Well that didn’t go as I planned

I am sometimes accused of only posting fun and exciting adventures on Facebook and Instagram and it can (I suppose) give people the impression that I lead a charmed life, which I don’t. It’s just that when I do post things it’s usually about my comedy adventures or stuff with my church. I leave out the stuff that really should go to my therapist because I don’t want to traumatize anyone.

Well, let me tell you about the day I fell on my butt in front of a woman I admire greatly and just met.

Spoiler alert: We aren’t going to be friends. Ever. Nope. Not gonna happen. I’m pretty sure of that one. I’m not going to be friends with anyone on her team either.

I had this really exciting weekend planned where I was going to hostess a speaking team from California for a woman’s conference for the whole weekend and I was excited. I love her work. I’ve taken women to places just to see her. I guess I’m a bit of a fan girl, without wanting to seem like one perhaps. I’m not sure.

And besides, I rock at this, really I do. I’ve been taking care of speakers since the 90s. Now granted, this is the first time I’ve done that since Mom passed, but no biggie, right? I mean what would be the harm. Going to a woman’s conference the same week that I put Mom’s house on the market and did my final walk through. Oh did I mention we just found out that Dad has leukemia?

 Surely, I’ll be fine.

We found out last minute that there would be four people arriving instead of the normal two, so our director put two of us together to work with the team. That seemed fair. I arrived at the airport early to pick up “Pepper” and when a tall male walked up and introduced himself, I almost didn’t believe him.

Being me, I said out loud, “Oh wow! I was expecting a woman.” I tried to save it with “well, it’s a woman’s conference and all.. I am so sorry.”

He just smiled.

I insulted her director, right out of the gate. Isn’t that awesome?

 

It just went downhill from there. Really it did. A comedy of errors. Everything I tried to put my hands on fell apart. I wish I was exaggerating. Fortunately for them, there were two hostesses assigned to this team and my counterpart rocked. She’s wonderwoman on steroids. She’s also about 15 years younger than me and can fly around that arena like she’s on roller skates. (I tend to hobble)

When I sat in the stadium waiting to hear my speaker get up and do her thing, I was feeling a little shaky. This first few speakers really get your heart. But I told myself “I got this. It’s going to be okay.” Big deep, calming breaths.

My speaker is a dramatist and she did this sketch that I’ve seen half a dozen times before and I thought nothing of it, until she takes this left turn at the end and her character confronts her alcoholic mother with all the things she wishes she could have said.

I never saw the sucker punch coming. One minute I’m enjoying the sketch, the next I am on the floor sobbing and cannot pull it together.

Thus ending my awesome chance at hostessing one of my favorite speakers.

I turned over the reigns to my counterpart and hid for the rest of the day until it was time to take them back to the hotel. They hid from me as well, so it was a mutual avoidance thing.

I mean really, she’s in a new town, starting a new tour with an event she’s never performed at before. This was the first stop, and she gets the sniveling-grief-stricken-hostess who’s phone texting system isn’t even working correctly and who chose to take offense at something a pastor said to her (he compared me to a rich white party girl from his college) which caused another crying jag (only that one outside).

Can you blame her?

I would have done the same thing.

And I don’t know if they thought I bailed because I was lazy or what, but I didn’t care. 

Grief is a rude child and demands attention when it demands attention.  It’s just a weekend. It’s just grief and not the end of the world. And if this speaker and her team thinks I’m a train wreck, then they think I’m a train wreck. Most likely though — they haven’t given me another thought since they left for the next gig.

I’m much better now. I no longer want to crawl under a rock. But there it is.. I blew that gasket every way possible. And I didn’t die.

And if you are grieving or know someone who is, be compassionate with yourself and with others. It takes time and it’s not a race.

Have a great week peeps.

535290_10153410062346860_8924252739122586740_nGrief

 

New York is Not My Home

Three days to spend. Two of them flying. One in and one out. The other to meet with lawyers and put mother’s house up for sale. I’m almost through.

I spent so much time there last year people were beginning to think I was gone for good. My husband even began to wonder.

Honestly, I haven’t even looked at the house since I came home in October. I’ve simply paid people to take care of it. Not sure how I feel about going back.

Okay, I know exactly how I feel…

I’m ready to put this behind me for good.

New York is not my home.

