Jul 27

I came home tonight, signed in to my Facebook, and was brought to my knees.

My friend Laura lost her little boy today.  He was due July 31st.  He died in utero and at this very moment, Laura is going through labor to deliver him.

I know Laura because of her sister Melissa.  When she and I became friends, much like our other close friends, her family welcomed me and Howard into their fold.  Melissa’s mom and sister became like our mom and our sister.  And no amount of miles or years has changed that.  When Melissa gives me updates on Sue and Laura, my heart warms with affection because it is like getting an update on my own family.

So hearing this news today has broken my heart.  Howard and I are trying hard to wrap our minds around why this happens to such wonderful people.  I cried while making dinner.  Laura and her husband didn’t deserve this.  Their beautiful son didn’t deserve this.  Melissa deserved to be an aunt for the first time.  Sue deserved to be a “grammy” for the first time.

It’s no news that I too lost my baby very early.

And though I know the loss is just as significant, I cannot imagine carrying a perfectly healthy baby to term and then just before meeting him or her, losing them instead.

How the hell people make it out of this kind of tragedy amazes me. 

I know Laura and her entire family will get through this but I also know that they will be forever changed.  The sun won’t shine quite as bright.  Things that brought easy smiles won’t be so simple anymore.  Everything will be shadowed by this heartshattering tragedy.

 

We prepare ourselves for death and the natural progression is to hopefully pass on when we’ve lived a good portion of our lives…leaving behind a legacy of children and grandchildren, good friends and family.  It’s still devastating to lose people we love but at least we have memories to carry us through.  We take comfort knowing they at least got a chance at life.

Where are Laura and Vladi’s answers for their Luke?  Where are Melissa’s answers for her nephew?…Sue’s answers for her grandson?..

All I can do is offer comfort for them and prayers because I know that nothing I say will ease the pain of this tremendous loss….and hope and pray that there’s a method to God’s madness.

 

Jul 24

Happy Birthday Jennifer Ellen!

I hope this day is just fabulous honey girl.  (I sooo love that all of my best girls turn 35 before me!)  We have shared so many good times.  One of these days we’ll get to resume our mischief wholesome fun in the same time zone!

MWAH!

 

Jul 18

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Heh.  Last night I almost posted about the week Howard had in Anchorage but I wrote while I was punch drunk and when I went back to proof read it…it said the same things over and over again and really just made no sense.  So I chucked it and I’ll wait until I feel a bit more articulate.

Suffice it to say; while I have defining moments all the time, they are rare for Howard but this past week has changed him.

And it was just a conference he had to attend for his job.

I’m not saying Howard’s not open to life changing experiences because you all know he is…but to walk away from something that could potentially change how you view the world and react to things…well, that’s kind of huge.

I’m in awe of him.  My warrior.

More later.  Enjoy your Saturday!

Jul 9

Dear Pawpaw,

I cannot believe we’re coming up on 10 years since your departure.  This year in particular, the pain from that loss is amplified as if it were mere minutes rather than a decade.

Perhaps it’s because everything that has gone on my life and our family’s life in the past year.

There have been changes.  Sad changes.  I’m thousands of miles away from everyone and I still feel it.

Do you know we’re falling apart without you?

Just tonight, after talking on the phone with Kim, I fought back tears all night and finally cried on the couch, missing you, desperately wanting you to come back and fix us.  You wouldn’t recognize who we’ve become.  We’re all adrift in our grief and we have no idea how to make it back to shore-unified as a family.

I hate that when I look around and see a family, I feel oddly detached.  I find that I can’t relate anymore.  I’ve attempted to make a family with my husband and my in-laws.  Thank God for that.

My friend Dusty lost his beloved grandmother just under a year ago.  He had the type of closeness with her that I had with you.  He misses Elaine horribly and when he asks if it ever gets better, I have to tell him….that the days will be easier to get through but the pain of his loss will always be with him.  He will always want to pick up the phone to call her and share things with her and his heart will always ache because he will never be able to do that again.  I want so much to say “yes…you’ll eventually feel better about it..” but I can’t.  And my heart breaks for him.  I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone.

I’m amazed at how raw it all feels.  How a family crisis can make all those feelings flood out of my heart.  I am angry that you’re not here.  I’m not angry at you, I know that given a choice, you would have never left us, but I’m mad that God, somehow needed you more than we did.

