Popularly Overlooked Huge Victories

Since I have left the carefree calorie days of the late twenties and early thirties, I have spent nearly all day, every day thinking about what I am going to eat next. I would fix the planned meal, usually for more than one person to eat, then, to avoid leftovers (as well as no one else eating the meal,) proceed to eat the lot of it. I always had to clean my plate. Then, almost immediately, I would begin to think about what to eat next. I tried to stay busy but not the right kind of busy, because my brain would continually think about food and what we had to eat in the house or what I was going to get at the store. It was frustrating and mentally exhausting.

Not only did it make me mentally tired, I was gaining weight and becoming physically lazy. I hated life. I hated me. Unbeknownst to me, I subconsciously hated my inner fat girl for taking over every thought and replacing it with the next plate of food to shovel into my mouth. I became depressed and it affected my entire family. My clothes were all too small and I was wearing the same three sweatpants and t-shirts all week. Working from home, I could do that. I had one pair of “fat jeans” that I wore every time I had to leave the house. That was it.

Two years ago, someone hurt my feelings in relation to my weight and I used that hurt and anger to drop from 208 to 148. I felt great and it was definitely a huge victory. I was proud to be asked for my license because it was me at my largest and I definitely looked different. What didn’t change was that inner voice constantly thinking about the next thing to eat. So long as I never became overly stressed, upset, sad, or any other negative feelings, I would do just fine. However, it prevented me from not overeating during those times and it was still a mental struggle. Again, all those bad feelings took over and I forgot how to direct the bad feelings constructively toward exercise and strength training. Of this 60 pounds lost in the course of approximately 15 months, I gained almost 40 pounds back.

This was when I discovered, for me, my problem was more mental than the physical. I had to prevent food from taking over every second of my waking day as well as the majority of my dreams. I did some research on the topic and, eventually that of my doctor. Armed with the tools to overcome the strength of my inner fat girl, I se out in a new journey to make some permanent changes. That was three months ago.

It is still a struggle. However, most days, I am allowed to think of things other than food. I have even begun to read, a lot, again. There are days that are exceedingly hard. When I win with any victory, no matter how small, I am proud of myself. Yesterday was one of those days. While the victories of yesterday were quite insignificant to most, they were exceptionally huge for me. Another thing that was a victory was, I still got my walk I. Despite having an off day. Definitely a victory for a day that would otherwise have been horrible and reminiscent of the 208 pound me. Here is an excerpt from my journal regarding other Popularly Overlooked but Huge Victories from yesterday:

Yesterday was a struggle that ended in a victory. I spent most of the day craving a chicken sandwich with cheese and bacon and mayo as well as any kind of milkshake. I was craving like a smoker wanting a cigarette. Living in a resort area, the activities of Memorial Day weekend are quite dangerous so we chose to stay home. After cabin fever se it, we did decide to walk to the store. I caved and did buy the lowest calorie Gelato I could find. (1. Ice cream was not on sale. 2. Other frozen treats were too many calories 3. I have always wanted to try Gelato.) While still not in the right direction, it was still a victory because I was thinking about calories. The draw back was the small box I selected contained seven servings. I ended up eating a little over half which was half my goal intake for the day. 😔 HOWEVER, I still ended the day under the maintenance suggested calories for the day. A small victory there. I also woke up not feeling like garbage for eating with reckless abandon on a cheat day. Overall, a win! Oh, also, I am proud I didn’t eat the entire container. 200 pound me would have done so in one day, if not one sitting. Yay for me!

While these victories may not seem like much it means a great deal to me because it is a win over overly destructive behavior. It gives me hope that I can do this again and again and it becomes a habit. It is victories like these that are going to shut that fat bitch up once and for all. Further, actively thinking about my food choices only when it is time to eat makes choosing to eat healthy and wisely a lot easier. While I have chosen to give up so many of the foods I love, I have discovered others I love and it is best to break up with things I know I cannot control myself around.

It is a struggle but still a journey and I feel I am winning, for the long haul, this time around.

Micaa 2 / Inner Fat Girl 1

What do YOU think?

