Thursday, December 30, 2010

There was a Wednesday?

You know how when you sleep all day and you wake up the next day and you don't really know what day it is? I'm in that place. I went to bed at about 11pm on Tuesday, slept until 7pm Wednesday, went back to sleep about an hour and a half later, and got up this morning around 9:30am.

Apparently I needed the sleep.

Tuesday night I'd been trying to read my Mom's diaries and appointment books starting from 2000. I got about three years in and I just couldn't read any more... I felt like my heart was going to break, reading about her appointments and her hospitalizations and shock therapies and different doctor's appointments. I started crying uncontrollably and even though I stopped reading I didn't stop crying, so I took an Ativan. And then I slept.

Unfortunately, I lack the skills to cope with that kind of uncontrollable crying: taking Ativan works but it isn't a long-term solution. I hope to learn some new skills through one or another therapy. I also think that maybe it isn't time to read my Mom's diaries, that maybe I should give myself some time to grieve before reading them so that they don't affect me as powerfully.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sister friends

My sisters and I had a great afternoon shopping and hanging out. Who knew that a fur vest could give rise to so many giggles? It was so nice to just be with my sisters and laugh and talk. After our shopping adventure we had our counseling session. We're going to a few counseling sessions together to help us develop a stronger relationship between us. We've always had our parents in common but we want to have a relationship based on more than the fact that we're related.

Our mom often played two against one and would say things about any of us behind our backs to the other two. If she had an issue with one of us she never just talked to that person about what was going on, instead talking to anyone and everyone but that person. My dad mostly stayed out of things or would relay messages for our mom.

Add to that the fact that when we were vulnerable around our mom, she would poke at that vulnerability and hurt us, and you can see where we might need some help being close to each other. As a result of the way we were raised, my sisters and I don't know how to talk to each other like normal people do, especially when we get upset or we're angry. I've really enjoyed our sessions and they've definitely given me things to think about. We'll have at least one more session next week and possibly others over the phone or skype or something.

I'll be seeing an individual counselor when I get back to Ontario. I know I need help with some things but I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to do when I get there. I know that I have some behaviours I don't like and it would be good to get those under control, but I also think I could use some help processing my upbringing. It's hard to know exactly where to start. It's also hard to think about where to start because my thoughts slide around the most painful and vulnerable areas without looking too deeply at them. Maybe the counselor can help me figure out where to start.

I'll definitely be spending more time with my sisters while I'm here. I'm excited at the prospect of being closer to them and to be more aware of and involved in their lives. There's just us now and it's important to me that we forge strong, healthy bonds between us so as to not lose the connection we have to each other.

Monday, December 27, 2010

On the road again

Yesterday flight from Toronto to Edmonton was definitely an adventure.

This is the first year I've flown anywhere on Boxing Day and I think it'll be the last. I didn't really think that a lot of families would be flying but of course it makes sense that they would be traveling that day since Christmas is over. On my flight were four children under two years old and so none of them had their own seat. that's really not a big deal but the worst-behaved was sitting directly behind me. For some reason, his parents thought that bringing the fire truck with sirens and speeding sounds was a great idea. I had no idea how disruptive it is to have said firetruck run sideways across the back of my seat but I know now.

I was surprised at how great an arm the kid had, too. He threw a container full of candies or lego or other small pieces right at the back of my seat, breaking it open and startling me. Then he started kicking my seat. All of this happened before the flight even took off and I knew that I couldn't handle that child for four more hours so I changed seats. There were free seats in the emergency row because they don't recline and I sat on the aisle there. I know that I probably shouldn't be in an emergency row but I figured that I was the last line of defence there and that it would be ok.

After I moved I ended up sitting next to a fellow who was coming home to Edmonton after visiting his family in Ontario. I'd planned on sleeping through the flight but it seems that he needed to talk. So I listened to him until he got tired and then I was able to read and doze off. I hope he feels better.

He was actually the third person that seemed to need to talk or reach out to me: the other two were in the airport and were also pre-boarders. The one woman had been going since noon in Halifax and she was diabetic but didn't have any food and her insulin was packed (I don't think she'll do that again). I had some trail mix that was in my Christmas stocking and I gave it to her because I figured she needed it.

