Thursday, August 14, 2014

Peace Holds my Heart

The peace that has washed over me is so magical. I feel like a whole new person and it is such a wonderful place to be, and it has been needed for almost 6 years. In the last 6 years I have had nothing but heartache, sadness, pain, hurt, loss, a sense of worthlessness, shame and guilt that controlled my life. I hated my life, I hated me and now I am loving life, I am loving myself, and I am ready for this next chapter in my new book.

 Life happens and it will continue to happen, I will have bad days which I trust will end, I will have good days which I will embrace, I will cry and allow the tears to come, I will feel pain, love, sadness, peace, joy, sorrow and know that each one is just a part of life, my life forever and always.

I have been through a lot in my 30 years of life and this is the first time probably since my dad died that I feel at peace, truly at peace. Possibly my whole life. I love myself enough to become who I am meant. I can carry my grief, I can breathe, and I KNOW I am going to be ok, I trust and for those who have walked this journey with me know what a big deal all of this is.

I have come a long way and seriously curious to see where it all takes me.

Peace is a beautiful feeling that I am fully embracing.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Peace Out PCH...

Now that is has been a couple days since I said goodbye to PCH I figured it was time to express just what it all means to me. I spent three years at PCH. As I look back on the last three years it is hard to believe that I survived it all. When I started at PCH I was terrified. I had some serious doubts in myself and how I was going to walk into the building where Mckenna died every shift, how I was going to be around sick children, broken children, children who are alone, children who are abused, and children Mckenna’s age. I just didn't know how I was going to handle it all and I would be lying if I said it wasn't challenging. It was one of the hardest, most challenging things I have ever done.

 In the beginning I really struggled to work there. I would cry every shift, have flashbacks, I would be distant, closed off, shut down, just to survive the shift, my life, everything. I wanted to quit many times, I would look for jobs and even put in applications but I would never follow through with quitting. I guess it never felt “right”. I wanted it to feel like the right time and no matter how much I complained, something kept me there and I guess I am thankful for that voice that kept me there as long as it did.

After some point, though I can’t pin point when it was, I found a peacefulness working there. I no longer cried going to work, I wouldn’t dread each shift with every ounce of my body, I was more talkative with my coworkers, patients, patients families. At the time I thought this was great, I reached the place I never thought I could or would and it was a great accomplishment. And then my mom died. My mom’s death was devastating to me and I found myself going back to the days from when I first started. The flashbacks started again, I would cry to work every shift, and it would take over half the shift to recover.I recognized that it longer was serving a purpose for me and I was no longer growing and becoming, I was falling and going backwards. I don't use the word hate very often if at all, but I truly began to hate it. Working at PCH, working nights began to take its toll and I knew I needed to quit. It was no longer peaceful, it was torture so I set out on a couple missions which brought me to where I am today.

 My last night was a great night with great people, great nurses, and lots of conversations, laughter and peace with my decision. It was time. I clocked out, said my goodbyes, walked through the old PICU where Mckenna died, down the hall one last time and out the doors feeling free. It was almost euphoric, I was happy, excited and in that moment I knew that I fulfilled my goal and I don’t regret ever working there and I don’t regret waiting to leave and I most definitely don’t regret quitting.

I lost a lot while working at PCH, but I also gained so much. Leaving PCH wasn’t a hard decision. I have seen things that are heartbreaking, sad, amazing, humbling, and unforgettable, but I no longer feel the need to be there and to put myself through what I have when I first started. I want to live life and for Mckenna to be proud of me for challenging myself yet knowing when it was no longer benefiting me. I lost a piece of me the day Mckenna died in that hospital and even though it did not bring her back, it did put together a small piece of my heart with a scar. I will never forget my time at PCH, I will never forget how it forced me to grow, I will never forget the last three years and what they brought me. 

Peace out PCH….

*The* Room Mckenna died in.
 (No patients were on the floor when I took this picture,
the unit was empty)

Friday, June 20, 2014

She wasn't supposed to be with me.....

