Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009: i bid you adieu

2009 is coming to a close and with it a decade.

At the end of December in 1999, I was in Cincinnati, Ohio. With my almost 6 month old. He had undergone two heart surgeries, two catheritizations. Many doctor visits. He came through all like a champ. With Mighty Mike embroidered on a blanket.
The promise of not only a new year but also a new decade. A very new chapter in my life as a new mom. To this most fantastic little one.

I was ready for the adventures that awaited us. In this new decade.

At the end of this December in 2009, I am in Tallahassee, Florida. With my son's memory. He had undergone three heart surgeries, seven catheritizations. Many doctor visits. He came through those like a champ.

And yet. On the morning of April 9th. He died. Inexplicably. Without warning.

2009, and this decade, are coming to a close. And I should be ready to leave them behind.
I'm not.
I have this need to hold onto this year.
This last year that I spent with my son laughing. And talking. And playing. And dreaming.

The last year of Michael's life. Not a full year. Just three months. Nine days.

And so as we usher in 2010, it is not with joy. Or the promise of a better year.
It is just the first, of many, years. That Michael will not be with us.

I want to hold onto 2009, as horrific as it has been.
Because at least for part of it.
Michael was running. And laughing.
And living.

Friday, December 18, 2009

favorites

Thank you, my sweet family and friends, for your calls, e-mails, text messages, and comments from yesterday. I hit a wall. Hard.

I have another video to share.
It is, of course, of Michael. and what he likes best about Christmas.
And then he has a question for all of the viewers.

So. Do tell. What is your favorite part of Christmas? I want to hear it. And Michael did ask so sweetly.

This isn't my favorite part. I'll share that later. But one of my favorite funny memories of Christmas.

We had one of those Rock Around the Christmas Tree Santas. The one where Santa shows his dance moves and shakes his hips back and forth. They were pretty popular a long while ago. He was a gift (from mom? my grams? My memory isn't what it used to be!) We got this Santa his 2nd Christmas - he was a year and a half old.

Anyway, I thought Michael would have been delighted by the dancing Santa. As Michael was quite the dancer himself.

I turned on the Santa. Michael would cry. Scream really. Not a fan. Couldn't stand the sight of the jolly man shaking his hips either. Michael would go out of his way to not walk past Santa. It was hilarious. The following Christmases were the same way. He would run really fast past him. Or cut a wide berth to avoid him. So Santa never really had the chance to dance. And that was just fine with Michael.

Now your turn. Tell me your Christmas favorites. or memories. or hot cocoa flavor. or tradition. I need a little Christmas now.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

breaking point

I hit my breaking point today.

I have been building towards it for a long while.
I have this ability to push things aside. To deal with at another time.
Today was that other time.

This past month has been difficult.
First holidays without Michael.
A time of remembrance. A time to reflect.
Not making new memories with him.
It is difficult. To put it mildly.
Also. My debit card number was stolen. A spending spree at Walgreen's and Staples ensued.
I filed a police report at the request of my bank. The money was put back into our account.

I'm fighting the urge to pull back from everyone.
I am a downer. This time of year is joyous for most. As it should be.
I don't want to put a damper on anyone's fun.
So I struggle with being real. And putting on a brave face.
And the tug of war between the two.
I don't want to be a burden on anyone.

I received a phone call today that just pushed me over the edge.
Really it was more of a nudge. Nothing really.
She was calling with misinformation. I attempted to correct it. She was snippy.
We hung up.
I got angry. I called her back.
Asked if she had children.
I was ugly. Ugly. with a capital U-G-L-Y.
I yelled. I shook. I cried.
The poor woman on the other end tried to talk. I told her to hush it. I wasn't done.
Then I was done. And we hung up.
I cried. Big alligator, can't catch my breath tears.
Because what a terrible person I was to this person. And I felt sorry for myself.

I used to say that God doesn't give you more than you can handle. And I wish that he didn't trust me so much. What happens when you have reached full capacity? What happens when it IS, in fact, more than you handle? What then?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

empty

I have decorated the house.
I have sung Christmas carols.
I baked cookies.
I have shopped. and wrapped all that.
I have made Christmas crafts.
I ordered Christmas cards. and will send them once they arrive.

I have done all the things. I have checked all the boxes.
I am more ready for Christmas than I ever have been.
Except Michael's first Christmas. But he had surgery on the 15th.
And I didn't know how much time he would be in the hospital.
I got it all done. Much like now.

His first Christmas here. His first Christmas gone.

I can't seem to get into the spirit. I go through the motions.
Because my boy loved all that came with Christmas.
All the shopping and the Christmas crafts and the songs and the cookies.
Posing for the Christmas card photo shoot.
Which I sometimes never sent out the Christmas card.

I turn the Christmas radio station off when I'll be Home for Christmas comes on.
Or Feliz Navidad.
I resist the urge to buy boy toys. Shopping
was easier this year.
And so much harder.

I push myself to get into the hustle. And the bustle.
But I come home and sit for hours. Because plastering on a smile is hard work.

I'm looking for the magic. And the joy.
And coming up empty.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

just have to wait.


I can't wait to hear your mama laugh
The way that only you can make her laugh when you get silly
And I can't wait to see you in her arms
I know the wound so deep inside her heart is healed for good
(Just Have to Wait - Steven Curtis Chapman)

Friday, December 04, 2009

another dream. another gift.

I had this dream last night.
That Michael was fine. But in the hospital.
And on a Monday, he was going to die. Because the hospital people had given up.

I was in the hospital lobby.
And Michael's surgeon came up to me to say he was sorry.
I called him Michael's first cardiologist's name. I couldn't remember his. In this dream.
He corrected me.
I ignored him and kept calling him the other guy's name.

I pleaded with him to give my son a chance.
To perform a transplant. He backed away. He said there was nothing he could do.
I was persistent. I followed him. Crying.
He changed his mind. He said he would do it.
I called him the wrong name again.

He left to prepare for surgery.

I went back to a waiting room. Filled with people.
And my Michael. Who was dressed in his sweet black hoodie. College shirt. Khakis and only socks. [The clothes he was buried in.]
We hugged. And I smelled him.
He was mystified at my jubilation at seeing him.
He gave me his "you are being weird, mom" look.
I said I hadn't seen him in so long. That I missed him.
And he said I was here all along.

I woke up at that moment. Tears on my cheeks.
And my first thought was that I wanted to tell him about my dream.
It was so real.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

lists

I am a list maker. I make lists for everything. To do. Groceries. Household projects. Songs to purchase. Recipes to try. Crafts to make. You get the point. A list for everything. Lists of lists to make. It's a problem.

