Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas Review

Christmas overall was nice. In tradition we had people over for Christmas Eve just like we did when Jude was with us. It's turned into our way of remembering Jude with friends and family through stories and just being together. We lit a large candle in the middle of our table for him that everyone sat around while we talked and ate our traditional food. 

Christmas day we started the morning with Emily and her boyfriend by opening gifts and eating a yummy baked french toast casserole. I then went back to sleep because my insomnia is horrible. It's something I have dealt with when Jude was alive and even more when he has passed. Jude used to get up every morning about 3-4 am needing to be turned and generally vomiting. We didn't have a nurse until the last year of his life so my body is just programmed to wake up at that particular time. So I slept for several hours before getting up to bake the lasagna to take to my family's home. It was refreshing and my body felt better overall. 

We held up pretty well overall during the holiday but on the way home last night I couldn't stop the tears. I realized that no matter how many holidays pass I will never go home on Christmas again to see nurse Allan's shiny smile and Jude's sweet face. I will never open the door the day after Christmas with sleep still in my eyes to nurse Charlotte waiting to see Jude. So I cried. That's really all you can do is just express your emotion through tears or anger. I choose to let my emotions flow freely through the tears that I mostly conceal but Mike generally catches the tears and understands. 

I guess it's rather normal to realize the holiday's will never truly be the same but I also understand they never really were after Jude was born. Jude could never run down the stairs to see what Santa had brought him and buying him gifts were sometimes a struggle. Jude would mostly receive two piece pajama's to accommodate his feeding tube and bright shiny toys with pretty lights. However Christmas was still precious to us and Emily always enjoys the holidays. So we have learned to be grateful for the blessings we have in what God has bestowed upon us. However there are times I lay in bed and wonder what it would be like to be the one that isn't strong anymore. To just have a freak out and say, I cannot life for awhile. I don't want to leave my house or participate in any facet of holidays, birthdays, work, or anything else that requires my full attention. I know this isn't me though so I have realized that PTSD doesn't go away. I still wake up ALL the time because Jude was up so much. I comfort with wine sometimes and I shut myself off to the world and I cannot stand overly crowded noisy rooms.. I can walk through a store and see two piece boy pajama's and I have to beeline behind a shelf while the tears fall freely. I freak OUT on highways and would rather take the scenic route. I have no idea the cause of the last situation except that the grief counselor said Jude's death triggered PTSD from a horrible car wreck Emily and I were in. So as much as people think I am superwoman I do have my issues. Mike said all women have issues you just choose which ones you can live with, lol! So I figure that parents of child loss don't ever truly overcome the PTSD they just learn to cope and live with it. The better I cope with it the better life is overall. 

I think I have learned what works best for my family and what doesn't. Sometimes we push the boundaries but overall I have gotten pretty good and navigating the emotional field of grief. If I don't think attending an event is in our best interest then we don't go. I have said before we tend to go to events that are close to home so we can bow out gracefully if need be and that's okay. If people cannot deal with it they tend to fall out of our lives and we have had multiple situations like that. It's sad but I understand sometimes people cannot handle our situation and that's allowable and understandable. 

I am not quite sure what 2018 holds for our family. Mike and I are still searching a bit for our purpose like we have been. We have talked more about adoption and we would also like to travel some. Regardless 2018 will have the same emotional holidays that we will tackle with love and hope. We pray for Emily's health and wisdom and for peace to all we love and those we have lost. 

After writing this blog I found a precious picture on me memory feed. One that seems to say, "In the midst of a storm you still have to smile." 

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Hard Holidays

Christmas is fast approaching and although our hearts are full of joy they are also laced with lots of hurt. The pain of Jude's loss does not diminish and it seems to become heavier as the holiday looms around the corner. A simple song, a pair of pajamas, a child's giggle, or a sighting of Santa can immediately caused tears to well in our eyes. I don't get the urge to scream like many people do after their tragic losses but I do get the urge to escape into a bath tub of warm water to shed many tears. I have heard people say they put on a mask each day to get up and just life. I fluctuate between feeling I have a mask on and realizing I am just learning to live without my child. It's just yet another new normal we have had to conquer and a cruel education on how to continue to function. So for the most part we are making each day work. I do however still get very irritated by those who are worried about what seems to be things in life that are just truly not that important. 

Loss does make you truly appreciate all those around you though. Despite how anyone may anger you at times death makes you realize you have to let go of that feeling fairly quickly. It also teaches you to be very grateful for each day with your loved ones you have and I am afraid it also makes you wonder when the next shoe will drop. Emily is home and has been experiencing times when her hands and fingers turn blue.........like BLUE! Not brrrrr I am cold but like her hands were dyed blue. The doctor today seems to think it's just a circulation issue but they have requested she see her primary doctor so I am working on that appointment. I can promise this situation sent Mike and I for a JOLT this weekend and does have me worried. Although I do know the parameters and my first questions were: 

1. Are you dizzy - no
2. Are you short of breath - no
3. Have you had a cough - yes. 
4. Are you cold? Not really. 

So who knows but I don't think it's anything pressing and we will get her in to get looked at by the additional doctor.  Emily has also (drumroll) made the decision to come home to Texas. She did OUTSTANDNING academically at the University Of Alabama and has ended the semester with a 3.48 GPA. That's based on her calculation but she is waiting to hear the final grade and still still hoping for the Dean's list. She has not excelled emotionally due to multiple circumstances including the great loss she has endured over the last year. So she will be transferring to TWU into their nursing program which is ranked 4th in TX. I have no doubt where ever she will go she will strive and this was a great lesson in learning to do what makes you happy in life not what people expect you to do.  She may stay there or transfer again but she will do what's best for her and what makes her happy. I am very proud of her for that! Emily will be making an announcement about this in the next few weeks but I knew my friends would be wondering what was going on. 

I still have a desire to be as honest and raw through my blog and actions as possible. I think it's important for people to understand the depth of grief and pain people can feel and that it's okay to have those feelings. Around holidays parents that have lost children can be short tempered, tired, sleepless, angry, erratic, forgetful, and they can be overly emotional. So just remember to extend a little patience if you know someone in this situation and to know as much as you want them to get better this can last a lifetime. They just need your patience, love, and understanding. I guess we all really need that in life and if we all took a moment to extend it the world would be a better place.