Here’s to You (and by you I mean me): New Year’s 2014

Where I wasn’t this year:

Happy New Year friends and devoted readers.  And man some of you are really devoted despite how much I haven’t been here.  For that I thank you.  It’s been one hell of a ride over the years especially this one.

But this post is all about the finale.  

 

This New Year’s toast (that never officially happened) is to you.  And by you, I mean me.

Wait what?

 

Every year WordPress delivers a fresh dose of data about all of the powers that be.  For work projects, this data is extremely paramount to making strategic plans for the future… regardless of what quarter or time of the year it is.  The end of the year data brings a bevy of information that showcases the path you have for your company, brand, or even blog.

On this personal blog I noticed a huge missing piece: me.  Over the year I dived head first into work projects with my favorite being a writing project which involved me writing five pieces a week for a paint client.  My devotion to putting my heart out on the chopping block was as microscopic as several of my exes would proclaim my heart is in the first place.

 

My end of the year report informed me that I only wrote a total of twenty five posts here.

Twenty five posts over a three hundred sixty five day period.

Twenty five little snapshots.

 

Twenty.

Five.

I easily did that amount of posts for a client in a month or less.  Where the hell was I last year?

As crazy as it may seem, I was catering to other things and not being selfish enough.  It is generally pretty easy to get motivated to get a story up for a client when its paid or about something outside of my heart yet still inside my heart.

 

So let’s talk about that first picture a bit more and my quiet New Year’s Eve last night.  Last year I did that and it was amazing.  I was fortunate enough to go to the biggest party of the year with friends dressed to the nines.  I had a frigging blast.  Last year turned into the year surrounded with the reminder of the people whom I would then call my good friends… who would prove to be some of the very best that I have.  

This year was spent alone vegging out cuddled tight with my newborn son.  It was quiet and uneventful.  Hell I didn’t even drink a glass of champagne.

But while last year’s gala was a blast, this just… felt better.  

My heart was a bit more complete than it had been in a very long time.  

2013 was about rebirth.  It was about putting my fun a bit more aside and preparing to being a full time mom again. It was about work but as much as it was about me, it wasn’t completely about me.  The beginning of the year was spent taking care of another person.  I was afraid to let go.  I held myself back.  The end of it was about taking care of another person too.. except that in the process, I would find that I was that other person.

2014 is about not holding back on myself.  To embracing opportunities and the unknown without fear.  From this blog to my bigger demons, it needs to all come out. I owe it to you.  I owe it to me.  And you too my babies.  After all, you’re a part of me.

Cheers

Advertisements

(Not quite) A Picture Perfect Holiday Recap


It’s doesn’t always resemble a movie even if you live in a movie town

“It’s [not always] A Wonderful Life”

Well it’s over. You survived. Santa came and went. The savior you were waiting for arrived. But was it everything you expected it to be?It was another picture perfect holiday scenescape here in beautiful Los Angeles, California. The weather showed a delightful eighty one degree high in the forecast.

photo courtesy of Steven Swimmer

photo courtesy of Steven Swimmer

I awoke to the sunshine. It’s not something out of the ordinary here. It’s appreciated but…

It wasn’t as picturesque inside as it was outside. For living in a fairy tale, it wasn’t exactly a fairy tale.

And I wasn’t the only one experiencing that unfortunately.

I saw update after update on social networks with happiness and cheer. It’s the holiday season and I live in a picturesque movie town amongst the most brilliantly spectacular people in the country.

Or at least I’d like to believe that.

How could anyone feel anything but festive on this most joyous day? Well unfortunately there were the other messages. The messages that reading a piece of your heart broke with them a little bit.

Of friends and family apart.

Of lovers lost.

Of abandonment.

Of “Ebenezer Scrooges.”

Hardened hearts in the most spectacularly vibrant people on the planet. Obliterated but doing their best to just get through the day.

This year I took the path of a single mother. And, while I wasn’t alone entirely and I had plenty of offers to do things with friends just as I did that day I had him, I was… very alone.

Remember when I told you in my last post about the separation that happened back in February of 2008? According to the “*current order” it’s not my year to have my children for this holiday. (Yes, holiday. I’m not particularly religious despite/because of years of Catholic schooling and teachings.) Nonetheless I was supposed to have a Skype call with my children to celebrate the day together. I planned the entire day around it -turning down several offers to go out that would potentially interfere.

