Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Oh those hard days.

Mike and I almost seem to be in sync in regards to our emotions. We can be having the worst Jude day and not say a word to each other that one of us is suffering. Then a little text will come in that simply says, "It's a hard day" and the reply text is always, "here too." I am not sure why it hits us both on particular days but it does.

Today we are both OVER what seems to be petty problems people complain about. We both understand they are huge problems to that individual person but in our aspect of the world of child loss they don't seem large to us. So we just try to remember everyone is dealing with something and to treat everyone with kindness.

I am sure it's because the holiday is approaching again and little boys with toys are running around with spunk. We cannot help but look at those little boys and dream of Jude. So today I will work on being grateful for the blessings in front of us and all the time we had with precious Jude.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Silence

Gosh I have been so busy I feel like I am missing everyone. Being busy is a great thing though and I am making great strides at work which makes me feel accomplished. The holidays are fast approaching again and that always brings mixed feelings of sadness and joy. I am beginning to battle insomnia a bit again which I think I can directly relate to my feelings regarding the above. At night I generally wake up between 3-4 which is the exact same time I used to wake up with Jude. Sometimes I wake up thinking I hear Jude's oxygen pump whistling, his feeding monitor blaring, or his blood/ox alarm beeping. Mostly though I just hear silence so I run my bathroom fan to drown out how loud the silence is. It's amazing how deafening it can be to hear absolutely nothing. 

Yes it's still sad and yes we still miss Jude very much. However I can say we are starting to find laughter again and are making great strides to get back out and do things. I think work is helping us heal and being involved in the community is helping as well. I have to drag Mike with me but he does go and seems to enjoy himself. 

I am anxious for Emily to get home so we can put up the holiday and remember how much Jude loved the Christmas lights. Last year as people put up the trees they would post pictures on social media and tag them #IdiditforJude. If you think of him I think that would be nice again. 

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone. Be grateful for all you have because you never know when your have could turn into have not. 



Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween

It's Halloween and we know that's a hard day for us but one I can also look back on with love and smiles. We always had the Emily's Smile Box haunted graveyard, Jude was always dressed up, and a nurse would always stay late to help us so we could work the charity event. I miss those times. I just really miss Jude and his nurses. 

Our lives are getting a bit better and more easier to manage. We are venturing out more than we used to and trying to make an effort to participate in life itself. My work is so busy that I barely have time for many other ventures but that's a good thing. We have multiple charity events and other gala's I get to attend now and that keeps us busy. I still have terrible anxiety especially when I have to go anywhere on the highway in DFW. If you invite me somewhere and it requires us to drive across the metroplex I will be a RAGING mess by the time I get there. SO don't get offended if I say no. We tend to invite people over to our house so I feel more comfortable and in my safe zone. Hopefully people understand. We still pop in the cemetery to tell Jude hi and we notice everyone's little items they still leave on his grave and it's very thoughtful. 

So life is moving on and we are keeping up for a change. I am not sure what all lies in wait for us but taking life a step at a time is working for now. 

Hope everyone is well. 


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Mid Week Update

I haven't written a lot lately. I guess that's because I am doing okay. I have hard Jude days still but mostly my memories are good ones of him. I had someone describe the loss of a child recently and I thought it was a good description. She had lost a limb and said when she first lost her leg she always felt pain even though her leg wasn't there anymore. She would reach for it, try to touch it, and try to rub the pain away but there was nothing physical for her to relate to anymore. She said it was the worst pain she had ever experienced until she lost of a child. She mentioned how she could correlate of the loss of a limb with the loss of a child because physically they just are not there anymore. 

So I basically have a new job. My agent that I worked for has retired and our office was taken over by a new agent out of Colleyville. I really like him and I think our agency will grow rapidly. So if you have any quotes you need on home, auto, life, commercial, or other insurance agencies please let me know. 

We are trying to go through a refinance on our home so a few prayers would be great. As usual something always pops up. Taxes in Texas are just becoming outrageous so this refi would help. 

Emily is doing very well. I am working on getting her home for Thanksgiving. It will be nice to see her! I miss seeing her bright smile everyday when I get home. 

All the snimals on the farm are well and we are taking it step by step each day. Well short and sweet but that's the quick update. 


Monday, October 2, 2017

Update

It has been awhile since I posted and that's only because I wasn't sure how to phrase my post. I work at an insurance agency that was taken over by a new agent and the new agent is amazing. I have again been blessed!!! My ten year wedding anniversary is coming up and despite what we have been through my loving husband and I are still together. Emily is thriving at Alabama but she is a little homesick.

However for some reason I feel more alone than I ever have. Jude is still gone and I am still sad. Life is still marching toward as well it should but it marches without my Jude. I still need my friends and I feel like a huge burden and from what I have read this is a normal everyday feeling so I am just chalking this up to hypersensitivity and my own issues after Jude's loss. I imagine after a job change, the loss of a child, and major catastrophic storm that anyone would have some stress.

I think what happened in Vegas is bothering me. So many parents lost their children last night and they're just starting this horrible journey!!


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Tears and Floods

I have taken on some new roles with the work I do and I am so busy that people aren't hearing from me much. Just know I am still here and love you all! Because I have been so busy Mike took me to dinner last night. While at our table there was the most adorable little girl sitting next to us. She had big beautiful brown eyes and the cutest bob haircut. She was with her grandparents and kept playing with her grandmother laughing out loud. At first I smiled because she was so infectiously adorable. Then the tears that generate out of no where just fell like Niagra Falls and I could not stop them. Mike joked that we couldn't get the waitress to pay for our bill. I said, "well hell no she's back there thinking I am NOT going to that table." And then we both laughed which is all you can do. 

Many of you know I am in Texas just merely four hours away from the devastating floods affecting the great state I live in. I've seen such horrible devastation and Mike and I both have family and friends affected. We ask that you pray and donate to those in need. This catastrophe will take years to recover from and we don't need to forget about those in need!  

I am currently watching the movie, "John Q" and man I can so relate! I would not go to those extremes but having a medically fragile child and trying to get medical help with insurance can be that frustrating. 

