Friday, April 30, 2010

Why me?!?

Yesterday morning, I had one of my “Why me!?!” moments. R had slept in a little bit because Wednesday nights are sooo busy for her. She loves playing with her friends at church and they are all very good buddies. So, when I had to go in and wake her up, she wasn’t a very happy camper. J woke up a few minutes before I had to get her up and was ready for breakfast number 1. In essence, Thursday morning just started off wrong. Ever had one of those days when everything seems to start off on the wrong side of the bed? That was the start of yesterday.

By the time that R needed to be ready to go to school, I was mentally looking to heaven and yelling, Why me! Why now! Of course, there is never a reply to these silent questions (at least, not verbally). Once R was safely at school and J was finally down for an AM nap, I was able to slow down and take stock of where I was at mentally and emotionally. I thought about why I was still here and Donovan wasn’t. Why I didn’t miscarry with J and why I’m still saine and still here.

The first thing that came to mind was Job. He had to probably have those thoughts as well. He lost everything he owned, his children, and his health (up to a point). He also had some not so encouraging friends. So, who was I to complain? Simple. I’m human and even as 2 and 3 yr olds start to question why all the time, we never grow out of that need to know and have some sort of explanation given to us. Job wanted to have a Q & A with God and boy did he get an ear full! In a nutshell, he was told (and I’m paraphrasing here) Who are you to question me? The same question applies to me now.

Too many times, we get caught up in what I want, how do I get it, or when am I going to get what I want. I know that some questions that I have will never be answered this side of heaven and I have to learn to be content with just that and keep going.

Job was blessed twice over because he didn’t turn his back on God. He didn’t know (or at least the Bible doesn’t tell us) that would take place. I don’t know if all my prayers will be answered in my lifetime but I can hope and pray that they will be. I know that I have one thing that Job didn’t have and that is a wonderful (and growing) group of Christian friends and family that are both encouraging and uplifting to me and I couldn’t have asked for more than that.

More to follow…..

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Something Important.

This morning, I had debated with myself of what to “talk” about. There were several things going through my head but one thought kept coming to the front so, here goes!

This is something that no one wants to talk about, think about, or face but it has to be. This is one (more like a combination) thing that blind-sided me and hit like a ton of bricks. This is something that most people my age (and especially younger) don’t want to think about because we don’t think death is going to hit us this young. Reality check!

Donovan and I had talked about getting a Will done shortly after R was born. One year faded into another and we kept talking about but never did it. When Donovan died, he left us without a will and very little information of how he managed our finances. He was the main bread-winner and I was the stay-at-home, work-from-home mom. He had the main account and I had a couple of hundered dollars for whatever we needed on short notice. Every once in a while, we would both put some extra cash in a safe box at home to save up on. Little did I know that it would be the saving that I would have to use to survive on for 5 months after his passing. He was the one that paid the bills every month. If there was anything that seemed a little off to him, he would have me call the business and find out what the charge was for so I had a rough idea of what we generally owed on some monthly bills but mostly, I didn’t. He took care of everything and I depended on him to do just that.

It’s kind of nice when companies tell you that they are sorry for your loss but, they say it with their hands out and expecting their bill to be paid on time.

Now, why am I saying all of this? Two simple yet important reasons and if you aren’t (or haven’t) done this yet, get it done or start doing it now.
1. Get a Will done and let your family know what your wishes are (legally speaking). Case in point: I had a phone call two days before Donovan’s funeral. They wanted to know if I would let them have Donovan organs donated. We had never talked about that so I had no clue what Donovan would have wanted. I had to ask K and G and they thought that he wouldn’t have wanted that. I thought it would be nice to possibly help save another life but conceded to his parent’s wishes.
2. Know where you stand financially. If you’re married, may I suggest you work together on paying the bills. If your single, at least let you family know (if they don’t already) any financial holdings that you have so that they don’t get hit blind-sided like I was.
3. Let your family know what your wishes are. This may safe a lot of headache and stress if the inevitable should happen.

