Monday, June 4, 2018

Mom's Of Angels

You know what people don't talk enough about in life? Mental health. You know what sucks for me right now? My mental health. I miss Jude and there is just really nothing that can be done about that. I guess the realization has set in that the further away we get from Jude's loss the fact we won't see him again in this life is really a fact. 

It's super easy to tell someone that is grieving that life will get better, there is so much to be happy about, at least you have a job, and you still have the rest of your family. I still don't sleep and it's still super hard to get up to go to work each day. I am grateful for my job but it's hard and I am not going to sugar coat it. I feel like we so often disguise our struggles! So I am here to tell other suffering with depression and anxiety over loss you are NOT alone! I know people want to help too but honestly, sometimes you just have to go through the trenches alone and dig yourself out. It may take time, it doesn't have to include medication, and all I need is patience from others.  Maybe someday I will see the sunshine again and life won't seem so absolutely overwhelming. 

So mom's of angels out there just know there are lots of us that know how you feel. Lots of us appreciate the good days and feel the bad days with all our many emotions. There are lots of us out there that cry at the drop of a hat! Those titled supermoms that used to handle life in a perfect format and are now thrown off by the littlest amount of stress. We are all forever changed, how could we not be? 

Have a good Monday! 

Monday, May 14, 2018

My Husband

I did pretty well on Mother's Day and I have to say it was really thanks to my husband. Also to Emily for sending me sweet messages throughout the day. Mike signed up for YouTube red and kept me busy watching "Cobra Kai" most of the day so my mind didn't wander. However, the night........the nights are always the worst and they have been since Jude left. The night is when your brain seems to go into overdrive, maybe it's the darkness that causes it. So when I asked late in the evening to go for a drive Mike really didn't question me and we took off in my little Beetle with the top down. It was a nice night and I was able to clear my thoughts a little. Then when I got back the sadness set in a bit again. I finally fell asleep but that didn't last long. I woke up throughout the night having dreams of Jude and not being able to fall back asleep. I texted my work that I needed some time this morning and as usual, they were ever accommodating.

Mike has been my rock during my grief. He always seems to know when I am down and what I am thinking. He also reacts to remedy a potential situation before I have time to react which speaks volumes. He knows me! He knows I hate highways and traffic so he takes the backroads and drives slow. He knows I love movies and a good series so he thinks ahead about items I might like. He loves me skinny, fluffy, happy, sad, you get the drift!  Someone recently told me I can travel without Mike and I remember thinking, I just really don't want to. I know I can but I prefer him to be with me. Don't get me wrong we have our moments and he has to go to his man cave and myself to my girl cave but overall I just prefer to have my husband at my side.  Yesterday in honor of Mother's Day he left me this profound message, "I know what a difficult day today can be. Today delivers twice the loss. To reflect on the loss of Child and Mother is far more than one should endure. Just know I love you and you have been the greatest Mother and wife.

We have been through the worst. After the Jude passed I remember sitting in the funeral home having to make decisions about Jude's burial. I remember feeling blank and like I was just floating in a dream. I overhead Mike talking outside the door and said, "I just have to get my wife through this." I am always strong and always able to keep going in life but for the first time, I had someone realize I wasn't well. I was hanging on by a very small thread and that person dedicated their time to make sure I would be okay. I am forever grateful to him and very proud he is my husband. God knew I would need someone by my side and I am blessed.

I am also very blessed to be the mom of two amazing children! Hope everyone had a good Mother's Day.

Monday, April 30, 2018

The Dream

I don't believe this is something I have shared before. It's something I keep close to my heart and I have finally started talking more about the experience. 

After Jude passed away our house was very quiet and very lonely. I sometimes would crawl into his bed to sleep before they came and took his bed away. I was desperate for some sort of reassurance that Jude was okay. We all have our faith but that faith can be questioned when you lose someone so close. So here was my reassurance. I had a very detailed dream. 