We are leaving for our short trip to celebrate Jude's life and his birthday on Friday. I am leaving our animal sitter with all our bad babies and I have informed him they're much worse than Marley on Marley and me lol. 

Have a good night! I am blogging on my phone so forgive my grammar.





Friday, August 25, 2017

The Circle Theory.

What does Graham Allen say?, "Watch out America because this one's going to sting!" It stung me but I learned from it. 

I have taken on a new position at work so I don't have much time to blog anymore. However I decided to take a mini lunch break today to check my Facebook and update my blog. 

About a year ago I posted a blog with the link to an article about the circle theory. Basically it works like this. If a person is affected by a tragedy or major situation then you place that person and their immediate family (spouse and children) in the inner most part of the circle. Then you draw additional circles around the middle which associates to the next closest people. So a circle for family, then friends, then co workers, etc, etc. You cannot dump anything negative into the inner circles and you need to refrain from getting involved more than you have been asked to with the inner circles. Even though last year we were the inner most part of the theory I decided to adopt this way of thinking in my regular life and I can report a year later it's been amazing! I figured this circle theory could apply to more than just tragedies and personal struggles. 

In other words I withdrew myself as much as possible from any negativity, drama, or tragic situations that I should not be personally involved in. If I have a friend or family member that has a situation going on then I let them know I am here if they need me and I step back until I am asked for help. I have realized people's personal tragedies and circumstances are not my own personal drama's. So if there is a divorce, a drug situation, a death, problems in a marriage, school issues, a separation, a child drop out of school, or other issues I realize it's not my personal drama.  Nor is my opinion needed or requested unless it's been personally asked for. My friends and my family know I am there if they need me but me sitting around participating in dramatic conversations that only lead to further frustrations doesn't help. Me sitting around being worried and stressed over a situation out of my control, does not help. So I take care of what I can in my own immediate family's life, I realize before I judge that my mirror is dirty too, and I let those I love know I am there is they want and need me there. 

I am not saying I won't speak up if someone is being abused or mistreated because I will. However eliminating situations out of my life that my opinion and decisions have no bearing on has had a significant difference in my personal stress level. I for one really like the circle theory! 


Monday, August 21, 2017

The Seconds

When I first lost Jude I heard parents who had lost children say that the second year is the hardest. I personally thought they were insane and disregarded their comments. I can now admit that the parents that told me this information were very well versed in grief and were spot on.  I think you spend so much of your life right after losing someone very close in deep shock and you don't truly FEEL anything. I personally ran from the situation and immersed myself into work, traveling, or having multiple glasses of wine. Now that I have a reign on my grieving process I feel very very alone. I'm not lost but I do feel alone and almost a bother to those around me. Simple tasks seem like MT Everest to me and require a lot of patience from others.

It's mostly all based on my own hang ups but I do see many other grieving parents struggle with the same feelings I do. The "seconds"'seem to far exceed the "firsts" in emotional turmoil. The second birthday is fast approaching and even though we are getting away it's still extremely sad. I realize that the tiny baby face I remember so vividly in my mind never really stood a shot at life as we know it. I also realize I am older and cannot have anymore children and I am not sure I want to adopt so I'm conflicted. While I watch everyone drop their children at the first day of school this week I realize Jude would be 9! He would be in the fourth grade and probably amazingly smart like Mike. This week of back to school has been a hard but one I share in joy and sadness with those around me. I watch your children with a smile while I try to cover my true pain but still smile in admiration at you're triumphs.

Some might think it's because of Emily is gone but it's not because I am so incredibly proud of Em! She rushed Delta Gamma this week (story for another day) and she's called me multiple times. Even though today's call was to find her laundry detergent, lol. I do miss Emily and seeing her beautiful smile each night on my couch but I know she will do so well.

I think in the second year I have also become more aware that we all have personal tragedies going on and I realize that even though I need people sometimes they just don't have anything to give and vice versa. Sometimes I'm not sure how much I have left in me but then I email or text a friend late at night and someone is always there with a smile.

So what's been the hardest part of the second year?
1. Not knowing where Jude went
2. The anger! Ugh I'm so mad sometimes especially at what I perceive as stupid pointless arguments in the world. So forgive me if I get wound up
3. I can't sleep... ever. I am still just tired
4. The doctors just say "this is normal"
5. Saying the words, "this isn't any easier" even though I thought it would be.
6. Eliminating those that just continue to drag me down
7. Realizing my life is just to much for others at times and respecting that
8. Realizing what's important to me may not be as important as I perceive it to be

So thank you to those that continued to understand. That knew I was fragile and didn't expect anything in return. I may be sad at times but you are appreciated.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Emily's At College and Jude's Birthday

So this past weekend I flew with my BFF Gina to get Emily's dorm set up. I seriously owe Gina like 400 hours of babysitting or whatever she needs for the past two weekends. She flew all of Emily's luggage to West Virginia for Emily's competition and then she turned around and helped me fly all her luggage again to Alabama. 

I am happy to announce that Emily was second runner up at the Teen International competition!! We were absolutely thrilled she placed so well. Her friend Carly teen CA won the entire event and she was just a doll!! 





So now skip forward to the past weekend and it was a whirlwind. Gina and I flew out very early on Saturday morning and got to Birmingham. From there it was about an hour drive to Tuscaloosa where we had to hunt Emily down in sorority rush week to get the key to her dorm. I made a joke to Gina that I hoped Emily's dorm wasn't on an upper level since we had so many items.......it was on the 5th floor, of course. Anyway, we set the entire room up while she was rushing and we joked via text that we didn't care if she didn't like it. When she got back she was thrilled and extremely grateful! We then took her to dinner and when we dropped her off "Aunt Gina" got a little teary saying goodbye. 



I on the other hand kept myself pretty composed until I shed a few tears on the plane. Not because I am leaving Emily behind because I know she will thrive but because it's another new normal. I should be going home to a son that I would be getting ready for the first day of school but I am not. There are no children scampering around my house this year getting ready for the fall full of Halloween and parties. So that's why I am sad. Emily I am proud of and I know she will excel. She will also be flying back in for the Emily's Smile Box Day in September. I will most likely throw a birthday get together for her at our house after the Smile Box event. 

