Friday, September 11, 2015

The day I yelled at my mom.

When I was a kid, my sister and I were never allowed to talk-back to our parents, let alone raise our voices at them.  And, to be quite honest, I can't remember ever breaking that rule, until the evening of September 11th, 2011.

Catelyn's dad and I had watched the staff rush in.  We watched them determine next steps.  We scurried with them down the hallway.  We were there (okay, I actually sat in the hallway) when Catelyn had her CT-scan.  We sat on a bench in the P-ICU while a Dr. told us something important, and the only part I can recall is him following up with, "I'm sorry I was so blunt," to which I replied, "It's okay."

Our emotions were running on high as we were moved into a different room to make phone calls.  Our nurse, Bill, stood with us.  My mom answered my call.  I cannot recall exactly how I started our conversation, but I quickly moved to, "Catelyn's in trouble."  My mom questioned, "What do you mean?" My only response was to basically repeat myself, much louder, with, "SHE'S IN TROUBLE!"  Bill gently approached me and asked to speak with my mom.  I gave him a brief introduction and handed the phone over.

My poor mom.  Never, until that day, had I ever thought of raising my voice at her, and yet, in one desperate moment, I did the very thing I was raised not to do.

As the memories of September 11, 2011 roll through my mind, I cannot help but feel badly for having yelled at my mom.  And yet, I believe, it's actually because I knew it was safe to let my emotions fly with her, that I did it.

Love you mom.  Thank you for letting me yell.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A lovely goodbye

"Should I wear my new lace turquoise dress, or does it look too cheerful?" I questioned myself as I readied for Audrey's celebration of life this morning.

I settled on a black and white polka-dot dress and scurried out the door.

Heaven forbid I be late.

Thirty minutes before the service started, I pulled into the parking lot of the church.
I parked my car, noticing nearly every spot was filled, and sat a moment.  I finally took a deep breath and tried to compose myself.  I knew it was going to be hard.

I had already been reliving so much of Catelyn's death within the last week and I knew that this event would dredge up more memories one of the hardest events of my life.

I got out of my car.

As I walked towards the church, I noticed the bubbles dancing in the air as they left the machine producing them.  "Ooh, Catelyn would love this, and I bet Audrey does too," I thought to myself.

I entered the church and saw many of the familiar faces who grieved alongside us before.

It was different today, though.  I felt like an intruder at this funeral.  I was worried that my presence would detract from those most affected by Audrey's death.  Even though Audrey's mom called me two days ago to ensure me that I was, not only welcome, but, also still a part of the family, and encouraged to sit with them at the visitation and service.

I found some amazing people, friends of the family, who offered me to sit with them.  That felt more comfortable, so I accepted.

I tried to look at the bulletin in my trembling hands, in an effort to lessen any unexpected surprises.  I couldn't focus.

Audrey's sweet smiling face was on the cover.  I tried to ground myself a little by placing my feet flat against the floor, pressing them firmly into my shoes, and taking a cleansing breath.  It didn't work, but was worth the try.

I looked up and saw Audrey's parents and brothers at the front of the sanctuary.  I noticed her tiny coffin covered by a beautiful quilt, just as it had been at the visitation the night before.

I remembered a few items placed in Catelyn's coffin.  A blanket, a plush baseball, perhaps a toy kitty cat?  The exact items suddenly seemed blurred in my mind.

Music began playing.  As Audrey's immediate family exited the sanctuary, I noticed the funeral director close the door to the sanctuary. The procession would begin momentarily.

I froze.  Immediately I felt a wave of guilt.  Audrey is my niece, and yet I wasn't capable of partaking in her service as a family member.  Why? What was wrong with me.  "It's probably for the best," I thought.  "I may become overwhelmed and bolt anyway."

We stood.

The family entered.  Mother, father, and brothers, followed by grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and others.  I watched them all walk gently past me.  I could feel their brokenness within my own heart.

We sat down.

The pastor began speaking.  I tried to focus.  We read a unison prayer.  Then it was time for special music.

