Happiness

What is happiness?  

Websters defines happiness as: a state of well-being and contentment.  

Let’s try to break that down.  

A state of well-being.  This is defined as:  the state of being happy, healthy, or prosperous.

Contentment.  This is defined as:  a state of happiness and satisfaction.

Prosperous.  This is defined as:  successful in material terms; flourishing financially.

Healthy.  This is defined as:  normal, natural, and desirable.

And so on and so on and so on.

We each have our own inner definition of happiness.  My happiness isn’t the same as your happiness.  Right?  

I feel the state of being happy when I kiss and hug my grandbabies.  But that’s not everyone’s happiness. I don’t know when I feel like I am in an actual state of well-being.  Is that horrible to say?  I thoughts of self-doubt constantly.   I struggle with feeling depressed, being enough.  That isn’t a state of well-being.

When do I feel contentment? Do I feel it?  Have I felt it?  Or do I pretend I feel it because that means I’m happy.  

Healthy. Ha, that I know I’m not.  I eat too much, drink too much, weigh too much, stress too much, sleep to little, exercise to little.  The list is endless.  Would changing these things make me healthy and happy?

Desirable. Dear God, don’t even get me started on that one.  No, I do not feel desirable.  No, I do not feel I am desirable.  I rely too much on others to make me feel that.  It is not something I have ever found on my own.

I think I can lump prosperous, successful in material terms and flourishing financially all into one group.  Do you agree?  I feel I am prosperous in some ways as I am successful in material terms; meaning I have spent too much money on material items to make myself happy, which in turn means I am not flourishing financially.

So, am I destined not to be happy because there is no way I can ever meet all the definitions of happy? 

Random thoughts on a dreary, rainy day.

Scattered

Scattered. My brain is scattered. My world is scattered. I’m trying to sit and get it all out. I can’t seem to find a place to start. There are so many places, so many things that keep rolling through my brain. The things that keep me awake at night. The things that scare the shit out of me.

I don’t know why I haven’t put anything on paper recently. Maybe because it makes it all too real for me. If I write it, it’sreal. If I don’t, I can pretend. Pretend everything is “normal.” What the hell is normal anyway. Normal, a preconceived idea of what life is supposed to be like, what you want life to be like. If only it were that simple. 

I apologize in advance it there are errors in the following. It is hard enough to write, its even harder to try to go back and proof and re-read.

My girl child. It happened again. February 6-7, 2022. He beat her again. She went to see him on February 6th, messaged me to tell me she was staying over that evening. I was at work (a new job that I have been at for only about a month). My cell phone rings and it’s my girl. I couldn’t answer immediately because I was talking to someone. She called back, I answered. She was crying and close to hysterical. She said they had a fight. I asked if he touched her. She said not as bad as last time. I asked where she was and she said she was in his car, driving to where her car was parked. I asked where he was, and she said she had no idea. They fought and she left. I pleaded with her to be safe, get to her car and lock the keys to his car in the car. I called my husband, told him what was happening and asked him to go to the parking lot where her car was parked and watch for her. He did. She never showed up. I tried contacting her with no luck. She called again, screaming, yelling, hysterical begging me to help her, begging me to save her, she was throwing up and dry heaving while she was talking to me. I got from her she went back to his house, they fought again, she ran outside and was at a convenience store and scared that he would find her. I have her on the cell phone and call 911 from my work phone. I give all the information I have to the dispatcher; he sends police. Her phone goes dead. She calls back from the convenience store phone. Still crying and begging me to help. The dispatcher tells me the officers are on scene. I hear them talking to her. She is beyond rational thought. I can hear the officers now yelling at drippy dick who found where she was. They were telling him to get away from her and stop talking and to listen to them. Drippy yelled at her for calling the cops. She blamed me. The phone went dead. I hear nothing for hours. I finally get a call from her saying she needed to figure some things out and she would be in touch with me, but she didn’t know when she would be home. Deep breaths. Trying to stay in “control,” trying not to freak the fuck out, trying not to let my new employer know what’shappening.  