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Small, Edible Victories

I spent most of my life finding solace in the bottom of a plate of my favorite things. Pizza, creamy Mac and cheese, cake, cookies, ribs, other things that just make you feel better when the world is picking in you. After I had my last baby, I paid for that kind of thinking. I got my feelings hurt one year and I lost over 65 pounds with motivation. What I didn’t count on was that, despite getting down to 148, I would go all the way back up to 180 and hate myself again. Since then, I have started this second journey and found that there is such things as eating disorders and all those years of stress eating have wired my brain incorrectly. You have no idea what it’s like to think about what you are going to have for dinner from the time you open your eyes in the morning. To have every waking moment of thought nearly dedicated to the awesome amount of calories you plan to consume at your next meal. To be honest, it’s quite tiring and just makes you consume even more.

Because I am older and my metabolism has slowed, I know I have to count everything I put in my mouth, for the rest of my life unless I want to be knocking on 200’s door and beyond. I am saying this because, I had a victory today that was no small feat.

One cup of Velveeta Mac and Cheese is 360 calories all by itself. My son can eat it with abandon because he is a growing kid. What’s hard for me is that, no one makes it quite like Mom, and, as badly as I wanted some, I settled for a broccoli/Brussels sprout salad with tangy French dressing.

For someone like me, that was an amazing feat. I felt like Rocky Balboa at the top of the steps. The struggle is not over, however. It’s five pm and thus, the start of the hardest part of the day for me. You see, I can do great all day! Eat well, exercise, drink water…but then I normally cave and snack mindlessly until bedtime. Also, there is still part of that mac and cheese in the kitchen. From where I sit, I can see it…calling to me.

I’m gonna fight and smile at the sunrise tomorrow instead of being riddled with guilt about overeating. This is but one victory for me. The small ones all count. Hopefully, they add up to bigger ones.

Wish me luck.

***Defiantly flips the middle finger at the pot in the kitchen in a kiss off gesture!**. Today, I win.

What do YOU think?

Office Chair

My office chair is quite comfy. I love it. Just as I have loved all the ones before it. I spend many hours in my office chair. It comes to me already broke it and lovingly selected just for me by the love of my life. I have a back up chair too. Further, my previous chair is sitting at our son’s desk. Another thing that makes me me love all my chairs is that little man is the one who dictates the rotation.

Little man will wear out a chair relatively quickly. Once the one he has is if no more use, from what ever acrobatics he was doing to break it, his goes to office chair heaven and he inherits a new one from me. What happens to mine? Well, there is already another new to me one waiting to take the place of honor behind my desk in the home office.

This makes Cal quite happy because he now gets to partake in the fun that is looking around the local office buildings and attorney ties to find my next chair. This works out because Cal loves to drive and he is always looking for some cool discard to bring home.

“One man’s trash is another’s treasure.”

You see, there are quite a few office buildings and attorneys in this city and they are always moving offices or getting new furniture. They put their unwanted furniture to the side of the road. Cal always happens upon a nice one that is a perfect fit. What is even better is I will look up some of these chairs on the Internet and they are almost always $200+ chairs.

The exact type of chair I could only dream of buying because I would never spend that kind of money on myself. It’s a Mother thing. The ever frugal Cal takes care of Mother though.

**Leans back in her reclining comfy office chair**

What do YOU think?

You Think You Are Better Than Me

I went grocery shopping the other day. I am not homeless or poor. I am quite talented to be honest. I tetris’ed $200 worth of groceries into a wagon and pulled it the one mile trek home. No, I am not poor either. Know why I was walking? Because my family and I own two cars. No payments. Cal was at work and the other one is a project car. So it’s out of commission at the moment. So? I am not making payments on either one am I? No. I am not. You, on the other hand are paying damn near $400 a month for your car. Likely for the next 5-7 years. On top of having specific (expensive) insurance requirements; talk about ball and chain!

