Category Archives: Me

A Voice From the Dust

There has been silence here.  Dust has settled and I have been very sporadic in my visits to others (blog-wise).  One of my reasons was March.  I couldn’t face it at all.  It was when we left for Scotland a year ago, and I have been pining for it off and on ever since.  I didn’t think I would miss the familiarity of it since I have become so embedded here.

But I do.

Part of it is my Gran though.  But if I go back she won’t be there anyway.  Yet another reason March was tough to handle.  It gave me my perspective on life though.  I felt like I had become so consumed in making sure I was caught up on others’ lives that I had come to love so dearly, that I was ignoring my real life going on right in front of me.

But how do you say goodbye to something you have been doing diligently for 4 years?  You can’t.

I love writing.  I think about each word I use, and, as a result, some posts have seriously taken a lot of of me.  Blogging and keeping up with the likes isn’t easy.  I’m definitely not turning my back on it.  I just need/needed to refocus.  I should have left a note.  I should have called.  I should have done something!

And strangely, my husband has missed my writing.  Once, when I was still actively blogging, he even remarked, “I see less of you, but so much more of you.”  But even with the prodding, all I could think about was how I felt compelled to blog, but not because I wanted to,  because I felt I had to, and that’s when I realised I had come to the point of doing it for the wrong reasons.

But something else has taken my attention a little.  Something little just now, and maybe not so little in the future.

I have been staring at a family photo on our entryway wall, and much like a scene from Back to the Future, I felt like someone was missing.  If I’m being honest, I’ve felt that way for almost a year, right before we bought the Dodge Caravan (the ’92 Ford Explorer was such a money pit anyway, but still).

I am currently 14 weeks pregnant and doing very well.  My to-be-determined little one is due the last week of October, which, if I am completely honest, feels like a lifetime away.  But.  But!  This is the first pregnancy where I can actually say I am having the baby the same year!

So, although life isn’t different, it is just a little.

Metamorphosis

What an ogre I was.  The Yuck had left me unyielding and unshifting, someone I’m not.  All since July.

I wasn’t letting the kids be kids.  Too much structure.  Too much control.  Order. Quiet.  Little statues to adorn the sides of my fireplace.  I have chips and a huge dent in the drywall from where my rage got the better of me and I threw a Little People garage towards the safety gate and missed.  A monument to a person I hope is long gone.  Someone I hope is fixed because I decided to change a few things.

And I have much to be thankful for: My health, my home, my family, my friends.  I have been feeling and doing much! better since I started eating better.  I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m on a diet, because I’m not.  We never really had cakes and biscuits in the house before, and now we have Costco 3-packs of Carr’s (made in Scotland, no less!) Ginger and Lemon Cremes.  Two is a serving.  I know!  Two!  And, I’ve lost weight to boot.  Eight pounds in 3 weeks.  But I swear I’m not dieting.  No, really.  All I have been doing is adhering to serving sizes on the back of the box.  It’s easy for the most part —  except when it comes to pasta.  Two ounces is a serving?  Really?!  I’d be better off buying a Gerber Stage 3 pasta dinner, there’d be more in that tiny jar, let me tell you.  I think Barilla is taking the Micky.  I mean, come on!  Two ounces?  You know they’re sitting in their cushy wee corporate offices with half a pound of farfalle between two of them, laughing till somebody snorts a hunk of it down their nose.

No, but I’m not bitter.  Yep, I’m not.

Who knew?  I’d be feeling dumpy and gloomy, so I’d eat chocolate.  But all that would do is eventually make me feel worse.  So then I’d eat more sugar, and the sinking feelings still weren’t going away. . . I was going around in a circle.  And becoming a circle!

It’s started a revolution.

So.  I’ve decided.  I’m tired of hearing it, so I’m just going to live.

Enjoy being young, you have fit legs, youth is wasted on the young.
Enjoy dating, it’s all serious business and responsibility after you get married.
Enjoy just the two of you, everything changes when you have children.
Enjoy when they’re babies, they grow so fast.
Enjoy them when they’re throwing fits and imploding, they’ll be teenagers soon.
Enjoy being in your 30’s/40’s, don’t take life so seriously now.
Enjoy your grandkids, you can hand them back.
Enjoy retirement.
Enjoy the young, they have fit legs.  Youth is wasted on the young.

