Saturday, September 25, 2010

Random Acts

After being told by my oncologist that I have to be on the low iodine diet for four more weeks I was feeling a little down so I decided to do something nice for someone else to lift my spirits. After work I ran home to let the dogs out and change clothes. When I finally headed out I realized I left my debit card at work so I turned around and went back to the office, retrieved my card and was finally on my way.

When I get the chance, I do volunteer work for Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness and also the Find A Grave website. How this works is that a person who is working on their genealogy that doesn't live in my State makes a request for a photo of a loved one's headstone or maybe a home in the area. They put in that request at RAOGK, where I am listed as a volunteer, and I respond saying whether I will take the job, or not. With Find A Grave, people simply list photo requests and if I know I will have free time I check any requests in the area. I take the photos and then respond to the requester.

For the past few weeks I have been working with someone who put in a RAOGK request for a grave of an infant at Bethany Cemetery in Charleston. Bethany is one of the larger cemeteries in the city and for these I normally have the requester get the info on where the grave is located within the cemetery so I don't have to spend hours walking and looking. Last week I actually had a chance to call the cemetery office myself but I ran into a problem because this particular person is not even listed in the cemetery records. Ben, the gentleman at the cemetery office, said that Bethany's records from the 1920's and before are not that great. He said if I had other information on the person he could do a more extensive search.

I emailed the requester and she gave me info on the child's parents from the death certificate. In the meantime I tried to kill two birds with one stone and looked on Find A Grave to see if there were any pending requests needing to be fulfilled - there were five. When I called the office back I gave him all the names of the people I wanted to find. Ben took the information and said he would call me back, which he did about an hour later. He said he still couldn't find the infant, even with the extra information on the parents.

So, yesterday after work I headed to Bethany cemetery. I knew I didn't have much time since it was already 4pm, but I thought since Ben gave me directions on where to go in the cemetery to find the graves I would have no problem.

The weather was gorgeous! I wore jeans to work but changed into shorts when I went home and I'm almost sorry I did. As soon as I stepped out of the car and started walking I was attacked by a billion insects. Of course I'm allergic to everything so I immediately started swelling and itching (which I am STILL itching from over 24 hours later!) I went back to the car and put on a couple coats of bug spray, which is never pleasant to wear. I continued walking in the direction where Ben told me the first set of graves would be and couldn't find them. I must admit that his directions weren't exactly the greatest.

After spending a half hour on the first set of graves I decided to go find the others on the list so I drove to the other side of the cemetery. I found the landmarks Ben told me to look for, stopped the car and started looking. No luck. Ben's directions were kind of crazy. "Look for this grave on the road that runs parallel to the other road and when you find that grave the graves you are looking for are perpendicular to the landmark grave" - huh?? I walked and walked and couldn't find them. It was getting late so I decided to give up and call him on Monday for more specific directions.

When I got to the cemetery gate I was a little shocked because it was closed and locked. This isn't some little metal fence, either! This is a big iron gate! Before I could really panic a man rode up on his bicycle and told me that they were closed. Um, really? I guess he closes the gate to control traffic and then rides his bike around to look for stragglers. I'm glad he did! Spending the night in the cemetery isn't really something I really wanted to do - especially in that neighborhood!

Before I drove off I chatted with the gentleman a bit and told him that the office person (Ben) was super-nice, but his directions on where graves are located aren't the best. I suggested they create sections to make it easier on everyone. He didn't really care because he had dinner plans and I was keeping him...

After being released from the cemetery I drove to Charleston County Public Library's main branch to see if I could find some info on that infant that Bethany didn't have a record for. When I pulled up I found a parking place right in front but I thought that was a bit odd. I pulled up the library hours on my phone and it's just the way my luck is... they were already closed.

I was bummed because I always enjoy looking through the card catalog of local deaths because they are actually the handwritten, original cards from the turn of the century. Some of the causes of death are odd... diarrhea is a popular one. Also, I always found it interesting when I would find cards that listed people as former slaves, etc. Next time I'm down at the library I'll have to take some photos of a couple of them.

From the library I decided to take a drive around town. It was my favorite time of day... the sun was setting and it casts that gold glow all over the city. I just love that. Unfortunately, downtown was traffic madness. There were tourists everywhere! People were driving horribly. It's not an easy city to drive in if you are not familiar with all the one-way streets and the bike taxi's have taken over the city! Do these things have to follow traffic laws? They act as if they don't! When I crossed through the City Market I realized why it was so nutty downtown... MOJA! I got the heck out of there.