I dreamt there were two angels that came to my bedside while I was sleeping. They were so tall they almost reach my ceiling and they were two large pillars of light. They had a face but no mouth because they did not need a mouth to communicate. They were intimidating but comforting all at the same time and they made it very clear I needed to come with them. I sat up in my bed and I walked in between them towards my window in my bedroom. Suddenly I was moving very fast without walking. I wasn't going up like they teach you in books and I wasn't going down either. I was moving horizontally and soon I was in a black mass of stars. I looked at both the angels for some sort of reassurance that everything was okay but they only looked forward towards their destination. Once we arrived I was on what looked like Earth. The angels were gone but I knew they were not far away. I began walking towards the lake on the softest grass I had ever felt. The air was crisp and clean, and there was nothing to fear in any way. Suddenly I saw Jude walking towards me and I started crying. When he walked up to me I just opened my arms and he walked over to me and motioned I sit down. He then crawled into my arms and laid down like he used to in my arms. I asked him, "don't you want to stand?" but he just shook his head no. He just laid there for awhile and I felt this amazing sense of calm. After awhile Jude got up and hugged me goodbye, he turned to walk away and just smiled, then he was gone. The angels reappeared and I remember in detail them taking me home the same way I arrived. 

I felt more reassured that Jude was safe and happy. I venture to believe this was real. 

We are raising funds to put a Buddy Bench in at Jude's elementary school which will help spread kindness. If you would like to help here is the link.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Dear Jude,

Dear Jude,

I can't believe it's almost been two years since you left us, it seems like it was just yesterday. This week is a hard one and I am not sure I could ever put into words just how hard it is in a way that anyone could truly understand. It is physically painful to get up in the morning and get ready to come to work and to go home knowing your bright smile won't be there waiting on me. Since you have been gone there have been lots of changes in our lives. Not long after we lost you we made the decision to sell the house and move. After you left the home was just so quiet that it was overwhelming and all I could see every time I walked in the living room was your face so still and lifeless. The experts say you are suppose to wait at least a year before you make any life altering decisions after a tragedy. This is yet again an example of the fact that experts don't know everything and you need to do what's best for you. I felt better after we moved and I felt like you lead us to the home we are at today.

Your dad suffered a massive infection to his heart after we lost you which was very scary but he is doing better now! He immerses himself into gardening and gaming to occupy his mind. It's when your dad gets still that he gets so very sad without you.  Your sister went away to college and then decided to come home for a semester. She will be returning to the University Of Alabama in the fall and will be finishing our her nursing degree there. She has a hard time with your loss even though she doesn't really see it now. She cannot really talk about you but someday she will.

Nurse Charlotte, oh lovely Charlotte never went back to pediatric nursing. I think her heart literally broke in two when we lost you and it took awhile to piece back together again. She worked in elderly hospice for awhile and now as a new position at a hospital. Nurse Allan still texts every day he works, "Good Morning Glory" in his bright loud Goat way! He comes to see us when he can and he is caring for two new boys. He says in the early morning hours when no one is awake he sits and sheds his tears before his shift starts. Nurse Candice is as funny as ever and I get to keep up with her on Facebook. Oh and guess what? Dr Riela retired!! I told Mike you just made an impact on everyone.

The house we moved into has land that you would love! Since we have more room you know your dad found a way to get more animals! First we got Blue who ironically walked up during an outdoor memorial party we were having for you when we first moved in. He is a big brown dog and he just walked up and laid his head on your dad's lap. When your dad found the owner she didn't really want him anymore so VOILA we have a new dog! Emily adores Blue and is always spoiling him rotten. Next we got Buddy the pig, oh he is a stinker. Your dad calls him Boudreaux and he is so super smart! Lastly, we had a stray cat walk up who before we could get her fixed sh had kittens. So we have a zoo, we bought a zoooooo!