I’m stopping it all.  I’m dropping out of the cycle.  Forget it.  I’m living for myself.  I keep hearing “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalms 127:3) or thinking about how Christ always went to the children first and blessed them.  Or how we should become like little children. I’m letting the kids be kids and enjoying what we have.  Lining up dining chairs and making trains for hours until we get tired of it.  I’m having water fights and making homemade playdough.  They’re eating off of the ‘good’ grown-up plates and drinking from proper glasses that have the potential to smash, but I don’t care so much, because every day is a special occasion.  They’re sitting and laughing with me and getting to know their mother.

Getting to also know she has a sick sense of humour.

I’m playing hide and seek, but not in a cute-come-find-me kinda way.  In the he-can’t-find-me-and-starts-freaking-out way.  Sure, they’ll have abandonment issues and will likely pay thousands to retreive their sanity, but for now, it’s nice to feel wanted.

One of my new favourite things to do is have Ian lie on the carpet and drop cashews into his mouth.  We laugh together when one slides right in.  We giggle and squirm when one bounces off of his teeth or slides down his neck.

We’re all learning and growing, and I couldn’t be happier.

A Man’s A Man For A’ That

Today is not technically a holiday in Scotland, but a night of celebration, and therefore a National Day where we commemorate the life of our beloved poet, song-writer (and flagrant womaniser), Robert Burns.  This year also happens to be the 250th anniversary of the birth of ‘The Bard’.

robert-burnsThe day is celebrated with Burns Suppers around the world, and is in fact, and still more widely observed than the official national day of Scotland, St. Andrew’s Day (or the proposed North American celebration Tartan Day).  Although the date of the original Burns Night was set on 18th July, the date of his death, and was later changed to 25th January, it’s amazing to think that the format of Burns Suppers has not changed since his untimely death in 1796 at the age of 37.

No doubts about it, tartan and kilts abound this night.  It’s a fiercely patriotic night, and very entertaining.  If there’s one thing you should know about the Scots: We know how to throw a good party.

The evening begins with a general welcome from the host and announcements followed with the Selkirk Grace.

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.

The supper then starts with a Scottish soup, either as Scotch Broth or potato soup (shock, horror) or Cock-a-Leekie is served.

Everyone then stands for the main course where a bagpiper heralds in the entrance of the haggis which is presented on a large serving dish usually brought in by one of the cooks (it’s all taken very seriously at this point and almost feels like a regal affair), where it is then brought to the host’s table ushered by the piper.  An appointed reciter or the host then gives Robert’s famous Address to a Haggis and the haggis is cut open with one deep cut from end to end. The haggis is served with ‘neeps and tatties’ — Swede, or yellow turnip and (mashed) potatoes shortly after the haggis is presented.

A guest then gives a short speech called the Immortal Memory, remembering some aspects of Burns’ life or poetry.  This is usually either light-hearted, intensely serious or a bit of both. The speaker should always prepare a speech with his audience in mind, since above all, the Burns’ supper should be entertaining.

Everyone then drinks a toast to Robert Burns.

After dinner, another speaker stands and gives a Toast to the Lassies. This was originally a short speech given by a male guest in thanks to those women who had prepared the meal.  However these days it is much more wide ranging, and generally covers the male speaker’s view on women.  It is normally amusing but should never be offensive, particularly bearing in mind that it will be followed by a reply from the “lassies” concerned.  The men drink a toast to the women’s health.

When I was around 18 or 19, I gave the Reply to the Toast to the Lassies.  Much the same as the mens’ toast, but can also include a satirical rebuttal to anything the other has said.  I don’t remember much of what I did say, but what I do recall is one joke:

“How do you tell the difference between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day?  Well, they’re pretty much the same, except with Father’s Day, you won’t spend so much.”

If any other toasts are called upon, this is when it generally happens.

