Monday, March 22, 2010

A Bad Time

My pretty mother, Cookie Kelly.

This happened in the middle of March:

I haven’t had the wherewithal to do much lately. That’s another one of my new words, wherewithal; like melancholy. Not new like I haven’t heard of them before. Of course I’ve heard of them before. I’ve just never used them before. Not until I quit smoking and became melancholy and have recently lost my wherewithal like I lost a receipt or a nickel. It’s just gone. Poof.

I’ve been depressed. That’s why I lost my wherewithal and have become melancholy. They say there is no right time to quit smoking, but I’ll tell you, I think this is a really bad no-right-time. My mother is dying of leukemia. Let’s face it—it doesn’t look good. This is my mother. This is the woman who was the prettiest mother in the whole school, who caused kids to say, “That’s your mother?” and me to look forward to parent/teacher night so they could see her. This is the woman who wrote “yummy” on the top of recipes she gave me, who scraped the paint off the windows with a razor blade in my new home, and who helped me give birth to my children. She was so excited over my daughters. Jamie, her first grandchild. And Kelly. When Kelly was born, still attached to the umbilical cord, she was so excited she screamed, at the top of her lungs, “She looks just like you Kurt! She looks just like you!”

I love her more than anything in the whole world and I’ve worried about her dying, in fact, my whole life. That’s how attached I am to her. That’s how much I love her. No one wants to lose their parents. But you expect it to happen when they get old. You brace yourself. You’ll be sad and you will miss them, but you expect it to happen to old people. Fathers in slippers and mothers in housecoats. Not someone young and red-headed and who still screams with excitement. How will I go on without her? That’s what I want to know.

The worst part of all is I know she is suffering.

On top of that, I’ve gone into menopause. I think it was triggered by the trauma of my mother because when I went up to Jersey to take care of her for a month last summer, that’s when I missed my first period. I missed my period and I thought, “Oh, this’ll be hot shit if Kurt’s vasectomy fails after thirteen years when I’m away for a month and my ex-husband has suddenly reappeared and is conveniently around all the time, wooing my parents with offers to fix the furnace and bringing them flowers and candy. That’ll look real good…” But it wasn’t a failed vasectomy. It was the beginning of menopause.

Oh, there’s all kinds of things. Kurt was laid off last year and yes, we went back into our own business and it’s going okay, but it’s still a struggle. It would be hard to make a living out in the middle of nowhere in good times, never mind when the country is practically in a Depression. Factor in that we started this on a shoestring and you will agree that we are magicians if we pull this off.

We moved three times in six years. They say moving is on the top ten list of most stressful things. Right up there with death and divorce. We moved a whole farm across country, to places we knew no one, with no jobs and no real plan except… this place looks good.

I’m not even going to get into the Evils.

Then I’ve got the regular stresses. These are the things people normally say is the reason for it being not the right time, like the roof leaking or getting a speeding ticket. Suffice it to say that I’ve got my share of those. Not speeding tickets though. Knock wood. I’m not a speeder. I got a ticket one time for having studded snow tires on my first car, a 1965 Ford Galaxie 500. Convertible. Powder blue. 427 engine. I had no idea what studded snow tires were, so really, it was not my fault. Actually, I still don’t know what studded snow tires are. (I don’t know what a 427 engine is either but the boys told me that’s what I had and they were very impressed so I go with that.)

Anyway, all of this together is knocking me for a loop but I’m not supposed to complain and whine because there is no right time to quit smoking. I’m sorry but I think I have a bigger no-right-time.

Still. I did everything you’re supposed to do to succeed. I’m not going to go into it all; it’s too long and boring. In the end, I felt so bad, I couldn’t stop crying. I also wished I was dead. That’s not me. My girlfriend, a psychiatric nurse, warned me not to take that lightly. So I went and got an antidepressant. I’ve never taken an antidepressant before in my life. I was mad I had to resort to that to stay off the cigarettes. But it was too late. I also went and got some cigarettes. I’m sorry. I know it’s wrong. But I immediately felt better. And I haven’t shed a tear since.

Except happy tears. And that story is coming up next. It has something to do with a horse…


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oh bummer. I'm so sorry. I lost my own mother to suicide when I was 8 years old. The pain and saddness never quite go away when you lose your mother...or are losing your mother, too.
I'm so sorry. Life sucks sometimes.

But just remember jumping off the wagon and smoking again won't make everything all better for long. It's just like a bandaid...but the wounds are still there...and the rest is just smoke in your eyes.
Once the smoke clears, you'll still have to deal with everything anyway.

You can do it. Be strong. Even in the deepest valleys, there is a path to walk back up into the light again. You will find that path...and life will go on, my friend.


Gilly said...

Oh Deb-Kelly - you really do need a hug! Lots of them. And a shouldeer to cry on. I just hope you have some friends over there who will stand by you. All I can do is send a virtual hug!

