2021-09-18 Just Another Typical Saturday with a Side of Health Updates

Today is Saturday and I’m walking on the treadmill while things are still peaceful here in the castle. It’s going to be a busy day. 

I’ve got a poetry workshop I’m looking forward to attending that starts at 10am and after that my son is having a group of friends over to the house for a game day. Not football or video games but a gathering of magic, or rather Magic the Gathering. I’m no stranger to this as his dad was (and may still be) into that card game. All I really remember about it though, were boxes upon boxes of cards and an insatiable appetite to buy more. He and his crew had to buy new packs every time they played. Whoever invented the game is a genius. What a racket! 

I digress. 

I’m happy he’s having friends over. He hasn’t done that much before and I’m hoping this becomes a regular thing. People need people in real life. Face to face and not just faceless across the wires of the internet.

I’m also going with my husband to visit both my parents today. I saw my dad a few days ago and he’s struggling and needs something that he’s not equipped to figure out. His health is a concern, both mentally and physically, and I really don’t know how to help him either. But we’re going to chat about it some more anyhow. 

My mom and her health issues are next level compared to that though. She’s just finished six months of chemotherapy for her stage 3C ovarian Cancer and on the threshold of another major surgery. That’s actually happening this week and I fully expect it to consume my thoughts and time. I’m sure there will be several blog posts about all of that tumbling out soon, but today’s visit is all about making sure Jim and I understand the status of her affairs and know where all her important papers are. 

I’m her power of attorney for health matters and named executor of her will. It’s not the type of thing I want to think about or talk about but I get that she needs to because she’s facing the reality of her age and circumstance. She’s going to be fine through this, though, I am certain.

With what little time I have to myself this morning, I’m considering my own health. 

It’s no secret I’ve struggled with chronic fatigue, poor sleep, and had issues focusing on anything requiring mental energy late in the day. Yeah, by about 8pm I’m useless and it creeps in  earlier and earlier each day the more time passes. 

Two weeks ago I went to a new doctor who ran a bunch of labs to look for clues. In truth, I picked that doc because he’s one of very few physicians in Omaha that does testosterone therapy for women. That’s really what I was after. I knew going in he would be treating me as any internist would, with comprehensive care and not just what I was asking for. Hence all the labs. 

There were no surprises in the results. I’m pretty healthy for my age. It’s good news, yes, but also just a touch frustrating because there IS nothing obviously wrong with me. Nothing big anyway. 

My hormone levels are ok and I might be entering what is called perimenopause but if I am, it’s super early. My thyroid is ok except for a slightly low T3 value for which I was prescribed a new med. Subclinical hypothyroidism is the official lingo but based on what the internet and my husband says, it’s not typically treated. 

Still, I grasp onto it because it’s something. It’s frustrating to have issues where the cause is elusive and nebulous. Maybe it is not why I’m feeling the way I am but the thought of taking a med that’s going to potentially speed my metabolism and give me more energy sounds like something worth trying. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a huge fan of taking prescriptions. I’d love to find a more natural, homeopathic solution. I’m just at the end of the sidewalk trying to figure it out. If I wasn’t, there’s no way in hell I’d let someone put extra testosterone in my body. What nonsense, but again, seems worth trying. 

The doc also sold me some vitamins and  supplements. Vitamin A, D, and K and something called methyl factors. My hubby gave me the serious side eye when I told him. All I can say is that they are vitamins and what can it hurt? 

I’m pairing all these new pills I’m putting in my body with a mindset that it WILL have a positive effect and that I’m going to help by eating healthier and cutting down on the ridiculous amount of caffeine I’ve been ingesting lately. 

Only time will tell. 

One things for sure… I’m going to need all the strength and energy I can muster to get through the next few weeks with gratitude and grace. 

With that. My time is up. 

Cheers to the Weekend, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-09-02 New Month, Same Ole Miss SugarCookie 🍑

We’ve officially turned over the month are on the fast track to pumpkin spice latte season and sweater weather. 

