Sunday, January 25, 2009

Grief Clouding My Days

The last 30 hours have been hard! I've lived the last week or so, feeling like I was back in my old shoes. While missing Felicity, I just felt like life was improving and that I was adjusted to my new normal. Then yesterday, we noticed that Elijah was having some swelling and redness in his privates (no other way to put it). Paul called the nurse, who of course recommended going to urgent care. Well urgent care is at the hospital where we found out Felicity had died. I started feeling like I was going to be sick, thinking about having to go back there. I thought about having to see nurses and doctors who might have worked on Felicity, to get her heart beating. I began crying and explained to Paul how I was feeling. He offered to go alone with Elijah and that way I could stay home and get Ethan to bed. I felt awful, wanting to be with Elijah, to know what was wrong, but knowing that if I did, I'd be a big sobbing mess the whole time.

Paul and Elijah left and didn't get home until after 10pm. Despite multiple phone calls to him, I worried the whole time which got me thinking about Felicity and feeling sad. I prayed a lot and I felt God's peace. The peace God gives is one in which I know what the outcome will be. Not the outcome on this earth, but the eternal outcome, which is heaven. I know this world is going to still have pain in it. While having "survived" what I can only hope is the worst pain I'll ever feel, I know there will be more at some point. And when your child is hurting, you hurt too. Long story short, he has epididymitis, an inflammation of that area. I won't go into details, that's what googling is for. He's on antibiotics for seven days - the first time he's ever taken any prescription meds, so hopefully it'll be really effective.

Since then, I've just felt shrouded by my grief. The thought of going to church this a.m. was beyond overwhelming. Church is usually hard. I think it's because the sanctuary is also where I last saw my daughter's body. And whenever I'm there to worship, I still see her little casket on the communion table and it hurts! I think I've only made it through one service since she died without crying. Since I needed to get Elijah's prescription filled and have him start taking it a.s.a.p. I didn't go to church. I've spent all day feeling down, crying in the shower, crying during devotions, crying when I laid down for a nap.

I feel like I should just be able to shake this feeling of grief off. I don't want to feel this way and yet I've come to accept that it's going to be with me always. It's now a part of me. I never thought of myself as a sad person but here I am. I can be happy too, but there's always going to be part of me that is sad. I miss my daughter! I wish I knew what she'd be like at 16 weeks old, for that's how old she'd be tomorrow.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Elijah and a Winner!

I can't believe I'm giving top billing to the person who woke me up at 5:45 am today. He's just so cute, I can't help myself. Elijah is not quite 2.5 and he is constantly making us laugh or grin uncontrollably at his 2 year old-isms. Two is the age where they become quite verbal and will say whatever comes to mind. I thought it'd be fun to share some of the things that have come out of his mouth lately.

During school time, Ethan and I have been trying to pray for persecuted believers in other parts of the world. Yesterday Elijah was playing nearby when I told Ethan we were going to pray for Algeria. Elijah turned to look at me and said, "Ohhh, is Aldearya dick (sick)?"

One day last week, Elijah walked into the living room and announced out of the blue, "I not frustated."

We are still in the throws of potty training and Elijah does not like to stop what he's doing to go to the bathroom. Once I get him into the bathroom, he offers all kinds of reasons why he doesn't need to go:

"I doe potty at Gamma's yeterday." (translation: I go potty at Gramma's yesterday.)

"I doo dired." (translation: I too tired.)

"I doking." (translation: I choking. He also uses this one when he's supposed to be eating.)

"I need peep." (translation: I need sleep.)

While eating the other day, Elijah looked at me and said something. "Mama, do da ding of deese." I didn't understand him even after he repeated himself. So I turned to our resident interpreter (aka Ethan) who informed me that Elijah said, "Mama, you're the king of cheese." (I guess they've watched "Flywheel" one too many times.)

As for my kitchen contest, I have to say I was a little disappointed with the overall lack of humor. Who knew so many of you cut onions all day and actually knew what this kitchen gadget was. I applaud those of you who tried to use some humor. While I don't have a poodle to comb with this object, I hope I never have to use it to pick lice out of my children's hair. Using it as a meat tenderizer is not a bad idea. And as for my husband . . . he thought it was used to separate spaghetti noodles after cooking. He actually looked perplexed when I told him that wasn't the real usage.

