Archive | September, 2011

Family History As Told By Joey

 

Joey, age 9, fourth grader, was required to write about how his family ended up in California.  Here’s what he wrote:

Family History

1938.  That was the year my dad’s grandparents decided to move to the U.S.  It was Anna (ONN-UH) and Ernst (RNST).  Anna was preganate with my Grandma Peggy.  They weren’t the only ones.  They were leaving cause of the Rise of Hitler.  Many people were leaving Germany.  But they were Jewish and the Jewish were being persecuted.

Their home in Zeisboard was being left behind.  First they moved to Amsterdam.  That was the capital of the Neatherlands.

They eventually got a ship.  Then they would finally begin their long breathtaking journey.  It as expected took a couple weeks to reach their destination.  The weather wasn’t ugly, nobody got sick, but the waves got pretty choppy and pretty harsh.  That must’ve slowed them down.  Just Anna, Ernst, and in a special way Peggy.  Fresh off Hitler, they would finally reach their destination.

Shortly after, on June 21, the beginning of summer 1938 Peggy was born.  They made it in a happy trip.  All 3 are unfortunately dead.  Ernst died in 1970.  Anna died in 1985.  Years later, Peggy died long after marrying Grandpa Joe in 2006.  Who knows?  Peggy wouldn’t exist if Anna and Ernst were killed in concentration camp.  It was great they lasted much longer.

My sister Annabelle was named after Anna.  My sister Lilah was named after Peggy (Lilah’s middle name).  Prooving we have love for these people.

Joe and Peggy had my dad.  But in the year 1990, my dad moved to California because of a girl.  I don’t know much about the girl, but when he met my mom it was a life saver.  In 2001, late 2001, my mom and dad got married, and they had me in 2002.  I am 9 years old.  I am the one that is writing this.  It began in the year 1938 . . .

***

I get a fresh bout of giggles every time I read this ;)

Visit to the Special Ed Preschool

This morning Michael and I, along with Finn, visited the special ed preschool class in which Finn’s IEP “team” (sans parents; I use the term “team” extremely loosely since there has been no collaborative effort from day 1 of this process) recommends he be placed, post-haste.

It’s true that, for a variety of reasons, we have already decided that we are leaning against placing Finn in any preschool program at this time, and it’s also true that we (or at least I, maybe more so than Michael) have our hackles up about a segregated special ed program.  That said, I really wanted and attempted to go into this morning’s visit with an open mind.

Finn’s IEP “team,” in their last communication with us (see here), offered to make arrangements for us to visit the preschool program they are recommending for Finn.  Given the adversarial nature of our relationship to date, however, I didn’t want to make the arrangements through the “team,” and figured we were pretty capable of contacting the school and making the arrangements ourselves.  So a couple weeks ago I contacted the school, a Title 1 school, and was put in touch with the school psychologist to arrange to visit the preschool class.

In an interesting turn of events, it turns out that this particular school psychologist has replaced the psychologist originally on Finn’s IEP “team” (I know, it’s irritating seeing those quotes around “team” all the time, but I will keep using them until the “team” actually starts being a team that values us, Finn’s parents, as members), and she is the mother of a classmate/friend of Joey’s.  I don’t know at this point if this is a good or a bad thing (or meaningless), but I did think it might be worth some name-dropping this morning when we met with her.

Anyway, she was nice enough (maybe friendlier, knowing that her son and our son are friends/classmates?).  She oohed and ahhed over Finn (I’ve gotten used to this, but still rarely know how to take it) and took us over to the special ed preschool classroom.

My initial internal reaction was, “Well, this doesn’t seem so bad.”  In a lot of ways, it looked like a typical preschool classroom, with lots of artwork on the walls, toys and books and little tables and chairs.  There were twelve children in the class, ranging in age from 3 to 5, and there was one teacher and two aides.  There was a section of tables and chairs in the center of the classroom where most of the children were sitting, each engaged in a different activity: one was painting, one was playing with a puzzle, one was banging some kind of toy on the table, one was looking at a book, etc.  Two children at a time were pulled from the group and taken to “stations” at the periphery of the classroom where they received specialized instruction in 10-15 minute segments (I believe one of them was receiving speech therapy, and the other station involved a computer).  I could see that two of the children had Down syndrome; the rest of the children appeared to have varying diagnoses.  There were no “typical” children in the class.

