Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Birthday and Anniversary

This morning, I was woke up by a very excited 6 yr old girl who had to ask me... "Is is time for my birthday party yet?" I had to tell her that she would have to wait until 5:00 pm for that. So, every 30 minutes or so, she would ask the same question... "Is it 5:00 yet?" :)

I actually got her to take a nap this afternoon (right after lunch) for about 2 hours so, I got a break from the constant question. Finally, 5:00 arrived and R was literally bouncing. All the girls (and of course J) had a blast and after everyone had gone home, R kept saying "I had the best birthday party ever!" and "I love my birthday!".

Whenever she would say the last statement, I cringed inside a little. The simple reason (as most of you know) is that Donovan died in the early morning hours of her birthday. At 3:30 AM to be exact. R has never asked me when he died and I'm not about to tell her and sabotage her special day by tragedy. She already knows the how's and why's because she had already asked those questions and I was as honest (without tooo many details) as possible. I just dread the day when she does ask the when question.

The party in and of itself went very well. The only down side was when I saw K fighting back tears. Thankfully, R wasn't aware of any of this.

My hard time came yesterday morning, in the form of an e-mail that I received from Donovan's aunt (K's sister). I'm going to share with you what her email said...







When He gets through talking to you, escort Him to the next stop. Please don't allow Him to sleep on your computer. The message He is carrying is very important.

I asked Him to bless you and yours with peace, happiness and abundance.

Say a prayer and then pass Him on to bless others as I sent Him on to bless you. Our assignment is to spread love, respect and kindness throughout the world.

Have a blessed day and touch somebody's life today as, hopefully, I have touched your life.

He's walking around the world via e-mail!!

Please pass it on so He can get there....

I cried hard after I read this...but it didn't last but a few minutes and I was fine the rest of the day. This morning, I felt a little heavy-hearted but no tears. So, I know that things are getting better for us and I know we are pretty much out of the tunnel (so to speak).

I just want to say a big thank you to those that took the time to help make my little sunshine's birthday so special (even if J did try to get to be the center of attention... Ha!). Also, thanks to everyone for the prayers, calls, messages, It means more than you know...

More to follow.....

Sunday, December 19, 2010

2nd biggest nightmare that thankfully didn't happen

The above mentioned took place last Friday (17th). J had started running a fever (99 - 101 temp) earlier in the day and (at the appropriate time) I would give him Tylenol and that would get it back down.

When he went down for his nap, he was running about 98 - 99 temp. By the time he woke up, it was up to 102. Gave him Tylenol again and temp went back down. He was feeling ok so, at about 4:30, we went to have our Christmas pictures made. Grabbed something to eat and headed home.

By 6:30, his temp had shot up to 104. I couldn't give him more Tylenol (and unfortunately, didn't know that I could give him Motrin as well). He had some of his bottle and right after that, his whole back went rigid, left arm was jerking uncontrollably, saliva running from his mouth and his eyes rolled back in his head. Needless to say, I panicked. It's one thing to know what to do if someone goes into a seizure. It's something totally different when it's your own child. I knew I needed to call 911 but, I didn't want to expose R to the chaos of that again. The night of Donovan's accident, she just kept telling G "Someone needs help" without saying (or realizing who). And if I had to take J to the ER, R didn't need to be exposed to that and I couldn't leave her alone. I sent a message to Joyce (church secretary who lives down the road from us to come to the house).

Thankfully, our neighbors across the street were home. They have 4 children and she home school the two oldest (one is 8 and the other is almost R's age). I took R and went to our neighbor's (leaving the front door open of all things). It took about a minute before she came to the door and all I could say was to call 911... NOW!

I put J on their couch and his lips were starting to turn blue but then his little tummy started moving again and I kept rubbing his chest and praying for him to stay with us. The whole time, the mental images of finding Donovan on the floor and barely breathing were running through my head. It was horrible!

