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


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


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


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.