So, not to get all sappy and sad, but over the weekend I went to a surprise party for a family friend—put together by her kids who are my age—and was privy to some observations.
First of all, seeing someone truly and utterly surprised by a Surprise Party is emotionally overwhelming. Literally have to hold back your own tears because you just feel the shock and appreciation on their face. It’s a rare thing as it’s a mixture of astonishment and gratitude all at the same time.
Second of all, the father of the birthday woman has currently been trying to keep his own life going as he’s well into his 80s and is wheelchair bound since he lost his leg from Diabetes. Meanwhile, his wife of 50+ years is currently suffering through Alzheimer's Disease and is rapidly becoming a stranger to her family (and vice versa.) Not only can he no longer walk but, the the love of his life--who takes care of him--barely remembers him or anyone. It just got me to thinking how one day we will all grow old and if we’re lucky to find someone to spend forever with, that there’s a chance that one of us will have Dementia or Alzheimer's and everything we know as “normal” will become forgotten and either them or me will be a stranger to this life. Everything we shared between us will fade away, while the other struggles to be the constant reminder.
And I couldn’t help but think…”Is this all there is? To live to forget or be forgotten…but mostly both”?
I'm down to blogging once a month. I guess it's true what they say...when things finally fall into place, you're less inspired to write. It's the heartbreak that keeps us spilling our guts.
Sometimes I think of things to blog and then the thoughts dissipate as quickly as the way they came in. I'll try and work on that. This blog was supposed to be more about the music than my personal life anyway.
As for a recap of what's been going on:
Bamboozle came and went and it was much better than last year. Saw The Movielife, Wiz Khalifa, Bruno Mars, and the TAYF TBS Lineup for the first time ever -- all had truly awesome moments and I remain a fan.
Watching my favorite album played in it's entirety by one of my favorite bands with some of my closest friends was surreal. It greatly hurt my heart that Adam Lazzara took the stage whilst sick and with little to no speaking/singing voice. Thankfully I was with people who sang every word loud enough to make it an enjoyable experience.
Extra Bonus Points: Spending last week with AbsolutePunk's favorite Aussie: KissTheBottle. It's been two years since we've hung out and this was under much better circumstances. I miss him already.
I plan on traveling in the next few months: 1 stop to Florida, Two stops in Georgia. Though I hate airplanes now more than ever, I'm excited. I like the feel of new places and food and the warm sun. I'm especially excited for summer.
As for shows, I saw Young The Giant in Brooklyn last month and was blown away. It was something that I almost backed out of last minute and I'm glad I didn't. What a perfect show that didn't even include an encore. I highly encourage you to check them out. I'm wondering if anything will top that this year.
Next wee I see Sleigh Bell for the first time since Free Fest last fall and I'm ready to dance my face off.
I guess in many ways life is still the same. I have endless bills and a list of materialistic items that I really want to buy. Family and friend struggles come and go.
Work is work....it has it's ups and downs. I just wish it would allow me to grow more. I'm three years older and I'm still doing the same work. I wish something would come along that would lead me to the next step. At least we still share some laughs, good food, and occasional adventures. So...there's that.
Nothing in life is perfect or certain, but sometimes you meet some who allows you to feel that that's possible down the line. I'm happy in that aspect. I waited a long time for something like this to come along...to be able to feel this way for someone and feel it back in return. Of course at times I'm deathly afraid that life is going to play a cruel joke and ruin it all, but for now, I'm happy.
I don't miss the heartache. Some of it got me to this place and I can't hold a grudge, but other instances I truly wasted my time and emotions for no reason. I refuse to go back to that place. I must forge forward.
Next blog will be more of my old style. I hope everyone is well or at least trying to get to a point of great achievement.
I think things are going okay right now. I think I've found a legitimate reason to smile nearly every day.
In the last two years, I really had lost myself. I constantly felt like I was drowning...being swallowed up by negative influences around me. I kept trying to swim to the surface, but I was only able to tread water for so long. I didn't recognize who I was. I hated how I looked. I hated my daily routine. I felt like I was losing touch with friends. I got involved with guys that broke me down and drama that still stings to this day. I felt like person who normally lit up a room had had her spark burned out. I think I reached a point where I nearly had lost everything that, at one time, made me feel alive and invincible. It is only when you have lost it all, that you truly have everything to gain. Two or three times in my life I've gone through a serious personal overhaul. I ultimately shed the wounded, broken version of my former self, only to fix myself for the better.