I see old couples and I feel bitter.  I wanted that for you and memaw.  Memaw visits your grave every single day, even ten years later.  My heart breaks because she feels the loss more than anyone.  I hate seeing her so sad.  I hate seeing her struggle now that you’re not here to protect her.  I know you would be furious at what she’s being forced to go through.

I also know that certain family members wouldn’t DARE the stunts they’ve pulled if you were here. 

I am sad and disheartened because what you intended for her isn’t coming to pass.

And it’s all because you’re no longer here.

 

Grief has turned some of our family into people we don’t recognize anymore.

I am angry.  I am sad.  I am bitter.  I’m ashamed to admit this because I know it disappoints you.  You would say that I “am better than that.”  In fact, you’d say it about all of us.

And so, I must find a way to put all of that anger, sadness, and bitterness to good use.  Turn it into a passionate cause.  Fight the good fight.

And that’s exactly what I intend to do.

I love you.  I miss you.  I wish you were here.

Love,

Chrissy

 

Jul 5

About 2 weeks ago, I got a Facebook friend request from my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Davis.

“Call me Rita!”  she said in her initial email.

“I hope you don’t mind, but I just can’t bring myself to call you Rita!”  I said in reply.

I was excited to be back in touch with her.  3rd grade was a particularly hard year for me.  My home life was a wreck.  My mom was going through a rough patch.  It was hard for her raising 2 children on her own but unfortunately, we were often the brunt of all of her frustrations.  I forgive her and understand as an adult.

But I still can’t look back at that year and not cringe at the kind of student I was to Mrs. Davis.

Too many times, I remember her having to ask me to get back to work.  I’d be sitting in class in a complete daze.  “Daydreaming” was what she called it.  Rarely did I ever finish my work during the school day.

Homework was a regular task for me.

Mrs. Davis called my mother often for parent-teacher conferences.  Notes were often sent home, my mom disciplined me, Mrs. Davis disciplined me; but it often only yielded temporary results.  I’d do really well for a few weeks then go back to my dark place.

“I don’t understand, Christina, you are so smart….there is no reason you can’t do the work, you’re just not applying yourself.”  Mrs. Davis would gently plead.

And she was right.

I was at the top of my reading group.  When I did my work, I got A’s.  My poor grades were merely a result of incomplete work and my own personal demons that had nothing to do with my intellect.

My mom was often at her wit’s end, which certainly didn’t help matters at home.  One would think it would be incentive to do better, if nothing else, to keep my mother’s temper at bay. 

I don’t remember what I was thinking when I would go into my dazes.  I just remember looking around, watching everything that everyone else was doing and eventually hearing Mrs. Davis tell me to “get back to work!”

It would have been easy for me to buck responsibility and blame the teacher but thankfully, I full acknowledged my behavior.  I miraculously passed 3rd grade in spite of my shortcomings and with each grade thereafter my grades got better and better and Mrs. Davis always kept up on me.  Even through high school.  Her son was in my graduating class.  I’m sure she was relieved when I walked across that podium the year I was actually slated to graduate.

When I went on to college, she was even more relieved.

The years passed and intermittantly, she would get updates from my mom.  They ended up going to church together.  One of her sons actually moved to Alaska as well.

“Mrs. Davis says Hello” my mom often tells me.  And that makes me happy.

I believe that Mrs. Davis saw through what appeared to be an apathetic attitude toward school work.  She saw my situation for what it was and acted on that.  I think that’s why she was also stern but fair with me.  She knew I needed the discipline to stay on task but the compassion so that I didn’t give up on myself.

I always carried that with me.

In fact, I dare say I owe a lot of my later school success to her.  In a lot of ways, I felt like I had to make it up to her.

Now that we’re back in touch, we talk more like friends rather than mentor and student.  She makes fun of grammatical mistakes that she makes (”I’m a retired teacher, I’m so embarassed!”) and I always reassure her that I could care less (”Exactly.  You’re RETIRED! Give yourself a break!”).  Howard often sees me smiling and laughing while bantering with her.

We’ve talked about my childhood and what the real story behind it was.  Nothing of which surprised her.  She speaks as the rational adult and reminds me that my mom really did the best she could but at the same time, she understood why I did what I did during those days.

She also tells me many times how very proud of me both she and my mom are.

I know this deep down and it humbles me.  But it sure doesn’t hurt to hear it too.