WWRWD? (What Would Robin Williams Do?)

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Unless you live under a rock, or are involved in a much more catastrophic, international crisis (like the one going on over in Iraq; yeah – hello – did people forget about that one?)…then, you are aware of a few certain tragedies that occurred over the last few days; most discussed being the deaths of Robin Williams by suicide, and that of Lauren Bacall of stroke.

Let’s be clear about something: the loss of any human life is, in and of itself, tragic. The loss, for any reason. Any. Reason.

But as the outpouring of sympathies, grief, and broader discussion about depression, mental illness, and suicidal tendencies overtook the world of social media as a result of Williams’ death, the conversation necessarily took a certain tone. A tone that was less about the loss and the future, and more about the moral.

Everyone, mental illness is real – get help.

Everyone, Robin Williams is smiling down on all of us.

Everyone, let’s imagine that a man who committed suicide is now laughing in heaven, because that’s totally what religious doctrine that suggests such a place exists says will happen to people who take their own lives.

I’m no atheist, and I’m also no Bible thumper. But if I know one thing, it’s that some, if not all, religions say people who commit suicide go to hell, or at the very least purgatory. So if you believe in heaven, you should be believing that Robin Williams is actually toasting on the devil’s pitchfork right about now.

Even Williams’ What Dreams May Come has the suicide victim stuck in the middle of hell.

These droves of pithy suicide and depression morals then turned into the haves and the have nots, the haves being those that felt their positivity and opinions on suicide were absolute truth; and the have nots being anyone who said anything the haves did not like.

It started with people talking about whether or not suicide is a choice, which it – by definition – is. (Arguably, it is the most personal choice, as the truest consequence is to no one but the decision-maker.) Calling it a choice pissed a lot of people off.

It continued with people railing on about whether or not suicide is ever justifiable. This is when the “suicide is so selfish” posters came on the scene; and when the know-it-alls of the world came out in droves to claim that suicide is an idiotic, narcissistic thing to do. (For the record: it is neither idiotic, nor selfish. Some of the most intelligent and selfless people I have ever known, or known of, have taken their own lives; Robin Williams is included in that group.)

Then Matt Walsh entered the room, and everyone lost their fucking minds.

For those of you unfamiliar with Matt Walsh, he is probably the most hated blogger on the Internet; so much so that his sometimes-controversial positions have garnered him the infamous title of “douche dick.”

People (mostly bloggers) hate this guy so hard for almost anything that comes out of his mouth, no matter how innocuous it may be. They post long diatribes about hating him on their Facebook and Twitter pages. Often. Then they get very dramatic at the end with “I just don’t want this guy to get more page links, I’m not going to link him…nope, not going to do it, I would feel terrible if he got page hits by my hand!!!!”

Because (1) none of us know how to use Google (apparently), and aren’t now intrigued enough by your psychobabble to go look his newest offense up; and, (2) we should all just blindly believe everything you say.

Absolutely everything, no questions asked.

Well, today I believed it, at least for a while. I believed that Matt Walsh probably made some callous remarks about Williams’ death, and it would just annoy me. I’ll admit to having read things he said that made me mad in the past; not all things he’s said, but definitely some. Still, I agree with more of what he says than probably anyone else on the Internet. I’d never get so crazy about my disagreements so as to talk publicly about him being a douche dick, or whatever the cliques are calling him these days. But we’ll leave it at: I’ve always had mixed feelings about him, so I figured there was at least some probability he’d said something out there.

So I ignored it and moved on with my day. I was busy, so you know…

But suicide is different. It’s very personal to me. It’s very visceral. It’s happened to two people very close to me, within the last two years; so the wounds from their deaths are still open and bleeding. Going about my day, therefore, still kept the question about what Matt Walsh said in the back of mind, just as the discussion of suicide and it’s consequences had been there since I heard of Williams’ death yesterday afternoon. Has pretty much always been there for the last two years.

