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

Dear Dallas,

Today is 6 months (184 days) since you went to sleep and woke up with God. Thank you so much for letting me know that.  The peace that gives me is unmeasurable.  The worry i had of you suffering and needing me was killing me. Of course, it’s been more than 6 months since I’ve heard your voice, hugged you, argued with you :), watched you with Madelyn. My heart being broken is an understatement.

I miss you so much it physically hurts. At times, when I think about you not being here, it takes my breath away. 

Madelyn is growing up so fast.  She asks about you all the time and wants to call you on the phone.  I try not to cry when she asks me to talk to you on the phone. She’s taking dance now and reminds me so much of you.  Just a dancing diva. She’s started at her new school and is learning so much.  Just like you said, she’s writing letters to you.  Her teacher says she is a social butterfly and has never met a stranger.  Sounds so familiar.

Delanie is doing okay, but I know she struggles with missing you.  She is scared of failing the 3rd grade, but reads on a 9th grade level.  You’d be so proud. Everything is such a dramatic event with her.  Not much has changed there.  She talks about you every time we see owls or gummy bears or a giraffe.  Remember that huge bag of gummy bears we bought online?  I don’t know how either of you kept from getting sick. 

Danny is going to graduate in May and just like you promised, I know you’ll be there.  I gave him your love, too. You should see him interact with Madelyn. He’s so funny and sweet to her. He calls her “kid”.  She just laughs. He and Delanie don’t see eye to eye on things, but I think it’s because they’re so much alike. 

I’m not really doing so well.  I try very hard.  I don’t cry in front of the girls and I hold it together at work every day.  You would be proud of me. I fake it pretty well. I smile and say I’m okay when people ask. I cry in the shower or late at night. I think about how close we were when you were little. Cheering, shopping, birthday parties. I always thought I had time.  More time. So much time for us to become best friends. You always said you’d be the one taking care of me when I got old. Now who will?Losing you has changed me. I’ll never be the same person I was and that makes me sad. Madelyn and Delanie deserve a happy carefree mom, but I just can’t fake it that much. 

That is all for now. I know you enjoy reading my blog, you told me so. I will write more soon. Tell my Daddy I love him. 

I love you my baby girl. 

Mommy

Surgery Day

I took a few weeks off during the holidays, so now back to Dallas’s story. 

I got to see Dallas for a few minutes the morning of her surgery. Very hard to do knowing she had a very small chance of even making it off the heart/lung machine. The surgeon had asked if I had any questions before the surgery. I had thought all night about what I wanted to know most. I asked if he had children. Indeed, he did. A daughter about Dallas’s age. I asked if he believed in God. Yes, he did. Both of those answers gave me peace. 

They promised to keep me updated through each step. There was a young man that I had watched come in and out of ICU every day updating families. I had memorized his speech. It really didn’t vary from patient to patient. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very nice the first time he’d come around to tell me something. I profusely apologized and was much kinder with each update. The surgery seemed to take forever. Time stood still. 

When he finally came to tell me she had made it off the machine, and they were finishing up, I finally let the tears flow. It’s like I let out a huge breath I had been holding for 10 days. I finally let my fear out and collapsed with exhaustion. 

It would be hours of course before I could see her again. They did replace 2 valves and had to give her a temporary pacemaker. A permanent one would be inserted at a later date. 

She had made it through the toughest part. A miracle from God. My miracle baby girl!

❤ y’all 

Debbi