Sad Night

B and I talked around 3 o’clock this afternoon and he said that he and his siblings decided to do shifts so a couple of them could be with their mom until she passed. B said he’d be at the hospital with his sister until around 10.

B came home around 9. I didn’t even think and I said, “So how is everything?”

B answered, “Well everything’s OK now. She passed.”

She had indicated a few times during the last few days that she was ready to die.

And so tonight she did.

RIP Doris.

This dogwood is in our old front yard but you can see Doris’ house through it. This photo was taken in April of 2011.

 

This is the little shortcut area that B and I used (and the mailman too) to go between our house and B’s mom’s house. This photo was taken in 2007 after an April shower.

 

Here’s that same dogwood tree again as from the first photo. The house is much more visible though given the tree is bare. This photo was taken in February of 2012.

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Bs Mom is Under Hospice Care

Bs mom is in hospice. I know it’s a matter of a few days, if that before she passes.

B and I lived next door to her for more than a decade so I knew her fairly well.

I used to visit her in the middle of the afternoons and just sit and chat with her on her couch.

She’d tell me stories about her past, funny ones, sad ones, even some shocking ones. I even learned some things that B didn’t know.  I’d find that out when I shared what she’d told me with B.

She was  a stay at home mom and B and his four siblings grew up on home cooked meals, in a nice sized house with a big back yard.

She did something right because all 5 kids are on speaking terms and they all respect each other. They are all by their mother’s bedside as I tap this out and I am torn as to whether I want to or should be there right now.

I know that his older sister isn’t all that big of a fan of mine and neither is his one brother, although they are never mean or nasty to me, and in fact treat me with respect. But I am still aware of this and don’t really want to intrude on a time like this for them.

I have spoken to B a couple times today and he has not asked if I would like to come over to the hospital. But I would bet the reason for him not asking is more for me than anything else.  I’m guessing here but I’d bet that with me being in crisis with trauma symptoms right now, he doesn’t want to put me on the spot. He may think I don’t want to drive to a location where I don’t know where I’m going as well.

And to be honest, I don’t really feel all that comfortable being around his family, feeling the way I’m feeling in regard to the symptoms I’ve been experiencing lately. Not that I couldn’t conduct myself in an appropriate manner, it’s just difficult to feel comfortable around them within myself. I feel a bit guilty though. And I know I’m missing the opportunity to see her before his mom passes.

In addition the situation also brings up shit about my family and the contrast of B’s family. It’s sad, but it’s also good to know that there are people that are not like the monsters my family became.

I’m thinking about B and his family today. I’m thinking about his mother and the conversations we had. I’m thinking about the BBQ’s we had on our porch and the Thanksgiving dinners she had in her dining room.

That’s all I can say right now. I wasn’t even going to say that much but I felt compelled to honor her some way. She was a ‘good enough’ mother and her 5 kids are proof of that.

Rainy Night

So I’ve been editing old posts and have had my blog on private. I was up to this post and had forgotten about it. Since it’s raining tonight too and has been all day I thought it was appropriate to reblog. I do love the rain.

Sleeping Tiger

I’ve always loved rain. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, day or night, I love the rain. Thunder storm, light drizzle, down pour and everything in between, I love the rain.

My mother thought I was weird. She’d complain and I’d say, “Oh I love it.” And she’d say, “I know you do, you’re weird.”

I never took it as an insult though. And I don’t think she was being mean when she said it. It was a regular exchange and it made me laugh.I loved that I was different than her in this way.

When I was a kid, my mother would let us play in the rain, as long as it wasn’t thundering and lightning outside. And during thunderstorms, during the time we lived in a house with a big porch, my siblings and I would go out there and pretend we were on a…

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B’s Mom (And Family)

B’s mom is not in a good way. She had massive bruising on her legs that B’s youngest sister, L noticed when she was there to visit with their mother a couple weeks ago. From the picture I saw that L had taken and texted to the siblings, her legs also looked swollen.

