Gone too soon

I got a FB message this morning from my ex that a mutual friend of ours from high school committed suicide yesterday. I haven’t spoken to this guy in years, but my heart is still saddened. He was a kind soul and truly wanted to change our world. Depression got the better of him.

My mom once told me*, everyone has a purpose in this life. We may not know what it is, but it’s still there. (Maybe one person’s purpose is to learn to get along better with their mom. Another person’s  would be to change the world.) And for those who decide to leave us before their “natural” time, maybe they have completed their purpose of what they are here to do. We won’t ever know, but maybe that is why they had to leave too early.

I find my mom’s words/concept soothing. It doesn’t take away the grief, but it does help me with the loss. In this case though, I’m struggling with his passing. Honestly, I’m not sure why I’m so sad. It isn’t like I’ve seen or talked to him in years (except for a line or two of text on FB). But, he is a past/former/previous life (when I lived in the US) friend. And when it all comes down to the bare minimal, it is just that: The loss, of a friend, too soon.

 

*I hope I’m doing her explanation/belief justice.

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Mansi

Yesterday, with a sad and heavy heart, we lost our sweet girl, Mansi.
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Mansi had been unwell for a while. Last October/November we took her to the vet because she was definitely not herself. She was hiding up in Paxlet’s room, not wanting to eat nor play, her fur looked unkempt and she had been vomiting several times a day. After many vet trips, cortisone pills, antibiotics and finally a trip to a specialist vet we learned that Mansi had Feline Immune-mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA). Basically, her immune system was destroying its own red blood cells. The vet couldn’t find a reason why this was happening because in cats this is usually a secondary illness to something else, such as cancer, FIV (cat AIDS), leukemia, etc. But there wasn’t anything showing in Mansi’s blood, xrays or ultrasounds. Until yesterday.

After a few weeks of Mansi seeming to be mostly like her old self, sleeping ON Mr Siili, wanting to play a bit and eating, Mansi just wasn’t being herself. She stumbled on a very easy jump the night before, she hadn’t been eating her evening snack for the last few days, she was hiding again and then in the morning when Tadbit crawled over to Mansi she only moved a foot away. That’s unheard of for our girl kitty. Generally, as soon as Tadbit comes near, Mansi is in the other room. Or at least up high out of Tadbit’s reach.

Tadbit and I spent the rest of the day at the vet’s office, home for a short time and then back. I should have followed my gut more and woken Paxlet from his nap and then forced Mr Siili to come with us to the vet that last time. I had warned Mr Siili it wasn’t looking good, but we both sort of though that we’d be able to bring Mansi home for the rest of the weekend and go to our regular vet appointment on Monday like scheduled. But when Tadbit and I arrived, the vet said that there was nothing practical we could do to save Mansi. She had felt something in Mansi’ abdomen and an x-ray and ultrasound revealed  2 hard masses. Also, one of her lymph nodes in her next was swollen (even I could feel that). Mansi needed fluids and medications just to keep her going. We would have had to transfer her to another vet office that would be able to take care of her the rest of the weekend and even then there was no guarantee all would be ok. Mansi wouldn’t have come home for the last weekend. So, Tadbit and I sat there with Mansi while they gave her medication to drift off to sleep and never wake up.

The staff at the veterinary clinic were wonderful. I could see they were sad too. They were kind, helpful and caring. (Although, one would think/hope that when you lose a pet you’d get some sort of discount on the final bill.) I was given a couple of hugs, which really did help, even if I don’t generally like hugs from strangers.

I know it was the best thing for Mansi. She isn’t suffering. But it still sucks majorly.
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Where to start?

This is a long post and I’m not really sure I’m saying much in it, but I need to write it out anyway. Thank you in advance to anyone who reads it all.

So much, yet so little, has happened during the last 2 weeks that I’m not sure where to start. Two weeks ago, June 19th, at 6pm my time, I got a phone call that changed my life forever (not to sound cliché, but it is so true). I knew it was my stepmom calling and that there was something horrible in her voice, but our connection was so bad that I couldn’t hear what she had to say before we got cut off. After about 30 minutes of trying to contact someone in my family and rebooting my phone, I was able to talk to my stepmom. My mom had died of a heart attack. She was only 53 years old/young. I was (and still am to some extent) in complete and utter shock. I needed to get to the USA as soon as I could.

I always knew and feared this day would happen. I just didn’t expect it to happen so soon. I knew that by moving half way around the world from my family that if anything ever happened, it would take time for me to get there. But at least now I know that if/when something does happen they will call me immediately. I had fears/concerns that it would be some time before anyone would notify me that something had happened. Kind of an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ thing.

