Sunday, June 21, 2015

my person.

Father's Day.
i'm going to tell you a little bit about the best man i know----my dad.

there are people in this life who shape you, help mold you into the person you are trying to become.  my dad has been that person for me my whole life.  i can never remember a time where i didn't look up to him, where i didn't want to be more like him.


my dad is my hero.
and not because he's strong and manly and all-powerful (ok, he's pretty much those things too, don't get me wrong).
  he's my hero because he's good.
in every way that counts, my dad is a good man.

my dad is kind.
there is a kindness about my dad's heart that i've watched and observed since i was a little girl.  i always knew that if someone needed help my dad would be right there willing to give it.  i learned to love and appreciate the gift of service through watching my dad give of himself so freely, needing absolutely nothing in return.  i was little, but i could see and understand that the pure love that came from giving was far greater than any amount of money or reward.




my dad is wise.
to me, my dad was always the smartest person in the world. (sometimes tied with my brother)
he fostered a love (okay, sometimes love/hate) and respect for learning and knowledge that i still appreciate to this day.  he pushed me to do my best, to reach a potential that i wasn't even aware i was capable of striving for.  he always told me i could do anything, be anything i wanted to.....if i just worked hard for it.  even now, when i'm freaking out the night before a test, i call my dad and he reminds me that i'll be fine.  just do my best and that'll be enough.  (i tend to not believe him....but i'm working on it)
beyond all the intelligence and book smarts though, is an even greater amount of wisdom that i am continually seeking to understand.  i go to my dad for advice because i trust in what he has to say.  i know for absolute certainty that he will never lead me in the wrong direction.


my dad is patient.
oh, my heart is he patient.  there's no better way to put it than to say i've dragged my dad through hell and back.  you see, i was in a dark place for a very long time.  when i hit my teenage years in fell into a deep dark hole that i wouldn't be able to pull myself out of for nearly 10 years.  i hated myself.  i hated everything about me and especially hated feeling anything.  so i did everything i could to not feel.  in order to do that i had to stop caring, and in the process i changed.  my dad was there through it all.  he tried to help in every way he possibly could, but i was in such a dark place that it became impossible.  i wasn't really there.  i was mean.  i was cold.  i didn't want anyone caring about me because i didn't think i deserved it.  i didn't want to live anymore and i almost made that come true more than a couple times.  i can't imagine the pain my dad must have felt, watching me actively trying to die.  i regret more than anything else the pain i put him through.  if i could take that back.....oh, believe me, i would.  he never left me though.  even though i pushed him away every chance i got, i knew he was there and that i needed him.  he somehow knew i would eventually find my way, and he was right there waiting for me with open arms when that time came.  i can honestly say i wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for my dad's steadfast love and faith in me.  he believed in me when i gave him every reason not to.  he is always there.



my dad is fun.
we have similar senses of humor, my dad and i.  being around him makes me laugh.  if you've ever been through a drive-through or a checkout lane with my dad, you'd know what i mean.  my dad knows when to take life seriously and when you just need a good laugh.  i can always count on him to make me smile, no matter what.  even at my beautiful boy's funeral and sitting beside his hospital bed in the days preceding his death, my dad and i found a way to laugh through the pain.  i'll forever be grateful for our inside jokes that allowed me to breathe, if only for just a minute as i was going through the hardest moments of my life.
 aside from being funny, my dad has fun.  to see him and aubrey together is to know what pure joy looks like.  they giggle together like something i've never heard before!  they are silly and i love watching the two of them together.  he's like that with all his grandkids and he was like that with my brother and sister and i growing up.  he plays.  he's like a big grown-up kid at heart.  i hope he always stays that way.








my dad is my comfort.
the minute i found out there was something "not right" with my beautiful boy my dad was in my corner, willing to do whatever it took to help me find the answers i was so desperately searching for.  on two separate occasions my dad accompanied me to different hospitals around the country in hopes of finding a doctor that could help my sweet boy.  he saw the pain and suffering Connor was enduring and i know it broke his heart.  our last trip to New York was a long shot.  i sought out the top neurologist in the nation for diseases of the basal ganglia and i was secretly hanging all my hopes on this one visit.  i sensed that my dad knew the outcome this trip would bring and i love him so much for taking us anyway.  he was there to hug me as we left that day, knowing how devastated my heart was that the answers i wanted i was never going to get.  he knew that i knew my sweet boy was dying and if it hadn't been for him i think i would have crumbled that day.





