Friday, November 3, 2017

A Family of 5, a family of 4, a family of?

I was raised in a family of 5, I had an older sister and a younger sister and I was fortunate enough to be the middle child. I loved my childhood, my immediate family and extended family and I couldn't wait to have a family of my own. I grew up and got married (much later than I had hoped but in God's perfect timing). I then had my first child and was blessed beyond all reason and had 2 more. I was once again in a family of 5, and I loved it! I was living the dream that I always wanted and I couldn't be happier....then we lost Jennifer.

We recently went on vacation, the first one in years as a family. We knew we wanted to do this with our boys and create some new memories, especially after these last several months. We made all the plans and reservations and were excited to go to Florida. My only problem that I wasn't anticipating was making reservations for only 4 people. We didn't need the extra bed in our hotel, when we stood in line for a ride, every time they ask "how many?" my heart wanted to scream...5, 3 in one seat and 2 in another! We always took turns on who would ride with whom. We would go out to eat and they would ask "how many?" again I would say 4 but I wanted desperately to say 5! It felt, incomplete, it felt, wrong. I even felt guilty. 

There are 5 of us, aren't there? It's not like Jennifer never was, or has been forgotten, never! The problem is, that now I seriously struggle with how to answer the question "how many in your family?" You see when it comes to a ride, even though it is painful I know to say 4, but what do I say when someone asks, "how many children do you have?"If I say 3, inevitably I am asked, how old are they, or what are their names, what do they do? When I explain that one isn't with us it then becomes uncomfortable and they have to say, they are sorry or what happened, etc. If I only say 2 children, I am torn apart and feel I am cheating my beautiful girl. You see she will always be my baby. Those that already know our story may understand but meeting new people makes it awkward and strange. I don't really know how to explain it to where it makes sense. I feel like I am rambling or not making myself clear but this is where I am right now. My family of 5 isn't complete anymore and nothing will change that, it will always be a family of...?

Saturday, July 29, 2017

A single strand of hair

It has been several months since Jennifer passed away. Many people have asked how we are are holding up. It's an honest question, one that I have a hard time answering. You see it honestly depends on the day or even the moment. Sometimes it seems like an eternity since I have heard her laugh or gotten to kiss her good night. I am afraid I will forget the sound of her voice. Other times it seems like she is just down the hall and I can imagine her in there texting her friends and doing a puzzle. There are days that I laugh and have a great time with my boys or friends but then I feel horribly guilty for not being sad. I know I shouldn't feel this way and no matter what anyone says it won't change the way I feel. I can hear people with good intentions telling me that Jennifer wouldn't want me to be sad and she is no longer in pain. The truth is I think she would want me to be sad a little because she would know that I miss her and love her incredibly. I also know she is better off and I will see her again, but right now it still hurts and I want to be selfish and have her here with me. 

I do have some really good days. I also have some days that make me feel shattered all over again. One of those days happened a couple of weeks ago. I decided on a whim to wear one of Jennifer's bright pink over shirts. I can't even tell you why or why it was even out. I didn't go into her closest to find it. Anyway, I put it on and went out and about wearing it proudly, I went to church that night and was singing when I looked down and saw a single strand of long blond hair wrapped loosely around a big pink button. I knew immediately that it was Jennifer's and started crying. It was tangible, it was her, she wasn't here but her hair still was. It wasn't fair, it was painful, it felt wrong. I didn't want to let go of that beautiful single strand. I gently laid it back on the sweater and wound it around the button. I couldn't bring myself to get rid of it. It was a part of her, a part that grew with her, something with DNA. I wanted to keep it forever.

Today we tried to go through her closet. We didn't last long and didn't do everything. I know why people keep so much when a loved one dies. She had so much chapstick and lip gloss ( another obsession she had) I didn't want to throw any of it out. My baby had used it, her lips had touched it. It honestly hurt to throw it away, and yet keeping it doesn't make sense. No one wants used chapstick. The clothes smelled like her and I didn't want to let them go. Almost every item held a memory. We would remember her favorites and all the pink clothes. Several were set aside, probably more than should have been. We stopped there, we didn't go through her baby dolls, puzzles, coloring books or anything else. The clothes did us in, I know there are strands of hair all over them. I look at her hairbrush and I don't want to clean it out. I don't want to go through her make up or babies. I honestly don't know when I will be ready. I don't think time will make this part easier. It will always be painful but it also holds beautiful memories: Her sweet 16 dress, her prom dress, her favorite hoody, her "I Love Lucy" t-shirt, all hold wonderful memories. 

Honestly we are doing better most of the time but when those little or not so little moments come they hurt. I am getting used to them and learning to let them come. God is my comforter and grief is very real. We live in a broken, sinful world and I am not exempt from the pain. This is not my home and I long to see my beautiful Sweetcheeks again. Until then I praise my Lord and show others to also. This life is painful and sometimes sucks, God knows that and that is why I long for a day when all my suffering is over. Thank God, He is my Comforter! 

