Random Rambling

This is a long, rambling post that contains crappy photo illustrations and is depressing in some spots. You might want to skip it. See? I made it short above the fold.

Still with me? Okay.

Blood Moon, Plague of Frogs and Boxer Dogs

frog_dog_moon

The frogs in the upper frame live behind the shutters on my house. I think fake shutters are stupid, but I hesitate to remove them for fear of causing a frog-a-lanche. We see scads of them emerging from behind the shutters in the evenings.

I have a difficult history with the local frog population. I like frogs just fine and am not afraid of them. But I don’t like it when anything hurls itself at me unexpectedly, and I seem to attract frogs like a magnet. Seriously, one drops onto my head at least quarterly.

The mister claims I am their deity and speculates that they have composed sacred songs and a complex mythology around me. I don’t believe that. I just wish they would stop jumping on my head or at least jump on someone else’s head every once in a while.

The picture in the lower left of the above frame is a photo of the moon during the eclipse in the wee hours this morning. I took it with my phone, and I suck as a photographer, so it’s a crappy picture.

But there’s definitely a demon face in it. That doesn’t surprise me at all. For well executed eclipse photos, check out BillinGlendaleCA’s comment here.

The picture in the lower right frame is of my two fat boxers forming the letter “S” — possibly for “sleep”? Or “steak”? If the Westminster Kennel Club ever holds a synchronized sleeping event, those two will have a shot at a ribbon.

How Much Does It Hurt?

As regular readers know, I lost my mom in late February. She was in her mid-60s, healthy and active and taking care of her own ancient mama. But within a month of learning she had a heart valve issue, she was dead.

This pain assessment thing was on a white board in one of Mom’s hospital rooms:

hurts_real_bad

During the first few of weeks of her illness, we still believed Mom would eventually be okay. Now we wonder if she knew all along she wouldn’t make it. She was a cardiac care nurse until she retired a couple of years ago, and a damn good one, so it’s probable that she knew.

But anyway, during the first few weeks, she was awake and talking and joking with us like always. We made fun of the pain assessment images. My brother drew flames on the far-right image once and replaced “hurts real bad” with “kill me now!”

I don’t know why I took a picture of it. But after Mom died, I’d see it on my camera roll and associate it with the intensity of my grief, wondering if there was some way to walk that back down to a manageable level.

So far, I’ve found it doesn’t work that way. “This can’t be real” has been replaced with, “This sucks, but it’s real.” That’s progress, I guess? But it still “hurts real bad.”

I visited my mom at her house a few weeks before she fell ill. She was always working on some project, and at that time, she was making a “barrister bookcase” for my home office, even though I am not a barrister. It’s a bookshelf with glass doors that swing out and slide up under the shelves.

She had painted the bookcase trim my college colors and etched my full name (including my much-despised middle name!) and year of graduation on one of the glass doors. However, when she installed the glass doors, somehow she hung that etched one upside down, and she was furious with herself.

I told her not to worry about it — I said it was fun and quirky to have it upside down and that my middle name would be less noticeable inverted. But she wouldn’t let me take it back home; she said she would fix it and then I could have it.

After she died, my siblings and I were going through some of her stuff, and I found the shelves under a shed attached to her workshop. She had taken all the glass doors off, and the shelves had been somewhat exposed to the weather, so they will need restoration.

I took them back home, and now I have to figure out how to fix them and put it all back together. I guess I’ll touch up the paint and hang the glass door with my stupid name right-side up.

I’m not very crafty, but my daughter is, and we’ll work together on the shelves to make them look nice. There’s nothing else we can do.

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74 replies
  1. 1
    Mary G says:

    Oh, Betty, my mom died in 2010 and I still miss her. It never goes all the way away, I think.

    But it is not as sharp a pain as it was, so there’s that.

    Thanks for linking to Bill in Glendale’s pics. I fell asleep and missed the eclipse.

  2. 2
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    A nice cathartic rambling all over the map post.

    You’re entitled, Betty.

    /hugs

  3. 3
    piratedan says:

    all I can say Betty is that the pain dulls and the emptiness fades to a degree and you do move on (and sometimes wonder why you can’t wallow in personal pity party mode but you move on from that too). Do I miss my parents, yup everyday even though I have my own silvering issues and have resolved to try and enjoy life more and live for me and with my spouse and less thru my kids. With their passing I’ve also learned to embrace the passion that I feel for what moves me and not be embarrassed by it like I used to be… forced me to grow up a bit and be alright with that.