So I waited with great anticipation… it was my version of waiting for Santa to come on Christmas morning.

It didn’t happen…

broken-heart

You would think I might be used to this stuff by now..

Reel back to a few days prior when I posted to my private social network about my eldest son not behaving the greatest enough to make me question giving him coal.  

(I didn't by the way.)

(I didn’t by the way.)

And I thought about my ex husband and my children.  

And why the call likely didn’t happen.

And why I wasn’t there with my eldest as he opened gifts earlier that morning.

About the fighting with my father on Christmas Eve because of differences in parenting styles.

About how my eldest believes the world revolves around gifts.

About how my other children believe the same.

About the comments calling me “negative” and picking at my lack of religion or beliefs in Santa and the otherwise commercial version of this so called picturesque holiday of “goodwill towards your fellow man” and “cheer.”

dontbelieveinsantagrinchmas

I had a couple of friends offer to have a few drinks with me in celebration and “bah humbug’ing” this abysmal reality of a day.

That didn’t happen either.

Thousands of miles away two of my children were living a lie.  Sure there were likely tons of gifts and warm home made cooking to go with the “Leave it to Beaver” Christian lifestyle my ex believes he is currently giving my children.  A similar smaller version could be said with my oldest son at my father’s.

 

The posts kept coming.

Presents and joy.

Happy families gathered around piles and piles of presents and food.

The friends who were also “orphans” drinking their cares away.

The friends without children going to dedicated “orphan” outtings.

The friend who ended up at the beach.

The friend who joined another family of friends for their meal.

The friends who went to the movies together.

And then there was me.

I could have gone and done a bunch of things.

So why didn’t I?

This isn’t a completely sad movie.  Earlier that day I had some very positive conversations.  My oldest son called me and told me he’d missed me that morning.  We talked about the differences in how his grandfather and I parent and about his newest little brother.  And while it wasn’t perfect, it made me smile.  My children are my heart.  This year has been all about reuniting with them.  Little by little there have been some major steps of progression towards this this year.

And then there was something else entirely.

My grandparents aren’t doing very well.  There are several health issues going on that… will likely lead me back to Illinois very soon to see them.  My family fears these may be their last days.

On the last phone calls I have not been able to speak with my grandmother.  Her health and the timing of the calls has prevented it.

I got to talk to her yesterday however.

not taken yesterday

It snowed.  The house was full of visiting family- my sister and her daughter and my uncle and his daughters.  I laughed as she scolded my grandfather and told him he couldn’t drink wine (an Italian must at the table) because it would not be good with his current pills.

I listened as I could tell her face was glowing as she regaled about how my cousins closer in proximity were picking up art.  And she asked me about my newborn.

“Does he look like you?”

“I’ll send you a picture.  He’s little like me.  We’d like to visit soon.  I’m worried about you.  Will you even have the strength to hold him when we get there?”

We spoke about the argument with my oldest son.  About her son and me differing on our versions of respecting ones elders.  About how because of the argument we were not able to see each other that morning.

“It sounds like you can have some quiet time with the new baby then.  That doesn’t sound like a bad day at all.”

Suddenly the rest of the day didn’t matter.  The other things making me blue didn’t matter.

At least for that moment.

She was right.  In the simplest of all things she was ever so right.

Our phone call got cut short due to some technical difficulty.  I thought I would end up calling her back and telling her that the line had dropped.  I never ended up doing so.  I had the Skype call coming up and needed to tend to that.

But even after that phone call no show, and the blue that I felt with that, I know that maybe that little bit was all she was supposed to have done.  It was just enough to push me through the rest of the day.

I spoke to friends here and there but essentially kept to myself on Christmas.  To me and my newborn, it was just another Wednesday.  It wasn’t the most perfect day in our most perfect movie town but, it was real, and that’s ok.

In the real world life, and holidays doesn’t always resemble a movie.  That’s just how it is.  And you know something?  That’s alright.  Even if you live in a movie town.  It’s alright.

Criminal Complexity: Hard Knocks Back and Forward

It’s nearly four o’clock in the morning and I am not quite ready to sleep.  I have an article that I want to write.  That I should write.  That… I might not write until… well, at least after this.  This is my treat to myself.  I’d like to think that maybe I’ve deserved it.

