Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Time to move on - to February that is.

The end of January… January 31st… Yep, can’t say I’m sad to see you go!

Before Thanksgiving I found an article and posted it on Facebook about Surviving the Holidays while Grieving. I wrote above it that Corey and I were just hoping to get to February. . . So here we are. Did I learn more in January then I was planning on? Yes! I not only ‘got through it’ but there were days that I felt like I thrived! That’s growth! No one promised that we would have an easy journey. No one said that our lives were going to get back to normal. (Sure, some people tried telling us that time will make it easier, others tried telling us it was time to move on, still others muttered about walking around on egg-shells around us.) No one, that is, that knew what they were talking about!

January, for the most part, was a pretty quiet month for us. That is exactly how we wanted it. Before January of 2011 we thought we would be planning a first birthday party. We also thought that we might be living in Wisconsin. Well, obviously God had different plans for us. Instead we stayed here in Nebraska and planned a first angelversary “random-act-of-kindness-day”. Instead of first steps, first teeth, first cake-smearing-on-face, we are concentrating on shots, doctor appointments, x-rays, blood draws and other lab work. Instead of goodie bags, balloons and birthday cake on the 18th we spent time at the hospital visiting with our nurse that helped us make so many decisions after Calleigh was born still, we also picked out and ordered Calleigh’s headstone for the cemetery. Was anything we did in January stuff that I had planned before January, 2011? NO! Is any of it a surprise to God? NO! Are we still trusting Him with the big picture? YES! I will admit, if I could write my story-book ending Calleigh would still be here – alive and well. I wouldn’t have Corey giving me shots every evening, I wouldn’t have met and made friends with several women from all over the world. It’s not that I don’t appreciate these friendships or my hubby’s gentle touch with a needle – I just really, really want my daughter back! I would give up almost anything to have her here with us, not just the bit of ashes I wear around my neck everyday, but really, really here with us.

So, I can't say I'm sad about tearing off my January calendar tomorrow at work! Here's to looking to a brighter February in 2012 then we had in 2011!

"I can sing in the troubled times, sing when I win. I can sing when I lose my step and fall down again. I can sing 'cause You pick me up, sing 'cause You're there. I can sing 'cause You hear me, Lord, when I call to you in prayer. I can sing with my last breath, sing for I know that I'll sing with the angels and the saints around the throne."

Peace and Love to All!

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Shot in the Dark

PARAPROSDOKIAN: “Figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently used in a humorous situation.”

  • The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on my list.
  • Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  • To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

These and more were in our area newspaper this week, and several of them were pretty funny. It made me think of a situation in our house that seems like a paraprosdokian, but not very funny... at least to me...

You see, tonight Corey has to start giving me a shot. AND HE’S HAPPY ABOUT IT! He thinks it will be fun. He mentioned something about pay-back, blah, blah, blah… OK, just because I have a thing with his nose hairs when they grow so long they ‘blend in’ with his mustache, or when his gray ear hairs come wisping out of his ears… Well, the best time to take care of those situations is while he is driving down the highway going 65 m.p.h. He is too preoccupied with driving so he really can’t fight back and then I get to take care of business! YANK! Out they come! And I’ve gotten so good that I usually get five or six at every pull! I tell him gray hair coming out of his ears makes me think about my grandpa and in no way shape or form am I ready for Corey to start reminding me of him!

  • Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
  • To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

And this brings us to “the shots” that Corey will be giving me. I’m nervous, I’m terrified. I know what the goal is, but I don’t know if it can be reached. I really don’t want to start moving our target to wherever we might end up. And to top it all off, I'm scared of needles! I can't stand getting shots from a nurse, let alone my revenge-seeking husband! And when it comes to blood draws and finger pokes, I'm a mess! And starting an IV - they have to bring in their most experienced person available! When I was a kid I just flat out cried and screamed my head off. But since I've gotten a tad more mature I now practice the 'close my eyes-hold my breath-stomp on my other foot' technique! It seems to help a bit - we'll see if I can go to that special place tonight as Corey is jabbing me with a ten inch needle. (that may have been a slight exaggeration!)

“Oh Lord, Are we doing the right thing? Did we make the right decisions? Are we following You, or our own selfish desires?”
Be Still and Know that I Am God.
“Yes Lord. But…”
Peace I give you.
“But… what if?”
“OK, but please give me the strength to accept the outcome no matter what might happen. Amen.”

  • You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
  • I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.
  • You’re never too old to learn something stupid.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

1Y. 1W. 1D.

1 year. 1 week. 1 day.

That is how long it’s been since Calleigh Joy was born. In many ways it seems like yesterday and in so many more ways it seems like a lifetime of learning, processing, grieving, sharing, teaching, remembering and crying about what has happened during this past year.

A few of the lessons I’ve learned are:

1.My husband loves me. This one was so important to discover from the beginning. While we were in the hospital having CJ the nurses brought in a packet of pamphlets about baby loss and in one of them it stated that almost 80% of couples that lose a child (at any stage of the child’s life) will not stay together. I remember so vividly Corey and I looking at each other and verbally making a commitment to each other and our marriage. We did not take that statistic as an excuse in case we weren’t getting along, we took it as a challenge to prove it wrong in our relationship. Time and time again Corey has shown unconditional love to me. When I was being unlovable – he loved me. When I was grieving with a hurt so desperate all I wanted was to join Calleigh in heaven – he loved me. When my faith was rocked to the very core of my being and I had doubts about where God even was, let alone if He even cared – he loved me and his faith carried me. When I could not even cry out to God myself because of the anger and resentment that had bottled up inside of me – he loved me and he lifted me in prayer constantly. When I finally conceded to seeing a Christian grief counselor – he loved me and he worked through my weekly assignments with me. When I was on the slippery slope back up from an apparent bottomless pit – he loved me and he gently took my hand and helped me through the rough and slick spots. We are able to rejoice knowing that CJ is enjoying all of heaven’s splendor and one day we will join her as we praise God for all eternity – he loves me and he shares that joy and anticipation of that time when our family will all be together.