Every time I talked to someone there was this voice in the back of my head saying, "Look at me being all normal. I'm talking and I'm not telling them that my mom killed herself!" Weird, I know.

I like the hotel where I'm staying: it's right downtown above a mall so I have easy access to things without having to go outside. There's a grocery store only about three blocks away that can be almost completely reached without setting foot outside. My room faces outside due north so it's fairly quiet. The tub is also deep enough for soaking and has jets (which I doubt I'll use). I have a mini-fridge and I think I could get a microwave if I wanted - we'll see about that. I can make hot water for tea and oatmeal and I don't have a freezer so I don't know that a microwave will help that much. We'll see.

I do wish there was another chair and maybe a coffee table in the room, and there is a pillar kind of in the middle of it. The room could also probably use a fresh coat of paint. Even with those drawbacks I like the room and I think it'll be a comfortable place to spend the next two weeks.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I hope that this Christmas is full of peace and love for all of you and that Santa was generous to you. Santa gave me exactly what I wanted: a low-key Christmas with lots of time to myself to read, have a bath, nap, or surf the internet. My day has felt a lot like a normal day to me except that we're at Ian's parents' house. I feel completely at home here so being here hasn't been at all stressful for me.

Tomorrow I'm heading back to Edmonton for Christmas and to see my family and friends. Traveling is inherently stressful for me because I'm not sleeping n my own bed or eating my own food. This year I've got grief on top of the travel stress and between the two I won't have a lot of energy left for other people. In past years I would try and cram as much as I could into each day that I was there but I can't afford to do that this time. I'm thinking that instead of doing two or more activities each day I'll start with one and see how it goes. I can't emotionally afford to come back from Edmonton needing a vacation! :)

That's not to say that I won't have any fun while I'm in Edmonton. I expect to be mourning some of the time but mourning doesn't mean that I can't enjoy myself. It means that my fun might be more on the low-key side but the fun will still be there.

Speaking of fun, I gave myself a Christmas present: a class in basic silversmithing. I've wanted to learn how to solder and make rings and whatnot for a while and when I saw that the course is starting in January, I signed up. I'm excited about learning something new and about the prospect of getting back into making some jewelry when I get back.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The joys of having a port-a-cath

How can it be Christmas Eve already? Where has the time gone?

Yesterday the nurse came to flush my port. The port has to be flushed every four to six weeks to prevent clotting in the catheter and since I only receive Pamidronate every eight weeks, the nurse has to access and flush the port in between Pamidronate appointments.

My port is a little finicky to access. When I first got it, the nurses had trouble accessing it because it would slide around and the needle would end up going alongside the port. Thankfully, scar tissue has grown up around the port and now holds it in place. Now the port finicky because it's set a little deeper than most ports which stick out so much that you can clearly see them underneath clothes. Because I'll have my port forever I didn't want it showing that much so the doctor put it in a fleshier area and set it a little deeper than usual.

My finicky port has given even experienced nurses trouble and yesterday's nurse wasn't experienced: she had accessed and flushed exactly one port before mine. She ended up poking me with the access needle six or seven times. She even managed to get the needle only half-way in, which I didn't think was possible and is something I'd never seen before. In addition to the multiple needle sticks, there was something about the way she was holding the port that made the experience even more painful. I think she was actually pushing the port down instead of fixing it in place and pushing it up, if that makes sense. The area around the port is now very tender and I know it'll be a while before the access holes heal up.

I don't usually mind when new nurses access my port because it's good experience for them but it's not usually so painful. If I'd known that she'd never accessed any ports before yesterday I would have asked for one of the more experienced people to come with her and show her how to handle a tricky port like mine. I ended up giving her tips on accessing my port which finally led to success. She was grateful for the experience because she learned a lot and got to see the process through to the end.

At least the port has been accessed and flushed and I'm all set to go. I guess I can think of the experience as my gift to the nurse. The pain will fade away soon enough and she did learn a lot about dealing with finicky ports. And it's not like I can access the port myself: I don't have what it takes to stick a needle in my own skin and since I'm a bit squeamish, I have no desire to learn how to do it. So Merry Christmas, nurse!

