Saturday, August 13, 2011


Last week Allan and I were interviewed for 99.5 WJBR's Sunday morning "Focus on Delaware" show. One of the questions, which I now paraphrase, was 'How do you as a Mom take care of your other children after the deaths of 2'. I'm not gonna lie I had Allan go first because I was nervous, but then he got 'tell me about the Joy-Hope Foundation'. (Lesson learned).

My simple answer was God. Really that is how I can do anything. I went on to talking about the day to day, less ethereal parenting. Working the tricky balance of having Eric and Ava be apart of the family without going overboard and having the focus all on them.

I didn't talk about trying to meet the needs of little ones whose needs are so important without screaming "your brother and sister went through medical Hell and you are crying because you bumped your knee!!!!" I have always had enough restraint to not do that. I know they are two separate situations and that that knee bump hurt. But sometimes I did think it.

I didn't talk about how there is no time to cry when you have little ones at home. No time to work it out and get lost in your head. No time to open the flood gates and pour it all out for the length of time you need to. A luxury (?) I had immediately after Eric died. With kids around, these things definitely eek out, but are not attended to through to completion. Usually someone needs a drink, a hug, a snack, some space from a sister... And in the midst of your process, real time living jars your thoughts and off you go.

The problem is the build. The pressure cooker of emotion that has to escape. It will and it does. For me that is never a positive balance. I snap at the kids. Their seemingly innocuous questions turn into chirping in my ears. I put my feelings of being unsettled on them and they become unsettled. They whine, cry, pick at each other and yell. How do I react? The same way. Then I want to escape and hide never to come out. They seek my attention and want lots of hugs. I want space and to not be touched. Then need to be reassured. I guess I do too. We spiral downward. I feel out of control and all a buzz since the kids are "driving me nuts." Until, I let it out, blow off some steam and just flat out cry.

The problem is being able to cry in a way that is healing to your soul. I'm not talking about the tears that roll down your face when a memory flashes, or someone does something so sweet and touching. Rather it's that deep inner wail of intense pain that there are really no words that can possibly describe. It's hard to hear your child do it. It's hard to hear your spouse do it. It's so hard do allow it to happen yourself. What's worse is that as time marches on that "cleansing good cry" need crops up- more spaced out- but still appears. It's never convenient and always painful. With it comes the memory of how far deep in grief you were when_______. With it comes a fear that you are, as a family, slipping back to square one.

When you let it out, you see the other side and realize that it's another step on the rung on the ladder of grief. It's like dribbling a basketball. Keep it low to the ground you will not get out of the pit. The harder you bounce it the higher out you climb. When it crashes to the ground, it rebounds higher and you have more hang time and a brief encounter with the crap you need to get out of your head.

I struggle with the balance of it all. I know I am not the only one out there that does. No one likes to feel different. No one likes to be in a social setting and only see the holes life has left. No one really wants to face grief head on. I know I don't. I also know that I need to or that ugly ogre Mommy will be around to stay. The ball will bounce low and get stuck at the bottom of the pit.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Rosebuds (not the sled)

After two weeks of VBS at two Wonderful churches, I look around and our house seems to have exploded. So on this deemed "lazy" Saturday we've been trying to regain control. At the same time Allan and I are planning what needs to happen next to get our Music For Memories Concert which happens on August 20!

It's hard to find balance between housekeeping, working, mommying, training for a second half marathon, getting ready to home school and to get ready for the Joy-Hope Foundation's events in the coming (weeks) and months. Sometimes, like when I typed out all that I have on my schedule, I get a little overwhelmed at what I am doing. On the whole, I know that I am going in a direction not of my own planning and so I will be just fine. On the days that I feel overloaded, I suggest that you look out. I may be grumpy. :-)

When I am the absolute most frazzled is when the house explodes. I can't think straight, I look at all the more I have to do and *KA-BL-OW* it becomes a work day, a recycle day, a "lets see how many toys we can throw away" day.

I am learning that with the crazy busy schedule we have we need to have some semblance of organization. So I am diligently trying to keep up with the systems I am trying to establish so I don't get over come when something takes over in life and we are back to square one. It's a long work in progress, but the operative word here is progress.

One observation that I find intriguing: I can not fold laundry on a messy floor. So I clean and vacuum the family room before I fold. If I can't get the job done and the basket sits, the floor is infiltrated by all kinds of laziness that my Bugs love to exhibit: tiny papers, crayons, toys, blankets whatever. If the laundry is folded and put away, this does not happen. It's a phenomenon. Or is it? Kids really do as we do and not as we say.

This morning as I donned my cleaning clothes and set the Ipod to "loud" I found I did not get angry as I usually do about my ineptitude in organization. Instead I began thinking about all the amazing people I talked to , worked with, and volunteered with over these last two weeks. I was thinking about all that God is doing in our lives- individually and as a family. Then I realized that many of these people that are dear in my life are here as a result of Ava's life and death. I wish I had my daughter there is no doubt about that. But the people that God placed in our lives as a direct result of Ava's life richly bless us and we are so very honored to know them. Through tragedy, there are always blessings. You have to work hard through the tears and negative thoughts to see them, but they are there.

I've been really missing and remembering Eric and Ava a lot lately. They would have been celebrating their 8th and 2nd birthdays in the coming weeks. There's been many moments lately where it's been highlighted that I am missing my "baby" phase as I watch who would have been Ava's playmates turn two, visit a new baby born or take my children and two others to a classroom. Those moments are sweet and tender because I love each of those kids so much. But they are not without the pang and twinge of grief and what if.

Always on the other side there is a smiling face, something that needs to get done, or an uplifting message that propels me through the moment. Sometimes a good cry can wash it away. And of course there is my "Eric" rose bush that has been horrifically neglected, greeting me with only two yellow buds in time for some birthdays.