As I walk, I pull my iPhone out of my pocket to check the time. You are damn right I have an iPhone. Before you pass judgement, be awarded that while you forked out four digits for your iPhone 10 and probably have a plan with insurance that you pay dearly for every month…I don’t. You see, I have an iPhone 5s. All the bugs have been worked out and I paid less than 100 bucks. It is prepaid and I have unlimited data. Not that I need it because I work from home and use WiFi more than I do Data. Also, I pay a flat fee every six months for my cell phone service. So, once again Miss High and mighty, I own my phone. Hell, I even paid an extra five bucks to get product replacement/reimbursement if it breaks. No co pay for replacement. Just submit a claim. What? What do you say?? You pay monthly the same amount I pay every six months? I am so sorry. And you say you are better off than me? Hahahaha. I am sorry.

Everything inside our home is paid for. While you have your fancy furniture financed, it won’t last long. By the time you pay it off, you will be looking to finance some more. I may have had mine for a while and it may not be trendy but it is ours free and clear. Further, who gives a flying fur all that I live in “the hood.” Guess what? My house is paid for. We built this house and it is ours. So have fun you….in your credit card clothes that have put you in debt and your house with three mortgages. No wonder you have to work 60 hours a week and make 50,000 a year. I am just fine over here. I won’t be devastated if the stock market fails and I am not one lay off from losing everything I am MAKING PAYMENTS ON.

So before you pass judgement and look down your fake nose at me. Think about who literally has it all and who is working like a hamster in a wheel.

I am going to enjoy my walk. It’s good for the environment…my health…and I am not stuck in Facebook judging everyone without making sure my back yard is in order. Think about it.

What do YOU think?

The Beach Has Eyes

Last week Dear Hubby and I took a walk through the city. We happened by a 5-gallon bucket that seemed to have something in it. Sitting in the border of a lot that belonged to the city and the sidewalk, we peered inside. It was approximately 1/3 full of clear water. There were several pennies, a couple dimes, and an handful of goldfish. We don’t know how long it had been there. I made a comment in passing that they were not going to live in that bucket very long. DH tapped the bucket with the toe of his boot and exclaimed “But they are alive!” To prove his point he did the same again. (Mind you, I almost wrote “kicked the bucket” but that would have been funny and sad at the same time….ah, but I digress.)

We continued our walk and I couldn’t help but to think about those poor goldfish. They were in prison! They even had money! Just….wow. Oh I had a great post to write about it but that inspiration was gone by the time I had an opportunity to write.

Today, we walk by the same place and there is something new. It would have been hard to write about. (Unfortunately, my laptop went to techie heaven and I am composing on my phone.) Ergo here is a picture:

For those of us who have seen the movie, you can see the amusement this brings. Further, it is in the city so there are no hills. Although, there are a lot of strange southern folk around here. Being in the Deep South, there are people around here who have never been out of this county!

Just sharing a little humor from our walk…

What do YOU think?

Do You Feel Like a Stop Sign?

Today is my mother’s birthday. She is officially an Octogenarian….or however you say it. I called her this morning and asked her if she felt like one yet? I mean, it must be an honor right? Personally, I aspire to live as long as possible. Do I emulate that in my daily habits? No. Honestly, though. My mother smoke. She drank. She spent hundreds of thousands of hours inhaling second hand smoke in bingo halls and sitting in the same room as my father when he smoked his Vantage cigarettes.

And here she is…80. Quite an amazing feat to say the least. She is still living on her own. She drives herself. She travels. She does all the things a younger woman does. Certainly not anyone or many of anyone who are 80. Gosh I love that woman. She is nowhere near perfect but she is my mom.

On top of turning 80 this year, she has buried two of her children. No easy feat for someone her age. In the last decade, not only did one of her sons pass away in her living room. She watched my father collapse in the same living room…on more than one occasion. Talk about you don’t want to walk a mile in her shoes. For the frosting on the cake? She also buried one of her sisters. She certainly is one tough cookie. I admire her for that. This is why it was not funny (but it was) when I asked her if she felt like a stop sign yet. “Yo Mom, tell me, do you feel like a stop sign yet?”

If I were her, I would have seriously said yes. I mean it. NO MORE! Can ya dig? I can only hope the next decade brings her joy and happiness.

And Bingo. Lots and lots of Bingo.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!

What do YOU think?

Free Day

Raising multiple children on a budget is no easy feat. It makes for some creative ways to budget and provide entertainment for a variety of personalities. One of the things that I did when the kiddos were younger was something that I called “Free Day.”  Free Day  is just what it describes. If you pay close attention to the stuff your kids bring home from school and the things going on around you, you can have your very own Free Day.

