Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Snapshot in time

I can't even begin to catch up on all the lost days since this summer.
There is one explanation for my lack of writing: my boys keep me very busy.
And in the chaos of the day, I often don't have time to even feed myself...
let alone to really think about Will or miss Sophie or do anything else that was my life just two short years ago. And while that isn't a bad thing~it is different.

Jack & Declan grow every day and time goes too fast.
It goes too fast because most days I accomplish nothing except for playing and laughing and maybe writing down a "to do" list for when I do get that time back that eludes me.
But for right now, I am content with story time and keeping fingers from getting smashed in drawers.
Just when I get used to this life, it will change again...

Its fall.
The season that I missed most of all in California.
Everything changes here and this fall is no different.
Our house has finally gotten an offer and we will be moving.
A part of me has wanted this for so long,
and now that it is here its almost hard to let go.

We had huge dreams for this place.
We never wanted to move again...
and as quickly as we got here and then Will died,
well, I couldn't wait to leave.
And then we had Jack and the house wasn't so empty anymore.
But it could never be what I had imagined it to be.
Too many rainy days,
too many days staring out the window and crying and wondering how I was going to keep living.
And then Sophie died too.

I guess I know there won't ever be a perfect house,
but I am ready for a new chapter.
And in the meantime, living closer to the city will help too.
But leaving this place and the dreams I had for it,
is still more difficult than I thought it would be.

Will was here, even if it was only when I was pregnant with him,
and the memories I have of Sophie running around in our yard still flash in my mind every time I go outside to play with Jack.

I had ghosts in California too.
Memories of Marines with their families at picnics and dinners, and then those memories playing even though I knew they had died.
But now when I go back to those places, I don't really see the things I used to.
I guess I am ready for that here too.
I want to move forward, remembering the past but not being held captive by it.

So as all the leaves change,
I'll pack boxes and get redy for our own new change.
Building a house.
Like I said before, I'm busy...but apparently not too busy to design and build a new house.

Whew. Better dust off the computer too.
This is will be one big adventure,
time to blog about it so that one day I can look back and proudly proclaim that it is just one more thing that I survived:)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Balloons for brother...

The day of Will's funeral and his little tree ~ 2008

Our family in front of Will's tree ~ 2012

Jack clinging to his balloon, telling me "No!" when I told him to let it go :)

Today its been 4 years.
And after all this time, many things have changed.
And many things have not.
My heart and body still know this day.
Without warning I cry.
I feel lost.
I feel anxious.
I am still grieving.
My living children have no idea.
Not yet anyway.
In the coming years they will come to learn that these are "Will's days."
The time of year when I really cannot escape the emotions that build up over the course of the year and suddenly burst out.
I miss him.
I wonder what our family would be like if he hadn't died.
And now that Jack is almost 2, I especially wonder what Will's personality would have been like.
Would he have been more laid back and chill like Declan?
Or full of sass, stubborn and crazy like Jack.
I'll never know.
It sucks to go through life with such questions.

The other new struggle is how to teach our living children about their brother.
Each year we don't know what to do.
I questioned if should finally find a plot and have him buried here in Michigan.
But what if we leave, or move out of state again?
The thought of leaving him here is absolutely devastating.
So his ashes remain in our bedroom.
There is no grave to visit,
no good way to explain to Jack...
Sometimes I wonder if it would also be easier for me to visit a grave.
To see his name etched in stone,
something permanent.
Something for the world to see.
Maybe some day...

But this year we decided we had to do something.
So we got a cake.
G & G and Uncle Eric came over.
We took a photo in front of Will's tree,
and had 4 balloons.
Our new little tradition.
After the cake, we went out back and let go of our balloons with messages of love scribbled on them.
I explained to Jack that they were for his big brother and that they would float up to heaven.
We let them go and watched them float away.
All except Jack.
"Let it go," I gently coaxed him.
And in true Jack fashion, he quietly said, "No."
After a few more minutes he relucantly let go.
We watched them quickly float up and out of sight.

