Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Plague and Emily's Win

I am so sick. I am pretty sure that the flu is the black plague in disguise and it's trying to take out the entire human population! I have been out of work for two days and will be going home early again today. I think I would rather be read to all day long by the "Bueller Bueller" teacher. 

Prior to getting this scathing disease I actually had a nice weekend. I had mentioned in a prior blog that Emily decided to compete one more time in another system for a teen title. For five years Emily had competed in the USA system and we had all pushed her to try America or International. Well she finally decided to try international and guess what..........

Yep she is your new Miss Teen Texas International! She will go on to represent TX in August at the Miss Teen International competition in West Virginia. Emily was thrilled and she had such an amazing time. Their interviewing system is different and Emily had to sit with 5 judges for 5 minutes a piece to explain herself and her platform Emily's Smile Boxes. She said she was rather shocked when she walked into the room and the first judge she sat down with was Nia Sanchez. She was Miss USA 2014 and first runner up with Miss Universe and someone Emily greatly admires. Here is Em and Nia. 

The judging panel was high profile and full of very experienced pageant judges so Emily is beyond humbled with the results. If you want to follow her reign and platform please go like this page:

While away this weekend I decided to treat myself to getting my nails done and a pedicure. I haven't really fixed my hair and gotten overly ready since Jude passed. You know what I learned? I love to be pampered but I HATE nails! I cannot text or type with these talons and they're not even that long. My blog looks like a school graders paper marked in red ink with mistypes. Regardless it was worth it and fun. 

Then Valentines day hit. While people were posting lovey pictures or anti lovey pictures I was missing Jude. I was sick in my bed wanting to make a Valentines card box for him or buy him a stuffed animal that he could cuddle. So my best advice is to enjoy each and every Valentines box you make for your kids and cherish each little card they receive because I really miss my littlest Valentine. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

It's the 9th

In two months it will be one year since we lost Jude and when I say it feels like last month, I mean it feels like last month.  My grief is still very new and it hovers over my family like a shroud of silent pain. I notice the likes on social media have decreased for Jude's pictures and the emails and calls have decreased as well. Some family and friends I don't even see anymore. It's the natural part of life where things move on but the grief stricken are still waiting in the shadows. It's no ones fault it's just how life is, as they reference in Steel Magnolia's life moves on just as it should. 

I don't want to be here for the one year anniversary and very well may find a way to get out of town. I have already scheduled the 10th off of work for a day of rest which I think will be needed. I guess a lot has transpired since Jude's death. We moved, gained lots of animals, Jude's book was published, and Mike got a new job.  We do still love our little house in the woods and it brings us a lot of peace. I had to fill my tax forms out this past week and it's asks you if your child has died within the past twelve months. That one was not easy to fill out and even after you mark yes there are continued questions that follow. So if you haven't lost a close family member the closing of their lives doesn't end with the funeral. 

I find myself still looking at Facebook and wondering about all the unrest in the world and I sometimes wonder how people are not happy with the blessings they have. I wonder why many people rush to judgment and why people make huge deals out of a normal everyday situations. Speaking of, Lady GaGa is not the devil incarnate nor the Anti-Christ. I know some people really want her to be but it was just a performance...........I am currently singing "Let It Go!" You are very welcome for allowing me to plant that musical nugget in your noggin. I had to throw some humor into a blog that's a bit sad. 

Even though we are not whole our family is still a peaceful little unit. We all miss Jude, including Emily. I saw on her snapchat that she had stopped by and visited Jude at the cemetery the other day while she was out on her own. I am sure they have some good talks together just like they used to.

Friday, February 3, 2017

A Realization and Bathing Pigs

I always look at my memory feed on Facebook everyday. It's full of memories with Jude over the last 7 plus years. Today I saw a picture and I could tell just by looking at it that he was either starting pneumonia or just recovering. He was very pale and that was always a tale tale sign that he was very sick. He always mustered that smile that spread from eye to eye and it was so extremely infectious to everyone around. 

