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August 25, 2007

ive a new job

to clarify my new position, as several people have been asking me about it, i offer the following... originally sent in an email to a few friends, i paste here, for all to see:

Background on the new job:

Back in March 2000, I went to work for a company that provides services to people with developmental disabilities- such as mental retardation (now you know why I hate the word ‘retard’), schizophrenia, behavioral issues, psychological issues, physical limitations (such as cerebral palsy or epilepsy)… among other things. I worked in the client’s homes, essentially doing the work of a ‘mother’. I would cook, clean, assist with medication, transport, assist with dressing and hygiene, advocacy, things of that sort… the technical title for the position is ‘residential support staff’.

Anyway, I worked as RSS for a year and a half, while I was going to college. My goal at the time was to become an advocate, a social worker type person. We call that ‘case management’. For the longest time, I knew that I belonged working with people who were disabled, mostly because I grew up ‘disabled’. I know what it’s like in their shoes. I wear the same ones.

A couple of years ago, that goal to become a case manager came true. I spent 11 months doing it until the company I worked for closed down. As for case management, we handled budgets, master files, home visits, services coordination (for therapies, home services, job searching, ‘day hab’ which is like schooling/training), working with therapists, the department of health, lawsuits (Jackson vs. state of New Mexico – it was the lawsuit that closed the mental institutions in New Mexico), planning services for the coming 6-12 months, investigating abuse, things of the sort... After the company decided not to renew their contract with the state, we were all subsequently tossed out on our asses, with less than three weeks’ notice. I was too hurt by the industry to stay in it at the time, and decided I needed to try a different career path.

And now onto my new job… I’ll be working for a service provider (who offer residential housing similar to ‘group homes’ except they’re all integrated into the community and there can be no more than four clients per home). They also provide ‘day hab’, the training in order to succeed independently in life, or at least try to. They have job coordinators/job coaches. They have a nursing department… and many, many other things. Some of the clients we provide services to are either behaviorally or medically fragile. Anyone who falls into either or both of those categories has to have one on one staffing, as directed by the state, for health and safety issues – for both the client and others around him/her.

The one on one staff (regardless of what area ‘dayhab or residential’) will report directly to me. I’ll be in charge of all the paperwork supporting the special staffing, and making sure that the paperwork is correct and submitted to both the case manager and to the state in a timely manner. I will also be in charge of all the house supervisors. They report to me, and I take care of problems. I’ll be reporting to the residential program director (RPD) and he will take care of anything that I cannot resolve on my own. The breakdown (top to bottom) will be Marvin (the RPD, who I've worked with before), me (residential team coordinator), the house supervisors, the senior staff from each house, and then the support staff. I will also be doing home visits, and services audits to make sure the client is being provided services appropriately, and calling meetings to implement services, new and old.

Maybe this makes better sense now…

and sometimes good things happen to good people

For quite awhile now, I’ve thought that I didn’t belong where I was. I find this is more and more true with each passing day. I still don’t belong, but sometimes things work out for the best and a person ‘belongs’ more in some places than in others.

For the last ten and a half months, I’ve worked in a retail store. More than half of that time I was the assistant manager. Like me, most others who knew where I was working didn’t think that I should have been the assistant. I –should– have been the store manager. Anyway, that’s not my problem anymore, nor is it theirs. While I was on bereavement/funeral leave after my dad’s untimely passing, the place I worked for fired me. What kind of bullshit is that? The letter of termination reads that I supposedly left the store unattended (which they can’t prove I did, but I can’t prove that I didn’t). It also says that I cashed out my own employee purchase (which *is* true, except I’m the one who reported it to my district manager.) The letter states that I “admitted” to my wrongdoing. I don’t see how I ‘admitted’ to anything, considering the fact that I REPORTED it on my own to my supervisor, so I –wouldn’t- get in trouble. Anyway, they fired me the day I came back from funeral leave. How’s that for a big FUCK YOU…

But, alas, timing is everything. My friend Monica (I believe I've mentioned her before) and I were emailing each other and I told her about getting fired. I was joking and said, "so, you know anyone looking for my skills?" and she writes back, "as a matter of fact, I do." So then I go to her office to hang out for awhile. She calls up some friends of ours that own a company that provides a full range of services to people in our area with developmental disabilities. They needed someone who's got a bachelor's degree, with experience in the field, preferably trained. Guess who fits all those qualifications? ME ME ME!

