hugs and cancer

I’m adding this note here at the top, but I’m almost done with this blog… I wanted to apologize in advance, as I began writing this about my mom’s breast cancer, but it slowly turned into a moment with my dad that has been buried in my heart for ages.. so, if I cant finish about my mom, I’ll come back later this evening and add another posting to finish that part up for you..

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while I was in my first year old that first little private school, as we were coming into summer break, I discovered that my mom had breast cancer.. apparently she had known about it for a couple of months, but she felt that I was too young to know this..

I found out by accident. I over heard her on the phone with my oldest brother, a little less than a week before her surgery was scheduled. we have a ton of cancer in our family, and we’ve lost lots of people over it, no one I’ve ever been close too, but I knew that cancer in my family usually meant tragedy was about to hit.

when I heard her say it on the phone, she was in the kitchen, and I was upstairs in my bedroom.. my family has always joked that I can hear conversations from miles away, but still, when they want to keep secrets from me, they’re not very careful!

I came running down the stairs like a lightening bolt, and came to a screeching halt in the kitchen, eyes wide, mouth hanging open, and my mom looked at me, and said to my brother, “looks like I have to go…” and they hung up.

she sat me down and said that yes, her doctors had indeed found a fairly good sized lump in her left breast, and that she had options to go through different treatments or remove one of the breast and have an implant inserted, but she had no desire to go through treatments, so she opted for the removal.

my eyes were dumping tears.. “why didn’t you tell me?”

“you didn’t need to know, its not a big deal.”

I went back to my room, assuming the worst. how could she not tell me? what if she dies? what am I going to do without my mommy? I was freaking out, and really hurt that no one told me, that I was the last to know, just like when we moved.. I hated being the youngest in our family, because everyone left me out.. my mom being sick was huge, that’s something you tell your WHOLE family, not just the ones you feel like telling.

I think I’ve mistakenly led you to believe that my mom was a horribly abusive monster. all of us kids, as well as her, have openly admitted that she was a terrible mom in those days.. apparently she was even worse when I was little, and I just wasn’t aware. my mom is a very complex woman, and knows she made some terrible mistakes when we were all young. When my mom was young (she was born in 1944, and the oldest of 7 kids), her mom favored her other children, and made it known to my mom that she didn’t like her. my mom was close to her dad however, but still felt the sting of the constant rejection from her own mother.

my mom grew up and joined the army after high school graduation.. that, I guess, was just becoming a “thing” back then, as it was still the early 60’s when she joined. well, she got pregnant out of wedlock from a one night stand, and that kind of sealed the deal between her and her mom, that they would never be close..

my mom gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, and towards the end of her stint in the military, she met a man whom she ended up marrying.

I think they were married for about 15-17 years, I don’t know exactly how long.. they ended up having another boy, and 2 girls… through-out the entire course of their marriage, this guy beat the bloody snot out of my mom on a daily basis.. back then in those days, domestic violence wasn’t spoken about.. sort of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” thing.. I’ve heard ugly stories from my sisters and brothers, and a little from my mom about the things that he did to her.. putting her head through a wall because dinner was late, throwing her down the stairway because he heard that she was talking to a male coworker for longer than he thought she should have been, raping her repeatedly if she tried to deny him sex, and so much more, but I think I’d rather stop there.. he also cheated on her a lot, one of the women he cheated on her with, was her own sister, but that’s another story I’ll save for much later..

He was a monster above monsters.. my mom will say today “but he loved his kids, and never laid a hand on them”. I don’t care, he’s an evil monster, period.

I don’t know exactly how she got away from him, but she divorced him, and got custody of the kids. right before the divorce was finalized, she met a guy and they dated for a few months, and BOOM, she was preggers with muah! this lovely species of man was a major drug addict and lazy piece of crap, and when he found out mom was pregnant with me, he left her, and went back to his wife and sons. HA! the men she picks, seriously!

