Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Ripple Effects...

Ripple Effects...I would've never foresaw all the many different ripple effects that would happen due to loss and the grief that follows. How everything changes..your thoughts, feelings, how you react. With losing Nathan my whole perspective of life has changed. One thing I can think of that has been on my mind lately is Nicholas. He's every bit like his brother. He's funny, witty, loving, even has just as tender heart as Nathan did. In fact I was just thinking yesterday...When I found out I was having him I think I looked at the ultrasound tech and said are you sure there's a boy in there? Clear as day it was just so....LOL if you get what I'm saying...So on the day my sweet Nicholas was born it was one of different emotions I so wanted a baby girl, but Heavenly Father was sending me another son to love and care for. Little did I know at the time he had a bigger plan. If many of you didn't get a chance to know my Nathan, you didn't get a chance to see how babies just went to him. It was a special gift that I think Heavenly Father gave to him. We would be in church and if there was babies or little ones behind us they would raise there hands to him and wanted to have his undivided attention wanting to go to him. His face would just light up and he wanted to have them in his lap just as much as these little ones wanted to be held. It is just something special that he has always had. Nick was no exception. From day one these two bonded as brothers and best friends. Watching them together was the most amazing thing I have ever witnessed as a mother. I was a witness to over hearing them in bed many nights laughing and playing in bed when they were supposed to be sleeping as they shared a bed up until the day Nathan passed. Nathan was the protector..i think mainly Nathan's size kept the bullies away. Nathan was my gentle giant. As I celebrated Nick's 7th b-day yesterday I've honestly feared this day. As I replay Nathan's last yr of his life. His 7th b-day. With the boys so much alike its been so surreal. So you ask whats the ripple effect of my having had my sweet Nicholas? I now live in constant fear that I'll lose Nick at 8. I constantly worry I'm only going to be given 8 yrs with my baby. This fear is one ripple effect of having lost a child. A mother lives in fear that history will repeat itself with her younger children. I constantly make sure I'm remembering things and taking pics of him so if he passes I have memories to hold on too. I didn't get enough of Nathan so I can't make that mistake again. I try and make mental note of his smile, laugh, how his eyes light up, the funny things he says, but I also know that if I was to lose him that with time these memories fade and things will again change. As I'm going through this now. I'm not sure I can survive the loss of another child. But I can tell you...that I'm not sure there is much else this life can hit me with that will surprise me...The death of a child is something no parent expects to have to live with or handle. When it happens...its like being dealt a total different hand of cards. Looking at them thinking what just happened now what do I do with these? Its a different reality you hear about but only a slim few will ever have to experience. It puts grief the center part of your life..what is it and what does it mean? Loss puts one thing into motion...CHANGE! Big or small it happens. My ripple effects have been losing friends, living in fear, it has even forced a change in myself. I see and feel differently about a lot of things now. I know now life's to short to not be doing what you love and being happy. Whatever that is...Now apart of this reflection of Nicks b-day yesterday is its possible I got sent another son because Heavenly Father's plan included me losing one. I got sent this beautiful baby that has SO many similarities of his brother. From the meds they take for there ADHD, to the video games they play, to the books they like, to how they walk and run exactly the same. To the cow lick they both have. I can almost see Nathan smiling back at me when Nick smiles at me. Its indeed a blessing and in a way its own curse because I sometimes have to disconnect from Nathan's memories to enjoy my other son. Ripple effects just happen and we can never know exactly what they will be. Our family has had so many this past year. The kids are doing well right now. They are spending the summer with Geoff and enjoying summer vacations and spending a lot of quality time with there dad. Natalie is getting taller and turning into quite the young women. She's so brave and I see her doing amazing things. Nick is getting taller and turning into quite the young man. He went to scout camp this summer and has so enjoyed doing things with them. He's big into legos and he is using such big words right now...he cracks me up cause I'm not sure he really understands half the words he uses, but he indeed is very intellectual..LOL! With all the change comes a strength each of us has had to find....and we are living proof that you can and will find it even when it doesn't seem like it's at all possible.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Taking Power Back

