Friday, September 30, 2022

I don't even know how this came up

 Dear John,

We were watching Abducted in Plain Sight (you would have hated it and turned it off, because these people are unbelievable naive and stupid).  And somehow, S started telling me about the time you were in JC Penney's and your mom wouldn't take you to the bathroom and you ended up pooping your pants.  Then you described walking along, shaking out "rocks" from your pants.  I don't remember you telling this story, but it sounds like something you would have said.  Anyway, we got a good laugh from it.

I was drinking a glass of wine, which seems to have interfered with my vision.  I feel like I don't have binocular vision right now - I can see individually from each eye, but both together don't seem to work.  I wonder if this is how your vision was working at the end.  You complained for a couple years that you couldn't see out of both eyes at once.  I wish the optometrists could have figured it out.

Speaking of which, I have to make appointments for S and me for eye exams.  I tried to make one, and once I had gone through the process with one company, I got an email saying they don't take our insurance.  Sigh.  On to the next place, I guess.  S said she wouldn't mind going back to the lady she saw last year.  I didn't like her, but if S does...I guess I don't mind.

When my sister A was here, we made some headway on organizing the baseball cards.  I'll be continuing to work on them for a while.  I can see why you chose not to deal with them - it would have been very depressing to you to face the lack of return on your investment.  I'm not sure what to expect when I try to sell them, but it will probably be far less than I think today.  Fortunately, one of my online friends (the one you thought was completely full of shit all the time with his Army proclamations (but also felt a little comradery because he is Army) has had some suggestions.  I hope he will be able to hook me up with a decent/honest dealer.  We shall see.



Thursday, September 29, 2022


Dear John,

We survived homecoming.  There were a few blips - which wouldn't have happened had you been here, because you would have objected to the expense.  We went to get our nails done, and I expected it to take 2 hours, but it took 3 because they were understaffed and overbooked.  That meant that S and her friend missed all the free food at the tailgate party, so I had to get them some dinner.  At that point, S was upset but ultimately decided to skip the football game.  It had gotten cold overnight, and it was drizzling, so she decided she didn't want to sit outside in that.

The next day, we got up early to get her hair done.  I was unsure about the hairdresser - she has the same last name as a former CSI who left rather suddenly and ignominiously, so I was concerned that it would be his wife.  Fortunately, it wasn't.  I liked her, but the hair style she created kind of made S's head look a bit like a football.  But it was fine - the 8 am appointment meant that her hair fell into a beautiful look by 4:30, which was picture time.

We went to the park by the library to take photos with the group.  (I went in to the library to pick up my movies.  The librarians were busy peeking out the windows and discussing how short many of the dresses were.  I showed them a photo of Selah and they approved of her dress.  It wasn't too short and she looked absolutely beautiful.)  I forgot to mention that my sister A came down - ostensibly to help with the baseball card issue, but also to be there for us during the first significant event without you.  She came to the park, and we were marveling at all the well-dressed and made-up moms who appeared to be reliving their high school days through their daughters.  

It was really weird, though.  All the girls would see each other and coo over each other's dresses and hair and shoes, but with S, they didn't do that.  There was no "I love your dress!"  Or, "OMG, your hair looks great!"  I hate that for her - other girls seem to think she doesn't need the same care and attention they give to each other and it's hard to watch her disappointment in not receiving it.  I did tell her that one of my friends in high school used to ask me "Why are you so hostile?" So maybe we share that quality.  I'm sad for her that she doesn't have a best friend like M, who I have known since we were 8.  But I hold out hope that she will find a friend like (other) M, who I met in college.  The both check in with me a lot since you've been gone.  It helps to know that I have people who know I need them and step up to be there for me.  I hope that I will be available for them if they need it, and I hope S finds her Ms sooner rather than later.  

After pictures, I drove S and two of her friends to a restaurant.  S was irritated with me that I didn't find a place to park while they waited for the rest of the group.  Instead, I kicked them out of the car.  My sister and I went to your favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner.  It was nice.  S then went to the dance, and then stayed over at one of the girl's houses.  Initially, she thought her two "friends" would be too annoying for her to tolerate.  But she adjusted, and had a good time at the sleepover.  As usual, she was super-cranky when she got home.  

We all went out to brunch with my sister's friend who lives locally.  It was fun.  After that, we went to Kohl's to shop for S's birthday present.  She ended up getting 6 shirts with her aunt's discounts and budget.  A gave them to her immediately, but there's another gift that we picked up while S was at the sleepover.  

I'm not sure how we're going to get through her birthday, but her solution is to go somewhere.  I'm trying to figure out where to go.  I don't want to fly anywhere.  We might go to my sister J's house - I'll have to check with her.  Or maybe we'll take a little road trip.  I don't know - especially with the dogs.  It's going to be a hard thing to manage.  I wish you were here to celebrate this particular milestone.  16 is a big day, and your presence will definitely be missed.