Lyrics/Music: Jim Croce

Well things were spinnin’ round me
And all my thoughts were cloudy
And I had begun to doubt
All the things that were me

Been in so many places
You know I’ve run so many races
And looked into the empty faces
Of the people of the night
And something is just not right

And I know that I gotta get out of here
I’m so alone
Don’t you know that I gotta get out of here
‘Cause New York’s not my home

Though all the streets are crowded
There’s something strange about it
I lived there ’bout a year
And I never once felt at home

I thought I’d make the big time
I learned a lot of lessons awful quick
And now I’m tellin’ you
That they were not the nice kind
And it’s been so long since I have felt fine

That’s the reason that I gotta get out of here
I’m so alone
Don’t you know that I gotta get out of here
‘Cause New York’s not my home

(instrumental)

That’s the reason that I gotta get out of here
I’m so alone
Don’t you know that I gotta get out of here
‘Cause New York’s not my home

The Best Moments sometimes came too late.

I love my mother, heart and soul.

She was an alcoholic who left recovery after ten years of sobriety to return home and do it on her own. That was the biggest mistake she ever made in my opinion.She never took another drink, but I wouldn’t call what she lived, sobriety. 

Mom suffered from severe depression on and off for most of her life. This blog post is not intended to tarnish her memory. Nor is it intended to trash AA, it’s a wonderful program. Mom was an amazing women. A force to behold most days.

She is my beloved. The bravest women I know.  

I will always be thankful for her.

I spent three months with her before she passed and  as crazy hard as those days were, I am eternally grateful for that time.

Nothing was left unsaid.

Our last words to each other were “I love you.” and “I love you too.”

I have peace knowing that my mother loved me and knowing that she knew she was forgiven by me and that I loved her as well. Not many people have that. What a gift.

Mom was laid to rest on August 22, 2015 after a long 15 year battle with COPD and severe depression and anxiety.

May she finally be at peace.

I grieved for three years as she died piece by piece. And I grieve now, not so much always for what we had, but for what we missed.

When she was happy she was a screaming riot, full of life and humor. Manic almost in her pursuit of joy, gardening and art. She would work around the clock creating beauty. I loved those moments as a child, even if I couldn’t keep up. Those were the best moments really. Baking cookies in the middle of the night. Painting ornaments. Creating jelly. Mom on a manic was fun, if not exhausting.

In those moments she was wildly creative and wildly beautiful. 

But when she wasn’t happy, she was a force to be reckoned with, a storm with no warning and no chance of surviving. She was brutal, cutting, and fierce to anyone and every one.

She was, in those moments, my greatest source of pain. 

There was a lot of anger in her depression and those closest to her were her best targets; a sister, a daughter, a niece, a nephew, a friend, it really didn’t matter. She became cold, uncaring almost. Her body would clench up and her eyes would fill with tears as she spoke of those who had inflicted wounds in her life.

Were they real or perceived?

I’ll never know.

It was too much to bear really.

For me anyway.

The suicide attempts or threats.

The lies.

The threats of abandonment.

The manipulation.

The tears.

The anger.

There were countless times I’d speak to her on the phone or visit during one of her “moods” and I’d wind up in the hospital or back in therapy sifting for the truth.

One time, my doctor told me to either have her committed or walk away to save my own life.

I was willing to do neither and chose rather to weather the storm, come what may and find a way to love her in a way that she could recognize. I eventually did towards the end and I have no regrets.

Someone in AA told her that she could not take meds and be “sober.” They said Bipolar disorder was a “lie and an excuse.”

What a load of BS. AA itself does not have opinions on outside issues, but people do and she listened to the wrong ones.

That little pill would have changed both of our worlds for the better, but she wouldn’t take it because AA told her not to.

So who do I be mad at?

A 12 step program that saved my life and sanity through Alanon? That’s not fair.

Should I be mad at her? After all it was her choice not to take meds.

God?

The doctors who didn’t tell her the truth?

No one I guess.

I can’t afford it.

If I spend my days finding someone to be mad at, I’ll never heal.

I’ll spend my life like she did.

A victim.

Alone.

Afraid.

Angry.

Keeping score.

She’s at peace now.

It’s time for me to be the same.

Breathe Darlin’. It’s going to be okay. And if it’s not okay – hold my hand. Let’s walk this together. 

When holding a hand is the only thing holding you together

be all there I have no idea who Jim Elliot is. Frankly, I was googling Ram Dass Oh well, I like this quote.

“Wherever you are, be there.”