Well its been awhile to say the least....I guess I have a ton of catching up to in how the months have come and gone. We're nearing upon 8 months since Nathan's death. Can u believe 8 months? His headstone will be and delivered on the March 2 so what a great b-day present for him. Since he'll be 9 on the 22nd I'm still trying to decide if I'll go to the cemetery any or if I'll just stay home. I'll be taking the day off of work for sure that day. I started a job in early December so I work FT M-F 7-3. The jobs not the greatest but I'm making money and keeping out of the house so that's a plus. Still looking for my fit in this world with a job. I imagine I'll try my hand going back to school soon. Possibly online courses. I'm seeing really quick I need to complete my degree. The kids are adjusting well to my working FT. I'm just tired a lot more but my spirits are better. I'm finding that work can be a blessing and a course. I've broken down several times in fact. I'm an Assistant Administrator for a company that does direct care for 3 MHMR programs. My workplace is DT Austin at the old Ronald Mcdonald House....let me tell you...when Nathan was sick we stayed at the RMH in Dallas. The Army National Guard arranged for us to stay there. I have good/bad memories there. I stayed there while my son was dying etc...point here is the layout of the building at work is similar to the one in Dallas so I often walk through clients rooms and I have flashbacks to our stay in Dallas. I knew what was there in that building before now...When these flashbacks happen I literally stop breathing and tears fall. I can't stop it...So another reason why I have to find another job ASAP. So I find myself not enjoying going there. Being paid 10.50 an hr to torture myself with flashback memories is what it feels like some days. So I'm sure I have a little PTSD from Nathan's death. Our lives are moving forward as our minds stay in the past is hard thing to manage some days. The kids had an alright christmas. We stayed home and didn't go anywhere, but to the cemetery. I found the most beautiful flower arrangement to lay beautiful purple and silver..The kids stayed in the car the whole time while I got out and laid my arrangement. I'm hoping 2013 and with the headstone coming soon I find myself going there more. I want to be where he is...I mean that's all as mothers  we want really is to be near them. I panic sometimes still when I look and see 2 and not 3. Going to where he is really doesn't fill the void as one would think..Cause then I get sick at my stomach thinking of him being beneath me and not beside me holding him. Group has helped me tons. I've met some amazing people and we've connected on a level one never really hopes to connect with people, but if u ever have to make such connections my advice is reach out and go to all the groups for loss of a child u can...get your kids and go. Yes its awkward, hard, gut wrenching experience,but folks its also been the most healing. I've had some of my most strongest moments of realization sitting in group discussing things. Like...the death of my son took away my power, but I don't have to live powerless. I can get it back. But I have to TAKE it back. Everyone knows I hate my house. Its a limbo hell to live here. Feels like were waiting for him to come back and he never will. So moving out of here will be TAKING my power back. I made mention of this feeling in group and I swear it was eye opening to how many others could see and feel the same thing. So its all about TAKING your POWER back. The kids recently switched rooms upon the request of Nick wanting out so since he was ready to move out of his and Nathans room I made the change. I think its been good now Natalie can have a chance to feel of her brother. She misses him everyday. Just today she told me she found pics of Nathan from last xmas on my old camera. She felt guilty for going to my sisters and not spending xmas here at home. I hugged her and said if we could've kept him under lock and key and just soaked in every moment with him we would've but we didn't know. No one could've for seen this. For if we could've I would've surely spent every moment with him for the last 8 yrs and not shared him. Would've had a video camera on him 24/hrs a day just so I didn't loose any moments of the time he was here with me. So we can't feel guilt for things we didn't know. Sad of course, but not guilt. Our family is moving forward into what future no one but our Heavenly Father knows, but our Nathan is watching us and waiting for us to see what all he's doing and has done. What a joy that will be to see what wonders my son has seen...I sit here with tears gently falling just seeing him smile and saying "See Momma I'm doing it" Course you are sweet boy...for you were born to do great things..