Last year was really difficult.  Or rather, the year before were really.  It’s been that way for quite some time.

Oh “time…”

Life has hit me hard.  The top photo was actually taken during a relaxed moment last year… before it all happened.

After it all happened.

Same difference right? Heh.

The inside kitchen wall of my then loft just outside downtown but not quite in an artist colony might make me look like a bit of a hard ass criminal.  Rest assured, that is not true.  You can even check my record if you’re curious.  The funny thing, however,  is that I seem to get the criminal label quite frequently.  Confused?  Read on and hopefully you will understand a bit more.

There is a quote by Butch Patrick (aka Eddie Munster) which just sort of stuck with me since that first time it came into passing:

“I may be little but I’m odd.”

At four foot, ten inches in stature this rang true for me on all sorts of levels.  It’s been the blessing and curse that has followed along beside me each step of the way.

I could potentially have to go into labor tomorrow.  This pregnancy has been an abundance of surprises and complexities.  A test tomorrow at 1 will determine our fate.  So why the hell am I even awake at this hour?

My exes would lead you to believe I’m crazy.  The entourage of potential clients in the background might believe that I might be…

And I think about how much different my life is today than it even was yesterday.  Reeling back to a month ago.  To six months ago.  To a year ago. To two years ago.

And so on.

And so on.

“You wanted this.”

I found scrawled on a piece of paper.

I did.  

I didn’t know it.

I didn’t plan it.

But it was likely there… waiting.

Like that first day I saw my son on that screen.

In the following months that would come into fruition after that night I finally got the guts to leave I would be amazed at the wonders of the heart.  Of the wonders of all of those around me.  Complete with their flaws as well as their peaks.

Nearly a full day week has passed since I started to write this draft.  My doctor’s appointment has come and gone.  Thankfully I am not typing this from a hospital bed.  I’m still at home on my computer… thinking about how to tell those potentials that I might not be available for a week or two to talk, plowing through Amazon looking at strollers and car seats (that won’t be here until after I have my son thanks to crappy customer service and shipping deception), thinking about the next few days hours… and enjoying a bit of the quiet and introspection.

He’s going to be here soon.

I was glowing as I left the appointment.  I am excited.  My doctor let me decide when I’m going to be induced.  Due to the complications with this pregnancy (of which I feel has been about the entirety and theme of it), I have one week day maximum before he must make his exit.

It all started a  couple of weeks or so ago when something just seemed a bit odd.  I didn’t know what it was and I barely mentioned it to my doctor.  Why the heck was I itching so much? Was I just nervous?  Surely it wasn’t all those nonexistent hikes I’ve been going on.

I was told that I have some uncommon liver issue that makes my son’s exit necessary or I could potentially lose him.  They call it cholestasis.  Feel free to click the link and read about it further if you dare.  I won’t be boring you with all the nitty gritty medical details.

My due date wasn’t for several weeks.  I remember joking about it during my pregnancy how funny it would be if he came before/on Halloween.  And now?  Well, hopefully he will.  I go into the doctor later tonight in hopes of potentially having that Halloween baby.

The debatable crazier part?  I might be alone.

Even crazier?  It’d be my choice.

Papa bear will not be present.  I didn’t give him specifics nor will I.  After he’d told me several times about how he wished this baby not to exist, I fought with my heart to tell him anything more beyond my diagnosis and planned induction. Hours left to go and… I still wonder if not telling him more than that is the right decision.  But I can’t be stressed to think about it more than that.  It’s admittedly somewhat selfish but after all that has happened, this is a special moment going to be shared with the one person who always (didn’t know) wanted him to exist.

Yesterday I was talking to a friend about my upcoming birth.  He asked me how I was going to get to my appointment tonight.

“I’ll take a bus. No big deal.”

He seemed baffled by this.

“No one is taking you?  Who is bringing you home?”

“I had offers but it’s not that big of a deal.  I can get a bus there. My friend is going to pick me up since she has a car seat already and mine hasn’t come in the mail yet.”

He wouldn’t let me do that.  He offered to take me.  So did others.  I wasn’t going to take any of their offers.  I was ready to do it alone.  I feel like I have been alone for a majority of this pregnancy anyway.  I’d made peace with it.

But I caved.

“Well maybe we could get dinner or something before I go in?”

“Ha.  What do you want for your last meal?”

