Tag Archives: family

Back In The Saddle

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Hello, I hope all is well with my dear friends! I know it has been awhile but I have been extremely busy. I am back in school working on obtaining my administrator’s license along with a graduate writing certificate. On top of that, I am in the process of potty training, working fulltime, and looking for high schools for Nic who will be a freshman next year! I am also preparing for a writing conference that I was asked to speak at in October.

Work has been messy to put things nicely. Four of our schools have been taken over by the state.  As a result of this, our Super, has decided that all secondary education teachers will receive pink slips on May 31st so that the employees who lost their jobs will have an opportunity for a position.

I am trying to keep a positive attitude, count my blessings, and just know that better days are ahead.  I am going to Miami for a few days during our intercession (two-week Fall break) now that we have moved to the year-around calendar.  That will give me an opportunity for some much needed mental and physical r&r.

Thank you all for continuing to stop by.  It is much appreciated.

A Diet Dr. Pepper and a Smile

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Monday afternoon I received some very sad news.  My mom and stepdad’s dear friend, Terry, died.  I immediatedly started crying as I listened to his SIL’s voicemail.  I called to tell George and he was clearly devastated.  Terry was his “buddy.”

Terry and my mother attended the same dialysis clinic for years.  My mother loved him, and he likewise.  Everytime we talked she would tell me the lastest stories about him.  Terry was also the stepfather to a boy I had a major crush on in high school, so that scored more points for him!

When my mother died Terry was at the service sharing his memories of her.  That meant a lot to me.  He reached out to us in our time of need.  A few months ago, we all went out to dinner and had a great time.  He was such a charming, eccentric person, and the perfect gentleman.

After I calmed down a few hours later, I called his SIL to get information about the arrangements.  I thought I was okay but I starting crying again.  She replied Now you know Terry wanted everyone happy.  He didn’t want anyone crying.  He left specific instructions  to be cremented.  Half of his ashes will go in a Diet Dr. Pepper bottle (his favorite beverage) and spread over one of the Canadian mountain ranges.  The rest will go to his family.  He didn’t want a funeral, but he wanted a party to celebrate his life.    LOL, I should have known!  Everytime I see a Diet Dr. Pepper, I’ll think of him! 

I was telling my friend Kara about his request when she mused that since we both loved tea, maybe we should get cremated and have our ashes placed in teabags!

Of course, George and I  will be there on Saturday to help celebrate his life over Diet Dr. Peppers and lots of smiles.

TGIF–Not!

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Fridays have taken on a whole new meaning for me. It used to be that I could hardly “wait”  for the day to come.  Now I can barely get through them.  No longer do they represent happiness and relief from working. Fridays are sadness, loneliness, and  terrible memories that surface.  Every Friday I relive that horrible night.  Friday is the day all the trouble began.

Saturdays, too, are classified the same as Friday.  Saturday was the official day of his death.

And for some reason yesterday (Friday) just felt so much more heavier than usual on top of the  forlornness that I normally feel.  There were “signs” everywhere that I could not “read.”

  • During my prep I made a personal call, and while on hold, I grabbed the nearest magazine (Lady’s Home Journal) to pass the time.  The first article I encountered was called “To Happy Endings.”  The author wrote about the many problems she had faced in 2008.  No matter how many times life surprises you, you never get used to the shock. A year ago I couldn’t have pictured all that has come to pass in my world in 2008: my mother’s death, the end of my second marriage and a raft of other heartaches big and small… Midway through the article it mentioned that she had been widowed in her early thirties!  I about fell off of the stool I was perched on!
  • After reading her story, the article I turned to next had my husband’s name in large letters!  Turns out that one of the adult dogs who played Marley in the movie Marley & Me has the same name as my husband!
  • The last feature I read in the magazine was an interview with a mom.  The final question asked what she wished her family had money for.  She said she wanted money to restore their emergency fund as it had been depleted.  She also desired money so that her family could visit her in-laws in (take a wild guess) Morocco!
  • During my sixth period some of the students were talking while working on their assignment.  A female student was casually sharing the fact that she spent 11 1/2 months in residental treatment.  This of course caught my attention because this is the exact amount of time that Evan spent in treatement as well!
  • One of my student’s brother, who attends our middle school has been acting out because their father died recently.  Her brother’s name is Ethan (also in middle school)!
  • I received a call from Eliza’s sister’s cell phone.  I did not answer the call and no message was left.
  • On Wednesday I kept my friend’s two sons while she went out on a date.  They are the same ages as my stepsons.  It felt really eerie having them there.  Later in the evening she sent a text asking What are my boys doing?  This is the way Eliza always referred to Ethan and Evan,  Although this did not happen on Friday, it still triggered many memories.