So the winner is. . . . Jennifer! She had both the lice extractor and meat tenderizer ideas. Congrats Jennifer! Please email me (or call me) and let me know your address and what colors you'd like for the washcloths.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What a Crock!

It's my 75th post and I'm not writing about grief or sadness or even my family for that matter. Rather this post is a tribute to my kitchen crock! Odd. . . yes, but it is what it is, so go along with me here. Below is a picture of my crock, and what a crock it is. You see, when Paul and I got married I had a small crock, big enough to hold a couple of spatulas, a small ladle, and maybe a few wooden spoons. I quickly realized that this crock would not suffice if I was going to cook in my galley style kitchen that had only TWO small drawers. I needed big. . . so off I went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond (with a 20% off coupon, mind you) and purchased this beauty. Just so you know, it was the biggest they had. (I haven't checked to see if there is now a bigger size crock, for I fear that if there is, I will get a bad case of crock-envy. Ignorance is bliss in my world.)

I like to cook and I find much satisfaction in finding the cooking implement I need just an arm's reach away, and as you can see I've stuffed my crock full. I still have that pesky drawer full of kitchen tools that I sometimes use or never use, but fear I may need someday if I get rid of them. Here is a picture of an item I use almost everyday from that drawer. It's a piece of that anti-slide stuff you can buy at Wal-mart cut into a circle. I use it to open jars (works every time) and I put it under bowls and pans when I'm mixing something so that the bowl doesn't slide around on the counter. Now, get this, Ethan gave it to me. He found it when he was geo-caching with his dad. When you find a cache, you're supposed to take an item and leave something else. Well, MY SON took this for me, knowing I'd like it. While I can't even begin to imagine why it was put in a geo-cache, I'm happy it's now mine (after thoroughly sanitizing it, of course). It's since been stained, burned, and torn, but it's a keeper.

Anyway, I don't know about you out there in bloggyland, but the kitchen is my favorite room in our house. It is the kitchen of my dreams! After having a galley style kitchen in a small apartment for the first part of our marriage, I felt like I was given the moon when we purchased this house. So, in honor of my 75th post, I'm having a "kitchen contest"

Please leave me a comment and tell me what you think this kitchen gadget is used for (humor is so going to help you win!) I can't remember the last time I used it and because of the sharp points on the end, it sits in the back of my drawer. When we installed our new cabinet knobs and pulls, I found it and it took me awhile to remember what it was for.

I haven't decided when this contest will end. Probably after I write my next post so I'm sure you'll have at least a few days. The lucky winner will get this gem. . .

Okay, I know it appears to be used and not the greatest prize in the world, but I had to stick with the whole kitchen theme thing (and crocks are not easy to mail). This can opener is the BEST and I have two. The reason I have two is because I gave one to my mom for a gift and she gave it back! (Even though she reads my blog, I'm not afraid to say she's in a can-opener rut!)This can opener cuts off the top of the can without leaving a sharp edge on which I'm sure you've cut yourself or ruined a perfectly nice rubber spatula on.

To increase the competition I'll throw in three hand knit dishcloths. You can even pick the colors! (This is about as crafty as I get!) Gals, I'm sure you've got husbands out there that can come up with a humorous use for this mysterious kitchen gadget as well. In fact, I think I'd rather hear what they think it's for. Come to think of it, I'm wondering what my engineer husband would come up with.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I Made It. . . Almost

I can't believe I made it through a Monday without any tears. Most Monday mornings I sit on the couch for an hour or so, before I begin my day. My boys take FOREVER to finish a meal, so I'm allotted this time if I can ignore the singing, talking, and goofing off they are doing. During this Monday morning ritual, I usually find myself caught up in my memories of the day Felicity was born and died. I know she died before birth, but it still seems weird to me to write that she died and then was born, especially since we didn't know she had died. Needless to say, it was the most traumatic day of my life and sometimes when I think back on it, I feel like it was somebody else, because I just can't believe I could have survived that day. Some things that I said and did that day I now realize happened because I was in shock. There's no other explanation.

