Good afternoon. I am writing from “The Hub,” the media center at the Kalamazoo Public Library. I come here, to one of my ‘Happy Places,’ to scan and digitize my slides, photos, documents, VHS tapes, etc. If you haven’t read my last blog post, “Lost,” this will not make sense. The days are easier to keep to my routine. I wake up, sluggish and disoriented, not sure what day it is. Bend over, and nearly tip over, to get my angel kitty, Callie Christmas, her food and fresh water. Stumble to the coffee pot, falling against walls and grabbing onto counters for balance and support. Take a colorful array of pills and supplements, and get out the ice packs. The number (and type) depend on the location and severity of the pain. Find something funny to watch on TV, or put in a DVD of ‘Friends,’ “Duck Dynasty,’ or whatever sounds good. Get my coffee with syrup, my biscotti, and try to find the least uncomfortable position in my recliner, and play Wordfeud on my phone (a type of Scrabble) to wake up my brain. After a couple of cups of coffee, time with my kitty asleep on my lap, and a few rounds of the game on my phone, time to get out the laptop. Check email, ebay searches, Facebook, Ancestry, whatever. If Callie and I don’t get ‘lap nap time,’ we are both messed up for the day.
Then, after about an hour, I am ready to do some kind of work. Editing pictures, deleting duplicate files, writing to friends through Facebook, checking the news, etc. If I am up to it, I clean a bit. I go outside and play fetch with Buckeye, our lab. If I am having a day with a bit less pain than usual, I feel like working on my piles of boxes in the barn. Straightening the cupboards or the fridge, putting dishes away, etc. I offer to help my parents, maybe make a light lunch. Nothing that takes more than a few minutes of standing. Then, I usually go into a ‘carb coma,’ and take a nap. If I feel up to it, which is rare, I cook a meal for my family. After that, more laptop time, watch some TV or a DVD, and popcorn. As I have been a ‘night owl,’ I know if I try to go to sleep before 11 p.m, I will not sleep through the night. Take my nighttime medications, give Callie fresh water, and try to sleep. Lately, I look at the solar lighthouse that I bought in honor of my person that died. It changes color, and calms me. I say my bedtime prayers, think many overlapping thoughts of random, ever changing topics. Then, I try to arrange my pillows, turn on Dino CD, ‘All Creation Sings,’and set up my covers so Callie can ‘spoon’ with me. I lie on my side, and cup my hand. She comes and flops down, putting her face in my hand and purring so loudly that she sounds like an engine revving up; and we try to fall asleep. if she senses I am upset, she will lick my hand or hair to ‘groom’ me. She also will spoon with me to wake me up. If she really wants something, she will sit on my hip until I either shift to knock her down, or I get up. She is a very patient and understanding cat. She knows my every move, as I know hers. I could not find a better therapy cat. She truly is an ‘Angel Kitty,’ and I thank God for her many times daily. Twice in the last month, I had nightmares that she was a drowning baby and grabbed her, lifting her up in the air while we were both sleeping, and she STILL came back to cuddle with me. THAT is trust.
I try as I can, to keep going. I have been keeping myself so busy that I hurt myself, overdoing it. I have no ‘dimmer switch,’ as I say. I am either, ‘Mach 1 or Zero.” I have found that napping is really important to me right now, because I am so drained lately, in every way. I am used to pain, fatigue, stiffness in my body; this is overwhelming on every level. I have lost loved ones before, but only two were surprises. Those are harder, when it is a shock. I believe that people that have passed can be around us, comforting us and sending us little ‘signs’ that they are here. I have seen two ‘signs,’ small as they may be, since that person’s passing. I take comfort them, the same as when I see cardinals, butterflies, and little personal things that signify that person’s life. I have read that those, and other signs, like rainbows, are messages from our loved ones in Heaven.
Part of what is so hard to accept about this person’s loss is that their Facebook page is still active, and whoever has access checks it so often, that it seems like that person is still alive, and I can reach out to them the way we always communicated, through Facebook Messenger. It really messes with my head, but I can’t bring myself to hide their profile. Seeing their ‘online’ status makes it very difficult to accept that they are gone. Someone else changed their profile picture to that person, which is also complicating my thoughts.
