The year

20046363_10212839302404930_6975913862859050101_nA year has now come and gone since my first baby girl went to Heaven.  How do I feel?  Hurt, angry, sad…all of the same emotions I felt from the beginning.  Grief isn’t in some linear pattern, but a roller coaster of up and down days.  You can measure if you are doing better by how many more up days there are in between down days.

Grief is described as waves in the ocean, roller coaster rides, or even aftershocks after a huge earthquake.

I spent the day with friends and family.  Only about an hour alone at the cemetery.  I know most people that know me think this was the best plan, because I scare them when I spend too much time alone.

Now, I understand why other grieving mothers have told me the second year is the worst.  You’ve survived all the firsts.  Now what? It’s like there’s nothing left to do, but be alone in our grief.

I haven’t entered her room or watched home movies.  Two things I desperately want to do, but can’t seem to get there.  I’d love to just curl up in her bed with her blanket she carried everywhere with her (I put a piece of it in her hand).  I want to lie in her bed and smell her blanket and cry and scream.  But, I don’t.  I want to see and hear her from when she was a baby.  Her laugh and beautiful smile.  All of the Christmas’ and birthdays captured in color.

Tomorrow will be the anniversary of the visitation.  The last day I had her truly to myself while hugging her and doing her hair, make-up, and nails.  She would be so proud, because she laughed when I promised to do it.  I was brave.

One year.

❤ y’all

Debbi

Testimony

It’s brought up up recently if I’m truly ready to give or share my testimony. My relationship with Jesus, my life’s events, and how I got to the place I am today. 

There’s a lot to try and sum up in just 20 to 30 minutes. My testimony is really mine and Dallas’s story. I wouldn’t be where I am today had it not been for my beautiful baby girl. 

Typical childhood for the 70’s, typical high school days in the 80’s, a failed 2x marriage with 2 children, a 10 year relationship and short lived marriage with 1 child, and then it really began to fall apart. 

That’s about all I can get through this afternoon as once again my heart has been broken. Broken because I need to feel loved so badly, I let the emotions get way too involved. I feel strongly about them, but I’m just a fun time. 

Yesterday…

It started out a little rough.  I never even knew the Sunday before Mother’s Day was designated for moms who had lost a child.  I mean why would anyone know about this day until sadly, they were in this situation.  I knew I would be dreading this Sunday.  How do you really celebrate Mother’s Day when one of your children is gone?  I will do my best, because my mom is still here and so are my other 3 children.

After lunch, I was able to go hand out the bags my friends and I made for the homeless.  a little late for her birthday, but the weather kept us from doing it until now.  My new friend, Amanda, went with me.  She is a recovering addict and at one time was homeless herself.  I would’ve never been able to do this on my own.  It was very rewarding.  Some people were so grateful and continued to thank and bless us as we walked away.  Others were kind of standoffish and I understand it’s hard to trust anyone on the streets.  Only about 2 men were kind of ungrateful and wanted more from us.  This will definitely be an annual or more event for me.  Dallas would be proud.

After getting home, the girls swam in our new pool and just enjoyed themselves.  I watched them laugh and thought how blessed (spoiled) we really are.  Those men don’t know where their next meal is coming from and yet here we are enjoying more than we really ever need.  Serving others and giving back is a new way of life for me.

As the night came to a close, my son (he just graduated with a bachelor’s in psychology) came out to enjoy some family time.  He makes me so proud and I can’t wait for what is in store for him in the future.  He will be returning to school to pursue his Ph.D in the fall.

I am truly blessed and vow to never take anything for granted again.  God is good all the time, and all the time….

❤ y’all

Debbi

Blessing Bags

I thought of many things I’d love to do to honor Dallas on her birthday.  I decided to make blessing bags for the homeless.  I posted online hoping for donations and the outpouring of love was tremendous.

I had a friend who worked for a hotel bring me boxes and boxes of supplies.  I had a good friend at my Celebrate Recovery make up her own bags to go with mine with snacks.  The National Honor Society at the high school where I teach brought in items, too.  Just so much love for the homeless and for Dallas’s memory.

