Thank you letters: Thank you, Grandma

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With thoughts of my dad dying in my head, I keep returning to think of my maternal grandmother.  She was the only grandmother i was able to ever get to really know.  Her husband, my grandpa, died when my mom was 17.

My paternal grandparents died back in the early and late 1980s.  I wish I had known my paternal grandpa better – he seemed like a really cool guy, but unfortunately they also lived in Portland, Oregon, so we didn’t get to see them much.  My paternal grandmother was definitely not the touchy-feely type of grandma, even when she moved closer to my dad after Grandpa died.  I always felt like I was visiting a distant great aunt when I would see her.  So when I tell someone about my grandma, it’s my mom’s mom I’m talking about.

If you have someone in your life that you love even 1/16th of how much I loved my grandma, I hope you can write a letter to them today and make sure that they read it., or that you read it to them.  Because you never know what tomorrow will bring.  So, here goes …

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Dear Grandma,

I want to thank you for loving me.  For making me feel so special, even from the very beginning.  I remember you telling me one time, “It was always you and me.  Your mom had your sister by the hand and was holding Jamie, so I would pick you up and carry me. You never wanted to walk when you could be held. So I would hold you.”

Thank you for always tucking me in, even when I was a teenager, when I would sleep over at your house.  I remember you would tell me to move toward the center of the bed  so that I wouldn’t fall out of it.  You would tuck the blankets in so tightly, I felt like a caterpillar in a cocoon. That was always the way you were – wanting to keep me and my brother and sister from getting hurt.

Thank you for having taught me to appreciate the beauty of a sunset.  I remember all those times that you would yell out, “Children, hurry come!! Hurry before you miss it!”  And we would run to where you stood, looking out your kitchen window at the beautiful colors in the sky.  Your eyes used to light up so bright.  It’s because of you that I love seeing and smelling bright, colorful flowers and to enjoy the sound of birds chirping.

Thank you for always having that grape Hubba Bubba gum we always liked in your “snack dishwasher” that never worked as long as I could remember.   Thank you for introducing me to the wonderful idea for a snack of icing on crackers.  Saltine or Ritz, either one was awesome.

Thank you for teaching me to always be prepared and have some food staples on hand.  I remember your Reserve Food Cabinet being next to the actively used food cabinet.  It taught me to never take food for granted.  I know now why you sometimes ate ramen noodles in tomato soup.   It wasn’t that you loved it.  You just scrimped and saved to ensure we never needed for anything that you could provide.

Thank you for always being such a good sport and putting up with my trash talking your Yankees when I was in Boston and became a Red Sox fan.  I remember you used to just laugh and laugh on the phone.  God, you put up with a lot! 🙂

Thank you for always being there for my mom and for all of us, especially when times were tough, financially and personally.  You left your family behind in Pennsylvania to move to upstate New York to be with us when you could have easily decided not to.   Thank you for taking care of my mom when you died, leaving her your house and the security it would provide.

Thank you for having helped shape me into the strong woman I am or try to be, anyway, today.  Thank you for always having had that Serenity Prayer on the wall in the kitchen, right next to where we would eat.   Those are words I try to remind myself of today when something upsets me – to know the times when something is truly out of my control so that I stop letting it upset me.

I want to thank you for opening your eyes at the end and looking right at me.  I remember the tear that fell down your cheek, and I knew you were truly there with me in that moment. I knew you didn’t want to leave me or any of us, but I know you needed to.  That’s why I told you “If you have to go, you just go.”  I knew you understood what I was saying, and not saying.  Thank you for that last gift of special understanding between us.  I always felt like we had this amazingly strong bond.  We did, didn’t we?

Grandma, I know that some people don’t believe in guardian angels, and if they do exist, that they’re not family members who have gone before you.  But I feel like you’re mine.  I know you watch out for me.  How else can anyone explain the feeling of a hand on my back when I was out for a run once and said aloud, “I think I need a little help.”

I know you visited me in a dream not too long after you died, to give me the message that you were okay.  You were in good health. I know it was an actual visit and not just a dream.  Otherwise, how could I have felt the way I did when I woke up, and how I feel remembering that, even now?

Thank you for loving me.  You made me feel so special.  I truly feel that you were my soulmate, and so I know we’ll be together again at one point.  Until then, you are always in my heart.  I love you.

Terri

 

 

Lot Going On…

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Taken during my off-roading adventure yesterday, something I won’t ever forget.

Sorry it’s been a few weeks since I last updated everyone as to what is going on. It’s been a busy few weeks, and I have been working a fair amount of hours, only to grow larger, I suspect, over the summer. That’s ok, because any overtime I make will be going to pay off debt and save up cash for the leaner times.  Also, the way the internet works out here is not so reliable. For me to even be typing this, I have my chromebook tethered via USB to my phone and am using my cellular data. To get satellite internet at my apartment was going to be a huge hassle and a half, involving drilling through the roof (don’t even get me started) and quite expensive. I have decided to just buy more data for my phone if the need arises.

So…ok, where do I start?!

So, you might be wondering – did I sell the RV? Yes!!! I sold it to someone who used to work at the resort where I currently work. He was so happy when he drove away with it. I’ve moved into an apartment and there was a bit of a hassle over the furballs. That’s all I can really write about it publicly, but suffice it to say, it was stressful.  Then about a week and a half ago, when I went to a neighbor’s to hang out, I left my door closed (or so I thought) but unlocked. I came home a few hours later to find my door standing open, and Max and HoneyBun had flown the coop. We get high winds here sometimes, and the wind had blown the door open.  To say I was panicked is an understatement!