To begin with, start with what the school gave ya! What do I mean by this? Often, your kids will bring home flyers for free events and other things. Often, when there are awards day or holidays and stuff, they will bring home coupons for free happy meals, a donut, or some other sweet treat from somewhere. All for free. Most of the time, these things do not have expiration dates so they are good to hold on to. Next, you want to look in local papers for free coupons or for local businesses having free give aways. One of the things I like are places like Denny’s. They will provide you a free stack of pancakes if you come in and purchase a drink. Fountain drinks at these places are generally about $2.50 after tax. Not exactly free, it is still a good deal when it is you and 3 kiddos. You can also find coupons for stuff that you can purchase at the grocery store for free or near free. Finally, we live in a resort area. This means that there are coupons for things like “with this coupon get a free shark necklace with your next visit” or “free seashell on your next visit.” These are especially popular with the younger kids.

Another thing that I liked to save up for Free Day was things like savings at the gas pump. We often shopped at Bi-Lo and I would save my gas savings for the first fill-up of the day. 30 cents off per gallon of gas up to 20 gallons could rake in some savings and provide enough gas to get us around to redeem all of our free stuff and still have about a half a tank left at the end of the day.  Also, because I was a mystery shopper, I could take the kiddos with me on some of my shops and be reimbursed for some of the shops I did. I could also take them on the shops I did at places like kids clothing stores, shoe stores, and food kiosks. I would get paid for the shop and possibly reimbursed for part or all of my purchase. It is a win/win!

Now if you do happen to have some extra change beyond gas money, then you can take advantage of buy one get one deals or locals discounts for those of you who live near places that do things like that. Now that you are armed with all of your loyalty cards and free coupons and certificates, you want to make your plan to ensure that you start with the furthest place away and work your way toward home. You pack up the kiddos and bring your bag and you start out on your Free Day.

The whole point of Free Day is to spend time with the kids and to go out and do things as a family. Often, I would take the kids to get our breakfast for the price of our soda’s and we would have a device free breakfast at a sit down restaurant. After that, it is off to the random stores armed with our coupons to get our free shark tooth necklaces, seashells, and other nick nacks. Sometimes we got things like silly bands and other stuff. We would try on the funny hats and people watch. We would also learn how women should NOT dress in public and have a teachable moment or two when we would see a homeless person panhandling on the side of the road. While riding in the car, we would laugh and giggle and sing at the top of our lungs. Most of the time, I would time our Free Days around events that are going on within the city. A parade. (Free Candy and beads.) A free family event. (Fire safety expos, family safety expo, boat show at the convention center (yes, turned out kiddos into convention junkies, we did.) You name it. My favorite was to have lunch with our free McDonald’s happy meals in the car and count the motor cycles going up the main street during Bike Week. We would see all kinds and joke and laugh. Good times.

If we didn’t have an event to go to, we would visit the local arcades and see how many coins we could find in the coin slots or pretend to play the games or even play games with the tokens we find. We would be on the look out for tickets people would walk away and leave hanging from the machines. Sometimes, the tourists would walk by and hand us tickets to turn in for whatever junk we could get before we leave. A great way to burn off energy and run around like crazy.

The library was always a good place to find something to do. They also had the hook up on free stuff to do and other things. It was also a good place to read or play checkers. Most days, we come home with our bellies full as well as a lot of junk that would last for the remainder of the weekend. We spent time together as a family and we had great laughs. My favorite times with the kiddos.

What kinds of things did you do with your kids that created lifetime memories on a budget?

What do YOU think?

 

 

Turtles in the Moss

It is seldom that I have to sit and think about a blurb that needs to be created around an epic title. However, this one was one of those titles that I just had to put out there. When I first heard it, I had envisioned something else entirely. Maybe even another fiction post but it has finally hit me that it is something else entirely. You often hear people note “kids say the darndest things.” This is proof that, yes, yes they do!

