My car is dead. Has been for two days and hasn’t left the spot in the driveway. Now we get to be stranded here at home for at least another day until we can figure out how to fix it. Yep, things are just never slow or dull around here.
My car is dead. Has been for two days and hasn’t left the spot in the driveway. Now we get to be stranded here at home for at least another day until we can figure out how to fix it. Yep, things are just never slow or dull around here.
Okay, I will just come out and say it ~ I am not in the holiday mood/spirit/etc.! In fact, as many of my other dead baby parents will probably admit to ~ it is hard to be Thankful today, of all days. Oh sure, I am faking it for my kids (but even this is a half hearted effort). The truth is that I would rather Thanksgiving and Christmas never happen this year.
Oh yes, I have posted before about my Faith and such. . .but for me Thanksgiving is just another day. I am afraid that Christmas will be this year too. There is just no getting around it. Not having Amelia here is agony. It hurts. I am trying to prepare for this new baby and doing things like getting all the cloth diapers out, finding all our gender neutral baby clothes, and making birth plans. . . all the while feeling like I am just going through the motions.
I am completely apathetic to everyone and everything around me. I live with the feeling of wanting to just walk away and be alone for a while. And when I actually get a chance to do just that. . . it doesn’t help. Instead of being excited for this new baby, I am frightened. Each time it moves ~ I wonder if it will be its last. Each time I have heartburn, I wonder if it is somehow a sign that the baby is in distress. Each time I waddle somewhere and hear “is this your first” I want to cry. When I go places with my children. . . inevitably, they mention to some stranger how Amelia is dead and we are having a NEW baby. And I have to watch that horrid expression on that stranger’s face. The one where they wonder if the kids are playing some cruel and distasteful joke on them OR if it is true. Then I have to listen to the fake, “that is sad” line that inevitably comes out of their mouths, because all they want to do is walk away in the other direction. Yep, that is how my kids are remembering their sister. . . by sharing the dark truth of death with perfect strangers. And I don’t want to take that away from them. In their own way, they are honoring Amelia. But it kills me each time I hear it. I want the ‘excitment’ the ‘thankfulness’ the ‘better attitude’ but I honestly just don’t have it in me right now.
I am sitting here surrounded by cloth diapers (in dire need of repair) and all I can do is think that Amelia should have been using them. But she is not. Instead, she is a small jar of ashes in my bedroom. Nice. Instead of cuddling her and nursing her. . . I am trying to survive this holiday. Yep, I sit here in PJ’s and have already done a DVD work out, fed the kids, and prepared for another day (like any other). My kids are all very aware that it is Thanksgiving, and for their sake ~ I respond to their ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ prompts ~ but I don’t feel it. I am not thankful that I have a dead child, nor am I thankful that I have to live through this ridiculous holiday. I am not thankful for our struggle this last several years that has culminated into 12 months of hell. I am not thankful for that sacrifices that we have had to make. Nor am I thankful that I am even breathing right now. Selfish ~ probably. True ~ definitely.
Anyway, I digress. I ended up picking up the phone (when I should have let it ring) at a particularly difficult moment of my day. I started the conversation with neutral things, and when my voice wavered ~ this person asked a loaded question and I UNLOADED on them. I could not stop myself. All of my “problems” came spilling out. Things that I haven’t really even talked about here on my blog. And do you know what this person’s response was? Go ahead, guess. They rationalized it all for me, told me to pull myself together. . . and when I argued that my feelings were important, they said “gotta go, pizza is here.” NICE!
I should have expected as much. I should have guarded my heart better. But I didn’t. Nope, I just let myself fall apart, have someone really know what is going on in my life, bared my freaking soul, and I was cut off by a luke warm pizza.
Thankful for today ~ I wish I could answer with a resounding YES! But I can’t.
I hope that if you are reading this. . . you are doing better than I am. And NO, I don’t need meds, counseling, or a reality check. I am grieving ~ PERIOD. Grief doesn’t always let you take a HOLIDAY!
Well, I got to spend a whole day painting yesterday ~ and here is the result. Wanna see more? Just go to Beyond Words Designs and scroll down to the bottom of the gallery page.
I promise that I will have a better gallery soon with easier viewing! Just something else I need to get working on!
