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  1. Hello everyone--Eve, May, Cindy Jane, Lisa, Missionblue, Reader, Athina, Belle, and welcome back, Zsusie: Thanks for asking about my dad, May and Eve: he is now discharged from the hospital and in rehab. Mentally, he is more himself. I am still concerned about his oxygen though; he is still on the machine even though they have reduced the quantity. We still have no clue on his gall bladder cancer. One of the tumor marker tests came back negative; we are still waiting for the other. The question is if we should get the gall bladder removed in case it is cancer. Some have told us yes, some have said no; sometimes gb removal ends up causing more problems. Right now, It seems that if he does have this cancer, it is in its early stages because it has not metastasized to other organs: that seems to be the only positive news for now. My dad is presently relatively conscious. I always get nervous when he says strange things--like that other week when he was babbling in Japanese and bringing up "thirty years ago" (still do not know the significance.) Now that i'm thinking about his behavior over the past two years, I wonder if it's stemming from his physical problems. Is it from anemia and lack of oxygen? I now feel so bad about the way I yelled at him when he was confused. When I was leaving his room last week, he told me he wanted to stay alive and live with me as long as possible--whereupon I burst into tears. (On several occasions this year, he has said he is worried about my feeling lonely when he passes.) Today, I felt particularly sad. It's partly over the fact that my dad's situation has not been entirely resolved and wondering about how much it's all going to cost. But it's also about the end of Obama's 2nd term. Naturally, I couldn't help but think of his election in 2008 and his first inauguration. What a great time it was for me! Mom and I walked to the nearby highschool and voted for him; we were thrilled that night when he won. (It was the first and only time someone I had supported in the primaries had won!) I can remember how we went out to dinner a few weeks after the election and a lot of people were still celebrating it, all bedecked with Obama gear from head to toe. I recall being happy for other reasons at that time as I was teaching a new class and our two little kittens who arrived in August were so adorable! I also remember the afternoon when mom and I walked again to the highschool to vote in 2012 and were relieved that he won. And then in 2014, when my mom had her stroke, one question they would always ask her to test her memory was "who is the president?" So yes, I have sort of come to associate Obama with my mom: we were closer these last 6 years of her life than ever before. We talked a lot about the Obama family too and thought was wonderful that Michelle's mom lived with them--and what a great mom Michelle was to her daughters. Now that they are gone, I feel even farther apart from my mom. Yes, I know that sounds extremely silly. But grief can make us cling onto the past even more. This brings me to the issue of staying where our parents have lived. For some people, the memories are too much. And indeed, I have pangs whenever I pass by certain stores that remind me of the good times my mom and I had shopping there. I certainly felt it last night when I went to the local Marshalls to buy some loose exercise clothes for my dad: I could remember the various occasions mom and I visited, rummaging through the spices, cookies, and kitchenware. And I felt the same when taking the taxi home from my dad's rehab passing by the prettily lit-up houses mom and I always passed by when she drove home from downtown. Yet, at home, I take strange comfort in knowing that I am still living in a place where mom and I shared happy times together. Somehow I feel closer to her here....because I can still imagine her moving about, going up and down the stairs. I can still "see" her at the sink. I can still imagine her on the couch, with the windows behind her. If I were to move, I would feel even more displaced. Lisa, you have my prayers. I can imagine how you feel....wanting to join your mom yet not quite ready. From what I've seen and read, breast cancer is easier to combat today than say even 20 years ago. So don't give up hope.
