Archive for From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother’s Journey Through Grief"

April 9, 2006

// August 5th, 2011 // No Comments » // From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother's Journey Through Grief"

I am unbelievably tired! Lately I feel the need to get away from the hubbub of the family. But I can’t just walk out the door any time I want. Where would I go, anyway?

So last week I carved out a piece of our full and active home just for me. I rearranged the den that serves as my office and the kids’ playroom, and created a private space for me alone. I moved my recliner, my favorite lamp, a table with storage for books, magazines, and my Bible study material into the far corner, near the sliding glass door. During the day my corner is filled with indirect sunlight. Even though it’s the corner where Steve last laid his head I’m happy to have a private space where I can go to unwind.

 I escape to my island each morning for Bible study and again for a few minutes during the day, when I don’t usually focus on me.

I’m hoping this will bolster my flagging energy levels and alleviate my pounding stress.


March 25, 2006

// July 12th, 2011 // No Comments » // From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother's Journey Through Grief"

Having Nett and Chris living here has added a new dimension to our home. They’re an essential part of the family. Nett is no longer our daughter-in-law but our daughter, and full-fledged sister to our other children. Chris is an important part of my day as I help Nett care for him. And taking him to school each morning means I have no reason to stay closed up in my home all day.

This morning I stepped into their room to wake Chris for school. He and his mom were out late last night at Family Group and after nine hours of sleep he still wasn’t ready to greet his day. As I whispered his name he slowly turned onto his back, tucking his hands under his arms, just like his dad used to. It made me catch my breath. I watched him for a minute, savoring the moment.

As a rule, I try not to actively look for similarities between Steve and his sons but sometimes they leap out at me, shining like a moving picture of young Steve for a fraction of a second, and then disappear. I’m not alone. Other family members mentioned things, too. Nicholas’s laugh. Chris’s walk. We don’t say much to the boys, don’t want them to become self-conscious and avoid certain mannerisms, or go to the other extreme and strive to emulate their dad. We want them to develop their own style and mannerisms, each becoming his own, unique person.

That said, I am grateful to have Steve’s sons here as small reminders of my son.

March 6, 2006

// June 17th, 2011 // No Comments » // From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother's Journey Through Grief"

With nearly three years of recovery from the early grief of losing Steve, I look back to those days and weeks and see that I was consumed by thoughts of things I felt I should have done differently. I don’t know why I thought I could have been so powerful… that I could have kept him from dying if only I had …fill in the blank.

I know I made mistakes in his health care when he was young, but nothing that would have changed the outcome. And maybe he wouldn’t have enjoyed life as much as he did.

Steve lived his life, his way…..sometimes at the expense of personal relationships. His motto was “Get in. Sit down. Shut up and hold on!” He knew he was a short-timer and wouldn’t take whining from anyone, not even from himself. He lived hard, making his own mistakes that might have robbed him of a few years, but didn’t cause his early death

I don’t know why I felt that I should have been able to prevent his death. I’m not God and God chose not to intervene. I’m okay now and I don’t beat myself up about it anymore. I know the outcome was never in my control.

I’m not even mad at God. I only spent a minute on that fruitless phase of grief. Yes, He allowed this to happen to Steve and didn’t heal him…yet.

But I believe it’s not over yet, even for Steve. When we meet again we will both be in excellent health.

February 28, 2006

// June 10th, 2011 // No Comments » // From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother's Journey Through Grief"

Today I ran errands while Robyn was at literature class at the home school office. My last stop was the grocery store. As I stood at the register waiting for my total I saw the first “Cadbury Eggs” of the season.

Last week Jae came home heartbroken from a shopping trip because, though she searched the store, she couldn’t find any of these special treasures. She felt as though she had missed an important connection.

So today I bought one in memory of Steve.

I felt an odd sense of continuity as I stepped into the mid winter sunshine, wearing a smile as I slid into the driver’s seat and turned the key. As the engine fired up My Immortal blasted from the radio.

