Decisions

Decisions, Decisions
Do I put a lot of thought into decisions or do I go with my gut?

I guess it would depend on the decision. Last night I was so mad, frustrated I knew I had to get out of the house so this morning I hopped on the bus and am enjoying a coffee and muffin in Starbucks. I went to bank (need to phone advisor when I get home), got some stuff (ok, A LOT of stuff) at Shoppers Drug Mart and am writing my blog. Kind of noisy but not too bad. I can see why people bring their laptop here. It’s right beside the bus stop too which was convenient.

I think I used to go with my gut a little more but I definitely have my dads methodical mind. I’m the type of person that researches prices before I buy anything. Although buying my Ipad was a gut decision. I thought I could use it to Facetime and Mom might be able to with Sienna eventually. I’ve used it a lot more than I thought I would.

I can honestly say that sometimes doing things based on your gut or your heart doesn’t always work out. Mom probably should have gone directly to nursing home from hospital the last time. But I missed her and I wasn’t ready to be alone. Not realizing that even though she is here it isn’t company. There’s no privacy because people are coming in all the time. Except on weekends.

When I didn’t have a relationship with my brother the last time it wasn’t a decision I made lightly because I knew I would never see my niece but I also knew that I couldn’t go on being put on the bottom of the list. Decisions have consequences. Doing the right thing for myself meant that I was going to hurt not only him but his wife too. It’s tough knowing Moms health has meant we have to talk again. I finally decided I don’t have the energy to be mad anymore. Trust will still take time though.

Doing this blog was sort of a gut decision. Right now I go upstairs and sit in the computer room and type. It’s my oasis. The only place I’m alone other than when I go to bed.

Fountain of Youth

Forever Young
Would I drink from the fountain of youth? It’s not an easy question. My twin died at 32 so she will forever be young. I have seen people die too young and they never get to experience growing old with the person that they love. I always thought Janet and I would grow old together. We would be the crazy ladies that you see sitting on a park bench wondering what they are thinking. But that didn’t happen.
There is wisdom that comes with age, life experiences. Although I could do without so many life experiences!! But if I drank from the fountain of youth do I get to pick what age I stay at? In my mind I am still 32 because that is the age that Janet died at. Or I’m almost 9 because my life restarted when she died.
There is a certain allure to never having to deal with the aches and pains of old age. My Aunt’s memory isn’t very good and it’s sad seeing someone who was the kindest, most loyal, generous Aunt that I knew become someone entirely different. My Mom uses a walker and has to use a wheelchair for distances.
BUT remaining young forever means I will never be reunited with the family that has gone on before me. My grandparents, my Dad, my twin, my cousins, my Uncles. I don’t know what heaven is like but I know it must be full of their laughter.

Can I have my Summer back!

Missing Seqeuls
This week I heard a couple of people say “wow, I can’t believe it’s almost the end of August!”. It makes me sad because the only thing I did was go to a hotel for my birthday (June 21).
Usually September is a hard month for me since it’s the anniversary of my twin’s death but this year I’m too busy to even think about it. That’s probably a good thing in a way. At least I have signed up for a writing class which will be something to look forward to. People to talk to! I worry that I’m taking on more than I can handle since my Mom isn’t able to take care of herself. Hopefully the VON can give us some help so at least someone can come in to fix her lunch while I’m gone.
There is so much excitement for most people in September. For me it’s all up in the air. I am going to make an appointment for a pedicure in September. My feet could use one but it’s also a great way to relax!
Next summer I’m going to go to the Twinless Twins Conference in Detroit. Can you tell I’m counting down the days. It will be so wonderful to hang out with my friends, to get hugs, to celebrate love and twinship.

