Monday, September 14, 2015

Little Orphan Debbie

I am now an orphan. At age 51, it feels so weird to say it, write it, or even comprehend it. But it's true. My Dad passed away in 2013, both of my grandparents died within 40 days of each other last summer, and then last week I received the dreaded phone call that made me an orphan. My Mother's doctor called and told me he had bad news. I braced myself as he informed me that my Mom's neighbors noticed that her newspapers and mail had not been touched in a couple of days and they had not seen her so they called 911. Sure enough, she was laying on her bathroom floor, dead of "sudden cardiac death" at 72 years young. She had not been sick as she had been to her doctor just last week. However, she had a heart attack about seven years ago, still continued to smoke like a freight train, and refused to take any medication except for a baby aspirin. Yeppers, cigarettes will kill ya! So I packed up, hopped in my car, and drove nine hours north to PA to make arrangements.

Ya know, everyone grieves in different ways. For me, I'm so glad she didn't have to suffer for six months like my Dad in a hospital and then a nursing home with horrible pain. Even though we were able to prepare ourselves and say good-bye to him, that was truly awful. The last conversation I had with my Mom was filled with joy and I will always hold that close to my heart. Shoot, as I was cleaning out her apartment, she had still had a cup of coffee on the table and some cigs in the ashtray. Two of her favorite thangs to git 'er goin' in the mornin'. As Steven Tyler says, I guess this time "her get up and go, got up and went" (to the pearly gates in this case)

Sadly, my parents were not much on takin' pictures throughout their life, but they sure did save some other crazy shit. I had some rip roarin' laughs at some of the items I found because the memories were so great:
Some hideous craft I made in 8th grade. I think it's a frog?
My first job when I was 15. I was the drive-thru Queen baby!
My t-shirt from my high school band trip to Mexico. It was freakin' awesome!
 
Now folks, even though my name might be Deb, I refuse to be a Debbie Downer. Here are a few thangs I have learned these past few years:
 
1. I am an incredibly strong woman. Ya might be able to throw me some sucker punches, but ya ain't gonna knock me out.
 
2. What I lack in siblings to share the load, I make up for a zillion times over with the most amazing friends on earth. I can only hope to be half the friend they have all been to me. I am humbled and grateful beyond belief for my support system.

3. I missed my calling in life 'cause I should have owned and operated a professional cleaning service for the myriad of shit I have cleaned up over the years. As I am now in charge of my Mom's special needs brother with no plan in place, Deb's clean up crew is on it!
 
4. If anyone else dies, I'm gonna kill ya!

33 comments:

  1. Picture #1 a ladybug?
    Picutre #2 Hardee's? Can you still smell the grease?
    Picture #3 Mexico? That sounded like a recipe for disaster!

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    1. #1 Damn, I think you're right! Obviously I have no artistic talent.
      #2 My parents made me keep my shoes outside on the porch because the grease was so thick on the soles.
      #3 There was a murder outside of our hotel and blood stains on the wall in the morning. Ole!

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  2. Oh, Debs, so sorry to hear it! Sending you a hug! It is so you to stay strong in this!

    All four of my grandparents died a few years ago in matter of few months, two of them with just a week difference. And then my father died at New Years Day... walking one day, dead the other. I know I'll die from heart one day too.

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    1. Awe Dezzy you certainly know the feeling of loss. Wow, you have had your share of tragedy. I'm sorry for the loss of your father and grandparents. Hugs to you my friend. Take fish oil, CoQ10 and flax seed to keep your heart in good shape!

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  3. So sorry you had to get that call! Prayers for you.
    My parents are still alive, but they are even older, and I dread getting that call.

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    1. That call is something you will never forget! I still remember every word from every morbid call these past few years.

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  4. I am so sorry about your mom. Those phone calls are always traumatizing. Lots of {{{hugs}}} to you, Deb.

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  5. I'll save the sad stuff. Your last four items are damn inspiring, as are you. So I'm just gonna say this... your high school really went on a Mexico trip? Man, we got the short end of the stick. Our so-called "senior trip" was to the lake at the edge of town that's so yellowish-brown it should probably be considered radioactive sludge.

