Sea, original default

It's a boy!

Doug is just a little heartbroken. He really had his heart set on a daughter. His first response was to say "We'll just have to try again as soon as possible. Get ready for Irish twins."

Sea, original default

20 Weeks

Tomorrow I go see my doctor for my 2nd trimester ultrasound. We'll find out if we have a Will or a Kitty. I finally feel pregnant, especially since I feel the baby move about every three days or so. The baby hates dubstep. A friend turned up the music loud and she (?) started "banging" like the grouchy neighbors downstairs.

Doug got me a coffee drink for tomorrow. Caffeine and sugar to make her active so we can get good pictures.

I hate to be THAT woman, but the baby is the only thing new or interesting in my life, since I was laid off from the Nature Center.

Well, I had a kidney stone two weekends ago. That was a while weekend vomiting and in agonizing back pain, worrying about whether the kid was getting enough calories since I wasn't keeping food down. A few hours in the emergency room on Sunday and an emergency trip to the Baby Doctors on Monday to check her out, and I passed the stone Monday morning. And didn't even notice, really. That was anti-climactic. Anyway, I lost four pounds, but she was fine.
Sea, original default

2013-2014 My Most Life Changing Year

My life is so completely different now, I almost feel like I should start this whole blog over, but I'll always be Rhapsody, I guess. So let me at least start this year over.

On a Monday July 22nd, the day after what would have been my father's 56th birthday, my sister gave birth (after several years of attempts to get pregnant and one miscarriage) to my adorable nephew. She is very distrustful of the technology in general (she doesn't even have a debit card) and the internet in particular, so I'll just call him The Monkey. It's what I call him anyway (family private joke).

That Friday I woke up with some back stiffness and soreness. It lasted most of a week, bad enough so that I couldn't really bend over. Then on my nephew's two week birthday I woke up in intense pain, unable to move. I laid in bed wondering how I would get up to go pee, much less make it to work. Doug (my husband, in case anyone forgot) had to pull me to a sitting position and it was the worst pain I have ever felt.

We went to the urgent care and got some pain pills, but because there had been no accident or trauma, they gave me muscle relaxers and told me to see my family doctor if it didn't go away.

The back pain did go away, in about ten days, just like they said. But by the middle of August I had a new problem, pain shooting down my left leg. Doug and I took a beautiful train ride through the Nantahala Gorge on a Saturday, and I spent the whole trip on the edge of my seat with my leg out, because that was how the pain was the least intense.

I went back to urgent care and told them about the new pain. They told me it was called sciatica, and probably had something to do with that back pain from July. They gave me some Tramadol. It didn't do much. Once I made the mistake of taking 2 (because the label told me I could) and I spent an entire day at work alternating between throwing up and passing out. Not falling asleep, but actually passing out.

For money reasons, it would be January before I could see my family doctor, but February before the call center where Doug and I work could let me off. In the meantime, I was cooking from a rolling chair Doug had moved into the kitchen, and I could only stand or walk for a few minutes at a time. Each time we went shopping, anywhere, I had to find one of the electric carts or wait in the car. The pain only got worse and worse as time went on. On my breaks at work, I would have to choose between getting a snack or using the bathroom because the building was too big to do both, each day I would leave in agony even though I spent the day sitting at a computer.

On days where I worked at the Nature Center, walking around, bending and picking up toys and books, or carrying things up and down stairs were horrible. If there was no one around, once I finished my chores, I would sit in the rocking chair and read all day. In November I was laid off. Mostly due to a new city council trying to lower taxes by cutting programs. I told my boss Jeremy that if it had to happen, this was as good a time as any. The plan was to re-hire me in March, but the money for that never materialized, and in fact more cuts have been made, and previously free services are now... not.

In December, I got sick, and for three days in a row I threw up at work. A friend called our First Responder over (a former nurse,) and she asked if I could be pregnant.

"No, I've been on birth control for nearly 10 years."

"Well, my mom was on the pill when she got pregnant with me."

Oh. Well. Hrm. I spent most of the day texting with my sister getting advice, and she basically re-taught me about fertile days and when the test is most accurate. I expected Doug would be at least a little upset, but surprisingly he, he was ok with it. "If you are, then it's a miracle from God, and it's supposed to happen."

