Archive for September, 2010

August 13, 2004

// September 28th, 2010 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

Woke up to an amazing thunder storm at 5:30 this morning.WOW! They are so rare here in San Diego so I always appreciate it when we get a good one like this!
I’ve been particularly weepy lately. But not the sitting-in-the-bottom-of-a-dark-hole type of depression I’ve had in the past. Just weepy and sensitive. After giving it some thought I realize that this is the real me again. I’d been on mood altering meds for three years or so before quitting. I would like to maintain that calm, easy-going part of me that the medication revealed and I’m not looking forward to being the easy crier that I have always been. But I want even more to really feel my life.
I am now feeling grief again like it’s new. Looking back I’m glad I was on the meds already when Steve died or I know I would have had a much harder time. This way the edge is taken off but….OH! I can’t quite describe this! My grief is now fresh but familiar. Maybe it was always familiar because I felt it coming at me from long ago.
Maybe I should listen to Elaine and go to the grief group. I don’t want to be with others who have such a different experience though. I would want to go to a group specifically for parents that have lost a child after a prolonged illness. I know….grief is grief. Maybe these are just excuses and what I really want is to wallow in my own grief for awhile longer.

August 12, 2004

// September 24th, 2010 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

I read something in a book yesterday that landed on my heart with a thud. It was about not being able to help the dying, sometimes not being able to find a cure.
This revealed a seed in me, a grain of truth maybe. I’m still grieving not only the loss ~ the lack of presence ~ of my son, but I’m also grieving the fact that there was nothing I could do.

I see reports of moms who would NEVER give up. They fought their child’s illness and in many cases (these are news and magazine articles after all) her child overcomes. I did not. I accepted this fate for my son. Sure we tried to keep him healthy. We lived with this for so many years, but I knew I would see his end. For 28 years I knew, avoided thinking about, but knew this would happen ~ “No cure could be given”. I accepted the inevitable. And as he lay dying I accepted that this was another step down an unalterable path.

Every available detour had been taken. When he was three and a half years old he was started on insulin. When his blood sugar would dip too low we fought to raise it. He spent three years on dialysis. These were just some the detours that lengthened his journey with us, but in the end his path had to be rejoined. There were no more detours available and he died and there was nothing I could do. “No cure could be given.” We had to say good-bye…our paths diverged.
So my grief is not only that he is gone, but that I accepted it.

In my mind I KNOW this was (is) right but my heart looks back for ways I could have changed this outcome, and this adds to my grief. I have to accept that I accepted. To know that I comforted him much (not every time he needed, and that needs to be accepted, too).

God, I miss him so much. Please let that alone be my grief.

August 5 2004

// September 21st, 2010 // 2 Comments » // From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother's Journey Through Grief"

The house is so quiet tonight. Usually Jae and Rob come and go during the evening as I sit and read before I go to bed each night. Tonight they are at a Padres game with Amy and some friends. I cherish my quiet evenings!

This week the weather has been teasing us with autumn in the evenings. Just that faint hint of cooler days to come. I know it won’t last and that we will soon be wishing we had a/c in the house . But for now I enjoy a sense of calm while I watch my kitchen curtain breathe in and out as the day ebbs away. I love to stand at my sink and feel the breeze slowly pulsing through the open window, shushing the cares of the day.

I took Dave’s Aunt AdaD to the plastic surgeon today. There is a large bump on her left hand that she just wants gone! Today was a consultation in Point Loma so we left early this morning and spent an hour on the freeway. She so loves to get out that even sitting in traffic is a treat for her. Her smile never faded as we inched our way to her appointment. I keep saying this but, I know I need to get her out more, even if it’s just for a trip through the drive-up window at In & Out. Sometimes it seems like just another thing I have to do that can be put off. Then when I DO come for a visit (at least twice a week) she gets cranky with me that I don’t come over more often! I can’t win….

Janene and Summer came for a visit today. We set Kirstie, Kyle, and Summer at the picnic table under the climbing tree and gave them paint and paper to occupy themselves while we sat in the living room to talk. Soon their laughter drew us outside where we found the girls covered in paint, paint splattered on the windows, table, tree, in their hair….. It may take days and several baths to remove the evidence of the fun they had!
It was so good to see my dear friend! It felt like old times when she would just head down the street back to her home after a visit. I have so missed my friends that moved away last year. Janene, Peggy, Charles and Morgan, and Keri. My social life is riddled with holes where some of my closest friends used to be. Sure we have telephone calls but frankly most of us are too busy to sit for an hour to catch up.

