Notes on Deconstruction

When I was a child, I had a few favorite little games. One was making stews. I would get a bowl and fill it with outdoor things and imagine I was feeding my creations to animal folk or faries or whatnot.  Another game I played was ‘”hospital,” where I’d create medicines and bandages from plants and mud and patch up my sick dolls. And then there were the damn rocks. I collected rocks like a starving child in an apple orchard. I hoarded them like money. They were….my precious.

And then at age 4, I watched The Worst Witch on free Disney weekend, which became my favorite flick for many years, despite its terrifying first impression of Tim Curry, kicking off a lifelong hate-affair with the man. Still, I watched that and was like “oh hey, I’m a witch!”  Then they marched me through the front doors of a religious institution that not only prohibited but villianized witchcraft, and I was all “oh hey, I’m screwed!”

Enter then 20+ years of indoctrination into a manufactured monotheistic reality, and what you spit out at age 30 is a very confused, very much religiously traumatized individual who then eschews all religions and Judeo-Christian beliefs structures and develops a fascination with cults and paganism. That’s what you get, Catholic school.

Fast forward. I know now I was doing all that weird witchy play stuff before I started school. I also know I was talking to spirits of some sort at the same age. I also know I always have KNOWN things, starting at age 4 when I found my parent’s stolen car.  I have also been lectured by seers more than once about wasting my inherent ability. And still, it took until damn near 40 for me to once again think “oh hey, I’m a witch!”

So, Bernadette and I went to the Psychic Fair over the weekend. I bought a book, and I got some gemstones that took me back to a simpler time…the time of my rock collections. I bought a rose quartz, which is often used for love both between others and also self- but all I remember is that it was my favorite as a small child. I liked quartz in general, and we had tons lining the edge of our pool, but none were the smoky pink of a rose quartz. I also got a little protection wreath for my altar, and found some cool candles I want in the future. It was a nice little morning, and it triggered all those aforementioned early year’s memories. That little rock sent me reeling back in time, to before the introduction of my small self to “the one true God,” when all was still visible to me. I am trying to harness that feeling, and live with that intention, as opposed to the one forced on me by a generational curse.

The moral of the story is that religious deconstruction is not for the faint of heart, and I completely understand why some folk just say screw it and go with God.  I got home from the fair and felt very peaceful after, and very much like I was on the right path, which is a foreign feeling I’ve only been receiving since the Salem trip. But I don’t often feel that way, spiritually. I try to, but mono-god is still up there, stuck in my brain like slime.  And all I want is my pretty rocks. 

Boot and Rally

Of course, it has been a few quiet months so my stupid stomach decided to make an appearance. It started by ruining a girl’s night in Erie PA with Sahar. She ended up driving me to the hospital in Buffalo, and as I threw up in a little blue baggie she wheeled me into the emergency room. Then, this saint of a woman, drove my father down to Pennsylvania to pick up his car that I left there. I was angry, because I missed work, and I was pretty sure at the time that it was related to the meal I had eaten the night before, and not actually gastroparesis. But then, I was sick for the next 3 days.

Monday morning found me feeling significantly better, which was a blessing because I HAD to go to work.  I had just missed several days, and the bills don’t care if you get sick. On the way to work, I was giving myself a pep talk, trying to rally myself to have a good day. I thought of the term “boot and rally,” the origins of which I am not sure, but refers to when, after a night of drinking, one then vomits, and then returns to the drinking. Seriously, this may be just a Buffalo thing, I have no idea, but it is definitely something we have all done. I feel like on Sunday and Monday I did the Supreme Boot and Rally, having been terribly sick on Sunday and managing by the grace of God to accomplish everything that needed to be accomplished on Monday. I say by the grace of God because it was no picnic. It was the most “Monday” Monday I’ve ever had in my life, where everything went wrong from spilling my coffee on myself to falling flat on my face on some ice. Alas, I soldiered on.

And do you know what kept me going? Maureen would have been proud of me. My mother would have been cheering me on all day, telling me I could do the hard things. Every time I accomplished something, I said “Mom would have been proud of me today.” That is what got me through Monday. But then came Tuesday, and a couple of overcrowded hospitals.

