Sunday, March 31, 2013

When I Get Where I'm Going...



When I get where I'm going
On the far side off the sky
The first thing that I'm gonna do
Is spread my wings and fly…

The hope of every parent is that their child be healthy, happy and live a long life. To the family that believes in God, Jesus or heaven, the final goal is to someday be reunited with all their loved ones, including their children in Heaven. Heaven is our family’s goal. When I die I want to be with the lambs and not with the goats on judgment day. I want to see Heather first and foremost when I arrive at the gate.
I'm gonna land beside a lion
And run my fingers through his mane
Or I might find out what it's like
To ride a drop of rain…
Holy week and Easter, 2009, had such hope and promise of an expected miracle. I had prayed for healing, as everyone else that was praying had asked for. I just didn’t realize that it meant Heather would have to go to Heaven for complete healing to take place. Sometimes, unfortunately God answers prays for healing by allowing that loved one to die to be whole again. I would not want Heather to live with fear and doubt for the rest of her life wondering if cancer would come back. Her lungs were so damaged she would have had to have a double lung transplant. I am not sure that Heather would have ever been my Heather again if she had survived.
Yeah when I get where I'm goin
There'll be only happy tears
I will she'd the sins and struggles
I have carried all these years
And I'll leave my heart wide open
I will love and have no fear
Yeah when I get where I'm going
Don't cry for me down here…
 
There is no expiration date for my feelings of grief. Just because it is nearly been 4 years does not mean that Easter is a great holiday now. I can say that I totally understand that meaning and symbolic reason for Easter. I am also very thankful that my Savior died and rose again the 3rd day. BUT…I do not like Easter then, I do not like Easter now, I do not like it anything that has to do with Easter. It is a holiday that for 2 years was nothing but worry and wonder as to if Heather would survive. Two years in a row at Easter. Imagine how that family feels that lost their loved ones on Christmas Eve because of a car crash. I think they have a right to feel Christmas is a terrible holiday. Honestly, Easter is no different for me. The holiday is a reminder of a not so distant past that was filled with horrible experiences.
I'm gonna walk with my grand daddy
And he'll match me step for step
And I'll tell him how I missed him
Every minute since he left
Then I'll hug his neck…
 
Losing a loved one is horrible. I have said before that losing a child is the worst kind of loss there is. A pastor told us, “That he could get another wife, we couldn’t get another daughter.” Now, some of you will get bent that I am saying that losing a spouse is easy. Nope, that is not what I said. As horrible as losing a spouse of 1 year or 50 years would be, after the grieving has subsided some the opportunity for love may present itself again. The grieving spouse may be able to find a new and different kind of happiness with a new wife or husband. Their life will still feel the loss but they have a new love and some happiness. I was thinking the other day and there are three loved ones that cannot be replaced; the older child or adult that has lost their mother or father and the loss of a child of any age. You can have a step parent but that isn’t your mom or dad. Having another baby does not replace the one that was lost. It may add to the family but it will never replace the child who died, PERIOD!!!
So much pain and so much darkness
In this world we stumble through
All these questions I can't answer
So much work to do...

I have no answers to much of anything. Why Heather got cancer? Why did she breeze thru 8 rounds of chemo and stay in remission? Why did her lungs get damaged? Why did we have to spend 33 days in ICU? Why did she have to be on a vent? Why did she suffer so much? Why do I still cry? Why does my heart still hurt? Will I ever feel better again? Will a day go by when I don’t think about Heather? 

 But when I get where I'm going
And I see my maker's face
I'll stand forever in the light
Of his amazing grace
Yeah when I get where I'm goin
Oh When I get where I'm goin
There'll be only happy tears
Hallelujah
I will love and have no fear
When I get where I'm going
Yeah when I get where I'm going...
First Plane Flight-2002
When I get Where I'm going~Brad Paisley With Dolly Parton

Monday, March 25, 2013

Twilight...



Twilight-
The time of the day when the sun is just below the horizon,
especially the period between sunset and dark.