  4. 4

    {{{Betty}}} what is your middle name? Frog Goddess?

  5. 5
    Butch says:

    My situation is odd because my parents were in their 50s when I was born so I lost them fairly early – dad going on 30 years ago, mom 20, and I still dream about them almost every night.

  6. 6
    Jerzy Russian says:

    I am sorry about your Mom. You will never stop thinking about her, but it gets easier over time.

    Those frogs look possessed. Do they do anything useful like eat bugs that would otherwise bug you?

  7. 7
    Cassidy says:

    Sex. I usually solve my grief issues with as much sex as possible. Any issues, actually. And whiskey. Your welcome Mr Cracker.

  8. 8
    ryk says:

    It gets better. There will come a time when thinking about your mother will (mostly) make you happy instead of sad, smile instead of cry.

  9. 9
    Scout211 says:

    We have seasons of frogs and toads with what seems like hundreds and hundreds around our house and property and then some seasons when we rarely see one.The really wet winters bring rise to the hoards of frogs and little toads (with an occasional giant toad).

    They are such pests. They leave little droppings all over the windows, ceilings, siding and sticky gunk everywhere. Not to mention that diving move you mentioned. Ick.

    This California winter drought season has really reduced this year’s frog and toad season. Yay! I would imagine in your area, with the wet and humid environment, your frog season is all year ’round–every year.

    We have the added frustration of the frogs around here being a protected species–the California red legged frog. Sigh. The toads are not protected, though. Bwa ha ha!

    Yeah, losing your mom is just so hard. It’s been 10 years since I lost my mom and it still makes me sad.

    It does get less painful. Eventually.

  10. 10
    kindness says:

    You could buy new glass. It wouldn’t be special then though.

  11. 11
    Ash Can says:

    Very nice story. Those shelves are going to be beautiful, middle name and all.

  12. 12
    c u n d gulag says:

    I’m sorry about your loss – and your Mom sounds like she was a terrific person!

    Finishing those shelves with your daughter will help with the healing. I hope.

    Love!
    Peace!
    Out…

  13. 13
    fidelio says:

    “Hurts less with time”, based on my experience. mostly means that you don’t think about it every damn day and when you do things even out a little faster.

    Also, “time” in that statement should be interpreted in terms of “decade”,to be perfectly honest.

    My mother said after my father died it was at least a year before she began to feel close to normal, and even then there were days where that was a goal and not a given.

    Me, I think the Victorians were right in theory (although insane in practice) with the idea of official morning periods. If nothing else, it lets people know they’re dealing with someone who is not in a good frame of mind.

  14. 14
    PurpleGirl says:

    {{{{Hugs}}}} Feel better Betty.

    I like the picture of boxers forming an “S”. Definitely champions at sleeping.

  15. 15
    Violet says:

    Still sorry for your loss, Betty. Your mom sounded like such a great character and wonderful woman.

    Your mom would love that you got the bookshelf put together and put to good use. Mostly your mom would want you to live your life and be happy. That’s your best tribute to her.

  16. 16
    JPL says:

    Just in case, I googled are frogs poisonous to dogs and discovered that there are no poisonous frogs in GA. We had rain so it brought out an army of them.

    Betty, Hugs! We appreciate your sharing and there are few among us who have not suffered the loss of a loved one. Your mom will always be a part of you.

  17. 17
    Gus says:

    Five years since I lost my dad, and the pain has dulled, but every once in a while, the sadness hits, especially because he died before my son was born. I have some guilt about waiting to have a child until I was in my 40s. I dreamed very vivid dreams of him for some time after he died. In the dreams, he had died but had come back (not in a scary/creepy way). For some reason I found the dreams comforting.

  18. 18
    Poopyman says:

    You’re doing OK, Betty. You’re talking about it – working it out. That’s all you need to do right now. Good on ya.

    Today’s the 14th anniversary of my father’s death, after an infection. Yesterday was the 33rd anniversary of my mom’s death from lung cancer. Thirty. three. years…. amazing.

    Have you ever seen the 1972 movie “Frogs”? Campy, but you might relate.

