Would You Do It Again?

SPOILER ALERT- If you have not watched Arrival do not proceed!

AC, AC the original, and AC the brother and I watched Arrival together last week. It is an alien movie. It was a really good and captivating alien movie, but an alien movie all the same. Alien movies typically leave a person wondering about, well, aliens. When I was done watching this movie I was left feeling … some kind of way.  A feeling.  It was a strange feeling.  I didn’t think about whether there was life on another planet, or if I would have been able to deal with the things that the protagonist had to contend with. I found a deeper meaning:  If you knew that in the future a painful event was going to happen (like have a daughter that is a heroin addict but in this case the death of a loved one, would you change your life to avoid ever having that person in your life?

I know that is a mouthful, and a mindful but it kept playing over in my head. If I knew the events of my life would I do them exactly the same way again? Where does someone start? How could I prevent JoDee not be an addict? What point in time would I go back too?  If I could pin point the moment that she used drugs the very first time, I could make her not be in that exact spot.  But that wouldn’t stop it forever. So I would have to go back far enough to see what drove her to that. And if I could determine a moment in time, an event that happened, changing that would change something else.   I mean, to truly not have her become an addict, I think it would mean not HAVING her. Her not existing and that seems harsh.

If I go all the way back to the beginning, it would start with my senior year in high school. I graduated high school preggers which was a much bigger scandal in those days.  It was downright scandalous. Let’s say I avoided Daddy-O. If I knew I would get pregnant the first time I met him that day in my senior year when he came to my house with a mutual friend, I maintained a friend-zone, never becoming more than that.  That changes everything. That means that I wouldn’t have moved into that tiny apartment with him and others. Or moved in with his grandparents, or his mother, or got our own apartment- the one that got broken into and the lady upstairs got beat on the regular. We wouldn’t have been together when his father died.

Right after his father died, two friends moved to North Carolina. I visited them, and followed them for a while, and I met some of the best people I have ever known in my life down there.  Although I am not in touch with the original two friends that moved there, I have stayed in touch with my friends from Nebraska.  I visited and lived there for a short while which introduced me to my second husband.  As a result of that we moved back to Massachusetts together. When we moved back to Massachusetts I contacted folks I had worked with in the medical field. That led me to a job in a nursing home. I worked there for a while, and Ex-Husband Numero Dos failed a drug test at work, losing his job. At that time a coworker of mine whose husband worked at an establishment that dealt with horses (just the kind of job a farm boy from NE would be good at) and was looking for a new assistant.  From there I went to another place, an assisted living. There I met a woman who became my friend.  Later, she left our company to go to another company, taking me with her.

While at the new company, Ex Husband Numero Dos and I split up, and I met my current husband better known as AC.  Those are the very big details. I won’t get into the ways that never meeting AC would have affected his kids. But look at how it would have affected mine. Not having JoDee would mean not having Jay J or Jared.

JoDee was my first born. My learning baby.  Not having her changes that which makes me what I am. If I am not a mother, I don’t know what I am, or what I would do. I feel like I carry that with me in every aspect of my life. I mother people at work, and it helps me when negotiating with employees, or dealing with a difficult situation. I feel like JoDee and I grew up together, and maybe that contributed to her being an addict.  I can’t imagine all the things we did together before the boys came along. And, she was born two weeks after her cousin whom she grew up with, and was inseparable from. Had she not been born, how would her life had changed? Essentially, one decision, a choice not to do something, will change the course of many lives.  And to make such a giant decision would mean taking the good and weighing it against the bad. Can I really say that the bad dealing with her addiction really out weights all the good?

No way. If the day I got pregnant I was able to see my entire future which included JoDee’s future, I would not change anything. No matter how much pain and suffering I have endured at the hand of her addiction it would never out weigh the joy I have from being her mother. No matter what. So, in summary, I am with Amy Adams. I would do it the same, knowing the outcome, knowing our fate.  And I make no apologizes for that.

 

 

A Day In the Hospital

Recently, my father-in-law had to have an invasive but not emergent surgery that required both my husband and me to spend two days in various parts of the hospital with him to translate English as he speaks primarily spanish. The particular hospital that the surgery was done in was one I used to work in. It has been so long since I have worked there, I didn’t expect to see anyone I knew, especially because I typically worked the second shift back in those good ol’ days. You know, the days of black and white television and horse drawn wagons? Anyway, it also happens to be a hospital that we had taken JoDee to on many occasions.  As soon as we walked in AC said this looks familiar, and that looks familiar. I figured he would process it eventually but I think it was the wee hours of the morning and the lack of coffee he had in solidarity of his Dad who was surgery starved, but I finally had to tell him. The first few hours were a little bit entertaining as my father-in-law  didn’t want to use the interpreter the hospital offered choosing instead to use his son, my husband, to interrupt for him. This was a problem because the hospital policy requires that it be a third party so there is no chance of skewing the interpretation or having the patient withhold information he wouldn’t want his son to know (not a problem in our family).  There was a lot of scurrying around, and forms to sign, and blah blah blah. All very boring.

