Friday, October 29, 2010

The cycle begins.

For some of you, this is the only blog of mine that you follow. This was my first blog, and my sole purpose of writing was to let out things that have always been hard for me to let go of. I’ve noticed from day one that when I write something down it’s almost like a small weight inside of me lifts. The other reason is to hopefully find people I can identify with who are going through similar struggles with Bipolar or mental illness. So far I’ve been really disappointed at the lack of ones I have come across. If anyone is familiar with any insightful blogs I’d love if you pass them my way.

If you follow my other blog about my adventures in Australia, then you know that this is kind of my downer blog and you may not identify with anything here and move along. That’s okay. I’m not particularly fond of blogs about happiness or how beautiful each day is in its own way. I hope one day I will find meaning in those blogs…anyways, today’s post is actually not a downer. What a surprise! Anything that is related to my struggles with depression I post in this blog, and, well, this post is about new starts. Again.

I’m aware that there are always new starts, always new cycles. I just wish mine weren’t so drastic. I’d love if my ups were ups and my downs were downs and the rest be average, but with me my downs are so definitive that it breaks the cycle every time. Coming over here was always about starting over and establishing not only myself positively, but my entire life positively with my husband. I’m not expecting this overnight, and my lows these first two months of being here have been heightened due to culture shock and the longing of my family and Mexican food (seriously). But yesterday I had my second appointment with the psychologist, Dr. Phil (seriously!) and my first appointment with Dr. C, the psychiatrist.

I’m still on the fence about Dr. Phil. I usually go in with a big wall up because, well, that’s kind of what I do when anyone wants me to change. Doesn’t everyone? Usually by the middle of our session he makes me have an epiphany about what he is saying and I instantly feel better and make a plan in my head about how to tackle the upcoming week. The first week his epiphany was, “the way you’re feeling right now isn’t you; it’s the depression talking”. I kind of visualized a sad ball in my belly (when I’m mad I always call the incoming stress my anger ball, so the sad ball fits), and it makes total sense. “Normal” people have a drive to get up and go, even if they have a hard time doing so. Explaining my lack of drive, I have always said to people it’s like there’s a little guy in the back of my head saying, ‘what’s the point of getting out of bed? Nothing matters’. And I always listen to that guy. Dr. Phil’s treatment is at first simple cognitive behavioural therapy-trying to make me associate my bad thoughts with reality and understanding that thoughts are just that-thoughts.

This week he told me, “when you have a bad thought I want you to see it: ‘I’m a bad wife’, for example. Write it on a chalkboard in your head. Look at the words. Then I want you to say, “thank you brain for that thought”, and get rid of the thought”. Um…WTF Doc? If I could do that, I sure as hell wouldn’t be paying you! I mean I could say “I’m fat” and say thanks brain for that thought until I’m blue in the face…but that doesn’t mean it’s actually out of my head! Something that did resonate with me yesterday is what he said about being in this depressive rut for so long. He said, “you have been in this cocoon for so long, and the depression is actually keeping you safe. You don’t have to think about things because you’re depressed. I don’t have to get out of bed because I’m depressed. I don’t have to get a job because I’m depressed”. That makes so much sense to me. Unfortunately I’m not going to be magically cured and wake up tomorrow and go, “OKAY! I’m going to get a job! Start my diet! Go to school!”. He reminded me of what my last doctor, Dr. Julia, had told me. Small steps. Instead of sleeping twelve hours, set an alarm and commit to waking up-today. Instead of starting a diet, eat an apple instead of ice cream (okay THAT one will be hard). Take “normal” things people do every day as accomplishments for myself, like cleaning my bathroom or hanging up all my clothes. For the un-depressed eye it may sound silly, but “normal” things are huge steps for me right now.