  2. Reader, I think it is almost inevitable that we never feel that we have done enough--even when our relationships are less than perfect. I have been feeling horrible since visiting my dad today. Today, he was much more lucid than on Friday. He started to talk about remarrying--believe it or not, it's not the kunt cousin but one of my mom's younger sisters! He pursued her long ago, but she was not interested so he returned to mom;) Anyway, he went on about how it would be better to have another person in our lives so I won't feel lonely when he passes. (He's mentioned this twice this past year.) Of course, it's very unrealistic: this particular sister is already 83. How is she going to manage the cold winters here--let alone deal w/ a foreign language as she's never learned English? And is she really going to want to spend her time tidying up? (She's even more fastidious than my mom!) Not to mention she doesn't have health insurance. Anyway, after that conversation, the doctor finally stopped by. He told me my dad's gall bladder prognosis is not that great but didn't want to go into detail since he's not an oncologist: which means I have to wait till tomorrow. I stood there and felt so sorry for dad: I'm beginning to think that the gall bladder cancer may be causing all of the problems he's had in the last few weeks and I feel so bad about yelling at him. I also feel bad about the general untidiness and close to unhygienic conditions in the house. Yet, I know too that I have felt so burned out. I thought about dad over the years. I think we had the best relationship in my childhood ; he always took my side whenever mom spanked me. I remember feeling so mixed on the occasions he's visited me at Oxford. Even though I had arguments with him, I still enjoyed his visits and always felt kind of sad whenever he left. I could never understand why given my vexed relationship. I felt particularly bad one time because I could tell he was so vulnerable: he got ripped off at two restaurants when I went to the washroom (which is why I pay whenever we eat out.) How could he manage the rest of his business travels through Europe? Right now, I know I tried very hard to keep him healthy right after mom's death. But this year, I struggled to maintain any semblance of tidiness. I was teaching in the spring, struggling to finish my book and writing paid articles while venting on politics on LinkedIn. And, of course, I struggled with Dad as he seemed to become more irrational--for instance, going to Princeton for a conference--while worried about bills. Yet, I blame myself for stressing him out too. Having read your posts, Athina, I really do wonder what my mom thought when her mom died. She always held it together in my presence--and now, I feel selfish for not having asked her. I always assumed she had gotten over it quickly since she had dad and me. Yet, now, I wonder if she repressed it in front of me. And did she ever feel guilty because she was miles away? Now, I have to report a very strange thing that happened last night--right after I finished telling all of you about thinking that I heard my mom's voice one morning. All of a sudden, when I was downstairs, I could feel a huge gust of wind, and one of my cats went running downstairs. I thought crap, the roof must have fallen in. When I went upstairs, I discovered that a porch door had blown open! Previously, the door had been painted shut (intentional?) and impossible to open. It sort of scared me as the doors to my dad's room and bathroom were also forced open by the strength of the wind. I went and shut them--and it happened again! I had to block the porch door with the armchair. I don't think this is necessarily supernatural. But it was kind of odd given the fact that I had just posted here on not being afraid!
  3. Hello everyone--May, Athina, Reader, Lisa K, Missionblue, Belle, and others whom I may have inadvertently missed, Sorry I've been AWOL. Thanks for asking about my dad: it's been a difficult week. The previous Monday, my dad made absolutely no sense: he was babbling in what I think was Japanese. Two nurses said he kept saying "30 years ago." I could not figure out the significance of that date--plus or minus 5 years. I keep wondering if my dad had an illegitimate child with that kunt cousin of his, which would make him less than completely committed to either mom or me. I am now thinking that I might have dad draw a will to make sure all the property goes to me. God knows, I deserve it after he put us through the grinder. I have sworn that if I ever find out about this possible illegitimate child, I will go to Taiwan and kill IT. (The THING would probably be somewhere between 30 and 36.) The only reason why I would not kill IT is if it had money for me. That kunt has made my life a living hell from beginning to end, killing mom in the process. If mom weren't so stressed out, she might not have died so young. I also believe that she helped destroy my dad's career--not that he isn't entirely blameless, of course. Had this kunt left him alone or