Monthly Archives: October 2010

Halloween 2010

I have three posts in drafts – two are depressing.  I think I will do a halloween retrospective post instead.

First a few from my childhood:


And then the kids….




Julia is has a voracious appetite for reading.  She reads a lot and she reads very quickly and also several grade levels ahead.  This is a good and well but finding her appropriate reading material is somewhat tricky.  I have been getting her some series of books from “A Life of Faith”.  Although these characters range from children to full-on adults by the time the each series is done I have assumed since they are Christian books the content is fine for her.

She has to do a reading log some weeks and so she asked me to sign off on last night’s reading session.
This is what it says

Arther wanted to get Elsie back for not lending him money even though her dad told her not to lend her money to any one so one day they were walking and stopped at the top of the hill and he pushed her.

I just asked her if that upset her and she said no and I asked if she died and she said that no and that since it is a series she knew she had to be alive for the next book.  She told me Elsie hurt her ankle.

I guess it didn’t faze her but I was a bit surprised.


I mentioned a few years ago that Luke’s mom was going to make a quilt for us out of some of Nathan’s clothes.  I just searched the blog for a previous mention and found this post.  I was surprised to learn (I won’t say remember) that it was a full year until we did all of that cleaning out of the room.  It is a bit of a painful post to read.

It took another year to actually bring the clothes to Illinois and go through them and make decisions about them.  I think it took many months after that for Kathy to get to the point where she could face making it.  It was also technically difficult for her because she normally hand quilts and the materials in this quilt caused to her to need to machine quilt instead.  She has made the kids and us many beautiful quilts over the years, all hand stitched.  I will have to post those sometime!

All that to say that this summer, Kathy finished the quilt and gave it to us.

I borrowed a picture from her to post here.  The quilt is currently folded on top of the cedar chest in our living room where we store Nathan’s things.  I am not sure of its ultimate home.

Thank you again, Kathy – it is better than I could have imagined.

Memorial Done!

I have been remiss in posting about the memorial for Nathan we were working on at the school.  This is the post I wrote about it a year ago.

There were some delays after that in regards to getting the cement slab poured.  The assistant principle ended up doing it himself and also installing the bench and plaque.  The butterfly garden is his pet project at the school.  It was put in this summer and then the plaque was put on shortly after school started.  Luke and I went to see it this summer but then I wanted to wait until the plaque was on to see it again.  Also, it is quite bittersweet and so I wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to go back but we took Luke’s parents over there while they were here last weekend.

Here is it – and as you can see Lauren was cold and not wanting to pose!

Thank you to everyone who contributed to his memorial fund.  This is not the only use of the funds but one of the more visible.

PTSD again

I wrote about PTSD recently

I have been wondering about some physical problems I have been having lately and read this:

Re-living: People with PTSD repeatedly re-live the ordeal through thoughts and memories of the trauma. These may include flashbacks, hallucinations, and nightmares. They also may feel great distress when certain things remind them of the trauma, such as the anniversary date of the event.

Well, yes to all of that.

Avoiding: The person may avoid people, places, thoughts, or situations that may remind him or her of the trauma. This can lead to feelings of detachment and isolation from family and friends, as well as a loss of interest in activities that the person once enjoyed.

Yes to some extent.  I have over the years learned to face more of these situations head on and just deal with the pain.  I still do avoid many things though.  I still try to do the things I enjoy.  As I wrote in this post, choir is something I enjoy that I find myself avoiding at times.

Increased arousal: These include excessive emotions; problems relating to others, including feeling or showing affection; difficulty falling or staying asleep; irritability; outbursts of anger; difficulty concentrating; and being “jumpy” or easily startled. The person may also suffer physical symptoms, such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, rapid breathing, muscle tension, nausea, and diarrhea..

Yes to most of these.   I have noticed in the past several weeks that I am often short of breath and have an extremely heightened or overactive startle reaction. Small things create a very large feeling of shock, dread, surprise, or just alertness. My heart seems to be racing too often.    In fact, while writing this Luke hit the keys on his keyboard suddenly and a little loudly, probably deleting something and it startled me way more than it should have.  I probably shouldn’t have even noticed it.  I have been nauseous for days.  My family will tell you I am irritable and the difficulty concentrating has been especially bad lately as well.  I don’t have problems falling or staying asleep but my night terrors persist.  I came home this afternoon and used an inhaler for shortness of breath but it didn’t help. Luke told me that it sounded like anxiety.   I then found list of PTSD symptoms

I am surprised there are so many physical manifestations.   I imagine there are other things that could be causing all of this.  I have a history since landing in the ER a few days after Nathan’s funeral of the same set of symptoms about every 3 months that often put me in bed with crippling fatigue, vision disturbances, GI issues, and more.  I need to start keeping a diary of how often it actually does happen (like last weekend) but I wonder if these are all anxiety induced rather than physically induced.

I have been to my doctor about some of these episodes.  She is always trying to treat the current thing so the big pictures has never been discussed.  Last time it was the shortness of breath, the time before was for vision problems.  Perhaps I will be able to talk to her about it all again once I keep track of things for a while.

The body & mind are mysterious things.

Birthday and dreams

I really don’t have time to blog this morning but I am going to try to do this quickly.

Yesterday we went up to my brother’s house a few hours away. My parents had come in to take care of his kids while he and his wife were away. My kids were out of school and it was my father’s birthday. I figure it had been a good 20 years since I had spent my father’s birthday with him and it seemed like an excellent opportunity to do so! I made his traditional birthday cake the night before (cherry walnut) and we got up and went yesterday morning. He didn’t know we were coming and so it was a big surprise when we showed up. We hung out and spent some time outside in the beautiful fall weather and had a big dinner and desert. It was a really great day.

Last night I dreamed of Nathan. It was a long drawn out dream where I spent a lot of time with him. As is usual with my dreams, his health was frail but this time the knowledge of his death wasn’t there, it was just that he was not robust and I was transported back to that time. He ran around a bit and then all of a sudden it was his birthday and we were celebrating that and he was smiling and happy and it was just wonderful. His last birthday he was doing pretty horribly but in this dream birthday last night he was that age but it was a wonderful birthday. The dream was so vivid that it almost feels like I spent time with him last night. Wonderful.

Why I might not be in choir on Halloween

It has nothing to do with Halloween, but I found out we will be singing my most hated choir song that day.  I could not get through it tonight as I was laughing (quietly) to the point of tears.    If you subject yourselves to this video please play the end and witness the lovely hand clapping to go with “the trees shall clap their hands”.

The combination of the trees clapping, the 60’s? vibe and the hand clapping is just too much.  Yes, it is horrible of me, but I just don’t think I can do it.

Here is a video and this is not my choir.