Love and Loss and The Space In-Between

Kitty had been my constant companion for 10 years. And yesterday he died, cradled in my arms as I told him I loved him, that he was important, and that I’m so very, very sorry.

He died with my consent. And I hate myself for it. Because I didn’t do it because it was best for him. I did it because I am overwhelmed and felt incapable of dealing with his inappropriate urination. I did it because I am “touched out” by having constant human contact with my young children and when I have 5 minutes to myself I didn’t want to be touched, but he would insist, and instead of feeling loved I felt used. I did it because we had grown apart–I have a family now–but he wanted things to stay the way they were when there was no husband, no dog, no preschooler and no baby. He was stressed and unhappy, so he pee’d on my family’s belongings. I was physically and mentally incapable of giving him the love and attention he received when it was *just us* and I grew to resent him.

It was me, not him. My fault. Not his. My inadequacy. My postpartum mood disorder. My heart that was not big enough.

The inappropriate urination started over a year ago. He was pee’ing on the dog bed. We thought it was the dog and crated our poor innocent labrador. Until one evening Kitty did it in front of Mr. MLACS–he was furious. I was angry but stuck up for Kitty. Took him to be examined by the vet and he did have a UTI, which we treated. He was still pee’ing on the dog bed, but less. I took him to be re-examined, and the infection was gone. It was then that the vet informed me that stress can cause UTI’s in cats. She gave me “kitty prozac” (Amitriptyline), which we tried but it made him seem drugged so I stopped using it. I didn’t know what had stressed him out as no particular event had happened. I also wasn’t sure why he was targeting the dog bed, but it seemed mean and unfair to our dog.

Then I became pregnant with LS, and I was very sick and he was very on-top of me, which felt suffocating to me. I was stressed because Mr. MLACS’s job was toxic and we needed to find a better situation. Then when Mr. MLACS found a new job and it required us to move, I had the stress of orchestrating the move while pregnant, while my husband was working several states away, while his crazy toxic boss lived across the street, while trying to stay calm for my preschooler, while trying to make a magical Christmas for her amidst the chaos. Then there was this cat, clawing up my front door when I needed to sell this house, eating my flowers so I had to keep them in a place I couldn’t see them, pee’ing on the dog bed (creating tension with my spouse) and meowing waking my kid up when he wanted to eat. I was so sick of his sh*t. Couldn’t he see how hard I was trying? He didn’t care.

Kitty wasn’t really interested in anyone else but me. He and Mr. MLACS got along ok until he started pee’ing, but Mr. MLACS was angry and Kitty took to avoiding him. Kitty never really bonded with BG and that is my fault, because I had very bad PPA/PPD and kept Kitty (and everyone) at arms length for the first year. So it was just me that he wanted. Only me.

Things hit the fan when we moved from the deep south to the far north this past winter. I was in my third trimester and struggling to settle the new place–a rental that did not feel like home–while also trying to settle my preschooler and find her school/activities/friends so she didn’t feel so lost (and she was highly emotional). I was sick All. Winter. Long. And on top of all that, Kitty was pee’ing inappropriately and hiding. I felt such contempt for him. We started giving him prozac every day, and he calmed down. But things were never the same. Mr. MLACS hated him and blamed me as well. I was tired of the tension in my household. I was just so f*cking tired. Exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally. My toddler insisted on sleeping with me, my 9 month pregnant body hurt and I was getting up to pee and/or vomit several times per night. Kitty tried to sleep next to me and when I would try to move him away he would fight me. That made me SO angry–I needed just a shred of personal space, and he didn’t care.

Then I had my baby, and closed the bedroom door. I was bed sharing and didn’t trust Kitty not to lay on her and smother her because she was in “his spot” next to me. I hated keeping the door closed because it made me feel closed off from the rest of my family. BG was used to bed sharing with me and she was very upset that things changed when the baby came, and I wanted to keep my door open for her, but couldn’t. Kitty was obnoxious. He would howl outside the door and wake us up. The moment I opened the door he would run under the bed and hide there all day until Mr. MLACS chased him out at bedtime. I had to keep bedroom doors, closet doors, all doors shut for fear of Kitty pee’ing. Kitty was skiddish and would only make himself known to yowl at me if his breakfast was late. It was not a good situation for any of us. But I kept hoping things would get better somehow.

They didn’t.

We bought a new house and we moved, and Kitty escalated.

