Still alive. Still in shock processing Dad's unexpected death in August.
One foot in front of the other. One day at a time. So much to say and no words to say.
I miss Dad so much.
Still alive. Still in shock processing Dad's unexpected death in August.
One foot in front of the other. One day at a time. So much to say and no words to say.
I miss Dad so much.
Can't recall the precise moment it happened. And maybe it was just a culmination of too many moments that made me realize I wasn't happy with the direction in which I was headed.
Regardless of the reason, several weeks ago I cut back on the downward spiral of emotional eating. It had gotten really bad, to the point of not even being hungry and eating anyway. Eating the wrong junk...I wouldn't even call it food...and drinking the wrong kind of liquids.
Add to that still getting used to a new schedule with mostly early morning wake ups which kill me every day (not really but it feels like it) and sleepworking thru the majority of my day.
And added to that, feeling really really crappy, run down, ouchy and mostly exhausted.
Then one day I put 1 + 1 + 1 together and decided "Holy shit, you'd better get your act together".
So 9:30 became my new bedtime. Not easy for a night owl. Then I started reading. Not online reading but actual hold-a-book-in-your-hands reading. Which made it easier to fall asleep. Which made getting thru my day a bit easier. Which gave me the strength to ease back on the junk food. And stop having soda at home. And drinking lots more water. And having more time to play fetch with Fatso.
Not online as much as I used to be, but something's gotta give, right? :-)
Also not hitting 100% on all cylinders yet, but doing way better than I'd hoped.
Better is good. So are books, sleep, water and cuddly puppy dogs named Fatso.
Books I'm currently reading :
What are you reading that inspires you, gives you hope and is impossible to put down?
...we all cope with it in our own unique way. Some ways healthy. Some ways not.
Monday August 3rd was the last time I helped Mom to the bathroom. Normally a 10-15 minute act took over 90 minutes. She forgot how to get out of bed. Forgot how to use her limbs. Was confused. Was in pain. It took every last ounce of strength I had (with Casey's help) to manuever Mom into Dad's walker seat, help her into the bathroom then help her back out.
Once she was settled back into bed, she asked me to take her home. I promised I would. (And we will). Mom said she had a favor to ask. As she motioned for me to lean in closer, she said "When things change and you know they will, I want you to take care of yourself. I want you to put yourself first and do what makes YOU happy. I want you to have fun and travel and be good to yourself."
So that's what I've been doing for the past month.
I've slept late every chance I've had. Visited CO. Poured my heart out to close friends. Spruced up my wardrobe with vibrant colors. Bought books I've wanted to read. Bought not one but two pair of ASICS Gel Kayano 22. Bought fragrance that didn't have a memory attached. Ditched the cane I've been using (and hated) for this Storm Trooperish gizmo (in white) that has made me all sorts of happy and has allowed me to walk better, farther, faster and safer AND has improved my balance to where I can walk unassisted in some places. (Not all places, that's a work in progress. Take that, Anxiety Disorder). Booked overdue Dr's appts. Dentist appts. Washed my car. Cleaned out my closets. Cried when I needed to cry. Cuddled with Fatso at every opportunity. Smiled more.
Not all of my coping methods were positive. There was that 3 week span when I drank enough Coke and ate enough junk food to add 5 unwanted pounds. But that's come and gone and I'm no longer eating my feelings. For the most part. (Talking to you Famous Amos Chocolate Chip cookies.)
Not as bad as turning to drugs or booze I kept telling myself. Which I'd never do in the first place so why even say it, ya know?
It's been said that money can't buy happiness. I feel to a certain extent, it can. Many of my purchases have made me wildly happy and content. Several have improved my quality of life and improved my health. It feels good to take care of me and say yes instead of always saying no.
Thanks for speaking up, Mom. I appreciate the effort it took to share your last moment of clarity with me and I'll remember your message for the rest of my life.
I love you, a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.
19 months ago to the day, I moved back home to start the next chapter of my life. I swore I was going to keep a journal. I didn't. I should have. Things I saw, learned and felt from myself, family, friends & a couple of so-not-friends have changed me for the best. Best way to sum it up? Follow your heart. Each & every time, follow your heart.
Goodbye my precious Mommy. It was an honor to be your daughter, caregiver, confidante, sidekick and friend. I'll love you the rest of my life.
Almost but not quite a year since I last posted.
Some things remain the same.