So there's one gift done. It's not the kind of thing I usually expect to give but it worked out fine in the end. As long as no one else expects to get this kind of gift from me, I think I'll be good to go.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I don't love you anymore, Netflix

I loved Netflix since it was first available on the PS3. I could watch movie after movie after documentary after movie - no wonder I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. 

Sadly, things have changed. Apparently Netflix tests user interfaces (UI) all the time, so at any given moment a subscriber might be faced with a new UI. Yesterday we were switched from this regular UI:
Netflix's old UI. See the nice menus on the left? You didn't
have to use them, but they sure are handy for people like me
who like to browse through titles.

to using this test UI:
The test Netflix UI we've been given. There are no menus
and navigation is very difficult. It's harder to use than
Rogers On Demand.

In the old UI, I navigated through a menu system to find the genre of movie I wanted to see and then I'd browse through those titles. The titles in a genre were arranged in rows of five and I'd scroll up and down through the rows. If the cursor paused on one of the titles, the description would show up below. This UI was easy to use and fairly intuitive.

There's no menu system in the test UI. I scroll down through the rows to find the genre I want and then I scroll sideways to find a title. Pausing on a title brings up the description in the right -hand third of the screen. Some of the genres have 250 titles in them and I just don't have the patience to scroll through them. Plus at least one other genre is shown above or below the one that I'm looking at, cluttering up the screen.

I know that some people would like this new UI but I don't: I find it harder to navigate through the titles and I have a very hard time browsing to find something to watch. The end result is that I'm not watching anything on netflix and that leaves me feeling unhappy. I like watching movies and I used to like watching them on netflix.

Of course I called them today to tell them that I was very unhappy about this because I'm vocal about things I don't like. I told them that if the menu system doesn't change back we'll cancel the service. I can't justify paying every month for a service that is almost impossible for me to use. Since this is a test they should be able to switch the UI back to the old one or one of the two others being tested.

I love the idea of netflix and the fact that I can watch so much stuff. But if I can't find stuff to watch because they're messing with the UI, it's not the great product I thought it was. If you're ok with being a guinea pig for netflix, you don't care about a product's ease-of-use, and you like watching movies streamed through your PS3, netflix on the PS3 might be the product for you. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Today's wonders

Ian and I went to see the Wonders of Winter this evening. I had the car to run some errands and since the Wonders are near Ian's workplace it made sense to see them when I picked him up. Each one of these Wonders is a scene or animal or cartoon character made out of different colours of rope lights. Most of these scenes are sponsored by different companies in the region.

We hadn't been to this event in a few years and it was interesting to see all of the new scenes that have been set up. There are a lot more of these scenes than there used to be so there's a longer walk to see all of them. Because we got there just after dark, we shared our time with a lot of kids. As much as we enjoyed it, it was funny to hear the little kids all excited over the scenes.

I had a bit of time today between appointments and spent some time wandering through the drugstore. I've been on the hunt for a good eyebrow pencil for a long time. My eyebrows are so sparse and light as to be nonexistent and I'd like to be able to darken them. The problem is that most eyebrow pencils for brunettes have a lot of red in them which looks awful on me. My natural hair colour is ash brown with streaks of grey and not a red highlight to be found.

Luckily for me, I managed to find a non-red brown eyebrow pencil today: Quo Cashmere Brows in Brunette. It's perfect! One end is sharp for drawing lines and the other is soft for filling in and smudging a whole area. I tried it out and it looked great. I think I'm going to be very happy with this eyebrow pencil - hopefully I get a chance to use it soon.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Looking at things a new way

I was having a hard time this morning thinking about my Mom and how I didn't do everything that I could have done to reach out to her. It's going to take some time for me to learn how to deal with that guilt and with the guilt that comes with the knowledge that I'm free to not be like her anymore. Before, I couldn't fundamentally change the way I behaved because I learned it from my family and doing anything else felt like a betrayal to them.

