Tuesday, April 15, 2014

So I had a "sad"

And I had to document it somewhere. It felt almost like being punched in the gut. When we were getting out of the moldy house (the first one) and going through our stuff at the second moldy house, I was undergoing a lot of confusion and brain fog due to the mold and was constantly in a state of near panic, a sort of survival mode - fight or flight, and so I don't have the best memory of what I packed and saved and what I threw out, or simply never got unpacked and was hauled to the dump.

So, now as we recover and survival mode and its accompanying feelings of panic and confusion wear off, I have moments of clarity and memory and certain items pop into my mind in flashes. The other night it was my "blanky" that my dear, beloved, departed Grandma made for me as an infant. She sewed it with her arthritic hands, fluffy and pink and quilted, and imbued with a grandmother's love. I was like Linus from Peanuts with that blanket, I carried it everywhere. It was my constant companion, my comfort, my protection, my safety. By the time I either outgrew it or my mom finally talked me out of it, it was a sad, threadbare little thing, more gray than pink, with bare patches worn clean off.

I also had a busy book hand made by my grandma with my name on it. It had activities with things to feel, button, open, hide, they have books like that now for babies but they're store bought and mass produced. This was handmade again by my grandma's arthritic hands with character specially for me.

Tonight, as I brushed my teeth, it flashed in my head. My older daughter, who has always been smart and advanced and precocious, won the Science Fair in first grade. She won overall for Best New Scientist with an amazing project that she came up with all on her own. It was on bacteria, and she bought petri dishes, swabbed items around the house, had a control and a test group, and it was amazing! She did it all on her own, she learned so much, she researched at the library and online, she did tests and experiments and checked on it every day for a month. The night of the science fair they announced all the first grade winners, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place and her name wasn't among them. She was crushed. I was a little shocked that her project didn't win for first grade...until they announced her as an overall winner for the whole school.

That medal with her name engraved on it, that is gold and says "Best New Scientist" plus the shiny laminated certificate, all gone. I almost can't catch my breath when I think of it. There was also a letter about what a wonderful and advanced student she is with a little pin. Gone. Her citizenship award for going above and beyond...gone. Her skating pins for achievements in figure skating. Gone.

Maybe it was in a box that was saved. But probably not, and I can't remember for sure. And I can't go look in the storage and find out. Only those who have experienced the nightmare that is toxic mold know the overriding, all encompassing, indescribable fear that comes over one at even the idea of going near those toxic elements again. The tiniest amount causes such painful and long lasting reactions when you have become as hypersensitized as we are.

And I know they're just things, but they're the little things that make up a life, that help cement memories, especially when the people who gave them to you are gone. She will never go to that school again, or see those friends again. I will never see my grandma again. And we have nothing to remember them by. Our moldy brains that sometimes feel as holey as Swiss cheese try to hold the memories fast, but it's like sand through a sieve. Some days are better than others.

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