Caring for Mom with massive amounts of help from Dad and my Family
Grateful for my Fruitstand transfer
Enjoying every day with Fatso von Watso Don Corleone Carrigan the First
Marvel at how patient and tolerant I've become
Surprise myself with how fiercely protective I am of my Mom and Dad...but especially Mom
Don't have much free time
Miss CO and my CO peeps every. single. day.
Also, many of the links on my sidebar are no longer active. I'll spruce things up this week.
It's time to start blogging again.
...and I know no matter how busy I get, my blog is always waiting here for me.
It's been 7 months since I relocated to CA and moved in with my parents to assume a Caregiver role for their respective health issues (Dad = Vascular & Mobility issues & Mom - Advanced Alzheimers)
Between parents and work and a cute little puppy dog, not a lot of extra time in my day. I'll post more soon.
In the mean time, Happy Monday :-)
2013 was one of the hardest and most difficult years of my life and the lives of many of my friends.
I like to think that 2013 beat us up and broke us down in order to make us better and open our eyes to the true importance of life and how we are meant to live our lives. After a six month long internal struggle (to move or not to move) the second I made my decision and realized that CA was where I needed to be, my life took a turn for the best and miracle after miracle came my way.
Ending 2013 where I need to be - living with my parents, with my family and with a new work family AND a new puppy (never saw that one coming!!), all in Southern CA.
Hope 2014 is miraculous for all of you!
The last 3 months have been a continual exercise in listening. To myself. To others. To my parents. To my gut. To my siblings. To my healthcare providers. For someone as independant as I am and for someone as stubborn as I am, it's not been easy, but I did it anyway. And by doing so, I've managed to change my life.
For starters, most of you know I've battled dizziness issues for the last 4+ years. After endless tests, I received a definitive diagnosis of Severe Panic Disorder. Upon hearing my diagnosis, my Doctor offered me two choices...#1 - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or #2 - Medication
For years...seriously, YEARS, I've battled the idea of taking Meds to overcome my issues. I thought if I just worked out harder, tried to relax more, forced myself to walk more, tried not to care, it would all go away. Yeah, not so much. In the end, I was more panicked than ever and started experiencing 8-10 panic attacks a day, some pretty severe.
So I gave the meds a try. BEST DECISION EVER!!! I feel normal again! Within a week, the panic attacks all but vanished. Walking got easier. The stuff that used to piss me off and keep me up all night just didn't matter anymore. I got my life back!
Granted, the first two weeks were an adjustment. I'm on .25mg Zoloft and the first 2 weeks a jacked up stomach and insomnia were my BFF's. Started taking small shots of Benedryl an hour before bed which worked like a charm. The tummy issues cleared up after 3 weeks. Lost weight too cause my apetite vanished.
The timing was perfect since in the space of 20 days I accepted a new job in CA, gave notice to my landlord, gave away or donated most everything I owned, helped organize another Ignite Boulder, said goodbye to numerous friends and packed up my car and drove to CA with a road trip buddy I met 2 weeks before I left. All accomplished with little to no drama other than throwing my back out the day before I moved.
I'm convinced Zoloft played a HUGE part in keeping me calm & collected over the last several months. Told my Dr that I WISH someone had made me take this wonderful medicine when my symptoms first started. Guess it happened at the right time for the right reason, but it's really sad that my own ignorance made me suffer much longer than needed.
There's been many instances since my move that I've decided to defer to the wishes of others and stop always having to be in control. Or be right. 7 years ago I lost a friendship that I wish I hadn't, all cause I chose to be right when (in retrospect) wish I'd chosen to be nice instead.
While moving in with Dad and Mom was bound to have adjustments (and it has) it's been easier than I expected thanks to my new mindset. In listening not only to the words but to the intent behind the words, to the emotions that accompany the words, to the unsaid thoughts behind the words, I've reached a new and better level of understanding of my parents and their wants and needs. I've also reached a new and better level of understanding of what I want and need.
I want my parents to be happy and healthy. To laugh more than they cry. To try to understand what they're going thru and treat each of them with care and dignity and ahavachesed (lovingkindness in Hebrew).
I became a better person the day I decided to just shut up and listen.
Forgot to add that living at sea level is doing WONDERS for my lungs and overall health!
Once it was confirmed that I'd be transferring to CA to move in with and help care for my parents, I decided to blog about my experience as a potential help for anyone doing something similiar as well as a weekly remembrance for myself.
I live online thru my blog, Facebook and Twitter but my parents don't. So I'll do the best I can to accurately portray my experience and thoughts while protecting their privacy.
