my life is a junk drawer
We all hide junk in our hearts, souls, bodies and yes, junk drawers, but cleaning out the stuff will help you live your best life now.
Speaker 1: (00:00)
Episode. One of my life is a junk drawer. Introduction. Welcome to my life is a junk drawer with your host me sue Manga. This podcast is meant to help you clean out the junk in your heart. So body and yes, junk drawer. Thanks for listening. Hello everyone and welcome to my very first episode of my very first podcast. My life is a junk drawer. This podcast is created for all of you out there that might feel like that you have taken the junk in your life and just stuffed it either in a drawer, in your house or in your soul, in your heart, in your body. We stuffed junk in so many different ways in our lives, and then we close the drawer and then we act like everything is perfect and beautiful and okay. And when we don't deal with the junk that has collected in our lives, we truly don't live our best life.
Speaker 1: (01:09)
So I hope that you find this podcast inspirational, informational, funny, poignant, and motivational above all other things to maybe take some small steps in your own life to clean out the junk that has just gathered inside you and in your house. Before I get into too much more about the podcast, I just wanted to tell you a little bit about myself and how I've come to create this podcast. I've done quite a lot in the first 50 years of my life. I've lived in four states, currently residing in the suburbs of Atlanta. I have been in love a handful of times starting in high school and now I am six years into my second marriage. I have three beautiful children, two boys and a girl from my husband who passed away in 2009
Speaker 2: (02:06)
Speaker 1: (02:07)
Yes, that's an awkward pause. There always is one. I'm never really sure if I should say I'm okay. Don't worry or dive into a long explanation of what happened and that it's not really all right, but I have move forward. Sometimes it's just that awkward long pause, but we'll talk more about my dead husband. Definitely because that has been a lot of junk in my drawer. I've been a writer most of my life, but I've never pursued this passion. I've owned two small businesses, worked retail, done administrative office work, and actually published a book, but I've never called writing my profession and they'll pass. Several years I have been intrigued by bloggers and vloggers and you tubers. I spent many hours listening to how to make a scrumptious Kido dessert or how to get the abs of steel, neither, which it turned out well. I've watched how to apply flawless eyeliner and what makes a good bra.
Speaker 1: (03:05)
I have traveled to countless countries with other families and saying silly back to school songs with reworded 80 tunes. Recently, I've discovered the world of podcasts. You don't have to sit and watch. You can take these stories with you while I'm running, cooking dinner, folding laundry, or driving in the car on the way. Well, just about anywhere. And believe me, I spend a lot of time in my car. I love all sorts of podcasts. I've binged up and vanish serial dirty John. I've listened to self help podcasts like Jen hatmaker for the love and Angela Myasthenic stop overdrinking and start living. I am just always looking for a new podcast and I liked him, have them make me laugh and I like to have them make me inspired and I like to have them make me think of murder mysteries and I have just come to really, really enjoy a good podcast.
Speaker 1: (04:03)
So I thought, why not combine my love for writing and telling stories with my obsession for podcasts? This brought my life is a junk drawer to life. This idea came to me out of the blue after my Sunday run, I had tried to open one the drawers in my kitchen. It was a mess and they couldn't find what I was looking for. I felt frustrated and irritated and truly at that moment I felt like the junk drawer had spilled over into my own body. It was the first weeks in January and I had the winter blues, the extra 15 pounds of the holidays and a wine hangover that was pounding in my ear. I looked at my husband and blurred it out. My life is a freaking juncture. I mean it looks so clean and put together on the outside, but inside crap scrammed everywhere. When I started to think about all the things I had stuffed in my life, literally and figuratively, I got extremely overwhelmed.
Speaker 1: (05:03)
I let out a heavy sigh and thought deal with a girl, but as the days went by, a muddle through this junk drawer feeling and an idea came to me. I thought maybe just maybe if I made some small changes, 80 bitty tiny steps. I realized that had been cramming a lot of food into my mouth. I was almost out of control with my eating and I have been drinking almost every day, just not enough to be an alcoholic, but enough that I just felt pretty bad every morning. So I decided that I should put down the fork and I put down the wine bottle. I started to get creative. I started instagramming and telling stories and all of the sudden it just kind of fell into place. And now here on April 23rd my sweet Nicky's birthday, I am publishing my very first podcast, so thank you everyone who supported me, all my friends and my family.