I was haunted all day and night long.  Even while I was “stealing time.”  I felt overwhelmed and crushed by the memories and what-if’s.  Later in the day I was exhausted and took a sleeping pill to stop my wandering mind.  But I do wonder if it was all a coincidence or some kind of sign?

Family Matters

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What makes a family “family”?  Is there one magic ingredient? I know family does not lend itself only to people who share the same blood lines.  I don’t think it ends in the case of death either. 

But with the loss of my husband, I am not  sure that I want to be “family” with his family anymore.  I am still disappointed, angry, and bitter.  I can’t believe that my MIL who has a history of severe heart problems did not encourage him at least once to get his heart checked!  Then there’s my mercurial SIL who texted me Saturday Morocco I love you and Nicholas, please call me, God bless u. 

She makes me highly nauseous and uncomfortable! She must want something from me.  Her love, I’m sure, comes with a  motive.  I skipped the voicemail that she left along with the text that I didn’t bother to answer.  How do you go from love to hate so rapidly?  My aunt suggested that maybe God has worked on her heart.  I pray that He works on mine!  I haven’t tried to contact any of them or responded to any of their attempts so I wish they would leave me alone.

Soul Food

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I really relish a good meal and food comforts me in many ways.  It plays such a big part in our lives–from wedding feasts to repast meals.  Frankly I don’t want to be anywhere that food is not!  I like to cook and bake as an expression of love and appreciation.

I need something to munch on when I’m watching movies or reading an intriguing book.  In fact, this weekend I am going “slumming” at a friend’s house.  We are going to watch “Slumdog Millionaire.”  The evening wouldn’t be complete with snacks! I’ve requested spicy garlic hot wings from BW-3 and a couple of Red Velvet Elvis’.  I plan to bring the champagne cola.  But my friend has a well-stocked pantry, so I know I will be able to eat to my heart’s delight.

Food serving  as a comforter is not a novelty.  I feel embraced by meatloaf, mashed potatoes with gravy, and southern fried corn.  It’s just so inviting!  With every bite I take it’s like going home again!  I also like hearty breads slathered with rich, creamy butter.  And pancakes, casseroles, and chicken and dumplings, grits (with butter, cream, and sugar!), sausage and gravy biscuits…the list is endless. 

What about you?

Twisted Sister

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I vividly recall the day I first met my husband and his sister.  He was quiet and shy, but her, not so much.  It was obvious that he and I liked each other and she thought our crush was the cutest thing.  She wasn’t around a lot because she was too busy chasing boys.  I remember her as his wild big sister, the black sheep of the family.  Back in the day she liked me.  But that was then…

She was never rude to me directly because my husband wouldn’t tolerate it.  So she carefully veiled her animosity toward me in hopes that he wouldn’t notice.  He did.  She resented that I was number one in his life.  It was very clear how much he adored me. 

 The summer we spent looking for our first home we stayed in his grandparents house, who had both recently died.  The heat was sweltering!  I was quite surprised when my SIL came over to take our refridgerator!  She already had one so she kept it on her front porch!  The comment that she made to her brother said it all “Morocco can go and buy y’all  a new one.”   I assume she felt this way because I had just bought a new car.   

During our courtship she started to connect with Eliza because they had a mutual enemy in common: ME.  I asked my husband what exactly had I done to his sister.   He replied nothing, and that she never wanted him to be with anyone.  She always found a reason not to like whomever he was with.  She was iffy with Eliza , too when they were together.  Yet, Eliza tended to cater to her to be accepted so it wasn’t a major problem.  I, on the otherhand, ignored her once I realized that something wasn’t right.  I didn’t see any need to suck up.

When we got married and had Nicholas she was very upset and cried bitterly.  My other SIL told us this.  My husband just shook his head about his crazy sister’s reaction.

She did many other things throughout the years which caused him to stop interacting with her.  He loved his sister but did not like her ways.  We both felt she had a weird fixation with him.  It just wasn’t healthy.  In fact, we even compared her toTony Montana from the movie Scarface because of the questionable love he had for his sister. 

One time we stopped by her house and she took a shower while we were there.  She actually came into the living room with a very small towel wrapped around her body.  However, you could very clearly see all of her vagina and parts of her breasts.  I was very uncomfortable and appalled!  She simply said “excuse me y’all” as she sauntered on through!  My husband also said this freaked him out and was very disgusted by her indecent behavior.  He said she scared him.