Today, I set out to make a list of Christmas gifts to purchase and make. And I wrote Michael's name first. Because that is what I have always done. Seems I am done shopping for him. I bought the tree for his grave. Check. But there are no toys to wrap or toys to hide or toys to try to fine on some obscure website because the stores in town are all sold out.

I found last year's list. I typed it on my laptop. And I found this quote from Michael. A little gift for me as I work through these feelings that I have about this season.

"Christmas is about love, baby jesus being born and happiness. Wait there are four things … I can’t remember the fourth. Happiness, love, baby jesus being born and giving. That’s right giving." Michael, 12/10/2008

How glad was I to find that little nugget? So glad that I typed it out. To remember. Little did I know last year what this year would look like.

Tonight I plan to put up Michael's tree. The one with all of the ornaments that he picked out over the years. This would have been our activity for tonight. Would have been.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

30 days

I completed my 30 days of posting in November.
I will probably continue to post often. But without the pressure of every day.
Perhaps all the weekdays. And not the weekends.

I owe y'all a fabric and button tree tutorial. I will do that this week.

It is the start of the advent calendar. Only I am not doing the advent activity calendar this year.
To commemorate this day, I ate an entire bag of goldfish crackers. AN ENTIRE BAG. By myself.
Emotional eating at its finest, my friends.

I'll get back on the boiled chicken wagon tomorrow.

Monday, November 30, 2009

quiet

I picked up Nellie from the Doggie Hotel this morning.
Before her bath there.
I just couldn't take the quiet of the house any longer.

Stu and I came home yesterday. Unloaded the car. And left.
It was too quiet to be here.

I go away. And come back expecting a different result.
Like my house will once again be full of noise. And toys to step on.
Little socks and Star Wars underwear waiting to be washed.
Science Fair projects to start and be glued to backer boards.

But there is nothing.
Just quiet. Just the distant memory of laughter.

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Today I am thankful for:
LifeWaters. These are little treats to me in this phase of my shrinking plan.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

our thanksgiving


Thanksgiving was good. Being with my family is just easy.

We went to my dad's side of the family on Thursday.
There are lots of people. Lots of aunts and uncles and cousins.
And food. Tons of deliciousness. And my Aunt Carole's yeast rolls.
I could go on and on about the yeast rolls.

We talked and laughed and played a game.
We took pictures. Though not on my camera because I forgot to use it.
I enjoyed their company.
My diet was blown. But in the very best of ways.

On Friday, we met my mom's side of the family for dinner at Longhorns.
A smaller gathering, to be sure. So fun.
I grilled my cousin Sean on all things about his dating life.
He was a good sport about it.
We also talked and laughed and enjoyed each other's company.
The food was so good and we didn't have to do the dishes afterwards. Bonus.

Saturday was spent with friends who are like family.
Watching football and eating wings.
Georgia prevailed and many in the house were overjoyed.
Though Stu and one other were not. Ah. Well.

And in between all of these gatherings, I spent much time with my mom and dad.
Just being together.

Time goes by too quickly when we are all together. I love being with both sides of the family and our friends.
I am blessed.

And through it all, I was keenly aware of the absence of Michael.
I thought of what he would have been doing during the Thankful game.
I thought how he and Sean wrestled every Thanksgiving and how that would have been accomplished in a restaurant this year.
I wondered which team Michael would have rooted for in the game.
I missed him. And his energy. And his joy.

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Today I am thankful for:
A husband who will drive us home. I am a much better passenger.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Today. I will just post my thankful entry.
Be back tomorrow with something a bit more.

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Today I am thankful for:
Time with my family this week. I have enjoyed two holiday meals with my family and have loved my time at my parent's house. I am reminded of how blessed I am to call these wonderfully nutty folks mine.

Friday, November 27, 2009

it is starting...

Happy start to the holiday season.

Michael and I put together this frosted window last year. See those fingerprint marks? Those are his. It is hard to resist the temptation of touching the spray snow. See those dots in the middle of the o's? Those are my fingerprints. I told you it was hard to resist. What you can't see is Nellie's nose print at the bottom of the window? We all left our mark. Except Stu. He can resist the temptation. Unless it is a Krispy Kreme doughnut, then all bets are off.

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Today I am thankful for:
Memories. Photos. Videos. Scrapbooks.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving.
Enjoy the moments. With your family and friends.

These photos are from our Thanksgiving last year.



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Today I am thankful for:
All of you that read this blog. That pray for us. That send us notes of encouragement. That call and write and e-mail. Thank you for remembering us.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

gratitude

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by the spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lightened the flame within us.
Albert Schweitzer

Thanks, friends. For being the caretakers of my spark.

We are headed to see family for the Thanksgiving. I am looking forward to being with them. We are stopping at ikea and the pga superstore along the way. A little fun for me. A little fun for Stu. A little heartache for the trip without Michael.

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Today I am thankful for:
Music. Songs to sing out loud to as we travel on our road trip.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

some pre-thanksgiving ideas

Thanks for all of your sweet comments on my holiday decorations. I will work on putting together a few tutorials for the trees. They are easy-peasy. In the meantime, I followed a tutorial for the book wreath. She even has a video - her tutorial on her blog is here: Living with Lindsay. I deviated a little bit from her guidance, but not much. I did indeed burn my fingerprints off with my glue gun. So be careful of that.

I'll post more pictures as I continue to decorate.

Thanksgiving is Thursday. I realize that is not news, but I keep repeating it in my head. I just find it unbelievable that it is here. Again, I will post with pictures. And not post my feelings just yet. Because I am not sure what to say.

So ...
Bundle up as you travel over the river and through the woods. It's November. It should be cold out there. Or at least pretend it is cold out there and wear a parka plus flip flops.
Eat your veggies. Smearing them on your face is completely optional.

And drink your milk.
Eat all of the sweet treats you want. Go all in.
Take pictures of your family and friends. Preferably as they are smearing veggies on their face, milking it up and smashing their face in cake.

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Today I am thankful for:
Close family friends. I am looking forward to seeing them while we are at my parent's house this week. We spent Saturdays together. And New Year's Eves together. Went on vacations together. Ridiculed dates of the oldest together. (Thankfully, that wasn't as strong when the rest of us starting dating!). I am glad for our family history together and look forward to seeing them again.

Monday, November 23, 2009

i decked some halls.

I am totally stealing this blog idea from my dear friend, Kim. I am hoping that she won't mind.

I decided to decorate my house a little early this year. Today, in fact. This post won't be about my feelings on doing that - though let me say I started with the easy decorations. Next week, when I put up Michael's tree in his room and the tree with all of our hodge-podge, school artwork. I will have more feelings to tell.