She calls again on my cell. Upset, but not hysterical. She tells me that drippy dick was driving her back to her car, and he got stopped by police for expired inspection. The car smelled strongly of weed (shocking), and drippy was put through Field Sobriety Tests and then taken for a blood test. She now had to drive his car to the police station and wait for him to be releasedbefore she could come home. I offered to get her an Uber, she refused. 

I go home at the end of the workday. I message my girl a few times and finally hear back that drippy dick is driving her to her car. This would be about a 30-minute drive from where drippy lives to where her car is parked. She messages and says she would like to talk when she gets home. We wait and wait. We go to our bedroom because it’s getting later, and she isn’t home.  Again, my cell phone rings and it’s her. Again, screaming and crying for me to help her. She fears him. She got to her car, they continued to talk, and she drove away. He was now following her, and she did not know what to do. I told her to keep driving home, told her to drive to a police department. Again, she really isn’t hearing me. She stops her car at a gas station and tells me where she is. The phone again goes dead. I call 911, again. I tell the dispatcher the details of what has happened throughout the day and ask him to send officers to help her. My husband also leaves to go to the area where she is. Officers call me back. They can’t find her. I tell them the events of the day and what happened. I call my husband and relay to him that the officers can’t find her. He is in the area and sees the officers, so he stops to talk to them. I get a call from a strange number and answer. It’s her calling from one of drippy’s phones.  Her phone is turned off so we can’t track her. She will not tell me where she is but tells me she is safe and okay, and they are talking. But he is sitting in his car, and she is locked in her car and they are talking via phone.  We have an idea where she parks her car and my husband, and six officers are in that area searching and find nothing. She calls me numerous times from drippy’s phone, and the calls just keep dropping. I have no idea what is happening. Eventually, the officers must respond to other calls and my husband comes home. She eventually gets home sometime after midnight on February 8th. 

I don’t see her until the evening of February 8th because I had to work. 

Sorry, back up a minute. As the things were happening the previous day, I was advising my sons, so they knew what was happening. 

My girl messaged me at some point during the day on the 8th and said she would like to talk when I get home from work. I told her yes, we would definitely be talking. I asked my sons to be there as well. That way everyone hears what I have to say in case she isn’t thinking clearly, and she decides to go to one of them for help. She initially wasn’t happy that everyone was. I told her she needs to be honest and no lies about what happened. 

Drippy dick decided it would be a great idea to get them Xany-bars for Sunday evening (the 6th). She said she had never tried them before. They ate them. Apparently, they ate a lot.  She has little memory from Sunday evening at around 11PM to Monday evening around 6PM or 7PM. She knows they fought almost none stop. She showed us a few bruises on her legs. She was still very……. on edge. She said she could still feel whatever was in the bars was still in her. We asked that she tell us what she does remember. She knew they fought both inside his house and outside his house. She told him she was done and wanted to leave and was getting some of her things out of the back of his car. He was in the driver seat and when she reached in the back seat he started to drive away and drug her with the car, hence the road rash all over her ankle/leg. She remembered him punching her in the back of her head when she was trying to walk away from him. She said she knows at one point she was fighting for her life and had his skin under her nails when she came home. We all talked for about an hour. I could tell she was reaching her limit. She just repeated over and over that she wanted to sleep forever, she was tired of this, tired of making mistakes. She wants to be dead. We encouraged her the best we could. Knowing if we push too hard, she would flee. 

She has been at home since this happened. I know she has been in contact with drippy, but she has not seen him. Will this be her rock bottom? Will she want help this time? Will anything change? I am trying to get her to talk to a Domestic Violence hotline. I am trying to talk to her about maybe trying a wilderness program where she has no contact with anyone. Will any of it help? I don’t know. 

Watching her is hard. Hearing her words is harder. Not knowing how to help is beyond words. Seeing her beat up body is debilitating to me. She took a video of her body. The bruises are unbelievable. Her neck, throat, shoulders, arms, legs, feet, and head all have bruises. But I am sure that her brain is the most damaged. That damage doesn’t fade like a bruise. That damage is deep and permanent.

