A Death in the Family

There’s been a death in the family.  Our sweet yellow lab has passed away.  What a horrible gap in our household.  My husband and I are going through the motions, but there is something missing.  Our routine of the last 13 years is broken.  The tears are gone.  I’m left with swollen eyes and a broken heart.  So…now that I have saddened all of you…here is the reason I share this.

Today, without my furry friend, feels a bit like my first day of sobriety.  Yesterday I walked in the door and he greeted me and I fed him, and I walked him, and I loved him.  It was very routine and very normal.  Today, I walked in the door and didn’t know quite what to do.  I looked around and I had all of this “empty air” around me and nothing to fill the void.  That’s what my first day of sobriety felt like.  The day before, I opened the bottle of wine, poured the wine, drank the wine, drank more wine…The first day of sobriety I wandered around and didn’t know quite what to do with the void.

But eventually, I filled the void.  I developed a new routine when I got home from work.  I poured a glass of water if I was thirsty, I sat down to read your blogs, took a walk (with my buddy), or attended an AA meeting.  Now I have another void to fill and I’m sure I will.  Time will heal the hurt.  He’s in a good place…no pain…no suffering.  Rest in Peace, Cooper.   Thanks for listening.Image


Six Word Memoir

Found this in an email shared by a coworker. This will be part of a writing class for middle schoolers.

Can you tell your life story in six words? According to Smith Magazine, an online storytelling publication, someone once asked Ernest Hemingway to write his memoir in six words. He wrote, “For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.”
Since its launch in 2006, Smith has been challenging people to sketch their own stories in six words. In 2008, they published a best-selling collection of memoirs called “Not Quite What I was Planning” which has been followed by eight more anthologies. NPR, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times have all reported on the story of the memoir project.

I’ve been thinking about my Six Words. While I’m thinking, ponder yours.

My Name Is Mom, And I Am An Alcoholic

I visited my 32 year-old daughter for a long weekend. She and my two beautiful grandchildren (boy 6 and girl 10) live a 12-hour drive away, so I don’t get to visit very often. I flew up on Wednesday evening and stayed until this past Monday. She had just purchased a home (she is a single mom and very determined to be self-sufficient). She sent me a text a few days before my flight to make sure she had all my flight details. She mentioned that she had a large bottle of Chardonnay chilling in the fridge for me. Oops. We don’t talk much about me. Her life is full of “stuff” with an annoying ex-husband, two busy kids, and a job whose profit depends on a strong economy. Add to that the purchase of her first house…we talk mostly about her.

So, I sent a text back and matter-of-factly stated that I don’t drink any longer. Hopefully the wine won’t go to waste. I knew it wouldn’t since she loves her evening glass(es) of wine. She immediately sent a text to my husband “why didn’t you tell me mom doesn’t drink anymore” “what the heck!” To which my husband responded, “I didn’t know it was my job to keep you up-to-date with Mom.”

Well, I was determined to get there and talk about ME. I wanted her to know why I quit drinking. I wanted her to know alcoholism is a real disease that runs in our family. I wanted her to know how happy I am now and all that I am doing with my spare time. Never did I want to talk about her drinking. I was not going to go there.

How do you start that conversation. I casually dropped hints while we were unpacking boxes. The new drinks I enjoy, the paintings I’ve created, the piano I’m playing. NO RESPONSE. I told her I no longer need my BP meds or heartburn meds. NO RESPONSE. I told her I no longer take my anti-depressants. NO RESPONSE. I kept waiting for her to ask me about my life. NOTHING. So, in desperation, when we had some quiet time, I blurted it out.

“We need to talk,” I said. “I need to tell you why I quit drinking.” “I am an alcoholic, I attend AA, I blog with other alcoholics, I bake, I read novels and remember them, blah, blah, blah.” She didn’t even blink. I asked her why it was so difficult to talk to her. I asked her if she knew enough about me to write my obituary. I asked her if she knew what I did for a living.

Geeez…I just threw it out there with no response or emotion from her. If my mom told me that shit I would have hugged her and broken into tears. You’d think that my daughter and I were estranged, but we’re not. We have really good times together (usually drinking) She counts on me to help her through stuff, to unpack boxes, help her decorate, have fun with the kids. We’ve always been close, but it’s always been about her.

Just this once I wanted it to be about me. Well now she knows. And I know she is on the phone with her sister saying, “Did you know about Mom?!” I know she’ll talk to her dad when he visits next week. I just don’t know why she didn’t want to have the conversation with me.

One of the bloggers (maybe Paul?) said something very wise. “Only alcoholics really care if you’re not drinking.” Or something like that. I guess that’s true.

Day 119

I love Sundays.  Once my house has been cleaned, I can do whatever I like.  Today I will work on painting I have started.  I purchased a new yoga dvd and will try to get back into my practice.  I need to finish the Sue Grafton book “U” since it is due back to the library tomorrow.  Oh, and I really need a mani/pedi.  I no longer spend the money to go to the nail salon (the one that gives you all the free wine you want so you will tip well).  I took the money I saved and bought some pretty polish to put on myself.  I can easily reach my own toes. I will put on some soothing music, pour a nice glass of grapefruit and tonic, and soak my feet.  Enjoy your Sunday everyone!