She Saved My Life

My granddaughter, my firstborn grandchild, was born 4 years ago on the 26th of this month. I was in the room when my daughter brought her into the world. My daughter was a warrior throughout, giving birth 3 weeks early with no pain meds. It was a relatively quick labor given it was her first time.

We knew she was going to have a girl. We painted the nursery pink, bought pink everyone and anxiously awaited her arrival. She was tiny and prune faced and beautiful.

When they laid her on her mother’s chest, chest immediately stopped crying and just looked around the room with alarmingly open eyes for a freshly hatched little one. She didn’t whimper, she didn’t cry. She just watched. She had dark swirls of hair and her little ears were pointed and for a moment I was convinced she was a fairy.

She was born six weeks after one of the worst times of my life. My grandmother died in January and I thought I was going to wither up and blow away. The pain I felt took my breath away. I was still in deep mourning when baby Rae was born. It was like the taking a deep breath after being under water too long. I started to feel alive again.

We brought her home a few days later. The next day, we noticed a huge abscess under her arm. It was nasty and green. It was terrifying. We took her to the pediatrician and she was diagnosed with MRSA. A sometimes fatal infection in those with immature immune systems. She was given a giant shot of a strong antibiotic and ordered to return the next day. The site was greatly improved, she got another giant shot and she was good to go. Another huge sigh of relief.

The next day, my world fell apart. My marriage imploded in spectacular fashion. What I thought was a pretty rock solid relationship turned to dust in a matter of seconds. The only person I had to talk to was my daughter, postpartum, trying to learn to breast feed and become a mom and I dump my feelings on her. She lived with us at the time, so she would have figured out something was going on when I threw all of her father’s clothes onto the back desk into the snow.

I was destroyed. My mind almost immediately went to that place where you think ending it is the only option to relieve the pain you are in. One thing stopped me dead in my tracks. Sweet baby Rae.

I would get her out of her crib in the early morning hours after that day and bring her into my bed to snuggle. Just holding that new life, that new promise, helped mend my shattered heart. Every little grasp of my finger, every little sigh of contentment when she was asleep patched me back together. Piece by piece.

She has been my savior these past four years. Keeping me from going into the dark places my mind likes to dwell. Knowing that I have kindergarten graduations to see, Christmas concerts and ballet recitals I can’t miss, keeps me sane. It keeps me here. It keeps me present.

When I hear her squeal ‘GiGi!’ with absolute love and excitement, my heart swells with love. And gratitude. To a little girls who will never know how she saved her grandmother’s life.

Happy Birthday, sweet Raegen. I love you to the moon and back.

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Being Me

I never in a million years would have thought I’d be a middle-aged twice divorced single woman. After my first marriage ended (thankfully…what a nightmare), I met my second husband not long after. He was fresh off a divorce and he was as damaged as I was, more so in some respects. During his first marriage, he had lost a 7 year old son awaiting and heart and lung transplant. A horrible situation for anyone. Be he seemed soft, and gentle and non-threatening. Exactly what I needed. After dating for nearly 5 years, we decided to make it official. I thought that was it. I was with the person I thought was my soul mate. And he was, for a long time. Then….he wasn’t. And I know now that it’s OK. People change. Different things become important. Wants and need change. It was only after I decided to spread my wings and do something for myself (I became an EMT and started working with the local volunteer agency), that is when things got a little strained. I didn’t see it at the time. I was so wrapped up in my new life outside the house, I didn’t realize my marriage was failing. Fast. The main reason? I liked who I was outside the house, I liked the independence and freedom to be me. And my husband, well, his disliked that the control he had over me was minimized while I was gone 3 nights a week doing something I loved.

I have suffered from depression since the birth of my first child. It has gotten progressively worse over the years. Different meds, therapy, more different meds. It all works for a little while. Then it doesn’t. My marriage implosion threw me into a downward spiral. I tried to kill myself a couple of times. Half heartedly. I withdrew into myself. I threw myself into my EMT work. My schedule was work, home, ambulance, hospital, home. Repeat. It offered a kind of comfortable numbness that I needed. But after a year, even that wasn’t making me happy. I didn’t want to do it anymore. I didn’t want to do anything. And that is how it went for another 2 years.

