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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Not the best of weeks

Last Wednesday afternoon, my stepfather passed away. That same night, John's mother went into the hospital with a pulmonary embolism. In layman's terms, that's a blood clot in the lung. She died Friday morning. The two of them, less than 48 hours apart. The week before Christmas.

Ho ho ho.

It's difficult enough dealing with this sort of thing any other time of the year. But during the holidays, it's almost grotesque. The grief, juxtaposed with endless streams of Christmas carols, decorations, holiday ads and specials and Madison-Avenue cheer, seems to have nowhere to go; it doesn't belong. So you bury it within, because you don't want to rain on everyone's parade, put a damper on their festivities. And because everyone seems to have their own brand of holiday stress, so you don't want to add to it.

John and I took care of each other this weekend. Aside from his sister on Saturday, when we went to her little restaurant for lunch, we didn't see any of his family. I suppose some sort of memorial will be ahead, along with the inevitable battles over inheritances and what to do with his mother's antiques, her Waterford crystal, her old-fashioned grandfather clock. I really don't care about any of this, other than that I don't want it to be stressful for John. And I hope he gets his just share and proper acknowledgment. He was the only one of his siblings who gave money and things to his parents after he was grown, instead of taking them. He went to visit his mother and take her to lunch nearly every single weekend for the past 9 1/2 years, since she was widowed. I went with him for seven of those years, until my own mother died and I couldn't take it anymore.

My stepfather will be cremated and scattered at sea, as fishing was one of his life's loves. There will be no memorial, as far as I know. 

I just want to sleep for a while. Like two weeks. I have no work, and probably won't until after the holidays. I wish I could go away somewhere, with a laptop, a TV and a ton of books, and be left alone, except to be brought meals and maybe get a few massages. And sleep. 

And while I'm in wishing mode, I'd like to wave my hand and have John's heart valve replaced, his sleep apnea cured, and his energy and vitality restored. Then we could face anything together. 

But for now, all I can do is my best, one day at a time. It could be a lot worse, in so many ways. I just have to move through.

I don't like thinking about a world without my stepdad in it. He was a very good man, one I didn't always appreciate. I didn't want any part of him for a long time when I was a kid, because he wasn't my father. But he was the best thing that ever happened to my mother, all the way to the end, through all her terrible years of dementia, when a lesser man would have walked away. He was funny, good-natured, smart, and well liked by everyone. Unfortunately, he outlived his wife and all his friends, and ended up mostly alone. 

Still, he had good times. He had hobbies he loved; he adored his fishing, his music, travel, sports. He saw much of the world, had many adventures. He had a career that paid him a good pension and took care of him in his later years. He laughed a lot, and made others laugh, with his dry wit and his spot-on delivery of jokes and one-liners. I will miss his twinkling look at me and his deadpan, "So, do you think you'll ever amount to anything, Erica?"

I did amount to something, M. Just not exactly what you and Mom had in mind. :-) It's best that you never found out.

Anyway. Onward. Watching The Sound of Music, which I've always loved. Although I could have done without reading about how much Christopher Plummer (Captain Von Trapp) actually hated the movie, called it "The Sound of Mucus" and said working with Julie Andrews was like being hit over the head with a Valentine's Day card every day. (sigh)

Hope everyone had a good weekend. 


  1. My deepest condolences, Erica. Sending my warmest prayers and positive thoughts your way. -Annie

  2. Tears are rolling down my cheeks right now. I'm so sorry to hear about John's mom now on top of everything else.

    I'm sorry John and Erica. Why am I not surprised at all the love he showered on her vs. The other siblings and that you could care less about crystals. Your priority is each other.

    I love you both dear friends. I'm sorry. I'm so very very sorry.

    You did do well for yourself. I know exactly what you are talking about in regard to being proud of who you are in this kink world of ours, but not being able to talk about it.

    So much love at your time of loss.


  3. Words fail me. That's too much grief all at once, and I'm very sad to read this, Erica. You've mentioned your stepdad a lot through the years, and his fine qualities. I don't recall that much about John's mother, but obviously she had a lot to do with the outstanding man he became, which says a lot. The world is a much emptier place. My heart goes out to you both, and I'm glad you have one another for comfort.

  4. Erica, as Shakespeare once said. "Sleep, perchance to dream". Still life goes on, and will forevermore for all of us. Which includes all of us 'spanko's. Yes, all of us are saddened by the news of your two deep losses this week, XXX Love ya

  5. Sending you many hugs across the miles. Much love to you both!

  6. Erica, this is very sad news. One death is hard enough to take, but two in a week is devastating. I'll be thinking of you and John.


  7. Erica and John,

    I'm so sorry for your losses. My heart goes out to both of you. Like some from our community advised me, be easy with yourselves. A lot of us seem to have lost people this year. The holidays are a time for remembering the good times with family and friends, even when some of them are no longer with us. If you ever want to talk, just send me an email - I'm here.

    Love and hugs,

  8. Dear Erica:

    My condolences to both of you. You're right in that losses during the holiday season are that much more difficult. There's something... DARK, about sadness and loss this time of year, but it does happen and there's little one can do about it.