After I drive by both, and find long lines at both, I decided I would tough it out at home. I took every medication has ever been prescribed to me for my stomach, and I laid on the couch and waited for several hours, until finally I could not take it anymore. I had dad drive me out to St Joe’s, and waited about an hour to be put in a room, and weirdly by that time the vomiting had subsided. However, I knew that I was deeply dehydrated, so the best course of action would be for me to stay and get an IV…but my arms were so bruised from the past few days that they had to put it in my neck, which was scary and painful. They gave me some medication, which knocked me out, and I awoke around 1:00 a.m. thirsty but feeling good. When they let me have a glass of water, I felt even better. Then they sent me home, where I got a few hours of sleep, which brings us to now when I feel perfectly fine. And that is the problem.

One day I feel perfectly fine, like I can do anything, like I can take on anything that the world throws at me. And then I go to sleep every night worried that when I wake up I won’t have that perfectly fine day in the morning. I have an appointment with my physician early in the morning tomorrow, another with my surgeon at the end of the month, and a couple other appointments I need to make today. I am just so sick of being sick.. and it is threatening my livelihood again. I am going to have to consider making some big changes, which will be hard but worth it in the long run. At least, if it helps. I have to try anything that might help. I like the way my life is going, and I am not willing to lose it the way I have lost it before. All because of a digestive system that has betrayed me my whole life.  And still…I rally.

Just Block Me.

Listen, I’ve said it on Facebook, and I’ve said it on Twitter, and I’m pretty sure I mentioned it at least once in this blog, but you had to block me. You see, there are people I follow on social media that are not necessarily MY people. They’re the people of those I love- former friends, ex’s of all sorts, employers gone awry- those are the people who I do not block. Ergo, you have to block me.

First, I will tell you why I won’t block you, and then I will explain why you should block me. See, I will continue to follow you, not because I necessarily care for your well-being, although I can say with confidence most of the people I am speaking of are folks that I called friend at one point. What I do care about is your influence on people who remain dear to my heart. Here’s one super vague situation: my sister has a person who over the past year has been trying to violate the boundary that she has set to preserve her emotional health. This human follows me on all the socials, even likes to interact sometimes. I don’t block them, because I am petty.

Usually, people have a lot of trouble admitting their flaws, but I’ve gotten pretty good at it over the years, given immense amounts of therapy and introspective thought. I have no problem telling you the things I need to work on, and me holding the grudge on behalf of others is one of those things. Although, we are talking about my sister here, so I will probably go to the grave with this one. I’m fine with it, truly.

Anyway, I don’t block anyone I want to keep an eye on. Know thy enemy, and all that jazz. Which is why people really need to block me.  Don’t make me hold a grudge against you! If our lives no longer make a Venn diagram because of a person that we mutually know, feel free to drop me like a hot potato! Because I will absolutely report back every stupid or mean or idiotic thing I see you do on social media. It is a flaw, I am working on it, and I am asking you to help me. No, ex-boyfriend of my good friend, you do not want me to see the new tattoo or car or haircut you got. No, former boss of more than one person I care about, I do not need to know about your new job that is a clear step down from your previous one. And for the love of god, former friend of sister, accept the damn break up, because every time you like my shit, I immediately let her know. I am not an excellent person in this regard, and so I ask for your help. Block me. Help me to help you.

Anyway, this is just a semi-silly little post with something that’s been on my mind the past couple of days because of the aforementioned friend of sister. The point of it is that my fierce loyalty often gets me in trouble. But if I’m honest, I really don’t care. The people I love in life I love very hard, and I take threats to them as personal affronts to myself. If that’s a flaw, that’s one I’m not trying to change.