On Sunday we are having an Emily's Smile Box party in your honor where we will be putting together 250 Smile Boxes to benefit local hospitals. We have invited everyone we can to come out and remember your spirit and help us help others. Then on Monday I have asked everyone to do something kind in your honor and to please tag us. I have also asked them to wear their superhero outfits again!  I am hoping this will spread like wildfire and that many people hear the words, "I did it for Jude" Sunday - Monday. Your mom is taking off the day on Monday and I plan to just meditate in peace with your memories surrounding me.

It's the little things that get to your dad and I right now. It can be a song, walking pass a bottle of Pedialyte, hearing a baby giggle, or a simple beautiful Cardinal sitting outside our door. The tears just creep up and sting as we hold them back in public. The knot in our throat is sometimes hard to swallow back down but we manage. We live each day to see Emily grow and thrive and to get closer to seeing you. Death is no longer scary when you have lost a child.

We hope you are happy and thriving where you are at. I see your signs at times and I love every one of them. Well my lunch is over so back to work I go. I love and miss you always.

Love, Mom

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Updates and Mass Shootings

This may be a long blog with lots of updates and my very unsolicited opinions. As I stated before I obtained a new boss in September.  I feel like this was a Godsend and something that was really needed in my life. I feel like I have a purpose again and I am able to get out in the field and market to obtain new business.  When I hurt my back the new boss paid to have a massage, he comes in and talks with me each day, and just seems truly interested in his employees well being. I think I needed this little push because I was so sad and lost without Jude. I still am but at least I now feel I have a reason to get up and keep going each day. I have been taking better care of myself and enjoying my time with my family too.

I do still have nightmares and anxiety, which is normal. Last night I dreamt the house caught on fire and I was trying to get home. By the time I got there all our animals were lost and then I saw Emily's car and she wasn't supposed to be home so I just started bawling. Typical dream of being afraid of losing others in my life. I still miss Jude every single day and sometimes I just let the tears flow but I know he is always near.

So let's move on to the controversial debates regarding mass shootings. Gosh my heart goes out to the family and friends of the victims in Florida. I cannot imagine burying my child because someone else took their life in a violent act. Last year, while Emily was completing her senior year at Byron Nelson High school in Trophy Club Emily, texted me the unthinkable. "Mom, there is an active shooter at my school. I am hiding in the theater closet behind clothes. I wanted you to know I am safe."  This was not long after we lost Jude. I remember looking at my phone and trying to comprehend what she was telling me. I slowly got up from my desk, walked to my bosses office, and let him know I was leaving. I text my husband and then left. My husband called the office and my boss seemed perplexed I left. My husband replied, "All I know is if your wife tells you there is an active shooter at your child's school and to go to the school you leave and go to the school." We sat on the corner in front of the school and watched every major SWAT team and bomb squad from the metroplex area pull into my daughter's school. Emily would sporadically text updates,

"They're saying its bombs and a shooter"
"Mom, I am scared"
"Mom if something happens to me I want you to know how much I love you"
"We are hearing the shooter is in the athletic haul"
"They're making us turn off our phones"

We were listening to the police scanner outside the school the entire time. We saw a few of the squad's drive around to the athletic haul. They began screaming BREACH BREACH BREACH and inside they went. Finally, after 9pm that night lines of kids began emerging from the building without their backpacks, without purses, without anything, and with their hands up. We scanned all the lines of children until we finally saw Emily's face and we all hugged for a very long time. We found out later a student inside the school was texting exact locations to someone outside the school so they could call the policy and inform them of movement of the fictional shooter/bomber. However, Emily still swears something else went on in that school.

It was ridiculous! It was a situation I had talked to Emily about and the school had practiced shooter drills. I had always told Emily if you cannot get out get hidden and the theater would be great. Sure enough, she found that little dark closet that locked. Our kids should NOT have to think about this. I truly believe Eric Harris (don't know him look him up) was the devil and started this mass chain reaction.