When he finally got underway, or under the knife as it were, AC and I decided to go to the cafeteria for breakfast, which as a side note- was the first date like meal we have had together since Jesus was a small child. This is where we first began people watching. The two maintenance men drinking coffee at the table in front of us were talking about their ex-wives. One was bashing her, pays her two much, never sees his kids, seemed sort of like a dink and the other was saying nice things. They still had a good relationship, she was a good mother, she drove him batty sometimes but he couldn’t complain. The poor Guy B spoke nicely of Ex-Wife B, Guy A spewed venom about Ex-Wife A. Finally, B told A that maybe she was nasty because she had married and divorced the devil, and that comment went over like a lead balloon.  By the time we had reached the waiting room again, there were more people waiting. An older woman, a middle-aged woman, a family of folks all speaking Russian and one young girl, maybe early twenties, bleach blonde and face buried in her phone.  We all were making ourselves busy minding our own business, when the trilogy of people watching strolled in with their mother. These three were tall. No, not just tall, looming. Just looking at them it was easy to tell they were three brothers. One brother was the tallest and the most unkempt while appearing put together. It was fascinating. His hair looked like one of those signs in a crossroad with arrows pointing in all directions. His clothes were business casual but so rumpled and disorganized, it came off looking business confused instead. A large face, with octopus like lips, full cheek bones, and wide eyes, finished him off. I can only assume he was the oldest, because they all had the same look but each one shorter than the other. The last one, the youngest presumably, was the shortest at six feet tall, and had a limp. The had many of the same characteristics but one of them that not only caught my eye but grossed me the hell out was the uncomfortably large amount of white spittle dried in both corners of all three of their mouths. They were like a circus side show. AC elbowed me in the ribs on more than one occasion but then finally, he was taken in also.

The waiting room was large. Larger than large. Ample enough for all of us to fit without having to sit very close to each other. Until the stooges showed up. Within minutes they had spread out so intrusively the had stuff on every chair. Jackets, bags, laptops and tablets, and one even took off his shoes. And that was before the mother was even called in for her case. When it was time for to go to the pre-op area, the nurse asked if the sons wanted to join their mother and one of them wanted to know if there was any food on offer in the back. I think you are getting the picture. My father-in-law was in surgery longer than anyone else in the waiting room so we saw most people come and go. When the surgeon came out to see the men after their mother’s procedure was complete, the first thing the tall doofus asked was if the DNR (for those that don’t know Do Not Resuscitate) was necessary. Who the hell asks that? Who? In front of people? In a waiting room? I couldn’t help myself. I could not. Could. Not. Help it. Couldn’t. I didn’t even realize I was speaking out loud until someone answered. I said “Who the hell says that?” The lady across from me said that she was thinking the same thing and that she was embarrassed for them. At that exact moment, sounds of yelling and screaming and some pretty explosive swearing erupted from the floor below us. The waiting room was above the ER and Main entrance lobby and it was an open air layout. We could hear everything clearly.  A woman was yelling that she didn’t feel like she should have to leave. Several male voices in lower voices were telling her that no one here could help her. The older woman next to me muttered something about a drug addict. The middle-aged woman across from me mumbled something about the world going crazy. The young blonde finally looked up from her phone, turned around in her chair and was staring over the balcony.

“There a bunch of cops down there.”

“It’s a lady. I think she has a kid.”

“No, she said she has a kid in there but the cop said she doesn’t.”

“No, the cop said she can’t see the kid.”

This kind of commentary carried on for about ten minutes. The stooges really didn’t give a shit but the other women did. They pretended not to listen, but they were. We all were. Several cops dragging one slight woman who clearly hadn’t had a good meal in years, or a shower for that matter, out of the hospital on to the sidewalk. None of us know why. Mental illness, drugs maybe, bad parenting. Maybe she beat her kid to a pulp and brought him there, but I doubt it because she wasn’t arrested. I don’t really care what was happening. The moral of this story, to me, was that misery sells. That entire waiting room was pretty much minding their own business, not paying attention to each other except for the three big dinguses, but when that lady was being humiliated, and drawn out of the hospital, she got an audience. The blonde hopped up to check it out, and the older women didn’t tell her to stop giving the blow by blow. No one, not even me, told her to stop. We liked it. We hate to admit it, but it’s true. When we hear a story of someone missing or murdered or beat or overdosing, we call that news. When we see a feel good story we are less likely to believe it’s true or real. Our society has gotten to be one that feeds off of zombie apocalypse and mass murder and Identification Discovery Channel which is really a death station. Another way I can tell is that when JoDee is using and missing and I am suffering and I post blogs, the stats are shooting off the roof. But lately she has not been outrageous, other than hating my guts, or I have been refusing to write about her terrible behavior, so that stats are low. This is not really concerning to me because I now that my blog would be short lived and eventually come to an end (not that I am doing that now) but rather a point of interest. Fascination. Proof positive that misery is a big hit. Very weird.

That really provoked my own thoughts about our situation. Did people stare at us like that? Did people watch us in the ER waiting room, or see us in a trauma room and find our behavior fascinating? Or her lack of behavior fascinating? At what point did we go from spectators to the spectacle? And do I care? No. Not really. I know that at the time that things are in a really bad way I don’t give two shits if people are staring. I am too busy trying to see if she is going to live to really notice. It never really dawned on me to be embarrassed to bring her to that hospital because I use to work there but I know that her father was worried about it (he works in the same hospital occasionally) and there were times she saw someone she recognized and would become embarrassed. I can’t remember if there was a time when I was conscious of it. I know the very first time she overdosed, I immediately brought her there without a second thought. I can’t remember a moment, even fleeting, of embarrassment. Now, looking back, we both must have looked a mess. More than a mess, but the truth is we were. We were absolutely a mess. Truth be told we are still a mess. However, I do have a little satisfaction knowing that I was someone else’s people-watching captivation. Eat your heart out people because some day, I will be character assassinating you right back.