I smiled for a moment.  I knew the couple from my own church. The female musician actually helped with Catelyn's funeral music. I thought about what a hard job it must be to pretend like you aren't hurting as you perform at any child's service, let alone two within one family.

We said an adaptation of Psalm 23.

Then Edelweiss was sung.  (Yes, the song made famous by "The Sound of Music".)  I have heard this song at many a Swiss funeral, but never has it crushed me so.  The first round was sung in German, and I thought, "This will be okay."  I no more than started with "Edel" and began to lose my composure.  I had sung this very song for Catelyn on sleepless nights when she was an infant.  Tears poured down my cheeks, as if someone had turned the handle on a faucet.

The pastor provided a lovely story about two caterpillars readying to turn into butterflies. I felt the older one was Catelyn, even though the pastor indicated that one was a boy.

Soon the service was over, and the blanket covering the casket was removed, folded, and handed off to Audrey's parents.

I remembered receiving Catelyn's blanket.

I watched as my sister and brother-in-law  and their family exited the building.  I remembered the anguish I felt when I was in their shoes.

The crowd exited into the parking lot where a butterfly release took place.

What a lovely way to say goodbye.  As I turned my back to the crowd, I caught sight of one butterfly dancing and fluttering amongst the bubbles.  I felt that was a shout out from my dear sweet girl and her cousin.

I sought out many of the people that I knew.  We shed tears, hugs, and kind words with one another, and before I started to turn into a soggy bowl of mush, I walked to my car.

Feeling as though my own heart had shattered, I called my dad to comfort me.  He listened to me cry for awhile, and then reminded me I wasn't alone.  When I was finally less emotional, I let him go and began the drive home.

It was so hard watching people I care so deeply for having their hearts shredded to pieces.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

I'm at a loss

Catelyn was born on December 30, 2009.  She unexpectedly died on September 11, 2011.  She was 20 months old.  It was the worst day in my life, thus far.  I never envisioned anything could come close to matching the pain I felt that day.

And then, two days ago, I received a message from my ex-husband notifying me that Catelyn's cousin Audrey, my niece, had passed away.

Audrey was born on May 1, 2015 and unexpectedly died on June 16, 2015.

She was 3.5 months old.

Immediately, I felt that seemingly endless, gaping hole in my heart reopen.

There aren't words.

I've tried.

I've tried telling my former sister-in-law and brother-in-law how sorry I am, but it's not enough.

I want to hold them while they cry.  I want to scream with them.  I want them to pound on my chest when they can't take it anymore.  I want to sit with them.  I want to do their laundry, wash their dishes, feed their other children and pets, buy their groceries, mow their lawn, build them a memorial garden...

Honestly, I don't even like doing most of those things for myself, but if I could, if it would change anything, I would do everything on that list and more to lessen their pain.

I remember what they did for us....cut a lock of Catelyn's hair, yielded questions about what happened, helped write thank you notes, arranged balloons for a release at the cemetery site, took pictures of each plant/flower/gift we received at the funeral, helped assemble picture boards, distracted us, sat in silence with us, encouraged us....

Right now all of these items seem like an insurmountable task, and yet, they did it all, with help, of course, nearly four years ago, when we were in their shoes.

I still don't know how they managed to complete so many painful tasks....

...and to be honest, they probably don't know how we did what we did either.

Somehow it seems harder this time.

And here I sit, so mad at myself, because instead of rallying in their honor, I feel almost paralyzed by the intense flood of memories and emotions swooping over me.

Why can't I do for them even a tiny portion of what they did for me?  I've been through this.  I understand the pain, and yet I'm so stunned.

I feel completely helpless.

I semi-comprehend what is happening around me, but I have no idea how to help.

I'm at a loss.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


I am definitely struggling right now.  I feel like I am failing Catelyn's legacy.  Her fifth birthday is in about three weeks, and I haven't done anything to recognize it.

Ideally, I wanted to do something thoughtful and amazing for other children, such as donate toys, books, etc. to the children's hospital; or purchase a bunch of angel tree gifts in her name.