This morning ~ just another gray and blah day filled with too many things and not enough energy to accomplish them.
Then ~ like magic ~ someone came and left a toaster on our doorstep! What is amazing is that I just went and broke down yesterday and bought one! So, now I can return it and save some $.
Thank you to whomever was so very thoughtful and generous. I say generous, because for two days, I shopped for toasters… and they are NOT cheap! I even went to goodwill hoping to find a decent one, to no avail. Then I just broke down (used a coupon) and bit the bullet. . . JUST YESTERDAY! And today, a gift! One of the kids opened the door, and there is a NEW TOASTER in a Target bag! AWESOME!
I don’t know who it was ~ but if you are reading this, it brought tears to my eyes and a wonderful opportunity for discussion about how God provides with our children:)
Okay, here is a horrible topic but I need to vent about it. Pregnancy rage! Yes, I am talking about uncontrollable anger that leads one to do, to scream or yell things that make a ‘possession’ look tame.
I have spent time on the net and researched it, and all I can come up with is “hormones are hell.” Nothing to be done but to have the baby. Well, I am no where near ready to have this baby. . . as I am only 30.5 weeks. Of course, add that to the 40 weeks I was pregnant with AMELIA and that is 70.5 week pregnant and no live baby to show for it YET! ~ I am completely DONE ~ put a fork in me, DONE! Everything is irritating me, which leads to anger that escalates to rage. I literally want to throw something. . .at someone!
I can literally FEEL MY BLOOD PRESSURE rising. And of course, my blood pressure combined with a wicked case of acid reflux and heartburn makes me feel like I am on fire from the inside. This does wonders for my imagery of bursting into a human flame thrower. Now, out of respect for a certain person, I will not go into detail about exactly why I am livid right now, but instead give you some other very provoking reasons that I experienced today to add onto the BIG THING that I am also mad about, but won’t mention.
I ask the kids to do something and ~ being kids ~ they need reminding and supervision. But this is where I become this monster mama. I go from irritated to out and out rage! Seriously, no one needs to yelled at for not doing a chore, but I can’t seem to reign it in. The kids are looking at me like I have three heads.
Someone honked at me as we drove on an errand today and it took ALL MY CONTROL NOT TO FLIP THEM OFF! I swear if I had a handgun ~ I would have probably waved it in my rear view mirror. . . just to make a point!
We went to Target today and another pregnant woman gave me a funny look. A look that I felt was completely condescending. She was put out because she could not get around my kids in an isle. You know what went through my head? ~ I wanted to grab her by the shirt collar and throw her against the laundry detergent stacked neatly in rows! I wanted to get nose to nose with her and give her a piece of my mind! Of course I didn’t, but I really could have.
There is a sudden excitement (from the kids) about Christmas. And we don’t even have Television too feed them full of all the “stuff” that is advertised constantly. They want to make lists and are talking about all the stuff they want and all I want to do is tell them that Santa is “US” and that the $ is gone, so suck it up . . . because Christmas may be different this year. I don’t want to deal with disappointment and tears, but I almost would rather get it over with NOW instead of hearing about it on the day of. Yep, I am actually entertaining the thought of ruining Santa for my kids, because I am in that place right now.
I am experiencing that kind of emotion that makes me feel like telling off anyone who crosses me right now. Like I could literally just explode with venom and feel good about it. Yeah, that is pretty much me right now. Dontcha want to hang out with me?
What makes it worse, is that each pregnancy makes me feel some level of this crazy insane irrational rage. Yet, while I am experiencing it (like right now), it doesn’t feel all that wrong. I feel a part of it is actually justified (which I won’t go into details about). It goes with some of my previous posts about stress.
How much do I need to handle before it is alright for me to just say ~ DONE? Am I allowed to run away from home to a place that has room service, a personal meal planner, possibly an on staff masseuse? UM, no. DO I get to leave whenever I have an urge and meet someone for a meal out? UM, no. Do I get the incredible luxury of coming and going as I please (especially when I am stressed), UM, no. DO I have any reliable method of earning a living after being out of the work force for 10 years? UM, no. Not unless someone is willing to pay over 6 figures for me to wipe their nose and diaper their bum.
I know that what I am describing sounds trivial, yet placed within the context THAT I WON”T MENTION ~ well, lets just say that I could convince a grand jury that I was temporarily insane when they find the body.
