Take the Picture

Christmas is less than two weeks away. Hard to believe, I know. This year is going to be insanely hard not having my dad here. I still can’t believe he is gone. I guess I still expect to get a text or a call from him. I expect to drive to my parents’ house for Christmas and see my dad sitting in his chair watching some educational program. I have to keep telling myself, and reminding myself that dad is gone.

Ironically, when I got divorced I told myself in five years I will be better off. Things will work out for the better. Well, it is five years down the road. I’m still single. Not even chatting with anyone. I still struggle with money. My ex is engaged. My dad is gone. My family is falling apart. Maybe next year will be better…

Last night I did something very difficult. I went through my photos, including watching the slideshow that played at my dad’s funeral. I cried the whole time. He was so happy in every picture. He loved life. I spent hours putting the pictures together into a photo book – I am having it printed online as a hardback full color book. It is sized 5×7 and has over 40 pages. Some pages have one picture. Some pages have seven pictures. I wanted all the pictures of my dad. I want more pictures, there would never be enough pictures…

I noticed a pattern over the years. In the beginning of my marriage, there were more family pictures. As my marriage started going down hill, there were less pictures of my family. My ex hated driving to our families houses. Then after my divorce, I lied to my family for two years. They didn’t know I was still sleeping with my ex. I didn’t know I was still wanting to be with him.

The past three years, I have struggled with money. My car has been a piece of shit. My dad’s health was getting worse. All of these factors made it where we seen each other less and less. I was only driving down maybe three to five times a year. They never drove up to see us. This year, 2018, was a horrible year. Things never worked out like they were supposed to. I don’t have a single picture of my dad from 2018 – that I took. There is not a single picture of my dad with me nor my daughter from 2018.

So, my words of advice: Take the picture.

I don’t care if you are fighting or upset. I don’t care if you just rolled out of bed. I don’t care if you suffer from depression and haven’t brushed your hair in three days. I don’t care if you want to lose weight.

Doesn’t matter!!

Take the picture. Be in the moment. Don’t take for granted that you will get to see your loved ones next week, next month, or even next year. Because you never know.

This year it is going to be hard to take the picture. There is going to be a missing piece, forever – my dad. I don’t know what drama the holiday will bring – drama within my family or drama with my ex.

But, bottom line is we’re going to have to continue on. We’re going to have to turn to each other for support. We’re going to have to live life like my dad lived his – happy, compassionate, and always smiling. He was always ready to take the picture.

Move On

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I know death makes people nervous and they say stupid things.

It’s interesting, up until dad’s funeral, people were posting support and likes on pictures (not only my page, but on mom’s page. Some even posted on their pages). However, after Tuesday, it’s different. It’s almost like I get the message: You’ve had the funeral. You’ve mourned. It’s time to move on.

Since then, I have received no messages: Are you okay? Thinking of you.

Nothing.

That’s one amazing thing about the support group that I’ve found online. They get it!! There’s some that lost a parent fifteen years ago and will still have hard days.

I felt the need to call mom yesterday. I guess good timing. She was really upset. Yesterday was a hard day for all of us, I think. But I found out the guy was on Meth when he killed dad. He has been arrested two times in the past week, but he keeps getting out on bail. It is so hard not to have pure hatred for this guy. It’s hard not to say: THAT FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT LEARNED NOTHING! HE THINKS HE IS ABOVE THE LAW. HE WILL CONTINUE UNTIL HE KILLS SOMEONE ELSE.

I found a necklace that I ordered. I got it engraved (which was included in the price): It will say “Dad” and have the dates on it, and the back says “Always in my Heart.” (I wanted “Forever in my Heart” but it was one character too long).

One Week Ago

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At 7:30am will be one week since my dad was killed. I’m feeling extremely numb today. I wanted to call into work for the day off, but I’m hoping work will keep me distracted and focused on something else.

Last night was the first night I was alone. My daughter went to ex’s for the weekend. I did pretty good, until I was scrolling on social media and I seen my mom had posted a picture of my dad. The first time I saw this photo was at the funeral. It was one of the last pictures taken of him. He was a groundskeeper for the school. The photo is of him on his mower. In his hand is his iPod. He is smiling, as always. At the funeral, this photo made me laugh. Dad loved being outside. He loved his job. He loved music. That was him. Last night, I saw the photo and I lost it. Tears poured down my cheeks. I wanted to call someone to talk, but I’m feeling like a burden on people. I feel like people are expecting me to shut up and move on. Yesterday I was talking to someone and she told me I’ve “been talking a lot.” That comment stuck with me. I don’t know if she meant it as a positive or a negative. I mean positive because I am talking about what happened. I’m not bottling up my emotions. Or, negative that she is tired of hearing from me because I have seen and talked with her every day this week. Even my posts on here have had less views, likes, and comments ever since this has happened.

I know death makes people feel uncomfortable. I don’t want to make people to feel like that. But, on the opposite side I need someone to talk to and to listen to me.

Another part of me feels guilty when I don’t think about my dad. I tried watching a movie last night. I felt guilty for not thinking about dad. I felt like this horrible person. Then I think about all the days I went without calling or texting my dad. I feel like a horrible daughter. I feel like I should have done more. I should have stayed in contact more.