When it comes to celebrating Catelyn's life, I feel like the sky's the limit.  I often forget that there are boundaries to my abilities to give.  I can't do it all by any means, and honestly, I shouldn't want to do it alone.  This is partly why I'm kicking myself right now.  I haven't done anything in her name, and, worse yet, I haven't even spread the word reminding family, friends, my blog readers, or strangers either.

I feel like a crummy angel mom.  How is anyone else going to remember her if I don't remind them?

I bawled my eyes out last night thinking about all of this.

Of course, there are the 'worldly angels' who won't forget my baby girl.  They will do things to honor and remember her on Christmas, on her birthday, even daily.  It just feels like I need to do more.

And it's me who puts the intense pressure on myself....

Honestly, Catelyn isn't disappointed in me.  She doesn't feel like I've failed her.  She loves me whether I am saying her name, sharing her memory, whether her Christmas stocking is stuffed with written notes of good deeds done in her honor, or it sits empty on a hook somewhere.  It's my complex.

I think I feel if I could just do enough in her memory that maybe she could come back to me.  Silly, perhaps, but my guess is that a lot of bereaved parents can relate.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Some people's kids...

This is actually a message of love, contrary to how the title may sound (especially for those who know me personally).

Last weekend, I was hanging out with a dear friend, whose daughter, let's call her "R", needed some help with homework.

I volunteered to look at 1st grade math problems on a worksheet, which "R" rocked out in a matter of minutes - she's very smart!  Once the worksheet was complete, it was time for reading.  "R" only needed to read for 10 minutes, but quickly, 10 minutes became 25 minutes, and then mom said it was pajama time.

"R" didn't want to stop reading, but I promised her that if she took a break, and put her jammies on, we could finish reading in her room.  She was a little hesitant, but soon she had her jammies on and I was piling heaps of blankets on top of her because she said she was very cold.  :)

Once "R" was snuggled under the covers, we picked out a new book to start reading.  As I sat alongside her bed, I realized that this was the type of thing I might be doing with Catelyn.  It was a bittersweet moment.  I found myself sad about what I was missing with my own daughter, but so happy to be having the experience with young, sweet "R".

Within a few minutes, it seemed like it was time for bed.  "R" didn't want to stop reading, but I assured her that I would place a bookmark in her spot and she could pick up where she left off the next day.  She seemed okay with this plan.  I was thinking I would give her a quick squeeze and peck on the forehead, when she said, "Can you lay by me for a while?"

I nearly started to bawl.

What a dear, sweet girl to ask such a thoughtful question.  I knew that if I laid down I would surely start crying, so, instead, I told her that I snore & talk in my sleep (both of which are very true - ask my friends!), and didn't want her to be weirded out.

I gave her a hug, and a quick kiss on the forehead, wished her sweet dreams, and said goodnight.

The experience was tough, but well worth it.  I am grateful for other people's kids - they help heal my heart.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Random acts of Catelyn

Catelyn's third angelversary is 3 days away.  I posted a Facebook event in her memory on August 11th, asking that people consider doing something nice for another person and thinking of Catelyn as they did so.

The response has been overwhelming.  Strangers, acquaintances, friends, and family have generously given their time, talents, health and wealth, all in Catelyn's name.  It is such a beautiful gift to see people unafraid to recognize and honor the life of my daughter, whether they met her or not.

It's hard not to wonder what Catelyn would be like now.  She would be starting her second week of 4 year old kindergarten (4k) today.  

I am blessed to have such amazing support,  and can only hope that the good acts people choose to commit in Catelyn's name/memory comes back to each person tenfold.

Friday, May 9, 2014

a mother's day gift

In her short life, Catelyn was a budding artist.

She had a star-shaped magnetic drawing toy, the kind with an attached stylus and a sliding bar that erased scribblings.  It was made for children ages 3 and up, but she rarely put items she shouldn't ingest in her mouth, and she loved scribbling.  We carried it in her diaper bag, with a variety of other distractions, and it was frequently used.

It wasn't just drawing with that toy that she loved.  She loved crayons and chalk, too.  Even pencils and pens.