I took a walk with the boyz just the other day. We walked down the side of a busy road that we normally avoid. No particular reason. It is just that the great majority of the stuff we do happens to involve the other side of the road. This particular day, we walked down the “uncommon” side and there was a small retention pond next to a strip mall. Because there are so many in this city and because they are all unique, I often look to see if I can spot anything interesting. Due to the surrounding trees and building and the arc of the sun, this pond is often in the shade. This allows for the growth of moss and other things that don’t do well in direct sunlight.

As with most any permanent spot of water in this city, there are bound to be turtles. Sure enough there was. There happened to be a couple playing around in a mossy patch that was growing in the water. I pointed them out to Numba 10 and he snickered to himself. Keep in mind this child is a reader and, like his mother is quite fond of random, nonsense trivia. I said “Dude, what is so funny about turtles?”  His reply? “Look Mom! Turtles in the Moss!” Of course I knew to what he was alluding. My smart kiddo. I love that boy so much! It made me grin as we continued our walk to get ice cream. If he didn’t deserve it before that moment, he sure deserved it then. I think I returned the favor when I repeated what he said and announced “Hmm. That would make a good blog post. Thanks!” I seen the same grin on his face I had felt moments before. Ah, the love between a son and his mother. It is epic!

You have the back story. What did I take from this?  It has been about a week since we took that walk. It took me this long to figure out the content of what I wanted to say. Wait for it…..here it comes……ah…LET”S DIGRESS! (Ha ha, backwards there, but I did it!) As of late, I have not been sleeping well. This has put a terrible interruption to the rut that I tend to enjoy.  It is Sunday morning. Yes, it is like 4 AM or something. I know it is this time of day because my slumber has not been interrupted by a random pooch telling me it is time to go outside. Yes, dogs do the whole 5 AM thing too. I think it is a conspiracy. That is for another day, folks. Anywho… I got up before the dogs and decided that, if I was to roll over and go back to sleep, it would not be for long due to the time of day. Normally, I will go let them out and return back to bed. If it is not raining or hurricane weather, I will let them stay out there for a few hours and enjoy the sunrise or at least until it is time for me to clock in at work.

I had returned to bed but did not feel the need to go back to sleep. What a long Sunday (and day off) this is going to be if I am not sleeping until my 6 AM sleep-in time. What is a writer to do? Fire up the laptop and do your thang girl! I had not written anything all weekend because I have been writing constipated. But it hit me as I was getting my stuff together. It was time to write about Turtles in the Moss. I happen to have my own little Turtles. They have their individual patches of moss.

Like me, they tend to be loners and enjoy their own company. However, there is a need to visit with other beings of like species from time to time. Like humans, turtles, need to socialize from time to time. In my house, we have gamers. We probably have the entire gaming world under one roof. One likes the Xbox. Another goes off to a friends and plays PlayStation all day and has been known to bring it home and play for a weekend when that friend goes on a trip or something. We even have one that plays hand held gaming systems from Game Boy Color to the 3DS. I have this Game Wave thing that I have from when I was a BuzzAgent. And, of course, there are the computer and puzzle gamers.  There are even REAL D and D gamers and Pokemon players here. We just do it all.  Whenever there is not any school or there has been an exceptionally good day at school, we all go to our little patches of moss and play our games. It is not exciting and it is not glamorous but it is what we do. Our version of sunning on the rock is to meander to the kitchen and get game fuel and chat amongst ourselves while we wait in line for the ice maker or the microwave to nuke whatever happens to be in there.

Sometimes we cook. Sometimes we hang out for an hour or so and just giggle at random things or compare notes on the games that we play. Yes, we keep up with each other’s games and discuss strategy and new things we have discovered. While it is not the most nuclear family thing to do, it is a modern family thing and this is a version of the dinner table that we know and love.

As I sit here in the breakfast nook, writing my post and wondering why the sun is not up at 7:04 AM, I will take a minute to meander through the house and check on my Turtles in the Moss to ensure they have not fallen asleep with yet another bowl of popcorn that is now everywhere. <<Insert motherly grin here.>>

I think I also need to change the time on the stove because the computer says it is still 6 AM. *sigh* No wonder the sun isn’t up. The Zombies still are.

What do YOU think?

