Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Golden Rule

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

 I have had an interesting lesson on this today.  It has made me laugh all day.  This is why:  I lost my voice.  For the first time in my life I can't talk.  Literally, my mother says I came out talking and haven't stopped.  I have not heard the sound of my voice at all today.

As we got ready as a family this morning, I realized my kids would talk to me in a whisper because I would talk to them in a whisper.  They would talk normally to each other, but not to me.  It reminded me a lot of my cousin's wife who is deaf and has four kids.  Those kids "talk" to their mom in their own language. I had a bit of my own language today.

 My neighbor stopped over before I left this morning as well and talked to me in a whisper.  She said she felt she was yelling at me otherwise.  That made me pause as I realized the normal "loudness" in which I speak.

I think I have had the desire to write today even more because I cannot speak.  I realize how much I yell out to my front desk person throughout the day.  I don't yell at her, but ask her lots of questions from my desk (and I like to make dumb comments to her too).  Hmm..I may be more considerate now?

As my day went on, I realized my teachers were also whispering when talking to me.  One teacher I congratulated for using her regular voice.  She was funny because she said she really wanted to talk to me in a whisper, but had a quick thought that it wasn't necessary.

The whole day has made me think more because I couldn't talk as much.  I had a couple frustrating run-ins throughout the day, but saw myself remaining calm because my voice didn't help me get riled up.  At one point I had a student simply walk out of my office before our meeting was done. Normally, I would have used my voice to get him to stop.  Instead, he got out of the office and I had to deal with it much differently.  It worked.  It was dealt with much more calmly and with a little more understanding as students have to listen really closely since they can hardly hear me.

I have decided I need to keep my voice down normally.  How long will that last?  Maybe not long, but I have the desire to try.  Everyone was so good to me throughout the day and I felt our conversations were much easier.  My poor kids dealing with my loud voice all the time.  Hopefully we can all try to be a little on the quieter side.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

It's About Time

I have not been on here for quite a while.  This blog has always served as a bit of therapy for me.  I have been meaning to get on here and write as this month has gone by.  March is a tender month for me, but this March has been particularly difficult.  I am not sure why.

I can't put my finger on why it's been so emotional.  I do know that for some reason five years seems like a lot and it makes me sad I have lived this long without Ethan.  I have a feeling this will be worse for me when I have lived more than 7 1/2 years without him.  Then I would have lived longer without him than with him (since I had him, of course).

I have had a couple people mention their sadness of losing their child that they experience 30 and 50 years after their child has died.  That thought makes me want to quit feeling. I know the hard times of crying multiple times a day have stopped, but constantly having this heartache that won't go away --ever--seems like more than I can bear a lot of the times.

However, I love celebrating his life every March 26.  As I sit here, I realize that five years ago I woke up (not that I really slept) knowing at 9 am we would be taking Ethan off of life support.  Because we weren't sure how long he would breathe on his own, we didn't know if he would pass right away.  Our miracle became this moment.  The moment we knew it was his time to return to his Father in Heaven. He passed within minutes of being taken off of life support.  However, when we had tested him days before he breathed for almost an hour on his own.  The doctors couldn't tell us what was going to happen that morning of the 26th.  They said, "It's up to the good Lord."

What I do know is that it is up to the good Lord.  Ethan had a plan for his life.  It was short.  I think his spirit knew it because he tried to shove a lot into his days with as busy as he was.  He lived so much in those 7 1/2 years.  I think somewhere deep down he knew when he was leaving us because of questions he asked and the way he said goodbye to his brother, Parker.

I will forever be sad about unmet expectations for my children and missing out on growing up with Ethan.  But, I know we will see him again.  All things will be made right.

I am grateful this Easter weekend for my Savior, Jesus Christ.  I am grateful He overcame physical and spiritual death so we can return to our Heavenly Father and see our loved ones again.  He understands our pains, our sorrows, our trials and triumphs.  Because He lives, we will live again.

I am excited to one day reunite with Ethan, my sister, my grandfathers and many others.  What a great reunion that will be!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Grief is a Constant Surprise

Grief grabs you when you are least expecting it.  I think, for the most part, that I handle it well.  I don't cry daily.  I don't sit in my bed and not go anywhere.  However, if that is how someone else copes, I do not judge.  There have been days that I don't want to move just because I am sad.

