30 October 2011

No Matter What

2011-06-23 Love Begins-small_thumb[3]

The words on the page are the lyrics to “No Matter What” by Kerrie Roberts.

As I watched this video I felt like the girl could be me.I’ve felt those feelings, acted that way, and then had to open the door, and my heart, and walk down the stairs to be with my kids, when really, what I felt like inside was throwing myself back on my bed trying to sink into oblivion.

I didn’t want to bottle up my pain, because I know that I NEEDED to feel the pain to be able to heal, but I also could TRUST Heavenly Father and know that “No MATTER WHAT” he was there for me.

I made this scrapbook page and discovered this song shortly after Holly’s funeral, and it has been hanging up in my kitchen where I glance at it daily. Today I took the time to read the words again and allow myself to briefly feel the pain again that I felt at the time of her funeral. At that time I was barely holding on the the promises.

As time has passed the pain has lessened. I still hold onto the promises but I am functioning well in daily life and no longer have the intense need to curl up in ball, although at times it would be nice. It is nice to have a visual reminder of where I have been and how far I’ve come in the past couple of months.

Time Out–for MOM!

I did it. I talked to my husband, who is amazingly supportive, and explained to him that I really needed to get away for a couple of days. I assured him that I wasn’t running away, from him, the kids, or my problems.

During a conversation I had with a friend over the weekend I was reminded about the peace and personal revelation that can come by attending the temple. Since the Boise Temple was just closed for remodeling, the nearest temple was Twin Falls, 2 hours away. The trip was doable in one day, but I felt like I needed more time than that, so after more discussion with Brad, making arrangements for the kids, I rented a car and packed to head out of town.

I got my friend to drop me off at the car rental agency, and when she came to pick me up, she commented that she hadn’t seen me looking so chipper in a long time. It was true, just making the decision to take care of myself, to reboot my life, had already begun to have a positive effect on me.

glenn-beck-seven-wondersMy Grandma loves Glenn Beck. She listens to and watchs him all the time, and pre-orders all his books. She has been trying to get me to listen to his book The Seven Wonders, she accidently ordered the audio version, for several months, so I took it with me to listen to in the car.

By the time I had gotten to Twin Falls I knew I had to buy the book. I love listening to books, but some books you just have to write in, underline, highlight, and write your feelings in, and this is one of them. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes -

Everything happens for a reason.” (pg 13),

”They weren’t coincidences at all, they were bread crumbs” (pg 59)

“By sharing your truth with others, you are empowered.” (pg 41)

I had mentioned on facebook the day before that I wanted to go to the temple, but didn’t want to drive a 12 passenger van all by myself. My best friend for life commented she would join me at the Temple if I let her know when I was coming, since she lived nearby. Right before I left Boise, I facebooked a message to her to let her know I was on my way. When I called her about 20 minutes out of Twin she was already home from work and making arrangements to spend the whole evening with me.

I checked into my hotel, my friend invited me to stay at her house, but I really wanted to be alone most of the time that I was in town.I didn’t want to feel like I had to be social. I wanted to freedom to cry or sleep or type and cry some more. My friend understood.

She came and took me out to dinner at a nice, quiet, Chinese place. We were able to sit and talk for hours. The food was good, but I have no clue what I ate, or the name of the restaurant. I do remember the conversation that we had. We talked about Holly, about her life and her death, about the kind nurse that I had, about planning a funeral, about grief and pain. We talked about being kids together, about our families, about the many trials we had been through, but mostly she listened and I talked. I told her of my pain and sorrow, of my feelings of anger, and guilt, of the injustices that I felt I had been dealt, of the difficulties I was facing in forgiving, and forgetting, in letting the pain go, of feeling comfortable at church.

It was so nice to have a compassionate person to talk to, someone who knew me, maybe even better than I know myself. Someone that knew my family, and their history, and how far we had come. A friend who didn’t judge me for my feelings, or my emotions, or my anger, who excepted me pain and emotions, and loved me even more because of them.

When we finally called it a night, it felt like such a huge burden had been lifted off my shoulders. I could begin to heal . . .

“studies prove that someone listening in a compassionate way to another human being’s life store can actually alter that person’s brain chemistry in a healing way.” (Seven Wonders pg 168)

I was so amazing – I had listened to in the car on my way down, and knew that I intellectually that it must be true, and that I needed someone to talk to – I had tried reaching out to several people, but they weren’t able to feel the need I had for a compassionate ear, and in fact I had come away from those instances more hurt and full of pain than before.

“I was “ready to vanquish the demons, [I] had been fleeing”, but first I needed to face them. (SW,112) and I was able to do that by talking about them with my friend. Now that someone had taken the time and energy to listen to me compassionately I was sufficiently healed enough to begin to take the next step.

The next day I attended the temple. I was able to feel the spirit and find some peace and comfort in the plan of salvation, in knowing that Heavenly Father knows and loves me, and is watching over me. I was able to begin to release more of the pain and anger I had towards those who had hurt me, and to forgive them. Keith Ablow describes it like this “Never be afraid to feel for someone else, no matter how unfeeling they have been to you. When you do, you stand with what is good and decent and miraculous. You stand with God.” (Seven Wonders, pg 167) I was able to forgive them, but the pain was still there, although greatly reduced.

