Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Overcoming the Monsters

For the last 3 weeks, I have been taking R to neurotherapy and we've been working on her fears and anxieties and have been coming a long way with that (even if it has to be for only 10 - 15 minutes at a time).

This morning, before going to school, R wanted to watch Curious George. She was especially interested in one episode that dealt with monsters in the dark and how his imagination would get the better of him in thinking that there were monsters in his room. Once the light was turned on, he saw that there weren't any... Just objects that looked different in the dark.

Most children are almost expected to be afraid of "monsters" in the dark at some point in time and we as parents take the time to calm their fears. For R, it's a bit different.

On the night of Donovan's accident, the police force (for whatever reason that I still don't understand) decided to have a rather large, quarter-back sized police officer go into her room, wake her up, and bring her to me. As you can probably imagine, R was shaking like a leaf and (before long) throwing up. The PD had to ask "Is she sick?". Well DUH! Most adults are scared sick when they have a complete stranger come in and wake them up... What do you think a 5 year old's reaction is going to be?

Now, R is starting to face those fears and trauma from that experience in a way that won't make it extremely difficult for her. She doesn't have the vocabulary nor the previous experience to relate how she's feeling about being woken up in the middle of the night and she actually looks forward to the therapy. Yesterday, I asked her why she likes to go and she said "It's helping me momma! And I like the lollipops!"

It's taken us 8 months just to get to the point that she can handle the "heavy stuff". Up to this point, we just had to help her be calm within herself and be balanced overall. Now comes the hard part but it's all in very, very small baby steps.

For all this, I am sooo thankful that there are resources and talents that God has given people to help those who need it most.

More to follow......

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Make it work!

This morning, R decided that she had to find something for J to listen to from "The music room".

She had an 8-track tape in hand and was determined to have something for J to listen to and to explain how it worked. So, slowly we started trying various players to try and get them to work. All to no avail. Some players had cords and once plugged in, didn't work or if they had battery use, once new batteries were put in, they didn't work either.

Finally, R sat down in on whatever space she could find and stated "This room is full of junk! Why did Daddy get so much junk?" I told her that it wasn't all junk and pulled a record that she liked and asked her if she thought it was junk. She quickly agreed that it wasn't all junk, just mostly junk and that we needed to clear the room out of the "junk".

R and I spent the rest of the morning taking things (that had been taken apart but never put back together) in the back of the car and not talking much but grins. J (of course) wanted to help out as well so he started picking up little pieces on the floor and given them to me (jabbering the whole time) and being very proud of himself. So, we managed to put a very, very small dent in the floor but please about the progress. R then stated "It's good getting it (the room) cleaned. (with a big grin on her face)" and I agreed. It felt good and almost like a relief of some sort. Not sure how to put it into words but, all of us were happy about it and I'm sure there will be more cleaning times to come.

More to follow.....

Thursday, May 20, 2010

15 Months and Counting

Early tomorrow morning, it will be 15 months since Donovan's passing and yes, I'm a little heavy-hearted at the moment. This is (thankfully) not the same as it was this time last year though.

Still, it hurts and there are still some things that I just can't do yet. The room that he had the accident in still has papers and other odd things covering up the floor so that I won't see the emptiness of where I found him on the floor. I still haven't watched a movie in my room (partly because I'm worn out by the time I get to bed and partly because it still feels a little weird to me). Once it gets dark out, the back room (where he usually was playing his records) has to have a light on and I can't bring myself to turn all the lights in the house off at night.

I am moving forward though and making small changes that have a positive effect on me as well as R and thankful that J is blissfully unaware of things yet. I know that one day, he will have some tough questions so I pray that I'll have the right answers for him when that time comes. R has come a very long way since reality hit her and she enjoys going to neurotherapy. She knows that it is helping her get things that she can't verbalize yet out of her head so that she can heal. I also know that we (as a family) would not have made it this far without God and His church (and especially prayers).

Yes, it's been a roller-coaster ride but each peak in the ride brings us closer both to God and to peace.

More to follow......