I wasn't. But at the end of December, we decided we would be more than ok with it. After all, I knew that I was having back/leg trouble. I didn't know why or how bad it would become. What if this was permanent? We should probably get on with having kids if we're going to. I might not be able to lift or hold my children in a few years. I went off the birth control.

On February 5, I saw my gynecologist and told him we were planning for kids, and he basically gave me the same talk Anna did, except he stressed adding Folic acid to my diet. I told him I'd missed January, but he said it was normal because of going off the pills. Also, I wasn't regular before going on the pills, I probably wouldn't be regular afterward. On Friday, February 6, I started like I was supposed to, also, I saw my family doctor. He gave me an MRI.

On Monday morning his office called me. They were going to refer me to a surgeon, did I have a preference? I hung up the phone and cried. I'd seen the aftermath of my grandfather's back surgery, and my uncle Ikie's, and knew recovery could be long and hard. After talking with both of them, they still both recommended the same doctor they had though. My uncle even said that other doctors had seen his back and called the job "perfect."

I saw the surgeon that Friday. He tole me I had a herniated disc. Basically, think of your discs as jelly doughnuts between your vertebrae. This one had ruptured, and the pressure had shot jelly all over my sciatic nerve, and that was why I was in pain. He scheduled me for surgery Wednesday, to scrape the jelly out. I left the office with Doug and we were in awe of how quick this was happening. We barely had time to get the paperwork filed with work for our leave (because Doug would have to take care of me for the first week until I could bend and lift again.)

The doctor asked again about trauma or accidents, and I couldn't remember anything, not even a stretch that hurt. He said in that case, it was a genetic weakness of the discs. Looking back at the Hale side of the family, it made sense. Everyone has had back surgery, it seems.

The surgery was February 19th. I went in with extreme pain, and woke up in none. None. It was a miracle. I cried on the nurse who was walking me around. "Oh, honey, you're overly emotional, it's a side effect of the anesthesia." But it wasn't. I'm tearing up now because the change was so profound. I was back at work in 2 weeks. A few weeks later, we were visiting our friend in North Carolina again, and even he remarked on it. "Last time I could tell that every step was painful for you, and now you're running and jogging down these aisles."

Anyway, I missed my period the month of March, and didn't think anything of it. I was a little annoyed that I would have to wait another month to calculate my fertile days, but I was pain free! I'm only 32! We had all the time in the world! (Unless I had another faulty disc, which is still possible. Since it's genetic, I was, and am, a ticking time bomb.)

But by the end of March I noticed a few things about myself. Primarily that my boobs really hurt. For like a week. I googled it, and found that it was a sign of pregnancy. Surely not, Doug and I said. Just in case, the morning of April 2nd I took a pregnancy test, and it was positive.

Doug said "It's a good thing we didn't do this yesterday, no one would believe us." (We've been child free for so long, people still asked if it was an April Fool's joke.) We got it confirmed on April 9th. Initially I thought I must have gotten pregnant in March, but the gynecologist said no. My last period was Feb 6, so my ovulation day was... wait for it... February 19th.

The egg was fertilized on or about the time I was getting cut open.

Luckily, there's a month before implantation, so the baby wasn't exposed to all the percocets and muscle relaxers I took in those couple of weeks.

That puts my due date at November 13. Also, I am LITERALLY the only woman I know who decided to have a baby and got pregnant, just like that (as opposed to going "Oops, didn't mean for that to happen"). I felt guilty for a while, especially after watching so many women I know try for months, or even years. We expected it to take months or years. 30 days??? Seriously??? It's a good thing I was so religious about taking those pills!

I don't really look it yet, at only 14 weeks, but I am very pregnant. I had morning sickness for several weeks, pregnancy acne, sore boobs (still!), cravings and food aversions, I nearly throw up every time one of the cats does, and once or twice I've nearly burst into tears for silly reasons. We have an ultrasound on Thursday, and if the baby cooperates, we may be able to find out for sure if it's a girl or a boy. Most of our family has guess girl, except my mom wants another boy. Doug and I already call the baby "she."

We're arguing over the name. I want Lillian Katherine and to call her Lily, Doug was Katherine Lillian and to call her Kitty. He will probably win, honestly. But I'm holding out for a few more months. If it's a boy, he will be William Timothy after both his grandfathers, unless my brother in law decides he isn't ever going to find a woman and have kids and lets us have his name, in which case our son will be William Phillip Yezek V.