I spent the rest of the day alone, mostly in my hotel room. I read more of The Seven Wonders, I took a much needed nap, and then I addressed envelopes. I had decided to mail with funeral programs to friends and family members, to write notes of forgiveness, or love or encouragement to others as an important step in my healing process. I included in most of my cards the address of my blog. I didn’t count, but I probably had about 40 envelopes addresses. I worked long into the night on the cards, so long that it was 1am before I even noticed. I still had many cards to go . . . but I was on the right path.

The next morning I met my friend for breakfast. We spoke again for another 2 hours. Honestly, we hadn’t spoken in over a year, and that is the way our friendship goes, even if it is a year or 2 between conversations, it is like we just talked yesterday. Except for once. As I was reading the chapter on Friendship I thought a lot about my friend, and I remembered the time when I wasn’t there for her. I realized that I needed to ask for her forgiveness. We had a wonderful talk and cemented our friendship even deeper. I will always treasure her friendship, because we have truly bonded, and will be eternal friends.

These few days away – by myself – in the presence of a true friend – in the temple – were exactly what I needed. I was again able to center myself, to have faith, and courage, have the strength to go on. Listening to and reading The Seven Wonders was an important part  of this transformation and helped to give me insight into what was to come next . . .

The next few weeks and months were truly a whirlwind . . .  and I’ve thought back to this TIME OUT often as reassurance that I was on the right path. At this time I’m unable to say more in such a public forum, but I am continually grateful that I had this opportunity to prepare me for what lay ahead.

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I began writing this post while still in Twin Falls, but in the whirlwind of life that has happened since then, and the fact that I’ve given my copy of the Seven Wonders away twice, I was never able to finish. I am so glad I finally got it done, because I felt like I needed to post this – before moving on to any other posts. I miss posting, and I am glad to be back.

19 August 2011

Mortality–Our Temporary Home

I read an article in my Relief Society newsletter that recommended this song, Temporary Home by Carrie Underwood.

Rebecca P.  wrote it was one her daughter was thinking of using at her commencement. I immediately thought about the concept of death, as a commencement. I don’t know if this is what she was talking about – but to me it was a beautiful thought. Death – is not the end, it is only the beginning, the commencement, of the next stage in our eternal life. A life that didn’t begin at earth. We are eternal spiritual beings. Birth, no conception, was also just the beginning of a new stage in our spiritual life. I say conception, because I believe, very strongly, that the spirit enters the body long before birth. I have long loved this quote -

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience.
We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

I looked it up – and found out that is is from Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit priest, who was a very wise and spiritual man. I enjoyed reading his quotes on thinkexist. I would love to learn more about him. As much as I have always loved and saw the truth in the above quote, I love this version, also by Teilhard de Chardin  even more.

“You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience.
You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience”

This human experience is sometimes very difficult, but it is made even more difficult when we fail to realize, or forget, or ignore, that we are spiritual beings. Just like our bodies need food and water, our spiritual bodies need scriptures, prayer, meditation, and fresh air. When we ignore our spiritual needs all else falls apart, but as another friend reminded me, President Ezra Taft Benson said, WHEN WE PUT GOD FIRST in our lives, all OTHER things will fall into their proper PLACE or fall out of our LIVES! (The Great Commandment – Love the Lord, Ezra Taft Benson,Ensign, General Conference Issue, May 1988)

I am recommitting to do just that, put GOD first in my life. The promise is amazing, if I do my part, everything else is life will be better, better than I can even dream.

We must put God in the forefront of everything else in our lives. He must come first, just as He declares in the first of His Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3).

When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities.

We should put God ahead of everyone else in our lives.
(The Great Commandment – Love the Lord, Ezra Taft Benson,Ensign, General Conference Issue, May 1988)

 

    16 August 2011

    The Problem at My House

    I wrote this a couple of days ago. I just never posted it. I’m posting it now so that my post tomorrow will make sense. I’m also go to set the post date to the date I should have posted it, even though I am posting it late or early Friday Morning I think I wrote it Monday or Tuesday.

    *****************************************************************************************************

     

    There’s a problem at my house, and I’m afraid the problem is me. I’m really struggling right now, with everything. I thought I could handle losing Holly. I really did. I happened to run into the Bishopbric the evening we found out there was no heartbeat – and I told them I would deliver the baby on Thursday, and I expected to be back to church on Sunday. Everything would be OK, I had been through this before.

    I was very obviously in denial. At that point, I still didn’t believe that the baby was dead, I was sure that there had been some mistake, that I had felt the definite movement that morning, and since then. I spent hours that night searching the internet for stories of ultrasounds that were wrong, and a heart beat was found at a subsequent ultrasound. And I found them, there was a shred of hope out there. Barely a sliver really, these had been ultrasounds and much earlier gestations, ones where a heartbeat had never been detected before . . . maybe the baby’s heart just hadn’t started yet and needed a bit more time.

    The next day my parents came by with doughnuts for breakfast and took the kids away for a previously planned workday at my sisters house. I requested a blessing before they left – and so my husband and my dad gave me a priesthood blessing. Brad anointed, and my Dad was voice for the blessing. I don’t remember most of what was said, but I’ll paraphrase the small tidbit that I do remember  “the baby was taken at this time so you can begin healing.” That was so not what I wanted to hear, but it was what I needed to hear. As I spent the day alone I was able to take a step on the healing process and move out of denial, to accept that I was indeed carrying a dead baby.

