Archive for March, 2011

July 23, 2005…and I’m okay

// March 23rd, 2011 // No Comments » // From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother's Journey Through Grief"

….besides having a nasty cold.

These past few weeks I’ve thought about Steve more than usual, knowing this date was coming but not dreading it.

At 4:15 this morning we woke up to lightning and thunder ~ a masterpiece in God’s creation. Dave and I got up to watch from our living room as random strikes filled the valley with sudden white light. We counted the seconds between the light and the sometimes booming, sometimes rolling thunder. Some strikes were as little as a mile away.

When the storm was over we stayed up to get an early start on our day. We left the house at seven to join Nick and Corey at the desert. They went out last night to get in some riding during the cool night and to hang out at Steve’s spot, just the guys.

Standing on the hilltop in the warm, humid air I looked down the slope where Steve’s ashes were sprinkled two years ago to see that bits of him remain on the hillside, just as bits of him remain in our lives.
We didn’t stay long…didn’t need to. It’s comforting to go to his resting place and experience a sense of connectedness, each of us to him and to each other.

We got back home a little before noon and after a light lunch I took a much needed nap, waking at 3:20. I stayed on my bed, waiting for the 3:26 moment of my son’s death to pass.

Walking to the living room I felt so rested, so relieved (that I made it through this time unscathed? or just at peace?) Yes, at peace.
It’s 6:30 p.m. now and, except for feeling miserable from this cold, I feel great!

May 5, 2005

// March 18th, 2011 // No Comments » // From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother's Journey Through Grief"

Sometimes it hits me again. Not quite new again but almost new…again.

Sometimes I remember I had a son named Steve, that he suffered, and he died.

Sometimes I’m caught up again in a swell of fresh grief and it crashes down on me and submerges me and carries me to some distant shore.

Sometimes I allow it, knowing it won’t keep me there forever and it won’t destroy me.

Sometimes Grief may think he is my master, but I know better,
and I am healing.

February 24, 2005

// March 14th, 2011 // 2 Comments » // From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother's Journey Through Grief"

A sunny day! I had almost forgotten what a sunny day could feel like. Last week we had nearly four inches of rain! Today brought bright puffy clouds wrapped in a sapphire sky, warm sunshine, and a call from my best friend. I jumped at the chance to meet her at Mocha Marketplace.

Later, as I was making dinner, I heard Dave and Robyn’s surprised exclamations from the entry way. “Hey! What are you doing here? What a surprise! Deb! Come see who’s here!”
Wiping my hands with a kitchen towel I headed for the door to find PEGGY! I hadn’t seen my dear friend since she moved to Oklahoma a few months after Steve died. Peggy’s more than a friend. She’s the big sister my mom never gave me.
Since our accidental meeting in 1983 I’ve spent more time with Peggy than I have with any other friend. Through this closeness our children have grown up like cousins. Some of them even look alike. That’s how we met ~
One day after church Terry (Peggy’s husband) distractedly patted my seven year old Amy on the head then reached for her hand. “Common. It’s time to go.” Amy was terrified, resisting his tug on her little hand. Slightly irritated, Terry looked down to her face. “You’re not Beth!” Terry brought her to me, explaining what had happened.
That wasn’t quite enough to seal our bond, though. That autumn during the Feast of Tabernacles in Tucson we happened to be staying at the same rental property. A few days into the ten day stay our van refused to start. Terry offered to jump us….every time we needed to start the van. At the end of the feast they offered to caravan home with us so we would always have a jump. By the time we got to the I-15, 30 minutes past their home, our mutual love was sealed.
We never had another problem with the van after that, and Dave never figured out what the problem was. We knew that God intended our lives to be intertwined.

I knew she was planning a trip to California but didn’t know the date. My surprise was overwhelming as she pulled me into a tight hug. Catching up over dinner, I felt how cut off I am now, but I still don’t know how to overcome this isolation.

 
 
Peggy, Feb 1987

February 3, 2005

// March 8th, 2011 // No Comments » // From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother's Journey Through Grief"

I’m always so sorry when I avoid my journal for so long. I often put aside for “later” the things that I know are best for me. The things I find the most personally enriching…prayer, bible study, meditation, exercise, and journaling. These I put on the back burner. Instead I sleep late in the morning because I’m so tired. When I finally get up around 9 a.m. I get lost in my day, literally. Sometimes I find myself standing in the middle of a room wondering, “Where do I begin?” If I can’t figure it out I sit to wonder, staring blindly at the walls.

A few days ago I got up early. I studied, prayed, and meditated. My entire day went great! I was productive and I felt excellent.

Today I woke up sluggish (catching another cold—blah) so I went back to bed and fell into a heavy sleep. I had another house dream. But in my dream this morning I was in was this house, our home of twenty-six years. For some reason Dave and I were inspecting one of the front hall closets and we found a passageway leading to a secret basement level. There we discovered three rooms. Of course, one was a bathroom; there usually is a hidden bathroom in my house dreams. In my dream we were so excited to discover these new rooms.