They called 911 and a seconds later, I could hear the sirens. Joyce said that she saw the ambulance coming down the street (headed toward her and then turning on our street). J was still in seizure when the EMS got there but just a few seconds later (when Joyce came in) he was coming out of it and shivering.

The EMS checked his vitals and all was normal. They told me that febrile seizure's are actually common among little ones. I had never had this happen with R so this was all new to me. Once the EMS left, the tears came. I cried because of the reality that J could have died (if he hadn't started breathing again on his own) and I cried because I hated being alone in that situation. (K and G were at a Christmas party over in Rockwall so they wouldn't have been able to help at all).

R stayed with our neighbors and Joyce and I took J back home. Called the after-hours nurse of our MD and they said to go ahead and take him to the ER. I told the nurse that I thought J may be also dehydrated (which the ER staff were like "Yea right! Whatever")... Come to show that when they did the blood work, he was dehydrated so... pppppffffftttt to the ER staff. At least I got a "Good call" from the ER MD... Ha! J was running a 103 when we got to the ER (at about 7:00) and it didn't go down until 2:30 AM (when we left the ER)...

I am so blessed to have great neighbors and church family that were there for us when we needed it most. I am also blessed to have so many great friends that called, texted, or messaged on FB while Joyce and I were going through everything with J.

I learned alot that night and know that if J ever starts running a fever (even if it's just 99) that I'm whipping out the Motrin and Tylenol because he can easily have another seizure when that starts.

A little over a week later and J is back (almost) to his old self... :)

More to follow....

Friday, December 17, 2010

Back to the grave

I know that the above title sounds a bit morbid so, let me explain what I mean.

Last Thursday, I did something that I hadn't done since January of this year. I went back to visit Donovan's grave.

Up to January, I had gone to his grave just to talk (even though I knew good and well that he can't hear me) but, it helped me vent my anger and frustrations at him for leaving me with a newborn son and a 5 yr old daughter. Most of the time, I'd go on the 21st of each month (and more often shortly after the funeral because it still didn't seem real to me). After J was born in Feb. I went less and less often (expect for the two times that R wanted to see where Daddy was buried - she hasn't asked to go back since). Now, she hang on to his memory by music.

He worked 2nd shift at AT&T as a tech so he'd get home around 10:30 and R got to the point that she didn't want to go to bed without saying night-night to him (and of course listening to his records). Some nights, it was a simple hug, kiss and then she was ready to go to sleep. Other nights, we'd listen to records and she'd pick out the records she liked (Beatles, Elvis, The Blue Danube (and this HAD to be listened to over and over again), and he would try to introduce her to some different kinds of music - some she liked and they would dance to it - some she didn't like and she would promptly go get one that she liked and insist that he play that one. :) Comical to watch! He taught her how to run a bow across a violin, how to strum a guitar, and how to "try" and blow in a trumpet. The first two things just mentioned, R taught J when he was old enough to walk. The trumpet... I'll save for later.

*grinning* Ok... back to get on track... Sorry about that... ANYWHO! This year (in Jan), I decided to go ahead and let him go (or more appropriately, allow myself to let him go). I went to his grave and told him that he would always have a special place for me and the children but that I knew I had to move on with my life in order to be the kind of mom that I needed to be for the kids (and for myself). I took of my wedding ring and told him goodbye. After that, I felt a burden being lifted off and realized that (for about a year) I had been holding myself back from really living for me and for the children. There comes a point in time that you realize that you just have to let go of fear, grief, doubt, anxiety, and (the list could go on) moving on with life as God would want you to. Sadly, some people never try to get to that point and are left with regrets, bitterness, and depression. God gave us life (and His Son) for a reason. So why waste it?

*grinning* Sorry, social worker soap box... Feet back on the ground, re focused. This last Thursday, I went back to his grave just to tell him how much the kids have grown and matured and how proud he would have been. I told him about the estate sale at the old house and that it was finally time to write the final chapter and get closure.

Life is about living and serving God to the best of our ability and not living life (emotionally or even physically) at a grave. The grave is only temporary. Like Jesus, we are to remember the sacrifice (and learn from the life) but rejoice even more in his resurrection.