The road trip from CO to CA was amazing, even tho I threw out my back the last day of the move. I made it thru the moving and packing-up-my-car-part thanks to my friends Matty & Justin/Sam. Thank GOD for friends and for having heated seats w/ lumbar support :-)
Another awesome friend I made was Deanna who I'd met the week earlier at my hair salon when I announced "who wants to ride with me to CA" and Deanna said yes. Thanks to The Universe for putting us together for Deanna was an AMAZING Road Trip buddy and I'd Road Trip again with her in a heartbeat.
Driving for miles and miles is good for processing what's going on in your life and a great time to take stock of where you've been (physically & mentally) and where you're going. Had not lived at home since 1981 and although I'd visited numerous times, visiting is not the same as being there full time.
How to explain the last 10 days? Surreal is the best word that comes to mind. Part of me still can't believe I left my company and CO and actually moved back to CA. It's a bit shocking to wake up surrounded by my stuff (most of which I left behind, gave away or donated away) and to find my car in the driveway.
About Dad and Mom...Mom has Stage 6 Alzheimer's. Some common symptoms of this stage are :
• Lose awareness of recent experiences as well as of their surroundings
• Remember their own name but have difficulty with their personal history
• Distinguish familiar and unfamiliar faces but have trouble remembering the name of a spouse or caregiver
• Need help dressing properly and may, without supervision, make mistakes such as putting pajamas over daytime clothes or shoes on the wrong feet
• Experience major changes in sleep patterns — sleeping during the day and becoming restless at night
• Need help handling details of toileting (for example, flushing the toilet, wiping or disposing of tissue properly)
• Have increasingly frequent trouble controlling their bladder or bowels.
• Experience major personality and behavioral changes, including suspiciousness and delusions (such as believing that their caregiver is an impostor)or compulsive, repetitive behavior like hand-wringing or tissue shredding
• Tend to wander or become lost
Mom has "Sundowner" episodes which means as the sun goes down, she often asks, sometimes demands, that we take her home. She knows her address - our current address - but insists this is not her home. So we drive aimlessly while I flip on the heated car seat (she's always cold!) and I ask her to tell me about her babies, her husband and memories of her past. She can tell me within 5 seconds the names of her childhood cats, which school she attended, the name of her husband and her brothers and sisters names, but has no idea who I am, who my siblings are (present day - she remembers the day we were born and when we were small) and what she had for dinner an hour earlier. Sometimes 1 drive suffices and she is calmer when we return. Sometimes it takes 2-3 drives. And sometimes she doesn't calm down so we deal the best we can.
For the majority of the first 3 days, Mom had no idea who I was. She had a brief moment of clarity on Saturday as I drove her to meet other members of our family and told me how happy she was that I had moved home and how it meant the world to her and my Dad. I'll tell ya right now that was the highlight of my week. Most of the time, I'm the "really nice lady" who stays and keeps her and Dad company instead of going home at night. All good, it doesn't matter if she knows who am I on a day to day basis as long as she is happy, healthy & content.
Dad has Vascular and Diabetes issues and gave up driving voluntarily, so part of my new gig is driving them to Mass, grocery shopping, errands and Dr appts as well as getting away with Mom for longer errand time to give Dad a break and some much needed alone time. I'm also giving my siblings a break, particularly my sister that's spent the last 16 months taking care of them 3-4 days a week in addition to working a fulltime job and having a family of her own...and lives more than an hour away in rush hour traffic.
Have also taken over cleaning, laundry & home organization (all loves of mine) and have slowly started cooking meals for them - never a strenth of mine and definitely NOT a favorite activity :-)
Tomorrow I'll start back to work (same job, different location) which will help complete my assimilation to life back in CA.
I'll end with a Pro's and Con's List
Californian's smoke way more than Coloradan's :-(
Miss my CO peeps and the CO sunsets/mountains/landscape/sunlight
Not that I miss it 100% but BOY did I have a lot of free time before the move :-)
CA traffic is CA traffic - you can't escape it
As of tomorrow, I will definitely miss my 4 minute commute to work
Peace of mind regarding Dad & Mom & no more long distance worrying
Spending my sister D's birthday with her!
Spending Thanksgiving with my family
Spending TIME with my family - quality time, not just rushing-around-on-vacation time
The little moments of clarity that Mom has where she knows who I am and why I'm here
The gratitude I get by knowing I'm doing the best I can for my parents and siblings
My parents have Cable - hello HGTV!!!!