Speaking of we are scrambling a bit to raise another $2500 for Emily's Smile Boxes for the fillers for the boxes for the event. If or your company would like to make a tax deductible donation we do accept paypal at Emilyssmileboxes@yahoo.com. It's getting to that time of year where we have to place the order for all the boxes, labels, postcards, and fillers for the event. 

So I also have some exciting news coming up that I will share with everyone soon but I will say it's a positive thing. :) 

Mike and I heading to Pagosa Springs CO for Jude's birthday to have some quiet time alone and relax with nature. I am looking forward to some time with him. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Emily

Tonight I decided to revisit my blog from earlier today. Although I am okay with Emily venturing out to her new path I am still very much her mom. I worried so much about her infection that I texted her to the point of being annoying last night and today. If you're a mom you will understand that worry you have for a child that's not feeling well. So I apologize to her director who is housing Emily until I can get there Thursday. Thankfully Emily reports that the prayers have worked and she feels much better!!! Regardless I panicked a bit but Emily did an amazing job of being a responsible older teen and keeping her dramatic mom in check.  

Even though Emily has lived a life with little to want you can mark my words that she has lived a tough life. When Emily was 10 years old she was basically forced to grow up very quickly! I had to work to provide for our household while Mike stayed home with a baby that had seizures on a constant basis and a baby that refused to eat until he became tube fed. By the time Emily got home from school in the afternoons Mike was spent and frustrated. Yet Emily found a way to help and not take things to personal. This wasn't just through her charity but through Emily's character and heart.  Luckily we gained our amazing nurses who helped Mike go back to work and Jude maintain a daily schedule. Emily became SO close to our nurses that Allan has been praying for her healing and abilities this week while nurse Candice sent out a hearty "YOU go girl!" I can hear her say that in her New Orleans accent and that makes me smile. As a teen Emily would venture home on summer nights just to talk to Jude's nurses and that speaks volumes about her character and about Jude's nurses.

I consider our life blessed that Emily decided to compete in pageants as a teen. I remember when she first started training for mental management and interview lessons, her teacher asked her to describe what it was like when Jude was diagnosed. Her teacher was sitting across the table from us and Emily got very quiet. I didn't speak I just simply watched her reactions and quietly Emily began to speak. She said, "My mom brought me home that night from the hospital and I remember everything was very dark and very quiet and she told me we needed to talk. That's when I realized my life would never be the same again. I realized my brother was very sick and that made me very sad." Her little head fell down when she was talking and her teacher looked at me in tears and we both had to regain our composure. We realized how much Emily was truly impacted by her brothers illness. At times I am sure Emily felt alone but somehow she never showed it and she never got angry or jealous of Jude. Emily never screamed wanting me to hold her when I was holding Jude because somehow she just knew he needed it more at that time. She had a strength about her that many of us lacked and she still does.  When Jude passed she was flooded with this ability to help soothe us with her words about Jude and she was confident in everything she shared with us.  

The other night when I was asking Emily practice questions for her pageant I asked her what her life's motto was and she  replied, "Like Cinderella says, Have courage and be kind." I couldn't ask more than a child that believes in that saying. I have two amazing children! Both of which only seemed to make the world a better place and that may seem boisterous but it's true.  Someone recently asked me if I moved away what I would have to take with me. In my mind I knew I would take my trunk with Emily's items but I replied, "Jude's boxes of shirts and his hand imprints." I think Emily felt a little left out but she didn't know she is automatically included in every decision I make.

As stated Emily is in West Virginia competing for Teen International and honestly I hope she remembers just how amazing she is and shows that to the judges. I think Emily would thrive traveling and meeting others to spread smiles and hope. One song I always share with her is Tim McGraw's, "Humble and Kind," and I think she lives like this song.



but I cannot help feel like this song is more fitting and I know your dreams are about to explode. Thank you for putting up with your mom who could direct a Hollywood feature because she is so dramatic. You're pretty amazing. Whether you win this event or not you have far exceeded any goals I had at your age. I am very very proud you!








The Weekend and Pageant Time.

This weekend was a tough one but we made it through! Mike has a very complex painting job with his crew that wasn't finished on time. Mike worked until 2am on Saturday morning after working at his regular job all day Friday. He then got home about Midnight Sunday morning and slept until 6. He went back to the painting job and didn't get in until 5:50am this morning, I am not even kidding. He never went to sleep and went to his regular job. He says he isn't doing that bad but I am afraid he is running on adrenaline. 

On Sunday morning I dropped Emily off at the airport because I thought her flight for the pageant left at 8:55am. I had her flight mixed up with my flight and the poor thing got dropped off super early but she adulted well and made due. It was a bit of a lonely weekend at my house but I got a lot done. I did a lot of laundry, cleaned up, and watched multiple movies. I think it's a common misconception that I am going to fall apart on the 10th when Emily goes to college. People keep trying to console me and I want to point something out very clearly. Emily is just going away to college Jude is dead and is never coming home. I very much appreciate and know the difference and I will be just fine with this. I am not saying I won't miss her but she will be able to call me, visit me, and will be home multiple times before the end of the year. So I have a pretty good grasp on this and even though it will be lonely at times Emily is only a phone call away. Plus she is starting a new major adventure which is so exciting. 

So I don't want to go into to much but Emily is in West Virginia preparing for her pageant. Interviews start tomorrow and Emily is battling an infection. Last night super late we were getting medications called in so a few prayers for her would be great. She is going to have a great time though I am sure of it. She gets to meet girls from all over the world who are competing and I think it's great she will learn about others cultures and lifestyles. Win or lose this is an amazing opportunity and she can handle most any situation with grace. I told her I feel like the devil keeps attacking us about this week and she replied, "yes but we are going to overcome it!" 


Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Dragonfly

I haven't written poetry in years so bear with me. 