The bags were put together on a Friday night with some of my wonderful friends at Celebrate Recovery.  Some of them had never even met me, but was more than happy to help.

I have more than 100 bags put together waiting to be handed out.  It’s rained the last 2 weekends, so I’m waiting for a nicer day to hand them out.  I will more than likely have the girls with me, so I may end up taking them all to the Union Mission in downtown.  I’d love to meet some of the people who will benefit from other’s generosity, but if I don’t that’s totally okay, too.

❤ y’all

Debbi

Dallas’s birthday

You know how when you have a baby, you imagine all the milestones in their life.  Walking, school, driving, sweet 16, turning 21, etc…Now the milestones past sweet 16 are gone for Dallas.  She will forever be frozen in time at 20.  No more pictures of her as a 30 year old with children, in mid-life with her own grandchildren, or growing old with the love of her life.  Those were stolen from her by addiction.

I debated on what I would do for her birthday.  Do you try to suck it up and celebrate their life and the good times?  Do you cry all day in a ball in the bed?  Do you sit at the cemetery and stare at the headstone?  So many choices, and a milestone birthday.

In the end, I took the advice of another grieving mom and decided to celebrate.  The date of her passing will never be a celebration, but her birth and coming into the world forever changing mine would be as happy as I could muster.  I think as years pass this may become easier.

I took the day off work and began with breakfast at Chick-Fil-A, one of her favorite fast food places.  I then went to a party store for balloons and decorations for the cemetery.  This is where I finally let the tears of months flow.  Later, I felt so sorry for the workers.  What must they have thought about a mom sobbing on the happy 21st birthday aisle.  I couldn’t even gather myself to explain why.  This should of been a happy celebration.

I carried yellow (her favorite color) balloons, a big Happy 21st Birthday balloon, and a colorful centerpiece that was weighted down.  I decorated with the tears finally drying up.  I sat on her bench in the shade of the big trees and talked to her for a while.  Letting her know how proud I was for all the struggles she put up against this evil drug.  I thought about all of the pain she endured through 3 surgeries, two of them being major open heart surgeries.  I played my new favorite contemporary Christian songs and read a book I had brought along.  I ended up there for almost 3 hours.  It was so quiet and peaceful.  I then went and ate at Arby’s.  The place I ate at so many times in CA while pregnant with her. (She hated Arby’s by the way) Yes, my memories revolve around eating a lot of times.

That night I had invited several of my “new” friends that are a huge support to me.  We met at her favorite restaurant, Texas Roadhouse.  I had let Madelyn pick out a birthday cake for her Mommy in the sky.  We all ate and visited and then it was time to sing.  Her baby girl did a great job singing to Mommy.  We ate cake and laughed.


I hope Dallas enjoyed her birthday in Heaven and I’m sure it was so much better than here on this cruel Earth.  I know she would be proud of how we celebrated her life here with us, too.

❤ y’all

 
Debbi

No one understands 

I try sharing things on FB hoping to educate people on addiction and mental illness. It just doesn’t seem to be helping anyone. 

I posted the video of the men running for mayor of various cities in our county. Their answers concerning addiction shocked, saddened, and infuriated me. 

Many believe that they can’t be held responsible for their words when they are obviously uneducated on the subject. I’m sorry, but that’s a copout. Our county has the highest overdose are in the state. They should take it upon themselves to educate and fins out more about such an important issue. Government isn’t just about out roads, taxes, and parks. 

One went as far as to say it’s all on the parents. I felt taken aback to the shame about bound guilt of having an addicted daughter. How dare he even infer such a thing? It’s like a punch in the gut and slap to the face of parents everywhere struggling with trying to help, but not enable their addicted children. 

I was hoping to let others know how still uneducated and bias the public is on this subject. It went unnoticed. 

What can anyone do when no listens or cares or without the backing of others?

❤ y’all 

Debbi

It’s been a while….

I feel like I’ve somehow lost my voice.  Not that I don’t have lots of things to write about and more things still going round and round in my head.

I keep telling myself how much better I felt when I was writing my emotions down on this blog, but just like with exercise; you need to get back in the routine and starting is the hardest part.

