Lauren turned seven on November 16. On December 30 she became older than Nathan was. I was aware this was happening..since he was also born on the 16th it didn’t take much math to figure it out. Mercifully it didn’t occur to me on the the day…I think we were actually driving home from Illinois all day.
Lately I have become acutely aware of the sameness of age. Lauren is probably around the same size as Nathan. He was, of course, thin and had not grown very tall with all the chemo. When I cuddle her I am reminded of him.
I cherish being able to cuddle her at seven and think I will feel some sadness when she turns 8 and I will not have any more seven year olds to cuddle.
I help in her class on Thursdays and when I help the seven year old boys in her class I am reminded of my seven year old boy. It is both sweet and sour…but I do enjoy it.
It just saddens me as time slips away and for whatever reason it just feels to me when Lauren moves on to second grade and turns 8 I will somehow be yet much further down and road and further away from Nathan.
So – I haven’t really been able to listen to “How Great Thou Art” since it was sung at Nathan’s funeral and Julia sobbed through it. I have had to grit my teeth and get through singing it as a hymn in choir many times since then, and it was difficult being up in front of people and trying to look unaffected. Recently, it was sung on the show “Duets” and the contestant’s story about his brother (in the video as well), along with the best version I have heard has allowed me to move on, I think, except when probably sung at a funeral again. I try not to post videos on my blogs, because I rarely am willing to view them when other post them on blogs or face books – but here goes – no problem if you are like me and don’t want to spend the time viewing!
I have written about Mother’s Day many times…here I go again.
This year I keep coming across other bereaved moms expressing how I feel – and I can’t tell you what a comfort that is to me. The bittersweet, the empty arms, the missing child in the photo, the desire to avoid church and all its hoopla that day.
I recently found a group of bereaved moms here in town. That has been a huge blessing because I just need to be in their company from time to time – to be with other moms who understand. We are having a mother’s day brunch on Saturday. At that table we will be completely comfortable with our shared discomfort with Mother’s Day. What a relief!
Kudos to Luke who is coming home from a week of travel late tonight and leaving again on a red-eye Sunday night for being more than willing to run the girls around to and fro so I can attend.
I am sitting in the car waiting…by a house that has been stucco’d. So I think back to when my house was stucco’d and I remember how it was being done as Nathan was dying. I remember when it was all finished we took him outside, on a very sunny day, to see it, because he was housebound at the time He couldn’t walk anymore and so had to be carried and the act of being carried hurt him and the sun was too bright. I tear up thinking of it all as Julia walks towards the car and smiles and me. Thankfully I am wearing sunglasses so I do my best to smile back.
So – that is how it goes…just about any normal mundane thing in life can remind me of pain and suffering and death. It is just part of my life now.
Yes – I am going to write a post – that is not pictures…but one of my other main subjects; singing. (The other two I would say are grief and my kids.
As usual this time of year I am immersed in singing. The pressure is high this year though, because despite the availability of a local auditioned Chorale that sings with our Symphony, they asked our church choir to perform in a special Good Friday concert. We book the performing arts center every year for a full orchestra Christmas concert and it sells very well so I guess they thought it would be a built in crowd. Also, we can sing with an orchestra – no problem. The scary thing is the Philharmonic has a new conductor, who is Spanish and somewhat of a phenomena. And again…we are just a non-auditioned church choir. On Saturday the maestro came to our rehearsal and it was intense. According to our director it went very well, but it was hard to evaluate. He told us (in his spanish accent) that he loves choirs….but not very much. He thought we might frighten the audience with our breathing before we come in. Since he is not a choir director, he treats us like any other instrument, which means we don’t get a whole lot in the way of entrances or cut-offs. Kinda scary. However, we have been preparing the heck out of this music. We have had extra section rehearsals for 6 weeks. We had 3 rehearsals (plus Sunday services) last week. We have rehearsals or church every day except for Tues. this week. We have dress rehearsals with the orchestra on Wed and Thurs and the concert is Fri. No time to rest because we go home and sleep and come back to rehearse for Easter Sat. morning then sing 4 services on Easter Sunday.
It is tiring, but awesome at the same time. I sung with symphonies as a child in children’s choir but not as an adult. So that is an awesome opportunity. Easter services are always the most uplifting fun services. this year Lent has been very, very dark and so Easter Sunday is very upbeat, with several Gospel songs (that we all already know, thank goodness).