Hugs and kisses from parents and family members
Gratitude that my company transferred me - HUGE GRATITUDE for that!
Most of all, I'm happy I listened to my gut and went for this. Told my Manager on Sept 6 that I wanted to transfer and verbally accepted the official offer on Nov 1. Not too shabby of a timeline.
We'll see how this next chapter plays out. So far, no regrets!
...in no particular order
* For spending my Sister's bday with her for the first time in 8 years
* For my transfer to CA
* For random last-minute Road Trip Buddies that ROCK
* That my parents are still alive
* That I get to help out while there is still time
* That the laughter balances out the sadness
* For trusting in God and The Universe
* For standing up for myself
* For no more snow and ice on the roadways
* For 76 degree November days
* For sunshiney days with no clouds in the sky
* For the strength to ask the difficult questions
* For internet
* For potential crisis averted
* For Nightblooming Jasmine, Eucalyptus trees and freshly mown grass - the smells of California in November
* For my Family and Friends
My bed, dresser, desk & chair left yesterday. Cute little white bench, small bookshelf and 2 night stands leave today. 2 boxes ready to ship home (new home) with 3 remaining. 1 more trip to ARC. OK, maybe 2.
Only snafu was the air mattress that I THOUGHT was in storage was not in storage. So I camped out on my bedroom floor. Not the best night's sleep, however I WAS thankful for being safe, indoors and warm.
Moving...and life...are all about perspective.
Ever since I was a kid, I always marked the "Last" of everything.
Last day of Summer. Last day of the year. Last day of 8th grade. Last day at each job I held.
Nothing's changed and I find myself counting down the days as I prepare to leave my current job and state...1 more day at the job (Thursday) and 7 more days in the state - in case you want to count along with me.
Tonite it occured to me that I've had it backwards all my life. Why have I not made the emphasis on the "First"? The start of something new? The excitement that comes with new beginnings, new surroundings, new experiences? What's up with that, Kath?
Honestly don't know why I've made endings so significant, but I do know that as of this second, I'm switching up my perception to focus on the firsts...and the future.
Leave for CA in 10 days.
Have given away all my possessions, asking for only good karma and prayers in return. Starting over, starting fresh, with several mementos, books, clothes and basic necessities to accompany me on my trip West.
Thankful for the miracle I'm living and the chance to live with my parents and family for the foreseeable future.
Happy Kath :-)
Trying everything I can do (as a time-sensitive-detail-oriented-OCD-loves-to-cross-t's-and-dot-i's-type-of-person) to control a situation I have no control over.
Let's say this week has been interesting. Let's say this week has been gratifying in that I've learned things about myself I needed to learn. Let's say the most important lesson I've learned this week is that I am who I am and I'm honestly truly okay with that. And I've really learned to laugh at myself and with myself.
Cause after all, whatever happens? It's all gonna be ok :-)
About a month ago I had a discussion with work peeps regarding how much "stuff" people bring to work. I'm a self-admitted minimalist (always have the smallest purse with the fewest amount of things inside said purse) but I wanted to challenge myself and maybe (?) prove a point at the same time.
Disclaimer - I'm not a "girly-girl" who depends on lots of makeup or hair accoutrements to get thru my day. Don't wear makeup and work in an extremely casual environment where jeans are my go-to attire du jour. I also keep toothpaste, a toothbrush and dental floss in my work cubby.
For the last month, this is what I've carried to work in my pockets :
* Cell phone (the case is standing in for the phone since I used it to take this picture) in the front right pocket
* Keys - front left pocket
* Burt's Bees Lip Balm - front left pocket
* Canvas card holder - back right pocket (not in the best condition, but it was a freebie so that counts for something) (Btw, I'm frugal too!)
Wasn't too difficult of a transition and I actually liked not carrying anything else into work. It's made me rethink carrying a purse to begin with and has really streamlined my life.
Would you / could you go on a No Purse Diet? What would be your imagined obstacles?
Talking about my blog.
Between life and work and Facebook and Twitter and everything else, my blog gets little use these days. Spent the last hour catching up on several Colorado bloggers and it makes me want to get back into blogging.
Believe it or not, I'm considering giving up Facebook (Shock, I know - The Social Media Queen jumping ship!!) but not sure if I can pull the plug when it comes right down to it. I love keeping track of my distant relatives and local friends...distant friends too...but I'm the first to admit it's a time drain. We'll see what happens.