Fortunately, the social worker from the cancer center called while I was feeling this way and we had a good talk. She's happy that I have a plan in place to get some counseling in the new year and she understands how shocking it is when someone commits suicide. She did give me some ideas that have stuck with me: first, that my Mom was an adult who made her own choices and no one can take those choices away from her; and second, that she knew both how to kill herself and how to ask for help (in the past she had called the crisis line) and she made her choice.

Hearing from someone else that my Mom's death was her own choice helps to deal with it. It isn't a choice I wanted her to make or one that I approve of but it wasn't my choice to make. This is a very freeing concept.

The person I talked to today felt that I didn't need to see her again because I have a plan in place to deal with my grief and the aftermath of my Mom's death. I can always call her or her replacement (or other people) if I need to talk again. I'm so lucky and grateful to have all of this support around me.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

We went out tonight

Friends of ours are moving to the US at the end of this month and had the second of their two going-away events tonight. I'm not really in the mood to see a lot of people but because they're moving, I made a special effort to go to their party.

It turned out to be really fun, and we stayed a bit longer than I thought we would. There weren't many people there when we first arrived so we had a chance to talk to our friends and catch up. We also ate too mnuch of the yummy things they had.

This was the first time I've been out among people since my Mom died and although I was a little nervous about going at first, I'm happy that I went. It was good to get out and be amongst people. Our friThat's a big sends knew about my Mom, of course, but it didn't come up in discussion at all because we were all too busy talking about their moving and job adventures.

I don't think that I'm going to be going to be going out every night or anything, but I feel more comfortable hanging out with people other than Ian and my family. This is good; to me it's a sign that I'm starting to heal a little bit.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lethargic and grumpy

We'd planned to go to a friend's place tonight to see a movie but I just wasn't feeling up to it. I'm feeling quite lethargic most of the time and I'm impatient when anything deviates from whatever I'd planned. It seems that I'm also feeling quite a bit of anger that I'm so far controlling but that I don't like.

The anger stems from the uncertainty around some stuff related to my mom's estate. She died without a will and without appointing anyone as her executor. Her estate's pretty small so my sisters and I are trying to figure out the best way to do something. All of the uncertainty and the pressure to make decisions - and no clear decisions to be made - leaves me feeling flustered and upset and I handle those best when they're plain old anger.

At least I have an appointment to see an individual counselor in January. This isn't the person I was going to talk to at the cancer center; it's someone else at a local counselling place. We'll see how that goes. I figure that it can't hurt and there are things with which I could definitely use some help.

I'm looking forward to the day where I'm finished grieving my mom's death... and the day that all of her estate stuff is permanently wrapped up.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Oncologist appointment

Funny how life goes on even when something bad happens. I'd like for everything to just stand still while I deal with things and feel better but things just don't work that way. Case in point: my oncology appointments, one of which was today.

I never really look forward to my oncology appointment. Even though I've been incredibly superlucky and not had any progression for over four years now, I know that my cancer will progress someday. So every time I see the oncologist, there's this niggling worry in the back of my mind that today is the day I find out that my superlucky streak is over and the cancer has progressed.

Fortunately, today wasn't that day. My cancer is still stable with my tumour markers at 35. Yay!

Honestly, I'd have had a hard time dealing with bad news from my oncologist because of my Mom. If the rest of the world won't stop and wait for me to deal with things, I prefer to have only one life-changing event going on at a time.

Speaking of my mom, I did tell my oncologist and nurse what happened. They were very sympathetic and offered to put me in touch with the therapist at the cancer center. Apparently the person currently in that position is moving on and there's a new fellow taking over. The nurse thought it would be better if I could see the new person for continuity reasons. I haven't heard from them yet but I hope to hear from someone tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

One box at a time

As soon as I opened the boxes from my Mom's place today I started crying. As I started to look through more and more of the boxes I cried harder and harder until I finally curled up into a ball on the floor and wailed and cried.

I knew that opening the boxes would be hard but I didn't expect it to be quite as difficult as it was. It's the first time I've cried like that since she died. By having these things it was clear in a way that kind of wasn't before that my Mom was dead. Cleaning out her apartment was hard but we could have been helping her move.