The bruising was not just the kind of normal bruises you would get from bumping your elbow on a doorway. This was the kind of bruising you see on people who take blood thinners, but even worse because they covered and colored the entirety of her legs. She’s in her 90s.

His mom is out of the hospital at this point and in a rehab facility now, but B’s oldest sister S, was there yesterday and sent out a detailed email this morning about the facility she’s in and how their mother is. Apparently she is quite depressed, doesn’t want to eat and she made a statement about her body being too old to fix. (And not in a funny way.)

On another note, as mom grows older and seemingly sicker, I watch as things unfold among her children. B and L are the only two that still work. Mom has 5 kids. Su, Ch, Jo, B and Le.Su is the oldest daughter, Ch and Jo are next in line and are twins, then there’s B and their youngest sister, Le.

Su, Ch and Jo are all retired. B and Le work a lot. After B told me about his mom being in the hospital, he showed me the thread of texts exchanged by his four siblings by simply handing me his phone.

He had not joined in. He is a man of few words, even when it comes to his family. I do wonder if his siblings, particularly his oldest sister are frustrated by this. But they never bring it up or point any fingers.

The string of texts I read was a conversation of four equally respected and respectful individuals. No one was berating another. No one was being singled out as a scapegoat to make sure they “step up,” or “because he or she isn’t working so that would be the expectation.”  No one was writing in ALL CAPS to scream at another.

They were conveying news and Su and Le, who were there to see their mother the most from what I could tell, were also letting everyone know what is needed…in general. Not ordering or demanding or commanding any one person to do this, that or the other.

In the email Su sent last night, she simply stated that when visiting, the best times to go are meal times to encourage mom to eat since she is not doing so on her own and voluntarily. Su is clearly worried about their mother.

But she didn’t point out WHO should go. There was no mention of B and that he should be the one to go because he hasn’t been there yet. She, as well as the rest of the siblings understand that they each have lives and that being there for any one individual may not be possible at certain times.

Even though it brings up sadness about my own family having done just the opposite of what his family is demonstrating, (and I’ve seen this before from his family because this isn’t the first time their mother has had health issues) it is also reassuring to see that there are such people in the world with family that respect each other.

My Brother’s Birthday is Tomorrow

I had not even been thinking about it. But when I sat down here I noticed tomorrow’s date. I’m not even sure what I looked at that made me realize, oh my gosh, tomorrow is the 28th.

Although three years younger than me, his birthday is 22 days after mine. I never looked to see the number of days before. I knew it was a little less than three days but never counted the days.

I am no expert in numerology but I still find it fascinating. So I looked up the meaning of the number.

Generally you figure out “your” number by adding the numbers of your birth date. So let’s go with Halloween 1966 as a birth date just for fun. You would add 1+0+3+1+9+6+6=8. If the total is a double number then you add those two numbers together as well until you get a single digit.  At least that’s how I was taught by a tarot reader, anyway.

But then there are also master numbers: 11, 22 and 33. Apparently there are times to reduce them and times to not. I don’t know all about the difference but it’s my understanding that if these numbers are in your date of birth then you DO reduce them. So 1+1=2, etc.

In the case I am referring to with the 22 days between our birthdays, this is not supposed to be reduced to the 4 but I will include a link explaining what 4 means, just as I will include links to all the other numerology stuff I’m talking about.

So this link explains that the number you arrive at by adding your birth date numbers is your Life Path number. It also shows how to add the numbers.

This link explains when and why to reduce the master numbers of 11, 22 and 33. I’ll be honest and tell you that I don’t really understand it. But that’s OK. I’m putting it here for me to reference at a later date. I may have the capacity to understand it later.

I’ll be honest again.  About the number 22…the number of days between my birthday and my brother’s…I really don’t know what that would mean. Everything I find is about seeing the number all the time, like when you look at the time or if it’s the number you come up with when you add your birth date.

The only other thing I wanted to mention about repeating 2s is that before publishing this post, I have 222 posts in total on my blog. This will make 223 though.

There are other numbers that pertain to us as well, like when we assign a number to each letter in our name. A is 1, Z is 26. So you can go from there if you’d like to add your own. Just remember to reduce to a single digit once you get to the end.

