All posts by Tina

Mom’s Obsession with Tim McGraw

How many of you are lucky enough to still have your Mothers with you?  Will you be spending Sunday with her, taking her to lunch or dinner and showing her how much you love her?  If your answer to both of these questions is yes, get down on your knees and thank God – or whomever it is you pray to.

Mother’s Day is especially difficult for me; mom passed away last year and although the first year without her was hard, this year is probably worse because of all the changes and drama going on in my life right now.  I really need her smile and her unending belief and faith in me that everything would be just fine. As a special tribute to my mom, I had to share my favorite memory of her.  No matter how I’m feeling, this story always puts a smile on my face.  But first…a little background.

I moved in with my folks – into the house I grew up in – about 11 years ago, mainly because their health was not good and they needed some financial help.  Dad had emphysema and COPD and was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.  I lived upstairs but I always took care of them, making sure the bills were paid,  the grocery shopping was done, and ensuring they ate and took their meds.  We had a routine and it was good – it was comfortable.

Dad passed away in 2012 and after that Mom and I became inseparable.  I knew her health was not good either, but she was a stubborn lady.  Suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and congestive heart failure did not stop her at all.  She still drove, did things around the house while I was at work, and would go up to the local sub shop to get us subs for dinner.  (To this day, I can’t go in there).  She loved Facebook and playing the slots on the computer – she said the “F Word” alot when she lost – but she would spend hours in the office just playing away.

It wasn’t until late 2014 that she took a turn for the worse – she was in and out of the hospital  during that time and into early 2015 and although she was still as stubborn as always, I knew it wouldn’t be long before I lost her.  After her third trip to the hospital in as many weeks, I finally decided to bring her home.  She was terrified of dying in a hospital like daddy did and she had begged me not to let that happen to her.  I honored her wishes and I don’t regret it for one minute.

The last few weeks were difficult – but I knew she was still in there somewhere.  One story in particular I would like to share with you because it shows her sense of humor and her incredible spunk.  Those of you who know me personally have heard this story before, but it’s my favorite and worth sharing again.  (I must insert a disclaimer here – if vulgarity bothers you, it’s probably best if you stop reading now.)

Each night I helped mom get ready for bed.  She was able to walk with my help – even though she constantly apologized for bothering me – but that was her style.  She had been wearing pull-up diapers by this time and when she was ready to go to bed, I would walk her to the bathroom help her get her pull-up off and sit her on the toilet.  One particular night as she was on the toilet, she told me to leave her in there for for awhile and she would call me when she was ready.  I did as she asked and went to the kitchen to finish the dishes.

When she called, I went back into the bathroom to finish our nightly routine.  Now…this is the spunky part…keep reading and wait for it.  That night I was wearing my favorite gray sweats and a Tim McGraw concert shirt.  As I got back to the bathroom, I held out my arms to help mom get up.  She just looked at me and kept staring at my shirt. “Mom,” I asked, “are you okay?”  Without missing a beat, she looked up at me, pointed at my shirt and said, “I bet he has a big dick.”  My mouth dropped and I busted out laughing, “I don’t know, Mom…maybe.”

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From that night on, her “wonder” about Tim McGraw is how I knew the mom I loved was still in there.  The last few days of her life she slept a lot and whenever she would wake up she would be disoriented and not know where she was.  I got in the habit of asking her a series of questions like “what year is it;” “who am I;” “who’s the president;” “when is your birthday.”  She would answer sleepily, but correctly, and the last question I would always ask her during these episodes would be, “And what does Tim McGraw have?”  Her eyes would open wide as she said, “A big dick!”

Mom passed in March of last year and I still see the look in her eyes as she said that.  She was so funny, and I miss that so much.  I still wear that shirt and think of her spunk every time I put it on.  To this day, when a Tim McGraw song comes on the radio, I know it is a message from her saying, “I love you, honey. Everything will be okay.”