We didn't have a service for my Mom at her request so I didn't have the opportunity to get closure there. I'd also wanted to see her body before it was cremated but I was talked out of doing that by my sisters on the advice of the funeral home. At the time one of the reasons I wanted to see her was to let her touch my soft cashmere sweater, which I'd promised to do when I saw her. That would never have worked because of the decomposition but I also wanted to see her just to see her. I know she wouldn't have looked like I remember her - my sisters were told that decomposition was accelerated because of the pills my she took to kill herself.

There were good reasons why seeing her was a bad idea but I wish I'd stuck to my gut and seen her anyways. I would have been able to say goodbye to her in person and I think that it might have done me some good. Since I lack a time-travel machine, I can't go back and change things and so I need to use what I've got to gain closure. The boxes full of Mom's stuff is what I have and it's what I'll use to deal with her death and to gain the closure I need.

The opened boxes are still sitting in the hallway. At least I've looked in the boxes and know where their contents need to end up. I suspect that it'll take a while to deal with and put it all away. That time will be a great opportunity for me to deal with my grief and if I can only put away one box a day, well, that's better than no boxes a day.

I'll tell you, though, just the act of opening the boxes and looking at their contents left me feeling drained and very sad even after the ativan. I plan to spend the evening sitting in front of the tv watching whatever is interesting while trying to process the emotions I feel.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My boxes are here

Ian talked to our next-door neighbour and explained that he wanted to clear the driveway himself, at least for a while. If he decides that it's too much work then the neighbour will start clearing it again for a very reasonable fee. It's really no trouble for him to do it but Ian wants the exercise. For now, anyways :)

The boxes I shipped from Edmonton have all arrived. They make quite a pile in the hall! The dressform and rocking chair arrived yesterday and the rest came late this afternoon. I couldn't bring myself to open them today... there just wouldn't be time to properly deal with everything. I suspect that opening boxes and looking through everything again will take a lot time and space.

I don't think I mentioned this because of what happened with my Mom, but our furnace died the same morning she did. (Yes, December 2, 2010 was quite a day for me.) We were meeting with the furnace people and filling out the paperwork for the new furnace when I got the call about my Mom. The next day was very busy for Ian as he booked our flights and made arrangements with people so that we could have the new furnace installed while we were away. I wasn't able to do any of that stuff as I was too upset and couldn't figure out how to do anything.

A friend of ours watched over the furnace installation and energy audit for which I'm very grateful. We're very happy with the new furnace as it's quiet - it's so much quieter than our old furnace - and seems to work well. The energy audit helped them calibrate our furnace and means that we'll get some money back because we've improved energy efficiency in our home.

If you're interested, we ended up buying a dual-stage furnace which brings the fan up at about 60% to start and then increases to 100%. Apparently this results in more even heat than the one-stage, on-off furnace. We also got the extra-good filter that takes out smaller things than the regular filter. We have allergies and I can get sick easily (that fateful day I also discovered that my neutrophils dropped to 1.1, which means I'm quite susceptible to infections) so having a very good furnace filter is good for both of us.

The point of me talking about this is that because we weren't there during the installation and because we didn't finish filling in the paperwork, the person we were originally talking to is coming by tonight to go over the installation and the findings. So even if I wanted to open all of the boxes and go through them right this second, it's better to wait until after this person has come and gone.

Tomorrow I have the house to myself until after curling so I hope to start going through boxes then, providing I'm up to it.

ps - I want to thank the reader of my blog who contacted my cancer support center about my Mom. I also owe that person apology, which I was going to give at the last meeting of the Book Club but I didn't make it. Can that person please email me? My email address is on my profile. Thanks :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow snow

We got a bunch of snow last night. Not the 1.5m (5ft!) of snow that London has received this past week, but about 6in or so. It's quite windy out there which has sculpted some interesting snow shapes in the backyard.

I love just looking at the backyard and seeing the changes that come with each type of weather. It's beautiful in the summer and fall with all of the plants and it's gorgeous in the winter, too. now I have a reason to stare out at the backyard because Ian put up the bird feeders that his parents gave us. The birds have found it and we both enjoy watching the little chickadees come and go. There are other birds that use the feeders but we don't yet know what they are.