And that catches you up to most everything that's going on in my life.
Sea, original default

Well, I've Been Creating All Over The Place.

Quickly, before I go to my full time job, two BIG things.

My book is up on Amazon: Murder in the Mountains by Emily Monroe. 7 for print and 2 for Kindle. I drive around town Saturday deliviering review copies so that museum gift stores will carry it.

Second, I am having a baby. In November. I was apparently 8 weeks along before I noticed. I will know more after my first ultrasound, and I won't know gender until May.

I am literally so stunned I don't know what to do with myself. This surprised the heck out of us. Doug has turned into a mother hen, regulating my seatbelt wearing, what I eat or drink... It's really sweet, but annoying.

Also, since the Internet and I had our big breakup, I suck at web presence, huh?
Sea, original default

(no subject)

On Election Day this year, four out of five of our city council members were replaced. They all ran on a lower taxes platform, so in order to lower taxes, they are going to cut the city's budget. Every department got the ax somewhere. For Parks and Rec, this meant laying off all Seasonal Employees and employees with less than 20 hours a week. That meant me.

For my last day I showed up at the Nature Center to a surprise lunch with pizza, and tea, and doughnuts. Normally I'm alone on Sundays, but all of the guys came and for most of my shift we sat around and chatted and it was marvelous.

I will miss going to the Nature Center on Sundays, I will miss the critters. But I can still email Jeremy and Don and Larry and visit when I want. Everyone assures me that as soon as the business picks up in March they will be calling me back. That will be good, and I hope that's correct. But I can't help thinking I don't have that kind of luck.

It came at the best possible time. For the past few months I've been having severe back and leg pain. I was diagnosed with sciatica. Since there was no accident or trauma, I literally just woke up unable to move one morning, the doctor said it's genetic. It's made getting around and doing things somewhat difficult. I cook from an office chair in the kitchen. It takes me days to do one load of dishes because I can't stand at the sink for long periods.

I'm going to take this opportunity with only one job again to resume work on my book. I'm going to publish via Amazon. My preliminary research suggests this is the best route, (especially since the only publisher in this area never responded to me.) I hope to get everything taken care of by March, in case I do get called back to the Nature Center.

Since I will be responsible for my own marketing, I've gotta actually start blogging again, to keep up a web presence. But in the meantime I still have a full time job to go to. It's time to get dressed and leave the house.
  • Current Mood
    disappointed disappointed
Smoky Mountains


In October of 2011, I was working at the museum. We had been invited to go to Steele Creek for an event they have yearly called Wildlife Weekend. As this park is in Bristol instead of Gray, I immediately volunteered for the duty so that I didn't have to drive 45 minutes to work and back that day, only 15. Also, my grandmother used to take us out to play on the playgrounds when we were young, so I knew the place well, and was apparently the only one at the museum who knew where it was.

I was instructed in the activity they had requested: Fossil Casting. I cleared my afternoon so that Sarah could teach me how to mix up Plaster of Paris and water in correct amounts, how to slowly pour it into the fossil molds, and how to extract the cast without breaking it. It took about 30 minutes to dry in good warm weather.

I showed up on the day and was sent to the amphitheater, right beside the lake. As I unloaded bags and boxes of supplies, the "ranger" came up on this strange four wheeled vehicle to meet me. I was the only one who worked at the museum that he'd never met, I didn't know why until much later. Anyway, he asked me if I needed anything.

"Is there a water source nearby?" I asked, hoping he'd point me to a spigot or fountain.

"There's a fifty five acre lake right behind you." he said.

So I spent the morning trying not to fall in as I scooped up the water needed to make casts. Some of the casts had small leaves or stuff in them. Oh well.

Lunch was provided that day at a central location. As I sat down to eat, a guy down at the end of the table struck me as being familiar, so I struck up a conversation with him. "Excuse me, you look really familiar to me. Have we worked together before?"

He looked up, grinned really big, and said "You tell me, Little Monroe!"

It was Terry Napier, the man who'd given me that nickname when I was an Explorer, a junior cop, riding along with my dad. He was now my city's Director of Parks and Rec. We caught up and it was neat. I may have to tell the story sometime of how he went from cop to Parks and Rec because it's inadvertently hilarious.