So I talked to our new vet here. She said Kitty was not happy and would probably be better off not living with us. I started writing to pet rescues and shelters. He’s a beautiful cat! Very loving! Playful! Just has his teeth deep cleaned to the tune of several hundred dollars! He just…pee’s inappropriately because he needs an owner to be mutually obsessed with him and I’m not that person anymore…

I didn’t hear back from anyone. I didn’t have time or energy to follow up because *moving* for the 2nd time in 6 months with a small child and infant was more than I could handle. Plus my milk supply tanked from the stress so I had to worry about feeding my baby. And BG has had summer camp daily and speech therapy 2x per week. I have been feeling like I am drowning. Not showering, not taking care of myself. Kitty was so far down on my list.

For his part, Mr. MLACS had been banging around and yelling about throwing the cat outside or even shooting him, but when I told him I was looking into shelters he backpedaled and said “But he’s family, we couldn’t do that”. Which felt very unfair to me–so we should keep him on principal and you’ll continue being a dick to me and the cat when things go wrong?? But then Mr. MLACS also stepped up and has been feeding kitty 2x per day and crushing up the prozac and mixing it into his dinner food and scooping the litterbox.

However, with the last incident Mr. MLACS locked him up in the basement bathroom. And I just said “Ok”. I didn’t fight. Normally my stomach is in knots when Mr. MLACS informs me of Kitty’s bad behavior and consequences. But this time I just felt…nothing. He stayed there for a week and I never visited him (Mr. MLACS continued to care for him). I don’t know what was wrong with me but my emotion for him was just shut down. I know it is at least partially postpartum mood disorder on top of moving and struggling to parent 2 small kids 24/7. My nerves were just shot. Mr. MLACS was shocked and I believe disturbed that I didn’t take up for Kitty the way I always had. Completely out of character for me. I am fiercely loyal. But apparently, I have limits and Kitty had reached them. I spoke to the vet pleading for a solution and she offered humane euthanasia.

I broached the topic of humane euthanasia with Mr. MLACS and he said absolutely not! He went out and bought Kitty a new cat tree, came home and let him out of the bathroom. And Kitty ran to me. Meowing. Rubbing all over me. I just wanted nothing to do with him. I petted him out of obligation.

That was Friday. The next day I saw Kitty basking in the warmth of the sun, looking content, and I felt happy for him. I saw a glimmer of hope.

On Sunday I woke up and Mr. MLACS said “He did it again”. He had pee’d on BG’s teepee again.

And that’s when I knew he had to go. I couldn’t live with him anymore.

I thought “This must be what it feels like to fall out of love and want a divorce”. I never understood how a person could betray someone who loved them and was loyal to them. But here I was, feeling trapped in a life with this cat. I wanted to see him happy with someone else. Not me.

I tried to re-home him with people I know. Shelters didn’t answer their phones. But then I had an epiphany…he would never be happy at a shelter anyway. Would I want him to live like that? No. Could I put him outside? No. We live next to a busy street. I would never want him to die alone and in pain by being hit by a car.

I didn’t want to euthanize him, but I felt I had no other option.

I thought “I feel trapped and powerless in this situation, even though I have a choice. This must be how abused women feel in their relationships”. I had always judged and never understood.

It appeared that I had a choice–to love and accept him as he was, or to euthanize him. But it was not that simple–I have a family. My family deserves to live in a peaceful house. The tension of waiting for Kitty’s next episode and the inevitable fallout was hurting us all–especially Kitty.

I had the vet over and she assured me euthanasia was the right thing to do to spare Kitty undue stress and a potentially cruel end to his life. She also validated that I had put forth a sufficient amount of effort and suffered enough myself on Kitty’s behalf. She could see how much I’m struggling in this season of life–with my decision– and she had compassion for me.

I did not want to be make this decision. I felt guilty and ashamed. Yet, I knew that things couldn’t go on this way, with my entire household suffering.

I had to put an end to to it. And it seemed my only choice was to end Kitty’s life, in the most gentle and dignified way.

I scheduled Kitty’s euthanasia for the next day. I spent the rest of the day feeling like I was in the twilight zone…How had it come to this? Was I really doing this? How could I?

Each night after the kids are asleep I sneak downstairs to pump milk for LS and do chores such as washing bottles/pump parts, dishes, and laundry. I thought I should go be with Kitty, but couldn’t bring myself to do it–to stir up both our emotions. Instead, I clung to my routine. I was alone with my thoughts for the first time that day, and suddenly I was overwhelmed with grief. Sobbing over my sink.

I didn’t sleep much that night.

