Friday, July 23, 2010

Saying goodbye to the old life

Have you ever had a point in your life where (up to that point, there was a gradual change) you suddenly realize that you have to let go of the old you? You realize that your not the same person you were then? I'm sure that everyone has had those moments and sometimes they are full of joy and other times, it's a sad goodbye. Yesterday was a sad goodbye for me.

Yesterday morning, I woke up with that heaviness that almost feels like you're suffocating under and extremely heavy blanket and can't breath. I've had times before (last year) and it's no fun to experience. Yesterday morning, I cried.. Hard... and I couldn't seem to shake it off. When I went to Danny Mayberry's wedding last weekend, I was fine until they started cutting the grooms cake but was able to shake it off (for a little while at least). When I got the nerve to tell Leslie congrats and to enjoy every minute of it, I could barely get the words out and crashed emotionally (just a little) but then shake it off. Wednesday night was the topping on the emotional cake for me. Talking to Paige about the exciting new arrival of their baby girl (which will hopefully be sometime today) and finding out about Mendy and Erick expecting another one in Feb was great to hear and I'm genuinely happy for them. At the same time, there was a sense of loss as well. Loss of an old life that won't be coming back. Lost opportunities, bigger family, new beginnings with Donovan are gone.

I had let go of Donovan being here long ago (or at least it feels like it me :) ). And I'm ok with him not being here anymore. This time, it was the life that we had that I had to let go of and it hurt (just like letting go and saying goodbye to Donovan was painful). So I cried... hard... but it didn't make me get the point that I physically couldn't stand, just hard enough for me to know that I needed to get help. So, I called two of my friends and could barely leave a message on their answering machines. Got a hold of Rachel and she was willing to take the kids 30 minutes before the neurotherapy session (even tho she had made plans with her mom to go and visit a sick friend of theirs) and for this I am very thankful and blessed to be where I am now.

I tried to relate all of this to G and she took it the wrong way and told me that I should be happy for Paige and Mendy (which I am... ecstatic actually) so that all backfired. Then I had to realize that she (and K) aren't anywhere near what I am now (and it will be a long time before they are) which can be very frustrating for me but, they have to work through everything at their own pace and in their own way. I can't do it for them. I am thankful that they both have finally realized that the counseling that they are getting now is helping them to start working through their own emotional roller-coaster. I can't depend on them like I used to at the beginning so, blessed that I have some great sisters-in Christ that I can get things out with... Thanks Wendy and Jera and Wendy B. :)

I also got a healthy dose of a reality check yesterday. I read a post of a friend of mine that was truly heart-breaking. A friend of hers (who lives in Tampa, Fl.) lost her police husband in the line of fire last month and then lost her baby yesterday (still born) and knowing that that could have easily been me with J. Talk about God giving me a reminder of what my blessings are! :)

Back in Feb. I got myself a butterfly necklace. This reminded me that grief is like a cocoon but eventually, the caterpillar has to break out of it and start flying on it's own. It's not the same that it once was... much like myself. The grief is fading into the background and now it's getting time to fly!

More to follow....

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Another hurdle

Last night, I went to Danny (and the now Leslie) Mayberry's wedding which was beautiful in every way.

I don't know the guy who did the ceremony but would like to know where (and if) he still preaches somewhere. One point that he brought out was a story about a woman who lost her husband of 35 (or so) years and that they never used the fine china until the day of his funeral. The woman made the comment that she was sad that, now that the fine china was being used, the guest of honor couldn't be there. He also related this to how important it was to always do and be the best for the other half.

Of course, this also brought back memories of my own wedding day and the almost 8 years that I had with Donovan and I could do that with a grin... No regrets. Seeing Danny break down in tears as he saw his bride coming down the isle was heart-warming and just plain wonderful to see. Leslie also had some really good ideas for her (and Danny's) reception and I can only pray that I may be able to something like it on day (Lord willing).

