Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief

Leave a comment

Safety Precautions

I’m not very good at protecting myself. Emotionally I’m definitely a risk taker. Physically, I’m more cautious, but still not so much.

I remember when I was single and owned my first home. All the neighborhood kids hung out at my house. One of the kids that I was closest to, stole some money out of my desk. I went to his parents and he gave me the money back. That was the first time that I remember having to make a choice. I could start worrying about everyone who came in, start locking my drawers, hiding assets, etc. but I decided that I didn’t want to live that.

I’ve had that theory tested since then. You might remember the blog where someone I knew stole an entire year’s budget out of my house after Tim died. They did it while there was a big pool party going on. For a while we pursued it with a detective but we got no where. I found myself questioning my own family and the very best of my friends trying to figure it out. I had to decide to let it go. I couldn’t bear to let a wedge come in my life, especially without knowing who it was for sure. I did start to lock up my money though.

This week, I was out at my pool with a few friends. A young college student came up to the gate and I could tell he was in sales. Sure enough, he said he was selling educational materials for all age groups. We chatted a bit and I said I would talk to Frankie and be ready with an answer later in the evening. He then surprised me and said that he was having a contest with the other interns to see how many pools they could jump in with their clothes on. Could he jump in mine?

I laughed and told him of course he could! As I reached up to open the gate, I had a moment of, “Oh my Gosh! What if he has a gun and he’s going to kill us?” I didn’t even used to have those thoughts but now I do. I instantly resisted and again consciously said that I will not live that way.

He came in and jumped in the pool. We all had a great laugh about it. I wish I had a picture to show you. When he came back later that night, I told him he wasn’t getting a sale. He did not pressure me at all. Instead he just said he was able to jump in one other pool that day so he won the contest.

Well, at least there is one other person in the world who is as crazy as I am!


Leave a comment

When it Rains…

You know the rest. It pours. Although all things considered, I’m not drowning. I just feel soaked through and annoyed.

A couple of nights ago, I was working on the computer and hearing a weird water sound. I went to investigate and discovered the dishwasher was flooding the kitchen floor. Crap. I had actually just declined an invitation to go swimming on a perfect, beautiful night because I was too tired to put a swim suit on. Now that is tired. Thank God for google though. We actually repaired the dishwasher, at least for now. I didn’t know how I was going to pay for that too.

A couple of days before that, I walked Taffy and came back to my car only to discover it wouldn’t start. Stand in the 90 degree heat and wait for your friend to come and jump your battery. I was ticked because my battery isn’t that old. That’s because it wasn’t the battery. A jump didn’t work so we had to wait for triple A. It was the starter.  Car got towed. Another $540 later my car is back in the driveway. In two weeks I will probably trade it in, but you know how things go. I had to sink some money in before I got rid of it.

As soon as the hot weather breaks, they are coming to fix my roof. For yet another grand and some change, I will make the FIFTH attempt to have it repaired. Ever since the seven feet of snow dumped on our roof I haven’t been able to successfully stop the leaks in my roof. I repair it, then repair the kitchen and bathroom walls and ceilings. The next winter I just start all over again.

It’s all just normal life. I found myself saying this week that I’m sick of being a grown-up. I haven’t felt that ache on my shoulders in my while, the one I get from the weight of the world resting on my single-mom-you’re-the-only-one-responsible-for-everything shoulders, but it came back with a vengeance this week.

My foot surgery is mid-October, but until then I will also live regularly with pain that makes my eyes water. Each day it seems like I walk less and less before I have to stop and ice them.  I completely allow myself a pity-party but then I do the grateful thing. At least I have a car, dishwasher, and roof to break. And I’m super proud of the fact that Colin and I have managed to not only keep our home, but keep it in great shape. We’ve had two big pool bashes this week that were a huge success. Seeing everyone enjoy themselves makes it worth it.

But if you are ever around and want to rub my shoulders a bit, I won’t say no.



Stressful week. Nothing earth-shattering, just annoying. I will pick just one thing to write about lest you get bored and stop reading.

