Wednesday, December 31, 2008

happy new year.

the boys and i are off on a roadtrip tomorrow (very very early). we're heading west, and north. i have no reservations to stay anywhere. we're going to go where we go and find a place to stay when we arrive. new year, frest start. we're off to explore some new places. we'll be back in time for E to go to school on monday.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

quite frankly, today has sucked.

my stomach hurts again. i thought this part was over. why does it keep coming back? why did i come crashing down so hard after the brief time i felt the slightest bit alive on saturday night. why is E being so difficult. why is he pushing me to my limit. passed my limit. i'm not sure what to do with him. and today i can't stop crying. even in front of the boys. i don't know if it's christms being over and everyone being gone or my conversation with jan (about E) that made me shut down and leave her house. i couldn't be there any more. but i can't be here either. i have never felt so alone in my life. all i feel is emptiness. and hurt. and indecision. do i take the boys for a 10 hour drive? listen to them fight in the car? perhaps go insane myself? or do i wait. is the timing not right? i have no objectivity. i can't seem to make a decision to save my life. and i effin hate that.

during those brief few hours where i felt alive, not completely was wonderful. but now? it's back to feeling.....i don't even know how to explain it....just so bad. i can't keep feeling like this. i just can't. the boys fighting. me not sleeping. being unsure of what to do. i think this is what being dead on the inside must be like.

i want to believe in the idea that once again...some day....i will not feel like this. that there is something else out there for me. but right now, in this minute, i can't contemplate that idea. it just doesn't seem possible.

i have to force myself to get up. to do things for the boys. to undecorate the trees. to be mom. i just want that feeling i had on saturday night back and i'm not sure how to make that happen. is it fair that i have to stay here? how long do i have to live in the shadow? when is it okay to do something just for me. never? because i have these boys? because i am responsible for them? any decision i make will always be in their best interest...but it also has to be in my own interest.

why did my friend have to say to me today what she said. makes me feel so alone. the one person i had left now i feel like i don't have. i mean...seriously?? what next. i'm afraid to ask. why can't i just make a decision??!! why can't i just do....something! maybe it will be the wrong thing..maybe it won't. i'm just not sure i can move by myself. take us to a new place....and in the meantime i just feel like all this pressure is coming down on me and i have no way to escape.

i don't feel like doing anything. i just want to sleep. oh how i wish i could.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

too many decisions.

after having a house full for 8 days, now the house is quiet. and lonely again. i attempted to talk to the boys about our plans for the future. which include moving. and E was okay with it at first. but after a half an hour he came to me crying, telling me he doesn't want to move. so i eased his fears by telling him it's not something we're going to rush into. i know he feels security here in this house. that we shared with his daddy. but i also tried to explain to him that mommy doesn't like living here. that we wouldn't be leaving daddy behind (because he is inside our hearts and we have our memories of daddy). i don't think it really eased his fear. so then i told him if it happens, it's not going to be today, or tomorrow (kids are so literal)....that it's just something that we're thinking about. that we need to talk about.

on saturday night i went out with a friend of mine (someone i have known for many many years). he and i had a lot of fun. and it was nice. nice to not be a mom for a while. nice to just do something different. it was just fun. i stayed out until 6:30 am. christine and my mom were here with the boys and i had some freedom so i took advantage of it.

spending time with this friend was a trip. so many memories. it was just all good. i haven't had fun in a while. and it made me realize (now that everyone is gone and i'm back at being a mom 24/7/365) that i have to make some changes. i can't continue to go on in this existence (other than james not being here) our lives are the same. i was a stay at home mom before and i still am. at least for a while (i'm working out all our financial details as i can). don't get me wrong...our lives are not the same (i have no husband, the boys have no father)...but our lives are still the same. does that make sense? and now that i've stepped outside this new existence, and had some fun....i realize i need to make some changes. i guess i didn't realize how unhappy i was.

i mean of course i have been unhappy, my husband died. but it's been a couple of months....and i guess i have found a way to deal on a daily basis. just go about your day not feeling much of anything (except for occasional waves of complete and utter grief), always concentrating on the boys. and it wasn't until i spent some time away from the boys and focused a bit on myself that i realized how i have been living. for the first time since james died i felt a glimmer of hope......a bit excited. and omg it was so nice. and now that it's gone it makes me realize just how miserable i have been. and i need to find a way out. a way for me to survive. i do have to think about me. and not just the boys. and i think i. me. that I need to move. and that is big and scary. it's one more change for the boys. and i'm not sure if it's selfish or not. i have no objectivity. i just know that i feel like if i don't move my spirit will be crushed. i'm not sure if i will even feel any differently in a new place. but i'll never know if i don't go.

it's going to be a big step. i can't really contemplate packing up this entire house and moving everything by myself. but i think i need to do that. i have hated living here since i moved here. and why i moved here is another story entirely. the reason i stayed was james. now that he is not here, i think it is time for us to go.

which is scary. because we will be moving to a place (as of yet undetermined) where we will know no one. no one will be able to help us. we will more than likely be moving far away from family. right now my brother, christine and the boys are 2.5 hours away. it's not right next door but we do see each other (especially now that james isn't here).

so if we move, we will lose that. the boys love their cousins (and their time with their cousins and they would lose that). but there is a possibility to gain so much more. i want to live by the ocean. i need it. i have wanted to live by the ocean since i moved away from it 22 years ago. 22 effin years. i feel like i must make some decisions for myself. but also taking into consideration the boys' needs.

i have begun explaining what moving really means. a new school for E. packing up all our furniture (E seemed to think we would leave all our belongings here)....i am starting the process. i'm seriously contemplating putting the boys in the car on tuesday and driving west and north. but first i need to do a little research.

i am unsure of how to choose a place for us to live. but i know if i do nothing i will remain unhappy here. i am wholly responsible for the boys. but i also have to take care of me. do what is right for me so that i can have a chance at being happy. so that the boys can see that...and then i can take better care of them.

i have been thinking since james died that i have to take care of the boys. and i do. but i have just recently realized i also have to take care of me. and that may mean leaving this place. which is going to be so so hard on the boys.

a fresh place to live. a new start. it's scary. but i think it's what we're going to do. it means the boys won't see thier grandma anymore (james' mom). sounds like a big loss but really it's not. they don't see her that much now...she is pretty checked out and aloof anyway). she is still very very wrapped up in the sadness of losing her son. i'm not sure what to do to help her and it may be mean, but i have to focus on me and my children.

so i'm thinking. it may take a while to sell my house (especially with the way the housing market is). but if i don't even try it definitely won't sell. i'm not going to take E out of school (he needs what stability we have). so when this school year ends....we may be making some big changes.

i can paint anywhere. i can create greeting cards anywhere. so i can continue to built my etsy shop and figure out what it is i am going to do with my life.

all throughout writing this entry, E has been sitting here with me and we have been talking. and crying. he really doens't want to move. believe me, it is scary to me. so i can only imagine how scary it sounds to the boys. so once again i'm figuring out what it is that we are going to do.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

christmas is four days away.

i got through thanksgiving relatively well.
yes, it was hard. but i was so busy (haveing 18 people over will do that).
based on my reaction to thanksgiving i thought i would be able to get through christmas.
well, i'm getting through christmas...but i didn't think i would be as affected by it as i am.
all the in the last four's just been almost unbearable. i can't stop thinking about james when he died. about him being in the mortuary for so many days...about him having to have the defibrilator cut out of his body before he could be cremated. why does my mind go there? why do i see these images in my mind? why can't i stop thinking about them?

christmas was a special time for us.
i loved figuring out what to put in his stocking.
i waited with such anticipation to find out what he put in mine.
we had special stockings we exchanged between the two of us before the boys were even out of bed. it was just something special. for us. the stockings hang on the fireplace mantle and i look at them so many times a day. and it reminds me that james isn't here. it may sound strange, but sometimes i still can't believe he's dead. i can't believe i'll never see him again. be held by him. hold his hand. touch his face. kiss him. breathe in while i'm next to him...just take him in..smell him. feel him.