Time is Nothing

I guess we ought to talk about Momma. My therapist said it was the healthy thing to do…::eyeroll::

I mentioned in a news flash blog that my mother passed away on Christmas night. My father called me, and made noises that I never heard him make before, and once I figured out what was going on I joined him in the howling at the universe. When done, I made some phone calls, alerting the troops, if unable to rally them due to a snowstorm thqt was described as “once in a generation.” And it was. You get a lot of talk from the elders about the Blizzard of ’77 around here, and someday I will be telling my grandchildren about the Blizzard of ’22. Except for me, my story will be very sad. Time lost all meaning  the week after Christmas, much more than it usually does. I honestly can’t tell you what day it was that I made it to my father’s house- I think it was the 26th, but I could be wrong. It must have been, because I can’t imagine I went a whole 24 hours without seeing him after getting the call.

Everything was horrible, but I went to his house, trekking through feet of snow, and we did Christmas. It was weird, mostly because I think we were all still in shock. There was a week of time, more maybe, again as I said it’s all meaningless. We saw the family, which was a sad occasion but also made me feel better. My family is very big, and full of lots of very strong personalities, so sometimes it gets a little rambunctious, but there was no one I wanted more than them when everything went to hell. It was good to see them, and feel comforted by them. You see, all of my family is on my father’s side. My mother was the last McDonald.

Eventually time continued some more, and I called my boss at school and told her that I would not be coming in. It was simply too hard. I did do a shift at Avis, and it was agony. And then Saturday again, the 7th now, and we are laying my mother to rest.

Somewhere in the nothingness of time, we made all the plans for her funeral. My mother was unique in that she wrote her funeral 30 years ago. She spent a great portion of her life as a devoted Catholic, and so she requested a full Catholic Mass for her funeral, followed by a party of some sort. Probably my favorite part of the funeral was when they offered gluten-free Eucharist. Apparently, though I could not see them, a few of my friends had a really hard time not laughing. Which is fine, because my dad got up to receive communion, and when he turned around he noticed that everyone in the rows behind them was still sitting. He laughed at that. (He did receive the gluten-free Jesus that day.)

It was Sunday when time became real again. I didn’t have anything to do except go to work Avis and it was an okay morning even if I felt a little rusty at the wheel. Monday came, and it was back on schedule again. I went to Avis, and I went to work at the school, and I even came home and made dinner. Then, I cried a while. It would seem that now I have to allow a certain portion of my day to crying.  Anyway, that is what happened from my hazy perspective. Again, time is nothing.

Also, as a fun little treat, I have had laryngitis for over 2 weeks. Apparently I am not sick as per my doctor, and I feel fine, I can just barely talk. Which is super helpful when you are in both the education and customer service industries. The other day I saw a tweet by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. They said “retweet if you’re taking it day by day.” Wow, that seems ambitious. Day by day, as opposed to hour by hour, or minute by minute. Mostly I am just taking it in moments, because time is nothing.

I am sure I will write much more about Momma in the future, but for today the best I can do is a play-by-play of what went down, at least what I can remember right now. But, oh boy, will there be blog entries! And oh, will there be poems! I dedicated A Lovely Wreckage to her, and I am very glad she saw that go to print, and saw her name on the dedication page. But the truth is, it wasn’t just that little chapbook that was for her- it’s all of it. I lost my biggest fan, and that kind of hurts, too.

Talking Baby Jesus

I’m not going to write about mom right now, ok? The words aren’t here yet. What I’m going to write about is the Talking Baby Jesus.

Did you know about Talking Baby Jesus?  Because I sure did not. I was just chilling, watching Tik-Tok, and I stumbled on a video telling me that Jesus’ first miracle was not water into wine, as I was taught, but actually speaking at his birth, as per the Quran. So naturally, this exchange with my Muslim bestie:

NO, HE WAS NOT, MA’AM.

So of course I needed all the information, and her mother was happy to provide. She sent me a link with every mention of Jesus in the Quran, which of course I devoured and then sent follow up questions to Sahar. Questions like “why do you call him Messiah,” and “why did we leave out the Talking Baby,” and my favorite “do y’all have the lost years of Christ that the Vatican hid from us? Cuz I’d really like to read THAT.”