My first big girl job

How can I be almost 52 and I feel like I finally have my first REAL big girl job? And I’m scared shitless.  Scared to fail, scared to let others down, scared to let myself down.  Scared to succeed, scared to do well, scared to like it.  Scared to immerse myself and lose myself in another job.  Is it a job or a career?  What was my last 32 years in the working world?  A job or a career?  What do I want this one to be?  What will this one be?  Do I make that choice?  

I am trying to keep my mind open to anything that comes along in my new big girl job. I don’t want this job to define me. I want to define the job I am doing. Does that make sense?

Just one of those days, again

Some days I think I have my shit together and under control. And then there are days like today, where my shit is all over the place. Thoughts and feeling whirling around my brain like the twister in The Wizard of Oz. Images of important people in my world swirling around my brain evoking emotion after emotion. I can feel the turbulence in my chest. The pressure and force of the feelings is tremendous. I wish I had a magic pill to make it all go away, to make it all okay again. I don’t even need it to all be perfect, just to be okay.

I took a little me time a few weeks ago. I still can’t believe I had the balls to do it, but I did. I left my home and all the cozy comfort it brings me. I was fortunate to have a place to go and feel safe in. Why did I do it? To think, to feel, to cry, to scream. Did it work? I don’t think it did. I have been questioning my marriage and relationship with my husband. I can’t say exactly how long, but long enough. In the past I have tried to explain my feelings to him. I know I already wrote about that.

Communication. Communication is something I need desperately. Any major decision that needed to be made over the last 29 years of our marriage has been made by me. Why? Because there was no discussion. I would ask a question and get an answer of I don’t know. So I just made the decision I felt was best. Now that we are out of the kid stage, now that our lives have calmed down and there is more time to think and talk and make decisions I still get the answer I don’t know. And it makes me crazy. So, I left home the day after my birthday. I sent my husband an email from work telling him I wouldn’t be home that night and where I would be. He knew me leaving was a possibility from previous conversations. Yes, I sent him an email. I have also sent him text messages trying to explain how I feel and why. I do this because it gives him time to process, which I think he needs, but also so I don’t sit across from him staring at him waiting for an answer that never comes. That is the absolute worst.

I went to my safe place on a Monday evening after work. It was hard, incredibly hard. What was I expecting to happen? I don’t know. Isn’t that fucking ironic? What was my hope? That he would call me, text me, come to me (because he knew where I was) – anything to show me he cared and wanted me and that I mattered. I wanted him to fight for me, damnit. Why doesn’t he want to fight for me? Is it just assumed I will always be there, no matter what?

Monday night, I received nothing from him. Tuesday morning, I received nothing from him. Tuesday afternoon, I received nothing from him. Tuesday evening, I received nothing from him. Tuesday night, I was a puddle of tears and I broke. I called him and hung up. He called me back. Hearing his voice was a knife to the heart. Thinking back, I really don’t remember what was said. I was an emotional wreck. But we decided he would come to me Wednesday evening and we would talk.

He came to me. It was painful seeing him. The emotions, memories, feelings. It was overwhelming for me. We decided to go to dinner and have a kind of neutral place to talk. The drive was……..awkward in a sense. I asked a few question, but mostly surface stuff. We got to the restaurant, sat and ate. We talked, I guess. I asked him if he thought we would make it and if he wanted to make it work. He said he did. What else did we talk about? I’m not sure. I don’t think we really did. I think I thought it was more than it really was. We went back to where I was staying. He came in with me. We sat on my bed. I stared at him. I saw love in his eyes. I wanted him to hold me and stay with me. I think we talked, didn’t we? Did I do it again? Did I just let things slip back to the old ways? He didn’t stay. He honestly couldn’t, I knew that. Three dogs at home to take care of and all the other home responsibilities. I just wanted that to be the time he fought for me.

I went home Thursday evening after work. It was strange and weird. Do you go back to the old routines? Do you act like everything is suddenly okay? I think that is what I did. Why? I guess because it’s easy. Does he truly want me or is it the convenience of having someone take care of everything? Has our relationship become a convenience? Were we so busy during those early years of marriage, buying a house, having kids, raising kids, dealing with kid issues, working to pay the bills, that something just faded between us? I don’t know.