After the speeches, there’s usually a lot of singing and recital of some of Burns’ literary work.  One of my all-time favourites that I first heard from my teacher in primary school was Tam O’Shanter.  I even recall that we made a huge freeze that we displayed on our classroom wall depicting the story.

After, there may be Scottish dancing, like a Ceilidh, if time and venue permits, although this isn’t a traditional part of the evening, but still very much accepted.  Finally the host winds the night up, calling upon one of the guests to give the vote of thanks, after which everyone is asked to stand, join hands, and sing another of his well-known songs, Auld Lang Syne which brings the evening to a close.

Address to a Haggis, with some translation, thanks to wikipedia:

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,           sonsie = cheeky
Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,          aboon = above
Painch, tripe, or thairm:                         painch = stomach, thairm = intestine
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,              hurdies = hips
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o’ need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dicht, dicht=wipe, here w/the idea of sharpening
An’ cut you up wi’ ready slicht,          slicht = skill
Trenching your gushing entrails bricht,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sicht,
Warm-reekin, rich!                                   reeking = steaming

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an’ strive:
Deil tak the hindmaist! on they drive,   deil = devil
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve,  wall’d=swollen, kytes=bellies, belyve=soon
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,  rive = tear, i.e. burst
“Bethankit” hums.

Is there that o’re his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,                      olio = olive oil, staw = make sick
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi’ perfect scunner,                                    scunner = repugnance
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;                                  nieve = fist, nit = louse’s egg, i.e. tiny
Thro’ bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his wallie nieve a blade                 wallie = mighty, nieve = fist
He’ll mak it whistle;
An’ legs an’ arms, an’ heads will sned,     sned = cut off
Like taps o’ thristle.                                      thristle = thistle

Ye Pow’rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinkin ware     skinkin ware = watery soup
That jaups in luggies;     jaups = slops about, luggies = two-handled bowls
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer,
Gie her a haggis!

Burns was one of the very few who wrote in the Scots tongue.

Because It Wouldn’t All Fit On A Postcard . . .

I can’t hardly believe it’s been so long since I last posted.  What is wrong with me?!  It’s certainly not a lack of sugar.  Christmas isn’t even here yet, and I can hear myself getting fatter.  I am sorry I have been absent, almost despondent from blogging.  I always have something to say, especially lately, where none of it seemed to have any type of uplifting tone to it.  I think that was part of my issue, that I felt all I was doing was unloading and my funny, happy side wasn’t showing through.  But, I’m happy to say I am done with the testing and prodding, for now at least.  But to be honest, I am no further forward than I was before I started at the end of October.

Everything came back normal, even the DHEA (hormone) level where the high normal level is 228, where in November, I was a shocking 1310.  I’m now within normal levels.  I also got my results back today from a sleep test I performed on the comfort of my new lovely mattress.  Sleep test, pah!  That’s a joke!  I have to have quiet, dark, and covers up to my chin to sleep.  And, apparently, nothing distracting me. Needless to say, I finally fell asleep from sheer exhaustion with the bloody Oxometer clamped to my left index finger.  After I hid the flashy lights screen under my pillow, all I could do was concentrate on the fact that it was boring a hole into my nail bed.  I woke constantly, I don’t even recall sleeping much — if at all — all that well.  I even dreamed I ripped the bloody thing off my finger and fell back asleep.  I would rather have a newborn wake me up every two hours than to have to do that again. The clamp was so tight that when I removed it the next morning (just before six, I might add), it had left a bright white mark on my nail bed and the skin was raw around it.  I could have told them I didn’t have sleep apnea, all I needed was a new mattress.  Oh, how I love the new memory foam with gel layer mattress.  I am sleeping much better and no longer leaning into the middle of the bed, consequently waking with aching shoulders and a grumpy disposition.

I still haven’t made it to the Psychologist’s office, one of these weeks I might talk myself into it.  Maybe if she lets me take copious notes and if I can snap a pic with her — you know, for blogging’s sake — I might just do it.  You can’t pass up the opportunity of a lifetime of going to a psychologist and not take notes, share insights and garner general blog fodder . . .