Monday, May 1, 2017

The month of May

May is a month that I look forward to every year. It holds a lot of memories and excitement for many reasons. I love May!
Growing up it meant the end of the school year and summer vacation. It meant my grandmothers birthday, two of my aunts birthdays and one of my favorite Uncles birthdays. It is also the month I was born in. One of my very first concrete memories I can put a time frame on is my 4th birthday party at Humpty Dumpty land and a pretend makeup set with a plastic tube of bright berry colored lipstick, complete with the slant. I loved pretending to apply it. My favorite color is Emerald green, which just happens to be my birthstone.  May is the month that Mother's Day is. I grew up alway, always wanting to be a mommy. I remember vividly the day I found out I was pregnant, I was due in May!! I had my daughter on a Friday just before Mother's Day, I was thrilled. I went on to have two more children that have been a blessing and one shares a May birthday as well. My first nephew was born in May and I was there when he was born. So many wonderful memories happen in this wonderful month. 
This year May still holds the same holidays but with a pain that is beyond measure. My beautiful daughter won't be here to celebrate her 19th birthday, she won't help us celebrate her brother's birthday or mine. Mother's Day is going to be almost as hard as her birthday. I am bowing out, this month. I will celebrate with my boys but I am hoping to mostly survive this month and will be glad to see June. I may not answer phone calls or texts. I thank God work will be busy this month. I thank God for allowing me to become a mother, but with becoming a mother and all the joy and happiness it brings, it also brings and abundance of pain, maybe that is why when you first become a mother, you have morning sickness and labor pain. The heart ache never goes away but it is worth it all. Oh June please come quickly. Please keep praying for us, we so appreciate it.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Silent Treatment

The Silent Treatment, we have all heard of it and know what it means, but for me it doesn't mean being silent. If or should I say when, I get upset, angry or hurt at someone, I will likely still talk to them but it will be vague, or shallow. When I don't want to talk to my husband I will still say things like, "did you pick up the prescriptions" or "I have a PTA meeting next week". He may ask me "what's for dinner?" and I will answer. However I don't say what is really bothering me or anything of great importance. Anyone watching us sees everything as being fine. For me it is the same way with God. I didn't even realize it at first. For the last several months I have been going through the motions or spending time wth God. This is good that I still have the habit, we need it during the hard times especially. I wake up I read my devotional I pray etc. but it is very generic, like saying grace before a meal. I have read the same devotional several days in a row because I honestly don't remember what I have read. I don't participate in Sunday School like I have. Anyone that knows me knows that I love to talk.. I haven't been. I show up, I go through the motions but there is no depth. I don't pray like I should. I am not doing my Bible study. I tell God I am sad but I don't cry out and say what I am truly feeing: " I love You, I trust You, but this hurts, this doesn't feel fair, etc." and I don't listen for His reply. I am trying to punish Him by not speaking to Him but it is really hurting me and my family. A friend of mine said Satan is attacking. I shouldn't be surprised. Beth Moore once said, that Satan will attack when you are down. We think he won't because we have already been through so much, but Satan is no gentleman, he is going to take every opportunity he can. He is a liar, thief, devourer. So why should I not expect it? I see the results of it clearly when I open my eyes. My relationships are hurting, my house is really suffering, even for me. I hate house work but it's worse than ever. My family is suffering. I don't think I even realized at first that I wasn't talking to God, I think it has taken a while to see the effects it is having. While we are still hurting, it seems to be getting worse not better. Satan is loving it I am sure. I haven't been spending time with my Lord and Savior like I really should or my family. I need to crawl into my Abba Father's lap and cry, however long that takes. I need to tell Him that I don't like this, that it hurts, and I miss Jennifer way too much for this to be okay or fair. I want my boys to have their sister back. They are hurting and it shows, maybe not in the same way as I am but I see it affecting them. God is close to the broken hearted, there are so many scriptures I could go to and pour over, but I haven't. When I give my husband the silent treatment we both hurt but I think I suffer more. I loose communication with my best friend, I feel alone and isolated. It is the same way with God. I hurt, I am alone, I loose that comfort that I need and I suffer, so does my family. I need to break the silence, it's not like God doesn't already know how I feel, or what I will say. He wants to help me grieve and heal but I need to let him. Abba Father, help me to find my voice again.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Going back to ICU

I knew I wanted to go back to the ICU at the hospital eventually. I just wasn't sure when I wanted to go. I couldn't go right away, I didn't have it in me. I couldn't wait too long, because they may not remember. I decided it was time and I wanted to make sure a couple of nurses especially were going to be there. I wanted to say thank you. I don't think they hear it enough. Nursing, especially in ICU tends to feel like a thankless job. They work hard and often don't see a happy ending. So I went to a local cookie shop and picked up several dozen fresh cookies and drove to the place that had been home for 5 weeks. I knew it would be difficult, I knew it would be emotional and I thought I was prepared. I was wrong. Parking felt eerily familiar. Walking into the hospital and getting on the elevator was uncomfortable, but walking down the long corridor was physically painful. My stomach churned, my head hurt, I felt like I couldn't breathe. Calling on the wall phone and I was shaky and felt like I was going to panic. They buzzed me back and I lost my voice. My eyes blurred and I began to sob. I couldn't look in Jennifer's room, it hurt too much and flooded back memories. I told several of our favorite nurses thank you, I told them they made a terrible situation more bearable. They made a difference, they work hard and they deserve more credit. I wanted them to know that I continue to pray for them. I couldn't thank them enough. I also couldn't wait to leave. The pain was huge, it hung in the air and I wanted out. I also know I had to do it. I wanted to do it. These people are amazing and they took beautiful care of my precious girl. I couldn't let that go. Thank you nurses for standing on your feet all day and doing so many thankless tasks. I for one appreciate you! Maybe one day I will bring cookies again.