Oh my little dragonfly 
who lit up every piece of sky
Your smile so precious and
 held dear to all of those so near. 
We miss your laugh we miss your life
although filled with constant strife. 
Beyond the heavens you reach and sing
with echos of a happy ring
A life cut short but a time to die
left us all the need to cry
We celebrate you with unending joy
a beautiful precious little boy
A teacher to those who were willing to hear
how love will always conquer fear
A life full of ups and downs 
with mostly smiles and very few frowns
Led to an angel watching above
taking care of all he will love
Not a marker or place in the ground
but the sun, the moon, and stars abound
All around you can feel his name 
like a rise to unending fame
Hey Jude, we say when we feel him near
his ears must perk up with fulfilling cheer
Hold on tight for it won't take long
to be together in an after song
A song filled with heavens light of family
friends and a beautiful night. 
Gone from our sight you flew away
but we will see you again one fine spring day.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

I Post A lot On Social Media

It's true. You just laughed because you know it's true. I am sure over the past few years I have had people unfollow me by the dozens on social media. It could be because I post to much, my posts are sometimes sad, or because I speak my mind. Either way my social media depicts who I am and I am proud of the person I have become.

Throughout Jude's life we were so blessed to watch him grow but the older he got the more confined to home we became. I grew very fond of the situation, so much so that I still am very much a homebody. When we got off work we had to go straight home to relieve Jude's nurse and get ready for his nightly medications and rounds of therapy. We did this for years until we got a night nurse and even then we still had to be home at 5 until the 10 PM nurse clocked in.  This also applied to the weekends. We had a set regimented scheduled that rarely deviated off course unless a special occasion arose but it's one we loved. We enjoyed being with Jude and watching him grow and snuggle him in our arms. However sometimes as special needs parents we felt rather disconnected with the outside world. I tuned to social media on a regular basis to admire the photo's and updates my friends and family posted to various social media outlets. I felt connected to my friends and family by watching their updates and adorable pictures. I laughed at your adorable Halloween costumes, I smiled at birthday milestones, I cried at the first heartbreak, and I felt your sense of pride at graduation. I felt like I was there with you even though I wasn't physically. I still have issues connecting sometimes but I appreciate all the times you allowed me to be involved from a far.

So yes I post on social media a lot sometimes and so do many other special needs moms but don't you see that without that connection we would have been alone. So thank you for your patience, your understanding, and your ability to share. It's both refreshing and appreciated to not be judged and allowed to be a part of something special. 


Monday, July 17, 2017

Be Your Child's Medical Advocate

I love hospitals, doctors, and nurses. Not in the literal sense but in the term that I am grateful they are available to help and heal our loved ones. With that being said I am going to touch on a rough subject today and I mean no disrespect to the healthcare industry.  Many of you will remember the situation when Jude was a tiny toddler and I knew he was getting pneumonia. He had all the classic symptoms and for some reason I ran him to a children's hospital in the area that was not our usual destination. That was my first mistake but they were well known and the ER wait showed to be short. We went in for an evaluation and from the start I felt like the doctor was annoyed with the knowledge I had of Jude's medical condition. Anyway, after evaluation and X rays the doctor decided to send Jude home. I protested and the nurse (God Bless her soul and nurses) also protested and in a professional manner told the doctor she didn't think it was wise to send Jude home. Oh man she reaped his wrath right there in front of me which I then turned around without a professional and manner and growled, "If it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck it's a duck! So I will take my child home but you mark my words if something happens to him this is on your hands." Now granted I am not generally confrontational but when it comes to my children I will speak up. I knew Jude's symptoms and body in detail and I knew the poor baby was sick and the sweet nurse knew it too. In fact she handed me a pen and whispered, "document all of this before you leave." I also knew aspiration pneumonia can present with symptoms prior to showing details on an X ray. 

Sure enough hours later we were being transported via ambulance with an oxygen rate of 71 and a blue Jude.  I cried in the ambulance and told the paramedics exactly what had happened who then lodged a complaint on Jude's behalf. The doctor from the aforementioned hospital called me to apologize, had to apologize to the nurse, and he promised to always listen to the parents after Jude's case. I believe he also had to attend some sensitivity type training ridiculousness or something like that. I can only hope it helped. 

My point of this blog is one of importance and I would like you to read my next lines carefully because you are not exempt from tragedy. Someone posted in my forum that they lost their child when they took their kid to the ER complaining of the worst headache the child had ever had. There was not a CT, there was no MRI, there was only a diagnosis of a migraine. The parents felt uncomfortable with the diagnosis and uneasy about heading home. When the headache continued they contacted a health care office who backed up the ER even though the parent asked for a neurologist. Soon the child was in cardiac arrest from an embolism and it was to late. Under that post are multiple parents saying the same thing happened to them. If you feel you are not getting the answers you need do not be afraid to be your child's medical advocate. Remember that fear may lead to a loss. Looking back I never should have taken Jude home and even though I spoke up I should have pressed for more answers or taken him myself to another ER at that very moment. After Jude's surgery in July of 2014 when he was not getting better I finally spoke up.  For 13 days Jude threw up and couldn't keep any liquids or food down.  They continued the Iv's to hydrate his body but he was slipping away and I knew it. I insisted they transfer Jude to the hospital I knew his neuro and GI could take care of him. They could not perform the surgery at that hospital but they could find out why he wasn't getting better. I laughed when the current hospital said they would call CPS if I moved him and told them go ahead and then handed them the phone where Jude's neuro scolded them profusely and said put him on an Ambulance! Within days Jude was finally better and I was relieved to take my smiley little Jude home. 



So don't be afraid. Speak up for your child if you feel you need to because their life could depend on it. Most doctor's and nurses will always tell you they listen to the parents first because you know your child better than they do. 


Friday, July 14, 2017

Breakdown and Batteries.