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    1. Awe, you made me cry for saying I was inspiring. Yep, back in the dark ages our rockin' high school band went on a "big" trip every four years. We had to sell subs, pizza, our bodies etc. to save up enough money to go. So yea we performed in a parade in Mexico City. I was a majorette and strutted my stuff down those streets baby!

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  6. Sorry to hear about your mom, those calls are never ones we want. The few I've got always came in the middle of the night, now when the phone rings at night I ignore it lol

    That is one weird frog.

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    1. Oh yea, never answer the phone in the middle of the night. I figured out Purdy quickly art was not my strong suit.

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  7. You created a new species of frog at a young age. The last 4 things sure help life.

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    1. Quite a mutation huh? I sure did learn a few things I hope to pass on to others.

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  8. I am SO sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you and your family. xo

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  9. Sorry about all this. It did bring back memories of my own orphanizing back in '06. It was weird to think of myself as an orphan, but I did. I really like your Mexico tour shirt. You should wear it with pride even if it doesn't fit anymore.

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    1. After I get the smoke smell out of that shirt I am going to wear it with pride!

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  10. Oh, Deb, I'm so sorry. Losing your Mom is like losing your footing. I'm nearly an orphan too. (Dad is barely hanging in.) It's heartwarming to see the frogamajig you made. You clearly brightened your Mom (and Dad's) worlds.

    May warm memories keep you comforted. Love to you.

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    1. Awe thank you for your kind words and I'm sorry to hear about your Dad's poor health. Be sure to say what you need to say. That's one piece of advice I give everyone who has the chance to prepare. It is so comforting!

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  11. I am so sorry to hear that. I, too, am an orphan. I lost my mother 32 years ago (she was only 44. Lung Cancer due to GD cigarettes) and my father almost five years ago (incidentally, isn't that an odd saying, "lost" someone? I know exactly where they are).
    Apparently, I'm next in line. I lost a coin toss with my brother.

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    1. Cigarettes suck. I knew it even when I was a little girl. Dang, maybe you should go for best out of 3 in the coin toss.

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  12. I have decided that it doesn't matter whether you have time to "prepare" or not. It doesn't help. Sudden losses, in that respect, might actually be easier to deal with.
    My thoughts are with you.

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    1. Both losses are rough for sure. I guess the best you can do is keep memories alive.

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  13. My dad died when I was seven. I still have my mom. I feel bad for my nieces as they will never get to meet their grandpa. Same thing happened to mine. My dad's father was dead long before I was born.

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    1. Oh my gosh you were so young when your father died. I can't even imagine that. I am so sorry you had to deal with loss at such a tender age.

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  14. Funny story...My grandma once saw pictures of her actual lungs and what they looked like thanks to smoking. She didn't quit. It wasn't until a pack went above $3.50 that she quit (at the age of 77), not because she couldn't afford it, but because it was highway robbery. :)
    I am so sorry to hear about your mom. I'll be praying for you as you grieve and figure out how best to care for your uncle.
    Oh, and seriously, a frog??

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    1. Hah, what a way to quit smoking. The almighty dollar was your Grandma's kicker!

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  15. Man, my grammaw still smoking up them smokes. I quit some years ago and sometimes people are just able to keep it up. I'm sorry for your loss though, for real. You're stronger than I ever was <3

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    1. You are very strong girl. You took such amazing care of your Mother when she was sick and you continue to be such an example of her with your own children.

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  16. Oh my gosh. Very sorry to hear about your mom passing. Glad you have that one last really good memory and time shared with her. That's pretty cool.

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    1. Yea, I'm so glad we had a great last conversation.

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  17. A nice tribute about a sad turn in your life... I am blessed with both parents, but my mom is in body only as she has had Alzheimer's for ten years and hasn't known anyone in 6 years... I will get back up your way next month to see her again and visit with my father and attend a high school class reunion.

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