Speaker 1: (06:08)
Sometimes I think we're embarrassed by what's in our junk drawer, but when we open it up and take a look at it, it gives us power and that will in turn give us the best life that we can live. So thank you for today and your ears and since this was such a short episode, I'm going to go ahead and publish my second episode in which I tell my story. There it is a short, quick episode telling you what this podcast is all about and a little about me and the coming weeks. I have so many incredible people joining me. My friend share some of their deepest thoughts and feelings, hardest times in their lives and the victories they've celebrated. They also tell me a little bit how they've cleaned out the junk in their life and and their drawer. Thanks again for bearing with me through this very first episode. I know it's not going to be my greatest and that it's going to take me a couple of episodes to get up to speed and probably all season to become any good at this, but I so appreciate all of the people that have listened and just don't take any of it for granted. Thanks again. Bye.
Speaker 1: (07:26)
Thanks again for listening to this podcast. If you like it, you can go over to iTunes and subscribe and give me your rating. You can also leave comments and questions. You can also find me at Psu, mangum.com or my life has a junk drawer.com. Hope to hear from you soon. Okay.
Speaker 1: (00:00)
Episode two of My Life is a Junk Drawer. My story, welcome to My Life is a Junk Drawer with your host me Sue Mangum. This podcast is meant to help you clean out the junk in your heart, soul body and yes, junk drawer. Thanks for listening. Good afternoon. Welcome everyone. This is my second episode of my brand new podcast. My life is a junk drawer. My name is sue Mangum and I am so excited to be coming to you today. Today I am going to tell you a little bit more about myself, a little bit more. Why I am creating this podcast and putting it out there to you. The last 10 years of my life have been pretty rough. I would say I have been knocked down many, many times and today I'm going to share the story where it began and how this story has made me more resilient, stronger, braver, and most important.
Speaker 1: (01:19)
I'm telling my story so that you out there that are going through something similar or even your own very tough time will hear my story and maybe not feel so alone. So sit back, enjoy the ride and I'm going to tell you all about the last 10 years of my life. I'm going to start by saying that this story for me to tell is very uncomfortable for me. Sometimes. Uh, I feel awkward sometimes I choke up. Sometimes I start talking really fast and it's just a hard story for me to tell and that's why he's been in my junk drawer for so long and keeping it inside my soul and not really being able to talk about it without, I don't even know. It just makes me feel anxious and like I said, uncomfortable and I'm hoping that the more I share my story, the more comfortable I will come with it.
Speaker 1: (02:26)
It's tough to talk about because it's about grief and loss and a lot of the things that we don't talk about on a daily basis. It's not a Facebook post, it's not a super fun snapchat. It is just real life nitty gritty. I have told my story, I have to tell it because when I meet new people, they don't know my story. But my story is hard for me to get through. And once I get through it, then I do go back and discuss friends. And once they know, I guess it's kind of that barrier that breaks everything down. And so even though I've told it, I just am still, as you can see, I'm avoiding starting to tell it, but I just get, like I said, anxious and nervous and how are People gonna React? And um, anyway, so without further ado, I'm going to start and let's see where it goes. Almost 10 years ago on a Bright Sunny Day, October 20th, 2009, my life was changed forever. My husband of 16 years plus six years of dating, died suddenly of an Aortic aneurysm at 41 leaving me with three small children, a 12 year old, eight year old and five year old.
Speaker 1: (03:52)
My whole life was upended and there became this before and after. Before Mike died, after Mike died, I was left alone struggling with three small children. I felt like this had never happened to anybody else and what was I going to do with my life? My life had been built around Mike and his small business or our small bills, this we had built together and it was just taken from me and I was angry and I was lonely. And during that time I was also loved so deeply and encouraged and supported by the community that I live in, my family, my friends, I mean I really don't know how I would gotten through it without them. So thank you friends and family, you know who you are. And even though they were surrounding me and encouraging me, and I put one foot in front of the other because that's the only thing I knew to do.
