Saturday, May 30, 2009

More pictures

Standing on the Brooklyn Bridge

The Chrysler Building looking beautiful in the rain...

Grand Central Terminal...absolutely gorgeous.


Tim's favorite...Wall Street

A cupcake from the infamous Magnolia Bakery, it didn't disappoint.

One of the highlights of our trip, walking the bridge...in the pouring rain.

***************************

The weather is changing every 10 min. here,
so here I sit on the computer
trying to decide what to do with myself.
I'm supposed to be prepping my resume and cover letter,
to send out this week...
but I am being pulled to my pictures instead.

I just spent some moments with Will,
and looking through all the photos we have stored on our computer.
They look so beautiful on this big, bright screen.
Then I jumped to our NYC photos,
and I realized that I did a real crap job of sharing those.

I love photography.
And while Tim talked me out of purchasing the camera of my dreams:
The Nikon D90...
We did manage to get some good shots on our little hand held deal,
and so I thought I would post a few more.
We booked our trip to the O.C. for July 1st...
Now that we don't live there anymore,
I have a list of things I want pictures of.
Only I have sheer confidence the weather will for sure cooperate during this trip at least.
The upcoming trip will be a good thing to look forward to in July,
I'll need it,
that much I know...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

One year ago today...

When I woke up this morning,
I felt a slight anxiety sitting on my chest.
Even the weather is the same...
How can it be that exactly one year ago today,
my journey in the hospital began.

I guess May has been a big month,
another tough month...
which leaves me with many explanations on
the lack of writing on my end.
Well, maybe not the lack of writing,
but the lack of actual posting.
There are days when my mind wanders,
and I try to resist the darkness of a depression
that is slowly creeping up as the one year mark
gets noticeably closer.

Something good has to happen soon,
its been over a year...
is the only thing I can think sometimes.

Its hard to experience the events all over again,
a year later.
Its only natural to replay every stinging detail,
day by day,
recounting how things were a year ago.
How different they were a year ago.
In some strange way, going back to those posts helps.
It hurts, but it is also a written record.
That time and place in my story, is not forgotten.

I read over my posts from last May,
and its hard to recognize that person.
For all that was happening,
and for all that was spinning out of control...
she seems oddly upbeat...or even optimistic.

Looking back now,
I can see that person is gone in many ways.
But that cruel uncertainty of the future?
It is still here.
Will may be gone from this earth,
but much of what I felt a year ago
still remains,
just in a slightly different way.

I'm still looking for direction.
I'm looking to feel that aching inside me dull just a bit.
Its not a lot to ask,
its so hard not to concentrate on what we have given or lost,
and to overcome having to give something back to God,
that I never wanted to give.

And now, all I'm asking for is for Him to give me something else...
or rather someone else.
Because I have come to realize that this hole,
won't be filled by anyone...
but it will help in the healing.
It will help dull the daily pain.
It will help restore the feeling of hope and purpose.

My ramblings with God,
aren't so much prayers...
its more like begging.
Because I don't know what else to do.
Begging for what others probably take for granted.
A job...
A family...
A familiar routine...
and I'm not even asking for all of them at once,
just one would do.
So that is my new prayer.

In the meantime, as May quickly passes me by,
I am going to end with what I am thankful for:
I've applied for some jobs (with any luck maybe I'll get an interview)
Tim and I had a whopping 3 days off together this last weekend...
I survived Mother's Day...and my 30th Birthday.

And now for the most embarrassing, yet truthfully the best, distraction I've had since last May:
The Twilight Series.
How bad is my addiction to these books?
I'm on the 3rd book and I just purchased them last week.
Which has me thinking...
In a strange way, these books are helping me.
I'm actually looking forward to something...

I need to get writing soon.
The idea of writing a book is a constant and daily thought,
perhaps it would help someone.
Maybe many more people than I can ever dream.
Then again, if it only help me...
Its something I know I need to do.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Normal

Last Friday was the parent panel at the hospital.
It was a good experience, something I would do again.
So there we sat, in front of a room full of NICU nurses, social workers, and a chaplain.
Tim and I were the only couple,
so he was the only guy.
I told him it was paybacks for all the Marine functions that he would drag me to where I was the only female...not that I ever complained about that really:)

But anyways,
he made the comment, not me, 
that we were the only ones there on the panel without a living child.
Does that really matter?
I think it does, because there is still that question of "will it happen for us?"

But what I got from Friday, is to hear what he had to say
in front of other people.
So often, our grief is like a teeter-totter.
One of us is up, the other down...
and the cycle of ups and downs continues.
Rarely...do we meet in the middle.
And often he lets me speak and doesn't get into how he entirely feels.

They asked us how our grief differs, how we handle it.
Then he told them something that even I can't truly understand.
He explained Iraq,
and along with all the stress and unknowns,
of walking outside the wire on a given day and not knowing if he would die,
with losing friends and 
seeing Marines bleed to death in front of him while he helplessly watched....
he said that watching Will die that night was so much worse.
So much worse...
I didn't realize it could get much worse than that stuff.