I’m doing pretty good this week and trying to stay focused on my to-do list while balancing managing the household and nurturing my interpersonal relationships. 

If I haven’t written about the resurgence of the lunch/happy hour meetups, it’s because up till recently I was still snug in my pandemic hidey-hole. On one hand it was good for me to disconnect for a while and not put too much pressure on my introverted, anxiety plagued self to get out there and be social. 

On the other hand… people need people. I know this to be true so I sometimes have to force myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love my meetups with friends but I have a history of over committing my time and then feeling like a failure when I can’t get it “all” done. 

If you read my last post you know that the one thing that hasn’t suffered is my commitment to exercise. In fact, I probably spend too much time on the treadmill and if all things seem to set aside that first hour of my morning (after house chores) to that. The rest of the world be damned, I’m going to get my steps. 

My sacrifice is consequently everything else.. my writing, revising, researching, submitting, working on the lit mag, and yes… my meetups with friends. But like I said, I seem to be finding time to do that this week. 

So far this week I’ve met up with Margret, Sam, and Michelle and have a lunch meet up today plus visiting both my parents tomorrow. In the grand scheme, visiting my parents doesn’t really count because that is an obligation more than a benefit to my mental health like the others. 

***

I paused just then to think about the fact that last week was my birthday and my mom made a point to meet me and my sister for lunch last weekend but my dad didn’t even text me on my birthday. 

On his birthday this year we took him out to dinner. And on mine he didn’t even text to wish me well. He texted the day after and said “sorry, I forgot.” Whatever. 

Yesterday was his wife’s birthday. His wife who passed away last November. And since then I’ve been trying to visit regularly to make sure he’s ok, but each time I do I get little reminders of how his step children and grand children are much closer. Last night when we spoke on the phone he made a point to tell me he went out to dinner with them for her birthday. To one of her favorite restaurants. And he had two glasses of pinot Grigio. He had just opened another bottle at home and was clearly tipsy when we talked. 

I don’t blame him. It’s got to be so tough to lose your spouse of 30 years and have your whole life change so quickly. But damn if he just doesn’t seem to show me the same love he shows those girls. What am I gonna do? The answer is nothing. 

Suck it up, keep visiting, and enduring the comments and realities I’m faced with. What else can I do? 

Anyway, that’s apparently what’s on my mind today. Well that and the fact that we had a plumber over two days ago and I came home last night to water in the basement again from that overflowing drain. I effffing hate this house. I really do. I don’t care how great people think living in this castle must be. When every single damn day brings a new broken down thing, it gets really old after a while. 

That’s it for today lest I launch into yet another rant. Ain’t nobody got time for that! 

Peace and love, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-08-18 Mood Math

It’s been another week. Another 7 days since I’ve put two sentences together on a page, virtual or otherwise. Maybe this is the new me, the new Miss SugarCookie who posts once a week instead of once a day. If I was doing that, I’d want to make sure each week is one heck of a good post. Should it be Wednesdays? Is that the right day? Or perhaps Thursdays because the week is over half over and there’s usually a good vibe cruising into the weekend. 

I wish I could say I have a good vibe right now. I’d settle for an OK vibe. 

Instead I feel downright rotten again and the regularity of this funk is starting to get to me. 

Last week I blamed PMS and for sure when my period finally (FINALLY) showed up, I did feel a little better. But here we are on Wednesday again and I’m twiddling my thumbs and waiting for the sun to set so I can crawl into bed without taking too much grief about my mood or my lack of energy (or desire or motivation or whatever). 

I really have no excuse for being in a bad mood today. Nothing substantial anyhow. I mean, I tried to donate blood and failed. Low hemoglobin. That’s no big deal. I took some grief for not buying any bottled water at the grocery this week. Excuse me for not wanting to fill the land with plastic. I’m tired as hell and am easily annoyed by people. That’s kind of a big deal. 

I haven’t written anything in forever and have received one rejection after another via email. That could be something. My daughter left for college this week (or rather, I took her) and so I am missing not having her here to talk to after work. Also probably a bigger deal than I realize. I constantly feel unimportant and like I don’t matter to anyone. Yeah, now we are getting somewhere. 