Speaker 1: (05:07)
There was some very dark times and some very lonely places and some days that I didn't even know if I was going to make it through them. When you're in the early stages of grief, it's about one breath at a time, one minute at a time. And people will say, well, time will heal or you know, it's going to get better. But in that moment you just feel like it won't and you can't see the outside of the dark hole and all the grief and really loneliness and desertion that you feel and so this is definitely something we'll get more into because really though I don't want this to define my life. This is one of the moments that did define my life and I really want to dig more deeply into it. As our episodes continue in order to make this podcast not four hours long, I have to continue because there's a lot that happened even after Mike died.
Speaker 1: (06:15)
Six months later, my oldest son who is now 13 was diagnosed with what we believe is the same heart condition that Mike had. This brought CJ's athletic life to a halting crash. He was always throwing a football. He was always throwing a basketball. He was in seventh grade. He was kind of slotted to be the eighth grade quarterback of the middle school and the game of football and all other contact sports were taken from him. That was devastating because he had just lost his dad at 12 and now at 13 the universe has taken away one of his only passions in life. Cj was allowed to continue to play baseball and non contact sports and we monitored his heart and his aorta because it was enlarging CJ's new new normal was a much limited activity life and really trying to re emerge, redefined his life that he wasn't just an act athlete.
Speaker 1: (07:35)
He would have to be more than that. And in 2010 I met a fantastic man who was older than me and had no children and this is kind of a good part of my last 10 years, actually a great part of my last 10 years. He courted me and he gave me time and he pursued me and he made me feel so special and we started dating and we just developed a great love for, for each other. I'm not going to say that there was no bumps, I was very guarded and he was going through a divorce. And so there was a lot of sticky situations within that. But I have to say that finding day made a lot of the days much less dark. After a two year dating relationship, Jay and I got magically married on stage at an amphitheater here outside of Atlanta by the band train.
Speaker 1: (08:50)
Their drummer married us, we want to contest and um, we're invited to get married on stage. So that was one of my magical fairy tale moments of the last 10 years. And we also, my little claim to fame, we're on say yes to the dress and we were in episode one of believe of season eight and it was called Rock in the runway if anybody wants to check it out. My good old days. But six weeks after our fairy tale wedding, CJ had to have open heart surgery. His Aorta had become too large for its safely to stay in there and the doctors were worried that it would burst and he would not survive. So in October of 2012, CJ had his first open heart surgery. They replaced the root aorta and were able to spare his valve, which was very important because if he healed properly, he would be able to play contact sports again.
Speaker 1: (10:01)
And we were very hopeful that at the end of all of this, he may be able to regain some of his athletic life. I have to say three months after his surgery, he tried out for the Lambert baseball team and made the team and I remember seeing him on the field in February for the first time after his surgery. Just thinking what an amazing miracle it was. Right after Mike had died, I met the most wonderful woman someone could ever meet going through grief. She was actually a widow like me. She had lost her husband in August and Nikki and I just connected immediately. She had reached out within two weeks I think of Mike Dying and I kind of held her at bay for a few more weeks and I think sometime in the end of November we had lunch together and immediately it was just like a spark and a bond was, was connected.
Speaker 1: (11:11)
She had this exuberant joy for life. It was even though she was in grief and even though she was in pain, she just was like, you know, this is our choice, our choices to choose joy. And so she brought some of my isolation and loneliness to an end. And unfortunately in 2012 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. I never imagined she wouldn't beat breast cancer. I knew I would stand by her side and I would go to her chemos with her. I was notorious for bringing lunches, surgeries, and chemo. And I always figured out that as long as you had some good food with you, it wouldn't be quite so dark and chemo or in the waiting room wherever we were. So I was definitely known as the food girl. And unfortunately, just 15 months later in April of 2014 she passed away. This rocked my world because she was a widow with two beautiful girls and I just couldn't understand why God would take her.
Speaker 1: (12:31)
I couldn't, I couldn't deal with it. And I became depressed and even though no one would know it on the outside, there was many a days that I put the children on the bus and kissed j goodbye and just literally got back in the bed and stayed there until I had to get out at two o'clock. It's taken me a long time to console my thoughts about Nikki and I still don't even understand it. I don't, I guess there's just no way you can ever understand something like that. But I know that Nikki was a miracle and she brought so much into my life for the five years that I knew her, or almost five years. The summer after Nikki died in 2014 my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and in November of that year, three months later, he lost his battle. So now I am three big losses in the last five years.
