Monday, October 24, 2016

Balloon Day 2016

The whole family (minus E who is at school)

M and her little sisters.

My boys.

Cousins and siblings.

My sweet L.

H and my funny A.

Hugs for MG from the aunts.

Cousins on the rocks.

Best buddies.

Slides are fun.

The 16 year olds.

Me and K.

All the little cousins love A.

Writing our messages to heaven.

3 year old S and C.

The kiddos.

J and M.

L and M.

7 years of loss.  7 years of love.  We miss you Jeanne and Mike today and everyday.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

This is what...

...7 years out looks like.

If you were 9 when your parents died, you are now 16 and have matured enough to understand your loss in more depth.  You have a panic attack at school 6 days out  from the anniversary and need to come home, where you cuddle on the couch with the kitten in your uncles t-shirt, watch Return of the Jedi and baby talk at various point in the afternoon.

If you are a grieving 20 year old, you continue to push away all your emotions regarding that day while simultaneously pushing away those who love you because everything just hurts too much.

Teenage boy cousins try to be there for their siblings while trying to hide their own emotions about the day and our loss.  The are "forced" by their 16 year old cousin to provide tons of hugs.

9 year olds who have lived with loss, grief, and stress for most of their lives are fairly anxious and still worry about something happening to "their" family.  Conversations about death are a constant companion.

Most friends don't remember the exact day anymore.  The annual Facebook post of pictures from balloon day will remind them.  They will comment that they can't believe it's been 7 years, while you still feel like the accident happened yesterday.

You will think about the accident every. single. day.  You will still be shocked when at times the feelings of grief sneak up on you and pierce your heart.

You still think about what your life and your children's life would be like if the accident never happened.  This makes you sad.

You worry that you haven't done enough to memorialize their death. Adopting their kids doesn't seem like enough. 

Nobody really understands how this feels.  Illogically feeling like the accident is going to happen again.  Relieving the moments before and after and wondering how the accident actually happened. Why? Why? Why?

You do know that the anxiety and stress the day before is worse than the actual day.  You plan things for that day to be kind to yourself.

Even though it's been 7 years, you never stop remembering. You never stop grieving. And you certainly never stop loving...that's the only thing that keeps you going.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Never Again

The other night I was surfing channels and came across the movie Brooklyn.  My father-in-law (British of Irish descent) bugged me non-stop last spring to go see it since they had seen it twice in the theatre.  The movie is about a young Irish immigrant who comes to America and falls in love with an Italian American, yadda, yadda, yadda. Anyway, I happened to start watching about 10 minutes before the main character finds out her older sister has died back in Ireland.  As she's being consoled by her parish priest, she realizes the finality of situation as he explains that the sister will be buried the next day.  Tears welling in her eyes, she looks up at him and asks, "But Father, I'll never see her again will I?"

I started crying.  Tears rolling down my face.  It's been almost 7 years since Jeanne died.  I think about her every day, but I try not to think about her being dead, as strange as that might seem.  My big sister is dead and I'm never going to see her again.  The finality of that fact is still unreal and hard to accept.

Sorry for the long absence. Just haven't had the time or the writing mojo.

Too much has happened both good and bad to fill you in on how things are going in our family.  All the kids are fine in varying degrees of "fineness."  All five carry bundles of anxiety and I work hard trying to help them each find ways to handle that load.  The difficulty of that job is compounded by my own anxious bundle.

We have three high school teenagers in the house now.  Just that fact is a bit scary.

I am reminded daily what a blessing it is to have a 9 year old in the house.

Being independent and in college doesn't mean you still don't need parents, even though you still can't accept them as your family.

Marriage is hard. I wish it wasn't. I've lowered my expectations in that area which makes it both easier to accept and sadder.

Not sure why I decided to write today. The reason for me starting this blog is still as difficult as it was 6 years ago to accept.  Hoping to start writing again since it has always been a great way to deal with that reality.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Well it's funny with age
you get to the stage
your head and your heart
Aren't on the same page
Your heart will wait forever but your skin says you're getting old

Good things come to those who wait
well the lights were up and it was getting late
She wore my coat because she said that she was cold
Funny how quick a coat turns into a ring
Looking back now I don't remember a thing
We don't talk about the writing on the wall
Somedays we don't talk at all
But when the lights are dim
And my time is free
I sometimes think about the good times that I missed
Sometimes think about the girls I could have kissed
But I settled for her
And she settled for me
-"Settled" by Passenger

He was my high school friend's big brother.  He was cute, funny, smart and a soccer player.  The complete package to my 19 year old self.

He's still the perfect package to me.  The package is a bit beat up.  Marred by resentments, hurts, family stress, breakages of trust and pain.

I'm no perfect package these days either.  Grumpy.  Yelling way too much.  Tired.  Sad.

I don't want to settle for our status quo.  I don't want "this" to be it, with us waking up one day with the kids out of the house and that house filled with a deafening silence of two people who lost their way.

I love him too much for that.  I love "us" too much for that.

Friday, January 22, 2016


A snow storm of historic proportions just started.  As the flakes peacefully fall from the sky, our family is prepped and ready for an extended hunkering down with plenty of food, games, firewood, and non-stop watching of the weather channel (that's all D our resident meteorologist).  It feels a bit like Christmas Eve, with the anticipation of something momentous to come.

I haven't written in a long time.  A really long time.  There are lots of reasons for this fact.  Busy with family stuff.  A horrible work situation where I had to request to be taken off of the project I had been running due to a hostile work environment.  A pretty awful 20th wedding anniversary and further marital woes. The holidays.  A vacation to FL after Christmas with the kids (car broke down on way, I threw up the whole time, with a flat tire the day after we got there).  Fatigue on my part both physically and emotionally that limits my urges to write in this space.  This laundry list, though, doesn't seem that much different from my usual venting about the stress that is my life.

This extended writing break seems different.  My life in the last few months hasn't been bad as much as it hasn't been good.  This distinction based on the consistency of the normal bad things, but my inability to find as much good on a daily basis.

I have not been feeling very well on all counts.  I've had a hard time shifting out of the sadness from October. Totally disconnected from those around me and struggling to simply get all the stuff done I need to in order to keep our family afloat.  I have tried to be normal mom for the kids, but I think they have noticed.  A especially often tells me how much he loves me and expressing his thanks for doing basic things.  Physically, I've lost weight (not good) and am so very tired all the time.  I wake up most mornings with awful anxiety and dread for the day ahead.

Maybe my writing avoidance is my inability to admit how bad it really is.

I have been trying to change the tide.  I've been going to therapy and at least admitting to her how badly I've been feeling.  I've tried to make sure I get to my indoor soccer game once a week.  Power naps during the day to restart my engine and clear the brain.  Reading before I go to bed to settle my thoughts.  I'm trying, but it feels like I'm trying to swim out of a rip current and not making much process.

Not sure where I'm going with this post.  I'm sorry for not writing as much, and sorry to my blogging friends for my lack of comments. I've been reading, just not finding the time to comment.  A difficult time connecting with those in my real life, is exponentially harder in the blogosphere.

This blizzard has provided the gift of uninterrupted time.  Its weekend occurrence allowing me the freedom from work demands and kid logistics.  D is currently making cookies.  L wants to play a game.  I may indulge this with a quick dice game and then maybe take a nap. 

I hope everyone being affected by the blizzard stays safe and warm. As long as we don't lose power, I'm looking forward to this forced period of slowing down.  I definitely can use it.