Perhaps it sounds trite, but, I'm trying to make things work. I'm in my mid-twenties and it's time to start solidifying my strengths and abilities while still managing to enjoy this little thing called youth. Of course there are the ups and downs: health issues, family issues, friend issues, relationship issues, money issues. There are nights when I can't sleep and days when it takes every ounce of my existence to get out of bed. Nothing is truly perfect...perhaps just ideal at times. But that's just how it is. Ups and downs molding and shaping us. The bad showing us what the good really looks like and the good making us forget, even for a moment, what the bad is really like. So I'll try and take it all in, as best as I can. One day at a time.
I'm no optimist, just someone who's currently inspired.
Some people believe that when you dream of the dead, it's not so much of a dream as it is them appearing to you.
My beloved Nonna passed away on December 02, 2009.
Since that time I've had at least three dreams about her.
In all three dreams, I knew she was dead yet everyone in the dream with me could also see her and talk to her.
The first two times I woke up incredibly depressed. I was only able to talk to her for a bit as she was walking by, usually following someone because she was on some sort of schedule to meet up with people.
The other night I saw her walking with my mother. I ran up to her to ask her some questions, and find out how she's been.
She informed me that she was alright but warned me about something.
Strangely enough, this was the first time I woke up and didn't feel heartbroken.
It's weird missing someone and yet being able to see them in your dreams.
You want to make things right and be able to say and ask the questions that you never could.
Sometimes it gets resolved and sometimes it doesn't.
Even now just thinking about her makes my heart ache.
She died very weak and unlike herself, but in my dreams she could walk better than she could in the last two years.
I wanted this...I wanted to see her in my dreams since the moment she passed on, yet it's bittersweet.
I am reminded of her wonder yet reminded that it's only temporary.
This all gets me thinking about second chances...and your only chance.
We never truly know when we're going to lose something important to us.
Say what you need to say when you have the opportunity...or just make the opportunity yourself.
Be honest with those you love, and make every moment count.
Don't wait until it's only in your dreams.
I don't see you anymore since the hospital
The plans I make still have you in them
Cause you come swimming into view
And I'm hanging on your words
Like I always used to do
The words they use so lightly
I only feel for you
I only know because I carry you around
In the background
I'm in the background
So, I've spoken about my fears about this day for over a year now and now a week ago, it happened.
My Nonna passed away last Wednesday morning.
I initially didn't know how to react. My mom had kicked opened my door at 6:00AM to tell me. I could hear her crying her eyes out to various friends as she was trying to notify people.
I guess it wasn't until I walked into my grandparents house a few hours later that it fully hit me.
I entered a house where my mom and her 5 other siblings, their spouses, my grandfather and my sister were all in tears and that's when I fully grasped the extent of the situation.
I had never seen my uncles cry before. Even the most serious ones were broken down with red eyes and tear-stained cheeks.
Seeing so many people chocked up, I think I nearly lost my mind at that point.
I guess that's how we'd all prefer to go, right? Pass away peacefully in our sleep in our early 80s leaving behind a life of a husband, six kids, 10 grandchildren, three home, and a big circle of friends...
She led a full life, but somehow I just never imagined that it would actually end.
Have you ever seen the movie "Big Fish"? It's the story of an adventurous man who raised his son on these magical stories about his life that may or may not have been true and in his swan song, all those characters that you knew and loved growing up actually appear in some form.
I guess that's how I would describe my Nonna's Funeral.
All of my mom's best friends, my closest friends, all of our extended family, and all the family friends that I knew and loved growing up appeared to pay their respects.
People from around the world arrived bringing flower arrangements that extended from where she laid to the very entrance of the funeral parlor.
Her funeral procession was led by a cavalcade of 10 police officers that held a line of at least 30 vehicles.
Her repass consisted of nearly 200 people.
I realized that this was an occasion that all who attended, wouldn't forget. All of these people made this collective effort because they truly loved her.
I heard so many wonderful things said about my Nonna, I guess I never realized how many people she affected.
My Nonna was a loving and compassionate woman. Of course she had her faults, but her general overall attitude and approach to life really meant a lot to a large number of people.
The entire situation made me realize that I could probably make some changes in my life and use her life story to better myself.
I think one day we all hope to have some sort of impact. She had hers and it's never too late for ours.
I hope she's sharing the laughter and happiness wherever she is
We walked to the elevator in silence.
He was still dressed in his work suit. Doctor ID clipped to his tie, he carried his famous straw hat in his hand.
The elevator doors close and he turns to me.
"I've been here nearly 60 times in the last three days..."
He thinks to himself a moment.
"...it's tiring, you know?"
He fidgets with his hat and turns to face forward.
