or see him every day.  But I think about it every day.

I'm doing pretty well.  I take a lot of comfort in the fact that I got to see him in what was probably his last really good few days.  We talked, we laughed, and we made a few final memories for the books. The funeral service was really lovely, and I even managed to get up and read something I'd written without too much struggle until the end.

I came back to work on the Friday after I returned to begin to dig out of the hole of work waiting for me, and then got a weekend to really settle back in.  This week has been work and gym and BF and life stuff and intermittent conversations with various family members about the things left behind to take care of.  I'll be back in Omaha in three weeks with BF, and I'm looking forward to it.

Our family reunion is moving forward as planned, and we think it will be a lovely way to celebrate my grandfather's life and legacy, as he placed so much value on family connections and laughter.

One thing I did realize throughout all of this is that while it was nice to have my wayward brother around again, I don't need it anymore.  I have very low (realistic) expectations of his presence in my life going forward, and that's OK.  The most important thing is that he was there to spend time with my grandfather in the last weeks of his life, and my grandfather left this earth knowing that some bridges were being re-built, no matter how shaky.  Maybe my brothers will keep in touch, I'm not sure.  I don't expect the same on my end, perhaps because of the distance?  Either way, I'm glad we all proved that we could come together for my grandfather to celebrate his life and mourn his passing together.  It's something.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

April Showers

This is one gloomy Thursday, but it is a Thursday nonetheless.  I'll take it!  This week has felt really long.  I'm sure that can be partially attributed to all of the ups and downs with my grandfather.  As an update, family visits yesterday were mostly comprised of watching him sleep.  My brother went over lunch and said he slept pretty much the whole time, as they'd given him something for sleep mid morning.  My mom went last night and said again he slept most of the time, though he did wake a few times briefly to chat.  She said it was very calm and quiet.  I guess at this point sleeping is better. He got Ativan overnight again because of anxiety again.  I can only imagine how mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted he is these days.

Today is one of those days where I would rather be at home in comfy clothes lounging with my cats and enjoying the rain from a warm inside space.  Work is not a great stand in.  Today or tomorrow they're finally locking down the internet to block all the fun places you can go online and will be monitoring everything else.  They warned us it was coming last summer, so I guess we should be grateful it took them this long to implement.  Thank goodness for smart phones!

Nothing noteworthy on the schedule tonight.  Maybe the gym, cooking dinner at home with BF, the usual week night jam.  No big plans for the weekend either.  We have J for the full weekend.  We may go see a movie, I'm sure we'll run a couple of errands.  The weather is supposed to be fairly lousy so that's no help!  We may get a few errant snowflakes on Saturday morning, which is just depressing.

Still reading "The Elementals" and actually really enjoying it.  I'm still not quite halfway in, but I like the atmosphere of the book and look forward to reading it each evening on my commute home.  I'll admit there's not been a lot of action thusfar, but I feel like it's building to something and it's not boring me yet!

I gambled and made plans for next Friday night with my gf, A.  We are doing a manicure and haircut, respectively, at our salon after work and then going out for dinner and drinks after in DC.  Nothing too wild and crazy, but it will still be fun.  :-)  I've been hesitant to make many plans the last few days because of things with my grandfather, but I figure that whatever will be, will be, and none of my plans are set in stone.  One day at a time, blah blah blah.  :-)

Crossing fingers that Friday comes quickly.....

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


I apologize in advance for this post.  I feel guilty for bringing it here, however, I feel like I'm walking under a dark cloud since last night and I need to download the information somewhere to not carry it around by myself all day.  This stemmed from a late night conversation I had with my mom about my grandfather, and BF was asleep by the time I got off the phone.  I'll tell him about it later, but I just wasn't ready to tell him last night and there was zero time this morning. I thought about messaging a couple of different people about it, but have changed my mind.  It's my brother's 3 year wedding anniversary, so I didn't want to bring it up with him even though he's already aware of it.  I was going to message my ex-H because he was always very close to my grandfather and still writes him notes and the like.  But he's getting married in a week and a half and I didn't want to make him sad about it. I've thought about messaging my other brother, but I just don't know.

My mom standardly sends an update email each evening around the same time about my grandfather and how he was doing that day during her visit.  However, I didn't get one last night, which made me suspect it didn't go well, so eventually I emailed her to ask.  She wrote back and told me that it was an awful visit, he went berserk and it was just really terrible.  She didn't offer details, but instead told me to call if I wanted to know more, so I did.

Basically her visit started out fairly normally.  They were talking and things were OK, but not great. However, at some point "a switch flipped" and he was suddenly very angry.  I can't remember everything she told me, as it was all kind of an overwhelming blur.  It started with him asking if she got his letter.  She asked what letter and he told her he'd written letters to everyone.  She told him no, she hadn't gotten anything and asked what the letter said.  He told her he'd asked everyone to meet there (at the hospice house) that night. She asked why and he said "because I'm going to die tonight". She told him, no, he wasn't going to die and he told her that actually, he thought he'd died last night. At some point he also asked her how the previous night had gone, and my mom asked what he meant. He told her that he had died the night before and wanted to know how it went.