It took a few minutes of being there to start getting a sense of what I didn’t like about it:

  • There are no typical children in the class; no typically developing peer models.
  • There did not seem to be a real sense of cohesiveness to the class.  Because there are varying diagnoses/needs/ability levels/behavior issues among the children, to a large degree it seemed like the teacher and aides were engaging in crowd control (not that it’s a big crowd; it is a small class, which is a plus), trying to keep each child occupied and on task.  But each child was engaged in a different activity, I assume based on that child’s IEP (??).  We were only there for a half hour, but we didn’t see any group activities or any interaction between the children.
  • Neither the teacher nor the aides seemed particularly warm, and in fact, seemed a little harsh at times.  I saw the teacher and one of the aides, at different times, grab different children’s hands, say “Hands down!” sternly, and rather roughly move their hands away from whatever it was they weren’t supposed to be touching.  Frankly, I’m not at all keen on my kid being manhandled like that.
  • This is a five-days-a week, five-plus-hours-a-day preschool program.  All the children in the class attend full-time.  There doesn’t seem to be an option for fewer days or hours of attendance.
The psychologist spoke to us as if Finn’s imminent attendance in this program is a given, and when I mentioned that we’re still not sure what we’re going to do and that we may even wait another year to put him in (any) preschool, we got the whole speech about how important early intervention is.  “The earlier you start addressing their issues, the more benefit.”  Blah blah blah.

Look, I know from a purely clinical standpoint, there is truth to this theory.  But I hate this line of thinking more and more all the time, for so many reasons.  First of all, it seems like every “expert” who has tried to sell us on this “fact” has come by their “expertise” by training and not by first-hand observation and experience as a parent of a child with Down syndrome.  The same way that obstetricians are trained to believe that highly interventive hospital births are by and large the safest option for having babies, SLPs are trained to believe that formal speech therapy from infancy is the best way to overcome speech issues, physical therapists are trained to believe that if not for their intervention, children with Down syndrome would come by their gross motor skills much later, and in the wrong way, and special ed teachers are trained to believe that kids with developmental delays of all varieties belong in special ed classrooms promptly at age 3.  I just can’t buy into this wholeheartedly.  Sure, this is true for some kids in some situations, but it’s not a one-size fits all proposition.  And it overlooks the value of organic learning that comes from just being loved and cared for and fully included in a family and that family’s experiences.

Also, this line of thinking promulgates the whole cultural belief that kids like Finn are a set of problems and issues to be addressed and fixed.  He is a human being, not a problem that I want a lifetime spent on trying to fix, or make as “normal” as possible.  Frankly, “normal” is an ideal that I don’t think he should have to spend his life trying to achieve; it only sets him up for failure and promotes the attitude that he’s defective.  This is not to say that certain supports at certain times throughout his life won’t benefit him, but I’m just weary of this whole notion that speech therapy is going to fix his speech, and occupational therapy is going to fix his fine motor skills and physical therapy is going to fix his gross motor skills, and special ed is going to . . .  what?  He’s always going to have Down syndrome, and this means certain things that can’t be changed.  I accept that, with all my heart.  It seems like it’s everyone else who can’t accept that.  Let’s try to improve him.  Let’s try to fix him.  Let’s try to make him as close to “normal” as possible, and then maybe, just maybe, he will be more acceptable.

I digress.  Obviously, this is an emotionally charged issue for me.  And I guess it goes without saying that I’m not sure.  Of course I’m not.  This whole thing would not be such a struggle for me if I were sure about everything.  Am I selling Finn short?  Am I overshooting?  In my heart of hearts, I don’t know.

Anyway.  The school psychologist explained to us that there is actually another special ed preschool class that is categorized as “mild to moderate” (this one, the one recommended for Finn, is “moderate to severe”), and the main differences between the two are that: (1) the kids in the “mild to moderate” class are fairly verbal, (2) they are toilet trained, and (3) there are more kids in the class and only one teacher and one aide, so a higher student-to-teacher ratio.  This explains why the IEP “team” wants Finn placed in the “moderate to severe” class: he’s not toilet trained (truth be told, we have not even attempted it yet, but I am psyching myself up to tackle it in the near future), and he has little speech (though, I have to say, he is picking up words left and right lately, it’s been pretty amazing to see just how verbal he has become in the last couple of months – and with no speech therapy!  Imagine that.).