I still remember coming home from my first choir rehearsal in 2004, in the midst of Nathan’s battle, traveling to NY, and 4 and 2 year old and Luke told me he couldn’t remember when he had seen me so happy. It is a HUGE blessing to me to be part of such a wonderful musical and worshiping committee.
One other thing..I hesitate to write because…well you’ll see why…I am told quite often (in fact just yesterday) that people love to watch me sing. At first I was flattered, then it turned into feeling like I had better live up to their expectations, to being kind of paranoid when it was at its peak of people coming up to me and wondering was I actually making a fool of myself up there in the choir loft, to being at peace with it again, because I am not putting on a show, nor trying to do anything in particular. I just love to sing and worship and I guess it shows.
Something that has been breaking my heart lately.
Julia’s family: Mommy and Daddy and Nathan and Lauren
Lauren’s family: Mommy, Daddy and Julia.
No Nathan. She is learning to write – she writes about all of us but not him. Her “My Family” project for school, – no Nathan. I didn’t ask, didn’t push. I just asked it there were any other pictures she wanted. I then asked if she wanted any pictures from when she was younger and she said no. So that’s it.
I don’t blame her. She was only 20 months old when he died. He is just an idea to her. He is a stranger in pictures. I just wish she understood how much he loved and adored her and that she does have a big brother.
I just makes me really sad.
Well – there was a sale I couldn’t beat and since I am struggling with Nathan’s death anniversary coming up anyway it seemed to make sense to go ahead and make the final photo book with Nathan. I was going to try to share it here, but the service makes you sign up and also, it just seemed a little too private for a completely public forum like this. In the end..I didn’t put the worst of the pictures but put the ones where is he doing something interactive even if he looks bad. I put in his obituary and the program from the funeral along with pictures of the girls from the day of his funeral.
If you recall, I wrote about the physical manifestation of my grief a while back here.
I did have an “attack” a few days after Nathan’s funeral and then was relatively well for a while after that with occasional “episodes” that I though were medical and now think were caused by anxiety/grief. It seems that instead of the passing of time helping, it is getting worse. One of the things is my startle reflex which gets really overactive. I had a bizarre jolt driving home from the airport where there was a slower car in the lane in front of us and I saw it and let out a big gasp and nearly startled Luke into an accident. Really small things cause a huge overreaction at the base level, before I have control over them. It is crappy.
Passing Nathan’s birthday and approaching his date of death has me at the verge of tears and experiencing some of these things. It is really frustrating because I am planning some things where I have to be “on” and the thought that my mind/body may betray me is really depressing. I do not like being weak and vulnerable. More than that – it is just not my personality. I guess you might say no one likes that, but it really is just not me.
Yes – I guess I am whining…forgive me because I know it could be worse
Sorry about the slow blogging…I have had some posts in my head so I am going to post them, some on delay.
First off – it is June. I like June, but June contains Nathan’s birthday – so that is hard. Facebook doesn’t help with the bombardment of 5th grade graduations and other friends with kids the same age having their birthdays.
The other day I finally tackled the rest of my medicine cabinet. I had done the bare minimum of pulling the dangerous medicines out of there a few years ago and brought as many as I grabbed to the hazardous waste disposal center.
I wasn’t expecting how hard it was to throw away the rest of the stuff. There was all the line care stuff, andmany bottles of SSKI (drops to protect his thyroid before nuclear meds scans). There were also, to my surprise, many types of narcotics still hanging around, even a fentanyl patch which really shouldn’t be just sitting around.
I was really sad throwing away all the supplies and I had to bag up all the narcotics until I take my next trip to the hazardous waste place.
What it comes down to is that I hate erasing pieces of proof that Nathan lived in our house, even when they are not happy things. There was some bit of comfort in rustling around the medicine and finding a replacement cap to the end of his lines. Over half of his life was spent with these items and they became a part of our life. I wouldn’t want him to need them, but they remind me of him and his everyday presence.
Still – I did dispose of them – just through tears. And I was depressed the rest of the day – I didn’t really realize it until Luke came up from work and I went to try to make dinner and found that emotionally I just couldn’t do it and I cried and he ran out and got us some food.