She can still see…

Today we had the privilege of attending a Donor Memorial Service… it was difficult and comforting… hard and lovely…

To know that Maddie’s very own eyes still see is amazing, on a ton of levels… to know that her tissues were potentially used for 50 patients who needed heart tissue (babies with holes in their heart, adults who need valves…) is so important to me, to us.  Knowing that little pieces of her are still physically here is such a comfort.  I don’t know if I will ever meet the people who own Maddie’s corneas, but to know they see with her eyes is amazing… freakin’ amazing.

I wonder if they know what Madeline liked to see, or if they will take her eyes on adventures she never could have imagined… I wonder if they understand the gift.  I am sure they do… I am sure they are helping a ‘liver’, a real, kind and happy person… one who enjoys life and time and family and smiles at every single sunset…

What a gift… a gift that she gave them and a gift that every image they see, adventure they enjoy and moment that they cry with her eyes- gives to us…

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You are my sunshine…

I love this colorful version of the song Maddie used to sing to me, and we sang to her.  It is so bright and colorful… and cute.  I love that the world thinks of her when they hear this song, or see these words… it’s a little gift that they will never forget her… and her Sunshine.

I love you to the moon and back- to infinity and beyond…

There are just days where I wish I could say those words to my lovely again… and get to see her dimple and smile and hear her giggle.  Life makes me miss her more, living makes me miss her more… every stepping stone, every sunny day, every rainy day, every new adventure reminds me of the hole in our family.

Apparently today I am missing my angel a ton, not that it ever changes in amount… but sometimes there aren’t a pile of things reminding me of her absence… To be here to see her Grammie and Grandpa and Uncle become neighbors, to pick out a costume and help me decorate for fall… to sit and watch Ellen after school when it was rainy and her sisters were sleeping… just everything.  It still hits me hard quite often that this is the real… that this actually happened and life is now lacking a physical Maddie.  That I am most likely going to be lacking Maddie for another 40+ years… and other moments I can’t believe it has been so long since I touched her, heard her or saw her… Time is so strange.

So like I always say… tomorrow I will wake up, get out of bed, make myself run… and try to keep moving and living and smiling and crying… all the things people do… for tonight I will just let the heavy sit… and the hard take over…

Gifting Experiences…

In recent months many have been reminded of the importance of enjoying our time… I don’t follow the “live like you are dieing” idea (my thoughts sit closer to a- live like you are living idea)… but I really believe we should live to enjoy our lives, to create memories, to go on adventures… basically to take in this journey and live it up.

Living this way has many perks… more fun moments, more smiles, more adventures, more detours… less stress, less drama… and in a way A LOT more creativity and flexibility.  This is my kinda life…

Now onto the gifting experiences… holidays, special days, anniversaries and sometimes just regular rainy days are different now.  They are harder and more painful… so we usually fill them up with something fun, a diversion, an experience.  So when pondering … what will we do for Christmas gifts… what to get my nieces for their birthday… to me gifts don’t have the same meaning.  Gifts are not some random barbie we pick out at the last minute… gifts aren’t a gift card to a store someone likes… they should be an experience.  So for Thanksgiving our whole crazy family is going to the same house in Lake Placid to celebrate and remember and enjoy… and for Christmas, instead of searching for a gift for my mom – nice new socks… and a tool my dad needs… we are taking them to see Mannheim Steamroller (my mom has always listened to them and loved them).  I want to take my Mother and Father-in-law out for a really nice and fancy dinner- just adults and dress up clothes.  I want to find a musical or a really amazing little trip for the girls and our family instead of a bunch of new toys that need new homes…

It isn’t like I am boycotting all the normal shopping traditions… just changing them up a bit.  I hope that my girls grow up knowing how important it is to share experiences, how important it is to enjoy time and how important it is to show people how special they are…

When faced with an awkward silence… just fill it.

When you are faced with an awkward silence… fill it!

At least that is what I always do… quiet-thinker-type never know how to handle me… while they are busy measuring or reading or doing something that makes the room very quiet- I WILL fill in the quiet.

So, in an effort to write more often, I was cooking dinner and thinking about the 5 million things I must do tomorrow and the 3 things I forgot to mail and the dry cleaning I didn’t pick up today… and thinking blog.blog.blog.  My brain’s response was … nothing… awkward silence.  So I am going to fill it up… I will make a rule (so to speak)… that if my brain is too tired, or busy to think up some witty and cool blog post it must think up 5 good things about the day… So here goes…

  1. I got my work out in before my family woke up, sweat a disgusting amount and drank a seltzer at my daughter’s peaceful spot.
  2. It was a perfect rainy and chilly fall day to have a couple friends and babies over for a relaxed play date and of course pumpkin spice coffee.
  3. PUMPKIN SPICE COFFEE for my Keurig… definitely can be included in two great things.
  4. Amelia’s big grin running off the bus… I waited all day for it.
  5. (this is an anticipated one) Kissing my youngest, telling her she is the “Best Lucy Ever” and having her squeeze my cheeks and say ‘Best Mommy EVER”

So… there you go I filled that potentially awkward silence.

Grieving is hard work… exhaustingly hard work

It’s strange to think of grieving and associate it with work… but honestly… it is more exhausting than any marathon or long run training I have ever done, more exhausting than any job (including being a mom) I have ever experienced.  It is a whole body job… it fills the heart, empties the brain, weakens the arms… then flip flops and empties my heart, fills up my brain and gives me crazy strength.  Weird. 

What does one do while working so hard through the process?  I don’t know… I am learning each day.  I am trying to cry when I need to… hug if I want to… talk about my dear all the time… help my other daughters… try to enjoy this time… try not to stay in bed… trying to find a balance in the happy and the pain, and the happiness in the pain.  If that makes sense to anyone then you are probably walking around, recently introduced into this club…

So again for now… I will work and work and work… and love some of the pain… and know that part of my lovely’s happy is in my sad… that this confusing and exhausting process is part of me, part of my family and part of forever. 

…”I’m just not there yet”

The other day I was waiting somewhere and someone said… “I’m just not there yet”…

I was brought back to one of my most famous sayings as a parent … “WAIT!  I’m just not there yet…”  Sometimes this was in response to lovely lady wanting to ‘help’ me cook (and of course the chair was pulled over, a large knife was out and I wasn’t even there with the food, bowl and washed hands)… sometimes it was my husband asking “When will you grab my dry cleaning?” (as I frantically clean up the mess made from previous lovely ‘helping’ me make dinner). 

I wonder how many times “I’m just not there yet” has been my answer… it’s like a self realization.  I think I need to take the advice of my kindergartener’s teacher and be there, to take a few moments everyday and get myself ‘there’.  Where is there?  I think ‘there’ is where ever I am at that very second… to stop, close my eyes, breathe a little… open them up and take a little mental note of my current surroundings.  To make myself be there and here.  I wonder if this will help my not always answer “I’m not there yet” and start noticing where I always am… and how much I have done to be in this very spot. 

Whoa… this one felt deep.  I will keep updated and see how much less I am not there :)…