As usual I’m kind of rambling. My mind goes to the metaphysical when it comes to my brother and me. I am reminded of a book he gave me years ago called 365 Tao. Unfortunately I gave it away (or maybe I sold it on Amazon) after all the abuse and bullying in 2013.

Inside the cover he wrote me a note and ended by signing it as a “kindred spirit.”

It’s sad and I’m thinking about him today because his birthday is tomorrow. But I won’t be calling or emailing him to wish him a happy one, although I do wish that for him.

Kitchen Drawer (Utensil Drawer)

I don’t know what they’re called…the roller thing that makes it easier for your kitchen drawer to work, well one of them fell off from our utensil drawer, I think it was last week.

I have not tried to put it back on. To be honest I am worried about making it worse.

And neither B or me want to tell Nasty about it because she’ll just be her usual fucking asshole about it.  Blame us, tell us we should pay for it since she replaced it once or some such bullshit that she likes to pull. The fucking narcissist fuck!

I will ask B to fix it or at least look at it when he’s off, hopefully Saturday.  It’s working and like I said, I’m hesitant, in case it gets worse…like the other side falls off or stops working.

The kitchen has very little space as it is and so just putting the utensils in another drawer isn’t possible. If it stops working and we aren’t able to fix it, although I know it’s fixable…then the utensil drawer will sit on the dining room table because there won’t be anywhere else for it.

I am so over this piece of shit place with a landlady who won’t even fix the little shit.

I noticed the other day, the door jam in the basement, the one we use to go to the garage and then out of the building, is rusted rotten. It’s apparently been like that for some time and I noticed in the beginning that she’s got a two by four drilled in there. I guess that was her answer (?) to cover up the rust instead of replacing the door jam. But the bottom is rotting away so bad. Don’t be walking bare foot through there and accidentally trip and stub a toe. No tetanus shot will fix the gangrene you’ll end up with. That is for sure.

We also still have the door to the close but not quite useless cabinet in the bathroom, in the living room. That broke off months ago and I don’t remember now if I posted about it or not. I’m keeping track of everything and filing it under “The Apartment” category so I have it all on some kind of record.

We’ll be sure that everything is fixed when we leave though, no worries.

When we first moved in here, Nasty mentioned to me that when the young couple that lived here before us left here, she found some things that had been broken and that they had not mentioned it to Nasty.

 

Memories and Grief

Well at least I know what this pain is. I’ve had some memories pop up the last few days and they may very well have been triggered by looking up the road my grandmom H lived on when I came into the world. She lived there for many years. I think I was in my early 20s if I remember correctly when she moved to Chester County for a few years, before moving to New Jersey to be closer to her sisters.

The house/street I googled is in Upper Darby. Only a few miles from where I live now. I actually live in the same township now, but the section I live in has its own name and post office.  I couldn’t stop looking at the street and trying to figure out if her house had been on the end or one in from there. But I recognized (vaguely) the parking lot close by and remembered the back yard was always just an area of tall grass. I couldn’t see that on google but I pictured it in my mind.

As soon as I clicked to see the street, it showed me a wall that becomes a porch and although that is not part of the house my grandmom lived in, I remembered it so well. It felt like a splash of cold water as soon as it appeared on the screen. In fact I’ve seen it in my dreams, walking up the sidewalk past it.

Today I was thinking about “the old house” and hanging out up there in ‘monkey’s field.’ I have no idea why we called it that. There aren’t any monkeys living wild in Delco.  I remembered sitting up there on the small hill one day. I forget who I’d met up there. Paul? Frank? I forget. But while sitting on the grass, smoking a cigarette at the age of 14, maybe 15, I turned my head to look behind me, probably because I heard something.

I saw my father approaching. It was the first time ever I’d seen him up there. I didn’t even know he knew the place existed. I never saw him there again either.  It’s frustrating to remember snippets like this. I remember that part, but I don’t remember why he was there, what he had wanted is a blank. I’m sure I walked the entire three blocks back to the house with him also, but I don’t remember that either.  I don’t remember if he was angry or indifferent. Certainly there would have been no joy in him seeing me up there.