  19. 19
    raven says:

    My dad was a fanatic fitness guy. After WWII he became a coach, teacher and did the Royal Canadian Airforce exercise routine as well as distance running. He had a heart attack, they cracked his chest and, 4 days later the goddamn stitches snapped on his sternum and he had to have the surgery again. He made this incredible comeback and then got hit again. Last time I talked to him Georgia had just lost to LSU. We had these 3 minute conversations because he was the cheapest human being that ever lived. (He never stopped ribbing me for calling him COLLECT fro Sydney when I was on R&R). Anyway we talked for a minute and I said :”you gotta hang in there Coach”. “I don’t know was all he said”. I know he always knew ho lucky he was to survive the war in the Pacific when so many did not. I’m also convinced that he had just had enough and let go. He was alive but not conscious by the time I got out to Arizona. We all agreed that he would not have wanted to be kept alive and we had them shut the machines off. Never thought that would be good but 10 years later I know it was. I’ve long ago reached that place where a “smile comes across my face before a tear comes to my eye”. It won’t be fast and it won’t be is but it will come.

  20. 20
    Citizen_X says:

    Well, here’s the link to Hyperbole and a half’s improved pain scale, which should at least be good for a laugh.

    That’s about all I can do with my limited powers right now, Frog Goddess Lady. As they say, it gets better.

  21. 21
  22. 22
    satby says:

    25 years this year since I lost my beloved Dad, who went all too soon at 54 (younger than I am now).Still causes a pang and a choked up feeling very occasionally, usually when I’m witnessing someone else’s sorrow over the loss of a loved one. But the memories are happy, and they live on in us especially when we think of them. It does get better Betty, hang in there and feel what you feel as long as you need to; it will evolve in it’s own time.

  23. 23
    April says:

    Hey Betty,

    Do you think your boxer with the stump tail is any less happy than the boxer with a full tail to wag? My rescued boxer has only a stump and I cannot tell if I simply don’t witness her happiness without a wagging tail to show it or if she is a less happy dog than my others. I can imagine the swinging of a full length tail reinforces happiness, kind of like a smile can bring happiness and not just show preexisting happy.

    Odd question, but may fit with your wandering post topics. Btw, lost my mother 40 years ago when I was 7 and I still miss her even tho she is harder and harder to remember. At least you have an abundance of memories to call upon. Put the etched glass in upside down so one day you’ll smile at the memory of her mistake.

  24. 24
    Violet says:

    @satby: OT, but am I right in remembering that it’s your sister who has MS? Wanted to be sure to mention Dr. Terry Wahls to you–an MD who has “cured” her MS with functional medicine and diet change. http://terrywahls.com/. I’m not sure “cured” is the right word, but she was in wheelchair and now she can walk and ride a bike. She describes it as having restored her health. She has a book and there are clinical trials on her protocol in progress.

    You may already know all that or it may not be of value to your sister, but wanted to be sure to mention it to you in case it would be helpful.

  25. 25
    Susan S says:

    When my mother died, we were so happy. She had been brought to total dependency and a massive pain by postpolio syndrom and she hated living. She was 87..and the last years of her life were a misery..for her and the people around her. I have often wished she could have gone in her 60’s..just because the polio was there, but she could still work and paint and travel. I am determined that great people who die young [and since I am 67 I do think your mother was young!] have spirits that are needed for a new soul somewhere else in the world. Only way it makes sense..wish there were a magic wand to remove your pain but no such. [By the way, I live for your frog stories. Definitely in the Hiassen tradition!]

  26. 26
    MomSense says:

    Hugs to you, Betty.

  27. 27
    WaterGirl says:

    Big hugs, Betty.

    Joe Biden is right, you do get to the point where a smile comes across your face before a tear comes to your eye. But even now, one year short of 30 years for my mom and 20 years for my dad, sometimes the tears still come.

    I remember the beautiful spring days we had shortly after my dad died. Part of me wanted to hide inside and feel sorry for myself because my dad wasn’t here anymore and wouldn’t be coming down to visit me in time for the tulips and redbud trees in the spring and the tomatoes in the summer. But the rest of me felt like I needed to really appreciate those days, for me and for my dad, because he was no longer here to enjoy them himself.

    The person you are Betty, even as you grieve, is a great tribute to your mom.