While I was with a beautiful friend this week I was taken to a place deep within my soul that I have not visited in a long time. It is not easy to visit places that I have not visited in a long time because they are so painful, yet it needs to happen from time to time. Mckenna’s story was the place, the details I don’t share often, the injuries, the images that swirl in my head but are hardly spoken came out as I sat with my beautiful friend. The injuries were discussed in detail and this brought me back to that day as if it was yesterday. The tears started and did not stop for some time as I retold parts of the story, the parts that take my breath away, the parts that should not be a part of my life, the parts that bring me to my knees. My friend asked me as I am sharing a painful part of the story, “did anyone ever say I’m sorry to you,” and this has stayed with me all week. For years I have placed the blame solely on myself. From the moment of the accident I was saying I’m sorry to everyone. I’m sorry I took your daughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin away from you, I’m sorry I moved the tv, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry…..But not once did I hear I’m sorry from the people that were a part of that day. The people who chose to not watch her because they were going Christmas shopping, the person who wanted to “sleep in,” the people who were supposed to have her any way….

I have replayed that day over and over in my head for almost 6 years now and each time I share those details it always ends with, yeah well I’m the one who moved the tv so none of that really matters. Well in reality it does matter. I do not place blame on them and that is not what this is about, it is about being angry. I have never been angry towards the other people involved that dreadful day, but it seems to be creeping up at times. Angry for how I was treated, angry for being lead on by my ex, angry for never hearing the words I’m sorry from them and the role they played that day.

What I keep hearing is, she wasn’t supposed to be with me that day, she WASN’T supposed to be with ME…..I will always blame myself, I will never forgive myself, I will always take responsibility, but sometimes I get angry at the other people involved that day. I think I have the right every now and then….

I am thankful for those in my life willing to sit with that story and allow me to tell it from time to time. Lots of tears were shed as I remembered that time in my life, tears that deserve to be shed because Mckenna is worth every tear, every sob, and every heartache.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Tough Mother's Day...

Mothers day has been a tough holiday for many years. Even before I lost my daughter and my mom it was always hard.

Mothers day can be difficult when you grow up with an alcoholic. I often stood in the card section with tears in my eyes because none of the cards fit our relationship. “You’re an amazing mother”, “you have always been there for me,” “you’re the best mom in the world” didn't exactly speak to our relationship. At the time I held so much anger towards my mother for choosing alcohol over her children, over herself. For years that anger made me distant and eventually making the decision to take a step back and love her from afar. I still called her, checked on her, but was cold and distant in order to protect myself. I could no longer stand there and watch her “kill” herself with alcohol. Doing this came with a price, it meant I closed off my heart, my love for her because I couldn’t think about losing her and thought that in doing this losing her would not be so hard. Then…

 A few short months later I found her lifeless in her bed and all those feelings were gone. The alcohol didn't matter, the anger went away as if it never existed, all I wanted in that moment was for her to be alive. My fear became a reality and I sat there one last time with her telling her just how sorry I was for failing her, for not being the daughter she wished I could have been.

In the time since my mothers death I have discovered the pain, the heartache, the hurt, the loneliness, and the sadness that she carried with her. The beautiful person and human being she was, and what I would give to have her back. I hate that death made me see my mom, truly see her and that I will never get the chance to make things right.

I knew my mom and I loved her so deeply that her death has really affected me the shoulda, coulda woulda’s haunt me. I couldn’t save her and I live with guilt every day.

This mothers day is double hard as I will not get showered with gifts, homemade cards, hugs and kisses from my should be 6 year old daughter, and I will not get to show my mom the love I have for her, give her a homemade card and give her hugs and kisses. Being a daughterless mother and a motherless daughter I hurt deep in my soul.

 I miss my Mckenna and I miss my mom. Mother's day is hard when you're a bereaved mom and a motherless daughter.  