“Poutine. And maybe some [famous named] ice cream.”

“We should post a FB invite for people wanting to have dinner before you pop!”

I couldn’t really go that far.

And while poutine is magical, there’s still a part of me that wonders if I should just take the bus.  I have some wonderful people around me and… I just think I want to be alone.

 

Going back to how things were once upon a different time ago…

Last year I turned 30.  My then best friend moved up North to Seattle and… I nearly almost moved there myself.  I was doing fantastically.  The year before that had been.. an absolute nightmare.

(I haven’t talked to her much since I got pregnant.  She has mysteriously disappeared from contact…)

Most people enter their thirties and freak out.  I did the opposite.  So much so that I remember that last airport train back when someone asked me about my boyfriend back home and I was glowing when I answered.

“I don’t need one.”

That was, of course, before I met bear.

Fast forward to a few months later.  To coffee shop visits in the early morning and later to that day I let this guy I knew help out with some work around the office. (With results so disastrous I had to fire him only an hour later.)

“That’s your boyfriend isn’t it?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

To the yearly Halloween party at The Studio Bar.

(I wish I had those pictures.)

Greg and Janet (pictured below) host the most amazing holiday parties every year.  Little did I know it at the time but the man I brought to that party (dressed as Hi from Raising Arizona) would be the father of my future child.  And while I wasn’t dressed as a cop to that party, perhaps the baby part was the one thing missing from that costume.  Lord knows that I could imagine that’d be the look on his face when our son (not named Nathan Jr) would have garnered from him if he… actually was going to be present.

 

haha Jena is going to be pregnant

But that’s the way life goes.  It’s unscripted.  And as much as these past couple of years have had their down points, there has also been a tremendous amount of glory in it all.

And maybe that’s why I fight so much.

I get a lot of flack on a nearly daily basis for why I stay here in Los Angeles despite all of the hardships and struggles.  During my pregnancy I was told by several people (including and especially family) that I should just “move away and be a better mother” and that staying was “selfish” of me.  I get talked down to like my choices are that of some sort of criminal constantly.  I have learned who my real support system is.  Who my real friends are.  Who… I was wrong about.  Who… my REAL family is.

So why is being an individual with out of the box ideas something to criminalize?  Why does society constantly feel a need to punish those who are educated in ways of… perhaps the full effect.

Mind.

Body.

Soul.

(I swear I showered and am not a hippy.)

It’s a constant struggle with the world to tell them to… just open their damn eyes.

When my children were here this summer we analyzed the word “monster.”  Our Disney experience was filled with laughter as I asked them why they were not scared of people like Sully from Monsters Inc.

“Because monsters aren’t real mommy.” they told me.

“Oh but they are.”

They didn’t understand.  I talked a bit more about it with them.

“Monsters are real people.  They can be anyone.  They can even be me or you.”

“How?”

“Everyone has a monster living inside of them.  It’s not always a bad thing.  But anyone is capable of being a scary horrible monster.  It’s a choice. “

Later in their visit, my father would start talking down to me condescendingly in front of them.  I said the word again.

“Monster.”

The kids understood.

The same could be said about this criminal complexity.  Anyone can get the title just like anyone could be a criminal.  (Or so at least the Joker tried to prove ala The Killing Joke)

Being an actual criminal though is a choice.

There is so much magic in this world.  There is also so much disaster.  Our society has not “grown up” much as we’d like to think.

We are embedded to think that different is bad.  That it must be squashed, medicated, criminalized, and otherwise reprimanded.

But then there are some lucky, wonderful, amazing people who see through the bullshit and know better.  And these are my friends.  They are the music makers.  They are the dreamers of the dreams.  They are part of my inspiration to keep going towards these dreams and why I am closer and closer everyday to actualizing them all into reality.

One by one.

Day by day.

It’s all happening.

All because I’m making it happen.

Alone.  

that’s ok I don’t need it

…And it’s the best place I’ve ever been yet.

Success is Being Able to Not be Afraid Successfully

For several nights, for several reasons, this has been the look on my face as I lay awake and thinking about… far too much and not enough.  It has also shown a bit about how I know that there are still pieces of the woman I was the day I was raped by my (now ex) husband.

