Thursday, November 16, 2017

Hello Again

Oh my goodness, it has been eons since I've last written here.

I was trying to think about how to write a short update on life, since its been quite the adventure lately, but I'm not sure how short it can be.  But I'll try.  So we moved.  Hubs got a job way up north and we finished the home improvement projects, sold our house, packed up a moving truck and moved into a tiny, not-so-great apartment and house hunted.  And then we moved into a tiny house, but not a #tinyhouse, if you know what I mean.  We basically bought heaven on earth, but it needs a little adding on so the kids have things like bedrooms.  And Hubs loves his job.  And Little Lady started FULL DAY kindergarten (can I get an AMEN?), and Little Man is now in middle school, God help me.  And holy buckets, life is so good.  I have this amazing thing called alone time every day.  Its incredible.  I've been using it to hike and bike and explore.  And try to squeeze full-time grad school into that, too.  I'm a procrastinator, so that isn't going quite as well as it should, but it'll be fine.  I hope.  So here's the new view from the front door.  Heaven on earth. 





My tiny house isn't really that tiny and it has an amazing kitchen.  I've been cooking a lot and will try to put some more food posts here if I get my act together.  Here's a few pictures that are especially fantastic owing to that whole we-moved-to-paradise-thing. 





I am still missing my boy every second of every day.  We are coming up on seven years.  And I still get the aches and pains and extra dark days from Aug-Jan as my body and mind grieve his illness and death.  Its been a little better this year.  Partly because I'm taking better care of myself.  I'm exercising more and sleeping more and my stress levels are way down.  But my boy is still gone and the scars in my heart still ache for him. 

And we are still in the Newbie stage and meeting everyone and everyone always asks how many kids I have and I still fumble over that question.  It's a thorn in my side that I think I just need to learn to live with. I feel like no matter what I say, it will never be the right answer.  And I know everyone means well, but I'm just so tired of people finding out and only ever asking about his death.  Can we please stop focusing on the worst part of my life and maybe talk about his life instead? 

I get it, I really do.  And I'm sure I'm guilty of it too.  We all want to hear about the phoenix rising from the ashes, how people survive tragedy and continue to live; its inspirational and its a testimony of my life and faith.  And I've been writing about it for years.  But its also the darkest and most painful part of my entire existence.  It would just be so nice for someone to ask me to tell them about Jameson's life instead of asking me about his death. 

Arg, I opened the floodgates but I don't have time for it right now owing to that whole procrastination thing with grad school.  I have to write a paper before Little Lady gets off the bus. But I think I'll be back soon.  It feels good to write again.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Ten

We've been having glitchy and bad internet connections since we moved into our house and I'm not able to update the blog well, but today is Jameson's 10th birthday!
Happy Birthday, my boy!
We are going to make a chocolate cake, because the kid knew what was important in life.
Jameson, we love you and miss you and hope you have a marvelous birthday in heaven!


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Nine

Happy Birthday Jameson!



You would be nine today.


It's been six years since we were able to celebrate with you here, and even then, it was in the PICU, with ECMO and it was so much fear and exhaustion and anxiety and heart-ache.  That year, when you were three, we had such a great party planned for you.  Dinosaurs.  Everything was going to be dinosaurs.  You were totally into dinos.

But now you are nine and its been a whole lifetime since I've seen you and known you.  And I'm clinging to what I knew because I don't know what else to do.  So I've got a dinosaur tablecloth spread across the kitchen table in your honor, J, and later this morning Little Lady and I will go and get the dinosaur balloons.  And we are making chocolate pudding cake.

We are going to hold on to your memory a little tighter today, when we all wish we were holding on to you, my boy.  I dream of what it could have been, what it should have been like.  How I'd take your picture in front of the blue door to show how blue those beautiful eyes are.  And your fiery red hair would flame in the sun.  And when you smile, your laughter would fill the sky with joy.   

I reach to hear your laughter as I take the picture, but it is not you in your nine year old glory, but the faint memory of your laugh when you were two, because there were no more laughs after that.  Not here, at least.



