The Worst Day

               December 17, 2018 started like any other day.  I woke up at the crack of dawn with my alarm and hopped in the shower to get ready for work.  Got my daughter up to get ready for school and proceeded with our morning routine.  As we were starting to leave the house, I put my glasses on, and one of the arms broke off.  Had only had those glasses for a few months, so it was a bit unusual that they broke so quickly.  Most people would call it an omen of something to come, but I just took it as another crap moment in my life.  I do remember looking down at my daughter and saying, “This is going to be a bad day.”  Little did I know how true that statement would be.

               I continued on with my day as usual, took my daughter to school, then took myself to work.  My day was the same as it ever was, answered the phone, wrote orders, worked on shipping and receiving, the same shit different day, until the phone call came.  About 1pm my mother called.  I answered the phone the same as I always did, not thinking anything horrible, then she uttered the words that changed my life……..”Jayce’s gone.” 

               At first I was in shock and not quite sure I understood what she meant, so I asked her, “What do you mean ‘he’s gone’?”  She then clarified her statement, but telling me he died.  I completely lost it as I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, my 20 year old nephew was dead.  It didn’t make sense.  He was just 20 years old.  I watched him grow from an infant to an adult.  How could this be?  He had is problems, but he wasn’t sick.  He couldn’t be dead.  Then I thought, “How am I going to tell my daughter?”  This was her best friend, her cousin, and the closest thing she had to a sibling.  These two grew up together.  Yes, he was 7 years older than her, but she grew up with him.  My heart was broken, not just because I lost my nephew, but also broken for my daughter and what she just lost.

               After I hung up the phone with my mother, I packed up my stuff and left work.  I drove straight to my mother’s house.  As soon as I got there, I pulled into the first parking spot I saw, turned off my car, and got out.  The moment I started walking to my mom’s house from the parking lot, I stopped dead in my tracks.   My heart completely sank, because I saw the police cars outside her house and the police officers walking in and out.  I also saw my brother heading into my mom’s house.   I walked in and tossed my purse onto the couch, without stopping, and headed straight to my mother’s side on the couch.  She was already sitting with her arms around my brother.  My brother is my nephew’s father.

               Even though we were sitting there, totally broken and crying, it still didn’t seem real.  My step-dad walked into the house from out back and as soon as he started to speak he started crying.  My nephew was his little buddy.  It broke my heart to see him so upset and hurting.  My mother wasn’t crying.  She didn’t seem upset, but I attributed that to her either being in shock still or just being strong for everyone else.  While we were sitting there, she told my brother and I that Jayce was still up in his room, if we wanted to see him.  I told her that I didn’t want to remember him like that, so I opted out.  I don’t really remember if my brother went up or not.

               After some time a grief counselor came to the house to gather some more information and give my mom and step-dad some information to look into some actual counseling to help them grieve.  At that point Brock arrived.  We all quickly rushed to his side as my nephew was like a little brother to him.  He refused to believe it was real.  I do remember that he did go upstairs to see Jayce and when he came back down he was absolutely distraught.  There was no calming him down.  I couldn’t stay much past that as I had to pick up Ariel from school.  This was going to be one of the hardest things I was ever going to have to do.  I was not read.

               I arrived in the parking lot to pick her up and not sure how I was going to tell her.  I tried to keep my cool as I was watching her walk up to the car.  I got out and popped the trunk for her to put her school bag in and I completely lost it.  She asked me what was wrong and I couldn’t find the words at first and I just hugged her.  Then I was able to take a deep breath and I told her, “Jayce is gone.”  That was all I could get out and she knew what I meant.  My heart hurt so much for her.  We just stood there and hugged and cried.  After we got back into the car I asked her if she wanted to go straight home or stop at Grandma’s.  She said she wanted to go to Grandma’s, so we went there.  She hugged my mom and Brock. 

               Brock had calmed down some by the time we got there.  His wife Hayley had shown up to help comfort him.  We left not long after that to head home.  It was after 5pm when we headed home and the police hadn’t taken Jayce away yet.  I think I remember my mom telling that it was after 7pm when they finally took him out of the house.  I didn’t want to wait any longer, as I really didn’t want Ariel to see that.  My mom had asked her if she wanted to go up and see him, and I told her no.  I didn’t want her to have that memory of him in her head.  I wanted her to only remember his beautiful smile and great laugh, not how he looked dead.

               After we got home I don’t think we actually ate dinner.  She just snuggled with me on the couch and cried.  I let her school know what had happened and that she wouldn’t be at school the next day, as I felt she needed the time to grieve.  She ended up sleeping in my bed that night.  She didn’t want to sleep alone and just wanted time with her mommy.  I don’t think I slept a wink that night.  My mind just kept racing.  I couldn’t wrap my head around the whole day.  It still just didn’t seem real to me.