Vehicle trouble. We all know that we are crazy dependent on our cars, especially if you don’t live in a city with convenient subways or buses. This week, problem number 1 started when my boyfriend’s truck engine light went on…again. He had to get off the expressway. I called Dad and he said I could borrow his truck so that I could loan my car to him and he wouldn’t miss work. Yay!

The next day he was able to get his truck back and it was a little less than $500 which was great. Well, I should say they called him to give him the news. Before I could take him to pick it up, we discovered Dad’s truck was leaking oil. The truck is like new. I didn’t entirely panic because I knew he had just gotten the oil changed. (I’m still working on getting all the oil stains off the driveway which is proving to be a challenge.)

Juggle everything around. I have to work so my bf has his friend meet him at the garage. They pick up his truck, come to my house and pick up Dad’s truck and take it to where he got the oil change. They leave the keys where they were instructed to, I get my vehicle back. Phew, thank God he got his truck back so quickly.

The next morning, we head over to the shop to get Dad’s truck. They haven’t answered our phone calls all morning but it is now 10:30 and it should be a pretty quick fix so we figure they are just busy. Wrong. The place looks like a junk yard and the building is locked up and boarded up in places. Dad’s truck is no where in sight.

I don’t know what to do but call the police. While I am talking to them, my bf keeps trying and the mechanic finally answers. I ended up talking with him to discover they are closed but are sending someone late afternoon to fix the truck. A bunch of malarkey as far as I can tell but I’m not going to argue with him. I just want the damn truck back. Now we juggle schedules again and go pick up the second set of keys so we can get it after hours.

Not convenient, but hey, there are worse problems. At least we all have a vehicle now.


Then I get a text a few hours later. The engine light on my bf’s card went on again while he was working. Are you kidding me? Juggle plans again. Colin takes me to pick up Dad’s truck but I don’t return it to him because we are short a vehicle again. (By the way, I haven’t even told my dad any of this yet. Can’t wait to explain this fiasco…lol.) We aren’t able to take my bf’s truck back to the garage til 10:30 pm. They are supposed to have it fixed by 11 am this morning, but that is 15 minutes from now and I haven’t heard anything yet.

Oh well, we will just juggle again. I’ve been job hunting since January. Anyone know of any circus openings?

Leave a comment

Old and New

The last few decades there has been a big emphasis on taking care of self. Make yourself happy, no one else can or will. For people who tend to be passive or allow themselves to be walked on, this message is desperately needed. Overall though, I don’t think we Americans need to be more self-focused. We could stand to be more other-focused.

Whenever I drive my dad to have lunch with his cousins, it’s a good hour-long trek. It’s the area I grew up in so sometimes he has me drive past our old house. No matter what though, we stop at the fire hall. He was honored last year for 60 years of service. Volunteering for 60 years is not something that people do anymore, myself included. Short spurts if anything, right?

Anyhow, we stop at the hall and he has to roam around and check things out. I often wonder what is going through his mind. It got me thinking about old/new, which got me thinking about my wish for us to be other-minded.

On the one hand, I think Dad has earned the right to roam anytime he wants. He has earned the right to his opinions about how things should be. He is respected there, as he should be. I also think about knowing when to bow out. There is also wisdom in the young moving in and having fresh ideas. Sometimes the quality of things isn’t as good, sometimes the creativity is even better. It takes grace to balance the two – standing your ground and making way for others. I think Dad has done a pretty great job of managing both.

I got to thinking about any time that we embark on something new. It might be entering a new family, church, job, group of any sort. I can see those long-standing members looking at the newbie and thinking, “Who do they think they are waltzing in here and changing things?” And they would be right to a certain extent.

It would all work out beautifully if everyone thought about the other instead of themselves. It would be on the shoulders of the new to say, “Who am I to come in and rock the boat?” It would be on the shoulders of the old to say, “How about I make this new person and their ideas feel welcome? I’ve had my chance to do things my way.”

Perhaps it is not realistic, but I think the world would be a much nicer place if we acted in a way that put others first. If all parties did so, life could potentially be more balanced and we could cherish the wisdom of the old and celebrate the ingenuity of the new.

