Tag Archive | death

My Moonbug

Most of you know that I had to euthanize Moon last Friday, June 29th, only two months before her 12th birthday. Sadly, this is my reality.

The other reality is that this post may make you tear up. I’m tearing up just writing it, which is why I likely subconsciously put it off until now.

What you may or may not know is that six years and three weeks before this horrible event in my life, I did the same thing with my other two dogs while my ex-husband did the same with our wolf mix. All in the same week. Scully – June 4th (the wolf; she was 10). MacLeod – June 5th (he was 15). K’Lar – June 9th (which was incidentally her 14th birthday). Devastating. The week before my birthday. People don’t understand how I stayed sane.

Well, I haven’t really been sane for quite some time now. My birthday the following week ended up being a three-day celebration.

And last Friday took another notch off my sanity after quite a bit of it shattered over the past three and a half years, which is peppered all over this blog, so I don’t need to explain that. The last of my pack is now gone. There isn’t another dog or any type of pet in the house (unless you count the crickets) to help ease the pain like Moon did for me six years ago. I don’t want another one right now.

I somehow managed another three-day celebration, this time for Moon’s life.

I made the choice because Moon’s back legs were getting worse. It’d reached the point where not only was I helping her stand up, but I also had to help her lie down so she wouldn’t hit the ground so hard. She could still walk, for the most part, but her legs were bowing outward and unstable ground was not her friend. I made the choice for her. If you’ve ever owned a pet, you understand what I’m talking about.

Umi and I are both completely overwhelmed by the show of support from all of you. Umi is especially blown away by the support of friends whom I have never met in person. She doesn’t understand it, much like she doesn’t understand the zombie stuff, but that’s okay. We’ll just smile and nod.

So I thank you, dear friends, for the support, for buying jewelry from me so I could afford the whole thing and get Moon’s ashes. I’m not certain you really understand how important it was to me that you bought items I made rather than donated the cash. It made me feel good because I worked for it. Thank you!

Goodbye, my darling Moonbug. I feel your presence when I walk through the room. I hear your voice as you try to get my attention. And I still cry when I look over the edge of my bed in the morning and don’t see you there. I love you, child o’ mine.

Skylar Moon
August 28, 2000 – June 29, 2012

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What I Need

Most of you know, especially if you follow me on Twitter or are a Facebook friend, the kind of week and a half I’ve had. My paternal grandmother passed away on June 11th, two days before my birthday, and I spent my birthday at the mortuary and cemetery planning g-ma’s services with my uncle, as well as taking Umi, my mother, to the ER. During the course of this, I was awake for 35 hours–from 3pm June 12th to 2am June 14th. On the bright side, I can officially say that I was awake for my ENTIRE day of birth. How many of you can claim that? I thought not.

Anyway, Umi stayed in the hospital until Thursday when I brought her home. Friday morning, we held the services for g-ma and I was gone for most of the day because after the service, we had a luncheon. What? We’re Italian. We eat after any event. Friday night, while I was over at g-ma’s for a BBQ (yes, more food), Umi called and I had to take her to the ER again. She’s still at the hospital, though they’ve moved her out of ICU. Congestive heart failure or something like that. Although, her texts the other night were hilarious. My mother has a strange sense of humor, even when she’s sick and in pain. It’s no wonder where I get it from. The whole of my family, meaning both sides, has a very macabre sense of humor anyway, and I’ll explain that in another post.

In the midst of all these family emergencies, I did the final edit on my new book Nemesis. We finally got it out the door Monday and it should be available now on the Running Ink Press website.

And as I hop all over the damn place, from mortuary to cemetery to hospital to chapel to hospital to *breathe* home, a cavalcade of text messages, DMs, Facebook messages, emails, etc. have come through over the past several days, all asking the same question–What do you need?

It’s a good question, and I wish I could answer it, but the truth is, I don’t know what I need aside from my mother getting better. I’ve commanded that she’s not allowed to die for at least a year. She’d better listen to me. But she’s scared. She said so Sunday night when I visited. And considering that my maternal grandfather shot me a message Saturday night during a palm reading, I understand because I’m scared too. He said to me, through my aunt the psychic, “You’re strong enough for this, for what’s coming.”

Yeah, kinda creepy, right? Actually, I know exactly why he said that. Earlier in the day, as I sat on my computer doing some final quick touches on my book, I broke down in tears out of the blue, and said, “I can’t do this.” I know I can, that I’m strong enough to get through whatever comes my way. I mean, shit, I’ve been to hell and back several times over the years. But sometimes I have that moment of weakness, where it feels like everything’s going to fall apart. And since it wasn’t so long ago that my life actually did fall apart, it kind of ups the ante on the moments of weakness and when they hit. Truly, that moment really is a moment in time, it’s a few seconds and then I’m fine.