Anyway, when she told him he wasn't going to die he got frustrated and said that Bob (his older brother who is currently in a nursing home in Illinois suffering from Alzheimers) was supposed to be there, too.  My mom was of course very confused, but the conversation went on.  She said that he kept telling her he was in hell, this was hell, this was torture and he got very agitated.  He was yelling for help, but she didn't know why.  She tried to calm him down by taking his hand and talking to him. She asked what he wanted or needed.  He told her, very coldly and clearly, "I.WANT.TO.DIE."  She told him that while it was hard for her, it was OK for him to go if he was ready.  He then looked down at her hand and asked, "Why are you holding my hand?"  Keep in mind that basically everything he said after the switch flip was full of venom and anger.

He also told her at various times, "I'm dead", asked her why she was just sitting there.  She asked what she was supposed to be doing and he said, "I can't believe you're just sitting there doing nothing."  She again asked what she was supposed to be doing and he told her, "GO GET THE ATIVAN", but then added, "But it's not like they're going to give it to you.  They won't give it to you." She asked if he was upset with her for something and he told her no, he was mad at himself. She reminded him it was not his fault that he's sick, but it made no difference.  Finally my mom got a nurse and they gave him Ativan and Morphine.  It doesn't sound like it was very long before he was drugged up enough to calm down.

The whole thing sounded HORRIFYING.  As my mom was relaying this to me, still sounding shell-shocked and exhausted, I had this really unnerving idea of it being like The Exorcist, or someone possessed by a personality not their own. My grandfather doesn't yell.  He doesn't speak like that to people.  It wasn't him.  But he was saying all of these things and my mom kept talking about how disgusted he looked and how angry he sounded.  She also said she hadn't heard his voice that strong and clear in WEEKS.

Luckily, my mom called my stepdad at some point to tell him what was going on, and though she told him not to come to the hospice, he did.  I'm grateful that he was there for her because I truly can't imagine how upsetting this was.  The hospice nurse told her this is a very common part of the process, however upsetting it is.  My mom asked if this meant the end was near, and the nurse told her that in some cases this can last weeks, and in others it goes faster.  They really just don't know.

My mom very guiltily told me that she wants him to go, to end his suffering, and I had to assure her over and over that she shouldn't feel guilty about that.  He's ready to go.  I think that he's told us that nicely and calmly, but that he is getting frustrated that he's still here when he doesn't want to be, and this outburst, part of the process or not, was definitely his subconscious speaking out.  He's angry at his body for not letting him rest.  I reminded my mom that dying is what he wants, and that it will be a relief to him, and so it's OK for us to want him to have that relief.

They put him in adult diapers this week because he's too weak to go to the bathroom on his own. One last indignity if he's aware of it.  My mom said he's barely eaten, even less than before lately.  She said she had to look away the other day when they sat him up in bed and she saw how truly gaunt he has become. Yesterday he told her he'd had a couple of bites of applesauce, things like that.  For a whole day.  He's refusing meds, but they're apparently not a huge deal to not take considering his condition.  He's having more and more hallucinations or false memories.  There are the things like asking people to look behind doors that aren't there, but there are also just the smaller things like him telling my mom that my previously MIA brother was harping on other brother about setting up a monthly lunch on the one day when they ended up at the hospice together.  I know it sounds like a reasonable thing for normal people, but I would bet $100 that didn't happen on either side.  We just don't know what to believe anymore.

The idea of this lasting weeks makes me ill.  He will just get more gaunt, more incoherent, more helpless.  I am not a religious person, but I am wishing for his freedom from his pain and misery.  I want him to go be with my grandma finally.  He is done here.

My mom said that aside from not wanting him to go today (she doesn't want the day of his death to forever coincide with my brother's wedding anniversary), she's ready for him to go when it's time. My uncle and aunt are coming Saturday afternoon, and my mom said that at this point, she's not even sure she wants them to see him like this.  It's bad.  She also said that she's glad I came when I did because I got three good visits and only one bad one while I was there, and my visit was overall positive.  But he turned a corner for the worse only a few days later, and last night was definitely a new low point.

It feels awful to wish for a family member to leave this earth.  But this is no life anymore, not in any form my grandfather would have wanted.  He's here against his will at this point and is more than ready to move on.  I hope it comes soon, and I hope it comes quickly, the way he said he wanted it. He's been through enough.

Again, I apologize for this post.  I don't want to bring everyone down with me, but I just needed to share this somewhere this morning for my own sanity.  Any good thoughts or prayers or whatever you can offer would be appreciated.

Monday, April 4, 2016

little pieces

When I was home a couple of weeks ago, my mom gave me a pair of earrings that belonged to my grandma.  After she passed away several years ago, we went through a lot of her jewelry and took the pieces we liked at my grandfather's behest.  But he kept some of her more favorite pieces behind, and I guess they recently re-surfaced.  He still has her fine jewelry at his house, hidden somewhere from what I hear, but this was a second wave, I guess.

