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Never enough time

I suppose I should’ve written this over the weekend instead of this morning. I have a feeling I’ll be crying uncontrollably by the time I’m finished. Nothing beats a good hound, and nothing hurts worse than losing that hound too early, or at all. The last two hounds I have helped to cross the Bridge were special. I am not saying they aren’t all special; we know they are. However, Mary Lou and Padfoot were deeper in my heart than most humans have ever been, and they both left me entirely too early, both nine and half years young.

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George

George is eleven and a half, and still going. He’s not as strong as he was, or as fast. I can definitely see him slowing down. His back half shakes like a leaf when he’s run too much or didn’t eat his breakfast, which holds the magic powder that helps his back. He is my precious baby, and I’ve been blessed to have him. He’s precocious but insecure, choosing to pee on the floor instead of come to me for help. He’s gotten better the last few months, but he still has his moments, like the ducking of his head when anyone goes to pet him. I wish I knew why and how to fix it.

Mary Lou

Mary Lou

Mary Lou never needed fixing in the same sense as my two boys did. She was full of piss and vinegar without a shy or insecure bone in her tiny, red body. She did need quite a bit of curtailing, which we finally discovered how to do. She was a snuggler, yet very independent. She did what she pleased no matter what. She did have a horrid case of separation anxiety, and if you were within a hundred yards when I left her, you’d never forget those howls of anxiety and despair. She was a character.

Jade and Sonic were both perfect angels. They really were. Sweet and tenderhearted, they loved everyone. Jade was my social butterfly, and Sonic, despite the short time we had, was my salvation during a painful breakup. When I lost him, Mary Lou stepped in to help heal my heart. Jade was her salvation, to help cure her of her separation anxiety. It didn’t “work,” per se, but it helped. When I lost her, in December of 2009, I was lost again. I had Padfoot, but she was my girl.

Padfoot

Padfoot

Padfoot and I started working with spooks. The first one was awful. She would wake me in the middle of the night after she’d peed and pooped in the house. I send her outside, clean up the mess, and go back to bed. I forgot to turn the light back off one night and went to do so, finding, again, another pile of presents on the floor. She had just gone out! We decided she needed more attentive care and swapped her out for a shy, red guy we would soon rename George. He did okay, and as he had been one of the forerunners of Paddy’s spot in the house, I ended up adopting him.

We fostered another spook, a dashing young guy named Battlestar. If I’d had the means to support three hounds, I would’ve kept him. He was so wonderful and beautiful, such a gentle soul. He and George loved to romp around in the backyard, something Paddy refused to do with George because he’s so rough. Battlestar eventually found a home of his own, and it was back down to two.

We sold our house in 2012 and moved to an apartment. The boys settled in pretty well. We started having issues on the stairs, and we moved again in 2014. It was the same complex, just downstairs. The boys settled in, again, until the end of February when Paddy started having some issues. First, one of his eyes stopped blinking, then he started limping. We went to the vet, and little did I know, we’d only have two weeks left.

On March 7, 2014 Paddy and I made the decision together. Well, in all honestly, he asked to go and despite the pain in my own heart, I knew his suffering was beyond him, and I let him go. He made the decision on his own. He was the fourth hound I have helped cross over, and he was the fastest to go. He practically sprinted to that pain-free place. (And here come the tears.) I know he wasn’t running from me. He was my soulmate. People who had never met him before could see that he understood every word from my mouth and that our connection was bone-deep.

Guardian AngelIt’s been two years, and I don’t miss him any less. He visits quite frequently, especially when I’m driving. He puts that handsome head on my shoulder, letting me know I will never be alone.

Kill Me Now (for J)

Have you ever contemplated ending your own life? I suppose the number of individuals to answer “yes” to that question far outweighs those who would actually admit it. There have been two times in my life when I have contemplated just ending it all, once in high school and once just a few year ago.

It’s a scary thought, that a person would take their own life. There are a lot of people out there who would never even dream of such a thing, and for many of them, it is unfathomable that someone would ever get to that point of finality, the point at which they would say, “It’s not worth it; I’m outta here.” It’s so difficult to comprehend that a life could ever be so bad that the individual living it would rather not. Is it them? Is it the world? Is it another person providing some wonderful torment? Why? Why would they do that?