So my kids don’t really need me. I have no job. My husband doesn’t really need me and is extremely busy. I’m his 3rd or 4th priority and I feel like our relationship only gets attention when he has time off of work. That’s to be expected with his job and business and kids who all come before me. 

Did I mention that I was tired? I’m literally typing on my laptop on my lap and can feel my eyes getting heavy. I might just stretch out this overstuffed arm chair and try to sleep. We’ll see if that makes me feel better…

*** 

Nope. And neither did the ice cream I just had. 

Oh.. and did I mention my birthday is next week? Maybe that’s the real reason I’ve been so down lately. Birthdays don’t usually get me down but then again I get older every year and so every birthday is just a reminder that my time is running out.

But it shouldn’t get me down because I probably have another 50 years to live. Not even on the downhill slide yet. 50 more years to make the most out of life. 

If I get an average of 10,000 steps a day that’s 182.5 million steps. That’s a lot of freaking steps.

If I get an average of seven hours of sleep every night that’s 127,750 hours of sleep. And 310,250 hours awake. That’s a lot of hours. What the heck am I supposed to do with all that time?! What do I want to do? What would make me feel better about how I’m spending that time? 

I just don’t know. 

You know sometimes I think I have life all figured out but I really don’t. I haven’t got a clue. I suppose it will always feel that way sometimes. 

I suppose the moods really come and go and I shouldn’t worry too much that I’m too depressed or stressed or anxious or, the universe forbid, happy and thinking any minute something bad is going to happen. Is that what it is now? Things are too good and I’m concerned it’s too good to be true and the next disaster is just around the bend??!! 

Good gravy, my brain is twisted. 

*** 

On second thought… that ice cream did make me feel a little bit better so I think I’ll have some more. 

If I eat one bowl of ice cream every day for the next 50 years, that’s about 18,250 bowls of ice cream. But you know what I always say… Today is a good day to start. 🤷‍♀️

That’s it for now, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-07-09 All’s Well that Ends Well

I’ve got just a little time today, and at the very least wanted to document for posterity that the day yesterday turned out ok despite the conflicted emotions over cancelled plans and personal insecurities. I went to CB and had a nice time with my friends (after my obligatory weekly visit with my dad, who is also in CB). 

We met at Cellar 19 for a quick drink with my husband and her husband before her and I headed out to our other girlfriend’s house for charcuterie and more wine. It was a nice time with easy conversation and after the initial social anxious feeling subsided, I was fine. 

I don’t think people who don’t have social anxiety understand that even meeting friends—people you live and trust, can be stressful. 

Other than that, I made a good dent in my list yesterday and am continuing on the same path today. The first order of business, though, was to take my daughter to the allergist to be tested. 

She’s been just miserable lately and Allegra isn’t helping much. She’s been popping Benadryl like nobody’s business and that comes with some unsavory side effects. She wanted to get her options and also find out what the biggest causes are. 

They test for 56 different kinds of allergens by putting tiny doses in a grid pattern on your back with little needles. There’s minimal pain associated but a fair level of discomfort while you wait 20 minutes for them to “read” the results and then apply cream to alleviate the severe itch. 

She had at least a mild reaction to 95% of the allergens, and a more moderate reaction to about half, and a severe reaction to about 10 things, including several kinds of grasses, trees, mold, and of course cats and dogs. 

She loves her pets and can’t imagine life without them and is also planning to have both cats and dogs when she has her own place so she’s 100% all in with getting desensitization shots. It’s probably better she starts them now while she’s still under our insurance. It’s 3-5 years of shots and I had no idea that was a thing. 

As a kid I had seasonal allergies quite terribly and just suffered. I can remember every single year I was so excited about the first hard-freeze. Like serious happy dancing seeing frost and snow. It was trees, grass, dust, and who knows what else but it always subsided when winter arrived. 