She promised to follow up with her mother, but had to return to Cleveland. She will be back this weekend though, so hopefully I shall learn more.
I think that the most interesting thing I discovered, however, is that like the Christians and the Jewish people before them, the Muslims are also waiting on a Messiah…but unlike the Jewish, they believe he already came to Earth.  In fact, they are waiting on Jesus. Now, hold up. Sahar tells me this fact, and my brain melted. Why was this never explained to me? I learned all of the similarities between Judaism and Christianity, but they never brought Islam into play. Which seems ridiculous; they have information on Jesus as well, and also believe him to be the Messiah.

So, my question became, why are we fighting?! Why is everyone constantly fighting? If you’re all waiting on a Messiah, and most of you believe it’s the same dude, why is there room for arguments all the time? I’m sure Sahar’s mother could give me a scholarly answer, but my friend’s short answer does the trick: “people are terrible.”
A sad and universal truth amongst all religions, people are indeed terrible. Look at the Bible, Quran, and Torah, and tell me otherwise. Do I believe people are good at heart? Of course I do. I have seen evidence throughout my entire life. Do I also believe that people are stupid? Absolutely. We may be the most evolved species on the planet, but that doesn’t mean we know everything. In fact, we know very little about the universe and the way it works. We know next to nothing about the gods we praise and adore. We only have snippets of a story, much of it kept only to the eyes of scholars and clergy. It is not for the people, likely because the people will realize that they have nothing to be arguing over. And we all know, war is good for business.

Anyway, this is the little lesson I learned this week. If you know me, you know that I love learning about religion and all of its factions. I don’t know what drives me to it, probably years of indoctrination trying to leak out of my system. Either way, I am always happy to learn something new that brings me closer to a universal understanding. I hope you are as well.

***
I will note here that my mother’s funeral will be taking place on Saturday. If you are a reader that is close to the family, and you would like to attend the services, please message me and I will happily provide details. Mom wished for a really big funeral Mass-so that is what I am trying to give to her. Everyone is invited, no man left behind. Anyway, my love to you and yours, because we just don’t say it enough. Happy New Year, and happy Thursday, too.

Liquidation

Last weekend, I found out that the New Phoenix Theater in Buffalo was having a liquidation sale. I was unable to go, but my father went in search of Christmas gifts and some sort of situation for his record player. I have written about this theater before, because that is where I was working when I met both my best friend Sahar, as well as my husband, Mark. He didn’t work at the theater like Sahar did, but he did hang out at the coffee shop around the block, and we met after rehearsal one night. So were I not hanging around that theater every night when I was 20, I might not have met the man I ended up marrying. I know I would not have Sahar, because we came from totally different worlds. I am forever grateful for these two people, and perhaps it is silly, but I am grateful for the building that brought them to me.

I found out a while ago that the owner of the theater, Richard, was putting it on the market. I was instantly sad, and truly desperate for a million dollar lotto win so I could take it off his hands. Alas, that is not reality, though I did hear that local theater folk tried to purchase it to retain it as a theater. Unfortunately, that deal fell through. And so, it will be turned into living space.  Sigh.

Now, it’s a pretty cool building as buildings go. I don’t know it’s complete history, but I do know that it was a sort of convent/soup kitchen situation prior to Richard purchasing it. It’s at least 100 years old, and a beautiful representation of old Buffalo architecture. It has a very scary basement, complete with spider webs and leaky pipes and possible ghosts. The first floor was the stage and seating, as well as a small reception area where photos of local stars lined the walls. On the second floor was the rehearsal hall, and a bar area where receptions were held after shows. Passing that were the dressing rooms, and a staircase up to the third floor, which was a full apartment. Richard lived when I first met him.

Richard always owned the theater, but when I was young it also housed a second company called the Buffalo Ensemble Theater. It was BET who posted a flyer on the bulletin board at my school for a youth theater group. It was called the Explorers, and was run by the Boy Scouts of America. It was coed prior to Boy Scouts becoming coed, and was career focused. So. BET put together a group showing careers in theater. I jumped at this, and ended up being the club Treasurer on day three. 5 years later, I stopped doing shows there when the theater started to dissolve.