For me it has always been a sense of feeling unloved, unwanted. I am an adopted child, and while, generally, this does not affect me, it is who I am. I am an unwanted child, given away not for money but for expedience. Some woman out there decided she did not want to have a child, and given that Roe vs. Wade would not come into play for three more years, she had little choice but to give birth and place the child for adoption. I suppose she could have gone the illegal route, but that wasn’t exactly the safest thing to do. I suppose I get that from her… that desire to avoid unpleasantness as much as possible.

I was born on October 21 and taken to my new family on December 3. I have two birthdays that are acknowledged each year. On December 3 every year my dad posts the wonderful account of my adoption:

“Once again it’s the day to thank a young lady in Indiana, that I shall never know, who chose adoption over abortion. I thank God for her choice, because today is the anniversary of the day 2 caseworkers brought a six weeks and 1 day old bundle of joy to our home. She was wearing a red & white dress for the holiday season and had a beautiful smile and double dimples. She still has the smile and dimples, and we still have the dress. She is my Punkin and her daddy’s girl. We named her Lori Clark.”

Occasionally, throughout the year, he’ll post another account leading people to believe that they found me abandoned in a Kroger grocery cart. That one always gets a lot of laughs. In any event, someone out there wanted me, and I got a family.

It’s no secret to those that know me well that my mother and I have had a lot of issues. We butt heads on a variety of topics, and things can get quite heated. My mother doesn’t approve of a number of my life choices, and my insecurities make it difficult for me to accept that it’s my life, not hers. I lived most of my life in a co-dependent fugue state, trying to please her (and everyone else), to no avail.

Growing up I was one of those children who tried everything: cheerleading, sports, music, you name it. I tried all sorts of things to get my mother’s attention. It rarely worked. While in high school, my depression reached epic proportions, and started down a destructive road of sex and booze. I did so many idiotic things just to feel. Yes, I know alcohol is a depressant and helps you not to feel, but it made me a part of a group. I belonged, so, I drank.

Either my sophomore or junior year (I can’t remember which), one of my best friends tried to kill herself and ended up in the psych ward at the local hospital. Her parents flipped out. I suppose we all flipped out. Our other friend decided she would try it, too, but I don’t think she did. Nothing ever came of it. During this time, I got deep, down, and dirty with the contemplation of my own situation, at least as much as a teenager can. There are entirely too many hormones raging for anyone at that age to think clearly and logically. I eventually decided not to go along with the group mainly because I didn’t want to go through whatever pain might be subjected upon my body depending on which method I decided to use. Fear of pain has been a driving force for me for much of my life.

After my divorce in 1993 I saw a psychologist that worked out of First Baptist Church of Orlando. He helped me with some of my issues, but the issue of my mother was one we didn’t quite fix. I was in the process of moving out of my parents’ (for the second time), and Mom was not happy with the situation. She agreed to meet me at the doctor’s office, and he could help us through the issue at hand. I was going to pay, all she had to do was show. She stood me up.

At the time I was living about an hour and a half from home during the week, staying with a friend, and coming home on weekends. Our failed appointment was in the middle of the week, but still, I drove all the way down to my parents’ and had it out with my mom. It didn’t help much. I still moved out, and our relationship remained tempestuous.

In the late 1990’s I saw another psychologist as things had heated up again with my mother. He was helpful to a degree, but I didn’t see him long enough to really fix my head. It would not be until February of 2009 that I would finally go into therapy knowing that I would either come out with my head fixed or die trying. I was broken, and I couldn’t deal with it anymore. Only two things stopped me from just signing out: the fear of pain and my greyhound, Mary Lou. If I’d had any money to speak of, I definitely would have run away. I was thirty-eight years old and wanted to run away from home. Was I ever going to grow up?

I would eventually grow up, but it would take a couple of years of therapy and some seriously harsh conversations with my mother. It’s difficult still. I know she doesn’t quite get me as a human being. I can be weird, I suppose, and flaky. I take medication to keep me somewhat sane. It’s just difficult sometimes to see the light at the end of whatever tunnel I end up in. I just want to run, leave, avoid, forget. It never happens. I’m stuck, feeling miserable and alone.

Temporary Insanity

It’s that time of year, again, when the children get to go visit their favorite place in the whole world. They get adored and loved on and… stuck with needles, probed, and a host of other unpleasant things. Going to the doctor just sucks. This year, George actually did better than ever. As a spook, he has issues with people he doesn’t “know,” and even though he’s been to the vet more than a dozen times since he joined the family, it really doesn’t matter. He’s still spooky and shy, but this time, he did a little better. Crookshanks, however, my normally social butterfly, had what can only be described as a psychotic episode.