Tomorrow I will post about the second part of my day with my new psychiatrist Dr. C. I LOVE HIM. I’d also like to end today on a really happy and uplifting note. Barb from This and That as I Bounce Thru Life is literally one of my biggest supporters. She happens to be one of the very few who have read this blog and actually gotten something out of it, which is huge to me. It’s all I really wanted to accomplish when I write here. The other day she awarded me the Content Unrelated (also one of my favourite blogs) blog award for “the underfollowed, overlooked, uncommon and underestimated blog”. She wrote:

“We've all heard the name "bi-polar" but do we really know what its like living with it?  While I am no doctor I truly believe that my son suffers from this.  He refuses to get help and our relationship is sucky right now.  Hed has given me so much insight on what she endured and still does and it's made a difference in how I view things about Mike [my son] and some other folks I know.  If you haven't read it, I implore that you do.  You won't be disappointed.”

I am extremely humbled and proud. Thanks a million, Barb.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Once upon a time I could control myself.

I’m still twelve. I haven’t changed a bit.
I demanded to live with my father when my mom married my stepdad and moved us away from my hometown, where everyone was. I thought it would be just my dad and I, and it would be great. Independence. Being left alone. I thought it would be everything I ever wanted. I was wrong.
My dad didn’t move me into his house. He dropped me off at his parents, my evil grandparents. They made me sleep in the back house in a bedroom with a bathroom and they never bothered me unless it was dinnertime. I thought this was awesome. I was like a grown-up. I stayed up as late as I wanted and no one would tell me what to do. Be careful what you wish for.
My dad virtually stopped coming to my grandparents. I was alone. Like, alone alone. It wasn’t independence. It was solitude. I remember laying on my bed for hours at a time replaying Pearl Jam’s “Ten” on the tape player and knowing deep in my heart this tape was created for me. Imagine my shock when I studied the liner notes for the song “Why Go” and found “4 Heather” at the bottom:
             she scratches a letter into a wall made of stone                                            
maybe someday another child won’t feel as alone as she does

After a month and an episode, my mom came to the rescue (as always) and I stayed with her for good (More on my dad can be found here if interested). Before that I was a normal kid. I never really had issues other than normal twelve-year-old issues. But something about that month broke me. It was almost like the my childhood ended the month I was there.
My teenage years were saturated with music. Sometimes it felt like it was the only thing keeping me from killing myself. No album ever packed the punch that “Ten” had. It was everything to me. I’ve even told my family that when I die, I want the song “Release” to be played at my funeral:

I see the world feel the chill which way to go windowsill                                     
  I see the words on a rocking horse of time I see the birds in the rain               
Oh dear dad can you see me now? I am myself like you somehow

Today I sit here, in a dark room overcast by clouds outside, and I feel the exact same today as I did when I was a little girl. Lost. Alone. Trapped. Broken. Thinking that everything would get better, but instead got much, much worse. I even lay down on the floor, with “Once” blasting, and I’m looking through the same eyes of that girl that once was something.

Once upon a time, I could control myself                                                         
  Once upon a time I could lose myself                                                                
  Once upon a time I could love myself                                                                  
Once upon a time I could love you

I’m extremely unhappy. I feel that all the pills throughout my life to “make” me happy have in reality zapped all of my happy chemicals. I have no joy. Even the small things that would one time bring a smile to my face mean nothing to me. I want to go home, but am constantly reminded I have nothing to come home to. I sold everything I own when I moved to Australia. I’m pretty much waiting to die. I belong nowhere. I see pictures of myself and wonder who that person is or where she went. I’m dead inside. I have no hope anymore.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rinse and Repeat.

So for the past five weeks I have been keeping myself busy with my Australia blog, and even though I have had tendencies to post on here about my struggles with adapting to a completely new way of life, I have digressed, saying my sadness is related to adjusting. I don’t know if that’s 100% the case.

There have only been a couple major episodes since I’ve been here, one being about the major discomfort I feel about living with people who really don’t know me. I love my in-laws, but they don’t know me-they only know what my husband or myself says. Ask my mom, ask my husband: unless you live with someone who has a mental disorder, it’s hard to tell how bad it really gets. I’ve been on my own since I was 20. Making my own food. Sleeping in. Doing laundry when I feel like it. Watching what I want. Coming and going as I please. There was a time that I moved back in with my parents that I had to adjust, but it was minimal because a) I was working full-time, b) I was spending 75% of my time at my best friend’s house, and c) My mom understands me…for the most part.