After a moment of silence he looks towards the ground and then back to the ceiling while saying to no one in particular,
"I don't know what's going to happen..."
What do you say to a man who's wife appears to be dying?
What do you say to a man who's been strong (so much stronger than I felt I've been) for the past year--seemingly confident that everything will be alright--and now....and now a year later, seems to be losing hope by the hour?
I stared at the ground unsure of what to say...a part of me in fear that I would break into a million pieces on the spot.
So, she's finally alert and talkative. She seems to be more with it now than she has in the past several months.
However, she looks like she's dying.
But nevertheless, her husband takes his daily trips to see her.
He talks to her in an upbeat voice, trying to bring out the woman he fell in love with over 50 years ago.
She smiles at him as best she can. She listens to his stories.
And at the end of the day, he walks out with his head down, his heart sinking, with his straw hat in hand.
Wake, wake, wake her
From this sea of white linens and
Extract the drugs from her dreams
And sew her seams with delicateness,
'Cause beneath her chest sits the heart that I live for,
You'd kill for,
The angels would die for.
I've gone to see her for the last few days.
At work on Friday my mom called to tell me that she had the tubes taken out of her throat and she was sitting up smiling...all of her daughters were there keeping her company.
I think that last time my mother and her sisters were in the same company was Christmas.
Maybe this will teach all of them to put aside their petty BS and get along.
I sped over after work.
Her face was ashen, but her skin was warm.
She smiled at me, "Hi honey".
Her voice is breathy, very breathy.
She has an oxygen tube attached to her nose.
They say this may be permanent when she goes home.
I hold her hand so tight.
I think I lasted a whole 5 minutes before I burst into tears.
"It'll be okay" she breathed.
"You SCARED me!"
I choked through tears.
"You really scared me....I wasn't ready...NONE of us are ready."
"Well, I can't live forever!" she had told my mom earlier.
"Yea, but you can try" I sob.
I don't want to let her hand go.
I want to hug her tight and take off all the wires.
I want her home in her chair, watching her shows.
I want her breathing on her own.
I want her alive.
She offhandedly says she's hungry.
With a lot of coaxing I'm able to make the nurses understand she needs food.
They come back with two cups of cookies, a tuna sandwich, hot tea, a plate of fruit, and some crumb cake.
I am pleased.
I try to stay as long as I can, but I know that if I don't leave, I'll stay all night.
Today I saw her and her voice was almost completely normal.
Strong and solid. 80 years of life, and 60 of them spent raising 6 kids and 10 grandchildren.
I breathe a little easier...I can tell she's a day stronger.
Her hands are shaky though...her face is still ashen.
I still feel like crying.
My sister's presence allows me to hold it in.
We talk a little but mostly are quiet, watching tv.
She says we don't have to stay.
Our uncle is hosting a big party in this storm.
She is very very sad that she can't be there...as she's mentioned it the past two days.
I don't want to leave.
She's more important than the party.
My grandfather comes.
He is sick and stressed.
So much on his mind.
But he still makes his quips.
We smile through the worry.
We are all overwhelmed.
Praying every day that this isn't over.
I'm a mess.
A complete mess.
I can't imagine time without her.
It kills me inside.
Please come home soon Nonna.
Please be better, please be you.
My mom and I are laughing in the kitchen.
I stare at the microwave waiting for dinner.
"I'm stealing that jar of hummus mom"
"Alyxandria, where's your mom?"
My grandfather's voice is weak.
He sounds ready to cry.
"What's going on?" I ask in a panic.
"Nonna went into cardiac arrest in the hospital. They're trying to revive her"
I pass the phone to my mom unable to speak.
She stares at me wide-eyed.
I hear him repeat the same message to her.
She silently hangs up the phone and walks out ready to drive over.
The car ride is silent.
She's driving so slow.
I know that she's trying to avoid watching her die.
We park by the Emergency Center.
She walks slowly.
"I'm afraid she'll die before I get up there"
I start to panic --"Let's just get up there first."
My mom is the oldest of 6 kids.
There are 5 doctors in my family, including my grandfather.
We are well known to this hospital.
My mom and I slip past the front desk.
We turn the corner and my aunt and uncle are there.
My aunt is panicked.
She's been taking care of my Nonna's cousin almost the entire summer.
We think he may be dying too.
She is at her witts end. Only so much she can take.
She starts to fight with us and leaves in a frenzy.
"Jo, you will regret leaving" My mom shouts to her.
Elevator doors close and we stare at each other.
Sister and brother. Daughter/Niece.
