Nan’s Remembrance Day: 10 Years Later

I remember Friday, 25 January 2013 like it was yesterday. I had stayed with Nan for her final few days; it was getting harder for her to breathe, she was on full oxygen. Hospice came with Ativan to help with the anxiety that is felt closer to death. I probably could have used that Ativan too. It felt so weird sleeping in Nan’s bed without Nan by my side. I didn’t sleep well, I kept going downstairs and checking on her. I would often hug her and lay by her side for a bit. I was so afraid of finding her dead. Yet, I couldn’t abandon her; she cared for me my entire 23.5 years of life at that time and I wanted to take care of her in her final days.

It was evident that she was going to pass on the 25th. She was holding on because of me; hospice recommended that I say my goodbyes and spend time with friends, my parents agreed. I spent time with Christine and I felt so blah throughout the day. I remember crying as I said my goodbye to Nan. I walked outside, to her red porch, snow falling down, dad behind me. He was going to drop me off at the P&W.

The next morning when I came home from Christine’s, I was on the red porch again, in the bright sun. Nan’s house empty since she died on the night of the 25th. It felt surreal and I felt so numb.

10 years. I miss you more and more each day. I wish you were here to meet David, you would love him. I wish I could verbally tell you how much joy, laughter, and light he brings into my life. I wish I could tell you all about the Public Defender’s Office and how well I’m doing. 10 years ago I wish you could have watched me graduate from WCU in December 2013, now I wish you were here for a possible wedding (David is talking about it) in the future. I wish I could experience life with you again. I know that you are watching over me and smiling. I love you and miss you.

Year of the Rabbit: Lunar New Year with Stephen and David | 22 January 2023

On Sunday, David, Stephen and I had an adventure. Since it was the Lunar New Year, we decided to go to the festivities in Philadelphia. David is not a morning person, but he practiced for a few days and I’m grateful. Erich was going to come along too, but he’s really not a morning person and fell back asleep. Stephen is both a night owl and early bird, so he came along.

It was both David’s and Stephen’s first time experiencing something like this. Before COVID, these events used to be packed, but that wasn’t the case this year. I’m sure what happened in LA didn’t help things. It was nice to actually see the lion dances. I stood next to David, he put his arm around me and I snuggled in. The weather was chilly, but not frigid. I had a warm and comfortable view. Stephen had the right idea by bringing some ear plugs for when the firecrackers went off. Stephen knows some Chinese and loves the culture, so he was well prepared.

The dancing lasted about an hour and after, I took the guys into the Sanrio shop. Sanrio, which used to be solely Hello Kitty, was my favourite store in middle school. While the Sanrio in China Town sells some Hello Kitty items, they sell anime and other Asian crafts. I can always find interesting scrapbook supplies in that shop; Stephen and David saw animes they were interested in and got lost for a little bit.

Once we decided on some sparklers and a keychain for Erich, our stomachs grumbled. David and I love pho and when we went to the Art Museum in November, we had dinner at Pho Cali. We thought about going there for our Lunar New Year meal, but David and Stephen pointed out some restaurants that interested them. Both mentioned they never had duck and Siu Kee’s Duck House grabbed my attention. They both agreed that duck sounded good.

Siu Kee’s was small and we couldn’t eat inside. That was okay since our time for parking was starting to run out. Stephen decided on a Pe Pot duck, and David and I decided on the duck meal, which came with rice. We loved watching them prepare our food. We went back to David’s and we were all pleasantly surprised how delicious everything was. As we sat at the dining room table, we happily chatted about the celebrations. David’s dad was watching NCIS and we chatted with him for a bit too.

Since Erich wasn’t awake yet, we went up to the attic and watched some anime. David wanted to show me the abridged version of Seven Deadly Sins, so Stephen, David, and I watched the abridged version and laughed. The abridged version was from Scotland and it was funny to hear the characters speak with a Scottish accent. Once Erich woke up, we ventured downstairs, watched more of the Seven Deadly Sins and played video games.

Such a great day. Here’s the album of the photos I took. Shutterfly offered me a free photo book and I made one last night.