The second episode was this last week, when my husband and I did our first full grocery shop. I had a list of maybe twenty items on it, and literally fifteen of the twenty items don’t exist in Australia. Being depressed and not having a lot to look forward to, food has been my only comfort for the longest time, and I don’t eat about 80% of the Australian “staple” foods. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I rarely gamble. I don’t cut myself or spend obscene amounts of money. I don’t do…well, anything, I guess. So when I have an opportunity to smile at writing something that makes me feel better or eating a beef dip, I relish the moment. Food is now something I fear rather than love.

I get served food now. I have never been okay with eating around strangers. I feel like they stare at me (that could be related to my weight or my anxiety…or both) and judge what I do or don’t eat. One thing I tell every human being that has ever eaten my mom’s food is whether or not it was great, you tell my mom it was GREAT-because my mom will hold that shit against you for years. So having to tell someone I don’t like something they have served me is equal to breaking up with someone or telling them something they don’t want to hear. I’m serious. It’s extremely uncomfortable for me. This last week my husband was at work and my in-laws roasted lamb. I have only tried two small bites of lamb in my whole life. I asked my mother-in-law if it would be okay if I just tried a small slice and she said no problem (she’s awesome and non-judgemental, by the way). I took a bite and held back throwing up. Not because it was bad. Not because of anything that was wrong with the food at all-I knew once I put that piece in my mouth my mother-in-law, consciously or not, was watching me to see how I liked the lamb. My brain was screaming at me IT’S LAMB IT’S LAMB IT’S LAMB IT’S LAMB and I managed to swallow it. I apologized and said, “I just don’t think I can hack lamb”. My father-in-law (who is not as awesome and non-judgemental-it’s just his way) looked at me and said, “it’s just meat”. I wish it were that simple. I couldn’t eat the rest of the night.

I used to think I was alone. Now, being so far away from…everything, I truly am alone. I tell myself I should have never married my husband. Again, not for anything he has done, it’s for the massive causality he endures regularly for being married to me. I really don’t think I will ever have kids (or I should say “raise kids”). Our life will always be atypical because of my episodes. I may be fine for five years, then one day *BAM* I’ll stop getting out of bed. It’s an unliveable life.

I’m really distraught because in my twenties, the outlook was good-I could always work at another job, move somewhere far away, start over-but now, at thirty, I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. At all. I had hoped that a new NEW! start in a new country would be the answer, but I can’t apply myself to do anything. Even if I never worked again and my husband supported us-what the hell kind of live would I live? Waking up at 4pm every day and eating macaroni and cheese for dinner? I would be my dad. I’m just like my dad. Except, unlike him, I’m aware of the path that is coming for me. I don’t know what do do about it.

It’s been 10 months since my major depressive episode has began-by far longer than any other period in my life. Just like when you’re overweight for a really long time, you have a hard time picturing yourself any other way. I don’t remember what it feels like to be happy.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Seven days.

I started to write this blog earlier but got sidetracked. Just like any other day, I guess. I am trying not to think about this MASSIVE move as MASSIVE, but the epic proportions of my decision always comes back full circle and I freak out. I’m more anxious than I think I’ve been in a year. I’ll sort out my woes for you.