               The next morning I still wasn’t sure if that all had actually happened.  I had called my mom to see how she was doing, and she was fine.  I had her go over the whole day with me again, because I was having trouble wrapping my head around it still.  What happened?  How did it happen?  Why did it happen?  He was just barely 20 years old and it was literally a week before Christmas.  He wasn’t perfect and he had his issues, but this just didn’t make sense.  This wasn’t suicide, in case you were wondering.

               My nephew was bi-polar, schizophrenic, a drug addict, depressed, and may have had an alcohol problem (not sure about that, but he did drink).  He wasn’t perfect, but he was trying to get help.  He did go into rehab twice and seemed to be doing better after the last time in, but he was really good at hiding his issues.  Took a while for us to get the autopsy results and turned out it was an accidental drug overdose.  I know, it sounds odd that the overdose was accidental if he was doing drugs on purpose, but the reason it is ‘accidental’ is because they could tell by how much was in his system that he wasn’t trying to kill himself.  I think it was more of a bad combo than anything else.

               It’s been almost 2 years since he left us and it still doesn’t seem real.  I still can’t think about him or talk about him without crying.  It’s not my eyes just welling up with tears, but actual crying.  Typing this out was difficult as I started to cry several times while remembering what happened, but I’ll never forget that day.  Almost 2 years later and I still remember every detail like it just happened yesterday.  We’re not supposed to bury children, they are supposed to bury us.  Losing a parent or any relative is difficult, but losing a child is more difficult.  He may not have been my child, but I did watch him grow from a wee baby to an adult.

               He was a beautiful person with a huge heart and so much talent.  I often wonder what the last 2 years would’ve been like had he not died that day.  Would he have finally gotten clean and started on a path to something substantial?  Would he have gone back to school and gotten his GED and then maybe gone on to college?  What kind of job would he have?  I’ll never stop wondering and I’ll never forget him.  My love for him took up almost as much space as my love for my daughter.  I miss him so much and I do hope he is looking down on us and sees how much we love and miss him.

               Do me a favor, hug the ones you love.  Pay attention to all the little things.  Any changes in their personality, question it.  Make sure your kids know that you are there for them whenever they want or need to talk.  Do not judge them.  Listen to them without judgement.  Just let them get out whatever is on their mind.  They need to know that you will listen.  If they want advice, let them ask you for it.  Always remind them how much you love them and are there for them.  Don’t push, but don’t let them push you away either.  Let them come to you when they are ready, but constantly remind them you are there and are willing to listen.  Just love them unconditionally

Stop and Smell the Roses

Have you ever sat and wondered where the day, week, month, year went?  We all have.  If you sit down and actually think about how you spent your time, can you honestly say that you remember all that you did, other than work or running errands?  I know I can’t.  Why is that?  That’s because we are all so busy getting through the work day or the many, many errands we have to run that we forget to slow down and just enjoy life.  I don’t want to look back at my life when I’m old and regret not doing this or that.  I don’t want to look back and wonder where all the fun went.

I was driving in my car one day and I actually looked at the world around me and started to get disappointed.  I wasn’t disappointed because I was running late and traffic wasn’t moving fast enough, but I was watching all the other drivers and disappointed that they are in such a hurry to get from point A to point B that they missed everything around them.  I started getting irritated with the drivers on the rode when either I’m trying to enter or exit my complex and no one is willing to stop for 5 seconds to let me get out and get on my way.  I’ve gotten irritated when I’ve seen them do it to others too and I’ve started taking the time to slow down or stop to let someone into the massive traffic jam of life.

I started noticing while shopping too, and I used to be one of them.  I have a hard time being in stores of any kind because I soak up the energy/feelings of everyone around me and most of the time the other people in the stores with me are typically the happiest.  In fact, I’ve noticed they are usually miserable and they are rushing through there like they are on fire.

It’s not just that though; everyone just seems to be in a hurry to get through life and here I am struggling to get through one day at a time most days.  I’ve been trying to do more fun things with my daughter and it’s not easy, as I do constantly have a list of things that need to get done going on in my head, but been doing my best to ignore it.  This is mostly because life is short and I have been reminded of this several times over the last year and a half.  Tomorrow is never guaranteed so I am trying to do my best to not be in such a hurry to get through the day anymore.

I am finding that my work day isn’t going as quickly as it used to, no matter how busy I am, because I’m not so focused on the time anymore.  I have also noticed that my weekend really doesn’t go as quickly as it used to because I don’t fill it up with “things to do” anymore, rather I just do what I can and make time for my daughter.  We don’t always go somewhere and spend money to have fun, as it shouldn’t really have to cost you to have fun, except your time.  Basically, I’m doing my best to make our time spent together more about the quality of the time, rather the quantity.  I’m not rushing things.  I’m honestly stopping to smell the roses and even though I do still have obligations that stress me out, I’m doing what I can to prioritize and pick my battles.  Everything still needs to get done, but it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t get done right this minute.

