gratitude is the word of the year

The other day as my mom and I were at our first together at a craft festival, we shopped together looking at other’s creations and admiring things together.  As we shopped somehow or another, she saw something that said Joy.  She said, “that’s my word”. I said wait, what do you mean?”  She said she picked a word this year that was a word she was focusing on.  She picked Joy.   I laughed and said, well I like that word, that is my word for Anna, because I think I should have named her that because she exudes Joy all the time.

It reminded me of a bible study or a practice that many people do in meditation or prayer.  The past few days for me, have been health hell, but I found the word, Gratitude surface up and help me focus my thoughts.  Gratitude has showed up this year, in helping me pull out of my hole of depression and helping me find any small light to be joyful for.

On Friday, I knew I was going to check into outpatient to have a procedure, as they called it to have a scope to look at why my bladder has been making stones.  A second surgery would be scheduled after the doctor found out what he needed to.  But things changed from this original plan.

For many of us, this would be a big deal, it was, but I have a habit of trying to not make a deal out of shit because of some odd malfunction of mine.  Anyway, that morning my brother who took me, went to go get a biscuit, I was playing sim city on my iPhone and waiting for the dr.  which would be an hour.  Well, about 3 min passed and in walked my dr.  Oh hey.  Well, in about one minute he changed the plan.  The “procedure” would be now to go ahead and blow up the stones and figure out what the blockage was to my kidney.

(I’m glad that 2 weeks ago when they told me, that I got drunk for reals because this just shows I had a real reaction and reacted and then I later swept this under the rug.)

So anyway, as he explained what he would do, I stopped him and said, well wait, you had a different plan, he looked at me like, so what…

I was like, um a stint is uncomfortable you said, he said, well, yes, but I have to do that in order to do a scope.  oh.

So I of course acted like a grateful normal easy going woman and said ok.  I texted my brother who was taking his time, and this of course caused us to giggle because he was off in some bathroom.

soon my room was busy with nurses and anthesesiologists who asked me over and over what was my procedure and whatever…..

I was super friendly and I kinda just thought, this is easy, I’ve got this.  I’m not going to have a nervous panic attack.  So a comedy routine happened as my brother who joined me in the room.  I’m sure the nursing staff thought it was the greatest day of their life.

soon the iv was in and i felt a strange feeling,  “hey, did y’all give me something?”  yes they said.  oh good,  I like versed.  My kids have had that.

Later in the OR, they quickly put my anesthesia mask on me because I was apologizing for having a full bush and hairy legs.  breathe deep Ashley……

I don’t really want to know how or what they did.  I don’t have a time concept.

I awoke in recovery. and i hurt.  my nurse had no expression on her face.  I heard one nurse talking and she was very nice.  I wanted her.

I hurt bad.  I asked for pain medication.  She gave it to me, but seemed annoyed. Then I felt nauseous.  I asked for that med.  she gave it too me.  It was really loud because another nurse was fussing.  I was in hospital hell.

Eventually I left, but not before questioning my expressionless nurse on why she did not talk to me.  I wonder if she gets that a lot?

The next stop is the recovery step down.  I was put in this recliner thing and I immediately threw up.  they give you a small blue plastic trash can that is hand-held for you to throw up in.  3 or 4 nurses showed up and then there was none.  again no talking.  soon I saw my brother and i thought thank god.  As he arrived he told me what the doctor said.

So I had a flap over my kidney that was causing my urine to not move out like it should that caused the crystals that turned into stones.  He blew up 2 but one was unreachable.  He removed the flap.

I did not have to have another surgery, my brother smiled to me.  I think I threw up.  and said, i need pain meds.  I think I cried.

the pain was so intense.  It keeps you weak.  it humbles you, it prioritizes for you.

It hurt to throw up or heave.  I remember looking at my brother in mercy.  He quickly handed me my personal tiny throw up trash can.  I asked for more meds.

soon I observed others leaving and I realized I wanted to go home.  to just be sick at home. I asked about this.  Another nurse showed up named Evelyn and I complimented her on how nice she is /was because I overheard her.  She liked this.  My brother used humor without my amazing accompaniment and he failed.  Evelyn looked at him.  If I could have laughed at him, I would have but I think I heaved from the pain.