Then I saw someone share a site called “What Matt Walsh Is Wrong About Today.” That was when I decided to actually read Walsh’s original post about Williams’ death. And as I toggled between the two – one calling Matt Walsh “a dick,” “callous,” “careless” and “ignorant;” the other a (seemingly) careful analysis of suicide and the discussion that needs to be had, I realized that there is a lot about suicide that people don’t seem to understand.

Even more they don’t understand about what Matt Walsh said.

(EVEN MORE about acting like adults. That a group of people have gotten together and made a website to single out someone they disagree with, or don’t like, says a lot about why bullying is so rampant in our culture.)

Without going into all the details of the Walsh controversy, it started with a tweet from Walsh, stating that “When we talk about depression we shouldn’t pawn the whole thing off on ‘chemical imbalances.’ It’s not just clinical. It’s spiritual.”

The responses to that tweet, both on the What Matt Walsh Is Wrong About Today site, as well as Twitter, are insane. As I read through some of them, I realized that people are so ignorant, uneducated, and closed-minded, it’s baffling. Baffling. Suddenly they all seem to completely deny that there is such a thing as non-clinical depression. Clinically, there is – it’s called situational depression (my 10 year old daughter suffers from this). There’s also a depression called “existential depression” which is related to existential (versus acute, situation, or clinical) anxiety (I suffer from this). This is the kind of fantastical ideas that the Existentialists and Shakespeare’s Hamlet talked about.

And it’s even more complicated, and there are even more classifications, than that.

Do you people see yet how complex depression and suicide can be?

There was nothing callous, incorrect, or horrible about Walsh’s tweet. In fact, it’s a discussion that needs to be had, because clearly people aren’t getting it. Because Robin Williams is one of millions that have taken their own lives, and will continue to, until people wake up and stop romanticizing these terrible and tragic emotional situations.

No one seemed to like Walsh’s elaboration on the point (in his lengthier blog post), because people responded in kind by calling him negative, insensitive, one-sided, and – again – a dick. They called his very thoughtful comments ignorant.

If anything, I think Walsh’s post was insightful; and in some ways comforting to know that someone – finally, anyone – understands that the depths and the hells of depression and suicide are so much more complex than just one thing; that it isn’t just about chemicals or illness or disease, but about choices, personal circumstances, and an understanding of the abyss that only the person committing the act of suicide could possibly have.

That these things have to be had in the conversation about suicide and moving forward to prevent them. That you can’t just chalk it up to a disease; that it may not always be simply negativity making the decision to take the pills or slit the wrists, or in the case of Williams, hang from the rafters. That you can’t just say “they’re in heaven now smiling on us, get help if you need it, moving on with my PTA meetings and other mundane bullshit that exists for everyone but those that have succumbed to nothingness.”

Because that’s what suicide really is, that no one wants to admit. It’s succumbing to nothingness. People don’t commit suicide because they want to shine down on us from fucking heaven. They succumb to nothingness because they want the dark, black, nothing of non-existence. They want life to stop, which makes the people referring to suicide’s afterlife sound like the only true idiots in the room.

At the end of Walsh’s post, he talks about joy, and it’s absolute necessity to life. He says

So this, for me, is always the most essential moral at the end of these kinds of sad, terrible stories: we are all meant for joy. We are all meant for love. We are all meant for life. And as long as we can still draw breath, there is joy and love to be found here. I believe that. If I didn’t, I would have left a long time ago.

Joy and love. There might not be much else for us on this Earth, but these are the only two things that matter anyway. These are the forces that brought the whole universe into being, and these are the forces that sustain it, and us, and all life.

I just don’t understand how someone can read that and call the guy a dick. Or a douche dick, or whatever they say about him. And it’s when I read that, and I toggled through even more posts about Matt Walsh and his terrible ways, that I began to wonder what Robin Williams would do. What anyone, really, who has committed suicide, or thought about committing suicide, would do. Would they call this guy names, and personally attack him for talking about these issues holistically and from the point of all sides?