my dad is my rock.
as i've mentioned before, my dad has been through it all with me.  no matter where i was or what kind of trouble or darkness i was in, i knew my dad was there.  a constant reminder that i was loved and that his love would never go away.  i've relied on that strength more than ever these past few years.  as my beautiful boy was dying and in the months following his death i have needed that strength.  i've needed it like i need air to breathe.  when i forget how to breathe i call my dad and he finds a way to talk me through it, to remind me.  when i don't think i can possibly live one more second with this pain, this ache in my soul where my son used to be.....i call my dad and he strengthens me.  just his voice and the love i can feel through the phone gets me through.  i need him.



 
my dad is my person.
he's the best man i know.
he eats raisins by the cheekful and makes the best cinnamon rolls (Parry rolls) in the world.
he'll play a mean game of Scrabble but refuses a rematch in Othello due to my undefeated record:)
he tells the best bedtime stories a kid could ask for.
he supports me in everything i do and i want nothing more than to be like him.
aubrey told me i needed to find a husband and when i do, "he needs to be smart and funny and make mac and cheese just like Papa."

my dad has two phrases he's always told me, words of wisdom to live by:
1. Do the right thing
2. Don't be a dumbass

happy Father's day to all the fathers out there and especially to my dad.
love you daddy.
lymtylmsifsib
<3

Sunday, June 14, 2015

when everything familiar is gone...

a week ago aubrey and i drove to the cemetery after church to visit our beautiful boy's spot.
as i drove around the bend and looked for "his blue stuff", panic set in as i couldn't find it.
i always knew where my son's spot was, even from a distance because i could see his blue
in his spot, where 18 months of my collected treasures were supposed to be, there was emptiness instead.
stark emptiness.

it felt like the wind had been knocked out of me.
aubrey and i got out of the van and ran to Connor's spot and sat there in disbelief.
it was gone.
it was ALL gone.
EVERYTHING.

18 months of things that meant something so dear to us were all gone.
i sat there and cried.
aubrey wasn't sure what to do or think.

i know they were just things.
meaningless things to most.
i understand the value of what was taken was miniscule in the grand scheme of things....
but to me, and to my sweet little girl who can only bring things now to her baby brother---these things meant so much more.


we had been collecting and adding those things to our sweet boy's sight for as long as he's been buried there.
for us, these things helped.
for me especially, these things were my way of staying connected to my precious little boy when there was nothing else i could physically do.

these things helped.








they were just things.
but they were special things for my beautiful boy.....

and now they're gone.

but it's okay.
i mean, it's not okay....but it's okay.
it's been a week and i haven't put anything new there yet.
i'm going to.
i'm going to find new things for my sweet boy and those things will be special too.



life is just like this.
you're going through life, everything is fine.  everything is just how you expect it to be.  it's predictable, things have always been this way, the way you're used to.  you grow accustomed to the familiar things about life---they are of comfort to you, a reassuring constant.  even if they're little things, the familiarity of them is somehow soothing to you in such a chaotic world.
and then one day, you drive around the corner and everything's gone.
everything's changed.
just like that, in one quick instant, everything you knew to be true is different and you weren't expecting it.
it's a punch in the gut.
it takes the air right out of your lungs and you're left trying to remember how to breathe again.
there's an emptiness where everything familiar used to be and that can be hard to cope with.
devastating, sometimes.
you need time to let it all sink in---this newness isn't comfortable, it's sometimes terrifying.
it's new.  it's different.  it's change.
change is hard to deal with, for me especially.
so you let it sink in.
you sit with it and the feelings are sometimes too hard to handle so you refuse to acknowledge them at all.
little by little you are forced to deal with it, maybe just tiny bits at a time.
you are adjusting, just in your own way, at your own pace, in your own time.
changing.
you're changing.
even though you didn't expect it or didn't even want to.
you change because things have changed.
the process is different for everyone.
but no one can completely avoid it.
life's not really like that.
oh, how i sometimes wish it was!!