She also told us that the goal is to have the kids “mainstreamed” by kindergarten (and in special ed, kindergarten starts promptly at age 5, period; the powers that be see no benefit in some parents perhaps wanting to delay kindergarten for a year as many parents of typically developing kids do).  Now, for those of you who may be under a widely held misconception, “mainstreaming” and “inclusion” are two entirely different animals.  “Inclusion” means that the child is in a regular classroom with regular, typically developing peers, full-time.  They may have an aide, and they may get pulled out of class for things like speech therapy and the like, but they are enrolled in a regular classroom.  A lot of lay people think this is “mainstreaming,” but it’s not.  “Mainstreaming” is when a child is enrolled in a separate, special ed class, and is allowed to spend limited periods of time each day or each week with the typical kids.  The school psychologist told us today that for this particular preschool program, the goal is to have them “mainstreamed” by kindergarten, which she explained specifically to mean that in kindergarten they spend 30 minutes a day (or less) with their typically developing peers.

Sigh.  So where does all of this leave us?  Good question.  What I can say is that what we saw today, and what the school psychologist explained to us about how his future education might look through the eyes of the school district is just not what I envision – or would like to envision – for Finn.  We visited the preschool program today so that we could go to the next meeting with the IEP “team” and be able to articulate our thoughts about their recommendations.  I’m not in favor of this placement for Finn; I think it is very possible, and not unrealistic or unreasonable to think that he could start preschool in a year at some type of preschool with typical peer models, perhaps do two years of preschool, and maybe start kindergarten, fully included in a regular kinder classroom at our home school, by the time he’s 6.

As it stands right now, we have been waiting two weeks to hear back from the IEP “team” about scheduling a meeting.

And that’s all I have to say about that.  For now.  

9/11, Kids, and Teachable Moments

My dear friend Caryl, who is also my twins’ teacher for the second year running (and was Joey’s first grade teacher three years ago), wrote this today and it was published in a local online newspaper.  It’s probably been one of the most moving things I’ve read about the topic of 9/11.

Teaching 9/11

***

Following are photos of a makeshift memorial at a house in our neighborhood.

I will never forget.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forty-Four Things

Forty-four (?!?) years ago today, I was born.  I am filled with melancholy on my birthday.  So much of my life behind me . . . is it all downhill from here?  I know, sounds so pitiful.  Life has been shaken up and hurled against the wall lately, and I’m still trying to make sense of it all and get to higher ground.  Getting there, but it’s a process, and I guess a milestone like my birthday is an opportunity to reflect, and so I’m having these feelings today.

Anyway, on a lighter note, I thought I’d put together a list of forty-four things about me, some meaningful, some trivial and silly.  Take it for what it’s worth.

1.  Ben & Jerry’s makes the best ice cream in the world.  Hands down.

2.  Red is a wonderful color.  The best.

3.  If you can make me laugh, you’re in.

4.  Motherhood isn’t like I thought it would be.  Surprise, surprise.

5.  Motherhood has shown me some things about myself that I don’t necessarily like very much.

6.  The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve learned to like myself.  (I know, that seems a funny thing to say on the heels of #5; there are things I don’t like about myself, but all in all, I think I’m a pretty good apple.)

7.  Marriage is hard.  Even when you’re married to your best friend.

8.  Sometimes you just gotta say, “What the fuck.”

9.  It is amazing to me that with the vast amount of things science answers, there are so many archaic, strange notions that people still cling to, which have no evidence to back them up.  It drives me crazy, and I tend to have a visceral reaction to this phenomenon.

10.  Finn is my favorite.  Just kidding.  Really, Kevin is.  Okay, seriously, of course I love all of my children, but I also identify with each one differently and share a slightly different relationship with each one, and because of this, some of those relationships are fraught with more conflict than others.

11.  I can hardly bear the idea of any of my kids moving far away some day.

12.  I certainly don’t feel middle-aged in my head.

13.  Chips.  The only way to not eat them is to not have them around.  Same for ice cream.  And cookies.

14.  My perfect meal: calamari to start, accompanied by a lemon drop martini; filet mignon, medium rare with mashed potatoes and braised spinach, accompanied by another lemon drop.  I’m good to go.

15.  Also, “steak” and “well done” should not be used in the same sentence.  It’s criminal to cook a steak all the way through.

16.  A girl needs her girlfriends.  Seriously, my girlfriends make my life so much richer.  I love you guys (you know who you are!).

17.  There is nothing more wondrous than feeling a baby grow and move inside you, and nothing more absolutely awe-inspiring than watching a baby make its way into the world.