Sometimes the thought crosses my mind that it’s time for us to move on. San Marcos is getting so crowded and the Palomar Airport traffic has gotten much worse with more and larger aircraft flying almost directly over our house….and the low flying helicopters! Some days it seems so noisy all day long.

But where would we go? This has been our home for a quarter of a century. The only home our living children can remember. Two of our daughters were born in this house. One daughter held her wedding in the yard. These doors have welcomed hundreds of people to parties, laughter resounding throughout the rooms.The tree in the backyard has been climbed by every one of our children, our grandchildren and scores of visiting kids. We couldn’t take that with us. It would be like leaving a member of the family behinmd.

And one son died here, his memorial taken place in the same air that has held so much joy. How could we leave this house that has become a part of our family, our history….our home? So we will stay…as the city continues to grow up around us covering us with its sounds and lights.

August 12, 2004

// September 18th, 2010 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

I read something in a book yesterday that landed on my heart with a thud. It was about not being able to help the dying, sometimes not being able to find a cure. This revealed a seed in me, a grain of truth maybe. I’m still grieving not only the loss, the lack of presence, of my son, but I’m also grieving the fact that there was nothing I could do. I see reports of moms who would NEVER give up. They fought their child’s illness and in many cases (these are news and magazine articles after all) her child overcomes. I did not. I accepted this fate for my son. Sure we tried to keep him healthy. We lived with this for so many years, but I knew I would see his end. For 28 years I knew, avoided thinking about, but knew this would happen….there was no cure. I accepted the inevitable. And as he lay dying I accepted that this was another step down an unalterable path. Every available detour had been taken. When he was three and a half years old he was started on insulin. When his blood sugar would dip too low we fought to raise it. He spent three years on dialysis. These were just some the detours that lengthened his journey with us, but in the end his path had to be rejoined. There were no more detours available and he died and there was nothing I could do, there was no cure. We had to say good-bye…our paths separated.
So my grief is not only that he is gone but that I accepted it. In my mind I KNOW this was (is) right but my heart looks back for ways I could have changed this outcome, and this adds to my grief. I have to accept that I accepted. To know that I comforted him much (not every time he needed, and that needs to be accepted, too). God, I miss him so much. Please let that alone be my grief.

August 4, 2004

// September 17th, 2010 // No Comments » // From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother's Journey Through Grief"

After more than three years of taking an antidepressant I’m ready to quit. My doctor originally prescribed them for me because of the panic attacks I was having every few weeks that were brought on by the hormonal changes of perimenopause. I continued after Steve died to help me keep from sinking into the abyss of maternal depression. Now I’m tired of depending on a drug to keep my mood level. Besides, my sadness isn’t as bad as it used to be and anyone in my situation would be at least a little sad, wouldn’t they?

I talked to Dr P about it. He mapped out a short weaning process for me ~ told me to take my usual dose every other day for two seeks and then quit completely.

I’m actually excited about quitting. I want to feel my life again. I’m also hoping that this will alleviate the memory problems I’ve been having. Although Amy brought up a good point….it might not be the meds at all. The two really big things I’ve forgotten recently have been related to someone’s medical issues. I might just be trying to block these types of things out of my mind because they remind me of Steve’s troubles.

The other things I forget are the kinds of things I have always forgotten…the “where-did-I-put-my-keys” kind of forgetfulness.

If it doesn’t improve after I quit the meds, I’ll talk to Dr P about it. For now though, I’m looking forward to a new adventure…..

From 2010

// September 11th, 2010 // 1 Comment » // Uncategorized

Feeling broken hearted today. I got a call at ten this morning from my aunt in Oroville. We don’t talk very often so as soon as I heard her voice I knew what prompted her call. Her sister, my sweet Aunt Bertie, died last night. I suppose I knew it was coming…she has had an aggressive cancer for many months, but the last I heard she had “good days and bad”. In my hopeful human mind I saw this as a good sign ~ that she was getting better overall and would enjoy her family, and be enjoyed by them, for a few more years.

My mom and her four sisters and three brothers grew up in the 1930s and 1940s to be a tight knit family, stitching themselves together after each one grew up and left home, with pot luck dinners at every holiday and many birthdays, picnics during the summer and an occasional excursion to the beach.
Sometimes Uncle Dwain (Mom’s oldest brother/sibling) would bring his guitar, a microphone and a speaker to a family gathering. They would set up in the living room they had all grown up in, and the brothers and sisters would start to sing. The music was a lively “Country and Western” variety and once her vocal cords were warmed up Aunt Bertie would start to yodel. She had an amazing voice that never cracked on those high notes. As a five year old, I think the only time I sat still for more than a few minutes at Grandma and Grandpa’s was when Aunt Bertie mesmerized me with her vocal acrobatics.