Or would they act with compassion and understanding and the knowledge that only someone who has looked into the abyss could have?

 

3 People You Should Hide Your Early Pregnancy From

So I think I’m about to lose a lot of you as faithful blog followers. I say that because I’ve been thinking about the concept of the pregnancy announcement, and I think my feelings about it will hit way more home than some of you want.

Get over it. This is my blog. My opinions.

It seems like it’s pretty taboo to announce you are pregnant before the second trimester. This year has seen an unprecedented number of pregnancy announcements – from friends, family … people I didn’t even remember existed until suddenly their naked belly photos were splattered all over my Facebook Newsfeed. The underlying commonality of each, though, was that they waited until the second trimester to announce. Complications could come up. Miscarriage is most likely in the first trimester. Blaa blaa blaa. You know the drill – it’s taboo, because what if you lose the baby?!

Yes. What if you lose the baby? God forbid you have a networked support system to be there for you.

In my mind, there are three people in particular that you should hide your pregnancy from:

#1 Your Hot, Latin Pool Boy

Yes, I said it.

We have a joke in our family about my uncle: that he’s really the Mexican gardner’s son. My grandma used to be teased to no end about the fact that he looked completely different than the rest of the family. She’d respond with “OK, but you know the milk man was a possibility too.” You go girl.

We all know that the baby’s father may very well be your Latin pool boy anyway – the paternity test on Maury two years from now will be the decider of that. In the meantime, you can limit the drama and keep the fun going for a little bit longer. At least until you start to show.

#2 That Gossipy Family Member

Everyone has a family member that is overly gossipy. I am fairly certain that I am bordering on being her in my family; but besides that, you should definitely hide your pregnancy from her.

Don’t hide your pregnancy from me, though.

Gossipy ladies are so horrid. Really they should be called: shit-talkers. Back-stabbing shit-talkers whose entire personality revolves around the ability to fling crap like monkeys. They don’t just tell stories they should be keeping to themselves; or share secrets that  were told in confidence. They make shit up. They speculate. They exaggerate. Someone gets fired from their job as a part of a huge set of layoffs, and the gossipy lady turns it into a dramatic scenario where “you know, I heard he was bringing vodka to work in his water bottle.”

Losing a baby is hard, but to have the gossipy lady talking all kinds of shit behind your back is just unnecessary. For this reason we will never be able to tell a single member of my husband’s family about any future pregnancies, until the baby is on its way out. Those people gossip like there’s no tomorrow, and you know what they say – someone who will talk shit to you, will talk shit about you.

#3 Your Starbucks barista and/or bartender

I’m just kidding about the bartender thing. I mean I know the pendulum swings on whether or not it is safe to drink any alcohol while pregnant, and right now a lot more people are having the occasional glass of wine after the approval of their doctor; but I’m still kidding.

Okay I’m not.

Nothing brings out the judgy-mcjudgers more like early pregnancy. “I made this decaf for you since you shouldn’t be drinking caffeine” they say. “You’re pregnant? Oh, I’ll hold off on bringing edamame to your table” they defy. “Can I show you photographs of babies with fetal alcohol syndrome while you drink your half a glass of wine that your doctor said you should go ahead and drink, because I disagree with him and my associates degree in mixology is so much more valid than his many years in medical school?”

The only person who has a right to give food and beverage advice to a new, budding pregnant lady is her doctor. And Web MD. And maybe What To Expect When Expecting, but I’m going to err on the side of just her doctor. Keeping it mum when you are trying to weave your way through your daily pattern of eating and drinking is perfectly fine for your own ease.

Now did you all notice something? I didn’t say that you should be keeping your pregnancy hidden from your closest family and friends, now did I? I know this is a touchy subject for a lot of people. Perhaps they miscarried or had to terminate the pregnancy due to complications. Maybe that was the hardest thing – and how could I ever understand what they went through. I’m such a fucking insensitive asshole that doesn’t know shit.