So, really, what I need right now is to just breathe, to make sure Moon gets attention because she doesn’t know where my mom is or why she’s gone right now, to continue doing the things I need to do over at my grandmother’s house for my aunt, and to tell you to go buy my fucking book, Nemesis. 😉

Fair enough? Thought so.

The Last One

My last grandparent died on Saturday morning around five o’clock. You’ve seen me talk about her a lot. I call her G-ma. She’s the only grandparent I had left since 2003 when my other grandmother (on Umi’s side) passed away. She died on grandpa’s birthday, August 31st. Before her, grandpa died in February 1995, two months before my wedding. And 36 years ago, my paternal grandfather died. I was six, so I don’t have a lot of memories of him, but to this day, when I walk in that house, I can tell you exactly where his chair and table were, and how his pipes were laid out on that table. Every once in a while, I smell cherry blend tobacco. That’s how I know he’s visiting me. G-ma is with him once again.

Grandma Rainie was a strong woman. I mean, like you have no idea the amount of strength this woman had and the shit she carried on her shoulders. I think I got some of that from her because I always say I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. Just don’t let something happen to my mom and I’ll be fine.  Rainie was a gentle spirit, blessed with a strong faith, wonderful sense of humor and a fierce love of her family. She made friends readily and in great abundance. During World War II while g-pa Dan served our country, she was on the home front building planes in Goodyear. She was a wing girl. She was active for many years with the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars Auxiliary. She was also a retiree from Arizona State University.

Grandma Rainie was preceded in death by not only her husband, my g-pa Dan, but also my father Michael, who passed away last November, the day after Thanksgiving. She is survived by her daughter Danna Jo and her son Tony, and sister Olene. Grandma Rainie leaves nine grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, four great-great-grandchildren, and two grandpuppies. She also had many beloved nieces and nephews.

I have now reached the point in my life where I have no grandparents, and Umi and myself just aren’t getting any younger. But I do still have some family around who care, who let me cry on their shoulders, who support me emotionally and spiritually, and who cook for me when I need it, like yesterday.

So…hugs and love to my family. G-ma Rainie may be gone, but we’ve all been blessed with loving memories of her, and now she’s with g-pa.

RIP

Jinxie G passed away last week, February 9th, 2011, from multiple complications, one of which included her 135-lb. malamute Moon and a staircase. It appears that while Jinxie attempted to control the dog’s descent down the stairs, Moon decided it would be a good time to learn how to fly, being that she’s a “special” dog and continually placing her feet on the EDGE of the steps. Moon’s inability to take flight resulted in both of them tumbling down the stairs. So much for harness training. The dog survived and is fine after Jinxie broke her fall, but she is now stuck in the apartment. Jinxie’s lack of decent physical shape couldn’t stop them from falling, which is why she’d planned on going back to the gym. No need for that now. Save the thirty bucks a month.

Another complication was that Jinxie’s calves hurt like a mother . . . er, they hurt . . . a lot, from going up and down the stairs during the 21-hour move. She’d said that very day the stairs would kill her. Oh, how correct she was. Too bad she didn’t know her calves would be fine the next day and that she should have held onto the railing when descending the staircase.

We retrieved this photo from the day of death, which some of you may have seen.

Jinxie is survived by Umi, her mother, Akhi, her brother she’s mad at, and her older brother, Scope (he’s an air traffic controller), in Dallas, TX who probably wishes he’d never met her by now, if he’s read any part of her blog.

God rest her soul, but she’ll meet you in Hell. She hopes there’s a bar. If so, she’ll buy you a drink when you get there.

 

Loss – Lisa Sabine

I was going to vlog this because I thought perhaps filming it would be easier than writing about it, but I suck at video editing and there isn’t enough light around this place to get it right, so . . .

I logged out of my Jinxie Facebook today and into my “other” account to see what was going on over there. I have different people friended over there and it’s become a more professional account for me for the writing/editing. Upon logging in, I got a slap in the face when I saw I’d been tagged in a note. Regardless of the wonderful weekend I spent in Albuquerque at the Comicon and meeting the Boondock Saints, I discovered today that one of my best friends in high school passed away on October 10, 2010 due to cancer. She was my age. That’s too soon in my book.

