Christmas Jello


Despite my best efforts, I had an epic meltdown last night.

The thing that triggered it was that my daughter lost her Cleveland State graduation tickets. Drama and chaos ensued as we both tore through the house, looking in places that seemed ridiculous (silverware drawer) for them.

(She’s graduating on Sunday with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and of course, I’m so proud of her.)

“You didn’t accidentally throw them away, did you?” she asked me, desperation and accusation in her voice.

Oh, the way children can break their mother’s hearts.

“Not that I am aware of,” I replied, trying to keep my hurt from showing.

Well, we didn’t find them.

It was too late for her to contact the college to see about getting replacement tickets, although she did try, all she got was a recorded message saying that the office was closed.

I reasoned that they would understand and give her more (she only needs 7) but she freaked out and said that they wouldn’t grant her any. Everyone was going to be mad at her and she was such a basket-case over the entire ordeal that I became quietly angry and absolutely speechless.

I went out onto the patio. In the freezing, bitter cold darkness, I took a few deep inhales of the marijuana that I splurged on for the holidays and then exhaled slowly, watching the smoke go higher as the wind took it away.

Fuck it. Fuck this.

I was angry, bereft, depressed and wishing that I could disappear up into the clouds with the plumes myself.

Once I came back inside, I started crying so hard that I thought my body would dehydrate. I was so scared, I was am so lost. I wanted to talk to somebody, but it was after 10 PM and I didn’t want to bother anyone with my intense grief and feelings of despair.

How can I continue to live without her? How will I fulfill the promise that I made to my mom before they wheeled her away for that last pointless surgery?

These thoughts turned my blood as cold as the ice that has formed in the outside water bowl for my dogs.

There will be an extra unused ticket for my daughter’s graduation.

There will be no present under the tree that says “mom” on the tag.

There will be an empty seat at the dinner table.

If one more person tells me that she’s in heaven now with God, I’m going to scream.

Everything feels different now and nothing will ever be the same again without our matriarch leading the way, with her intense joy of having us all together on Christmas Day. My mother loved Christmas and now that she’s dead, I have no desire to buy gifts or make Christmas jello-like she always asked me to do.

Red and green squares, topped with Cool Whip. Sugar-free due to being diabetics and the fact that nobody else ate it but the two of us.

The numbness that comes after death to protect us from the shock is hanging out above the treetops where my marijuana smoke still lingers, too high for me to reach and put on like a safety cloak.

The office has more tickets for my daughter to pick up after work today, so I won’t have to fight and argue my way inside like I was planning to do. I had nothing left to lose and no lack of ticket would’ve kept me from watching her graduate.

I need to be there to take photos and a video. I need to represent my deceased mother, who wanted so badly to watch her first grandchild achieve something so monumental.

Nobody seems to understand how I am feeling right now and I crave solitude so badly that I can taste it like the Christmas jello from last year, sweet on my tongue, yet this year, bitter in my soul.

White Flag

My daughter and I decided to start our own jewelry business back at the end of August. She saw a package that I had ordered from Etsy and asked me if she could open it. Keep in mind that she’d had no interest before that day in my little hobby whatsoever.

I said sure, go ahead.

I’d gotten a mix of charms and as she looked through them, she found an S…L…and an ornate O.

Sandra Lee O’Leary. My mom’s initials.

She kept those for herself and asked me if I’d make her a car dangle thingy for her mirror. I obliged. It seemed like some sort of sign (gift?) from her dear grandmother.

That’s how it all started. We began to make stuff…bracelets, necklaces, shiny car dangles, key-chains and my daughter’s specialty, earrings.

It was just the two of us, usually late into the night. I taught her what I knew from watching videos. We laughed, talked and bonded, spending valuable time together.

I saw a craft show that needed vendors at a local VFW hall. The cost to rent the spot was $35 and it came with a table and two chairs. We decided to give it a try, because why not? Maybe we’d make a profit. (We didn’t.) But what’s more important than money was the time that we both shared as a mother and a daughter, becoming closer and grieving together over our beloved person.


My daughter and our amateur display of twinkly stuff.

We were supported by family. My best friend Cheryl made an appearance. A good friend of mine even printed out business cards and other things with a logo that she created especially for us. Bless her beautiful heart.


