The Land of Oz

I haven’t been here in a while.

Its really something how in a few months, so much has changed. It really something how in a few months, so much of myself has changed. The process has felt long and arduous, and I remember complaining and feeling like there was something in the air. There was magic around… the Universe was concocting something and I could feel it. The Wheel had begun to turn, and I was so eager to figure out what was at play. Never in a million years would I ever predict that this would be my story.

Its really something. That’s my phrase as of late, because I’m at a lack of words. Its hard for me to describe how I feel about things because I feel things in ways I never did before. I see things in ways I never did before, so I don’t exactly have verbiage to accurately describe things. So most things are now somethings. Its a something. You’re a something.

Like… its really something how the world keeps turning, and I’m still here. I’m okay. I’m well enough, I’m fine enough, and in some moments I’m happy enough. But when the surface layers peel back and the raw truth of it all is revealed, I feel like I’m still here and everyone is long gone. My family is moving on with their life and everyone has gone back to normal. Mom’s got boyfriend issues again, Justin’s just an issue in and of himself, Reign is steamrolling into tween, cousins on Facebook are posting pictures of themselves and their lives. This is why I left Facebook to begin with. How great everyone’s life is in photos! But I’m still here. My life is still upside down. I’m still grieving, even though I’m smiling.

And the pain of it all is dissolving into me. Instead of it being like an organ, like something separate and cancerous living uninvited, unwelcomed inside my body, its becoming part of my body. Its becoming my shadow. My filter. A lens over my eyes so I see differently. A whisper in my ear. And as much as I hate it, I appreciate it too. I used to feel like I was so full of whimsy and freedom that I could float away into a whatever space- wherever the wind would take me, I would go. Now the weight of this grief that I carry has me firmly planted on the ground. Its given me a balance, a weight to place on the other side of my scale so to speak. I’ve gotten myself in trouble so many times… in fact, my entire life has been one round of trouble after the next because all I ever saw was the good in all things. And now because of this grief, I see both sides.

We are making progress on my Dad’s estate. One of his accounts will be released to my sister and I after a 90 day holding period. We are working on his other two accounts and she was able to get statements, however I cannot because in Puerto Rico, they have much looser rules and regulations than we have here. She was able to waltz up to the bank and provide proof of who she is, and they gave her information. She can’t access the account, but now at least we know what’s in there so it’ll help us plan to pay off some things Dad owes. I can’t access his account stateside quite yet because they won’t humor me until I provide certain documents that we’ve been waiting to receive since December. His original death certificate and our legalized formal heir declaration for my sister and I.

All I know is that between the two accounts in Puerto Rico, after we pay what Dad owes and splitting the rest between the two of us, I will get about thirty four thousand. Its not a lot. Everyone assumed my Dad was made of money. I mean, I have no clue what is in his account here in the USA- that was his primary account. He would transfer money out of his stateside account to his Puerto Rican bank account so there could be significantly less in there if he transferred it all, or significantly more if he transferred it as necessary.

So now comes the what do I do with it? Mom said I should take that money and go in with her to buy a house in Virginia Beach. She’s been talking about this for years, and she’s serious. I flat out had to tell her I do NOT want to buy a house at the beach, and she’s like but why? You love Virginia Beach! No. I don’t. YOU love Virginia Beach. And she gave me the, “oh”. Mom thinks whatever she wants to do, everyone must also want to do. Its a great idea to her, so other people must also agree it is a great idea. I do like the beach. Virginia Beach is not my favorite, and I certainly wouldn’t want to move to the beach because off season when everyone goes home after summer is over, its not the same. Mom thinks its parties and boardwalks year long. Its not.

Other people tell me to save it for Reign’s college, which would be the right thing to do. This is still on the table. But what I think I will do is use it to buy a home. A home that I choose. I think I will let it sit in my bank account- my bank account just for me, not the one that I share with Justin, and I will let it sit there until I’m ready. And I think I will use it to put a good down payment on a home. My townhouse that I live in now was my home, but now it is not. Kris ruined it. Brittni ruined it. Justin ruined it. Yeah, its still mine, but its not mine. Its my fault, sure. Again, I was trying to do the right thing by letting these people in my home, but they just ruined it. Brittni, admittedly, not as much, but she helped. This house started out as my home, but it hasn’t been my home in a long time. Its a home for wayward humans. So I feel like I will take the money, plus a little bit of the money I can get from selling this place- most of that will go to Nanny for her retirement, and I will get a home for me.

