Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Seeking Solace

In memory of a man who was a significant person in my life a very long time ago.
In memory of my youth, innocence, and my religion.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

We Are Moving (Again)

In 14 days, we are moving into what was my mother's house in Washington, where we will live with my father. We will also get another round of scan results.
Honestly, I can’t figure out what I want to write about. I feel numb with exhaustion.
The move wasn’t an easy decision. There were so many different layers to our choice. I still can’t exactly put into words the myriad of emotions I have had about it, back and forth, over the last six months.
I still find myself shocked over and over again at how life is so unpredictable, for better or worse.
We’d appreciate your thoughts and good vibes for the next two weeks.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

My Dog Peed on My Mother’s Obituary

At a time when we were unaware, Rocco chose a plastic bin of mine on the floor to lift his leg over and urinate on. He is a well trained dog and this was unexpected–so unexpected, he kept his secret for what might have been an entire day or two. The bin was one of several in a plastic storage unit that contained every note, card, letter, photo, and sentimental piece of paper (or pipecleaner) I had saved since I was in the third grade. So Rocco chose to not only urinate inside the house, he selected the only spot that could desicrate my emotional well being. (Other than my blankies).
At the top of the pile in the bin was my mother’s obituary. It appears the obituary took the first hit. Urine spilled across the obit and soaked into the edges of everything else stacked below it. A small pool formed in the corner and slowly expanded for the amount of time it took for me to notice. When I did, some items were still damp, while others were completely dry. They all had the unbearable stench that made me plug my nose.
I am positive that I was making the same exact sour faced expression that my mom always did. You’d have to ask Dan, who witnessed my discovery, but it really is one of those effortless abilities from sharing her genes.
Then fifteen minutes later, after I had inspected everything and stacked the bins safely lifted on top of Raine’s play table, I turned around to the sound of all of the bins crashing to the floor with everything inside of them spilling out. All of my f*ing precious s*it that wasn’t peed on, that I had carefully spent weeks organizing into g*d*mn f*ing chronological order, from my first f*ing baby photo until this recent f*ing laminated s*itty piece of paper that meant my mother was f*ing dead—
You get the idea. It wasn’t “Oh no! My kid spilled my glass of wine,” or “Dang, I locked my keys in the car again!” It was a torturous built-up reaction of anger that had been deep within me for months.
It was EPIC.

But it was all in my head. I didn’t dare let it out completely! To myself, I cursed every curse word in every combination I could think of, grabbed at the collection of matte, gloss, cardstock, newspaper, and notebook paper (and pipe cleaner) and threw them in heaps into the bins, carried each one upstairs stomping and sweating, to a closet in my office, where I slammed the door when I was done and yelled in a loud whisper at my mom for not being alive.
I marched into the dining room and opened a bottle of black label, and took a giant swig of it. Then I stomped across the house to the side door and burst outside, slamming the door behind me, OF COURSE.
I walked down the driveway and stopped, standing and looking up at the night sky with my arms crossed. I was fuming. But what could I do?

The sky is different in Illinois than it is in Oregon. There are no grandeous mountains here, nor the canopy of trees–cypress, fir, sequoia, pine, or cottonwood–Everything that I loved. Without those visual cues, the sky looks like it is closer, hovering at a shorter distance above me than I had experienced before. In this way, it is comforting. I really need that sensation–that the incredible expanse, with its myriad stars and planets and galaxies, vast and beyond comprehension, unknowable--—that I am nearer to thee. I take solace in moments of feeling that I am just a single speck of humanity, and having my tiny moment in the great infinity to live a life. I am made of the same dust and spark as everyone else, with a connection to them, I feel. I am nearer more than I am apart, even in these moments when the isolation of what I feel is so staggering. Who is to say that our connection and being nearer ends when we die? Even if it does, I would still give everything inside me to get what I get. It is small, but it is enough. Anger and all.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Along Came a 40th Birthday (Part 2)

We were all about geography during travel time

I can not even begin to describe how fortunate Dan and I are for everything we have–our love for one another above all–and how special the celebration was. We don’t take a single day for granted.

The trip back to Oregon proved to be a little emotional for me but really great time together as a family. Even if I lost the photos–I’d remember every detail of them and more for the rest of my days –the little cottage in Lake Oswego, the smell of the forest, the crashing waves on the coast, seeing Dan at Bandon Dunes, playing with Raine, and the generosity of our friends.
An Oregon Easter || Blue Star Donuts || Carmen's 40th!

Spa day with Mel || Kittens in Eugene || Heritage Distillery

Bandon Dunes

Monday, May 1, 2017

Along Came a 40th Birthday (Part 1)

It felt like an outrageous accomplishment. It felt like the summit of Mt. Everest.
And it also felt normal.
We made it to his 40th birthday and life with cancer has become so normal to us, I was distracted by daily non-cancer minutia and completely forgot to plan something.
While I was distracted, Dan planned his trip to Oregon. He always hoped to celebrate his 40th by traveling to the beautiful southern coast of Oregon to visit Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, consistently rated among the top golf courses in the nation. He set up plane flights, a rental car, air b&b’s for Lake Oswego and Bandon, reserved a golf cart–got a doctor’s note so he could have one–and penned a daily schedule for the entire trip, April 10th-18th.
With only 3 weeks to go, I realized his actual birthday (April 8th) was occuring while we were here in Illinois. Hail Mary! I threw together a 3-event-celebration for the 8th and invited people on Facebook.

After 12 years, having family join in on a birthday party is pretty cool!
Event 1 – 30 family, friends, and kids stopped by for lunch or beers at Peoria Brewing Company, where I rented a golf simulator, we had cake and ice cream, and drank lots of beer.

Carrot Cake Fire Hazard! Raine and Marlena, Cupcakes by Char
Jim and Char || Aunt Pat, Natalie, Aunt Mary || Doug || Tom and Rachel
We met with friends for cocktails and appetizers at Jonah’s Oyster Bar and ended up with a group of four hilarious couples plus my dad at the Seafood House for dinner. There also was an impromptu trip to 8-Bit after dinner, with just a few of us trying to bravely stay out past 10:00 p.m. The best part was that Dan preferred not to know what I was planning, so he was actually surprised all day long.

Out to dinner with Nick, Meg, Corey, Kate, my father, Suzy and John (where are they?)