Today is just about the pictures.

The below is a very new tree. I have wanted a white tree for a long while. But they can be so pricey. Stu found this one on super-duper sale last year (for $20!) and snagged it for me. We bought all of the ornaments from Target after Christmas for more super sales. This is the first year that I have put the tree up. I adore it. The bright colors. Just looks like a party on a tree. I need to add the tree skirt. And a topper. But I haven't found one that I like just yet. I might try to make one. This tree, these ornaments were not part of our decorating. Last year.
These are the makings of the tree that we will put up at Michael's grave. I wanted ornaments that would stand the elements. Stu and I picked out these wood and metal ornaments. We also picked up a Star Wars (small) lego set and GI Joe figures to put on the tree. These are items that would have been in Michael's stocking. But will now be on his tree. I'll take pictures once it is finished and in place. at the cemetery.
I made the wreath below out of an old book I had lying around. I'll probably keep this one up year round. (That is my grandad in the picture - isn't he handsome?) And that sword was Michael's. He had many adventures with it.
Hands down my favorite nativity set. Because of the memories associated with it. It was my mom and dad's. They gave it to me last year. The family dog, in his first Christmas at the house, snuck off with baby Jesus in his teeth. The wood still shows some teeth impressions from him. Makes me smile when I walk past it.
Michael and I made these trees last year out of fabric and buttons. It was one of our advent activities for the season.
I haven't yet put up everything. Just a little jump start. I'll put up other items in time. When the time feels right.

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Today I am thankful for:
This time that I have to not work. But to focus on me. And how I feel day to day, moment to moment. I am so grateful to be able to do so.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

little buddy




Missing our little buddy. This day. Everyday.

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Today I am thankful for:
ABC Family Christmas movies. Michael and I watched these all last year during the holiday season. Stu and I watched them today - a Christmas movie marathon - while we cleaned the house. A couple of the movies were ones that Michael and I had watched last year.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Today I am thankful for:
My family. Mom and Dad, aunts, uncles, cousins, 2nd cousins. I have wonderful people in my life. They are crazy. They are nuts. They are the most amazing people that you will meet. Down to earth. Sweet. Generous. I am so looking forward to soaking up time with (most of) them this coming week. And excited to see others at Christmas this year.

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Today I am a bit sad. I am more aware of the coming holidays and that they are another first. I am feeling a little anxious about the coming days. So this day, I am a bit sad.

Friday, November 20, 2009

flippin friday

For Christmas last year, my mom and dad gave Michael a Flip video camera. Michael loved to play. And he wanted to film his battles for all of his "viewers". Now he was able to do so. What a fun present for a budding filmmaker!

His videos were nothing fancy. Mostly a peek into his play. I adore them now. And watch them frequently. I thought I might post one here that gives a glimpse of Michael cleaning his room. He played everywhere. Going to Target was a game. Walking home from school was a new episode. Cleaning his room was an adventure.

This is Michael. Uncut.



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Today I am thankful for:
My son's imagination. Oh, how I enjoyed listening to him play.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

photo catch-up

I'm cheating a bit on this post ... but thought I would post some pictures of things that I have talked about but have never shown. Here goes.

This is Michael's spot at the cemetery. This was taken about a month or so ago. He has more things there now. I like to walk up and see something new added. I like to think of friends visiting him. I put the flowers together - if you look close, you will see some Storm Troopers peeking through. These were his. I thought they belonged in his flowers too.
This is Nellie. She is my constant companion these days. Love her.
This is the New Kids on the Walk. My team for the 3 Day walk for Breast Cancer. We walked 60 miles together. We camped. Indoors in pink tents. We wore pink leg warmers. And I loved spending time with them. Such a fantastic group of women. I still need to blog about those 3 Days!
This is one of the bulletin boards that I made. I know. It is so bright. Lots of color. Lots going on. But that is kind of the way my house is. You should all come over so you can see what I mean.

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Today I am thankful for:
My time that I worked at Florida State. I met some really fantastic people while I was there. My co-workers and graduate students. And I was glad to be there tonight to see the opening of The Velveteen Rabbit. Such a sweet show.

Stu and I have been out two nights in a row. On school nights. We are wild and crazy.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

look-a-like


From the time Michael was around 2 or 3, I was constantly told that he looked just like that actor. Macauley Culkin. I'm certain I spelled that wrong, but am too lazy to look up the proper spelling.
Michael was always asked to do the face. The one from Home Alone. With his hands to his cheeks and his mouth wide open. And begrudgingly, he would do it. Secretly. He loved it.
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Today, I am thankful for:
Date night Wednesdays. A new fun to our household. Stu won a silly bet earlier in the week and got to plan tonight's adventure. Dinner at Crispers. The movie, 2012. Dinner was fun. The movie ... not a favorite. But we had a great time together.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

commercials

You know it is going to be a day when you cry at a Best Buy commercial. Best. Buy. I understand when I shed tears at Hallmark or Publix spots. But Best Buy? It's a problem.
Seriously.

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Today I am thankful for:
Ibuprofen and bags of ice. I had this funky knee pain during the 3 Day Walk. It came back with a vengence today. Spent most of my time today with my knee elevated. Nellie kept me company. Sweet.

Monday, November 16, 2009

play




"It is a happy talent to know how to play"
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Today I am thankful for:
Our dog, Nellie. I love the way she greets me at the door - like she has been waiting all morning for me to come home. Even when I am only gone for an hour. Her greeting is always the same. And I like the way she snuggles into my legs at night as we sleep. A very sweet dog.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

michael style

I am a fan of the hoodie. I wear mine quite often. It might not be the latest trend. But I always feel warm and fuzzy in it.

I bought Michael a hoodie every year. Sometimes more than one. There is something about a little boy in a hoodie. Adorable. Pair it with khakis. Love it.

Stu and I were taking further advantage of our 30% off coupon at Old Navy on Saturday. He needed some weekend clothes. His clothes go from business to hobo with nothing in between. It was time to take action. He bought some great things. Even tried all of them on. His shrinking is really starting to show.

He was looking at a few things while I perused the women's clothes. I saw the boy's hoodies at the end of the women's section. So I went over and thought I should buy one. Because I always did. And they were on sale. I picked up Michael's size. I put it back. I walked further into the boys clothes, past the college shirts (what Michael called collared, polo shirts) and saw the business shirts (another Michael phrase ... button up, long sleeve shirts).

He called his clothes his Michael style. He liked lots of layers. Shirts under shirts. He thought it was fun to wear his pants backwards. Sometimes I didn't catch it in the mornings and he went to school that way. He would laugh. I would laugh.