Probably won’t be this year. Might not be next year. I need to start by securing a new job first- as with everything I try to accomplish, there are steps in the process… but securing the money is a big part of it. And now I have that. Its not a lot of money, but its enough. Well, its a lot to me. Its a lot more than I have now, which is none.

There are 6 more days of work left. Saturday we will close our gate at 5pm and say goodbye to the store for the last time. Well, I will wish it goodbye on Sunday- Sunday morning I have to come back to dismantle our computer and send the hard drive back to home office, and then drop the keys off with mall security. And then I’ll drive away, and I likely won’t come back to the mall unless Reign needs clothes. Even then, I’d rather go some place else. Our mall is ridiculous and the general consensus is they should bulldoze it and try again.

I’ll be working a very long stretch again because the entire team in a nearby sister store, Heidi’s store actually, came down with Covid. So initially the plan was to send me up there to close it down, which would have been very fitting because I trained there. Heidi trained me. She’s my work Mom and we talk almost every day. We’re friends on Facebook and she calls me at the store and we can easily be on the phone for an hour. I really love her. She’s amazing people. So yeah, it would have been fitting for me to end the place where I started this journey. But the company decided to keep the store open, and so I was volunteered (and accepted) to be part of the process. So this weekend, yesterday and today, I am at my store. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday I will be there. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, I will be back at my store. Sunday I will turn in my keys.

People are starting to get emotional, but I’m okay. It is what it is. I don’t know what to think about it. It’s something. Its a lot of somethings. I don’t want to have to start over again. But I don’t get a choice in it. The wheel doesn’t stop turning just because we’re comfortable where we’re at, and I accept that. I don’t want to do this, but I accepted it and will continue to do my best until I turn in my keys… and work my last 9 day stretch. That’s kinda become my thing, anyway.  I just hope Heidi comes through all of this unscathed. She’s got one more week of quarantine, and she is okay so far. She just can’t taste or smell anything. Sending good juju to her and her husband!

Gifts and clarity have came in waves. That’s how I know that everything is okay- that I’m supposed to be experiencing this. I mentioned my free cupcakes a few posts back, but that never happened because she had some issues come up and had to cancel her events. But she told me she’d be at my mall for sure on the 26th- the day before we close! How perfect is that?

Also, there is a guy in the mall who owns a rock shop- sells beautiful natural and lab grown crystals both raw and tumbled, and in the back of the store has a educational side where he teaches children about fossils, geology and mining. I LOVE it. He came into my store and bought a ton of fixtures to use in his, which is great, and I was able to make him some decent offers. I asked him to reach out to me when a large showcase amethyst goes on sale because they are my favorite. He said he would, but 15 minutes later he came and brought me one. I cried. I couldn’t help it. It was probably a $40-$50 piece, easily, but he told me to take it. And before he left, he says, its the little things in life that matter. I say that all the time.

And it brings me back to a gift a good friend gave me to Amazon several weeks back. Never in my life have I experienced such kindness and connectedness to people who would otherwise be considered strangers. Because deep down, we aren’t strangers at all. We’re all together in this life experience, and while I’d never ask for or expect kindness to this degree, its reinforced to me that true, honest displays of kindness without expectation are real. And I’m not the only one who believes this, or lives this way. I just never expected to be on the receiving end. And I will pay it forward 10 fold when its my turn. I will never forget the kindness that’s been shown to me recently.

On the flip side, ugliness has came in waves as well, which still brings clarity in its own right. My family has washed their hands of my father’s affairs. And I understand that because they don’t know my sister, and they aren’t getting along with her. And now between my sister and my family- our family, it has boiled down to a bunch of he said she said. They are accusing her of these things and she’s saying that none of it is true. She is accusing them of things, and both sides say that the other is lying to me by keeping me out of the loop. Not telling me what’s happening. Ironically, when I asked my family for help in the smallest ways, like translating documents for me because they’ve been sent to me in Spanish, they refuse and tell me to go get a translator because they don’t want to be involved.