In February I was laid off from the Gray Fossil Site. On the advice of my friend April, I started looking into work at several different parks nearby, and I had emailed the Nature Center Director at Steele Creek to see if there were any jobs open. Nothing permanent, but there was a summer camp position open. Since I was going to focus on teaching positions, and I qualified for unemployment and the minimum wage thing wasn't an issue, it seemed perfect to do summer camps again, like I had in college.

I went in for the interview, and found out my boss would be the Ranger from the Park, Jeremy. His boss's boss was Terry, my dad's friend. It wasn't much of an interview in the traditional sense of the word, it quickly fell into "Oh, and this one time at camp...." back and forth. Terry wandered in half way through with a wry grin and and a coffee cup and said "Oh, boy. A Monroe. Scraping the bottom of the barrel this time boys!"

I felt so at home.

Next week my dad died. I spent the next month cleaning everything up. I had made an appointment on Thursday to sign paperwork for his insurance policy with the city. That Tuesday I got a call that went like this:

"Are you the Emily Monroe that's coming in on Thursday to sing paperwork for your dad's life insurance?"


"Oh, good! Well, when you're done, step one desk over to my cubicle and sign your paperwork for the Nature Center Assistant position!"

I hung up the phone and laughed.

After things had settled down, I started work at the Nature Center. (Jeremy admitted that they actually delayed me starting, under the circumstances.) Steele Creek Park was, without a doubt, the best thing that happened to me in 2012.

Jeremy's title is Nature Center Director. We found out quickly that we had been at ETSU the same time, with the same teachers, but we couldn't remember if we'd had the exact same classes or not. He has a Master's Degree in Reptile Paleontology, which is why he knew everyone at the Fossil Site; he's the alligator expert.

Don also went to ETSU, a lifetime ago. Don has been a Naturalist so long, working in education and camps for several different agencies. Apparently, when Jeremy was a kid in camp Don was his counselor. Don swears he doesn't remember it though. His degree is somehow about plants, but his hobby is insects. He's the one who's responsible for our insect displays and the fact that we have a black widow in captivity. Ugh.

Larry is a retired mailman! In his retirement he became president of the Bristol Bird Club, and he's also studing moths and butterflys. He's a self taught expert on all that's airborne.

At the Nature Center I learned to feed and care for the critters we keep (mostly reptiles and amphibians; I tried to feed the black widow but she attempted escape and I told Don she was HIS problem now). My biggest challenge was sticking my hand in the cricket tank to get them into the jar so that I can feed them to things. You might recall I have a small cricket phobia. Don thought it was high comedy watching me work at it.

I learned to identify all sorts of birds and trees and flowers. Along with the kids I learned about weather, micro-climates, building fires, how to tell a venomous snake from a non venomous snake (in East Tennessee, it's not the shape of the head, it's the eyes!). I learned how to tell what kind of animal left that poop. I learned to recognize tracks and signs, and I learned about bird calls and animal behavior. I swear I learned more in six weeks than I ever thought I could. I thought I knew my mountain home. I knew it's history, it's geology, it's language and culture, I would've said "Sure, I know some plants and I know we have wildlife." My eyes have been opened to a whole other world filled with Fence Lizards and Five Lined Skinks, Goldenrod Galls, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Spotted Salamanders, 15 different species of turtles... I would never have guessed that there would be coyotes within our city limits. Who knew copperheads were so common? Or that trail side blackberries would taste so good.

I've kept learning. As the summer ended and it became clear I wasn't going to be a teacher again, I stayed on. Eventually the unemployment ran out and I had to get a job or starve, and OfficeMax was hiring. I told Jeremy I would love to stay on, even if it was just one day.

"Well, Don and I usually fight over who gets Sunday off."

So Sunday became my day. And what was supposed to be a temporary distract-myself-and-have fun job became a permanent position. Apparently I was too much of an asset to just let go, the bosses (Mike and Terry) agreed.
I work every Sunday, and a few Saturdays for special things (like Wildlife Weekend). I said once that I'd do it for free and Jeremy joked not to let Mike or Terry hear that!

Doug teases me because I'm there on about half of my days off anyway now, hanging out with my new friends, learning more about the natural world, hiking a little bit. One day I went to take a short walk on the far side of the park I don't get to visit much. We have over 2000 acres and 25 miles of hiking trails. In fact, if you go through my "Hiking" tags, most of them were in this park. But now I am much more observant, now instead of seeing forest, I see tulip poplars and spring beauty's and Christmas ferns. Now I see woodpecker holes and bear tracks.