I decided to drive over to Mt. Pleasant and take I-526 home. The sunset had turned the sky all these amazing hues of orange and red - it was gorgeous! I grabbed my camera and stuck it out the window and took a couple of pictures. Of course, I was driving so they came out all wonky, but I actually kind of like them.

Speaking of photos, last week Robin and I went to Charlotte to see Lady Gaga! We debated on whether to go, or not because we are so incredibly broke. I put the tickets on Craigslist, but kept getting all of these insulting offers to pay below the cost of the ticket price and all of the service charges. This was a sold out show. Why would I sell the tickets for below what I paid for them? The morning of the show we pretty much said "screw it" and decided to go. What's a little more debt, right?

The show was incredible, but I told Robin that if we ever have the chance to see Lady Gaga again we HAVE TO get better seats. We were sitting pretty high in the arena and on the side of the stage. Gaga's show is really one that should be seen with a full view of the stage and up close. With our seats it was as if we were watching it on television. I felt really removed from what was going on onstage and the people around us were acting as if it were cocktail hour at the local piano bar. It's just so hard to be a part of the concert when stuff like that is going on... soooo distracting.

I loved all the outfits people were wearing at the show! I didn't really get any good pics of them, but I did manage to stop these ladies and have them pose for me. Aren't they awesome?

Paws up Little Monsters!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Town Crier

So, I was just getting ready to go to bed and my younger sister called me to tell me that my older sister called her and was bitching about no one telling her about my Grandfather passing away. This is coming from a 44-year old woman who is disowned from one side of the family and hasn't called the other side of the family in, well... never. She only sees that part of the family when they come into town for funerals. So, basically, she has seen my Grandfather once since 1992 when my Grandmother passed away - he didn't make it in for my Mom's funeral. She has never sent him a card, a letter and as far as I'm aware, has never called him. My little sister said she thought it was my Mom's father that passed and I'm not sure why she was more concerned about him since they want nothing to do with her.

I decided a while ago that I was tired of being the "messenger" - my younger sister never calls or keeps in touch with anyone, either. Everyone depends on me to let them know what is happening in the family since I am the one who has ALWAYS kept in touch. I've gone to every wedding (except one due to work) and every funeral when I could. I've even taken weekend trips to visit the family! On the other hand they (except my cousin Denise) have only come for funerals to visit us (except one time), but that's besides the point.

Anyway, I know EXACTLY where this came from. People at work knew that I was out for funeral leave and on Thursday I was sitting in my office talking to my friend Jackie when a co-worker came by and said "I saw your sister the other day" - she does this ALL THE TIME. She knows that I could not care less for my sister and don't have a relationship with her nor my nieces or nephew. Why she feels the need to fill me in on "sister sightings" I have no idea. I even tell her that I don't care and she still does it.

This person stood in my office while I talked to Jackie about the funeral, etc and all the while she kept mentioning my sister and the kids... Again, I told her that I don't talk to them and Jackie asked if Janine knew about my Grandfather passing. I said "probably not" because my little sister doesn't talk to her either.

During probate I called my older sister NUMEROUS times to get her to sign papers. She never returned my calls and then told my little sister "I'm not signing anything!" and proceeded to go up to the probate office and complain about me. Yeah, like I really want to give her a call.

So, this co-worker of mine, who knew that I do not talk to my sister... who knew there would be no way for my sister or her kids to know that my Grandfather passed away took it upon herself to go up to my 17-year old niece and say "I'm sorry to hear about your Grandfather!"

Are you kidding me??????

I'm not sure what this act of self-importance, or her motive was all about, but I really DO NOT appreciate it and will most definitely address it tomorrow at work.

Don't get me wrong - I don't mind that they know. What I DO mind is that instead of this person telling my sister, she went and told one of the kids who, of course was confused, and then had to go tell my sister who is a MAJOR drama queen. If she needed to run her mouth it should have at least been adult to adult. How dare she tell a kid that sort of thing knowing the kid knew nothing about it.

I'm SO TIRED of people running their mouths and not minding their own business. I told my sister that I even get tired of mutual "friends" reading my blog and reporting to her what goes on in my daily life (Yes! I get reports!)

People - just mind your own business, get a life and shut the hell up!

Whew! Now that I have that off my chest I feel better. Off to bed!
(I"m sure I'll hear about this blog somewhere through the grapevine!)