All went well until they starting cutting the groom's cake. Then the memories came flooding in... Just a few tears and I was fine. The hard part came when it was time to wish Dan and Leslie well... she reminded me of myself on my own day. All I could tell her was the cherish every moment of it (all while trying to remain composed). Her response was "Danny told me about you." (we were at their wedding shower at Centerville and J helped himself to siting up in front with her - once). Then I had to almost run to the ladies room and let the hard tears come (hyperventilating included). Thankfully, one of the girls that was an ol college roommate of Leslie's was in there, asked if she could get anyone out at the reception. I told her to get Shelly (Danny's mom) and I'm so thankful to have an extra shoulder to hold onto and support. Got composure back and was able to use sparklers as the couple went out to their car. Then it was back to K and G's and getting the kids (who were amazingly still up and running strong - even tho it was 10 pm!).

I think it's amazing how God can remind me to slow down, be perspective of who I am and know that He's not done with me yet. I'm sure that will be more hurtles to get through and that through faith and patience, I'll be a much better (and stronger) person than I was almost 2 years ago.

More to follow.....

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Being in survivor mode

On Tuesday night, GriefWorks had the discussion of being in survivor mode and developing coping skills to get through grief. There were two new families there. One lost their 20 yr old son to suicide, the other (ex-husband) to cancer.

While these losses are sad to hear about and difficult to imagine, there are ways of getting through and the biggest thing that came out from the group was leaning on God. Some others were writing, exercise (get those happy endorphins going), taking care of yourself (which is sometimes very hard to do when you just plain don't care), volunteering, and knowing that grief works differently with everybody.

Key example: One lady lost her ex-husband (sad) from sudden heart attack 5 years ago. She is now (mostly) gone through the grief but her teenage son is just now having to face it and she's kinda angry that he hasn't gotten it yet. Same thing with K and G. It's been a year and half and they are just now starting to get help. They had their first session last night and I talked to G this morning.

She told me that she and K were both looking forward to the next session and she actually sounded happy over the phone (which is a first in a long time!) and that she finally got to get a good night's sleep (another first!). R is still getting through as well and it may take a while before she is finally at complete peace within herself but I am thankful that all three are slowly getting to where they need to be. Yes, it can be stressful, nerve-wracking, and even depressing sometimes but, as long as God's there to carry, openness to help, and a willingness to try, the only way is UP!

More to follow....

Monday, July 12, 2010

Finally getting it!

For the past year and a half, there has been a slow deterioration in my family and it's been heart-breaking to watch and even harder to deal with. Especially when I can't physically do anything about it.

Everyone (I'm sure) has seen the ad's on TV about how depression hurts everyone. Those ad's aren't kidding! For the past 6 months (especially) I've seen it take hold of K and G to the point that (if continued) there may not be a way of getting back to "normal". Today I found out that K and G are going to a six week adult bereavement support program within GriefWorks (which is supported by several congregations within the metroplex). GriefWorks also has a group session (twice a month) for children and their caregiver(s).

These sessions have helped me in trying to help R and it's helped R in that she has friends that have had a loss in their young lives as well and she knows that she's not the only one. There are several new families that have come into the group and it's sad but uplifting at the same time. Some have lost a grandparent, a child, a spouse, a brother, a son, or a daughter. The children have a special room (age appropriate) and only the counselor's know what the children talk about (unless it's life threatening of course) and it gives them the chance to open up about what they're feeling and thinking without fear of what someone else is going to think and R loves going (as do I). :)

Lord willing, this will be the beginning of something very positive for K and G and maybe they will both know what it's like to be happy with their own life again (as R and I am). It's not easy to go through but, it is much better than the alternative.

More to follow.....

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Two down, many more to go

This last week, I made a goal for myself of taking at least 2 big bags (or at least full enough for me to carry) out of the back room (aka Donovan's stuff that a good music consultant told me to get rid of). Since the 1st, that's what I've done and now we're actually able to walk around in the front part of the room. Those of you who have been to the house, you know what I'm talking about.