had he learned self-control, he could have boosted his career. Many of his colleagues have written at least 2 or 3 books: my dad has NONE to his name. (Self-published does NOT count!) No wonder he worked at less prestigious institutions than his fellow Princeton grads and made less. Most proper husbands and fathers care about making as much as possible for their family; my dad evidently did not think my mom or I were important enough. He just wanted to have a good time. And now I have to take care of him. NOT FAIR!!!!!!!!! Of course, the kunt cousin may not be the only woman at fault; I also have to wonder that since she was only 6-7 years younger than my dad at that time, who was in his early 50s, she may not been able to bear children or think of doing so: unless, of course, she was desperate to hold onto my dad. One of my aunts told me just the other day that she had heard a rumor of my dad dating a fellow professor's daughter. It's not something I have ruled out since I found some very odd pictures of my dad, a woman and her bridegroom. My dad was hugging the woman as if she were someone very dear to him. Granted,the bridegroom is in all of the pics, but it's still very weird. Now, mom has most likely seen that picture because it was inserted with all these other photos; however, she has never said anything about it. A few years after that picture was taken, a man called anonymously from Taiwan to tell mom to watch out because dad had a girlfriend. Was that the bridegroom? I wonder. It seriously disturbs me that mom didn't dump dad. After all, she wasn't running for office like Hillary;) I know we've discussed it here, but just cannot understand. Being cheated on IS a form of abuse: my aunt eventually got divorced from her husband after 30-some years of mental and physical abuse. Why couldn't my mom do the same? Why wasn't she much more careful with my dad after he'd been caught cheating numerous times? Especially since his students and colleagues knew? If I were mom, I would be so humiliated to be so openly cheated on, especially since she mom used to cook these lavish dinners for them at Xmas and the end of term. This is one of the reasons why the wives of Anthony Weiner (!) and Elliot Spitzer dumped them eventually: you can only be scorned for so long. As far as my dad's progress right now, he has started to improve: he was much less confused Sunday and sounds almost normal. But we're still not out of the woods yet. He does have what seems like a suspicious growth in his gall bladder. Athina, your stories were fascinating! LOL, I wish my mom would help me find stuff so I wouldn't waste so much time. As for your husband, I've heard similar stories here. Last year, there was a woman married to a physician who had complained of the same. I think a lot of people do not understand grief until they've missed the one they truly love--and is probably particularly true for professional men not least because they tend to assume that logic always prevail and that it is necessary to be "on schedule." Even I felt the same myself, feeling ashamed that I was still felt so hopelessly lost after 6 months. When I read about the impatience expressed by John F Kennedy's siblings for Jackie O's grief six months after the assassination, I could sympathize with her: sometimes the grieving only begins at 6 months. I remember feeling so many pangs between the 3rd month and 12-month mark after my mom's passing. May and Reader, I never really stopped to think what I would do if I saw mom's ghost. Heck, I think I would talk to her! I remember one morning when I thought I heard her call my name. I yelled out "Mom, where are you??" I really, really want to talk to her so badly....I am so jealous of one of my cousins, who is going on a cruise with her daughter ,husband, and mom. I will never travel again. I will never love again. It's funny, there are several men flirting with me on LinkedIn but I could care less. I JUST WANT MOM!!!!! Missionblue, I do hope you're right, but I tell you, I have not found anything in these past 2 years to make me happy in any way. I am so worried about everything--about the expenses for this hospital stay, getting a nurse to take care of him when I am teaching. Possible foreclosure. Because of all this, I can't even relieve myself by ordering food or buying little things for myself (i.e., makeup, LOL) Then I wind up getting even angrier at my dad who refused to let me study what I wanted and hence helped impede my career--just as he is impeding the progress of my book. Why couldn't he be like other fathers? Those fathers who cared about the financial security of their families? Fathers who didn't stress out their daughters and sons? Who bought nice cars for them when they hit 16? (My dad wouldn't even take the time to teach me to drive like other fathers because he was so obsessed w/. that kunt cousin.). Fathers who didn't cheat on their wives? (The only fathers I knew who cheated on their wives were men who earned six figures in the 1980s; my dad was a LOSER Ph.D. making $65,000 a year.).
