August 19, 2014

August 18, 2014

Happy Days

Days 46 - 60.  Click through to see descriptions.

Day 46 - Happy to Have My Food Scale Again Day 47 - Finding That T2 Took Pictures While M and C Were Over Day 48 - Wearing My Dorm T-Shirt Day 49 - Sister Time Day 50 - FINALLY Getting To Meet Wendy IRL Day 51 - She Wore My Shawl Day 52 - Happy Meatloaf Day 53 - Built The Cubey Thing Day 54 - SUCCESS on First Half Day 55 - THIS Guy Day 56 - Hanging With T2Day 57 - Birthday Gift Day 58 - Sonoma Sunset Day 59 - Happy T2 Found The Ant Bait Day 60 - Hubby Took Me to The ER

Life Gets in The Way

My apologies for the unintended hiatus.  Sometimes, life gets in the way.  This time around, it came in the form of these two things (among the regular, smaller stuff):

Day 60 - Hubby Took Me to The ER
Cut my finger VERY badly, having to go to
the ER to get stitches.  After that, the wound
got infected.  The infection was SO bad that
the first oral antibiotic my doc prescribed didn't
work, so she ended up prescribing a second.
Yes, 10+ days of taking two antibiotics at once.
I ate a LOT of yogurt.
Day 76 - First Day of School
School started last Wednesday!

July 31, 2014


Today marks a pivotal moment in the life of our family:  10 years ago, at 1:20 in the morning, our son Paul passed away.  As you know if you know me IRL or have been reading for a while, this was not an unexpected thing.  

Since ten years is rather a significant milestone, I expected today to be terrible.  So far, the anticipation was far worse than the reality, just like with his birthday.

As I reflect today, I'd like to focus on the positive.  YES, there WAS, indeed, positive through the whole long experience, from "HOW am I pregnant?!" through the interment. If I forget something or someone, please know it's a fault of middle-aged memory or incomplete record-keeping, not an intentional slight.

As I go through the little notebook I kept while I was in the hospital, I am grateful for those who visited me during my 19-day stay:
  • Mom and Dad
    • flowers
    • books
    • magazines
    • headbands
    • nail polish remover
  • Christa
  • my girls
  • Lilian
    • flowers
  • Rick, Adriana, and Jesse
  • Diane (who was pregnant at the time; THAT had to be hard!)
    • magazines
    • a flowering plant
  • Patty
    • Kleenex
    • back scratcher (stupid morphine!)
    • Life Savers
    • a pen
    • a notebook (wherein I recorded...all of this!)
    • slippers
    • a little blue teddy bear for Paul, which T2 has to this day
  • Jeanne and Genna
    • beautiful white 0-3m outfit for Paul
  • Eva
    • magazines
  • Chi-Chi
  • Toni
    • magazines
    • snacks
  • Rich and Antonette
    • flowers
  • Robin
  • Bobbi
    • film
    • neck pillow thing
    • buckwheat "hot water bottle"
  • Erica (was *very* pregnant!)
  • Paula
  • Kerry
    • flowers
    • Kerry was with me the one time I got to see Paul with his eyes open!
  • Jennie
    • lotion
    • cherries
    • peaches
  • Juan and Jovita
    • mystery novel
  • Uncle Barney and Aunt Becky
    • prayed with us!
  • Al
  • Uncle Eddie and Aunt Simona
  • Lino and Viesha

There were people who brought meals to my home when I was in the hospital:
  • Michelle
  • Shelley
  • Jennie (ice creams for the kids!)
  • Evelt
  • Anita
  • Erica
Ruthie (my MIL) had roses and a snack care package sent to me.

My sister and sisters-in-law made sure my girls were well cared-for while I was unable to take care of them.  Christa even came and stayed with them at our house so that they could have some sense of normalcy.

My Aunt Ame's stepdaughter Mariesa was a great help with all kinds of information and support that would have proved invaluable, had Paul lived.

Paul himself had many visitors; we couldn't fit all the names we wanted on the "authorized visitors" card at the NICU!

The day Paul died, we had a number of visitors supporting us, some of whom stayed for many hours, some even until the very end in the wee hours of the morning:
  • Mom and Dad
  • Christa
  • the girls
  • Grandma Ruthie (She arrived from the airport around 11pm.)
  • Rick and Adriana
  • Mike and Diane
  • Uncle Jimmy and Auntie Velia
  • Cousin Tammy
  • Mike Amodeo (Came by twice that day!)
  • Rich Hua
  • Gordon and Fiona
  • Mark and Bobbi

Over 100 people attended the memorial service BBQ (I have a list!).