After I saw the picture I began thinking about all the firsts you have in life. Your first birthday, first Halloween, first Christmas, first day of school, Kindergarten graduation, prom, high school graduation, your first day of college, your wedding, your first baby, and then watching them grow. However no where in the list of firsts did I ever count on burying my child. There shouldn't be a first funeral for a child or any continuation of funerals for children. I have noticed that I start getting rather down around the first of each month. The mind is a complicated subject because it seems my subconscious realized the 9th of each month was coming long before my physical self caught up. Now I get it. Keep on marching on, that's what I do. 

To lighten the mood some here is an adorable picture of Buddy having his first bath last night. I did submit my children's story about Buddy the pig and Ollie the cat, so we will see if anything ever comes from it. My friends and family thought the story was adorable but you never know in a writers market. The competition is fierce but regardless we love our little "farm" and the joy the animals bring to us. I am anxious for warm weather so we can work outside and continue to improve our adorable little homestead. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

To Live In Fear Or Not? Emily's big scare!

Yesterday I posted a blog that was very dear to my heart about not living in fear of the world. After I posted this blog I got the following text from my daughter Emily, as you know she is a senior in high school. 

Emily: Mom, we are in internal lockdown and I am not sure what's happening. 

Me: Are you in a safe place? 

no answer

Me: Em? 

Then I realized I should stop texting until I heard from her just in case she needed to be quiet. I was calm and rational and simply waited on a reply. When I didn't get one I took to Facebook to see if any other parents knew what was going on. I finally got a reply that there was a bomb threat. Then I got a text reply from Emily. 

Emily: Yes, I am in a safe place. 
Me: Okay must just be someone in the area because Medlin is on lockdown too
Emily: Oh Okay
(time passes)
Emily: Mom there are police at our school
Me: Emily it's a bomb threat
Emily: At the school??? 
Me: Yes. Just stay put and if you need me to come up I will. I am sure this is just a joke. They will sweep the building and they will leave. It will be fine.
Emily: Okay

Then the texts continued when Emily heard it may be a gunman. She was scared and I assured her she was in the best hiding place. Emily ever the comedian texted me, "Mom, I could really use the OA right now," We have discussed the possible steps to take if she was in an active shooter situation and she took every step. She was locked in the costume closet in the Theater at the school. She spent 4 hours in that dark room with her friends texting me and waiting on information. Here was a picture she took of a friend.

She said the school did a great job of making her feel safe with their announcements and updates. My husband and I both left work and went to the school to wait on her release. While we were on the corner with hundreds of other parents the scene was quite surreal. No one was panicked, no one was crying, no one was yelling, in fact everyone was quiet. We talked in hushed tones among ourselves and my husband turned on his police scanner. Every major city in our area had SWAT, police, fire engines, and ambulance on scene. Then more SWAT showed up with lights flashing as seen below. 

At that point we began to get a little antsy but we still stayed on our little corner anxiously waiting to hear information. Mike continued to listen to the scanner and at times the scanner didn't match the information we were being given. However the school and law enforcement did an amazing job yesterday. We are eternally grateful for their services and prompt response.

The hours stretched on and we kept hearing they were attempting an evacuation. First it was to the football field, then to Wal Mart, then to the middle school. We noticed dozens upon dozens of school buses begin line the dusk filled street. 

More time went by. The FBI pulled in, more police, and then a law enforcement official with a K9 came towards our group. She explained the school would be evacuated floor by floor. Just then Emily texted they were being told to power off all phones and they would be leaving. For informational purposes and because were were not sure what happened I told Emily there could be a reason they were having them turn off their phones. I explained that they may see a scene that could be concerning when they are escorted out or it may just be to move them quickly. I wanted her to be prepared at all costs and she said she was. Emily is always calm and collected and was ever filled with grace as usual. 