The earrings are simple:  silver hoops.  In the first pass, I took several items, but most were not day to day wearable.  I have a bracelet that I wear on occasion, but the hook closure makes me nervous that I'll lose it, so I'm choosy about when to don it.  It always made me a little sad that I didn't have something that I could wear more often.  Luckily, these silver hoops fit that bill.  They are simple, classic and lovely.  Each time I wear them it's a happy reminder that at one time in her life my grandmother wore them, too.  :-)

My grandfather is doing OK.  I guess? I really don't know how to assess these things anymore.  I get daily updates from my mom, plus updates each time one of my brothers visits.  They are wildly varying.  Last week it seemed like he had a lot of "good" days.  He ate a little more, he was chatty, more alert.  My mom seemed to be harboring this secret hope that he was getting better.  However, he's been difficult the last couple of days.  Saturday she got there to find that he'd refused everything - a bath, getting dressed, his meds, food, etc.  During her visit, she managed to get him to do all of these things.  I guess he tolerated it OK and told her she was relentless.  Yesterday she went and he was sleepy and grumpy.  He told her no to everything, including food, and that he wasn't budging. My mom sounded pretty discouraged.  Add to this that on friday I basically got three different messages telling me he was not having a good day.  He was pretty out of it (before his daily meds, but could have been an Ativan hangover from the night previous) and kept telling my brother and the nurse to look behind doors where there were no doors.  Weird.  I know hallucinations are part of this process, but it's just so strange to hear these things knowing how clear headed he is most of the time.

My uncle and his wife are coming in this weekend from CA to visit.  I'm glad my uncle will get to see his dad again, as for a time there I was afraid he would miss it.  Right now I don't have a good sense as to how long my grandfather will be sticking around.  My answer in this moment is very different than what I thought while visiting, and could be very different by tomorrow.  None of us really know. Part of me wonders if my grandfather is sticking around to see his son one more time before he goes, but another part of me thinks maybe this is just another visit and that he could be around for our family reunion and LOTS of visits in mid-May.  I don't know if that's totally delusional, totally reasonable or somewhere in between.

And now for a totally illogical, tactless transition onto other subjects...

Weekend was pretty good.  Friday weather was gorgeous despite forecasts of storms.  It was 80 and beautiful.  We had dinner at a local spot and ate outside on the patio.  Then Saturday rolled around and the weather was gross.  It rained for most of the day and then got really windy that night.  I'm talking 60 mph gusts.  It was pretty scary to listen to!  Our power went out around 2 am and woke us up.  Unfortunately, a smoke alarm also decided it was low on battery, so BF had to replace the battery to stop the beeping.  Then, at 5:30 am the alarm went off even though it wasn't ON.  Thanks, battery backup!  BF couldn't get it turned off and went to remove the battery, but it was beneath a screw top panel, so he was down in the garage rummaging for a tiny screwdriver and muttering lots of curse words at the time.  It was a disastrous night of "sleep".  The morning was very chilly in the house, but luckily the power came back on about 9:30 or 10 am.

Reading and Writing:  Trying to do more of it.  As I mentioned before, I've had a very hard time finding a book to keep my interest lately.  I started a book called "The Elementals", which was originally published in maybe 1981, but re-released recently.  It's classified as a gothic horror novel. I'm very early into it, but enjoying it.  Writing:  I've got desire, but no motivation.  I carry around blank books/notebooks hoping inspiration strikes, but I'm not putting any real effort into it.  Must try to rectify that.

I'm definitely getting restless waiting on spring.  Today's weather is decent at the moment, but it's supposed to rain later.  The rest of the week is a crapfest temp wise and rain wise, and the weekend looks chilly AGAIN.  I'm so ready for real spring, though I am glad things are at least greening up outside.  I want to go to baseball games and on walks and eat meals outside and not worry about only doing these things every few days when it's nice for a day.  Hopefully it's not far off.

Ex-H has his wedding in less than two weeks in Mexico.  It's weird.  They already got legally married a couple of weeks ago at a courthouse.  I'm fuzzy on why, but that's the fact of the matter.  It's weird that he has a wife again.  It's even more weird that on April 16th he'll have another wedding, a nicer one than ours (we were broke babies when we got married!) and that all of his same family that saw us get married will be watching him get married to someone else.  I'm very happy for him, but it's also very surreal.  Secretly, or not so secretly, since I told him as much, I can't believe he's beating me to it!  I always figured it would be me first.  Life is weird!

I have my last session with a trainer tonight.  It's the replacement trainer (boo).  Nice kid, but he's like 12 and I don't mesh as well with his style.  I'm glad it's the last one, but I'm dreading it.  Last time I about died from the workout he put me through.  I cancelled last monday because it was such a crap day, but now I just want to get it over with.  :-/  I also hate telling people I won't be continuing with them because I don't want them to feel bad, but in the end I don't care and I won't be continuing LOL. I know enough to do this on my own, it's just a matter of finding the time and motivation.  If only those were easier to find!

I guess I've rambled on long enough today.  Silly Monday.  I need a nap!