Does anyone else play the what if game? What if there is a person out there that would fight for me? What if there is a person out there that would sit down and talk to me? Would someone else find me valuable and beautiful and special? Do we love each other, but aren’t really in love with each other anymore? Does he deserve/want more than I can offer him? Do I deserve/want more than he can offer me? What if we separated or divorced? What does that look like? What happens then? Can I be alone? Can he be alone? How will I feel if he finds someone else? How will he feel if I find someone else? Is it time to find someone else? He knows all my scars and what they are from. Will someone new overlook all my flaws? What about my love handles? What will they think when they feel or see them? What does he think when he sees or feels them? What happens to the house I love; the house that we created together? What happens to the unfinished projects that we are both excited about? What happens to the stuff in the house? What happens to our kids and grandkids? What if he becomes a drunk? What if he doesn’t stay in contact with the kids and grandkids? What happens when there is a holiday or a birthday party? He has no one else. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? What does starting over look like? Why is my heart racing right now? Where do I go from here? How do I know what is right?

I found myself staring at him many times over the weekend. What is happening in his mind? What is he thinking?

To top things off, I also received an incredible job offer. After three or four years of applying and interviewing, I received an offer. It terrifies me. As of June 19, 2021, I will complete 32 years at my current job (please remember I started at the ripe old age of 19). I am 51 and seriously considering switching jobs. Am I fucking insane? Is the universe trying to tell me it’s time for a change? How will I make the right decision? Will I make the right decision? Do I want the stress of a new job? Do I want to feel like I am valuable again or stay where I am comfortable and just a convenience to those around me? Why do I feel like I am being pushed out the door in my current position? Is money and leave time all that matter at this point in my life?

Fuck. It’s just one of those days………………..

torture

A friend used the word torture to describe how I am letting my girls mental illness affect my life. It is true, so very true.

The torture starts when my alarm goes off. Did she hurt herself overnight? Is she dead or alive in her room? Do I go check or do I check to see the last time she was active on Facebook Messenger? I check her social media accounts that I can see and scan her posts. Is she depressed? Is she happy? Is she fighting with drippy? Does she hate me?

The torture continues at work. When the radio is keyed up and the dispatcher sends officers to a house because someone is suicidal, or someone just found a loved one dead, or someone is having a mental crisis. It all reminds me of my girl and what her illness has created in my life. I continue to check her social media throughout the day for hints of what my evening will bring. I wait for the cameras we installed to notify me that the dogs have been left out. That means she is alive and actually out of bed. Or the driveway camera captures her leaving. Where is she going? Who is she going to see? Will she come back? Why doesn’t she tell me where she is going? Would she even tell me the truth?

On the drive home the torture continues. What will I find when I get home? Will she be in her room? Will she be dead or alive in her room? Will there be dog pee on the floor because she couldn’t get out of her room to let them out? Will there be dirty dishes piled in the sink that she finally got out of her room? Will she be in a decent mood? Will I have to walk on egg shells? Why don’t I want to be in my own home with her there? Why don’t I have a save place? Will she show her face to eat dinner? Did she eat at all today? Did she drink anything today? Did she take her meds? I can’t ask her because it might set her off.

Late evening/overnight is much of the same torture. She says she is leaving to go to a friends house. Is she? Does she go to drippy? Will she crash because she is upset or high? Will she come home? I wait for the cameras to notify me that she pulled into the driveway. I wait and listen for her to come up the stairs and go into her room. I fall into a restless sleep.

The torture continues when my alarm goes off.