The Six Stages of Grief

1969 Elisabeth Kubler-Ross outlined the five stages of grief in her book On Death and Dying. This model introduces the five emotions experienced when a loved one dies; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  The misconception was that she intended for the  grieved to experience these emotions in the order outlined in her book but that was wrong. She corrected herself, years later, to say that those emotions are felt in total, those five feelings are experienced, but not necessarily in any order. Years after that the model was expanded to included emotional loss, not just loss of life. Some of the things noted were loss of a job, infertility diagnoses, the end of a marriage or significant relationship and even sports fans were mentioned, for the end of a season or a loss of a big game and finally grief over substance addiction but that only pertained to the addict themselves. The only thing I did not see mentioned was the grief due to addiction of a loved one. I know it doesn’t rank with childhood cancer, or the loss of a child or a child born with a debilitating disease but it should have its place.

The really shitty thing about the stages of grief are that most go through the stages, and find some sort of acceptance at the end. It might take years, or even decades but eventually, the acceptance sets in and closure begins. That is not the case with addiction. Sometimes I get all the way to the end of the emotions, I am able to accept that she will be an addict always and forever but it can manageable to be surprised when she is in active addiction again. It’s a constant roller coaster of emotion. At any time I could be feeling any of the emotions. And I know that people are sick of hearing about it. No one wants to hear me complain, five years in, about how angry I am at her for running again, or how depressed I am that her life is so unmanageable. I don’t want to lay in bed bargaining with someone or something about her finding the path home. I have made more deals about not swearing, going to church, giving to the needy, donating money, and the like that I should have been able to save a thousand addicts by now, but that isn’t how it works.

The way it works is denial comes and goes. And anger is always there, and no matter how much bargaining I do, nothing will change, and it’s depressing that I have to accept that she is going to ruin her life whether I like it or not. A part of parenting is having a plan for our kids, and for them to not want to follow that plan. And that is ok. Except when it is making living so difficult. When people say to me that they are sorry, I say that they should be sorry for her, not me. My life will go on, one way or the other. All of that is true, but the endless stages of grief game is frustrating and annoying. There is no way to truly find acceptance. I mean, yes I accept that she is an addict, and yes I accept that I cannot control it, but I can’t accept that she will keep running until she is dead, or that she might or may recover but only if she wants it. How can she not want it? Why wouldn’t she want it? Ok…I think you get my point.

All of that while my child is alive and an addict, but she might not live, and then I have to go through it all over again, to a different degree. The joy of being a parent of an addict that dies is that there are actually 6 stages of grief. The one that no one knows about, or talks about, or thinks about, is guilt. The parent of an addict will always feel guilt. Did I throw her out soon enough? Or should I have done it? Did I yell at her too much, or not enough? Should I have sectioned her again, or did I section her too much? Did I have to ignore her call the last time because I couldn’t listen to the drama anymore? Is that why she died? Because I ignored her? Why didn’t I know she was going to die? How come I didn’t feel it? As a mother the moment she passed from this world to the next, shouldn’t I have felt SOMETHING, a sense that my child had left the earth? No matter how much or how little a person does for their addicted child there will always be something we will wish had done differently to change the ending.

 

Right now, as I write, my daughter is alive, and possibly in recovery. I believe she is, I think she is, I have no reason to think she isn’t, except a feeling. My father said to me that we can only hope that this last time, with the stroke and the mental deficiency that it would be a real and final wake up call to her, only I don’t think so. I don’t feel that way. I want too. I try too. I was faking it until I make it, but I can’t hide my defeat. AC says I am being negative. A friend says I am being realistic. JoDee thinks I am being an asshole. But the truth is I am stuck in one of the stages: Anger. I am so angry that 5 almost 6 years later we are still doing this dance. We are still going back and forth to hospitals and detox and rehab. We are still having moments when we don’t talk or pretend that nothing is wrong when everything is wrong. For my life anger is good. Anger is motivating and energetic and helps me concentrate at work, and clean the laundry room, and wash the kitchen floor and clean out the fireplace. Depression would have me in bed with the red blanket over my head with my cat sleeping on my chest while I refuse to adult in any capacity at all. Anger is hard for JoDee, depression is hard on my family and addiction is hard on all of us.

T. R. E. M. B. L. E.

T-Today is a new day. It is a day we should embrace because we are given another chance to do things right. To make today count. The problem with that, is if I realize it, and I know it, it’s one thing. But she has to know it. She has to feel that way. She has to take today as a blessing. If she is making excuses, and blaming others, and focusing on the wrong then, today won’t count. It will just be a repeat of yesterday and all the yesterdays gone by.

R– Remembering how she was when she was young is both painful and helpful. She used to be so innocent, and beautiful, and kind, respectful. Now she is a shell of the girl she used to be. Now she is planning her next scheme, looking for away to work less but get more. She is looking for a way out or a short cut or an excuse or someone to blame. Gone is the girl who would beg to feed to feed her little brother, or would ask for chores to earn a dollar, and wanted to learn to mow the lawn. Now she feels like life owes her something, that she is the victim of her own doing and is deserving of all that others have.

E-Everywhere I go I am reminded of what is or could be or was. A mother with her little girl in the park looks like we used. A banged up girl on the bus looks like her now. The man at the Red Sox game nodding off into his beer looks familiar. The woman in the ER with the child passed out in her lap has the body of her own but the face of me.

