Oregon and Mom's Memorial Service

I don't have it in me right now to write a full post on Oregon and my mom's service, but wanted to share a few highlights:

  • Cried freely and profusely when I first arrived at my Mom and Dad's house.  My dad was sleeping and I brought stuff in from the car wandered around the house looking at her stuff and weeping like a waterfall.  It surprised me how it just rose up and flowed out of me like that.  Happened again when I was alone in the house, packed up and readying to leave.
  • Lots of family and friends came to my Mom's service.  She was a quilter and they were all there, plus her family from Nebraska, including a cousin and his wife who I hadn't seen in a decade or so.  People from my Dad's side of the family came, too, including his brother and wife, and two of my cousins who were like siblings to me growing up, since we were around the same age.  Lots of crying, and even my Dad cried.  I cried several times when my family was speaking - my Dad's talk was especially heart-aching and beautiful as he talked, through tears a couple times, about their life and his feelings about her - almost when I was speaking but I was able to carry on, and then during the moving slide show of her life.  Sweet and sad videos at the beginning of her grandkids singing to her and at the end of everyone singing to her at her last birthday in January.
  • My sister's friends were there, and I have to say they were really helpful and stepped up to support my sister.  Very good friends.  We all went to my brother's that night and it was a bit odd to have drinks and social time but I had some good conversation with her friends and my cousin.
  • After the eight-hour drive up there, my back gave out in a weird way it never had before - for several days, a few times a day, something in my lower back (but not the lowest, up a ways from tailbone) would slip or give and I would experience a lot of pain, a couple times falling to my knees.  I took a lot of Advil.  Just went to the doctor today and of course today and yesterday it was better and I didn't experience that slip/shift feeling.  She said she thought it was a severe back spasm; that if the disk had slipped, it wouldn't just be pain in the moment, it would continue on.  It's so strange though, because it really felt like something wasn't aligned and was slipping.  I'm sure stress and the long hours driving contributed to the situation.
  • I got to hold my new baby niece, D, and oh my goodness, she is the sweetest little bug ever!  Really tiny of course, at only one month, and a really mellow baby.  When you hold her, she snuggles into you, and when she falls asleep, she gets heavier.  I'm sure many of you know what I mean.  It's just the loveliest feeling.  I got to see my niece and nephew, J and E play in soccer and baseball games, too, that was pretty fun.  Thank God J is kicking the ball this year; last year, bless her heart, she simply refused to have anything to do with putting her foot on the ball.  She's not super competitive trying to take the ball or anything, but when it's right in front of her or it comes to her, she will kick it.  Yay J!  And E, oh man is he a little athlete, much to his parents delight.  I'm not biased (well not much) in saying that he had considerably better ball-handling skills than anyone else on the field.  He had to hold back sometimes so as not to dominate the whole thing.  I'm sure his parents have been playing with him a lot at home (I may have mentioned my sister and her husband played sports all their lives and were college athletes).  J and I had a nice coloring and giggling session one night, too.
  • Since I was staying at my parent's house, I had the opportunity to hang out with Dad a few times, which was nice - mainly just watching tv together and eating a couple take out meals, talking about family or the service.  It was funny how much Zoey loved him and would go crazy trying to jump on this lap and lick him.  Stuff I'm trying to train her not to do, of course, but she just got so excited to get attention from him, it was pretty cute.  Dad is not emotionally expressive and shut down once or twice when I asked him direct feeling-related questions.  He's smoking some and not eating well.  He said that the week following the service maybe he would start getting and cooking some simple, healthier groceries.  I hope so.
  • Okay, one kind of disturbing aspect to the trip that I almost hesitate to bring up because it's embarrassing and confusing, is that my Dad and my aunt (my mom's sister) were flirting.  Now, maybe this is some crazy rebound coping mechanism, especially since my Dad doesn't process emotions well.  Maybe it's a way to connect with Mom, since her sister and her were close and look and act alike in many ways.  Regardless, it seemed WAY TOO SOON and was unsettling to say the least.  But Dad has been so devastated that in a way you just want him to be happy.  My brother's wife, who is known for saying inappropriate things for shock value, said something about it at their house the night after the service.  She basically brought it up to my aunt's kids (and I was at the table too) like it was a good idea.  I just shook my head and said her name in a kind of warning tone and "too soon."  I told my sister and brother-in-law later, and they thought it was really out of line.  But then after that, I noticed that my Dad was flirting with her.  And I think I heard him say something about coming out to visit her in Nebraska.  Not sure what else to say about that other than - yuck.  And it's his life.  And time will tell if it's just a bizarre coping mechanism or what.