I know this looking back and dreaming on what should have been is no good.  But some days the longing for you and the life we dreamed of just pulls me in.  Oh if only.  If only.

I know that looking forward to what will be is better.  And even though you were only three when we last got to sing Happy Birthday to you on this earth, I do not despair that it is over.  Someday I'll see you again.  And I will get to know you again and hold you again and sing to you again and I will never have to say goodbye ever again.  

"We will not lose heart.  Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.  For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can been seen but what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal." 2 Cor 4.16-18

Happy Birthday, Jameson.  I miss you with all of my heart and looked forward to the day we walk together with Jesus. 




Monday, May 16, 2016

Double digits

So it's been a little while.

I'm not sure why either.  Partly because school, work, kids, residency, life.  Partly because I've felt a little silent.  Or maybe just exhausted.  The class that I started taking in January was pretty brutal, plus I started working full-time.  I think between the homework and writing for school and the 445 a wakeups with the go, go, go all day long life just wipes me out.  I think for a long while, I was treading water, if you will, just trying to stay afloat.  But Mother's Day was just over a week ago and the scars cracked open a bit.  I've spent a lot of time reflecting on life and grief and happiness and hope and how it all ties together to make this beautiful, broken existence.

It's dreary and a little bit foggy this morning as I write.  We've had a really warm and dry spring lately and yesterday was a day of slow, calm drizzle.  It was a welcome change, the rain.  Now its starting to dry out and the birds are singing and the world outside my window is green.  Deep, dark evergreen, bright, electric spring green.  And everything in between.  The big leaf maple outside my back door is already sporting leaves bigger than my head and there are three little peppers ripening on the plant in my front yard.  As the seasons change from spring to summer and the rhythm of our life shifts to later nights and lazier mornings and most of life happening out of doors, the memories and experiences also shift. In a way, a part of me is frozen in that last year we had with Jameson.  I see it even with the seasonal shifts.  This is the kicking off the last summer of shiny in our lives.  May-August of that year was amazing.  It's so good to remember.  It inspires me to keep carpe dieming the crap out of life, too.

Not only does this seasonal shift have me feeling all nostalgic, but this week, my Little Man hits double digits.  He's not so little anymore.  And I've been a mom for a cool decade now.  How did that happen?  He's my whole heart all bundled up into a boy and I can't even begin to say what he means to me without swelling with so much love I might burst and die just thinking about it.  And he turns ten, which seems so big and round and momentous.

He's ten and she's just a little over four and exactly the same age he was when his brother got sick.  I look at Little Lady and think she seems so young; all of my memories of Little Man at that age are all so big and he seemed so much more grown up in my memories.  But I suppose that happens when life get all crazy like it did.  It's overwhelming, though, to see her and remember him and the whole lost year where we were so lost and gone and he was lost and everything was big and scary and chaotic and then quiet and sad and lonely.  And I wish I could go back and just hold him and protect him and let him be as little as he should have been able to be.

And he's ten.  And I'm going to blink and he'll be eighteen, so, really, I should just never blink ever again, I suppose.  It's so cliche, but annoyingly true how fast it goes by.  And you never believe it when they are little and you are in the throes of spit up and poopy diapers and fatigue and the whining and the fantasies change from exotic beach vacations with umbrella drinks and naps in the sun to really, just being able to pee alone and take five minutes without feeling guilty.  But its so true, that it flies by.  And all of a sudden, they are big and independent and it's a little startling how you can just blink and have a ten year old.

Luckily, he's still only ten.  Ad really, nine for a few more days.  And he still needs me to wake him up and pack his lunch and he still wants to snuggle on the couch and read together, even if it happens a little fewer and farther between.  He has such a big heart and I'm so glad he's mine.  And I'd love to keep writing, but I have to go wake him up for the THIRD time so we aren't too late to school.  Already acting like a teenager....