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Trying times

Yesterday started another chapter of test for our family. Donovan's grandmother had to be taken to the ER because she wasn't eating and her complexion was as white as a sheet (which scared the daylights out of G). As of right now, we still don't know what's wrong and the MD's are still running test.

Yesterday, G went home for a few minutes to get herself back in balance and called me to let me know what was going on. After a few minutes on the phone, she emotionally crashed so J and I went over to G's house. She was able to get a little bit of a good cry in (which she needed to do) but then J came over to where we were with a very concerned look on his face and almost in tears because he could sense that memaw was crying. It just goes to show how attuned little ones can be to us adults.

For me, it was both very difficult to see G hurting like this but also a little relieved that she's finally starting to let the tears flow (as much as possible anyway). I made a comment to G that the house was getting to me (or at least the stuff in the house) and her response was "Well, it's all part of getting through it." She may still be at the beginning of grief but I've gone way past that. For me, it's a feeling of letting go and closing the book. It's not painful or done in vengeance (like trying to get back at Donovan for leaving me and the children) but it's a need to say goodbye and just start fresh.

Last night, I took down the wedding pictures that we had over the fireplace and put up a picture of R (it's a sideways closeup and beautiful picture) and when I asked R what she thought, she was grinning from ear to ear. For the two of us, this is like a release and closure. It's not done in sadness but rather happy. Much like when some of the dishes that we got when we got married starting cracking and chipping, R made the comment, "it's time to get new ones because those are old". R helped me pick out some new dishes and when they came in, she was grinning from ear to ear and happy (and so was I). It's time for some small changes in our home. I did go by a house that was up for sale and asked R what she thought. She had this terrified look on her face and a very sound "NO!" to go with it. So, small changes are a good thing and all done in baby steps.

More to follow.....

Sunday, May 16, 2010


After church service this morning, a small group of us went to the Roadhouse Texas restaraunt for lunch. The idea sounded good and I knew I just didn't want to go home and do the same-o same-o so, we went.

As soon as I got in the door, I knew I was going to have a rough time. One of the families (that went this time) had invited us out to the same restarunt a few years ago (when Donovan was still here) and those memories came flooding back and then the tears came. It wasn't the type of tears that made me go weak in the knees but it hurt. Another family (the Steven's) went this time as well and Mr Steve pointed out that I needed to go to the old places and then create new memories at the same places and J proceded to help me do just that (even though he wasn't aware of it). J is the type of little boy that doesn't meet a stranger and he's always got a smile for anybody who makes eye contact with him. So, the tears faded to grins and laughter thanks to a little one year old who may never know how much he means to a lot of people (and not just me and R).

I am thankful that God gave us the ability to have memories and hope that the painful one's will turn into positive ones eventually. Much like the service today. Case in point: Lord's supper. In the past, Donovan and K served the Lord's supper on the same day and at the same time. Today, K served alone and I couldn't help but remember that Donovan used to do that but it didn't make me cry to think about it. I'm sure it affected K somewhat because whenever something is on his mind (in relation to Donovan), it shows a little and K didn't want to hang around after services this morning either (usually they do).

Yesterday afternoon, R, J and I were over at K and G's house. The lawn people were cutting their yard and R made the comment that she remembered Donovan riding a lawnmower when she was little and that she wished he was back (she was saying all of this to K at the time). K made some comment and then left the room for a bit, came back and was trying to clear his throat and sniffles, and try to stay upbeat for R. The whole lawnmower scene didn't seem to bother R very much. She just had to say what she was thinking and get it out and I'm proud of her for doing so because it means that she's slowly healing and letting it go.

Sure, it's hard to get through sometimes. There are times that either R or myself just have to get out of the house and step back for awhile. Sometimes there's tears but eventually (hopfully) there's laughter to take it's place. You can't have a rainbow without going through the flood.

More to follow......

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hiding behind the mask.

On Tuesday, we went to Grief Works which is sponsored by the Church and has a great outreach for those who need help the most.

