Awake in the night….


As I have gotten older, sleep has become so elusive. I recall being able to lay down and as my head hit the pillow, fall right to sleep. No longer. It has been happening for a number of years and I find it exhausting. Falling asleep mid-day? Absolutely no problem. I can nap like nobody’s business. Some days I just cannot continue doing what I am doing and I just sit and am out like a light. For about an hour. And then I am up and refreshed and ready to go all night long. I have tried melatonin and for the most part, it has greatly helped me to fall asleep. I found one that is time-released and that is perfect for me. But then, we got a puppy. It has only been in the past week or two she has let us sleep all night (she is now 4 months old) and so I may try that one again.

Last night I took my usual vitamins and my “Immunpro” (a product from Young Living with all sorts of immunity-boosting goodies in it) which has melatonin. I take two and that is about 6mg, which in melatonin world, is mild. But it gets me into a deep sleep. I am one of those people with a fussy tummy when it comes to vitamins, so I take all mine at night. I figure if my tummy gets upset, I will sleep through it. So far, so good. Well, last night was the night after our 2-year-old puppy was neutered. I think these “victorian collars” or “collars of shame” are horrible. But it does stop him from licking his wounds. About 3am he was up and wanting to go outside, which got the puppy up. ((sigh)) Another long puppy-parent night. My husband got up with them and was so good about getting everyone settled back in for the rest of the night.

Awake at night…

There I was, wide awake. I could hear the puppy snoring. Hubby was keeping time. The older pup trying to get comfy with that collar on him. And me. Staring at the ceiling fan, which I turn on because the dogs seem to settle better when it is running at night. And my brain just racing. I prayed and drifted off. And then – BAM – my dream woke me up. This was so weird because as I was dreaming, I heard me tell myself (weird) that I had no mother. And in my dream I was telling my mom all about my veggies and the puppy and our new wood stove project. And yet, I was standing behind myself, telling me my mom had died and I had no mom. I sat up suddenly, realizing my mom had died. She died at the end of May and here it is August, and I am waking up, missing my mom, and realizing she is truly gone. Grief is so weird and it pops up at the oddest times. And I realized I miss her. A lot. And with Alzheimer’s you start missing them as they progress and as they come to not recognize who you are, the pain increases. But I think on some level I still wanted her mothering; I wanted to share with her and I realized I cannot ever do that, again. It broke my heart all over again. And then I started thinking about my boys and my grand babies and how I will be gone from their lives in the not-so-distant-future, and it made me cry. And then I reached for my husband, to be sure he was still there, because leaving him will hurt the most.

For my husband.

And so this morning, I sort of dragged my raggedy behind out of bed. We slept in until just 15 minutes before my husband had an online meeting. We were rushed. Then he showered and was out the door, into the rain. It is dismal and dark and dripping and just yucky today. It is perfect for weepy me. Because as I am fully awake, I am missing my mom. I am angry that Alzheimer’s took her so many years ago and I feel gypped that I did not get more time with her. Yes, she was in her 90s, but we were never close. I’ve been married 37 years this year and these past 5 years are the most I’ve spent with my mom as an adult. And dang it, I wanted more time. And I keep thinking that I want my kids to know this pain of losing a parent, so that we can spend time together and make memories. But I also realize they are on their own trajectory to places and people and things that have nothing to do with me. It makes me yearn and hunger for it, but I know it is quite normal these days for young people to value their lives that are apart from their parents, and I guess I just need to adjust my expectations for more relationship with them. My love will never diminish, but I will learn to focus elsewhere.

Kolbe and Maggie

Our puppies are keeping us busy. Our new trailer has yet to be broken in, but I intend to do that before the snow gets here. Our garden is so much more than we expected and it keeps me busy. I can’t believe how exciting it is to see your first purple cauliflower bloom and to squeal in joy that your broccoli is flowering. I crack myself up, but I am loving being in the garden. A friend is challenging me to learn how to make my own tinctures and to possibly start a hydroponic garden in our dining room, as well as to grow our own mushrooms indoors ((not the magical kind – the medicinal and frying-for-a-steak kind)). There is still much to learn in life and I am open to it all. I am awaiting my fermenting equipment to arrive as I have over 40 cabbages to harvest and my husband desperately wants sauerkraut! I also ordered a book on fermenting vegetables, since I have no clue. Oh, and a crock to ferment them all in. So many firsts I wish I could share with my mom! She would never believe I could can salmon and vacuum seal my food. She would be absolutely stunned that I am gardening. LOL. But, life is what it is and we have to move on.