Once I get the room to where I can actually walk around in it, I get to start an inventory of every single record that could be worth something which is no small task! R has been helping as well and there are some things of daddy's that she doesn't want to get rid of so now I'm also in search of a good box for her to keep her things in that are special to her. I'll also try to set some things aside for J for when he gets older so that he'll have something of his dad's that he's never met.

My parents asked me if it would be easier (emotionally speaking) to have someone else come over and go through things. Quite the contrary! It's been good for me (as well as R). It's been a way of letting go and saying goodbye one last time (but with out the tears and with a grin instead).

More to follow....

Monday, July 5, 2010

Taking a stand

This afternoon, we were invited over to K and G's house for some BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs. While we were all eating, I asked G if she would be willing to watch J while I took R in for some neurotherapy session on Wed morning. Her response kinda suprised me a bit.

She said that she was thinking of taking R to the zoo in order to "encourage" her to go back to ballet class (R had made it very, very clear that she did not want to go back to class *after one session* which made G blow up a bit). I responded that the reason why I was going to be taking R in for a neurotherapy session to begin with was because R was starting to show signs of being stressed out due to the pressure G was putting on her to be in ballet to begin with. Unfortunately, I don't think G sees that.

We had this kind of disscussion before on the day of the ballet class. G kept going on that R was trying to control me in that she tries to do whatever she wants when she wants to do it. She then asked if R pitched a fit about something that she doesn't want to do. In most cases, R will tell me that she doesn't want to do whatever but after 5 min, (with out becoming extremely emotional) she'll do what she's told. G didn't say anything once I pointed out (today) that she was putting unnecessary stress on R to do things that G did as a kid. In a way, it's like G is trying to live her childhood through R again and it's not going to work that way.

Needless to say, I didn't get a straight answer from G so, I'll have to find someone else to watch J on Wednesday morning.

G switched gears and started asking me quesitons about neurotherapy and how it works and helps. I suggested to her that if she (and K as well) went ahead and started the neurotherapy and then coupled that with counseling, they will both be able to learn coping skills in dealing with Donovan's death. In all reality, neither one of them are coping. I told her that neurotherapy will help her get through the extreme stuff (mentally and emotionally) and then the counseling will help them cope. Neurotherapy works much the same as psychologcial meds would but without side effects, quicker results, and no dependability on meds.

She mentioned that if she just thought positive things if negative feelings crept in that it's all she needed to do. I made a point that no amount of thinking is going to correct a chemical imbalance in you mind. Or like mental images that are stuck in your mind that are horrifying to see (like the soldiers coming back from a war zone). For me, neurotherapy (and The Almighty) has taken that image and helped turn it into peace.

More to follow....

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Watching out for the family...

This last Sunday. R, J, and I had the chance to spend some time with my uncle, aunt, and cousin (John).

My uncle knows all too well the road that we have been down because he lost his wife (John's mom) to cancer when John was 13 or 14 and he always has had good advise/ suggestions for me in trying to juggle everything.

While we were sitting through the AM worship service, R pulled at me to ask me a question and I could tell from the look on her fact that it was a serious one to her. Her question/statement was simple yet profound. "No guns for my cousin!" (all being said in a whisper of course). I knew what she meant by that statement and simply told her "No, No guns for cousin". To which she had a huge grin for John and went back to drawing on a piece of paper.

On the way to lunch, I relayed that statement to John (R was ridding with Aunt Gail so out of earshot). His reaction was something I will always remember. "Wow! She's looking out for me and she's only 6 years old!" Needless to say, that affected him deeply and I think it was something that he needed to hear.

Three years ago, my grandmother passed away from a heart attack and John was very, very close to her. His dad is slowly declining in health due to a genetic disease that doesn't have a cure and there isn't very much known about. It's also heretic and all by my dad has come down with the disease (yet). Thank the good Lord that I was adopted into this family and don't have to worry about this aspect. John is also the one that found grandma on the floor so, like me, he will forever have a mental image that will never completely go away. I asked him how he's been doing since grandma passed... He's been doing ok but more concerned about his dad. So, R's statement was probably something that he needed to hear and also know that he's not alone.

No one is completely alone.

More to follow.....