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4 years (give or take)

Long time readers of this blog will remember that this used to be a place where I would come to talk about big and challenging things that were happening in my life, or big and challenging things that had happened in my past.

And then I changed things up a bit, deleted some old posts due to some changes in life circumstances, hoping that they would no longer be relevant.

And then I stopped blogging altogether for a while, although I still considered myself a blogger.

Fair warning: This post is going to be a bit heavier than the sort of stuff I’ve written about for a while, but I’m hoping to keep it to a fairly short summary of my last 4 years (give or take).

4 years and 2 months ago in November the US election happened, and, although I am a fairly privileged white woman, I was terrified.

4 years and 1 month ago, 2 days after Christmas, my parents house burned down. An electric blanket that my Dad was asleep under caught on fire. My Dad was lucky to escape with only minor injuries.

4 years ago when the fire happened I still lived across the country from my parents. I spent all my time afterwards organizing things online to get them the help they needed, including creating a fundraiser.

4 years ago at the end of April my mother was finally given permission to let me know that my sister not only was pregnant, but had actually had the baby about 4 months earlier on Christmas day, 2 days before the fire. I had not been in contact with my sister for several years because she is abusive, but during the time that she was pregnant I had been trying to reestablish contact and give her another chance. I did not know that she was pregnant when I was reaching out to her. She never responded to my attempts to contact her. She could have told me she was pregnant, but instead I was the last person in our family to find out when my niece was already 4 months old.

4 years ago at the end of April I tentatively reestablish contact with my sister.

4 years ago in May my Grandfather suffered a major heart attack, had quadruple bypass surgery and was fitted with a pacemaker. He was then readmitted to the hospital later in the month because of an infection and has been in and out of the hospital over the last few years because his heart condition causes him breathing issues.

4 years ago in July my parents and my brother were able to move into their rebuilt house.

4 years ago in July my husband, Curtis, found out that the project that he’d been working with for almost 10 years was going to be moving to a different company and everyone would be losing their jobs by October. We had a choice for him to try to find another job within the company or take the severance package and try to find another job in Utah or move back to Connecticut. We ultimately decide to try to stay with the same company.

4 years ago in September Curtis started a work from home position within the same company.

4 years ago shortly before Christmas Curtis finds out that his new position is going away. This time there won’t even be a severance package. We have no choice but to move across the country to live with family. We set up a fundraiser to help us do that.

3 years ago in January we leave Utah and drive a U-Haul truck filled with all our belongings across the country to Connecticut. Along the way we spend one night with my sister and we meet her child for the first time.

3 years ago in January, 2 days after meeting my sister’s child for the first time we are driving through a blizzard in Ohio when I get a text from my sister. She informs me that she will be moving into the room at my parent’s house that was promised to us and tells us that we need to find somewhere else to stay. She is only supposed to stay a month.

3 years ago in January we arrive at my parent’s rebuilt house. We stay a week before having to move in with my in-law’s in a different part of the state.

3 years ago in February we realize that my sister is refusing to leave. We cannot stay long-term with my in-law’s because they rent an apartment. We move in with my Grandparent’s next door to my parents.

3 years ago in March Curtis finally found a job in Connecticut. He is working second shift.

3 years ago in June my sister finally moves out of my parents house. She had been abusive to everyone the entire time she was there. She moved in in January, was supposed to be gone by February but stayed for 6 months even though my parents wanted her to leave. She had a house that she could have moved back to at anytime while Curtis and I were homeless and staying with family who never planned on having us living with them.

3 years ago in June Curtis and I are finally able to move into the room that we were supposed to be living in since our move from Utah. My sister throws a fit when she finds out that we moved in.

2 years ago in February my Grandmother on my Mom’s side dies. She had been sick for a while and eventually slipped into a coma. My family had to make the decision to let her go because it’s what she would have wanted. My sister was around constantly and was abusive towards my mother who was losing her mother. I was unable to truly grieve of be a part of my grandmother’s funeral as I might have wanted to be because all my time was spent trying to deal with the trauma of my abusive sister making everything about her. I was overwhelmed.

2 years ago in February and March my sister finally leaves again and I help my Mom and Aunt clean out my Grandmother’s apartment.

2 years ago in April Curtis starts a new job. We go from going to bed at 5:30am to getting up at 5:30am.

2 years ago in September I self diagnosed myself as being autistic. My brother, who was living in the room right next to ours, had finally gotten his autism diagnosis in his mid 20s. He and I are polar opposites, he needs constant noise and is loud where I need quiet and am quiet myself, but when I realized that autism presents differently in everyone, everything finally made sense. I finally understood why living in such a loud house since we were able to move in was so traumatic for me, among other things.

1 year ago in January I finally start to get help for my extreme anxiety. I go on medication. I go through a few different people before finding the right fit. (Mainly someone who actually believes autism is a thing…) I am unable to continue talk therapy because it is too expensive, I am only able to continue to see the person who prescribes my meds.

1 year ago at the end of January my mother slips into a deep depression when the grief of losing her mother catches up with her. I am left to pick up the slack around the house. She seeks help, gets back on medications (this isn’t her first bout with depression) and is finally starting to feel like herself again when…

10 months ago in March the Pandemic hits. Life changes for everyone. My mom must wait longer before returning to work.