today, i'm letting little bits and pieces in.
i'm acknowledging things i don't want to and trying to not turn away completely and hide from the things that i'd rather just ignore altogether.
i'm trying.
i'm changing, whether i want to or not.
i'm trying to be okay.
that's my focus for today:  just try to be okay.

happy Sunday to all of you.
<3

Sunday, May 17, 2015

that person.

i've struggled with writing lately.
i feel like if i truly write what's on my heart and in my soul, i will be that person.
i will be that person who can't stop talking about sadness.
i will be that mother who lost her son and everyone knows she lost her son but she keeps talking about it anyway, even though talking about it will never bring him back.
i'll be that person who seems to only be dwelling on the hard things when she clearly has so much more to live for.
i'll be that person who drags everyone else down because she can't seem to figure out the balance of normalcy and happiness after death and despair.
i'll be that grieving mother who should be getting on with life by now, but for the life of her just can't seem to figure it out.
i'll be that person who seems bitter to the world but in her heart she's not.  she's really not, she's just broken and doesn't know how to fix herself.
i'll be that person.
i am that person.
i don't know who else to be.

so i'll write, and i'll write what i feel because that's always been my purpose for writing, to get things out of my head, no matter what they are.
lately they just happen to be hard things.
heavy things.
just sad stuff.

i miss my son.
isn't time supposed to ease the pain, or heal wounds or something magical like that?
i get what the phrase means, i do.
the pain is definitely less raw than it was 17 months ago.
my heart is less exposed than it was when i was holding my son as he took his last breath, or when i was watching him being buried in the ground.
time has allowed me to build up a wall, an armor, around my heart that helps me get through each day without actually dying.
so i get it, time helps in certain ways, it does.

but oh my heart, i just miss him.
there are times when i'm okay-ish.  when i'm busy and i don't let myself stop and think, i can be alright-ish.
i still have fun and laugh and find genuine moments of happy.
i am embracing (ok, maybe not embracing but really trying hard) at school and searching for a life path for myself, something that i can feel fulfilled and useful at, trying to find a purpose.
i am trying my hardest to feel happy and not fall apart.
but oh, i have to try so hard some days.
sometimes i feel like i'm just getting through the day by keeping my mind and body so busy that i won't possibly have time to acknowledge my reality.
i'm doing everything i can to play pretend and make believe so that at the end of the day i won't have to realize all over again that my beautiful boy is gone.
he died.
i didn't save him.
i just miss him.

so here i am, that person who keeps talking about the same grief, keeps pouring out the same feelings over and over because i just can't quite seem to let them go.
i'm trying.
it's not like i'm not feeling them.
i'm not avoiding my feelings completely.
i do tend to let them build until i break though.
but it's all i can do some days.
i don't know the "right way" to grieve, i'm sure that there isn't one.
this is just me, my way.
it may not be the best but hey, i'm still here.
sometimes it takes everything in me to understand why, but i'm here and i'm trying and that's all i've got.

i'm just a person who misses her son.
that's all.

happy Sunday to all of you.
<3



Sunday, May 10, 2015

i am a mother.

i haven't written in weeks.
i have tried to sit down and write several times because my soul has so desperately needed it, but my mind wouldn't let me.
my mind has been a jumbled mess of stress, worry, fear and emotion lately.
finals had a lot to do with that.
i stressed so hard about my exams, studying nonstop, letting all the stress, emotion and worry build and build and build...............
and then it was over.
 
i took my last exam on wednesday night and then it was over.
thursday i thought i would feel a huge sense of relief, a freedom of sorts.............
and i did, in a way.
i felt relieved that i was done with math and there was nothing left to study.
i was relieved that i could finally just sit and not have school stress on the forefront of my mind.

but when school stress is gone i'm left alone with myself and my thoughts........oh my heart, i crumble.
when there's nothing left there to occupy my mind, i crumble.
when i think too much---when i actually let myself sit and think and feel---i crumble.