Now, what does it mean? Am I the house and the newfound rooms my as yet undiscovered potential?

November 14, 2004

// March 4th, 2011 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

Thirty-three years ago today I became a mother.
I remember my first sight of that five pound, scrawny, red boy…how my heart melted. Oh, that that moment of blessedness had lasted and made me a perfect mother.

But together we grew. I am so grateful for our time together, for lessons learned from each other. Steve helped to teach me patience. And in him I saw strength and perseverance through physical trial. He taught me that we don’t have to be perfect to be loved, to positively impact those around us. As flawed as I am, he loved me unconditionally.

And I am still learning. I am learning to wait. I know I’ll see him again, hold him again. All in God’s good time.

I saw Steve in a dream last night. Our entire family was standing, as if posing for a group picture and when I looked at them from across the (yard? room?), Steve was there behind them, only his face showing. He was healthy and flashing a radiant smile at me. I need more of those dream visits with him, though I would really like to talk to him.

Today I am grateful for
31 years,
8 months,
1 week,
2 days,
and yes, even those final
4 and one half hours.

November 4, 2004

// March 1st, 2011 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

I’ve often said that the only thing I am consistent at is inconsistency. My bible study habits are not immune to this character flaw. But earlier this year I found a Bible Study plan that has been easy to stick with, even though I still don’t do it every day. I’m near the end. Today’s segment focused on giving my battles up to the Lord. In Him there is victory.
I’m usually very good at this. I have learned to tenaciously hold on to my faith through many difficult trials… I mean, opportunities… throughout my life. Through the years my trials have built my faith as I’ve watched God fight for me, provide for me, and repair my way.

But now I am fighting a battle I hadn’t realized was a battle, within myself. I continue giving in to sorrow and regret. I am still often plagued with memories of things I should have done differently with Steve.

One afternoon about eight months before he died we were talking about eulogies, using the funny form of the word from the movie “Zoolander”. I told him, “You know, as oldest son you have to give a lovely u-goo-galy at my funeral.”
“Mom, you know I won’t be around for that. You’ll have to give a u-goo-galy at mine.”

What had been a playful conversation was turning into a stark reality I wasn’t ready to face. I insisted that he would be there for mine and refused to entertain the idea that he wouldn’t, cutting off a perfect opportunity to discuss his limited future. I think I even walked to another room to put an end to the discussion.

Text book denial. What gems might have come from this missed serendipitous conversation? Would he have been able to expose his heart? To share some side of himself that instead he had to keep buried to protect me from having to face his reality?

The reality came anyway and a piece of Steve he could have shared remained his burden to bear alone.

Now I carry a burden. The burden of knowing that I cheated him out of an opportunity to open up and perhaps to lighten his load just a little. I have to give this battle to God. It is my only path to victory over these spears that continually stab my heart. In this victory I can live a life to honor the memory of Steve and give glory to God. I know that God and Steve have forgiven me, now I need to forgive me. Or, do I need only to accept forgiveness?
Whatever—I give this battle up to God. In him is my complete victory over deep sorrow and regret….

November 4, 2004cressep

// March 1st, 2011 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

I’ve often said that the only thing I am consistent at is inconsistency. My bible study habits are not immune to this character flaw. But earlier this year I found a Bible Study plan that has been easy to stick with, even though I still don’t do it every day. I’m near the end. Today’s segment focused on giving my battles up to the Lord. In Him there is victory.
I’m usually very good at this. I have learned to tenaciously hold on to my faith through many difficult trials… I mean, opportunities… throughout my life. Through the years my trials have built my faith as I’ve watched God fight for me, provide for me, and repair my way.

But now I am fighting a battle I hadn’t realized was a battle, within myself. I continue giving in to sorrow and regret. I am still often plagued with memories of things I should have done differently with Steve.

One afternoon about eight months before he died we were talking about eulogies, using the funny form of the word from the movie “Zoolander”. I told him, “You know, as oldest son you have to give a lovely u-goo-galy at my funeral.”
“Mom, you know I won’t be around for that. You’ll have to give a u-goo-galy at mine.”

What had been a playful conversation was turning into a stark reality I wasn’t ready to face. I insisted that he would be there for mine and refused to entertain the idea that he wouldn’t, cutting off a perfect opportunity to discuss his limited future. I think I even walked to another room to put an end to the discussion.

Text book denial. What gems might have come from this missed serendipitous conversation? Would he have been able to expose his heart? To share some side of himself that instead he had to keep buried to protect me from having to face his reality?

The reality came anyway and a piece of Steve he could have shared remained his burden to bear alone.

Now I carry a burden. The burden of knowing that I cheated him out of an opportunity to open up and perhaps to lighten his load just a little. I have to give this battle to God. It is my only path to victory over these spears that continually stab my heart. In this victory I can live a life to honor the memory of Steve and give glory to God. I know that God and Steve have forgiven me, now I need to forgive me. Or, do I need only to accept forgiveness?
Whatever—I give this battle up to God. In him is my complete victory over deep sorrow and regret….