Rather than this morning, last night was my time to filter through my emotions and memories. I stayed up after everyone else was in bed (happens more often than it should, but Paul goes to bed usually around 8pm since he has to get up so early). I wrote in my journal, which is something I've been faithfully doing (not everyday, mind you), for the last 11.5 years! I'm hoping to look back in my journals in a few years and see how much life has improved since Felicity's death. I journaled during my divorce, and when I look back now, I'm just in awe at what God did in my life. Hopefully I'll be able to say the same thing about Felicity's death someday.

I've blogged a lot about how I believe God is sovereign in all things, but I sometimes wonder if people understand what that means. It took me awhile to understand the term myself and to wrap my mind around the complexities of what it means. Being sovereign means God is in control. He allows everything to happen. He can heal people, but he can also allow them to become ill. He can protect some people from a natural disaster (Act of God) and allow others to be killed. While we live in a fallen world because of sin, and Satan is moving about on this earth, all things (good and bad) happen because God allows it. Many people will disagree with me, but to say anything other than that God is ultimately in control is to subtract from His very nature.

So what I'm saying is that God allowed Felicity to die. While I hate that she's gone, I accept this fact. It's hard for me to put into words where I'm going with all this. I'm reading Holding on to Hope by Nancy Guthrie which is a great little book that is good reading for any person who's encountered suffering. She writes,

If God has allowed suffering into your life, it is for a purpose. A good purpose. A holy purpose. The world tells us to run from suffering, to avoid it at all costs, to cry out to heaven to take it away. Few of us would choose to suffer. Yet when we know that God has allowed suffering into our lives for a purpose, we can embrace it instead of running from it, and we can seek God in the midst of suffering. Accepting suffering drives us deeper in our devotion. . . . Surely if God would require such intense suffering of his own Son whom he loved to accomplish a holy purpose, he has a purpose for your pain and my pain. And perhaps part of that purpose is to learn obedience from what we suffer. Why has God allowed so much suffering in your life? Ultimately the purpose is not to disfigure you for life but to mold you into a person who thinks and acts and looks like Christ."

So in my few quiet moments I'm trying to reflect on how God wants to mold me. This may involve changing certain behaviors or habits, as well as changing my attitude. I'm trying to be more aware of things that displease God. I have a LONG way to go. But I know that I don't want to become bitter because of Felicity's death. Rather I want to draw closer to God.

90 minutes later . . . Okay, so I didn't make it. I just got off the phone with my new friend, Jennifer, who's also a grieving mom. She lost her son, Isaiah, in August. While talking with her, the tears flowed, but in a healing way. There's so much comfort in talking with someone who knows, someone who gets it, someone who doesn't question the way you're feeling. Thanks Jennifer!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

You Know You're a Country Bumpkin . . .

  • if your after Christmas shopping includes buying seeds for your garden so you can start them indoors in February.
  • if you get excited when you see the grader smoothing down your bumpy dirt road.
  • if you get excited when you see the grader, then get frustrated because you're stuck behind it and it moves so slooowwwly!
  • if you refer to your property as "the farm" or "the ranch."
  • if you're neighbors are excited about the fainting goats they've just ordered.
  • if you jokingly refer to the tractor parked under your deck as your husband's girlfriend.
  • if your six year old is excited about winter so he can sled down the mound. . . the septic mound.
  • if you have hundreds of unwelcomed guests every fall (i.e. Asian beetles and box elder bugs).
  • if your husband buys cows so he won't have to mow the grass.
  • if you can't sleep because there's a great horned owl in search of a good time perched on your roof.
  • if you see stray coyotes in your yard rather than stray dogs.
  • if you see mice wander into your garage in broad daylight, while you're standing 15 feet away.
  • if you're glad to see your neighbor's cat pooping in your yard because you know it'll also be catching some of those arrogant mice.
  • if the sound of the spring peepers is enchanting.
  • if you know what spring peepers are.
  • if you get excited in the spring when you start seeing baby pheasants in the yard.
  • if you find woodticks on your children's toys out in the yard.
  • if you can't run through the sprinkler because the well water is SOOO cold!

The other woman

Before the weeds took over

Moving the cows

The stare down and the moment I considered them "hamburger on hooves" rather than Bossy, Clarabelle, and Buttercup. Two seconds after this photo was taken one of them charged my baby, though Paul insists it was just show. Thankfully, Elijah was unharmed (Paul was in the pen with them for those of you concerned and ready to call CPS). Paul will continue to support my blogging habit as long as I don't remove this picture from my blog header.