"Oh, wow!" he said...
Yeah, I thought to myself.
How has it been 4 years since I last held my baby?
I remember that first night when he died and being put into the hospital bed as Tim climbed in next to me. Most of that night is a blur, except for the pain and a few random thoughts.
One of those thoughts was how I was going to make it. And what was our life going to look like after such a horrible thing happened? How long before I would feel normal again? What would it be like when his death happened years ago and not just minutes and hours?
And here we are.
4 years and 2 healthy boys later.
I am truly blessed.
And I remember this as I cry tonight,
but it somehow doesn't make it any easier.
I have accepted that I will spend my whole life missing Will & loving him through the 2 boys here with me now.

And next year,
there will be 5 balloons.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What have we been up to?!?!

Has it really been MONTHS since I've blogged?!?
Being a mommy to two little boys under 2...
well, I have finally met my match.
I am no longer the super organized, time-effecient, never-late woman that I used to be.
Oh, she's still in there...in spirit. But it may be years before I'm a version of my former self!
Wouldn't have it any other way.

So what have we been up to?
Every day is an adventure.
Sleep deprivation??
No wonder they use it on POW's...
you suddenly lose the ability to really care about non-important things.
Which is fine, and even after Will dying, it is impossible to go back to our former selves where I spent my time distracting myself with only temporary material things of this world.

But suddenly, summer is upon us and I am faced with the 4th year anniversary of Will's birth and death.
4 years.
It still doesn't seem real.
There is still a hole.
And there are days I just want to cry and be left alone,
only now I simply don't have that option.
People say that time heals all, anyone who had had their child die knows that this is complete crap.
It is the darkest thing, watching a piece of yourself die.
And suddenly I have been thrust into the past and having to watch friends come to know this pain.
It is the kind of tragedy where I silently wished it would never happen to anyone I know.
Life had other plans.

Trying to help someone when I know there is really nothing I can do is also frustrating.
Everyone grieves differently and has different situations.
But the pain is the same.
Only now, with time, I am the other person now.
The woman who lost her first child but now has two healthy boys.
Somehow this is supposed to lessen the initial blow that life dealt me.

But what about the feelings that never really go away?
The times when I swore I would never take me kids for granted or get angry or lose my patience?
Suddenly, I am a "normal" mom who's kids can drive her absolutely insane.
When did this suddenly happen?
At what point in time, did my grieving end and my life begin again?
And at what moment did I simply wish one of my son's would just STOP crying when I always longed to hear Will make any noise at all?

Even as I type, Jack is climbing on me like a human jungle gym even though he has a mountain of toys and a sand table to keep him occupied here outside while I try to type my first blog in months?!!?
I am annoyed.
Because I am human.
And I am a mom who now not only has to juggle a 23 month old and a 7 month old and push back those moments when I still think to myself that there should be a nearly 4 year old here too.

And so my observation to those new parents who suddenly find themselves without their baby they longed so much for?
Life somehow continues.
You find a new sense of normal.
Yet you never forget and you are never the person you were before.
How could you be?
And even with the birth of an additional child there are struggles, because after all, how can you ever stop thinking about "what could have been/should have been?"
You don't. And you can't.
In your mind, you keep that alive.
Because thinking about what your life would be like if they were still alive...well, its honestly the only thing you have left of your child that has died.
So you imagine them in your family at that moment, and find peace that someday your family will be whole and comlete again.
Just not here on this earth,
or even in this lifetime.
And that is why you never really "get over it."

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New Month, new goals

I've been doing a lot of thinking about writing and this blog for awhile,
and given that its Febuary 1st already,
there is only one thing for certain...
time just keeps going.
And the longer I don't write and this blogs just sits,
it isn't helping anyone...
including myself.
It was the conversation with a friend the other day
that really got me serious about my "calling" as many have referred to.
Another mom lost her sweet baby...
and I know in my heart that she won't be the last.
Sadly, babies dying is still a thing that most don't want to think about...
or its followed with the famous
"Well, at least...(fill in the blank)" comments that most people say because the truth is that they DON'T know what in the world to say, and that really isn't their fault because its not like any of us took a class in "grieving or compassion or even how to balance a check book" in high school. And God knows we need lessons in all of these and more to really function in this world.
After Will died, I've had many friends call me with similar stories.
Someone they know lost a child and they don't know what to do.
Mostly, they ask me what to NOT say.
I have always been a very open person, it doesn't pain me to talk about anything in regards to Will's life, his death or even how we have been learning to live again since.
If I can help one person it makes his death a little less painful.
Its my way of healing myself.
That might sound selfish, but by sharing his story, I breathe life back into his existence since I coudn't breathe it into his little body while he was here on earth.
Any mother can understand this.
So that brings me back to this blog,
I started it in the hospital as an update.
Now I look back and its a valuable tool on those days when I feel like I am still in that dark place when I came home empty handed to a cold, dark house.
We still struggle.
Two beautiful babies later, there is still a void.
And I know that it is okay to admit this while other people in the same position are afraid to.
I know I need to write more.
Not only for helping others, but also to help myself.
My end goal is to write that book everyone has been bugging me about.
There. I finally wrote it.
Now its out in cyber world...instead of just empty words floating in my head.
Prayers that somehow it comes to be,
and that I can find the talent, energy and TIME to accomplish it!

