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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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"I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved and where all your yesteryears are buried deep, leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can. Never turn back and never believe that an hour you remember is a better hour because it is dead." — Beryl Markham (West with the Night)

Took a trip to the doctor's office... well, okay... it's a clinic. I have medical assistance so my general practitioner is based in a clinic at a local hospital. It's a learning facility, so doctors can stay there anywhere between six months to two years. The doctor I saw on Monday was new to me, new to the hospital she reminded me twice, and I will be fine if I never see her again. She is not the doctor assigned to me, but if I had waited to see my assigned doctor I wouldn't have been able to get an appointment until mid-October. I had to wait two weeks for this appointment, as it was, and when I called I was kinda in crisis.

I went to see about getting a mental health therapist. I was having a very hard time and wanted to explore my options when it came to not feeling so sad/depressed/dark/hopeless/desperate. To be honest, I also was hoping for a sedative, but the doctor refused to prescribe me anything (even though I scored the second to lowest on their weird depression quiz). She told me to call and make an appointment to see a therapist, which is what I expected. But still, it's already been two weeks. How long will I have to wait to see a therapist? I called the place and left a message, because for some reason, even when you're feeling mentally unwell you can't talk directly to someone who can help – unless you call the suicide prevention hotline, which I have not done.

I see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I feel like I should be excited and happy, but I'm not. I'm still waiting for everything to go sideways again. I got my move-in date for the last Friday in September, which is less than ten days away, but I don't think I will feel anything except relief and only after I have spent the night in the apartment and not been molested by roaches. At this point, I don't know if my rent will be “prorated.” It would be nice to just take care of October's rent and be done with it. We also have to figure out how to get electricity in the apartment, since that's not included.

Jeremy has been trying his best to get me excited. It will be great to have our own space again, but I can't work up any enthusiasm. I'm stuck in a rut. All I can think of is how once I pay my rent I will have $100 to get through the month, and my cell phone bill will take that. I gave away all my household items when I left TABCO, so I have to find a way to get new (or used) pots and pans, a coffeemaker, a dish drain board, and all that other stuff that you say, “I thought I had...” and you kinda need it right then. Plus my food stamps will be gone by the time I move, and they don't hit again until the 6th. I know I am not the only person who needs stuff, and that millions of people live from paycheck to paycheck and go without. I know I can do it, it probably won't even be all that bad, but my inner spoiled princess is being smashed while she screams, “But I want to see the ocean! I want to do something fun!” Sorry, Princess, you've gone years without seeing the ocean, what's a couple more?

Then there's the whole actually moving all my shit again. Because my move-in date is a Friday, I can't even get my bed to the apartment until Sunday (at the earliest) because I will not go back to my parents' house when Big Len is home. I will not endure that hostility. I will not provoke that rage. And considering the fact that Betty got junked, we don't have a truck to transport the bed. I may have to find the money to rent a U-haul, which yes they claim to only be $19, but it's also 79 cents a mile, plus gas.

My mother has already started packing my room. She gets boxes from work and has packed my clothes and knickknacks. She's trying to be helpful. She's finally realized that I cannot come back. Not until she's the only one still living there, and by then I hope that I won't still be in this state. There must be somewhere cheaper (without the crazy drug crime) to live than Baltimore. Though, if my mom were living alone, I wouldn't be above going back to live with her and make sure she's okay. Modifications would definitely have to be made. That's been the long and terrible battle of my life, and I've lost almost every single round. But if Big Len's not there to break everything (like my shower chair, like my portable ramp) and throw all my adaptive equipment in the trash, then there might be hope.

The doctor also said she was going to refer my case to a social worker. I suppose that I should call her but I don't have the energy. After contacting so many agencies and finding them to be useless, I don't know what this social worker can offer me. Especially now that I have already found an apartment. But I will call, because maybe there's... something... a Uhaul fund. A Mr Coffee fund. Energy assistance. Supplemental monetary assistance. Something.

Though something tells me that I'm gonna end up doing this on my own (with some help from Jeremy) because that's how it's been thus far.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

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"At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by "I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in." — Mother Teresa

It's been a while since I posted anything because that thing I feared was going to happen – it happened.

I vacillate between telling people I'm homeless, or “between homes” right now.

It's been almost a month since I fled from my parents' house. I woke up one day not realizing that would be the last time I slept in that room. All that planning I did, all that saving, I'm glad I started when I did. I didn't have a place lined up when I finally left my parents' house, but I was hysterical and heartbroken and incapable of taking any more abuse. So we packed a couple of bags, and the cat, and a friend came to get us.