 

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The Beach

A book, a beer, a towel and a chair – I have all I want. As the sun shines down on me, not a cloud in the sky, I feel the warmth of those I have lost surrounding me – protecting me. I think of my mom and dad and how much […]

via — My Journey In Pieces

Be Your Own Smurf

Ever wonder why we dream the things we dream? The last few nights I have had many vivid dreams. Just a hodgepodge of bits and pieces stuff perhaps trying to tell me something about where I’m going or what I am doing. The other night while having this series  of flashbacks I was overwhelmed, like I was watching a dozen television shows at one time trying to keep up with the storyline in each one. Before I woke up the last thing I saw was very clear.

The scene went like this:  I saw a smurf – yes a smurf -standing in front of a rainbow. The sun was shining down on him – enveloping him – and the colors of the rainbow were reflecting off this little blue person. Amongst all the beauty, this sweet little smurf was standing in the middle of the rainbow, sun shining and he was flipping the bird. It was so vivid! It was like I was standing right in front of him.

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For an explanation- and perhaps a dose of reality – I turned to my dear friend Michelle. “What do you think it means?” I asked her. Her answer was so clear and made so much sense.

“Maybe fuck what everyone else (finger) thinks.  You are gonna be happy (sunshine) and chase your dreams (rainbow). And maybe you are a smurf because you are the little one of our  group? Or because smurfs are who they are (happy smurf) (grumpy smurf) and you just wanna be who you are.”

So simple and yet so complicated.  We’re all still figuring out who we are – every day.  If you say you’re not then you’re lying to yourself.   But I’m thankful for my friends who help me find my way when I’m lost and shine a light when when I am down. They love me when I’m happy, sad, bitchy, snarky, hungry and all the smurfs rolled into one.

Whoever I am today, I know I wouldn’t be me without them.

 

Turmoil Of The Anxious — Rather sincerely, a silly young girl.

For the anxious, procrastination is a product of anxiety. Yet, it is the fuel that fires anxiety. A fire that dances wildly inside the head, ravaging the synapses of every existing neurone. So much chaos, the rational voice that says: you are worthy and there’s time to do something, anything, gets lost within it. Consumed […]

via Turmoil Of The Anxious — Rather sincerely, a silly young girl.

The Bracelet

It’s amazing the types of things that comfort us in difficult times. The day we buried mom was perhaps the worst day of my life. When I lost dad that was bad enough, but mom and I had been inseparable since dad passed and I had lost a very large piece of my heart that day. I remember standing in the chapel at the funeral home looking at her in the casket, memories of her flooding my brain as I cried, feeling so alone and wanting to just crawl in there with her. What was I going to do without her?

The funeral director called us to come together in the family room so I touched mom’s face one last time and said my final goodbye. As I tried desperately to put one foot in front of the other, I saw something out of the corner of my eye; I turned my head and laying there on the empty pew was one of those bracelets that we used to make when we were kids – you know the kind with the different colored string wound together to make what was then called a “friendship bracelet.” It was pink and black and white and was a bit big so I had to double it in order to put it on my wrist. I haven’t taken it off since.

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Why – when the chapels are cleaned daily and hers was the first service of the day – would this have been left there? Surely, someone on staff would have picked it up and thrown it away or put it in the lost and found after the final service the previous day? The answer is simple – I’ve come to believe that mom left this bracelet there for me, just so I would know she was okay. Because I had to double the bracelet, it feels as if I have mom’s arms holding me, keeping me safe. I know the day will come when I won’t need it anymore, and I am leaving that decision to fate. One morning I will wake up or I’ll be at work and look down and it will be gone. I’m not looking forward to that day because as simplistic as it seems, this bracelet has become a part of me and is a reminder that mom is still with me. It has become a “security blanket” of sorts and like a child with a pacifier, it keeps me calm.

Mom told me when I was three years old, we were in the car riding down Broad Street and all of a sudden, I threw my beloved pacifier out the window. When she asked me why, my response was “no want.” I never used a pacifier again. Perhaps the day my bracelet leaves me will be the day I “no need,” but I’ll cherish it while I have it.