I have a list of things that need to be done, and I have actually done pretty well and closed up shop on most of it. My stress now is, what if I miss something? Just today I remembered that all of my Christmas ornaments (I get a special one every year) are at my grandpa’s. What if they all get accidentally thrown away? There are about six boxes I brought to my mom’s house where we are staying and I have yet to go through them. I need to re-arrange the stuff in my luggage. The airport dealey with liquids messed it all up when the only thing left to pack was my check-on bag- with ALL MY TOILETRIES. On the bright side, I got myself a little treat and will be expecting a new Paul Frank backpack at my door tomorrow. At least with that I can put my laptop, camera, purse stuff, passport, etc. in it and will have it with me at all times. I’ve done really well with selling all my extra crap, and I told my parents just to sell the rest at their next yard sale. Today was going to be THE DAY when I tidy up all of my stuff, but I was up last night crying so hard from stress I woke up with a migraine. Oh, and I’m losing like tons of hair. Bleh.

My next stress is my peoples. What if I don’t get to say goodbye to everyone? My fear is I won’t get to say goodbye and BAM they die (see “Letting Go, Part One” for further elaboration of my anxieties). This sounds awful, but I have no interest in seeing my dad before I leave. I’d rather just assume good things and go on my way. My dad will be 61 next month, and I don’t know when I’ll be coming back to visit. I plain just don’t want to see him. I’ve thought to myself, “would I kick myself if something bad DID happen to him and I never got to spend time with him?” and sadly, my answer is probably not. The image of my “good” dad hasn’t been true for a long, long time and every time I throw him a bone he fails. In the beginning of the year he broke up with his total bitch of an ex-girlfriend, moved around the corner into my grandparent’s house, and started attending AA again. I was really proud and excited for him. For about a day. One day my car window broke and it was supposed to rain the next day. I thought, “gee, my handy dad lives right next to me now! He’ll fix it!” I called him at about 4p.m. and it sounded like he had just woken up. “Hi dad! I have a problem! My car window just broke on me and I was hoping you could fix it because I---“ “Uh…I’ll call you back, okay?” He never called back.

Another fear is I WILL get to see everyone and I’ll be so anxious that I won’t enjoy my time with them. My sister is throwing me a 30th birthday/going away party, and to be honest I am surprised how many people are coming. Is it because it’s a party? Free food? Free booze? What if they see me after this long of a time and I’m disgusting to them? My social anxiety is still very strong. On top of that, a couple of my acquaintances who weren’t invited are coming with somebody else. What if they cause a scene? What if I’m so anxious at the party that I can’t relax? The last time I had a group of people around me was my pre-wedding dinner almost two years ago, and thank God I ended up getting drunk. I almost lost it (my mind, not my liquor). This time though, with the antidepressants and mood stabilizers, I’m extremely anxious to drink. What if I pass out? What if it doesn’t mix and I freak out? A lot of my friends who I haven’t seen in over a year will be there, and I’m scared they will see the person I’ve become and just not want to be my friend anymore. My light is gone. The person who is always warm and fuzzy and sticking their neck out for them no longer exists. Now there is a shell of a girl who is unbelievably fat, penniless, and sad.

Next comes the realization that in seven days, everything is going to change. Everything. Time. Food. Family. Money. Counting. Driving. Spelling. Climate. Jobs. Mannerisms. Culture. The list goes on and on. Now, I am the Queen of Starting Over, so a lot of these things I see as a great positive. I just also see my present self getting in the way. My in-laws have pledged to help us financially until we get situated. That’s extremely generous of them and I am eternally grateful. The thing is, I’ve never had anyone (except for my own family) pay my way. No boyfriends, no help from friends. Just me. And I’m very proud of it. After a bankruptcy and steady jobs, I have built up a good, healthy credit standing. Now in a foreign country that’s all wiped away. I didn’t think I would have to start over again at 30. Where’s my house? My career? My school diploma? My two kids and a dog? I have none of it. I’m moving in with someone’s parents (something I have never done) and I happen to be bipolar. How am I supposed to deal with that in front of strangers? I feel I have no safe zone anymore, and even writing that down brings me to tears.

Okay, I just took an Ativan. Kick in please. Some peoples’ motto is “one day at a time”. I can’t even deal with that. When I get stressed or upset just one time in a day, the whole day is ruined. I can’t salvage it. I just shut down and hope things will get better eventually. It has almost been a year since everything fell apart, and I feel worse off now than I did last year. How is that even possible?

