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My mom, Carroll Kay

3 Jan

Today would have been my mother’s birthday. So she’s been on my mind lots lately. It will be 4 years in March since she’s been gone and I still miss her very much.

I think about all the things she did for me that really annoyed me at the time. And all the things that I learned from her. She was always working. I don’t remember a time that I ever saw her just sit. Even watching TV she was doing something else too.

I learned to be a mom from her. She taught me that moms do things for their kids to make the kid’s lives easier. There was the time she taught me how to bake a cake in a coffee can and some juice cans so it would look like a teddy bear when we frosted it. And I remember the look on her face when my aunt came in with a professionally decorated Teddy bear cake. I would like to say that I made as big of deal about her cake as that professional one, but I didn’t. I was a very self-centered kid. But she never said a word.

There was the time that we packed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches into the car and went on a drive through the wilds of Idaho for Thanksgiving one year. We thought it was great. Found out later it was because she couldn’t afford a turkey dinner.

I remember the day my daughter died. My mom drove all night from San Francisco to the central Willamette valley to be at my door when morning came. She took me to buy a new dark dress and made sure everything was taken care of for the funeral. I still don’t know who paid for it or how much because she never would say other than that my dad helped. And the day we buried her. She sat there as I dressed my baby girl one last time. And then SHE kicked me out of the room so that I didn’t have to put my child in a box.

Moms do the hard stuff. She put up with kids telling her they hate her. She’s the one who taught me to say, “Good! That means I’m doing my job right!” And makes sure the bills are paid when no money is coming in. She taught my son that everything is palatable if you have enough ranch. She made sure my kids had Christmas every year. She would answer the phone day or night and listen to me whine, and moan and groan about how my life sucked. And she was also the first one I called when something awesome had happened.

There are so many more memories but I don’t want my phone to rust as tears fall upon it. I really miss calling her every Monday morning. Happy Birthday! I love you!

  • I’m grateful I had her as a mom. I’m grateful I learned to be a mom from her. I’m grateful that she knew how much I loved her when it was time for her to go.

Night all. LOVES


Late night phone calls

2 Jan

I remember when I found out about my second grandson. It was a phone call in the wee hours of the morning. I wasn’t quite awake yet when I answered the phone and it took me a few moments to realize that my son was saying he now has 2 sons. We didn’t even know they were pregnant.

I think, as a mom, anytime the phone rings after midnight, your first thought is who died or what’s wrong. Most good news moments wait until morning.

I’ve also received a few recovery calls in the middle of the night from friends wanting me to help them stay sober through a rough patch. Those are always very difficult, but I learn so much about myself and my recovery by trying to talk to someone else over a phone line. It’s different if they’re sitting right next to you.

Ever since I’ve gotten out of treatment, my phone sleeps next to my bed so I can hear it ring. It also makes a really good alarm clock with lots of different sounds programmed into it.

  • I’m grateful that I am at a place in my life where I can be a help on the other end of the line during a late night phone call. I’m grateful for cellphones so I don’t have to get up and walk into the other room to answer the phone. Remember when they were attached to a wall? I’m grateful someone knows that they can call me at anytime and I’m usually there.

Night all. LOVES

Why gratitude

20 Dec

When my sponsor first told me I needed to write a gratitude list to help me stay clean, I was skeptical. How could writing a few words every day make me feel better about all that was wrong with my life? And why did I have to write it? Couldn’t I just tell someone?

She said that we write it so we can go back and see what we were grateful for yesterday when today seems so much worse than ever. Because there are some days that finding something good just seems impossible.

She also said that we make a gratitude list because if we can find just 3 little things good in our life, our life is worth living and we won’t give up.

So here I am, 8 1/2 years later. Still not giving up and still trying to find the good in life. And I’ll admit it isn’t always easy. Some days, I’ll sit here for hours thinking of what to say. Especially since I started writing publicly. It’s hard to put yourself out there and let others really see you. Sometimes, when you put your thoughts on a page, the reactions aren’t always good.

The other day, I posted a comment on a news story about a man caught doing heroin in the front seat of the car while his wife and kids were in the car with him. It hurt me to see all these hundreds of people saying that this man was worthless and a piece of crap and they should just throw away the key. And all I saw was me. The day I walked into treatment and had a complete stranger tell me that I was worth the effort and I didn’t need to be alone any more. I’m not saying that what that man did was right and he shouldn’t have consequences, but I feel everybody should have a chance at redemption.

I really wanted to delete that comment I made when I started getting negative comments back. And I was getting painted with the same brush, but I didn’t. Because I feel that someone somewhere needed to see what I wrote and KNOW that he isn’t worthless either.

As I come up on one of the hardest anniversaries I have, I sit here and think about the past, present, and future. And my part in it.

  • And I’m so grateful to that sponsor who saw something in me that needed to come out. I’m grateful that even when life seems worthless, someone somewhere decided I needed to stay here. And I’m grateful that when life seems endless and I’m tired of enduring to the end, I get little bursts of goodness to remind me of where I have been, where I am now, and where I am heading. And I’m grateful to be able to share my thoughts with others because they deserve to feel the same way.