18.  Life is too short for shitty relationships.  That is not to say that relationships worth hanging onto don’t take work, but a cost-benefit analysis must be made of every relationship.  If a relationship – whether it be with a friend or family member – brings more pain, turmoil, and/or angst than comfort and joy, it’s just not worth it.  Cut it loose.

19.  I have an appetite for reading that will never be sated.  Unfortunately, I also have an appetite for buying books, rather than borrowing them from the library.  Which can be costly.

20.  I deeply admire people who write well.  I am fascinated by writing as a craft.

21.  I love words.  I love looking up words and finding ways to use them.

22.  I love Starbucks and Starbucks loves me.  I know this because they send me coupons for free drinks occasionally.  So what if I have to spend a fortune to “earn” those coupons?

23.  I might get another tattoo some day.

24.  So oftentimes it happens that we live our lives in chains, and we never even know we have the key.  Okay, so I stole that from the Eagles.  They speak the truth, man.

25.  Speaking of music, I can only appreciate music that moves me, makes me feel something.  None of this contemporary, manufactured, over-processed, soulless shit.

26.  I don’t get Lady Gaga.  I really don’t.  Or Katy Perry.

27.  I’ve never been a fan of country/western music, but I have to admit that The Dixie Chicks are growing on me, thanks to my three girls.

28.  I think I’m pretty reflective and introspective, and therefore realistic and honest about my shortcomings.

29.  I have 105 months of breast feeding behind me between all my kids.  Yes sir, that’s 8.75 years of nursing in my lifetime.  Yes, I’m proud, and yes, I’m bragging.  My boobs have seen better days, but it’s been worth it.  And fortunately, my husband isn’t a boob man.

30.  I’m an extremely loyal person in relationships based on respect, honesty and genuine affection.

31.  But I can hold a grudge with the best of them.

32.  Probably nothing turns me off more than narcissism, people who refuse to be held accountable, and people who can’t/won’t find constructive ways to deal with their problems.

33.  Okay, I’m judgmental.  I admit it.

34.  I am proud of my kids for their accomplishments and achievements, but I’m more interested in their happiness.

35.  I wish I could dance, but I’ve never had any rhythm or very much grace.

36.  I recently changed the political party to which I wish to be affiliated on my voter registration to Independent.

37.  I wonder if my mother is thinking about me today.

38.  I wouldn’t go back to my teens or twenties for all the money in the world.  My thirties, though?  Maybe.

39.  I think that big, extravagant weddings are a big, extravagant waste of money.  I will encourage my kids to elope or have very low-key weddings.  The wedding certainly doesn’t influence how successful the marriage will be!  Better to spend that money on more useful things.

40.  I also hope my kids live with their future spouses before getting married.  Let’s be honest: you don’t really know somebody – and therefore have any inkling if you’re compatible – until you live with them for a while.

41.  My very first celebrity crush was Andy Gibb, when I was probably 10.  Over the years, he has been followed by: David Lee Roth, Jimmy Smits, and Steve Burns.  I’ve kind of developed a thing for Jon Stewart lately.

42.  If I had my druthers, I’d choose pie over cake, and ice cream over pie or cake.

43.  I have high hopes.

44.  Looking back on all the years of my life, I see a lot of twists and turns, tragedy and sadness.  I think I am more grateful than bitter, though – not for the things that have caused me heartache, but for the ways in which all the events of my life have helped me grow and learn.

Pining For Blue’s Clues

I think I’ve figured out why, after all these years, I still pine for Blue’s Clues, still retain a not-so-secret crush on Steve Burns (you know, aside from the fact that he was geekily hot as the show’s host), why I maintain that that was the greatest children’s show ever produced (it was!  Well, before Joe came along, anyway . . .).  I think it’s because it represents my first child’s childhood.  A certain period of time when my heart was all wrapped up in him, and his in me, and he was innocent and untainted, and everything seemed to still be ahead – the future seemed impossibly far away, and I basked in his smallness and innocence, believing foolishly that those days would last forever.

Now Kevin is fourteen, and fifteen is right around the corner.  He has his first week of high school under his belt.  It was a bit of a shaky start – he was very nervous and made no bones about the fact that he didn’t want to go.  It’s a big change for him; he attended middle school at a K – 8 school, which was a very small campus (basically, your average elementary school campus).  Suddenly he was being thrust onto a much larger campus, with a much more populous student body, where he would have to find his away around and learn to feel comfortable with it all.  I was nervous for him, but had no doubt that he would acclimate pretty quickly – it’s like childbirth; millions of women have done it and lived to tell about it, and so it is with kids starting high school.