The stress makes me itchy. My hands itch, my face and head itch. I talked to my family doc. There is no physical reason for the itching. I feed my stress, which creates additional stress. I am not enjoying my life. I have wonderful friends who I love dearly. I am lucky to be sharing my life with my soulmate and I love him. I have two other kids who I think feel sorry for me and I see their relationships with my girl changing. I can’t blame them for that. They get caught in the wake of her illness. I have the most beautiful granddaughter. She brings me happiness. Her innocence, her laughter, her unconditional love. But I know I could give her more of me if things were different. I will soon have a grandson. I can’t wait to meet him and snuggle him. It will be another milestone in my life. But will it be overshadowed by my girl? Why do I have to worry that something will create friction during a time that should be full of love and happiness.

How do I stop the torture?

Trying to be thankful

This month has been incredibly difficult. As I sit here with so much hatred, bitterness and anger in my heart, I desperately want to feel thankful for what I have.

It’s 2:30AM. I just finished doing some work for my job, which I haven’t been at since last Wednesday due to family issues. Since I last posted about my mom being in Florida and having to have surgery for a bowel blockage, things took a turn for the worse. She was released from the hospital after the first surgery, however 24 hours later was re-admitted for violent vomiting and stomach pain. After testing it was determined that her intestines were close to rupturing and she had emergency surgery. The surgeon said he felt she had 10-12 feet of dead bowel that needed to be removed. This surgery required her to be cut open from about two inches under her breastbone to below her belly button. I still do not understand what the surgeon did, or in this case didn’t do, but we were told that he was able to “massage” the intestines and all was well (scratch my head). After waking up from surgery my mom’s right foot was numb, completely numb. She was told it was from the epidural used during her surgery and was a normal occurrence. Days later as she is recovering in the hospital, the foot is still numb. There were areas of tingling, but the bottom of her foot was completely numb. This obviously made walking close to impossible. Since I am in PA and my mom, step-dad, sister and brother-in-law were in FL. There wasn’t much I could do for her.

Fast-forward to last Wednesday. I received a call at work from my grandmother’s nursing facility. I was informed that when the aides went to give my grandmother her medications they found her in a very confused state. She had declined significantly from the previous day. It was decided the best course of action would be to move her to the constant care area of the facility. Up until this point she was in her own apartment, but had care from aides, help with daily activities, etc. The original hope when hospice became involved in her care was that she would be able to stay in her apartment as her journey came to an end. However, due to her extreme decline she was moved.

I left work and went to her. I could not believe how much her health had declined since my husband and I visited her last, which was four days prior. It was explained her oxygen saturation had tanked and it was becoming very hard to maintain a healthy oxygen level. Hospice increased the morphine to every two hours around the clock. When I got to her she did know me and was able to understand me and could communicate with me, but she had times where she just wasn’t “present”. Her nurse told me that she was nearing the end and was declining rapidly.

Fortunately, my middle son was able to leave work and sat with me and Mammy (as we all called her). Throughout the day his wife came, my husband came, my daughter came and my oldest and his girlfriend came. While we didn’t feel this day was the end of her journey, we wanted her to know we cared and loved her and were there for her. I was also able to facetime with my mom (who was still in the hospital with the tube down her nose) and sister in FL so they could talk to Mammy and wish her well and unfortunately tell her it was okay to let go. As the evening wore on it seemed she was a bit agitated and we all left so she could rest and the nursing staff could get her ready for bed. I was the last to say goodnight to her. I told her it was okay to let go. We knew she was tired and ready to see PaPa (her late husband). I assured her I would take care of the family and even though we would all miss her, she was loved and would always be with us. Talk about a sucky conversation to have….I was assured I would receive a phone call if her condition changed.

Thursday through Saturday evening are kind of a blur at this point. I spent most of my day with her, typically 9AM to 9PM or later. My kids were fantastic. My middle son has more flexibility at his job and spent most of his day with us. There was another huge decline in Mammy’s condition Thursday and I called the kids just to let them know what was happening. Everyone showed up to again tell Mammy she was loved and just be there for each other. Thursday was also the day my mom was released from the hospital in FL. It was explained to me that she and my step-dad were going to take Friday to rest and then my sister, mom and step-dad would be flying home Saturday. My sister is fortunate enough to be able to fly privately, which was the best possible option for my mom at this point as she was still extremely uncomfortable from the second surgery and numb foot issue.