A lot has been going on with us, generally just day-to-day things, but enough to keep us busy, especially this time of year.  The biggest thorn, skelf (sliver) or whathaveyou in my side is the bunk beds.  I wish I had known how pathetically bad Oa.k Ex.press was.  Wow, they are pretty awful on the Customer Suckage scale.  They promised a replacement section of the broken headboard for the top half of the bunk beds — on expedited delivery no less! And it took a day longer than the original items to arrive.  Luckily they are delivering the replacement parts for free, but we don’t have a time frame, which is both a good and bad thing.  We don’t have the written warranty which should have come with it, or the treatment for the wood upkeep AND! the casters for the bottom bunk bed (movable) were non-existent.

img_2414Since we were headed to Missoula today anyway, we took a jaunt into their showroom again, hoping to just pick it up and get it all over with.  We pulled up to the loading dock and Bryan trudged through the foot-deep snow to their bay door.  No bell and no signs of life.  When I walked in the front door and said we were there to pick up replacement parts and mentioned we’d stopped at the loading dock, he said, “Oh, he’s at lunch.”  This is also the same no-show warehouse guy that refused to stay past 7 o’clock, even though my husband didn’t get off work until 6 and had to drive with a bad storm blowing in and barely made it there just before quarter past seven.  He left no notes, nothing saying anything was damaged and the floor guys gave Bryan all the boxed pieces and sent him on his way.

So.  Anyway, today, I said:
“I’m just disappointed with it all.  We were promised expedited delivery and it arrived a day later than the first shipment . . .”  “Oh, sorry about that” he said, not really looking at me.

At this point, Bryan joined me.

“This is our first truck delivery since the 13th” he continued.
“No it’s not!” Bryan said defiantly, “I talked with one of the guys here the other day and they told me the parts weren’t on a shipment that day, but they’d be on the next one.  It’s not the only delivery you’ve had.”
“Well, we get trucks here all the time . . .” he replied, backtracking and inadvertently making himself look really bad.

To cut a long story short, he wouldn’t give us the parts because we didn’t bring the other faulty parts with us.  He wanted a clean swap-out.  He still wouldn’t give them to us, even though the delivery truck could have came and got them from us tomorrow.  I am thisclose to just packing it all in and getting our money back.  I love the bunk beds, but eight hundred dollars can be spent elsewhere where they actually take care of their customers.  We’ve pretty much concluded that if anything is missing or damaged from this shipment, we will send it all back.  It’s not worth the grief and hassle.  I know my little Ian will be heart broken, but I’d rather be fully satisfied than have that ‘uck’ feeling inside.  The first two guys we dealt with were really nice.  This one was not.  Before we had even stepped back out into the bitter, snowy cold this morning, Bryan had formulated a plan to write a lengthy letter to their corporate office and complain about their quality systems and quality control.  You’d never guess he was a scientist for one second!

img_2424And life goes on.  Cameron continues to be Cameron: Cute one minute and up to something the next.  His vocabulary is expanding and he can now tell me when Ian is up to something, it’s proving quite handy.  It’s hilarious to watch Ian’s face when Cameron runs and tells me something.

“Iannotnice!”
“Ian hit!”

They love each other though, and it’s beautiful to watch Cameron want to be just like his brother.  He adores him so much.

img_2439As for me, you know, all-in-all, I’m doing great.  I’m happy and things are going really well for me.  I still can’t explain the hair loss and the lack of occasional appetite, but I think stress plays a major roll in that.

And, in a non-existent segue kinda way, even after all these years, it still surprises me when people ask me where I’m from.  A friend’s aunt asked me today and then responded, “I could sit and listen to you talk for days . . .”  I remarked, “that’s what he used to say, now he just tells me to shut up!”

These next few days, I’ll definitely be putting a major emphasis on the home.  A good friend of mine from when I was a teenager (i.e. bloody donkeys ago) had a ritual of deep cleaning her entire home for New Year’s.  Since I’ve gotten older, I think that’s a pretty decent thing to do, so I am reorganising and purging like a mad woman.  It’s such a great feeling.  I for one — and I think I can speak for many of us — will not be sad to see the back of 2008.  Wow, what an incredible amount of menoosha happened this year.