Grief seems to never grab me when I am expecting it, or at least not on a normal day.  I always expect to feel more sad on the day Ethan died and on the day he was born.  Other than that, I prepare myself for holidays, etc.  Honestly, I handle these as well as to be expected.  But, that's just it, I am expecting the grief and prepare myself for it.  It's the daily, normal things that get me.

This past Friday, I took Brady to get his shots.  I am one of those with kids who have delayed shots.  I know, I know (Leah)!  My kids are always vaccinated, but maybe just not on time.  My husband is a bit worried about the measles outbreak here in Phoenix, and Brady isn't vaccinated for it!  Ah!  I was being responsible by making my appointment and getting shots for Brady.  Sadly, they were out of the measles vaccine :-(  Now, I wait.

While in the room, the doctor had my kids' shot records.  I wanted to see what they had for Parker and Madilyn.  She saw Madilyn's and  told me what was needed.  She thought Parker only had one.  Not true!  He is all caught up.  Then, she went on to Ethan to tell me what he needed.  All I could think of to say was, "He died."  Then, I lost it.  I didn't know it was coming.  It just did.  I cried and cried.  I think the poor doctor felt worse than I did.

I kept apologizing.  I said, "It's been four years!  I don't know why I am losing it."  She responded that four years isn't that long.  She told me never to apologize. She cried with me and helped get me under control.  She asked me questions about Ethan, which I always like.  I like talking about him.  I like people remembering he is still a big part of our lives.  I like knowing that people care enough to ask.  This doctor has won me over for awhile for how well she handled my breakdown.

In her defense of showing me Ethan's medical records, it only said 'deceased' in small print in the upper right hand corner of the shot record page she was looking at.  It was weird.  I didn't think seeing old doctor records, and literally JUST his shot records, would get me.  But, it did.  Grief grabs me.  It really does.  I don't know when it is going to come.  Just know if you are around me and I get "grabbed", I just usually need a minute to compose myself again.  If you ask me a question and I start to cry, know that I still love that.  I love, love being asked about him especially as time goes by and it's not as recent.  He is my child.  He always will be.  I think about him and what he is doing  almost just as much as I think about my other kids and what they are doing. He is not living, so the day-to-day activities of my living children take precedence.  But, he is literally always on my mind.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I'll call him my Superbowl Baby!

Almost four years ago (it will be in March) we found out we were going to have a boy!  This adorable creature pictured above.  I will be honest.  I was hoping for a girl, so I would have two boys and two girls.  I had taken my three kids with me to the appointment.  Before the doctor told us it was a boy, Ethan was saying, "It's a boy!  It's a boy!"  The doctor commented that Ethan knew more than he did.  In the end, Ethan was right.  We were going to have a boy.

Ethan knew in that instant the boy's name needed to be Hawk!  I knew in that instant that his name would NOT be hawk.  Hawk?  Really?  No offense to anybody, but it just seemed a little weird to be named after a bird.  But, Ethan wouldn't let it go and was telling everybody that was going to be his name.

Two weeks after this doctor appointment, we lost our beautiful Ethan to an Arterio Venous Malformation. This was very sudden and very difficult for us, obviously.  We knew not too long after that we MUST name this child Hawk.  But, I still couldn't do it.  I don't know why, but kept trying to think of names that would go with Hawk and not have it be the first name.

Ethan LOVED football.  It was a new obsession for our little guy just the previous season.  He took a special liking to the New England Patriots.  He is actually buried in a Sunday suit with a New England Patriots hat and a Patriots tie.  Marcus and Parker wore matching Patriot ties to the funeral.  We also decorated for his funeral in red, white and blue.

In deciding a name for our new baby that was still not to be born for three more months, we kept trying to come up with a name that meant "football."  We even looked into other languages to see if football would some how fit, and he could be named football hawk???  (As a side note, Madilyn thought his name should be Sunshine).  We thought Ethan should have a large part in naming this child.

We finally decided that Ethan's favorite team was the Patriots, and his best friend's name was Brady.  With Tom Brady as the Patriots quarterback, and sharing a name with his best friend, we decided.  Our little guy was to be named BRADY HAWK.

We love that the Superbowl is the Patriots and the Seahawks!  It just seems to fit our little guy!!