Not that he never felt joy, but if he was looking for me then, at that age, he had a reason that would not have made him happy.

This led me to another memory. My brother (Chris) and I told my father we were going up the street to get cigarettes. There was a place just across from the entrance to monkey’s field I’d been getting cigarettes from since I was 13 and that’s where we were headed.

When we got back from that errand, Chris and I walked past the house, crossed at the corner of our one-way neighborhood road and sat down on the sidewalk of the street that crossed ours. I had some canabis and so we smoked a little. It was one of the first times Chris had tried it and being a song writer, he came out with a really good and funny poem. Unfortunately I don’t remember it.

Just as we were settling into our buzz, we turned to see our father coming out of the alley from behind our house. Chris freaked out. He got worried. You’d probably say paranoid, thinking that our father was looking for us.

I was like, “He’s probably just running some errand for himself.”

Chris and I were 16 and 18 respectively. Why the fuck would he be looking for us, just because we hadn’t gotten back from a cigarette run in the middle of a summer day?

It was out of character even for our father to get in the car to come looking for us.

It could seem like it isn’t, given the story I told above, but that was truly a rare occurrence. We moved to that neighborhood when I was 10 and these two times are the only times I remember my father ever coming to look for me. For us.

Chris wanted to go back to the house because he ‘knew’ our father was leaving to look for us. He was sure of it. I thought it was ridiculous, and although I was beyond disappointed to shorten our fun, I relented and we went back to the house.

My father got in shortly after we did and wanted to know where we’d gotten off to. I told him we’d decided to go for a walk.  It turned out Chris was right.

He wanted my brother to sign his social security card, which had apparently just come in the mail. That was it? I was baffled and thought, “Couldn’t that have waited?” But I didn’t dare ask. My father was clearly agitated and and I boogied up to my room.

Abandoning my brother because I was still stoned.

Just as I was taking off up the steps I could hear my father berating my brother as he signed is SS card. But knowing I couldn’t do anything anyway, I kept going.

After some time had passed, I ventured back down to see if my brother was OK. He had since made it down to his bedroom in the basement.

I asked Chris what “Dad got so mad about” and he said, “I signed my card wrong.”

I laughed a little (as I laugh now) because all he was doing was signing his name. “How did you sign your name wrong?”

“I was supposed to sign it Christopher and I signed Chris.”

My father’s timing on a day to come hunting for us could not have been any worse. I sometimes wonder if he had radar to know we were up to no good and that Chris would be too stoned to know how to sign his name.

I know you could use the argument about kids going missing and that as a father he was worried. But since it wasn’t something he did all the time, since we went off and did our thing often, at even younger ages, without him getting a wild hair up his ass with some controlling need to have us there right then and there on the regular, this, to this day, does not make sense to me.


I have a third of his ashes. My brother and sister wanted to have him cremated. My brother in particular could not bear to think of our father buried in the dirt, his body rotting away. And since my father did not let us know what his wishes were on this, that is what we had done.

I don’t really want the ashes. But I’ve held onto them not knowing what to do with them and when they were given to me, I certainly would not have expressed my lack of desire to have ‘my share’ in my possession. So I took them.

I had found a short, round, squatty, ceramic vase in my father’s apartment after he’d died, so I used that to keep the ashes in.

Lately I’ve been thinking about taking a garden shovel up to the site where his parents and aunts are buried, digging a little hole and putting the bag of ashes in it. So he can be with his family, even if it is just some of him.

Before that, I’d been thinking about making a list of every place (town, house, area, whatever) that has memories and meaning for me and then driving around to each one and taking pictures. Then posting them on a blog and writing about the memories of each place I’ve taken photos of.