I begrudgingly awoke and stumbled through the day feeling anxious and tense. I needed mental and physical space but got none, because I was laboring to calm and soothe a cranky teething baby and to service a demanding preschooler. I was also sleep-deprived and in pain, hobbling around on a sprained ankle while struggling to run my household.

The vet couldn’t come while BG was at summer camp in the morning, so I had asked Mr. MLACS to leave work early and take both girls out of the house. Late in the afternoon it suddenly occurred to me that I might want to prepare…what would I wear? I would probably never want to look at those clothes again afterwards. I was going to wear some old sweats, but then I saw my pink fuzzy bathrobe and I knew that was it–I would cuddle myself and also cuddle Kitty in my fluffy robe. I wasn’t hungry but I made myself eat an early dinner of leftover thai food (my go-to comfort food) because I’m breastfeeding and mourning cannot include skipping meals. I had sort of hoped Mr. MLACS would come home early enough that I could go spend time with Kitty before the vet arrived, but he came home just in time to load the girls and leave. We didn’t tell BG what was going on. I didn’t see any good coming from that.

The vet arrived and I cried as I handed her my debit card to cover the expense of Kitty’s euthanasia and cremation. I find dealing with money for services when someone dies feels unnatural, especially in this case–I was paying her to end my cat’s life.

I decided there needed to be music, and fumbled with our tv until I found a soft jazz station. Then when there was no more time to waste, I shoved a bunch of Kleenex in the pockets of my fuzzy pink bathrobe and led the vet downstairs to the bathroom. I opened the door and he meowed from under the sink. He loves women so he immediately started rubbing on the vet’s leg. She petted him, and I kept hoping she’d say she would keep him and that we didn’t have to do this.

Instead, she gave Kitty a shot of sedative. When he seemed woozy I scooped him into my arms and cradled him like a baby, stroking him and kissing him like old times. My tears fell like rain onto his fur. We moved into the playroom. I had to sign a waiver and then I nodded that the doc could begin. She quickly shaved a spot of the fur on his paw, inserted and IV, and gave him the injection.

I sat on the couch, rocking him. Through sobs I said to him that I loved him, that he was a good cat, that he was important, that I would never forget him, that I was sorry I had not loved him better–the way he deserved. I said to the vet “If only I could just hold him like this all the time, maybe he wouldn’t act the way he does”, and she gently said “But you can’t”.

She asked me if I wanted to keep a tuft of his fur, and my genuine reply was “I’ve lost so many people–both my parents and all of my grandparents–and physical things don’t matter. All we really have are our memories.” She nodded.

She placed Kitty in a blanket, offered her condolences and left.

I collapsed on the couch and aching sobs arose from my soul.

I hadn’t cried this hard about either of my parents. But this was different…

Kitty loved only me. He was my first baby–my son. He came at a time when I needed him most, just after my Mom died. He was a gift from God.

And then it dawned on me…

Jesus was a gift from God–his only son. He gave only love, and yet he was treated poorly and killed. Now I know my cat is not Jesus, but when I drew this parallel I felt closer to God.

I realize how flawed I am as a human being–that I couldn’t make room in my heart and my household to love Kitty better and that I ended his life. That when tested, I have limits.

I realize how many times I’ve judged people, but this experience has humbled me.

I know I had to do this. It was part of God’s plan for me to bear this burden, learn and grow from it. Kitty’s life and death was not in vain.

But when Mr. MLACS says “It was the right thing to do”, I beg to differ. It wasn’t “right”.

I have to ask God and Kitty for forgiveness and seek redemption.

RIP Kitty Mow. I love you. I’m sorry.

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

 

 

Grief, Anxiety and Depression (and what I’m doing to heal)

I don’t know where to begin. I’ve been spiraling since my dad died.

I was just starting to get traction in my life after several years of of tumult. My health declining and autoimmune issues usurping my life and finances. Infertility and miscarriages. Mr. MLACS’s heart failure when I was 32 weeks pregnant. Being a new mother and deeply feeling the loss/void of my own beloved mother. Coping with Mr. MLACS being gone for work for weeks at a time. Overwhelming PPA (postpartum anxiety) and coming to terms with cutting off our toxic family members, including my dad (it took 2 years of weekly therapy and a lot of processing). Finally buying our first home–our dream home–only to have it burn down as we were packing to move. Moving to a very depressed area of Louisiana after the Great Flood of 2016, where I knew no one and felt like I didn’t belong.