Wait. Really? I snapped a picture with my phone and drove around the park to see the guys. Jeremy literally shoved a bucket, a tub of plaster of Paris and a spoon in my arms and said "Go make casts! We have eyewitness sightings in that area, but we don't have physical evidence yet! And I KNOW you know how to do this!" So I clocked in and went back out, and made casts of the bear tracks.

Ultimately they didn't turn out too well. The soil wasn't a good matrix, too gravelly, stick-y and leafy. But there I was in the forest, waiting for bear tracks to dry, nervously watching the sun dip behind the mountain, thinking about my fate.

If I hadn't have quit Sprint, I wouldn't have been laid off at Virginia High. I wouldn't have been able to take the job at the museum , where I learned to make casts. And if I never worked there, I would never have met Jeremy and Terry at wild life weekend, and I wouldn't have asked about the job and been hired by the city, and I would never have learned to really SEE the world around me. And even if I had been out in the woods on this particular day, I would've walked right by, and maybe even stepped on and obliterated the bear prints.

"So," my thoughts went, "if I get eaten by a bear tonight, it's going to have been my own damn fault for leaving Sprint."

Anyway, I wasn't able to help with camp this year. Even if Officemax would give me the time off, it's still just a minimum wage job. The new girl is good though. I learned to deal with the crickets, even if I don't exactly enjoy it, but she refuses to hold the education snakes, which I love to do. Between the two of us we make a competent employee!

What made my day though, was to see her job title. I've been the Nature Center Assistant since June of 2012, it's what they've always called the camp helper. But I'm still the Nature Center Assistant. She's the Camp Assistant. That made me incredibly happy.
Sea, original default

(no subject)

February: I'm laid off from my dream job, for the second time in 12 months.
March: my sister who has been trying for children for four years loses her first pregnancy only four days after it is confirmed.
April: my father dies suddenly of a massive heart attack.
May: I settle my fathers estate by telling everyone to whom he owes money that there is none, because it's true. We use the insurance money to pay for his funeral.
June: I'm not offered any teaching jobs (or any jobs for that matter) that I interview for.
July: my mothers nine year old cat Ezzy passes away from liver tumors.

Someone just shoot me now before this year gets any worse.
  • Current Mood
    numb numb
Sea, original default

Lifetime of Service

My dad graduated high school in Pennsylvania. He started a semester of college, but before he could finish, my grandfather retired from the Navy, and the family decided to move home. Having nothing he couldn't live without in Pennsylvania, dad shrugged and moved back to Tennessee with his parents and his brother. They moved in a nice house in a new neighborhood. Six months later, a family moved in across the street, the Hales. My mom's dad met my dad's dad when mom's dad accidentally started a fire in some fallen leaves. The two were fast friends after that.

Dad and Uncle Mark promptly started volunteering at the Life Saving Crew, our home town Ambulance Service. Uncle Mark lost interest after a while, but Dad stuck with it. There was a semi-hilarious news article that my grandmother saved from that time. For whatever reason, there was a half a page of coverage of a car accident. The picture accompanying the article was of my dad and uncle giving CPR (and whatever else they were doing) to one of the victims. The caption called it "The Monroe Act."

(We put that picture up at the funeral. About 75% of the old-timers that mentioned it said something along the lines of "Oh, wow. That guy never had a prayer. How quick did they kill him?" God, how I love Cop/Firefighter humor.)

When I was born, Mom was the bread winner. She had a really nice job doing something I'm not sure I understand to this day. She was a histologist at a lab here in town. I understand she hated it, but it paid well. In the meantime, Dad was working on his EMT certificate, and was Mr. Mom. Each day he'd get me up, feed me, bathe me, play with me, put me down for naps, the whole nine yards. The only thing he couldn't do for me was comb my already copious hair. Each day at mom's lunch hour, we'd drive out to The Lab for mom to comb my hair.

Most importantly, he'd read to me. Back then, he wasn't aware of any studies that said reading out loud to small children (reading anything!) would make them smarter, or learn easier. He was just studying. He was reading me his EMT school books.

