Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Living on a Bridge

As I sat down today to start my blog, I really don't have anything of interest to say. I have had a few fun activities during the last week that I will blog about at a later time but really I am just still at a loss for words about anything. I am still mourning the loss of my cousin Lance. It's been almost two weeks and every single night as I am trying to fall asleep, I relive the moments when I found out he was gone all the way up to his funeral. I keep replaying everything in my head and I don't know how to make that stop. I try to move along but still find it so hard to believe that he is really gone. At Thanksgiving I will still be expecting him to walk through the doors. It will be so weird, our family not entirely complete anymore. I keep myself busy through the days and weeks but still he is not far from my mind. I hope and pray that angels guided him to my daughters so that he can truly see how beautiful my girls are. I miss Lance so much still.

Also I was wondering...can you have a mid-life crisis at age 32? If so, I wonder if I am having one. I feel as though I need some kind of change in my life. I am desperately wanting to go back to school. It is such a dream of mine and I am having a really hard time facing the fact that this dream will just fizzle away. I doubt I will be able to go back to school. Financially, we can't afford it right now. I could probably get financial aide but then I think, I will be 36 years old before I get a "real" degree and finally settle into a career. Bummer. Big Bummer.

Also I wanna move away. I don't know why but Tony and I both have thought about moving somewhere. I feel like there is some major bullshit in my life right now that I wanna just run away from and never have to face. Yet again, I am an adult and I surely know that running away from issues will not resolve them. I am facing things like a big girl and some things I am trying to avoid all together. I feel as though I have been hurt one too many times by people who are supposed to love me. I feel as though I have dodged one bill too many for the millionth time. It's stress at it's finest people...that is my life.

So I feel as though I am suspended on a bridge right now. One leg is on one side with only Tony, Betsy and myself and we are running as far away as we can from our present lives. We want to take with us our friends, our church family and our favorite TV shows. The other leg is on a side of life where we have nothing like we have now. We are debt-free and living in another town. But our friends are not there and our church family isn't either. I'm suspended.

It is an uncomfortable place to be. It is constantly being rocked by winds of change in the lives of people around us. It's a feeling of always being the last one picked for sports during recess when you were a kid. So here I sit...suspended. I am in the midst of this ever-present internal struggle. I am on a tightrope of staying in faith while not getting my hopes crushed. I live in the expectation that our promises will one day be fulfilled and our lives will be exactly the way we want them to be. Through it all, I have to keep my eyes on Jesus. I need to be reminded of my favorite scripture, Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Wouldn't it be just like the devil to put me and others into a self-absorbed tailspin? Wouldn't he love to keep us wrapped up in this roller coaster of emotions so we don't fulfill or even SEE what God has in store for us?

I do live in hope because, after all, bridges do lead to somewhere. And that somewhere is usually good.

Friday, October 15, 2010

October 15-Wave of Light

...The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 314, has designated the month of October, as "Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month" and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this month.

NOW, THEREFORE, I RONALD REAGAN, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities...

(taken from the 1988 Presidential Proclaimation)

With all the publicity and marketing of Breast Cancer Awareness, it is not really a shocker to me that people are unaware it is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. We are overlooked. At times I feel I have way too much 'awareness' of this topic, but I do know too well that the silence surrounding the girl's death is often the hardest part of it to take. The fact that it is taboo to talk about it. Like we are morbid or obsessed if we mention our child's name. To me, they are still my children and I love to mention their names and speak often of them.

So how to spread awareness? Well, sometimes I am stronger than other times. Sometimes I have more energy for this, and other times I am using all my energy to just get myself out of bed in the morning. I have posted things on my facebook for all to see. I wish I had made a pink and blue ribbon to wear or tie on a door knob or something. Pink and blue are the colors of Pregnancy and Infant Loss. But the way I like to remember and participate is the Wave of Light being held this Friday, October 15th at 7 p.m. If we all light our candles at 7 pm our time zone we will have a continuous wave of light around the world.

Remember Grace and Olivia as well as all babies who were born to soon and never got to come home. Never got to sleep in their mother's loving arms. Never got to live. I miss and remember my girls every day but I am glad there is a specific day set aside for everyone else to remember them.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Such a Great Loss

I remember growing up listening to my mom talk about her cousin David that was killed in a car accident when they were young. My mom would talk about David and how close they were and how much she misses him so, so many years later. I now know all too well that pain.