I haven't had to sleep outside. I haven't had to seek out a shelter, or a mission, or a soup kitchen and for that I am grateful. This could have been a whole lot worse and so I shy away from claiming homelessness, but I am currently without a home of my own. Hopefully that will change in a couple weeks. Hopefully I will be signing a lease by next week. I'm nervous as hell that this is going to fall through. It took weeks for me to find a place that was not only within my price range, but also accessible. I need to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

After making at least 50 phone calls, Jeremy and I did manage to find two accessible and affordable places. I also called the Department of Disabilities, the IMAGE center (an organization that supposedly helps disabled people live independently), the caseworker who came to my parents house in the Spring to access what kind of money I needed to make my life easier (who then referred me to the woman in charge of housing who I have yet to speak to, after two weeks of leaving messages and returning calls), social services and Catholic Charities... none of which helped me. The woman from the IMAGE Center even got online and did a brief search that came up with zero results. Instead of being outraged, she brushed me off, telling me that she would print out some information of senior communities that sometime take disabled residents under 62. She didn't care when I told her I called most of those places and they had 3 year waiting lists for those under 62-years-old.

I've been to social services and talked to their housing department. I filled out paperwork to see if I'm eligible for renter's assistance but that takes 1.5 years to go through. I filled out paperwork to see where I am on the Section8 wait-list because that takes 7 years and I'm sure I've been on it for at least two years.

I had one organization tell me that there are shelters for disabled people, but this person could not tell me which shelters or how any of them worked. I'm pretty sure shelters where I would be able to use the bathroom and get in an out of a bed are the stuff of legends. It's more likely that I wouldn't be able to have Jeremy help me; that I would be on my own, without a caregiver, which means I wouldn't be able to get on or off the cot/mats on the floor. I wouldn't be able to use the bathroom, or get dressed, or shower. My motorized chair would be in danger of being stolen.

And while all of this has been difficult, I think the worst part of this whole situation is that no one in my family cares (except my mother). I haven't heard from any of them, including my two sisters. And I can't help but feel that their lack of support or concern means that they think I deserve this. But I don't know why they would think that.

Every week it gets easier. I was crying hard, all the time, for the first couple of weeks. I felt this deep, soul-sucking blackness inside of me. I felt like worthless trash thrown into the street. Yes, I left. It was my choice, but the amount of abuse that I was suffering was making me suicidal. It sickens me to think that anyone in my family believes that I actually deserve to be treated that way. And so, every week it gets a little easier to see a future without them. Because a good holiday celebration or a great piece of birthday cake cannot balance out being told that everything you do is “too little too late” by someone who sits on his fat ass and does nothing at all (except make people miserable), who can't see me for the wonderful, giving person that I am while I was trying SO HARD to make him happy. And anyone who wants to stand in silence when my mother asks, “Why do you hate your daughter so much?” and he answers “I don't know” stands with him.

It's been hard for me to see out of the darkness this past month. I'm a logical person, trying to apply sense to a situation that cannot be understood. The only thing that I can conclude is that I will never be a human woman to many people, because I am disabled. And some of those close-minded, mean-spirited people just happen to share my DNA. I am officially estranged, but I will find people who do care, and who know what it is to love, and I will make my own family. I will start with Jeremy and I will go from there.

If you could keep me in your thoughts and prayers, I would appreciate it. I'm still pretty scared and nervous. Any positive thoughts will help.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

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The Scarf Maker is Free for Anyone who is Homeless or is a Homeless Advocate

The Scarf Maker by Johnna Crider Sabri, Art4TH Founder

The Scarf Maker is the second book that I am publishing. It will be out on November 1, 2014 but is available for preordering now. It is free for anyone who is homeless or is a homeless advocate. 

I am writing this book because I want to raise awareness about homelessness, especially our elderly. Many of the situations in this book are real and they happen to millions. It's a harsh reality that unless we bring awareness to it, will continue. Millions of homeless elderly Americans die on the streets every day. 

If you are homeless or a homeless advocate (group or individual) you can have the ebook for free. I will email you a copy. Click here to send me an email telling me about yourself (whether you are homeless, or an advocate). 