I don’t know if she knew he was an addict, I would find it hard to believe if she did know, but back then my mom was weak willed and didn’t know how to stand up for herself.. its 2017, and she’s almost 73 years old, and she barely knows how to do so now.. my mom has never smoked even 1 cigarette, or one hit of weed, let alone any other drug in her entire life.. I believe this because her brothers and sisters, and old schoolmates have confirmed this.. but as a kid, she wasn’t a goody goody, she just did her own thing, and didn’t see the point in any of that.. I’ve seen her drunk one time, and that was after working 8 12 hour shifts straight, and then having 2 glasses of wine, and really I think her utter exhaustion was just exacerbated by a little bit of alcohol.

so she had me, and at that point was a single, full time working mother of 5 kids for 4 and a half years.. she was tired, and at her breaking point and had no one to help her, so she made poor choices about how to handle stressful situations at home. I think I’ve heard somewhere that back then, it wasn’t uncommon for an abused wife to become abusive after leaving that marriage. obviously it wasn’t ok, but that’s what it was.

however, having said all of this, my mom and I were extremely close. I looked up to my mom as a strong woman, who could survive anything, and as I came into adulthood, I prayed that I could be like her (minus the abuse!), that I could be strong and not let anything knock me to the ground. of course, she lacked the ability to show any emotion, and it was a very long time before I would understand why.

mom met my step dad, and he seemed great, but after they married, he turned into an uber asshole too, minus the angry fists. he was always in a deep depression, and would sometimes go weeks without speaking to anyone. I think I remember getting one hug from him.. I was 11 and it was about a year before we made the big move to the cabin.. the hug was out of the blue, but I remember it like it was yesterday.. (sorry, I know I’m getting off track) he had a burn pile going down by the waters edge, and he was sitting on a stool, with a water hose beside him, monitoring the flames to make sure it didn’t get out of control. I came down to watch the fire with him, and poke at it with a stick, because that was a really important job. I was wearing a cabbage patch doll t-shirt (remember when I said mom always bought me geeky clothes?) Dad sat on his stool in total silence, and I stood beside him trying to be quiet because it seemed that whenever I was making too much noise (typical noise for a kid), he seemed to get annoyed with me. Dad looked over at me and said “hey, can I have a hug?”

I was so excited to hug my dad.. how weird and sad is that? I should have been annoyed with him.. I should have been a normal kid with a normal family where hugs apart of every day life.. It should have been an alternate reality where I was rolling my eyes and saying “god dad, really?! ugh!” and given him some snotty half hug just to get it over with. that’s what happens in normal families right…? I don’t know, because we’ve never been a normal family..

nope.. my heart nearly jumped out of my chest and I could barely contain my giddy smile and excitement to actually get a hug from the man that I believed was my daddy (yep, I didn’t find out for a couple years after this that he wasn’t my dad).

I dropped my super important fire poking stick, and threw my arms around my dads neck and rested my head on his shoulder.. he smelled like Old Spice after shave and deodorant, that musky scent of burning tree branches and brush from around the property, and sweat. for the first and probably the only time in my entire life, I felt like my daddy really did love me..  it was an awkward hug, but it lasted what felt like forever, and I didn’t want it to end. I wanted him to hug me like that forever, and never let go. Just sitting here writing this for you, I cant wipe the tears away fast enough, and I can barely see my laptop screen.. that 5 minutes between my dad and I was barely anything to write home about, but for me at that moment, it was like winning the lottery.. I wasn’t ready for it to be over, I wasn’t ready to let go, but before I knew it, he dropped his arms.. he was done being my daddy.. it was like he accidently let me in, and had to quickly shut the door before I saw too much. his voice was thick and kind of gruff “go inside, your mom needs you”.. I stared at his face for a moment, totally and utterly confused about what just happened and why he wasn’t being nice anymore. was it me? did I do something wrong? I must have hugged him too long.. or maybe I shouldn’t have hugged him? he didn’t really want a hug, he was probably joking and I fell for it. (when dad wasn’t in his silence, he was cracking dry jokes that sometimes had unkind hidden meanings) as I just stood there, he turned and looked at me, and I booked it across the yard and back up to the house..

I burst through the front door, and ran to moms room.. I threw my arms around her, and she laughed, “what do you want..?” she was in the middle of making the bed, but I plopped down on top of the sheets anyway, and launched into the story of what just happened with dad.. the way I told her about it; trying to sit still but unable to stop bouncing around on my butt on the bed because I could barely contain my excitement, and talking so fast, she had to keep telling me to slow down and repeat what I said, you would have thought I had just won a prestigious award, or my favorite rock star, or won $1,000,000.00.

mom even smiled and seemed to be sharing in my happiness.. it was just a hug… but it was worth more to me than anything else the world had to offer..

dad hasn’t hugged me since.. we’ve never shared another moment since then. whenever I think about that moment, I have to push in back down, or I know I’ll lose it. I do every time.

