Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Baby blue staring in the window pane just counting drops of rain
Wondering if she's got the guts to take it

 Running down her dreams in a dirty dress, now her heart's a mess
Praying that she'll find a way to make it

So keep on climbing, though the ground might shake
Just keep on reaching though the limb might break
We've come this far, don't you be scared now
Cause you can learn to fly on the way down…

Heather didn’t seem scared of much or at least she didn’t let on that she was scared. She marched herself down to tell me she was flying to South Carolina to visit a friend she met on a chat site. Of course I was concerned but for no reason. During that trip Heather found the big eyed turtles, or “Dupe eyes” as we call them. (She had a way of looking up at you with her big blue eyes that would make you give into her. Even the nurses noticed her “Dupe eyes.”) Heather was a very giving person and she brought back a brown and yellow turtle for me and her and then a small, tiny one for Jenn. I managed to find a small one and a big turtle for her right before she went back into the hospital again. I still have my original turtle and I gave Wendy the turtle that Heather had in her car.
The other night for Gigi’s birthday we all went to Paz and Jenn’s place. Snooks was looking around and playing with all of Gigi’s things she had out and she found the tiny turtle. She asked Gigi if she could have it as she fell in love with it. Gigi told her no because Aunt Missy bought it for her. So Mimi found one on EBay and bought it right away. If it was anything else I might not have been so easily convinced to buy it, but it is a very special turtle. It arrived in fast order and of course Snooks loves it, and her Aunt Missy would be happy.
Snooks, turtle and Mimi

Searching for a sign in the night, even like a lonely string of lights
That'll burn just long enough for you to see it
The road's been long and lonely and you feel like giving up
There's more to this than just the breath you're breathing

So keep on climbing, though the ground might shake
Just keep on reaching though the limb might break
We've come this far, don't you be scared now
Cause you can learn to fly on the way down…

So here it is getting close to the 6th anniversary and my mood has changed. I have a deep overwhelming feeling of sadness that is very hard to explain. My body and heart knows even if I don’t know the dates on the calendar. I am very busy with work and I like keeping busy, but also feel an extreme amount of fatigue that is not normal. I also have had a new craving…for cinnamon. The lemon lasted a year and I smelled a cinnamon/sugar pretzel at work the other day and that was it. All I want is cinnamon everything and I smell it everywhere. I have no idea how long this will last. This time of year has not gotten any easier nor have the memories gone away. I have not gotten over “it.” I am simply learning how to “fly” on the way down memory lane during this time of year.
Mimi and Lil E
On The Way Down
You won't forget the heavy steps it took to let it go
Close your eyes, count to ten, hold your breath
And fly

Keep on climbing, though the ground might shake
Just keep on reaching though the limb might break
We've come this far, don't you be scared now
Cause you can learn to fly on the way down

Ohh-oh, oh-oh
~Maddie and Tae

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Broken Heart...Really...

“Without pain, how could we know joy?' This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries; but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.”

A broken heart (or heartbreak) is a common metaphor for the intense emotional pain or suffering one feels after losing a loved one, whether through death, divorce, breakup, separation, betrayal, or romantic rejection. Heartbreak is usually associated with losing a family member or spouse, though losing a parent, sibling, child, pet, lover or close friend can all "break one's heart," and it is frequently experienced during grief and bereavement. The phrase refers to the physical pain one may feel in the chest as a result of the loss, although it also by extension includes the emotional trauma of loss even where it is not experienced as somatic pain. Although "heartbreak" ordinarily does not imply any physical defect in the heart, there is a condition known as "Takotsubo cardiomyopathy" (broken heart syndrome), where a traumatizing incident triggers the brain to distribute chemicals that weaken heart tissue

Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also known as transient apical ballooning syndrome and stress cardiomyopathy is a type of non-ischemic cardiomyopathy in which there is a sudden temporary weakening of the muscular portion of the heart. Because this weakening can be triggered by emotional stress, such as the death of a loved one, a break-up, or constant anxiety, it is also known as broken-heart syndrome. Stress cardiomyopathy is a well-recognized cause of acute heart failure, lethal ventricular arrhythmias, and ventricular rupture

