Entering a second week

Well, the world is in the midst of something I don’t think anyone in modern times thought would ever happen – a pandemic is shutting down a huge portion of our lives.   The economy is cratering accordingly.   Our president is deciding to pass the buck and not take any decisive leadership or try to ensure that testing and PPE is widely available, so what may have been something much more preventable is just going to get further and further out of control.   I honestly can’t believe this is what’s happening in the world.

I am ridiculously lonely and at times, I get unbearably emotional.  Wine definitely exacerbates those emotions, but I’m not about to be sober during this period.   My friends have been wonderful – we have a text thread, which recently migrated to WhatsApp as Mila and Nicki’s texts were coming in super-delayed for some reason.   Last week my coworkers at PwC DRS in LA all had a virtual Happy Hour via Google Hangout/Chat.  It was amazing – we all had video up so you could see people and it really made for a nice two hours. I got drunk.  And then continued by having a video chat with the girls right afterwards – yeah, that was a fun night, until it wasn’t when I just was drunk and emotional.

I can’t see my mom for obvious reasons, to avoid getting her and anyone else at the assisted living home from getting sick.  So I play lots of video games, I watch TV (Westworld really has been killing it in this new season; I’m also rewatching all of Twin Peaks, which is fantastic), I watch movies, and then distractions end.

I had a dream about Larry last night that felt more than just a dream.   Sveta had let me borrow a book called “Be Here Now”, which is an older book that dives deep into eastern spiritualism.  I’m not going to try to summarize it, but it did help to let me have some perspective on death, life, living and embracing now….etc.   I was reading that last night, and I think it stuck in my head.  I ended up having a dream where Larry and I were just hanging out.   In the dream, I knew he had died, so I knew this was after-death Larry.  He was all smiles and content.   We talked about the Stereogum Number Ones article series I’ve written about earlier that he loved, and I told him that I’d been keeping up on those articles now because of him.  He liked that.   And he smiled.   The dream ended, and I never have ever not wanted to wake up as much as I did during that moment.  It tears me apart to even write about it, as it was both exceedingly happy and devastating to feel this.  I miss him so much.  Not sure I’ll make it through this whole period, but I will try.

Two Months

This weekend was two months since Larry died after his year-and-a-half battle with cancer.   It’s still hard to deal with and reckon with.   To allow myself to really let it sink in just brings in the emotions and tears, which happens quite a lot still.  This past week was notably more painful for some vague unknown reason – Fran had the same heightened emotions as I did.  Maybe it’s just that it’s been two months, and it is not a temporary thing, like he’s just been gone back east and I had to stay here.   There’s no un-doing of what happened.  Larry has died and I am alive to deal with the fact that he is absent from the world.  I am talking with a therapist one-on-one every week or so, and later this year, I hope to be joining a therapy group for people who’ve lost spouses.  These things are all good and necessary, but they don’t undo the fact that the love of my life is gone.  I tell myself frequently that he’s free from suffering, which helps me to cope, but what I really want is to believe that somehow his presence is still around us, in some way.   He’s in my heart, I know that.  He’s not forgotten.   But it would make me feel better to know he’s some kind of angel or ghost.  I don’t know why that would matter – maybe it’s to know that maybe he’s able to be happy when I do something he liked.  It wouldn’t feel so empty.

I am trying to make things work for me here in reality.  I’ve been fairly proud of myself in attempting to cook meals much more fancy than I ever would have pre-Larry.  They’re not fine cuisine, but still, I cooked a filet mignon yesterday and that is pretty cool, right?   Cooking has been the thing that for me is what makes me feel closest to Larry, so I’m not keen on stopping.  I have his recipes that he used to make all the time, and I’m going to dive into those.  The Instapot has been amazing too, and Nicki got me a Mediterranean Instant pot cookbook that has some delicious-looking recipes I can’t wait to try.   If the coronavirus doesn’t kill us all.   That’s another thing – I am honestly glad Larry isn’t around in his weakened condition during this pandemic scare – I hope it ends up not being a complete disaster, but it’s impact probably isn’t going to be minimal, regardless.   And with a compromised immune system, if he had gotten coronavirus and that would have been the factor that caused his death, I’d be even more devastated than I already am.

