Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mama Who Bore Me (reprise)

I wrote a blog awhile back called "Mama Who Bore Me" named after a song from Spring Awakening. The blog was about my estimating my relationship with my mother becoming nonexistent after my dad died. My mom read it after it was posted, screamed, called me evil and demanded I take the slander down.

Damn I wish I had it, because turns out that I can predict the future. How cool is that?!

Here's a rundown of my mom's grand gestures over the last 8 months-

1.Two months after my dad dies, my mom calls and tells me she's relieved dad is gone (not because he isn't suffering anymore but because she can do whatever she wants now). I cry in silence on the phone while she talks to her heartbroken daughter like a girlfriend

2. I call my mom and tell her I'm depressed and miss my dad. She abruptly shrugs off my feelings and suggests a shrink. Conversation has ended.

3. I plan a trip home for a friends wedding. My mom says she will plan my dad's stone dedication for the weekend I am home so I don't miss it (Jewish tradition for anyone scratching their head)

4. A month later my aunt tells me the stone dedication is actually moved to three weeks after my trip and is surprised no one told me.

5. I call my mom to ask her about the stone dedication date confusion. She said it didn't occur to her to tell me the date was changed even though I live 2000 miles away and cant afford a plane ticket.  She also tells me that its "a short 10 minute ceremony, you wont miss anything." wont miss anything...except a tradition for my dead father, but hey, no biggie

6. I come home for the wedding. My mom tells me she took off 5 days from work so she can spend time with me. She even wants to stay with me at my hotel so we can hang out.
        a. she doesn't stay at the hotel. Picks me up without an overnight bag
        b. at dinner with the family she brags (in front of my dad's dad) about her new bikini wax (WTF)
        c. tells me I can't stay at her house the day I intended because she was going out on a date so she   wouldn't be home
        d. mom offers Sunday brunch instead
              1. mom bails on brunch. She was out too late the night before and overslept.

7. My mom planned a vacation to Florida (She's never been to Seattle. She's been invited)

8. Maybe this part is totally selfish of me, but she got a life insurance policy and bought a new car and is going out every night. My sister and I haven't been offered a dime. I start my new second job tomorrow.

It goes on and on, but you can't change anyone who doesn't want to be changed. The only thing I asked when my dad died was that she wouldn't forget to call me. She can't even see me when I'm right in front of her, how can I expect a relationship with her? Can a 28 year old be an orphan?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Drafts from the Past

So I've been back in Chicago for four days now. I've seen my office and I've seen the hospital. I go back and fourth. There are seven hours in between spent tossing and turning in Katie's spare bedroom. I'm very grateful I have a bed to sleep in as opposed to a couch.

There is a HUGE amount of sadness and unknown. My dad has been back in the hospital for about 3 weeks. He's tiny and in pain. He began using oxygen yesterday to help with his shortness of breath. He is terrified and there's nothing I can do help him. I feel so hopeless and horrible. He told me yesterday that it's just not the same now that I don't live here anymore. Without him intending to, he made me feel like I'm to blame. I understand what he means, I just feel guilty.

I take the night shift now at the hospital with him. I go straight from work and stay with him until he basically kicks me out. We're starting to get the routine down. He'll go through about three rounds of trying to finish his dinner, we'll watch some tv, and we'll talk. I also know how he likes his bedside table set up. Everything has it's place and it changes depending on the time of night. He jokes that he's a little OCD. When he get's worried that I'm getting scared he just starts to smile at me. I smile back and tell him I'm fine, just worried about him.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Anyone in the room bipolar? No? Well, let me throw a hypothetical out there. Do you think that someone who has experienced bipolar-like symptoms could possibly have those symptoms heightened by a tragic event, like, oh i don't know...a death perhaps? I'm going to go with a "yes" on the one and Web MD myself with a good old diagnosis.

I called my grandpa last week and asked him why people always tell you that "you need to grieve." What does that mean exactly? I told my grandpa that I thought I was doing it all wrong. Do i sit around all day starring at the wall making myself sadder that my dad isn't here anymore? Up until now I would have said no, however...I broke down in the back room at the Gap today for a good 45 minutes. It would've been longer but they told me to go home and take a few weeks off. I don't really break down much, and after tonight, I finally figured out why. I haven't been alone. (*light bulb*) Since I got back from Chicago I have thrown myself into TWO jobs and while I may be alone in a room at my apartment, I am never fully alone. I knew that no one was in the back room at the Gap, ergo, no one would check on me. I can't just let it out at home without Casey or the dog coming in.

