Wife, Mom, Boss

That’s what the coffee cup says that Mr. MLACS bought for me in the hospital gift shop when…

My baby LS was admitted to the hospital for “failure to thrive”.

It’s been a tough couple of months. But I’ve survived to tell the tale.

Lets rewind.

To begin, LS was diagnosed with a tongue-tie straight away, and we saw a pediatric ENT when she was 4 days old to have her frenulotomy. I was a *basket case* because they were going to have to hurt my baby and it sent my anxiety and emotions into hyperdrive. But I know we have no choice but to fix it for her sake as well as mine–my poor nipples were already severely injured from her inability to latch properly. I had an undiagnosed tongue tie and my mother had to quit breastfeeding me after a severe case of mastitis and I was in speech therapy for 6 f*ing years for a lateral lisp. My tongue tie was only discovered at age 18 when I went to have my tonsils removed. I knew I had to fix it for LS now and spare her what I went through. BG had her frenulotomy  at 10 weeks old (hers went undiagnosed even under the weekly care of a lactation consultant) after my nipples were in ruins and my supply was dwindling so I knew it was only going to get worse. But every fiber of my being felt dread and guilt at the thought of my poor tiny baby being mutilated.

And it was truly awful.

I stayed in the exam room with BG and sent Mr. MLACS to be with LS during the procedure because I couldn’t stomach it. Then afterwards they were to bring her straight to me to breastfeed her. They brought her in…

Blood was streaming out of her mouth

I was shocked and petrified. I started to have a panic attack but snapped out of it. I yelled at Mr. MLACS to remove BG from the exam room because I did not want her to see LS or myself like this. I had the nurse wipe away the blood and stuck my boob in her mouth. And I just sat there shaking and nursing her until I was sure she was ok.

This really messed me up.

But it was the right decision because my nipples quickly healed and my suplly was WAY better than it was with BG–I would put a towel in my bra at night and soak it by morning! I was so pleased.

And then we went to LS’s one month appointment and she was still 5oz below her birth weight.

Mind you, since we just moved I dont really know this pediatrician, and she doesnt know what I went through with BG. But BG was *the exact same*. Failed to gain weight between weeks 3-4 and docs freaked out. Both are loooong skinny babies and hardgainers. So the pediatrician flipped out and sent us to the hospital. On the 1% chance there was some underlying health issue. I had to scramble for childcare for BG–we have no family here and I hardly know anyone so I paid our “sibling doula” $25/hr for 11 hours which is $275 while Mr. MLACS took me and LS to the childrens hospital *45min away*. I had to take my tiny infant through the ER (GERMS). She was poked and prodded, and too exhausted to eat. My milk supply tanked from exhaustion and stress. Completely counter-productive for weight gain and downright dangerous to expose her to hospital germs and all for NOTHING because she was FINE she just needed more calories. Which is bizarre since I had so much milk and she was constantly on my boobs.

I’m still breastfeeding but I started pumping and giving her my milk plus 2-4oz of formula per day and now she’s gaining the “normal” anount of weight. I could have just fed her formula at home and skipped the hospital and *believe me* I let the other pediatrician know my thoughts about her colleague’s poor decision to send us to the hospital.

Luckily LS is not picky and is happy to nurse, drink my milk from a bottle and also drink formula from a bottle.

I started taking my Domperidone to boost my supply/help my let down reflex and I am very sure I make plenty of milk but LS likes “free milk” (that’s what I call bottles because she doesn’t have to “work” for that milk) and I’m not trying to stress myself out to pump all 8oz per day that she gets so I supplement with 2-4oz of formula and so far, so good.

But then I got ANOTHER double ear infection. My right eardrum burst at home alone with both kids and it was awful. I lost hearing in both ears for over a week–couldn’t hear LS crying/BG talking/the bathroom fan/the tv/radio/etc. I just finished 10 days of Amoxicillin and my left ear still f*ing hurts and I have to see the ENT *again* tomorrow. I think I need more antibiotics which sucks b/c they’re upsetting LS’s tummy and she has a yeast diaper rash and I have a vaginal yeast infection.