Speaker 1: (13:31)
I don't really know how to describe it because I don't even know how I felt, but I know that I built a wall around me and my life, and I know that I stuffed my junk drawer a lot. I all my emotions kind of went in there and I have to tell you, I have a great counselor. I went through, I went through weekly counseling for a very long time, but at this point I had not seen her in a while and I was actually so tired of just talking about all this crap a that I didn't really go to see her and that was probably a mistake. I have to say that this affected our marriage or my marriage. And in the summer of 2015 Jay and I went through some really hard times or communication broke down and I actually thought maybe I would become part of the 75% that may be marriage didn't work out the second time and we had to seek some couples counseling, which to me that was torturous.
Speaker 1: (14:40)
I went to a different counselor, did not go to my counselor that I had been seeing privately and it just, it just brought up so many issues. It was, it was a long, hard for months I guess. But in the end it did help and Jay and I got through the rough patch together. So I was very glad that we didn't just give up and let go of each other, that we persevered through this hard time and we were able to make it through. My mom did really well the first year after my dad died. She lived in a great community and stayed involved and had a lot of friends and was very social, which my mom is not really a social being and it was really great to see that she was kind of getting through her grief and having friends and doing stuff.
Speaker 1: (15:37)
But at the end of 2015 she fell and broke her pelvis and this was kind of the beginning of some medical issues that happened in the early part of 2016 she had a heart attack and almost died. And then recovering from the heart attack, she developed this, what they call insufficient fracture in the back of her kneecap. It was not visible on a X-ray and so in the rehab facilities where she was, they were making her try to walk stairs and get up and down the walk up and down the hallway. And I basically had to go down there in scoop her up and get her out of there because once I got her up here and within three days we had an MRI. It was shown that she had these fractures in the back of her knee and that she needed to be completely immobilized for six to eight weeks.
Speaker 1: (16:39)
So everything they had been doing at the rehab place had been only making things worse. And what was even worse was that the doctors and the nurses there didn't believe how much pain my mom was in. They just, you know, poo pooed her and said, you need to do this and you need to try all this therapy before we get you the MRI. It was just crazy. Anyways, I brought her up here thinking that we would just, she would stay here and do some recovery time. I had been back and forth. She lived in Jacksonville and had been back and forth to Jacksonville. I can't even tell you how many times. And the long distance was just taking a toll on me. So I scooped her up and brought her to Atlanta and put her in our extra bedroom and there she stayed. We just decided that it was, she was going to become a part of our family and she was going to live with us for now and um, we were going to be here for her and she was going to be here for us.
Speaker 1: (17:39)
And while I loved having my mom with me, I really didn't know how much longer she was going to last to be alive. Really. It was a transition. It was stressful, period. I had to help her sell her condo in Jacksonville that she had lived in for 30 years. And just the clean out. My brother helps as much as he can, but he has some feet issues and was not able to, you know, do a lot of the heavy lifting. So Jay and I were tackling moving and selling and all of the things that come with that. On January 1st, 2017 I received a phone call from the Oconee County County jail. Cj 19 had been arrested on the Dui after partying in Athens on New Year's Eve. He woke up early to drive to the airport to pick up his girlfriend at seven 30, eight o'clock he was speeding through Greensboro, Georgia and was pulled over.
Speaker 1: (18:42)
You can guess the rest. We were in Savannah with both of the kids, both of my younger kids, chase and Libby and um, they both had friends. And this is nothing like getting a phone call at eight 30 saying that your son is in jail. So with everybody, Jay the minivan and for kids, we trudged through the rain on a six hour journey to get CJ and bail him out of jail. When I look back on it, it was Kinda like adventures in babysitting when they had to go to the jail in New York City and everybody, all the kids just got to roll up into the jail. I tried to make it kind of fun. I also made it a very much a learning experience. And um, I do have to say though, it was just another low, low time in my life. It just, I just had been so careful to tell CJ don't drink and drive.
