We had a busy week. It started off with another scholarship banquet for Halea. Another free dinner and some free money. Just another day in the life of Halea. She has really set herself up perfectly for college. I am so proud of her. I hope that the other kids will learn from her example. She has put forth a lot of effort, but it has all been worth it.
We have also been preparing for our Remembrance Walk this week, so that took up some extra time, but everything came together pretty easily. We have it down to a science so I usually don't get too stressed about it. Until I was driving home on Wednesday night and I started getting really nervous about what to say to everyone. Either Melanie or I usually say a few words, something inspiring for the bereaved. Well what was I going to say to them, I am one of them!! I felt a little panic settle in me and I thought about calling Mel and asking her to do that part. Then a calm came over me and I knew I could do it, and that I should. There have been so many good people from this group that have prayed for us, have been concerned for us and have done acts of kindness for our family. How could I not stand and thank them and be an example. I needed to practice what I preach. I didn't know what I would say, but I knew that I would be able to do it, with the help and guidance of the spirit.
Thursday was our Pinewood Derby for scouts. This is a big deal for the boys so a few of the ladies and myself decided to make cute treats. We went straight to Pinterest of course. People are insanely creative. I don't know how I did not get one bit of that. Luckily I can copy others talents:) I ended up doing these little candy bar cars and the other ladies did stoplight brownies. They all turned out cute. I brought my treat down to the church before Lance got home, so he didn't see what I had made. When we got to the church he and another lady were looking at the treat table. The lady made a comment about the cars being cute and I said that I had made them. Lance said "really, you made those". Nice. I'm not sure if he even tried to hide his surprise. I am hoping he only thought that I wouldn't have made that much effort to make something cute for scouts. That's the story I am sticking with.
This will be our last pinewood derby with Holden. When they turn 11 they move on to Scouts. I really didn't shed one tear. When we found out that Hilary was a girl, and then Tatum too, there was such relief. NO SCOUTS! Yay. It just sort of drives me a little crazy. Not to offend, because I know there are people out there that love it. I just struggle with the constant awards and belt loops and silly cheers. And that, my friends, is why I am a den mother. I am going to work on my attitude.
I decided that I was going to dedicate Friday to getting everything ready, the house cleaned, the lawn mowed, errands done, etc. so that when the Remembrance Walk was done on Saturday that I could relax and that things would be somewhat nice around the house for Sunday. I get a little irritable if the house isn't tidy. So I was trying to prepare myself to have a nice Mothers Day, no matter what. It has been raining off and on all week so I knew that the grass would be a little wet. When I was driving the kids to school it started drizzling. I got most of the yard done before it started really raining, but the lawn mower was having a hard time. I was glad that I persisted because it was the only time that I would have had to get it done. Such a great feeling when it is done! Then I moved to the inside. I washed my sheets and cleaned my bathroom. Swept the floor, cleaned up the kitchen. I had one of my micro bursts of energy, so I really tried to capitalize. I got a lot done.
When Lance got home that night we went out to dinner to the restaurant we went to the day before Tatum had her big seizure. It is still a little strange to go there. He and I really need to be able to spend time together. Sometimes I feel like we are on different planets, occasionally walking next to each other. I feel like our grief has been so different this time. We grieved together when Trevin died. Because we have so many other people in our lives and other distractions, it has been harder to grieve together. It is one of my goals to work on that.
When we got home I started working on getting a few things ready for the walk. I was trying to think about what I needed to say, but nothing was really coming together. I knew that it would come, I am just a little impatient. I was going to leave a few things to morning, but I decided to get everything done so I could concentrate on just getting my thoughts together. I was really glad I had made that decision.
This morning I got up a little before six so I could go run. I get really good thinking done when I run. Zoe and I headed out a little after six. The thoughts started coming about mile 2. I really felt like I needed to just talk about the basic things that I have known about grief, that have been reconfirmed over this past year. Several points came to my mind. It was a beautiful morning. I was so grateful for a kind Heavenly Father who never disappoints me when I put forth my own efforts to accomplish something good. Grateful for guidance from the Holy Ghost. When I got home the thoughts just flowed. It took me about 20 minutes to get everything down. Check.
A little before nine Lance and Halea and I headed out. We picked up the balloons, all 120 of them. It made me wonder what we will do next year if we sell the van. It was literally full all the way to the back of the van.
It was a little chilly at the park. I was really grateful that it wasn't raining. I love this day. It is like a big reunion for Melanie and I. We get to see all of these amazing families that are surviving. The love and the power that is felt when they gather is pretty incredible. I know that our children look down on us and they are proud of what we are all doing. We are brave and courageous and strong, even when we don't want to be. That power is tangible on this day. I am going to include the talk that I gave at the end of this post so if you were there and couldn't hear or if you just care to read it you can. It was a great morning.
