27 February 2006

What do you say?

When a friend is suffering through the loss of a family member the protocol is pretty simple. When you see them you give them a hug and tell them that you're sorry for their loss. You feel sad for them and you can empathize with what they're going through since it's similar to something you've gone through yourself..

Sometimes it's not so simple. Your friend is going through something more along the lines of a heart-wrenching, cheesy Hallmark movie. Your heart breaks for them, and if you try hard enough you can almost wrap your head around what they must be feeling. Perhaps you know of another who has gone through something similar..

But what do you say when that friend is suffering through something more like a horrific CSI episode? What if, not only does your heart break, but your stomach churns? What if, no matter how hard you try, you can't imagine that happening to someone you know?

Late last night, my friend C called me. I missed her call but called right back and spoke to her girlfriend, C was in no shape to talk. -- A bit of background information; C comes from a small, very dysfunctional family. Her parents almost never talk to her. Her sister never talks to her. Really the only family she has is her aunt, her cousin, and her cousin's 6 year old daughter.. --- C wanted me to do her a favor. For the rest of the week she wants me to stop in Tacoma as I pass through while at work (Tacoma is just south of Seattle) and pick up a local paper. Tacoma is where her cousin lived. I say "lived" because she's no longer alive.

I know things like this happen, usually on TV, but it's always to someone you've never heard of, someone no one you know has ever met. The story is still being pieced together, but according to both C and the local news her cousin had disappeared a couple days ago. She'd dropped her daughter off at her aunt's house and didn't pick her up. The next day, still being unable to reach her, her aunt called the police to file a missing person's report. She then accompanied the police to her home where they found her.. In a bathtub filled with water.. Chopped up... Her soon to be ex-husband is believed to have done it, since he is missing along with her car.

Tonight, while I'm at work, I'll stop by the truck stop and pick up a paper. Tomorrow, when I meet with C to give her that paper, I'll give her a hug and hope like hell I can think of something to say.. Somehow, "I'm sorry" doesn't seem to be enough.....

22 February 2006

The Worth of Friends

Over the past few months I've had more than my share of moments where I've doubted the point of having friends. But just when I lose all faith in people, something always happens that makes it all worth it. As it did yesterday.

Having given up trying to sleep, I was on the computer when I heard someone at the front door. I opened it to find the mailman holding a box that had seen a better day. I glanced at the name of the sender and then grabbed a knife to see what treasures were inside. There were several CD's, some chocolate, and a few random mementos from my friend who is in Belgium. I was halfway through the enclosed postcard when I realized it wasn't from my friend, but instead from her mother. My friend had intended to send these items to me while she was home on Christmas break but, as she keeps a schedule at least twice as busy as anyone I've ever known, she hadn't found the time. (And to be completely honest, I was being momentarily "difficult" and so she had just reason to spend her time off doing other tasks)..

I immediately got online and sent her a thank you note. Then proceeded to sample the chocolate, browse through the CD's, and read the campus newsletter from her university.. Later, I caught her online and, as we filled each other in on recent happenings in our separate worlds, we had to laugh. You see, every now and again I receive unexpected things in the mail that bring a smile to my face, more often than not from my mom, but this was to be the first time I received something that the sender hadn't been aware she'd sent.. Her mom had totally taken it upon herself to compile the things she knew my friend had intended me to have, and sent them off without even mentioning it to my friend. Not only had her mom brightened my day, but she'd brightened hers as well..

As I spent the rest of the day thankful for the smile that remained on my face, I was also comforted by the knowledge that I have some really wonderful friends.

There's C, who has entrusted me with the label of "Best Friend". She lives locally and always keeps an eye on me. We've had many memorable times together, and she ensures that I never spend a holiday alone. Such an honor it was for me to stand beside her as "Best woman" in her and her girlfriend's commitment ceremony.

There's E, my above mentioned friend who is attending grad school in Belgium. Besides a demanding class schedule, she also works at the embassy, is in constant marathon training, and keeps a busy social life. And yet, she somehow finds time for me. She believes in me so much that she makes me believe in myself. Her encouragement means more to me than she'll ever know.