Aunt Bertie had a gentle and generous spirit, giving to those in need, sharing her home with family and friends, and always taking the time to talk if you give her a call. She had a laugh that still brings a smile to my face as I sit here thinking about it. Not a little girlie laugh, but a robust laugh that was honest and full of sincerity. Her heart was warm and in her presence you knew you were loved. She has always been a special treasure in our family and she will be sorely missed. But what we learned from her will continue as we pass it down to our own children…and to our nieces and nephews.

Thanks, Aunt Bertie, for enriching my life!

August 3, 2004

// September 8th, 2010 // No Comments » // From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother's Journey Through Grief"

Yesterday morning Marisa, Amy and Josh came over for one last visit before Nett and Chris had to go back home. Janiece and Robyn joined the women in the living room while Josh, Chris, and Nic spent their time in the back yard adding on to the “Clubhouse” in climbing the tree. The sounds of hammers pounding, nails dropping, and exclamations of “Not there!” and “Be careful!” filtered in from outside as my girls and I enjoyed each other’s company.

Our conversation bounced from recent events, to what a good visit we’ve had, to Marisa’s pregnancy and our growing family, to Nett telling us she wants, eventually, to move back to San Diego. In Tennessee their life revolves around work with a long commute each way and Chris in day care all day. On weekends she has to get all of her errands and home upkeep done. There isn’t much time left to spend with the family she has there. She also wants Chris to really know his dad’s side of the family, not just through birthday cards and phone calls.
I was so excited I was giddy inside. But I tried not to let it overflow. Nett has to do this in her own way, her own time, and within her own comfort zone. I already feel as though I’m pushing too hard for the move because I’ve told her more than once that she and Chris are welcome to live here with us “if” they ever do they move back.

Nicholas went with me when I took Nett and Chris to the airport this morning. A few minutes after we dropped them in front of their terminal she called to tell me they might miss their flight. I parked the van on Harbor Drive near the Maritime Museums and Nic and I walked along the water’s edge checking out the 1863 Star of India (the oldest active ship in the world) and the Berkely, until we got a call from Nett that they were boarding their plane.

Nett and Chris should be back home by now. I took Nic back home to Oceanside today.

The house is so quiet tonight.

July 25, 2004 ~ Another day set aside to honor Steve

// September 3rd, 2010 // No Comments » // From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother's Journey Through Grief"

We went out to Steve’s spot today. For Nett it was very emotional, but I felt at peace. Every once in a while our group would stop talking and the quiet out there was so…I just can’t describe it. Deafening. Peaceful. Heavy. Good.

This past year I have felt so apart from Steve….wanting a place to go to have his remains near me. Silly, I know. He’s gone. But I just felt the need to have a part of him, or what remains of him(?), nearby. I brought a Mason jar with me out to the desert today and Nick leaned down the hill to scoop up a mixture of sand and Steve’s ashes for me to bring home. He and the desert sand intermingled in a jar sit on the China cabinet now. It just feels right.

The Mason jar is a very fitting place to hold these ashes. No fancy urn for Steve. When he was a teenager, Steve’s preferred drinking glass was a quart size Mason jar. He always knew which glass on the kitchen counter was his, they are sturdy, and voluminous. He drank about a gallon of water a day at this point in his life ~ oh, that he had continued that habit!

It may seem a bit macabre but I found it amusing…There are still bone fragments on that barren hilltop and down the slope where we scattered Steve’s ashes. We didn’t point them out when we noticed but Nic and Chris found them and started picking up little pieces, putting them into their empty Tic-Tac containers. Chris held his up to me and said, “Daddy! Look Grandma. I have some of Daddy here!” Neither Nett nor I saw any reason to discourage it. So the boys carried little bits of their dad home with them.

We didn’t stay outside very long. It was 117 and the air was still thick with humidity from last night’s heavy rain. We headed back to the trailer and into the AC where we hung out with the family a little while before heading home.

I’m glad we were able to go today. It feels good to be in a place Steve loved so much and had so much fun in. Out in the desert is where he felt the most alive. If Steve could design his own piece of heaven, it would be sand, brush, and hills and valleys of varying sizes as far as the eye can see. And, of course, there would be quads for everyone to ride!