But God did I love that building.

So, years later: I was fresh off my first stage managing gig and ran into Richard, so I was thrilled when he asked me to come work a show at New Phoenix. The show he hired me for never came to fruition, but I did end up doing another there soon after. I always hoped I would return to work there again someday, but it turns out that is not in the cards.

Richard retired to Florida, and likely the building will become apartments or something. But when we were young, that place was so magical! I know so many people who discovered their talents there and went on to pursue them, and really…we were just kids. We were just having fun, and look what happened!  Life skills!

Anyway, I’m very much looking forward to Christmas morning to discover what trinket Dad collected for me from the liquidation sale. And I guess I can muster some excitement to see what they do with the building in the future…hopefully it isn’t terrible. It doesn’t matter though, because I will always be grateful for that place, and everything it brought into my life.

Friends, family, and confidence.

Other Planes of Existence

When I was small, someone asked me if I believed in ghosts. I replied that of course I did, didn’t everyone? After all, it went: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Also, I vividly saw people who were not there. Like, fully formed humans no one else could see.


I was assured by many that I had “imaginary friends,” but I also knew they weren’t the sort my peers had. One girl in my class had an imaginary pet snail. I had an imaginary retiree who lived in an apartment building the next town over. We were not the same.


Now, when I begin reading, I immediately gravitated towards ghost stories. Horror became my genre of choice by the time I was in fourth grade, when I first got my hands on a Stephen King short story compilation.  Ghost stories have always been my favorite, whispered at sleepovers, or told while shining a flashlight in your face around a campfire.


Anyway, as time went on, I started to learn about the spiritual side of things, in particular to my life. I went to Lilydale, as I have mentioned before in my blog. I had an experience there where the Medium told me that I myself contain psychic ability. I mostly ignored this. Then, I went to Salem this past  Fall, and a psychic there asked me why I continue to waste my talents. In fact, she told me a lot of things.


One item is that my life will remain on fire until after the New Year. So far, this tracks. Everything remains ablaze, as it has been one emergency after another fir several months now. She did also tell me that this time next year I will look back at this and laugh. I will be in a whole new place, apparently. I am very much looking forward to that.


In the meantime, I’m looking into the psychic thing. When I wrote about my trip, I mentioned that we performed a spell that resulted in Sahar’s purse falling off a desk, totally of its own accord. This, coupled with a few things said by the tarot card reader, led me to believe that my mother has access to the spiritual plane. This was confirmed the other night by my friend Carey, who is often visited by spirits. Her grandmother came to her in a dream and told her that she has been speaking to my mother, who apparently is quite the fighter. This was a sort of aha moment, because I knew, in the way I sometimes know things, that there was a way my mother would be able to communicate on that playing field. Still, I suck at the whole psychic thing because I don’t know what I’m doing. I mean, I’m reading a lot, and I’m researching a lot, and I’m learning a lot. But I still don’t know what I’m doing. All I have truly figured out so far is that true power comes from within. Now, to unlock that somehow.


Do you believe in ghosts? I’ve always believed in ghosts. I’ve always believed that spirits can hear me when I speak to them, and sometimes they talk back. It’s just hard for us to hear as mortals. Does my rational brain wonder if this is all just indoctrination? Like I said in the beginning, it went: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Of course I wonder. Am I just programmed to believe in the supernatural, or is the supernatural the most natural of all, and we as a species have either dampened our senses, or have yet to unlock them? Oooh, I love a good mystery of the universe.


Anyway, I think that is all for today. I am just up in my head about the God of it all. As per usual.

Happy Monday.