    I don't know your financial situation but something to consider, when you get the chance, is to pamper yourself for a day. A nice spa day; hot soak in a bubble bath, a full body massage, maybe a nice mani-pedi (for you at least) and try to set your troubles aside for a while. Maybe even a good meal with some good wine. It might make you feel better and let you decompress a little. Couldn't hurt anyway... ;-)

    My best wishes for both of you.

  9. Erica and John,

    I am so very sorry, such sad news. My heart goes out to you both.

    Love and hugs,

  10. Dear Erica,
    I am truly sorry for John and you. Sometimes just too much for one week occurs in seven days. May good memories and you being close to each other be some comfort.
    I wish for no work until 2015, and merciful loads after then - as well as real health again for John.
    Solid hugs.

  11. Erica and John

    First, take care of each other. Stay strong and life will continue. Losing is never easy, but the two of you can do it. Hal

  12. Erica, yours are shoes I've not completely walked in. Just one loved one's sudden death is a hole in the shoe, a hole in the (my) soul. Two such people is beyond my full comprehension. Two things I can say are time worn but I believe true. First, it is absolutely okay to feel all the "bad" emotions, the anger, rage, fear, depression etc. Second, limit your horizon to the present, live one day at a time.

    Plus, comfort John. With my hugs and shoulders to cry on, Jon

  13. Although you don't know me I've been a fan of yours for a long time. The classiness of your writing and the way you comport yourself should be a lesson for all young ladies in the scene. Please accept my condolences to you both in your time of sorrow. I look forward to meeting you one day.

  14. Offering my sincerest condolences to both you and John. Thinking of you both and wishing you comfort.


  15. Annie -- thank you so much.

    Joe -- we love you too, and thank you for your sweetness.

    Wolfie -- you're very dear.

    Six -- thank you.

    MaMa -- thank you, sis. ♥

    Hermione -- I appreciate the kind thoughts, thank you.

    Jay -- I loved your post about focusing on a good memory. I will do my best to honor that.

    smuccatelli -- I do like the sound of a spa day. I'll probably have to keep it to just a pedi, though. My funds are severely depleted after my most indulgent surgery.

    Ronnie -- thank you, dear.

    MrJ -- truthfully, I want work. It helps distract me and makes me feel purposeful, you know?

    Hal -- we will.

    Jon -- a day at a time is all we have, after all. Thank you.

    puggybear -- thank you for the outreach and the kind words.

    Jada -- aw, we miss you. Thanks.

  16. Erica, I saw this link on Fetlife and I thought I'd check in. I'm so very, very sorry about what you and John are dealing with, especially on top of the holidays, which I know are a bitch for you anyway. I'm glad you and John have each other to lean on. Please know you are in my thoughts. I've lost both my parents in the last few years and it's not fun. I know it's been a couple of years since we've seen each other, but you two have always been so nice to me and I don't forget things like that. Many, many hugs to both of you. Love,Rubysue

  17. Erica and John -- You both have my condolences :-( I can't believe all this is happening all at once, It's Very unfair.this made me so sad :-( I am so sorry that you both have to deal with this. My beloved Grandmother always said that some kind of tragedy usually happens before a holiday.She was so right.I am having problems dealing with her death it's a freaking nightmare :-( May your Stepdad and Johns Mom rest in peace. I care about you both. Sending you much Love and hugs always from naughty girl Jade/ Emily Jean

  18. Bobbie Jo -- thank you.

    Rubysue -- what is it I always used to say? You're a gem. And I'm sorry for your losses as well.

    Jade -- thank you; it's unfortunate that things have to happen all at once sometimes. I'm sorry for your pain.

  19. Oh Erica I am so sorry. I know that doesn't help but really I am. Take care of yourself this week. Create your own island where you can curl up with a book and do things that you enjoy. I will be thinking if you.

  20. KB -- it all helps. I feel the support in waves. Thank you.

  21. I'm so sorry for your joint losses. It's so much harder when you have a genuine affection for someone even though people try to make it better by saying "at least he/she lived a long life". It still blows when you loved them dearly.

  22. Kelly -- yeah, some of the platitudes are a bit much. I know they are meant to be kind and comforting, so I don't argue or berate, but really, all you need to say when someone dies is "I'm so sorry for your loss. Is there anything I can do for you?" Period.

  23. I'm so very sorry to hear this. As you wrote, there are no good times for such a loss but the holidays are especially brutal. And I know your general feelings about this time of year to begin with. :-( You've shared many good memories of M. It sounds like he lived quite a life. And surely he knew how much you loved him.

    My condolences to you and to John. I hope things can be settled within his family civilly without adding even more grief and stress to the circumstances. Big hugs.

  24. Lea -- thank you, dear. I do hope he knew.

  25. Late to the "party" as usual it seems, I'll be brief. I'm sorry to hear about your stepfather :-( It's never fun loosing anyone you care about, and I'd argue that it sucks extra to loose them right around Christmas. Basically my sincere condolances.

  26. Kyrel -- thank you. It's never too late to say something nice.