Painting Palettes

Last night Robin's co-workers took her bowling but I opted to stay home for many reasons. Yesterday was the first day I had to myself since Grandpa's funeral and the horrible trip to St. Louis and I was just enjoying the quiet. I was not in the mood to be social in the least. I wanted Robin to have a good time and not worry about me and I knew that If I were there that wouldn't be that case. Also, being on this awful low-iodine diet means that I can't eat out at any restaurants so that might have also created a problem. I really didn't want to sit there and watch people eat and drink while I sipped water. I missed her and felt bad for not going, but really felt it was for the benefit of everyone if I didn't go.

I spent my time doing something I've been meaning to do for a while. I haven't done anything with my Mother's things in a LONG time so this weekend I decided to photograph and inventory her painting palette collection.

I had everything in boxes, but unfortunately they were all in different places. Some were in the old art room, some were in the garage, some were in the spare bedroom... ugh. I really should have been more organized when putting them up. I know that I'm missing some stuff... I just need to locate everything!

After pulling out the several boxes of figurines and other collectibles I started the photographing process... all while Jake (my cat) supervised!

You would think that I was bothering him, or something!

The process took HOURS! Last night I did all the figurines and other collectibles and today I did all the jewelry. I remember buying my Mom a lot of these things, but dang! The woman was out of control with the painting palette collectibles!!

Now I need to figure out what to do with them! I was thinking of contacting her old painting group to see if they are interested in any of them. Maybe I'll inventory and photograph the rest of her painting supplies as well. I am so ready to purge this house and unfortunately it's not like any other person letting go of their parent's possessions. My Mom literally did any kind of craft that a person can think of and when she decided to "get into" something, she went all out!

During the photographing process I came across something which made me laugh. Whenever my Mom was painting she would sit in her art room and do her thing while Dad hung out in the living room watching football, Star Trek or whatever John Wayne movie happened to be on that day. One day I guess Dad got bored so he went to my Mom and told her that he wanted to paint, also. From what Mom told me later she said she looked at him and said "Are you nuts?" (or something to that effect) and he insisted. She let him pick his medium and materials and set him up and let him go to town.

This is the outcome of the only art session my Dad was involved with:

It's a good thing Dad stuck with his day job and let Mom be the artist of the family!

Dad was so proud of this that he actually brought it out into the living room and put it on the TV stand. My Mom walked out into the living room and did a double take and gave him a hard time and said it definitely was not being displayed there for long! After Dad died she had it sitting right in the middle of her painting palette collection until the day she passed away.

The pup is a little dusty right now, but I think I'll clean him up a bit and give him a new home on our bookshelf.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Photos From The Road

I'm sure my Facebook friends get tired of me posting my Blackberry photos that I take from the road, but sometimes you've just got to share!

If you travel I-26 in South Carolina do yourself a favor and take exit 22 in Spartanburg and go to the Abbott Farms store! Hot boiled peanuts, jams, jellies, cider, preserves, fresh peaches, watermelons, scuppernong grapes, peach bread - we love it! Robin always insists on getting the Cajun boiled peanuts, which stink up the whole car while I usually opt for the scuppernongs. They have peach ice cream which we have always been curious about but since we are usually on the road it seems that it would be impractical to purchase.

So worth the stop!!

I used to live across the street from Bobby's Frozen Custard in Maryville, Illinois. That was NOT a good thing! Although I love their concrete's I'm glad it's almost a day's drive away! It's WAY too tempting! This time while we were in town I had the strawberry cheesecake concrete and Robin had an Oreo/Reese's milkshake.

From my photos you would think that all we did was eat during our trip... well, besides family business that's all we really had time for. One evening we traveled over to St. Louis and went to The Cheesecake Factory. Unfortunately the closest one to us in Charleston is three hours away so whenever we are in a city that has one we have to make a stop!

I had the pineapple upside down cheesecake.

Did this person above not see that I was taking a photo??

The person sitting at the next table took their shoes off! Gross!
Who does that at a restaurant??

My cousin Denise enjoying her cocktail

Another place we enjoy while visiting family is Lotawata Creek Southern Grill. I think I blogged about them in July when we last visited. They have fantastic food and they give you so much that you can never finish a meal! I still debate on how "Southern" their food is, but regardless, it's tasty!

I had "Aunt Rosa's Meatball Sub"

Robin had the Prime Rib Torpedo
... and neither of us finished our lunch!