Monday, August 16, 2010

I’m dying.

Okay, the title of my blog isn’t necessarily true. I’m not REALLY dying. I think. But I have always had a sinking feeling that things weren’t quite right with me and my essential organs. I’m absolutely convinced that I do have Multiple Sclerosis, however. I’ve just never had the proof and/or push to have tests ran or anything. Oh, except a brain wave scan when I was a teen. Let me explain.

When I was about twelve, I noticed when I started to walk, the left side of my body would go numb. Seriously. When I began to walk anywhere, I would notice a tingle in my toes, and it would shoot up my leg, my arms, and my neck until I couldn’t even talk out of the left side of my mouth. Seriously. The feeling would last about 15 seconds. I noticed it would happen in episodes, maybe only during the summer or when I was overly stressed. It was sometimes noticeable, especially because my neck would stiffen up and my left hand would curl up into a ball and I would stop walking because my foot would sort of drag. I was able to override it sometimes by putting my foot up against a wall and flex really hard when I would feel it start to tingle, but that was usually even more noticeable. I only confessed this to a handful of friends and family, and lovingly called it “Tard Girl” due to the posturing. I did have a brain scan, but nothing came up-I was sitting down the whole time. I think if they asked me to start and stop walking, something may have come up. I’ve had this malady for so long now I forget I even have it. Five years ago I started not being able to lay on my left side or my entire leg would start to tingle and fall asleep. That could also be, you know, my fat body crushing my poor leg. About two months ago, I noticed my left pinky and ring fingers had no feeling in them, no matter what I do.

My bones and joints feel like they have slow-drying cement on them. I can’t turn my neck comfortably anymore. I mean it’s completely locked up. I’ve tried to do the neck roll to loosen it, tried muscle relaxers, had my husband put pressure on it to see if it would crack, all with no relief. Yesterday I walked from a parking lot into a grocery store, and by the time I headed to the register, the middle of my back was on fire. Granted, I’m fat, but am I THAT fat? I don’t ever lay on my back because it’s extremely painful, but I blame that on the fat. Walking fifty steps makes my body shut down? That’s a little suspect. My lower back constantly feels like it needs to pop. I can’t find a comfortable position to sleep in with my current neck/back issues.

Speaking of sleep, I sleep about twelve hours a day. Seriously. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember. I would get home from elementary school and take a two-hour nap. In high school, if I couldn’t get out of bed because I was too tired, I wouldn’t go to school. Work too. You know there’s those times where you wake up and you choose to go back to sleep? I don’t have those times. I can go to bed at midnight, and when I naturally wake up it’s 1p.m. Of course, I’m tired all day, partly from sleeping too much, partly from my weight bogging me down. Now I’m so used to my sleep patterns, if I feel sleepy at any time during the day, I cease to function. I’ve rationalized any excuse to use for leaving work early so I can drive straight home and go to sleep. I always joke that if there was an Olympic sport for sleep, I would win the Gold.

Other small random things happening lately are what made me write this blog about my health. I have a rash on half of my stomach. I have acid reflux suddenly. I gasp for air occasionally, and not just when I’m asleep-it happens if I’m sitting and just watching television. I’m seeing a chiropractor this week (thank God), but what I’m afraid of is that my body is so far gone that it will never go back to normal. When I woke up today the first thing I did was try and stretch my body to see if the pain throughout the day would be lessened, and it didn’t work. By “didn’t work”, I don’t mean it didn’t lessen my pain, I mean I was unable to stretch my muscles without extreme discomfort. It’s hard to think about losing weight when you are in a vicious cycle of pain-if I lose weight I will feel better, but I need to feel better to lose weight. Where’s Dr. House when you need him? Seriously.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Letting Go, Part 2.