it's good to have family here. but it doesn't take away the sadness that i feel. it just makes me busier while i feel that sadness. i sort of feel like i'm on auto pilot again (which is how a felt right after james died). and it surprises me. i would think that i wouldn't go back to feeling that way. i know i am tired. that is a big part of it. i never thought a person could be this tired. i say that and then two weeks later i say holy crap. i never thought a person could be THIS tired. and i just seem to get more tired. i'm back to not sleeping. waking up and tossing and turning. going to bed late (because i've been busy) and having to get up early with the boys. makes me wonder how much the human body can tolerate. apparently it's quite a lot.

in the beginning of this christmas season i was less sad than i am now. i was able to enjoy a bit of shopping (me getting stocking stuffers for the boys). i enjoyed the smell of the tree in the family room. the beautiful decorations. but now all the joy seems to be gone. dramatic, i know. let me explain that. i smile, and laugh...and act like all is well. but it really is just going through the motions. i am not feeling happy or joyous right now. i should be. i have a lot to be thankful for (my boys...a home to live in)...but this year i just don't feel much of anything. except for sadness. maybe it's just because of christmas and me being so tired. i hope to find my way back to being positive. i am sure i will smile and enjoy watching the magic (when the boys come downstairs and see what santa left them). i hope to get back to being able to feel things again.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

i think this was the beginning of the end.

this will be a no photo post. i don't like no photo posts....but i just wanted to write about something i've been thinking a lot about. here's an entry i made from march 19, 2007:

i'm pretty sure today has been the longest day of my life. at least in recent history. actually for the past few weeks my days have been full of long days. but today was....almost other worldly. surreal. but now i am home. the boys are tucked in safe. they have their mommy back. grandma is back at home. isn't it strange how one day can feel like a week? or longer? i swear....the day isn't even quite over yet it feels like it happened a lifetime ago. and so it is done. the end of indecision.the decision has been made. it is the end of indecision and the beginning of living with the consequences, hoping the right choice has been made. because there is no going has just been the most incredibly difficult day. you can't even imagine. while you can be a couple with someone, no matter what you are going through you ultimately end up going through it alone. at some point you are separated. come back together after it's done...but for that are alone. one of you here and the other of you there. one experiencing one side and the other the other. each alone. did i mention that today has absolutely been one of the most suckiest horrible days of my life? well it was. and god how i tried to keep it away from the boys. to not let this touch them absolutely any more than it had to.our lives have been forever changed today. for better? for worse? what more is to come our way? i don't even want to think about it. not today. i just can't. i have never in my life ever felt so alone as i did today. i am independent. i do not like relying on anyone for anything. well...except for james for technical stuff. but come on. it's technical stuff and i suck at it. but for everything else? i am self-reliant. i've just had to become that. but sometimes i feel like it would be nice to have people there to help support me. i am sure to someone who doesn't really know me this post may seem dramatic. even cryptic. yes something is clearly happening here. and i'm not saying what. i'm just trying to work through all the craziness. to sort it out. it's hard.ever wonder if you're strong enough for a situation? well if you ask me, there is no way to know until you're actually in a particular situation. you deal with what comes. when it's happening you do what you have to to get through it. you feel so much isolation, loneliness, helplessness, and many more emotions. you struggle to find your way out of the drowning sea of all that is coming at you. and you do. one way or the other you do. you have to.i should be in bed. i am truly exhausted. i have never felt my body shake like i did today. seriously. and to know that it may not be over. but hoping that for least for now....that it is. so that we have time to regroup before being hit with anything else.i couldn't wait to get home and just hold my boys. i needed them tonight. and they needed me. they had a rough day too.

this post was about the day james had a defibrilator implanted into his chest. it was set to go off if his heart rate went above 220 bpm and sustained at that rate. james' doctors feared he might die from 'sudden death' which is when your heart starts racing (he had an enlaged heart and electrical problems...arrythmia....taccychardia). james made the decision (after thinking about it for three years) to have the defibrilator implanted ONLY for his boys' sake. he wanted to be here for them. turns out it didn't help him one bit. it never went off. well....that may not be true. it may have gone off when his heart stopped while he was in the ER, that was never confirmed to me. but when you have a defibrilator, the doctors put a magnet on it while they are working on you so they don't get shocked (the magnet stops it from going off). but after all that he went through, the defibrilator in on way saved his life. or prolonged his life. or benefitted him in any way. what it did do was make james more self-conscious about the lump (you could see it under his skin if you knew what you were looking for). it made him change the way he lived his life. always in fear of the effing thing going off. it was set to beep before it shocked him. and sometimes we would hear strange noises...both look at each other...then look at his chest wondering if he was about to get shocked.

the reason i was cryptic in my post about that day was because james didn't want anyone to know about the unit. and i needed to get it out. so i did, but without actually saying what had happened that day.

and i think that was the beginning of the end. i look back on that day, and what transpired after that day....and i wonder. i wonder if we made the right decision. i still think about james so so so much every single day. now that i am alone (the boys are in bed), the house is's when i miss him the most.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

again, i have a lot to say.

ethan had a christmas program at school on tuesday. snapped this photo of me and alexander.
E had a small speaking part (introducing a song). that's him, right in the middle, right next to the little girl in the dress with the black on top. oh, and just an fyi...i've been informed that is his girlfriend. um...girlfriend? i don't think so thank you very much mr. i'm only the in second grade!
i had a hard time holding it together at the christmas program. that is something james wouldn't have missed for the world. and i don't know if it was the christmas theme, the christmas music or just the fact that james wasn't there alone that made it so hard. alexander and i were sitting on the floor (the place was packed). and it was all i could do not to break down in wrenching sobs in front of all those people. but i didn't. i maintained. but my just never ends. that feeling of emptiness. loneliness. feeling like my world is still upside down and i'm trying to find a way to right things.
i want to thank every person who checked out my etsy shop. on sunday night (three days ago) i put in 15 items. today, all are gone but three. thank you to every single person who purchased something. i will be adding new items soon so check back if you're interested. it was nice for me to feel like i have purpose again (even if it was brief). painting, and actually selling my art....that is an amazing thing. at the end of E's program, the PFA president asked anyone who could, to pick a snowman off the angel tree that was in the lunchroom. it's for families at E's school who need help during this christmas season. alexander and i walked over to the tree and chose a family to sponsor. that is what i will be doing with some of the money made from my most recent etsy update. so thank you.
i think i mentioned this before, but i'm having sort of flashbacks (inside my mind i see he turned blue, and purple while he was dying). sorry....maybe tmi...i know it's tmi for me. i don't know how i will ever get that image out of my brain. i still question myself. did i make the right decision. will the boys understand when they are older and i tell them everything. i want james back so bad it actually physically hurts. a song can break the dam and the emotions start flooding out. i saw an ambulance driving down the freeway and my mind immediately started thinking about james...being taken from work to the hospital in an ambulance. i always think about what it was like for him. i think about what it felt like for him to live the best life he could with dilated cardiomyopathy. i still can't even freaking believe this has all happened. i mean, i know it has...but how can this have happened?! how are we supposed to go on and find any kind of normal. am i going to be enough to help the boys? i mean, i have to be. i'm all they have. they are all i have. it just makes me hurt so imcredibly much when i look at E, i see how sad he is and i think about him growing up without james. i still get stuck on the fact that it is just not fair. right now at this very second i feel like i am going to throw up thinking about the boys growing up without their father. i am shaking and my body is cold. even though i'm sitting on a heater vent. nothing can make this stop.
i took the boys to the solace tree. it's a place for kids who have lost a parent or other family member. the kids do different things and are given the opportunity to talk if they want. E told me he talked about james. and about grandpa (james' dad who died last year). E talkd about scampi (who died right before james) and granny (james' grandma who died three weeks ago). that is so much more death than any 7 year old should have to deal with. so i'm doing what i can to help E....i need him to be okay...eventually....but i'm so worried about him. how sad he is, how he's not really living, but instead, sort of only half putting himself out there. i need to find a way to being him out again. to make him feel safe. i can never bring james back...but i need to find a way to help ethan. to protect him. i just want him to know how much i love him...and it breaks my heart to see him hurting so much.
tomorrow.....yet another meeting (and i'll probably be given yet another list of things i 'must' do). i still have so so many things to address. like finding cheaper health insurance. my will (so the boys are taken care of should something happen to me). just actually getting our bills paid. dealing with the hospital and doctor never ends. so now i'm going to bed. so i can get up tomorrow...and just go from there.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

many things.