M-Mothers are breed to protect their children. Mother instincts are not just a saying; they are in fact a real feeling. When the child grows up to be a heroin addict the instinct is now a curse. All the things a parent will do to protect their children, the mother will do, is the wrong thing. The way we would protect our children before now becomes enabling and dangerous. The feeling we have to stand in front of our children, shielding them with our own body, not only is harmful to our children, but may even result in a knife in our back. Mother becomes could world for mistake. And a big mistake will end up with a dead child because if we don’t make them responsible for their own actions it can be lethal.

B-Because we have to change everything we every knew about parenting means forgetting all the things we have become, and learned, and have grown into to instead be a jailer, and probation officer, drug specialist, hard-ass that we don’t even recognize when we look in the mirror. When I look in the mirror.  And because I don’t recognize myself I become the other B word. Bitter.  I am bitter that my life doesn’t look like I wanted it too, or that my daughter’s life doesn’t look like it should, and that I have to un-parent one child but still remember to parent the others. It becomes confusing.

L-Laughter is something I miss. Laughter is something that should reside in everyone’s household along with their pets, and memories, and experiences. Laughter should not be something that is malleable. It shouldn’t bend, and leave, or break and come back.  It should be part of every persons being. Laughing should be as present and tangible in every life. When laughter is missing, it is evident. The atmosphere is heavy and dark.  When laughter is present the atmosphere is light and bright and has a lot of hope.

E-Everyday I tremble with fear that she will be dead that day. Waking up with hope that things will change is becoming less frequent. Trembling is feeling, movement, or sound or a physical or emotional condition marked by trembling.  I have learned a person can tremble with laughter, with fear, with joy, with anxiety, or love. Hatred and anger can also make a person tremble. Desperation and anticipation can cause trembling as can heroin withdrawal, alcohol withdrawal, detoxing and overdose. When a person is administered narcan, and brought back from near dead, the will have involuntary shakes and trembling while also swearing, vomiting, and general disorientation or agitation.

To Whom It May Concern:

Hello. How are you? I hope this letter finds you  well. All things considered, this year has been awful. I am not the only one who has found that 2017 has really sucked ass. Now, I know that sounds harsh, and judgmental but there must be a way to make this better.  I am not sure who to reach out too, but I was wondering how to change our karma, or clean our spirit, or otherwise chase off the black cloud.  Can you help a girl out with that?

Just to recap this year, which I might point out has only been 31 days , I have listed them below:

  1. The sale of our house was delayed, and delayed, and prolonged, and completely fucked. This ended with us having to move the previous owner out, and keeping half the crap to dispose of ourselves. Fan-effing-tastic.
  2. The first few weeks in the house, we painted, and organized while we waited to have our rugs and floors put in. At some point, someone knocked the thermostat off the wall, and no one noticed so our new house, that I hate, and can’t stand, was absolutely freezing. Because we have too much going on, it took us like ten days before we figured out how to turn the heat up.
  3. The state of our union is looking bleak since no one can agree and the hate being slung around is vicious and soul-sucking. One of my few luxuries at the moment is flipping through Facebook to see how the rest of the normal world lives and that has been ruined by politics. Thanks for that .
  4. I have spent more than I care to think about, or tell AC about with retail therapy. Sadly, and really unfortunately for my wallet, I could buy anything I want from the convenience of my phone. Apply Pay has ruined me financially; however, the new house that I hate has been decorated handsomely. Also, I had no idea I could buy LED candles for the new candle holders for my mantel that have a remote control! That is simultaneously horrifying at the sheer laziness and exciting that I can turn them on without leaving my couch.
  5. My daughter overdosed on drugs, had a stroke, and was left on the street like a piece of garbage without a care in the world. As a result she has lost feeling in her right leg and foot, and suffered short term memory loss. I sat in Mass General Hospital for a week reminding her multiple times a day where the nurse call button is, and why she ordered a grill cheese for the fifth time in a row. I watched her legs swell up with edema, and her oxygen level dip because of water retention. I did this all while trying to suppress my anger at her addiction, at the dickhead that helped her get to that point and to the future which will probably involve long-term short term memory loss.
  6. While trying to leave the hospital to sleep in my own bed after several days on the sleeper chair that had the potential to catapult me onto the floor every time I moved, I had an incident in the parking garage. The incident begins with not remembering where I parked my car since I was there for so long. Then I realized I was on the wrong floor so I took the stairs to the lower floor. I don’t know if it was from sleep deprivation or frustration or an MS thing but I slipped on the stairs, grabbing the railing to steady myself and pulled muscles in my neck, shoulder and back. That was fun. Good times all around.

So basically what I am saying is cut the fucking shit out. We need a break. If the entire year is going to go like this, I have to say, I cannot be held responsible for my actions. I have begun carrying the bat in my car again, just in case. And my witty, charming sarcasm has become a little more edgy then is absolutely necessary. Anything you can do to help turn this around would be great.

 

Also, I am willing to compromise. You can continue to make my life suck at your will, if you leave my kids alone.

Sincerely,

Melanie

Grave Oversight

The level of oversight can vary from incident to incident. If I do not pay the electric bill, it could be shut off but would be easily corrected. If I forgot to buckle one of my children’s car seats in when they were little that could be catastrophic.