Note to Younger Self

Brad Paisley is a hell of a singer/songwriter. He can take any topic and write about it in a way that will make the listener relate and think about their own life. Case in point – his song of reflection entitled “Letter to Me.” While I was working today, this particular song came on and it got me thinking about my own letter and what I would say to my younger self if I had the chance:

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1. When mom and dad get into their only fight in 47 years of marriage over a Snicker’s Bar, and mom grabs her purse and runs out – don’t worry, she WILL be back.

2. Don’t write on the wall with the red pencil you find in the end table drawer. Mom knows what you’re doing.

3. When you’re seven years old and mom tells you to pick up your toys – do it! Dad will come home to whip you with the belt – or at least scare the bejesus out of you so you pee all over the porch.

4. You are not always the good girl everyone thinks you are. Take responsibility for your mistakes.

5. Do NOT skip church and make out with your boyfriends in the Sunday School classrooms. You may fool your mom, but God sees all. (EWWWWWW)

6. Try to get along better with your brother. He’s the only one you’ll have.

7. Dad will want to go with you to buy your first bra – let him, but bring mom with you too. Yes it will be uncomfortable, but you’re his baby girl and you’re growing up. He’s proud.

8. Don’t wear that purple sparkly sweater in Junior High – you will get teased mercilessly.

9. Don’t start smoking!

10. If you go to prom in high school, go with someone you actually like.

11. On October 4, 1982, you will be intimidated by a girl in your World History class; don’t be.  Dare her to do something outrageous (like smacking the teacher on the ass for her birthday). Trust me – both your futures are worth it.

12. Don’t run away at 17 thinking you can find something better. YOU CAN’T. Realize your parents did the best with what they knew, loved you unconditionally, and you can’t get that anywhere else.

13. Tell mom and dad you love them – every day.

There are so many more things I’d want to tell my younger self – I screwed up a lot – but I think I hit the highlights.

If you could go back and time and talk to your younger self, what would you tell him or her? I’d love to hear your comments!

 

Back for a Chat

So it’s been awhile since I’ve written. I haven’t really been in the mood. After mom passed away in March, I was so lost and felt so alone. I didn’t know what to do or how I was going to live without her. Don’t get me wrong, I still have those days now and then, and probably will for the rest of my life. My mom was my rock, and other than my best friend, she was the only other person in the world who knew me inside and out. She loved me no matter what. We had been through a lot in the three years since my father’s passing and it brought us closer together.

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If it hadn’t been for my BFF these last couple of months, I know I would have lost it and I would have wound up either self-medicating or dead. I’m not as strong as people think I am, and losing my mom was the ultimate test. I’m still trying to figure out if I passed or not. In any event, I came up with some thoughts over the last couple of months about grief and love and doing what YOU need to do to get through your own process. Some will help, others you may say, “she doesn’t know what the F*** she’s talking about.” But to each his own….

1. Cry until you can’t cry anymore….and then cry some more.

2. You don’t have to be strong…be a basket case if you want to be.

3. Make a DVD of your loved one’s life – I did this for the viewing of my mom and I can’t tell you how therapeutic it was to do this. I watched it a dozen times and knew she was there with me. Also, it’s a great help if you find you have problems with suggestion #1.

4. Don’t be in such a hurry to move on and get on with life. If anyone tells you to do that, tell ‘em to bugger off.

5. Don’t feel as if you have to forget. When grieving, memories are our bridge to the other side. Think about the good times – and the bad. Remembering both keeps your grief in check and helps you remember that nobody is perfect.

6. Don’t worry if there are times you can’t remember something about your loved one; this is your mind’s way of helping you cope.

7. Don’t feel guilty for having a life and hanging out with friends. This one is very difficult for me and I must say I still have issue with it from time to time. I took care of mom until the day she died but now when I’m out with my friends or at work, there are times I still pick up the phone to call and check on her. And then it hits me. Mom always told me I needed to be with my friends, and not worry about her… some days it’s hard to follow her advice.