My husband and I booked flights to the USA. We left Finland early in the morning on Thursday June 23rd and we were due to leave for home again on the morning of Wednesday June 29th. Not much time for us (my siblings and I, with the help of our Dad and step-mom) to get everything done.

After 26 hours of traveling (door to door), we arrived in my home town, exhausted. We stayed at my mom’s place (now my sister’s). Friday we took care of bank stuff, got our copies of the obituary from the newspaper office and who knows what else. I have no idea what we did Saturday. I think my Dad, youngest brother and DH went crabbing. Sunday was my mom’s memorial. And what a beautiful event it was! My mom touched so many peoples’ lives and she was/is so loved.* The rest of our trip was mostly spent going through my mom’s stuff and dividing things up. I think the 3 of us kids did quite well. Tempers only flared a little bit.

On our trip home, every single flight was late! From the first one from my hometown (due to bad weather at the plane’s departure, I think it was fog), to a 2 hour wait ON the plane in San Francisco (the evacuation alarm wasn’t working) which caused us to miss our 3rd flight in Frankfurt, but we managed to get another flight to Helsinki, 4 hours later. And even that flight wasn’t immune from a late departure of about 40 minutes. The lateness didn’t stop there. If our last flight would have been on time, we most likely could have caught the earlier bus to our hometown. Instead, we had to wait 50minutes for the next one. Thankfully the sun was still shining (gotta love Finnish summers) and it was a lovely 26 degrees outside with a bit of breeze.

We finally arrived to our town (at 10:20pm), got the car, loaded the suitcases and went to get the cats. Rusty came running at the sound of my voice. Mansi was her normal spazzy self. Both cats went into their carriers nicely, but Rusty made it be known that he was not happy to be in it, the whole trip home. Thankfully it was only 15 a minute ride. I didn’t get to sleep until 1:30 and was up at 7:30 to go to work.

I worked a 9.5 hour day and was in bed by 10pm. I was so freakin’ exhausted! I woke up around 4am, read a bit, chatted with DH and then fell back asleep until 9 or 10. We spent some special time “wiggling” together and then we went outside for a while to read. I did a quick food shopping trip then back home and slept some more. I woke up at some point, only to still feel totally exhausted. I think I finally woke up around 5 or 6pm. I was so thankful that DH made dinner the night before, so I only had to reheat stuff. We watched a bit of wacky colored TV (our TV is on the fritz again. The middle circle of the screen is red and the outer ring is green with the 4 edge corners something else). Then I played catch-up on the computer, where here I am writing now. It is 3:15am and I really should get to bed.

I sure do miss my mom. And my family in the US.

*I intend to do a separate post about her memorial.

Love and break-ups

No, not my own break-up, at least not a current one. I’m talking about Eva Longoria’s recent break-up from her husband, Tony Parker. In the article I read, she had the following advice to pass on.

She told America’s InStyle magazine: “One thing I did learn is you don’t hold on to the bitterness of the loss; you hang on to the beauty of the love. Remember all the good things. There was a reason you met someone and a reason why you were together.”

Exactly! That’s exactly what I said when my ex and I broke-up and still say to this day, more than 13 years later. Actually, I’ve said and thought this about all of my exes, except for one. That one I wish I had never known, even if I did learn some lessons from him, the hard way.

My ex and I had been together for 4 years, living together for the last year. I was 17, almost 18 when we met. He was almost 21 and had just gotten out of the Navy. We hung out constantly for a month before we became an official item, on my 18th birthday.

He was/is a good guy. He was older (all my guys have been), made me laugh, could draw like nothing I had ever seen before and he also wrote poetry. Although, not your typical flowery poetry, this stuff was mostly dark and moody. I honestly can’t remember what exactly it was that drew me too him. Other than what I’ve already mentioned and that his physical traits are they “type” I go for. Just taller than my 5’8” (173cm), slender and slightly muscular, but definitely not over done, nice arms and a squarish jaw line (at least that is what I see). My ex introduced me to online MUD games (Multi-User Dungeon / Multi-User Dimension). Think Dungeons &Dragons online, but online. He also liked to drink and smoke.

Another thing that defined my ex, even if he didn’t admit this to himself until many years later, is the fact that he is bi-polar. I don’t mean that he has minor mood swings from happy to sad, he has full on episodes that sometimes last months at a time between the manic and depressive stages. When he’s depressive he drinks a lot (more than normal) and does a lot of drawing and writing poetry. During these episodes he has also done bodily harm to himself. He has a starburst pattern of scars on his chest from a pair of scissors after a night of drinking (before I met him). Thankfully he didn’t cut himself much when we were together, at least never anything like that.