When time came for the next step of JoDee’s recovery I did not want her to come home. I knew that being home is difficult for her. Not because we are using drugs, or partying like rock stars, but because I expect her to be a member of society. An able body in the house that helps clean, or cook, or take out trash, or keep her room clean.  This time, the director of the program and I had a conversation about my reservations. We talked about the goals for her and my concerns for her being home. He suggested that I make a list of things I would expect her to do or not do, send it to him and he would discuss it with JoDee.  That happened. I gave them a list and they discussed it as promised. It was clear that she wasn’t happy about my rules, but she claimed to be willing to adhere to them.  I told AC that it is all good in the hood right now but when she got home it would be a different story. I heard from everyone that I was pessimistic and being negative. I heard about how much she has changed, and that she really sees the joy in life now. Fine. She can come home. Fine. I will ignore my gut, again. Something I said I would not do. Fine. We will try again.

An oversight is an unintentional failure to act or notice something. Or it can be the act of overseeing something. It is my job as a mother to oversee our children. Obviously in partnership with my husband, but shall we be honest? Yes, we shall. Motherhood is the epitome of overseeing. Fathers do as well, but it usually falls to the mother. The majority of it anyway.  The colloquial word for oversight as it relates to being a parent is the bad guy. I have to be the bad guy. I have to tell them to clean their room or I won’t give them anymore money, or to find another sponsor or do step work or get a job or do their laundry.  I have to point out that the attitude sucks, and we aren’t here to cater to their every whim. And, this is not just my addicted child. It’s really all the children. They all need policing at some point. My addicted child needs more attention, and more parenting because she has larger hurdles.

Day one was amazing. She came home and immediately did dishes, organized her belongings, started laundry. Her attitude was pleasant and vibrant. It was a pleasure to have her home. The whole time she has been home I have enjoyed having her home. When the girls are all together the laughter vibrates through the walls, and makes everyone smile.  It is easy to relax when the house feels better with her there. It is easy to let your guard down when she attends her groups, goes to meetings and is following most of the rules.  But change is slow, and when it happens it is easy to oversee. The attitude became surly. The behavior became a little difficult. She didn’t eat much, she chewed her nails.  She was going out, but I believe she was doing the right thing. I think she was struggling with a lot of death around her, I think that she was suffering survivor’s guilt, still, for someone she loved a lot. Contrary to anyone who put her on blast.  I believe she felt like she was an outsider in her home with all of her family. And she wasn’t. She was one of us. She is one of us. She will always be one of us.

What she may not always be is clean. And that, that is truly the thing that separates her from us. She hasn’t learned that I am an expert now. I may not be an addict, but I don’t need to be to know when she is turning a corner. When she wanted to go to Boston on Saturday, I questioned her. I had a feeling it was a bad idea.  She told me that everyone was going, it was the Women’s March and something else at the Frog Pond.  She tried to FaceTime early in the afternoon to show me all the action. But we had a poor connection. She called me later on, and I knew it. I knew she was up to something. Maybe she was struggling. Maybe she was uncomfortable. When we hung up I told AC, she isn’t coming home tonight, I know it. He told me I was pessimistic. That she would come home to show me wrong. I was right.  By noon the next morning we had spoken via text. She said it was no good for anyone if she came home, and was honest about what she had done.

I was a grave oversight to ignore my gut. It was a grave oversight to not insist that she go to a different program, or a sober house, or a halfway house. I knew it would be hard if not impossible for her to recover at home. It is too easy for both of us to get wrapped up, to be caught up, and to forget the purpose of recovery. I should have noticed she stopped seeing her sponsor. I should have noticed that she wasn’t doing step work. I should have seen the signs of her feeling resentful and angry. But I missed them. I had an unintentional failure to notice something. And as a result, she is gone. Again. #whattheactualhellisgoingon

 

The Movement

2017 has started out with two left feet. Or maybe two right feet. Or maybe no freaking feet at all. In typical Brayden-Cortes fashion it has been a disaster.  I thought we were going to be homeless for a quick minute but as usual things worked out. Things do have a way of working out. Of course, its year -end and month end which in my work-world means ultra busy so moving now, after the holidays during month/year-end is making me a little crazy. Add to that my grandmother is in and out of the hospital, until she calls a cab to bring her home unbeknownst to any of us, for real; it has made things even stranger.  In short, things are so effed to the enth degree that I was grateful to go to work.

It started with us being out of our house, and into our new house on the same day. Yes, that is crazy but not unmanageable. But then the woman we were buying the house from agreed to let us in early. Only when AC went there to get the keys on the very first morning, she was not packed. Like, at all. Like still living there. Needless to say he got a Uhaul, boxes, tape and his brother and father to spend the day packing up her house. I had to work because I have very strict time lines for my closes because the buildings I account for are owned by a public REIT (real estate investment trust for those that are not in the know). All day it was calls back and forth. For a while I think he was truly concerned that she would never be able to move out. By some ungodly hour of the next morning, we finally collapsed on mattresses in our bedrooms. All the kids stepped up, working their asses off cleaning and packing and moving and helping in any way they could. Most of the time I have to scream at them to pick up their own socks but not that day. That day they were unbelievable.

The next day was close day on the houses. Emptying Pine Street was, you guessed it, chaotic. But we got it done. Walking around the house empty and all echo-y and people and animal free was nostalgic. I thought I would die in that house. Really. At times I thought I would die as an old woman surrounded by my kitties. Then, there have been times I was certain I would die from pain and agony and loneliness wallowing in self-pity over my daughters addiction. I tried not to think of the bad times, but it’s difficult.  I did remember the first days we lived there. Painting bedrooms, taking down wallpaper and organizing all of our stuff.  I also remembered marrying AC in that backyard. All the kids standing around us, our friends and family watching, while we vowed to be together forever (and my mom was in the background circling us like a shark in water while gripping her purse not unlike a life raft- clearly in shock). Or until the next time I told him to hitchhike back to Colombia, or throw his shirts in the kitty litter box.  I remembered all the times we spent out in the garden pruning plants, harvesting potatoes and tomatoes, and clipping herbs. The tree still had green pellets all around it from Jared and AC shooting their air soft guns.  My trellises had blue and black smudge marks from the blueberry and blackberry bushes baring fruit.  Those were the good things.