  4. Hello everyone, Cindy Jane, thanks for your good wishes. I'm glad you are feeling better and that you are getting an extended break. THey had to put off further testing on my dad because he took a turn for the worse. He was delirious this morning and was still so when I left. Not only that , but atrial fibrillation is starting. He also managed to get a UTI. I'm really beginning to wonder how much care they are taking of him. Several things have pissed me off. Firstly, they have not sent a mephrologist to look at him even though he has chronic kidney disease, stage 3: I told them several times that since he also had weakness in his legs and confusion that they may be effects of renal failure. On Saturday, after having asked at the hospital on Thursday and Friday, I called the neph on Saturday. Another answered and he said my dad's BUN and creatinine values looked elevated and said he would check with the docs. Evidently he didn't. Asked the hospital on Sunday and Monday....still no answer. Now, because he has a UTI, they might. CAN YOU FRIGGING BELIEVE THIS??? Neither did they call a neurologist even though he is confused. I am also perturbed at the fact that they haven't fed him in 3 days. They keep saying that he aspirated and shouldn't eat. Because of all these problems, I will probably have to go--and spend another $40 to 50 on transportation. These last 5 days, I have spent close to $150. Reader and May, I have heard spooky stories from my mom's 4th sister: my mom claims she's the one who always manages to experience the supernatural, LOL! I remember feeling shivers on a bright, sunny 100 degree day when she told us a story about her father-in-law. 7 days after he passed, all three of his kids (themselves parents) experienced a brief power outage--even though they lived in different parts of Taiwan. One of them had sprinkled flour and saw a footprint. May, you mentioned that the Cantonese word for poo sounds like "see." In Taiwanese, death is pronounced like "see." (4 is pronounced more like "she.") Both of you are correct about the Chinese wanting to "move on." My mom thought it was ridiculous that I lit a candle every night for over 8 months for my second cat--and for occasionally calling his name. She once said to me "I hope you are not going to be calling my name when I die." Which brings me to an oddity about my cats. Neither of them like to sleep in my room--especially the boy. They will sleep there only if there's a dire emergency--like a power outage and it is freezing cold. I've always wondered if my second cat, who was very possessive, is still "there." Athina, I know what you mean. I used to cry upon waking every time I had a dream about mom. The dreams themselves were scattered: but the vast majority were about finding her unexpectedly--like her coming home. Or bumping into her in a store. Sometimes mom and I were house hunting. And in another dream, I was trying to save her from a bear. In some of my dreams, I knew she was dead. But one day, after a great dream about shopping with her, I laughed: another dream about shopping with mom! Talk about shopaholic! After that, I stopped crying; I think this may have been the first step towards healing: knowing that I was still alive and kicking. I was still doing work and keeping up with household chores. Despite all my sorrow, I hadn't melted. I suddenly realized that even if I don't heal altogether, there will be fewer terrible days--fewer days of prolonged bitterness. Afterwards, I had a very odd dream about doing extremely well on an exam--and, moreover, that I had gotten an award for teaching in a subject that I know very little about. It was bizarre because I hadn't taken a test in over 20 years! This dream really struck me because I hadn't received any feedback on any work in quite a while; what could it possibly mean?? I looked up a dream dictionary and all of a sudden, realized that the dream was most likely about dealing with my grief. In a sense, my mom's death was a "test." I had somehow finally arrived at an acceptance of sorts and was no longer feeling miserable every day. Mind you, I had this dream 13 months after my mom's passing.
  5. I'm really liking your mom, Lisa--she sounds very down to earth in every way, from the swearing to the gardening. Maybe that's why she was so good at the latter. I've got friends with dirty humor--surprise, surprise--but somehow, it's just not the same any more. What's strange too (or maybe not) is that suddenly, without my mom, dirty jokes are not quite what they used to be. Or maybe I'm just too weighed down with sadness that everything almost begins to seem trivial. I think the one thing that woke me out of the doldrums was the presidential election. Suddenly things became exciting--but at the same time, it made me wish more than ever that mom was here to discuss it with me. I remember feeling a real pang the day I went to vote in the primary....couldn't help but think of the other occasions that I went to vote with mom. And those times, our candidate had won.