Peace and Quiet

Middle Seat
My Mom doesn’t drive on the 401 so we have taken the train to Oakville a couple of times for family events. We have taken the bus and train to Toronto to visit my brother and family. We definitely prefer the train. I have never had a chatty neighbour, usually the people who sit beside me have a nap or are watching a movie on their Ipad. Although I once had a woman who had a blanket and a pillow to nap and she was quite the wiggler. I was glad when she got off!! One guy snored really loudly and the ticket attendant had to wake him up for his stop. We took the train back from my brother’s wedding. It was held in Mississauga which is about 20 min drive to Oakville train station. I slept part of the way home I was exhausted physically and emotionally. I like watching the reunions at the train station. I usually go by myself and take the bus or a cab home so I’ve never had someone greet me at the station.
When I went to Toronto for a Twinless Twins conference I took a friend with me for moral support. She talked the entire way there–2 and a half hours. There was a woman who sat in front of us that turned around and looked at me like is she for real? Half of me thought it was ok because I wasn’t ready to think about why I was going since I was very nervous and the other half thought “JUST SHUT UP!!” When the weekend was over I regretted taking her. I never got time alone to process stuff.
When I travel by train I like to journal or just stare out the window. I’ve always been someone who is ok with my own company. I don’t need music or the tv on for “noise”. Although when Mom was in the hospital I did put music on some days for noise.
I’m pretty sure it’s only in the movies that you have a handsome stranger sitting beside you!

Take a Chance on Me

Take a Chance on Me
What’s the biggest chance you ever took? Did it work out? Do tell
In my life I have never been much of a risk taker. I think it’s only when I believe in something strong enough. In 1994 our church was thinking about creating a position for a youth minister. Unfortunately it meant that the current position of Christian Education would be terminated. They didn’t have enough money for both. It became quite volitile and Janet and I were given the evil eye by many people in the church because we believed strongly that this was something that the church needed. I stood up in front of the congregation and said if you really believe that the youth are the future of this congregation then it’s time to act. The person they hired was almost over qualified for the job but the kids loved him and the congregation grew to love him. Due to the fact that our church refused to pay him enough he ended up quitting after a year. It was how we ended up going to a different church. We just couldn’t accept that money was more important than people. I guess you could say that was a chance because leaving the church we grew up in was hard. And yes it didn’t go over well with some people either. Did it work out? One minister left to go out west, one retired but the one we have now is very down to earth. It’s my church family.

Writing this blog was a big chance. I debated for about 6 months before I decided to do it. It’s very personal writing about my relationship with Janet and now what it’s like being a caregiver. I don’t write for other people. I write what I need to say. But as my friend said “everybody has stuff”.

Last night I was talking to my brother. Things are slowly getting better. He asked if there was anything I wanted to say (about the situation with Mom), anything I wanted to get off my chest so to speak. So I told him I don’t know what to say. I get the sense he worries about me. I’m still processing that because it’s really the first time in my life he has…well except after Janet died. He even sent a couple of pictures of my niece. She is so beautiful. I still can’t get over her curly hair–where did that come from?

I guess the next biggest chance will be when I eventually have to live on my own. I run a house now anyways so I could do it but it will be the first time I will be responsible for myself.

More Banned Words

Only Sixteen
Last night when I went to bed I was thinking that “assertive/aggressive”, “advocate” and fighting should all be banned from my vocabulary.
I have had to advocate for my family since Janet died. Because of the way she died we had to deal with the media. You know when you read a story and think “oh how tragic” well that was now us.
When my Dad had cancer I had to deal with getting information from Drs. I had to deal with family members who didn’t accept that he wasn’t going to have treatment when his cancer came back.
We are now getting the run around from the organization that is responsible for homecare. The nurse has phoned the office twice and still has not heard back about wound care for her foot. I’m the one who asks questions at her Dr appointments etc.
Growing up I wasn’t assertive. We were quiet people. I gave people the benefit of the doubt. I trusted people. Not anymore. I just wish I didn’t have to fight for care, for information. It shouldn’t be this hard!!
Oh I forgot…I have to advocate for myself in my own care.

Sixteen

Only Sixteen
Janet and I weren’t the type of kids that ran out to get their learners permit so that we could drive at 16. I just wasn’t ready yet. We never did learn to drive but got around alright with public transit.
I remember that 16 was the time when we had to start thinking about what we were going to take at college or university. Our marks weren’t good enough to get into university. I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. It’s such a huge thing. Who knows what they want to do for the rest of their life at 16? I went to college and enrolled in Early Childhood Education but figured out it wasn’t for me. Janet and I both ended up enrolling in Office Administration. I can honestly say I am using the skills now.
I don’t remember what we did for our 16th birthday. I know we didn’t have a party. I think it’s more hype than anything. It’s just a number. I don’t wish to go back to my teen years. Nobody takes you seriously since you’re just a kid. We weren’t really listened to by our elders (be it people at church, parents, aunts, uncles) until our mid twenties. We finally developed a backbone. We learned to say NO.
I don’t mind being 40, although it was almost painful saying the number. I feel like I’ve learned so much about myself. My friend would call me beautiful and I wouldn’t see it but now I do. I think it comes from an inner strength.

