Halloween – you = tomorrow and forever

I love Ronan by Taylor Swift. Her words and voice and real… I get it. The drive home I remember clearly… I remember the feel of Madeline, and putting in her pearl earring before we left… I remember feeling sad and weird like we were leaving her with someone else. I remember wondering if they would take good care of her and the very last time I looked into my backseat with 3 car seats was those moments. Tonight I wish she were here for a fun Halloween with her sisters… what would she be? Something proper I am sure, something cute. I like to think, maybe know, that it would be creative and fun and simple. Her cowgirl was easy and she wanted to wear her boots and hat and then BADLY wanted a sheriff star with her own name on it…

I miss you darling. I miss you more than I could describe, or understand. Days like tomorrow are BIG HARD days of holes where you should be…

Listen and cry… Taylor got it… and she shared and it and she continues to. Thank you to the lovely and talented Taylor Swift.

I quite like this disconnected way of living…

In the past few days I have barely been on Facebook or working on emails (which means I am behind on work- but I will get there)… I have hung out with the girls more, semi cleaned my house more, thought about the time I used on Facebook and looking at others lives… and I think I am better!  Seriously, I think I should have taken a break long ago.

A few weeks ago our counselor talked to me about taking St John’s Wort as a mood booster and maybe a little help with my heart and mind dealing with all the hard crap that life keeps handing me.  I have slept better since and I feel a little lighter (and not on the scale… damnit).  I think I feel a little better, and a little is a big step in this world.

On top of that… I lost my phone and became disconnected by accident.  The next day I read the article that I shared and it got me thinking… and thinking… and considering.  I think this is a big step toward finding some of the happy… at least the okay.  I quite like that the world can’t bug me.  I will get a phone but am VERY much leaning toward/pretty sure I will only have text enabled and phone.  I don’t need to be multitasking and running and rushing and answering emails and messages and facebook messages and questions and calls- immediately.  I mean seriously, who really needs me immediately?!!?  More often than not I place that ‘immediately’ need on the message, email, call, text, etc.  I created a brain that is sooooooo used to doing those things immediately that I am ALWAYS doing them.  I feel stress when I am not.  The past 3 days I feel less stress about that, because it isn’t possible.  I am going to make it impossible all the time :).  I am determined to set up a time that I do work, and stick to it.  There will have to be flexibility, my job is kind of all over… kids schools, workout, meetings for Maddie’s Mark, playground stuff, articles that are due, letters, setting up ‘best days ever’ and setting up and attending events.  It is a great and amazing and fulfilling job and life… but I want to see the life part more.  I will (and if you know me, and how I treat a challenge to myself then you know I will work hard) see more time and good and happy and easy and low stress and less work… I will.

There I go again, sharing a goal.  Now you get to help my stay in line and work on it… now you get to learn from my mistakes and look into your connected or disconnected lives and see what you love or hate or what to change or need to stay the same… opportunity to live better, deeper, happier, more fulfilling and more attainable.

 

A little wake up call…

Yesterday I lost my phone. It is weird how it has impacted me- heavy and sad but also lighter and glad.  I know quite the spectrum… let me explain.

I was scared about the fact that someone had access to all of my information and some of my pictures that I can’t replace… even hurts to think that someone could steal my phone.  I always think I am surrounded by amazing people… and I am safe.  It is kind of heartbreaking to be reminded on mean and bad and unkind.  I don’t know for sure that it was stolen and pray that it turns up in a diaper bag or car or something… but the thought of someone taking it hurts.  It makes you realize how vulnerable we are… so much information was available and maybe looked at.  It also feels like I am missing something.  I lost another thing.  Which in the grand scheme of life is not an important thing, it isn’t a living thing… but it is a piece of me.  I feel naked and am reminded often how much I used it… as a watch, timer, time waster, planner, alarm clock, music player, white noise creator and many more things… not to mention a feeling of safety just to have.

On the flip side:

I don’t miss my phone.  I like not being reached and the fact that I literally only checked my email for a few minutes and facebook to see if anyone had found my phone… it was liberating.  I have been thinking a lot to go to a phone/text only old school way of life for a while.  Maybe this is sign… maybe it is my motivator.  Along with those thoughts, my friend posted an article and I quickly read it.  It about sums up me lately… and life.  Not that I think it will be easy to refind a ‘happy’ given the loss and crazy we have had… but it could be a step in the direction.  So read this article and let me know what you think… I am going to work on it.  Maybe some of the hard behavior is a product of this crazy, messy and distracted world.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rachel-macy-stafford/taking-away-my-daughters-smile_b_4099438.html

 