Then I realized, I was going to be OK. Things had gone wrong. Somethings were bad. But I was alive. I was upright.

I have learned to like who I am. I like having the whole bed to myself. I like being who I want to be with no apologies. Do I need to get out in live more? I do. I’m getting there.

I am almost ready to try to meet someone new. It will happen sooner or later. And I’m OK with it, even if it doesn’t, that’s OK to.

I better. I’m almost whole. I’m me.

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I have a wicked case of writers block. It’s been going on for months. While I can formulate something amazing in my mind, when I sit to write….all I do it stare at the blinking cursor. It’s mocking me. Ha, can’t write jack.

The stories that dance around in my head, the imaginary places I live while I’m alone, so clear and perfect. But putting them into words, well, it just won’t happen.

I spent the better part of 17 years working on a ‘book’. I’m about half way through and just decided to drop it. All that work and I have no desire to finish it. I know how it ends in my head, and that’s where it will stay. In my head. Locked up. While the characters on the screen wait. Puzzled at their inaction.

The past few years of my life could make a novel. Maybe a self-help one. A romance gone bad one. A ‘how not to kill someone’ book. Honestly, who wants to read about how I made it through my divorce? No one, really. I don’t want to drag all that back to the surface, the panic attacks, the near hospitalizations I had when I couldn’t find my footing.

I want to write the stories. The good, the bad, the ugly. The happy endings, the tragic ones. The ones that piss you off. The ones you fall in love with. I know I have it in here. Somewhere, rattling around like a ghost in an old house. Just not quite ready to come out.

I want to be more than who I am. I know there is more to me than this day-to-day person I have become. So predictable and boring. When people ask what I do for fun, I have to seriously think about it. Fun? I don’t understand the question. I sleep. That is fun. I want to be able to say I write. About anything, everything, the big stuff, the little stuff.  I know I NEED to. It’s in my DNA, it is who I am. But what if the damage of the past few years has ultimately changed my DNA it being someone who just wants to blend into the scenery. Nothing to see here. Move along.  That can’t be all there is.

I figured coming back here was a start. Somewhere to ramble, to wander about. To find out where I have gone. The fiercely protective writer. Nurturing my characters into who they are to become. Weaving plot lines seamlessly around them. The hero, the anti-hero, the conflict, the climax, the end.  Somewhere it’s in here. Somewhere.


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Bottoms Up

Wow, it’s been a whole year since my last post. I always plan on doing one at least monthly and well, life. What can ya do?

Since last year, not much has changed, but so much has. Bad things happened. Things I thought might surely kill me. But they didn’t. And here I am. Nowhere to go but up. And that isn’t a bad place to be.

I’ve taken time to collect myself, learn to respect myself and grow up. And become the woman I knew I could be. I thought myself weak, until my 20-year-old son told me I was the strongest woman he knew. That said a lot to me. It woke me up. Someone was watching me battle not just what life was throwing at me, but my inner demons as well. And he was impressed.

I’m OK now. And that is something I haven’t been in….I don’t know when. I am whole. I have the love of an amazing family. A roof over my head, food on my table. I could choose to look at the bad and get angry. But why? What does it solve? Nothing.

Will I ever date again? Find love? I dunno. Maybe. Maybe not. I’m ok with it either way. I like sleeping in the middle of my bed, enjoying the freedom to stretch out and relax. Not delegated to one side or the other. The whole damn thing is mine. And it’s nice.

Sometimes, I miss having that one person who always has your back. The person who wants to hear everything about your day. But, it’s something I can live without. And I will. If the universe sees in its wisdom to send me someone, I will welcome them with open arms and a full heart.

Until them, buttoms up. Your coffee is getting cold.

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Dear Amber, Lili, etc…

Dear ‘other women’….