So during these first 8 weeks of LS’s life I’ve fought 2 double ear infections, mastitis, anxiety, exhaustion…I’ve really struggled physically and mentally since LS was born.

I’ve also had my good days and I’m moving and shaking despite it all.

We’re buying a house! Closing in a couple weeks!

I’ve planned a fantastic 40th birthday party for Mr. MLACS this week and I’m extremely proud of my efforts.

I just joined a new gym today that has excellent childcare with the goal that I’ll get the mental break I need and the exercise to help me feel my best, Mr. MLACS can continue his health/wellness quest, BG can play with other kids, and LS will have a safe place to (hopefully) nap while I take a class.

I’m trying my best here.

Motherhood is difficult for me right now, but I’m so grateful for my girls. I’m so grateful to spend Mother’s day with my babies in my arms ❤

XOXO,

MLACS

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Birth Story Part 2

…When we left off I was getting ready to get my epidural…

My contractions had gotten stronger and sitting upright on my pink exercise ball was causing more pressure and thusly, more pain–during contractions I’d say it was a strong 4 or 4.5 (on a scale of 1-10 with 5 being “I want drugs” and 10 being “I’m bloodcurdling screams and blacking out”). But I was enjoying bobbing lightly on my ball in between contractions. And my nurse, Jennifer, had wrapped me in warm blankets so I felt comfy and cared for. I actually don’t mind this part of labor, where the pain is intense but manageable, contractions are far enough apart that you can relax a bit in between them, and I naturally get into “the zone” and ride the contractions like waves. It’s actually really cool.

However, Jennifer suggested the epidural would allow her to push the pitocin and kick my labor into gear, or I could just sit there in pain bobbing on my ball for hours with mediocre results. So I took her up on the epidural. My sibling doula had cautioned me to request that the attending do my epidural (not a resident)–I didn’t ask her why. So when this perky young blonde came to see me about the epidural, I told her I’d like the attending to do it and she looked frustrated and asked if I’d had a bad experience. To which I replied with a smile, “No, I’ve had good experiences–and I want to keep it that way.” The attending came in (a mature woman) and asked me the same question–she looked amused and clearly didn’t GAF that the resident was butt-hurt. A couple pokes later and I was comfortably numb, but still able to move my lower limbs.

LS kept falling off the monitor and Jennifer plus a whole team of nurses had a helluva time finding her–she was faced toward my spine (they even brought in the ultrasound machine to find her). Every time they’d get her on the monitor and go to leave the room, she’d get lost again. If I was them I’d have lost my mind. But they patiently macgyvered my monitor over and over again until my belly was a ball of slime from all the gel. Finally LS stayed put and I tried to sleep–which totally was not happening–but I rested. I watched Mr. MLACS sleep and was slightly jealous, but glad because I worry about him so I wanted him to get some rest. I also had vintage black and white movies/musicals on tv–I never watch tv anymore (like it will be on but I tune it out) so that was kind of cool. And my L&D room was huge and had a wall of windows facing city lights, so I kept the shades open and enjoyed looking out at the cityscape.

I had to pee and empty my ostomy bag a couple times, which was difficult as I had an IV in my right arm and a pole holding my bags of saline and pitocin. But I got it done without any help. I had forewarned Jennifer that I puked exorcist-style during labor with BG, but naturally after I made a big deal about it I didn’t puke at all.

So I was in a daze during the twilight hours and didn’t realize how much time was passing as I drifted in-and-out of consciousness, but eventually it was time for shift change and I had to say goodbye to my buddy Nurse Jennifer and welcome her relief, Nurse Christy. Also the OBGYN from my practice who ordered my induction, Dr. H, had been with me overnight. But I had to say goodbye to her and welcome Dr. S–luckily I had met and liked Dr. S so I was fine with it.

I was close to 10cm dilated at this point, and I was having breakthrough pain–nothing terrible–but I took full advantage of *the button* I could push every 10min or so that gave me more epidural. Which may be why I was in a dream-like state and also why I began to feel very nauseous…

Before I knew it, Dr. S and two residents strode through the door, checked me, and decided the time was NOW. It felt surreal as I watched everyone scurry around the room, pulling lights down from the ceiling, putting on scrubsvand face masks, wheeling in trays of instruments and a “baby warmer”, and finally, placing my feet in the stirrups.