The ebook is available for pre ordering and is only $0.99, of which I will only get $0.35. I made the price super low to be attractive. Unfortunately, I am not able to make it free at this time. Click here to preorder now!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

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Junk Yard Bound

I wrote the following in mid-July:

I'm sitting in a garage while Jeremy and scooter work on Betty. This is her second day in the operating room. She came in to have the screwdriver removed from her carburetor She's currently having her starter replaced. After that she needs some cosmetic surgery - her facelift - because when her brakes fell out and she crashed herself into the garage she bent her hood. Yeah, our truck might be self destructive. She might be a suicidal Christine. Her hood got hooked into the garage door, bent back and smashed the windshield. She's a fucking mess, our Betty, but we're not ready to give up on her yet.

We've had her maybe a month now. Been fucking nowhere because the engine sounded like a motorboat and Jeremy thought he could make her purr by rebuilding the carburetor Except Jeremy isn't a mechanic and some spring shot across the dark back porch at 11pm so he couldn't get the choke to open or close properly. The truck doesn't start if the choke won't open, so Jeremy stuck a screwdriver into the carburetor which meant the choke was always open, which meant she was blowing through gas. Two miles to the gallon or something Asinine like that.

Jeremy knows scooter from "the joint" scooter was born with a wrench in his hand. His mom was the first female NASCAR driver in Maryland and she was pregnant with scooter when she placed second for the first time. She had to give up racing when she found out she was pregnant, but it seems like the whole family has been building cars since there have been engines.

They just tried to start her. "Not engaging" but I'm not surprised. Scooter picked us up at 7:30 this morning. We all know this is an all day project. I'll be surprised if we get out of here before the sun goes down. The old starter was smashed into place so hard that the pressure bent and eventually broke off both the fasteners - they look like they're at least a quarter inch thick. I can get $30 back when I turn in the old one but right now there's a lot of measuring. It's not looking good. "This is a short snap. You need a long snap."

Guess they're going to advanced auto. They've got to go to the junkyard too, to get the windshield. It's 10am.

We're listening to the country music station in the garage. Maybe I'm mellowing in my old age but it's not bad. ***


Thursday Crazy Ray's is coming with their tow truck to take away Betty.

FUCK YOU, truck!

After the guys got her running again, the windshield was still cracked in several places – that was the replacement windshield, by the way. We got her home, got Spot to the vet (thank God for small favors) and a couple days later Jeremy decided to take her over to the school right behind my house to align her headlights. Because the fates like fucking with me, she started and we got her to the school, but that was all she wrote. She died next to the dumpster and we had to abandon her there overnight because we couldn't find anyone with a chain to use to tow her. The closest towing service wanted at least $100 to tow her about 500 feet.

A couple friends helped Jeremy push Betty home the next night. But, in the meantime, we discovered that the MVA had sent my title to the address of the old owner. Can't sell the truck without a title, which is pretty much what happens when Crazy Ray's takes it off your hands. I emailed the MVA but they wanted all kinds of information, then when I provided that I still managed to go to the MVA office before they responded -three days later. Jeremy and I sat there half the day, but walked away with the correct title. The woman who helped us printed one out right there, which makes me wonder why they don't do that all the time. Three days later, another title (exactly the same as the corrected one) arrived in the mail.

Crazy Ray's should be giving us $350 for the truck. I got some money back from the insurance company and $25 back from MVA for returning my tags (had them for two months, so mathematically that was disappointing). So I'm trying to convince myself that I will get back at least a third of the money that I sunk into this truck. Still, it's going to take a while for me to come up with enough money to try again with another vehicle. There's a minibus/van with a wheelchair lift for sale less than a mile away. Jeremy and I keep daydreaming about starting a party bus for disabled football fans who need a ride to the stadium and back. My mom mentioned that she was thinking about helping us get our next vehicle, when she gets her inheritance from her father's death, but she also mentioned wanting to remodel the bathroom and remove the 50 foot tree in our front yard. I don't think she's going to get that much money.

I feel like I keep banging my head against the same wall. Summer is ending and I am no closer to moving out of my parents' house than I was six months ago. I'm considering starting a gofundme campaign for my next vehicle, but have a hard time believing that strangers and friends would be willing to help me when I can't even convince my family to assist.

At least for the next couple of months I don't have to worry about gas money or insurance.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

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"A person with a disability is much, much more than a handicap. A pediatrician is more than a medical doctor. You're MUCH more than your job description or your age or your income or your output." — Fred Rogers (The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember)

Today Jeremy and I were making the two mile trek to the post office...