My Furry Children and Work

We have four dogs in our family right now. There have only been two instances where they were not lifelong family members. Those two instances were not long enough to have a detrimental effect on neither me or the dog. No worries there, folks. I was watching a program on television this morning where a Chihuahua was rehomed to a lady who had a stroke and didn’t want a service dog. She wanted a companion and it was a good show. It made me think about the relationships I have had with my furry children over the years. Each one was special and different in it’s own way. The same is with the furry children we currently have.

Of course each one has their own story. Our Roxie, for example. She is officially our “old girl.” She was brought to us at 3 months old already housebroken and with all the accessories. Cal had wanted a Jack Russell and a friend of mine knew someone who had purchased one and didn’t think she was a good fit with their toddler. So we took her in and she has been amazing. Now nearly blind and half deaf, she is still spunky and prefers to lean on you compared to most lapdog or other touchy feely stuff. It works for us and her favorite person in the house is the 9 year old. He is the only one she doesn’t randomly warn about invading her space. (Yes, we are the invisibubble type of people here. Ah, but I digress… a story for another day. Our next oldest is Mollie. Mollie was a neighbors dog and I asked to have her when they became too busy to give her the attention her bold spirit required. She is about 5 or 6 years old (I forget) and is what I would like to call our hippie. Mollie likes to chill on the other side of the room watching the entire activity of the room from afar. If it suits her, she will come and join us. Otherwise, she won’t bother you unless she wants a brain massage or to go out. One of those “if I don’t have anything to say, I will keep my yap shut.” Those are our girls.

Our boys are relatively newer additions to the family and while both are still learning, I have never had a dog with such personalities as these two. Luchador was chosen from a litter of Chihuahuas that a family member had. Born with blue eyes, his eyes are a beautiful hazel and you cannot help but notice them in stark contrast to his labrador yellow fur. He is a sweet, snuggly dog and quite smart. He is one of those dogs that has so much love he fills the room with it upon entry. Luchador is daddy to our Courage. Appropriately named, Courage is quite the chicken and has some strange behaviors like the dog from the cartoon show. He is learning what his place is and it is quite helpful that he tries to mimic his daddy’s behavior. It is appropriate to note that Mollie is the mamma dog.

Thinking about our little pack, they are all important to my sanity during my workday. Working from home can make one feel quite isolated. From a professional point of view, the dogs post no security threat as they are not able to understand any thing I am saying to customers while working and certainly cannot write down any company secrets. Further, they have been taught that my office is a no bark zone. I like this because they can alert me when someone is near the house without making any noise. It makes me feel quite safe. I also refer to them as “my assistants.” Sometimes I tend to get so drawn into my work that I will forget that it is time to get up and take a stretch or that it is lunch time.

Let me stop for a minute. Luchador wants a head pat. Pat Pat pat. 🙂

Ok. Yes, they remind me to get up and stretch. Remember, it is not healthy to sit at your desk for hours and hours. I am a big advocate of taking full advantage of those breaks and lunches. If you work at home, you should too. My furry children help me get through my day and, to be honest, help me keep my sanity.

What saving grace do your furry children provide for you? Are they chock full of personality?  Let me know!

What do YOU think?

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Parlay with Death

It is not very often that people are given the opportunity to experience something ethereal. Death is something that many a scientist an after life expert have opinions on but, unless they experience it themselves and come back, there is not much premise to go on. This is where our story begins, and ends…sort of. In my life, I have bore witness to 3 deaths. One was from afar, and the other two were in a hospital room. The first one, in the hospital room was my Aunt Maggie. It was nothing like the second experience and she just ceased to be present in her body and all the machines around her stopped their busy, white noise. I imagine this is typical of what most people experience/witness when they are gathered around the death bed of a loved one.

However, is the experience ever different? I like to think so.

When my father died, it was different. It was one of the most difficult and easiest moments in my life. I seen things that are hard to translate into words but I will try my best for the purposes of this blurb. For lack of a better description, his last moment was sucked out of him. Plain and simple. I don’t understand how nor do I want to try and comprehend what it was that moment meant. But for me, it was peace and terror all in one breath.