When you lose a child people have a habit of telling you how strong you are. It's not about being strong it's learning how to cope and move along with life. I am not always strong and I have said that multiple times. For example this week has been extremely stressful. I am busier than I have been at work since I was about 28 years old in the insurance industry. Our rates are great since we can write through multiple carriers and the amount of quotes coming in leave me little time to call everyone back that has servicing questions. Along with Mike's back issues and Emily's illness I was mentally and physically exhausted. Yesterday at work it was like 13 months of hell just caught up with me and I had a complete exhaustive breakdown at work. I looked around my desk piled high with work that had to be completed and I could barely lift a file. I went into my boss's office shaking and trying to keep from passing out. I muttered I had to leave and prayed I would get home. I was giving myself a panic attack on top of being exhausted because my heart felt like it was trying not to give out. That sounds dramatic but it's the only way I can describe how I felt. Like I was going over roller coaster hills and my heart would keep dropping. When I got home I took a long hot bath where I discovered an infected bug bite on my leg which could have played into the exhausted panic attack. I took a very long nap and then slept on and off throughout the night. I feel about 50% better today but I am getting there. 

While at home Emily let the AC repairman in sent by my warrant company because her upstairs AC had gone out. The AC had been serviced right before we bought the property so I figured it was out of Freon or needed charging. Nope the entire system needs to be replaced along with a lot of other items they are working up a price on. However I didn't feel comfortable with this company the warranty program sent out and when I looked up their reviews they were terrible. So I called a friend that works in AC that is going to look over the estimates and possibly look at my system. I got upset at first that it was just another thing to deal with but then I realized there were other options. In addition we have a downstairs where Emily can sleep comfortably if need be until she leaves for college. 

I had to put myself first yesterday and today I woke up with a bit of renewed confidence in myself. I am tired of worrying about money so I am not going to worry about it anymore. I believe God will provide. I am tired of things going wrong and worrying about a solution so I trust a solution will always be found. I am a diligent and hard worker but I learned if someone has to wait an hour for me to catch up it will be okay. I learned if I need to tell my boss I have to leave then I have to go and take care of myself. 

I mentioned that I am looking forward to my time away in West Virginia to catch my breath. Mike really isn't looking forward to it and doesn't consider a pageant a break but I do and it's something I enjoy. So I am going to take this time to let myself enjoy life and recharge my batteries. T minus 2 weeks! 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Mike's Back and The Family

I feel like the family that people look at and say, "really???" Actually I know we are the family that people look at and say, "really???" On 5/3/2017 Mike was rear ended......yes after the softball size hail ruined my car he got hit on the highway. I was eternally grateful the accident wasn't worse than it was. I am not sure I could handle another loss. A lady had stopped on the highway to help her friend that had broken down.  Her vehicle was not easily seen because Mike had to come over a hill first. Once he came over the hill he slammed on his brakes and missed her.  However the next person that came over the hill plowed into the back of Mike. Mike nicely scolded the lady for parking on the highway and instructed everyone to move to the shoulder. Just then a semi came over the hill, blaring his horn, and luckily swerving into the other lane. They were all very very lucky. Anyway, Mike was injured but we thought it was mostly soft tissue injuries. Well he had been complaining about how his back was hurting when he was driving and when he was sitting on the couch. On Sunday Mike stood up from bed and just collapsed and I do mean collapsed. I had to use a belt and a chair as a hoist to get him back into bed. He has been in excruciating pain. We took him to a friend who is a chiropractor who also does acupuncture and he got Mike to where he could at least walk with the assistance of a walker. Prior to this Mike's pain was so horrible that he couldn't even walk to the bathroom, it was terrible! The pain did not let up so last night I took him to the ER. Mike has a degenerative disk disease, bulging disks, and other issues regarding his lower lumbar. We knew Mike had a few issues but nothing this bad and the thought process is either the accident caused new problems or made a flare up of an existing condition. A horrible terrible flare up!  Either way he is a mess. So he has a host of medications that do seem to be helping today, PRAISE THE LORD. Our hope is he will be back to work tomorrow and then he can start some sort of therapy for his back. The ER doctor mentioned a back surgeon but the nurse seemed to think therapy would help. After my experience with Jude I tend to lean towards nurses opinions first. 

So when I walked through the door today my co-workers could tell I was once again tired. I am so very tired I have been tired for years now. Anyway, I told them the update and sweet Paula said, "It does get better. I promise it does." I told her I keep waiting on that moment but she is right it does get better. Mike is with us and that's what matters. The expenses piling up from the accident will in time be taken care of and we will keep moving forward. Emily also has strep so a little prayer for her too would be great. 

In 2 1/2 weeks we leave to watch Emily compete as Texas Teen for Teen International. I am looking forward to the time away. I may sleep until noon each day in the hotel :). 

Yesterday I went to see Jude and I was overwhelmed by all the "decorations" left at his site. So many rocks have been left to symbolize a visit and a prayer. On top of that there were flowers, superman items, and more. I saw and talked to him for a bit and let him know that I don't really like being here without him but keep on going. Thank you to everyone that visits him. 


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Migraines and Moms

Years ago after I had Emily I started suffering from Migraines but over time they went dormant. Now that Jude has passed I have started suffering from them again. They are infrequent but still hit me occasionally and when they do it's like the depths of hell just runs over my head. I think it's hard for co-workers and friends to understand what a migraine really feels like. My co-worker Chandi suffers from them so when I text her today she knew exactly what I was going through. However this migraine also came with swelling to my left side of my face so the general consensus is a sinus infection. Anyway, this was the best photo I found to demonstrate what a migraine feels like. 



Last night I sat down and watched Moana with Emily and it was like old times again. We were watching a Disney movie together and enjoying that time together as a family. I am going to miss those times when she goes away to college. It hit me last night that she is really going away but I know she will be back.  I guess we just raise them the best we can to send them off into this world. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Bereaved Mom

Well I am on my blog to share a blog which I will link in a second. Last week a 14 year old teenager in our area asked a friend at a park to watch her dog for a second. She walked off and was found less than 48 hours later in a landfill murdered. She was taken from the area I grew up in just miles from my old high school. The details of the case have not completely been released and the situation haunted my dreams. I had a nightmare I couldn't find Jude and he needed his medications. I looked everywhere for him and was desperate to find him. So then today I read this blog posted by a mother in my loss forum. It is the very best description of the panic and fear a mother has when dealing with the loss of a child. I just sat and cried at work. I am not posting this to make anyone sad but to help express the emotions and true feelings surrounding someone that's lost a child. My heart aches for the mother of the teenager who is now a part of the club no one wants to join. 

https://bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/14/grieving-mom-to-non-grieving-mom/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true&calypso_token=c082eb16-2f0b-43b4-830d-0a8d48830caa




Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Events Are Hard


I have been meaning to write for a few days but I just haven't had the words. It's not that I don't have feelings or emotions I want to share I am just not sure what to share lately. I have been missing Jude again and I am sure that will happen for the rest of my life. However this time I realized I am beginning to forget things. His scent is growing faint, our nurses schedules are becoming more murky, and the detailed schedule we followed is become hard to remember. Although I know time heals this makes me a bit sad. I am thankful for my Facebook memory feed and my you tube video's. I can only imagine what it was like for my grandmother when she lost my mom at such an early age and had zero social media and little technology for remembrance. 