which brings me to today---Mother's Day.
it's the best and the worst day all wrapped up into one.
i am a mother.
it's the best thing i've ever done and the most whole person i'll ever be.
but half of what makes me a mother is missing, is gone.
i don't feel like a whole mother anymore.
it's such a conflicting feeling.
i know he's still mine, i know i'm still his mother.......but he's not with me anymore, not really.
people always say to me, "he's still with you".  i know what they mean.  i get it, i really do.  i understand that he'll always be "with" me.......but when i'm alone at night, sitting by my son's little makeshift bed that's still in the middle of the living room floor.......when i'm sitting there with my arms so empty just wishing i could just hold him again and it sends a chill throughout my entire body, a chill so cold i don't think i can ever be warmed........when i'm in his room going through drawers and drawers of his clothes, desperately trying to catch a hint of his sweet smell........when i'm still dreaming so vividly about my beautiful boy, and in those dreams i just want to save him........i'm trying so hard to save him and then i wake up.........
in those moments i'm so painfully aware that he's not with me.  
not really.
not the way a child should be with his mother.
not the way he belongs, in my arms.
he's still mine but he's gone.
he's my son but he's gone.

so this thursday, when i sat and tried to find relief, every sad feeling, all the emptiness i had been trying to cover up with busyness and school stuff came flooding in instead.
oh, i don't know how to describe to you the feeling of it, the weight of it all......all i can say is that it hurts.  it's a heavy hurt, a hurt that sits on my chest and clenches my throat to the point where i know there's no way i can survive this.
it's a panicky, gut-wrenching feeling to realize over and over again that my son is gone and that the rest of my life will be lived without him.
i sit on the floor and cry until there are no more tears because there are no more breaths left in me and i am certain that i cannot do it.
i cannot make it the whole rest of my life without him, and with this pain.
it's all too much.
i can't do it.
i don't want to.
i can't!!


oh, but then i look into my sweet girl's eyes and i see you, and i see her, and i know that somehow i have to keep going.........somehow i will keep going.
not for me or for you, sweet boy.
but for her.

she needs me.
she loves me.
she misses you.
oh we both miss you, Connie.
she is a beautiful reason to keep trying and to keep searching for hope and strength.
she makes it all worthwhile, just like you did, my beautiful boy.
she is every bit as beautiful as you in her own very special way and i know that i was blessed with you both for reasons i come to appreciate more and more as i fight to understand my place in this life.

i cannot do this alone.
some days i don't know if i can do it at all.
some days i question whether i even want to.
it's hard and it hurts so much more than i can bear.
but there's always a reason to keep trying.
i'm reminded every time she calls me mom or tells me she loves me.
even when she is mad at me or rolls her pretty little eyes when she thinks i'm not looking, that reason is still there.
she needs me.
i need her.

i'm a mother, but i don't feel whole.
i'm trying my best to move forward in a world that i don't quite understand, without my life's true soul mate.
 
i love my children.
they will always be my favorite part of me.

i know there are many different definitions of what constitutes a mother.
mothers come in all shapes and forms and every situation is unique and special.
happy Mother's Day to all of you.
<3





Sunday, April 19, 2015

i'm okay....ish.

people ask me all the time, "How are you doing?"
or
"How's it going?"
or
"Are you doing okay?"

i never really know how to answer.
I'm alright-ish.
or
I'm hanging in there... ish.
or
I'm okay-ish.


i always add the ish.
i don't feel fully alright or okay.
the ish explains the rest.
i don't know that i'll ever feel okay.  i don't even know what that means anymore.

i need to give up trying to reach that feeling of "okay" and nurture where i'm at right now.
i'm not okay.
but i am alright with that.
i'm here.
and i'm still trying.
my son is gone and that's never going to be okay.
it's just something i'm learning to accept and live with.
that's the hard part.

finding joy along the way certainly helps.
my sweet girl bringing me a surprise bouquet of flowers from the yard "just cause they're pretty and she loves me" helps.
 
having a dad (my person) who i can call no matter what time day or night helps.
having friends who love me for me, despite all my messy parts helps.
experiencing small victories at school and overcoming personal challenges and struggles in the midst of fear and worry helps.
closing my eyes and remembering my beautiful boy's sweet noises and how he felt cradled in my lap helps.
oh my heart it helps.


 i miss him.
lately the ache seems to be magnified.
i'm not okay without my beautiful boy.
but i am trying.
i am still living, and loving.
i'm grateful for the love and support i feel from people in my life, near and far.
i am so very grateful for that.
no ish.

happy Sunday to you.
<3

Sunday, April 12, 2015

my heart.

