Archive for June, 2010

March 23, 2004

// June 26th, 2010 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

From 2010 ~
I find it serendipitous that this post should have been put up last Tuesday, and now today, it will be put up…the day Marisa and Zeke come home from the hospital….

March 23, 2004
Wonderful yet bittersweet news.
After ten years together, Nick and Marisa are expecting a baby!!! I am so happy for them, for us all. Yet it is bittersweet because this will be the first of our new babies never to know Uncle Steve, never to hear his laughter. This will be the first of our babies never to hear his crooning comfort into its tiny ear.
Next to Nicholas and Christopher, Kirstie and Kyle were his favorite kids in the world. He doted on them. Sometimes only Uncle Steve would do when one was crying or had a problem. One day while amy was at work I had to get an ear ring out of four-year-old Kirstie’s infected ear lobe. The skin was swollen up around the tiny gem stone. I tried laying her on my bed and gently easing my fingernail under the ear ring but it was too painful for her and she couldn’t take it without squirming, which, of course, pulled my fingernail away from its target. Uncle Steve heard the crying and came to help. He gently held Kirstie’s head, stroking her forehead with his other hand, telling her “It’ll be over soon if you can be still for just a little longer and let Granma get it out of there. If we leave it in it’s just going to get much worse and hurt more. Can you be still while Granma takes care of you?” “OK. I’ll try” she sniffled. And she was still and the ear ring came out on the next try.
I told my mom about the news and she took in a big breath and exhaled slowly. “You know, that’s the best thing you could have told me today. We surely need some good news like that to get us back on track!”

I look forward to saying “Hello” after such a difficult “Good-bye”.

Ezekiel Jose Haas

// June 22nd, 2010 // No Comments » // Uncategorized


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From 2010
Let’s leave the past behind today and focus on our future, that grew even bigger yesterday!
Zeke makes ten grandchildren for Dave and me. In the same way that I carry some of my grandma with me even today, I feel our influence reaching far into the future with these little ones and the ones that haven’t come along yet. A sobering thought!
Nick and Amy (and Jae and Robyn will) have children that will not meet their Uncle Steve in this world. They will have to wait for the next life to throw their arms around him. But they will not be throwing their arms around a stranger. They will grow up hearing about him ~ his love and zest for life, his generosity, his laughter, and his place in our family. Ethan (the first to join the family after Steve’s death) says “Yeah, I know Uncle Steve. He’s Daddy’s brother that died. He and my dad were best friends!”
So ~ Here’s to the bright future that stretches wide and far before us!
God bless you all and….
Peace be with you!

March 21, 2004

// June 19th, 2010 // No Comments » // From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother's Journey Through Grief"

I know now why some people get involved in “causes” after losing someone they love.
When I’m still my grief seems to envelop me. Wrapping me tighter and tighter, like a spider spinning its web around me, it sucks the life out of me at its leisure.
When I’m up and busy or with people I’m more or less OK. I can plan for the future. I can even get excited about life and living. Then moments after I sit down tears sting my eyes and I have to fight off the advancing darkness as it tries to swallow me.

I have decided to keep as busy as possible, beginning with the mundane ~ cleaning house ~ and the not so mundane ~ caring for my family.
Maybe at some point I can move on to a “cause” …maybe.
Jane and I have talked about doing a Walk for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation if they have one in our area. I’ll have check their web site, but for some reason I keep putting it off.

March 20, 2004

// June 15th, 2010 // No Comments » // From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother's Journey Through Grief"

Jae walked in from the grocery store today with a sad but sweet smile on her face. She set her bag on the dining room table and told me “Stay right there…”. Reaching into the bag she pulled something small out and, cupping it in her two hands, held them in front of me. Slowly she opened her hands to reveal a Cadbury egg. It was such a sweet gesture that brought tears to both of us.

From the time he was in his early twenties right up to the spring before he died, Steve would bring me a Cadbury egg the first time he would see them in the store. He knew how much I enjoyed them and even if I was on a diet at the time, I would accept the treat.
Today Jae saw them at the Vons checkout and remembered her brother. She decided to buy one for me and carry on the tradition in Steve’s memory.
What a strange feeling it was for me. I was so very touched by her gesture of remembrance and as tears gathered in my eyes I was thankful for her thoughtfulness. She picked up the baton her big brother had to drop.

It’s just a piece of candy, but it’s also a moment of moving forward for both of us.

February 1, 2004

// June 11th, 2010 // No Comments » // From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother's Journey Through Grief"

For softball this year Robyn was blessed to get the coach she was hoping for! We are so excited for the upcoming season! Dave and I want to be even more involved this year, things at home having settled down a bit. I volunteered to help with the team banner. Shapes colors, and sizes have been dancing in my head! We’re having a get together at our place after practice on the 14th to put it all together. I find that I am really looking forward to the house full of girls and their laughter.

Although the antidepressant I’ve been taking for awhile seems to be working and I’m not constantly in a dark pit, I still carry that gnawing empty space in my gut no matter how I feel. I had a chance to sit and talk to Elaine today after church and told her, “I feel better but I always have a heavy, gnawing emptiness. I know it’ll get better but I also know it will never go away.” She finished her sip of coffee and set the cup on the table between us. Toying with it, she said “You know, it’s been three years since my son died and I still carry that empty space with me everywhere I go. But, yes. It has gotten a little easier.”