In the early morning hours of Thursday, October 7, my phone rang. I keep my phone on silent through the night and how I heard it vibrating is beyond me. It was approximately 5:20 am. Tony was already up for work and was watching TV in the living room. I picked up the phone and saw it was my mom. I mumbled hello as I tried to wake up and speak clearly. My mom said, "Is Tony there with you?". Immediately I knew something was wrong and I automatically thought it was my grandpa, just due to his age and health. I said, "yes, WHY!?" There was a pause. My mom's voice was quivering. "I have terrible, terrible news". At this point I was in shear panic. "Mom, WHAT!!" I cried. She blurted out, "Lance was killed in a car accident." I jumped up and starting running to the living room. "NO! NO! NO!" I screamed. I was a bawling mess as I yelled the news to Tony. I finally had to hand the phone to him because I couldn't control myself.

My cousin Lance was only 24 years old. He is my mom's brother's son. My first cousin. We all grew up close, all of us cousins. We spent all our holidays together, most of our summers, and any time my mom had a break from school we would go to my grandparents. My cousins are what make my memories there. We were all fairly close in age, just close enough to be good friends, but just far enough apart to get on each other's nerves at times. My cousins are also my friends.

Lance was involved in an accident that took his life. Apparently he was in a friend's jeep but he was alone. I'm not sure of the exact details, as I haven't asked yet. I don't know that I really want to know exactly what happened. I don't know if he lost control or swerved to miss a deer or cow or something in the road. Nonetheless, his jeep flipped and he didn't survive.

I must say this has been the toughest thing for me to face and deal with. I try to explain it as easily as I can. Losing Lance has been difficult. I don't want to compare the loss with Grace and Olivia, but it is a total different hurt. I think when I lost the girls it was almost a "peaceful hurt" if that makes sense, where this has been so tragic. I am not minimizing the death of my babies by any means, but this hurt is so different, so deep.

I was so fortunate that I got to spend a little time with Lance and his daughter, Callie, just a mere 12 days before his death. I got to spend time with him when we went down there for Allie's 2nd birthday. Lance brought his daughter over to play with Betsy and I am so thankful for those last memories of them together. I took many pictures as I am preparing to make a family photo book of our entire family to present to my grandparents for Christmas. I look at these pictures, that were taken so close to his death, and my heart just aches all over again.

When my mom speaks of her cousin David that died, she talks about how she didn't have any closure to his death because she was not able to see him after he died. I was thankful to have this closure with Lance. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever experienced, to see my cousin laying there in his casket. The overwhelming sadness and great loss our family felt will never be able to be expressed in words. I am thankful that he looked so peaceful. He literally had a smile on his face, the same smile I have seen for many, many years. That brought such a joy to my heart as I felt as though he WAS in total peace. My heart is so heavy. I am sorry that our family had to deal with this. I am sorry that Betsy will never know her cousin Lance and what a great guy he was. I hope that as we watch his daughter Callie grow up, that we all remember to share with her what a wonderful daddy he was to her. Lance's fiance, Sarah, is expecting their second child due in April. I hope we all remember to share Lance with this new baby as well.

My favorite part of his funeral service was when the preacher reminded us all to be thankful for the times we had with Lance. We were blessed to have him for 24 years. Some people don't even have that long. We have 24 years of memories to last us a lifetime.
Our hearts are aching still but we need to be comforted in the fact that Lance is NOT aching. And we can smile knowing he was the first in our family to get to hug my girls.

Sarah, Lance and Callie with Ma on Easter

Here is Lance and his daughter Callie, listening to a book from our Ma.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, October 4, 2010

Getting Easier, Still Hurts

Today marks the 2-year anniversary of Olivia's death. I remember after we lost the girls I would sometimes ask other babylost mothers, "Does it EVER get easier?". I hurt so bad that I couldn't imagine any less pain than I felt. Some of them told me, yes, it does get easier but you will always feel the hurt. So here it is, a mere two years later, and it still hurts just as bad as the day it happened. Yes, it is easier to deal with. I don't have the tears to cry every single day, although some days I remember better than others and a few tears will fall. My heart aches every single day for this baby girl, every day I think of her and every day I miss her. It's something I will have to live with for the rest of my life. It's my "new normal" and I have found that I have adjusted quite well. I have never forgotten. I still remember the phone call that day and I still remember every detail of that sad day. I have learned to pick up the pieces and be strong. I have learned to focus all my time and energy into my living miracle, Betsy. All the hurt and sadness I feel I have learned to turn into overwhelming love. Olivia's clothes we put her in to take pictures still smell of her. I have kept them tightly sealed in a bag to try to preserve that smell forever. I know it will eventually fade, much like my anger and sadness. But the memory will last forever. My hurt will last forever. Yes, it is getting much easier to deal with the fact that she is forever gone. But my heart still hurts for her.

The Cord

We are connected,
My child and I, by
An invisible cord
Not seen by the eye.