But before I properly herald in the New Year, we still need to get those bunk beds sorted.  Watch this space.

Gaining Some Headway

I can physically feel my stress levels plummet since Thursday.  I loved the Internal Medicine doctor!  Wow, talk about thorough!  I spent quite a bit of time with him and then another twenty minutes with his nurse.  She even took the time to recommend some doctors for me, you know, since my Gyne up and died the end of October.  He ordered a lot more blood work to be done.  He’s having my DHEA levels check again and they’re checking my liver and kidney functions, total blood count, urinalysis and quite a few others — they’re even testing me for pregnancy. I could’ve told them that one!  They needn’t have bothered wasting their time doing that!

I really have to say though, I was impressed by how in-depth he got with my medical history.  I casually mentioned I had had a colonoscopy and endoscopy about six-and-a-half/seven years ago and he filled out the paperwork to request those records too.  He was impressed with my list and we spoke about each symptom individually.  He checked my hairline, noted the hair loss, reassured me it was scattered and imagines my hair will be regrown in 6 months.  I really hope so.

But, I’m no longer worrying about as much.  I will admit, I don’t like washing and styling my hair like I used to, but when he told me he doesn’t think I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), I breathed a sigh of relief.  He concluded my fertility had been kick started in September of 2003 and how I hadn’t struggled getting pregnant with Cameron.  It’s also clear it’s not PCOS because my glucose and insulin levels are normal.  He wants to hold off sending me to the Endocrinologist to see what kind of outcome we get with the further blood tests.  This much we know for sure from the last series of tests:  It’s definitely not my thyroid.

From what I told him with my history of depression with Ian, he said everything I am experiencing could be a mild form of depression, owing to the fact that I can still function, whereas before, functioning with even an option.  It was then he talked about referring me to a Psychiatrist for a consultation.  That’s a first.  Then again, it almost seems the quintessential American thing to do, and you really haven’t lived until you’ve sat in ‘the comfy chair’, have you?

One thing he did tell me about that does concern me though is when someone is first put on anti-depressants they’re on for a short period of time and weaned off.  The second time, his recommendation is 12-15 months and the third time?  They’re on for life.  That is depressing in and of itself!  I don’t feel at this point like I would depend on the medication to function, I do fine all by myself.  I do have those niggling (or nagging) feelings that float past every-so-often, but for the most part, I can deal with it and I move on.  It makes sense that that is what it is, I should have realised before now.  If that’s what it is, of course.
So what now?  I just sit and wait for the results and move on from there.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

On a side note, I invited friends over for an impromptu visit last night.  They have three girls, one of which is just a few months older than Cameron.  I knew it would be great company for the boys and to be quite honest, we don’t invite friends over quite as much as we’d like (or should).

So anyway, I was checking the bathroom for toilet paper (as you do), and as I was coming out, Ian ran at me full blast gasping to get his words out:

“Mummy, the paper got on the fire and it floated off and got on the carpet and it’s STILL ON FIRE!”

After the nanosecond it took for what he’d just squawk at me sunk in, I ran to the kitchen/dining area where the floor changes from laminate tile to carpet and saw burning embers smoldering my carpet.  At least it wasn’t engulfed like my imagination thought!  I grabbed some paper and wafted off the offending charred paper and viewed the damage.  Not AS bad as it could have been, but enough to raise my stress level.  t.  There’s nothing like the smell of burning carpet to say “welcome, come put your feet up and relax.”

A friend had bought me a vanilla and caramel Yankee Candle for my birthday and I took the liberty of lighting it.  It could have been worse, a lot worse and I suppose I should be grateful for that, but good grief, you teach your boys not to touch a gas stove and you assume that same thinking would be applied to an open flame.  If I am the poster child mother for these types of shenanigans and tomfoolery, so be it.

A Thursday Thirteen in My Absence

Today, at precisely 10 o’clock (if no-one in front of me is late, banjaxing the whole thing up), I will be sitting in a waiting room, ready to see an Internal Medicine doctor.