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Today I am thankful for:
Lunch with Michael's fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Branch. She has become such a wonderful friend.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

sweet

One of the things Michael would wander about was who he was going to marry. It was cute. I told him he didn't have to decide about that right now. That he could wait for 30 more years to decide on that. While he lived at home. With me.

He informed me that he would be moving out at 18 to go to college. But no worries. He would still visit me. So that I could cook him dinner. He had big plans.

Michael stayed home from school with me the two days before that terrible Thursday. Oh, I would not give back those days. He admitted that he felt fine, but wanted to stay home with me. He had been to my parent's house the week before and I think he just wanted some mommy time. We were so close.

On that Wednesday, Michael received a phone call from one of his best friends. A best friend in the form of a cute little blonde girl. Michael and I were in the middle of our UNO tournament, sitting on my bed while he talked with her. Such a funny conversation. Because it was all one-sided. Michael barely spoke. His sweet friend chatted him up. And then had to go. Michael was excited by the phone call.

The next day. That terrible Thursday. She brought him a welcome back to school present. Only he never opened it. Because he was going to open it at home. With me. He didn't. Because he didn't come home that day.

His sweet friend sent me an e-mail a few weeks later. She shared that Michael was her best friend. And that she had had a little crush on him. Sweet girl. She was with him when he passed out in the classroom.

I'll keep her gift to him forever. It sits on my bookshelf, wrapped. A reminder of the future plans that Michael had. A reminder of the future milestones. That are not to be.

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Today I am thankful for:
A husband who will go with me to craft fairs. And not complain. Much. And who loves me despite my (many) quirks.

Friday, November 13, 2009

nice wall

I ordered pizza a few weeks ago.
This is not earth shattering news to anyone. I love the pizza. Papa Johns. Yum.
I hadn't had it in a while because Stu and I are on this incredibly restrictive diet. But we were in between phases. And it was allowed.

The people at our local Papa John's thought we must have moved. Because we used to order all the time. And we don't now. Because we are working on shrinking ourselves.

Anyway. The pizza man came to the door. And I signed my customer receipt. As I was doing so, the pizza man told me that I had a nice wall. Weird. But he was referring to my photo wall in my foyer. Filled with photos of our family. And mostly Michael.

Thanks, I said, as I closed the door.

And it struck me then. That these picture frames will never be changed out. I won't have new photos to put into the frames that line my foyer wall. Nothing to update. Eventually I will run out of pictures to scrapbook. Pictures to post on this blog. I will run out of pictures. Of the least photogenic kid. But MY least photogenic kid.

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Today I am thankful for:
My pajamas and The Wizard of Oz. Oh, I do enjoy a little sing-a-long with this most beloved movie.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

an old post

I write all kinds of blog posts that I don't post. Either I can't formulate the thought or the sentences or I run out of time and think I will come back to it later. I usually don't. That leaves me with many a blog post that never makes it to cyberspace.

I thought of one that I had started a very long time ago. This one.

Last Thursday, a group of my friends and I went to see Steel Magnolias at the Tallahassee Little Theatre. The show was pretty good. I was moved to tears which says something.

For those who have not seen the movie or the stage production, and do not want the ending ruined here ... I would suggest you stop reading. Don't say that I didn't warn you.

At the end of the play, the character made famous by Julia Roberts, Shelby dies. She had a long battle with diabetes, goes into a coma, and passes away. Shelby's mom, M'Lynn is asked how she is doing.

In a moment of anguish, she says "I am fine! I am great! I could jog to Texas and back but my daughter cannot and never could." This is the moment that I let loose with a flood of tears. I could not help but think how I could relate. My son has a half a heart.

And that is where I stopped. I didn't finish.

But I understand where I was going. I could walk 60 miles. But Michael couldn't. Not then. Not now.

Michael's heart condition was just a part of our lives. I was in tune with his needs. I had his history memorized. I made certain that the appropriate people were informed of his diagnosis. I constantly thought of it.

But he didn't.

Oh. Yes. He knew about his heart. He gave a presentation about it for his class in January. He was a smidge nervous about it. So I went to hear him. To be there for him.

He did so well. I was amazed at his poise. At his stage presence. He held the little microphone and talked about this condition. Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome. At the end of his talk. He said "And I have Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome". Mrs. Branch asked for questions. Every hand in the classroom went up. The kids were curious. Who could blame them?

Michael's best friend wanted a step by step account of how the surgeon fixed his heart. Michael simply told him that the doctor cut open his chest and he didn't remember anything after that. Because he was asleep.

Another classmate asked him. If you hadn't had the surgery, would you have died? Michael answered. Yes. Pretty Much. The classmate said. Well I am glad for that surgeon so that we can have Michael in our class.

And that is when I cried. And Michael answered another question.

i forgot to be thankful

Oops...I failed to mention what I was thankful for in my today's post. Crud.
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Today I am thankful for:
30% off coupons for Old Navy. I bought a few new things today. Just a couple of sweaters. And I tried on a skirt. That didn't fit me. It was too big. Love it when that happens.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

egg-dyeing ensemble

Doesn't everyone dye Easter eggs in a Storm Trooper costume? No? We did have a Star Wars egg-dyeing kit. So. This fit. And he needed to look the part. This boy. Makes me laugh.

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Today I am thankful for:
My new (old) china cabinet. Given to us by my mom and dad. I was finally able to pull out our wedding china. And crystal. And put it on display. The crystal and the teacups and the plates look so pretty in their new home. Thanks mom and dad!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

that.

I was reminded of this sweet memory today while working with at a friend's house.

When Michael was little, he couldn't quite say Grandma in reference to my mom. In fact, he wouldn't say it. He called her truck at first. Trucks were his favorite things as a toddler. So this was flattery in its highest form. Really.

One night, I had Michael name everyone around the table during a visit to my mom and dad's house. I pointed to myself. Mommy. I pointed to my dad. Pa. I pointed to my mom. That.

That. So funny. Where did he get that? It makes me laugh just thinking of it.

Luckily, That didn't stick around for long. In fact, that might have been the only time that it was used. Nana became the chosen name for my mom. It suits her.

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Today I am thankful for:
Time spent with a dear friend. And Diet Coke.

Monday, November 09, 2009

this time of year

I am a stickler for tradition. I have mentioned that before. I am especially so at this time of year. I like to know that we are going to play Bingo, that each of us will have new pajamas on Christmas eve. I like to plan our Advent Activities now. Looking for fun things to do or make during the month of December.

I like the arrival of the Look Books from the department stores and watching Michael circle what he would like this year. Those just arrived this week. I saved them. For what, I am not yet certain.