You are having a tough time. There's no doubt about that. I'm really sorry about your Mother - its hard enough when they are old (BTW I am old(ish) and I don't have a pink housecoat, nor fluffy slikppers!) but when they are still young, its hard.

And all I can say about the meopause, is that it will pass, and you will feel better than ever!!

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

Lisa, when I hear how some people lost their mothers when they were eight-years-old, I remind myself how lucky I am. I've had her for almost fifty years. She's only sixteen years older than me though and so she seems so young. We're friends. We have the same friends. I just never expected this. Especially because her name is Cookie. As in "tough cookie." We never thought my mother would get sick.

Gilly, thank you for the cyber hug!

Beth said...

Oh sorry you've had such a rough time of it. All that together with this crappy winter we've been having...well, it's no wonder you're feeling down.

Your friend was right about taking your depression seriously. I'm glad you got the antidepressant. Sometimes, when things get so off-kilter, medication can be really helpful in restoring the balance in your body. I think, too, sometimes it can be really helpful to talk to a professional counselor who can help you sort things out and find your way back to joy. Lord knows, I've been through some hard times myself---I've lost my wherewithal for months at the time, so I can definitely understand. I went through early menopause, too---at 44, and the doctor said it was stress. Anyway, I can sure understand you feeling the need for the cigarettes again, but I hope you can find a way to let them go again. They just numb you temporarily to the pain, but it's still there.

I still think of you often, my friend, and pray for you and your Mom and your family daily. I'm grateful for your prayers, too. I am always in need of them.

Nezzy said...

Oh sweetie, this Ozarks farm chick wishes I could toss you one of my big old bear hugs over the internet but it's just not the same so the best I can do is send you my prayers and promise I will be prayin' for you. Please...(beggin' here) don't light up. I too am in the throws on menopause and my daddy has battled leukemia for over twenty years. He's eighty one and really not in good shape. My heart goes out to you dear girl.

You can read about a product that has really helped my menopause symptoms called "Menopause Solutions" in a post under 'chick chats' called "Ring of Fire." Maybe it could help....just sayin!

From the hills and hollers of the Missouri Ponderosa, ya'll have a wonderfully blessed day! Take care.....

Grey Horse Matters said...

I'm so sorry to hear that you are having such a bad time. It seems things are just all piled up on you all at once.

It's never easy to lose a loved one especially a mom. I lost my mom to cancer when I was 47 so it's been ten years and I still miss her. She was my best friend. It does get easier as the years go by though.

Having been a smoker for my whole life I can understand why you went back to smoking. It is a comfort in times of trouble, I think maybe next time you decide to give them up it will be for good. It's something you have to do for yourself and your kids because you don't want them to have to go through what you are now with your mom. Hang in there, I have a hunch the trauma and menopause you are going through has a lot to do with your depression and it's not totally giving up the smokes.

sweetflutterbys3 said...

Reading your post, I couldn't help but want to run down there a give you a really big, long hug! I couldn't imagine what you are going through. I always wished for a mom like yours, and that special bond and love only moms and daughters can share. When you talk about your Mom, I can feel the love you have for her. She is one lucky lady to have a daughter like you.

You are brave and you will get through this. Sharing what you are feeling is a very healthy thing to do. And remember, this too shall pass. It may not go away, but it will get better. Love your Mom and love yourself as much as you can right now and don't worry about the antidepressants and smoking. You can sort that out all in good time.

I will be thinking of your and your family and I will be praying for the best for all of you.

Christina said...

Dont you worry about the meds and the cigs. Many people have to try several times before they can quit forever.
Cancer is the most hated word in my vocabulary. Ironic because I continue to smoke. My mother is very special to me as well and I know the fright you are feeling. I used to worry my mom would die constantly when I was a kid but it was my dad that passed when I was young. I admire people like your mom, people who do get excited and scream. That's the way life should be and those kind of people are a pleasure to know and be around. I will be thinking of you and sending good thoughts to you and your mom. Hang in there, even if its just by your fingernails.

Chris said...

So many things that have been said to you so far, I would say also. In no particular order... Please accept this cyber-hug, prayers and best wishes. So very sorry for your loss and your mother's suffering. I hope you will avail yourself of some kind of talk therapy, along with the anti-depressants and tobacco. Please care for yourself too. Your writing is wonderful, honest and witty, thank you for sharing. Menopause, while another one of those learning experiences, can truly be a metamorphosis, and there are a lot of things you can do to be comfortable. I think sometimes, tears, even buckets of them, are unavoidable and must be shed. Please do tell the horse story.

Amy Tate said...

Oh Debi, if I could send you a cyberspace hug I would. Some stuff in life is best expressed without words. Please know that my heart bleeds with yours.

Rural Rambler said...

Deb you have been on my mind since you came by and left a comment on my blog. I am sorry it took me this long to get here. It is definitely a rough time for you now and menopause can make it hard to cope with even the smallest thing and you have some big things to deal with right now. Just know that you are on my mind and in my heart. I wish I could sit down and talk to you about your Mom. I just wish I could sit and talk to you.

