Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Meeting Emily

I've "known" Emily for almost seven years.  She friended me on Facebook six days after Melissa passed away.

I received a beautiful message from Emily.  She was extending her sympathy for our loss...and also introducing herself.

She first got to know Melissa through the article she wrote for the Cincinnati Weekly.  She was a genetics counselor, working as a sales rep for the lab that did the BRCA testing.  She happened to come across the article when she was in an oncologists office in Cincinnati.  Melissa's blog address was at the end of the article.  That's when Emily started reading the blog.  Then she realized that they had something in common...she went to OU too!  And they had mutual friends, although they didn't know each other.

Emily sent me messages occasionally over the last seven years.  When I moved dad into assisted living, I posted about it on the blog.  Got another message from Emily - she and her husband had just moved to Melbourne!

I had been there several times, but never had the chance to call Emily.  Always busy with dad.

We were going to wait and surprise dad on Monday morning when we picked him up for his procedure.  I just didn't want to wait - we were only going to be there for a week and I wanted to see him every day.  So right after we checked into our hotel, we went to his place.  We knew he would be at dinner, which was perfect.  We went up to his floor and sat in the lobby outside his room.  He spends a lot more time at dinner than I realized.  He goes to dinner at 4:30 - thought we'd only have to wait 10-15 minutes (got there at 5).  He finally got off the elevator at 6:30....and walked right past us!
As soon as he got into his room, I called him.  When I heard his phone ringing, I knocked on his door.  He answered the phone saying "hold on a minute, someone's at the door".  When he opened it, he had the BIGGEST smile on his face.  He was SO happy to see us.

All that worrying for nothing.  I was sure the first thing he would say was "did you bring my car?".  But it wasn't.  We talked for half an hour before he asked about the car.  It went a lot better than I expected.

We didn't stay too long because we had to get up early the next morning.  On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at Coasters Bar & Grill - the place Rob wanted to take dad. (Rob helped us find dad's assisted living place).  After I ordered, I sent Rob a message, thanking him for helping us find Victoria Landing, how they take such good care of dad and how much he loves it.  I hit "send" and literally seconds later he was behind me! He was there and we didn't see him.  I posted the story and the picture on FB.

One of the responses to the post was from Emily.  She and her husband were there that night too!!!!   Since I had never met Emily, I wouldn't have known her if she was sitting next to us.  I sent her a message and we decided to meet for breakfast.  

Wow.  Not only did Melissa have wonderful friends, she attracted wonderful people too...that I have the pleasure to get to know now.  Melissa would love Emily.  She's a lot like her.  I don't think I told Emily that in the almost two hours we spent together with her youngest son, Ryan.  We had a lot to talk about.    Found out that Emily knows Dr. Romer (in fact had been in Dr. Romer's office - kind of wonder if Melissa was ever there when Emily was there!) and one of her surgeons.  Small world keeps getting smaller.

I'm so glad that we finally got to meet.  She said "I have two friends on Facebook that I've never met. You were one of them."  So glad we changed that!

Meeting Emily was one of the highlights of the week with dad.  Spending time with him and his friends and my cousins from Utah & Texas - and cousins from Dayton who happened to be in Florida made the trip even better.  And exhausting.

Nick just happened to be in San Diego on business while we were in Florida.  He went to see the Midway (the aircraft carrier dad served on in the Navy).  He Facetimed us when he was walking onto the ship - it was really cool.  Dad loved it!

We got to spend some time with dad at one of the activities they have - they called it Karaoke, but it was more of a sing-along.  Although when we walked in the room, dad was front and center with the microphone in his hand!  The activities director very gently took it out of dad's hands so they could hear everyone instead of just dad!  

It was a great visit. And it ended on a good note too...I had a visit from Melissa the last night we were there!  Interesting thing, I got a message from her friend Misti that she had a visit from Melissa the same night!  She must have needed to see us as much as we needed to see her.  