The bad would be the first and last time (and the million in-between) I tossed JoDee’s room to find booze, needles, dope, weed, baggies and cotton. The first time I walked in the house after hearing she was an addict I was in shock. The time she overdosed in her room and threw up all over the place when we finally brought her back was disturbing. The time she overdosed in the bathroom, the basement, and in a car in the drive way it had become routine. The time she tried to run away from me but I stopped her so she assaulted me with our glass storm door until it broke on my shoulder and her father grabbed her by the belt loop throwing her like a rag doll into the kitchen was slightly amusing.  The time I threw her out after Aruba, after Christmas, before her birthday and on Thanksgiving sucked. All in different years. The times we sat around the fire pit out back discussing where we thought she might be, when we would hear from her or when she would be back and having family meetings were interesting to say the least.  Sectioning her once, twice, three and then four times. Her missing most Christmas’ in the past five years. And of course, me mentally missing Christmas because I was so disappointed, angry, hurt or relieved and feeling guilty for being relieved that she wasn’t there.

There were other memories too. All the holiday meals we had. All the cooking we did together.  Making homemade pop-tarts, ginger cookies, Biscotti for Buella, treats for my peeps, and a plethora of other crap we probably did not need.  The endless cooking and prepping for tailgating at Patriots games, and super bowl parties (LS and TS- maybe I can have it at the new house now since the old one was jinxed!) were more good memories.  I think my final and favorite memory will be the last meal we had on Pine Street. Breakfast from McDonalds. Sitting on the floor because we have no chairs or table since the house is empty, we ate bacon, egg and cheese biscuits and McGriddles and hashbrowns.  It was lovely. All seven of us together.  And all the bad memories, all the things that JoDee missed, really made no difference anymore because she was there when it mattered. She was with us as we transitioned from the old to the new.

fullsizerender  The last family selfie in the old house. If you think I look pale, I do, because I had a stomach bug and threw my guts up everywhere. I’m pretty sure I puked up milk duds I ate in the 6th grade.

 

The new house isn’t my fave. If you have been around me at all recently, you would know that we bought this house on consensus. Everyone else wanted it, it fit all of us perfectly and it has space for my grandmother. It is sort of dated, needs paint and new floors in the bedrooms (hardwood I mean) and the set up or lay out is wacky but AC absolutely loves it. The kids all love their rooms. Albuilto (AC padre) loves it.  Two of the three cats love it and the dog loves it because the backyard is huge so plenty of pooping space.  And I do love the new memories we are making. All of us sleeping on mattresses on the floor while we paint. Every night everyone seems to gravitate to the stairs where we rehash the day, and the kids tell me how much they love the house in an effort to make me love it just as much.  But I think my absolute favorite moment to date is my how my father-in-law improvised on cooking by using a roasting pan as a sauté pan and using a paint scraper as spatula.  We are THAT family.

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2016 is a Wrap

2016 has been a hell of a year.

January– This was a brutal month. It began with JoDee coming home from WATC. It wasn’t the best homecoming. Quickly it became very clear that it wasn’t going to last very long.  She ran off, as expected, but nearly died, which wasn’t expected. For six minutes she was dead to us.  I thought that was the end. I thought she would finally see the light and not the kind she should be walking toward. I could not have been more wrong. She sent me home. She didn’t want to come home. She wanted to go back out to do what she does with whomever she does it with. January was the month that I realized my daughter was gone to me. To us. And nothing was bringing her back until she was ready and willing. Jared’s birthday was not the happy celebration it should have been.

February– started with her birthday. It also happened to be SC birthday (they are two days apart). Being able to celebrate with SC but not JoDee was hard. It made me take a real look at what I was going to do now. It was clear JoDee wasn’t coming back to us. So, I decided to do something’s for myself including cutting my hair.   February was also the month that a young man lost his battle with addiction and a newspaper chose that time to exploit his death by highlighting his criminal past, as though that would justify his death. By the end of the month she had overdosed again.  I thought she was going to be dead any minute. And I felt desperate.

March-we didn’t have much contact. She did her best to keep her distance. I did my best to let her keep her distance. It was way too hard to see her looking like a gutter rat and way too hard to keep away from her. It was a miserable month.

April– seemed to look up a little. She was trying to scrap together clean time. It wasn’t working but she would try to do normal things like go to Pilates with me. There was a lot of talk about addiction in news and in the paper. Addiction was the new hot topic. Some people were actually concerned about those that were dying but some were too busy condemn the afflicted.  It was also the month I realized just how much addiction catalysed lies. From the addict, from the family, to oneself.  It was a particularly hard month. The weight of her addiction was crushing.

May– Well, this month brought both happiness and sadness. Jay J and Cinderella went to the prom looking like movie stars. And on the same day JoDee ran from another detox. Someone picked her up. Someone I talked to on the regular. Someone who I told not to pick her up. Later that same month, that someone would be dead. That loss was an enormous one. Not just to me or JoDee but to the whole NA community. I knew that meant she was either going to get better or going to die.  This was also the month that the kids, including Cinderella, AC and I participated in Light the Night Purple.