Snappy Di said...

You have had a very FULL PLATE this past year, not the time to quit smoking although I hate that you are smoking again.

Cancer/leukemia just suck... that's all there is to it and they are so hard on the entire family. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

The Blue RIdge Gal

CountryDew said...

Wow, I am sorry to hear your life has been so traumatic. I am especially sorry about your mom. I was 36 when my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and it was the worst year of my life even though we were not close.

Hang in there and know that there are lots of people pulling for you, even folks you've never heard of or will ever hear of. It's a kind of magic and love that we all need, I think.

Don't be too hard on yourself about the cigs and the drugs. Sometimes you just need a little help. It's not like it has to be forever.

I'll be thinking of you.

CountryDew said...

Wow, I am sorry to hear your life has been so traumatic. I am especially sorry about your mom. I was 36 when my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and it was the worst year of my life even though we were not close.

Hang in there and know that there are lots of people pulling for you, even folks you've never heard of or will ever hear of. It's a kind of magic and love that we all need, I think.

Don't be too hard on yourself about the cigs and the drugs. Sometimes you just need a little help. It's not like it has to be forever.

I'll be thinking of you.

Tammy said...

I won't mention the smoking thing because I know...

My heart breaks for you losing your mother. I lost mine 5 years ago. Whereas with my dad, we had the long goodbye. Three years of terminal cancer. With mom, 3 months. It wasn't long enough. How do you say goodbye in 3 months? I didn't. I just visited. Pretended like she was planning a trip. No regrets. It got us thru the bad times with lots of laughter.

Someone who had also lost their mom wrote in the sympathy card "I wish I could say time heals, but with time, you'll only miss her more." She was so right.

Devour the time you have together now. Hang tight.

Leonora said...

I'm sorry life is dumping on you all at once. You are wise to seek help and get meds when you need them. You'll be out of this valley one day soon, and stronger because of it.
(Having horses for friends never hurt either : )

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

Thank you my friends for sharing such kind words. It really means a lot.

I'm okay. As soon as I started smoking, I didn't need the anti-depressant any more. I will try again another time.

Soon I will go to see my mother. I will be picking up a horse while I am up there. You won't believe this story.

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

Debi, I'm sending you a cyber hug. You have had more than your share of troubles recently. When I quit smoking I was more emotional for the first six months or so. I know I wouldn't have been able to handle the stresses you have right now. Don't beat yourself up over going back to smoking. Concentrate on getting through your problems. When life is a bit kinder to you, you can try again. If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know. I will keep you in my thoughts.

Sloan said...

If anyone can get a handle on this Debi it is you. You will try again another time. Now is the time to take the very best care of yourself and not heap loads of guilt on yourself. I want to hear about that horse. I hope it is something good because you deserve it.

Becky Mushko said...

Hang in there, Debi. Things will get better. Eventually.

Jeff said...

Life tests us many times and the way we deal with loss is a severe test indeed. But we make our way through it, each in our own way, and we become better persons for enduring the ordeal. Bless you, Debi, for sharing your pain. If I can help by sharing my experiences, please let me know ...

Grey Horse Matters said...

I can't wait to hear the story of the horse you are picking up while visiting your mom. I know it's going to be a wonderful story.

colleen said...

You're mother is beautiful. The kitchen looks like all the kitchens of the 60's. Wonder why she's on the table and I hope she is doing as well as can be expected. Your words really touched me. said...

What a great picture of your mom. How can she go from that to dying?

So the cigs help. Oh well. Of all the bad things you could do to numb the pain, I would think an occasional cigarette is definitely NOT the worse!!!

I am so sorry to hear about the struggle in your journey right now. Life hurts sometimes. Hang in there. I will say a prayer for grace to flow. And for you to get to say the things you need to say and get to hear the things you need to hear. I hope you get the chance to cry when you need to. And I hope that your mom doesn't have to suffer too much during this hard time.

Much love,

Cape Coop said...

We're all touched by the pain of mortality, but that doesn't help make it feel any better when we're suffering the worst of it, does it? I'm living with the last stage of an incurable lymphoma, I know the gamut of emotions a mother goes through thinking of leaving a child too soon-and I lost my mother when I was a teen, I know well that the loss of Mommy will never ease- and no matter how it happens, or what age it happens at- we never have our loved ones for long enough, and it is never 'the right time'. Don't beat yourself up about smoking- do your best, and revel in your time with your mom- savor it- and allow her to savor you- for memory is all in the end. As for the money issues, feh- we're completely broke- and we survive and thrive! I miss having enough to go shopping with- I'll admit, but the time we have is the important thing, not the things we have in the time.
Hey, feel free to speak with me in private anytime. People are here to share things with- and you know, it IS truth, a burden shared is a burden halved! I'm sending prayers and white light in your direction!