January 31, 2004

// June 8th, 2010 // 2 Comments » // Uncategorized

A few days ago I had a donut binge. I ate FIVE in one afternoon! Each time I grabbed another I knew it was a bad idea, but kept telling myself I’d start eating better “tomorrow”. Then yesterday I woke up with a cold, feeling utterly drained. I didn’t even have the energy to take my morning walk with Amy. I called to let her know I couldn’t go then I stretched out on the sofa and fell back to sleep.
As I slept I saw Steve in a dream. He was in the kitchen sitting in his wheel chair. His head wasn’t bandaged but his hair was close cropped like it was after the surgery to removed the infected ulcer and also took one third of his scalp. In my dream he was trying to correct me on something having to do with Jae or Robyn but I can’t remember what. I clearly remember hearing him condescendingly say “Mom…” in a tsk-tsk kind of voice but nothing else. I stood there, looking him into his unusually dull eyes, waiting for him to finish his thought, but he didn’t. I knew that he had died but that someone had given him a potion or a pill to wake him up so that he could come back to teach me something. Sadly, it was a temporary remedy.
I long to see him again and remember more of the dream. Whenever I see him in my dreams I wake up feeling as though I’ve actually had a visit with him, or more accurately, like he has visited me.

January 28, 2004

// June 4th, 2010 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

Last night Dave and I were actually able to sit alone in the living room for a quiet chat. No TV blaring, no kids running in and out. So unusual. There’s always so much merry comotion around here.
As we talked I was suddenly struck with strongest urge to get up and look for Steve. I could clearly feel his presence in the next room. It was about 8:30, the time Steve used to start setting up his dialysis exchanger each night. I could almost hear him removing the bags of dextrose solution from their shipping boxes and slapping them into place as he set up his machine for the night’s session of cleansing. I could faintly hear him clear his throat and turn to shuffle out of the room to join us as he would often do before attaching the hoses to the tubs that hung from his belly.
If Dave and I hadn’t been engaged in conversation, I’m sure I would have gotten up and searched every room and closet in the house for him even though I knew I wouldn’t find him. A very strange feeling.

His spirit still permeates our home.

From 2010
If you want to learn more about dialysis here’s a link:

I was going to cut and paste it here but it just didn’t seem right, and the length can be intimidating.
It’s interesting stuff, though. Gives an idea of what one faces when the kidneys fail.
I know I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating ~ If you know anyone with diabetes, please discourage them from drinking cola type beverages, even diet. These drinks are high in phosphoric acid which wreak havoc on the kidneys (not to mention leaching calcium from the bones).

A related link:

When Steve was 18 he went in for a complete physical. After 15 years of diabetes, he was in PERFECT health, even his kidneys had zero damage. Until that time he had been a big water drinker, nearly a gallon a day. Around the time he turned 20, he started drinking 3 Diet Pepsi Big Slams a day (1 litre each) and drastically cut his water consumption. I think he did this for 3 to 4 years. At 28, his kidneys failed.
I’m not making medical reccomendations ~ just making observations….

January 26, 2004

// June 1st, 2010 // No Comments » // From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother's Journey Through Grief"

Today I went to see Ty, the grief counselor at The Elizabeth Hospice. I’d been putting off going ever since Steve died, believing that I was chugging along just fine. But in the last few weeks I thought …maybe there’s more I can do to get beyond this.
Ty didn’t really tell me any more than I already knew but in a way she gave me the permission I must have needed to carry on, develop, work through, continue…my grief. I know now that it’s ok to be right where I am in the grieving process. She told me that grief is hard work and I agree with her. It’s like having a huge, cumbersome, awkwardly shaped duffle bag strapped to my back that no one can see unless they already know it’s there. I go through the day struggling with the great weight of it and sometimes I just want to scream…. “Can’t you see this?! My son has died! I can hardly move!” But somehow, by God’s grace, I do keep moving.
I came home from the meeting and watched an episode of X-Files as I ate a delicious lunch made of last night’s leftovers. Then I went to bed and sobbed. As I sit here writing I am still wracked by sporadic outbursts. Maybe they will haunt me as long as I’m alive. My dear son, Steve, is gone. My life will never be the same. This shadow will always be near and will affect me the rest of my days but…..our lives will go on and we will continue to grow.
I don’t know how anyone can do this without knowing that God is walking at their side. I am so grateful for His comforting presence in my days, even when the pain is so great that it moans out of me, God is there, cradling me in His comforting arms.
Today Ty called me courageous. Very odd. I think I understand why she did but I think it was a mistake. What she called courage I feel as faith. Maybe that’s all courage really is. For me faith is in trusting the absolute power and love of God. God will see me through this, using my friends and family (and Hospice) to help me adjust to this new normal.

FROM 2010
Oh how I remember those dark days. But that’s just what they are now ~ memories.
Yes, losing Steve changed me and yes, I still miss him every day. But the duffle bag is now a small tote I carry with me everywhere I go. The pain has been replaced by fond, sweet, and sometimes hilarious memories. I can open it any time I want to and see my healthy, rambunctious, off-road enthusiast, loving, hot tempered, care free, tooth brushing, crazy, fun, true brother, fun-loving, honest, daring, stubborn, outgoing, helpful, friendly, hard livin’, big hearted ……my loving and well loved son.
Thank you Lord for your faithfulness in turning my sorrow into joy!