Monday, April 21, 2014

From Disconnected to Connected

Being disconnected has been my world for a few years, disconnected from feelings, love, and life. This past weekend we were asked to think of a word that would be our intention for the weekend as we embark on some heavy, beautiful grief work. The first word that came to mind was connection. I wanted to connect to my feelings, others feelings, Mckenna, my mom and feel with my whole heart without disconnecting from the world around me. I needed to feel what came up and allow myself to just be with it, trust it, honor it and love it. I needed to love myself enough to dig deep and reach in and feel what I try so hard to disconnect from. Being disconnected is a lonely world and it’s a world that I really don’t care to live in anymore. I let my guard down and allowed myself to be vulnerable which allowed me to truly be with Mckenna the entire time. I felt her with me, I honored her life, I was her mother and mothered her the only way I can now.

My head was swirling with memories of Mckenna’s life, our life. I felt her in my arms, I felt her in my heart, I felt her all around me and she made her presence known in more ways than one. I have missed her since my heart has been consumed with my moms death. I have felt more disconnected from her than I ever have. I tried telling myself that she is allowing me to grieve my mom because she is a busy little girl changing lives, but I missed her and felt as if I was forgetting her. This weekend reminded me that I will never forget her, I will never stop loving her, and I will never stop being her mother.

 For many years I have allowed others feelings and emotions to control how I grieve, share and feel, in order to make them feel better, to not feel so judged and to feel accepted. In doing this I have allowed myself to become more and more disconnected from my child. The child that I gave birth to, the child that I was so honored to watch grow, the child that I held as her heart stopped beating. How could I allow this to happen for so long? How could I allow others to make me feel like that there is something wrong with me because I miss my child? How could I not share her beautiful life? Mckenna was here, she lived, she was so very beautiful and she was mine. I no longer want to feel disconnected from her and I want to share her and be able to be her mom because I have every right to miss her and talk about her because she is my daughter and she died. Her little body is laying in a little pink casket underground wearing a purple dress with her favorite play phone and a book, that is not the way it is supposed to be and for me to feel like I can’t miss her is not fair
I too was the mother who could not imagine living without my child, I was the mother who missed her child when she was away from her, I was the mother who cherished every moment, I was the mother who took pictures, videos, gave kisses, gave hugs, tucked her in at night, I was a mother just like most mothers. Now I am the mother who held her child when she died, the mother who buried her child, the mother who misses milestones, the mother who will never get to watch their child grow up, the mother I wish I wasn’t.
Just remember a bereaved mother/parent is just like you, the difference is that your child is still with you….
I took so much away from this past weekend, and I am so very blessed to have had the chance to be there and learn about so many beautiful children and to be with such beautiful parents who love and miss their children.


Monday, February 17, 2014

***Sensitive*** My Memories, My Pain....Everyday

This is my reality, this is in my head every day, this is my memory of the day and night that I lost my mom…..

I call you, no answer
(you will call me back)

This is your new pattern, don’t pick up, don’t call back
(slow worry sets in)

Call again
(why aren’t you answering? Please pick up)

Continue on with my day
(call mom again later, she is will answer, you're just napping)

Call again no answer
(What the hell mom why aren't you answering…….you're fine, probably drinking)

Go to my internship, worry on the back of my brain

Call again, no answer
(ok this is not like you mom, please answer your phone so I know you’re ok)

Call Brandon, maybe he has heard from you
(nope, well shit, you're ok, you have to be ok)

Driving home
(I will check on you tomorrow)

Nope tomorrow is too long, check on you now.
(you're ok, I know you're ok)

Put the key in the door, deep breath

Lights are off, TV is on. I slowly walk in
(you're ok, just sleeping, or drunk)

Stand in the dark staring at your body, trying to focus to see your breathing.
(why aren't you moving? Why aren't you waking up? You're a light sleeper)

I turn on the bathroom light
(Why aren’t you moving mom? What’s wrong with your feet?)

I slowing move towards your head, I notice your hands, the colors not right
(no, no, no. no, no, no, no, no, no…..MOM!!!!!)