June– This month began with a Section 35. She was in a downward spiral that was clearly leading to death. She had nowhere to go and no one to call and the only thing she could rely on was drugs. And drugs aren’t very reliable. Shortly after she was incarcerated she called me to say that as soon as she got out she was going to get high. She was not going to be clean. She did not want to be clean and she was very angry at me. Hateful. But I knew that the person she hated the most was herself. We celebrated Jay J’s birthday but it was veiled with sadness.  In addition, someone had the bright idea of sending me a letter asking for advice. I now receive advice letters routinely and some of them are scary. Like, makes me question humanity scary, and my own humanity because I can’t stop laughing at some of them. (Think a question about sex with animals and my reply being don’t go to petting zoo’s). The month ended with desperation and anxiety.

July– If you follow this blog at all you will know that July was the month of anger. People giving me advice that I didn’t ask for or want annoyed the shit out of me. Nightmares, depression and general spite for al living things made me a little hard to live with. The month ended on a positive not for SC while AC, SC and I were in Arizona however, while away JoDee got herself in some hot water involving a misunderstanding about not paying for cigarettes or gas or something. Needless to say, one whole morning was spent on the phone keeping her out of jail.

August– Let’s face it, August was not much better than July. JoDee did a lot of running, I did a lot of isolating.  I was strong armed to sending her to a program in California which she promptly ran from, as I knew she would. August was spent with her on the run in the desert doing who-the-hell-knows-what while I sat home wondering what those terrible things could be. She begged me to fly her home. I wouldn’t.  In the end, unbeknownst to most, I paid for her to fly home but told everyone someone else did. I refused to see her or pick her up at the airport. I did not want her to know that I was involved.  It ended with me Sectioning her again. For the 3rd time in less than a year.

September– Oh the joy of September. September was the month the entire world went ape shit when the epipen price soared comparing it to the free narcan. I’m sorry, but that is an absolutely ridiculous comparison. I can’t. I won’t. I refuse to get into that again. If you need a refresher go here Dear State House.

October– Once the world died down on the whole epipen dilemma the public shaming started. Video’s of addicts nodded out with kids, or in stores, or in Dunkin Donuts started surfacing. This was about “exposing the addicts” for the scumbag shit they were. Well, I guess no one really thought about the families of those addicts or the kids in question and the fact that those images will be on Facebook, twitter and YouTube forever so it will follow them no matter how old they get. No one understands it doesn’t just shame the addict, it shames anyone within a 50 mile radius of the addict. But let’s don’t talk about that….. It was also the month JoDee checked into detox after I left her stranded in a park in the middle of the night. Proceeded to rehab and then ran from rehab.

November– JoDee checked herself back into treatment and according to those involved, was doing well. I didn’t believe it. I refused to see her. I didn’t really want to talk to her. I was waiting to hear that she bailed again. My faith was lost and my spirit was low. I was joyfully surprised when she hit the 30 day clean mark. And looked amazing. The glimmer of hope began to shine again. This was also the month that I fed McDonald’s to my family for Thanksgiving. Such a shithead sometimes.

December– That brings us to the end of the year. The last month of the year. The finally of 2016. This month brought a horrific loss to a wonderful mother. The kind of loss that is a parents worse nightmare. There is nothing I could say to bring comfort to her, and there is nothing anyone can say to ease my guilt for being relieved it wasn’t my kid. There is also nothing at all that can be done about the fact that it can be at any point, and without long term recovery it might be. Part of the end of the year is a stat report I get from my site domain.  To finish the year, here is some stat info:

The number one post of the year was To My Dearest Daughter.

The least viewed post was Why Does It Matter?

There were 15000 view of my home page or archived posts (from previous years).

The most views in the month was January with 3478.

I had 27361 more views than in 2015.

The most popular day of the week is Thursday and the most popular hour is 8 pm.

I gained 71 followers this year and double the number of comments from last year.

I posted 64 blogs (not counting this one) and they were seen in over 80 countries.

My favorite of all the stats are the search terms used for 2016: (these are words folks googled or binged or yahoo’d to find my blog)

The most used is the addict in my basement and there a number of variations of that.

I had two people find it by using “child unresponsive and not breathing at finish line convenience store”.

My boyfriend is growing drugs in my basement.

Motherless son fucks his addict mother.

Found drugs in my basement.

My family was in my house so I went to my basement.

Saying goodbye to a sister/best friend before I go to detox.

I helped a old lady home with her groceries and when she bent down to pick up groceries I fucked her.

How to apologise for the biggest mistake relapsing.

I feel pitiful at 18.

Life advice bloggers dumb.

Whats the movie called where the woman is held captive and replase on drugs that was hidden in her daughters music box?

What to do if you grew up a shitstain on society and became a sponging off the government drug addict.

Pinned droppy eyes heroin.

And the final and my personal favorite:

Is it illegal to tie up an addict in my basement.

 

The search terms boggle my mind. I can’t even imagine the reasons some of these terms linked to my blog. I’m sure I don’t want to know. I can promise my readers I have definitely not tried to force an old woman into a sexual encounter with me after helping with groceries. I can only imagine what 2017 will bring. I hope everyone has a safe and Happy Holiday and New Year.

 

Much love from my family to yours even if you are a self-proclaimed  shit stain on society,

 

MB, AC, and gang.