Several times, in a pinch of desperation, I was seen pulling a pen and a random piece of paper out for her to scribble with, and one such time was at a board meeting I was attending.  Catelyn's dad and I both had meetings scheduled, and I didn't want to bother anyone by asking thrm to watch her.  I had been told once that my fellow board members loved children and would all understand if I ever needed to bring Catelyn to a meeting.  Our meeting started around 5:30, so I fed Catelyn, grabbed a stash of distractions and headed out to my meeting.

Around 6:30 or so, Catelyn was tired of sitting around at my meeting.  As i recall, she was squirming and vocalizing her discontent.  Everything I had tried was failing, but I had one last trick up my sleeve.  I handed her a fine point pen and a piece of paper.  She proceeded to scribble for the next 15-20 minutes while we wrapped up.

Less than a month later, Catelyn died.

Nearly each time I came across a piece of her art, I would frame it.  Catelyn's dad took one piece to work, I gave one to his parents, and I gave one to my parents.  One day I came across an envelope she 'colored', and I kept it for myself.

Now that Catelyn's dad and I have separated, I have found myself longing for a larger piece of artwork.

Tonight, my eye caught sight of something tucked between my piano and a curtain.  I gently pulled the curtain away and found a treasure.  I couldn't believe it.  I actually found the art piece Catelyn created at my board meeting in August of 2011.

There is no greater gift I could have received as we approach this mother's day weekend.  Interestingly, I had been thinking just today that I was less excited about this mother's day than others since I wouldn't have anyone to recognize me as a mother.

Yet again my very own angel has come through in a way that no one else can.

Thanks for the amazing mother's day drawing my sweetest buggy girl.  Mama loves you!!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter 2014

Happy Easter.

Today was a bit tough.  It was hard not being able to spend Easter with Catelyn's dad's side of the family.  Though I had several invites of people to spend time with, I chose to go through it alone.

I feel like Catelyn knew i was a little glum; I received several unique gifts from her today.

First, I walked outside into the driveway and as I approached my car a little voice exclaimed 'Mama!'  It sounded just like Catelyn.  I actually looked for her, only to turn and see a little child with their mom getting on a porch swing.

Second, I was walking out of a grocery store and a family of four was exiting with me.  As I returned my cart, I noticed the daughter was wearing a white Easter dress with pink ribbon, just like Catelyn's easter dress from 2010.  And, to top it off, the little girl was enjoying a banana (C's favorite).

Finally, I was playing words with friends and had a lot of vowels and only two consonants, so I pressed shuffle and up came 'Catie'.

It's always nice to know her spirit is with me.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

looking for planks

There is a huge disconnect between the way I see myself, and the way others do.  I don't know how to begin to incorporate 'reality' with my own very skewed perceptions of myself.  Sadly, according to my thoughts, I have no value to offer this world.  I have an enormous laundry list, in my head, of all of the things I've done wrong, and why I am not good.

I've been talking to my therapist, and, as it turns out, I have spent way too much of my life basing my value on the wrong things.  Basically, instead of placing any value in myself and who I am as a person, I placed all of my value in 'things'. 

According to my narrow thoughts "I only have value if I get a college degree in a reputable field of study, if I have a job in my field, if I can afford nice things, if I am married, if I am a mother, if I meet & exceed the highest expectations anyone could have for me.....and so on."  The list is exhausting, and sadly, the items on it really aren't the things that make me valuable to the world.  Besides, in one way or another, I have either denied or lost every single significant item that is on my list of what supposedly gives me value.

Trying to find value in myself and my life feels like an endless struggle.  It is beyond tough. 

Since I don't see any value in myself as a person, I truly cannot fathom how anyone else can.  I have stopped believing people want me in their lives, I have made up stories in my head to convince me why they don't really want me in their lives.  I think things like: "they get paid to tolerate me, they just feel sorry for me, they are my family so they have to care."

I have disconnected myself from so many people, things, and even reality, that it is as though I am out on a ledge on one side of a ravine while everyone else in the world is on the other side.  I feel so separated.