We get up there and my grandfather has his hands in his jacket pocket.
He is pacing.
He is nervous.
This is his wife of over 50 years.
This cannot end tonight.
I hear my uncle barking orders from behind a curtain.
Everyone in rooms around us has tubes down their throats.
This is a floor of death.
Nurses are scrambling.
We are a family of doctors.
Too many cooks to a pot.
My mom walks forward to them and I begin to shrink.
The hallway extends a mile wide in front of me.
I won't make it.
I can't move.
I feel I'm about to shatter into a million pieces on the floor.
I walk backwards.
I'm about to shatter.
Quick, grab the fucking phone.
I'm about to pass out.
Only one person to call.
Probably one of the strongest people I know.
He'll probably say differently, but I know what's true.
Please fucking answer.
He picks up.
I try to hold it together.
I can't really keep it straight.
My voice barely registers sound.
His cheery hello has turned deep with concern.
Don't cry to him.
Don't cry to him.
I can't fucking hold it together.
My mom comes over asking me 20 times who I'm talking to.
She wants my dad on the phone.
He's over an hour away and he hasn't picked up the phone.
He may be drunk at a bar.
He's not here.
She needs him here.
I'm torturing this person on the other line.
Not their issue/not their problem.
I hang up with the promise to keep them updated.
I try to walk forward.
Tubes down her throat.
Arms are shackled down.
She is kicking her legs.
She can barely open her eyes.
She gags on the tube.
But she's alive.
I try to step foot in the room and I lose it.
I'm banished back to the waiting room.
I make some calls.
People offer to come.
I tell them thanks, but no.
No telling if they'd be allowed up.
I'm thinking, I can't go too far.
What if she dies right now?
Or in the next hour?
Must stay in a 20 ft radius.
Time passes so fucking slowly.
I need to talk to someone.
I need to be alert in case something happens.
I need to walk in that room.
Tests are being done.
One after the other.
She is still restless and fighting.
My uncles each try to talk to her.
--Try to get her to relax.
I can't look anyone in the face.
Devastation is practically written on the walls.
My grandfather is at a loss--though he is trying to be brave for his kids.
We come to find that she was given Iodine during a scan she was having.
She is allergic to Iodine and apparently it wasn't in her records.
Her trip to the hospital for respiratory problems led her to being accidentally poisoned.
Her bed is rotated so that her feet are in the air.
She doesn't know where she is.
She tries to talk.
She is still gagging.
Someone hold her fucking hand.
She's freezing, someone get a blanket.
She's scared, she thinks she's alone.
My mom and her brothers switch off.
I finally grab her hand and she squeezes it.
I'm losing it again.
I can't leave.
I start to take shifts with them.
Someone please hold her fucking hand.
Let her know she's not alone.
Not all my aunts and uncles could make it.
The youngest one comes late.
She is very nervous. My mom needed her sister.
Nonna once told them,
"You are strongest together. The only way to survive is staying together"
They are not all together.
My mom tries as hard as she can to be brave in front of my grandfather.
Everyone discusses sleeping arrangements.
It's decided everyone will go home until the morning.
My mom loses it the minute they men go home.
She appears to be 18 again, crying unabashedly.
I keep reflecting to when I'm older.
Is this how it will be for me?
She wants to stay all night.
We're all so afraid of what could happen if we don't.
We eventually back off.
We say our goodbyes.
I squeeze her hand.
"Nonna relax, we'll talk in the morning"
For the love of god, please hang on.
My mom is a wreck.
I'm back to being the strong one.
We walk in the door and my dad is standing there.
He came home.
My mom collapses into him.
I breathe for the first time in 3 hours.
I don't know what's going to happen.
My mind is having a battle with every other part of me.
This was a test-run.
I failed it.
What will the main event be like?
I can't fathom it.
My heart is aching tonight.
I am praying.
I am in need of a miracle.
I have never felt so alone or betrayed.
Tonight I feel like I have nothing.
In regards to love
In regards to my family
How can this be my life?
Sally Owens: [Sally's letter to Gillian] Sometimes I feel like there's a hole inside of me, an emptiness that at times seems to burn. I think if you lifted my heart to your ear, you could probably hear the ocean. The moon tonight, there's a circle around it. Sign of trouble not far behind. I have this dream of being whole. Of not going to sleep each night, wanting. But still sometimes, when the wind is warm or the crickets sing... I dream of a love that even time will lie down and be still for. I just want someone to love me. I want to be seen. I don't know. Maybe I had my happiness. I don't want to believe it but, there is no man, Gilly. Only that moon.