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sickness and Restored Health

I know its been a long while since I've sat down to blog. Partly because I've tried to avoid how I'm doing. I guess that's due to the fact I somehow don't feel this is a safe place to be my most honest any longer and I wanted to wait until I felt safe here again. Dealing with how overwhelming this all is at times can be a test. As y'all know I've spent the past 16 days sick. Not being able to keep anything down everything going straight through me. I thought I had a virus the first 7 days then I suspected I had a bacteria I may have caught on my last 5K run I recently completed since a few of the obstacles where in NASTY pond water. Upon test results it revealed that I was just fine. Only left to the conclusion that Grief, Stress, and Emotional Distress caused my body to react this way. I lost 8lbs and almost became dehydrated and almost went to the ER for an IV. This was the first time anyone has been sick in this house since losing Nathan. I was literally stuck in this house for 16 days. I have never felt so suffocated my memories of my son in my life. The kids went to school leaving me alone to lay in bed. I wouldn't go into living room and sit on the love seat my son laid upon while being severely sick and dying. I couldn't walk by the kids bathroom where I spent some of his last moments with me. He was severely dehydrated and in a somewhat in and out of conscious state..eyes rolling back into his head almost passing out on me several times. And me saying "Nathan just stay with me." That phrase stays in my head and I laid in bed with it for 16 days. I wept many days cause I just needed to leave and my body couldn't. I started to hit a small depression knowing I needed to get out and not being able to as well as my body starving and wanting of all things chicken wings and Chili's Texas cheese fries, but was left with toast, water, and gatorade. Not being able to workout during this time killed my spirit to. Working out is more than a fitness routine for me. Its my stress relief, something I love and need daily. I'm indeed grateful for the friends who called and checked in with me, went to the store for me, and even bringing in a meal for my kids. No energy equaled no cooking so soup, sandwitches, and cereal was what was on the menu in our house. I can totally see how Grief can in time kill you. I say it like that because while your grieving your body is in such a deprivation state leaving your mental/emotional state to sink as well. Leaving your soul basically failing apart and over a course of time it could indeed kill you. At some point someone I think my mother suggest I get a preisthood blessing. I am at such a bypass with how I feel spiritually. The last time I asked for a blessing it was for my dying son. I honestly only had a pea size amount of faith that night and remember willing myself to completely rely on that. That Heavenly Father grants miracles all the time. Why not for my righteous son who was recently baptized? Course he would give me my son back. Not so much folks. Sometimes the great ones DON"T get the miracle. How nuts is that? So asking me to have faith in getting a blessing for healing when that lonely nite several months ago I asked and believed it would give me my son....it didn't. I have never in my life had my faith tested so much. I have seen miracles in my life. Saw my inactive father all of a sudden decide to become active in church when I was 15 and in a yr we were sealed. When I had almost lost hope that would never happen indeed it did. I have seen children who recovered quickly after receiving a blessing. And when I needed more than anything to have a MIRACLE in my life it didn't. So, i was hesisitant to ask for one, but I did. Again, I cried through the entire blessing remembering the words of Nathan's blessing having flashbacks of feelings I felt and prayers I was whispering while the prayer was being offered.  A few days later while in the shower thinking I had an impression to take the probiotic the Dr. insisted I begin the week earlier but didn't because I wasn't sold it would help knowing also it could make my stomach worse. The impression was so strong I got out of the shower quickly, ran to the kitchen and took the first pill. That evening I was able to keep a potato down and my stomach wasn't gurgling any longer. By Monday it was clear I was well. So, I think indeed impressions come at times we least expect. Does this experience restore the faith that was tested and diminished months ago? No..I think that's a process that happens over time not upon one moment. I hope I can get back to where I want those blessings but right now there's nothing but that one defining moment to where I asked and had the most precious thing taken from me anyway. While I was sick I did make myself get out for my Breaved Parents group that's 2x a month. I always walk away with mixed feelings but I do enjoy being in the presence of other mothers and fathers who are walking the same journey I am. Our children all passed at different ages and from different things, but we are all equals in the fact that for us our journeys are one in the same. We are learning how to heal our broken hearts and sharing bits of ourselves to help one another. Its amazing the strength that's in that room. Knowing what I feel they are feeling it or have at one time or another. Our Leader Janie shared this excerpt out of one of her favorite books with us and I'll end my entry with it.....
                                                              ~Heavy~
I thought I could not go any closer to grief without dying. I went closer and I did not die, Surely God had his hand in this, as well as friends...Then said my friend Daniel (brave even among lions), "It's not the weight you carry, but how you carry it--books, bricks, grief--It's all in the way you embrace it, balance it, carry it, when you cannot, and would not, put it down.
                                                                                                          Mary Oliver