More to follow....

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Getting back up

Yesterday was a crash course for me emotionally and mentally. So many times, you don't realize that you're starting to sink in quicksand before you are able to get out on your own. Yesterday, that realization hit full force yesterday afternoon.

Even a few weeks ago, I started noticing that my appetite still wasn't up to where it should be and was starting to loose weight (which is something I don't need to be doing). I had been sick with something like the flu for a few weeks but the appetite thing just kept hanging around. I was also noticing that I just had no ambition to get up and at em' in the mornings (even though I had gotten a pretty good night's sleep) and for the last couple of days, it's like every nerve was literally shaking (even though my hands are still). Panic attacks are like that and will only get worse until you do something to change it.

Yesterday, a good friend of mine was willing to take both of the kids so that I could go in and do a 25 minute session and get back in balance. I could tell that there were tears right under the surface and all it would take is someone or something to get the geyser going and that I didn't like feeling like I was either going to have to start climbing the walls (literally) or going for a long, long run and may not be coming back. I've been to that extreme before (shortly after Donovan's funeral) and knew I didn't want to get that low again so, better to be proactive now than have to later.

After the session, the tears had been let out and the heaviness had been lifted off. It's almost like you feel constantly giddy.. :) Today, I may have a little bit of that old stuff try to sneak back in (which is normal) but then the brain has been trained to get itself back into balance. Back to the ol me! :)

More to follow.....

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Trying to beat off the ache

So far this week, I've been trying to fight off something that is trying to pull me down. I'm not exactly sure if it's depression, anxiety, or just loneliness or all three. I'm fine as long as I stay busy (usually).

About an hour ago, I had Christmas music going and putting some decorations up around the house and about half way through, that sinking feeling comes creeping in. I hate it! It's almost like I'm torn between (literally) climbing the walls or just sitting down with a big floppy pillow and crying my heart out. But then, a second later, it's back to my old self and just enjoying the season. UGH!

Of course, the same thing is affecting R as well. She wants to be out doing something or going somewhere at night. She's also been wanting me to stay in her room as she falls asleep (every night) for the last two weeks) and complaining of nightmares.

So, I definitely have my work cut out for me but, at least it's not as bad as last year and definitely the year before that (which was unbearable). The director at GriefWorks makes the same comment every year around the holidays. The actual DAY isn't bad. It's the days leading up to THAT day when it gets a little tough. It's getting better as time goes on but, every once in a while, we have to go through a dark maze to enjoy the sunshine.

Onwards and upwards!

More to follow.....

Friday, December 3, 2010

candle lighting ceremony

Last night, R, J, and I went to GriefWorks Candle lighting ceremony. I think there were a total of 80 families present and then the staff that work so hard with the kids in helping them work through what they're feeling and how to cope.

All of the kids started off by making Christmas decorations and then we all got to eat. Griefworks is sponsored by the Prestoncrest Church of Christ and they provided the meat. Each family had to bring either a side dish or a desert. R was very proud of the fact that she got to help make a confetti Christmas cake and put the icing on (and she told everyone about it too!). Then, each family was challenged to make their own gingerbread house (materials provided of course). Problem was that J had enough of sitting and wanted to get down after eating a good meal. So, I tried to keep him out of mischief and one of the staff helped R with her gingerbread house (which looked pretty good). She managed to use every single M&M (no wisecracks from the suite 9 gang! Ha!) and lots of sugarplums.

Then it was time to get serious (music induced). I had to explain to R what the candles were for and what it means "in remembrance". She took this all in and just simply stated (again) that she wanted daddy back and then told me not to cry. It's hard not to get a little emotional when there's so much loss gathered in one room. Parents who have lost young children and adult children, people who have lost someone to cancer, the swine flu, auto accidents (a whole family of 5,, and wife and unborn son), the list goes on... It was especially hard when the children who had lost a dad or a mom would talk about their family... Heartbreaking but hopefully healing at the same time. Right before it was time for us to get up, R told me not to cry and I didn't. Donovan's death doesn't kill me like it used to. R is still trying to wrap her mind what death actually means. She gets the concept I think but it's still difficult for her to understand why you can't get the heart to start beating again. I know that I wouldn't want to have Donovan back now because he would probably either in a hospital still or a coma and he wouldn't want that. The hard part that I'm having to work through now is the emptiness/ loneliness that tries to creep in every once in a while (and it's very, very seldom and only last for a few minutes).