The end of an era…

Today marked the end of an era in our grief journey… just after Madeline passed we were set up at Haven Schenectady for grief work.  Haven is a really different approach to families and people on the grieving journey.  Instead of counseling and giving advice and going ‘by the textbooks’… Haven is built on a Companionship Model.  It is exactly what we needed- my girls and I.  We needed someone to walk with us and listen… someone to share their experiences… someone to be there.  I think in our experience the neighbor-helping-neighbor was such a positive impact for us.  My girls loved meeting with their Art Therapist.  She worked with them, encouraged them and supported them.  Sometimes it was just a happy afternoon activity doing art and music and play… other times she helped and recognized feelings that were exhibited during play.  It helped me, it helped them.  My counselor became, to me, one of my people… an important part of my week.  I could feel the difference of a week off, when we couldn’t meet.  I could feel the ‘pent up’ heavy… that I needed to share and talk about.  She helped me see bits of me, changes in me and listened to my crazy.  I will miss our Wednesday afternoon meetings, more than most can comprehend.

I feel like we are losing another person in a way… all of this loss piles up.  All of the hard and heavy can really wear on a person.  I am sick of missing things and people.  I miss looking forward to certain things and having them work out and be right.  I know, just as I know that I will be ok, that we will find a niche in a new ‘Haven’ or safe space.  I will say that our Haven can never be replaced though.  I believe we were brought together with Haven and our companions at just the right moment… I don’t know if I am ready to lose them.  I guess I don’t get to choose… I will carry those angels with me forever, I know the girls will too.  Our Wednesday afternoons with Villa Italia Gelato dates are over… but I wont forget them.  Some weeks those were our very best days.

Check out Haven of Schenectady and if you happen to know a group who could save them and their program- contact me or them…

http://www.havenofschdy.org/

Ronan, you little Spicy Monkey. This is for you and all the other kids who deserve better. Thank you, SpiritHoods for being such an amazing company.

This video is so raw and real… I never had a spicy monkey… only a lovely, rule-abiding citizen… my Madeline. I was so happy to wake up and see that they sold out of this furry spirit hood created to honor and share her Ronan- Childhood Cancer be warned… big things are going to change. Maya and her warriors are taking care of business… we are working hard here with our ‘herd’ and coalition and sharing and spreading and fundraising… big things to come. BIG THINGS.

ROCKSTAR RONAN

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My lil singer…

music

So I always hope that one of my girls will be a doctor… and I think God made Madeline that way.  I still hold out for a doctor- I so badly wanted to be a doctor when I grew up.  I think Amelia is going to be a singer or something… that girl has been singing, humming, whispering, making beats and creating noises since she was little.  This weekend she not only met an up-and-coming Country Star but she got herself her first guitar and microphone set… and the singing, playing, performing and practicing sounds in the mic have only stopped when she is at school.  I have no idea if she will grow to be famous, I only want her happy.  I know that she is happy, content and concentrating best when making music or noise.

I wonder if this will be a way for her to share Madeline or if that is thinking too big.  I wonder if it will be her outlet, as she grows and changes.  I wonder if she will stick with it and carry her love and skill into her future.  I wonder what she will love to sing and perform as she grows…

A random thought and way to remember the ‘when’ in case she becomes the next Taylor Swift… have a lovely night, mine will be full of loud and lovely singing and a crazy girl practicing humming into the mic (very annoying sound)…

A non-running-run-high… let me explain

Running on my high today… from a great weekend.  This weekend was just what we needed… a happy, bright, full, busy, loud and fun weekend.  This weekend was our Maddie’s Mark 5k… and it was AWESOME.  It was a big, family-filled day… kids running, playing and enjoy… adults getting their feet moving to make good 5k times… it was a-freakin’-mazin’… I don’t know how many runners we had, I don’t know how much the race raised for ‘best days ever’… but I know that I am sooo sooo proud of our crew, our family and our herd.  The sun was out, the cool fall air was around and everyone was happy.  Many of my family travelled down and up and over… the organizers were so darn organized!  I loved yesterday.  Amelia and Lucy and Matthew were lighter and happier all day… not to mention that a local (up and coming) Country Star came to serenade our herd… and Amelia was glowing.  She didn’t stop singing yesterday until her eyes finally closed on a bed full of her favorite cousins… (thank you Chelsea Cavanaugh-http://chelseacavanaugh.bandcamp.com/)

We came home to hang out and barbeque and celebrate Amelia and My little sister Molly’s upcoming birthdays… we had a long afternoon into evening bon fire… we had a cramped kitchen filled with sisters running into each other prepping food, washing dishes and talking tons.  We had tired kids resting for a bit, girls running around in high heels being doctors or singers or whatever… we had the normal crazy that comes with my family and Matthew’s combining.  It was a welcome loud… I haven’t had a house full of people to feed and enjoy in a long time… and they spoil me.  When my sisters are here I am gifted a quiet sit while they bathe my girls, or feed them… it is a welcome treat.