Well, at least I will try to do my part in those situations. I challenge you to try the same.


I Call Bullsh**t!

I get that the world we live in is different from what it used to be, but sometimes I wonder how the heck some things are allowed to go on.

This week was nothing earth shattering or considered high on the importance scale of life, but I found myself irritated none-the-less. Maybe you can identify with some of these types of situations.

  • An oil change taking over 75 minutes. When asked, I got a response of, “Well, we washed your car for you” like that would take that long. I would have appreciated an answer like, “We got backed up. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
  • Having to shop for tires and having it explained that even though they are billed as 60K tires, everyone assumes they only last around 40K. The higher number is only in ideal driving conditions, which exist no where in the world.
  • Finding out that the tires require an additional $99 fee for alignment. Yep, you can buy four new tires but they won’t be put on properly. If you don’t pay for the alignment, you forfeit your warranty. So let’s be honest here. The tires are an additional $25 each.  I’d rather have that said upfront.
  • Having a business cash your payment, but not post it to your account. They can’t locate the payment anywhere, but the bank shows it has been cashed. They then need another couple of business days to research where it is. In the meantime, they dock your paycheck for the loan you’ve taken, even though you have paid it off. The bonus? No, we can’t call you when we locate your money. You have to keep calling us back.  Double standard. When it comes to us paying our hard earned money, no leniency. When it comes to them, they have unlimited time to do whatever they need to.
  • You ask the local chapter of your professional agency a question. They tell you to post the question on the national listserv. You do so and the answer is that you should ask your local chapter those kinds of questions. Obviously, no one plans to help me.

Like I said, nothing monumental. It is aggravating though, day after day. Sometimes it is just exhausting to have to be on your guard and have your thinking cap on every minute to make sure you know what is going on. And it is hard to be powerless when you can’t get what you need to live your life the way you are supposed to.

I call bullshit.

End rant.


Job Hunting Woes

Since January, I have been actively trying to figure out how to generate new business for myself that combines some of the skills, experience and passion I have developed over the last several years. I am still going to do therapy, but I want to do something in addition.

If I could sum it up, I would like to do what I do for my dad but be able to make an income. If that means hands on help for someone, that would be great. If it means teaching medical professionals how to do a better job with patient and family concerns, that would be great too. If I could use my speaking skills to teach people how to help get their affairs in order – or their loved ones’, that would also be great.

For almost five months I have been emailing and making phone calls. I am the queen of networking. I’ve joined organizations, attended seminars, and had more meetings than I know what to do with. It is usually informative and fruitful, but I come home with another five things to add to my follow up list. I am pursuing hospitals, rehabs, assisted living, hospice, financial advisers, attorneys, insurance agents, etc. – anyone that could possibly interact with folks who need my services.

Perhaps the most frustrating part of all is how many times I have heard the statement, “There is a huge, huge need for what you are trying to do.” I have known that every time I have been somewhere with my dad and know that 98% of everyone else there doesn’t have someone to voice their concerns. All those professionals I talk to see it every day, sometimes several times a day. Their services have an end point and people need more than they can offer.

But I have yet to be hired to help even one person.

I am pretty aware of my strengths and weaknesses. I know which things I am good at. My favorite thing is the speaking gigs. I get tremendous feedback when I talk. I get feedback from others who overhear people talking about one of my lectures and how helpful and/or moving it was.

But I have yet to be able to give a Tedtalk. I have not been accepted by speaker’s bureaus and have no idea why.

People have always hated job hunting. It is hard to stay positive and deal with daily rejection. The more depressed you get, the harder it is to sell yourself. I haven’t had to face this in a while, but I am reminded now to be compassionate to others who are being challenged by this. And I am reminded to be grateful for the fact that I am still working while I am out there searching. Lots of people don’t have that luxury. And I have a boyfriend who cheers me on every day, even when I drone on about my headache from hitting my head against the brick wall.

Woes? Yes, but so many more blessings to focus on.