The people in that room probably didn't know what to think.
Again, a lot of our experiences put us on a different level.
A level that many people can only try to imagine...
its a level that I really try to forget.
And after it all, when the director asked us what the one most significant change in our lives has been since Will's death, Tim's reply was this:
Indifference.

The inability to really care about anything besides each other.
Sure, we can try to get into work,
in making plans for the weekend,
to set goals for ourselves...
but I would be lying to say we really care about things like that.
We do it for Will.
Because I know he wouldn't want us to turn into complete wrecks,
we need to live the kind of life he never got a chance to.

And that puts a different spin on things.

I don't really plan for the future anymore like I used to,
God always seems to have a different idea.
But some things I am ready to change.

As my 30th birthday approaches,
there is that indifference factor again.
It bothers me to be in this spot,
during this milestone..
Without a child,
without a job,
and wondering just what exactly is going on with my life and why...
Why I had to go from sheer happiness to devastation in one swift move.
I remember wanting to be "done" having kids
by the time I was 30.
You could say that I have wised up a bit at least.

So now, its just a number,
and it will arrive just like any other day,
without much planned,
without much celebrating.
And that is fine.

Tim and I are hard on ourselves,
we expect a lot.
And I expected a whole lot more for and of myself than this.
And I know that many people worry,
just wondering how long this is going to last,
if I'm going to be "okay"
and if my grief is "normal"...
because I am one of them.

And then the scary thing is,
we meet others in our situation
and they tell me some of the things they did after their loss happened...
and it leaves me feeling pretty darn normal...

What is normal anyways?
Sure, there are strange people, but do they act that way for a reason unknown to us?
Am I now "strange" to people that don't know me?...
it would hardly be surprising after all that has happened.
But then a long time ago, I suddenly realized that,
there really is
no such thing...
as normal.
Especially regarding families.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The hole

The bereavement counselor told us that grieving...
would be hard work.
I had naturally scoffed at this,
but honestly she has been so right.
It is work.
Hard, tiring, absolutely draining work.
And this blog is part of the work I must do.
Writing about this crap totally sucks,
but its part of my work.
And if I don't do it, 
then things creep up on me
and it sends me back to square one.

When I don't write,
or express what is going on in my head.
Things go south real quick.
And then I have to ask myself why I don't write more.
And my answer is because I'm always expressing some negative
or sad emotion...
and I worry that people don't want to hear it.
But seriously, I'm over what others may think.
I can't be concerned with other people at all.
Because if I don't do my "work" I suffer even more.
My mind and body pay,
for what I don't put out there.

Because the truth is,
unless you have had a child die,
then no one really knows.

I guess the past weeks I have been trying to navigate through a fog that I don't understand. I don't want to be sad, I don't want to be consumed in thinking about Will.
But I just am.
This is not something that one can talk themselves out of. And often the reactions of others (or complete ignorance) slashes that wound right back open.
And I'm left here bleeding all over again.

Mother's Day.
My body knew.
And my heart ached like nothing before.
And it all began days ahead...the constant sleeping, the wringing of my hands, the sobbing, the complete and utter feeling of hopelessness.
And the anger at God.

I found a journal entry from exactly a year ago.
When we got Will's prognosis, and I prayed that he either be healed
or that he go quickly.
I am now, 100% convinced, that I had no idea what I was asking for.
Because now?
There is no way in hell that I ever would pray for anything short of a miracle.
Will dying would not be an option in my mind.
Because now the shock has worn off and the reality has set in.
And many times it is too much to bear.

The pain I have felt the past few weeks
has been constant.
And I sit around people,
who say stupid things,
and do ignorant things,
and just generally have no idea.
And often, mothers 
cannot even begin to imagine...don't want to even try to imagine...
what is now my reality...
but are quick to offer advice or just altogether ignore me.
Yes, I am now the elephant in the room.
And since I represent sadness and a mother's worst nightmare...
I am shunned, pushed away. Because after all, it makes people uncomfortable,
not knowing what to say,
not wanting their special moment to be tainted with memories of mine.

Or my other blessing are brought up,
like you have Tim,
or you have a beautiful house.
The house one annoys me the most.
I read an analogy while going through some bereavement things that went something like this:

When people make remarks and they generally don't understand what they are saying to the bereaved parent it sounds something like this, "Okay, let's have you stick out one of your hands and we'll cut it off. Of course it will hurt at first, but you should get over it because you still have your other hand, right? (such as my husband and nice house) In fact, after some time, which will be determined by me, not by you who lost your hand, I don't want to hear anything about you having a hard time with the loss of your hand. Don't ask me for help, because you just need to accept it and be strong. No complaining allowed, that would just mean that you are ungrateful for the hand you have left. And if you don't mind, please keep your suffering and stump of an arm hidden, it makes me feel uncomfortable....
and all this is coming from someone who is perfect, someone who has both their hands.