They say no one ever died from a broken heart but that is simply not true. As stated above there is now a heart condition that can happen from too much stress or PTSD from the death of a loved one. We have all seen this as a beloved spouse died and then shortly afterwards the surviving spouse dies. (Nowhere does it say make yourself happy and get a new spouse a few weeks later so you cannot feel the pain) The pain is there for a reason; the reason is LOVE and with LOVE comes heartbreak. This is a pain that is to be felt, not ignored. It has to be dealt with or your life will not really be anything close to the new normal. Grief work is hard work and no one ever said I hope my loved one dies so I can do some grief work. Usually this work is thrust upon us and we are not ready, willing or able to cope with the death and what it means to our future.

There is no such thing as replaceable people, however; Your dad or mom can get remarried and there is now a step mom or dad and you can also remarry and have a new husband or wife. When you write your address you can once again be Mr and Mrs. Of course having a child die is totally different. There is no one that can replace that child, even if you have another child. You then have a new son or daughter but the title will still belong to that child that died. This has been enough for acquaintances to fight me that I was saying that their spouse was replaceable. Let me say for 100% clarity THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A REPLACEABLE PERSON!

In the nearly 6 years that I have been surviving without Heather I have come to realize that having a child die at any age is the toughest type of grief possible. Sorry, if you have not had a child die, then you don’t know this pain. It is unimaginable. My beloved Daddy, Jim, died in 1990 and at the time I could not imagine any pain that would be worse than that. When Bill’s mom, Margaret, died, I thought that was horrible. Then for the few hours that we dealt with the death of Bill’s beloved brother-in-law; because a couple hours after hearing that Rusty had died, we learned that Heather would die soon. In our life, the death of our daughter overshadowed the death of Rusty. That is very sad and hard to say, but it is the truth.

Nothing about my life is the same, and the life I once had is gone, as it died the day Heather did. The day cancer entered my world was the day my life changed forever. How naïve I was that if remission happened everything would be okay. After Heather was in remission I thought the hardest days of my life were over. The first days of dealing with cancer we thought Heather might die and we thought we were prepared for it, or so we. But the last weeks I would actually gladly give back not to have the memories and the PTSD that goes with the last 33 days of her life. The end came as unexpected as birth did, guess I should not have been surprised.

What I am surprised at is how I still feel and the memories of the days and dates still haunt me this time of year. I don’t think that the passing of time will make these memories fade. There are many life changing events that I remember with great clarity even 40 years. The death of Jo Beth, my wedding, the births of my three daughters, the death of my daddy and the death of my mother-in-law. Of course the cancer and death of Heather trumps everything that has ever happened in my life. No event will ever be greater unless heaven forbid I have another child or a grandchild die. There are days that I wonder how I function. Sunday, March 15th, today, was one of those days. As the afternoon got later I began to feel the haunting memory of Heather not being able to breath and taking her to the hospital…and so the beginning of my nightmarish end. The end that leads to April 20th. Last year was different because it was the 5th anniversary and then it also was Easter Sunday. This year all the days fall the same days and dates as they did in 2009. No it isn’t any easier.

I don’t think that this time of year will ever be any easier as my time with Heather in ICU was much more than my words could ever explain. I think only the people who came to the hospital to see Heather even begin to have an understanding as to what I endured those 33 days. It will never be the same, it will never go away and that is okay. I can’t make them go away and I cannot make my mind and body pretend that this time is easy. I have felt sick and tired, more so than normal. I know that my body knows what my mind is trying to suppress. I made promises to Heather that I would keep going and living and keep her memory alive. SO far I think I have done a good job of keeping my promise…even though they are the hardest I have ever made…
Our last photo, Monday, March 16th, 2009
“Some people don't understand the promises they're making when they make them," I said.
"Right, of course. But you keep the promise anyway. That's what love is. Love is keeping the promise anyway.”
~The Fault in our Stars

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Sharp Knife of a Short Life...