The parents waited in two lines parallel to each other in front of the football fields on the way to the buses. The officers kept telling us to grab our children once we saw them, otherwise the students would proceed to the buses. Slowly the kids and teachers started streaming out in a single file line across the field and on to the paved path. Mike and I scanned the crowds for Emily looking at each young girl one by one.  Since Emily left after me in the morning I wasn't sure if she wore her hair up or down. I quickly looked through all the pony tails, buns, and long straight hair. That's when I noticed a single tear was rolling down my cheek. I knew Emily was fine but I thought about the parents who had lost children in school tragedies. How they must have desperately searched each child's face with hope and dread. We were very lucky and thankful. Emily is safe at home and we are counting our blessings. After losing a child recently something like this can seem like a giant mountain eclipsing you in stress. Emily is shaken but she will recover and be just fine. 

There are two stories as to what happened and various news sources are reporting different things. I won't go into details here but I will state one included just a phone call and one an actual suspect in custody. We will wait to hear the full report before believing any rumors of false information. 

My husband did an interview for the new in the midst of the event and I am very proud of him. If you would like to see the piece here it is.

Mike said he felt like life saw my post yesterday and something evil manifested itself to try to bring fear back into our lives. Not today Satan, not today! 

Monday, January 30, 2017

The State Of The World

I have a lot to say in this blog but my mind is rather cluttered with information right now and the proper words have yet to make it to paper. I am hoping as I am writing the menagerie in my head begins to make sense and I can properly share my thoughts with you. 

I took Emily to visit the University of Arkansas this weekend. Actually, I guess I should say Emily took me because she drove the entire way there and back. We all know I don't like to drive but I also understood that if Emily does in fact choose this campus she will be the one making the drive. I wanted to make sure she was familiar with the highways, terrain, and mountains. The school itself was beautiful and I was very impressed with the inclusion within the campus. The students seemed friendly and the housing looked comfortable. Emily will be waiting to hear from schools regarding possible scholarships and will make a final decision in March. 

Social Media is rather overwhelming lately with politics and the world in general. I have thought about taking a break from Facebook and all other social media outlets. However I have always been the type of person that says if you don't like something just keep scrolling. Now who else is singing in a Dory voice," Just keep scrolling?" This is the first time I have felt a bit overwhelmed by the negativity and actually debated on a social media vacay. Then I got myself in check; let me explain, social media is controlled by us and we are not defined by it. I see many many people copying and pasting improper uneducated information. It is not my job to correct those individuals nor is it my right to tell them to take improper information down. So I decided to just continue posting my positive information regarding my family's life thus spreading happiness. Social media was a God send when Jude was so ill because it was my contact to a world we mostly watched from an outsiders view point. So it's not something I am willing to give up nor should I be expected to. 

The world is what we make it and if we don't like what we see it's up to us to make it a better place. As Andy said in The Shawshank Redemption, "I guess it comes down to one simple choice.  Get busy living or get busy dying."  We can choose to complain about the world and pass on complaints, negativity, and fear or we can do something about it. It may be as simple as picking yourself up, brushing yourself off, and saying it's going to be a good day today. You may also accomplish this goal by doing all you can to help others, it may be enrolling in politics, or it may just be passing a smile to a stranger. It's up to you but it's up to all us to make a difference. Like I always say and what's engraved on Jude's bench, "Everyone has a story it's what you do with yours that counts." Make it count! 

I have seen a lot of people upset over the state of the world and the state of their lives. I struggle with this although I understand that each individual person deals with emotional distress in their own personal way. This is their right and I do not mean to infringe upon that in anyway. However I cannot help but look at others lives and feel a bit of envy. I think about how amazing it must be to worry about the state of the world when I stand upon the grave of a child worrying about the state of his casket. Sometimes I wish a magical Michigan Mutual fairy paid off my mortgage so I could have grieved in peace, but that's not realistic. I went back to work with a part of me missing but no therapy to teach myself how to function with my amputated portion. So the fact people get so upset over the world when their life right in front of them is so incredibly meaningful is hard to understand. It doesn't make it wrong, it just means that right now it's hard for me to grasp. We should all be grateful for every minute we have on this Earth to appreciate and love those important in our lives. We should be grateful for all we can do to better others lives. We humans are powerful creatures and can reach far beyond our own backyards to help others. 