On the way home we saw a whole truck devoted to Michael Jordan cologne. I'm not really sure what to say about this... I'm still confused about who is buying this product and why we need a truckload of it!

The leaves are turning colors in Tennessee and it's still 90+ degrees in Charleston!

And I STILL have no idea what these things are that we found in the Bi-Lo produce department in Hendersonville, NC!

When we got home from our trip I caught up on my emails and had one very happy one. One of my favorite bands, The Dresden Dolls, are reuniting for a very small Fall tour. The closest they are coming to Charleston is Atlanta... worthwhile bands rarely come to Charleston! I am so happy to be seeing them again! A couple of years ago when The Dresden Dolls split to do their solo projects, rumor had it that they split for good which made the announcement of this tour even more exciting! I got our tickets this morning and can't wait for November 13th!

Next Saturday is Lady Gaga so we will be heading to Charlotte, NC and I think the next concert after that is Sugarland in Savannah, GA in October - Robin and I haven't had a very exciting Summer considering the only trips we took were sad ones and 7 weeks out of the Summer we were very sick.

I think we are very much in need a fun-filled weekend away to renew our spirit and take our mind off things for a bit!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Look Homeward, Angel

"There are a lot of bad days. There are a lot of good ones.
You'll forget. There are a lot of days. Let it go."

-Thomas Wolfe (Look Homeward, Angel)

I had a good sleep Monday night, which I greatly needed. On the drive home from Cookeville we took our time and most of the drive was in silence (mind you, not angry silence!) - except for that annoying sound from Robin's convertible top that I can't seem to figure out! I did a lot of thinking on the way and came to the realization that I have no regrets about the drama that happened in Illinois. I have decided that I'm not going to go into what else happened, out of complete respect for my Uncle. I do, however, stand behind my feelings and the things I said and am 100% percent sure about the things that were NOT said. Like I said before, it is what it is and there are no take-back's.

I think all the recent traffic on my blog from my Dad's hometown is pretty interesting! I guess people are lurking and waiting for something exciting to happen. I suppose people don't know that I can see, behind the scenes, all the personal ISP addresses that visit my blog. Do they not know that I can follow every move and click that people make? I can see who visits, what page they land on, what pages they visit and how long their stay is. Isn't the internet a wonderful thing?

So, back to the drive home... It was good, uneventful and lovely. The weather in Tennessee and North Carolina was gorgeous. We actually got a little sunburn from riding with the top down. I knew the weather in Charleston was still hot and humid so I tried to enjoy the cool weather as much as I could! By the time we arrived in Hendersonville, NC the sun was starting to set and Robin decided she wanted an apple from an actual orchard. It was around 4pm so we knew that most of the orchards would be closing, also the NC Apple Festival was this past weekend so who knew if there were even any apples left!

When we first arrived in Hendersonville I told Robin I wanted to stop by Oakland Cemetery to take some photos of the statue that inspired one of my favorite books "Look Homeward, Angel" by Thomas Wolfe. I visited there years before on a trip with my Mother but the camera I had back then was awful. I really wanted another chance to shoot some pics, especially since this was my favorite time of day... just before sunset when everything is golden. While I took photos (and was attacked by cemetery mosquitoes) Robin called around to see if any apple orchards were open.

Isn't she beautiful?

After I couldn't take any more bug bites I went back to the car and we were off to look for apples. We drove up Chimney Rock Road to an orchard just to find out that they were closed for the day. Oh well. It was getting late so we decided to stop at the grocery store for a snack and it looked like all the apples were actually shipped in! Why would they do that when there are orchards all over Hendersonville?? Weird!

We also saw these:

and I'm still trying to figure out what they are!

I think my favorite thing on our trip home was this guy:

First he had a stuffed chicken, then he had a stuffed squirrel! On our way back down the road we crept along and timed it so we would be stopped at the red light so I could take his picture! I think we made a new friend in Hendersonville! Hmmm... I bet he knew what those things are at the grocery store. I should have asked him!!

Back to work and reality for me tomorrow and to be honest, I'm actually looking forward to it. I told Robin yesterday that we should move to Hendersonville where she can work at the hospital. We'll live in a double-wide and I can harvest some apples and make fresh apple fritters for her and our fur-children every day. It would be nice to just get away from it all for once.

I guess the moral of this past week is that we are responsible for our own happiness. If you depend on others you will most likely be disappointed. And by the way, I may not have a lot of family left, but I'm far from lonely. Have you met my girlfriend? My many devoted and loyal friends? My dogs and cat?