  28. 28
    Burt Hutt says:

    I am very fortunate to have both of my parents still walking this earth. I am traveling back home after my Dad had a stent put in last week. He’s doing well and we even replaced his bathroom tile while I visited.

    Well, I did the demolition and heavy lifting of the sink and countertop and miscellaneous tasks with his supervision. We also did a few fun things that he never seems to get my sister or mother to do with him. So we watched local dirt track racing and a minor league game, too. It wasn’t too strenuous for him and took his mind off of his heart’s recuperating state.

    Mostly I took the trip for me. A different outcome would have been devastating for me had I not been able to spend the time with him. Living in Detroit while he lives in Reno is an impediment and it sucks that it takes emergencies to make the trip happen. I dodged something here and I am acutely aware that as he approaches 70 that the brushes with mortality will be more frequent. There’s another story of my Mom’s brush with Graves Disease (could there be a worse name?) not even three years ago. But maybe another time for that.

    They are both avid Fox News watchers and we couldn’t be more far apart politically. But I would watch it with them daily if it meant that I had at least 10 more years with them.

    All love to you, Betty. I can only imagine the depth of your loss.

  29. 29
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    Hugs. Lovely post. I’ll read as many as it takes you writing to move down the hurt scale chart.

  30. 30
    Cacti says:

    I know we’ve had our differences Betty, but you have my deepest sympathies.

    My grandmother, with whom I was very close, passed away last month and it still hurts.

    I look forward to the day when I can think back on my memories of her with a smile rather than a tear.

  31. 31
    Dee Loralei says:

    My mom passed suddenly about a month before yours did Betty. I do still have some really bad days and some really bad moments. I also still have those days when I’m so mad at the woman for leaving, I’d neck punch her if she were still downstairs sitting on her sofa, reading and talking to the dogs. After I got the house organized and cleaned and a bunch of stuff either given away to GoodWill or tossed, I told my aunt I could hear my mom saying “Hell, if I’d known that all it would take for you to do all this was for me to die, I’d have done it sooner and more often!” I’ve had some moments of pure joy and some days that were just happy. I’ve kept myself really busy with projects and stuff. And I’ve even started going out with friends more. But the void is still there always present. And I miss her terribly.

    A friend of mine is running for County Commission this year and on Friday night she’s having a fund raiser at a local art gallery. I stupidly decided that I was going to make all these individual desserts for the party. So, I’m gonna make a Mondrian Cake (google for pics), creme de menthe brownies, a limoncella cake with limoncella curd and white chocolate icing. I decided to buy candied violets to decorate each cake, instead of making my own, so yea me, for at least a wee bit of restraint. And I decided to invent a cookie like one of the paintings I saw in the gallery. So I googled “art cookies” and saw a bunch of regular rolled cookies with great art painted in icing on the top. But no, that’s not what I wanted! I want the cookie dough to be the art! And there is no such thing as my idea, at least that I was able to find on the entire internets. So, I invented a recipe for my impossible cookie. Made the eight or so different colors in the painting and layered them , in a small loaf pan into the shapes of the painting. All of this took me 3 or so hours for one batch of 20 cookies or so. And then I sliced the cookies and baked them, and then coated them in a clear frosting. And I’ll be damned if it didn’t work out exactly how I envisioned it! I fucking rock! Ok, and I’m a little bit nuts too. This is where I’m really missing my mom this week. 1) She would be helping me make these 300 or so individual desserts. 2) She would have tried to talk me out of making the impossible cookie. (And she would have been right to do it!) 3) She would have marveled at my triumph and been as ecstatic as I was upon my success. And 4) I woulda been all “In your face! Neeners! I was right! And you were wrong!” and done a happy dance at her expense. And she would have just giggled along with me, joyfully admitting her error and caution.

    But damn, sometimes I need her reining hand. I need her restraint to stop me on some of my harebrained schemes. I need her common sense. And right now, I really need her help in making these gazillion desserts!

    I also need her advice. When I woke this morning, I realized me making these “impossible art cookies” is more about my ego than anything else. And this event is a fundraiser for a friend. I know my wonderful other desserts will wow the crowd, but I’m reconsidering the cookies. I don’t know if I need to be the center of attention on that night. It’s my friend’s moment, not mine. And yea, I think the artist would be pleasantly thrilled at my mimicry of him. But should I instead make a different cookie that says something like Vote! Or her name instead?