To be honest there is no one that understands the death of a child better than another mother who has had a child die. The death of parents is hard, but it follows the order of life, even if the mother or father were younger. Nothing about death is fair but the death of a child is beyond unfair. This event takes away the future…future events with that child or with your family being WHOLE. As we are heading into “that time” of the year when life gets hard to breathe; I can’t believe it has been nearly 6 years. So many things have changed in these six years. The one thing that has not changed is I still speak my mind and call a spade a spade.

We all know that I have no tolerance for “stupid” things said about the death of a child. The very best thing you can say is “I’m sorry, I don’t know what or say or do, but I am here!” That is the biggest and best statement that could be uttered from anyone not having had a child die. Once a child dies, we mothers get bombarded with the dumbest things ever said. While I know these “friends and family” mean well, it isn’t good enough for someone else to apologize for their ignorance. (Ignorance meaning the lack of knowledge or being uninformed) The only way to become informed is to have your child die, PERIOD! But you don’t have to say stupid things just because your child has not died.
Alisha, gone too soon, Tina and Fran-3 generations
One of my biggest supporters has asked me very hard question about death and how I am dealing with things, but it has been because she wanted to understand more about what it felt like. I appreciate this friend very much and three weeks ago while I was working I received a horrible text message from her. Alisha, her granddaughter, had died from a drug overdose, she was 21 years old. In the blink of an eye, Fran, now knew the beginning what I had been going thru. I never ever want anyone that I love to endure the pain of having a child or grandchild die. I went to the visitation to offer support and hug Fran. This is not something that I do and I only stepped inside and then left within 7 minutes. This is not because I don’t care, it is simply too difficult and suddenly it hasn’t been nearly 6 years but I am transported to that week of Heather’s funeral.

For Fran, she has suddenly been transported into the future no one wants and she is watching her daughter suffer the greatest loss of her entire being and life. The greatest, caring people in the world have begun to say the most idiotic things ever. Comparing the death of Heather to an 85 year old grandmother or to the death of a dog is simply not acceptable. It is also not acceptable to say that their child is safe in heaven, we know that! Probably the most unacceptable thing to say is that cancer or drugs were brought into their life as a gift from God to get them to heaven! WHAT THE F@%K!!!! This statement along with “you should be grateful you had her for 21 years,” are a punch in the face type of statement.  
a very powerful text message
So words are something friends and family need to be careful about but so are actions. There are things you can do and things that you cannot do involving the gravesite of the child who has died. Of course it is very comforting to know the ones that have visited and thought about our child. By all means leave flowers, notes or other weather stable goodies. HOWEVER, DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT go and leave something out of your guilt or some BS kind of gesture. The gravesite of anyone is scared, PERIOD! The reason why I mention this is because while we were gone for Heather’s birthday, someone left a flower at her grave. This was not wanted, not needed nor was it appreciated for the fake gesture of caring and love. I took the flower off and returned it to the person who did this. I have others that have texted me and let me know they were going and I have met them out there. I have no issue with that or the fact that Rose will leave things from time to time. I know Rose truly misses Heather and does this as a gift to me when I go out. Wendy has also done the same thing. I like the surprise and then I try to contact the person that left the item. I have never for one moment regretted burying Heather’s ashes till that moment. I felt violated and I wanted to retreat and bring Heather back to the house where I could keep her from people playing games.

As we are into March already and next week is the beginning of the end, I can’t help but be moody and sad and miss Heather all the more. In 6 years our family added two son-in-laws, and a new granddaughter. I have worked two job and we have nearly finished flooring the house. Life moves forward as it should but it still doesn’t mean that Heather isn’t right here on my mind every single day. Maybe not every second like she was in the beginning but for sure every 5-10 seconds. There isn’t a holiday or event that goes by without her absence being noticed at least by me. I would say 80% of all our friends and acquaintances have left because they couldn’t handle us not being able to “let go” and “move on.” I honestly think that we have done an amazing job at living life without Heather and it is their loss not mine. The only family that we have is our immediately family, meaning Jenn and Wendy and their families. Family, I am finding is just as it always has been, judgmental and condescending towards our family in particular. Nothing we have ever done has been good enough and our family has been held to an unacceptable accountability. In the end again it is their loss, I just choose not to allow them to hurt me or my family any longer.

“You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world...
but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices.”
~John Green~The Fault in Our Stars