Friday was another day of sitting with Mammy, holding her hand, talking to her, but she was becoming more and more unresponsive. There are other “things” that go along with someone nearing the end of their journey. Physical things that happen to the body or in the body. It just sucked for her. I asked many times if she was in pain and she always said no. There were times of agitation, terminal restlessness in her body causing movement and twitching. The times she did open her eyes she tried to focus on us, but it was so hard for her. And then there were times she would open her eyes, but sort of look right through you. She was having conversations with people we couldn’t see and her hands and arms would move that made us wonder where she was and what she was thinking about. I wanted to stay with her Friday night, but something just told me it was okay to go home.

Saturday was a whirlwind. The Florida group arrived back in PA. However, due to my mom’s condition there was no way possible for her to make it into the nursing facility. My sister showed up as soon as she could and at one point everyone but my oldest was there. My sister brought a bottle of champagne along and at one point in the evening we said a toast to Mammy and did “cheers-ed” over her bed. At that point she opened her eyes and looked at us all. It was amazing and beautiful. When we left Saturday night we all knew something was different in Mammy. She was resting so comfortably. The restlessness stopped, the arm movements stopped and she just seemed to be at peace. I felt my grandmother waited for my sister to say her goodbye and I was right. I received a phone call at 2:52AM Sunday morning that my grandmother had passed. Her physical journey was over and a new journey beginning.

Now, along with everything that goes along with loosing a loved one – we had to deal with cleaning out her apartment. All the furniture, personal items, clothing, etc. Again, I am so glad my sister was around to help. We work well together and were able to make decisions and turned the apartment keys back into the facility Wednesday afternoon (like 15 hours ago). We met with the funeral home and planned the service, which will be Friday.

Here is the “kicker”. Tuesday evening, I got a call from my step-dad telling me my mom had to go to the hospital. She was starting to vomit, again. Not good. Her physical condition is so weak at this point I called an ambulance to transport her. She is now in our local hospital, tube has been put back in and she has another bowel blockage. I feel like I am living in a nightmare. I can’t imagine how she is feeling. At this point the doctors/surgeons are giving her body some time. It’s a wait and see if she will need a third surgery. However, she will not be able to attend her mother’s services. It’s just so insane. The emotions are overwhelming.

Oh, and another bit of information. The girl child. She told me when she started her wonderful job at the shipping place that she was required to work on Thanksgiving and since we had no idea when my mom would be returning to PA or how my grandmother would be, I decided I was not going to be making Thanksgiving. We made reservations weeks ago at a restaurant we love and I promised everyone that next year we will be back to all normal traditions. Anyway, I get a message from girl child today, sorry, yesterday. I keep forgetting a new day started. I get a message Wednesday telling me she would be home in the evening. I asked why because I thought she had to work on Thanksgiving. She replied she was fired. I replied with a “?” and she replied she had taken too much time off between the cyst issue and coming home twice to see her grandmother and now having the service……I just responded OK. I wanted to respond I told you so. All the books and reading about her disorder indicates very clearly that holding down a job is impossible without proper help/therapy. So she came home, she played with her niece, ate dinner with us, actually seemed to be in a fairly decent mood. I asked her to figure out what she was wearing to go out for Thanksgiving since she was now going to be home. She then told me she didn’t know how long she would be with us because drippy dick’s mom apparently texted her and invited her to have Thanksgiving with them. She also chatted with drippy dick and was told his family thing started at 3PM. She ASKED him if it would be okay for her to get there at 3:30PM and he said no. I told her it would be nice if she could spend a few hours with her family, especially under the circumstances and the conversation ended. We all went to bed. Guess who left the house and went back to drippy dick? No goodbye, no nothing.

I am fucking furious, pissed, hurt and just so tired of this. I guess that’s why I am up and blogging at 4AM on Thanksgiving. What’s next? Will he not allow her to attend her great-grandmother’s funeral? What about Christmas? I mentally can’t do this anymore. I need to find someone to help us understand the boundaries we need to set and how to do that the right way. I need someone who understands this disorder to stand behind me and push me to push her. Does that make sense?