CrookshanksSince I got Crook in December, 2014, he’s been back to the vet’s office three times: first for a shot update, second when I switched foods and his tummy rebelled horrifically, and third when he stopped eating back this past December. His first visit was no big deal. He got into the carrier fairly easily. The second visit, he was mildly bothered. I say mildly only in comparison to the episode this Saturday. It took Auntie Lynn and me about ten minutes to get him in his carrier and that only after I spent ten minutes alone, and he spilled my blood. We finally made it to the vet, where I purchased a leash and harness. He was enthralled. The third visit was all leash-and-harness, and he did great despite feeling like poo.

We have also taken several trips to our greyhound adoption group to do some “cat-testing.” He went through those ordeals like a true champ! No issues. He let the greys sniff him (some tried to eat him), but he never got feisty. He was the perfect puss.

On Saturday, when we walked in the door, he was in my arms with George out in front on his leash. Suddenly, he was quite literally fighting me tooth and nail. I ended up dropping him on the floor, and he ran into the little children’s play area they have there in the office. We got George off into an exam room, and I went to pick up Crook. He hissed, spat, and clawed the crap out of my hand. He was livid. The problem, it would seem, was Joseph, the office cat. He had come out and was sitting on the front desk. Crook was not having any of that.

I eventually was able to scruff him and haul him off into the exam room. They worked on George first, to try and let Crook calm down. By the time we were ready for him he was still having a hissy fit. I have more than 10 “holes” in my hands, not scratches, but holes where he latched on with those needle sharp claws and just held on for dear life. They brought out the gloves and a towel to try to catch him. He was having none of that. He was screaming worse than any cat fight I’ve ever heard. The GSOD (greyhound scream of death) is an insignificant whisper compared to the yowling coming out of that cat. You’d have thought he was being mauled by a rabid dog.

It ended up taking ten to fifteen minutes for two techs, two pairs of gloves, and two towels to catch the little beastie and get him into the plastic box. The plastic box then had two receptacles that are used to pump in anesthetic gas. So, yes, we gassed my cat. He was still snarling and growling after. They were able to clean him up (he had made rather a mess of himself in his hissy fit), give him his shots, cut off his nails, and get him in a kennel. When they brought him out to me he was fairly alert, but loggy, and still a bit snarly. We managed to get him in the truck without any additional drama.

Once we got home, it took him about half an hour of hiding under the bed and out on the porch before he climbed up in my lap, curled up, and slept for two hours. Seriously, psychotic episode. He has been perfectly fine since. What the heck?

Miss You

IMG00004I’m at a loss. Where to begin? Just start going and see where it takes you. When Paddy was around, I could just write and write. He inspired me in so many ways.

I was feeling a bit dejected on my way home from work yesterday, and all of a sudden, he was there, in his usual place, at my left shoulder. I reached up to pet you. I felt better.

In another month it will be two years since you left us, at least physically. I miss your face and snuggling on the sofa. I miss being pawed when you want attention. George just head butts me, and it’s usually when I’m trying to go to sleep. He picks then to be snuggly. I suppose he’s trying to make up for the fact that he’s hogging half the bed, the top half. He kicks, too, as you know, which is annoying when you’re just drifting off to sleep, and BAM you get a couple of skinny greyhound feet rather forcefully in the gut. He is a twitcher.

I was remembering last night another night, long ago, when I woke up with your head at my chest and the rest of you sprawled along my body. You were so snuggled in and comfy. Your fur was so soft. I miss having a snuggly hound. I miss you.

Don’t get me wrong. I adore George, despite his…quirks. But you were special, oh, so special. You were my heart at least as much as Mary Lou, if not more. She was therapy; you were pure love, inspiration, and heart.

Miss you.

 

Suck it Up

chinny

So, as per usual, it’s been a while. I am hoping to get back into the thick of things with my writing, but since Padfoot has been gone, I feel I’ve lost my voice. He was my inspiration as well as my voice. I’ve lost so much since he’s been gone.