     

    Fast forward . . . and I mean FAST . . .  9 weeks. I haven’t hardly had a moment to breathe. Our vacation was amazing, and I was able to let go of all of the hurts, trials, and responsibilities of my daily life, well at least I left most of them behind, anytime you are responsible for 5, and intermingling almost constantly with 11 there is bound to be some stress on the mother. Maybe not let them go, but leave them behind. It was a nice break, and I didn’t want to come home and have to pick them back up again. Life, however must go on, and they are my burdens, and I must deal with them.

    Life has been so hectic, so crazy. So fun. Honestly, we have had an amazing summer. We have done so many fun things. Vacation. Family. Friends. Swimming. TV. Cousins. Family Reunion. Computer. The list goes on. I have really enjoyed planning fun things for my kids to do – and then doing them with them. It just got to be to much fun. No downtime, for the kids, or for me. Ok, not true. We slept every night. I slept a lot less than the kids. I needed “MY” time. I searched the web. I wrote blogs. I facebooked. I read books. I avoided dealing with my emotions. I surfed the web or played games until I was so tired that I could go to sleep without tossing and turning first. Sometimes it worked.

    I didn’t deal with the emotional issues as they came. One here – one there. A misspoken word. An imagined offense. An insensitive remark. Oh, the tears were there. I cried, huge, racking sobs. I yelled, and cryed to my husband. Why am I being treated this way. I wrote in my journal. Sometimes I prayed. It seemed easier to just ignore everything around me.

    I think the problem at my house is me – and I’m ready to run away. I need a break. I need to regroup. I need to find peace.

    15 August 2011

    Love begins . . . Grief never ends

     

    It’s been almost 9 weeks since the day of my ultrasound. The day I was looking forward to for so long, longer than you may think. I was pregnant, and my girls were old enough to really appreciate and learn from my pregnancy. I had invited both of my older daughters to come to the ultrasound with my husband and I. I was so excited, and so were they. We were going to find out if it was a girl or a boy, and I was going to start teaching them about the wonders of having a baby. We were going to watch videos on prenatal development, I was going to let them help me pick out new clothes, get the room ready, meet with a doula, tour the hospital, and a birthing center, etc. I was so excited, I was just waiting for the time when they could see the ultrasound, and feel the baby move.

    That time never came however. I’ve experienced many ultrasounds, including a few traumatic ones. I had it when the ultrasound tech stops talking, but keeps looking, and then suddenly they are gone, but will be right back. That is never a good sign. There is silence in the room. No one knows what to say. I pray, silently, and squeeze Brad’s hand. We’ve been through this before, several times. I plead, let it just be a small problem. MaryAnn scared us like this, but she is beautiful. Please let my baby be alive. Although, I’ve seen enough ultrasounds to be able to understand when they are looking for a heart beat – and the little lines that should have been wavy, weren’t. How can I go through this again. Oh, my girls are here. I had such high hopes, such plans. This will be the second time Rebecca’s been with me to hear the news that there isn’t a heart beat. We’d already seen this baby’s heartbeat 7n weeks ago, and I heard it only 4 weeks ago.

    That was brutal, the 16 week checkup, the doctor had such a hard time finding the heart beat. I had been so worried, and it seemed like it took 10 minutes for him to find the heart beat., and it hurt so bad, as he pressed the little wand into my lower abdomen over and over, here and there, trying to find the heartbeat while I tried not to breathe, and pray, and not cry all at the same time. Finally, thankfully, he found the heartbeat, and sent me home.

    The tech came back in a said that the doctor wasn’t available right away and to just keep waiting. I told her I didn’t want to wait, for her to just tell me what the problem was, that I had been through this before. Honestly, after that I don’t remember. I hope that in my silent prayer I had gotten to the “Please be with my girls” and “help us through this” and “Thy Will Be DONE”.  After that I was numb. And in denial. and shock. I wanted to know the plans, and go home and cry, by myself.

    Many parents are surprised by the emotions they feel after a miscarriage. They often feel shock and disbelief. Life seems unreal for a time. They express depression, anger (directed at themselves, their mates, a doctor, God, or even life in general), guilt, irritability, lack of interest in normal activities, sadness. Many experience irregularities in sleeping or eating. Some feel anger or sadness in the presence of babies or pregnant women. (Coping with the Heartache of Miscarriage, Janene Wolsey Baadsgaard, Ensign, July 1989)

    I've felt these feelings, asked these questions, found peace, and yet needed to revisit them again, and again, as I've had multiple losses, and anniversaries of those losses. I’ve learned how to handle grief, and forgotten. I’ve bottled up the emotions, and tried to move on, not realizing what that was doing to my attitude, my personality, my relationships, my soul. I’ve mourned. I’ve cried. I prayed. I’ve read many books. I’ve healed, some. I’ve found peace.

    I’ve brought more children into the world. I have learned to love them a little more. To cuddle them more often. To treat them a little more tenderly. I’ve become more Christ-Like. I hope. I’ve struggled. I’ve grown. I’ve had another miscarriage. I’ve regressed. I accepted, on some level, God’s plan for my life. I tried to bypass grieving with a blanket statement of faith. That didn’t help. The pain came out in other areas of my life, for nothing can ever be created or destroyed, just rearranged.