I’m going to wrap this up for now, I was going to add more but I need to take a break..

thanks for reading 🙂

luvs&hugs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

christmas grief

hello again.. i havent posted anything in a few days, as i was feeling a little under the weather.. but i’m back today!

i went to that public school for less than a year, im not sure how long.. i ended up getting into trouble with a boy.. not what you think though!

he was cute, and he seemed to be alot like me.. we became friends quickly, and hung out at school all the time. looking back now, he was a really troubled kid, and i latched onto him because i had absolutely no friends.

one day, we were both in trouble for something, who knows what, and we were told to stay back from going to gym, we had to sit in the classroom alone. our teacher had a drawer in his desk stocked FULL of candy that he handed out to the “good students”, and we never got any.. our teacher was a major asshole too, and he was always being reported to the principal by some parent. anyway, as soon as the teacher and kids were out of the classroom and down the hall, my friend and i searched for the keys to the desk. we were successful. we got into the drawer and helped ourselves. moments later, the teacher came in the room. busted!!

we got into some major trouble… my mom got called in, and my teacher, mom and me sat and had a meeting.. my mom and the teacher got into an argument over some not so kind things the teacher had to say about me, so my mom told him not to expect me back in that school again.. and the teachers response was “that would probably be best”.

(my mom and this teacher had been fighting over me the whole time i had been going there.. and again, i hadnt gone there for very long.. 6 or 7 months maybe?)

so anyways, my mom then hears about this TINY Christian private school off in the woods outside of the neighboring town, so she thought it would be a great idea to send me there.. when i say TINY private school, i mean barely 20 students altogether for k-12. its in a cabin and the people that run the school are an elderly couple that live in the upstairs apartment, and the womans 98 year old mother lives in an attached apartment. the man and womans daughter, son in-law and their children live in a small cabin 50 feet from the “school”. sounds grrrrrreeeaat right??

it went as well as can be expected.. i made it 2 years there before i was literally kicked out lol.

i grew up going to church, but by no means was i as hard core Christian as these people were, or the majority of the students were. i was the oddball in the bunch. seriously.

i didnt get along with almost any of the kids, i did make one friend there that i am actually still close with to this day. she was 4 years younger than me.. i didnt get along with the teachers either, and the woman (that ran it with her husband) did NOT like me what-so-ever, and she made it apparent.

on the last day of school before christmas break, after my 2 years i’d been there, they had a conference with my parents.. they told my parents that i just didnt fit in with the environment with which they took pride in within that school, and i was continually challenging their authority, and i was loud and hyperactive (ive always been hyper and somewhat loud, but never have i challenged anyones authority) and they thought it would be best if i didnt return to their school, “but we expect the rest of the school year payment as this was not forseen”, and she held out her hand while my parents, stunned, forked over $500 dollars.

i think i missed something.. at some point between changing between these schools, my parents didnt know what to do with me, and my sister in law, across state, needed my help. she was in the military, as was my brother, and they had a 1 month old baby girl. my brother was stationed in iraq, and my sister inlaw was having to go out to the field several times a month for training, and couldnt afford a babysitter. so my mom sent me over.

this is where i picked up smoking. living over there with her was crazy and fun. she let me do things that my parents would have cringed over. i was smoking, staying up all night, she let me steer the car when she drove, we ate fast food ALL THE TIME (this is also where i started packing on weight). she had a bunch of military friends that were always over at the apartment.. one of the friends, a 25 year old guy (that i developed a massive crush on) lived in the same apartment building too.. i also received my first kiss too, from him of course.. after i moved home, or rather was dragged home when my mom found out i was smoking, my sister in law told me that he, the guy i had a crush on, raped another friend of hers.. -insert shocked emoji here!

i think total, i spent over a month living there with her, and had no desire to come back home..

ok, back to the “present”.. alright, so out of that private school, my mom found yet another christian private school to throw me into.. this one being better, but i still stuck out like a sore thumb..