So yeah, I’m just trying my best to make him proud, and to make myself not hole up and surrender.   I’ve been doing a Yoga program on Youtube (Yoga with Adriene – I LOVE IT) every morning and I do feel better doing these things – notably in my lower back, as I think it’s helped undo a lot of the tension-building the last 43 years of my life have stored.  We’ll see.  I’m also trying to be up for going or doing whatever friends are suggesting, within reason.  It’s been good to get out.

This week is tough as it’s when we move mom into the new home.  It’s for the best, and will give some peace of mind.  But I just need a fucking break.  But I don’t think one is coming.   C’est la vie. In the meantime, here are some pics from the last week or so with friends and at home.  Enjoying life as best I can.   Larry is never out of my mind and I miss him so fucking much.  Sometimes it makes me smile, but a lot of times it just makes me sad and cry.

Pot Roast – March 3:

Firefly dinner with Barb – March 6:

Seeing “Couples Therapy” comedy show at The Virgil with Nicki – March 7:

Just Sunday – March 8:

Goodbye, Oviatt?

Well, this was a surprise bit of news to discover!  I had been looking at my wedding websites that I’d bookmarked back in 2015-2016 and was like, let’s look at the Oviatt website!  And then I got a ‘no content here’ webpage and was like, uh what?  So I did a google search and Yelp has it listed as CLOSED and I’m like, uh what?   Then I start searching more and it’s like, OH DAMN.   The company that ran the Oviatt Penthouse venue, Truly Yours Catering, is shut down since mid 2019 and the owner basically disappeared.   There were 7 events planned and none of them got any notice, even last-minute notice, that their venue was no longer available.  It’s not clear if they were able to get any money back, but I doubt it.   From what I can see, the owner has no contact info anymore and might have gone to Thailand?  I feel so bad for those folks as it actually was a super wonderful place to have a wedding and I was a huge fan of the catering too.  I’m sad that it’s not a place I can go visit or take a tour at anymore – as that’s a little bit of the reason I clicked on the website in the first place as I was thinking about maybe going back there for a tour.  But regardless, Larry and my wedding there is not something that can be taken away from me as the memories are just so magical.

I’ve linked to the local news station’s stories about it:

Brides Warn Of Wedding Scam After Venue Reservations Disappear

https://abc7.com/5292100/

Duvet Cover Update

To soften that heavy last post, here’s some pics of the duvet cover that I got at Pottery Barn on Saturday.   I love it, and after two nights with it, I’m happy with the sleep.  It adds a bit more weight to the blanket which is something I like.   We’ll see how the summer goes though.  Might have to revert back to just the blue.

Anyway, my mom’s assessment is today, so we’ll know what they think and how much care she really needs.  I’m nervous.

I’m making Larry’s pot roast recipe today in the slow cooker.   It smells delicious in here, and I hope he’s proud in some way that I’m still trying to cook his favorites.   I went to the grocery store yesterday to get not only ingredients for pot roast, but also the baked ziti and spaghetti carbonara.   The recipes are there but I know that there’s probably gonna be issues, but I gotta try.

Another Tough Stage

Obviously my last year and a half have been difficult, because obviously what Larry was going through and doing what we all could to fight for his survival and then make his death as comfortable as able.   There’s been another aspect of my life that has been very hard to deal with that ran concurrently with all of the above, and that’s about my mom.

Last January (in 2019), she ended up having to get fairly emergency surgery on her neck as the discs in her vertebrae were pressing against her spinal column.  It had manifested already in her having numb hands and feet, but it wasn’t sure what was causing that.   It could have been carpal tunnel and docs weren’t quite sure.   But when she went to the hairdresser and was getting laid down into the hair sink, her legs gave out as something pressed just too much on the spinal column during that action.   At the hospital, the neurologist was able to see surgery was necessary to release the pressure on her spinal cord or else much worse damage was to come.   The surgery to replace the discs and reduce the pressure was successful, although it didn’t really undo the numbness in her hands and feet.   Recovery was unfortunately necessary but it couldn’t be at the hospital, so we had to find a convalescent acute care facility for her.   Needless to say, that was a lot of stress for her.  2 weeks of that, and then she went home.   By then, she was already stressed out about her neck and head, and had a collar to keep her from moving it too much.