Had lots to catch up on when I got home.  Lots of errands on Monday, the bank was one.  Wasn't sure if what I needed to do could be done at the counter or if I needed to talk to someone in the office.  So I stuck my head in the office door and ask if she could help me.  She invited me in and when I sat down, I realized she looked familiar - so I said that.  She said "it's because I was friends with Melissa".  She was Melissa's best friend in grade school.  Lived down the street.  I haven't seen her probably since Melissa was in fifth grade.  Always good to run into friends of Melissa's.  


And, as always, like Fort did, I end with Andrew. 

Before we left, we got to go to Andrew's last football game.  It was against the Firebirds.  Semi-finals.  They lost in OT.  Great way to start the trip too.

And it just keeps getting busier...went to OSU vs. U CONN women's basketball game last night, Versailles tonight for a basketball game and meet a friend and his wife for drinks, Thomas Windlow on Friday (I'll post after that) and a wedding this weekend.  

Probably good for me to stay busy this time of year.  If I stop to think about the holidays for even a minute...

Love you miss you Melissa.  Every minute of every day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Fun with Dad

I feel like I'm living in a movie.  Like Nebraska.

If you've never seen it, it's about an elderly man who gets tons of mail telling him he's won a million dollars.  The movie is funny and sad and true.  It didn't take place in a nursing home, but it could have.  Maybe he should have been in a nursing home where he might be protected from what I think is elder abuse.

Ok, before I start this story, I want to say that I am privileged to know many wonderful nurses.  And I know this is part of their job...because if they didn't give us all this information and something happened...just don't want to go there.  If we can't laugh about these things (after the fact) we would go crazy.  So on with the story...

My dad lives in a wonderful assisted living facility.  My sister Donna and I came down to visit since he was having a procedure that his doctor described as "complicated".  It was outpatient, and I'm wondering why they don't keep people at least 24 hours - since we were told "the first 24 hours are critical.  "Here is what you need to do when you get him home."

Really?  Critical and we (who have no medical knowledge OR training) are supposed to make sure that we know what to do if he starts bleeding.  "He can bleed to death in less than 5 minutes.  Here's how you stop the bleeding.  Press down on the bleed with one hand, press your fist on that hand and call 911" I even asked why they don't keep them - after they scared the shit out of both of us - Oh.  "Because it only happens in 1 out of 100,000 cases."

I realize that even with pharmaceuticals they have to list every side effect even if only one person had that side effect.  It's crazy.  I remember when Melissa would be on a new chemo.  The doctor would hand her a brochure that had information about the meds.  It also listed all the side effects (at least a full page of side effects usually).  She would hand it to me.  "Here.  If I read it, I will get all the side effects!"  If she got a head ache, a rash, or any kind of ache or pain, I could tell her - "it's ok.  It's one of the side effects".

That's why they scared the shit out of us.  Because dad might be the 1 in 100,000.
But I'm getting off the subject here.

This story is about my dad and his friends where he lives.  It is a WONDERFUL Assisted Living  place. And there is LOTS of material for a great movie.

It started with dad's procedure.  When it was done - he was in recovery for four hours.  That's when the nurse gave us the "here's what you need to do when you get him home" speech.  And oh.  By the way.  "Can you spend the night with him? You really don't want to leave him alone tonight".  He shouldn't walk very far.  He can't cross his legs.  Or his feet.  He can't sit in his recliner.  He can't bend at the waist.  If he does "it could break loose and he could bleed to death in less than five minutes" (that's what we kept hearing.  maybe she only said it once, but that's all I was hearing)
He has to sit in a hard back chair (he doesn't have one)  "How about a firm couch?"  "Ok".

Ok.  We are visiting because he is having this procedure.  We'll spend the night.  She hands us several pages of paperwork and helps dad get dressed.  I get his clothes out of the closet give her his shoes - which right away he picks his foot up to put his shoes on and she yells "NO. Put your foot down.  You can't lift your foot.  We don't want you to bleed! I will pick your foot up."  So she puts his shoes on.  Then his shorts.  Then shirt.