    If you want to see the painting go to DannyBroadway.com click on new works and look at the painting called “Sailing”. My cookie actually looks a lot like that. I fucking did it! Oh, and if anyone is in Memphis, Friday night 5:30-8:30 is the fundraiser for Jackie Jackson for County Commissioner. She’s a good liberal Dem, running in a Republican district and we really need your help!

    So, any advice on which cookie to make? Y’all can stand in for my mom.

  32. 32
    Soprano2 says:

    Hugs to you Betty, eventually it does get better. It’s been almost 33 years since my father died of a massive heart attack, and mostly the pain of his loss has faded. It’s been a year and a half since my sister was killed in a small plane crash, and I realized in January that it was the first month the 15th came and went and I didn’t think about it being a month anniversary, as today is. Because of the experience with my father who died when I was 21 I know how it will go, I think that makes it marginally easier. The thing we have today that we didn’t have then is social networks, sometimes I get onto FB and get “ambushed” by something one of her friends has written. I still think sometimes I should call her, then remember that I can’t. I have no other siblings, sometimes it feels pretty lonely but I try to remember that I was graced with her presence for 46 years, she & I got a lot out of those years. I still have my mother, who is going to turn 80 in June. With luck she’ll live at least as long as her mother did, which means I’ll have her for 10 more years.

  33. 33
    BethanyAnne says:

    “You will lose someone you can’t live without,and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”
    ― Anne Lamott

  34. 34
    Jennifer says:

    You just keep on going, Betty, putting one foot in front of the other, and after some period of time it gets easier. You will eventually get to a place where the memory of your mom will sometimes be completely pleasurable, though even after 20 years of my dad being gone I still sometimes have ones that have a little pain mixed in. What you’re going through is normal – it sucks but it’s normal. Sorry again for your loss of your mom.

  35. 35
    LongHairedWeirdo says:

    I dunno. If it was me, I might hang the door upside down again, just the way she did, to preserve the memory. Or I might hang it right side up – because she wanted it that way, and I was finishing a labor of love on her behalf.

    But I’d make it a choice, and decree it forevermore the right choice, and use it to honor her memory.

    It’s a really shitty thing to realize, sometimes, but it’s true: while wading through grief, there’s no cure but time and living through it. But life will get better.

  36. 36
    rikyrah says:

    five years out from losing my Mom, and I’m at a consistent 3. During holidays, it goes up to a 7-8, but the past couple of years, it was around a 5, until my last Uncle passed away suddenly a few months ago. Since then, the past few holidays have been more painful than the previous 3 years. the pain will not go away, though.

  37. 37
    Violet says:

    @Dee Loralei: People love desserts and will be wowed by all the choices. Not everyone will pick up on the fact that the cookie mimics the painting. Some will, but unless you make a big deal about it, it shouldn’t be the center of attention.

    It is your friend’s night but it’s not a voting night, it’s a fundraiser. So putting “Vote!” on a cookie is somewhat premature. Cookies with her name in frosting would be good I’d think. Depends on how much trouble you want to go to.

    Also depends on how big the fundraiser is. If it’s 30 people then the desserts will get more focus. If it’s 300 people, they’ll get less. If it’s 1,000 people, then they’ll be just another thing happening there.

    The style of the fundraiser matters too. If it’s upscale and the attendees are artsy, they’ll love the cookie and it might even get them to donate more.

  38. 38
    taylormattd says:

    ((hugs)) Betty

  39. 39
    Mnemosyne says:

    Here’s a link to the Joe Biden speech about grief.

    To use a cliche, you can’t go around it, and you can’t go over it — you can only go through it. The most acute pain will eventually fade and the happy memories will be less painful, but it really does take time. G and I are both working on Year 2 of grieving (he lost his dad six months before mine).

  40. 40
    Billgerat says:

    My mom died today in 2003. If I already hadn’t a reason to dislike April 15th….I miss her very much. They say as long as you remember the dead they aren’t really gone. It’s a poor solace, but it’s better than nothing. Keep telling us stories about her.

  41. 41
    Flying Squirrel Girl says:

    I lost my dad on Jan. 30th, so I am right there with you. Some days are OK. Others weigh like a ton of bricks. We had a complicated relationship and I thought one day he would explain the reasons for some of his actions. I think knowing now that he never will hurts the most. At least there was hope when he was alive.