I’ve pretty much grown out of all that but still take an allergy pill daily, apparently the most mild and reportedly least effective one on the market. After hearing that today, I’m considering quitting it altogether just to see if I can tell a difference. 

The doc said, “yeah, that one is like water… there’s nothing in it.” 😜

I think that’s it today. It’s definitely time to roll into the weekend. Calgon (and Jim)… take me away! 

With Peace and Love and Margaritas, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-07-08 Teeter Totter Thursday

The holiday has come and gone and I’m back to checking my to-do list. I know I’ve put too much on it and will not be able to get it all done.

I’m teetering.

I’m not sure if I need to pull back from life a little more or if my answer is to dive in and ensure every square inch of time is covered.

Life has been good to me lately and most days I’m looking forward to tomorrow. But something about it is not satisfying. I’m going through the motions. I’m checking things off but the sense of something empty inside does not subside. 

I have a friend in town and we had a glorious day planned for yesterday but it all went to shit and I only got to see her for a short time. While it was good, I can’t shake the fact that it made me feel very unimportant. It’s not the first time with her. 

I give people the benefit of doubt. I want to be understanding, but the constant creeping of self doubt in my head is hard to ignore. I know the circumstance behind their change of plans had nothing to do with me but by the third change in plan and cancelled dinner reservations (yes, I made not 1, not 2, but 3 different reservations that in the end all were cancelled), I didn’t even want to try and make any effort or scramble to cobble together alternate options. I was just done. And in a serious “fuck this day” mood.

Enter stage right, my darling husband who was excited about the cancelled plans because it meant we could enjoy date night, just us. Sweet, and I tried to let it lift my spirits up, but I felt like I was faking it. I was faking it. 

I struggled all night watching the clock and going through the motions. Don’t get me wrong.. it’s all fabulous.. 7pm dinner.. 8pm hot tub.. 9pm sunset drive.. But I just wanted to speed time up so I could get to 10 pm and declare I was headed to bed. Be done with the day. 

Today I had to get up early because Thursdays are our early days. Jim has a longer drive to a different office. He’s out the door by 7 and that means I’m ready to start my day by then too.

I’m tottering.

I’ve made my list and the day is rolling. I’m trying not to let yesterday’s mood bleed into today. I’m starting with steps and cardio and have high hopes for my productivity. 

I guess we’ll see how it all unfolds. 

With peace, love, and apple pie a la mode.. or whatever,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-07-02 Wait a Day and the Forecast Will Change

In case anyone is playing along, I did not let the snafu with my ex go. I sent a follow up text pointing out that he literally contradicted his own “advice” to our son by ignoring my text message. And of course I couldn’t help but throw in that I don’t agree with him and that we all want what we want. Who doesn’t? 

He replied promptly with a longer text that explained that my text didn’t ask a question and therefore required no reply. Oh there’s a loophole in the “social contract” that excuses his behavior. That makes sense. Then of course he could not help but include a statement about how he doesn’t understand why I “always take things so personally.” 

Hmmmmm. 🤔 Did I do that? After 18 years of marriage and 11 years divorced, how does one not take something personally, especially when it has to do with my son. 

I don’t think I said anything to indicate I had taken it personally actually. Was my follow up inquiry perceived as me taking things personally? Perhaps. But I care. Is that so wrong? 

Anyhow.. all that nonsense led to an actual phone conversation where he admitted he didn’t like to text. And he didn’t see any reason for it this time since we’d already just talked and agreed to a plan of action. 

He agreed. That’s the point. I didn’t agree to anything and specifically said so. What’s up with that? 

But for all our not seeing eye to eye, we do agree our son needs to be more active and more responsible. 

It ended up being an ok conversation. Not worth recounting with the time I have now, but I’m hopeful we can do better helping our son navigate his senior year. 

So that wraps that up. ☑️ ☑️ 

I wasn’t intending to hash through all of that, but if I’m anything at all, it’s a girl who digs having resolution and closure. 

Now, all of that is melting into a blur pretty quickly because there are hotter fish to fry. 