Losing my dad has caused a huge mixed bag of emotions. When I cried tonight, I almost felt like if I cried hard enough, he'd call and apologize for playing such a mean prank on me and he'd never hurt me like that again. He never called...

Ever see that show Mike and Molly? No? I don't blame you, the intro annoys me...Mike is a cop in Wicker Park (my old neighborhood in Chicago,) and Molly is a teacher for Chicago Public Schools. Last week they went to the Cubs home opener and Molly couldn't stop crying at the game because going to Cubs games was one of her favorite things to do with her dad...Ouch. (For those that may not know, my love of baseball comes from my dad signing me up for softball and us going to Cubs games together. There was this one time I took him to a game for Father's Day. It was freezing and we were so cold that we both signed up for MasterCards because they gave you a Cubs blanket for signing up. I love the picture of us both from that game. It's next to my desk...)

When I left the Gap tonight to go home I don't think it was any coincidence that the first song that came on the radio was a Beatles song...no chance in hell he didn't do that himself to tell me it will be ok, it just doesn't feel that way yet...

Side Plug* Still not to late to donate to my Relay for Life team in honor of the late, great Mark Segal :)


Monday, March 14, 2011


I came to the hospital today to find my sister and grandma talking to a hospice nurse. When I get to my dad's room my mom is next to him crying and asking me to take over because she needs a minute to collect herself. My dad is mumbling that he doesnt have much time left. My heart is sinking.

It's just like you see in movies. Family gathers around a sick loved one and everyone cries and says their "I love yous." I stay towards the back of the crowd in and out of sobs. I don't want him to see me sad but at some moments, I just can't help it. He keeps looking at the clock. It's scary and mysterious at the same time. I wonder what he sees. Everyone is talking but I don't want to talk. I just want to do what I do. I want to write it out.

He's sleeping mostly but when he's awake he manages to look at me and give me a big grin to make sure I'm ok. I guess no matter what, you never stop being a parent. He cried a little and tells me that he'll watch over me and that he'll still be beside me when I walk down the isle. I know he's hurting, but I'm not ready to let go.

The doctor comes in and sits with us. He comes to hug me and says "I always worry about the quiet ones." At that my dad looks at me and says "strong like bull, right?" "Yes," I say. "Thats how we are." You can tell my dad is scared. He asks the doctor if it will hurt, and when he says no he looks relieved and calm. Now we sit, make him comfortable, and wait.

It seems so awful- having a doctor explain to my dad how the rest of his time will go. I still can't believe this is happening. I feel like we should be at my first softball practice. They told me to go to left field. I had never played before, so I had to ask my coach, my dad, where to go. That day keeps popping into my head and for brief slivers of time, I smile...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My two cents

Dear Cancer,

Since I had a spare moment at the hospital while my father is sleeping, I decided to take this time to tell you how I feel about you. Let me start in the simplest terms- FUCK YOU! You selfish asshole, I hate you. You are that bitchy cheerleader in high school that prays on the weak just so you can feel strong. Everyone hates that bitchy cheerleader too. You take and take and take yet are never satisfied. You knock people down when they least expect it. You ruin lives and destroy families. I repeat- FUCK YOU! You are the reason my dad has been in the hospital for weeks, you are the reason he hurts. You have taken an innocent person and changed him. It is now my misson to make sure that you never hurt anyone else again. I will destroy you and I will not stop until I do...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How To Save A Life

Since I'm not able to be with him in Chicago, I still want to do everything I can to help. I have signed up for the May 14-15th Relay For Life in Seattle. Relay For Life is a 24 hour walk which raises money for cancer patients and cancer research. Please support me in helping to find a cure for this horrible and selfish disease. The link to my team is below. Please make a donation if you can and feel free to forward this information to anyone who would like to help.