We are scared to death to even take him in the car.  Will a bump cause him to bleed?  Will the seatbelt cause him to bleed?  What if he coughs?  and oh my god, what if he has to poop?  "Don't bear down" How do you NOT bear down when you are pooping?  (I am laughing about this now, but it was NOT funny yesterday!)  I pray that he doesn't have to have a bowel movement in the next 24 hours.

Ok.  So we head to the hotel (the nice hotel on the beach with a balcony where we can see the sunrise every morning that we will be paying for even though we won't be staying there one night) to pick up our something to wear, our toothbrushes and some reading material.   They are gracious enough to loan us blankets and pillows since dad doesn't have any extras in his little apartment (which is beautiful by the way!)

We get to his place, they have a wheelchair waiting for him.   The nurse, the CNA, some of his friends welcome him.  They are WONDERFUL there.  We get him in the wheelchair...ok, he PLOPS down in the wheelchair.  I panic - OMG - look for blood....whew.  No blood. He's ok.  Start heading toward the elevator to his room, the CNA says "Where is his pendant?" (that's like a life alert)  "It's going off.  Where is it?"

I don't know.  Dad says "The nurse put it in my shoe when she took my clothes off  and put it in the closet at the doctors office.  Did you get it?"
"No dad. I didn't get it."
Did you get it Donna?

So we head up to the room.  His pendant is still going off at the nurses station.  It only works at his assisted living place.  It has to be here somewhere.  They take him up to his room.  It's STILL going off.

Alright.  I'll go down to my car. Maybe it fell out of his pocket. If he put it in his pocket. He forgets things sometimes.  I'll bet he put it in his pocket and he dropped it somewhere.  I head down to the lobby - search the lobby.  Not there.  Search my car.  Not there.  Where the hell is it???? It's got to be here somewhere!

I go back up to the room.  Donna says "I called the doctors office.  They are closed.  We have to call in the morning."

The thing is STILL going off.  It's here somewhere.

We are stymied.

Then I remember.  When we were walking out of the doctors office, dad says "My heel hurts.  Why would my heel hurt?"

"I don't know dad.  I don't know why this procedure would affect your FEET."

I go over to dad.  "Dad.  Let me look in your shoe."

And whadda ya know... there it is.  In his shoe.

Mystery solved.

And that was just the beginning.

Another side note.  Melissa started walking when she was around 11 months old.  Back then, you bought your babies hard soled white shoes (anyone remember this?) when they started walking.  Donny was putting Melissa's shoes, she kept crying saying "Cockadoodle!  Cockadoodle!"  as he was struggling to get her foot in the shoe.  Finally he pulled the shoe off and out fell the rooster from the Fisher Price Farm set - small enough to fit in a tiny shoe....History repeats itself.

ROUTINES & Hearing Aides

As we get older, we all get into certain routines.  My morning routine is a cup of coffee, read the paper, take a walk.

I think routines help our memory.  They give us something to look forward to.

Whenever I call dad and I ask him what he's doing, he always says "Let's see.  It's Monday.  Today I have..." whatever.  It's the same every week.  Mondays are trips to the grocery.  Tuesdays are doctors appointments.  Wednesday's are Mass and Communion in the morning and Happy Hour at 4.

He has something to look forward to every day.  When he goes to the dining room for meals, he sits with the same three guys.  Four branches of the service are represented, Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines.  They have something in common.

When Donny and I visited in June, we had dinner with dad and had the pleasure of meeting all of them at dinner.  As soon as we sat down, the question was directed to me "Where is Irv's car?  We need transportation."  (I brought dad's car home after we moved him into Assisted Living because he wasn't released to drive).  Not sure, but I think they must be planning an escape...although I don't know why.  I love where they live.  A view of the Indian River, a nice dining room with a chef, transportation to appointments and the grocery, entertainment, they do their laundry, clean their apartments, give them showers...I want to live there!