I’m simply livid over an issue with TicketMaster, irritated about something that happened at the hardware store, and most recently upset because my daughter borrowed my Air Pods without asking my permission AND then lost the case. Ugh! 😡 Where do I even begin??!!

*** 

That was how my day ended yesterday. I was so pissed off I couldn’t even have a conversation with myself before I went to sleep. That’s pretty bad man.. when you are so mad at yourself that you go to bed mad. But.. I think I really just needed sleep and to reset. 

Some days are like that. It feels as though nothing goes right and no matter what you do, it just keeps getting worse in your head. 

Jim did his best to talk me down but I wasn’t having that either. 

Waking up this morning I felt better. I still feel better. I guess that’s proof of what I’m talking about. I mean, nothing has changed. I still have ticket master and the missing Air pod case to deal with today, yet it’s a new day and I’m sure it will all turn out fine. 

A few days ago my friend T reached out to ask how I was doing and I told her I was good and she proceeded to tell me how she was depressed and feeling like life was out to get her. My advice was to be kind to herself and wait a few days and see if it subsides. 

The short story is that it did. It does that. I can give advice when asked but don’t always remember to heed that advice myself. Last night I certainly couldn’t. 

But now look. Today is a new day and every little thing’s gonna be all right. 

Cheers to a long weekend, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-07-01 The One To My Ex About Actions and Consequences

To admit you feel as though you want revenge is to admit to being human. That’s my excuse. I’m human and therefore flawed in all the miraculous ways human beings are. It’s a miracle that we are here at all— stranded on this spiral arm of stars. 

I’m flawed for feeling as though I’m enjoying a version of revenge served not by my own hand but the hand of fate which is, indeed, the sweetest kind. A dish best served not only cold, but guiltless and stringless. 

That I was a victim of your circumstance is circumstantial when so many years have passed. But we are all victims of our own circumstance, dear. Who would not agree? 

Scratch that. You probably would not agree—the consummate devil’s advocate in you has been nothing but consistent. But that was just a fraction of our fractured past. A piece of glass not worth looking at most days. But it’s on my mind today. 

Rewind a few days when I had to be the go-between in a disagreement you were having with our son. Except it was more of a one sided argument that you started when you didn’t like something he did. You just wanted to rant and lecture without any thought about the consequence or end.

The irony in it is that his behavior is learned behavior. Behavior he picked up from you. How many times have I tried to communicate with you only to be “ghosted”? So it’s not a surprise when you reach out to him and he ignores you. 

More irony in that you say he can’t just do what he wants when he wants and that there are consequences to his actions. Because that’s all you have ever done in your life—whatever you want regardless of the consequences. Quite literally.

You tried to pull me in and play the “unified parent” card for “his own good.” It’s bullshit. I’m not playing. 

You call me an enabler. You pigeonhole our son and predict his future to fit your own agenda. You say he’s a manipulator who plays us against each other. You say he hides from the world because he’s lazy and lacks confidence. I say, “sounds familiar.” 

For as much as he’s like you, he’s also like me. An introverted kid who keeps to himself and stays in his room doing what he enjoys most. He’s not motivated by your approach. He’s just a teenager who is vulnerable, impressionable, and probably lonely. To which I say, aren’t we all? 

Last night I scrolled through my text messages to find my last message to you, which you never replied to (two days old now). You had just finished ranting and preaching about “social contracts” and the courtesy of responding to text messages and then you undercut your own point by not responding to my attempt to communicate some sort of a plan to get our son more active. Typical.

Of course I know we both want what’s best for our son but in this case, I don’t happen to agree with you about what that is or how to achieve it. 

You hardly ever see your daughter and I wonder if you realize why that is. You burn bridges and then throw your hands in the air and wonder why people don’t come back to you. 

I began this writing about revenge. Or something that feels like revenge. When in actuality all I’m really doing is enjoying my life and the positive, open, and caring relationships in my life. Revenge implies I have something spiteful to get back at you for. 