And she blamed me that she did not have a relationship with him.  I guess it had nothing to do with:

  • Her smoking “funny smelling cigarettes” in front of the boys.  I’m sure you can guess what she was smoking!  My husband was livid! 
  • She had no control over her tongue and would say whatever came to mind–even in front of the children
  • My SIL told Eliza that she did not like me (Eliza was thrilled with this nugget of information and couldn’t wait to share it with us)
  • She told me that she liked Eliza because “she don’t want my brother.” Huh?…was all I could think
  • When Eliza refused to let my husband get the boys she still allowed my SIL to get them.  If she was mad at her brother for whatever reason, she would not let him pick up his own kids from her house.  Once he tried to do so anyway and she called Eliza on him!
  • She is very materialistic and jealous-hearted
  • She has tried to run his life over the years and is very overbearing
  • She wanted my husband to take care of her and her daughter.  She would often ask him for money and would get angry when he said no.  She also tried to force him to babysit a lot
  • She often badmouthed him to their friends and family and painted the picture that he was upset with her for no reason
  • She thought my husband was wrong for not continuing to interact with his former stepson and often made an issue of it.  She would assert that he was still her nephew and that he was always going to be his son.  I was blamed for this, too
  • Her opportunistic ways
  • She kept drama going with many other people

The night he died I had a sneaking suspicion that she would not handle it well and act crazy.  I braced myself before calling.  I attempted to reach her but couldn’t.  My BIL tried as well as his aunt to no avail.  I even waited at the hospital for close to seven hours in part for her to get there.  She never made it and I was blamed for this, too.  She claimed that I did not try to call her at all.

From the day he died (Saturday) until Tuesday, she behaved very poorly to say the least.  She was running around foaming at the mouth with her hatred of me.  She told several of her family members that “she manipulated him away from us.”  They countered her point of view because of course, I had not.  She managed to do that without my help because he interacted with everyone except for her.

It really bothered her that she was the only one with these feelings of rancor.  His aunt told me that one night after Nicholas and I left her house,  my SIL started crying saying to her “You love Morocco, don’t you!”

She assisted and encouraged Eliza’s family in taking the boys away from me.  She also stated that they should be with “family” and provided the name of the hospital in which Evan was located.

What blew my mind the most was that she called the coroner’s office and asked them NOT to release the body to me because we were ONLY related by law!  That crushed me more than anything!!!   She also thought I was going to have him cremated and wanted to prevent that from taking place.  I found out about the call from the funeral director.

Enough of my in-laws finally got fed up with her and chastised her callous, immature behavior.  I suppose they let her carry on as long as they did because she was grieving the loss of her brother–who knows?  On  Tuesday I went to make the funeral arrangements and she came along with my BIL (much to my dismay).  When the funeral director addressed me by my last name; guess who answered, too?!  Granted she had only been married for a week (she did not invite or call to tell her beloved brother about her small wedding), but still, she should have known that he was referring to me!

After I finished and was leaving out, she stopped me to apologize.  She then started to cry saying ”  Morocco, whatever it is I’ve done, I’m sorry.  But I should have never taught my brother how to live without me.”  I had no idea what she was talking about, but I replied “All he did was get married and have a family.  He was still your brother.” I had no fight left in me as I limply tried to comfort her. 

Since that day she has been full of praise for me.  Over the course of the last two months she has called many times saying what a wonderful wife I was to her brother, and mom and stepmom to her nephews.  She has left so many sickeningly sweet messages that half the time I can’t bear to listen to them. They are filled with phrases of love, admiration, and kinship.  It makes me soooo uncomfortable!  How can one change their heart so rapidly?!  I can only think of how she betrayed me with her Judas kiss.

But when the boys were in town two weeks ago and at her house, do you think she called me over for a visit?  I haven’t heard from her in almost three weeks.  And she knows that I am aware that they were in town.  Maybe she feels bad.

My husband would not be surprised by her behavior in the slightest.  He knew his sister well.  And he would be in a rage about the way she treated me.  If she thought he had disowned her then…

She is one of those people that I have a hard time loving.  I definitely struggle with forgiving her.  Do you see why?  During my time of deepest sorrow I had to deal with both her and Eliza’s crazy clan.  The state of shock I was in definitely preserved my sanity that they so desperately tried to break.