at this point, i hated my life.. i hated waking up every morning, i hated where i lived, i hated everything.. fighting with my mom was getting worse too. i was miserable.

i was waiting for school to start at my new school, it was christmas break still, so i was back to moping around the house, which by this time, had doubled in size.. because of the work my dad does, he has access to materials and tools to keep building.. the cabin wasnt a cabin anymore, it was beginning to look like a house.. and it was huge. my dad wouldnt let my mom have any input on how the house was being done, so it was all him.. besides being large, it was cold and felt empty. he had the living room done with cathedral ceilings and 2 walls of the living room were nothing but picture windows, floor to ceiling, over looking the river.. you might think that it sounds beautiful.. but it was nothing.. it was just a cold reminder of being in the middle of nowhere and feeling totally alone.

that was also the christmas that one of my 2 dogs died of a brain aneurysm that we didnt know he had been devoloping, and on christmas eve, it burst. i was absolutely broken hearted about it too. obviously its always super sad when you lose a pet. the female dog we had, she was a mutt, smallish in size, but she had been my puppy since i was about 3. when i was off getting into trouble as a toddler, she was usually right beside me. well, she had puppies i think when i was about 4, and we gave them all to good homes, one of those homes being my step dad. he took one of the boy pups.. they absolutely loved living in the woods with us. of course, they had the occasional run in with a skunk or porcupine, they were otherwise happy to have all that freedom out there.

so it started that we noticed about a week before christmas, Z’s (i’ll call him Z) eyes were full of blood.. we didnt know why, but he seemed fine.. my parents wouldnt take him to the vet to find out why because it was so expensive. even if they had taken him in, they wouldnt have paid for any treatment or surgery, i’m sure. he would have died either way.. but i was still boiling hot mad that they wouldnt help him. every day he was deteriorating a little bit more and more.. i knew something was wrong, i dont remember if my parents acknowledged this or not.. he never liked being picked up because when he was barely more than a puppy some 9 or 10 years before, he was barking at a man that was walking by the yard, and before my step brother could stop him, he went running up the the guy and the guy kicked him in the side so hard, Z went hurtling through the air, hit the ground and rolled a bit.. whatever injury had sustained, he apparently never fully healed..

so now, being as sick as he was, he didnt care if you picked him up, and he actually seemed to want to be held and snuggled.. unless he was outside going potty, he didnt leave my bed or my side.. he wouldnt eat and barely touched his water bowl that i brought into my bedroom for him. so, christmas eve came around, and my parents had gone out for a little while, and i noticed that he was more lethargic than normal.. his breathing was fast and shallow. i knew something was super wrong. when my parents got home, i instantly started bawling, and through my tears, i sobbed that he was dying.. my dad kept telling me to stop it and he rolled his eyes and left the room to go to his shop/workroom. my mom sat down on the couch and held me while i held Z, and she tried to comfort us both..

it was late in the evening but she called the local veternarian anyways, hoping he was on call. good thing about small towns is that the phone numbers listed in the phone book, usually were also their home number.. and that was just the case.. however, the girl that answered said that her dad, the vet, was in a neighboring town, 45 minutes away, and with  the driving conditions, it was about an hour and a half to two hours. she said she would get a hold of her dad and have him call us right away..

he called about 10 minutes later, and my mom told him everything that we had noticed with Z during the previous week up until now.. the vet was very sympathetic and said it sounded like a brain aneurysm, and from the sounds of his current state, even if he was able to get to us that evening, there would be nothing he could do. it sounded like it was the end. i lost it, and buried my face into Z’s fur. my mom was actually even crying, which i dont think i had ever seen her do as a kid.

my dad stayed in the garage during all of this (the triple car garage was located under neath the living room, and also doubled as his workshop). he kept himself busy, obviously dealing with this tragedy in his own detached way.

after a while, my dad came back upstairs and did his night time routine of showering and planting himself in front of the TV for some Dick Van Dyke reruns, and i kept Z with me in my room, and my mom was in the living room trying to talk to my dad about what to do with Z after “it” happened..