It looks like a peaceful, private winter wonderland out there with the snow and the birds and the bunnies (who forage under the bird feeder) and the neighbourhood cats and the squirrels.

The front yard is lovely, too, but it's not as peaceful or private. For some reason our neighbour - the one who put in the weeping tiles and did the landscaping - has been clearing our driveway. We haven't asked him to do it and the last time he offered to do it for the winter I asked him to send us a quote for the work for the winter. It's very nice of him to do the work but I'm not comfortable getting it done for free. Nothing is really free and by accepting a free favour we open ourselves up to being asked for a favour in the future and possibly risking conflict if we say no. I don't mind him clearing the driveway; I just want to pay a fair price for it.

Neither of us really know how to approach our neighbour, though, and I guess I'm hoping that we'll just see him one day and we can talk to him instead of going over there or calling him. If we don't see him this weekend we'll have to figure out a way to talk to him so that this gets straightened out before too much time has passed.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Did all that really happen?

For someone who usually writes here every day, it's weird to not have been writing stuff down over the last week. It wasn't that I was that busy every day but I had a hard time just opening the laptop, let alone writing my blog. It's been a tough week.

I still feel like I'm in shock, like my mom didn't die. When I'm walking around and see someone about the size of my mom, especially in a red coat, I gasp because I think it's her and that maybe it was all a mistake. And then I remember that she really did die and I feel sick and sad again. I grieved when my dad died but I think I feel even more grief this time, maybe because the death was unexpected or because she was my last remaining parent.

My sisters, their husbands, Ian, and I all managed to get my Mom's furniture and stuff divided up and as many loose ends tied up as we could. By "dividing stuff up" I mean "shipping a lot of stuff to Ontario". There wasn't much time to sort through everything at my Mom's apartment and I couldn't just get rid of stuff... so I took it for me. Fortunately, there wasn't any overlap between what my sisters and I wanted so it was ok for me to take the stuff. I also took her wooden rocking chair because I'd been told that it was given to my Mom when I was born and I just couldn't part with it.

I ended up shipping 11 boxes of stuff plus the wooden rocking chair (and a dressform my sister gave me) home. Yes, 11 boxes! It makes me look like more of a hoarder than I already am, doesn't it? :) It's all supposed to arrive tomorrow and I have no idea where it'll go, but I know I wanted it all.

A few of the larger pieces of furniture stayed in the apartment for people in the building who don't have anything and most of the the rest of the stuff  into a building re-use-it area. At least this way everything will be used by someone.

One sister and I separately talked to the maids who cleaned Mom's apartment and apparently they really liked chatting with her and couldn't understand why she killed herself. She was kind of ornery and all but they (and others) really liked her and will miss her. Mom didn't seem to know that people cared about her or that they liked her; in her diary she talked over and over about how sad and lonely she was without seeming to realize that people did like her and would be her friend if she wanted. That's so sad.

I'm home for a couple of weeks before I go back to Edmonton for my scheduled Christmas trip and I'm looking forward to having some time to myself in a comfortable environment. I feel like I need to give myself the time and space to process everything that's happened and I hope that I'll be able to start doing that over the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Tying up loose ends

We've basically sorted everything at my mom's place now. I've set aside quite a number of things that I want to ship home: her sewing machine, threads, notions, knitting needles, books, afghans and quilts, and pictures.

I've started reading her diary beginning in January of this year and I'm overwhelmed by how sad and lonely she was. I didn't know, and if I did know, I brushed it off by saying that she was exaggerating it. Now I see that she was deeply unhappy and I wish I could have done something for her.

Why didn't I write her more? Or call her once in a while? Or send her cards that I was thinking of her? Why did I have to be so impatient with her instead of being as kind to her as I would be to any of my friends? I could have treated her better - no matter how she treated me or pushed me away because she was lonely and afraid - and I didn't. I wish I could go back and change what I did and said to her. I'm so sorry.

Knowing that she was in so much internal pain, in a way I'm relieved that her pain is over. Even feeling nothing is better than the way she was feeling before. I hope she's at peace.