Or am I?

Little known fact: about two and a half years ago, in spite of the chastity belt lined with razors I keep close to my lady parts every night, Poor Nick successfully shot one in the hole, so to speak. I know, I know – who knew? It was a horrible time for us to have a baby, though; I had just left graduate school and was having a hard time even getting out of bed after doing so. We already had Pookies running around too, so he acted like a jerk about it from the minute I said “oh shit…” All the drama and stress and secrecy and “how are we going to do this” about it was for naught, though, because “God’s plan” took care of everything, and before the sixth week I was again not pregnant. To be clear: of no fault of my own. (Duh, I’m Catholic.)

Flash forward to now, and I am living through the deaths of two people very close to me. A suicide and the natural one of my grandfather. Had I had the love and support of the family and friends around me then as I do now, maybe it wouldn’t have taken so long to feel normal again. People say it’s different, but it isn’t. There’s always someone there waiting to say something stupid – in both situations. There will constantly be people pitying you, or avoiding you because they don’t know what to say. But in the middle of all of that are a group of people that are there for you, and support you. Unconditionally.

I see no reason to keep your pregnancy a secret from any of those people – for any amount of time. Because having to tell them about it is a path to being less alone if something goes wrong. Culturally, I think we need to get beyond this taboo – we need to learn to do things together again, rather than always isolating ourselves from each other at the worst times.

And of course to once again embrace the love of our hot and sexy, Latin pool boys. Because pool boys need love too.

That’s just my opinion, though. What’s yours?

Funeral Fails

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So I mentioned almost two weeks ago (the last time I blogged, actually): my grandpa passed away on February 6th. It’s been very difficult to get through it – my grandparents and I have had a very special relationship from Day One.

Fortunately, the funeral events are finally over with. Between my husband’s uncle dying last month and my grandfather passing away on the 6th, we had a total of four funeral days this past week to attend. Are you with me on the overwhelmingness faithful blog followers? The schedule went like this:

Sunday, February 10th 

Scattering of Uncle Stevie’s ashes, breakfast with the family, and memorial luncheon

Tuesday, February 12th

Grandpa’s wake near our home and birthday dinner for my mom

Friday, February 15th

Grandpa’s wake near his retirement home – 250 miles away outside Yosemite area, followed by a military burial, followed by a memorial church service, followed by a reception in the church, followed by photos and flowers by the graveside, followed by scattering bird seed around near their old home (like my grandpa used to do), followed by a family dinner at the casino.

… followed by my husband and I driving home just 24 hours after we had made the trek up

Sunday, February 17th

Grandpa’s memorial and celebration of life locally (they lived around where we live for the majority of their careers, then moved back for the last two years of Grandpa’s life), followed by a reception, followed by another party at our house

To say I am tired of all this shit doesn’t really even cover it.

But in the last week, I have spent an unprecedented number of hours and days with my mom, and quite frankly a lot of people – something that is typically considered a nightmare to misanthropes such as myself. I was talking to my Uncle John yesterday, and said that this is the most time I think I have ever spent with my mother; and his response was that he knew I was ready for some space. That’s putting it nicely, though. It was a fucking nightmare. My worst nightmare, wrapped into a huge ball of anxiety and sadness and missing my grandpa.

And there were a number of funeral fails, or death-related pet peeves that came out of it all.

Funeral Fail #1:

Expecting Everyone To Grieve The Same Way

179783_659293169593_1073053114_nSure, I was sad about the fact that my husband’s uncle died. He was hit by a truck while walking across the street – a tragedy in itself; and his life was very tumultuous as well.

But I also didn’t know him too well, so expecting me to break down crying while we scattered the ashes was a little weird. And still, I was asked by one of my husband’s cousins if I never cry at a funeral, or if it was just them. I understand, people are sensitive with their pain, but my God. I said “I just am glad Stevie is finally at peace in the ocean with the other surfers” and I got a cold shoulder.