8. Let your friends and extended family be there for you – see suggestion # 2.

9. Talk to your loved one every day – in the car, in your room, wherever you want. A friend told me that because most cars today use Bluetooth to connect to cell phones, I can talk to my mom and people will think I’m talking on the phone…LOL. What’s funny is that I do this every morning on my way to work…I talk to mom and dad as I’m driving or stopped at a light. It brings me a sense of peace.

10. To Hell with what people think. This is YOUR grief, YOUR process and YOUR loss. If you need to lock yourself in your room or take a drive to nowhere – do it. Take the time to mourn your loss – you are not one anyone’s timetable but your own.

Grief

Grief is scary as hell…I’ve been through it twice with my folks in the last three years, and I’m here to tell you it does NOT get easier. In fact, it gets harder as we get older. When we lose a parent, we may as well be five years old; we become that emotional child thinking that our parents will live forever. And then reality sets in and we must learn how to live without them. I know they taught me well, and I hope mom and dad are sitting on a cloud in Heaven saying, “Yep, we did good.”

-SB

other side of grief

Funny for your Friday

Through the Whispering Pines

Thought I would share a little ditty my daughter sent to her best friend. She has been spending some time with her and apparently there is a problem with the plumbing. Enjoy!!

My dearest Stinkerbell,
I’m at my wits end. I have tried talking, bargaining, reasoning, flattery, everything I can think of…but your shower hates me. This morning I took great pains to make sure shower knew I was there. I was not condescending in any way. I was just as friendly as I could be. I even took great pains to point out how gentle I was being with the knobs but to no avail. Perhaps when you get home tonight the three of us can have a chat and sort this all out.
Love ya Buddy

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Did the Internet Kill Kindness and Tact for Good?

I know it’s been awhile since I have written, folks. I finished up with school, had a great party with friends and family, and I felt the need to take a writing break. But I’m back now! Something really lit a fire under me over the last couple of days (do they still say that?) and of course I had to put my two cents worth in.

Facebook is an awesome tool; I love keeping up to date with my friends and seeing their pictures and comments about the goings on in their lives. It makes me feel as if I am with them, even with those friends that are thousands of miles away. But this morning, I woke up and read an exchange that made me wonder if people really understand the power of their own words.

Like many of you, I belong to several groups on Facebook; everything from my favorite television shows to causes and couponing. One of the groups I belong to is an academic group and as I was perusing my timeline this morning, I came upon a discussion that took place last night among the members. After reading the 100+ comments – Wow! All I can say is WOW!

One member posted an innocent comment – a question really – asking if other members in the group had ever received emails offering “help” with assignments. The conversation started out pretty generic with others saying they had received similar emails, telling her to ignore them…pretty tame stuff…until I scrolled down and saw the firestorm that one individual created by saying things that made me cringe. I don’t know where it came from….this person had to be high as a kite or suffering from a serious case of idiocy. This individual was calling those involved in the conversation bitches, c**ts, and even said to “stab yourself with a double-edged sword.” WTH??? A member of another group about a television show posted a selfie and someone called her a “fat ass crack hoe” and said she “looked like she needed some dick.” What is wrong with you people???

Are you really so insecure that you have to attack people you don’t even know? Is your self-esteem so far in the toilet that you have to tear other people down? Come on people…grow up and treat people how you want to be treated. What if someone said the same things to your mother or sister or wife? Or father, or brother or husband? How would that make you feel? Is it really that difficult to be kind on line and post comments with class?

For those of you that need a lesson in online etiquette, remember the following:
• Do not post anything you would not want said to you
• There are real people on the other end of that keyboard, so remember their feelings
• If you do not agree with someone, do not respond right away. Step away and come back to it.
• There is no need for name-calling. You are supposedly an adult and should know a better way to get your point across.
• If you can’t do any of the above, then keep your comments to yourself.
I have left the aforementioned groups; mainly because I have no time for drama and cannot stand to see other people react in such a negative way to people they have never met. Makes me wonder how they treat the people in their own life.

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