Another routine - sitting at the same table, same seat at every meal.  He gets there half an hour early to get HIS table.  And save seats for his buddies.  We got there for lunch yesterday, we were late, because he was sleeping and we didn't want to wake him up.  Someone was sitting at his table.  That didn't go over very well.  But we got the table right next to it.  After the people who were sitting there left, one of his buddies came in and sat at their table.  Dad looks at us and in a VERY loud voice says "his daughter must weigh 300 pounds. She can't even fit in the chair!"  Loud enough  that everyone in the place could hear him.  But no one seemed to notice.  Maybe none of them wear their hearing aides.  Maybe they just don't care.

There were five women sitting at another table next to us.  One of the women leaned over and said to us "your dad helped me with Wii bowling.  I threw three strikes after he helped me".  Then one of the other women got up, walked by dad and said "She was flirting with you".  Loud.  Dad didn't even react.  I'm sure he didn't hear her.

Donna was walking down the hall and two men were ahead of her.  The one right in front of her said to the guy in front of him "why are you walking so slow?  You got a load in your pants?"  No reaction.

That's what I am looking forward to when I get older.   You can say what you want because no one will hear you.

We are having such a good time with dad.  It's always hard to leave him.  Still have a big day ahead of us - my cousins from Utah, Texas and southern Florida will be visiting tomorrow.  I know it will be good for dad to see all of them.  A mini family reunion.

But I also know as good as it will be to see everyone, when we go, he will go back to his routines.  He isn't even asking about his car much anymore.  He is settling in.  And nothing makes me happier.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Another visit from Fort!

Not to me this time...

This visit came to Paula, Nick's best friend's mom.  She knew Melissa very well.  Paula also lost a sister, and Paula is a believer in communicating with lost loved ones too.

We haven't seen Paula in a long time until recently - her granddaughter, Emily (Mike's daughter) is a cheerleader for Andrew's team.  So we've seen her at a couple of games.  But she hasn't been to our house in probably 20 years, and did not know about the importance of butterflies to us.

A couple of weeks ago, one of her sisters was cleaning out a house of a hoarder.  She gave a lot of things to Paula, which she would go through and either keep, pitch or give to AmVets.  She was putting this box on the pile for AmVets, and she suddenly had this overwhelming feeling that Melissa was there.  Then she heard Melissa say "give it to my mom.  she'll want it."  Paula did not tell her husband, her son Mike or anyone.  She really felt like they would all think she was crazy.  But she knew she wanted to get it to me - and she knew she would see us at the football game.

So she comes over, hands me this bag with a box in it and says "I have no idea why, but Melissa wanted me to give this to you..."

When I opened it, she said "Does it mean anything to you?"

Of course, if you've been to our house (and Paula hasn't for a LONG time) you would know that there are butterflys everywhere here.  Even in our backyard - several solar butterflies surrounding the backyard.  She had no idea.

I have no doubt that Melissa visited Paula and told her to give them to me...because Melissa would KNOW that I would know it was her!  

She comes through pretty strong still.  

We couldn't be happier....a great way to start an otherwise dreary Saturday - Andrew's team wins and we get a gift from Melissa.  

It's going to be a great weekend!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

October...a bittersweet month

Just checked in on FB and saw that Jen "Smitty", one of Fort's rugby coaches shared the link for the article from the Dayton Daily News that was written about Melissa for Breast Cancer Awareness month after she passed away.  Since the blog address is at the end of the article, thought it was time to post again.

I'm not as good about updating as Melissa was, but this is a good time to post - being Breast Cancer Awareness Month...JP's birthday month, and  my sister Sue's birthday (Melissa's Godmother).

October is bittersweet.  I love it and I hate it.