I am thankful that my family and I are almost 100% debt free but it hasn’t been without some knock-downs, tears, and lots of much needed lessons. If I had known then what I do know now, maybe the journey wouldn’t have been quite so tough.

More to follow.....

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Playing the what if game

Ok. Let me start out by asking a very simple question. How many times have I played the "what if" game in my head over the last year and half? Answer, at least a million times and I'm sure if everyone was honest with themselves, it would probably be the same answer.

What if I had done this or that. What if I had said this or that. What if I had been up at that time. What if it hadn't been R's birthday the next day. The list could go on and on. Through this whole journey, I've learned a very valuable lession from R. Don't play the what if game! She doesn't come up and ask me questions about this either because she's too young to do so or she just knows that losing her daddy was something beyond her control and not something that she could have done anything about.

When the shock wore off for me, I sliped into the "what if's" (which is very easy to do) and later realized that it was part of a way for depression to work it's way in. We as adults always want to have complete "control" of our every day life right? Reality check here! God is the only one that has complete control. We are just here to show others Him, do His Will, and live our lives the best God-centered way that we can.

Then the question comes up of "Why did God allow this to happen to me?" One thing that I was constantly reminded of at the very beginning was Job. He went through much more than I and wasn't aware of the whole discussion that took place in heaven between God and Satan. Sure, it was during old testament times but that doesn't mean that it isn't relevant today. Satan is still at work on us and, like Job, we don't see or hear what's going on "upstairs" (so to speak).

Last night, we went to Grief Works which is sponsored by the church and has helped R tremendously in that she's able to see that there are other kids that have experienced a huge loss in their lives (grandparent, brother, sister, mom, dad ,ect). She knows that she's not the only one that's been hurt so the kids are able to talk more freely to each other about what they're going through because there's a relationship. On the way home, R was asking why we can't see God or heaven. The best answer I could give her was that God is everywhere and sees everything and knows everything (thought's, feelings, how many hairs you have on your head *which she thought was amazing*, etc) but we can't see Him. Her mind couldnt' wrap around that very easily so I tried the idea that you can feel air and you know it's there but you can't see it. She then asked the same type of question about heaven and why we can't just go there, see whoever we want to see and then come back to earth. I then had to remind her that when the heart stops beating, the brain, lungs and everything else doesn't work either and the body dies but the soul goes to God who gave it to us to begin with. R then asked me if there were unicorns in heaven. For the sake of a long talk that probably wouldn't make any sense to her, I told her yes and that she could read about what heaven looks like in the Bible. That all seemed to satisify her for the time being but I'm sure there will be more talks as times goes on.
It's hard to try and explain some things to a 6 yr old so if anybody has some ideas or suggtions, I'm all ears! :)
More to follow.....

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Reality and a 5 yr old daughter.

In January , '09 I enrolled R into preschool. Partly because I knew she needed some prepping before starting Kindergarten in the fall and partly because I needed the time to get things ready for J before he was born in Feb.

I had prayed about this alot and knew that R would need a special teacher for whenever the shock hit her. As God would have it, we found a very good teacher who was kinda dealing with almost the same kind of loss. The teacher had found out that her mom had been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer but thankfully lived in the metroplex. The teacher was very patient with her and told me how R was doing in the classroom. Some days were great and she made some friends. Other days she was a little withdrawn and just cried for Donovan. On those days, the teacher would call me and tell me but we had agreed that we wouldn't take R out (since it was a half day) but that they wouldn't push her either. R graduated from preschool with flying colors and I was thankful for all the work the teachers had put in to helping her.

We got through the summer months somehow. Sadly, those months are mostly a blur of people who were willing to open their homes when we just needed to get away from the house. One week, we went to Lawton and I was able to do a Back to the Bible campaign which was exactly what I needed to do and put me on a spiritual cloud nine for several weeks after that. That week was both emotionally difficult and physically difficult.

I took both J and R with me since R didn't want to be left here with K and G and J was too young to be left here. So, we spend a week in a hotel and the kids did very well. I do remember that, up to that point, R was getting to where the nightmares were starting to bother her and that she didn't want to take any naps during the day either. On the first day of the campaign, she did take a nap (which was HUGE for her) and was able to make some new friends at the church building. Thankfully, my aunt and uncle also attended that congregation and they took care of J during the day. On the emotional level, this was not only tough for me but also for the many of the members at Northwest C of C.