Almost 2 weeks ago, I sat on the phone in my bedroom, staring into a blackened monitor and hoping for a positive answer.

“…I just wanted to check and see if you’ve received my partial medical records from the Utah by fax.”

She told me they had and the doctor was reviewing them, but since it had been a few days since they had received them, she probably needed more information before we can progress and set up an appointment.

I tried to stifle my emotions surging up my throat.  A month of undiagnosis has left me feeling anxious and determined for an outcome — some sort of closure.  Anything to help me move on and finally get better.  I have plans, plans for my future, and I don’t want hair loss and unexplained anxiety to wave their large shadow over them.

“Is it the same for all new patients–?”

That was it, I couldn’t finish my sentence.  Before I had a chance to, she was answering and I got a response to a question I never really meant to ask.  I broke down and cried, and as I tried to regain some sort of composure by slow breathing and concentrating on the remainder of my question, she sat in silence patiently waiting for me.

I really was much more diplomatic, but I wanted to know, did I have to wait till the end of the line, while other “not new” patients got first dibs on scheduling?

She apologised and empathised with me, and told me honestly that the schedule was jam-packed and there was absolutely no wiggle room at all.  In the end, she knew I wanted immediate help and recommended a very good doctor for me, told me to let them worry about “that stuff, and let us deal with the endocrinology.”  So that is where I am with my list of symptoms and wrought memorisation of different aspects of how I am feeling.

For this list, I would like to thank ExpatMum and JoBeaufoix.  A lot of my complaints are the same as JoBeaufoix’s.  To show to myself that I have nothing else to hide, here is my list:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Fuzzy head feeling
  • Hair loss
  • Exhaustion
  • Lack of appetite
  • Insatiable appetite
  • Late menstrual cycles (D34-46, instead of D29)
  • Loss of libido
  • Hyperventilation
  • Mood swings
  • Unexplained anxiety
  • Surges of anger
  • Broken sleep patterns
  • Crying easily
  • Tension
  • Irritability

When I sit and think about it, I am grateful for this cluster of the Blogosphere that I have grown to love, and who so obviously loves me back for who I am.  I really couldn’t thank you all enough.  These past few weeks have been hard for me.  I feel like I have been absent from every aspect of my life.  I do what I can to get through the day and leave the rest till tomorrow.  I hope by taking steps forward, that I can get back to doing what I love best: Enjoying life.  Thank you all for being patient with me, I haven’t written or read much, and I really miss all of you.

So without further ado, here is my Thursday Thirteen:

Forget hate, envy, deceitfulness and jealousy, here are Thirteen of the Worst Feelings in the World:

1.  Chopping jalapenos wearing latex gloves and later, removing contacts only to find you nicked the gloves with your knife
2.  Discovering there’s no TP when it’s too late
3.  Breaking out some sweet dance moves on a newly-buffered stage in front of a large-ish crowd, slipping and landing on your behind, and listening to them all laugh
4.  Having your slip fall down during a wedding reception
5.  Slamming the car door shut just as you realise your keys are inside
6.  Making a sounds-like self-depreciating joke with your boss’s boss in the room, and realising his son has the condition you just mentioned and inadvertently made fun of
7.  Watching your spouse cry over hurt someone else caused him
8.  Writing out a long, well-thought-out, heartfelt, nay — INSPIRED comment only to have it not publish and you’re left having to paraphrase mangled and spewed out random words in a small attempt to salvage anything you once wrote.  You now feel Server malice and resentment that technology has left you feeling stolen of your epiphany.
9.  Waking up an hour earlier than your alarm, looking at it thinking you’re late for high school, rush getting dressed and out the door and down to the bus stop.  Wondering where all the buses are.  Getting on the not-crowed-bus for 15 minutes and walking to school the further 15 minutes and only realising you’re (still, at this point) AN HOUR EARLY for school when an old dear at the corner shop across the street asks you why you’re there “at this time of the morning”.  Then, she takes you to her place in a high flat right across from the school gates, and you sit at the window holding a biscuit and a book of the Queen she randomly handed you, and you don’t have the guts to tell her you’re not really Protestant.  And then you watch all your school mates filter up the stairs outside the gates and you feel guilty for leaving her cos all she wanted was a bit of company
10.  Making a passing comment about how funny the granny on the dance floor wearing all white and dancing emblazoned by the black light is to the yummy boy whose lap you’re sitting on who’s sitting the self-determined requisite arm’s length away, only to have him tell you that’s HIS granny
11.  Running after a bus in the pouring rain at full speed with an art portfolio under your arm and having the bus driver shrug his shoulders at you when you KNOW he could easily stop and the rest of the bus is staring at you
12.  Straddling the bathtub and the toilet seat at age 9 about to step in, when your BROTHER’S 16-year-old FRIEND opens the bathroom door and stops and stares and you stand there in all your glory feeling helpless and stuck in an unforgiving time warp
13.  Having a friend’s sister’s friend ask her who that “boy she’s with is” and it’s you, and you’re fifteen

