Showing posts from May, 2013

A Fish out of Water

There are anywhere from 5 to 7 to 10 stages of grief and loss depending on who you ask and what website you click on. There's denial and anger and bargaining and depression and all sorts of terms that range from  makes sense  to coldly technical . And, overlapping all that grief and loss, is the normal emotions that any normal person experiences on any given day: hunger, love, sadness, happiness, stress, confusion, frustration, giddiness, goofiness, and, well, I could go on and on. I guess I tell you this because I need you to know I feel like a fish playing a crazy game of Emotional Twister. Imagine, if you will, a floor of painted circles, each labeled with a different emotion. Now, go grab a carp from the lake and plop him down in the middle of the playing field. That fish is going to flop this way and that way (and never in any logical direction). Just when you think it's headed towards happiness it flips on over to anger. In the blink of an eye it has flopped on over to

Keeping Secrets Out Loud

I have a secret. It is an image ingrained on my eyelids; with each blink I am reminded by the vision of her face. My skin is covered by the flesh of another, yet you cannot feel it. There is a stone in each lung; huge, blocking, rough edges beginning to wear smooth with each labored breath. And yet, I stand in front of you and smile sweetly. Nod my head accordingly. Pretend I hear the words you speak. But inside, where your eyes cannot see, my seams are coming apart. The thread unraveling. I try so hard to break the thread off with my hands but it refuses to snap. I hold on tighter and tighter, fingers gripped white, shoulders aching because I cannot catch a break . I cannot rest. Or, rather, I cannot find the time to fall apart. Grief - traumatic or not - has been described as waves in an ocean. Some days those waves are manageable, almost compellingly soothing. There is a comfort of sorts in the gentle lull of grief. Closing your eyes and remembering a smiling face feels like t

Some Things Stay The Same

Even when everything is different, some things stay completely the same. Unchanging. A well-worn security blanket of sameness, if you will. And by that, I mean Big V. Or Matt. Because that's how we all know him now. But he was always known as Big V in my pre-10/24 posts and somehow, well, somehow this post is deserving of reverting back to Big V status. You'll remember we were blessed to have a real Christmas Tree donated by a local company (Hugs and Thank You's, Geneva Trees!) to put by Avery's grave. This was important to me because (1) she didn't have a headstone and I was afraid I'd be talking to a random clod of snow covered earth when I'd go to visit, and (2) she had made us promise to get a real tree this year, so I was able to keep my promise. Also, it was super cool to see how Avery's classmates, the neighborhood kids and families decorated it. It was so beautiful I didn't want to think about taking it down. I wanted some way to

You, Too, Could Learn From a 3-Year Old

It is so hard to comprehend that Avery, my sweet, smiling, climb on my lap even though she's in 5th grade and all arms and legs, precious little girl is gone. Gone. Never to come back. There is no waiting for summer camp to end, no picking up late night from a friend's house, no after the semester ends or training is over or mission completed. I walk into her room like a thousand other times and ... what? What do I really think is going to happen? I touch the top pillow, the one with the self-decorated pillowcase she brought to gymnastics camp. I run my hand along the top of her dresser. I think about how a 3-year old mind can't possibly remember all the giggles and the way a big sister wiped his chin. I look at the clothes hanging in the closet; think about her favorite shorts. And mine. They weren't the same. She looked beautiful in both. Today, I was looking across the living room to a shelf that held a framed photo of Avery. She wasn't yet two. So incredibly i

Here to There

I went to a fundraising event at Avery's school tonight. They showed a slide show presentation that included pictures of all the students doing different events throughout various random school days. All those kids with smiling faces. Playing on slides and studying out of math books. But not Avery. Avery's face wasn't in there. Avery started 5th grade in September and by the end of October she was gone. Just gone. In the most final, absolute way imaginable. She was gone. And although everything I was and everything I had ever known ceased to exist in a matter of the blink of an eye - everything else around me continued on. The sun rose. Seasons changed. Students moved on to the next lesson. And yet, Avery was in that slide show... just not in the way I would have imagined. Pictures of students decorating Christmas ornaments to hang on her tree by her grave. Pictures of her name. Picture after picture that showed she was not forgotten. That she was cared for and thoug