I had asked Nurse Christy to apply gentle countrr-pressure to my ostomy, in hopes of preventing a peristomal hernia. On my right was Christy. On my left was Mr. MLACS.

The docs told me to get ready to push…I told them to wait a minute because…

I was going to puke.

Mr. MLACS held a large beaker cup and I turned my head and vomited a cup of stomach bile into the beaker.

Then pushed.

Then puked.

Then pushed.

And without warning, this purple ball of screaming flesh was placed on my chest, as I was still heaving and wiping my mouth. I was in shock and disbelief, trying to process.

Mr. MLACS looked about as stunned as I was, but after what was probably 20 seconds that felt like 20 minutes, I placed my hands on our baby, looked at Mr. MLACS, and said “Well, we did it!”

Baby LS was 7lb 8oz, and 21 inches long. She was not as pristine as BG was when she was born, but it is now clear that she was bloated and now that a couple weeks have passed her features are sharper and resemble BG’s. She’s absolutely beautiful ❤

And of course, BG is very proud to be a big sister! She wants to help with everything–bringing me diapers/wipes/hand sanitizer, etc.

It has not been easy though.

BG is having a hard time adjusting. So are we. There have been bumps in the road, and I’ll write about those later.

For now, I want to say how grateful I am that LS is here and healthy. She is a dream come true! I am bedsharing with both my girls and it is pure bliss to wake up in between them ❤

XOXO,

MLACS

38 Weeks, Flu A virus, Brazillian Bikini Wax

Do I have your attention? Ok cool. Lets talk about…

1. Still pregnant–38 weeks! Saw the OBGYN yesterday and I’m dilated a whole half a centimeter (how they can even measure that small when they can’t even see anything is beyond me). The consensus is: no signs of delivering early but it *could* happen and just holler whenever.

2. But my last OBGYN appointment was this past Thursday. I had been feeling poorly and suspected I might have an infection. I don’t have a PCP in our new town yet and didn’t want to go to an urgent care so I waited to see the OBGYN, hoping he’d take a look at me. I was feeling very poorly–horrible body aches, winded walking 10 feet, just really run down. I also wanted the doc to check me for anemia. First thing I did was urinate in a cup, and noticed my pee was so dark it looked brown–no bueno. Then baby LS presented with tachycardia, which is a sign of distress. I talked to the doc and we agreed part of my issue is dehydration, and he sent me to go be looked over by maternity triage at the hospital. I had BG with me and had to call Mr. MLACS to come home from work to care for her–I intended to drive myself the 40min to the hospital. But as I was leaving the OBGYN I started to feel worse and worse. I got the chills so bad I could hardly drive. I slammed a cold gatorade and that made my chills worse. Got home and I could hardly get BG out of her carseat. I was in agony, shivering and every fiber of my body hurt–my groin felt like I pulled it and I could hardly walk. I started to feel panicked. I wrapped myself in 3 layers of blankets and a hat to try to warm up and laid down until Mr. MLACS got home. He wanted to go straight to the hospital but I made him feed BG lunch first and pack her snacks for the trip. I started to cry, feeling awful and overwhelmed–I woke up clueless  that my day was going to go to sh*t. So Mr. MLACS drives us to the hospital and I have to go through the ER then up to maternity triage–I actually needed a wheelchair. Unfortunately kids aren’t allowed in triage (probly a good idea) and Mr. MLACS had to entertain BG while I was assessed. I begged for warm blankets and socks. They hooked me up to monotor LS and see if I had contractions (I didn’t), took pee, took blood, swabbed me for the flu and hooked me up to an IV to receive fluids. The nurses were nice. And lo and behold, they returned wearing hazmat gear…I knew immediately and exclaimed “No f*cking way!” And they were like, “Yeah, you have Flu A”. I was flabberghasted because I NEVER GET THE FLU, at least not the “super bad bugs”. I rarely get the flu shot and ironically I HAD one this past October! I’ve been on all sorts of immunosuppressants–I was on 3–Humira, 6MP, and high-dose Prednisone AND I took a plane to California and I *still* didn’t get sick (my docs were way scared for me). So WTAF? Why NOW?! It just never occurred to me I could have a “super bug”. Luckily, the fluids helped, baby LS’s heartbeat slowed down and her strip looked great, and they sent me home with a script for tamiflu for me and one for Mr. MLACS and BG.