I could go on and on about all the friends we've made through the neonatal death support group, the people we've bonded with as we've been able to empathize with their losses, the people who remember *every* year, the people who fasted for Paul while he was alive, those who have surprised me with their encouragement, but this is enough for today.

Thank you.  Thank you all.  Your support and love have been so important.

As I reflect on this milestone, I thank God for all that our family has learned from what we experienced.  While I would never wish such an experience on my worst enemy, and I would never have signed up for the pain, each good thing that has come from it lifts the burden a bit and makes the pain more bearable.  I can actually say (well, right this minute; who knows about an hour from now) that I am grateful for it all because, otherwise, the four of us would not be who we are today.

I leave you with a picture I took on July 31, 2006 of The Pieta.  The sculpture never meant a lot to me before, but seeing it IRL on the two-year anniversary of Paul's "Angel Day", it kicked me in the gut.  I know what it feels like to hold your dead son in your arms.  I know something of her pain and the love she must have felt.

July 23, 2014

How Did They Know?

I think Bowling For Soup were following me around or something when they wrote "1985".  I mean...SERIOUSLY:

BTW, is it just me or does the woman in this video REALLY look like Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia from "Buffy" and "Angel")?

July 16, 2014

Polite Quasi-Rant

Dear Madame Job Coach at [name withheld] Where I Bought Groceries Yesterday,

I'm sorry that you weren't having a great day yesterday.  Every job has its boring/onerous/aggravating/crazy-making moments, including yours.  Just in case you didn't quite catch what I was trying to say to you while I was in the checkout line, I thought I'd expand on it today:

Thank you for doing your job.  Yes, the young man you were supervising used "too many bags" for my items.  So what?  I had plenty, and I really didn't mind (the smile on my face the whole time I was in line should have given you a hint of this).  In the grand scheme of life or even the smaller moment of my day, it doesn't matter, especially since I had so many.  Perhaps I caught you at a bad moment, but your apparent attitude about your job concerned me.  Please take a step back and remember how important your job is.  That young man may or may not have been in an appropriate job for him; I really don't know.  He was, however, at a job, trying to become an independent, contributing member of society.  That is a big deal.   On top of that, he appeared to be enjoying what he was doing.  The cashier certainly didn't seem to mind his being there.  As I told you, I am old enough to remember a time when there were no job coaches for special needs teens and adults.  In those days, that young man might have had to stay dependent on others his whole life.  With your program, he has a much greater chance of becoming independent, able to fend for himself, as do many of my friends' kids.  What you do is important.  It is a good thing.  Please remember that.  I hope your day today is as bright and happy as your yellow blouse was yesterday.  I will remember you as I eat my blueberries, and I'll pray that young man finds exactly the right job.


The Lady in The White Baseball Cap

July 14, 2014

Paul's 10th Birthday

As long-time readers know, Saturday was our son Paul's 10th birthday.  I'm actually really glad we were off camping that day.  At home, I probably would have sat around, having a pity party or torturing myself by going through my "Paul Box" alone or something.  Being with a bunch of other parents, most of whom Andrew and I have known since before we were married, made it easier because they "get it".

Per a genius suggestion from our friend Jovita, we got a small gift for each of the girls, something we knew they wanted (thank you, Amazon wish list!).  At breakfast, we gave them their presents in Paul's honor, since we weren't having a birthday party for him and giving him presents.

We talked about how grateful we are for the girls, how proud we are of them, and told them that we wanted them to know that Paul's not somehow more special to us because he died.  Yes, our memories of him are extra special, but that's because they are the only memories we'll ever get with him; we get to make new memories with them every day, like laughing at each other at night in the RV for farting, etc.

I read this:

Psalm 127:3-5The Message (MSG)

3-5 Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?
    the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows
    are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
    with your quivers full of children!
Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you;
    you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep.

and talked about how firmly convinced I am that we get the children we need to have.  These girls help us so much all the time, and we're glad they know it's OK to point out our weaknesses, tell us how they feel, etc.

Paul came up in conversation several times over the weekend, and each conversation left me feeling really loved andsupported.

I really thought I was going to get through the day without even puddling up - hey, birthdays are happy, right?  Then, most of the kids on the trip showed up at the door of the RV Saturday night, carrying an orange with a birthday candle in it.  They sang "Happy Birthday" to Paul, then each gave me a great big hug.  Wow!  

Day 44 - Happy Birthday Orange For Paul