Becoming ill and spending the entirety of 2017 fighting for my life with no support, because I was too sick to even ask for it. Feeling useless and hopeless at times.

Finally embracing the idea of a total colectomy surgery–having a prosthetic colon for the rest of my life. Finally about to move into my dream home.

And being deathly ill and having my husband drop dead at work, revived…but I am haunted by the way he looked and smelled like death in the ER. The nurses hearing me sob in the bathroom next to his bed in the ICU, as I sat on the toilet bleeding, desperately needing to be admitted myself but terrified to have my surgery because I was afraid I might die and orphan my child. My precious BG and my precious dog so sad and scared despite my best efforts to spare them the grief I felt. My heart was broken into a million pieces.

But I overcame everything. I beat infertility and I have the most precious daughter. I overcame PPA and came to terms with severing ties with my father. Mr. MLACS got a new job where he would be home every night. Our dream home was repaired. My surgery went well and I don’t need to take any IBD medications–I am not “chronically ill” anymore. My husband has a pacemaker/defibrillator and has taken responsibility for his health and lost a lot of weight. We moved into our dream house and I even bought my dream furniture.

I was making a comeback with my fitness, going to Burn Boot Camp and Barre3 classes and I volunteered as the organizer for a local moms fitness group–I was transparent about my ostomy. I was living my truth. I felt brave. I felt bold. I felt powerful. I felt beautiful. I felt like I was going to crush my goals.

And then my dad died.

And after everything I’ve been through–what I’ve overcome–and the fact that he wasn’t even a very good dad, you wouldn’t expect *that* to be the “straw that broke the camel’s back”.

But it was. I have been depressed and anxious. I can’t focus. I can’t think straight. I’m constantly waiting for the next shoe to drop.

I feel alienated from people. Lonely. Broken.

I’m angry because I fought SO. HARD. through the rock-bottom pit of hell that was 2017…

I had just started to feel safe. I wasn’t obsessing over the past or worrying about the future. I was living. I was embracing life. I was open to possibilities. I was all *positive vibes*.

But now I’m struggling again.

Dealing with my parents’ estate is torture. They were smart–everything was deeded to the trust. Every property, vehicle, trailer and boat. Nothing going to probate. Take heed and for all my IF friends who are parents now, make a will and/or trust so your spouse and kid(s) are not screwed when you die.

But my sister and I have never gotten along and now we are co-trustees and must divide everything in half. Meanwhile, there are 20-something properties that need to be managed and bills that need to be paid. And we have to fix up and sell “the big house” (our family home) to settle debts so we can dissolve the trust. It’s daily stress. It’s a daily reminder that both my parents are dead and that I am going to die. And BG is not tolerant of me being on my phone talking or texting, etc. She relentlessly pesters me and then has meltdowns when I snap at her. I can barely force myself to think about or do any of the drudgery associated with the estate, and with BG agitating me I feel like I might lose my mind. I need to put her in preschool and I have her enrolled in one but it doesn’t start until the fall. And I do not even have the stomach to vet preschools right now. I am looking at summer camps but that’s a week here-and-there. Oh and I dread having to take BG back to the midwest with me *without Mr. MLACS* to deal with this estate BS. F*ing nightmare. That is a 12hr car ride easch way, which I cannot do alone so I’ll have to split into 2 says–that is 4 days of travel. Just shoot me.

But I’m rich now. So there’s that. Not a “one percent-er” or filthy rich–like mansion/servants, car and driver, private plane and NY fashion week rich. But like, I will have a monthly income from my trust and it is legacy wealth that I can pass on to BG.

I’d give it all to have my Mom back though.

To have both my parents back, because our family was functionally-dysfunctional until my Mom got sick, which brought out the worst in my dad.

I’d give anything to be one big happy family.

I want peace in my life again. I want to feel like everything is going to be ok.

I am doing EFT tapping and trying to take care of myself, even though I don’t feel like showering or brushing my teeth or going to yoga or doing laundry or vacuming or anything. I’m sort of dead inside–dormant is a better word–I was starting to blossom but now I am dormant like a bulb in the winter. And I hate it.

So I am trying to claw my way out of this depression. I’m weak. I’m scared. I’m vulnerable. I’m confused. I’m frustrated. I’m emotionally drained. I’m distraught. I’m burdened. I’m defensive. I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m apathetic. I’m literally tied in knots and seeing a new chiropractor to try to unclench and untwist my poor body.

But I haven’t given up hope yet. And I’m trying to get better.

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 ❤