Lisa Sabine – I’d met her in eighth grade at McKemy Junior High when she moved to Arizona from England. I’d then met her again at McClintock High School a couple of years later, and she, Rhonda and I quickly became the Durannie trio. We loved Duran Duran. We’d talk about them, dream about them, fantasize about them (c’mon, I was a teenager). I have many pictures of our nights out before/during/after dances, parties, graveyard scenes (don’t judge), but my scanner isn’t working right now so I can’t show them to you. Lisa was a vivacious and wonderful person whom I regret losing track of over the years. But then, I don’t really talk to anyone from that era anymore. At least, not until the existence of Facebook. She’d moved back to England many years ago and that is where she passed away.

Rhonda asked that we raise a glass and listen to one Duran Duran song in remembrance of our friend. So, here’s to you, Lisa . . .

You have been missed, you will be missed, and may you rest in peace.

I picked a special B-side song just for you. It’s Fame: tinysong.com/vSAB

Love you, girl. Always.

A Time Long Since Passed

I had a conversation on Twitter with someone late the other night while I was in a different account. Most of you know I have several. It spurred this post, which I think is an important topic. WARNING: this is an extremely personal post about my past and the diseases with which I’ve been stricken.

There was a time many years ago when I wanted my life to end. Twelve years almost. It was nearly a year after I’d been diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis. What’s that, you ask? A royally screwed up disease that disguises itself in your liver and has your antibodies attacking your own body. It fatigues you, drains you, yet you can never seem to get enough sleep. It knocks out your defenses, your immune system, leaving you vulnerable to everything contagious. It compromises your immunity completely. There’s something to do with your white blood cell count too, but it’s been so long now that I honestly can’t remember what it is and I haven’t been tested in a long time. It has nothing to do with hepatitis at all. They only give it that name due to similar symptoms, which honestly only consists of jaundice. Ever had that? Dehydration to the extreme. Your eyes turn yellowish, your skin, under your tongue. It sucks. That’s actually how I discovered it on a trip to Flagstaff to visit my cousin over Memorial Day weekend, 1997. She pointed out the yellowish to me. She recognized it because her daughter had jaundice right after she was born. Happens a lot up in Flagstaff, I guess.

I’d rarely been sick in my first 28 years on this planet. I was exposed to chicken pox twice as a kid and never got it. Now I pray I never get it because it would kill me. A nasty flu bug went around when I was eight,and it took everyone down for two weeks, yet I only caught it for 24 hours. That’s how strong my immune system was. Worst thing that’d happened to me up to that point was I had my tonsils out when I was four. I lived my 28 years healthy, regardless of what I ate or did. I’ve never even broken anything. Sprains? Twice. Once, the wrist when I was 16. Twice, the ankle recently.

It took the doctors two months to even come up with the diagnosis. At first, they thought I had lupus–an equally nasty disease, depending on which kind you have. One is fatal. Unfortunately, it would take me several more years to discover the doctor’s first “guess” about the lupus was correct, even though that first rheumatologist said no. My lupus is systemic and sub-acute cutaneous. That latter part means it’s a skin disorder. Not the fatal one. The former means my ANA blood test comes back positive, which in all honesty covers several diseases that are all linked together. Too bad they completely missed the fibromyalgia. Imagine the treatment I could have had all those years.

Around October 1998, I hit a major depression. It lasted six months and nearly killed me, but no one knew about it. I’m good at hiding things . . . most of the time. I hid it very well back then, and even threw a 30th birthday surprise party for the husband (who is now an ex-husband). Only one person knew, and she hadn’t seen my face in years. I call her my Sanity. She lived across the country. Still does. I hadn’t talked to her in months, and yet, she called out of the blue one day. I answered. Her first words were, “What’s wrong?” It still chokes me up because I’m still amazed at the connection she and I share. This call came after a particularly bad morning.

During this six months of hell, I’d go to bed every night praying for God to take me, to end my misery. I was in so much pain. I had absolutely no energy. I didn’t really know what exactly was wrong with me because I didn’t believe the doctors did either.  Back then, I wished it had been cancer because at least then I’d know what I was dealing with. So many in my family have had it. I’ll likely still get it at some point, regardless of how I live my life. Cancer loves my family and it doesn’t discriminate at all.

I woke up every morning angry that I was still here. I learned to hate God. I stopped believing in God. What omnipotent being would allow not only this crap happening to me, but all the horrors covering the globe? Feed me your excuses and I’ll play Devil’s Advocate. Don’t talk to me about Balance. I know it well. The irony here is that I’d stopped believing in God in high school . . . until my brother almost died after being hit by a car on his way to school. He landed on his head in the middle of the street, in front of a church. I started noticing things in the world that we take for granted. Little things you don’t see unless you look. I believed in God again . . . until the height of my depression. If it hadn’t been for my dogs that one particular day, I wouldn’t be typing this. K’Lar, my German shepherd-Chow, knew how to open doors. My over-active imagination decided to show me an image of her snacking on me.