I’m still in school, but I should be finished up by the end of summer. Right now, I’m actually taking a graduate level course that is, well, going to test me in all sorts of new ways. This week’s class was an interesting one. We wrote about our writing “voice,” and I ended up in tears as I wrote. When I had to read mine to the class, well, I broke down again. It’s a small, intimate class, and everyone was very supportive. However… well, it’s embarrassing to cry like that in front of a bunch of people you’ve only just met. But what can you do? Honesty is the best policy, especially when you’re a writer.

My piece:

“My Voice: Who Am I as the Speaker?”

There was a time when I was Padfoot, my greyhound. Somehow I channeled his voice to the page (screen?). He was funny, sharp-witted, and he just had this “voice.” There was something about him that almost screamed at me.

Now that he’s gone, I am not sure who I am. I am still discovering. I suppose there is a great deal of me to be found in the anthropomorphizing of my dog. I am a smart-ass. I thrive on the comic relief in stressful situations. I am snarky, sarcastic, and sometimes just mean.

There are, however, moments of clarity, intelligence, and introspection that dig deep into my psyche to blot the page. Why am I angry and bitter? The abuse? My mother? The losses I have experienced?

My voice is alone now that Padfoot is gone. His blog is retired. I seldom write on my own. Was he my true voice? Can I find him again?

I can type it up and read it now without losing it. If I stop and think, well, the tears well up in my eyes and my throat gets tight. I feel lost, helpless, alone. There is more work to be done, so I must fight the darkness and move forward. Not “on,” necessarily, but forward. I need to come to terms with his physical loss and find that spirituality he has left behind to feed my soul. I feel his presence with increasing frequency. Perhaps that is him nudging me, scolding me, urging me to get back to it, to finish what he started with my voice. To let it grow and become what it is meant to be.

Suck it up, girl, and get back to work.

Life’s Changes

I noticed yesterday while walking across the patio at the Student Union several groups of students, very young students, practicing what appeared to be marching band drills. There was also music playing in the background. On my way out of the Union, I noticed the music was being used to practice directing. Band Camp.

High School Senior PicIt’s been 29 years since I spent a week at Troy State University in Alabama for my own band camp. It was so interesting to see all these young faces walking around with their nametags and whistles attached to their lanyards. As I walked across the patio, one of the groups was clapping to keep time. I got in step and heel-toed my way back to my office with a slight, un-band-like spring in my step.

In these past 29 years I’ve lost the easy ability to pick up my clarinet and just play. I can remember the scales to play, but I have no recognizance of which scales they are. A C scale is easy. A G scale isn’t too bad. What were those other ones again? I suppose if I could remember which note I start on, that will tell me. Music was a passion for so long, but it’s lost to me now unless it’s something on the radio.

Writing has become the new blood in my veins. I am constantly typing away at my keyboard for some reason, be it a well written business email or a Facebook post. Don’t forget the papers and posts for my English classes. Of course with that little undertaking, reading has become more fixed and less recreational. Although I do make time for the occasional joy-read, it takes three times as long to finish a good book.

11295897_10153296494148236_7112507033580660857_nToday I am working on a new project that will lead to another educational foray that will take a few years to complete. I have wanted, for some time, to get my Ph.D., and I have finally found a program that fits my experience and drive. UCF has a Texts and Technology Ph.D. program that would allow me to use all my ready skills to earn this feather for my cap. I am excited, nervous, and full of anticipation. I have until December to complete my application package, which will be no small feat.

From band camp to Ph.D., my travels over these years have led me all over. However, I am always moving forward.

Freaky Friday

How do you start a tale of life and death? “Once upon time” isn’t going to work, because this is most assuredly not a fairy tale, unless, of course, I end up with a handsome prince. “This one time, at band camp” won’t work, because I wasn’t at band camp. I suppose just spitting it out is the best way, so, here goes. Last month I went through a hellish week of horrible head pain and was finally diagnosed with a CVT, cerebral venous thrombosis. In other words, I have a blood clot inside my brain. Hmmm. Crazy.

The pain started on a Saturday. I took lots of different pills over the weekend, having a nice stash of stuff given my penchant for migraines. Nothing worked. I went to work as usual on Monday but had to leave early due to the pain. It was just unbearable. I would take drugs, sleep, wake up in pain, take more drugs and sleep some more. Finally, on Wednesday, I think, I went to the chiropractor. I got an adjustment and a lovely massage. It helped a little bit. On Thursday, I went to an acupuncturist. He did nothing for me. On Friday morning, when I got out of bed, I fell against the wall with extreme vertigo. I made it to the dog park with George Georgeand ended up violently ill. I barely made it the 70 yards back to my apartment. I called my neighbor, Lynn, to see if she could take me to the ER when she got up. She got up then. No waiting. When she came over, I had to let her in. In order to get from my bedroom to my front door, I had to crawl across the floor. The vertigo was so bad by then that I couldn’t even walk. The vertigo was really so very bad that I could barely crawl, but I made it to the door. We went directly to the ER.