Everyone asks me how I am so strong, people wonder how I can get through this… I don’t know the answer.  I don’t think we are getting through this, I don’t see me as strong, I don’t see us as crazy strong… I honestly believe that it is my herd… my big crazy family… our many diversions… our adventures… Maddie’s Mark events that show me so many are carrying her, sharing her and living with her on their hearts and brains… I believe that God set this up for us.  I believe He helped us find and create our safety net… I believe He keeps us moving even when we don’t want to.  I believe He has some big jobs for us- especially our girls.

Today I feel refreshed and ready to start the week.  Tomorrow is Monday… and my house is a disaster… but this weekend was worth it.

Thank you ‘herd’.  Thank you God.  Thank you Madeline.

5 good things.

Darnit… sat down to blog and can’t think of a darn good or positive thing to say. So you know what that means… assess and looks back at my day- and write 5 good things from today.  Looking back at today I can definitely and quickly see 5 good things- maybe even 10!  So here goes

  1. I woke up with my girls in my house, happy and watching Arthur… drinking juice and getting ready with no fights, arguments or melt downs… just a normal’ish’ morning in our house.
  2. I got to see Amelia’s Morning Program and see her big beaming dimples and gap in her teeth- all excited and bright and glad to see me… I was happy that Matthew made it… and while there I had a memory of Madeline’s one and only Morning program.  I remembered her going up on stage at VIP and when it was her turn she spoke into the microphone and introduced herself and me to the crowd.  I was so proud.  It was so out of character for her to stand up and speak in public (many preschool concerts and MOPS plays gave me a good idea she would freeze and smile but not sing or talk… ).
  3. I left Morning Program and went for a short run with my friend Amanda (who doesn’t usually run) and catch up with her.  Thankfully Lucy was in good hands because I was 1/2 an hour late for preschool pickup!!!  It felt good to talk about EVERYTHING… not just the problems and hards… but the funny stuff, the serious stuff and the messy stuff.
  4. I had counseling today at Haven… and it is my second to last session before they close their doors.  It makes me so sad to think that this amazing grief only counseling group will be gone, but I am thankful for the bonds and the help and the listening and the quiet and the peace they have provided my girls and I in the past 18 months.  I don’t know what we will do with our Wednesday afternoons… I am trying to not think and dwell on the fact that I am losing another important part of our lives…
  5. The girls we really good and happy tonight.  I can’t wait to sit and snuggle and watch a movie in a few.  They drive me nuts, make me laugh, make me cry, make me want to stay, make me want to run away… they are my world.  Those girls continue to keep this crazy, heavy and confused lady afloat in this messy and hard world we call ‘home’.  I am so thankful to them… I hope they understand that someday…

So there.  A positive spin on a day that kind of made me sad… but ok… and a little happy.  Good night all…

 

 

Once upon a time…

Once upon a time there lived an girl who met a boy… the story goes like normal and crazy… and bada-bing-bada-boom… that boy and girl end up with three little lovelies, a dog, a house, a normal stressful life and a catastrophe.

I used to get it. I used to know. Now a days I am a pile of uncertainty. Do I want this, do I love him? Can I do this, will we make it? Will I survive to bedtime, will tomorrow feel better? Sometimes it is unfortunate that I just ‘survive’ to bedtime… and I didn’t live more or better… What a stupid life to just get by. What would it be like to feel alive again? It has been forever. It has been forever since I have gone out, gone on a date, seen a comedy show, laughed until my stomach hurt and I cried… it has been a lifetime, at least. I am a broken record, in a way, going around and skipping parts and repeating parts. Which should I repeat, which should I erase… which should I change and carry with me? I am tired and burnt out and just confused. What is the right way or the right answer… I ask all of the time. I feel far from God right now though, and far from Mads. I don’t really know why that is. Have I kind of found her in things? Am I fighting opening up? Do I wonder why everything keeps getting crazy and complicated? I think all of the above.

I struggle very much lately with knowing the direction to go with Matthew… to move forward or just move on. I know, I know so many have words of encouragement and advice… but I don’t need them. I need you to pray that God will guide me. That in my moments of real uncertainty He will help me find him again. I need you to pray I am smart enough to go the right way, kinder in my mad and that I am more patient. I need you to pray that I can look into to tomorrow, just tomorrow, and know that I have gone the right way. I need you to pray that I find Him again… That I am sure again. I miss her. Life without Madeline isn’t real. Life working and trying and fighting with Matthew in this is killing me. It drains me of so much… I was so sure God made him for me… to make a Maddie and a Meme and a Lucy… and right now it feels like it isn’t true. I might not be. Pray that He guides me the way that is right and best… that I can be brave and follow. Then stand back, keep praying and smile when He guides us and we know… even if it isn’t the way I planned…