One of my favorite traditions of the holiday season is to look through the aisles of Christmas things at Target. I look forward to the time just before - sometimes after - Halloween when the ornaments are unveiled. And I always think that perhaps this is the year that I will find the perfect tree topper. Michael and I would spend quite a bit of time in these aisles in the months of October through December.

I found myself in those aisles in the days before Halloween. I went to get candy for our trick or treaters. It didn't occur to me that this would be the day that the aisles would be filled with holiday decoration. The bags of candy were a mere two aisles away. And I couldn't turn away. I went up and down the Christmas aisles. And cried my tears.

I admired the brightly colored ornaments and the twinkling lights. I delighted in the ornament garland strung from a white tree. We have a white tree. Stu bought it on super sale last season. And we have never had the chance to put it up. This garland would be so festively fantastic on that new addition to our Christmas decor.

I looked through the themed ornaments. And wondered which ones Michael would have chosen for his tree this year. We've been collecting ornaments for the tree in his room over the years - he got to pick one (or a set) of ornaments every year. The past two years, he has chosen Star Wars. Another unanswered musing. Add it to the list of others.

I don't know how my love of tradition will work this year. I don't know. Perhaps participating in some of the same traditions. Perhaps making a few new ones. We'll wade through it. The best we can.

------------------
Today I am thankful for:
My hot glue gun. I really enjoyed breaking it out. Dusting it off. Adding fabric and ribbon to some simple cork boards for my office. I was reminded of craft days at my Grandma's house. [Once I hang the boards, I will post a picture of them here for all to see.]


Sunday, November 08, 2009

i lied

Yesterday, I said that I wouldn't dedicate whole posts to what I was grateful for that day. But today I am tired, so I'll start that trend tomorrow. I'm just delaying the rules. Totally fine, right?

Today I am thankful for the game Banana Grams. And Ultimate Fighting Championship cage match fights. Weird combo. But totally made for a fun Saturday night with my folks. We laughed and enjoyed our time together. And I won at Banana Grams. Really stomped them. Which is always more fun than being stomped, I think.

And I am thankful for an impromptu trip to their house. To spend time with just them. They might spoil me ... but just a little. It was a good thing.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

gratitude

During this season of Thanksgiving, I find it difficult to cultivate a heart of gratitude. This is not surprising as I continue to struggle with my feelings of bitterness. I don't want to be bitter. I don't. I just find it easy to wallow in my sadness. To wallow in my feelings of unfairness. And unjustness. And anger.

I'd like to work my way up through the depths of this despair.

So. With that in mind, I will write out one thing that I am grateful for each day. No matter how small. (And some days it may be very small.) One thing that I am thankful for. I won't usually devote an entire post to it - I'll just make a note at the end.

I'll start with the most obvious. I am thankful for the joy of my 9 3/4 years with Michael. I am thankful to know the joy that he brought me. The joy of being a mother. His mother. The joy of his hand in mine. The joy of his delightful wit and humor. The joy of his funky dance moves. The joy of his curiosity. The joy of his sound effects. The joy of his love of plastic army men. And Star Wars. The joy of doing homework. And signing his Friday folders.

The joy of our time together. Short as it was.
I am thankful for Michael.

Friday, November 06, 2009

the self portrait

My cousin, Melissa and I were into self portraits long before they were a MySpace/Facebook/Teen Queen fad. We have many, many pictures of our cheeks pressed against one another. Every holiday, every family gathering, every time we are together ... we take our traditional picture.

I continued this tradition with Michael. We also took family portraits this way. Photo Booth, on my Mac, was Michael and I's favorite. We put together some videos. Took some pictures. Our faces together. Being silly. These are some of my favorite photos now.


The photo above is the screen saver on my phone. Love that sweet Mama's boy!

One of our first Photo Booth sessions...
Before the Christmas chorus concert that FSU performs every year. This was an advent activity at Christmas.
My favorite family photo. Taken during our first trip to Disney World. For Michael's 8th birthday.



Thursday, November 05, 2009

five things about my grief

I thought I would share five things that I experience in grief. These are not my top five things. They are just the five that come to my fingertips the quickest. And I am a list person.

I share these because ... well I know it is difficult to imagine. It is difficult to imagine if you haven't experienced a devastating loss. And in my efforts to be transparent in this time of life, I share my grief with you.

1. Nothing that anyone says will make things better. Or easier. In fact, I probably don't remember much of what people have told me these past [almost] 7 months. But I remember the kindness of my family and friends and strangers. I know that it is hard to know what to say. What does matter is that you say something. Anything.

2. I want to talk about Michael. I might cry. It is a strong possibility that I will. But I love to share stories about him. I love to hear your stories about him. I love to hear that his life made an impact on those around him.

3. There is no time table for grief. I cannot snap out of it or give you a mythical deadline for when I will be all better. This grief. Will last forever.

4. Grief feels like I am treading water. And I sometimes dip below the surface. Unable to breathe. The slightest push sends me below.

5. I, at the tender age of 33, have lost my innocence. I have lost the carefree-ness of being able to think about the future. To think about what a year from now will be like. I knew that loss was a possibility. I understood that death happened. I understood that tomorrow was not promised. Or so I thought. In my mind, death is what comes to those that have lived long lives. It does not happen to those in their 40s, or their 30s, or just before their 10th birthday. Because that would be unfair. And life, as I have learned, is anything but fair.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

the question.

I was asked again tonight if I have kids.
I'm not sure that I have a great answer to that yet.
I decided to manage expectations by answering in this way:

"Oh, [tennis opponent], this is an awkward question for me. And I don't have a good answer for it. So I'll just tell you... I have a son. Who died in April. He was 9."

[insert uncomfortable silence]

And she said she was sorry and that she was sorry that she asked the question. I told her I was sorry too and no need to apologize for asking. It is a common question.

I just don't quite know how to answer it so that I don't make the other person feel bad and so that I don't cry, awkwardly, in front of a stranger in between sets of a tennis match. The tears tend to blur my vision when I am serving.

I need to practice a better response. I'm just not certain, yet, what a better response would be.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

words

Because today I am struggling for the words.
I chose another Brian Andreas to share.

They left me
with your shadow,
saying things like
Life is not fair

& I believed them
for a long time.

But today,
I remembered
the way you laughed
& the heat
of your hand
in mine

& I knew that
life is more fair
than we can
ever imagine
if
we are there to live it

Monday, November 02, 2009

by hand

I had great plans for this halloween costume. I sewed it by hand. And when I say by hand, I mean it. No sewing machine. Just needle and thread. And many a pricked finger. I used stuffing. I used elastic. I used a whip stitch. I used my fingertips.