Night all. LOVES

A year later

21 Nov

I started this blog in earnest a year ago. Over the past year I’ve learned a few things. Writing every day can be a challenge, but it’s also rewarding. I feel like my writing has changed mostly for the better. I am able to let my voice be heard. And I’ve learned that others might actually want to hear it. Thank you all for listening, reading, commenting and encouraging me on this journey.

  • I’m grateful I started this blog a year ago. I’m grateful I didn’t quit even when it got hard. I’m grateful that I know I still have more to say and I’m not done yet.

Night all. LOVES

4:44 AM

16 Nov

My daughter was born at 4:44am on September 6, 1991. She went to heaven on December 21, 1991. So she was here for 107 days. But she’s always in my heart.

The person (he was my sister-in-law’s pastor) who spoke at the funeral, told us that the number 444 was important and that we should always remember it. So I think about her every time I wake up in the middle of the night. When I was using, and I was already awake, I would have conversations with her. Now that I’m sober, I still do just because it’s a habit. And it’s comforting.

So this morning when I woke up not feeling very well, I figured it was my daughter coming to check on me. Especially because I was dreaming about her.

Because I had my tooth pulled yesterday I haven’t been eating much so I’ve been really paying attention to my sugar levels. So I checked when I woke up. They were low so I knew to get up and eat something.

  • I’m grateful for beliefs that get me through the difficulties of life. I’m grateful to that man offering a comforting thought to a grieving family so long ago. I’m grateful I have a habit of checking my sugar when I wake up in the middle of the night.

Night all. LOVES

What is self-sufficiency

24 Aug

I did an interview for a research project for housing improvement today. They are looking for ways to get more people housed and self-sufficient.

I spent 2 hours talking to this woman about my hopes and dreams, my barriers and difficulties. What would be in my perfect world and most importantly, when would I be able to say that I was self-sufficient.

I talked about how everything hinges on finding safe, affordable housing. Think about it. How would a criminal stay out of jail if he needed to do crime to find a place to sleep. How would someone trying to be clean and sober stay that way when they need to stay at the dopehouse or on the streets. What about those with mental health issues that can’t function so they are on the streets. And without lots of supports, the odds of these people losing housing is high. If they can get it in the first place.

If someone on the streets has a criminal record, drug and alcohol issues, and has mental health issues, right there they have 3 strikes. And 3 strikes you’re out.

I have thought about this subject so much in the last 8 years since I’ve gotten clean. I WANT to be self-sufficient. I WANT to be considered a winner and not a drain on society. I WANT to be able to walk down the street with my head held high and not hiding in the corners because of where and how I live. And I WANT my children to be better than me.

My youngest son had his issues and the odds of him living independently are not high at this time. So when I think about where he will be when he’s 40, I stress and worry. When he’s 40, I will be 75. I want him to be taken care of and not dumped somewhere because he has nowhere to go.

So to answer the question, What do I consider being self-sufficient? I will consider myself to be self-sufficient when I know that by the time he is 40, he will be in safe supportive housing. I don’t mean I want it to take me 20 years to be self-sufficient either. The sooner the better is my wish.

The other thing about that question is that it can be suggestive. The answer is fluid and always changing. And it’s not the same answer for everyone. I hope the 2 hours I spent today with help change the future in some small way for someone. It will be awesome if it’s for me or my offspring.

  • Today, I’m grateful to get a gift card to talk about myself and my thoughts for 2 hours. I’m grateful to be home because talking about myself for 2 hours is tiring. I’m grateful to stop for an ice cream sandwich on the way home. It’s in the freezer for later.

Night all. LOVES

Nothing much happened today

8 Aug

I was supposed to have a housing inspection today that I have been stressed about for over 2 months. I mean really, really stressed. Make myself sick with worry stressed. It was supposed to be the last Friday in July, but because of a scheduling error, they made it for today. Plus threw in a pre-inspection inspection last week.

So I was up early to do all those last minute things you do. Like pick up all the bigger pieces, by hand because the vacuum is broken, of shredded paper your child has dragged out into the room from who knows where.

Make all the beds. Including the one that said child is still sleeping in because he doesn’t sleep during the night.

Do the dishes because said child who doesn’t sleep at night and drags scattered pieces of confetti paper through the house decided that he was hungry at 3 am! He wanted mashed potatoes and gravy!

Cleaning the toilet because after the child had mashed potatoes and gravy at 3 am, he was in the bathroom forever! Do I really need to be specific here?

Plus I cancelled my appointment for today because an adult needed to be here.

So I’m sitting there on pins and needles worrying about if I’m going to pass because my child has been home for two weeks since they were supposed to be here. And after I paid someone to come clean my bathroom and front room.

And guess what? They decided NOT to come to MY apartment! They only did random ones! And mine wasn’t one they picked.

  • I’m grateful they didn’t come to my house today. But I’m still a bit annoyed. I’m grateful that I was able to take a nap this afternoon because I needed one. I’m grateful that my child is going to sleep-away camp this weekend and then his dad’s for 10 days. Because dad needs to get up at 3 am to make mashed potatoes and gravy.

Night all. LOVES