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Archive for April, 2010

Walking

Last year, I learned of a little girl who passed away the day after the one year anniversary of Jim’s death.  She was a preemie, but she hadn’t been sickly.  It just happened.  In the blink of an eye, she was gone and her parents were devastated.  Because of the timing, I felt somehow connected.  Connected in loss and connected in grief. 

The family supports March of Dimes.  So last year, I did my first March for Babies.  And when this year rolled around, it wasn’t even a question that I would walk again.  The big difference this year?  It was raining and cold.

March of Dimes March for Babies 2010

The group I walked with last year had a team shirt made.  It has a picture of Maddie (the little girl) on it.  So this year when I put the shirt on, Hadley asked me who the girl was.  I told her it was a little girl who got sick and had to go the hospital and her mommy and daddy cried.  I said we were going to go walk for her.  And Hadley remembered that.  On the way to the walk, she kept saying, “We’re walking for a little girl who got sick and her mommy and daddy cried.  Her name’s Maddie.”

Since it had been raining awhile, there were a lot of puddles along the route.  The sky is crying…that’s what they say.  But with my trusty lookout, we didn’t hit too many puddles.  “Watch out for the puddle, Mommy!  There’s another one!”  I don’t think she cared that it was raining.  She got to wear her rain coat and go for a ride with Mom, what more could a 2 year old want?

It's Still Raining!

And even though I’m the one that did all the walking, apparently it’s really tiring to ride in a stroller.

Sweet Baby

We didn’t raise much money, but every little bit helps.

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Two Down

So the anniversary of the death has passed for another year.  That doesn’t serve to make the other days less painful.  I kind of wonder why the date is even marked in my mind.  As a milestone?  Of what?  That I had a personal tragedy?  Why would anyone want to commemorate that? 

For me, the day serves as a replay button.  I don’t relive the day, but for some reason, having it be April 6 brings back everything that happened in those 24 hours.  This year, I still have things that I am angry at myself for not doing, or saying, or for letting someone else do something that I should have done for him.  The reality is, I was only two weeks out from having a baby.  Who am I to think I was so immensely capable that I could have handled splitting my attention between a newborn and my dying husband?  That I could have successfully cared for her in the hours while I would have had to be administering palliative medications to him?  It’s crazy.  I remember the breakdown I had after he’d gone and the hospice nurse asked what funeral home.  I cried to the person asking how the nurse had said I didn’t need to decide right now.  How can I possibly think I could have held all that together?

Yet I do.  I wish I had been the one doing all of it for him.  And since I didn’t, I feel like I wasn’t really there for him.   Which is crazy, I know.  And he would say the same thing.  If he were here to say it…

And so the day ends quietly.  I made it with help from family and friends.  Hardly anyone remembered.  And year number 3 begins.

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Loser

It doesn’t take much right now to knock me down mentally.  I’m tired and beaten down from…just stuff.  The time of year doesn’t help.  Easter lost its lustre for me a couple of years ago.  Easter in 2008 was early and on that day, I delayed my own admittance to Labor and Delivery because I was in the ER waiting to get Jim admitted to the hospital.  No matter what date Easter occurs, I always tie it to the events of that year.

Today’s mental TKO was a silly one, but as I said, it doesn’t take much.  I’ve always been my own harshest critic.  That was another way we balanced each other out: I would beat myself up about things and Jim was always my loudest fan.  But this one?  It made me feel like a bad parent.  Because I’d wanted to have a few hours of freedom and because, even on a day the office was closed, I chose to work since really, what else do I have to do?

I took Hadley to daycare today, even though I wasn’t working.  And they forgot to remind me that they were closing early.  So when I showed up a little after 5, I at first couldn’t find her and then found her in one of her earlier rooms with only 2 other kids.  The teacher who was watching her announced to me that daycare had closed 40 minutes earlier, and then loudly told the director that “Hadley’s mom is here.”  I mumbled some apology but the woman was clearly annoyed that she was still watching children after all the other teachers had gone home.  I was embarassed and felt horrible for my daughter, even though she wouldn’t have really noticed anything different, as I was still earlier than usual.  Now I’m kicking myself and feeling guilty that I took her to daycare when I could have kept her with me.  This is my penalty for being selfish today.

And the other reason I think my psyche is feeling battered?  It’s a result of this wisdom I’ve gained over the last two years: No matter how many people are around you, it’s still possible to feel isolated and alone.  I know that I’m not; there are plenty of supportive family and friends who are concerned about us and who continue to show up.  And all in all, life is pretty decent.  I think it’s just the time of year.  I expect to come out of this low spot in about a week or so.

So today I feel like a loser.  I’m tired but I don’t want to go to sleep.  I’d almost rather stay awake and not have the chance of thinking things are how they were.

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She’s 2!

Happy Birthday, dear Hadley!

Mommy's cake really looks like a monkey!

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For a Moment

Jim and I called our home our safe place.  Whatever was happening with us anywhere else…it didn’t matter once we were home.  I carry a note with me that he packed in my lunch one day years ago while I was going through something.  I carried it to remind me that really nothing matters except real life.  Not petty things like a perceived slight; like feeling unappreciated; like someone else taking credit for something achieved.  Life and love.  Those are the important things.

Those things still matter, but my safe harbor isn’t really here anymore.  But for a split second last week, I thought it was.  I always went to bed before Jim.  Sometimes I would wake up after being asleep for awhile and he still wouldn’t be there.  Last week, I’m not sure what I was dreaming about but I woke up and reached over, then wondered why Jim wasn’t in bed yet.  I even started to get up to go see if he’d fallen asleep in his chair.  Then I remembered. 

But for a moment, I’d been safe and April 6 never happened.

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