I had met K and G on a Back to the Bible campaign when I was 16 and Northwest came to do a campaign then. I met Donovan 3 years later and we became good friends but nothing more than that. You know how crazy those teenage years can be right? Well, we weren't any different. Donovan was all about his black belt, video games, etc and I wasn't. Anywho, Donovan and his parents attended at Northwest when he was in elementary school so this campaign brought back memories for many of them. Needless to say, there were a lot of tears but in a good way. K and G had gone on every single campaign until this one and K admitted later that the thought of going back to Lawton was just tooo painful for them so, they didn't go.

In the fall, R started kindergarten and that was when the shock had worn off for her. She would wake up in the middle of the night screaming in terror and kept telling me that the monster was coming into her room to get her. She started crying at small things at the drop of the hat so I knew that it was time to do something.

At first, I started her in counseling (one on one). R is very shy around people she doesn't know (but give her about 10 min and she's your best buddy) and she didn't want to talk about Donovan or what happened that night. To this day, she still doesn't want to talk about that night and I don't push her about it. I have learned through all of this that children are blessed with the ability of shutting things out when it gets to be tooo much for them to deal with. Adults, on the other hand, tend to keep things in our head and not shut it out but rather rehash everything over, and over, and over again (not necessarily a healthy thing to do). The counseling seemed to help for a while but then R would want to run away from the building whenever she saw where we were going. And the counselor didn't allow me to be in the room with the two of them either so that backfired. R then started not being able to keep food down and was starting to show signs of a mental breakdown. So, I took her to her pediatrician to see what we could do. The MD suggested meds (which is something I didn't want to have R go through but was getting desperate in trying to help her). R took the meds for about 3 days and one afternoon, I found her sticking her fingers in her mouth and trying to make herself gag. When I asked her what she was doing, she just replied "I don't know". When I asked her why she was doing it, it was the same answer.

I then went to Dr. Walden (who had given me the neurotherapy sessions) to see if that could help R. Thankfully, they have a program for children. The child is hooked up to the neuro transmitters and their mind plays a video game that they see on the tv screen. Much like if they were playing a video game at home but without hand controls. We started going every week on Mondays and R started getting calmer and more at peace. I also found out that she was suffering from mini epileptic seizures which is what a body may do when under a huge amount of stress and emotional pain. Eventually, the seizures subsided and she didn't have night terrors anymore. She has gotten sick with some virus or another and that messes everything up for her emotionally because the virus is not only attacking the body but also the mind (I've learned).

Up until a few weeks ago, the sessions were done to help her be stable emotionally (and yes it's taken a little over a year to do this) and to be at peace within herself and start being a happy little girl again. Two weeks ago, the sessions started working on her memories of that night but only lasted for about 5 minutes (because that's all R could handle). These sessions have made R a little more emotional than before but it's good for her to get these out now rather than have them fester in her mind until she's a pre teen and able to put into words (a little better) what she's thinking and feeling. We still have a long ways to go yet but 5 minutes at a time and we'll get there. J will be a whole another ball game and questions when he gets older but, I will cross that bridge when we get there and when the kids are ready for that.

More to follow...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Picking up the pieces.

Over the weekend, I thought about how I would put into words after the birth of our son, how I felt, how it affected R and the rest of the family. This is the result.

James was born on Feb. 5th, 2009. R stayed at grandma and grandpa’s house during the hospital stay and didn’t sleep much. She did get to come up and see her brother on the 6th. He was in one of those “bassinet” and kind of fussing. She started talking to him and he turned to see who it was and got quiet. They have a very, very close bond that runs deeper than words could explain. Even now, he knows to start looking for her in the afternoon and won’t take his afternoon nap until she is home.