I don’t recall who was in the room when Dad died. I remember calling his siblings in Washington and letting them talk to him through the phone while he was still breathing. I remember whispering in his ear. The content of those whispers now leave me and only me and a dead man know what those words consist of. I remember I was standing to his right. They had just leveled the bed. It was in the ICU unit of the local hospital. I also remember that he was fine when we were put out for the half hour that ICU requires all visitors to leave for their daily reset. From 6 to 6:30, everyone in the ICU that was not assigned to that room had to leave the ICU ward. It was hospital rules. So we left. Dad was alright as alright could be when we left. We had all planned on coming back and pick back up where we left off. But, when we came back, his bed was tilted so that his feet were up in the air and his head was near the floor. At this 45 degree angle, it was supposed to be easier on his heart. I remember thinking, “Jeez, they are serious about the health benefits of laying with your feet above your heart.” I vaguely remember my mother’s distraught voice “What did you do to him?” The nurse replied it was to help his heart as his heart rate dropped right after we left.

After that, it was like it was in slow motion. Somehow the room became cold. I chalked it up to being August in the deep South. Air conditioning and such. In those moments it never occurred to me that it was not the air conditioning coming on as it was already blowing and had been at a steady enough pace to keep things comfortable. Aside from the possibility that my mother was on the other side of the bed, I felt as if I was the only one in the room at that point. I felt a chill come over me when I pulled the phone from my fathers face for the last time. I stood there for a minute. Something told me to focus on his face. It seemed peaceful enough. They had turned off all the machines and it was just the fading beep beep of the heart monitor that sort of faded into white noise. My surroundings faded into a blur.  It was me and dad and…Death had made its appearance.

Dad had begun to take a breath as if he were coming up for air while swimming. He was a mouth breather when he slept and my mind told me it was him preparing him for that final nap. One breath. Two breaths. Three breaths. Then something happened. I don’t know if it was my mind doing this or if it really happened, I just don’t recall the lighting in the room. I remember when they came to put the white circles on his eyes that the room was dimly lit. But, in the moment that Death had arrived, I don’t remember how the lights were in that room. It was a corner room. The part behind me was part wall and part glass wall and I think there was a window across from me. I am not sure. That part doesn’t matter. That fourth breath Dad took was his final breath. To me, it got dark and cold and his face contorted into an expression I had never seen before. It was not an expression that one can describe as there is not an emotion to attach it to.

c Dad’s last breath. That expression, coupled with the chill in the room and that noise that I heard (or maybe my mind fabricated it) was me watching the life being sucked out of my fathers body by Death itself. His face contorted and twisted up in a way that can only be described as “leaving.” It was every human emotion wrapped up in one second.  I remember taking a step back after that. I looked at the air above my father. Human observers would say it was a moment of shock that Daddy was gone. It was not that. Not that at all. There was something there and it fled. Just like that. The hours after that have since been blocked out of my mind and no matter how hard I try, they still flee any recollection.

In the months that followed, I had nightmares of this black shadow of a creature standing on my fathers chest pushing down and sucking the essence out of him. It turns to look at me as if it were a child caught doing something it shouldn’t and then it turns to flee as only a ghostly apparition can do. Leaving behind only the shell of what I identified as my father, the dream ends when I try to run to the body. Same dream every time. I used to wake up with a start when these first happened. But now, I just stand there as if I had been desensitized to it.  Sure, I wake up. But I simply roll over and go back to sleep.

When my sister passed away this past Winter, I wanted to be there and see if I could meet Death once again. However, I didn’t want to be. It would turn into some sort of sick hobby and I wanted no part of it. I shared a moment with Death. I watched it at work. I seen every detail in hyper focus. I felt and seen its presence. There is nothing that can change that. I am not special. I don’t claim to have a sixth sense. However, I know when it came and when it fled that hospital room. Honestly, I don’t want to see it again until it is my time to walk with it. However, I still try to grasp the concept of why I was one to be allowed to see the apparition at work. People are often granted permission to see things that mortals should never see. There is ultimately a reason. I have yet to figure that out.

Maybe I will find out one day. Maybe I won’t. They say that only use a minute part of their brain. How does that relate to this experience? Only me and Death know that answer. Unfortunately, I don’t have the key to that door in my brain that contains the answer. I know I will never find it. Maybe that is a good thing.

What do YOU think?

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