Fractured

How?  How do you transition from the death of a loved one, celebrate the beginning of new lives together two days after that, and then ultimately lay to rest a great man four days later?  Such a myriad of emotion all rooted in one cause: Love.  I went through, and am still going through innumerable emotions.  I couldn’t sleep the night preceding Bryan’s grandfather’s death.  I stayed up until 01:40 not really wanting to go to bed, sensing something from deep within.  I eventually relented and slid into bed, completely uncomfortable and unable to fully relax.  Thirty minutes later, he was gone.  Harried footsteps alerted my brother-in-law downstairs (where we all were too), and he quietly gathered his siblings.

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Two days later, I am standing outside the place where he is to be married, knowing grandpa could full-well be in attendance.  In fact, it would have been the only way he could have attended, and I think he knew that.  Despite the quiet solemnity of the days before, and the further planning and organising needed, the family bore up amazingly well.  There wasn’t any sadness looming over the wedding at all, it was completely a happy occasion.

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The funeral was beautiful, his casket something he might have fashioned by his own hands himself.  Bryan had organised a local piper to be there to play a short melody of Danny Boy and Amazing Grace as he approached the graveside.  He paused for the military recognition and then walked off into the distance playing a beautiful song, Coming Home.

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Coming home myself, I fully planned to walk back in to life, to record my thoughts as they occurred, and catch up with dear friends.  I didn’t know it at the time, but I needed time for myself.  The day after Bryan’s grandpa died and incidentally, the day before the wedding, I went to my former OB/GYN and spoke to an associate there.  I explained how I felt, what changes I had noted in myself emotionally and physically, and how although I didn’t feel unwell, I certainly knew something wasn’t quite right.  She scheduled blood work to be performed, one test being duplicated from my previous blood work, and ordered more than my other visit to the CNM here in Montana.  I had my TSH, T3 and T4 levels checked (all thyroid), my glucose, iron and insulin levels and a few others.

I had felt disappointed and frustrated as I explained my concerns with the nurse midwife (I had to see her, remember my doctor died the night before?  Yeah.) and I was met with, “you need to take time each morning and write daily affirmations on your mirror.”  That’s not what I needed to hear.  In fact, I felt like she wasn’t listening at all.  Although I felt discouraged, I knew I didn’t have to settle for a half-diagnosis; to be told I was fine and sent on my merry way, so I took my health into my own hands and sought out the second opinion.  I have since been referred to an Endocrinologist and am trying to glean as much information about the three available doctors here in the area that I can.

I didn’t realise how heavily everything was weighing on my mind and took the three days I would have been blogging last week to just take time for myself.  I’ve used the word broken before, but that’s how I’ve felt.  I’m not quite my whole self, but I am definitely headed in the right direction.

And as for death and the transition of life, it is part and parcel of life and I accepted that a very long time ago.  What has been most difficult for me is coming to terms with loved ones dying.  It is never easy whether someone is taken from us suddenly or an illness is drawn out — it’s difficult to see people you love go through it and know there is little you can do, if anything.  All you can do is love.

If I have learned anything this week, is it that love really does — and should — encompass life, and that the support and tenderness of those close to us should be magnified.