Yesterday a friend posted a link to an absolutely wonderful project endeavor: Project Unbreakable.  It is my plan this weekend to add my voice to the project.  It is a voice that has felt so frozen and paralyzed… but doesn’t want to be afraid anymore. As cheesy as it sounds, I have learned through these years just how much success is the ability to not be afraid successfully… even if you are.

So many people have approached me over these years and said how strong I am.  So many people have said that they value my dedication to this city, my goals, my passions, my art, and…

But I feel like a phony sometimes.

People handle their pain in their own way.  It is not ours to tell them that their way is wrong or right.  It is, however, our duty as people to be there for them or not if they extend their hearts to us… respecting the ways that they would like us to do that.

Monday I nearly didn’t go out.  I was invited to attend a mini conference.  I have been feeling physically dreadful for the past few weeks.  Feeling physically ill does not necessarily make for the happiest of Jenas.  I have been on a fair amount of personal quarantine this week as I cope with it.

Going to that conference made me remember my strength.  I was just.. me.  Little did I know that doing just that was enough to be remembered in a substantial way I would find out later this week.  It is humbling to even think about… and perhaps, nearly as scary.

I think about those people who believe in me.  About the strangers that have me in confidence.  Of the new faces I met because I decided to shove the pain to the side and just… wake up and walk out there.

You motivate me.

You give me hope.

You give me strength.

 So why am I so damn scared sometimes?

A couple of wonderful things came into view this week.  Reminders of all the impact I have done.  Reminders that that girl laying in bed sick and scared is also bold and brazen and confident and… strong.  Reminders that… the scars are still there but they are not to be afraid of.

This is my day.

This is my year.

The scared girl doesn’t need to be forgotten.  She needs to be remembered as she is the reason why the strong one that exists is here in the first place.

 

Editors side note: the movie images used in this post are from a movie which I knew would become one of my favorites before it came out.  It was, as fate would have it, a movie my ex husband would refuse to watch with me.  I didn’t end up watching it until after he was no longer around physically.  Perhaps that was a little sign in itself.

The book of Jena-sis: What’s God got to do got to do with it

And now for a reading from the book of “Jena-sis:”

Once upon another life in a land far far away from where I currently reside, I grew up Catholic.  My parents would like to believe that things I was taught by this exposure to ten years of Catholic schooling would be the best thing that they ever did for me. Some may say that’s part of why there has been as much “wrong” with me.

Religion has been popping up all over in my daily endeavors as of late.  As the book of testament would tell you to “Keep Holy the Sabbath” I figured what better day than a Sunday to talk about it?

There are quite a few reasons why “my path has been led astray” from what my parents attempted to instill in me all those years ago.  Many of them are based within the foundations I was taught by said religion is the very reason as to why someone should be religious in the first place.

Religion taught me about the bad people do as hypocrisy ran rampant amongst those who attended or found themselves “at the house of the lord”… almost as much as it did the good that resides in people.  That is, not to say that there aren’t genuine hearts that attend religious functions. But, like the rest of the world, I have come to understand that there are fewer and farther in between.  And, more so, that those who do good for others generally have an agenda a majority of the time.

Religion taught me there was very little that was actually wrong.  It showed me ten important things that were to serve as life reminders of the correct path… but that following these ten important “laws” did not matter anyway as all of the wrong I did would be quickly excused in a matter of moments as long as I sat in a box and told a stranger who technically couldn’t tell anyone about it anyway.

Religion did teach me some wonderful things that I wonder where I would be had I not gone to all those aerobic Sunday meetings of sit, stand, kneel.

Catholicism taught me about the real life application of the world itself being a stage.  (This was later re-confirmed as I found myself with copies of Shakespeare books.)  “Fame” was something completely attainable.  I could stand up in front of an audience and force them to listen just by being in the right place at the right time.  It also taught me about elaborate storytelling as talks about a man being swallowed by a whale heightened my imagination as I saw that so many people can actually believe things to be facts no matter how ludicrous things are.  One could argue that I therefore learned about marketing, manipulation, charm, charisma…

44309_487246163367_3985874_n

In other words, religion taught me sin and how to get away with it without the worry of actual recourse for my actions.  There was very little I could have learned from attending church on a Sunday and receiving a sacrament that I honestly didn’t understand at that age anyway, that I couldn’t have gotten had I had parents that showed me… books, the news (not just Fox News although my father regularly watches) on tv and taken me outside a bit to different diverse neighborhoods to expose me to world experiences.