I love it  because I love the change of seasons.  I love the smells, the colors, football, rugby.

I hate it because I hate the change of seasons...another season without Melissa.  She loved the fall.  It was her favorite season.  She loved the colors, the smells, rugby.  She loved anything pumpkin spice...coffee, candles, food.  She should be here enjoying it with me.  I should be celebrating my grandson's birthday...and my sister's birthday.  WITH them.

But my sadness doesn't keep me from enjoying life.  I keep that sadness inside (although I do share a fair amount of articles on losing a child, which might lead some to believe that's all I think about).  Don't get me wrong.  I DO think about her every day.  After almost seven years, I smile more about her life.  I try not to think about her death.

I love that her friends still remember.  The Kelts still have the annual Breast Cancer fundraiser.

Curt, ?, John

I love that the green FORT shirt is still out there!

Kat (former teammate of Fort's), Donny, Chris, me

me & Angie (former teammate of Fort's)

Donny & (forget his name :(  - he's a new Kelt - 2009.  Never knew Fort, but knows all about her!

Me & Melissa at a Kelt's fundraiser.  This was the week before we did the 3 Day, 60 mile walk in Atlanta!

Melissa & Pauly - he organized the first fundraisers.
Donny, Netti (former teammate of Forts-organized the most recent fundraisers!) and me

I love that her friends still share her story - Jen "Smitty" shared the article on Facebook today.  Then one of her best friends from high school - Josh - shared it too.

Melissa & Josh 

Her nephews, Andrew & Max remember her too.  They made posters about Aunt Fort for the Sprinboro Panther's Breast Cancer Awareness Walk...

If you read the article I posted "The Seven Things I've Learned Since the Loss of My Child".
# 7 was about how we enjoy life even more now because we understand how short life is.  
You might not think that, but Donny & I DO find enjoyment in life - with our grandsons, Nick & Mere, traveling, and with old friends who hung with us and new friends we've found through Compassionate Friends.  Life is different.  We struggle every day with the fact that our daughter is not here (and WE WILL see her again someday-we look forward to THAT!), but we are living our life the best we can.  I struggle with the fact that I don't have my daughter to talk to...to call when I want to talk to her...to go on Mother Daughter weekends like we used to.  I MISS HER.  And I also remember that I have my son to talk to, and spend time with, which we do daily.  

We travel-just went to Myrtle Beach for five days - Donny was in a softball tournament.

Spend time with my grandsons - (every time I have them, we go on a field trip!)

I think Melissa would be proud.  She would be proud of her nephews.  She would be proud of her brother.  She would be proud of her friends... We all find a way to keep living and remember her in the process.  I think she would be proud of me & her dad too.  It's hard to live this life when all you want to do is remember, but you have to live on.  There is no other choice.  

One more thing, I want to remember my sister Sue.  Tomorrow would be her 55th birthday.  She was Melissa's Godmother.  I miss her every day too - she was my rock after Melissa died.  She called me EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I miss that too.  

Happy Birthday Sue.  You will always be remembered!  I LOVE YOU!

Sue & Melissa 

Sue on her 50th birthday.

Melissa & Aunt Sue

Melissa with Sue at her college graduation

Me & Sue.  All smiles.

Melissa - all smiles

Had to add this one too - Mere, Melissa & me.  Melissa LOVED Mere.  That's why Nick married her. I'm not kidding.  Melissa had to give her approval. Oh the stories I can tell about THAT.


One more thing I want to add here.  If you haven't had your shingles vaccine, get it.  Even before you are 60.  One in three people will get shingles.  I am one in three.  Found out two days before we went to Myrtle Beach that I have them.  The rash came the day after I found out - fortunately my doctor wrote me a prescription for an anti-viral med.  That helped with the rash, but not the pain.  It is nerve pain...hard to describe, but VERY painful.  Finally got a pain med to help me sleep.  I'm functioning, but with a lot of pain.