there is more than just the emotional side of the death of your husband. you are then also hit with the financial aspect. since ethan was born (7 years ago) i have been stay at home mom. james was our sole money maker. well, except for the last couple of months before he died. that's when i opened my etsy shop (so it was basically brand new when james died) so uh...yeah, i'm not exactly going to retire on the income i made. i had only had 7 sales before james died. i temporarily closed the shop after james died. well, a couple weeks after he died, that's when i remembered oh yea, i should close my shop since i'm not paying any attention to it whatsoever.

i paint for many reasons (stay with me here) there IS a point to this. i paint as a form of expression. it's a form of release. it's how i lose myself (which i so need to do). it's my passion. it's also, i hope, a way for me to make some money. that is something i do have to think about now. so yes, i paint (not with the thought of gee, i hope i can sell this), but for the artistic outlet. i said...a few months ago a few friends talked me into opening an etsy shop. and i sold a few pieces. so i figured now really is as good a time as any to try to build my shop. at this time i have no income. not to say we're destitute. we're not. but the man responsible for making our house payment and all that blah blah know that story. so. i painted. and i added this piece to my shop. am i going to make huge amounts of money from my shop? um. no. but at least it's something. a place to start.

part of my new outlook (being positive) is to focus on something positive. and for yesterday (and today) that has been my etsy shop. i was up until 2am last night and back up at 6am to put things together to add to my shop. it felt good to have purpose.
this is a card i made (it's blank inside). i turned one of my original paintings into this card and handmade the envelope. the envelope is textured cardstock which i stitched together. the stitching is messy and shows and i really love how it turned out! you can find this in my shop here.
this is also in my shop. it's a gift card holder. you can either hang it from the tree or attach it to a smaller gift (tie it on with ribbon) which i'm doing for three of my nephews for christmas. i got them each a small toy (and am also giving them a barnes & noble gift card attached to their small gift). i made these gift card holders because there really is nothing (at least i don't think) to put gift cards into. they either need to go into a card/envelope or...well...what do you do with them?! i like the idea of just hanging it from the tree. so go take a look if you're so inclined. :)

it was two months ago today that james died. two months. i really can't believe i've been without him for that long. it hit me yesterday (while doing a bit of christmas shopping). i felt lonely. we used to leave the boys with james' mom and sneak away for a couple of hours together and do some shopping. yesterday it was just me. and i felt really lonely. everywhere i turned there were decorations, and people but even so, i still felt very alone.

it doesn't really feel like christmas time to me. i'm still stuck in the time warp of the death of my husband. my best friend. and it just doesn't feel like christmas. but it is. so i go through the motions, put up the trees, get lights on the house, christmas shop (for the boys) and from the outside, it all looks and seems normal. but i still feel far from normal.

when james first died i didn't know how i was going to do it. i had no clue. but i've been doing it. for two months. for two months i have done it (and i'm sort of shocked by that). so much of that two months has sucked. i can't even tell you how much. i still can't even believe it's been two months. but i can tell you i have never felt so exhausted in my life. so totally and completely exhausted.

and if i think about the future it overwhelms me to the point i cannot function. it literally overwhelms me. but if i take it day by day....i might be able to manage one day. then another. and another. so that's what i'm doing. just got done reading story and tucking the boys in. i have a few things i need to get done and then i am going to bed.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

a painting.

some really remarkable people have been reading my blog. i say that because some of you have left me amazing comments. well...not some.....ALL of you who have left comments are amazing. i thank you. i want to say first, to those that have told me they find me inspiring, i am wow'd by that. i don't see me, picking up the pieces of our lives and going on to be in any way remarkable or inspiring. there just is nothing else TO do. but i want to thank each and every person who comes here and leaves comments. i read them all. i appreciate them all.

i painted. this is not the first thing i have painted since james died. the first two i threw in the trash. this one i'm not absolutely in love with. but i needed a place to start. and this is it. it's very henri matisse inspired. this is what i did today while E was in schol and alexander was resting. i listened to trans-siberian orchestra and painted. i didn't think about anything. i just focused on paint. and color. and nothing else. painting makes my heart race. it makes me feel alive. i can take a deep breath when i paint. and i felt a little bit of that today. i also felt empty. it's hard to describe those conflicting feelings....feeling them all at the same time. i know james would be happy that i painted. i am happy that i painted. i have been afraid i would never be able to paint again. i'm not even sure why i painted this particular piece. i had nothing in mind when i started. this is just what happened. i started....and when i was done, this is what i had created. i love that about painting. i just never know what's going to happen until it happens. at some point i hope to put some pieces back in my etsy shop. i'm going to turn some of my paintings into greeting cards as well and add those to my shop. not sure when, but i'm going to work on it. slowly. i hope.

i have been doing a lot of thinking. it occurred to me yesterday that what i do from here forward is a choice. i can choose to be sad, not get out of basically give up. or i can choose to live. well, i can't chose the give up option. i chose the other option. i choose to go on, make things the best they can be for the boys. i am sad. oh yes i am. especially the last three days. not even sure why but the last three days have sucked. so bad. they just have. but they are just days that suck. i know, in the end, i must choose to do what i can to go on with my life. to make it meaningful. to somehow fill up this emptiness. i walked upstairs to the loft today and thought to myself, 'why do i feel so bad?! i mean, i just feel horrible.' my shoulders hurt. my head hurt. i just crap. then it occurred to me. this new reality. that's why i was feeling that way. i can't just magically get over james. that just won't happen. and i will have good days and bad days. i just need to make a conscious effort to come out of this in the long run.

i thought that if it were me that died, and left james with the boys, i would really want him to go on. and to ultimately build a new life. to do what he could for the boys. that really is what i would want. now i'm not saying i'm going to do that in the next week, month or even year. but i am making a choice to try to be positive, to be happy for the years we had with james and just go from there.

it's funny that i can 'want' to be positive but then today, just break down on and off all day for absolutely no reason. i miss james so much. i really wanted to call him this morning. but couldn't. and it just hit me. again. like it does over and over again. it's the strangest thing. sometimes i actually expect james to come home. then i realize. holy crap. what was i thinking?! he's not coming home! but it's weird. it's like he's so in my heart that i just keep expecting him to come home. i know he's not going to. i'm not living in denial. i wish i was, but i'm not. it's just a strange surreal feeling i've been having lately. sort of like flashbacks. i think about when i first goto to the ER and saw him. i think about what he must have gone through during all the tests they did on him. they did SO many. i just think. all the time. and often wonder what i could have done differently. what i should have done differently. but most of all, i just miss james.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

it's beginning to look a 'little' like christmas.