I’ve wanted to do all of this to help me through the grieving process. In taking my father ashes and burying them as much as I can, I think that would help me with some closure and to help get a sort of weight off of my shoulders. It would be a symbol of sorts, yes, of me letting him go. But I know it’s not that easy or simple. It’s more like taking a weight off. Each time I think about that vase and his ashes it feels like I’m being dragged down, or more accurately, held down by it. Or at least that’s one of the things contributing. So doing something with it that will also give me peace of mind will help release some of that weight.

So just in the last couple days, I have had a strange thought and a picture in my mind, which combines the trip down memory lane with my father’s ashes.

OK this is weird, but here it is. I drive to all those places with that vase containing my father’s ashes. And then when I feel that I’m finished, then I take the ashes to the plot of my grandparents’.

At least if it doesn’t help me heal, it will be a memory in itself.


I really kind of got away from the point of grief, which i mentioned in the beginning. But these are all the things that have come up for me in my grieving. The last couple days, I’ve had these memories come up and have felt the tears wanting to break through.

Today I found myself wondering why now? But the truth is this happens periodically. Generally though, in the past, I am not willing to be with them. And although I was doing things today to distract from it a little, I didn’t use any substance to try to escape the pain. No beer, no weed, not even food. I ate. But not to escape any pain…except hunger pangs.

 

Janet, Gary and Harry

I was just on Facebook and saw in my side bar in the box with “People you may know” a woman I’d been friends with in my junior year of high school. Or more accurately, part of that year.

I’ll call her Janet.

I readily admit to sabotaging that friendship.

We went to the same high school but had not known each other. In fact, we met at an old taxi company in our town. I was friends with the dispatcher and she was stuck on one of the drivers.  The driver, Gary was a new employee though and so I didn’t know him too well either.

Turns out he had graduated the year before.

Shortly after meeting her at the taxi company, Janet and I discovered that we were in the same Economics class. We’d met on a Saturday and that Monday, our teacher was rearranging our seats so that I was seated right behind Janet.

I swear this is true. It’s weird and something that you’d think would only happen in a book or a movie. But the coincidence was seriously intense. Even then, the intensity of the coincidence did not escape me. Looking back,  I was happy about this circumstance, but having just met her, it was subtle. However, she was overly excited.

It made me feel good that she was so happy about my close proximity in the assigned seating, but I also, knowing what I know now, can’t help but thing it played a part in my sabotage of the friendship. I mean after all there is a narcissistic aspect to my personality and I have had this thought many many times, “If you’re friends with me, there must be something wrong with you.”

Janet and I got close quick. We were together a lot. She drove so that made things a lot easier and definitely more fun. I had not gotten my license yet.

The sabotage came when I kissed Gary…the one who was still just playing and using her. The one she pined for, made a fool of herself chasing and finally lost to a girl that she had hung out with before meeting me.

I admitted to kissing him a short while after it happened, feeling so guilty and ashamed. She was surprisingly forgiving. She said, “It’s OK. He already told me.”

It doesn’t seem like sabotage but I see it as that since it’s no way for a friend to treat another friend.

When I think about that now, I feel so much cringe. If only I’d been more aware of that dynamic and what my behavior was really about and how much of a betrayal it actually was. I’m not sure she even understood.

During that school year, (11th grade) she began dating a boy our age, Eddie. They got close quick too. And she was always with him and never had time for me.

Simultaneously though, maybe even a bit before she started ‘going out with’ Eddie, I began ‘dating’ a 38 year old man, named Harry.

Being a junior in high school, I was 16.

Janet began to distance herself around this time and I at first thought it was only because of Eddie. After all it was completely “normal” for a girl at that age to cancel a plan she’d made with a girl-friend if a boy she liked called and wanted to see her. It was a forgivable act from the girl being cancelled on too. The boy was enough of a reason.

But one day I was in the car with Harry and I was talking about how I missed Janet and how I was upset that she was always with Eddie and never had time for me anymore.

Harry took her side. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but he completely invalidated my feelings. I was 16 and didn’t know that’s what he had done. I was also groomed already to believe that his response was a ‘normal’ one and I was not surprised to be the one in the wrong once again.