3. I came home from the hospital Thur. night and spent all of Friday in bed–I didn’t even go downstairs. I was repeating a cycle of having the chills, warming up, then sweating it out–repeat. I still hurt all over but it was better than Thursday. Mr. MLACS had to stay home from work to care for me and BG–which BG and our labrador LOVED having him home and made him play all day ❤ Saturday I got out of bed–my body aches had dulled considerably and my chills/sweating were abating. Then Sunday I woke up feeling somewhat “human” again. We actually went and looked at a house (we are planning to buy) and took a trip to Costco, mostly to order BG’s birthday cake for her party this coming weekend–fyi costco cakes are cheap and delicious–I just wish they were gluten-free so I could eat them! So yeah, I had “the plague” and I was freaked out and in a lot of pain but it was short-lived because the Tamiflu worked for me.

4. I had been mulling over getting waxed prior to giving birth, but was nervous. I’ve had brazillian waxes before, but not while pregnant, and according to the internet all the bloodflow to the pelvic area causes waxing to be more tender and waxing to be painful. I also worry about ingrown hairs, etc. And it feels like a frivolous thing to spend money on. Buuuut…then I think back to the quote “Do one thing a day that scares you” and decided “F*ck it, I’m doing this”. TMI, my pubic hair was so long I had to shave it with clippers prior to waxing–I made Mr. MLACS do this for me. While he’s doing it we’re giggling and he says “Things I never saw myself doing…” Lol. I actually felt much better after he trimmed me and considered skipping the waxing…but no–I was not chickening out. So last night I went and the girl was very nice–I was unsure about showing her my ostomy bag because I didn’t want an awkward moment, but she waved me off because she is actually a home health nurse. That really helped me relax. It wasn’t so bad! I’m very happy with the results and I feel like a champ for doing it–like I should get my name on a wall somewhere or a t-shirt or something.

5. BG’s birthday party at the bounce place is this Saturday. I have about everything I need, including a custom birthday shirt that’s arriving from etsy tomorrow. I need to put together goodie bags, wrap her presents, order her balloons and pick up her cake, but beyond that we are ready to rock ‘n roll! I’m expecting about 10 kids–could’ve invited more but we have been sick and I honestly didn’t feel like we needed to invite kids just for the sake of appearances. I’m excited for BG!

6. Other things I deal with are my rental properties–I’ve had several properties to turn over and repairs and renovations are adding up to $15k+. The ones that are occupied have basically financed the turnovers on the unoccupied units, but it’s still hard to watch money “flying out the window”. I have a good relationship with my property managers though, so luckily they deal with the headaches and I just write the checks. I have one last property that is co-owned with my sister/our trust. We are currently turning it over to sell it, pay some bills the trust owes and walk away with some cash. We also have a lawsuit pending against the VA for our father’s wrongful death–they really f*cked up. The one year anniversary of his death is approaching… I can’t say I’m particularly upset because I am living in the moment, looking forward to the birth of our new baby and not dwelling on the past. Plus he and I had a strained relationship–I fully appreciate all the ways Mr. MLACS is a better father and husband than my dad was. But no matter what, he was my dad. I knew I could always go to him if I needed help, even when we were on bad terms. And his death marked the day I lost the last of my parents, and my kids’ grandparents. When I mourn, I mourn what might have been if both of them were alive, because when my Mom was alive everything was ok.

Ok that’s enough for now.

XOXO,

MLACS

 

 

Happy New Year!

So Christmas was lovely but it seems like forever ago because SO much has happened between Christmas and New Years.

To rewind, Mr. MLACS flew into the  nearby city and we enjoyed a weekend of holiday fun there, including seeing The Nutcracker ballet (an annual tradition) and riding on The Polar Express train.