(you know, cuz the truck shit the bed last night... We took her over to the school so we would have a wall to use to realign her headlights and she wouldn't start once we got her over there. She's still there, as I type this, and it's making me nervous. A cousin of a friend is supposed to help us get her the 500 feet from the school to Mira Court this evening, but until then anything could happen. There's a cute note on her dashboard – an effort to keep someone from calling to report her as abandoned, or having her towed. Jeremy called a towing company last night but they wanted a minimum of $100. Thing is, I can look out the back window of my house and see the spot where she's parked. She's THAT close. Jeremy says that it's either the starter – which we just replaced last week – or the flywheel. If it's the flywheel it's gonna cost too much to get her fixed because the whole engine has to be removed. To make matters worse, the MVA seems to have sent the title to the truck to the old owners – with my name on it. Without a vehicle, I can't go to the MVA office and they have all of one phone line, which is constantly busy. I emailed them, but the automated reply I received said it can take up to three days for a real answer.)

Anyway, as I was saying...

I sell a lot of stuff online so I have to go to the post office at least once a week. I usually go (or get Jeremy to go) on Wednesday, but that didn't happen yesterday so it HAD to happen today. With my entire family on vacation, it's not like I could get my mom to drive us to the post office. And although my grandmother's car is parked on the driveway, I know that my mother's eagle eyes will notice if it's been moved and she doesn't have it in her to not immediately rat me out. So we walked to the post office.

On the way there we were stopped by a man named Patrick. He runs the Bay Country community counsel (or something like that). I have had previous interactions with him when my sister (the president of the school PTA – yes, the same school where Betty is currently “parked”) tried to get him to help her raise funds for the school by holding a community yard sale. He was not helpful in that regard. Apparently he has been trying to get cut curbs installed in some of the sidewalks in my neighborhood, but couldn't get enough signatures from neighborhood residents. They don't want people digging in front of their houses. I guess having a disabled person killed in front of their house is okay, though. Patrick said that he had been talking to another wheelchair user, but that guy didn't want to get involved. I can't imagine not wanting to make an improvement in your community. The state won't do it unless they are shown that at least one person will use the curbs. How much work is involved? I had the crosswalk cut curb at the school installed with a email and two phone calls.

I am the one person who has the power to make this happen. Though I can't understand why anyone would think it's okay for someone in a wheelchair to have to travel in the road, with the cars, because there's no way on or off the sidewalk.

And, while I'm at it, I wouldn't mind trying to get a sidewalk installed along Eastern Avenue before someone walking to the bus stop gets hit. Because while the percentage of people who would benefit from a cut curb is small, a much larger population would benefit from a sidewalk on a two-lane road with no shoulder.

I wonder if this is the reason why I find myself with a piece of shit truck, living in this neighborhood, and walking these streets. Is all this happening because I'm the only one who can make a difference in this situation? Or am I just looking for meaning in a really bad situation?
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Surviving the Changes of Empire Avenue by @JayeAbdulQader

Originally, this blog was posted on the personal blog for Art4TH Founder, Johnna Sabri.  You can see that here. 

EA, as we all call it, is awesome, but now they are making things a bit more complicated: from dissing longtime members such as Michael Q. Todd, who I know has spent at least $40K on EA, and Reggie Saddler, a well loved player who shares awesome photography, to making it harder for your missions to be completed.

So many of us depend on EA to promote our work and ourselves. I do many missions for me, for Art4TheHomeless and AngelTD. When people see us being shared and supported across the web, it makes a huge difference.

So what do we do about these changes? Well, life is ever changing.  You eitheradapt or stagnate and here's how I'm adapting to the new missions guidelines. You can't ask for people to share, like, or comment anymore.

Surviving the EA Mission Changes:

1. Always assume that the person wants you to like, share and/or comment and do those.  Sally K. Witt and Mary Helen Ferris are always doing this for my missions.

2. Always like and rate the missions. It's just nice.

3. Always comment on the missions--again it's just polite and nice.

4. Give back to your shareholders. It keeps them there.

5. If you want people to share your content, phrase it in such a way that hints at them to do so. Such as: "If you like the post, please show it some love in your networks."

6. Grab a thesaurus and research  different ways to ask for engagement. We gotta keep these pesky admin on their toes.

7.  Monitor your mission grades. If you have an A mission that is later a D mission, try to figure out why.

8. Participate in Misson Events.. It shows you are a team player and besides, people like Erin Boykin have great ides for fun missions.