January 4, 2007paccur

// March 1st, 2011 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

Nick and Marisa welcomed a second son today. Owen David Haas has joined our family! He’s having a little trouble keeping his blood sugar level (this is common for babies whose mothers are on insulin) so he is in the NICU. At nearly eleven pounds he’s about three times the size of most of the babies in there, but he needs the help as much as the others do. He’s a very pleasant little fellow. I’m so thankful that I can just enjoy the family event this time without all of the sorrow I experienced when Ethan was born. Although Owen is only the second baby to join the family since Steve died it’s so easy this time to simply bask in the joy of this new little wonder. Maybe it’s because we’re further removed from the early pain of Steve’s absence. Maybe it’s because of all I’ve learned to help me overcome that pain. I’m just so thankful to be completely happy this time!

November 23, 2006

// March 1st, 2011 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

All that stress and worry before Thanksgiving was for nothing. The day took care of itself—beautifully! We did our usual big cooking day yesterday. Whole wheat rolls, fudge, pies, and of course we sautéed the celery and onions for the stuffing. All of those aromas lingered in the house until the turkey pushed them through the doors and windows as his own guess-what-day-it-is fragrance greeted everyone even before they got to the door. Well, everyone wasn’t quite everyone, but that’s OK. All who came to share the day had a great time. Dad brought Mom. I think the drive from Lakewood wore her out. She was pretty tired and spent some time dozing in the recliner before the others started arriving. She did perk up when the great-grandkids got here. I think she enjoyed the special attention. Kirstie and Kyle doted on her and got her whatever she asked for; a blanket, a snack. Ethan ran around the house just being his vivacious two year old self when he wasn’t visiting her. I think she was surprised when she saw Nic here. Mom has always seemed to have a special connection with each of her grand- and great-grandkids. She used to tell Steve, from the time he was her only grandchild, “You’re my #1.” It appears that seeing Nic reminds her of those times. When Steve was two to four years old we lived with my parents a few times whenever I was between apartments. Mom and Dad helped me out quite a bit and spent a lot of time with Steve. Mom and Steve used to take walks to the corner store a few times a week. As they would walk along the unpaved sidewalk, Mom would say, “You know what?” “What?” Steve would ask. “I love you” would always be her reply. After awhile he would anticipate her question. His reply became, “Yea, I know. You love me.” so she added, “Do you know how much I love you?” “How much, Grandma?” She would touch her pinkie finger to her thumb and as she would slowly stretch out the word, “This……” would stretch out her fingers as far apart as possible ending with, “…much!” He was a fast learner and soon turned the tables on her, asking the big question of her and perfectly repeating the answer. Today as she reclined in the chair, unable to take a walk, her face reflected the touch of an autumn breeze from long ago as it brushed her memory and she pulled Nic close and told him, “You know, your daddy was always my #1” .
Amy and Jeremy were able to come for awhile before dinner. Aim took lots of pictures. My favorite has to be the one she took of the plate Kirstie made for my mom. Mom was hungry before dinner and asked Kirstie for a piece of fudge with nuts, a buttered roll, and a pickle. That almost took my appetite away! I guess it took Mom’s away, too. She never did eat any of it.
Mom and Dad left soon after diner so she could get into her own bed and get some rest after such a big day. Thanksgiving has always been Mom’s favorite day. Even though she was kind of out of it for much of the day, I know she enjoyed being with her family. It makes me sad to see her like this. All her life she’s been such a vibrant, independent woman. Now, like Steve in his last months, she has to depend on others for her every move. I am however thankful for her continued presence in my life.

November 21, 2006

// March 1st, 2011 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

It’s strange. While we’re in the early years of rearing our children our lives feel so out of control yet we are basically in control, at least of their daily goings on. I think we become accustomed to this feeling of being in control. But in parenting, when you do a good job, you put yourself out of a job, essentially losing that sense of control. I don’t think of myself as being a control freak but I think that the lesson God might be trying to teach me during this difficult Thanksgiving season is “let go”. I’ve always wanted to facilitate (make easy) gatherings, either in our home or elsewhere. Mom’s been so sick that I fear this could be her last Thanksgiving. I really wanted to make it a good one for her by having all of her children and most of her grand- and great-grandchildren here surrounding her on her favorite day of the year. We have run into several obstacles: Mom’s deteriorating health, and certain family member’s lack of interest in joining the family. Last night I asked God, “What AM I supposed to be learning from all of this???” He answered me loud and clear, “YOU ARE NOT IN CONTROL! IT’S NOT UP TO YOU!” I wasn’t sure if I should cry or feel free. I cried a little (with relief). It’s not up to me what others do. I can be disappointed that some of my kids choose not to spend every Thanksgiving with us (even though I don’t observe the other traditional holidays). I can be disappointed that some of Mom’s kids won’t be here. It’s not up to me! Until last night I just haven’t been in the Thanksgiving mood this year. But now I know that the only thing that is up to me is ME, and my attitude. So with that understanding, I plan to have a thankful Thanksgiving Day!