I am also thankful for social media for my loss forums and learning I am not alone in many of my thoughts and feelings. I have a VERY hard time going to events such a birthday parties, funerals, weddings, or other large functions. I can however have events at my house and hold parties without issue. I can go out with Mike and be with him all day without issue but put me in a scheduled large event and I don't handle it well.  I thought I had lost my mind until I read a paragraph someone posted on the forum today asking if others had issues with this very same topic. Most EVERY single grieving mother posted they did. Many of them posted that their family and friends were scolding them and turning them away for not attending events. Man I am glad I have understanding friends and family! Sometimes I will get right up to being ready to leave for an event and I just have a complete meltdown........again I read today very normal. We all struggle with our own inner demons and emotions and I am again glad to have understanding people in my life. While in town for Emily's graduation I even discussed going away for Christmas somewhere because it's very difficult to be at home. I wanted to go somewhere quiet and serene. My family stepped up and suggested we go somewhere together and that meant a lot to me. I am not sure that will happen but it's so nice they were so thoughtful about the situation. 

Emily is getting ready for her competition in August and getting ready for Alabama.  I will keep everyone updated on her progress. 


Monday, June 12, 2017

When Life Hands You Lemons.

You know you reach a point in life where you wonder what you can do to make your life easier. Do you find a new job, get rid of debt, stop accepting invites to functions, or maybe even move out of state and start over. It seems like we keep getting hit with one blow after another and this morning after a property tax protest meeting I just was angry. I just vented to Mike about how we never ever catch a break and believe it or not he was the positive one. What?????? Mike positive? Whoa Nellie! The universe just froze.



He pointed out that everyone has troubles we just don't see them and how there are always options. If we have to sell our home we will or just work extra and figure it out. I finally calmed down and told him that throughout my life and hardships one thing has always been steady and that's that God always provides what I need. Through my teens, my divorce, Jude's death, and more God always provided financially what I needed. We may live pay check to pay check but we have money and the bills are met. So Mike is working Saturday's to earn the money we will need to put into our escrow for the tax bill. In the mean time I am joining our Governor's fight about the over inflation of property taxes in TX. This could be a serious situation in TX where many people are priced out of their homes and have no where they can go thus affecting the economy.  The problem is the TX market has sky rocketed but the tax rate is still the same based on the lower value homes so the counties are bringing in a lot more money than before. I even have friends that have a homestead that are receiving very large increases based on not raising the prior years. 

I still have good days and bad days and when I have a bad grief day the littlest thing can set up a sand storm of anxiety. This is one of those days. From things like setting up a flight for Emily to making dinner the situations and tasks seem overwhelming. Throughout the sand storm there are glimpses into functioning reality and an understanding that things will work out in the end. 

So when life hands your lemons grab a shot tequila and salt. Then I will think on this little face and a beach somewhere with zero bills or worries. 



Friday, June 9, 2017

My looks and a story about Dragonfly Farms

I saw this video today and I was compelled to write about it. 




Before I get to my point I do have to giggle and admit I can relate to her about the flesh in between her and her husband. My skin was so stretched from my kids and not all of us look pretty during pregnancy.  I was so pumped full of steroids due to complications that it's amazing I didn't gain 100 pounds. I was bloated, tired, and NOT cute but it was all worth it.  Anyway, I have been on both sides of this situation. Years ago after working out very hard I had plastic surgery that I now regret but I wanted to maintain that youthful look. Mike and I were in the car today on the way to work and he started talking about how the time we spent with Jude was almost 2 presidential terms. We always say that the president goes into office lean, spry, and with color in their hair but most come out heavier, tired, and full of grey hair. We feel the same way. We loved our time with Jude but it did take a toll on us. Of course I still think my husband looks great but I have been ran over. I hear that I look tired from people A LOT and I have gotten to the point where I nicely want to respond, "Yes I am tired I have been through hell and back and I may be tired the rest of my life," but I know people mean well.  I wear my tired and looks with pride because it was a battle and I fought very hard and learned that what's most important was keeping my child well and then comfortable. I feel like our society just focuses on the wrong things sometimes and this isn't pointing anyone out even my sweet family thought I looked tired. 

So I wrote a little story that I thought about publishing but I am just going to share it. I hope your kids enjoy it.  I am sorry the structure of the story is off for some reason Blogger is defaulting it that way and won't allow me to fix it. 