I was a Martha. A total Martha. But without all that perfect nonsense. My stitches were gloriously imperfect. My panels were cut crooked. But with much love.

For this GHOST costume.
Not a white pumpkin. Not Humpty Dumpty.
A full on Ghost.

It was Michael's request. He wanted to be a ghost. I had visions of The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown show ... with the sheet and all the eye holes cut out. This wasn't the ghost costume for my 4 year old. He needed cute.

Ok. His mama wanted cute. He just wanted a costume. To get the candy.

So I sewed it by hand. The armholes didn't line up. The elastic was not so elastic-y. But I felt proud of my accomplishment. This sewing of the Halloween costume.

And bought every other costume for Halloween after that.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

bitter. better.

Here's the truth: I am having a difficult time coming up with a first post for November. Or for the past few weeks. I think I am worried about all of you. What you might think. What you might infer. So. I have decided to get over myself and just write what I know. What I feel. What my days are like.

So here goes.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the concept that grief will make you bitter or better. I have jumped into the bitter with both feet. Landing squarely in the middle. And wallowing in it. I've made a home for myself there.

I don't quite understand the better part. How am I to be better when Michael's absence is so profound? How am I to be better when the best part of me is gone? I find the concept that I could be better almost offensive.

I'm looking for something in the middle.
I am not there.
I sometimes feel like I have a handle on things.
But I am wrong.



Saturday, October 31, 2009

halloween

Oh, Halloween. One of Michael's favorite days. Any excuse to dress up, he was in. And to get candy for it? Pure bliss. I thought I would share some of Michael's costumes from years past...





Missing my boy. Happy Halloween.
--------------------

I have decided to blog every day during the month of November. I have found this blog to be helpful to me as I write out my thoughts. I haven't made the time to do it and have challenged myself to find time to write. everyday.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

It has been 6 months. Half a year.

We are entering into the Holiday season.

I went to Kohl's last week. Hoping to find some shoes. I didn't find any.
But as I turned the corner to head back to the down escalator. I heard it. The first Christmas song. Deck the Halls, I think. And I saw it. Christmas decorations. Trees and ornaments. Tears sprang to my eyes and I quickly found my way back to the downstairs. To the safety that is still October.

I had the same reaction to Halloween decorations at Target. Michael loved to dress up. And to get candy for it? He was a fan. It was a favorite day to be sure.

I considered turning off our lights this Halloween. Let the trick-or-treaters go else where. We are closed. But that seems false too. And not in the spirit of my son. So we will hand out sweet treats to princesses and super heroes. This first Halloween. Without my son turned Star Wars bounty hunter.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

ugly

I find it difficult to blog right now.
I am a mix of ugly emotions. Bitter. Angry. Lonely. Sad. Jealous.
I find it difficult to pray.
I am awkward in groups. And in singles.
I'm working through it. Thank you for bearing with me.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

final

It still shocks me. The finality of it all.
I will never see my son again. Except in my mind. In my memories. In videos. In pictures.
Like right now. I can't sleep. Because it hit me once again.
This finality.

I have this typical Michael phrase that I play in my head. Daily. I have this fear that one day I won't remember the way he said it. Or the way he put emphasis on certain syllables.

I fear the not remembering.
I am afraid.

I am awkward amongst people. I don't want to make anyone uncomfortable. I can say that I am OK. I'm not. I can laugh. But it is not sincere. It is not filled with joy.

I am afraid of not experiencing joy again.
My family was happy. We were loving. We were close.

And now, we just exist. As if waiting for something. Anything.
Days are meant to be gotten through. Not lived.
My days are just hallways to my nights. My nights are the passageways to a new day.

Just when I think that I have hit the depths of despair.
I find a new level.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Elf

Today I decided to do a work out video in my bedroom. Don't laugh. It is just that ... I had walked my 3 miles at the gym. But I am embarrassed to use the weights. I know. It's ridiculous. So I decided to do my Hi-Def Firm video. In the privacy of my own home. Where no one can see me struggle. Or grunt. Or sweat.

Because no one else is doing that in the gym. Uh. Huh.

I don't often use the DVD player in our bedroom. I'm not much of a home movie watcher. Unless it is a made for TV movie. Or a TBS Sunday afternoon special. Then I am all in.

When I opened the DVD player this afternoon, out popped ELF. Michael and I's favorite Christmas movie. We watched it all the time during the Christmas season. We love it. And I think that the last time we watched it was just before the Christmas holidays. It was part of our Advent activity for the day. Popped popcorn. Hot Cocoa. And Elf. In my room with our pajamas.

We had our favorite parts. And would sing while at Target ... I'm in a Store and I'm singing ... every time we went together over the season.

This DVD ... just reminded me of the precious moments that I am missing. It was a surprise reminder of the precious moments that I took for granted. Over the holiday season. I just assumed that I would have another Christmas. And another. And another. I just assumed that I would have years with my son.

I assumed that I would see him graduate fifth grade. And then high school. And then college. I assumed that I would see Michael grown up and perhaps have children of his own.

I assumed that I would get to watch Elf again. With him. In our pajamas.

I don't know that I will ever be that carefree again. To take for granted the many days I might have with someone. To be able to plan for the future without fear that the main person in that far off thought will not be there.

I made assumptions. I thought we had more memories to make.
And this Elf DVD ... it reminded me once again. That I don't.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The 3 Day Walk

I thought I would share the below on my blog as well...

Hi Friends and Family:

Last year, I walked every step of the 3 Day Walk for Breast Cancer. I did that with the support of my family and friends. My supporters who donated, and gave me words of encouragement and came out to the Cheering Stations to root me on. All of you. Thank you. For supporting me in my crazy adventure. For asking about it when I got back. For cheering me from afar. For making posters and leaving them on my front step. My family. My friends.

I came home with 6 blisters on my left foot. But also with a feeling that I could accomplish anything. I loved every moment of the walk. It was hard. It was long. It was rainy. But I made a great new friend along the way. I heard amazing stories of survival. And amazing stories of loss. I manicured my nails in my Gram’s signature red. I wore her jewelry. I carried her photo. I shared her story with my new friends.

I wanted to be a part of that experience again. I promptly signed up for the walk again. Visions of more training walks and fundraising events danced in my head. The training schedule called for starting in May. No problem … I signed up for the walk in November. I had plenty of time.

And then in April, my world came crashing down when my sweet Michael passed away. Suddenly. On a Thursday.

This walk was the last thing on my mind. I didn’t want to do anything. Let alone walk or fundraise or even get out of bed.