So then Friday, I went to say hi. Turns out they've been looking for me for months and didn't know where to look. I just happen to fall into their laps at the right place and right time. So I have my "interview" on Monday morning. I don't see how I couldn't get this job. Not with them saying things like "you get to have all your old clients back!" and "so, you'll be here on Monday, RIGHT?!" and "its so good to have you back!"... how else could I take it?

And so I am incredibly excited. Another benefit of this job besides me getting to do what I've wanted to do for quite awhile, is that these people all knew my dad. They know the loss I've taken and are sympathetic to my needs. (I'll be going to a see a grief counselor starting next week - on Monday). They know about it already and are of the mindset that "girl, you go and do what you need to do." and that's a direct quote.

So, all that being said, sometimes good things -do- happen to good people.

August 19, 2007

two weeks

It's been two weeks. Nothing's really changed. I still feel like my world has been turned upside down and broken beyond repair. It's hard to move on. I keep thinking that I'll feel better tomorrow. I'll heal. I'll cope. I wake up and things are still the same. I miss my dad. I miss him -so- much. I don't know what I'm going to do without him. He was always there, even if sometimes it didn't seem like it. I've mentioned before, we were always too busy. There wasn't time. Now there isn't any time at all, and I'm left feeling empty and alone. I know I'm not alone. I have a great family. Awesome friends. A wonderful support system. But it doesn't change anything and it doesn't make me feel any better. Pretty much my entire support system took the same hit I did, and they're feeling the same way I do. In their own ways. They're moving on, they're beginning to cope. I wish I was that lucky.

I feel like complete and total shit. Every time I needed my dad, he was always there for me. When I was sick, when I was broken, he was always there to fix me, whatever the problem was. Who's going to fix me now? Who will I call in the middle of the night when I'm sick as a dog? Probably anybody... but it won't be the same. Nobody can fill that void. Those shoes are too big for any one person to step in to. That's one other thing that simply can't be done.

The last time I talked to my dad was on July 17, nearly three weeks before he died.

I got really sick again the Friday before he left us. That Sunday was the worst day (medical-wise) I had in nearly six years. I was so, so, so sick. I decided that I was going to call him. I never got the chance. I got the call instead.

People always talk about finding closure when they lose someone. I don't think I'll ever find closure. I lost nine years of my dad's life. Now I've lost a lifetime. How can I ever forgive myself for the things I didn't do? Things that, now, can't be done. Words left unsaid, trips not taken, missed get-togethers, un-returned calls. We were both guilty of that, but I'm the one left with the consequences. Can't say its entirely our fault, because someone else had a big hand in this. One day, she'll pay for what she's done.

August 16, 2007

To Our Southwest MedEvac Family -

I hope you have enough.
Enough strength, enough courage, enough hope.
Enough to keep going, even if you think you can't.

You are the guardians of Life, so that others may live.
You are the Angels who walk the Earth, who soar through
The deep blue skies, so that others may have hope, find peace.

Some may say that "First Class" is the best, the only way to fly.
I know better.

There is no greater way to fly in our earthly world, than to
Fly for Life.

Keep on flying, Brothers and Sisters.
Fly for Life.

Thank you, for all that you do.

In Loving Memory of N369CD -
Brian Miller, Deanna Palmer, Ricky Byers

With great love,
Brian's daughters

Southwest MedEvac Memorial site

August 08, 2007

not enough time

There was never enough time. We work too much. We didn’t talk enough. We were always too busy. It was always an afterthought.