My focus is trying to be healthy in what I read, watch, listen to, who I invite into my circle, and what we eat. Eating as close to the ground and as local as I possibly can. Getting to bed at a good hour each night. No electronics in the bedroom (I do keep my phone there but it is dark while it charges). Trying to pray myself to sleep. And keeping a good vitamin/supplement regimen. I am hoping with all that implemented, I will be sleeping better and be more energized during my days. I gave up caffeine and sugar – I thought that would be instrumental. But there is so much more we can do for ourselves. Get right with those you love. Say “I love you” too often and too regularly that you’re becoming annoying. Call that friend you haven’t spoken to in ages. Take a stand for what is truth and what is right in the world. Stand your ground. Live your faith. Be a good person. And when you lay your head on your pillow, sigh and smile at the great day you had, and sleep soundly. That is the plan!

Happy Dreaming


You know how they made fun of the dog in that movie, “Up,” where he would get so distracted by the simplest things? He was “Dug the Dog.” Kind of a perfect name for a dog. Sometimes we are like Dug the Dog, we are working and moving along just fine and then – boom! – distraction! Squirrel!

Dug the Dog

Grief is just so weird. Because in my rational, scientific mind, I KNOW my mom is better off. I know she is no longer suffering. I know, that with Alzheimer’s, there really is no quality of life. She existed, yes; but mom was not really living. She had small joys and the home in which she lived was perfect for her. She was happy. But she also was not herself. She had lost herself inside the disease. Certainly not the woman who had borne and raised me. So I KNOW all this, and yet I still miss her deeply, knowing I can never get a mom hug again. She gave good hugs. And I also KNOW that life goes on. It totally does. Laundry needs to be washed, meals prepared, gardens planted, etc. Life moves fast, and if you don’t keep up, it passes you by.

Raised Beds

For my husband and myself, our world has been focused on creating raised beds in our yard, In getting our vegetable starts going indoors. Trying to be as independent as we can be. But homesteading, or making your yard into a sustainable food production process, is exhausting. Truly tiring. My husband was on a tractor for 3 days this weekend. I was repotting our starts into bigger pots. We had a central focus, and it was all we were thinking about. And then we realized we needed to make time to attend Church. Which we did.

The Mass was wonderful. We had a guest priest from Kenai. He was amazing. His homily about the Holy Trinity just hit me center-beam. And I fell apart. I could not stop crying. I kept thinking about my mom. It had been 1 week since she had died. And as I listened to the priest talk about the “indwelling of the Holy Spirit” I related to the Blessed Mother, Who carried the Trinity within Her. (Of course, as a mother, I related to Her pregnancy, not that my children are the Trinity. Far from it). But I thought about how it would have been to be that close to my mom. I was once inside of her, and she loved me deeply. Her disease took that relationship from me. And for that, I really hate Alzheimer’s. But my point is that simple words from a priest were “squirrel” for me. I was suddenly off into a world of grief. And all throughout Sunday, little squirrel moments kept happening. I would see something and think of my mom and cry. Sigh. Grief hits at the oddest times and it can be so very strong.

Seedlings under a grow light

There is something cathartic about helping plants grow from seeds to a meal on your plate. I laugh because my little plants get their greeting from me every morning and a goodnight every evening. It now takes about 45 minutes to water my starters. We have plans to move more of them out into our raised beds this evening. We have the blessing of daylight until rather late! Our sunrise was at 4:33 today and our sunset will be 11:23 this evening. It’s a long day and it will only get longer as summer wears on. Life is moving fast. My little seedlings went from seed to plant to having fruit on them in a matter of weeks. Harvest will be quite soon. The squirrel in that scenario would be a random storm or frost.

In my life, the squirrel, or off-setting moment, was mom’s death. I walk around all day and I am just fine. I hold something of hers and I just cry. It’s been only two weeks, and it seems like forever. This morning, I threw away some flowers that had been sent to me in recognition/sympathy for mom’s passing. I spent a few minutes washing the container, just crying at how quickly it passed. The time since she has been gone. Life moves so fast. I am getting all this Medicare stuff in the mail because of my upcoming birthday, and it is a reminder to me that I am not guaranteed my next breath. Life is gaining speed. My seedlings are ready to go out into the big world and live their little lifetimes in our raised beds. Mom was 91 years old and her Alzheimer’s too advanced for us to bring her over here. Once she moved out, she was never back here. I wish she could have seen my first, little Tom-Tom tomato. She would have liked that.

Micro Tom Tom