Why, as a parent would I want my children to attend church to learn all these things rather than allow them to experience the world more naturally and learn these same lessons in the real world where they could then learn tangible approaches to these forms of people and… maybe actually learn that actions should always be accountable?

There are many other reasons as to why I’m opposed to the exposure of religion to youth.  I won’t dive into all of them with this entry as some items are…  a bit far away down the rabbit hole personal wise than I feel comfortable “confessing” in this box of text to strangers.  However, the main reason why I do not believe in following in my parents footsteps is that, with the knowledge I have obtained from personally going this path and seeing truth outside of it, it is that the mind is simply not developed enough to understand the complexity of a potential “higher being” whether its “God” or aliens, especially at that young of an age.

The word “God” is not a basic concept just as the word “love” is not.  Telling kids to read from the best selling book in the world and that these things are fact while a giant band plays on stage might make them excited and happy to attend but it doesn’t necessarily teach them things beyond using a scapegoat to get out of their actions the moment they do “wrong.”  Giving children material things or taking them to places like Disneyland (which I admittedly have done both of) doesn’t make or show a child the true meaning of “love.”  It is far more than that.

If anything religious could be said that could explain how I would even consider a religious context from a book being introduced to my children, it would be this passage found, ironically, in an interpreted version of suppressed text from the Gospel of Thomas, a text outside of the canon dictated by the Vatican:

“The Kingdom of God is inside/within you (and all about you), not in buildings/mansions of wood and stone. (When I am gone) Split a piece of wood and I am there, lift the/a stone and you will find me.”

If my children want to seek out some “higher being” as a purpose for their lives, I want them to be wise enough and old enough that they can understand its complexity.  I also personally feel that they will not find these answers without questioning the world around them… outside of a church.  You may believe that all the answers you desire are found within those walls but, as I have found, the only answers that matter or should hold any sort of weight are the ones learned from the within the heart.

Simply (my interpretation)-

“To find the world and all its answers, find yourself first and you will have all that you need.  Nothing will ever fulfill you like yourself.”

I failed

…because sometimes you just feel like this when stuff happens (sexy I know huh)

 

This weekend didn’t go quite as I’d expected.  It was supposed to go a lot more smoothly.  Today (or rather, now two days ago) you were supposed to come on here and find a brand new layout and all that.  It was supposed to be all shiny and pretty and full of zoom.

I failed.

I failed big time this week.

But sometimes when you lose, you win.

What is it about this city?  About this life?  About my choices that I fall in love and crash crash crash and then… find a way back to new plateaus of love even higher than I did before?

It’s… very Los Angeles.  The city and I… we are lovers and the best of friends and… the worst of enemies.  I think that’s part of why stubborn lil ‘ole me just won’t accept failure.

I totally still really failed this week.

I failed big time.

But sometimes when you lose, you win.

In full disclosure: I initially started this blog piece on July 15th.  And, while you can see that I have changed the layout (unless you are a new reader, in which case- welcome) at least, I haven’t really blogged personally in months like this post and some of my updates on my personal social media outlets would like to say to be ready for.  But that’s not the only thing that’s changed and, has essentially kept me from posting this before now.

Let’s go back to more of what I had drafted then though–

There are stories five years in the making that will be coming true  came true instead.  What I thought was potentially impossible was indeed possible.  They just aren’t weren’t ready to be going to be on a shiny new blog format… just yet.

As you might recall from a past blog, I mentioned that my ex husband had taken my kids and has done so much to keep them from me.  He believes this is for them, but unfortunately it seems otherwise.

As the visit has now passed with this latest edit, I wish that I could say that my initial thoughts on the subject are different.  They are not only not different but they are worse.  So much worse that I have committed my heart to push even harder for the cause: them.

So much has happened in these past weeks of not posting.  So many beautiful and wonderful things.  There are stories that cannot wait to be written… but will have to.  Rest assured your patience will not go without its reward.  I know that five years later through all of this, mine was most certainly not.

There is so much hope for today and tomorrow.  More hope and magic than I even imagined.  Things are happening.  It is a flood.  I want to both cry and shout out and humblebrag about it in thanks.

I’m trying to do little of either.

I totally still really failed this these past few week weeks.

I failed big time.

But sometimes when you lose, you win.