My son will be twelve in December. My son. Okay, so that always looks weird on paper because I don’t really have a son. What I mean is, I shut down when he was a baby and never had a chance to pick up where we left off. I’ve always been more of a “birth mother” than a real mother. Some of it was my fault, some was out of my control. I found out at 2 he was autistic, and with him being him and me being me, there was never a bond. It’s a lot more detailed than that obviously, but it’s hard to write about someone I don’t really know.

I got pregnant in April of my senior year with my high school sweetheart, four months after we got back together. He immediately asked me to marry him, and moved into my parents’ house with me. That lasted a week. I kicked him out and from that day, was on my own. I cried every day. Hell, I cried when I found out I was pregnant. I cried when I found out I was having a boy, not the girl I was so sure was in my belly. I thought of suicide every day. I was unbelievably stressed out. I didn’t know what to do. I suffered from terrible migraines that made me go on disability. I never talked to my belly. My baby daddy was in the mix, just not with me. He went through some crap too-moved out of his parents house for good, started dating a girl with a kid, wrapping his car around a pole, and getting a DUI. My labor was extremely easy, and that was that. You know what my first words to him were? “Hi, my name’s Hed, and I’m gonna be your mom”. At four days old, my family was at my house, and my brother was holding my son. I remember him standing up and handing the baby to my mom, and they conversed almost in secret. I blew it off.

That night, my mom was in my room with me while I was feeding my son, and he started to stiffen and gasp for air. My mom says, “that’s what he did earlier today”. He was having his second seizure that we observed, and my mom didn’t even tell me about the first one. I’m convinced that, with my mental history, she didn’t think I was strong enough for a baby, something that has been confirmed through my son’s years and her actions, and her disdain when myself or my husband mentions children down the road. Anyway, he ended up in the ICU for five days. We still don’t know if his seizures caused the Autism or if the Autism caused the seizures. His week in the hospital, combined with my mom’s concern for him, sealed the deal for the two of us. Eventually he moved into her room, and even when it was time to move out with my then-boyfriend, she insisted my son stay with her and my stepdad. I took the offer because I was working full-time and thought once we got situated he could move in with us. That attempt happened when he was three. My boyfriend and I moved him in with us in our one-bedroom duplex, and I became a mom. That lasted a week.

The catalyst that started it? He spilled a soda on the rug. That’s it. That’s all it took. He was so hyper, didn’t listen or pay attention (Duh, he had AUTISM!!!), and I couldn’t take it. I called his father and told him he needed to take him, I couldn’t handle this. My toddler was a stranger. I was a fool to think that I could take a three-year-old in and become Carol Brady. Most of the time I couldn’t even take care of myself properly. I was devastated because it made me feel like a complete failure. I really thought I was strong enough to do it. We went to court, reversed custody. That was it. When this happened, his father eventually stopped speaking to me and used my mom as the middle man. My son started getting dropped off at my moms again, and I started visiting less and less. My first bout of extreme depression started around this time, and I couldn’t even get out of bed most days. When I started working again the visits became almost non-existent. When we did hang out, he wanted nothing to do with me. Why would he? He didn’t even KNOW me. Years passed, and my son’s father began a relationship with an amazing girl that just loved my son to pieces and did everything she could to deal with his Autism. At new jobs, I would mention my son in conversations, and I would always get, “you have a KID?!?!”

Last week was the first time I had seen my son in a year. He’s almost as tall as me. He has hair on his legs. He dresses like a young man, not a kid. Today,randomly my son’s father called my mom to see if my son could be dropped off with her, as he was getting married today. Two months ago, he and awesome girl had a baby of their own, and in my opinion they want to officially have a family circle together. As I have been planning to leave for Australia, I thought of leaving a note with my mom that if something should happen to my son, she would have authority to make decisions on my behalf. When I heard about the marriage, I made the biggest and hardest decision of my life: to sign my parental rights away so my son could be adopted by his stepmom.