We stayed with K and G for about a month and I know that it was difficult for them but thankful that it gave me time to heal both emotionally and physically. I honestly don’t remember a whole lot. I do remember some friends of mine coming over. Several people brought food over but didn’t really visit because J got a bug the last day that we were at the hospital. Eventually, the staying at K and G’s got to be tooo much for R and I so we went back home and boy was I in for a very pleasant surprise! Some of the lady’s from church got together and wanted to do something for us so, they asked G if they could go over to our house and clean it up before we went home. The minute we went into the house, R exclaimed “WOW!!!” over and over again in each of our rooms. Another member of the church came over and cleaned the carpets for free and said it was the least that he could do to help. Another couple for church came up to me after services one Sunday and asked if they could do our yard (mowing, edging, etc). This year, the couple asked if they could do it again this year (and we live on half an acre so it’s a lot of work). I have been sooo blessed to be where I am now and surrounded by a congregation that is willing to go out of their way to help (not only me) but several others that really need it. It is both humbling and a wake up call to show how God does care for his children in good and bad times.

Eventually, I was able to get off of the pain meds but was starting to feel like a zombie emotionally. It was like I was a shell of a mom but very empty on the inside so, I slowly started to wean myself off of the psych meds. I knew that I couldn’t function and tend to the needs of my children when I couldn’t feel anything myself and I knew that (at some point in time), R would hit reality and I needed to be working on all 6 cylinders.

I eventually got off the psych meds and thought I was doing ok. I didn’t feel like climbing the walls anymore or feeling anxious. I did have a hard time sleeping because the mental pictures of finding Donovan on the floor would come back. I also felt like I was being covered with a blanket of sadness but I thought that was normal. It wasn’t a constant feeling because there was also the joys of being a new mom and me also knew that lack of sleep played a part of that so it seemed normal to me. However, R started asking me several times a day “Mommy, are you ok? Mommy, are you happy?”

This was my wake up call. A little 5 yr old girl saw more than I did and it affected her deeply. The one thing I didn’t want to do was make her worried and even though I kept telling her that I was happy and that I was ok, she kept asking every day (several times a day). One day, I got my relief in a way I didn’t expect. I finally decided to go see our chiropractor because I was having problems laying on my right side and having a lot of pain in my right hip. Initially, the pain had started when I was carrying J so I thought it would eventually go away once he was born. It didn’t. I found out why. Apparently, my right hip had rotated and needed to be straightened up (ouch!).
I had gone to the chiropractor before when I was pregnant with R and several times after that so I had a pretty good relationship with her and she knew her medical stuff! She told me (after a few visits to get my hip back in place) that she also had something called neurotherapy (EEG feedback) and that she thought it would help me a great deal emotionally. She gave the website and a DVD to watch so that way, I would know more about it. Went home, read the website and watched the DVD and very thankful that I did. You know that verse that says (and I’m paraphrasing here), God will never allow you to have more than you can handle but always have an open window? Well, this was my open window.
I went in for the neurotherapy session (which lasted for about 20 minutes). Dr. Walden had electrodes placed in certain places on my head and asked me if I was really scared (duh! Scared silly!). She turned the lights off and I heard was the sound of the ocean and every once in a while, a pining sound. The one thing I had to do was keep my eyes closed. All of the mental pictures that I had had (and still do) in my head of Donovan on the floor, his casket, the funeral, and the grave came crashing in. One at a time but then a mental picture of J or R or sunsets, or the beach or something calming would come into focus and ease the horrible pictures of death. My brain was being trained to balance itself out with out the use of drugs and it worked! It was like a HUGE burden of sadness, and heaviness of heart had been lifted off from me and I finally felt like I could breathe again and am happy about life and everything that I had been blessed with. I also cried like I did at Donovan’s funeral (which is something that I hadn’t done since Dec ’08 and this was like March ’09). The session was intense in a way but very much necessary. I found out that this was also used for soldiers who came back from war who were dealing with post traumatic stress disorder (which is what I had).