BG is at a *magical age* and she had started ballet/tap class in the fall. She LOVED The Nutcracker this year! I loved watching her watch the performance–she was riveted. We had balcony seats close to the stage and she loved being able to see the performance and the people in the audience below us. Mr. MLACS bought her a Clara dolly and a Rat King dolly and watching the two of them pretend to fight during intermission, hearing BG squeal and giggle, and feeling LS kicking in my belly is a moment I’ll never forget. BG looked so precious in her red and navy blue plaid dress, with her little pearl necklace–she looked like a real little lady. For the record, BG looooooves to dress up! Lives for dresses, bows, jewelry and “make ups” (which are lip balms). I wore a dress and make-up to The Nutcracker but I am generally a person who loves sweat pants, or for more formal occassions, jeans. I definitely did not spark her “extra-ness” because I am super low maintinence. But I do love to watch her shine ❤

The Polar Express train was really the best. BG was excited and bouncy! She was enthralled by the performances and the characters/actors invited her to participate several times. First, she got to help turn pages as a portion of The Polar Express book was read. Then, she got to be a reindeer–they placed an antler headband on her–and march down the aisle as we sang Rudolph the red nosed reindeer. But the most precious part, was when Santa stopped to say hello to her abd give her “the first bell of Christmas”. BG thought she was supposed to tell him her Christmas list, and she was so excited to see him she could barely get the words out, so I interpreted. She asked for “Toys for baby sister, toys for me, toys for Koa and Kitty, and toys for Mommy and Daddy”. She’s so sweet and thoughtful. And taking in her good intentions and her wide-eyed innocence, Santa turned to me and said “You’re very lucky”. And I know I don’t count my blessings on this blog very often because I mostly talk about the heavy stuff, but please know that I feel profoundly blessed/fortunate/lucky and that Santa didn’t have to remind me–but I was touched.

We returned home from our adventure on Christmas Eve and I was super sick with what seemed like the flu. I felt miserable. Luckily Mr. MLACS was feeling great and he got everything put together for Christmas morning–Santa brought BG a teepee playhouse and he got her a big-girl monogrammed chair and had a matching little-girl monogrammed chair for LS (since BG was adamant that baby sister needed gifts). Mr. MLACS and I each got each other one gift from ourselves + BG. It was sweet and funny because BG had watched a cartoon (Arthur?) and the kid was REALLY excited to buy his Mom a glass bird. So BG had decided I needed a glass bird, and Mr. MLACS went to great lengths to find and purchase a glass bird. I love it because it really shows how much we all love each other. BG and I gave Mr. MLACS cologne, which is what we always gave my Dad for Christmas when I was little, and it’s weird to be “the parent” now.

BG had some unwrapped presents and a stocking from Santa, and then 9 wrapped gifts under the tree, 4 of which were from my sister and the rest from us. I know she had a wonderful Christmas and that she got plenty of great gifts. But I cannot seem to shake feeling guilty that she isn’t showered by presents and attention from our extended family. I want Christmas to be special because we spend time together and make great memories, and not because of how many presents are under the tree. I genuinely feel that we–that our precious children–are better off without toxic family members in our lives (and that includes keeping my sister at arms length, although she does have a relationship with BG). But the holidays stir up my feelings and make me wish things were different–and I second guess myself. I miss my good old friends and wish we lived closer–it would be easier to accept the severed ties with our relatives if we had “framily” to spend holidays with. But all our friends are spread out and we move too much to really create a “village”.

I had a village though, in the town we just moved from. I didn’t fully realize how much some of my girlfriends cared for me until I had to say goodbye. And I felt sad to lose them, and bad for “abandoning” them since they were clearly more invested in our friendships than I thought.

The movers came to pack on Dec. 27th, they loaded on Dec. 28th, and on Dec. 29th we bid farewell to our dream home, and all the craziness of the past 2 years. Mr. MLACS and I shed some tears for what was and for what might have been. And then we journeyed for 3 days, and celebrated NYE in our new town.

