Thursday, July 30, 2009
Maddie left today for Princess Day with the middle school girls from our church. They're at Lake Eufaula having a great time. It's nice to see her having fun again. They'll be back tomorrow evening around 6:00. Carter has his friend, Kirk, over. His mom, my friend Dianna, went with the girls.
Those boys crack me up. They've dubbed themselves the Stunt Devils. They've been playing on a scooter and skateboard outside on and off all day. Carter has a small ramp, but to hear them talk about their tricks... "I did a flip in the air," and "I jumped high, then rolled and heard my elbow go 'crack'." They both add to each other's stories. We're going to the skate park tomorrow. They say they're going on the big ramp, but we'll see how brave they are when they're staring down the slope.
Chloe was invited to her first sleepover last night with her friend Dassie. Before we left the house she asked me, "When it's time for bed can you come and cratch my back?" Isn't that sweet? I had to break it to her that I couldn't come over to 'cratch' her back before bed. I dropped her off and as soon as she got out of the car she said, "Bye, mom." She's stayed with the Mays before, but never without Maddie or Carter. I got the call about 1:30am. Poor Dovie and Rodney (Ron-dee as Chloe calls him). This is my public apology, sorry, I owe you guys. She had a lot of fun while she was there, though.
I got a call from West Memorials and received an email with some more pics of headstones they've done. They're beautiful. I'm going to check one other place and then we'll decide who to go with. We're ready to get started on Mav's gravemarker. I think we want several pictures on it. The polished granite with etched pictures looks really nice.
Well, enough for now. Love you all, jc
Monday, July 27, 2009
Maddie has been painting bedroom furniture for her room. The bed they shared was bright bubblegum pink and didn't match the bedding her grandma bought her, so she painted it. I taught her all the tricks of painting and she took off and did a great job on her own. I'll put some pics of it on here when she's finished.
I had my cardiology check-up today with Dr. Ward. They did an echo in the office. The device is in the right place and there is no flow around it - which is great. The echo and EKG both showed my heart looks completely normal - no abnormalities at all. No damage from all the years walking around with an ASD. That's nice to know. I got sad driving back home in the rain. I wish I would've been taking Mav up there for a check-up.
I got a big box of pictures out of the garage tonight. One of the projects I want to finish requires finding some specific baby pics of Maddie. I've already finished the pics of Carter and Chloe. Maddie's weren't in the box. I know they're out there somewhere. I just haven't found the right box yet. We had a great time looking at all the pictures, though. I can't believe how quickly they've grown.
Love you all, jc
PS Martha - Can I post the beautiful poem Bob wrote? I saw it on Mitch's blog.
Friday, July 24, 2009
I sat down this evening and read the book Greg read yesterday. It's called, " Tracks of a Fellow Struggler - Living and Growing through Grief" and was written by John R. Claypool. He's a pastor who lost his 10 year-old daughter to leukemia and it's a collection of some sermons he did while going through the different stages - diagnosis and treatment, remission, recurrence, and death. It was a great book and helped both of us out a lot. Thanks, Todd. I would definitely recommend it to anyone going through this. I've read different books on grief, but this is by far my favorite. Basically, it let me know that it's okay to wonder why and to not understand. He did the same thing. By the end of the book, his last sermon is about how life is a gift. We did nothing to deserve it - we did nothing to get the gift of our children, either. We should enjoy each day. Here's an excerpt from a sermon that's toward the end of the book.
"Two things that radically altered Job's situation emerged out of this encounter, and they proved to be the catalyst that enabled Job to move through his grief back to wholeness. One was a new understanding of the past, and the other was a fresh vision of the future. Let us look at them both.
The first thing God did was to call into question the "justice-injustice" approach to the mystery of life. God began by asking Job where he had been when the whole drama of creation had begun. What had he done to create his own life, or to call the universe into being, or to make possible the existence of his possessions or his children or his health? In other words, God was reminding Job that the things he had become so indignant about losing actually did not belong to him in the first place. They were gifts - gifts beyond his deserving, graciously given him by Another, and thus not to be possessed or held onto as if they were his. To be angry because a gift ahas been taken away is to miss the whole point of life. That we ever have the things we cherish is more than we deserve. Gratitude and humility rather than resentment should characterize our handling of the objects of life. This important lesson is one all of us need to learn...."