I know many will react to this blog but I really hope that everyone takes a second no matter what side of the debate you are on and just think things through for a moment. Not everything in life is black and white, there is a whole lot of gray! I feel like the two sides of the gun issues are so passionate about their stance that they cannot listen to compromise or focus on realistic solutions. I don't know the exact way to stop these massive tragic losses but I know it's time to do something. I am well aware there are other situations going on in America like abortion, Chicago, suicide at schools, etc but I am not talking about those situations right now. I am addressing mass shootings. I am addressing something that should never happen and that our children shouldn't worry about. My child should never have been cowering in a dark closet for hours fearing for her life.

So my ideas? They would take work and I understand they may seem a bit irrational but I believe this can be done.

1. Ban backpacks - Emily's school started a trend like this. No lockers and no large backpacks. All textbooks are kept in class and used there. I would take it a step further and ramp up the rule to match local stadiums. No purses or bags larger than a specific size. Atheltic bags stay in the athletic dept and musical instruments stay in the band hall.

2. Metal Detectors with a central point of entry. Yes, I do I expect schools to pay for this? I don't know the answer but I do believe if districts can afford massive multi-million dollar stadiums they can afford a few metal detectors with security guards in the morning or rotate teachers. If they aren't a big district then possibly the government could help, local citizens, or even make it a community service project for major sports teams. Somehow some way if your child was in a shooting you would find a way.

3. Follow Texas in the Protect Texas Children Act of 2013 and actively train and arm teachers. The Senate passed act allows 1 teacher per 400 children to be armed. The teachers go through 80 hours of intense training and screening. The schools then display signs (Look up Argyle ISD armed) that say "Our teachers are armed and will take any means necessary to protect our students." AMEN! The argument here is, what if the teacher snaps, what if a student gets the gun, and we cannot even afford pencils. My favorite ridiculous argument is the last one. First Argyle and many others have been fully armed since 2013 and not ONE of these districts has had an incident. It is psychologically proven that a criminal that wants a victim will rarely walk into a situation where he knows HE can be the victim. Therefore the signs are a huge deterrent because the armed shooter will know he could quickly be taken down before ever taking action. The only high school mass shooter situation stopped in the midst of the situation was the Pearl HS shootings. The VP ran to his vehicle and obtained his own personal weapon and held the shooter captive until police arrived.

4. Oh people are going to hate this one and I want you to know I come from a gun-toting, military, bad ass family. I believe we should ban AR-15's and other high caliber rifles. Before anyone starts in I know exactly what an AR-15 is. I know AR does not stand for Assault Rifle but Armalite because the rifle was named after the company that made them. I know it was first used in the Vietnam war because the M14 they were using was just too heavy and cumbersome. Put the M14 up against an AK47 and there was just no match. So it originally came out as the M16 and fully automated the AR15 is the civilian version that is semiautomatic. Now here is what I want you to think on, the AR can fire dozens of rounds in seconds and is a more accurate shot than many military weapons. It can also be customized, which we have all learned. I just see ZERO need for the weapons. Again keep in mind I am pro-gun and my family is armed and any gun family, if being truthful, will tell you an AR-15 is a killing machine. That's what it's built for. I can see maybe hunting hogs but besides that zero need for sports hunting..........unless hunting humans. I believe I can adequately protect my family without one of these weapons. However, I would also be okay with heavy regulation of these weapons. Did you know in Florida you can buy this weapon if you are 18 and have a clean record? There is absolutely no wait? I believe we pro-gun families should lead the way in making sure only responsible, evaluated, screened people have access to weapons.

So let's get down to the nitty-gritty. Will they ever ban these weapons, I highly doubt it. Will they ever ban guns and repeal our 2nd amendment, no way ever. It's just NOT going to happen and there are many responsible gun owners. I think we look at other solutions like I listed in numbers 1-3. Regardless we can argue all we want in America but the fact is these students and others are being slain.