Let me close by saying 2018 was a legit roller coaster of a year, with huge ups-and-downs. I worked hard to regain my health and fitness, while navigating life as a fledgling ostomate–I did it! I even put myself out there and became the leader of a fit moms club, got my friends involved, and met new people. I dealt with my Father’s death, my Maternal Grandmother’s death, and the absolutely maddening struggle with my sister over managing our trust. I started my own LLC and did grown-up stuff like creating my own will & trust and purchasing burial plots for myself and Mr. MLACS. I paid a lot of bills. We took a beautiful trip to Hawaii. I dealt with the constant fear of losing Mr. MLACS and dealing with his health scares. I did lots of stuff with BG and she started preschool and dance classes in the fall. We sold our house, and we moved a 17+hr drive North of where we lived. I’d say the most amazing and insane plot-twist of 2018 was we got pregnant quickly and without fertility treatments–now I’m 30 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby girl.

2018 was very trying, but I really feel like every bit of it was filled with purpose.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

XOXO,

MLACS

Trying To Keep Calm and Carry On

I had a hard time getting to sleep last night, after googling “melanoma” and desperately searching for “benign growths that look like melanoma” and coming up with nothing–just pics of melanoma–so either people don’t post their “I thought it was melanoma but it was just an XYZ!” photos, or, anything that looks like melanoma IS melanoma.

I used to go to tanning beds and the beach. Often. And I’d cover up my face because my parents had skin cancer on their faces (around the nose and mouth) and had scars where these were removed. I didn’t want scars on my face. But skin cancer didn’t seem like such a big deal.

I was so stupid.

God I hope I raise BG to be smarter than me, to make better decisions than me.

I mean I hope I get to raise her period, but what if I don’t? What if I die while she’s still a child? While she still needs me? What if it’s because I didn’t wear sunscreen and went to tanning beds?! What if she thinks I’m awful for screwing up her childhood with my cancer treatment? A kid shouldn’t have the burden of worrying about her parents dying…

Mr. MLACS had a bad Cardiology appointment recently. I didn’t even blog about it but I had BG with us because it was just a check-up. Then they told us he had been shocked by his pacemaker on March 24th–his heart rate was 300bpm (I didn’t know that 300bpm was even possible). We had no idea. And then at the appointment his BP was 150/110 and his heartbeat was irregular. I went numb. We had no clue he was in distress. The color drained from both of us. We were panic-stricken. Mr. MLACS cried. And BG was fully aware that something was very wrong. Kids are very sensitive and intuitive. She had flashbacks of when he was hospitalized. And we were at the appointment for 3 hours. Doc said Mr. MLACS *must* lose 100lbs as quickly as possible (he has been slowly losing weight but not very regimented). He is 6’6″ and about 415lbs, and he needs to be closer to 300lbs to qualify for surgery to find the part of his heart that is malfunctioning and causing arrhythmias. Or if he needed a heart transplant he doesn’t qualify because of his weight. This appointment was April 22nd and since then Mr. MLACS has been working on his diet. We dropped $1,000 and he is getting a nutrition/exercise plan from an excellent trainer friend of mine.

So you see I’m already riddled with anxiety. My dad just died–both my parents are deceased. I’m stressed dealing with the estate (my sister). I am just 6 months out from having had my total colectomy and still learning to live as an ostomate. One of my good friends just had his big toe amputated due to melanoma.

And now I have this large, inexplicable black growth on my leg. I literally want to dig it out myself, I loathe it so much right now. I’m so freaked.

But instead…

I slept in (because Mr. MLACS knew I was up fretting about this melanoma thing). We went to home depot. I took BG over to play with the neighbor girls on their blow-up waterslide. I fed her lunch and put her down for nap. I’m trying to “keep calm and carry on”.

I’m trying So. F*ing. Hard.

I don’t want to alarm BG. And I don’t want to taint her life with my fear/anxiety/depression. Which is very difficult, since we are together 24/7.

I’m calling the dermatologist and being seen first thing in the morning, and no matter what they say I’m having this thing removed and biopsied.