the tree in alexander's room. white lights, gold bells, green bows and that's it. can you see the green bows? they're kind of hard to see. but it's simple and i love it. i used green bows because green is alexander's favorite color.
the tree in ethan's room. white lights, silver bells and red bows. yes. i started decorating for christmas before thanksgiving. i just felt like it and i figured i better take advantage of that feeling while it was there. james and i bought these little fake trees for the boys at the end of last year. i thought about james, of course, as i always do....while the boys and i decorated their trees.
i love christmas. i love the decorations. the christmas music. doing something for someone else that you think they might really love. this time of year is just magical. well, it always has been. and i'm trying not to let that all go away this year. i want the boys to enjoy the magic of santa, of this time of year. of being with family. of doing things for others. i want them to remember back on these years as magical and special. they love having a tree in their rooms. i always did when i was little and i'm glad they love it too.
christine was here with her boys for a few days. she took ethan to school yesterday morning and took her boys with her and alexander too. that meant i had a bit of free time. for the first time since james died. i wasn't sure what to do. take a nap? sit and stare blankly doing nothing? paint? make more phone calls (to find insurance that doesn't suck ass and cost a million trillion dollars a month)? what? what exactly should i do? i went christmas shopping. for the boys. i went to starbucks (thank you chuckers for much!!).
it was both fun, and....well, it was sad. i decided to look for stocking stuffers for the boys. which was something james and i always did together. and of course i found myself wandering through target looking for something for james. then i sort of came out of my daze and realized i wouldn't be buying anything for james. and i lost it (for a minute). right in the middle of target. which was unusual for me. i tend to keep it together when i'm around people and cry only when i'm by myself. and i'm sure the people in target were thinking, "okay, what is wrong with THIS crazy lady?!" but i don't care.
i pulled myself together, fully realizing this christmas will be hard, and sad...but also full of joyous moments. i still want to be able to enjoy finding just the right thing for the boys. i hate shopping. EXCEPT at christmas time. i love poking around, looking for just the right thing for someone. so i'm going to do my best to enjoy and soak up every single happy moment that comes my way with this christmas season. i'm going to do my best to make this christmas the best it can be for the boys. i want magic in their lives.
i was thinking, as i walked into target yesterday, that no one would know my husband died last month just by looking at me, or talking to me. when someone says hi, i say hi back. i smile. i'm polite. and it's sort of surreal because on the inside i feel so completely different. it's hard to reconcile how i feel on the inside with how i act on the outside.
with thanksgiving just two days away, i wanted to take a moment to reflect. i am lucky. i have ethan. and alexander. i lost james, yes. it is the hardest thing i've ever gone through in my life. it scares me, that the boys will grow up without james. that i am wholly responsible for them. i had 18 years with james. and now i have the opportunity to turn this tragedy into something that's meaningful. to show the boys, give meaning to james' death. i have the opportunity to really change things. where we live. what i do for a living. how we actually live our lives. why would i want to change things you ask? if life with james was so great? well....because life without james is so different. that's why. and it's just me. me and the boys. so now we have to do what's best for the three of us. so i'm working on figuring out what that's going to be.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

i want you to know....

dear james,
god how i wish you were here. i wish you were playing with the boys right now. i wish you were sitting on the couch so we could talk. i wish you had come in through the garage and i hear callie's tell-tale barking and excited prancing so i knew you were home. there is so much i didn't get a chance to tell you. i will always wonder if you could hear me when you were in the hospital.
i miss holding hands with you. i miss you laying in bed next to me. i even miss your snoring. omg it was so freaking annoying!!! but i knew you were there. and when it got to be too much i would just kick you. gently, of course. i used to look at you each night before i went to sleep. i used to listen to your breathing. i used to look at your silhouette in the dark, look at your hair, your face. it was always the last thing i did before i went to bed. i miss that. now that side of the bed is empty. and our bed is no longer a place i feel safe. it's just another place i feel lonely.
i want you to know how proud of you i am. i think you knew that. but i want to make sure. in the 10 years since you were diagnosed you went through so much. and it was hard. damn hard. heart transplant evaluation, so many medications, constant monitoring....always wondering....would you need a heart transplant or wouldn't you. would you live like this for the rest of your life? or what would happen. you lost so much.
i will always treasure the time we flew to fort bragg, just you and i. i am so proud of you for getting your pilot's license. and am so so sorry you lost your medical. i know it was hard for you. very hard. and i know how hard it was to not be able to climb anymore. or hike. but through it all, you never lost sight of who you are. yes, you got angry. you had every right to be angry. but you never let it change the core of who you are. and that is amazing.
i know, from first-hand experience, how hard it was for you to not let your heart take over your life. our life. we decided to live. just to live our lives, and not let this define us. omg. so much worry. i worried about you all the time. but tried never to let that show. because it was a vicious cycle of me worrying about you and you worrying about me worrying about you. it makes me laugh, in a sad sort of way, at how ironic it all is.
more than anything i wish you could hug me. i miss feeling your strength, your warmth, just being near you. the way you smell. i miss how much you freaking made me laugh. god you are funny. and so freaking smart. i always said you and barry are the smartest people i know.
i want you to know how sorry i am. sorry, i don't even know how to say it, but sorry i took your life away. sorry i had you taken off the ventilator. i know you would not have wanted to live like that. you couldn't have been a father to the boys. you couldn't have been a husband. you wouldn't have been james. you weren't james. you were not james after you seized, after your heart stopped, after you were put into a coma. you never came back to me. i am so glad i was able to talk to you before the seizures started. i knew what you wanted, that you wanted the TPA. you were so worried about me worrying about you. but i told you i was fine. that i wasn't scared. and at that point, i wasn't. i am thankful i was able to talk to you when i got to the ER. that you were you. slurring, yes. but you were still you. i thought they would give you the TPA, the effects of the stroke would be reversed and we would go from there. little did i know that's now how it would play out. i think i like being naive more than knowing what is to come. had i known what was to come i don't think i could have handled it.
i want you to know how much i love you. with all my heart. you used to say that to me. 'i love you with all my heart'. all the time. given the fact that your heart was two times bigger than a normal person's, that was saying something. and i can say that with tears in my eyes and a wry smile on my face, i love you with all my heart and always will.
ethan misses you. so much. he's having trouble in school but i have him seeing the school counselor once a week and after thanksgiving we're going to start going to the solace tree. i'll see if that helps him at all. if it does, we'll keep going. if it doesn't, i'll figure something else out. i had to bring him home on thursday because he started crying in school and mrs. dolan couldn't get him to stop. she called me and i went there. i took him home. it was all the talk of thanksgiving, and what the kids were doing with their parents and families that made him so sad. so this thanksgiving will be hard. but we'll get through it. i will do my best to make it as good as i can for the boys.
alexander misses you. he told me today he's so sad you weren't here to see him turn 5. he says you are in his heart and i believe he understands what that means. he is a damn smart little boy. very in tune with emotions and has spot on instincts. alexander gets sad mostly at night. he misses you reading to him, doing the gaite (is that how you spell that?) with lambikins, gallobs, gallbos' mom, and all the other stuffed animals on his bed. i miss hearing the two of you laugh and giggle while i was in E's room cuddling before bed. i have always loved listening to you when you are with the boys. alexander has stopped playing airplanes because there is no one to play it with him anymore. i try, but it's not the same.
i want you to know, that when i was deciding what to do, after talking to dr. chang and dr. katz, and your mom, and your sister, and your brother, and jan....i never for one second, thought about anything but what YOU would want and what would be best for the boys. in my heart, i knew you had already been through too much. now being paralyzed on the left side, never walking again, not being able to receive a new heart because of the stroke.....never being able to be off a ventilator, never waking up....never being who you used to is not what you would have wanted. but my god i am so so so sorry. i miss you and long for you so much. and the boys do too. but you wouldn't have been a father. or a husband. you would have been a body, laying in a hospital, not being able to breathe on your own, eat on your own, do anything on your own. that is a horrible decision and one that will haunt me for the rest of my life.
they told me it was a matter of time. i want you to know that i tried to have any organs that could be donated, donated. but for that to happen, you had to survive another 36 hours and they said we didn't have 36 hours. but i tried. because i know that is what you wanted. it was a horrible thing to have to talk about out in the hall, while you were inside on a bed, receiving air from a machine. but i did it. at least i tried. i knew that it was important to you.
i just want you to know how much i miss you. every single second of every day. i am doing the best i can with the boys. trying to make the right decisions.
sometimes i feel like a ghost of my former self. i feel like the photograph above is appropo. i am trying to figure out what we are going to do. and how we are going to do it. but i feel like i have lost who i am. i'm not even sure what to do, where to go. i just know that i want to make something good come out of all of his sadness.
who is going to explain movies to me now? who is going to help E with his algebra and homework i'm not smart enough to do? yes, it's coming. which grade will it be, that i'm not smart enough to help him complete the homework in? time will tell i guess.
i will miss secretly opening the stockings we exchange before the boys (or anyone else for that matter) get out of bed on christmas morning. i will miss searching high and low for the perfect christmas present for you. i will miss giggling to myself when i find just the right thing to put into your stocking. most of all, i just miss you. so much. i hadn't pictured in my mind, what it would be like after you were gone, i just knew that you couldn't live being hooked up to machines, struggling for air. i do know, and i tell this to the boys often, that if it were at all humanly possible, you would have come back to us. that i know for sure.
i will never ever now why it was you. why a cold virus attacked your heart. why this happend to you. to the boys. i do know i will miss you forever. and i will never let the boys forget about you. you will be a part of their lives forever. you will be forever present even though you are not.
i love you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

today is alexander's birthday.