But, there is good news.  My therapist, working with my visual bias for comprehension, explained to me that somehow, there are ropes in place, above the ravine, and if I can find some planks, I can actually start to bridge my way across the ravine.

So, what are these 'planks', and how do I find them? 

'Planks' are when I notice that people around me care.  It's when someone is nice to me, writes me a note, talks to me about my life, invites me out, calls me in the middle of the night to check on me after I make a comment on Facebook that I am having a panic attack, directly tells me that they care about me, sends me a text message, offers me a place to live, checks in on me, etc. 

It's not my job to determine/wonder why they are being nice to me.  It's just important that I recognize people care.

Eventually, after I find a great many planks (perhaps it will take years), I will be able to connect to the fact that people care about me, just because I am me.  And that, my friends, is reason enough.

Now to find those planks...

Friday, April 11, 2014

keep chipping away

According to my login page, my last published entry was submitted on December 16th, 2013.  A lot has changed for me since then. Christmas came, Catelyn's fourth birthday came, the new year began, and somewhere in there I found out my marriage was over.

I have been struggling to know what to write.  I don't want to offend anyone, and yet I really want to keep writing about my life, and how I am doing since Catelyn died.

All I can write is what I know...

Emotional control has been extremely difficult for me since I found out about my impending divorce.  I have actually endured many of the same feelings of inadequacy that I did when Catelyn died.

There was one particular day when I felt like everything was going wrong at work, and my thoughts moved to 'I am such a failure that I can't even do simple tasks at my job.'  A coworker happened to walk by my desk at that moment and mention that lunch was ready in the kitchen.  His kindness during my internal ambush overwhelmed me, and tears began to pour down my face like a raging river.  I scurried away from my desk and took refuge in the ladies locker room.

As I slunk down in anguish, on a couch, berating myself over losing control of my emotions at work, I thought, I'll just call my husband.  Then I quickly remembered that was no longer an option.  My thoughts, once again, turned against me, proclaiming, 'you fail at everything: life, work, marriage, motherhood.'

After an excruciatingly painful mental knockdown drag out in the minutes that followed, I finally took a moment and realized my thoughts were only making things vastly worse.  So I started in with the 'Stuart Smalley' school of thought.  I looked up at the ceiling, perhaps for strength from above, and began saying things (out loud) such as:
'I am a good person.'
'Everyone makes mistakes.'
'My boss said it's not a big deal.'
'Many people get divorced.'
'I am not a failure.'

I began to smile as I remembered the old SNL skit where Michael Jordan was asked to look into the mirror and say "...because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me."  After a moment I went back to my desk, collected and renewed.

Catelyn's death has provided me an opportunity to learn some very important tools on how to overcome the mean thoughts I have toward myself.  I can only hope to keep chipping away at my cruel self-talk in the hard days of grief that lie ahead.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Reality crept in

It's almost always the unexpected...

On Sunday, my husband and I went to get groceries, which seems like a relatively harmless, maybe even 'safe' outing. We had planned to leave early in the morning, but I wanted to take care of a couple of things, and thus we ended up leaving later than we hoped.

Even during the busy rush of the holidays, we prefer to shop at a nearby box's nice to have an 'all in one' stop, as we can only bear so much 'holiday cheer'.  We had a few things on our agenda outside of groceries, including Christmas gifts for four little boys.  We headed straight to the toy section and found one item on our agenda.  We opted to look at the book selection, but found it disappointing, and began to meander towards the cold food section.

As we headed toward our next stop, I saw a mom on a cell phone with three young blond girls heading towards us.  I realized I knew the mom, and tried to think of who it was.  I was excited and asked my husband, "Do you know who that was?"  He wasn't sure, and I said her name.  Then it hit me that this mom was a mom to an "oldest" daughter, and twin daughters.

Catelyn being bapitzed.  May 2010
The twins were a few months younger than Catelyn, but all three of our girls were baptized on the same day.  I turned back to look at the twins, and I felt confused. 

Where were the "little" girls?  Why weren't they little?  They should be little.  They are younger than Catelyn, after all...