My family and friends noticed the change that day (especially R) and that calmed her a lot. Mentally, I made myself a promise that anytime I would start feeling depressed to the point that I was crying non stop, not taking care of myself, or starting to just not care about anything, that I would do something about it. No 5 yr old should ever feel stressed because their mom can’t get her act together. The next week, I went back for a full 30 min session and felt like a human again. Things that I had not realized that I was no longer doing (or enjoy doing), I was starting to enjoy things again. Sometimes, it is not easy to admit to yourself when you need help and then getting up and doing it. Many times, we are our own worst critic but sometimes it’s for a good reason. The challenge is what are we going to do about it. I have two young ones that are constantly looking to me to see how to live their lives and if I become complacent and constantly do a self pity party, it’s teaching them how to handle what ever situations may come up. Over the past year and half, I have had a total of 4 neurotherapy sessions (each 30 min long). The other two times was at Christmas and the other was when J turned 1.
More to follow……

Friday, April 23, 2010

The emotial and metal demons I dealt with.

Ok. Today is the day that I get into my own emotional/ mental demons. This is something that most people do not want to talk about; are afraid to ask about; or think that maybe they are weak in some way if they do. I, on the other hand feel that it is both necessary and makes the individual stronger rather than weaker. So, here goes!

R and I went back home when R got to the point that she couldn't’t stand to be around K and G anymore. This wasn’t out of anger I don’t think. She just simply wanted to go home. One night, G reached out to try and hug R. R went as stiff as a board and ran in the opposite direction. I knew then that my time was up at K and G’s. R cried because she wanted to go home and I cried because of the dread of the memories and because I saw my daughter in emotional pain. Nothing can take a stab to a mother’s heart like that and it’s one that I will probably never forget.

Leading up to going back home, I had R sleep in her “big girl” room instead of the one that she was in that night. I was afraid that if she went back to her old room, she would have nightmares of that officer coming into her room and waking her up. Donovan and I had talked to R about her “big girl” room before and I had slowly started to move her things into there so going back home was no bid deal for her but it was for me (I found out very quickly).

About a week after we went back home, I started feeling kinda nervous around sunset or suppertime and found myself watching for Donovan to come home from work and knowing that he never would. So, to ease the nervousness, I would get R in the car and we would just drive somewhere, anywhere until the sun had gone down. Once it was dark, I was fine and not nervous but I knew that that feeling wasn’t normal but difficult to explain to anyone. At first I thought the nervousness was just “back home jitters” but, as the weeks wore on, the feeling didn’t ease up but got worse.

Two or three weeks later, I was literally wanting to climb the walls around sunset and feeling very panicky. That was when I called my OBGYN and asked for an appointment to get some relief. I got in the next day and he prescribed something (and for the life of me, I can’t think of what it was now… sorry). My biggest concern with taking any kind of medication was the effect it would have on the baby but I was reassured that it wouldn’t affect him at all. The medicine worked great for about 2 days and then I started wanting to climb the walls again (literally). Not only did I want to climb the walls but I felt that my brain was split in half. I would see a lamp pole and think “Hey, lamp! Why not run into it!” Then the other half of me would argue that that was not a good idea and just to keep focused on the car in front of me.

At this point in time, I was thankful for getting a degree in social work and knowing what the stages (or signs) of serious depression were. I called K and G and told them that we were going to be spending some time at their house again for awhile. R didn’t like it at all so we were home during the day and at K and G’s at night. Called the MD again and was giving a different drug. That worked for about 3 weeks but we stayed at K and G’s during that time.

As the time got closer to the baby being born, it got more difficult for me. I was scared that I wouldn’t love the baby; scared that he would look just like Donovan; scared that the meds would mess him up mentally or physically or just that something would go terribly wrong. Some times, I would tell G of this and she would whip out some scriptures of how Satan will try anything to get us to fail and boy was he having fun with me! I knew that I couldn’t get through without God’s help and lots of prayers from family and friends.

On February 3, 2009, I called the MD and told him that the meds weren’t working anymore. He told me we could try something else. I was tired of having a battle going on mentally and emotionally and I didn’t want to “try” anything else. I was admitted to Baylor of Dallas on the 4th and had a physiologists come in and do an evaluation. I tried to go through everything again (I had to answer the same type of questions for the admitting nurse) but couldn’t so K had to answer some questions for me. The psychologist told him (and I) that I was on the verge of a total collapse (No! really?!?) and that I had post traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. He then prescribed (I think) was Zoloft and something else. He said that it would affect the baby slightly in that he would be very very drowsy once he was born but would be back to normal the next day.