Dragonfly Farms
The Great Adventure

The sun rose brightly at Dragonfly Farms on the day Emily brought her piglet Buddy home.
Emily was a bright young girl who had begged her father for the tiny piglet with the little
spotted nose. At first, her dad was hesitant, but Emily just knew the little pig would make a great addition to their wonderful farm. Emily loved animals so much that she had many different ones living at her place. Some were work animals, like horses, cattle, and chickens, and some were her pets, like the dogs, cat, and, now, the little piglet.
     Emily took Buddy inside their ranch-style house and set up a dog crate for him to stay in,
since he was so little. Buddy would need to grow much bigger before he could stay outside
because there were so many animals out there that could be a danger to him. Emily put a little
bed in the crate, with several blankets to keep Buddy warm. She then fed him his bottle full of
warm milk and placed him gently in his bed; Buddy fell fast asleep. Since Emily lived on a farm,she had a lot of chores to complete, so she left Buddy to get his much-needed rest.
Soon, Ollie the orange and white tabby cat came running down the stairs. Ollie was so
full of excitement that when he ran up to Buddy’s cage, Buddy was frightened. “Who are you?”
Ollie quickly and happily asked. Meekly, the little pig replied, “I am Buddy.” “What ARE you?
You barely have any fur, and you don’t look like a cat. You also don’t look like the big dogs that
run around here,” Ollie said. “I am a pig!” Buddy replied. Ollie looked at Buddy, and then he
slowly stuck his paw through the wire of the crate and touched Buddy on the back. Buddy
jumped and asked “what are you doing?” Ollie replied, “I just wanted to see what you felt like
without fur. My fur is beautiful and keeps me warm. You must be cold; do you need a sweater?”Buddy just shook his head and went to lie back down.
       “Oh, don’t go to sleep! Come out and play with me,” Ollie said. “I don’t think Emily wants
me to go anywhere. Plus, I am stuck in this crate and cannot get out,” Buddy replied. Ollie
looked the crate over and noticed a latch at the top, just out of his reach. Ollie climbed up the
stairs beside the crate and looked down at the latch, studying it as best he could. Suddenly, he
had an idea. Ollie went running to the other room and dragged a fishing pole back to his spot on the stairs. He positioned the fishing pole upward and pushed it under the railing for stability. He then lowered the hook all the way down and caught it on the latch. Next, Ollie started reeling the line back in, and BOOM! it lifted. Ollie ran back down the stairs and yelled,
“Come on, let’s go!” Buddy wasn’t sure about this, but Ollie was insistent. “My mom always
told me I shouldn’t listen to a bad influence,” Buddy said. “I am not a bad influence. I am an
adventurer, like a great heroic pirate!” Ollie insisted. Buddy looked confused and said, “I don’t
think pirates are heroes.” Ollie replied, “Well, I am still an adventurer. Now, come on!”
Ollie went flying through the dog door separating the pair from the outside. Buddy
looked concerned but slowly climbed through the door, too. Suddenly, a big brown coonhound
bounded toward them. Buddy was terrified, but to his surprise, the dog gave him a big lick on the face. As Buddy wiped the drool away, the dog, in a slow Texas drawl, said, “Hi ya, I am Blue. What’s your name?” Buddy told him who he was, and then Blue wanted to know what the pair was up to. “We’re going on an adventure!” Ollie piped up. “What kind of an adventure?” Blue asked. “I am not sure yet, but I will know it when I see it!” Ollie replied. Blue looked at both of them and decided he wanted to join the party. “Alright, I’mma comin’ with ya, but we gotta look out for Lee,” Blue said.
Just as Buddy was wondering who Lee was, a large German Shepherd appeared from
around the corner. Buddy was frozen in place he was so scared. Ollie hugged Buddy and
told him not to be afraid of the big dog because, even though she was big, she had a very soft
heart. Lee walked over to the three and peered down at the little pig. In a regal voice, she said, “I am Lee, and I am the queen of this farm. What are you doing here?” Ollie spoke up, “Oh, come on, Lee, don’t scare the little pig! We are going on an adventure together!” Lee didn’t seem impressed with Ollie and looked down at him with disapproving eyes. “You know this little pig is far too small to go on an adventure and far too little to help anyone.” Just then, the little pig felt quite strong and said, “I may be small, but that doesn’t mean I am not brave.” Lee looked a  bit shocked, smiled, and said, “Okay, little pig, whatever you say.” She then turned to Ollie: “I don’t approve of this adventure, Ollie; you’d better watch for hawks because they will snatch your little friend.” Buddy nervously looked to the sky, as Lee turned and walked back toward the house. He realized then that acting brave was not the same thing as being brave.
So, Buddy, Ollie, and Blue began walking through the tall trees that lined the acreage
of Dragonfly Farms. The leaves whistled in the wind like they were playing a song just for the
cheerful trio. Through the winding paths they went, dodging large rocks and enjoying the tall
grass. They passed squirrels, a friendly owl, and a sweet fox named Gina. They asked if anyone
knew of an adventure for them, but alas, no one did. So, they laced through a large brown gate
with a hole in the front and saw a big green chicken coop up ahead.
The three walked up to the coop and saw all of the hens with their babies, digging in the
dirt and eating their lunch. “Hello, in there!” Ollie yelled. The white alpha hen turned her
big feathery body around and gazed at the three. She lifted one eyebrow with interest and said,
“Well, this is an odd combination of animals. What are you three up to?” Ollie looked at her with pride and said “We are going on an adventure!” “Now, Ollie, you know that baby pig shouldn’t be out here, and how can he go on a proper adventure? He is way too small to be of any help!” Buddy looked up at her and cleared his throat, “I am NOT a baby. I am old enough to be without my mom, and I am brave—well, kind of brave!” The hen looked again at the little pig and shook her head. “Well, nice to meet you, little pig. My name is Felicia, and I am the queen of this farm.” Buddy looked confused and said, “Wait, I thought Lee, the big dog, was the queen?” Felicia laughed and said, “She may think she is queen, but I rule the roost around here, and everyone knows it, don’t they, girls?” Felicia, with her head held high, looked around her coop,as all of the other hens bowed to her. Felicia looked back at the little pig and said, “See?” Buddy suggested, “Maybe Lee is the princess, then,” and everyone chuckled. The chickens seemed very amused by the pig. They were so entertained that Felicia didn’t notice one of her babies make his way through a small hole in the coop and head toward the front pasture. Quickly, Felicia looked up and realized little Jimmy was heading out toward territory
laced with snakes and other scary creatures. “MY BABY!!” Felicia shouted. She tried to fit
through the small hole in the coop, but she couldn’t get through. Ollie looked at Buddy and Blue and said, “This is it! This is our adventure!” Felicia looked at them, desperate but doubtful, and pleaded with them to save her baby. So, the three ran toward the pasture in pursuit of the little chick. Since many bushes and much ground cover stood between them and the front pasture,Ollie told Buddy he needed to stay close. Buddy grabbed Ollie’s tail with his little mouth, and the three headed into the thorn-laced bushes in search of the wandering chick. Abruptly, a large commotion erupted above them, and they saw a hawk land neatly on a branch. The hawk could not get through the thorny branches, but he could easily spot the trio from his perch.“Hmmmmm, well, this is an interesting situation, don’t you think?” the hawk said. Buddy was petrified of the intimidating bird with the sharp beak and large talons. Buddy looked at Ollie and Blue in fear and then looked out into the pasture and saw the little chick hiding under a rock by a big tree. “I cannot go out there and help that little chick; the hawk will eat me!” Buddy cried. Ollie and Blue exchanged looks of concern.  Ollie was so little the hawk could get him too and Blue knew he would need help defeating the great bird.
            Presently, a beautiful dragonfly with glittering wings flew into the bushes and landed
next to Buddy. “I have been watching you,” the dragonfly said, in a sweet silvery voice. “You  
know, Buddy, you are braver than you think.” Buddy just shook his head “no” and then looked
miserably at the ground. “Would you like to hear why Emily’s parents named this beautiful place Dragonfly Farms?” Buddy wasn’t sure what that had to do with him, but he agreed, and the dragonfly began to tell Buddy the story. “Several years ago, Emily had a lovely little
brother named Jude who she loved very much. They played and played, but one day, Jude got
very sick. He was so very brave, and he fought so hard to get better, but...” the dragonfly stopped talking and lowered his head. Ollie and Blue lowered their heads, too. Buddy looked around at his new friends and asked, “Is Jude an angel now?” The dragonfly sadly shook his head “yes” and then continued to speak: “Emily’s parents thought Jude was so heroic that he reminded them of a dragonfly. You see, dragonflies have survived for over 300 million years because, even though they are little, they are very strong and are very good flyers. So, Buddy, just because you are little doesn’t mean you can’t be brave!” Just then, Buddy felt stronger than he ever had felt before. He looked out into the pasture and noticed a large rattlesnake slithering up the rock near the chick, whispering “Here, chickie chickie...” Buddy looked up at the hawk and then looked at his friends and said, “I have an idea.”Buddy leaned over and whispered his plan to Ollie, Blue, and the dragonfly.
“Let’s do this!” Ollie proclaimed. Blue backed out of the bush and leapt up toward the
hawk, scaring the angry bird off its perch. Then, Ollie and Buddy dashed out into the pasture as fast as they could. At that moment, the hawk spotted them and took off flying after them. The dragonfly, showing off his speed, raced in front of the hawk to distract him. The hawk, thinking of what a tasty little morsel the dragonfly would be, quickly chased after him. Ollie and Buddy approached the rock, just as the rattlesnake saw them heading his direction. “What a treat this will be, like Thanksgiving, with all of this yummy food coming my way,” the snake said in his slithery voice. Now, if you didn’t know, piglets are very fast runners and hard to keep up with. Buddy darted to the left of the rock to get behind the snake, and this caught the
attention of the hawk, who was still chasing the dragonfly. The dragonfly changed direction
to fly directly toward Buddy, and the hawk became very excited. “Looks like I will get two
meals in one,” he said and flew faster. Just then, Buddy jumped onto the rock and, with his
mouth, grabbed the back of the snake’s neck, pulling him backward. Ollie sprang into action,
scratching the snake, who yelled “OUCH!” Then, Blue rushed up from behind, grabbed
the snake from Buddy, and threw him at the hawk, who caught the snake in his claws. The hawk was so happy with his impending feast that he forgot about everyone else and flew off into the sunset with his prize.The farmyard trio and the dragonfly rested, panting in exhaustion, and then they all hugged. “Why did you help me?” Buddy asked the dragonfly. The dragonfly thought for a moment and replied, “I guess I did it for Jude and Emily.” Then, he flew away.
So, Ollie grabbed the baby chick and placed him gently into Blue’s big mouth, and they
all headed back to the chicken coop. As they came around the corner, they could hear Felicia
crying with joy. Ollie told Felicia exactly what had happened. Felicia looked at the little pig and
said, “I should never judge someone based how big he looks, but only on how big his heart is.
Buddy, I have an idea you may be king of this farm someday.” Buddy smiled with pride as he
marched happily back toward the house. He and Ollie popped back through the dog door and
saw Emily standing by Buddy’s crate. She looked at little Buddy and gently picked him up,
wiping some dirt from his face. She smiled big and said, “Now, have you two been on some
grand adventure?” and tucked Buddy back in his bed, and the brave little pig fell fast asleep.
  -The End