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Notes From Heaven...


I know its been awhile since I've updated this blog..I've been such a ray of different emotions the past few weeks. Trying to figure out which emotion I am that its hard seeing how I go through every end of the spectrum. Happy, content, angry,grief stricken, depressed, sad, overwhelmed, frustrated, boggled and then it starts all over again. Each emotion has a different realization with a different sort of acceptance has to happen each day. I don't know that I'll ever really be able to have COMPLETE and udder acceptance of the fact that my son is gone and these emotions are what I'll carry muddling through them for all the days of my life. Each one leaves behind a different sort of loneliness that Nathan's sweet smile is what I long to see. I find myself in the boys room laying on what was once both there bed and cry. The blanket that lays on Nicks bed is the one that our dear friend made with Nathan's clothes and smell them thinking and praying I can get a whiff of what was once my son's smell, but of course its been washed one to many times for it to still linger..that brings on another round of clothes. I look at the artwork he drew on the wall and wonder if I'll ever be able to paint over it since he used his intresting imagination on the RED wall. I don't know that I'll ever be able too..tears fall again as I wonder if that means I can't move on and leave this house that I so desperately need to be away from. Laying there brings on another realization that I'm laying in one of the last spots he laid in before he left me behind. When I had no idea that I was going to be saying goodbye to my life. Memories of that day have flooded my mind as I washed him and asked him to please stay with me. But he just couldn't because this is what was supposed to happen I suppose. I write this experience out because it has happened more than once. I have found myself walking to the boys room in the middle of the night hoping to find peace or something there but all I see is Nick sleeping alone....i always hope its soundly  with sweet dreams his way. As he sleeps in the bed he shared memories and secrets with his best friend. Today I was cleaning the kitchen's bill box out to rid it of old receipts and old check registers i have no use for anymore. I found the sweetest note from heaven in there....you can't tell me it wasn't heaven sent because I had forgotten such a note was ever written but I do recall seeing it long ago. It was a card Nathan drew that say I love you Mommy on it with written in his almost unreadable handwriting. On the inside was a heart with me and I in it. I just fell to the floor in tears and held this card like it was the most expensive piece of artwork. I knew it was meant for me to find today this day after having a week of crazyness in my life I needed to know how much my son that's no longer here loved me....I have often wondered if I did enough as his mother was what he needed me to be when he needed me. I didn't get a chance to tell him or hear those words and when I read that my heart was full..I was ENOUGH! Going to church has become so hard for me. Every song has a different meaning for me than it ever did and I end up in tears the whole 3 hrs. The kids have a primary program coming up and Natalie has a speaking part and I know I have to get the courage up to go and hear her...but that also means I have to hear the kids sing and hear a program that my son should be apart of. I just am filled with so much uncertainty of how that will go and I'll deal with that. I pray I can go I want to support Natalie. As I close this and end my night I am grateful for the sweet Note from Heaven...Oh how I do indeed love you to and miss you everyday sweet boy...MWAH!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Working Through It...