As soon as I'm over this, I'm getting the vaccine - because you can get it again.  That is NOT happening if I have anything to do with it!  

Take care of yourself, enjoy every minute of every day, and get the shingles vaccine!

Love you, miss you Fort.  Every minute of every day.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Happy Birthday JP!

Dear Melissa,
I promised you that we would always remember JP's birthday.  So today, I stopped by the cemetery and sang Happy Birthday to him and left him a Happy Birthday Balloon...and all I could think of was "we should be celebrating his 12th birthday.  With his mom and his dad and Nick and Mere and Andrew & Max. "  I will never understand.  But one thing I know-you get to celebrate with your son. Somehow that is comforting to me.  Doesn't make me miss you any less though.  I love you and miss you both more than you will ever know.

Mom & Dad

Dear JP,

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy birthday JP, Happy Birthday to you!!!!

How I wish you were here.  We were talking to my cousin Greg the other day - his 12 year old son was refereeing a soccer game - all I could think was "JP would be 12.  Would he be playing soccer? Who would he look like? "  I know you would be smart and funny.  Just like your mom and dad.
I remember the day you were born...we were so excited for your arrival.  Just didn't expect you that early.  You were beautiful.  Dark hair, all your fingers and all your toes.  I got to hold you and tell you I loved you.  You were so tiny.

You probably know this, but every year I remember (to my kids and grandkids) the story of the day they were born.  Because those are the days I will never forget.

How I wish you were here.  I promised your mom that we would always remember your birthday. And we will always remember you.

We love you JP.  Happy 12th Birthday - I know you and your mom are celebrating in heaven.

Pamma and Pop Pop

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Think when you PINK

 Well, here we are again...closing in on October.  Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  While I am thankful that there is a whole month dedicated to bringing awareness to breast cancer, it is a difficult month.  Another reminder that my daughter did not survive this dreadful disease.

Andrew plays football in Springboro for the Wee Panthers.  I like what they are doing.  Instead of just handing out pink "stuff" for the kids to wear this month, they are having a Think When You PINK walk.  Both the Wee Football and Cheerleaders will organize at the high school football field and do two laps - the first a quiet lap in reflection of those fighting the disease and those who lost the battle, and a second lap in celebration of the hope.  They have chosen to bring awareness to these kids of WHY we wear pink in October.  Why you see PINK everywhere you go in October.  Andrew & Max understand...we talk about it all of the time.  I really like this idea.  We donated pink FORT bracelets to Andrew's team and coaches.

And before I forget,  THANK YOU Laura (Lulu - high school friend of Melissa's) for sharing Melissa's story and selling FORT bracelets at the Wee Firebirds games today.  We will LOVE seeing kids in Kettering wearing their bracelets!

While I am all for bringing awareness to breast cancer...I think the majority of women know that they should do regular breast checks and when to start getting mammograms.  A lot of money goes into bringing awareness to breast cancer.  They've done a good job of that.   It's time to start funneling some money to research for METASTATIC Breast Cancer.  Women (& men) do not die of cancer of the breast.  If breast cancer is caught early, you can survive breast cancer.  My mother in law is one of those survivors!!!  You WILL die of breast cancer if it metastasizes to other organs.  THAT is where the research needs to be.  How can we treat metastatic disease so those who are diagnosed can LIVE with the disease.    When Melissa was diagnosed, the cancer was in 9 of 19 lymph nodes.  It was on it's way to spreading to other organs....

Off my soapbox.

I worked with Andrew & Max today making signs to carry at the Think when you PINK event.

These were the practice signs...

Max's sign ^

Andrew's sign ^

Had a busy weekend with the boys - 

a couple of games of checkers...

a visit to Windmill Farm

a hayride...

a couple of pumpkins...

they are growing!  This is becoming a tradition!

I think Andrew will be taller than me next year...and he's only in second grade!