I liked that he was honest throughout the book in his thoughts and in his sermons. I won't go into any more detail, but I think it's a great book for anyone to read. I really liked how he discussed the questioning of why.
I went to the bedroom to read the book so I could have a little quiet. Chloe came back to join me with her babies. Quiet isn't in her personality. She brought me her babies to watch and told me they had "pwoblems wis deir heawts," but they would be fine and she would be just across the street if I needed her. What an imagination - she keeps us on our toes. They are all such blessings.
Hope you all have a great weekend. Love ya, jc
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Maddie and I started cleaning out the garage after we got home. That's one of the things on my "to do list" of things to get accomplished before school starts. It will take another day or so. There are baby items out there that Mav never got to use - an exersaucer, baby toys, not to mention all the items still left inside the house. I'm not quite ready to get rid of all of them. My friend, Kim, came over tonight and assured me that that's okay. Greg has told me this before as well. There's no timeline on how or when I need to do certain things. No timeline on how to grieve.
I've had a few people ask how we're doing as a couple. Through this process we've realized that we each grieve differently. I think any couple going through this has to accept these differences to make it through the loss of a child. We've been fortunate that we haven't had problems in this area, and I feel like our marriage is stronger now than it's ever been. We're both suffering the same loss and it's comforting to have each other's shoulder to cry on when we need to. I can't imagine getting through this without him. However, I could see how having specific expectations from your spouse (expecting them to grieve like you do) during this time could set you up for many battles. I think if you don't have expectations, you won't be disappointed. I'm going to have good days and bad days and so is he. Eventhough we each deal with our loss differently, we're both on the same team. Our battle is the same, but our weapons are different. I would never wish this on anyone, but if you're going through it, I hope these words will help.
Tomorrow will be five months since Mav died - almost the same amount of time we had him here. Greg and I have talked about this several times, and in some ways it seems like it was an eternity ago, and others it seems like yesterday. It's been quite awhile since I've made a call to the hospital before going to bed - hoping to hear that the last blood gas was better than the one before. I still remember the anxiety I had when making these calls. The panic we'd feel when the phone would ring in the middle of the night. The peace I would feel when I got to hold him. This still really sucks. I don't think the pain we feel has gotten any better, I think we've just gotten better at dealing with it.
Greg had lunch with our pastor, Todd, today. He gave him a book to read. It was written by a pastor who lost a daughter to cancer. I think Greg said the book is some of the sermons he did while going through the battle and after the loss of his daughter. He's reading it right now. I'll probably start reading it tomorrow, and I'll give you more details then. Honestly, we're both pretty mad that all this has happened. Just speaking for myself, I don't even know what to pray for right now. I believed with all my heart that God would heal him and we would have our baby to take home, and that didn't happen. I don't get to know the "why," and that's hard.
Greg's read the book - he tells me I need to go read it. Enough for now. Love you all - jc
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Kid and cousins. Sara (friend), Maddie, Chloe, Noelle, Chelsea, Rachel, and Carter.
Carter, Maddie, Wil, Carter (yes, two Carters - wouldn't that be funny if they got married someday - Carter and Carter Clark?), Chloe, and our nephew, Cooper.
Love you all, jc
Thursday, July 16, 2009
They came back around 11:00 and Greg's mom, Marilyn, and the kids and I went to eat lunch at McAlister's Deli. We then went to JCPenney and shopped around a little. Not too much excitement, but we had a good time.
The big excitement for the day was Maddie getting her braces removed. She was sooo nervous. It didn't help any that Carter was sitting in the room telling her he hoped they didn't pull out her front teeth while they were trying to take her braces off. He just kept taunting her the entire time. She goes back on Monday to get her retainers placed. The pics are below. Love you all, jc
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Maddie gets her braces off tomorrow. She's so excited. I'll put some pics on to show off her new smile. Love you all, jc
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Maddie and her tomatoes - grape, cherry and patio.
Right now they're screaming and fussing with each other. Don't let their sweet faces fool you.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
We babysat Addie Tuesday. She's my sister, Heather's baby. I fed her and she fell asleep. I just held her the whole time she napped. I took this one to send to Heather to let her know she was doing fine, but I couldn't send it to her for some reason. We had a fun time with her. Shortly after we arrived Chloe asked if she could pet her!