I know you think you won a battle, took the prize. I used to blame you. Then I realized a few things. Number one, if he can’t be faithful to his wife of 18 years, I can assure you he can’t be faithful to you, a simple side piece he is using to boost his fragile, aging ego.

I know the things he said about me, some are true, others are not. All said to make you feel bad for how he’s had it. How hard it was to have a wife waiting at home every night, how difficult it was that his wife supported him through getting his bachelors degree, a masters degree and finally a doctorate. I encouraged him, pushed him, wanted him to achieve all the dreams that first wife seemed to quell.

I know he has quoted to Beatles songs, I think “In My Life” is his personal favorite, quoting the line that all that matters is that he has been loved by you. Yeah, he did that for me too. He told me of the heartbreak of losing his son, and cried the only real tears I’ve ever seen him cry. And you felt bad, you wanted to comfort him. And you fell for that manipulation. He told you how he hadn’t been himself in years but you made him feel more like himself (yup, I heard that line, too). Did he say he wrote you song? Did he sing it for you? Yup, I got the same song.

You may think you are ‘special’…but you aren’t alone. There are at least two other women he is singing to same song to. Eliciting the same feelings of sorrow from.

Oh, and that money you think he is going to spend on you? Do you know what alimony is?

With what he makes as a ‘doctor’ (and I use that term loosely, as he behaves contrary to every tenant of being a healthcare provider), you might think you caught a big fish. Know how he got that degree. Loans. Loans that are now coming due. With payments more then the mortgage.

So think what you will, live in your dream world. I know all about you, more then you could possibly ever imagine. I read every email, I know who you are, what you are, and what you think you are.

I’m not angry anymore. I’m grateful. Grateful for finding those emails, grateful I got to walk away and no longer play the fool. And you can ask him, I hold everything in my hands. I can bring ruination to his life on under a minute. Because of YOU. But as long as he serves a purpose (paying my rent, my car payment, my insurance….) I will let you all be. I have the knowledge, I can and will use it. Don’t forget that.

OH, and if I EVER find out that you have talked about my kids or even considered meeting them or friending them on facebook or something…..well, know your place. Know your roll. Harpy, addict, whore.

Good luck and thank you for taking that giant mess off my hands.


The One True Queen


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So here I am. 41. Twice divorced. I was pretty devastated when this marriage fell apart. I would curl up into a ball and cry myself to sleep, mourning the loss.

2015 hasn’t been a banner year for me. My dear, sweat grandmother who was touchstone in life passed away in January. Somehow, I managed to survive it. I wasn’t sure I would. She was sick, it was expected…, I can’t say that. People always say that. Death is never expected. You can plan for it, but when it finally comes, that shock and sadness and grief overcome you like a tidal wave. The sudden empty space in your heart, never hearing that voice, or feeling that touch. It doesn’t matter if someone is sick or for how long, your soul still shatters when they finally leave.

In February, my first grandchild was born. She came early, but was healthy and my daughter did an amazing job. Was it planned this way? No. I would have liked her to have waited until she was older to have kids and hopefully avoid some of the hardships I faced having children so young (20).  But, she brought that beautiful baby girl into this world and I love her with every single beat of my heart. The fierce protectiveness you feel for you own children is somehow magnified with your grandchildren. You not only are mamma bear for your own, but their own. They are my tribe and the fierceness of the love and the need to protect them is all at once amazing and overwhelming.

Less than a week later, while still adjusting to being a grandmother and having a newborn in the house, my marriage fell out from beneath me. My world seemed to shatter. Or so it seemed at the time. But now, that I am looking back at that time in my rear view mirror, it wasn’t really a shock, or it shouldn’t have been. The writing had been on the wall for a long time, I just didn’t take the time to read it.

So I moved out, leaving my daughter, granddaughter and son in the house I was married in. They chose to stay in the house grew up in. I could not begrudge them that.

Living alone was an adjustment. I continues to be an adjustment. I still find myself crying, late at night, alone in my bed.