  6. May is really amazing, Reader. I don't know how she helped out her mom for so long having suffered a stroke. God knows it was difficult enough for me! And to stay up all night. We ended up doing, of all things, a Protestant memorial service because the minister who knew my mom was a Protestant. It's bizarre given that mom was a lapsed Catholic who was becoming increasingly interested in Buddhism. We were thinking of getting some Buddhist elements incorporated into the memorial service at the church, but another minsiter was against it, so we ended up holding a Buddhist ceremony afterwards at our house. Now, I myself have heard interesting Buddhist stories about the dead--one of them being that the spirit returns to the house after 7 days. Would you believe it, but at exactly a week after my mom died, to almost the minute, both of our cats jumped on her bed? Also, when we brought home her ashes, they jumped on the bed too. What is "Me before You" about?
  7. May, you learn something new every day, as they say! Well, here are a few in Taiwanese: Sie (pronounced like "die") =poo Lau sie = diarrhea Xwa sie= spurt poo Dee sie = making constipated poo However, I don't think they have the word shitt. Cie dyam zha boh = prostitute (I use this word a lot when talking about my dad's kunt cousin) lun chao = dic Swee keh = kunt My mom would always tell me not to use these words in Asian restaurants, but I did anyway
  8. Lisa, I can't wait to see the rest when you're all done! I can imagine some colorful cacti flowers. Speaking of mom used to be taken aback by my potty mouth. I learned the word "phuck" when I was parents were absolutely horrified! Flash forward 30 years... they got used to it. Well, sort of. Mom came to realize that that's the way I was. So our jokes got increasingly dirtier; she even enjoyed all the dirty cards I bought in England. In fact, my mom started teaching me "naughty" words in Taiwanese. Since I used the word "kunt" a lot (thanks to my stay in England), she finally asked me what it meant. So I showed her the word in her Japanese dictionary and she laughed! Afterwards, whenever we'd see a very prissy woman, one or the other of us will whisper "kunt." We would laugh at ads for erectile dysfunction. My mom nearly had an accident driving when I told her that the license plate in front of us looked like "Viagra." (It was actually Vigoro." I didn' t have my glasses on.) And now I don't have anyone who will joke with me about silly stuff.
  9. That's why I've been cussing them out. If they were working, that would be one thing. Or if they were sitting for their grandkids. They phucking sit at home and even pass by my house to go where they're going. Did you mom design the garden, Lisa? I just love those layers of steps. Will you be planting more?
  10. Eve, it is so good to see you again! You actually sound happier now, which is good. 2015 was probably our hardest year so doubt about it. At that time, pangs from memories hurt so, so much. Many times, I only felt I was going through the motions. Reader, I know how you's sad enough to mourn, but doubly so when there is no one around. I would have felt less unhappy had my dad talked more about mom, but he never did. I felt all by myself. There was no one to share my interests, no one to joke with. No one to at least sit by me as I do chores. Even now as we write, I'd like to share some of my thoughts here with my mother--for instance, on superstitions--but can't. I would say the only benefit I had was that dad let me cry whenever I wanted....even if it was half the time at dinner. I have heard so much about people who want to grieve but are prevented from doing so by their husbands. BAD IDEA!
  11. That nightlight going on by itself was the weirdest. And yet, for some reason, it didn't scare me. Maybe because I wanted to believe it was mom telling me she was still around? Btw, notice that 13 can be said to add up to 4: 1+3 =4. I just wrote about my dad; it probably crossed when you were posting.
  12. Lisa, I pay $40 round trip to see him. So I see him every other day.
  13. We may find out tomorrow, Eve--scared. And yet, not quite as devastated as the time when we discovered that Mom had bile duct cancer.
  14. Well, he's certainly been stubborn about food the last few days. Docs will not let him eat because he's been aspirating; plus he has more medical exams. My dad is insisting they give him ice cream (they actually gave him some a few days ago). Yesterday, he also kept telling me to give him his pants and jacket. He wanted to go home. I told him he came without any because he was sent to ER without nothing but a shirt. My dad said I was wrong ....they WERE there in the closet. We had this convo at least 10 x.
  15. LOL, Lisa--I love how you expressed it! Supposedly GB cancer is much more common in women than men. (I always said my dad was a wuss.) Having said that, I do hope they can remove either the cancer or the gb itself. The docs are kind afraid of doing surgery on him since he's 86.