  42. 42
    kc says:

    Oh, Betty, I truly feel for you.

  43. 43
    O Be Joyful says:

    My dad always had an extremely green thumb- his garden kept my folks bed and breakfast inn full of cut flowers and fresh herbs year round (Galveston is much like where you live Betty). The years before he died, he began doing landscape work for friends and neighbors, and some of his designs and installations put many professionals to shame. After his funeral, I learned of a water feature that he had started a few blocks from the inn, and that only needed a few more finishing touches. I showed up the next day and hooked up the pump and made sure the copper fountain was level and worked properly. I wept the entire time I was working.

    I still miss him, twenty five years later, but the pain does ebb. I like to think that fountain still splashes water over the stones. Your barrister bookcase is a healing gift from your mom. All the best.

  44. 44
    Tommy says:

    I am so sorry. I might be a dude and 44 but my mom is about my best friend. This wasn’t always the case I might add. I talk to her at least a few times a week. She’d rather we talked daily :). She is the one person in my life that is 110% honest with me. If I act like an idiot or do something stupid she tells me.

    Last year she ended up in the ICU for a month, almost a year to this day. Honestly I never thought she’d leave the hospital alive. I can tell you how happy I am she did. And it woke her up she needed to take better care of herself and she is.

    Clearly I hope she is with us for many, many more years. I couldn’t imagine a world without her.

  45. 45
    jake the snake says:

    Even when it gets better, grief can hit you unexpectedly.
    A couple of years after my mother died, I heard a version of “Can the Circle be Unbroken” with Jerry Lee Lewis of all people singing it. As he sang the first verse, grief hit me more strongly that it had since she died. Our immediate response had been
    some relief as she had suffered terrible from cancer for over two years.

    I was standing by my window
    On one cold and cloudy day
    And I saw the hearse come rolling
    For to carry my mother away

    Can the circle be unbroken
    Bye and bye, Lord, bye and bye
    There’s a better home a-waiting
    In the sky, Lord, in the sky

    Oh, I told the undertaker
    Undertaker, please drive slow
    For this body you are hauling
    How I hate to see her go

    Can the circle be unbroken
    Bye and bye, Lord, bye and bye
    There’s a better home a-waiting
    In the sky, Lord, in the sky

    Lord, I followed close beside her
    Tried to hold up and be brave
    But I could not hide my sorrow
    When they laid her in the grave

    Can the circle be unbroken
    Bye and bye, Lord, bye and bye
    There’s a better home a-waiting
    In the sky, Lord, in the sky

    Went back home Lord, My home was lonely
    Since my mother she had gone
    All my brothers, sisters crying
    What a home so sad and lone

    Can the circle be unbroken
    Bye and bye, Lord, bye and bye
    There’s a better home a-waiting
    In the sky, Lord, in the sky

  46. 46
    Aimai says:

    @Dee Loralei: cant you put up a picture of your desserts? Im dying to see them.!

  47. 47
    different-church-lady says:

    @Cassidy:

    Sex. I usually solve my grief issues with as much sex as possible.

    How you doin’?

  48. 48
    Julia Grey says:

    Can the circle be unbroken

    Gets me every time, and my mother’s still kicking.

    When they sang a version of it on Treme for one of the musician characters, I cried then, too. Kills me.

  49. 49
    Fair Economist says:

    So far, I’ve found it doesn’t work that way. “This can’t be real” has been replaced with, “This sucks, but it’s real.” That’s progress, I guess? But it still “hurts real bad.”

    Yeah, that’s how mourning works. Right after my father died I’d break down in tears over the tiniest little thing but 6 months or so after my father died I was pretty much back to normal. I miss him, but I don’t really get sad. My husband, OTOH, still won’t do anything fun or pleasant on the anniversary of his dad’s death 13 years ago. There’s a wide range of responses.

  50. 50
    Betty Cracker says:

    Thanks so much, everyone, for your stories, your honesty, your sympathy and your wisdom. It helps to know that even if you can’t get through something like this whole, you can still get through it.

    @Dee Loralei: My $.02 — use the art cookies! They sound really cool, and while you’re right, the event isn’t about you, and maybe you made them to prove you could pull something like that off, but you still made them for your friend. If I were her, I’d be bowled over by such a gesture.