I got in a chair and I got in my brothers car.

Every turn, and bump wiggled that stint in my urethra.

My urethra did not like that stint and therefore neither did I.

We finally made it home and I made a shot for my bed.  I just got in it and laid down.  and then I threw up or heaved.  this awful heaving sound that scared even me.

My brother was flying around and trying to help me.  He was answering phone calls, and I think he was cleaning.

You see, I left my house a mess because this was just supposed to be a simple procedure.  I had laundry to do.  My oldest left for the beach, there were dishes waiting.  no groceries, my toilet seat pulled off with a crack in it.  dirty under ware and random clean clothes in a basket.  My brother who is married to a neat freak, was overwhelmed.  After several hours of me laying there and Sean saying he did hear me snore. My mom showed up with my 2 kids and my nephew.

Mom quickly got to work cleaning because now…. we had an issue.  I was non mobile or able.  My bro had a birthday party of one of his children the next day.  I overheard the word epic used to describe it.

My mom can’t leave my dad anymore for long periods.  I had no one.

Let’s pause now.

I did not have anyone.

this is where I lost my shit and pain, puts you down on the ground humble .

I remembered my friend Maura had offered to stay over.  I blew her off at the time.  and now suddenly, I blurted out her name.

She was perfect and she showed up.  I want to type that out again.

she showed up.  She eased into my house and chatted easily, i heard her, she came to look at me and we grinned and I just laid down.

You see Maura is like an adopted older sister who i fell in love immediately with years ago. We have stayed friends and she shows up.  We had just finally had dinner the other week an said we need to do this more.  Who knew she would become my person overnight soon.

I just stayed in the bed and she watched a movie with Anna on my stinky dog couch but Maura does not care, she has dogs too.

She is messy, intelligent, simple, she has empathy mixed with a strong-willed woman who is a smart ass.  She woke up during the night when I did and made a noise.  She came into my bedroom and made sure I got back in the bed. It was bad that night.

at 3am, I was awake again for like the 10th time and I called the doctor on call.  I said this is not normal.  he said I could take another pain pill and take 3 motrin.  so i did.

In the morning I went to my couch and spread my body out to let my urethra have some space.

Anna made me coffee and got me water.  I just stared in pain.  As the morning passed Maura woke and checked on me.  During the night she had been up just as much as I had and had numerous animals visit her.  I was embarrassed and yet so freaking thankful of this easy-going woman in my life.  I am so fucking grateful to have her.  I mean it.  She showed up when I was not able.  Honestly I was sad to see my bro and mom walk away.  but there was no choice.  I am a widow and I don’t have a significant so I have to call people and honestly this is what makes me cry.  sometimes they say no.

or sometimes they don’t even call.

I think what gets me next to the floor and so low is when I know they know and they do not call.  I could say this is just one friend but because I require lots of friends, it’s more.  I even tell myself why they don'[t call.  I’m too much.  It’s just too much that I need.  they have done their time.  they can’t do it.

So I am so grateful for my brother, my mom and Maura.  I am grateful for my church community.  I am grateful for my God that I have in my mind that is my self-conscious/ a mix of John in heaven and the goodness factor.

I pray to God,  please help me. please.

and he sends Maura.   he allows me to feel pain.  and feel grateful for my home and bed.  He reminds me of how powerful our body functioning properly is.

I do not take this body that somehow he created for granted.

God, have mercy on my soul.  I am so grateful for you.




I never believed in lucky numbers or unlucky.  I had of course known about the number 13 but honestly, I really did not believe in it.  So a lot of bad stuff happened in 2013 and I did not even really think about the 13 part until 2016 and then I kinda went.  huh?