BANNING THE “S” WORDS

No, Thank You
At a bereavement group that I used to attend one of the facilitators had a rule that we were not allowed to use the words “still, should and stuck” on ourselves. I’m still at this point…I should be farther along…you get the idea. No one should ever tell someone who is grieving that they are stuck. I actually had a counsellor tell me that. A twin friend of mine was absolutely livid. There is no timeline in grief. Not using the words allows yourself to have the freedom to say this is where I am and it’s ok.
I once had a friend who I met at the bereavement group use all three many times in the course of the conversation. Soon after I had to break off our friendship because we were in different points along our paths. There were times when I wondered if she was afraid to let herself be happy.
Yesterday when I was at the hospital all I could think about was all the work I should be doing. But it doesn’t help anything because obviously I couldn’t. It will get done eventually…hopefully. I HAVE TO do laundry today and tidy the living room.
BTW I have to get dressed (don’t think I can answer door in nightgown).

Do I go left or right?

Que Sera Sera
Do you believe in fate or do you believe you can control your own destiny?My Mom calls me her “bonus package”. Janet and I are identical twins which means we were split from one egg. It’s just something that happens. A blessing.
The year Janet died there were 2 other young people around the same age as her that died all within months of each other. 3 sets of parents that had to bury their children. One had just gotten married, one was engaged and Janet was the oldest at 32. A woman that was around the same age as my Mom with children a couple years older than me said “God must have wanted them”. How do you answer that? I don’t believe that God just decides one day but I also know that people try desperately to explain it and they can’t. Myself included.
My Dad had colon cancer. He grew up on a farm, was active because he was a letter carrier, didn’t drink or smoke.
My mother was born with a defect and eventually had a kidney transplant. These were all things that they couldn’t control.
Life right now is controlled chaos. There is some semblance of a schedule but spending 3 hrs up at the hospital is not my idea of a fun morning. If I believed I could control my own destiny this certainly isn’t the life I would have chosen! I think there are things that I can do to make it easier. I write lists, I journal. A neighbour drove us to the hospital which was a big help.
I signed up for a writing class starting the 3rd week in September. There are days when I think I can’t believe that this blog started from something so tragic. But I also know that this is the first time in 9 yrs that I have found my voice, something that is just for me.

Sunday Morning

That Stings!
I finally made it to church today. I can’t remember the last time I was able to go. I left Mom resting on the couch when I left.
When I came in I looked all around for my friend G but couldn’t see her and then a couple minutes later I spot her. I sat at the back near a fan and she was sitting at the front. I quickly went up to get my hug (she’s the greatest hugger next to Marcel and of course Janet) and she yells out “JENN”. We exchange hugs and then I go and sit down. I had a talk with the assistant minister and then the senior minister came in. Apparently he just got a new haircut and everyone was “commenting”. I think it looks great. He had a birthday recently too. I keep forgetting that he’s only a few years older than me. Feels weird!! Growing up I always had ministers who were around my Mom’s age. At about 20 mins after he did “circle time” or what they used to call story time when i was that age. He has a real rapport with kids. At the end they all do a prayer where they repeat after him and then he says “ALLLLLLL MEN”. He draws it out it’s so funny.
I wish I could write what he preached about more eloquently but it was exactly what I needed. He talked about putting on our suit of armour and it isn’t easy. You know when you go to church and you just feel like God is speaking to you, that’s what it felt like.
After church G and I had a good talk. I was also talking to the woman that is in charge of prayer requests. She is such a sweet lady. She gave me a big hug too. It helps so much knowing people are praying for us. She told me to forgive myself. That I am doing the best I can and God knows that too.
When I left church G’s brother was on the door. He greets for the early service in the fall. A great guy too.
I left feeling “full”.
If the only prayer you ever say is “thank you” it’s enough