Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I pull the familiar soft cotton shirt over my head.  The faded green  bears the scars of many a wash, first  from the industrial washers buried in the basement of William and Mary Hall and eventually the stacking variety sitting in our laundry room.  The golden yellow number 11 is still hanging on the back even though the edges are cracked and peeling.  I wear it when I need to feel like myself and remember what it's like to work hard and accomplish something individually and as a team.  Just picking it up brings back the smells of freshly cut grass and the sight of our practice field with the fog lifting in the early morning.  A simple t-shirt gives me comfort, renewal and reminders of that part of me that sometimes seems lost.


One of the first things I noticed when I walked into Jeanne and Mike's room after the accident was the lanudry basket with freshly folded clothes.  Was this the last thing she did before they got in the car to go get dinner?  For the longest time none of us could touch those clothes.  Swimming t-shirts of E's.  M's pajamas.  Running clothes and socks of Jeanne's and a few of Mike's boxers and undershirts.  So intimate, yet familiar.  Heartbreaking.


I do tons of laundry.  The girls especially go through alot of clothes.  If it's on their body for more than 30 seconds it immediately goes in the hamper.  Even after almost 2 years, I still sometimes mix up their clothes, especially as M is closing the gap in size with E.  There is something very maternal for me in folding their laundry.  I imagine Zhea folding some of the same clothes and lovingly smoothing the wrinkles.  Did she fold shirts the same way I do?  Do the girls notice?  How many times did she fold E's Mickey Mouse undies that her dad had to buy her when their luggage was lost on a father daughter trip to Disney.  M sometimes sleeps in one of her dad's navy squandron shirts.


The girls are starting to forget their parents.  Not in the big ways, but in the little things.  Their voices.  Their smell and touch.  It scares them.  It scares me.

The girls are starting to grow out of their clothes that their mom bought them.  T-shirts from family vacations.  The same Mickey Mouse underwear are worn and stretched.  If I'm noticing it, I can only imagine what must be going through their minds.

Intellectually, I know that they are only clothes, but in some sense they represent another tangible way in which their parents are gone.  First the accident itself and then their house.  I can't even imagine how it must feel to live without their sisters.


I hope that some of those worn t-shirts or pajama bottoms magically continue to fit them.  M still has her squadron shirt and her mom's college soccer sweatshirt.  I'm hoping those mouse undies hold out a little longer.

Afterall, I still have that practice jersey.

Monday, June 25, 2012


I'm still here.

Life is still hard, confusing, and full.

I am rarely still and perpetually tired.

School ended, but the kids activities have still continued. And of course they are now home all day long.  We've been so busy, I haven't even had a chance to really establish a daily routine with the kids and set some new rules.  In many ways, I continue to operate each day by the seat of my pants.

We're trying to sprinkle in some family fun as much as possible.  Today I brought the kids to the movies.  My mother-in-law has done some fun things with them while I've been at work.  We went to an awesome annual party (or "palooza") on Saturday at my in-law's and everyone had a great time (M was amazing at the karaoke).  We leave for the beach on Saturday.  Lots of impromptu dance parties, gaming and soccer matches in the back yard.  I am trying really hard to be in the moment with them and be a little more laid back.

E seems a bit better on the medicine.  I've talked with her new doctor last week about trying to talk to her more about being able to express her feelings and not being worried about us not loving her. At the same time I need to explain to her that at times I'll express frustration or anger and it doesn't mean I don't love her.  It's still a struggle for me to balance the need to treat the girls normal and just like the boys, but constantly being cognizant of what I say and how I say it.  It's exhausting.

In so many ways, I feel like I've lost my mojo both physically and emotionally.  I'm going through the motions and just trying to keep all of us afloat.  I went to the doctor on Friday (clogged ears) and I've lost way, way too much weight.  It upset me to see the number, but I don't feel like I have the energy to get the exercise and my stress unfortunately curbs my appetite substantially.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this space.  I miss writing.  I'm not sure what to write.  Blog posts form in my head throughout the day.  By the time I have a moment to write late at night, the idea has often fizzled or the inspiration fades.  I'm hoping the vacation next week will give me a little respite and I'll get back my writing chops.  I hope that writing about my journey will help me, but also maybe touch somebody else going through a tough patch so they don't feel so alone.

So I still struggle to find some personal peace. I continue to bumble along and strain under the pressure.  I still hope, though, that one day I'll figure it all out.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Endings and Beginnings

I've been thinking a lot lately about whether I'm naturally an optimistic or pessimistic person.  I worry that people must think I'm nothing but a Debbie Downer and not able to see the good in life.  I keep on thinking that maybe it's my negative attitude that is keeping me from "turning the corner" and embracing our new family life.  K and I have started to almost be numb to the bad things that we continue to have to deal with.

I came to a realization last night as I was thinking about the upcoming summer vacation.  I believe I'm a positive person who for whatever reason keeps getting bombarded with (for want of a better word) loads of crap.  I think my resiliency is based in my own brand of optimism.  A belief that tomorrow is going to be okay and trying to find some peace in little things like a good cup of coffee or listening to the kids laughing.

I also accept that I am still grieving.  Loss is such a complicated issue.  As I've written about before, I feel enveloped by loss in most of my day-to-day actions.  Positive things, like a night with just the boys and K, is still tainted with feelings of missing our old life.  Driving to school brings us past the cemetery.  Taking care of two grieving children is a constant reminder of what they have lost.  Looking in the mirror sometimes makes me pause as I see my sister in my eyes and facial expressions.