And then reality crept in.  Yes, two of the girls in that family are younger than Catelyn, but they aren't so little any more.  They have grown.  They get to continue to grow.

All of this hit my heart like a lightning bolt.  First, I felt it begin to shatter in slow motion, piece by piece.  Two aisles away from where I saw them, I could no longer keep up with the pieces.  I couldn't think straight.  I could barely breathe.  I was looking at the grocery list in my hand thinking that it must have been written in a foreign language because nothing was making sense.

We had 5 items in our cart, and I was about to ask my husband to take over with the list, when he looked at me and said, "I don't want to do this anymore."  I said "Neither do I, let's just get these items and leave."

We scurried to the front of the store where we checked out and left.

As we drove home, I was silently bawling in the passenger seat.  My husband took my hand and asked if I was okay.  I said no, and cried harder.

When I was finally able to speak again, I explained that it has been extremely hard watching our friends' kids growing up, but I've become accustomed to it.  I hate it, but there is nothing I can do to change it.  We see a lot of these kids all of the time.  One of my best friends' son is 2 weeks older than Catelyn.  It sucks, but, again, there is nothing we can do about it.

To see a child (or children) we haven't seen, since Catelyn's death, is so much harder though.  It almost feels as if Catelyn just died again.

It is purely agonizing to see how much time has already passed.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


For all of my life, including the past two years and 3 months, I am constantly asked how I am doing. 

Like most people, the question comes up during part of the everyday, rote, human interaction.  And, especially in grief, I have learned that most people don't really want to know how other people are doing.

The expectation is usually that someone will greet you and say, "Hi, How are you?"  You will then respond, "Good, and you?", no matter how you really feel.  To which they reply "Good, thanks", no matter how they really feel.  And then you will part ways, feeling fake and mechanical.

Well guess what.  Since Catelyn died, things haven't been 'Good' very often.  And of all the words I reply to "How are you?" with, quite simply, "Good" doesn't even register in my mind as a possibility.

Initially, I couldn't even use words to answer that question.  Instead, I would shrug and mumble, "enh." Of course, I realized that people wanted a positive answer, even if it was fake and not the truth.  So, I started with "Okay".  After a few months, I even worked up to "Fine".

At my job, it is my responsibility to greet people all day. I play the robotic 'how are you' game multiple times a day.  Generally, I try to say, "I'm doing well, how are you?" whether I feel "well" or not.  Late last week, a co-worker passed me in the hallway and said "Hi, how are you?", and I said, "Good, how are you?" 

As we continued in our separate directions, I realized what I said.  Without thinking, I replied that I was "good". 


How weird it felt to say that word.  I can guarantee you that as hard as I've tried to "fake" my answers in the last 2 years and three months, I have never been able to pull of "Good".  I've never even tried.

So I paused and thought about it, and realized that it was true.  I actually felt good.

It's not every day, but I actually had a moment where I was good.  :)

Saturday, December 7, 2013


In late 2008/early 2009, I became very aware that many of my friends were expecting.  I felt like I could throw a feather and hit someone who was either about to give birth, or due sometime in 2009.  It was becoming aggravating as I wanted so badly to have a child, but just could not conceive.  When I found out that I was pregnant, I stopped feeling so hurt, because I had joined the ranks of the parents-to-be.

In August and September of this year, I watched as many of those children posed for precious pictures of their 'First Day of School', and I felt my heart sink.  Catelyn is a December baby, so she would be eligible for 4K in 2014, but seeing all of the little 'friends' with their backpacks and smiles was so crushing.

Something about Catelyn's 4th birthday has caused a shift in my pain that I wasn't expecting.  I don't really know how to describe the pain, either.  I imagine it's just a continuation of the giant void I am left with in her absence.

Most of it, I think, stems from the fact that I simply can't imagine what she would be like now.