Lunar New Year with Stephen and David

Thankful Thursday 19 January 2023

I’m beyond grateful for David and his friends. After work, David picked me up to do some errands, then I went back to his house. I’m grateful his friends welcome me and they want to go to the Lunar New Year parade on Sunday. His friends aren’t normally morning people, but they will be setting their alarms and practicing. They want to experience a Lunar New Year parade and they’re willing to get up early. I’m not verklempt, you are.

David’s mom’s cat also warmed up to me. She is normally skittish and hasn’t warmed up to many people since his mom died. David said I’m a lot like his mom and I guess Lucy sensed it too. I let her smell me for a bit, then once she slinked over to me, I offered Lucy a toy. Lucy saw that as a friendly gesture and let me pet her. I was able to pet her for a good 5 minutes. David was a little teary eyed. I was too. Today is also our 3 months.

What are you thankful for?

Scrapbooking with David | 15 January 2023

David and I had a scrapbook date on Sunday. It reminded him so much of his mom, except that she was a mask maker. David’s mom died in August 2021 from cancer. He said, “you and mom would have been the best of friends.” I loved hearing him talk about his mother as we worked on our layouts. I also loved telling him the kinds of crafts Nan did. Of course, we also talked about what we were scrapbooking. Sunday afternoon with Chris and Verne. Such lovely memories, and more laughter.

He’s not much of a journalist, but what he wrote has me verklempt.

We had a great time. So grateful that David helped me contribute to our holiday scrapbook.

I posted about our scrapbooking date on my scrapbook groups. This is what ladies in the Crafting in the Girl Cave had to say about our date:

I agree with them. This was such a special moment, and a great bonding activity. I shared this with David and their comments made him blush. He agrees too; we both agree that we’re each other’s special blessing.

I decided to include a special thanks at the end of my holiday scrapbook. This moment from Sunday is too precious not to include.

Thankful Thursday 5 January 2023

Happy New Year, dear readers! So much to be grateful for today, especially on the first Thursday of 2023. I shall begin.

Last week I noticed that I misplaced my Passport. I called everywhere in Philadelphia and they hadn’t seen it. I lost phone service for 3 days, and just got it back an hour ago. When I got home, I had a lot of mail waiting for me and I had an unaddressed envelope waiting for me. I was curious and when I opened it, it was my Passport! Thank you anonymous person for finding my Passport and sending it back to me! Much love and blessings! I’m grateful and it’s totally a “pay-it-forward” type moment. I’ll be paying it forward in spades.

I’m also grateful for David, my friends, and my family. What are you grateful for today?

Preparing to Open Happiness Box 2022

I view the opening of my Happiness Box Project as the culmination of the winter holiday season (summer for my friends in the Southern Hemisphere). I view the opening of my Happiness Box Project as a way to reflect on the year that has passed, and even in dark moments, there is always something to be grateful for.

2022 had a lot of dark moments and I know I’m going to read about them. I’m grateful for my friends, both offline and friends from this community, who were there for me during those dark times. I met David during one of those dark times. Fortunately, those dark times only lasted for seven months and light slowly started to shine in. It’s been mostly light for the last three months. I look forward to reading those notes.

I’ll be reflecting everything I learned in 2022. I learned a lot and I became a stronger person. I stopped blaming myself for the behaviour of others by learning to say “this is not a Jessica problem.” If something happens because of a “Jessica problem,” I take a deep breath, calm down, and apologize. I also know if it’s a problem belonging to someone else, they may be having an off-day and I give them grace. I give myself grace when I have an off-day.

I will not be looking back in regret about one aspect of 2022. He is in the past, it is over and done with, that train has left the station. That train truly left the station at the beginning of last year; he can no longer hurt me and doesn’t deserve the space in my head. I am with someone now who truly loves and honours me; I will be focusing on our relationship, as well as my relationships with friends and family. I’m embracing my village.

I also like to use the opening of the Happiness Box Project as a way to look forward to the new year ahead. 2023 is going to be exciting. I can’t wait to go on more adventures with David. I can’t wait to spend more time with his friends. I can’t wait to spend more time with my friends and both David and I joining groups together. I won’t be taking on any new projects this year. I want to work on scrapbooking Happiness Box 2022, I want to work on my holiday album, and one of my co-workers at the Public Defender’s office approached me about proofreading a book he’s writing at some point. He will pay me.

I am resting this evening and looking forward. Happy New Year!