The topic for the night was about what we (as parents) worry or are afraid of at this point in our lives. Now, I know I'm not the only one that faces some kind of worry or fear. As parents, we all have worries about our children and how best to help them reach maturity in a godly way (without force feeding them if possible). As adults, we worry about this, that and the other (ie: jobs, family, finances, friends, etc). The main question is, do we hid behind a mask so that others don't know what we're dealing with? My second set of parents are a class act of this. Especially G who puts on a big smile at church and pretty much everyone she meets and gives the facade that all is well but, if you look in her eyes, it's another story. K doesn't hide it all that much but he doesn't talk either. Me, I can't hide and I can't keep quiet either.

It's not easy being open about what you're thinking and feeling sometimes and we've all been there (or are doing it now). We are taught as children to be seen but not heard (sometimes) when actually it should be just the opposite. If there's anyone who needs to be heard the most, it's our children and I try to encourage R and J to tell me what's going on in their head. R has gotten better about being open with what she's feeling and then we try to work through it. There are some things that she just can't get out because she doesn't have words for it yet but we try to look up words she doesn't understand and that helps.

How many times do we hide behind a mask (either with ourselves or with others)? How many problems do we start by not being open and honest with ourselves and others? I have learned from this past year that it's alot easier being honest and open with myself and with others and it's partly because of the kids. They are both social butterflies (especially J - R is starting to come out a little bit more). In college and especially before then, I was very quiet and shy. *chuckling here* but not anymore. True, I am not the social butterfly but I'm getting there - whether I like it or not! Through this whole experience, it has changed me in more ways than one and it's mostly for the better. Sure, there's some rough patches (just like anybody else who's alive has rough patches) but the key is how you get through them and whether you choose to either learn from them or let it overcome you.

There was a quote (and I don't know who it's from) that was stated Tuesday night and it's stuck with me so, I'm going to pass it on to you... "If you aren't too busy to worry, then you aren't too busy to pray". Good words to live by.

More to follow.....

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The humor of a 1 yr old.

This morning (and pretty much throughout the day) I've had a few good chuckles due to a very inquisitive 1 year old and his discoveries.

J is now 13 months old and his latest feat is getting a whiffel ball and throwing it behind his back, turning around to get it and then repeating the process over and over again. He also like "Old McDonald" and he will sing e - i - e - e- i (instead of e i e i o).

Last night, he showed his compassionate side. R had to be reminded (via a rubber ended spatula) how important it is to obey me. I usually don't have to spank her very often but every once in a while, she likes to see if she can get away with something which backfires. While I was holding her on my lap (after she got 2 good swats), J was looking at me with this "I can't believe you just did that!" look and started to cry himself (and patting R on the back in the process).

I pointed this out to R and told her that she had a little brother who was looking out for her and didn't like the fact that she disobeyed and had to get a spanking. She thanked J for that and learned her lesson (at least for now anyway).

With children, things are very simple and concrete. For adults, its everything but that and then we wonder why our lives seem so confusing. I am being taught by my children to just take things simply as they are and not do an overkill. It's hard to do sometimes but I think there would be much happier adults if we looked at things through the eyes of a 1 yr old but with the wisdom of an adult.

More to follow.....

Monday, May 10, 2010


This afternoon, R and I went in to get some help. Her for neurotherapy and I for (what's called) organ balance.

In the past, R hasn't been too excited about going in for neuro feedback but today she was. I guess she knew she needed some help emotionally. She is not the type to be aggressive with anybody (much less a classmate) but she was on Friday at school and when I asked her why, she said she didn't know. For the past week or so, she's been very emotional and would cry buckets at the drop of a hat. After a 18 minute session, she's much happier and you can tell that it's like a load has been taken off of her mind and she's a little freer now.

As for me, this was something new. I had never heard of organ balance. Essentially, there are pressure points (if you want to call them that) along your back and your pulse can "tell" what organs (IE: heart, liver, lungs, spleen, etc) are under duress which 13 of the 15 of mine were way off. We were able to tackle 10 of them today and I feel much, much better. I have more energy and actually feel more alive and able to handle things a bit clearer. I don't know exactly how to explain it. All I can say is that it's weird but in a good (and much needed) way.