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HoneyBun, exhausted after her second escape to the outside world. Never letting that little one out of my sight again!

Max was returned to me the next night, but HoneyBun was on the lam for almost a week until I was able to catch her in a trap that a friend loaned me. She has since made a break for it once, and now I’m even more paranoid of opening the door and OCD-ish when making sure the door is locked every time I step foot outside of the apartment, even if it’s to sit on my own patio. I’ve ordered a flexi-gate to put near the door to act as another barrier – it should arrive in a few days.

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This photo epitomizes the sweetness of Bonkers, how he used to curl his paws when he slept, and how sweet and big his heart was. In his sleep, he kept moving closer and closer to Osito until they were touching. ❤ Bonkers. RIP.

I have some sad news, and it relates to my oldest cat, Bonkers. On the day after Max and HoneyBun escaped, I left work early to come home and search for them. Bonkers was having issues pooping, as he has had over the past year or so (he has dealt with constipation issues, an irregular colon, kidney failure and a heart murmur.) I called the local vet immediately, who was triple-booked, but they urged me that if I could bring him down within the hour, I might be able to get him seen.

Well, a few weeks before this episode, I ended up having to drive 150 miles one way to the town of St. George, in Utah, to help Bonkers out with another pooping issue that required sedation. At that time, because of his heart murmur and other health issues, the doc had wanted to do some blood work before putting him under sedation. His blood work came back and showed high calcium levels, which I learned usually means cancer. However, they couldn’t see a tumor at the time.

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After only one day of being on the run, Max seemed very happy to be at home and has stuck close by my side ever since. This photo was taken the day after he was returned (a helpful neighbor called me when Max found his way into their courtyard.)

Fast forward to the day that I took him to the local vet, who felt around his bum area and noticed it felt quite hard. He felt his colon and said that the lactulose which I had been giving him religiously was doing its job and his stool was soft as it should be. But he had a tumor growing near that area which was making his “exit” hole that much smaller, and therefore harder for him to defecate. The doc said that with anal gland tumors, they usually grow fast and are very malignant. If I wanted to consult with a specialist, he predicted it would mean a large medical bill, surgery, chemo, and in the end, a totally incontinent cat of 15 years. It was clear Bonkers didn’t feel well that am, and I had noticed he had not been eating as much the past few weeks, nor was he sitting still for his subcutaneous fluids like he used to.  So, I decided to do what was best for Bonkers, and he crossed over the rainbow bridge on April 15th.

Now that Max and HoneyBun have been safely returned to me, I feel like I can finally properly mourn Bonkers. I’ve arranged for him to be individually cremated, and I plan on donating all of his unused medicines to the local vet. The local vet said that while he can’t re-sell the meds himself, he can offer them to an owner who might come in in the future with a pet needing such expensive meds but can’t afford them. (I was able to buy them all at cost from the animal clinic with my former employer.)

I’ve been working as a supervisor of the resort’s campground, but have recently acknowledged what my physiological system has been telling me, and which I suspected was the case – I don’t like being The Boss, and dealing with all those stresses being The Boss entails. So I have asked to be moved to the role of Team Lead. I will still do a lot of what I am doing now – dealing with campers/customers, but not with all of the stresses of having to discipline employees, etc.  So right now I’m in a transition period where we are hiring lots of new employees for the summer, and working with my (temporary) replacement in the supervisory role. And yes, there have been some rough patches. Nothing is ever easy. I wish it was, but lately, that just doesn’t appear to be the case where my life is concerned.

I do like living in the apartment. I love taking long hot showers, and being able to even turn around in my bathroom! I love being able to do a load of laundry while I sleep at night. I love living close enough to work so that I can drive home the 2-3 miles at lunch and visit my furballs. I love living so close to Lone Rock that I can even see it from the front patio of my apartment. I love the fact that in April, just yesterday, I was in a tshirt and shorts and sitting at the beach, even if only for a short while after I volunteered at the local animal shelter. And yes, I have loved taking some of their energetic doggies for walks.

I am having a problem setting into a routine, however. I’ve not worked out in weeks now (shock, gasp!) because getting to work by 7 or 7:15 in the am already requires me to get up pretty early and after being on my feet all day, I just don’t feel like going for a run. And I’ve not been writing (obviously, as you’ve seen from the lack of posts on the blog). Until a few weeks ago, I’ll be quite honest. I was so stressed out of my mind on a daily basis from one thing or another that it was all I could do to get msyelf to eat an entire bagel for breakfast without feeling like I wanted to puke. That’s how I get affected by stress.

But lately, my stress level has been coming down somewhat, and I’m working on getting my positive attitude back on a more regular basis. I’m feeling like I can eat food again.  i did lose some much needed weight during those stress-filled weeks, so that was actually a good thing, in retrospect. And, I learned some valuable information about myself, so that was also good.

Well, this has been a rambling catch-up post, and I hope some of you are still out there, interested to read it. Please drop me a line or comment below if you like. I promise to write more now that I am slowly getting established. And I want to write more fiction as well. The book dream has not left me – it just got misplaced during the move and the following stress.