Hello world...its been awhile since I've blogged but I had sooo much going on the past little while. I've been on this wild emotional roller coaster that is this "single" mother of 2 kids. I say single because really the Army has made me a single mother. One that I despise daily but accept because I have to. Now you add the "brieved" parent aspect into and you have yourself a whole other load of labels. I HATE it I really do I think I do well at being the "single" mother but the brieved part I haven't figured out. I cry for no reason and I find lately I cry when its silent and I feel I'm in the shadows of this house that's WAY to over crowded with memories of my son that's no longer here. I'm reminded everyday from a song he loved on the radio..to seein his bike in my garage that just sits and is now collecting dust...to a small steralite plastic box that has everything from pictures, a shirt, and documents, plaster of his hand print, a few things he made, but none the less its everything from 8 yrs of a life that ended way to soon. I look at this box and think REALLY? This box and a few stretch marks on my stomach and that's it. Its over... I've hit an angry stage that I'm trying to work through and understand cause honestly I'm not a bitter angry person, but its feelings I'm trying to process. Angry I had to do this, bury a child one thing that I never expected I'd have to do and actually live through it with a bit of SMALL sanity. Angry that I'm impatient and feel snappy. Angry that I'm changing as a person and I don't know what that means and who that will turn out to be. Angry that as I'm changing others aren't and there expectations of me are staying the same. Only I'm not the same and that person they knew is dead and gone. I'm angry that some people will be able to walk this journey with me and some will not only becausew my life is now different and its to much for them which in turn for me is another loss I'll have to deal with. See...I'm discovering that with the loss of  my son has come the loss of parts of myself and loss of relationships I've had. Sometimes that feels almost sufficating and I panic..just sheer panic and I have to remind myself to breathe. I'm learning to be grateful for the friends that will be able to journey with me..and for there being able to change there expectations of me which I know at times will be hard, you guys are such lights in my life and keep me in a place that makes this journey able to be traveled. I went to support group last night and I cried the whole hr and 15 mins...it was one of those soul cleansing cries only my soul didn't feel cleansed afterward it only felt hollow, lonely, and utter exhausted. When i was offered the chance to express what it was that I was feeling i cried harder because honestly I had so much emotion I couldn't speak for a min. I've had pure panic this week that Nathan's all but forgotten. The boy who's smile lit up his eyes. The boy who'd ride his bike to the end of the street for the prettiest girl to escort her to school every morning...he got up extra early to do that because her mother would only let her ride her bike unless Nathan was with her. Now I cry as I remember this because he took that responsibility so seriously and never took it lightly that he was entrusted to get her to school safely. Tears are flowing again and they come rapidly as things about Nathan come to mind. As I sit and ponder why this had to happen to us. Why I had to be forever changed without my consent by one drastic event. In therapy today I came to the conclusion I have to let this event of losing Nathan be an ASPECT of my life that just is and process through it...NOT let it DEFINE me....

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Closure or so I thought..