five years ago today alexander harrison danger reed was born. at 10:11 am, to be exact. i remember that day vividly. and yes, i said danger. dan (friend of ours) has given him the name danger. so now, when you ask alexander what his name is, he always replies, 'alexander harrison DANGER reed'. emphasis on the danger. the kid is funny.
today was a sad day. yet a happy one too. i am having alexander's birthday party on saturday but even so, wanted to make today special (since it is his actual bday). i took the boys to breakfast (before taking E to school). it was alexander's bday wish, to go out for breakfast. so we did. i sang happy birthday to alxander today first thing this morning. he was so cute. he thanked me later in the day for singing to him. i gave him a couple of small gifts this morning. and another small one at lunch. he treasured each one and thanked me for each. he was just happy to be 5. what an amazing thing.
alexander told everyone who would listen to him today that today is his birthday. and that he is five. we talked about james today. i try to talk about him often. i want the boys to know it's okay. i don't want him to be forgotten. ever. i want him to still be a part of our lives, and the only way that can happen is if i talk about him, and/or show the boys photos of him.
the photos above are a year old. they are from thanksgiving last year. we rented a beach house with some friends and had thanksgiving away from both of our families. it was a wonderful four days. and also happens to be the last time james and i went to the beach together. i thought about going back for thanksgiving this year. but just couldn't make myself go. i guess i'm just not ready. i love the beach. i mean love love love the beach. but it fills me with such strong emotion when i am there. because i miss it so much. and would also be because i miss james. and i'm afraid if i go all the emotion i have will overpower me and i won't be able to stop it from coming out. and that might scare the boys. i try to show them my sadness a little bit at a time. i don't think it would be a good thing for them to know...just how empty i feel. how every motion is automatic. there are no feelings behind them. that i just feel empty. it's amazing you can feel that way, yet be filled with love for your kids. it all leaves me a little confused and struggling to figure it all out.
i have given a lot of thought about painting. and art journaling. not so much scrapping...but painting? yes. i hope to paint again. at some point. and to re-open my etsy shop. and to art journal. i want to. again, i just can't make myself do it. i feel like i have nothing to pull from. i just feel too empty. and exhausted. i know that if i am ever going to paint again i am going to have to figure out how to do it with the boys around. there is no 'alone' time. i used to paint when everyone was asleep. now, however, i find myself too exhausted. i am ready for bed long before the boys. i guess if it's important enough to me, i will figure out a way to make it happen. i do want to paint. i NEED to paint. just not badly enough yet i guess. i am hoping one day the urge, well i guess it's need...that the need will wash over me like a wave of passion and i won't be able to stop myself from creating. until that time i will try to get some sleep. if i could find a way to sleep at night it would help. a lot.
so now i am going to go read my second trashy novel. yes. i finished the first. first book i've read in at least two years. since james died i find that reading is a way to think about something else. at least for a while.
i wanted to take a few minutes, to express my love for my amazing little boy. alexander, you really ARE the most amazing little boy. so smart, and handsome, and...i'm proud to are just like daddy. and that makes me happy.
i've also been thinking a lot lately about how lucky i am. to have spent 17 years with the most amazing man.....well...that is amazing stuff. no, he wasn't perfect. WE were not perfect. but we were the real thing. i loved him. i still love him. and he loved me. and now, when making decisions, i find myself asking what james would say. and i always know. he was always the nicer of the two of us. always. lol.... he was like my conscience. and i guess he still is. i will miss this man forever and ever. some days i still can't believe this all even happened. i just want it to so badly be a bad dream. to not be real. but i know it is. and i'm trying to adjust. WE are trying to adjust. just taking it day by day. i am trying to fill the void and be enough for our boys.

Monday, November 10, 2008

the gipsy kings.

i had been meaning to get into james' truck and gather up all his cd's. he had many. he had such an eclictic taste in music. from growly scare the crap out of you stuff to classical to the beastie boys to the gipsy kings. one of his favorites was me first and the gimme gimme's. one time i got into his truck (with the boys) we were going somewhere together and he had a gipsy kings cd playing. i loved it. and from now until the end of time i will think of james every time i hear one of their songs. so today i got james' cd's out of his truck and put my favorite gipsy kings cd into my car and listened to it. i had a busy busy weekend. so busy, in fact, i didn't even have time to really even feel and deal with the many emotions i was experiencing. but when i put the gipsy kings cd into my car when i went to pick E up from they all came out. like they are now as i sit here and type. yes, i am listening to the gipsy kings. it's beautiful music. it makes me sad (and happy) and miss james all at the same time. so hard to explain. right now, right this second, i miss james with every fiber of my being.

should my brother read this, i want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you did for us (for james) this weekend. the rock wall looks beautiful. engraving a rock is the perfect touch. thank you for coming. thank you for staying three nights when i know you only planned on staying one. thank you for putting the play structure together. thank you for the advice on the sand. ordering it today was the right thing to do. the boys are both so excited about their new backyard. it is coming together. a bit at a time. but we'll get there. i think james would be happy. especially because it was you that finished the retaining wall. and put the play structure together. that you have been spending time with us. it means more to me than i can ever actually say to your face. because you know....i'm not good at communicating. and that made me chuckle out loud.

this past weekend was pretty amazing. neighbors, family, friends of james, co-workers of james all coming together to complete some of the projects james had started in the backyard but wasn't able to finish. my dad and his wife, their generosity in buying the play structure and all the lumber and other materials needed to frame and complete the huge-ass sand box. i have never seen such a big sandbox in my life and the boys couldn't be happier. and this is what james wanted. and what i want. so thank you to every single person who gave up your day on saturday to spend it in my backyard. it was truly amazing to see people come together like they did. why does it take such a tragic event to make it happen?

i find that when i get overwhelmed it's best to tell myself this: i'm going to do this. i just am. it's been 32 days. and it seems like a lifetime. this new existence is so different from the old (yet still the same just with a great big hole) if that makes any sense. the boys miss james. i miss james. james is glaringly absent. but we are getting through it. we will get through tomorrow. and the next day. and the next.