I’d never given much thought to how I would die-though I’d had reason enough in the last few months-but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this…
Preface-Bella Swan~Twilight

What a way to begin a book. I wonder if Heather thought about those words as she began to read. This struck me very profound when I was working on this blog. Heather had been given many reasons to think about dying during her cancer treatments. But I know to this day she would have never imagined she would die the way she did. Being in remission, in ICU, on a vent and deprived of oxygen to the point of being brain dead. How interesting to me that Twilight the book begins with this very sentence about how Bella would die.
Christmas Eve 2008 Bill, Jenn, Heather and I went to see back to back movies while Wendy was with other family. We were killing time till it was our family time to be together. The 2 movies we saw were Twilight and Yes, Man. Heather had no interest whatsoever in Twilight, the book or movie. Stacey and Shawna were talking and trying to get her interested in this series. Heather saw the movie and was hooked. We stopped at a couple places late on Christmas Eve trying to find the books so she could begin reading them. Jenn had the whole series and agreed to let her begin her Twilight book till she could buy her own. Heather bought Twilight and New Moon, but barrowed Jenn’s Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. Heather would only get to the wedding of Bella and Edward in the last book before she would never finish this book.

Heather for very specific reasons loved Edward. She was Team Edward all the way. But her reasons were not because of Robert Pattenson or because of the “dreamy” character of Edward in the book. It was because he could offer her a dream life where she would never get sick again. If Edward bit her she could be whole again. She did joke that when she received blood she wondered if she would taste different. Even in ICU Heather kept hoping her “Edward” was real and would come make her whole again. No, Heather believed in God and was not placing her faith and hope in something other than Christ. She was a 21 year old girl who had faced cancer and death and just wanted to be totally well again. Something none of us can blame her for.

Since Heather had not finished the last book, I began an experiment on her. Yes, she was to be my guinea pig. I had Breaking Dawn on audio book and had the idea that I was going to play the book over and over to her and then see if when she came off the vent if she remembered any part of the book. Mother how could you? Well, I just had a question and I needed to know what she would or would not remember. I played the book for her 4 times. Of course I do not know the answer to my question. But it would have been very interesting to see if she remembered or if as she read the book she felt it was familiar to her.

“Clair de Lune? I asked, surprised
“You know Debussy?” He sounded surprised too
“Not well,” I admitted. “My mother plays a lot of classic music around the house-I only know my favorites.”
Edward and Bella~Twilight
 
While Heather was in ICU my dear friend Diane came to see me on one of her many times and brought me a gift. It was a beautiful Willow Tree figurine entitled Close To Me "Apart or together, always close to me.” She explained this represented her hugging me as I went thru this with Heather since she understood all too well. This was also her and her daughter Beka that died 11 years earlier and finally me and Heather. That no matter how far away we are always close to them. It blew me away last year as right before Mother’s Day I found this figurine in a music box and it played Claire de Lune. It brought tears to my eyes and I bought it on the spot.

I’d never given much thought to how I would die-though I’d had reason enough in the last few months-but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this…
Preface-Bella Swan~Twilight

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

7-Day Forecast


7 Day Forecast-

Today was sunny, but heading into tomorrow there will be clouds of emotions hiding the sun. The following day strong winds will begin driving against me and they will be cold and brutal as memories blow thru my mind. The next few days will be filled with heavy rain, or are those tears? A possible hurricane of emotions could exist. This will beat against me, taking my strength, my sanity and stealing the rainbow I once had. There could be a chance of beating hail at my body and mind as I am worn, tired and screaming for some rest. This weather will continue night and day for the next few days. A tornado of outburst emotions could be pop up during the next few days. After this bad weather I will see the bright sun come out for a few days but the 52 week forecast looks much the same as this week. Unexpected storms at any time and completely out of the blue.

 The stormy season has hit once again. It really does not matter how hard I try not to allow it is mess with my heart and mind, it just simply does. I cannot help it. I don’t like and I certainly wish it would go away and never come back. But I also realize this is my time to remember Heather, her struggle and her life, more so now than any other time of the year. March and April are so messed up with emotions and mixed years between cancer and ICU that it just plays on every part of my life right now.



I recently read a story explaining what it was like to live day to day with an ongoing illness. It was explained with spoons and the taking away of spoons till you have nothing left. It was very good to read. I thought I would try to explain what a day in my life is like at this time of the year. But as hard as I try, it will never get the full meaning of what I am going thru. You can only know it if you live it.

Nope, not kidding, even my yogurt tells me

Imagine that you are a battery, once you were fully charged and full of life and energy. So today, Thursday, I woke up fully drained. I have no charge. There is no reason to get out of bed. I sleep and toss and turn as minutes turn to hours and soon the morning is almost gone. I decide to get up and get dressed. This is a huge accomplishment in itself. If this is all I did for the day it was a good day. Wash my face, comb and fix my hair and put on my shoes.