Have you given up Facebook or Twitter or any other form of Social Media? Why? How was your life different afterwards?
...but it worked for me!
These last 6 months I've been overwhelmed with all sorts of decisions, wishes, dreams and I-really-want-to's floating thru my mind. They've kept me up all night more nights than I'd care to admit. Then I remembered a little exercise that I used back in the day to clear my mind. Wish I would have remembered it sooner, cause it really works!
You need :
* 2 blank sheets of paper. Lines, no lines, white, colorful - doesn't matter
* 3 different colored markers/Sharpies/pens/your favorite writing instrument
On the first sheet, start writing down ALL the concerns than run rampant thru your mind. From the most pressing to the barely a blip on your radar. Get them all out and on the paper - no matter how insignificant. I'll wait.
Still waiting (hums Jeopardy theme).
All set? Good!
Now take the first Sharpie you see (in my case, it would be the purple Sharpie) and circle everything you have control over.
Take the second Sharpie (green maybe?) and draw a line thru everything you have NO control over..
Take the final Sharpie and make an X next to those things you're not sure about.
Grab the second sheet of paper and write in order of importance everything you DO have control over. Turn the sheet of paper over and transfer all the items you're not sure about on the back side. Then trash the first piece of paper.
What remains is what matters to you. What needs to be accomplished and the order in which it needs to be accomplished. It helped me make one of the most important decisions of my life this past weekend and I hope it helps you
And there you have it - your list of what's important in the order of importance. Out of your mind and on paper is the best way to see what's bothering you and how to corral your thoughts and get them under control to where you control your thoughts, not the other way around.
Shalom Chayale, I'm still here :-) (pretty sure my friend Chaya is the only one that still reads my blog).
For the longest time I'm been linking my blog updates to Facebook. Great for letting everyone know I've updated, but the comments happen on Facebook, not here. So, no more Facebook updates. I'll post to Twitter instead and if people want to click over, read and maybe comment, all's the better.
My blog turns 10 in March (!!!) and lately I've been wondering if I should close it down. Between Facebook & Twitter, I post enough updates and nonsense on what's new in Kathyland. Some of you have shuttered your blogs and some are still keeping on.
Why to both?
Trying to figure out what I want to do...would love your 2 cents.
At the end of Dec 2012 all my friends were of the opinion that 2013 would be OUR year! A year where everything would fall into place, the future would be all shiny & sparkly and we'd all be basking in the efforts of everything we worked so hard to achieve.
As June appears on the horizon all I can say is "not so much". 2013 has been a beast for me and most of my friends.
Heartbreak, illness, death, more death, destruction and overall sadness. Working with no reward in sight. One step forward, 10 steps back.
It's been a kick in the teeth.
On a personal level, I've been sick more times in the last 6 months than I've been in the last 10 years. And not just me, but almost everyone in my family. And friends like family.
I'm a huge fan of the number 13 (was born on 12/13) but 2013 isn't being very kind to me or many of my friends.
In an attempt to get myself unstuck from the rut I'd gotten stuck in, I had my numbers read by a Numerologist mid-February. It was the first time I've ever had them read and I gotta tell you, for someone who didn't know me or know anything about me, her findings were otherwordly and a bit too scary since they were right on the money. In a very surreal way.
The main take away was "the next 2 years will be the hardest 2 years of my life. I must work harder than I've ever worked before, cross every t, dot every i, don't take my eyes off the prize and don't overlook a single detail. In 2015 all my hard work will pay off...and then some."
Sometimes? I'm not exactly sure what the prize is. There are the basics; a job that pays enough for me to live on my own that excites & challenges me. Being a passionate believer of where I work and who I work with. Having a peaceful and aesthetic sanctuary to call my own. I don't even have to own it. Renting will be just fine! Being debt free (check!). Paying off my car (check!).
But what's the bigger picture? What am I missing that maybe I don't even know that I'm missing?
How about you? Is 2013 turning out to be what you'd imagined? Is it just me and my friends or are you having a hell of a year too? What are you doing to cope with the hits that keep on coming?
Finding new Finance/Frugality/How-To-Be-Debt-Free blogs make my day!
Having been Debt-Free twice before, this time I'm determined to make it stick. And reading blogs like Carrie's Careful Cents and Anna's And Then We Saved keep me motivated and headed in the right direction.
You might like them too!
Found some super cool blogs and wanted to share :
Check 'em out!