For many years I held it against you that so many years of my life were wasted trying to make something out of us. I’ve since come to realize that none of it was wasted and that time is short and all we can ever really do is make the most of what we have been given. This is exactly what drives me now. 

Stop burning and start building. Or don’t. It’s your life and your relationships with your children. 

The only question for me now is whether I let this incident go, or say something more to try and get through to you? For your own good. For theirs. I’m just not sure. 

Waiting and watching 👀,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-06-28 Loneliness

Today’s poem of the day from the Paris Review is about loneliness. Today’s heartache is not knowing how to help my daughter navigate her loneliness. 

It’s a staunch truth that though we may be surrounded by people—home, work, school— we can still be suffering from loneliness. A longing to be with our person or persons. Someone who has dedicated their precious time and space to listening to us. To hearing us, holding us, and to being present in those difficult moments. 

But not just difficult moments. Laughter is so important too and what would life be without someone who makes you laugh or laughs with you, sometimes rolling on the floor with tears streaming down cheeks, uncontrollably? Without someone to smile with, life would be a train on a track rolling through a dark tunnel. No sun, no rain, just a cold dark void. 

At 1:30am my phone rings. I know before I look that it’s her. Call it a mother’s instinct, call it experience. It’s a call that hurts my heart and I’m ready when I answer. “Yes, I will come to your room.” 

I shuffle up the stairs and she’s sitting on the edge of her bed in tears. The first thing she says is that she needs a hug but I’m already by her side with my arm around her. She’s crying so hard she can’t breathe. At that moment I’m not sure what triggered it, but it doesn’t matter. I hold her tighter. 

We sit that way on the edge of her bed for a while, not saying anything. And then finally I break the silence by asking what has happened. She tells me and again, I’m not surprised. 

Her best friend is a shitty friend. She only has one and has suffered from a long string of terrible, undependable, aloof, or thoughtless friends. People that she’s put her trust in and they’ve broken her heart, disappointed and abandoned her. She’s been stranded alone so often she has developed a fear and a kind of neediness that feels to me to be atypical for a girl her age. 

The advice or wisdom some might offer is that it’s just a phase and that she’ll meet other friends and it will be wonderful. And though I might believe that too, I can’t let those words exit my mouth in front of her. I understand her. 

She’s an introvert and has a tough time meeting new people. She doesn’t feel comfortable speaking in a group and doesn’t seek out new friends. She’s trapped in a bubble. I understand her. 

That’s my message. I hold her and just try to reinforce that she’s not alone. That I’m here to listen, to talk, and that I will not abandon her. 

I am hopeful that when she goes back to college this fall her new dorm mates will be nice girls who she can connect with. I hope she meets people in her classes and that her world gets a little bigger. It’s lonely living in a bubble and it’s not natural. And I hope she’s open to it too and pushes herself to be outside her comfort zone a little bit. I want to promise her it will be worth it, but I can’t make that promise. 

We sat and talked for about an hour and then laid down and talked some more. She shared her thoughts and feelings and I listened. Then I shared some of my own life experiences so she knows she’s not alone. At about 3:15am I went back to my own bed because I knew she had to get up at 8 for work. 

This morning she came down the stairs, her normal grumpy morning mood tempered a little as she asked for some ibuprofen for her cramps. Yeah, the apple doesn’t fall far. 

I’m not terribly inspired by the poem about loneliness, but it feels very accurate. I spent many years feeling that. I’m empathetic but it’s so much worse because I’m her mom and I hate that she’s hurting. You want to protect your children, you know, shield them from the rough times but you can’t. We all have them. All we can really do is be there. 

We’re going to dinner tonight, just the two of us. Hopefully we can have a good conversation and I can get to a place with her that she will be open to the advice I have to offer. 

So starts a new week. Not exactly the start I was hoping for, but there it is. 

Be kind to each other,

~Miss SugarCookie

PS. Today’s daily poem from the Paris Review:

Though It Looks Like a Throat It Is Not
by Patricia Goedicke
Issue no. 65 (Spring 1976)

The shape of loneliness is a hole
By definition, to be filled.