I’m sure it didn’t make things any better that I proceeded to then walk back from the edge of the pier to wait for them. I just couldn’t be expected to start sobbing, or be interrogated for not doing so – especially when I was trying to keep myself under control after my grandfather had just passed away a few days beforehand. Nonetheless, it made me think about how many people out there truly do expect people to all grieve the same, exact way.

Funeral Fail #2:

Scheduling Funerals On People’s Birthdays

48119_659676985423_1001985731_nI understand the already-sensitive nature of scheduling a funeral, wake, memorial service, and so on, between the schedules of the churches, parties involved, and funeral homes. But I also think there is something inherently wrong with scheduling funeral events on someone’s birthday.

Two of the dates of my grandfather’s funeral events were scheduled on people’s birthdays. What was particularly frustrating about this was that everyone expected to be able to leave the wake and just chipper up for the birthday celebrations immediately afterwards. To make matters worse, the first was my mom’s. Even in a time of grief and sadness, she still managed to try and micromanage and drama up the entire thing.

First she yelled at me for suggesting that we have a potluck-type thing at my house, since my grandma would no doubt be too exhausted after the wake to go out into a restaurant for dinner. Then she yelled at me for saying it should be potluck, and then told most of the people coming over just to not really bring anything. And in my mother’s typical fashion, when everyone sang her “Happy Birthday,” she just had to call her Hillbilly Husband out in New Mexico, put him on speaker, and involve him in the festivities. She always does that – puts him on speaker, as if this will rectify the fact that the family has either never met him, or only met him for a brief time years ago. This is as if to make OK the lies this guy has told, the fact that they eloped and never really included the family in any kind of celebration afterwards, and all the other egregious offenses that have occurred since this Trailer Park King entered into our lives … but I digress.

None of it would have been necessary had we just been able to schedule the wake the day before.

Funeral Fail #3:

“Do You Remember Me?”

Let me start this final rant off with something nice: I very much appreciated all of the people that came to visit and mourn and pay their respects to my grandfather. He was an amazing guy, who made a lot of friends and treated everyone he knew like family.

To their credit, most of the people that came to any of the three of my grandfather’s funeral days were very understanding of the fact that I might not recognize them. “Of course you wouldn’t recognize me – the last time I saw you, I held you as a little baby!” and so on. Those people were fine.

But then there were those motherfuckers that had to just expect me to know every faceted detail about them, in spite of the fact that I haven’t seen them since I was five. And then there was the lady whose pants fell off while she was looking into my grandfather’s casket (I shouldn’t joke about it, I’m sure it was embarrassing) who kept saying “well, I would expect you to remember me, but I just can’t remember you…”

By contrast were the vast number of people who said the words “oh, I didn’t know your mother had a daughter …” – a statement which speaks volumes, but we will gloss over for the moment.

Yesterday’s was the final straw for me. A woman walked up to me and said “Heather, do you remember me? You used to be my pharmacy technician! Are you still there?” I said that I was not. That I haven’t worked in the goddamned pharmacy since I graduated from college almost six years ago (I left out the expletives). I thanked her for coming to “my grandfather’s memorial,” which is when she said that my grandpa had hired her to work at the church we were in. But then, right as she started to walk away, she turned around again and said “I can’t believe you don’t remember me – I mean, I got a lot of medicine at that pharmacy while you were there…I thought you would have at least taken the time to remember me…”

Really bitch? My grandfather – who, you just explained to me, you wouldn’t have a job here if it weren’t for – just died and you are giving me shit about the fact that I couldn’t necessarily recognize you from a two-bit, part time job I had just to give me some extra cash while I was in college – over half a decade ago? REALLY?!

