Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Check out the Over-The-Top (somewhat more) Showgirl-than-British fascinators I made for Royal Wedding Watching.
I've always been of the opinion that getting it all out there and FEELING the grief really is therapeutic and helps with the process. I am still of that opinion. But I've noticed lately I'm so much more sad after an all-out memory fest. Probably because the memories are often painful, yes. I don't know. I don't just want to push it down and focus on other things either, (such as work or cleaning up or menu planning or peacock fascinators) although that seems to help sometimes. I guess it's a fragile balance.
I also have been trying to linger on the good memories and let the bad slide on by. Even that feels like a punch in the gut sometimes. Sigh.
In good news, I have always felt like February and April are the most depressing months of the year; February, because it's awful and I lost two daughters in that month, and April because in High School it always just seemed to be the worst and my crush/boyfriend/best friends/teachers always seemed to treat me unfairly that month. So I think I convinced myself it was bad news, and that feeling has stayed. In fact, I tend to wake up with the words of a cheesy puppy love poem I wrote in high school going through my mind--
It's April in my little land
And I'm still waiting here
The skies a grayish whitish hue
that's been gone for a year
And I recall an April past
that held a best friend's smile
who walked with me and teased and laughed--
we haven't spoken in awhile.
And then I want to barf.
But where I was going with this is that April is almost over, and maybe the sky will finally turn blue and not this infuriating anemic pale it's been for weeks on end. Yuck. It was blue this morning and I, dedicated to finally becoming "A Runner" loaded the kids up and drove 25 minutes to the cemetery to push them around in my $27ratty double jogger I found on KSL (similar to Craig's List, non locals). It was somewhat awesome. I love that cemetery. I parked a mile away from Charlotte and Lily's grave and made my way there past prophets and pioneers, fox holes and owl's nests. I re-gathered the plastic eggs and flowers we left there on Sunday, and went back the way I came. I even ran a little. (Turns out the hills are even more hilly when pushing two toddlers.)
I will do it again. But I will bring two string cheeses and not expect Ella, age 2, to share. Foolish of me, really.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Remember how I mentioned I was about to retire to my room and make of list of what I want to be? Well I did. Maybe more on that later. What I wanted to share was the gift I found in the making of the list. I grabbed a blank journal I noticed on top of the refrigerator (perfect place) to sit in bed and write in, and found a few unblank pages. I know I've said again and again that my grief for Charlotte is so different than my grief for Lily. At least that is what I remember. (And we know how reliable my memory has been...)
But I found this I must have written one night in bed three months after Charlotte died, and it is so familiar. So what I am feeling now. What a relief...kind of...to know I've been here before and survived:
It's memories of her Lasts that grab me by the throat at night. The Wednesday evening her saturations began to slip down, one number lower, now another, while her respirations crept up. The night in the ICU the nurse and I bathed her and she stared at a light up aquarium while I washed her back and this thought arrived--This is the Last. This is her last bath. I put Mickey Mouse socks on her after washing her swollen feet. These will be her last socks. A week earlier she had worn funny black socks with red flames on them to her preschool Valentine's Day party--her last school day. Her Last bus ride.
The day after her last bath I took pictures of her, a bipap mask pressed harshly against her face and tired eyes gazing back at me. I posted it online, along with snap of myself, puffy, tear stained, with the caption "This is what "Spent" looks like". Shortly afterwards they drugged Charlotte to make her mask bearable, and she did not wake up again. The Last.
And Finally--The Last Night. I guess it makes sense that the last night comes again and again--at night when I can't sleep as I couldn't that night. First because my mind was racing in the dark, seeing her birthday again and again, seeing her hands, her hair, and then because I was perched in a rocking chair at her bedside staring as her lungs became stiff, stopped moving, her blood filling with acid.
Seeing the pile of clothes I had bought a few weeks earlier--82 dollars of sweet toddler clothes, size 3T. Even as something told me not to, I bought them, defiant, because shopping is proof. "She will need these clothes" I told the little voice. "See? I just spent 82 dollars on them."
3 Months. A quarter year. A season. A trimester. The protective walls are coming down. "Hold my heart!" I whispered to Charlotte just before they closed the casket, and the crushing I anticipated when the lid was shut did not come.
And yet, it is coming now. Does she have better things to do now? A fading season of blessed, ignorant comfort. This grieving is easy! She is so close!
The casket is finally shut.
I miss both my girls. How unfair that the sweet memories aren't nearly so vivid.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Now that I'm not a Special Needs Mother...
It's funny that I'm trying to figure out where I fit in. It's funny I've been a mother for six years but my oldest daughter (on earth, of course) is two and my youngest is nearly one. I've dealt with so much, and yet I've never dealt with potty training. It's strange feeling like such an old soul and yet so inexperienced. And now I'm supposed to just go on and figure out my place, learn to braid hair when I've mastered g-tubes and CPR. Worry about preschool politics when I'm comfortable (so to speak) with life and death.
And so I'm trying to figure out where I'm going from here. Obviously I'm a mother of two(four)tiny daughters, and a wife, and that's where I want to be. Where I always wanted to be. Suddenly I'm back on the track I diverted from that day when my doctor called me at work with "off" test results, but with a lot more experience and, well, depth. I'm grateful for the depth.