Speaker 1: (19:40)
I know that you're drinking and just call an Uber and don't do this. And he said to me, I didn't know that I was still drunk and it is a life lesson and I'm going to tell it to you guys that you just don't know. Don't get up early in the morning and get in a car because you can also then end up in jail. So now we are in 2018 we got through the rest of the 17 and 2018 brought more stress and chaos to my life. This started out okay, but we had been told by the cardiologist that Cj's valve was leaking and that his heart was starting to enlarge on the left side. So after many trips to the cardiologist and finding what I call the maestro of a surgeon, CJ had to undergo his second open heart surgery and six years in September of 2018 that was probably five of the hardest days of my life.
Speaker 1: (20:53)
Maybe even harder than the days passing of of Mike's passing because CJ had a lot of complications on the table. They didn't tell us that when you read you heart surgery there are a lot more likely to bleed. And the surgeon had actually come out and told us that he was doing okay and then um, they had to put CJ back on bypass a because the bleeding wouldn't stop, they couldn't get any of it to attach correctly when they were stitching and basically had to go in and put kind of a mesh netting on the side of his heart to, they could get it to stop bleeding. And then the surgeon came out and said, I think he's going to be okay and you never want a surgeon to say, I think he's going to be okay. It was such a long time, I hate to say that because it really wasn't, but if anybody has spent time in the hospital, hospital hours are like years that they just go by so slow and you never know what's going on.
Speaker 1: (22:01)
And like when he was in the ICU, you can only visit him at certain times. Cj got pump head and he was angry and violent and dropping f bombs all over the place and he, they couldn't get him to calm down and they almost had to reintubate him and it just was crazy. He just, his lung filled up and they had to put another chest tube in and literally we had to put them on some hallucinogenic medicine at which finally did calm him down. He, um, I guess when you're on, uh, uh, the bypass though, you're getting oxygen to your brain, you're not sending all the bad things back out like you typically do. And so it just kind of builds up in there. And No, this is not uncommon. It is kind of a scary, it's a scary thing to witness. Uh, the good thing procedure is that he doesn't remember any of it.
Speaker 1: (23:02)
Most of the first five days he doesn't remember. And then, um, we spent four more days in recovery and the step down unit. But the great, great news on this is that Cj's hardest now, the healthiest that has been in nine years and we are very, very thankful for that surgeon and for all the ICU nurses and for everybody at the Emory hospital that did so much to pull CJ through. As we were covering with CJ in the fall, my mom's health, both physically and mentally was declining and I realized I couldn't care for her as she needed me to. I was so exhausted from everything we had gone through with. So I had little patience and I just didn't feel like I could give her the care that she really deserved to have. And so we did find a wonderful senior living facility for her.
Speaker 1: (23:59)
And in November, just after Thanksgiving, she moved into her new little apartment. And right now she's doing very well. Hi Mom. I know you're listening. And though it was kind of an emotional time for both of us, it ended up that both of us knew that she was where she needed to be. So you can see that a lot of shit has taken place and though I have been some more therapy than I want to admit, I have just put all this internally even to speaking it right now. I feel like I have lifted a burden off of me and put it out into the universe. I do have to say that during this time, God was with me. And even in the times where I was so angry at him and so mad and didn't want him, I pushed him away. I pushed any kind of faith away after Nikki died.
Speaker 1: (25:02)
Uh, I see now that he was with me in the people he sent into my life. And in the little nuances that he said that he never left me with his help. I feel like I'm going to be able to clean out this junky soul, this junky drawer, then my life. And I hope that maybe I can help other people on the way. I hope I can inspire them to know that even when you're getting knocked down time and time again, you are going to be okay. And I know that if you're listening and you're going through that time right now, you don't think that that's the truth and you just think that I'm special, that it's that you're different. Maybe, but I am different but I'm not special by hardships in life might not be the same as your hardships, but we can get through them together.
Speaker 1: (25:55)
We can talk about them. This life has kind of icky. It can be terrible. I think Nora Mcinerney says it the best. She says, how are you terrible, thanks for asking. And I felt that way for so long and it was refreshing to hear her say that because everybody wants you to be fine and good and the kids to be great and everything in life to be great and it's just not. It's messy and it's junky and it's our jobs to clean it out. So thank you for listening and I will be back next week. I have my first guest on next week and I can't wait to share her with you. Thanks again for listening to this podcast. If you like it, you can go over iTunes and subscribe and give me your rating. You can also leave comments and questions. You can also find me at suemangum.com or mylifeisajunkdrawer.com hope to hear from you soon.
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