I run to turn on a brighter light, run back to your side and yell your name, Mom!!! MOM!!!
(No, no, no, MOM! MOM! Can't touch you, but I have to)

I touch your leg…Ice cold. Shaking, crying, dog jumping on me
(you’re really dead, you’re really dead, no, no, no, no)

Call 911, hands shaking, heart pounding.
(you can’t be dead mom, no, no, no, no)

“My moms dead”
“Ok what is the address”
(shaking, tears, panic)
“Do you want to start CPR”
“No she’s dead, her fingers are black, she’s ice cold, she’s dead”
(I need to call Brandon, I’m all alone)
“Ok go outside and wait for the police”

I hear sirens, I see lights, I need Brandon
(You’re really dead, this can’t be happening)

Time passes fast, time passes slow. We cry, we talk about you, we cry in each others arms. We are now without you, without dad, it’s just Brandon and me.

Sitting in a daze, having conversation, crying

It’s time to say goodbye. I’m not ready. It came too fast.
(How can this be happening, not ready to say goodbye, not ready to see you for the last time)

Brandon and I hold hands, I pull down the blanket, we cry, I come around and sit with you, I place my hand on your head, I tell you how sorry I am, how much I love you.
(No, no, no, no, no, no deep, deep cry from deep within me escapes my soul)

I kiss you, I touch you one last time, it’s time
(no, no, no, no, no….I don’t want to say goodbye to you mom)

I can’t control my tears, I can’t control my sobs, I can’t control my pain it is out for all to witness. Brandon holds me as I kneel to the ground. The sobs release.
(Damn it mom I miss you already, why did you have to die?)

I watch them take you away in a body bag, put into the back of a van and driven away. A piece of my soul left with you that night.
(This is really happening, she’s really gone, I just found my mom dead)

I carry these memories; I carry this moment with me every day. Different parts of this night pop into my mind at any given moment taking my breath away. Losing my mom has been the second hardest thing I have had to go through. No matter what my mom and I had a special connection and I will always and forever miss her.

Mom I love you beyond words…You are my mom. Love is bigger than death and in that very moment my love for you was breaking my soul, breaking my heart because I love you so very much. We are connected more than I could handle, my love for you was too much for me to get too close and I am so very sorry. You will never be forgotten and I miss you so, so, so very much. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Change of Plans....YAY!!!

I have been on this journey of going to school in Houston for months now. It has been my every focus and thought since Aug/Sept. I wanted to go to Houston so bad because it was what I felt I needed. It was a clean start with a great opportunity to grow and step outside of my comfort zone and get a great education. I went for a visit last month and to be honest I wasn’t overly impressed with Houston. The school was beautiful and old and the social work program is rather impressive. There were things I liked and things I didn’t like about the program, but overall it seemed to be a good program. Though I struggled with Houston as a whole. The city, the people, it was all very overwhelming for me and kind of discouraging.

I came home not as excited and was kind of disappointed. Ever since coming home something about it didn’t feel right. This past week I have felt somewhat lost and nervous about feeling this way after all these months of making these plans. Then I had a conversation with a beautiful friend and something she said really stuck with me. She said, “some of the worst decisions I have made were based on fear, and some of the best decisions I have made were based on love.” I have sat with that all week and came to the decision to not go to Houston.

The main reason I have decided to stay and go to school in AZ is because of my family (love). We have been through so much the last few years and we are just now getting closer and I want to actively participate in their lives and I want to live life with them. I just couldn’t leave because I would be missing out on so much.

Now for the good news that so many have been waiting for…..I will be able to take a graduate course online class this summer to get me caught up and start classes in the Fall in FLAGSTAFF!!!! I will be MOVING in Aug up NORTH. I am beyond excited and feel that this is just the change I need but still close to my family. I will get the best of both worlds.

I am blessed beyond blessed to have such amazing souls in my life. Talked to a beautiful soul friend this morning and she reframed my through process of looking at this Houston journey as a failure. She said that your journey of working through this process has allowed yourself to process of parts of my life that may not have been addressed if you had not been working on this Houston journey.

It’s all growth and I am just glad I saw it before I actually moved.

So Flagstaff here I come…..Oh how exciting!!!