Is it just me that gets to live this “SPECIAL” part of pregnancy?
I am busy working on my orders. I have about 9 paintings to go! I am going to take a break for about two months to prepare for this baby. . . who I am beginning to think may be a boy. I am also working on a NEW website and hopefully my goal is to have it up and running, with a new logo, and business plan when I come back! Of course, all that is still going very SLOWLY ~ but I do have some new goals for Beyond Words Designs set.
When I look back on how much I achieved and got done before Amelia died and shortly after, well ~ it is just crazy. And then my grief took a front seat, then this pregnancy! SO, I would love to know from you if you have any suggestions on how to grow a small art business. I know that there are certain BLOGS that are very popular and that I probably could advertise on them. I could focus on art and craft shows, OR I could let word of mouth do a lot of work for me too. I am wide open for suggestions!
Here are some snapshots of color from my studio:
Thank you for all the sweet prayers and comments. O is fine. Actually, he thought that going to the ER and getting to watch a movie, hang with dad was all kinds of fun (or pete’s sake)! Anyway, the Dr. on staff basically SUPER GLUED his cut shut. Did you know that superglue was actually invented for military use on field injuries? YEP, during battle, if a soldier is hurt in a way that can be fixed quickly ~ superglue is used. . . probably a hospital grade kind.
The cut is about an 1″ or so long and above the same eye that was hurt a couple of days before. He told me that he had to tell his story to three different people. I expected this. Also, no concussion ~ thank goodness! So, I guess he will grow up with a collection of scars and look like Harrison Ford.
Anyway, I am still not ‘calm’ from the events of yesterday. In fact, I cried this morning because the kids were horsing around again and I had NO PATIENCE left. UGH! I am just flat out frazzled. I know that a person can deal with an immense amount of stress, but this year ~ yep, one year almost to the day today that we found out about Amelia’s diagnosis ~ has really been wearing on me. I swear it has aged me a lot.
On a slightly different note, I finished a commission for a birth center in NC. I am going to ship it out today. It is a big 24×36 piece. . . more paintings to come soon.
Prayers needed please. . . I just don’t know how much more of this I can handle. Really, I feel like I am on the edge.
My second son is at this moment being taken to the hospital by my husband. He has a HUGE gash on his forehead and is going to need stitches and has a possible concussion. He also managed to flood the upstairs bathroom this afternoon which resulted in a waterfall off of our kitchen, a mere 4 hours ago. Two days ago, he came home from a church event with a black eye and GIANT goose egg on his head (his eye is actually dark purple right now). This is the area that he has managed to hurt himself again tonight ~ by trying to PEE while standing up on the edges of the bathtub! Since his brother was on the potty, he figured that would be the most logical place to relieve himself. He had already fallen once (possibly with the help of older sibling ~ horsing around) only 2 minutes before. We didn’t hear what was going on until terrifying screams from both boys began.
I tore upstairs to find blood all over the place, and went into PANIC mode. The oldest was screaming there is blood all over, and I managed not to throw up while applying pressure on #2′s head. Steven came up the stairs and I had to yell over screams from the hurt one ”go get an ice pack” which, of course, he comes back with frozen solid veggies. I yelled again over the screaming child, that I needed a specific ice pack. All the while, the youngest was trying to clean up blood and I was trying to get O to settle down long enough to get the story and get him to breath without almost passing out.
I know that faces bleed a lot. And O has had minor head injuries that I have managed to deal with myself without hospital involvement, but this time ~ well, it was just bad and I wasn’t taking any chances. I managed to get the other two in bed as Steven got the insurance cards and O and went out the door.
NOW ~ I am just shaking so much that I anticipate that I will not ‘come down’ from this for a while. I just want to scream and cry all at the same time. I am normally NOT one to worry, but this time O’s little life has flashed before my eyes. Knowing what I know about household injuries and children’s fatalities, added to already dealing withe Amelia’s death ~ and I can’t stop shaking!
Seriously, we just got done praying about so many things and trying to give ourselves over to God’s will for our family, and THIS HAPPENS! It just goes from bad to WORSE!