 

The Many Christmas Years

I know I am not the only person in the world who becomes nostalgic during the holidays. Holidays are milestone markers. I know that I can remember all of my children’s first Christmases. I can remember my first christmas married, each time, which  with Daddy-O also happened to be JoDee’s first christmas. This time of year reminds me of christmas time when I was a kid. My grandparents would have these giant piles of presents for my sister and me, that we would rip apart fast anxious to see what the next gift was going to be. Recently we found videos’ of christmas past and JCB and I looked like Tasmanian devils unwrapping presents at lightening speed barely acknowledging the actual gift.  Ah.. those were the days.

Christmas as a parent is so different from christmas as a kid. I think the transition from being parented to being a parent was so fast for me, I missed the orientation. Over the years we have developed our own traditions but one of our traditions is not really being traditional. For example, we have never put a star on the top of our tree. Or an angel or anything remotely elegant, religious or even able to lite up. For as along as I can remember we have put a skanky looking, stained and ratty Santa hat. The dog has chewed it. The bulb on the end is nasty and possibly carrying some undefined disease. Potentially the infection that will cause zombie-ness.

Usually it’s a hectic time trying to make sure that both Daddy-O and I get enough time with the kids, and our families. The last five years it has been crazy, not just hectic. The first Christmas AD (after addiction) JoDee had just come back from Arizona. She was recently detoxed so somewhat clean. Clearly we know her story involves relapses. A lot of relapses and shortly after Christmas of that year she relapses. The following year she was clean again, but that wouldn’t last either. The last two Christmas’ have been the worst, I think. Two years ago JoDee left my house with the intention of getting high. I knew it. She knew it and I tried to change her  mind.  There was no talking to her. There was no telling her to think about her life. There was only the look in her eye, the dismissive attitude on her way out and the ominous look of her tail lights as she pulled away from the house. The next few weeks were a blur of running from me, going to detox, running from detox, yadda,yadda, yadda. By the beginning of January we had her sectioned for the very first time. A terribly overwhelming experience.

That led to the longest amount of clean time she ever had. It also led her to be introduced to a whole new way to use and scam. What looked like a bright future turned into a freaking nightmare in a just a few weeks time. JoDee ran and was better at hiding since she had a new group to provide for her. And not in a good way. She had lowlife willing to hide her away, provide her with drugs. When I would finally get her to come home or see her she would look like she had been fighting a war. Thin, frail, exhausted. Eventually she would decide to go to treatment, and part of that treatment was further treatment in Florida. I remember saying I didn’t want her to go. I had a bad feeling about it. But she claimed she wanted to go. Everyone I spoke to said that the program she was going to was excellent. 5 days. She lasted 5 days before she ran away. On AC birthday last year (which was a year ago this week) we got the call that Miss Thing was on the run.

She eventually came home, after I bought her a plane ticket. Her feet weren’t off the plane for a minute before she was sectioned again. She spent Christmas at WATC. It was a difficult Christmas for everyone. SC was at Children’s Hospital so two of our five kids were not home. AC and I had a hard time working up the holiday spirit enough to put up the tree, but we did. That was a rough beginning to that year. That year being this year. This year being now as in 2016. To say that I am glad this year is over is the understatement of understatement.

This Christmas is going to be rough, too. But a good rough. A rough we can handle. Between the move and work and kids and school we have a lot going on but it’s nothing we can’t handle. Not anywhere near the hell we have gone through that last few Christmas’. I hope anyway. The truth is no matter what happens, we can handle it. We might not want to but we can. We might not like it but we can. If the last few christmas’ have taught us anything it’s that we can anticipate nothing and prepare for anything.  Christmas isn’t here yet so I don’t want to jinx anything. I am fully aware that anything that can change at any moment.

 

Everything Opposite

Everything Opposite

I am concerned about jinxing myself, as I have stated before. So, in an attempt to trick karma/the universe/whoever decides what is jinxable, this is opposite day. I am not saying that everything I am going to write is the not true but merely insinuating that readers should think of these statements as contradictory to real life.  Let’s begin.

  1. The house move is going splendidly. Very organized and well thoughts out. Not at all crazed and confused.
  2. I can’t wait to move into our new house which I love. So much. Love it.
  3. I was not at all upset when a tiny pebble, a miniscule little stupid fleck of a rock flew out of nowhere making a quarter size cracks in my windshield. I laughed. I wasn’t mad. I definitely did not swear.
  4. I am so looking forward to Christmas. I cannot wait for the fun which some might interpret as chaos and worthy of self mutilation, but not me. I am grinning ear to ear.
  5. I am not at all easing my stress and aggravation with retail therapy in the form of online shopping. I do not have so many packages and boxes stacked in my bedroom that Diego scared the crap out of me when he jumped on them in the middle of the night causing the entire stack to fall over on to my bed and on to the exact spot that I was sleeping in.
  6. I am looking forward to all the wrapping I have to do. I simply can’t wait.

And lastly, since it’s OPPOSITE day and you should consider this to be CONTRARY, I will say JoDee is doing, ugh, so bad. Horrible. Can’t stand having her at home. Such a drag. We don’t laugh and laugh and laugh until she snorts which makes me laugh more. She is not behaving, and following the rules and cleaning up after herself. And she looks like crap. She does not have absolutely clear and beautiful skin and put some weight on. She does not look so healthy that it’s hard not to stare at her and she doesn’t seem happy at all.

I won’t go on and on about all the contradictory things that have been going on. I definitely am not treasuring this time. Not at all. No way.

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