Same Old Thing

I have been sick, on and off, for the past week. I’m a thousand percent sure that it is stress related, but the doctors at the hospital don’t seem to listen. They keep trying to find a reason for it, and I keep trying to tell them what the reason is, but emergency room doctors don’t tend to deal well with matters of the mind.
This week I have missed work, which always makes me feel like a failure. I know, because I have chronic illness, I should not feel this way. That is my logical, reasonable brain speaking, and I try to listen to that half of my mind at all times. Of course, crazy brain gets in there and tells me that it’s never going to get any better, and I have to talk myself off a ledge once again.
I sat down to write this blog, and realized I had nothing new to say. This past week has been a tire fire. I keep thinking about the tarot card reader-she told me that the fire would not stop until after the New Year. She told me that this time next year, I will look back at this and laugh. I am counting down the days.
Today, I have no desire for holiday stuff- which alarms me, because the days are slowly ticking by. I keep looking at the naked Christmas tree in the corner of my living room that is waiting for a new strand of lights to come in the mail. I picked up my box of ornaments the other day, and I swear I heard broken glass, so I am sure some form of disappointment lurks in there. I wish to decorate the tree, but at the same time I want to leave it bare.
What I do want to do is decorate my parent’s house. My sister and I plan to do it on Sunday, and then have some cake for Dad’s birthday. Perhaps that will put me in the holiday spirit a little more. Mostly, I just want to be well enough to enjoy the holiday. I know it’s going to be a lot different than past years, but I will keep looking for ways to celebrate. Hopefully I will be healthy and happy, and so will you.
Happy Thursday.

That Holiday Feeling

This morning I awoke sad because there was no candy in my shoes. I told this to my Islamic best friend, who was instantly baffled. I explained that it was Saint Nicholas Day here on the Christian calendar, and she recalled a kindergarten memory of receiving a orange in her sneaker. That was the first and last time she participated in such a tradition. It was typical, for me, to awake each December 6th to find Hershey Kisses and candy canes tucked in the toes of my Mary Janes. Of course, this tradition ceased when I moved out of my parents house, but Mom would always try to remember and give me little candies on the day. So, with her currently decommissioned, I was vaguely forlorn that there was no candy in my shoe.

Anyway, I’d mentioned to Sahar that we have another holiday on the 8th, and it reminded me, as I explained it to her, then it’s probably our most ridiculous. No offense to any of my Catholic or Christian readers, but why do we have a feast day celebrating a very special date night for Mary’s parents? A surprising amount of people I know, including those raised Catholic and Christian, think that the Feast of the Immaculate Conception has to do with the day that Jesus was conceived. No, no, my friends. It was Mary who was born without Original Sin, thus becoming perfect vessel for God’s son. And here we are, insisting folk go to church to celebrate Mary’s parents taking the train to pound town. We were in about 7th grade when we figured this out by the way, and I don’t recall anyone saying “hey this makes perfect sense!” Mostly just sex jokes, guys. Not well executed, St. Paul’s School.


I then went on to start explaining Advent, but at this point spelling everything out seems so ridiculous. Advent is kind of like Lent, another crazy Catholic thing. Except Advent is only 4 weeks long, commemorates each week with the lighting of a candle, and you don’t have to give anything up like you do during Lent where it’s all about the sacrificing. Advent is about waiting and being patient-super fun time for the grade-school crowd. I remember we would start the holiday season by making our Advent wreaths: pine circles with four candles attached, three purple and one pink. That’s how we knew it was Christmastime at school. We also knew we would be going to mass every week until Christmas. Like I said, a super fun time for a 6th grader.


But then comes the actual day! It’s  the birth of Jesus! Except for the part where he was born in the springtime, and in an effort to convert the pagans, the church chose Yule as the time of celebration for Jesus.


Once upon a time, Bernadette was in a play at a church with one of her friends. I believe they were Methodists. Anyway, my aunt Ka, the Sister of Mercy, attended with me. The theme of the play was “Jesus is the reason for the season.” I was immediately outraged, because I absolutely hate that phrase, as it is completely false. I don’t mind Jesus being the reason you celebrate, but like…The Druids are the reason for the “season.” Now, I’m not Catholic anymore, obviously. When I celebrate Christmas, I am celebrating a phase of the Earth. I am celebrating a new year coming, and an old one passing through. If you want to celebrate Jesus’s birthday, that’s perfectly cool with me, we just can’t be out here denying facts, is all I’m saying. Anyway, that year, Ka give me a “Jesus is the reason for the season” ornament. My mom thinks it was a genuine gesture; I think it was a little prank. Ka may have been a nun, but she was also very smart, funny, and “got me,” even when mom thought she wouldn’t.