    It is birthday time again. Yesterday was Kyle's birthday, and usually we can celebrate his life, short though it was, but this year is so much more difficult, as the grave has been freshly dug to bury his sister with him, and we once again have to wait for the grass to grow and blend in with the surroundings.

    I will have to patiently answer questions like, "How come Holly doesn't have a headstone?" and "When will they be alive again?' I will have to be brave, and calm, and set a good example for my kids, even if I feel like laying down on the baby grass and crying and crying. October is still a long ways away, and we've already said "goodbye to Holly" and it wasn't even time to say "hello".

    Grief is not a behavior. Mourning is a behavior that occurs within grief. Generally people believe that when the socially recognized period of mourning has ended, so does grief. Grief continues, with episodes of mourning. (CiCi found this somewhere – I wish I knew where.)

    Grieving is never done. If it was it would be like saying we never loved. Doctrine and Covenants 42:45-46 tells us the mourning is appropriate, even when we know that death is part of the plan, and that our babies will be saved eternally.

    45 Thou shalt alive together in blove, insomuch that thou shalt cweep for the loss of them that die, and more especially for those that have not dhope of a glorious resurrection.

    46 And it shall come to pass that those that die in me shall not ataste of bdeath, for it shall be csweet unto them;

     

    The Encyclopedia of Mormonism states, “Mourning not only is appropriate; it is also one of the deepest expressions of pure love" (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Death and Dying).  We had more than a moment with Holly and Kyle, our love grows even in our grief, we strive to live our life so we can be with them, again, in the eternities.love begins in a moment copy

    10 August 2011

    If I Listen with My Heart

    I am constantly amazed at the wonderful resources produced by the church to help us teach our families, not only in print, but online as well.


    I am not musical, so these songs and videos are wonderful for me to use to teach my children the impact of great music in their lives. Here is the link the page with 8 songs that were printed in the Friend, with sheetmusic, audio, and sometimes video.


    This is the video that we watched during our afternoon devotional today.

    LDS.org - Friend Article - If I Listen with My Heart

     I say afternoon devotional because we haven't been getting out of bed and eating breakfast until about 10am, so it is afternoon before we are sufficiently prepared for devotional. After devotional I have been reading Prince Caspian to the kids, until I am to tired to keep my eyes open and then I lay down on the couch and take a nap.

    We have had a rough and very busy summer, and we are relaxing this week, however, everyone is starting to feel like they are ready for more structure, so next week will see a return to family breakfasts, and morning devotionals, and regularly scheduled bedtimes. I think it will be good for all of us.

    The Skin that I’m In

    I'm slipping back into a skin that I'm not sure that I want to be in. Ten days of vacation from home, school, grief, work, church, menus, callings, yard work, responsibilities, homeschooling, friendships, etc was nice. Not lazy, or boring, super busy as usual. I still had 5 kids to watch over and ensure that their basic needs were met, food, clothes, sleep and shelter, and their emotional needs were still paramount in my thoughts and actions.   It was nice to leave so many other concerns behind, although we went so many places and did so many fun, touristy types of things.

    As usual, carving out a bit of time for myself was difficult. I desire that time at night, but am often to tired to be real productive when I am winding down from a long day. I sometimes try to wake up early, but it never seems to fail that if Mom is awake early, and wants quiet time, so are the kids, of course, if their are chores to be done they might stay in bed all day.

    Part of me wants to just move on to a new normal, start over, be free from past worries. From past experience I know that ignoring the issues, or trying to hide them deep inside is not the answer. I need to deal with my issues in a productive manner, or they will deal with me in a non-productive and harmful way when I least expect it.

    c4

    There is no end in sight to the ocean, and it's force is powerful. You can stand on the sand, dip your ankles into the water, but it's pull is nearly irresistible. The waves call to you to come in, to feel the power of the tide. Heavenly Father's love is greater than the ocean. He wants us to come home to him. He sent his Son to save us from our sins the way the waves wipe out all traces of human presence in the sand. Forgiveness and Repentance are as available to us, as writing our concerns in the sand, and having them washed away by the LOVE, Peace and Hope that is found in the Ocean Waves.

    I know that I can forgive, I know that I can find that peace in my life, and I Heavenly Father wants me to, and I know that I need to, but it won't happen magically. I have to take the effort. I need to find the time to pray, to meditate, to write, to acknowledge my own contributions to pain that I feel. I need to write my fears, feelings, errors, and offerings of forgiveness in the sands of my soul and allow Heavenly Father to wash away the pain and infuse my soul with peace.

    I want to again find peace in my own skin, and have the energy and emotional strength to BECOME . . . more than I am.

    28 July 2011

    The Good Heart

     

    Thinking, but choosing not to feel, cold-hearted men live at a frantic pace, in a desperate pursuit of whatever it is they think they are missing in life. With no time for meditation, prayer, introspection, or reflection, they live as a dog, forever, chasing its tail. Remember one and all, the head is for getting and the heart is for giving. (The Good Heart, pg 43, by James Michael Pratt)

    This is how I’ve been living the past couple of weeks, at a frantic pace, running here and there with my kids and my family, trying to make sure that everyone else needs are met, but not taking time for the things that matter most to me. Even when I was up late into the night, because I needed time to myself, I wasn’t using the time wisely, unless playing computer games until 4am is considered a wise use of my time.

    At first I didn’t think that this part of the description fit, but the more I think about it, maybe it does, on some level.

