I'm leaving behind a very depressing year.  I lost my brother at the end of 2016, I lost my grandpa in May 2017, and I lost a friend I hadn't spoken to in years.  It's been a long year.  I've learned that what were once close friends have begun moving their own way which often excludes me (except for some guilt trips).  I've even parted ways with a few friends, mostly not due to anything I had any control over.  I've also watched families fall apart.  I've finally started doing more of my actual role at work which is both more stressful and outside of my comfort zone. 

But, in that year I've made new acquaintances and even new friends.  I've taught some students that I'll communicate with for years to come.  I've watched my child learn to do some amazing and challenging new things.  I'll be teaching again this coming summer and will also be teaching a friend to sew.

There's a lot that I dwell on that was sad or hurtful within the past year.  There was also a lot to be thankful for.  There were a lot of annoyances but some fun times.  There was a lot of unresolved stuff that will continue to be a stressor but I'm managing to deal with it all.  If there's anything I've learned, that whole "one day at a time" trick works for a lot of things besides breaking out of the alcohol addiction.  Let's just roll that on out for 2018 (roll out the one-day trick, not alcoholism).

With that said, I'm coming up with a few  resolutions.  I'll throw them out and see how they stick.

1. Eat less sugar (It's my addiction).
2. Kill everyone I can with kindness...I have a whole list of people, some close, some not, on my Jerks List.  I'll just be kind to everyone and no one will really know if they made the list or not...there's a sliver of hope that a nagging voice will sit in the back of the real jerk's minds reminding them they are a-holes: a small slice of redemption pie without sacrificing my soul.
3. Reach out to my friends more often, especially those I can't bear to lose.  Those that want to be around will be, those that don't, well they inevitably end up on the Jerks List one way or another.  Hopefully I don't get myself on the Jerks List (that should be resolution 2b, don't be a jerk.)
4. Last year I added a couple of small but effective tasks to my weekly routine...in addition to keeping it up, I need to add some organization once a week to keep my clutter down.  Baby steps. (Actual baby steps are not a resolution!)

So here's to a new year, hopefully less depressing, hopefully less jerky.  I have some other things I have listed on an actual piece of paper that I haven't decided if they are realistic or not, but they're in my radar.  Maybe they'll make it into the new year.  If not, I worry not, for who among us actually succeeds with resolutions past February?!

You have any?


A Year Ago

My brother was alive a year ago, this moment, only hours left before he was gone. I'm trying not to think about it, but all my distractions are gone.  Everyone else is sleeping, the TV is off, no baking, sewing, or cleaning to complete.  I'll wake tomorrow (hopefully I'll sleep), recalling the frantic phone call from the hospital; this followed by frantic calls to my mom and younger brother, all the while, my oldest brother was gone.

Life has gone on, and waves of grief still linger, this moment being one of them. 

We've all lost a lot, at least I'm not in this alone.


Rest In Peace Grandpa

Today, a great man passed on.  He was my father's father, but the man who walked me down the aisle at my wedding as my own father should have, had he been alive.  My grandpa meant so much more to me than words can express.  I will eternally miss my grandpa, he was the only one I had.  I will remember him as the kindest man I ever knew.

He was the namesake of my father and brother, and now, the last of the Johns is gone.

This, on the day I lost my dog Riley, just 2 years ago.  Well, May 18, you take the greatest on this day, so thank you for peacefully taking my grandpa.  As was his belief, may he be reunited with his loved ones, but mostly his beloved wife, Eva.  May it be the glorious reunion he anticipated.

My grandpa suffered for a year from what we would later learn was cancer.  The fight is over, he won on his own terms. Rest In Peace, Grandpa.



Today is a particularly hard day because it was my brother’s birthday, it was actually our birthday, the day which we mutually (and not always willingly) shared.  Here I am now, unwillingly without him, on our birthday.  Today also marks 5 months since his death which is an unreal feeling to be honest.  Sometimes, in brief and serene moments of life, I will actually forget that he’s gone.  Then a trigger reminds me and it hurts all over again.   

I wanted to do something nice for my brother on this day and so, since it also happens to be Give STL Day, I donated in his memory to a couple of places.  It’s a little thing, seems insignificant, doesn’t really make me feel any better but it’s something.  Somewhere out there someone will see “In Memory of…” and even though they don’t know my brother, they’ll think of him during that brief moment and know that someone loves and misses him.

Happy Birthday Dusty.


Dreading This Week

I've been dreading this week for several months now...at least, since my brother died.

My brother and I shared a birthday (though years apart), which happens to fall within this week.  This is my first birthday without him, ever.  He would have turned 40 this year and my mom and I had contemplated what to do for him since we felt like it was a special birthday.  Now, I don't even want to celebrate.  Eventually one day, the day might mean something very special but this year just hurts in immeasurable ways.  I've been dreading it, and now it's here and it feels just about as painful as I anticipated it be.  I dread every well wish sent my way, I dread every sympathetic comment meaningfully expressed, and I dread the thought of opening any gifts in hopes of cheering me up.  It's hard to thank people when the sorrow overwhelms the gratitude.  But people don't know...so it'll all happen anyway.  I will, in the very least, even if I don't express it well, be very thankful to have kind people in my life.