Sunday.

i need to write to get out of my head.
i wish i could take a break from my mind sometimes.
a good long vacation from my thoughts.
that would be nice.

or if my feelings could just steer clear of my heart for a while, that would also be fantastic.
i've been learning about the human heart in my Anatomy class.  i've held the real thing in my very hands in various labs.  i've studied all its parts and how it works and what keeps it going.
nowhere in any of my studies has it explained to me how or why the hell my heart can HURT so much when it's inside my body, doing all the things it's supposed to be doing.

blood is still pumping and flowing through all the right chambers.
my heart is still contracting and relaxing when it needs to.
it's still receiving and sending blood throughout my body......
but how can it be doing all this when THERE'S A GIANT HOLE IN IT????
 and if there's not an actual hole in it, then why does it HURT so badly??
 
i just don't understand.
 
where does the ache come from?
what causes me to forget how to breathe?
why am i able to handle it sometimes, and then be completely leveled by the pain at other times?
 
last night i was leveled.
there are some nights where it just becomes too BIG, the ache.
 
i'm trying so hard.
i don't want to be sad all the time.
i'm not.
i promise you, i'm not.
i'm not depressed, it just hurts.
i'm still happy, it just hurts.
i laugh.  i smile.  i have fun!
it just hurts. 
 
 
i don't understand my heart.
how it can love so deeply and feel so broken at the same time.
how can it hold SO MUCH goodness, yet be so empty?
why does it continue to wish for things that cannot be?

i just don't understand.

i'll keep trying.
i'm certain of that.

happy Sunday to all of you.
thanks for listening to my heart.
<3

Sunday, March 29, 2015

this week i broke.

i haven't written for a while.
i've been wanting to write but every time i sit down to pour out my heart, my head seems to get in the way.
i have so much going on in both my heart and my head.....letting it out is the tricky part.
it's tricky because i'm not sure what it really is.
a jumbled mess of feelings---
emotions
thoughts
fears
worries
hopes
excitement
regret
sadness
frustration
stress
confusion

SO MUCH GOING ON INSIDE MY HEAD
ALWAYS!!

i let it all build up and this week it kind of exploded on me.
i've been holding it in for awhile now with no release.
i think i've been avoiding my feelings, no---i'm sure i have.
if i keep myself busy and distracted enough, i don't have time to focus on the hard stuff.  i know it's there but i don't let myself be still long enough to really feel it.
pretty sure this is typical avoidance.

this week i broke.
studying for a math test set me off.
i had to be still, i was studying and needed my mind to concentrate.
forcing myself to be still and focus on the problems before me also opened the gates for everything else to come rushing through.
and boy did it ever!
i hadn't cried so hard in a while, i felt that familiar panic start to rise up and breathing became impossible.
i did what i usually do when the fear becomes too big and i don't know if i can make it---
i called my dad.
 my person.
 
 
he helps to remind me that i'm okay, i'm still here, i don't need to be perfect.  the pressure i put upon myself about school and everything else is something i'm doing, and i need to ease up.
somehow i need to find a balance for myself.
i've been searching for ways to do that for nearly my whole life.
more than anything, i struggle with myself.
i always have.
it's something i'm trying to figure out and understand.
it makes me miss my son so incredibly much.
 
i felt most comfortable with myself and who i am when i was caring for my beautiful boy.
i accepted myself more then because my son and i were so intertwined that to hate anything about myself would be like hating something about him.
and i just loved him.
i loved everything i did for him.
i miss him.
 i miss me with him.
 
i'm searching for acceptance.
sometimes i think i find bits and pieces.  i'm trying to save those in hopes that one day i'll be able to piece them together to form something real and strong and unbreakable.
i'm hoping.
i'm searching.
i'm trying.
i'm always trying.
 
happy Sunday to you.
<3