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas

It's Christmas week and it's impossible as always.  All these feelings.  Plus a giant paper that I've been putting off for almost a month.  Grad school deadlines may be the death of me.  I've got til NYE.  I've got Little Man working on some homework.  Little Lady snuck the Nativity under the table and is playing with Baby Jesus.  And before you go and think about how cute she is, I'm hearing talk that Baby Jesus has lava coming out of his butt.  Almost four and the potty talk is off the hook.  So Merry Christmas and pass the Pepto. Sigh. 

Last week was our big family vacation week.  And in true family fashion, Hubs had pneumonia and sinusitis and the rest of us had colds and we were all just a big hot mess.   So instead of going on a trip to see the ocean and big trees, we had a staycation and our goal was to eat out at least once a day and do something fun everyday.  And sleep in and nap a lot.  So that's what we did.  It was pretty nice too.  It was actually really nice, because the pressure was off, we relaxed a lot and we had some good food.  We also saw Star Wars and loved it, so there you go.  I'm calling it a win.

But now here we are and its that week.  The one that is merry and bright and happy and festive and filled with cheer.  Except not so much.  Because five years ago we were in the PICU with our Jameson, waiting for him to die, knowing that there was nothing else we could do, except still pray for that miracle and try to keep our boy out of pain.  And I'm still right there, five years later this week.  Watching his body betray him, watching everything spiral down, trying to remain hopeful in the face of despair.

Part of me doesn't mind being stuck there.  Its sounds bad to write that...like I'm being dramatic on purpose or something, but this was the last week of my son's life.  Even though it was horrific, he was still here and I miss him so much.  As bad as that was, living, continuing to be without him here, sometimes that feels worse.

It's hard enough on normal days and Christmas isn't close to normal.  Christmas is extraordinary.  Christmas is magic and happiness and childhood warm and fuzzies.  It's the birth of our Savior, the birth of hope in this broken world.  It's love, unconditionally given, all wrapped up into one day.  It is presents and rice pudding and crab legs.  It is staying up too late and twinkle lights and Midnight Mass.  Candles and chocolates.  Cookies with sprinkles.  Cousins and Grandmas and special traditions.

Except that it is a lot more than those things now for me.  For me it is also sadness, grief and death.  It is cold and loud and overwhelming.  And when I want nothing more than to run away to someplace warm and quiet and undecorated, I try to think about what it used to be.  And then I try to make that happen for my kids.  But it is a struggle at times.

And I certainly still have special moments that I love about this season.  The whole celebration of Advent and really focusing on Christ's birth has truly become the joy of Christmas for me.  This is a beautiful thing.  I love passing this on to my kids, too.  We light the candle and read the Advent book.  And we try to do everything else so they can have the warm and fuzzy memories, too.  We bake cookies and wrap presents and sing carols.  We will see Peacock Lane and the Christmas Ships (if we can get our acts together this week.)  There will be Midnight Mass and more presents than they imagined and rice pudding and crab.  We will stay up late and eat chocolate.  And I love the idea that even though this season is a strain for me, I'm still making it magical for them.

But the 26th always comes after the 25th of December and Christ's birth will forever be tied to Jameson's death for me.  In a way, this perceptive is amazing.  Hope is birthed the day before despair tries to overthrow everything.  And even though despair may win a battle or two along the way,  I already know the ending to this story.   And I have hope that can carry me through these dark and hard days.  “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21.4.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.  May the birth of Christ truly be your light and hope in this world, as it is for me and mine. 


Monday, November 9, 2015

Filling the Bank

I have about 30 pages of text to read and 15 pages of papers to write this week, so I should be working during this naptime.  But. One of Jameson's songs is on the radio and outside the sun in shining, the golden leaves are slowly floating down from the trees to cover the ground in a blanket of color, there's a fire burning in the fireplace and I've got a clean kitchen and a cup of hot tea in front of me.  There is so much good right here right now.

In the business of life -and oh my, how busy is gets- its so easy to just jump into crisis mode and focus on everything that need to be done.  But then you just miss all the really important stuff.  And there is so much good right here right now.