Below are Buddy, Ollie, Felicia, Blue, Lee, and of course Emily. 









Thursday, June 8, 2017

Disney and Loss

Last night I had a rare night with Emily without anyone having to work or be consumed in schoolwork. We decided to watch the new release of Beauty And The Beast and it was everything I had hoped it would be. It was surreal and lovely watching it with Emily who will soon be leaving for college. I felt luck that I had the opportunity to be her mother and enjoy Disney with her as a child. I thought back to all the days of costumes, cartoons, and princesses. Then I began to think about Jude and although the moment could have been sad it wasn't. Jude loved musicals and although he couldn't run and play imitating his favorite character who could smile continuously as the actors sang. So in summary I would say Disney has provided me many lasting memories with my children which I will always be grateful for. 

Mike and I have a ten year anniversary coming up in October. I cannot believe it's been ten years and it's definitely been a journey laced with good and bad. We have discussed all types of options for a celebration from going out of town to throwing a party everyone could attend. It will honestly come down to finances and then we will figure out what will be best. 

For some reason there has been an influx of people we are hearing about that are passing away at a relatively young age. They range from 31 - 56 and the deaths just seems to be coming in waves lately. I have been pushing everyone I know to get life insurance either through me or someone else. It's so sad to hear about someone passing now because my heart just aches for their family. I can imagine how terrible their next days are while they plan the funeral and how their lives will move forward. The daunting task of packing up all the belongings that once inhabited their loved ones closet and room. I only pray they will be able to find some peace some day and find happiness again. 

Nurse Allan should get his check today and I thank all those that participated in raising funds for his recovery.