But in between, I am trying to live, laugh, and love. I love my family SO much. I love my BG with everything I am. And if it’s cancer, I’ll fight. 20180417_095910_Film1.jpg

XOXO,

MLACS

 

Earth to Earth, Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust 💔

Last Thursday morning, Mr. MLACS woke me up around 4am to tell me my sister had tried to call me five times since 3am. I knew it was going to be bad news. Both my maternal Grandma and my Father had been in the hospital–but both were supposed to be recovering.

My Father died.

It was surreal. I sat on the floor of my bedroom closet so as not to wake up BG, who was sleeping in our bed. I didn’t cry, I just listened to my sister talk. He had prostate cancer (I knew this) but it was not very serious so they had not been treating it. However, they did a biopsy on it a few weeks ago and punctured his urethra in the process, which caused an infection. Once they realized their mistake, they then gave him the *wrong antibiotics*. As it turns out he had an E. Coli infection, and so the wrong antibiotics made it much worse. When they finally realized they had f*cked up royally, they admitted him to the VA hospital. He was so sick he didn’t even tell anyone he was going. My sister tracked him down, and visited him. He seemed ok. Nurses checked him at 2am–he was fine–they returned at 2:38am and found him dead on the floor…asphyxiated…

While it looks like gross negligence, I feel in my heart that he chose his moment and it was his time. His quality of life was not good. He was 69, morbidly obese with limited mobility, living alone, on the rocks with his girlfriend, and spent a lot of time watching tv and eating junk food. He was social on occassion, but far less than usual. He couldn’t see or hear well, and he couldn’t walk up or down stairs. A lot of his friends said they were surprised he was gone, that they had just seen him. But anyone with any common sense could see that he was declining and had a host of health issues/risk factors.

It would have been 4 years this month, since I had spoken to him. Except…

When Mr. MLACS collapsed and nearly died and I was having my colectomy in October, he sent my sister to my side, offering to pay her expenses, telling her to go and help me. An act of love and compassion.

I has sworn I’d never speak to him again. He was dead to me. He had caused me So. Much. Pain. during my Mom’s illness (which I forgave him) and then again years later during my battle with infertillity and loss. He was a crap father when I was young and proved incapable of having a healthy adult relationship. So I was done. The final straw was my child was born and we lived 15 minutes from him and he never even tried to contact me or see her. We moved to the South when she was 18 months old–by then I was so angry and hurt I vowed he’d never lay eyes on her. I threatened to cut off my sister if she so much as mentioned him.

But she had let me know he wanted to make peace with me, and then he financed her trip to help me this past October. So, I decided to call him and thank him in November. That was the last time I spoke to him. We communicated through my sister and I gave her permission to show him pictures of BG and keep him up to date on my little family. I was still very hesitant to reach out to him. I didn’t have the energy to forge a new relationship with him–I was struggling to heal from my surgery and Mr. MLACS’s cardiac arrest and moving into our house and being a wife and mother, etc. My sister did warn me that she didn’t think he’d be around much longer, but I was not going to be guilted or rushed.

And while yes, I wish things had been different, I don’t regret being distant from him. It wasn’t my job to make him happy at my own expense. It wasn’t my obligation to serve my daughter up so he could have his “grandpa experience” before he died. And I’m glad my kid was spared grief and loss.

As you know, I lost my dear departed Mother to breast/lung cancer in 2009. So I am an “adult orphan”. I miss her every day. She was amazing. She had a home daycare and LOVED kids…

I loaded up Mr. MLACS, BG, and our labrador retriever and drove all day Thursday, stopped for a few hours of sleep, and arrived just in time to meet my sister at the cemetary to pay for the portion of his burial not covered. In the process, I purchased the 2 cemetery plots next to my mother, where Mr. MLACS and I can be buried someday (hopefully many years from now, but God only knows).

We are staying at my family home and it’s both comforting and sorrowful. So many good memories of when we were a happy family before my Mom’s diagnosis in 2006 (albeit dysfunctional in our own way). When I see my daughter coloring at the same table where the daycare kids used to sit, and opening the gate to the downstairs where the daycare kids used to play…it’s just so unfair that she never got to be a grandma to BG. It breaks my heart. And she was the glue that held our family together, so if she was here I wouldn’t have fallen out with my father. We could have been one big happy family…

**I had to break down and cry here**

I grieve what might have been, but will never be.