Afterward our friend from the hospital foundation that helps us every year met us at the hospital and we took the leftover muffins and fruit to the staff on L and D and the NICU. I love those people. They have all been so good to me over the years, especially this past year.
The rest of my day was super lazy. I came home and took a little nap. I can't remember the last time I took a nap. It didn't take long for Hilary to discover that I was sleeping. She came over and handed me my phone and put my glasses on me, while I was sleeping. She was asking me questions, etc. The other kids were being super noisy in the kitchen, so I finally just gave up. In my Mother's Day weekend preparation I had picked up a take and bake pizza from Costco so I wouldn't have to have no answer to the dreaded question, "what's for dinner?" Does anyone else hate that question as much as I do? It makes me so mad every time they ask it, which is several times a day! I especially hate it when I don't know what's for dinner!! Another thing I am trying to change my attitude about.
I got in my pajamas about 7:00 and started watching a little Dateline when there was a knock at my door. It was one of my friends with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and some macaroons! She said she thought tomorrow might be hard so she wanted to do something nice for me. My cousin had just sent me a text about 10 minutes before, wishing me a happy Mother's Day because she also realized that it might be a hard day. How are people so thoughtful? I am really not that thoughtful. Another thing that I should try to improve in myself. I am really grateful and lucky for the good friends and family that I have. I feel pretty undeserving, but right now I will take it.
I hope that through my actions I am showing Heavenly Father that I am trying, even when I don't want to, because I love Him and His son and I know that through them I can do anything. I hope that I am being the best representative of them that I can be. I want to be more fit for Heaven so that when all is said and done I can be with my family forever.
Here is my little talk from this morning:
I felt like I needed to stand and thank everyone. I want to first thank Melanie and Dennis. Like my family, Melanie and her family make many sacrifices to participate in this beautiful program. She has been a good friend, an example, a support and passionate for our cause. Especially this past year she has been a rock for me to depend on. What can I say about Dennis? He has been our biggest proponent and friend. Always a support for what we do, and we almost lost him this year with some health issues. What a great reminder of how fragile life is and what is really important. We also wanted to thank everyone here who has allowed Melanie or myself to come in and be with your family during your most difficult time. It is a blessing in our lives and we are grateful for your willingness to share that time with us.
I don’t want this to be about me, but I feel like I would be remiss if I did not thank all here who have sent prayers heaven ward in this past year for my family. I have felt and seen the power of prayer. I know that it is real and I want all of you to know that we have been carried by your prayers.
Over this past year I have had the opportunity to reflect on and reconfirm my understanding of grief. I wanted to share a few things that I know and some thoughts that I have had.
First, grieving women are certifiable. I can’t speak for men, because I am not one, but I know that hormones, emotions and grief are a volatile cocktail to be reckoned with, and it makes us literally a little crazy. I think that if we can understand this fact, we will be kinder to ourselves and to those around us. We need to reevaluate our expectations of what we can and cannot do while we are in the throws of grief. Sometimes you just have to survive, and that’s OK.
Second, there are no words. There is nothing that anyone can say that will ever take away the sting of losing a child. Period. What goes along with this, however, is that people are going to try and say words. Why do they try, usually because they love us and they want to help. If we accept this, the words will not offend us so much. I do know that our own words to ourselves can help. I am a big believer in “self talk”. I believe what you say to yourself is what you become. I know that if we speak kind words to those around us and especially to ourselves it can empower us to become a much better person, more prepared for heaven .
Third, everyone grieves differently. There is no manual, no step by step, no way around. We all must walk through the grief, and we all do it in our own unique way, and that is OK.
Fourth, grief is physical. There were many days in this past year, and I am sure you can all relate, that I thought I might literally stop breathing or my heart would stop. During those times it felt like it would have been a welcome relief. Along with this, I know how resilient our physical bodies and our human spirits are. We are all here. We can survive those excruciating, heart breaking times.
The last thing that I hope you especially remember is the reason that we all gather here. It is because we have lost a child, a part of ourselves, but really it is because we have loved. If we do not love, we do not grieve. Someone brought me an invite to a baby shower a few days ago and it had a Winnie the Pooh quote on it “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart”. I thought this was most appropriate for how we all feel. I also loved the quote that Melanie found to go on our favor today. It says
“grief never ends, but it changes, it’s a passage not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith, it is the price of love.”
I hope today that as we read our children's names and release the balloons that we remember the loss, but celebrate the love.