But now I am not crying over a person. I am crying over a life I had, a life I built so carefully with wonderful holidays and birthdays. The comfort of knowing what each day would bring. A life that I built with my grandmother in it. When I walked away, I felt like such an unbelievable failure. More of a disappointment to the woman I so desperately miss. The women who I could have cried to and she would have had some sage words of how to move on.

Then my son graduated high school in June. I could not have been more proud. It had been a struggle from him, emotionally. His senior year was supposed to be so great, instead his great-grandmother (whom he was extremely close with) died and his parents split up. For all the joy I felt watching him walk across that stage, my heart still broke for him. For the pain I knew he carried each and every day. For how he felt seeing his parents sitting together, knowing that it was just the two of us there as his parents, not as a married couple, the parents he had known all his life. Different. Separate.

My new life is different. It’s good. I’m considering dating again, have even dabbled a little bit here and there.  But in all honesty, I’m not interested in anything serious. And I may never be again. I like my space. I like that I can come up, crank the radio as loud as I want (sorry, neighbors!) and do what I want without restriction. Law and Order SVU marathon all day? Yes, please! Dunkin Donuts coffee on the weekend? I’m there.

I’m finally becoming the person I am supposed to be. I’m figuring out me. What makes me tick. Things that have always been buried beneath the role of wife and mother. I will always wear my mother and grandmother  badge with pride. But being a wife? Yeah, been there and done that and it turns out, it’s not something I’m good at.

So I carry on, taking it as it comes. The dark times come, but they are fewer and far between. And I’m gonna be OK.

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It’s About Me Now

On March 1st, my world as I knew it fell apart. I found out my husband was cheating on me. I was beyond devastated. I tried to repair things, worked on it for a few weeks and realized it just wasn’t working. So I searched and found a house to rent. A cute little cabin-type house with room for my two kids and my granddaughter. It’s 3 miles from my old home, much smaller, but I knew I could make it work. I had to

I moved in May 1. It was a culture shock to say the least. I had never in my adult life been responsible for paying bills or balancing a checkbook. I had to turn on utilities, and sign up for my own cell phone and take responsibility for things like mowing my yard.

My kids, 19 and 20 now, decided not to make the move. They didn’t want to leave the house they grew up in, and I couldn’t fault them for that. My house is much smaller compared to the one they grew up in, and is outside of the village.

So I was on my own. In my own little house. I took some furniture from the house, and carefully sifted through flea markets and antique stores for other pieces of furniture, each item my own personal choice.

And now here we are. A little over 3 months later. And I have come into my own, I think. I still struggle with bill paying (being a grown up can really suck sometimes). But everything in my house is mine, it’s a part of me. If my house is a mess, it’s because of me. If all the ice cream is gone, I know I’m the one who finished it. It’s all me.

I can nap on my couch all weekend. I can come and go and so what I please. And it’s so liberating. After so long as a wife and mother (jobs and titles I cherished and am grateful I had the chance to have).

Today I went and got a consult for orthodontics. Braces. At 41. And I’m going to do it. My teeth have always been an issue for me and I consciously don’t smile fully because of that. So I’m changing that. I am changing my exterior to match my interior. I feel so good inside, so free and happy and beautiful. I want my outside to match.

I might even get a nose job last year, after having it broken several times when I was younger, it’s not what you’d call straight.

Call it a mid-life crisis, call it a post-separation epiphany. I’m not really sure. I know that I am feeling passion for life that I haven’t felt in such a long, long time.

I want to go places and do things. I am planning on a cruise next year with my mom. She has always wanted to go, but never has had the chance. I’ve always been a little afraid to go, but for my mom, I’ll do it. And we will have a blast.

I want to try things that scare me. And do things I’ve always thought about doing and never did. I’m buying a pop-up camper. So that I can take off on a weekend and find a nice, hidden away campsite and explore.

My possibilities are endless. My hope is boundless. My happiness is mine. And it’s about damn time.

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