Going home was a whole scary event, but Stacie and I had gotten a caregiver service to be there 24/7 for her while she recovered.   Well, that basically kept her going but her anxiety and paranoia only got worse and got to the point where she stopped eating and sleeping because she was sure a piece of cheese was stuck in her throat and that if she slept, she’d stop breathing and die.   A trip to a psychiatrist got her drugs that calmed that anxiety down.  This was in March and it had been an exhausting time for all of us.

Throughout the rest of the year, instead of getting better and feeling more secure, she only got more scared about everything.   It took 2 months before she let us take the collar off her neck, which had absolutely not been necessary that long.  She refused to go upstairs and sleep as it was scary.  So she lived on the ground floor in the living room, sleeping on the couch.   She started to forget short term things, things that we had just talked about.  She couldn’t manage her own medications anymore, and wouldn’t go out with the caregivers to the store as she was afraid of falling.  She became utterly dependent on the walker we had gotten her, and her posture became the worse for wear and she wouldn’t walk upright as she was afraid she’d fall.   She stopped doing physical therapy, she stopped going upstairs at all for the shower, and she won’t watch anything but a few channels of TV as that’s I guess the only things she will watch where she won’t feel bad?   No movies, none of her other regular shows, just game show network and HGTV.

Visiting her was always bittersweet this year.   She does have memories and does know who we are.   But she’s been completely crippled by her fear, and some obsessive compulsive behaviors about food, sleeping, and moving that we are helpless to break at this point.

I’ve sped through what has happened this past year because it’s not necessary to detail the decline each day.   Who she was last January compared to now is shocking.  Stacie and I had talked about a home, but it wasn’t a giant priority at the time as I had to deal with Larry and Stacie was out of town starting her new career.   But now it’s time to act.   We visited some assisted living homes this past Friday, and found one that we both think she’ll be good in.   It makes me so sad to even realize I have to do this for someone who is only 71, but it’s no longer safe or beneficial for her to live at home and have a caregiver there.   I went yesterday, meeting Stacie there, to talk to mom about this decision.   We’d had discussions about it with her before, and of course the conversations were never great, but I think she always understood it was for her safety and benefit, even if she really wasn’t a huge fan of going.   But it’s time now.   She listened and understood, although of course you could tell it wasn’t great news for her.

I don’t really have any other options except to do this.   It will sound defensive of me to say, but fuck any of you who think this is me pawning off some kind of responsibility to give up my life and become her caregiver.  To be frank, I made a choice with Larry, and I had to do all that with him at the end.  I’m done with that.   I’m not qualified or willing to be a nurse, clean her shit, shower her and feed her.   Maybe there are others who would happily do that and to them I say god bless.  But fuck you if you think I’m now obligated to have to basically end my life doing this for the rest of what “youth” I do have.  I welcome your judgment though, and can’t wait to tell you, if you do have that thought, to go fuck yourself.   Where have you been this last year to help?  No one has been there for her, not her sisters, no one besides Stacie and me.   So yeah, get the fuck out of here if you think you’re going to judge me.

Having said that!  Yesterday after talking with mom, I left with Sveta.  She had come with me as I needed a witness for some paperwork to sign, and on the way back, we thought maybe to go grab some food.   So we went to Burger Basket, a place from our Monrovia childhoods.  Then after that, we made our way to Pasadena for a brief Starbucks stop, meandered around the Best Buy, and then drove to Michaels for some craft stuff as I’m trying to figure out what to do with me and Larry’s rings.   We then drove to Old Town Pasadena for a nice afternoon drinking at Rocco’s and shopping along the street.   We both got new sunglasses, and I got a new duvet cover for the bed, and bought some clothes at Lucky Brand.   All in all, a nice afternoon for what had been a pretty stressful week.  Then that night, I went to an absolutely hilarious improv show at the Largo called Middleditch and Schwartz.  Best improv I’ve ever seen, and ridiculously funny.

Anyway, I love you, mom, and I’m sorry what this last year has been for you.   I honestly think there’s a good chance you’ll be happy at this new place when we do this, and you’ll get some good chances for socializing, security knowing someone is always there, and just having that comfort.

Some Pictures from Saturday, Feb 29:

Since 2001 or so, sharing stuff