Once I am dressed then comes the tough choice of staying home to eat or go out somewhere to eat alone. If I decide to go out what else can or will I do? Do I have errands to do, something to return, the bank or shopping that should get done? Eating lunch will be the charge I need to make it thru the rest of the day. Right now I am running on no charge and don’t feel like doing anything. Nothing sounds good to eat except all the bad stuff that I shouldn’t and won’t eat. Of course it is easy to eat the cheeseburger and fries and why not wash it down with an ice cream cone. Of course this is mostly empty calories and I will be hungry in a few hours again for more carbs. Making the healthy choice is so much harder to do.



Lunch has come and gone and it wasn’t that bad. I text with a few people, checked my email and Facebook. Now what to do for the afternoon. If I stay at home, the memories and quiet will begin to drain me. I will get depressed, tired and want to eat or sleep. If I get busy with something I will be ok. Hum, let me see, I can always go thru Heather’s things and get rid of more things. That is no draining at all. Going down memory lane knowing that is all I have left of my Heather.

vintage Holly Hobbies to be treasured out...
So I decide to leave. I can go to Target and look around. Hey it is spring and Easter is here so I can look at all the Easter candy and bunnies. I can see all the Easter clothes and shoes. I could go to Kohl’s where Heather worked for 3 years. Well, how about the mall, I could just go kill time looking at nothing specific. Oh wait, Hallmark has Easter, then there is the makeup and perfume counters that Heather loved so much. Or the best of all Victoria’s Secret or Bath and Body Works, both Heather loved and worked there. Everywhere I go there is something that reminds me of Heather.

Heather's 3 treasured Holly Hobbies-still kept
tag of Heather's Holly Hobbies
I can go visit the cemetery, to Heather’s spot. I can stand in a grassy field and look at my 21 year old daughter’s name on a bronze marker and know that she is gone forever and never ever coming back again. I can dust the marker off and make sure all her treasures are still there and just right. I can also walk around and look at other graves and see the ones that have just died and have been buried recently. It is very peaceful out there and I do find comfort.

new room...Holly Hobbie...1990
 Now I am down to the last hour or so before Bill comes home. This is when I begin to think what is for dinner. Do we eat in or go out? If we go out where do we go? Here again it is easier to eat something really bad such as Cheesecake Factory or Red Robin instead of KFC grilled chicken. If I decide to cook then the question is what do I fix and do I have everything I need. For right now many of our meals come from the Schwans truck. They have the best fish, veggies, etc. I see nothing wrong with using them like Fresh and Easy or the freezer section at the grocery store. Yes, my meals are healthy with a high protein, low carbs and lots of veggies. Then if I cook, I have to have the energy to put the leftovers away and clean the kitchen. 

Most evening right now and in the past include going to the gym. If I didn’t have a reason to go during the day I really need to go at night. Finding the energy to change and go is very hard to do. I do this for many reasons, to stay fit, to burn calories but more importantly to remind me of how far I have come in two years with losing weight and that I don’t want to fall back in to eating and not exercising. I have learned that if I exercise during this time of the year regularly it helps me get thru. It doesn’t take it away, but it helps. Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy. In my case they help me not be so sad and depressed. All the remaining energy I have has been spent on circuit, abs and treadmill. (When I workout, I workout!!!)
Me...not too bad...

Just about 10pm for some odd reason my battery gets completely recharged to full power and I am ready to go. I am no longer sleepy or tired. I am ready to anything and everything but go to bed. I know that it is because of the demons that come out to haunt my mind and sleep at night. I take Ambien every night and I am not ashamed, nor will I stop taking it. I have a nightly routine that has to be followed pretty closely or I cannot go to sleep. I wash my face, brush my teeth, take my pill and spray my perfume. Then I get my ZEN that is playing my current book series (either Harry Potter or Twilight). I then go into the bathroom and relax. I listen to my ZEN and surf on my ipad. This goes on till I get sleepy. Some nights this comes quickly and other nights I have to take additional meds to get sleepy. I crawl into bed about 1am. This is much better than the 3am it was when Heather first died.



AHHHHHH sleep what a restful thing. Right? Well, no!! I sleep hard till about 3:30am. Then I get up and down, and toss and turn. Some nights I can go back to sleep and other nights I am awake till about 5am. As the sun begins to come up, my battery finally is dead and I am ready to sleep well. Some mornings I dream my really weird dreams and other mornings I just sleep. I begin to wake up at 10am…to start the day all over again. 
14 treasures to find new homes...