That pretty much sums it up.
And while being ignored, never made anyone feel good,
for me its like an extra punishment.
Like having Will die wasn't enough...
now I have lost the little ignorant bliss I had left in the world, and realize that I am now a totally different person...and I have lost faith in people that I thought would at least try to be what I need most right now ~ a friend.

Maybe I'll just be honest and say that I am jealous.
I'm jealous that I will never have a completely Happy Mother's Day.
My heart?
There will always be a hole, left from Will, that no one else can ever fill.
And I want that ignorance back.
That sheer, new mommy ignorance...
where everything goes according to plan.
And babies?
Well, they just don't die.

What has come out of of this so far?
Its hard to say.
While I know on my end, I have become more empathetic, caring, and numerous other things. I know that good has come for others, that Will's life has brought out a positive for people I don't even know.
But this is where I am honest in saying 
that I don't care how much good can come out of it.
I'm selfish and would much rather have him alive and here with me,
regardless of what good has come out of it.
Because our lives since last July?
Light years away from good.

This will be the hardest thing I do in my life.
Because it will be constant.
Constant work every single day,
until the day I go home to be with him once again...
to learn to live the best I can,
with only part of my heart.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Our trip




The view from our hotel room,
gotta love it...

I totally got sick in NYC.
It was not fun (being sick).
But the rest of it?
Parts were fun,
parts were sad,
and parts were frustrating.
Mostly, it was eye-opening.

Everyone should go to NYC at least once.
I loved the history of it all.
It would have been much more enjoyable,
if the weather would have cooperated.
However,
it rained (more like poured).
Nearly the entire time we were there.

Shopping?
It didn't happen.
I don't count the one thing we did buy:
umbrellas.

But I need to start from the beginning.
Hold on,
this may be long.
Especially considering that I stayed home sick today...
yes, with the same sickness I picked up in the Big Apple.

Day one: Friday
As soon as I stepped into the daylight after coming up from the subway,
I could feel the energy.
Tons of people.
It was awesome.
Tim & I briskly walked 8 blocks, luggage in tow, to our hotel in Times Square. This was one of the highlights: a completely free hotel thanks to all the Starpoints we've saved up over the years. Once to our room, it started to pour...so grateful, that the rain held off until we got inside.
That night we checked out Grand Central Terminal and
Times Square at night...
neither disappointed.
I don't even want to think about all the energy that goes into keeping that place lit up...but I was distracted anyways, by the huge blisters already forming on my heels.

Day 2: Saturday
Weather: still raining
Explored: Financial District, Wall St, Ground Zero, Statue of Liberty, & Ellis Island

The clouds parted in the late afternoon to give us some great pictures with the Statue of Liberty. Ground Zero was humbling. Obviously, this is a place that I have wanted to go to for some time. After all, 9/11 is what deeply affected our path in life through deployments in the Marine Corps. We visited a really old church across from the site that was preserved, and somehow has managed to survive the attacks and served as a staging area for the rescue workers.

This place is amazing. A graveyard and church dating back to the 1700's,
George Washington worshipped here.
It doesn't get much more inspiring.

Day 3: Sunday
Woke up feeling awful, and the pouring rain outside didn't help much.
We made our way down to the Brooklyn Bridge and walked across.
Rain or not, that bridge is just cool in general.
Definitely a highlight.
Afterwards, we managed to get to the nice shopping district...where I unfortunately did not shop, but we did visit Magnolia Bakery (made famous by the series Sex & the City).
While looking for a specific restaurant, we were walking by Burberry and I was staring at a man. I was staring because it was pouring rain and he was wearing large black sunglasses.
I thought he was crazy (and weird).
Then I realized he was crazy, as in crazy funny...
Martin Short.
I must be losing my SoCal instincts of knowing things like that.
Obviously, big shades = someone who is trying to hide something.
As I passed him, I laughed,
because I know the look on my fact must have said it all.

We found the place to eat,
it was pretty good.
Lots of celebs go there,
however, I have been paying for it dearly since then.
Between getting a nasty cold and then some weird digestive bug,
I am hesitant to recommend this place to anyone.
Enough said.

A whirlwind trip.
Glad to go,
but even happier to be home.
Its not like I expected it to change my life...
but maybe, deep down, I was hoping to forget things for awhile.
Just goes to show that you can't just jump on plane,
and come home expecting things to be different.
That would be nice though.
I think that I am just really, really sad with
Mother's Day approaching fast.
Not even NYC can take that pain away.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Back from the NYC

We got back Monday night from NYC.
Minus the constant rain and 
me picking up a cold and stomach bug (from a burger joint)
we managed to have a pretty good time.

But its good to be back.
I'll post details and pics
just as soon as I feel better...