And sure enough, by the end of the first week, he was coming home with that confident teenage swagger, and suddenly high school was no big deal after all.

He’s growing up.  And now that he’s into teendom full swing and a high-schooler to boot, Michael and I have come to the realization that it’s time to start letting out the reins a little.  So we’ve lifted the ban on giving his cell phone number out and texting friends that has been in place since we first got him a cell phone when he turned 12.  For the last 2+ years, his cell phone has been only to keep in contact with us when he’s away from home.  But it’s time to let him take fuller advantage of creating and maintaining a social circle for himself now, right?

It was uncanny how quickly after we lifted the ban that the chime on his phone began sounding with extreme regularity and frequency notifying him of incoming text messages.  And I’ve discovered that now that he and his friends are texting each other, the emails have all but dried up, putting the kibosh on this mother’s spying abilities.  Shit.  I wasn’t anticipating that.  Although we can see incoming and outgoing phone numbers, we can’t read the contents of incoming or outgoing texts.  I did have a serious talk with him (again) about never saying something in email or text that he wouldn’t say to that person face to face, and also warned him about how easy it is to become caught up in inappropriate activities, like sexting.

Damn.  Now that’s a conversation I never pictured myself having with my teenage son.

But I have to trust him, right?  And he’s a good kid, he really, really is.  I just don’t know about the kids he’s socializing with at school – are they good kids?  I hope so.

I know that one of the people now texting him with frequency and regularity is this girl, N, who has continued her friendly pursuit of him for about a year and a half now – but up until now, they didn’t attend the same school.  Now they do.  And they’re texting each other.  And she’s clearly interested in him – has been all along.

I’m not sure where Kevin stands on the subject of girls at this point.  I do know he now says things like, “Yeah, as if anyone would ever like me,” and he suddenly cares a little bit about things like how his hair looks when he leaves for school in the morning.  And he mentioned a couple of days ago in a fake-offhand way that his best friend, who is a year and a half younger than Kevin, has a girlfriend.  WHAT?!?  A thirteen year old with a girlfriend?  What does that mean?  (Because I know in my day, if you had a girlfriend/boyfriend at thirteen, you were likely practicing french-kissing, trying to be cool and like it and not be completely grossed out by having someone else’s slobber in your mouth.)

Anyway, clearly the day’s going to come when Kevin will have himself a girlfriend.  And I pray to the parenting gods that I will be cool about it, that I won’t lose my shit over it.  We’ve had (and will continue to have) all the important talks with him about being careful – in every sense.  Respect yourself.  Respect other people.  Behave responsibly.  Be careful.  Be careful.  Be careful.

It was so much easier when the biggest thing he had going on was Blue’s Clues.

The Past Never Leaves Us

I’ve often joked to people that if you opened my closet, bones would come tumbling out.  All those proverbial skeletons, you know.  Although the term “skeletons in the closet” implies long-buried secrets, and I’m not a woman of many secrets, so maybe not a fitting term after all.  But I certainly have lived a life with some weird twists and turns.

Most everyone who knows me in real life or who has followed my blog for any length of time knows that I was once married to someone other than Michael.  I was very young when I got married the first time – 19.  What followed was a twelve-year volatile mess of a marriage that ultimately ended with my filing for divorce and him dying from an (presumably accidental) overdose of the drug to which he had become addicted and which played a huge part in the mess our life together was: cocaine.  Pretty much the only good thing to come out of that relationship was Kevin.  Kevin was two when his father died.  He has no memories of him, although Michael and I have both always been very open with him about this piece of his past; however, Michael is really the only father Kevin has ever known.

The breakup between me and my first husband was ugly.  We were in dire financial straits because he had run us so far into debt with his drug habit; there had been so much abuse and lying and just absolute destruction that the feelings on both sides were extremely acrimonious.  The last time I ever exchanged words with him was in court at the hearing for the restraining order I applied for against him.  He showed up in court at that hearing, not with an attorney, but with my mother.  Yes, my mother.  That’s a whole other story, but suffice to say that her choosing to show up in court on the side of the person who had so destroyed me was the final nail in the coffin of my relationship with her.  Anyway, out in the hallway outside the courtroom, standing together facing me and my attorney, my mother said, “Who’s going to protect Kevin from you?!”  And Kelly, my estranged husband, looked me in the eye and said to me, “You have no idea what’s in store for you.”  Those were the last words ever spoken to me by him.  I was granted my restraining order, and two weeks later, Kelly was dead.