Monday, November 03, 2008

things i've been thinking about.

i will likely be posting random photos of james that i like. just because i want to.
i am pretty sure at some point my exhausted body will collapse. i hope that happens soon. i want hours and hours of deep oblivious sleep. how i wish that would happen.
i washed my sheets today. what is this of importance, you ask? well, now don't be grossed out, but i hadn't washed my sheets since james died. i didn't want to. our bed still smelled of him. his side of the bed especially. today i layed (?) who knows if that's spelled right and i'm entirely too lazy to go look it up) on his side of the bed and just breathed. weird, i know. and i cried. because i miss him. i miss the way he smells. i miss holding hands with him. just talking to him. my god, how many times a day did we talk? or email each other? or tweet each other on twitter? i miss laying with him, feeling his skin and warmth. and now my life is empty. so i washed my sheets. and it was unbelievably hard. the simple act of washing my sheets was unbelievably hard. because now there will be no more smell of james.
i want to move. i want to make a new life for us. somewhere the boys will be happy. i want to take this terrible tragedy and turn it into something better. i want to figure out what i want to do with my life and how i'm going to do it. the problem with that, however......right now i can't seem to focus. i mean literally. sometimes i just sit here in a confused state unsure of what i need to do and/or should be doing. it takes all my energy just to get through the day (and to help the boys get through their days). so i need to figure out a way to find clarity. so i can decide what i want to do. i've been told not to make any major life changes right now. that may be sound advice. i'm not sure. but i'm thinking. thinking about what i am going to do. what i want to do. and how i'm going to make it happen. big big words for me right now because literally my head hurts from trying to figure out which new insurance plan to take, how to get my will done, the billion phone calls i have to make tomorrow. but i am thinking. and it's a start. the problem with moving, (well, there are many) but the obvious one to me at this second.....i'm not sure i want to leave the house that james and i shared. that we turned into a home for us and the boys. so much to think about.
weird, random thoughts that cross my mind. i am sure i stunned james' mom and sister when i left the hospital after he died. i spent every waking second that i could with him (when i wasn't home checking on the boys) when he was in the hospital. not knowing whether he could feel me hold his hand, or kiss him, or hear my voice, or feel me lay next to him (as close as i could get with all the tubes and everything else). after he died (i layed bent over his chest, holding his hand)....well after he died, while he was dying, i told him how much i loved him. that i would be okay. that the boys would be okay. i couldn't say goodbye. i just told him how much i love him. and then i had to leave. i couldn't look at him like that any more. because that wasn't james. when he died he turned purple, and blue, and that was not james. i turned to mike (friend of ours who was in the room with me) and i told him i had to go. because i needed to be with alexander. and then ethan when he got out of school. yes, E was in school when james died. the boys couldn't see him like that. it would have scared them. so so deeply. and james wouldn't have wanted that. so after james died i went home. left the hospital. got in my car and drove home. leaving james' mom and his sister still in the hospital room. i needed to be with alexander. james died at 11:30am. when it was time to pick ethan up from school i took alexander with me and we went and got E.
when i had alexander in the car with me (while we were waiting for E to come out of his classroom) i began talking to alexander. and he finished my sentence for me. he asked me if daddy died. and i, choking back tears, told him yes. so when E got into the car, i hugged him, and then told him as well. and it was heart-breaking. for them. for me. for us. it really was one of the worst moments in my life. to have to tell my children that their father died. horrifying. absolutely horrifying.
nothing seems to keep my attention these days. movies, television....nothing. but what i've been doing is reading the trashy novel i bought to take with me to thailand. i'm reading lipstick jungle when i go to bed. reading until my eyes literally will not stay open any longer. and then i turn the light off and try to sleep. sometimes for an hour. sometimes two. always waking up i swear to god about 20 times a night. i wake up feeling as exhausted as i did when i went to bed. and for now, reading my book is the only way i can fall asleep at all. so i'm off to read a few more chapters in my trashy novel. which makes me laugh. a trashy novel. hey. it's really not that trashy. but it does, at least, for a few minutes, take my mind somewhere else which is much needed.

Friday, October 31, 2008

a first of many firsts for us.

our first halloween without james, without their daddy. a first of many firsts to come our way.

ethan was, of course, pikachu. and alexander was ash ketchem. what. not every household lives and breathes pokemon?? if you lived here, and had my kids you would.

i am trying. trying to make the boys lives full of life. and trust me, at this point in time it is hard. it is a struggle for me to even get up. sometimes i am so overcome with emptiness it takes my breath away. so it was with mixed feelings that the boys and i carved pumpkins this morning (it's nevada day here so E didn't have to go to school). pumpkin carving has, always in the past, been something james was in charge of. but not today. i think it went well. E was excited, alexander was happy. they have moments where life seems normal. and while i want that for them, life does not seem normal to me. ever. i missed james today. so much. i miss james every single second of every day. but today is a holiday for daddies and their kids. for families. but we did it. carved our pumpkins. roasted our pumpkin seeds. went trick-or-treating. and i made myself get out the camera and take photos. i did not want to record the new version of us, three, instead of four. but i want the boys to have photos and memories of their lives. and this is our new life. so here we are just after having carved our pumpkins. i think james would have been proud of me today. that we did these things, even though i did not want to. he would not want to the boys to be sad, or miss out on the happiness and joy that halloween brings to little kids. so i did it for james. and for the boys.

it is hard for me to feel the emotions i feel because most often, i am with the boys. if i let them know how i really feel i am pretty sure i would scare them. and i don't want to do that. they know i am sad. in fact, i told E today that i miss daddy. but the only time i can really let go and not have to reign in my emotions is after the boys are in bed. but i feel such waves of strong emotion all day long. but it's only at night when i can actually deal with it. address it. during the day i am too busy dealing with and addressing the boys' needs.

to anybody still coming back here to check on us, i thank you. i know it is not an easy thing to do because my posts are, well....pretty damn sad. and it's hard to read. hard to purposely seek out. one day i hope my posts will change. i'm just not ready for that yet.

one day i hope to paint again. i am an artist. i need to paint. yet i can't make myself go up to the loft and do it. one day maybe i will scrap again. and art journal. but not yet. i want to. art journaling has been how i have survived in the past when bad things have happened. but right now i just feel too empty. i know james would understand. and i also know he would want me to get my ass upstairs and paint. he wouldn't want to be responsible for me not painting. but i'm just not ready. it's so strange to want to paint but not be able to.

everything has changed. everything. and i'm trying to figure it all out.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

it's hitting home.

i have never felt so sad and empty in my life. i just left alexander's room. i knew something was up all day today. and yesterday. alexander has been very quick to cry. and that's not how he is. he is mellow. but yesterday, and today....something was different.
tonight, when i tucked the boys in, alexander played in his room (like he normally does, instead of going right to sleep). i'm fine with that, as long as he stays in his bed, is fairly quiet....eventually he goes to sleep. but tonight, tonight was different.
alexander called out to me from his doorway after having been in 'bed' for about 30 minutes. he said something was scaring him. i went up to his room, climbed into his bed and we talked. a couple minutes later, alexander was crying. and telling me he misses daddy. he gets it. he understands daddy is never coming home. and oh my god i felt so inadequate. there was nothing i could do or say, to make him feel better. we cried together. we talked and talked. i told him it's okay to be sad. to cry. that we can be sad together. and cry together. that we will get through this together. that i love him. that daddy loves him. and it was one of the hardest things i have ever done. just watching him, so sad, so lost. and there really was nothing i could do. i did my best to comfort him, but i can never bring his daddy back and it breaks my heart.
i never thought a person could ever feel this way. i just kept saying inside my head, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, i don't think i can take this. this hurts too much. and it's not fair. to james. to alexander. to ethan. and again, my stomach hurts. and i hurt. so much. how am i going to get the boys through this. i can't even make sense of it myself. how am i supposed to make sense of it to them?
i know i need to get up in the morning. and do it all over again. but god how i don't want to. i just don't want to face another day. but i will. because i have no choice. i have to do this for the boys. and for james. i told him i would.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

the last photo of us.

this was taken at my brother's house when james and i went to celebrate my brother's oldest son's 11th birthday in september. there will be no more photos of the two of us. and i'm really still sort of stunned. i can't believe this is our life now. i am very glad i have this photograph.

the boys and i are, well....we're doing it. getting up in the morning. getting through our days. trying, trying really hard to adjust to our new reality. E had some trouble at school on monday. his teacher called me and i went up to the school (took alexander with me) and spent about an hour up there. E has so many emotions going on inside he doesn't know how to process them. he doesn't understand everything he is feeling. and it just all came out. at once. and it was so sad. it breaks my heart to watch him in so much pain. i want to take it all away, make eveything better, the way it used to be. but i can't. and it makes my stomach hurt.