So ~ how many times have I complained about the ‘stress’ and the ‘crap’ that we have been living with for about a year now? Too many times for me to remember. And every once in a while I will post about a glimpse of ‘God’s goodness’ but then all sh– seems to hit the fan again.
Well, I think that I am finally getting the message. I need to depend on God. It is coming from so many different places at once. And it is not like I haven’t heard it before. However, I am seeing how absolutely necessary it is at this moment. Now ~ I am going to qualify all of this with ” I am not asking you to believe what I do” nor am I saying that “My way should be yours.” I am just needing a place to catalogue these thoughts that are crying out for a place to become more real.
It began a couple of days ago ~
1. As Steven went to a meeting with our pastor, he overheard a woman seeking assistance. This woman and her 9yr. old son were living out of their CAR because she left her abusive husband and couldn’t find help at a shelter! WHAT! SERIOUSLY! A little boy and his mother are struggling with the very BASICS of their needs being met ~ and here we are whining about ‘unemployment.’
2. I have been full of anxiety with this pregnancy. I am not exercising nor eating as well as I could. It is all just excuses, how I happen to cope with stress. . . but it is not alright. Yes, Amelia is dead and I am pregnant again. Yes, I will have given birth two times within 10 months and only have one child to show for it. Yet, I have been so caught up in the ‘what if’s’ of loosing this baby, that I have not focused on celebrating this child. I can’t even bring myself to really think of names. Most of the things that I need to do to prepare for this child (clothes, co-sleeper, diapers) are too difficult to plan for because I am paralyzed by thoughts of dealing with another baby funeral. I don’t really trust that this baby is safe, that s/he will come into this world without problems. I am letting my fear drown out any joy. Yet, the gift that I carry within my womb is being looked over. I am forgetting that this life (no matter how long or short) is its own. And then I read of a woman who so desperately wants to become a mother and is having problems. It slaps me in the face ~ I am lucky, that is all. I don’t deserve this pregnancy, I am not entitled to it, but I am again a mother and wallowing in self pity. I want to slap myself.
3. Steven had been counseling (seeking out advice and opinion of elders and respected friends) with many people in an effort to discern God’s direction for him. I gotta say, there is nothing like a years worth of tragedy and financial strain to bring you to your knees and scream out for answers. Seriously, who doesn’t want a ‘WHY me’ when your down. Anyway, he has been doing everything right, with no results. No work offers. No direction. No answers. No idea what we will be doing for $ in the foreseeable future. And being Christians ~ we turn to God in prayer when we seek guidance, answers, and direction. But when you are seeking and praying and counseling and waiting (in the midst of your child dying, and other tragedy) well, that feeling of desperation is not very hard to get to. And here is the result ~
I feel that I am being asked to trust my husband more. . . but being the ‘control freak’ that I am ~ I don’t like that message very much. Steven has been feeling lead to open himself up more and not limit God’s work on him or our family. Basically his prayer to God for help and guidance needs to change from “God ~ I will do anything that You want me to do EXCEPT…” to “God I will do anything that You want me to do.”
I have to say that this particular one word change scares the HECK out of me. Seriously, I like our life a lot and the ANYTHING minus the word EXCEPT is one giant LEAP of Faith for us. So, we are now taking on a new outlook ~ or at least trying to.
4. Then came this morning. . . we usually all go to church together, but Steven asked if it was alright if he just went, since he was up early and ready and we all had slept in (unintentionally). As he left, I heard my two boys trying to convince my daughter (4yrs old) that they ‘deserved’ some of her treasures from a party that she attended last night. So, first thing this morning, I launched into the discussion of how our attitudes of ENTITLEMENT need to drastically change. I heard myself saying things like: ”We are lucky to have everything that we do ~ it is all a blessing, a gift that we don’t deserve. We have so much more than most in the world. Even in the current situation we find ourselves in, we have an abundance of gifts and all of our NEEDS are taken care of. Do we deserve it ~ NO! Are we entitled to them ~ NO! Are we blessed and lucky ~ HELL to the YES!”
Then it HIT me like a ton on bricks . . . we still feel that we somehow deserve more than we have. We feel a sense of entitlement, we ‘as adults’ don’t even understand how simply blessed we are. The truth of it is that we are terrified of loosing what we have, that we are holding onto it so tightly. Our home, our belongings, our stuff. What we DO have is our family, our children, our love, our faith. God only promised us that the kingdom of heaven awaits us and that life here on earth is painful and imperfect and sinful.