I was induced on the 5th at 8:30 am and James was born 4 hours later. Just in time for lunch! He is now a very happy, healthy, and inquisitive little one year old who loves his sister very much and is into everything.

More to follow!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Following days and funeral

Ok. I had decided to post on here once a day but, tonight I felt the need to “write” because I didn’t want to end the day on a sad note but rather on a positive one.

That Sunday was a very tough one to get through and reality hit me hard that morning. I got up and saw G in the kitchen. She asked me if I wanted a fresh cup of coffee. You would think that a simple question wouldn’t be that big of a deal but it was for me. Donovan always made coffee for us in the mornings and it’s like a part of me was expecting to see him there. Hello Reality! We did manage to have a birthday party of sorts for R and had a birthday cake but I don’t remember most of the details. In fact, most of that day was a blur of faces and tears and trying to remember to breath (otherwise I got a swift kick in the lungs). That Sunday was also difficult because Donovan was supposed to serve on the Lord’s Table that morning.

I do remember some people who came over that afternoon and each time, R would hide under the kitchen table. She never said anything or asked any questions. She just hid. The preacher came over first and he didn’t say anything at first. I know that it had to be difficult for him because he had married us back in Aug. ’01. He (like most of the members at church) had watched Donovan grow up as a teen. I learned later that the morning service that day was very difficult for everyone. Me, I just got through the day and focused on the baby and R.

I had also decided what the baby’s name would be. Donovan and I had decided on James (after his grandfather’s name) but hadn’t come up with a solid middle name. That day, I decided it would be Donovan. Sometimes, even now, I catch myself calling James – Donovan partly because he has the same kind of temperament as his daddy. At least J gets it honest. J

That Monday, I had to call my boss (I worked for U-Haul in customer service) that I wasn’t going to be coming into work for a while but I couldn’t get the words out so, K had to tell him. He also had to tell his family and my parents what had happened (even though none of us understood anything). I stayed in the room with him when he told everyone and we both broke down.

We also had to figure out when we were going to be getting the body from the morgue and when to have the funeral and who was going to be the pallbearer’s. Thankfully, K and G did the funeral aspect and we had decided that we need to have the funeral before Christmas (even if it was short notice). I picked out the pallbearer’s and am thankful that they were willing to help out. We also decided that the service was going to be congregational singing and yes, I still have some trouble with some of the songs but it is getting easier to singing some of them.

I don’t remember if it was the Wednesday of that week or then next when R finally asked where daddy was. We were still at K and G’s house and K was about to go to Bible class when R asked G and I were Donovan was. We pulled K in there and faced it as a family as best we could for a 5 yr old to understand. She still hid under the table in the kitchen but was starting to be confused on who was actually the boss of her. It all came to a boiling point when she didn’t want to wear what grandma wanted her to wear for church that morning and K stepped in and told her “As long as you’re under my roof, you’ll do as I say.” I had to step in and told both of them to step out of the room and I would take care of R. Thankfully, they backed off and then that Monday, we went home to stay. K and G spent the night because it was just a little tooo creepy for me but R was a happy little clam.

I’m a little ashamed to admit this but, I don’t remember what day was Donovan’s funeral or when the viewing was. I know there were a lot of people at the viewing (even though it was a closed casket) and am grateful for that. There are a few faces that stood out and that I still remember but most of it is a blur. R was over at the preacher’s house (Julie had taught her in Bible school that year so it made it easier) that night and over at the church building that morning. I didn’t want Donovan’s funeral to be at the church building because I didn’t want R to associate the building with Daddy’s funeral and I didn’t want the same association. That was where we got married and wanted to keep positive memories for me there.

