Monday, September 8, 2014

Write Your Face Off - September Challenge

I decided to participate in a writing challenge.  Chief CurvyGirl, Brittany Gibbons's Write Your Face Off challenge gives us 30 prompts for September.  I suppose if you were super into it, you would do one each day....but I am not going to even pretend to have that level of writing commitment.  So I took a few of the prompts and will write about them as I get inspired to do so. (it's the spirit of the challenge that counts, y'all)

Sept 5th: If you could bring back one person from the dead, who would it be?

This is a hard question. It's also the prompt that moved me the most.  

I feel  like I should choose some major influencer from history, like maybe Adolf Hitler - simply for the opportunity to have him stand in place while all of humanity lines up to punch him in the face.  Or maybe one of the great adventurers or scientists of the past - are there more discoveries or inventions trapped in those brilliant minds?  

Since this is hypothetical, and the deathly hallows are most likely not real and I won't be getting my hands on the resurrection stone anytime soon,  I'm going to be more selfish.  I would choose to bring back Nancy Barnes - my mom's mom.  I would pick her for a lot of reasons:

1. she died relatively young, as far as grandmas go, and I didn't have a lot of time to get to know her. She was 63 (I think) when she passed. 
2. I know my mom misses her a LOT. a lot a lot. 
3. I never learned to bake with her (that I remember, anyway). That's one of those rights of passage, isn't it?
4. there are so many things I want to share with her - life events, stories, minor details from growing up. 
5. I feel robbed that I didn't have any grandmas while growing up - all of my friends got to go visit their grandmas and eat their cookies, and go places, and enjoy the sage wisdom that all grandmas seem to inherently possess.  I missed all of that.  

Grandma Nancy died when I was 5 or 6.  I don't even remember.  I do remember being in the house and the ambulance coming.  I do remember her living at our house for a few weeks before that, being so so sick.  I remember bits and pieces of her funeral - mostly just playing hide and seek with my cousins in the basement of the funeral home because we were too young to really understand what was happening, and there were caskets down there...omg.  

I remember riding in the car to visit grandma, and it taking foooorrrreeevvvvvverrrrrrrr to get there, when in reality, it was probably only 30 minutes.  I remember the smell of her backyard - there was a huge honeysuckle bush.  I remember the smell of her basement - kinda musty and damp, we would get excited to find dead cockroaches lying upside down on the floor.  I remember playing with the laundry chute thinking it was so cool.  I remember the year she got sick, Mom and Aunt Bobbie took us kids to Wyandot Lake a lot, which we thought was awesome.  We didn't realize that they were just two 30-something women with small kids losing their mother, doing the best they could.  I am now a 30-something woman...and the thought of....I can't even type it.  My eyes are swimming just thinking the words.   My cousins got really close to knowing that feeling this year...They got really close to knowing how our mother's felt back then, because...

My aunt is battling breast cancer.  It is terrifying.  I know she was drawing parallels to Grandma Nancy, how could she not?  Grandma died of Cancer - I don't even know what kind.  Mom told me it was a secondary kind, the doctors weren't sure where it originated.  AB's diagnosis came on her birthday - when she turned 63. Same age Grandma was.  I remember getting the call, I was at work in the HR file room.  Thank god there was no one in there with me, I couldn't stem the flow of tears. My mom was explaining to me the diagnosis and the different doctors they would be seeing that afternoon, and who all was there with them.  I kept thinking "I should be there.  I should be with them right now" but mom told me to stay at work, that too many people might overwhelm AB.  I still feel terrible about that.  I feel like I let my family down for not going over there.  

The whole process of chemo and surgery and radiation has been scary.   Having two nurses in the family is definitely helpful for having things explained - but I'm still confused.  I don't understand why our family had to go through this.  I don't understand the medical terminology, I don't understand the prognosis.  My basic questions are usually "do the doctors sound positive?" and hen I take my cues from there.  So far, they do seem positive.  we are through chemo, and surgery, and allllmost done with radiation. Being so far away from everyone while this is happening is absolutely killing me.  I get updates on the phone, and some random cards or emails, but it just isn't enough.  It's more than just missing my family (and oh Lord, do i miss them), it's that I feel cut off.  I feel like my not being there for this time of trials somehow makes me less a part of the family.  I don't know all the intimate details of what is happening, I don't know all the little inside jokes from the family get-togethers anymore, and it breaks my heart.  Believe me, I know that this is all in my head, of COURSE I'm still part of the family.  of COURSE they all love me and miss me and wish I was there.  I know that, but I can't help the way I feel sometimes. 

I sent AB a little note last week, I found a whisker of Oscar's lying on the blanket beside me.  She and Julie collect cat whiskers, so I thought sending her a dog whisker was a fun way to join in.  Greg thinks I'm weird for mailing a dog whisker to Ohio.  That's ok, though.  I know I'm weird. it made me feel like part of something, which is a good feeling. 
Non-sequiter Alert: Sept 8th Prompt is Today is international literacy day.  Share 5 books that changed your life.

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcer'sStone/ChamberofSecrets/PrisonerofAzkaban/GobletofFire/OrderofthePhoenix/Half-BloodPrince/DeathlyHallows - J.K. Rowling amazon link

Harry Potter and friends led me to some of MY best friends.  There were many lessons in these books, for both children and adults.  The most important of which: use your imagination all the time. 

2. Summer Sisters - Judy Blume

I am a chronic "re-reader" and I have lost count the number of times I've read this book.  I love it so much - a coming of age story of a shy-ish girl and her gregarious best friend.  Loved it. 

3. The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood - Rebecca Wells

This one...oh man.  This one showed me the importance of female friendship that passes the test of time.  My mom and her friends call themselves the Ya-Yas, and they are great role models!

4. Where the Red Fern Grows - Wilson Rawls

A boy and his dogs - this one taught me the importance of perseverance and patience, and the beautiful love between a person and their animals.  Another book that was chronically re-read by me...and every time it made me cry. 

5. Hachet - Gary Paulsen

This was my favorite Paulsen novel - I love all of his books.  I think this is where my love of survival came from.  Learning how to survive in the wilderness with minimal resources...It all came from this book.

What books changed you? Who is the one person you would bring back? Let's interact, y'all!


  1. Hi dearie, OH, what a powerful post. Really got to me. It actually sounds like you are processing things very well.
    Yes, of course we all love you to the moon and back and wish you were here ALL THE TIME. No, you didn't let the fam down
    by missing the doctor appt. Bobbie and my mom were 62 at their respective times. You were 7 when my mom died.

    I really wished you could have grandmas while growing up too. I wish all the time I could talk to my mom to ask her how
    she got through whatever phase of life I am in at the time. It took a long time not to react to good/bad/exciting news with the
    thought " I've gotta call mom about this!"

    I think we really do appreciate and celebrate the family we do have. I hope I get to be hands-on Grandma for your future kids, and Kevin's, for a long time. Love, Mom

  2. This is lovely. Thanks for sharing it. Sending positive thoughts to your aunt for a full and speedy recovery.