    “Cold-hearted men . . . are not lost be delusional and hyper-rational, telling themselves there is no God; that there is no personal responsibility for their actions. Lacking conscience and convinced the brain does all the work, these poor souls make decisions based only on ‘I, me, and mine,’ injuring others as they do.”

    Outwardly I’ve never said, “There is no God” because I truly believe that I have a rock-solid belief in God, and in the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but . . . I have been acting, in my personal unseen life as if there is no God. I say this because my reading of the Book of Mormon has been almost non-existent, my prayers have been insincere and infrequent, daily devotionals with my kids have been irregular and lacking, and my introspective moments have mostly been framed around the writing of a blog post that hopefully will help to heal my soul and touch the lives of others as well.

    I have, however, been thinking a lot about myself, trying to deal with my grief, and all the other duties that come with the calling of Mother. In this delusional state I have injured others, and claimed that they have injured me, and that I was only protecting myself. During one of currently rare family scripture studies this week we read this verse,

    3 Nephi 6:13

    Some were lifted up in pride, and others were exceedingly humble; some did return railing for railing, while others would receive railing and apersecution and all manner of bafflictions, and would not turn and crevile again, but were humble and penitent before God.

    Turn the other cheek. Be Humble. What does penitent mean? Can I do this?

    24 July 2011

    Where’s My Elephant

    I could spend an hour and write something very truthful and emotional, but instead I think I’ll quickly tell a cute story. MaryAnn loves to play with the dog pieces from our game, Walk the Dogs. She lines them up, then knows them down, throws them on the floor, then picks them up. Yesterday she was playing with them, and kept asking, in her cute 3 year old, sometimes hard to understand voice, “Where’s my elephant.” Of course, she usually knew where it was, because she had hidden it, sometimes in the middle of the dogs, sometimes in the other room.

    Maybe that is way I woke up this morning thinking about this poem, and it has been on my mind all day long.

    I’ve seen several different endings to this poem – but I think I will leave those for you to seek out.

    While searching for the poem I also found this great article exploring the poem in more detail in the Hospice of the Piedmont’s Living with Loss Newsletter. Summer 2011.

    I have an elephant, do you?

    There’s an Elephant in the Room
    by Terry Kettering

    There’s an elephant in the room.
    It is large and squatting
    so it is hard to get around it.

    Yet we squeeze by with,
    “How are you?” and “I’m fine.”
    and a thousand other forms of
    trivial chatter.

    We talk about everything else –
    except the elephant in the room.

    We all know it is there.
    We are thinking about the elephant as we talk together.
    It is constantly on our minds.

    For, you see, it is a very big elephant.
    It has hurt us all, but we do not talk about
    the elephant in the room.

    18 July 2011

    This Tooth’s for Holly.

    My face is numb, I’m afraid of it not being numb, that’s not entirely accurate, I’m afraid of the process of getting from the present feeling of numbness to the normal state where I am not aware of my face. Pain is in the process.

    My regularly scheduled dental appointment was last week. It had been the 6 months since I had last seen my dentist and gotten a exceptional checkup with no cavities.A lot had changed in the last 6 months though and I knew going in that I had at least one tooth that had a cavity. Sitting in the dentist chair getting my teeth examined I finally realized why I was so upset about this dental visit. Hormones. Pregnancy Hormones to be exact. For some reason the hormones involved in pregnancy seem to wreck havoc on teeth.

    I was no longer pregnant, and the dentist never even knew that I was pregnant, yet in my teeth was the evidence of my pregnancy and I had to tell the dentist about Holly’s brief existence. It’s not easy to talk about death of loved one with those I know and love, but summoning the words and courage to tell people, close friends or virtual strangers, of the death of my baby is so difficult. Knowing that it is going to be a shock, and then watching their reaction, and then their insecurity in how to react is emotionally draining.

    I was a little more prepared today – a week removed from the discovery of the physical damage – and another week of emotional healing  - for the pregnancy made the experience fairly normal for a restorative dental visit.

    The analogy is poignant though,  Pregnancy has changed me, and my family, both physically and emotionally.Immediately following the discovery of the death of our unborn baby we were numb. We knew that because of the faith we have in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and of his loving atonement for us, for his death and resurrection we will have the opportunity to someday be with our babies again. This faith is what carries us through the trial, the numbness, the process of returning to a new normalcy. However, right now we are in the midst of the pain.

    We are coming out of the numbness, and the pain is manifesting itself in outbursts of anger towards each other. In avoidance of time together, in late nights, in excessive sleeping in, and extreme business so that we can avoid our thoughts, our feelings, or emotions. Yet they are still there, and if we don’t deal with them soon they may haunt us for the rest of our lives. Like my need to have faith in my dentist and the work involved in saving my pain I need to find a way to help my family heal from the pain that Holly’s death has caused in our lives. We may also need to revisit the experiences of the other losses in our lives, just like I have to go the the dentist again next week to have another cavity filled.

    17 July 2011

    Who Are the Brave?