It's not like the cord
That connects us 'til birth
This cord can't been seen
By any on Earth.

This cord does it's work
Right from the start.
It binds us together
Attached to my heart.

I know that it's there
Though no one can see
The invisible cord
From my child to me.

The strength of this cord
Is hard to describe.
It can't be destroyed
It can't be denied.

It's stronger than any cord
Man could create
It withstands the test
Can hold any weight.

And though you are gone,
Though you're not here with me,
The cord is still there
But no one can see.

It pulls at my heart
I am bruised...I am sore,
But this cord is my lifeline
As never before.

I am thankful that God
Connects us this way
A mother and child
Death can't take it away!

~ author unknown ~

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Playroom Transformation

We decided to make Betsy a playroom because our 3rd bedroom was being used for my office but we were also storing some toys and other things in there too. Since I am only working part-time I kinda felt like that room was starting to turn into a junk room and I hated having an entire room in our house go to waste. We decided we would rearrange our bedroom to fit a small desk space in there for me and transform the office into a playroom. Big pat on the back to Tony and I because we worked really hard to do this. It took a lot of work. We were very pleased with the outcome. Betsy officially now has the two nicest rooms in the house: Her room and her playroom.

Here is the progress:

This green wall is not completely done. We originally got two butterflies to paint on the wall around Betsy's name to memorialize Grace and Olivia; however, the butterflies turned out to be too big. We are going to paint two white doves sitting on the vines we just haven't gotten the dove stencils yet.

Busy Family

Yikes! I have been a horrible blogger here lately. I guess we have been keeping pretty busy around here. It's funny how quickly our free time fills up. After Tony's promotion within Hertz, sometimes he works pretty funky shifts. Which kinda sucks but that means he gets days off during the week which has been nice. Anyway. We haven't been busy in the sense that we are never home but the weather has been cooling down lately and so we have been spending most of our free time outside or going to the park. When I do have a moment just to be alone I haven't been blogging. I've been playing catch-up it seems with other things we have neglected around the house. A few weeks ago we were super busy getting ready for a garage sale, which turned out to be very successful. We made over $600. I couldn't believe we had that much "junk" laying around! We made Betsy a playroom (which I will blog about shortly) and that most certainly cleared out a million things we had stashed away in that room. It's funny to see other people buying our things that have no use to us anymore. And we were surprised as to just what people will buy. Things we thought were complete junk and actually debated throwing away actually sold. It was quite amusing.

So we had garage sale one weekend and then the very next weekend we made Betsy a new playroom. That kept us completely tied up for an entire weekend and even a few days into the week. The bedroom we used had too much crap in it and it was a chore in itself just getting rid of things.

We also went to the Great State Fair of Oklahoma, as we have gone every year since I can remember. This was the first time we took Betsy and I think she enjoyed it. We didn't get to stay as long as I would have liked, it just got too hot and crowded, but we still had a good time. Betsy enjoyed the petting zoo and wanted to ride a camel but I said...UH...NO!! Those things stink!

Here we are at the State Fair

Betsy petting a baby chick

Feeding an animal

Outside the petting zoo. Look how stinkin cute she looks!

Our little family

So last weekend we went to my grandparent's for my cousin's little girl's birthday. Betsy and Allie are exactly one month apart and we like to try to get them together as much as possible so they can grow up close. Allie's mom and I are 4 years apart and we grew up close to each other and would have so much fun when I would go down for the summers to stay with them. I love my cousins and all my family down there so it is a real treat when we get to go visit. I grew up with 5 cousins that I was close with and now we all have kids of our own so it's fun to see all them play together same as we did growing up.

Betsy and her cousin Allie....what dolls!!

Going for a drive

Sweet girls

I don't remember if I mentioned it but we had got Betsy a potty a few weeks ago. She really hasn't shown us any signs that she is ready to use the potty. She will sometimes tell us when she has pooped in her diaper but never after pee-pee. I thought she is at the age where we should at least be introducing it to her. She knows the sign for potty and I would always sign when I was going to the potty so she could become familiar with what it meant. So we got the potty and she has sit on it on occasion but hasn't actually used the bathroom on it. We really just are trying to get her comfortable with it and to get the idea of sitting on it. Hopefully she will "accidentally" pee on it one day and that will kinda give her the idea of what it's for. I don't wanna rush it, just taking it at her own pace.

So that is what we have been up to. Betsy is growing up so fast it's crazy. She's really establishing her independence. I guess this is what they call the "Terrible Two's" but I don't think she's all that terrible. She pushes her boundaries but nothing too out of line...yet! She is a real joy and we are still having so much fun.