Hello blog readers. Cindi told me today that it felt like I fell of the face of the earth. I’ve been so active on social media and kinda spaced out that not everyone is on Facebook.
I’m posting all about life in the DR on Facebook. Multiple daily posts sometimes. I’ll talk about it here as well, but not to the extent of Facebook.
So, I will say that I love being here. I’m in a peaceful content place and I feel happy. I love the culture, the weather, the beauty, the work. I love it here. So far, so excellent. ❤
And it still sucks. But being in a place that I love makes such a difference. Being able to walk on the beach and see the ocean whenever I want makes such a difference. The pool is making a huge difference in my RA. I’m in a full flare-up (I can tell because I get nodules on my elbows and fingers), but I’m not in any discomfort. My hands and elbows swell from time to time, but it’s really not an issue. My back pain is an issue, even more so than before, but I’m also doing a lot more and lifting a lot more. I’m not sure what I’ll have to do about it. Surgery was the plan, but I’m not ready to take on another spinal fusion surgery.
So, as anyone who is paying attention knows, this is a hell month for me. I’ve handled things surprisingly well, or I was, when last week I heard that Michael’s Aunt Marlene and probably my favorite human in the world, was going into hospice. The moment I heard, I reached out to her son, Michael’s cousin Brian, and he arranged a video call for me to talk to her. I will never be able to express to him how grateful I am for that gift.
Marlene and Dave were always really important people in my life from the moment I met them. I had gone through the wringer meeting lots of friends and family members, some of whom were determined to call me Michael’s ex-wife’s name. Some who were determined to tell old inside jokes and stories and exclude me. Some who wouldn’t even acknowledge me because they thought I was Michael’s mid-life crisis. But not Marlene and Dave. The moment we met, I knew I had met a kindred spirit. She embraced me warmly, welcomed me into her home and heart, and never stopped welcoming me. She would occasionally jokingly call me the ex-wife’s name, but that was because she was a punk-ass. She and I shared the same sense of humor and found laughs among the mundane occasions where we were often sitting together. She and Dave adopted Michael and me, and they were the only people he wanted to see before he died. He asked for them, and they came. Marlene and Dave are a connection to Michael. She would tell me stories about him growing up. She knew him his whole life. She saw him born and then saw him die. 😥 She was our mom.
So, the video call. She and I video chatted for a while. She was in good spirits. She was ready to die, but not in a depressing way. She was bright, alert, coherent, funny, sweet, and loving. Just like she’s always been. While she’s lying in her death bed, she’s asking me if I’m happy. She needs to know, Lisa are you happy? 😥 And although we didn’t say the words, we both knew it was goodbye. On a video call. Sobbing into the camera, saying things that I wanted her to know. Her saying things that will stay with me forever. Then she said maybe we’d do this once a month. But we both knew we wouldn’t do it again. You’d think I would be better at this by now. But I’m not.
Marlene passed away on July 2. 😥
This has kicked my ass. When I’m busy working (I LOVE the work, I LOVE my job), I’m okay. But all it takes is a tiny trigger or someone asking me about it, and the dam breaks. I don’t know HOW many times a person can say goodbye to the most important people in their lives. This is three now right in a row. Can we call it done now? I’m running out of people to say goodbye to. 😥
Saying goodbye. It’s such a gift. The time with my dad and the things we got to say will stay with me always. Michael and I said goodbye too many times through too many scares – I think it was 3 or 4 goodbyes. Marlene and I said goodbye. And I wonder, is it really better than not being able to? I can’t speak for anyone but myself. My mom died when we weren’t speaking to each other. We hadn’t spoken in over a year. And then I got the call that she was gone. There was no goodbye, no clearing the air, no making peace. She was just gone. And I’ll tell you, I think that was easier. But, easier isn’t always better. The opportunity to say goodbye is one you should take if you are ever given the chance. Ever. Not to apologize. Not to speak your peace. Just to say goodbye.
July 4 was a bitch. Last year I was in a hospital room with my dying husband watching fireworks out the window. It was a night that sticks out because there was a lot of drama going on as well, so it was just a gross time. I’m glad I wasn’t in the US for it. Soon will be the dreaded deathaversary. Then, my birthday. My 50th last year was horrible. I was home alone and had doritos for dinner. Then, our ANNIVERSARY!
Once again, it’s all so surreal. I’m dreaming about Michael a LOT lately, and they are very clear dreams that I remember fully. I’m waking up in a fog that he’s still here. It’s all starting over again. I don’t think it will ever end. I will always find myself in this orb of disbelief. Is this real? Was he real? What is real, anyway? How the hell am I living in a country that I never saw until a few months ago? How has so much changed in a year? It really is unbelievable. If I wasn’t living it, I wouldn’t believe it.
There are lots of good things happening in my life too. I do love this place and I love the people I’m working with. I love where I am. I love the work I’m able to participate in. My dogs are happy. We see horses, donkeys, cows and chickens right outside our door. I take the dogs to the beach often. It’s a beautiful, peaceful place. The only thing missing is him. ❤
Next blog: Photos and tales of life in the Dominican Republic.