My dad was always at work. He volunteered for the shifts nobody wanted, weekends, holidays, any time. That’s the kind of person he was. Of course, I was also a very busy person. I went to school. I worked. I sat at home and never went out. I avoided the telephone. Though I must admit, any time my dad called it was a great treat, so I always answered, or I called back as soon as I could.

There are so many things I'm going to miss. So much of his life I wasn’t allowed to be part of because his wife hated me. She was his second wife. She has always hated me. She always will. And she can say all she wants about how I was never there for him and that I never called and that the only time I called was when I wanted something. Part of that is true. The reason I didn’t call was because of her.

For the last almost nine years she’s been married to my dad, she went out of her way to be hateful towards me and to my sister. Mostly to me. Truth be told, I don’t like her all that much either. How is a person supposed to take it when they call their dad’s house to talk to him and she hangs up on us? What kind of person does that make her? What she doesn’t know is that my sister and I, we used to call him at work or on his cell phone. We almost never called the house, just to avoid having to talk to her.

I miss my dad SO much. I would do anything to take it back. I would do anything to have him with me. I would try harder to get along with her. I would… god I miss him.

I'm going to miss the random phone calls. I'm going to miss passing him driving down the street and hearing my cell phone go off playing “Ridin’ Dirty”… Funny thing, that song, pretty much every time my dad called was when we passed each other driving somewhere. I seemed to always be in the car when his calls came through. It became a joke after awhile and that song became his custom ring. Dad was the only one with a custom ring. Mostly that’s because we hardly ever saw one another, hardly ever talked on the phone. Neither of us was really big on phone calls. We always kept it short because of that.

August 07, 2007


People keep asking me how I feel. I'm so tired of answering that question. I'm tired of all the questions. I'm tired of not getting any answers.


That’s the only word I can think of when people ask how I'm doing. It’s the only way I can respond truthfully. Being broken, that implies that it can be fixed. You can’t fix this. Nobody should have to bury their parents so young. My dad was only 44 years old. He was too young to die. He shouldn’t have died. They were all too young. The pilot, Ricky, he was 56; the paramedic, Deanna, she was 40 (and a single mom with three kids); there was my dad… only 44. so young, so full of life, awesome in so many ways you couldn’t even count, most of all:

My dad was a hero.

People don’t understand why I say that I'm shattered. I feel like I'm in a million little pieces and they can’t be put back together. They will never be put back together. Never again. I will always have this empty hole in my heart, in my life. Nothing will ever fill that void. I will never be the same and there’s nothing anyone can do to fix this. It will never be fixed. It just can’t be done.

I always thought I would die first.

And until then, I'm shattered.

nobody made it

Sunday night/Monday morning I couldn’t sleep I finally caved and took an Ambien (a time-release sleep medication) at about 3am. I fell asleep somewhere around 330. Sleep wasn’t in the cards that night. At 530 Monday morning my dad’s wife calls my house and tells me that the plane my dad was on is missing. There had been no contact since they left the airport in Ruidoso to transport a 15 month old girl to a hospital in Albuquerque.

My dad was a flight nurse. My dad was a hero.

The plane took off sometime between 10 and 11pm Sunday night. From recent reports, it crashed four minutes after take-off. While traveling around a mountain range outside of Ruidoso, something went wrong. We don’t know what went wrong, probably we never will. The plane crashed into the side of a mountain in a place called “Devil’s Canyon,” which is a treacherous place to navigate during the day… even worse at night.

My dad’s wife called to say the plane was missing, that the National Guard and the New Mexico State Police had helicopters out searching for it… less than 20 minutes later she calls back to say that the plane was found, but they didn’t know if there were any survivors. The Search and Rescue crews spent nearly an hour hiking into the scene on foot.

There were no survivors. Nobody made it. They were all gone. I can’t bring them back…

Nobody survived.