After a morning of meds (Toradol is quite wonderful.), my headache dissipated, and I was released. Once I got vertical again, the vertigo kicked in, but they still released me. I had a script for more toradol and also one for Ativan. I was able to take those at home to keep the headache at bay. I lasted until around 1:30am on Sunday before I went back to the ER. The vertigo was not debilitating this time around, so I took George out then drove myself to the hospital. Once I got there and was admitted, I told them I wasn’t going anywhere until they gave me either a CT scan or an MRI. They chose CT, but didn’t find anything. Fortunately, two ER visits within 72 hours guarantees full admission into the hospital.

I got a visit from a neurologist that was pretty cool. Lynn had given me a list of tests they should run for various maladies. He was willing to do an MRI. 24 hours after the MRI they still couldn’t decide if it was good or bad. They tried to kick me out thinking it was fine. They decided they needed more information

George visiting me in the hospital.

and ran a CT with contrast. Voila! There’s my clot. I was a little freaked out but not until I started doing online research. OY! Just don’t. My hematologist is fabulous, and he made me very comfortable. He told me everything that was going on and what was going to happen. They drew a bucket full of blood to test for all the coagulation disorders (all negative so far). I was on lovenox injections twice a day, and they started me on Coumadin/warfarin. This was all Monday night. On Wednesday, my hospitalist (floor doctor) decided I could do what I needed to do from home, and he wanted to kick me out (again). I was not happy. Blood clot. In my brain. Monkey around with drugs until I maybe get my levels where they’re supposed to be. Pass. The hematologist had to get involved and tell him to stuff it. I was in the hospital another week before my hematologist and I were in agreement with the hospitalist. I went home and had to give myself injections as well as take my meds and visit the doctor every day until they determined whether or not my levels were going to go wonky.

Now, I go once a week and my levels can’t seem to get where they need to be. They’re low. I have sludge. It’s crazy. My dosage seems really high if you’ve ever been on Coumadin/warfarin therapy. It’s kinda scary when you think about it. However, the doc isn’t worried, so I’m not going to be either. Not worth it. I’ve got too much on my plate with work, trying to eat and be healthy, and not get sliced open by the ever-crazy Crookshanks.Crookshanks

So, why do I have a blood clot in my brain? Birth control pills and smoking. I don’t (didn’t) smoke a lot. Not even a pack a day, and my packs only had 12 in them. However, that’s what did it. C’est la vie! I’m off my birth control pills and the nicotine. I’m on the Coumadin/warfarin for at least 6 months. While I was in the hospital, they took me off everything else I was taking: anti-depressants, headache medication, cholesterol meds, you name it. All of it. Cold turkey. In hindsight, they could’ve killed me just doing that. I had to beg to get back on my Lipitor, and I’m still dealing with the ramifications of going of my SSRIs. When I saw my GP the week after, she was still reeling from what they did. My shrink was pretty PO’d, too. Everything is adjusted for now, but I’m still suffering from a lot of fatigue. I’m also gaining weight, which is weird since I am more active and eating better. I walk several times a day while at work, because my job is very sedentary. I notice swelling in my legs at night when I take off my socks. Not sure if the weight gain is water weight or not. Have to check on that.

11295897_10153296494148236_7112507033580660857_nFor what it’s worth, I’m ok and fairly healthy, considering. This was definitely a huge wake up call. I found a Facebook group that is for people who have suffered through this and other blood coagulation ailments. I guess I’ll just have to hang in there and see, right?

Spring cleaning

MoneyThis weekend I spent a lot of time converting my financial information from QuickBooks to Quicken. It was rather interesting, going through my Vendor list. For those of you unfamiliar, QuickBooks makes you add a new vendor every time you post a payment to your register. If you’re someone like me, who enjoys bookkeeping (sick, I know) you want everything to be perfect. QuickBooks is fun! I’ve been using the software, in one form or another, since the mid 90’s. I’ve built up quite a vendor list. There are almost a thousand names on my list. Sorting through them all, deciding which ones to leave in the list and which ones to purge, is quite a task. I’m actually still working on this, but I wanted to write this down before my thoughts left me. It’s rather overwhelming, to say the least.