I have had 5 months to consider this decision. I made a decision to do the walk a few months ago. But I waffled again. Michael was such a part of the walk last year. He brought me band-aids. And Icy Hot. And gave me the best hugs at the Cheering Stations. He was so proud of me. He told his friends at school about it. He wanted to walk with me when he was old enough. He had plans to make posters this year.
How could I complete this without him?

How could I not do it? I made a commitment. I will stick to it. Michael will be with me every step of the way. Of this I am sure.

So. I have started my training in earnest. Am I ready for the walk? Nope. But I have a good start. I will be completing my long walks this weekend. To get a feel for where I am. I have 6 weeks to get ready. A condensed training schedule, to be sure. But I’ll make it work.

I have angels on my side. Michael and my Grams.
I’ll walk. Because they can’t.

I am once again coming to you to ask that you consider donating to this cause. To this walk. To stop Breast Cancer. I have the daunting task of raising $2300.00 in 6 weeks. I should probably be worried. But I’m not.

Have I mentioned that I have angels on my side? Michael and my Grams. And all of YOU.

Here is the link to my personal donation page. You will be able to add your donation on-line here or print out the donation form to mail in your donation.
www.the3day.org/goto/jenndooley

If you are so inclined, please send my e-mail to your family and friends as well. And finally, please keep me in your thoughts and prayers. I'm going to need them.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

staying home

I just don't know what to do with myself.

I quit my job just a week ago. A full week of my part time position. Mixed in with some trips to the gym. And more than a little sadness.

Don't get me wrong. I am very grateful for this time. This time to heal. And grieve. And stay in my bed if I need to. I am grateful that I have some work to keep my mind working. I am grateful to belong to a gym where I can sweat and see the Fabio look-a-like sweating alongside me.

But the house is quiet. I turn the TV on just to provide some background noise. For as long as I have had a child, I wanted to be a stay at home mom. I wanted to be home with Michael. I was able to work it out with my ex-job to work different hours so that I could be home on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. So I got to be a part-time stay at home mom with full time job responsibilities. I loved those days. Before fourth grade, my favorite place to be was the car pick-up line. I got there early, armed with my Diet Coke and my lastest read. When the bell rang, I would search the crowd of elementary school students for my Michael. I could pick out his face pretty quickly. Like I was drawn to him. Then with fourth grade, Michael walked home from school. I would wait on the front steps. I could hear him before I saw him usually. He liked to talk to himself. Make up stories. Sound effects.

I loved our afternoons together. Tuesdays for the library; Thursdays for Young Actors and the Atlanta Bread Company. And Fridays were my favorites. No rush to finish homework. No going anywhere. Sometimes we'd put on our pajamas and watch cartoons. And perhaps nap. Or we would watch YouTube. Or have a Friday night dance party. We usually ordered pizza. It was good.

And now I feel guilty. That I wasn't able to stay home when Michael was living. That I wasn't able to spend the other two afternoons with him. That I am able to stay home now to grieve and to mourn. To figure out what I am to do next.

And I just don't know where to begin...

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

dreams

I had a dream over the weekend and woke up smiling. I dreamt that I knew it was Michael's last day. And we had a pool. And we stayed outside swimming until the wee hours of the morning. Because we could. We had so much fun. And our neighbors were mad.

But we didn't care. Because we were together and laughing. In those last few moments together.

It was one of those dreams that felt real. That I wished was real. And despite my disappointment that it wasn't real, I could hear the echo of Michael's laugh in my mind.
My favorite sound in all the world.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

notice.

I haven't written in the blog for a while. I took a little hiatus. With the emotion that comes with the start of school and my work at the university starting to ramp up, I just didn't have the stamina to write anything. I was tired.

I do have news. I have given my notice at work. My last day will be the Tuesday after Labor Day. I just need time to mourn. To grieve. To miss Michael. It is difficult to do while working full time, for me. Grief is different for everyone. For me, I am unable to focus. I am unable to stop feeling guilty about that fact. I am not able to meet my own standards with work. And so it was time to give my notice. It was time for me to take time for me.

I wonder what this time will bring for me. I wonder what I will do with it. I have ideas. I have thoughts. My grief counselor cautions me not to put too much pressure on myself to be productive. Do what I want. When I want to. I'll need to remind myself of this. Often.

I'm nervous about this time. This season.
Thanks for continuing to check in with us.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

would haves..

Today, we would have found out Michael's fifth grade teacher. Friday, we would have found Michael's fifth grade classroom. Saturday, we would have laid out Michael's fifth grade first day of school outfit. Sunday, we would have packed a lunch. Where I put in my first day of school mommy note. Monday, Michael would have been a fifth grader.

I know that today would have been filled with excitement. Michael would have been so excited to see who was in his class. Who his teacher was.

I would have lamented that I couldn't believe that I had a fifth grader. Aren't I too young for that, I would have said. Or time goes by so fast when you have kids. Or look at how big my sweet boy is now. Or any of those other things that moms will say on the first day of school.

But I won't get to say them. I'll remember first days gone by. And carry my sorrow of these first days ahead.

I am just so sad.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

four months

Today is my birthday. It is also four months since that terrible day in April.

This is the month that Michael would have started 5th grade. He had wanted to start walking to school. By himself. I told him that we would wait until 5th grade to make that decision. Another decision that I won't make. Because it has already been decided for me.

I am jealous of all of the parent's that are picking out first day outfits. And new backpacks. And fresh supplies. I am jealous of the jubilation of moms that are sending their children back to school. That doesn't mean that I don't want to hear about it. I just wish I was experiencing the same emotions. The same routines that are supposed to come every year. But they don't. Not for Michael. Not for me.

When we were on vacation lounging by the pool, I could hear the cries of "Mom" from some kids on the beach. It struck me that I may never have someone call me that again. That I may never know that joy again. I read a quote by someone (I am too lazy to look up the exact quote or who said it): To be a mom is to wear your heart on your sleeve. I get it. I might change it up a bit ... To be a mom of a child that is no longer with you is to have your heart ripped off your sleeve, stomped on and given back to you. To hot glue back together.

A friend asked if my wounds were starting to heal. I told him not really. My wounds just scab over. And I pick it off. again. and again. and again.

I am in a very low place. I think this place is reserved for those days that are supposed to be special. But won't have the same significance ever again. Because how could they? When I am not complete.

It has been 4 months. And I miss my Michael more with each passing day.
Not a minute goes by that he is not in my thoughts.
Love you, boopy.


Friday, August 07, 2009

it is the little things.

I have a constant stream of Michael thoughts throughout the day. I am constantly thinking of him. Or reminded of him. It doesn't stop. I'm glad. I don't want to forget.