Saturday, September 17, 2022

It's a rough one

 Dear John,

I'm not sure why today has been rough.  I know it has something to do with Italian Fest.  I always wanted to experience that with you - you went once to watch S on the bungee trampoline thing and refused to sample any of the food or drinks.  For 17 years, I thought you'd enjoy celebrating your heritage and eating some fun street food.  You never wanted to go, so I would take S.  And because she is just like you, she would visit the firehouse, jump on the bungee trampoline thing, refuse to try any of the food, and be ready to go home.

This year, S marched in the parade.  One of the gold medalist volleyball players from the last Olympics went to high school here, so she came and marched with the volleyball team.  Since S is managing the team, she was with them and got to hold the gold medal.  I guess, since the medal is actually solid gold, there were many cops around, in case someone tried to steal it.  

I didn't stay for the parade - just dropped S off and went home.  There was no point in wandering around by myself.  I don't think I'll bother with it again.  It has never worked and it's time to stop trying.

I got a book from the library today.  I wish you were here to talk about it with me - it's a memoir of someone who was in my high school class.  She has a particularly notorious ex-husband.  I would enjoy talking about how I'm not buying her story about her lifestyle growing up, and you would enjoy talking about the ex-husband.  I don't know if we have any Olympic gold medalists in my graduating class, but we certainly do have some illustrious people.  My 35th reunion is next month.  I won't be going - S wants to have another park birthday party that weekend.  She'll be 16, and trying to get her driver's license as soon as she can.  

My sister is coming next week to help me organize the baseball cards.  I have made a small dent in them, but it is a daunting project.  I will have to ask S if she wants any of it.  She always says yes, but I'm not sure she's thinking clearly.  I am glad my sister will be here, as next week is also Homecoming.  That's going to be another rough one for me.

I'm glad you got to go to your 30th reunion.  I think you really enjoyed meeting up with many of the people to see what they were like now.  As usual, I was a little hurt that you didn't take me with you.  I guess doing everything on my own will pay off in the long run.

On the plus side, I received the paperwork to say that the VA has finally acknowledged that I have a dependent.  Extra $$$ for the next 2 years!  



Friday, September 9, 2022

Survey says...

 Dear John,

I spoke with a VA rep about you today.  It was a survey for people whose family members have committed suicide.  Aside from this blog, I guess complaining to the VA about how ignored and dismissed you felt is my other form of therapy.  I'm pretty sure you did not want me to talk to her, as the calls kept mysteriously dropping.  I spent an hour telling some young woman that you weren't acting any differently in the month before you died.  It was just that, for previous incidents, you talked to me about your wish to die, and I could anchor you in some small way.  This time, if you had wanted to talk about it, I didn't see the signs.  I do have some guilt over that, but I also know that I could never stop you from doing anything you were determined to do.  

Betsy, the VA rep, asked if I had any thoughts or opinions on how this could have been prevented.  I had a lot of thoughts.  I told her that when the military is conditioning young men and women to be mentally and physically strong, they're also preventing them from seeking help when they start having mental health issues.  How can you expect these people to admit to not being mentally tough when you spend all that time telling them they need to be tough?  There really isn't a solution there, except for, perhaps mandatory therapy when returning from deployments.  I also mentioned the VA policy of only having so many sessions with particular therapist before switching.  I understand the idea behind the policy, I think.  But there's no good way for people like you to establish enough trust with someone to actually explore the traumas behind your anxiety and depression.  And I imagine there are plenty of people like you.

It's almost September 11.  The bright spot of this year is that I don't have to yell at you to stop talking to me about how 9/11 was a huge conspiracy brought on by the US government.  That drove me up and down the walls.  I hope that death has brought you that ultimate knowledge that was promised, and I hope you're now saying "I hate to admit it, but she was right."

Tomorrow, I'm going to the electric co-op for something.  All I know is there is an opportunity for $30 in bill credits available, and I'm gonna get 'em!  Turns out, though, since the bill is in your name, I could change it to mine, and collect money from them.  I'm going to inquire about that too.

S is still talking about her ex-friend, the one you referred to as Green Teeth, or, when you were feelings nicer, Chef Boyardee.  I think she's jealous, because the girl gets lots of attention from boys.  S is getting attention, but not as much because she's not dating.  I don't think anyone has asked her to homecoming, but she was planning on going with friends anyway.  She is much more social this year, though.  She's even asking people for rides instead of completely depending on me (she still mostly depends on me). It's only a month til she can get her driver's license.  I'm so sad you're not here to see that and celebrate it with her.  Her birthday is going to be so very hard this year.  

I watched a terrible movie today.  Licorice Pizza.  You would have hated it.  Then I watched a documentary about Attica, and the 1971 massacre that occurred there.  That one would have made you angry.  Injustice always did.   I miss you and your opinions about my movie choices.