Brady Hawk

Monday, December 15, 2014

This Time of Year

I had a tough weekend.  I am not sure it was just that it's this time of year, and I had to sit through Primary.  But, it has been an emotional weekend.  I tend to lead a normal, well-adjusted life from day to day.  However, there are days when it just hits.

I was reminded of Ethan quite a bit this past weekend because of the wedding of our niece.  Our niece married a young man we have known for a few years.  Ethan saw him in the first play he was in for our theater. Ethan thought he was sooo cool.  He would steal his jacket from him after performances and literally follow him around.  Not only did he think this young man was cool, but he loved the musical they were in.  He listened to All Shook Up music almost daily.  We have many a video with Ethan dancing to All Shook Up.  When he was in the hospital, we played this music for him.  Our niece even came to the hospital and played the ukulele and sang to him.

This weekend brought this flood of memories back because she and her now husband met during All Shook Up, so they both were blue suede shoes :-)  They had one of the songs on their video.  She played the ukulele during the ring ceremony.  There were so many little things that reminded me of how happy Ethan would be to be there and see these two get married.  He loved his cousin, and he loved this young man.

I was reminded in the temple on Saturday (after the reception the night before) during the sealing (a ceremony where couples are married not just til death do us part but for time and all eternity) how those who were beyond the veil (those who have gone before us) were there and "wouldn't miss it for the world."  I  felt this was a tender mercy from a loving Heavenly Father because I was wishing Ethan could be there.  I know he was.  I know he was there for these two whom he loved so much.  It was a beautiful ceremony.

But this lead to tears all day Sunday for me.  I have a hard enough time sitting in primary over the last few years, but this Sunday was one of the worst...and in my new ward.  It was awful.  I couldn't stop crying.  I was miserable, and I felt that know one really got it.  This was one of my worst fears when moving---I would lose it and no one knows how to handle me.  I have friends in my last ward that knew just what to do.  I feel like I am growing up all over again.  I haven't had a day I have spent in bed all day in a few years, but yesterday I did.  I love that my husband gets it and just let me lay there.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Dress

This is my funeral dress.
I titled this "the dress," but this post doesn't have much to do with the dress.  It is really what the dress represents.

After living in the same house for 13 years, bringing all our babies home to that house and saying goodbye to our child in that house, we moved.  We did it.  I told myself that would never happen.  I have now added this to a long list of things I would "never do" and have done.  I didn't think I could do it.  I didn't think I could pick up and leave the house of so many memories and move somewhere else.  Honestly, I never wanted to. I loved my house.  I loved every little inch of that little house.  There was a lot of love in that house.  But, in the end it is just a house.

Because I may "never" be able to rid myself of this dress (keep in mind it is a maternity dress because I was 6 months pregnant when I had to where it), I packed it.  As I packed it, it really struck me that I was leaving behind so many memories. I was fighting in my mind again not to leave. It only took me a few weeks, but then I realized that I wasn't leaving behind anything.  Memories come with me.  I get to keep them.  What a gift the human mind is--to be able to cherish all the memories regardless of whether I live in that same house or not.

I know in the past I have raved about my friends in that area.  These friends literally carried me through the last few years.  I have tried over and over to express my gratitude for how they have helped me get through life.  I am not sure any of them actually understand the magnitude of what they did for me.  But, I want to say thank you again.  I love how even when I have moved they continue to keep in touch.  It will never be the same as being around the corner, but you all continue to boost me every day knowing we will be forever friends.  These friends are family to me.

The dress is just a dress.  Maybe some day I will be able to part with it.  But, for now I carry it with me as a sweet reminder of the day I publicly had to mourn my little boy.

Monday, September 8, 2014

What the heck?

I love this little family.  I can't believe how fast the little ones grow.  Brady, who is pictured best in the above photo, brings a smile to my face daily.  He has started to say, "What the heck?!"  It is so cute to have him asking, "What the heck?"  "What the heck?"  He speaks in full sentences now, and mostly won't be quiet.  He has such a good personality.  He is really happy all of the time, unless he doesn't get his way.  Who isn't happy when they don't get their way??  Who can blame him, really?  He loves his brother and sister and constantly likes to tell us this.  I love mom.  I love dad.  I love Karker.  I love Madlyn.  He simply loves life. And, we love him.  His favorite things are his Woody Pajamas that he literally wears EVERY night.  He also loves wearing the same outfit every day for a week.  This sounds silly, but whatever he starts with on Monday is usually the clothes he fights for all week.