First I thought of 2013, and then that’s when John died.  that’s sad.  oh gosh, 2013 is not a great number supposedly.  Then I thought, well actually other yuck stuff happened to.  like, our dog died.  Our Zena dog died a month before John and we all cried and cried.  I really missed her.  that’s not good.  Then I remembered John did not have his contract renewed for the first time in teaching.  He was devastated and it was awful to go through as his wife, as his friend, as his person and it was awful because I honestly was not supportive enough.  It was a blow to him.  This was on top of in March, he lost his Dad.  Then before that it had been a year of stress in his job of dealing with a rough class.  It was not a good year for John.

For me.  I had been accepted to grad school and I started.  I was elated.  I had gotten a sorda promotion and raise.  I had submitted a proposal to present nationally and it was accepted.  I was going to NYC to study with one of the top schools in the nation for a week.  For myself, it was a career winner.  For John it was horrible.

Anyway, this year, I have talked to several of my friends about writing. I’ve submitted  few things and it was shared which was huge for me because that meant I was open about something so raw I was putting into words.  It vulnerability and I don’t like that. But I love writing and coming from a place of being told, that I suck to others being said, no you don’t.

So I have thought about doing more with writing to continue to heal and soothe my soul, but also to crank out my ideas in a creative way to share.  As I’ve thought about how to frame my writing and what I need to share, it’s about grief.  I want to share and help heal, just as other writers have done and they so helped me.  I want to help others.  so for some reason, 2013 is resonating with me.

2013 will be a frame.  It’s catchy.  It’s just.  plain and simple and if you step back before, during and after reading my material …. per say you….. It would frame it all.  So that’s where I am.

Prissy and the Chickens- Take 2!

Well one of my first posts right after John died was about a conversation I had with my former mother in law.  I say former because since I’m not married technically to John anymore, I can call her that.  Go ahead and read into that sarcastic writing.

so anyway after 2.5 years of basically not talking.  She decided she really wanted to spend time with the children and I was in a better place so I gave the week available.  They all planned and got excited.  She even drove to Asheville to get them.  6 days.  Wow.

Prissy is still around but not the chickens.  Since John passed away, his mother sold her little house in the middle of nowhere and bought a house bigger than mine in a nice neighborhood right off the BRP.  She has a new car, a golf cart, even though she does not play but the kids love it. She leads a simple life of herself, a few friends and her new church to her.

As a progressive and left leaning Christian, I struggle with forgiving my right wing conservative former mother in law.  but I do feel the anger leaving my soul for her.  I listened to my children talk about their week.  They saw some relatives that are mine, they loved her house and golf cart.  Prissy even lets them pet her.  They had big favorite meals, they went shopping, and on summer adventures.  They had a great vacation and they spent quality time with her.  The oldest shared how they drove past our old house and Grammy broke down.  Later at the dinner table, she broke down again and so did the girls. What my children have not had, is John’s mom to grieve with.  This woman who carried him, birthed him and raised him, longer than I got to be married to him.  She drove him crazy but he loved her, she was his momma.

So this week when I got super freaky because she was reading aloud the bible to my almost agnostic child, but they (the children) calmed me down and said it’s ok, mom.  We are ok.  My Christian self, questioned what I love about God, and begged actually for grace and for help letting go and letting him/or her be with my children as they heard a different interpretation.  See I should so trust it’s going to be ok, because She and her husband/John’s dad raised John in a very conservative home but I did find John.  Who was quite moderate in most ways but loved my liberal left leaning ways.  He turned out ok.  I myself was raised by conservative moderates and look at me.  I’ve embraced having a week of not feeling guilty when I’ve been at work.  That was a big nice break.  I noticed that difference.  This working mom thing is hard.  I want to be with them to make the world the best that I can since we lost part of our family.  I feel guilty a lot for being late to work or because I’m not at home with them when they are barely sick.  If I stay late at work or spend longer days at work.  I feel guilty for asking my mom to help because then she feels guilty for leaving my dad.  My dad feels guilty for feeling guilty and hurting and missing everyone.  I hate guilt.

So Prissy  and Mary had the children and it’s come full circle for me in this grief loophole.  Peace be to thee.