And I know that there are so many harder days coming soon.  The clouds will roll in and the rain will soak me to the bone.

But right now, in this moment, the sun is filtering through the golden trees and the birds are singing and I'm just going to sit here drinking my peppermint tea and being thankful for all these gifts big and small in my life right.now.  I'm still counting gifts, even if I rarely remember to write them down.  But these gifts...the seafood in my fridge, the husband who still loves me, the coffee, the warmth of my home, the community of friends, the mercy and grace of God who never gives up on me, the new galoshes arriving Wednesday...big and small, this noticing and thanking process, its like a bank account of joy.  And the more I put in, the bigger the account gets.  And when I go through a season of less, a season of sadness, I'm still making interest even if there aren't any recent deposits.  It all adds up.

Thanksgiving is two weeks away.  It's also the due date of the baby we lost four and a half years ago, that first spring after we lost Jameson.  I didn't think it would still get to me, this baby that never was.  The baby that if I had, I wouldn't have my Little Lady.  But I still remember and I still miss the baby I never got to hold. 

And oh how I miss my J.  The holidays always seem to make it harder to breathe.  That black hole inside me seems to grow and the whole world loses its luster.  But just as we remember and wait for the return of the sun when it goes behind a cloud, I will remember the joy and look for it still.

So today, even though I have a million things to do, I'm just going to be still, right here and look around me and count my gifts.  The heirloom quilt on my couch. The ugly wool socks on my feet. The restless napper down the hall. The dishwasher humming away in the kitchen. Blue skies with fluffy white clouds.  Getting to follow my dreams and go to school.  Having a safe, warm home.  Being able to take a full, deep breath.  The gifts are endless.  And on a day like today, when I can see just how much good there is, I'm going to do my best to see it all and save it for a rainy day. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Season of Aches

So much for going slow. 

On top of working full-ish time, taking most-ish care of all household duties, having kids and a husband in residency, taking on some leadership at MOPS, I started grad school.  For the most part, adding in school has been amazing.  It is invigorating and challenging and filled with hope and dreams and adults.  But there's also the fine print of deadlines and homework and seriously intense readings and papers(okay I love writing papers) and 4 am wakeups in order to get in the quiet time to work.  Yawn. 

Its been really nice this fall to have some intellectual distractions, but I'm afraid it may also be adding a little to the seasonal anxiety and stress I tend to feel during these four months of the year.  I noticed shortly after Jameson's birthday this year that I started having a hard time sleeping.  And my back and neck started to get really sore and moving started getting painful.  And probably owing to those things, I also started to get really tired.  My first thought was that my thyroid must be off, but after consulting with DocHubs, that is really unlikely based on my recent numbers. 

So then I started thinking back and last fall I had the exact same symptoms, but worse from the thyroid issues.  The previous three years were riddled with sleep deprivation and pain from pregnancy, birth, babies, insane amounts of flu and stomach viruses and therefore, hard to know, but also full of aches and fatigue.  But, judging by the timing, I really think part of my fall aches and pains are physical symptoms from grief and remembrance of those four months we spent in the PICU before he died. 

So.  I don't know.  I'm tired.  And tense.  And sore.  And having more headaches and migraines than normal.  And it kinda really sucks.  But I'm also busy(which is a really good thing).  And laughing a lot.  And learning SO much amazing information in grad school.  I'm happy.  And madly in love with husband and my kids and my life. 

The more of life I experience, the more I see how everyone has crosses to bear, everyone has brokenness.  And I'm grateful for mine.  I'm grateful for the pain, grateful for the perspective it provides, the way the fight for JOY makes everything sweeter, the way it connects me with other people.  Don't get me wrong, I would love to give back these crosses, to have my beautiful Jameson here and still be living on the shiny side.  BUT, some of the things I've learned and most of whom I've become because of this loss, because of this pain and because of this faith, I would not want to give back.   It isn't easy to reconcile, but I have to eat dinner, so to wrap this up, I'm just going to say that I'm here.  Broken and happy and ready for more adventures.