Yesterday Mike shared a post on Facebook from his memory feed and the verbiage read,

I avoided Jennifer's repost of this the other day because it is so horribly painful to remember our feelings that day. I was preparing myself for the worst that day and really since then I have been waiting for the other shoe to drop. This past year I have learned you cannot live your life in fear because that really isn't living is it. As difficult as this year has been I'm completely grateful for everyday.

He was referencing this blog post ;

I read over his words and I realized I have really been living in fear. I fear driving, I fear flying, I fear Emily dying, I fear Mike dying, and I fear so much more. I am not actually living. In the past week I have made an effort to cut out unhealthy habits and it's starting to work. It will be a slow process but it's a necessary one. I miss Jude more than I could ever imagine I would. I put on a mask everyday and I may have to continue doing that with work but I am finding a way back to a happier place. Another amazing quote from Shawkshank Redemption has always stuck with me regarding Jude. 

"I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice. Still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone."

Thursday, January 26, 2017

My Shoes and Buddy

Multiple times I have seen this picture shared on my loss forum with the amazing story within it's borders. I think I shared it some time ago. For the most part the poems, songs, and sayings have become overwhelming so I have glanced over this one for awhile. However today I looked back over it and decided it sums up how I feel very accurately. 

Piggy Smalls Aka "Buddy" is doing very well. He is getting bigger so yesterday I took him out of his cage and placed him in our bathroom while we worked. I left him with lots of toys, his rooting box, water, and his bed. Emily let him out once she was home from school. When I get home Mr. Buddy had became quiet brave and now ventured out of the living room into the bathroom, bedroom, closet, and kitchen. The dogs do not like this very much and I think they feel a bit left out. Buddy is just far to small to be around the dogs without supervision just yet. Liebe actually seems very interested and tolerant of Buddy. Mike will take Liebe by her leash and will guide her over to the pig, she never once tries to bite. Blue on the other hand is just a bad little doggy who still needs lots of correction to his behavior. However we are talking about a dog whose prior owners just left him outside and never socialized him. Hence the reason he crawls on my expensive dining room table. Good thing is it's suppose to look rustic so I just tell myself the additional claw make the piece look even more desirable. I tend to use a lot of Old English.  

This is buddy last night checking out my bathroom. 

I am missing Jude today. Mike's car is out of commission and I haven't been by the cemetery in awhile and I am anxious to go out there. I am taking Emily to the University of Arkansas this weekend to check out the college. I am having her drive so prayers for our safety. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Being Okay With Yourself

I mentioned at the beginning of the year that I got a treadmill. I love to walk and it's personal time to myself that I can watch Netflix and reflect on life. However I have hurt my leg.......I have no idea how but it's very annoying. On the days it feels better I walk about 1 mile and watch my shows. It's a bit like setting a reset switch and I think exercise helps emotionally.  I am hoping today I can get out there for a bit and immerse myself into the show "The OA" which I am so into! However the topic came up in my loss forum about how parents who have lost children have little desire to look good anymore. It's true. 

Now I want to try to explain this in the best manner I can but I am not sure it will make sense. It's not that I am depressed but I am still grieving. It's just that things like nails, pretty hair, a bikini body, and a nice tan just aren't that important to me anymore. I don't judge anyone that has these priorities they just are not mine personally. So people can look at my slicked back pony tail, little makeup, and plain clothes and wonder how I am. I am fine. I assure you that although my heart is broken and always will be I am fine. I just would rather put on a pair of sweats, slick my hair back, and play in my yard. I would rather wear comfy socks and tennis shoes then high heels and fancy jewelry. It's just me and being at peace and being with my family is far more important to me than looks and things. Emily still loves getting pretty and I love helping her do that. We are all just different and that's what make the world an interesting place. I guess it's coming to terms that I love myself, my husband loves me, and it's just about being okay. 

So I did write a children's story based on our adventures at our little "farm." I handed it to Mike to read and he made a few skeptical wise cracks but then read it. He then said, "um this is really good." So we will see but I do think it's pretty cute and it has some great life lessons in it.