That said, I look forward to telling you more about my failures and accomplishments as the days come…

when I’m able to…

when I’m ready to…

and that’s just.. going to have to be ok.  Ok?

(Get used to it and love you all lots.  Thank you for reading. Happy Sunday.)

He knows- My grandfather’s brave struggle with Alzheimer’s

This morning I woke up physically ill to the point where I had to push back a meeting originally scheduled for this morning to tomorrow thereby making tomorrow’s task list.. a doozy to say the least.  But at least a lot got accomplished and is in process.  Life is an ever evolving (hopefully) series of self processes.

After I went back to bed I woke up only a few minutes later to a phone call from my father:

“Do you want to talk to your grandfather?”

At not even 8am I knew that dad must have finally made his vacation to visit them.  Despite the illness, I obliged… always ready and happy to hear anything I can from my grandparents especially at this most delicate time.

“What are you doing right now?” my grandfather said.

“I’m in bed right now..”

“Is the sun shining?”

“I think so.  Pretty sure.  But I’m in bed right now what are you doing?”

“It’s early there huh?  You don’t sound well.  Are you sick?”

“I’ll live.  What are you guys up to?  When did dad get there?”

“We’re at a graveyard visiting people.  I don’t know when your dad got here.  I don’t remember..”

“You’re where?!”

I got frustrated.  What the hell was my father doing taking my dying grandparents to a graveyard?  I understand the desire to pay his respects to those lost and now in their plots back home but…

and my grandparents, as well as my dad, already have their spots waiting for them.  Potentially in that graveyard.  It made me feel more ill and upset when I even attempted to stomach it.

I would have to talk to my dad about it later.  Just another gap in a huge communication issue.  I couldn’t say anything about it to grandpa.    And even if I did, he probably wouldn’t be in a position to really hear it to understand.

“It’s sunny here and it stopped raining.  We’re just visiting people for a few minutes.  Do you remember Pat Cole?  She played the organ at church.  I remember that lady.  I don’t remember much these days but I remember her.  Or I think I do.”

Pat Cole was ancient when I was a kid.  What I remember was her house being a cluttered mess and always smelling of smoke and formaldehyde.  I remember as a kid that I used to joke that she was already a zombie.  I couldn’t tell grandpa that either though.  I didn’t want to come across as being rude.

“Now we’re in the car going to get your cousin some clothes.  She doesn’t have enough.  We’re going to get her some more…”

I could go onto a tangent about this cousin and that part of the family alone but that’s another one “for another blog”.  Let’s just keep things at my grandfather for now.

“How are you enjoying Ethan being there?”

Grandpa laughed.  You could hear his smile through the phone.  Ethan is his first grandson.  You can almost tell he has a special spot for him.

“He’s a really great kid.  Really really great kid.  Smart little bugger.”

“How are you and gram doing?  Is dad taking you to doctors and things?”

He then went down another path.

“My memory isn’t what it used to be.  I can tell.  I know that something just isn’t right.  I can’t remember what I used to remember easily.  I don’t know why but I just know it’s not right.  All I can do right now is try and make the most of what memories I have and hope these ones I’m making stay put.”

I think about the things my grandpa has told me over the past month over the phone.  Of the phone call I had when I was crying because I felt there was no one I could turn to that could get to my dad like they could… and him floating off into another world where he.. knows he’s barely here anymore.

I don’t know if all men or people in general go through that “knowing” period like he is.  There is a part of me that wonders if this will be my fate as well.  If all the magic that I learned about my grandparents was nothing compared to the magic and wisdom and honesty and compassion I am seeing coming from them in these, possibly their last years.

I don’t want to think about the visits to graveyards with end dates now placed on my grandparents’ headstone.  

I think about how much my grandfather seems to know what is happening and… how brave he is being throughout all of it.  Grandpa is known for being a bit of a cry baby at times… like when he was young and his semi truck got stuck going under the underpass and they had to let all the air out of the tires to get it through and he cried like a baby the whole time.

This wasn’t that guy.  This was… someone different.  Hell, maybe it was a guy who actually learned something throughout all of it.

Grandpa’s strength knowing this gives me hope.  Perhaps knowing and being scared isn’t as terrible as one may think.

Perhaps he already knows that he’s going to be immortal anyway…

Perhaps, because, he already is.