My mom used to call me her sugar plum. The dreams part was added by my boyfriend. 

Speaking of him, my boyfriend helped me set up the night before, as I was having a major panic attack and had made myself physically ill due to the thought of failure. Thank God for that man. There’s nothing greater than having your arms folded across your chest and then being wrapped up in a giant, gentle hug.

It was more of a marketing event than a craft show. We would have had better luck selling Tupperware. In fact, only 3 or 4 other tables were selling handmade items. The rest were direct marketing sales. We were extremely disappointed, but still happy that we did something so out of our comfort zones together.

Yet the entire experience has exhausted me. I can never outdo fibromyalgia (you’d think that I’d have figured this out by now!) and thus I have put up my white flag. I need to stop running around pretending that I’m some kind of healthy person.

Working an 8 hour shift kicked my ass mentally and physically, although I spent most of it sitting down. There’s a real reason why I’m unable to work and on disability, yo.

My sister-in-law is going to try to help me set up some sort of online store to try and sell our jewelry, but I am no business woman. I mean, I couldn’t sell an igloo to an Eskimo. There’s an indoor flea market that runs once a month until March and we might look into that, but it means plunking down more money for a spot and table rental. My daughter and I are going to think about it.

The last two and a half years has finally caught up with me. I’ve lost so much. My sham of a marriage and my beautiful mother. But I’ve also gained many things as well, such as my dignity, self-respect, a better relationship with my kid and a loving, devoted boyfriend.

But I sure do miss my mommy. The holidays are going to suck major monkey balls.

Sunny Days Always Bring Me Down

I hate when the sun rises and illuminates my bedroom, indicating that it’s time for me to get out of bed.

My phone no longer rings at 8 am. My mom is gone and she called me every morning to help me with the difficult transition from sleeping to being awake. How I miss that daily call. I know that I’ve mentioned this before, but I can’t seem to shake the need to repeat myself.

I get this really icky feeling that I can’t seem to find words to explain, which started during the summer of 2015 and has recently made a comeback. It’s dread, fear and panic rolled into one nasty emotion.

Is it a form of existential dread, wonky brain chemicals or what, I haven’t the slightest clue.

Some mornings are better than others. I come downstairs and take care of my dogs first, food and water for them, then I let them outside to do their thing. I make my solo cup of coffee and then use the restroom myself. I take my morning medications and when my coffee is ready, I go sit in front of my laptop and turn it on.

Just do the next thing, the grief group book advises.

My boyfriend sends me a good morning text and I’ll respond, as soon as I can think straight enough to form words. He’s the main person that’s keeping me going right now, my lantern in the darkness.

Today would have been my 10th wedding anniversary. How things can change in just one decade. This date means absolutely nothing to me now, yet it brings back memories of how happy my mom was to finally marry me off to someone she trusted, that promised to love and care for me.

Well, we didn’t know.

There’s no way to guess how many years I have left. Only God knows the exact date, time and circumstances. He even knows if I’ll lose my battle with my own self and jump off of a cliff when I’m 51.

Fuck, I am morbid. Steven hates it when I think like that, but I’ve never hid it from him. It comes with the package.

Yes, I still often wish that I could pop off sooner than later, but this is a thought that I’m so accustomed to having, I barely take notice of it anymore. Just like the tide, it comes and goes.

I read something interesting the other day, on how to deal with anxiety and other unwelcome thoughts…face, accept, float, let time pass.


This book is on my reading list, but I’ve watched a few videos and read some of Dr. Weekes advice. She even recommended that suicidal ideation be treated with that same mantra, unless there’s an active plan being put into place.

These are all thoughts of a tired mind.

Well, then I suppose that my mind is pretty damned fucking tired, doc.

I think that I might start sleeping on the couch at night. Maybe a change of scenery will help keep that icky doom thing from laying its ice fingers on me.

I could use a break from it.

I don’t get to see my new therapist until December 5th. The woman who did my intake interview told me that there’s so many people who need psychiatric help and only so many providers to offer that assistance.

I’ve been going to my grief support group at the church every Monday evening, although there’s only two other woman, besides the two lovely ladies who are in charge of it. But they are all extremely nice people and I’m glad to have met them.

It helps somewhat to know that I’m not the only one who feels the need to share my grief instead of keeping it all to myself.