Thursday, May 31, 2018

So long, Peanut...

Today's post is inspired by some news I got the other day.  I found out about the death of a little girl whose story I'd been following since before her birth.  I never knew her or anyone in her family personally.  I simply followed her mother's blog for awhile.

I don't remember exactly how I found this woman's blog.  It was probably though RfM, though I can't be absolutely sure, because I found it years ago.  It was right around the time a lot of people on RfM were posting about another blogger, name of Janis.  I've written about Janis in this blog, just like I know I've written about Peanut's mom.  Both women were interesting for different reasons.

Peanut's mom, I'll call her Annalee (not her real name), wrote a very entertaining blog that used to be wide open for the masses.  Some time ago, she made the blog private.  I decided not to request access to it because, to be honest, I found her very snarkworthy.  I knew I wouldn't be reading the blog for the right reasons.  Besides, by the time she took her blog private, Annalee's struggles had become very poignant.

When I first found Annalee's blog, she was a childless Mormon lawyer who had recently been fired from her job.  She wrote funny blog posts that were rather narcissistic.  I distinctly remember one post she wrote was about how she and her husband were looking for new friends, but she didn't want to be friends with couples who were struggling with infertility, since she wasn't interested in hearing how other people's junk didn't work.  At that point, she hadn't revealed that she and her husband were themselves struggling with infertility.

Instead, she wrote an inflammatory post about meeting Lindsay Lohan while getting her hair cut.  Annalee brazenly took pictures of the star, even after Lindsay had asked her not to.  In her blog, Annalee was unapologetic, writing that Lindsay Lohan chose to live her life in the public eye and needed to get over herself.  She also wrote a memorable ode to beauty pageants, which Annalee admitted to really enjoying.  She equated her love of the Miss America pageant and its ilk to other people's love for the Super Bowl.  I have to admit, I'd rather watch Miss America than pro football.

Still, despite the fact that I was entertained by her unorthodox sense of humor, I began to think Annalee was a bit of an asshole.  Then, she got pregnant with twin girls and her blog became dedicated to them.  I started to lose interest.  I remember one day, Annalee wrote that one of her twins was extremely malformed and would not be expected to live beyond a few weeks.  In fact, when the girls were born, one was perfectly healthy and the other was missing a significant portion of her brain.  That was nine years ago.

For awhile, Annalee posted regularly and almost exclusively about her daughters.  She made it clear that she would not be having any other children.  I noticed that she dressed the girls alike, even though they were definitely not identical.  Even if "Peanut", which was Annalee's nickname for the less healthy twin, had been normal as her sister was, they wouldn't look anything alike.  And yet, Annalee continued to pose them like dolls and take pictures of them for her blog.

To be honest, I found the constant pictures of the little girls kind of tasteless and even a little boring.  Overall, the blog remained compelling, though, so I kept reading it.  Annalee would write about Peanut's medical issues and the financial hardships she and her husband endured while trying to keep their daughter alive.  Despite my original snarky feelings toward Annalee, I imagined how I'd fare if Bill and I were in their shoes.  I imagined Annalee and her husband must be exhausted and broke.

Occasionally, I'd even find the odd news article about the couple.  It turned out Annalee was quite the lobbyist and she got involved in Utah politics.  Her efforts led to a new law passed for the families of children with severe disabilities.  I was right about the couple being exhausted and broke, too.  Another news article I found included a candid quote from Peanut's mom, who reckoned that if her husband kept working two jobs, they might be able to pay off Peanut's medical bills in ten years or so.  A couple of months ago, Annalee and Peanut were mentioned in an article about daylight savings time in Utah.  Apparently, the twice yearly time changes wreaked havoc on Peanut's medication schedule.  She was lobbying to abolish the seasonal time changes in Utah.

One day, Annalee posted an angry update to her blog.  It seemed it had been shared with the folks at RfM, who had left her some nasty comments, which pissed her off.  She decided to make the blog private.  I couldn't help but remember her comments about Lindsay Lohan and how Lindsay needed to realize she was a public figure.  Well... when you blog, if you're any good at it, you do put yourself out there.  People will read and have opinions that they'll feel free to share.  People have written shitty things about my blog, too.  I have gotten plenty of disapproving comments.  I understand how annoying that can be, but I keep writing.  Rude comments come with the territory.

Annalee did make her blog private for awhile, but then, just as I predicted, she reopened it.  I resumed reading it until she decided to go private again.  The blog remains private today.  Again, I never bothered to ask for access to it.  I don't have a disabled child, so I wasn't reading the blog for coping tips.  I don't know Annalee or her family, so I wasn't trying to keep up with what they were doing.  If I had asked for access, it would mostly be for voyeuristic reasons.  Despite some people's beliefs, I'm not really that much of an asshole.

The other day, I got curious about Annalee and her family.  I knew that even without access to her blog, I'd find an update.  Sure enough, I did.  I found an obituary for "Peanut", who had suddenly died exactly one week after her ninth birthday.  The family had recently moved from Utah to California.  When I say recently, I mean mere weeks ago.  I don't know what happened, but I did read the child's obituary.  For someone who was missing a large portion of her brain, Peanut accomplished a lot in her short life.  The fact that she lived nine years is pretty amazing.  I remember reading about her when she was still in the womb.  I never knew her, yet she still managed to touch me.

I decided to look up Annalee on Facebook.  I did find a few public posts that indicated that she still has a very dark sense of humor.  I would imagine it came in handy during her nine years taking care of her very sick child.  Indeed, on her Facebook, she even contemplated wearing a badge that said, "Leave me alone.  My daughter just died." and then watching the reactions of people.  She flat out says she doesn't like people or pity.  Yes... Annalee is probably still very much an asshole.  It's probably the main reason why her experiences with "Peanut" didn't destroy her.  There is something about Annalee that is kind of refreshing, though.  She's not into bullshit.  I can respect that.

I kind of wonder how Peanut's sister is doing.  It couldn't have been easy growing up with a twin sister that sick and then seeing her die.  It was inevitable that Peanut was going to die.  I would imagine that now, things are going to change for the family in a lot of ways.

Well, anyway... so long, Peanut.  If I were a religious type, I might say that God had a plan for you in your nine short years on earth.  And now that you're gone, maybe things will somewhat get back to "normal" for your family, at least financially speaking.  On the other hand, I have a feeling Peanut has left an indelible mark on many people... myself included.