i am so sad. i miss james. every second i am awake. i'm barely sleeping. i wake up sweating. then i'm cold. my god. how can this have happened? i just really don't know. i don't understand it. to the best person i have ever met? and i mean that. james was the best thing that ever happened to me. i am doing my best to help the boys. giving them all the love i have. trying to make them feel secure again. E is having trouble sleeping. he is scared at night. alexander handles his sadness in a slightly different way. he told me this morning he doesn't want to have a dead daddy. i told him i didn't want him to have a dead daddy either. and it took everything i had not to break down in tears. i know it's okay for the boys to see me sad, and cry, but the sadness in alexander's voice, the look on his face, i would have more than just cried. i woudln't have been able to stop.

one minurte i am fine, and getting through the day. the next? i never thought i could feel so empty. ever. it's like a desperation so deep inside i'm afraid it will swallow me up. that if i start screaming i will never stop. my body shakes and i'm cold. then five minutes later i'm hot and feel like i'm going to throw up. i have no appetite. i eat dinner with the boys because i know i have to. but it's hard. everything is hard right now.

i just miss james. and the boys miss their daddy. so many people i have never even met have left messages here, and for that, i thank you. wonderful words of support. and to every single person who donated money on our behalf, there are no words. thank you is just not enough.

today is the day i was supposed to leave for my trip to thailand with emily and tara. emily and tara, who have done so much for me. for us. to them i am eternally grateful and forever in their debt. to ali edwards, thank you as well. and cathy zielske. i thank you too. to every single person who left a comment of some kind, or donated money, you have shown us kindness in the most horrible time in our lives. and that is beautiful. and amazing. and i thank you. every single one of you. please know you have touched our lives. and there just really are no words to express how much i appreciate all of you.

to the thailand girls (all of you.....i hope you are having the most amazing trip ever). i am thinking about all of you and can't wait to see some of your amazing photographs and to hear about your adventures.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

this is one of my favorite photos of james.

i never ever ever imagined an end to our story. i thought we would be together always. forever. the last ten days have been the worst of my life. it feels like a lifetime. how are my boys going to grow up without their father? james is the best thing that ever happened to me. he is the most loving, caring, giving most wonderful person on this entire planet. of that i am sure. so why did this happen? why to him. and why to our boys?
i can't stop shaking. i feel sick to my stomach. and i have never been so cold in my life. how can it be that this is how our story ends?
i've been sitting here, at the computer, going through 17 years of photographs to put something together for the 'celebration of james' which i think is going to happen on friday. this is one of my favorite photos of james. he was in his element. he was climbing. the look on his face, omg....he is so beautiful here. i can say that about him, right? that he's beautiful? even though he's a man?? he just looks so coy. and so freaking adorable. and so james.
i can't even begin to tell you what these last 10 days have been like. rushing to the ER. at least getting to talk to him, though briefly. watching him seize. watching him crash. omg. the sounds he made. the stiffness in his body. horrifying. absolutly horrifying. i will never ever ever ever forget that. but i wish i could.
watching him in the hospital. staying with him every second i could. only leaving to be with the boys. then going right back. looking at him, watching him on the ventilator. watching his body fight for life. feeling so helpless. wanting him back so much. like an ache. just wanting him to wake up. to come back to us. to me. to the boys. we need him. we love him.
watching him die. omg i just want to throw up right now. i will never ever get that image out of my mind. i can't even tell you how horrifying that was. i feel so empty. i feel like my soul hurts. there is nothing in my life without james. except for our boys. how are they going to grow up without him?
telling them that daddy was not feeling well and i had to go find out what was wrong. telling them the next day that daddy wouldn't wake up. then the next day that daddy still wouldn't wake up. and the next day that daddy might not wake up. and the next day that daddy still wasn't waking up. and the next day that daddy had died. that the owie on daddy's heart got bigger. that he also had an owie on his brain. how do you do that to children? it still makes me sick to my stomach and so so sad.
how am i going to raise these boys by myself? how am i going to live my life without james? how do people do this. because i'm not sure i can. yet i know i have to. i told james we would be okay. that i was okay. that i would make sure the boys were okay. so i have to. i just don't know how to get through each second. it just hurts too much. and makes me too sad for what the boys have lost.
i figured james would have to have a heart transplant. and that we would get through it. that it would be horrible and hard, but that we would do it. i never ever. and i mean ever imagined this is how it would end. at 38? how can this be fair? to him. to our boys. i can't even breathe. and now must go read story to the boys and put them to bed.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Kerg Brooks Key Nov 3, 1933-Oct 2, 2008

brooks, christmas 2007
mom and brooks, christmas 2007
brooks, christmas 2006
scampi and alexander, christmas 2006
scampi and ethan, christmas 2006
if only i knew where our fucking wedding photos were i would scan and post my favorite photo of brooks and me dancing at my wedding. he danced the father/daughter dance with me when my own father would not.
i am sad to report that my stepdad died this morning a little before 4am. i am so incredibly sad for my mother. my mom and brooks have been together for many many years. when i graduated high school, and didn't know what i wanted to do or where i wanted to go, brooks gave me free reign on one of his credit cards and told me to go. go figure out where i wanted to be and what i wanted to do.
for so many years brooks battled diabetes. it attacked his body with such ferociousness. through it all he never let on as to how much pain he was in, how seriously his health was failing (though i knew...i could tell)....but he didn't want to let on how bad things were. my mom told me. we talked many a night about him.
the last five days have been surreal for my mom. knowing something was wrong. loading brooks into the car, but not being able to make it. calling 911. him losing consciousness and his heart stopping. the paramedics re-starting his heart but too much damage had occurred. he never regained consciousness and after scans of his brain, the doctors told my mother he was brain dead. on monday night she had him taken off the ventilator. she stayed with him. never left his side. she made sure he was comfortable. she just stayed with him. three days later he quietly took his last breath. and then my mom called me.
we have been in constant contact since sunday. me checking on her. checking on him. checking on her again. just talking to her. doing what i could from this distance. my mom was adamant that i not come. and though it went against everything inside me, i honored her wish. i wanted to be there for her. to make phone calls. arrangements. to hug her. just to be there. but she said no. so i did what i could from my cell phone. seems rather empty.
my mom is in shock i think. yes, she knew he was not doing well. but it's never easy to let go and say goodbye. it is better that he is no longer in pain or suffering. but god. how absolutely horrifying for my mom. to sit there, watching him. watching his involuntary twitches, listening to his labored breathing. i cannot even imagine.
i will very much miss the tea drinking, sports loving, gentle man who treated me like a daughter. my boys will miss their scampi. when E was very little he couldn't pronounce grampy. it came out scampi and just stuck. i wish i could make things easier for my mom. this is just such a sad day. and, seriously, if i knew where the fuck my wedding photos were i would scan and post the photo of the two of us. it has always been one of my favorite photos. i will HAVE to find it.

Monday, September 29, 2008

living with it.
dealing with it.
kicking its ass.....somedays.
somedays not.

Friday, September 26, 2008

edouard manet.