The last time my aunt tried to tell me my sister was conniving and deceiving, I told my aunt that if she is keeping me uninformed, everyone is guilty of that. Nobody told me that my Dad was in the hospital- twice, even though everyone knew. Nobody told me he had covid, even though everyone knew. Nobody told me he was dying, even though everyone knew. Nobody told me when the funeral was, even though everyone knew. Nobody told me that he was to have military honors, even though everyone knew. Had I not pestered and been persistent, I wouldn’t have been there to see my father be buried because nobody wanted to tell me. So I told her if Maida is deceiving me, all of you have also deceived me. And she kind of threw her hands up and changed the subject.

So I went to my father’s most trusted, long family friend, Pilar. They were friends through the army long before I was born. She helped me translate documents and explained how everything worked with Dad’s military retirement and everything so I actually understood what was going on behind the scenes. And she told me that my Dad told her that he was cutting off ties with our family because all they did was use him. They wanted his money and resources to get themselves out of trouble and never came to visit or reach out to him beyond that. And when my Dad died, Pilar told me she had a hard time keeping her mouth shut because all of these people who mourned my father didn’t care about him while he was alive. And based on the bits and pieces everyone has told me in between, I believe her.

This makes sense, and makes everything else make sense. It makes all the whys I had in my head make sense and also reaffirms what I believed. That I was raised separate from my family on purpose. My Dad wanted me to be familiar and aware of my family, to be a presence in our family, but not to be one of them. He wanted me to be better than them because he himself was better than them. Maybe better isn’t the right word. Separate, at any rate.

And I cant speak for my family or my sister, or what she’s saying to them or what they’re saying to her. I’m not in the loop, they are right. But what I can say is that I received my packet in the mail stating that I am 50% my father’s beneficiary, which means my Maida was truthful that she was splitting his estate with me. My family has not provided proof that my sister is lying and cheating. And the fact that I received a beneficiary notice proves that my sister did what she said she was going to do, which is split things with me. So at this point, even though nobody is trustworthy necessarily, at least that paper gives me a small reason to believe her.

I pulled out my watch to show Pilar and before I could even say anything, she smiled and said, your Dad’s watch! I guess she remembered. She would remember- she remembers little details like I do. And she remembers him from when he was himself… from when he was the Jose I called Dad, and the Jose she called friend. He wasn’t really himself when he went back to Puerto Rico. Similar, but not the same. But she remembers. And she referred me to her guy who fixes watches and things, so I took the watch there and they are currently fixing it. So its weird not having it because I put it in my pocket every day. He gave me a discount. Hopefully I get it back this week, so I can wear it instead of keeping it in my pocket. I’ll wear it like he wore it. And it was special before, but it’ll be 10000x more special when I can wear it too.

A lot of my entries are probably the same, but I guess that’s because like I said earlier, everyone is moving forward but I’m still here. And that’s okay. I still need to be here. I’ll leave this space, this moment in time, when I’m supposed to. That day is not today.

My doctor is concerned for me. She hooked me up with a grief councilor. She wanted to give me medication for anxiety and depression to help me feel more stable, but I told her I didn’t want the medicine. Ultimately she kind of laughed and said that was good because she didn’t really WANT to give it to me, just offered it as an option. But she asked me to at least see a grief councilor a few times, to which I agreed. She knew I wouldn’t be able to pay for it because my insurance will end, but because my doctor is through the hospital system they will meet with me for free. She told me this lady would talk to me for free for several sessions, which should give me time to secure state insurance to get coverage until I get another job. I don’t know how I feel about seeing a grief councilor. Its one of those somethings. But hey, I’m trusting the process, and if this lady has been put into my path of healing then I’m trusting that I’m supposed to know her. I will consider this another gift.


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February 21, 2021

I am hzppy you took the advice for a grief counselor.  Just to validate how you have dealt with your Dad’s passing.  And now with the family dynamics having to work with those who did not tell you anything about anything to do with your Dad’s status.  You are hanging in there with the store, for a short time with 2 stores.  I’d feel like I was running on a hamster wheel looking forward to getting off of it to rest.  Rest!  A very good thing.  😎