We had put some pictures together for a video before the funeral and that was the first thing I saw before walking in from the waiting room. Actually it was a baby picture of Donovan and all I could think was “I’m not ready for this, I’m not ready for this”. In a way, no one is ready for the loss of a family member in whatever situation. We are creatures of habit and always want things to go on as they are instead of changing and having to let go. The choice we have is weather to go on and eventually let go or to hang on and end up being miserable. I started to turn and run the opposite direction to get away from it all but my dad and G were both guiding me in. I didn’t look at another picture and I don’t remember what was said. I do remember G asking me how many squares were on the floor and then telling her how many. Or how many of one kind of flower there were and telling her how many. It was a way for both us to get through the service without losing it. When it came time for everyone to file past us, I lost it and started hyperventilating. G just let me go because she was doing her hardest to be strong for me and for K. I do remember two men who came up and I recognized them from Donovan’s work. They were (as he called them) way upper management and both were emotionally shaken by the service. It hurt me to see them hurting like that and knowing what he meant to all lot of his co-workers.

Then I was supposed to walk out to the graveside and almost collapsed but thankfully my dad was there to physically hold me up. He told me to go ahead and take me home but I knew that I had to go through the burial as well because it wouldn’t seem really otherwise and I would regret this form of goodbye. Most of this was also a blur except for one instance.

One of the members from church came up afterwards with her 6 yr old son. She told me that Ethan had a special prayer for me and R which was very sweet and I’m thankful that she told me.

Eventually, my parents went back home and we stayed in our house. Then, I had to deal with my own mental / emotional “demons”. But that’s for another blog.

The beginning

This is kinda hard for me to put into words but, for those of you who take the time to read this and have a better understanding of where me and my family are dealing with on a day-to-day basis, I have to start from the beginning. So, here goes!

On December 20, 2009, at about 11:00 PM, I had just called it a day and was asleep for about 30 minutes or so when I heard a very loud bang that sounded like it had come from the back yard. This did not make any sense to me since I didn't hear the dogs barking. I called out to my husband (of almost 7 years) and no response. He had told me that he was going to shut the computer down and and put his new "toy" up (he had just gone through a gun safety course and had gotten himself a hand gun) then come on to bed since we had finished up with getting everything ready for our daughter's 5th birthday (which was the next day) and it was a Saturday night (so had to get up early for worship the next day as well).
I called Donovan again and still no answer and I got to my feet as fast I could (given the fact that I was 7 1/2 months pregnant with our son at the time) and went to the room where the computer was. Donovan was laying on the floor and bleeding and not responding. Understandably, I panicked and screamed. Still no response from Donovan. I finally got my wits together and called 911 and waited until they arrived (which looked more like a ambush of people and cars). Then I called his parents (who lived 15 min. away from us) and just told them to come the house NOW.
I vaguely remember some things of what was being said but mostly it's a blur. I just remember throwing up a lot and shaking uncontrollably. I do remember an EMT coming and saying that they were going to take him to the hospital and that he was breathing on his own but not to hope too much for him to make it through the night. I also remember them asking me if there was anyone else in the house and I told them that our 4 yr old daughter was asleep. I then remember a very large (quarterback sized) police officer carrying our daughter in one arm and she was wrapped in a blanket and shaking like a leaf. Once he handed her to me, she started throwing up and then one of the female officers (rather stupidly if you ask me) Oh, is she sick? Well duh!
Then Donovan's parents came and his mom came up to the door (they wouldn't let her in) and I asked if she could get our daughter at least out of the house and they agreed. Downside is that they did not allow his parents to take her to their home but rather made them sit out in their car until they were completely done (which took about 3 or 4 hours). To this day, some of the things that they did do not make any sense to me and will (probably) forever be ingrained into my (and my daughter's) mind.
The rest is a blur. I just remember being torn between taking care of my daughter and wanting to be with Donovan and not being allowed to do either one. The next thing I remember is being driven over to his parents house and pacing the floor (once we got our daughter back in bed and sleep). Later, his mom told me that she saw all of the flashing lights and kept saying "Someone needs help". Donovan's parents went to Baylor of Dallas and Donovan went to see God at 4:30 am on December 21, 2009.