When I was starting school, he'd transitioned from Volunteer paramedic into being a full time fire fighter. Mom was staying home with me and Anna. When I was going into 5th grade, dad transitioned into a PTO position. This was a short-lived program that cross-trained Firefighters and Police Officers to do each others jobs. It came with a SIGNIFICANT raise in pay, and incidentally, being a police officer had been what my dad had started to go to school for in PA.

At 27 and 1/2 years, Dad retired. He went back to school and got a nursing degree. He spent the last six or seven years as a nurse in a dermatologists office. He said it was the best job he'd ever had: Nights, weekends, and holidays off. Every one of them.

Tomorrow, my sisters and I will be attending a memorial service at the Crew. They are honoring my father with a posthumous permanent spot, essentially a picture in the conference room. Many of my dad's best and longest friends are already up there. Whatever else his faults, he had a life of service, always trying to make the world a little better.

That's my dad. Saving lives, fighting fires, getting the bad guys off the streets, and finally, checking out that rash. Here. Have some Cortizone.

I miss you dad.
Sea, original default

(no subject)

Dads apartment is now empty, his worldly belongings stashed in my mothers basement for an estate sale toward the end of the month. As we moved it all in, we laughed at the irony, most of this stuff was moved out of that basement during the divorce.

I lost my dad, but gained a good friend in his girlfriend Rebecca. My uncle Mark and I have had more deep conversations than ever in the past. My mom was able to help us with boxes, in the past few months her anger and hurt had receded, and she was getting ready to invite him out to lunch just to try to repair and regain whatever relationship they could have.

It's a process, and I'm taking it day by day.
Sea, original default

My father.

My father died this morning, a heart attack. My uncle called me at 6:39 with the news.

I'm still reeling, really. I'm the one he nominated to be in charge, years ago, but he didn't leave me much to work with. As far as we know, there is no life insurance policy, but we can bury him with what's left over of his pension. It should be plenty. Honestly, all I want is enough to cremate him in accordance with his wishes, give him a good send off, and maybe have some extra for the road trip we always said we'd take: the three sisters and the urn and the scattering of our father across America.

I'm angry. I'm angry that I have to go through and decide what happens to his shit. I have to find homes for his cats, discard his trash, clean up his messes, decipher his finances, and clean out his apartment. I'm hoping he managed to pay for May, otherwise I have ten days to do all of it.

I'm not angry because I'm doing it alone, far from it. My sisters, my mom, uncle, husband, grandparents are all helping. I'm angry that I have to do it at all. Goddammit, he was only 54. You don't die at 54, you die at 70 or 80. But, it wasn't his fault and he didn't choose this.

Caitlyn was the closest to him in the recent years, and she's taken it the hardest. On the other hand, I'm only fine as long as I'm moving. Hence the LJ post when I would rather be asleep. But I'm afraid I'm going to have to wear myself out first. Anna is trying to keep thinking of him playing with his granddaughter. In her mind, now they have each other.

My grandmother may never be the same again. She's so frail anyway. She just kept asking "why?" over and over again. She told my mother "A parent should never have to bury their child," and Anna wailed and flew into her arms, the first real bonding moment Anna had ever had with our grandmother.

Mom and Uncle Mark had a moment today, too. Uncle Mark hugged her and said "I understand." Because Aunt Belinda died after the divorce, it didn't mean he loved her any less, or that the pain wasn't as bad.

I should be asleep. But going still means I have to face it. I know I have to face it eventually, but I don't want to right now. I'm not sure why. I know it's permanent. I know I'll never have my father back. But is it too much to ask that I can find a way to forget for long enough to get some rest?

My dad taught me how to shoot, he taught me to love history, he taught me to think for myself, and to think defensively. Most of the time he was more of a fun big brother than a dad, but that's just because that's who he was. He wasn't really the family man type. He's always been an old solider.

The Facebook comments were heartbreaking. Nurses, cops, friends of the family all chiming in on her FB page before we even knew they knew. Word gets around fast, especially since there was an EMT on the ambulance who knew who dad was, and immediately sent word around the police and fire stations.

This funeral is going to be huge. Oddly, part of me is excited about it, excited about seeing old friends again. Part of me wants to be anywhere but there.

I want to do nothing at all tomorrow and put off the paperwork and death certificates and house cleaning for a day, but even if I were to do so, I'd drive myself crazy sitting at home and bawling all day. I want to get it over with and try to move on, so that my life isn't about my dad's death anymore.

God I miss him.