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. 


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Emily's graduation

Emily graduated from High school on Tuesday and I was very proud of her. I cried at her royal awards but I didn't at her graduation I mostly just felt satisfied. I know that sounds odd but I did. As parents I feel our job is to get our children to adulthood with good hearts, an education, and determination. I feel like Emily has these qualities and although I am going to miss her being at my house I know her adult life is now starting. I will miss her bounding down the stairs, her missing the point of every joke, and her sweetness. She will be back though and I will get to see her smiley face. I am not sure how it will be at my house without Emily and Jude but I am sure a bit quiet. 




Emily will be leaving 8/11 for the University of Alabama, in fact I am about to book her flight. I will then fly down with Gina and help get her dorm set up.  We will see how the first year away from home goes but I have faith that in 4 years Emily will be a nurse helping others as much as she can. 

Jude's sweet nurse Allan is having heart surgery today. He has given so much to so many that I thought I would try to raise some funds to help him out while he cannot work. I know he and Larry don't read my blog so I am pretty sure we are safe posting here because I am trying to keep it a surprise. So I am asking that no one share the link on Facebook but privately. If you would like to contribute here is the link. https://www.youcaring.com/allanfackler-837271

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Machester and Anger!

I am sorry it's been awhile since I blogged but it's taken weeks to get over this horrible respiratory illness. In fact I am still coughing which is very annoying but it is what it is. 

Last night when I got home I was going about my normal routine when Mike called out to me and said, "There has been a bombing in England." My sister had just flown out from Heathrow to Scotland that morning so I immediately stopped and sat down with Mike to watch the news. Then I learned it was at an Ariana Grande concert and I realized the target was children and teens. "Jesus" I muttered in shock and in a way of prayer. More than 70% of the 21,000 people there were made up of children and teens. Who does this? What type of mindset do you have to have to strap a nail bomb to your waist and walk into an area filled with young people full of aspirations and dreams and end their lives? A person with no soul. 

This attack has really affected me and I feel myself drawn to watch the stories unfolding of those who have been lost. Maybe it's because as a  mother who has lost a child my heart just ached for the parents last night. My own daughter attended the Ariana Grande concert in our city and I couldn't imagine standing outside the arena waiting and hoping to see her in a sea of people. The news made reference last night that out of 21,000 people the situation could have been worse. To those injured and killed it cannot get any worse and the numbers make no difference to their family's. Many people are refusing to watch the news and while I understand I also feel we have a responsibility to know this is really happening and this carnage truly exists because it's time a solution is found. I have no idea what that solution is but these radical terrorists have infiltrated our country and those countries around us. They no longer only exist in the Middle East. They are our neighbors, our co-workers, our clients, and they walk among us without fear. 

In my research I have found that suicide bombings became a staple to inflict terror in Lebanon. In 1983 one of the worst attacks carried out on the US military was on a Marine barracks in Lebanon and the blast killed 241 people. Unfortunately, the use of suicide bombings has become a staple that now encompasses not only men but women and children. Israel has taken steps to deter these actions by stripping the family of the bomber left behind of any monetary gain and destroying their homes. That's an interesting approach. Through research I have also learned that there are arguments on if each suicide bombing should be labeled a terrorist attack or a movement. In my opinion it's always a terrorist attack. Any act of violence that inflicts death and fear in my opinion should always be labeled terror. 

I know we cannot live in fear but I do live more aware and I believe that's the educated approach to the situation. I am not fond of large crowded arenas but when I am out I do spot the exit and I use common sense when I can. If someone is at a function that wouldn't necessitate the need for a backpack I do make note. I also have zero fear in reporting something or someone I think is suspicious. We are lucky here in America because most of us live in our protected little bubbles but I think we also need to remember it's not hard to pop a bubble. My hope is that someday our world finds a way to peace and that all the children of the world once again feel safe and loved. 

Prayers to the family's of those that were lost in this senseless act and wishes for a speedy recover to those that were injured. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Loyal Dog

May 10, 2014 - We took Jude to Sea World and to Morgans Wonderland for his Make A Wish trip and it was amazing. On top of the fabulous trip we picked up our new puppy Liebe.  She was originally picked to become a therapy dog for Jude. When Mike went to go meet the breeder and pick up the new puppy I handed him a pink carrier and waited for their return. I knew I was in trouble when he walked through the door and I see a tiny little German Shepherd head sticking out of a freshly chewed hole in the carrier. It was instant love and Jude loved her too and how fitting since that's the very meaning of her name. When he first saw her he truly looked at her and even put his hand on her which was a huge accomplishment for Jude. 




We could tell in an instant how smart Liebe was and to this day she is still incredibly intelligent. She never really got to be Jude's therapy dog because he became so ill after his surgery. However Liebe was always there. 



She even let me dress her up. 




She was always there looking over the railing at Jude. Sometimes she would just sit on the couch with us while I held Jude and we watched TV together. 