  51. 51
    aimai says:

    Everybody has given you such great insight, Betty, there’s nothing much left for me to say. I grieve with you and my experience resonates with yours even though my parents are still (knock on wood, spit three times) with me. Also: the frog thing would also creep me out. I remember a post from you a while ago which featured frog attacks very prominently. I laughed for days.

  52. 52
    chopper says:

    i had a frog just like that when i was much, much younger.

  53. 53
    Dee Loralei says:

    @Betty Cracker: Yea, I think you and Violet are right. What’s your email, yea, I know up top….but I don’t do gmail or yahoo and so I can’t see an actual email addy. I took a few pics of the cookies, since Aimai asked for them. I can send them to you via my phone, but need the addy. Then you can post them in the comments for her and anyone else who wants to see my weird creation. Or, I can post them to my facebook page, but I don’t remember the password so that’ll be a few days at least til I can take the time to sit down and figure it all out.

    Now, I’m off to make the red, yellow and blue Mondrian cakes! But I’ll check back in a bit when I can. And why oh why does a fucking recipe call for 4 1/2 egg whites! Sheesh!

    PS you are right, I made them to prove I could. Danny Broadway, giggled when he over heard me telling another friend that I had bought an easel and a paint by numbers Van Gogh. And I thought to myself, you laugh now honey, but I am soooo an artiste! I’ll make you a damned cookie that’ll make you sorry you giggled at me and my artistic aspirations! Dammit!

    And so I did! Using one of his own works against him!

  54. 54
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    Wow, a FP mention of my nym! Thanks much Betty. To be honest I took about 60 pics last night and most were crap(I don’t have a remote shutter release for my cam).

    Condolences on your mom. The wife’s little one is in nursing school, following in your mon’s footsteps.

  55. 55
    JimV says:

    There’s sort of a catch-22, in that if you hadn’t had such a great mom you wouldn’t miss her so much – but you had a great mom. And no, not all of us can say that.

    That may have been the worst attempt at trying to make someone feel better ever – but it was a try.

  56. 56
    Paul in KY says:

    Hoping for better days for you & your family, Betty.

    Please be nice to the frogs as it is apparent that they love you.

  57. 57
    Big R says:

    Where is the fundraiser? You forgot to mention where.

  58. 58
    aimai says:

    @Dee Loralei: Weigh the eggwhite and then split it that way. You can send me a picture, if you want, just by clicking the linkt at my name (I think) which should also take you to my blog. Or if that doesn’t work write to me at aimaiami at comcast dot net

  59. 59
    Dee Loralei says:

    @Big R: Memphis. Broadway Studios. 5179 Wheelis Ave. 5:30-8:30. I forgot you also lived here. Come meet my friend Jackie. Oh, and me too, LOL.

  60. 60
    Elizabelle says:

    @JimV:

    You got my attention. Might we have the same mom?

    Personally, I love finding the occasional Mother’s Day Card made for moms like yours and mine — some amusingly passive aggressive stuff out there:

    “Mom: today is all about you.”

    [subtext: like every other effing day of the year]

  61. 61
    phoebes-in-santa fe says:

    @JimV: Jim, believe me, you’re not the only one who feels that way. My mother died at the age of 88 in Oct 2012, and my siblings and I were glad she did die. She had been a terrible, vicious mother with a mean mouth. She inspired no love from any of her four children, because she gave no love. My sibs and I used to joke that, “She hated me the most!”, “No, she hated me more!” It was easy to laugh now, but not so much when going through it. My father was ineffective with the kids but adored my mother. Not an easy situation. I have been searching for a mother all my life, but I turned out pretty damn well, as did my siblings. We basically “divorced” our parents 20 years ago, and were only marginally involved with them for the rest of their lives.

    BUT, do I consider myself lucky that I didn’t mourn either parent? If I had loved them and cared for them, the pain of their loss would have been as terrible to me as to the other children who lost their parents – no matter at what age. So, maybe it was better NOT to have a connection with my parents…

    My sibs and I are lucky that our lousy parenting didn’t affect how we parented our own children. We love our children and have never stinted in telling them. So the bad parenting gene stopped with my parents. Thanks god!