Treasures ready to go...
 This really doesn’t begin to describe the ho hum feeling that I have all day long. The feeling of being bored, I have nothing to do and not wanting to do anything. The feeling of I don’t want to go anywhere but yet don’t want to be at home. It is a restless, not content feeling. Then if I do decide to go thru Heather’s stuff it only gets worse from there. The memories come flooding back. All the things that she kept and I have no idea what to do with them. Many items I have to rip off like a band-aid for my own good. Many things that she loved and treasured the most I just cannot part with. I am making progress and found homes for 14 treasures that Heather loved. I hope the new homes love them the way she did. I have to send them off and let go. What happens to them then is out of my hands. I  just hope that people don’t feel I have lost my mind.
Much simpler times...
When I woke up this morning
Wiped the sleep from my eyes
Found a new day dawning
And suddenly I realize
You're gone...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Just A Dream...



Baby, why'd you leave me, why'd you have to go
I was counting on forever, now I'll never know
I cant even breathe...
It's like I'm, looking from a distance, 
standing in the background
Everybody's saying, he's not coming home now,
This can't be happening to me
This is just a dream…

Tomorrow, or today by the time I get this written, will be March 19. So, big deal, nothing significant about the date it is not the first day of spring, not Easter and not St. Patrick’s Day. It is an average every day kind of day…to the rest of the world. To me, it begins the beginning of my horror story that continues to haunt me every day. The day one of my worst fears came true…Heather had a fever, not just any run of the mill fever, but 105. She would continue to run a fever of some degree for the next 33 days. The green single light will shine in Heather’s room window till April 20.  To signify the last 33 days of her life.

Spring is a time of life renewing but to me it is nothing but a huge reminder of life being sucked away. As much as I try I can’t pretend that everything is just fine during this time of year. I would love to look forward to spring and Easter with joy and anticipation, but I can’t and don’t know that I ever will be able to. Whether I know the date or not my body knows the time of year. I have begun not sleeping good, having a hard time going to sleep, or waking up and not able to go back to sleep.

The weirdest thing about this year is I have begun dreaming. Because of the Ambien I take I don’t dream usually. These dreams are not simple running thru fields of flower dreams, but really odd dreams that continue after I wake up and go back to sleep. First one I had was about my Daddy, Jim, right before I went to Farmington. I thought ok it has to do with me going to Farmington. But now I have had 2 more. One involved a dear friend and I was helping him thru texting and FaceTime bake and decorate a cake. Second one involved someone’s mom I have never met and we were baking pies for a charity event. I wake up, toss around, go back to sleep and continue the dream where I left off. I know these are not bad dreams, just really different and involving random things and people. I hope they stay on the light and weird and don’t change to dark and weird.

The preacher man said let us bow our heads and pray
lord please lift his soul and heal this hurt
then the congregation all stood up 
and sang the saddest song that she ever heard
then they handed her a folded up flag and
she held on to all she had left of him oh and what could’ve been
and then guns rang one last shot and it felt like a bullet in her heart…

Heading into the first anniversary of Heather’s death I did have a nightmare. It was so real that I woke up in a panic. Heather was in ICU but she was awake and getting better. I was so thrilled to see her awake and I went to get the nurse. When I came back she was gone. I could hear her calling me down the hallway and I ran to find her but could never find her no matter how fast I ran or how hard I looked. I haven’t had any other nightmares about Heather other than the real ones that we lived. Yes these real life events still haunt my mind if it gets too quiet for too long.
It doesn’t matter how much time goes by, nothing will ever be the same again. Every holiday, every family get-together, every wedding and birth of a baby have been changed forever. There is always someone missing from these events. Heather, her husband and all her kids should have been at all these events. Our family had Wendy and Sunnie’s wedding in October and then Jenn and Paz in February. We can all get busy with planning the events and try to forget, but the day of the event especially a wedding where Heather was to be both girl’s Maid of Honor, we are all reminded that she is missing. This was never hit more home than Jenn walking with Bill right before the wedding and passing the memorial table she had placed for Heather. The tears began to fall, everything for one moment came to stop and we all shared a family moment of Heather being missing for yet another event.
tears of remembrance
hugs of comfort
a shared private moment-Bill is trying to add some humor..lol
 I know it seems that in time as we add son-in-laws and new grand babies that maybe she will go unnoticed. Well, that won’t ever happen. Forever our family has a spot that was once filled by Heather. Her spot can never be filled again. No one can replace her. Whether an actual pause to remember or just a stare for a moment, Heather will forever be missing. I do know where she is I just cant see her or visit with her.
Our "new" family
Baby, why'd you leave me, why'd you have to go
I was counting on forever, now I'll never know
I cant even breathe
It's like I'm, looking from a distance, 
standing in the background
Everybody's saying, he's not coming home now,
This can't be happening to me
This is just a dream…
~Just A Dream~Carrie Underwood