She was 3 feet tall at 20 months, so I know she'd be tall.  Perhaps she'd be mistaken for a Kindergartener.  Would her hair be curly or straight?  Would she want to wear dresses or jeans and a shirt?  What would her favorite color be?  What would she like to do?  Would she like having a bare Christmas Tree, with white lights, ribbon, and a star on top; or would she want a brightly colored tree with lots of baubles?  Would she be excited to visit Santa?  What would our Christmas rituals be?  What would our birthday rituals be for her?

It is devastating to know that another Christmas, another birthday, and another new year will all come without her here. 

I can still picture her tasting that first birthday cake.  It was unlike most children with their first pieces of cake.  There was no mashing, spreading, or stickiness, and very little mess at all.  She sweetly scraped a bit of frosting off with her finger, and sat smacking her lips together as she continued to daintily pick up tiny bits of cake and neatly place them in her mouth. 

I wonder what she would do at her 4th birthday.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Nobody said it was easy...

Wednesday night was the annual kids Halloween party at my job.  This is the second time I've helped set up this event.  Last year, I waited until the party started to leave, only to discover that I couldn't handle being present as the children came in. This year, I planned to leave about 15 minutes before the party started.

About 30 minutes before 'go time', one of my co-workers came in with his daughter, who is just older than Catelyn would be.  The little girl commented on liking the witch in our lobby, but she didn't want to touch it.  She said, "I'm not scared, I know it's not real".  This got me to wondering what Catelyn would say.  I had to take a moment and re-compose myself, as the pain was creeping in.  A few minutes passed, and I was close to wrapping up my last duties for the day, when in walked a man with two small children.  Initially, they had to walk out of the building, as the children were frightened, but in no time, they were back.  I watched the dad explaining to his children, a daughter & a son, what each item was, so they wouldn't be fearful.  The daughter was younger, and didn't seem affected, but the boy was concerned with the moving and talking creatures: a witch, broom,  spellbook, cauldron, etc.

The father explained that the children were Monster's, Inc. characters.  The boy was Mike Wazowski, and the girl was Boo, dressed as a monster.  They were absolutely darling.  I actu

As the dad continued to point out different things, I heard him ask, "What's that?"  Immediately, my heart sank and I scurried to punch out and leave. 

"What's that" was Catelyn's first two word combination.  She asked it all of the time. 

As I bolted out the front door of my job, I tried to prevent the tears from starting.  By the time I started my car, I was crying in hysterics. 

All I could think was, "It's not fair". 

I started to drive, and continued to bawl and bawl.

I've had these out of control crying spells before, but it's been a while.  I called my mom, and she encouraged me to pull over.  I told her it's not fair, and she said she knew.  She reminded me that when I hear things that Catelyn said, or see things that remind me of her, it's Catelyn's way of reaching out to me.  I fully believe that, too, but sometimes it's so devastatingly hard to receive those messages. 

I told my mom that I didn't expect it to be this hard still, and she replied, "Nobody said it was easy."

How true.  Everyday I make progress towards hurting less, no, not less, just differently.  The pain is still present, and it always will be.  It doesn't really go away, it just changes.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Happy birthday dear mama...

Well, my birthday is tomorrow tomorrow. This is the first birthday in 2 years I have remotely looked forward to.  I was actually getting a little excited, but then I took my dog for a walk tonight.

You may be wondering what one has to do with the other, but I always like to walk the dog past the cemetery.  As we approached, I began talking to Catelyn, telling her not to be upset that I am looking forward to my birthday.  As I spoke, I told her I want nothing more than to hear her sing the birthday song, and then it hit me.  I never heard her sing happy birthday.  She died 15 days before my birthday.

Tears began to stream down my cheeks.

Since I missed out on any sweet attempts at "happy birthday dear mama", I racked my brain to remember anything she sang.  A memory slowly came to me, and I  decided to sing a song from the PBS TV show 'the cat in the hat knows a lot about that' that she knew quite well.

As the dog and i headed home, I envisioned Catelyn singing and dancing, and through my tears, I was able to smile a bit.

Two years and fourteen days have passed since Catelyn died, and sometimes I am still caught off guard by the unexpected.  I imagine there will always be tough moments in the years to's just part of the grieving and loving process.