Kept them busy - and made mommy & daddy happy!

Funny story - at Andrew's football game yesterday, Max was sitting next to Mere's brother,
Brad.  The cheerleaders were throwing wrapped candy, and of course Max got some each time they threw it up in the stands.  Here is the conversation between Max & Uncle Brad...

Uncle Brad: "Max.  Did you have lunch today?"

Max: "No."

Uncle Brad:  "Why are you eating so much candy?"

Max:  "Because I didn't have any lunch."


Just to clear things up,  according to Mere, he DID have lunch.  Max tends to forget things occasionally.  And to be honest, he just didn't see what was wrong with eating candy for lunch.
Oh to be six again.

And Andrew.

When he woke up this morning, as soon as he opened his eyes he said "Pamma.  Aunt Fort was in my dream last night.  She gave me a hug and a kiss and she told me she loved me.  Then she disappeared into thin air."

Interesting thing, I heard Andrew laughing out loud in his sleep.  He wasn't awake.  He was asleep.  And laughing.  Wonder if Aunt Fort was tickling him before she hugged him?  

It was a good weekend for the beginning of a tough month.  

Wear your pink, and don't forget, THINK WHEN YOU PINK!

Sunday, September 20, 2015


Sitting here on a beautiful Sunday morning.  Just finished reading the paper, waiting for Donny to get home from the softball tournament.  He's been in Dalton, Ga. since Wednesday.  Talked to him every day...he's really enjoying it.  They did really well, played their last game this morning.  Lost in the semi-finals.  Found out after the game he was selected to be on the All-American team.  He had 21 hits in 4 games, only 5 outs in nine games.  So proud of him.  And so happy that he finally did something like this.  He has never taken a trip with a bunch of guys like this.  I have taken multiple trips with friends in the past.  He really needed this.

So why this post today?  I don't think many people read this any more, so it's a safe place for me to go.

Might be difficult for some to understand, especially since it's coming up on seven years.  I feel like I am spiraling downward.  It's like this every fall...Melissa's favorite season. Used to be mine too.  But now all I do is dread what is coming.  Starting with the leaves changing colors...who would think that would bring on such sadness.  Never used to.  Now it's just a reminder of what used to be.  I remember how much Melissa loved the falls scents.  She had so many fall candles burning in her house I was afraid she would burn it down!  And the colors.  The browns, golds, reds...she loved decorating in the fall.  I mean, look at the picture on this blog, she LOVED LOVED LOVED the fall.  And all I can do is sit here with tears streaming down my face trying to appreciate this wonderful season.

Then we have October.  The 19th would be John Patrick (JP's) 12th birthday.  And we'll celebrate that, but without him.  Again.  The 30th is my sister Sue's birthday.  She would be 55.  And I'll celebrate that too.  Without her.  And the fact that it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month...UGH.  The one good thing that happens in October? The Kelts remember Melissa with a Breast Cancer Fundraiser.  Oct 17 this year.  We always go (except for last year, first one we missed-we were in California) and will never miss another one

And then the holidays begin.  And I fall apart.

I am so good in the spring and summer.  This time of year suffocates me.

The last four days, home alone.  I should have called someone and made plans to do SOMETHING.  But I have a hard time reaching out.  Really?  I have a hard time talking to anyone about how I am feeling.   I realize how hard it is for the people I love and who love me to see me like this.  So I put on a smile, and everything is ok.  Not really.

Started a clean eating program - good for a week.  Thanks to Mere & Nick.  It's helping.  And started a Yoga class last week.  Love that too.

Just in a funk and needed to get it out...have you ever gone a few days and not physically talked to someone?  Facebook does that to you. It's not good for you.

So, for today, I'm trying to motivate myself to take my 4 mile walk...then maybe pick up the kids and do something fun.  Get my mind off...what?  Melissa?  I don't know.

If only for a while, I'll do something that makes me smile.

It's the best I can do.