Also- Casey and I have set up a website where people can purchase merchandise to support our cause as well. At least 20% of all purchases made will be donated to The America Cancer Society :)


On behalf of my entire family, a huge thank you

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thank you note

Dear Dad,

In light of everything going on, I realized that people often take for granted the people closest to them. Watching you be so strong makes me want to be a better person so I can be as good as you. I wanted to thank you for everything that I may have forgotten to say thank you for over the years. I love you dad :)

Thank you for taking me to my swim lessons when I was little, it really paved the way for several summers of life guarding and high school swim team. Thanks for "teaching" me and Elizabeth Pfeifer how to drive by letting us sit on your lap and steer in the old Acura. Even though I complained, thank you for making me listen to Breakfast with the Beatles when we were going to McDonald's. I happen to love the Beatles now, so for that i blame you :) Thanks for putting those neon pegs on my bike and for teaching me how to ride like the wind. Thanks for signing me up for softball even when i didn't know which side was left field, and even more so, thanks for being a great coach for so many years. Playing catch on Wetumka was the best! Thanks for signing me up for bowling and for getting me cheese fries. Thanks for sewing on my Girl Scout patches. You really were the only dad that did that I think. Thank you for my love of the Cubs, and I really do think that this year is their year! Thanks for taking me to that Bears game when I was little, even though I'm pretty sure I cried. haha. Thank you for checking my closet to make sure Slimer wasn't in there, and any one else that the Ghost busters may have missed. Thank you for teaching me about hard work, without which, I wouldn't have gotten my first job at 14. Thank you for attending softball games, swim meets, choir concerts and musicals I was ever in. It's always nice to have people cheer you on. Thanks for not killing any of my high school boyfriends even though I know you wanted to several times over. Thank you for always being the peacemaker and the voice of reason. Your moral compass always faces due North and its admirable. Thanks for leading the pack in driving me to Western for freshman year. I still say we could've made it there faster :) Thanks for taking in Tigger when he got kicked out of the dorms. Sorry he is such a brat now. Thanks for all those Sigma weekends you came for. More so, thanks for not getting mad when I yelled at that girl for hitting on you! Or when I yelled at that guy for hitting on mom! Thanks for not freaking out when I turned down the reporter job to do something else. I needed WIU and the Arizona internship to see what I really wanted. Thanks for making sure you called even if we were fighting. I know I'm not always the most level headed, but at least you make me realize that. Thanks for not thinking I'm crazy when I do crazy things like get a tattoo randomly, or my tongue pierced. Or even move in with my boyfriend when I've only been dating him 6 months, or even when I move across the country with him because "its time for a change." Thank you for showing me that even though tough times happen, it's all about the overcoming of them. You are a hero to me dad. Your strength is unmatched as is your amazing attitude. Thank you for everything I mentioned, and for the billions of things I may not have. Thank you for being you. I love you dad.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Little White Lies

Omissions are betrayals. I am a firm believer in this. Lying has never been my thing. Trust me, I've tried, but it's just not something I'm good at. I try to be upfront and honest at all times. I usually forget that not everyone acts the same way I do. While I do not expect everyone I interact with to be forthcoming and open, I do expect it of the people I care about.

You know what they say about assuming things...

Saying that I've had a lot on my mind the last few months would be a gross understatement. I clearly have more than I can handle which is proved by the sporadic crying and random sadness. If this was 8 months ago I'd be on my balcony with a pack of Camels and a bottle of white. I am happy to report that I haven't practiced that type of behavior in months.

I'm not a religious person but I'm having a huge crisis of faith. Faith in mankind that is. I understand that people tell little white lies to protect others, however, if you get caught its a mute point. I caught someone in a lie yesterday. A lie that may not be important to some, but to me it means everything. They were trying to protect me, but instead it makes me look at the bigger picture. Is this just one of many lies? Is this one bigger or smaller than the possible rest? I have no way of knowing, and after yesterday, I have no way of believing what you say anyway.

I agreed to come to Seattle because I wasn't the happiest in Chicago. Now I'm not the happiest here because I can't tell real from fake. I feel like I don't belong anywhere and it's a lonely place to be. Then again, why be scared of being alone? The people that hurt me are the people that "love me most."

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I dreamt last night that I was sitting in my parents basement when my dad started calling for me. I heard him, but I couldn't find him. He was saying that he loved me and that he was sorry. I kept screaming "where are you?" but he ignored what I was asking.

My alarm clock went off about then.

My dad always feels better in the morning so I thought with the time difference, it'd probably be a good time to catch him. My mom told me the other day that a strange side effects of my dad's radiation treatments are heightened emotions. I had never heard of that before, and I almost thought she was overreacting until my dad answered the phone.