Here I am, lecturing my kids on their attitude of ‘I deserve’ and “it isn’t fair that M. got toys and a gift bag and we didn’t” . . . yet, I am doing the same thing, by trying to control the things that I feel I can and not giving my trust COMPLETELY to God to provide for our basic needs. Nor do I really want to say to God; ”I will do anything that You want me to do.”
It is scary. I am terrified, but I need to get to a place where I realize the truth. That what we have is a gift that we don’t deserve and that God loves me and my family and will still LOVE us through our disobedience. But He yearns for us to cling to HIM and have faith that HE will provide. Not for one minute do I believe that God has orchestrated our misfortunes, but I do believe that He will and can use it for greater good. And the greater good may not be what we wish it to be, nor hope it to be . . . but then again ~ it may.
5. We went to support a friend who was speaking on finances to a church group. We were both struck by what TRUTH he had to share. Ready for this ~ bet your not!
Did you know that if you make minimum wage in the USA ~ you are still in the top 11.88% of earners in the world! Yes, it is true . . . $8/hr. (which is $16,640 annually) is rich by the collective WORLD’S standards. Wanna try your income ~ just go to Global Rich List. It is very humbling.
Wanna know what the dictionary definition of RICH is? Brace yourself!
RICH ~ having wealth or great possessions; abundantly
supplied with resources, means, or funds.
The basic meaning is this. If you have all your BASIC needs met and have anything left over
YOUR RICH! Think about it . . . have you ever gone hungry, without a place to sleep, clean water, gone without appropriate clothing?
Most likely, you have more than one car, a closet full of clothes and shoes, a roof over your head, education (of any level!), the ability to run to the grocery store on a whim and refrigerate them, eat out, health care, cable TV, a computer, a furnished home, access to public works (paved roads, schools, library, hospital, police, fire stations) and MUCH more ~ the list goes on.
Yes ~ I dare say it, we in American culture believe that we are ENTITLED to this “American Dream” of limitless and bountiful harvest. We are drenched with the unhealthy and unrealistic attitude of ‘everything AND MORE.’ Our society as a whole nurtures and encourages excess in spades! It is everywhere, just look around. Who ever said that we deserve it NEVER spent a moment with someone ‘less fortunate.’ That is sobering ~ isn’t it. And here we are ~ dealing with being put out, simply because we may have less today than we did yesterday. Watching things slip away is gut wrenching, but then I remember . . . it is all JUST THINGS. How much did Jesus give up for me, for everyone?
Here is the crucial point that I am trying to illustrate. Having money and your needs met, or being rich isn’t sinful or wrong ~ but feeling entitled to that IS. Money in and of itself is a necessity in our world. But having money take the place of what is most important is just wrong. Worshiping things, striving for always more, not seeing your gifts and being a good steward of them ~ is sinful.
We are guilty of that. We are beginning to see that ~ even in our situation ~ we are blessed. We need to be cognisant of the blessings we have and listen to what God wants us to do about it. If that means, opening our doors to a mother and her son (even if we don’t know how we will pay the bills) then that is what we need to do. If it means not doing Christmas presents in order to help stock our church pantry for those in need ~ then that is what we need to do. If it means struggling to tithe ~ EVEN as we watch the bank account dwindle and we wonder how much longer we will be able to pay our bills ~ that is what we must do. Simple as that. It is hard core stuff for us, but really so simple when I think of how many ways we can be stewards with our blessings. Even if we have LESS than we did before without certainty of where our needs will be met. It forces us to trust God. To rely upon Him.
Having no job is hard. I am not gonna lie ~ it is hard because we are not used to it and it magnifies things even more. Our tragedies are unfair. Our daughter’s dying ~ UNFAIR. Steven being let go after an exemplary 11 years with a company ~ UNFAIR. Yet, I hear myself tell my kids all the time. . . life isn’t fair. We are all just going to have to get used to the idea.
So ~ yes, we are RICH right now, even now! And in the spirit of celebrating the gifts we have, I want to share one of my God given gifts (painting) . . . I have finished Mason’s canvas (another rainbow baby):) Happy Birthday Mason!