When Jude died one of the saddest moments to me was watching Liebe sniff his bed all over like she was looking for him. She wasn't used to the sides of the bed being down and she looked a bit confused. I think she eventually got it. She took his green turtle blanket my sister made Jude and I just let her have it. She is a good dog! She is smart, kind, gentle, and loyal. Happy family anniversary Liebe. 



Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Great Sickness

My co-worker Chandi came down with flu A. Since I have already had that strain I wasn't to worried as I should be immune. However on Friday she stated she still wasn't feeling very well. A fleeting thought ran through my head wondering if her flu could have turned into pneumonia. Sure enough on Saturday she sent me a message she had the dreaded P word and would not be at work. I felt really bad for her. Then she kept trying to make herself come to work because she felt bad and I finally just forced her to go to the ER and then go home. I pulled the husband card and contacted her man who does a good job of looking out for her and he got her to the proper place. 

On Tuesday I noticed I got a bit winded on my evening walk so I just did one lap. I figured I was just tired and went about my day by Wednesday and Thursday I was dragging a bit more. On Friday the holy rain of hell hit and I was sicker than I have ever been. I dragged myself to work since Chandi was out and that wasn't wise. I loathe being sick and this year I have been more sick than I have every been. It annoys me, it annoys others, and I am over it. My thieves oil is letting me down lately. Anyway, by Sunday I thought I was feeling a bit better but boy was I wrong. I have reasoning for telling you all this so bear with me. 

Yesterday morning I woke up about 4:30 am and I couldn't breathe. I was panicked but I evaluated the situation like I used to for Jude. I have a pediatric dose of xanex that has been given to me for the PTSD I suffer from Jude's passing. I took a half to calm myself down, then I took a breathing treatment, gave myself some CPT, took my temp which had spiked again and then took a steaming bath. Then I gathered up my items and took myself to the ER. The doctor was very kind and very patient. He said this has been going around and he believed my fever spike was not from the infection but a systemic reaction to the inflammation in my respiratory system. I thought he might be crazy but he ordered a shot of a high dose steroid and I swear within 30 minutes I went from feeling like death to feeling awful. HUGE improvement. Later while I was waiting in my room I overheard him briefing the doctor who was relieving him and he was explaining my situation. He said after all his built up immunity he wound up catching what I have also and there have been a lot of people in with it. He explained he has MRSA and actually wound up hospitalized and lost 28lb in 3 weeks. I thought omg MRSA. So I mentioned when they came in that Jude had MRSA and we had nurses in our house all the time. They explained this could be a super bug then and that's why it hit so hard. This is my breathing last night and I felt SO much better so that gives you an idea of how sick I really was. I used to always tell Jude he sounded like he had pop rocks in his throat. 




I really just removed myself from life in general to get better which I think was a hard concept for some because I always just keep going. I didn't go go this time I stop stopped. I also noticed many people no longer follow me on Facebook because they didn't know my condition and that's understandable. I have a lot on my Facebook regarding Jude and businesses and that can be tough. 

All I could do during all of this was think of Jude. I thought of how he struggled with this 16 times and how awful it must have been for him. I thought of that last time he struggled and how he didn't win the fight and how scary it must have been to not get air into his lungs. I can hope that it wasn't hard for him but I know it was. I know my grief for Jude will always be there and always be strong but this weekend also inspired me to make some changes in my life. I want happiness again and I am looking for that and praying for the right path. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Follow Up To Yesterday's Blog.

My blog I posted yesterday seemed to incite two different reactions from people. On one hand people were highly concerned about my mental stability while another side completely related and loved the post. I shared the post in my loss forum and the response has been amazing from people. The blog has received almost 3000 views and hundreds of shares in 24 hours. I have received emails, posts, and private messages thanking me for posting the raw truth of how gritty grief can be. So I thank those that took the time to reach out and letting me know the blog helped. 

I also thank those that are highly concerned and can only tell you that this is how it is. I don't mince words or emotions and I never have. I feel when we cover up our emotional turmoil or struggles we do an injustice to those that may travel our path someday. I think people can become proficient at wearing a mask each day to disguise their true feelings. When you peel back that mask you still find tears and only time will help dry those tears up. I read a quote today that said, "It's difficult to accept death in this society because it's unfamiliar. Despite the fact it happens all the time - We never see it." Oh man that rang true to me and I think it can also apply to many aspects of life not just death. Many times we as humans just don't see the struggle someone may be facing and we don't want to see it. Why would we want to subject ourselves to something so painful? I think that's why we always say you have to live in someone else's shoes because you truly grasp the situation they are in. I remind myself of this on a constant basis. I have no idea what someone else is dealing with so the best thing I can do is just be kind. I sometimes have to get myself in check and realize that even though my family is hurting others are hurting as well and just being kind can go a very long way. 

So again I thank you for your patience and I only hope that Jude's blog will continue to help others in need. On a more positive note this sweet little face was on my memory feed and that always makes me smile.