We had our share of ups and downs. Many of our fights were over his drinking. He’d tell me that he was going to have a drink, just one. That one drink turned into one more drink and then another and another. Pretty soon it was many drinks and he was drunk and a bit aggressive. He never hit me or verbally abused me, but he also wasn’t always the most pleasant. I think our first big fight was close to our one year anniversary and if I remember correctly, it had to do with alcohol. I’ve sometimes thought back to that and wondered why I didn’t leave him then. I can’t tell you why I didn’t leave then, I can only say now that I hadn’t learned what I need to learn yet. And hindsight is 20/20.

I can remember one fight in particular. We were at a friend’s house and some of the guys left to go get some alcohol. They were gone for ages, I was tired and wanted to go home. Myself and someone else went to go look for them. We caught up with them at some bar. I wasn’t 21 yet, so I had to wait until the friend brought him out. When my ex got outside we started arguing. How could he abandon me like that?! Especially when we were only supposed to be there for a short time and then go spend some quality time together. We were standing in the middle of the road (quite busy during the day) yelling at each other. We yelled at the top of our lungs. I even pushed him a few times. You know those two handed shoves to the shoulders. What I really wanted was to punch him. But I didn’t. He ended up going his own way and I went home. I probably didn’t hear from him for a day or so and I’m sure I was the one who went looking for him afterward.

We went to the local community college together. He lived with his parents, I moved out on my own and also moved back home at some point. We spent a lot of time with each others’ families. He actually knew my stepmom before I did. His parents got to like me after they got over the fact that he was dating “the girl with that thing in her nose”. After we’d been together for 3 years, we decided to move in together, a couple of hours away from our hometown. Life went on as normal, until our last big fight a few months before our 4th anniversary. Before this fight, I had noticed that I was distancing myself and pulling a way from it all for a while.

My ex was in one of his ‘moods’. He had been out drinking with a co-worker (or more, I don’t remember) and they got up to some mischief. Illegal mischief at that. And they brought their mischief back to our apartment. A huge pile of it into our living room. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I started freaking out on him, crying, screaming, yelling, crying some more. I cried so hard that night. I cried so hard I was in physical pain. It was one of the stupidest things he had ever done (that I knew about).

I couldn’t take it anymore. I needed to get out of there. I had been corresponding with a guy from the MUD my ex and I played on. I decided I was going to take a month long holiday, in Finland! My ex and I had me this guy at the beginning of the year when we was in the US visiting other MUD people. My ex and I sort of broke-up, but in the end he suggested that we just take a break during this time, I agreed. Although, I knew that nothing would be the same and I wasn’t sad to be leaving him behind while I went off on my adventure. My ex had also told me at some point earlier in our relationship that if we ever broke-up, that was it. We would be done and over with. No getting back together. I remembered this, even if he didn’t.

I went to Finland. Had an amazing time! It was close to midsummer after all and it never got dark. How can a person not like that?! About halfway through my trip, I called up my ex and told him that we were done. When I came home, it would not be as his girlfriend. Where one romantic relationship ended, another started. But that was not the end of my dealings with my ex. At the end of my stay in Finland, my new guy and I flew back to the US (this was prearranged). My ex had just gotten out of the hospital for a collapsed lung. He blamed that one me. We tried talking some things through. He told me he was going to ask me to marry him before all this happened. It was all I could do to not laugh. Seriously?! I think he was just trying to poke me where it hurt. Talk about awkward moments as we all existed in the same 1 bedroom apartment for a while. My new guy and I ended up renting a U-haul at 5pm one evening and moving my stuff back home to my dad and stepmom’s house.

My ex was very angry with me for a long time. The few times I talked to him soon after our break-up, he told me how everyone hated me in the town we had moved to for what I did. I was a bit upset that people would judge me so harshly (if it was even true), especially when they didn’t hear my side of the story. How could I dare to being a new guy home already and to our shared apartment? (Did he forget this was arranged before I even left the US?) My ex tried to get our mutual friends to be mad at me. True friends didn’t take sides. He told me that this new guy and I wouldn’t last long and that this was just a rebound fling. And many more hurtful things. I never talked bad about him (even if he did about me) as I knew he was hurting, I was too. But I think more than anything he was shocked and hurt that I finally got enough of a spine and stood up for myself. I didn’t take his crap anymore. I broke it of, not him. Not him.

In any case, I’ve always cared for my ex. I had spent almost 4 years with this guy, I truly cared for him. First and foremost, he was a friend before a boyfriend. I know we were together for as long as we were for a reason. Both of us needed to learn something( or somethings) and that was why we were in that relationship. I did get a letter from my ex a few years later. He told me he was sorry for how he treated me among other things. He was forgiven long before that. I had no bitterness towards him, nor anger. I still care for him and wish him the best in life.