Tuesday, November 10, 2009

just a general update

I got nothing. Really, I have been feeling so uninspired to write lately.

I thought I would just give you a general update on our lives.


Second grade is going okay for him. He isn't showing as much interest in reading as he needs to as this is really the last year they "learn to read." Next year, they "read to learn," so he needs to start picking up the pace on this. Getting the kids to read is a constant challenge. He is right at state requirements, but a little low for the class. Not the bottom, though, so he won't get any extra school help. Math is getting harder as they have started borrowing in subtraction. Gavin isn't great at subtraction - he always has to use the number line or his fingers. Brian's aunt, a dear, sweet, wonderful, lady who also happens to teach first grade, has offered to start coming over on Wednesdays to work with boys boys on school work a bit. I think this is a great idea to give them a fresh look at homework and to give me a break. And they really like Zach's grandma Deb.

Gavin is home sick today with a fever for the third time in about 7 weeks. He seems to get sicker these days than any of us. He still eats terribly, so I swear that his immune system is weakened. Sometimes he scares me because he always looks a bit peaked and gray to me.

Gavin is continuing counseling for a while. When I told him we were wrapping up our sessions because counseling is not supposed to be forever, he freaked out and started carrying stuffed animals around all the time and sleeping with Daddy's things again saying he can't stop because he is still sad. I explained it was okay to be sad and he will FOREVER be sad some, but he was okay. The counselor and I agreed that despite losing our insurance coverage and going to private pay, we will continue until it appears the decision comes more from Gavin. Also, the group where we attend counseling is introducing a support group for 8-12 year-old's who have experienced a significant loss. I think this will be great for Gavin.

First grade for Grant is going about the same as second is for Gavin. He doesn't love to read, but needs to do more of it. I have been very concerned about him academically, but have noticed in the last two weeks, he seems to be making great strides in his printing and some decent strides in his reading. His teacher informed me that is common after the first quarter. In the end, I did not do much academically with the boys all summer, so it is no wonder they would be a bit lost when school started again.

Grant is doing well with his grief. We all had a hard week the week of Brian's birthday. Halloween, the announced end of counseling, Brian's birthday all falling together took every one of us to a bit of a melt down stage. We all three had some crying episodes. And we were all there for each other. We all understand this need for each of us to express this in any way we can at often very random times. Grant is finished with his counseling, but he still sees the school counselor.

Grant is my protector. When he sees me crying, he sniffs, puffs up his chest, comes to me and immediately hugs me gently and firmly. After he does this for a while, he THEN asks me what is wrong. Do you have any idea how WISE and comforting that is?? To not have to explain why you are crying when you sometimes don't KNOW why you are crying anyway and to just have an unconditional loving pair of arms there to hold you and allow you to cry? I tell him he is never more like Jesus than when he is like that. Anyway, he usually waits til I calm down then gets me a tissue or asks if I need some water or writes me a note and brings it to me a few minutes later. He is so incredibly sweet inside that very rough outer surface. I love that boy.

I have been good. I struggle with creativity and motivation. I don't cook much anymore as I have stated in the past. I have been working out a lot trying to lose some of the 15+ pounds that I gained since 2008 that I had lost in 2006. I am making strides suddenly with that. I often forget to eat. Seriously, some days it is 2:00 and I realize I am starving because I have not eaten since yesterday at 2:00. I am trying to get better at eating at least little bits all day if not full meals.

I am leading a Bible Study now to my group of women from my Mom's group at church. I am very excited and we will have our first discussion on Thursday. Please pray for me. I have never led a Bible Study from beginning to end. It is called Wisdom for Mothers. It concentrates on your relationships in life starting with God, your spouse, your children and your service - IN THAT ORDER. I am super passionate about your relationships being prioritized IN THAT ORDER and especially a mother's relationship with her spouse. It seems we as moms often fall into the trap of putting our spouse on the back burner and focusing on our children.

I have been doing well in my grief. Not sure what the holidays will bring. I may attend a seminar this weekend put on by Hospice about tips on how to handle the holidays. As my wonderful dear wise counselor has stated, this year is my road map. I am figuring out what moments in time are difficult, what events or situations remind me of Brian, and what works for handling it all.

I have been doing a lot of reflecting on "what was I doing this time last year." My counselor says this is very normal. I have been a bit flooded with emotions around this time. It was last October that we found out the tumor had been growing despite the second chemo. It was this week last year where I had the worst, then best, then worst, then best week of my life ever.

It was the first week of November last year when we thought Brian was dying. He had excruciating headaches, loss of balance, little blackout spells and confusion. He had pressure in his ventricle and after a whirlwind 3-1/2 day stay in the hospital, he had a shunt installed and walked out of the hospital a new man who lived over 4 more months.