    Rebecca, Isaac and I attended a Eagle Court of Honor this evening. It was a very neat event to honor the hard work and dedication it take an entire family to help a son become an Eagle Scout. Even though he is still a cub scout, Isaac was inspired to work towards Eagle Scout.
    I was impressed to see how many people turned out to honor the young man. There were a lot more people there than the family was expecting, and that was very neat. So often these days we all get wrapped up in our own little worlds and don’t take the time to reach out and connect with those around us. This young man, and his family have reached out though, and they have touched the lives of many people, and those people gathered tonight to honor them.
    The closing song was an ensemble of young men who sang with a fervor for the song that could be felt by those in the room. The spirit was strong, and the song was beautiful, and the young men were heroes who have yet to be tested and know their full strength. I wish I had a video or even a picture  of the young men that sang tonight, but since I don’t, I found a youtube video of the song, Who Are the Brave by J. Paul Williams and Joseph Martin.



    I love this quote found as the description of the song on Sheet Music Plus’s website.
    “This work . . . asks us to explore the role we all perform in our daily lives. Because of world issues, it is imperative for us to reflect on things around us.”
    Here are the lyrics to the song:
    Who are the brave? Those who go to war.
    Who are the brave? Those who fight no more.
    Those who gave their lives, protecting freedom's shore.
    Who are the brave? Those who serve in war.
    Who are the brave? Those who live with pain.
    Who are the brave? Those whose lives are plain.
    Those with healthy bodies, those protecting the unsure.
    Who are the brave? Those who serve the poor.
    Who are the brave? Those whose speech is free?
    Who are the brave? Those loving liberty.
    All those with heart and mind, protecting all they find.
    Who are the brave? Those who serve mankind.
    These are the brave.

    So beautiful. So true. We often think bravery as being something grand and life changing, as a warrior going to war, facing some tremendous challenge. That may be, but I know many people who are brave who,
      • have never gone to war, but have quietly suffered pain day in and day out for many years
      • who haven’t made national news for their brave acts, but have cared for a child, who will never grow up, for 30+ years.
      • who will never be famous, but have stood by their spouses through thick and thin, rough years, court appearances, and jail time
      • who haven’t died, but have given all of their life to raising their children, and loving and serving grandchildren and great-grandchildren
      • who will never be rich, but have worked hard their whole life, teaching the children of others
    THESE ARE THE BRAVE!
    The Unsung Heroes that quietly go about living their lives and blessing others. Many of them Mothers, but Fathers, Sisters, Brothers, Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, Friends, Neighbors, all of them can touch our lives and help us learn to be brave. Lets remember to honor them, the brave heroes that we see in our lives every day.

    15 July 2011

    Emotional Range of a Teaspoon

    Hermione-Harry-Potter-Order-Of-The-Phoenix
    I woke up this morning and thought of this conversation from Harry Potter, and how accurately it described my emotional state lately.
    “Well, obviously, she’ feeling very sad, because of Cedric dying. Then I expect she’s feeling confused because she liked Cedric and now she likes Harry, and she can’t work out who she likes best. Then she’ll be feeling guilty, thinking it’s an insult to Cedric’s memory to be kissing Harry at all, and she’ll be worrying about what everyone else might say about her if she starts going out with Harry. And she probably can’t work out what her feelings toward Harry are anyway, because he was the one who was with Cedric when Cedric died, so that’s all very mixed up and painful. Oh, and she’s afraid she’s going to be thrown off the Ravenclaw Quidditch team because she’s been flying so badly.”
    A slightly stunned silence greeted the end of this speech, then Ron said, “One person can’t feel all that at once, they’d explode.”
    “Just because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn’t’ mean we all have,” said Hermione nastily.- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. by J.K Rowling pg 459
    My emotions have been all over the place – and when people ask the standard, “How are you today?”, I have to pause and think, “Is this the time and place and person that I can open up and really share how I feel, or should I say something innocous like, “fine”, “ok”, ‘getting by” or, “still here”. I don’t want to lie, so I usually try to come up with a couple of words that could be accepted as flippant, or as a clue that I’m having a rough day, and then the the other person decide where to go from there in the conversation.
    I think Michael J. Fox sums up what I am trying to say much better than I can.
    So if you go up to someone and say, "How are you? Are you OK?" I mean, that tells me I'm supposed to not be OK. Just ask me if I'm OK, I'll tell you I'm OK...and take my word for it. Or I'll tell you I'm not OK...and then be prepared to reap what you've sown by asking me the question.
    Read more: Michael J Fox Interview - Michael J Fox on Family and Tracy Pollan - Good Housekeeping
    That’s the key – being prepared to reap what has been sown. I understand that most people aren’t prepared to deal with the rush of emotions that is bottled up inside me most of the time right now, and most of the time I don’t want to let them out either, but sometimes I do feel like I need to explode and that is when a listening ear, or at least a warm body is most appreciated.
    Tears are nothing to be afraid of, they are very cathartic . The presence of another being brings love and peace into the equation, and that person can help you to come full circle to where you can face the day again.

    14 July 2011

    Compassionate Friends

    compassionate friends logo
    I got a letter from "The Compassionate Friends" today. It is interesting that an organization that I've never heard of has sent me a letter offering their sympathy at the loss of my baby, but it is nice to get mail that isn't a bill. I do have to admit we have received a few sympathy cards in the mail over the past few weeks. They are both difficult and comforting to read.

    As I read the enclosures with the letter I also found it interesting that all the "grief material" is given to the ones doing the grieving. I don't feel like I need someone to tell me that grief is "painful and traumatic". I already knew that, already felt those feelings.
    However, it is comforting to know that others have felt similar feelings, and that my feelings of "isolation" are typical of a grieving parent and not a sign that I am friendless, unloved, and unwanted. Depression talks loud, and lies. I may know that they are lies in the logical part of my brain, but the emotional part talks a lot louder sometimes.