And despite our differences, my dad was a pretty cool guy. He was a lame dad, but a pretty awesome person. My sister and I were under a tremendous amount of pressure to memorialize him and bury him with proper ceremony. He had literally been preparing us for his death since we were 12 years old. He was a successful business man and local bluegrass musician who lived and died in his hometown, so people were watching–most especially, the man himself, I was sure.

He thought it was best for person to be buried within 3 days of their death, so visitation was Sunday. I had a sitter for BG because 1. This was no place for a toddler, and 2. My Dad never met her so it felt wrong for any of his friends and family to meet her. Yet everyone asked me where she was, wtf?! Everyone knew we were estranged and it made the visitation uncomfortable for me, but I hung in there. I looked and acted dignified, as did my sister. It was sad and bittersweet to watch the memorial slideshow of all our happy moments as a family. They played one of his bluegrass cd’s he made of him singing and playing guitar…

Then finally the funeral was yesterday (Monday). Of course we have not had much sleep and not slept well, and poor BG woke up at 3am coughing so hard she vomited and burning up with fever. I had to send Mr. MLACS to get tylenol for her. I somehow managed to pull myself together and look nice for the funeral. I hated to leave BG with a sitter when she was not feeling well.

The service opened with his bluegrass buddies playing “Amazing Grace”–of course I cried. The pastor spoke and then I stood up and tearfully read what I had written at 3am when I was up with BG:

“My Dad was a passionate man. Passionate about life, and love. He was a man of leisure, and he had many pleasures. He enjoyed good company, and he was excellent company.

He was lighthearted, but soulful. He had a lot of corny jokes and anecdotes, but he would also wax poetic for hours, sharing his philosophies on life–he was deep. His definition of success, was happiness. And he was a happy, jovial man. If you asked him how he was, one of his standard replies was “I’m effervescing, my bubbles are all the way to the top!” He had a generous nature, and enjoyed treating people. He was always there for a friend in need, without expecting anything in return. He was diplomatic, and underneath his airy fascade, he was a very intelligent man. He appreciated his mentors and was himself, a mentor to a great many people. He liked to say “Those who can DO, can’t teach”, and he considered himself a “do’er”, but ironically, he was also a very good teacher. He would be proud to be remembered as a renaissance man–a man of many talents. Most prominently, a musician. The best time of his life was when he was living out of his car, playing music on the road with my mom by his side. He spoke wistfully of this part of his life where he had his passion–music–his freedom, and his soul mate. There are pitifully few people in this world that can say their dreams were realized, but my father was one of the lucky ones. He ticked every box on his “bucket list”, and more.
And that’s how he wants to be remembered. As a man of substance, who had an abundance of joy and shared it with the people around him. He is gone, but could never be forgotten.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. May he rest in peace.”
My sister said it was perfect and I’d said everything she’d wanted to say. Others agreed it was a good homage to him. My sister spoke, as did his best friend. The service closed with the bluegrass band playing “I’ll Fly Away” and we all sang along. It was just as he would have wanted.
And now we have the monumental task of dealing with the estate. My father was a smart business man and he left us a lot of properties. He was well organized, but it’s still a lot to deal with. I don’t feel like dealing with it, but I must. To his credit, Mr. MLACS has been invaluable in this process. I simply couldn’t do it without him.
Now I’m more terrified than ever that I’ll lose Mr. MLACS. He’s doing well but I’ve nearly lost him twice in the last 3 years, so it’s not just me being paranoid.
I love my hometown and want to be here to sort through the estate with my sister, but I long for my house in the South. Being here at my family’s home was precious for a couple of days but it is physically unconfortable (the guest beds suck) and emotionally draining–now it feels cumbersome. I’m completely exhausted. I’m overwhelmed. And both myself and BG are out of sorts and miss our “routine”. We have to interview and hire an estate lawyer tomorrow, and a few other things, but then I intend to leave on Thursday. I have been planning BG’s 3rd birthday party on her actual bday next Sunday, complete with a bouncy housw and goodie bags, etc. And I want to take a break from grieving and celebrate my greatest gift, my baby girl ❤