My feelings are still very strong: right now they're mostly just a big ball of sad and hurt and guilt and shame, with a bit of anger for seasoning and relief for spice. It's going to be a long time before I'm able to fully articulate the way I feel.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Wrapping up a life

Ian and I flew to Edmonton yesterday so that I could help my sisters wrap up our mom's life. Ian came with me so that I wasn't alone and had someone to lean on.

A part of me still didn't feel like my mom was really dead until I got here and saw her apartment. I'd never seen the apartment before - she moved since I was last in Edmonton - and first I had to get used to the fact that this is where she lived and that she really was gone. Every time I looked at something and imagined my mom living her life I started crying.

The Medical Examiner has confirmed that my mom killed herself. There were lots (hundreds) or partial pills found in her stomach, and she left a note detailing what she took. She took the pills between about 6:30pm and 10:30pm on December 1 and died sometime early in the morning on December 2.

If I'd called her on their wedding anniversary I would have been the last person to talk to her... if she answered the phone at all. There's no way that I could have stopped her from killing herself.

We found her daily diary - kind of a list of what happened every day - where she talked about how she was so unhappy. I wish I'd known how unhappy she was.... one of the reasons I'm crying so much is that I can feel the sadness and desperation in her things. The tragedy of the whole situation is overwhelming. I hope that if she's still out there that she's out of pain and is feeling less lonely and unloved.,

Thursday, December 02, 2010

My mom

My mom died today. She killed herself by overdosing on some pills she'd apparently been keeping for some time. I'm so very sad and hurt. I feel like a little kid whose mommy is gone I don't understand why but I must have done - or not done - something.

My mom had deep-seated mental issues and was in treatment for many years in an attempt to deal with them. She could be very selfish and angry and could seem manipulative but she could also make me laugh, and I enjoyed sitting there with her and talking or watching movies (we shared the same tastes in movies!). She was such a smart, educated woman and we had many interesting talks.

My happiest memories about her are from when I was a teenager and a young adult and we'd hang out together at the mall or outside and we'd talk and laugh. They were good times, and I missed that connection I had with her later. She was always mentally ill, we think, but it got so much worse after she hit her head about 10 years ago. Her personality fundamentally changed then and while I still loved her I didn't really feel I knew her. We drifted apart.

Her death comes as a shock because we all thought that she was getting better. I knew she was struggling, as I say, but she hadn't tried to kill herself in a few years so I didn't think she was on her way to suicide. Plus she was planning for events in the future, like our Christmas celebration and appointments next year. And she seemed slightly more engaged in life around her.

I knew that her wedding anniversary would be a hard day for her because my dad died almost two years ago and I'd planned to call my mom and talk to her but for some reason I thought that day was today and it was yesterday. So I didn't get the chance to say that I loved her and knew she was having a hard time and I feel guilty about that. Even if I had called her, it might not have made any difference, and even if it did, she might have killed herself anyways another day.

I wish I had been there to talk to her more over the last year. I wish I could have seen her before she died and told her that I loved her. My heart breaks not just for me being sad but also for my mom, because she felt her life wasn't worth living.

Rest in peace, Mom. I miss you. I hope you've found Pere, wherever you both are now.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Another movie

I'm still working my way through Netflix's movies - I can't figure out if it's a good thing or a bad thing that new movies are added every week - and I recently watched one that I loved: Exam. In this movie, eight candidates vying for a job are undertaking an 80 minute exam in a room. There are only a few rules: don't spoil your own paper; don't choose to leave the room; don't communicate with the guard or anyone outside the room; and answer the one question before them. As the exam begins, the applicants turn over their papers to discover that they are blank.

This is a very good psychological thriller. It starts fairly innocuously as the applicants realize that they can talk to each other and they try to figure out where this question is located. As they fail to find the question, the applicants become more frustrated and the claws really come out. The second half of the movie is as compelling as the first half as each person tries to gain an edge over the others.

This movie reminds me very much of Cube, a favourite of mine, which is probably why I liked it. Aside from the opening scene, the entire movie takes place in one room and we feel as claustrophobic as the characters while they (and we) try to solve the puzzle.

If you liked Cube, I think you'll like Exam. It's definitely worth your time.