    After reading the brochure I wondered if "The Compassionate Friends" can figure out who I am - why can't they figure out who my friends and family are and mail them the brochure, or instead of the "Stillbirth, Miscarriage, and Infant Death” brochure they could mail them the "How Can I Help" brochure.

    If you don't have time to read the whole brochure - I will highlight the two ways that I could use help the most.

    — Be there. Run errands, help with household chores, provide child care, and help in whatever way is needed. Don’t say, “Call me if there is anything I can do.” That call will probably never come. Be aware of what needs to be done and offer to do specific tasks.

    Being there is important. If you aren't in my home you have no idea how I am doing, or what needs I have. If you don't ask, I probably won't tell you what I need, and to make my life a little easier you could look around and offer something specific. Since I still have 5 kids that eat and wear clothes I probably have a dishwasher that needs loaded or a load of laundry that needs folded. Even if you just sit in my kitchen and visit with me while I clean could be very helpful, if I am physically recovered. My mind is clearing now, but it was so fuzzy for awhile, I had trouble maintaining a thought long enough to articulate it. I'm spending so much time at the grocery store now though because I can't seem to plan more than a meal or two ahead, and so I'm constantly needed to go shopping for food for the next meal.

    — Give special attention to surviving children. They are hurt, confused, and often ignored. Don’t assume they are not hurting because they do not express their feelings. Many times siblings will suppress their grief to avoid adding to their parents’ pain. Talk to them and acknowledge their loss.
    I honestly don't know how my kids are doing. I don't know if they are grieving. I've tried talking to them a couple of times. I don't know if they are feeling ignored. I locked myself in my room quite a bit at first, only doing what was absolutely necessary that I do. Physically and mentally I needed time off, and emotionally I was on a rollercoaster, and didn't want to take it out on my kids, so retreating was probably the best option. Lately we've been having fun with our family that has been in town, but I'm beginning to realize that it has been to much fun. We have had very little down time, and almost zero family time. What little time we have has been taken up with trying to get our housework, bills, library books, yard work and etc. caught up. My kids have had a lot of fun, and some chores, but are they being emotionally supported? I don't think so, because even our family traditions of scripture study, family home evening, and family prayer of taken a huge hit amongst all the chaos.

    The brochures are really helpful, but they can only help so much. Real friends, as opposed to  unknown "compassionate friends" and virtual "facebook friends" would be welcome in my life.

    13 July 2011

    The Bill

    I dreaded opening “the Bill” from Relyea Funeral Chapel. I was afraid it would upset me – and so I walked past it several times this morning, I knew it was there, but was avoiding it. Finally, I decided to just get it over with, I was having a “good” morning, so this would probably be the best time to open it. I already knew that the total would be around $700 – so it wasn’t sticker shock – or was it. The total was only $590. I quickly scoured the rest of the page to find out how come it was so low. The funeral director had already explained that the costs would be minimal, the casket at cost, opening and closing costs at the cemetery, and the rest of the typical mortuary fees would be waived. (From what I understand it is typical for mortuary's to reduce the cost of their services for infant deaths).

    The bill read as follows:

    McCord Goldenfrost 12 Infant Casket – $150
    Interment Fee – Cash Advance – $440

    But wait, where was the cost for the flowers. I had ordered casket flowers a couple of days before the funeral. I had looked online and found the casket spray that I liked at Hope Blooms in Eagle. I loved the look of the Sweetly Rest Casket Spray, but I liked the colors in the Immorata Casket Spray. I emailed Hope Blooms and asked if they could do the Sweetly Rest with the lavender roses and for a small 12 inch casket. They were able to do what I wanted, plus suggested adding a ribbon with “Holly Marie” embroidered on it for a keepsake, and let me know they would make all the arrangements with the funeral home, including billing the funeral home. So . . .  did they get paid?
    flowers
    I calmly called the funeral home to double check my bill.  All is well, Hope Blooms was paid, after my bill was mailed, I would be getting a new statement at the end of the month. Relief.

    While I was on the phone with the billing office I asked if I could make payments. The reassuring answer was “yes, no payment plan needed, just pay what you can.” Double Relief. The experience I had dreaded, and already cried over,  twice, went so much smoother than I expected.

    It was still a good day. Maybe even a little better.

    12 July 2011

    Cinderella

    This is a beautiful song about a father and his experiences with his daughter as she grows up, and they grow up so quickly, and sometimes they are gone in an instant.



    Here is the Author and Artist Steven Curtis Chapman telling about his real life experience that was the inspiration for this song.


    02 July 2011

    Grandma is Coming Today

    MaryAnn was sitting on the couch next to me, and was singing over, and over,”Grandma is coming today.” I was a little confused, because Grandma had already been her, and left already. However, it was really cute, that she was singing. Rebecca walked into the room and said, “Do you know what she is singing. I said, “Yes” with a confused look on my face. Rebecca said, “It is an All-About Family” song.

    We love “The Allabout Family” and “Scriptures Scouts” and “Alexander’s Amazing Adventures” I mention all 3 of these together because the same artists wrote all of them. My kids have learned so much about the scriptures, the gospel, and good values by listening to these over and over. They have helped to create some really neat spiritual experiences in our home.