Our birthday will mark 6 months since his passing...6 months in which the scar still feels fresh and now irritated with what should be a celebration.

I miss him.


Sun, Is That You?

I'm feeling better than I have been feeling for a little while, both physically and mentally.  The physical part is no doubt related to just eating better and more regular exercise (and my whopping 40lb shrugs I did yesterday in Fitness class, hoorah).  The mental part is probably related in a good part to that as well but I'm also allowing sunshine to claim a role.  It's nice to peek outside of the fog (I say that both figuratively and literally).

I haven't let myself listen to sad music, or the music that makes me feel sad (because sometimes they are not one in the same) and I am always surprised at the role that music can play in one's mood.  The kiddo and I were talking this morning about music and we thought it would be fun if everyone danced and sang as just a regular part of life...as if we were all in a musical...you may guess that our morning routine has become a scene from our very own musical.  If it's not entertaining, it's at least motivating, and some how keeps us both perked up for the morning and that certainly has a small part in my good mood as well.

Anyway, I keep chugging along and emotionally I know that I'm on a roller coaster and the lows will come with the highs but I'll deal with them when the cart gets there.  I continue to miss my brother, continue to panic at the overwhelming aftermath of his death, continue to worry about my mom and other family members, and I continue to keep myself busy with family, work, teaching, sewing, etc. and it helps.  I'm enjoying this semester's students.  They are good people, ask great questions, and make me laugh.

Why am I even writing this post?  What you can't see is that for this one post I am publishing, is about 10 posts I chose not to publish because they are angry and sad posts written over the course of the past 6 weeks.  And while each one represents, pretty accurately, how I've been feeling about myself and people in general, it's not the message I want to send out in the world.  My last published posts here were all either sad, or me complaining about this or that.  My past few years have been peppered with deaths, chaos, and messy things...but for the bulk of the time, they've been decent and I never write posts that say, "life is decent" and I thought I should.  ESPECIALLY after looking at my 10 unpublished posts...

So, life is decent, even with the peppering of bad stuff that's usually followed up by lots of grief and stress, life is still decent.  So go out and lift some weights, or run/bike a few laps, listen to delightful music, take care of your shit, and do good things.  Sometimes it's foggy, and sometimes it's not.


1 Month Out

It's been one month since my brother passed away.

Since then so many things have happened, either because they had to, or because time goes on and we have no choice.  And because so much has happened it feels like it's been more than a month.  Yet....yet somehow....as I wake in the morning and go through the motions of living life, it occurs to me that my brother is gone and it hurts in indescribable ways.  I see the little things that remind me of him, or someone says something in way that reminds me of him, or I have a question that I have no doubts he would have had an answer for....there are just all these things that make me think of him and all those things....it all that makes me feel like the day is still December 11th.  Mentally, I've been on that day this whole time.

In some ways, I've been through this before.  I have lost loved ones before.  I only within the last year and a half lost both of my beloved dogs.  I know how this goes.  You can damage your ankle with a really bad sprain and it hurts immensely but slowly heals.  It may look fine on the outside, and might function as well as can be, but now there's arthritis and it hurts all the time; you just learn to cope with a regularly sore ankle.  In this case I have a really sore heart.

I don't know if it feels so much worse because he was my brother, at times my savior, and the person that, even when we didn't speak regularly, I knew he was there.  I could count on him to help out with whatever might come up; I looked up to him because he was amazing.  He was the guy I put on a pedestal.  Sure, we didn't talk often and he was private so knowing him as an adult was difficult.  But deep down, he was who he always was to me...and in my mind, we're still just kids doing the things that I have the best memories of...I can't seem to move on from that.

Maybe this is harder for me now because in the past, I was too young or maybe too removed from a loved one to have to deal with the aftermath.  This time, I'm calling people almost everyday to sort out my brother's estate.  It's a lot of repeating the word "deceased".  It's overwhelming in task alone, but more so because I have to face the reality of it.  I'm not even alone in this.  My younger brother, my mom, and I have tag teamed this venture and it's so confusing and so voluminous with tasks that it's hard to break down.

Of course I can't let this beat me, or define me.  I know this.  I know I am not alone.  I try to be thankful everyday for the people I have, for the help I have, the kindness of friends and family, and for the fact that I am at least able to live in a way that I think would make my brother proud (the one real person I've always tried to impress).  So yea, I get up everyday, and I go to work, and I go teach class, and I do the house and parenting stuff, and I try to fit in all the other stuff...and in general I do these things as well as I can and I try not to dwell on my brother's death.  And I try not to be that person that's whiny or airs dirty laundry or dwells on a subject.  But, on the inside, mentally I'm not where I should be; physically I am trying; and yes I am angry because he's gone, and angry because, for everyone else, time goes on and I so desperately want to go back in time; and the guilt...well, I will always wish I did more.  So forgive me my few rants and ignore my red eyes should catch me after I've been crying.  This will get better, but one month out is definitely not my time.