For 3 months I thought that designing and ordering Nathan's memorial headstone would bring closure for me or some sort of peace..sounds crazy huh. In fact the designing part brought me some sort of odd happiness. Giving my baby something beautiful with his name and things he loved on it. Something he can be known by other than just some piece of paper the funeral home left to mark the place he lays. I did give him something simple when in the beginning I had a flamboyant design in mind with huge light sabers that would at night light up. I think I went back to the drawing board 3-4x's cause nothing felt like him. He was a simple,reserved child who didn't require a whole lot and he deserves to be remembered as such not some showy art piece. What I ended with was what I think something rather beautiful that has all the things that he was and what he loved on it, but also in the end it didn't bring me the closure I thought it would. I put off for 3-4 days actually taking the check up to the monument place because of what the realization it would bring. I had complete feelings of dread and not that happy feeling I had while in the design process. The realization of how final this was and the fact that this is IN DEED real..heck its in stone now isn't it. Plain as day. Nathan Garrett Dennis March 22, 2004-June 16, 2012 if that doesn't place something final on it I don't know what does. Its a place of complete HELL! At least now he has something beautiful to mark his place instead of piece of paper that's now turned brown and wrinkled due to time and weather. This at least will weather well and hold up for at least 20 yrs or more. WOW did you read that... 20 YRS or MORE! I look at that and think really? I have.. it will hold till I'm 50. I can't even process being 50 and not having that baby I gave birth too 8 yrs ago. Today as I was doing laundry I began to cry. As I was trying to remember Nathan and my mind had a major blockage and I couldn't. Yes its been 3 months and I have FORGOTTEN my son. If I didn't have pictures I'd swear I'd always had just 2 kids. He doesn't seem real for some reason and I have to remind myself every day that he in deed was. I imagine I'll have to this everyday for the rest of my life. Not sure what kind of life that is, but I can tell you I'll fight to keep remembering what I can till there is no heart beat left in me. Support group is going ok for me I've been 2x and the first time felt like to much, but I wanted to give it another shot so I went Tuesday as its only the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month. I won't go into detail ever about the folks in there but I will share the Ahh Haa moments I have while I'm in attendance. This past week I've been asked several times how many children I have by random folks I've made contact with and most times I just say 2. As saying I have 3 leaves me open to giving information I'm not sure I can divulge. The reason for that is simple I'm not sure how I feel about telling strangers I have a son that died and I'm not sure how they will in turn receive the information. In turn it may cause me to become highly emotional, but in group someone made comment that the same thing happened to her this past week and she made the choice to say say exactly how many children she'd given birth to. She wanted to acknowledge that she indeed had 3 children When her middle son passed she didn't stop being his mother. She'll always be his mother. WOW!!! That hit me HARD! Telling people I IN FACT have 3 children keeps Nathan somewhat alive just as talking about him would. I want people who knew him to keep talking about him. From what they tell me at about 3 months people usually stop. I beg you please never stop talking about him. It is one way he stays alive for us. But when strangers ask I will now say I have 3 children and keep the acknowledgement that I do have another child. He's just in another place for now. As I look back on what I thought would bring a small bit of closure this step of marking my sons space I wonder if I'll ever really have ANY closure....

Sunday, September 16, 2012

3 months and a deployment later...

As you can tell by the title today is in fact 3 months since we lost our Nathan...its been a bittersweet day today. We decided to stay home from church and do the cemetery take flowers to son and brother. Mostly just stay out of the spotlight. Everyone knows what today is and being asked how are you doing and sympathy looks were just not what I needed today. I needed a day to b one with how I feel. Yes the weather here was rainy and all that went to the funeral remember it was indeed rainy that day. So somber it was. Natalie made comment in the car on the way to see Nathan the rain made her think that since its been gloomy here the past few days it made her feel that God was sad. Nick said the clouds are crying cause Nathans not here. And in fact it does feel like that sometimes...the universe is sad. Were picking up the pieces of ourselves and bringing them into our new ones. Geoff left Tues and the kids did well. We hung our yellow ribbons up that we do every deployment. I got a sitter for the kids so that they didn't have to go to Ft. Hood with me and say goodbye again. Geoff has landed in Romania and will be there till tomorrow mid day i think and off to his next destination for final arrival in Kabul soon. Long journey to get to where he'll ultimately end. Communication will b sparse the next few days so I'll update as I know where he is. Again, I can't believe its been 3 months since I've heard Nathan's laugh and seen his smile. This for me is when it settles in and my heart exhales reminding myself to breathe. You forget to breathe some days. We are slowly smiling more and finding ourselves laughing often. So, this to me is reassurance that the kids can make it through the deployment and I can make it another 3 months without my son...which I imagine every 16th of the month possibly years ahead I will post reminding myself that I made a promise...to celebrate Nathan all the days of my life. Some times I'm finding that our celebrations are with crying and avoiding crowds, other times its looking at pictures.. laughing, remembering what once was. No parties with cake and ice cream here but we do push forward thanking our Heavenly Father that our family was blessed beyond imagine with an experience of a lifetime. We had an absolute angel in our home our very midst for 8 years.