I am still attending my celebrate recovery meetings on Friday nights, but no longer do my step study.  I stopped and felt I needed to focus more on my grief than the step process right then.

I continue to go to therapy, but can make it longer betweens visits.  I am trying to rely more on my own coping skills vs. needing to vent or cry or talk to someone else about things every week.

I have begun going to a grief support group once a week, and I have made wonderful friends that understand.  An outgrowth of going to that meeting has led me to being included in a newly formed group to help addicts and their families.  A grass roots, down in the trenches group made to be with families and their loved ones through the whole journey.

I’m busy with the girls activities: soccer, dance, t-ball, school programs, etc…

Still trying my hand at on-line dating although this has really gone by the way-side.  I honestly don’t know if there is a man on Earth that can handle my kids and me and what we are going through.  Guys my age want to be spontaneous and go out or travel at a moment’s notice.  That will never be my life.

I am still obsessed with the book and movie, “The Shack”.  I have watched it online and it will be officially released May 30 on DVD.  I have bought other books written by the author and also a study guide book to go along with the story.  My favorite is the daily reflections book that has a quote and explanation from the book/movie for every day of the year.

Hope to get back to posting often.  I’ve missed y’all.

Debbi

The first days after the surgery

Those days all ran together.  She successfully had 2 valves (mitral and tricuspid) replaced with tissue valves.  The doctor had told us he would not use mechanical valves, because he didn’t want her to be on blood thinner the rest of her life.  Her lungs were those of a 50 year old the doctor told us.  She had a temporary pacemaker placed and would have a permanent one soon. I had prayed she would not need the pacemaker, but the electrical nodes of her heart were so damaged, she had little to no conduction on her own without the pacemaker.

The ventilator became an issue also.  She had been on it too long.  It would begin affecting your throat and vocal cords.  They began taking her off the sedation medications the 1st day after surgery (December 16).  They took her down to only morphine, and they told me she was going to be in pain.  Hard to ever see one of your children in pain.  They left her off the meds for 2 hours at a time.  Her respiration rate kept rising and she was having way too much trouble.  They turned it back on and let her rest.  They performed the trach the next afternoon (December 17) and also lessened her medications.  By the 6 pm visit, she was somewhat awake and able to move her mouth (a smile maybe?).  By the 10 pm visit, she was much more awake and I began trying to explain what was happening and she was so confused.  Looking into her beautiful green eyes full of pain and confusion were almost too much to handle.  Leaving her like that was heartbreaking.  She had come to the hospital for pain meds for her legs and now I would have to explain to my 18 year old everything she had been through.

She was getting tube feedings and had one chest tube left to remove.  The kidney function was good, too.  God is good all the time.  We now had to wait for chest x-rays and blood culture results and hope they came back negative and the antibiotics were working.  The permanent pacemaker and wounds on her foot would be the next thing we would battle.

❤ y’all

Debbi

 

Huge black hole….

That’s where I’ve been, the huge black hole of depression.  Those that suffer from severe acute depression know that place well, unfortunately.  It’s a slippery slope from making through each day to waking up under the black cloud of sadness.  I’ve dealt with this so long, I know when I’m beginning to slide; however, I can’t seem to stop it.  The dishes don’t get done, dinner is fast food, laundry piles up, and so does the dog hair.

I’m coming out of the fog, and I feel like better days may lie ahead.  Not good days, but better than the last couple of months.

The holidays were hard.  Indescribably hard.  The fact that I almost lost her at the holidays and I knew when her last holidays would be then missing her at the first holidays without her.  I didn’t feel like writing, talking to others, celebrating, or much of anything else.  I wanted to eat and sleep (my 2 new vices).

Slowly, I have moved on from the sad holidays and began a new routine for the new semester at work and new school for Madelyn.  So many things I want to write about, but I will alternate between catching back up with that horrible time in the hospital to just daily struggles or triumphs.

I’ve missed getting my thoughts out and I know now it is a huge help in dealing with my grief, depression, and anxiety.

❤ y’all

Debbi