But it didn’t change my feelings. It just made me feel like something was wrong with me that I couldn’t see it differently.

I was so hurt by what I perceived as her abandoning me and I began writing her notes. It was something we’d already been doing…writing notes and handing them off in the hallways. But the content of mine became different. I’m still surprised and even confused that she continued to take them from me.

My letters contained hurtful words. I was like a rabid dog lashing out. OR more accurately like a dog who’d just been hit by a car. Reach out for help and you’ll get bit.

Only no one was holding a hand out to help me.

She was lost to me and with each letter, I sabotaged anything salvageable further.

She wrote back just as viciously. One letter addressed Harry and that she’d told her mother about my relationship with him. She wrote that her mother said to her, “She needs help.”

And this is what came to mind when I saw her name today in the side bar on Facebook.

Through the years, we’d kept in touch sporadically and I went to her wedding. She married a guy who was at first not interested. She had also chased him. He had been off an on with another girl at the time and he would be available and then break it off and then she’d keep after him.

When I saw her name in the side bar I went to her page. I scrolled down and saw a photo and people commenting “Happy anniversary.” She commented that she wanted to count from the time they started dating 35 years ago.

And that had me on the calculator. That was the same year we had been friends but by the time she’d started dating/chasing him, our friendship was over.  We had ended before she’d broken up with Eddie.

I also then thought about an email I’d sent to tell her circa 2012.  I wanted to back out of a walk I’d told her I would sign up for. And then true to the narc way, I used needing to work on myself after some discoveries to say I couldn’t do it. I then went into mentioning how her mom was right all those years ago about me needing help.

It was ridiculous on my part. If I was being honest and to the point, all I really needed to say was, I’m sorry, I can’t make it to the date of the walk. And just leave it at that. I could’ve elaborated and said something like the depression I suffer from is really playing a number on me, I guess. But instead I felt this weird need to over-elaborate.

And of course I got no response. I’m sure she sensed the drama.

But that’s not really my point here. It’s true that there is so much here. My inability to have a real and meaningful friendship in my teen years. The year before I’d sabotaged a close friendship I had with another girl, by getting drunk at her brother’s graduation party and crying about her brother not wanting me…I had a huge crush on him.

But there’s something else here.

At 16 I “dated” a 38 year old and no one came to my rescue. Janet’s mom claimed I needed help, but she was actually eluding to psychological help.  I was being molested and instead of telling my parents or calling the police, she connected with her daughter in gossip about me, lowering herself to a 16 year old’s level to talk shit about another 16 year old.

My parents knew too. One night I sat at the dinner table and actually said to my father, “I’m seeing a man who is the same age as mom.”

My father snapped, and abruptly said in his stern tone, “Don’t do that anymore.”

They did nothing to stop it. I don’t know why or how my father would think that would work. My mother said nothing.

So all this went through my head after shutting down from FB today, after seeing her name and then some of her profile. It made me sad. It made me sad for the unaware teen that I was. For the 16 year old who did indeed need help and to be rescued from a molester, but got none.

It made me sad for all the denial I experienced and can see even now in that one little statement of Janet’s…about wanting to count her anniversary date back to when her and her husband started dating. When exactly would she count back to after being rejected numerous times before finally being worn down?

I don’t begrudge her marriage, as much as it sounds like I do. She had two great kids and her husband treated her well from what I understand. She got what she wanted and I’m happy for her on that front.

That’s not my point…it’s the denial of reality that I see that bothers me.

Fall is Here

It feels like a case of ‘be careful what you wish for.’

The temperature is 61 right now but the sky is an unbelievable clear blue. This is the way I like it. Sweatshirt and sweater weather.

A friend of mine and I when we were teens, used to call it “leather weather” because we loved our leather jackets and looked forward to wearing them when the weather was just right for them.

Only a lone puffy cloud in a sea of blue.

Yesterday was chilly too and this morning B brought up the electric radiators. Our solution to have heat through the winter without using the vents that emanate cigarette stench through them from Nasty.  (Sorry no exciting pics of the radiators.)