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Joys

So I had to share these...
Things are going great with Declan~
such an easygoing and happy baby.
Jack was my difficult one,
and still can be:)
As I was taking these photos of the Declan in his new outfit the other day, Jack was eating in his highchair just a few feet away in the kitchen. You see, I have to restrain the kid whenever I take photos of Declan since he's always trying to kiss him (very cute, I know) and gets in the way. Well, after a few shots, Jack starts in with the whining. Then the screaming. I have tried everything with this kid, he screams all the time and it drives me insane. So I try to ignore it completely...unless it gets out of control like in this situation. I turned around after a few minutes to see this scene and busted out laughing. Serves the kid right. Because in his world, getting a piece of lunch meat stuck on top of his head would be an emergency...
And never mind the yogurt covered pretzels the kid had managed to smear everywhere. Seriously? And all over the super cute brand new shirt he had been wearing for about 30 minutes...
I love having boys:)

World's Greatest Dog

The past few months have been trying for our family.
Not only was I pregnant with Declan, which we weren't planning on although it was a great surprise!...
our beloved dog, Sophie began to get sick in the spring.
While most people believe they have a great pet,
our dog was truly the kind of dog you only have once in a lifetime if you are lucky.
And yesterday, after months of searching for what was wrong with her,
we had to say goodbye.
Sophie has been a huge part of our family for 6 years and we can't believe she is gone.
She was our "fur child" in California and we can still remember the day we drove down to San Diego to pick her up. She was a sweetheart from the very first moment...and I am not exaggerating when I say she was an amazing pet.
For a lab, she was incredibly mild. And even more amazingly is that she didn't chew things, she never dug holes, she didn't bark and she never had an accident in the house...
I remember Tim and I taking her to obedience classes in San Clemente and the trainer pretty much ruling her out for 1st place because of her breed. Well, just tell Tim that something isn't possible and see what happens. The last night of class, there was a test to see what animals scored the most points. Tim bounded through the door and slammed a trophy on the counter while proudly exclaiming, "There are no f*#@ing losers in this family!" It was the 1st time in that class that a lab had placed first...
We loved Sophie like a child, and treated her like one of the family. We often had friends watch her because she was so sensitive that we hated to leave her at some strange kennel. This led to what we called the "Sophie-effect." Nearly everyone that watched her either wanted to adopt her or they decided to get their own dog shortly after.
Sophie was the kind of dog that made everyone want a pet...
And now we're left with amazing memories and that nagging feeling that her life was ended much too soon. She had a lot of life left and we'll always wonder what went wrong.
Yet again, we'll have to wait until heaven for answers.
I won't lie. Even though she is a dog, it brings back serious feelings with losing Will. She has seen us through so much and I feel like once again we failed a living creature that counted on us. I don't know what I would have done if she wasn't here after Will died. She was a constant friend and we already feel a huge void.
And worst of all...our boys won't grow up with the best dog ever.
Sophie is irreplaceable.
She helped us laugh when we felt like dying.
Entertained us in only ways a dog can.
And was always there when it seemed like no one else in the world was...
Sure, she could be a pain
but who isn't?!
And as we pet her and talked to her as her life left her body on a cold December day...
it pained me greatly.
Too many similarities.
And that awful helpless feeling like we had yet again failed somehow when something we loved so much was dying long before they were supposed to.
And again, after years of planning and training we thought we had trained our dog so our boys could grow up knowing that kind of joy.
The house is filled with chaos,
yet it still feels strangely empty...
a feeling I was hoping was gone for a long time...