Be There

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Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep..For none of us lives to himself…

Romans 12:15,14:7

As death is apart of the life cycle, it is bound to happen.  This is the one fate we all have in common.  I’m sure many of you have been in the seat of mourner.  During my period of mourning I have had some great support.  Death leaves a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth.  Sometimes you don’t know what you can do to help the person through their period of sadness and loss.  Here are a few things that I think are helpful to consider when helping those you are close to are grieving:

  • Silence is for Lambs: Always acknowledge the loss of the mourner’s loved one.  This can be done without words in the form of a simple hug, a greeting card, or a heartfelt smile.  Pretending like nothing has occurred is rather callous.  My own brother (Jazmine’s father) did not bother to attend the service or even acknowledge his death.
  • Practical Makes Perfect:  It was so helpful (and much appreciated) when friends, relatives, and coworkers provided me with meals!  Cooking is the last thing on your mind.  And of course, this is really a time that you need to nourish your body with good food.  Nicholas, Jazmine, and I were often invited to breakfast and dinner by family and several coworkers bought my lunch everyday or prepared it themselves.  If it wasn’t for these people, we would have starved! My cousin also volunteered tireless hours driving me around.  She made the roundtrip so that I could talk to Evan about his dad, too.  Another practical form of help is to assist in addressing thank you cards.  This is something that I didn’t feel like doing but my good manners would not allow me not to.  I even had several babysitting offers when I needed to take care of business.
  • 21 Questions is a Game Not to Play:  I say this because I have been asked some rather insensitive questions, such as was my husband overweight (no, he was not), did I cook healthy meals, (mostly) or was he ill (no again).  Allow the mourner the opportunity to grieve first.  They may or may not feel like divulging details of the death, and if  they don’t, then that’s okay, too.
  • Lipservice is Not Service: “If you need anything, let me know” is a common one.  Now I know people mean well and  hate to see a person that they love or care about hurting.  But only offer services that you are  truly capable of or are willing to lovingly provide.  One day, someone just might take you up on your generous offer which could create an ackward situation for both parties.  Also don’t offer simplistic platitudes such as “God needed him more.”  Even if it is true, that’s not what a grieving spirit wants to hear.
  • Rose-Colored Glasses Don’t Look Good On You:  One of my coworkers who is a wonderful man, is determined that I will not be sad.  He does everything to try and make me laugh.  However, it’s annoying.  I’m sad–sadder than sad and will be for quite some time.  But I have every right to be.  I don’t feel like laughing even when others think I should.  It is totally alright for people to experience a wide range of emotions while mourning.  Please give them this gift without the pressure of feeling that they need to “get over” their loss and be happy again.  I will be okay again one day in my own timing.
  • Disappearing Acts Are For Magicians: This is one of the most lonely and vulnerable times of grieving.  I imagine one could really lose their minds without proper support in place.  So don’t “go missing” after the service!  Grief is not something that ends with the funeral.
  • Use Your Ears for More Than Hanging Earrings:  I am so thankful to my friend Stacy, whom I met through blogging.  She listened to me cry and babble one night for over three hours!  I am grateful that she cared enough about a perfect stranger to sacrifice her time to make me feel better.  My friend Angela was wonderful as well.  I can’t stress how important it is to be a listening ear. 
  • Jumping to Conclusions is Not an Olympic  Sport: Don’t assume that a person grieving is “okay”  because they may appear to be fine. I am a perfect example of this because I hide my emotions very well.   Tears of a Clown is my theme song at the moment!  Check often on the person via email, text,  personal visits, cards, voicemail, or telephone calls to let the person know you are concerned about their wellbeing.  Also, don’t forget to include the mourner in on activities that you normally would.  It is eay to make the false assumption that “they won’t feel up doing anything.”  This is hurtful and not always the case.
  • Uh Huh…Okay…Shut-up: I have had several people tell me that I am “young and will marry again” or “you’ll be fine after a few years.”  Sometimes the best words to say are none at all.  Our society is so used to idle chatter that people are under the false impression that they have to say something when they don’t.
  • Be Clueless:  Feel free not to have a ready explanation as to why their loved one died.  We don’t know the answers to God’s many mysteries of life.  Just be there, your presence is enough.
  • Don’t Tiptoe Through the Tulips:  It is okay to talk about the deceased.  I’ve had a few of my coworkers look in horror when my students discuss the many times they saw my husband and I out.  He was alive once and it doesn’t bother me when people remember him.  Our family talks about him all the time.
  • Lace Up Your Nikes:  Don’t ask IF the grieving person needs something because you know they do!  Even if it is something as simple as a hug.  If you notice they haven’t been eating, buy them lunch.  Invite them to your home, baby-sit for a few hours, offer to run errands for them.  Most people are too shy/proud to admit that they really need someone to lean on.  Most mourners won’t interpret this as being intrusive.  I view it as people wanting to do something to help ease my pain.  The point is don’t wait for a vulnerable person to make a request because that may never happen–just do it! 
  • Orisons Are Awesome: This is the most beautiful and lasting form of support.  I know many of you have sent up prayers for me and I am in awe.  When I feel so low, which I often do, I can only wonder how much worse off I would be without the prayers of family, friends, fellow bloggers, perfect strangers, and coworkers to help keep me afloat.  I am so very grateful for all of the comments and warm thoughts left on my postings!  Thanks to all who have been  grieving with me.