Besides surviving the mission changes, we also need to survive the overall changes. Some of the changes are pretty good. I like the Leaders Idea and how EA is trying to get members in on helping manage, but one of the major flaws is that several members are being dissed, having their accounts closed with no warning and much more.

How to survive and adapt to the other changes:

1. Find your influencer of your niche and connect with them. Even if they don't respond back. EA makes it super easy to do that--just look for the people with all the likes, high share prices, etc. Chances are they are an influencer.

2. Find people with similar interest as you even if they are competition. Showing you are willing to work with a competitor puts you high on their list of liked profiles.

3. Always reach out to people. Don't be afraid of rejection. What's the worse that could happen? Don't be afraid to tell Louie Bauer that those food pics make you feel hungry! I'm sure he'll appreciate your reply. Speaking of food...I'm hungry!

4. Be patient. Yeah, hard to do. I know. TRUST ME. I know.

5. Have faith. EA is a great tool for internet marketers and also for people like me: bloggers, artists, CEO's of nonprofits, and people like Robert Christian, an awesome media host who supports Art4TheHomeless. 

6. Join communities such as EAVElders and Gangstas. Why? Because they are for us to use. We meet and connect with people like us and the bigger players.

7. Remember, the admin are human, too. In the end, we are all humans with emotions, needs, and emergencies. Life happens.

Basically, we need to treat our fellow EAVers as we would like to be treated. Most of the time that works. You do have a few who don't, but it's okay. That's life.

Do you have any suggestions on how to survive the EA changes? If so feel free to share.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

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My grandfather passed last night. He turned 90-years-old last week. He spent his birthday in the hospital. I don't know all the details. If my sister hadn't come here to pick up her mail, I wouldn't have known the viewing times or the funeral details. That's how it is here – that's how I got to be such a great mindreader.

My last remaining grandparents lives with us. The pity in this is that she and I used to be really close, but she got mean in her old age and I'm so tired of being hurt – not just by her, but by so many people who don't seem to understand cause and effect, or how far reaching their actions can be.

Don't get me wrong, I've got a mouth on me and a trigger temper, but I recently watched as a grown woman told a 14-year-old young man that she refused to refer to his mother's wife as “wife” because that kind of relationship is wrong, and managed not to give her the vicious tongue-lashing I thought she deserved. Thing is, this woman then called two days later and tried to convince Jeremy to leave me because we will never be able to get married, and therefore are living in sin.

I will never understand how people can use the Lord and their religion to be so hateful and destructive, and have absolutely no idea that their behavior is unacceptable.

That's why my phone has a “block caller” button. I was hoping to find love and acceptance from this woman. I put on my best behavior. I didn't cuss (which is kinda a fucking miracle in itself!) and I tried not to bring up controversial topics. And she said I was a blessing, and “such a treasure” and then told Jeremy that he should move back in with his grandparents... leaving me to...

That's the thing... if Jeremy leaves me I can't stay here. I cannot get around in this house. I gave up my apartment for him, and finding another one where I can survive on my own is going to take some time. We are almost ready to start apartment hunting again, but even then I'm taking Jeremy with me. We are a couple, and even though we can never make it legal, our relationship is like that of a married couple. It ENRAGES me that someone so supposedly Christian would have the balls to try to break up something so incredible.

Jeremy and I are fucking solid. We belong together. In a world of couples where women snoop their mate's cell phone, and hack emails, or men who refer to their woman as “psycho” behind her back, Jeremy and I should be gazed upon in wonder. We have a relationship that others should aspire to create with their own significant other.

Maybe this divorced woman who prays to her Lord pretty much daily for help being patient and understanding with her own (second) husband should be looking toward the cripple and the unemployed man for hope. Because I prayed for someone who would love me, and along came Jeremy. And I'm supposed to be like, “Oh Thanks God but I changed my mind. Not him. Someone else” ? Because I truly cannot imagine anyone better suited for me than Jeremy and I wish that everyone else would just stop poking at him and his soft spots.

Because I'm used to not measuring up, but I'll be damned if I'm gonna let anyone make him feel like he's not the best guy ever.

And it's up to Jeremy if he wants to continue to have any sort of interaction with his mother, but I'm done with her. I'm tired of plastering a smile on my face as she goes on another one of her wispy lectures about how we have to make room in our hearts for the Lord when I feel certain that He's been there for almost 40 years. Because that's TWO of my relationships she's judged and found lacking, when both are stronger than her own.

