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Friday, January 2, 2015

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and new beginnings on the horizon

This Christmas, as we've done for the last 3 years, was spent at K and G's house. The trip as a whole was pretty good. Granted, we could have done without AR deciding that Dec. 20th would be the day for some major construction on major interstates but on the whole, not too bad. I have to say that I was surprised by K and G. G has started the purging process and I'm proud of her for this.... It takes a lot of mental and emotional work (eg: getting yourself in balance) to get to this point (and it's not easy. I can only imagine how tough it was for them because not only did they have to clear out stuff from things that they saved from Donovan's and my home but also from Everett's stuff (K's dad who passed in '10 - I think) and also Jay's things (K's brother who passed in '13). They cleaned out their "storage room" so that L could have his own space to sleep (and not wake up the other two and vice verse). G said she even found stuff from her teaching days that she was surprised she still had! In the grieving journey, purging is like doing spring cleaning in the mind except it's tied to physical things. You reach the point that the physical stuff doesn't matter that much anymore. Granted, there are some things that are handed down and you want to save those things for your children and grandchildren. Most people want to be surrounded (or stay) in their home that they accumulated stuff with their loved one because it's comforting. Then those things become like a controlling agent. You can't control when death comes so, you hang on to things as if you could control the loss. Then, (and this is the hardest part to get to) you get to the point that you don't want that stuff around you any more. It's not a part of your life or who you are so, you let it go. You let go of control (that you really didn't have to begin with). G has gotten to this point. K kinda has but I think he's gone along with it because that's what G wants (that and he want's his own space that he can actually sit at his computer when he needs to). Once everyone had settled in, things were good. K and G are more open and accepting of Jeff and R's Christmas to him confirmed everything as far as the 5 of us are concerned. Jeff is Daddy. Plain and simple. This hasn't been easy for R either. She has had mental and emotional walls that she's built up because of fear of loosing what she loves most again. Now, she has a genuine laughter and she can dish it right back to Jeff (or even beat him to the punch sometimes). She knows she is safe and she's not afraid to say she loves him or run up and give him a hug. There will still be some rough roads ahead (as for everyone) but, she's come a long way and it's wonderful watching her bloom. More to follow....

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The start of summer and a suprise....

I haven't posted in a while and I do apologize for not writing more frequently. The school year officially wrapped up for R on Tuesday of this week. She had been sooo worried about being held back this year because her math grades have not been good. She's done well in everything else and she will have a lot of work to do this summer just to be ready for the fall. Today, Jeff (and the rest of the gang of First Day) had to sing in Mountain Home, AR and he left here about 2:30. The surprise is that R actually reached for him and gave him a hug and said "I love you too". This may not sound like much for most people but it's huge for R! I'm not sure if she's just been stressed about getting thru to the end of the school year or what but, she wouldn't even hug me sometimes.... She would just lean in to get a hug but never put her arms around anyone... Even me. So, today was a nice surprise and hopefully this summer won't be quite so stressful for her (even though I know she's not going to like doing homework but, it's gotta get done.) More to follow.....

Monday, March 3, 2014

A loss for another family

This last week, R and I were in the car and driving by a cemetery. There was a funeral in progress and R made the comment of that fact. Then, she said that maybe it was a classmate of her's funeral. At first, I didn't know how to respond except for "O?" She said that one of her classmates mom had died and maybe that funeral was for his mom. My heart broke for her classmate and his family. I suggested to her that maybe she could tell him that he's not alone in loosing a parent. She knew what that was like. I told her that sometimes, it helps others to know that they aren't the only ones who have gone thru something very difficult. I reminded her that, when she met other kids who had lost a parent(s), she had been ecstatic because she now knew that she wasn't alone. R didn't say anything about that but she did ask me if she went to Donovan's funeral. I had to tell her that she didn't. She asked why and I told her that she was too young to understand what was going on and still in a lot of shock at that time. I told her that, every time someone came over to the house, she would go and hide under the kitchen (or dinning room) table. She thought that was funny and couldn't believe that she did that. We then talked about how sudden changes (like the sudden death of a parent) can cause people to do things that they normally wouldn't do and that it's normal for people to go into shock. The key is to know when you need to do something about it instead of hiding away from everyone and everything. My little girl is growing up and I am so thankful that she feels comfortable to be able to ask questions (even the tough ones) and that her sense of humor is developing to the point that she can pull some looks on Jeff that have him rolling in the floor sometimes. It takes work to make a family and make a home but it's sooo worth it! More to come.....

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Too young to worry.....

A few weeks ago, Jeff went to Mountain Home, AR to work on a new CD with the rest of the gang of First Day. He left Friday evening (after supper) and didn't get home until Monday evening (shortly after the kids had gone to bed). Before he left on Friday, R told him that "I hope nothing bad happens to you while you're gone". She also told him that she loved him (twice). She then told me the same thing after Jeff had left (I hope nothing bad happens to Daddy). She was encouraged both times that, if we had anything to do with it, Daddy would be back. R doesn't usually voice her worries unless something is really bothering her and she doesn't tell Jeff "I love you" very often (even tho she shows it every day - pretty much). It's times like these when I feel a little angry. I'm learning how death of a parent affects children and I don't like what I see sometimes. I feel angry at Donovan for leaving us soo soon and how it has effected the children so far. I feel angry that a 10 yr old is having to work thru fears that no 10 yr old should every had to deal with. Then, the old thorns of "Why me?" & "What if?" come trumpeting in and then I have to remind myself that this is all in God's hands and He can handle everything. There's no need for me to fret and worry about stuff that I don't have control over anyway. The best thing I can do (as does Jeff) is to be loving, supportive, listening, open, and honest. This lets her feel free to say what she thinks without (hopefully) fear of being judged or cause us to worry too much. R has come a long way in battling her own mental/emotional demons and I'm thankful that she has a bit of her old spark back and is able to develop her own sense of personality and being able to laugh and joke around with Jeff. I know that there will be some rough stuff to go through as the children get older but, with God's help (and taking things one day at a time), we'll get through it... :) More to follow...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Silence is golden... Or is it?