More to follow.....

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Today, for most people, this a great day to show how much you love and care about your mom. Today, for most people, is a joyous one and a good excuse to get together with the rest of the family. For some, this day may not be so great. Some people have had their mom pass on or, they may not be in a great relationship with their mom. For me, it’s neither of the two.

Today, I am thankful for the two wonderful children that I have and for the two great mom’s that have helped me through the past years. Today has also been a little difficult. While there is joy, there is also a small amount of sadness because the father of my children is no longer here.

While I am blessed beyond words, there is also a little heaviness of heart. I am thankful that we (as a family) were able to attend services this morning and also for the fact that I was emotionally able to get through the service without breaking down in tears. This time last year was a different story. So, Ripley’s believe it or not, time (and the good Lord) does heal and I pray that it continues to do so.

More to follow…..

Friday, May 7, 2010

Going through another first.

Wednesday night, just before R was supposed to go out the door and go to Bible class, we started hearing a beeping sound from one of the back rooms. After hunting down the sound, we found that it was the smoke detector beeping that the battery needed to be changed. One more first to have to deal with.

At first, I thought that if I just stood up on a chair that I could reach it. No chance. R thought reminded me that we had a ladder out in the garage that would be able to reach it. We found the ladder and then I had to figure out how to get to it and bring it in the house (which was not an easy thing to do). This was all going to be done with R's help and J (being the curious one that he is) investigating a room that he had never been in.

I started feeling very frustrated by J being underfoot and wishing that R was bigger. Thankfully, the ladder wasn't very heavy but it reminded me, once again, of how alone I really am and how much my children depend on me to keep things running. R helped me get the ladder into the house (after lifting it over the lawnmower that hasn't been used in a year and half) and down the hall to the (as R calls it) "Daddy's music room". I then had to move several small rows of 45's out of the way just to get the ladder up to reach the smoke alarm. I finally figured out how to get the thing down and decided that I wasn't going to be putting it back up for a while (at least not until I could get the floor space cleaned out). To give you (if your someone that has never been in my home) an idea of what this room is like, let me give you a good idea. Imagine a medium sized music store full of records, 8 tracks, laser disc, 45's, reel-to-reel's, 75's, record players, 8 track players (you get the idea). Now imagine all of that stuff in a medium sized room stacked from floor to ceiling and wall to wall. This was Donovan's music room. R comes back here to look at records and play them on a little portable record player that Donovan taught her to use (it plays 45's) but she hasn't done that this year (yet). Her response to the 45's on the floor was rather comical. "Mommy, this stuff needs to be cleaned up!" She's right, so now I have a new challenge before me. The big question is how?

I've talked to several people from church and they've made some good suggestions (all of which are very time consuming) so now it just comes down to doing it. Thankfully, I have friends that are willing to help. So, if anybody has been wanting a certain record, CD, 8-track, or reel-to-reel (or players of each of these), let me know because 9 times out of 10, it's somewhere in this room. Bring on the clearing out!

More to follow......

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Music back in the house.

Last night, just before bed, R got Donovan's guitar out and was "playing" it while J found a baby spoon and was "drumming" on the coffee table. My kind of music!

Almost every night, Donovan would either practice on his violin, guitar, or play some records so there was constant music in the house and on the weekends, we had a say on what records were played. This included everything from the Blue Danube to Elvis (R really liked both of these) to heavy metal to modern rock. Those were special times for our family and bonding time for Donovan and R.

Since his passing, there hasn't been much in muisc playing. I will turn on Pandora so to drown out the silence but that's it. At one time, I tried to see if I could make the record player work but I couldn't even the get power to come on (guess that shows how technical I am... :) ). Last night was different and both R and I were grinning.

When it was time for bed, R simply stated that she was playing Daddy's guitar. I told her that now it was her guitar and her response was this "Because Daddy's dead." There weren't any tears. It was just a simple, matter-of-fact statement. To which I answered "Yes. It's yours now. Maybe you can teach brother how it works." Her whole face lit up and she started showing J how to strum the strings (which he enjoyed imensly!).