  62. 62
    Cassidy says:

    @different-church-lady: Fantastic. ;)

  63. 63
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Dee Loralei: bettycrackerfl-atsign-gmail-dot-com. Take out the dashes and type in the signs, and there you have it.

    @phoebes-in-santa fe: I marvel at the strength of people who become good people and excellent parents themselves without a great mom. I have a couple of friends in that boat who adopted my mom as their honorary mother and are grieving with me.

  64. 64

    Oh Betty, my heart goes out to you. It is so difficult to go through the process — even when well intentioned people give you insight and advice. Been 3 1/2 years for me and it’s a struggle most days. Thanks for sharing.

  65. 65
    phoebes-in-santa fe says:

    @Betty Cracker: Betty, I was lucky. I had a marvelous mother-in-law for many years til she died eight years ago. SHE’S the mother I mourned for and still do, eight years later.

  66. 66
    Betty Cracker says:

    @April: Boxer tail question! I had missed that! The stubby-tailed girl tends to wag her entire ass to compensate for the lack of a whole tail. She does seem like a less joyous dog in comparison with the whole-tailed dog, but I think that’s likely just her personality rather than a function of the unnecessary cosmetic surgery someone performed on her before I knew her. She’s the smarter of the two, more impulsive and less goofy.

  67. 67
    Mnemosyne says:

    @phoebes-in-santa fe:

    My grandfather (dad’s father) was a terrible, terrible parent. After G’s father died in July of 2012, we had lunch with my father and he said, “I’m not really sure what to say, because I hated my father and I was glad when he died.”

    Fortunately, although my dad made quite a few mistakes along the way, he decided early on that he did not want to be like his father. I think having that self-awareness is step one towards breaking the cycle.

  68. 68
    Bonnie says:

    My Mom died in 2001 and I still miss her so much. She was so kind and the spirit of her kindness permeated the old house she lived in. I don’t think you ever get over the loss of your mother–particularly if you had a good relationship with her before she died.

  69. 69
    phoebes-in-santa fe says:

    @Mnemosyne: I think that’s the truth. I’m glad it happened with your dad.

  70. 70
    Betsy says:

    Oh, God, Betty, I get on the computer just to read your posts, I declare.

    Your post was not at all depressing, though yes, very sad. Rich, wry, grieving, and utterly worthy of a daughter’s grief. I am glad you shared these thoughts with us.

    Your mom must have been one hell of a person. How you must miss her.

  71. 71
    Ruckus says:

    Losing close family members is tough.
    It doesn’t get better, it does get easier.
    Started losing family members when I was ten. That is a long, long time ago and a lot of family members ago. Mom was the second oldest and the last of her family to go a couple of years ago. Dad went in 01 after years of Alzheimer’s suffering.
    So I’m a little more used to it, but that still doesn’t make it easy. Trust me, in a while the pain of her last few weeks will fade a little and you will remember the good stuff a little more.

  72. 72
    Kris Collins says:

    I lost my mom in 2002. It does get easier, honey, but you never will stop missing her. However, those fking disgusting frogs have got to get out of your life!

  73. 73
    Kris Collins says:

    I lost my mom in 2002. It does get easier, honey, but you never will stop missing her. However, those fking disgusting frogs have got to get out of your life!

  74. 74
    J R in WV says:

    Well, we have lots of frogs and a few toads. Never had one fall on my head, and I can appreciate why that wouldn’t be any fun.

    We have a tiny shallow pond by the front door, 6×8 feet or so, to throw water coming out of the hill away from the house foundation. Here in the forest, up on the ridge, there aren’t a lot of places for woodland frogs and other amphibians to reproduce with any real regularity.

    First at the wood frogs, which make low little sounds like ducks, only lower and quieter. Then peepers and chorus frogs. Giant salamanders and newts as well. This year the pond is full of leaves, so the picture taking isn’t so good.

    We probably have 2 or 3 thousand tadpoles right now!

    Everyone commenting above about losing family are right in every way. My Mom died in 1997, and sometimes it feels like she is right here with me. Same for my Dad who died on election day in 2004. That was a BAD day!

    You just keep on going, and things will feel better, slowly. The bookcase is a great thing for you to have to remember her by. My Mom was big into junk stores. We have a beautiful little walnut table she got for $10, it was painted white. She stripped it, rubbed it with oil, now it looks like a million bucks, which wouldn’t be enough to buy it from me.

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