Saturday, August 20, 2011


When my mom called early this morning, I knew something was wrong. I answered the phone and she told me that Ned had died. It took a couple of seconds for my half asleep brain to process then I asked if we are supposed to do something. Ned was my mom's second husband and neither of us had seen him in over 10 years. Neither of us knew the etiquette for this situation?

The summer before my freshman year of high school, while visiting my dad in California, I met the woman who would later become my step-mother. Upon returning to Maine, I met the man who would later become step-father #1. I was also told that we were moving in with him and his son. Between all that and the depression that was already starting to take root, it was not a good time of my life. I eventually ended up living with my grandmother but I would visit my mom, Ned and "Cody" on the weekends. Ned and I developed a sort of friendship and Cody really felt like my younger pest of a brother. While certainly not perfect, we seemed to function well as a weekend family.

Of course things changed, divorce happened and I never saw or talked to Ned again. I also lost touch with Cody after he graduated from college. Mom married step-father #2 and life went on. I knew this day would come, and actually thought it would be sooner as he smoked like a chimney, but didn't know how I would react or what I would do. Since hearing the news I've left my condolences for Cody on an online guestbook and shared a bit with all of you. I think I'm good, I've done what I need to do. Rest in peace.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Story Begins

In the back of my mind I always knew that, one day, I would return to Maine to take care of my aging grandmother. At the same time, I hoped that somehow that day would never arrive. It has nothing to do with my grandmother; I love her very much and owe her a lot. But, for me, Maine will always represent the darkest days of my life, when my depression first began and thoughts of suicide were a daily, if not hourly, occurrence. I know it’s not rational to blame an entire state for my out of whack brain chemistry, but since when is mental illness rational?

So, here I am, 5 months into my “temporary” relocation faced with the reality that it is not so temporary. I start a job in a couple of days and have started a mental list of the things I need sent from California in order to endure the cold, snowy, Maine winter that is approaching faster than I care to think about. Family friends ask me every day if I am staying “for good”, and I am slowly replacing my usual reply of “indefinitely” with a resigned “yes”. I am here to stay as long as my grandmother needs me and, since she isn’t getting any younger, she is probably going to need me for the rest of her life.

And so begins my new life; the life of a native Mainer, who calls California home, yet has returned to her native land, despite her fears, to do right by her grandmother. Sounds like the synopsis of a Hallmark movie, doesn't it? Let's hope that it takes fewer tears to reach the happy ending.