In any event, after almost 20 years of data entry and traveling all over the country for both business and pleasure, my accuracy in record keeping has left me with an interesting project. Crazy names have popped up triggering wild nostalgic images, some good, some not so good, and some just wildly fantastic. There are many names in there from my cross-country trip to Arizona. I just found one to “Dave DartShirt.” I remember not having a clue what his last name was, common in the league, but needing to buy my shirt all the same. Oh, the Dali Museum in St. Pete. What a wonderful place. I still love my print I have hanging in my guest bathroom! And a couple of clothing stores I loved that are now no more: Paul Harris, County Seat. Oh. Colorado Department of Revenue for my speeding ticket. There are many pubs listed from my days in the dart league. Those were good times. Sorry, Mom. 🙂 Dearborn Diner in Chicago, best salad I’ve ever had. There are also various online dating sites. What a waste. Brooksville Police Department? Hmmm. Not a clue. There are quite are a few diving establishments that ate my money, too. One day, I will probably be back to that. Right now, my money and my time belong to the hound(s).

Big Nose Kate’s, Tombstone, Arizona. Heee. Bally’s Health Club, criminals. Lots of past internet vendors. Goodness. All in all, I dumped over 75% of the last 18-20 years. That’s how much crap I’ve either been holding onto or shouldn’t have had in the first place. <sigh> C’est la vie!

Mommy Dearest

MommyDearestI had a bit of an emotional morning yesterday on my way into work. I hadn’t slept well, and my writer’s mind was dwelling on some unpleasant happenings in my past. I’d had an interesting conversation with my mom the day before about a book I want to start writing, and we’d discussed some unpleasant aspects of my childhood. The topic of the conversation wasn’t exactly sitcom material, but it would make great fodder for my book. Basically, my relationship with my mom when I was growing up was not what I needed nor what she would have wanted. If we could go back to day and fix it, we would, but, well, if wishes were ponies, we’d be up to our necks in horse flesh.

Given the majority of my adult relationship with my mother, it was a positive conversation. Nobody got angry, yelled, screamed or cried. It was honest and kind. I know my mother would much rather have done things differently. Hindsight is always a cruel teacher. Over the last couple of years our relationship has steadily grown so that our conversations are more like this: honest and kind. We learn from each other instead and grow in our relationship. We don’t just get angry and hurtful, insulting one another. It’s been a painful road for both of us.

As I was driving yesterday this all dawned on me, how much our relationship has changed. There was a time, not too long ago, when I truly hated her. (Sorry, Mom.) I wished I could just banish her from my life forever, and I did banish her for a time. I couldn’t stand it any longer, being prisoner to the pain our relationship caused. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, really. It was just how things had developed over time. I had no idea what was wrong with “us.” It took several years of therapy, two therapists and a psychiatrist to help me get my head together before I could deal with my own emotional traumas and learn how to be an adult in an adult relationship.

I’m sure as a teenager I told my mom at least once that I hated her. Countless children have spoken those words. They usually mean them when they say them, but only because they have no idea what those words mean in the first place. I remember clearly an altercation in our upstairs bathroom, the one I shared with my younger brother. We were fighting about Lord knows what. She slapped me across the face, and my brother came running up the stairs screaming, “Don’t you hit her!!!” He truly believed I had hit my mother. It was the ice water on the scene that was so desperately needed. There was the fear that someone believed I could truly do that. There was the fear that my brother would hurt me. I think my mother feared what she had done, as my father was always the disciplinarian in the house. In any event, the argument ended. I remember nothing else of the event except the fear that came after. It is one of the few times of my young life that I remember my mother being fully invested in a conversation with me. Usually, there was something else going on: dishes, cooking, laundry, Tupperware. Never was I the focus of her attention.

Today, we share a state, but not a home, a town or even a county. We see each other infrequently, but speak regularly. However, when we do see one another, and it’s just the two of us, it’s just the two of us. We talk now. We have a real relationship. When many who I believed would never let me down have proved more than fallible, my mother was there, right beside me, where she’ll always be.

I love you, Mommy Dearest.