I don’t know where I was going with most of this. Christmas still does not seem real to me this year. I think I might need some help getting into the spirit. Where can I put in for a Christmas miracle; is there some sort of lotto? Anyway, you let me know, and meanwhile I will keep checking my shoes for Hershey Kisses.

Death is a Schoolyard Bully

Me and Death in the School Parking Lot, 3pm.

Oh, how we would fight. A gruesome battle, I’d tell him to drop his weapon and fight me like a human! But you know I would fight dirty. There would be hair pulled, should he have hair.  I would punch him so hard in the nose that I wouldn’t even notice my broken hand bones, only his shattered skull-face staring back at me with hollow eyes.  Then I’d kick him in his metaphorical balls.

I haven’t had therapy in a month, guys.

To say that I am not constantly thinking about death would be an obvious lie, given that my mother has been practically catatonic for several months now. But over the weekend, something happened that made me even more angry with the entire concept of death.  First, some backstory.

Early in our years together, Mark brought me home to meet his mother for the first time. While we were in town, we visited his sister Dawn and her family. I met her son Connor, who was maybe 8 or so at the time, and her daughter Bella, who was still a baby. Connor and I bonded when he taught me how to play zombies on Call of Duty. He was an incredibly sweet little boy with the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen. That was the first time I met him, and also the last. Shortly after our visit, his parents split, and Connor chose to stay with his father. Mark was always a little sad about this, because Connor was extra special to him. He just so happened to have been born the same day as M. Mark told me that the moms-to-be were in a race; he’s pretty sure Dawn won. But because of this, he always thought of Connor on M’s birthday.

So, Sunday morning I went to work, and as I was opening the shop, Mark called me. He was crying, and I immediately thought my mother was dead. Rational brain took over, telling me that it was unlikely I would get this call from my husband and not my father. I begged him to tell me what happened, and he told me that Connor had been killed in an accident. I called my boss, and he came in to relieve me. When I got home, I found a devastated husband. I cried with him, mostly because this boy was just a boy. Mostly, because he’s the same age as one of my boys. Mostly, because of his mother Dawn, who does not deserve this pain.

Later, Mark was sleeping, and I cried again. But this time, I was crying because it’s not fair. It is not fair that a teenage boy departed this world, while my mother is lying in a hospital bed clinging to life. I love my mother, I miss my mother, and I want my mother to get better. But I also know, and have to face every day, that she is currently living my worst nightmare. I wouldn’t wish what she is going through on anyone, absolute least of all her. There are many times that I wish she just never woke up that morning I found her. It seems that would be more fair. And I don’t think I could confront that fact until this weekend.

A lot of my friends and family read my blog, and they all know my mother very well, and I’m sure they’re all sobbing right now. And I’m sorry, truly, for bringing a spot of sadness into your day. But, it needn’t be sad. This morning I told my father were going to have Christmas, if for no other reason then Maureen would simply kill us if we did not. He can’t imagine a Christmas without Mom, none of us can, but we’re going to do what I told him we’re going to do: we’re going to be sad. But, we’re also going to find little bits to make us happy. And it’s going to work! Do you know how I know? Because when my aunt Ka died, that is exactly what my mother told me to do…find the silver linings, and all the little joys.

So, I’m going to get a team together to decorate my dad’s house for Christmas. I’m going to take my girls over there to make cut-out cookies the same way I would every other year. We’re going to go to my grandma’s on Christmas Eve and spend it with the family, and even though somebody is going to cry, we’re still going to eat and drink and be merry. We are going to open presents on Christmas Day, and there’s a real good chance I’m going to cook a ham.

I do not care if I am sad 99% of the time- I will remind myself of what my mother reminds me constantly, the best compliment she has ever given: I am the strongest woman she knows. That’s how come I can beat up that schoolyard bully called Death.