Our big backyard
The group of trees at the top right of the photo is referred to as "the tree island"

Country living is growing on me!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Why Switch

Ethan and Elijah spent three nights this past weekend at my parents' house. They have transitioned well to being back at home, but I feel like Elijah's grown up overnight. He's 28 months now and in just three short days he doesn't seem like my baby anymore. He is weaned finally (it'll be a week tomorrow), though he continues to asks once or twice a day if he can nurse. He was only nursing once a day until Felicity died, but then my milk came in. I needed him to help out during that initial engorgement period, plus it was comforting for us both. Well, once my milk was in, he thought he'd hit the jackpot and he went back to nursing multiple times a day. It got to be too much though with him waking in the middle of the night again and wanting to nurse, so I (and Paul) decided it was time to be done. Honestly I'm glad, but I'm sad too. It wouldn't be so hard if I had Felicity to nurse, but she's not here and now that Elijah's not nursing, I'm feeling her absence again and missing her all the more.

When Elijah came home from Gramma and Papa's house it was like someone turned on the "Why?" switch in his brain. Now whenever I ask him to do something, he furrows his little brow and says in a long drawn out breath, "Whhhyyy?" I find his expression so adorable and his still baby-like voice so sweet, but it's getting old already after only a day of being back home. When I explain why, he asks again, "But whhhyyy?"

I know all kids go through this developmental stage and it's good to start explaining things in more detail to them. Lately though, it's hard just to complete a simple thought in my head, much less explain to Elijah why he needs to come when I ask or stop playing so he can eat dinner. As much as I love to see him maturing and growing, I just want time to stop so I can hold him and cuddle him and have him be my baby once again. I know I'm feeling this more intensely because he's was supposed to be a "big boy" now and Felicity was going to be my baby.

This evening while we were finishing supper and afterwards, we went over God's providences for our family in 2008. This was tough. As Paul went through the months and talked about what God had done for us, I knew the tears were coming. I am so thankful for ALL God did for us in 2008 but I'm so sad too. I miss my baby! Today marks three months since she went to be with Jesus. I know "why" but I still want to ask him "why?" Why her? Why me? Why our family? And His answer would be "Beloved, the purpose for this pain is so I could be glorified!" And so I am trying to glorify Him by loving Him and doing what He commands.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A New Year

Paul and I have been enjoying a weekend alone. We dropped the boys off at my parents on Friday and I'm heading down to the cities tomorrow to pick them up (thanks for the extra night Gramma and Papa!). It's been a great weekend of relaxing, sleeping in (until 8 am - Woohoo!), watching movies (with the volume as loud as we want since there are no sleeping children down the hall), eating out, shopping (love those after Christmas sales), and just being together. We haven't been alone overnight since last June when we went to Eau Claire for a wedding. And that was the first night we'd ever been away from Elijah.

It's such a weird thing being home without the kids. They bring so much life and NOISE to the house! After Felicity died, I stated to everyone around me that I didn't want to be alone for a long time. Even after Paul went back to work I needed my mom to be here just so I wouldn't be home alone with the boys. And I definitely didn't want to be home alone without Paul or the boys! I was just too sad and the house seemed to swallow me up in its emptiness. I'm finally feeling better about the idea of being home alone.

Since Christmas ended, I began to think about the new year and leaving 2008 behind. Like most other moms of babies in heaven, I feel bad about moving into a new year. 2008 was the year of Felicity and as time passes I feel like I move farther and farther away from her. I'm excited and hopeful for what God may do in 2009, but still there's a lot of sadness. Today I'm feeling that sadness a bit more intensely. Despite the sunny day (the sun usually brightens my mood), I cried this morning and during worship at church and even now I'm crying as I type this. I miss Felicity SOOO much!!! Sometimes it's physically painful to look at her pictures because of how much I want her here.

Her death has made me long for heaven! I would love to live longer, have more babies and watch my boys grow up, but I'd trade it all for the Lord to return today. And then I realize it's not mine to trade. My boys are not mine, Felicity is not mine, my house is not mine, this life is not mine. I deserve nothing and yet by Jesus' death on the cross I've been given EVERYTHING! And so I will live my life, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day in gratitude. I will praise God for everything I'm given and I will bless His name even if it's all taken away.

Happy New Year everyone!