I found my forever-mate, when she acts as if she's making due with her's. I have a great relationship with her son, when she's on the brink of losing him (again). And, when we die, and we're standing at the Pearly Gates I truly believe that Jeremy and I have lived a much better life than someone who claims that Jesus died for her, and therefore she doesn't have to do anything else to deserve to go through those gates. Sorry, but MY Bible (you know, the same one...) says that Jesus is The Way, and to follow him. As in, do what he did. Jesus didn't sit back and judge and watch while others struggled. Jesus didn't raise his hand in church at the end of service and brag how he had been saved, then keep all his money/possessions while others were homeless, or hungry or in need. When it comes to me and Jeremy, we are saving each other (and others, in smaller ways). We own next to nothing, but we give our love, support, etc to many others. So I'm not so sure that her relationship with the Lord is as solid as she seems to think.

Anyway I look at it, Jeremy is a gift. Either the stars aligned, the Lord sent him to me, or it's just some big spectacular lovely coincidence but I'll be damned if I'm gonna let him go.

And I'm 100% certain he feels the same about me.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

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What Doesn't Kill You...

My grandfather is not doing well.

My maternal grandmother died the same month that my sister got married – eight (approx) years ago. I can only remember this because my nephew is seven. I am terrible at remembering anniversaries and dates. (I have no idea when I first met Jeremy, or when he officially moved in, or when we became a couple.)

Maybe you need this background information: my mother's parents moved to the Eastern Shore of Maryland around the same month that my mother married my father. I only know this because my mother brings it up all the time, suggesting that they abandoned her. My grandmother didn't work and my grandfather had either lost his job or retired, so it's not like they had a financial reason to stay in Baltimore. They took my mom's younger sister (by eight years, who was still a minor) with them. Eventually my mom's older sister also moved to the Eastern Shore. My mom's family pushed very hard to get us to move to the area, but for a million reasons we did not.

It is over 100 miles to the Eastern Shore from where we live. This can take over three hours (one way), and cost about $15 in tolls, not to mention at least a half tank of gas. Therefore, my mother makes this trip only about once a year. Usually her older sister will bring their father up to Baltimore about once a year (Christmastime).

When my mother's mother fell ill and went into the hospital, into a nursing home, back to the hospital, and then back to the nursing home to die my mother and I lived on the Eastern Shore for a week (in my grandfather's house). The only reason we left was because my mom had prep-work to do for my sister's wedding. In this week, my mom's youngest sister threw my mom out of her house for not being around more as my grandmother got sicker. My mom and I (and others) were in the room when my grandmother passed. My mom's youngest sister claimed it was “beautiful” but all my mom and I saw was my grandmother gasping for air, how she would stop breathing and my grandfather would start crying only for my grandmother to start breathing again, and my grandmother's limbs slowly turning blue. I saw my mom run down the hall and heard her vomiting when my grandmother did finally pass.

But for most of my life (before, and even now) I have heard my mom tell stories about how she was physically, emotionally, and verbally abused by her mother and so I find the whole thing confusing.

Yet here we are again. My grandfather turns 90 the first week of July. His Eastern Shore daughters were planning to throw him a birthday party, but then they called it off because he was having a difficult time breathing. He has COPD, but it was supposedly taking him an hour in the morning to walk down the hall. He lives alone, and wanted to be put on oxygen except that every time he would make an appointment to see a doctor, it would be in the afternoon and his breathing would have regulated by then. This past Sunday my mom, Jeremy and I went to the Eastern Shore to visit my grandfather in the hospital.

I haven't seen him since December. He is frail and thin. He was in the same hospital my grandmother was in, and this past Tuesday was supposed to be transferred to the same nursing home where my grandmother died. Apparently he is only going there for rehab, because he is currently too weak to function on his own. The party is off because no one is sure when he will be released from the nursing home. I will be surprised if he makes it to the end of the year – especially if he goes back to living by himself.

We visited him for all of maybe two hours before he hinted that he wanted to take a nap and that my mother should leave. In that span of time, both my mom's sisters came for a visit, but didn't stay longer than a half-hour and neither suggested doing anything (having dinner, etc) with my mom. And I know that once my grandfather passes, my mother will never see her family again because they have all written her off.

And this is sad for so many reasons – but let's ignore them all, as is the way with my mother.