    Apparently they have been listening to the Allabouts the last 2 nights as all of the kids have been sleeping together on the trampoline. MaryAnn picked up on the song quick – and has been singing it.

    Unfortunately, I can’t find anywhere online where you can purchase the CD’s. I highly recommend them if you ever see them.

    MaryAnn and Grandma2 copy

    Grandma is Kisses,

    Grandma is Hugs,

    Grandma is coming Today!

    28 June 2011

    Sleeping under the Stars

    I am making memories with my little ones tonight, they wanted to sleep on the trampoline, so it is just Mommy, Kevin and MaryAnn, sleeping under the stars. It is moments like these I know that we  will treasure forever, and it makes all the rough times so worthwhile. I enjoy cuddling with them, and listening to MaryAnn sing, “Itsy Bitsy Spider” until she fell asleep.

    I kept trying to sleep, but to know avail, so I pulled out my laptop and kept scrapbooking. I love my laptop that Brad got me for my birthday. It has been so handy. The wireless connection even works good outside on the trampoline!

     

    In the Clouds - Laura Banasaik - ScrapOrchard<br />May Flowers - Gotta Pixel<br />Stampete Font

    25 June 2011

    Portland Vacation

    We are getting super excited for our vacation to Seaside Oregon. We leave in about 1 month.I finally found my pictures from our last vacation - I converted to a digital camera about a week after we got back from that vacation, so I had to have all the pictures scanned.

    Yin Template #253<br />Sweet Summer Sun - DeDe Smith

    It's been 10 years since this vacation. Isaac was only 4 months, Emily 2 years, and Rebecca 3.5. None of the kids remember seeing the ocean, going to OMSI, being surprised to see Multnohomah Falls and having time to stop and enjoy it. We loved finding new parks, camping out, and having Fruit Snack Attacks.

    I used this Yin Template #253 from Simply Yin

    30 April 2011

    Designing Debut

    I have been digital scrapbooking for a long time, and have never had the guts to try designing a kit before. However, my daughter, Emily, has been learning photoshop and has been wanting to design a kit for awhile now. We decided that since we both love all the kits from the LDS Blog Train that was a good place to start, so we each put together a little kit to share.



    It was a lot of fun, and challenging, to come up with my own ideas for papers, and to then to get to play around with some of the tools in photoshop that I don't really know how to use. I have no desire to go into designing anytime soon, but who knows, you may see more kits from Emily sooner, rather than later.



    Emily's Kit (click on preview to download, I hope)









    Nancy's Kit (click on preview to download, I hope)









    I'm not sure where you've come from to get here - but you can find another part of this kit at The Adkins Family Blog .





    To catch the whole train go to LDS Blog Train.





    Thanks for stopping for a minute.

    Dancing !

    I downloaded my video camera and found these cute videos of MaryAnn that the boys had taken, so I edited them together. Enjoy!


    video

    28 April 2011

    School Bus

    We were at Rebecca and Emily's volleyball game and MaryAnn walked up to me, hit me, and said, "school bus". She then proceed to hit me again, and again, each time saying "school bus". It took me a couple of times to figure out what she was saying, and when I laughed at her, and said, "school bus" back to her, she again hit me and said, "slug bug".

    I laughed and laughed and informed her that there were no school buses or slug bugs in the gym and she didn't need to hit me. Can you tell that we have been in the car a lot lately.

    07 February 2011

    Points!

    I started a new point system last month for the kids. It is an excel spreadsheet that basically gives them credit for everything that they do in a day, from brushing their teeth, to kitchen chores, to school work. It allows them to set weekly goals, and then track their progress towards earning them. All of the kids have old cell phones, no phone service, just fancy mp3 player, but it is also a mini computer with spreadsheet capabilities. So they can be seen walking around the house checking their handhelds to see what they need to do next.

    It is a great little system and the kids have really taken on more responsibilities for what they need to do, and I am doing a lot more praising and a lot less nagging.

    Last week, I found Emily in her bathroom at 10:30, way past bedtime, cleaning of all things. She was trying hard to earn her points for the day. We had been gone most of the day, and I had neglected to tell the kids that it was understandable that they hadn't earned their daily points, dinner at church doesn't exactly require the kids to do dinner dishes. I was able to praise her for her dedication to earning her points, and send her off to bed.

    However, my favorite story will probably always be this one -

    Brad had me ROFL (literally) tonight. I don't remember more than 1 0r 2 times in my life that I did that. I told Isaac he had to earn 5 more points to go watch TV with Grandma tonight so he rushed off and brushed his teeth, and did a few jobs in the bathroom. He came back and reported that he checked the toilet paper and the towels. I was good with that, but Brad went all wacko - I checked the toilet - it's dirty - POINT! SInk - Dirty - POINT! It was so hillarious. I was on the floor for nearly 15 minutes laughing and tearing and laughing again. It was so funny. Not only was Brad loud and obnoxious, he was making faces and jumping around! Of course, he was right also, Isaac did need to do a bit more than just check things, but I was working on the baby steps principle of lets start at least thinking about it before we get to stressed about it. Anyway, Brad took Isaac into the bathroom and laid down the point law - you must use CHEMICALS! to get a point! That of course started us all laughing again, everytime that Brad said, "CHEMICAL". It was a great time - and Isaac even survived yet another lesson on how to clean his bathroom.