I thought I had more time with my dad. I imagined him getting to see me get remarried and having more kids. I always imagined him getting to meet his great-grandchildren. I never imagined this is how life would turn out.

“Hate” Post Cont.

**TRIGGER WARNING**

I wanted to continue writing on my post earlier, but I wanted to include a warning. So, I decided making a new post completely would be the best way to go about it. I know some of my thoughts could be triggering. So, no hard feelings if you cannot read this post.

Still thinking about being so stupid and sending that text to ex. I know I can’t change the past. Then feeling like everything I do is never “enough.”

Having rough thoughts last night and today. I want to shut down. I want to crawl into bed and sleep. I want to hide from the world. I want to cry. Honestly, I want to cut. I want to feel control of my emotions and of my pain. I want to see that bright red blood and know that I am alive. I want to know that I’m not just some empty shell of myself just going through the motions of life.

I look at my scars. I want to slice them open. I want to feel that physical rush instead of battling all of this emotional pain.

I can’t cut. I can’t burn. I have spent hundreds of dollars trying to slowly get my scars covered with tattoos. I am not going to destroy my tattoos. I don’t want to let my daughter see struggling. I don’t want her to look at me with disappointment.

I quit smoking fifteen years ago. I can’t pick that habit back up.

So, I turn to food. A horrible coping technique. Instead of starving myself, I binge. I do emotional eating. I eat until I forget my emotions. I hate being hungry. I starved myself growing up. The hunger pains never stop, you just learn to live with them. I hate reliving those memories.

I want to lose weight. I need to lose weight. But in order to do that, I have to control my eating. I have to stop being an emotional eater.

So, that means I need to think of another way to deal with my emotions.

Right now, I am seriously trying. This blog is one way – a healthy way – to express what I am feeling without being judged and badmouthed. I am using music right now too.

Currently, two songs are on repeat. Wolf in Sheep’s clothing – Set It Off. The Haunting – Set It Off.

One thing, a healthy option, that has really helped is my dog. I know my parents got the dog for my daughter, but he is my buddy. He is my shadow when my daughter is not home. He makes me have to function when I just want to disappear. I have to get up and go outside to take him out or take him for a walk.

When I think if I just kill myself and no one would miss me, I know if no one else misses me my dog and daughter will both be effected.

Focusing on the Positive

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So, yesterday was a very, very rough day. I think the fact that ex is now engaged finally absorbed in. I cried a bit. I pretty much ate my feelings, and probably everything else around. I think I gained 50lbs yesterday, alone. I don’t know why I needed to eat like that. I just needed to numb the feelings and thoughts about ex. So, mindless eating and then the discomfort of eating so much gave me the physical pain instead of the emotional pain. I’m stressed of what the future is going to bring. A friend asked if girlfriend – Okay, I know they are now “engaged” so she is not “girlfriend” but you know what, I’m sticking with calling her girlfriend – would take over finances and military benefits. Man, I hope not. I’m afraid my daughter is going to get the short end of the stick in this situation.

Luckily, there were a few good things to focus on. My daughter brought home progress reports. Her lowest grade is a 95%. It’s funny, at the beginning of the school year, she was so worried about taking AP courses – in both of her AP courses she has over a 100%. Last night, she had a Beta Club ceremony where she got welcomed into the organization. That is a major accomplishment. I was so proud of her. Me, being a mom and a photographer, took several photographs. Also me, being me, I decided to share that moment with ex. I sent him two pictures, since he is out of state again. One was of our daughter with her certificate and the other was of the entire group. He responded very quickly, “that’s cool.” Stupidly, I expected him to be more excited – Awesome! Tell her great job! – or to even send her a message, or better yet call her, to tell her congratulations.

Saying Goodbye.

Death is not easy for anyone. It is a fear for many. I have never been comfortable handling losing a loved one; however, I have to be strong and there for my child.

My grandfather has stage 4 cancer. We have known for a few years. He is slowly getting worse. He has undergone chemo and radiation. The cancer spread to bones, kidneys, and liver.

My daughter thinks very highly of my grandfather. So, when I had to tell her he had cancer it was heartbreaking. She asked if he was going to die. I have kept her informed about his condition over the last couple of years – we do not live close to my family, so going for a visit does not happen often.

Two Christmases ago, we were at my grandfather’s house and he passed out in front of everyone. Scared my daughter. That was completely new experience – seeing someone sick. We went to the ER with him. I took my daughter because if it was serious I wanted her to have the chance to say goodbye. The doctors released him that day – it was actually just an issue with medications.

We have seen him a few times since then. Each time he is more fragile. Doesn’t look like the same person.

We were supposed to visit everyone this past Mother’s Day. I had an allergic reaction and had to go to the ER on Mother’s Day. So, I did not feel up to making the trip. Selfish on my part – I’m sorry.

Last night, I received a call from my parents saying my grandfather was not able to get out of bed and is fading fast. Obviously we could not just hope in the car and go over there due to distance. We called him. Let my daughter talk to him. Tell him she loved him. I was proud of her – her voice never cracked. She talked to him and told him everything she’d be busy doing over the summer.