There's D, who I can always count on. We spent 4 years together, so some of you may remember her. While our relationship may have not worked out, we have developed a friendship that continues to amaze me. A few weeks ago she returned to the Vancouver area for 3 days to visit and take care of some business. During that time we did little but work on my house, at her insistence. She was determined to make me finish something. Now my dining room and entry way look great. She's threatening to return soon, with her girlfriend in tow, and help me tackle the bathroom. A visit I will certainly look forward to.. (side note: that hideous wallpaper was in the room I use for storage.)

And there's H, a truly lifelong friend. Though she lives in AZ and, therefore, we don't get to see each other as often as I'd like to, she's been the "big sister" and anchor in my life. Always there to listen to me, voice her opinion, and love me unconditionally. And, if you ask me, anyone who has willingly put up with my crap for almost 24 years deserves some sort of medal...

As the years go by, I will certainly cross paths with those who will challenge the faith I have in people, but should I have to endure the disappointment caused by even a hundred of these people, then so be it. Because, every now and again, someone comes along who makes it all worth while..

20 February 2006

Getting back up

I've spent most of the past four months doing pretty close to nothing. If I wasn't at work, spending a few moments on the computer, or volunteering, you'd find me either in bed or on the couch or meandering from one to the other... It was almost as if life had knocked me down and, though I'd always just bounced back, this time I wasn't getting up.

I'd gone through a less than pleasant break-up. A few weeks after that I had one of my best friends borrow a large sum of money from me and then immediately change his phone # and disappear. (Money that I'd taken out of my house to remodel my kitchen. Every month as I make a payment on that loan, I wish him unhappy thoughts.) And a few weeks after that my grandma passed away.. By this time i was numb..

I was so happy when 2005 ended. I was hoping that the new year would bring better days. And still.....

I should get up.
Why? There's nothing I have to do today.
I can't just sleep all day.
I'm happier when I'm asleep.
Alex needs to go to the park and play.
I'll just give her a bone and let her go dig in the yard.
The garbage needs to be put in the alley.
The can's only half full. It can wait until next week.
The phone's ringing.
So, let them leave a message.
I need to clean the cat box.

Why do I have this stupid cat??

My friends started wondering what was wrong. I stopped going out with them. My friend in Belgium was constantly worrying that I might be depressed. I assured her that I was just fine. But when Jill's brother killed himself, and my brother called to tell me he was really concerned about me, I had to admit to myself that I wasn't as fine as I wanted to believe. Though I'd never even thought of hurting myself and I didn't sit around all day crying, I knew that depression had many other symptoms.

So I called my doctor. She's put me on some meds and says that I'll be back to my old self in another week or so. Is this the answer?? I don't know. But I do know that I'm only sleeping about 5-6 hrs a night. I went out with friends Friday night and didn't get home until 5 am. And the cat box was changed and the garbage was out 18 hours before the garbage truck arrived.. So it may be a start..

And now, I think I'll head down to the basement and organize my storage stuff... I'm almost impressed with myself....

17 February 2006


Did you think I'd gotten lost?.. Maybe a bit, but that's besides the point.. I've had issues with my computer the past several days. I couldn't get into the blog websites. Very strange, since the blogs were the ONLY sites that were broken.. But after hours of looking through the online "help" (frustrating as that was) and my computer settings, things seem to be funtioning properly.. Unfortunatly, now that everything's fixed, it's time for me to get some sleep.. But I'll return soon...

07 February 2006

Sad fishy..

This is one of my fish. (I only have two, but that's two too many!!) His name is Stick.. I'm feeling so bad for him.. As you can see (or sort of see in this fuzzy picture; the tank makes taking a photo challenging), his tank-mate has eaten all his fins off... He'd done this once before, and I thought for sure Stick would die, but he recovered. This time I'm separating them for good.. I swear fish are more of a pain than a dog or a cat!!

Yes, this is how exciting my world is these days.. Wounded fish being the highlight..