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Well, here we are on the fourth of July. They are quite the little firecrackers. We went to our friends', the Blacks, house Saturday evening. The kids popped a few firecrackers and then the storm came in. It rained, poured, thundered, and lightninged (is that a word?). The kids didn't get to finish the festivities. We all went in the house - kids playing, adults talking - when the power went off. That's just one of the exciting benefits of living in Oklahoma. We left to go home a little after nine. Miss Chlo passed out in the car on the way home. I couldn't resist taking a pic when I put her in bed. I took some other pics of the kids with my regular camera - I always do on the fourth for some reason. I would have uploaded them as well, but the electricity issues fried our printer and that's how I download the pics. So, I'll save those for another day.
We went to church today, then Greg took Carter and Chloe to the movies. I stayed home to work on arrangements for my school. I have to make a trip to Mobile, AL the end of August to do an orientation for the nurse practitioner program. I'm not the best at making travel plans. I tend to stress over the details. That being said, I still don't have the plans confirmed. I'll have to do that this week. I have decided to do the full-time program. I've been in touch with the director of the pediatric program and explained my background and plans and she has given me her blessing to do the full-time track. That makes me feel better, because so far everyone else was strongly suggesting I do the part-time track. I should be finished December of 2010. I know at some point in the program I really want to do a pediatric cardiology rotation. I learned so much during Mav's life, but there is still so much to learn. It's fascinating, really - the heart. Every organ in the body depends on it and when it isn't functioning properly, it wreaks havoc on many other systems. We saw that first-hand with our sweet baby boy. Maybe someday there will be more options for cardiac issues such as his. I hope so.
Maddie didn't go to the movie with the others today. She and I actually went to a movie Friday night. We went to see "My Sister's Keeper." I read the book several weeks ago. When my friend Kristi came in for my procedure she asked me, "Are you a masochist?" for reading it. If you haven't heard of it I'm not going to spoil it for you, but it was a very good book. Several things just hit close to home. Maddie and I had to leave about an hour into the movie. I could tell it was making her uncomfortable. I think it's rated PG-13. It was the bloody scenes that she didn't like. And to answer my friend's question, I don't think I'm masochistic. Somehow it's comforting to know I'm not the only one going through tough issues. I found several other blogs of people who have lost children and sometimes it's just nice to know you're not crazy.
Hope you all have a great week. Love you all, jc
Friday, July 3, 2009
This morning we woke up early to go blackberry picking at a farm nearby. I thought it would be a fun outing for us since we were going with several friends. We had been there no longer than ten minutes when the whining ensued. I really can't blame them. We went in the morning to escape the heat, but it was in the 90's by 10:00. We picked about two quarts and then the kids took a horse-drawn carriage ride around the farm. Maddie said it was a little rough. It was the horse's first day doing this, so he didn't quite have the hang of it. Here are some pics of the day.
I took these last two pics after a conversation with a couple of men at the farm. I had just canvassed one aisle and was heading a different direction to go down another. One man thought I was just getting started and yelled out, "Ma'am, you might as well not waste your time. There's nothing out there." They continued to walk toward me red-faced from the heat. I held up my bucket when they were close and said, "I've had some pretty good luck. I've been looking underneath the vines." "Oh, well you have. Lookin' where no one else was lookin'" he said. I smiled and turned to start the search again. I kept pondering the incident in my head and was thinking of the lesson I learned from this - take your pick:
1. To find what no one else can find, you have to look where no one else will look.
2. Persistence pays off.
3. Don't listen to what everyone tells you (or should that just be what men tell you?).
4. You must pass over many pieces of sour fruit to find the sweet ones.
or, all of the above. Yes, I believe all of the above. I enjoyed the time with the kids today and we sang some of our favorite songs on the way back home. I reminded myself today how lucky I am to have three healthy kids here with me - with us. I was thankful for the doctors' appointments and all the chaos. The normal, regular chaos. I so miss Mav, but I know I truly appreciate my life more because of him. I think it's an amazing gift to appreciate people when you have them, not just after they're gone.
Carter and Chloe went to their grandma and papaw's house today and spent the night tonight. I was resting on the couch this afternoon and Oprah came on. It was an episode on moms. I couldn't help but think, "Some of these people don't know how petty this stuff is that they are complaining about." Another heart mom lost her five-month old heart baby this week.
Hug your kids and give them an extra ounce of patience. School starts back for us in six weeks. This summer is going by so fast. Love you all, jc