I'm looking forward to what my two little musicans will come up with.

More to follow.....

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My pretty pink toes.

Last night, I was in for a treat that I've never done before. Two of my dear friends encouraged me to go with them and get a pedicure done.

Now, for an ol country girl, this was totally foreign to me and I had no idea what to expect. I guess you could say that I was very nieve about such things. We went to a place in Firewheel Mall and I actually had to go out and get some sandels (Wendy L told me to go and get some so that my feet wouldn't get messed up afterwards and I thought that was a good enough reason since I haven't worn sandels since I was a kid!).

Of course, K and G agreed to take the kids during this time so it felt good just getting out of the house for a change. For this little act, I am grateful. The kids did great at grandparents and were well worn out by the time I got them home.

At one point, during the whole pedicure process, I actually felt like I could just do a little shut eye because it was that relaxing and not something that I'm acustomed to but very much needed.

Here's a question for you. How many times, during a single month, do you stop and do something extra nice for yourself? As parents, we can easily get soo caught up in the kid(s) that we forget who we are. As a single, we may get caught up in our job, family members, or whatever else life likes to throw at us and then we forget who we are as an individual.

I'm learning over this last year and half that if I don't stop to figure out who I am and take care of me first, I'm not going to be able to help my children figure out who they are and who we are as a family. They looking to me to set an example of how they live their life from day to day. R is learning how important a healthy diet is and J (even at a year old) is learning to put the bottle cap back on his bottle (which also lets me know that he's done).

People are constantly looking and watching what we do (especially when we may be totally obvilious to that fact). They know that we're not like the rest of the world because we have something that they don't (call it a spark, call it hope, or whatever). How many of us can be brutely honest with ourselves and say that we LOVE our life (even when it seems to be a constant roller coaster)??? I can and people have noticed (and they also see when I'm going downhill). As christians, we are to be there for each other and lift each other up. The only problem is that too many times, we tend to shut people out when times are difficult and then we start critizing ourself and being hard on ourselves. Simple solution, be open and honest with your chirstian family! Sure, it's not easy to open yourself up and step beyond your comfort zone... I ought to know... ha ha! Bottom line is this. Get your thoughts and feelings out (whether it's writing in a journal, talking to someone, etc). Otherwise, everything will only hurt you in the end. Once you do, you may just feel like a butterfly coming out of its cocone.

More to follow.....

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Riding the roller coaster.

The last couple of days have been very difficult for me emotionally. I didn't realize how difficult until this morning.

This morning started off ok but by the time we got back home from R getting off to school, I was starting to crash and could not stop crying. Last night, I had started to tackel the back room where I found Donovan on the floor because R had made some comments that the floor needed to be cleaned (and it did!). So, I started making a dent on the clean floor space and was pretty much grinning from ear to ear. I was finally doing something that I had been dreading for a year and a half!

This morning, the mental images of seeing Donovan on the floor hit hard. It felt like a big overly stuffed blanket had been draped over me emotionally and I couldn't seem to shake it off. Had breakfast and felt a little better and then crashed again. I knew I needed to do something and get myself back in ballance. That and the fact that it's kinda hard to try and meet the needs of a 1 year old when you're physically shaking so hard that you can barely stand.

I called Dr. Walden and they had an opening for 9:30 and thankfully, Rachel (from church) was at home and she was willing to take James so I could do a neurotherapy session. 30 minutes later and I'm back to my old self and no more vivid, horrible pictures of Donovan on the floor. Even as I'm typing this, that mental image is still in my mind (and probably will always be there) but it is more of a picture of peace rather than blood and everything else. I finally feel like I'm able to breath clearer and think clearer so that I can help R. This afternoon, she had another emotional meltdown but then she goes off to swing and is happy being outside and in the sun. Next Monday, she'll have her neurotherapy session again as well so I'm hoping she can get emotionally ballanced again as well.

More to follow.......

Monday, May 3, 2010

A child's tears.

Tonight, R gave me a lesson on how strong influence can be.

