Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Her Headstone

I didn't sleep a wink last night. This is unusual for me, of course it doesn't help that it was thunder storming and my little dog whined off and on all night. Needless to say I am tired and when I'm tired I'm cranky. I slept for a solid hour this morning before I had to get up for a doctor appointment- that I DID NOT have- early this morning. *eyes rolling* When I arrived I was told that I am not scheduled til Friday. Great. I could have slept all morning. So since I was awake and finally had my camera with me I went to Audrey's grave. I've been meaning to post these pictures since Memorial Day but each time I went to the cemetery I would forget my camera.

So, tonight we meet with another Monument company to compare prices and availability for Audrey's headstone. I just realized the other day that if I want it to be placed by her birthday we better get to it! And of course I know exactly what I want as far as the color and size (which may take time to come in as the color of granite is imported) but I still can't commit to a verse, quote or a sketch. Jamie doesn't seem to have a preference...he leaves all the "cosmetic" (as he puts it) decisions to me. Anyone have any ideas? We must make a decision this week!

I feel so blessed that Jamie's brother had this heart made to honor our daughter. He asked Jamie a few months ago if it would be okay if he had something made for her, Jamie agreed but didn't tell me until it was ready. It was such a nice surprise. We were not alone remembering our baby on Memorial Day. Others came and brought flowers too. What brother Richard didn't know was that I kept replacing the funeral program that was inserted in a plastic sleeve on a plastic temp. marker because it kept fading in the sun and getting water inside. I hated that. For the rest of the summer my baby will be seen clearly. When we get her headstone I think we will transfer this to my flower garden I will be expanding next year in her memory.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Solstice

This lily is in one of my flower beds. I planted them 2 years ago in the fall and last summer only one or two blooms appeared. Much to my surprise there are about six buds and four blooms right now. Oh, they are just beautiful!

Melissa from Raindrops and Kristin from Dear Stevie are doing photography projects which has inspired me to do so as well. I used to dabble in photography a lot more before Audrey died and like so many other things, I've lost my passion for photographing and remembering the beautiful moments in life that bring me joy. I will be posting pictures of summertime (my favorite season) and anything that brings me joy or helps me honor Audrey's memory. I hope you enjoy them too.
Now for a little update: Yesterday (Father's Day) went pretty well. My dear husband would do anything for anyone and early yesterday he got a call from a friend who knew someone who needed some rescuing. Jamie is mechanically talented and is always working on some one's car and does so at a fraction of the cost of a shop or dealership. Anyway, a woman's van broke down on her way home from an out of state trip, to make a long story short he took his car trailer and off he went driving over an hour to get said van and bring it back. This set us behind on our plans. We were only able to spend an hour and 15 minutes with the step-dad because we planned to be at my dad's after he got off work. It was quite nice we arrived late to mom's, (just in time for the awesome meal) visited with my uncle & kissed the nieces and nephew. The announcement was made that my brother is engaged. Jamie wrestled and played with the kids, and received a beautiful card from my mom and was wished a happy father's day by my brother's fiance'. Then off we went to my dad's which of course was a nice visit. Jamie wanted to visit his parents' graves so we went to the cemetery and came home. It was as perfect a day as it could be without his father and our daughter.
Happy Summer everyone! I hope it brings joyful moments to each one of you.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Father's Day - Another Part of Me

The approaching days to this holiday are always the hardest of any for me. Each year I have to emotionally prepare for the events Father's Day brings. This year doesn't feel much different except that it is even harder because I can't make "other" plans for my hubby. So, here goes the other part of me....
This is how my mom says it,"We have a his, mine and ours family." My mom and dad divorced before I was a year old. My mom re-married when I was 6 and with a new step-dad came my first little brother from his previous marriage, then my mom had my sister with the step-dad when I was seven. We all grew up together, love each other very much and none of us refer to each other as step or half siblings unless we're describing our family such as I am now. I also have adopted twin brothers who are 17 years younger. We are a family of Christians who each have their own relationships with God. To the outside world we probably appear to be one big happy family. For the most part this is true however; very few people know what it was like for me as a child or the "family secret."