The minute I said 'hello" he started crying. He said he was watching Good Morning America and they were talking about the recent shooting in Arizona. "All these horrible things are going on in the world" he sobbed. I tried to joke that I hated Good Morning America too...he didn't catch my joke. He took it seriously and it made him cry more. When he calmed down he said he was sorry that we didn't talk yesterday but with the times of treatments combined with our time difference, it made it tough. I know that he's better in the morning and I told him that's why I wanted to catch him now because it's worse at night.

"It doesn't mean I'm a bad person. I'm not. It just hurts worse at night." it killed me that my dad felt the need to honestly explain to me that he's not a bad person. He also kept apologizing for talking slow and sometimes losing his train of thought. I honestly don't think he understands that we will deal with whatever we have to. We just want him to be ok.

My mom got on the phone after so my dad could eat breakfast. We talked for maybe a minute before I heard mumbling in the background. Apparently my dad tried stirring his breakfast on the stove while the fire was on. No big deal. All I heard was my mom- " Mark, it's ok. No. No Mark, you're not an idiot. It's going to be ok."

This just isn't like him...

All my troubles seemed so far away,
Now it looks as though they're here to stay,
Oh, I believe in yesterday."

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Seattle in the summer. So beautiful

I wanted to start this by saying thank you. Over the last month there has been so much generosity shown to me and my family. We have received the most thoughtful cards in the mail, messages and phone calls and we couldn't appreciate it more.

I haven't been reaching out to many people myself, but I am so incredibly grateful that if I need anything, I have so many wonderful people to turn to. If you sent me a message that I haven't been able to respond to, please know that I am touched by your kindness. This is the hardest thing we've ever been through, and it's so comforting to know that people are thinking about us.

My dad is home from the hospital which is where he wants to be. He has started chemo and radiation and has been lucky to not feel the side effects yet other than being tired. The cancer is in his lung, liver and on his spine causing him to wear a neck brace at all times. I spoke to him yesterday to check in- his voice sounds weak from treatments, but he no longer sounds angry. He still references the bull that Casey told me to give him as his mascot through this. "We will fight this head on."

My grandma told me that while my dad was in the hospital he told the nurses who served him breakfast that he "promised his oldest daughter that he'd only eat organic." It feels good to know that while I wasn't able to talk to him, he was thinking about me. He reassured me that he's staying on the organic diet and taking the vitamin C supplements we gave him. Every little bit helps and apparently organic bacon tastes SO much better than the old kind :) I know he's doing everything he can to get through this.

So there's my update for now. I'm trying to avoid writing that's always so sad, so sorry for being a bummer. Please know how grateful I am for all of you and how much I appreciate your kind words and thoughts. :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Matters of the Heart

Anyone watch How I Met Your Mother last night? Bueller? Bueller? A show that can make me laugh even if I've seen the episode 100 times. Well, last night really pissed me off. *Spoiler Alert* There is a countdown throughout the entire episode but you have no idea what it's counting down to. When the numbers finally reach 1, we discover that Marshal's dad has abruptly died of a heart attack. My dad has cancer, not a heart problem. Nonetheless, my favorite show made my break down into tears. Hence the pissed off mood.

Mom called this morning at 7:30. My dad's Calcium levels are through the roof and without proper procedures- it will cause a heart attack. Isn't it ironic...don't ya think?

Every time my dad has gotten really really scary in the past it usually meant one thing- he was or needed to be in the hospital. Today is no exception. He gets angry, he screams, he gets furious and tells us he doesn't want us around. I think it's a pride thing. It never occurred to me that maybe in all those years he was scared. This time, I know for a fact, he's scared that the hospital will be his very own Hotel California. Not gonna lie, this is the first time we're scared of that too.

My dad used to yell at my mom for spending too much money when we didn't have it. The other day she was crying and told me she just wants him to get angry because it'd be like he was himself. She laughed when I told her today to be careful what she wishes for. Her laugh was followed by my dad yelling in the background about how he wanted to go home. (Yes, I realize we're a yelling family. What of it?)

Papa is coming home from Florida, but they still don't want me there yet. Not yet. What a horrible place to be. Not there. So I know that when that call does come through, it will be time to say goodbye. All because they don't want me there yet...