I'm grateful for the strength and maturity I would not have otherwise. But I'm getting used to the low stress level and I'm finding little things are getting to me again. That's not where I want to be. So, mom, I'm sorry I freaked out today. Apparently I don't have enough to worry about anymore. I'm going to withdraw to my room, and make a list of what I want to work on from here, along with the potty training and the hair care and the vitally important but somewhat everyday parenting chores. I guess I had better focus on building myself up too, now that life has slowed down and I'm being allowed to drift. I've spent the last few years holding on white knuckled through the rapids, and now I feel like I need to pick up my paddle and dig in.
Sunday, April 03, 2011
Note to Self--this is your Husband
Lately you have probably noticed I have made various statements such as "I barely remember..." or "It's all pretty blurry", or "I remember doing this...and that's it." And it's true. My memory is not what it once was. It's been frustrating and sometimes I work myself in a tizzy and convince myself it's early onset Alzheimer's, (having read "Still Alice" a few months ago...I remember that) but I have been known to over blow symptoms and assume the worst. (I am: 1)a Nurse and 2) the mother of two children who had very rare and serious illnesses.) So you can't blame me.
Yes, frustrating, but minor. My spelling is going downhill, occasionally I sit at work staring at the computer screen unsure of what command I'm trying to remember that I usually do automatically, and it's harder to separate the "What I've Done" from the "What I was planning to do" and "What I considered as an option" and even "What I dreamed about last night." There is no more "I distinctly remember..." although I find myself saying that a lot. Especially to my husband. "I distinctly remember buying starch." And yet there is none to be found. Or he insists that I made some sort of statement or promise that surely I would never make. Surely not! And yet he insists.
This got especially bad right after Lily died. I chalked that up to grief and mommy brain and postpartum hormonal stuff. Seriously, everything for the past few months is a soft warm blur. I would look at my cell phone and see whole conversations I had with friends via text message that I had no recollection of. The most crazy example was a friend who offered, via text, to bring me bread and jam, then did so, and hung out, and I didn't remember this occurred until I saw the text message evidence and found the freezer jam. (Which was a happy surprise, but somewhat disturbing.) I now remember the bread, sitting at the counter with her, but nothing else. Not what we talked about or if my kids were there or if her kids were there...nothing. (sorry, Julie, I love you!) But that's grief for you. Just to assure you, I never forgot to care for my babies (other than forget to pack socks) or go to work, or wash my hair (that was on purpose.) I'm not at all DANGEROUS, just somewhat...not so smart.
My memory seemed to be improving the past couple weeks and I was, as mentioned, "waking up." Chalk that up to spring, to healing, etc.
Then this past week, it got worse. And then I had an aura. I have had auras three other times in my life, all within the past couple of years, during which, part of my vision goes all swimmy and sparkly and white, like I had been staring at a bright light and was now partially blinded. All other times this was followed but an extreme headache, so when it happened the other day, I rushed to take a pain killer and warned my husband I may be down for the count. Then it went away. No headache.
Tonight, I was upstairs putting away laundry and dropped Ella's Owl jammies down the stairs to put her in. A few minutes later I came down and they were nowhere to be found. I went back upstairs, thinking I just MEANT to drop them over, but no luck. I looked around, and thought maybe I had put them in Ava's drawer, but no. Or the diaper bag. Grrr.
Then I noticed my vision swimming, and ran for the ibuprofen. And decided I was losing my mind. I got online and searched WebMD and did some googling, and read some articles. Just as I was coming to my conclusion, Ella came around the corner carrying her Owl Jammies, which I HAD thrown down the stairs after all. She had hid them under a throw pillow on the couch. And then the aura, as suddenly as it came, went away. (It had made it quite difficult to do my googling, but went away as soon as I found the culprit.)
Wait for it...I have....
Well you can't blame me. I haven't had a cycle since 2009, after all. And up until then I had been on birth control pretty much continuously (except during my failed birth control pregnancies). It appears to be all hormonal. Just like my lousy 13-year-old-boy skin, my occasionally wild fury, (Ah yes...that episode I didn't mention in Primm, Nevada when my kids refused to go to sleep and Ella figured out how to open the hotel room door...and I thought she was just going in and out of the bathroom in the middle of the night) and now the memory and auras and hunger and exhaustion (Zar had a few moments of terror thinking I might be pg again...) and maybe even my overuse of parenthesis.
So I'm probably not dying. Yes, my memory will probably continue to go as I age (don't forget, I am THIRTY now) and horrid migraines run in the family. I hope I get to keep my mind. And if I don't, at least I can find comfort in the fact I have been an avid journal-keeper since age 14, and blogger for the past couple years. In case I need a jog to the ole' memory. And if I forget to call you back, or thank you for the jam, or wear deodorant, I sincerely, sincerely apologize.
Friday, April 01, 2011
I love Disneyland.
I do not love driving from California to Utah in one day, which is what we did today. We got up at four am, I mistakenly packed the deodorant and toothbrushes in the wrong bag and couldn't locate them, and the kids were less than thrilled about the wake up call. On the way we were trapped in accident related traffic twice, (one involving Life Flight, which kind of put things into perspective) and Ella threw up twice, requiring two clothing changes. Ava kept her green beans down without issue, but treated us to long periods of wild furious screaming. Now we are home, bathed, surrounded by giant suitcases of dirty laundry and having eaten nothing but popcorn, nibs, and McDonalds all day, so I'm having trouble gushing about Disneyland as I would like to. I will. Just after a night of sleep in my own bed with my own pillow and then a lovely day at work after which I'm sure I will come home to a clean house full of folded clean laundry. (fingers crossed!)