This morning, I found myself fighting back tears for the families that were so willing to share their grief and still be able to smile at the end. So I just let the tears fall. I cried for them, for my children, and for the last year of lost opportunities that could have been. Another year of growth and maturity for myself and the kids. Wishing that things were different but knowing that I have to learn to be content and at peace. It doesn't do me any good to do (as my dad calls it) stinkin thinkin and do the what ifs, whys, etc. It is what it is and there's no going back so, just keep praying for peace (which came quickly this morning), wisdom and patience with my children, and hope for the future (whatever that may hold).

Onwards and upwards!

More to follow.....

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Being sideswiped

Ever had the feeling that you thought you had everything under "control" and then something comes up and pretty much knocks you flat on your face? That happened to me last night.

Actually, yesterday and today have been kinda rough for me (emotionally speaking). First time was about dusk (aka 4:30 - 5 pm here) and it felt like a big, huge blanket of emptiness and loneliness tried to cover me up. About the same time, a friend of mine that I haven't "talked" to since college decided (as she put it) to do some "catching up" aka chat on FB for a while which totally made my day and made the evening a lot easier.

Then, today at the same time the same feelings came back.. This time, I called my dad and got a bit overwhelmed and cried... R (being the comic that she is), came in the room. Asked me what was wrong. Then told me "Mommy, do you miss daddy?" "It's ok! Wipe off your face!" *while giggling*. Needless to say, the tears didn't last long and we were both laughing while she kept telling me to "wipe your face off!".

Once she had left and gone to go play, I realized that I didn't really miss Donovan (like the person he was) but rather of just having to do everything on my own... 24/7. I do have friends that I can confide in and they're super sweet about it but, it's not the same. When you marry someone, you become a team and I don't have that teammate anymore. Life still goes on and (as my friend Wendy put it) it's becoming the same thing every day... almost. I do try to change things up a bit (for my sake as well as the kids) but, at the end of the day, it's the same.

Last night, I was in the kitchen cleaning up and listening (and singing along with) some music. R asked me if that was the kind of music that daddy liked. I automatically said yes (even though I'm not completely sure if he would or not - but at least it was the same style). What R said next floored me. "Oh good! Then I like it to! I want my daddy back". Very simply put but profound at the same time. She hasn't said anything like that in the last 3 months. Rather, it had been "I want a new daddy". I relayed all of this with Wendy earlier and she point out that daughters (even if they're adults) will always miss their daddy. Which is true. I know that Donovan will always have a special place in her heart. Not matter how vague the memories may become as she gets older. I can only pray that one day, she'll have even greater memories for another man in her life.

Tonight, we have a "in memory of" at GriefWorks and R is really looking forward to it because it's very christmasy and they'll have some fun games for the kids. It will also help remind her that there are others who have had to experience a loss like hers. It helps sometimes to know that you're not the only one that's having to deal with the loss of a spouse but, the thing that strikes me the most is that most (if not all) of the adults look so downcast and sad.

Sure, it's not easy and there's a lot of issues that you have to go through and make the best of but... why go through life looking like you were raised on vinegar and feed pickles? I've also learning that a large majority of them have different religious backgrounds and I'm not about to tell them that their loved one may not be where they they think they are. But it makes a BIG difference when you have a sure thing and you know it beyond a doubt. That there is hope in this life and in eternity.

Ok... enough of the soapbox.. ha! Better get off of here and make sure R hasn't had a snack from the cake for the get together and get J up and dressed and out the door (whee!)

More to follow.....