Every time I hear this song it makes me think of me and Steve. She wipes away his tears, she fights away his fears. This pain is just too real!

I lost it. I sat, shoulders heaving with heavy sobs as the car idled.
I guess those few minutes were all I needed because when the song was over I pulled myself together, wiped my eyes with a tissue pulled from the always present box, and I was fine again.

Jae wasn’t here when I got home so I set the Cadbury Egg on her pillow. She arrived a short time later and, after telling me about her day, went to her room. Immediately she came back to the kitchen, holding the prize in her palm, relief softening her face.

Some days the simplest token can be enough to raise spirits and give a glimmer to the future.

December 21, 2005

// June 8th, 2011 // 1 Comment » // From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother's Journey Through Grief"

Contemplating my life this morning I was struck by how completely Steve changed my life. Each baby we bear changes us in some way but usually we stay on the same life path, it just gets a little wider.

If I hadn’t become pregnant at seventeen I would have gone with my parents when they moved to Missouri. Instead I stayed behind in California with my new husband, Steve’s biological father. I would have wanted children no matter where I settled down. As far back as I can remember I wanted a house full of babies. But I wouldn’t have been blessed with these children that came to share, and help shape, my life.

Because of Steve I met Amy’s biological father.

If not for Steve, I would have missed the opportunity to meet Dave, with whom I happily share this life path and with whom I have become this version of me.

Of course I can’t know exactly where I would be now had I never been sidetracked at seventeen. I can’t imagine it being any better than here. I am where I am today, and to the extent that our environment helps shape us, who I am today, because of Steve.

November 24, 2005

// June 4th, 2011 // No Comments » // From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother's Journey Through Grief"

There are only a few hours left of this year’s Thanksgiving Day. Although not everyone could be here the day and our home were full with family, fun, wonderful aromas, and food!

After everyone else had gone tonight Nick and I spent almost two hours outside talking, our jackets snuggly buttoned against the autumn chill. Hundreds of stars watched over us from a perfectly clear sky as we discussed how our lives had changed in the past year and a half.
This day is so hard for Nick. On Thanksgivings past he and Steve would joke about eating pumpkin pie with one foot out the door, anxious to be on their way to the desert with Jeremy, Nett, Marisa, Amy, and the kids. Thanksgiving was a favorite day for two reasons, family and the long weekend riding at the dez.

So often Steve and Nick were like a single unit. Although they were six and a half years apart they complimented each other as well as any brothers. From the time Nick was five months old he tried to keep up with his big brother and as they grew they became best friends. They had their trials and falling outs but always recovered.

Now Steve is dead and Nick is a shell of his former self. Sometimes I think that half of Nick died with Steve. Sometimes I feel as though I’ve lost two sons. Sometimes I’m so confident in my own recovery I overlook the difficulty others, especially Nick, are having.

I need to keep him in my prayers constantly. This is affecting every corner of his life.

November 22, 2005

// April 29th, 2011 // No Comments » // From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother's Journey Through Grief"

Thanksgiving is at The Haasienda again this year. I’ve been looking forward to it for months, but this year is different. I’m not anxious about getting things done. No dreams that the family is gathered at the table but I haven’t even done the shopping yet ~ a variation of my typical pre-party dream.

The day before Thanksgiving when my girls and I make the bread, fudge, and pies is two days away and I’m as relaxed as if it’s a weekday meal. I’m looking forward to the day but almost feel like I’ve forgotten how to “do” Thanksgiving.

So tonight I made a cup of Sleepy Time tea, popped in a Jesse Cook C D, and nestled into my La-Z-Boy with pen and paper. Letting the new age flamenco music and hot tea fill my senses I wrote out a game plan for the rest of this week.

Then I sat and let my mind wander.

I’ve made it through Steve’s birthday without suffering a severe depression. Thanksgiving, my favorite day of the year, is fast approaching. I let Steve peacefully meandered through my thoughts. I smiled, told him I miss him and now it’s time for bed.

I need my rest for the work ahead.

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