Why yes, Stephen King has been an influence in my writing. Thanks.

I have scars now . . . all over my chest and face and upper arms. They’re from the lupus and I’ve learned to live with them. Some days I don’t care; other days I’ll stare at them for far too long after taking a shower. Two years ago, I let those scars and the extra weight get to me. The depression came again. The fiancé didn’t know how to deal with it. Then, a pinched sciatic nerve took me down for five months. I lost my job. In the third month, the fiancé lost his job. In the fourth month, he ended our relationship. By the fifth month, he was out of the house I could no longer afford. Surprisingly, it would take a year for the bank to take the house from me. I moved in with someone I hardly knew in a place too far from central Phoenix when you don’t have a job. That lasted three months before I moved to Tucson. Two months later, I had a job. It lasted two and a half months before the pinched sciatic nerve came back and I was terminated, almost on the same day as two years prior. I can’t stand or sit for an entire shift. That’s why it’s best for me to work from home. I’d done some freelance throughout the past two years, but it wasn’t enough to cover what I needed it to. I decided to apply for disability. I’m still waiting.

The first depression back in 1998/1999 lasted six months. Trent Reznor somehow got me through that one with the Fragile album. Thank you, Trent. Seriously. And I know that album was written during his last major depression. Maybe that’s why it helped. Music has always spoken to me. I hear every note, every word, every sound the artist(s) puts into it, and it moves me, stirs my soul, makes me want to sing and dance, even when it’s not the happiest of songs. The average person doesn’t hear what I hear when listening to music. They hear notes and lyrics. I hear emotions.

This last depression lasted longer than I’d ever want to experience again. Two years. It’s kind of difficult to get help when you don’t have insurance and no job. It took me a good long while to climb out of the well this time around. My Sanity didn’t call until recently. Most likely because I have more than one Sanity. I’m living with one of them now. She has been instrumental in pushing me forward, getting me to a happier place while working on her own at the same time.

Did I want to die at any point during the past two years? Absolutely. When the ex-fiancé moved out, he asked if I wanted the Glock. I said no. I have a respectable fear of guns. What I mean is that while I respect the hell out of them and know how to handle them and shoot, I know how dangerous they are. I opted for the 30/30 and the .22 rifles instead.

2010 was a bad year for a lot of people. For me? 2009 was bad too, and it started in 2008.

Yes, I wanted to die at many points in my life. But do I think death is the answer? No. Absolutely not. Obviously I’m still here. Something has kept me going. I think that something is my writing, my characters, the desire to tell you stories that I hope you’ll enjoy. My editing too. I enjoy helping others shape their stories. When I was a teen, just the thought of escaping my life was enough motivation to live, which sounds rather contradictory, but it’s really not. I didn’t want to escape through death. I mean, I did, but I didn’t. I was emo before they gave it a damn name.

It could also be that I needed to be here for others. We often overlook that when we’re wallowing in self-pity and hatred. One of my Writer’s Club kids–a 19-year-old I’ll call Pasha on here–was diagnosed with throat cancer this year. My reaction? Anger. Children aren’t supposed to get cancer! If I was dead, I wouldn’t have been here for him late at night on Facebook when he needed to talk to someone. Nor would I have seen his words when he told me I’m one of his top three favorite teachers, or that my words–always saying exactly what he needed to hear–are what helped him get through the pain during chemo treatments. I also wouldn’t have been here for my roommate when her Gallbladder of Doom decided to revolt and needed to come out. I wouldn’t have been able to answer the phone when Deni called in tears and I had to rush over to her house and hold her for several hours while she wept in my arms. She doesn’t even remember it, but she knows it happened. She calls me her angel now. Some days, I laugh at that and think, “Right, some angel I am.” Some days I remind myself that I’m not really a bad person when you look at the grand scheme of things and how other people are in the world. But perception is everything, right? I say perception can be deceiving because people can manipulate what you perceive. It’s why I look at your soul when I talk to you, not your shell.

Pasha has finished his chemo treatments now and the cancer is gone. I can’t tell you how relieved I am that he’ll have a chance to live his life. So then, why should I take my life for granted, even at the ripe age of 41? The answer is I shouldn’t, regardless of what I’m going through, and neither should you.

Sorry folks, you’re stuck with me until God’s ready to bring me home. That could mean tomorrow, or it could mean 50 years from now. While I am psychic, I’m not a fortune teller, and that’s one thing the Fates never let you see.