It’s not fair to my son for me to sometimes be in his life. My sister was adopted when my father gave away his rights, and she turned out beautifully. I had the opportunity to be adopted by my own stepdad, and I turned it down because I didn’t want my father to be alone. My dad ultimately popped in and out of my life when he chose, and it screwed me up something fierce. I always used to think my son’s father was an all-around dick, but sometime over the years I realized he was a fantastic father, and we just happened to not be good together. Aside from all the selfishness that I have in me: the pride of being somebody’s mother, the thoughts and assumptions others may have of me from my choice, and the ultimate failure I feel from never having an opportunity to get to know my son and all his complexities, I know in my heart that this is the right choice. As Forrest Gump would say, “and that’s all I have to say about that”.

Letting Go, Part One.

So, unless you have never read my posts or live under a rock, you know that I am moving to Australia. In 15 days. so obviously my posts are few and far between at the moment. I’m sitting here at my mother’s house on my laptop, and I feel like I’m being pulled in a million directions. My core thought is to stay where I am, don’t change, and eventually you will get back on track. That is the way of Hed’s world, and my life has a magical way of working out. The other half says fuck it, get the hell out of my comfort zone, and really start anew, as fresh as I possibly can. I’m terrified. I have this hope that just being on new soil will make me wake up earlier, eat healthier and have more energy. But nothing on Earth changes you unless you change yourself, and I want to change. I think.

I’m always getting sidetracked when I write, by the way. I always have a solid idea of what I’m going to write, and my crazy brain always types what it wants. Okay, I’ll restart: I have a major roadblock in my head, and every time I even think about it, I break down. It’s my grandfather, Pop. He is my rock, the dad I should have had, the one that has done more for me than my dad (or anyone else) ever has, and my constant source of anxiety. You see, back before my grandmother died, my main goal was to make sure I wasn’t a fuck up so when they ultimately passed, they would die hopefully being proud of me. On April 1, 2006, I was casually dating, working as an assistant manager, and thinking about moving on my own for the first time ever. That was the night my mom called me and told me that my grandmother was in the E.R. because she had an allergic reaction to her medicine and was having a hard time breathing. Should I go to the hospital? No, she tells me, she’ll be fine. Forty-six days later, she died. I never had a chance to tell her I was moving, to tell her that I was okay, to pay her back what her and Pop graciously let me borrow. As soon as she died, I stopped looking at my grandfather as invincible. I now was on a MISSION to make sure that when, not if, he passed, I was a good person in his eyes.

Four years later, he’s still going strong. My parents and our family spend obscene amounts of time with him, and he adjusted pretty well to living alone after 55 years of couple-dom (P.S.-my grandfather is a prideful man, he wouldn’t even think about moving in with anyone else). It’s been my mom with the health problems-the melanoma, the carpal tunnel in both hands, the knee surgery, the knee cleaning surgery, the upcoming knee replacement surgery. The thing is, my morbid, depressed self looks at my grandpa and thinks DEATH. Death, death, death. He will die. Sooner than later. The thought of Pop dying stops me in my tracks. How am I (or my family, for that matter), supposed to function knowing the rock of my family is gone? In most instances, you would just spend as much time as humanly possible with that person and build up the strength to accept that everyone dies, right? I casually mentioned (through tears) to my mom that when I say goodbye to Pop when I move to Australia, it may be the last time. It’s not like I’m coming back next month or anything. Unfortunately, her response was, “it probably is”. Oh. Crap. When I say goodbye to Pop in two weeks and give him a hug, I’m pretty much giving my last respects. How the hell does one do that? Most people pay their last respects when someone is in a coma, or dying, or at a funeral, yet I am forced to say goodbye to a pretty healthy, alive person? I’m consumed with the thought. Of course, there’s a chance my mom may get cancer again. Or my best friend dies in a car crash. Or my grandpa will live to 110. Am I thinking about any of these? Of course not.

So that has been the major thought I’ve had, the reason I opened up Blogger to try and get this off my chest. Writing it all down usually helps me not only get it off my chest, but to let a thought or feeling rise up and float away, giving me a shred of clarity until a new worry pops into my head. But tonight, something cataclysmic happened that will never be undone. To be continued…