2.I have a new normal. Yep, that pretty much sums it up. I remember seeing the saying “normal is just a setting on your dryer” and thinking that was a cute little saying but not truly understanding what it meant. I don’t know that one can fully understand this unless they go through a tragedy. I’m not talking about “my pipes froze and broke” kind of tragedy. I’m talking about something that shakes your complete foundation and makes you examine every area of your life – present and past – kind of tragedy. I have a Pre-CJ normal and I have a Post-CJ normal. What I’ve found is that most of the people who knew me Pre-CJ want me to suddenly return to my “Pre-CJ” normal. They don’t understand my ‘new normal’ nor do they particularly care to. I’ve been told that it’s time to move on and get my life back to normal. Well, as much as I wish that were possible, I will never be the same person as I once was. And that is perfectly fine with me. The old me was not near as compassionate as the new me is. The old me was quite a bit more intolerable of others, insensitive to others’ needs, and had a bad, bad habit of being critical of other people and what they were going through. The new me knows without a shadow of a doubt that unless you have been through the exact same circumstances as someone else, there is absolutely no way to know how you would handle that same situation. My Post-CJ normal does not want to take the time to deal with angry, mean people because there are too many hurting, searching people out there that need a friend. This isn’t saying that my feelings don’t get hurt, I think they probably get hurt much more easily now than ever before! But the ‘new normal me’ tends to steer clear of people who continually hurt me – whether intentional or not.

3.All the time God is good, God is good all the time. The foundations of my faith were shaken to the very core a couple of months after we lost Calleigh. I went through a time initially where I believe I was still in shock and I could walk around and fake quite a few ‘normal-type’ emotions. I walked the walk and talked the talk, but without daily seeking His guidance I was spiraling down at a fast pace. I fooled quite a few people, but inside I was screaming at God. I was so mad that He made me wait twelve years to have a baby – then He took her away without even letting me see life in her eyes, or hear her cry, or change her diaper, or give her a bath, or put a bow in her hair. I had daily reminders that my baby was dead – no new pictures to show off, no new outfits to buy, no Christmas or Birthday presents to purchase. This was not fair and I held God personally responsible for it…. Then I realized that God was OK with that. He knew my pain, my anger, my sadness, He collected each and every tear that I cried, He is the giver of comfort and He knows the pain in the death of a child. God lost His only Son, Jesus, as punishment for our sin, and yes, Jesus now lives in eternity in Heaven with His Father – just like we will live in eternity in heaven someday with CJ and our Heavenly Father. His plan is perfect, and He only wants the best for His children. I didn’t (and still don’t) see the whole picture. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I don’t know what next week will bring. I don’t know if God will grant the desires of my heart, but I can surely say that He will only do what is best for me and use each and every situation to bring Him glory.

1 year. 1 week. 1 day.

Yep, a lot has happened and it is our prayer that we will be a broken vessel that is continually filled up by our Savior and used for God’s glory.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Me. A Blog? No!

A blog, huh? For several months now I have heard a small, still voice in my head telling me to start writing a blog.

But a blog, really? Who cares to read it? Who would find my life the least bit interesting enough to want to follow me on this journey? I am a broken vessel, how can I be used?

“The blog isn’t for others to read – it is for your healing, your venting, your expression, your voice, your escape. And in this process if others come along side to help you in your healing and learn from your past – then so be it.”

The small, still voice grew louder and louder… “Start a blog”.

But I don’t know how. I don’t know what to write about. I don’t know how to do the lay-outs.

The sizeable, slightly agitated voice grew louder… “START A BLOG!”

But I don’t have time. I don’t… I don’t… I don’t…

“S.T.A.R.T. A. B.L.O.G.!!!!”

Hey, I have an idea. Why don’t I start a blog!

I have absolutely no idea what I’ll write about. (Obviously I will write a bit on our journey through grief as we struggle to make sense of losing our precious daughter a little over a year ago.) But my life is more than mourning our loss, it’s full of happiness, sadness, joy, struggles, Coast Guard boy stuff, jewelry making girl stuff and just the stuff that goes in to doing our best as Corey and I try to do more than make the most of this thing called marriage!

I may not know what I’m going to write about, but I do know what I’ll name my blog. Beautiful Happiness. That is what Calleigh Joy’s name means – and this has been Corey and my prayer since we found out that she was gone, that her life would bring us Beautiful Happiness, and we have been so blessed this past year alone! While it has been the most difficult year of my life, it has also been the year that I have learned the most about myself and my marriage. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Corey will always be there for me, always love me, and always protect me. That doesn’t mean bad stuff won’t happen to us anymore, I just know that when it does he’ll stand by me and hold my hand as we steer through the rough waters.

I love to write, I love to read other friends’ blogs, I love to hear and read stories about how other friends are navigating through their voyages. So buckle up buttercup, it might get bumpy!