I’ve been HERE for 9 weeks and some days, I’d give anything to be anywhere else.

On stage.

Home.

In bed.

Anywhere but in the craziness that is, walking someone home.

FYI, all whiskey does is make the here more pronounced.

That was disappointing.

Tonight, I just held her hand while she slept. Tonight was peaceful, and scary and sad all wrapped into one.

I leave in three days to go home for just two weeks. The time apart is already tugging at my heart strings.

We’ve been through so much in the last nine weeks. Words too many to count. Arguments with family members. Cleaning house both literally and emotionally. Laughter and tears. Three trips to the emergency room. Three times she almost died. Last rites, prayers, offerings, recovery, rehab, home health nurses, Breathing machines, back to the hospital and now a nursing home.

I lost my driver’s licence in the bottom of a dumpster, had my credit card lifted (got a new one) and today, I lost my cell phone somewhere between the hospital and her house.

No rock has been unturned, no words have been left unsaid.

Except Goodbye. We haven’t said that yet. Not really anyway.

Will she still be alive when I get back?

Doc says yes.

The nurses say yes.

She, is not so sure.

She’s fought the good fight.

She’s tired and wants to go home.

I can’t say as I blame her.

I’ve found myself longing for deep intelligent conversation, with anyone really about anything other than life and dying, but I haven’t the words. I’ve tried and they come out as jumbled as my insides.

There are people who’ve made the here better.

A step sister and husband who came to help.

Cousins who surprised me with their compassion and caring and physical help when needed.

A husband who took a week off just to be here with me.

Theo, the home health nurse who tried her darndest to make mom’s return home successful.

John who delivered her hospital bed and took the time to explain how everything worked, only to pick everything back up just a little over a week later and told me to “I am so sorry, hang in there kiddo.”

Cards from friends at home.

Little things really

Kindness and compassion from friends, family and strangers who aren’t afraid of the here.

It’s just enough to fill a weary heart.

So, I sit and I hold her hand while she sleeps.

It’s all I can do.

And for now, it’s enough for both of us.

Make Your Life Spectacular, Robin Williams Tribute

I’m not one for celebrity, so I have no idea why Robin’s death impacted me so hard. Maybe it’s because I’ve been depressed before, maybe it’s because I do comedy for a living. I don’t know. I just know that I grew up watching this man, loving every minute of it. He was part of my childhood, my young adulthood, and my kid’s lives (think Aladdin and Hook). He’s even part of me now as I find the courage to make people laugh. I would give anything for his spontaneity and talent. 

My favorite memory involving Robin is when I was 13. We didn’t have cable so of course my mother had never seen his real stand up. We were at Sears N Robuck and I saw his album Reality What a Concept. I begged my mother to buy it for me for my birthday. She looked at it, though Oh It’s that Mork guy – sure you can have it. 

HA!

We listened to it, I laughed at the funny voices, Mom laughed at all of the jokes that went over my head and she took it away from me until I was 18. 

This is a beautiful tribute. It’s only just over a minute long — I love the words. 

Friday Funny: That’s Reassuring

images I bought clips for my bike the other week to help make my rides more efficient. After the bike shop mechanic installed the new pedals and I tried them out for size, I asked if they were difficult to unclip.

His exact words? “Oh no! My daughter got hit by a truck once and she came right out of them”

That is so reassuring.

I’m going to die, aren’t I?

How will you be remembered?

A great man of God died this year and my last living memory of him is the day he called me a whore. People closest to him tell me that he loved me a great deal, but I wouldn’t know. He had too much pride to apologize, and I had too much pride to let him see me cry. The sin of pride kept us from being reconciled. My heart hurts, not because of the conversations we did have, but because of the ones we didn’t.

My college room-mate died this summer. My last living memory of her was a fight we had 20 years ago this August. I don’t even remember what the fight was about, only that she passed without my ever being able to tell her how sorry I was and how much I loved her. I have to live with that.

I’ve listened to many pastors speak about balancing law and gospel because they don’t want the last living words someone hears about God to be words of condemnation. They want people to also know about his love and his grace. Relationships are no different. We never know what our last words to someone are going to be.

The last words I use when one of my family is walking out the door, or I’m on the phone are always “I love you.” because I just don’t know. Life doesn’t come with a guarantee for another chance.

If you knew that the very words you are speaking this moment were the last words someone ever heard you say, what words would you use?