Today I am reminded of the little things. I thought I would list five here, because these are the ones I was thinking about this morning. This hour. I could list five hundred. And probably will. But not at the same time.

1. I am reminded of how when I would hear a crash from his room, he would shout "I'm OK". Before I even had a chance to ask. Or see what was up. He just wanted me to know that I didn't have to worry about him. He was OK.

2. I am reminded that when he was really upset about something, he wouldn't want to talk about it. He would bury his head in my chest and cry. And then start to tell me about it, in between sobs. He wasn't upset often. But when he was, he let loose.

3. I am reminded how my favorite place to be was in the car pick-up line at school. With my McDonald's diet coke. And how when I would see him waiting with the other kids, my heart skipped a beat. Because I got to see my buddy. Fresh from school. With an afternoon to enjoy together. When he started walking home from school this past year, my favorite place to be was waiting on the front porch for him. With my can of diet coke. I could usually hear him before he got to the driveway. He liked to talk to himself, out loud. Complete with sound effects.

4. When Michael was little, he wore a hat constantly. The only place the hat was not worn was in the bathtub. But as soon as he was dried off and dressed in pajamas, he would put that hat back on. He slept in it. He went through surgeries and procedures in it. He didn't use a pacifier or have a blanket or suck on his thumb. He had a hat. I worried that when the time for kindergarten came, that he would not want to part with his hat. I shouldn't have ... in his typical laid back style, he stopped wearing the hat during the day for school and would put it back when he got home. Then he stopped wearing one all together. He had outgrown it, I suppose.

5. I am reminded of Michael's love of costumes. How he would go back to his room and come out as Spiderman or Batman or a Storm Trooper. He had a Spiderman costume that he got from my mom and dad when he was around 4. He would still put it on, even recently. Sure the pants were hitched around his knees, and there were holes in the seams, and it was threadbare. Didn't matter to him. He would still put it on. We laughed at our little super hero.

A hundred million little things that all add up to a life that was cut too short. I will keep sharing. To keep his memory going. Mostly for myself. But I appreciate that people read. And know what a special, special boy my son is. was.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

thirty eight dollars

I got the bill for Michael's last day on Sunday. Technically, I received it sometime between Thursday and Saturday. But I was just home from vacation. And it was in the mail box.

$38.23

This is how much I owe the hospital where Michael was taken. This is the amount after our health insurance has paid their portion. It doesn't seem enough. I would pay 1000 times that amount. If only they would have revived him. If only their efforts could have brought him back. From the beat that couldn't fall in line. From a heart that was tired.

$38.23

I would gladly pay that amount. If Michael was still here with me.
But I don't want to pay them.
The amount that I am to pay for their efforts.

$38.23

I'm going to let it sit. And not pay it yet. It seems like yet another step towards closing out the events of the day. To pay for the work the hospital did to keep Michael alive. They didn't. And here we are. I'm not ready to close out that day. I'm not ready to pay a small amount for the failed attempt at keeping Michael's heart beating. I'm not ready.

And so they can bill me again.
Until I am ready.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

the beach.

Every last week in July, my parents and my little family go to the beach. Our family best friend's own a house on Crescent Beach. This house is gorgeous and they are so generous to let us use it for the week. Our own swimming pool. Our own beach access. Our own celebrity sightings (I should tell that story one day). The biggest decision of the day is beach or pool. My kind of life.

Michael loved going. And this will be another first. Our first time being there without him. I imagine the pool will be more still. It will not be filled with shouts of glee. There will not be any "Mommy, watch mes" or "Come swimming with me (Pa, Nana, Stu or Mommy)".

It will be quiet. Each of us with our own memories. Of other summers. These are some of my favorite photos from those memory filled, happy times.

I will be glad to be there. But so sad that my favorite swimmer, jumper, sand castle maker will not be by my side.






Sunday, July 19, 2009

forever

An old friend sent the lyrics to a song that he thought might ring true for me.  Does it ever.  I read the lyrics.  I cried.  I purchased the song from iTunes.  And now I play it on repeat. 

 I quote song lyrics a lot in this blog.  I do it in my scrapbooks as well.  I find myself  drawn to songs that have meaning.  Songs whose lyrics speak to me.  Don't get me wrong - I love a good pop song too.  It's just the songs that sustain the longest time on my playlists are more meaningful.  Like the soundtrack to my own life.

Here is the song.  Forever by Rascal Flatts

I miss you so much
Your light, your smile, your way, and everything about us
Though you're gone, you're still here
In my heart, in my tears
Yeah you sure left your mark and we were just getting started

It wasn't long enough, it wasn't long enough... Together...
But it was long enough, yeah, it was long enough... to last forever...

Sometimes I get so mad; I scream and swear at this
Cuz' this, isn't how we planned it
I sit here, in a cold room... Prayin'
Waiting on you
To run back through that door, the way it was before

You left, it wasn't long enough, it wasn't long enough... together
But it was long enough; yeah it was long enough to last, forever...

I feel Cheated (I feel Cheated), defeated (can't believe it)
Can't believe that you're gone (your gone, your gone)

It wasn't long enough.  
But it was long enough.  That my memories will have to last forever.
My memories stop.  At 9 years old.  
I will never know what he might have looked like at 15 or 20.
Or the look on his face when he graduated.  Or got married.  Or made me a grandma.
It wasn't long enough.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

conversation.

Mommy?
Yes?
I love you.
Love you too buddy.
Mommy?  
Yes?
Sometimes.  I forget what I am going to say. So I say I love you.  Because I know that's always true.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

cheated

Today I feel cheated.  

I feel cheated that I am not preparing for back to school time.  I feel cheated that I am not online purchasing new clothes for him.  In preparation for his last year of elementary school.  I feel cheated that I won't buy a new pencil box.  Or a new backpack.  Or markers and protractors.  Or to go see who his new teacher is.  That Orientation day will be just another day.   To get through.  

I feel cheated that I will look at holidays not with glee.  But as more days to brace myself against.  That holidays will never again have the same feeling of wonder.  Of joy.  That I don't get to experience them through the eyes of my child.  My sweet boy who still believed in the power of magic.  And of a jolly old man in a big red suit.  

I feel cheated of the tween years.  Of the teenage angst years.  Of the college years.  

I feel cheated that I have to contemplate the what could have beens.  Instead of the what is.   I feel cheated that I will never hear the sound of his voice again.  Or his laugh.  Or see his smile.  I will never receive another random note on my work space from him.  

I feel cheated.  Because he was cheated.  Of life.  And all those future years.
And I am angry.
Because I was cheated.  Of his life.  And all those future years.