From ages 6-11 my step-dad was mean and abusive. He was an active alcoholic and drug addict and I was his victim. He was a monster in all forms, he was emotionally, physically and sexually abusive toward me. I was afraid and alone as a child, left to fend for myself. Where was my mom? Working. In denial. Nursing her own wounds from the past. Distracted.

When I was ten I went to church camp with a cousin, and there is where I met my Saviour. I cried out to Jesus to please make all the madness at home stop. Within a year my step-dad met my Saviour and he introduced Him to my mom. My eleventh birthday was the last time I saw my step-dad drunk.

One day when I was just about to turn 18 I decided not to return home. The demons I pushed down for so long needed to be dealt with. I tried to deal with them in all the wrong ways in all the wrong places with all the wrong people.

It wasn't until I was 19 that I told someone about the abuse. I told a doctor who referred me to a counselor and from there I told my mom. I was relieved when she believed me. We went to a wise Christian couple who we both trusted to help us sort out - or mostly my mom-where we would go from here, how to begin healing and how to confront her husband.

To sum up this journey of a few years my step-dad admitted what he had done when my mom confronted him, he then repented to me and I was able to forgive him. Please understand when I say forgive I don't mean forget. I am not God. I cannot just forget what happened and unfortunately there are many things that trigger memories that I have to live with for the rest of my life. When things come up and I get triggered I have to choose forgiveness all over again. Sometimes this takes a few minutes by the grace of God and others it takes a few days to shake it and leave it at the cross. It was especially easy when I lived out of state. Years went by that I didn't have to face old memories or do the work of forgiveness. That changed when I moved home and have to see my abuser on a regular basis.

What about my biological father? I was afraid of him when I was young because he wasn't around much and when I went to his house (and he was home) I associated him with the kind of man I lived with every day. My step-mom would pick me up on his weekends, but he was a truck driver and a lot of times he wasn't there, or only for a few hours. It wasn't until I became an adult that a miraculous healing took place between us and a bond was finally formed.

Here's what is so hard for me. My mom always has us kids over to celebrate Father's Day. There is no part of me that recognizes my step-dad as my "father." He lost that title the day he robbed me of my innocence. Most times I'd even like to refer to him as my mom's husband. This is what I have to work through EVERY year. Forgive him again and appreciate that he gave this world my brother and sister who I love and look forward to seeing at every family gathering. I can forgive but I have such a hard time doing anything more than that. I don't want to celebrate "him" in any way. (His birthday is another difficult gathering.)

I absolutely LOVE my dad. He shows me more and more all the time how much he loves me and is proud of who I am. He and my step-mom weren't able to have any children together, which makes for a pretty uneventful get together. I am it. I always split Father's Day to spend time with everyone. Since Jamie and I have been together we've made our rounds to all dads.
This year is just crappy for Jamie and I both. It is the second year without Jamie's dad and the first without his baby girl.

Audrey being here would have changed Father's Day in so many ways. I wish we were going to my dad's so he could spend the day with his only daughter and granddaughter. I wish I could have had a conversation with my mom that went a little something like....."Well, we won't be there this year since it's my dad's first year as a grandpa and Jamie's as dad. I planned a day for them at ????? (far far away) so you guys have fun without us!" My sister has blessed them with three beautiful grand babies so the pressure is off there. I still could have planned something but my dad is working and it just isn't the same not having her physically here to spend time with.


Then there's picking out cards. ugh. Better go do it now.

Friday, June 11, 2010

5 Senses

Grief changes everything.

I can see so clearly now. I notice the color of the birds that nest in our trees, I really look at them. I see how green the grass is, how tall the trees, how cute the babies are.

What I cannot see is someone else's eyes, yeah, that's new-it's so hard to look people in the eyes maybe I fear they'll see through me to the deep pain. It feels too vulerable. They might reject me.

Food no longer tastes as sweet or salty or savory. Taste is overrated. I eat because I must for nothing more than fuel to keep life in me.

I hear sorrow in others' stories, I hear it now with more compassion, with understanding. I hear babies cry in many public places and I hear it with appreciation no longer irritation.

I smell everything. Really smell everything.

I can't truly touch anything, it's as if I've lost my grip my sense of touch is no longer amazed or wowed.