Now, I'm back, and finishing out the last weeks of the semester at my college as I prepare to pack up my stuff in storage containers the end of next week.  I actually haven't started packing at all, but I have packing help arranged for next weekend and have scheduled those storage "pods" to be delivered and picked up.  I need to get some boxes this weekend, as I continue to research and look at possible places.  One potentially exciting possibility is living with a woman I met on a F@cebook "conscious housing" page, with whom I share a common friend.  She and her boyfriend are expecting, and I told her about my hopes for adoption.  She's amenable to finding a place together and possibly sharing some meals and childcare, etc.  Looking around, the most we would likely get is three-bedroom, so the kids would have to share eventually or something if it were long-term.  Not sure how that would work out.  Anyway, I'm excited about the idea and of possibly not needing to move again in a few months to a year.  We are seeing a place tomorrow morning, so wish us luck. 

If I can't find a place, I have confirmed with my friend, E, that I can stay with her, even though I think I might be sleeping on a couch - yikes.  Her house is very nice, though, and we are good friends which would make things easier.  It would be a better situation if her nephew weren't also living there.  In any case, it's good to have a safety net to leave my stuff in storage for a few weeks/month if I needed a little more time to find a place.

Building my business has unfortunately but necessarily gone on the back burner.  I hope to be able to spend a few hours this weekend but also need to grade a bunch of papers and do some planning.  With everything going on with my mom passing and her service, and difficult finances, and moving, and my landlord being rude and unkind, I have that feeling of overwhelm, like I can't handle it all and if one more little thing happens, I'll collapse.  I did have a good cry today to my friend and former housemate, K, which was very helpful.


Happy Easter

Happy Easter to Everyone!  For me, it's a pretty normal day because my family is all in Oregon.  I am going to go get a pizza later this afternoon, so that will be my Easter fun.  Seeing pictures of my nieces, nephew, and little cousin is fun, as well. 

Looking forward to seeing them next week, though feeling somber about my mom's memorial.  Went through some pictures today and sent them to my sister who is creating a nice slideshow.  The show will be accompanied by songs that were special to my mom and dad.  There will also be three songs sung live, and it looks like I will end up speaking and saying a poem.  I wasn't sure I was going to, but now I'm feeling I should and want to, even though it will be hard.  My dad, sister, and brother will also be speaking, and I think we will have some coffee and cookies afterwards so people can talk. 

I was hoping my landlord would give some flexibility on my moveout date, due to my mom's passing and traveling to Oregon, but he left this kind of sh*tty voicemail (after I initially asked and he initially said no but then seemed to be considering it) saying - in an apologetic tone that didn't match what he was saying - that he needed me out by the 29th, and that he had been helping me and had given me "an extra 30 days."  What?  His "help" was giving me a sheet of local house listings that were way above my range and passing on a couple business referrals that never responded to my emails.  I appreciate the referrals but I sent him the email template and he passed it on to them.  And when he said "extra 30 days," I guess he was referring to the legal requirement to give me 30 days notice?  This is countered by the fact that he initially said this would likely be a longer-term living situation, and that if anything changed, he would give me a few months notice. 

The main thing is that I have been unexpectedly dealing with my mom's passing - it would have been very difficult to jump into house searching in the initial weeks of grieving, and traveling to Oregon takes further time away from what is a very difficult search in the Bay Area. 

So that is my lament, but there is nothing I can do about it, so I am just sucking it up and going for it, doing the best I can to find a place.  I applied for an affordable studio/one-bedroom I haven't heard back from yet and went to see two places yesterday.  They both are okay/do-able except for Zoey.  The first one is very rugged with lots of construction projects going on all around the house, and the yard is not enclosed.  The second one was great, except her dog - a sheltie/collie mix - barked sharply at something outside for much of the time I was there and tried to nip me once when I was petting her.  The woman said several times that her dog liked to have a "deputy to boss around."  Well, I'm sorry, but I don't want Zoey "bossed around" all the time, and I don't think Zoey would take to that either. 

So, the search continues... Thank God my good friend has offered a room for me to stay as a last resort, if needed, until I found a place.  It's not ideal, since her nephew is currently staying there, as well, but I'm grateful to have a safety net.  Tomorrow, I will schedule the moving container drop-off and pick-up and send an email about a packing party.  sigh.  I think I'll have a glass of wine with that pizza.