The moral of the story is that people should really just stop dying. Since that is not going to happen, I suppose the other moral is that when you have multiple funeral events to attend, and are in a position of extreme sadness and grief, you should probably just fix yourself up daily Valium-Wine cocktails. That’s essentially what I did (well, the wine part) this last week. God only knows what I would have done had I not…

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By the way, doesn’t my grandma look amazing for a woman who just lost her husband of 63 years? I think so. While I am absolutely devastated at the loss of my grandfather, I think I can speak for both myself and my grandma when I say that this next phase of life in his honor is pretty exciting. I’m starting it with making a quilt out of his shirts for my grandma, having her come over more to teach me to cook her most famous dishes, and letting my grandpa wrap his arms around me every day as I wear his oldest and most cozy cardigan sweater. I love you, Grandpa.

My Grandpa

483547_658642832873_1609952441_nIf you are a close family or friend, or you are a close enough acquaintance to be a Facebook friend, you know what has been going on with my grandfather the last few days. I realize now the beauty of the social network – in just the ease of a series of posts from my cellphone, family and friends who knew my grandpa were a part of the most special of his last days on earth. There were many people who emailed me and asked that I continually update, and for that I am grateful that we live in a time of access and information that this was easy to do.

My grandpa was a Nebraskan turned Illinoisan, gone Arizonan, and in the end a Californian to the very core (in a good way though). He was a swimming champion. He was a veteran. He was a teacher. He was a regular at Bob’s Big Boy for their bacon cheeseburgers and chocolate milkshakes.

Most importantly, he was my grandpa.

Like a lot of grandparents do, my grandpa took on a fatherly role towards me. This is just what grandparents did at the time (many still do now, although many are also more removed than my grandpa was). When I was born, he was so proud to finally have a granddaughter that the school in which he taught raised a sign in the break room – “Bob finally has a granddaughter!!” He bought the entire school donuts.

And I will never forget the camping trip when grandpa’s trailer got stuck on a hill and he screamed and swore, while I panicked and thought we would be stranded in the woods. I was eight. We ended up staying in a hotel and the next day Grandpa and Grandma took me to plant a tree at the front of the lot.

On December 10th, my grandpa fell. There have been a lot of ups and downs with his health in recent years, but this fall was different. It was as if he and grandma knew he couldn’t come back this time. The days wore on and grandpa was in so much pain, he grew weaker and weaker until he developed pneumonia. On Sunday, they said the time had come to accept and support him, and to place him in hospice.

534845_658578287223_148570237_nMonday I was planning to see them but Grandma had a little cough and was worried about making Grandpa sicker. Within hours, though, I was phoned and told I needed to get over to the hospice center because Grandpa had only days left to live. I spent quite a bit of time with them there Monday, then Tuesday woke up and decided that we had to be there for my Grandma. Her strength is my strength and I knew she needed me.

Tuesday was long. We had to get my mother from the airport. My husband had to come home early. We had to transfer from babysitter to babysitter. And at the in-room services they held for my grandpa, quite a few moments came when my grandmother and I embraced and just reminded each other how strong she is, and how beautiful her life with Grandpa was.

Before I left Monday and Tuesday, I talked to Grandpa and he mumbled – both times. I have never known extreme gratitude for a single moment in time until those beautiful mumbles from my eternally sweet grandpa acknowledged that he knew I was there.

This morning at 5:30, my mother called to say that Grandpa had passed. My Grandmother is the only of my grandparents now to survive, my grandmother and grandfather on the other side having passed when I was in high school.

In all of these years, my grandma has been the one person to calm me down and give me hope. As I said, she is my strength in every sense of the term. When I was little, she would rub my back or draw tiny circles on my face and sing to me. Over the last few days, she did this again. When I spoke with her this morning on the phone, she said she is here with me in her heart, sitting in my bed and rubbing my back again. And while I know that I will see her more in the coming days, her song this morning is particularly beautiful. My grandpa was such a lucky guy.

May my eternally sweet, consistently compassionate, grandpa rest in peace.