But I dug out my finger-less gloves for typing on the really cold days.

And I needed my booty slippers this morning too.

A bonus was that I made a frappe from my coffee and it tasted a lot like a cinnamon bun.

Once I’d had that, the gloves came off and I now have my window, screen and all open. It’s nice to get some fresh air in here finally.

Struggles of Organizing

I have been organizing. I feel like a chronic organizer in this place. I can’t get rooted and as much as I try to minimalize the stuff in my surroundings, there is always more to whittle down.

I want to get it to the point where I can be more efficient with listing on eBay but I also need things to be neat and organized to be able to continue focusing, on a consistent basis.

It’s been a struggle to stay organized in the past five years, but it’s a real chore here in this apartment. I understand why, but understanding it at an intellectual level doesn’t make me feel any less like running when my tolerance goes way down and I can’t stand it anymore.

I’ve had it to a point of feeling organized just to have it feel chaotic soon after, either by becoming dissatisfied with how it is later or by not keeping up with the ‘system.’ But seriously, given the size of this place from what we moved from it’s a struggle. In addition I’d already been struggling with our larger space in the house for about five years after an emotional trauma.

I won’t get into every boring detail of the organizing saga, but today I moved on to clearing out the floor of my closet, which had a huge tote in it that is filled with photographs and cards.

The timing is unbelievable and I have the feeling that it isn’t a coincidence. My birthday is just around the corner and I’m not sure whether to expect a card from my mother or not. I know I won’t hear from my siblings, or at least the chances are slim, but my mother is an unknown.

And so this is a source of stress for me. I’m like, “Here we go again.” And not sure how to be during this time of year. I don’t want to care, but I do.  I don’t know whether I’d prefer not to get a card or to get one.

It’s really six of one and half dozen of the other though because if she does send a card it very well may be more guilt and shame.

The bin with photos is going into the garage to make room for other things that I need access to. Being a glutton for punishment, I opened up the bin and pulled out the cards people had given me through the years and looked through them.

I’d already had a few from my mother set aside to keep out, to basically refer back to, if she does send me a card this year. I had some strange amnesia last year when I’d received a card. I had to be reminded about how manipulative she was in the personalized message she wrote inside the card.

The year before I’d written about the card she’d sent then, and was able to see right through her and the message she wrote but for some reason I wasn’t able to do that the year after.  I never want that to happen again. I want to be able to see the truth and understand what is real.

So I took them out of the bin and set them aside to keep in another, smaller box along with a few other things I took out of the bin, to keep up here in the bedroom.

Going through those cards, I felt a mix of emotions. Birthday cards and post cards. Funeral cards and Christmas cards.

Even the funny cards made me feel sad. My father had a good sense of humor. And despite all the bad that was, he made me laugh a lot too.  My brother was funny also and I’d forgotten that we’d had a running joke that had been becoming a tradition, by giving each other cow themed cards every year. Makes me smile now just writing that. But it’s sad because that is gone now.

My sister and mother mostly gave sentimental cards, and it was so apparent between the lines, that they knew I struggled to reach my dreams.  (Mostly because I’d lost sight of them.)

My parents had begun going on more vacations in different parts of the country while they were still married and my mother would send all three of us kids post cards from wherever they were. Some of them I could see the date of the post mark, giving away how long ago it had been written and sent. Others I could date them from the address it had been sent to.

And all those dates and addresses have their own memories and triggers. It makes me feel nostalgic. Some memories and triggers are good. Others, not so much.

The only other things I pulled out of the bin were two large envelopes, each with a pile of photos in them. I flipped quickly through both. I kept one out and put one back. I’m not sure I will access it but I may. It’s full of old pictures, so the possibility is there.

It’s the envelope that has my name on it, in my father’s print. He wrote it with a black magic marker. Just before he’d moved from the last house my parents had lived in together, he had set aside this envelope to give to me when he saw me.

When I opened the envelope to see that they were mostly photos of me, I was stunned and wondered why? Why would he not keep these for himself?

I never asked. I kept the question and the hurt to myself.