It may not be the perfect life, and it may not be like yours, and I may not believe in the things that you believe in... but it's my life and I think I'm pretty fantastic.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Going Home

I slept horribly last night. I should have taken an Ambien but I wanted to make sure I woke up in time to get ready, so I didn't.

With a houseful of people it's kind of hard to make sure you get in the shower before someone else beats you to it. Denise and I already planned out that she would get in the shower first and then she would do her makeup while I was in the shower, then I would do my makeup. Her brother was also staying there, also and she informed him of our plan prior to this morning but, not surprisingly, he totally ignored our request and selfishly spent quality alone time in the bathroom after Denise showered while I waited. Unfortunately this forced me rush to get ready instead of being able to relax and have a smooth and stress-free morning.

The rest of the day wasn't an improvement. I would go into it, but I'm feeling pretty censored these days. It's my blog. I know that I shouldn't feel that way and I actually thought a lot today about moving my blog to a private URL since I've gotten backlash left and right for things I have written. I don't know... When I used to blog on MySpace I could pick and choose who I wanted to read my posts, but I know that Blogger is an open forum. I wonder if there is another site where I can keep certain posts private. Isn't it awful that I have to even consider that?

Anyway, after the funeral I was mentally exhausted and wanted nothing more than to leave Collinsville. I told Robin that I didn't care where we went or if we went home right away, but I just had to leave. So leave we did. We went back to the house and threw our stuff into a suitcase and were gone within the hour. Our original plan was to try to stay through Tuesday so we could go to the Zoo... we just wanted to do something fun to take our mind off of all the craziness that was happening in our lives. Instead, we hit the highway and I am so glad we did.

I told Robin that we should stay the night somewhere so we don't kill ourselves trying to get home. Plus, we told our dog sitter that we would be home Tuesday evening. I thought it would be kind of rude to barge in on her in the wee hours of the morning or give her last minutes notice that we were coming home!

All I wanted to do was get a hotel, get some dinner and take a pill and sleeeeeeeeeep long and hard... to forget, for just a few hours, about all the sadness and drama that follows me.

So, here we are in Cookeville, Tennessee at some hotel that we really can't afford - and believe me, it's no luxury accommodation! BUT, our bellies are full and it's time for bed. I just need to turn off my mind and attempt to not think. This is something I hope to do for the next few days... until I have to return to work on Thursday, at least.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

The Viewing

My paternal Grandfather passed away on Thursday evening.

That afternoon I talked to my Aunt and she told me that Grandpa's breathing was more shallow and infrequent than the day before so we knew it wouldn't be long. How many times has our family been in this position? Having a loved one on deaths door and us just sitting by the phone, watching the clock and waiting for that call. It's more than a person should witness in their young life, I'm afraid.

A co-worker gave me tickets to the Charleston Riverdogs ball game for Thursday night that she won through a drawing at work. When I got home I was emotionally exhausted and Robin and I decided at the last minute to go to the game to keep our mind off things. It had really been a rough week dealing with the Grandpa situation and coming to terms with losing him and on top of all of that, the geocaching bullshit that I was going through (which still has not ended!)

We drove downtown, parked and walked into the ball field to the drink stand. While Robin got us a Coke I happened to look down at my phone and saw a missed call from Uncle Chuck and Peggy. My heart just sank. I called them back and Peggy told me that he was gone. It was 7pm. Just like that. There I was with a bunch of people around me, standing next to a hot dog vendor and I just lost it. It took me a bit to maintain my composure. Robin asked if I wanted to leave and I said "for what? so we could just be sad at home while doing nothing?" I grabbed a bunch of napkins and we went to look for our seats.

While waiting for the game to start my mind was everywhere and it took everything I had to hold it together. Every now and then I would just become overwhelmed at the thought of Grandpa being gone and start crying. Thank God for sunglasses to hide my red, blotchy face!! We managed to stay and watch the whole game and to be honest, I can't even tell you who was playing or what the score was. My mind was a million miles away and I just knew that I didn't want to be at home.

The next day my Aunt sent me a message and told me that the wake was going to be on Sunday and the burial was going to be on Monday. Robin and I made quick travel plans and got on the road Saturday morning. We just made that trip in July to see Grandpa and it's a long and hard drive. I think it takes us about 16 hours one-way. My car needs so much work on it that we took the Miata again. By the time the we arrive our bodies are so cramped. Poor Robin takes the brunt of it since I have no clue how to drive a stick shift! As soon as we arrived in Illinois we went directly to bed!