i'm a huge fan of impressionism. edouard manet painted a piece and titled it 'the lemon'. i happend across it the other day and was inspired enough to sit down and paint my version of his work. i'm not sure it's done. i often view things i've painted from different ways. in a mirror. hanging (taped) to a wall. even on-line. it really helps. the different amazing tool. i am so in love with chunky paint. paint strokes that can clearly be seen.
yesterday alexander woke up an hour early from his nap. instead of getting upset at him (he's been truly exhausted this last week)....i suggested we paint together. now this is huge people. i do not paint with my kids when i am painting. i'm generally alone when i paint. but yesterday, yesterday....well....he was so excited at waking to find me painting, and he wanted to paint so badly that i said yes. and it was nice. he was sweet. and proud of himself for his creations. it was great. we talked, painted, got messy (VERY messy), and just enjoyed being together until it was time to pick up E from school.
now. on to other things. this will be a long post. it has been a surreal week. a surreal day. through it all the boys have been amazing. especially today, while spending an entire day in an itty bitty recovery room, alexander was so amazing. so good. so in tune with what was going on. he's my kid so of course i'm biased. but seriously, that little boy blew me away today.
we are now at home. all of us. the way it should be. all week i was either totally fine or totally in break-down mode. i was mostly scared at how i would keep it all from affecting the boys. how i would keep myself together since this time i had no one to watch alexander so he had to come with me. i wouldn't have the luxery of sneaking off somewhere to let out my emotion. i had to keep it together, to show him (and E) that everything was going to be okay. and i'm still.....i can't even begin to tell you...just blown away by his behavior today. he was just so good. and caring. and worried. and never wanting to leave our sides.
since E was at school for most of the day, i was worried less about him. we talked a little before school. he knew what today was. i told him i would pick him up and i did. he needed his routine and that's what i gave him. that and some reassurance this morning. and lots more tonight.
everyone in our household is exhausted. the boys are tucked into their beds. james is tucked into ours. as for me, i need a little time. to sort through my thoughts. so now, now that no one is watching me, taking cues from me....i can just let myself be.
today was a horrible day. even so, i saw amazing things (in alexander, james and E). i learned a few things about a couple of people these last few days. things that will stay with me forever. i am forever changed. i am hurt. i am angry. i have felt incredibly alone. but also not alone, it affects each of us, just in different ways. i had such mixed emotions today. but i held it together. all day.
i'm sort of sitting here perhaps shell-shocked. that's how i feel. i do not know what the future holds, how this will all turn out. but i know we will get through it together as a couple and as a family. whatever we have to do, well, that's what we'll do. there is nothing else to do.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

feeling 0% creative but i painted anyway.

you can lose yourself all at once or you can lose yourself one day at a time. that's a quote i heard today and it stuck with me.

after i worked out today i went upstairs and MADE myself paint (for the last 20 minutes of alexander's nap). i wanted to.....but, well.....i haven't felt the least bit creative lately. i have to 'feel' it to make anything happen. it sucks not to have that 'need' to create. i want to....but i can take it or leave it. but today, i decided to not let it go. to go paint something. truthfully it looks better in person. for some reason the colors are a bit off in the scan. know.

it was nice to lose myself (even if it was for only 20 minutes), to focus on something arty, and at least make....well, something. one minute i am fine. the next i am having a mini freak out. the conversation i had with my mom last night was out of this world. and i mean that in a bad way. she is so wrapped up in her own world (and i can't blame her)......but her reaction was, lets just say, not what i expected. i can count on only one person. and that's james. and he can count on me. and that's the way it will be i guess. there is so much more i could say. and want to say. but know i shouldn't. so i won't.

i need to find a way to bring myself back. to want to create (not have to force myself to sit at my table). i need to find a way to make everything okay. finding a way to take a breath. a deep breath so i can de-stress. it's all going to be okay. it just will.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

this is oliver.

he's the best dog on the planet. well, aside from callie. she's a good dog too. oliver and i have a connection. he follows me around everywhere i go. and i mean everywhere. oliver calms me. when i pet him, and lay with him, i can take a deep breath.

here's my disclaimer. if you read any further, you do so at your own risk. this post is for me. i have a few things to say. and this is where it's happening. if you're looking for a happy feel good post, read no further. this post will not be for you.

since sept 5th, it's been doctor appts, tests, more doctor appts. and as it turns out (we found out today)....even more tests. it feels like the last 13 days have been much longer than 13 days. and i feel like crying. and sleeping. and hiding. and going on like all is well. all at the same time.

i am grateful for what we have and how things are. things could be much worse. i am very aware of that. i am, however, also tired of living in fear (even if it is pushed to the far reaches of my mostly empty brain for the most part). it would be nice, if even for a little while, james and i could just be us. not us with this 'thing' to deal with. and now i am back to being grateful. grateful for james. who is an amazing man.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the grass is always greener.

having my mom here for a few days was nice. complicated, but nice. i wish i could make her life easier. it makes me sad how much worry and stress is in her life. her husband is scheduled for a bit of surgery tomorrow morning. i asked my mom if she wanted me to fly down. she said no. she will call me and keep me updated.
today i have been out of energy. emotionally and physically. out of sorts, sort of. it's because i'm tired. really really really tired.
my birthday was nice but my mom made a comment that bothers me. she said this time, this trip i seemed stressed. i am tired. that's a big part of it. and i told her that. it bothers me that she thinks she added more stress and work to my life. i don't care. i look forward to and enjoy her visits. even if i have to actually clean my house. and i didn't mind baking my own birthday cake. or my pie. i didn't want her to have to do it when she got here. i wanted her to have a break. to enjoy herself some and not work. i wanted to do something nice for her, to have little surprises and treats for her. she deserves it.
she gave me many wonderful gifts for my birthday. she professionally framed a card i made for her. she framed something else i did that has been published. that was just the most wonderful gift. so thoughtful. she gave me some cash too (for thailand) and a few other wonderful things. she spoils me and i completely and totally love it.
i didn't find any time to paint this weekend (it was crazy busy with my mom here). and that's okay. it'll come. sometime.

Friday, September 05, 2008

a photo.

trying to take it all in.
trying to live in the moment.
taking deep breaths.
trying to really, truly appreciate where i'm at.
finding a way to deal with stress.
finding a way to make my heart stop pounding with anxiety.
happy to have a normal day with no emergencies or surprises (the bad ones at least).
going to read story to my sick kid.
going to make time to paint this weekend. that's a must.

Monday, September 01, 2008

the end of summer is near.

painted this in my thailand journal. why pears? and why in my thailand journal? dunno. it was just what inspired me and what came out. and my thailand journal is just what happened to be nearby. and that's the way i work. i think i'll do a painting similar to this on canvas. i like it. i'll use this small piece as inspo for a larger one.

the end of summer really is near. we can no longer ride our bikes until 9 or 9:30. now it's totally dark at 8:30 and we're coming in earlier and earlier. today the high was 71 degrees. two days ago it was 98. tomorrow we're back up to the high 80s on our way back to the mid 90s. even so, the evenings are cool. a hoodie or long pants are needed for playing outside after dinner. this weekend our house has been neighborhood kid-central. kids coming and going, coming in without knocking, running around and staying until we've actually had to 'politely' suggest that they go home so we can get our own kids to bed. as i type this i still have two extra kids downstairs. i'm about to go down and suggest they go home. tomorrow it's back to second grade for E. and he's tired. he's slowly adjusting to his school schedule but E requires a lot of sleep. he's like me in that regard. so it's his bathtime and then a little quality time with dad, brush teeth, story and off to bed.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

something i've been working on here and there.

emily sent me a surprise in the mail: a passport-style book (and a few other supplies including some delicous ribbon from thailand) to use to help prepare for our trip to thailand. she randomly stamped a page here and there and added the 'kimberly' stickers to the first page to get me started. i, of course, grunged that page up with ink. after that the page just felt complete so i moved on. if you have the time, click on the images to make them larger. much better that way.
i decided to use this passport book to record my feelings, and why i decided to go to thailand. i cut up some heidi swapp sticker letters, threw in some paint and machine stitching and called those two pages good.
somewhere over the last few years i have lost sight of who i am. i am a wife, and a mother, but after that i don't even know. i love my kids deeply and fiercely but i also know i need to find out who i am. now. after being with james for so many years, after being a mother for 7 years. it's time to focus a little

attention on me. to find out what it is that i want to do, what i want to be. finding an identity other than wife and mother has been something i have long sturggled with. this isn't new for me. when i saw the announcement about thailand on emily's blog something inside of me just sort of took over. i sent
an email to james with a link to emily's blog with a note that said, 'in a perfect world'. that night he came home with a book about thailand. a few days later i made up my mind and sent an email to tara and then one to emily. and now i am going to thailand.
some days it's all i can do to get up, take care of the boys, do what has to be done....and make it through the day. i have lost my passion for creating, for life. i need it back.
exhaustion like i have never felt before. maybe going to thailand will help me see things clearly.
with this trip i hope to find my way back to wanting to create...needing to create. i like the unfinished quality to this page. and the funky vase. love love love funky old vases. as if anyone who has ever seen any of my paintings wouldn't know that already.

these are the pages i have made so far. working in this passport book is the first creating i've done in a long time.