Saturday, November 24, 2012


Eight months ago my sweet Piper died. We packed up our hotel room and came back to Georgia and planned a funeral. We spent the next few weeks in a daze...and I am not kidding. Chad and I have often looked at each other and been amazed at how little we remember from spring and summer.

Survival is like that, I guess.

And you know what? It gets harder. Every day it hurts more. Less people ask after you. The every day list of things to do becomes more daunting. Expectations begin to rise again and you feel the need to be less sad and more joyful when in reality there is little more than you would like to do than hide.

It's tricky to hide.

On top of grieving, which I would love to do emphatically, are responsibilities. And I for one am hating responsibilities. I am hating that Chad must go to school and work when he hurts so deeply. I am hating that my heart is so heavy I feel like I am constantly letting people down. And that's if I am around people because the more I hurt, the less I want to be around anyone. I want to hibernate and sleep and putter around my home which feels like a sanctuary.

Until someone breaks into our storage shed and steals Chads tools and drills and tackle boxes and my already fragile sense of security and leaves my Linley fearful of sleeping alone and wondering what exactly is God protecting us from if not death or theft.

Yes, that happened.

And when bills are piling up and health issues are arising and hearts are already so very heavy and disappointments abound and you feel frantic in your attempt to JUST KEEP YOUR SHIT realize you are not, indeed, keeping much of anything together. Despite trying. Despite hoping. Despite your scuffle to do all you can you are only treading water with a leaking life vest.

This is where we are.

Or at least this was where I was before today.

Today I planned to begin the process of decorating for Christmas. Last Christmas was filled with equal parts fear and hope...a tenuous balance at best. And yet we made ornaments with handprints and both Linley and Piper picked out their yearly ornament. I made 4 stockings and we placed the Nativity on the shelf. After doing all this the girls would spend each evening next to the tree checking out all the different and meaningful ornament and it was beautiful and it was normal.

Again, we were flooded with fear and hope.

And today when I went to pick up my decorations from the last place I remember seeing them, they were not there. And no one can remember where they went to. Rubbermaid containers filled with homemade ornaments and 1st Married Christmas ornaments and tree skirts and handprint decor and plastic candy canes and photos with smiling little girl faces....are all gone.

It was like losing all over. I am already aching to reach for Piper...there are no more memories to make with her, ever. I am missing the small years with Linley...I am yearning to see her color with the same intensity that she did when three years old. And the symbols of these brief moments with the girls are gone...I cannot find them and my home at Christmas this year will be stark.

Stark when I really, truly needed to feel full and really, truly needed to be reminded physically of some sweet moments.

So before today we felt beaten. Floated. Forgotten. Hurt. Fragile. Pick a painful adjective that works best for you.

And now, I am struggling to push, push, push down the despair that is creeping at me. The despair that threatens to outshadow my weak contentment with what little I do still hold. So often I feel the pressure to extoll God and his goodness and his mercy and joy and hope and yet, today I am putting all that in my pocket and sobbing for the hurt of it all.

So much is lost. My daughter, my security and some sweet symbols that once we held hope while living fear.

Monday, November 5, 2012


If I have said it once, I have said it a million times.

I am no good with numbers.

And by numbers I mean math, or dates or anniversaries or at times, even reading a watch. It's not my vibe and is the sole reason I do not have a college degree. If you think I am kidding, ask my parents about all those lovely colleges I tried out in my quest to be educated.

It's bad folks.

And it's also a big part of why I married my number happy spouse, though we agree to disagree on the difficulty of adding or algebra. That's how we stay married.

But like I said, it's not just math, it's also dates or anniversaries. My number-happy spouse knew this and had our wedding date inscribed on the inside of my wedding band so that I can simply pull my bling bling off and read that date when asked how many years we have been married. It's 8, by the're welcome.

Which is why I am supremely impressed with myself when I can so easily quote you both Linley and Pipers birthdays, birth stats and birth times. I'm certain it's a mother thing as I am certain no love compares but none the less the importance of those two beautiful dates and details will be burned into my fragile mind forever.

What I had never expected when I delivered either of those beautiful girls, was that less than three years post Pipers birth, that I would hold her in my arms while she breathed those last sweet breathes here on earth. And that I would not remember the time she left this earth or the days she was blessed to live them.

Or that a mere 7 months later I would forget the day. That the 3rd of this month would pass without preamble or emotion or even recognition. When this dawned on me today I felt immediately sick...that the tediousness of living allowed me to forget just hurts.

As I said, this number phobia runs deep. And yet today I learned that I am indeed, clinging to numbers more than I ever thought I would. While the letters and words I write flow so easily, the numbers are stoic. Unchanging and bringing with them memories whether I chose to remember or forget to acknowledge. Each month the 3rd will happen, whether I notice or not. Whether I write something. Whether I want to remember or not will not matter. Whether I like numbers or not will never matter because they are very obvious in my world and when they aren't obvious they are all the more painful.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween 2012

Yesterday was a normal day for me. I was babysitting, like I often do. I planned a playdate, like I often do. I vacuumed and swept and moped, which I don't often do but I got a little dose of housewife while I was hiding inside from the cold and wind.

This cold and wind made me continue my search for my winter boots. I have small feet so I was fairly confident that my sister had not stolen them and I have a 1400 sq ft home that lacks excessive storage. The blasted boots were no where to be found and I was beginning to realize I was going to have to search the trunk of my car.

I really don't like doing that.

When I get groceries I sort of throw them in there and that's only if I have no room in the back seat. My goal is to not look in the trunk of my car until I am good and ready, though when that will be I have no clue.

Good and ready for what, you say?

The trunk of my car is still filled with the things that we packed to stay those long and sad and hopeful weeks in Memphis. When I shove milk in there I can see the backpack with Pipers name on it. I see little shirts that she will never wear again and the soft blanket that she and I would curl up under while watching movies and napping.

As soon as I popped the trunk open, I saw one boot and kept looking for the other as I began to cry. I was sobbing by the time I located it and slammed the trunk shut. Such sweet toys and books and the little phone she liked to chat away on...things I am not emotionally stable enough to touch.

I drove through the carpool line at Linley's school while attempting to get my mess under control and chatted with Linley about her excitement for the Halloween activities planned for the night. She had put together one adorable cat costume, complete with a tutu, a collar and this mommy painting her face.

After getting off work, she and I met up with friends and my tears, though gone, sort of clung to the back of my throat. Last Halloween it was Piper and I inpatient getting chemo and she had not one, or two but three costumes she would wear for a few laps around the unit in order to get the smiles and the attention. I would follow her holding her IV pole and she would smile and show up.

As wrong as it truly was, it felt incredibly right.

This year it was Linley and I. She got her fill of candy and she was beautiful and she reached for my hands often.

There were no IV poles, not even any tears since I was determined not to rain on her excitement of the day.

As right as it looked to an outsider, it felt so very, very, very wrong.

What a difference a year makes. This is the first holiday of the first holiday season without my sweet girl. And I will tell you now that Chad and I are deliberate in our plan to keep tears to a minimum and happiness on our faces for Linley despite the memories each special day brings up.

I will wear the boots that brought on the tears and I will keep my trunk closed as long as I darn well please.