I’d rather see my daughter having a fun childhood and making memories with her than rushing through each day going from point A to point B and sticking to a schedule.  It’s not just about her though, it’s about me too.  I need to start finding time for me and allowing me to have some quality time doing something fun for me.  I do still spend a lot of time trying to make everyone around me happy that I honestly forget about me.  I only say this because in the last month, I’ve had at least 3 people tell me I look exhausted.

I think I trailed off a bit and made this all about me, but that wasn’t my intention.  My point is, that I honestly feel that if everyone would just slow down and not be in such a hurry to get through each day, they’d see all that they are honestly missing.  Life is passing you by and it’s time you won’t get back.  Are you making memories or has your life been a blur because you’re too busy chasing the almighty dollar and have forgotten to live?

I’m still learning how to slow down and hoping to start on some new adventures with friends and my daughter to further my attempt in making memories and not having our lives be but a blur, but right now I’m taking it one day at a time.  Obviously we need the almighty dollar to pay our bills, but should that really be your first concern or should living life to the fullest (or live each day like it’s your last) be your first concern?

Live your life, don’t let your life live you.

Mother’s Day

This is how depression took over my Mother’s Day.

Well, yesterday was Mother’s Day and this is a day that is supposed to be joyous and everyone is either celebrating their Mother or celebrating being a Mother, but that was not the case for me.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE being a Mother to my precious daughter and I absolutely love my Mother.  I honestly wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for the support of this amazing woman who raised me almost entirely on her own, but this isn’t about that.

Yesterday I was hit with an enormous amount of depression.  It literally came out of nowhere.  I was severely depressed and fighting anxiety.  I suffer from clinical depression, which means I am lacking a certain chemical in my brain to keep me evenly keeled.  (love my technical terms? lol) Because I am lacking this chemical, I have to put forth a lot more energy to be happy and positive, which tends to take so much out of me that I am usually down for a day or two after a period of time.

I must say that my daughter is the most amazing little girl out there because she did everything in her power to put that smile back on my face that was there when I woke up, but nothing she could do put it back.  I did make sure she knew that my “mood” wasn’t due to anything she did because she is so wonderful.  She made me peanut butter cracker sandwiches for lunch, helped me fold the laundry, put her clothes away, offered to make my bed for me, and even asked if I needed her to hang out with me.

When I say she is amazing, I am not exaggerating, because she is truly the best child ever.  For Mother’s Day she made me a coupon book with personalized coupons for me to use whenever I want and they do not expire.  My favorite coupon is for her to play with my hair and give me a massage.  She also made me a Happy Mother’s Day sign decorated with glitter.  It just upset me more that no matter what she did, I just wasn’t happy and it brought her down.  I don’t think anyone understands how much it hurts when you know the people around you who love you are also hurting because of this “mood”.

Before you say, “have you thought about taking medication,” I have been down that road with no success.  I am trying to work through it the best I can in my own way and I have been having more good days then bad days, but the bad days still suck.  There are times when I just need a vacation from my self because the constant battle inside my body is so exhausting that I am unsure if I will ever catch up on the sleep I’ve been missing out on.  I do have amazing friends that are there for me, but being me, I don’t always lean on them because I’m always worried about what they have going on and don’t want to burden them with MY issues on top of their already piled high plate.  (I get yelled at a lot about that and they all remind me I’m not a burden.)  The strange thing is, I don’t always run to them with my problems, but constantly tell them they can come to me with theirs.  I think it’s a way for me to completely forget about what I have going on and gives me a way to focus on something else other than myself, but that only makes it worse because ignoring my feelings for a short time doesn’t make them go away.  This may be where my anxiety comes in because I keep allowing it all to pile on until it spills over and the panic attacks come at me.

What I want to get across is that depression is not fun, it’s not easy, and it never comes at a convenient time, usually it’s the MOST inconvenient time.  I love my life, love my daughter, love my friends, and couldn’t be more grateful for all I have, but know that I am human and I have to exert more energy than most to put on a happy face.  There will be times that I just cannot smile, but that doesn’t mean I’m not happy, I’m just fighting a war inside my head and will take some time to get back to me.  We have to try not to allow it to take control of your life.  Easier said than done, I know, but it’s possible.

Please know you are not alone and there is help out there.  I am here, your friends are there, your family, and professionals.  I am always here to listen.  I am not a professional, so I cannot give medical advice, however I can be a shoulder to cry on or vent on, and I will do my best to point you in the right direction to get the help you need and will not leave your side until you tell me to.  There is always a way out and always, always, always someone willing to listen.

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