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Last Week Sucked Harder Than Your Mom Every Time She Goes To Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras is coming up, which means one thing and one thing only: time to lock up your mothers. Grandmothers? Oh, I guess I’m the only one whose mother has appeared on Grannies Gone Wild. Moving along…

So last week sucked. It sucked hard. Harder than … well, I think you’ve gotten the point. Not to be crude or bitchy or – as the more childish refer to – negative, but it did. Did you faithful blog followers have a hard week? Here was mine:

My Car Broke Down

480832_654152611313_271389699_nWe talked about this earlier in the week, but it’s worth reiterating. My car broke down which sucked because it was new and, while – yes – it was a new used car, it was still a major frustration nonetheless. We finally got an “offer” from the private dealer that sold us the car on repairs last night. He said he could refer us to the guy he knows that does transmissions.

No talk of money. Gee … thanks. I’ll just grow more money out of my asshole to pay for that whopping $2500 repair that should not be needed only three weeks after the car was purchased.

Achilles Died

And in a tragic twist of fate, Achilles the fish met the same, exact fate as Achilles the Homeric hero. Well, I assume as much, although we did not inspect to see if there was an arrow in whatever would be equivalent to the fish’s “heel.”

So Achilles died and to make matters worse, the other fish started eating him and then the body was rapidly disintegrating into the water – the thing couldn’t have been dead longer than a day. We honestly just couldn’t find him.

There are now three options. (1) Replace the fish again. (2) Call it a loss and finally accept that we can barely take care of ourselves, let alone animals. (3) Stop naming our pets after characters in The Iliad. Fortunately Menelaus (the fish) and Agamemnon (the guinea pig) are still alive.

For now.

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My Crazy Mom Flew the Coop

We already talked about this earlier last week as well, but the update is that the Hillbilly actually did cry wolf, yet again. The Hillbilly Husband is fine and alive and his heart is beating quite well. Sadly, the rumor has now developed that my Trailer Trash Mom just can’t deal with the responsibility of being near my grandparents as they rapidly decline, and that she was using her most recent tale to run away as that happens.

That and she wanted to get some. Gross, I know. Grannies Gone Wild is an understatement.

I should probably consider it a blessing that she is not around. I mean, she isn’t stealing things from my apartment anymore. There is no more eating of all my groceries. And stories about her teeth being lost or misplaced or falling out during conversation are minimized since we rarely speak while she is out of the area. But it still doesn’t change the hurt it’s caused to her family, her parents, and – most importantly – my Pookies.

Poor Nick’s Uncle Passed Away

And in the coup de grace of crap-slinging that life threw at us last week, my husband’s uncle passed away, after a very unsettled life battling many personal issues. He was hit by a truck after stepping out into traffic Friday evening.

We learned of this last night and today I woke up feeling like garbage. When does life give anyone a break? Is it always hard? Always a struggle? A series of one thing after another that has to be dealt with? Loser family. Car problems. People with their hands in your pocket, just taking all of your money. Death.

One of my favorite writers and philosophers of all time, Bertrand Russell, said

“The life of Man is a long march through the night, surrounded by invisible foes, tortured by weariness and pain, towards a goal that few can hope to reach, and where none may tarry long. One by one, as they march, our comrades vanish from our sight, seized by the silent orders of omnipotent Death. Very brief is the time in which we can help them, in which their happiness or misery is decided. Be it ours to shed sunshine on their path, to lighten their sorrows by the balm of sympathy, to give them the pure joy of a never-tiring affection, to strengthen failing courage, to instill faith in times of despair.”

MjAxMy1iOWQ5MGMzNWIxNzczYzNlNotice, it doesn’t say anything about giving people a hard time for having feelings or being down. It doesn’t say “it is our duty to judge them for posting on Facebook that they are having a rough patch” – something I see people do constantly. I know that I surround myself with those that are lights in a time of darkness. And I hope that one day I too can shed sunshine on the paths of others that have had a hard week, a week like I just did. To lighten their sorrows and to give them the pure joy of a never-tiring affection.

No matter what the world throws at you, it seems all OK at the thought of that.