It was during this hospital stay that my mom took the boys to her house for the weekend because Gavin had a fever and we didn't want to risk his getting Brian sick while we were so unsure what was happening in the hospital - making this horrific decision to spend time apart not knowing how much time Brian had left. Brian got home from the hospital on Saturday afternoon. I picked up the boys on Sunday morning. Gavin was still so sick - going on 4 days now with almost no food or water intake. Then, at 2:00 am, I could no longer handle watching him moan and shiver with a 104 fever. I was not waiting for the 8:30 am office to open. I knew he needed more. We went to the ER and he was admitted a few hours later after he kept nothing down and his fever could not easily be controlled.

Little did I know when I left that hospital at 1:00 on Saturday, I would be back 19 hours later for another 3-1/2 day stay WITH MY SON and I would once again have to decide which family members to spend time with. You can't imagine how incredibly painful that is for a mom, a wife and a caregiver. Just thinking about it right now floods me with tears. My counselor says this is so normal. She likens it to a soldier's post traumatic stress disorder. At the time, you are in survival mode just doing exactly what you need to do to get through the day and take care of those that need to be taken care of. Then, you think back on it and can't believe you survived it. It haunts you.

Anyway, other than that, things are going well. Still building my road map. Still figuring out trigger points. Coming to terms with moving on, but with little guilt. Praying for guarding of my heart as I consider dating again. Trying to rekindle friendships and family relationships. Starting some new friendships. Beginning to think about what to get the boys for Christmas and what new traditions we can begin. Contemplating. Analyzing. Playing. Praying. Living.



  1. Thanks for the update! I continue to pray for you all.

    My son, who is in first grade, showed absolutely zero interest in reading this year until my mom bought him the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. Now, in less than three weeks he has almost finished all four of them! I am shocked and amazed.

    I always knew he was a good reader and now I know he actually ENJOYS reading...as long as it is something HE wants to read. Perhaps your boys would be interested in them as well. Just a thought...

  2. May God Bless you Angie, and your precious Grant, and Gavin! How wonderful that your son can comfort, and protect you in your sadness. As I have said before...Stay strong and courageous!

  3. Thank you for the update. You are a great mom to your sweet boys. Remember to eat!

    I love that your little guy comforts first, asks second. What great training for relationships w/ women!

  4. I love the order in your Bible study group, too. I try to remember that. I appreciate the reminder and knowing that it's a biblically supported order. Sometimes an illness or other urgency throws off that order, but otherwise following it makes our world a better place in so many ways.

  5. I hope looking back at all you've been through makes you appreciate your strength.

  6. I have to echo the first commenter about the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. My 4th grade son had NEVER EVER EVER read an entire book until about 6 weeks ago when he won 1 of those books at school one day. He brought it home & read and read and read. Within 24 hours, he had read the entire book & was begging for the next one. In the past several weeks, he's read every one of the books & is half way through the "make it yourself" book.

  7. Angie,
    You continue to amaze me. You are walking a path that would bring down a strong "man" with wisdom and the grace of God. You rock, lady!

    You are in my thoughts and prayers as well as for your sons. They are a shining example of Brian.
    Have a great day in the Lord, Karen W. in S.W. Ohio

  8. Angie - you are my hero.


  9. Thinking about you and your family. Can't imagine how tough this must be.

  10. Diary of a Wimpy Kid books are easy to read and according to my kids are really funny. Captain underpants is also a good easy to read series. Grant my enjoy working on starfall.com. It is a great website that has lots of activities for building a strong Reading base.

  11. I had never thought of a road map, but it makes a lot of sense. I am glad you are surrounded by smart people.

    As for the reading, we are dealing with that as well. We finally hired a tutor for Reid in first grade because he was slipping behind. It is amazing what a difference it makes to have an extra set of eyes and ears that can make suggestions for sneaking learning in. It has been really helpful, not only in reading, but in relating to the way he learns.

    As for Christmas, we are going ALL LEGO this year. I suspect that might be the same at your house! Those silly obsessed boys.

    I would think your creativity would increase as your brain clears a bit...it might even come back bigger than ever.

  12. You ROCK!!!!

  13. You are a survivor, and a thriver.

    Isn't it amazing, that it all passes through us, through out minds and hearts? The big things (grief, relationships...and the small things, what to get for Christmas). Wow. That is living life.

  14. Angie,
    I wish I could find the words to comfort you and give you strength to keep up the fight. I pray for you and the boys often. You have been blessed with the gifts of undieing love, the opportunity to love your soul mate, to have 2 beautiful kind sons and a huge family all around that adores you. I know this will not make the pain go away but I hope that it lets you see that there is good all around you too. And to let you know that we are still here for you. We love you. Jill