4 months ago in September my husband and I magically buy ourselves a condo during the middle of a pandemic. We become first time homeowners.

4 months ago in September I am no longer living at my parents house and can now officially cut my narcissistic abusive sister out of my life again.

2 months ago the election happens. There is much stress until the election is finally called.

1 month ago around Christmas my body and brain decide that now that we have our own place again I can start to process all the trauma of the last 4 years, starting with the house fire. I have been living in trauma for the last 4 years nonstop.

Just a couple of weeks ago there was domestic terrorism in Washington DC and I seriously began to doubt my brain’s sense of timing.

So, that is an abbreviated (believe it or not) rundown of all the serious things that happened over the last 4 years (give or take) and all of the trauma that I am trying to work through now.

I felt that you all deserved to know what was happening while I had disappeared from my blog. Hopefully my next #PepperDay🌶 post will be more lighthearted.

11 thoughts on “4 years (give or take)

  1. Hugs! My therapist recommended a post like this to me a couple years back and though it felt overwhelming at the time, it’s been such a reassurance. Every time I feel like I’m overreacting, I read it and remind myself that I’m just living through a weird and turbulent time, and doing the best I can. Which is to say, you’re doing the best you can. And I’m proud of you, and happy for you, and excited for your next cycle of life which will hopefully be filled with more Big Goods than Big Bads. ❤

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    1. I was talking to my husband about writing this post and how the *idea* of it seemed like a good idea at the time. I assumed that it would be a fairly quick post to write, because I was only doing a fairly bare bones summary. I really should be aware by now that I never have any real grasp on how long something will take and that 9 times out of 10, things are going to take way longer than I think they are going to… (At least now that I realize I have executive functioning issues my constant underestimating of how long something will take makes sense, even if it doesn’t make it any less frustrating.) I didn’t take into account all the research it was going to take to get the correct dates for any of these events, because everything just blurs together. Seriously though, if I say something happened the other day, I could be talking about yesterday or 15 years ago… time is weird. I also didn’t take into account how exhausting it was going to be on top of everything else that I already had to take care of today. I am glad that I wrote it though, because I’m realizing that there is so much more that could have gone in there, but I was *trying* to keep it brief. The timing of some of this stuff and how it overlapped surprised me and I understand much better why everything is so much for me right now. It’s been a ridiculous 4 years and I really hope that I’m on the beginning of an upswing now…
      Hugs right back at you! Thank you for letting me know that you understand exactly what this process was like. ❤

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  2. I don’t mind the serious nature of this post. You are not alone. I am so sorry for what you have gone through. It is difficult to cut out abusive family members. Survival trauma is awful. I too, have struggled over the last four years, mostly due to political stuff, and the pandemic. I am here if ever you would like to chat. Hugs

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  3. I think I held my breath as I read this post; it started like a countdown and the opening about it being heavier than some of your other posts made it have that ‘about to go down the first dip on the rollercoaster’ feel. You’ve certainly been carrying a lot. I applaud your memory of it all, as I have struggled of late, in some of my conversations with my counselor, about all that’s happened in the past few years and that chunks of it are missing from my typically over-detailed remembrances. I pray in looking back, you can tuck a lot of those happenings in a place where they won’t do you harm. Lots of hugs to you, dear one!

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    1. I will admit that I had to use Facebook to help me remember the correct timing for everything, as everything has been a blur lately. In some ways it felt like we just left Utah yesterday, but at the same time it felt like we spent an eternity living with family because I truly saw no path forward and had resigned myself to never living on my own again. So the relative swiftness of the purchase of this condo still has me spinning a bit. When you add the pandemic in there it feels even more surreal because we are now living in our own space, but we haven’t truly been able to start living our lives as we normally would again yet. In some ways, I’m not sure that we’ll ever truly go back to how things were before we left Utah. Too much has happened, both internally and globally. There are also chunks of time that are hazy for me with memories that emerge briefly before slipping back into the fog. So much anger and hurt… I think my body is trying to process it slowly so as not to overwhelm me. Sending love and hugs back to you!

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      1. Interesting point about whether things will go back to the way they were pre-pandemic and so on. I’d be sad if everything went back to the way it was, exactly, because it would mean there was no learning. I suspect the Earth would be quite sad and the Universe would weep …

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  4. You’ve been through a lot. I hope that things are moving away from the trauma for you now. It sounds like you’ve been able to put some of the stress and drama in your rear-view mirror.

    On an unrelated note: a Utah company that cut people loose in 2016? I wonder now if Curtis and I worked for the same company…

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    1. A lot of the immediate stress and drama is receding further and further into my rear-view mirror. I think it’s going to take a while to really work through all the trauma though because as I seem to move forward some on one thing something seems to pop up in its place.

      Well, technically it was a couple of different projects within his company that cut people loose. He worked for a call center called Convergys. The first project that he had worked for for nearly 10 years was Chrysler and the work from home project that only lasted a few months was Cabela’s.

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      1. Not the same company then; just a lot of coincidences.

        And as long as the immediate stress is leveling off and giving you a chance to move forward, this is good.

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