bed time rolled around, i didnt even care about christmas being the next day.. i just wanted Z to survive this. we had a doggie door located at the back door, but Z hadnt been using it maybe because he was too weak? but my dad called me down and told me to let Z out.. i tried, i opened the door but he wouldnt get up.. dad snapped at me to pick him up and make him go out (asshole). so i went over and picked Z up, and he instantly went limp in my arms, and he peed all down my legs. i started crying again and yelling that he was limp and peeing, and dad just said “then put him outside!” i didnt know what to do, i was panicking, so i laid him down on the back porch, which was still under construction and not much more than a 3 foot wide makeshift ramp. as soon as i laid him down, he started sliding down the ramp, and towards the edge, which was a 7 foot drop off. i was crying and trying to tell my dad to come help me (Z was a little dog, but he was fat) but he wouldnt get out of his recliner, he just watched what was happening “PICK HIM UP!” he bellowed. i grabbed Z before he went over the edge and brought him back inside.. when dad saw him, eyes rolled up inside his head, tongue hanging out the side of his mouth, and limp body, i think he realized what was happening and what he had just put me through, he jumped up and came over to me and took Z from me. he told me to go to the garage and get a box and then find an old pillow and blanket that we could use as a bed, because he still felt a heartbeat, and Z was still breathing, but barely.

i got everything put together, and my dad gently laid Z in the little bed. my mom was on the phone with the vet again, and he confirmed that it sounded like this was it.. i could hear the tears in her voice.. i kissed Z over and over again while stroking his silvery grey fur, and told him that he was such a good boy, how much i loved him, and that i was sorry i couldnt make him feel better.. i think i knew that my dad needed a minute with him, so i went to my mom around the corner in the living room, and sat on the couch with her and cried while she had her arms around me.. i dont think 10 minutes had even passed when my dad poked his head around the corner and nodded at my mom. my mom squeezed her arms around me tighter than before, kissed my forehead, and i began sobbing even harder. i think i heard my dad sniffled, but i wasnt sure..  my mom was crying quietly with me, trying to not show it, but i could feel it.

pretty soon, my dad cleared his throat and asked my mom to get a garbage bag. i shot up off of the couch and cried “he’s not garbage! you cant put him in a bag!!” and my dad was back to his normal asshole self and he said “do you want the worms and bugs to eat him????” (because apparently the garbage bag is made out of iron and will stand the test of time?)

i ran to my room, hysterical. i heard my mom stick up for me, but i dont remember what she said to him.

i lay in my room crying.. i could hear my dad open the garbage bag, shake it around to catch some air inside it to help expand the plastic. i could picture what he was doing all in my mind. i heard some shuffling, and a soft “thump”, and some more plastic rustling sounds.. pretty soon, i heard the back door open.. my dad had brought home one of his work trailers, and i peaked out of my bedroom window and watched as he opened unlocked the double doors of the trailer, slowly opened them, and gently set down the heavy looking garbage bag. he sat down beside the bag for a moment and didnt move.. i knew he was hurting like my mom and i were, but he was (and is) an ice cold human being that is emotionally constipated, and it would have been comforting had he shown a little bit of what i was seeing in private at that moment.

he came back inside a little while later and the 3 of us sat back down in the living room again, this time with Mary Tyler Moore to keep us company. i didnt mention our christmas tree that my dad had cut down that year, i’ll just say that it was 12 feet tall.. when you own a ton of private property in the woods, you can have as big of a christmas tree as your living room will allow.. and with cathedral ceilings, you can pretty much go as big as you want to.. so ours, was 12 feet tall.. but we had no problems with it at all.. up until that night.. 30 minutes after my dog died, our 12 foot christmas tree came crashing down in a flurry of tinsle and glass balls. we looked at each other, and my mom said “Z is playing one last time”, and we all chuckled, even my dad.

it was a few more weeks before my dad was able to bury Z.. winters out where we lived were pretty major.. i’m talking 5-6 feet of snow easy every year.. dad had to at least wait till the snow quit falling so he could dig and not have it be an endless task.

that christmas day was sad for all of us.. we had family come out for presents and dinner, and it was just not the same.. i think i have photos in an album somewhere of my and my mom and you can see the lack of joy and christmas spirit on our faces..

Z’s grave marker is still there to this day. 🙂  he was a very good boy.

thats it for today, i’ll see you tomorrow

luvs & hugs