Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Tomorrow is the third anniversary of the accident.  Tomorrow I'll post pictures of our family celebrating Jeanne and Mike's lives.  Moving forward and remembering in a positive way.

Today, though, the day before it just hurts.  I feel awful and no amount of distraction eases the pain.

My body anticipates the horror of reliving October 24, 2009.  Three years later it is still unbelievable and physically makes me nauseous.


This past weekend the girls went to Indiana for their cousin's wedding.  As I explained earlier, the Indiana relatives did not roll out the red carpet for the girls.  M was a mess leaving.  Sobbing the night before that she didn't want to go and that she couldn't leave us.  E texted me non-stop from the moment I dropped them off at CA's before their flight complaining about how embarrassing and awful CA and KM were.  She has since claimed it was the worst weekend of her life, except for the 1.5 hours CA and KM weren't around.  M and the little girls seemed to have fun.

Having the girls gone was a mixed bag.  As a family, K and the boys and I fall back into our old rhythms very easily.  The guilt resulting from this feels awful.  I also worried about M and how she would deal with everything.  Combined with recent stress with K's health and the impending anniversary, I was an emotional mess.  I spent most of Saturday trying to find times to sleep.  Not because I was that tired, but for the escape.  Rather than relish in the moment and be with the boys, I gave in to the culminated stress.


E left me with a lovely parting gift before she left for Indiana.  Thursday at therapy she must have done an exercise in which she wrote her parents a letter.  The lettering was in different crayon colors.  She left it out in the open for all to see.  I at first thought was something that D had done given the colored lettering and the "Dear Mom and Dad" at the top.  I soon realized what it was and my eyes travelled to text towards the end.

"I miss your dinners Mom.  Aunt Peggy is a terrible cook.  She doesn't even make homemade cookies.  She always leaves the dinner table a mess."

Wow.  A punch in the stomach.  On so many levels I realize that she is just a hurting child and not to take it so personally.  It's not really the comments themselves, it's that she decided to lash out at me when I'm already so stressed about K.  She left it out for me to see.  It was simply mean.  On a humorous note, in the 17 years we have been married, I usually make dinner and K always cleans up.  Because of our schedule and his male priorities, sometimes the kitchen table doesn't get cleaned up right away, but eventually gets done.

I left it on her desk.  I fielded her texts all weekend and reassured her I'm still here.  I'm listening.  I'm not going anywhere.


As chief logistician around here I bear the weight of our family life and responsibilities on my shoulders.  School, sports, food, laundry, etc. fall squarely in my lane.  It dawned on me today, though, that it's not just this weight that has worn me down these past few years.

I absorb the stress and pain of everyone in the house.  The girls lash out and I absorb their blows and move on.  I worry about all the kids.  I want to rip the pain and anxiety from their bodies and cleave it to mine.  I'm an adult.  I can handle it.  In an irrational way, I feel totally responsible for their anxiety and fears caused by the accident.

My own grief stays buried beneath.  Sometimes I think it's easier to keep it right where it is with the excuse of needing to be strong for everyone else.  This does have physical repercussions.  Stomach and sleep issues.  My hives have come back the past few days.  I can't imagine how awful I'd feel if I wasn't taking any medication.

Three years later it still sucks.  The pain is still raw and fresh.  I miss my sister.  I feel lucky to have this space to express these feelings.  In real life, I'm just not ready to go there yet.


  1. Peg,

    A hug? a smile? an offer to hang out and have some beer and just listen? What can I give you? You who have been through so much in the past three years, and have proven to be as resilient as a rock through it all - what can I say?

    How about this? It's not much, but as a friend, it's what I can offer.

    You are doing the best you freaking can. K is sick and you need to take care of him and the boys. And despite the girls' pain, E needs to know that while you are there for her, you WILL NOT be a doormat. She is your niece, you love her and god bless her for everything she has been through, but she can't take her anger out that her parents are gone on you. Maybe for a while, but you have to make sure that she doesn't make you her perpetual punching bag.

    It's so complex - what you are going through. Death, loss, adoption (pretty much), family dynamics, grief. Please don't get me wrong - I don't mean to sound harsh about E. As a matter of fact, I am like, what the eff? about the family not being warmer to the kids when they visited. How? Why? Perhaps again, its the complications of family dynamics that an outsider can't know.

    It's just that - I have lived a very imbalanced family life myself. Growing up, I was the only one of my mother's kids and my four older brothers and sisters were her stepkids. And when the anger is there and shifts family dynamics in a way that impacts your children and you - well if not today - then inevitably - the shit hits the fan.

    Keep setting the boundaries, Peg. Love unconditionally but with clear expectations of what it means to be part of the family the way it is now. Because that is what you are dealing with. That is what you have.

    You guys have to all come out of this alive and kicking. Fiercely. I am sending you all of my love as you prepare for tomorrow. Love for K as he deals with getting better. Love for all of the kids.

    Sending my love and hugs and the offer to be there anytime you need it.


  2. I wish things got easier instead of different kinds of hard. Glad the medication is helping. Sending good thoughts your way.

  3. I pray today was manageable. I pray you had a respite from the pain and grief and were able to celebrate Mike and Jeanne.

    I'm sorry E is so angry. Grief expresses itself in many different ways, and I guess in her case, anger is the biggie. I'm with Kiran, continue to set those boundaries with her because it's not right for YOU to be her punching bag.

    I hope K's levels are therapeutic as this point--coumadin can be so tricky to get a bead on.

    Many hugs to you and your family on this horrible day.

  4. It's such a huge thing to realize that you absorb and carry everyone else's pain and grief. No wonder you're exhausted, mama! And no wonder your grief is so heavy. You aren't able to really process it, because every one else' is layered on top, taking precedence.

    Mama, you can not carry everything for every one. You have to let them do it. Not only becaues it will crush you if you don't, but mostly because they can not deal with it on their own if you are there to shoulder it for them. Stand with them while they deal with their stuff. Don't carry it for them.

    that said, I continue to be in awe of your strength. You may not feel that way some days, but you're still standing and fighting for and loving your family. They are blessed by you.