At the outer edges of the hole
The lizard of jealousy sits
Licking his cold lips

For the shape of loneliness is a hole
With teeth on either side.

In the middle of everyone’s body
Like an empty house, like a coffin

Though it looks like a throat it is not‚
Though it looks like a cunt it is not,

Nothing glows in it but heartburn‚
Nothing lives in it but hot air‚
Gulps of it, rushing through the passages

Occasionally a sigh hurtles through it
Like the roar of a buffalo in a wind tunnel

So that the thin shell of self pity all around it
Shivers a little, and whines

So that it develops a red nose
Complaining to itself, and muttering
Gradually its conversations become more boring

So that everyone walks right by it without looking,
Nobody even bothers to fall in it
By accident,

Tears water it, profusely
Eventually sadness swamps everything,

Out there among the stars
And the light years between stars

Even the last tiny pinprick of fire at the bottom
Soggy as a landslide sloughs away
To the other side of space

For the shape of loneliness is a hole
Without any edges, finally

The entire universe whistles through it.

2021-06-06 All the Life that Wants to Live

My neighbor Dick has touched over a thousand people’s hearts. Literally. In his prime he was a cardiothoracic surgeon who performed thousands of procedures. I can’t imagine having the kind of skill, knowledge, and expertise required for such things. It’s got to be a bit surreal to think back over your life and know that you have saved hundreds of peoples lives, extended ten times that, and had a positive impact on thousands of family members falling over each other with unyielding gratitude. Not to mention the weight that must come with delivering the worst news to the spouse, daughter, or parent of a patient. Watching as they clutch whatever is in their arms and hands a little tighter, pain and anguish climbing inside of them bursting from their eyes. 

Dick is retired now and though his career is long behind him, he still comes out every day to check the mailbox at the end of his driveway and on Tuesday’s to wheel his trash cart to our shared curb. His hearing and eyesight are not so good so when he sees me, he always walks closer to the small green space that separates our driveways. 

His greeting is familiar now, “Shyla, is that you? I can’t see so good anymore.” He hobbles with his cane a little closer. His smile is soft and genuine. 

“Yes.” I reply, walking a little quicker toward him so he doesn’t have to come too far and also so I don’t have to raise my voice in an unnatural way like I’m talking to an elderly person who is hard of hearing. “How’s it going?”

“Oh, you know,” he says with a smile. And I’m not sure I know but think I might. 

Recently I was working to tease the weeds out of the lilac bushes that live in our shared strip of green space. I was on his property on my hands and knees pulling out little saplings and Creeping Jenny that have planted themselves there. You have to really get them up from the root otherwise they will stubbornly grow back.

All the life that wants to live.

It wasn’t Tuesday. The mail hadn’t been delivered yet. Yet here was Dick outside and making his way across his driveway.

He smiles and says hi and asks me what I’m doing. I stand so we can be eye to eye and I tell him I’m pulling weeds. We survey the bushes in silence for a second. They have been neglected for far too long and are in rough shape but still working all their lilac magic to produce those wonderfully smelling blooms. 

I once heard something about plants that were nearing a rough patch or the end of their time. That they somehow put all their energy into producing whatever it is that will beget offspring. Like a pine tree producing twice the normal number of pine cones as its branches become brittle and brown. Or a flower blooming out of control before a bad winter it might not survive, somehow with a premonition of things to come. 

Dick breaks the silence and says the bushes look great. I don’t think we’re looking at the same bushes. They smell amazing though, and maybe with failing eyesight that’s what he’s basing his assessment on. 

I ask him how it’s going. He surprises me and says, “You know a person shouldn’t live past 90.” 

He’s 92. 

I’m not sure how to respond to that so I just smile and we stand there for another moment of silence. 

He reaches over his cane and grabs the tendril of a Creeping Jenny and yanks it away from the bush. It snaps, leaving the root of the weed intact. 

“I think I’ve got my work cut out for me,” I say. 

“You’re doing good.” He says. And then “I’ll leave you to it.” 