Today was the last day of school for the big kids.  Some people might see this as the end of the year and emphasize the stress of having the kids home all day for over two months.  I choose to see it as the beginning of summer.  The beginning of fun, relaxation, and lazy days of reading, games and the pool. 

In my fantasy life, I wish that I could take the summer off from work and really focus on getting our family and house back on track.  That's not going to happen, so I'm going to try to make a reasonable list of goals to accomplish and just get to it.  Items on that list are going to include things like dinners at the pool, herping hikes, whiffle ball and trips to skate parks.  But it's also going to include some organization, school work and real discussions as a family about how to make things work easier around here.

I don't think labels are ever a good idea when it comes to people.  Life is just too complicated for that and what purpose does it really serve?  Am I an optimist who's been dealt a bad blow?  Am I a pessimist who just can't get past the negative?  I think the best thing is for me to try to just be Peg and continue to do the best I can.   Try to take solace in the little victories and joys and keep moving forward.  I think that's all any of us can do.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Surprisingly to me, I feel really good about the meeting with E and the psychiatrist today.

E feels sad and alone.  She feels responsible for her little sisters (especially MG and KT) and worries about them. 

Yes, she is depressed.  This has been caused by a nasty combination of grief and attachment difficulties.  To quote E, she is "afraid to love us."  She is starting to forget her parents and connecting to us makes her feel like they'll go away forever in her memory.  My poor, sweet little E.

We'll start on a very small does of Zol*ft tomorrow.  The psychiatrist emphasized that the biggest help is going to come from therapy.  We're also doing some blood work to rule any other problems out.

I feel good about the situation because the doctor was empathetic, but very rational and analytic.  Rather than wondering what's really going on in her head, I have a clearer understanding of how she feels. 

I know in my mind that E's depression isn't my fault.  I have secretly been feeling, though, that it is.  She emphasized that we need to continue to do exactly what we've been doing.  Continue to let her know that we're here and that we love her.  "Keeping the door open" for her to know that she can talk to us.

I feel hopeful.  It seems like a long time since I've felt that way.


I've wanted to write the last week.  I really have.

Life around here has been a lovely combination of ridiculous, crazy, and the normal stress.

Yesterday K sent me an email in which he wrote, "Sweet Jesus.  This has been a really bad week."

For some reason my first reaction was laughter.  He pretty much hit the nail on the head.

Here's a little smattering of what's been going on...

1.  We're in the middle of end of the year and sports season crazy.  The 6th graders have final exams (cumulative for the year) which has sent them into a frenzy of stress, especially M who with her ADHD struggles.  So far, so good though and her social studies teacher ran up to me after school yesterday to tell me she got a 90 on the final.  Yay!  She whispered that A got a 100 like it was no big deal.  I was a happy for both kids, but it was a weird moment with the downplay of A's accomplishment. 

Soccer tryouts have also been stressful since K is A's coach and he might have to make some tough cuts.  D is also in baseball playoffs and trying to do tryouts too.  He also made the older all-star team for baseball.  He skipped tryouts for a baseball playoff game on Tuesday and his soccer coach was not pleased.  This really pissed K and I off and has made K very anxious about D's position on his team.  We're not 100% pleased with his soccer coach, but we feel kinda stuck in this club since it's based close to home and we get a lot of help with rides, etc.  None of the sports stuff is that much of a big deal, but it's added to the stress around here.

2.  The biggest drama has been K's sister SA.  She and her husband have been having problems for years.  She always complains about him, but we really didn't think things had gotten that bad.  They have 4 kids who are close to our kids, especially their youngest R.  She called me yesterday to tell me that she definitely now wants a divorce, she's having an affair with an older married man with a kid that she met 3 months ago and that her husband had an affair 7 years ago with a random stranger in Sweden.  Huh?  My in laws are devastated.  None of us know how to react.  Talking to her was like talking to a 15 year old.  She isn't thinking of her kids and is acting completely irrational.  I was shocked and baffled.  She was sobbing throughout the conversation on and off.  I want to be there for her, but seriously I'm not sure how much empathy I can muster or emotional support I can offer when I find her actions selfish and morally reprehensible. 

3.  The girls continue to be understandably trying. I met with M's therapist for 45 minutes yesterday which was both good and depressing.  In moments, I'm leaving for the depression evaluation with E.  I'm hoping for the best.  If I'm totally honest, I am just completely SICK of therapy on all counts.  It's emotionally draining which can be physically exhausting.

4.  K and I went away last weekend for a wedding.  I missed the boys.  I welcomed the break from the girls.  I feel so guilty writing this, but it's the truth.  Oh, and while we were gone, the basement flooded.

5.  My mom is falling apart physically and emotionally.  She's not taking care of herself and basically given up.  C and S are trying to help as much as possible to get her to try.  My dad is at his limit of patience.  This should be an entire post in itself when I have the time and fortitude to write it.  It's depressing.  Our family has lost so much that we CAN'T lose my mom.  She is only 70 years old. Living with two debilitating diseases, combined the lost of Jeanne and Mike and all of our drama, has been too much for her to handle.  She has retreated from life.  Sigh.

So life continues to be crazy.  There has been lots of normal, fun and laughter too (A and M have been particularly hilarious studying for exams together) . For K and I life continues to be overshadowed by the stress of family life and adult concerns.  

We'll continue to trudge on.  Deep breathing.  Diet cokes when needed.  Distracting juvenille fiction (the latest Rick Riordan).  Playing soccer tennis with the kids at the park.  Snuggles with L.  All things that help me keep moving forward.  Sometimes it's the small things when the big things suck so bad.