One thing that stood out for me, during our visit with K and G during the Christmas holidays is that the house was never quiet. Sure, there's a total of 7 people in the house (and 3 of them under the age of 10) but, even if the kids are quiet (or asleep) the house was never completely quiet. Why? Simple. The TV was always on. One afternoon, I turned the living room TV off. I then made a comment to K of "Silence doesn't kill." He responded by half chuckling and then saying "Sometimes". I understand where he's coming from because I used to be like that. Shortly after Donovan died, I couldn't stand to be in a quiet house. It was too surreal and made reality hit even harder. I didn't like reality hits. That heaping does of reality hurt sometimes, almost to the point of being unbearable. As much as I didn't like it, reality hit anyway and then you learn to roll thru the waves or go for help when it gets to be too much. THAT is when silence comes in. It's soothing. It's peaceful and comforting. It's like a nice, warm, comfy blanket that doesn't make you feel smothered. Silence is also very difficult to face. Like with K and G, they've come a long way in letting their son go and being at peace with everything that happened. Sure, there are still a lot of questions that will never be answered this side of heaven. There are (and will be) some tough bridges to cross as the children grow up. The toughest thing is looking at yourself (without the world's noise blaring in your ears) and enjoying the silence (and presence of the Almighty). Being ok with who you are as a person and being ok with unanswered questions. Being ok with not having instant gratification or entertainment in order to feel happy. In grief, as in life, this is a must. It's difficult to accomplish and it is a constant work in progress. However, it is soo worth it. So, where are you at? Do you fall asleep with the TV (and sound) on or, do you savor the silence when you can or, are you still a work in progress (like myself) :). More to follow.....

Monday, January 13, 2014

5 years gone.

In some ways, it's hard to believe that Donovan has been gone for a little over 5 years now. That reality was a tough one to swallow tho. I had a lot of triggers that were set off (which I've written about before this one). It was (I think) really difficult for his parents. We actually left here to go to K and G's house a day early due to bad weather that had been issued at home. I'm thankful we did go early tho as we got about 3 - 6 inches of rain (and still under flood warnings still from all the rain). Since we were in Garland on that Saturday, I had thought that I would have at least shed some tears at some point during the day. I didn't. I was strangely at peace (emotionally speaking). It was not that way for K tho. Shortly after breakfast, he broke down but then had to recover quickly because R came in to ask him about something. R still doesn't know that her father died on her birthday but, I know she will someday (and hopefully when she is much, much older). I still dread when she ask the question of when did Donovan die but, as Jeff reminds me, that will be a bridge we'll cross when we get to it. No need to worry about it now. Christmas came and went. J got sick with the stomach bug (but only threw up once), then R and I got hit hard with the same bug. Then, L got it and K. Jeff and G were the last ones and Jeff was the last one to go down. Unfortunately, this all started up on Christmas day with J. I guess the saying is true that a family that shares together....*sigh*. Needless to say, THAT is something I don't want a repeat of. Ever. As a result of this "shared" bug, we ended up staying a day longer than we had planned. Thankful that we didn't HAVE to rush back home or feel majorly stressed out by staying a little longer. More to follow....

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Triggers

Even after almost 5 years, triggers can hit at any time. This last week was one of them. Yesterday, our neighbor had to be take to the hospital via the EMS. I went over to try and help and keep her little dog calm. I'm not sure what exactly was wrong but, she's usually a very active person and (at that time) she was very weak and lethargic. Seeing that EMS pull up set off a trigger for me. It made me remember when the EMS pulled up for Donovan and it made my heart sink. I had seen plenty of EMS zooming down the highways/streets to get someone but, seeing that thing yesterday just brought it all back. In some ways, it didn't help that I couldn't get a hold of Jeff either (he was at the Grimes prison) and I panicked. My mind went racing - briefly - and thinking the worse (somethings happened to Jeff to!) kind of thinking. In the back of your mind, you know you're just over reacting and that things will be ok but your mind can turn into overdrive after going through something traumatic. It also didn't help that it will be 5 years that Donovan's been gone (this coming Saturday) and the fact that R is turning 10! Needless to say, I broke down this morning in Bible class. I wasn't going to add to the prayer list for all of us to remember those who have lost loved ones and mention that the holidays are especially difficult for many of those people. I couldn't even get the words out. All I could do was just to close my eyes and let the tears roll (and manage a whisper to Jeff that it'll be 5 years). Once I got my composure back, I was able to say that. This is still uncharted territory that we're all walking thru and when the waves hit, you just have to roll with it, feel it, work thru it, and keep going. I'm soo thankful that Jeff is so understanding and can relate and talk things out. More to follow....