As he turns to walk back to his open garage door I can’t help but think that no matter how much good I do in my life, it will never amount to much.

All the life that wants to live.

I get back down on my knees and reach for another weed.

2021-06-05 Cliches About Time are Cliche Because of Their Truth

The push and pull of all these days blurs into a gravity that begs to be let go of. Time is relative. Emotions are relative. Thoughts are relative. The next thing can only be measured against the last and the moment in time that lingers longer than it should, repeating itself in the mind, becomes greater as time passes. It’s natural.

Funny how the more you want to let it go, the harder it holds on and the harder you want to hold onto it, the faster it slips away. Why? I often think that I’m not ready to work on answers to the questions yet, because I’m still working on the questions. Maybe in my last minutes wandering this waking world I’ll come to understand the questions. Maybe then, and only then, I will feel ready for the answers. 

Since the funeral on Thursday, I’ve been replaying the same moment in my head over and over again. Each time I think maybe I can get through it without that emotional swell that brings me to tears. 

My mom and I arrived 20 minutes early for the funeral and there was no one in the receiving line before entering the main part of the chapel. Even before I saw the line, I could feel my emotions rising through my body, in my stomach, and up into my throat. By the time I was standing in front of my ex, i was already full and bursting from the eyes. I attempted to maintain my composure as I gave him a light hug and offered my condolences. 

Next was his mom, who I had been most worried about and felt very sad for. She hugged me tightly and whispered in my ear, she loves me, she’s glad I came, thanks for sending flowers, and that I’ve done a good job raising the kids. 

See, I can’t think of it now without tearing up again. 

I was worried and anxious and had nothing to worry about. I wish I had been more prepared. So many unsaid things are in my head and it’s too late for me to say them. So now they are stuck inside of me. And now I realize it’s too late, their “stuck-ness” hurts. 

I proceeded down the receiving line. Kristy, Wendy, Scott, and Larry. Family that used to be my family. Family that would be my family had I stayed married. Family that I was separated from suddenly and unnaturally. It was the toughest part of my divorce and standing there I was reduced to my younger self, broken and exposed and not knowing what to say. 

I hugged each person in turn, followed by my mom making easy casual conversation with folks the way she does. Why couldn’t I have inherited her easy social nature? 

We proceeded into the church and selected a spot near the back of the room. The service was nice. The personal portion was touching and the religious portion allowed me to splay my thoughts in different directions. 

My children were there, sitting with their cousins and though I said hello to them, it felt like I was approaching strangers, not really a part of that circle. They are all so grown up. The oldest cousin having children of his own now. That’s life. 

We didn’t stay for the reception after. My mom was in a hurry to get going. I almost regretted bringing her as I may have stayed longer if it wasn’t for her. It was probably for the best. I don’t really belong anyway and it would have been awkward. 

That was 2 days ago and that 120 second clip of navigating the interactions in that line will not stop replaying in my mind. Two mornings now I’ve woke up thinking about it. The words whispered, the embraces, the flood of emotions. It leaves me wondering what I will need to do to release myself from repeating that memory. That’s the question. 

I’ve told three people, and each time I began to get weepy and still that did not help. I’m hoping writing this will help. I guess we’ll see. Time will tell. 

Time heals and time wounds. Time is forgiving and cruel. Time keeps its secrets until it’s too late, revealing the questions when the answers no longer matter. 

My former father-in-law is gone and I can no longer tell him how I feel about him and how much he means to me, my memories locked inside because I’m not able to sit around the table with the family and reminisce. 

I can’t reach back in time and change anything. I can’t rewind and ask my grandfather about his life. I can’t stay in touch with Stacey and convince her life is worth sticking around for or change the way I treated KS. Life goes on and as cliche as it is, it waits for no one. 

That’s a good a place as any to stop. There’s more I could say about family and attempting to spend more quality time lately, but it’s Saturday and going to be hot out and I need to water my plants. 

Another cliche but so true—there’s no time like the present.

With peace and love, 

~Miss SugarCookie