I want you to think hard about what happened to these kids in Florida. We can point out the size of bullets used in the AR or other pointless information that if not combined with the total facts is useless. The smaller bullets and high velocity equal a bad outcome. These kids were assaulted, their bodies ripped by bullet holes, and their friends forced to watch. The school is soaked in blood, bullet holes through computers, and lives scarred forever. These parents are having to decide as they sit in a shock at a funeral home if they're going to cremate or bury their child. I have been in that seat and trust me it's a horrible decision to make! I know this is graphic but I believe it's going to take graphic to make a change. Come on AMERICA! Do something! It's time.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Jude's Unconditional Love

"Unconditional love is known as affection without any limitations, or love without conditions. This term is sometimes associated with other terms such as true altruism or complete love." Wikipedia. 

What is unconditional love to you? It's something I have thought over this past week as I guide myself through another thorny path in life. I mulled over all the times and situations in my life that would fall under unconditional love. I think we parents have a true understanding of the definition listed above and that we find this love in our marriages too. 

When Jude was so sick he would vomit on a regular basis. There were very late nights and early morning that I spent beside his bed wiping vomit up, changing sheets, and changing his pajamas. His medications would cause Jude to have very bad diapers as well so there was pretty much always a cleanup factory going at my house. Despite the messes and the lack of sleep my love for Jude was stronger than anything we would encounter. I would just stroke his hair, kiss him on the cheek (possibly get thrown up on), and get him cleaned up. This would repeat on a regular basis leaving me exhausted for work, but he was worth it. Jude was just pure innocence and anything he did he always had a smile on his face. He also loved everyone in his family with his entire heart. You could just see in his eyes how much he loved you! 

So when there are days that I may not agree with someone I love, I feel alone, or I am not sure my future I remember his big bright smile. I remember his unconditional love for me because I am sure I was very difficult sometimes. There may have been nights that I was so stressed that Jude was wondering what in the world I was doing but he still kept that smile. Jude never uttered mean words, he never questioned my love for him, and he was basically the type of person I would love to be. 

He is a reminder to me to not give up on those I love and to always give one hundred percent of my heart. That as trying as life can be sometimes there is always a suction to suck away what makes you choke, a light to help you see in the dark, and someone there to help you clean your mess.  There is always someone who will kiss your cheek when you are down, raise you up when you are low, and speak reasoning when there is no reason to find. 

Thank you Jude. 

Friday, February 2, 2018

Adoption Update

On Wednesday the care worker came and met with our family regarding the adoption. She interviewed me, Mike, and Emily in detail. She then looked at the house and met our zoo of animals. As the animals were coming through the door to meet her she paused and said, "Is that a PIG?" We all had a bit of a chuckle and then laughed again when she pointed out his bed next to our bed. From here we have to complete our CPR training which is tomorrow, 10 more classes and complete our final home study. Everyone is asking what the process is so I thought I would share via the blog. After these steps are completed we will be a licensed foster care home. 

So then this is what happens. Our agency contact will then try to match the best child or children with us. She will call and explain their age, situation, and any trauma we then decide if we would like to take the placement. We have requested only children who have already had their rights terminated which would make them adoptable after 6 months. Mike and I have this feeling that the right match will make their way to us. 

Of course, this is not without some emotional times. I think anyone who says it's not emotional isn't being factual. While asking her interview questions the agency worker would ask us questions like, "what makes your marriage strong?", "can you handle adoption?", and "how do you handle new normals?" Literally, almost all of our answered focused on the fact we cared for a beautiful boy with a highly complex case that took lots of patience, strength, and determination. We have been through one of the toughest situations imaginable so we feel we can make it through anything. 

This week my car radio kept changing stations for no reason, my headset at work keeps raising and lowering without me pressing my button, and I keep smelling an overpowering amount of roses. I would say Jude is sending me some signs.