I just hope I am strong enough for my daughter. I hope when I have to tell her he has passed away I can provide the support she’ll need. I hope I can handle going to another funeral.

I’ve never handle death well. When I was seven we lost my grandmother to cancer. My parents didn’t want my first funeral to be hers, so they took it to several funerals before hers. I remember not crying at her funeral – I was numb to the situation – until I saw my dad cry.

I never did say goodbye to my grandmother because I had been told not to let her see me cry. I have lived with that regret for so many years. I hope my daughter doesn’t have that same regret, since she did get to speak to him on the phone last night.

This will be the first person’s death my daughter will have to deal with. We have lost pets – several. The hardest one was last November, my cat – I’d had her for over a decade – she was hit by a car. Her back half was crushed – I knew there was no saving her – but she’d managed to drag herself back home. My daughter was with me when I found her. I called the vet. I told my daughter what was happening. We walked into the vet’s office, tears pouring down both of our faces. The cat was meowing – I know she was scared and hurt. They asked if I wanted to be there when they put her down. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I couldn’t sit in that room and watch my cat die. I wanted to go home, and cry.

Like I said, I don’t handle death very well. There has been lots of hard situations in my life dealing with death. I just hope I can be the emotional support my daughter needs. I hope she doesn’t follow in my footsteps – when I lost my grandmother, I became an emotional eater. I didn’t talk to anyone because everyone seemed to just move on so quickly. I couldn’t. I missed her. I was scared of going to sleep – they had told me she’d died in her sleep.

I hope I am strong enough for my daughter.

Weight Loss Journey

Obviously since I write under a pseudo name I can not post pictures, but I am going to begin another difficult chapter in my life: weight loss.

Just typing that sentence is scary. It brings back so many memories, and emotions.

I have struggled with my weight since third grade. When I was seven-years-old, a family member passed away. I was extremely close to that person. I seen the person the day they passed away – they had cancer. We knew they were dying. I was told not to let them see me cry. So, that day I kept my distance. I stayed on the other side of the room. All of the hospital equipment sitting in their living room. I could not bring myself to go to them and give them a kiss and say goodbye – a mistake that will forever haunt me. They passed away that night. I never got to say “goodbye” or “I love you.” After that, I became an emotional eater. Everyone else seemed to go on without any problems and no one talked to me about my feelings. I found comfort in food.

Growing up, my mom put me on different diets. Never worked. When I entered seventh grade, I had to join athletics. I did not lose weight that year either.

In eight grade I found something that did finally make me start losing weight: eating disorders. At first, I would skip a meal here or there. It was working. I was losing weight. No one said anything to me about it.

I continued that behavior through high school. I made excuses about why I wasn’t eating. I know people knew what I was doing, but no one spoke up! I know people could see I was sick, but no one offered help! At my lowest weight, I was 100 lbs.

A few years ago, I seen a picture of myself during that time frame. I was smiling in the picture, but I didn’t look happy. I looked like I didn’t feel good. I looked like I needed help. I could not believe what I was seeing in that photo. There are not many pictures of myself as a teenager, but that is one I will always remember.

In college, I did start to eat. For a few years, I was at a healthy weight. I went back into old habits of being an emotional eater.

During my pregnancy, I was so sick morning, noon, and night. After that, I never wanted to vomit again! And after years of starving myself, I hate to feel hungry.

You would think those hunger pains go away. No. They are always there. You learn to ignore and just live with them. I hate those memories.

Of course, my emotional eating continued with my marriage and into my divorce.

I thought the divorce diet would help. I slipped into a couple of months of depression where I was physically sick. I did lose weight – about 20 lbs – but I have since gained that back.

A couple of years ago, a friend bought a gym and invited me to join. I did. I joined her class. We did about two hours of aerobics and strength training five days a week. Of course the weight was coming off. I was starting to look good. I was gaining muscles and losing inches. My clothes were so baggy. Even my ex-husband gave me compliments about how good I was looking – he never told me I was pretty or good looking in our marriage.

I continued this for a year. She left the gym. There were no more classes. I lost motivation. I did not have a workout buddy. Without that motivation, I gained that weight and all of those inches back.

I do walk with my child and my dog in the spring and fall occasionally. Winter and summer depends on the weather, of course. But that is a short walk of maybe 15 to 20 minutes.

I need to lose weight. I want to lose weight. My child is old enough to workout with me. She does multiple sports: cheer, tumbling, softball, soccer. So, she has to workout too.

So, I am beginning my weight loss journey again.

I have worked out the past two days. My body is stiff and sore. But doing it with my child, and seeing how excited she is that I am doing it with her, really helps. She is definitely my motivation. I want to be able to keep up with her. I want to be around to see her graduate, start a career, get married, have a family, and have a wonderful life.

So, as I said, I am starting this weight loss journey again. I am at my heaviest weight: 280lbs. I know the weight isn’t going to fly off and I become 150lbs overnight. It took years to gain this weight. It will take time to lose it – in a healthy way.

My first goal is to get to 260lbs.

Excited, nervous, scared… but it has to be done. Let’s begin.