Wednesday, September 30, 2009

disrespectin' ya

Dear Brian,

I have gradually been working my way through some of your personal belongings. I have divvied your coveted Grateful Dead tie-dye amongst your brothers. I have saved some of your caps for the boys, yet passed on a few others to your family and friends. I have gone through your sweatshirts and business shirts and tee shirts trying to find good homes for those worthy of keeping. I have boxed up others in preparation for a trip to good will some day. Yet still many things remain. The boys find treasures every so often that they play with or sort through or simply oooohh and aaaaahhh over. Your shoes found a home this weekend with Uncle Paul - one of the few size 9ers in the family. Plus, he is equally as bow-legged as you, so I joke that they are already properly worn in for him.

I am trying really hard to find suitable homes for your tangible belongings while honoring your memory with their distribution. I enjoy thinking of someone to pass a certain item to. I enjoy the reaction of the recipient.

Also, I enjoy finding new purposes for the space. Your walk in closet has become home to the pack n play thus providing the new little baby girls in our family a private room. Your wardrobe has become part linen closet. Each time I replace one of your storage spaces with a new item, I think of it as practicality and sometimes I even think it would make you smile.

However, today, I disrespected you in this sense. After hospice disposed of your medicines and I disposed of expired vitamins, supplements and other over-the-counter products that served no purpose and held no nostalgic value, I found a new purpose for your toiletries drawer.

Forgive me.


Sunday, September 20, 2009


ONE... TWO....








I love you,


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

set in stone

Dear Brian,

A few weeks ago, I was having an especially hard day. So many things reminded me of you and your absence was nearly unbearable. I won't recap the day because it is in the past. One thing that I did do that day, as I was aching for you, was to stop at the cemetery to see your grave.

I had ordered your headstone in June when I finally felt up to doing it. In July, I received a printed copy of what the stone was expected to look like. I had not received anything stating that the stone had arrived or was in. That day I went to visit your grave, it was in. Judging from the amount of grass seedlings that had sprouted around it at the time, I would venture to say it hadn't been in for much more than a week.

I am not a huge cemetery person. I don't visit my grandparents' graves or my aunts' and cousin's graves. Yet, there is something soothing about having a quiet place to go and remember you. A place to see your name.

At least it is now.

I had no idea how much seeing your name in stone would impact me. I spiraled that entire day and for much of that week. I was at wit's end with the kids. I cried all the time. Everything was hurting my feelings. I felt excluded and lonely and awkward in just about every social situation, including familiar settings. You are missing and as much as I thought I was doing okay, seeing that stone knocked the wind out of me for a while.

I was lamenting to the kids' counselor that week about the issues I was having with the kids and how I felt so inadequate to handle them as I was so sad myself. I was just constantly weepy. I explained about this issue and that issue and this concern and that concern and then seeing the tombstone the other day... At which point in time he interrupted me and said, " Did you just say you saw the tombstone for the first time a few days ago?" Yes. "Well, you need to understand that is a whole new step of the grieving process. It opens old wounds. It can cause fresh ones. It is a very significant event seeing your loved one's name staring back at you from the ground."

THAT gave me freedom to regress. From that moment on, I felt normal again for feeling the way I did. I realized that reliving those last few days of your life in my head was not some sort of sado-masochist self-torture, but rather an opening of some old wounds. I began to heal again.

Last week, the perpetual candle and flower stand was placed at your site, too. Ed and Jan had visited and told me it was ready to be lit and asked how I wanted to handle it. I decided to take the boys, add some flowers to what your parents had placed and have one of them light the candle.

We went last Wednesday. I didn't know how they would handle it. I didn't know if it would stir in them the same emotions it did for me. So, I approaced it with gentleness, caution and preparedness.
So prepared, that I forgot the lighter. We had to walk over to the office, borrow a lighter and return it when were finished. Just another example of how NOTHING in my life seems to go smoothly.

The boys did great. Gavin lit the candle much to Grant's chagrin. Sometimes, I have to just let Gavin be the older one. Grant compensated by taking random pictures with the camera. Instead of pitying ourselves realizing this is how MY 6 and 7 year old spent a mild September after-school afternoon, I am beginning to embrace that this is a part of our lives now. I can only pray that events like these will give our boys a greater appreciation for life thus developing within them a strong character.

Grant took these two shots:

your sitejust a few yards away is this statue

The kids seemed fine, but because I knew how this could affect them, after we prayed for protection and guidance from Christ, after we prayed for peace and happiness to fill our lives since we all have holes in our hearts for Daddy, I gave them both one of these:
your favorite WHITE CHOCOLATE Toblerone. Gotta be white.
I wanted them to have a fond ending memory of this experience and something to take home that reminded them of you. Something fun. Something to make them smile. Something that I can only find at one place in all of Peoria.
I love and miss you, Brian.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

desktop prisoner

Dear Brian,

When you were alive, I found more time and energy and creativity to update this blog. Strange how that worked. When you were alive, the pace was slow, laid-back, relaxed. Life was about spending time with you - enjoying your presence, squeezing out every last bit of BRIAN enjoyment we could muster. Now things have changed. School has started. The boys are in some activities. Soccer starts this week. Homework dominates every weekday afternoon. While all these events were occurring last year, something still felt simpler and slower about life in general. Maybe it was simply the presence of YOU.

There was something about being on this computer (now 5 years old), that was an escape for me. We do not own a laptop, so when I would blog or come do my research or keep our home finances up to date on this desktop, it was an excuse for me to get away from the pain of watching you die. It was also a chance for me to give you one-on-one time with others. It was also, all too often, a distraction keeping me from spending time with you. We spoke often of getting a laptop. We thought maybe I could still do all my screen-time hobbies, yet go downstairs and watch some DVR'd CSI or 30 Rock with you. I am so thankful that God did not have us buy that laptop. If I would have had a laptop, I would have been constantly distracted when I was in your presence. As you know, it doesn't take a lot for that to happen anyway. When I was with you, this computer was in another room, so it was just YOU AND I or just OUR FAMILY time when we were together. Little distraction. For that, I am grateful.

But, the mood is changing. The evenings can be lonely once the kids are in bed. And I find myself not enjoying spending time in this room chained to this desktop to continue the same activities that so recently brought me enjoyment. So, this weekend, we are having a garage sale. Whatever proceeds I earn from this endeavor will officially go towards a laptop. It is time. Yet, even this small step feels like I am dishonoring you for some reason.

On the bright side, the boys will be so happy that they get some computer time. Mommy is not a very good sharer.

I miss you, Brian. I love you.