We thought that we would be having company over and R would be able to play with some of her friends from church. Due to the storm, that never happened and R was totally devastated. Usually, if something doesn't happen the way she wants it to, she may get a upset for a little while but then she goes right on to something else. Tonight was different. Tonight, she broke down and cried hard (to the point of physically shaking). She hasn't had a good, hard cry in a while and it's like to you "see" the wheels in her mind spinning a mile a minute. It's like waiting for Old Faithful to go blow.

She had become rather quiet the last couple of days and I would ask her questions but she didn't really talk a whole lot. Whenever we have Grief Works group, it generally gets her thinking and then it's a matter of time before she finally has to let everything out. Tonight, it did and I think she feels better about herself and about everything else. Doesn't mean that she has to like it but that it's ok to be upset and to cry and to get everything that you've been thinking outside.

I've learned over the past year and a half that children may be resilient but they also internalize everything that they see and hear without giving much feedback on what they think. Initially, she was upset that plans didn't go the way she wanted them to but ultimately, it was her concern for Daddy. Was he ok? Did he have plenty to eat? He's been gone for a long, long time. When is he coming back? This question just about sunk me but I also had to be honest and upfront with her. Daddy is never coming back and the only way we can see him is if we go to heaven or if Jesus comes back first. R's response was, "I want to go to heaven!" Again, I had to point out that if she did, she wouldn't be alive anymore. She didn't like that idea but she also didn't like the idea of having to wait. Then it was off to bed and good ol' Winnie the Pooh to the rescue! She's had a fabric book of Winnie the Pooh since she was a baby and she sleeps with it now.

Today, we ended it with giggles and smiles but had an emotional storm to go through first. Much like the physical storms that we have to face, there is always God's rainbow at the end and it makes everything all right.

More to follow......

Sunday, May 2, 2010

One last cry?!?

Tonight, I was able to go to worship services while G took care of J (since he still can't get out around people yet). Several of the songs leading up to the sermon were about heaven and no more tears. During the singing of "Flee As a Bird" I just couldn't get through it without tearing up and I knew there was a mini-fountain in the works so, I got up and walked out and let the tears go.

Thankfully, one of my "sisters" Tabatha was there with her two little girls so I had a shoulder to cry on. Have you ever cried soo hard that you kinda go a little weak in the knees and your whole body shakes? That was me and I hadn't done that since February (when J turned one). Then, I tried to just shake it off, regain some composure and then go back in. Apparently, the tears had other plans and when two other "sisters" came out to where I was standing, the tears came on hard again. Once again, Wendy was there for a shoulder to cry on.

I thought I was done with those kind of tears! I thought that the hardest part was behind me so why now!? The answer was kinda simple. One was due to almost 2 months of not good night's sleep (J just started sleeping through the night this last week!). Two was that Mother's day was coming up and I could see the pain in grandma's eyes. I told her about the blog and she seemed interesting in it but she has never typed on a computer (yet!). Jackie (who lost her parents in a auto accident 10 years ago), suggested that I give G a journal to write in so that she can get some of her thoughts out.

Lately, K and G have both been showing signs of breaking down emotionally but still trying to hold it together. When you lose your only child, you can't go through it alone and I've been trying to show then that there is help. G is finally starting to listen and starting to get help while K is not and it pains me to see them hurting like this. They are looking to me for support and (in a way) to "fill in" where Donovan was. I can never fill in Donovan's shoes and neither can the children. Yet, K and G are emotionally grabbing on with everything that they have. While it's good that the kids have loving, doting grandparents, each individual have to go through their own grief in their own way and no one can go through it for them.

Eventually, we all went back into the auditorium and then R and I stayed for the fellowship meal afterwards (which was both yummy and hearting at the same time). R and I then went to a fair for a few minutes (long enough for her to ride the merry-go-round and win a prize at a game of penguin's). So, we ended the day with smiles, giggles, and laughter (which is what every day should end on) but I know I would be in a straight jacket long before now if I didn't have my wonderful church family and a great God who knows.

More to follow......