The following day we spent shopping for clothes for Robin to wear. I honestly dislike shopping. If I never had to do it again I would be perfectly fine. I don't enjoy the wandering from store to store and I despise going to the mall. At one point we were at Burlington and I told Robin that stores should have an "adults only" shop time like they have an "adults only" swim time at the local pool. What's up with all these kids running amuck, screaming and crying? My parent's would have killed me if I acted like that! After a stop at Wal-Mart I was toast. I couldn't shop any more!

I told my Uncle and Aunt that I would call them after our errands so after checking in we decided to stop at their house. We ended up hanging out there a couple of hours talking about life and family. They told us about my Grandfather's passing, since they were there, and we talked about the funeral and viewing arrangements.

My Aunt said that they were going to make some photo boards of my Grandpa and the family and put them up at the viewing. I thought that was a cool idea. She said that my cousin was supposed to send her some photos but she had a hard time opening the files. I offered to help her, but she said she already sent them to my other cousin to open. I asked her if she wanted me to print some photos out because I had all of these really great photos from when my Grandfather was young and she told me no and that not to bother with it. I said okay...

Today when I was getting ready I started thinking about the photo boards that they were putting together. As far as I was aware I am the only one with any old photos because Grandpa gave them to me a long time ago. There are some other photos in my cousin's basement (that she has no idea where about they are!) but I knew that no one else really had any. I think I'm the only one that has an interest in family history so I am the one that highly values stuff like that (or that vocalizes it, anyway!) Also, I was curious about what photos they had of my family to put on the photo board. I don't really remember anyone taking any photos of us at any family gatherings while growing up.

After getting dressed we headed out to Herr Funeral Home in Collinsville. When we entered the room where the viewing was all three of us just froze. I felt sick and had no desire to go up to confront it all. After hesitating a couple of minutes we finally walked up to the viewing area. Now that I think about it, I have no idea what was running through my mind while standing in front of my Grandfather. I was numb and just felt defeated. All I knew was that I didn't want to be there anymore. We said a quick hello to Mil (Grandpa's wife) and started walking to the back of the chapel where we stayed for the remainder of the evening.

On the way back we passed the photo boards so we stopped to look at them. There were three big boards with about 30 photos on each one (if that). The first one I looked at was a lot of Mil's family. People I didn't even know. As my eyes moved to the right and onto the next board I saw familiar faces... my Aunt's, Uncle's, cousins and their children. There was a couple of my Dad with Grandpa and his brothers and only one of me and my sisters... it wasn't even noticeable. It was Easter - probably 1977 or so. We were at Grandma's and Grandpa's and me, Janine and Traci were sitting on the couch with Grandma and Grandpa... Denise and David were also in the picture. Other than that photo my family was non-existent on the photo boards. Really? I know we lived out of town, but we did come visit... I have always made an incredible effort to come to every family function if I was able to. W
ow. I must say that this completely devastated me and although it was possibly an "oversight" - it just spoke volumes. If the picture board was going to be done shouldn't the whole family be on it? I readily have HUNDREDS of family photos of ALL the families on my laptop that I could have easily printed...

For the rest of the evening I just wanted to be alone. I felt so lonely and isolated from this family that I had always felt so close to. Is this really what they thought of my family? Later on, before we left I double checked just to make sure I wasn't missing a photo somewhere. I looked at Robin and asked if I was being petty. Earlier in the evening I was talking to a cousin about it and they said they didn't think it was a big deal and I responded "just think if the roles were reversed... you walked in and saw all of these photos on this poster board, a lot of people that you don't even recognize (Mil's family) and then a bunch of photos of your cousins and their families and NOT ONE PHOTO of your own family... as if you were non-existent! My Father was Grandpa's middle son... I am his first-born grandchild"

I felt so sick that I just wanted to leave. When the viewing was drawing to a close I paid my respects to Grandpa one last time and hugged Mil, Uncle Chuck and Peggy and started to leave. Uncle Chuck knew that I was upset about something and asked what was wrong. I said "nothing". I really, really, really tried to just keep it in but when I hugged Peggy I had to say something about it and I immediately felt bad because they already have enough crap to deal with other than my hurt feelings.

It is what it is and it can't be taken back... not Grandpa's death, not the cancer devouring our family, not the omission of my family... nothing. What I once knew is no longer and it's time to change the direction of my path... whatever that may be, and wherever it may lead me.