The exact events that played out leading up to his death remain somewhat of a mystery; he died alone, and nobody has ever come forward to say that they saw him that night or were with him during any part of the night.  What was pieced together by the police was this: he parked his pickup truck at an apartment complex (where it was found about a week after he died; it took the police that long to locate it, and to this day neither I nor anyone else knows if there was any specific connection to that apartment complex: did his dealer live there?  Was he partying with someone there?  Or was it just a random place he chose to park his truck?), and proceeded on foot, ending up in a neighborhood (which also appeared to be random) about a mile away where he wandered up and down the street for a while.   Neighbors reported later of their dogs barking on and off at somebody.  He still wore the slacks and shirt and tie he had worn to work, but at some point he abandoned his shoes, leaving them in someone’s backyard (they were found a week or two after he died).  I vaguely remember being told by the police that they figured out he had wandered up and down the street because there were bloody footprints.

Eventually, he sat down on a low wall in someone’s front yard.  He collapsed and he died.  The time of death was later estimated to have been around 1:00 a.m., but he wasn’t found until later in the morning when the poor people who lived in that house came out to retrieve their Saturday morning paper (as I understand it).

Meanwhile, I was at home, absolutely fuming that he had not shown up for what was supposed to be his first supervised visit with Kevin.  As I’ve said, eventually, someone from the sheriff/coroner’s office showed up and informed me that he had been found dead that morning a couple of miles away in someone’s yard.

It’s funny, because you think someone dying would provide a clean break.  But it didn’t.  For a long time, it felt as though I was never going to be free of him.  There was the financial mess to clean up.  There were the notes he had left hidden around the house before he was ordered by the court to move out so Kevin and I could stay there – notes I would find periodically over the next several months: “BITCH” “I HATE YOU” “FUCK YOU, CUNT” “BURN IN HELL”.  There was the lawsuit I was served with arising from a car accident he caused before he died; I was now being held responsible as his surviving widow.

And then there’s Kevin.  A living, breathing part of Kelly that walks around in my life every day.  Not that I begrudge Kevin his parentage or his presence – he is by far one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received in this life.  But often a gesture or expression or attitude disallows me from forgetting where he came from.

I’ve moved on with my life.  It’s taken a great deal of work and very conscious effort to put all that behind me as much as possible and refuse to be enslaved by it.  Nevertheless, once in a while, something will trigger a memory, a certain feeling.  This happened when Amy Winehouse died a couple of months ago.  I was suddenly overcome with sadness, just at what a waste it was, this young life thrown away, and the anguish all the people she left behind must be feeling.  It felt so parallel on some level to my ex-husband dying, and I wrote about it: Slow Suicide

In a very bizarre turn of events, I received an email yesterday from a woman who is in my book club.  As a founding member of this book club, I’ve been in it for eight years now, but she only joined in the last year or so.  I have not gotten to know her; she comes to a lot of our discussions, but doesn’t talk much.  So she sent me an email yesterday telling me that she had read my article about my ex-husband’s death, and she was “shocked” to realize a connection, and she wondered if we could meet to talk.  I couldn’t imagine what connection this virtual stranger could possibly have to my ex-husband who died twelve years ago.  Well, actually, I could imagine – that was the problem.  My thoughts ran the gamut from “She knew Kelly,” to “She partied with Kelly that night,” to “She slept with Kelly and has his love child, so Kevin has a mystery sibling out there.”  The trying to guess was driving me a little nuts, so I finally just sent her an email last night and asked her to just tell me whatever it was she had to tell me.

As it turns out, she and her husband live in the house whose yard my ex-husband died in.  She and her husband are the ones who found him dead twelve years ago.  They saw him dead.  I never did, for which I am grateful.  They called the police.  And now, twelve years later, I am in the same book club with this woman.  What are the chances?  Bizarre bizarre bizarre.  Or maybe not.  Maybe it’s a smaller world than we usually realize.

It’s thrown me for a bit of a loop.  Not that it changes anything.  And it doesn’t exactly stir up old hurts or grief . . . but I’m suddenly confronted with imagined scenes of his death again after all these years.  I doubt it was peaceful or pleasant in any way.  He sat down on a low wall in a stranger’s front yard, coked out of his head, feet bleeding, and he collapsed and suffocated from respiratory arrest.

Life.  Live it.

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