As far as my disability process goes, I was denied for my appeal of my denial. I did get some good news, though-my lawyer strongly disagrees with the decision, and is going to appeal the denial. So, he is appealing the appeal, to put it in one sentence. I take heart that not only does my attorney think I should have my disability, so does my doctor. They both avoid this kind of thing, and do not normally appeal or fight to get disability. This gives me hope that they believe in me, and are serious about helping me. They see I am not exaggerating or ‘faking it,’ being ‘overly dramatic.’ my mom’s friends sent me a note and flowers this morning. I nearly cried with gratitude. I was also able to see a longtime friend, and go to a play. Two events in one week-that is a record for me! Routine is really helpful. I still don’t feel like eating dinner, but baby steps. I can’t expect to feel ‘normal’ in my daily life, as it is. I do find myself laughing at a show, smiling when someone sends me a message, or when I go outside. A couple of days ago, I went out and rested on my lawn chair. My Buckeye loves to play fetch; but, once I start, he doesn’t stop. Zack, our other little white ball of fur, curled up next to me, disinterested in chasing a ball. Well, I tried to stop throwing the ball, reclined the chair so I was lying flat, and tried to rest while listening to music. Buckeye kept dropping his wet, muddy, leaf encrusted tennis ball on my hair, so I pulled up my hoodie and closed my eyes. Zack decided that the shade I provided was more restful, so he crawled under my chair and kept bumping my back through the mesh fabric. I was almost asleep when Buckeye dropped his dirty, wet ball, directly onto my lips. Yep, Mary Moment. At least, it was better than my Mary Moments of the past couple of weeks. Those were not funny in the least.
I went to Meijer, a local store, to get some groceries. A very kind looking man and I struck up a conversation. This is not uncommon to me, since I worked retail for decades, and tend to talk to random people. He was very nice, and gave me a hug when he saw tears in my eyes. I appreciated his kindness, and gave him my number. All was fine, until he looked me over, said, ‘honey, you will do just fine,’ and patted my tush twice, and squeezed it! I was so stunned, I didn’t react. I just stood there, then got some groceries, in a total state of dazed confusion. When I went to check out, I decided I had better report the incident. The staff took it very seriously, especially after I demonstrated the pat to an associate. I didn’t think, just copied the motion. I regret it now, but they got the message and went looking for the person. They took my description and information, and I managed to get my groceries in the car. I backed out, heard a noise, and saw a shopping cart on its side in my former parking space. I got home, still in a haze, only to realize that the cart scratched up my mom’s car door! I went home crying, feeling like everything I touched got ruined. I logically understood that nothing was my fault, but I blamed myself. My parents were kind and understanding. I was relieved, since I HATE to mess up. I struggled with guilt and blamed myself for being too open, too overly friendly with a stranger. It wasn’t the first time someone took advantage of me, but I had not had that happen before. It took a lot of Facebook comments for me to realize that none of it was my fault. I don’t have a ‘bulls*%t meter,’ as my friend calls it. I am an ‘Empath,’ I have Fibromyalgia, which means my physical and emotional are inextricably intertwined, and a huge heart. A triple whammy. If I knew how to ‘grow a thicker skin,’ as those less sensitive tell me, I would have done so before my fourth birthday.
So, although this is a longer blog post than usual, it is what is going on in my daily life. I am forever grateful for my parents, my nearest and dearest friends and family that reach out to see how I am, send a note, a prayer, a hug. May you all be blessed beyond measure. I think I have ‘babbled’ long enough for one post. Until next time,
P.S. Two things I forgot: One, I would NEVER be able to make it for an hour without my faith in God! He is the One to give me my energy, my faith, my hope, and my purpose. The other is another MM: the oven needed to be cleaned, the day I went to Meijer, and I started the self cleaning option. The smoke alarm went off, which is why I was cleaning it in the first place, so I checked the oven. Flames were leaping out the vents! My mom had to go downstairs and find the right circuit breaker switch to flip to at least shut the oven off, since I could not open or stop the process. Ugh.